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Has Jeff Sessions Been Boiling the Frog? Sure Seems That Way.

The Evening Campaign Update

(Because The Campaign Never Ends)

There isn’t much worth reading in the #NeverTrump enclave that is The National Review anymore, but there are exceptions to this rule.  Anything written by the great Victor Davis Hanson is one such exception.  Anything written by Andrew C. McCarthy is the other.

McCarthy, who is himself a former federal prosecutor, published a very interesting piece at National Review on Saturday.  It’s long, but well worth the read, as he provides an excellent synopsis of alleged FBI and DOJ abuses in both the Clinton email scandal and the whole Trump-Russia “collusion” fantasy play, and concludes with a strong and interesting recommendation on how Attorney General Jeff Sessions should proceed to have both matters investigated and, if warranted, prosecuted.

In brief, McCarthy is no fan of the special counsel law in general or of the specific and growing calls from an array of congressional Republicans for the appointment of a second special counsel to “investigate the investigators”.  He believes the special counsel law is structured in a way that pretty much ensures out-of-control investigations with no investigative sidebars or budgetary restrictions, ones that inevitably end up causing an amazing amount of political and societal disruption, ruin lives, and whose end results tend to be a handful of convictions of minor functionaries for process violations that may or may not have any relation to the supposed reason why the investigation began in the first place.  See the results of the Robert Mueller investigation thus far as a primary example.

Rather than repeat this prosecutorial circus with the appointment of another special counsel, McCarthy proposes the following approach:

Here is what should be done. Attorney General Sessions should assign a U.S. attorney from outside Washington to conduct a probe of how the Clinton-emails and Trump-Russia investigations were handled by the Justice Department and FBI…

…the designated U.S. attorney would handle this investigation along with the rest of the work of his or her office — this would not be a prosecutor whose only assignment is to pursue a single target or set of targets, and who thus faces great pressure to file charges, no matter how far afield from the original focus of the investigation, in order to justify the appointment. Unlike the inspector general, the U.S. attorney would have full jurisdiction to convene a grand jury; investigate any crimes attendant to the Clinton-emails and Trump-Russia probes; issue subpoenas and seek other court process (such as search warrants) to secure evidence; and prosecute any violations of law by persons inside or outside of government.

I find this specific recommendation, coming on this specific weekend to be fascinating, because McCarthy’s recommendation for investigating DOJ/FBI conduct in these two scandals/non-scandals essentially amounts to an endorsement to the approach Sessions himself told Fox News’s Shannon Bream on Wednesday that he is already pursuing in looking into alleged DOJ/FBI abuses of the FISA process (Jeff Sessions Dropped a Bomb – Hardly Anyone Noticed).

To quote Sessions:

“I have appointed a person outside of Washington, many years in the Department of Justice (DOJ), to look at all the allegations that the House Judiciary Committee members sent to us; and we’re conducting that investigation.” 

And, as I pointed out in that piece on Thursday:

Unlike [DOJ Inspector General Michael] Horowitz, this unidentified special prosecutor would have the power to convene a grand jury – and may have already done so – and quickly begin issuing subpoenas based on the recommendations contain in the Horowitz report.

Let’s also remember that, over the course of three weeks in December and January, Sessions let it be known that he has taken a similar approach to forming DOJ investigations into the following Clinton/Obama era scandals:

  • Uranium One;
  • The Clinton Foundation;
  • Felony leaks coming out of DOJ and the FBI;
  • The Obama/Hezbollah “Project Cassandra” scandal.

Combine all of those investigations with the DOJ Inspector General investigation, along with multiple other likely ongoing investigations we don’t even know about yet, and you have a very busy Justice Department indeed.

What’s so interesting is the way in which Sessions has gone about letting all of this be known, always casually mentioning the existence of this investigation or that in the middle of interviews, almost as an afterthought in response to a question.  He’s done it in a way that has prevented the media from engaging in feeding frenzies around any of them, and has also prevented any leaking to the press around any of them.

He’s done it so quietly that it has led many to accuse him of being a do-nothing, lazy or even compromised in some way by people who are simply unaware of everything that is going on.  I was one of those people up until last November, in fact.  Even as astute an observer as Andrew McCarthy appeared, in his piece from yesterday, unaware that the method he was suggesting for investigating one scandal was in fact the method Sessions has been employing all along related to other investigations.

Boiling the frog.  That’s what they call it in the DC Swamp when one side is inexorably turning up the heat on the opposition so slowly that the opposition doesn’t notice until the time has passed to take any effective defensive action.

If that really has been the strategy, it’s been amazingly effective.  Hopefully, the IG report will finally drop soon, and we’ll begin to find out.

That is all.

Follow me on Twitter at @GDBlackmon

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