Patterico's Pontifications

6/19/2023

Constitutional Vanguard: Fine, I’ll Write About the Trump Indictment

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 12:36 pm



I put aside more interesting topics to write about the Trump indictment. This is the greatest proof of audience capture I can imagine. I’m sick of this guy and his shenanigans, but it’s What the Readers Want.

I’ll give you a couple of excerpts. First, from the lengthy and self-contained 6,000-word section that is free to all:

Yes, admittedly, Hillary should have been prosecuted under the statute as written. But under a higher standard allegedly representing DOJ practice over the decades, it was a close call whether she met any of the elements. Reasonable people can disagree over whether that higher “Comey standard” was met in Hillary’s case.

But no reasonable person doubts that Trump meets the Comey standard.

If you think Trump should not be prosecuted, despite the overwhelming evidence of his knowing mishandling of critically important national defense documents—and his efforts to hide those documents, lie about the fact that he possessed them, and obstruct the feds in every possible way—you must be saying that because of the example of Hillary Clinton, no person can ever be prosecuted for mishandling classified documents ever again, regardless of the evidence.

Surely nobody actually believes in such an unreasonable position. Right?

The 2,200 word paid section discusses pardons, equal justice, and the story of one of my supervisors’ media cases. It’s all part of my rant about the conventional wisdom, recently articulated by Tom Nichols, that pardoning criminal presidents is necessary for the nation to “heal”:

If a president is prosecuted, the citizens of this country have to . . . what, exactly? Read about it in the news, I guess? If they choose to? Or maybe hear about it on the radio or see it on their social media feeds?

OH THE HUMANITY! OH THE SUFFERING! PLEASE MAKE IT STOP! The only humane way to end such terrible suffering is for a National Hero like Gerald Ford to come forward and make the Courageous Decision that no, the guy who nominated me to be Vice President shall suffer no criminal consequences for his crimes.

Not all heroes wear capes. Just think of all the National Agony avoided by this Bold Decision.

As I told Nichols, I think the accolades for Ford are entirely misplaced. Ford’s pardon helped cement the precedent that presidents and ex-presidents are above the law. I am unimpressed by concerns that upholding the Rule of Law is divisive or makes the country sad.

Before you respond to my excerpts, you might check to see if I responded to your argument somewhere in the piece. I tried to be fair and imagine what the arguments in response might be. I’m pretty proud of my identification and naming of a common fallacy I call the “You Bumped Me, So I Can I Shoot You” Fallacy. Once you understand it, you see it everywhere. It explains so much about partisan Republican arguments these days.

Read the piece here. Subscribe here.

86 Responses to “Constitutional Vanguard: Fine, I’ll Write About the Trump Indictment”

  1. So yeah, I am still writing. It’s just that my pieces tend to be these super-long rants. I have to get interested about something, and I can’t say I get that interested about things every day. I tend to be a more in-depth guy, but my writing these days competes with a lot of other stuff. And then (as I say in the intro to the piece) I get going on a cool topic and news like this hits, and I have no choice but to roll with it because nobody is going to care about my cool topic when Trump has been recently indicted.

    Patterico (1a6b45)

  2. Great piece, Patterico. I’m so with you here.

    “First, aren’t we all sick and goshdarned tired of this man? Sam Harris’s latest podcast contains a soliloquy in which he imagines that the entire world had spent the better part of a decade obsessing over the antics of, say, Carrot Top (whose movies should be called “Box Office Poison”).

    Shouldn’t we feel guilty about wasting our valuable time on someone who is, objectively speaking, someone who ought to be considered totally inconsequential? Someone who is the political equivalent of Vanilla Ice?

    Trump is tawdry and cheap and stupid. It is a travesty that we spend so much energy, and so much of our limited time on this planet, talking about him. But there is a reason we do—and I could, and likely will some day, write an entire newsletter about that. It is because voters vote for him. They are the ones who are to blame.

    And so, because so many people vote for him, it’s worth talking about his indictment.”

    Simon Jester (c582fb)

  3. Keep coming with your cool topics. I dig them.

    Great piece though, and imma steal some of your great analysis when I’m arguing with folks complaining about Trump’s indictment.

    Like you, I disagree with the “Comey Standard” and it should never, ever be applied.

    I do like how you’ve introduced Hayek as I found it enlightening.

    I know you’ve addressed it, but there are significant folks out there who simply don’t care what Trump did, and even some of them are not ardent Trump supporters either.

    They foolishly complain about the 2-tiers of justice and they’ll only start to care about Trump’s indictment when Hillary Clinton and Biden are charged for their won mishandling. Outside of that, I’m met with cavalier shrugs.

    Its why I’ve been so adamant here and elsewhere to get folks engaged during their primary season and try to get behind a not-Trump candidate. (admittedly, I’m a DeSantis guy, as he seems to have “legs” now… but, we all know that can change in a heartbeat).

    whembly (d116f3)

  4. Great piece.

    Assuming HRC was indicted, she probably would have been charged with a misdemeanor, like Sandy Berger and David Petraeus. Unfortunately for Donald Trump, that option is no longer available.

    And as I like to point out, Trump is being treated just like everyone else who absconds with and retains classified information without being a spy.

    Rip Murdock (eb1bd8)

  5. Shouldn’t we feel guilty about wasting our valuable time on someone who is, objectively speaking, someone who ought to be considered totally inconsequential? Someone who is the political equivalent of Vanilla Ice?

    Until Trump stops being the leading Republican candidate for president, and possibly the 47th President, then no, I don’t feel guilty about anything.

    Rip Murdock (eb1bd8)

  6. I haven’t read it yet but I will. I kind of understand why people vote for him, and why GOP leaders are so deferential. But the change in the GOP still mystifies me. It went from caring about principles and character to unprincipled and no character virtually overnight.

    DRJ (fd3827)

  7. I suspect, DRJ, it is the perception of revenge versus principles.

    Simon Jester (c582fb)

  8. I dream for the day I look back and wonder “Where is Donald Trump these days?”

    Kevin M (2d6744)

  9. It went from caring about principles and character to unprincipled and no character virtually overnight.

    It’s the interregnum between principled positions. It’s a singularity and we really have no idea what will be the rule after. Populism is actually a healthy process, like a forest fire, and there was an awful lot of deadwood to burn.

    Kevin M (2d6744)

  10. Someone who is the political equivalent of Vanilla Ice?

    If only he was that, we would ignore him. He’s the political equivalent of Godzilla, with about the same level of thoughtful attention to details.

    Kevin M (2d6744)

  11. Assuming HRC was indicted, she probably would have been charged with a misdemeanor, like Sandy Berger and David Petraeus.

    All three were willful. Berger “obstruction” was actually the worst crime of the three — destroying a one-of-a-kind Top Secret document with Clinton’s notes on it, so that a National Commission on 9/11 could not get to some of the truth.

    The disposition of all three was political: Berger was given leniency for a serious crime, HRC was given a pass for gross negligence with TS material, and Petraeus was politically destroyed, then given leniency.

    Kevin M (2d6744)

  12. BTW, I would very much like to hear your feelings about the Independent State Legislature thing. It may be moot now, but the subject will come up again, and soon.

    Kevin M (2d6744)

  13. I dream for the day I look back and wonder “Where is Donald Trump these days?”

    Kevin M (2d6744) — 6/19/2023 @ 2:59 pm

    I dream for the day when I can answer with “Six feet under.”

    norcal (8b5267)

  14. One, I didn’t say it at CV so I’ll say it here: Great piece.

    Two, I still think the mere existence of Hillary’s home-brewed server–used in her official capacity as SecState–crossed the line into “gross negligence”, but I can see that Comey had some wiggle room.
    If he’d gone the other way, an FBI Director would’ve changed the course of American history. Hillary could’ve either plowed forward, politically damaged, or she could’ve stepped aside and the second-place finisher, Bernie Sanders, would’ve taken her place (or would it have been Tim Kaine?).

    Three, I’m anti-pardon but if a Republican nominee is fool enough to pledge to pardon him, then I hope it’s conditioned on Trump unequivocally admitting guilt and fully apologizing to the American people for the committing the crime.

    Four, if you sign up at CV (or The Dispatch), you’ll have the chance to banter with Beldar.

    Paul Montagu (8f0dc7)

  15. Great points for you to amplify. It astonishes me that over 50% of the GOP primary voters still are preferring Trump over, well, law-abiding candidates.

    The takedown of the WAPO article was complete, though you did mistakenly refer to Gary Abernathy as “Paul” who I think is (was?) a Christian writer. Gary’s piece just seems like partisan drivel and it was excruciating reading his points.

    I haven’t investigated Hillary’s server details much but I wonder if it’s accurate to say that her server was set up to intentionally transmit classified information. I think only 3 emails retrieved had classified markings on them and purportedly Hillary did not know the meaning of the (c) positioned at the start of a paragraph (yeah right and Chris Christie has a bridge to sell you!). Other emails were found to be classified, many after the fact. Again, my body convulses at even a backhanded defense of Clinton, but I think the server was not intended as a work-around for classified information. It was just extremely reckless and borderline criminal.

    My sense is that Comey found in many of the discussions that Clinton conducted vis email that she was straining to talk around classified information. If she had committed to a free-for-all with classified information, one would expect to find more of it and less effort to skirt topics. The server was an unholy attempt by Clinton to mix work and private emails. It’s awful. At minimum she should have been charged with a misdemeanor to curb the practice (my sense is that this was shock therapy for a state department that was well out of step with DoD). The announced investigation right before the election may have kept her from the Presidency. A pretty good penalty in my estimation.

    Great piece….look forward to the devaluing art piece. Probably should sign up at some point. Lazy I guess.

    AJ_Liberty (a5d8ce)

  16. Hillary is two-tier? Then what is Reality Winner?

    Why wasn’t Trump dragged off from Mar-a-Lago, along with the documents, on August 8, 2022, and held incommunicado except for his lawyers in Super Max, without bail, until he pleaded guilty or the DOJ got around to trying him?

    nk (34cced)

  17. Vanilla Ice had an entertaining home repair show years ago, so there is that.

    DRJ (fd3827)

  18. AJ_Liberty (a5d8ce) — 6/19/2023 @ 3:34 pm

    but I think the server was not intended as a work-around for classified information.

    It was intended as a workaround for unclassified informmation. Of course it just wasn’t practical to keep classified information off it, and had anybody else at the State Department been audited, they would have found classified information, or information that should have been classified on it too. This is what was discovered any time anyone submitted a FOIA request. Hillary brought the whole classified information investigation onto herself because she asked that all remaining emails be made public.

    Hillary had the private server to escape leaving any record of what she did in the State Department and to prevent any incriminating emails being sent to or from a government computer.

    And Comey, again, made no decision not to prosecute. His task was to provide over for DOJ. His only decision was what argument to make.

    And this is not to say that Hillary did not reveal secrets to outsiders. But she didn’t do it via email. She did it orally or in person at her office on the 7th floor of the State Department or via fax.

    Sammy Finkelman (9c9b97)

  19. A good piece, and no disagreement from me about anything having to do with Trump. Trump had so many off-ramps and failed to take them that it’s hard to believe that he didn’t want to be indicted, so the man is only getting what he asked for.

    But I have to disagree with your assessment of the Nixon pardon. I wanted Nixon to resign but unlike most people, felt in 1974 and still believe Ford did the right thing by pardoning him. It was, politically, in fact a bold decision which did not work out for Ford, as it contributed to the election of a “veto proof” Democratic majority in Congress in 1974 and probably was the difference in Ford’s defeat in 1976, which was by a much narrower margin than anyone would have expected a few months before the election. Ford was smart enough to know that the pardon would likely lead to such political results but did it anyway, which [temporarily suspending cynicism] is the mark of a principled decision whether or not you agree with it. My recollection of the national mood in 1974 was that it was, among a number of negative adjectives, raw and angry and dispirited — in a word, awful. Prosecuting Nixon would have satisfied a desire for justice, in some form, although you can also say it would merely have satisfied a desire for vengeance, which in the long run would have been a different sort of negative precedent. Impeachment cost Nixon endless dishonor and the loss of what he most wanted, so it’s not as if society didn’t impose any consequences on him even if the legal system was stopped from doing so.

    Further, Ford’s pardon of Nixon was in another sense in keeping with historical practice. The United States is the country that did not hang Jefferson Davis (granted, he wasn’t pardoned) despite his crimes against the nation being far worse than Nixon’s. Shortly after becoming president Grant made a point of receiving Robert E. Lee at the White House — in almost any other country Lee and the other rebel leaders would probably have been summarily executed. And Lincoln did not favor retribution, although few would have blamed him if he had, but instead said, “with malice toward none and charity for all.” As an individual Nixon may well not have deserved to be pardoned but I can’t fault Ford for showing mercy and pardoning the former president.

    RL formerly in Glendale (7a2d64)

  20. I dream for the day when I can answer with “Six feet under.”

    Or “As good as”

    Kevin M (2d6744)

  21. AJ_Liberty (a5d8ce) — 6/19/2023 @ 3:34 pm

    I’m one of those people for whom Comey’s announcement was the straw that caused me to vote for Trump.

    It was a bad choice in hindsight, but I didn’t think Trump would turn out to be such a gaslighting degenerate.

    norcal (8b5267)

  22. I would posit that the reason the indictments actually went through was that Trump will not stop bringing the topic up. If he had chosen to just quietly live his life, or even simply chosen to rant about other things, it probably would’ve all disappeared down a memory hole, which would probably have been the government’s preference. It didn’t get dropped because he wouldn’t drop it.

    Nic (896fdf)

  23. If Trump had a choice between living his life quietly, of being tried for killing Melania with a ball-peen hammer, it would be really sad for Melania.

    Kevin M (2d6744)

  24. Hi RL in Glendale,

    I read your comment twice looking for the argument in favor of pardoning Nixon . Because I find you a very reasonable person who is worth listening to even when I disagree, I was interested to read your case. But I don’t see it. You argue (among other things) that it was bold, that it was principled, and that Nixon suffered other consequences. I don’t see the positive case for it, though.

    I assume it had to be some variant of the “we needed healing” argument that I treat with a good deal of sarcasm in the newsletter. Nonetheless, I would love to see you try to articulate it.

    Patterico (277bd2)

  25. Another excellent piece.

    Personally I assumed Comey was acting in good faith when he made the announcement that threw the election to Trump, and I assumed he was acting in good faith when he concluded it would depart from prior prosecutorial practice to charge Hillary. Maybe he was a lying liar in one or both instances, but the fact that I hated each result isn’t evidence of that.

    lurker (cd7cd4)

  26. Patterico,

    Thanks for the kind words as always. I’m tired and may not do a very good job of articulating this, but my argument is in fact a variant of the “healing” argument. It’s based on how I remember feeling in 1974 about the state of the country at the time. An argument based on one’s own feelings is almost by definition something that may not be logical, so perhaps this won’t get much traction. But it seemed to me at the time that the country had been through enough with Watergate, and the “energy crisis” of 1973 — remember the gas lines? — and the ongoing nightmare of the Vietnam debacle, to name just some of what was going on, that we didn’t need to continue with yet more drama about Nixon. I felt a conviction then that the country was weary of all that and so, when I heard about the pardon, viscerally felt Ford had done the right thing. If not for the pardon, Nixon would undoubtedly have been convicted of obstruction of justice and perhaps other crimes but it seemed to me that would have been like kicking a man when he’s down, even though I am aware of the arguments for why such a kick was deserved. It seemed then like we had been through so much since the uniquely bad year of 1968 that a little turning down the heat on everything was a good idea.

    If I were a bit older (born in 1953) I might have understood better what a uniquely divisive figure (at least in the days before Trump) Nixon was, and how many people somewhat older than me may have long felt that he deserved to be in prison. But it seems to me that often it’s best not to take things as far as they can be, even if arguably deserved. Ford did not have to pardon Nixon but I have never been able to shake the feeling that he did the right thing by putting an end to Watergate when he did.

    RL formerly in Glendale (7a2d64)

  27. RL formerly in Glendale,

    Thanks for the reply. Coming from you, I think the pro-pardon crowd is taking its best shot, so reading your comment tells me that if you can’t convince me, I doubt anyone ever could.

    I just don’t find it convincing that “that we didn’t need to continue with yet more drama about Nixon” or that it would be “like kicking a man when he’s down.” To me, establishing the principle that no man is above the law is an important principle, even if a citizenry that has sat in a lot of gas lines will have to have their favorite programs interrupted by yet more Watergate breaking news. (I mean these updates interfered with my Saturday morning cartoons, so I feel the public’s pain, or at least I did as a kindergartner. But I think the country could have withstood it.)

    Patterico (277bd2)

  28. News Item: Magistrate judge imposes special counsel’s protective order on Donald Trump

    TrumpWorld not amused:

    ……..I think it’s for his own good. His mouth has been his main problem since day 1. This is going to help him in his case. I see Bidens filthy hand in this move………Let us consider Trumps prez stash contains dirty details of the Biden Crime Syndicate’s get rich quick financial activities………..[he is no more above the law than anybody else.] Wrong. As long as the Hillary, Obama and Biden crime families walk free, he is indeed “above the law”. So long as the leftist marxists are allowed to break the law with impunity and have no repercussions, there is no law. ………

    ……….. Ignore it. The President already declassified all of it…… [I’m not a super duper Trump fan.You should be. The republic is on the line. …….. President Trump must be destroyed as he stands in the way of a globalist/ Marxist takeover of the United States. ……… This is just a communist deep state continuation of Russia Gate with their FBI Crossfire Hurricane wiretapping of a presidential campaign and all of the disinformation fed to the public since 2016. They are probably wiretapping Trump, all of his associates and lawyers right now. …………. THE central issue in this campaign is that the government was overthrown in a stolen election putsch and that we have an out of control facist junta running America………….

    ………… His attorneys are probably breathing a HUGE sigh of relief at least the ones he has left who have not quit in disgust, been fired, or now have to get lawyers themselves …………. his mouth is his best ascet….if he was not this big mouth no one could control he never would of won the first election…………. So now the Deep State has to shut Trump up. WHat he has been speaking has been very effective for him. NO way Trump will obey that judicial order………..

    Rip Murdock (aec42d)

  29. I get RL’s position, because I think the nation was exhausted from scandal and war (Patterico, I was a young teen at the time but had politically active older siblings) but I also think Ford’s pardon set a poor precedent, and maybe he should’ve stated that he considered it a one-off.
    Maybe a pardon was okay for Nixon, who was disgraced and politically exiled and had a conscience about his acts (and it was a different era, where shaming worked), but that pardon should never have been applicable to a remorseless criminal and malignant narcissist like Trump.

    Paul Montagu (8f0dc7)

  30. RL of somewhere else but not Glendale

    I remember 1974 well. We’d gone through a prolonged upheaval in our society. 12 years of assassinations, war, race riots, protest riots and lots of marches. I find it completely understandable that people wanted to move on peacefully. It was a very long tiring episode in American history. Capitulation is one thing, but there is some wisdom in sweeping all the BS into a box and tossing it in the bin. Parents do this type of thing in their “everybody out of the pool” moments and all strong leaders have moments where they say: “We are done here and are moving forward”. I remember supporting the pardon because it stopped a lot of the nonsense, Jimmy Carter got elected (he got my vote) as the make up for Nixon call and then we realized that 1980 that Jimmy would be great as an ex President.
    I don’t think as a nation we are quite where we were in 1974, but the social upheaval has been stressful.

    steveg (b6fbaa)

  31. I swiped this from Instapundit because I think this person may be on to something

    James Scott Linville
    @jslinville
    ·
    Follow
    Is it possible AI will favor the less intelligent, as a route to give it wider scope? If so… as I gaze across the ranks of our leadership… I wonder whether it has already been operational for longer than we know.

    steveg (b6fbaa)

  32. ##27, 29, 30

    Steveg articulated what I was trying to say much better than I did, and Paul Montagu has it right that while pardoning Nixon may have OK it’s a far different story with Trump, who as of today apparently still may have a political future and is completely unrepentant about anything.

    Patterico, thanks for your respectful reply. I would only add: totally agree that no one should be above the law, but if Nixon were above the law, he would not have been impeached and forced to resign. I think he once said that “it’s not illegal if the President does it” but was amply proven wrong about that. Nixon’s wrongdoings were of a political nature and the system produced the political remedy the Constitution provides for. Of course Nixon could also have been criminally convicted for obstruction of justice and who knows what else, and many may have applauded that (if memory serves, the polls showed a majority disapproved of the pardon), but to me it seemed then and still seems like that would have been a descent into vindictiveness especially given the state of the country at the time. My gut feeling has exactly zero probative value of anything, but it remains my feeling that Ford did the right thing.

    RL formerly in Glendale (7a2d64)

  33. I DON”T! I don’t want to here about trump and the legal prosecution. If trumpsters are on the jury, hung jury if not guilty.

    asset (3d0c04)

  34. Was Ford’s pardon of Nixon wise?

    There are arguments on both sides. Would a lengthy trial have sucked out all of the political oxygen from the country for more than a year? This, during a time of arms control negotiations with the Soviets and a steadily declining economy. From the perspective of the President, would he be able to press an agenda if every press conference focused on questions regarding Nixon and partisan floggings related to the emerging trial details? So, personal to Ford, I can understand that he wanted to do the business of the country, not offer play-by-play commentary on how horrible Richard Nixon had been.

    But history suggests that Ford misread the zeitgeist. In the end, he did not get re-elected and his party suffered generational losses in the House, state houses, and governorships. As a moderate, it also opened the door for that right-wing agitator Ronald Reagan to emerge. Hmmm, one wonders if there is no pardon, maybe there is no Jimmy Carter and then there is a less of a case for Reagan in 1980. Maybe that’s a weird multiverse argument for the pardon.

    But what about the simple notion of justice? A pardon should follow clear evidence of rehabilitation, right? It should be conditioned on a clear elocution of what was done and an acknowledgment that is was wrong. Saying “mistakes were made” sounds like something akin to mixing recycleables with your garbage. Whoopsies. Ford would point to Burdick vs U.S. and argue that a pardon was in fact an imputation of guilt. It was in effect an admission beyond Nixon’s clumsy words.

    Now Ford seemingly thought that Nixon had already paid a massive price. He had been publicly humiliated and effectively banished to his estate in California. This was during a time when humiliation mattered. There was no chance of political revival from Elba and though he focused on writing and engaging foreign policy, there would always be the stench of disgrace. That’s quite different than Trump who uses accusations of disgrace to play the victim and weirdly promise retribution. Trump ain’t going away and a signficant portion of the GOP electorate wants him even more. I don’t think that was true of Nixon…most just wanted him to go away.

    One final point: did the pardon grow cynicism about government, accountability, and the rule of law? Do we get more questionable pardons because of Ford’s reasoning? This tends to persuade me. Whatever short-term “healing” Ford bought, he lost in cynicism and an uncomfortable precedent that is being thrown in our face today by worms like Ramaswamy. If a President wants to throw himself on the mercy of the justice system and completely come clean, then maybe commutation is warranted. You’re guilty, but out of decency we don’t want to see an ex-President sitting in a cell. With Nixon, we had justice interrupted. It was Republicans trying to stave off the political bleeding. In the end, history showed that it didn’t work….

    AJ_Liberty (a5d8ce)

  35. The specter of a pardon would have loomed over all of Ford’s quasi-Presidency because the Democrats would have still hounded Nixon even after he had resigned. Even after the pardon, some insisted that it was not valid because Nixon had not accepted it. That’s how rabid they were.

    By dumping the can of cayenne on Nixon’s tracks right away, Ford made them go bark up another tree if not altogether back to their kennels. And then Saigon fell eight months later, and they had something else to celebrate.

    nk (acdeb3)

  36. @15

    I haven’t investigated Hillary’s server details much but I wonder if it’s accurate to say that her server was set up to intentionally transmit classified information. I think only 3 emails retrieved had classified markings on them and purportedly Hillary did not know the meaning of the (c) positioned at the start of a paragraph (yeah right and Chris Christie has a bridge to sell you!). Other emails were found to be classified, many after the fact. Again, my body convulses at even a backhanded defense of Clinton, but I think the server was not intended as a work-around for classified information. It was just extremely reckless and borderline criminal.

    It was ABSOLUTELY intended as a work-around for classified information.

    She had her staff strip classified markings/ transcribe info from SCIF to her email account.

    It was done for 2 main reasons: 1) to obfuscate FOIA request and 2) she didn’t want to be burdened by CLAS/UNCLAS regulations.

    She knew EACTLY what she was doing, and the argument that she didn’t know she was breaking all kinds of law by doing so is frankly…dumb.

    She thought she could get away with this, because she believed she was the presumptuous next POTUS, and EVERYONE agency knew it, and treated her as such.

    whembly (d116f3)

  37. “She had her staff strip classified markings/ transcribe info from SCIF to her email account.”

    Is there evidence of this that you can reference?

    AJ_Liberty (5f05c3)

  38. I feel the public’s pain, or at least I did as a kindergartner

    I think this is the real disconnect. You were insulated from the politics, the inflation, the War, you watched none of the endless hearings and your gas line experience was limited. Needing gas to get to work and having to get up at 6AM to stand in the line was something you did not experience. Nor did you have the gut-wrenching experience of seeing the horrific bailout from Saigon, with people trying to hold on the helicopter landing skids and such.

    You might consider that your experience wasn’t all that informative about the state of the nation in 1974. There are considerations other than “justice” (if that was what it would have been, and not retribution).

    Kevin M (2d6744)

  39. It should be conditioned on a clear elocution of what was done and an acknowledgment that is was wrong

    Nixon was required to testify against some of his aides, and did. If he lied the would have been prosecuted for perjury to the limit of the law. Having been pardoned, he had no 5th Amendment right to silence.

    There was no chance of political revival from Elba and though he focused on writing and engaging foreign policy, there would always be the stench of disgrace.

    Nixon was a major architect of the Reagan-Shultz plan of action wrt the Soviet Union. In his exile he provided valuable service to subsequent presidents.

    In the end, he did not get re-elected and his party suffered generational losses in the House, state houses, and governorships.

    Perhaps. Jimmy Carter, however, was the ONLY Democrat to be elected to the presidency between 1968 and 1992. Even after Watergate, it would be 3 terms before another Democrat was elected.

    Kevin M (2d6744)

  40. BTW, while we are here, how about the Hunter Biden deal? $3 million in unreported income, no tax paid. Usually this is worth about 5 years in the slammer, but Hunter gets probation. Sure, Trump appointed Weiss, but this still stinks.

    Kevin M (2d6744)

  41. Assuming HRC was indicted, she probably would have been charged with a misdemeanor, like Sandy Berger and David Petraeus. and today, Hunter Biden…

    All that “no one is above the law” smoke in the atmosphere, you know.

    IMO, Hillary was following the practice of Lisa Jackson at the EPA and more recently Lisa Monaco at DoJ. All set up disguised email addresses and did government business under false names. Kept much of the policy out of FOIA requests and the national archives… Deliberate evasion, if not obstruction.

    Pouncer (16faac)

  42. I will point out that historians rank Nixon somewhere between 23 and 30 out of 44.

    Kevin M (2d6744)

  43. I remember the pardon. I don’t think Ford pardoned Nixon to heal the nation. I think he did it to end the possibility of criminal charges and a trial that would dominate the news for all of Ford’s term, and to let the GOP escape Nixon’s shadow. The pardon was intended to let the Republicans move on, not the nation.

    It also undermined the Rule of Law and validated the idea that politicians don’t have consequences, (other than not holding onto power).

    But those were different times when the Rule of Law could be bent and would still be valued by most of the public and its leaders, at least with lip service. Not at all like today, which is why protecting the Rule of Law is so important.

    DRJ (fd3827)

  44. Not at all like today, which is why protecting the Rule of Law is so important.

    Something that the Hunter Biden plea deal does not further.

    Kevin M (2d6744)

  45. Hunter is the current President’s only surviving son. Biden has protected Hunter all his life, often at political cost. His plea deal is generous, to be sure, but it shows the Hillary escape clause is over in DC.

    DRJ (fd3827)

  46. DRJ (fd3827) — 6/20/2023 @ 9:58 am

    I agree with you, DRJ. I remember that no one wanted to be in the VP position after Agnew resigned, until Nixon offered the selection to Ford. Talk about a hot potato position.

    felipe (8f56c3)

  47. @37 Is there evidence of this that you can reference?

    AJ_Liberty (5f05c3) — 6/20/2023 @ 7:41 am
    Simple logic my dear.

    SCIFs are “air-gapped”. Meaning, it’s a closed system w/o any external connection to the public web.

    There were emails later found on Clinton’s server, content-wise, are classified w/o proper annotation. The only way those could be found her server, is to either print it at the SCIF and retranscribe it OR retranscribed from memory and sent to her public address.

    whembly (d116f3)

  48. @41

    Deliberate evasion, if not obstruction.

    Pouncer (16faac) — 6/20/2023 @ 9:50 am

    Deliberate evasion *IS* defacto obstruction.

    whembly (d116f3)

  49. “There were emails later found on Clinton’s server, content-wise, are classified w/o proper annotation.”

    Could they not have been conversations that treaded too far into classified material…like “here is what the ambassador was hearing in Benghazi”? I don’t think it refers to emails that she passed on after her staff removed markings. I’ve not read that accusation and with all the attention the matter got, doubt it happened.

    AJ_Liberty (5f05c3)

  50. Meaning, it’s a closed system w/o any external connection to the public web.

    That’s mostly true, but incomplete. There are external connections to other SCIFs (or similar) through highly encrypted links. But not to any public device or network.

    Kevin M (2d6744)

  51. @49

    “There were emails later found on Clinton’s server, content-wise, are classified w/o proper annotation.”

    Could they not have been conversations that treaded too far into classified material…like “here is what the ambassador was hearing in Benghazi”?

    There was certainly some of agencies were guilty of over-classifications but, this wasn’t what I was addressing.

    I don’t think it refers to emails that she passed on after her staff removed markings. I’ve not read that accusation and with all the attention the matter got, doubt it happened.

    AJ_Liberty (5f05c3) — 6/20/2023 @ 11:05 am

    There were plenty of findings that the information was “born” as classified.

    Many were classified after a later point.

    I work in IT, so I know what goes into a SCIF and what’s the difference between a CLAS/UNCLAS system.

    The fundamental question I have is this: how did the information get into Hillary’s homebrew server in the first place? I can’t imagine HRC doing that herself, as she was mostly the recipient.

    I’m not making the case that Trump shouldn’t be charged for his crimes… he should.

    I’m pushing back on the avalanche of this narrative that HRC didn’t do anything wrong or “as bad”. In a lot of ways, what she allowed is worst than Trump’s.

    whembly (d116f3)

  52. @50

    That’s mostly true, but incomplete. There are external connections to other SCIFs (or similar) through highly encrypted links. But not to any public device or network.

    Kevin M (2d6744) — 6/20/2023 @ 11:47 am

    Right. The endpoint-to-endpoint is always secured, and the physical SCIFs are “air-gapped” from public.

    whembly (d116f3)

  53. CNN Poll: Trump’s GOP support appears to soften post-indictment, but he holds lead in primary field
    ………
    Though Trump continues to lead the GOP field by a wide margin in the race for the Republican Party’s nomination for president, the poll suggests that his support has declined, as have positive views of him among Republican and Republican-leaning voters. Nearly a quarter now say they would not consider backing his candidacy under any circumstances. The survey also finds that those GOP-aligned voters not currently backing his 2024 bid have different views on his indictment and behavior than those in his corner.

    Still, there’s little sign that Republican-aligned voters who aren’t backing Trump are consolidating behind any one of his rivals. Nor are they unified around wanting Trump out of the race entirely, or in feeling that his primary opponents ought to call him out for his alleged actions in this case.

    Overall, 47% of Republicans and Republican-leaning registered voters say Trump is their first choice for the party’s nomination for president, down from 53% in a May CNN poll. Support for Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis held steady at 26% in the latest poll, with former Vice President Mike Pence at 9%, former United Nations Ambassador Nikki Haley at 5%, South Carolina Sen. Tim Scott at 4%, former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie at 3% and the remaining candidates at 1% or less.

    In addition to the decline in support for Trump’s candidacy, his favorability rating among Republican-aligned voters has dipped, from 77% in May to 67% now, while the share who say they would not support him for the nomination under any circumstances has climbed, from 16% in May to 23% now……..
    ………
    ……… A 54% majority of Republican and Republican-leaning voters say that Trump’s conduct doesn’t matter much to them as they consider his candidacy, because a president’s effectiveness matters more.

    Just 12% say that in responding to the indictment, other Republican candidates for the nomination should focus on publicly condemning Trump’s alleged actions in this case, with 42% saying candidates should do more to publicly condemn the government’s prosecution of Trump, and 45% that they shouldn’t take a stand either way. Even those who do not currently back Trump for the nomination mostly want to see other candidates remain quiet on the indictment (54% say so), with 21% calling for Trump’s rivals to condemn his actions and 25% saying they should condemn the prosecution.

    Outside of the Republican Party, though, these charges are broadly viewed as disqualifying.
    ………..
    Most Republican and Republican-leaning voters who support Trump for the nomination say he did nothing wrong in this case (58%) and just 3% that he acted illegally. Those Republican and Republican-leaning voters who support other candidates, though, broadly say Trump acted unethically (52%) or illegally (31%), with only 16% saying he did nothing wrong.

    A near-universal 97% of the former president’s current supporters say he did not put national security at risk……..
    ………..

    Rip Murdock (d2a2a8)

  54. Ouch!

    ………..
    Trump sat for an interview on Monday with Fox News anchor Bret Baier, who peppered him with questions over the charges, which Trump said he has “zero” concern about. The former president repeated his claim that the Presidential Records Act gave him the right to take the material with him. This defense has been widely panned by legal experts across the spectrum.
    ………..
    Shortly after the interview aired, Hume offered his reaction to Baier on Special Report.

    “His answers on the matters of the law seem to me to verge on incoherent,” he said. “He seemed to be saying that the documents were really his and that he didn’t give them back when he was requested to do when they were subpoenaed because, you know, he wasn’t ready to because he sorted them and separated the classified information or whatever from his golf shirts or whatever he was saying. It was not altogether clear what he was saying.”
    ……….
    “But he seemed to believe that documents were his, that he had declassified them” he continued. “Evidence to the contrary. And therefore, he, you know, he could do whatever he wanted with them, which I don’t think it’s going to hold up in court.”
    ………..

    Rip Murdock (d2a2a8)

  55. whembly: I’m not making the case that Trump shouldn’t be charged for his crimes… he should.

    I’m pushing back on the avalanche of this narrative that HRC didn’t do anything wrong or “as bad”. In a lot of ways, what she allowed is worse than Trump’s.

    So is there any virtue in debating which person is farther past whatever line might be drawn? Trump is Bad. Hillary is Bad. Bill Clinton is Bad. (in all the discussion about Ford pardoning Nixon we neglect Bill pardoning Marc Rich?) Pelosi is Bad. MTG is Bad. AOC is Bad.

    Seems to me we’re left with voting for a Bad person promising, probably falsely, to try to implement what (good?) we want done and prevent what (evil?) we do not want done. Do you want rigid borders and peace treaties with North Korea (and more recent adversaries) and Energy Self-sufficiency? I know a candidate who promises all that. Do you want global trade and to topple dictators and promote human rights for oppressed (usually Muslim) child laborers suffering from rising sea levels? I see other candidates pledging those priorities.

    Then there are the “leaders” who claim I am wrong to have my own issues and think I should worry instead about more contemporary issues: bullied LGBTQ school kids (but not fat, disabled, illiterate, fatherless…); carcinogenic emissions from kitchen stoves, and the measures of sea levels seventy years hence.

    I don’t see who is addressing prison gangs and recidivism. I don’t know who has plans to deal with detained non-POWs at Gitmo. Which party condemns the Kelo decision? Who will identify the problems the United Nations ever solved so encourages us to continue supporting that organization? Is Congress’s AUMF constitutionally identical to a Declaration of War, and are there time limits on such “authorization”?

    It’s politically lonely enough to be looking for a spokesman who addresses my issues at all. To require me to find a spokesman who retains Ivory Soap levels of purity? How?

    Pouncer (16faac)

  56. we neglect Bill pardoning Marc Rich

    Marc Rich was never president.

    Rip Murdock (d2a2a8)

  57. Judge Cannon sets a rocket docket date of August 14th.

    https://www.yahoo.com/news/donald-trumps-federal-trial-place-152144349.html

    Kevin M (2d6744)

  58. Marc Rich was never president.

    No, but he deserved punishment more than Nixon (or possibly Trump). He defected to Cuba to avoid prison.

    Kevin M (2d6744)

  59. @55

    To require me to find a spokesman who retains Ivory Soap levels of purity? How?

    Pouncer (16faac) — 6/20/2023 @ 2:10 pm

    I’m not sure if that was directed to me, but I’ve never advocated for such standard.

    I do not want Democrats in power. That’s my “line”.

    If it ends up being Trump being nominated, yes, I’ll vote for him in the general. However, I really, REALLY do not bloody want Trump.

    It’s why I’m so ornery about folks needing to coalesce being a “not-Trump” candidate during the primary.

    whembly (d116f3)

  60. @57: I said that Judge Cannon would play this by the book, and she is. I’m hoping she wants to make clear her independence from Trump after the last fiasco. She should read up on John Sirica.

    Kevin M (2d6744)

  61. No, but (Marc Rich) deserved punishment more than Nixon (or possibly Trump). He defected to Cuba to avoid prison.

    Kevin M (2d6744) — 6/20/2023 @ 2:22 pm

    Huh? Rich gave up his US passport to become a Spanish citizen, and he held Belgian, Bolivian, and Israeli passports, and was living in Switzerland when he died. He’s not quite the type of person to “defect to Cuba” and he was never in danger of going to prison.

    Source.

    Are you thinking of Phillip Agee-who was never pardoned.

    Rip Murdock (d2a2a8)

  62. DRJ (fd3827) — 6/20/2023 @ 9:58 am

    I don’t think Ford pardoned Nixon to heal the nation. I think he did it to end the possibility of criminal charges and a trial that would dominate the news for all of Ford’s term, and to let the GOP escape Nixon’s shadow. The pardon was intended to let the Republicans move on, not the nation.

    He was asked about it by a reporter, and that got him to thinking.

    Ford stopped the movie. He shouldn’t have pardoned Nixon till after an indictment. That’s Nikki Haley’s position on Trump.

    Sammy Finkelman (1d215a)

  63. whembly (d116f3) — 6/20/2023 @ 6:38 am

    It was ABSOLUTELY intended as a work-around for classified information.

    No, such things were faxed to her home in DC.

    Sammy Finkelman (1d215a)

  64. Trump should not be pardoned unless he admits to all the essential facts (he may quibble on some points)

    Sammy Finkelman (1d215a)

  65. Nixon resigned to avoid a Senate trial, which he would likely have lost. I’m pretty sure that the pardon was baked into that sudden resignation. Otherwise we would have had not one, but two trips though that process.

    Kevin M (2d6744)

  66. No, such things were faxed to her home in DC.

    Does that make it better?

    Kevin M (2d6744)

  67. Kevin M (2d6744) — 6/20/2023 @ 3:45 pm

    I’m pretty sure that the pardon was baked into that sudden resignation.

    There was no way to formalize that, or bind Ford, and so it didn’t happen, although I think Alexander Haig wanted to arrange that Nixon felt he was innocent of any crime.

    In reality he has only joined the coverup at two points.

    At the beginning when he tried to prevent a connection fropm being drawn between between CREEP and the Watergate break-in. It was already known but Jhn Dean claimed that John Ehrlichman had the idea that he shoud tell the CIA to tell the FBI they investigating could compromise something. Nothing came of that.

    The sedond tme wss in March 1973, whem after he had already given Hunt money John Deangot Nixon to authorize it – he had to use the Elllsberg breakin as the reason since Nixon was not interesdted i covering up Watergate,

    Sammy Finkelman (1d215a)

  68. SF: No, such things were faxed to her home in DC.

    66. Kevin M (2d6744) — 6/20/2023 @ 3:46 pm

    Does that make it better?

    No, it’s worse, but she never intentionally sent classified information on her email. It wasn’t supposed to be technically possible.

    Sammy Finkelman (1d215a)

  69. Ford stopped the movie. He shouldn’t have pardoned Nixon till after an indictment. That’s Nikki Haley’s position on Trump.

    Nikki Haley’s position is to pardon Trump if he is convicted, not after an indictment.

    Rip Murdock (d2a2a8)

  70. A pardon carries the “imputation of guilt” and “an admission of guilt”:

    At a 2014 panel discussion, Ford’s lawyer during that period, Benton Becker, explained an additional element that influenced Ford’s decision to issue a presidential pardon: a 1915 Supreme Court decision. In Burdick v. United States, the Court ruled that a pardon carried an “imputation of guilt” and accepting a pardon was “an admission of guilt.”. Thus, this decision implied that Nixon accepted his guilt in the Watergate controversy by also accepting Ford’s pardon.

    Prior to Ford’s issuance of the pardon, Becker was tasked with the difficult job of mediating the negotiations between Ford and Nixon. Becker said he took copies of the Burdick decision to California when he met with former President Nixon, and under Ford’s instructions, walked through the decision with Nixon.

    Becker said the discussion with Nixon was very difficult, and the former President kept trying to change the subject way from Burdick. Finally, Nixon acknowledged Becker’s argument about what the Supreme Court decision meant.

    Trump would never accept a pardon that implied he was guilty. If he is to be pardoned, it should be done after conviction, and not by himself.

    Rip Murdock (d2a2a8)

  71. I said that Judge Cannon would play this by the book, and she is.

    We’ll see. It’s an encouraging start, but it’s also a single early data point in a tortuously long, complex process. It by no means reduces her opportunity for delay or mischief if she so chooses. I hope you’re right. Time will tell.

    lurker (cd7cd4)

  72. A pardon carries the “imputation of guilt” and “an admission of guilt”

    The only Federal Appeals Court to rule on the question decided that, while accepting a pardon may create an appearance of guilt, it’s not an admission of guilt. The Burdick passage that suggests otherwise is dicta.

    lurker (cd7cd4)

  73. I think this is the real disconnect. You were insulated from the politics, the inflation, the War, you watched none of the endless hearings and your gas line experience was limited. Needing gas to get to work and having to get up at 6AM to stand in the line was something you did not experience. Nor did you have the gut-wrenching experience of seeing the horrific bailout from Saigon, with people trying to hold on the helicopter landing skids and such.

    I get it; it was no fun. My comment about my Saturday morning cartoons was real but my implication that this shows I understand was a joke.

    I don’t see what any of this has to do with pardoning Nixon though.

    So a lot of unpleasant crap happened. Therefore let’s pardon Nixon. Huh?

    Patterico (a76260)

  74. My Saturday morning cartoons were ruined in late November, 1963.

    Kevin M (2d6744)

  75. So a lot of unpleasant crap happened. Therefore let’s pardon Nixon. Huh?

    I think it’s closer to “¡No mas!”

    Kevin M (2d6744)

  76. it’s also a single early data point

    Actually, it’s the second, perhaps the third. First, she ordered Trump’s attorneys to seek clearances immediately. Third, she moved the trial out of Miami, which deprives Trump of some of his pulpit.

    Kevin M (2d6744)

  77. When, a month earlier, Ford referred to the Watergate matter as “our long national nightmare” no one disagreed, and few were anxious to relive it, for any reason. The people who claim now they were ready for it then are mostly lying.

    Kevin M (2d6744)

  78. Third, she moved the trial out of Miami, which deprives Trump of some of his pulpit.

    Trump’s pulpit goes where he does. If anything, I suspect the change favors Trump. Assuming the reports I’ve seen are accurate, the Fort Pierce jury pool is more Trump-friendly than Miami is. But I’m guessing the move had nothing to do with any of that. Ft. Pierce is Cannon’s home court, and Ft. Pierce to Miami is a 4+ hour round trip drive. I don’t blame her for saving herself that commute.

    lurker (cd7cd4)

  79. Trumpsters on jury hung jury or acquittal. Evidence won’t mean squat!

    asset (8a3592)

  80. If by “Trumpsters” you mean Trump cultists, then sure. But if you mean Trump voters, then no. I believe there are plenty of Trump voters capable of putting aside their biases to be fair jurors. But maybe I’m wrong. Maybe Trump will be as innocent as O.J.

    lurker (cd7cd4)

  81. Trumpsters on jury hung jury or acquittal. Evidence won’t mean squat!

    But DC courts are fair.

    Kevin M (2d6744)

  82. I am pretty sure that federal prosecutors are able to weed out liars, and since they have alternates, so are judges.

    After all, they have a history in the South with stopping nullification.

    Kevin M (2d6744)

  83. Former FBI Analyst Sentenced for Retaining Classified Documents
    ………..
    Kendra Kingsbury, 50, of Garden City, Kansas, was sentenced by U.S. District Judge Stephen R. Bough to three years and 10 months in federal prison without parole. Kingsbury pleaded guilty on Oct. 13, 2022, to two counts of unlawfully retaining documents related to the national defense.

    Kingsbury was an intelligence analyst for the FBI for more than 12 years, from 2004 to Dec. 15, 2017. Kingsbury was assigned to a sequence of different FBI squads, each of which had a particular focus, such as illegal drug trafficking, violent crime, violent gangs, and counterintelligence. Kingsbury held a TOP SECRET//SCI security clearance and had access to national defense and classified information. Training presentations and materials specifically warned Kingsbury that she was prohibited from retaining classified information at her personal residence. Such information could only be stored in an approved facility and container.

    Kingsbury admitted that, over the course of her FBI employment, she repeatedly removed from the FBI and retained in her personal residence (at that time in North Kansas City, Mo.) an abundance of sensitive government materials, including classified documents related to the national defense.

    In total, Kingsbury improperly removed and unlawfully and willfully retained approximately 386 classified documents in her personal residence. Some of the classified documents she unlawfully removed and kept in her home contained extremely sensitive national defense information. According to court documents, Kingsbury put national security at risk by retaining classified information in her home that would have, if in the wrong hands, revealed some of the government’s most important and secretive methods of collecting essential national security intelligence.
    ……….
    The national defense information that Kingsbury unlawfully retained included numerous documents classified at the SECRET level from the FBI that describe intelligence sources and methods related to U.S. government efforts related to counterterrorism, counterintelligence, and defending against cyber threats. These documents included details on the FBI’s nationwide objectives and priorities, including specific investigations across multiple field offices that were open at the time Kingsbury unlawfully retained the documents. In addition, Kingsbury retained documents relating to sensitive human-source operations in national security investigations, intelligence gaps regarding hostile foreign intelligence services and terrorist organizations, and the technical capabilities of the FBI against counterintelligence and counterterrorism targets.

    The national defense information that Kingsbury unlawfully retained also included numerous documents classified at the SECRET level from another government agency. These documents described intelligence sources and methods related to U.S. government efforts to collect intelligence on terrorist groups……..
    ………..
    Investigators reviewed Kingsbury’s telephone records, which revealed a number of suspicious calls. Kingsbury contacted phone numbers associated with subjects of counterterrorism investigations, and these individuals also made telephone calls to Kingsbury. Investigators have not been able to determine why Kingsbury contacted these individuals, or why these individuals contacted her. Kingsbury declined to provide the government with any further information.
    ………..

    Rip Murdock (d2a2a8)

  84. DOJ is sending their first bits of discovery over to Trump, and it’s interesting what they’re sending.

    JUST IN: DOJ says it has made its first production of trial discovery to Donald Trump and his team — which means (per the below) he now knows who’s going to testify against him, and roughly what they’re going to say.

    This is happening early in the process. My speculation is that DOJ sent the witness testimony in the first batch because they know what kind of person Trump is, i.e., he’s going to tamper with the witnesses, either directly or by a conduit, and it will involve some combination of bullying, cajoling, financially inducing, etc. That’s his nature, like the way he obstructed justice in the Mueller investigation, like the way he strong-armed Pence and Raffensperger, and we already know he wants retribution.
    Garland may claim that he intends to be evenhanded, but I’ve no doubt that he’ll want to nail Trump’s arse on additional charges if he can. We’ll see if I’m wrong.

    Paul Montagu (8f0dc7)

  85. I think you’re spot on, Paul. Trump will be unable to help himself and will use some obvious proxy in his patented clever-but-sthupid routine. Of course, Clinton did this too, but was never charged.

    Kevin M (2d6744)

  86. Rip Murdock (d2a2a8) — 6/21/2023 @ 3:58 pm

    Kingsbury contacted phone numbers associated with subjects of counterterrorism investigations, and these individuals also made telephone calls to Kingsbury. Investigators have not been able to determine why Kingsbury contacted these individuals, or why these individuals contacted her. Kingsbury declined to provide the government with any further information.

    Here we have possible intent to harm investigations. It’s really mmore than ere retention.

    Sammy Finkelman (0e7228)


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