The Thinker: Rich Galen


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It's Only Thursday

Rich Galen

Thursday April 12, 2017

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  • What a week in Washington.

  • The lawyer for Donald Trump had his house, his office and his hotel room searched by the feds. Trump threatened to send missiles to Syria to punish Bashir al-Assad for his chemical attack on his own people. Speaker Paul Ryan announced he would not run for re-election to Congress in the Fall. Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg demonstrated why 70-year-old Senators shouldn't have their questions prepared by young staffers who actually use Facebook.

  • There might have been more, but that should keep us busy for the next 650-or-so words.

  • Anyone who has ever watched 10 minutes of any cop show knows there is a thing called "Attorney-Client Privilege." Even with my three hours of Con Law at Marietta College, Marietta, Ohio 45750 I'm a little thin on the finer points, but in general it means that whatever you tell your attorney in the process of their legal representation cannot be divulged to the cops.

  • There are about 1,279 exceptions to this, but that's the gist.

  • A law enforcement agency raiding a lawyer's office presents big problems because in the course of looking for whatever their warrant says they can look for, it is likely they may come across files that suggest evidence of a crime by someone the attorney represents who has nothing to do with what cops are looking for.

  • It turns out that the FBI has something called a "Taint Team." Who knew?

  • A Taint Team is a group of lawyers who, according the CNN's Jeffrey Toobin:
    "review the documents and remove anything that is covered by the attorney client privilege. They pass the non-attorney client material to the investigators, who are not 'tainted' by contact with the privileged material."

  • Notwithstanding claims that the FBI acted like the Gestapo, Trump's lawyer, Michael Cohen said in a CNN interview:
    "I am unhappy to have my personal residence and office raided, but I will tell you that members of the FBI that conducted the search and seizure were all extremely professional, courteous and respectful. And I thanked them at the conclusion."

  • Next up: Syria. Again.

  • Trump's new National Security Advisor, John Bolton, started his job in the White House on Monday. Within days, Trump was Tweeting threats to Russia:
    Russia vows to shoot down any and all missiles fired at Syria. Get ready Russia, because they will be coming, nice and new and "smart!" You shouldn't be partners with a Gas Killing Animal who kills his people and enjoys it!

  • He followed that with this fig leaf Tweet:
    Our relationship with Russia is worse now than it has ever been, and that includes the Cold War. There is no reason for this. Russia needs us to help with their economy, something that would be very easy to do, and we need all nations to work together. Stop the arms race?

  • And then got back on message blaming the whole Russia/Syria thing on his own Justice Department:
    Much of the bad blood with Russia is caused by the Fake & Corrupt Russia Investigation, headed up by the all Democrat loyalists, or people that worked for Obama. Mueller is most conflicted of all (except Rosenstein who signed FISA & Comey letter). No Collusion, so they go crazy!

  • One thing about Trump I like (maybe THE one thing) is how he acts around children. The crust and bluster peel away and he is a grampa. Those photos of babies in diapers being given oxygen after the gas attack in Syria affected him as they did after the attack last year.

  • What's next?

  • Oh, Speaker Paul Ryan announced he wants to spend more time with his family and so won't run for re-election to his Congressional seat in Wisconsin becoming the 46th Republican incumbent not seeking another term in Congress. Some of those are retiring, some are seeking other office, but each of them creates an open seat.

  • The speculation over who would run for Speaker in the 116th Congress started immediately - but, it is more likely it will be a race for Minority Leader on the Republican side. The Ds will have the fight for Speaker.

  • Finally, Mark Zuckerberg. The Senators questioning him about Facebook's allowing a data mining company - Cambridge Analytica - to have access to the personal information of some 80 million users without their knowledge was the subject.

  • The average age of the Senators doing the questioning was about 143 years. I Tweeted that the questions were written by 30-year-old staffers who use, and understand Facebook. Reading those questions, I said, made the Senators sound like they were students in an English as a Second Language class.

  • It's only Thursday.

  • On the Secret Decoder Ring page today: A Wikipedia discussion of Attorney-Client Privilege, to the House Press Gallery listing of retirements from the House, and the article about Michael Cohen's saying the FBI was "courteous."

    The Mullfoto is a once-in-a-lifetime look at my taking the Metro yesterday afternoon.

-- END --

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