December 13th, 2017

Strzok/Page and the myth of objectivity

From what I’ve seen of the coverage of the Strzok/Page texts, the whole story is already being successfully minimized. The reaction of everyone but some of those on the right appears to be “So what? There’s no proof they did anything.”

But the bias these two demonstrated was extreme and ran a profound risk of being prejudicial. Since they—especially Strzok, from what we know so far—worked on investigating the very people they had such a strong aversion to (Trump) and such a strong approval for (Clinton), how could we ever assume that what they did—that is, the decisions they made in their official capacities—were caused by an objective appraisal of the evidence before them rather than their pre-existing prejudices? I don’t think that’s possible to prove or disprove, in part because we actually don’t know (and may never know) what decisions they were responsible for, and in part because it is very difficult to tell whether a person is capable of being objective or not when there are strong pre-existing opinions. One thing we do know is that opinions like that are difficult to overcome and create a strong presumption of prejudice that could easily affect decisions.

It takes a lot of effort and skill and self-awareness to be objective, because we all have opinions. But the line on lawyers (and on reporters, for that matter) is that they are cool professionals who can put those pre-conceptions and expectations and judgments aside and look at a situation fairly.

I titled this with the phrase “myth of objectivity,” but it’s not really a myth—not totally, anyway. It’s a goal, and I believe some people can achieve it. But I also believe that’s very rare, and it takes some struggle and a great deal of integrity and devotion to the idea that objectivity is of overwhelming importance. It also takes extreme self-examination, because people tend to be unaware of how much their expectations are affecting what they see and the judgments they make.

How can an extremely partisan person be objective? Does it ever happen? And how often does it happen? Is there anyone in public life (or government, or the DOJ) who’s only mildly partisan, or who if extremely partisan is capable of objectivity?

Can people with the degree of partisanship that the Strzok and Page texts reveal ever be objective? Haven’t they passed a point of obvious no-return that invalidates their participation in any investigation of those about whom they’re so very partisan? I certainly believe so.

And at what point does that happen? And how can we ever know? Who makes that judgment? After all, it’s not like they were writing anti-Trump jibes publicly on Twitter, for all the world to see.

Instead we find hidden partisanship, secret hatred, and an intent to save the republic though their jobs. And how would that have been accomplished (Page alludes to a possible “path” by which they can prevent Trump’s election, but it’s rejected as too risky and so we never learn what it might have been)? And how can you prove that something of the sort either happened or didn’t happen? Are the texts enough evidence, or did they communicate it in other ways?

And how many others are there with roles in the investigations who were and who are every bit as partisan as Strzok and Page? The federal government agencies are loaded with them, and the entire legal profession leans very heavily towards the same partisanship (liberal and/or leftist).

Lawyers are generally expected to be able to put aside their own opinions to work fully on behalf of their clients, whoever those clients might be. So lawyers like to think they can be objective and fair no matter what. If they can’t be objective they’re not supposed to take the case.

Andrew McCarthy—whose analyses I usually agree with—takes an interesting position on the Strzok/Page texts:

But I believe that McCarthy has let his status as a lawyer, and his feeling of identification with other lawyers, lead him astray on this. In other words, he is defensive because he has made enormous efforts to be objective, and it is something he believes all lawyers should do and are capable of doing. He says he speaks crudely (and I’m sure in an opinionated way) about politics in private, and the idea is that he is objective when acting in his official capacity as a lawyer.

But I very much doubt he’s ever been tasked with evaluating a politician with so much at stake (the presidency, in this case) and making a decision on whether that person has committed a crime, when he has such strong negative feelings about the election and has concluded that the person is a danger to the country. I can’t imagine that such a situation wouldn’t require recusal from the case. It would take superhuman strength to maintain objectivity in the face of that sort of prejudice, to the point where the person him/herself cannot be the judge either of the politician or of his/her own capacity to be fair.

And there is no parallel to Trump’s tweets—Trump is a politician, not a lawyer tasked with the job of investigating a politician. Trump is expected to be highly partisan, as are all politicians.

56 Responses to “Strzok/Page and the myth of objectivity”

  1. Griffin Says:

    This isn’t some investigation into selling illegal cigarettes or some other offense this is a big time deal so I have a hard time just dismissing this. How can we ever expect a fair investigation of someone when one of the main investigators believed the potential target was ‘loathsome’. And this was before any of the stuff they are investigating ever happened. This was off of speeches and twitter spats.

    Pretty disappointed in McCarthy on this one.

  2. neo-neocon Says:

    Griffin:

    I think that in a way McCarthy is demonstrating my point. He isn’t objective (IMHO) about Strzok and Page because he feels that he himself is fully capable of being both objective and partisan, so he’s not upset by Strzok and Page because he feels they can do the same.

  3. Griffin Says:

    neo,

    But the problem with that is apparently Mueller doesn’t think that as both of these people were removed and demoted. So we are supposed to give these people the benefit of the doubt when the guy in charge apparently wasn’t willing to risk it. By the simple fact that he did that disproves the McCarthy position. If they were able to be impartial even though they hate Trump then why remove them?

  4. neo-neocon Says:

    Griffin:

    To avoid the appearance of prejudice. To protect himself from accusations that he paid insufficient attention to the possibility of prejudice.

  5. Kyndyll G Says:

    I am not sure that anyone very far left of center is capable of being impartial. This is not because I am right of center and think all righties are 100% perfect and all lefties are evil and stupid – it’s because a definitional difference between right and left is that the right tends to support the fundamental idea of the rule of law – of the existence of laws that are supposed to be enforced and punished equally – whereas the left does not. Some people right of center will respect the rule of law and punish someone who did wrong even if that person is conservative, or let off someone who did not do wrong, even if that person is a hard lefty. Nobody on the left seems capable of doing that anymore.

    The left simply cannot apply the same standards to all. To the left, all laws are enforced differently, depending on the skin color, gender, political affiliation, national origin, religion, wealth, and so forth of the parties involved in a crime. A crime must be judged primarily on feelz and identity, rather than on the crime committed.

    A year or so ago, I believe the Atlantic had an article about the “incarceration of black America” and one of the stories involved a male black teen who murdered a taxi driver for no apparent reason. The mother moans about how unfair it is that her son has a long prison sentence, and the context of the article implies that it’s because he’s black. No, crazy lefty nutjobs, it’s because he got into a taxi and shot the driver in the back of the head. The same people would have no problem letting a non-black person rot in jail for the same crime. That’s not right. If my own child had done the crime, I’d convict of first-degree murder. I’m not perfect, but I do believe in the rule of law.

    I’ve mentioned before that I consider the Brendan Eich incident to be one of the mile posts of when the United States died. Some people are allowed to run amok and commit violent crimes with little or no punishment, while others are ruined for long-ago actions that were not even crimes. Nothing has gotten better since then. Nothing will ever get better with the current trajectory, if lefties are allowed to continue to run loose destroying people they don’t like with increasingly ridiculous charges.

    And trust me, they’ll get ever more ridiculous. What unbelievably remote and trivial things will be driving witch hunts tomorrow? Do you suppose you’ll be safe?

    Civilization starts to die when its population heads down the road of “rules for thee but not for me (or for the demographics who tend to vote for politicians I like)”.

  6. Cornhead Says:

    Andy McCarty is dead wrong here. Mueller’s crew is full of bitter Dems determined to take out Trump. Professionals don’t talk and text like that. And when did this FBI guy work?

  7. Griffin Says:

    neo,

    But by removing him he has tainted everything these people did prior(mainly the Clinton stuff). The truly ballsy move would have been to just keep them on their and take lawyer/saint stance that McCarthy seems to be taking.

  8. Cornhead Says:

    KG

    The Left is rabid about Trump. I’ve never seen anything like it. It is an attempted coup. TDS is a mental illness.

  9. Griffin Says:

    One lesser commented exchange between these two was the comparison between Trump and Cruz. One (can’t remember which) seemed to think that Cruz might actually be a worse (from their left wing standpoint) president than Trump.

    I’ve said it before but I strongly believe that any Republican president would be under full on assault right now. Maybe worse on Trump but their is no one with an (R) that would be acceptable. So childish.

  10. Rufus Firefly Says:

    Kyndyll G,

    I think a more accurate dividing line may be religious zealotry or excessive greed. In serious matters most people probably try to be objective most of the time. But people who truly believe they can save some souls or people who are so greedy that they don’t care if others are harmed as long as they are enriched cannot be trusted to be fair and impartial.

    What Strzok, and especially his paramour, write approaches the level of religious fervor. The nation, no, the entire planet is in jeopardy! And, lo and behold, Strzok alone may be the only man to save us all! Based on the snippets I’ve read, she seems more unhinged and a true believer in the irredeemable evilness and pending apocalypse of Donald J. Trump, but he comes across like what he is; a man living a double life with a forbidden passion for a woman he desperately wants to impress. What is that woman passionate about? Destroying DJT. How can he most impress her? Destroying DJT.

  11. Rufus Firefly Says:

    No question this guy should have been removed from Mueller’s investigative team. He should also be removed from the FBI for not having the self-control to avoid having an affair with a co-worker. And, he should be removed from the FBI for not having the self-control to avoid using a public medium (cell phone texts) to express political opinions.

    Most of us who work can be fired for expressing public, political statements. If I were to go on Facebook and write my political views it would simply be a matter of time until a co-worker or nosy 3rd party takes offense from something and contacts my employer, and my political views are rather innocuous.

    Strzok works for the freakin’ FBI and he can’t stop running his mouth about the President elect?! His boss’s, boss’s, boss’s, boss?!?! Your average bag boy at the grocery store knows enough to shut up about his shift manager, who he secretly hates, but a grown man entrusted with a position of authority at the FBI hasn’t figured that out?!

    We don’t have to analyze any of his actual statements to determine if his removal was warranted. The simple fact that an FBI agent slept with a co-worker and made written statements about the President, like a teen-aged girl complaining about her Algebra teacher, is testament enough that he is not qualified to work for the FBI.

  12. parker Says:

    In general, I respect McCarthy’s opinions. But he is after all a lawyer, a high profiled one at that, and he defends his fellow travelers. When you walk through the barnyard it it is a good idea to scrap off your boots before taking them off in the mud room.

    Yes, we all have our opinions. When ‘investigating’ a POTUS elect and then POTUS sworn into office, any taint of impartially is YUGELY suspect. SNAFU and FUBAR. The entire Mueller team, Mueller and Comey in particular, should be in handcuffs and awaiting trial, in my POV.

  13. parker Says:

    Griffin,

    I am partisan. … Cruz would have hit the ground running. He was far more feared by the ‘swamp’. Could he have defeated the shrew queen, well that is the question. My answer is yes.

  14. Griffin Says:

    parker,

    I was a Cruz supporter also but sadly I have come to the conclusion that he wouldn’t have been able to get those key votes in Wisconsin, Michigan, Ohio and Pennsylvania that won it for Trump. His unique appeal was the difference.

  15. J.J. Says:

    What bothers me about this is not so much that people can’t be objective. It is hard to be objective. We have had differences of political opinion since the founding. People have been partisans. We have dealt with those differences through the campaign and election process. And the results were accepted. What this entails is criminalizing political ideas or actions and trying to annul the results of an election. That is the kind of thing done in failed states and Banana Republics. That’s why this type of thing must be exposed and stopped. The sooner the better.

  16. Steve57 Says:

    Lots of people (me included) speak crudely in private about politics.

    Here’s where McCarthy goes off the rails. In some of those texts strzok discusses with a his mistress a meeting they had in “Andy’s” office. This is almost certainly Andrew McCabe, then Comey’s assistant and soon to be acting director of the FBI.

    And it wasn’t just a BS session about politics. As the old saying goes, everybody talks about the weather but nobody does anything about it (the old saying existed decades before the global warming crowd came along). These people were holding a meeting about how to prevent a Trump presidency. Words like “insurance policy” were thrown around; “We can’t take that risk.”

    As Rep. Jordan said when questioning Rosenstein today, that goes to intent. There was quite literally an incestuous relationship between DoJ/FBI and Fusion GPS/Trump dossier. One guy’s wife was working on the project. Strzok’s mistress was working on it.

    This is one of the few times McCarthy has gone off his nut. The only time, actually, I can remember. What these people were and are doing is as corrupt as corrupt can be. It’s real banana republic stuff, and McCarthy’s institutional biases are blinding him to the facts.

  17. Retail Lawyer Says:

    What bothers me most is Strzok’s very heavy involvement in Hillary’s investigation. He views the prospective election of Trump as a catastrophe. The best “insurance” against said catastrophe is a viable Hillary. How a I supposed to believe this was a fair investigation?
    Nobody’s talking about this.

  18. Steve57 Says:

    Just to reiterate, I know full well that federal employees can engage in partisan political politics on their own time. I spent 20 years in the Navy, I know the rules.

    But I’ve never before considered a strategy session in the assistant director of the FBI’s office about protecting the country from a Trump victory to be “on their own time.” That would be right up there with me in my former life campaigning in uniform, and assigning the duty driver and an official navy vehicle to drive my candidate’s supporters to the polls.

    That wouldn’t remotely approach the gravity this situation, but it points toward it.

    “If you’re ok w/ Trump’s outbursts, I don’t see getting whipped over this BS. ”

    Allrighty then, Mr. McCarthy. Trump doesn’t exercise direct police powers over me. The FBI does. Or to put it another way suppose a district court judge were tweeting about how as a social justice warrior he was duty bound to prioritize the rights of the “marginalized” over the privileged, that whiteness is evil, and that redistribution of wealth is such a vital priority that sometimes people just had to take the law into their own hands to do it. Would McCarthy think it’s just BS that I think the judge should recuse himself in cases where a minority burglarizes a white person’s house?

    It might be fine for other government officials to express those opinions but not a judge, as long as those other officials aren’t adjudicating individual cases. It’s so lazy to think that If I’m OK with some government officials expressing certain opinions I therefore MUST be OK with all government officials expressing those same opinions it approaches the comatose.

    Or I’m a hypocrite and worse than Hitler.

  19. Steve57 Says:

    Retail Lawyer said:

    The best “insurance” against said catastrophe is a viable Hillary. How a I supposed to believe this was a fair investigation?
    Nobody’s talking about this.

    I have, but not on this venue. Specifically, both Cheryl Mills and Huma Abedin told the FBI that they weren’t aware that Hillary Clinton had a private server in her Long Island home until after they left government service.

    But the FBI had their emails, which showed that both knew exactly what Hillary Clinton’s email arrangement was as early as 2010. They blatantly lied to the FBI, yet the FBI let it slide.

    I have no idea what Flynn could have done that was worse. Apparently they said he lied about details of a conversation Flynn had with the Russian ambassador Kislyak. As a career military intelligence professional rising as high as director of the DIA Flynn would have been perfectly aware his phone conversation with the ambassador was recorded.

    Mills and Abedin obviously lied. They had been aware for years of Clinton’s private email server. It was an ongoing situation spanning years yet they got away with feigning ignorance in one setting while openly discussing it in their emails. Flynn had one conversation with the Russian ambassador after Trump had become President elect. Flynn clearly had a responsibility as a member of the transition team to reach out to counterparts.

    I have no idea how Flynn was the one who ended up pleading guilty to lying to the FBI, but but Mills and Abedin got a pass.

    Or, rather, yes I do. But there is no legitimate reason it worked out that way.

  20. Amadeus 48 Says:

    The real point about McCarthy is, I think, his fundamental tribalism as a former assistant US attorney in the Southern District of New York who prosecuted terrorism cases. He undoubtedly knew and probably worked with Peter Strzok. He certainly knows and likes James Comey. But above all, he knows that his tribe (federal law enforcement professionals) are good people. They are sometimes wrong, they are sometimes misguided, but they are essentially honorable people who try to do the right thing to bring the bad guys to justice. If you have spent much time with former federal prosecutors, you know what I am talking about.
    McCarthy will give people like Comey, Mueller, Strzok, McCabe the benefit of the doubt unless and until you can show him that they broke the law or their own rule book by their acts. They and he will engage in all sorts of rationalizations for lies, manipulations, sharp practice and so forth as long as these things are within the “rules”, which are essentially the US Code and the Justice Department prosecutors’ manual. Why? Because they are the good guys. And you and I and Donald Trump are the suspects–and we’ve probably broken the law, and maybe we are the bad guys.
    Mueller sacked Strzok because the IG showed him that Strzok broke the rules. Mueller covered up Strzok’s demotion because the tweets were embarrassing.
    All of the people on Team Mueller think they are the good guys. They will tell themselves they are being objective. But they know that you and I and Trump break the law every day. And they’ll do their best to prove it if assigned to do so.
    As to Comey and Strzok and Hillary, I think Comey and Strzok realized that the Obama DOJ would never prosecute the leading Dem contender for the presidency, so they were trying to get the facts out there before the voting public. I’ll guarantee you that Lynch, Obama, and Clinton were shocked when Comey gave that August 2016 press conference.
    This whole thing is an unprecedented mess.

  21. om Says:

    Klavan interviewed McCarthey last week and McCarthey ws not harsh about Strzok actions at all. That was before these details came out. Protecting other members of the tribe seems to be a plausible explaination. Does the tribe trump the constitution?

  22. parker Says:

    Oh so sorry, but no excuses. Mueller and his team came in with an agenda, they knew there was not even a hint of discovering creditable evidence to prove beyond a reasonable doubt djt colluded with the Russians, but instead they were focused on opening a fishing expedition. There was no collusion. They knew it from day one.

    Trump, given his demeanor, is a target of opportunity, as was Moore. Soon we will learn Trump molested Ivanka when she was 14 and the Polanski pardon does not apply.

  23. parker Says:

    Steve57,

    Yes, you are worse than Hitler and lets not stop there, you are worse than Stalin, Mao, Pol Pot, and Obama.

  24. AesopFan Says:

    Retail Lawyer Says:
    December 13th, 2017 at 7:44 pm
    What bothers me most is Strzok’s very heavy involvement in Hillary’s investigation. He views the prospective election of Trump as a catastrophe. The best “insurance” against said catastrophe is a viable Hillary. How a I supposed to believe this was a fair investigation?
    Nobody’s talking about this.
    * * *
    This is a major concern, and certainly needs investigation. Considering how much damage the IRS did to the electoral process by stone-walling Tea Party organizations, how much more can the FBI and DOJ do?
    Is there any Federal equivalent of the Wisconsin John Doe investigations with their gag rules and undercover implementation? Other than the FISA surveillance, that is.
    How much did the Feds do to throw the election to Hillary? We already know Lynch was complicit. Comey is .. still an enigma, as Amadeus said (“As to Comey and Strzok and Hillary, I think Comey and Strzok realized that the Obama DOJ would never prosecute the leading Dem contender for the presidency, so they were trying to get the facts out there before the voting public.”), but I differ about Strzok — he altered the wording of the description of Hillary’s conduct to remove it from being legally-actionable, but maybe that was the most he could do once Comey decided to make the “investigation” public (the reason for the irony-quotes should be obvious).

  25. Oldflyer Says:

    Yes to Parker. Mueller had a very wide net to cast for his team. I do not accept that his choices were accidental, or made with benign intent.

    I watched Rosenstein for a few minutes this morning. I felt like I was watching a self-satisfied rat that had stolen the cheese from the trap.

    McCarthy is entitled to his opinion. Maybe he actually believes that in his world, people can speak disgustingly partisan trash about a person in private, and then turn around and act judiciously toward them in public. I don’t.

    We have a veritable insurrection in play. This may not be the first; but, I suspect it is more deeply rooted among power players than at any time since the 19th century.

  26. AesopFan Says:

    J.J. Says:
    December 13th, 2017 at 7:27 pm
    What bothers me about this is not so much that people can’t be objective. …What this entails is criminalizing political ideas or actions and trying to annul the results of an election. That is the kind of thing done in failed states and Banana Republics. That’s why this type of thing must be exposed and stopped. The sooner the better.
    * * *
    At least we are getting more information now.
    Under President Clinton, we would be getting none.
    See PowerLineBlog for clips from the hearings where Gowdy and Jordan grill DAG Rosenstein.

  27. stu Says:

    One way to look at this is that if the individual was sitting as a potential juror in a trial of Trump and expressed those sentiments on voir dire he/she would be struck for cause and not allowed to sit in judgement.

  28. AesopFan Says:

    stu Says:
    December 13th, 2017 at 8:56 pm
    One way to look at this is that if the individual was sitting as a potential juror in a trial of Trump and expressed those sentiments on voir dire he/she would be struck for cause and not allowed to sit in judgement.
    * *
    Indeed.
    Which is why the biased juror (or investigator) will never make public his bias, but will operate covertly under its influence.
    Strzok and Page never thought anyone would ever (1) look at their correspondence; (2) question their positions if revealed.
    Hillary was supposed to win.
    Sure would be interesting to find out what the insurance policy was going to be (and if it was ever implemented).

  29. AesopFan Says:

    Some interesting articles:
    https://libertyunyielding.com/2017/12/08/russian-organized-crime-mysteries-mueller-democrats-russia-trump-thing/

    https://www.politico.com/story/2017/11/13/robert-mueller-russia-probe-organization-244789

    http://thefederalist.com/2017/12/12/washington-post-profile-of-fusion-gps-downplays-firms-shady-russian-connections/

    http://www.tabletmag.com/jewish-news-and-politics/251387/why-glenn-greenwald-deserves-a-pulitzer-prize

  30. Matt_SE Says:

    Most of this is navel gazing. It doesn’t matter if Strzok and Page are as dispassionate and objective as Vulcans (though I highly doubt they are).

    What matters is the APPEARANCE of impropriety.

    When you have the appearance of impropriety, the public loses faith in the justice of their institutions. When the public loses faith to a great degree, you’re asking for a revolution.

    I said from the beginning that Mueller’s investigation was a sham, based on nothing more than logic and a knowledge of human nature. There’s quite a bit of evidence backing that up now. The entire enterprise is probably criminal.

    But Sessions won’t lift a finger and the GOPe (McConnell) won’t allow Trump to fire him. This is intolerable, and it’s designed to last for Trump’s entire tenure. Either that, or until we voters get rid of McConnell in 2020.

  31. AesopFan Says:

    This is not directly on topic, but it needs reading.
    I did not know that Heying and Weinstein are married; she didn’t show up in any of the articles about his confrontations with the SJWs at Evergreen State College.

    http://www.washingtonexaminer.com/bonfire-of-the-academies-two-professors-on-how-leftist-intolerance-is-killing-higher-education/article/2642973
    by Heather Heying and Bret Weinstein | Dec 12, 2017, 12:01 AM

    “We were among Evergreen’s most popular faculty, and year in, year out, our students wrote stellar evaluations of us. Our programs were always full, even in a time of falling enrollments. Yet, we work at Evergreen no more. What happened to this brilliant, flawed experiment? There are too many subplots to recount, but here is one thread that, we hope, others can use to spot insurgencies on their own campuses.
    In 2015, Evergreen hired a new president. Trained as a sociologist, George Bridges did two things upon arrival. First, he hired an old friend to talk one-on-one to members of our community — faculty, staff, and students. We talked about our values and our visions for the college. But the benefit of hindsight suggests that he was looking for something else. He was mapping us, assessing our differences, our blind spots, and the social tensions that ran beneath the surface. Second, Bridges fired the provost, Michael Zimmerman. The provost, usually synonymous with the vice president for academics, is the chief academic officer at an institution of higher education. Zimmerman would have disapproved of what Bridges had in mind and would have had some power to stop it. But he was replaced by a timid (though well-liked) insider who became a pawn due to his compromised interim status and his desire not to make waves.

    Having mapped the faculty and fired the provost, Bridges began reworking the college in earnest. ”

    What follows introduces a component I had never seen before: that President Bridges was not just lame and ineffectual at stopping the protesters; he was complicit in creating and enabling them.

    It’s like reading a post from professors forced out of German universities in the thirties (a claim is not subject to Godwin’s Law if it’s really happening).

  32. Stephen Ippolito Says:

    It’s an iron-clad rule of the administration of justice in the english speaking world that:

    ” Justice should not only be done but should manifestly and undoubtedly be seen to be done.”

    Hence the tradition of judges, politicians and others holding an official administrative office recusing themselves from involvement in matters not only where they actually do have a conflict of interest but also in matters where they don’t but nevertheless might be reasonably perceived as such.

    It is not a matter of whether these two deplorable partisan hacks actually allowed their political biases to influence them in the exercise of their duties – but whether a reasonable person might suspect that they could have.

    It is appalling that nothing is being made of this betrayal of the public’s trust.

    I can’t recall the year or the audience to whom he was speaking, but Teddy Roosevelt gave a lecture once where he observed on the falling birth-rate in the US and urged its people to step it up and reproduce for the sake of the continuation of their traditions and civilisational values.

    TR, ever the Darwinist, said he took comfort from the fact that should they not heed his warning and instead be replaced by more fertile peoples in their own lands and their values fade away then they did not deserve their country anyway and should make way for their more virile replacements – without being mourned.

    It’s harsh and sad for those of us who believe that “the west is best” but I take comfort in that view.

  33. Amadeus 48 Says:

    Aesopfan and others:
    As to Strzok’s edit of Comey’s draft on Hillary’s email server, this would be pretty typical behavior with respect to a draft circulated for comment. I might have made that change myself for the following reason: if you say that Hillary acted in a “grossly negligent” manner, you have just said she violated the statute. You have to say something else if you are not going to charge her. “Extremely careless” appears nowhere in the statute. Comey would have eventually made that change by himself or with someone’s comment because the change is obvious. Strzok just happened to be the one to note the point and suggest the change.

  34. AesopFan Says:

    Stephen Ippolito Says:
    December 13th, 2017 at 10:36 pm
    It’s an iron-clad rule of the administration of justice in the english speaking world that:

    ” Justice should not only be done but should manifestly and undoubtedly be seen to be done.”

    Hence the tradition of judges, politicians and others holding an official administrative office recusing themselves from involvement in matters not only where they actually do have a conflict of interest but also in matters where they don’t but nevertheless might be reasonably perceived as such.

    It is not a matter of whether these two deplorable partisan hacks actually allowed their political biases to influence them in the exercise of their duties – but whether a reasonable person might suspect that they could have.
    * *
    Considering the fuss the Democrats made about AG Sessions recusing himself because of “perceived conflicts” — why was Mueller so (a) blind or (b) corrupt as to allow this clearly biased team to be assembled?
    McCarthy was pointing out the problems as soon as the investigators were announced; I’m very surprised he is soft-pedaling now on the possibility of biased actions stemming from biased opinions.

  35. AesopFan Says:

    Amadeus 48 Says:
    December 13th, 2017 at 10:46 pm

    Comey would have eventually made that change by himself or with someone’s comment because the change is obvious. Strzok just happened to be the one to note the point and suggest the change.
    * * *
    Good point, but the fact remains that Strzok DID make the change. Did Comey see the problem and ask him to do it, or did he inform Comey it had to be done, given their pre-conceived conclusion not to charge Clinton or any of her acolytes?

  36. Griffin Says:

    Aesopfan,

    And McCarthy’s bringing up Trumps more outrageous tweets and statements is a bizarre non sequitor to me. Because Trump makes wild statements it’s no biggie that FBI agents investigating issues around him are wildly biased. Huh?

  37. AesopFan Says:

    McCarthy has to be going through some wild periods of cognitive dissonance even trying to imagine that his own comrades might be, um, less than robustly ethical.

    Or maybe the FBI got a FISA warrant on him…

  38. Ron Drozdik Says:

    McCarthy is a nevertrumper. Enough said.

  39. Ron Drozdik Says:

    McCarthy is a nevertrumper. Enough said.

    THIS IS NOT A DUPLICATE!

  40. Yancey Ward Says:

    The normal way to handle such inclinations is to have them balanced by their ideological opposites. That is the real sin of the Mueller team- there is no balance. I proposed months ago that Mueller went this direction for one of two reasons:

    (1) Mueller already knew at the beginnning the Russian Collusion story was bullshit, and needing the left to accept this result, he had to stack his team with people who could be reasonably described at anti-Trump at a glance so that it couldn’t be claimed that the investigation was a sham like the Clinton investigation was.

    (2) Mueller wanted to make sure the investigation got Trump by any means possible, so he did dare allow anyone on the team who might get in the way.

    Now, at the time I pointed this out, I thought #1 was the proper way to expect it to play out, and I predicted the investigation would be wrapped up by the Fall, but I think, now, I might have been wrong, but it is still possible my optimism wasn’t foolish.

  41. Yancey Ward Says:

    One of the interesting developments over the last day was the public release of the Strzok text about the meeting in “Andy’s office” which was followed almost immediately by Andrew McCabe cancelling his appearance before the House oversight committee. I think the two event are directly related, and I fully expect McCabe to either refuse to appear next week, too, or appear with a personal attorney rather than a DoJ one. I think he cancelled yesterday because he wasn’t sure what to say about this text if asked about it- that makes me suspicious.

  42. Yancey Ward Says:

    Where Strzok is going to cause the most pain for the left is if that bit about him changing the text of the public statement about Clinton’s e-mail practices. It is all but 100% certain this change was made so that she could be let off the hook without an indictment. This really is almost the definition of obstruction of justice. An honest broker would have left the original text alone and made the justification for not prosecuting the case on other grounds. Changing that text that way is purely political favoritism.

  43. expat Says:

    I think McCarthy is confusing the scale in this case. Yes, a good Dem prosecuter may put aside party loyalty to go after a Dem who commits a crime. He will want to clean up his party, and there will be others who can take the place of the crook.

    On an election scale, this is not the case. The Mueller people were not seeing this in terms of individual bad acts. They felt that the whole country was at stake, and there was no next-in-line replacement for Hillary who could have saved the party. For these people, going after Cheryl or Huma would have been like removing blocks from the foundation of the whole country. It’s a whole different level.

  44. Sharon W Says:

    Maybe Andy McCarthy is one of the unlisted members cited here: “The Meeting of the Concerned, which has grown all year but consists of just a few dozen people, meets during the work day and does not reveal its member list.” A group that issued this in November:

    “We are a group of citizens united by our deep concern over threats to the integrity of American democracy and the rule of law. With the indictments announced on Monday, the investigation by special counsel Robert Mueller into Russian interference with the 2016 election is now entering a new and critical phase.

    At the same time, a growing chorus of Republican and conservative voices has started calling for Mueller’s resignation on trumped-up grounds, a move that may be calculated to help justify dismissal of the special counsel and pardons for his targets.

    In view of these events, we want to come forward and express our strong support for allowing the Mueller investigation to proceed without interference or obstruction. We would regard dismissal of the special counsel, or pardons issued preemptively to anyone targeted by his investigation, as a grave abuse of power that justifies initiation of impeachment proceedings.

    We hereby call on House Speaker Ryan and Senate Majority Leader McConnell to make clear, both publicly and privately, that they support the Mueller investigation and regard any interference with that investigation, including dismissal of the special counsel or preemptive pardons of investigation targets, as completely unacceptable.

    We further urge all Republican members of Congress to issue public statements on these issues as well. It is morally imperative that the Republican Party and the conservative movement stand as bulwarks of the rule of law, not enablers of its erosion and violation. Now is the time for choosing.”

    Full article here:

    https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/powerpost/wp/2017/11/01/concerned-conservatives-aiming-to-build-a-trump-resistance-call-for-gop-to-protect-mueller/

  45. Ike Says:

    The elephant in the room, not mentioned by commenters or neo, is this: the text about the meeting in McCabe’s office, attended at least by Page and Strzok, reveals that these three FBI agents one of whom is #2 in the Bureau were conspiring to prevent the election of the GOP candidate for POTUS. Three law Federal law enforcement officials were discussing how to stop Trump’s election and/or his presidency. All the rest is bull, that meeting reveals sedition and is tantamount to treason.

  46. arfldgrs Says:

    its even worse than neo lays out and no one is pointing it out
    the WHOLE of the game now is the assumption of the normalization of the socialist condition on the body politic.

    translation.
    they werent partisan, they were normal, partisan would be away from what they are, so what they are to us partisans and politicos is something else

    kind of flips it on its head.. as STALIN said he would do
    even worse, you have a road map for it and since you cant fathom such horrid thinking as a norm for people against people, you relegate such things to media

    Bezmenov said that subverting foreign nations was so important to the kgb that most of its resources were allocated to it. “Only about 15 percent of time, money and manpower is spent on espionage as such,” he explained in an interview with G. Edward Griffin in 1985.

    “The other 85 percent is a slow process which we call either ideological subversion or ‘active measures.’”

    of course, most have no idea what those things are and only imagine the subversion from the subversion (ie. get smart, bond, spy vs spy, on and on… none of it EVER serious, EVER… )

    Normalization (Czechoslovakia)

    Husakism (Czech: husákismus; Slovak: husákizmus) is an ideology connected with the Communist Slovak and Czechoslovak politician Gustáv Husák. It has two different meanings. First it was used by Karol Bacílek to denounce the alleged “bourgeois nationalism” of Husák in 1950s

    for people who quote history repeats you sure dont know much of the most critical parts – even funnier, your leaders hint at it but only IF you know. ie. hanging on in quite desperation is a line in a pink floyd album… as it stands it means nothing and a cool line, however if your a bit more educated, it links their commentary to henry david thoreu… telling everyone they are not accidentally putting it in..

    the inside jokes of the cogniscenti are quite funny / but only if you know the joke / and are cogniscenti

    Rubes and regulars tend not to know, and if you explore it, they will fight not to know
    resist by not learning… and go right back to the contaminated soup they lived in as if it was pure
    because if you have never ever ever seen white, light gray tainted as it is, would be white.

    Frank Lloyd Wright: Europe and Beyond
    edited by Anthony Alofsin
    book mentions “Stalin’s Normalization”
    [its a process applied to the people who dont know its being applied to them, they will argue its not, but as Willi Munzenberg points out, the most important thing is not to let them know these ideas they are using are not theirs!!!]

    “Stalin’s Normalization” is a key…
    it opens the door because like other special words, it is used by special people discussing things among themselves that rubes wont even listen to

    The New Atheist Denial of History
    Frank Lloyd Wright: Europe and Beyond
    The Official Madrasas of Soviet Uzbekistan

    Ideological subversion, Bezmenov said, is a long-term process involving four stages:
    1) demoralization
    2) destabilization
    3) crisis
    4) normalization

    40 years of attacking white males, dividing the races, making women not have children so families break up and reasons to fight or oppose things disappear… way of life is destroyed so that isnt sometning to fight for, traditions you love are debased… imagry and such is always negative… and it goes on and on.

    but you think its normal.. how so
    how and why would the society of plato, aristotal, gallileo, etc..
    just devolve for no reason other than the ideas that are given as excuses?

    dont believe?

    Many who recognize it think it occurred accidentally, naturally or even fortunately. But former kgb agents, said Bezmenov, recognize it as an intentional ideological attack aimed to “change the perception of reality of every American to such an extent that despite the abundance of information, no one is able to come to sensible conclusions in the interest of defending themselves, their families, their community and their country.”

    your all living in a horror movie you refuse to accept that you do nothing about, that victims who escaped are afraid to clue you in, because you wont see a thing till its too late… why? cause thats how you do it without a fight… like in czechoslovakia, hungary and any state, like romania that did not get taken over by an invading army and then spent nearly a century trying to untangle itself and still hasnt.

  47. Cap'n Rusty Says:

    From CBS News: Also in March, [2016] Page seems to be concerned about whether the things they say about Mr. Trump can be found out. “So look, you say we can text on that phone when we talk about Hillary because it cant be traced,” she wrote.

    Two persons in the FBI take measures to communicate in a way that cannot be traced. That means they knew full well that their communications could not see the light of day.

    Not even a “hint” of impropriety there . . .

    I wonder if the “phone” she’s referring to is her FBI work phone? So much happening so fast, but I think I read earlier that the first batch of text messages the IG has released were from those work phones. Sen. Grassley is pushing on this.

  48. OKBecky Says:

    I would point out, in agreement with your point, Neo, that if the texts had demonstrated such obvious hatred and prejudice against blacks, homosexuals, Asians, Muslims, Jews, etc., it would be patently obvious that they could not be trusted to provide impartial justice or a fair evaluation of the evidence presented to them. To assume that political partisanship is a different type of prejudice, would be disingenuous.

  49. arfldgrs Says:

    “It takes about 15 to 20 years to demoralize a nation Why that many (or few)? Simple: this is the minimum number of years needed to ‘educate’ one generation of students in a target country (America, for example) and expose them to the ideology of the subverter.” – Love Letter to America

    like a computer virus of the mind, those go out and make more of them, and have kids that do, and the operatives favor and move into institutes of learning as they did in china and as china killed students who were trapped that way…

    kgb agents and their socialistic “fellow travelers” would use abstract art, perverted music, pornographic images, homosexual rights, racist politics, pacifist foreign policy and socialist economics to demoralize America.

    the above ideas were first written about in 1934
    took till 2017 before they are fully matured

    “I was saying over the air, and writing, back in 1934, that the Communist[s’] unwavering strategy was, as a first offensive toward world domination, propaganda. They began sowing the seeds of their Communist atheistic education all over the United States—especially among college professors and students.”


    Rembember? Bill Clinton was a Fulbright scholar to attend school in the soviet union instead of going to vietnam? any ideas come from that? (or fulbright who was investigated?)

    Where did Mueller get his education?
    where did the two in question get theirs?

    they have no ideat how they are not the norm because in their classes, campuses and such you have soviet annexes… ie. they are not living the way americans did, but the way soviets do, by the ideas of experts they obey at campus.

    then when they get out they want the world to be comfortable to them and so they WANT the beneficient totalitarian simplistic system they had in college, but now, they are in places where they can, just by deciding, make it happen, even without thinking of it!!!!!!!!!

    and thats nearly 100 years old!!!!

    What the schools are producing are soviet scholars who think this is just a better way of moving forwards and progressing.

    In practice, communism has never been the grassroots movement Karl Marx predicted. It has been driven by small groups of intellectuals and elites who seize power. Hence the targeting of the American intelligentsia—present and future.

    the Soviets’ main methods of demoralization were: exchanging students with Moscow; flooding college campuses with Marxist literature; participating in international seminars; infiltrating universities with radical leftists (often unknowingly under the guidance of kgb subverters); establishing Communist-staffed news media; and organizing “study groups” to disseminate Communist propaganda.

    who could think that the way to do this was just to be able to invite people and put them together so agents of influence can play games of convincing natures.. team up even though others think they are not connected

    one only has to read the studies of the psychology and sociology department to get used to the idea of playing tricks on people is easy, they are helpful and will protect the lie once embedded

    According to a former staff director of a Senate investigations subcommittee, in the years between 1935 and 1953, the Communist Party “enlisted the support of at least 3,500 professors—many of them as dues-paying members, many others as fellow travelers, some as out-and-out espionage agents, some as adherents of the party line in varying degrees, and some as the unwitting dupes of subversion” (J. B. Matthews, “Communism and the Colleges,” American Mercury, May 1953).

    Boas?
    Kinsey?
    Naomi Goldstein?
    Meade?
    Timothy Leary?
    the list is HUMOUNGOUS

    and even has people who later figured it out, like Langston huges!!!

    none of the stuff your talking about is WRONG to the people your talking about, they are also probably confused and flumoxed why the whole world doesnt agree with them!! lenin if you remember, waited for a revolution that never came.

  50. Cornflour Says:

    A few hours after Neo published this blog post, Andrew McCarthy published an opinion piece, in “The Washington Post,” about the Mueller investigation (https://tinyurl.com/yb7jbbxc).

    In lawyerly fashion, McCarthy emphasizes the importance of appearances and calls on Mueller to dismiss his deputy, Andrew Weissmann.

    Given what we now know, this sounds like a modest proposal. Think so? Please read the comments that follow McCarthy’s piece. They provide a window into the stubborn viciousness of the Progressive mind.

  51. om Says:

    McCarthy isn’t running around with his hair on fire, which doesn’t please some who seem to need more drama in their lives.

  52. neo-neocon Says:

    om:

    That’s a silly exaggeration.

    There’s a lot of space between running around with one’s hair on fire and completely dismissing something clearly troubling that gives at the very least the clear appearance of bias in one of the most important governmental investigations involving the presidency.

  53. om Says:

    I don’t get the impression that McCarthy is dismissing the seriousness of the problem, but he isn’t extreme enough in his assessment for some. Just a “never Trumper,” not recognizing treason, or seeing the first shot at the fort down in South Carolina, so he may be a collaborator.

    Time will tell and we will see.

  54. AesopFan Says:

    https://www.steynonline.com/8327/the-co-dependents-of-the-independent-counsel

    8) Most of the above is about connections – professional, social, class, ideological, attitudinal. But one text is suggestive of action. Strzok to Miss Page, August 15th 2016:

    I want to believe the path you threw out for consideration in Andy’s office that there’s no way he gets elected — but I’m afraid we can’t take that risk. It’s like an insurance policy in the unlikely event you die before you’re 40…

    “He” is Trump. “Andy’s office” is believed to be that of the Deputy Director of the FBI, Andrew McCabe, who was in charge of the Trump investigation – then just a few weeks old. The conversation appears to be a violation of the Hatch Act, which prohibits civil servants from engaging in political activity while on duty and in a government office.

    But what does “I’m afraid we can’t take that risk” (of Trump winning) actually mean?

    Does it mean, for example, that “I’m going to dress up this dodgy Christopher Steele dossier Hillary and Fusion GPS passed along to us into something a bit more credible-seeming and take it to the FISA court to get authorization to tap everyone around Trump round the clock until we hit paydirt”?
    * * *
    Well, does it?
    Could we trust Mueller to tell us if it did?

  55. Ymar Sakar Says:

    To Alt Righters in DC, Trum + Junior,

    Better drain the swamp before ya drown in the swamp.

  56. Ymar Sakar Says:

    Assuming the Gold Man Sach boys on Trum’s admin payroll lets it happen.

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