Sunday, December 16, 2018

A "Target Rich Environment"

There's a discernible sea change underway in America's right wing media. When it comes to reliably pro-Republican opinion, the National Review ranks in the first tier. Which is why it was notable that NR published two anti-Trump articles.

Andrew McCarthy dismembered the recent Republican meme that Trump national security advisor, Michael Flynn, was set up by the FBI and should never have been charged with lying to investigators.

It is an article of faith among ardent Trump supporters not merely that Flynn should not have been investigated, but that he is innocent of the false-statements charge to which he pled guilty.

This has become impossible to buy — and not just because, to believe Flynn told the agents the truth, you must believe that (a) he lied to the court when he pled guilty and (b) he is still lying to the court in his sentencing memo, in which he claims that sharp FBI practices hoodwinked him into lying.
...You can say the government was putting enormous pressure on him, but it is hard to believe a man like Flynn would plead guilty to lying unless he had lied. Note, moreover, that to argue that he did not lie to the agents necessarily means he lied to the judge when he pled guilty, and is continuing to lie to the judge in his sentencing memo (where, again, he admits lying but says he was pressured into doing so).
...Flynn was a longtime intelligence pro who led the Defense Intelligence Agency. Could he get one or two things wrong? Maybe . . . but multiple inaccuracies about important communications with a rival foreign power? It is hard to believe that someone of Flynn’s high-level intelligence background could do that innocently.
Of greater importance to the Trump administration and Republicans generally is an essay by David French, "Republicans, Don't Fool Yourselves - Donald Trump is In Serious Trouble."

In response to the emerging evidence that Donald Trump directed and participated in the commission of federal crimes, all too many Republicans are wrongly comforting themselves with political deflection and strained legal argument. The political deflection is clear, though a bit bizarre. The recent wave of news about Trump’s porn payoffs is somehow evidence that investigators and critics are “shifting focus” from the Russia investigation to alleged campaign-finance violations.

It’s almost as if the campaign-finance news is taken as some sort of evidence that Mueller’s core investigation is faltering, so the media and investigators have to find something to use to attack Trump. 
But the campaign-finance investigation has little to do with Mueller. It’s run by the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York, and — besides — what do we want federal prosecutors to do when they discover evidence of unrelated crimes when engaged in a different investigation? Let bygones be bygones? Or refer that evidence to the proper jurisdiction — as Robert Mueller’s office did — for further investigation and potential prosecution? 
The current wave of news reports is largely driven by court filings, and those court filings don’t represent a shift in law-enforcement focus on Trump but rather an arena of additional inquiry. The sad reality is that the Trump operation was a target-rich environment for any diligent investigator.
The article points out that the lies Flynn gave the FBI weren't novel. In fact he was only repeating the same lies he had told three times earlier to others. All he gave the FBI were well-worn falsehoods.

NBC News offers further grim tidings to the Republican faithful in the form of a Wall Street Journal/NBC poll that finds 62 per cent of Americans polled believe Trump is not telling the truth in the Russia probe.
The dam has not burst on Donald Trump,” said Democratic pollster Peter Hart, whose firm conducted this survey with Republican pollster Bill McInturff. “But this survey suggests all the structural cracks [that exist] in the dam.” 
The NBC/WSJ poll — conducted Dec. 9-12 — comes after new developments in the Russia probe and other investigations involving the president, including evidence and allegations that: 
Trump and his team were offered “synergy” with the Russian government. 
Trump directed an illegal campaign-finance scheme to make payments covering up two alleged affairs in the last days of the 2016 campaign. 
Former Trump campaign chair Paul Manafort continued to communicate with Trump administration officials well after his indictment. 
Former Trump lawyer/fixer Michael Cohen was sentenced to prisonfor three years.
Respondents also expressed a preference for congressional Democrats to take the reins in shaping American policy.
A month after the results from the 2018 midterm elections, 48 percent of Americans say they want Democrats in Congress to take the lead role in setting policy for the country, versus 21 percent who want congressional Republicans to take the lead and 19 percent who want Trump in charge.


the salamander said...

.. its an apt term.. 'target rich' .. but sadly also points to how ponderously 'justice' moves in North America and how porous and tenuous it is. Theoretically, 'justice' is independant of sellout mainstream media, conspiracy theory and partisan shrieks of 'but freedom of speech !' - But common sense tells us 'justice' can be like a very decent house or home.. with the windows blown out, the doors smashed and swinging open and the roof about to fly completely away. The political trend lately is to lie your ass off daily - who can keep track then ? Threaten via litigation and keep stuffing loot into suitcases and on into offshore bank accounts. Its highly organized lying, looting and fuckery. Get your attorneys' PR firm spokeswank on the deflection case, muddy the waters senseless.. deny delay deny delay deny, change the laws... Its all the 'Great Again' Economic Action Fabrication and fakey Nation Building posturing. It also never hurts align with the NRA, Organized Religion and The Ultra Rich who love such a status quo.

Invent a new serum for hepatitis or lyme disease ? You may get some grants and research assistant $. Invent a complete horseshit conspiracy like Alex Jones re the Sandy Hook massacre & you get showered with untold millions.That aint 'justice' - that's travesty ! I can't believe that complete scumbag Jones aint in prison. And he wept for privacy and justice during his divorce and child custody trials. That's just one example of how screwed up North American society is currently. The examples and realities are endless. Robert Mueller and his team will exemplify what it takes for justice to prevail.. and meanwhile some datawank short pants droog in Canada will be creating an algorithm to try and get Andrew Scheer's twisted political party 'elected'. Lying is now 'winning' - Deceit is now 'winning' - Pollution on a vast scale is now 'winning' .. Oh really ? ?

The Mound of Sound said...

North American society is indeed "screwed up" as you contend, Sal. What I can't foresee is that somehow being reversed. What would that look like? Where would the impetus come from to overwhelm our powerful inertia? How would it gain traction?

We are in an environmental emergency today that, in terms of the damage and loss it portends, eclipses that of anything we've known in the past, world wars included. Canadians polled will say they want action to thwart climate change as though there was some magic wand that would make it all just go away. Yet ask them what they're willing to do about it, what they're willing to sacrifice, and their enthusiasm wanes pretty sharply.