Framing a guilty President-Elect

A dialog between conservative lawyers, one certifiable Never-Trumpish, the other too new to me for me to say, on the FBI’s counter-intelligence investigation of the Trump campaign:

French: Do you think they thought it was gonna all come out fine because they believed they were gonna have the goods, and they were going to be the team that exposed it? Ummm. Because you know, when you have a successful prosecution — let’s say you send a Gotti to jail — there are often elements of that prosecution that are bad. You’ll have suppression motions that evidence was collected unconstitutionally, you’ll have a henchman who walks because that prosecution was so bad — whatever. But the fundamental bottom-line story is “We got him,” and everyone who’s involved in that is a hero … And it just feels to me like this is the kind of thing you do when you are pretty darn sure that you know what the ultimate outcome is going to be.

Isgur: Well, let me use a more concerning example. I have worked on cases where defendants, including one who was on death row, [were] framed. Prosecutors and police don’t frame people who they believe to be innocent — at least I have not seen that happen. They hide evidence or manufacture evidence against people they believe to be guilty. I have no doubt in reading all of this that they truly believed that this was true and it was just a matter of proving it. They were not using these investigative techniques against innocent people …

French: Well, let me make another argument for my theory about the malignancy of the Steele Dossier … If you look at the alacrity with which the ratcheted up the effort to get the Carter Page FISA after they got the Steele Dossier — I have long thought that what the Steele Dossier did effectively was create the blueprint of what they were going to prove ….

David French and Sarah Isgur in the inaugural episode of the new Advisory Opinions podcast from The Dispatch.

I think French and Isgur are right (and that their new podcast is very promising — better than one French did with Alexandra DeSanctis, not a lawyer, at NRO), and I think so largely for my convictions about human nature — essentially what Isgur says about prosecutors and police.

I also coincidentally read a review of Clint Eastwood’s new movie Richard Jewel that posits that it has no heroes and no villains — just ordinary people doing their jobs (and making life hellish for an innocent oddball). Then I read another that makes it a parable of the Russiagate investigation, with Trump being the oddball who ipso facto was guilty.

That Trump seemed such an oddball that he must be guilty (and that “oddball” is massively understated) rings emotionally true, but I’ll withhold judgment on whether Clint Eastwood is so clairvoyant that he’d make a parable based on Trump’s innocence, which was not then manifest (even if you think it is now).

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Sailing on the sea of this present life, I think of the ocean of my many offenses; and not having a pilot for my thoughts, I call to Thee with the cry of Peter, save me, O Christ! Save me, O God! For Thou art the lover of mankind.

(From A Psalter for Prayer)

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