PowerLine -> Mueller lays a trap + Feinstein posts Simpson transcript + Bo knows better (or should)

Powerline John Hinderaker at HoaxAndChange

PowerLine -> Mueller lays a trap + Feinstein posts Simpson transcript + Bo knows better (or should)

Powerline image at HoaxAndChange

Powerline image at HoaxAndChange

Daily Digest

  • Bo knows better (or should)
  • Feinstein posts Simpson transcript
  • Mueller lays a trap
  • Up from Google
  • Climate Change: California Hypocrisy Turned up to 11
Bo knows better (or should)

Posted: 09 Jan 2018 03:39 PM PST

(Paul Mirengoff)Bo Scarbrough is the second string running back for the University of Alabama. Or maybe third string. During the regular season, he had the second most carries of any Crimson Tide running back, but last night he had the third most (four carries in all).

To be fair, the second or even third-string running back at Alabama would probably vie for all-conference honors at many a school. Moreover, Scarbrough in an NFL prospect. I think he’s expected to be selected somewhere between the third and fifth rounds of the upcoming draft.

Last night, Alabama took on (and eventually defeated) the University of Georgia for the college football championship. President Trump attended.

Before the kickoff, Scarbrough appeared to shout “F**k Trump” as his team passed through the tunnel on its way to the field. The video of this went viral.

Scarbrough has denied saying anything about Trump. He claims he yelled “F**k Georgia,” instead. But that’s not how it sounds (video below).

I wonder this incident will affect Scarbrough’s draft status. A portion of every team’s fan base probably will not want this guy on the team they root for, and that’s especially true in certain markets. Moreover, a player who would yell such a thing (if that’s what Scarbrough yelled) is likely to embarrass his team in the future. Thus, unless Scarbrough is viewed as a potential star, teams may pass on him.

How does Scarbrough’s shout compare with the protests of players who take a knee while the National Anthem is played? Scarbrough’s attack wasn’t directed at his country, just its president. I have written that “giving the presidential motorcade the finger is as American as apple pie.”

But Scarbrough’s utterance differs from the gesture I was writing about. The woman who flipped off Trump’s motorcade was riding her bike on a lonely road in Virginia. She wasn’t representing an employer or a team at the time and had no reason to believe her gesture would be seen by a national audience.
Furthermore, the gesture appears to have been entirely spontaneous.

Scarbrough’s shout was delivered while he was representing his team and school in one of the biggest sporting events of the year — an event that garnered wall-to-wall media coverage. Nor is it clear that the shout was spontaneous. It may have been premeditated.

In addition, the shout wasn’t part of a serious protest. The players who kneel before the National Anthem say they do it solemnly to protest what they believe is systemic police brutality. Scarbrough wasn’t protesting in any meaningful sense. He was simply attacking the U.S president as crudely as he could.

Scarbrough doesn’t claim he was protesting. Instead, he denies he said anything about Trump. If NFL teams believe him, there is no concern. If they don’t, they may conclude he’s a lout and a liar.


Feinstein posts Simpson transcript

Posted: 09 Jan 2018 01:51 PM PST

(Scott Johnson)Senate Judiciary Committee member Dianne Feinstein has released the transcript of Fusion GPS principal Glenn Simpson’s interview this past August 17 and posted it online here. Feinstein released the transcript with the support of committee Democrats acting unilaterally.

In doing so, Feinstein and her Democratic colleagues are acting at Simpson’s behest. In his recent New York Times op-ed column(written with his colleague Peter Fritsch), Simpson complained about Republicans’ leak of selected details from his testimony to various congressional committees.

Judiciary Committee Chairman Grassley has resisted the release of the transcript while the committee has yet to complete its investigation. Senator Grassley is not happy with Feinstein.

CNBC has posted a quick take identifying highlights of Simpson’s interview here. Readers following the story will want to review the transcript themselves. I am also following the comments of informed observers such as the Wall Street Journal’s Kim Strassel via Twitter. Andrew McCarthy’s current NRO column on the Steele Dossier is also helpful in this context.

Something is happening here. I trust all will become clear in the fullness of time.


Mueller lays a trap

Posted: 09 Jan 2018 08:29 AM PST

(Paul Mirengoff)The Washington Post reports that Robert Mueller has told President Trump’s legal team that his office will likely seek an interview with the president. I doubt that Trump’s legal team is surprised. It always seemed inevitable that Mueller would want to interview Trump.

What should the president’s response be? I agree with Alan Dershowitz. He says: “I would never let the prosecution interview my client.”

There are two reasons why, in this context, allowing such an interview is a particularly bad idea. First, the client is Donald Trump. He is notorious for imprecision with words and for shooting from the hip. He is probably uncoachable as a witness. Representing him in a deposition or similar proceeding strikes me as a lawyer’s worst nightmare.

Second, the prosecution is Robert Mueller and his team of Trump-hating partisans. Their purpose in interviewing Trump won’t just be to gather the facts needed to wrap up their investigation. In my view, it will also be to induce Trump to make statements the prosecution can use to build a case that the president has lied to the prosecution.

Accordingly, Trump’s legal team should resist being questioned by Mueller’s team. There is a precedent for such resistance. As the Post reminds us, Bill Clinton resisted being questioned by Ken Starr’s team, though eventually he was compelled to testify.

In the likely event of a dispute over whether Trump must testify, one issue will be whether the information prosecutors seek can be obtained through another means. In this case, Mueller likely will be cross-checking Trump’s version of events with the versions of others, such as James Comey. In a sense, the information will have already been obtained via, say, Comey, Michael Flynn, or Jared Kushner. But in a practical sense, only Trump can provide Trump’s version of what happened.

As noted, though, I believe the purpose of the interview will be more to catch Trump in something Mueller’s team can characterize as a lie than to obtain Trump’s version of the facts. Hence the need to be especially wary.


Up from Google

Posted: 09 Jan 2018 07:39 AM PST

(Scott Johnson)James Damore is the former Google employee who famously expressed heterodox thoughts while in the employ of the company. Represented by Harmeet Dhillon, Damore and David Guteman filed a class action lawsuit against Google yesterday in California state court under various provisions of California employment law. FOX News reports briefly on the lawsuit here, CNN here, and TechCrunch here.

Putting the merits of the lawsuit to one side, and the issues raised by its pursuit as a class action, the complaint makes for interesting reading. I have a close friend who is both an extremely successful businessman and a man of character whom I greatly respect. He got my attention yesterday with a message transmitting the complaint against Google: “I couldn’t stop reading this. I cannot even imagine how miserable it would be to work at Google with management like this.”

Damore vs Google Class Action Lawsuit by zerohedge on Scribd


Climate Change: California Hypocrisy Turned up to 11

Posted: 09 Jan 2018 06:54 AM PST

(Steven Hayward)Readers may be vaguely aware that New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman and two other AGs filed suit again ExxonMobil alleging that “they knew” about climate change decades ago, but have been practicing “deception” ever since. These lawsuits all came with subpoena demands for thousands of pages of documents, no doubt hoping to turn up . . . what exactly? This is a transparent attempt to turn policy disagreements into legal culpability. In fact, there is considerable evidence that this legal action was part of a political strategy hit upon by environmentalists to replicate the experience of tobacco litigation.

ExxonMobil has not been taking this attack supinely. In a legal filing yesterday in Texas, the company notes:

Even though it has long acknowledged the risks presented by climate change, supported the Paris climate accords, and backed a revenue-neutral carbon tax, ExxonMobil has nevertheless been targeted by state and local governments for pretextual investigations and litigation intended to cleanse the public square of alternative viewpoints.

The motion ExxonMobil filed yesterday in Texas identifies 16 individuals who it believes conspired to get the attorneys general to bring this action. Some evidence of this collaboration may have been destroyed. ExxonMobil wishes to depose these 16. The filing continues:

This abuse of government power to impose a uniform perspective on climate policy was hatched over five years ago at a conference of special interests in La Jolla, California. The participants advocated for government investigations and litigation against energy companies to “pressure” the targets to provide “support for legislative and regulatory responses to global warming.”

State attorneys general in New York, Massachusetts, and the Virgin Islands eagerly implemented the La Jolla “playbook.” At a March 2016 press conference promoting their actions against ExxonMobil, state officials spoke openly about their use of law enforcement tools to restrict the scope of permissible public debate about climate change. Eric Schneiderman, the Attorney General of New York, declared there was “no dispute” about climate change policy, only “confusion, and confusion sowed by those with an interest in profiting from the confusion and creating misperceptions in the eyes of the American public that really need to be cleared up.” Maura Healey, the Attorney General of Massachusetts, pledged that those who purportedly “deceived” the public—by disagreeing with her about climate change policy—“should be, must be, held accountable.” Claude Walker, the Attorney General of the Virgin Islands, proclaimed, “We have to look at renewable energy. That’s the only solution.” All three attorneys general issued burdensome subpoenas or investigatory document demands to ExxonMobil, just as the La Jolla playbook had recommended.

But this isn’t even the best part. This is:

Implementing a different page of the La Jolla playbook, a number of California municipal governments recently filed civil tort claims against ExxonMobil and 17 other Texas- based energy companies. In those lawsuits, each of the municipalities warned that imminent sea level rise presented a substantial threat to its jurisdiction and laid blame for this purported injury at the feet of energy companies.

One of the lawsuits, from San Mateo, claims: “[T]here is a 93% chance that the County experiences a devastating three-foot flood before the year 2050 and a 50% chance that such a flood occurs before 2030. Average sea level rise along the County’s shores are expected to rise by almost three feet by the year 2100, causing multiple, predictable impacts, and exacerbating the impacts of extreme events.”

Notwithstanding their claims of imminent, allegedly near-certain harm, none of the municipalities disclosed to investors such risks in their respective bond offerings, which collectively netted over $8 billion for these local governments over the last 27 years. To the contrary, some of the disclosures affirmatively denied any ability to measure those risks; the others virtually ignored them. At least two municipal governments [one of them San Mateo] reassured investors that they were “unable to predict whether sea-level rise or other impacts of climate change or flooding from a major storm will occur, when they may occur, and if any such events occur, whether they will have a material adverse effect on the business operations or financial condition of the County and the local economy.”

So which is it, San Mateo—serious climate risk or not? What happened to those certain probabilities in your lawsuit?

The ExxonMobil filing makes the obvious point:

The stark and irreconcilable conflict between what these municipal governments alleged in their respective complaints and what they disclosed to investors in their bond offerings indicates that the allegations in the complaints are not honestly held and were not made in good faith. It is reasonable to infer that the municipalities brought these lawsuits not because of a bona fide belief in any tortious conduct by the defendants or actual damage to their jurisdictions, but instead to coerce ExxonMobil and others operating in the Texas energy sector to adopt policies aligned with those favored by local politicians in California.

That’s putting it mildly. The more direct way is that these California cities are lying in one of these legal matters—the lawsuit claim or their bond disclosures. The courts should not take kindly to this kind of behavior. I think bondholders might have a cause of action here.

Good for ExxonMobil in defending themselves and fighting back. As their filing aptly sums it up:

Regulating debate over public policy, even when styled as clearing up “confusion” and “deception,” is not a legitimate law enforcement function.

P.S. Here’s another example from Oakland:

Also this:


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