Doug Smith: Presidential powers are absolute; Special Counsel powers subject

16 Apr

 

doug 2

Doug Smith:  Free State Patriot historian and social editor

4.15.18

scooter

Re the Pardon of Scooter Libby

I am working on an article for FSP on why we seem to get the very worst people in politics and government service. (We get, occasionally, some of the very best, but the scoundrels are always there, and in quantity.)  But current events compel me to take a brief aside and comment on the very premise: the very worst people in our society and culture may be found in organized crime and government, which are, at times, indistinguishable.

To set the stage, find a copy of the US Constitution. Now, search through it and find the part about appointing a special counsel, or prosecutor, or an independent prosecutor, who can wield the awesome sword of the justice, empowered to the Executive Branch, with no accountability. Of course, all other prosecutors exercise the power of their office as delegated from the ultimate Executive authority, the President, as delegated through the Attorney General, as provided by the Constitution. For purposes of this discussion, let us concern ourselves with the provisions for appointing that “special “counsel, a law unto himself, free of the Executive. Go ahead and look it up, we’ll wait.

Not there, is it? No, there is no provision whereby the power of the Executive can be waived, and a non-elected official imbued with that power sans the accountability which goes with it. For the Constitution does provide accountability for the Executive should he misuse his power. He can face the electorate who vote their displeasure and send him packing, or, if the cause is both serious and urgent enough, Congress is empowered to act and impeach him and remove him from office. Even there, they are accountable, and will face the voters in less than 2 years, so they are subject to the politics of the time. Thus, Congress will never impeach a popular President, because to do so would be political suicide. And in the case of an unpopular President, the viable threat of impeachment may be enough for him to resign and avoid impeachment. Thus, Nixon at 24%, and despised by Democrats, resigned. Bill Clinton at over 50%, was halfheartedly impeached, but not removed, by a Congress who looked to the electorate. And so, the system worked, and so it was designed, and so it should work. An unpopular President was removed from office as the voters reconsidered, and Congress, given sufficient high crimes and misdemeanors, could have removed him. Clinton, as morally bankrupt as he was (and is) presided over a strong economy, and was well liked (as most sociopaths are, the charm of Hannibal Lecter) and thus, Congress had the means, and the right, but not the will, to remove him. The will of the people won out. The system worked.

So why, oh why, would we ever permit ourselves to be saddled with a special prosecutor? He may be likened to a mass shooter, with unlimited choice of weapons, ammo, and apparently no accountability for who he shoots. Overly strong metaphor? Consider:

Special counsel Patrick Fitzgerald, appointed in the so called Valerie Plame affair, managed, in his time as a special counsel, although trying to indict Dick Cheney, Karl Rove, or anybody associated with the Bush Administration for illegally leaking the identity of a CIA covert operative ( she was not, she was a back office administrator, but for sake of argument, lets stipulate that revealing the identity of a CIA employee is not a good thing to do) to indict Scooter Libby on charges of lying to FBI agents for inconstancies in his statements at various times. (As Michael Flynn would tell you, no one should EVER under ANY circumstances, talk to the FBI, a fallen angel if ever there was one, and if compelled to do so, the only 2 appropriate responses are 1 I am exerting my 5th amendment rights and refusing to speak to you, or 2. I am not sure, I cannot remember precisely.)

Now. Let us start from a very important premise. Patrick Fitzgerald knew, from the time he began the investigation, and before he talked to Scooter Libby, that Richard Armitage, of the State Department, was the one who inadvertently leaked Plames CIA identity. So, in any rational world, he would have either shut down the investigation, or indicted Armitage.

Right? I mean, what was the purpose of interviewing Libby to ask if he knew anything about the leaking of this information, when he already knew exactly who it was? The only purpose, as we see in retrospect, was to keep asking him questions until he slipped up and contradicted himself, then charge him with perjury. And the underlying goal of the entire exercise was to damage the Bush Administration. Given that Fitzpatrick knew that Libby was innocent and continued until he could create a crime to charge him with. To restate: Libby had done nothing wrong before he spoke to the FBI under Fitzgerald investigation, and Fitz knew this, but pursued him anyway. Now, one would think someone doing such a thing would be fired, disbarred, jailed, or suffer some consequences.

But no. Fitzgerald has gone on to have a fine career. Libby paid a fine, was disbarred, served jail time, then finally was restored to the bar and able to practice law again. For nothing that had anything to do with the Special Counsel’s investigation. All this for what Fitzgerald, by his actions, considered to be a non-crime, because, note this: Even though he knew that Armitage was the one who leaked, neither he nor anyone else ever charged Armitage. He resigned from the State Department, and that was that. Libby was the victim of an out of control lawyer who had unrestricted powers and made Libby his target.

The Special Prosecutors are never prosecuted or held accountable in any way and their victims rarely see justice.

Rarely, but not never.

President Trump today pardoned Scooter Libby.

Now, if you have read my articles before, you will be aware that I am not a die-hard Trump supporter. I find him a flawed human in many ways and was not pleased with the choices in 2016. I do give him credit when credit is due. I think he could benefit from the old Roman custom of having a servant walk along during a triumph whispering (If I may paraphrase,) “Glory is fleeting, please stop Tweeting. “

Pardoning Libby was a good move for several reasons.  First, what Fitzgerald did to Scooter Libby was an injustice, for which Fitz should have been censured or lost his law license.  He cannot get back the time or money lost, but this is a good step toward balancing the scales of justice.

Second, it is an elegant and subtle shot across the bow to Robert Mueller. And I love it.

It says, so Bob, you want to move from Russia and why Hillary lost to anything and everything, looking for a crime? You want to act as a government within a government?

You Senators who want to pass a bill “protecting Mueller” from being fired, (you do understand that I won’t sign it, so its moot. And that you have NO Constitutional authority as the Legislative Branch to usurp the power of the Executive? Of course, you do, you are just posturing.)

And you Dems who have been trying to impeach me since January 2017, and bleat like sheared sheep Don’t you fire our Bobby!!!

So, all of y all, check this out. The power of POTUS to pardon is absolute, not subject to review, cannot be reversed, and even (as with Bill Clinton) if it is demonstrably the result of a bribe, cannot be reversed. I just nullified what Fitz did to Scooter. I can just as easily negate what the Jim and Bob show have done, or might do, to me, or any of my campaign, or any of my cabinet, or staff. So, do your worst.  Justice is going back to the Justice Department. A lot of career pogues in FBI and Justice are about to follow Sally Yates out the door. I don’t HAVE to fire you. I can do what you have been trying to do to me: cut the legs out from under you. And there is not a thing you can do about it.

Bush may have been content to just smile and take it and not fight back.

Makes for a different boxing match when you get hit back, doesn’t it?

So, choke on this for a few days.

 

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