Welcome to your perjury trap, Mr. Brennan. – In a very interesting piece at RedState.com, a former prosecutor who writes under the pen name “Shipwreckedcrew” lays out a strong argument detailing his belief that Friday’s 8-hour-long interview of former Obama CIA Director John Brennan by U.S. Attorney John Durham and his investigators amounted to a classic perjury trap by the Department of Justice.
The author points to the fact that, instead of holding the interview at the more logical location at DOJ headquarters or the Hoover Building in Washington, DC, Durham chose to conduct it at CIA headquarters in Langley, Virginia:
Second, conducting the interview at the CIA facility is an interesting decision. Why not question him at DOJ or FBI HQ? The CIA is not a law enforcement agency. John Brennan no longer works for the CIA. Any CIA records that may have been needed over the course of the interview could have been made available in a secured facility at both those locations.
But that “records” excuse may have been the very justification given for the selection of the CIA HQ as the location for the interview.
DOJ and the FBI HQ are in Washington DC. CIA Headquarters is in Langley, Virginia.
If you are geographically challenged, you can read the distinction as “United States District Court for the District of Columbia” v. “United States District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia.” If John Brennan offered any false answers to the investigators during the interview, the venue for that “false statement” crime is in the EDVA, not in DC federal court.
Pretty clever, if true. This would solve Durham’s conundrum about trying to get a conviction of Brennan from DC jury, which would be overwhelmingly made up of Democrats.
The former prosecutor also points to the interesting fact that Brennan chose to speak through his lawyer, Nick Shapiro, in a written statement, rather than just blast stuff out on his Twitter account, as he does on a regular basis:
First, it’s not Brennan’s statement. Shapiro issued the statement to Obama Administration scribe Natasha Bertrand at Politico — guaranteed to dutifully publish anything requested of her by a former Obama era intelligence official now living in fear. Shapiro then posted a string of eight Tweets on Twitter with the same text.
Both are devoid of any words actually spoken by Brennan — there are no quotations — nor is there any support offered for Shapiro’s claims by anyone actually in the room, such as Brennan’s attorneys.
Since when has Brennan been shy about saying anything on Twitter? Why would Brennan go “third person” and have his thoughts about the interview expressed only in the words of someone else? The most obvious reason is the statements are not going to be exactly accurate. Running them through a third person builds in a level of “deniability” on Brennan’s part.
As I pointed out yesterday, Brennan has spent his entire adult life lying for a living and protecting himself from being held accountable for those lies by building walls of plausible deniability. Here, we see that lifelong habit in action.
The author also expands at length on the meaning of Shapiro’s claim that Brennan is not a “target” of the Durham investigation at this time. Here is a key passage:
So if you are not a “target” — meaning there isn’t sufficient evidence at this time to charge you with a crime — then by default you are a “witness.”
But “witnesses” can, and often do talk themselves into being “targets” during such interviews. That was the purpose of the interview, Mr. Brennan, not because you have some wonderful insights to provide Mr. Durham and his investigators to make their job easier.
One important distinction between “target” and “witness” that is not well understood, but might be in play here, is that it is against DOJ policy to issue a grand jury subpoena to someone who is already a “target”.
A grand jury subpoena is a court order, under threat of contempt, to appear and answer questions under oath without the presence of counsel. If a person is already a “Target”, the subpoena intrudes upon their Fifth Amendment right to remain silent and to be represented by counsel while undergoing “custodial” interrogation — they are under subpoena after all. Witnesses before the grand jury are allowed to assert their Fifth Amendment right, but it forces them to assert that right before the grand jurors considering charges against them. The government is not allowed to call a criminal defendant to take the stand in his trial and force him to assert his Fifth Amendment right to remain silent in front of the jury. It is deemed prejudicial, and suggest to the jury that the defendant has something to hide. The same principle applies to calling a “Target” in front of a grand jury and forcing them to assert their right to remain silent in front of the grand jurors without counsel present.
Oh. Again, as I pointed out yesterday, just because someone is not a “target” of an investigation today does not mean he will not become a “target” of that investigation tomorrow.
Isn’t all of that interesting?
There is much more in this piece, and you would to well to go read it in its entirety.
Now, this analysis may or may not be accurate. But if it is accurate, it is fair to point out that it would be entirely consistent with common DOJ practice in this kind of an investigation. These are the kinds of tactics that U.S. attorneys and other prosecutors deploy all the time.
What we have seen from both Durham and William Barr over the past year and a half is a consistent dedication to conducting this and other DOJ functions strictly by the book. Durham’s investigation has not employed the Gestapo-like strong-arm tactics or serial leaking of misleading or false information to the media, like we saw from the Mueller special counsel outfit.
Take it for what it’s worth, but this take on Friday’s meeting would be exactly the kind of thing we would expect to see from a by-the-book prosecutor like John Durham.
That is all.
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