John Durham, U.S. Attorney for the District of Connecticut was appointed as Special Counsel (Updated)

But 28 C.F.R. § 600.3 requires special counsels to be "selected from outside the United States Government." (Barr did not rely on 600.3)

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On October 19, 2020, Attorney General Barr appointed John Durham, the U.S. Attorney for the District of Columbia as special counsel to investigate "certain intelligence and law-enforcement activities surrounding the 2016 presidential election." I have seen the letter Barr sent to Congress, but I have not seen the letter Barr sent to Durham.

The appointment was made pursuant to 28 C.F.R. § 600.4-600.10. I am having awful flashbacks to the Mueller appointment in 2017. (I wrote about those regulations here, here, and here).

28 C.F.R. § 600.3 requires that "The Special Counsel shall be selected from outside the United States Government."

Did Durham quietly step down as U.S. Attorney? Perhaps he had to quietly resign so as not to raise hackles about being appointed as special counsel? Has Durham signed any indictments, or other criminal proceeding documents over the past month? Certainly, a defendant could challenge this dual-office holding. As of November 24, his office was issuing a press release with his name on it.

In any event, it is time for everyone to switch sides on the special counsel regulations. Now, Democrats will favor Durham's removal to end a partisan witch hunt. And the Democratic Attorney should decline to release the entire Durham report–a summary should suffice. Plus, confidential grand jury materials should be redacted. And Republicans in Congress will sue to see the redacted materials. Keep calm and carry on.

Update: Ah, Barr did not rely on 28 C.F.R. § 600.3. He cited. 28 C.F.R. § 600.4-600.10. Barr relied on other statutory authority to make the appointment: 28 U.S.C § 509, § 510, and § 515. (Still trying to track down the memo, but I have been reliably informed of these citations). The last statute is the most relevant:

Each attorney specially retained under authority of the Department of Justice shall be commissioned as special assistant to the Attorney General or special attorney, and shall take the oath required by law. Foreign counsel employed in special cases are not required to take the oath. The Attorney General shall fix the annual salary of a special assistant or special attorney.

Update 2: Here is the memo

Update 3: I have published an essay on Lawfare, titled The Statutory Authority for Barr's Appointment of Durham as Special Counsel.

 

 

 

NEXT: Attorney General Barr Says There Is No Evidence of Election Fraud that Would Have Changed Election Outcome

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  1. The reward for a clock run out is another clock, apparently.

  2. “…I have seen the letter Barr sent to Congress, but I have not seen the letter Barr sent to Congress….”

    ??? Some sort of zen koan???

    1. I assume there was a missing “this time” at the end of that sentence.

  3. 1. Durham is/was the US Attorney for the District of Connecticut, not the District of Columbia.

    2. The appointment order is available here: https://mobile.twitter.com/stevennelson10/status/1333867829280563207

    Other than that, great post!

  4. Durham is the same man who sorted out the corrupt Boston FBI office after Whitey Bulger. He did a good job with that — people went to prison for what they did.

  5. Three Points :

    (1) Blackman says : “In any event, it is time for everyone to switch sides on the special counsel regulations. Now, Democrats will favor Durham’s removal to end a partisan witch hunt” Not very likely. Democrats have nothing to fear from Durham, who’ll only be a lesser Inspector General Horowitz. (and we all know how that ended up)

    (2) In other news accounts you see this from Barr : “During an interview with The Associated Press, Barr noted that the scope of Durham’s investigation has “narrowed considerably” and is focused almost solely on the actions of FBI agents involved in the Crossfire Hurricane investigation” Not with a bang, but with a whimper, eh? It’s Clinesmiths all the way down….

    (3) On the other hand, some of my Leftie brethren are dreaming Durham somehow expands his scope into the Trumpian cesspool of these past four years. Pleasing fantasy, but hardly likely…

    1. That’s ok, most of the malfeasance was in the FBI. They are the ones that set up Flynn, they are the ones that lied 17 times on the FISA applications, including using the Steele Dossier after learning it was concocted during barroom bullshitting sessions.

      1. Well played, sir; you put on the bravest of faces. Your fantasy of grand conspiracies gone. No constables clapping the darbies on Biden, Obama & Sally Yates. Crossfire Hurricane still well founded and warranted, just as Horowitz ruled.

        Granted, you had to warble gibberish about Steele & pieties over worthless gutter trash like Flynn, but who said a stiff-upper-lip was easy?

        1. From what I have read there might have been some CIA involvement, and obviously Mueller’s team was biased, but while there might of been a lot of leaks, they could lock up half of Washington if they start prosecuting that.

          Barr’s memo doesn’t foreclose any of that:
          “The Special Counsel is authorized to investigate whether any federal official, employee, or any other person or entity violated the law in connection with the intelligence…”

          But my own sense is that most of the criminal acts, specifically the lying on warrants and altering of 302’s, happened in the FBI.

        2. I don’t know anyone that actually thought Obama and co. would ever feature in a perp walk, but it is nice of you to pretend that is all anyone who criticized the criminal behavior of the Obama admin believe in. Adding the fake slang was a nice touch to the strawman, like a splendid top-hat.

          Horowitz is not the example you want to cite, though – in fact, Horowitz did NOT find that Crossfire Hurricane was well founded or justified, he found that agent had present a justification and the IG was not equipped to judge that.
          That falls right into his standard MO: Remember, he also found that more than 60 agents (including 36 ‘senior’ staffers) at the Washington DC FBI HQ had taken bribes from media companies in exchange for classified and LES information. These names were never revealed, no criminal charges were filed, and the worst punishment is that some of the agents retired.

          1. Does the IG have the ability to independently prosecute? If not, it seems like it’s hard to blame him for the lack of follow up on an investigation.

          2. Don’t muddy his snark with facts, or question the narrative!

          3. “Remember, he also found that more than 60 agents (including 36 ‘senior’ staffers) at the Washington DC FBI HQ had taken bribes from media companies in exchange for classified and LES information”

            That’s huge. Do you have a source?

            1. In the main Horowitz report, he touches on the ‘improper media relations’ of ‘numerous FBI officials’ in the introduction, page xii, and follows up in Chapter 12 and attachments G and H (not E and F, as the intro incorrectly states). He went into more detail during the times he gave testimony to Congress, plus his second report in December.

          4. Toranth : “in fact, Horowitz did NOT find that Crossfire Hurricane was well founded or justified”

            No offense, Toranth, but you wouldn’t know a “fact” if it weighed two thousand pounds and dropped on your head from the sky. Still, its my burden to attempt to educate you, so here goes:

            (1) Horowitz did determine Operation Crossfire Hurricane was well-found, justified and warranted. That conclusion is explicitly stated in his report.

            (2) Horowitz also determined one small & limited aspect of Crossfire involved a problematic warrant.

            Since this distinction involves knowledge of the facts & basic reasoning skills, your confusion is understandable.

            1. You’ve obviously never read Horowitz’s report, much less thought about what it actually says. The report, along with the Midyear review report, is available to everyone on the OIG website, so you have no excuse for not reading it, except not wanting to know what it actually says.

              Horowitz did NOT declare that the opening of Crossfire Hurricane was justified. Period. Nowhere in the report do those words, or any like them, appear.
              He states that the opening of the investigation followed FBI policies. Regarding Piestap’s decision, Horowitz also stated that

              We did not identify any Department or FBI policy that applied to this decision and therefore determined that the decision was a judgment call that Department and FBI policy leaves to the discretion of FBI officials.

              The policies in question were later referred to as a disturbingly low bar, that should be reviewed.

              In regards to bias, Horowitz stated

              We concluded that Priestap’s exercise of discretion in opening the investigation was in compliance with Department and FBI policies, and we did not find testimonial evidence that political bias

              In other words, Priestap and Co did not directly tell Horowitz that they made their decisions for political purposes. In other news, Nixon also stated that he was not a crook. I’m sure you find him equally believable.

              As for FISA, which I hadn’t mentioned:

              Our review found that FBI personnel fell far short of the requirement in FBI policy that they ensure that all factual statements in a FISA application are “scrupulously accurate.”

              The report then goes on to detail the ways that the FBI fell “far short” of their legal obligations – going to devote an entire chapter of the report to the topic, including explicitly listing seven major ways the FBI lied in just that first FISA request, besides general descriptions of policies not followed or information concealed.
              It took Horowitz an entire additional chapter to list the 10 major lies and deceptions for the next three FISA applications, for a total of 17 in four warrant applications.

              To top it off, Horowitz adds this to the FISA discussion:

              That so many basic and fundamental errors were made by three separate, hand-picked teams on one of the most sensitive FBI investigations that was briefed to the highest levels within the FBI, and that FBI officials expected would eventually be subjected to close scrutiny, raised significant questions regarding the FBI chain of command’s management and supervision of the FISA process.

              before ending with this:

              In addition, given the extensive compliance failures we identified in this review, we believe that additional OIG oversight work is required to assess the FBI’s compliance with Department and FBI FISA-related pol icies that seek to protect the civil liberties of U.S. persons.

              That’s a far cry from your false claim that “one small & limited aspect of Crossfire involved a problematic warrant”.

            2. Just in case the report itself wasn’t clear, Horowitz went into again in his Congressional testimony:

              This decision to open Crossfire Hurricane, which involved the activities of individuals associated with a national major party campaign for president, was under department and FBI policy, a discretionary judgment left to the FBI. As we point out in our report, there was no requirement that department officials be consulted or even notified of that decision prior to the FBI making that decision.

              followed by

              In Crossfire Hurricane, where each of the operations had the potential to gather sensitive campaign information protected by the First Amendment, we found no evidence that the FBI consulted with department officials before conducting those operations, and no policy, as I just noted, requiring them to do so. We concluded the current department and FBI policies are not sufficient to ensure appropriate oversight and accountability when such operations potentially implicate sensitive, constitutionally protected activity, and that requiring department consultation at a minimum would be appropriate, and we make a recommendation to that effect.

              Emphasis mine. Facts mine. Fantasy – yours.

              1. So much sweaty weaseling and dissembling !!! Now watch the simplicity of my reply. From Horowitz’s report:

                “We found that Crossfire Hurricane was opened for an authorized investigative purpose and with sufficient factual predication.”

                Game, Set and Match. Not to pile-on, but Horowitz also said :

                “We did not find documentary or testimonial evidence that political bias or improper motivation influenced the decision to open the investigation”

                Got another War & Peace of bullshit in response, Toranth?

                1. Do you ever actually read the posts you respond to, or are you just fantasizing about what they said just like you are the Horowitz reports, plus his testimony?

                  Are you capable of not cutting off the sentences your pretend to be be quoting? Try this one, for the entire quote, plus the other sentences about the topic.

                  While the information in the FBI’s possession at the time was limited, in light of the low threshold established by Department and FBI predication policy, we found that Crossfire Hurricane was opened for an authorized investigative purpose and with sufficient factual predication. However, we also determined that, under Department and FBI policy, the decision whether to open the Crossfire Hurricane counterintelligence investigation, which involved the activities of individuals associated with a national major party campaign for president, was a discretionary judgment call left to the FBI. There was no requirement that Department officials be consulted, or even notified, prior to the FBI making that decision. We further found that, consistent with this policy, the FBI advised supervisors in the Department’s National Security Division (NSD) of the investigation only after it had been initiated. As we detail in Chapter Two, highlevel Department notice and approval is required in other circumstances where investigative activity could substantially impact certain civil liberties, and that notice allows senior Department officials to consider the potential constitutional and prudential implications in advance of these activities. We concluded that similar advance notice should be required in circumstances such as those that were present here.

                  As I explicitly quoted from both the CH Review AND his Congressional testimony:

                  We did not identify any Department or FBI policy that applied to this decision and therefore determined that the decision was a judgment call that Department and FBI policy leaves to the discretion of FBI officials.

                  The decision to open Crossfire Hurricane was done in accordance with FBI polices and it met the policy requirements. It was not found to be “justified”, it was not found to be “well found”, and it was not found to be “warranted”. Those are description YOU made up.

                  Again, TL;DR for your shallow mind: Horowitz found that no FBI policy was violated. He then found that those FBI policies were likely in violation of US citizen’s civil rights, and needed to be changed. That’s why he devoted an entire chapter of his report to that topic!

                  1. Your first input on this was an embarrassment : You failed to understand the distinction between Horowitz’s general finding on the predication of Crossfire Hurricane and his criticism of one small specific part. Given that effort proved humiliating, you went back to the drawing board – only to make pretty much the same bungling error, only this time opposite-hand.

                    Before Toranth had his nose down in the dirt, looking at one blade of grass; now he’s zoomed out to ten thousand feet. Yeah, I read your endless post : It recounted the concern of good bureaucrat Horowitz that no process existed to deal with the freak storm know as Donald John Trump.

                    And if we ever again face a presidential candidate who is (a) receiving substantial help from a foreign enemy country for his campaign, (b) conducting secret business dealings with that country, and (c) has a number of associates with bizarre connections to that country, I hope Horowitz’s questions help prepare a foundation of agreed-upon rules in an accepted structure. I hope his efforts suggest a play-book that will guide the authorities in their necessary decisions.

                    But that’s not what we’re discussing now, is it Toranth? We’re discussing Horowitz’s finding on THIS inquiry, Crossfire Hurricane. Was the investigation started by normal procedures? Was it based on a foundation of real issues and concerns backed by legitimate evidence? Were there any indication of bias? Horowitz answered all three questions in his report : Yes, Yes, No.

                    It’s kinda funny. First you couldn’t see the forest for a blade of grass. Then you couldn’t see the forest because you’re off in earth orbit, droning on&on about philosophy. But if I keep giving you another chance, Toranth, maybe you’ll face the question at hand, not avoid it.

                    1. I’ve been consistent from start to finish, and I’ve quoted Horowitz’s report in exact words. You then, bizarrely, tried to mock me for writing too much.

                      You, on the other hand, dishonestly modified a sentence, removing two thirds of it to try to make the fragment you “quoted” mean the opposite of what it actually meant. That’s an extreme level of dishonesty, even for someone like you.

                      I’ll say it again, one last time since you have never addressed it, and cannot even seem to comprehend it: Horowitz found that the opening of Crossfire Hurricane met with the policy requirements as specified by the FBI. He also specified that those polices were so weak, and set such a low bar to the opening of an investigation, that they were likely violating American citizen’s civil rights, and that the polices needed to be changed.

                      At NO POINT did Horowitz declare that the opening of the investigation was “justified”, “well-founded”, or “warranted”. Those were you terms, the claim that you made, and it falsely describes what was actually stated by the IG report.

                      Your statement was false. You lied. You got called out, and then you manufactured a fake “quote” to try to support your claim. Now you’ve been called out for that as well, and you are attempting to distract from that, too.

                      I’m sure that anyone reading these comments can see, quite clearly, that I have presented direct and unmodified quotes directly from Horowitz’s reports, and from his testimony to Congress. You have made odd distractions and falsified evidence.
                      From there, I am sure they can understand which one of us is correct.

                    2. (1) First, let’s not pretend : You peddle this drivel because at the top of this comment chain your mouth wrote a check the facts can’t deliver. Then it was an obvious error; your subsequent efforts have been much, much better. I can proudly take credit for that, but you’re still not up to snuff.

                      (2) Take this talk of “civil rights violations.” Don’t you realize that’s complete gibberish? Horowitz said investigations like Crossfire offered too many possibilities for political abuse of the democratic process to be handled by normal procedures. He suggested the decision process needs to be expanded with more oversight and control. Your saying this is about “civil rights violations” just shows how confused you are. Per Horowitz, the issue wasn’t treating Trump like any other citizen. Instead, Trump (qua candidate) should get expanded deference as a political norm (“political” carrying the weight here).

                      (3) And I agree with that suggestion. There’s a definite risk of political abuse in the investigation of a presidential candidate. But was there political abuse in Crossfire itself? That’s an entirely separate question. Horowitz answered it as well.

                      His answers were explicit and unambiguous : Was the process opening Crossfire irregular or tainted? Horowitz said no. Were the reasons for opening it legitimate, warranted and justified? Horowitz said yes. Was there a factual basis to open Crossfire? Horowitz said yes. Was any hint of political bias found in the inquiry’s opening? Horowitz said no.

                      (4) End of story.

                      (5) Finally, this is ironic : We both agree on Horowitz’s call for extra-normative standards in cases like this, even if Crossfire itself showed none of the abuse that standard would prevent. That’s an easy call for me, since I think political norms beyond the strictest letter of law or regulation help hold a democracy (or republic) together.

                      But your Orange Cult Lord has been trampling norms for over four years now and you applauded. He’s doing do even today (in the most grotesque & harmful way) yet you make excuses. But here you claim Trump should have received extra-legal treatment for the sake of democratic norms – even going so far as to make the (ludicrous) claim of a “civil rights violation”.

                      Well, no one ever said hypocrisy wasn’t easy……

                    3. Postscript : With all your arguments in shambles, I predict you’ll double-down on your silliest of claims. As an attempt to forestall another useless response, when Horowitz says :

                      “We found that Crossfire Hurricane was opened for an authorized investigative purpose and with sufficient factual predication.”

                      That means its opening was warranted & justified. My proof in four parts :

                      (1) Words have meaning,
                      (2) Toranth can’t change those meanings for convenience.
                      (3) Webster’s Ninth New Collegiate Dictionary
                      (4) The New Shorter Oxford English Dictionary.

  6. That’s ok, most of the malfeasance was in the FBI. They are the ones that set up Flynn, they are the ones that lied 17 times on the FISA applications, including using the Steele Dossier after learning it was concocted during barroom bullshitting sessions.

    1. Yep, and Trump appointee Rosenstein signed the FISA application and appointed Mueller, and Trump appointee McGahn apparently advised Trump to fire Flynn. If Yates is appointed AG she may get to discuss more extensively why she found Comey’s behavior perplexing and what she relayed to McGahn…although that might be covered by McGahn’s apparent executive privilege.

  7. Here, we have Josh, once again carrying water for the politicians of destruction. It doesn’t matter what the Democrats actually do; we’ve already tarred them for what please us to imagine them doing!

    At any rate, I don’t exactly see the hypocrisy in wanting to shut down a multiply-redundant investigation-of-an-investigation that was launched with the sole purpose of mollifying the president and, perhaps, producing something sour-looking for an October surprise. Comparing it to Mueller’s investigation is not intellectually honest – though it is in keeping with Republican patterns.

    1. ‘Politicians of destruction’, whew, don’t hurt yourself. It might be said to be in the interest of both parties to determine if the permanent government agencies were involved in any malfeasance or wrongdoing, and prevent it from happening again. Or, one could attack people who hold opposing viewpoints.

      1. We have ample evidence and fulsome reports documenting how Putin attempted to interfere with the 2016 election and offered his support directly to the Trump campaign, and how the Trump campaign attempted to make good on this material support. We also have ample evidence and reports documenting how Trump sought to obstruct an investigation into this attack on American sovereignty.

        We have done nothing to address this.

        But people like you are really more concerned about whether the FBI had enough cause, and satisfied all the necessary protocols, when it launched its investigation into this very real attack. The whole, “Putin tries to sway American election in order to weaken American democracy and standing in the world” – an attempt that proved 100% successful – is a big “nothingburger,” in your view. What you care about is whether a footnote in the FBI’s application in the FISA court for a wiretap properly and fully disclosed the provenance of the Steele dossier.

        This is what I mean by a “politics of destruction.”

  8. “Ah, Barr did not rely on 28 C.F.R. § 600.3. He cited. 28 C.F.R. § 600.4-600.10.”

    So he just gets to ignore whatever he wants? Sounds precisely like the Trump administration.

  9. In any event, it is time for everyone to switch sides on the special counsel regulations. Now, Democrats will favor Durham’s removal to end a partisan witch hunt. And the Democratic Attorney should decline to release the entire Durham report–a summary should suffice. Plus, confidential grand jury materials should be redacted. And Republicans in Congress will sue to see the redacted materials.

    Don’t get too excited. At the moment, only one party in America elects crooks to high public office, and therefore only one party has to worry about being investigated.

  10. Just desserts, IMO. Sauce for the goose, is sauce for the gander. I wonder if we will see strategic leaks, anonymously sourced stories, SWAT teams, and the like. We’ll just have to see what happens. Should be an entertaining 2-3 years as the investigation progresses.

    1. No, it will be a boring couple of months as the investigation runs out the clock and then is quietly terminated by the Biden administration.

      1. No, it will be a boring couple of months as the investigation runs out the clock and then is quietly terminated by the Biden administration.

        As it finds nothing.

      2. As well as it should.

        Trump had four years to investigation the FBI and all’s he did was complain.

        And TBH, the FBI should have been investigated (wasn’t there some sort of Congressional investigation but…nevermind), wrong-doers punished, and more or enhanced safeguards put in place.

        1. He did not actually have four years to investigate the FBI. He’s had maybe 17 months, tops.

          If he’d attempted to investigate their behavior before Mueller’s investigation was over, Mueller would have claimed it was obstruction of justice. Everybody knows this, it was probably the chief reason Mueller took so long to come up empty: As long as his investigation continued, Trump was hobbled in taking command of the DOJ!

          1. Mueller would have claimed it was obstruction of justice. Everybody knows this, it was probably the chief reason Mueller took so long to come up empty: As long as his investigation continued, Trump was hobbled in taking command of the DOJ!

            Everybody knows something you’ve pulled from your hat.

            Alas, most people do not share your partisan telepathy that always finds some bad-faith hidden liberal agenda in even the staunchest of Republicans when they displease you.

          2. Brett Bellmore ” … it was probably the chief reason Mueller took so long to come up empty”

            There’s a movie called Momento where the main character can’t remember anything that occurred five minutes before any given present moment. He had a condition where he instantly forgets everything. I’m convinced Brett shares this affliction, otherwise he’d know Mueller was the Operation Warp Speed of special counsel investigators. His inquiry clocked in at 1 year, 10 months.

            Compare & Contrast :
            Iran/Contra : Seven years.
            Whitewater : Nine years
            Plame : Four years

            If Mueller was really Brett’s fantasy boogeyman he’d still be going for another year or two at least. He would have demanded live testimony from Trump and forwarded the equivalent of criminal charges after the inevitable perjury. He would have insisted on a full financial accounting, which would have then sired a dozen more side investigations at least. I’m guessing seven or eight years at a minimum.

            And that would have been just the special counsel norm, nowhere near the gold-standard of partisan hackery set by Brett Kavanaugh on the suicide of Vince Foster.

            Remember, Kavanaugh inherited a six-month report on Foster by Robert Fiske, ran his own faux “investigation” for over three more years, leaked like a sieve to the right-wing press, and tormented Foster’s grieving family. When he couldn’t stretch-out his farce a moment longer, Kavanaugh turned in conclusions that were Fiske’s report with a little marginalia scribbled between the lines. He then cheerfully admitted he had known Foster killed himself all along. Mueller is a saint of prosecutorial discretion & restraint next to Kavanaugh. No special counsel investigator has ever shown his contempt for the law.

      3. We’ll just have to see what happens. Pre-2016, I would have agreed with you. The investigation would run out the clock and quietly wind down. Truthfully, I would have preferred that outcome. Passions are very high in our Republic. BUT…The rules changed significantly in the last four years. And everyone should be treated the same under these new rules; no better, and no worse. Team R had to learn to live with the new rules; now Team D will do the same. Some of that learning will be very unpleasant.

        My reading of Mr. Durham’s mandate is that it is very nearly the same as what Weissman (Ooops, I mean Mueller) had. Mr. Durham is free to ask questions. And he will. They all do. They cannot help themselves, they’re lawyers. I am not saying that to bash lawyers….I am saying that because that is the nature of the lawyer’s job: ask questions. Lots of them.

        People are people, Brett. That does not change. Rightly or wrongly, there will be a measure of payback.

        1. Whichever side you are on, you should not be looking at the opposition to justify your own side’s actions. Because that will be a distorted view.

          Using bias to fuel rationalization of bad action is just a perpetual motion machine of your own bad actions.

          1. You know what really sucks, Sarcastr0? Having to live under the rules you imposed on others. That is what will happen here. Team D will now live under the rules they imposed for the last four years. You know, the shoe is on the other foot kind of thing.

            1. Which rules the Democrats “imposed” are you describing? The rules imposed by a Democratic White House? By a Democratic Department of Justice? By a Democratic Senate? A Democratic FBI? Democratic judges? The Democratic House?

            2. My point is the rules you *think* are being imposed by the other side are dictated more by your biased worldview than anything else.

              The same is true for me, no doubt.

              That’s why neither of us should be looking at the other side to determine anything about the legitimacy of our own actions. Because we’re not getting an undistorted view of reality.

              As a species, we were tribal before we were sentient, much less rational. We would do well to be aware of that.

              1. “we were tribal before we were sentient”

                ????

                sentient: “able to perceive or feel things”

                How could we feel tribal alligence prior to being able to perceive feelings?

                1. ?
                  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sentience

                  Your definition may be Internet correct, but looks more like sensate operationally.

                  1. That article is long winded gobblygook getting to the basic definition. Don’t see how it makes your point.

                    Deer are sentient, so are fish. Amoeba is [are?] not.

                    1. Hey look at that! You’re doing that pedantic thing we talked about yesterday, again.

              2. No Sarcastr0, I disagree. What we call ‘rules’ are structured means to explain actions. There is a track record of actions by Team D in the last four years. Those actions are what they are. Those actions will simply be repeated; only this time, Team D will be on the receiving end. That is a perfectly rational response when you stop and think about it. We use that principle in diplomacy all the time: proportionate response.

                1. If we go over the actions by Team D and Team R, I am sure we would have very different understandings about what they were and what they mean.

                  That is why ‘sauce for the goose’ is a bad moral precept to live by. Not due to any moral axiom, or because it’s an irrational response.
                  Rather due to the failure of human implementation because we all distort reality to fit narratives.

                  I have seen that you have the humility to realize this.

                  1. It will be an interesting few years, Sarcastr0.

                    BTW, the VC textile lady has some good posts.

                    1. Twill. And I urge you to hold me to the convictions espoused above!

                      I liked the one about trade yesterday. I’ll be sure and check out the one from today!

            3. What are you talking about? Both emoluments clauses date from 1787. The current Internal Revenue Code is from 1986. The Federal anti-bribery statute dates from 1962. Etc etc etc

  11. Criminal charges are exciting. But I would also love it if a special prosecutor could explain what underlying threat Flynn posed that made them so eager to torpedo his appointment as NSA. Why Flynn?

    Had Flynn threatened to look into abuse of unmasking powers by the intelligence community? Could he have traced the Russian collusion hoax all the way back to Obama?

    1. That is a good question. They did seem to regard Flynn as a threat somehow.

      1. This is what happens when you can’t allow that your guy may have done something wrong – you have no choice but to weave a vast conspiracy.

        Not a far call from here to QAnon, Brett.

      2. In addition to being a perjurer, and lying about accepting hundreds of thousands of dollars to run PR for an Islamist dictator, Flynn has recently called for the president to declare martial law rather than leave office.

        So perhaps the people concerned about him were on to something.

    2. Barr reportedly had a THREE HOUR meeting with Trump yesterday.

      Hmmmm….

      1. I assume they were sitting in bed together, eating Big Macs and watching OANN…

  12. Lawfare needs to be criminalized. If a legal procedure would not have taken place in the absence of a non-legal event, like an election, it is lawfare. Those engaging in it must be made to pay all costs from personal assets, and then sent to prison to preserve the reputation of the legal system. The legal penalties for perjury seem appropriate.

    After lawfare is criminalized, rent seeking should be criminalized. It is a form of armed robbery. Taxes are collected at the point of a gun, distributed to special interests, and no value is returned.

    1. Would that also apply to a situation where a Republican president and a Republican attorney-general appoint a Republican special counsel to investigate Democrats, or only the other way around?

      1. All lawfare and rent seeking should be severely punished. They are criminal misuse of the law. The Inquisition, on which current practices are based, got high Church officials the guillotine. Anyone have a problem with that?

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