Mueller and his 50-person team prove that old people need to pay to have sex with young people?

Wikipedia says that the Robert Mueller investigation of Donald Trump has now reached its one-year anniversary. There are close to 20 lawyers on the team so that means at least 50 government workers are involved (FBI agents, paralegals, assistants, etc.)?

After a year, most of what is in the media concerns two young women who supposedly got paid to have sex with an old guy 12 years ago and keep quiet about the encounter.

Is it thus fair to say that taxpayers paid for 50 person-years of work (about $25 million, including pension, benefits, office space, and other overhead?) to learn that old people have to pay in order to have sex with young people?

[I have seen arguments (from Hillary supporters) that the investigation needs to be thorough because Trump is involved with a “hostile foreign leader” (e.g., Putin was in a hotel room with Trump and Stormy Daniels back in 2006). But, if true, why would you want an investigation to consume a healthy fraction of a presidential term? It is okay for a hostile foreign leader to exercise control, via puppetry, of the U.S. government for several years while a thorough investigation and then equally sluggish prosecution proceed?]

44 thoughts on “Mueller and his 50-person team prove that old people need to pay to have sex with young people?

  1. After a year, most of what is in the media concerns two young women who supposedly got paid to have sex with an old guy 12 years ago and keep quiet about the encounter.

    You must be reading gossip columnists. Other “media” indicate that the investigation is working on things like money laundering, perjury and obstruction of justice and has secured two guilty pleas. The investigation has also not completed, so it’s too early to evaluate its achievements.

  2. Vince (above) is right that the critical issues of collusion, money laundering, obstruction of justice, etc. have clearly been in the news at great length unless you receive your primary news input from Fox and Friends.

    And from a overall budgetary point of view you can make the argument that much of the spending for the special counsel is a sunk cost anyway. Yes, those FBI agents, administrative support personnel and others could be working on something else, but as they are federal employees they were not hired for this investigation and they won’t be fired when it is over. They will just move on to another project.

    In addition, I would note that the Whitewater investigation, looking into a single failed land development deal, took over three years. Not sure where Mueller is going to end up, but seems like his playing field is vastly more complex and wide ranging, both criminally and geographically.

  3. LOL… no, no, no. The Mueller Witch Hunt has proven that pretty young women will willingly have sex with rich older men. And, they may sometimes get paid to keep quiet about it. BIG DIFFERENCE. Paying for sex is illegal. Paying for non-disclosure after sex is not.

    The Mueller Witch Hunt, started on the false pretext of non-existent Russia nonsense using a Fake Dossier and fraud before a judge, is conducted with the explicit purpose of abusing, harassing and investigating allies of a President the SCUMS of the deep state do not like for totally UNRELATED activities. It has found jack shit but money laundering in 2006 that has nothing to do with Russia or the election, entrapping individuals to misrepresent TOTALLY LEGAL ACTIVITY and some Russians shit posting and buying $40K worth of ads (which they have every right to do except for paying under a false name) . It is now looking into Porn Stars and violating attorney client privilege?

    Donald J Trump should announce that he will PARDON anyone and everyone of any crime they are convicted of due to this witch hunt for anything unrelated to Russia or the 2016 elections. Not only that, but that Mueller, Rosenstein and everyone associated with the Witch Hunt will be FIRED if they file any charges against anyone for reason unrelated to Russia or the 2016 elections. And, FIRED JEFF SESSIONS already! He’s a totally useless moron. Appoint someone who will prosecute the crimes of the former regime and deep state actors to the fullest extent of the law, while appointing independent counsels to counter investigate the investigation.

  4. Trump is a smart guy. Cheaper to pay someone outright for sex than doing it the conservative christian democrat way, spending thousands of dollars & hours driving out to a single mother of 3 in the central valley. They’re so conservative, you’d think all democrats were nuns.

  5. Didn’t CNN have a long, lingering interview of Stormy Daniels by “Oh, Kiss Me” Cooper? And the New York Times has also shown its prissy yet prurient interest in the same. Though maybe those two are been relegated to the gossip media nowadays.

  6. Didn’t CNN have a long, lingering interview of Stormy Daniels by “Oh, Kiss Me” Cooper? And the New York Times has also shown its prissy yet prurient interest in the same. Though maybe those two have been relegated to the gossip media nowadays.

  7. TomS: Those agents could have been answering the phone regarding the Parkland shooter, for example!

    Vince: I have skimmed the headlines and seen the same basic stuff about Trump’s litany of serious crimes for more than a year now. If the country is being run by Russia/organized crime, shouldn’t this investigation (a) be proceeding with a little more speed, and (b) be ignoring the seemingly minor questions of who had sex with whom and in exchange for how much cash? An old person paying for sex with a young person is upsetting, I’m sure, but I don’t think this was originally a Russian idea.

  8. The entirety of the Russian investigation is to slow down Trump’s planned changes (whatever they are) and to continually harass and mess with logistics and planning of the Trump administration.

    Everytime Mueller digs further into Russian connections, he finds … more Democrat involvement.

    It was the Obama administration that had Victoria Nuland/Nudelman bragging about money being spent in Ukraine; Hillary as SecState that had her foundation accepting 100 million from Frank Giustra while she approved the Uranium One deal.

    Now we find out that the Russian purchased, American origin uranium ended up being sold … to Iran; with the cash for the deal being supplied by the Obama “pallets of cash” agreement.

  9. If the country is being run by Russia/organized crime, shouldn’t this investigation (a) be proceeding with a little more speed, and (b) be ignoring the seemingly minor questions of who had sex with whom and in exchange for how much cash?

    Perhaps Mr. Mueller doesn’t think that the Russia is running the country. Once again, it doesn’t appear to that Mueller and his staff are spending much of their time on the Stormy Daniels issue. Prostitution laws are generally handled by local, not federal, law enforcement. Indictments regarding that matter probably won’t be for sex crimes. When these special prosecutors become aware of criminal activity by the subjects of their investigations, they usually don’t just focus on the most egregious crimes. Also, Mueller has decades of experience in his field. He’s probably moving as fast as he can, given the ethics that pertain to his office and the steps that need to be taken to secure convictions or guilty pleas. Though you probably could have looked up or surmised all of these things.

  10. Vince: If Russia does not have/did not have a significant influence over our country, why are we paying a huge team of expensive investigators to work on this for more than one year?

    This team of investigators is moving as fast as it can? The https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nuremberg_trials lasted less than one year. It seems that there was a smaller staff involved to investigate 4+ years of criminal activity (defined as “criminal” by the victors, of course).

    Have Donald Trump’s crimes been more complex than those of the Nuremberg defendants?

  11. So far we know that there was obstruction of justice and money laundering. That’s why crime loving right wingers keep yelling “no collusion” and “pardon”.

  12. Tiago, pretty great for the tax savings. We are just figuring out my tax situation but I estimate my full tax rate goes down from 60% to high 30s. Not sure about the infrastructure plan. Traffic still seems bad in my area and we have no public transportation however If we did I would not use it.

  13. The taxes that Manafort may have evaded are going to be way way less than the taxes that will need to be collected to pay for the investigation. And anyway he is just some bottom feeding lobbyist who got caught in the big net and his issues don’t seem to have much to do with the President or why this special prosecutor was appointed.

  14. ZZAZZ3,

    Correct, we know the Clintons are indeed guilty of justice obstruction and money laundering, but what about Trump?

  15. ZZAZZ3: It is all about “obstruction of justice and money laundering”? First, if the only issue is how much someone got paid to have sex, I’m not sure why this is “obstruction of justice”. Prostitution is legal in many parts of the world, e.g., UK, Germany, etc. Do we need to have everyone in the U.S. thinking about this kind of transaction? Money laundering? Why would a billionaire whose income comes from collecting rent on real estate need to launder money?

    To test your theory, I listened to NPR this morning. From about 8 to 8:15 am, at which point I had to switch it off, it was almost exclusively about Stormy Daniels. Annual prostitution revenues in Germany were roughly $18 billion back in 2009(see https://www.reuters.com/article/us-germany-prostitutes/global-economic-crisis-hits-german-sex-industry-idUSTRE53K00G20090421 ). The $130,000 number that is in the media represents only about 4 minutes of German prostitution revenue (assuming that $18 billion is still the correct number and revenues are evenly spread over the weeks, hours, and minutes of the year.

    https://www.havocscope.com/prostitution-revenue-by-country/ estimates roughly $186 billion of annual prostitution revenue worldwide. That’s nearly $6,000 per second. The $130,000 figure that is in the news is 22 seconds of global prostitution revenue.

    [Another way to look at this number that dominates the news is that it is less than one second of Federal spending ($4.4 trillion annually).]

  16. Did Stormy Daniels reported the $130K as income and paid taxes on it? If not, she should be investigated by the IRS.

  17. Philip: “After a year, most of what is in the media concerns two young women who supposedly got paid to have sex with an old guy 12 years ago and keep quiet about the encounter.”

    Sometimes the cover-up is worse than the crime.

    Ted Lieu on Twitter:

    Here’s a fun fact: campaign finance law violations over $25k are felonies. The in kind contribution of $130k to Stormy Daniels was over that line. The reimbursement constitutes a separate crime of covering up the true source of a contribution. Also likely banking law violations.

    4 possible felonies from Rudy Giuliani admission:
    1. $130k payment to Stormy was in-kind coordinated contribution above limits
    2. Cohen was a straw donor used to cover up true source of contribution
    3. False statements on financial disclosures
    4. False statements on banking forms

    An anonymous commenter suggests that if Trump has used Michael Cohen as a bagman for any shady business in his past real estate dealings, he’s now at risk of being exposed:

    I know everyone has a take on this Rudy/Cohen shit-show, but I thought I would give you some perspective from someone steeped in anti-corruption enforcement (both domestic and foreign) on the prosecution and defense side.

    As we already know, Michael Cohen is the prototypical fixer or bagman. In Mexico, as discussed in glorious detail in this NY Times expose on Wal-Mart’s massive corruption scandal in Mexico , a lawyer-fixer like Cohen would be known as a “gestore.” The bagman’s job is to get bribe money to people while insulating and giving deniability to the ultimate payor of the bribe. Having a dirty lawyer as a bagman provides a number of advantages.

    First, bribe money can be laundered from the “client” through the lawyer as fictitious legal services. The lawyer can issue bogus invoices to the client in amounts sufficient to cover bribe payments, a commission to the lawyer, and a gross-up for any taxes the lawyer would have to pay on the fee income (bagmen, after all, don’t want to be stuck paying taxes on amounts they pay out as bribes). Sound familiar?

    Second, by disguising the bribes as payments for legal fees, businesses can try to write them off as expenses (bribes are not deductible). This is tax evasion, of course, but it is common practice for the corrupt. Third, the lawyer-client relationship can be an impediment to law enforcement. It can be very difficult for prosecutors to pierce what appears on the surface to be a legitimate attorney-client relationship.

    So now we have Giuliani confirming that this is exactly how Trump and Cohen operated. Hush money to Stormy Daniels is one thing and certainly raises potential serious campaign finance violations, but she is not a public official. What I find most significant about Rudy’s admission is what it says about the nature of the relationship between Trump and Cohen and how it suggests an M.O. for other more serious crimes.

    Trump is a major real estate developer in NY who has openly bragged about his ability to cut through red tape and get politicians in his pocket. We now have serious [Southern District of New York] public corruption prosecutors and FBI agents in possession of a massive amount of electronic data from his bagman. They likely already have all of his financial records as well. And Rudy has now given them the roadmap for how Trump may have laundered bribes through Cohen as purported legal fees or retainer payments. Every invoice Cohen has ever issued to Trump is suspect. Every corrupt payment Cohen has ever made or facilitated to building inspectors, councilmen, pornstars, or whomever can potentially be tied back to Trump. In addition, I suspect Trump and his kids had a false sense of comfort that their communications with Cohen would be privileged. I am convinced this is why Trump and his family are freaking out about the Cohen raid and the possibility he could flip. The SDNY is sitting on the mother lode of evidence and Rudy has given them the connection between purported legal fees and payments by Cohen to third parties.

  18. Russil: That the government can characterize something as a crime doesn’t make it worthy of national attention. It is a crime to copy the movie Zoolander from a DVD that you paid for onto a computer hard drive that you paid for (since you’re defeating the encryption; see https://www.eff.org/wp/unintended-consequences-16-years-under-dmca ). If Trump copied Zoolander and some lesser cinematic works onto his laptop computer, thereby committing a “felony,” would we all have to stop and pay attention? Pay 50+ FBI employees to hang up on Parkland shooter tipsters and investigate the DVD copying situation?

    The second comment is strange. We are paying a team of investigators to figure out if Russia is controlling the U.S. government (ideally at some point before the Russians’ pick for president completes his term in office). But now the hoped-for result is to prove that at least some New York City and State politicians were/are corrupt? Everyone knows that these politicians are corrupt and NY Democrats still vote to reelect them. That Donald Trump may have had to pay them off suddenly makes the situation intolerable?

    You’re saying “This crack team has invested more than 50 person-years of effort hasn’t just figured out that old people have to pay to have sex with young people. They’ve also proved that New York politicians are corrupt.”? That makes it a good return on the taxpayer investment?

    Why couldn’t taxpayers just go to Wikipedia if they wanted to find corruption in New York, e.g.,

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_L._Sampson

    or

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eric_Stevenson_(politician)

    or just open their local newspaper, e.g., https://www.newsday.com/news/new-york/singh-plea-de-blasio-1.16336909

    or their national newspapers, e.g., https://www.wsj.com/articles/50-indicted-in-bribery-schemes-involving-nyc-employees-officials-1423598552

  19. To put this national obsession in perspective, here’s an article from our local newspaper:

    https://www.bostonglobe.com/metro/2018/05/03/boston-ultra-luxury-condo-market-what-does-buy-marble-sink-top-for-bathroom/aDw2aIBj8nEq0MMxLvNSnI/story.html?event=event25

    (“In Boston’s ultra-luxury condo market, what does $63,000 buy? A marble sink top — for the bathroom”)

    So the amount in question would pay for a small portion of two bathrooms in a new building in a second-tier city (maybe it would take the whole $130,000 to get a sink top in Manhattan or San Francisco!).

  20. Philip: “That the government can characterize something as a crime doesn’t make it worthy of national attention.”

    Whoa, I wouldn’t compare felonies to copying DVDs. I doubt anyone would prosecute Trump for making a backup copy of Zoolander, but paying bribes is a serious crime (even if you think it’s common in the New York real estate industry!). If the President of the US is guilty of serious crimes, that’s hard to ignore.

    It only makes things worse when he does things like fire the FBI director, and then threaten to fire the special counsel who’s investigating Comey’s firing.

    I see Trump just tweeted a quote this morning, saying that he has the power to fire anyone. I’d guess there’s going to be a constitutional crisis shortly.

    Background reading: Levitsky and Ziblatt, How Democracies Die. Despite the lurid title, it’s actually pretty good, focusing primarily on examples from other parts of the world, like Latin America and Eastern Europe.

  21. You don’t have to “compare” felonies to copying DVDs. Copying DVDs IS a felony. See https://www.amazon.com/dp/B00505UZ4G/ref=dp-kindle-redirect?_encoding=UTF8&btkr=1 for how a typical American commits multiple felonies daily.

    See also https://mic.com/articles/86797/8-ways-we-regularly-commit-felonies-without-realizing-it#.zR1dYzJ3m

    and count the word “felony” in https://www.mass.gov/media/818876/download (a 162-page small-font list of state crimes in Massachusetts, though I think every crime is listed twice (different sort orders)). Food Stamp Trafficking over $250 is a felony, for example. Also possession of unstamped cigarettes or concealing goods to avoid the estate tax that most U.S. states don’t impose. Posession of an illegal drug near a school or park. Thinking about possession of an illegal drug near a school or park (“conspiracy to violate drug law”). Issuing an improper duplicate of a bill of lading. Obtaining property worth more than $250 “by trick”. Steal a library book worth more than $250. “Make an unauthorized reproduction of a recording [or live performance].” Be a state employee with a conflict of interest. Etc. (The good news for this discussion is that “Keep House of Prostitution” is a misdemeanor.)

    Paying bribes to NY politicians and officials was a crime back in the 1980s when Trump was getting projects built and maybe Trump participated in this system? https://www.federalcharges.com/bribery-laws-charges/ says that the statute of limitations is five years under federal law.

    Trump might fire some people? Here’s a Harvard Law professor saying that is the president’s job, not “a constitutional crisis”. See https://www.washingtonexaminer.com/alan-dershowitz-trump-did-not-obstruct-justice-in-firing-james-comey

    For people to say that Trump is a Putin-controlled traitor acting against U.S. interests and then offer up as proof someone who allegedly got paid short money for having engaged in a sex act 12 years ago doesn’t make a lot of sense to me.

  22. Rather funny to watch progs going through logical contortions when trying to legally substantiate Mueller’s witch-hunt.

    It is truly irrelevant whether investigating “a sex act 12 years ago” makes any sense as long as investigation of the act will lead to an impeachment. “Means justify the end”.

  23. Trump didn’t pay for the sex, he paid for the blackmail AFTER the sex. Blackmail used to be illegal but nowadays old white men having sex is illegal and blackmailing them for doing so is A-OK. This shows that old white men (Trump notwithstanding) have lost control of the legal system.

  24. Jack D: “Trump didn’t pay for the sex”

    As the Creationist said to the geologist who claimed that the Earth was 4 billion years old… Were you there?

  25. Philg: If your ultimate point is that there is no upside to the rule of law and we should just abandon it, then yeah, we could dismiss all the police, gaolers, judges and lawyers, and sell all the jails and courthouses as well as re-purpose all the law schools and save a ton of money. What’s more all the broadcast time and other media now occupied by legal talking heads could go to something more entertaining. I can see many other benefits to the end of the rule of law such as the end of intellectual property (a terrible scourge on society). I would absolutely love to live in a society where it is impossible for a man to own more property than he can visit in one life time. So kudos.

  26. Anonymous: There is an upside to the rule of law! For example, it is against the law to shoot a bunch of people in a school in Florida. But we’ve learned that if you have 50-100 FBI agents tied up trying to figure out how much someone got paid for having sex they don’t have time to answer the phone, follow up on a tip, and then intervene against the school shooter.

    Resources and attention are limited. So if a large segement of a society or its government is consumed with investigating a sex-for-cash transaction there are other things that won’t get done.

    (I recognize that roughly 55 percent of Americans hate Donald Trump, but that doesn’t make a 2006 incident in which Donald Trump purportedly jaywalked interesting. An American collecting $130,000 for having sex is not, in my view, worth investigatory resources substantially beyond what would be devoted to a jaywalking incident. Consider that the average lawyer-handled abortion sale in Massachusetts is for at least $250,000 (see http://www.realworlddivorce.com/ChildSupportLitigationWithoutMarriage ). None of these abortion transactions attract FBI or NYT attention. In a country where every kind of sex-cash transaction is happening on a minute-by-minute basis, I don’t see what is different about Stormy Daniels as a sex retailer. If you look at $130,000 in the context of spending by rich Americans, the significance is comparable to studying a middle class neighbor’s purchase of a meal at Olive Garden (how did he get that huge slug of cash when formerly he was eating at McDonald’s?). You can’t spit at our airport without hitting a Gulfstream, whose next scheduled inspection can easily cost more than $130,000. The drop-off lane at our local public school features plenty of cars that cost in the $130,000 neighborhood. If you heard that a billionaire bought a full-size Mercedes for $130,000 would you want to pay the FBI to investigate where exactly the $130,000 came from?)

  27. Philip, I think your view of the sheer triviality of $130,000 may not be widely shared! In the US, median wages for a full-time worker are $43,000; median household income is a bit less than $60,000.

    If you funnel $130,000 through a lawyer and claim it as a legal expense for your business, that would appear to be tax evasion. If you do this routinely (this wasn’t just a one-off), you might well be worried if your lawyer’s records are seized.

    Dershowitz’s claim that the President can fire whomever he wants is an interesting one. If he has the power to fire anyone who could investigate him or his associates for possible crimes, that would put him outside the reach of the law. I thought that in the US, even the President isn’t above the law – am I wrong? Isn’t that what happened to Nixon?

    According to Wikipedia, at this point Mueller has obtained guilty pleas from five people (Michael Flynn, Rick Gates, George Papadopoulos, Richard Pinedo, Alex van der Zwaan) and issued indictments against thirteen Russian citizens, plus three Russian entities.

    Whether you support or oppose Trump, I think we should be patient and wait for Mueller’s final report.

  28. 130,000 or more is what 12 million+ married couples of under-18 kids make in the United States. That’s nearly half of them.

    So while I wouldn’t say it’s a trivial sum, it is not a vast amount either and Phil’s view of it as not too different in seriousness to jaywalking is about right. It’s a heavily politicized witch hunt wasting valuable law enforcement resources and taxpayer cash. Here’s hoping it ends this year or sooner.

  29. Russil: So you are concerned about North Korea’s ballistic missiles and nuclear weapons. And you’re not sure if Iran is complying with its nuclear agreement. You fret that climate change will render one third of humans without homes or food. You aren’t sure how currently wealthy welfare states will accommodate the 1+ billion low-skill migrants who are pressing their way over the borders.

    And… you also are desperate to know from which pocket a billionaire took $130,000 to give to someone whose job was having sex in exchange for cash. And that is apparently more important to you than any of the above because it will be at the top of the front page and at the top of the radio news (at least for U.S. NPR).

  30. TPC: “I wouldn’t say it’s a trivial sum … not too different in seriousness to jaywalking.”

    Again, I think your perspective may be somewhat skewed. To someone with a high net worth, $130,000 is a rounding error. But median retirement savings for families aged 56-61 held in 401(k)-type accounts is only $17,000 (source). For the median American, $130,000 is a lot of money.

    It’s interesting to me that wealth inequality in the United States contributes to differing perceptions of white-collar crime. If I were to steal $100 from a cash register, that’s indisputably a crime. But if I were to evade $25,000 in taxes, that’s jaywalking?

  31. Philip: Again, the question is whether the President is above the law. Naturally people find it hard to look away from an ongoing constitutional crisis.

    Of course I’m concerned about all the other issues you mentioned – but we’re talking about the survival of basic democratic institutions in the United States. (I still can’t get over the fact that Trump fired the director of the FBI!) The US is the world’s leading democracy. What happens to it matters to people everywhere.

    Today: Quinta Jurecic of Lawfare attempts to summarize what’s going on.

  32. There is no evidence that $130,000 was stolen, Russil. People say that a young person had sex with an old person. That is traditionally a cash-compensated transaction. At worst perhaps Ms. Daniels failed to declare this as income on her Form 1040. The tax that can be recovered will not pay 50-100 government agents for one year (or their pensions).

    Perhaps this was written off as a business expense on the other side? So what? If Ms. Daniels was threatening to broadcast various negative statements about a business person then it is an expense incurred when protecting the revenue stream of the business (on which the IRS does collect tax).

    Anyway, the public interest in this is plainly not related to the question of whether Ms. Daniels paid tax on her $130,000 (plus whatever she got in 2006, if she indeed pursued this private sideline). I haven’t seen any journalists demanding her tax returns.

    “the question is whether the President is above the law”? Nobody is alleging that Ms. Daniels had sex with someone who was, at the time of the sex act, President or otherwise an employee of the U.S. government. Nobody is alleging that Ms. Daniels got paid by someone who was either President or a government employee.

    The question of how much an old President would have to pay in order to have sex with a young person relates to “the survival of basic democratic institutions in the United States”?

  33. This is like Bill Clinton all over again, but now the shoe is on the other foot with Trump being the target of the Democrats. It’s politically driven and the side supporting it has just convinced themselves it is a matter of national security.

    @Russil Wvong
    “at this point Mueller has obtained guilty pleas from five people (Michael Flynn, Rick Gates, George Papadopoulos, Richard Pinedo, Alex van der Zwaan) ”

    It is not that hard to do such a thing. Perhaps the five people are in various kinds of perjury traps (as in the article below mentions regarding the Clinton case):

    https://www.newyorker.com/magazine/1998/08/10/the-perjury-trap

    “Independent Counsel Kenneth Starr has claimed that his 7-month investigation of President Clinton’s relationship with Monica Lewinsky, which seeks to prove that Clinton and Lewinsky lied under oath in the Paula Jones sexual harrassment case against Clinton, is about lies, not sex. But the public appears to recognize instinctively what the law has long acknowledged: that lies vary in degree and in kind, and that they should be treated accordingly. The President’s aides fear that Starr will try to set a so-called perjury trap in order to catch the President in lies told directly to the grand jury. Perjury traps have become a popular tactic among independent counsels: if they can’t prove the alleged crime they were appointed to investigate, they indict suspects for lying to investigators. But the traps are effective only because independent counsels have succeeded over the past few decades in expanding the lying laws far beyond their historical roots. ”

    “During the past few decades, judges have begun to worry about the fairness of prosecuting people for the natural impulse to deny their guilt, and several federal courts carved out an exception to the False Statements Act, called the “exculpatory no,” which held that certain lies of self-protection weren’t felonies. Last January, however, in Brogan v. U.S., the Supreme Court dismissed the “exculpatory no” exception. In a situation in which any lie to a federal official is a crime, any government inquiry that strays into the area of sexual behavior is apt to become a self-fuelling machine for producing felonies. “

  34. Yep, Bill Clinton affair with a consenting adult was nobody’s business.

    The affair was used to force the man to perjure himself into an impeachment. It was as much of a witchhunt as the current play in the theater of absurd directed by Mueller and played by his 50 actors.

  35. Ivan, I think Bill Clinton was vastly different! He used his power to have sex with a subordinate of his. And don’t forget he did this in the Oval Office. Any CEO who acted in this way would be fired and many of them are right now! Trump screwed a porn star a decade before he even decided to get into politics. I think there is a difference.

  36. We’re getting close to the 50-comment limit, so I think this should be my last comment on the thread!

    Philip: Mueller seems to be looking at the Trump campaign from all angles. The Stormy Daniels non-disclosure payment is just one angle. I think the big issue – the one that led to bipartisan agreement to start the Mueller investigation in the first place – is Trump’s firing the FBI director. Susan Hennessey and Benjamin Wittes, November 2016:

    … for those concerned that President Trump will trample the rule of law—liberals and conservatives alike—Comey’s fate is one potential canary in the coal mine. If Trump chooses replace Comey with a sycophantic yes-man, or if he permits Comey to resign over law or principle, that will be a clear bellwether to both the national security and civil libertarian communities that things are going terribly wrong.

    At the time, at least, Republicans approved of Mueller, and I understand that Mueller himself is a Republican, not a Democrat. If Trump fires Mueller, he’ll be making the same mistake again – even now, Republicans on the Senate Judiciary Committee have been voting to protect Mueller’s investigation.

    @GermanL: There’s some similarities to Starr’s investigation, except that the subject isn’t sex – it’s communications with Moscow. Jurecic:

    People close to the president had an unusual habit of meeting with Russian officials or individuals linked to the Russian government. The foreign policy adviser Carter Page — who, we now know, was later monitored by the F.B.I. as a possible Russian agent — might have been nothing more than a hanger-on, but there’s also Jared Kushner, Donald Trump Jr., Michael Flynn, Attorney General Jeff Sessions, Paul Manafort, Rick Gates and George Papadopoulos, all of whom became entangled with Moscow-linked contacts. Mr. Papadopoulos is cooperating with the Mueller team and has acknowledged learning of Russia’s possession of “thousands of emails” about Hillary Clinton. Meanwhile, there’s the notorious Trump Tower meeting in which Mr. Trump Jr. apparently expected to receive incriminating information on Mrs. Clinton.

  37. toucan sam:

    My impression at the time was that the Clinton intern affair was entirely consensual, and his exhibition of power was, at worst, the usual kind of aphrodisiac rather than a coercive tool. Taking into account the other circumstances you mentioned, the Trump sex case as far as we know appears to have been even less reprehensible, if at all, in comparison.

    My point though is that in both cases rather ridiculous means were/are used to impeach a president. Both situation evoke in one’s mind the immortal words of Lavrentiy Beria “show me the man and I’ll find you the crime” rather than the comfortable cliche of “the rule of law”.

  38. Ivan, your point is nonsense! Trump did nothing reprehensible at all. He fucked a porn star, big deal that is what they are for! If Trump put a cigar in Stormy’s pussy in the oval I bet you he would be impeached and removed from office. I bet you he would be impeached even if he put a cigar in Melania’s pussy. I think the point Phil is trying to make is this whole special consul thing is a complete waste of time and is a witch hunt. When people questioned obamas legitimacy they were instantly labeled a racist. This is exactly what the liberal lunatics are doing and are the flames are being fanned by the left wing media!

Comments are closed.