Gowdy also makes a key point regarding the Opening EC for Crossfire Hurricane--the document that I continually cite as key to understanding the entire Russia Hoax. Gowdy--a former prosecutor--stresses that Strzok, who wrote the EC, specifically states that the investigation is into the Trump campaign and four named individuals in the Trump campaign. That means that Crossfire Hurricane was never a counterintelligence investigation that focused on Russia election "meddling." It always targeted Trump. And that means it always relied primarily on the Steele "dossier."
OK. That said, sundance unfortunately engages in some baseless speculation, riffing off Gowdy's remarks, which ignore basic documentary/testimonial evidence. Specifically, sundance states:
Likely the first task Mueller took on was the immediate two McCabe investigations, from May 10th, 2017, where Trump was the direct target. However, as that phase of the Mueller probe found nothing of substance (likely with the August 2nd clarification memo), Mueller evolves into investigating the original premise behind 2016 Crossfire Hurricane (the trump campaign) which contained specific targets (Flynn, Manafort, Page, Papadopoulos) and specific evidence (Ohr/Steele Dossier).
That is exactly backwards, and to understand why that's totally backwards, all we need to do is to examine the documents behind the authorization of Team Mueller and statements made by James Comey to the House on March 20, 2017. These are matters that are dealt with extensively in several previous blogposts:
Mueller's "Enterprise" Witchhunt
Bill Priestap's Partially Leaked Testimony
Crossfire Hurricane: The Theory Of The Case
First of all, let's look at the plain terms of Rod Rosenstein's letter in which he authorizes Team Mueller and sets the parameters of Mueller's investigative authority. Rosenstein states:
The Special Counsel is authorized to conduct the investigation confirmed by then-FBI Director James B. Comey in testimony before the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence on March 20, 2017, including any links and/or coordination between the Russian government and individuals associated with the campaign of Donald Trump;
So, a few points.
The investigation that Team Mueller undertakes is a continuation of an already existing FBI investigation and, as described--it cites "links and/or coordination between the Russian government and individuals associated with the campaign of Donald Trump"--it can only be Crossfire Hurricane because that's exactly Comey's description of Crossfire Hurricane.
Rosenstein cites Comey's testimony before the House on March 20, 2017. That was roughly two months before Trump fired Comey and therefore roughly two months before McCabe started his obstruction investigations. Again, for that reason alone, Team Mueller can only be continuing Crossfire Hurricane under the terms of Rosenstein's letter.
Note, however, the confirmation of what Gowdy says. Gowdy says, in my paraphrase and expansion, that Crossfire Hurricane
was never a counterintelligence investigation that focused on Russia election "meddling." It always targeted Trump. And that means it always relied primarily on the Steele "dossier."
Here's how I put it in Mueller's Enterprise Witchhunt:
First, Mueller is not starting up a new investigation--he's taking over an already existing investigation, the same one that was confirmed by Comey two months earlier.
Second, and very importantly, Mueller's investigation is not authorized as a general investigation into Russian "active measures" (i.e., interference, meddling) in the 2016 campaign but instead is rather narrowly focused on "coordination between people associated with the Trump campaign and the Russians."
What else does Rosenstein's letter say about the scope of Team Mueller's authority? Rosenstein inserts boilerplate language that turns out not to be mere boilerplate. Team Mueller's general authority extends to:
(iii) any other matters within the scope of 28 CFR 600.4(a)
And here's the full text of 600.4(a):
(a) Original jurisdiction. The jurisdiction of a Special Counsel shall be established by the Attorney General. The Special Counsel will be provided with a specific factual statement of the matter to be investigated. The jurisdiction of a Special Counsel shall also include the authority to investigate and prosecute federal crimes committed in the course of, and with intent to interfere with, the Special Counsel's investigation, such as perjury, obstruction of justice, destruction of evidence, and intimidation of witnesses; and to conduct appeals arising out of the matter being investigated and/or prosecuted.
My best guess, therefore, is that the expansion of Team Mueller's investigation, documented in the redacted letter by Rosenstein in August, 2017, probably deals with a specific decision--proposed by Team Mueller and approved by Rosenstein--to officially expand the investigation to "crimes committed in the course of, and with intent to interfere with, the Special Counsel's investigation, such as perjury, obstruction of justice, destruction of evidence, and intimidation of witnesses."
It could not possibly have involved an expansion to Crossfire Hurricane matters, which were the very first matters Team Mueller was authorized to investigate--as Rosenstein's letter makes crystal clear.
Unfortunately, CTH is muddying the waters needlessly with baseless speculation. I say "unfortunately" because, in general, sundance has done yeoman work on the Russia Hoax.
ADDENDUM: Also linked by sundance today is a super presentation by Sharyl Attkisson that goes into the implications of FISC Chief Judge Rosemary Collyer's explosive report on FBI abuse of the entire FISA system for obviously political purposes--including giving unfettered access to three private contractors whose names are being withheld from the American public. We've discussed these matters extensively in the past, but Attkisson's presentation is excellent: clear, concise, easy to understand even in the furthest implications.