PowerLine -> Pardon Me – Clown show follies with the Times

PowerLine -> Pardon Me – Clown show follies with the Times

Daily Digest

  • Pardon Me
  • A Party Out of Ideas
  • Pompeo on the leaks
  • Clown show follies with the Times
  • No Groping, Damn It!
Pardon Me

Posted: 23 Jul 2017 04:42 PM PDT

(John Hinderaker)

The Trump pardon story exemplifies the frustrations of President Trump’s first six months in office. It began with a story published Thursday evening by the Washington Post that said Trump has been talking with his advisers about his power to grant pardons:

Trump has asked his advisers about his power to pardon aides, family members and even himself in connection with the probe, according to one of those people. A second person said Trump’s lawyers have been discussing the president’s pardoning powers among themselves.

One adviser said the president has simply expressed a curiosity in understanding the reach of his pardoning authority, as well as the limits of Mueller’s investigation.

As usual, the Post’s story was based entirely on anonymous sources: “people familiar with the effort,” “one of those people,” “[a] second person,” “a close adviser.” Trump’s presidency has been bedeviled by leaks on almost a daily basis, and not only from Obama holdovers in the intelligence agencies. These leaks apparently came from the White House.

Still, the Post has little credibility when it comes to President Trump, and the only person quoted by name in the Post’s article (a quote that was added after the story appeared on Thursday evening), Trump lawyer John Dowd, described it as “not true” and “nonsense.”

Trump could have left well enough alone, but as so often happens, he didn’t. Yesterday morning he tweeted, apparently about the Post story:

While all agree the U. S. President has the complete power to pardon, why think of that when only crime so far is LEAKS against us. FAKE NEWS

— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) July 22, 2017

Of course, he had a point. There is no evidence, in my view, that Trump or anyone associated with him has committed a crime, whereas we know that numerous leakers and reporters have done so. I fervently hope that before long, criminal prosecutions of leakers, reporters and editors will begin, with employees of the Washington Post near the top of the list.

But the effect of Trump’s tweet was to put the issue of pardons front and center. He implicitly conceded that the Post’s story was right–or, in any event, that is how his tweet has reasonably been interpreted. Trump enabled the Democratic Party press (CNN was, as usual, an egregious offender) to yammer nonstop about Trump contemplating pardons for his son-in-law, his former campaign manager, and others, including himself. The casual observer no doubt assumes that the only reason why Trump would be interested in pardons is that he or others in his circle have committed crimes. And in the context of the Post article, Trump’s reference to his pardon power being “complete” can reasonably be interpreted to refer to pardoning himself.

This is the sort of self-inflicted wound of which Trump has suffered far too many. One wonders, how many times can a president shoot himself in the foot and still be successful? Over the next 3 1/2 years, we are likely to find out.

If you are interested in the question whether a president can pardon himself, Ann Althouse’s answer is Yes.


A Party Out of Ideas

Posted: 23 Jul 2017 09:58 AM PDT

(Steven Hayward)

So the Democrats have unveiled a new slogan for the next election cycle: “A Better Deal.”

“A Better Deal: Better Jobs, Better Wages, Better Future” is the new slogan hatched after months of strategy sessions on Capitol Hill and late-night dinners at Washington restaurants hosted by Schumer, Pelosi, Jeffries and other rank-and-file House and Senate lawmakers.

Are we sure they got their money’s worth from the focus groups it took to come up with this?

Hmm, seems I’ve heard something like this before. Yup:

This takes “new and improved” to the next level. The better level! The Democratic Party goes to 11!

(Hat tip: Power Line reader JC.)


Pompeo on the leaks

Posted: 23 Jul 2017 09:28 AM PDT

(Scott Johnson)

Since the inauguration of President Trump, we have been inundated by leaks of classified information attributed to current and former government officials. These current and former government officials have leaked classified information to their friends at the New York Times, the Washington Post and other mainstream media organs. The leaks have become a flood of crisis proportions.

Two months ago, for example, New York Times reporters Matthew Rosenberg and Adam Goldman relied on their friends among “current and former intelligence officials” to perform a profoundly malicious act. In their June 2 story, Rosenberg and Goldman exposed the identity of Michael D’Andrea as the CIA officer newly appointed to run the agency’s Iran operations. They explained:

The C.I.A. declined to comment on Mr. D’Andrea’s role, saying it does not discuss the identities or work of clandestine officials. The [current and former intelligence] officials spoke only on the condition of anonymity because Mr. D’Andrea remains undercover, as do many senior officials based at the agency’s headquarters in Langley, Va….The New York Times is naming Mr. D’Andrea because his identity was previously published in news reports, and he is leading an important new administration initiative against Iran.

A footnote about those “previously published” news reports. In the version of the story posted online, Rosenberg and Goldman linked to the Times’s own 2015 story by Mark Mazzetti and Matt Apuzzo as I have above.

The Times and its gaggle of “current and former officials” are guilty of mind-boggling irresponsibility. They put a target on D’Andrea’s back. They omitted only D’Andrea’s home address.

They also damaged the national security of the United States to no public purpose. Their action was nasty, gratuitous and, given the Times’s role in hyping the alleged “outing” of Valerie Plame into a crisis of the first order, unbelievably hypocritical. Yet so far as I am aware Marc Thiessen stands alone among mainstream media columnists in calling out the Times for what it did.

Last week at the Aspen National Security Forum New York Times columnist Bret Stephens interviewed CIA Director Mike Pompeo. The interview reflected Stephens knowledge of foreign affairs. It is worth listening to in its entirety (video below). Stephens nevertheless had absolutely no idea what Pompeo was referring to when he alluded to the Times’s June 2 story.

At about 27:00 of the video, Stephens asked Pompeo about the use of Wikileaks material by the media or by politicians. After some throat clearing about the First Amendment Pompeo responded:

I’ll tell you what your question brings to mind for me. We have an awful lot of folks who have decided that their constitutional duty includes releasing information that they promised they wouldn’t put anyplace else….I hope others will figure out what their responsibility to America is. I hope they get it right.

Then Pompeo addressed the Times’s June 2 story:

We had a publication — you work for it, Bret — that published the name of an undercover officer at the Central Intelligence Agency. I find that unconscionable.

Pompeo looked Stephens in the eye. Stephens shifted uncomfortably in his seat. “You’re talking about Phil Agee,” Stephens inquired.

Pompeo wasn’t talking about Agee; Agee is ancient history. Agee was, of course, the rogue CIA agent who outed CIA officers en masse in the 1970’s. A traitor and Communist collaborator, he died in Havana. Pompeo was addressing a slightly more pressing matter, a matter closer to home.

“Fair enough on the unconscionable score,” Stephens conceded, and then returned to the subject of Wikileaks (i.e., President Trump’s expressed enthusiasm for Wikileaks during the campaign). Stephens dropped Pompeo’s challenge to the Times like a hot potato.

Circling around the subject of intelligence leaks, Stephens asked: “Should we be enforcing the Espionage Act much more…?”

“Yes,” Pompeo responded.

“Should we be prosecuting journalists who use this information?” Stephens asked.

Pompeo responded: “No. There’s an old aphorism that says the law is entitled to every man’s evidence. And I’ll leave it at that.”

I believe that is a newsworthy response. I take it as a preview of coming attractions and I hope I’m right about that.


Clown show follies with the Times

Posted: 23 Jul 2017 07:12 AM PDT

(Scott Johnson)

When three Somali Minnesotans went to trial in Minneapolis last year on terrorism charges, the New York Times skipped the proceedings. Times reporter Jack Healy arrived in town just in time for the verdicts. Healy’s article reporting the verdicts, written with freelancer Matt Furber, turned for comment to Burhan Mohumed, a “community organizer” and friend of the defendants who condemned the verdicts as “purely political.”

Judge Michael Davis presided at trial. Judge Davis had banned Mohumed from the courthouse for repeated violation of his protocols, yet Healy considered him a go-to guy on the sufficiency of the evidence to support the verdicts. “I left a little hope that they wouldn’t be convicted of a conspiracy to murder charge,” Mohumed said. “I didn’t think they had enough evidence to convict them on that. I think that was an overreach.”

Healy and Furber quoted Mohumed again in their follow-up article on community reaction—Somali community reaction, that is—to the verdict. For some reason, Healy and Furber didn’t think to ask any of us who have welcomed and supported the Somali community in the Twin Cities over the past 25 years for our take.

The Times returned to town last week to cover the shooting death of the unarmed and pajama clad spiritual healer Justine Damond by Minneapolis police officer Mohamed Noor. Concerned about a possible sexual assault occurring near the back of her house, Ms. Damond called 911 for assistance late in the evening a week ago this past Saturday. Driving the squad car, Officer Matthew Harrity responded to the call with Noor. As Ms. Damond approached the driver’s side of the car in the alley behind her house, Noor shot her in the abdomen through the open driver’s side window. Ms. Damond died at the scene.

Officer Noor has refused to be interviewed either by the department internal affairs or by the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension, which is conducting an independent investigation of the shooting. He is resting on his right to remain silent.

Minneapolis police chief Janee Harteau was on vacation at the time of the shooting and several days afterward. Upon her return to town, Harteau decried Noor’s silence and declared that Ms. Damond “didn’t need to die.”

Idiot Minneapolis Mayor Betsy Hodges is running for reelection. On Friday Hodges fired Harteau. A left-wing cadre turned up at Hodges’s press conference to demand her resignation. In Minneapolis, the lunatic left is on parade and marching the city ever further to the left.

The Times is an unlikely organ to understand or explain what is happening here. Last week the Times explored the all-important Somali community reaction to Ms. Damond’s shooting by Noor in “Somalis in Minneapolis shocked and saddened by police shooting.” The Times turned to 63-year-old Mahamud Yusuf and one other local for comments. Why? Burhan Mohumed must have been unavailable for comment.

I followed one thread in the terrorism case in the Power Line post “A tale of five Muhammads.” Perhaps I can draw on Mohamud Yusuf for something similar in this case.

The Times recalls its blinkered coverage of the terrorism case with this look back: “[S]ome Somalis here have criticized the tactics used in federal prosecutions of young men accused of trying to join overseas terrorist organizations.” Law enforcement tactics in the terrorism case, however, were lawful and appropriate. Somali criticism of them represents a serious problem within the Somali community.

The Times, incidentally, uses the common estimate that some 30,000 Somali refugees reside in Minnesota. The official estimate by the state demographer is 40,000. The unofficial estimate used by the United States Attorney for Minnesota in an agreement reached with Somali community representatives is 100,000. Whatever the number, many must be residing here illegally. Thus the Minneapolis police video linked by the Times (English version below).

Today the Times reconstructs Ms. Damond’s shooting in “In Minneapolis, Unusual Police Killing Raises an Old Outcry: Why?” The Times credits ten reporters on the story. The story mentions Noor’s possibly problematic record. Despite its length and the resources devoted to it, the story sheds almost no light on an incredibly troubling case.


No Groping, Damn It!

Posted: 22 Jul 2017 06:42 PM PDT

(John Hinderaker)

American liberals want to take in lots of Islamic refugees from the Middle East and Africa, presumably because that policy has been so successful in Europe. This is, of course, a dubious premise, as we have noted many times.

This story comes from Austria, and it must be legit because it is reported in the Sun. Heh. As best I can tell, though, it is authentic:

A swimming pool has stuck up signs targeted at migrants telling them not to grope women or enter the female changing room.

The signs were posted in a swimming pool in Perchtoldsdorf, a market town a short distance from the Austrian capital of Vienna.

Here is the sign, click to enlarge:

Apparently the signs have been posted because some Islamic refugees don’t understand–or, more likely, pretend not to understand–that men shouldn’t enter the ladies’ shower, and you’re not supposed to fondle women to whom you haven’t been introduced:

One sign shows a man entering the women’s dressing room with the word “STOP!” and “entry is forbidden in non-designated areas” written next to it.

Another sign show a picture of a young teen in a bikini with three hands seemingly wanting to grope her.

It reads “NO!” and explains that “physical contact with other guests is forbidden”.

And while the signs featured English, French and Arabic text, there was no German translation, with the sign clearly not intended for local visitors.

The Austrians assume, apparently, that their natives already understand that you aren’t supposed to fondle strange women.

The Perchtoldsdorf signs are out of date in one respect. Here in the U.S., it is no longer true that men should stay out of women’s showers. The “enlightened” view of such matters is that men are perfectly welcome to shower with teenage girls and adult women, as long as they say, if asked, that they are “trans.” Watch for this sign of social progress to make its way to Austria before long.

In the meantime, it is reasonable to wonder whether copying Angela Merkel’s refugee policy is a good idea for the U.S.


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