The Counterattack Begins

New York recently passed a law, that allows illegal immigrants to obtain driver’s licenses. That’s flat wrong but they’re not alone. But they went further, they forbade DHS access to DMV records. That had repercussions. From Rachel Bovard in American Greatness.

But on Wednesday, DHS issued its first-ever clap back.

In response to New York’s law, DHS will strip New Yorkers out of the federal “trusted traveler” programs which have served to expedite the state’s cross border trade and travel with Canada for over a decade. Instead, New Yorkers and their businesses will have to do it all the old-fashioned way: with passports, long lines, and repeated customs inspections.

There is good reason for DHS to take this step. “We need to do our job,” acting DHS Secretary Chad Wolf told Fox News.

It’s About More Than Licenses for Illegals

And it’s true. Though New York state may have intended only to block DHS enforcement against undocumented aliens, refusing to share DMV data cuts off a much broader swath of DHS’s ability to police for basic safety.

Due to the state’s new law, customs officers will no longer be able to see who owns the car they are inspecting or pulling over, ascertain whether or not that person is a citizen, or even be informed of any outstanding criminal warrants. This not only puts the officer at risk, but it also hamstrings his ability to identify and arrest violent criminals or help their victims.

Yep, and if you think it through, probably ¾ or more of American contacts with law enforcement are triggered by access to DMV records.

And so DHS strikes back and all those liberal New Yorkers can pay the price at American Ports of Entry. Hard to feel sorry for them since they wanted to signal their virtue. I’ll bet money it will also have an impact on their ability to obtain a security clearance. Throwing sand in the gearbox appears to have repercussions.

Paul Goldberg writing in News Thud tells us that isn’t all, either.

AOC and Ilhan Omar will not be happy. Barr is filing lawsuits, issuing subpoenas and warning Dems running these programs he is looking into filing criminal charges against them if they continue to defy the law.

“When we are talking about sanctuary cities, we are talking about policies that are designed to allow criminal aliens to escape,” Attorney General William P. Barr said in a speech to the National Sheriff’s Association.

“Their express purpose is to shelter aliens whom local law enforcement has already arrested for other crimes. This is neither lawful nor sensible.”

Mr. Barr also warned sanctuaries that he’s ordered his department to review the law and see i9f criminal charges are possible

“This includes assessing whether jurisdictions are complying with our criminal laws, in particular the criminal statute that prohibits the harboring or shielding of aliens in the United States,” he said.

“The department is filing a complaint against the State of New Jersey seeking declaratory and injunctive relief against its laws that forbid state and local law enforcement from sharing vital information about criminal aliens with DHS,” Barr said.

“We are filing a complaint seeking declaratory and injunctive relief against King County, Washington, for the policy … that forbids DHS from deporting aliens from the United States using King County International Airport,” Barr continued.

“Further, we are reviewing the practices, policies, and laws of other jurisdictions across the country.  This includes assessing whether jurisdictions are complying with our criminal laws, in particular the criminal statute that prohibits the harboring or shielding of aliens in the United States,” Barr added, before saying the DOJ would start issuing “federal subpoenas to access information about criminal aliens in the custody of uncooperative jurisdictions.”

Time and past time. But better late than never. Why it’s almost like he believes in the rule of law or something.  Now, Mr. Attorney General, this is all well and good (It really is!) but when should we expect indictments in the jihad against the President?

Performance Failure?

So, the Inspector General’s report on Crossfire Hurricane (the counterintelligence investigation of the Trump campaign) and Carter Page is out. I haven’t read it (and don’t intend to), I have better things to do than read 476 pages of government gobbledegook. But you can if you want to, it’s available here (pdf), from the Justice Department, and Powerline has it in their Scribd as well. What I’m going to do is listen to those who have been proved over time as reliable. One of those is Scott Johnson at PowerLine (linked above), another is Paul Mirendorf, also at PowerLine, and there is also Mollie Hemingway at The Federalist. All three have followed this story much closer than I have, and I have always found them reliable.

The first thing I want to caution you about is to not merely read the executive summary, as so often, it does not match the contents of the document (rather like the IPCC documents, I gather). That is not unusual, everybody and their dog knows that most people only read the executive summary, so you can tell all in the document itself, and spin it like a drill motor in the summary. I think it dishonest, but nobody ever asked me.

By now we all are sick of the phrase “mistakes were made” That seems to come up here as well. In fact, Horowitz documents no less than seventeen serious errors of one kind or another. They happened to all go against the Republicans, but he says he has no evidence of bias. Given an IG’s (lack of) power that is probably so, no one not currently employed by the DOJ has to talk to him, and he has little power. People are not likely to say, “Sure, I broke the law to get Trump”. These people are probably not as smart as they think they are, but they aren’t that stupid.

In any case, seventeen errors and all go one way, the odds of that happening by chance are about 1 in 172,000. That’s slightly worse than getting 3 balls and the Powerball on a ticket. It happens, but not often, in fact, on the last drawing it happened 4 times in Nebraska out of however many million tickets were sold.

And note this, Horowitz said he did not have evidence of political bias, not that there was no political bias, which is what the MSM is already spouting. See the difference in that. Sure, in a sense it’s CYA, but an IG lives in the swamp, what did you expect? Few of us bite the hand that feeds us. IG Horowitz testifies in the Senate tomorrow. Better him than me!

There is going to be a tornado of spin on this, I think. The body of the report, my sources say, is pretty damning for all the players. It also appears that AG Barr and US Attorney Durham, who have actual power, were not amused. Barr said this:

Nothing is more important than the credibility and integrity of the FBI and the Department of Justice. That is why we must hold our investigators and prosecutors to the highest ethical and professional standards. The Inspector General’s investigation has provided critical transparency and accountability, and his work is a credit to the Department of Justice. I would like to thank the Inspector General and his team.

The Inspector General’s report now makes clear that the FBI launched an intrusive investigation of a U.S. presidential campaign on the thinnest of suspicions that, in my view, were insufficient to justify the steps taken. It is also clear that, from its inception, the evidence produced by the investigation was consistently exculpatory. Nevertheless, the investigation and surveillance was pushed forward for the duration of the campaign and deep into President Trump’s administration. In the rush to obtain and maintain FISA surveillance of Trump campaign associates, FBI officials misled the FISA court, omitted critical exculpatory facts from their filings, and suppressed or ignored information negating the reliability of their principal source. The Inspector General found the explanations given for these actions unsatisfactory. While most of the misconduct identified by the Inspector General was committed in 2016 and 2017 by a small group of now-former FBI officials, the malfeasance and misfeasance detailed in the Inspector General’s report reflects a clear abuse of the FISA process.

FISA is an essential tool for the protection of the safety of the American people. The Department of Justice and the FBI are committed to taking whatever steps are necessary to rectify the abuses that occurred and to ensure the integrity of the FISA process going forward.

No one is more dismayed about the handling of these FISA applications than Director Wray. I have full confidence in Director Wray and his team at the FBI, as well as the thousands of dedicated line agents who work tirelessly to protect our country. I thank the Director for the comprehensive set of proposed reforms he is announcing today, and I look forward to working with him to implement these and any other appropriate measures.

With respect to DOJ personnel discussed in the report, the Department will follow all appropriate processes and procedures, including as to any potential disciplinary action.

That’s a pretty strong statement when one remembers that this is the Attorney General of the United States. Disciplinary action could well include a vacation at some of the least pleasant places in the United States.

United States Attorney John Durham (who is charged with the criminal investigation) said this:

I have the utmost respect for the mission of the Office of Inspector General and the comprehensive work that went into the report prepared by Mr. Horowitz and his staff. However, our investigation is not limited to developing information from within component parts of the Justice Department. Our investigation has included developing information from other persons and entities, both in the U.S. and outside of the U.S. Based on the evidence collected to date, and while our investigation is ongoing, last month we advised the Inspector General that we do not agree with some of the report’s conclusions as to predication and how the FBI case was opened.

And that is the preview (I think) at the end of this rather boring movie.

The IG Report

So, the much awaited Inspector General from the Department of Justice is out. I haven’t yet read it, and may not bother. I increasingly detest bureaucratese, and since retiring, avoid it whenever possible. But it is important, and I’m interested, but Mollie Hemingway read it so I don’t have to. In my experience, she often comes to very much the conclusion I would, never exactly, but often close. So, what does she say, in one of those annoying Federalist 11 things posts? 🙂

  1. [And this is perhaps the most important takeaway of all. Who the author reports to and supports matters, especially when many things are subject to interpretation.]Learn How To Interpret An IG Report
    The best way to understand an inspector general (IG) report is less as a fiercely independent investigation that seeks justice and more like what you’d expect from a company’s human resources department. Employees frequently think that a company’s human resources department exists to serve employees. There’s some truth in that, but it’s more true that the human resources department exists to serve the corporation.

    At the end of the day, the HR department wants what’s best for the company. The FBI’s IG Michael Horowitz has a good reputation for good reason. But his report is in support of the FBI and its policies and procedures. As such, the findings will be focused on helping the FBI improve its adherence to those policies and procedures. Those who expected demands for justice in the face of widespread evidence of political bias and poor judgment by immature agents and executives were people unfamiliar with the purpose of IG reports.

    The IG is also a government bureaucrat producing government products that are supposed to be calm and boring. In the previous report that led to Andrew McCabe’s firing as deputy director of the FBI and referral for criminal prosecution, his serial lying under oath was dryly phrased as “lack of candor.” In this report detailing widespread problems riddled throughout the Clinton email probe, the language is similarly downplayed. That’s particularly true in the executive summary, which attempts to downplay the actual details that fill the report with evidence of poor decision-making, extreme political bias, and problematic patterns of behavior.

  2. FBI Agent Who Led Both The Clinton and Trump Probes Promised He’d Prevent Trump’s Election
  3. Comey Mishandled The Clinton Probe In Multiple Ways
  4. Comey Is Slippery And Weird
  5. FBI Has A Massive Leak Problem And Is Doing Nothing About It
  6. FBI Almost Got Away With Ignoring Clinton Emails On Weiner Laptop
  7. Breathtaking Bias
  8. Clinton Got Breaks, But Some Backfired
  9. Obama Lied When He Said He Knew Nothing About Hillary’s Secret E-mail Scheme
  10. FBI Agent Joked Clinton Associate Who Lied Would Never Be Charged, Questioned Legitimacy Of Investigation
  11. FBI’s Insulting Response

 

Other than the first, I just gave you Mollie’s bullet points, she documents them well, and you do need to read them, which you can in her article, 11 Quick Things To Know About The Inspector General’s Report.

And that last one is very troubling. The FBI doesn’t think it has a problem. It does, it has gotten to the point that a fair size plurality of the electorate is calling for its abolition, and with cause. It is out of the control of anybody, and its bullying practices are increasingly abhorrent, as it’s seen that it is no longer properly enforcing the law, but persecuting individually selected people.

After reading a fair number of reports in the last couple days, I think this is the fairest one, not glossing over problems, but neither contributing to the witchhunt. On the other hand, more often than not lately, the worst interpretations have been the most correct, but one continues to hope for a bottom to the swamp. But we may not be to it yet.

Special Counsel

So, we have a Special Prosecutor Counsel. Isn’t that special, well we have it because there is a lot of smoke, not least to find out if there is a fire, swamp gas is burning off, too much grilling in the fog, or somebody bought some army surplus smoke generators and are manufacturing smoke. I think I may know, and so may you, but that doesn’t seem to matter. The farce must play out.

But I suspect it may not go the way the writer of the script thinks, former FBI Director Robert Mueller is fairly obviously well connected, that does not necessarily mean that he is dishonest. He’s also a former Marine Officer decorated for his service in Vietnam. One thing it will do is reduce the volume a bit, and let the Administration do a bit of administrating rather than running around like fools all day long. Well, one hopes anyway!

Best I’ve seen on it comes from Joshuapundit, here’s some…

Rosenstein may even have been told by Trump to appoint a special counsel. It puts this garbage on the back burner somewhat, and will hopefully shut it down. That’s because there’s nothing for Mueller to find on the president and no crime. But just look at Mueller’s actual brief! To supervise the investigation of:

“(i) any links and/or coordination between the Russian government and individuals associated with the campaign of President Donald Trump; and (ii) any matters that arose or may arise directly from the investigation; and (iii) any other matters within the scope of 28 C.F.R. §600.4(a).”

Regulation 28 C.F.R. §600.4(a) is part of the federal regulations that authorize appointing a special counsel. It expands a special counsel’s jurisdiction to all crimes, such as perjury or obstruction of justice, that interfere with his original responsibility.To wit, (ii) any matters that arose or may arise directly from the investigation; and (iii) any other matters within the scope of 28 C.F.R. §600.4(a).”

Think of the ground that could cover! It could definitely include investigating Seth Rich’s murder* and reopening the investigation of the Clinton Foundation that FBI Director Comey closed on Obama AG Loretta Lynch’s orders after she met will Bill Clinton on that plane. It could include compelling testimony from Loretta Lynch herself. It could expand to exploring President Obama’s surveillance of the Trump campaign by President Obama and the clear violations of FISA laws that took place. Imagine some of these juicy scandals coming to light just in time for the midterms…talk about a total reversal of fortune.

In any event, the supposed ‘Comey memo’ if it even exists amounts to hearsay evidence no judge would take seriously. And even if Trump suggested Comey ‘go easy on Flynn’ after he had been fired, that is not obstruction of justice. That crime involves actual overt actions like destroying evidence, perjury, inducing other people to commit perjury, you know, the sort of felonies the Clintons did routinely.

And recall that both ranking member Senators Feinstein (D-CA) and Richard Burr (R-NC),the chairman both said that Trump was not under investigation based on the classified briefing they were given.

Another thing to consider. Comey is a lawyer. As such, he is an officer of the court who is legally obligated to report a crime like obstruction of justice. Yet he did not…until now. That could be grounds for disbarment.

Do read it all at the link above.

Who knows, Special Counsels are official loose cannon, nobody (usually including them) know where an investigation like this is likely to go, and that’s if the Counsel (and staff) are honest. It may be the worst thing Trump could do, it may also be the best, only time will tell.

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