PowerLine -> Mueller impanels Washington, D.C. grand jury
PowerLine -> Mueller impanels Washington, D.C. grand jury
Mueller impanels Washington, D.C. grand jury
- Associated Press Smears Stephen Miller
- McMaster purges pro-Israel, anti-Iran deal Trump loyalists
- Take Us to Your Leader
- Liberalism Backfires Again, Chapter 14,279
|Mueller impanels Washington, D.C. grand jury
Posted: 03 Aug 2017 02:24 PM PDT
The Wall Street Journal reports that Robert Mueller has impaneled a grand jury in Washington, D.C. A grand jury has already been impaneled in Virginia to investigate Michael Flynn and his work in the private sector on behalf of foreign interests. The new grand jury apparently will focus on Russia and the 2016 election and, quite possibly, on claims of obstruction of justice.
The existence of the D.C. grand jury is a sure sign that Mueller pressing hard. As one expert told the Journal:
It didn’t require the impaneling of the new grand jury to tell us this, though. We already knew it from the way Mueller has staffed this case — excessively and with plenty of Hillary-supporting Democrats.
Indeed, the Journal also reports that Mueller recently added Greg Andres, a top partner in a big New York law firm, to his team. Andres is a former top Justice Department official who also oversaw the criminal division of the U.S. attorney’s office in Brooklyn. No one believes he would leave his law firm to participate in a low-level, short-lived investigation.
The impaneling of the new grand jury means that Mueller’s team will be subpoenaing records and taking testimony from witnesses. This process likely will tip off Trump’s legal team where the investigation is headed and whether it has taken on what the president views as the characteristics of a witch hunt. Trump will then be in a better position to decide whether to fire Mueller.
For example, Trump told the New York Times that if Mueller looks at his finances and those of his family “unrelated to Russia” this would cross a “red line.” If the grand jury probe goes in this direction, Trump will be sorely tempted to cut it off.
I will be sorely tempted not to blame him.
For now, the Trump administration is saying politically correct things. Ty Cobb, special counsel to the president, said “the White House favors anything that accelerates the conclusion of his work fairly [and]. . .is committed to fully cooperating with Mr. Mueller.”
This could change on a dime, as anyone who has been following the Trump presidency, even casually, knows.
|Associated Press Smears Stephen Miller
Posted: 03 Aug 2017 01:55 PM PDT
Yesterday’s dustup between presidential aide Stephen Miller and CNN’s Jim Acosta, which Scott wrote about here, has turned into one of the silliest kerfuffles in memory. (Video is at the link, a transcript of yesterday’s press briefing is here.) The idea that a poem somehow stands in the way of reforming our immigration system (the salient features of which, by the way, date only to 1965) is absurd. Yet the controversy continues.
Associated Press reporter Hillel Italie has stepped into the breach by smearing Miller in just about the most contemptible way possible. Italie’s article is headlined, “Miller comments on Lazarus poem echo far-right opinions.”
This is the lowest form of argument. You like cabbage? Hitler liked cabbage too!Apparently, you can’t point out that a poem has nothing to do with immigration law without being just the same as David Duke.
But of course, Stephen Miller didn’t say anything of the sort.
Yeah, fine. But we still need an immigration policy, and the one that Congress adopted in 1965 was lousy and needs to be changed.
I wish I could say that Hillel’s smear is unworthy of the Associated Press, but the unfortunate reality is that smearing President Trump and members of his administration is the AP’s main project these days. Actual news reporting falls far down the priority list.
|McMaster purges pro-Israel, anti-Iran deal Trump loyalists
Posted: 03 Aug 2017 01:00 PM PDT
National Security Adviser H.R. McMaster has fired three staff members in recent weeks. The three are Ezra Cohen-Watnick, senior director for intelligence; Derek Harvey, the NSC’s top Middle East adviser; and Rich Higgins, director of strategic planning. All three were aligned with Steve Bannon.
Neither the Standard nor the Times reports on any ideological content to purge. Both treat it as a power struggle between McMaster and Steve Bannon, with the Times throwing in a Michael Flynn angle.
Is there an ideological component to the purge? There appears to be.
To get at the question, we should start by asking how many Obama holdovers McMaster has sacked. If, as I understand to be the case, there has been no purge of Obama holdovers, this would suggest that McMaster is comfortable with Obama-era national security policy, or at least more comfortable with it than he is with the national security policy President Trump campaigned on.
There are strong indications that this is so. Specifically, it may be that McMaster’s views on Israel and Iran are more in line with Obama’s than with Trump’s.
Caroline Glick makes this argument. She writes:
I think this is indisputable.
If any of this is true, it is deeply disturbing.
Who does McMaster favor over the pro-Israel loyalists he has canned? According to Glick::
If true, this is distressing.
What about Iran? Glick notes that McMaster supports the nuclear deal and refuses to publish the side deals Obama signed with the Iranians and then hid from the public.
By contrast, the three officials McMaster fired do not support the nuclear deal. And, as noted, they are pro-Israel.
Glick isn’t the only one who sees a strong ideological component to the purge.Adam Kredo of the Washington Free Beacon reports that Iran was the central, though hardly the only, area of policy clash between McMaster and those he has purged (Kredo also says McMaster will be firing more Trump loyalists in the coming weeks). He writes:
If this is true, then McMaster should be sacked. I suspect, however, that with John Kelly ensconced as Trump’s chief of staff, McMaster is safe for a while.
Democrats like Rep. Barbara Lee are far off base when they complain about the role of generals in the Trump administration. Generally speaking, the U.S. military is a politically correct institution and its thinking is not sharply at odds with that of the Washington foreign policy establishment. Thus, we shouldn’t be surprised if former generals like McMaster, and to a lesser degree Kelly and Mattis, are moderating forces in the Trump administration.
Moderating voices shouldn’t be excluded from the administration. Some of Trump’s campaign positions can do with being moderated.
However, when the moderating voices largely parrot the Obama administration’s line on Israel and Iran, we have a big problem.
|Take Us to Your Leader
Posted: 03 Aug 2017 11:54 AM PDT
Is this not the perfect job for Al Gore? After all, shouldn’t we have a big green man on hand to greet little green men?
And if they are hostile aliens, wouldn’t have to deal with Al Gore be plenty of deterrent against wanting to take over the planet?
|Liberalism Backfires Again, Chapter 14,279
Posted: 03 Aug 2017 09:36 AM PDT
One thing that is reliable about liberal policy ideas is that they will generate unintended consequences and perverse results, 95 out of 100 times. So, of course, one might have predicted that the move to “ban the box” asking about criminal convictions on employment application forms would result in increased racial discrimination. And now we have the social science to back up this common sense perception.
From the Quarterly Journal of Economics:
Charles Murray commented on Twitter: “Any policy analyst who would not instantly predict this unintended outcome should find a new career track.”
I’ll just add that I’m sure that this can all be fixed if we just increase the minimum wage to $25 an hour.