The Jury Talks Back


SHUT UP! Bergdahl May Get A Lower Sentence…Thanks To Trump

Filed under: Uncategorized — Patterico @ 8:00 am

The Yammerer in Chief has pulled another doozy. On October 16, after a campaign in which he suggested that Bowe Bergdahl should be executed or returned to the Taliban, President Trump said: “I think people have heard my comments in the past.” The New York Times reports that Trump’s running his stupid mouth may have earned Bergdahl a lower sentence, as the judge will treat it as “mitigating” evidence:

President Trump’s harsh criticism of Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl, who walked off his Army post in Afghanistan in 2009 and was captured by the Taliban, will weigh in favor of a lighter sentence for the sergeant, a military judge said on Monday.

“I will consider the president’s comments as mitigation evidence as I arrive at an appropriate sentence,” the judge, Col. Jeffery R. Nance of the Army, said during a hearing at Fort Bragg. The judge is expected to sentence Sergeant Bergdahl in the next few weeks.

The judge rejected a request that he dismiss the case or cap the length of the sentence on the grounds that the president’s comments had precluded a fair hearing. The judge said he had not been influenced by the remarks and that the public’s confidence in the military justice system had not been undermined.

If you don’t already see the problem, the judge’s remarks may seem confusing. How could he say he “had not been influenced by the remarks” and yet say that he “will consider the president’s comments as mitigation evidence”? Once you do see the problem, these remarks make perfect sense together. This is not some judge trying to make Trump look bad. This is a judge doing his best to react to the terrible position that Trump put him in.

Andrew C. McCarthy explained this a week ago, in a post that presciently predicted that Trump’s comments would cause a problem for the Bergdahl prosecution. McCarthy’s post was titled On Bergdahl, Maybe Trump Could Try Saying ‘No Comment’:

I have explained why presidential commentary can compromise criminal investigations to the great advantage of the guilty. The president is the head of the executive branch. Federal prosecutors are his subordinates, as are federal investigators. When he spouts that someone should be prosecuted or sent to jail, the courts do not slough off such commentary as mere opinion or political hyperbole — even if, as in Trump’s case, the president is a non-lawyer. If charges are eventually brought against the person subjected to a presidential outburst, that defendant will move to have the case dismissed on due-process grounds. . . .

. . . .

The problems posed by presidential commentary are considerably worse in military prosecutions. . . [M]ilitary justice is a unilateral executive-branch system. Even the appellate courts, including the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Armed Forces, lack structural independence. No matter how scrupulously the military courts conduct the proceedings, there can still be a perception that a conviction was rigged. Furthermore, while the U.S. Supreme Court — the Constitution’s ultimate, independent judicial authority — has the power to review military cases, its jurisdiction is discretionary. It need not review any military cases and only rarely accepts such appeals.

You might figure this means that a soldier targeted by presidential commentary is sure to be railroaded. In reality, the tendency runs in the opposite direction. The military takes great pride in its first-rate justice system. In word and deed, that system communicates to those who enlist in our armed forces that an American soldier’s rights will be zealously safeguarded. Military courts bend over backwards to refute any notions that their proceedings have been infected by improper influence from the upper ranks.

I have bolded certain parts of McCarthy’s excellent writing to emphasize the parts that best explain the judge’s comments. When someone who wants to be seen as neutral is accused of favoring one side, that person will often bend over backwards to favor the other side. Here, the judge is saying: the President’s comments don’t affect me . . . why, if anything, I’ll use them in Bergdahl’s favor, not against him.

McCarthy explains that this is especially irresponsible of Trump because the judge had already indicated displeasure with Trump’s campaign comments — but had said he would not be influenced by them because Trump was not yet President when he made them. So Trump was on notice that the judge would react badly to further Trump comments made as President. Yet the occupant of the Oval Office just had to open his mouth again as Commander in Chief. As always, it’s all about him, and not the country he claims to serve.

Diehard Trump supporters like to say that critics should look at what Trump does, not what he says. Indeed, I recently wrote about the distinction myself, in a post titled What Trump Says Vs. What Trump Does. While I concluded that Trump’s actions have mostly been OK, and his words often harmless distractions, I also reminded readers that words coming from the Oval Office have consequences, saying: “Here’s the thing, Trumpers. Words do matter.” Sometimes what a President says has real-life consequences. I focused on the possible damage to foreign policy, while McCarthy’s focus is the enforcement of criminal law:

Ardent Trump fans find their man’s shoot-from-the-hip style to be a refreshing break with politics as we know (knew?) it, confirmation of the real-estate mogul’s authenticity as the voice of the everyman. Those who suggest the president might try being more, well, presidential, quickly find themselves the target of Trumpist venom.

Yet it is a stubborn fact that when the president of the United States says something, it matters. Assuming he thinks about them at all, Donald Trump may intend his more provocative digs and tweets to be mere campaign-style red meat to keep the flock energized. But he is President Trump now. Especially in the legal arena, his mindless and occasionally obnoxious banter is significant. It can undermine the enforcement efforts of the police, prosecutors, military, and border-patrol agents whom he so enthusiastically champions.

Now, it may undermine the court-martial of Bowe Bergdahl.

Trump was warned. But he didn’t listen. Now, a deserter whose actions likely caused the deaths of several of his comrades may very well get off lighter than he otherwise would — just because Donald J. Trump couldn’t keep his damned mouth shut.

[Cross-posted at RedState.]


Why Americans Distrust Big Media: INCREDIBLE Spin on New Kevin Spacey Pedophilia Accusations

Filed under: Uncategorized — Patterico @ 6:30 am

Last night, the world learned that actor Anthony Rapp is accusing Kevin Spacey of making a sexual advance on Rapp when Rapp was only 14 years old. The revelation is one of the more strange and disappointing allegations to emerge in the avalance of post-Weinstein stories of harassment and sexual assault by men in Hollywood and media. BuzzFeed reported:

In an interview with BuzzFeed News, Rapp is publicly alleging for the first time that in 1986, Spacey befriended Rapp while they both performed on Broadway shows, invited Rapp over to his apartment for a party, and, at the end of the night, picked Rapp up, placed him on his bed, and climbed on top of him, making a sexual advance. According to public records, Spacey was 26. Rapp was 14.

Spacey put out an eye-opening statement of apology, seeming to acknowledge that he had indeed probably done what Rapp accused him of:

Quite remarkable — especially the line that reads: “But if I did behave then as he describes, I owe him the sincerest apology for what would have been deeply inappropriate drunken behavior.” It’s not quite a confession, but the non-denial is striking. After all, most people would be able to deny without reservation trying to have sex with a 14-year-old boy. I don’t know what the statute of limitations is in New York on attempted sexual intercourse with a minor that young, but Spacey’s apparent acknowledgment of Rapp’s allegation could possibly even open him up to prosecution. At a minimum, it is a potentially career-ending admission.

And yet, much of Big Media portrayed the Real Story as being . . . Spacey’s admission that he is gay. No, seriously. One media organization after another ran headlines with variants of the theme: “Kevin Spacey Says He Is Gay.” Some of them changed their headlines after the fact, and others may still, so I will use screenshots to prove my point. Here’s ABC:

ABC Spacey

And here’s Reuters:

Reuters Spacey

Not to be outdone, here is the New York Daily News:

NYDN Spacey

Here’s Gabriel Malor with a similar screenshot from U.S News and World Report:

Um, that’s not the story, guys. It’s not even news. I have assumed Spacey was gay or bisexual for years. I was surprised to read that he hadn’t openly acknowledged it.

But I was a lot more surprised to read that he had allegedly tried to have sex with a 14-year-old.

Come on, Big Media. When America sees you doing stuff like this, right in front of our eyes, we don’t get fooled any more. We just get increasingly disgusted with you, and your transparent efforts to soft-pedal a story on behalf of one of your own.

[Cross-posted at RedState.]

It’s Manafort

Filed under: Uncategorized — Patterico @ 5:41 am

My prediction last night:

I tend to think the indictment will be to a Trump-related person and not a Dem. But it probably will have zilch to do with Russia collusion and everything to do with financial shenanigans (probably Russia-related) and/or lying to the feds.

Always trust content from Patterico! The New York Times reports:

Paul Manafort and his former business associate were indicted on Monday on money laundering, tax and foreign lobbying charges, a significant escalation in a special counsel investigation that has cast a shadow over President Trump’s first year in office.

Mr. Manafort, the president’s former campaign chairman, and his longtime associate Rick Gates, surrendered to the FBI on Monday. The special counsel, Robert S. Mueller III, said Mr. Manafort laundered more than $18 million to buy properties and services.

“Manafort used his hidden overseas wealth to enjoy a lavish lifestyle in the United States without paying taxes on that income,” the indictment reads.

Mr. Gates is accused of transferring more than $3 million from offshore accounts. The two are also charged with making false statements.

Well, it didn’t take a genius to see this coming.

My initial impression is that Trump can spin this as a nothingburger without straining too hard. From what I can tell from the early reports, nothing about this says “Russia collusion.” And Trump will say, not without justification, that his dealings with Manafort show he acted correctly when he learned Manafort was dirty. Deeeeeep in the New York Times article we get this reminder:

Mr. Trump fired Mr. Manafort just months later, after reports that he received more than $12 million in undisclosed payments from Viktor F. Yanukovych, the former Ukrainian president and a pro-Russia politician. Mr. Manafort spent years as a political consultant for Mr. Yanukovych.

At most, today’s story is a reminder that Donald Trump sometimes shows very poor judgment in the people he surrounds himself with.

Otherwise, this is kind of a yawner, to be honest.

UPDATE: Unlike the Manafort indictment, this could end up being a problem for Trump:


Sunday Music: Bach Cantata BWV 139

Filed under: Uncategorized — Patterico @ 7:38 am

Composed for the 23rd Sunday after Trinity, the title of the cantata is “Wohl dem, der sich auf seinen Gott” which translates as “Happy is the man, who to his God.”

The text is here. The cantata is based on a hymn by Johann Christoph Rube, sung to a tune written by Johann Hermann Schein called “Machs mit mir, Gott, nach deiner Güt.” Here is the unadorned melody of the hymn:

The Gospel reading for the 23rd Sunday after Trinity is Matthew 22: 15-22, with a famous quote you have heard before.

Then went the Pharisees, and took counsel how they might entangle him in his talk.

And they sent out unto him their disciples with the Herodians, saying, Master, we know that thou art true, and teachest the way of God in truth, neither carest thou for any man: for thou regardest not the person of men.

Tell us therefore, What thinkest thou? Is it lawful to give tribute unto Caesar, or not?

But Jesus perceived their wickedness, and said, Why tempt ye me, ye hypocrites?

Shew me the tribute money. And they brought unto him a penny.

And he saith unto them, Whose is this image and superscription?

They say unto him, Caesar’s. Then saith he unto them, Render therefore unto Caesar the things which are Caesar’s; and unto God the things that are God’s.

When they had heard these words, they marvelled, and left him, and went their way.

I tend to prefer more updated translations of the Bible, but used the King James Version here because I like the way they translate the penultimate verse.

Commenter kishnevi recommends this box set of Bach’s cantatas, if anyone is interested.

Happy listening!

UPDATE: I wrote two posts last night about Bach cantatas and accidentally published the wrong one. I had intended to publish a post embedding the cantata written for the 20th Sunday after Trinity, but instead accidentally published a different post I had already written, embedding the cantata for the 23rd Sunday after Trinity. I am now annoyed at myself.

If you are interested in the post for the correct date, I have published it at RedState.

UPDATE x2: The readings are taken from this Web site about Bach’s cantatas. As best as I can tell, the readings are those that would have been used in Bach’s day.


What Does All This New Russia News Mean?

Filed under: Uncategorized — Patterico @ 12:30 pm

Two big stories out on Russia in the past day. Let’s recap and briefly analyze.

First, as Caleb Howe discussed here, Robert Mueller has filed his first charges. Behind Door #1: Paul Manafort. Behind Door #2: Michael Flynn. Behind Door #3: A goat. (Scapegoat?) If a door is opened and it does not contain the indicted person or animal, should you switch your guess? I don’t know, since Monty is no longer here to tell us. I do know that Adam Steinbaugh had the Tweet of the Day with this:

Second story: what many of us strongly suspected is now crystal clear: Natalia Veselnitskaya was acting as a Kremlin cutout when she met with Donald Trump Jr., Jared Kushner, and The Man Behind Door Number 1. Susan Wright discussed this yesterday, and the article can be found in the #FAKENEWSNEWYORKTIMES!!1!:

Natalia V. Veselnitskaya arrived at a meeting at Trump Tower in June 2016 hoping to interest top Trump campaign officials in the contents of a memo she believed contained information damaging to the Democratic Party and, by extension, Hillary Clinton. The material was the fruit of her research as a private lawyer, she has repeatedly said, and any suggestion that she was acting at the Kremlin’s behest that day is anti-Russia “hysteria.”

But interviews and records show that in the months before the meeting, Ms. Veselnitskaya had discussed the allegations with one of Russia’s most powerful officials, the prosecutor general, Yuri Y. Chaika. And the memo she brought with her closely followed a document that Mr. Chaika’s office had given to an American congressman two months earlier, incorporating some paragraphs verbatim.

The coordination between the Trump Tower visitor and the Russian prosecutor general undercuts Ms. Veselnitskaya’s account that she was a purely independent actor when she sat down with Donald Trump Jr., Jared Kushner, the president’s son-in-law, and Paul J. Manafort, then the Trump campaign chairman.

It also suggests that emails from an intermediary to the younger Mr. Trump promising that Ms. Veselnitskaya would arrive with information from Russian prosecutors were rooted at least partly in fact — not mere “puffery,” as the president’s son later said.

If you didn’t care that Trump Jr. was going to the meeting explicitly to get dirt on Hillary that he believed to be sourced from a high-level Russian prosecutor, then you won’t care that the dirt was indeed coming from the Kremlin.

Also, you’re probably a partisan hack who would have screamed to high heaven if Hillary’s troops had done the same.

What does it all mean? That partisans are gonna partisan.

Have we gotten to coordination yet, as to Hillary or Trump? No. Do we have utterly nasty politics being played, by the Hillary side and the Trump side? Yes. Will Democrats care about only one half of this? Yes. Will Republicans care only about the other half? Yes.

Any other questions?

P.S. If you’re not a hack, and you’re interested in facts about the Magnitsky Act, Veselnitskaya, and her relationship to the Kremlin, check out my six-part series on that topic.

In Part One, I introduced the series. In Part Two, I began setting forth the background of the aggressive tax fraud scheme that Sergei Magnitsky discovered, as set out in Browder’s book Red Notice. In Part Three, I discussed what Magnitsky did when he uncovered the scheme — and the terrible price he paid as a result. In Part Four, I discussed the reaction of the Russian government to the Magnitsky Act, and why they hate it so much. In Part Five, I discussed the connections between Natalia Veselnitskaya and the thieves behind the tax fraud uncovered by Sergei Magnitsky. And in Part Six, I concluded by discussing Veselnitskaya’s relentless propaganda effort against Bill Browder, Sergei Magnitsky, and the Magnitsky Act.

Read that, and you’ll have a much better sense of why recent stories might matter.

[Cross-posted at RedState.]

Spanish Government Signals Harsh Response to Catalan Independence Declaration

Filed under: Uncategorized — Patterico @ 11:08 am

Yesterday, after the regional parliament of Catalonia voted to declare independence, the Spanish government said: allow me to retort.

Basically, the Spanish government asked the regional government: does Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy look like a b*tch?

Madrid reacted to the Catalan parliament’s unilateral declaration of independence on Friday by firing the regional government and dismissing the head of the local police force.

Puigdemont and his cabinet were formally removed from their posts, and their powers and responsibilities taken over by central government in notices posted to the official state bulletin on Saturday morning.

It’s escalating further than that, with threats of rebellion charges:

Spain’s top prosecutor will seek rebellion charges for those responsible for a vote in favor of declaring an independent Catalan republic, an official spokesman said.

The spokesman said the prosecutor is looking to determine if the charges should be limited to the Catalan cabinet, including President Carles Puigdemont and Vice President Oriol Junqueras, or if they should also include members of the parliament’s governing board and lawmakers.

The official, who spoke under condition of anonymity in line with internal rules, said the charges could be brought as early as Monday.

Puigdemont is responding with a message of peaceful defiance:

The Catalan leader has issued a defiant response to Madrid’s decision to take direct control of Catalonia, calling for “democratic opposition” to the takeover.

In a brief video message issued on Saturday afternoon, Carles Puigdemont vowed to continue working to build “a free country”.

“We must do so resisting repression and threats, without ever abandoning, at any time, civic and peaceful conduct,” he said, adding that his government did not have or want “the argument of force”.

I don’t think that is going to work. Whoever commands the most men with guns is going to win this fight, at least in the near term. And right now, that looks like the Spanish government.

Complicating the way all good people should view all this is the fact that what the Catalan public wants is a lot more mixed than it might appear on the surface. The vote in the Catalan parliament yesterday was 70-10. But the 10 votes were a symbolic number left behind by a much larger group. More than 50 members of parliament who opposed secession had left in protest before the vote. They were going to lose, but not by much.

This provides a parallel to the referendum. While voters cast ballots overwhelmingly in favor of independence, virtually all voters who favored continuing the union stayed home, agreeing with the Spanish government that the vote itself was unconstitutional. Only 43% of eligible voters actually voted.

The EU rejects the Catalonian declaration of independence and refuses to recognize Catalonian independence. Scotland, which had held its own independence referendum, was a lonely voice stating a willingness to take the declaration at face value.

It’s all a thorny mess, and it’s likely to get resolved with violence.

[Cross-posted at RedState.]


Hmm…Rafael Cruz In Texas To, Uh, “Watch The World Series”

Filed under: Uncategorized — Dana @ 6:39 pm

[guest post by Dana]

Probably just a coincidence….


And now a word from the President:


[All scolds, loosen up, it’s Friday night!]


Catalonian Parliament Declares Independence, Setting Up Possible Showdown

Filed under: Uncategorized — Patterico @ 8:30 am


The Catalan regional parliament has voted to declare independence from Spain, just as the Spanish government appears set to impose direct rule.

The move was backed 70-10 in a ballot boycotted by opposition MPs.

Since the initial independence vote, which was marked by violence as police shot voters with rubber bullets, the situation has been escalating and appears to be headed for a crisis. Earlier today, the prime minister sought authority to invoke an article of the Spanish constitution that calls for “direct rule.” The New York Times reports:

Earlier on Friday, Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy urged the Spanish Senate to invoke Article 155 of Spain’s Constitution, allowing him to impose direct rule on Catalonia, as the country’s careened into its greatest constitutional crisis since it embraced democracy in 1978.

In his address to the Senate, Mr. Rajoy said there was “no alternative” because the Catalan leader, Carles Puigdemont, and his separatist cabinet had pursued an illegal and unilateral path that was “contrary to the normal behavior in any democratic country like ours.”

“Direct rule” means the Spanish government will claim that the regional government has no authority. They will send in police and possibly the military to enforce that order, arresting the members of the regional government if necessary. I’ve seen no indication that the regional government plans (or has any real ability) to respond with its own show of force; its leaders have spent recent days seeking dialogue with the Spanish government. For its part, the Spanish government has been demanding, as a condition to any talks, a clear statement from the regional government that independence is off the table. Today’s action shows that the parliament has decided instead to further escalate.

Clashes between a central government and a subset seeking independence can get violent. Parallel to the Catalonian independence movement, there was an independence referendum in Kurdistan, where the Kurds held a largely symbolic vote overwhelmingly in favor of independence. The Iraqi government moved into the oil-rich area of Kirkuk with considerable force. At least 11 civilians were killed and 30,000 Kurds displaced. The Kurdish referendum is now widely considered to be a miscalculation, simply because of the violent Iraqi reprisal. (It is the world’s way to consider the use of guns to “settle” political questions. I often hear Americans say that the Civil War “settled” the issue of whether a U.S. state may secede.)

The Kurdish and Catalonian situations are obviously separate and unique, but there is a common thread: the desire of a smaller and relatively homogeneous population to rule themselves. I’m concerned that there may soon be another parallel: men with guns taking the lives of innocent people.

I support the concept of self-rule. But both sides need to take a deep breath and take a step back, and talk about the matter, rather than bringing out the firearms. I’m worried that a lot of people are going to die “settling” this question.

[Cross-posted at RedState.]


Motorist Attacked by Pro-Immigration Protesters — And Who Gets Arrested???

Filed under: Uncategorized — Patterico @ 8:11 pm

Go watch the video at the L.A. Times Web site and tell me what you think.

I’m appalled that the motorist was arrested. (Although maybe the cops didn’t see the whole thing, so I can’t necessarily blame them.) I think the woman who leapt onto his car should have been arrested — probably with a few of her fellow protesters. Yet this guy is booked on assault with a deadly weapon? You’ve gotta be kidding me.

I hope the case is re-evaluated now that the video is available.

I’m on jury duty next week. Bring a case like this to me and I’ll vote to acquit and then lecture the prosecutor.


[As with all posts, this post is written in my private capacity. I do not speak for my office, and never do on this site.]

Did TIME Magazine Unintentionally Flatter President Trump And Rally His Base With The New Cover?

Filed under: Uncategorized — Dana @ 12:12 pm

[guest post by Dana]

I don’t see how Trump will see this as anything but a clap on the back for a job well done. After all, just one month after Trump’s election win, we were told by former White House chief strategist Steve Bannon that “deconstruction of the administrative state” would be the ongoing goal of the President and his administration.


The magazine’s accompanying report notes:

For most of the year since Trump’s stunning election win, his pronouncements have commanded the public’s attention the way an unexpected announcement does on a long plane ride. But on the ground, things have been happening. Quietly, the Administration has taken thousands of actions, affecting everyone from the poorest day laborer to the richest investment banker. And it’s touting its work. “No President or Administration has deregulated or withdrawn as many anticipated regulatory actions as this one in this short amount of time,” says White House communications director Hope Hicks.

In Washington, philosophy tends to disappear into the swamp Trump pledged to drain. His White House is stocked with former executives and industry insiders who have power over issues in which former clients have hundreds of millions of dollars at stake. By mid-June, according to USA Today, more than 100 former federal lobbyists had found jobs in the Trump Administration, 69 of them in agencies they had tried to influence from the outside.

…Ultimately, as with much in life, good government relies on the good faith of those in whom we place our trust. Which is why so much rides on the crew that Trump has put in charge of his D.C. demolition project.


Talk About A Real Game Changer: Mark Halperin Out At MSNBC In Light Of Sexual Harassment Claims

Filed under: Uncategorized — Dana @ 8:40 am

[guest post by Dana]

Hoo boy, the flood gates have opened:

Veteran journalist Mark Halperin sexually harassed women while he was in a powerful position at ABC News, according to five women who shared their previously undisclosed accounts with CNN and others who did not experience the alleged harassment personally, but were aware of it.

While no potted plants were reportedly involved, the MSNBC and NBC analyst’s disgusting actions were, nonetheless, most unwanted:

The stories of harassment shared with CNN range in nature from propositioning employees for sex to kissing and grabbing one’s breasts against her will. Three of the women who spoke to CNN described Halperin as, without consent, pressing an erection against their bodies while he was clothed. Halperin denies grabbing a woman’s breasts and pressing his genitals against the three women.

Here is a rundown of complaints against him:

The first woman told CNN she was invited to visit his office in the early 2000s, when he was political director at ABC News, to have a soda, and said that while she was there with him he forcibly kissed her and pressed his genitals against her body.

“I went up to have a soda and talk and — he just kissed me and grabbed my boobs,” the woman said. “I just froze. I didn’t know what to do.”

From the second woman:

“The first meeting I ever had with him was in his office and he just came up from behind — I was sitting in a chair from across his desk — and he came up behind me and [while he was clothed] he pressed his body on mine, his penis, on my shoulder,” this woman told CNN. “I was obviously completely shocked. I can’t even remember how I got out of there — [but] I got out of there and was freaked out by that whole experience. Given I was so young and new I wasn’t sure if that was the sort of thing that was expected of you if you wanted something from a male figure in news.”

She claims he continued to “express a sexual desire for her in subsequent visits”.

From the third woman:

“I excused myself to go to the bathroom and he was standing there when I opened the door propositioning [me] to go into the other bathroom to do something,” she said. “It freaked me out. I came out of the ladies’ room and he was just standing there. Like almost blocking the door.”

A fourth woman claims that he asked her up to his hotel room. An offer she declined.

And from the fifth woman making a complaint against Halperin:

The fifth woman who spoke to CNN was not an ABC News employee at the time of the incident she alleges. She was not comfortable sharing specifics of her story for publication, but said Halperin, while clothed, placed his erect penis against her body without consent.

Not surprisingly, the women did not report Halperin to management because they were embarrassed, as well as fearful of retaliation given his position and power.

MSNBC announced that Halperin was “leaving his role as a contributor until the questions around his past conduct are fully understood.”

Here is the statement Halerpin released:

“During this period, I did pursue relationships with women that I worked with, including some junior to me,” Halperin said in a statement to CNN Wednesday night. “I now understand from these accounts that my behavior was inappropriate and caused others pain. For that, I am deeply sorry and I apologize. Under the circumstances, I’m going to take a step back from my day-to-day work while I properly deal with this situation.”

How very woke of him. (Because who knew grabbing a woman’s boobs or pressing one’s erect penis against the backside of a woman when not invited to do so is inappropriate…)

Anyway, already another woman , who was with ABC at the time, has come forward as well. It wouldn’t be surprising if there were more.

Via Beckett Adams:




What Trump Says vs. What Trump Does

Filed under: Uncategorized — Patterico @ 8:00 am

Donald J. Trump:

There is, of course, zero self-reflection there. Bob Corker’s slamming of Trump as ridiculously dishonest, whatever you think of Corker, is on the mark. He is, in fact, an utterly untruthful president. Jeff Flake’s criticism of Trump’s absurdly juvenile behavior, whatever you think of Flake, is absolutely correct. Trump is, in fact, “reckless, outrageous and undignified.” We have a jackass for a President. A nincompoop. A bonehead. An ignoramus.

Here’s the weird thing: as we sit here today, I still think he’s mostly doing OK.

I reach this conclusion by comparing what he has done, so far, to what he has said.

I had a bit of a revelation after I learned that Bill Browder’s visa waiver had been suspended, pursuant to a bogus Interpol notice by Putin. I wrote that I believed that it was likely a bureaucratic snafu, and I was right. But during the time while I was waiting to find out, I tried to visualize Trump coming out and actively supporting the decision, because of his love for Vladimir Putin. I tried to see, in my mind’s eye, Trump foisting the evil Putin-inspired fiction that Browder is a murderer upon the public, and proclaiming that maybe we needed to revisit the Magnitsky Act.

I found the prospect incredibly chilling. But I also found it very difficult to visualize. I started reviewing in my mind: what has this guy Trump actually done that makes me think he would do something that evil? Not what has he said, but what has he done, that has been that bad?

And my reaction was: eh, not much. In fact, a lot of it has been pretty good. I’ve covered some of that before: reversal of illegal and overstepping Obama-era executive orders; refusal to abide by international agreements that did not go through the treaty process; and regulation-slashing. And of course but muh Gorsuch, and an apparently rock-solid slate of judges in the lower courts.

Sure, he voices support for strongmen, but what policies have made those strongmen’s lives easier? I don’t see any. Sure, he seems to favor an authoritarian style of government, but what has he done to put that into practice? Not much that I can see.

I can already hear the Trumpers getting excited. He’s the best! He’s Reagan II! He’s a sooper-sekrit genius and you have simply misunderestimated him!!!!1!

Settle down, Sparky. Let’s not get carried away here. He hasn’t really accomplished all that much. Most of what he has gotten done can be undone by President Kamala Harris with the stroke of a pen. Entitlements, the debt, the deficit — all of this is untouched.

And then there are the words.

Here’s the thing, Trumpers. Words do matter. Our biggest danger is that Trump’s idiot mouth, rotten judgment, and chihuahua-ish attention span will get us into an avoidable war. You can tell me his foreign policy decisions are well-considered, but “Little Rocket Man” tweets do not reassure, and world leaders are just as easily able to read the diarrhea he squirts out on Twitter as his American base is.

The anti-anti-Trumpers love to ask: so, is Trump better than Hillary? As an anti-anti-anti-Trumper, my answer is: absolutely . . . so far. However, I can’t say that the country made the right choice until he’s out of office and we haven’t been nuked. Until then, the jury is out.

Moral leadership matters, too. The immoral example Trump has set for children, while nothing new in the Oval Office (hi, Richard Nixon! hi Bill Clinton!) is a negative. Few people on Earth repulse me as much as the cultists on Twitter who are so taken with Trump’s (inherited) wealth, his gold-digging wife (I’m being kind here), and other extraneous examples of “success” that they don’t care about the moral rot at the center of his soul.

Trump has also ripped the Republican party and the conservative movement in two — and although there are times when this seems like a good thing, it’s actually not. Every large party is a coalition of different interests. These factions always war with one another, but to the extent that the party stands for something that is a net good, keeping the coalition together is critical.

It’s common, and lazy, to assert that the GOP has never been good for anything. This assertion is made by the same people who compared the 2016 election to Flight 93: if we don’t elect Trump, but instead choose Clinton, our lives are basically over and the terrorists have won!!!1! The same people will tell you, in the next breath, that the GOP is basically the same as the Democrats and it doesn’t really much matter who is in office. Charles C.W. Cooke has ably rejected such silly arguments in the past, and I can’t top his efforts.

The state of the conservative movement somewhat resembles a civil war. People on one side applaud Steve Bannon saying that George W. Bush was the worst President ever — as if Barack Obama had never existed. They insult former friends, emulating their Dear Leader’s crude and hyperaggressive “Alpha Male” attitude. (The notion of the physically weak, yellow-bellied bone-spur draft-dodging wussy Donald Trump as “Alpha Male” has always confused me, but that’s another topic for another time.) They applaud when their idol gets himself into one stupid fight after another over the most trivial horse droppings.

And on the other side are the limited government conservatives, saying the same things we have always said, and being told that we have changed, man! We’ve changed!

So don’t get me wrong. I’m not minimizing the power of “just words” to set a rotten example and help rip the fabric of our society apart.

But this presidency could be a lot worse. If Donald Trump were half the actual fascist that the insane #Resist left makes him out to be, we’d be in an awful lot of trouble. But he’s not. I think he’s too intellectually lazy to be an actual effective fascist, even if that’s the way he leans.

And so, when I see the Flakes and Corkers going nuclear over Trump, part of me says: well, yeah. They’re absolutely right. And another part of me says: eh, what’s the big deal?

My own ambivalence no doubt reflects a national ambivalence about this man. This will hardly be the last word. It’s just what I am thinking today.

[Cross-posted at RedState.]

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