‘Collusion’ as Farce: The Hunt for Hillary’s Hackers

By | 2017-06-02T18:30:05+00:00 July 6, 2017|
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Do you know what federal prosecutors do when a thief brings the FBI incriminating documents that he has swiped from his victim’s home?

They use the documents to convict the victim.

And they would use such stolen evidence to convict the victim even if the thief were a hacker. Even if the thief were a hacker from Russia!

If you find such government behavior unseemly, the New York Times will really give you the heebie-jeebies. The Paper of Record, as we shall see, would not only use stolen information; it would encourage the theft—arguably, a felony violation of federal law.

Once you grasp this, you get a sense of what drivel is the Hunt for Hillary’s Hackers, the latest Russia molehill that the Trump-deranged have fantasized into Mount Elbrus. Served up by the Wall Street Journal, it is the tale of a now-deceased Republican activist’s quest for the 33,000 emails former Secretary of State Clinton hoarded on a private server and attempted to destroy, in violation of various federal laws.

The heavy breathing belies a principle that should come as no surprise to journalists, as it is their bread and butter. As long as one is not complicit in a theft and has no fiduciary obligation to the victim, he is permitted to exploit stolen information that he chances upon.

Under the Fourth Amendment, for example, you are protected from the prosecutor’s use against you of evidence the government’s own agents have unlawfully seized from you; you have no protection, though, from a prosecutor’s using against you evidence stolen from you by some non-government actor—as long as the government was not a participant in the theft.

To be sure, federal and state laws exist that bar trafficking in stolen property. They are tough to enforce, however, due to difficulties in proving the receiver’s knowledge that the property was stolen (and, in most jurisdictions, assessing the property’s value). These laws, moreover, are geared toward fencers of stolen goods for profit. They are largely irrelevant in the realms of law-enforcement, media, and politics, where what matters is the information value, not the acquisition and sale of stolen items.

It is worth noting, then, that there was a time, not so long ago, when one might have thought the Wall Street Journal would be more interested in finding Hillary Clinton’s 33,000 deleted emails than in identifying others who were looking for them.

The Journal’s story is yet another moving of the collusion goalpost. Remember (though doing so gets more and more difficult): the original allegation was that the Trump campaign conspired with the Putin regime to steal the 2016 election. There is no evidence of this—Russia did not steal the election, and Trump did not conspire with the Kremlin. So, the story shifted to the studiously vaporous claim that 1) Russia tried to “influence” the election—basically, by putting out information that was true but embarrassing to Democrats; and 2) Trump must have “colluded” in this effort because . . . well . . . because.

The problem for “collusion” is twofold. The embarrassing information in question (emails hacked from the Democratic National Committee and Clinton campaign chairman John Podesta), while interesting to political wonks, had no impact on the public, the vast majority of whom have no idea what a John Podesta is. More importantly, there is neither evidence nor commonsense reason to believe that Putin involved Trump in his shenanigans.

Thus, the narrative is morphing from “collusion” into “obstruction”—a half-baked accusation based on actions that were within Trump’s lawful discretion and defensible on the merits (viz., recommending against the prosecution of former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn, and dismissing FBI Director James Comey). The obstruction narrative reportedly has its own rabbit holes: suppositions about bribery, money laundering, and who knows what else wishful thinking will conjure up.

As the saga lumbers toward its final Mueller ex machina, the trick for the anti-Trump camp is to keep the Russia theme alive with new disclosures that are sensational (or at least sensationalized)—all the while hoping no one notices that each new disclosure makes the original “steal the election” allegation increasingly implausible.

In their giddiness, the media ignored the fact that back-channels are a staple of diplomacy between rivals. More saliently, they ignored the fact that Kushner’s meetings regarding the back-channel (which was apparently never set up) had occurred in December 2016—i.e., weeks after the 2016 election

Until now, the best example was the much-hyped reporting that Trump’s son-in-law and confidant Jared Kushner had tried, on the sly, to set up a communications back-channel to the Kremlin. In their giddiness, the media ignored the fact that back-channels are a staple of diplomacy between rivals. More saliently, they ignored the fact that Kushner’s meetings regarding the back-channel (which was apparently never set up) had occurred in December 2016—i.e., weeks after the 2016 election. Obviously, if Trump had conspired with the Kremlin to steal the election, there would have been no reason to establish a back-channel after the election; it would already have been up and running months earlier.

And now we have the Hunt for Hillary’s Hackers.

According to the Journal’s reports (here and here), Peter W. Smith was “a longtime Republican opposition researcher” who died in mid-May. That was about 10 days after he was interviewed by the Journal about his keen interest in the 33,000 emails Hillary Clinton deleted after transmitting and storing them via her unauthorized, non-secure server. As the 2016 presidential campaign wound down, Smith deduced from the extraordinary efforts Clinton had undertaken to destroy the emails (including her contractor’s use of the “BleachBit” program) that they would be damning, perhaps destroying her chance for victory in November. He surmised that the emails had probably been stolen by hackers, a conclusion bolstered by a July 2016 press conference in which then-FBI Director Comey described Clinton’s reckless disregard for cyber-security.

Smith thus recruited a team of lawyers and technically proficient investigators to try to locate the emails he suspected (but did not know and could not prove) were stolen. Because cyber-thieves connected to Russian intelligence are notoriously adept, and no doubt because they were already suspected of stealing Democratic National Committee (DNC) emails, he calculated that Russian hackers might have the motherlode. He thus retained an investigator in Europe who was fluent in Russian.

In other words, the story is a big nothing . . . except, you’re supposed to conclude that there is incriminating fire under the lack of even smoke. Why? Because Smith claimed to know people in the Trump campaign.

By scouring the dark web, Smith’s group located five hacker groups that were potential repositories of the possibly pilfered emails. Only two of the five were Russian. No surprise there: Smith did not have a relationship with Russia, and he just wanted the emails—he didn’t care which hackers had them. Though he got samples from at least one of the hacker groups, they could not be authenticated as Hillary’s emails. Smith’s quest thus ended in failure. In fact, he never confirmed that anyone, let alone Russian intelligence, had actually stolen Hillary’s emails.

In other words, the story is a big nothing . . . except, you’re supposed to conclude that there is incriminating fire under the lack of even smoke. Why? Because Smith claimed to know people in the Trump campaign.

To be clear, Smith was not part of the Trump campaign—he was a Republican who wanted Hillary Clinton to lose (there was a lot of that going around). But he implied to some people that Michael Flynn, a top Trump campaign figure and later (for a brief time) Trump’s national security adviser, knew about and was interested in his effort.

Nor is that all. Lawfare, an invaluable national security site (but with a decided anti-Trump flavor these days), has published a report by intelligence expert Matt Tait, from whom Smith sought help. Tait recounts that Smith conveyed familiarity with the Trump campaign’s inner workings. (Not so subtle implication: he was more than opposition research; he was on the team.)

Smith also sent Tait a document outlining the Hunt for Hillary’s Hackers project, which suggested involvement by four different groups of people. One group was identified as the “Trump Campaign (in coordination to the extent permitted as an independent expenditure).” Listed as part of this group were some campaign heavyweights, including Flynn, Steve Bannon and Kellyanne Conway. (Even less subtle implication: the Hunt for Hillary’s Hackers was a covert Trump operation).

Tait describes himself as non-partisan. His suspicion that these Trump officials might have been complicit in Smith’s initiative is unconvincing. Bannon and Conway have denied involvement, the former having never heard of Smith before the Journal’s reports; the latter having had no contact with Smith in years—and none during the campaign. But even if we put their denials aside, remember: Tait himself was also among those Smith listed in the document as involved in the project. As Tait explains, he never agreed to become involved. Smith appears to have been a familiar type of political name-dropper; the droppings do not mean the names actually had anything to do with his schemes.

Tait’s real alarm, however, was over the possibility that Russia might gull Smith into peddling misinformation. He was taken aback by Smith’s insouciance about the source of the emails. Tait writes:

It is no overstatement to say that my conversations with Smith shocked me. Given the amount of media attention given at the time to the likely involvement of the Russian government in the DNC hack, it seemed mind-boggling for the Trump campaign—or for this offshoot of it—to be actively seeking those emails. To me this felt really wrong.

In my conversations with Smith and his colleague, I tried to stress this point: if this dark web contact is a front for the Russian government, you really don’t want to play this game. But they were not discouraged. They appeared to be convinced of the need to obtain Clinton’s private emails and make them public, and they had a reckless lack of interest in whether the emails came from a Russian cut-out. Indeed, they made it quite clear to me that it made no difference to them who hacked the emails or why they did so, only that the emails be found and made public before the election.

Tait seems like a well-meaning fellow. I certainly empathize with his concerns about Russian operations against our country. But I fear he is going to be even more “shocked” when he learns that many reputable outfits, very much including the Department of Justice and major media outlets, are quite content to locate stolen information from unsavory sources and use it against the people from whom it has been stolen.

Attempts to locate and exploit stolen information are common, regardless of whether we think them admirable. Smith made it clear to Tait that he couldn’t have cared less whether the Hillary emails were stolen by Russia or by the man on the moon. What mattered is that they would prove misconduct that would cripple Clinton’s electoral prospects. That is what happens in politics, among other endeavors of the “ain’t beanbag” sort.

Attempts to locate and exploit stolen information are common, regardless of whether we think them admirable.

If Smith had conspired to do the actual hacking of Clinton’s server, that would be a serious crime. If the Trump campaign had joined such a conspiracy to commit hacking, that would be a true scandal. But if the goal was simply to obtain information that some independent actor had already stolen, and then to use that information to the detriment of a political opponent, that is fair game—and happens all the time.

As it happens, there is no proof that Trump campaign officials were actively involved in Smith’s project. But it wouldn’t matter if they had been. In fact, it wouldn’t matter if there had been no Smith at all and Trump himself had put a full-page ad in the Wall Street Journal, encouraging anyone, including Russian hackers, to send along any emails they might have hacked from Hillary. As long as Trump was not complicit in any theft and merely wanted to acquire and use information damaging to his political adversary, that would be politics as usual.

In fact, there would have been nothing improper if such a full-page ad was published with no actual expectation that the emails would surface, but simply to remind voters of how irresponsible Clinton had been in handling sensitive information. Indeed, that is essentially what Trump did in a late July campaign press conference, famously expressing “hope” that Russia would be “able to find the 30,000 emails that are missing.” While the media-Democrat complex wailed that Trump was encouraging foreign interference in the election, his quip was better understood as a public-relations dagger aimed at one of his adversary’s fatal weaknesses.

The Journal’s struggle to whip an empty cupboard into a seven-course scandal put me in mind of another quest for elusive information: Donald Trump’s tax returns. Like the Hillary emails, anti-Trumpers are certain the tax returns are a gold mine. And like the anti-Hillary “opposition researchers,” they have good reasons. Just as Hillary lied about her emails (just personal; no State Department business; no classified info; no Clinton Foundation intermingling, etc.), Trump lied about his tax returns, promising to disclose them before reneging.

The Journal’s struggle to whip an empty cupboard into a seven-course scandal put me in mind of another quest for elusive information: Donald Trump’s tax returns. Like the Hillary emails, anti-Trumpers are certain the tax returns are a gold mine. 

I don’t know that I’d call New York Times columnist Nicholas Kristof a Democrat opposition-researcher, but he has worked himself into a Peter Smith-like lather over Trump’s tax returns. A little over three months ago, he took to Twitter with an earnest appeal:

Now, it is a serious federal crime, punishable by up to five years’ imprisonment, for an IRS official to disclose confidential tax information without authorization—to anyone, let alone a journalist. Unlike Smith, Kristof was not desperately trying to locate some unflattering information he suspected someone else had stolen. He was actively encouraging the commission of theft.

Having been a prosecutor for many years, I couldn’t help but remember the penal statute prosecutors cite more than any other: the crime of aiding and abetting (Section 2 of Title 18, U.S. Code). It states in pertinent part: “Whoever commits an offense against the United States or aids, abets, counsels, commands, induces or procures its commission, is punishable as a principal.” [Emphasis added.]

“Punishable as a principal” means that a person who, say, counsels, induces or procures the commission of a federal felony (e.g., a public official’s unlawful disclosure of tax return information) is prosecutable as if he had committed the offense himself—chargeable for the same crime and subject to the same prison sentence.

Now, don’t get me wrong. I am not suggesting that Nicholas Kristof should be prosecuted. In truth, I think he just did transparently what journalists do furtively, and routinely, when they deal with government sources who leak confidential information to them.

But it does seem to me that—unless you subscribe to the Trump-deranged view that the president is a cretin and therefore anything goes—what Kristof did was worse than anything done by Smith, or whoever Smith may or may not have known in the Trump campaign. I also seem to recall that when a portion of a Trump tax return was actually leaked, there was an astonishing outbreak of laryngitis among people who are now quite exercised over the Hunt for Hillary’s Hackers. Only now, suddenly, is there great moral turpitude in seeking stolen information from reprehensible sources for political gain.

What a farce.

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About the Author:

Andrew C. McCarthy
Andrew C. McCarthy is a former chief assistant U.S. attorney best known for successfully prosecuting the “Blind Sheikh” (Omar Abdel Rahman) and eleven other jihadists for waging a terrorist war against the United States – a war that included the 1993 World Trade Center bombing and a subsequent plot to bomb New York City landmarks. He is a recipient of the Justice Department’s highest honors, helped supervise the command-post near Ground Zero in lower Manhattan following the 9/11 attacks, and later served as an adviser to the Deputy Secretary of Defense. His several popular books include the New York Times bestsellers Willful Blindness: A Memoir of the Jihad and The Grand Jihad: How Islam and the Left Sabotage America. He is a senior fellow at National Review Institute and a contributing editor at National Review. He is a frequent guest commentator on national security, law, politics, and culture in national media, and his columns and essays also appear regularly in The New Criterion, PJ Media, and other major publications.
  • bruceheiden

    Great article, Mr. McCarthy. Did you offer it to WSJ? They should publish it, + 50 hours of community service.

  • hamburgertoday2017

    As usual, Mr. McCarthy makes a great case.

  • RAM500

    One major function of the Hillary flunkies on Mueller’s legal team is to keep her permanently out of trouble as in the past. Any unbiased probe would put the security breaches and acts of treason by her (and by her boss) front and center.

    • jack dobson

      Yes. While the Deep State would love to collect scalps, not to mention topple Trump, the whole point of this farcical investigation is to protect Clinton, Obama, Comey and the Keystone Gestapo. The federal government and the judiciary have delegitimized themselves.

      • johnleehooker

        the obamy admin was, IMHO, a Racketeering Influenced Corrupt Organization, RICO indictments for the bunch of them.

  • Worc1

    Of course it’s a farce, Mr McCarthy. Most reporters nowadays are nothing but Democrat opposition-researchers, Nicholas Kristof included.

  • Cornhead

    Andy McCarthy is a hero in this whole Russia farce. Such clear thinking backed up by vast legal knowledge and experience.

  • Harry Taft

    The folks keenly interested in what secrets exist in Trump’s tax returns evidently discount the attention paid by the IRS to tax returns from high earners. As a group they garner a disproportionate amount of audit, inspection and analysis. If you want to collect the big bucks, look at returns full of large numbers. If there was anything the Democrats could use, I’m sure they would already have it. Our agencies (and certainly the IRS) are corrupt as Lerner and Koskinen have so ably demonstrated.

  • David C Hall

    Great article. But you should know that Trump Derangement Syndrome prevents the left from rationally examining the facts of this situation.

  • BayouKiki

    “While the media-Democrat complex wailed that Trump was encouraging foreign interference in the election, his quip was better understood as a public-relations dagger aimed at one of his adversary’s fatal weaknesses.” I (and any non-hater) took the statement as exactly that.

  • barbaro70

    God bless you, Mr McCarthy. This article is a great exposition of what is going on in that farce. Those pathetic hypocrites, starting with Hillary herself will pay, sooner or later. In the meantime, the humiliation that Trump dealt her will do until her total collapse and revelation as a putrid piece of humanity that she claims to be comes about, and very soon that will be.

  • Derek Pandamonium

    I enjoyed the article, but I want someone to tell me how they know hillary deleted 33K emails? Where did that number come from? Hillary? Why would anyone believe anything she said? Huma’s laptop had 600K emails. How many of those were backups of hillary”s? Carter Page claimed to have a connection to Trump to advance his own fortunes. It’s especially true with consultants, fluffing up their resumes. Smith seems no different.

  • wreckinball

    More nothing. But the Russians didn’t release the emails, Assange did.
    The whole witch hunt assumes a Trump/Russian alliance and they just investigate on that premise. That’s not way to solve a crime. You start without a premise and work backwards from the scene of the crime.

  • Marshall Gill

    I know! Put OJ Simpson on the case!

  • BanBait

    AG is rapidly turning into one of the finest sites on the Web.

    • jack dobson

      Easily but that’s been the case for some time. It’s interesting that two of the more serious National Review writers contribute here given the circumstances

  • holman

    Whew. So Russia tried to influence the election by exposing the Truth on Clinton, but had the press done its job it would have been news. Worse, when the press employed leaks from unnamed sources later proved to sustain an untruth to influence the election, not even a retraction.

    Neither’s hearts are pure but at least the Russians didn’t lie to the American people.

    As for the rest, Mueller only needs to jury-pick those he can cow, and a judge only needs to keep them on a tight instruction list. As for the press, their role is plain – to maintain the shelling through the mid-terms (and the entire four years) to create a national environment of white noise similar to painful tinnitus. And from that same jury pool Mueller will need to fish out of, hopefully there will be barely enough voters who will just want to make it all go away.

  • tom f

    “Remember (though doing so gets more and more difficult): the original allegation was that the Trump campaign conspired with the Putin regime to steal the 2016 election.”

    “So, the story shifted to the studiously vaporous claim that 1) Russia tried to “influence” the election—basically, by putting out information that was true but embarrassing to Democrats;”

    As I remember, the story started with the Russian influence claim. It was then morphed into Russian collusion and conspiracy by the Trump campaign. Unfortunately, Trump and his campaign’s actions and statements lent some credence to that theory.

    “In their giddiness, the media ignored the fact that back-channels are a staple of diplomacy between rivals.”

    A true but not applicable statement. While back channels are a staple of diplomacy, they are not created/used with no one else in the government knowing about them and not created/used by an incoming administration without the knowledge of the current administration.

    “But I fear he is going to be even more “shocked” when he learns that many reputable outfits, very much including the Department of Justice and major media outlets, are quite content to locate stolen information from unsavory sources and use it against the people from whom it has been stolen.”

    Equating locating and using stolen information for law enforcement and doing the same for political gain is a reach. And the statement –

    “Trump himself had put a full-page ad in the Wall Street Journal, encouraging anyone, including Russian hackers, to send along any emails they might have hacked from Hillary. As long as Trump was not complicit in any theft and merely wanted to acquire and use information damaging to his political adversary, that would be politics as usual.”

    demonstrates the lack of principle some people will resort to in order to win. This is what is wrong with politics today. And by the way Trump did that using a press conference instead of the Wall Street journal.

    This whole thing has become a fiasco, not because of the original theme “Russia attempting to influence the American election to the detriment of one candidate and the benefit of the other”, but because of the actions and statements of Trump and his associates.

    • CHEMST

      To properly evaluate your take on this I was wondering how many years you served as an Assistant U.S. Attorney.

      • tom f

        You don’t need to have served as an Assistant US Attorney, to get the sequence of events in the correct order, to recognize criminal prosecutions are not the same as political muckraking, and that you don’t hide communications with a foreign adversary from everyone in government, especially when you are not a representative of government.

        • David Hall

          If and when a criminal prosecution occurs, I will examine its merits and render an opinion. Until then this Russian collusion story is still a nothingburger. And the topic of this article, the seeking of previously pilfered Clinton emails, is not criminal and is not evidence of collusion with the entity which pilfered them.

          • tom f

            David, no where in my post did I offer an opinion about any criminal prosecution nor did I maintain there was collusion. What I talked about was the backward sequencing of Russia story, poor inferences and equivalencies that the author was making. As I said in my first response to you –

            “You don’t need to have served as an Assistant US Attorney, to get the sequence of events in the correct order, to recognize criminal prosecutions are not the same as political muckraking, and that you don’t hide communications with a foreign adversary from everyone in government, especially when you are not a representative of government.”

      • Danny Alt

        Really!
        This opinion piece, expressing an opinion, written by a Trump loyalist, I guy that worked several layers under James Comey, should only be read and analyzed (you say) by the likes of a Rudy Giuliani and a Chris (the beached whale) Christie, two that meet your former Assistant U.S. Attorneys requirement.
        What about Robert Mueller, can he express his profesional “take” on Andy’s opinion. Oh, wait a minute!
        That’s precisely what he is doing.., quietly and secretly – LMAO!

        • CHEMST

          He expressed what would be properly described as an expert opinion. You are entitled to your amateur one, just as I am mine. I just wanted to point out the difference between the two.

          • Danny Alt

            Indeed, Andy offers an “expert opinion” on this blog site.

            Accordingly, James Comey, Andy’s former superior in The U.S. Justice Department.., expressed his “expert opinion” when he officially opened an investigation and when he testified to the country, via congress, as to the legal and morale basis to do so.

            Similarly, Robert Mueller, The FBI Director for 12 years, presently The “Special Counsel”, presently spending millions to investigate The Trump Administration, presently hiring high caliber talent, seemingly indifferent to Andy’s “expert opinion”.., is also expressing his respective “expert opinion”, as witnessed in his expanding investigative actions.

            The problem for Trump is that Comey’s and Mueller’s respective “expert opinion” is not limited to a mere opinion expressed on this “highly renowned blog site”- LOL.

            They (Comey’s and Mueller’s) are “expert opinions” clearly manifested in substantial “actions”, with possible consequences.

            Now don’t you find that pretty funny !

          • CHEMST

            I’m sorry. What specific opinion of Comey are you referring to? That he, in fact, informed Trump three times that he was not under investigation? Or that he was bothered by Lynch instructing him to call the Clinton email investigation a “matter” in complete alignment with her campaign rhetoric? Mueller has expressed an opinion? Other than Comey overstepped his authority when he tried to clear Hillary publicly.

          • Danny Alt

            “What specific opinion of Comey are you referring to?”

            Just as a Fire Fighter would be expressing his “expert opinion” when he takes specific action, based on personal experience and profesional training at a fire..,

            James Comey exercised his “expert opinion” when he opened an investigation into Russian Interference into The 2016 Presidential Election and the inordinate numerous contacts between Trump Associates and Russians..,
            and Comey voiced his “expert opinion” explaining to congress the basis for the legal and moral basis for the investigation.., and when he cleverly triggered a “Special Counsel”.
            Those “actions” are direct manifestations of his “expert opinion”.

            “Mueller has expressed an opinion?”

            Yes, he has expressed his “expert opinion”, as I previously said, by indicating the investigation is a justified one, a bona fide one, by hiring several high caliber attorneys, covering a wide spectrum of legal expertise.., and when he expanded his investigation into possible “Obstruction of Justice”, as well.

            The expression of “expert opinion” is not limited to expression on a blog site. In fact, it is most often expressed in profesional action. Both questions you asked were [already] answered in my previous comment.
            In that you were incapable of comprehending that, causing you to ask questions that were clearly already answered, I don’t have the time to repeatedly walking you through logic.
            Accordingly, we are done here.

          • CHEMST

            So to summarize, their expert opinions is the possibility should be investigated. Yep. And, when Mueller reports Trump and his campaign did nothing worse than incompletely fill out some disclosure forms (Flynn), I hope you don’t feel too bad.

          • Danny Alt

            “So to summarize”,
            on this day, three (3) individuals ostensibly expressed their respective “expert opinions”.

            One, the one with the least experience of the three (3), a political blogger,

            the remaining two (2), with differing “expert opinions” than that of the political “blogger”,
            and both with professionally superior legal experience than the “blogger”,
            have expressed their respective “expert opinion” by taking specific substantial legal actions, carrying possible serious legal consequence to Trump associates.

            While, you feel yourself to know the outcome of the efforts of the latter two “experts”, and are solely guided by the “blogger” and a “blind faith” in Trump,
            I remain open to what ever conclusions Robert Mueller reaches.

            In that I did not vote for either Hillary or Trump, in that I felt both equally intolerable, I have no dog in the fight other than truth.

          • CHEMST

            You keep hoping and don’t kill yourself when your fantasy turns out to be just that.

          • Danny Alt

            In that I do not harbor, nor is there any substantive evidence that I [in fact] do harbor..,
            a “fantasy” related to Donald Trump’s ultimate plight.

            It is a “fantasy” that does not exist, yet.., you wrongly attribute to me.

            It is a delusional “fantasy” born out of your particular affliction of TDD (Trump Defense Delusion).

            It is a delusional”fantasy”, I can only assume is reflexively triggered by fear induced “projection”.

            Therefore, it is I who hopes you can handle what is coming.

          • CHEMST

            Complete exoneration.

  • swek

    Andrew: When you lick Trump’s ass, does he have the decency of suppressing his gaseous emissions

    • CHEMST

      Why are Leftists vile and crude?

  • CHEMST

    Didn’t the illegal leak of the contents of sealed divorce records help President Obama become a Member of the Illinois State Legislature and the Senate?

    • RRDRRD

      Yep – somehow sealed divorce records were released regarding his opponents in state and federal senate elections. It is a pattern.

    • JimHBrown

      Plus we really have no clear idea of his “overwhelming intelligence” other then his word that he is and that he graduated from any of the multiple schools he claimed. All those records were sealed.

  • HWJoy

    My tax money at work

    • JustData

      Your tax money, and mine, being flushed to assuage Dem and neverTrump acute, immense embarrassment and shock.

  • The Demon Slick

    If Trump really wanted something done covertly and with plausible deniability, he would have sent Roger Stone, not some nitwit nobody from nowhere.

  • Woody13

    First it was called collusion, then obstruction, it now is called meddling. No proof or evidence of all three “scary” words.

  • CrazyHungarian

    They don’t need to hunt for the Podesta email hacker, they need to hunt for the Seth Rich’s killer.

  • Eric377

    In the hypothetical case that Sec. Clinton’s 33,000 e-mails were hacked (and particularly hacked by Russia) it seems to me that potential voters in 2016 would have been very well-served understanding that. So I think Tait has it wronger than wrong that the possible involvement of Russia was a reason to not make the effort unless he was concerned about Smith’s personal safety. Even if they had proven to be only about yoga and such, the demonstration that the server was compromised would have been important for Americans to consider.

    If I may speculate here, if the Russians had these e-mails I think they would have never provided them for possible publication prior to the election. If damage to America as opposed to damage to candidate Clinton was what the Russians might have been after then the maximum destructive use of these would have been to unload these between a Clinton election and inauguration day, particularly if the e-mails were unquestionably at great odds to her characterizations of them. If they were really terrible, just hang on to them as a means of influence over the new President.

  • Peter63

    Spot on. Thank you!

    Here are two other inconsistencies which the Media seem to have overlooked.-

    Can anyone supply the names of the celebrities who, one and all, announced that they would move to Canada if Donald Trump won the General Election – and who did so since last November?

    Why would they prefer Canada (very cold much of the year) and not Mexico (reliably warm), given that they have shouted so loud on behalf of the people who want to “Make America Mexico Again”?

    Ought not conservative media to publish their names once a month throughout the Trump presidency – I especially recommend doing this on TV and radio – and ask when they intend to leave? It would do for Hollywood and Big Money Liberalism what the President has been doing for CNN.

    • LudicrousSextus

      Al Sharpton was one – but then he’s a notorious bullsh1tter. I’m always amazed by ol’ Al. He started race riots in NYC killing *exactly* the same number of people killed by SC’s lunatic Roof – so liberals reward him with a television show and invites to the Obama White House where Barry proclaimed him ‘the nation’s racial advisor’.

      He’s pretty much the poster-imbecile for liberal hypocrisy.

  • depressionbaby

    password as a “password”. Was it PASSWORD? password? To make it really difficult PaSsWoRd? Passwords are case sensitive.

    • David Hall

      I think the point of using “password” as a password was the simplicity of being able to easily remember it. Mixing the lower and upper case ruins that benefit.

  • MatthewMK

    I’m okay with prosecuting Kristof. Why not?

  • MoreFreedom2

    Seems like a wast of time to try to find Clinton’s emails via Russian hackers who are more likely interested in stealing money. And wouldn’t it be the Russian government who, if anyone hacked Clinton’s “unsecured server”? And who thinks Putin would make them available, or allow anyone in his government to make them available?

    McCarthy doesn’t even mention the fact that Wikileaks told us neither the DNC or Podesta emails they got, were obtained via Russia or state actors. Wikileaks reputation for honesty is outstanding, and far, far better than Obama’s or Clinton’s, who told us the Russians hacked the election, after Clinton lost.

    I’d bet the real story, is that the Russian GOVERNMENT hacked Hillary’s server (setup in 2008), and used emails on it to blackmail her and Obama. And there’s a HUGE amount of circumstantial evidence supporting this. I’d bet Hillary thought since only her trusted friends/politicians knew her email address and the existence of her server, it was protected.

    Remember Obama emailed her using an alias – no doubt to cover his tracks regarding corruption or at least collusion with Clinton on lying to the public. Then he lied that he learned of her server in news reports. There was Obama’s promise to Russian Prime Minister (on a hot microphone unbeknownst to Obama) that he’d “have more flexibility after the [2012] elections. There were the 22 visits by the Russian ambassador to Obama’s White House. There were the great favors to Russia’s allies Iran and Syria (while leaving US hostages in Iran in a humiliating fashion). There was the sale of US uranium to Russian interests. There were also the money going to Clinton/Podesta via the Clinton Foundation and Podesta’s business interests (see Peter Schweitzer’s reports on it), as a carrot along with the stick of blackmail. And of course, there was the cover up of Clinton’s email crimes. Why else would prosecutors give most all of Clinton’s staff immunity deals without requiring that they testify to her crimes as is the usual arrangement for immunity deals? Instead they were allowed to destroy evidence.

    And finally, the Russian/Trump collusion narrative IMHO helps keep the US from finding out by diverting the attention to Trump instead of Obama/Clinton. And then, why was Obama’s government spying on his political opponents before an election?

    I’d bet good money Putin has Hillary’s emails, if there was any way to prove it.

  • buddhaha

    McCarthy seems to give Kristof a blanket pardon, and I disagree. If some IRS employee was to mail him Trump’s returns, both should be prosecuted.

    When one crime (stealing and disseminating the records) occurs, the second crime (induces) also occurs. Nail his butt.

  • Blackstone

    Brilliantly stated. It is so easy to hoist the Left up by their own petard these days; the problem is that their sheep are too brain-addled and Kool-Aid drunk to reflect dispassionately on the range of inferences and/or conclusions that can *reasonably* and *logically* be drawn from a given set of known data.

  • jack dobson

    Excellent legal analysis as always. A quibble, though. This isn’t a “farce.” It’s a failed coup attempt and those involved should be charged with treason and face the ultimate punishment if warranted.

    Two other points:

    1. Robert Mueller should be referred to the D.C. bar for punishment since he accepted a position in which he had so many known conflicts of interest.
    2. We don’t even know who hacked the Podesta emails; it was just as likely to have been a disgruntled DNC staffer as the Russians. Our corrupt, incompetent “intelligence” agencies likely don’t have a clue, either. It is irrelevant as a matter of law, but still we need to keep a clean record of what happened during the grubby attempt to impose a junta.

    • LudicrousSextus

      since he accepted a position in which he had so many known conflicts of interest…

      That’s apparently now an entrenched characteristic of ‘lawyers on the left’. Aptly demonstrated at the SCOTUS level – with Kagan violating Federal law her very first case on the bench (having been reported as ‘involved in crafting the legal defense for ACA’ prior to becoming a justice), and both she and Ginsburg violated the same law again in Obergefell (having both ‘officiated’ same sex unions while such were basically against Federal law – Clinton’s DOMA). Conflicts of interest – and ‘pre-existing bias’ are both instant ‘recusal’ scenarios – and any first year law student knows it. 28 U.S.C. § 455

      • jack dobson

        I’m old enough still to be appalled by ethical violations–unfortunately. What makes it worse is Mueller’s primary function appears to be to protect Obama, Clinton, Comey, and the rest of the junta from criminal investigation. It’s more or less the formal end of the Rule of Law.

  • elHombre

    Beltway Jeff Sessions would do well to hire McCarthy to clean up the DOJ and the FBI and get them moving in a productive direction.

  • Martin Forde

    How utterly incoherent. Reporting evidence of a crime is not a crime! You don’t just get to ignore a crime … in this case treason … because you don’t like where the supporting evidence comes from. It’s inconceivable moronic, or borderline delusional.

    • David Hall

      Let me put it simply for you. Seeking to acquire Hillary’s emails that are for sale is not criminal. Stealing (hacking)those emails from her server would be illegal, but that is something that no one has alleged was done by Trump or his associates.

    • JamesDrouin

      Here’s a newsflash for you: being in possesion of “stolen property” IS a crime.

  • Martin Forde

    Let me just point out that there’s an ongoing criminal investigation into Mr Trump and his associates. Let that just sink in for a moment.

    • Liberalism Has Failed

      Which was sparked by BARACK OBAMA during the campaign!!!
      Why don’t you let THAT sink in for a moment?

    • David Hall

      There is no criminal investigation. You need to learn the difference between a special counsel and a special prosecutor. Mueller is a special counsel who is investigating the alleged Russian interference in the election and related matters. There has been no revelation of criminal activity.

    • JamesDrouin

      Okay, well, let ME point out that the former Director of the FBI, testified, in public, in front of Congress, that there was no such investigation.

      So, why are YOU LYING???

  • Liberalism Has Failed

    The New York Times (AKA Pravda On The Hudson) would NEVER allow silly things like “Facts”, “Truth” or “The Law” to interfere with it’s pushing of the Democratic Party’s Agenda!! Remember, “The Ends Justify The Means”….

  • If there were anything in Trump’s tax returns other than a record of charitable giving that could only benefit his approval ratings, indeed they would have been leaked by now. No doubt about it.

  • jb

    Using democrat logic, the 47 % romney clandestine tape was criminally obtained and all downstream users of it — and upsyream plotters in authorizing the action and distributing it should go to prison too

  • JohnnyClams

    Let me get this straight. Some people think it would be a crime for Trump to come into the possession of Hillary’s illegally withheld emails from a source like Russian hackers, but those same people believe that the infamous dossier, practically compiled from the same source, to launch a persecutorial campaign against Trump from within the govt as well as the media, is perfectly ok.

  • Chris Yalla

    Andy’s articles are amazingly educative. Thanks Andy

  • mmercier0921

    That secret dnc server is probably gone for good. Everyone knows what happened to the last guy who messed with it.

  • question?

    Simple answer, Hillary and DNC turn over the servers or stfu.

  • JimHBrown

    I have assumed from the beginning that every 1st world and 2nd world intelligence agency has a complete file of all her emails. Any that don’t their government should fire everyone employed there and start over. I further assumed the emails were gathered by new students in hacking 101 as a midterm exam. If they could not crack her bathroom server they likely had no talent.

    The problem was releasing them while of interest in the USA it was not in any foreign interest. From reading the bribes to the Clinton Slush Fund they knew fairly exactly what it would cost to get her to sell out our interest on a given topic. Plus great blackmail material should she get stubborn or over greedy. So keep your powder dry and mouth closed on having them.

  • Casual Observer

    Donald Trump Jr released some emails 4 days ago. It’s been quiet here for awhile. Meanwhile Mr. McCarthy, writing in the National Review has since changed his tone considerably. It is no longer a nothingburger. It is a matter of how big a deal. Of course he throws in the requisite, but Obama…, but Hillary… But to paraphrase McCarthy, flat out lying to the American people is a major abuse of trust and when it is about collusion with a foreign power, it is just what the Founding Fathers had in mind when they created impeachment. Just sayin’…