When things go good, they go very, very good, but when they go bad, they go horrid Traditional
Well, well, well. It took the Democrats a while, but they’ve finally figured it out. Trump’s nonstop claims of “executive privilege” have stymied congressional attempts to obtain any information at all regarding the multiple investigations and hearings into everything from campaign collusion in the 2016 campaign to obstruction of justie in the FBI/Robert Mueller probes. But led by Adam Schiff the Chairman of the House Intelligence committee, the Democrats have finally discovered the soft underbelly of Trump’s privilege claims, and now they can move in for the kill.
I wrote a few days ago that the dam had broken with William Barr’s cave to the Intelligence committee to start turning over counter intelligence investigation data rather than face contempt of congress charges. This meant that other witnesses facing contempt citations would have little reason to continue on in their obstruction if the Attorney General wasn’t willing to go to the mattresses. The catch here was, and still is that Barr could attempt to “slow walk” or “cherry pick” the information turned over to the committee.
Right on cue, within 48 hours, it was announced that Trump’s former aide Hope Hicks would appear in closed session in the House Judiciary committee next Wednesday to testify. And as I wrote I suspected would happen, the Judiciary committee confirmed that while the testimony would be behind closed doors, a transcript of the testimony wold be released to the public shortly thereafter. The catch here is that when she testifies, Hicks will have a White House counsel lawyer sitting next to her, who may still try to make bogus privilege claims.
But Adam Schiff has finally found the keystone to unlock legitimate information, and to make it public. The Intelligence committee announced today that it was issuing subpoenas to former Trump NSA Michael Flynn, as well as former Trump campaign honcho Rick Gates, to testify before the committee. And with that announcement, the White House just became the modern version of Jonestown, sitting squarely in front of that long ago crumbling dam.
Gates and Flynn have something at stake that none of the other so far non combatants in this Trumperdome have, a serious personal interest. Both Gates and Flynn have pled guilty to federal crimes, and have entered into plea agreements with federal prosecutors. A part of those plea agreements is a stipulation that they will cooperate fully with any and all investigations or hearings at which they are requested to appear. failure to fully cooperate, or lying to the committee will have the effect of negating their plea agreements, leaving their guilty pleas intact, but allowing the prosecutors to seek the maximum sentences to be issued by their judges.It may also allow federal prosecutors to reinstate charges against Flynn that he had already pleaded guilty to, but that they had agreed to drop in return for his full cooperation.
There will be no obfuscation bullshit here. Committee members will ask them questions, and they will testify fully and honestly, or kiss their sweet freedom goodbye. And as long as the questions deal solely with the campaign and transition periods, there isn’t even a question of invoking “executive privilege,” since those events took place before Trump became president, so no privilege exists. and since any questions asked about events occurring after Trump became president will deal with criminal allegations, privilege does not extend to criminal activities. besides, picking nits on the topic or privilege when your ass is literally on the line is normally not considered a sound legal tactic.
The Intelligence committee is finally going to start getting simple, honest, direct answers to the questions that get to the heart of the issues at stake, and so will the American public. But the fun is only beginning, because there is another movement afoot that is going to bring a whole new universe of tsouris and agita to the Trump bunker.
Shortly, committee lawyers for Jerry Nadler’s House Judiciary committee will petition the chief judge of the DC circuit court to unseal the grand jury testimony from the Mueller investigation, and turn it over to the relevant congressional committees. And when that happens, it’s basically game over for Trump on impeachment. Because the Intelligence , Judiciary, and Oversight committees will be able to bring these witnesses in to testify, and grill them on their testimony to the Mueller grand jury. And because the legal idjits at the Trump White House gave all of those people permission to appear and testify voluntarily, any claim of privilege is deemed waived. With the unsealing of the grand jury testimony, that information is considered “public knowledge,” just like voluntary testimony to Mueller’s investigators. As long as the committees stick to questions and subjects covered in the grand jury testimony, they’re in like Flynn (not Michael).
This has taken much longer than it should have. But with the subpoenas for Flynn and Gates to testify to the Intelligence committee, and a successful request for the grand jury testimony to be unsealed, the information is finally going to start making its way out form underneath the bushel basket, and into daylight. And there is no reason on earth for Gates and Flynn to testify publicly, since if the questions are basically about events occurring during the campaign, Trump was not yet president, so there should be no classified information that could be revealed,, and no government “sources and methods” at stake. All I can say is, it’s about goddamn time!