CTH has a fascinating post up reporting on remarks today by Rod Rosenstein at the Metropolitan club of Washington. CTH quotes a Bloomberg story.
Here's the relevant entirety of the Bloomberg story:
Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein said Friday that Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s report describes Russian cybercrimes during the 2016 election.
The report, which is expected to be released soon, will clear up questions about the Russian campaign to interfere in the election President Donald Trump won, Rosenstein said in a speech given to a private group at the Metropolitan Club of Washington, according to three people in attendance.
Rosenstein joked that his last day at the Department of Justice will be “one of these days,” the people said. He also said that it will take the U.S. some time to extradite WikiLeaks leader Julian Assange from the U.K. in order to prosecute him.
CTH sees this as the Deep State desperately trying to maintain the legitimacy of the Team Mueller extension of the Russian Hoax (i.e., Crossfire Hurricane), and quotes Barr's summary of the Mueller report to support his thesis:
In order for Mueller and Rosenstein to maintain the ‘Vast Russia Conspiracy Narrative’, which is tenuous at best, it is absolutely necessary to maintain the premise that Russia hacked -or attempted to hack- into the DNC servers. Further, to maintain this premise the special counsel must inject WikiLeaks as the distribution hub for the Russian effort.
I think I can see this as the Deep State desperately trying to distract attention from what the CIA/FBI/DoJ were up to in trying to steer the 2016 election to Hillary. But I think that's about as far as this will go. CTH's further contention:
Mueller and Rosenstein’s special counsel was an extension of the original counterintelligence operation. Mueller and Rosenstein need to preserve the predicate in order to avoid questions around why they continued and extended a fraudulent probe.
is much harder to swallow. I've seen absolutely nothing to indicate that the predicate for Crossfire Hurricane or its extension into the Team Mueller inquisition had much of anything to do with the Russian hacking narrative. Don't get me wrong. I understand that Team Mueller did try to tie that in to their narrative, just as it was a part of hte Steele dossier. My point is this: Crossfire Hurricane never gets off the ground without the main Manafort/Page story, which comes down to Putin's dirt on Hillary accumulated over the years in exchange for santions relief. The Wikileaks/Russian hacking narrative ended up focusing on Roger Stone/Corsi/Caputo, and that was pretty much ancillary to any predication for Crossfire Hurricane.
Therefore, I see this as more of an attempt to influence public perception, to maybe argue that the Russia Hoax was a well intentioned National Security effort against the evil Russkies that got out of control. But that presumes that the public will really care or pay attention to that narrative--threadbare as it is. Nor do I see how this can be turned into a Stay Out Of Jail card.
For my part, I like Rand Paul's idea, which takes into account that Assange could turn out to be pure dynamite in the American body politic:
Julian Assange should be let off the hook for releasing stolen material through his WikiLeaks website if he agrees to testify in person before lawmakers investigating his publication of Democratic Party documents, Sen. Rand Paul said in an interview published Wednesday.
“I think that he should be given immunity from prosecution in exchange for coming to the United States and testifying,” said Mr. Paul, Kentucky Republican.
“I think he’s been someone who has released a lot of information, and you can debate whether or not any of that has caused harm, but I think really he has information that is probably pertinent to the hacking of the Democratic emails that would be nice to hear,” Mr. Paul told a writer for The Gateway Pundit site.
CTH sees that angle, too--at least in part:
Additionally, these comments by Rosenstein highlight the U.S. intelligence community need to throw a bag over Julian Assange; IF they are going to retain the premise that Mueller needs to justify the CIA/FBI predicate for the counterintelligence operation.
If Assange can disprove the Russia DNC hacking claims by the CIA (Brennan), ODNI (Clapper) and FBI (Strzok and Comey), which are more likely fraudulent justifications to execute the Trump campaign surveillance operation, then Assange becomes a risk that must be controlled/removed.
The problem as I see it is, How exactly does the Deep State control Assange if he starts talking after being extradited to the US. Seems like a two edged sword to me? Desperation on the part of the Deep State.
UPDATE: Matt Taibbi has a very worthwhile article about l'affaire Assange: Taibbi: Why The Assange Arrest Should Scare All Reporters. It's worth reading in its entirety, but relevant for our purposes is the following passage:
Unfortunately, Assange’s case, and the very serious issues it raises, will be impacted in profound ways by things that took place long after the alleged offenses, specifically the Russiagate story. It’s why some reporters are less than concerned about the Assange case today.
About that other thing, i.e. Assange’s role in the 2016 election:
Not only did this case have nothing to do with Russiagate, but in one of the odder unreported details of Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation, he never interviewed or attempted to interview Assange. In fact, it appears none of the 2800 subpoenas, 500 witness interviews, and 500 search warrants in the Mueller probe targeted Assange or WikiLeaks.
According to WikiLeaks, no one from Mueller’s office ever attempted to get a statement from Assange, any WikiLeaks employee, or any of Assange’s lawyers (the Office of Special Counsel declined comment for this story). A Senate committee did reach out to Assange last year about the possibility of testifying, but never followed up.
As Pollock told me in February, “[Assange] has not been contacted by the OSC or the House.” There was a Senate inquiry, he said, but “it was only an exploratory conversation and has not resulted in any agreement for Mr. Assange to be interviewed.”
Throughout the winter I asked officials and former prosecutors why officials wouldn’t be interested in at least getting a statement from a person ostensibly at the center of an all-consuming international controversy. There were many explanations offered, the least curious being that Assange’s earlier charges, assuming they existed, could pose legal and procedural obstacles.
Now that Assange’s extant case has finally been made public, the concern on that score “dissipates,” as one legal expert put it today.
It will therefore be interesting to see if Assange is finally asked about Russiagate by someone in American officialdom. If he isn’t, that will be yet another curious detail in a case that gets stranger by the minute.
There's no question but that the Deep State is eager, even desperate to silence Assange.