BREAKING: President Trump Goes On Defense

Yesterday evening, the Washington Post released a bombshell story entitled “Trump revealed highly classified information to Russian foreign minister and ambassador” wherein they asserted that both current and former members of the intelligence community were telling them that, during their Oval Office visit last week, the President had provided the Russians with highly classified information regarding the Islamic State that could be putting the source of that key intelligence in grave danger. According to the article:

 

“In his meeting with Lavrov, Trump seemed to be boasting about his inside knowledge of the looming threat. “I get great intel. I have people brief me on great intel every day,” Trump said, according to an official with knowledge of the exchange. Trump went on to discuss aspects of the threat that the United States only learned through the espionage capabilities of a key partner. He did not reveal the specific intelligence gathering method, but described how the Islamic State was pursuing elements of a specific plot and how much harm such an attack could cause under varying circumstances. Most alarmingly, officials said, Trump revealed the city in the Islamic State’s territory where the U.S. intelligence partner detected the threat. The Washington Post is withholding most plot details, including the name of the city, at the urging of officials who warned that revealing them would jeopardize important intelligence capabilities.”

 

Harvard Professor Alan Dershowitz would call this “the most serious charge ever made against a sitting President”. And Lawfare Blog would state that: “Questions of criminality aside, we turn to the far more significant issues: If the President gave this information away through carelessness or neglect, he has arguably breached his oath of office.”

 

The key here, of course, is whether the Washington Post article is true or false. If true, then what President Trump did was fairly egregious. If false, then this is a case of true media malpractice.

 

President Trump’s National Security Advisor, General H.R. McMaster, would make a brief press statement in response yesterday evening: “A brief statement for the record. There is nothing that the president takes more seriously than the security of the American people. The story that came out tonight as reported is false. The president of the foreign minister reviewed a range of common threats to our two countries, including threats to civil aviation. At no time, at no time, where intelligent sources or methods discussed. The president did not disclose any military operations that were not already publicly known. Two other senior officials who were present, including the secretary of the state, remember the meeting the same way and have said so. Going on the record should outweigh the anonymous sources. I was in the room. It didn’t happen. Thanks, everybody.”

 

He would not take any questions and so the controversy continued to churn overnight.

 

Now, this morning President Trump himself has responded in a series of tweets:

 

“As President, I wanted to share with Russia (at an openly scheduled W.H. Meeting) which I have the absolute right to do, facts pertaining…. to terrorism and airline safety. Humanitarian reasons, plus I want Russia to greatly step up their fight against ISIS and terrorism.”

“I have been asking Director Comey & others, from the beginning of my administration, to find the LEAKERS in the intelligence community…..”

 

These tweets remain ambiguous enough that they seem to confirm that President Trump did reveal key national security information to the Russians (perhaps classified information) without the president directly coming out and saying so. Many questions remain, obviously, and the Washington Post stands by its reporting. As Jonah Goldberg of National Review put it: Trust but verify. It’s entirely plausible that President Trump might spout off about something like this, but it is also very tough to believe that H.R. McMaster would willfully lie about what happened. Ultimately, our elected leaders & indeed the American people will likely need to understand the exact nature of what was said in order to ascertain how bad this situation truly is. Today’s press conference should be interesting.

BREAKING: “You’re Hired”? Leading Candidates to Replace Comey at FBI Report For Job Interview on Saturday

Ever since now-former FBI Director Jim Comey’s abrupt firing that shocked Washington D.C., a number of questions have swirled: Why was Comey fired? Was Comey really asked to pledge his loyalty to the President? Why does the White House keep changing its story? Will this lead to some sort of independent commission or special prosecutor? And what does this mean for the variety of investigations surrounding Russia?

 

But there is another immediate & pressing question that needs addressing as well: Who will replace Comey as Director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (our nation’s premiere law enforcement agency)? Well, in an exclusive from sources inside the White House, Fox News reports that it has obtained a list of the first four leading contenders, all of whom will be interviewing with the Attorney General & Deputy Attorney General on Saturday (May the 13th). From the report:

 

“The four candidates meeting with Attorney General Jeff Sessions and his deputy Rod Rosenstein are: Assistant Attorney General Alice Fisher, who used to work in the Justice Department’s Criminal Division; the acting FBI Director Andrew McCabe, who recently testified before Congress about the agency’s Russia collusion investigation; Texas Sen. John Cornyn, the current Senate Majority Whip and former attorney general of Texas who sits on the Senate Intelligence Committee; Judge Michael J. Garcia of the New York Court of Appeals, who previously served as Assistant U.S. Attorney in the Southern District of New York. The administration is considering nearly a dozen candidates – a list that includes top current and former lawmakers as well as law enforcement figures – to replace fired FBI Director James Comey, a White House official briefed on the matter told Fox News on Friday.”

 

Whoever takes over will be stepping into a media firestorm and into a bright-as-the-sun spotlight with confirmation hearings that are assured to be full of high drama (both real and manufactured). Not to mention the fact that they will be put in charge of winning the trust of and guiding the 35,000 employees of the FBI, handling some of our nation’s most important investigations, enforcing the law, and safeguarding our national security. So who are these candidates, anyway?

 

THE FIRST FOUR BEING INTERVIEWED SATURDAY

 

Former Assistant Attorney General Alice Fisher: She’s had a wide-ranging legal career and is currently a Managing Partner in the Washington, D.C. office of Latham & Watkins LLP, the nation’s highest-grossing firm with business & political clients all over the world, where she focuses on criminal investigations, white collar crime, sanctions compliance, fraud, & international security law. She served as an Assistant Attorney General during the Bush administration starting in 2005 (most notably obtaining the Jack Abramoff plea deal) and she’s considered one of the best & most powerful female lawyers in the nation’s capital.

 

Acting FBI Director Andrew McCabe: He became the Deputy Director of the FBI on January 29, 2016 and assumed the role of Acting FBI Director when Comey was fired on Tuesday. He is dogged by a number of issues, however, including the fact that he contradicted the Trump administration to some extent during his testimony in front of the Senate intelligence committee on Thursday as well as the fact that he is under investigation by DOJ’s Office of the Inspector General over the fact that his wife received hundreds of thousands of dollars in campaign donations from Clinton allies while he failed to recuse himself from the Clinton email server investigation. Prior to his roles as a deputy & an acting head, he worked out of the FBI’s New York Field Office as well as its Washington Field Office, and he held roles in the Counterterrorism Division and the National Security Branch, as well as leading the High-Value Interrogation Group that was formed in 2009 after the election of President Obama.

 

Texas Senator John Cornyn: He is the senior Senator from the state of Texas, serving in that capacity since 2002. He’s a current member of the Senate Judiciary Committee (including its Subcommittee on Terrorism, Technology, & Homeland Security where he had a recent run-in with former DNI James Clapper & former Acting AG Sally Yates). Prior to being a Senator, Cornyn served as the Texas Attorney General from 1998 til 2002. Before that, he was an Associate Justice for the Texas Supreme Court from 1991 til 1997, and before that he was a District Court Judge in Texas from 1985 til 1991. His legal experience spans nearly two decades as either a judge or attorney general plus over a decade and a half in the Senate working on issues related to law enforcement and national security.

 

New York Judge Michael J. Garcia: He has served as an Associate Judge on the New York Court of Appeals since February 8, 2016, after being appointed by Governor Andrew Cuomo. Prior to that he had nearly a decade-long stint in private practice. His previous government experience is pretty extensive though: Assistant US Attorney for the Southern District of New York from 1992 til 2001, Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Export Enforcement in 2001 & 2002, Acting Commissioner of the U.S. Immigration and Naturalization Service in 2002 & 2003, Assistant Secretary for Immigration and Customs Enforcement from 2003 til 2005, and then back to the Southern District of New York but this time as its lead US Attorney. He might be most widely known recently for his role as FIFA’s ethics prosecutor (a position he’d eventually resign), where he investigated massive allegations of corruption with soccer’s global body (it’s an incredibly fascinating & disheartening story, and the so-called “Garcia Report” still hasn’t been released).

 

OTHER LEADING CANDIDATES

 

A number of other potential candidates being mentioned who themselves won’t be at Saturday’s job interview with Attorney General Sessions and Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosentein include: Representative Mike Rogers (a former FBI agent himself); Mayor John Suthers (a former federal prosecutor and now-mayor of Colorado Springs); George Terwilliger (a former deputy attorney general under George HW Bush, Comey-critic, and Republican activist); former NYPD Commissioner Ray Kelly (who directed the first World Trade Center bombing investigation in the 1990’s); Representative Trey Gowdy (who led the House Benghazi investigation); Paul Abbate (Assistant Director-in-Charge of the FBI); Chuck Rosenberg (the current head of the DEA); J. Michael Luttig (Executive VP of Boeing & a former judge on the appellate court); Ken Wainstein (the very first head of DOJ’s national security division); Larry Thompson (a Comey-critic and former deputy attorney general under George W. Bush); Mark Filip (also a former deputy attorney general as well as a federal judge and Scalia law clerk); Frances Townsend (a Bush homeland security adviser and former NY prosecutor); Michael Anderson (Chicago FBI agent-in-charge); Adam Lee (Richmond FBI agent-in-charge); Kelly Ayotte (former Senator from New Hampshire); Rudy Giuliani (former Mayor of NYC, Trump ally, & 2008 candidate in the Republican presidential primary); Chris Christie (current Governor of New Jersey and early Trump supporter); and even Merrick Garland (Obama’s former Supreme Court nominee for the seat left open by Antonin Scalia that has now been filled by Associate Justice Neil Gorsuch).

 

PICKING A SUCCESSOR

 

Over at National Review, they offer the following advice to President Trump as he decides who will succeed James Comey as head of the Bureau: “Trump now has the similar task of finding a new Justice Department official to succeed Comey. Trump can put to rest the allegations that Comey’s removal obstructs the investigation into the Russian connection by nominating a figure of impeccable credentials and personal integrity who will pledge to continue the investigation no matter where it leads. For that reason, we think that nominating a former elected politician would be a mistake, because that nominee’s every move would raise doubts about partisan motivation – fairly or not. Instead, Trump should pick a former prosecutor or Justice Department official with a reputation for independence and long experience in law enforcement, with few if any ties to the Trump campaign or the administration.” Whoever the pick ends up being, they will certainly have a monumental task in front of them as they work to restore faith & confidence as well as protect the nation. So let’s hope that they are a man or woman of superb skill & redoubtable integrity. The Bureau, and indeed the nation itself, deserves nothing less.

After His Calls For Russia to Take Down Trump, The Resistance Should Resist Keith Olbermann Too

Keith Olbermann has a web video series hosted by GQ entitled “The Resistance with Keith Olbermann”. The show is reminiscent of the very worst parts (were there ever any good parts?) of his old MSNBC show “Countdown with Keith Olbermann”. These “Resistance” videos engage in the very worst excesses of political extremism, and each episode tends to range from bizarre to excruciatingly confusingly appallingly bizarre. But on Thursday May 11th, Olbermann crossed a line that even mendacious self-obsessed narcissists like himself should never cross. It was a seven-minute seventeen-second video calling for foreign intelligence agencies from around the world – including those from hostile nations like the Glavnoye razvedyvatel’noye upravleniye (or just GRU) in Russia – to assist in bringing down the President of the United States, Donald Trump. One need not be a fan of the current President (I’m not one, particularly, to say the least) to agree that this is simply wrong and must be rejected by all patriots of good conscience. Every American – Left and Right, #MAGA and #Resistance, and everything in between – should want less Russian interference in our politics, not more, and this should be self-evident. The world doesn’t need more unhinged political diatribes. Here’s the clip from Olbermann, with the relevant portions transcribed by me below (emphasis mine):

 

 

I’m Keith Olbermann and this is The Resistance. I appeal to the intelligence agencies and the governments of what is left of the free world. To them as entities, entireties, as bureaucracies making official decisions, and to the individuals who make decisions of conscience. To GCHQ and MI6 in the UK, to the BND in Germany, to the DGSE in France, to the ASIS in Australia, [editorial note: he also randomly adds the PSI of Japan to the list later in his rant], and even to the GRU in Russia where they must already be profoundly aware that they didn’t just help put an amoral cynic in power here, but an uncontrollable one, whose madness is genuine and whose usefulness even to them is at an end. To them, and to the world’s journalists, I make this plea: we, the citizens of the United States of America are the victims of a coup. We need your leaks, your information, your intelligence, your recordings, your videos, your conscience. The civilian government and the military of the United States are no longer in the hands of the people, nor in the control of any responsible individuals on whom you can rely … For months we have heard that your organizations have damning evidence against Donald John Trump. Whatever evidence you may have, you cannot conceal it any longer … Now we need your help. Whatever there is on Trump, reveal it … A dictator-in-training has betrayed our Constitution … What you have, we need and we need it now … For now, the rest of us who only want our democracy back, we can have no rules either. We will take the risk of re-establishing the rules later on … We need what you have and we need it now and we need it made public … If we go under, you’re next. The freedom you save will be your own. Resist. Peace.”

 

In response to his self-important pontificating, the Internet would proceed to collectively dunk on Olbermann, and with good reason. Remaining free of foreign influence is critical for our country, but Olbermann invites it. And a respect for the rule of law is crucial to our society, but Olbermann rejects it. In response to his juvenile screed, I put out a mini-Tweet storm on the GQ video thread, where I began by saying “I’m no @realDonaldTrump fan but @KeithOlbermann asking foreign intel agencies to overthrow the president is the definition of treason.” And then I launched into a discussion about how dangerous of an idea this was, especially with regard to seeking help from the GRU in Russia, a notorious bad actor on the world stage. But was my initial gut reaction correct? My Tweet was a bit hyperbolic, but what Olbermann is advocating for really does skirt quite close to some pretty bad stuff. Let’s delve into this very briefly.

 

Article III, Section 3 of the US Constitution says the following about treason: “Treason against the United States, shall consist only in levying war against them, or in adhering to their enemies, giving them aid and comfort. No person shall be convicted of treason unless on the testimony of two witnesses to the same overt act, or on confession in open court. The Congress shall have power to declare the punishment of treason, but no attainder of treason shall work corruption of blood, or forfeiture except during the life of the person attainted.”

 

And the current relevant statute in the US Code defines treason in the following manner: “Whoever, owing allegiance to the United States, levies war against them or adheres to their enemies, giving them aid and comfort within the United States or elsewhere, is guilty of treason and shall suffer death, or shall be imprisoned not less than five years and fined under this title but not less than $10,000; and shall be incapable of holding any office under the United States.”

 

Now, why would it be absolutely unpatriotic, undoubtedly foolish, and arguably (though not definitively) treasonous to call on a foreign intelligence service to bring down our president? Well, let’s just talk specifically about his direct appeal to the GRU – the Russian military intelligence agency that Olbermann mentions by name. The GRU is essentially Putin’s not-so-secret secret weapon, a nefarious actor that is responsible for a long list of truly egregious crimes: attempting to meddle in the US election in 2016 through both hacking and spreading propaganda; likely attempting to interfere in the recent French election in the same manner; spreading political chaos throughout much of Eastern Europe; aiding Russian efforts in Syria; assisting in the invasion and occupation of Crimea; and fomenting civil war in eastern Ukraine. The vast majority of these activities were carried out either directly against the United States or at the very least against American allies & interests. Make no mistake: the GRU (along with the FSB and other assorted Russian outfits) is an heir to the vaunted KGB and should be treated as such.

 

Indeed, in its analysis of Putin’s Russia’s role in attempting to interfere in the 2016 election, our nation’s Office of the Director of National Intelligence compiled a report put together with input from the entire intelligence community (IC), and the GRU was a central focus. It was an unprecedented intelligence summary entitled “Assessing Russian Activities and Intentions in Recent US Elections” – and the GRU is named as a prime culprit:

 

“We assess with high confidence that Russian military intelligence (General Staff Main Intelligence Directorate or GRU) used the Guccifer 2.0 persona and DCLeaks.com to release US victim data obtained in cyber operations publicly and in exclusives to media outlets and relayed material to WikiLeaks … The General Staff Main Intelligence Directorate (GRU) probably began cyber operations aimed at the US election by March 2016. We assess that the GRU operations resulted in the compromise of the personal e-mail accounts of Democratic Party officials and political figures. By May, the GRU had exfiltrated large volumes of data from the DNC … We assess with high confidence that the GRU used the Guccifer 2.0 persona, DCLeaks.com, and WikiLeaks to release US victim data obtained in cyber operations publicly and in exclusives to media outlets … Content that we assess was taken from e-mail accounts targeted by the GRU in March 2016 appeared on DCLeaks.com starting in June … We assess with high confidence that the GRU relayed material it acquired from the DNC and senior Democratic officials to WikiLeaks. Moscow most likely chose WikiLeaks because of its self-proclaimed reputation for authenticity. Disclosures through WikiLeaks did not contain any evident forgeries.” [Editorial Note: The GRU is mentioned by the IC no less than eight separate times in this IC document.]

 

There is no denying that Russia is no friend to the United States, and to call on Russian intelligence to interfere in American politics even more than it already has is a foolish, reckless, mind-numbingly stupid thing to do. GQ should be ashamed that it hosts such nonsense on its site, Keith Olbermann (if he still can feel normal human emotions like shame) should be ashamed to have pushed for something this anti-American, and #TheResistance should be ashamed to have him as their self-promoting mouthpiece. This nation deserves answers on Russia – but asking the GRU for the truth on Putin is like asking the KGB for the truth on the Soviet Union — their literal existence is predicated on misdirection & obfuscation, not truth-telling. So yeah, Keith? Please go away, and for good this time. Oh, and GQ? Stick to style tips & fashion advice, and try to leave the how-to guides on the commission of light treason to others. Hopefully that’s something that everyone can agree on.

Update: Since the publishing of this article, Keith Olbermann began tweet-complaining about an old SNL sketch from 2008 where Ben Affleck plays Mr. Olbermann in a sketch loosely titled “Keith Olbermann Overreacts to Everything” and/or “Keith Olbermann is Indignant.” It is truly a classic piece of comedy and well worth revisiting as Mr. Olbermann makes a play for relevance again in the Era of Trump and #TheResistance (you can see the clip below):

 

Leftists Literally Boo God and Concept of God-Given Rights at GOP Rep. Dave Brat’s Town Hall

Representative Dave Brat – the conservative favorite who ousted House Majority Leader Eric Cantor in the Republican primary back in 2014 to represent Virginia’s 7th District – held a town hall on Tuesday night, and the media narrative coming out of the constituent meeting was essentially universal. Congressman Brat is one of the most prominent members of the Freedom Caucus, helping block the initial the deeply flawed AHCA Version 1.0 (successfully resisting the extreme political pressure to cave) and playing a crucial role in making the AHCA Version 2.0 palatable enough to conservatives & moderates alike that it was able to pass the House of Representatives. This was Representative Brat’s first town hall since the passage of the AHCA through the House chamber, and the media reporting from the event almost seemed copy & pasted from one article to the next, all attempting to emphasize that voters are ticked off at Brat. The headlines were all essentially exactly the same (as were the articles):

 

“Raucous, angry crowd grills Virginia Rep. Brat at town hall” (ABC); “Dave Brat Hears An Earful” (US News); Crowd grills Virginia Rep. Dave Brat over health care vote at town hall (USA Today); “House Freedom Caucus Member Gets Earful at Rowdy Virginia Townhall” (Independent Journal Review); “At raucous town hall, Rep. Dave Brat struggles to speak above the jeers” (Washington Post); “Rowdy crowd highlights town hall meeting with Rep. Dave Brat” (CBS6 / WTVR); “Rep. Dave Brat faces fury over health care, Russia at town hall” (CNN); “GOP Rep. Dave Brat faces rowdy crowd at town hall” (The Hill); “Dave Brat Faces Down Virginia Town-Hall Fury” (The Daily Beast); “Left Wing Activists Disrupt Rep. Dave Brat’s Town Hall — ‘You Lie!'” (Breitbart); “Sign-waving critics greet Brat town hall in Chesterfield” (WINA); “Dave Brat Town Hall Gets Heated” (Roll Call); “Dave Brat faces voter anger at town hall over healthcare vote” (Washington Examiner); and “Freedom Caucus’ Dave Brat Faces Angry Constitutents at AHCA-Themed Town Hall (Slate).

 

(It’s worth nothing that the ABC article, US News article, and USA Today article were even all literally exactly the same – all using the exact same Associated Press original story – but it was nice of the three of them to at least come up with unique titles even if regurgitating the same narrative.)

 

But if you read through all fourteen articles (which I did), you’ll find that every single one misses or just willfully skips over the most newsworthy part of the entire town hall: leftist members of the audience actually loudly booing the very mention of God and God-given rights. It was an occurrence reminiscent of the embarrassing moments for the Left at the 2012 Democratic National Convention where delegates to the DNC loudly booed the inclusion of “God” and “Jerusalem” in their party platform as well as recently at the 2016 Democratic National Convention where Bernie Sanders supporters interrupted the opening prayer to loudly boo Hillary Clinton.

 

I went ahead and transcribed the entire exchange between Dave Brat and some members of the audience. The relevant portion of the video (posted online by Rep. Brat’s office earlier today) can be seen below:

Audience Member: As a seminary graduate, do you believe in the separation of church and state, and would it be acceptable to you for churches to support specific candidates?

Representative Brat: Now that’s a loaded question. Alright, so it’s in the Constitution. They got it pretty good — that politics should not establish any religion, right? Everyone good with that one?

[Some Audience Applause]

Representative Brat: But, you should all under the First Amendment have the free expression thereof. Right? So the Founders nailed this pretty good. And now, going one step deeper: Do you want a total separation of church and state?”

Audience Members: Yes!

Representative Brat: Let me check you on that a bit. I don’t think you do. Some of you believe health care is a right. In the Western tradition, rights come from God.

[Audience Begins Loudly Shouting Over Him and BOOING]

Representative Brat: The role of government is to protect those rights. The job of the government is to protect those God-given rights.

[Audience Members Continue Sustained BOOING]

 

The video is very clear — this was not your typical crowd and there were reports that some members of the audience just gave up and left the town hall entirely, frustrated by the antics of the leftist protesters. The loudest voices — the ones angrily booing — were booing a very basic American principle that still holds broad sway in this nation except for on the extreme Left. And the loudest voices in that audience didn’t strike me as terribly representative of the people of Virginia’s 7th District nor of the country at large. The idea that our rights come from God and that government exists to protect these rights is not a terribly controversial concept (or at least it shouldn’t be), as it is forms the very bedrock of our nation’s founding. In the Declaration of Independence, Thomas Jefferson penned the following words that every American should really know by heart (and that many if not most probably already do): “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed.” This is what our Founders believed and this is what our nation was founded on. So, it would seem that Representative Brat had it absolutely correct. Our rights do come from God. And government does exist to protect those God-given rights. That’s something worth affirming, not booing.

 

So let this be a message to the news media: Try harder. A loud & angry town hall makes for a simple story and an easy narrative, but please get beyond the simplistic headlines and pay attention to what is actually being said in these town halls. You might even find something newsworthy.

 

And let this also be a message to the Left: Stop booing God, you guys. It isn’t a great look for you.

 

When I reached out to Representative Dave Brat’s office for a comment, the Congressman’s response was unequivocal:

I have never seen such rudeness displayed in public as what I experienced at my town hall this week.

A sizable group of people in the audience mocked the pastor’s invocation prayer, mocked the mention of church, and mocked the idea that in the Western tradition our rights come from God.

This is not the classical liberal tradition of the Democratic party we all grew up knowing. Something new and toxic is brewing. I don’t think many of my Democratic friends are happy about this new debasement of their tradition. Even Democrats left my town hall early because they were upset and wanted nothing to do with the behavior they witnessed firsthand. It will be very interesting to see who emerges as the next spokesperson for the Democratic Party.

 

BREAKING: Comey Releases Farewell Letter to FBI Employees (“It is done and I will be fine.”)

In a letter obtained by CNN just a few minutes ago, now-former FBI Director James Comey – fired by President Donald Trump on Monday afternoon – released the following heartfelt farewell to the employees of the FBI, urging them not to focus on his firing but instead to continue to put their energies toward the safeguarding of our nation:

To all:

I have long believed that a President can fire an FBI Director for any reason, or for no reason at all. I’m not going to spend time on the decision or the way it was executed. I hope you won’t either. It is done, and I will be fine, although I will miss you and the mission deeply. I have said to you before that, in times of turbulence, the American people should see the FBI as a rock of competence, honesty, and independence. What makes leaving the FBI hard is the nature and quality of its people, who together make it that rock for America. It is very hard to leave a group of people who are committed only to doing the right thing. My hope is that you will continue to live our values and the mission of protecting the American people and upholding the Constitution. If you do that, you too will be sad when you leave, and the American people will be safer.

Working with you has been one of the great joys of my life. Thank you for that gift.

Jim Comey

 

James Comey was not fired in person, but rather found out about his firing while giving a speech to fellow FBI agents at the Los Angeles field office. Reactions to Mr. Comey’s firing by President Trump have run the gamut — from strongly supportive to reluctantly supportive to extremely opposed and some nuanced reactions in between. The current word on the Hill is that the freshly unemployed former director has been invited to testify in front of the Senate Intelligence Committee as early as next week.

Ted Cruz vs. Sally Yates: Here’s What Really Happened:

On Monday evening, left-wing online rag & perpetual embarrassment Slate Magazine’s Twitter account tweeted out: “How Sally Yates went from unknown bureaucrat to the left’s Katniss Everdeen.” But Slate is by no means alone in this. The Left desperately looking to Young Adult Fiction for inspiration tells you pretty much all you need to know about the sorry state of #TheResistance at the moment. The Left loves to talk about The Right’s #FakeNews problem, but The Left clearly has a #FakeHeroes problem. So yes, Sally Yates is just like Katniss Everdeen, at least in one sense: her heroism is entirely a work of fiction.

 

“YOU’RE FIRED!”

The Makings of a Fake Hero

 

The Senate Judiciary Subcommittee on Crime & Terrorism held a hearing on May 8th, 2017 with the purpose of investigating the role of Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election. The hearing featured two witnesses: James Clapper and Sally Yates. After Ted Cruz got former Director of National Intelligence James Clapper to slam a “hypothetical” government employee who had engaged in the use of an unsecured computer and in the sending of classified intelligence to unauthorized persons — a clear reference to Clinton confidante Huma Abedin’s absurdly irresponsible handling of sensitive national security info (similar to the way he had exposed FBI Director James Comey on this issue a week prior) — he then turned his attention to former Acting Attorney General Sally Yates, a former Obama administration holdover. The brief debate between the two seasoned attorneys hinged on Trump’s executive order from back on January 27th, 2017 — referred to variously either as the Travel Ban or the Muslim Ban or simply as “Extreme Vetting”, depending on one’s political persuasion. As the Acting AG right after Trump’s inauguration, Sally Yates would refuse to enforce the executive order and would, disastrously, recommend that those under her direction at the Department of Justice decline to do so as well, leading her to be promptly fired by President Trump and making her an instant (and undeserved) hero of the Left. Famed legal scholar and Harvard professor Alan Dershowitz had this to say about her antics: “Yates is a terrific public servant, but I think she’s made a serious mistake here. This is a holdover heroism. It’s so easy to be a heroine when you’re not appointed by this president and when you’re on the other side.” Holdover Heroism is exactly right. It’s easy to take a position like she did when you know that left-wing grassroots fame is what awaits. What would’ve been truly heroic was resigning her post – instead she tried to abdicate her duties as AG and tried to subvert the chain of command. And she learned that dropping a metaphorical bomb on the Department of Justice is, unsurprisingly, a great way to get fired from the Department of Justice. It’s also a great way to make yourself a “legend”, at least in the eyes of the tens of readers of Slate magazine.

 

CRUZ vs. YATES:

In Their Own Words

 

(I transcribed the full transcript of the exchange below, making sure to include links to the specific orders, statutes, letters, & laws that the two referenced throughout their back-and-forth)

TED CRUZ: Is it true that the Constitution vests the executive authority in the President?

SALLY YATES: Yes.

TED CRUZ: And if an Attorney General disagrees with a policy decision of the President – a policy decision that is lawful – does the Attorney General have the authority to direct the Department of Justice to defy the President’s order?

SALLY YATES: I don’t know whether the Attorney General has the authority to do that or not but I don’t think it would be a good idea – and that’s not what I did in this case.

TED CRUZ: Well, are you familiar with 8 U.S.C. Section 1182?

SALLY YATES: Not off the top of my head.

TED CRUZ: No? Well, it is the binding statutory authority for the executive order you refused to implement – and that led to your termination. So it certainly is relevant and not a terribly obscure statute. By the express text of the statute it says, quote, “Whenever the President finds that the entry of any alien or of any class of aliens into the United States would be detrimental to the interests of the United States, he may, by proclamation for such a period as he shall deem necessary, suspend the entry of all aliens or any class of aliens as immigrants or non-immigrants, or impose on the entry of aliens any restrictions he may deem appropriate.” Would you agree that that is broad statutory authorization?

SALLY YATES: I would and I’m familiar with that. And I’m also familiar with an additional provision of the INA that says, “No person shall receive preference or will be discriminated against in issuance of a visa because of race, nationality, or place of birth.” That, I believe, was promulgated after the statute you just quoted, and that’s been part of the discussion with the courts with respect to the INA – whether this more specific statute trumps the first one that you just described. And my concern was not an INA concern here, but was a constitutional concern – whether or not this executive order here violated the Constitution specifically with the Establishment Clause, and equal protection, and due process.

TED CRUZ: There is no doubt that the arguments you laid out are arguments that we can expect litigants to bring. Partisan litigants who disagree with the policy decision of the President. I would note on January 27th of 2017 the Department of Justice issued an official legal decision – a determination by the Office of Legal Counsel that the executive order, and I’ll quote from the opinion: “The proposed order is approved with respect to form and legality.” That’s a determination from OLC on January 27th that it was legal. Three days later you determined, using your own words, that although OLC had opined on legality, it had not addressed whether it was, quote, “wise or just.”

SALLY YATES: And I also, in that same directive, Senator, said that I was not convinced it was lawful. I also made the point that the office of OLC looks purely at the face of the document and again makes a determination as to whether there is some set of circumstances under which some portion of the EO would be enforceable and would be lawful. They importantly do not look outside the face of the document, and in this particular instance, particularly where we were talking about a fundamental issue of religious freedom, not the interpretation of some arcane statute, but religious freedom – it was appropriate for us to look at the intent behind the President’s actions.

TED CRUZ: Very very very brief question. In the over 200 years of the Department of Justice history, are you aware of any instance in which the Department of Justice has formally approved the legality of a policy and three days later the Attorney General has directed the department not to follow that policy and to defy that policy?

SALLY YATES: I’m not. And I’m also not aware of a situation where an Office of Legal Counsel was advised not to tell the Attorney General about it until after it was over.

TED CRUZ: I would note that that might be the case if there’s reason to suspect partisanship.

The Left would laughably try to turn this exchange into some sort of major coup by Yates over Cruz. A plain reading of the exchange simply doesn’t show Yates “embarrassing” Cruz, and frankly the only embarrassing thing is the Left’s attempt to turn the above discussion of statutes & codes & OLC opinions into some Speaking Truth to Power moment for Sally Yates. #FakeNews indeed. But I suppose it makes sense that a manufactured hero would need some manufactured heroism. In reality, Cruz made it clear that Yates was not acting within the proper limits of her role as Attorney General, but instead was acting in a partisan manner utterly disconnected from her constitutional obligations — and Yates wasn’t really able to combat that. Cruz methodically went through her obligations as an AG, and she defended her actions not like the former chief law enforcement officer in the nation, but rather as an opposition figure might. That might make for okay TV, but it reinforces Cruz’s point that she was motivated by a sense of political opportunism rather than by a sense of duty. (And it must be noted that she has changed her story significantly since January of this year — not exactly the sort of stuff that heroes are typically made of.)

 

FACT CHECK:

Yates Politicized the AG’s Office,

And She Deserved to Get Fired for It.

That Was True in January & It’s True Today.

 

The facts regarding Trump’s executive order and the firing of Yates remain essentially the same today as they were back in January, and one need not be a fan of Trump’s initial travel ban (I certainly wasn’t) in order to also conclude that Yates acted extremely inappropriately, doing real damage to her office and indeed to the entire Department of Justice, with her eyes focused not on honoring her oath of office or on her constitutional duties, but rather focused on achieving progressive stardom. She should’ve resigned rather than politicize a critical Cabinet post in the way that she did, and — love him or hate him — Trump was right to give her the boot.

As the editors of National Review would put it: “It is a very simple proposition. Our Constitution vests all executive power – not some of it, all of it – in the president of the United States. Executive-branch officials do not have their own power. They are delegated by the president to execute his power. If they object to the president’s policies, their choice is clear: salute and enforce the president’s directives, or honorably resign. There is no third way.”

Or as Professor Josh Blackman wrote in POLITICO: “If Yates truly felt this way, she should have told the president her conclusions in confidence. If he disagreed, she had one option: resign. Instead, she made herself a political martyr and refused to comply. While this late-night termination may bring to mind President Richard Nixon’s infamous ‘Saturday Night Massacre,’ the analogy is inapt. This is a textbook case of insubordination, and the president was well within his constitutional powers to fire her. Call it the Monday Night Layoff instead.”

Or let’s look at what former Attorney General William Barr said in the Washington Post: “Things reached their nadir when acting attorney general Sally Yates, an Obama holdover with a few days left in office, issued a directive that the Justice Department should not defend the president’s order in court. While an official is always free to resign if she does not agree with, or has doubts about, the legality of a presidential order, Yates had no authority and no conceivable justification for directing the department’s lawyers not to advocate the president’s position in court. Her action was unprecedented and must go down as a serious abuse of office.”

Or it’s worth reading what Jack Goldsmith of Lawfare Blog stated: “Yates is obviously in an extraordinarily difficult position as Acting Attorney General for a President whose policy goals she does not share. She is clearly repulsed by the EO, and wants no part in its enforcement … But if Yates feels this way, she should have resigned … Instead, she wrote a letter that appears to depart sharply from the usual criteria that an Attorney General would apply in deciding whether to defend an EO in court. As such, the letter seems like an act of insubordination that invites the President to fire her. Which he did.”

Or finally I’d recommend reading the cutting post that Senator Cruz himself dropped on Facebook: “After eight long years of a lawless Obama Department of Justice, it is fitting–and sad–that the very last act of the Obama DOJ is for the Acting AG to defy the newly elected President, refuse to enforce the law, and force the President to fire her. Sally Yates now joins the ignominious succession, from Eric Holder to Loretta Lynch, of Attorneys General who put brazen partisan interests above fidelity to law.”

Simply put, when it came to the fulfillment of her duties as Acting Attorney General, Sally Yates was wrong in January and she was wrong today. Her shifting, partisan, grandstanding antics simply reinforce that. Her key role in the Mike Flynn Affair must of course be noted, but it doesn’t excuse her dereliction of duty as Acting Attorney General. Being put in charge of our nation’s law enforcement department and then refusing to enforce the nation’s laws isn’t laudatory or courageous. Katniss would certainly be unimpressed.

Le Pen Was No Trump and the French Election Was No Brexit: The Polls Got It Right This Time.

Donald Trump put out a gracious note to Emmanuel Macron on Sunday evening, congratulating him on his win over Marine Le Pen in his bid to claim the French presidency: “Congratulations to Emmanuel Macron on his big win today as the next President of France! I look very much forward to working with him!” Although Trump had words of support for Le Pen earlier this year, he had fallen well short of any formal endorsement. In contrast, during the first round of voting two weeks ago (apparently taking a break from preparing to give $400,000 Wall Street speeches) former President Barack Obama waded into the election by making a much-publicized supportive call to Emmanuel Macron, and Obama made his endorsement of Macron official this past Thursday in a video saying in part: “I know that you face many challenges, and I want all of my friends in France to know how much I am rooting for your success … Because of how important this election is, I also want you to know I am supporting Emmanuel Macron to lead you forward. En March! Vive la France!” And once the results came in on Sunday evening showing that Macron had bested Le Pen, former presidential candidate (and wannabe 2020 presidential candidate) Hillary Clinton weighed in too, managing to make the election results about herself, tweeting out: “Victory for Macron, for France, the EU, & the world. Defeat to those interfering w/ democracy. (But the media says I can’t talk about that).” This was apparently in reference to Macron’s emails being hacked and then made public (like Wikileaks did to Clinton), although this seemed to demonstrate that a candidate can, in fact, win despite some hacked emails. That is, of course, if they’re a halfway decent candidate.

MACRON DEFEATS LE PEN

In the hotly-contested French presidential race between Emmanuel Macron and Marine Le Pen, though the race was closely-watched the official results themselves didn’t end up being too close – Macron defeated Le Pen by a wide margin of roughly 66.06% to 33.94% (more than a 30-point spread) as of the time of this writing. Put simply, in the end the race wasn’t much of a race. Emmanuel Macron – leader of his independent party En Marche! (On the Move!) – and Marine Le Pen – leader of the National Front party – differed strongly on many key issues, and so the French people’s choices were pretty clear. Where Macron favored staying in the European Union, keeping the Euro, bringing in high-skilled labor from outside the country, sanctioning Russia, strengthening the French role in NATO, and allowing for continued immigration (including from Muslim-majority nations), Le Pen took very divergent views – she advocated leaving the EU, ditching the Euro, prioritizing French workers, lifting sanctions on Russia, questioning NATO, and severely restricting (if not ending entirely) immigration from Muslim countries. After they both made it through the first round of voting, Macron consistently polled well ahead of Le Pen, with an average margin of 61.5% to 38.5% – and in the end Macron actually slightly over-performed with Le Pen under-performing slightly. Although some outlets tried pushing the idea that Le Pen really could upset Macron a la the Brexit win and the Trump victory, polling from all three events showed that the French election simply was not comparable, at all, to the British & American elections, and that Macron’s win over Le Pen was never really in doubt.

IT WASN’T BREXIT & IT WASN’T TRUMP:

THE POLLS IN FRANCE GOT IT RIGHT

The first round of voting in the French presidential election took place two weeks ago on April 23, 2017 – and for the first time in French presidential history, neither of the two candidates that emerged to face off against each other for the May 7, 2017 run off were from a major party. Emmanuel Macron of En Marche! (with 23.7%) and Marine Le Pen of the National Front (with 21.7%) defeated leftist Unsubmissive France candidate Jean Luc Melenchon (with 19.5%), Republican Francois Fillon (also with 19.5%), and Socialist Benoit Hamon (with 6.2%). The election results for the first round of voting were almost exactly in line with what the election polling predicted, which was the first major sign that the second round of voting would likely line up with polling as well. As Nate Silver, election data guru of Five Thirty Eight put it back on April 23, 2017:

Emmanuel Macron, a centrist candidate, and Marine Le Pen, of the far-right-wing National Front, will advance to a runoff in the French presidential election, after finishing in the top two positions in a first-round vote on Sunday. Macron is an overwhelming favorite to win the runoff on May 7. But we’re likely to hear two weeks of punditry that draws misleading comparisons between Le Pen, President Trump and Brexit – and that exaggerates Le Pen’s chances as a result. The pre-election polls – which had shown Macron at 24 percent, Le Pen at 22 percent, the center-right François Fillon at 20 percent and the far-left-wing Jean-Luc Mélenchon at 19 percent – should come within a percentage point or two of the final result for each of the top four candidates.”

So the polls for the first round of French voting were accurate down to about one percent, meaning that only an extremely tight race would be likely see a Le Pen win over Macron – put as pointed out earlier, the margin was never close to 1%, or even 10%, as it hovered around 20% or more the entire time. This was vastly different than the polling situation regarding both the June 2016 Brexit vote and the November 2016 Trump-Clinton election, where polls were actually extremely close. As Nate Silver further pointed out:

Before the U.S. election, Trump trailed Hillary Clinton by only about 2 percentage points in the average swing state. In the Brexit vote, the ‘Remain’ campaign’s lead was at least as narrow: about 2 points according to a simple average of polls, or just 0.5 percentage points according to a more complex averaging method. So while Trump’s victory and Brexit were historic events in world history, they were utterly routine occurrences from a polling standpoint; 2- or 3-point polling errors are extremely common.”

Where Trump was just a normal polling error behind Clinton, Le Pen was a gargantuan polling error behind Macron. All of the talk about Le Pen somehow pulling off a Brexit or a Trump were simply not based in reality – the British & American races were pretty tight throughout and were tightening down the homestretch, whereas the French election looked like a blow out from start to finish. Pollsters certainly have a lot to answer for in missing the Brexit & Trump phenomenons by a bit – but any commentators predicting a Le Pen win were never basing that possibility on anything but wishful thinking. While some may have wanted Le Pen to win (and many argued that she would be the preferable candidate), the facts never indicated that it was ever going to happen. Facts don’t care about your feelings, unfortunately.

WHAT THIS ALL MEANS

Many on the Right seemed to see some sort of kinship with Marine Le Pen, based upon her anti-EU and anti-immigration stances, specifically her desire to limit Islamic immigration into France. But French politics is not American politics – there is no limited government, pro-liberty, pro-free markets party in France. Emmanuel Macron certainly didn’t stand for any of those things and neither did Marine Le Pen and neither did the assortment of other candidates who got the boot after the first round. It simply doesn’t exist in France. And though Le Pen was routinely called “Far Right”, this is extremely misleading in an American context, and American conservatives should have been much more hesitant in embracing Le Pen. Jonah Goldberg over at National Review made the distinctions between Le Pen and the American Right pretty clear when he wrote:

As for what constitutes ‘far-right,’ that has come to be defined as a grab bag of bigotry, nativism, and all the bad kinds of nationalism. Le Pen is the youngest daughter of the even more ‘far-right’ anti-Semitic politician Jean-Marie Le Pen, who until recently led the National Front party (FN), which was founded in 1972 by, among others, veterans of the Nazi-collaborationist Vichy government … Le Pen rejects the ‘far-right’ label, preferring a ‘third-way’ approach that has a long intellectual history among nationalists and fascists. She says that the symbiotic issues of immigration and globalization (specifically relating to the European Union) yielded a new politics that ‘no longer put the right and left in opposition, but patriots and globalists’ … Her ‘economic patriotism’ – a mélange of anti-immigration, protectionism, support for civil-service protections, and entitlements (at least for the native-born French) – is an updated variant of old-fashioned national-socialism.”

Le Pen didn’t care about the traditional left-right divide (big government vs. limited government, socialism vs. free markets, and so on), but was clearly much more concerned with the issues of EU globalism vs. French nationalism, advocating at times for policies that are fairly foreign to traditional conservatism inside the United States. The singular issue that did seem to connect her to the Right was her stance on Islamic extremism (and France’s pro-unfettered immigration, pro-open borders policy towards it), a problem that elites in France have ignored for decades:

The topic became radioactive for reasonable politicians, creating an opening for unreasonable ones among the working-class constituencies most affected by immigration. This is precisely what has happened in France. Interviews with Le Pen voters tell this story over and over again. They bemoan the great replacement’ of not only workers but also customs, traditions, and lifestyles brought by waves of immigrants. These resentments are perhaps more acute in France than elsewhere, a country where national identity precedes political and ideological orientations, and where assimilation is narrowly defined. But the same dynamic is playing itself out across Europe and America.”

While many on the American Right didn’t really care that Le Pen was no true conservative (arguing that there were way bigger things at stake than whether she fit such labels), many others have pointed out that her losing out to Macron might not be the worst outcome. Le Pen was no real friend of the United States – her pro-Putin and anti-NATO stances were extremely troubling and her being a pro-abortion socialist didn’t exactly make her some conservative hero – but she did touch on an immigration issue that is roiling Western nations worldwide and fueling anti-elite populist sentiments across the globe. Someone like Le Pen is what you get when your country ignores these problems for far too long. But, as the election results in France showed, sometimes this populism only goes so far. Again, Brexit is not Trump is not Le Pen – and the massive wave that carried ‘Leave’ to a Brexit victory and Trump to a presidential win didn’t make it very far up the French shore.

Stop Trying to Make Hillary Clinton Happen (Again). It’s Not Going to Happen (Ever).

NEW INTERVIEW. NEW PAC. SAME OLD HILLARY.

She’s baaaaaaack (I mean, did she ever really leave?). After six months of perpetually coming out of the woods and then hiking back in, Hillary Clinton seems to have re-emerged from the forest for good like some pantsuited Big Foot, ready to throw some blame around for her stunning loss in November and apparently eager to assume her position as Shadow-President-in-Waiting and as leader of #TheResistance in anticipation of 2020 – if they’ll let her. It’s a turnaround that, to many, seemed unthinkable just a few months ago, but it’s not at all surprising if you’ve been paying attention. By early January 2017, before President Trump had even been inaugurated, Hillary’s assorted supporters, aides, sycophants, & hangers-on were already keeping her name out there by pushing the absurd idea that she’d challenge Bill DeBlasio and run for mayor of New York City later in 2017. This was, of course, a ridiculous idea, but it was an idea that Hillary Co. refused to let die a natural death, with the story continuing to spill tons of digital ink well into February & March as well — all to maintain the idea that she still has a Final Act left. At the same time, a coordinated media effort emerged to prop up the uninteresting & unaccomplished former First Daughter Chelsea Clinton. (Okay, maybe calling her unaccomplished isn’t entirely fair, since her interview of the Geico Gecko is truly a pièce de résistance.) The stilted effort to foist yet another member of the Clinton clan upon us drew, shall we say, some mixed reviews (even some at Vanity Fair would turn on the idea). And so six months of random trial balloons came to an inglorious end – and Hillary Clinton herself finally jumped back into the thick of things with a May 2nd interview with Christiane Amanpour followed swiftly by the (I’m sure purely accidental and not at all coordinated) May 4th leaked announcement that Hillary would be forming yet another political group to take yet even more money from yet even more gullible Democrats. Both the Hillary interview and the new Hillary PAC developments are worth exploring in brief.

 

THE NEW CLINTON INTERVIEW:
HILLARY JOINS “THE RESISTANCE”

Earlier this week, Hillary Clinton sat down with Christiane Amanpour in her first major interview since losing the election last November. It was the very definition of a soft ball interview, but Hillary still managed to make some interesting comments in spite of herself. The most interesting was regarding the responsibility that she herself bore for losing the race, and she answered thusly: “Of course. I take absolute personal responsibility. I was the candidate, I was the person who was on the ballot, and I am very aware of the challenges, the problems, the shortfalls that we had … It wasn’t a perfect campaign – there is no such thing – but I was on the way to winning until the combination of Jim Comey’s letter on October 28th and Russian Wikileaks raised doubts in the minds of people who were inclined to vote for me but got scared off … “As [stats guru] Nate Silver … has concluded, if the election had been on October 27, I’d be your president.” It must’ve been devastating when she found out that the date upon which presidential elections are held is based on Article II, Section 1, Clause 4 of the Constitution, and not on when is most convenient for Hillary Clinton.

Wikileaks revealing that Clinton’s aides were a bunch of sniping, backbiting, conniving hacks certainly didn’t help the campaign. And James Comey revealing that emails had been found on a laptop that was in the FBI’s possession because Clinton right hand gal Huma’s husband Anthony Weiner was under investigation for his sexual conversations with underage girls certainly didn’t help. And now, of course, we know that Huma had been using this same device to send classified information — directly to Anthony Weiner himself! So those things hurt Hillary, no question. Yes, being a corrupt person and having that surreptitiously leaked hurts you. And yes, surrounding yourself with corrupt people whose spouses are themselves under criminal investigations doesn’t help. Pro-tip: don’t be corrupt and don’t surround yourself with corrupt people.

But let’s get real here. Vladimir Putin & James Comey very likely did have some effect on the election. But did Vlad & Jim force her to break federal rules and to handle classified information on an unsecured server? Or did Vlad & Jim force her to essentially cut Republican campaign ads by screaming “What possible difference at this point does it make?” at the Benghazi hearings or by calling a huge swath of the population “Deplorables”? And did Vlad & Jim force her to skip campaigning in Wisconsin & Michigan? Ultimately, when Hillary Clinton points one finger forward, three fingers point right back at her. Or, as CNN’s Jake Tapper snarkily put it, ““Hillary Clinton today accepting full responsibility for the election loss. Except for the part when she blamed Comey, Putin, Wikileaks, misogyny, and the media.”

To sum up her future plans, Hillary told Christiane: “I’m back to being a private citizen – and part of the resistance.” But, as we will see, Hillary Clinton’s idea of “being a private citizen” means asking you for bunches of money and Hillary Clinton’s idea of being “part of” the resistance means, as is always the case with her, being in charge of it.

 

THE NEW CLINTON PAC:

GIVE HILLARY MORE MONEY. SHE SWEARS SHE WON’T WASTE IT THIS TIME.

Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign (when combined with pro-Hillary PACs) spent around $1.2 billion dollars to lose to Donald Trump in embarrassing fashion. And now, according to Axios, it looks like Hillary has decided that she’s ready to get back into the family business of spotlight-chasing, influence-peddling, and collecting & spending other people’s money again (you know, just like any “private citizen”): “Hillary Clinton soon will launch a PAC as a way of ‘acting as a quiet catalyst’ for organizations she cares about, and eventually will help 2018 congressional candidates – but with no intention of making it a vehicle to run for anything herself [editorial note: riiiiight]. According to a source familiar with the planning, the initial focus will be on lifting up organizations that are the product of the energy and activism she has seen since the election, and existing groups that have been reignited and reinvigorated by that energy. She has met with some of these groups, and it’s something she’s become increasingly passionate about with each meeting, the source said.”

POLITICO provides further details regarding the set-up, structure, & mission of the nascent Clinton operation: “The former secretary of state is building a new political group to fund organizations working on the resistance to President Donald Trump’s agenda, spending recent weeks in Washington, New York City, and Chappaqua, N.Y., meeting with donors and potential groups to invest in, and recruiting individuals for the group’s board of directors, multiple people close to the two-time White House hopeful and people familiar with the group’s planning told POLITICO … She is looking to launch the group, expected to be called Onward Together — a nod to her campaign slogan, Stronger Together — as soon as next week, they say … The effort is starting to come together as its leader is increasingly stepping back into the public spotlight — and while her party is still searching for its path ahead. After going quiet for a stretch after the campaign, Clinton has started publicly supporting groups aligned with her main goals, and is now not hesitating to jab at Trump when asked about him.”

In a newly released book, Shattered, we get an inside look at the type of manager Hillary Clinton is by examining her disastrously run Clinton presidential campaign. The same confidants who assisted with the campaign are now among the same people setting up the new Clinton PAC and asking for the new Clinton money. The New York Times review of the book is both fair & damning: “It’s the story of a wildly dysfunctional and ‘spirit-crushing’ campaign that embraced a flawed strategy (based on flawed data) and that failed, repeatedly to correct course. A passive-aggressive campaign that neglected to act on warning flares sent up by Democratic operatives on the ground in crucial swing states, and that ignored the advice of the candidate’s husband, former President Bill Clinton, and other Democratic Party elders, who argued that the campaign needed to work harder to persuade undecided and ambivalent voters (like working-class whites and millennials) instead of focusing so intently on turning out core supporters.” Dysfunctional? Check. Spirit-crushing? Check. Passive-aggressive? Check. Incompetent? Check. Great, now let’s give those same people millions of dollars for their new PAC. What could possibly go wrong?

After years of scandal after scandal being uncovered at the Clinton Foundation, I think it’s fair to say that the one thing that America really doesn’t need is another elaborate Clinton money scheme. And after seeing the criminally incompetent political campaign that Hillary Clinton ran, it’s utterly astonishing that anyone would consider giving a penny to the group (although we all know it’ll be awash in tens of millions soon enough). But at a certain point, enough is enough. I think we reached that “certain point” with the Clintons about a decade ago – and it’s time that the Democrats realize that the Clintons are not only bad for the nation, but they’re nothing but bad news for the Democratic Party too.

 

“I’M WITH HER”? “STRONGER TOGETHER”? “ONWARD TOGETHER”?

HARD PASS.

 

As one recent scathing New York Post op-ed put it: “Clearly, Hillary still sees herself as the leader of the Democratic Party. And why shouldn’t she? Democrats have been locked in an abusive relationship with the Clintons for decades, enabling, explaining, convincing themselves that next time will be different. Party faithful hew to Hillary’s excuses for losing to Donald Trump: It’s James Comey’s fault, plus the Russians, white supremacists, misogynists, the deplorables and immobilized millennials, among other things … Her losses in 2008 and 2016 have been framed as things that happened to Hillary — not one, but two Black Swan events that stymied her historic destiny … How is it that Democrats have fealty here, let alone sympathy? How is it that Hillary routinely walks into standing ovations at Broadway theaters? Where is the realization that Hillary is to blame or the rational rejection of a two-time loser?”

 

In some sense, it really would perfect for #TheResistance to give Hillary one last try. Sure, she lost to Obama in 2008. And sure, she just lost to Donald Trump in 2016. But that makes them a natural fit for eachother. I mean, so far the stunning successes of #TheResistance have included: losing the Kansas special election; coming up short in the Georgia special election (while running a carpetbagger who, mind you, couldn’t even vote for himself in said election, with Democrats spending a cool $5.3 million just to fall flat); getting crushed in the fight over Associate Justice Neil Gorsuch (it’s still fun to write that — Associate Justice Neil Gorsuch); rioting at Berkeley; somehow letting the GOP push the AHCA through the House; and generally seeming like they are totally right on the verge of impeaching Trump just as soon as they manage to make their way out of the paper bag they’re stuck in.

 

Hillary Clinton is a woman who had to rig the DNC process and get debate questions ahead of time (or, in other words, this is a woman who had to cheat) to beat Bernie Sanders in the Democratic primaries. This is a woman who couldn’t even make the infamous Hollywood Access tape stick because of who her husband is, because of the terrible ways in which he himself has treated women, and because of terrible things Hillary herself did to attack & denigrate Bill’s accusers. This is a woman who treated our national security like a joke as she conducted top-secret business on an unsecured, private, hidden server. And this is a woman so devoid of charm, so robotic, and so unlikable that she could never seal the deal against the real estate mogul & reality TV star. But sure. Give even more of your money to the woman who just burned through $1,200,000,000 of it – and lost to Donald Trump anyway. Go ahead. Run Hillary again.

 

Seriously, Democrats: Do you want Trump? Because this is how you got Trump in 2016, and this is how you’ll get him again in four years. So stop trying to make Hillary happen. It’s not going to happen. Ever.