This Confirms What I’m Hearing




The pre-dawn raid of Paul Manafort’s condo confirms what I have been hearing. Mueller’s investigators have moved beyond the President and his family to his campaign team. In fact, I continue to hear that the investigators and the grand jury are far more interested in Manafort, Carter Page, and Mike Flynn, than the Trump family.

This, of course, gives the Trump family some plausible deniability if it all pans out, though until the investigation concludes the black clouds will linger.



What would be funny is if this does not pan out like the left hopes. They have largely built their entire 2018 campaign around Russia stealing the election. If Manafort et al are rounded up for ancillary shenanigans and there is no proof of an electoral theft, there won’t be much of a message left for the left.

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.

House Intelligence Chair Doesn’t Believe FBI Had a Warrant to Record Flynn

Now that former National Security Advisor Michael Flynn has fallen on the sword for speaking with Russian officials and lying to Vice President Mike Pence about the conversation, one member of Congress is wondering whether the recording of the conversation with the Russians was done on the up-and-up.

Devin Nunes (R-CA), the chairman of the House Select Intelligence Committee, has said that it’s not clear whether the FBI had a warrant to record Flynn in the first place.

“Any intelligence agency cannot listen to Americans’ phone calls,” Nunes told reporters Tuesday night. “If there’s inadvertent collection that you know is overseas there’s a whole process in place for that.”

He explained, “It’s pretty clear that’s not the case, so then they could have been listening to someone else and inadvertently picked up an American. If that happens, there’s a whole process in place to where they have to immediately get rid of the information unless it’s like high level national security issue and then someone would have to unmask the name — someone at the highest levels.”

“So in this case it would be General Flynn and then how did that happen. Then if they did that, then how does all that get out to the public which is another leak of classified information,” Nunes added. “I’m pretty sure the FBI didn’t have a warrant on Michael Flynn.”

Nunes is demanding that the FBI explain itself, but of course Flynn has already resigned. Republicans aren’t the only ones looking into the matter. Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) is calling for an investigation into the Flynn situation, along with “other Trump personnel,” whatever that means. Schumer has asked Attorney General Jeff Sessions to recuse himself from any investigation.

I have a feeling we haven’t heard that last of the Michael Flynn story. Not by a longshot.

BREAKING: Obama Loyalists Planted the Stories to Oust Mike Flynn. All to Save the Terrible Iran Deal.

Yes, Mike Flynn lied to the Vice President. Yes, I am glad he is gone. I never much cared for him and think his ties to Russia were more than a little problematic. But the process under which he was forced to resign is a bad situation. If we start cheering outcomes we like, letting the ends justify the means, we will see the creeping authoritarianism come in that people claim Trump supports.

Notwithstanding that, the Washington Free Beacon has the amazing details of what went down to get Flynn to resign. It appears Obama Administration loyalists have been coordinating a media campaign to discredit Flynn and plant seeds of distrust.

The effort, said to include former Obama administration adviser Ben Rhodes—the architect of a separate White House effort to create what he described as a pro-Iran echo chamber—included a small task force of Obama loyalists who deluged media outlets with stories aimed at eroding Flynn’s credibility, multiple sources revealed.

The operation primarily focused on discrediting Flynn, an opponent of the Iran nuclear deal, in order to handicap the Trump administration’s efforts to disclose secret details of the nuclear deal with Iran that had been long hidden by the Obama administration.

Insiders familiar with the anti-Flynn campaign told the Free Beacon that these Obama loyalists plotted in the months before Trump’s inauguration to establish a set of roadblocks before Trump’s national security team, which includes several prominent opponents of diplomacy with Iran. The Free Beacon first reported on this effort in January.

The Free Beacon has all the details.

BREAKING: Mike Flynn Resigns

I was just sitting down to type that White House sources were telling me they expected Mike Flynn to be forced out by tomorrow afternoon, but now word is coming out that he has resigned.

There is a steady drumbeat coming from the Jeff Sessions’ led Department of Justice that Flynn is a high risk and some reports suggest he could be compromised by the Russians if they wanted.

Flynn lied to Vice President Pence about his conversations with the Russians, which got the ball rolling on his termination. This resignation saves face and, I suspect, will help dispense with the notion that he was fired by the Obama Administration for calling out radical Islam. In fact, Flynn was fired from heading the Defense Intelligence Agency for a disruptive and chaotic management style.

Conservative friends of mine who work in the DIA tell me they cheered when he was fired and were dismayed that Trump would bring him back. That did not even last a month.

The Coming Trump Shakeup Should Start With Mike Flynn, Not Reince Preibus

Donald Trump is headed towards an administrative shakeup and it looks like he is headed in the wrong direction. The growing conventional wisdom is that he is going to toss out Sean Spicer and/or Reince Preibus in favor of the folks who are causing the most problems.

Conservatives have long been suspicious of Reince Preibus given his establishment pedigree, but his position as White House Chief of Staff makes him the first person to ever inhabit that office who is an evangelical, Bible believing Christian. That should, on world view alone, slow down the “toss Reince” movement. People have blamed him for a lot of things outside his control and blamed him for GOP issues that were not within his control all because he was chairman of the RNC. And now he is getting blamed for other people’s bad behavior.

On Spicer, I think the White House would be smart to move him into the Director of Communications role and out of the press room. Communications is where he excels. Day to day press dealings is not his speciality. He would be better directing the message instead of giving it.

The real shakeup, though, probably is not going to happen. It was neither Spicer nor Preibus who rushed out the immigration executive order without talking to people. That was Bannon and Miller. It was not Spicer or Preibus who vetoed a provision allowing green card holders back into the country. That was Bannon and Miller.

Likewise, it was not Spicer or Preibus who sent out Vice President Pence to give false information regarding Mike Flynn’s call with the Russians. That was Flynn himself.

Just compare and contrast the roll out of the immigration executive order and Neil Gorsuch. One was amateur hour, the other was professionally done.

Trump, perhaps, does not need to toss people out on the street. He should, however, streamline the office and let Preibus actually run it. Trump has long positioned himself as a man who lets all comers have access to him. As President, that becomes problematic because everyone wants access. Access is power. But too many are letting power go to their heads.

The President would be smart to let Preibus manage the office and access. Give Kellyanne Conway plenary power to go to the President whenever she wants. She has the pulse of conservatives and can alleviate any and all concerns any might have about Preibus shutting out conservatives. She is absolutely and thoroughly competent.

Bannon is going to Bannon and Preibus cannot stop him. So that will be another area of engagement for the President with non-establishmentarian voices.

Jared Kushner will make sure liberal policies are not ignored, but will also make sure his father-in-law is up to speed where it counts.

Before the President shakes up the management of his office, he ought to at least allow his Chief of Staff to manage it. He should also allow his Chief of Staff to deal with Mike Flynn. As we are seeing, despite Flynn’s claims to the contrary, he was fired as the head of the Defense Intelligence Agency for his disruptive and chaotic management style, not because he spoke truth to power. Flynn lying to Vice President Pence must be dealt with ruthlessly and forcefully.

Why Should We Believe Anything Brian Williams Calls ‘Fake News’?

“Fake news for me, not for thee,” is the battle cry of the liberal media. The king of spinning bar tales as true life harrowing heroics, Brian Williams, has gone after retired Gen. Mike Flynn because of his son’s tweet.

Williams weighed in:

Flynn’s son was fired by the Trump transition today for passing on fake news story via Twitter. But his dad, the retired Army three-star general has passed on some gems himself.

There is absolutely no reason to believe anything Williams says. The man is totally devoid of any authority on making up stories, since he himself, for years, peddled all kinds of lies about Chinook helicopters and Iraq in 2003.

“While on Nightly News on Friday, January 30, 2015, Brian misrepresented events which occurred while he was covering the Iraq War in 2003. It then became clear that on other occasions Brian had done the same while telling that story in other venues. This was wrong and completely inappropriate for someone in Brian’s position,” [NBC president Deborah] Turness said.

Then there was Williams’ lies about reporting on Hurricane Katrina. Basically, nothing this man says can be taken seriously. He’s become the butt of every exaggerated story and bar tale lie joke in the past two years.

For the liberal press, it’s totally okay for someone who was suspended–but not fired–to criticize the incoming Trump administration for actually firing someone who arguably committed a much less serious infraction of “fake news.” Journalists spewing falsehoods for years is far worse than a presidential transition aide’s single tweet.

But the left has a mission to make “fake news” the reason Trump won–having failed at making rigged elections and blatant racism the reason. So they’ll continue to forgive their own sins while magnifying every misstep of anyone ever so slightly connected with Trump. I guess Matthew 7:5 only applies when liberal use it against Christians.