Author Archives: Scott Johnson

What we know & what we don’t

Featured image Over the weekend President Trump triggered a nuclear tweetstorm claiming that he had been wiretapped by President Obama. I tried to summarize the underlying facts in the story so far. It’s a story that has been out there in one form or another since this past November. What’s going on? Weekly Standard editor Stephen Hayes turns to this question in the carefully reported account “Trump’s wiretap claims: What we know »

The Cotton proviso

Featured image Appearing on FOX News Sunday with Chris Wallace this morning, Senator Tom Cotton splashed cold water on the report that the Obama administration was granted a FISA court warrant this past October giving counterintelligence permission to examine the activities of “U.S. persons” in Donald Trump’s campaign with ties to Russia. This after a June 2016 request for a FISA warrant was supposedly denied. He hasn’t seen any evidence supporting the »

The story so far

Featured image In the run-up to the election Louise Mensch broke the story that the Obama Justice Department and federal law enforcement authorities had obtained a Trump-related FISA warrant in October following the denial of an earlier FISA warrant request the previous June. Subsequent reports lent credence to Mensch’s story. On its way out the door the Obama administration trashed the “minimization” procedures protecting the privacy of American citizens caught in the »

The scene at Middlebury

Featured image I was in the audience when William Rusher and William Shockley took the stage of an auditorium to debate at Yale in the spring of 1974. I arrived early knowing it would be difficult to get a seat and waited patiently for the event to begin. My patience was not rewarded, however, as the event was shouted down. The fascist aura in the auditorium and on the street among the »

Cedric the congressman: Not funny

Featured image Rep. Cedric Richmond of Louisiana’s Second District is no Cedric the Entertainer, but he’s trying. He was trying to be funny when he disparaged Kellyanne Conway with a vile sexual innuendo at the Washington Press Club Foundation Wednesday night (video below). Looking around online for a video to verify the quote, I found New Orleans Times-Picayune columnist Jarvis DeBerry’s decent assessment of Richmond’s remark in “Cedric Richmond owes Kellyanne Conway »

Too much of nothing

Featured image Do you ever get the feeling there is an elaborate game underway? That the elite media are working overtime on behalf of their political teammates? That to do so they have created something out of nothing? That they themselves have succumbed to the hysteria they seek to foment among us? The Washington Post has devoted six reporters to the story reporting that then Senator Sessions had two meetings with the »

Fake news: A case study, cont’d

Featured image In “Fake news: A case study,” I cited and quoted Lee Smith’s Weekly Standard column reporting on the resignation of Rumana Ahamed from the NSC staff. Ahmed claimed in a well publicized piece for the Atlantic to have resigned in protest from the staff of the NSC as a matter of principled opposition to President Trump. Smith called out Ahmed and the Atlantic for promulgating fake news. The Atlantic took »

Thoughts from the ammo line

Featured image Taking the view from Sunset Boulevard, Ammo Grrrll has visions of CRAZY CHRISTIANS. She writes: Turn on a television crime drama. Here is a scenario that occurs with nauseating regularity: The investigators go to the house of a person of interest in the murder of a young girl. The timid woman who answers the door is wearing a cross. Uh-oh. That’s called a “clue.” I always turn to Mr. AG »

The confusion of the Dems [updated]

Featured image W atching President Trump’s speech to the joint session of Congress this past Tuesday evening, one could not help but be struck by the reactions of the Democrats. As Trump hewed closely to a largely patriotic and inspirational tone, he sowed confusion. They went in thinking that their hysteria would carry the day, but nothing in Trump’s performance supported them. They didn’t know quite how to react. Their confusion was »

The Sessions connection

Featured image Today’s skirmish in the war on the nascent Trump administration is the Washington Post’s “Sessions met with Russian envoy twice last year, encounters he later did not disclose.” The Post reports that Attorney General Sessions met with the Russian ambassador twice last year while the presidential campaign was in progress, once in July and once in September. The second such meeting took place in Senator Sessions’s Senate office. Senator Sessions »

A face in the crowd

Featured image The response to presidential addresses such as President Trump’s address to the joint session of Congress last night is inherently difficult, if not impossible. That may explain why the Democrats turned to former Kentucky governor Steve Beshear to deliver the Democratic response in a diner surrounded by ordinary Kentucky citizens. Governor Beshear’s response recalled Andy Griffith doing his cracker barrel/man of the people shtick as “Lonesome” Rhodes in A Face »

The face of sacrifice

Featured image The emotional high point of President Trump’s address to the joint session of Congress last night came when he recognized the presence of Carryn Owens, the widow of slain Navy SEAL William “Ryan” Owens (video below). The speech had several emotional moments, but this was certainly the emotional high point of such speeches going back many years. In Mrs. Owens David French sees “The face of sacrifice.” Mark Hemingway observes »

Out of order

Featured image Something tells me that if California state senator Janet Nguyen were a liberal espousing the sacramental view of abortion or the fictitious evils of Jeff Sessions she would be an overnight sensation. As it is, Senator Nguyen’s removal from the state senate chamber when she sought to take issue with her colleagues’ recent tribute to the late Tom Hayden remains something of a secret. Senator Nguyen is not inclined to »

Fake news: A case study

Featured image You may have read about the former Obama White House staffer who resigned from the Trump White House after only eight days. Rumana Ahmed thought she should “try to stay on the NSC staff during the Trump Administration” she wrote at the Atlantic last week, “in order to give the new president and his aides a more nuanced view of Islam, and of America’s Muslim citizens.” But then, according to »

Understanding the administrative state

Featured image For the 20-plus years my friend Bruce Sanborn served as chairman of the Claremont Institute, we attended the annual meeting of the America Political Science Association over Labor Day weekend. At the APSA convention we attended the panels sponsored by the Claremont Institute. It was our idea of a good time. In those panels we heard a lot about “the administrative state,” frequently from Professor John Marini. Professor Marini had »

And the best picture is…

Featured image Like John and Steve, I will be doing something else during the Academy Awards broadcast tonight. Unlike them, however, I would like to put in a good word for a few of the movies that are up for the Best Picture award tonight. For personal reasons you would understand, I set out to see each of the nine Academy Award Best Picture nominees this year. I don’t think I have »

Perez defeats Ellison

Featured image Democratic National Committee members meeting in Atlanta this afternoon elected former Obama administration Secretary Tom Perez their new chairman. Perez defeated Minnesota Fifth District Rep. Keith Ellison on the second ballot by a vote of 235-200. Ellison picked up no votes on the second ballot after Perez fell one short of winning outright the first time around. Jonathan Martin does a good job reporting the story for the Times here. »