Jim Geraghty of National Review and Greg Corombos of Radio America are pleased to see a high-ranking government official actually moving closer to facing the same type of prosecution most Americans would face for allegedly divulging sensitive information and then lying about it. Jim also hilariously shreds CNN legal analyst Jeffrey Toobin for acting like the allegations in the case are incredibly complicated. They also size up the third Democratic presidential debate and hammer Julian Castro for his obvious suggestion that Joe Biden is too mentally fuzzy to be president. And they roll their eyes as Andrew Yang vows to give ten Americans a thousand dollars a month over the next year.
Jim Geraghty of National Review and Greg Corombos of Radio America close the week with three crazy martinis and a champagne toast. They sigh as President Trump tweets that he is ordering U.S. companies to scale back in China in response to the very real practice of China ripping us off. They also evaluate former Overstock CEO Patrick Byrne’s claims that he was ordered to conduct political espionage on four presidential candidates in 2015-2016 on orders from the FBI and Justice Department. They react to CNN hiring disgraced former FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe as an analyst. And Jim offers a toast to the late David Koch for his tireless efforts to expand freedom and opportunity to Americans.
Jim Geraghty of National Review and Greg Corombos of Radio America react to reports that former FBI Director James Comey is described as “insubordinate” in the forthcoming inspector general’s report and former deputy director Andrew McCabe is asking for immunity before testifying to Congress about the Hillary Clinton email investigation. They also push back against the outrage surrounding the arrest of an illegal immigrant delivering pizzas to a military base, pointing out the man told a judge he would leave the country eight years ago and never did. And they’re puzzled by Sen. Bernie Sanders refusing to endorse his own son’s congressional bid when he’s been very active backing other candidates around the country.
Jim Geraghty of National Review and Greg Corombos of Radio America are glad to see disgraced Hollywood mogul Harvey Weinstein charged for rape but they already see signs that Weinstein plans to portray himself as the victim. They also react to new reports of U.S. diplomats suffering from brain injury due to a possible sonic attack, this time in China. And they unload on former FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe for spending $70,000 on a conference table and trying to hide it from lawmakers by redacting the purchase from a report to Congress.
Jim Geraghty of National Review and Greg Corombos of Radio America enjoy two good martinis today, starting with the Justice Department referring former Deputy FBI Director Andrew McCabe for criminal prosecution after the inspector general accused McCabe of “lacking candor” under oath four times. They also applaud North Dakota Democrat Heidi Heitkamp for backing the nomination of Mike Pompeo for secretary of state. It may be an election year ploy, but it’s still the right decision. And they shake their heads as New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo calls himself an undocumented immigrant who was raised by poor immigrants, none of which is true. It’s reminiscent of Cuomo declaring himself black, Muslim, Jewish, gay, and a woman not long ago while also stating there is no room for pro-life, pro-gun, or pro-traditional marriage conservatives in New York.
Jim Geraghty of National Review and Greg Corombos of Radio America are glad to see FBI Director Christopher Wray conclude there was no political agenda at work in the firing of former FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe. They also react to Facebook’s weak explanation for how user data ended up in the hands of Cambridge Analytica and Jim details how the right and left are furious with social media outlets for very different reasons. And they shake their heads as HUD Sec. Ben Carson tells lawmakers his wife helped pick out the $31,000 dining set after he had rejected expensive furniture.
Jim Geraghty of National Review and Greg Corombos of Radio America have whiplash from all the media hyperbole in the wake of Andrew McCabe getting fired, almost all of it from people who have never read the inspector general’s report. They also hammer President Trump for gloating about McCabe’s ouster and McCabe for suggesting his firing was a political hit job from Trump when multiple DOJ officials recommended it. They also applaud the media for finally noticing a series of bombings in Austin, Texas, which have killed or injured several people in a story reminiscent of the Unabomber. And they have some fun with D.C. city council member Trayon White alleging that the Rothschilds control the weather to bring calamity to American cities and then swoop in to pay for the cleanup and take control of the cities.
Jim Geraghty of National Review and Greg Corombos of Radio America are glad to see the inspector general at the Justice Department taking his job seriously as reports surface that his forthcoming report will be highly critical of former FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe. While they sympathize with President Trump’s desire to fix trade imbalances, they fear new steel and aluminum tariffs will have a negative impact on American consumers and the economy. And they slam Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer for announcing his opposition to a judicial nominee because the nominee is white and President Obama’s previous nominees were black.
The memo alleging major missteps by the FBI and Justice Department will not likely result in criminal charges, but a former federal prosecutor says that doesn’t mean the issues at stake are any less serious and he says law enforcement officials have done a terrible job explaining the Russia investigation to the American people.
On Friday, the memo from Republicans on the House Intelligence Committee accused FBI and Justice Department officials of obtaining a Foreign Intelligence Surveillance, or FISA, warrant on American Carter Page based on a discredited dossier. They also allege officials failed to tell the FISA judge that the contents of the dossier had not been verified and that it had been paid for by Hillary Clinton’s campaign and the Democratic National Committee.
The GOP memo also quotes former FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe as testifying the warrant never would have been issues without presenting the dossier as probable cause.
But is any of this likely to result in criminal prosecution?
“I doubt that they’ve committed a criminal offense. More likely, what they’ve done is violate court rules and norms for the Justice Department’s performance when it refers evidence to the court and asks for use of the court’s processes like warrants,” said Andrew C. McCarthy, a former federal prosecutor and a contributing editor at National Review.
McCarthy says prosecution in these cases is unlikely unless it rises to “an egregious level” of obstructing or perverting justice. But he says these allegations are still serious and could carry some major repercussions.
“It’s a very serious matter and can be grist for all kinds of administrative discipline and even impeachment,” said McCarthy.
He says it’s the difference between abuse of power and criminal conduct.
“There are some varieties of abuse of power that we address in the criminal law but there are many we don’t. That doesn’t mean that the abuses are less serious than crimes,” said McCarthy.
One of McCarthy’s greatest frustrations lies in what he sees as the FBI and Justice Department needlessly confusing the American people on what the Russia investigation led by Robert Mueller is all about.
McCarthy does not believe that the memo is grounds for scrapping the Mueller probe, but he says it’s understandable why people are reaching that conclusion.
“It’s the fault of the FBI and the Justice Department that they’re taking that position,” said McCarthy, who says the government announced a counterintelligence investigation into Russia’s involvement in the 2016 campaign and that part of the probe would look at any Trump campaign officials who had improper ties to the Kremlin.
“That was a completely inappropriate thing to say publicly because the FBI and the Justice Department should never comment on whether investigations are going on and if they are going on what the focus on them is. The government’s not supposed to talk about investigations,” said McCarthy.
“The real problem is that by doing it the way they did it, they conflated in the public mind the overarching Mueller mission…with this whole idea of a Trump-Russian collusion angle.
“And since in the public mind those two things are the same, then it’s perfectly understandable that people would say that if the Trump-Russia collusion angle is a complete fabrication and that a lot of it was built on this dossier, that Mueller’s investigation is illegitimate. I don’t think that’s true but I can see how they feel that way.
They feel that way because of what the FBI and Justice Department said about this investigation, which was very misleading and very wrong,” said McCarthy.
The Democrats’ counter-memo is likely to be the next development in this political drama. But McCarthy remains skeptical of their motivation in this investigation.
“What I’m afraid of is that it’ll just be a partisan political attack. The reason I say that is not just because they’re Democrats and that’s what they do, although I must say on some level I do believe that.
“The other reason I’m fearful is that they were invited by the majority of the intelligence committee to make additions or changes to the [GOP] memo. They really didn’t want to cooperate in it. I think they just wanted to attack it in a partisan way,” said McCarthy.
McCarthy says there are only two possible reasons for Democrats not to cooperate and try to add the context to the memo that they claim is sorely missing.
“The fact they didn’t do that suggests to me either that it doesn’t exist or they would rather package it in a way that was more of a partisan attack than an effort to get out one document that more fully explained what we’re dealing with,” said McCarthy.
He also cautions Americans following the story to be prepared for frustrations at how difficult it is to make more information public, noting that intelligence investigations are necessarily secretive so as not to damage national security and intelligence interests.
In addition to the response from Democrats, McCarthy says the significance of the memo and more will depend on exactly the role the dossier played in securing the FISA warrant.
“If they had other information that would have supported the issuance of a FISA warrant, then the use of the Steele dossier is much less important.
“But if the Steele dossier was critical to getting the warrant issued, that means the government brought to a court information that was unverified and uncorroborated to get surveillance authority – in essence to spy on one presidential campaign with what turns out to be opposition research that was provided to the government by the other presidential campaign,” said McCarthy.
Alexandra DeSanctis of National Review and Greg Corombos of Radio America give a quick preview of what they look forward to at the spectacle known as State of the Union before dishing out martinis. Then, they shake their heads as New York Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand first demands that President Trump resign over sexual harassment allegations and then immediately starts waffling when Meghan McCain brings up the Clintons. They also express disgust at Hillary Clinton after Clinton’s 2008 campaign manager reveals that she recommended that Clinton fire her faith adviser following credible accusations of harassment in 2007, only to have Hillary reject that idea and give the adviser a slap on the wrist. And they point out that stories of President Trump’s pettiness are driving away people who might otherwise be inclined to support him, the latest example being an ugly and pointless exchange between Trump and the recently ousted Deputy FBI Director Andrew McCabe.