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A Witch Hunt or an Investigation by a Brutal Book?
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The nation has paused this week from its toxic political battles to remember the kindness and gentleness of President George H.W. Bush. He was kind to Bill Clinton, who defeated him in 1992, and to Ross Perot, whose unusual entry into the presidential race that year siphoned conservative voters away from Bush and enabled Clinton to amass a majority of electoral votes with only 43 percent of the popular vote. The Bush I knew was the post-presidential one, who, by all appearances, harbored no bitterness or sense of defeat.

That was the consistent theme running through nearly all the reminiscences we have heard since he died late last week. Those comments about Bush’s character are, of course, being contrasted with the more in-your-face president we have today. To his credit, President Donald Trump has kept a low profile since Bush’s death, in all areas but one. He continues to pound away at his view that the investigation of him and his campaign by Department of Justice special counsel Robert Mueller is a hoax and a witch hunt.

To further that view, the president has dispatched his lawyer Rudolph Giuliani to make essentially two arguments. First is that Mueller’s work is a solution looking for a problem and that because there has been no crime, we don’t need a special counsel to investigate. This is a common refrain from criminal defense lawyers who represent public figures being investigated outside the normal DOJ channels. Giuliani’s second argument is that Mueller knows he has discovered no crime and will soon close up his shop.

I am not of the view that Mueller is on a fishing expedition or is about to go home. First, he has a few dozen defendants whom he has indicted and needs to try — even though most are Russians indicted for hacking and interfering with the 2016 election campaign and will be tried in absentia.

Second, he keeps acquiring new evidence. Last week, when Trump’s former personal lawyer Michael Cohen pleaded guilty in federal court in Manhattan to lying to Congress about Trump’s negotiations with Russian authorities during the 2016 presidential campaign to build Trump Tower Moscow, Cohen claimed he lied so as to further Trump’s political message, which has been one of zero relationships with Russian officials during the campaign.

Yet the most important words Cohen uttered were not those stated during his 10-minute guilty plea but those stated to Mueller’s FBI agents and prosecutors during the 70 hours that they interrogated him. Whatever he told them and they were able to corroborate, they caused his prison exposure to be reduced from somewhere between 15 and 60 years to six months. Such a reduction requires a substantial quid pro quo. What was it?

ORDER IT NOW

The third reason for rejecting the belief that Mueller will soon shut down is Mueller’s declaration to a federal judge in Washington last week that Paul Manafort, Trump’s campaign manager during the time the Trump campaign had 87 communications with Russians, lied to FBI agents in defiance of his commitment to be truthful to them made during his guilty plea in federal court in September. Mueller will no doubt seek to indict Manafort for each of those lies and then try him — a trial that could not occur until mid-2019.

As if all that were not enough to dispel the Giuliani-fueled myth that Mueller will soon end his work, recall that Mueller has repeatedly expressed a desire to interrogate the president in a one-on-one interview or before one of his grand juries. Neither has occurred. Mueller has a toolbox of techniques to bring either of these about, and he has yet to employ the most potent contents.

Rudy Giuliani is a very talented lawyer. He has assumed two roles for his most famous client — as legal strategist and as cheerleader. As a legal strategist, he brings a wealth of experience in federal criminal procedure, but he has no serious experience defending a person accused by the feds — hence his morphing into the cheerleading role, in which he has candidly acknowledged to friends that his goal is not to dissuade the special counsel from pursuing his client but to influence public opinion so that if an indictment or impeachment of Trump were to come down, it would generally be unacceptable to the public.

Yet the more he cheerleads the more he undercuts his reputation in the legal, judicial and law enforcement communities. That’s because when he was the U.S. attorney in Manhattan, he excelled at utilizing the most extreme and aggressive prosecutorial techniques that the courts permitted — the very ones he is now attacking Mueller for using.

In the 1980s, Giuliani dispatched FBI agents to arrest corporate chieftains with television crews in tow. He burst into courtrooms, interrupting trials, to serve lawyers with subpoenas while they were trying other cases. He even wired a 10-year-old girl with a tape recorder and tutored her to entrap her mother in a drug case. He once arrested every person who was in New York’s Washington Square Park on a weekday afternoon during a drug sweep — innocent and guilty alike. He got away with it.

Federal criminal prosecution is not beanbag. The courts have ruled many times that prosecutors, FBI agents and police may lie, cheat, threaten, intimidate, coerce and deceive to extract cooperation and obtain evidence from witnesses. This is the dark side of the criminal justice system. It requires a strong stomach. It can be used against even the president.

Yet those untried absent Russians — the ones scooped up in Mueller’s witch hunt — were punished without trial. They were barred from using U.S. financial institutions by President Trump in retaliation for their alleged interference in the 2016 election. A witch hunt for me, but not for thee.

Copyright 2018 Andrew P. Napolitano. Distributed by Creators.com.

 
• Category: Ideology • Tags: Donald Trump, Robert Mueller, Russia 
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  1. anonymous[340] • Disclaimer says:

    If there’s still anyone around who is inclined to trust Mr. Napolitano, today’s column illustrates how he will change his tune whenever needed to back up the Establishment and alternatively tongue-bathe or tremble in awe before its priestly (legal) class.

    December 7, 2017: ” .. the no-nonsense special counsel investigating whether any Americans aided the Russian government in its now well-known interference in the 2016 American presidential election .. ”

    December 21, 2017: ” .. special counsel Robert Mueller — who is investigating whether there was any agreement between the Trump campaign and the Kremlin that resulted in the now-well-known efforts by Russian intelligence to affect the outcome of the 2016 presidential election — ”

    But today, when there’s apparently a need to inflict a new wound on President Trump (in whom I place no trust, either), the scary Feds theme is followed by the (coincidental) truth that last year’s “now-well-known” Russian election interference is merely “alleged”:

    “Federal criminal prosecution is not beanbag. The courts have ruled many times that prosecutors, FBI agents and police may lie, cheat, threaten, intimidate, coerce and deceive to extract cooperation and obtain evidence from witnesses. This is the dark side of the criminal justice system. It requires a strong stomach. It can be used against even the president.

    Yet those untried absent Russians — the ones scooped up in Mueller’s witch hunt — were punished without trial. They were barred from using U.S. financial institutions by President Trump in retaliation for their alleged interference in the 2016 election. A witch hunt for me, but not for thee.”

    And “Judge” never retracts or corrects anything. He just spins in whatever direction necessary to maintain his “FreedomWatcher” status, a sentry on the border of Establishia.

    Note, too, how his “friend” in prior columns, Mr. Giuliani, is ripped good and hard. Perhaps this is a sign that more of the veneer will soon be peeling off. But none of these people who thrive within the Empire can pass a foxhole test if you think critically about what they say and do.

    • Replies: @Verymuchalive
  2. anonymous[340] • Disclaimer says:

    Addendum to my other comment now in moderation:

    The last time Mr. Napolitano seemed inclined to question the Establishment about RussiaGate was August 4, 2016:

    “In order to take everyone’s eyes off this intrusive and uncomfortable bouncing ball, the leadership of the DNC, in conjunction with officials of the Clinton campaign, blamed the release of the DNC emails on hackers employed by Russian intelligence agents. Many in the media picked up this juicy story and repeated it all last week.

    Clinton promptly named Wasserman Schultz as a campaign consultant and complained that the Russians are trying to influence the presidential election. She did not complain about the unfairness manifested in the emails, complete with their religious prejudice; she only complained about Russian President Vladimir Putin’s helping Donald Trump.

    But the Russians had nothing to do with it.”

    That was also the last Napolitano column that mentioned William Binney.

    Read that column, and then review what Mr. Napolitano has written since in the light of my and other critical comments. If you do so in good faith, you’ll never trust him again.

  3. Wow, I’m glad I never had to appear before Napolitano. There is zero evidence that there was any Russian interference in the election. Sorry Judge stating there is interference, doesn’t make it so.

    Did I, as a Canadian posting opinions on a number of sites on a variety of political issues, interfere in the election? That is the premise on which this entire narrative rests. And by the way, anything that Mueller has pulled out of his ass to charge these people with, is completely unconnected to Trump and the election. Mueller’s goal is to create an enormous financial hardship for these people, and try to get them to cop a plea. Jerome Corsi, I suspect, is going to rip Mueller a new asshole by proving that point.

  4. @anonymous

    Mr 340, another excellent critique of Judge Pizza. If we can’t get Mr Ron to discontinue his columns, at least stop calling him ” Freedom Watcher “. How’s about it, Ronaldo !

    • Replies: @anonymous
  5. Criminal law as a political cudgel.

  6. “Did I, as a Canadian posting opinions on a number of sites on a variety of political issues, interfere in the election?”

    Depending which opinions, yes.

    • Replies: @anonymous
  7. anonymous[340] • Disclaimer says:
    @Fran Macadam

    In the words (February 22, 2018) of Mr. Napolitano, commenter Curmudgeon “ran unchecked through our computer systems and the American marketplaces of ideas.”

    Open borders for people, but an iron curtain for the Internet.

    Is there anyone here who still thinks of “Judge” as a worthy, sincere guardian of your Constitutional and natural rights?

  8. anonymous[340] • Disclaimer says:
    @Verymuchalive

    Thank you. But I don’t want to give up my early Friday hobby. Better that Mr. Napolitano — who likely sees but will never address our comments — leave of his own accord. If he does so, don’t be surprised if he uses some of the taboo topics written on by Mr. Unz as his excuse.

  9. I only know this Neapolitan guy as the Eddie Munster of Fox News. Right off the bat, his hagiographic comments about George H.W. Bush generated an acid squirt in my gut. Though his depiction of Rudy Giuliani as being a slippery character is accurate.

  10. Giuseppe says:

    He was kind to Bill Clinton, who defeated him in 1992, and to Ross Perot, whose unusual entry into the presidential race that year siphoned conservative voters away from Bush and enabled Clinton to amass a majority of electoral votes with only 43 percent of the popular vote.

    False dilemma. There were more than two significant candidates that election. Ross Perot had every right to run for the presidency, and voters had every right to vote for him. The idea that he caused Bush to lose is a Republican myth, and performs a similar function to Russians causing Hillary’s loss in Democratic mythology, the Russians who have an economy the size of Texas and a fraction of the resources available to US intelligence and military. Right.

    And Ross Perot, who was the epitome of kooky, did not siphon votes away from Bush. A presidential race is never a must-win for only one of two candidates, and to think otherwise is a fallacy. The winning candidate must beat all contenders. Furthermore, Bush gave no evidence of really wanting the job again. He was at best a mediocre candidate the second time around. He acted like felt entitled to a second term without having to work for it and he lost because he couldn’t clearly articulate a reason for his re-election. A kooky Ross Perot didn’t cause him to lose the election, mediocre Bush did that himself. Even so, I voted for him.

    But stop making excuses for mediocre candidates Left and Right using bad logic. If they had fire in their bellies they would beat all comers. Bush Sr. (and Hillary) did not have fire in their bellies. They could not articulate a clear reason for their candidacies. Therefore they lost.

  11. anonymous[340] • Disclaimer says:

    “Ross Perot had every right to run for the presidency, and voters had every right to vote for him.”

    Thank you for bringing out another way in which Beltway media help to maintain the Establishment. But as someone who no longer votes, and who went third party in Presidential elections when I did, I would take this farther.

    National politics are puppet show, an endless series of episodes in which people are gulled into participation as voters, and thus pacified into accepting whatever is left when the smoke clears after another titanic struggle between Team Blue and Team Red. Each wins often enough that people can be fired up every two years and placated in the interim; dissent is channeled into partisan politics. The bile drenching each election, filling of a Supreme Court vacancy, Congressional debate on legislation (less so as we become ruled by judges), and other contested aspect of the system is, in fact, oil for the machinery that keeps grinding out the wars, big bank bailouts, and other things important to those benefitting from Big Gov.

    If there were more crayons than Blue and Red, things would become more complicated and could even get out of hand. That’s why the Establishment discourages it.

  12. Icy Blast says:

    Napolitano has no integrity. He just wants to prolong his career as a talking head as long as possible.

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