Judge Emmet Sullivan Makes A Serious Holiday Move on DOJ and Flynn

I have expressed some qualms over Judge Sullivan naming John Gleeson as the court’s amicus on the crazy Flynn situation. But today there is a new player on the pitch, Beth Wilkinson.

Judge Sullivan has engaged a hired gun.

Folks need to understand the Yoda like move Emmet Sullivan made in hiring Beth Wilkinson.

First off, she is an absolutely fantastic advocate and tough as hell.

Second, she has serious DOJ cred.

Third, she still has major friends at Paul Weiss, and that counts below the surface.

Fourth, Brett Kavanaugh may well owe his Supreme Court seat to her.

Fifth, her husband is David Gregory, the former NBC guy and now senior political guy at CNN. That is some media contact potential whether direct or indirect.

Also, again, she is really kick ass. Beth Wilkinson is a serious player, and a killer advocate. Judge Emmet Sullivan is not going quietly into the night. I actually thought that, given the short response time the DC Circuit ordered, Sullivan and his clerks might do the response themselves. Obviously they will still have major input, but this battle is joined, and in a very big way.

216 replies
  1. OldTulsaDude says:

    IANAL but this sounds like good news. I read on Lawfare that under rule 48 (a) the judge has a duty to determine if the government’s request for dismissal is in the public’s best interest and cited Ammidown rather than Fokker.

      • Fraulein says:

        Is there any case history here we can rely on to define “public interest” in circumstances that are germane to this case?

        What are the top couple of specifics that we can refer to in articulating “public interest”.

        Got slammed on a conservative comment board when I posited the “public interest” exception for allowing the amici and refusing to dismiss, and didn’t have any specifics with which to substantively reply.

        Thanks for any case law or general principle I can use to reply.

        Flynn’s defenders seem quite frothing at the mouth and incoherent.

        • bmaz says:

          It is funny how people who appear here asking such questions seem to have never plumbed the public record and suddenly6 want others to do the homework they have not done.

          You can start with the history on Sullivan’s appointment of Hank Schuelke on the Stevens case, a result that the noisy Fox News mouthpiece Sid Powell made bank o.ff of writing a book about.

          Then maybe check out how the Arpaio case was handled in the 9th Circuit. Also, too, it is not just “public interest”, although there is certainly that, it is also protection of the integrity of the court and justice as a whole. I doubt you really give a shit about that, or you would not have appeared out of nowhere to ask such a simplistic question, and one that has been answered repeatedly here before. Hopefully we are done here. Troll elsewhere.

          • Fraulein says:

            ?? Wow that was out of nowhere. I am a Canadian, and not that familiar with U.S. law and not a lawyer. I have followed this controversy loosely, and gotten more interested when the DOJ seemed to be acting corruptly with letting Flynn off. Previously I thought he would get jail.

            I was informed by a well-read colleague this site has a good reputation for accurate information, which is hard to find. Are you asking that new visitors come with all the information that long term readers have??

            I thought that this was a journalism site where I could benefit from the work of the journalists, rather than doing it myself. Sorry if I misunderstood.

            I really apologize if it was a dumb question.


            • civil says:

              I’m new here as well and got a similar response from bmaz to a question I asked, so don’t take it personally. I’m not knowledgeable about this topic, but the issue you asked about is addressed in this amicus brief (from “a bipartisan group of former federal prosecutors and former high-ranking supervisory officials in the Department of Justice,” arguing against the DOJ’s Motion to Dismiss): https://www.documentcloud.org/documents/6893436-Flynn-Amicus-Brief-Protect-Democracy-Crespo-Final.html
              Hope that helps some.

              • Fraulein says:

                Thank you, and thanks for the links, that’s what I was looking for and I will check out. I appreciate the kind response too.

                Never had someone bite my head off over a question like that, except an old boyfriend who I dumped. Not sure what to make of it. It felt like mansplaining.

                • Nehoa says:

                  As was mentioned earlier, don’t take it personally. Many posts here deal with (complicated) legal issues, and like you, IANAL. I have experience in other areas, and let the legal types deal with the legal issues. I have learned a lot from just reading the comment threads. I generally do not comment in these threads because I really have nothing useful to add.

                • Doug Fir says:

                  Hi Fraulein. If you read through the comments sections on some of the other emptywheel threads you’ll see that, in addition to being a legal beagle, bmaz plays the very important role of guard dog. Attack first, ask questions never. Very effective for deterring trolls, and arguably worth the price of scaring away the faint-of-heart.

                • Eureka says:

                  Oh good grief, can you all lay on the dramatics any thicker? Bmaz was right.

                  Looks like you’ve made your intentions clear here, beyond (but including) the logically inconsistent comments.

                  Who shows up to a stranger’s house demanding expert accommodation, by the way?

                  • Fraulein says:

                    This is the second reference I’ve seen on this this site about the blog being someone’s house. I come to public news sites looking for expert news. That is somehow weird, and unexpected?

                    I was told this was a news site with expert articles and commentary. I wasn’t told I had to be an expert to visit or read or ask questions, or that it was an invitation only site.

                    I asked a simple question, and “civil” easily provided me a link with the answers in one minute’s effort. My question was directed to anyone, and I wouldn’t have been disappointed had no one answered. I don’t understand this whole “you’re imposing in someone’s house” thing. I am not allowed to go into a stranger’s house, and wouldn’t.


                    • Rayne says:

                      This is not a corporate news site as you’ll note by the lack of advertising. This is run by a handful of people as a labor of love with wholly voluntary financial donations from readers and community members whose contributions pay for hosting, development, bandwidth. In this respect it’s a virtual home for people with a shared commitment to certain common issues.

                      This site also isn’t for the faint of heart, for people who aren’t willing to put in some effort to do basic preparatory research. The contributors here are under zero obligation to hold your hand and spoon feed you information which could otherwise be collected elsewhere.

                      You are getting exactly what you invest in this site. If this isn’t the kind of site you want, simply find the exit.

                  • civil says:

                    Asking a question is not demanding anything.

                    No one is required to respond to a comment/question.

                    If the site really doesn’t want people who aren’t experts but who are honest, sincere, intelligent and sometimes ask questions, then it would be helpful to make that clear on the site’s comment policy page.

                    • Rayne says:

                      This site isn’t a primer for U.S. federal law. We also have regular attacks by trolls who attempt to DDoS threads with bad faith comments.

                      We also expect commenters to put in good faith effort to research on their own — the sources which have been offered to Fraulein would have turned up with research instead of dropping into a comment thread and asking for them.

                      If you don’t like the way this site operates you’re free to leave.

                    • Fraulein says:

                      I thought about this, re-read my question and concluded unequivocally that bmiz’s response was unadulterated jerkishness.

                      And there are numerous replies defending his indefensible jerkishness.

                      When I broke up with an emotionally bullying boyfriend, who also was an attorney, all his friends defended his behavior, “oh that’s just the way he is.” or “don’t take it personally” It was all baloney. He then made a bunch of specious claims against my property and took me to court, and lost on all counts, including attorneys’ fees. His problem was he was smart, but not as smart as he thought.

                      My husband, who is objectively much smarter than my ex bf (PhD High Energy Physics), is also very humble about his intellect.

                      Also, I have a PhD in Industrial/Organizational Psychology. My masters thesis focused on when company culture crosses the line to cultish behavior. All the hallmarks of that transition are evinced in the the comments of the hosts and their following.

                      No one has anything to learn here. Either join the cult or leave. I am accepting the multiple invitations to leave, which weren’t necessary; I could see the dysfunction even without the lovely invitations. Thank you for revealing who you are.

                      Peace and Love,

                    • Fraulein says:

                      Oh, and I forgot to mention, it is the type of thoughtless self-righteousness and arrogance shown here, that stuck us with Trump in the first place; instead of embracing folks with views on 5 or 10 degrees of difference from our own, they berate and belittle them. In a weird way, this is Trump-enabling site.

                      Then they are surprised when all their self-righteous arguments fail to make accurate predictions about the future. And that’s what it’s about, creating an intellectual backdrop that consistently produces insights that lead to accurate predictions about the future.

                      But not here.

                    • Rayne says:

                      Look, if you’re what you’ve said you are, spend less time on American politics and worry about the next Stephen Harper or whether Ford will respond appropriately under the pressure of this pandemic. Canadian scientists I follow are still extremely twitchy about Harper — and yet here you are.

                      EDIT: LOL My bad, I should have done my own homework. Hasta pasta, troll. Into the perma-bin with you lying POS. All that you wrote here is bullshit intended to DDoS this thread.

                      Community members: My apologies, wasn’t on top of my game with this one. Do pay close attention when you see these kinds of concern trolls pop up should bmaz or I not be around. If the question is one which might be answered by Googling, think carefully whether you want to help DDoS unwittingly by responding. Thanks much for your patience.

              • skua says:

                Not everyone who thinks Barr’s withdrawal of the DOJ case against Flynn is blatant corruption is impressed by the product of the “bipartisan group of former federal prosecutors and former high-ranking supervisory officials in the Department of Justice,” arguing against the DOJ’s Motion to Dismiss.

                From this site and associated tweets I understand that it could have been done much better.

            • taluslope says:

              Here you will find journalists and a stray lawyer or two. And poets! G*d this be a motley crew.

                • anaphoristand says:

                  The past few years have crowded so much of my thinking and writing into political/legal spheres, and on those fronts this site has been a real godsend. I’m happy to hear of other poets in similar boats.

            • Hug h says:

              Fraulein, not to worry, thick bark sometimes needed here. You hardly seem like a troll. This is a great site with many amazing people doing seriously detailed, hard analytical work. Hairy smelly trolls often wander in and given the current heat in the kitchen, wheat occasionally gets caught in the chafe. Please don’t take it personally.

              “We are here on Earth to fart around. Don’t let anybody tell you any different.” 
              -Kurt Vonnegut

              • Jim C. says:

                No, at first I thought they were being too rough on her, and then she proved herself a troll or a crank. BMAZ was right.

          • P J Evans says:

            It’s not easy to follow what’s going on, even as a long-time reader. The media really aren’t covering this story to any degree, and AFAICT this is the only place that *is* doing that.

            • bmaz says:

              No, it is not easy. Not in the least. Marcy has been right in consistently pointing to the public record though, and it is contra to the shit from Powell that the general media treats as if it were reasonable argument.

          • skua says:

            I couldn’t understand bmaz’s response.

            Then Frauline ( the “aggrieved” party ) writes, “No one has anything to learn here. Either join the cult or leave.”, and I see that bmaz’s BS detectors were working well.

            • Rayne says:

              Yup, they were. It’s on me that all the boxes weren’t checked earlier and once they were, well, they proved our resident grumpy bear’s nose was right.

        • Newt Ron Bomb says:

          You got slammed because you couldn’t define the public interest? How about;
          1. DOJ pursued this case for nearly three years before changing it’s mind. That’s enough to create someone looking into and representing the previous DOJ point of view.

          2. Not only is it DEEPLY unusual, it might be the first time that it’s been done in the history of the DOJ. Something that unusual should be reviewed.

          3. Flynn has pleaded guilty twice after intense questioning by Judge Sullivan. The question is was he lying then or was he lying now? A Federal Court should get to the bottom of that.

          4. After pleading guilty, the sentencing phase begins and the prosecutor has no right to withdraw prosecution after the prosecution is over.

          • FL Resister says:

            I have noted greater subtlety from the trolls on comment threads such as this (rarely here thanks to bmaz) and much more frequently on The Washington Post than in 2018.
            They open with an idea that they are sharing the POV that will give them credibility with the majority of commenters attracted to the discussion and then shift into a view that places that view in a weaker position. Sometimes they do with expressions used by the frothy right, such as “human scum” and “lock them up,” thereby equivocating the opposing opinions and canceling out principles of intelligent discourse and fact finding.
            There are other, even more subtle ways to stick a fork in the eyes of people who are sincerely concerned about finding our way out of the morass of corruption we are in under this administration.
            It’s always disheartening to see people fall into that trap.

            • John Lehman says:

              No….are you suggesting “Fraulein” might be “herr Fraulein“?
              Smile…spy craft.

    • earlofhuntingdon says:

      I also think Fokker is distinguishable, although the DCC panel implies it’s controlling. Much of the expansive language from it that Powell and the DoJ will want to use is not relevant to the holding itself, which makes it not controlling. The facts and state of the case as it comes to the DCC are different, too.

    • Peterr says:

      I wouldn’t necessarily read too much into that. This is The Village we’re talking about here, where RBG can go to the opera with her pal Antonin Scalia on Friday night, and the two of them could be at each other’s metaphorical throats on Monday morning.

  2. Rugger9 says:

    In the previous thread I saw a note that Covington had also been asked to explain their conduct, bit I haven’t even seen it on Raw Story which frequently gets things first if not always correct. Ditto DKos. However, it did make me wonder about the following things that should be in the DCC discussion as serious loose ends:

    Covington’s actions regarding Flynn and his various and repeated acceptance of guilt whether by plea or by confirmation, as laid out in the last thread.
    Whether Flynn is liable for contempt by deliberately misleading the court.
    Why Fokker would apply given where it occurred in the legal process as opposed to Flynn’s place now.
    The question of materiality which really appears to be only capable of being answered by the release of the unredacted transcripts to Judge Sullivan who did ask for them (as EW noted in an earlier thread).

    While I’m sure Judge Rao would find ways to ignore all of this, I’m sure Judge Sullivan’s new advocate (and Judge Gleeson as well if he gets his work done by June 1) will make it harder for the other GOP appointee to ignore the law here. While Rao might go on about Benghazi (as a commenter noted in an earlier comment of mine about her upcoming dissent) let’s all remember how the GOP kept HRC in a hearing for 11 hours and got nowhere on blaming HRC, even after months of innuendo, while turning the blind eye to the fact that it was the GOP Congress that cut State Department security funding that led to the shortage of staff then.

    • earlofhuntingdon says:

      As bmaz says, instead of an experienced, but busy judge and law clerks, Sullivan now has a heavy hitter on his team. She has a bat as big as any the DoJ can swing, and she’s much more competent than Powell. It will be harder for a Republican-dominated panel of the DCC to throw its weight around without having good arguments to back it up.

      • Rugger9 says:

        Rao would be a lost cause, but as erratic as Poppy’s pick has been (as noted in earlier threads) I’m sure Ms. Wilkinson will frame this appropriately to corner Powell.

        I’m sure the RWNM will howl about this anyway, but who is paying for Sullivan’s counsel? Does he have a budget for this kind of thing?

      • bmaz says:

        As you’ve noted in several fora, the actual record has not yet been argued anywhere near as effectively as it should be. Because it is seriously damning to Powell’s garbage.

  3. Andrew says:

    If the Appeals Court orders Judge Sullivan to dismiss the case, can Judge Sullivan appeal? I read a comment on WaPo that suggested Judge Sullivan hired counsel so he can ask for a review en banc if he loses (which Wikipedia said normally means a review by the full court instead of a panel). Can Judge Sullivan appeal to the Supreme Court if the Appeals Court orders him to dismiss the case? From the comments above, given the make up of the Appeals Court, it seems Judge Sullivan has a good chance of losing this round. I’m just wondering if that is it, or if he has any recourse.

      • vvv says:

        Fascinating – so for these proceedings, he is, “a party”?

        (Watching Gary Clarke Jr. – on Soundstage – oh, yeah.)

          • vvv says:

            If a party, and if he doesn’t prevail, then I have to wonder, would Judge Sullivan himself have the right to request an *en banc* hearing?

            “Prevail” may be problematic …

            But if so, next I have to wonder, does he, the judge, have a right of appeal?

            What a mess …

            (Gary Clarke, Jr. and band is really good, groovin’.)

            • Das Robot says:

              I believe he can have it reviewed by a panel or en banc. I’m not certain if it would go to the same panel or a different panel who is in the rotation after the current one.

      • harpie says:

        Powell made Sullivan the respondent”

        How unusual is this? Is [are] there a precedent[s]?

        • bmaz says:

          No, if you are attacking the court and/or its discretion, you name them. Usually the court itself never has to respond because the adverse party has that interest and fights for it. Here the “adverse party” is the DOJ and they have not only abandoned the argument, but are complicit with the defendant, Flynn. So the court itself must actually defend, and has been ordered to do so. Now “that” is pretty unusual.

          • Sonso says:

            What is the potential for an investigation into conspiracy or obstruction of justice by Powell and Barr, come 2021?

    • Rugger9 says:

      I’m not, since we are looking at a judge who already harbored suspicions about Government attorney conduct. In the past, it was because they withheld required disclosures, and now it’s because they are trying to get Flynn off after Flynn lied to him in court (at least once, as documented in the last thread) because reasons. Add to that the mandamus request was done after Judge Sullivan set the hearing date for mid-June (IIRC, please correct me if I’m wrong here). That’s like your kid playing the Mom-and-Dad game.

      • subtropolis says:

        How does that make any sense? Would you prefer that Sullivan believed that government could do no wrong? That he has already proven that he won’t put up with any bullshit from a misbehaving DoJ ought to be cause for comfort.

        • Rugger9 says:

          Don’t put thoughts in my post that aren’t there. We have (courtesy of Stevens) Judge Sullivan taking the Government to task over hiding potentially exculpatory evidence. We now have Shea signing on to get a crony of the WH Flynn off after he pleaded guilty, confirmed it and as noted above had already been scheduled for a sentencing (or at least on its way).

          If you actually read the comment I was responding to, that writer was expressing relief as if Sullivan wasn’t going to fight when in fact he is probably the most likely to fight back against bad behavior of all of the local judges. Democracy caught a break here, so go troll somewhere else.

          • civil says:

            You say “If you actually read the comment I was responding to, that writer was expressing relief as if Sullivan wasn’t going to fight …”

            But Alan’s comment said “I’m glad to see Sullivan choosing to fight.” I’m not sure why you interpret that as Alan “expressing relief as if Sullivan wasn’t going to fight.”

            I was similarly puzzled by you responding with “I’m not.” It came across as “I’m not glad to see Sullivan choosing to fight,” but then that didn’t jibe with the rest of your comment.

            Comments aren’t always as clear as the writer thinks, and misinterpreting someone’s comment doesn’t make the person who misinterpreted a troll.

            I think we’re all glad that Sullivan didn’t immediately grant the motion and will have skilled help in responding to the CADC / arguing against the writ.

          • Mitch Neher says:

            So I just did my own research on the question, “What is the Mom and Dad Game?” . . . (So that I would not be accused of expecting bmaz and Rayne to do my homework for me) . . . And . . . Would you believe how many different versions of The Mom and Dad Game there are??

            One wonders which rendition of The Mom and Dad Games Rugger9 thinks we’re all familiar with??

            Wait a second . . . Since all of the Mom and Dad Games are played at baby showers, maybe Ruggers9’s comparison of the mandamus request to a fetus playing any given Mom and Dad Game doesn’t presuppose that we’re all suppose to know which confounded Mom and Dad Game P. G. FUBARr is playing now.

            Assuming that P. G. FUBARr is the brain-Daddy of the mandamus request, that is.

            (Don’t ask me who the fetus is.) [Judge Sullivan? The Amicus? . . . What’s his name? I can’t remember. Somebody please?!]

      • Rugger9 says:

        Also, they are all lap creatures, even when they don’t fit any longer (like my Dad’s German Shorthair Pointer).

        • P J Evans says:

          The one Great Dane I met, years ago, wasn’t a lap dog, though I’m sure she wanted to be one. Very friendly.

          • bmaz says:

            As Rugger says, they think they are, even if they are way too huge for that anymore. May need to rethink and get an actual lap dog instead of a canine version of a Shetland Pony next time.

            • Rugger9 says:

              Our current lap dog is a 15-lb rescue terrier (we think a rat terrier with some Chihuahua) that is a Princess Terrier. We saw that early on when she refused to sit on tile because it’s too cold and hard for the princess butt. Lucky for us the telekinetic powers remain on the fritz or all the food would roll off the table.

              • Eureka says:

                Yes, the little ones enforce their very refined aesthetics as to what is acceptable for their bodies to endure. Ours (mini doxie) does not accept wet grass, overly tall grass (I’ll foreclose remainder of list, suffice to say I had to get a blue light to check the house during long bouts of rain, absent normal requests to go out). He asks to have the furnace turned up as needed. When we got him from the shelter, read all kinds of stories about how they often have to be built awning-ed spots for winter and other bad weather (to be fair, he is quite close to the ground).

  4. earlofhuntingdon says:

    Trump supporters are minimizing Trump’s playing golf today as unfortunate “bad optics,” but a “man” in his position needs to relax when he can. I must not have fallen down the same rabbit hole.

    Trump stays in bed, watches television and twits several hours a day. When he emerges in public, it is after hours of make-up and hair “styling.” He does WTF he wants with the rest of the day. He never reads the important stuff a president needs to know in order to do his job, but he does look at a few pictures. His press conferences are minimally disguised, fact-free, lie-filled campaign speeches. When he does work, he badly fucks it up.

    Trump needs a vacation like he needs to put on another fifty pounds. He needs to start doing something productive, after having lost 100,000 people and counting on his watch. Before election day – which is all he cares about – it will be twice that many. The names and lives would fill the walls of four Vietnam Memorials.

    No, Trump’s conduct is not about “bad optics.” Not one bit.

    • Rugger9 says:

      It’s especially rich given how much DJT howled about Obama taking time to golf and go to HI in the run-up to and during the 2016 campaign. IOKIYAR always applies, like when Mitch leaves DC for vacation without doing anything on COVID-19, but he did ram through a new unqualified DNI (this position has specific statutory requirements that Ratcliffe doesn’t meet) and some more judges. That’s why there is no such thing as a “moderate” Republican, they always vote for their Russin, corporate and evangelical masters.

      • Rugger9 says:

        David Urban among others are now peddling the line that it’s “unrealistic” to sit “frozen in his office”. I make that note here given how much DJT howled about Obama’s much lower use of the golf courses. We should also note that DJT usually plays at HIS courses sticking the taxpayers for the tabs on the Secret Service, golf carts, etc. for which he’s stonewalling the House trying to investigate how much we taxpayers are spending and on the hook for coming up until after the election. Yeah, right.

        Also in the news is the KY governor being hung in effigy in front of the governor’s residence (where his kids could see it and how the RWNM would scream if it were a GOP governor) and the “militia” types saying that protesting “is not the answer any longer”. Keep that in mind when DJT loses the election.

        The ID Lt Governor has declared political (for now) war on the GOP Governor because he’s trying to maintain safe guidelines and it’s plumb inconvenient. She’s a real piece of 3-percenter work.

        All of this on a day when we honor our war dead, like my uncle killed at Malmedy.

        • Eureka says:

          My respects for your families, Rugger and PJ.

          To your point about these very fine people, NC reopener says people should be ready to kill to resist “New World Order”, via:

          Ben Collins: “Husband of the woman who leads the Reopen NC movement: “This is a test. This is seeing if we are ready to accept the mark of the beast, if we are ready to accept this New World Order system they want to implement over humanity.”[Raw Story link]”

            • Rugger9 says:

              He’s just itching to get the convention to Mar-A-Lago or Bedminster because he doesn’t profit otherwise. It’s kind of like where all the inaugural money went, deep into the Trump Org coffers.

              Seriously, the restrictions by August in NC would be minimal, but still not loose enough to cheek-by-jowl conventioneers. So, to me this reads like an excuse to “save” the convention by holding it at M-a-L which just happens to double its charges for Government work.

              • Eureka says:

                Latest ransom demand aside (‘give me your money and my way, and I’ll move on to the next extortion’), I did wonder for a sec if it would all be less rah-rah violent if at MAL (Palm Beach and all). But one must never discount Florida Man (all present company excluded!), and surely they’ve got multi-state events in the works regardless (In light of both 2016 and current events, I can see them building towards pan-states televised RNC -fueled riots to prep for the election. So far they seem to be working a handful of states on any given day, and MSM is glad to amplify).

          • Ginevra diBenci says:

            This morning my father died of Covid in Charlotte, NC. Until last week he had been a robust and active 89-year-old who was looking forward to his 90th birthday and voting against Trump in November. He was carefully observing virus precautions despite his gregarious nature, but careful didn’t cut it anymore. So congratulations, Reopeners. You’re winning in NC.

            • Eureka says:

              I am so sorry for your loss, Ginevra. Losses, of a vigorous dad and all of his plans. This is such a hard time to find words, and grief is so much more complicated by all that has come to pass, but please accept my best for your family.

              • Ginevra diBenci says:

                Thank you, Eureka. I appreciate that you responded to my pain, and not the anger that splashed out when I wrote that post. I know the anger doesn’t help, but I just felt so helpless and sick of all this needless death. When you said “all his plans,” you exactly homed in on why this hurts us so much. He was truly looking forward to a future he had every reason to anticipate. And deserved; he was a decorated combat veteran (Korea), although he never bragged (and barely talked) about that. Thank you for understanding.

    • harpie says:

      Here’s a “Bad Optic” for them:

      1:27 AM · May 24, 2020

      The front page of The New York Times for May 24, 2020

      Headline over all 6 columns:
      They Were Not Simply Names on a List. They Were Us.

      It is a full print page of names with short remembrances and more on later pages…1,000 all told.

      Here it is on line:

      • harpie says:

        An Incalculable Loss
        America is fast approaching a grim milestone in the corona virus outbreak – -each figure here represents one of the nearly 100,000 lives lost so far. But a count reveals only so much. Memories, gathered from obituaries across the country, help us to reckon with what was lost.
        [link above] May 24, 2020

        • Rayne says:

          Yes. This is a bad optic. And at this rate there will be more than 200,000 deaths by Election Day. No wonder he’s bitching via Twitter this morning about voting by mail — he’s terrified people will vote based on this bad optic.
          Graphic: Mark Dolk @vrjrdgstknng

          Graphic: Mark Dolk @vrjrdgstknng

            • P J Evans says:

              It’s too bad Nast isn’t alive for this. But there are a lot of very fine political cartoonists who are doing excellent work.

                • John Lehman says:

                  That’s really sad.

                  Hasn’t Miller, the architect of the “wall-immigrant” fiasco been pretty much disowned by his holocaust surviving family?

                  • Geoguy says:

                    This quote taken from (I think) a Politico article is from Miller’s uncle, David Glosser: “I have watched with dismay and increasing horror as my nephew, who is an educated man and well aware of his heritage, has become the architect of immigration policies that repudiate the very foundation of our family’s life in this country,” he wrote. “I shudder at the thought of what would have become of the Glossers had the same policies Stephen so coolly espouses— the travel ban, the radical decrease in refugees, the separation of children from their parents, and even talk of limiting citizenship for legal immigrants— been in effect when Wolf-Leib made his desperate bid for freedom.”

              • John Lehman says:

                And the cartoonist’s cousins (comedians) Trevor Noah, Stephen Colbert, they’re all doing excellent work…..of course the material writes itself.

            • Rayne says:

              You nailed it on the head — Trump and the GOP don’t want ALL voters to use mail in ballots, just their own voters.

              Oh, they’ll try to use mail-in absentee ballots to their benefit when they can control the situation, like the North Carolina House race in which a consultant had someone illegally collect and then destroy Democratic voters’ absentee ballots.

              But if ALL voters use mail-in ballots, they can’t tell which ones are GOP friendly and which ones aren’t. So they are attacking the U.S. Post Office while refusing to fund any additional voting security measures, and Trump continues to openly suppress voter turn out by complaining about the alleged risks of mail-in ballots.

              The GOP is not republican — it doesn’t support a democratic republic but instead a kleptocratic autocracy. It’s essential to preserving democracy that they are voted out in November.

              • Rugger9 says:

                Indeed, I would expect some serious ballot harvesting like that done in NC-9 last cycle by the GOP operative (who had been busted before for similar stuff) who I think is strangely out of jail now.

                IOKIYAR, so we Ds have to swamp them like we did in 2008 and make it impossible for TBlossom to steal.

                • ajchar says:

                  Dowless has been indicted by the State but not yet tried on his election fraud. So far the Feds have only charged him with Social Security fraud for misreporting his income while collecting social security and disability payments.

                  He did a similar scam in 2016 and was noticed but was not given much attention by prosecutors. His past crimes were insurance fraud and perjury.

                  They should have stopped him dead in 2016 but the election board didn’t pursue him (it was run by Republicans in 2016). It was not the sort of scam that can be easily replicated on a state wide scale without someone spilling the beans.


              • P J Evans says:

                I voted by mail in the primary – I’d signed up for it before the virus hit – and it wasn’t anything like what Trmp was telling people. (Ballots are addressed to the voter and have a bar code on the back. Also, it’s not a standard size sheet, and not standard paper – it would require a custom print job to “copy” it.)

                • readerOfTeaLeaves says:

                  Better name, and more true: Pour at Four Voting.

                  No kidding.
                  We make an event of it.
                  The system is simple and there are multiple elements of each ballot that make it unique, but also make it anonymous.

              • civil says:

                There’s good voting rights news out of FL this evening. ACLU: “VICTORY: A court just ruled that Florida’s attempt to disenfranchise hundreds of thousands of Floridians is an illegal poll tax. Floridians who owe costs and fees can now register and cast their ballots.”
                Here’s the ruling out of the Northern District of FL: https://www.aclu.org/legal-document/opinion-florida

          • arbusto says:

            Also voting by mail would make hacking results more difficult for Brad Parscale and friends, if I’m not mistaken.

            • Rugger9 says:

              It does, but to be sure you do want to vote a bit early if you can. At least in CA we count them as we get them after cross-reference to the registrar records.

              Also, for everyone: make sure you are registered to vote now because the GOP likes to do their purges silently and without notice. When possible get screen captures as well to minimize the chances of “mistakes”.

      • BobCon says:

        It’s a powerful piece, the kind of thing that shows how the NY Times can be a vital force in the US.

        But holy cow, the Times is full of hot air at the same time. Also in today’s front section is classic Timesian garbage analysis of the little people by Sabrina Tavernise “Will the Coronavirus Kill What’s Left of Americans’ Faith in Washington?”

        Tavernise is an infamous cherry picker in search of voices backing her thesis — here is an example of how her quote fishing goes awry:


        Political reporters and editors at the Times are largely incapable of honest analysis which does not start with a thesis and only plugs in supportive facts. For example, the key bit of polling data cited by Tavernise is a 2019 poll citing a drop in trust in “the federal government” to 19%.

        Tavernise, performing classic Timesian filing down of inconvenient alternatives, doesn’t even cinsider the possibility that this number reflects specifically on Trump himself. No, the Times assumes the little people are clueless about who is running the government that they don’t trust.

        Also left out of Tavernise’s analysis is the rising public approval of Congress in polling since the Democrats took over the House. While still low, it is now significantly better than when the GOP had full control.

        This is a good analysis from the American Prospect of the problem with the parachuting reporter approach to journalism by national outlets:


        The big press has a thesis, they keep doing interviews until they get what they need to back it up, they whitewash any inconvenient bigger picture issues and facts, and then move on.

        I don’t want to lose the impact of the Times front page today. Unquestionably it matters a lot more than the trash from Tavernise and whoever her editors are. But the front page will soon fade, while the insidious takes on the little people will keep coming.

        • earlofhuntingdon says:

          OMG. The NYT is producing a clone army of David Brookses. Chomsky must be tired of pointing out that the NYT spends its effort normalizing power, rather than pointing out its excesses, which need remediation.

        • Rugger9 says:

          Alas, I’m not surprised given how much the NYT had to do with the Iraq war (Judy, Judy, Judy) and the trumpeting of HRC’s email scandal when no one had even asked Huma Abedin to look at the computer much less gotten a warrant to search it, all the while sweeping DJTs crimes already known to them under the rug. Brooks, Cillizza, Friedman Unit, Maggie are all still employed with bully pulpits. The only one they haven’t ditched yet is Krugman but he has a Nobel Prize and Larry Kudlow does not.

          Even around here we had a full page ad in the back page of the local section (where the weather usually is) by Pamela Altmaier raking Dr. Sarah Cody over the coals for not reopening Santa Clara County nownownow along with the rest of the state. She’s apparently a Federalist Society hack who claims to speak for the “Suffering Residents of Santa Clara County”.

      • civil says:

        And here’s another “bad optic”:

        Brian Klaas: “Trump took the tragic death of a young woman, Lori Klausutis, and has tried to exploit it for political gain in the most disgusting way imaginable. This letter from her husband to @jack [CEO of Twitter] asking him to delete Trump’s sick tweets is a heart-wrenching must read. …” (tweet attaches the letter): https://twitter.com/brianklaas/status/1265239671140909058

        Will Twitter delete Trump’s conspiracy theory tweets, which are contrary to their own rules about targeted harassment (https://help.twitter.com/en/rules-and-policies/twitter-rules)?

  5. I Never Lie and am Always Right says:

    I’m certain that Sullivan can challenge an adverse ruling by the three judge panel, either through a request for rehearing en banc or even a cert petition.

    Getting a writ of mandamus is exceedingly difficult if the Judges are cutting square corners. Rao won’t cut square corners. Not a chance in the world. It will almost certainly be a split panel ruling. The only question will be which two Judges are in the majority.

    • Tony el Tigre says:

      People’s Commissioner George Tirebiter! I was wondering where you’ve been all these years.

      I agree it’s wait and see and hope Flynn is persecuted to the full extent of the laws.

        • MB says:

          Shoes for the dead!

          Hey…what chance does a returning deceased war veteran have for that good-paying job, more sugar and the free mule you’ve been dreaming of? Think it over. Then take off your shoes.

          • Tony el Tigre says:

            Now you can see how increased spending opportunities means harder work for everyone, and more of it too. So do your part today Joe, join with millions of your neighbors and turn in your shoes. For industry!

            At least we can still laugh, and for those not in on the joke, go to YouTube and search for “Don’t Crush That Dwarf, Hand Me The Pliers”

  6. Lazlow K. Hud says:

    From here it looks like Sullivan has hired a defence attorney.

    Going to get interesting given all the high level activity – Grenell‘s declassifications, Wray’s announced internal investigations and the senators’ persistent questions – surrounding this case. Frame all this with Trump claiming in an upcoming interview he now has a chance to break the deep state and I think we’ll see some fireworks.

    Popcorn time.

    • Dmbeaster says:

      Where is “here” from which “it looks like Sullivan has hired a defence attorney”? Its a dispute about the standards for ruling on a DOJ motion to dismiss, which are not well defined for this circumstance.

  7. civil says:

    Powell made 3 requests — “Petitioner respectfully requests a Writ of Mandamus ordering the district court to (1) grant the Government’s Motion to Dismiss with prejudice, (2) vacate its order appointing an amicus curiae, and (3) assign the case to another judge for any additional proceedings,” but Sullivan was only ordered to address the first of these: “file a response addressing petitioner’s request that this court order the district judge to grant the government’s motion to dismiss.”

    I’m not surprised that they didn’t ask Sullivan to address #3, but I’m intrigued that they were silent about #2, and I’m curious whether Sullivan/Wilkinson will choose to address #2 or #3 as part of the reply.

    • bmaz says:

      They should address 2 and 3 because they were argued in the petition, and you never know where Rao may drive consideration. Obviously 1 is primary, but I would sure as heck give a brief argument on 2 and 3 just in case.

  8. chetnolian says:

    Puzzled as to why this post still does not appear in the regular listing; something odd perhaps?

    On the questions of which parts of the mandamus requests Sullivan was ordered to respond to, I suspect likelihood of success might have been discussed. Question 2 is moot if Sullivan is ordered to comply, but Question 3 necessarily implies that another judge might be more amenable. That would make the underlying intent a bit more transparent.

    Perhaps two judges (I’ll accept the collective view on Rao) were simply not prepared to do that. They might be lawyers who respect the US Constitution on separation of powers, you never know.

    And unless I misunderstand , bmaz will soon tell me if I am wrong, all they have done is ask Sullivan to explain his position. That does not imply they do not accept it. It would permit him to set his reasons out on the record, which he obviously now plans to do big time.

    • bmaz says:

      No, that is correct. The concern is that this is occurring at all. The petition for the writ is premature, to be kind. 99.9% of the time, such an application is summarily denied. Here it is, beyond curiously, being entertained. Rao is a known. Wilkins likely is too (he is a former DC District Judge and would always respect their jurisdiction). But the third vote belongs to Karen Lecraft Henderson, and she may be bullied and swayed by Rao. We shall see soon enough apparently.

      As to whether this post appears in the normal queue, it does for me. Does anybody else detect that?

        • bmaz says:

          Thank you for that response. Chetnolian is a long time friend to us here, and if he reports something, we take it seriously. I think it must be an individualized glitch in this case.

    • civil says:

      From what I gather, it’s very unusual that they “order[ed]” Sullivan to respond instead of inviting a response. They “invited” a response from the DOJ.

      There’s also at least one request for leave to file an amicus brief on the Writ of Mandamus, from “16 individuals who served in the Justice Department’s Watergate Special Prosecution Force”: https://assets.documentcloud.org/documents/6922817/Watergate-Prosecutors-Cadc.pdf
      They were planning to file an amicus brief with Sullivan re: the Motion to Dismiss and don’t want that precluded by the Circuit Court granting the Writ. I wonder whether others will also ask leave to file as amici on the Writ request.

      • Dmbeaster says:

        No, mandamus procedure contemplates an order to respond to the application, and is pro forma. The DOJ is not a direct party to the mandamus petition, so its participation is voluntary, and the order allows it to participate. It is a certainty that it will, which creates the weird possibility that it adds more to the argument without yet giving Sullivan an opportunity to respond to that.

        • civil says:

          I see I wasn’t clear enough. I understand that an order to respond sometimes occurs, though the request for the writ could instead denied without asking for a response. What I’m saying is that from what I’ve read (which could of course be incorrect, but here’s an example: https://twitter.com/reeveslawstl/status/1263588369918906373 ), those orders generally “invite” a response from the judge instead “ordering” the judge to respond. I shouldn’t have contrasted their wording to Sullivan with their wording to the DOJ; I understand the difference there. I should have contrasted the wording to Sullivan with wording to other judges in this context. I, too, expect the DOJ will take up the invitation.

      • harpie says:

        The other day, from Marcy:
        2:18 PM · May 22, 2020

        I find this more compelling than the 1000 prosecutors one. [link]

        links to:
        12:32 PM · May 22, 2020

        “The government’s motion improperly seeks to make this Court complicit in the Executive Branch’s inexplicable about-face in the Flynn prosecution.” […] [LINK]


        • civil says:

          Thanks. I linked to the Tribe et al. brief in another comment this morning. As is clear from your quotes, it’s an amicus brief re: the Motion to Dismiss, and here I was only noting that there’s now a request for leave to file an amicus brief with the USCADC re: the Writ of Mandamus.

    • Rayne says:

      With regard to appearance of post on the page — may I suggest refreshing your browser’s cache? I think this might resolve the problem. Let us know if it’s still not showing up as you believe it should. Thanks.

  9. Chetnolian says:

    Nope still not coming up through my browser. Don’t know why.

    Anyway, I am taking a slightly more optimistic view of the situation. Maybe the system is fighting back. What is most odd was the DOJ withdrawal after conviction From then on everything is new. The whole justice system is under threat.

    Summary dismissal would have been claimed by those with political power as bias in the state machinery. This way there has to be argument. We may be very sure Sullivan will produce a very good and clear argument.

    • earlofhuntingdon says:

      Glad to read you again. Had the DCC turned down Powell’s petition, the issue might have gone to the Supremes, but only if they agreed to it. I don’t think it was a football they wanted just yet.

      If they turned it down, the case would have stayed with Sullivan. He would have had his hearings, documented the record, and sentenced Flynn. The case would have gone back to the DCC in the ordinary course, but with a fuller record and sentence in hand, which is what it normally demands.

      This panel of the DCC is causing harm. It should have turned down the petition for being premature. It obviously wants the case now. But the defensive politics here – protecting Flynn, which means protecting Trump, and ultimately the GOP – seems to overwhelm any legal interest that required butting into Sullivan’s work at this stage of the game.

    • bmaz says:

      Chet – No clue. I have looked a couple of different ways, and seems all in course. Weird.

      Summary dismissal would have been reported by anybody with a clue on mandamus applications as “LOL, of course it was dismissed, that is always what happens.”

      • Chetnolian says:

        In spaces between lawn mowing in sunny Dorset.

        Being a desk jockey lawyer, I am not really good on civil procedure in England, let alone the USA.

        Does the position of Sullivan in responding to the DCC in any way alter the arguments he could have made from the bench in rejecting the original DOJ action, either positively or negatively?

        • earlofhuntingdon says:

          Chesil Beach, Dead Man’s Bay, and a smoke-filled pub near Osmington. A friend and his brother, both dons, used to sit on the beach and calculate the number of stones in it. The competing numbers tended to vary slightly after a trip to the pub. I just enjoyed the view, and the pub.

          • Ginevra diBenci says:

            I feel like I’m back inside a Peterman’s catalogue, wearing a wrap dress that makes me look like Kate Hepburn and wielding a flirtatious cigarette holder. Those were the good times.

            • bmaz says:

              There is nobody like Kate Hepburn back in the day. She was perfect in almost everything. If I mentally click back through my favorite movies ever, she is the star, or co-star, of so, so many of them. This might have to be a weekend Trash Talk one of these days. Kate was Great.

          • earlofhuntingdon says:

            About those two brother scientists reckoning the number of stones on the beach on an English summer’s day. The beach is not made of sand or shells, but wave-rounded stones roughly the size of golf balls. They form part of a barrier island near Weymouth, in Dorset, that’s nearly 20 miles long, 600 feet wide, and up to 45 feet high. Calculating them on the fly was a bit more work than counting change at the pub. But the day was lots of laughs.

  10. The Old Redneck says:

    I hope I end up being wrong, but I’m concerned about where this is going. First, they could have just denied the writ and told Flynn to take an appeal at the end of the case. That’s what would happen 99-percent of the time.
    The fact that they took the writ seriously and put Sullivan on a short timeline to respond may be a bad sign. It shows possible impatience with Sullivan for not just dismissing it. Remember, that is what both parties before him are asking.
    Again, I hope this ends up being wrong. We are far beyond charging decisions for a guy who has pled guilty and locked himself in under oath several times. But the tea leaves aren’t looking good so far.

    • Bobby Gladd says:

      Brute force unapologetic authoritarian power play?

      Severely bad optics (but w/ no MAGA2020 “legs”), all just to keep Trump’s fingerprints off a pardon? A less stinky “exoneration?”

      Q (ianal): Is Flynn not yet legally “guilty” as of right now, as a “technical’ federal criminal legal process matter at this 11th hour? Or does that not obtain until the matter is fully out of Sullivan’s courtroom?

      Barr; what a piece of work. Scary.

      • bmaz says:

        Legally guilty? Yes. That finding was made with the acceptance of his plea and allocution. Actual “conviction”, however, does not occur until that guilt finding (and this is true of a jury verdict as well) is merged into a formal sentencing. There is a real difference between the guilt finding and formal conviction status.

        • Bobby Gladd says:

          Thanks for the clarity. That’s what I’d wondered. It’s the latter they’re trying to summarily abort. Trump will continue to loudly claim “total exoneration” nonetheless. Of that I have no doubt.

          Stay safe and well.

  11. civil says:


    You posted a reply to me, but there is no reply option under your comment, as it’s at too deep a level of nesting / too narrow in width to enable a yet narrower-in-width reply.

    I absolutely understand your points. It would be helpful to put something along those lines on the comment policy page. I’m the one who provided those resources to Fraulein, so I’m clearly capable of and willing to research things.

    To be clear: I was likewise taken aback when bmaz responded to a question I’d posted (a question that was mostly rhetorical and that was not something I could research, as only the DOJ team who wrote Flynn’s Statement of Offense and Plea can really say) with an accusation out of the blue that I was disingenuous and trolling: https://www.emptywheel.net/2020/05/20/flynn-was-hiding-that-he-coordinated-his-kislyak-call-with-mar-a-lago/#comment-843950

    I wasn’t expecting any kind of primer, nor was I trolling. I was simply hoping that someone else had a good conjecture or some other helpful short response. Thanks to a separate column by Ms. Wheeler that prompted me to reread the Statement of Offense and a response from Eureka, I can at least better articulate now what I’m puzzling over and why I think it’s significant: https://www.emptywheel.net/2020/05/23/in-truth-i-never-lied-mike-flynns-materially-conflicting-sworn-statements/#comment-844195

    Last but not least, you’re the one who left me a welcome note when I posted my first comment. Thanks for that.

    • bmaz says:

      Oh, stop. I replied to you when it was appropriate to a reasonable question. That would have been at 9:04 am today. You appear more interested in policing this blog than affirmatively participating as a member. There are a sudden gross amount of such voices lately. Quit whining and start discussing; but, if bitching is your main concern, this site is not for you.

      • civil says:

        “I replied to you when it was appropriate to a reasonable question… at 9:04 am today”

        I haven’t asked any questions on this page. I was referring to your response to me on another column yesterday, as should be clear from the URL of the link I included. Your reply to my question there was uncalled for, and the only reason I introduced it here was because it was relevant to Rayne’s comment to me here. If Rayne hadn’t addressed me re: comment-policing, I wouldn’t have said anything more about comment-policing. Same with your reply just now.

        “Quit whining and start discussing”

        I have been discussing the topic, as should be clear if you simply skimmed my 10 or so comments (easy to find with a text search), most of which are about Sullivan, amici, CADC, etc. If you’re going to complain about me and my posts, deal with it honestly.

        I’d actually love to know whether you have anything substantive to say about the totally appropriate question I posed yesterday (your reply was only comment-policing). If you’re open to that, I suggest that you look at the second link above, which better articulates what I’m puzzling over and isn’t posed as a question.

        • bmaz says:

          Lol. You are in the wrong forum. To use your own words, “I suggest” you find different one.

          You have been responded to repeatedly to your cloying questions, nobody owes you squat.

          • civil says:

            I absolutely agree that “nobody owes [me] squat” here. I haven’t claimed or implied otherwise. “If” is a conditional, and if the premise of a conditional is false, nothing follows from it.

            I’m totally baffled by your claim about me posting “cloying questions” (plural). I haven’t posted to very many columns total. I haven’t posted a single question in any of my comments on this page. I didn’t ask any questions in my comments on the “… Mike Flynn’s Materially Conflicting Sworn Statements” page or the “DC Circuit Orders Judge Sullivan to Respond…” page.

            Your claim, “You have been responded to repeatedly to your cloying questions,” is bull.

            I asked a couple of questions on the “Flynn Was Hiding that He Coordinated His Kislyak Call with Mar-A-Lago” page, but none were “cloying,” and people didn’t respond “repeatedly.”

            I honestly can’t figure out why you’d characterize a question like the following as “cloying”:
            “[Since paragraph (c) of the Statement of Offense — identifying the 12/29 sanctions discussion between Flynn and senior transition team before his call to Kislyak –] was already part of what he was stipulating to, why not also include as part of the False Statements that Flynn had denied knowing about the ‘then-upcoming actions’?”

            His having denied knowledge of the sanctions strikes me as a material lie, as it helped to hide that he conferred with the transition team before talking with Kislyak. It’s also relevant re: Flynn ostensibly being fired for lying to Pence, as it means that either (1) multiple transition team members kept Pence out of the loop, or (2) Pence knew, and Flynn was fired on pretext of lying, and Pence and Trump have been lying about that being part of Flynn’s firing. (I wouldn’t be surprised about either of them lying.)

            • bmaz says:

              You and your friend in arms Fraulien, who both appeared out of nowhere, within 30 minutes of each other on May 23, are trolling this site, with column inches of garbage. Buh bye.

              • civil says:

                Among the things I really value from grad school was the work of analyzing data for both confirming AND disconfirming evidence of claim.

                You seem to be choosing to focus only on what confirms your existing beliefs.

                Disconfirming data for your claim “[you and Fraulein] both appeared out of nowhere, within 30 minutes of each other on May 23” include the fact that I posted to emptywheel.net prior to May 23. Here’s an example: https://www.emptywheel.net/2020/05/21/dc-circuit-orders-judge-sullivan-to-respond-to-mike-flynns-mandamus-petition/#comment-843880

                If you’re referring to me showing up on this page, I just checked the timestamps, and I posted my first comment an hour after hers. She and I are not “friends.” The main reasons I responded to her are that (a) you also responded to my comment on another column in a similarly inappropriate way and (b) I thought I might be able to help with her question.

                But don’t let any of that disconfirming evidence get in the way of holding onto your false narrative.

                • Doug Fir says:

                  Civil: Your version of a reasoned argument about the appropriateness of bmaz’s aggressive defense of this site clearly isn’t going anywhere. Please stop consuming column inches that could be better used discussing Ms Wheeler’s well thought out and argued conclusions and their implications. The rest of us are here for that discussion, not yours.

                  • civil says:

                    I was trying to discuss “Ms Wheeler’s well thought out and argued conclusions and their implications” when I wrote “[Since paragraph (c) of the Statement of Offense — identifying the 12/29 sanctions discussion between Flynn and senior transition team before his call to Kislyak –] was already part of what he was stipulating to, why not also include as part of the False Statements that Flynn had denied knowing about the ‘then-upcoming actions’?
                    “His having denied knowledge of the sanctions strikes me as a material lie, as it helped to hide that he conferred with the transition team before talking with Kislyak. It’s also relevant re: Flynn ostensibly being fired for lying to Pence, as it means that either (1) multiple transition team members kept Pence out of the loop, or (2) Pence knew, and Flynn was fired on pretext of lying, and Pence and Trump have been lying about that being part of Flynn’s firing. (I wouldn’t be surprised about either of them lying.)”

                    And shouldn’t all discussion here — whether on topic or off — involve a commitment to honesty? I agree with Rep. Schiff that “If the truth doesn’t matter, we’re lost.”

                    • bmaz says:

                      Listen you repetitive pain, the discussion here IS honest, and you an ass for inferring it is not. Your repetitive caterwauling over an irrelevant point is annoying. Why was your precious little point not a formal part of the plea? Because they went with negotiated language no more, nor no less, than what they stipulated too. That is how pleas are done. They are NOT done to satisfy repetitive cranks on the internet. Give it a rest; your precious “point” is lame, not brilliant.

                    • bmaz says:

                      No, “Civil”, your bleating response, again repetitive, will not see the light off day. You are fast on the path to your compatriot in trolling arms Fraulein. Contribute meaningfully, or you will be gone.

  12. earlofhuntingdon says:

    Is Mike Flynn the real Frank (“It’s all lies”) Pentangeli?

    Then who would be his godfather?

    • Das Robot says:

      Hahaha now now I think you know… I’m just dying to know why Powell and DoJ are trying to spike the Covington material. Me wonders what lies he told them to cover for Don Corleone.

    • earlofhuntingdon says:

      Marcy probably has a very good idea. My guess is that the Covington material establishes that they did a fine job and that some of Flynn’s key claims are lies – and that Flynn is lying about lying. There might also be a few statements about Trump in there, which might be distinctly embarrassing.

      The Covington material is likely to be only a single cache on a beach filled with embarrassing buried treasures for Trump. It would be one reason Barr is working overtime.

      • bmaz says:

        Covington is very good, and so is Rob Kellner. He led an extremely good effort for Flynn. And let’s be clear, the anticipation for the representation by Covington was plea from the start, and a fantastic plea was obtained. Their work will hold up fine, and Powell does not really want that demonstrated.

      • earlofhuntingdon says:

        As important as Covington’s revelations would be in undermining Flynn’s current “legal” defense, they would also undermine both of Trump’s campaigns – for re-election and to attack those who will have ousted him from the office he has so badly abused – in order to remain in it. I do not believe that Trump would hesitate to spill other people’s precious bodily fluids.

        • Das Robot says:

          I’m just guessing that in depositions he reinforced all of the assertions made by the prosecutors who as bmaz had said carved a great deal out for him. I believe EW thinks Trump knew exactly what Flynn was up to but I also wonder if Flynn’s discussions would cover new Mueller territory that didn’t pertain directly to Flynn’s case but got lost in the blizzard. Inquiring minds want to know…

          OT why isn’t everyone as giddy as I am about this? No path for Rs without Florida…

          • Rugger9 says:

            This has to make it past the appellate side of things, and given the importance of FL I would suspect SCOTUS would want to “help” as well.

            It is something of reasonable question to ask (but I should point out restitution was never part of the voter initiative) about when a debt to society is really paid. That question needed to be handled when the initiative was passed by the voters rather handily. It was pretty clear that the “sweat equity” for doing time should count for something, but in their mad rush to prevent the “wrong” kinds of voters from voting, the Florida GOP created their own monster worthy of Kobach’s Crosscheck. That kind of blunder can lead to a precedent they don’t want..

            • Das Robot says:

              But I don’t know whether it can be stayed bc the loss of voting rights is a fundamental right which there is no remedy for. Voting issues are fundamental i the sense that all other rights come after. I wonder…

  13. earlofhuntingdon says:

    This description applies even more to the US government under Donald Trump:

    Scientific consensus is that it’s not safe [to return to school or work without more protection]. It is also not safe for us to follow [political adviser Dominic] Cumming’s example or [Boris] Johnson’s words. This government is now an active public health threat to its citizens.

    In about two weeks we’ll be counting the needlessly sick and dead from premature, rule-free re-opening of commercial and public spaces. Demanded by Trump, he will blame the consequences on Abraham, Martin, and John, and Mrs. O’Leary’s cow before accepting any responsibility himself.


    • chetnolian says:

      Ah a quote from Carole Cadwallader, a kindred spirit I feel to Marcy, who is still trying to have everyone understand that the Brexit referendum was fixed, mainly by Dominic Cummings, who has accidentally managed in the last two days to stop being the puppet master and become the story. Couldn’t happen to a nicer man. For our US readers Dominic applied the Leona Helmsley test to the UK lockdown, “only for the little people”.

      • earlofhuntingdon says:

        Traveling two hundred miles from London, meeting people without precautions and while knowingly sick, presumably with Covid-19. That would suggest that Boris’s brain is not much given to modeling responsible or healthy behavior.

      • Eureka says:

        LOL but myself and apparently a bunch of others learned something (old) new because of it (some Barney locals posted that they were unfamiliar with this reference):

        Paul Clarke: “Dear heavens. It really is. … ”

        TalesoftheBritishIsles: “This seems too perfect. From Brewer’s Britain and Ireland, 2005. “That’s Barney Castle” meaning “That’s a pathetic excuse”… ”

        Adding, to EOH above: very tickled by the reference to Mrs. O’Leary’s cow.

        • earlofhuntingdon says:

          Sure and begorrah. I was also thinking that blaming the cow was a way to blame poor immigrants for the great Chicago fire. (The forests of northern Michigan were denuded to help rebuild it.)

          There was no evidence that either O’Leary or her cow was a perpetrator. But the legend helped avoid a harder look at why a great wooden ramshackle city, which exploded in size during and after the Civil War and the coming of the railroads, nearly burnt to the ground.

          • Eureka says:

            Yes, your allusions are always rich [and (notwithstanding) my humor buttons pop with the first strained thread].

          • John McManus says:

            A railroad was built from Ottawa to Ogdensburg to ship Canadian timber to Chicago. Don’t tell Trump, he’ll try to stop it.

  14. Manuel Gonzalez says:

    I do not come here for news analytics, lawyer or not, or to debate those wrestling with conservative rationale. I am no longer inspired forward after dropping into NYT or Greenwalds’ site. Social Justice, battle in the courts, Yoda’s agency, resilience and unquestionable encyclopedic search power of the archives in the public record help start my day without the ironic smirk I end it with. $25 for Feeding America West Michigan-Check- now back to the judge!

    • bmaz says:

      For whatever reason you come here, thank you for doing so. And thank you for helping Michigan. Helping people is always a good thing, but today seems particularly appropriate.

  15. earlofhuntingdon says:

    Just think about the fabulous stuff we’re not discussing because we need to discuss how much Trump will mimic Sherman’s march to the sea between now and next January 20th. His armed followers are already obstructing state house business and burning opposition governors in effigy, so that they can “liberate” themselves from necessary public health restrictions.

    For giggles, what are the odds that Trump will refuse to stand by while Joe Biden takes the oath? He’s already refused the traditional ceremony regarding the display of Obama’s official White House portrait. He thinks he owns the place and everyone else is just visiting.

    • posaune says:

      Earl, great image there: Sherman’s march to the sea.
      death and destruction at every step is the goal.
      corruption is a killer, isn’t it?

      • P J Evans says:

        Sherman’s army wasn’t into wholesale destruction. They were careful about what they destroyed.
        (Had a great-grandfather who did that march, from Tennessee to the see and then to DC – the last few weeks with not enough food.)

        • posaune says:

          Sorry about that, PJ.
          These people today are about destruction.
          And with Hassert referencing “HumanCapitalStock” it’s all too apparent.

        • earlofhuntingdon says:

          Sherman marched from North Georgia to Savannah (and then on to North Carolina) with 62,000 men. He lived off the resources he passed through, not an accompanying supply train, and effectively destroyed rail and other communications.

          Sherman’s necktie derives from heating RR rails, on fires made from RR ties, and bending them around trees so that neither ties nor rails could be used to rebuild the road.

          He concentrated on the destruction of property, not people – a relative novelty – but his “hard war” was a form of total destruction and a precursor to the modern notion of total war.

          Sherman meant to drive the South physically and psychologically into surrender. It worked. He used his model against Native Americans after the war, to similar effect.

          • Rollo T says:

            And Sherman’s march to the sea is what should be metaphorically done to the Republican party.

            • Rayne says:

              The GOP’s mask-refuseniks may not need to be marched but rather willingly migrate to the sea of COVID-19 like the mythic cliff-jumping lemmings. In 10-14 days they’ll have swamped hospitals.

          • P J Evans says:

            I’ve read first-hand accounts. The writers thought that the region was beautiful and good farmland.

  16. The Old Redneck says:

    Barr is trying to let Flynn walk. He said Flynn’s conversation with Kislyak was “salutary.”
    With Roger Stone, by contrast, he said it was a “righteous prosecution,” and only submitted a revised sentencing memo to try to help him out. I’m wondering: does this indicate Roger Stone was a freelancer, considered a clown or a useful idiot by the inner circle, while Flynn was (as Marcy has intimated) doing exactly what Trump wanted?

    • earlofhuntingdon says:

      No. Stone and Trump go back decades. I would guess the disparate treatment indicates Trump’s greater fear of exposure and Barr’s greater sense of untouchability.

  17. civil says:

    Meant to post this unthreaded, and hope my attempt to delete my post a minute ago (mistakenly posted as a reply) worked.

    I don’t normally link to Fox News, but Mark Zaid (one of the Ukraine whistleblower’s attorneys) just retweeted a story from Fox, “Grenell declassifies slew of Russia probe files, as Ratcliffe takes helm as DNI” – https://www.foxnews.com/politics/grenell-declassifies-slew-of-russia-files-as-ratcliffe-takes-helm-as-dni
    “The documents include transcripts of phone calls that then-incoming National Security Adviser Michael Flynn and then-Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak had in December 2016, during the presidential transition period. Grenell said publicly last week that he was in the process of declassifying those files, after House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff, D-Calif., asked that he do so.”
    I assume Sullivan and relevant members of Congress will ask for them and reporters will soon request via FOIA.

  18. earlofhuntingdon says:

    No political big tent in the world is big enough for Joe Biden to give Rahm Emanuel and Elizabeth Warren equal weight on his council of advisers. He can act on the advice of only one of them. The other would be there for show.

    If Joe tries to make their voices blend in harmony, the effort will look false, he will go nuts, and his rowboat-of-all-the-voices will go round and round instead of over the water toward electoral victory and competent governance.

    • P J Evans says:

      Rahm may be good for something, but I don’t know what.
      I’d prefer that it be as far from DC and political power as possible.

    • Rayne says:

      He will lose black women if he brings on Rahm. Somebody inside the circle needs to tell him this and in no uncertain terms.

    • Tracy Lynn says:

      Rahm Emanuel? I’d hoped I wouldn’t read his name ever again in conjunction with “council of advisors.” Please tell me this is a joke, satire, trial balloon, something.

      • darms says:

        +1 – “Rahm Emanuel” is one of those names that should not be used in polite/progressive company…

    • Das Robot says:

      My bet is Rahm is there to rake bucks. That he can do even if you don’t agree with him re policy.

      • earlofhuntingdon says:

        It’s more likely Emanuel is there to assuage the donor class by telling it that the Warrens and AOCs – who will have measurably helped bring about victory – might get a seat at the table under Biden, but they won’t share in the dinner.

          • Rugger9 says:

            Rahm is the veritable definition of a machine pol of the worst kind. He will add nothing to the discussion and really open up the both-sider discussion and almost make it legitimate. The MSM (Chuckles Todd and Kasie Hunt this week, among others) want the “both sides” narrative so they can have a horse race and also pretend they don’t have to search for truth while protecting their “access”.

            There is a reason Dan Lipinski was shown the door in the IL-03 primary. Read and heed the tea leaves, Joe.

          • Rayne says:

            Yuck. Absolutely fucking not. Rahm “Tiny Boots” Emanuel will not sex up the candidacy. What would attract women to the Biden campaign is a solid woman VP candidate and more women as advisors. No goddamn sex appeal needed which Tiny Boots couldn’t supply anyhow.

            • earlofhuntingdon says:

              Tiny boots, tiny hands, so much to do, so little to do it with. A variation on Errol Flynn’s lament.

        • earlofhuntingdon says:

          We do not share notions of attractiveness.

          Attracting investment bankers is not likely to attract the voters Biden needs to win. In fact, it will shoo them away with depression. Besides, IBs already have what they want in no-holds-barred to making money Trump. Why would they change horses?

  19. x174 says:

    favorite lines from this thread:
    “Here the “adverse party” is the DOJ and they have not only abandoned the argument, but are complicit with the defendant, Flynn” (bmaz)
    2) “The government’s motion improperly seeks to make this Court complicit in the Executive Branch’s inexplicable about-face in the Flynn prosecution” (in harpie’s link to mt’s thread)
    powerful and cogent stuff.

  20. civil says:

    I noticed a tweet from Ms. Wheeler that “Cipollone is telling @ChuckGrassley to go fuck himself and Grassley will oblige.” I don’t have an account and so can’t reply there, but in the midst of the impeachment trial, several people had commented that they’d filed complaints against Cipollone with the DC Bar (e.g., for lying in his statements to the Senate, for failing to recuse as a possible fact witness). I’m not sure about others, like Sekulow, who also lied in some of his statements in the trial. People have also filed complaints against Barr for behavior elsewhere. A few weeks ago, I tried writing a legal reporter to see whether she or someone she knew would be interested in writing an article about these complaints: explaining the investigation process for those of us who aren’t lawyers (e.g., what the investigation involves and how long it usually takes), adding more information about the substance of the complaints that were submitted (I gave her info about the people I was aware of who’d said they’d filed complaints, one of whom posted a copy of the complaint he filed against Cipollone), whether the investigations are ongoing or if the complaints have been investigated and dismissed, … but never got a response. I wish I knew of a reporter who’d like to write about this, as I’d love to know what’s up with the DC Bar’s investigations of the misconduct by these folks.

  21. skua says:

    I just found a way to read all the latest day’s posts on this thread and am self-congratulatory.
    I used “3 line hamburger” -> “Find in this page” and put today’s date in the search field; May 27.
    And then skipped for one recent post to the next using Control + G.
    Trivial for tech-skilled others but an achievement for me.

    • blueedredcounty says:

      I use the day number with a comma and a space, rather than typing the monthday. It’s a distinct search string and it is faster to type. Not a big deal right now, but it sucks to type out the full month during the last calendar quarter of the year.

      I work for a software company, and I have had to do lots of searching and analysis of log files. :)

      • vvv says:

        Now could I just figure a way to do it for time, like when I last checked at 1:00PM but want to see everything after …

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