Under cover of Corona, the sewage of the DC septic tank flows on. The latest revelations in the Deep State entrapment of Michael Flynn (Trump's first National Security Advisor, for about twenty minutes) confirm what most sentient creatures have known for three years - that there was never any good-faith basis for the FBI's investigation, only (in the now released words of Assistant Counterintelligence Division Director Bill Priestap) the object "to get him to lie, so we can prosecute him or get him fired".
The official pretext was that there might have been "a violation of the Logan Act". Oooooooh! The Logan Act of 1799 refers to a Dr George Logan, physician, farmer and Pennsylvania state legislator, who, at a time of tension in Franco-American relations, engaged in his own negotiations with the government in Paris. In the two and a quarter centuries since, there have been no convictions under the Act, and, in the event anyone were ever to be the first so convicted, it would undoubtedly be struck down as unconstitutional. John Kerry, one notes, has not been prosecuted for his recent meetings with his pal Zarif, "foreign minister" of Iran, about how to save Obama's deal with the mullahs.
In the case of Flynn, any hypothetical Logan prosecution would have been more ridiculous still - because he was not a freelance Pennsylvania doctor but the duly designated National Security Advisor of the incoming president. Peter Strzok went over to Flynn's office to (as they say of bent British coppers) fit him up - and indeed they did fit him up.
So one conversation, with disgraced corrupt rogue agent Strzok, without counsel present and without the defendant being aware that this was an interrogation of him as opposed to just a friendly intragovernmental chit-chat, has consumed three years of Flynn's life and all his savings.
I heard Kellyanne Conway being asked this morning about whether Trump should now pardon Flynn. No. It is for the court, as an act of judicial hygiene, to accept Flynn's withdrawal of his enforced guilty plea (made under threats by the feds to destroy the lives of various family members, too), quash the conviction as a miscarriage of justice, and invite the defense to lay before His Honor a wrongful prosecution suit.
If it requires a presidential pardon to bring garbage like this to an end, then we are all in trouble. Because if the Deep Staters can do it to Flynn, they can do it to anyone. It behooves Judge Emmett Sullivan to rule upon what has been a fraud upon the court from day one - and a fraud upon his court specifically: the documents made public this week were ordered to be handed over to Flynn's lawyers two years ago (February 2018) but were in fact only coughed up now because Jeff Jensen, a federal prosecutor in St Louis appointed by Attorney-General Bill Barr to look into the DoJ's conduct of the Flynn case, recently stumbled across them. A system in which prosecutorial misconduct requires a presidential pardon to undo it is not merely absurd but wicked: justice requires that Judge Sullivan extinguish the state's assault upon his own courthouse.
Oh, but the Comey-Mueller crowd will protest, Flynn confessed to the crime!
Well, sorta: He was prevailed upon to (in the sleazy euphemism) "settle". I hate settling - because, in the civil courts, it incentivizes the use of litigation as a form of blackmail; and, in the criminal courts, it leads to what happened in the Flynn case: a man confessing to a crime he does not honestly believe he has committed.
So why did he do it? Well, his then lawyers told him to. Why would they do that? Because the dirty rotten stinking corrupt federal justice system wins 99 per cent of its cases, 97 per cent without going to court. Kim Jong-Un's Attorney-General (assuming he has or needs one) can only marvel. A culture of judicial "settling" is by definition corrupt. Me a decade ago when my old boss Conrad Black was quaintly insisting on his day in court:
Guilt? Innocence? What sort of nut subscribed to such outmoded absolutisms? If Black had just cut a deal, sighed Richard Breeden, the $800-an-hour special investigator brought in to "clean up" Hollinger, all this could have gone away years ago. When the U.S. justice system comes a-calling, the sane response is: What do I have to do to get you guys to piss off and screw over someone else? For former governor Jim Thompson, former ambassador Richard Burt and former woman d'un certain Ã¢ge Marie-JosÃ©e Kravis, the star directors of Hollinger's audit committee, it took going on the witness stand and making a fool of yourself for a couple of hours... They were embarrassing performances, but the day ends and life goes on. Black's lifelong business partner, David Radler, eventually cut his deal, too. Nothing personal. That's just the way the system works.
Conrad Black didn't want a deal. He wanted justice.
"Settling" is a very unsettling concept in the criminal context - in part because it destroys equality before the law: Someone who's got twenty bucks in his savings account can be forced to "settle" long before someone with twenty mil. In the case of this particular investigation, there was certainly foreign collusion in the 2016 election: Mrs Clinton colluded with an MI6 spook who colluded with his contacts in the Kremlin. But Hillary doesn't have to "settle" because she's never had anything to fear from the Strzoks and Comeys. For those less able to withstand the onslaught, the preponderance of American media see no injustice in the Flynn fit-up. For example, former federal prosecutor and CNN "legal analyst" Renato Mariotti:
This isn't unusual at all.
Michael Flynn was treated like thousands of other subjects who were interviewed by FBI agents.
If you don't like how Flynn was treated, change the rules for everyone. Because this is how it works.
Yeah, well, I've been pretty consistent on that, too. "This criminal case is about lying - lying to the FBI," as the US Attorney declared sonorously in announcing the prosecution of Martha Stewart. Who was that federal boy scout? Oh, yeah: Renowned liar James Comey. Me sixteen years ago:
Martha, it seems, will be going to jail for telling a lie. Not in court, not under oath, not perjury, but merely when the Feds came round to see her about a possible crime. They couldn't prove she'd committed a crime, so they nailed her for lying while chit-chatting to them about the non-crime. And for that they're prepared to destroy her company.
It's true that it's an offence to lie to the Feds. But, as my New Hampshire neighbours Tom and Scott, currently in my basement stretching out a little light carpentry job to the end of the winter, are the first to point out, the Feds lied to the public about Waco and Ruby Ridge (another bloodbath) for years. If the Feds can lie to the people, why can't the people lie to the Feds?
Misremembering to the FBI should not be a crime - especially not on the basis of a politically motivated policeman's supposedly contemporaneous "notes", rather than an audio or video recording. Instead of a presidential pardon, why not repeal this vile pseudo-crime that mocks due process? I take it that, the GOP having lost the House, Congress will not enact a new Strzok Act, restoring the citizen's right to misremember to a corrupt police agency's goons, but why cannot Bill Barr suspend this "crime" pending an investigation into its misuse by prosecutors over recent years?
While we're at it, how about another modest reform? Me again, three years ago:
During the stupid and anachronistic two-and-a-half-month electoral 'transition', the outgoing Administration worked round the clock to de-legitimize and cripple their successors.
No other government in the free world requires this long to respect the results of an election. Even before the Obama-Biden Administration decided to weaponize the "transition", it served as the most obvious example of the general sclerosis of Swampland: why be surprised that in an emergency the government takes months to get out your relief check of twelve hundred bucks when even in normal times it requires three months to clear out its desks? How about a constitutional amendment to the Twentieth Amendment shortening the transition to three weeks?
Oh, well, I can dream, can't I? There's a popular American vernacular expression to the effect that, if you're not on offense, you're on defense. After three years of seeing innocent persons traduced and ruined by a corrupt bureaucracy working to subvert the results of free and fair elections, is it too much to expect the enervated Republican Party and its flabby cheerleaders in Conservative Inc actually to rouse themselves and try a little offense?
No need to answer that question, is there?
~We opened The Mark Steyn Club just shy of three years ago, and I'm thrilled by all those SteynOnline supporters across the globe - from Fargo to Fiji, Vancouver to Vanuatu, Surrey to the Solomon Islands - who've signed up to be a part of it. My only regret is that we didn't launch it seventeen years ago, but better late than never. You can find more information about the Club here - and, if you've a pal who might be partial to this sort of thing, don't forget our special Gift Membership.
Oh, and if you're seriously chafing under the house arrest, there's no better way to cock a snook at the lockdown than by booking a berth on our Third Annual Steyn Cruise sailing the Med this autumn - and with the above-mentioned Conrad Black, Michele Bachmann, John O'Sullivan and Douglas Murray among our shipmates. We'll be attempting some seaboard versions of The Mark Steyn Show, Tales for Our Time, our Sunday Poem and other favorite features. If you're minded to give it a go, don't leave it too late: as with most travel and accommodations, the price is more favorable the earlier you book - and, if the lockdown ever does gets lifted, why use your newfound freedom of movement just to visit the county fair or see X-Men 47 at the multiplex when you can bestride the world like a cruising collossus?
I'll be back here tomorrow with the weekend edition of The Mark Steyn Show. Hope you'll tune in.