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JMH @11:21 am (yeah I am way behind) — I really did not intend to get bogged down in the comparison of the Flynn and McCabe cases. As I said many times, the cases are not identical and it is possible to argue that either one of them should be prosecuted and the other not. My actual and larger point was to use these cases as illustrations on how perceptions are influenced by political perspectives. As far as Flynn and McCabe go, my own view is that they both lied to the FBI, they both deserved to be fired and neither should have been prosecuted. (To be clear, I mean that McCabe should not be for matters referred to in the IG Report. If Durham finds other stuff, I assume he should be prosecuted for those things.) But I don’t feel that strongly in my opinions about the two men and reasonable people of good faith could disagree. Let me ask you to indulge in a thought experiment. Suppose that Hillary had won in 2016. (Ugh, I know.) imagine further that she appoints a national security advisor who has essentially the same conversation with the Russian ambassador that Flynn did and subsequently lied to the FBI as Flynn actually did. One more imaginative step here — imagine that somehow or another Bill Barr is appointed special counsel to look into something or other (the meeting between Lynch and Bill Clinton in Phoenix?) and ends up recommending that Hillary’s national security advisor be prosecuted for lying to the FBI. Would you feel different about such a prosecution as you do about the prosecution of Flynn? If so, why? Let me try a different one, perhaps even easier to set up. Imagine that McCabe did everything as described in the IG report, which was basically lying to his boss about being involved in a leaked story. Imagine again that Hillary wins in 2016. Then imagine that McCabe is, instead of a highly partisan Democrat is a huge MAGA Trump supporter. Imagine that Hillary’s AG recommends that McCabe be prosecuted for lying to the FBI. Would you feel different about Trump supporter McCabe being prosecuted by Hillary’s DOJ than you would about Democrat McCabe being prosecuted by Trumps DOJ for doing exactly the same thing? In other words, if the shoe were on the other foot in these cases, would it make a difference as to hw you saw them? I just think that partisanship affects the way all of us view things. For a great many people the desire to give Flynn a pass and prosecute McCabe (or vice versa) is not based on principle but on some kind of herd instinct to protect “our” people and attack “their” people. I do think that the left and right are mirror images, but apparently you do not. I don’t quite understand how you think we are different other than in our ideas but this is enough for now.
Toggle Commented 3 days ago on Clouds On The Blue Horizon at JustOneMinute
Ig @ 10:21 — I know that you are well read enough that you have read many leftist moral high horse rants that exactly parallel the one you let loose with here. You know the drill (you could write it better than I could) about how conservatives are racist, sexist scum being led by a bunch of greedy bastards who want to pile up great wealth for themselves by denying a decent living, housing, healthcare or whatever to the people. And who use the fake morality and false pie in the sky in the great hereafter of religion to keep the people under control. You sound in tone just like them. My view remains that by and large the people on the left are just as decent and moral and well meaning as the folks on the right. We have different ideas about how to achieve and maintain a just society, but both sides for the most part want just that. Sure there are left wingers motivated by selfish considerations but that is true of some on the right as well. Conservatives are of course better looking but on the whole not better in terms of honesty or decency or morality. Do you really think that the people you know in real life — relatives, friends, colleagues, cohorts, countrymen- whose views could be considered left of center are monsters who want to kill babies, destroy society, steal our wealth and enslave everyone ? Isn’t that just a bit over the top? I submit to you that the overwhelming percentage of liberals that I know and know about are well meaning people who want thins like affordable housing and decent healthcare for all Americans. Their plans to achieve these things are not well thought out or terribly realistic, but their hearts are in the right place. For sure politics is downstream from culture. But culture is not very much amount morality either. Culture represents the informal ways we choose to interact with and accommodate one another. It is not a struggle between good and evil but competing visions of acceptable societal norms. The greatest cultural changes in our lifetime center on greater acceptance of individual sexual choices — homosexuality, pre marital sex, divorce, etc. I have no problem with such acceptance and in any event it has nothing to do with true “morality..” You keep talking about progs or Democrats or whoever “celebrating” the “killing” of babies. It is over and over again the centerpiece of your claim to moral superiority. You pretend that this is separate from the abortion issue but of course it is not. Do you really know anyone who is such a monster that they actually “celebrate” killing babies? This does not describe anyone that I know and virtually no one that I know of. Passion runs deep on both sides of the abortion issue but the vast and overwhelming percentage of the people who are pro choice are not monsters and could not be described except by the most grotesque hyperbole of celebrating the killing of babies. The odd duck in this conversation is the one who engages in such over the top characterization of people with different views on a policy issue, combined with the occasional vivid fantasy about killing people to achieve or maintain his vision of a righteous society. That is not me, my friend. But that’s okay, normal is overrated and your passion is admirable. Again I submit that the cast majority of our friends, neighbors and countrymen are decent well meaning people. We can and should be able to disagree with them without demonizing them.
Toggle Commented 4 days ago on Clouds On The Blue Horizon at JustOneMinute
Jim, Sunnyvale @ 11:10 — Heavens no, I am not suggesting that McCabe and Flynn have been treated anything like the same. My point was that it sure seems like the Democrats want Flynn to be prosecuted and McCabe not and the people here seemed to want the opposite. As I have mentioned several times already, I think the main reason for this is that each side sees the world through a partisan lens. Whike it is POSSIBLE to come up with some kind of nonpartisan argument why one should be prosecuted and the other not, realistically that is just rationalization. Their behaviors, while not identical, are pretty similar. My contention is that but for partisanship they would likely be treated the same. And I will again say that I think Lt Gen Flynn was treated disgracefully by the FBI.
clarice @ 11:50 — I agree with you about Barr. I think he is a smart guy and is doing a good job. Some here were dismayed when he criticized DJT s tweets, but he was right to do so and clearly DJT understands and accepts what Barr did. I am afraid however that there is not much mystery in the dropping of the charges against McCabe related to the IG referral. DOJ simply folded, almost certainly because the odds of getting a conviction did not justify the effort. In particular I will reiterate that it is very unlikely that the dropping of these charges is part of some deal by which McCabe will rat out others on serious charges. McCabes public statements today are wholly inconsistent with those of a cooperating witness and wholly consistent with those of a guy who stared down the prosecution and won — for now. But the wheel is still spinning. Durham May yet charge McCabe. We will have to wAit and see.
Should be Ig @ 10:33.
Ignatz @ 10:31 — You are being all semantical about whether you were talking about “abortion.” You are certainly entitled to feel morally superior to people who disagree with you about the rare situation where a fetus survives an abortion attempt. But in my view it’s really about abortion. In any event, I personally do not feel morally superior to the run of the mill prog. I think that I have better policy ideas for how society should be organized than they do. But that is politics and not morality. I think that you are factually wrong about the IG’s referral on McCabe. As I recall his report (and maybe I am the one who is mistaken) what the IG found was that McCabe had arranged for the leak of a story (I think it was about Hillary emails). The IG was quite explicit that he found no wrongdoing in McCabe facilitating such a leak and that in fact McCabe had the authority to leak such information. There was nothing classified about the leak. However, what the IG referred to DOJ for potential prosecution was that when higher ups in the FBI inquired as to the source of this leak, McCabe lied to them and falsely said that he was not responsible. At one point DOJ told McCabe that he could expect an indictment in this matter. But today apparently they decided to close the file and not indict him in connection with this incident. As I see it, while not exactly identical to the Flynn situation, the matter that was dropped today was purely and simply about lying to the FBI. It had NOTHING to do with either the leak of classified information or unauthorized surveillance. From your other remarks it sounds like if we agree on those facts, we generally agree that either both or neither McCabe and Flynn should be prosecuted.
Barbara @ 9:49 - I appreciate the kind words.
Henry @ 9:12 I am not sure that your premise — that Hillary got “a pass” from Comey is quite correct. A number of observers, including Rodham herself have stated their view that Comey cost her the election. Some “pass.” But it is true that Rodham was not criminally prosecuted. I can easily accept that that decision may have been influenced by partisan politics. My point was simply that the two tiered business is simply looking at the world through a partisan lens. By and large the people here think that Flynn should not have been prosecuted and that McCabe should have been. Now, the two cases are not identical, but in general each man was a government official strongly suspected of lying to the FBI. Why should one be prosecuted and the other not ? There are two possible answers. One is to draw some kind of distinction between the two — someone suggested that maybe Flynn was guilty of only a faulty recollection while McCabe most assuredly knew that he was lying — but I think that is a strained bit of special pleading. The other, more honest answer would be that Flynn as a Trump supporter is given more benefit of the doubt here than McCabe, a vociferous Trump detractor. In other words, many here WANT a two tiered system, one that favors people whose politics they agree with and disfavors people whose politics they disagree with. For the record, I think that Flynn got treated very badly by the FBI. They went to enormous lengths to get him to lie to them on a subject — the contents of his conversation with the Russian ambassador that they already had on tape — that they had no purpose in asking him about except to be able to prosecute him for the lie. But this does not make Flynn innocent and it most certainly does not make McCabe’s inaccurate recollection of his role in leaking a story that he was legally authorized to leak into a crime. Someone, maybe Ig but I am not sure, suggested that lying to the FBI should not be a crime. That works for me. In any event, at the end of the day I think from a principled point of view it seems that either both Flynn and McCabe should be prosecuted for these lies or neither of them should be. Once again, I respect that a distinction can be made between the two cases. They are not absolutely identical. But I think that the most likely reason that someone would favor prosecution of one and not the other is partisanship — in other words the desire for a two tiered justice system.
Narc @ 9:54 — Totally agree. Stone lied when the truth would have served him better.
Narsico — Flynn lied about the substance of his conversation with the Russian ambassador. Whether he did so at Trumps direction - a defense he never offered — does not make it legal. Flynn in fact pled guilty to telling such a lie. Now maybe he pled guilty under duress but when he told the court he was pleading guilty because he was guilty you have to conclude he either lied about the conversation with the Russian ambassador or he lied to the court.
Ignatz — So abortion is what makes McCabe’s lies prosecutable and Flynn’s forgivable? My opinion is that conservatives have better policy ideas than progressives. My experience is that there are many progressives who are fine, moral, ethical and decent citizens and many conservatives who are absolute scoundrels — and the other way around. Of course, conservatives tend to be much better looking as I am sure we will agree. But on the narrow issue of Flynn’s lies versus McCabe’s lies — and leaving abortion out of it - I ask you to do the following thought experiment: Imagine that a Trump supporter in the FBI told the exact same lies that McCabe did with regard to leaking a story to the press that he was legally entitled to leak (leaving any other misdeeds McCabe might have committed out of it). Further imagine an Obama appointee who lied to the FBI precisely as Flynn did about his conversation with the Russian ambassador. Are you with me so far? Now tell me as God is your witness that under those circumstances you would favor prosecution of the Trump supporter and giving the Obama appointee a pass. I don’t believe that you could honestly do that. I respect your views on abortion. I respect the fact that you think that abortion is murder. If this makes you feel morally superior, so be it. But there is no question that for pretty much all of us partisanship helps frame the way we interpret facts.
Agree Stone made his own bed. But please explain to me how McCabe’s lying about his having arranged for a leak that he was legally entitled to make is an “abuse of power” but Flynn’s lies about his conversation with the Russian ambassador is not. I am not saying that such a distinction is impossible. I am saying that it is a lot easier to make — on both sides —when you start with a partisan perspective that justice requires taking the other side’s guy down.
Jane — Not good enough for what?
Narc — Perhaps true in the Durham probe, not yet completed. But in the Horowitz referral dropped today, McCabe was accused of making false statements in his role in leaking a certain story to the media. If you wanted to defend him on that, you could say that he was legally entitled to arrange for said leak and that any failure of recollection about his role could be attributed to office politics. It had zero point zero to do with any unauthorized surveillance. Of course one does not have to defend him. One can absolutely proclaim that he clearly lied to investigators, end of story. Fine. But how does one then defend Stone or Flynn, both of who also quite clearly lied to investigators? One either has to try to draw some pretty tiny distinctions or come out and admit that it is different when our side does it. I reiterate in response to Jane’s question, the two tiered system of justice is basically the result of two very different world views with each side fervently pursuing their understanding of justice while totally mystified by the others.
Jane — My personal opinion is that two tiers of justice is the result of what amounts to two radically different world views. One side sees Flynn and Stone etc as bad guys who need to be taken out, even on bullshit charges and guys like McCabe as heroes who should be forgiven for the occasional false statement. The other side sees it just the opposite. Both sides think that they are upholding “justice.” To be honest, McCabe lied but so did Flynn and Stone. The question is not the facts but how serious you think the lies were or how extenuating the circumstances. Each side thinks that their guys lies are trivial and the other sides should be federal cases. One can always argue facts. Convincing people to change the lens through which they interpret facts - i.e., their worldview, is damned near impossible. And there we are.
GUS — For what it is worth, my personal opinion is that most of this “4-D” business is some people trying to make themselves feel better by arguing that everything that LOOkS like bad news is really just a part of some hidden master plan and that the forces of goodness are, despite any apparent setbacks, cruising to victory. The apotheosis of this kind of thinking is the theory of your good friend TomR that Comey and Mueller just are pretending to be anti Trump but are in reality part of an elaborate plan to save him from a coup. Also, the prosecutors picked to be on Mueller’s staff were people suspected of corruption but were put on the DOJ’s most sensitive and highest profile case in history in order to “limit their duties.” I would be skeptical of 4D arguments. Maybe there is some misdirection going on, but the notion that absolutely everything is going according to a master plan seems, um, implausible.
Henry @ 5:29 — You might be right but I would give the outside review a chance. The prosecutor, Van Something or other seems to be in an epic and personal pissing contest with Sidney Powell. It makes sense to got some review of the situation from someone a bit more detached. Logically that person would be the new US Attorney, Shea, but he seems to have flubbed the Roger Stone sentencing business. It might — might — make sense for someone who does not have to work with Van Something or other in the future to do the review. Maybe - I know that this seems pretty off the charts — but just maybe Barr wants an honest review without a pre determined outcome. In any event maybe Flynn gets nothing from this outside review. But I don’t think it hurts him any and it is possible that he gets some slack. BTW pulling his guilty plea may not be in his long term interest. Powell may be playing chicken with the prosecution. It could be a high risk/high reward gamble.
GUS - Yes, but in recovery.
Ig@ 5:21 — Totally agree. Jury nullification was his only hope. It was not an impossible dream. With Trump getting 19% of the vote in DC, random odds would suggest two to three Trump voters on the jury. It only takes one adamant holdout for a hung jury. But given the evidence and the usual jury dynamics which tends to result in unanimity most of the time it did not happen here.
Ignatz — Yes, Jackson would be a poor pick for any judicial opening. Not only is she an Obama appointee to the bench, she represented William “Cold Cash” Jefferson — he with $90,000 in currency stored in his freezer - in his corruption trial. Lawyers should get some slack for representing unsavory clients but that one is about as swampy as one gets. However, I must say that in my experience judges tend to be EXTREMELY solicitous of jurors and their privacy pretty much across the board. Maybe Jackson went too far here but the system really does depend on jurors being protected from reprisals — including in the form of negative publicity.
Henry — At this point I don’t think that the jury pool is all that relevant re Flynn. Maybe I am wrong but my understanding is that what the outside prosecutor is going to do is review the Flynn case to decide whether to either drop it or permit Flynn to withdraw his guilty plea. Why a guy from St Louis instead of the new US Attorney for DC? I have no idea. Maybe the decision will be to go full speed ahead but it’s at least conceivable that Flynn will be cut some slack.
TK — Makes sense about the jury pool. You need a unanimous jury convinced beyond a reasonable doubt to convict. A DC jury is going to be overwhelming Democrats and a lot of government employees. Plus perjury cases are hard. I would like to think McCabe ratted, but given his public comments that seems very unlikely. It sure looks like he just walked, at least on perjury. Let’s see what Durham can do.
Ignatz @ 4:28 Xactly. Ignatz @ 4:26 Yeah, plus they made a hero out of Deep Throat who was actually a hard core J Edgar Hoover loyalist who was pissed off at attempts to keep the FBI Chief (who he wanted to be) from continuing to be essentially unaccountable.
McCabe’s public comments seem totally inconsistent with him being a government witness against others in the Durham probe. They are much more consistent with the DOJ simply folding its cards.
Ig — Right. In Flynn’s case he pled guilty and they held sentencing over his head to (try to) assure testimony against his partner. No guilty plea from McCabe so far. Maybe clarice is on to something here. Maybe not.