Midnight at the Democracy Dies in Darkness Café
The Democracy Dies in Darkness Café is located conveniently near the Capitol, the Hill and the FBI headquarters. It’s open all night and I stopped in for a late-night coffee with my friend, a fiction novelist who was depressed. “I spent a year writing about a coup attempt against an outsider who by strategic brilliance defeated the handpicked candidate of a cabal of establishment powerhouses. It involved the highest officials of the FBI and Department of Justice. They manipulated a FISA Court into letting them electronically surveil the candidate and all who worked with him, unmasked their names, leaked what they found, and they still couldn’t beat him. Then they engineered the recusal of the attorney general, got his deputy to appoint their bestest pal to be special counsel. Given free rein, he hired fierce partisans of the defeated candidate, used the ill-gotten information against her opponents to prosecute three people with minimal connection to the campaign -- one for a dubious process crime dependent on the notes of an FBI agent who had earlier orchestrated lies about Benghazi, covered up for the misuse of classified information by the losing candidate, and oversaw the investigation into the president.”
“Sounds great,” I said, so why are you depressed?”
“Every publisher I sent it to rejected it as being too implausible to sell to readers.”
It was hard to talk much as the place was rocking. There was a private room to the side, packed with white collar criminal defense counsels drinking champagne and downing tenderloin. Every single one of them had fat retainers to defend the accused, the top brass of the FBI and former Department of Justice officials.
In another corner sat a well-known "women’s advocate" (against Republicans only) and her daughter. They looked morose, probably because it had just been revealed that donations had been sought to pay “victims” of the president, as if paying them to come forward publicly wasn’t paying them to lie. In any event, those they found had offered up stories so weak as to be risible, like the gal who claimed he’d seen her when she was in a robe, whining that she was naked under it. I mean aren’t we all naked under our clothing? And it didn’t escape attention that a few moments later she was going on a catwalk in a string bikini under which she was still naked.
At the bar sat what were a group of FBI agents belting down drinks at a rapid pace. They were talking so softly in all that din I could barely hear them.
“Why was the judge recused in the Flynn case?” asked one. “Isn’t he one of the judges on the FISA court?”
“Do you suppose the Inspector General asked him why the warrant was issued? Do you think they’re onto the fact the phony Dossier was the basis and the likelihood that the cases may have to be ditched because they were the fruit of an illegal search?”
Another piped up, “Judge Sullivan is now handling the Flynn case. Remember how furious he was about all the shenanigans we pulled in the Ted Stevens case?”
“How much longer are we going to get away with refusing to do video interrogations and relying on 302 agent recollections -- which in the Stevens case were written years later and backdated or never written at all if they were exculpatory, and in the Lewis Libby case were in conflict with the recollections of the second agent who was present?
"We all loved it when It was only our word against theirs. I’m sure that’s about to end. Hell, it’s hard enough to get anyone to even talk to us without a lawyer these days except when they are off guard and think the visit is about some other thing altogether.”
“How much longer after this mess will the FBI even have a counterintelligence portfolio? I mean those who have been arguing for years that the two missions are incompatible -- one is to prosecute crimes and the other to keep track of foreign threats? Using the instruments of surveillance to play politics should finally end it. Heck, that's what I thought after Garland, Texas, where to keep his cover, the idiot agent did nothing to stop the jihadis from trying to murder people.”
I had to move my chair to the other side of the table we were sitting at. The folks at the media table were so sloshed they were falling on the floor next to me mumbling stuff about fake news and the folly of using Adam Schiff as a source.
And then a dozen Congressmen walked in with their staffs trying desperately to console them They sat down and it was clear they were working to help their top staff find new jobs after they were going to resign as the sex harassment slush fund story was due to break. “Frankly, “observed one, it’s going to be hard to do. You can be sure there are no slots you can get in this Administration, the NGO’s are suffering cutbacks, the press is laying off people, the Democrat lobbyists aren’t hiring. If our replacements don’t hire you, maybe Amazon needs drivers.”
Equally morose was the passel of “public interest” honchos who fear the new tax law, which reduces the incentive to make contributions, would shutter their doors or at least trim their sails, the “green” operations who were cut off from the old EPA sue-and-settle scam, and the professional race baiters and agitators no longer being financed by the CFPB.
It wasn’t all sadness and gloom, though. The gang in the MAGA hats were having a great time of it.