Monday, November 19, 2018

Fake News, Real News, Hot News

On the Fake News front we have some depressing real news--or, as real as polling gets:

John Hinderaker at Powerline, in The Ultimate Fake News, digs down into a poll run by The Economist/YouGov during the first week of November. The poll asked: Did Russia “tamper with vote tallies in order to get Donald Trump elected President?” Hinderaker points out what every sentient human person now knows for fact:
There is no evidence–I repeat, none–that Russia “tampered with vote tallies.” To my knowledge, no one has claimed that Russia tampered with vote tallies. I am not aware of any plausible theory on which a foreign power could tamper with vote tallies. To say that Russia tampered with vote tallies is as credible as asserting that the moon is made of green cheese.

The poll reveals, paraphrasing Hinderaker's summary, that

  • Two-thirds of Democrats say it is either “definitely true” (31%) or “probably true” (36%) that Russia tampered with vote tallies;
  • 48% of women, across all party lines, have fallen for this fake news.
  • 70% of blacks have bought it hook, line and sinker.
  • In the Northeast, the country’s most ignorant region, 47% have fallen for the hoax.

The knavery of a major political party that would base two years of politicking on a concerted and extremely well funded effort to deceive the American people into an hysterical fear of Russia is little short of dumbfounding. The fact that, as Hinderaker does not fail to point out, our intelligence agencies--specifically the FBI and CIA--were all in on this deception operation is simply chilling.

On the Real News front, Jeff Carlson at themarketswork points out some background on exactly who Alexander Downer is. Downer, of course, was the former Aussie High Commissioner to the UK and a funneler of $25 million dollars to the Clinton campaign, who saw it as part of his job to scrape acquaintance with George Papadopoulos and lure him to a Kensington wine bar, where he claims Papadopoulos told him that Russia had "dirt" on Hillary Clinton. This supposed information then found its way to the FBI by decidedly non-standard channels and, at one point in time, was supposed to have started the whole FBI investigation of the Trump campaign (fake news).

So who is Downer? This is who:
Downer is not just an Australian diplomat. For eleven years, Downer served as Australia’s Minister of Foreign Affairs. The Australian Secret Intelligence Service (ASIS), a direct counterpart to the CIA, is part of the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade. The Director of ASIS reports directly to the Minister of Foreign Affairs.
Downer personally oversaw all the intelligence operations of Australia for eleven years and is uniquely positioned to know of what he speaks of.
That's some guy to be reaching out to a Trump campaign official!

Finally, on the Hot News front, Joe DiGenova was definitely hot this morning on WMAL. The 8 minute interview is a must listen. DiGenova puts names to the "Republican opposition to Trump" that I recently alluded to, and then proceeds to trash any remaining optimism regarding the House investigation. Specifically, DiGenova

  • States that the Goodlatte subpoenas of Comey and Lynch are a "joke" and will amount to nothing;
  • In fact, the issuance of these subpoenas at such a late date is "victory for (Speaker) Ryan and (Leader) McCarthy," who did everything in their power to prevent their issuance for the past year and a half ago--but Goodlatte "buckled" to pressure from NeverTrumper Paul Ryan;
  • States that the new Minority Leader and protege of Ryan, Kevin McCarthy is "a political and legal idiot," a "California moron," who was part of the opposition to Trump;
  • Maintains that the two reasons the Republicans lost the House were 1) failing to issue subpoenas when they should have, and 2) John McCain voting against ObamaCare repeal;
  • Calls Goodlatte and Gowdy "embarrassments," but lauds Jordan and Meadows;
  • Calls Rosenstein "the single most dishonest public official in the 21st century;" adds that Rosenstein is "a mole in the Justice Department" who was at the center of the conspiracy to remove Trump, and has multiple conflicts that should have led him to recuse;
  • Says that the appointment of Whitaker is the most important decision for the investigation;
  • Calls the "absence of Jeff Sessions from that department" "fabulous;"
  • Calls the appointment of John Huber a "head fake" that was never seriously about getting to the truth, in particular about the Uranium One case (DiGenova and his wife Victoria Toensing represent the FBI's informant in that case).


I will say I'm gratified to learn that a savvy Washington DC insider like DiGenova regards Rosenstein as a "mole." My thesis all along has been that Jeff Sessions made a corrupt bargain with Democrat and NeverTrump senators: confirmation as AG in return for recusal and the handoff to Rosenstein. Sessions absolutely stabbed Trump in the back.

As for the rest? It makes total sense to me.


  1. I agree with your thesis about Sessions. He flat out told Jason Chaffetz early on that he would never appoint a second special counsel (to investigate the investigators, and therefore at least arguably outside the strictures of his recusal). Sessions' blanket refusal to consider this matter, at a time when his public posture was more ambiguous, was sobering for Chaffetz. One other point: Schumer used his power over confirmations to bring about special counsel investigations in both 2003 (when he gave Comey, then up for the DAG position, one month to get Ashcroft to recuse himself and to appoint a special counsel) and in 2017 (first by striking the deal with Sessions -- at least I am guessing it was Schumer -- and then by getting Rosenstein's assurance that he would appoint a special counsel). Lo and behold, in each case, the SC was a close friend of Comey's. And each investigation was characterized by strong-arm tactics and "process crime" prosecutions.

  2. I agree with your thesis about Sessions. Sessions privately told Jason Chaffetz that he would never appoint a second special counsel (to investigate the investigators, and therefore at least arguably outside the strictures of his recusal). This blanket refusal was in contrast to Sessions' more ambiguous public posture on this matter, and it stunned Chaffetz. My other point relates to Schumer, who I am guessing was behind the recusal deal with Sessions. Schumer used the Senate's power of confirmation to get assurances, from Comey in 2003 and Rosenstein in 2017, that a special counsel would be appointed (in the earlier case Ashbrook would first have to be persuaded to recuse himself). Lo and behold, in each case the special counsel was a close friend of Comey; and in each case, the investigation was characterized by strong-arm tactics and "process crime" prosecutions.

  3. Steve, thanks for the interesting comments. I appreciate the further evidence of Sessions' stab in the back to Trump. I'm always puzzled by the sympathy Sessions receives from "conservatives" (albeit usually of NeverTrump inclination). To me, Sessions behaved in a clearly dishonorable way--he owed it to Trump to tell him what was going on to give Trump a chance to counter Schumer.

    Re your own thesis re Comey--there is a Strzok/Page text exchange in which they refer to the possibility of Pat Fitzgerald being the SC--I believe they refer to "Pat" and then clearly refer to his current position at the Chicago office of his law firm. This would certainly tend to confirm Comey's hand in this even before his firing.

    Finally, Schumer's hand behind this does seem likely when it's viewed in light of the Kavanaugh confirmation hearings.

  4. Correction. That text is from 3/18/2016 and it's re Fitzgerald as a possible SC for Clinton emails.

  5. Within a few months, it will become obvious to most citizens that the corruption within the DOJ/FBI/CIA is systemic and not just a few bad apples. During the Obama Administration, the most senior officials in these institutions routinely (and with impunity) committed serious felony criminal acts because they believed Hillary was a lock to win the election and to do otherwise would subject them to real retaliation. This was both a failure of character and a failure of Constitutional checks & balances. Trump likely understands this and is treading water now in the hope that his enemies will overreach and expose themselves. I think that is the wrong strategy because they are too shrewd and too powerful to be neutralized by passivity. If he wants to avoid death by a thousand cuts, Trump needs to be very bold and decisive now by mandating immediate transparency. Dare Mueller to indict him, the House to impeach him, and the Senate to convict him. That leads to a civil war and the Swamp dare not take that risk.

  6. Unknown, I fully agree with your premise: "the corruption within the DOJ/FBI/CIA is systemic and not just a few bad apples. During the Obama Administration, the most senior officials in these institutions routinely (and with impunity) committed serious felony criminal acts because they believed Hillary was a lock to win the election and to do otherwise would subject them to real retaliation. This was both a failure of character and a failure of Constitutional checks & balances." Whatever else, Trump has already exposed that corruption--even if some details are still hidden, the big picture is clear--and it's now up to the American people to defend their constitutional order.

    I also tend to agree with your conclusion re tactics. DiGenova seems to view the appointment of Whitaker as a first "decisive" step in that direction. I hope.

  7. Mr. Wauck,

    I just read your latest article over at The American Thinker, and I had the exact same thoughts when reading The Telegraph article yesterday- it was damned odd in the contortions the writers had to go through. Either the declassification and the public revelations can't help Trump's case at all, or they damn the previous administration, the Clinton Campaign, and the British government as conspirators against, first, the Trump Campaign, then later the Trump Administration. The entire article read like a Marchetti Hangout operation- and I think it is the first acknowledgement that the declassification is likely to happen at some point.

    For some time, I had thought it impossible that the Carter Page FISA application would contain that kind of dangerous information (as in dangerous to the conspirators), such as naming Mifsud, Halper, Downer, etc. as agents providing information on Page and others, but then I had been forgetting the timeline, specifically this- the first FISA application took place at a time, October of 2016, during which it was pretty certain Trump was never going to be President and that no one had yet seen the need to construct the "Papadopoulos Origin Story for Crossfire Hurricane".

    Indeed, this explains why Papadopoulos was never interviewed until after Trump was in office- he wasn't interviewed before that because the FBI already knew he was completely innocent, and they knew he was innocent because Mifsud, Halper, Downer, and all the other contacts were sent to Papadopoulos at the direction of the British and American intelligence services. Only after Trump is in office does the danger of the FISA document become obvious, so they go and trap Papadopoulos in perjury operation so that they can keep him under wraps for a while, but that is ending now.

    So, my question is now, what exactly is the nature of the information in the Page FISA application? Who is named in it? Clearly, Halper's name is in it somewhere along with the name of the person who sent Halper to Page. I also think it likely that there are names we haven't heard yet, but those people will be connected to Joseph Mifsud in some direct fashion, if not Mifsud himself. One question I wish someone had had the foresight to ask Carter Page was this- "Did you ever meet Joseph Mifsud during the period 2015-November 2016?" I mean, am I being too suspicious to think Mifsud is named in the Page warrant? I used to think I was, but am not so sure any longer.

  8. Yancey, I like the Marchetti (limited) Hangout take.

    Re what exactly is being withheld by redacting the Page FISA application, I doubt that there's anything, factually, that we don't know. Or at least very little of importance. The fact that is probably being withheld via redaction is the official involvement of the US and UK intel services in the OCONUS lures that were done in London. As I said, it's about deniability. The UK has continued to deny their role--even as more and more evidence shows how laughable their denials are. The laughability isn't the point, of course--it's the deniability, which allows media allies to continue to pooh pooh it all. As long as that remains redacted, US/UK cooperation in the Russia Hoax is, for official purposes, still in the realm of theory rather than fact. Despite what we all know.

    Thanks for the close read.

  9. Yancey, re your closing question ...

    The FISA application may not--likely DOES NOT--contain all the relevant information re the actual opening of the Crossfire Hurricane investigation (which I regard as an umbrella case file with multiple subfiles re people like Page, etc.). That would be contained in the EC that opened the CH investigation, and which Nunes complained he wasn't be allowed to see (I believe he ultimately was allowed to read it). The result is that the two docs need to be read in tandem to get a fuller picture of the whole CH case. I don't have time to summarize this right now, but I'll link an article that may address some of your suspicions in that light: If You Inspect The FISA Applications Closely, More Mysteries Arise About Joseph Mifsud. Teaser/Final paragraph:

    "It’s time for the FBI to come clean: Who was Mifsud, and what was his role in the launch of Crossfire Hurricane? And did the State Department assist the FBI in handling Mifsud? Congress and the president supposedly hold power over these agencies. They, and we, need the answers."

  10. It is extremely unlikely that the Page FISA application will be fully unredacted because of the parts that reveal background on the NSA searches conducted by non-governmental employees. Everyone assumes it was just contractors working for FusionGPS and Hilliary's research assistants, but there was also extensive participation by British nationals working out of their DC embassy. This was the end-run devised by Brennan to get at the Trump Campaign EC after Mike Rogers cut them off in April 2016. This is a huge no-no because it was conducted on US soil and brazenly in front of many honorable federal employees working at Fort Meade. Time for Nunes to step up and invite those guys in for a chat.

  11. Unknown, actually I'm doubtful that there would be any reference to that aspect in the FISA application--why flag illegal action in that way? I say that although I fully agree re the enormity of what was done.

  12. Thanks for the link to Cleveland's essay- I do remember reading it at the time, but it was good to have a bit of refresher- I had forgotten her bit about how the Papadopoulos stuff was unchanged throughout the 4 applications, and I think one of her proposed explanations is the correct one- that it didn't change because the FBI already knew everything about the GP/JM meeting because Mifsud was an agent working with them. I still doubt Mifsud is named, but the narrative about Papadopoulos that is in the FISA application would be nice to read- it might give one an indication of the role played Mifsud, even if he is unnamed. For example, the FISA application could describe Papadopoulos as being approached by an unnamed academic, or it could be written to describe Papadopoulos as having knowledge of Russian activity due to information received from an unnamed academic. Publicly, the story has always been Mifsud told Papadopoulos the story about the Russians, but what if the FISA application reverses this story?

  13. I agree all that is worth knowing. The other bit of information that might be gleaned could be more explicit information about the nature of the US/UK intel cooperation in this operation. Not sure about that, but possible.