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Q: What do Alan Dershowitz and Willie Mays Have in Common?

[Updated at end of text]

Willie Mays, who has as good a claim as anyone on the title of Greatest All-Around Ballplayer Ever, spent the last year or so of his illustrious career stumbling and bumbling around center field for the NY Mets. It was deeply embarrasing for him, and hard to watch for those of us who wanted to keep the memories of Mays in his prime, and he has become, perhaps a little unfairly, a symbol of the aging star who overstays his welcome in the public eye and who tries, unsuccessfully, to outfox Father Time.

Here's Prof. Dershowitz, commenting on Michael Cohen's guilty plea on Fox News:

What's happening is a special prosecutor is making all of his decisions based on false statements. You know, it is interesting. In other parts of the world, you can't even prosecute people for that.... I think the weakness of Mueller's substantive findings are suggested by the fact that he has to resort to false statement prosecutions. Which really shows that he didn't start with very much. And the very fact that he is conducting an investigation has created these crimes. These are not crimes that have been committed prior to his appointment. They are crimes that were committed as a result of his appointment and that raises some questions about the role of special prosecutors in creating crimes. Creating opportunities for crimes to be committed. In the end, I don't think Mueller is going to come up with very much in terms of criminal conduct that existed before he was appointed, and that is quite shocking.

That's a lot of irresponsible nonsense to pack into one paragraph. But let's begin, more charitably, with an idea buried deep in these comments that is not, in the abstract, an unreasonable one: the idea that investigations that produce nothing more than an indictment for lying to the prosecutors - think Martha Stewart, or Scooter Libby - can be very troubling, bringing little or no credit to the prosecutors involved. The absence of any underlying criminality suggests that the investigation itself, which was necessarily premised on the notion that there was criminal conduct, was ill-advised and unnecessary, and it can seem unfair to punish people for lying to investigators in the course of an investigation that should not have occurred in the first place.

But that's in the abstract, and we're not talking here about the abstract, we're talking about the concrete - this investigation and this prosecutor. Yes, we should be concerned with investigations that conclude with nothing more than perjury indictments. But this investigation has, as Prof. Dershowitz appears to have forgotten, already obtained indictments and convictions against senior Trump campaign officials (Rick Gates and Paul Manafort) for substantive crimes unconnected with any perjury charges (including conspiracy to defraud the United States).

Plus, this investigation has, of course, not concluded, and neither I nor Prof. Dershowitz nor anyone else knows that Mueller is going to come up with. Prof. Dershowitz, invoking the magical powers that are often attributed to Harvard Law School professors, believes that he does know. "In the end," Dershowitz opines, "I don't think Mueller is going to come up with very much in terms of criminal conduct that existed before he was appointed, and that is quite shocking."

And you base that assessment, Prof. Dershowitz, on what, exactly? You have inside information on what Mueller "is going to come up with"? You know what transpired during the meetings and phone calls that Cohen now admits to having participated in? You know whether Roger Stone acted as a go-between for the Trump campaign and Wikileaks?

He's entitled to his opinion, of course - but it is an opinion that is based on absolutely nothing whatsoever. I think he got his syntax all wrong - surely what he meant to say was "If, as I believe will be the case (though that is based on no information whatsoever), Mueller does not ultimately come up with anything in terms of criminal activity, then I will be shocked."

And really, to say that Mueller "created these crimes," and that Michael Cohen (or Michael Flynn, who also pleaded guilty to perjuring himself in testimony to the prosecutors) committed perjury "as a result of [Mueller's] appointment," is irresponsible at least, and ridiculous at worst. Yes, it is true that the investigation is a "but-for" cause of Cohen's and Flynn's perjury, in the sense that had there been no investigation Cohen and Flynn would, obviously, not have had the opportunity to lie to investigators. But it was Cohen and Flynn who "created these crimes" by choosing to lie to prosecutors; saying Mueller created them is like saying that Donald Trump himself created them (by choosing Cohen and Flynn as his associates which, had it not occurred, would not have given them the opportunity to lie to investigators), or saying that the doctor who cured Michelangelo's childhood yellow fever created the David - but for that cure, after all, there would have been no statue.

And speaking of perjury: I find it ironic that many of the same people who criticize Mueller for "resorting to perjury charges" are also among those who criticize him for not having yet brought any criminal charges arising out of conduct during the 2016 campaign and urging him to wrap things up. One of the reasons we criminalize lying to prosecutors - and incidentally, what is the meaning of that non sequitur that "in other parts of the world, you can't even prosecute people for that"? Surely it is also true that in many parts of the world, they break your bones if you lie to prosecutors, and I really fail to see the point that the professor is making - is because it is often used, successfully, to conceal criminal activity, making it more difficult than it would otherwise be to uncover criminal behavior. It's hardly fair to criticize Mueller for not having completed his investigation yet while simultaneously making excuses for those who have been lying to him and making his job, as a consequence, that much more difficult. Perhaps, if everyone involved in this case were not lying about their contacts with the Russians, the investigators would have been able to complete their job in a more timely fashion.

Finally, it is rather astonishing that virtually everyone connected to these events has been lying about contacts with the Russians, in one form or another, whether those lies take place under oath (Gates, Flynn, Cohen, Papadopoulous) or not (Jeff Sessions, Jared Kushner, Donald Trump Jr., President Trump). Of course, people lie to prosecutors for many reasons - personal embarrassment, for example, or faulty memories, or the stress of being under investigation, or the desire to protect friends or family members - some of which do not, in and of themselves, indicate any criminality. They also frequently lie in order to conceal criminal conduct. And when so many people lie about the same thing - their involvement in communication with the Russians - one is surely entitled to be suspicious that something untoward was going on.

[UPDATE: Prof. Dershowitz responded to this posting here, and the exchange between us continued here]

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  • Brett Bellmore||

    "Yes, we should be concerned with investigations that conclude with nothing more than perjury indictments. "

    We should be particularly concerned with investigations where the perjury indictments are based on "perjury" that could have been simply fallible memories, where the investigators themselves thought no intentional lie was involved, and where the questions didn't need to be asked, because the investigators already had the answers.

    This isn't a case of somebody lying to frustrate a legitimate investigation into a crime that simply didn't happen. We're talking about questions asked in order to manufacture 'perjury', so that the defendant can be coerced into unrelated cooperation.

    A form of entrapment, to be blunt.

  • a ab abc abcd abcde abcdef ahf||

    It's travesty enough that merely lying to a Federal agent is a felony; my understanding is this even applies to postal clerks, but it shouldn't be a crime of any sort at any level.

    To justify a two year witch hunt whose only results are alleged lies to pointless witch hunt questions, that just compounds the travesty.

    Is Mueller's witch hunt ever going to rise to even the level of Ken Starr's witch hunt?

    The only conclusion to draw from all this is to never speak to any federal agent.

  • DjDiverDan||

    Before referring to Ken Starr's investigation as a "witch hunt," it should be remembered that Starr in fact obtained several (17, if I recall correctly) convictions or guilty pleas on crimes directly relating to the conduct he was directed to investigate, specifically the Clintons' Arkansas real estate dealings, Whitewater, and their relationships with Madison Guaranty Savings & Loan, including convictions of Jim and Susan McDougal (whom Bill Clinton subsequently pardoned), David Hale, and several others, ALL for criminal activity directly within his charge as Independent Counsel. By comparison, Robert Mueller currently has ZERO conviction relating directly to any alleged collusion between the Trump Campaign and Russia.

  • James Pollock||

    "By comparison, Robert Mueller currently has ZERO conviction relating directly to any alleged collusion between the Trump Campaign and Russia."

    You think it's meaningful to compare an investigation which is complete with one that isn't?

  • James Pollock||

    "We should be particularly concerned with investigations where the perjury indictments are based on "perjury" that could have been simply fallible memories, where the investigators themselves thought no intentional lie was involved, and where the questions didn't need to be asked, because the investigators already had the answers."

    How odd to see you rushing to Clinton's defense.

  • Brett Bellmore||

    I am rushing to Flynn's defense, but not Manafort's. IMO, Manafort was a fair cop, the only troubling aspect of which is that Mueller went out of his way to NOT go after Tony Podesta, who was every bit as guilty.

    As for Clinton, you're imagining things if you think her only offenses were actions which could be excused as failures of memory. People do not stumble into having private email servers by accident, she went to a lot of trouble and expense to make sure her emails, which she was legally obligated to have backed up by the government system, could be destroyed if ever sought in a legal proceeding.

  • James Pollock||

    "As for Clinton, you're imagining things if you think her only offenses were actions which could be excused as failures of memory"

    Clinton was one where the investigators already knew the answer to the question asked, when they asked it. And, um, he's a dude, not a "her". You remember him, right? The one who actually admitted to being guilty of perjury, and surrendered his law license because of it? Any of this familiar?

  • Naaman Brown||

    He was writing about Hillary Clinton's private e-mail system problem. Not about Bill Clinton's problems.

  • James Pollock||

    Which is nice, and all, but he was accused of rushing to Bill Clinton's side, because he was defending people caught in a perjury despite being investigated for something else.

  • MatthewSlyfield||

    Manafort's crimes were real, but have no connection to Trump, the Trump campaign, or collusion between the Trump campaign and the Russian government. The fact that Mueller is trying to break the Plea deal with Manafort on grounds of lying to his investigators after the deal was made strongly suggests that Manafort didn't give Mueller anything at all usable against Trump.

  • James Pollock||

    "Manafort's crimes were real, but have no connection to Trump, the Trump campaign, or collusion between the Trump campaign and the Russian government."

    Manafort's crimes THUS FAR REVEALED were real, etc. etc.
    Just hedging bets, here.

  • Lee Moore||

    Fair point. THUS FAR - two and a half years into the investigation - we've had nothing in the nature of an indictment of anyone for a crime involving any kind of collusion between the Russian government and the Trump campaign, far less any trial or conviction of that kind.

    But we're only two and a half years in.

  • iowantwo||

    Manaforts crimes were sitting on a shelf in SDNY offices because they decided they didn't have enough to get a conviction.

  • Leo Marvin||

    " the only troubling aspect of which is that Mueller went out of his way to NOT go after Tony Podesta, who was every bit as guilty."

    Ummm... Mueller referred Podesta to SDNY.

    I hate to be a wet blanket, Brett, but your news sources may not be the most reliable.

  • PoxOnBothYourHouses||

    James Pollock: "How odd to see you rushing to Clinton's defense."

    Since you seem to be referring to /Bill/ Clinton, I'd be interested in your explanation of how he had a simple lapse of memory about his diddling with "that woman, Ms. Lewinsky." Was it like, on reconsideration: "Oh! THAT Ms. Lewinsky!"

  • James Pollock||

    " I'd be interested in your explanation of how he had a simple lapse of memory about his diddling with 'that woman, Ms. Lewinsky.'"

    I'd be interested in yours, since you're the one making it up.

    Bill's perjury came about on questions that met his third prong, " where the questions didn't need to be asked, because the investigators already had the answers"

  • JeffreyL||

    If you want a much better argument. Go read Former AUSA Andrew McCarthy over at NRO. Just my suggestion

  • rsteinmetz||

    Link?

  • Life of Brian||

    Probably this article. I much enjoy McCarthy's writing style and boots-on-the-ground perspective myself.

  • a ab abc abcd abcde abcdef ahf||

    Are you implying that Dershowitz was ever anywhere near as great as Willy Mays?

    I can't think of anything polite in response to this article.

  • PoxOnBothYourHouses||

    ahf: "Are you implying that Dershowitz was ever anywhere near as great as Willy Mays?"

    Besides, it wasn't really May's last years that sooooo dispirited people, as it was Mickey Mantle's. Now /he/ fits the narrative much better.

  • MarkW201||

    If you are ranking Dershowitz among self-promoters, he could be as great as Mays. Otherwise, not.

  • fyodor32768||

    So a few points,

    1. The underlying FBI investigation, which was eventually went to Mueller, started as a counter-intelligence investigation, not a criminal investigation. so it's not like they necessarily started by looking for people to prosecute-they were trying to get to the truth of what happened in the with Russian involvement. It's not like they went out to find crimes as such and then went after people for procedural stuff when they failed.

    2. There *have* been substantive prosecutions of the Russian hackers. So it's not like the only prosecutions have been process crimes.

    3. Cohen was prosecuted for lying to congress. Mueller didn't make him testify.

  • Brett Bellmore||

    The underlying FBI investigation started as a "counter-intelligence" investigation based on known opposition research. It seems likely the only purpose for starting it was just to have a pretext for spying on an opposition Presidential campaign.

  • James Pollock||

    "The underlying FBI investigation started as a "counter-intelligence" investigation based on known opposition research"

    No, it didn't, but it's amusing that you think the FBI needs outsiders to tell it to keep an eye on Russians.

  • NoobyNoobyDoo||

    I'm pretty sure you're wrong on that and that all this did start as a counter intelligence investigation.

    You're also conflating a mission focus with an actual investigation.

    Then again, considering how/when the investigation started in any fashion is still murky. And what is known is very questionable / concerning.

  • James Pollock||

    "I'm pretty sure you're wrong on that and that all this did start as a counter intelligence investigation."

    The FBI investigates Russians on an ongoing basis. Which makes the claim that this started as a "counter intelligence investigation based on known opposition research" false, unless the "opposition" in this sentence is referring to the Russians.

    "You're also conflating a mission focus with an actual investigation."

    I'm what now?

  • Brett Bellmore||

    I think you're playing around with "this"; I'm not referring to the entire history of US intelligence operations from the 1700's on, I'm referring to the Mueller investigation.

  • James Pollock||

    "I think you're playing around with "this";[...] I'm referring to the Mueller investigation"

    Then why did you refer to "the underlying investigation" instead of "the Mueller investigation"?

  • Lee Moore||

    why did you refer to "the underlying investigation" instead of "the Mueller investigation"?

    Because the Mueller investigation is - according to its written scope which has been published (albeit in redacted form) - the continuation of a pre-existing investigation (aka the "underlying investigation" aka "Crossfire Hurricane") described by Comey in evidence to Congress expiicitly as a "counterintelligence" investigation.

    It is true, no doubt, that the FBI has been conducting counterintelligence investigations into Russian operations for nearly a century. But that doesn't mean that it's all one big century long investigation. They open specific new investigations from time to time. And we already know that they opened this one on 31 July 2016 and called it "Crossfire Hurricane."

  • James Pollock||

    Glad to have you on board, Lee, and happy to have your agreement.

  • grb||

    No. The FBI investigation started with a Trump campaign adviser's drunken bragging to an Australia diplomat about Russia dirt on Hillary Clinton. This is so well established, what's the point of pretending otherwise?

    Regarding your "pretext for spying on an opposition presidential campaign". To what end? In the Fox News/Breibart hermetic bubble, the answer is "sabotage". But none of the Right's villains, from Obama, to Comey, to Strzok used what they learned during the campaign, not even through leaks. If it was politically motivated, why wasn't it used politically? You'd think so simple a question would even penetrate the Fox News/Breibart hermetic bubble.

    On a general note, there's a lot of merit in what Dershowitz says. These investigations typically abuse
    prosecutorial discretion - dragging on endlessly with an Ahab-like obsession. We won't know until it's conclusion, but Mueller's seems better than most - certainly his refusal to leak or campaign in the press is refreshing. Of course only one of these things was a total fraud : Brett Kavanaugh "investigation" of the suicide of Vince Foster. That three years of pure hackery set the gold standard in holding legal process in total contempt. Whatever happened to that guy anyway?

  • James Pollock||

    "You'd think so simple a question would even penetrate the Fox News/Breibart hermetic bubble."

    Not if the true answer didn't fit the preferred narrative, you wouldn't.

  • Sharper||

    "The FBI investigation started with a Trump campaign adviser's drunken bragging to an Australia diplomat about Russia dirt on Hillary Clinton. This is so well established, what's the point of pretending otherwise?"

    Now give the rest of the story, where Papadopoulos was passing on a rumor he'd just barely heard from Joseph Mifsud, who has been given ties to Russian intelligence, but over time seems to have been outed as a British spy (various photos of him with senior British leaders at official functions, training Italian spies on behalf of Britain, etc....). In short, Papadopoulos (who had met with Trump in a group of advisors exactly once), didn't know anything about Russian dirt on Hillary beyond rumors he'd heard. This is literally all about gossip which probably a million people had speculated on at the time.

    The interesting part is that the investigation is supposedly about colluding with Russia to get dirt on Hillary, when we have very established facts (including information used in the Trump campaign FISA warrants) that Hillary's campaign literally colluded with Russian and British spies to create fake anti-Trump dirt and then use that as a big part of the basis for this investigation. What's your excuse for that much more substantial "collusion" not being investigated?

  • NoobyNoobyDoo||

    Russian hackers have been prosecuted?

    Or do you mean indicted with a high public profile announcement that hasn't gone anywhere?

    Or how it has no evident connection to Trump?

  • James Pollock||

    "Or do you mean indicted with a high public profile announcement that hasn't gone anywhere?"

    Indictment is a necessary step of prosecution.

  • NoobyNoobyDoo||

    While a true statement, an indictment is not the same as a "substantive prosecution". The claim was not that a judicial process was started, but that it has ended and in the government's favor.

  • James Pollock||

    Substantive prosecutions sometimes end with acquittals, or mistrials, or just dismissals. And, yes, sometimes they end with defendants who flee to countries which decline to extradite.

  • MatthewSlyfield||

    In this case, the defendants have never been in the US and have always been in a country that would decline to extradite them.

    The indictment was pointless for anything other than political grandstanding.

  • Lee Moore||

    Not just pointless but actually counterproductive. As Andrew McCarthy explained at the time, if you actually want to prosecute foreigners who are currently outside the jurisdiction, you keep your indictments secret and hope to grab the foreign perps unawares, should they stumble into your jurisdiction (or within extradition range) in blissful ignorance that you're after them.

    Publicising your indictment simply ensures that they wil stay out of your grasp.

    Consequently you get your political grandstanding at the cost of entrirely giving up on whatever slim chance you might have had of doing an actual prosecution.

  • James Pollock||

    "Not just pointless but actually counterproductive. As Andrew McCarthy explained at the time, if you actually want to prosecute foreigners who are currently outside the jurisdiction, you keep your indictments secret and hope to grab the foreign perps unawares, should they stumble into your jurisdiction"

    Except... if you don't think they'll be travelling, or you think, say, a well-equipped, well-trained national intelligence service might be looking over your shoulder and already have the complete list, anyway.

    Counter-intelligence is like chess in a couple of ways... first, if you're not thinking at least five or six moves ahead, you've already lost, and second, the Russians are pretty good at both.

  • Lee Moore||

    the Russians are pretty good at both

    Apparently not. When "hacking" the Dems they left all sorts of clues that the hackers were russkies. Top class performers would have left clues pointing the finger at China or Israel. Just as top class Chinese or Israeli hackers would have left clues pointing at Russia.

  • Sarcastr0||

    You've changed the scope from counterintelligence to the particular scenario at hand. The Russians are actually pretty good at counterintelligence, having had a whole Cold War to practice. But then, so are we.

    As to your collateral thesis, you are not wrong - when it comes to leveraging the Internet to influence elections, the Russians are not exactly pros. But pretty clearly they do not need to be, as their targets are very soft.

    Your speculation that it could be anyone because it's obviously Russia is pretty fact-free and unfalsifiable.

  • Lee Moore||

    pretty clearly they do not need to be, as their targets are very soft.

    I'd actually argue that the Soviets were good at intelligence, but had no particularly strong reason to get good at counter-intelligence. As a closed society the USSR was inherently hard to spy on, at least as regards Humint. The West presented a much juicier target for Soviet intelligence than the USSR presented for Western spies. Consequently you would expect the Soviets and now Russkies to have long experience and expertise in intelligence (plus sabotage, assassination, propaganda-spiel and fomenting revolution), but not so much in counter-intelligence. The great bulk of Soviet internal securty was directed at internal targets. Whereas you'd expect the US to be pretty good at counter-intelligence, since it's an open society offering huge opportunities for espionage of all kinds - military, political, technological and commercial.

  • Lee Moore||

    Your speculation that it could be anyone because it's obviously Russia is pretty fact-free and unfalsifiable.

    So I hear. I may be wrong but as I understand it the Clinton / Dem evidence-destruction machine has eaten up the relevant servers so that the FBI can't do their own checks even if they wanted to. So we're left with unreviewable efforts of the folk the Dems hired.

    Obviously if it was a real counterintelligence operation the FBI would have been all over the Dem servers from the word go, checking for Russkie fingerprints or those of other furriners. But as you say we seem to be in a fact-free and unfalsifiable situation courtesy of the top evidence destroying engine this side of the Mississippi. Both sides actually.

  • James Pollock||

    " if it was a real counterintelligence operation the FBI would have been all over the Dem servers from the word go, checking for Russkie fingerprints or those of other furriners. "

    And you know they weren't, because you're briefed in on all "real" counterintelligence operations?

  • Sarcastr0||

    the Clinton / Dem evidence-destruction machine

    Welp.

  • James Pollock||

    "Top class performers would have left clues pointing the finger at China or Israel. "

    You mean, the way the President keeps insisting it could have been done?
    I don't think you know anything about hacking.

  • NoobyNoobyDoo||

    Except you're still getting ahead of yourself and claiming there's more than there actually is at this time.

    The original claim is that there has been a substantial prosecution. That's incorrect. There has been a high publicity indictment, but no actual prosecution.

  • James Pollock||

    "There has been a high publicity indictment, but no actual prosecution."

    Indictments are part of prosecution. So, when you concede that there have been indictments, you concede that there has been "actual prosecution".

    You can argue that there hasn't been "productive" prosecution or "effective" prosecution, but the claim there is no "actual" prosecution is a loser.

    Are you done yet?

  • NoobyNoobyDoo||

    My issue is not saying that a prosecution has commenced, but saying that one has happened. That's not accurate and is contextually misleading.

  • James Pollock||

    For some reason, you keep "correcting" me to say what I was saying all along.

    Why?

  • MatthewSlyfield||

    In the case of the Russian hackers, another necessary prerequisite step to prosecution is extradition from Russia to the US.

    Somehow, I don't see this happening.

  • Ohio Farmer||

    I'm pretty sure some of the defendants have asked for the rial to go ahead and the prosecution tried to stop it.

  • Lee Moore||

    I think you may be mixing up two different things.

    1. There's a Russian company (or two) that has been indicted, and which through its lawyers has turned up in court saying it's ready to go to trial. In pre-trial discovery they've asked Mueller to cough up some evidence, but he's told the court that the actual evidence is secret squirrel stuff and can't possibly be disclosed. So there's a bit of an impasse in getting the trial on the road. The substance is that the indictments were for political show only and there was no intention of ever having an actual trial, because the Mueller team never dreamed any russkies would show up for trial. But they got over excited an indicted a company which, unsurprisingly, is not worried about picking up a long jail term, and so is happy to send its lawyers along to embarrass Mueller.

    2. There are some actual Russians in St Petersburg who have - allegedly - been running a troll farm. They are actual humans but they're never gonna turn up for trial. This is also an indictent for show purposes only, but it unlike the first one it has gone according to plan. There'll be no trial and so no need to produce any actual evidence.

    It's the first one that is a bit eggy in the face, as indicting someone and then having to tell the court that the evidence is too secret to reveal is a bit of a giveaway that you never had the smallest intention of having an actual trial.

  • iowantwo||

    A person that you can get your hands on is also a requirement. A requirement Mueller never intended to meet.

  • Sigivald||

    Did the hacker prosecutions/indictments come from the Mueller investigation or a parallel one?

    (Seriously, I have no idea, and don't follow any of the ludicrous circus enough to know.)

  • John Rohan||

    AFAIK, there haven't been any prosecutions of Russian hackers. Mueller indicted some, but they remain in Russia, and aren't likely to travel to the US. Plus, they weren't really the hackers per se, but the men in charge of the military unit that was doing the hacking.

  • iowantwo||

    One did hire a US law firm, and showed up in court. Muller promptly begged the judge for more time. The Judge explained what any 1L student knows. Don't indict until you can go to trial.
    Not sure where the case is now.

  • James Pollock||

    "The Judge explained what any 1L student knows."

    Criminal Procedure is a 2L class.

  • rsteinmetz||

    I don't believe anyone has been convicted of "perjury", that is lying under oath. They have instead plead guilty to lying to the FBI, usually in an interview where none of the safeguards present in a deposition or court room testimony are present.

    The FBI, as I understand it, do not record or permit recording of their interviews instead one agent takes notes while another agent asks questions. The agents are nor required to disclose the evidence they have and can even lie to the subject claiming that they have evidence they don't have, that other people have confirmed this or that information. The FBI is not even bound by the same ethical rules a prosecutor or other lawyer is. It's hardly a fair situation. It's up to the prosecutor based on the FBI's characterization to decide whether a statement is a false statement or not.

  • fyodor32768||

    Cohen plead to lying to congress under oath.

  • rsteinmetz||

    And yet he was no confronted with the evidence against him.

  • James Pollock||

    When you plead guilty, there is no trial, and thus no confrontation.

  • Naaman Brown||

    FD-302 - Form for Reporting Information That May Become Testimony

    US Marshal David Hunt told reporter Jesse Walter over the 1992 Ruby Ridge incident that he could not understand why FBI did their FD-302 interview without a recorder, so there would be no dispute over what the questions and answers were. Other agencies used recordings for interviews, why couldn't the FBI?. It struck him as an arcane, J. Edgar Hoover, stuck in the 1930s time warp thing. The FBI agent would take pencil and paper notes during an interview, go back to the office and write up an FD-302, send it to the interviewee for review, and create an A1 folder of the notes and draft FD-302. In cases like the Gordon Kahl and Ruby Ridge standoffs, both prosecution and defense witnesses disputed what was in their FBI FD-302. The persons interviewed said their statements were slanted by the FBI interviewer to support the prevelant FBI or prosecution theory of the case rather than what they recalled telling the interviewer.

  • darkknight9||

    I'd rather you compared Alan Dershowitz to Albert Dershman. Or throw a perjury/Martha Stewart joke in there somewhere instead of including Willy Mays in there. I haven't followed baseball since the late 80's/early 90's but it seems wrong mixing up Mays and Dershowitz for any reason. Tongue in cheek or not. Especially when my teenage son wants to know why I'm reading a Conspiracy article comparing the Oxy Clean guy to 'some dude' who can hold 3 billiard balls in his mouth. (This took a bit of googling to straighten out between the two of us I assure you). :)

  • Brian Kennedy||

    The title and opening paragraph seem gratuitous.

  • ||

    Your drivel is what is "irresponsible nonsense," not Professor Dershowitz's. Conducting investigations for the sake of conducting investigations, in the hope that somewhere along the line, someone will tell a lie about something, even unintentionally, and even if it's not related to any crime, is a course of action worthy of a totalitarian country.

  • Jonny Scrum-half||

    I'd be interested to know if you felt the same way about the Whitewater investigation that led to Bill Clinton's impeachment for having lied about consensual sexual conduct.

  • ||

    I was very young when that went on, but wasn't Clinton asked about his relationship with Lewinsky during a sexual harassment civil suit, unrelated to Whitewater?

  • Brett Bellmore||

    Indeed, and the law that made the testimony relevant had been signed, with great ceremony, by Clinton himself. He was one of a few hundred people in the entire world who had no standing whatsoever to complain about being compelled to testify on that topic.

  • ||

    Exactly. I recall that Starr was originally tasked with investigating Whitewater and then ended up investigating the Lewinsky lie as well, but it's simply false to argue that the Lewinsky lie, itself, stemmed from the Whitewater investigation. It didn't.

  • James Pollock||

    "it's simply false to argue that the Lewinsky lie, itself, stemmed from the Whitewater investigation. It didn't."

    It had nothing to do with the Whitewater investigation. But they dug, and they dug, and they dug, and it turned out there was nothing prosecutable related to Whitewater.

  • ||

    Except that the Lewinsky lie had taken place independent of the investigation. Why do you keep ignoring that fact?

  • James Pollock||

    "Except that the Lewinsky lie had taken place independent of the investigation. Why do you keep ignoring that fact?"

    You mean by saying "It had nothing to do with the Whitewater investigation."? Is that how I'm ignoring the fact that the Lewinsky lie was independent of the investigation?

    I'll go further. Not only was it unrelated, it happened years after the Whitewater investigation started. Whoo-ee! Look at me, ignoring the fact that the Lewinsky lie was independent of the investigation...

  • Brett Bellmore||

    Nothing prosecutable except for

    Jim Guy Tucker: Governor of Arkansas at the time, resigned (fraud, 3 counts)
    John Haley: attorney for Jim Guy Tucker (tax evasion)
    William J. Marks, Sr.: Jim Guy Tucker's business partner (conspiracy)
    Stephen Smith: former Governor Clinton aide (conspiracy to misapply funds). Bill Clinton pardoned.
    Webster Hubbell: Clinton political supporter; U.S. Associate Attorney General; Rose Law Firm partner (embezzlement, fraud)
    Jim McDougal: banker, Clinton political supporter: (18 felonies, varied)
    Susan McDougal: Clinton political supporter (multiple frauds). Bill Clinton pardoned.
    David Hale: banker, self-proclaimed Clinton political supporter: (conspiracy, fraud)
    Neal Ainley: Perry County Bank president (embezzled bank funds for Clinton campaign)
    Chris Wade: Whitewater real estate broker (multiple loan fraud). Bill Clinton pardoned.
    Larry Kuca: Madison real estate agent (multiple loan fraud)
    Robert W. Palmer: Madison appraiser (conspiracy). Bill Clinton pardoned.
    John Latham: Madison Bank CEO (bank fraud)
    Eugene Fitzhugh: Whitewater defendant (multiple bribery)
    Charles Matthews: Whitewater defendant (bribery)

    Aside from that, nothing prosecutable.

    The Clintons themselves escaped thanks to the statute of limitations expiring while they pretended to look for Rose law firm billing records. They found them a couple days after it expired, strangely enough.

  • James Pollock||

    "Nothing prosecutable except for"

    Oh, right. they totally got Bill on that Whitewater deal. When does he get out of prison?

  • iowantwo||

    I have learned in the last 2 years that if the people you know are criminals, that means you are a criminal.

  • James Pollock||

    "I have learned in the last 2 years that if the people you know are criminals, that means you are a criminal."

    There's a fairly strong correlation, but of course correlation isn't causation, and birds of a feather doing some flocking isn't evidence.

  • iowantwo||

    Tell that to the media, it's their mantra, not mine.

    But you know Mueller has never had any intention of filing criminal charges. This is about driving President Trump's poll numbers low enough Republicans try to get him to resign like they did Nixon.

    That's why your defense of this witch hunt in so stupid. The whole thing is a scam, and you're fine with the lie.

  • James Pollock||

    "But you know Mueller has never had any intention of filing criminal charges."

    Because (duh) the sitting President is immune from criminal charges?

  • James Pollock||

    "Indeed, and the law that made the testimony relevant had been signed, with great ceremony, by Clinton himself."

    Perjury has been relevant since long before Mr. Clinton was signing anything.

  • ||

    Not Mr. Clinton. Mr. is a title you use for gentlemen. Not filthy, anti-American traitorous savages like Clinton (either one) or Obama (either one).

  • Last of the Shitlords||

    He is a serial date rapist. Possibly going back over fifty years. But it's ok for de ocrats to bear and rape women.

  • James Pollock||

    How, exactly, are do ocrats bearing women?

  • James Pollock||

    So you're Ms. RightWingPatriot, then?

  • PoxOnBothYourHouses||

    BB: " He was one of a few hundred people in the entire world who had no standing whatsoever to complain about being compelled to testify on that topic."

    But -- to bring Alan Dershowitz back in, though in an off-topic manner -- Dershowitz argues that Clinton did not have to answer the question. He could have stated that the question was demeaning to the office of president and that he therefore would not answer it. Starr could still have come after him -- in fact he'd be almost certain to do that -- but he wouldn't have "the lie" in evidence, and the stained, blue dress would never have com into evidence.

  • OtisAH||

    Ho-lee crap! I always gave you the benefit of the doubt, figuring no one could be as disgusting a human being as you demonstrate unless they'd spent the last 70 years or so working at it. But you weren't even old enough to follow the Clinton impeachment?!? Mind. Blown.

  • James Pollock||

    Could have been a birth injury. Just a little delay in getting the lungs going, say.

  • Stephen Lathrop||

    Is it really true that Mueller hasn't proved anything except lying? I'm looking at what has been conceded so far, putting it together with what has been seen in public, and wondering why Trump isn't already under indictment for acting as an unregistered agent of a foreign power, prior to winning the election.

  • Brett Bellmore||

    If you're genuinely wondering that, you're more gullible than I think you are. There's a difference between a Presidential campaign establishing contacts with foreign governments, and having foreign policy disagreements with the administration they're hoping to replace, and being an "agent of a foreign power".

    Or else it's not just Trump who should be fitted out for an orange jumpsuit.

  • ScottK||

    Who pays you to churn this stuff out, and why does your sponsor think it will gain traction with an audience of educated people who pay attention?

  • James Pollock||

    Nobody ever went broke underestimating the American people.

  • Rev. Arthur L. Kirkland||

    If you're genuinely wondering that, you're more gullible than I think you are.

    Birthers who opine about standards of evidence and call other people "gullible" are among my favorite disaffected right-wingers and faux libertarians.

    Carry on, clingers.

  • NoobyNoobyDoo||

    And what exactly has been conceded that would make Trump an agent of a foreign power?

  • James Pollock||

    The part where his national security advisor was having "off the record" negotiations with a foreign power about economic sanctions, at a time when he was not authorized to do so by the United States government. If he wasn't OUR agent at the time, whose agent was he?

  • NoobyNoobyDoo||

    You mean the part where there's nothing unusual about an incoming administration transition official talking to foreign governments?

    Is that the same time that the actual agents that interviewed him didn't think he lied?

    Or how about just talking to foreign officials without government approval is not the definition of being an agent of said foreign power?

    Or that the idea of anyone being prosecuted under the Logan Act is absurd?

  • James Pollock||

    "You mean the part where there's nothing unusual about an incoming administration transition official talking to foreign governments?"

    Then why try to hide it, and lie about it afterwards?

    And are you hoping I wouldn't notice the switch from "negotiating" to "talking to"?

  • NoobyNoobyDoo||

    Unless your have more info to provide, none of that is legally relevant.

    Having initially policy discussions with a foreign country, whether you want to call it negotiations (that are non-binding) or talks, is neither illegal or wrong or unusual for an incoming administration.

  • James Pollock||

    And the reason for lying about things that are neither illegal nor wrong nor unusual for an incoming administration is... they wanted to act guilty when they weren't, to score political points (somehow)?

  • NoobyNoobyDoo||

    The interview agents did not think he lied.

    Outside of taking to the agents though, the actions you've described are not illegal, or unusual when in context. That "little" fact should not be overlooked.

  • James Pollock||

    "The interview agents did not think he lied."

    Neither did the O.J. jurors think HE lied. Why is it you assume I would consider this dispositive of anything?

  • James Pollock||

    "the actions you've described are not illegal"

    Acting as an agent of a foreign power, without registering as an agent of a foreign power, is still illegal, even in Trump's Greater America.

  • James Pollock||

    "none of that is legally relevant."

    Wasn't aware this was a legal proceeding. Whom do I bill?

  • NoobyNoobyDoo||

    I thought this was a discussion about the legality of certain actions and whether they are prosecutable. No need to bring yourself into this.

  • James Pollock||

    Does this mean you're planning on skipping out on the bill?

  • ScottK||

    Four questions is not an answer.

  • M.L.||

    So what? The Obama campaign did the same thing in 2008 with their beloved, like-minded foreign entities:

    Hamas and Iran.

  • M.L.||

    But since Obama was a darling of the media & bipartisan establishment rather than a sworn enemy, no years-long special counsel investigation resulted.

  • ScottK||

    Lies.

    Haaretz and many other news outlets covered Obama's mid-2008 trip to Israel in detail. He met with Abbas, but not anyone from Iran or from Hamas (which objected to Obama's presence).

  • M.L.||

    I said Obama's campaign, not Obama himself. Robert Malley for instances stepped down over this, then came back into the Obama admin latter.

  • James Pollock||

    So... Trump can't be guilty of something, because Obama once did something? That's the whole of your argument?

  • ScottK||

    More lies. Malley stepped down, but not due to anything he did for the Obama campaign. Do you have someone you can smear for Iran too?

  • Ohio Farmer||

    An agent of Russia cannot have discussions with another agent of Russia about what the US will do if Russia does x. That conversation only works if one is speaking on behalf of the US and one on behalf of Russia. I think you're conflating the statute that makes it a crime for someone to negotiate with a foreign power without permission of the administration. You know, like Kerry is constantly doing with Europe and Iran.

  • James Pollock||

    "An agent of Russia cannot have discussions with another agent of Russia about what the US will do if Russia does x."

    Why not? Is that compartmental?

  • iowantwo||

    Isn't that exactly what Mr Heinz has been doing with Iran that last year?

    Oh, and while Flynn was having conversations, none of it was criminal. He pled guilty because Mueller threatened to ruin his son. Process crime, because no real crime occured, The FBI conducted the interview and those agents agreed that Flynn had not lied. Only Muller thought he had.

  • James Pollock||

    "He pled guilty because Mueller threatened to ruin his son."

    Right. He didn't plead guilty because he was guilty, he pleaded guilty because somebody offscreen had a gun to his family's heads!

    I mean, it's not like there isn't somebody in the story who can make criminal convictions disappear, or anything.

  • Sigivald||

    What does "agent of a foreign power" mean in your usage, exactly?

  • James Pollock||

    Both "agent" and "foreign power" have well-established legal meanings, do they not?

  • NoobyNoobyDoo||

    They do, and neither you or anyone else has provided any evidence to meet the definition of agent of a foreign power.

  • James Pollock||

    Not to someone who doesn't want to see it, no.

    If you put your fingers in your hears and scream "I can't hear you!" over and over, you won't hear anything that's contrary to your preferred understanding.

  • NoobyNoobyDoo||

    If you wanted to talk about Flynn's other work before the election, you may have a point. But in regards to him doing his job as part of the new admin's transition team, you're simply wrong. Having policy discussions with foreign powers is normal.

    Even if he wasn't part of the incoming admin's transition team, what would he be prosecuted for? Was he actively promoting that countries interest? Just talking to another government does not make one an agent of a foreign power. You're missing some critical details.

  • James Pollock||

    "Even if he wasn't part of the incoming admin's transition team, what would he be prosecuted for?"

    Look, you're the one who keeps bringing up prosecuting him, and then demanding that I justify it. If you think he should be prosecuted, feel free to point out why. If not, drop it and stop trying to drag irrelevant issues into the discussion.

    "Just talking to another government does not make one an agent of a foreign power"

    You're still trying to switch from active negotiations to "just talking".

    Try to follow along.
    When the state department negotiates with a foreign government, our diplomats are our agents, and their diplomats are their agents. Simple, right? So when Flynn goes and meets with the Russian government, and at the time he is NOT representing us, he is not the U.S.'s agent, right? Looking one way, he is Trump's agent to Russia, and looking the other way, he is Russia's agent to Trump.
    That's using the commonly-accepted legal definition of "agent".

    Calling it "just talking" doesn't change anything.

  • JeffreyL||

    What is actually most interesting about the Cohen plea is what isn't in there. As Byron York pointed out, he did not plea to lying about Prague. So again, the Dossier appears to include no verifiable information.

  • NoobyNoobyDoo||

  • Cosmo Man||

    All people have to do is not lie to investigators. Seems simple but probably not part of their DNA. If they do the consequences are on them. The smart ones don't lie, they simply "don't recall".

  • James Pollock||

    "The smart ones don't lie, they simply 'don't recall'.

    Which gets them in trouble when the wiretap says otherwise.

  • Brett Bellmore||

    No, you clearly don't understand the concept of a "perjury trap".

    All they have to do is answer one question after another over the course of hours, without any preparation or access to any records, and never make even one mistake or omission.

    If you've got a perfect memory, maybe you've got nothing to worry about. Otherwise? Everybody will eventually make one mistake, forget one thing, that an unethical prosecutor can construe to be "perjury".

    Even "I don't remember" isn't going to help you escape a perjury trap, if the prosecutor is willing to argue in court that you did remember.

  • James Pollock||

    "All they have to do is answer one question after another over the course of hours, without any preparation or access to any records, and never make even one mistake or omission."

    Nobody has to answer one question after another over the course of hours, without any preparation or access to any records.

    The correct answer to the very first question they ask you is "I'd like to invoke my sixth amendment rights at this time". If you give some other answer, you have only yourself to blame.

  • PubliusVA||

    What Sixth Amendment rights do you think would apply here? There's no criminal prosecution yet.

  • James Pollock||

    "What Sixth Amendment rights do you think would apply here? There's no criminal prosecution yet."

    No, but there's custodial interrogation. Do people facing custodial interrogation in the United States have any sixth-amendment rights?

  • Sarcastr0||

    Except the things people are pleading to are not that kind of nonmaterial dross; they are material lies.

  • James Pollock||

    That doesn't fit in with what he wants to believe.

  • ||

    All zero of them?

  • iowantwo||

    material lies. Coehn lied about the Trump tower in Russia deal. A project that does not violate any law, and contacts with people that have nothing to do with the 2016 election.
    A crime that would not exist were it not for the lie about Trump/Russia collusion. A lie that has no basis in fact.

    Without this witch hunt, his actions would not be a crime.

  • James Pollock||

    "A lie that has no basis in fact."

    Isn't that how ALL lies work?

  • Sarcastr0||

    Your moving the goalposts way too much. Materiality is about a lot more than 'is this testimony direct evidence of a crime the person testifying has committed.'

    Trump's dealing with Russia about a Trump Tower seems to have extended past the election, so I don't know where you're coming from with having nothing to do with the 2016 election, unless you thing the American voters wouldn't have much cared that the country hacking the opposing candidate was working deals with Trump.

    Does that make more sense to you?

  • Sarcastr0||

    Also, what's the latest on the special counsel law requiring an underlying crime, iowantwo?

  • ||

    Which is why I counsel people never to answer any questions from a federal agent, under any circumstances.

  • Rev. Arthur L. Kirkland||

    I enjoy watching "law and order" right-wingers turn into amateur defense attorneys whenever the defendant is a prominent Republican.

    These stale-thinking goobers can't die off fast enough.

  • rsteinmetz||

    Popehat is an actual liberal, Trump hating former AUSA, turned criminal defense lawyer. Ken White obviously knows nothing about the Federal Criminal Justice System.

  • James Pollock||

    Describing Ken White as "an actual liberal" is a bit misleading. Like most people, he skews liberal on some issues, and more conservative on others.

  • James Pollock||

    And... if he is "an actual liberal", how is he relevant to the discussion at hand?

  • Larvell Blanks||

    Neither one has been in my kitchen.

  • James Pollock||

    "the idea that investigations that produce nothing more than an indictment for lying to the prosecutors - think Martha Stewart, or Scooter Libby - can be very troubling, bringing little or no credit to the prosecutors involved. The absence of any underlying criminality suggests that the investigation itself, which was necessarily premised on the notion that there was criminal conduct, was ill-advised and unnecessary"

    I reject the premise outright. Absence of evidence is not evidence of absence.

    Consider this variation:
    An investigation is opened, conducted, and closed without producing any indictments or official findings. Do you infer from this that the investigation was suppressed by "friends in high places"? That the investigation was only opened to embarrass someone, even though there was no wrongdoing to investigate? Because BOTH of these inferences will be offered if the subject of the investigation was prominent enough.

    The audience for Fox News wants to hear that the Mueller investigation is producing null or invalid results, so that's what Fox News personalities tell them. It's as shocking to hear this opinion on FN as it is for members of a Shakespearean play to hear that Romeo and Juliet's love is doomed. It's part of the script.

    Treating anything said on Fox News as a serious argument is a mistake.

  • Sigivald||

    And the audience for MSNBC (e.g.) wants to hear that the President is a criminal and a stooge of the Russians, and anything that can be spun in vaguely that direction (e.g. the Manafort conviction for ... financial declarations, wasn't it, from well before anything to do with the President, presented as "the President is obviously a crook because of this conviction!").

    "It's from bad people with an agenda so it's wrong" is a fallacy no matter which direction you run it, is the problem.

    (The President is a terrible person with a lot of bad policy ideas, but so far all the evidence for him being a corrupt terrible person is ... a giant nothingburger slathered with IDGAF sauce.)

  • James Pollock||

    "And the audience for MSNBC"

    I wasn't aware there IS an audience for MSNBC.

    "'It's from bad people with an agenda so it's wrong' is a fallacy no matter which direction you run it, is the problem."

    That's not the argument I made. The people on Fox News aren't BAD (mostly). The people on Fox News are PREDICTABLE. They will say what their audience wants/expects to hear. In the present case, what the audience for Fox News wants to hear is that Mueller is a bad guy running an invalid investigation. So, whoever's on Fox News, talking about the Mueller investigation, is saying that Mueller's bad guy running an invalid investigation.

    My opinion is that Russians didn't collude with the Trump campaign. The Trump campaign had no compunctions about doing so, but the Russians concluded that they'd be more likely to elect their stooge without his help than with it. That's what I'm expecting the Mueller final report to say... members of the Trump campaign tried to collude on these occasions (Table 1: dates and times), but the Russians let them dangle. The Russians took these actions to influence the election (Table 2: actions, dates and times) and those should be dealt with.

  • Joe_dallas||

    The scooter libby prosecution was especially egregious . At the time of the "supposed lying to the investigators, the prosecution already knew the source of the leak and it was not Scooter Libby.

  • James Pollock||

    Mr. Libby chose to fall on his sword. It was dumb, but it was his choice.

  • iowantwo||

    The leak was not a leak, It never was a leak. Plame was no longer a spy. Had not been for years. When the CIA was contacted that her name was going to go public, the CIA did not care.
    Again, but for the investigation, no activities would earn a criminal sentence.

  • Last of the Shitlords||

    "Treating anything said on Fox News as a serious argument is a mistake."

    Oh fuck off. What kind of a nonsense statement is that? They're certainly more credible than anything coming out of the mouth of some movement progressive, who will be inclined to lie about or distort any inconvenient facts.

    Of course, that is an extremely low bar.

  • James Pollock||

    "What kind of a nonsense statement is that?"

    It's called "truth". I see you're unfamiliar with it. That's what we call it when things are in accord with objective reality. These days, it's pretty much reserved for nonpartisans, but it's out there, if you choose to go look for it.

  • iowantwo||

    James, read the statute. Special Counsels dont do counter intel investigations. They are required to investigate a named crime.

    There is no named crime.

  • James Pollock||

    "They are required to investigate a named crime."

    The name is "espionage". Need a dictionary?

  • iowantwo||

    That's a word not a crime. Describe the evidence that suspicions espionage.

  • iowantwo||

    That's a word not a crime. Describe the evidence that suspicions espionage.

  • James Pollock||

    "James, read the statute."

    You demanding I read the entire U.S. Code to be sure I find the one you think is relevant?

    "Read the statute" without a quotation of the statute in question, or a citation to a statute (doesn't have to be perfect blue book format, but it does have to be there.) is a concession that the statute doesn't say what the claimaint says it does.

  • bernard11||

    Willie Mays, who has as good a claim as anyone on the title of Greatest All-Around Ballplayer Ever,

    Second greatest, maybe. Mays was great, but Ruth was better, maybe not by a lot, but definitely.

  • James Pollock||

    "Mays was great, but Ruth was better"

    Not in my accounting.

    The guy was employable as a pitcher in his early years, but at no point was he notable for his defense. He dominates in some offensive categories (HR, RBI, walks) but not so much in others (steals).https://www.fangraphs.com/not/ babe-ruth-was-the-worst-base-stealer-of-all-time/ (space inserted)

    How'd he do at avoiding pickoffs or breaking up double plays? How do you factor in errors?

  • Bob from Ohio||

    "The guy was employable as a pitcher in his early years,"

    He was a Hall of Fame level pitcher.

    I agree that as a position player, Mays was better "all around" but that does not mean "better". Ruth was dominant in a way Mays never was.

  • James Pollock||

    "Mays was better 'all around' but that does not mean 'better'"

    I can't argue with that. Literally.

  • David Nieporent||

    "Willie Mays" is a funny way to spell "Barry Bonds," but the argument for Mays being greater than Ruth is that he faced much tougher competition. There is no question that Ruth dominated his peers more than Mays did his, but Ruth was playing in a segregated league that drew talent from a limited national pool that relied on a bunch of old guys driving around rural areas hoping to get lucky spotting a prospect.

  • bernard11||

    Only true up to a point, David. Scouting was not that much advanced when Mays started either.

    Consider this, from Wikipedia.

    Mantle began his professional baseball career in Kansas with the semi-professional Baxter Springs Whiz Kids.[8] In 1948, Yankees scout Tom Greenwade came to Baxter Springs to watch Mantle's teammate, third baseman Billy Johnson. During the game, Mantle hit three home runs. Greenwade returned in 1949, after Mantle's high school graduation, to sign Mantle to a minor league contract. Mantle signed for $140 per month with a $1,500 signing bonus.

    Not exactly what goes on today.

    Yes, Ruth played in a segregated league. But MLB did not have that many black players during much of Mays' career either, and nowhere near the number of Latino players there are today. And for much of that time baseball was the dominant sport in the US. For a young athlete hoping to become a professional, baseball was by far the most attractive route.

    As for Bonds, well, let's put Ruth on steroids and see what happens. Or just put him on a modern training regimen.

  • Bob from Ohio||

    Ruth hit homers on steaks and beer, not steroids like Bonds.

    Bonds was HOF level but not a top 30 [or 20 if you are generous] outfielder until he cheated.

    "Ruth was playing in a segregated league that drew talent from a limited national pool "

    No blacks but baseball was THE sport. A low level NFL and no NBA meant every top athlete would play baseball.

  • James Pollock||

    "No blacks but baseball was THE sport. A low level NFL and no NBA meant every top athlete would play baseball."

    For whom did Jim Thorpe and Jesse Owens play?

  • Bob from Ohio||

    "Thorpe signed with the New York Giants, and he played six seasons in Major League Baseball between 1913 and 1919."

    Owens was black so he shamefully was not allowed.

  • James Pollock||

    Your answer is woefully incomplete, in the sense that you left out the United States, the AAU, and six NFL teams.

  • James Pollock||

    "Ruth hit homers on steaks and beer, not steroids like Bonds."

    OK. We've established that both hit homers. Who hit more of them?

  • PoxOnBothYourHouses||

    ""Willie Mays" is a funny way to spell "Barry Bonds," "

    Is that Barry "I-can't-live-without-my-human-growth-hormones" Bonds? Or do you mean Barry "where's-my-damned-steroids" Bonds?

    Just to be quantitative for a moment: before Bonds began seriously using steroids and other PADs, after the 1998 season, his lifetime home run percentage was 6.2, good enough to get him into the top 30 overall, not that that's chopped liver, and of an age when his production could be predicted to fall off (major exceptions being Henry Aaron and Teddy Triple-Crown). He was also a fabulous all-around player and /would/ have been easily elected to the Hall of Fame.

  • Voize of Reazon||

    If you are seriously rating all-around players and giving real credit for defense as well as hitting, you gotta favor ol' Honus.

  • bernard11||

    Ruth was not the fielder Mays was. He wasn't the fielder Jimmy Piersall was either. OK.

    Mays had 12,663 plate appearances. Ruth had 10,623. Yet Ruth hit 54 more home runs, and batted in about 300 more runs. He hit .342 to Mays' .302. This can go on.

    Also, as Bob points out, Ruth was an excellent pitcher. His career ERA was 2.28, and his 162-game average W-L was 21-10. In 1916 he went 23-12 with a 1.75 ERA and gave up zero - zero - HR's in 323 innings. He held the record for most consecutive scoreless innings in the World Series - 29 2/3 - until Whitey Ford broke it forty years later. Sounds like a HOF pitcher to me.

  • James Pollock||

    Would Babe Ruth be a HOF pitcher (or hitter) if he played today? Of course not, he's dead, and that's a pretty substantial detriment to a pitcher. But if you could somehow pluck the still-kicking Babe from his prime, and drop him into today's game, would he even make a major-league roster?

    If you had to stop and think about that question before you could answer, then Mr. Ruth, while a great, great player, is not the "best of all time".

  • bernard11||

    I didn't have to stop and think. I only had to stop laughing at the question.

  • James Pollock||

    Guess I shouldn't have led with a joke.

  • PoxOnBothYourHouses||

    Okay, boys, enough fun.

    Now if we're talking pure /hitting/ you'd do a lot worse than picking Ted Williams, who lost five years (!) from the heart (!) of his career because of World War II and Korea, yet is STILL number 6 in home run percentage (once the three big cheaters -- McGwire, Bonds, and Sosa -- are removed), number eight in batting average, won a couple of triple crowns, hit better than DiMaggio /during/ DiMaggio's 56 game hitting steak, has the highest on-base percentage in baseball history (he got on base 48% of the times he came to bat!), came close to hitting .400 at the age of 39 against integrated pitching, won yet another batting championship at the age of 40, and even managed to hit .316 with 28 home runs as a 42 year-old.

  • James Pollock||

    Mr. Williams would be a serious contender, except, as you point out, he missed several years, unfortunately for him, in what would have been prime years for an athlete.

    So... maybe the greatest baseball player who ever lived got injured as a 14-year-old, and never picked up a bat again.

    You don't get credit for the baseball you didn't play, even if you had a REALLY GOOD REASON for missing the games.

    I don't think it's meaningful to compare statistics from different eras.
    I'll offer as viable candidates Ichiro Suzuki and Jim Thorpe. Like Mr. Williams, Suzuki spent multiple years in his prime not even playing major-league baseball. Unlike Mr. Williams, Suzuki WAS playing baseball.

    Jim Thorpe, on the other hand, spent most of the prime of his athletic career doing things instead of, or in addition to, baseball.

    If Williams gets credit for the war years (heck, if any player gets credit for the war years, when many of the best players were occupied elsewhere), then Ichiro gets credit for playing in Japan, and Thorpe gets credit for the gold medals he lost because of baseball.

  • Harvey Mosley||

    David are you really praising the man and investigation that has indicted targets that don't exist?

  • James in Perth||

    That's incredible! The Mets had Willie Mays play 45 games in center field at the age of 42. Surely they could have moved him over to right field?

  • James Pollock||

    That's not what the paying customers wanted to see.

  • PoxOnBothYourHouses||

    And it was the Mets.

  • James Pollock||

    So they REALLY had to cater to the ones they could find.

  • Bob from Ohio||

    "substantive crimes unconnected with any perjury charges..."

    And unconnected to the purpose of the investigation. Manafort was convicted of lobbying and tax crimes pre-dating any Trump campaign.

    Well, connected if the purpose is to reverse the 2016 election results by any means necessary.

  • David Nieporent||

    Well, connected if the purpose is to reverse the 2016 election results by any means necessary.

    Uh, no. Hint: if Trump were indicted, convicted, and imprisoned (with impeachment and removal occurring somewhere along the way), it would not make Hillary Clinton (or Gary Johnson, Evan McMullen, or Jill Stein, for that matter) president. The election results would not be "reversed." Instead, Mike Pence would become president.

  • James Pollock||

    Make no mistake: Mr. Pence is WELL aware of this. If the R's had enough seats in the Senate, he might even have pushed for it openly.

  • Bob from Ohio||

    So, revenge the election and let Gerald Ford II into office. Not much better.

  • iowantwo||

    The man that was elected to the office of President is removed, and that is NOT a reversal of an election? What term do you use.?

  • Stephen Lathrop||

    "Impeachment."

  • James Pollock||

    "The man that was elected to the office of President is removed, and that is NOT a reversal of an election?"

    So, every time a President dies in office, the election is reversed?

  • Midwest Lawyer||

    The problem appears to be that an FBI investigator can question you, and if your answer is inconsistent with other information that investigator has, you can be indicted and even convicted. The underlying activity may not even be criminal. I dare anyone to remember accurately what they did a year ago on a specific task. Unless you kept a written log or journal, you would be hard pressed to get the details correct. Even with a journal, it may not be complete.

    So, the question is not whether you can be indicted for lying to an FBI agent, the question is can you be indicted for giving an incorrect answer (one that you believe to be true).

  • James Pollock||

    " I dare anyone to remember accurately what they did a year ago on a specific task."

    Which means that giving a definitive answer would be... a lie.

    "So, the question is not whether you can be indicted for lying to an FBI agent, the question is can you be indicted for giving an incorrect answer (one that you believe to be true)."

    As above.

    Mr. Lawyer, There's a REASON we pay guys like you to speak for us. There's a REASON the Constitution ensures our access to your counsel when we're being interviewed in custody.

  • ||

    You'd have a point if the "making false statements" statute only covered lies told during a custodial interrogation. But it does not.

  • James Pollock||

    How does custodial interrogation have anything to do with the point? (Hint: It doesn't).

  • ||

    Reread your post.

  • James Pollock||

    OK. I re-read it, and custodial interrogation STILL doesn't have anything to do with the point. Were you TRYING to appear stupid, ignorant, or both?

  • Midwest Lawyer||

    Also, the way a witness is questioned can play a role. Look at what happened with Sandy Berger. When the FBI interviewed him, the started off by telling him about all the information they had already gathered. He was able to craft answers that were consistent with evidence gathered. The FBI did him a favor; what would have happened if Martha Scott or Libby Scooter had been shown such courtesy?

  • Last of the Shitlords||

    This whole thing is crooked bullshit, and anyone who isn't an idiot progtard knows it. If it were a legitimate investigation, the Clintons would be at least equally investigated, and the Podestas indicted for most of the same shit as Manafort.

    None of that happened. This is a progtarded sham. If the rule of,law is not restored (The Clinton's going to prison would go a long way in this direction) then the alternative is a popular uprising to remove the subversives and force the rule of law upon them.

  • James Pollock||

    " If it were a legitimate investigation, the Clintons would be at least equally investigated"

    Approximately 0 Clintons are currently President. Maybe that's why they're getting "special treatment".

  • Rev. Arthur L. Kirkland||

    If the rule of,law is not restored (The Clinton's going to prison would go a long way in this direction) then the alternative is a popular uprising to remove the subversives and force the rule of law upon them.

    Quit whining, you bigoted loser.

  • James Pollock||

    "the alternative is a popular uprising to remove the subversives"

    That's how Mao got started, i hear.

  • DjDiverDan||

    The only real lesson of any value one can glean from this whole sordid affair is that one should NEVER, EVER, EVER voluntarily talk to the FBI, or any other agent of law enforcement. When the FBI agent shows up at your office or home and says "We'd like to talk to you," simply answer politely, "OK, go ahead and talk. I'm listening." When that provokes a response of "No, we'd like to ask you some questions," respond with "You can ask, but I have neither the obligation nor the inclination to answer your questions, so I won't." Of course, if they have already impanelled a grand jury, they can subpoena you. But even in front of a grand jury, you can invoke your Fifth Amendment right to remain silent unless and until you are granted immunity. Make the bastards work for whatever they get.

  • apedad||

    Those "bastards" do A LOT of good work that doesn't receive widespread recognition.

  • Brett Bellmore||

    The problem is that, as part of the transition team, talking to the FBI was part of Flynn's job. It's not like they told him up front, "In this particular instance, we're trying to nail you to the wall, unlike yesterday, when we were just discussing transition matters."

  • James Pollock||

    The problem is that, as National Security Advisor, Flynn has to know that he'll be monitored by counter-intelligence, and he chose to go ahead with his plan to try to lie to them. That shows sufficient lack of intelligence to disqualify him from a job in Intelligence.

  • Brett Bellmore||

    Even the investigators he was talking with at the time reported they didn't think he was lying, just mistaken. Essentially he pled guilty to not having a photographic memory.

    My personal opinion is that, until the FBI starts recording interviews, instead of relying on hand written notes, nothing they claim about what was said during an interview should be admissible in a legal proceeding. They've deliberately set things up so that they can lie about what went down during an interview, and nobody can prove them wrong.

  • James Pollock||

    "They've deliberately set things up so that they can lie about what went down during an interview, and nobody can prove them wrong."

    Why didn't your lawyer record the interview, or take notes?

  • Sharper||

    Going back to the beginning of this thread, because he was just talking to them as part of the transition team to coordinate stuff, not (in his mind) answering questions as part of any investigation.

    Imagine an FBI agent comes up to you in a bar and starts chatting, then casually asks you about something work related and you make a mistake in your answer. According to your theory of how this should work, that's enough to put you in jail and you should have thought to have a lawyer present recording the conversation ahead of time.

  • James Pollock||

    " According to your theory of how this should work, that's enough to put you in jail"

    You'll just have to take my word for this, but I'm not in jail. I'm also not National Security Advisor, but if I was, I'd know that counterintelligence would be watching me, and my business interests, pretty closely. If there were skeletons in the closet, I'd have turned down the job.
    Flynn didn't think he'd get caught. He was wrong.

  • Sarcastr0||

    I am quite suspicious about the ease with which law enforcement can wreck people's lives, and who wants criminal justice reform, but who also thinks attacking Mueller for following normal order is some pretty blatant special pleading.

    Popehat seems wise in these matters:

    "So @AlanDersh's criticism of modern the-coverup-is-the-crime prosecutorial power is perfectly legitimate.

    His pretense that Mueller's use of that power is somehow even a little unusual or notable is sheer shamelessly say-anything-for-a-camera toadying bullshit."

  • Ohio Farmer||

    Dersh never claimed that Mueller was acting out of character for a special prosecutor. It is unusual for a regular prosecutor to devote years and tens of millions of dollars to an investigation that will never result in conviction of the underlying offense.

  • iowantwo||

    devote years and tens of millions of dollars to an investigation that will never result in conviction of the underlying offense.

    What is the named underlying offense? I've been asking since Mueller took the job, never get an answer.

  • Sarcastr0||

    Having an exact crime in mind is not a requirement for an investigation; that's putting the cart before the horse.

    Russian interference in our election is something not unworthy of investigation.

  • Sarcastr0||

    The fact that you need to cite how much time and money is being spent shows that you know the lack of an immediately articulated underlying offense isn't actually abnormal.

    And the time and money are actually quite short thusfar compared to past precedents no matter how you slice it.

  • Bob from Ohio||

    "Mueller for following normal order "

    His appointment was abnormal. Engineered by the internal security agency and appointed by a fifth columnist at DOJ.

    Mueller is a Committee for Public Safety designed solely to get Trump.

  • James Pollock||

    "Mueller is a Committee for Public Safety designed solely to get Trump."

    A new strain of TDS, detected in the wild.

  • M.L.||

    The administrative state is unconstitutional and it must be completely destroyed.

  • Bob from Ohio||

    "The administrative state is unconstitutional and it must be completely destroyed."

    +1 million

  • James Pollock||

    - 12 googol

    If you want to claim it's unconstitutional, what part of the constitution does it violate?

  • M.L.||

    Article II Section 1: The executive Power shall be vested in a President of the United States of America.

    Any inkling of "independent" agencies, or any hint of executive power beyond the grasp of the President, is completely unconstitutional. The federal government has no legitimate power, except that which belongs to the judiciary and legislature, and that which is vested in the President.

    The unconstitutional behemoth has untethered itself almost completely from democratic accountability or governance by the people, by becoming more and more detached from, and immune to, and in many ways superior to the President. The bloodthirsty leeches have it set up so that it's virtually impossible to even fire a federal employee.

    Furthermore, not content with mere unaccountable executive power, they have usurped the legislative and judicial powers as well, and vast additional powers not rightfully belonging to any part of the federal government whatsoever. And their power is aggrandized more and more every day.

    Watch Mencius Moldbug https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZluMysK2B1E

    Read Philip Hamburger - Is Administrative Law Unlawful?

  • James Pollock||

    "Any inkling of 'independent' agencies, or any hint of executive power beyond the grasp of the President, is completely unconstitutional"

    You'd have a point, if the text said something different from what it says.

    Usually, complaints about the administrative state flow the other direction... complaining that the executive agencies are "legislating" via regulations. You manage to go both ways at once, and that's part of the reason you aren't being taken seriously.

  • KevinP||

    Popehat is correct that Mueller's use of his power is not unusual or notable.

    Civil rights lawyer Harvey Silverglate: How Robert Mueller Tried To Entrap Me


    Quotes:
    I have known Mueller during his career as a federal prosecutor. My experience has taught me to approach whatever he does in the Trump investigation with extreme caution.

    When Mueller was the acting United States Attorney in Boston, I was defense counsel in a federal criminal case in which a rather odd fellow contacted me to tell me that he had information that could assist my client. He walked into my office and sat down across from me at the conference table. He was prepared, he said, to give me an affidavit to the effect that certain real estate owned by my client was purchased with lawful currency rather than, as Mueller's office was claiming, the proceeds of illegal drug activities.

    My secretary typed up the affidavit that the witness was going to sign. Just as he picked up the pen, he looked at me and said something like: "You know, all of this is actually false, but your client is an old friend of mine and I want to help him." As I threw the putative witness out of my office, I noticed, under the flowing white shirt, a lump on his back – he was obviously wired and recording every word between us.
  • Liberaltarian||

    You should include the indictments against multiple, named Russian agents.

  • James Pollock||

    Pure showmanship, since there is an approximately 0.00% chance that they will ever be surrendered to U.S. authorities for prosecution.

  • ||

    You're a frigging moron.

  • Smooth Like a Rhapsody||

    Has Mueller provided Brady-related discovery to the defendant(s) who have appeared?

  • Sarcastr0||

    Are you accusing Mueller of Brady violations with no evidence?

  • Smooth Like a Rhapsody||

    What would a "Brady violation" look like at this point.?
    I'm simply asking if anyone knows the status of discovery--which is the only plausible reason why a defendant would have consented to jurisdiction.

  • James Pollock||

    The defendants who've proceeded past indictment had no choice to accept jurisdiction, what with being Americans in America and the time.

  • Bob from Ohio||

    "indictments against multiple, named Russian agents"

    We indicted Noriega once. Took a military invasion to make the arrest.

    Do you want to invade Russia? No, then it is just chum to make it seem like Mueller is doing something.

  • James Pollock||

    Maybe this is why Putin remain unindicted.

  • M.L.||

    The entire "Mueller" and "Russia" episode is a breathtaking assault on America and its people, for their recent attempt to reassert sovereignty over thoroughly incompetent and corrupt bipartisan ruling establishment. It should be titled "The Empire Strikes Back."

    The sheer insanity of it all is impossible to even summarize in words at this point: The double and triple standards, the absence of any standards at all, the hordes "intellectuals" becoming hysterically unhinged, the vaulting of a laughably idiotic conspiracy theory into a special counsel investigation.

  • Sarcastr0||

    breathtaking assault on America and its people

    sovereignty over

    thoroughly incompetent and corrupt bipartisan ruling establishment

    sheer insanity

    "intellectuals"

    hysterically unhinged

    vaulting

    laughably idiotic

    conspiracy theory

    Practicing for your talk radio show?

  • M.L.||

    I have the best words.

  • James Pollock||

    Too bad stringing them together coherently is part of the job.

  • Rev. Arthur L. Kirkland||

    The entire "Mueller" and "Russia" episode is a breathtaking assault on America and its people

    Thank you for the disaffected bigot's perspective.

  • M.L.||

    The crisis Mueller is sowing

    Paul Manafort is a tax cheat; Michael Cohen is a two-faced crook; members of a president-elect's cabinet occasionally meet with foreign leaders; Russians posted misleading things on Facebook; most people will stumble if asked enough questions about enough topics. These not exactly astonishing conclusions are the sum total of Mueller's efforts.

    At this point the most obvious fair-minded explanation of the Russia investigation is that it exists to paralyze the Trump administration. . . Mueller has failed to deliver the goods not simply because there are no goods to deliver but because delivering them is not the point. The point is to hurt Trump.

    Not bad. But actually the point is to hurt the American people, by killing the Trump agenda, and to provide cover for the countless crimes and heinous corruption of the bipartisan ruling establishment, any one of which is a thousand times worse than anything turned up on Trump or anyone near him.

  • M.L.||

    This was good:

    "Winning a successful outsider bid for the presidency of the United States seems like a very circuitous route to obtaining a building permit."

  • ||

    I fail to see how lying to a Federal agent in connection with an investigation that results in no indictment or prosecution for a substantive crime should be construed as obstruction of justice deserving of a felony conviction, unless the lie itself made prosecution of an otherwise provable underlying crime impossible or impractical (e.g., the statute of limitations ran because the Feds were led astray by the lie). What justice is being obstructed? It's a disgraceful game of "Gotcha" played by Federal law enforcement. Dershowitz is dead right. The harm in such a case is at most the extra time and effort (if any) that the Feds spent debunking the lie, which would seem to deserve misdemeanor treatment at best.

    To reiterate the advice given by others here: "Never, ever talk to a Federal agent or any other law enforcement officer." See Prof. James Duane's lecture "Don't Talk to The Cops" on YouTube.

  • M.L.||

    For Trump, Cohen Plea Deal's Beginning to Look a Lot Like Exoneration

    On page 7 of the statement of criminal information filed against Cohen. . . Mueller mentions that Cohen tried to email Russian President Vladimir Putin's office. . . But Mueller, who personally signed the document, omitted the fact that Cohen did not have any direct points of contact at the Kremlin, and had resorted to sending the emails to a general press mailbox. Sources who have seen these additional emails point out that this omitted information undercuts the idea of a "back channel" and thus the special counsel's collusion case.

    Page 2 of the same criminal information document holds additional exculpatory evidence for Trump, sources say. It quotes an August 2017 letter from Cohen to the Senate intelligence committee in which he states that Trump "was never in contact with anyone about this [Moscow Project] proposal other than me." This section of Cohen's written testimony, unlike other parts, is not disputed as false by Mueller, which sources say means prosecutors have tested its veracity through corroborating sources and found it to be accurate...

    "So as far as collusion goes," the source added, "the project is actually more exculpatory than incriminating for Trump and his campaign."
  • Sarcastr0||

    From Mueller's filing:

    "i. On or about January 16, 2016, COHEN emailed Russian Official 1's office again, said he was trying to reach another high-level Russian official, and asked for someone who spoke English to contact him.

    ii. On or about January 20, 2016, COHEN received an email from the personal assistant to Russian Official 1 ("Assistant 1"), stating that she had been trying to reach COHEN and requesting that he call her using a Moscow-based phone number she provided. iii. Shortly after receiving the email, COHEN called Assistant 1 and spoke to her for approximately 20 minutes. On that call, COHEN described his position at the Company and outlined the proposed Moscow Project, including the Russian development company with which the Company had partnered. COHEN requested assistance in moving the project forward, both in securing land to build the proposed tower and financing the construction. Assistant 1 asked detailed questions and took notes, stating that she would follow up with others in Russia.

    iv. The day after COHEN's call with Assistant 1, Individual 2 [Felix Sater] contacted him, asking for a call. Individual 2 wrote to COHEN, "It's about [the President of Russia] they called today."

    Are you going to argue that not noting that the initial phone call was to a general box was left off to imply something that the facts already make quite clear?

  • Bob from Ohio||

    How is it illegal to negotiate a business deal in Moscow? We are not at war with Russia.

    Cohen allegedly lied about a legal act.

  • James Pollock||

    "How is it illegal to negotiate a business deal in Moscow?"

    When you plan to bribe a public official to make the deal work. That's still illegal, right?

  • M.L.||

    A few days ago with the suspicious buzzfeed fake news about "Trump was going to give Putin a $50m penthouse", my first thought was -- Ok, so FCPA violation like every single multinational commits? But it seems nobody cared about that angle. Instead it's all about...secret Russian agent Trump, or something.

  • iowantwo||

    Bribe Putin?

    President Trump has been in the Oval Office almost 2 years, a business man for over 4 decades, wrote a best selling book that is still being reprinted, and you still refuse to learn anything about the man.
    Trump, and the penthouse suite for Putin was Trumps SOP.
    Every development he did, he 'claimed' certain celebrities would be owners, in order to generate publicity buzz. Free advertising, targeted to the market segment he wanted. No one bothered to ask Streisand when she was moving to NY. Just having a famous name connected to one of Trumps projects, generated what he wanted.

    BTW. That's not a crime either.

  • James Pollock||

    "President Trump has been in the Oval Office almost 2 years, a business man for over 4 decades,"

    I note that you don't claim he was any good at either of these.

    "wrote a best selling book that is still being reprinted"

    I doubt he's even read it In other news, Millie the dog didn't write her best-selling book, either.

    "BTW. That's not a crime either."

    Unless, of course, you're planning to bribe a government official. That's still a crime, right?

  • iowantwo||

    A bribe.

    you dont put bribes in your press releases.
    Its called marketing. Yes President Trump is quite successful at it.

  • James Pollock||

    "you dont put bribes in your press releases."

    I'll concede that a person of at least average intelligence wouldn't. But this person of at-least-average-intelligence isn't relevant to the case at hand.

    "Its called marketing."

    Bribes are called "marketing". Got it. Thanks for passing on what you learned at Trump U.

    Yes President Trump is quite successful at it.

    President Trump is quite successful at crimes? If you say so. I still think his only known skill is in the field of telling stupid people what they want to hear.

  • Tall Paul||

    If a witness gives a prosecutor an incorrect answer because of the witness's faulty memory, the witness isn't lying, he or she is just mistaken.

  • Glaucomatose||

    ... which is why a witness that gives a prosecutor an incorrect answer because of the witness's faulty memory has not committed perjury. Perjury is the giving of testimony under oath on a material matter which one does not believe to be true.

  • wreckinball||

    Is this a libertarian site? I mean seriously the dumbest article of the day.

  • Careless||

    Kind of? But the Volokh part of it isn't, really, and the Post and Baker posts are far from it.

  • MatthewSlyfield||

    "Prof. Dershowitz appears to have forgotten, already obtained indictments and convictions against senior Trump campaign officials (Rick Gates and Paul Manafort) for substantive crimes unconnected with any perjury charges"

    In the case of Paul Manafort at least those substantive charges are also unconnected to Trump, the Trump Presidential campaign, and any supposed collusion between Trump and Russia.

  • JeffreyL||

    here is what i would like to know from the author of this article

    What crime (please state the code section) Mueller is investigating. And don't quote the section about being able to go after section 28.600.4(a). That is standard in every investigation.

    When you come back with nothing, that is the issue we libertarians have with this whole mess. If you come back with some form of collusion, please state specifically what section of the code could be used to charge. If you go read the former AUSA Andrew McCarthy, someone who knows a little bit about this area, you might be under the impression that there is no criminal statute that would cover this.

  • James Pollock||

    You're making an assumption, and it's one that isn't true.

    You're assuming that the FBI's only purpose is prosecution. It isn't. They're also tasked with counterintelligence. So, the Mueller investigation is multi-part... did the Trump campaign do anything wrong, and did Russia do anything wrong. It's become fairly obvious that Trump couldn't collude his way out of a paper bag, but Russia is still out there, and still has an interest in meddling with us (as, admittedly, we do with them).

    So, at the same time, they're investigating people with close ties to the President of the United States, and they're investigating people with close ties to the President of Russia. It's not conspiracy-theory to note that disclosing the secrets of at least one of these people has been known to get people nerve-gassed.

    So, I'll give Mr. Mueller leeway to keep his cards pressed firmly against his chest until he's ready to take action. This is true even though I have zero expectation that Mr. Mueller will dislodge either President from his position.

  • Ohio Farmer||

    But that is Dershowitz's point. There is no underlying criminal case here. All of these 1001 pleas are ancillary to a fake or non-existent criminal investigation. And they have nothing to do with Russia creating fake facebook pages. (The "conspiracy against the United States charges do, but they have nothing to do with Trump.)

  • James Pollock||

    "But that is Dershowitz's point."

    You went 0 for 2. You missed his, and mine.

  • M.L.||

    The point is especially relevant for obstruction of justice. With no underlying crime or even colorably criminal conduct, there's simply no corrupt intent which is the key element of obstruction.

  • James Pollock||

    "The point is especially relevant for obstruction of justice."

    You're too many steps ahead. Nobody's been charged with obstruction of justice, nor would that be something Mueller got to decide... that would be the House of Representatives. As we learned a couple of decades ago, a decision to impeach has little to do with any expectation of conviction.

  • Smith_FT_MI||

    JefferyL was addressing *Mueller*'s authority. Then you switched to the *FBI*'s authority. The difference, though it might seem technical to some, is the gravamen of problems many have with parts of the investigation.
    Mueller was theoretically provided limited authority, and by the Attorney General - not the FBI; while the FBI is of course within the Department of Justice, Mueller was not delegated any of the FBI's authority or functions. While Rosenstein's letter arguably granted an excessive scope, still there was supposed to be a limited focus to the investigation.
    The concern I and many others, have is the _carte blanche_ role Mueller has been exercising, a threat to limited government. Offenses outside of his focus should have been referred to the FBI itself.

  • James Pollock||

    "JefferyL was addressing *Mueller*'s authority. Then you switched to the *FBI*'s authority."

    Other way around. This was the FBI's case, before it was handed off to Mueller. Mueller is the prosecutor, assigned to prosecute cases uncovered by the FBI's investigation. See how that works?

  • Smith_FT_MI||

    Respectfully, it is the "other way around" as to the position that the Special Counsel has broader authority as the result of a predicate investigation. The question is not the instigating occasion for his appointment but rather the source and scope of his authority.

    The appointment letter
    admittedly refers to "the investigation confirmed by then-FBI Director James B. Comey in testimony before the House Permanent Select Committee". However, the source for his appointment, and the scope of his authority, is independent and thus restricted. Reference is made to the appointment letter.

    The authority of any government official should be strictly construed. Limited jurisdiction, here the specific and proscribed authority to the Special Counsel and the specific and proscribed authority to the FBI, restricts the concentration, and thereby the expansion, of power - and the inevitable potential for its abuse.

  • James Pollock||

    "Respectfully, it is the "other way around" as to the position that the Special Counsel has broader authority as the result of a predicate investigation."

    Respectfully, huh? Could I have this in English?

  • iowantwo||

    Why was a special counsel required to be appointed?
    We already have the FBI full of investigators, and the DOJ full of prosecutors.

    The special counsel is a position created by statute and as specific rules and limitations. One of which is a specific crime to be investigated.

  • Voize of Reazon||

    iowantwo, what statute are you thinking of?

    Statutory authority for Mueller's appointment is broadly based in the Attorney General's power to delegate (28 USC §510), the details are supplied by regulations (28 CFR §600). They do not require a specific crime to be investigated, only a determination "that criminal investigation of a person or matter is warranted".

  • Life of Brian||

    It's become fairly obvious that Trump couldn't collude his way out of a paper bag

    Credit where credit is due -- that's the most creative spin I've seen to date on the forthcoming exoneration.

  • James Pollock||

    "exoneration" isn't quite the correct word for what I'm expecting. Exoneration implies innocence.

  • Life of Brian||

    When amorphous hair-splitting is all you have left....

  • James Pollock||

    Tell me what that's like.

  • M.L.||

    Trump Derangement Syndrome is something to behold.

    NeverTrump Clings To Russia Collusion Conspiracy Theory Despite Lack Of Evidence

    The NeverTrump movement has gone from pushing allegations that Donald Trump treasonously colluded with Russia to steal the 2016 presidential election from its rightful owner Hillary Clinton, to pretending that his attempts at business deals in Russia, which were legal and the subject of widespread reporting during the election, are evidence of unspecified crimes.

    The main barrier to the Russia-Trump collusion theory — an information operation that was secretly bought and paid for by Hillary Clinton and the Democratic National Committee, spread by a compliant media, and weaponized by the highest levels of federal agencies — is the lack of evidence for it. But that lack of evidence hasn't been much of an obstacle for either the so-called mainstream media or the leaders of the NeverTrump movement.
  • Glaucomatose||

    If they were so legal and subject to such widespread reporting, why did he deny their existence so thoroughly and vociferously?

  • M.L.||

    As I recall, he denied having any business in Russia -- no loans from Russia, no properties or other business interests in Russia -- since he was falsely accused of these things, among countless other libels, in the media with no evidence or basis at all.

    This was while he was being spied on by the Obama administration, and being accused of being a Russian agent, all while the Obama administration and the Clinton campaign colluded with British and Russians to compile some false "research" to justify it all.

    So, obviously having business in Russia is different from a desire or attempt to have business in Russia, for instance the desired Moscow tower that was widely reported and discussed.

  • Glaucomatose||

    "I have nothing to do with Russia. Haven't made a phone call to Russia in years. Don't speak to people from Russia. I have nothing to do with Russia. To the best of my knowledge, no person that I deal with does."

    -- Donald Trump, Feb. 16, 2017

    That said, the rest of your post is a pretty clear indicator that reality isn't really your thing.

  • M.L.||

    So you're unable to make an actual point, other than stating that my points are not "reality" ?

    Got it.

    Anyway, so, like I said, he has denied having business in Russia. Hysterical conspiracy theorists including the mainstream media were accusing him of all sorts of Russian business interests and having loans from Russia, none of which has been shown to have one drop of truth. Looks like it was all fabricated nonsense to smear Trump, knowing the gullible resistors would eat it up.

  • Glaucomatose||

    He didn't "deny having business in Russia." Read what he actually said.

    But thanks for the line about how "the Obama administration and the Clinton campaign colluded with British and Russians to compile some false 'research' to justify it all" to remind us what "hysterical conspiracy theorists" are up to.

  • James Pollock||

    "why did he deny their existence so thoroughly and vociferously?"

    Trump would deny being bipedal if the NYT ran a story accusing him of bipedalism.

  • Ohio Farmer||

    This was just a bizarre post. I'll let everyone else deal with the more substantive points, but I don't understand how, according to Post, Dershowitz is now not keeping up with his level of play. Dershowitz has always been a defense attorney and civil libertarian. Defending OJ was awesome but pointing out that Mueller is burning every one of his potential witnesses to a crime which, as far as the public knows, is non-existent, is bumbling around in center field?

  • Jimmy the Dane||

    The answer is simple. Mueller has had enough time to dig. We all know the whole Russian thing was just fake news anyhow manufactured by the DNC. Congress should give him another 90 days to produce a final report and recommendations for indictments to the Justice Department then cut off off his funding.

    If this were a "Kenneth Star scenario" and a special counsel was given more then a year to dig around a Hilary administration the Dems would be crying foul more so then the Republicans have and I would bet you Hilary would have fired him by now.

    He gets 90 days from January 1, 2019 to produce a final report and that is it. Congressional action removes the so called "conflict of interest" (that isn't real because the President has the authority to run his own Justice department) and 90 days is reasonable for him to produce a final report. If there is any action to be taken out of it Justice can do what it sees fit including appointing a further investigator. But Mueller needs to be done NOW.

  • James Pollock||

    " the so called "conflict of interest" (that isn't real because the President has the authority to run his own Justice department"

    The conflict arises because the President is supposed to be acting for us, the people of the United States, rather than for himself, Donald J Trump. That's the conflict... when his interests run counter to ours. We (some of we, anyway) want to know what the Russkies were up to, and Donnie doesn't want us to know what the Russkies were up to.

  • M.L.||

    What if Trump received $150 million from Russian parties, at the same time as he approved a deal to transfer control of 20% of U.S. uranium to Russia?

    I suppose all of the anti-Trump hysterics would just shrug, nothing to see here.

  • James Pollock||

    "What if Trump received $150 million from Russian parties, at the same time as he approved a deal to transfer control of 20% of U.S. uranium to Russia?"

    I guess that would depend on just how many agencies, independent of his control, signed off on the deal. Why do you bring this up?

  • M.L.||

    I love this low IQ talking point. Six agencies had to sign off! Twelve! Nay, seven hundred and forty agencies!

    But to be clear, you're saying that all of these anti-Trump hysterics would be totally OK with this, so long as Trump's inferiors who report to him were also OK with it? Wow you're delusional.

  • Sarcastr0||

    You have zero idea how CFIUS works. Nor do you seem to care.

  • James Pollock||

    "I love this low IQ talking point"

    I bet you do, although it seems to have gone right over your head.

    "But to be clear, you're saying that all of these anti-Trump hysterics would be totally OK with this, so long as Trump's inferiors who report to him were also OK with it?"

    Here's the part where your low IQ gets in the way.
    First off, "independent of his control" is not the same thing as "Trump's inferiors who report to him".
    Secondly, I'm afraid I can't speak for "anti-Trump hysterics". I claimed only to speak for myself, so you dragged those poor hysterics into the discussion for no reason.

  • M.L.||

    When will the Obama administration be held accountable for its rampant unconstitutional abuses of FISA, countless illegal leaks, unmasking, and spying on the Trump campaign?

    During the Obama years, the National Security Agency intentionally and routinely intercepted and reviewed communications of American citizens in violation of the Constitution and of court-ordered guidelines implemented pursuant to federal law.

    The unlawful surveillance appears to have been a massive abuse of the government's foreign-intelligence-collection authority, carried out for the purpose of monitoring the communications of Americans in the United States. While aware that it was going on for an extensive period of time, the administration failed to disclose its unlawful surveillance of Americans until late October 2016, when the administration was winding down and the NSA needed to meet a court deadline in order to renew various surveillance authorities under the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA).

    The administration's stonewalling about the scope of the violation induced an exasperated Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court to accuse the NSA of "an institutional lack of candor" in connection with what the court described as "a very serious Fourth Amendment issue."
  • iowantwo||

    The author assiduously avoids exactly what crime is being investigated by the Special Counsel.

    Those guilty pleas are from men that have had the facts laid out to them. Mueller sleeps very well locking up innocent men and letting the rot in jail. To fight him, with the full resources of the federal govt at his disposal is futile. Mueller has no interest in justice.

  • James Pollock||

    " To fight him, with the full resources of the federal govt at his disposal"

    That's a good one!

  • James Pollock||

    " To fight him, with the full resources of the federal govt at his disposal"

    That's a good one!

  • James Pollock||

    Well, maybe not THAT good.

  • dwshelf||

    Post seems the one speaking without evidence.
    Dershowitz seems to know both information and especially analysis of the forces involved.
    Time will tell.

  • Wild Horses||

    Paragraph 7: "I think he [Dershowitz] got his syntax all wrong - surely what he [Dershowitz] meant to say was "If, as I believe will be the case ... , then I will be shocked."

    How could Dershowitz's expected outcome shock Dershowitz?

  • James Pollock||

    "How could Dershowitz's expected outcome shock Dershowitz?"

    Well, Alzheimer presents itself as a possibility...

  • Wild Horses||

    OK, I get it now. I got hung up in the awkward sentence structure. Dershowitz expects that Mueller will ulitmately produce no no evidence of the alleged crimes which the FBI, and then Mueller, purport to have been investigating. That's expected, and therefore unsurprising.

    The shocking part is that Mueller's investigation of Trump is just as much of a political witch hunt as Patrick Fitzgerald's Independent Counsel investigation of Scooter Libby was (falsely predicated as a search for who revealed Valerie Plame's identity to reporter Robert Novak, when Fitzgerald knew from the outset that was Richard Armitage, not Scooter Libby). Libby was the means by which they hoped to get dirt on VP Dick Cheney. They ruined Libby, never got any dirt on Cheney, and never took ANY action against Armitage.

    Mueller's long expensive witch hunt against Trump looks to be similarly motivated, and similarly conducted. Ruin as many peripheral Trump associates as needed (the means) in pursuit of the goal (Trump badly weakend or removed from office). Catch them in process crimes. Squeeze them to flip on Trump. If they won't "sing", try to get them to "compose".

    Sadly and disgustingly familiar. Yet still shocking and offensive.

  • Jimmy the Dane||

    1.5 years and what does Meuller have to show? That some people lied during the course of his investigation. So he, through his own actions, have manufactured the "crimes" that are now being used to attempt to justify his "investigation" in the first place. Pretty darn convenient. In other areas of the law this is generally known as "entrapment" (I know it isn't here just saying).

    Time for him to go. There was no Russian involvement. We all know that. There is absolutely no evidence other then maybe they posted some stuff on social media. That isn't the same as some Russian secret agent hacking a vote counting system or stuffing a ballot box with illegal votes.(And that obviously didn't happen).

    And we also know the DNC manufactured its so-called email hack. That is basically common knowledge at this point.

  • James Pollock||

    "There was no Russian involvement. We all know that."

    You need to enlarge your circle of news sources. Or stop speaking for the rest of us.

  • Sarcastr0||

    1.5 years is nothing.

  • James Pollock||

    Starr had to wait more than two years into his investigation before Clinton did anything he could report.

  • Lasciata||

    Why don't you read what Andrew McCarthy has been writing about this moronic investigation for the last six months before you embarrass yourself any further. You'll give Dershowitz a legal lesson? You're not fit to give him a shoe shine.

  • tekcoyote||

    This blog is a perfect example of Murphry's Law [sic]. Look it up.

  • MikeR6||

    Seems like the main complaint against Dershowitz is that there will be no actual crimes concerning Russian collusion. "He's entitled to his opinion, of course - but it is an opinion that is based on absolutely nothing whatsoever."
    So the author is scoffing at him because he is less competent than Dershowitz at noticing what is happening in this investigation. A lot of people have formed this opinion, and it is based on something: the "nothing whatsoever" that has appeared anywhere in the media concerning the existence of evidence. Trump's White House leaks like a sieve, and everything that happens there appears soon enough in the press. About this, nothing at all has appeared. That's evidence.
    Presumably the author is still hoping for evidence to appear. Sad!

  • James Pollock||

    "About this, nothing at all has appeared. That's evidence."

    Srsly?

    One of the two targets of this investigation is a foreign power with a well-established intelligence service.

  • Naaman Brown||

    Mark Furman was convicted of perjury for saying in court he had not used the n-word in the previous 10 years when the legal team which included Alan Dershowitz as I recall, had a taped interview between Furman and a screenwriter on the subject of tough-guy talk for a movie. In that interview Furman used the n-word nine-years six-months earlier. not ten years.

    If anyone understands "perjury trap" it would be Dershowitz.

  • M.L.||

  • Sarcastr0||

    You need to read non right-wing stuff, dude.

  • James Pollock||

    Well, his circle of sources needs to expand. Baby steps. The poor guy might melt if confronted with facts he found unpalatable.

  • M.L.||

    Are you joking? I read all kinds of sources, including the left-wing propaganda masquerading as neutral journalism. If you guys actually had a leg to stand on, you would be linking the articles you claim are so important and informative.

  • Sarcastr0||

    Then you'd know what you posted was...questionable interpretations of events. The Trump Jr. explanation is laughable. The citing of a quickly retracted Times lede is tendentious.

    If you read all sorts of news sources, you'd be more robust to such flimflam.

  • James Pollock||

    " If you guys actually had a leg to stand on, you would be linking the articles you claim are so important and informative."

    And if YOU had a leg to stand on, YOU would be.

  • Sarcastr0||

    If you guys actually had a leg to stand on, you would be linking the articles you claim are so important and informative.

    Nope. You link crap, I'ma call it crap. I'm not going to curate your news feed for you.

    It's simple to google the main facts of the stories you read on conservativetreehouse or federalist or what-have-you, and see what other narratives (and these days, reported facts) there are out there.

  • M.L.||

    So you're unable to discuss or rebut any factual specifics, or point to any sources that do. Just "go read some left wing sources." Got it.

  • Sarcastr0||

    I rebutted your linked article above.

    But what's telling is that when I said 'google other sources [than right-wing ones]' you read it as 'left wing sources.'

    Your partisanship is rotting out the middle ground in your brain.

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