Irritants XXIV

Unbelievable…well, maybe not given its leader’s questionable relationship with legality, and disgusting, and politicized, and erosion of the law, and unprecedented according to experts in the field. In case you haven’t guessed yet, this is about the freeing, last week, of the Turkey-propagandist and former Trump national security advisor Michael Flynn. The ludicrous excuse trotted out for letting this traitorous former high-ranking military man go is that the FBI had conversations about how to approach his questioning. These conversations sound to me like they must happen in many investigations, so I suppose soon the real criminals (though not yet found guilty) leading the US Department of Justice (DOJ) will be releasing many convicts because of such conversations. C’mon! It’s clear this William Barr guy, head of the DOJ, is more of a Trump hack than the respectable leader he seemed to be earlier in his career. So now we have a guy being let off who has had dubious dealings with Russia (dealings that I can’t help but wonder might have correlated to Trump’s own questionable relationship with Russia). And who’s letting him off? Another Trump hack who has decimated the DOJ (another example of letting offenders off is the case built against Walmart for its culpability in the opioid crisis that was never pursued to its conclusion because of political pressure through the DOJ), the consequences of which will probably be felt for years to come in the form of reduced capacity to prosecute high-level criminals.

Another example of Trump administration malfeasance from last week is the quashing of the detailed guidance document prepared by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) for the reopening of businesses after the COVID-19 shutdowns. At least one state governor has asked for it so they can proceed as wisely as possible. By doing so, Trump can only be attempting to mask his incompetent handling of the pandemic. The scientifically-medically unfounded statements made repeatedly by Trump throughout the COVID-19 crisis make this latest act of malfeasance unsurprising. Trump is more interested in not looking bad than providing accurate, helpful and healthful guidance to the citizens he supposedly represents who are trying to cope with the realities imposed by a pandemic but can’t because of the lousy information emanating from the White House.

Getting back to Trump, another rankling scenario harks back to when Trump’s impeachment process had not yet run its full course, but had gotten to the Senate. You might remember a whole hullabaloo over whether additional witnesses should be called. Trump’s boot-licking senators argued that the House of Representatives had presented a “weak case,” and it was not their obligation to strengthen it. The irony and self-fulfilling aspect of that argument is that any deficiencies that may have existed in the case presented by the House were extensively due to Trump’s PREVENTING various individuals from testifying and not complying with document requests and subpoenas. So we had a situation where Trump was presented as “innocent” because he prevented the production of evidence which was then used as an excuse to block the presentation of that very same evidence and witnesses. Couple that with the crass tactic of trying to distract the public’s attention from Trump’s misdeeds by alleging wrongdoing by former Vice-President and current Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden. There was no substance to those allegations. But, even if it merited attention, then the Senate should have “investigated” it as a separate issue. Using it to muddle the impeachment process was an example of how low some electeds will stoop. It gives politics a very bad name. Republicans’ behavior throughout the impeachment process was arguably the lowest ebb of American democracy. The icing on the cake, from an Armenian perspective, was that many in our community supported Trump and his minions. These are the same people who usually see through the veils of smoke put up by crooked government officials in all countries to which Armenians have been scattered, including our homeland. Yet in this case, they chose to turn a blind eye to the actions of the worst president the US has ever had.

Garen Yegparian

Garen Yegparian

Asbarez Columnist
Garen Yegparian is a fat, bald guy who has too much to say and do for his own good. So, you know he loves mouthing off weekly about anything he damn well pleases to write about that he can remotely tie in to things Armenian. He's got a checkered past: principal of an Armenian school, project manager on a housing development, ANC-WR Executive Director, AYF Field worker (again on the left coast), Operations Director for a telecom startup, and a City of LA employee most recently (in three different departments so far). Plus, he's got delusions of breaking into electoral politics, meanwhile participating in other aspects of it and making sure to stay in trouble. His is a weekly column that appears originally in Asbarez, but has been republished to the Armenian Weekly for many years.
Garen Yegparian

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1 Comment

  1. Garen,

    Let’s put aside what one thinks of Trump. For that matter, let’s also put aside the unsavory fact that General Flynn cashed in big on his former status and shilled for Turkey shamelessly. Let’s just focus on what the FBI did to him, an American citizen, and why.

    If you consider yourself a civil libertarian, you should care any time any part of the government oppresses anyone. I analyze the facts as a former law enforcement officer and current lawyer. You write as someone who hates Trump without recognizing that people who share your political views could be victimized too.

    The FBI has jurisdiction over federal crimes. It opened the crossfire hurricane investigation to look into crimes involving Russians or American contacts with those Russians. That is fair enough.

    However, the agents decided to focus on Flynn. Not just any agents, but one in particular with an admitted and documented personal animus against Trump – Peter Strzok. By animus I do not mean that he voted for HRC. His texts andactions show animus. Strzok demanded that the Flynn piece be kept open after the line agents decided to close it for want of evidence. Doesn’t that bother you? It should.

    One of the agents involved in the Flynn interview documented his professional qualms about it, as was revealed three weeks ago. He questioned the ethics of a perjury trap. Other agents reportedly felt that Flynn had not intended to deceive when he denied the call with the Russian ambassador.

    There are other aspects of this investigation which should make civil libertarians cringe. We have heard Jim Comey essentially bragging that he took advantage of Flynn by sending agents down without going through WH counsel, which is the norm.

    What were they investigating as to Flynn? They knew exactly what Flynn said to the Russian Ambassador because the call was recorded. No part of the call was improper or evidence of a crime. They were there to cultivate a lie.

    Yes, Flynn pled. We have many reports and studies showing that innocent people plead. Flynn’s lawyers briefs make the case that he pled to spare his son from being charged.

    You attack Barr without reason. He asked a US Attorney (Jensen) to investigate the Flynn case and the report he received indicated that the investigation was legally void from the start.

    As someone who writes for the public, you should defend civil liberties, even when wielded by a shill for Turkey. Amot kezee for losing sight of the bigger issue – the right of Americans not to be hounded by unscrupulous government agents. Popular ideas and people do not need civil liberties.

    You need to separate your animus against Trump and Flynn, which I do not begrudge you, from assessing rationally if Flynn was abused. I vote yes. He was.

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