Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. Gestapo in America? “It Couldn’t Happen Here!”

 

But it did.

I really do need help here as, for the life of me, I simply cannot see the difference between the early morning raid of Mueller’s enforcers in which the picked the lock (let that sink in for a moment) at Paul Manafort’s home, then stood over the “suspect” and his wife holding guns on them (am I overstating the similarity of scenes straight out of the late ’30s?) in bed, as more fuily described in an excellent piece by Andrew C. McCarthy in the National Review this morning:

It was not enough to get a search warrant to ransack the Virginia home of Paul Manafort, even as the former Trump campaign chairman was cooperating with congressional investigators. Mueller’s bad-asses persuaded a judge to give them permission to pick the door lock. That way, they could break into the premises in the wee hours, while Manafort and his wife were in bed sleeping. They proceeded to secure the premises — of a man they are reportedly investigating for tax and financial crimes, not gang murders and Mafia hits — by drawing their guns on the stunned couple, apparently to check their pajamas for weapons.

While I do not profess to have a scintilla of expertise or experience in Federal Criminal Law, McCarthy certainly does, and I have found his writings to be very measured, especially about James Comey, who he considered to be a personal friend from their days in the US Attorney’s office in New York City. And, drawing upon that experience, he details the legal reasons this kind of raid was so outrageous, aside from the very troubling, to put it most euphemistically, image it presents of goons in black uniforms going about the gory business of frightening people into telling them what they want to hear–anything will do:

Mueller’s probe more resembles an empire, with 17 prosecutors retained on the public dime. So . . . what exactly is the crime of the century that requires five times the number of lawyers the Justice Department customarily assigns to crimes of the century? No one can say. The growing firm is clearly scorching the earth, scrutinizing over a decade of Manafort’s shady business dealings, determined to pluck out some white-collar felony or another that they can use to squeeze him.

You are forgiven if you can recall only vaguely that supposition about Trump-campaign collusion in Russian espionage against the 2016 election was the actual explanation for Mueller’s appointment as special counsel. To the extent there was any explanation, that is. Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, a Trump appointee, did not comply with the regulations requiring a description of the crimes Trump’s Justice Department is too conflicted to investigate, purportedly necessitating a quasi-independent special counsel.

The way it’s supposed to work, the Justice Department learns of a crime, so it assigns a prosecutor. To the contrary, this Justice Department assigned a prosecutor — make that: 17 hyper-aggressive prosecutors — and unleashed them to hunt for whatever crime they could find.

If you sense that this cuts against the presumption of innocence, you’re onto something. Because of that presumption, coupled with such other constitutional rights as the Fourth Amendment’s protection against unreasonable police searches, prosecutors are supposed to be measured in the use of their awesome powers, to employ only as much compulsion as seems appropriate under the circumstances. You don’t get a search warrant when a subpoena will do; if you have to get a warrant, you don’t do a covert pre-dawn entry when ringing the bell in the daytime will easily get you in the door.

In various places, our law reflects this common sense. For example, in applying for a wiretap authorization, besides describing the precise crime it suspects, the Justice Department must satisfy the judge that less intrusive techniques for obtaining evidence of similar quality have been attempted, or would be certain to fail if tried. (See section 2518(b) and (c) of the federal penal code.) The point is to instruct investigators that they must exercise restraint. The prosecutorial privilege to act “under color of law” comes with the duty to respect the rights the law guarantees.

Law enforcement is hard and sometimes dangerous work. Thus, there is leeway for officials to make errors in judgment. Without that leeway, they would be too paralyzed to do their jobs, and there would be no rule of law. But when prosecutors and investigators go way overboard just because they can, it is not law enforcement. It is abuse of law-enforcement power in order to intimidate.

There is no other way to interpret the brass-knuckles treatment of Manafort, a subject in a non-violent-crime investigation who is represented by counsel and was cooperating with Congress at the time Mueller’s Gang of 17 chose to break into his home. Did they really think they couldn’t have gotten the stuff they carted out of Manafort’s residence by calling up his well-regarded lawyers and asking for it? After he had already surrendered 300 pages of documents to investigative committees?

So, tell me, other than the fact that Mueller’s goons did not simply fire bullets into the brains of Mr. and Mrs. Manafort, what, exactly is the difference between what happened in that home in the pre-dawn quiet hours in a residential neighborhood in Virginia, and what was happening all over Germany during the horrible times of Krystallnacht and other atrocities?

This is so dangerous and alarming to the future of our freedoms and liberties that I intend to send the McCarthy piece to my Senators and Congressman, although the most I can hope for from my Senators, one in particular, he of Graham-Cassidy fame, is a form letter about rice acreage allotments for the coming year.

Is it just me, being an alarmist, and seeing this entire “Special” Counsel development as an in-your-face charade masking an actual coup of our Government?

There are 39 comments.

  1. Aaron Miller Member
    Aaron Miller Joined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    Steyn belabors the point but says much the same. He is right that it is the responsibility of AG Jeff Sessions and by extension President Trump to rein in the unlawful behavior of federal investigators, prosecutors, and judges.

    • #1
    • September 23, 2017, at 8:15 AM PDT
    • 2 likes
  2. Columbo Member

    Fire Mueller. For this jack-booted thuggery alone.

    • #2
    • September 23, 2017, at 8:19 AM PDT
    • 7 likes
  3. Hoyacon Member

    And let’s not forget the Ted Stevens prosecution by Justice (what’s in a name?), which ruined an innocent man’s life.

    • #3
    • September 23, 2017, at 8:20 AM PDT
    • 4 likes
  4. Bob Thompson Member

    Aaron Miller (View Comment):
    Steyn belabors the point, but says much the same. And he’s right that it is the responsibility of AG Jeff Sessions and by extension President Trump to rein in the unlawful behavior of federal prosecutors and judges.

    Wouldn’t it be up to the Republican-led Congress to take action with regard to the judges?

    • #4
    • September 23, 2017, at 8:25 AM PDT
    • Like
  5. Jim George Member
    Jim George

    Bob Thompson (View Comment):

    Aaron Miller (View Comment):
    Steyn belabors the point, but says much the same. And he’s right that it is the responsibility of AG Jeff Sessions and by extension President Trump to rein in the unlawful behavior of federal prosecutors and judges.

    Wouldn’t it be up to the Republican-led Congress to take action with regard to the judges?

    Good luck with getting that gang of campaign-promisers/non-performing wimps to do anything which requires taking a public (gasp! eek!) stand on anything!

    • #5
    • September 23, 2017, at 8:29 AM PDT
    • 10 likes
  6. Fake John/Jane Galt Coolidge

    Welcome to America. Where have you guys been?

    How can you live in this country and not understand that what Mueller is doing is just standard operating procedure for how the law works? All that rhetoric about protecting people’s “rights” is just an illusion sold to the masses for their own contentment. If the law wants you they will get you, guilt has very little to do with it, justice even less. The only thing that can help you in this country is money and power. Trump has a target on his back. The law is going to drag him down or as many of his people as they can get. The only question is does Trump have enough money and power to stop it.

    • #6
    • September 23, 2017, at 8:45 AM PDT
    • 11 likes
  7. Robert McReynolds Inactive

    Yes, tyranny is the order of the day in this, the land of the free.

    • #7
    • September 23, 2017, at 8:48 AM PDT
    • 7 likes
  8. Bob Thompson Member

    Fake John/Jane Galt (View Comment):
    Welcome to America. Where have you guys been?

    How can you live in this country and not understand that what Mueller is doing is just standard operating procedure for how the law works? All that rhetoric about protecting people’s “rights” is just an illusion sold to the masses for their own contentment. If the law wants you they will get you, guilt has very little to do with it, justice even less. The only thing that can help you in this country is money and power. Trump has a target on his back. The law is going to drag him down or as many of his people as they can get. The only question is does he have enough money and power to stop it.

    I say this is why Trump needs to act on this. Most of the time this type of action is not done so much in the clear.

    • #8
    • September 23, 2017, at 8:53 AM PDT
    • 2 likes
  9. Bob Thompson Member

    Fake John/Jane Galt (View Comment):
    The law is going to drag him down or as many of his people as they can get.

    You mean this in the sense of lawyers and policemen not statutes, right?

    • #9
    • September 23, 2017, at 9:06 AM PDT
    • 1 like
  10. Aaron Miller Member
    Aaron Miller Joined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    Jim George (View Comment):

    Bob Thompson (View Comment):

    Aaron Miller (View Comment):
    Steyn belabors the point, but says much the same. And he’s right that it is the responsibility of AG Jeff Sessions and by extension President Trump to rein in the unlawful behavior of federal prosecutors and judges.

    Wouldn’t it be up to the Republican-led Congress to take action with regard to the judges?

    Good luck with getting that gang of campaign-promisers/non-performing wimps to do anything which requires taking a public (gasp! eek!) stand on anything!

    Yes, impeachment is the process of removing judges. It is rarely employed. The President’s role in that regard is to promote truly lawful judges when openings are available and to employ the bully pulpit to force the hands of Congress.

    But mostly, Trump needs to clean house at the DoJ, FBI, etc. It will then be up to Congress and journalists to ensure the people Trump chooses as replacements merit the positions.

    Checks and balances, what a concept!

    • #10
    • September 23, 2017, at 9:06 AM PDT
    • 3 likes
  11. Robert McReynolds Inactive

    Bob Thompson (View Comment):

    Fake John/Jane Galt (View Comment):
    The law is going to drag him down or as many of his people as they can get.

    You mean this in the sense of lawyers and policemen not statutes, right?

    It’s the sense of how the lawyers and cops construe those statutes.

    • #11
    • September 23, 2017, at 9:19 AM PDT
    • 2 likes
  12. Profile Photo Member

    Holding a gun on a criminal target’s wife is about as far as you can get from the FBI’s “Immunity for everyone!” standard during the Hillary investigation.

    • #12
    • September 23, 2017, at 9:22 AM PDT
    • 8 likes
  13. Robert McReynolds Inactive

    You know the best way to solve this? Don’t fund them. They cannot operate without money. But in the end, nothing will change so I will just keep stockpiling for when the day of revolution comes.

    • #13
    • September 23, 2017, at 9:29 AM PDT
    • 4 likes
  14. Bob Thompson Member

    Robert McReynolds (View Comment):

    Bob Thompson (View Comment):

    Fake John/Jane Galt (View Comment):
    The law is going to drag him down or as many of his people as they can get.

    You mean this in the sense of lawyers and policemen not statutes, right?

    It’s the sense of how the lawyers and cops construe those statutes.

    You mean trending toward Gestapo construction?

    • #14
    • September 23, 2017, at 9:33 AM PDT
    • Like
  15. Hoyacon Member

    Robert McReynolds (View Comment):

    Bob Thompson (View Comment):

    Fake John/Jane Galt (View Comment):
    The law is going to drag him down or as many of his people as they can get.

    You mean this in the sense of lawyers and policemen not statutes, right?

    It’s the sense of how the lawyers and cops construe those statutes.

    Unfortunately, people don’t get promotions for not making cases. Once the low hanging fruit is behind bars, it’s time to look “elsewhere.”

    • #15
    • September 23, 2017, at 9:44 AM PDT
    • Like
  16. Arahant Member

    One needs to remember that such groups as Mussolini’s black-shirts and the Nazi brown-shirts were inspired by an American group during Wilson’s administration. You think this is new to America? Look up the American Protective League and also check out the Palmer Raids.

    History is no excuse, and I am certainly not excusing it. Just pointing out that we have always had to be on guard for these sorts of over-reach.

    • #16
    • September 23, 2017, at 9:45 AM PDT
    • 10 likes
  17. Robert McReynolds Inactive

    Hoyacon (View Comment):

    Robert McReynolds (View Comment):

    Bob Thompson (View Comment):

    Fake John/Jane Galt (View Comment):
    The law is going to drag him down or as many of his people as they can get.

    You mean this in the sense of lawyers and policemen not statutes, right?

    It’s the sense of how the lawyers and cops construe those statutes.

    Unfortunately, people don’t get promotions for not making cases. Once the low hanging fruit is behind bars, it’s time to look “elsewhere.”

    Well when you make everything potentially illegal, then it’s hard not to make a case for illegal acts.

    Edit: I just saw the typo.

    • #17
    • September 23, 2017, at 10:29 AM PDT
    • 1 like
  18. Bob Thompson Member

    Robert McReynolds (View Comment):

    Hoyacon (View Comment):

    Robert McReynolds (View Comment):

    Bob Thompson (View Comment):

    Fake John/Jane Galt (View Comment):
    The law is going to drag him down or as many of his people as they can get.

    You mean this in the sense of lawyers and policemen not statutes, right?

    It’s the sense of how the lawyers and cops construe those statutes.

    Unfortunately, people don’t get promotions for not making cases. Once the low hanging fruit is behind bars, it’s time to look “elsewhere.”

    Well when you make everything potentially illegal, then it’s hard to to make a case for illegal acts.

    Do you mean ‘not hard’?

    • #18
    • September 23, 2017, at 10:32 AM PDT
    • 1 like
  19. Robert McReynolds Inactive

    Arahant (View Comment):

    One needs to remember that such groups as Mussolini’s black-shirts and the Nazi brown-shirts were inspired by an American group during Wilson’s administration. You think this is new to America? Look up the American Protective League and also check out the Palmer Raids.

    History is no excuse, and I am certainly not excusing it. Just pointing out that we have always had to be on guard for these sorts of over-reach.

    One could go back to the Alien and Sedition Acts too, but then we had people willing to advocate state nullification.

    • #19
    • September 23, 2017, at 10:33 AM PDT
    • 1 like
  20. Arahant Member

    Robert McReynolds (View Comment):
    One could go back to the Alien and Sedition Acts too, but then we had people willing to advocate state nullification.

    That act crossed my mind as I was writing the comment.

    • #20
    • September 23, 2017, at 10:42 AM PDT
    • Like
  21. PHCheese Member

    People in authority over step their bounds all the time and everywhere. It is the nature of the beast. School teachers, DMV clerks, TSA agents, IRS agents, police, to name a few can sometimes push their weight around. I have personally been attempted to be intimidated by two different federal agencies. Fortunately I kept a pitt bull lawyer on retainer.

    • #21
    • September 23, 2017, at 12:06 PM PDT
    • 2 likes
  22. Jim George Member
    Jim George

    PHCheese (View Comment):
    People in authority over step their bounds all the time and everywhere. It is the nature of the beast. School teachers, DMV clerks, TSA agents, IRS agents, police, to name a few can sometimes push their weight around. I have personally been attempted to be intimidated by two different federal agencies. Fortunately I kept a pitt bull lawyer on retainer.

    All true, but as a lawyer who spent most of his adult life in various Courtrooms and, from time to time, served as a client’s pit bull (alas, never on retainer, as I was on the plaintiff side of the Scales of Justice!), but all of the classes of people/Government/etc. rarely ever act so openly in total disregard of all norms of prosecutorial conduct, most of which, in this case to be sure, were totally unnecessary– for instance, holding a gun on Mrs. Manafort while she was in her nightclothes? Seriously? I refuse to accept the idea that this is all “in the ordinary course of business” as it is most assuredly not in any way, shape or form anything but the kind of conduct one sees in a Police State. However, I must also add that I appreciated your comment and hope the conversation continues. I also hope many constituents will inform their “representatives”, which I must, out of a sense of accuracy, put in quotation marks, of this incident and demand that steps be taken to fire Mueller and everyone of his 17 goons. Thanks again, Jim

    • #22
    • September 23, 2017, at 12:27 PM PDT
    • 4 likes
  23. Gary Robbins Reagan

    Not only did a federal judge have to approve the search warrant, but also had to specifically approve the “no knock” provision. If it is a drug smuggling case, that is to prevent evidence from being flushed down the toilet; but in a financial fraud case, it could be to prevent the suspect to erase their computer memory with a push of a button.

    • #23
    • September 23, 2017, at 2:34 PM PDT
    • Like
  24. Bob Thompson Member

    Gary Robbins (View Comment):
    Not only did a federal judge have to approve the search warrant, but also had to specifically approve the “no knock” provision. If it is a drug smuggling case, that is to prevent evidence from being flushed down the toilet; but in a financial fraud case, it could be to prevent the suspect to erase their computer memory with a push of a button.

    Has Paul Manafort been identified as a criminal suspect in a financial fraud case? And if he has, are these kinds of investigations secret even when a Special Counsel has been appointed to investigate?

    • #24
    • September 23, 2017, at 2:50 PM PDT
    • 3 likes
  25. Muleskinner, Weasel Wrangler Member

    Gary Robbins (View Comment):
    Not only did a federal judge have to approve the search warrant, but also had to specifically approve the “no knock” provision. If it is a drug smuggling case, that is to prevent evidence from being flushed down the toilet; but in a financial fraud case, it could be to prevent the suspect to erase their computer memory with a push of a button.

    Except computer memory can’t be erased with a push of a button, or wiped like with a cloth.

    • #25
    • September 23, 2017, at 3:27 PM PDT
    • 5 likes
  26. PHCheese Member

    Jim George (View Comment):

    PHCheese (View Comment):
    People in authority over step their bounds all the time and everywhere. It is the nature of the beast. School teachers, DMV clerks, TSA agents, IRS agents, police, to name a few can sometimes push their weight around. I have personally been attempted to be intimidated by two different federal agencies. Fortunately I kept a pitt bull lawyer on retainer.

    All true, but as a lawyer who spent most of his adult life in various Courtrooms and, from time to time, served as a client’s pit bull (alas, never on retainer, as I was on the plaintiff side of the Scales of Justice!), but all of the classes of people/Government/etc. rarely ever act so openly in total disregard of all norms of prosecutorial conduct, most of which, in this case to be sure, were totally unnecessary– for instance, holding a gun on Mrs. Manafort while she was in her nightclothes? Seriously? I refuse to accept the idea that this is all “in the ordinary course of business” as it is most assuredly not in any way, shape or form anything but the kind of conduct one sees in a Police State. However, I must also add that I appreciated your comment and hope the conversation continues. I also hope many constituents will inform their “representatives”, which I must, out of a sense of accuracy, put in quotation marks, of this incident and demand that steps be taken to fire Mueller and everyone of his 17 goons. Thanks again, Jim

    Jim, I am thinking of events like Ruby Ridge, Waco, and dozens of other like events a lot less publicized. I am not by any stretch condoning these. I also think but for the second amendment they would be much more frequent. Manafort could have easily been injured by some trigger happy cowboy agent. As is said power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely. This is where Mueller now thinks he is. Time will tell.

    • #26
    • September 23, 2017, at 3:43 PM PDT
    • 2 likes
  27. Richard Easton Member

    PHCheese (View Comment):

    Jim George (View Comment):

    PHCheese (View Comment):
    People in authority over step their bounds all the time and everywhere. It is the nature of the beast. School teachers, DMV clerks, TSA agents, IRS agents, police, to name a few can sometimes push their weight around. I have personally been attempted to be intimidated by two different federal agencies. Fortunately I kept a pitt bull lawyer on retainer.

    All true, but as a lawyer who spent most of his adult life in various Courtrooms and, from time to time, served as a client’s pit bull (alas, never on retainer, as I was on the plaintiff side of the Scales of Justice!), but all of the classes of people/Government/etc. rarely ever act so openly in total disregard of all norms of prosecutorial conduct, most of which, in this case to be sure, were totally unnecessary– for instance, holding a gun on Mrs. Manafort while she was in her nightclothes? Seriously? I refuse to accept the idea that this is all “in the ordinary course of business” as it is most assuredly not in any way, shape or form anything but the kind of conduct one sees in a Police State. However, I must also add that I appreciated your comment and hope the conversation continues. I also hope many constituents will inform their “representatives”, which I must, out of a sense of accuracy, put in quotation marks, of this incident and demand that steps be taken to fire Mueller and everyone of his 17 goons. Thanks again, Jim

    Jim, I am thinking of events like Ruby Ridge, Waco, and dozens of other like events a lot less publicized. I am not by any stretch condoning these. I also think but for the second amendment they would be much more frequent. Manafort could have easily been injured by some trigger happy cowboy agent. As is said power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely. This is where Mueller now thinks he is. Time will tell.

    In Waco, the ATF could have arrested Koresh when he was out jogging or visiting the town. But they had a scandal (sex?) in 1992 and were trying to justify their existence.

    • #27
    • September 23, 2017, at 3:53 PM PDT
    • 2 likes
  28. PHCheese Member

    Richard, was the sex scandal involving Chelsea Clinton”s mother ( according to John McCain’s joke) Janet Reno ?

    • #28
    • September 23, 2017, at 6:01 PM PDT
    • 1 like
  29. DocJay Inactive

    Richard Easton (View Comment):

    PHCheese (View Comment):

    Jim George (View Comment):

    PHCheese (View Comment):
    People in authority over step their bounds all the time and everywhere. It is the nature of the beast. School teachers, DMV clerks, TSA agents, IRS agents, police, to name a few can sometimes push their weight around. I have personally been attempted to be intimidated by two different federal agencies. Fortunately I kept a pitt bull lawyer on retainer.

    All true, but as a lawyer who spent most of his adult life in various Courtrooms and, from time to time, served as a client’s pit bull (alas, never on retainer, as I was on the plaintiff side of the Scales of Justice!), but all of the classes of people/Government/etc. rarely ever act so openly in total disregard of all norms of prosecutorial conduct, most of which, in this case to be sure, were totally unnecessary– for instance, holding a gun on Mrs. Manafort while she was in her nightclothes? Seriously? I refuse to accept the idea that this is all “in the ordinary course of business” as it is most assuredly not in any way, shape or form anything but the kind of conduct one sees in a Police State. However, I must also add that I appreciated your comment and hope the conversation continues. I also hope many constituents will inform their “representatives”, which I must, out of a sense of accuracy, put in quotation marks, of this incident and demand that steps be taken to fire Mueller and everyone of his 17 goons. Thanks again, Jim

    Jim, I am thinking of events like Ruby Ridge, Waco, and dozens of other like events a lot less publicized. I am not by any stretch condoning these. I also think but for the second amendment they would be much more frequent. Manafort could have easily been injured by some trigger happy cowboy agent. As is said power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely. This is where Mueller now thinks he is. Time will tell.

    In Waco, the ATF could have arrested Koresh when he was out jogging or visiting the town. But they had a scandal (sex?) in 1992 and were trying to justify their existence.

    ATF deserves zero respect. They plant evidence.

    Our intelligence services have become political and lost their way.

    • #29
    • September 23, 2017, at 6:06 PM PDT
    • 3 likes
  30. Fake John/Jane Galt Coolidge

    Gary Robbins (View Comment):
    Not only did a federal judge have to approve the search warrant, but also had to specifically approve the “no knock” provision. If it is a drug smuggling case, that is to prevent evidence from being flushed down the toilet; but in a financial fraud case, it could be to prevent the suspect to erase their computer memory with a push of a button.

    But mainly done so these guys can get their rocks off intimidating people, scaring them to make a mistake that can be used against them. There point of these types of things is to scare the family, maybe break it so they can get a little bit of something to spin into a case. Put the pressure on or maybe just for bumps and giggles to show the perp and the world how small they are and the awesome force that is being wielded against them.

    • #30
    • September 23, 2017, at 8:27 PM PDT
    • Like