A Roadmap to the Nixon and/or Mueller Roadmap

The other day, I noted that the Roadmap being FOIAed by Ben Wittes and friends and previously FOIAed by Geoffrey Shepard might serve as a guide, of sorts, for the kind of report Robert Mueller might write such that it could easily be shared with the House Judiciary Committee, particularly in case Mueller got fired.

This week, the National Archives released all parts of the road map they’ve been able to map to previously public items; the FOIAs continue for the grand jury materials not previously released. Lawfare did this post on what got released.

I’m going to lay out what got released. Some of this had already been released, but in this post I’m going to lay out how it all relates together, with an eye towards what we know is going on in the Mueller investigation right now. My treatment here is not in the order that NARA has released them; I’ve rearranged them to show how the Special Prosecutor kept a running memo of what evidence there was against Nixon, which led to an attempt to get Nixon’s testimony, which led to a draft indictment, which led to the Road Map packaging up the evidence behind the indictment to send to the House Judiciary Committee.

I’m not going to deal with the negotiations on the grand jury materials; I may return to that in the future. My goal here is to show how investigative materials — including some that were not evidence of a crime but were evidence of Presidential bad faith — got packaged up to send to the House Judiciary Committee. I’ll do a follow-up post with more observations on what this might tell us, if Mueller is following this road map.

Summary of Evidence (Draft 2, Prepared for Archibald Cox in August 1973, earlier June 7, 1973 memo)

Starting in June 1973, before Cox was fired, he started pulling together all the evidence against Nixon.

This draft memo from August 1973 includes examples of Nixon’s evolving story about whether he knew of CREEP and the break-in in advance, about efforts to impede the FBI investigation (including by calling Patrick Gray to weigh in), about offers of clemency, all of which are similar to what I’m sure Mueller has about Trump’s knowledge in real time of the Russian operation.

The memo lays out what circumstantial evidence there is to support he did have foreknowledge, in some cases referencing the evidence directly, in others pointing to where the evidence would be. At one point it states the old adage, “what did the President know and when did he know it,” this way: “it would be important to know whether, and precisely when, the President may have known about the payoffs.” It clearly labels what is supposition or circumstantial and in places describes what would need to be established to substantiate foreknowledge of something.

The evidence cited includes grand jury testimony, Senate testimony, paperwork, and the press (for witnesses’ public claims). As evidence of some things, it describes “discrepancies between his public statements urging a full investigation and claiming such an investigation had been conducted, and the President’s actual failure to cause a thorough investigation to be made or assure that one was being made.” (33)

We joke about Mueller having a file of all Trump’s incriminating tweets, but a memo like this is probably how the Mueller team keeps running track of what solid evidence, circumstantial evidence, and exculpatory evidence against Trump they have.

Summary of Evidence August 24, 1973, adding Plumbers, Dirty Tricks, ITT, and Campaign Contributions

This is a finalized version of the above with a cover memo giving credit to the people who worked on each section.

Communications regarding Nixon’s testimony

There are three subsections here, without an introduction. I’ll deal with them out of order.

C. Communications of the Special Prosecutor’s Office

The more interesting part of these communications, for current purposes, show the Special Prosecutor’s Office negotiating for Nixon’s testimony and considering whether to present interrogatories — what I call an open book test — to him. These are the kinds of negotiations we know to be going on right now between Mueller’s team and Trump, surely using some of the very same arguments.

While by January 29, 1974, the Special Prosecutor had decided against giving Nixon questions to answer under oath, the correspondence does include efforts to get each of the task forces (note, Mueller’s team appears to be organized into task forces as well) to come up with the interrogatories they would pose to the President in January 1974, as in these questions about investigations of people on Nixon’s enemies list.

We just have the interrogatories from two task forces, which amount to around 31 questions. Remember that by March, Mueller’s team already had over 40 questions for Trump, though they had not, as far as we know, yet presented them as formal interrogatories to him. Trump has reportedly finished the interrogatories Mueller gave him, but he’s sitting on them until after Tuesday’s election.

Starting in September 1974, the Special Prosecutor paperwork turns to obtaining Nixon’s testimony, leading through the generation of questions for ultimate his 1975 questioning.

A. Communication from the Grand Jury to Nixon

Then there are communications from the grand jury to Nixon, both in this early 1974 period and in 1975 when they actually did get his testimony. Most remarkably, on January 30, 1974 (the day after the Special Prosecutor had given up on interrogatories), the foreperson, Vladimir Pregelj, wrote Nixon describing why they needed his testimony. Note how he describes that prosecutors would soon make recommendations about “major phases of our investigation.”

B. Nixon’s communications with the Special Prosecutor

Finally, there is Nixon’s side of the communications with the Special Prosecutor’s office, including their explanation in September 1974 of why Nixon could never get a fair trial. This correspondence is less interesting (to me, at least), but Rudy Giuliani has probably used some of it to model his memo of why Trump shouldn’t be investigated.

Draft Indictment of the President, February 1, 1974

As much as anything else, I’m fascinated by the date of the indictment Jaworski’s team drafted: February 1, 1974. This shows that shortly after giving up on the idea of presenting interrogatories to Nixon, two days after the jury foreperson said the Special Prosecutor would soon present recommendations to the grand jury, and at a time when the Special Prosecutor was still fighting the President’s lawyer’s efforts to avoid testifying, Jaworski’s team had a draft indictment.

The indictment charged four crimes — bribery, conspiracy, obstruction of justice, and obstruction of a criminal investigation. While it was originally titled US v. Nixon, an edit suggested it should be In Re June 5, 1972 Grand Jury, the investigation actually obstructed.

On top of introducing Nixon and the FBI, the introduction of the indictment describes the burglary the investigation of which Nixon obstructed. Then, Count One uses five paragraphs to describe generally how the conspiracy worked. Paragraph 11 lays out three actions Nixon took on March 21, 22, and 23, 1973 (basically, ordering payment to Howard Hunt). Then paragraph 12 and a series of numbered paragraphs thereafter lay out the 9 overt acts behind the conspiracy.

  1. March 16: Hunt meets with O’Brien
  2. March 21: Dean meets with Nixon
  3. March 21: Nixon meets with Dean and Haldeman and instructs bribe to Hunt be paid [handwritten marginal note to add conversation with Mitchell]
  4. March 21: LaRue provides messenger cash for Bittman
  5. March 21: Nixon meets with Dean, Haldeman, and Ehrlichman and instructs Dean to write up report on Watergate
  6. March 22: Mitchell tells Dean, Haldeman, and Ehrlichman that Hunt’s money problem has been taken care of
  7. March 22: Nixon meets with Dean, Haldeman, Ehrlichman, and Mitchell and again discuss Dean writing up report on Watergate
  8. March 22: Ehrlichman tells Krogh that Mitchell has taken care of Hunt’s testimony
  9. March 23: Haldeman tells Dean to prepare report on Watergate

The remaining Counts restate the underlying act — bribing Hunt — and tie it to the other crimes.

There are an additional 9 redacted pages that were deemed protected grand jury materials (this stuff might get unsealed depending on the outcome of an appeal before the DC Circuit right now).

The Road Map

The Road Map was filed under seal on March 1, 1974 (that is, just a month after Jaworski’s office gave up on interrogatories from the President and drafted an indictment against him). It includes an introduction, then an elaboration of the overt acts from the draft indictment, with the connecting steps between them, as follows (I’ve kept the overt acts from the indictment in bold):

  1. March 16: Hunt meets with O’Brien (cites 3 grand jury transcript passages)
  2. March 19: O’Brien meets with Dean (cites Dean grand jury transcript and visitor log)
  3. March 19: Dean means with Ehrlichman about Hunt (cites two grand jury excerpts)
  4. March 20: Dean talks to Mitchell about Hunt (cites tape recording and Dean grand jury)
  5. March 21: Dean meets with Nixon, then with Dean and Haldeman and instructs bribe to Hunt be paid [note this combines overt acts 5 and 6 from the indicment] (includes extensive description of the meeting, cites two recordings of meeting)
  6. March 21: Haldeman talks to Mitchell (cites two grand jury excerpts and Haldeman’s phone log)
  7. March 21: Mitchell talks to LaRue (cites LaRue’s grand jury)
  8. March 21: Haldeman meets with Ehrlichman and Dean about how to handle things (cites meeting logs, recording, grand jury)
  9. March 21: Nixon meets with Dean, Haldeman, and Ehrlichman to discuss how to handle things (cites recording)
  10. March 21: LaRue provides messenger cash for Bittman (cites five grand jury witnesses and seven exhibits)
  11. March 22: Mitchell tells Dean, Haldeman, and Ehrlichman that Hunt’s money problem has been taken care of [note indictment overt act 5 — the first meeting about the report — is taken out of this chronology] (cites grand jury testimony of all three)
  12. March 22: Nixon meets with Dean, Haldeman, Ehrlichman, and Mitchell and again discuss Dean writing up report on Watergate which Nixon can later “rely” on (cites tape recording and Haldeman’s notes)
  13. March 22: Ehrlichman tells Krogh that Mitchell has taken care of Hunt’s testimony (cites Krogh grand jury testimony)
  14. Redacted [note Haldeman order to Dean would appear here in chronology]

From there, the road map includes a bunch of stuff not included in the indictment:

15 through 28: Nixon’s attempts at a cover-up

29 through 43: Nixon’s foreknowledge of dirty tricks and the coverup up to March 17, including the missing 18 minutes, and immediate response to Watergate, including offers of pardons

44 through 53: Nixon’s lies about wanting an investigation


73 replies
  1. Michael says:

    One thing I don’t get about this- why didn’t the grand jury indict Nixon shortly after he resigned in August if they had a draft indictment ready in February?

  2. SirLurksAlot says:

    good thing Gerald Ford fixed this problem before it got out of hand.


    I expect most people under thirty do not even know what a roadmap is.

  3. orionATL says:

    this set of documents, referred to as  “leon jaworski’s road for the house of rep’s”, was just released to the public by the national archives. but has it always available to inside-gov federal officials like mueller or mcghan, or to trump himself (to be made available in turn to a trump personal lawyer)?

    i ask because i wonder to what extent that 45 yr-old set of documents might be influencing the legal and (presidential) public relations course of events in the osc v. trump contest going on today? i can’t quite make that out from ew’s statements. i will take for granted that whether or not it has influenced the immediate past, it certainly will influence the immediate future, including actions of a democratic house.

    • BobCon says:

      There is one person I bet would have loved to have the opportunity to see these documents in order to shape the current debate, but fortunately never will — Roger Ailes. Based on his long immersion in all things Nixon, I bet he would have drawn a lot of lessons from them and done a lot of damage with them in the present fight.

      Roger Stone is a guy with similar history as Ailes, but I think his capacity and reach are a lot narrower than what Ailes could have done.

    • emptywheel says:

      A congressional staffer in a relevant position I know of had to work pretty hard to get it. I’m not sure how many before him had gotten it (one would think there’d be a copy in his filing cabinet but I guess not).

      • Eureka says:

        lol, I’d watch that comedy skit.  It’d be really funny if a copy was there all along for the 45 cabal to exploit as orion wonders, but all parties were too busy over the years with carnal pleasures and outsourcing their research to bother with silly things like papers and pres. libraries (where presumably said file cab would be located).  Irony scales after all!

    • Jose says:

      It has not been available to government officials, including Mueller. Ken Starr actually wanted to consult the roadmap, but was not granted access twenty years ago.

  4. BobCon says:

    I think one potentially big difference between Mueller and Cox/Jaworski is that Nixon had a relatively limited set of issues outside of Watergate and the Plumbers. ITT was significant, and Nixon had some tax issues, but overall his legal exposure wasn’t that major. It wasn’t that difficult for the 1973-74 investigation to consider everything as a package.

    Mueller on the other hand has to think long and hard how to manage the rollout of his team’s work in coordination with SDNY and whoever else may be out there — NY State, the DOJ Tax Division, etc.

    It’s not a bad thing for Mueller to have so many potential avenues of action (except in the essential sense that it represents a grotesque amount of crime), but it certainly makes his work a lot more complicated than what the Watergate prosecutors had to deal with. And as a result, he may be coordinating the creation of multiple roadmaps, rather than just one.

    • Trip says:

      Now it is more complicated, but in some ways more similar than you think:
      Nixon ran on a platform that opposed the Vietnam war, but to win the election, he needed the war to continue…
      Nixon intentionally derailed peace talks in order to win.

      George Will Confirms Nixon’s Vietnam Treason

      Nixon’s newly revealed records show for certain that in 1968, as a presidential candidate, he ordered Anna Chennault, his liaison to the South Vietnam government, to persuade them to refuse a cease-fire being brokered by President Lyndon Johnson.
      Nixon’s interference with these negotiations violated President John Adams’s 1797 Logan Act, banning private citizens from intruding into official government negotiations with a foreign nation…In the Price of Power (1983), Seymour Hersh revealed Henry Kissinger—then Johnson’s adviser on Vietnam peace talks—secretly alerted Nixon’s staff that a truce was imminent. According to Hersh, Nixon “was able to get a series of messages to the Thieu government [of South Vietnam] making it clear that a Nixon presidency would have different views on peace negotiations.”

      When does Henry Kissinger ever get his comeuppance? He’s still involved in everything.

      • Michael says:

        But nobody has been successfully prosecuted under the Logan Act- and nobody’s been indicted since 1852.

        • Trip says:

          I didn’t write the piece and I’m not a lawyer, but Nixon did conspire with an enemy we were at war with at the time, in order to help himself and aid in a “better deal” for them. So it’s possible he may have been guilty of treason in the legal sense, rather than it being used as a political slam. More people died in the war as a result of this ‘agreement’; An agreement which was contrary to the official diplomacy being conducted by the US gov’t to end war.

          Treason against the United States, shall consist only in levying War against them, or in adhering to their Enemies, giving them Aid and Comfort. No Person shall be convicted of Treason unless on the Testimony of two Witnesses to the same overt Act, or on Confession in open Court.

        • Trip says:

          From my link above:

          Eventually, Nixon won by just 1 percent of the popular vote. “Once in office he escalated the war into Laos and Cambodia, with the loss of an additional 22,000 American lives, before finally settling for a peace agreement in 1973 that was within grasp in 1968,” says the BBC.

        • orionATL says:

          trip –

          you’ve won the emptywheel treason contest hands down: there’s the constitutionally defined belligerent circumstance, and there’s the unambiguously treasonous conduct. note further that you have received no objections to your conclusion.

          i’ve a modest proposal: given that looking back in time and righting wrongs has become a respectable activity these days, i propose we conduct a trial for treason of former president nixon based on archival and subsequent historian evidence. the pardon given nixon by presidibent ford should be part and parcel of trial.

          we might follow that up with a historical autopsy of the reagan-atwater collaboration with the iranian revolutionaries now in power in iran and now of so much a concern to president-in-name trump and his national security adviser bolton. that collaboration was a tri-cornered event involving also opponents, called “contras” (spanish for “against”), of the government of nicaraugua.

          but first there is the matter of finishing the inquest into the assault on the 2016 federal election by the trump campaign and agents of the russian government.

        • Trip says:

          @Orion, I had an insomnia/sleep deprivation induced brain fart, as the south was the US ally. It’s then tough to squeeze it into any legal definition of treason. But the civilian agreement and then endurance and brutality of the war after (civilian and US soldier deaths), might fit under war crimes? I do not know.

        • orionATL says:

          i saw that exchange. i reject it in favor of what i want to have happen. if one consorts with any side in a war against the u.s. in a way that causes that war to be extended then that consorting is treason. there. fixed that. you get your well-deserved award.

          as for quibbling about “levy”, there must be at least one democrat who is an originalist somwhere in the appellate system; we just need to find him. if that doesn’t work then we conduct the trial without the judiciary – simple.

          once that silly business about a rule of laws, not men and that god damned piece of paper has been dispensed with, it opens up great opportunities – kind of like when ourtown gets rid of all those pesky zoning rules and fire code requirements

        • Jose says:

          “Adhering to their Enemies” is a requisite for that part of the Treason clause, which Nixon unequivocally didn’t violate. The treason that is done with enemies requires two things: a state of mind of adherence to the enemy, and an overt act of aid and comfort. If both are not satisfied, it is not treason.

        • Trip says:

          We need better laws to address situations where international shenanigans, committed by those not in office (or even in office) for profit, self-dealing or personal benefit, against peaceful prospects of official gov’t diplomacy, that result in both civilian and armed forces deaths, rather than the toothless Logan Act and aside from any individual charges. This is like premeditating and hiring a hitman to kill, in order collect the life insurance payout of a spouse (only involving a hell of lot more carnage). The larger the scale of the crime, the smaller the consequences, is how it appears to work now. Running for office or being in office shouldn’t work as a shield against punishment for such large heinous crimes. Nixon got a slap on the wrist. Kissinger is received as some great statesman, while in fact, he is the devil’s handyman.

        • bmaz says:

          Hi Jose! Welcome to Emptywheel. We actually understand the legal concept of “treason” pretty well here.

          And you seem to have left out the requirement of war, and the actual levying thereof, from your explainer. And I, for one, get really touchy about that.

      • gedouttahear says:

        How about not until after he dies — which can’t be far off. And even then it’s not likely. What a venal shit he was and is.

    • earlofhuntingdon says:

      Nixon’s potential legal and political exposure was considerable, and involved more serious crimes than a few tax problems.

      There is evidence he interfered at least twice with the peace talks meant to end the war in Vietnam and that he accepted significant financial contributions to his campaign from Taiwanese sources (in an era where these sometimes showed up as lumps of cash in brown paper bags).

      Madame Chiang Kai-shek, wife of the warlord and life president, was a constant presence in Republican circles and had been since 1949. She defined, “dragon lady.” Then there was considerable rat-fucking that remained undisclosed at the time.

      Disclosure of those things could have led to long-term harm to his party, as well as a long prison term for RMN.  Ford’s pardon hid a lot of secrets.

      • BobCon says:

        I don’t disagree, but his 1968 interference with Johnson’s peace talks weren’t a major focus of the Special Prosecutors, or of the Congressional investigators. His legal exposure most likely would have followed his ouster, rather than be a part of his ouster.

        I should modify that a bit to say it’s possible the scuttling of the 68 talks was the ultimate cause of Watergate. There is credible reason to believe that the Watergate break-in was targeting Larry O’Brien because Nixon was terrified that O’Brien had strong evidence of Nixon’s ’68 plot (he didn’t). However, the Watergate plot was so clumsy that I think it exposes a lot of Nixon’s character. He was paranoid enough to keep his motive for the Plumbers break-in hidden, but also so paranoid about leaving fingerprints that he left the job in the hands of incompetents. He was ruthless enough to immediately jump on the need for hush money, but paranoid and cheap and dithering enough to lowball McCord and lead him to blow the the whistle.

        I am keeping my fingers crossed that Trump’s own personal failings will lead him to similar unforced errors – Cohen may well be another McCord.

      • Eureka says:

        …Chiang Kai-shek, (…) the warlord and life president

        This was another oft-heard name from the past I had to revisit.  Scrolling through that wiki, I had a feeling the Uyghurs would come up … but then who doesn’t.  Renewed my appreciation for area studies specialists.

  5. earlofhuntingdon says:

    Lovely piece of work.  Documentation is good, a necessary part of holding accountable government and those who wield its power.  Izzy made a career out parsing and explaining its implications for the things he held dear.

    On the Nixon and Trump materials, Trump, documenting it was and is vital, and not just for evidence of crimes.  Evidence of bad faith, for example, goes to state of mind and intent, as does evidence of patterns of behavior.  It disables claims that some action was a joke, an unintended consequence, or done in a rit of fealous jage.

    There are lifelong patterns of behavior here, as there probably are for violating the tax and financial laws, and for being a pawn of what reduces to Russian government interests.

  6. Michael says:

    @Trip -No, Nixon did not conspire with an ENEMY. He conspired with SOUTH Vietnam, an ally- not ethical but not treasonous according to the law.

    • Trip says:

      Yes, you are right.  (I’m not sure where my brain was at the moment.)  Maybe the levying war part against the US, by extending conflict contrary to official US gov’t decisions?

      • Michael says:

        That’s not what “levying war against the US” means- it means joining the army or government of an enemy fighting the US. Like, for example, joining the German army during World War II.

        • Trip says:

          He did end up being responsible for US deaths as well as countless Vietnamese civilian deaths. (initiated before his administration) Something bigger than the LOgan Act should apply.

        • earlofhuntingdon says:

          22,000 additional American deaths, although those pale in comparison to Vietnamese, Cambodian, and Laotian deaths, which numbered in the millions.  The latter would not have been considered by Beltwayers an impeachable offense.

  7. rst says:

    Though in retrospect Nixon’s back channel to the South Vietnamese reads as the dirtiest of tricks, I’m not clear what it had to do directly with the Watergate break-in. That many in government, from LBJ down, knew of it is more than clear. That Larry O’Brien was one of the initiated is news to me. So as a fan of BobCon’s posts, I’m wondering what credible reasons he has for thinking so.

    • earlofhuntingdon says:

      Same criminal.

      The American public in 1968 or 1972 would have been less cynical and more alarmed about purposely delaying ending the war, but for the “bomb ’em back to the Stone Age crowd.”

    • BobCon says:

      It’s well documented that Nixon had long feared that J. Edgar Hoover, at the direction of LBJ, had bugged his campaign and had uncovered evidence of the Anna Chenault backchannel disruption of the 1968 peace talks. Nixon’s fear of O’Brien is also well established, as is O’Brien being a top target for the Watergate Burglars.

      One theory, argued at length by J. Anthony Lukas, is that Nixon’s fear was based on O’Brien’s work for Howard Hughes, and Nixon’s fear that O’Brien had uncovered crooked financial connections between Nixon and Hughes. But I think considering O’Brien’s deep connections to LBJ and his position as Humphrey’s campaign director in 1968 that Nixon was deeply worried that O’Brien held information about the torpedoing of the 1968 peace talks as well.

      It’s possible that O’Brien knew about it. Tapes of LBJ show that Humphrey was told shortly before the election day in 1968:


      But I don’t think there’s any sign that O’Brien held actual proof. He apparently never made any public accusations. And it’s not clear that Nixon would have known that LBJ had told Humphrey or that word had gotten around to O’Brien. But again, it seems very reasonable to believe that at least one of the key things that had Nixon so worried about O’Brien was his knowledge about one the biggest secrets Nixon held — his maneuvering in 1968 to prolong the Vietnam War. It’s possible it was only one of the things Nixon wanted to know about from tapping O’Brien’s phone, but it’s hard for me to believe Nixon wasn’t hoping for advance warning if it was on the DNC’s radar.

      • rst says:

        Many thanks for that honest clarification. The Atlantic article is itself a paraphrase of a BBC report (linked to in that piece) that has some (to me) other unusual claims – that LBJ was ready to announce for a second term right before the convention, but was relying on Mayor Daley for a delegate count….

  8. Eureka says:

    Wow, wtf is this (and a Vlad to boot)?

    Most remarkably, on January 30, 1974 (the day after the Special Prosecutor had given up on interrogatories), the foreperson, Vladimir Pregelj, wrote Nixon describing why they needed his testimony. Note how he describes that prosecutors would soon make recommendations about “major phases of our investigation.”

    ADD: is this one of the facts to just come out now, or have we known this?

  9. Eureka says:

    I had to go look up William Kunstler, because his name was echoing as familiar from lots of press but I couldn’t place why.  No wonder- AIM, Attica, mobsters- all sorts of cases that would have registered as very different to a then-young person.  I’m sure the lawyers here would have something more meaningful to say about his career.  Is he viewed well, or as a civil-rights press chaser?  Sort of like my scattered memories, I am not picking up on any current ‘gestalt of Kunstler.’  Or even competing ones.

    • emptywheel says:

      He’s a very important lawyer, yes, and defended due process when it was under assault. His wife, Margaret, who worked with him, is actually one of Assange’s lawyers, and has been floated as a potential cut-out to him during the Russian operation. Which is a reminder that whatever you think of Assange, he’s still in a position where people don’t think hard about the implications of treating him differently than others.

    • bmaz says:

      I had the pleasure of meeting and hanging out with Bill Kuntsler a couple of times. He was absolutely the real deal, in every regard. He fought for people that otherwise would have been abandoned. I cannot stand Assange, but, yeah, Kuntsler would have been defending him too, as his widow is, although I am not sure she is carrying a lot of the actual legal water as opposed to PR. If Assange is ever charged here, we will see if that changes.

      • Eureka says:

        Thank you ew and bmaz for your comments- this is exactly what I was trying to understand or newly appreciate.  It was hard to articulate in my initial comment, because I was in the middle of remodeling, say, childhood mindfuckery from how the NY press would have represented him (negatively), with an adult understanding of the significance of some of his cases.  But then being re-mindfucked by some of the comments on the wiki.  And then I can remember relearning in college about him and his work with AIM, at least.  So I was oscillating, looking for knowledgeable, long-arc povs, and I appreciate your having given them.

      • Eureka says:

        (continued) I also hadn’t known about his wife Margaret representing Assange (nor of course her being the possible cut out).  Reading a little about her, I came across Michael Ratner…lots of significant cases in that social network.  Thanks to each of you again, I understand a lot more.

        I daresay I even understand Avattoir’s “Definitely” a bit more squarely.

    • Eureka says:

      The koan whisperer* tells me that I set it up that way because I didn’t want to already know the answer.

      *The Great Being Inside who nudges one to backspace over what one has typed.

  10. Trip says:

    Noam Chomsky: Trump and Republican Allies “Criminally Insane”
    The Republican philosophy seems to be “let’s rob while the planet burns, putting poor Nero in the shadows.”

    …Trump’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, a detailed study recommending an end to regulations on emissions. It presented a rational argument: extrapolating current trends, by the end of the century we’ll be over the cliff and automotive emissions don’t contribute very much to the catastrophe – the assumption being that everyone is as criminally insane as we are and won’t try to avoid the crisis.  In brief, let’s rob while the planet burns, putting poor Nero in the shadows. This surely qualifies as a contender for the most evil document in history.

    _On Nixon vs Trump_There has been little attention to the orders that Nixon delivered, relayed to the Pentagon by his faithful servant Henry Kissinger: “A massive bombing campaign in Cambodia. Anything that flies on anything that moves.” It is not easy to find comparable orders for genocide in the archival record.  But all of Nixon’s crimes pale in comparison with the decision to race towards the precipice of environmental catastrophe.

    The historical record of struggle and achievement gives ample reason to take to heart the slogan that Gramsci made famous: “pessimism of the intellect, optimism of the will.”


    Here’s a challenge for the MSM, cable news: Give Chomsky some air time instead of the Trump talking heads.

    • Vern says:

      Caveat, Trip:  I agree with 99.9% of everything Chomsky writes/says, but I can’t stand to listen to/watch him for more than a few seconds.

      • Trip says:

        Anything, and I mean nails on a chalkboard-level, literal caterwauling at 3 AM, or a car alarm incessantly going off, would be a step up from listening to Trump, Santorum, Stone, or any of the mindless minions of Trump that cable puts on.

      • NorskieFlamethrower says:

        +…I agree with 99.9% of everything Chomsky writes/says but I can’t stand to listen to/watch him for more than a few seconds.”

        Hmmmm…really? I can’t understand that but you certainly have a problem in your own head. For me, I trust Chomsky believes what he writes/says and you, well not so much.

    • Desider says:

      Chomsky and many others do a good job of ignoring the havoc that Pol Pot and the Viet Cong [sic] were wreaking in the pastoral “peaceful” areas of Cambodia for years, as well as the complicated erratic intrigue between Cambodia’s prince and the Chinese. Not that rampant carpet bombing was the only solution, but yeah, if your neighbor is letting the enemy use it as a safe path for resupply, it’s a stickier situation than black-and-white Noam allows. That Hung Sen *still* carries the day in Phnom Penh 45 years later should give Chomsky pause, but it won’t.
      [Disclaimer: I’m a firm believer in the maligned Domino Theory – see Muslim expansion in the century post Mohammed – and think we stopped Communism’s expansion there thru some messy controversial counteractions, but thanks to PR from Lennon and Chomsky, Mao is still thought of largely as a teddy bear rather than a mass murderer and social engineer on the scale of Stalin. Parodoxically as I’m more aligned with the hippies and counter-culture]

      • Trip says:

        I think that is a mischaracterization of Chomsky’s position on Cambodia (especially contemporaneously). You can hear him here:

        Noam Chomsky – The Atrocities in Cambodia

        • Desider says:

          Really, you think I’m gonna sit around watching Noam Chomsky videos?
          Try making your point w/o the homework.
          (nor old Motor City Madman refs, for Greenhouse below)

      • Greenhouse says:

        “Parodoxically as I’m more aligned with the hippies and counter-culture”

        Hmm, must be a fan of Ted Nugent.

    • JD12 says:

      Trump’s caravan scaremongering is the worst thing I’ve seen in politics. The Pittsburgh shooting was a direct result of it—the shooter’s last post on social media referenced the caravan “invaders” and said he couldn’t sit by and watch. He believed the Jewish people he targeted were funding the caravan.

      Why is the media afraid to emphasize that? I mean, there’s no question Trump’s scaremongering helped cause it. A president’s endorsement of a conspiracy theory can easily push a paranoid schizo over the edge, and it’s hard to deny in this case when the shooter used the exact same language as the president.

      And the Pentagon leaked their assessment proving the caravan isn’t a threat. As much as Republicans claim to love the military you’d think the Pentagon’s opinion would carry some weight.


      • Trip says:

        He has help:

        Molly Crabapple‏Verified account @mollycrabapple

        “Not only did Israel’s leaders choose Trump over American Jews, but they did so easily, naturally, without hesitation, leaping to the defense of a political leader who is actively and openly fanning the flames of hatred ”

        American Jews May Never Forgive Israel for Its Reaction to the Pittsburgh Massacre

        Over the past week, American Jews expected comfort and support. Instead, Israeli government officials offered carefully honed political talking points, choosing Trump over them…From the moment he landed on U.S. soil, Bennett in his discussion with council members insistently defended President Donald Trump against accusations that the poisonous xenophobic tone and outlandish conspiracy theories he peddles bore any connection to the massacre in Pittsburgh. Bennett paired this with an equally problematic message that the threat of anti-Semitism in America was overblown.

        And a footnote to this story: Cory Booker is now taking the opportunity to use this catastrophic event as a way to promote/support anti-BDS legislation. Progressive?

        • Trip says:

          Sheldon Adelson financing:

          Nick Confessore‏Verified account @nickconfessore

          In other words, one of the world’s biggest philanthropic & political defenders of Israel is financing a campaign to whip up hysteria about refugees — which in other hands has stirred in anti-Semitic conspiracy theories about another prominent Jewish philanthropist, Soros.

  11. Eureka says:

    Speaking of the Vietnam war, PBS is re-airing (tonight, in my area) the documentary, Take Me Home Huey.  The artist Steve Maloney painted a recovered Huey medevac copter with symbols of ‘home’ of the time- like a pinup, playing cards if I recall- and included other time capsule materials to create a touring sculpture installation.

    This is possibly one of the most unique docs I’ve seen in terms of witnessing the complex emotions of the men and some families when they come to see this art intended for healing.  Really no words, one of those things you have to see.  From the project’s website:

    Soldiers relied on the Huey to carry them home.  Vietnam veterans share a common feeling of relief when they hear the phrase “Take Me Home Huey.”  The film reflects and, most importantly, respects that sentiment.

  12. Avattoir says:

    What I’m getting from all this is the conceit that there actually might be some sort of commercially exploitable market for some litigation-oriented variation on SPORTS! analytics services, more like FanGraphs than 538, with endless thread wars over whether credit as the actual progenitor ought to go Leon “Law Jaw” Jaworski or Archibald “Big Cred” Cox, for inventing Lawbermetrics, the mush-up of logistics, statistics & strategy.

    First office I ever prosecuted out of had at least one sheet of legal-pad length lined paper stapled to the left inside of the file folder for every potential felony case that worked PRECISELY the same as this supposedly magical mystical Watergate Road Map memo.

    Not ‘close to’ – EXACTLY: each charge, under each charge each issue engaged in that charge, then each item of proof going to that issue including name of witness and where to find the document and/or testimony, ending with the date, number and location of any file memo on the issue.

    As far back as the mid-1970s, almost every trial attorney I knew who worked major cases followed this very same protocol.

    But also, I do know that it seemed to begin to go out of fashion at some point before 1990. I think ‘before’ only because after leaving public service I had to avoid criminal prosecutions for a few years to allow cases I might have had something to do with to work thru the system. I do have a specific memory of a number of cases starting around 1990 as being when I first noticed what looked like it might be a general trend of departure from the protocol. Very soon the impression just strengthened, and I and others of my colleagues in the defense bar discussed it, a lot. The consensus view was it mostly was attributable to the fact that starting around 1980, government prosecution offices began experiencing a whole lot of difficulty in competing for law school grads, the top ones at least, primarily from private firms specializing in mergers & acquisitions and the intersection banking, finance, lobbying & leveraged stock transactions, and secondarily from a noticeable increase in the efforts of a lot of judges, federal appellate court judges in particular, seeking clerks to hand-raise not just DoJ but non-DoJ agency legal desk warriors.

    This trend also seemed borne out of my periodic experiences with teaching as a sessional lecturer and from leading or on panels in professional development conferences & seminars. Almost all the leading proponents of the classic Road Map-type approach seemed to clump together in more or less specific time groups: a large dominant group who’d come out of WWII and Korea with armed forces logistics mindsets (as a young attorney, I spent a lot of time in front of these old warriors, not just in court but in bar events – a huge percentage of them served in  wartime intel or logistics); then a big gap of a decade or more; then what I’d call the Watergate-inspired group, of which I’m one, coinciding with a dramatic expansion in the number of law school grads nation-wide, heavily populated with idealists; then another big gap, bigger & longer even that the earlier one, during which heavy percentages of law school grads went straight for either big private money or big government power ; followed by the groups in the last period during which I was active, just before law schools appeared to go corporate in turning sharply away from using active practitioners as sessionals, and industry conferences and seminars fell into increasingly more concentrated ideological organizations, such as the Federalists.

    Right from when I left off working out of government prosecution offices, it actually took not a whole lot of effort or time to figure who was or was not a devotee of the Road Map protocol. In actual trial contexts, those in the latter pool seemed akin to fishing for starved bass in stocked pools.

    But that image is misleading, because at the same time, certainly over the last 3 decades plus, trial practice has increasingly become less and less about trials per se, and a lot more about siege lawfare: battles of attrition where big money works to bring in increasingly arcane rules in increasing numbers particularly well-suited to ‘policy oriented’ desk warriors  employing those, and time, to wear down the opposing side.

    Once you get to trial, it’s like the spotlight burns off much of that. The problem is, there just aren’t many trials any more – haven’t been for decades now. Juries are extremely difficult to predict let alone control; trials are full of uncertainty. Big Money and Big Power don’t like uncertainty, and the trial racket has largely adapted to accommodate who’s mostly been paying the freight. In the result, the ranks of the most active trial attorneys are filled with the same sorts of personalities that put on Passion Plays in older civilizations, feature the same itinerary of gimmicks and practiced histrionics.

    Mueller’s OSC team seems to feature almost no one who isn’t Old School. It’s nigh impossible for New School ideologues and Passion Players to deal with Old School practitioners in a trial setting, so I really don’t expect we’ll see many if any more exhibitions like the one in EDVA before Judge Fix.

    • Trip says:

      Thanks for that. I heard this exact thing from a local guy who used to take on cases for the little guy against huge corporations and won in court. He lamented that nothing goes to trial anymore. He left his law practice and I believe he was seeking a teaching position. You’ve confirmed the sorry state of affairs.

    • bmaz says:

      Yeah, we just called it the case theory worksheet. Though have to say, it got a lot easier when we really computerized because then you could easily add in new nuggets without scribbling them in the margins or having to rewrite the thing. And it comes in VERY handy for motions pleading too, not just trial.

  13. Trip says:

    I know we have moved on to the bullshit caravan bogeyman, but remember Khashoggi and Yemen?

    Consulting Firms Keep Lucrative Saudi Alliance, Shaping Crown Prince’s Vision

    … while Mr. Khashoggi’s death prompted investors from around the globe to distance themselves from the Saudi government, Booz Allen and its competitors McKinsey & Company and Boston Consulting Group have stayed close after playing critical roles in Prince Mohammed’s drive to consolidate power…Booz Allen trains the Saudi Navy as it runs a blockade in the war in Yemen, a disaster that has threatened millions with starvation. McKinsey produced a report that may have aided Mr. Qahtani’s crackdown on dissidents. BCG advises Prince Mohammed’s foundation…Booz Allen did advise the Saudi government on a plan to provide humanitarian aid to Yemen. But the project, the Yemen Comprehensive Humanitarian Operations, is seen by aid groups as an ineffective effort that undercuts the United Nations’ own program.

  14. Trip says:

    Bolton wants regime change in Iran. And Trump is willing make civilians suffer and die for that end. Of course, this will never endear Iranians to the US. But they do.not.care. Trump needs checks on his power. We need a Democratic congress to put the brakes on this and to include humanitarian considerations. We do not need to start a war with Iran.

    On Friday, the state department’s special envoy on Iran, Brian Hook, who met the European ambassadors in September, appeared to rule out making special provisions for humanitarian goods, beyond formally exempting them from sanctions…European diplomats say there is a debate going on within the administration on the issue of humanitarian supplies, with some officials in the state department warning that the US risked being blamed for Iranian civilian deaths if more is not done to guarantee deliveries of medicines and basic necessities.


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