Thursday's HOT MIC

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Happy Thursday Morning!

Here's what is on President Trump's agenda today:

  • In the morning, President Donald J. Trump will meet with National Economic Director Gary Cohn.
  • In the afternoon, the President will welcome President Juan Manuel Santos of Colombia.
  • The President will then meet with President Santos.
  • Later in the afternoon, the President will hold a joint press conference with President Santos.

Well isn't that special?

President Trump has been in office less than five months and we already have a hot mess on our hands. The Democrats were handed a victory yesterday with the decision to appoint a special counsel for the "Russian investigation." And this tragedy comes as a result of another successful operation by the left, which was the bullying of Jeff Session to recuse himself from anything that had to do with Russia.

Sessions, who met with a Russian official in his office as was his job as a senator and nothing his Senate colleagues didn't also do, was slimed so much that he stepped away from the "investigation." Sessions didn't want the appearance of impropriety. Can you imagine Loretta Lynch or Eric Holder stepping aside from any investigation? Of course you can't; it would never happen. Now we have a dumpster fire on our hands that will most likely spiral out of control.

Let me tell you how this is going to go down:

Those who are questioned in connection with the Russia/election influence operation are not going to want to talk. They will not want to talk because they do not want to get Scooter Libby-ed. Someone is going to have to get in trouble for this. The people in the Trump campaign orbit know this and they will, on the advice of their attorneys, be very careful about what they say to authorities.

All the Obama folks that are comfortably situated in the DOJ and the IC will leak disinformation. The media will eat it up like candy, and there will be nonstop coverage of various and sundry "scandals." The Democrats will campaign on the "scandal-plagued" Trump administration and this will go on for years. FOR YEARS.

What evidence do we have that the Trump campaign was involved with Russia to influence the election? There is none.

So why is it a big deal? Why do we keep hearing about it? Because the media has an agenda and the media is the one that is feeding the public information. Benghazi was downplayed, Fast and Furious was brushed off -- both scandals dismissed as right-wing obsessions. Those are just two.

Let's talk about the special counsel. Why is one appointed? Here we go:

Current U.S. practice regarding Special Prosecutors is governed by the Code of Federal Regulations (CFR), Chapter 6. The CFR eliminates the opportunity for Congress to request that an independent counsel be appointed that was contained in post-Watergate era legislation which expired in 1999.

The critical point of the regulations is that a Special Prosecutor is appointed when the Attorney General determines that there is sufficient evidence that a crime has been committed. The Director of the FBI serves “at the will of the President” and firing the Director is not a crime.

Code of Federal Regulations

§ 600.1 Grounds for appointing a Special Counsel.

The Attorney General, or in cases in which the Attorney General is recused, the Acting Attorney General, will appoint a Special Counsel when he or she determines that criminal investigation of a person or matter is warranted and -

(a) That investigation or prosecution of that person or matter by a United States Attorney's Office or litigating Division of the Department of Justice would present a conflict of interest for the Department or other extraordinary circumstances; and

(b) That under the circumstances, it would be in the public interest to appoint an outside Special Counsel to assume responsibility for the matter.

§ 600.2 Alternatives available to the Attorney General.

When matters are brought to the attention of the Attorney General that might warrant consideration of appointment of a Special Counsel, the Attorney General may:

(a) Appoint a Special Counsel;

(b) Direct that an initial investigation, consisting of such factual inquiry or legal research as the Attorney General deems appropriate, be conducted in order to better inform the decision; or

(c) Conclude that under the circumstances of the matter, the public interest would not be served by removing the investigation from the normal processes of the Department, and that the appropriate component of the Department should handle the matter. If the Attorney General reaches this conclusion, he or she may direct that appropriate steps be taken to mitigate any conflicts of interest, such as recusal of particular officials.

§ 600.3 Qualifications of the Special Counsel.

(a) An individual named as Special Counsel shall be a lawyer with a reputation for integrity and impartial decision making, and with appropriate experience to ensure both that the investigation will be conducted ably, expeditiously and thoroughly, and that investigative and prosecutorial decisions will be supported by an informed understanding of the criminal law and Department of Justice policies. The Special Counsel shall be selected from outside the United States Government. Special Counsels shall agree that their responsibilities as Special Counsel shall take first precedence in their professional lives, and that it may be necessary to devote their full time to the investigation, depending on its complexity and the stage of the investigation.

(b) The Attorney General shall consult with the Assistant Attorney General for Administration to ensure an appropriate method of appointment, and to ensure that a Special Counsel undergoes an appropriate background investigation and a detailed review of ethics and conflicts of interest issues. A Special Counsel shall be appointed as a “confidential employee” as defined in 5 U.S.C. 7511(b)(2)(C).

§ 600.4 Jurisdiction.

(a)Original jurisdiction. The jurisdiction of a Special Counsel shall be established by the Attorney General. The Special Counsel will be provided with a specific factual statement of the matter to be investigated. The jurisdiction of a Special Counsel shall also include the authority to investigate and prosecute federal crimes committed in the course of, and with intent to interfere with, the Special Counsel's investigation, such as perjury, obstruction of justice, destruction of evidence, and intimidation of witnesses; and to conduct appeals arising out of the matter being investigated and/or prosecuted.

(b)Additional jurisdiction. If in the course of his or her investigation the Special Counsel concludes that additional jurisdiction beyond that specified in his or her original jurisdiction is necessary in order to fully investigate and resolve the matters assigned, or to investigate new matters that come to light in the course of his or her investigation, he or she shall consult with the Attorney General, who will determine whether to include the additional matters within the Special Counsel's jurisdiction or assign them elsewhere.

(c)Civil and administrative jurisdiction. If in the course of his or her investigation the Special Counsel determines that administrative remedies, civil sanctions or other governmental action outside the criminal justice system might be appropriate, he or she shall consult with the Attorney General with respect to the appropriate component to take any necessary action. A Special Counsel shall not have civil or administrative authority unless specifically granted such jurisdiction by the Attorney General.

Again I ask, where is the evidence of a crime? With all the leaks coming out of the administration, why hasn't the evidence leaked too?

Here's what Rosenstein said about the appointment:

"In my capacity as acting Attorney General, I determined that it is in the public interest for me to exercise my authority and appoint a Special Counsel to assume responsibility for this matter," Rosenstein said in a statement. "My decision is not a finding that crimes have been committed or that any prosecution is warranted. I have made no such determination. What I have determined is that based upon the unique circumstances, the public interest requires me to place this investigation under the authority of a person who exercises a degree of independence from the normal chain of command."

Basically, no reason to point a special counsel, no "sufficient evidence that a crime has been committed." And yet, here we are.

EXCLUSIVE: Another anonymously sourced bombshell released by the legacy media

More information from "current and former U.S. officials."

Michael Flynn and other advisers to Donald Trump’s campaign were in contact with Russian officials and others with Kremlin ties in at least 18 calls and emails during the last seven months of the 2016 presidential race, current and former U.S. officials familiar with the exchanges told Reuters.

The previously undisclosed interactions form part of the record now being reviewed by FBI and congressional investigators probing Russian interference in the U.S. presidential election and contacts between Trump’s campaign and Russia.

Six of the previously undisclosed contacts described to Reuters were phone calls between Kislyak and Trump advisers, including Flynn, Trump’s first national security adviser, three current and former officials said.

In the sixth paragraph we learn:

The people who described the contacts to Reuters said they had seen no evidence of wrongdoing or collusion between the campaign and Russia in the communications reviewed so far. But the disclosure could increase the pressure on Trump and his aides to provide the FBI and Congress with a full account of interactions with Russian officials and others with links to the Kremlin during and immediately after the 2016 election.

In other words, we have no evidence, but if we keep looking we will find evidence.

The Democrats have no sense of humor

The Washington Post ran a story about House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy alleging Donald Trump and Rep. Dana Rohrabacher were on the Russian payroll. The Daily Caller reports:

“There’s two people I think Putin pays: Rohrabacher and Trump — swear to God.”

“It’s a bad joke, that’s all there was to it,” he told reporters Wednesday.

McCarthy said in retrospect he regrets making the joke, asserting he wasn’t making a serious accusation.

“I don’t even remember it transpiring, it was a simple joke,” he continued. “It was a bad thing to joke about — that’s all there is to it.”

Rohrabacher said he took McCarthy's comments as a joke: “He does that — he sort of makes jokes like that, there’s nothing wrong with that,” he told reporters. “It would be wrong for everybody to think that was a news story.”

If it advances the narrative, it's a story.

Some of the fakest news you will ever read

And now for something completely different.

Five Guys was just named consumers' favorite hamburger chain, displacing In-N-Out. Absolutely not! In-N-Out is the best burger, case closed.

The East Coast burger chain was named consumers' favorite hamburger chain in Harris Poll's annual brand report.

Five Guys beat out In-N-Out, the California chain that held the top spot for the last two years.

Starbucks also came out with an accolade.

Starbucks also debuted as the Coffee and Quick Service Restaurant Brand of the Year. According to the poll, 11% of millennials and 10% of Gen Xers go to the restaurant every day.

Like I said, Fake News.

Other morsels

Former bullsh!tter-in-chief thinks Trump's a bullsh!tter

Arrested Development renewed for fifth season

Discredited liar Dan Rather still getting a media platform

Carbs will kill you

Dutch King lives double-life as an airline pilot

Sheriff Clarke to take Homeland Security gig

Officer acquitted over shooting unarmed black man

50,000 Troops to Afghanistan?

Enough with the HOT TAKES

And that's all I have -- now go beat back the angry mob!

Paula makes an excellent point about Pence. There is reason for hope, though — the vice president is meticulous about nearly everything. Donald Trump is a man with famously little self-control, but Pence has every part of this life planned out. That's why he follows the "Billy Graham" rule with his wife — he's ready for attacks. I think the Left will have met its match with Pence, and I wouldn't be surprised if he outmaneuvers them.

If the Democrats impeach Trump, it will burn a great deal of public trust. With Pence at the helm, they would find it exceedingly difficult to take down Trump's replacement. Then, conservatives would have a true conservative in the White House. It's essentially check-mate. Now, the Democrat leadership's hesitancy to impeach Trump starts to make sense, right?

I'm on a flight from LAX to Chicago on my way home from a productive trip to the PJM mothership, and we're dealing with some bathroom hoarders. There are three laboratories in the middle of the plane, two of which have been occupied for quite some time. When I went back to use the facilities, four people took turns using the single open unit before me, then I had my turn, and still, no one emerged from the occupied bathrooms. Hopefully it was just some bad mayo on the in-flight chicken sandwiches, but it's funny how even after all these years the mind still goes to 9/11 and the tragic final moments of the passengers. I instinctively looked around for a place to hide if terrorists suddenly emerged from the toilet, and noted that I might be able to swing some oxygen tanks at them. (Who am I kidding? If I'm the first one they see when they come out of the toilet I'm toast.)

The pilot has turned on the seatbelt light for our descent and they're still in there as far as I can tell.

While many Republicans are dismissing out of hand the possibility that Trump could be impeached, the Left seems to be working under the assumption that it's already a foregone conclusion. How do we know? They're now setting their sights on the heir apparent:

WaPo: Vice President Pence has a growing credibility problem

CNN: What did Mike Pence know?

Slate: Mike Pence can't save the GOP.

MSNBC: In light of Flynn revelations, Mike Pence has some explaining to do

I don't think Trump will be impeached, but just for the sake of argument, let's say it does happen. Liberals will suddenly wake up and discover that their worst nightmare has come true: an evil social conservative now occupies the Oval Office. One who knows how to navigate the congressional labyrinth. No doubt that hellish (in their minds) scenario has begun to dawn on them, so they're trying to devise a way to take out both Trump and Pence in one fell swoop.

Springtime in the Rockies (part II)

The snow just broke the big ash tree in my front yard.

As Republicans in the House try to — I don't know — actually govern, Vox says they should drop everything until Trump is — I don't know — impeached? Because of the unsubstantiated Russia scandal. Here's some of the Vox article about Republicans' "alternate reality":

As scandal after scandal plagues the White House, House Republicans were living in an alternate reality Thursday — moving forward with their legislative agenda as if nothing happened.

The House Ways and Means Committee, which writes the nation’s tax laws, hosted its first hearing of the year on tax reform, assembling a group of business leaders to testify about the best way to overhaul the tax code and grow the economy.

So, the Republicans should twiddle their thumbs while Democrats try to impeach a sitting president after a little over 100 days? Is it really "living in an alternate reality" to try to push forward on important reforms? To Vox, it is. But Americans want to see some results from their government, and tax reform is one of the key goals of the Republicans voters elected.

Going forward, assume everybody is wearing a wire. Usually disguised as the smart phone they put face down on the table as the meeting starts:

House Republican leadership is agitated after the Washington Post published a transcript from a secret recording of one of the inner-sanctum conversations in the office of Speaker Paul Ryan.

The transcript shows House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy joking with his colleagues that then-candidate Trump and California Republican Dana Rohrabacher were both on the payroll of Russian President Vladimir Putin.

"The unknown is frustrating," said one senior GOP aide, referring to the possibility that this wasn't the only private leadership conversation that was secretly recorded.

  • The most widespread theory in House leadership is that the secret recorder and the leaker was Evan McMullin, who as a former leadership aide participated in the June 15 conversation and confirmed the private conversation to the Washington Post. (I am told that the Post, in their back-and-forth with leadership over the story, privately said that the source wasn't McMullin. There's no evidence that he was the leaker and I've reached out to him for comment.)
  • Evidence or not, leadership sources are privately worried that McMullin had a tape on while he sat silently through all of their confidential meetings. They're concerned about what leaks could come next.

Moments ago: During President Trump's joint press conference with President Juan Manuel Santos of Colombia, a reporter asked whether he had urged former FBI Director James Comey to "in any way, shape or form" close or back down from the investigation into Michael Flynn. Before the reporter could finish his question, Trump interrupted with a resounding "NO."

Good news about Global Warming Global Cooling Climate Change!

NASA space probes have discovered an artificial barrier around Earth created through human activity—showing we are not only responsible for shaping the environment on land, but that we are now having an impact on space too.

The barrier, which comes and goes, is the result of very low frequency radio communications interacting with particles in space, which results in a sort of shield protecting Earth from high energy radiation in space.

This, scientists say, is potentially very good news, as we could use the barrier to protect Earth from extreme space weather resulting from events like coronal mass ejections—huge explosions on the sun, where plasmas and magnetic field are ejected from its corona, the outermost part of its atmosphere. These ejections can result in geomagnetic storms, which have the potential to knock out communication satellites and power grids.

Researchers say that if there were no VLF bubble, the radiation belt boundary would be far closer to Earth than it is. Data from the 1960s indicates the inner limit of the Van Allen radiation belt used to be far closer to Earth, when the use of VLF was more limited.

To believe in "man-made climate change," you not only have to believe it's possible, but that it's inimical. But then, the leftist opinion of mankind was always very low.


FBI Director ... Joe Lieberman?

President Donald Trump says he's close to naming a new FBI director, and sources say it's former Connecticut Senator Joe Lieberman. He was a Democrat and Al Gore's vice presidential candidate in 2000, but will he join Trump's administration?