“Entirely Divorced” From The Facts: Court Dismisses DNC Lawsuit Against Trump

I have written previously about the often frivolous lawsuits brought by Democratic leaders that not only threaten to create bad precedent but undermine legitimate claims against President Donald Trump. One such meritless action was filed by the Democratic National Committee, an action that came perilously close to crossing the line of Rule 11 on meritless or vexatious actions. Judge John Koeltl, a Clinton appointee, was scathing in dismissing the action against key members of the Trump Administration and Wikileaks as “entirely divorced” from the facts.

Koeltl dismissed a lawsuit after finding no evidence that the defendants conspired with the Russians and called the allegation “threadbare.” His  81-page opinion at times borders on the incredulous: “In short, the DNC raises a number of connections and communications between the defendants and with people loosely connected to the Russian Federation, but at no point does the DNC allege any facts … to show that any of the defendants — other than the Russian Federation — participated in the theft of the DNC’s information. Nor does the DNC allege that the defendants ever agreed to help the Russian Federation steal the DNC’s documents.”

What was most interesting was a passage that reinforces arguments (raised by some of us) that Wikileaks was acting much like any press organization in publishing the stolen emails: “If Wikileaks could be held liable for publishing documents concerning the DNC’s political financial and voter-engagement strategies simply because the DNC labels them ‘secret’ and trade secrets, then so could any newspaper or other media outlet.”

This is just the latest of wins for the Trump team recently. This case however should never have been filed. As I said at the time, it lacked any cognizable legal theory and factual basis. It is an example of how partisans are using court filings for political headlines and donor appeasement. However, as some members push for impeachment, the DNC just gave the Trump team a strong victory on the very issues of Russian collusion.

163 thoughts on ““Entirely Divorced” From The Facts: Court Dismisses DNC Lawsuit Against Trump”

  1. This is the first piece to have come out that in part lead to a lot of the reporting.
    —–
    James Comey’s next reckoning is imminent — this time for leaking

    The Justice Department’s chief watchdog is preparing a damning report on James Comey’s conduct in his final days as FBI director that likely will conclude he leaked classified information and showed a lack of candor after his own agency began looking into his feud with President Trump over the Russia probe.

    Inspector General (IG) Michael Horowitz’s team referred Comey for possible prosecution under the classified information protection laws, but Department of Justice (DOJ) prosecutors working for Attorney General William Barr reportedly have decided to decline prosecution — a decision that’s likely to upset Comey’s conservative critics.

    Prosecutors found the IG’s findings compelling but decided not to bring charges because they did not believe they had enough evidence of Comey’s intent to violate the law, according to multiple sources.

    The concerns stem from the fact that one memo that Comey leaked to a friend specifically to be published by the media — as he admitted in congressional testimony — contained information classified at the lowest level of “confidential,” and that classification was made by the FBI after Comey had transmitted the information, the sources said.

    Although a technical violation, the DOJ did not want to “make its first case against the Russia investigators with such thin margins and look petty and vindictive,” a source told me, explaining the DOJ’s rationale.

    But Comey and others inside the FBI and the DOJ during his tenure still face legal jeopardy in ongoing probes by the IG and Barr-appointed special prosecutor John Durham. Those investigations are focused on the origins of the Russia investigation that included a Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) warrant targeting the Trump campaign at the end of the 2016 election, the source said.

    “There are significant issues emerging with how the FISA was handled and other conduct in the investigation, and everyone involved remains under scrutiny,” a second source said.

    Patrick Fitzgerald and Daniel Richman, two of Comey’s lawyers, and Keith Urbahn, his spokesman, did not return repeated calls and emails seeking comment.

    The lack of prosecution is certain to demoralize some conservatives, who long have called for Comey’s head. But the IG report, set to be released within the next few weeks, likely will provide significant condemnations of Comey’s conduct, sources tell me.

    While they cautioned that the IG’s final report won’t be complete until it gets feedback from Comey’s lawyers in the next few days, it is expected to conclude that the former FBI director improperly took with him memos that were FBI property when he was fired, transmitted classified information via an insecure email account, and shared some of the memos with his private lawyers. Some of the Comey memos were classified up to the “secret” level, but the FBI has not disclosed whether those were shared with his lawyers like the classified confidential memo was.

    The memos, which mostly recount Comey’s interactions with Trump in the Russia case and include information about foreign leaders, were sensitive enough to require government officials to send a professional “scrub team” to a Comey lawyer’s office to ensure all classified information was deleted, sources previously told me.

    In addition, the IG is likely to find that Comey engaged in a lack of candor when FBI agents came to retrieve the classified memos in his possession, failing to tell the interviewing agent that he had forwarded some of the sensitive memos by email, according to sources familiar with the probe.

    Documents released Thursday by the FBI to the conservative group Judicial Watch support that conclusion, showing the FBI report on its meeting with Comey at his home to recover the memos made no mention that the ex-director had forwarded the memos on to others.

    The revelations are likely to dent Comey’s carefully manicured image as a law-and-order FBI director who was fired for standing up to Trump.

    The IG concluded in prior investigations that Comey’s firing was not driven by Trump’s fears about the Russia investigation ruining his presidency but, rather, by DOJ concerns about Comey’s performance in the Hillary Clinton email probe. Horowitz concluded that Comey wrongly “usurped” the authority of the attorney general when, on July 5, 2016, he announced he would not seek criminal charges against Clinton for transmitting classified information — some of it top secret — on her insecure private email server.

    That IG report also chided Comey for criticizing Clinton’s email practices as reckless without filing charges and for improperly announcing the reopening of the email probe in late October 2016, just a few weeks before Election Day when Clinton and Trump were locked in a tight race.

    Ironically, Comey’s decision not to charge Clinton for violating the Espionage Act for mishandling classified information on her email server mirrors the same rationale that Barr’s DOJ applied in declining prosecution of him: a lack of evidence of intent.

    That won’t be lost on conservatives, who almost certainly will dislike the DOJ’s Comey decision.

    But the IG report, at least, reaffirms what has become painfully clear to Americans the past two years: Comey entered the FBI chief’s job with a reputation for excellence but ran a bureau that suffered from ineptitude, political shenanigans, leaking and significant human failings, all of which sharply contrast with the morality lectures he’s become famous for frequently offering since he was fired.

    John Solomon is an award-winning investigative journalist whose work over the years has exposed U.S. and FBI intelligence failures before the Sept. 11 attacks, federal scientists’ misuse of foster children and veterans in drug experiments, and numerous cases of political corruption. He serves as an investigative columnist and executive vice president for video at The Hill. Follow him on Twitter @jsolomonReports.

    1. Allan said, “This is the first piece to have come out that in part lead to a lot of the reporting.”

      An articulate guy. /sarc

      Give people a link and a paragraph or two, if necessary. We don’t need the whole article cluttering up the comments.

    2. Intent. In Criminal Law the concept of criminal intent has been called mens rea, which refers to a criminal or wrongful purpose. If a person innocently causes harm, then she or he lacks mens rea and, under this concept, should not be criminally prosecuted.

      “Innocently causes harm”, Intently caused harm!

      1. Thank you JC. I understand that but if that is so a lot of people went to jail without criminal intent. However, I think there was criminal intent and I think the law permits the type of action of Comey’s to be prosecuted and convicted. However, such a conviction is not a certainty so I wouldn’t think Barr would want to use this as his primary attack though I think it should be held back for leverage or if necessary prosecution after the more significant charges are heard.

      2. That line of reasoning then convicts Hillary Clinton without question. the number of times over the number of years proved intent under one paragraph while another paragraph stated no requirement for intent. Either way she is hung, drawn, and quartered

  2. The faces of the Deep Deep State:

    William Barr

    Christopher Wray
    ______________

    Citizens, ignore the treason.

    Nothing to see here – move along.

  3. Barr just betrayed the law. It’s official now, those in power get a pass while the average person gets destroyed for the very same crime. Unreal. Good luck Donald.

      1. Ivan:

        “Even Lindsey Graham is calling this out: “if true, stunning.”
        ****************
        He was referring to the Comey criminal referral by Horowitz, not Barr’s REPORTED decision not to prosecute. I think Barr has a bigger, better fish to fry – Comey perjury to the FISA Court.

    1. First of all, I’ll reserve judgment until we learn if this is part of something more strategic.

      Secondly, it exposes the strategy of the Mueller investigation. It was never about removing Trump via collusion. They knew from the very beginning there was nothing there. What was there was the obstruction bait. Weissman and his team used some of the most egregious tactics available to law enforcement, against arguably cooperative suspects, for minor process crimes. This was to bait the President into impeachable obstruction actions. And he didn’t take the bait.

      AG Barr already knows he is dealing with the mirror image of the Mueller investigation. I believe crimes were committed to interfere in the 2016 election and when that failed, to entrap the President to commit impeachable offenses. There has been an obstruction of justice and a conspiracy with foreign actors to interfere in our 2016 election. Just from the other side. From what I understand, Comey is not out of the woods regarding the alleged violation of the Espionage Act and lying to the FBI. Barr can still charge on these crimes.

      1. Olly, collusion – which the president and his campaign clearly did and are still doing with Russia – is not a legal crime and was never the goal of the investigation. Criminal conspiracy was, and at least partly due to stonewalling and lies noted in the report, the available evidence did not rise to that standard.

        The use of the term collusion with respect to legal issues is Irrelevant, something uninformed commentators like JT are apparently confused about.

    2. Barr’s statement doesn’t mean he will not prosecute. He can reverse his decision at any time and there is plenty of time to prosecute for that crime. Much larger crimes will be revealed in the coming days and FISA will be revealed as well and it is already said to be a major issue for Comey and others. Comey needs to go to jail but it would be better by settlement than by trial. It would be better for Comey to spill his guts.

      I am not happy with the announcement but will be satisfied if it was just Barr lining everything up. One shouldn’t be leading with this criminal action if there are bigger ones to be used. This is additive..

      1. It would be better for Comey to spill his guts.

        That crossed my mind as well. For all we know, this is a shot across not just the Comey bow, but the entire fleet. There is without a doubt many, many participants in the effort to take down this president. Every one of them know right now that Barr has sufficient evidence to prosecute Comey. There will be low level people that were performing their duties, but not knowingly part of the conspiracy. All they’ll need is one person to start talking and the race will be on for immunity deals.

        Grab some popcorn.

        1. Comey of course could have taken down Trump with ease by announcing the investigation of his campaign at the same time he dropped the October Surprise bomb on Hillary.

          You Trumpsters should be kissing his a.s and sending him flowers for protecting that pig.

          1. Comey of course could have taken down Trump with ease by announcing the investigation of his campaign at the same time he dropped the October Surprise bomb on Hillary.

            It was counter-intelligence investigation with no real predicate, and they were were expecting to bury their shenanigans when HRC was elected.

            1. Why all the work on the conspiracy if they thought it wasn’t necessary, and at the perfect time, with a built in excuse – “in the interest of faIrness to the candidates and voters I am compelled to reveal that Mr. Trump’s campaign is also being investigated for…..” – the conspirators put the knife back in the sheath. Yeah, that’s the ticket!

              What kind of idiot believes that.

          2. Excellent point, Anon. Had Comey announced that ‘both’ candidates were the subjects of investigations, that would have greatly affected the dynamics of the election. And it would have been only fair to let the public know.

            So when Trumpers howl with outrage about Mueller and the FBI, they completely overlook the lucky break Trump got. Comey’s letter, along with Wikileaks, undoubtedly degraded Hillary’s campaign. No presidential candidate in history had ever carried an FBI warning.

            Therefore Trumpers sound like crybabies with their manufactured outrage. Trump brought on the FBI investigation by shooting his stupid mouth. He’s lucky as hell that Comey never placed a warning on him.

                1. Not everyone accepted Trump’s 2016 upset win over Hillary with the grace and stoicism of, say, Ms. Natacha or Mr.Hill. The phrase TDS accurately describes the multi-year moaning and groaning from that “TDS sector”—since Mr.Hill’s sycophant chimed in and objects to TDS “camp”.

            1. The IG referred Comey for prosecution on two issues. More referrals are coming and Comey negatively impacted the Trump campaign from the start so what you are indicating is pure lunacy and you sound like a mental defect that can’t manage losing.

              1. Reading JanF and Natacha, I get the impression that at the Correct-the-Record orientation they tell them to keep running the tape and brazen it all out.

          3. Hillary Clinton should be in prison for her illegal servers

            Comey was told buy Loretta Lynch to hide the Clinton investigation and only came forward because Lynch’s meeting with Clinton on the tarmac became public.

            Comey: Lynch Ordered Me To Call Clinton Email Scandal A “Matter” And Not A “Criminal Investigation”

            https://www.realclearpolitics.com/video/2017/06/08/lynch_told_me_to_call_clinton_email_scandal_a_matter_and_not_an_investigation.html

            Comey: Loretta Lynch’s Tarmac Meeting With Bill Clinton Forced Me To Go Public About Clinton Investigation

            https://www.realclearpolitics.com/video/2017/05/03/comey_loretta_lynchs_tarmac_meeting_with_bill_clinton_forced_me_to_go_public_about_clinton_investigation.html?source=post_page—————————

          4. That’s great. Sure he could have, but he didn’t need to. Clinton was always a lock. The insurance policy was already established. But hey, we’re on our way to learning about What Really Happened!

            Stay tuned. It will be cathartic.

        1. Mespo, I’ll take your word but my understanding is that his decision is not set in stone. If he is not keeping these two claims open then I think it is foolish. I’m not saying he should actually use them in court rather use them as additional leverage. To charge Comey right now with those crimes would I think be a mistake because trying them before the bigger issues could negatively interfere with further prosecutions that seem will be more damning.

          There are a lot of problems that exist with trying Comey. I think there will be a settlement.

  4. AG Barr is now officially “entirely divorced” from the law and Constitution.

    The IG referred Comey for prosecution.

    The DOJ corruptly declined to prosecute the irrefutably guilty James Comey for obvious crimes.

    The Deep Deep State holds dominion in egregious, treasonous violation of the Constitution.

    President Trump is fully justified in seizing power to “Save the Republic” like “Crazy Abe” Lincoln seized power to “Save the Union.”

    1. I think the more proper interpretation is that Barr is deferring for the time being. He’s going to be methodical and just — unlike the special council staff.

        1. George,

          I’m hearing out of AG Barr & Pres Trump they’ll bring charges in another 40 years against Hillary, Obama, Comey, etc…, in the mean time Paul Manafort & others will die in the hole on a bunch of faked up charges.

          Without charges & arrest, of Hillary/Comey/Obama, etc.., like 2 weeks ago why in the hell would any of his old supporters.. me/friends, why would we go vote!

  5. AG Barr is now officially “entirely divorced” from the law and Constitution.

    The IG referred Comey for prosecution.

    The DOJ corruptly declined to prosecute the irrefutably guilty James Comey for obvious crimes.

    The Deep Deep State holds dominion in egregious, treasonous violation of the Constitution.

    President Trump is fully justified in seizing power to “Save the Republic” like “Crazy Abe” Lincoln seized power to “Save the Union.”

  6. Barrister @DoughtyStIntl

    Jen Robinson, Barrister @DoughtyStIntl tweeted:

    “An important win for free speech: we have won our motion to dismiss for @wikileaks in the @DNC lawsuit against #Assange, WikiLeaks et al over the 2016 US election publications on First Amendment grounds. Full judgment: https://www.documentcloud.org/documents/6225696-DNC-Trump-7-30-19.html … Key passages: ” (Refer to link, below, for “key passages.”)

    https://twitter.com/suigenerisjen/status/1156360653629796352

    politico.com/story/2019/07/30/dnc-lawsuit-trump-campaign-russia-email-hack-1441166

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