Having thought a bit about both the Horowitz Report and the impeachment, I’ve got some ideas, all of which reflect very badly on the FBI and the Democrats.
The Horowitz IG Report — my takeaways
My main takeaway is that Obama knew all along. That Obama cheerfully went along with mobilizing the entire American police and intelligence operations of the federal government to spy on his political rival makes Watergate look like a grain of sand compared to the size of the earth itself. This needs to be hammered home again and again.
The FBI behaved absolutely horribly. Even if we assume solely for the sake of argument that its derelictions were not the product of political animus, its collective actions show (a) an institutional bias and (b) malignant negligence.
Regarding that institutional bias, the it’s apparent that FBI agents were wholeheartedly on board with the idea that Donald Trump, a pro-American figure for decades, could be in bed with the Russians. No one apparently had a moment’s doubt about this. An organization that has such a strong groupthink bias — so strong that these biases are accepted unquestioningly — is a very dangerous organization.
Regarding both institutional bias and malignant negligence, the FBI clearly operated on the principle that “If ignorance is bliss, ‘tis folly to be wise.” Every time anyone’s investigations trembled on the brink of challenging the FBI’s groupthink theories about Trump, everyone stopped asking questions. Horowitz did the same in his report — witness the remarkable non-appearance of the DNC’s refusal to turn over its server after a claimed hacking and the FBI’s meek acquiescence. That’s wrong at so many levels and Horowitz ignored it.
Most reprehensibly, the FBI regularly opted for ignorance the moment exculpatory evidence became available. That’s both legally and morally vile.
Horowitz’s own facts also show that the FBI kept the investigation going long after it was patently clear to the FBI that Steele was unreliable and that the claims underlying its investigation were false. Even if the FBI began the investigation wrapped in naivete (albeit group-thinked, biased naivete), it quickly realized that the facts were against it — and doubled down, rather than stopped. Heads, many heads, should roll their way to the unemployment office and some should be rolled into a cozy little prison cell with a roommate named Bubba Blood.
The Horowitz report reminded me strongly of Comey’s July 5, 2016 recitation about the FBI’s findings regarding Hillary. As you may recall, Comey recited chapter and verse showing that Hillary deliberately engaged in highly illegal activity when she set up her private server, a server that was vulnerable to hacking by any teenager or foreign company. And then, just when we were sure that he was going to say, “Therefore I recommend that she be locked up forever,” Comey instead said, “Never mind.”
That’s what Horowitz seems to have done. That’s not impartiality; that’s either prejudiced venality or really amazing stupidity.
Horowitz also seems to have abandoned the long recognized concept of inferential evidence. In the normal world, if you see some running out of a bank, with the bank alarm blaring behind him, waving a gun and carry a bulging cloth sack, you can reasonably infer that the person robbed the bank.
Horowitz, however, assiduously avoided drawing negative inferences. Were he witness to that man with the gun, he would have said that, absent the man’s real-time confession, Horowitz was pretty sure the guy was innocent.
Horowitz gave managerial people (Comey, Strzok, McCabe, etc.) a pass, blaming everything on negligence at the lower levels. Apparently he forgot Harry Truman’s dictum that “the buck stops here,” with “here” being top level management. If ever a fish was rotting from the head, it was the FBI.
As Dan Bongino said all along, aside from the insider, bureaucratic mindset that saw him refuse to point a finger at his own kind, Horowitz was working on a very tiny canvas, with only a few paint colors. He was examining only the FBI and he had no ability to demand that people testify. And regarding testimony, Comey, by not re-upping his temporary security clearance, ensured that he could not be questioned. Suspicious, right? Well, not to Horowitz, but certainly to the rest of us.
John Durham has a much bigger arsenal and a broader range for his investigation. He’s not limited to the DOJ (including the FBI), but can also look into the entire intelligence community, with subpoenas, foreign investigations, and the threat of indictment. The fact that he openly said Horowitz was missing important information is telling:
I have the utmost respect for the mission of the Officer of Inspector General and the comprehensive work that went into the report prepared by Mr. Horowitz and his staff. However, our investigation is not limited to developing information from within component parts of the Justice Department. Our investigation has included developing information from other persons and entities, both in the U.S. and outside of the U.S. Based on the evidence collected to date, and while our investigation is ongoing, last month we advised the Inspector General that we do not agree with some of the report’s conclusions as to predication and how the FBI case was opened.
If that’s not a shot across the bow I don’t know what is. It’s like the world’s best neurosurgeon saying that a high school student who did a two week internship in a neurosurgery lab did a good report based upon on his limited experience, understanding, and available data. It’s also a huge promise that the FBI’s and Democrats’ victory dancing is premature.
The whole thing is incredibly damaging to the FBI. As Mike Cernovich tweeted,
Most Trump supporters were law and order conservatives who revered the FBI.
The long term implication of the IG Report will be the realization that the FBI has become the law enforcement arm of the Democratic Party.
Bill Barr, the man who will put the brakes on the Democrats’ unseemly and unfounded rapture.
Also, if you haven’t already done so, you need to watch the interview with Barr, which you can find here. Considering that it’s an NBC News interview, the questions are surprisingly intelligent, and Barr’s statements are even more intelligent – and, again incredibly ominous for those partying Lefties. I like this one:
I think our nation was turned on its head for three years based on a completely bogus narrative that was largely fanned and hyped by a completely irresponsible press. I think there were gross abuses …and inexplicable behavior that is intolerable in the FBI.
Note that Barr didn’t quarrel with Horowitz’s facts. He questioned the “everything is fine here” spin that Horowitz put on those facts and made clear that he and Durham have already collected a great deal more information from a variety of interested parties, both at home and abroad.
One of the important things Barr notes is the point I made about Horowitz’s imbecilic failure to draw reasonable inferences:
All he said was, people gave me an explanation and I didn’t find anything to contradict it…he hasn’t decided the issue of improper motive. I think we have to wait until the full investigation is done.
Barr also sneers at the laughable claim that nobody “spied” on Trump – except of course, for all those “confidential human sources,” aka spies, and for the way the FBI wired people and searched through emails. (All of which are facts Horowitz asserts in his report.) The last time I heard the kind of verbal prevaricating in which Horowitz engages was when Bill Clinton talked to the grand jury regarding his lies about Monica Lewinsky. Back in 1998, Slate, of all places, summed up that word-play nicely:
Years from now, when we look back on Bill Clinton’s presidency, its defining moment may well be Clinton’s rationalization to the grand jury about why he wasn’t lying when he said to his top aides that with respect to Monica Lewinsky, “There’s nothing going on between us.” How can this be? Here’s what Clinton told the grand jury (according to footnote 1,128 in Starr’s report):
“It depends on what the meaning of the word ‘is’ is. If the—if he—if ‘is’ means is and never has been, that is not—that is one thing. If it means there is none, that was a completely true statement. … Now, if someone had asked me on that day, are you having any kind of sexual relations with Ms. Lewinsky, that is, asked me a question in the present tense, I would have said no. And it would have been completely true.”
The distinction between “is” and “was” was seized on by the commentariat when Clinton told Jim Lehrer of PBS right after the Lewinsky story broke, “There is no improper relationship.” Chatterbox confesses that at the time he thought all these Beltway domes were hyperanalyzing, and in need of a little fresh air. But it turns out they were right: Bill Clinton really is a guy who’s willing to think carefully about “what the meaning of the word ‘is’ is.” This is way beyond slick. Perhaps we should start calling him, “Existential Willie.”
What truly outrages Barr – and should outrage every honest broker – is that the FBI kept up this farcical investigation long after the election, effectively handicapping Trump’s ability to govern.
You can tell that Barr hit a nerve just by reading the hard Left Business Insider’s review of the interview:
AG William Barr went to bat for Trump in a wild interview where he baselessly claimed the FBI acted in ‘bad faith’ during the Russia probe
Attorney General William Barr made a number of unsubstantiated allegations against the FBI in a bizarre interview with NBC News’ Pete Williams on Tuesday.
He claimed the FBI acted in “bad faith” when it investigated President Donald Trump’s campaign’s ties to Russia during the 2016 election.
He accused the bureau of improperly spying on former Trump campaign aide Carter Page.
Barr also faulted the FBI for using confidential informants while investigating Trump’s campaign.
The attorney general’s comments were almost entirely at odds with an independent report released by the Justice Department’s watchdog on Monday, which found the FBI had an “authorized purpose” to investigate Trump, and that none of the decisions were infected by political bias.
The Left is having an increasingly hard time coping with reality. It’s not going to be pretty when Durham and Barr drop the other shoe. And no, I don’t think I’m being unduly optimistic about that. I think both Barr and Durham are signaling strongly that Horowitz’s conclusions are wrong and that the deeper criminal investigation will see damning facts exposed.
Sadly, though, I still don’t think anyone will be fired or go to jail. In D.C., especially when it involves bureaucrats and Democrats, the most we can expect is a statement to the effect that “They did bad things,” followed by a dozen slaps with a wet noodle. Still, even that statement about “bad things” will be a form of welcome vindication.
The Impeachment farce.
It was obvious that the Democrats were heading this direction, so I’m not surprised. I am surprised, though, by the utter lameness of the eventual charges: Abuse of power and obstructing Congress by refusing to participate in the House’s informal impeachment inquiry – especially when one keeps in mind that there was never a formal impeachment proceeding. The House did not vote on any investigation, the rules were Soviet, and it’s obvious that Nancy, Nadler, and Schiff, prodded by their own mania and vanity, and by the hard Left blog nipping at their heels, are the people behind this sham.
When it comes to “abuse of power,” even without Trump finally getting a chance to speak and defend in the Senate, Dems are going to have a hard time convincing all but the most fanatic Leftists that the President did anything wrong when, during a phone call with Ukraine president Zelenskyy, he threw in a request to look into the Biden matter.
Unlike the whole Russia-gate scandal, Trump did not ask Zelenskyy and his government to make up charges against Biden. Instead, he was looking into past conduct – admitted past conduct.
Indeed, so un-made-up is what happened that we have video of Biden proudly boasting about withholding federal funds as a way to bully Ukraine into refraining from investigating Burisma. More and more Americans will be on notice that Burisma is the company that paid his coke-snorting, wife-cheating, stripper-chasing, baby daddy son $600,000 a year for . . . .?
Americans are also going to learn, if they don’t know already, that Ukraine and the U.S. have an agreement by which each promises to aid the other in investigation whether one country’s citizens have committed criminal acts on another country’s soil. (Biden helped pass the Bill during the Clinton’s era.)
Unlike the Dems, who had Schiff make up an imaginary conversation, the Senate will force upon Americans the actual transcript of the phone call. In that way, the people who have been trying to ignore this political fight will finally catch on to the fact that Trump made no push whatsoever. It was a throw in at the end of a telephone call. Additionally, Zelenskyy had no idea funds were being withheld, so he felt no pressure to act. There was no quid. No pro. No quo.
Regarding the second article of impeachment – obstructing Congress – again, that’s going to be a hard sell.
As I noted above, the House never instigated actual proceedings pursuant to a vote. It was just Nancy, Nadler, and Schifty. That’s not the House; that’s an evil cabal.
What the House is really accusing Trump of doing, via that second article of impeachment, is refusing to give Democrats the rope they wanted to use in a kangaroo proceeding, with a predetermined outcome. And what was that predetermined outcome? That Trump is to be hanged by the neck until his presidency is dead. No American, including the president, should be forced to cooperate in a corrupt judicial or semi-judicial trial. The Fifth Amendment doesn’t just apply to fair trials; it applies to unfair ones as well.
Honestly, though, the best part of the impeachment is to hear Scott Adams’ sputtering anger. I have here about 2.5 minutes of him speaking. I would have loved to have had more but, first, I didn’t want to violate fair use and, second, it would have taken me way too long to bleep out all his obscenities which escalated in frequency and virulence as he kept talking. If you like these snippet, I urge you to listen to the rest. He is explosively angry and it feels good to hear it.