THE BUZZFEED STORY FOLLOWS A PATTERN OF BOOM AND BUST STORIES

Below is my column in The Hill newspaper on the controversy over the Buzzfeed story of President Donald Trump allegedly telling his former counsel Michael Cohen to lie to Congress. This weekend BuzzFeed stood by its story, though it declined to explain a disturbing discrepancy in the account. I disagreed with the call of Rudy Giuliani to investigate or sue BuzzFeed. If BuzzFeed had two officials associated with the Special Counsel making these allegations, it was right to run the story. My criticism is how the story was overblown by experts and members of Congress as a “slam dunk’ case for prosecution and impeachment despite the absence of any clear evidence or corroboration.

Here is the column:

First there was collusion. Then there was obstruction. Then there was subornation. As the Russia investigation has migrated to every new allegation, a host of experts have proclaimed conclusive grounds for the imminent prosecution and impeachment of President Trump, soon followed by calls for immediate impeachment proceedings, only to be followed by mitigating or conflicting evidence on each allegation.

The latest allegation called a “slam dunk” followed a BuzzFeed story that special counsel Robert Mueller has proof that Trump told his attorney, Michael Cohen, to lie to Congress. The same news cycle quickly began, even though the story was long on allegations and short on evidence. Then later that night, the Mueller team released a rare public statementthat proved to be the ultimate buzzkill for the breaking news: “BuzzFeed’s description of specific statements to the special counsel’s office, and characterization of documents and testimony obtained by this office, regarding Michael Cohen’s congressional testimony are not accurate.”

What is most striking about this boom and bust pattern is how it is repeated with such regularity and so little scrutiny in the media. The president may well be shown to have committed criminal or impeachable acts including subornation. That, however, will require concrete evidence and the satisfaction of the elements of a specific crime. Mueller may supply such facts or he may not. It is the seeming refusal to accept the latter possibility that has increasingly distorted media coverage.

The subornation crime is the latest example. Cohen said he gave false information to federal investigators and to Congress about the effort to build a Trump Tower in Moscow. Cohen told Congress that the attempts to secure the deal ended in January 2016, well before the first Republican presidential primary. Cohen now maintains that attempts continued until June 2016, the same month as the infamous meeting in Trump Tower in New York between Donald Trump Jr.Jared KushnerPaul Manafort, and Russians promising evidence of crimes committed by Hillary Clinton or her private foundation. It also was just a few months before the election.

The discrepancy raises reasonable questions about statements made by Trump during the campaign, as well as statements made by Trump Jr. and Ivanka Trump about their own involvement in the planning. But those statements do not, on their face, make a strong case for criminal charges. Trump denied “any business deal” in Moscow, which is not necessarily contradicted by the account of Cohen, who was setting up a potential deal that fell through and did not result in the meeting being discussed.

Trump later insisted he never denied pursuing deals. In November 2018 after the Cohen plea, Trump said about the election, “There was a good chance that I would not have won, in which case I would have gone back into the business. Why should I lose lots of opportunities?” In the end, these statements were not made under oath or to investigators. Even if Trump is viewed as lying about the deal, it is not a crime for politicians to lie to the American public. If it were, Washington would be a ghost town.

Then there is statement by Trump Jr. that his knowledge of the deal was “peripheral” and claims by Ivanka of having marginal involvement. Those descriptions are difficult to use as a basis for perjury alone. They are subjective views of the relative involvement or knowledge of one project among many business endeavors. While there may be other challenged statements, it is quite difficult to imagine a charge that Trump Jr. should have said “occasional” or “periodic” knowledge rather than “peripheral.”

That brings us back to subornation. Cohen has suggested that he lied to Congress either with the knowledge or the direction of Trump. If that were proven, the president could be guilty of suborning perjury, which is a clear federal crime and would be an obvious ground for impeachment. Moreover, his nominee for attorney general, William Barr, testified in his Senate hearing this week that he does believe a president can be charged with subornation and obstruction for encouraging people to lie.

However, Cohen also has said that he tailored his testimony to public statements by Trump, which is materially different from being told to lie. To establish this crime under Justice Department guidelines, prosecutors must show that a “defendant procured the perjury corruptly, knowing, believing, or having reason to believe it to be false testimony” and that the “defendant knew, believed, or had reason to believe that the perjurer had knowledge of the falsity of his or her testimony.” That requires evidence of intent and knowledge by Trump of when the negotiations or discussions ended, as well as a clear effort to get Cohen to move that date back.

Finally, there is the question of whether such a claim alone would be sufficient for impeachment. Subornation was indeed part of both the impeachment articles against Richard Nixon and Bill Clinton. When I testified during the Clinton impeachment hearings in 1998, I maintained that lying under oath is indeed a “high crime and misdemeanor” for the purpose of impeachment. The same is true about subornation if proven.

Yet, many members of Congress who called for possible impeachment proceedings this week also voted against the impeachment of Clinton on the same grounds back then. Monica Lewinsky recently confirmed that Clinton pressured her to lie to federal investigators and a federal court. Clinton had brought in his friend, Vernon Jordan, who not only arranged for the lawyer who drafted and filed a false affidavit but also helped Lewinsky, who had very little work experience, secure a lucrative job offer with Revlon, a company where Jordan served on the board of directors.

So Clinton lied under oath, lied to federal investigators, and allegedly suborned perjury. A judge later reaffirmed that his testimony was obvious perjury. When Article III containing those allegations was brought to the floor, the voting members included many current Democratic leaders who insisted that none of it satisfied the standard for impeachment. In the House, they included Nancy PelosiMaxine Waters, Benjamin Cardin, Elijah CummingsSteny HoyerJerry Nadler, and others. Over in the Senate, Joe BidenCharles SchumerRichard DurbinDianne FeinsteinPatrick LeahyRobert Menendez, and others voted against conviction.

None of this means a case will not be made for subornation, obstruction, or other crimes against Trump. Moreover, if proven, Trump should be impeached. While these members were wrong in 1998, they would be justified in voting for impeachment on the very grounds they rejected when a Democratic president was the one being judged. For the moment, however, the only thing that is worse than ignoring the evidence of crimes by a president is ignoring the absence of evidence against a president.

Jonathan Turley is the Shapiro Professor of Public Interest Law at George Washington University. You can follow him on Twitter @JonathanTurley.

136 thoughts on “THE BUZZFEED STORY FOLLOWS A PATTERN OF BOOM AND BUST STORIES”

  1. Well written as usual but I disagree that just having two sources allegedly close to the matter makes it newsworthy. Buzzfeed needed to verify the sources’ credibility as well as the content. For example, with respect to content, the sources referenced e-mails and other documents but it is substantially unclear as to whether either of the reporters actually saw them.

    IIRC, there was a story on CNN that precisely encapsulates the issue. The reporter was asked about the sourcing for a story that was in question and he responded to the effect that the story was based on what we believe to be a credible source who knows a source who is reportedly close to a senior official in the intelligence community.

    If you think about that statement for a second (w/o rofl), it’s clear why the journalistic credibility is increasingly called into question.

  2. TURLEY ALL OVER MAP IN DEFENSE OF TRUMP

    DEFENSE FINALLY RESTS ON LAME CLINTON ‘WHAT ABOUT’

    First Turely tells us that the Buzzfeed story is part of a “boom and bust news pattern” of stories regarding alleged Trump wrongdoings. Yet statements by Rudolph Giuliani on Sunday indicate the Buzzfeed story was generally correct, if not flawed in some details. Giuliani allowed that Trump Tower Moscow deal was still a possibility ‘after’ Trump became the Republican nominee.

    Turley then shifts gears; moving from the “boom and bust news pattern” to conceding that Trump said this about the election: “There was a good chance that I would not have won, in which case I would have gone back into the business. Why should I lose lots of opportunities?” ..So again the Buzzfeed story was generally correct if not flawed in some details.

    Turley notes that Donald Trump Jr. and sister Ivanka had expressed only hazy knowledge of Trump Tower Moscow. Are we to believe Dad never discussed the deal with them? Don Jr and Ivanka were, and are, senior executives in the Trump Organization. Yet Turley goes on to tell us that a criminal case against the children would be hard to make. Turley also tells us that Trump himself admitted he never denied pursuing such deals during his campaign. So again, the Buzzfeed story is generally correct if not flawed in details.

    Turley then shifts gears completely and indulges in “What about’s”. Turley reminds us that Bill Clinton ‘lied under oath’ and that ‘he’, Jonathan Turley, was an expert witness to confirm that Clinton had, indeed, lied under oath. And now this same Jonathan Turley tells us that Democrats are currently hypocritical attacking Trump for lies when they stood by Clinton. But does that alleged hypocrisy excuse Trump for pursuing Trump Tower Moscow while running for President?

    Is this the crux of Turley’s argument, a lame ‘What about’??

    Turley ignores one crucial fact: ‘In December of 1998, when the Clinton impeachment crisis building to a climax, Bill Clinton’s Gallup approval rating was at a stunning 73%..!!’ That explains why Democrats stood by Clinton. No leader of any party would turn against a president whose approval is 73%. The American people were clearly saying: “We don’t care, move on”.

    For the record, Donald Trump’s current approval rating is under 40% with a majority of Americans now disapproving. In other words, Trump’s approval is currently about 33% lower than Clinton’s during the latter’s impeachment crisis.

    1. Yet statements by Rudolph Giuliani on Sunday indicate the Buzzfeed story was generally correct, if not flawed in some details.

      If fantasy helps you feel better, fine. Could you keep it to yourself and quit pestering everyone else?

        1. Your mom wants you to spend time outside today. Your uncle can explain to you later that no one’s ‘freedom of speech’ is impaired when someone tells them their words are silly and that they are a nuisance.

          1. Then don’t read his posts, or comment on them. PH has the right as anybody to make a comment, if you think somebody writing something is a nuisance then maybe you have the problem. What makes you the king of this site? Don’t like it, don’t read it…Kinda like what Trump does huh?

            1. Both you and Peter can be nuisances. That doesn’t mean that others stop reading or commenting on the stupidity.

              I think DSS is entirely correct and has said something that is quite relevant: “Your mom wants you to spend time outside today. ” Make sure you return home before it gets dark.

              1. You and DSS do not run this site, you have no right to tell anyone what to think and write. Only your thoughts count? Are you so superior to others? Of course you feel that way, otherwise you and DSS would not try to bully others just because they think different and have their own opinions.

                1. Fishwings, I don’t run a zoo either but I note a lot of hyenas running around.

                  My thoughts are not superior, it is just that your thoughts are so inferior that perhaps a zoo is a better place for you to run around. That you have different opinions is fine, but that they are silly doesn’t advance our body of knowledge and your knowledge is a regurgitation one level deep.

      1. Oh Tabby, I hate to change the subject, but you were going to present well-researched statistics showing that Conceal & Carry policies could bring down Chicago’s homicide rate.

        If you would be gracious enough to post those statistics here, we would be most grateful.

        Thanks.

        1. concealed carry may not help much in ghetto areas where nobody ever cared about gun control one way or another, but it will help other people not become ghettoized.

          the effects of gun control ruining chicago mostly go back to Jane Byrne’s disastrous, unfair, cronyistic gun registration scheme aka ban. it was an effort to reverse or control violence in ghetto areas and it completely failed. in fact it was counterproductive. working class whites that wanted to keep their guns for protection moved out. who knows how many but it was a factor in my anecdotal discussions with many former working class residents of chicago who hit the road. and many tens or maybe hundreds of thousands of whites to move out of chicago over the decades since that time. and US v Heller simply will not be enough to reverse that.

          when I lived in Chicago I carried a gun if it felt necessary at the time. Rarely, but occasionally. I can say that now that the SOL has passed on it and the law overturned. And the phony registration scheme didn’t stop me one way or another. Nor did any of the cops I was friends with care and they used to laugh about it. I don’t want to repeat what they said, but, you can read this book and get an idea

          https://www.encounterbooks.com/features/racist-roots-gun-control/

          1. really among the major things that plagued chicago and still do, gun control for or against was not a primary factor. just a secondary thing. i just want to be clear. it’s no surprise that US v Heller has had little effect in Chicago precisely

            John Lott’s works have a lot of empirical validity btw even if you mock the notion

            https://www.press.uchicago.edu/Misc/Chicago/493636.html

            oh by the way the Illinois concealed carry statute is also a very restrictive one and a major pain in the neck compared to other states so that has muted the possible positive effects as well

          2. Kurtz, i’m good with the historic populations. Chicago hit it’s peak population of 3.6 million in 1950. By the time Byrne was mayor, Chicago’s population had fallen to about 2.8 million. Chicago’s population is currently around 2.7 million. Though interestingly, a significant number of Blacks have left Chicago in the past 20 years; about 250,000. In fact, Chicago could arguably use some immigrants to replace former residents.

            But with regards to guns, it’s hard to believe that ‘more guns’ will bring down the homicide rate. That homicide rate mainly reflects youthful gangsters discharging weapons in public places with no regards to safety. They are ‘super predators’, as Hillary Clinton once observed.

    2. Looks pretty bad😧 for Trump’s chances in 2020…..Huffington Pest gave him a mere 2% chance of winning in 2016……I wouldn’t be surprized to see HuffPuff lower his 2020 chances to 1%😏☺.

      1. Tom, it looks bad in the sense that economic forecasts are being revised downward. No one is using the ‘R’ word yet, but the government shutdown, on top of the tariff dispute with China, does not bode well for an economic expansion in its 9th year. If God forbid the economy heads downward in 2020, Trump’s chances for re-election look very iffy.

    3. “TURLEY ALL OVER MAP IN DEFENSE OF TRUMP”

      PETER SHILL LIES AGAIN. Turley is stating his viewpoints on different subjects. Mostly jhis viewpoints lean left and against Trump.

      “Giuliani allowed that Trump Tower Moscow deal was still a possibility ‘after’ Trump became the Republican nominee.”

      If you knew anything at all then you would realize that the Trump Tower Moscow deal might be a possibility even if Trump was not alive. The Trump brand will likely live longer than him and commercial interests frequently remain even after a project is cancelled.

      1. Alan, the Trump name is now controversial. It has actually comes off some buildings in New York City. The name’s longterm prospects don’t actually that bright right now.

        1. Peter, you have done nothing with your life. Trump is a resilient guy and for everyone in NYC that wants his name off their buildings there are loads of others that want their name on. Just for your information I was visiting one of my friends who lived in a Trump building in NYC on the West Side and yes the leftists there want Trump’s name removed from everything but he didn’t and a lot of others didn’t either. Leave the West Side and a few other places and his name still has gravitas.

  3. Mueller knew!

    Obergruppenfuhrer Mueller and his Schutzstaffel knew!

    https://www.washingtonexaminer.com/news/key-doj-officials-mueller-knew-about-dossier

    “Ohr said he got in touch with Andrew McCabe, who was at the time the number-two man at the FBI. When Ohr went to McCabe’s office to talk, FBI lawyer Lisa Page was also there. “So I provided the information to them,” Ohr said. Ohr said he later talked to another top FBI official, Peter Strzok.

    That was the FBI. But what about the Justice Department itself? “Who at the department knew that you were talking to Chris Steele and Glenn Simpson?” asked Trey Gowdy, who last year was chairman of the House Government Oversight Committee.

    “I spoke with some people in the Criminal Division, other career officials who dealt with some of these matters,” Ohr answered.

    “Any of them have names?” Gowdy asked.

    “Yes, so I was about to tell you,” replied Ohr. “One of them was Bruce Swartz, who is the counselor for international affairs in the Criminal Division; a person who was working with him at the time, working on similar matters in the Criminal Division, was Zainab Ahmad; and a third person who was working on some — some of these matters, I believe, was Andrew Weissmann.”

    Gowdy wanted to make sure about the third name. “Who is that last one?” he asked

    “He was head of the Fraud Section at the time,” said Ohr.

    “I’ve heard his name somewhere before, I think,” said Gowdy. Weissmann has become widely known as Mueller’s hard-charging “pit bull.”

    Ahmad was a prosecutor who worked on terrorism cases. She later joined Mueller’s team, as well.

    “When I provided [the Steele information] to the FBI, I tried to be clear that this is source information,” Ohr said. “I don’t know how reliable it is. You’re going to have to check it out and be aware. These guys were hired by somebody relating to — who’s related to the Clinton campaign, and be aware — ”

    “Did you tell the bureau that?” asked Gowdy.

    “Oh, yes,” said Ohr.

    “Why did you tell the bureau that?”

    “I wanted them to be aware of any possible bias or, you know, as they evaluate the information, they need to know the circumstances.”

    “So you specifically told the bureau that the information you were passing on came from someone who was employed by the DNC, albeit in a somewhat triangulated way?” asked Gowdy.

    “I don’t believe I used — I didn’t know they were employed by the DNC,” Ohr answered. “But I certainly said yes, that — that they were working for — you know, they were somehow working, associated with the Clinton campaign. And I also told the FBI that my wife worked for Fusion GPS, or was a contractor for Fusion GPS.”

    – Washington Examiner

  4. Turley’s claim that Mueller has far more serious charges to bring against Trump Campaign and Trump Org is outrageous–he has no way of knowing, but he’s glad to smear along with the rest of them.

    Also, his parsing of the Mueller statement on inaccuracy is done with the deftness of a sledgehammer–he makes the Mueller statement sound like a quibble rather than a very unusual intervention, one not to be used in a simple case of inaccuracy.

    Ever since Turley wrote warmly about Michael Avenatti and revealed that he had been Avenatti’s teacher, I have been wary of his other pronouncements.

  5. I see that the usual suspects are using their fainting and clutching pearls routine that a news organization made a part or full mistake on a story. But what makes me laugh to no end is that these are the same people that state “FOX NEWS” is the real news. Maybe you seen how FOX said on the real news of Fox & Friends that RBG died today, or how Obama invented Kwanzaa to destroy Christmas, or maybe how Obama was going to put us all in FEMA camps or how he was making plans to take away your guns or, how he was born in Kenya cause Trump had PI’s in Hawaii. Or the whole state of Texas was going under because of Jade Helm. Sad just sad, I guess truth is not truth anymore.

    1. Name these usual suspects. Who has stated “FOX NEWS” is the real news. And why are you unwilling to denounce all news outlets that report false stories?

    2. ” Maybe you seen how FOX said on the real news of Fox & Friends that RBG died today,”

      This comment is the type of stupidity we try to prevent through education. FishWings failed in that regard. This was not an intentional error. The error was corrected and they didn’t say RBG died rather the graphic implied that she died because of technical error. Errors are made. The question is whether those errors were intentional or based on lack of caring rather that error. Here is Fox New’s statement that came shortly after the error. FishWings should have checked first but that is what we love about FishWings. He is innaccurate to the core and lacks understanding when he makes a comment. I won’t comment on the other statements made. One is enough to get the idea.

      ““A technical error in the control room triggered a graphic of Ruth Bader Ginsburg with a date on it. We don’t want to make it seem anything other than ― that was a mistake. That was an accident. We believe she is still at home recovering from surgery. Big mistake.”

      “We apologize,” Earhardt reiterated. “Big mistake.””

      1. 25 Years Ago Today, George H.W. Bush Vomited on the Prime Minister of Japan
        HNN came very close to announcing that Bush 41 had died in 1992 after falling ill at the banquet in Japan.
        The anchor was fed a “news flash” that Bush had died; someone offscreen knew that information was not correct.
        The guy offscreen in the newsroom heard the anchor start to announce that “President George Bush is..” and realized where the anchorman was going with that.
        He could be heard yelling ” No! Wait!” offscreen, and stopped the announcement with about a second to spare.

        1. https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=eRXN6ACvCoE
          In a “Simpsons” episode, a retired Bush 41 moves into Homer’s neighborhood. Thanks largely to Bart, Homer and Bush get into a knockdown, dragout fight.
          Bush uses old tricks he learned as head of the CIA in the 1970s, and also threatens to “ruin you like a Japanese banquet” as he’s fighting Homer.
          President Bush was asked what he thought of the episode…..Bush said it “had everything but Oliver Stone for a director”.

  6. The only pertinent question Bill Clinton should have been required to answer regarding Monica Lewinsky was: “Did you sexually harass Monica Lewinsky?” That’s what the deposition was about — unwanted sexual advances.

    Instead he was asked about consensual sexual relations.

    The Judge seemed aghast that Bill Clinton answered this question truthfully given the definition of sexual relations that everyone had agreed to.

    But seemed perfectly content with the fishing expedition allowed during the questioning having nothing to do with the nature of the deposition.

    And you think that’s grounds for impeachment?

  7. It is a “game changer” as Stephanie Ruhle of MSNBC smugly described the BuzzFeed story. A predictble and understandable comment given how so much of the media is “gaming” the news these days.

    1. “It is a “game changer” as Stephanie Ruhle of MSNBC smugly described the BuzzFeed story.”
      **************************
      And she’s right. Now for all to see is the bias and recklessness of the globalist corporate media. Their credibility and air of importance is shot. They’re all the National Inquirer.

  8. No offense Turley, but how is it sound judgment to charge someone with lying about something perfectly legal? I know technically you can do it, but it’s slimy. The main reason for obstruction laws is to charge a defendant not only with committing a crime, but trying to hide the crime from authorities. The defendant should get harsher sentence because of that. And, among other things, it complicates the investigation of the underlying illegal act and may help other criminals who go into hiding with the extra time provided them.
    Prosecutors who use “process crimes” as the sole basis for their litigation are suspect — as your statement that the impeachment of Bill Clinton by Republicans showed sound judgment.

  9. “What is most striking about this boom and bust pattern is how it is repeated with such regularity and so little scrutiny in the media.”

    That is because this is a hit and run job and has been so since the start.

    1. “That is because this is a hit and run job and has been so since the start.”

      This poor Catholic kid is a victim of a hit and run job, and sadly he and his family are now being threatened by left wing anarchists which is what these anarchists do best. Fascists like none other. So much for Nancy Pelosi and her klan embracing love, freedom and representing the goodness of America’s foundational principles

      ==

      Covington Catholic student from incident at the Indigenous Peoples March issues statement with his side of the story

      https://www.cincinnati.com/story/news/politics/2019/01/20/covington-catholic-student-video-issues-statement-his-side-story/2634008002/

      Statement of Nick Sandmann, Covington Catholic High School Junior, Regarding Incident at the Lincoln Memorial

      I am providing this factual account of what happened on Friday afternoon at the Lincoln Memorial to correct misinformation and outright lies being spread about my family and me

      I am the student in the video who was confronted by the Native American protestor. I arrived at the Lincoln Memorial at 4:30 p.m. I was told to be there by 5:30 p.m., when our busses were due to leave Washington for the trip back to Kentucky. We had been attending the March for Life rally, and then had split up into small groups to do sightseeing.

      When we arrived, we noticed four African American protestors who were also on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial. I am not sure what they were protesting, and I did not interact with them. I did hear them direct derogatory insults at our school group.

      The protestors said hateful things. They called us “racists,” “bigots,” “white crackers,” “faggots,” and “incest kids.” They also taunted an African American student from my school by telling him that we would “harvest his organs.” I have no idea what that insult means, but it was startling to hear.

      Because we were being loudly attacked and taunted in public, a student in our group asked one of our teacher chaperones for permission to begin our school spirit chants to counter the hateful things that were being shouted at our group. The chants are commonly used at sporting events.

      They are all positive in nature and sound like what you would hear at any high school. Our chaperone gave us permission to use our school chants. We would not have done that without obtaining permission from the adults in charge of our group.

      At no time did I hear any student chant anything other than the school spirit chants. I did not witness or hear any students chant “build that wall” or anything hateful or racist at any time. Assertions to the contrary are simply false. Our chants were loud because we wanted to drown out the hateful comments that were being shouted at us by the protestors.

      After a few minutes of chanting, the Native American protestors, who I hadn’t previously noticed, approached our group. The Native American protestors had drums and were accompanied by at least one person with a camera.

      The protestor everyone has seen in the video began playing his drum as he waded into the crowd, which parted for him. I did not see anyone try to block his path. He locked eyes with me and approached me, coming within inches of my face. He played his drum the entire time he was in my face.

      I never interacted with this protestor. I did not speak to him. I did not make any hand gestures or other aggressive moves. To be honest, I was startled and confused as to why he had approached me. We had already been yelled at by another group of protestors, and when the second group approached I was worried that a situation was getting out of control where adults were attempting to provoke teenagers.

      I believed that by remaining motionless and calm, I was helping to diffuse the situation. I realized everyone had cameras and that perhaps a group of adults was trying to provoke a group of teenagers into a larger conflict. I said a silent prayer that the situation would not get out of hand.

      During the period of the drumming, a member of the protestor’s entourage began yelling at a fellow student that we “stole our land” and that we should “go back to Europe.” I heard one of my fellow students begin to respond. I motioned to my classmate and tried to get him to stop engaging with the protestor, as I was still in the mindset that we needed to calm down tensions.

      I never felt like I was blocking the Native American protestor. He did not make any attempt to go around me. It was clear to me that he had singled me out for a confrontation, although I am not sure why.

      The engagement ended when one of our teachers told me the busses had arrived and it was time to go. I obeyed my teacher and simply walked to the busses. At that moment, I thought I had diffused the situation by remaining calm, and I was thankful nothing physical had occurred.

      I never understood why either of the two groups of protestors were engaging with us, or exactly what they were protesting at the Lincoln Memorial. We were simply there to meet a bus, not become central players in a media spectacle. This is the first time in my life I’ve ever encountered any sort of public protest, let alone this kind of confrontation or demonstration.

      I was not intentionally making faces at the protestor. I did smile at one point because I wanted him to know that I was not going to become angry, intimidated or be provoked into a larger confrontation. I am a faithful Christian and practicing Catholic, and I always try to live up to the ideals my faith teaches me – to remain respectful of others, and to take no action that would lead to conflict or violence.

      I harbor no ill will for this person. I respect this person’s right to protest and engage in free speech activities, and I support his chanting on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial any day of the week. I believe he should re-think his tactics of invading the personal space of others, but that is his choice to make.

      I am being called every name in the book, including a racist, and I will not stand for this mob-like character assassination of my family’s name. My parents were not on the trip, and I strive to represent my family in a respectful way in all public settings.

      I have received physical and death threats via social media, as well as hateful insults. One person threatened to harm me at school, and one person claims to live in my neighborhood. My parents are receiving death and professional threats because of the social media mob that has formed over this issue.

      I love my school, my teachers and my classmates. I work hard to achieve good grades and to participate in several extracurricular activities. I am mortified that so many people have come to believe something that did not happen – that students from my school were chanting or acting in a racist fashion toward African Americans or Native Americans. I did not do that, do not have hateful feelings in my heart, and did not witness any of my classmates doing that.

      I cannot speak for everyone, only for myself. But I can tell you my experience with Covington Catholic is that students are respectful of all races and cultures. We also support everyone’s right to free speech.

      I am not going to comment on the words or account of Mr. Phillips, as I don’t know him and would not presume to know what is in his heart or mind. Nor am I going to comment further on the other protestors, as I don’t know their hearts or minds, either.I have read that Mr. Phillips is a veteran of the United States Marines. I thank him for his service and am grateful to anyone who puts on the uniform to defend our nation. If anyone has earned the right to speak freely, it is a U.S. Marine veteran.

      I can only speak for myself and what I observed and felt at the time. But I would caution everyone passing judgement based on a few seconds of video to watch the longer video clips that are on the internet, as they show a much different story than is being portrayed by people with agendas.

      I provided this account of events to the Diocese of Covington so they may know exactly what happened, and I stand ready and willing to cooperate with any investigation they are conducting.

      This is the only statement that has been made by the Sandmann family. Any comments attributed to any member of the family that is not contained in this document are fabricated. The family will not be answering individual media inquiries.

      1. Sarah, you hit the nail on the head. They are fascists and frequently violent though some hold back for fear of the law. They are not much different than the Mousilini’s, Hitler’s and Stalin’s of the world. Mousilini, the Italian fascist articulated the necessity and even the appeal of violence.

    2. See Eric Hoffer: “‘Every great cause begins as a movement, becomes a business, and eventually degenerates into a racket.'” That describes the social-liberal persuasion in American politics to a T.

        1. I read that book when I was 12 in the early 70’s. I don’t recall if it was assigned or I happened upon it at the public library. Regardless, it opened my mind to how mass movements work.

          I remember during the Reagan era how political analysts would break down his speeches to tell us what they meant in a geo-political context. I was active duty Navy at the time and I would characterize myself as a true believer of Reagan and Republicans in general. In retrospect, I’m not proud of my lack of critical-thinking skills at that time.

          I didn’t question my “beliefs” until the 2008 election cycle and the rise of Obama. I began to question what I thought to be true about him, his predecessors, politics and government. This is when Hoffer’s True Believer came rushing back into my consciousness.

          When I started studying U.S. Civics, I recall reading a quote by Jefferson that reminded me of Reagan’s “Trust but Verify” philosophy:

          Question with boldness even the existence of a God; because, if there be one, he must more approve of the homage of reason, than that of blind-folded fear.

          I joined this blog because I expected to discover some clarity on law and government. What has actually become clear is how insidious the political class is in manipulating the people to become true believers.

          1. OLLY:

            “I joined this blog because I expected to discover some clarity on law and government. What has actually become clear is how insidious the political class is in manipulating the people to become true believers.”
            ******************

            Then you’ve learned a lot because the fundamental polico-legal question of all-time: Is law a medium of justice or merely a mask for power?

            1. Thank you Mark.

              Is law a medium of justice or merely a mask for power?

              I like Bastiat’s definition:

              The law is the organization of the natural right of lawful defense. It is the substitution of a common force for individual forces. And this common force is to do only what the individual forces have a natural and lawful right to do: to protect persons, liberties, and properties; to maintain the right of each, and to cause justice to reign over us all.

              Where we deviate from that definition in my opinion is Lawfare.

              1. Mr K:
                And people wonder why I always say morality is idiosyncratic to the society that espouses it. I’m like Nietzsche in that regard and, as you revealed, Thrasymachus. The only universals are our moral intuitions which present in an array of interpretations. We decide morality and we decide punishments. When we can’t decide we call that “diversity” and it is a classic two-edged sword needed for change but a cause of great conflict.

                1. Particular things are compelling. Heidegger also revealed this is party of our individual and collective existence: facticity. The particular concrete facts of our life and place and time and also what came before us, impose themselves on us and delimit our existence. We feel thrown into life: “gewohrfenheit”

                  1. Mr. K:

                    “Heidegger also revealed this is party of our individual and collective existence: facticity. The particular concrete facts of our life and place and time and also what came before us, impose themselves on us and delimit our existence. We feel thrown into life: “gewohrfenheit””
                    **********************************
                    I always found that notion a little fatuous. The circumstances that surround us are our lives not a delimiter. Our history is a guide and not a shackle. Heidegger is too gloomy for me. he needs a balcony overlooking Lake Como with a good bottle of red, some bread and a great Italian cheese ( I’d recommend Taleggioat since you’re already in Lombardy) his side. That’s facticity!

      1. Great quote, but along with being a longshoreman, wasn’t he a migrant worker in California doing the jobs that our leftist friends say won’t be done by Americans?

  10. When we were kids we used to watch Looney Tunes on black and white TV. Indeed Bugs Bunny, Wld E. Coyote, Elmer Fudd were downright funny. Now that they are gone, we have subpar cartoons that are so predictable and make Japanese black and white films of Godzilla radiate authenticity

    Russian Physiologist Dr. Ivan Pavlov would be impressed with the classical conditioning by the Main Screed Media’s tongue waving salivation upon seeing red MAGA hats.

    “Boys Will Be Boys. Covington’s Showed Yet Again Why Only White Boys Can Smirk Through That.”
    Had it been my son—my black son— with a group of black and brown boys swarming, intimidating and taunting an elderly white man, the story would have been very different.
    Goldie Taylor 01.20.19 12:58 PM ET
    https://www.thedailybeast.com/boys-will-be-boys-covingtons-showed-yet-again-why-only-white-boys-can-smirk-through-that

    20 hours later…

    “Covington Catholic: Longer video shows start of the incident at Indigenous Peoples March”
    Sarah Brookbank Updated 8:11 a.m. ET Jan. 21, 2019
    https://www.cincinnati.com/story/news/2019/01/20/covington-catholic-incident-indigenous-peoples-march-longer-video/2630930002/

    People across social media have responded to the video saying it shows the students were provoked and that the man put himself in that position. One video is almost two hours long.

    The indigenous man, Nathan Phillips, said he stepped in to diffuse the crowd of students who were interacting with a group he identified as the Black Hebrew Israelites. Phillips is a Vietnam veteran and Native American elder of the Omaha tribe.

    1. from above:

      https://www.cincinnati.com/story/news/2019/01/20/covington-catholic-incident-indigenous-peoples-march-longer-video/2630930002/

      “In another video, one of the men apparently addresses a student in the crowd, saying there is one black student. The man proceeds to make references to “Get Out,” a horror movie about a black man who learns a disturbing secret when he meets his white girlfriend’s family.

      The man in the video says “get out” and uses a racial slur, to which the crowd of students responds with surprise. One student yells, “Why are you being mean?”

      On social media some Covington Catholic backers posted messages of support for the students in the video, saying nobody should be expelled because they were not provoking Phillips and had in turn, been provoked themselves.”

  11. What is most striking about this boom and bust pattern is how it is repeated with such regularity and so little scrutiny in the media.

    Say what!? Professor, if it weren’t for the boom and bust pattern, your blog would a ghost town. The boom highlights the disturbing lack of critical-thinking and objectivity on the Left. One would think the bust would give them that aha moment, but that never materializes. The boom drags Enigma in salivating at all the delicious possibilities. The boom sets the table for Annie/Inga/L4D/Diane to pepper your blog with her horoscope-like pronouncements. The boom feeds the trolls until they slink back to where they came from when the bust happens; except for Annie/Inga/L4d/Diane. She of the prognosticator ilk, keeps slinging away, racking up frequent posting miles while never actually adding any value to the blog.

    Wash. Rinse. Repeat.

    1. Bravo!!!!

      You failed to mention that Peter Shill gets to keep his drug dealer in business since David Brock is paying him George Soros money to do what he does best: provide us endless excerpts of left wing “news” articles that any twit with 2 working cerebral neurons have deemed fake news

        1. now if only some rich right winger would pay me to repost articles and commentary. lol. i am stupid to have done this for free, but, it was fun!

  12. The article can be summarized as: if a President lies or gets others to lie under oath he should be impeached. Clinton did exactly that and the current leadership of the Democratic Party gave him a pass. Ipso facto, they are hypocrites for foaming at the mouth for impeachment every time some offbrand news outlet falsifies such stories about Trump. Btw nothing of the sort has been proven against Trump.

    Most of us here have been saying that since 2016. Welcome to the party!

    1. ” they are hypocrites for foaming at the mouth for impeachment every time some offbrand news outlet falsifies such stories about Trump.”

      If it weren’t for hypocricy there would be no Democratic Party.

  13. “What is most striking about this boom and bust pattern is how it is repeated with such regularity and so little scrutiny in the media.”

    Barnum and Bailey Circus closed for business but the MSM has taken their place. The clown acts, contortionists and smelly tortured animals are far worse in today’s MSM circus for at least we believed the Barnum cast members as having authencity in their performances.

    The MSM is an embarrassment if not prelude to our next act in the UsA: collapse.

  14. Let’s take another look at the statement from the special counsel’s office:

    “BuzzFeed’s description of specific statements to the special counsel’s office, and characterization of documents and testimony obtained by this office, regarding Michael Cohen’s congressional testimony are not accurate.”

    I keep looking at that statement trying to find where it supposedly says that the documents at issue don’t exist. It looks to me like the statement asserts the existence of documents obtained by the special counsel’s office. What the statement disputes is the “accuracy” of the “characterization” of those documents by either the two law enforcement officials who were the source for the BuzzFeed story or by BuzzFeed and its reporters. It looks to me as though Mueller is saying that BuzzFeed overstated the case that documents obtained by Mueller’s office might warrant. Besides, I’m pretty sure that Mueller’s office has far more serious cases to bring against members of the Trump campaign and the Trump Organization than subornation of perjury.

    1. There are no documents. So part II try to slide the first fallacy by using another fallacy and their are at least 77 types of fallacies so by the time the last one is reached we will be bored stiff by those who provide nothing but fallacies. Damn at least try to be creative instead of boring us with these Al Bore-isms.

    2. The Buzzfeed article characterized the documentary evidence as confirming an allegation by Cohen that Trump instructed him to lie.
      We should know for sure exactly what that means (the SC statement you quoted) if Mueller ever gets around to giving some specific information to the public.
      But on the face of that statement, and given the prompt and rare public statement from theSpecial Counsel Office, it looks like Mueller was disputing the core of the Buzzfeed article’s assertion that there was independent documentary to confirm an allegation that Trump gave those instructions to Cohen.
      Had the article been essentially correct, there would have been no real need for Mueller to have made that statement.
      It looks like Mueller walked back the substance of the Buzzfeed article to ratchet down the unrealist expectations that it created.

      1. Here’s a few new details from the BuzzFeed story that have not yet been disputed:

        1) Trump, “hoped [the Trump Tower Moscow] could bring his company profits in excess of $300 million” (Mueller’s sentencing memorandum stated that the deal might be worth “hundreds of millions of dollars from Russian sources in licensing fees and other revenues”).

        2) Trump, “had at least 10 face-to-face meetings with Cohen about the deal during the campaign.”

        3) Don Jr and Ivanka were the “family members” described in Cohen’s allocution who were apprised of the details.

        The statement from the special counsel’s office disputes the accuracy of “BuzzFeed’s description of specific statements to the special counsel’s office, and characterization of documents and testimony obtained by this office, regarding Michael Cohen’s congressional testimony . . .”

        The key words are “description of . . .” and “characterization of . . .” Mueller has plenty of reasons to dispute the accuracy of press reports that describe or characterize Cohen’s testimony well beyond Cohen’s sworn statements in his allocution and in his sentencing memo for lying to Congress. Mueller is going to need Cohen’s testimony as a cooperating witness against Donald Trump Jr. and who-knows-who-all-else. BuzzFeed’s overstated description and characterization of Cohen’s testimony could undermine Cohen’s value as a cooperating witness. When you garble a garble, all you get is more bollixed up.

          1. The first garble is intentional. The second garble is just a reflex reaction.

            It works as a media strategy. But not as a legal one.

        1. The Office of Special Counsel did not specifically go over the elements of the Buzzardfeed article line by line, so of course specifics “have not been disputed”.
          Mueller’s statement called into question the overall veracity of what the Buzzfeed article claimed; if it had been essentially accurate, I doubt if Mueller would have felt the need to make a very unusual statement questioning the article.

          1. No. Read the statement from the special counsel’s office again. That statement specifies that the inaccurate descriptions and characterization were in regard to Cohen’s congressional testimony. Turning BuzzFeed’s overstatement into an overstatement of your own device is garbling a garble.

            Remember the garbled garbling over Flynn’s lawyer’s insinuation that Strzok supposedly didn’t write the FD 302 for Flynn’s January 24th, 2017, FBI interview until August 22nd, 2017. The garbled garbling over this BuzzFeed story is just more of the same bollix up.

            1. I remembed that you speculated on reasons for that delay in writing the 302…..pretty wild speculation…..then, later in the same thread, you questioned if there was that delay.
              After you garbled the exchange with your Dianese and Doublespeak, I don’t think I bothered trying to follow you out into the toulies of disjointed comments you were making.
              I’ve read the statement from the S.C. several times, and Mueller’s general repudition of the article seems self-explanatory.

              1. There was a substantial redaction in the SDNY application for the search warrant on Cohen and Cohen’s office that stated the probable cause for suspecting that records from the Trump Organization in the possession of Cohen were at risk of being deleted. Whatever was behind that redaction convinced The Judge to issue that warrant to search a lawyer’s office. That same SDNY warrant application had another heavily redacted passage presumably naming all of the people who had not yet been charged in the SDNY investigation as a reason for the urgency of granting the search warrant to preserve evidence needed by law enforcement officials. The two law enforcement officials who were the source of the BuzzFeed story have bolstered the possibility that those records may not have been destroyed.

                Whether those records lead to the conclusion that the BuzzFeed story and its sources claimed is the issue currently in dispute. The statement from Mueller’s office effectively says that BuzzFeed and its sources went too far with the conclusion they reached from the documents obtained by Mueller’s office. The reason for disputing the accuracy of the BuzzFeed story is likely to be that Mueller has far more serious crimes to allege than subornation of perjury.

                1. If Mueller has documented proof of obstruction of justice on the part of Trump ( telling Cohen to lie), it seems unlikely that he’d set that aside because he might allege more serious crimes.
                  So far, he’s thrown everything but the kitchen sink at those he has targeted, and I doubt if he’d sideline the obstruction charge because of other allegations he might make.

                  1. There’s no indication that Mueller is the kinda guy who would settle for a field goal when his field position is first and goal.

                    (No. That is not supremely confident. Nor is it inside information.)

                    1. That is right he won’t settle for a field goal, but he has no problem stretching the truth to make the goal;

                      Mueller: Jewell planted the bomb so he could look the hero by discovering it.
                      Mueller: Go for the goal. Blame Hatfill.

                      Go for the goal Mueller, forget the truth.

                2. what do you know about a search warrant cleverly saying anything that convinces a judge?

                  the question is when do judges ever DENY search warrants?
                  oh wait, don’t bother trying to find out, nobody knows but everyone agrees HARDLY EVER!

                  if you practiced law much you might realize that your stated opinion however seemingly clever was pretentious nonsense from its initial premise

                  1. A) DO THEY EVEN READ THE PROBABLE CAUSE AFFIDAVITS?

                    B) HAS A COP EVER ONE TIME BEEN PROSECUTED FOR LYING UNDER OATH IN A PC AFFIDAVIT? let me know if you have any examples, Nutcaca

        2. “When you garble a garble”

          Sounds like Diane is garbling again.

          “Here’s a few new details from the BuzzFeed story that have not yet been disputed:”

          Wow, Mueller doesn’t work for the writer. ““BuzzFeed’s description of specific statements to the special counsel’s office, and characterization of documents and testimony obtained by this office, regarding Michael Cohen’s congressional testimony are not accurate,” said Peter Carr, a spokesman for Mueller.

          A few more things that haven’t been disputed.

          Tom Riley caught a trout and broiled it.
          Sara Smith ran a red light and got a ticket.

      2. Maybe BuzzFeed was hoping to do what they did with the Steele Dossier. Give it traction hoping someone was left to push the story along.

    3. “What the statement disputes is the “accuracy” of the “characterization” of those documents by either the two law enforcement officials who were the source for the BuzzFeed story or by BuzzFeed and its reporters.”

      In other words all Diane requires is a blank sheet of paper from which anyone can devine any type of story they wish. After all that is how Diane writes her own interpretations of the days happening.

  15. Subornation of perjury is probably the least of Trump’s legal jeopardy at this point. Mueller’s office has established the rough outlines for a bribery case and a conspiracy case against Trump, the Trump campaign and the Trump Organization.

    And then there’s still Putin to worry about. Yes! The negotiation over the Trump Tower Moscow deal is kompromat that Putin collected on Trump in 2016. When properly considered, Trump’s Putin problem makes the threat of Trump’s impeachment pale in comparison.

    1. Same boring story in the same boring format by the same boring ‘persons unknown or unidentified or non existent al that’s left is the eventual meaningless apology as a substiute for a jail sentence by those who intentionally write fiction .

      How do we know? NEVER a single fact, source, or credible witness ‘named.’

      1. Michael, do machines and their parts “intentionally write” anything at all, let alone fiction?

        Do machines and their parts apologize to avoid a jail sentence?

        How long have you been jailing machines and their parts, Michael?

    2. Except Mueller rejected what you just said and openly called the only named sources ‘story’ unusable. Biff Bam Pow the ad machina programmers of the left pop their own balloon again.

    3. Did you know that Giuliani told Meet The Press that the negotiations for the Trump Tower Moscow deal likely went on all the way through November of 2016? Think about that. Trump has refused to answer any of Mueller’s questions about “executive decisions” that President-Elect Trump made after the polls closed on election day, Tuesday November 8th, 2016. That implies the perceived need for a legal defense against a bribery charge. So soon as Trump became a public official [President Elect], Trump supposedly broke off negotiations for the Trump Tower Moscow. But the President Elect is, ordinarily, not yet capable of committing an official act. So the implied defense for a bribery charge further implies that Trump and Giuliani think that Trump committed an official act when Trump was still President Elect.

      Gee. I wonder what official act those two might be worrying about. Something in the way of a “promise” Trump made to Putin, I would imagine. Not a promise Trump made before he became President Elect. A promise Trump made after he became President Elect. Come to think of it, I wouldn’t be the least little bit surprised if Trump was still trying to figure out a way to keep his promise to Putin all the way up to August 2nd, 2017, when Trump finally, reluctantly, and under vehement protest, signed the Countering America’s Adversaries Through Sanctions Act into law, after having held that bill in his pocket for the maximum allowable ten days.

    4. You are supremely confident of inside knowledge of the Special Counsel investigation, and very often, you are spectacularly wrong.
      You don’t seem to learn anything from that.

      1. Supremely confident? Wrong. Inside knowledge? Wrong again. Spectacularly wrong? You have not yet learned that.

          1. All four of the Russian attendees at the June 9th, 2016, Trump Tower meeting testified to Congress that Donald Trump Jr. told them that his father would be willing to revisit the issue of sanctions relief for Russia after Trump had won the election.

            Remember: A negotiation is one thing; an agreement, another. When you garble a garble, all you get is more bollix.

            1. You know more about how to garble any exchange better than most.
              And your previous claim was that all of the attendees of the Trump Tower meeting testified that they negotiated a deal of sanctions relief in exchange for dirt on Hillary.
              They gave no such testimony.

              1. What the American attendees at the meeting testified to is that The Russian dirt on Hillary was of no use to them and that The POTUS, Obama, at the time, was the only one who could give The Russians sanctions relief. The fact that they did not reach an agreement does not mean that they did not negotiate for a prospective agreement. Because. The meeting was, in fact, a negotiation. The question is whether The Russians thought that a promise had been made to revisit the issue of sanctions relief for Russia after Trump had won the election.

                1. “The question is whether The Russians thought that a promise had been made to revisit the issue of sanctions relief for Russia after Trump had won the election.”

                  What tangible evidence do you have?

                  The answer is none. All your significant claims are made up.

      2. “very often, you are spectacularly wrong.”

        When speaking about Diane the words aren’t ‘very often’ rather ‘almost always’.

    5. they only pale here is the Pale you wandered off of when you started down this primrose path of punctilious poop you pen

  16. Good Analysis. Both parties and the press are an embarrassment and we should all worry about the children since this is what they are learning. I am glad I had pure news without opinion. Today, people seem to be picking sides and they cheer for their side like it is a sports team. This is facilitated by the Internet, the greatest facilitator of free speech in the history of man. Blocking the Internet is not the answer. We must each work to exercise our free speech but at the same time make it clear between what is fact vs opinion and truth vs belief.

    1. gary, sound words

      my kids have been taught that mass media are business enterprises that edit the news for intended effect. and to always doubt the source. always

      but did you ever really have pure news without opinion? i doubt such a thing was ever possible. cultural frames of reference inform us all. my leftist professors taught me that at university and I think it applies to them too!

  17. Well, well. The Donald is a pyknom. Should be an accent on the omicron, but I don’t know how to do that; maybe pykno’m.

    1. oh Herr Professor Genius sir, deign to tell us mere mortal, what the heck you were talking about?

      Second question: do you think purposeful obscurity accomplishes anything useful?

      Or are you trying to convince someone how smart you are?

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