The United States Department of Injustice

21 03 2012

 By Timothy D. Naegele[1]

The truth has begun to come out about the federal prosecution of former United States Senator Ted Stevens of Alaska. In an article entitled, “Inquiry slams prosecution of Stevens corruption case by Justice Department,” the Washington Times reported:

Justice Department prosecutors bungled the investigation and prosecution of Sen. Ted Stevens, a probe that was permeated by the “systematic concealment of significant exculpatory evidence,” in some instances intentionally, that would have independently corroborated his defense and testimony, a court-ordered report released Thursday says.

In a blistering 514-page report, Special Counsel Henry F. Schuelke III said Justice Department prosecutors never conducted a comprehensive review of evidence favorable to the Alaska Republican and failed to disclose to defense attorneys notes of witness interviews containing significant information.

The report also says two federal prosecutors intentionally withheld and concealed significant information from the Stevens defense team that would have seriously damaged the testimony and credibility of the government’s key witness.

Months after a jury convicted Stevens in October 2008 of accepting and concealing money for home renovations and other gifts, the report says, a new team of prosecutors discovered, in short order, that some of the exculpatory information had been withheld. At that point, it says, the Justice Department moved to set aside the verdict and dismiss an indictment with prejudice.

New prosecutors were assigned after U.S. District Judge Emmet G. Sullivan, in a stunning rebuke, held two prosecutors in contempt for failing to comply with the court’s order to disclose information to Stevens‘ attorneys and to the court regarding allegations of prosecutorial misconduct, which were made after trial by an FBI agent who worked on the case.

In throwing out the case against Stevens, Judge Sullivan said, “For nearly 25 years, I’ve told defendants appearing before me that in my courtroom they will receive a fair trial and I will make sure of it. In nearly 25 years on the bench, I have never seen anything approaching the mishandling and the misconduct I have seen in this case.”

. . .

The Schuelke investigation lasted two years and involved the examination and analysis of more than 128,000 pages of documents, including the trial record, prosecutors’ and agents’ emails, FBI reports and handwritten notes, and depositions of prosecutors, agents and others.

. . .

Since the Stevens case was dismissed, [Justice Department spokeswoman Laura Sweeney] said, the department has instituted a “sweeping training curriculum for all federal prosecutors and has taken “unprecedented steps” to ensure that prosecutors, agents and paralegals have the necessary training and resources to properly fulfill their discovery and ethics obligations.

“Justice is served only when all parties adhere to the rules and case law that govern our criminal justice system,” she said. “While the department meets its discovery obligations in nearly all cases, even one failure is one too many.

“But it would be an injustice of a different kind for the thousands of men and women who spend their lives fighting to uphold the law and keep our communities safe to be tainted by the misguided notion that instances of intentional prosecutorial misconduct are anything but rare occurrences,” she said.

Kenneth L. Wainstein, counsel for Alaska federal prosecutor Joe Bottini, said the nation’s criminal justice system is based on principles of fairness and due process and the fundamental requirement that criminal accusations should be leveled only when a person intentionally violates the law and not when one simply makes mistakes.

. . .

The Schuelke report does not recommend that any criminal charges be brought, but blames prosecutors for intentionally withholding and concealing evidence.[2]

It is another travesty and miscarriage of justice that the wrongdoers within the so-called “Justice Department” have not been subjected to criminal prosecution, convicted, and sent to prisons—where true justice will be meted out—instead of getting “slaps on the wrist” for their criminal conduct.

While Judge Sullivan’s words and actions have been commendable, the Stevens case is not an isolated incident of the Criminal Division’s wrongdoing. Tragically, adequate resources do not exist to ferret out the depth of the Criminal Division’s wrongdoing, or to bring its corrupt lawyers and others—such as FBI agents—to justice.

At best, Sweeney’s comments constitute lies, obfuscation and a perpetuation of the Criminal Division’s cover-up of the systemic corruption within its ranks. The same thing is true of Wainstein’s comments.

As I have written:

[A]buse of our criminal justice system by prosecutors is “unreal” today. According to one civil trial attorney with years of experience, it is akin to “KGB material”—as rogue prosecutors go after innocent people and try to convict and imprison them.

. . .

“[L]awyers who are prosecutors are often less interested in fairness and justice than they are in winning at all costs, and exercising their raw power and hurting others in the process—such as those who are innocent but are convicted anyway.”

. . .

And I added:

“A federal official with reason to know told me that between 15-20 percent of the indictees in federal courts are probably innocent. Some are seniors who have been charged with cheating the Social Security program, and they are scared to death, so they agree to plea bargains rather than fight for their innocence.”

Anyone who honestly thinks that prosecutors are advocates of truth and justice is living in a “Mary Poppins,” fantasy world, and knows nothing about how our legal system really operates. The truth about this system is not found by watching TV shows or films. Indeed, it is seldom if ever discussed or written about, yet it is often said—by lawyers—that the only thing separating prosecutors from guilty criminals is the “badge.”

Lastly, how many innocent people have been wrongly executed for crimes they did not commit? Even more startling may be the number of innocent people who have been wrongly convicted and imprisoned. Perhaps the best remedy for such abuses is to have the “guilty” prosecutors incarcerated; and let justice be meted out with respect to them, by those in prisons.[3][4]

In a long-overdue editorial entitled, “Department of Injustice”—and subtitled, “Prosecutors in the Stevens case deserve severe sanctions”—the Wall Street Journal added:

Something is very rotten at the U.S. Department of Justice. No other reasonable conclusion can be drawn from an independent report on the 2008 prosecution of then-Senator Ted Stevens.

. . .

Most damaging to Justice’s credibility is that, three years after Judge Sullivan set aside the guilty verdicts against Stevens, the department still hasn’t disciplined the men and women involved. Nor has it instituted harsher penalties for future abuses. Attorney General Eric Holder told a Senate committee last week that a separate internal inquiry at Justice is almost done, but he would not promise to make all the results public.

Speaking of public scrutiny, you’ve probably never heard of Matthew Friedrich, Rita Glavin, Brenda Morris, Joseph Bottini, James Goeke or Edward Sullivan. But maybe more people should know them, and learn the various roles they played in a prosecution that not only trampled on the rights of the accused, but denied the people of Alaska a fair election and literally shifted the balance of power in the U.S. government.

. . .

Guilty verdicts against the Republican Stevens arrived less than two weeks before Election Day in 2008, causing the previously popular Senator to lose a close race to Democrat Mark Begich. Mr. Begich would go on to provide the 60th Senate vote to pass ObamaCare in 2009.

Virtually the entire case against Ted Stevens hinged on the testimony of the government’s star witness, VECO Corporation CEO William Allen. To protect his credibility, prosecutors withheld from the defense evidence that he had suborned perjury in a separate criminal investigation. Nor did prosecutors say a word in court when, according to the report, Mr. Allen offered testimony that the prosecution knew to be false.

The government’s seven-count indictment for false statements accused Stevens of accepting free home renovations from Mr. Allen’s company and then not reporting these gifts on federal disclosure forms.

Mr. Stevens and his wife said they had paid $160,000 for the renovations and as far as they knew that was the total cost of the work. What the prosecutors learned in interviewing witnesses—but never shared with the defense—is that even the foreman on the job site shared the Stevens’ understanding that they had been appropriately billed for all the work. Instead of sharing this evidence supporting Stevens’s defense, prosecutors selectively quoted the foreman to make it appear as if he had said the opposite, and they used his comments to falsely attack Stevens.

. . .

It would be nice to think these abuses were rare lapses. But we wonder what else we might learn if every DOJ prosecution was subjected to a review like the one Judge Sullivan wisely demanded.

. . .

Americans hand prosecutors an awesome power—the power to destroy fortunes and futures, and in this case to reallocate national political power. We are seeing a pattern of abuse of this power, in order to win big cases. To help prosecutors remember that their job is to do justice and not simply to beat the defense team, there should be automatic and severe penalties for Brady violations. Prosecutors could also be required to turn over more raw data with potentially exculpatory evidence, except in cases where it threatens national security or endangers witnesses in a criminal case.

Mr. Holder claims to have addressed the problems in the Stevens case by expanding training programs and the like. But as the nation’s chief law enforcer, he should know that harsh punishment is the appropriate response when anyone violates the rights of a citizen as badly as prosecutors did in the Stevens case.[5]

Why should anyone be the least bit surprised that the Justice Department’s Criminal Division is corrupt?  Like the fish rots from the head down, the Criminal Division does as well. Anyone who differs with this conclusion has never dealt with the Division, its lawyers, or their injustices.

© 2012, Timothy D. Naegele


[1] Timothy D. Naegele was counsel to the United States Senate’s Committee on Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs, and chief of staff to Presidential Medal of Freedom and Congressional Gold Medal recipient and former U.S. Senator Edward W. Brooke (R-Mass).  He practices law in Washington, D.C. and Los Angeles with his firm, Timothy D. Naegele & Associates, which specializes in Banking and Financial Institutions Law, Internet Law, Litigation and other matters (see www.naegele.com and http://www.naegele.com/naegele_resume.html).  He has an undergraduate degree in economics from UCLA, as well as two law degrees from the School of Law (Boalt Hall), University of California, Berkeley, and from Georgetown University.  He is a member of the District of Columbia and California bars.  He served as a Captain in the U.S. Army, assigned to the Defense Intelligence Agency at the Pentagon, where he received the Joint Service Commendation Medal.  Mr. Naegele is an Independent politically; and he is listed in Who’s Who in America, Who’s Who in American Law, and Who’s Who in Finance and Business. He has written extensively over the years (see, e.g.,www.naegele.com/whats_new.html#articles), and can be contacted directly at tdnaegele.associates@gmail.com; see also Google search:Timothy D. Naegele

[2] See http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2012/mar/15/inquiry-slams-prosecution-stevens-case-justice-dep

[3] See also http://www.usatoday.com/news/washington/story/2012-02-06/ted-stevens-prosecutors-justice-department/52922922/1 (“Taxpayers pay to defend prosecutors in Ted Stevens case“)

[4] See https://naegeleblog.wordpress.com/2011/01/03/the-american-legal-system-is-broken-can-it-be-fixed/#comment-1700 (emphasis in original)

[5] See http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052702304459804577283371409080312.html?grcc=b0ae03d96c2400ec757f4df24c4ff8bcZ0&mod=WSJ_hpp_sections_opinion (emphasis added); see also http://blogs.wsj.com/law/2012/03/15/law-blog-doc-dump-ted-stevens-investigative-report/


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17 responses

21 03 2012
GolanTreviz

Ted Stevens was a corrupt politician who used public people and funds to benefit himself. His only other goal in office was to destroy the Alaska environment for corporate and personal gain. He belonged in prison for these.

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21 03 2012
Timothy D. Naegele

Thank you for your comments, Golan.

First, I have made my views about Washington politics clear, so I will not repeat them here.

See, e.g., https://naegeleblog.wordpress.com/2010/09/24/washington-is-sick-and-the-american-people-know-it/

Second, I met Senator Stevens. He was a very close personal friend of a long-time friend of mine. Both were lawyers who graduated from Harvard Law School; both served in our military; and the Senator graduated from UCLA, which I did as an undergraduate. Also, I have dealt with the lawyer who represented him.

Third, my article above is not intended to defend, vindicate or exonerate the Senator, or pass judgment on what he did or did not do. It is an article about our legal system, and whether the organs of our government that are charged with doing justice and adhering to the law actually do so. This affects every American, including you and me.

As I wrote above:

A federal official with reason to know told me that between 15-20 percent of the indictees in federal courts are probably innocent. Some are seniors who have been charged with cheating the Social Security program, and they are scared to death, so they agree to plea bargains rather than fight for their innocence.

This is a a travesty, with far-reaching implications for all Americans—and trust in our organs of government and those who are charged with rendering justice. For many Americans, “criminal justice” is an oxymoron, and tragically so.

See also https://naegeleblog.wordpress.com/2013/07/15/justice-and-the-law-do-not-mix/ (“Justice And The Law Do Not Mix”)

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14 06 2014
Neil Gotschall

I am an Alaskan, met Senator Stevens and liked him. We were fortunate to have him as a Senator.

I stumbled across your website and enjoy reading your posts..

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14 06 2014
Timothy D. Naegele

Thank you, Neil, for your comments.

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14 06 2014
Ron Michaels

For some reason, I received this email back in my queue today and I was delighted. I also saw a couple of my previous comments to your write-ups and was surprised at how long it’s been since I’ve had the pleasure of reading your very incisive, articulate work. Keep it up!

Ron

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14 06 2014
Timothy D. Naegele

Thank you, Ron, for your kind words.

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15 07 2013
Timothy D. Naegele

Dershowitz: ‘Prosecutorial Tyrant’ Violated Zimmerman’s Rights

It has been reported:

Famed defense lawyer and Harvard law professor Alan M. Dershowitz is calling for a federal investigation into civil rights violations stemming from the George Zimmerman case—but he says the probe should focus on prosecutorial misconduct rather than on allegations of racial profiling and bias.

. . . Dershowitz said the jury’s finding that Zimmerman was not guilty of either second-degree murder or manslaughter was “the right verdict.”

He added, “There was reasonable doubt all over the place.”

Immediately after the verdict was announced, however, the NAACP and outspoken activist Al Sharpton called on the Justice Department to launch a federal civil-rights probe, charging that the case had been racially tainted.

Dershowitz is calling for a civil-rights probe as well. But he contends the person whose rights were violated was Zimmerman.

“I think there were violations of civil rights and civil liberties—by the prosecutor,” said the criminal-law expert. “The prosecutor sent this case to a judge, and willfully, deliberately, and in my view criminally withheld exculpatory evidence.”

He added: “They denied the judge the right to see pictures that showed Zimmerman with his nose broken and his head bashed in. The prosecution should be investigated for civil rights violations, and civil liberty violations.”

Dershowitz said the second-degree murder case should never have gone to trial considering the flimsy evidence against Zimmerman. He also does not believe it was strong enough to be submitted to a jury for deliberation.

“If the judge had any courage in applying the law, she never would have allowed the case to go to the jury. . . . She should have entered a verdict based on reasonable doubt.”

Dershowitz singled out special prosecutor Angela Corey for “disciplinary action.”

He criticized the state’s probable-cause affidavit for not including evidence indicating Zimmerman could have been acting in self-defense, including graphic images of blood streaming from his scalp and nose.

“The prosecutor had in her possession photographs that would definitely show a judge that this was not an appropriate case for second-degree murder. . . . She deliberately withheld and suppressed those photographs, refused to show them to the judge, got the judge to rule erroneously this was a second-degree murder case.

“That violated a whole range of ethical, professional, and legal obligations that prosecutors have. Moreover, they withheld other evidence in the course of the pretrial and trial proceedings, as has been documented by the defense team,” he said.

Dershowitz described the prosecution’s attempt late in the case to add a third-degree murder charge by asserting the shooting constituted child abuse “so professionally irresponsible as to warrant sanctions and investigations.”

Dershowitz said various legal and bar association organizations could investigate how the state handled the prosecution. He added it could warrant a federal investigation as well.

“I think people’s rights have been violated, . . . but it was the rights of the defendant and the defense team, by utterly unprofessional, irresponsible, and in my view criminal actions by the prosecutor,” he said.

Dershowitz went on to express his opinion that Corey is “basically a prosecutorial tyrant, and well known for that in Florida.”

Dershowitz and Corey have had run-ins before. She contacted Harvard Law School demanding that he be disciplined for voicing his opinion that she had improperly omitted information that could have exonerated Zimmerman.

“Of course, the Harvard Law School laughed at [her complaint],” he said.

. . . Even after the verdict was rendered Saturday, Corey continued to defend her decision to charge Zimmerman with second-degree murder.

“We charge what we believe we can prove,” she told the media. “That’s why we charged second-degree murder. We truly believe that the mindset of George Zimmerman and the words that he used and the reason he was out doing what he was doing fit the bill for second-degree murder.”

Corey said the case “has never been about race,” but also said there was “no doubt” young Trayvon Martin had been “profiled to be a criminal.”

Although Zimmerman was cleared of all charges, Corey told the media: “This case was about boundaries and George Zimmerman exceeded those boundaries.

Dershowitz [said] he expects there will probably be a lawsuit filed against Zimmerman for civil damages. He said civil-damage cases require a lower standard of proof that a wrong has been committed, and Zimmerman would not be able to avoid testifying.

But Dershowitz adds: “I don’t know where you’ll find a lawyer who is prepared to bring it, because it has very little chance of success.”

Asked if he expects Attorney General Eric Holder’s Justice Department to launch a civil-rights investigation targeting Zimmerman, Dershowitz stated: “I don’t think that’s going to happen, and if it happens, I don’t think it would succeed.”

Dershowitz [said] the prosecutor overcharged the case, and never should have sought a second-degree murder conviction.

“The theory was clearly to charge second-degree murder, and hope for a compromise verdict of manslaughter,” he said.

Dershowitz was careful to add that the tragic killing of Trayvon Martin exposes a need to reform Florida laws.

He believes the Stand Your Ground law should be changed because it “elevates macho over the need to preserve life.”

He also stated that racial profiling “has to be addressed.”

“I think these vigilante community groups have to be disarmed,” he said. “I don’t think Zimmerman should have been allowed to have a gun.

“He should have been walking around with a walkie-talkie and calling the police,” he said. “It’s the job of the police to investigate and apprehend suspects based on their professional training.”

But the need for future legal reforms had no bearing on the Zimmerman trial, Dershowitz said, and insisted the case should never have reached a jury.

See http://www.newsmax.com/Newsfront/Dershowitz-Zimmerman-Prosecutorial-Misconduct/2013/07/14/id/514957?s=al&promo_code=142AB-1; see also https://naegeleblog.wordpress.com/2009/12/05/is-barack-obama-a-racist/#comment-2640 (“Zimmerman Prosecutors ‘Should Be Disbarred’”)

Of course, Dershowitz is correct!

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9 09 2013
Ron Michaels

I just saw the news story on Fox that Zimmerman was detained today for threatening his wife and her father with a gun. I once had an attorney for one of my clients tell me, about his client, “he squeezed past the justice system once or twice before. We’ll get him this time.” In my opinion, this will give the legal system in Florida (and around the country) another bite at Zimmerman and I would project it will be painful.

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9 09 2013
Timothy D. Naegele

Thank you, Ron, for your comments.

If true, it is sad. Zimmerman has gone through Hell, and he needs this like he needs ten more holes in his head.

His wife should be celebrating his victory, not causing more pain, but it happens.

See also the comments about Zimmerman beneath the following article: https://naegeleblog.wordpress.com/2009/12/05/is-barack-obama-a-racist/

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9 09 2013
Ron Michaels

I saw your comments about Dershowitz and I followed up with the video of his evisceration of the state’s AG. Watching her on television was an education in itself.

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17 07 2013
Timothy D. Naegele

VIOLENCE

If we want to reduce or eliminate violence, then Hollywood should not make and distribute any violent films and TV shows; such violence should be banned from TV programming; violent video games should be banned; advertisers that support violent media undertakings should see their products boycotted; parents who allow their children to commit violence should be prosecuted; and those who advocate violence should be prosecuted as well.

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30 10 2016
Timothy D. Naegele

Democrats Should Ask Hillary Clinton To Step Aside [UPDATED]

This is the title of an article by John Kass in the Chicago Tribune:

Has America become so numb by the decades of lies and cynicism oozing from Clinton Inc. that it could elect Hillary Clinton as president, even after Friday’s FBI announcement that it had reopened an investigation of her emails while secretary of state?

We’ll find out soon enough.

It’s obvious the American political system is breaking down. It’s been crumbling for some time now, and the establishment elite know it and they’re properly frightened. Donald Trump, the vulgarian at their gates, is a symptom, not a cause. Hillary Clinton and husband Bill are both cause and effect.

FBI director James Comey’s announcement about the renewed Clinton email investigation is the bombshell in the presidential campaign. That he announced this so close to Election Day should tell every thinking person that what the FBI is looking at is extremely serious.

This can’t be about pervert Anthony Weiner and his reported desire for a teenage girl. But it can be about the laptop of Weiner’s wife, Clinton aide Huma Abedin, and emails between her and Hillary. It comes after the FBI investigation in which Comey concluded Clinton had lied and been “reckless” with national secrets, but said he could not recommend prosecution.

So what should the Democrats do now?

If ruling Democrats hold themselves to the high moral standards they impose on the people they govern, they would follow a simple process:

They would demand that Mrs. Clinton step down, immediately, and let her vice presidential nominee, Sen. Tim Kaine of Virginia, stand in her place.

Democrats should say, honestly, that with a new criminal investigation going on into events around her home-brew email server from the time she was secretary of state, having Clinton anywhere near the White House is just not a good idea.

Since Oct. 7, WikiLeaks has released 35,000 emails hacked from Clinton campaign boss John Podesta. Now WikiLeaks, no longer a neutral player but an active anti-Clinton agency, plans to release another 15,000 emails.

What if she is elected? Think of a nation suffering a bad economy and continuing chaos in the Middle East, and now also facing a criminal investigation of a president. Add to that congressional investigations and a public vision of Clinton as a Nixonian figure wandering the halls, wringing her hands.

The best thing would be for Democrats to ask her to step down now. It would be the most responsible thing to do, if the nation were more important to them than power. And the American news media — fairly or not firmly identified in the public mind as Mrs. Clinton’s political action committee — should begin demanding it.

But what will Hillary do?

She’ll stick and ride this out and turn her anger toward Comey. For Hillary and Bill Clinton, it has always been about power, about the Clinton Restoration and protecting fortunes already made by selling nothing but political influence.

She’ll remind the nation that she’s a woman and that Donald Trump said terrible things about women. If there is another notorious Trump video to be leaked, the Clintons should probably leak it now. Then her allies in media can talk about misogyny and sexual politics and the headlines can be all about Trump as the boor he is and Hillary as champion of female victims, which she has never been.

Remember that Bill Clinton leveraged the “Year of the Woman.” Then he preyed on women in the White House and Hillary protected him. But the political left — most particularly the women of the left — defended him because he promised to protect abortion rights and their other agendas.

If you take a step back from tribal politics, you’ll see that Mrs. Clinton has clearly disqualified herself from ever coming near classified information again. If she were a young person straight out of grad school hoping to land a government job, Hillary Clinton would be laughed out of Washington with her record. She’d never be hired.

As secretary of state she kept classified documents on the home-brew server in her basement, which is against the law. She lied about it to the American people. She couldn’t remember details dozens of times when questioned by the FBI. Her aides destroyed evidence by BleachBit and hammers. Her husband, Bill, met secretly on an airport tarmac with Attorney General Loretta Lynch for about a half-hour, and all they said they talked about was golf and the grandkids.

And there was no prosecution of Hillary.

That isn’t merely wrong and unethical. It is poisonous.

And during this presidential campaign, Americans were confronted with a two-tiered system of federal justice: one for standards for the Clintons and one for the peasants.

I’ve always figured that, as secretary of state, Clinton kept her home-brew email server — from which foreign intelligence agencies could hack top secret information — so she could shield the influence peddling that helped make the Clintons several fortunes.

The Clintons weren’t skilled merchants. They weren’t traders or manufacturers. The Clintons never produced anything tangible. They had no science, patents or devices to make them millions upon millions of dollars.

All they had to sell, really, was influence. And they used our federal government to leverage it.

If a presidential election is as much about the people as it is about the candidates, then we’ll learn plenty about ourselves in the coming days, won’t we?

See http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/columnists/kass/ct-hillary-clinton-emails-kass-1030-20161028-column.html (emphasis added); see also http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-3889126/FBI-agents-wanted-investigate-Clinton-foundation-barred-bosses-Justice-Department.html (“FBI agents ‘wanted to investigate Clinton foundation but were barred by Justice Department’”)

If the Department of “Justice” and FBI were remotely honest—which they have not been for decades—Hillary Clinton would have been indicted long ago, and she would not be running for the presidency.

We—and the world—are watching a totally corrupt system in action, which is far far worse than the Watergate days. Indeed, there is no reason to believe that the American system of justice is working at all these days.

It is pathetic; and it is unfolding before the eyes of the world.

The Clintons are criminals who should be in prison. If Donald Trump should lose, which hopefully does not happen, he and his supporters should contest the election of criminals to America’s highest office.

The Clintons should never serve again, except in orange prison jumpsuits.

Hillary behind bars

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19 05 2017
Timothy D. Naegele

Another Despicable At The Department Of Injustice [UPDATED]

Pat Buchanan—an adviser to Presidents Richard Nixon, Ronald Reagan and Gerald Ford, and a former GOP presidential aspirant himself—has written:

“With the stroke of a pen, Rod Rosenstein redeemed his reputation,” writes Dana Milbank of The Washington Post.

What had Deputy Attorney General Rosenstein done to be welcomed home by the Post like the prodigal son?

Without consulting the White House, he sandbagged President Trump, naming a special counsel to take over the investigation of the Russia connection that could prove ruinous to this presidency.

Rod has reinvigorated a tired 10-month investigation that failed to find any collusion between Trump and Russian hacking of the DNC. Not a single indictment had come out of the FBI investigation.

Yet, now a new special counsel, Robert Mueller, former director of the FBI, will slow-walk his way through this same terrain again, searching for clues leading to potentially impeachable offenses. What seemed to be winding down for Trump is now only just beginning to gear up.

Also to be investigated is whether the president tried to curtail the FBI investigation with his phone calls and Oval Office meetings with FBI Director James Comey, before abruptly firing Comey last week.

Regarded as able and honest, Mueller will be under media pressure to come up with charges. Great and famous prosecutors are measured by whom they convict and how many scalps they take.

Moreover, a burgeoning special counsel’s office dredging up dirt on Trump and associates will find itself the beneficiary of an indulgent press.

Why did Rosenstein capitulate to a Democrat-media clamor for a special counsel that could prove disastrous for the president who elevated and honored him?

Surely in part, as Milbank writes, to salvage his damaged reputation.

After being approved 94-6 by a Senate that hailed him as a principled and independent U.S. attorney for both George Bush and Barack Obama, Rosenstein found himself being pilloried for preparing the document White House aides called crucial to Trump’s decision to fire Comey.

Rosenstein had gone over to the dark side. He had, it was said, on Trump’s orders, put the hit on Comey. Now, by siccing a special counsel on the president himself, Rosenstein is restored to the good graces of this city. Rosenstein just turned in his black hat for a white hat.

Democrats are hailing both his decision to name a special counsel and the man he chose. Yet it is difficult to exaggerate the damage he has done.

As did almost all of its predecessors, including those which led to the resignation of President Nixon and impeachment of Bill Clinton, Mueller’s investigation seems certain to drag on for years.

All that time, there will be a cloud over Trump’s presidency that will drain his political authority. Trump’s enemies will become less fearful and more vocal. Republican Congressmen and Senators in swing states and marginal districts, looking to 2018, will have less incentive to follow Trump’s lead, rather than their own instincts and interests. Party unity will fade away.

And without a united and energized Republican Party on the Hill, how do you get repeal and replacement of Obamacare, tax reform or a border wall? Trump’s agenda suddenly seems comatose. And was it a coincidence that the day Mueller was appointed, the markets tanked, with the Dow falling 372 points?

Markets had soared with Trump’s election on the expectation that his pro-business agenda would be enacted. If those expectations suddenly seem illusory, will the boom born of hope become a bust?

A White House staff, said to be in disarray, and a president reportedly enraged over endless press reports of his problems and falling polls, are not going to become one big happy family again with a growing office of prosecutors and FBI agents poking into issues in which they were involved.

Nor is the jurisdiction of the special counsel restricted to alleged Russia interference in the campaign. Allegations about Trump’s taxes, investments, and associates, and those of his family, could be drawn into the maw of the special counsel’s office by political and business enemies enthusiastic about seeing him brought down.

More folks in Trump’s entourage will soon be lawyering up.

While it’s absurd today to talk of impeachment, that will not deter Democrats and the media from speculating, given what happened to Nixon and Clinton when special prosecutors were put on their trail.

Another consequence of the naming of a special counsel, given what such investigations have produced, will be that Vice President Pence will soon find himself with new friends and admirers, and will begin to attract more press as the man of the future in the GOP.

A rising profile for Pence is unlikely to strengthen his relationship with a besieged president.

In the United Kingdom, the odds are growing that Trump may not finish his term.

So how does he regain the enthusiasm and energy he exhibited in previous crises, with such talk in the air?

A debilitating and potentially dangerous time for President Trump has now begun, courtesy of his deputy attorney general.

See http://buchanan.org/blog/rosenstein-joins-posse-127090 (“Rosenstein Joins the Posse“); see also https://naegeleblog.wordpress.com/2012/03/21/the-united-states-department-of-injustice/ (“The United States Department of Injustice“) and http://www.newsmax.com/Politics/rosenstein-speaks-house-memo/2017/05/19/id/791166/ (“Rosenstein Defends Memo Condemning Comey Before Trump Fired Him“)

Cowardly Rosenstein should be fired next!

Coward Rod Rosenstein

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2 08 2017
Timothy D. Naegele

Robert Mueller’s Partisan Witch Hunt Must Be Shut Down, And Its Staff Fired [UPDATED]

Reuters has reported:

A former U.S. Justice Department official has become the latest lawyer to join special counsel Robert Mueller’s team investigating Russia’s interference in the 2016 presidential election, a spokesman for the team confirmed.

Greg Andres started on Tuesday, becoming the 16th lawyer on the team, said Josh Stueve, a spokesman for the special counsel.

Most recently a white-collar criminal defense lawyer with New York law firm Davis Polk & Wardwell, Andres, 50, served at the Justice Department from 2010 to 2012. He was deputy assistant attorney general in the criminal division, where he oversaw the fraud unit and managed the program that targeted illegal foreign bribery.

Mueller, who was appointed special counsel in May, is looking into possible collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia during the election, among other matters. Congressional committees are also investigating the matter.

That Mueller continues to expand his team means the probe is not going to end anytime soon, said Robert Ray, who succeeded Kenneth Starr as independent counsel for the Whitewater investigation during the Clinton administration.

“It’s an indication that the investigation is going to extend well into 2018,” said Ray. “Whether it extends beyond 2018 is an open question.”

The special counsel last month asked the White House to preserve all of its communications about a June 2016 meeting that included the president’s eldest son, Donald Trump Jr., his son-in-law and adviser Jared Kushner, and Russian lawyer Natalia Veselnitskaya.

Russian officials have denied meddling in the U.S. election, and Trump denies any collusion by his campaign.

Among the cases Andres oversaw at the Justice Department was the prosecution of Texas financier Robert Allen Stanford, who was convicted in 2012 for operating an $8 billion Ponzi scheme.

Before that, Andres was a federal prosecutor in Brooklyn for over a decade, eventually serving as chief of the criminal division in the U.S. attorney’s office there. He prosecuted several members of the Bonanno organized crime family, one of whom was accused of plotting to have Andres killed.

A graduate of Notre Dame and University of Chicago Law School, Andres was a Peace Corps volunteer in Benin from 1989 to 1992.

He is married to Ronnie Abrams, a U.S. district judge in Manhattan nominated to the bench in 2011 by Democratic President Barack Obama.

Others on the special counsel team include Andrew Weissmann, chief of the Justice Department’s fraud section; Andrew Goldstein, former head of the public corruption unit at the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Manhattan; and James Quarles, who was an assistant special prosecutor in the Watergate investigation that helped bring down President Richard Nixon.

See http://www.reuters.com/article/us-usa-trump-russia-lawyer-exclusive-idUSKBN1AH5F9 (“Former Justice Department official joins Mueller team“) (emphasis added); see also https://www.wsj.com/articles/special-counsel-mueller-impanels-washington-grand-jury-in-russia-probe-1501788287 (“Special Counsel Robert Mueller Impanels Washington Grand Jury in Russia Probe“)

Like the despicable new FBI Director, Christopher Wray, Andres is an alumnus of the corrupt “Department of Injustice,” and neither of them should have been allowed to serve in our government again, in any capacity. The same thing is true of Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein.

See, e.g., https://naegeleblog.wordpress.com/2012/03/21/the-united-states-department-of-injustice/ (“The United States Department of Injustice“) and http://time.com/4854755/donald-trump-fbi-director-christopher-wray-james-comey-loyalty/ (“President Donald Trump’s pick to head the Federal Bureau of Investigation said Wednesday that nobody has asked him to take a loyalty pledge. ‘I sure as heck didn’t offer one,’ said Trump FBI nominee Christopher Wray during his confirmation hearing before the Senate Judiciary Committee Wednesday. He added that he would not make such a pledge if asked” . . . Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein appointed Robert Mueller as special counsel to oversee an investigation into Russian meddling in the 2016 U.S. election and any possible collusion between Trump’s electoral campaign and the Russian government“) and https://naegeleblog.wordpress.com/2012/03/21/the-united-states-department-of-injustice/#comment-10052 (“Another Despicable At The Department Of Injustice“) and https://naegeleblog.wordpress.com/2017/05/16/americas-newest-civil-war-2017-and-beyond/#comment-10484 (“Shut Down The Mueller Witch Hunt, And Drain The Swamp!“) and https://naegeleblog.wordpress.com/2013/07/15/justice-and-the-law-do-not-mix/ (“Justice And The Law Do Not Mix“)

As I have stated previously, investigations must be launched into the criminal actions of Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton, Loretta Lynch, Susan Rice, Samantha Power, Huma Abedin, James Comey and others in the Obama administration; and they must be indicted, convicted and sent to prison, where true justice will be meted out by their fellow inmates.

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18 09 2017
Timothy D. Naegele

TERMINATE THE VERMIN MUELLER!

Ban Robert Mueller

Sharon LaFraniere, Matt Apuzzo and Adam Goldman have written in the New York Times:

Paul J. Manafort was in bed early one morning in July when federal agents bearing a search warrant picked the lock on his front door and raided his Virginia home. They took binders stuffed with documents and copied his computer files, looking for evidence that Mr. Manafort, President Trump’s former campaign chairman, set up secret offshore bank accounts. They even photographed the expensive suits in his closet.

The special counsel, Robert S. Mueller III, then followed the house search with a warning: His prosecutors told Mr. Manafort they planned to indict him, said two people close to the investigation.

The moves against Mr. Manafort are just a glimpse of the aggressive tactics used by Mr. Mueller and his team of prosecutors in the four months since taking over the Justice Department’s investigation into Russia’s attempts to disrupt last year’s election, according to lawyers, witnesses and American officials who have described the approach. Dispensing with the plodding pace typical of many white-collar investigations, Mr. Mueller’s team has used what some describe as shock-and-awe tactics to intimidate witnesses and potential targets of the inquiry.

Mr. Mueller has obtained a flurry of subpoenas to compel witnesses to testify before a grand jury, lawyers and witnesses say, sometimes before his prosecutors have taken the customary first step of interviewing them. One witness was called before the grand jury less than a month after his name surfaced in news accounts. The special counsel even took the unusual step of obtaining a subpoena for one of Mr. Manafort’s former lawyers, claiming an exception to the rule that shields attorney-client discussions from scrutiny.

“They are setting a tone. It’s important early on to strike terror in the hearts of people in Washington, or else you will be rolled,” said Solomon L. Wisenberg, who was deputy independent counsel in the investigation that led to the impeachment trial of President Bill Clinton in 1999. “You want people saying to themselves, ‘Man, I had better tell these guys the truth.’”

A spokesman for Mr. Mueller declined to comment. Lawyers and a spokesman for Mr. Manafort also declined to comment.

Few people can upend Washington like a federal prosecutor rooting around a presidential administration, and Mr. Mueller, a former F.B.I. director, is known to dislike meandering investigations that languish for years. At the same time, he appears to be taking a broad view of his mandate: examining not just the Russian disruption campaign and whether any of Mr. Trump’s associates assisted in the effort, but also any financial entanglements with Russians going back several years. He is also investigating whether Mr. Trump tried to obstruct justice when he fired James B. Comey, the F.B.I. director.

Mr. Manafort is under investigation for possible violations of tax laws, money-laundering prohibitions and requirements to disclose foreign lobbying. Michael T. Flynn, the former national security adviser, is being scrutinized for foreign lobbying work as well as for conversations he had last year with Russia’s ambassador to the United States. On Monday, Mr. Flynn’s siblings announced the creation of a legal-defense fund to help cover their brother’s “enormous” legal fees.

The wide-ranging nature of Mr. Mueller’s investigation could put him on a collision course with Mr. Trump, who has said publicly that Mr. Mueller should keep his investigation narrowly focused on last year’s presidential campaign. In an interview with The New York Times, Mr. Trump said Mr. Mueller would be overstepping his boundaries if he investigated his family’s finances unrelated to Russia.

For the moment, Mr. Mueller’s team has shown a measure of deference to White House officials, sparing them grand jury subpoenas and allowing them to be appear for voluntary interviews. Those sessions are expected to begin soon. Ty Cobb, a lawyer brought in to manage the White House response to the inquiry, has told administration officials that he wants to avoid any subpoenas from the special prosecutor.

Staff members have been working long hours answering Mr. Mueller’s request for 13 categories of documents, including records related to Mr. Comey’s firing and Mr. Trump’s role in drafting a misleading statement about a June 2016 meeting between campaign officials and Russian-born visitors. Nonetheless, the demand for documents has provoked at least one angry confrontation between Mr. Cobb and Donald F. McGahn II, the White House counsel, over whether certain documents should be withheld to protect the president’s right to confidentiality.

But associates of both Mr. Manafort and Mr. Flynn have received more peremptory treatment. Instead of invitations to the prosecutor’s office, they have been presented with grand jury subpoenas, forcing them to either testify or take the Fifth Amendment and raise suspicions that they had something to hide. At least three witnesses have recently been subpoenaed to testify about Mr. Manafort: Jason Maloni, a spokesman who appeared before the grand jury for more than two hours on Friday, and the heads of two consulting firms — Mercury Public Affairs and the Podesta Group — who worked with Mr. Manafort on behalf of Viktor F. Yanukovych, the pro-Russia former president of Ukraine.

Mr. Mueller’s team also took the unusual step of issuing a subpoena to Melissa Laurenza, a specialist in lobbying law who formerly represented Mr. Manafort, according to people familiar with the subpoena. Conversations between lawyers and their clients are normally considered bound by attorney-client privilege, but there are exceptions when lawyers prepare public documents that are filed on behalf of their client.

Mr. Mueller took over the Russia investigation in May, after the F.B.I. had already spent nearly a year looking into connections between Mr. Trump’s associates and Russians. His team has occasionally been caught by surprise, hearing of possibly important information only when it is revealed in the news media.

This was the case in July, when Mr. Mueller’s prosecutors learned about email exchanges between Donald Trump Jr. and an emissary for a Kremlin-connected Russian oligarch only after they were disclosed in The New York Times, according to a law enforcement official who spoke on condition of anonymity. Donald Trump Jr., the president’s son, set up the Trump Tower meeting to receive what he was told would be damaging information about Hillary Clinton from the Russian government.

Soon after his name surfaced, one of the Russian-born participants at the meeting, Rinat Akhmetshin, was ordered to testify before the grand jury, according to one of Mr. Akhmetshin’s associates.

“They seem to be pursuing this more aggressively, taking a much harder line, than you’d expect to see in a typical white collar case,” said Jimmy Gurulé, a Notre Dame law professor and former federal prosecutor. “This is more consistent with how you’d go after an organized crime syndicate.”

The tactics reflect some of the hard-charging — and polarizing — personalities of Mr. Mueller’s team, seasoned prosecutors with experience investigating financial fraud, money laundering and organized crime.

Admirers of Andrew Weissmann, one of the team’s senior prosecutors, describe him as relentless and uncompromising, while his detractors say his scorched earth tactics have backfired in some previous cases. Greg B. Andres, another one of Mr. Mueller’s prosecutors, once ran an investigation into a Mafia kingpin. Zainab N. Ahmad made her name as a prosecutor pursing high-profile terrorism cases.

Some lawyers defending people who have been caught up in Mr. Mueller’s investigation privately complain that the special counsel’s team is unwilling to engage in the usual back-and-forth that precedes — or substitutes for — grand jury testimony. They argue that the team’s more aggressive tactics might end up being counterproductive, especially if some grand jury witnesses turn out to be more guarded than they would have been in a more informal setting or invoke the Fifth Amendment.

The longer Mr. Mueller’s investigation goes on, the more vulnerable he will be to allegations that he is on a fishing expedition, said Katy Harriger, a professor of politics at Wake Forest University and the author of a book on special prosecutors. Such accusations dogged the investigation of Kenneth W. Starr, the independent counsel whose investigation of Mr. Clinton stretched on for years.

To a degree, Mr. Mueller is in a race against three congressional committees that are interviewing some of same people who are of interest to the special prosecutor’s team. Even if the committees refuse to grant them immunity, congressional testimony that becomes public can give other witnesses a chance to line up their stories.

Rep. Adam Schiff of California, the top Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee, said committee staff members were going to great lengths not to get in Mr. Mueller’s way. But Senator Charles E. Grassley, the chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, indicated last week that his committee might subpoena witnesses to testify about the circumstances of Mr. Comey’s firing even over Mr. Mueller’s objections.

Mr. Mueller’s need to navigate this complex landscape could explain the timing of the raid on Mr. Manafort’s house, which took place in the early hours of July 26. The raid came one day after Mr. Manafort was interviewed by staff members of the Senate Intelligence Committee.

On the day of the raid, Mr. Manafort was scheduled to talk to the Senate Judiciary Committee, an interview that was eventually canceled.

It is unusual for a prosecutor to seek a search warrant against someone who, like Mr. Manafort, had already put his lawyer in contact with the Justice Department. No search warrants were executed during the investigations by Mr. Starr or Patrick J. Fitzgerald, a special counsel appointed during the George W. Bush administration to investigate the leak of the name of a C.I.A. officer.

To get the warrant, Mr. Mueller’s team had to show probable cause that Mr. Manafort’s home contained evidence of a crime. To be allowed to pick the lock and enter the home unannounced, prosecutors had to persuade a federal judge that Mr. Manafort was likely to destroy evidence.

Said Mr. Gurulé, the former federal prosecutor, “Clearly they didn’t trust him.”

See https://www.nytimes.com/2017/09/18/us/politics/mueller-russia-investigation.html?_r=0 (“With a Picked Lock and a Threatened Indictment, Mueller’s Inquiry Sets a Tone“) (emphasis added); see also https://naegeleblog.wordpress.com/2017/05/16/americas-newest-civil-war-2017-and-beyond/#comment-10716 (“THE ANTI-TRUMP MUELLER WITCH HUNT MUST BE SHUT DOWN!“) and http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2017/sep/19/paul-manafort-wiretapped-and-suddenly-trumps-not-s/ (“Paul Manafort wiretapped — and suddenly, Trump’s not so crazy“)

Clearly, the witch hunt by the vermin Mueller must be shut down, and his staff fired immediately.

“Shock-and-awe tactics” must be used against Mueller and his urchins; Barack Obama—what did he know, and when did he know it; former FBI Director James Comey; former Attorney General Loretta Lynch; Hillary and Bill Clinton; Susan Rice; Huma Abedin and others.

As the article states: “It’s important early on to strike terror in [their] hearts.”

Nothing less will suffice.

They must be treated the same way that foreign enemies of our great nation are treated: harshly and without any respect or mercy shown to them.

The FBI is corrupt and lawless.

It is time to “drain the swamp” at the agency; and its new director, Christopher A. Wray, is part of the problem, not the solution.

Those close to the President must be pardoned, and their investigations brought to a screeching halt, like the President pardoned former Arizona sheriff Joe Arpaio.

See https://naegeleblog.wordpress.com/2010/07/30/illegal-immigration-the-solution-is-simple/#comment-10746 (“SET SHERIFF JOE FREE FOREVER!“)

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20 09 2017
Timothy D. Naegele

What Did Barack Obama Know, And When Did He Know It?

James Freeman has written for the Wall Street Journal:

This week CNN is reporting more details on the Obama Administration’s 2016 surveillance of people connected to the presidential campaign of the party out of power. It seems that once President Obama’s appointee to run the FBI, James Comey, had secured authorization for wiretapping, the bureau continued its surveillance into 2017. CNN reports:

US investigators wiretapped former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort under secret court orders before and after the election, sources tell CNN, an extraordinary step involving a high-ranking campaign official now at the center of the Russia meddling probe.

The government snooping continued into early this year, including a period when Manafort was known to talk to President Donald Trump.

Some of the intelligence collected includes communications that sparked concerns among investigators that Manafort had encouraged the Russians to help with the campaign, according to three sources familiar with the investigation. Two of these sources, however, cautioned that the evidence is not conclusive.

This means the wiretapping was authorized more than ten months ago and perhaps more than a year ago. It was presumably a tough decision for a judge to issue a secret warrant under the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, enabling the administration to spy on someone connected with the presidential campaign of its political adversaries.

One would presumably only approve such an order if the request presented by the executive branch was highly compelling and likely to produce evidence that the subject of the wiretap was in fact working with Russia to disrupt U.S. elections. Roughly a year later, as the public still waits for such evidence, this column wonders how this judge is feeling now, especially now that CNN has reported that at least two of its three sources believe the resulting evidence is inconclusive.

One would also presume—or at least hope—that seeking to wiretap associates of the leader of the political opposition is not an everyday occurrence in any administration. At the very least, it seems highly unlikely that such a decision would be made by a mid-level official. CNN notes, “Such warrants require the approval of top Justice Department and FBI officials, and the FBI must provide the court with information showing suspicion that the subject of the warrant may be acting as an agent of a foreign power.”

It seems reasonable for the public to know exactly which officials made this decision and who else they consulted or informed of their surveillance plans. Was the President briefed on the details of this investigation?

And as for the information showing suspicion, where did the FBI come up with that? A September 7 column from the Journal’s Kim Strassel raises disturbing questions, based on recent events and a Washington Post story from last winter. Ms. Strassel writes:

The House Intelligence Committee’s investigation took a sharp and notable turn on Tuesday, as news broke that it had subpoenaed the FBI and the Justice Department for information relating to the infamous Trump “dossier.” That dossier, whose allegations appear to have been fabricated, was commissioned by the opposition-research firm Fusion GPS and then developed by a former British spook named Christopher Steele. ..

The Washington Post in February reported that Mr. Steele “was familiar” to the FBI, since he’d worked for the bureau before. The newspaper said Mr. Steele had reached out to a “friend” at the FBI about his Trump work as far back as July 2016. The Post even reported that Mr. Steele “reached an agreement with the FBI a few weeks before the election for the bureau to pay him to continue his work.”

Oddly, even though CNN is the source of this week’s news, the media outlet seems less interested in President Obama’s knowledge of the surveillance activities that occurred on his watch and against his political adversaries than in how President Trump has described them. CNN’s scoop doesn’t even mention Mr. Obama except in the context of Mr. Trump’s accusations of wiretapping against the former president that appeared on Twitter in March. CNN has followed up with another story saying that Mr. Trump’s accusations have still not been proven.

That’s true, although Mr. Trump’s argument may be getting stronger. And whatever Donald Trump’s tweets say, Americans deserve to know how our government came to spy on people associated with the presidential campaign of the party out of power.

See https://www.wsj.com/articles/did-obama-know-about-comeys-surveillance-1505852932 (“Did Obama Know about Comey’s Surveillance?“) (emphasis added)

There is no question that the Obama-Comey-Mueller relationship is an unholy alliance whose goal has been to take down the Trump presidency and reverse last November’s election results.

It is time for history to focus on this threesome, and their “fellow travelers”—Loretta Lynch, Hillary and Bill Clinton, Susan Rice, Huma Abedin and others—and investigate, indict, convict and imprison each of them . . . where true justice can be meted out by their fellow prisoners.

Nothing less will suffice.

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20 09 2017
Timothy D. Naegele

Jeff Sessions Must Resign As Attorney General Of The United States

Jeff Sessions

Gregg Jarrett, a Fox News legal analyst and former defense attorney, has written:

Jeff Sessions should never have accepted the position of Attorney General of the United States. His leadership has proven unproductive and ineffectual.

There are two reasons for this.

First, he deceived President Trump by concealing his intent to recuse himself from the federal investigation into Russia’s meddling in the 2016 election. Hours after he was sworn in, Sessions began setting his recusal in motion by meeting with Department of Justice officials to discuss stepping aside from the probe. Failing to disclose such a material matter to the president was an egregious betrayal.

Trump was reportedly disgusted and angry with Sessions when he learned of the recusal – rightly so. “If he was going to recuse himself, he should have told me prior to taking office, and I would have picked someone else,” said Trump at a news conference. The president was entitled to know the truth, but Sessions actively hid it from him. Sessions’ deception deprived him of Trump’s confidence and trust which are essential to the job of Attorney General. This ethical impropriety renders him unfit to serve.

Second, Sessions appears either incapable or incompetent. He has resisted producing the documents relevant to the anti-Trump dossier which were subpoenaed by the House Intelligence Committee. He has failed to appoint a special counsel to reopen the case against Hillary Clinton for likely violations of the Espionage Act in the use of her email server, obstruction of justice for destroying 33,000 emails under congressional subpoena, and potential self-dealing for profit through her foundation. The evidence is compelling.

Moreover, Sessions has taken no action to investigate the unmasking of Trump aides during intelligence surveillance by the Obama Administration. Evidence continues to mount that the incoming president was spied upon for political reasons. Transition officials were unmasked, perhaps illegally. And in one case, the unmasking was leaked to the media which is a crime. Yet Sessions is twiddling his thumbs.

And why hasn’t Sessions investigated the possible criminal conduct of James Comey? The fired FBI Director appears to have falsely testified before Congress, stolen government documents, and leaked them to the media.

Jeff Sessions may have been a fine Senator, but he has proven to be a feckless Attorney General. He should resign. But before he does, he can attempt to rectify the wreckage he has wrought by initiating several necessary criminal investigations and/or appointing a special counsel to do so.

James Comey

Comey was asked, under oath, by the House Judiciary Committee if he decided not to pursue criminal charges against Hillary Clinton before or after he interviewed her. He testified, “After.”

Yet, a document uncovered by the Senate Judiciary Committee belies his testimony. A full two months before the FBI ever interviewed Clinton and her top aides, Comey drafted a statement exonerating Clinton. Absent some extraordinary explanation, it appears that Comey’s investigation of Clinton was nothing more than a charade and that he may have lied under oath. If it can be proven, it would constitute the crime of perjury under 18 USC 1621 or a false statement under 18 USC 1001.

This document establishes persuasive evidence that Comey predetermined that Clinton would not be charged. What prosecutor writes a statement absolving a suspect before the evidence is fully gathered, especially from the principal witnesses? No prosecutor I know of. Unless, of course, the fix was in. Unless someone instructed him to protect Clinton or he decided to do it all on his own with a presidential election hanging in the balance.

Either way, it might well constitute obstruction of justice. It is a felony to interfere with a criminal investigation. It is also illegal to use your public office for a political purpose, if that is what Comey was doing.

But Comey’s misconduct and potential illegality don’t stop there. As FBI Director, he converted government documents to his own personal use and leaked at least one of them to the media. As FBI Director, he crafted seven presidential memorandums which are government property, took them into his personal possession when he was fired, and then conveyed one or more of them to a friend for the sole purpose of leaking them to the media. Under 18 USC 641, this could be a crime.

Under no circumstances were these memos “personal,” as Comey claims. They were authored during the course and scope of his employment, composed on a government computer, shared with government employees, and pertained directly to meetings with the president that were central to his job as FBI Director.

Under the Federal Records Act, they are government records. This is indisputable, regardless of what Comey and his lawyers allege. They know this because Comey signed an “Unauthorized Disclosure Agreement” promising that, under penalty of legal action, he would not disseminate workplace documents. If the facts are as stated, he should be prosecuted under the Privacy Act.

Finally, four of the seven memos were “classified,” according to the FBI. If Comey conveyed any of them to an outside source, this would constitute an Unauthorized Removal of Classified Documents (18 USC 1924) or a violation of the Espionage Act (18 USC 798) under which Clinton should have been charged when Comey was FBI Director. The irony is lost on no one. Yet, Sessions appears to have taken no action.

Before he resigns, Sessions must open a full investigation and convene a grand jury to determine whether criminal charges should be brought against Comey. In the alternative, he can appoint a second special counsel to investigate the case. The current special counsel, Robert Mueller, is a long-time friend, ally and mentor to Comey. Mueller is not likely to include Comey in his current investigation, even though he has authority to do so under the directive he received.

Hillary Clinton

The case against Clinton is, by now, self-evident. She stored 110 emails containing classified information on her home computer server, an unsecured and unauthorized place. It is a crime to mishandle classified information under the Espionage Act.

Yet Comey misinterpreted the criminal statute by claiming Clinton did not “intend to violate the law.” This is not the legal standard, as any knowledgeable lawyer will tell you. The standard is whether she committed intentional acts, such as intentionally setting up her personal server and knowingly using it for her work documents, including classified materials. Clinton clearly intended to do these things.

Regardless, the law under 18 USC 793 requires only “grossly negligent” behavior. Here, Comey insisted Clinton was “extremely careless.” However, the two terms are synonymous under the law. Indeed, there is a frequently used jury instruction which explains that gross negligence is extremely careless behavior. So, in essence, Comey was admitting Clinton violated the law, although he twisted the statute to conclude otherwise.

There is strong evidence that Clinton obstructed justice. All of her emails were under a congressional subpoena. She was required to preserve and produce every single one of them. She did not. Instead, she deleted roughly 33,000 emails in defiance of the subpoena and cleansed her server of any incriminating evidence. Destruction of evidence under a lawful subpoena constitutes obstruction. Under the law, it is no excuse to claim that some of the emails were personal in nature.

Growing evidence suggests that Clinton used her office as Secretary of State to confer benefits to donors and foreign governments in exchange for financial contributions to her foundation and cash to her husband. If proven, it would support various crimes of corruption.

It has been reported that Clinton helped UBS avoid the IRS. Thereafter, Bill Clinton got paid $1.5 million and the Clinton Foundation received a ten-fold increase in donations by the bank. It has also been reported that Clinton’s state department approved billions of dollars in arms sales to several nations whose governments gave money to the Foundation.

And then, there is the infamous Uranium One deal. After the State Department under Clinton signed off on the U.S. sale of one-fifth of our nation’s uranium production capacity to the Russians, millions of dollars from Russian sources connected to the Kremlin began to flow to the Clinton Foundation, and Bill Clinton received $500,000 for a speech in Moscow. Coincidence? Or criminal “pay-to-play?”

In his confirmation hearing, Sessions promised to recuse himself from any matter involving Hillary Clinton. Therefore, before he resigns, Sessions must appoint a special counsel to reopen the Clinton investigation and decide anew whether criminal charges are merited.

Susan Rice

In March, the former National Security Adviser to President Obama insisted she “knew nothing” about Trump transition officials swept up in surveillance at the end of the Obama administration. Her statement was not true, and not the first time Rice conjured a false narrative. When confronted with evidence to the contrary, she admitted she knew of the incidental collection and, further, she is the one who requested that names be unmasked.

If Rice or UN Ambassador Samantha Power or any other person requested the unmasking of names for a reason other than national security, it is a crime. And so too is the leaking of those names to the media which clearly occurred. Under the Hatch Act, it is against the law for a public official to use his or her office for a political purpose.

Congress is vigorously investigating Rice and others. Yet Sessions seems detached and unconcerned. As the nation’s top lawyer, he is duty-bound to pursue such a substantial breach of intelligence operations.

Before he resigns, Sessions should launch a criminal investigation into the unmasking of names or appoint a special prosecutor to do the same.

Jeff Sessions either wittingly or unwittingly bungled his confirmation hearing, which led to the recusal that is said to have angered Trump and alienated the AG from the president. Regardless, Sessions’ performance as Attorney General ever since has been notable only for a series of failures to act when action is demanded.

The moment the President of the United States no longer has confidence in his Attorney General, it is time for him to submit his letter of resignation. But first, Sessions can restore integrity to the Department of Justice and salvage his own tattered reputation by taking aggressive action against Comey, Clinton and Rice.

Then he should quietly bow out.

See http://www.foxnews.com/opinion/2017/09/19/gregg-jarrett-sessions-should-resign-but-not-before-taking-action-against-clinton-comey-and-rice.html (“Sessions should resign, but not before taking action against Clinton, Comey and Rice“) (emphasis added); see also https://naegeleblog.wordpress.com/2012/03/21/the-united-states-department-of-injustice/#comment-10765 (“What Did Barack Obama Know, And When Did He Know It?“)

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