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Is Rand Paul Right About Special Prosecutors Being Wrong?: Podcast

Also: Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez owns the cons while spouting policy B.S.

||| NBC NewsNBC NewsThere are Friday news-dumps and then there are Friday Trump/Russia/Mueller court-filing ka-BOOMs. So on the Monday editors' roundtable edition of the Reason Podcast, Katherine Mangu-Ward, Nick Gillespie, Peter Suderman, and Matt Welch spend the first half of the show reacting to the latter. Particularly to the controversial contention over the weekend by Sen. Rand Paul (R–Ky.) that special counsel investigations are essentially "banana republic"-style expeditions to pin a crime on a preset perp.

Also up for discussion: the social media troll game (and ludicrous policy proposals) of Rep.-elect Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D–N.Y.), old-media dredging exercises through high schoolers' tweets, and as many Suderman nerd-jokes as can fit comfortably into one hour.

Subscribe, rate, and review our podcast at iTunes. Listen at SoundCloud below:

Audio production by Ian Keyser.

'Flying pea v.1' by Daddy_Scrabble is licensed under CC BY-NC-SA 3.0

Relevant links from the show:

"Prosecutors Recommend Prison for Cohen, Say He Paid off Women on Trump's Behalf," by Scott Shackford

"Rand Paul: Trump/Russia Is 'Overplayed,' and 'Distracting us From Everything Right Now,'" by Matt Welch

"Rand Paul Doesn't Want a Special Prosecutor on Russia," by Mike Riggs

"Putin's Potential Penthouse in Trump Tower Moscow Launches Investigation," by Elizabeth Nolan Brown

"Trump Ex-Lawyer Cohen Pleads Guilty to Lying to Congress About Russian Negotiations," by Scott Shackford

"Ignorance Is Trump's Excuse," by Jacob Sullum

"With an Erroneous Tweet, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez Inadvertently Reveals That Medicare-for-All Proponents Still Don't Have a Plan," by Peter Suderman

"Can the Democrats Really Win 2020 with a New Green Deal?" by Ronald Bailey

"Media Attacks Heisman Trophy Winner Kyler Murray for Homophobic Tweets He Sent as a 14-Year-Old," by Robby Soave

"Kevin Hart Quits Oscars Hosting Gig Over Past Homophobic Tweets, Social Media Mobs Win Again," by Robby Soave

"This Is What a Weatherized Economy Looks Like," by Matt Welch

Don't miss a single Reason Podcast! (Archive here.)

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Photo Credit: NBC News

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  • Fist of Etiquette||

    ...special counsel investigations are essentially "banana republic"-style expeditions to pin a crime on a preset perp.

    Seems accurate. I imagine Clintonistas thought so, too.

  • Enjoy Every Sandwich||

    You'd think that since both parties have experienced this, they'd agree that it's time to be rid of "special counsels". But I doubt this will happen; it's too good a political weapon to pass up.

  • Sevo is my bitch||

    Clinton's was the independent counsel. This is the special counsel.

    Different things.

    No, both parties have not experienced the same. That one was related to Whitewater transactions, and ended up with an impeachment over a blow job.

    This was related to Russian meddling, and any messes uncovered while pursuing that.

  • BigT||

    Rand's point was that a crime was not specified in the Mueller bs. No crime, no investigation indicated.

    Of course, "show me the man and I'll show you the crime" infestates our system.

  • Wise Old Fool||

    He cited individual 1 as being caught in a felonious act. That would indicate a crime.

  • BigT||

    There was no crime in the specification. Mueller looked for and appears to have fabricated crimes. It was a fishing expedition, not a criminal investigation. Words have meanings.

  • Last of the Shitlords||

    "No, both parties have not experienced the same. That one was related to Whitewater transactions, and ended up with an impeachment over a blow job."

    The impeachment of a Clinton was over perjury. Period. And Trump has done nothing wrong.

    Stop lying.

  • buybuydandavis||

    Self government is close to over in the US.

    A coup against the elected President because he spent money on his own campaign. It's beyond not passing the laugh test.

    It's meant to be understood by all as an absurdity that everyone knows is an absurdity, and everyone knows everyone knows is an absurdity, so that there's no mistaking their absolute power should they succeed in taking down Trump.

  • Brett Bellmore||

    Starr couldn't put the Clintons away for the Whitewater transactions; They held onto the billing records long enough to get past the statute of limitations, and then "found" them in the map room a couple days after.

    And it wasn't an impeachment over a blow job. It was an impeachment over perjury, suborning perjury, destruction of evidence. Your standard, ordinary obstruction of justice charges, which is, yes, a crime, even when there's a blow job involved.

  • grb||

    Historically, special counsel investigations seem to do this : You take a fairly respected figure, assign him the role of Ahab, give him a white whale to target, and then watch all sense of prosecutorial discretion vanish, every trace of investigatorial proportion forgotten. It's been that way whichever side is under the microscope.

    That said, there are degrees. Mueller is looking like an exceptionally well-focused and disciplined example of the species. We won't know until he's finished (if he's around after five years like Ken Starr it's an entirely different story) but he seems to be working as quickly & efficiently as possible. Unlike most of his predecessors, he's not leaking or waging jihad in the press.

    The other extreme is the hack of hacks, Brett Kavanaugh. Has any special counsel investigator ever shown such contempt for the law? He spent three years on the suicide of Vince Foster, knowing every minute his "investigation" was a total sham. Three years - and it was never more than a whore-like servicing of Right-wing media (and the most basest sort at that). Of course you can blame Starr, but the whole farce was Kavanaugh's idea. And he seemed born for the job...

  • a ab abc abcd abcde abcdef ahf||

    Two years is quickly and efficiently?

  • grb||

    Well, you can look at from two perspectives :

    (1) By the complexity of his task : Yes.

    (2) By the standard of his predecessors : Yes, without question.

  • a ab abc abcd abcde abcdef ahf||

    Complexity?!? The opposition has been feeding him material for two years, if you listen to what they've been saying.

  • BYODB||

    Well, yeah. It's really complex to find a way to pin 'collusion' on Trump without any actual criminal statute in question without also damning Hillary to the same fate. Notably, the wife of the last President to be impeached for sexual 'improprieties'.

  • MJBinAL||

    Rand Paul is exactly correct. Mueller determined there is no collusion, but knows he REAL job is the "get" Trump. So he has gone after every Trump insider, "gotten" them (including process crimes) with nothing do do with Russian collusion, and then sqeezes them to give him something on Trump to get a reduced sentence.

    It is Mueller and his team who should be in jail for suborning perjury. Because, as one Federal Judge has already said, Mueller is not just trying to get them to sing, he wants them to compose.

  • grb||

    Complexity?!?

    Uh. Yeah.

    A list - by no means complete - has Mueller investigating :

    (1) A intelligence operation run against the United States
    (2) A multifaceted cyber-crime operated by the Russian government
    (3) A tangle of connections between Russia & critical Trump associates
    (4) Possible ties between Trump businesses and Russian money
    (5) The tendency of close Trump associates to be rotted through with corruption.
    (6) The puzzle of Trump associates knowing what Russia's FSB will do even before they act
    (7) Trump Jr's glee when told the Russian government would help daddy get elected
    (8) Trump's crude stupid attempts to obstruct the investigation.
    (9) The phenomena of Trump and his associates lying about everything every time.

    We won't even mention Trump's strange fawning abasement to Putin and Russia - both during and after the campaign. Clearly there's a lot on Mueller's plate. Compare and contrast Starr's five year-plus investigation: A land deal where the Clinton's were cheated and lost money? A suicide already proved suicide thrice over, even before Ken and Brett glommed to it? A few BJs ?!?!?

  • JoeBlow123||

    "We won't even mention Trump's strange fawning abasement to Putin and Russia - both during and after the campaign."

    How do you square this with us pulling out of the Intermediate Range Nuclear Forces Treaty (INF) with Russia, our selling of arms to Ukraine, and our repeated snubs? Just curious. Because the actions he has carried out as Commander in Chief do not marry your premise.

  • The Last American Hero||

    It might have been interesting to question Brett about this during his hearings, but instead the media and congress got focused on a failed attempt to steal second base being considered rape.

  • Azathoth!!||

    It might have been interesting to question Brett about this during his hearings, but instead the media and congress got focused on a middle-aged woman's rape fantasy

    FTFY

  • BYODB||


    Unlike most of his predecessors, he's not leaking or waging jihad in the press.

    Not directly, at least.

  • DesigNate||

    How exactly does he look well focused when everything he has gotten anyone on has nothing to do with the campaign or Russia?

  • Fist of Etiquette||

    What was Mueller's original mandate?

  • Sevo is my bitch||

    The same it ever was:
    http://bit.ly/2zQD6ns

  • DesigNate||

    Because that's not an open ended mandate or anything.

  • Sevo is my bitch||

    Of course, he is right. He is a Republican asking to annul laws as if they were Drumpf's marriage.

    Nice concern-trolling by reason.com to excuse any felonies committed by Drumpf.

  • Last of the Shitlords||

    Trump is an arrogant prick, but hasn't broken the law. And just because you're evil and hate him doesn't make it so.

  • Wise Old Fool||

    You don't that, I don't know that, that's why there are prosecutors and courts and not mobs (internet or village) to decide these things.

  • Azathoth!!||

    No, we DO know that.

    Because, if there was even a single solid thread that MIGHT lead to Trump we'd have it.

    It's like the idiots who want to see his taxes because they think he's hiding something--a man who gets audited constantly. Yeah. He can hide shit. Right.

  • buybuydandavis||

    We do know that, and we are intended to know it.

    The charges are absurd because they are not meant to be believed. They're meant to rub our noses in our subjection.

  • Wise Old Fool||

    Paul is just caving to his party again. If there's a crime then prosecute, if not then drop it. No one, whether a hobo or the President should be immune to prosecution. If he worked with Russians then I see no problem with impeaching his ass. Hiring a couple of hookers I could care less about as long as he didn't use campaign funds. I don't think sleeping with hookers has anything to with being right or wrong, it's just a thang.

  • Mickey Rat||

    A president is not immune to prosecution. It just requires an extra political step of impeachment and removal.

  • Brett Bellmore||

    Technically, there isn't even any basis for saying he's immune to prosecution. There's no statutory or constitutional basis for the claim. Just a decision by the President's own lawyer that it would inconvenience Presidents if they could be prosecuted, and we can't have that, can we?

    I keep going back to this: Congress has a very limited form of immunity: They can't be prosecuted for anything they say on the floor of Congress, and they can't be arrested traveling to or from a session of Congress or during for minor offenses. But the immunity doesn't extend to treason, felonies, or breach of the peace.

    It's unreasonable to think that the Constitution explicitly gives Congress very limited immunity, and then gives Presidents much greater immunity by mere implication.

  • buybuydandavis||

    " If he worked with Russians "

    Working with foreigners is not a crime. Nothing that has even been *alleged* is a crime.

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  • Ryan (formally HFTO)||

    This episode should be called Nick vs. The TDS Gang. Don't worry Suderman, your girl Hillary will probably run again, and you'll be able to defend her in the exact opposite manner you deal with Trump. Witch Hunt!

    This episode also features three libertarians stating how happy they would be if successful businessmen who wanted to run for president someday either altered their behavior because the mob will get them, or to not run for president at all. If there's one thing I as a libertarian support, its lifelong politicians over successful businessmen. Get a grip KMW.

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