Donald Trump

Trump's Continuing Commentary on Criminal Cases Reflects His Disdain for the Rule of Law

The president remains frankly puzzled by the distinction between can and should.

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After publicly criticizing President Donald Trump's habitual commentary on federal criminal cases, Attorney General William Barr reportedly is threatening to resign if it continues. Trump, meanwhile, not only shows no sign of heeding Barr's admonition; he does not seem to understand the concerns that motivated it. In fact, Trump thinks he has shown remarkable restraint.

"I chose not to be involved," the president told reporters yesterday, referring to the revised sentencing recommendation for longtime Trump crony Roger Stone. "I'm allowed to be totally involved. I'm actually, I guess, the chief law enforcement officer of the country, but I've chosen not to be involved."

The attorney general is usually described as the federal government's "chief law enforcement officer"—a designation endorsed by the White House as well as the Justice Department. But Trump is alluding to the argument that the president, who is in charge of the executive branch and has a constitutional duty to "take care that the laws be faithfully executed," is the ultimate wielder of that power. Barr, after all, answers to Trump, not the other way around. If Trump does not like the way Barr is running the Justice Department, he can always replace him with someone else.

But can is not the same as should—a distinction that seems to elude Trump. It would be one thing if Trump fired Barr because he thought the attorney general was doing a poor job of implementing the administration's policies. It would be another thing if Barr got the boot because Trump thought the Justice Department should stop prosecuting his friends and start prosecuting his enemies.

Both decisions are within Trump's power, but the latter is an abuse of his power, because faithful execution of the laws precludes using them to grant favors and exact revenge. This is precisely the sort of banana-republic corruption that people had in mind during the impeachment debate when they rejected the idea that Congress can remove the president only if he violates a criminal statute.

When it comes to presidential meddling in criminal cases, appearances matter. The president should not undermine the rule of law by ordering the Justice Department to make prosecutorial decisions based on his own personal or political interests. Nor should he undermine public confidence in the rule of law by making it look like he is giving such instructions. Those norms help protect the Justice Department's independence, which in turn helps protect all of us from the whims of a vindictive president.

Speaking of appearances, Barr overrode the initial sentencing recommendation for Stone, which called for a prison term of seven to nine years, after Trump condemned it as "horrible and unfair." The amended sentencing memorandum recommends "a sentence of incarceration far less" than the one originally proposed. Barr says he decided to file the new memorandum before Trump's tweet, based on his own view of what was "fair and reasonable in this particular case," rather than the president's personal objections. Whether or not you buy that, Barr clearly believes the distinction is important, while Trump does not get what all the fuss is about.

Trump calls Barr "a straight shooter" and "a man with great integrity" but does not seem to understand what that means. "I do make his job harder," he acknowledged yesterday, and he plans to continue doing so. "Social media, for me, has been very important because it gives me a voice, because I don't get that voice in the press. In the media, I don't get that voice."

Leaving aside the risible claim that the world's most powerful politician has trouble getting his message across, Trump's insistence on expressing his opinions about which criminal cases federal prosecutors should and should not pursue reflects not just his notorious lack of discretion but his disdain for the very idea that justice should be blind. While that goal may always be more of an aspiration than a reality, Trump does not even seem to think it is worth pursuing.

"I am not supposed to be involved with the Justice Department," Trump complained in a 2017 radio interview. "I'm not supposed to be involved with the FBI. I'm not supposed to be doing the kind of things I would love to be doing, and I am very frustrated by it." After more than three years in office, Trump remains frankly puzzled by the notion that he should restrain himself to protect the integrity of the criminal justice system.

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  1. Leaving aside the risible claim that the world’s most powerful politician has trouble getting his message across, Trump’s insistence on expressing his opinions about which criminal cases federal prosecutors should and should not pursue reflects not just his notorious lack of discretion but his disdain for the very idea that justice should be blind. While that goal may always be more of an aspiration than a reality, Trump does not even seem to think it is worth pursuing.

    If the President can’t criticize and hold the federal prosecutors who work for him to account, then who can? Do you have an answer for that you fascist little fucking twit?

    According to Sullumn justice being blind, means having a cadre of anonymous bureaucrats empowered with the most complex and powerful criminal code in the world and the assets of the largest and richest government in history making proprietorial decisions beyond the account of anyone including those elected to the nation’s highest office.

    It is beyond words how disgusting this is. Sullumn has always been awful and stupid but this is a new low.

    1. It’s like you read the article, but then pretended like it said something else.

      1. I read the article and understand what it said. The fact that you are either too stupid or too dishonest to do the same is your problem not mine. I am sure life is a lot harder for you being that stupid.

        1. Ahahahahah. Sparcasmic has a fuck date ahahahahhahaajha

          1. ITT, Jeff is proven wrong repeatedly, petulantly demands an apology while lying about what he actually did, then runs away because I proved him wrong and he is too petty and small to accept it.

            1. Also, I’ve been outed as the mastermind behind John. Thank Jeff for that, so it’s obviously credible.

        2. John, the point is that appearances matter. This is how the swamp protects itself, and why people still have some faith in our system. It’s not like he said Stone could be his brother.

          1. “appearances matter.”

            Indeed. Consider appearances regarding –

            Hillary and classified information
            Comey and the above
            Rice and the serial unmaskings of political opponents
            McCabe and lies under oath
            (I could continue)

            Oh, wait, you weren’t expressing concern about those, were you?

      2. Why do you say that? I agree with John here. The implication of the article is clear: it’s somehow wrong for Trump to express opinions about the federal prosecutors who work for him. The natural question is, well, who directs them?

        Another implication is that the president’s intervention somehow makes justice less “blind.” Are we to believe that federal prosecutors are saintly beings who do not have their own biases? Would justice be more blind left up to a technocratic cadre that cannot be held accountable?

        1. That was really blind justice when longtime DC Swamp Critter/Deep Stater Comey The Clown decided longtime DC Swamp Critter H. Rob ‘Em Clinton’s turning the State Dept. into the Clinton Foundation State Dept.& then using a private e-mail to hide the greedy lawlessness, then being found out & then deleting all the hundreds of thousands of e-mails & then lying about was just simple “carelessness”!

          That decision was really blind!

        2. “Are we to believe that federal prosecutors are saintly beings who do not have their own biases?”

          +1 Milton Friedman – “Just tell me where in the world you find these angels.”

      3. Funny of you to assume John can read.

        1. If John was willing to slum it and write for this shit show, he’d be one of the three best writers, alongside Hirsanyi and Stossel.

          1. I’m glad I wasn’t drinking or eating when I read that.

            1. There’s bound to be a market for old men yelling at kids on their lawn in written form.

              1. Someone should ask Sevo for tips.

                1. You three should just fuck already.

                2. Holy fuck, the retard leftists are having an orgy here.

                  1. In lefty circle jerks, does everyone use his left hand?

                3. “Someone should ask Sevo for tips.”

                  OK, study for your tests; maybe you can get out of 6th grade *this* year.
                  Oh, and fuck off. you pathetic piece of shit.

              2. Doesn’t Bolshevik Bernie do that?

            2. We’re still on for eating and drinking at the House of Blues?

              1. Trying to be sure I wasn’t Tulpafied…

                1. You wouldn’t know if you were fuckboy.

              2. Yes we are.

                1. Ahahah TWO ARE ACTUALLY GOIING TO FUCK AGAHAHHAHAHAHAAHHA

                  No wonder you’re constantly sucking each other off on this site aahahahahhajajaaj

                  1. Question is who pays or do they both just ditch the bill.

                    1. Lolol and who is the bottom ahahhha

                  2. https://music.youtube.com/watch?v=LRVMUOYTc3Y&feature=share

                    Gonna see it live!

                    Muahaha haha a ahh I’m out of breath. Getting old sucks. Kids. Avoid it if you can. Whew!

                    1. Hey cool, tell Al that I said hey. Will Gibby actually be there?

                      Oh wait, you probably don’t know Al.

                      Man of all the bands you pick, it had to be one of the handful I did electronics for lololol

                      God, it must fucking kill you that I could get a backstage pass right now with a phone call.

                      And don’t let Sparky fuck you, word on the street is he’s… Ahem… Buggy.

                    2. God, I think you crowing about seeing a band that I actually have an album credit for is better than when you admitted I was smarter and more well read than you loollolol

            3. Well, he would need a copy editor, that’s for damned sure. And I’m pretty sure he wouldn’t want to crank out the sheer amount of text it looks like Reason demands from its writers each day. Especially on what they probably pay.

              But I don’t think the thesis is wrong. I wouldn’t mind at all if they gave the keys to some of the commenters. Ken comes to mind. So does John.

              1. Good heavens. If John were to write articles here, they would be about “Republicans are just misunderstood, but Democrats are EEEEVIL, and oh yeah there’s this thing called liberty that I’m supposed to care about”

                1. Put it this way. I’ve told to other people, Ken’s comparison about legality of foreign policy action versus the proper classification being whether it was good for the US or bad for the US.

                  I’ve used John’s argument about looking at the tradeoffs in free trade when looking at the whole effect on the lower working class. Specifically, the idea that, though their pre-trade agreement higher-salary manufacturing jobs would be going away in favor of lower salary service industry jobs, the sheer number of lower priced goods coming in would be enough that—on net—the workers would be better off. Or not, but that’s the tradeoff analysis one would have to do—something I’d never read from the actual paid writers at Reason.

                  All I think of when I bother to read your posts is regret that you feel it necessary to waste your time here. I learn little from you, except to remind myself to look out so I don’t sound half as crazy and deranged as you do.

                  1. Wait… you didn’t learn anything from his metaphor of Soleimani as a harmless house intruder?

            4. He’d be a massive improvement over most of the writers.

              Hell, most of the commenters here period would be a significant improvement.

              1. Thanks. And a lot of the commentators would be.

                1. Well thank you.

                  1. So this is what a circle jerk looks like!

                    1. Please stop narrating what is happening in your apartment.

            5. IIRC Hirsanyi hasn’t been here in years though.

          2. I don’t think they let Harsanyi write here anymore. He’s as dead to Reason as the late intern who wrote the TPP was a flaming bag of tyranny, central-planning and dogshit that bore no relationship to “free trade”.

            1. He was their best writer but never caught the TDS. Just didn’t fit in anymore.

    2. Reason just hates that Trump can bypass Deep State Globalist gatekeepers.

      #EnemyOfThePeople

  2. How can exercising a constitutional authority be an abuse? If people at the DOJ don’t agree with what they are being told to do they can quit. Also Barr made the decision about the sentencing BEFORE Trump’s tweet. C’mon Sullum do a little bit of research.

  3. Barr overrode the initial sentencing recommendation for Stone, which called for a prison term of seven to nine years, after Trump condemned it as “horrible and unfair.”

    In an Alternate Universe:
    Barr overrode the initial sentencing recommendation for Stone, which called for a prison term of seven to nine years, after Trump condemned it as “horrible and unfair, since any reasonable prosecutor would recommend life in prison, or at least 25 years.”

    1. Truth be told, Stone should not even have been tried for anything!….Another scam/sham Deep State BS farce!

  4. Jacob: doesn’t your commentary presume that the Justice Department is indeed acting to, using your words, “protect the integrity of the criminal justice system”?

    Haven’t we both seen enough to know that this isn’t (always/ever) the case? And, in such cases, wouldn’t Presidential involvement seek to correct for the errors of the so-called professional staff?

    1. Sure he has. Everyone has. The difference is that it bothers you. It only bothers Sullumn if it is happening to the wrong people. Sullumn is happy to see DOJ convict innocent people as long as Sullmn doesn’t like them or agree with their politics. Sullumn is principled like that.

      Sullumn is just a garbage human being.

      1. Crazy John, ladies and gentlemen. For a guy who apparently gets paid to do nothing you sure have a sour attitude.

        1. Awww he was right and you hate it lolol cry more

      2. Sullum just needs to stay in his lane. Outside it, he’s hopeless.

  5. Tldr: Orange twitter account bad!!!!!

    1. TLDR comments- snowflakes upset someone is rightfully calling out their cult leader.

      1. I like that you got triggered by that comment.

  6. I wonder what kind of response Obama got for telling the Supreme Court they had decided wrongly. Of course, that was after the fact, not before; but I doubt he was stealthy quiet for 8 years. He also let us the whole world know what he thought about a cop and the black homeowner he mistreated.

    There’s the whole Citizens United bitterness.

    Let’s not forget RBG foretelling how she’d feel about quite a few cases which are likely to come before the Supreme Court.

    All the Dem candidates have told us how they’d destroy billionaires and corporations and deplorables.

    Near as I can tell, the only real difference twixt Trump and the rest is that Trump doesn’t have a stealth mode.

    And besides, Trump can pardon anybody he wants for Federal crimes, and fire the Attorney General at his leisure.

    1. Not according to Sullumn he can’t. The DOJ is above all reproach and accountability.

      1. Reason seems to have gone from “The FBI should be above the executive branch” to the ENTIRE DOJ should be.

        And this is AFTER the whole FISA debacle.

    2. Trump has twitter and thank god he does otherwise we wouldn’t know what he is thinking without the media to tell us what they think he said

  7. “Integrity of the criminal justice system”.

    That’s rich, coming from a Reason writer.

  8. Former Memphis City Schools Board President Tomeka Hart revealed Wednesday that she was the foreperson of the jury that convicted former Trump adviser Roger Stone on obstruction charges last year — and soon afterward, her history of Democratic activism and a string of her anti-Trump, left-wing social media posts came to light.

    Hart even posted specifically about the Stone case before she was selected to sit on the jury, as she retweeted an argument mocking those who considered Stone’s dramatic arrest in a predawn raid by a federal tactical team to be excessive force. She also suggested President Trump and his supporters are racist and praised the investigation conducted by Special Counsel Robert Mueller, which ultimately led to Stone’s prosecution.

    Meanwhile, it emerged that U.S. District Judge Amy Berman Jackson had denied a defense request to strike a potential juror who was Obama-era press official with admitted anti-Trump views — and whose husband worked at the same Justice Department division that handled the probe leading to Stone’s arrest.

    1. All of those things are going to result in the conviction being overturned. The judge has to know that. The fact that she is allowing the verdict to stand knowing that it will be overturned on appeal shows that she doesn’t care and seeks to punish Stone with the process of appealing since she can’t punish him with a lawful conviction.

      This is the sort of “integrity” that Sullumn is defending here.

      1. I can’t find the article, but someone is arguing that the 96%/4% Dem to GOP ration of the jury pool means a fair trial is impossible in DC and the venue should always be moved in a political case in the interest of fairness.

      2. What I want to see are some perjury convictions for jurors lying during voir dire or on their jury questionnaires.

        Not going to happen, but I can dream.

        We’re supposed to believe that this was a randomly selected jury from the entire D.C. jury pool, and it just happened to have a juror like Hart, or a juror whose spouse worked to investigate the defendant?

  9. “the integrity of the criminal justice system”. What fucking integrity? At what point in the last two decades have you seen integrity? What I see is a system that treats Washington elites and their pals as above the rules, and everyone else as peasants to be crushed into dust. You saw it with Ross Ulbricht’s treatment in the Silk Road case, with Clinton’s ability to destroy evidence, the IRS scandal, all the Intelligence heads who lied on camera to congress and were never charged with anything while Stone had the system collapse on him like a ton of, well, stones. Hell, fucking EPSTEIN is a perfect example with his first arrest! Only house arrest for being a pedo, do you think any regular person would get that? The Trump presidency constantly having to defend itself against a corrupt, politicized FBI for the first 3 years has been one giant FUCK YOU to the American voters. Appearances matter? I don’t remember the Democrats rending their garments and ripping out their hair when Obama decided to utterly destroy some cop’s life for daring to give a teacher he knew a ticket. Where was this “integrity for the CJ system” when he had his attorney general meeting on the tarmac with Billy Clinton? How about when he targeted a US citizen for investigation for Benghazi, when he knew that the guy had nothing to do for it?!

    And that’s just at the federal level, I’m not even begun on the local and state level where you have AGs going after energy companies for the political crime of not being pro-green, or cops being able to do whatever they want, whether its rape, steal, or murder, and then get off scot-free on “qualified immunity”. You can get more time for having a joint than for committing a violent crime! We have 1 out of every 100 people in the country in jail, that is not the mark of a successful criminal justice system!

    Our criminal justice system is fucked, the only difference here is that Trump isn’t one of the cool elites, and so isn’t supposed to act like he’s above the law. He’s not doing anything different than what the last guy did, he just isn’t Jake’s candidate. Keep hoping for those cocktail parties, Sullum, you Vox reject.

    1. Your ideas intrigue me and I wish to subscribe to your newsletter.

      1. Yeah, sorry about the essay. Sometimes it’s just better to let it all out though instead of holding it in

    2. He’s not doing anything different than what the last guy did,

      If you find yourself saying/typing this phrase, you should really stop and shut the fuck up about anyone ever doing the thing in question again forever.

      1. If you find yourself saying/typing, you should really stop and shut the fuck up

        1. Wow, snappy comeback and timely delivery.

          1. Says the king of “I’ll steal Tulpas cry more because I literally have nothing better”

            “Wow, snappy comeback and timely delivery.”

            I rest my case, Sparcasmic.

      2. “He’s not doing anything different than what the last guy did,…”

        Yeah, don’t dare call out sincere unbiased selective outrage directed at the bad orange man. What’s wrong with you?

    3. The thing is most rightwingers didn’t give much of a shit about the injustices of our criminal justice in fact they were the architects and more ardent supporters of the worst of it. It wasn’t until the crime boss Trump came along that tunes started changing. It’s been amazing watching the neanderthals turn on the very police state they created.

      1. I know, right? Before 2016, “criminal justice reform” was code words for letting the criminals out of jail. Now, “criminal justice reform” is a proud Trump legacy. WTF?

        1. “I know, right?”

          Along with “Here come the…” this is the way you start 60% of your posts.

          Get better. You’re not convicing anyone of anything, and you sound like you’re 11.

          1. 60%? Knowing you, that is probably a quantitative estimate, considering how closely you follow what I write here on Reason.

            1. That you don’t deny it means you know how terrible your writing is.

        2. The reform that continued a pattern of lawfare, in the political arena, almost exclusively against the right? Such as against Ted Steven’s and Rick Perry?

          The criminal justice reform advocated by democrats in the 80s to appease inner city drug war advocates?

          The reform pushed by fucking Tipper Gore?

          The lack of any actual quantitative reform prior to 2016 by the left?

          You’re a fucking ignorant leftist.

  10. https://www.rawstory.com/2020/02/julian-assange-says-he-was-promised-a-trump-pardon-if-he-would-lie-about-russias-dnc-hacking/

    James Doleman
    @jamesdoleman
    Breaking, at pre-trial hearing for Julian Assange a court has heard that he will be calling a witness who will allege he was offered a pardon by the US government, if he would say Russia was not involved in the leak of DNC documents during the 2006 election.

    6,892
    11:18 AM – Feb 19, 2020

    Ben Lewis

    @benlewismedia
    Julian Assange court appearance today- His lawyer mentioned a statement, that alleges former US Congressman Dana Rohrabacher visited Assange, saying he was there on behalf of the President, offering a pardon if JA would say Russia had nothing to do with DNC leaks. @SBSNews

    5,848
    11:49 AM – Feb 19, 2020

    hmmm

    1. Oh, that is certainly rich.

      1. “Oh, that is certainly rich.”

        But does it rise to the level of Seth Rich?

        And Assange turned that offer down? That embassy food must have been irresistible.

    2. What access does Rohrabacher have and why would he be the one making the offer?

      1. Because Rohrabacher is a true believer. Trump is lying now, big surprise, and claiming he’s never even met the guy even though they had face to face meetings in the Whitehouse around the same time Assange was approached with the bribe.

        1. No one cares nor will they care. And as Nardz points out below, why would they offer him a pardon for saying what he has been saying since July of 2016.

          Give it up.

    3. So, the story is that some Congressman offered Assange a pardon to continue saying what he’s been saying since July 2016?

      And that headline is a bald faced lie, as Assange has always – as in every single time it’s come up – denied Russian involvement in the DNC leaks Wikileaks published.

  11. So Sullum really has no argument against the notion that the President is the AG’s boss and therefore the boss of the Justice Department?

    One can say that Trump tweeting across Barr’s bows is bad management form, but it is not a Constitutional crisis.

    1. It is a damned sight better than ‘accidental’ meetings on airport tarmac.

  12. To all of the Sullum haters then:
    So what’s the alternative?
    I agree that the system needs to be changed. Changed how? Don’t just vent and whine, offer something constructive.

    1. I wouldn’t call myself a Sullum hater or an orange mag bad type, but:

      My problem with his take here is that it suggests that presidential “interference” in his own underlings’ duties somehow makes justice “less blind” than letting them act with impunity. I don’t really understand that. I don’t understand how an elected official directing prosecutions is somehow worse than an unaccountable cadre of technocrats doing it. Yes, democracy has many failings, but at least there’s a chance of getting rid of the guy you don’t like.

      To the question of how to change it: it’s a multifaceted problem. First of all, most federal crimes should either be state crimes or, more likely, not crimes at all. Second, reduce immunity that prosecutors have from being personally liable for some kind of negligent prosecution. Those would be legislative issues, of course.

      1. My problem with his take here is that it suggests that presidential “interference” in his own underlings’ duties somehow makes justice “less blind” than letting them act with impunity. I don’t really understand that.

        The president is a politician who is elected with expressly political motives to achieve an agenda.

        Career officials are not politicians elected to serve an expressly political agenda. Presumably, they are paid to do their job in a professional manner.

        So when a politician tries to stick his thumb on the scales of justice, it is not a difficult inference to make that the politician is doing so in order to serve his political agenda, and not to serve the cause of justice.

        1. I agree that it is a reasonable inference to make, ceteris paribus, that a politician putting his thumb on the scales of justice is trying to serve political ends. Where I disagree is that the technocratic bureaucracy is any less political, or that they won’t serve their own ends just as much as a politician. The main difference is that a politician is somewhat more accountable to those he rules.

          1. What is the political agenda of the technocratic bureaucracy?

            And yes people will serve their own ends and act in an unprofessional manner, that is why there ought to be standards for professional conduct which ought to be enforced.

            1. What is the political agenda of the technocratic bureaucracy?

              The perpetuation of the bureaucracy, an increase of its funding and authority, and the ability to dispense favors.

              that is why there ought to be standards for professional conduct which ought to be enforced.

              By whom? Elected officials are one option.

              In any case, serious question: do you not agree with public choice economics? To me, that field makes a pretty strong case against technocracy and the “public interest theory” of regulation.

              1. Their biases are even more than that. We have open evidence of career officials using their offices to push for political purposes. It is open. It is on fucking social media. Aside from known leaks we have employees on cameras admitting to using government resources for politics.
                https://www.projectveritas.com/2018/09/19/breaking-deep-state-unmasked-doj-official-resists-from-inside-cant-get-fired-leaks-at-hhs/

                Jeff is just this fucking dumb.

                1. I don’t believe a damn thing from Project Veritas. You might as well be quoting The Onion.

                  Why not cite a reputable source for your claim.

                  1. Yeah, videotaped evidence is crap. We need second hand inferences and opinions, just like the impeachment!

                  2. The most detestable thing about you is that, your unapologetic willingness to go fully fallacious. You always seem proud to be so willing to dispense that fallacy, like you think your intellectual limitations are a boon of some kind.

                    “Why not cite a reputable source for your claim.”

                    1) because your errors are not a reason to cater to you

                    2) because you’re not the arbiter of reputable, nor is anyone else.

                    3) because ad homming a source is an unvarnished admission that said source refuted your argument and is unassailable.

                    1. PV’s reputation is crap. They manipulate video and lie by omission, constantly. If you want me to believe your claim, then do so by citing a reputable source. If you just want to push narratives and trick people into believing bullshit claims, then keep doing what you’re doing.

                    2. “PV’s reputation is crap”

                      I covered your propensity to make this error in the previous post, try to keep up. Repeating it doesn’t make it any less of an error. Justifying it doesn’t make it any less of an error. It just makes you look worse.

                    3. And… I agree that they see untrustworthy. Which has exactly nothing to do with each individual instance of reporting.

              2. The perpetuation of the bureaucracy, an increase of its funding and authority, and the ability to dispense favors.

                I would say these are more institutional agendas, rather than political ones. Any bureaucracy is going to make decisions to try to perpetuate itself regardless of whether it’s a government bureaucracy or not.

                By whom? Elected officials are one option.

                Well there are

                In any case, serious question: do you not agree with public choice economics? To me, that field makes a pretty strong case against technocracy and the “public interest theory” of regulation.

                To me that speaks more to what the regulation is, not how it is implemented. Public choice theory (again I’m not a huge expert on the matter, so feel free to correct me if I’m wrong) says that politicians will enact laws that serve to benefit themselves rather than some diffuse “public interest”. And I broadly agree with that. The task of implementing those laws or regulations, no matter how ill-advised, should fall to competent professionals, not cronies and lackeys.

                If you give politicians control over who populates the bureaucracy as well, then public choice theory says that the politicians will choose to staff the bureaucracy in ways to perpetuate their own power. And that is exactly what happened back when the US had the spoils system.

                1. “I would say these are more institutional agendas, rather than political ones”

                  You would say that because you Haye being wrong, and ate, and that is irrefutable proof. So you redefine it.

                  But those INSTITUTIONS exist because of POLITICS.

                  So your dodge fail, and it is a distinction without a difference.

                  1. Shush, people are trying to have a discussion here.

                    1. Yes we ars, and you’re redefining things to avoid being wrong and ignoring points that prove it such as

                      “But those INSTITUTIONS exist because of POLITICS.”

                      You CANNOT separate them. And yet that is exactly your argument, hence your need to be dismissive of the person proving you wrong.

                    2. Here Jeff I’ll make it easy for you to prove your point start naming bureaucratic institutions that exists outside of political considerations

                    3. Library of Congress?

                    4. However, your example was about as close as it gets.

                    5. You are distorting my point.

                      Of course there are “political considerations” within any bureaucracy.

                      But an agenda of “[t]he perpetuation of the bureaucracy” is not per se a political agenda, i.e., driven by partisan politics, but is instead more of an agenda of self-preservation that is present in any large institution that has any bureaucracy, whether it is part of the government or not.

                      This point was obvious to anyone with an IQ above room temperature, but I’m happy to explain it to you nonetheless.

                    6. Got it, you can’t answer the question, nor refute that institutions are political, so you retreat to your well worn tactics of crying “distortion” because you’re wrong.

                      Hi hum. Jeff being Jeff, and showing why he’s a joke and roundly laughed at.

                    7. “But an agenda of “[t]he perpetuation of the bureaucracy” is not per se a political agenda,”

                      Oncteect, when the agency exists because of politics, that is exactly what it is, and you once again attempt a redefinition because you’re wrong.

                    8. What the fuck is Jeff suddenly in love with “per se” for? Doesn’t he realize that’s French for “I’m a douchebag”?

                    9. As usual it is because we are not on the same wavelength with the terms that we are using.

                      What precisely do you mean when you say an institution exists “because of politics”? Do you mean partisan politics? Do you mean that it was produced as a result of a political process, even if it has unanimous support?

                      More to the point, the Department of Justice does not exist due to *solely* partisan politics. Both Democrats and Republicans agree that such an institution ought to exist at least in some form.

                    10. “As usual it is because we are not on the same wavelength with the terms that we are using.”

                      Yes, I’m saying things and standing by them, and you’re making up things and changing defintions when you’re wrong. As you say, it is “as usual” and we laugh at you because it’s the best you have when you lose.

                    11. “More to the point, the Department of Justice does not” “exist due to *solely* partisan politics.”

                      Nowhere, at any time, did anyone but you use that as a definition for anything nor even a point of discussion until you were obviously and irrefutably wrong. It is ALWAYS how you deal with being wrong, you change the terms of the debate.

                      No Jeff. Stay on topic, and stop making shit up.

                    12. You can tell by Jeff’s conciliatory observation that you are “not on the same wavelength” that he knows he was wrong according to his original claims, and now must stake out some new, more defensible claims.

                      You saw how he dealt with being wrong about looking at the voting record. Even when he is so wrong that he can’t hide from it, he still can’t bring himself to actually admit it.

                    13. You can tell by Jeff’s conciliatory observation that you are “not on the same wavelength” that he knows he was wrong according to his original claims, and now must stake out some new, more defensible claims.

                      No. It is because Tulpa and I are using different definitions of the term “political considerations”. I tried to get him to clarify more precisely what he means. But he won’t, he prefers to keep it vague and keep me guessing because no matter how I respond in this case, he can use it as a jumping off point for trolling me or some unfair accusation. That is a large part of his schtick. Be vague and then make unfair accusations when people try to clarify his vagueness.

                      There are multiple definitions of the term “political” and he won’t clarify what he means by it. I was more precise in what I meant. The Department of Justice, for example, does not exist due to PARTISAN political considerations, that is, it is not a creation of one political party that exists for the benefit of that political party alone. There is near-unanimous consensus that the Department of Justice ought to exist, and ought to exist with a mission that extends beyond the narrow partisan interests of one party or another. This is true for most of the institutions of government.

                      Are there politics in any bureaucratic institution? Yes, including ones not in government. Corporate institutions have their own internal politics of course. All institutions have “political considerations” to a degree or another, if by “political considerations” one means “making decisions that apply to groups of individuals”. Is that what Tulpa means by “political considerations”? By that measure, then every decision made by every individual in every group is a “political” decision, which renders the word rather meaningless. Is that the point Tulpa is trying to make? If so bravo, he’s uttered a tautology.

                      The spirit of the previous discussion, before Tulpa started trolling away, dealt with a possible “political agenda” for a bureaucracy, and Metazoan suggested one agenda might be self-preservation of the bureaucracy itself. I argue that it isn’t really “political” in the sense of PARTISAN POLITICAL, because that is an inherent feature of any institution or bureaucracy, whether it favors Team Red or Team Blue or no team in particular.

                    14. Hey look Jeff lied about leaving too.

                      He always does that. Lies about leaving them slinks back.

            2. FBI agent Strozk changing the wording of the FBI report regarding the investigation into Hillary so she could avoid prosecution might be an example.

              This is something that he admitted to in a congressional hearing. After lying about it.

            3. You could start by looking at who they donate to politically.

              Are you really this dumb or just naive? Have you never been to D.C.?

              1. Political donations are not per se evidence of a political agenda in action. Take for example the bus driver that also donates to Democratic politicians. Would any serious person argue that his performance at bus driving is evidence of a “political agenda” just because of his donations? Of course not. One has to look deeper than just where the money goes.

                1. “Political donations are not per se evidence of a political agenda in action”

                  No, they could be simple covering of bases, agreed.

                  “One has to look deeper than just where the money goes”

                  Like who they actually vote for? Because you declared that irrelevant too.

                  1. Like the totality of their activities. Not just looking at donations.

                    1. So who they vote for is NOT then “completely besides the point.”

                      ?

                    2. Decided not to touch that one, huh? We all know why.

                    3. It’s one piece of a much larger puzzle, I suppose. Not like the simplistic Jesse analysis where he looks at which candidate some bureaucrat donates to and then concludes AHA A DEEP STATE PARTISAN DEMOCRAT.

                    4. “It’s one piece of a much larger puzzle, I suppose”

                      “I was wrong” is how you say that.

                    5. Yeah, he knows. It’s why he went down thread and lied about touching the other issue he was obviously wrong on, because he’s butthurt that I caught him.

                    6. Why can’t you just say you made a mistake? You don’t impress anyone with responses like that Jeff.

        2. God. You actually believe career officials have no biases. Just fucking say it dumbfuck. You dont believe in government accountability because the current makeup of government bureaucrats matches your philosophy. That is statist shit and you are too fucking dumb to admit it.

          1. No, Jesse. I want a bureaucracy staffed by competent professionals. I don’t want a bureaucracy staffed by cronies and lackeys. Whom they choose to vote for is completely besides the point. What matters is if they can do their jobs competently and professionally. Get it? Unlike some around here, I want a government that actually works, not one that is dysfunctional because it’s being run by lackeys with sinecures.

            1. Then you should stop pretending their political biases don’t matter, like you did there, and try to run the system with reality in mind.

              1. Oh dear you’ve made a classic mistake in dealing with Jeff because he’s going to claim that he never said their political biases don’t matter but rather that who they vote for doesn’t matter. He will then claim those are somehow unassociated with each other, and that who one votes for cannot be a proxy for their bias, in increasingly nonsensical ways, until you realize he was never serious about having a discussion, and was only trolling.

              2. If they are acting competently and professionally, why should it matter?

                Can a Democratic doctor be just as competent and professional as a Republican doctor?

                If they are letting their personal beliefs get in the way of their duties, then that is an example of not acting professionally. Political bias matters only insofar as it hinders their ability to do their job.

                1. “”If they are acting competently and professionally, why should it matter?”

                  They aren’t which is the entire point of the discussion that you are apparently unaware of.

      2. First of all, most federal crimes should either be state crimes or, more likely, not crimes at all. Second, reduce immunity that prosecutors have from being personally liable for some kind of negligent prosecution.

        I think those would be good first steps.

      3. Then why have a justice system at all? If the elected ruler is the dispenser of justice cut out the middle man. Back in the day if the lord of the manner didn’t have a good hanging every now and then he could lose power and popularity.

        As it is the system is politicized enough. Just go all the way.

        To say that the president or elected officials are “accountable” is not really true. They are merely copies of kings, dukes, and other royalty for a period of time and then must face re-election. They are not beholden to justice. They just are beholden to maintaining power by appealing to the masses and the elite and wealthy who got them there.

        There is no doubt that our justice system is flawed. Giving politicians more power to run it on a micro level is just insanity.

    2. Lol. Fucking sophist jeff. Please enlighten us with your dreams of a large, unbounded, but neutral and efficient army of unicorns to staff government like you advocated for yesterday.

      1. I don’t want a large unbounded army of bureaucrats. I want a small competent professional cadre of bureaucrats implementing a small number of regulations that are passed by a government operating under minarchist libertarian principles.

        What do you want, Jesse? A government staffed by Republican lackeys and cronies occupying sinecures as a reward for voting for the “correct” team?

        1. Who defines minarchist libertarian principles? You can’t, because you dont understand them. So who?

          1. Broadly, the night-watchman state. If you don’t know what that means, you can read about it here:

            https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Night-watchman_state

            Hope this helps.

            1. No Jeff I didn’t mean something theoretical that doesn’t exist I mean who would actually do it since that is theoretical and will never exist

              1. Here, let me be clearer since you obviously don’t understand.

                There is no workable definition of “minarchist” that could be agreed upon to implement a system nationally.

                With no arbiter of what those principles are, and no real agreement, and the best case scenario a theoretical construct that cannot adequately address the infiltration and coopping of its institutions, WHO would be said arbiter of those principles, and HOW would they be defined?

                The night watchman state theory has no adequate answer for that, because at its root, it allows for its own disposition, should political forces align against it.

                1. But that argument is a cop-out, because that same argument can be used against any system of governance.

                  Democracy doesn’t work, because it doesn’t prevent the rise of a demagogue clever enough to trick the populace into granting him total power.

                  Authoritarianism doesn’t work, because it doesn’t prevent the rise of a popular revolution broad enough to topple the autocrat.

                  Anarchism doesn’t work, because it doesn’t prevent the rise of warlords plundering the divided and leaderless people.

                  Etc., etc. There is no system of human governance that is theoretically able to sustain itself in perpetuity. All are flawed, some more so than others (socialism, for instance).

                  So of course minarchism is flawed. Its institutions can be co-opted, like any other institution. Poseurs can infiltrate its institutions, like they can any other institution. So the argument in favor of minarchism isn’t that it is perfect and incorruptible, because it’s not; the argument is instead that whatever damage may be done by the infiltrators is relatively limited in scope.

                  1. No jeff, you clearly didn’t understand what you were being asked.

                    Minarchism is flawed wasn’t even on the same planet as my point, and answers none of my questions. They were very very clear.

                    With no arbiter of what those principles are, and no real agreement, and the best case scenario a theoretical construct that cannot adequately address the infiltration and coopping of its institutions, WHO would be said arbiter of those principles, and HOW would they be defined?

                    Please try to avoid demanding apologies when you don’t even understand where you failed.

                    1. He stormed off because he was wrong and can’t handle it.

                    2. Quiet me!

                    3. What was I wrong about?

                    4. I thought you left.

                      Oh right you lied about that

                2. Decided not to touch that one either. We all still know why.

                  1. Looks like you’re wrong. I will accept your apology now.

                    1. You still don’t appear to have touched it though.

                      So maybe you should apologize.

                    2. He didn’t did he? Funny how he was wrong, but instead insisted I was, then demanded an apology.

                      Almost like he was dishonest…

                    3. I looked up thread and realized why he was lying it’s because I caught him being wrong upthread.

                      Says a lot about him though that he would just openly lie about something we can see he’s openly lying about right there

                    4. Looks like he’s exactly right and you still haven’t touched it

                    5. He will of course claim that writing a wall of text that doesn’t actually address the arguments presented, nor answer a single question posed, is in fact touching it.

                      Because Jeff.

                    6. Umm I posted a 500-word response to your question. I think that counts as “touching” the question that you posed. But whatever, you’ve brought out your army of sockpuppets to create fake agreement with your trollishness, so this conversation is over.

                      Have fun annoying someone else. And get help for your illness.

                    7. No, you didn’t. You posted a 500 word responds to seething I never claimed, and avoided the questions I asked.

                      Try reading for once.

                    8. “But whatever, you’ve brought out your army of sockpuppets”

                      Ah, now he descends back into shit flinging. After failing to answer any of my questions while lying and claiming he did.

                    9. He asked you who would arbitrate. You didn’t answer. He asked who and how people would be held accountable. You didn’t answer.

                      No Jeff it doesn’t count as touching it when you avoid every relevant point and substitute your own, while screaming that anyone who disagrees with you is a sockpuppet. That’s why you get roundly derided and mocked. You earn it.

                    10. God does he ever.

                    11. your army of sockpuppets

                      There goes any chance you had of not being pathetic Jeff.

                    12. “You posted a 500 word responds to seething I never claimed”

                      This is what jeff does.
                      It’s psychotic

  13. “Leaving aside the risible claim that the world’s most powerful politician has trouble getting his message across…”

    Yes, that is a pretty risible claim for Sullum to make. It’s also pretty stupid to make it immediately after quoting what Trump actually said.

  14. I had sex with a woman named Janice. It was nice.

    1. If you care, raise your hand.

    2. Videos or it didn’t happen!

      1. No, no, no, no, no…

        The correct response is pics or it didn’t happen.

        Is your mom’s name Janice?

        1. Pics over video? Feel free to join the rest of us in the 21st Century, grandpa.

          1. I fart dust in your general direction!

            1. OK Boomer who lies about being a boomer.

        2. It’s 2020 dude, get with the program!

          1. Or you’ll have him censored?

    3. Good for you! You deserve to be happy!

      See, libertarians actually do leave the basement every once in awhile.

      1. Dude! Don’t tell my mom! I’ll get grounded for a week!

        1. Dude, if you keep scoring with women, they are going take your secret Libertarian card and stop inviting you to the meetings. I am happy for you but be careful and be discreet.

          1. I threw away the card the moment they tried to give it to me. I need no certification! I am sarcasmic!

            Yeah, I know. With this crowd the one ones getting laid are married. And even with them. You’re married, right?

            1. Nicely stolen

    1. “Hey, Julian, if you keep saying Russia didn’t do it, like you have for the past year, I’ll pardon you.”

  15. So right after the 2016 election, when all the progressives were shitting their pants because Trump now had all the power, I said that the Left was simply incapable of imagining someone other than themselves in the White House will all that power. They thought that Democrats permanently in power.

    Well we’re getting close to the 2020 election, and it seems the Right has fallen into the same trap. They demand that Trump be given more and more power, not realizing that sooner or later a Democrat will ascend to the throne. And then they will be shitting their pants when a Lefty president starts wielding the same power they say is Trump’s by divine right.

    The Right needs to wake up and start limiting the power of the presidency, because sooner or later they won’t be holding the reins. Sooner or later it will be a Bernie or Bloomberg or someone who will be making Trump’s excesses look tame. And then they will have no moral high ground to stand upon, because they will have been the ones to erect a throne in the White House.

    > “…because I don’t get that voice in the press. In the media, I don’t get that voice.”

    What the fuck? What the fuckety fuck? The press and other media report everything this guy says. He can fart in a closet and it will be in the news within an hour! He’s literally the most reported person in the entire world, if not all of human history, and he thinks he doesn’t have a voice? The man’s delusional!

    1. What the fuck? What the fuckety fuck? The press and other media report everything this guy says.

      Yes they do. And that is why he gets his message out by personally saying things because if he didn’t say it, it wouldn’t get reported. He is not delusional. You are not bright enough to understand his point.

      1. You don’t understand my point. He could post his thoughtlets on postit notes on the door to the Oval Office, and they would still get reported. Just without polluting Twitter with them. It’s doubleplus good because people don’t expect coherency from postit notes.

        1. And being stupid, YOU don’t get it. They DO NOT report what he said, they report WHAT THEY HEARD, which is frequently far detached from his actual comments.

        2. “Ron
          February.19.2020 at 5:22 pm
          Trump has clearly had to go to tweets based on past experience with the deep state actively ignoring and/or obstructing his request.

          Keep us informed president never stop texting”

          Read that until you understand it.

        3. You think the media accurately quotes trump? Either you’re dishonest or a fool. Or both.

        4. “You don’t understand my point. He could post his thoughtlets on postit notes on the door to the Oval Office, and they would still get reported.”

          We understand your point, and it is, frankly ludicrous.
          No, those notes would not be “reported”, they would be “interpreted” as is nearly everything Trumps says or does.
          The media is pissed since Trump has found a way to communicate directly to the population, disintermediating the media in general.

  16. I agree with Sullum here – Trump is an egotistical fat-headed pig who thinks the world revolves around him and doesn’t care what anybody else thinks. While not being overly sensitive to the opinions of others is an admirable trait, there are reasons we have social rules and customs and manners and etiquette. People tend to take it as an insult if you deliberately violate those rules because you’re telling them you don’t give one single shit about their opinion, that their thoughts and feelings are utterly and completely meaningless to you. As a troll, Trump delights in deliberately provoking people by telling them right to their face that they are insignificant little turds and he doesn’t have to give a shit about them. He’s proud to be the turd in the punch bowl because everybody notices and pays attention to the turd in the punch bowl, don’t they?

    How damn hard would it have been to just to tell an aide to talk to Barr and explain to him that the President trusts you’re aware of how things work and what needs to be done and he certainly would have to rethink your job performance if you didn’t understand the totality of the circumstances vis a vis Stone. Barr would have gotten the message, Stone would have gotten the same break, Trump would have gotten the results he wanted while maintaining a plausible deniability that he intervened, and that’s exactly how anybody else would have handled the situation – everybody knows damn well what’s going on but we can all pretend it’s not and we can all just nod and smile and be polite to one another.

    Trump of course is not going to handle it that way because what the hell’s the point of manipulating the levers and knobs and buttons of power if you can’t do it publicly where everybody can see you doing it? It’s not enough for Trump that he beats the system, he has to make sure that everybody can see him beating the system.

    And now Barr’s in a tough position – Trump has all but called him my little bitch who’ll crawl over here and suck my dick any time I snap my fingers and he has to either grin and take it and acknowledge that he is indeed Trump’s little bitch or to preserve his dignity he’s going to have to stand up to Trump – and we all know Trump demands to have people around him who’ll suck his dick when he snaps his fingers to anybody who has any other qualifications whatsoever. No matter how good Barr might be otherwise, if he won’t suck Trump’s dick he’s out of there and he’ll be replaced by somebody who will, no matter how bad they are otherwise. Trump is a vain, shallow, petty little man who likes breaking the rules even when it’s not in his interest to break the rules. Or, as my Trump-supporting nephew put it the other day, “Jesus Christ, I wish he could keep his fucking mouth shut once in a while.”

    1. If the President doesn’t like something DOJ is doing, why can’t he pick up the phone and tell them to change it? He is in charge of DOJ.

      Understand, Sullumn admits the recommendation was wrong. He isn’t actually objecting to Trump’s position. He is objecting to his having it and stating it at all. Indeed, so are you.

      And that is bullshit. If Trump tells the DOJ to do something you don’t like, fine. Criticize him for it. But this crap that he has no right to do so is complete bull shit.

      By your logic Jerry, if Trump heard about the behavior of George P Bush I describe below and called DOJ and said “I want the FBI all over this guy if they are not already” Trump would be “abusing his power”. And I would contend that preventing that and as a result ensuring that the public never can elect a President who is willing to hold the powerful and the connected to the same standard everyone else is held is exactly why Washington is so upset about this and has convinced people like you that he can’t do it. He can and you want him to.

      1. If the President doesn’t like something DOJ is doing, why can’t he pick up the phone and tell them to change it?

        Indeed, why can’t he pick up the phone? I’m pretty sure that’s what Jerry said.

        You do realize that Twitter is not the phone, right?

        1. Why can’t he do it publicly? Indeed, wouldn’t you want him to do it publicly? That way the public knows what his positions are and can hold him accountable for them. That is much preferable than him doing it in private without the public knows.

          You do know the difference between public and private right?

          1. I don’t give a shit how he does it. Some people do and that’s what this is about.

            I know you don’t care in this particular instance because Republican. But big deal. If you’re cool with politicians trolling the ever-living fuck out of everyone, then don’t be a hypocrite and be cool with all politicians trolling the ever-living fuck out of everyone.

            1. I want any President to publicly tell DOJ what he wants them to do. If he doesn’t like something and wants something handled differently, he should say so. If the public doesn’t like it, they can hold him accountable in the election.

              And this is not about Trolling. This is about the mortal fear that everyone in Washington has of a President taking control of DOJ and making it actually enforce the law on everyone.

              1. Trump seems eminently capable, why doesn’t he just fire Barr and do the job himself?

                1. Why should he fire Barr? Barr changed the recommendation? You really don’t seem to understand what is going on here.

                  1. Let’s be honest that really isn’t new for him

                2. That’s why you’re a nobody. Managers manage.

              2. > This is about the mortal fear that everyone in Washington has of a President taking control of DOJ and making it actually enforce the law on everyone.

                Which Trump is NOT doing or even threatening to do. The fear is that he’ll use the DOJ to be lenient on his friends and harsh on his enemies. His friend, his enemies. It’s not about justice or national interest, it’s about his friends, his enemies. The problem with Trump is that the thinks he’s El Jefe. The problem with you is that you don’t see anything wrong with that.

                1. I’ll care when Clinton’s brother gets unpardoned.

                  1. Obama pardoned iranian arms dealers in order to push the iran deal. This was less outrageous than trump correctly proclaiming that 7 to 9 years for lying about a legal act was a bit too much. The outrage here is insane.

                    1. He also shut down an investigation into Hezbollah’s work with Mexican cartels

            2. “I don’t give a shit how he does it”

              And yet you’ve spent the whole thred crying about it.

        2. “You do realize that Twitter is not the phone, right?”

          You do know what an ANALOGY is don’t you?

        3. “Indeed, why can’t he pick up the phone? I’m pretty sure that’s what Jerry said.
          You do realize that Twitter is not the phone, right?”

          But since he used Twitter, here we are – discussing the corruption of the career DOJ bureaucrats, the ridiculousness of the Stone case in comparison to instances of FBI officials doing the exact same thing, the handling of the case by Judge Amy Barrett Jackson and the partisan makeup of the jury, and the relative inaction of AG Barr.
          It’s amazing how some refuse to understand Trump tweets many things precisely to get them talked about.
          Case in point:
          http://mobile.twitter.com/JoshNBCNews/status/1230233648395358208?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw
          “NEW: Campaign officials tell @NBCNews that Mike Bloomberg will *NOT* stand on a box during tonight’s debate, despite Trump’s repeated claims that he requested one to boost his height”

          1. Lol

    2. eh, I’d argue that maybe being out in the open is the point? Trump spent the first year, year and a half, getting dicked by these political lifer asshats who he’d go to privately like you suggested, and then he’d be reading about it the next day as the newest scandal. This way, he doesn’t need to be worried about being blindsided.

      Not disagreeing with you that he is egotistical, and he really needs to just shut the fuck up sometimes, but I’d argue that part of the reason he doesn’t care what everyone else thinks is because he knows that they have only their own interests in mind. It’s part of the reason he puts family in positions, they’re people he can trust.

    3. Trump has clearly had to go to tweets based on past experience with the deep state actively ignoring and/or obstructing his request.

      Keep us informed president never stop texting

    4. Ditto, ‘jerryskids’

  17. If you want to know what this is all about, look no further than here

    http://pjmedia.com/instapundit/358780/

    The original link has been instalanched and is down but it concerns one George P Bush, son of George H.W. Bush. It seems

    Texas Land Commissioner George P. Bush failed to disclose his ties to at least 11 companies, including a Cayman Islands-based oil and gas firm that did business with a state fund he helps oversee, records obtained by The Texas Tribune show.

    Arabella Exploration, which declared bankruptcy in 2017, put Bush on its board in January 2014, paid him $43,000 for his service and granted him stock options that were valued at over $100,000, regulatory filings show. The next year, a few months into his new job as land commissioner — and about a year after he left the Arabella board — the School Land Board, which Bush chairs, approved a lease agreement with Arabella for oil and gas exploration in West Texas, records show.

    State politicians must provide details of their personal finances, including business dealings and corporate board service, every year to the Texas Ethics Commissions so voters can judge whether their elected leaders have any conflicts of interest.

    Nowhere did Bush’s 2015 state disclosure mention Arabella, however. Nor did he list 10 other companies in which he has a stake on more recent disclosure forms.

    There is a long list of federal statutes the Bush violated here. There will however never be an investigation of it and there is zero chance Bush will ever be held accountable much less face the indictment he no doubt deserves and would get if he were anyone else.

    This relates to Trump and this article because it shows what these bureaucrats that Sullumn is so fond of exist to do. They exist mostly to protect the privileges of people like George P. Bush. They don’t exist to protect you. The best you can hope for is that they never notice you and just ignore you. If they do take an interest in you, they will destroy your life and if you are not lucky your family’s life.

    When you understand that, you can see why all of Washington lost its mind when Trump asked the Ukrainians to investigate Hunter Biden. They are all guilty of taking bribes and being on the take and laundering the money through their idiot sons and passing on their privileges to them. And the bureaucrats at DOJ are there to ensure that doesn’t stop and they are never investigated or held accountable like a commoner. If the President is able to actually ask for things to be investigated, the public might some day elect a President who actually does that and expects the rich and the connected to be held to the same standards as everyone else.

    This is also why they are having such a fit over Trump intervening in the Roger Stone case. If the President can do that, the President can also tell the AG to go look into why George P Bush is selling the grant of oil and gas leases on public lands for personal profit. And he might start investigating a lot of other things. Gee, he might have the IRS start auditing members of Congress or worse their children or the children of powerful political families. And no one wants that.

    Understand that this “rule of law” that Sullumn is yapping about is really just making the DOJ above any accountability or control and ensuring that the public could never elect a President who actually wanted to enforce the law in an equal way and do something about the corruption at the highest levels of our politics.

    That is the cock that Sullumn is sucking here. And what amazes me is how cheaply he is willing to sell out his integrity to do it. Hell George P Bush picked up and extra hundred and forty grand for selling out his integrity. Sullumn did it for a crap job writing for a niche publication. Talk about being a cheap date.

    1. The timeline on the Arabella thing is a bit confusing, and none of the satellite links clear it up. So, GPB goes on the board of this O&G company in January 2014, before he wins his election for Commissioner of the General Land Officer, right? He did file to run for office in March 2013, and the election is held, like the others, in November 2014. He wins, and takes office January 2015.

      We then fast forward to a few months into his tenure (March? April 2015), where we learn that he left Arabella’s board “about a year [prior]”. By my math, that means he left the board about two or three months after he was appointed to it, but about six to nine months before he wins election to the Commissioner’s seat. Did he still own any stock options at that time? The article doesn’t say. I imagine he kept the cash.

      If he still held stock options, that’s pretty shady. But otherwise, he used to be a board member, but wasn’t anymore when he took office, or made that decision to approve their lease.

      That said, enough already with the political dynasties already. I’ve had to hear about George P. Bush since before he went to UT Law, and nowhere was the suggestion, “Hey, how about going to work like the rest of us?” ever floated.

      1. The problem is that he didn’t report any of that on his financial disclosures. Even if he didn’t own the stock options anymore, he still is required to disclose the income that occurred that close to him taking office.

        Moreover, the fact that he left the firm that close to taking office should have disqualified him from making the decision. Had he followed the rules, he would have reported the income and recused himself from the decision. Indeed, had he reported the income the Railroad commission would have required him to recuse himself.

        1. I’m unfamiliar with the specifics of financial disclosures as they relate to Texas government employment. How far back did he need to disclose? I imagine it’s nowhere near as stringent as a lawyers’ conflict of interest rules would be.

          You’re right though in that, if his failure to disclose was a violation of the law, no bureaucrat was likely ever going to call him on it. Not a Bush. Not in Texas.

          It was incredible, wasn’t it, just how many Congress critters had family members at the trough in just one little country the US did business with. How many other countries, besides the Ukraine, have similar relationships with US government employees or their family members?

    2. This is an amusing narrative that you’ve crafted, I’ll give you that.

      1. You are not as stupid as you seem to be. You are plenty stupid but more than that you are just honest nasty piece of shit. I am sure it does amuse you partially because he can’t understand it much less refute it and mostly because to the extent you do understand it you like things being this way. You are so stupid you think it benefits you.

        You really do combine nearly every negative human trait.

        1. Careful, he’ll call you a sockpuppet too.

          1. Yeah I’m totally John too. Have always been, keep it quiet.

        2. It’s amusing because your narrative could be the plot of a Western-style movie:

          The heroic Sheriff Trump moves into Washington Gulch, determined to clean up the place. It’s full of criminals, thieves, drunkards, layabouts, and corrupt officials getting rich off the illegal gambling in the saloon. Sheriff Trump is opposed by the entire town because they don’t want Sheriff Trump exposing their racket and disrupting all the graft and the good times. So Sheriff Trump enlists the help of Deputy Giuliani and Deputy Barr as his trusty sidekicks to aid him in his noble task to clean up the mess.

          Did you watch a lot of Westerns as a kid? That must be where you got the story idea from.

          Here’s an alternative narrative.

          Trump the loud boisterous self-promoting con-man moves into Washington, determined to take charge and do things HIS way. He gives no shits about disrupting the status quo and acting like a bull in a china shop. This upsets many of the local residents, who are used to things the way they have always been. While some of the change is good, quite a lot of it is not, and is only for the purpose of Trump’s own self-promotion and feeding his massive ego. Trump takes things too far when his IDGAF attitude and disposition come into conflict with his duty as president that he was elected to uphold. That is why people got upset over Ukraine. Because he subverted his duty and abused his power. Not because he was the heroic sheriff trying to clean up Washington Gulcy.

            1. Yeah, you got nothing!

              1. He’s got all your tears.

    3. Understand that this “rule of law” that Sullum is yapping about is really just making the DOJ above any accountability or control and ensuring that the public could never elect a President who actually wanted to enforce the law in an equal way and do something about the corruption at the highest levels of our politics.

      Just wanted to make sure that nobody missed that portion.

      Because it’s the truth.

      1. Sullum likes to think himself libertarian when really all he advocates is rule by mandarins of a particular sort.

        Those being his sort. Not the icky Trump sort.

  18. I agree with the author’s main point, though the qualitative difference between Trump and his predecessor is he’s just not as “discrete”, and handles this work directly and publicly.

    But with an administration chock-full of far-left spiers, liars, and falsifiers, what’s a guy to do?

    1. I don’t see how a President handling things directly and publicly is a bad thing.

      1. Well a president can’t be open and transparent that would be wro… oh wait isn’t that what we always wanted in our government.

        1. Most transparent administration evah!

  19. There were some people in the 1940’s who chose “rule of law” over rule of conscience. They called themselves Nazi’s and their decision to ignore their conscience got them hung.
    “When law and morality contradict each other the citizen has the cruel alternative of either losing his sense of morality or losing his respect of the law.” — Frederic Bastiat
    “Never do anything against conscience even if the state demands it.” ~ Albert Einstein
    “Laws are maintained in credit, not because they are essentially just, but because they are laws. It is the mystical foundation of their authority; they have none other.” ~ Michel de Montaigne

    1. Yes. Both the Soviets and the Nazis were fanatics about legal niceties. No one ever got a bullet in the back of the head or shoved in an oven without the cover of legality.

      The rule of law is only a good thing if it serves a just end. It can just as easily serve an unjust or even an evil end.

      1. That’s right, Hitler never was arrested for trying to start a coup against the lawful government. He definitely wasn’t jailed for trying to start a coup, and he unquestionably didn’t write anything of note about his beliefs while being jailed.

        And heaven knows that the Nazis and Italian blackshirts never, ever, broke the law and assaulted anyone for having differing views before they got in power.

        Surprise, the Nazis only gave a shit about the laws once they got into power and were the ones making the laws. Even that’s debatable if you want to consider their illegal military buildup.

        1. All of that is exactly right. But once they were in power, they were all about putting a legal sheen on illegality and evil.

          1. “But once they were in power, they were all about putting a legal sheen on illegality and evil.”

            They really were. Go read about the career of SS judge and lawyer Georg Konrad Morgen if you want to see some truly bizarre examples of that. The guy tried to charge SS personnel for murder, among other places, at Auschwitz. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Georg_Konrad_Morgen

            The Soviets were also about dotting I’s and crossing T’s before they deigned to put a bullet in a prisoner’s head. What do you think all of the bother that Solzhenitsyn described, about confessions, torture, and giving prisoners a trial was about?

            1. Watch Judgement at Nurmberg sometime. It is based on a real trial. The German judges were meticulous about applying the law as written.

              Adolph Eichmann was the leading expert in German immigration and refugee law. He never actually shot or gassed anyone. His job was to guide the people who did through the morass of German law to ensure that all of the deportations and murder were done in compliance with the law.

              1. The original Wannsee Conference movie that I think ZDF did in 1984, was pretty amazing as well. All from meeting notes and memoranda. The whole thing is legal wrestling about what to do, and how they can do it while staying within the laws of the Reich. IIRC, they mention the Nacht und Nebel decree that Hitler had enacted the prior month, and were happy that it made it easier to liquidate the Jews while still staying within the law. There’s an segment where the group around the conference table interviews a guy about how it’s all going, and it’s banal. Unless you recognize the name, and realize the guy they’re interviewing—Rudolf Lange—had just come back from Latvia, where he personally oversaw the actions of Einsatzgruppe A.

                https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Wannsee_Conference_(film)

                It’s utterly horrifying.

                1. I watched the Netflix miniseries on the Ukrainian guy from Cleveland they thought was a guard at Triblinka. One of the many remarkable things I learned from that film is that there were exactly 70 known survivors of Triblinka. Hundreds of thousands of people were sent there and only 70 walked out alive when the Russians finally liberated it. Utterly horrifying is right.

                  1. The thing about John Demjanjuk is that, how could you possibly prove that the old fart sitting in court is the same guy who was the Ivan the Terrible camp guard that was such a demon at Treblinka? Granted, you can’t kill a guy like this Ivan the Terrible enough times, and I understand there’s no statute of limitations on murder, but how do you possibly prove beyond a reasonable doubt—especially given the noted fuckery the Soviets got up to with forging documents—that this guy did those things?

                    Though that he was an admitted Trawniki guy—even if he wasn’t an actual Treblinka guard or at Sobibor, where they finally found this last year, some pictures of someone who looked like him. Anyway, being a Trawniki should have been enough to deny him entry to the US. Even the Israelis ended up letting him go on the death camp guard charges.

                    On Treblinka, it’s incredible that the commandant, Franz Stangl, was allowed to wander around Brazil, under his own name, until 1967 when even the Brazilians couldn’t ignore it any longer and arrested him.

                    A lot of evil guys got to die peacefully in bed, that had absolutely no business anywhere but at the end of a noose.

              2. Funny how compliance with German laws regarding Jews was considered a war crime after WW II. Present day individuals keep citing the Court Decision on Roe vs Wade to justify horrendous late term abortions. These killings should be defined as legally sanctioned murder. Like capital punishment by the State. Question would be IF it is in-fact the murder of a human person does gov’t have the right to legalize that action. If so maybe they can allow the termination of older people’s lives or even injured people who cannot survive without medical apparatus. Is gov’t law actually the last word on morality and human activities concerning “rights.”

            2. You know the book “all quiet on the western front”? German author, that didn’t have lots of fans amongst the Nazis due to his whole “let’s NOT start another world war” mindset. So when the Nazis gained power, they charged him with defeatism and treason. Since he had been smart enough to clear out ahead of time, they instead executed his sister, then sent her head and the bill to his other sister.

      2. Aaaand this should have been a reply for EWM, not you John.

      3. Well a president can’t be open and transparent that would be wro… oh wait isn’t that what we always wanted in our government.

        1. wrong spot try again

  20. Once again, Sullum and the impeachment apologists continue to ignore the fact that the heart of the Russian probe and impeachment was based on lies and agendas. The FBI has admitted that the surveillance on Carter Page was illegal. For all intents and purposes they knew the dossier was junk.

    Trump has both a legal and moral responsibility to protect his friends who were targeted by his political enemies. Flynn was treated like an enemy of the state by the FBI who had listened in on all his conversation with the Russians.

    WHY shouldn’t Trump pressure the prosecution and DOJ to drop or reduce unduly harsh charges and sentences on ANYONE? Who cares if Stone is an ally? What if he was just some right wing radio talk show host? Oh no, Trump is pardoning a cheerleader in the media, such a concerning “appearance”. Was the sentencing on Stone just or not? Did the prosecution urge tough sentencing because of the trump connection? Was it appropriate for a politically active anti trumper to serve in the jury or not?

    Are libertarians concerned with “can” vs “should”? Seriously? I CAN smoke dope, but SHOULD I? I CAN exercise my 1A or 2A rights, but SHOULD I? If the latter is no, then it undercuts the former. This is a conservative argument, and sometimes progressive, especially on free speech issues.

  21. We’re already to Russians and Nazis in the comment thread? Wow. I simply wanted to verbally roll my eyes at how the title “Trump’s Continuing Commentary on Criminal Cases Reflects His Disdain for the Rule of Law” is an unsupported stretch of epic proportion. In theory, the entire existence of “Reason” should be reasoned discourse of ideas and not the rantings of a self-proclaimed presidential mind reader masquerading as a Reason writer who seems not to understand that imputing malevolent intent to voicing an opinion is not ipso facto whatever the observer thinks it is. (Don’t worry, I’ve got lots of periods, I’ll use them in a different post.)

  22. Sullum is naive. There is no integrity in the criminal legal system, and no justice. More than 99% of those indicted in federal courts, are convicted. The chances of acquittal are so miniscule, and the threats of a severely increased penalty if you go to trial and lose (the “trial penalty”) persuade more than 97% of those charged in federal court to plead guilty, including many who are not guilty. There is also no “rule of law,” a myth created to gull the gullible. The law is what judges say it is, not the words written on paper. Judges and other lawyers can twist any words, distort, change or invent facts, to arrive at their preferred conclusions. Anyone with experience in the courts has seen this first hand, from the lowest municipal court all the way to the Supreme Court. Judges learn quickly that they have the power to impose their will, no matter how stupid their reasoning, and that their decisions can be based on whims, and that they will rarely be criticized and even less rarely be overturned. In other words, Trump is simply demonstrating the obvious. Hopefully, the public is paying attention. The cure is not a better president, but curtailing political power. Delegitimizing state power in the public’s perception is the first step.

    1. So, you got a speeding ticket once and the judge made you pay it. Too bad. Sorry, but there’s no evidence for any of your claims. Your 99% includes people who plead guilty. And while some innocent people plead guilty there is not a scintilla of evidence that this number can be described as “many”.

      Yes, the law is what the judges say it is, but almost all judges do faithfully carry out their duties. Appeals are common, and appeals courts have shown no hesitation to reverse lower court rulings. When the judge in the lower court has made a particularly egregious error, appeals courts will be unsparing in their criticism. And while lawyers may twist words, judges do not. You don’t seem to understand the difference between the roles of judge and lawyer.

      1. Sorry, but there’s no evidence for any of your claims.

        https://reason.com/search/Criminal%20justice/

        I’m sorry you can’t seem to read.

      2. You seem to have conflated actions with intent. Judges twist words all the time, like the penaltax, Roe v. Wade, Dred Scott, etc.

        Similar to abuse of police power, bigotry, etc. you don’t have to try to do these things. That’s the power of institutional bias. You don’t even have the correct perspective to objectively evaluate what you’re doing. Lots of cops are upstanding people who join for all the right reasons, but you still see them corrupted by their systems and training. Justice is no different.

    2. I agree with that.

      All of that is the libertarian case for small government.

      Both Dems and Republicans are taking the country the other way.

  23. Finally, a well-reasoned article at Reason.

    1. Haha decent, over under on bites?

  24. Why would any conservative — in a country whose electorate is predictably turning hard away from conservatism — promote politicization of federal prosecutorial power?

    Clingers didn’t get to be America’s culture war casualties by being smart and educated.

    (Libertarians are another matter, and they would decry recent adventures in Trumpism, but few of the comments here have much to do with libertarianism.)

    1. “Why would any conservative”

      He cries to libertarians on a libertatian website, about a New York Democrat lololol.

      1. Which makes

        Clingers didn’t get to be America’s culture war casualties by being smart and educated.

        even more hilarious.

    2. “…in a country whose electorate is predictably turning hard away from conservatism…”

      It’s not.

      “…by being smart and educated…”

      Clearly you have an inflated opinion of yourself. Have you noticed that nobody shares it?

  25. “Well it’s because of da deep state derrrrrp, Trump is draining the swamp derrrrrp” – retard Trump supporters in this comment section who’d literally let this man get away with murder. Sad!

    1. Cry more.

      1. Shutup you lib-tard DERRRRRPPPP

        1. Yes like that, more tears now.

        2. Cry more

          Shutup you lib-tard DERRRRRPPPP

          Lol.

    2. As far as I know the only person who has murdered anyone was Pres. Obama when he killed two US citizens with a drone. They were never indicted or even arrested. He declared them guilty (of what we never were told) and executed the man and his very innocent 16 year old son. Kept a list of who was to be killed by the military. Both were not military or even armed fighters in the Middle East. This Trump hatred seems to conjure up all types of fantasies in the addled minds of people who have never been within 100 miles of the man. But they KNOW he is —–whatever.

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  28. The only way to make these lawyers into even worse self serving, amoral, rats is to put politicians even more in charge of them.

    Sure I see the logic in that.

    1. Who else would you place over them?

      Because they sure as Hell are not remotely self policing. Andy McCabe shows that plain as day.

  29. After watching the abuses by DOJ since the Obama Administration it is a wonder that some outside force like the military have not intervened to purge that corrupted institution. The IC and the FBI have grossly violated scores of citizens civil rights over and over. The Democrats in Congress have become enablers and the DOJ has joined into the cadre of bureaucrats in trying to oust/frame a duly elected POTUS. All the while the media has acted like a cheerleader in this assault, not on Trump but on the Constitution and every citizen of America. The entire system seems paralyzed while politicians and bureaucrats go on a rampage that will effect American citizens for generations. History will roundly condemn the “free press” for its’ part in this disgraceful and illegal pursuit of of a man the establishment found not to its liking. The RULE OF LAW is being ignored by very system Trump is rightly criticizing. Who holds those bias haters accountable EVER. Not the Judges, not the Congress and not the press. Just who will be first to say the King has no cloths??

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  32. Barr and Trump answer to us as does everyone in our representative government. I think that’s where we’re really starting to go astray.

    1. No, they answer to Fox News pundits. At this point Trump’s actions are literally and demonstrably predictable….if it’s suggested by a pundit on Fox TV today that he do something, you can bet it will be done within a day or two.

  33. Most Americans have no idea what goes into a Federal sentencing recommendation. The prosecution doesn’t just make it up. The judge doesn’t just make it up. There’s a whole process involving a very extensive set of regulations called the Federal Sentencing Guidelines. A US Probation Officer (GS-13 position btw, most of these people have Masters degrees and extensive prior experience) conducts a pre-sentence investigation into the life of the person convicted and the circumstances of their crime. The convicted person and defense attorney have input into that. These pre-sentence investigation take weeks and sometimes months. The US Probation Officer than applies the results of the investigation to the Federal Sentencing Guidelines which assigns points for various factors. The number of points determines the sentencing recommendation. The whole purpose of this is to ensure consistency in sentencing so people are given similar sentences for similar crimes under similar circumstances, given all the extenuating circumstances – life circumstances or otherwise. As to the alleged “tainted juror” … well, that’s for Mr Stone and his attorneys to appeal if they feel they have grounds. It has nothing to do with the sentencing recommendation.

    1. You’re correct, but likely to get called “just another deep stater” seeing as how the current trend is to appoint crony idiots. You must keep in mind that expertise and experience are now to be shunned in favor of “likes Trump” when it comes to deciding qualifiers for who is in charge of all criminal justice and other governmental functions.

  34. Funny how Reason would normally have an aneurysm over the idea of people being over-sentenced based on intentional misreadings of sentencing guidelines, especially when those people shouldn’t even be going to jail had they not been investigated for bogus procedural crimes that the FBI can make anyone guilty of, but the moment Trump cries foul, oh he’s not allowed to have an opinion. How dare he try to champion our pet project causes!

    1. So you think it fine that Stone posted a picture of his presiding judge in crosshairs?

      1. Yep, just like how it was fine for that Palin ad with crosshairs too.

        Stone is a bad boy, like Wild Thing. Edgy humor is not a threat. If you honestly think we’re ever going to have extrajudicial killings when he’s just pissed and venting about being indicted (and possibly losing 9 years of his life) on procedural bullshit that Clinton and more important people don’t even get investigated for, then you’re a gullible fool.

        1. Yeah, you’re right, I mean, what harm could come from the most powerful people in the country rubber stamping behavior like posting the pictures of specific judges with crosshairs on them?

  35. Sullum, this is Salon-level drivel you’ve posted here.

    1. Sullum’s argument boils down to “the executive branch should be unaccountable to the Executive.”

      Which is totes libertarian.

  36. Sullum’s Continuing Commentary on Trump Reflects His TDS

  37. The Justice Department was never independent of the President.

    Their legal duty is to obey the lawful orders of the President of the United States.

  38. No, they answer to Fox News pundits. At this point Trump’s actions are literally and demonstrably predictable….if it’s suggested by a pundit on Fox TV today that he do something, you can bet it will be done within a day or two.

  39. No.
    “Trump’s Continuing Commentary on Criminal Cases Reflects His Disdain for the Rule of Law”
    That’s not it at all.

    It’s not that he “disdains the rule of law” rather he recognizes that the way our current “rule of law” works, those rules don’t really count. He understands that they have, in fact, been shaped & reshaped by the left-blowing winds of political fashion….. that our courts, more often than not, have bent and twisted those ‘rules’ as needed to achieve the Ends prescribed by Leftist dogma.

    It’s not that he disdains the “rule of Law”, rather he understands that the ‘rules’ have changed.

    If ‘Rules of Law’ still stood, there would be no ‘sanctuary cities’….there would be no granting of pseudo-citizenship status to illegal aliens…..the Title IX BS which has inundated our college campuses for the last 10 years would not exist….nor would the “Dear Colleague” requirements; nor would the Kangaroo Kourts on those same colleges have been allowed to run felony trials without due process. If ‘rules of law’ existed, marriage would still be the sacred union of man and woman…..boys, pretending to be girls, would not be allowed anywhere near girl’s locker rooms or the women’s 200m. dash. If such rules still applied, the LGBQT Lobby would not have been able to push ‘extra’ rights as ‘righteous rights’ for their special constituents.

    What Trump recognizes is that the Left’s continual violation of the ‘rule of law’ means the rules no longer apply.

    This is not something to celebrate. It is something to mourn. But if your opponents stopped playing by the rules years ago….if they’re the ones who have been undermining the ‘integrity of the Criminal Justice system’ since forever….you’d be a fool to believe those rules still counted.

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