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Prof. Dershowitz Responds:

A few days ago, I published a post criticizing the Prof. Alan Dershowitz' comments on the Michael Cohen guilty pleas and, more generally, on the Mueller investigation. Prof. Dershowitz has sent in a response, which I reprint here in full:

Post's ageist diatribe deliberately distorts my point because he doesn't agree
with my conclusion. I was pointing out the disturbing irony that Mueller was
appointed to uncover crimes committed by Americans relating to Russia that were
allegedly committed before his appointment.

Yet nearly all of his indictments and pleas relate to crimes that were allegedly
committed after his appointment, or financial crimes unrelated to Russia, or crimes
allegedly committed by Russians who are beyond the reach of our law, or
questionable crimes such as payments to women. Resorting to baseless ad
hominem attacks, Post mocks me and my academic affiliation by claiming that
"Dershowitz, invoking the magical powers that are often attributed to Harvard Law
School professors, believes" he knows what the Mueller report will conclude.

Of course, I do not know this. No one, except for Robert Mueller and his staff,
does. There may be more. But at the moment, from everything that we've come to
learn from Mueller and his associates' investigation and "successful" convictions,
they fall short of fulfilling the special counsel's original mandate. I make my point in
an op-ed that Post deliberately does not quote. [Gatestone]

Instead he quotes out of context a snippet from a TV appearance. Read the
op-ed, and respond to that.

I'm happy to debate the somewhat younger David Post and let the public
judge who is Willie Mays and who is Tom Brady.

[Just for the record: I 'deliberately' didn't quote Prof. Dershowitz' op-ed because I was unaware of it.

And a debate - possibly here on the VC? - sounds like an intriguing idea indeed.]

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  • Brett Bellmore||

    He's pretty much right here; Mueller hasn't done much in the core area of the mission he was assigned.

    Now, maybe that will change all of a sudden, and all the tangential prosecutions are just for leverage on witnesses. We'll see. But until now he hasn't done anything that you'd have sensibly appointed an independent counsel to do.

  • a ab abc abcd abcde abcdef ahf||

    I was unimpressed by the Starr investigation. I am more unimpressed by the Mueller investigation. I see now claims the Russians interfered in the net neutrality investigation, and wonder how coincidental that news release is to the upcoming Friday press release.

    For a President so universally reviled by the opposition and the Press, there's been amazingly little smoke and less fire, as if all he could find was a few cigarette smokers.

  • Brett Bellmore||

    He's reviled by the opposition and the press, (Who are just another faction of the opposition.) because he's not their candidate, not because there's any reason to believe he's particularly corrupt. Indeed, the causality goes the other way: They hate him, thus he must be a criminal.

  • apedad||

    Oh, I thought we opposed Trump because of his dumbass wall plan, his immaturity, his disastrous fiscal and monetary policies. . . basically his general cluelessness and selfishness.

  • a ab abc abcd abcde abcdef ahf||

    As opposed to every other politician since the beginning of history?

  • James Pollock||

    "As opposed to every other politician since the beginning of history?"

    Yeah. At least with those others, there was some evidence of learning on the job.

  • a ab abc abcd abcde abcdef ahf||

    Really? What did Clinton learn on the job -- how to rape interns?

    Bush 1 -- how to read lips and start wars?

    Bush 2 -- how to spend money?

    Obama -- how to spend money and harass reporters?

  • bevis the lumberjack||

    "Bush 1 -- how to read lips and start wars?"

    Wait.....Bush 1 invaded and occupied Kuwait? My memory of that is different than yours, but I'm getting older and my memory isn't what it used to be.....

  • a ab abc abcd abcde abcdef ahf||

    Your memory didn't have much to start with if you bought that line about rescuing Kuwait.

  • bevis the lumberjack||

    What exactly did they do besides eject Iraq out of Kuwait?

    You sound like one of those ideologues who are immune to historical fact. And your response still doesn't address the fact that you were wrong in saying that Bush 1 started that war. Changing subjects is not a substantial response.

  • Krayt||

    Bush, Sr.: "We didn't start this war, but, by God, we're not gonna finish it either!"

  • bevis the lumberjack||

    If he had "finished it" we'd have benefitted by finding ourselves mucking around in a clusterfuck for an additional 12 years on top of what we've experienced since 2003. Thanks, but no thanks.

  • Last of the Shitlords||

    Look, I was actually in Kuwait when we liberated it. You don't know what the fuck you're talking about. So just stop. You sound like a buffoon when you talk about it.

  • Sarcastr0||

    If you're going to play the 'I was there, man' card, you may want to bring facts not just 'shut up.'

  • Last of the Shitlords||

    Sarc, we liberated them from an oppressive regime, period. I know this to be fact because I saw it first hand. The Iraqis were not welcomed by the Kuwaitis. We were. If you're reading some thing different, it's bullshit.

    Would you like me to prove the holocaust to you as well? Or maybe how Germany occupied France and Poland during WW2?

  • Last of the Shitlords||

    Are you fucking serious? I was there, you weren't. The Kuwait was a subjugated, occupied country when we got there. We were liberators.

    It's too bad you can't accept facts because of some ideological bullshit.

  • Ragnarredbeard||

    I'd say that Trump has learned a lot. He's learned that he can tweet stuff that will instantly trigger the lefties; he could tweet the weather in DC and trigger those pussies.

    And the left reacts to him every time. Every. Time. Who has failed to learn?

  • James Pollock||

    "I'd say that Trump has learned a lot. He's learned that he can tweet stuff that will instantly trigger the lefties; he could tweet the weather in DC and trigger those pussies."

    Meh.
    He's ineffective. They're ineffective. That's a wash.

  • NToJ||

    "...he could tweet the weather in DC and trigger those pussies."

    You're misinformed. The left (and right) react to many of Donald Trump's tweets, but by no means all of them. Many, probably most, of the President's tweets never become national stories. He tweets a lot.

    It's kind of odd for you to be defending the President against triggered pussies. He's a truly world class grievance maker. If there was an olympic team for being a triggered pussy, he'd medal for sure.

  • James Pollock||

    " If there was an olympic team for being a triggered pussy, he'd medal for sure."

    He'd be kicked off the team for never showing up for training or practices, and for arguing with the coach.

    Then he'd have a rally in which he'd CLAIM to have won a medal, and then talk about being the greatest of all time.

  • Rev. Arthur L. Kirkland||

    Then he'd have a rally in which he'd CLAIM to have won a medal, and then talk about being the greatest of all time.

    And then there would be a number of people gullible enough to believe him, to support him, and to buy and wear his goofy hats. That number would be surprisingly large to people who spend most of their time in modern, successful, educated communities.

  • TwelveInchPianist||

    I dunno. I see lots of leftists pining for the days of W, which strikes me as rather divorced from reality.

  • James Pollock||

    Where, pray tell, have you seen any of that, much less "lots"?

  • JesseAz||

    Pelosi said she never realized how good Bush was.

  • James Pollock||

    She's probably talking about the dead guy.

  • Brett Bellmore||

    The "dumbass wall" was a campaign promise of his, that got him elected; So your complaint boils down to the fact that he was elected promising something, and tries to deliver on the promise.

    I think your problem is with democracy, fundamentally. You think the people should get what the smart people think they should get, regardless of what they stupidly vote for.

  • nonzenze||

    As I understand, his promise was a wall that Mexico was going to pay for.

    He's trying to deliver something else, which is a wall that we're gonna pay for.

    Those that voted for the former might not want the latter, it's kind of a bait-n-switch.

  • wreckinball||

    I think its obvious we need a wall in any case.

  • James Pollock||

    "I think its obvious we need a wall in any case."

    Didn't W build one? I remember the news coverage of it, because they built it so that some U.S. territory (i.e., someone's property) was on the wrong side of the wall.

  • Careless||

    yes, James, it rather famously kept a whole bunch of invaders out quite recently. I'm sure you saw the pictures and heard about the tear gas.

  • James Pollock||

    "yes, James, it rather famously kept a whole bunch of invaders out quite recently."

    If it's already working, I guess we don't have to spend any money to build it.

  • nonzenze||

    Sure, but that wasn't the campaign promise, was it?

  • Brett Bellmore||

    Getting Mexico to pay for it was perfectly feasible, a tax on remittances would have accomplished it handily. What he'd failed to take into account was how many Republican members of Congress had been lying about wanting a wall. He couldn't do it over their opposition, it required legislation.

  • Rev. Arthur L. Kirkland||

    Those that voted for the former might not want the latter, it's kind of a bait-n-switch.

    I disagree. So long as he makes his voters believe he is sticking it to brown people, and gives those voters a chance to feel superior to someone on the social ladder, Trump's voters seem likely to be content.

  • David Nieporent||

    I think your problem is with democracy, fundamentally. You think the people should get what the smart people think they should get, regardless of what they stupidly vote for.

    Uh, most Americans who chose to vote voted against Trump and his dumbass wall.

  • wreckinball||

    Wow, those fiscal policies sure suck. 3-4% GDP says otherwise,.

  • ||

    Why is the wall a dumbass plan, other than it slows down the number of semi-retarded criminal mestizos (future Democrats) you liberals can flood our communities with?

  • James Pollock||

    Because, dumbass, it doesn't slow down the number of anyone doing anything. All it does is speed up the dollars going from the Treasury.

  • ||

    It does if implemented correctly, with soldiers given shoot to kill orders. I know you liberals prioritize these brown invaders over your fellow citizens, but the rest of us don't.

  • James Pollock||

    "It does if implemented correctly, with soldiers given shoot to kill orders."

    Sure, unless you count the times this has been tried, and it didn't work.

    " I know you liberals "

    Not wanting to waste taxpayer money makes me a "liberal"?

  • wreckinball||

    So the concept of a security wall/fence is bogus, a scam? Amazingly security fences/walls are a pretty big business. Maybe you should inform folks that it is a scam.

  • James Pollock||

    "So the concept of a security wall/fence is bogus, a scam?"

    No, genius.

    " Amazingly security fences/walls are a pretty big business."

    Maybe because the people who do it professionally know you have to build a wall ALL THE WAY AROUND what you want to protect, if you want it to work. If a security professional offers to build you a security wall that only goes around about 15% of your house, you can hire them, because it's your money. But when you want to spend MY money to do it, you should expect some pushback.

    " Maybe you should inform folks that it is a scam."

    Maybe most people are already informed?

  • ||

    Who said we only want it on 15% of the Mexican border?

  • James Pollock||

    "Who said we only want it on 15% of the Mexican border?"

    I give up. Who?

  • ||

    I also don't see you that concerned about the trillions we spend on Medicaid and food stamps for low IQ blacks and browns. Why is that?

  • Rev. Arthur L. Kirkland||

    What is your opinion with respect to the parasitic, can't-keep-up communities and people in America -- the hicks and sticks -- that require enormous public subsidies because they are uneducated, unskilled, disaffected, and economically inadequate, and continue to fail despite the subsidies?

    Thank you.

  • ||

    They don't.

  • Last of the Shitlords||

    Arty, I agree that we need to stop subsidizing progressive run cities. They definitely need to go. Where would you like to be sent when you're forced out of America?

  • James Pollock||

    "I also don't see you that concerned about the trillions we spend on Medicaid and food stamps for low IQ blacks and browns."

    Same reason I don't complain about spending on Medicaid and food stamps for low IQ Right Wing Patriots.

  • JesseAz||

    James, are you intentionally retarded? Trump doesn't just want walls. He also wants to end chain migration, a determination on jus soli citizenship, and exit Visa tracking system, a reduction in family lottery visas, etc. Things that would reduce illegal migration. Its amazing how fucking stupid some of you are in the creation of your strawman talking points.

  • James Pollock||

    "James, are you intentionally retarded?"

    Gosh, sorry, Jesse, but no. Keep looking, though, buddy... you're SURE to find a playmate eventually.

    " Trump doesn't just want walls."

    He didn't want them enough to push them through when he had a friendly Congress, and it doesn't seem likely that anything will get easier for him now that it's not quite to friendly.
    He's hostile to immigration, which is bad for the United States, a nation of immigrants.

    Speaking of "creation of strawman talking points", you accused me of this without, well, pointing to any.

  • Rev. Arthur L. Kirkland||

    He also wants to end chain migration,

    Trump's family (his current in-laws, in particular) argue to the contrary.

    Not with words. With their existence.

    Anyone dumb enough to believe anything Trumps says deserves everything he gets.

  • ||

    The U.S. is not a nation of immigrants. This lie is really getting old.

    And our problem with immigration is racial. Importing low IQ mestizos is the problem, whether they're legal or not. I don't care about legal v. illegal. If our illegals were 130 IQ Swiss or Japanese, I wouldn't care. We don't need 85 IQ mestizos.

  • James Pollock||

    "We don't need 85 IQ mestizos."

    We don't need 85 IQ you, either. But God foisted you off on us.

  • Last of the Shitlords||

    People deserve all kinds of things. For example, you simultaneously deserve both to be executed for treason, and brutally raped to death by a deranged serial murderer.

  • MJBinAL||

    Perhaps YOU oppose Trump because of those reasons, the media opposes him because he is not their guy.

    Certainly corruption is not the reason, they were certainly not so upset with Obama and Clinton.

    Stupid policies can't be the reason, because many of the policies they hate most were in place during the Obama administration.

    Can't be cluelessness and selfishness, because Bush, Obama and Clinton were also clueless at times, and Clinton has seemed clueless nearly all the time and may be one the most selfish people imaginable, and they supported her none the less.

    No, whether you like Trump or hate him, the media opposes him because he is not "their guy".

  • Rev. Arthur L. Kirkland||

    Pres. Trump can't be the media's guy. He is the half-educated, bigoted, superstitious, gullible , disaffected losers' guy.

  • Rock Lobster||

    "I thought we opposed Trump because..." he's a big mean big dumb poopyhead.

    Therefore, he should be subject to an independent counsel investigation that drags on at least through his first term? Your reply doesn't refute Mr. Bellmore's point, it illustrates it.

    Have you ever considered that in your hatred of all things Trump and your zeal to "get him," that you have set a precedent you may come to regret?

    (The question is rhetorical. Please spare the commentariat any more of your wisdom.)

  • James Pollock||

    "Have you ever considered that in your hatred of all things Trump and your zeal to "get him," that you have set a precedent you may come to regret?"

    How, exactly, does being opposed to Mr. Trump and his half-assed policy suggestions translate into a "zeal to 'get him'"?

    If Mr. Trump really wanted the Mueller investigation to be over as quickly as possible, he'd have been out in front publicly asking everyone to cooperate with the investigation. Is that what he chose to do? No? Then why complain on his behalf about having the investigation drag on?

  • Rock Lobster||

    "How, exactly, does being opposed to Mr. Trump and his half-assed policy suggestions translate into a "zeal to 'get him'"?"

    That, in itself, does not. I am opposed to many of his policy suggestions, and in fact, I voted for a different candidate in 2016. However, I also think the independent counsel investigation is motivated by reasons that are purely political as opposed to a true concern that Trump violated any laws. apedad's response to Mr. Bellmore was non-responsive in that it merely expressed his disdain toward President Trump rather than providing any substantive justification for the Mueller investigation. Therefore, your defense of apedad's comment to me is irrelevant not only to my point, but also to Mr. Bellmore's point and Professor Dershowitz's reponse to the author. But I get it. You and apedad both really hate Trump already! So what?

    "If Mr. Trump really wanted the Mueller investigation to be over as quickly as possible, he'd have been out in front publicly asking everyone to cooperate with the investigation."

    President Trump's political strategies are his own. I am not privy to them, and contrary to your arrogant and condescending assumptions, neither are you.

    1 of 2

  • Rock Lobster||

    "How, exactly, does being opposed to Mr. Trump and his half-assed policy suggestions translate into a "zeal to 'get him'"?"

    That, in itself, does not. I am opposed to many of his policy suggestions, and in fact, I voted for a different candidate in 2016. However, I also think the independent counsel investigation is motivated by reasons that are purely political as opposed to a true concern that Trump violated any laws. apedad's response to Mr. Bellmore was non-responsive in that it merely expressed his disdain toward President Trump rather than providing any substantive justification for the Mueller investigation. Therefore, your defense of apedad's comment to me is irrelevant not only to my point, but also to Mr. Bellmore's point and Professor Dershowitz's reponse to the author. But I get it. You and apedad both really hate Trump already! So what?

    "If Mr. Trump really wanted the Mueller investigation to be over as quickly as possible, he'd have been out in front publicly asking everyone to cooperate with the investigation."

    President Trump's political strategies are his own. I am not privy to them, and contrary to your arrogant and condescending assumptions, neither are you.

    1 of 2

  • Rock Lobster||

    "Then why complain on his behalf about having the investigation drag on?"

    I am not complaining on President Trump's behalf. I am complaining on my behalf as an individual citizen of this country. Furthermore, I am not defending President Trump per se, I am pointing out that this reckless abuse of the political process--using the Independent Counsel as a political tool to bash the victor of a presidential election in hopes of reversing results one does not like--is corrosive to the democratic process and that the sword that Democratic partisans such as you swing with such heedless abandon has two edges.

    Furthermore, I have noted that you are quite predictably fond of endless, circular arguments. I am not. So have at it, and enjoy your last word. You are convincing no one but yourself and the left wing trolls who regularly beshit these discussion boards.

    2 of 2

  • Jonny Scrum-half||

    I can't speak for "the opposition and the press," and I'm not even sure that I "hate" President Trump, but it's not hard to figure out why people might have such an intense negative emotion toward him. He's publicly mocked a disabled reporter, he spent years spreading slander about President Obama's birth and has refused to acknowledge those actions, he made crazy accusations about Ted Cruz's father, he's insulted Cruz's wife, and his day-to-day conduct betrays no hint of any normal human emotions.

    And regarding whether or not he's "particularly corrupt," I wonder how you would have reacted if Hillary Clinton had refused to disclose her tax returns.

  • Rev. Arthur L. Kirkland||

    When mocking a disabled war hero, applauding the violent assault of a reporter, abusing a Gold Star mother, lying about hush money for the porn star he raw-dogged while his wife was home with an infant, boasting about sexually assaulting women ('grab them by the pussy'), defrauding a charity, and lying about offering emoluments to and pursuing business with the Russians do not make the list, you know you have one hell of a list.

  • ||

    He didn't abuse a Gold Star mother. She thought her son's sacrifice somehow proved that Trump's anti-Muslim position is wrong. It doesn't, and he was right to call her out on it.

  • JesseAz||

    I remember when liberals said Obama/Clinton abused gold star mothers for telling them their sons died over a video.

  • MJBinAL||

    You are either ignorant or disingenuous.

    He did not "mock" a disabled reporter. It was demonstrated that the gestures that were alleged as mocking, where actually just gestures he had used before. In short, he was being a dork, not mocking anyone.

    Trump spent years questioning why Obama claimed in his book to be born in Kenya and refused to produce a Birth Certificate to support that he now claimed to be born in the US. It appears that he was either lying when he "wrote" the book, or he lying about being born in the US and the certificate is fake. I just came away understanding that he is a liar, as was comfirmed later many times. ("if you like your plan you can keep your plan")

    The Ted Cruz stuff was stupid, give you that.

    Hilary Clinton does not have 2000 page tax returns that are audited by the IRS every year because of his income and business. She does however launder her bribes via the Clinton Foundation. So that entire tax return song is just stupid. I wouldn't let them look at mine either just on general principles. With all the people he does business with, can you imagine the continual shitshow over who is subs are alone? And none of it has to be illegal (IRS audit remember), with so much stuff there would always be something to put in a headline and retract on page 42.

  • James Pollock||

    " It appears that he was either lying when he 'wrote' the book, or he lying about being born in the US and the certificate is fake."

    Or the ghostwriter made a mistake.

  • Last of the Shitlords||

    Yeah, that's what it was.........

  • Joe_dallas||

    In hindsight, I likewise am unimpressed with the Starr investigation, though the whitewater affair had some meat to it.

    Manafort prosecution likely has some merit, though the publicly discussed details are insufficient to provide any basis to reach an opinion on the merits of the of the prosecution. As a side note, as a CPA, I have testified as an expert witness in a tax fraud case. My observation in that case was the DOJ attorneys had a very poor grasp of tax law, though that could have been the exception.

    The other Mueller prosecutions have all been process crimes which can be quasi characterized as a variation of entrapment.

    One obvious source of the Russian interference stems for the dossier and the clinton campaign efforts. Yet, the Mueller investigation seems to be ignoring this most obvious red flag.

    Lastly, if this was an investigation into Russian influence - Why is Muellers team consist almost entirely of lawyers instead of forensic investigators or other type investigators with expertise in this area.

  • James Pollock||

    " Why is Muellers team consist almost entirely of lawyers instead of forensic investigators or other type investigators with expertise in this area."

    Lawyers hire experts when they need them.

  • a ab abc abcd abcde abcdef ahf||

    Mueller's a lawyer -- look who he hired.

  • Joe_dallas||

    "Lawyers hire experts when they need them."

    The hiring of a team of lawyers (a team almost exclusively of lawyer - partisan at that) to investigate the collusion discredits the belief that it was actually an investigation into russian collusion and interference in the election

  • James Pollock||

    Gee, uh... Mr. Trump hired a team of lawyers to defend himself on this subject. Don't know if they're partisan... do any of the lawyers have any kind of history in partisan politics?

  • Jonny Scrum-half||

    Robert Mueller is a Republican. He was appointed by a Republican, who in turn had been nominated by President Trump and approved by the Republican-controlled Senate (with every Republican Senator voting to approve him). With those facts, I have to give the right-wing propaganda machine credit for making people think that the Special Counsel is somehow partisan.

  • MJBinAL||

    I believe the point is that all of the people he hired are Democrats and some of them have been slapped by the courts before for various practices. Practices like withholding exculpatory evidence, suborning perjury, trivial stuff like that.

    One has to wonder what Mueller's intent is when he seeks out and hires people with such histories. Particularly has an interesting ring when accusations fly that he is pursuing charges against someone to pressure them into a plea agreement. A plea agreement based on giving what they claim is false testimony.

  • JesseAz||

    Worse than even that. They literally engaged in the worst case of witness intimidation that the USSC had witnessed in the arthur anderson case.

  • Rev. Arthur L. Kirkland||

    I believe the point is that all of the people he hired are Democrats

    Perhaps he limited his search to educated, credentialed, skilled, well-adjusted, reason-based professionals.

  • JesseAz||

    This defense that Mueller is a republican is idiotic. Plenty of republicans hate Trump too. Plenty of D.C. republicans don't act like republicans at all. What an idiotic talking point.

    Mueller also has a very bad investigatory history... see anthrax investigations. His pit bull assistance has the pleasure of losing 9-0 in what the supreme court called one of the worst cases of prosecutoral abuse.

    But keep defending them both like the dumbass you are.

  • Leo Marvin||

    Are you under the impression we haven't gotten the message that you consider everyone you disagree with an intentionally retarded dumbass? Because that's a lot of keystrokes you could use to buy more gold or request another squad-car driveby to get the kids off your lawn.

  • wreckinball||

    Manafort's issues have nothing to do with Russian interference in the 2016 election.

  • James Pollock||

    " the DOJ attorneys had a very poor grasp of tax law"

    Lawyers are notoriously bad at math. Most of them were English majors as undergraduates.

    Tax law tends to be a specialty that doesn't overlap with others... maybe more than anything other than patents. You don't have to know any tax law to pass the bar exam.

  • JesseAz||

    Starr at least prosecuted around a dozen people connected to the primary investigation.

  • nonzenze||

    He hasn't done it or he has done it but hasn't revealed it. Those are two different possibilities.

  • a ab abc abcd abcde abcdef ahf||

    He's had two years with the active help of a massive opposition, including the almost universal disdain of the press and government bureaucrats.

    It says something about those two probabilities.

  • nonzenze||

    I'm not sure how that would impact the extent to which he's disclosed all his findings.

    It's fairly common in such an investigation to keep as much secret as possible. The only reasonable way to know what he's got is to wait until he reveals it. The rest is speculation.

  • a ab abc abcd abcde abcdef ahf||

    After two years?

  • Mr. JD||

    A more probable theory is that Mueller dislikes Trump and likes power, thus keeping the investigation open forever is preferable to disclosing that he has nothing and shutting down.

  • Rev. Arthur L. Kirkland||

    A person who surveys the records of Robert Mueller and Donald Trump and reaches (or advances) that conclusion is, at best, a dope.

  • James Pollock||

    " including the almost universal disdain of the press and government bureaucrats."

    One of the parties being investigated has a known habit of nerve-gassing people who spill his secrets. Does that say anything about the two probabilities?

  • MJBinAL||

    Who are you talking about?

    If you are referring the the Russian double-agents poisoned in the UK, that is a pretty far stretch.

  • James Pollock||

    Sure, Putin had NOTHING to do with nerve-gassing a spy who defected to Britain, with Russian military-grade nerve gas.

    My facts are inadequate compared to your iron-willed self-delusion.

  • James Pollock||

    "He's pretty much right here; Mueller hasn't done much in the core area of the mission he was assigned."

    He hasn't disclosed much of what he's been up to. Maybe that's because he's got nothing, and maybe it's because he's got something.

    It harms me not at all to have him continue working, either way.

    (It's unclear whether or not having Mueller in the background has kept Trump et al from committing new crimes).

  • wreckinball||

    The folks who are getting entrapped may have a different opinion

  • James Pollock||

    The folks who are getting entrapped should know better than to lie to investigators.
    Boo-hoo to the people who are getting entrapped.

  • M.L.||

    The folks who are getting entrapped should know better than to mis-remember anything to investigators.

    And since we all commit an average of three felonies a day due to absurd federal law, we all deserve it. Boo-hoo for anyone who gets locked up!

    "Show me the man, and I'll show you the crime."

  • wreckinball||

    "Show me the man, and I'll show you the crime."

    Which is Mueller's mission

  • James Pollock||

    "And since we all commit an average of three felonies a day due to absurd federal law"

    What are my three? Yours?

  • wreckinball||

    Not sure yet. Let me get your emails going back a couple of years and I'll quiz you on what is in them. And when you don't exactly recall something correctly I'll charge you.

  • James Pollock||

    "And when you don't exactly recall something correctly I'll charge you."

    Not recalling what's in your emails when questioned about them by an Internet rando is not a felony that I'm aware of. Can you provide a citation?

  • M.L.||

  • wreckinball||

    I think I may buy that book

  • James Pollock||

    "Read and find out."

    So, you concede that Trump is guilty of violating the law, and we just don't know which ones yet?

    Someone should investigate that!

  • Rev. Arthur L. Kirkland||

    The folks who are getting entrapped should know better than to mis-remember anything to investigators.

    If bigoted right-wing yahoos wish to rely on the 'Manafort mis-remembered whether he needed to report and pay taxes on tens of millions of dollars of circuitously-routed-offshore revenues' and 'a series of witnesses repeatedly mis-remembered whether they had met with Russians, what was discussed, and who knew about it,' be my guest.

    'I know I told you the answer was "no, it never happened," but now that you show me that you have my text messages and e-mails I recognize that I mis-remembered everything' also is a low-quality strategy.

  • M.L.||

    Manafort should be locked up for tax fraud. But also, the Mueller team seems to be producing only process crimes when it comes to what is supposed to be the center of their investigation.

  • Sarcastr0||

    ML, the timeline is still crazy early to be demanding substance.

    And I guess you're eliding those Russian indictments? Those weren't process crimes.

  • Social Justice is neither||

    I'm sure you have the same opinion of illegal aliens being held in detention centers, right?

    After all boo-hoo, you don't want to end up incarcerated don't violate the immigration law. same thing.

  • James Pollock||

    "I'm sure you have the same opinion of illegal aliens being held in detention centers, right?"

    Pretty much, yeah. You knew it was a risk when you decided to come here.

  • MJBinAL||

    You are a fool.

  • James Pollock||

    Sure, sure. "Don't do the crime if you can't to the time" is foolish.

  • tlapp||

    You show me the person I'll show you the crime. Right, Comrade?

  • Sarcastr0||

    Is this the new talking point or something?

  • Mr. JD||

    "It harms me not at all to have him continue working"

    The same way it harms no one else to be permanently "under investigation", right?

  • James Pollock||

    You seem to be confusing pronouns.

  • RoyMo||

    How about we set up a permanent office of the special counsel which will investigate all presidents all of the time? Because thus is basicallywhat you are advocating here.

    We could directly elect the Special Counsel as well, and within ten years this office will be the Supreme office in the country.

  • James Pollock||

    "Because thus is basicallywhat you are advocating here."

    You seem to have confused "what I see happening" and "what I am advocating", and then to have gone full-on straw-man.

    Since you don't need me to hold this debate, why don't I just step out of it now?

  • MJBinAL||

    Please!

  • James Pollock||

    Ooh, twist my arm some more, big boy!

  • nonzenze||

    questionable crimes such as payments to women

    I don't know about this claim, or at least the order of modifiers. Those payments may be questionable but under some plausible facts they do seem to violate campaign finance law.

  • wreckinball||

    A NDA agreement is not questionable. Somehow twisting paying someone to keep quiet as a campaign "contribution" as a violation is just nuts.

  • James Pollock||

    I don't think it's nuts, and I don't think partisans who want to give this one a pass would be so eager if it suited their partisan preferences... in other words, if it was a D instead of a R that was doing it.

  • wreckinball||

    Of course its nuts. You pay someone to keep quiet. Its not a campaign thing. Gee, I could think of a million reasons why I would want to keep an affair with a porn star quiet. And my reasons really don't matter as long as both parties agree.

    That is not a campaign contribution since you are paying them the opposite of a contribution.

    But you're the fence sitter in this discussion so perch you must.

  • James Pollock||

    "You pay someone to keep quiet. Its not a campaign thing."

    Unless it is

    "I could think of a million reasons why I would want to keep an affair with a porn star quiet"

    But if that person is running for office, assuming you're paying the porn star to keep the affair a quiet is a campaign thing is not nuts. It's a reasonable first guess.

    "my reasons really don't matter as long as both parties agree."

    Some contracts are voidable as against public policy.

    "That is not a campaign contribution since you are paying them the opposite of a contribution."

    Twit. How is paying the campaign's expenses for them the opposite of a contribution?

  • wreckinball||

    God you are dumb, folks enter into contracts every day as part of life and becoming the thought police to tun in\t into a campaign contribution is nuts.

    Is getting a hair cut to look better on TV or getting your teeth whitening a defacto campaign contribution.

    And paying someone is the opposite of someone paying you, i.e. donating.

    Sitting in the fence is causing brain damage.

    David is that you practicing for your debate with Alan. You need more practice!

  • James Pollock||

    "God you are dumb"

    And yet still demostrably smarter than you.

    "folks enter into contracts every day"

    What a revelation! That changes everything!

    "Is getting a hair cut to look better on TV or getting your teeth whitening a defacto campaign contribution"

    A) are you doing it as part of a campaign?
    B) did someone else pay for it?

    If the answers to A and B are "yes", then yes. Is this too hard for you?

    "And paying someone is the opposite of someone paying you, i.e. donating."

    So... Cohen paid the porn star, therefore the porn star donated to Cohen. Now that we've got that straightened out, irrelevant as it was, the violation was Cohen paying for something to benefit the Trump campaign, but (oops) forgetting to put that on the campaign disclosure forms for his client.

    "Sitting in the fence is causing brain damage."

    Your obsession with fences is because of brain damage?

  • nonzenze||

    You could think of a million reasons. But if the person who made the payment testifies under oath that "the reason the payment was made was to further the campaign", then that reason becomes a lot more plausible as the actual reason.

  • John Rohan||

    The issue was once a D instead of an R. Prosecutors tried to charge John Edwards with campaign violations because of payments to his mistress, and the jury rejected that theory.

  • Jonny Scrum-half||

    I hear that prosecutors charged OJ Simpson with a double murder, too. Is the fact that a jury rejected that charge enough for you to conclude that no one should ever be charged with murder again?

  • Krayt||

    I do have problems with detailed investigations into trivial matters for the purpose of hurting your political opponents. That's what the 4th Amendment, and equal protection, and many other constitutional things, are supposed to be about stopping.

    Stopping those in power from filching through the papers of their opponents looking for something, anything, to tag them with.

    As with the Clinton Whitewater special prosecutor, deviating into these other things is a violation of this principle. Wisely, they didn't remove him from office for that stupid reason unrelated to the original investigation.

    Remember: It isn't about innocent things -- it's about actual maybe-crimes. No, the powers that be do not, in fact, have the right to filtch through the papers of a political opponent, almost all of whom at that level are millionaires, and thus probably have violated some of the 60,000+ laws somewhere, making every millionaire basically like a driver followed by a cop, who can find something to pull them over for in just a few minutes.

    When such people almost certainly have done something wrong, it is wrong to let their opponents look for it on a fishing expedition and almost certainly find it and thus disable their opppsition.

    The motivations behind this, and Bill Clinton before him, are impure and not in accordance with constitutional protections.

  • James Pollock||

    "Stopping those in power from filching through the papers of their opponents looking for something, anything, to tag them with."

    So... you don't want Trump to be able to look through Trump's papers?

  • Last of the Shitlords||

    "I hear that prosecutors charged OJ Simpson with a double murder, too. Is the fact that a jury rejected that charge enough for you to conclude that no one should ever be charged with murder again?"

    Spurious analogy. There was no question that Edwards committed the act in question. With OJ,, it was a question of whether he did what he was charged with at all.

    So yeah, pretty far from the same thing.

  • nonzenze||

    The jury accepted as plausible Edwards' defense that he paid the mistress for private reasons, not to further the campaign.

    The major difference in this case is that Cohen might testify that the explicit purpose of those payments was for the campaign.

    If he does (and it's a big if), a jury might see that as dispositive towards intent.

  • MJBinAL||

    Because Trump would not have paid for an NDA unless he was running for President? Because that, and whether the funds came from campaign donations are key here.

    I believe it is critical to understand that Trump (who seems to have had almost as much trouble keeping his dick in his pants as Bill Clinton) had paid for NDA's before and used personal funds for this one.

    The NDA is more likely for the purpose of keeping the thing (that Melantia had to have know of) out of his wife's face.

  • James Pollock||

    "The NDA is more likely for the purpose of keeping the thing (that Melantia had to have know of) out of his wife's face."

    I don't know if Melania has a "porn star affair" clause in the pre-nup. If she does, that would be pretty good argument that it wasn't campaign-related.
    I don't have subpeona powers, so I just have to work with what I already know.

    " used personal funds for this one."
    Well, we don't know that. The story he told, and stuck to for a while, was that Mr. Cohen paid the money. When a semi-competent lawyer joined the team, and realized that the lie (if it was a lie) was technically a crime, the story suddenly changed, literally overnight, from "Cohen paid" to "no, of course Cohen didn't pay, Trump paid, and not with campaign funds". Now, maybe that later story is the truth, and the first one is the lie. Maybe the first one was the truth, and the second one is the lie. Maybe they're both lies, and Melania paid.
    That's what investigations are FOR... to find out which of the many stories are true, and which are not.

  • Kazinski||

    Lets have a thought experiment here, what if Trump used campaign funds to pay off Stormy ?

    A. He would be accused of using campaign funds for paying off personal expenses, because paying off porn stars for affairs is not a legitimate campaign expense.

  • Sarcastr0||

    Oh, some would try. But I think he'd have a much stronger argument that it was an expense material to his campaign's success, don't you?

  • Voize of Reazon||

    If as alleged Trump used his own money and the objective was to help the campaign then the payments are not violations but failure to report them is.

  • James Pollock||

    That's just what the deep state wants you to think.

  • OldCurmudgeon||

    It's a perfect catch-22.

    If he fails to report the payments, then he's guilty of campaign finance violations. If he does report them, then he's guilty using campaign funds for personal expenses (and note: the feds have taken this position in the past).

  • James Pollock||

    If he doesn't make the payments and no one else does either, he doesn't have to report it anywhere.

  • Kazinski||

    Anybody else in America can pay off a porn star but not Donald Trump?

    Trump rules have replaced the constitution as the supreme law of the land.

  • Sarcastr0||

    Trump rules have replaced your objectivity, Kaz, if you think Trump is the victim here.

    The idea that running for office constrains what you can spend money on isn't some special Trump rule.

  • James Pollock||

    "Anybody else in America can pay off a porn star but not Donald Trump?"

    Anybody else in America can pay off a porn start unless they're doing it to aid a national political campaign, in which case they have to report the expenditure.
    I guess the reason it SEEMS to only apply to Donald Trump is that he's the only one who got caught paying off a porn star.

  • MJBinAL||

    If he made the payments to help the campaign he has to report it.
    If he used campaign funds (It seems he did not) then he has to report it.

    The first one is a question of intent. His previous practice of using NDA's before the campaign suggests that it was standard practice for him rather than a campaign thing. But as always with intent, you would need lots more information to have a good informed opinion.

    It is reported he used personal funds so this is not an issue.

  • James Pollock||

    " His previous practice of using NDA's before the campaign suggests that it was standard practice for him"

    Alas, to PROVE it, all he has to do is tell who signed NDAs, what they're not disclosing, and when and how much he paid.

    Meh. It's a problem of his own making.

  • James Pollock||

    " His previous practice of using NDA's before the campaign suggests that it was standard practice for him"

    Alas, to PROVE it, all he has to do is tell who signed NDAs, what they're not disclosing, and when and how much he paid.

    Meh. It's a problem of his own making.

  • nonzenze||

    Exactly right. Intent is a major factor here. And that's why the testimony of his lawyer about it will be crucial in terms of proving that the intent was related to the campaign.

  • EscherEnigma||

    Paying the blackmail vs. reporting the blackmail does tend to be a Catch-22.

  • nonzenze||

    If it was done with the intent to further the election of a candidate to Federal office, it seems falls under 'in-kind' spending.

  • Brett Bellmore||

    The basic problem with making this out to be a campaign finance violation, is that it isn't enough that the expenditure aided his campaign. The fact that he eats aided his campaign, it's hard to campaign when you drop dead of starvation.

    It would have to be the case that he wouldn't have made the payments if he hadn't been running.

  • M.L.||

    So what about the campaign contributions that Christopher Steele and the Russians made to HRC?

  • wreckinball||

    Doesn't count, that was done by the Ds

  • James Pollock||

    Yeah. Doesn't count, that was done by D's, and since they control the Presidency, they can direct the FBI and Justice Department to... wait a minute.

  • Brett Bellmore||

    They don't control the Presidency, but until Mueller and his threat to declare personnel changes in the DOJ to be "obstruction of justice" goes away, they do control the FBI and Justice Department.

    As evidence of which, when he orders stuff declassified, they reply, "No."

  • James Pollock||

    "but until Mueller and his threat to declare personnel changes in the DOJ to be "obstruction of justice" goes away,"

    That's a good one.
    Let's suppose you wake up Monday morning and Mueller has declared whatever happened the weekend before to be "obstruction of justice". What changes? (Hint: Nothing).

    The only threat that Mueller has against President Trump is to reveal the truth, and that's only harmful to President Trump if the truth is harmful to President Trump.

  • MJBinAL||

    Yep, as I pointed out up thread, he had a history of using NDAs for embarrassing stuff before his run for President. (It sure would be nice if he had less embarrassing stuff!)

  • Michael Masinter||

    Here's the key sentence in Dersh's editiorial, a sentence with which I fully agree:

    "In the end, Mueller should be judged by how successful he has been in satisfying his central mission."

    But the first three words are key; we can judge the success of the inquiry when it's over. Until then, any assessment of success is premature speculation.

  • James Pollock||

    You can take it at face value.

    The guy's investigating the President and his ties to a foreign government. He hasn't said much about how things are going. He'll tell us when there's something he thinks we need to know.

    Or you can start trying to infer things. The problem with that is that the things that are already inside your head greatly shape your inferrals. So, for example, some people say "He hasn't released a report that the President did it, therefore he can't, and he's just wasting his, and our, time". But conversely some people say "Look how much attention the President and insiders pay to this investigation. They must be worried that Mueller will find something".

    In other words, depending on whether you believe that there's anything for Mueller to find, you can interpret things as either proving Mueller found something, is about to find something, or won't find anything.

    My theory:
    The Russians decided their interests would be advanced if DJT were President rather than HRC, and so they decided to see if they could bring that result about. DJT doesn't like this fact to be known, because it implies that the Russians thought he was the weaker candidate. DJT and insiders close to him would have been happy to collaborate with Russians, but the Russians thought they were more likely to succeed without his involvement than with it, and so proceeded without him. This also offends DJT on a personal level.

  • Shergie||

    So basically your "problem is that the things that are already inside your head greatly shape your inferrals."

    But your exactly right, which is why when all is said and done people who hate Trump will just sidestep this whole thing and move to some other reason they hate him. To me, THAT is the biggest issue with all this—the fact that guilt or innocence means little to nothing to them because of their utter hatred for him and desire to see him removed.

    Hatred for another human being that they have never met or spoken to personally. Hatred they justify by something he said or something somebody else said he said.

    Let me ask you since you are indeed in tune with a problem more people need to be aware of but ae not, Which is bias deep within our subconscious: what will you say if and when it comes out none of what you infer happened—that there were zero ties between Trump and the Russian election meddling?

    Will you be able to backtrack enough in your subconscious to realize your "view" of Trump comes from a bias that exists in your mind, a bias that likely does not contain any original logic/reason but rather is all Regurgitated or has been said by someone else before?

  • James Pollock||

    "So basically your 'problem is that the things that are already inside your head greatly shape your inferrals.'"

    So I disclosed the things which are already inside my head, so you can judge for yourself how they shape my present analysis.

    I am strongly anti-Trump, in the sense that I believe he is unsuited to be chief executive of anything, and particularly unsuited to be President of the United States.
    That said, I have never hated the man, nor advocated for his removal from office (though I wouldn't be heartbroken to see him leave, the next guy up is Mr. Pence, who I expect would have been more dangerous to the country with a Republican House and Senate behind him than is Mr. Trump. Trump is bad for the country but ineffective. Pence might be able to get things done.)

    I think I'm more resistant to inherent bias that average. I don't claim to be immune.

  • wreckinball||

    He wasn't supposed to be investigating the president. I guess that is a Freudian slip because that is what he is doing. He is not investigating Russian collusion he is investigating a person hoping to find Russian collusion. We've already found it but the colluder is not Trump so move along.

  • James Pollock||

    "He wasn't supposed to be investigating the president"

    That is... an interesting view of reality.

  • wreckinball||

    "Show me the man, and I'll show you the crime."

    It is actually a Russian thing. Translation Witch Hunt. Not supposed to happen here.
    Stay on that fence

  • M.L.||

    Comey said Trump wasn't under investigation.

    Mueller said Trump wasn't a "target" of the investigation.

  • James Pollock||

    The "target" of an investigation is subject to arrest, indictment, and punishment if convicted. The sitting President is not subject to any of those.

  • EscherEnigma||

    Targets also change as an investigation learns more.

    We'll know what Mueller chooses to report when he chooses to report it. We'll find out what he really knew, and when, in another thirty to fifty years in his post-mortem tell-all book.

  • OldCurmudgeon||

    I believe Justice department regulations agree.

  • NToJ||

    "The guy's investigating the President and his ties to a foreign government."

    ...as part of a larger investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 United States elections. I don't think Dershowitz realizes that this was not originally about the President at all. The special counsel was appointed because of potential links to the President, but the investigation is broader than those alleged links or coordination efforts between the President and Russians.

    There have been dozens of criminal charges filed, most against Russians.

  • Cyto||

    I think that might be a bit too charitable to the original investigation.

    The investigation during the campaign was said to be initiated because there were worries of Russian attempts to infiltrate the Trump campaign....

    But then the investigators failed to warn the Trump campaign and used their "intelligence community" knowledge to justify spying on the campaign, including sending in actual spies (termed "informants" by the FBI/DOJ, but not in any way associated with the campaign other than being sent there by the government to spy on the campaign and maybe initiate a disinformation campaign).

    So claiming that the "pre-existing" Russia investigation was not political is at least debatable. Since two die-hard Clinton supporters were behind the investigation and were working for Obama appointed people, running the counter-factual example would be interesting. Let's say there was some evidence of the Russians helping the Clinton campaign in some way - would the team in question warn the campaign, or would they begin spying on the Clinton campaign and leaking the results to reporters?

    Oh, wait... we do have that counter-factual. The Russians helped create a bunch of embarrassing opposition research for the Clinton campaign. You know, actively providing actual help. And the leaders of the investigation knew about it.

  • NToJ||

    "The investigation during the campaign was said to be initiated because there were worries of Russian attempts to infiltrate the Trump campaign...."

    As has been said repeatedly by the Republican members of the Senate Intelligence Committee, that's exactly what you would want them to do, right?

    "But then the investigators failed to warn the Trump campaign..."

    This isn't a "fail". If the FBI believes there are active attempts to compromise, say, a local police force, you wouldn't necessarily expect them to reveal that information to the local police force, right?

    "The Russians helped create a bunch of embarrassing opposition research..."

    Opposition research isn't illegal. The concern here is that Russians were actively trying to either (1) infiltrate the Republican campaign for President; or (2) were coordinating with members of the Republican campaign to influence the outcome of the election.

  • MJBinAL||

    "The Russians decided their interests would be advanced if DJT were President rather than HRC, and so they decided to see if they could bring that result about."

    And this is why both the DNC and the RNC were hacked. Or something like that ......LOL

    (because both were, the difference being the RNC gave the FBI access their servers to look for clues to the hackers, and the DNC refused the FBI access to their servers because .....)

  • James Pollock||

    "And this is why both the DNC and the RNC were hacked."

    Yeah. Turns out they KNOW we have two parties. The secret's out.

  • tlapp||

    We know Hilary paid for information from Russia via Steele. Any issue with that? If not you are just one more partisan fool.

  • James Pollock||

    Hold on a second. Is this the same thing? I don't think so. If Hil paid for information from the Russians, we know what the Russians got out of the deal... whatever Hil paid. If Trump worked with the Russkies, what did the Russkies get for their part of the deal? Dropping sanctions? Classified material delivered directly to the Russians right in the White House? Something we don't know about yet?

  • OtisAH||

    Not the weaker candidate. The weaker president.

  • a ab abc abcd abcde abcdef ahf||

    And if it never ends?

    Isn't two years long enough?

  • nonzenze||

    That would be up to Rod to decide if it's still productive or should be wrapped up.

  • M.L.||

    Yes . . . where "productive" means harmful to Trump and beneficial to the rogue deep state.

  • James Pollock||

    As I am not a paranoiac, I am not concerned with the "rogue deep state".

  • MJBinAL||

    R I G H T !

    LOL

  • James Pollock||

    You seem to have a very low threshold for LOLling.

  • nonzenze||

    I think you are confusing the statement. It was about who has responsibility to declare what is 'long enough'.

    (1) Internet commenters with no specialized knowledge of the day-to-day activities and recent progress of the campaign.

    (2) The actual appointee with access to that knowledge and who is vested with authority to supervise the investigation.

    I'll leave the choice about that to you.

  • James Pollock||

    "And if it never ends?
    Isn't two years long enough?"

    My knowledge of how long it takes to investigate a foreign power with a well-established intelligence service, and a person who has authority over the investigation and everyone being investigated, is limited.

    Thus far, I'm prepared to continue waiting. I'm a grown-up... I don't need everything to be now, now, now like a 5-year-old.

  • Voize of Reazon||

    In the end, Mueller should be judged by how successful he has been in satisfying his central mission.

    I agree with this in isolation, but not in the context of Dershowitz's earlier assertion that

    Mueller was appointed to uncover crimes committed by Americans relating to Russia

    Mueller was appointed to continue an investigation, and the success or failure of his mission depends on how thoroughly he performs that job and how convincing are the answers he provides. It does not depend on how many indictments follow, he can succeed while uncovering no new crimes if his work shows there were none to find.

  • James Pollock||

    " he can succeed while uncovering no new crimes if his work shows there were none to find."

    In contrast, the investigation the House of Representatives held, run by Rep Nunes, which showed how strongly Rep. Nunes didn't want to find anything.

  • John Rohan||

    I like Alan Dershowitz, he's awesome. And it also reflects well on Post's character that he published this rebuttal.

  • TwelveInchPianist||

    He's literally the one person in the country that remained consistent wrt the Clinton investigation and the Trump investigation.

  • Michael Ejercito||

    What was the Clinton investigation about?

  • TwelveInchPianist||

    Sorry, I was referring to the investigation leading to the impeachment of President Clinton.

  • James Pollock||

    "What was the Clinton investigation about?"

    Whether or not Bill had oral sex with the Whitewater interns. Duh.

  • TwelveInchPianist||

    whether or not Clinton lied under oath in a depo when he was accused of sexual harassment by Paula Jones. It had nothing to do with Whitewater.

  • James Pollock||

    "It had nothing to do with Whitewater."

    That's an odd thing to say about the Whitewater investigation.

    "whether or not Clinton lied under oath in a depo when he was accused of sexual harassment by Paula Jones."

    Prescient, since this didn't happen until two years after the investigation started.

  • TwelveInchPianist||

    Sigh. I see you also subscribe to the myth that Starr decided to expand the Whitewater investigation into the president's sex life. Nope. Starr was given a mandate by the DOJ to investigate several Clinton scandals, and when Linda Tripp showed him the tapes, he asked for and received an assignment from the DoJ to investigate the perjury in the Jones case. So Lewinsky was a separate mandate from the DoJ.

  • James Pollock||

    " the myth that Starr decided to expand the Whitewater investigation into the president's sex life."

    " when Linda Tripp showed him the tapes, he asked for and received an assignment from the DoJ to investigate"

    Srsly?

  • Krayt||

    One other funny thing for the Shoe Is On The Other Foot department: I recall several of what I assume were liberal people, complaining how the Whitewater investigation was a terrible waste of tens of millions of dollars as it draggef on and on and on...

    Now it's fine but some Republicans bring it up, as it it has any fractional importance to anything. We're borrowing 100x that every *day*.

  • MJBinAL||

    It actually had little to do with his affair with Monica either.

    Like Nixon, Bill got in trouble trying to cover it up, including lying under oath. Eventually, the lying under oath got him a fine (imposed by a judge he appointed) a (large)fine and loss of his law license.

    He got donations from some wealthy "friends" to pay the fine.

  • tlapp||

    Yes he is faithful to the law and civil liberties. Never let's partisanship get in the way. A national treasure.

  • Noscitur a sociis||

    If there's going to be a debate, I hope Prof. Cassell will be invited.

  • Placeholder Name||

    Post's original post was gratuitous. If you have an argument make it. You don't need to attack the speaker by claiming he is a washed up has-been. The original post also ignored the fact that Mueller is not a regular prosecutor operating under the President's Article 2 authority. Dershowitz's Fox News comment must be viewed in context of Mueller's role as a special prosecutor, where it is all the more important that his work be confined to the original assignment. I'm disappointed in Post's original post, but it is good that Post was willing to post Dershowitz's response.

  • M.L.||

    Yes, I'm glad the response was posted.

  • NToJ||

    "...where it is all the more important that his work be confined to the original assignment."

    The original assignment is not limited to links between Russians and the President.

  • OldCurmudgeon||

    In that case, is it legal under the statute?

  • NToJ||

    To which specific statute are you referring?

  • James Pollock||

    You know, the FEDERAL statute. That one.

  • MJBinAL||

    Yep, the Federal Statute under with the special prosecutor is appointed requires he have a clear and limited scope based on an already established crime.

    If his appointment is to be valid, it pretty much has to be limited to the Russia Investigation. The problem is that there was no evidence of a crime at the time of appointment. This is true despite the 4 FISA warrants obtained and the best efforts of the FBI.

    This entire thing was handled badly by the FBI from the very start. The special prosecutor should not have been appointed at the time he was. Not to say there might not have been reason for one later, but he was appointed based on political pressure, not because the statute called for one.

  • NToJ||

    "Yep, the Federal Statute under with the special prosecutor is appointed requires he have a clear and limited scope based on an already established crime."

    Could you tell me to which Federal Statute you are referring?

  • James Pollock||

    Duh. The FEDERAL one.

    It's not like there's a way to identify every damn part of every damn federal statute in the entire U.S. Code!

  • wreckinball||

    David call 911 before the debate. You will get annihilated. It would be entertaining.

  • Rev. Arthur L. Kirkland||

    You may be remembering the Alan Dershowitz who was not yet reduced to peddling his commentary at right-wing nut sites (such as Gladstone).

  • Rev. Arthur L. Kirkland||

    You may be remembering the Alan Dershowitz who was not yet reduced to peddling his commentary at right-wing nut sites (such as Gladstone).

  • MJBinAL||

    I often disagree with Alan Dershowitz. I do however regard him (unlike you) as an honest man. Whatever opinions he holds he tries to apply them evenly to all.

    So even when I believe he is spouting nonsense, I believe he is sincere about it and has some logical reasoning to support his positions.

    Unlike you Rev. who just spouts insults and snide comments. Near as any of us can tell, you haven't got an honest bone in your body.

    This, and your general unpleasantness, explains why you will never be successful converting anyone to your views. Assuming you intend to persuade, rather than getting pleasure from being difficult and offensive.

  • Rev. Arthur L. Kirkland||

    When I want pointers on civility and conduct from a bigot, you'll be my first call.

  • JonFrum||

    Here's the deal - when a media venue allows the subject of a criticism to respond, it is not cool to add in the last word. You had your say, he had his.

    This is what happens when 'Freedom of the press belongs to those who own one' (substitute 'work for' for own.')

  • James Pollock||

    "Here's the deal - when a media venue allows the subject of a criticism to respond, it is not cool to add in the last word. You had your say, he had his."

    I mean, not unless there's other media venues.

  • Liberaltarian||

    " Mueller was appointed to uncover crimes committed by Americans relating to Russia"

    Incorrect. He was appointed to investigate Russian interference in the 2016 election. This absolutely includes the conduct of Russians. Dershowitz obviously knows this but intentionally misrepresents the scope of the appointment.

  • wreckinball||

    "He was appointed to investigate Russian interference in the 2016 election."

    He is not doing that either. he is just investigating Trump and anyone associated with him. He has already ignored Russian collusion

  • NToJ||

    "...he is just investigating Trump and anyone associated with him."

    This is not true. The investigation has issued criminal charges on 26 Russian nationals.

  • Brett Bellmore||

    Technically, he was only appointed to investigate Russian interference in the 2016 election insofar as it involved the Trump campaign. That's why, for instance, Manafort gets prosecuted, but Tony Podesta gets a sweet immunity deal, for basically the same conduct: Tony was never part of Trump's campaign.

    If you're a Democrat, doesn't matter what crimes he finds you committed, he doesn't have to care.

    The Special Counsel is authorized to conduct the investigation confinned by then-FBI Director James 8. Corney in testimony before the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence on March 20, 2017, including: (i) any links and/or coordination bet ween the Russian government and individuals associated with the campaign of President Donald Trump;

  • James Pollock||

    "If you're a Democrat, doesn't matter what crimes he finds you committed, he doesn't have to care."

    No, but the entire rest of the DOJ probably does. Well, maybe not the night-time janitorial crew.

  • Purple Martin||

    There's a term called "including."

    You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means.

    (Hint: it doesn't mean "only.")

  • NToJ||

    "Technically, he was only appointed to investigate Russian interference in the 2016 election insofar as it involved the Trump campaign."

    This is not accurate.

  • Bob from Ohio||

    "Incorrect. He was appointed to investigate Russian interference in the 2016 election. "

    Incorrect. He was appointed to avenge Clinton's loss by any means necessary.

  • James Pollock||

    How odd that the Republicans running Congress at the time put that in his charter.

  • Bob from Ohio||

    Mueller does not have a "charter" from Congress. Congress cannot appoint executive branch officials.

    He was appointed by the Deputy AG under existing "Special Counsel" regulations.

    I am talking about the real purpose, not the purported purpose, in any event..

  • James Pollock||

    The real purpose he talks about only in the basement under that pizza restaurant? Or when he's conferring with Elvis and Bigfoot in the saucers?

  • MJBinAL||

    The purpose people believe he has, based on his actions. I am not sure if he is intentionally pursuing this agenda or not. But most in Washington, Dems and Reps both, believe he is, and are rooting for him or against based on that belief.

  • Lasciata||

    You want to debate Dershowitz? I didn't think you get any dumber, but you prove me wrong once again. Stop violating the Rule of Holes.

  • SGJ||

    Dershowitz is correct and perfectly qualifies his conclusions based on what is known now in the present. That may change, as he suggests. I don't think Post would do well in a debate here, although I would love to see it.

  • Purple Martin||

    Two points.

    1) The Flynn sentencing documents released this week strongly support the view that there are at least two major additional investigations still in progress. Mueller's releases to date demonstrate that at each major milestone, he has had much more and often much different information than had been speculated. Point is that, based on what is currently known, there is no real support for a firm conclusion that he has no meaningful case to make. Same applies, of course, to anyone saying they know what case he will ultimately end up making.

    2) Based on similar Special Counsel/Special Prosecutor investigations in the past, this investigation has progressed much more quickly, and produced a far greater amount of tangible results at every point of the investigation, than any other instance.

    So—based on what we know now—everyone stating that their view that either "this is taking too long" or "I know what the ultimate result (and/or value of the results) will be" are simply asserting facts not yet placed in evidence.

    We'll all know soon enough. My guess is sometime between March and December of next year. But like everyone else opining here, that's just a guess.

  • M.L.||

    Core mission? Well of course, it appears likely that if he had focused on his core mission, then he would have had to wrap it up rather quickly with, "No, Trump isn't a secret Russian agent and didn't collude with Russia."

    If he was interested in Russian collusion and interference generally, then he would be looking at what the HRC campaign did. Obviously, that's not his game at all.

    It's hard to identify even an attempt to show even handedness here. Manafort gets hit for failing to register as a foreign lobbyist, while arch swamp creatures like Tony Podesta get immunity in connection with the same matter.

    The entire spectacle is ludicrous and will be seen as such in history. The Clintons rake in a quarter billion peddling influence to foreigners. Their side spends a campaign defending and deflecting this, and then, suddenly, they turn on a dime and are tearing their hair out over foreign "influence" in the form of a few internet troll memes posted to Facebook? Then they get Facebook and the rest of the internet monopolists to start banning expression of conservative viewpoints. These people are evil totalitarians.

    Remember the stern lectures given about "respecting the results of democratic elections," followed by a 180-degree turn after the election?

  • wreckinball||

    "It's hard to identify even an attempt to show even handedness here.'

    Agree, its laughable.

  • Glaucomatose||

    "[I]t appears likely that if he had focused on his core mission, then he would have had to wrap it up rather quickly with, 'No, Trump isn't a secret Russian agent and didn't collude with Russia'" based on what evidence, exactly?

    "If he was interested in Russian collusion and interference generally," then he would be going outside the scope of his appointment, the "core mission" of which was to investigate "any links and/or coordination bet ween the Russian government and individuals associated with the campaign of President Donald Trump." On the other hand, if anyone else at the Justice Department is interested in "looking at what the HRC campaign did," I know of no reason they shouldn't do so. After all, quite unlike the investigation into coordination between Trump and Russia, as far as we know nobody at Justice has been fired for continuing to look into "this Russia thing with Clinton and Russia" the way Comey was fired for continuing to look into "this Russia thing with Trump and Russia."

    Meanwhile, I'm sure the voters who just elected new governors of Wisconsin and Michigan, only to find the lame-duck legislatures of those states immediately strip those new governors of substantial portions of the powers they were elected to exercise, would be very interested to hear your views on respecting the results of democratic elections and 180-degree turns.

  • NToJ||

    "...the "core mission" of which was to investigate "any links and/or coordination bet ween the Russian government and individuals associated with the campaign of President Donald Trump.""

    Why is "core mission" in quotes? Anyway, the core mission is: "investigation of the Russian government's efforts to interfere in the 2016 presidential election[.]" That investigation was ongoing before special counsel got involved. Special counsel is authorized, as part of that core mission, to also investigate "any links and/or coordination between the Russian government and individuals associated with the campaign of President Donald Trump[.]"

  • M.L.||

    Exactly, as I said in more words below.

  • M.L.||

    Going outside the scope, huh? Well he'd never do that. Oh by the way, what does Manafort's Ukraine lobbying dating back to 2005-2012 involving the Podesta Group have to do with the Trump campaign? Or even Russian collusion and interference in the 2016 election, generally?

    Anyway, Rosenstein's appointment is quite a bit broader in scope than you suggest here. The item you quote is just one item in a list of items following the word "including." The more important general provision defines the scope in very slippery fashion with reference to "the investigation confirmed by then-FBI director James B. Comey in testimony before the House..on March 20, 2017."

    In said testimony, Comey said "the FBI, as part of our counterintelligence mission, is investigating the Russian government's efforts to interfere in the 2016 presidential election." He went on to explain that this would, of course, include any links the Trump campaign may have had to such efforts.

    1/2

  • M.L.||

    2/2

    So, you're definitely mistaken. The defined scope would squarely include any Russian collusion and interference efforts involved the Steele dossier, Fusion GPS, their Russian pal Natalia Veselnitskaya, who curiously sought a meeting with Trump Jr. under false pretenses immediately after dinner with Glenn Simpson, as well as Bruce Ohr, Andy McCabe and the rest of the merry band.

    Actually, you'd think these matters would be the primary focus, being obviously the most substantial instances of Russian interference known at this point. Instead, we have things like Manafort's past lobbying completely unrelated to 2016. That's because the whole operation is a cover-up by distraction, using the old tactic of accusing your opponent of the very thing you're worried about being in the hotseat for.

  • NToJ||

    "The defined scope would squarely include any Russian collusion and interference efforts involved the Steele dossier, Fusion GPS, their Russian pal Natalia Veselnitskaya..."

    I don't understand the conspiracy you are trying to sell here. Is it your belief that Steele is Russian? Or what?

  • M.L.||

    I'm not trying to sell any conspiracy theory, I am referencing certain facts which call into question whether Mueller's investigation has been suitably focused on its core mandate of investigating Russian interference in the election. I mean, if the Steele dossier was comprised of information from Russian sources, wouldn't that seem to qualify as Russian interference?

    Or, maybe some will say that the investigation was properly focused on Trump and not Clinton, because Rosenstein's appointment listed the Trump campaign in a non-exhaustive list of examples under the general description of "Russian interference"?

  • Voize of Reazon||

    I mean, if the Steele dossier was comprised of information from Russian sources, wouldn't that seem to qualify as Russian interference?

    Steele was investigating Trump-related ties to Russia, so he questioned Russian sources. Their answering his questions, by itself, doesn't make for interference. If they had approached him or had deliberately fed him misinformation that could lead to a different answer, which is why investigators look into sources and for corroboration before deciding how much credence to give information they receive.

    If you are a witness to some event, and detectives interview you, or maybe reporters do, and you answer their questions, under what conditions would that constitute interference with something by you?

  • M.L.||

    "If they had approached him or had deliberately fed him misinformation that could lead to a different answer, which is why investigators look into sources and for corroboration before deciding how much credence to give information they receive."

    That is exactly the sort of "looking into" that I am saying should be addressed by this investigation. Because Comey called the Steele dossier salacious and unverified, and yet it was used as the basis of a FISA warrant. If the Steele dossier included a fair amount of likely false information, as seems likely at this point, then one of many natural questions, as you rightly point out, would be why did the Russians provide false information to one of the candidates for president about the other candidate for president? And why did that information go on to become so important in many ways including as the basis of a FISA warrant?

  • Voize of Reazon||

    The dossier is not a unitary document, it is a collection of (I believe) 17 reports written over months. Some of them are more credible than others, Steele himself has said he doesn't believe the whole thing. Some parts are certainly salacious and unverified, the "pee tape" allegation being the prime example, but I have no reason to think that the FISA application relied on it. You seem to believe though that the FBI ignored their well-established practices and used the least reliable portions without trying to corroborate them. What leads you to believe that?

  • M.L.||

    What I am saying is that the Steele dossier would seem to be a proper focus of an investigation into Russian "efforts to interfere" in the election. Such an investigation would look into questions such as those you and I raised above.

    You seem to disagree. Why?

  • Voize of Reazon||

    I agree that "Did Russians supply misinformation to Steele in an attempt to manipulate the election?" is within the scope of Mueller's assignment. Maybe we'll find what he looked into and what he found, if his report is ever made public. Maybe not though if he didn't find anything to sustain charges, I think he will be careful not to repeat Comey's error of judgement. Or, he may have dismissed it early if there wasn't some preliminary indication that it would lead somewhere, after all he is not obligated to investigate to the nth degree every question imaginable.

    There's a pretty big step though between "the Russians fed bad intel" and "the FISA warrant was tainted". The FBI vets information before relying on it.

  • M.L.||

    Well, I hope Mueller does provide the public with some answers to these questions surrounding the Steele dossier. Because they are some of the most glaring questions on the topic of Russian interference and potential collusion.

    My primary point re the FISA warrant is merely to illustrate how significant and consequential the Steele dossier was and is. Along with the email hacking, these surely must be the two most substantial instances of Russian interference by a wide margin.

    So, was the FISA warrant "tainted"? Did political motivation or bias play a role in the decisions made by some FBI officials? Maybe. When it comes to individuals like Andrew McCabe, it certainly looks bad. We know that FISA abuse generally is rampant, because the FISA court itself issued an extensive detailed finding that this is the case. So the question is what corroboration and verification was done regarding the Steele dossier claims before they became the basis of the FISA warrant? Another question that a proper investigation should address. I personally don't put much stock in media "reports," but if that's your cup of tea then there is cause for concern.

  • NToJ||

    "...if the Steele dossier was comprised of information from Russian sources, wouldn't that seem to qualify as Russian interference?"

    Qualify as Russia's interference with Steele's investigation of Trump ties to Russia? What does that have to do with interference with an election?

    "Or, maybe some will say that the investigation was properly focused on Trump..."

    The investigation was focused on Russian interference generally. The inclusion of the special counsel was necessary because evidence linked the then-acting Attorney General--who was appointed by the President--to Russians. Since Hilary Clinton didn't appoint Jeff Sessions, we wouldn't need the special counsel involved at all to investigate any alleged connections between Hillary Clinton and the Russians. You do understand that the special counsel was needed because of an internal conflict of interest owing to the fact that the President is not Hillary Clinton?

  • M.L.||

    "Steele's investigation of Trump ties to Russia? What does that have to do with interference with an election?"

    What doesn't it have to do with the election? Steele was acting at the behest of the Clinton campaign. The Russians may have provided false information to a presidential candidate about another presidential candidate. For what reason, other than to influence US politics in some way? And it clearly did have an enormous, incalculable effect, regardless of whether it was the intended effect.

    "The inclusion of the special counsel was necessary because evidence linked the then-acting Attorney General--who was appointed by the President--to Russians."

    I think that's bullshit. Sessions was railroaded for being in the same room as a Russian at some time, and the accusation that he lied about this was just a smear with no evidence. But I concede you have some form of creative argument here that the focus of the special counsel's investigation could be properly qualified, i.e. more focused on Trump, due to the nature of the purported conflict of interest which led to the appointment. But on the other hand if the Trump administration was conflicted on the matter generally, why wouldn't they be conflicted as to any involvement of Hillary Clinton in the same general matter? Why wouldn't the supposed independence of a special counsel be appropriate here as well?

  • James Pollock||

    "The Russians may have provided false information to a presidential candidate about another presidential candidate."

    OK. If the receiving candidate then doesn't use the information, how did it influence the election?

  • M.L.||

    "how did it influence the election?"

    Because it was the basis of endless media reports smearing Trump, and also the basis of a FISA warrant to spy on the Trump campaign, and also the basis of this entire Russia collusion allegation. Any more dumb questions?

    Furthermore, even if it had not influenced the election, read above again: The investigation is about Russian "efforts to interfere in" the election. It doesn't matter, for purposes of the investigation's scope, whether those efforts were successful or influential.

  • James Pollock||

    "it was the basis of endless media reports smearing Trump"

    After the election. And the media personality who referred to it the most was Sean Hannity.

  • NToJ||

    "The Russians may have provided false information to a presidential candidate about another presidential candidate."

    That wouldn't be interference by Steele, much less Clinton.

    "Sessions was railroaded..."

    By whom?? Himself?

    "...why wouldn't they be conflicted as to any involvement of Hillary Clinton in the same general matter?"

    Because Hillary Clinton isn't a member of the President's administration? The conflict of interest here is the appearance that AG Sessions would protect his boss and himself against his agency's own investigation. There's no suggestion that Hillary Clinton is running President Trump's DOJ.

  • M.L.||

    So you don't think that if Russians provided false allegations/info to Clinton's campaign, which then ended up as the basis for a FISA warrant, and then the subject of endless media reports and conspiracy theories, and ultimately the impetus for a special counsel appointment -- you don't think that's an example of Russian "efforts to interfere" ? Why not?

    Re the conflict, my point is that if the Trump administration is conflicted on the matter of Russian interference in the election and potential collusion, then they are conflicted on that matter as a whole. That would include potential involvement of the Clinton campaign, even though as to Clinton their conflicted interest would run in the opposite direction compared to their own involvement.

  • James Pollock||

    " as to Clinton their conflicted interest would run in the opposite direction compared to their own involvement."

    Right. Mr. Trump wouldn't want to appear to his followers to be supporting a prosecution of Hillary Clinton, because....

    Sorry, I can't continue, because the chanting "lock her up" keeps disrupting my chain of thought.

  • NToJ||

    "Why not?"

    We're talking about two different things. Theory is that Russia (its government) had a coordinated plan to sway the election. Steele receiving information from individual Russians may have been the result of a coordinated attempt by the Russian government to sway the election (in Hillary's favor), but there's no evidence of it whatsoever. To the contrary, all evidence points to the Russian interest in swaying the election against Clinton.

    "Re the conflict..."

    The concern with a conflict of interests is that the people under investigation are also the ones steering the investigation. That is not the case re: Clinton, and you're just swinging at windmills with "conflicted on that matter as a whole".

  • James Pollock||

    "I mean, if the Steele dossier was comprised of information from Russian sources, wouldn't that seem to qualify as Russian interference?"

    In the election. Did Steele influence the election?

  • Glaucomatose||

    "Oh by the way, what does Manafort's Ukraine lobbying dating back to 2005-2012 involving the Podesta Group have to do with the Trump campaign?"

    Without being involved in the investigation or having any knowledge beyond what I've read in the papers, my educated guess is that it's one of those "matters that arose or may arise directly from the investigation," part (ii) of Mueller's assignment, which Mueller decided to prosecute because he had enough evidentiary basis to do so and he felt it would give him more leverage over Manafort to compel him to share what he knows about any links and/or coordination between the Russian government and individuals associated with the campaign of President Donald Trump, being part (i) of Mueller's assignment. Mueller's career was made by convincing lower-level mob figures to rat on their bosses in exchange for leniency on other crimes, so it figures he'd stick with what's worked for him in the past.

    But again, the Justice Department is a big place. If there are legitimate matters to be investigated pertaining to the Steele dossier, Fusion GPS, their Russian pal Natalia Veselnitskaya, who curiously sought a meeting with Trump Jr. under false pretenses immediately after dinner with Glenn Simpson, as well as Bruce Ohr, Andy McCabe and the rest of the merry band, then the Justice Department should be investigating them. Heck, for all you or I know, they may be investigating them now, or may have already done so.

  • M.L.||

    Agreed here. Which illustrates my point that the so-called "scope" is broad and squishy and not limited to links between Russia and the Trump campaign, or even Russian interference generally, since it includes any matters arising from the investigation.

    So the questions that remains is whether the chosen focus of the investigation, as a whole, seems properly centered on its core mandate of investigating Russian interference in the election. At this point in time, the Steele dossier affair sure seems stick out like a sore thumb, compared to Facebook memes and the Trump tower meeting.

  • James Pollock||

    "Agreed here. Which illustrates my point that the so-called 'scope' is broad and squishy"

    Agreed, in the sense that all investigations have this quality.

  • NToJ||

    "...what does Manafort's Ukraine lobbying dating back to 2005-2012 involving the Podesta Group have to do with the Trump campaign?"

    The FBI investigation into Manafort began in 2014, long before the 2016 election. That existing criminal investigation was taken over by special counsel, since the alleged criminal conduct had extended into the 2016 elections (that are the subject of special counsel's core mission).

  • MJBinAL||

    They went after Manafort because they wanted him to roll on Trump, even, as a court already accused them of, get him to "not just sing, but compose". To do that they needed something they could threaten to ruin him with.

    So they investigated this (which legitimately needed to be investigated, but by the NY office) in order to get a hammer on him.

  • NToJ||

    The FBI "went after Manafort" in 2014 because they needed him to turn on future President Trump in an investigation over interference in an election that hadn't yet happened? Interesting theory.

  • Brett Bellmore||

    No, they went after him in 2014 as an ordinary matter of law enforcement, and then dropped it in 2014 because they apparently decided it wasn't serious enough to bother with, or implicated people who they'd rather leave alone, or some such.

    Then picked it back up in 2016 because they needed leverage over Manafort.

  • NToJ||

    The investigation was never dropped. He went to trial (twice) on charges stemming from the original investigation. For all of the charges, he has either (1) been found guilty; or (2) pled guilty.

    "Then picked it back up in 2016 because they needed leverage over Manafort."

    Leverage they got only after successfully trying him before a jury.

  • Brett Bellmore||

    "The more important general provision defines the scope in very slippery fashion with reference to "the investigation confirmed by then-FBI director James B. Comey in testimony before the House..on March 20, 2017.""

    Right, that would be the investigation begun during the Obama administration to provide a pretext for spying on the Trump campaign. The investigation that was started based on a collection of allegations against Trump paid for by the Clinton campaign, which was shopped to the FISA court without revealing that the FBI already knew it was a steaming heap.

  • James Pollock||

    " The investigation that was started based on a collection of allegations against Trump paid for by the Clinton campaign"

    Then, they went into the secret bunker under the pizza restaurant and beamed a summary of the progress so far to the aliens who are secretly in geostationary orbit over Area 51. Senator McCain, who was in on the whole deal from the beginning due to his desire to scrap Obamacare repeal, made them nervous, so the aliens gave him brain cancer.

    Trump's handlers know that the NSA intercepts communications into and out of the country when the other endpoint is a foreign national. So, in his role as Commander-in-Chief, Trump immediately ordered the intercepts that started this investigation declassified and released to the public, but secret operatives within the NSA deep state deleted all the emails. Infuriated, Trump ordered the deep state operatives detained in dog kennels in abandoned big-box stores, which the mainstream media, as usual, totally misunderstood and claimed they were illegal immigrants' children that were being held. Typical. Anyways, none of this matters because Jesus is returning next Tuesday at 3:53pm EDT and will announce that HE will be acting as President from now on.

  • NToJ||

    "The investigation that was started based on a collection of allegations against Trump paid for by the Clinton campaign..."

    Do you happen to know who originally hired Steele?

  • James Pollock||

    "Do you happen to know who originally hired Steele?"

    Elvis?

  • NToJ||

    "It's hard to identify even an attempt to show even handedness here."

    Your timing is terrible.

  • M.L.||

    Fair enough, I hadn't seen this. Credit where it's due. And the detail that Podesta's immunity deal was limited to "use immunity" is good, I wasn't aware of this.

  • Brett Bellmore||

    That's actually a positive development, which slightly improves my opinion of Mueller.

  • wreckinball||

    Mueller has a strong resemblance to Deputy Dog. Has anyone seen them together to make sure he isn't actually Deputy Dog?

  • James Pollock||

  • Eddy||

    OK, place your bets...on this corner of the debate stage, an academic. In the other corner, a guy with decades of experience arguing in court and in public debating forums generally....I wonder who has the better odds?

  • James Pollock||

    I notice that the facts don't make an appearance anywhere in your calculus. An oversight?

  • Eddy||

    I have the impression you're trying to continue a hostility you developed in other threads, whereas for my part, I try to see each thread as a clean slate with prior hostilities forgotten.

  • James Pollock||

    I care because...? Who are you?

  • Eddy||

    Well, since you don't care, I suppose you won't mind if I don't respond.

  • James Pollock||

    Me either.

  • cja||

    Lawfare openly declared it would take the presidency down in the courts.
    Maybe they'll get an award for a plan well executed.

  • ||

    Mostly perpetrated by Obama's judges. Read the 3rd Circuit decision regarding NJ's magazines for proof. I pray every night that Ginsburg and Obama both gets tumors so I can celebrate.

  • James Pollock||

    Perhaps Satan will listen to you tonight. Keep trying.

  • MJBinAL||

    Do you have time for that?

  • ||

    One can hope. America will be a better place once those two pieces of crap are finally out of the picture.

  • Dilan Esper||

    Now if we can just get Prof. Dershowitz to respond to Prof. Cassell's post about the Epstein plea deal....

  • MonitorsMost||

    On a scale of 1-10 on "How Crazy Has Trump's Election Made This Harvard Law Professor," Dershowitz is rocking a respectable 6. Laurence Tribe is running a perfect 10.0, and constantly trying to summon his inner Spinal Tap.

  • dwshelf||

    Advantage Dershowitz.

  • Kazinski||

    It's actually quite gracious of Dershowitz to punch down as far as he has to to reach Post.

  • NToJ||

    If you believe in a conspiracy absence of evidence of the conspiracy is evidence that the conspiracy is real. This is why you cannot convince a conspiracy theorist they are wrong.

  • M.L.||

    I agree. Even if the Mueller report should put it to rest, the zany "secret corrupt Russian agent" conspiracy theory will live on.

  • NToJ||

    I don't know anything about a "secret corrupt Russian agent" theory, but it's pretty much undisputed that the Russians actively attempted to interfere in the 2016 election. As an example, the Viktor Netyksho, et al indictments are real, based on evidence, and have already been endorsed by the Republican Senate Intelligence Committee and the President, among others.

  • M.L.||

    Right -- We all know the DNC was hacked, and that Russia and countless others have always tried to influence domestic affairs, just as the U.S. does to them. Russians were likely but not definitely behind the hacking, and apparently they tried to hack Republicans as well during the 2016 election, but were not as successful.

    That's not a conspiracy theory though. The wild conspiracy theories, which I'm sure you've heard, include that Trump has undisclosed business interests or loans in Russia, that Russia has compromising information on Trump (including but not limited to as suggested in the Steele dossier), that Trump hatched a devious plan to run for President in order to obtain a Moscow building permit, and even that Trump was a Putin plant all along and they both hatched a plan in 2013 for Trump to become President and then a Russian oligarch.

  • NToJ||

    Where did you learn about these conspiracy theories?

  • M.L.||

    You've never heard of the Steele dossier? Or the endless mainstream leftist theorizing about Trump's various secret business interests and corrupt purposes? Granted, even the Washington Post will distance itself from the more fantastical (yet very popular and mainstream) elements of the conspiracy theories.

  • NToJ||

    I asked the question because it's my belief that conspiracy theories on the right end up in popular conservative publications, whereas on the left they don't. In this instance, you've propped up an assistant professor at UNH Manchester as your best evidence of "endless mainstream leftist [conspiracy] theorizing" but helpfully noted that the mainstreamiest of outlets, WaPo, distanced itself from the conspiracy theory. Whereas the Spygate conspiracy theory is tweeted about by the sitting Republican President, and blasted on The Blaze.

    Does that concern you?

  • M.L.||

    "I asked the question because it's my belief that conspiracy theories on the right end up in popular conservative publications, whereas on the left they don't."

    I see. I don't agree with this exactly. I do think that more varied and fringe conspiracy theories show up in popular conservative publications. In popular liberal publications, conspiracy theories are perhaps even more common, but they are relatively vanilla. The rich corporations have destroyed democracy with Citizens United, etc. ad nauseum

    "In this instance, you've propped up an assistant professor at UNH Manchester as your best evidence of "endless mainstream leftist [conspiracy] theorizing" but helpfully noted that the mainstreamiest of outlets, WaPo, distanced itself from the conspiracy theory."

    Actually, if you will read the article, WaPo explicitly admits that the conspiracy theory has become mainstream. That's why I cited it as an example of a conspiracy theory that became mainstream. But, maybe WaPo gets some credit for denouncing conspiracy theories on their side. On the other hand, maybe they are just playing their role as enforcer of message discipline . . you know like Trump says, "You know, they're lousy politicians and they have lousy policy, but they stick together. one thing I'll say: they stick together. they really do, the Democrats." :)

  • Sarcastr0||

    The rich corporations have destroyed democracy with Citizens United

    You...think this is a conspiracy theory? You can think it's wrong, but by what definition is it a conspiracy theory?

    Speaking of conspiracies, does this sound familiar?
    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.

    Quite a change from your 'I'm just noting the possibility' post below.

  • NToJ||

    "Actually, if you will read the article, WaPo explicitly admits that the conspiracy theory has become mainstream."

    No, they note that the least controversial part of his theory ("that Trump has long wanted to expand his real estate holdings into Russia's lucrative markets") has been endorsed by mainstream writers, including the WaPo. This is no big revelation, since it should come as no surprise that a real estate mogul is interested in getting rich by expanding his empire. (And if you read the article cited, you will quickly see that it is most definitely not claiming a conspiracy theory.)

    "On the other hand, maybe they are just playing their role as enforcer of message discipline..."

    And do you think The Blaze enforces message discipline? Anyway, back to the hunt, where else have you heard these conspiracy theories?

  • M.L.||

    I've never read The Blaze, but yes I assume they are advocates with a viewpoint just as much as WaPo is.

    "No"

    Yes. You still don't get the point about WaPo. They threw cold water all over the conspiracy theory. I said so from the start. But even so, they reported that it was "virally popular", people "can't stop reading" it, that Abramson's "popularity is growing" and he "has been invited on CNN to talk about the scandal several times", and "Twitter promoted Abramson's tweets to a news "moment" with the impressive headline: "Legal expert explains why Mike Flynn news is a huge deal."" and "the professor appeared on BBC Newsnight to tell the world why he is sure Flynn's plea deal will lead to the indictment of Vice President Pence, Trump or both" and "sound or not, his theory of the Trump Russia scandal ... appears to be breaking into the mainstream."

    So, it's a very good example of a conspiracy theory that became mainstream, and was espoused on CNN, BBC, etc.

  • NToJ||

    "...people "can't stop reading" it..."

    The "people" in the article were "his fans". That is, fans of an assistant professor at UNH Manchester. If you think he's the main cheerleader for "leftist theorizing" just admit that's your best evidence.

    "So, it's a very good example of a conspiracy theory that became mainstream, and was espoused on CNN, BBC, etc."

    Yes, yes, I'm sure it will end right up there with the moon landing and 9/11 being an inside job.

  • James Pollock||

    "Yes, yes, I'm sure it will end right up there with the moon landing and 9/11 being an inside job."

    JFK did the 9/11 bombings to cover up the fake moon landings. Also, they successfully covered up the fact that Jimi Hendrix and Jim Morrison's remains were found in the wreckage.

  • M.L.||

    With regard to the hacking as a conspiracy theory, I'm not sure what you're getting at. During the campaign there was a deluge of media coverage about wikileaks, Russian hacking, and Hillary Clinton's infamous 30,000 emails deleted scrubbed and smashed under subpoena. At this time Trump stated publicly and with some humor that he hoped Russia would release the emails if they had them. This sentiment would be quite unremarkable, except for the unusual forthrightness of admitting it (indeed, the Clinton campaigns operatives were scouring the globe for dirt on Trump, including by working with Russian sources).

    Of course, the infamous private server had long been offline and its contents destroyed or "acid-washed" as Trump put it, yet the media claimed that this was about something that could still be hacked rather than something illegally obtained that could then be released to the public (the latter is something that our media routinely glorifies and practices with revelry).

  • MJBinAL||

    Yes, it appears they may have hacked both the RNC and the DNC, promoted the Steel Dossier by feeding stupid shit to Steel, and worked to stir the pot via Fakebook.

    As has been said elsewhere, it looks more like they want to cause people to lose faith in our elections more than they were rooting for a side.

  • NToJ||

    "...it looks more like they want to cause people to lose faith in our elections more than they were rooting for a side."

    What do you believe the Russians think they have to materially gain from Americans "los[ing] faith in our elections"? Americans can't lose faith in elections unless the Russians get caught, because if they aren't caught, Americans won't know that the elections were tampered with. But if Americans know the Russians tampered with the elections, why would they lose faith in the process generally?

    There are good reasons why the Russians would hack both the RNC and DNC that have nothing to do with some silly faith-hurting theory of foreign affairs. We know this because we do this, too.

  • professionalobjectivity||

    More importantly, a few facebook ads vs 24-7 cnn? Mueller going after the wrong group. It's the press that should be indicted.

  • NToJ||

    WHAT ABOUT THEIR ASSUMED INNOCENCE????

  • M.L.||

    The mainstream media is a giant campaign contribution to the Democrats.

  • James Pollock||

    "The mainstream media is a giant campaign contribution to the Democrats."

    In the sense that they endlessly promoted Mr. Trump, from descending the escalator of greatness to announce his candidacy on to the present day?

  • James Pollock||

    "If you believe in a conspiracy absence of evidence of the conspiracy is evidence that the conspiracy is real."

    NO.

    To the conspiracy theorist, absence of evidence of the conspiracy proves the conspiracy is more powerful than you thought, because they can pull invisible strings and make evidence disappear.
    This goes all the way to the TOP, man. We're definitely onto something.

    People believe what they want to believe, and they don't believe what they don't want to believe. This is not a recent development. I honestly have no idea why some of these beliefs wind up on the partisan sides they do. I mean, denial of climate change is easy... fossil fuels are tied to what are presently red states, and climate change suggests that maybe mining and burning so much fossil fuel is bad for people who live in low-lying elevations near the seacoasts.
    But the present case has right-wingers defending Russia, and Russia's intelligence service, and Russia's dictatorial leader, over a guy who used to run the FBI. Strange bedfellows.

  • jdgalt1||

    You both sound like honest, stand-up guys.

    But I hope any debate will at least the theory of Dan Bongino (of CRTV) that the whole notion of Russian collusion was invented to distract the public from Spygate -- the real scandal of the Obama administration using America's spy assets to conduct research and smears against the Trump campaign for political gain.

  • jdgalt1||

    *will at least address ...

  • NToJ||

    And why aren't more people talking about the fact that Ted Cruz's father murdered JFK????

  • MJBinAL||

    Shh!

    Do you want them to FIND US!

  • M.L.||

    You're right. The feds would never commit rampant abuses of FISA! That's UFO-level crazy!

    And they'd surely never surveil the Trump campai-- er, they'd surely never surveil the Trump campaign without a totally legitimate basis for their FISA warrant!

    And speaking of the legit basis FISA warrants, we know for sure that the whole notion of Trump-Russia collusion wasn't politically motivated. It was based on real solid, verified intelligence, remember? The Steele dossier.

  • NToJ||

    Another issue with conspiracy theorists is that evidence of anything bad happening similar to the conspiracy theory is enough to keep any future conspiracy theory alive, despite the total absence of evidence. It's guilt by association with the past.

    "It was based on real solid, verified intelligence, remember? The Steele dossier."

    And other evidence, as you know. And the FISA application was amended several times over, all by Republican-appointed judges. Anyway, the Senate Intelligence Committee's Republicans have since come out in support of the FBI's surveillance, so I don't know why you want to spend time on this.

  • M.L.||

    What is the other evidence? Anyway, I'm not saying there's been any conspiracy. I am saying I think it is possible that political bias has played a role, though we can't say that is certainly the case, except maybe with regard to individuals like Andrew McCabe. And I am also saying that Hillary used her image as an influence peddler to raise a quarter of a billion dollars from foreign sources. So, with that comparison in mind, when it comes to the question of whether our Department of Justice is doling out justice . . in the end, the proof is in the pudding.

  • Sarcastr0||

    By the 'it is possible' standard, Trump colluded with the Russians. Although we can't say for certain that this is the case.

  • M.L.||

    I'm talking about improper political bias and animus here, not conspiracies.

  • professionalobjectivity||

    My money is on the Constitution! What about the rights of due process, assumption of innocence

  • NToJ||

    So it's a presumption of innocence (not an assumption), is not in the Constitution, and does not apply pre-trial.

  • Careless||

    And a debate - possibly here on the VC? - sounds like an intriguing idea indeed.

    I mean, I would laugh my ass off at you getting destroyed, but I don't believe you're actually stupid enough to engage in it, even though you just made a post suggesting you think his brain is rotting from old age.

  • Careless||

    Because while I think Post is dim for a law professor, he's smart enough to know he's hideously outmatched here

  • tlapp||

    Nice of David Post to admit he didn't read his op-ed. Just got schooled. Better do your research before taking on a respected scholar who has dedicated his life's work toward civil liberties.

  • Chewing info||

    I always wanted to know why Alan is so invested in the defense of President Trump. I just heard about the young girls scandal. Apparently Alan is somehow involved, he is not the only one, also Clinton, Trump, Eptein and a few more. I would love to hear more about this.
    This is going to be a huge mess when it unfolds.

  • ReaderY||

    Professor Dershowitz's basic position seems to be that the behavior the Trump campaign is suspected of, however morally reprehensible, is nonetheless protected from criminalization by the First Amendment, and hence must be regarded as primarily a political rather than a legal matter. He argues that a political campaign is as free to publish illegally obtained private information about a political rival as a newspaper is to publish illegally obtained secret information about government policy. He also argues that political campaigns are free to collude with foreign agents to publish dirt about their opponents. And he argues they can do both.

    This position may or may not be valid. It could be at least argued that private information about private parties is not quite the same as government secrets about government policies, for example.

    But assuming Professor Dershowitz's position is correct, it wouldn't seem to reflect badly on Mueller's personal character, or reflect a personal failure, if it turned out the job he was appointed to do could not constitutionally be done.

  • M.L.||

    "Trump colluded with Russia" is a conspiracy theory. Maybe it's even a true conspiracy theory, depending on your definition of "collude."

  • James Pollock||

    "'Trump colluded with Russia' is a conspiracy theory"

    Almost, but not quite. To make a conspiracy, you need at least one overt act in furtherance of the goals of the conspiracy. You need to "Trump colluded with Russia to do (X)" to make it a conspiracy theory.

    I still think that while some elements of Trump's campaign inner circle would have colluded, and made significant steps in attempting to collude, the Russians decided they were better off trying to get him elected without his help, than they would have been WITH his help. Putin the devious mastermind? That checks out with other facts. Trump the devious mastermind? Um.... not so much.

  • M.L.||

    Yeah. Obviously, Trump Jr was willing to entertain getting "dirt" on Hillary Clinton from a Russian, and others probably would have been, too. Unseemly, but probably par for the course, and maybe not necessarily illegal, depending on the circumstances. Meanwhile, Clinton operatives were actually trotting around the globe actively seeking out "dirt" on Trump from Russians.

  • James Pollock||

    If only we had some department of the federal government that could investigate private citizens who might have been involved in crimes, and if it looks like they were, prosecute them for it.

  • Lee Moore||

    Just for the record: I 'deliberately' didn't quote Prof. Dershowitz' op-ed because I was unaware of it.

    I have some sympathy here. I'm not the sort of person to do any kind of checking or factfinding before I pile in to accuse someone of being a doddering old fool for a couple of words spoken in a TV appearance. But if Post and I are at the "mouth first, brain second" end of the commentariat, it's hard to imagine, say, EV not having spent, oh, eight or nine seconds googling away to see if Dershowitz had anything deeper to say.

    But I think EV is going the way of the dodo. We are all Buzzfeed now.

  • M.L.||

    This is pretty pathetic:

    WSJ: Mueller's Gift to Obama

    Shouldn't the special counsel investigate the crimes that drew Flynn into his probe?

  • Sarcastr0||

    How's your evil Mueller and innocent President narrative going now?

  • M.L.||

    Uh oh . . . Comey's confession: dossier not verified before, or after, FISA warrant

    Hm. Is this starting to look like NO COLLUSION???

    If so, nobody can ever trust the media again. But even so, surely there must have been at least some probable cause for all the spying on the Trump campaign, right? Surely there must have been some plausible basis for the investigation, which grew and grew until it became a special counsel appointment. Surely it wasn't all a witch hunt and fishing expedition from the start, right? Yes, surely the other shoe is about to drop, and some key evidence at the heart of this entire matter has yet to be revealed.

  • NToJ||

    "Surely there must have been some plausible basis for the investigation..."

    Yes, there was. Steele's dossier didn't reach the FBI's investigative team until months after initiating its July 2016 counterintelligence investigation.

    "...there must have been at least some probable cause for all the spying on the Trump campaign..."

    Are you talking about the FISA application in October 2016 to spy on Carter Page? The same Page who had been under other investigations since 2014? And who wasn't even with the "Trump campaign" at the time of the FISA warrant?

  • Dan J||

    While it may be gratifying to see people tied to an elected official be legally scrutinized or even brought to justice for crimes committed, it is disturbing for a hitman from the US govt to put a target on the backs of everyone, and anyone, who has any ties to an elected official.
    If these indictments had any relation to the 'hitmans' original inquiry, then maybe it is all appropriate. Yet, this doesn't seem to be the case. Instead, it is more like the gestapo seeking crimes and punishment, in any way possible, to go after one individual, because the individual had upset a political hierarchy of nobility to the crown.

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