Dearly beloved, we are gathered here today to honor the memory of our friend Spy-Gate. In his 2 weeks of life, many often confused him with the other Spy-Gate, the Spy-Gate that still turns the stomach of New Englanders, and is ever eternal. No, the Spy-Gate we celebrate today, who died too young, and yet lived for too long, was the tale of a confidential informant placed in the Trump campaign by the FBI because of the campaigns love of associating with dudes with shady pasts. Spy-Gate was too pure for this world. Spy-Gate brought about envy from even the craziest of crazy, Trey Gowdy. And, when Benghazi-Trey declared there was nothing to Spy-Gate, well, it is time for Conservatives to bury Spy-Gate, for there are more and more terrible thoughts to be had to move the ball further away from the truth.
And, Andrew C. McCarthy of the National Review will take up the mantle.
Congress should be taking a very hard look at the prosecution of George Papadopoulos. To these eyes, the harder one looks, the more the Papadopoulos case appears to be much ado about nothing. That is no small thing: The “much ado” here is a purported Trump–Russia conspiracy to subvert a presidential election.
And, with that, McCarthy leads us away from one conspiracy and into the smoldering remains of last fall’s moment in the sun for one George Papadopolous, eager to find a new conspiracy among the ashes.
What he has found, instead, was 1500+ words on his inability to understand the nature of a Guilty Plea.
There has always been something fishy about the charge filed by Special Counsel Robert Mueller against Papadopoulos, who was a green-as-grass 28-year-old when he made the big primary-season move from Ben Carson–campaign novice to Trump-campaign novice.
Here’s a spoiler alert on the Trump campaign: they used a lot of “green-as-grass” types including the “green-as-grass-yet-orange-as-a-kumquat” Presidential candidate they worked for. But, I am sure Mr. McCarthy will elucidate that something fishy…
Peruse the “Statement of the Offense,” filed by Mueller’s lead prosecutor on the case, Jeannie S. Rhee (who is fresh from a stint representing the Clinton Foundation — and donating $5,400 to the Hillary Clinton campaign). You find that there is collusion with Russia pouring off every one of the document’s 13 pages — meetings with shadowy figures portrayed as Kremlin operatives, apparent schemes to undermine Mrs. Clinton, ambitious plans for pow-wows between candidate Trump and strongman Putin.
Interesting, so, the something fishy found here by Mr. McCarthy is that George Papadopolous was charged by a probe investigating Russian involvement and he believes that collusion with Russia poured off the pages? Hmmm, very fishy indeed. It’s almost as if the Statement of Offense is attempting to create a narrative surrounding their underlying investigation. Some consider that the purpose of a Statement of Offense. The defense, of course, has an opportunity to counter that. McCarthy, on the other hand, is at a loss for the meaning of anything at all.
Yet . . . there is no charge having anything to do with “collusion” — in the criminal-law sense of conspiracy between the Trump campaign and the Kremlin to commit “cyber-espionage” or otherwise sabotage the 2016 election.
Classic Detective trope right here. It is as if McCarthy has walked to the door, concluding an interview with his prime suspect without getting to the crux of the matter before adding in, “my good sir, perchance you can explain to me why butts of your favorite brand of cigarette were found on the ground in a location with a prime view of the murder scene?”
Or, at least, that’s what McCarthy is going for here. As you’ll see in a very quick moment, he whiffs big time.
Instead, after the big 13-page wind-up, Papadopoulos ends up pleading guilty to a minor false-statements charge — one that is convoluted and, in the scheme of things, trivial. In essence, Papadopoulos is said to have lied about the timing and scope of his contact with the Maltese academic Joseph Mifsud.
There’s only two explanations for the run up and then this moment:
- Mr. McCarthy is a damn fool who does not understand what a guilty plea is.
- Mr. McCarthy is manipulating for sinister gains facts that have already been spoken to.
Let’s back up for a second…a Guilty Plea sometimes means you are pleading guilty to everything you did wrong. A Guilty Plea sometimes means you are pleading guilty to some of the things you did wrong…this happens for myriad reasons. Which McCarthy deliberately (or, did not take the time to learn) ignores. We do not know the reason for Papadopolous’ plea. There has been a lot of speculation for months now. Could he have cooperated? Maybe. Could Mueller have concluded he was just a dumb-kid who got caught up in something larger? Maybe. Could Mueller have concluded that more serious charges against Papa would be difficult to prove, but, he wanted to establish a conviction right off the jump? Maybe.
What McCarthy refers to here as “trivial” is a felony. Now, you can argue all day about how all felonies are not created equal and as a criminal defense attorney I believe one area we need criminal reform to cover is by stretching crime classes into more than just “felony or misdemeanor”…but, that is a cat that will stay in the bag for the purpose of this column. Let’s just be clear though, a felony is never trivial. And, it can not be stated enough, despite McCarthy’s efforts to cloud it, Papadopoulous pled to a felony in a case where clearly the Government was dealing. Not a misdemeanor.
Also, if an MS-13 lad happened to lie to the FBI and the FBI could prove that, and therefore let the MS-13 lad plead guilty only to that charge, while not pursuing more severe criminal charges that would be difficult to prove in exchange for the MS-13 lad giving them information that continued to push the investigation into the overall criminal conspiracy forward…there is no one who would call that guilty plea trivial.
It is a god damned chess piece.
And, just because we don’t yet know how the overall investigation will play out, does not mean, well, let’s just undermine it all.
That is the tactic that McCarthy then launches toward. The rest of the article is a convoluted, and, in the scheme of things, trivial piece that attempts to undermine the Mueller Investigation by arguing that because Papadopolous’ plea was to a lesser offense than the aims of the investigation, the rest of the investigation must therefore be flawed.
The article continues in a path that best can be described as speculation on facts that could go in a couple of different directions, of which we don’t know because the Investigation is not concluded, but, I, Andrew McCarthy, am going to insinuate that there is already a conclusion and that conclusion is flawed.
All of this leading to his own conclusion, which calls back to the opening line:
After nearly two years of collusion banter, Congress needs to find out which of these accounts is closer to the truth.
Spy-Gate was a call for an investigation into the investigation. That blew up when Trey Gowdy of all people didn’t take the ball and run. Now, an investigation into the investigation appears to still be the end goal of conservatives who desperately want a retweet from the President because that certainly brings them more attention than I do. Yet, they need to re-package the material since their previous attempted was shunned.
McCarthy has attempted to do so here in an intellectually dishonest way (or he legitimately is clueless as to what a Guilty Plea is, but, still, there’s a level of intellectual dishonesty even if this were the case, since he would have wrote the damn column without attempting to educate himself) because blindly spinning reality to favor a President who ostensibly can bring your conservative ideals to the forefront is something worth throwing away your integrity for. I guess?
Patience. Learn it. We don’t know how long the Mueller Investigation will take to conclude. And, it’s fine to mock Democrats for their wishful thinking regarding what the possible outcomes might lead to. But, it’s not fine to completely twist facts to imply the investigation should already have concluded in the outcome that you desire.