Friday, May 31, 2019

Could Be Very Big For Flynn

Judges don't like to be defied and they think--with good reason--that they're the ones who decide what's relevant. This is the Team Mueller prosecutors--not DoJ--who are defying the judge. I'll be surprised if Barr doesn't have something to say about this--and may even welcome the opportunity to get involved.

The Washington Post

Justice Department fails to comply with court order to release transcripts of Michael Flynn’s conversations with Russian ambassador
3:31 PM - 31 May 2019

Should be interesting.

OK, here's how it works:



Holy cow, look how carefully the Mueller team worded this response about FBI recordings of Michael Flynn.  Notice how they avoid production, by parsing, there are no recordings "that are part of the sentencing record".

Techno Fog‏

Note that the 5/16 Order required the production of "the transcripts of any other audio recordings of Mr. Flynn, including, but not limited to, audio recordings of Mr. Flynn's conversations with Russian officials"
Compliance may be an issue. Awaiting Judge response...

Is all kinds of stuff about to hit the fan? CTH has details. Check this out.

Judge Sullivan wanted a transcript--a full transcript--of a call between Flynn's lawyer and John Dowd, Trump's lawyer. Here's what emerged, per CTH:

Dowd wasn't amused by Team Mueller's editing:

What will Judge Sullivan think of this kind of shady dealing? Stay tuned.

UPDATED: Did You Know Bill Barr Is Attorney General? You Do Now.

CBS has put out a full transcript of Jan Crawford's lengthy interview of AG Bill Barr. IMO, Crawford did a terrific job. I've edited the transcript to bring it down to usable proportions and to highlight the most important points. For example, I've removed all of Crawford's questions and substituted my own versions. I've also inserted some comments. The two biggest points that emerge are

1. Bill Barr is Attorney General in full, and

2. He's fully determined to sort out the Deep State.

Away we go:

Q: What do you think of Mueller's claim that the OLC opinion prevented him from coming to a conclusion on obstruction?

WILLIAM BARR: I am not sure he said it prevented him. I think what he said was he took that into account plus a number of other prudential judgments about fairness and other things and decided that the best course was not for him to reach a decision. I personally felt he could've reached a decision but--he could've reached a conclusion. The opinion says you cannot indict a president while he is in office but he could've reached a decision as to whether it was criminal activity but he had his reasons for not doing it, which he explained and I am not going to, you know, argue about those reasons but when he didn't make a decision, the Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein and I felt it was necessary for us as the heads of the Department to reach that decision. That is what the Department of Justice does, that is why we have the compulsory powers like a grand jury to force people to give us evidence so that we can determine whether a crime has committed and in order to legitimate the process we felt we had to reach a decision.

[Mueller's claim was BS. Anyway, I'm AG and I'm not about to demean myself by getting into a public debate with the likes of Mueller, who behaved like a political actor.]

Q: Mueller suggested that Congress should take it up.

WILLIAM BARR: Well, I am not sure what he was suggesting but, you know, the Department of Justice doesn't use our powers of investigating crimes as an adjunct to Congress. Congress is a separate branch of government and they can, you know, they have processes, we have our processes. Ours are related to the criminal justice process we are not an extension of Congress's investigative powers.

[Mueller was speaking totally outside the mandate of a DoJ prosecutor.]


Q: It seems Mueller didn't do his job--which was to provide an opinion on criminality.

WILLIAM BARR: Right but on the other hand he did provide us a report and what he viewed to be the relevant facts. And that allowed us as the, as the leaders of the department to make that decision.

[Right. So we sent him home with a participation T-shirt.]

UPDATED: Has The Left Thought This Impeachment Thing Through?

Robert Mueller and John Brennan are nothing if not card carrying members of the Deep State. Thus, Mueller's parting shot at President Trump--with his less than subtle observation that "the constitution requires a process other than the criminal justice system to formally accuse a sitting president of wrongdoing," which was quickly followed up by Brennan's full throated call for Congress to act on Mueller's prodding--is surely a measure of the desperation that the Deep State is feeling. Trump has come through the Russia Hoax inquisition in better shape than ever, with a Department of Justice primed under AG Bill Barr to get to the bottom of Deep State plotting against our electoral processes. The Deep State took its best shot at the king and failed with its Russia Hoax, but now the king is about to take his best shot at them.

That much I get. But I wonder whether the Left, which appears delighted with Mueller's irresponsible performance and is in full cry for impeachment, has taken stock of what impeachment would inevitably lead to. Have they weighed the speculation that Trump may actually want to be impeached, and what might be behind that? They might want to stop and think before taking the impeachment plunge, but then that might not be their style.

Those making the case that Trump wants to be impeached are, in fact, savvy observers of the political scene and they include a broad spectrum of pundits and politicians. Typically the argument runs that the American people don't want impeachment, especially with the economy booming, and will penalize the Dems for their madness in 2020. For example:

Don Surber:

President Donald John Trump wants them to impeach him because this is the best way to penalize Democrats for trying to frame him and remove him from office in a Deep State coup.

Conrad Black:

The Democrats have painted themselves into a corner. They must put up or shut up, impeach or back down. The president has called their bluff and the game is about to end, either an embarrassing defeat for the Democrats or political annihilation.

And, yes, Nancy Pelosi:

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., told her Democratic colleagues Thursday that President Donald Trump “wants to be impeached” so that he can be vindicated by the Senate.

In fact, the implications of impeachment go far beyond these political considerations and get to the heart of the almost palpable fear now gripping the Deep State. Let's first review the approach Mueller took, because that will have a direct bearing on how impeachment would work in the case of President Trump.

Thursday, May 30, 2019

UPDATED: Briefly Noted: Barr Responds To Question Re Mueller's Statement

Jan Crawford interviewed AG Bill Barr in Alaska this morning for CBS (video at link). Here's how that went:

Crawford asked Barr whether he agreed with Mueller's "interpretation" that he couldn't make a decision regarding obstruction--after laying out 11 instances of "possible" obstruction. 
Barr: "I personally felt he could've reached a decision ... he could've reached a conclusion." 
"The opinion says you cannot indict a president while he is in office, but he could've reached a decision as to whether it was criminal activity. But he had his reasons for not doing it, which he explained and I am not going to, you know, argue about those reasons. 
"But, when he didn't make a decision the Deputy Attorney General, Rod Rosenstein, and I felt it was necessary for us, as the heads of the Department, to reach that decision." 
Crawford then stated that Mueller "seemed to suggest that there was another venue for this, and that was Congress." 
Barr: "Well, I don't know what he was suggesting, but the Department of Justice doesn't use our powers of investigating crimes as an adjunct to Congress."

And that was that. I think Barr played this smartly. He gave Crawford a full response, but deftly declined to get down in the gutter with Mueller. Why should he demean himself by treating Mueller as a respectable interlocutor, or even as an equal? If Mueller wants to rehabilitate himself in respectable circles of government legal service he'll have to do it on his own.

On the other hand, in typically understated but direct fashion Barr makes clear his view of Mueller's reprehensible performance for anyone who cares to consider his words:

... the Department of Justice doesn't use our powers of investigating crimes as an adjunct to Congress."

But Mueller did. It's a slap, but a principled one, without being petty. Mueller as Special Counsel was a political actor by his own choosing, and Barr has nothing but contempt for him.

BONUS: Michael Goodwin also captures the reprehensible smallness of Mueller well: America left to face the nasty consequences of Robert Mueller’s actions.

UPDATE: I just found a longer video of the interview in which Barr is asked whether he believes, as President Trump has said, that Obama officials committed treason. Barr responded, "Not as a legal matter." In other words, not as "treason" is technically defined in the Constitution, Article III, Section 3:

Treason against the United States, shall consist only in levying War against them, or in adhering to their Enemies, giving them Aid and Comfort.

Here are those remarks:

President Trump thinks some committed treason.
Crawford: "You don't think they committed treason? 
Barr: "Not as a legal matter, no." 
Crawford: "But you have concerns about how they conducted the investigation."
Barr: "Yes, but, you know, sometimes people can convince themselves that what they're doing is in the higher interest and better good. They don't realize that what they're doing is really antithetical to the democratic system that we have."

That sounds rather like Jack Goldsmith, who sees "national security bureaucrats who use secretly collected information to shape or curb the actions of elected officials ... as a vital check on the law-breaking or authoritarian or otherwise illegitimate tendencies of democratically elected officials.

Wednesday, May 29, 2019

John Solomon's Latest Blockbuster: Brits Disowned Steele Dossier In Writing Before Inauguration

John Solomon keeps breaking big stories. His latest is huge: Did Brits warn about Steele's credibility, before Mueller's probe? Congress has evidence.

Here's the opening, which pretty much tells it all:

One of the deepest, darkest secrets of Russiagate soon may be unmasked. Even President Trump may be surprised. 
Multiple witnesses have told Congress that, a week before Trump’s inauguration in January 2017, Britain’s top national security official sent a private communique to the incoming administration, addressing his country’s participation in the counterintelligence probe into the now-debunked Trump-Russia election collusion. 
Most significantly, then-British national security adviser Sir Mark Lyall Grant claimed in the memo, hand-delivered to incoming U.S. national security adviser Mike Flynn’s team, that the British government lacked confidence in the credibility of former MI6 spy Christopher Steele’s Russia collusion evidence, according to congressional investigators who interviewed witnesses familiar with the memo.

Obviously this was a bit of Brit CYA. They knew their own actual "meddling" in the US election was about to be discovered, and they were trying to distance themselves from Steele. But here's where the story attains real blockbuster proportions:

Robert Mueller Is A Villain

No, I didn't make that up, although I wish I had. That's a line from Will Chamberlain: HIT JOB: How Robert Mueller continues to smear President Trump with baseless obstruction of justice claims. And it's true. He's a villain and an arrogant one to boot.

So, let's walk through Mueller's statement--at least in pertinent part.

For starters, Sean Davis (whom I'll quote again later: Mueller Just Proved His Entire Operation Was A Political Hit Job That Trampled The Rule Of Law) makes the perfect observation:

If there were any doubts about Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s political intentions, his unprecedented press conference on Wednesday should put them all to rest. As he made abundantly clear during his doddering reading of a prepared statement which repeatedly contradicted itself, Mueller had no interest in the equal application of the rule law. He gave the game, and his nakedly political intentions, away repeatedly throughout his statement. 
“It is important that the office’s written work speak for itself,” Mueller said, referring to his office’s 448-page report. Mueller’s report was released to the public by Attorney General William Barr nearly six weeks ago. The entire report, minus limited redactions required by law, has been publicly available, pored through, and dissected. Its contents have been discussed ad nauseum in print and on television. The report has been speaking for itself since April 18, when it was released. 
If it’s important for the work to speak for itself, then why did Mueller schedule a press conference in which he would speak for it weeks after it was released? The statement, given the venue in which it was provided, is self-refuting.

Bingo! However, we should also keep clearly in mind that Mueller's "political intentions"--the removal of President Trump from office--are in the service of the Deep State, which sees Trump as an existential threat to their rule of the United States. Mueller is first and foremost a servant of the Deep State and that is what's behind this (surprisingly inept) statement.

As far as substance goes, Mueller begins by attempting to throw dust in our eyes, offering his version of the Russia Hoax grand conspiracy theory: that Russia launched what he calls a "concerted attack on our political system" by hacking the Clinton campaign and releasing information through Wikileaks:

Tuesday, May 28, 2019

Briefly Noted: DiGenova, Sperry

Below is a 15 minute interview with Joe DiGenova. The interviewers walk Joe through Bill Barr's interview with Bill Hemmer, and Joe has some pithy comments. His fiercest fire is directed at FBI Director Chris Wray ("an empty suit and a dumbbell"), and he points out that Barr's comments on the "insufficiency" of the explanations he has received about the Russia Hoax point directly, in Barr's trademark understated but very direct way, at Chris Wray, who DiGenova says has withheld "an amazing amount of information from the Hill" and is attempting to do the same with Barr. The only purpose is to cover for James Comey. While Joe doesn't say so in this interview, this can only mean that Rosenstein--and this really goes almost without saying--was a key as well to the coverup that was Team Mueller.

Interestingly, DiGenova also calls out IG Michael Horowitz as having issued an insufficient report on Strzok/Page's bias (when Rosenstein was still his boss). DiGenova calls on Barr to fire Horowitz if he doesn't do better with his FISA report.

Beginning at about the 11 minute mark, DiGenova makes perhaps his most explosive statements. Referring to the latest order issued by Judge Sullivan in the Flynn case, which demands the release of all recordings, DiGenova states:

1. Sullivan's order is referring not only to the Flynn/Kislyak recording but to all relevant recordings, which could include others.

2. Judges in the DC court are beginning to wake up to the fact that Mueller/Weissmann have perpetrated a series of frauds on the court.

3. Judge Contreras--who was recused from the Flynn case and who is on the FISC--is in trouble. He "has a lot of explaining to do" because "he was involved in several other FISA warrants involved in this matter". DiGenova then calls out Chief Justice John Roberts who appoints judges to the FISC--Roberts, he says, needs to explain "what he’s done to fix the mess that has been created with the FISA Court."

Paul Sperry has tweeted about David Laufmann, the former head of DoJ's Counterintelligence Section who was forced to resign, apparently as a result of IG Horowitz's investigations.

Laufman had served since 2014 as the top Justice Department official overseeing espionage investigations, as well as cases involving foreign lobbying and leaks of classified information. That put Laufman in charge of the Hillary Clinton email probe and aspects of the investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election — an inquiry handed off last May to special counsel Robert Mueller.

It sounds like John Durhams investigation will be revisiting Laufman's role in the Russia Hoax.

BREAKING: I'm told this Trump-hating Obama loyalist and leaker, who helped arrange Hillary's softball FBI interview and supervised Strzok during the Trump-Russia witch hunt, will have his turn in the barrel when the DOJ inspector general's report comes out

Monday, May 27, 2019

UPDATED: About that IC Assessment: Paul Sperry Has Good News

There has been a continuing undercurrent of discussion in the comments regarding what has usually been referenced as the "NIA" but it's more properly termed the ICA: Intelligence Community Assessment. That's the document that has to a great extent set the terms of official DC and news punditry discussion concerning alleged Russian "meddling" or "interference" in the 2016 US Presidential election. The official name of the public (unclassified) summary document is Assessing Russian Activities and Intentions in Recent US Elections. This "assessment" spread the narrative that Russian "meddling" in 2016 was part of a long line of Russian interference in our elections that marked the "boldest" Russian effort "yet," and that it should be viewed as a harbinger of future such efforts building on the "qualified success" of 2016. The ICA has fueled Establishment hysteria about Russia generally.

Several commenters, including myself, have expressed frustration that there has been so little public examination of the ICA, so little subjection of the ICA to critical analysis. Yesterday Paul Sperry linked to an important article addressing precisely this issue, dated 2/22/18, and there is good news: the ICA has, in fact, come under signficant scrutiny, and that scrutiny has come from sources which, in my opinion, make it a virtual certainty that the ICA will be targeted by Bill Barr's investigators in the coming weeks and months. Indeed, it may in fact be a very high profile target and may well explain the sweeping grant of declass authority accorded to Barr by the recent presidential order--which places Barr over CIA and DNI.

Writing in Yet another way Obama’s spies apparently exploited the Trump ‘dossier’, Sperry first set out the background, as above--but please note, the "dossier" he referrs to as the "Trump" dossier is actually what is normally termed the "Steele Dossier":

The much-hyped Obama intelligence report that determined “Vladimir Putin ordered” Hillary Clinton’s campaign emails hacked and leaked “to help Trump’s chances of victory” has been accepted as gospel among DC punditry and given the investigations besieging the Trump presidency their legs. To date, no evidence has publicly emerged to corroborate the report, and the reason may have a lot to do with that sketchy [Steele] dossier bought and paid for by Clinton. 
Suspiciously, Barack Obama’s Intelligence Community Assessment matches the main allegations leveled by the Clinton-paid [Steele] dossier on Trump, which wormed its way into intelligence channels, in addition to the FBI, Justice Department and State Department, during the 2016 campaign. 
After learning Obama Justice and FBI officials relied heavily on unsubstantiated rumors in the dossier to wiretap a Trump adviser during the election, congressional leaders now suspect the dossier also informed Obama intelligence officials who compiled the ICA.

 Then comes the important part:

BIG BIG UPDATE: Why Did Trump Wait So Long To Declassify?

Many have asked this question, frustrated at the slow pace. Today Jed Babbin offers the answer. He doesn't say so in quite those words, but the elements of the answer are largely there.

The need for declass has been obvious since the very start of the Trump administration. Perhaps Trump initially believed that the problem would go away, but with the start of the Mueller Inquisition the overwhelming need for training a spotlight on the Deep State coup attempt could no longer be denied. Unfortunately, by that point declass had become a practical impossibility.

The reason for this practical impossibility of declass lies in the fact that all the agencies involved--and there are many--get a say in the process. The President has too much going on in his life to ride herd over the process. He needs a strong leader with authority to serve as his proxy. We know that Jeff Sessions betrayed the country by recusing himself. The country was further betrayed by Rod Rosenstein who cooperated with the stonewalling agencies--especially the FBI and CIA--rather than with the President. And, importantly, NeverTrumpers in the Senate also worked against the President--who was vocally frustrated by what was going on. But they had Trump over a barrel, as the two top GOP senators on the Judiciary committee clearly stated:

Republican lawmakers [had] long warned the president against firing Sessions and tried to prevent him from doing so by signaling their refusal to confirm a replacement. Graham himself said a year ago there would be “holy hell to pay” if Trump fired Sessions and stated point-blank: “There will be no confirmation hearing for a new attorney general in 2017. Grassley, too, was adamant he would not clear time on the Judiciary Committee’s schedule for confirmation hearings for another attorney general.

The break came in the late political season of 2018 when the Senate returned to Washington, DC. The Kavanaugh SCOTUS nomination was the main item before the public eye, but something had changed. Kavanaugh was top of the agenda, but Grassley and Graham openly stated that a change was needed:

Sunday, May 26, 2019

Who Wins The Narrative?

Michael Goodwin has a nice article today: The president is going nuclear. I can quibble with part of his premise--I think Pelosi intended her "coverup" statement as a sop to her crazy crazies rather than an open embrace of impeachment, but Goodwin has it right: With that, Trump had had enough. He was ready, his nukes were primed and ready to go, and he pressed the button.

I suspect that Left/Progs are spending this Memorial Day weeked contemplating past glories of The Movement and trying to come to grips with what just hit them. I say this because Trump's grant of declass authority to Bill Barr was so sweeping--placing him over the entire Executive Branch, from DoJ/FBI to the IC to State--that the epithet nuclear is entirely merited. Bear in mind, Barr is no newbie to Washington and its ways and, in particular, he has deep experience with the IC as well as the legal levers of the Executive Branch. I think the Deep State knows Barr will get his way, and not just "in the end": he'll get it on his terms and in his time--or else. Is Chris Wray sleeping easily these last few days--or any other formerly major players? I doubt it. Trump has full confidence in Barr. Barr knows it and everyone else knows it, thus: ou Won’t Believe What Happened When Attorney General Bill Barr Went To The White House Cabinet Meeting:

A little color from the President's cabinet meeting today. Sources tell John Roberts from FOX News that Attorney General William Barr walked into the room to a standing ovation. Barr said he was surprised and then smiled.

And so Goodwin writes:

With his memo giving Attorney General Bill Barr the authority to declassify any documents related to the investigation of the 2016 campaign, Trump made good on a longstanding promise. Most important, his decision signaled that the War of Washington is entering a crucial new phase. 
The president is going nuclear. 
Democrats who thought control of the House gave them control of the agenda now will face stiff competition. Their expressions of outrage will seem tired next to the sensational revelations about the actions of Jim Comey, John Brennan and ­others. 
Based on what we already know, it is highly likely those revelations will prove the White House, FBI and CIA engineered the greatest scandal in American political history by unjustified spying on Trump and by trying to tip the election to Hillary Clinton.

And they had no one to blame but themselves. Trump had given them fair warning back in November:

Saturday, May 25, 2019

Wanna Know What A Losing Hand Looks Like?

Sundance describes it perfectly:

The declassification directive to AG Bill Barr creates a dynamic ensuring Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Schumer will align with the former intelligence officials and further attack the offices of the President and Attorney General; they have few options. 
Those who participated in the creation of Russia-Gate or Spy-Gate have few options except to manufacture a narrative shield and accuse the President of unethical, immoral and criminal conduct.  See: Pelosi’ recent “cover-up” charge.
By advancing an even stronger attacking against the president, the ‘small group’ position any investigation into their wrong-doing as political retaliation.  A House impeachment investigation, in some manner or form, is more likely than ever. 
The legal risk for participants in ‘Russia-Gate’/’Spy-Gate’ seems very real.  The best defense against that risk is political.  Speaker Pelosi and Senator Schumer know how to lead the defense by saying any evidence discovered by AG Barr is merely weaponized retaliation from the Trump DOJ.  The media are already supporting that cause.

Speaker Pelosi needs to protect John Brennan, James Comey, Andrew McCabe, Sally Yates and the participating small group writ large, if she is to retain her gavel and power.  Minority leader Chuck Schumer knows the play; and the media are already fully circling the wagons as part of their three-year ongoing participation.

I can read the polls--this is a sure fire losing hand. Washington DC and Big Media circling the wagons against Flyover Country? Spooks spying on Americans and ganging up on the President? I don't see any possible way for the Dems to win this one.

One thing I don't get. Sundance writes:

By advancing an even stronger attacking against the president, the ‘small group’ position any investigation into their wrong-doing as political retaliation.

Exactly how can the Dems launch a "stronger" attack against Trump than they already have? Is there somehow a stronger attack beyond Trump being "literally" Hitler? I mean, what have they not tried so far?

As Conrad Black recently wrote, the Dems have tried just about everything short of suicide up to this point. Will they try that? Then again, would you bet against crazy?

Are You Ready For This: Did ITALY Try To Overthrow Trump?

Look, I'm sorry for teasing this, but I don't want to write when so much is speculation. To get the gist of it, go to GP: Rumors Swirling that Fired Italian Spies Were Connected in Plot to Eliminate Trump. Here's the summary of how the plot was supposed to work:

Members of Italian intelligence were approached by Hillary Clinton, the Obama Administration, and the Deep State in order to frame Trump by PLANTING EVIDENCE on American servers to force Trump to step down from office. 
In other words, members of Italian intelligence found a target in Occhionero, a Republican-sympathizer who had two servers for his company, Westland Securities, located in America. One was in Washington State, and the other in West Virginia. 
The plan was for Italian Intelligence to hack into these servers, plant classified emails from Hillary’s servers inside these servers on American soil, and then alert the FBI. 
The FBI would then raid these locations, “discover” these e-mails, investigate, link these servers to Trump… 
And then force Trump to resign.

This is about Italy and Italians, so it's totally convoluted and speculative, but mixed with teasing factual details. What we do know is this, via CTH:

Obama Almost Certainly Spied On Willard

There's much discussion of characters in the 2015-2017 time frame: Brennan, Comey, McCabe, Strzok, etc. but if the antecedents go back to 2012, Mueller is still FBI Director and the AG is...Eric Holder, IMHO one of the more sinister and under-scrutinized figures, and HRC heads State.

I responded in part:

It seems pretty clear that the political spying began in time for the 2012 election. I'd have to do some searching, but somewhere I pointed out that it was Mueller who would have done the illegal MOU with CIA that was mentioned in the Chief Judge of FISC's order.

There have been so many revelations in this Russia Hoax that's it's hard to keep track of it all--impossible without modern search technology. What LM is referring to is research that constitutes one of the most important discoveries that sundance at Conservative Tree House (CTH) has made. I reviewed those matters at the beginning of this month, but not for the first time, in The Fear Of Barr Is Almost Palpable. Indeed, as sundance repeats periodically, it's impossible to remind ourselves of this crucial aspect of the Russia Hoax often enough--there are deep roots to the Russia Hoax in illegal domestic spying. First I'll reproduce my discussion from the post just linked--it's not that long--and then I'll reproduce Don Surber's salutary reminder this morning:

Friday, May 24, 2019

UPDATED: What If The Mueller Inquisition Was Only Ever An Obstruction Ploy?

The UPDATE turns up in about the middle. I've also modified a few things for clarity and added a reference that I forgot in the passion of writing. :-)

On May 17, 2017, the "Acting Attorney General for the Russia investigation" (Mueller, V2, p.4), Rod Rosenstein, appointed Robert Mueller as Special Counsel. In the letter appointing Mueller, Rosenstein specified the matters that Mueller would be investigating, as required by regulation. According to Rosenstein, the Mueller investigation was supposed to be a continuation of the already existing FBI Crossfire Hurricane investigation:

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; ...

In addition, Mueller was authorized to investigate

any matters that had already arisen in the course of that investigation or that might arise directly from it, and
any other matters within the scope of CFR 600.4(a)--which included obstruction of the Special Counsel investigation.

The upshot of the Mueller inquisition has been to confirm that there never were any "links and/or coordination between the Russian government and individuals associated with the campaign of Donald Trump." None. Further, although Mueller bizarrely seems to have had no interest in such matters--even though they arose directly from the FBI's investigation--a mountain of evidence has demonstrated:

1) That Christopher Steele, the former (?) MI6 spook, was utterly biased and unreliable as a source of information; 
2) That the FBI was fully aware of Steele's bias and unreliability; and 
3) That the FBI knowlingly misrepresented Steele's reliability to the FISA court in order to obtain a warrant on Carter Page, an foreign policy adviser to the Trump campaign, which warrant would allow the FBI to conduct far reaching surveillance on the Trump himself.

In other words, the entire Crossfire Hurrican investigation that Mueller took over was quite simply a hoax that the FBI and the Deep State generally perpetrated on the American people.

Ever Wonder How Americans Feel About Impeaching Trump?

Wonder no more!

Yesterday I asked, Does Trump want to be impeached? And I cited some savvy observers--Don Surber and Conrad Black--for the proposition that, yes, Trump really does want to be impeached. It just may be part of that conspiracy that Adam Schiff is so worried about.

The most recent Harvard-Harris poll (April) has an answer to our question, and helpfully links to an article at The Hill that summarizes the findings: Two-thirds of voters oppose impeachment proceedings.

Marc Thiessen comments on these findings today. It appears that Dems have only been listening to themselves talking to one another in their closed door conferences, and have learned nothing in the month or so since the poll was taken:

How Does It Feel?

Commenter Forbes referenced Adam Schiff's plaintive lament: 

Adam Schiff

While Trump stonewalls the public from learning the truth about his obstruction of justice, Trump and Barr conspire to weaponize law enforcement and classified information against their political enemies.
The coverup has entered a new and dangerous phase.
This is un-American.

9:57 PM - May 23, 2019

Well, yes. When your political enemies are engaged in an illegal coup conspiracy to defraud We The People of our elected government--complete with multiple criminal violations and collusion of Deep State officials with the Deep State apparatus of foreign powers--I'd say it's high time to weaponize law enforcement and all the classified information you can get your hands on to thwart them. And when you come to think of it, is there anyone you'd rather have in charge of your conspiracy than Donald Trump? With Bill Barr at his side to offer legal advice? I think Barr is plenty smart enough to appreciate a political maestro at work.

Perhaps what really has pencil neck Schiff worried is Barr's professed concern about leaks. Hmmm.

In the meantime, as I responded to Forbes, Schiff and the rest of the Dem gang are in their clown car careening toward a cliff. They're pumping the brake pedal, their media pals are shrieking--eek! it's un-American!--but their clown car isn't responding.

As it happens, today is Bob Dylan's birthday. In that spirit one is tempted to ask:

How does it feel?
To be on your own?
Like a complete unknown?

More and more current and former Deep Staters are finding themselves faced with that question.

Chris Wray Is On Thin Ice At FBI

It's pretty clear that FBI Director Chris Wray got slapped down by AG Bill Barr when the FBI tried to hide the Kathleen Kavalec material regarding her interview with Chris Steele. Judicial Watch has been trying to obtain disgraced former FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe's text messages. Jucidial Watch has been met with what Devin Nunes likes to call "the usual stonewall" from the FBI. Late last night Trump retweeted Judicial Watch's Tom Fitton's slam at Wray and the FBI:

Donald J. Trump Retweeted

Tom Fitton‏
Verified account

BIG: @realDonaldTrump authorizes AG Barr to declassify #Spygate docs from all agencies!  Coming up!

FBI hiding transcripts that could exonerate @RealDonaldTrump and implicate Comey-Obama FBI? Plus @JudicialWatch catches FBI in yet another Clinton email cover-up.  All this and more on the Coup Cabal…
FBI refuses to search text messages under FOIA. Director Wray needs to step up and stop this stonewalling that protects corrupt former FBI officials Comey. McCabe, Page, Strzok....
FBI still hiding Andrew McCabe's text messages. …

It's clear from the president's declass order that Trump and Barr are totally on the same page. It's also clear that Trump has no respect for Wray and his Deep State coverup attempts. The nice talk about Wray from Barr? It means nothing. Wray is on very thin ice.

Thursday, May 23, 2019

UPDATED: Trump Delegates Full Declass Authority To AG Bill Barr

I'll just paste in the statement:

President Trump: “Today, at the request and recommendation of the Attorney General of the United States, President Donald J. Trump directed the intelligence community to quickly and fully cooperate with the Attorney General’s investigation into surveillance activities during the 2016 Presidential election. The Attorney General has also been delegated full and complete authority to declassify information pertaining to this investigation, in accordance with the long-established standards for handling classified information. Today’s action will help ensure that all Americans learn the truth about the events that occurred, and the actions that were taken, during the last Presidential election and will restore confidence in our public institutions.”

This seems good. It tells one and all that the President has full confidence in Barr and that Barr is fully in charge of the investigations.

UPDATE 1: Just watched Sara Carter discussing impact of the coming declass. She made a major point that, while attention is focused on the exculpatory evidence that the FBI withheld from the FISA court, she is expecting very major revelations regarding Samantha Power's unmaskings. Sara pointed, by way of comparison, that when John Bolton was the Ambassador to the UN he unmasked 3 persons. In 2016 alone Power unmasked 300. Sara also stated that the name will be the names of very important persons. This is hitting close to the Obama inner circle.

UPDATE 2: Thomas Lifson makes several additional points related directly to the declass process:

I strongly suspect that AG Barr and his staff will be working through the holiday, as will those commanded in the presidential memorandum (see below) to “promptly provide” the assistance and information Barr will demand.

... Barr almost certainly has seen or will see the IG Report before it is released. He can declassify information that the IG Report needs to reveal, even before the report is released.

[Trump has put] Barr fully in charge, as the language “shall promptly provide…” requires their cooperation and information.  Barr, not the DNI, is in charge.

Clearly, Trump and Barr have an understanding of where this going. And it is going very far. 

Carter Page, The Steele "Dossier", And The FISA Hop Hop

Late last night, commenter Forbes raised the question of the two-hop method under FISA for gaining additional information. The importance of this lies in the Carter Page FISA. Carter Page has stated publicly (summarized here) that, although he stepped down from the Trump campaign in September, 2016, he remained in touch with members of the campaign and, later, of the transition. Among those with whom Page stayed in touch was Steve Bannon, chief strategist and senior counselor to the president:

Over the weekend, Page told The Federalist that after he left the Trump campaign in late September 2016, he continued to communicate with individuals officially connected to the campaign. “Yes, I stayed in touch with them – including during the transition months and after the start of the new administration,” Page said. While Page refused to identify all of the individuals with whom he maintained a relationship in order to protect their privacy, he confirmed that he remained in contact with Steve Bannon. 
Although the publicly released Page FISA orders redact the surveillance methods authorized and the modes of communication the FBI could target, it is safe to assume that any communication device Page used would be tapped, including cell phones, text, and email. Thus, the FBI would have access to any text and emails Page exchanged with Bannon or other members of the campaign, transition team, or administration, as well as the ability to eavesdrop on any telephone calls. 
But Page went further, telling The Federalist ... “I can also tell you on the record,” Page said, “that one of the things that the FBI investigators were interested in were my early 2017 text messages with Steve Bannon (irrelevant as they may be).” 
Page refused to expand on the content of his early 2017 text messages with Bannon, but suggested that the subject matter of those texts was unimportant—it was the FBI’s interest in, and probing about, his exchanges with Bannon that proved infinitely more significant. That probing came when the FBI interviewed Page multiple times in March 2017, at a time when James Comey, Andrew McCabe, and Peter Strzok remained in charge of the Russia collusion investigation.

The issue Forbes raised regarding "Two Hop" relates to the ability of the government to obtain not only the records of the targeted individual (Page) but also of persons "two hops" distant, in a sort of concentric circle around Page. This would, theoretically, give the government the ability to determine how wide Page's conspiracy to collude with Russia was and who its members were. Since Bannon would undoubtedly be in touch with Trump, presumably Trump would fall within those two concentric circles.

Does Trump WANT To Be impeached?

Nancy Pelosi said so today, but I'm not sure that's just part of the Dem "impeachment theater" schtick. However ...

There are some more serious voices who are suggesting that that is, indeed, what Trump wants. Don Surber rounds it up, inimitably: Trump's fear about impeachment. Surber argues that Trump's real fear is not that he will be impeached but that he won't be impeached--and that's why he's goading them.

Where Do People Get These Crazy Ideas?

Pelosi, Nadler, and the rest of their gang are doing Impeachment Theater virtually 24/7. The MSM is dutifully covering it and ignoring real news. Google, Facebook, and Twitter are doing all they can to shut down conservative voices. And yet ...

Sixty-four percent (64%) of voters believe the FBI knew a controversial dossier was unreliable when they used it to obtain a search warrant against President Trump’s 2016 campaign. A national survey found that skepticism is shared by 86% of Republicans, 64% of Independents, and 47% of Democrats (see crosstab results).

OK, it's true that people are still a bit muddled:

Forty-nine percent (49%) favor having the Department of Justice investigate whether the FBI illegally spied on the Trump campaign. Twenty-nine percent (29%) are opposed and 22% are not sure. Support for an investigation comes from 64% of Republicans, 52% of Independents, and 34% of Democrats. 
Just 34% of voters know that the compilation of the dossier was paid for by Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign. 
Thirty-five percent (35%) of voters believe the FBI illegally spied on the Trump campaign while 33% say it did not. Thirty-two percent (32%) are not sure. The number who are confident the FBI did not spy illegally has fallen six points in recent weeks.

But really, I think this is pretty good. It's big picture stuff. Not a single indictment yet, but 64% seem to have a handle on a basic idea. The other numbers will come around.

But, two questions:

1. What makes the Left think they control the flow of information?

2. With polling like this, what makes the Left think that all impeachment all the time is a good idea?

UPDATED: Nancy Pelosi Has Bill Barr's Back

Yesterday, after the abortive "infrastructure meeting" at the White House, it was widely reported that Nancy Pelosi snubbed presidential counselor Kellyanne Conway, who tried to speak to La Grande Madame Speaker. “I don't talk to staff. I talk directly to the president,” Pelosi said after Conway asked her a question.

Today James Freeman picks up on that with regard to Bill Barr (WSJ subscription wall): Pelosi Backs Barr: The Speaker agrees that senior government officials don’t answer to staff.

This column thinks that Mrs. Pelosi might have benefited from a conversation with the President’s clever counselor. But as the duly elected Speaker of the House, the California lawmaker is free to insist on dealing directly with the principal executive. Constitutionally, Mrs. Pelosi does not answer to the White House staff. She is a leader of the legislative branch, which is not inferior to the executive. 
Similarly, the Attorney General of the United States is not inferior to the lawyers who work on the staff of the House Judiciary Committee. Earlier this month, Mrs. Pelosi’s Democratic colleagues attempted to set a precedent.

Freeman goes on to quote The National Law Journal:

In preparation for a Thursday hearing with Barr, the House Judiciary Committee voted along party lines to allow Republican and Democratic staff to question the attorney general. It was just the move the Justice Department warned would deter Barr from appearing. Hours after his Senate testimony, Barr announced he wouldn’t be showing up Thursday. 
In a statement, a Justice Department spokesperson described the conditions set by the committee’s chairman, U.S. Rep. Jerrold Nadler, D-New York, as “unprecedented and unnecessary.” 
“Congress and the executive branch are co-equal branches of government, and each have a constitutional obligation to respect and accommodate one another’s legitimate interests. Chairman Nadler’s insistence on having staff question the attorney general, a Senate-confirmed cabinet member, is inappropriate,” Justice Department spokeswoman Kerri Kupec said. “Further, in light of the fact that the majority of the House Judiciary Committee—including Chairman Nadler—are themselves attorneys, and the chairman has the ability and authority to fashion the hearing in a way that allows for efficient and thorough questioning by the members themselves, the chairman’s request is also unnecessary.”

Even better than the The National Law Journal is a letter to the WSJ editor from a Greg Woods:

Imagine for a moment that the House invites the leadership of the Senate over to discuss pending legislation. When the senators arrive, they find only staff waiting for them. They would no doubt walk out the door in a huff. The way Congress acknowledges that the executive branch is a coequal branch is by following this simple rule: staff meets with staff, and principals meet with principals. 
Rep. Nadler’s violation of this rule isn’t just an insult to Bill Barr, it is a constitutional insult to the Office of the Attorney General, implying that Congress has supremacy over the executive branch. If, when Mr. Barr does meet with the Judiciary Committee, Rep. Nadler allows a staff member to ask questions, Mr. Barr should direct a member of his staff to replace him at the table and direct that staff member to answer each question with: “I am not authorized by the attorney general to answer that question.”

UPDATE:  Kellyanne Conway fires back at ‘rich’ Pelosi after clash: ‘Treats me like’ her ‘maid’.

I think Kellyanne understands "winning."

“She said … 'I talk to the president, I don’t talk to staff,'” Conway recalled Thursday. “You know, let’s face it, she’s the sixth-most-rich member of Congress. She treats everybody like they’re her staff.” 
Pelosi is among the wealthiest members in Congress, though her actual ranking varies depending on how it's calculated. 
But Conway added: “She treats me like I’m either her maid or her driver or her pilot or her makeup artist and I’m not. 

The Sound Of Silence

In Impeachment Madness I pointed out for the second time that

Barr has bigger fish to fry than the texting duo of Strzok and Page--and one of those fish is named Barack Obama.

That observation was based on Bill Barr's revelation, a week ago, that what has grabbed his personal attention in the Russia Hoax is the January 6, 2017, Trump Tower meeting:

According to Hemmer, the one specific example that Barr kept returning to was the Trump Tower meeting on January 6, 2017, between disgraced former FBI Director James Comey and Trump, when Comey tried to blackmail, er, when Comey briefed the President Elect about the salacious claims of the Steele "dossier". Weirdly, all those salacious claims appeared in the press within days of the meeting.

And, not at all coincidentally, that meeting came the very day after a White House summit or council of war was held against the president elect--a meeting that featuring the top level of the outgoing Obama administration and the key holdovers. To reprise:

Wednesday, May 22, 2019

Devin Nunes Has Questions For Theresa May

Devin Nunes has written a letter to President Trump in advance of Trump's trip to the UK. The letter is self explanatory and can be read here. Nunes would like Trump to pose some questions to PM May. I'll simply append those questions without comment. The obvious thrust is twofold: the relationship of Steele to "current or former British intelligence or government officials" as related to the Trump campaign and the extent of interaction of those officials with "current or former U.S. intelligence, law enforcement, or government officials"--also as related to the Trump campaign. Seems reasonable to me.

“Did Christopher Steele inform any current or former British intelligence or government officials about the allegations he put forward in the Steele file or any other allegations about President Trump or Trump campaign associates colluding with Russians? If so, describe what action British officials took in response to this data.” 
“Did any current or former British intelligence or government officials discuss with Christopher Steele the possibility of Steele writing additional memos about President Trump or Trump associates colluding with Russians? If so, what guidance did British officials give to Steele and when was this guidance provided?” 
“Did any current or former U.S. government or intelligence officials inform any current or former British government or intelligence officials about Steele’s allegations or any other allegations about President Trump or Trump campaign associates colluding with Russians, if other such allegations exist? If so, describe the circumstances and timing of this communication and any resulting action that was taken.” 
“Is the British government aware of, did it give permission for, or did it participate in, actions by any government to surveil or otherwise target active or former associates of the Trump campaign, if any such surveillance or activities took place?” 
“Did any current or former British intelligence or government officials relay classified or unclassified information to any current or former U.S. officials about alleged contacts between Trump associates and suspected Russian intelligence officials, if any such data exists? If so, when was the information relayed and how was this information collected?" 
“Describe any communications or relationship, if any, Joseph Mifsud (potentially also known as Joseph de Gabriele) has had with British intelligence and any data the British government possesses about Mifsud’s connection to any other government or intelligence agency.” 
“Did any current or former British officials present an assessment of Christopher Steele, including a determination of his credibility or motivations, to any current or former U.S. intelligence, law enforcement, or government officials, or presidential transition team members?”

Briefly Noted: Confirmed - No 371 Conspiracy To Defraud The US Government

Is it OK to give myself a pat on the back every blue moon or so? Over a year ago I laid out what I believed to be the two most likely prosecutive theories that the Russia Hoax was predicated on (More On Mueller's Theory Of The Case). I returned to that theme just this week, with the difference that I was urging that this same prosecutive theory be considered by AG Bill Barr in bringing the Russia Hoax coup plotters to justice: Is There A Prosecutive Theory To Fit The Russia Hoax? The prosecutive theory in question would rely upon 18 USC 371 to establish a conspiracy "for the purpose of impairing, obstructing or defeating the lawful function of any department of government."

Well, today Paul Sperry confirmed that I had read Team Mueller's intentions correcting. Sperry tweeted (and his feed today is HOT) that buried in the Mueller Dossier is a passage that provides further exoneration for President Trump:

Paul Sperry‏

Further exoneration buried in Mueller report: "The investigation did not establish any agreement among [Trump] Campaign officials--or b/t such officials & Russia-linked individuals--to interfere w or obstruct a lawful function of a gov't agency during the campaign or transition."
10:36 AM - 22 May 2019

Sperry is referencing 18 USC 371, Conspiracy to Defraud the US Government. A follower of Sperry helpfully added this image from p. 181 of the Mueller Dossier, which shows the several references to 371:

So there we have confirmed that Team Mueller was, indeed, pursuing that prosecutive theory. Team Mueller came up dry but that definitely doesn't mean that Team Barr wouldn't be able to turn this prosecutive theory to excellent use. The advantage of this theory is that acts that aren't in themselves criminal can become steps in furtherance of the conspiracy to "interfere with or obstruct a lawful function of a gov't agency during the campaign or transition"--and during the following two years.

UPDATED: Briefly Noted: Why Did The FBI Keep Getting FISAs Against Carter Page?

Carter Page stepped down from his position as a foreign policy adviser to the Trump campaign in September, 2016--a month before the FBI obtained a FISA warrant against him. Not only that, but the FBI got three renewal warrants against Trump. The FISA coverage of Page--which is incredibly comprehensive and intrusive--continued until Team Mueller allowed it to lapse in August 2017. The question is: Why? Why all this intensive spying on someone who had only briefly been associated with the Trump campaign, which spying was justified on the theory of an "enterprise counterintelligence investigation?" (Mueller's "Enterprise" Witchhunt)

Margot Cleveland ran a blog yesterday that sheds light on this question: Carter Page: Obama’s FBI, DOJ May Have Spied On Trump Admin, Not Just Campaign. What emerges from recent statements by Page is that the FBI appears to have been spying on the inmost counsels of the new Trump administation--not just on the candidate, or the transitional President-Elect, but on the post-inauguration new Trump administration.

Tuesday, May 21, 2019

John Solomon: Declass Begins In 7-8 Days

John Solomon, speaking to Sean Hannity, is saying that the first set of declass documents will be out in 7-8 days. According to Solomon, the first set will include exculpatory information that the FBI was aware of before the initial FISA application--information that discredited Chris Steele and his "dossier". As an example, Solomon relates that he personally was told by the FBI before the FISA application that the Steele's Alfa Bank story--according to which there was a secret comm setup between Putin and Trump at Trump Tower via Alfa Bank--had been debunked. And yet the FBI told the FISA court that Steele was completely reliable. For more details, see Solomon's latest article: Christopher Steele's nugget of fool's gold was easily disproven — but FBI didn't blink an eye.

Solomon also points out that for the first time ever a poll is showing a majority of Americans support investigating FBI spying on Trump--evidence that Americans are wising up to the Russia Hoax: Most Americans support inquiry into FBI decisions to monitor former Trump campaign officials: poll. In fact, support for AG Barr's investigation is strong and broad based:

In a new Hill-HarrisX survey, a majority of registered voters said they support a new Department of Justice inquiry into whether official procedures were followed when the FBI began examining allegations of connections between Donald Trump's 2016 presidential campaign and Russia. 
Sixty-two percent of respondents to the May 17-18 survey said they support Attorney General William Barr's decision to name a U.S. attorney to determine whether law enforcement officers had obeyed regulations governing surveillance of U.S. citizens while 38 percent said they opposed the new inquiry. 
The poll found broad agreement across age groups in favor of the probe led by Connecticut-based U.S. attorney John H. Durham with more than 58 percent of voters under 35, between 35 and 49, between 50 and 64, and older than 64 saying that they supported it.

Bad news--but only to be expected--for the Impeachment Madness zealots in the House.

UPDATED: Impeachment Madness

Reports are out that the Dems may play their "impeachment card" within two weeks. Oh, wait, is it true that Declass could be coming even sooner than that? This morning I wrote:

I assume that the impeachment NOW hysteria gripping Left/Progs in Congress is a function of two--no, make that three--things:
1. The steady drumbeat of damaging revelations--with the promise of MUCH MORE to come;
2. The patent futility of their efforts to slow AG Barr down or faze him;
3. The realization, based on Barr's latest interview that, as I said, Barr has bigger fish to fry than the texting duo of Strzok and Page--and one of those fish is named Barack Obama.

I've just now read Steve Grammatico's thoughtful piece at American Thinker, Impeachment is now the only play the Left has. I agree entirely with the thesis. However, Grammatico makes four points, not all of which I can buy into. Let me deal with each of Grammatico's points in turn:

Monday, May 20, 2019

UPDATED: Rep. Doug Collins Releases Nine Transcripts Of Witness Interviews

Follow the link for a launching pad to all the transcripts: TRANSPARENCY.

Separately, there are reports that House Dems are placing enormous pressure on Pelosi to start impeachment ASAP.

Desperation. They see what's coming and can think of nothing else to do.

UPDATE: Rep. Matt Gaetz is predicting bombshell revelations--probably via declass--within days.

I assume that the impeachment NOW hysteria gripping Left/Progs in Congress is a function of two--no, make that three--things:

1. The steady drumbeat of damaging revelations--with the promise of MUCH MORE to come;

2. The patent futility of their efforts to slow AG Barr down or phase him;

3. The realization, based on Barr's latest interview that, as I said, Barr has bigger fish to fry than the texting duo of Strzok and Page--and one of those fish is named Barack Obama.

UPDATED: The Shape Of The Coup Plot: Obama And The Brits

Yesterday, in Is There A Prosecutive Theory To Fit The Russia Hoax? I outlined a prosecutive theory that might be able to encompass the enormity of the Leftist/Prog plot against our constitutional order (please do yourself a favor and give it a careful reading). Today there are analyses available that advance the snowballing effort to flesh out the full detail of this plot.

First let's turn to Byron York, who describes the increasing Leftist/Prog desperation as they find that the Mueller Dossier "has changed everything"--and not in their favor:

The ground has shifted in the month since the report became public. Before the release, many Democrats adopted a "wait for Mueller" stance, basing their anti-Trump strategy on the hope that Mueller would find the much-anticipated conspiracy. 
Then Mueller did not deliver. ... Democrats searched for a way to convince Americans that the president was still guilty of something serious. 
They devised a plan to turn the Mueller report into a TV show, ... 
At the same time, they would insist that Attorney General William Barr, who has allowed top lawmakers to see the full Mueller report with the exception of a small amount of grand jury material, was hiding something, and that the hidden material might reveal presidential wrongdoing. 
So far, the strategy has not worked. ... 
In the meantime, House Democrats have been reduced to stunts to try to grab the public's attention. At the Capitol recently, they enlisted Hollywood star John Cusack to take part in a public reading of the entire Mueller report — it took 12 hours — as C-Span cameras rolled. The event did not exactly captivate the nation.

Then, last week, Bill Barr gave his bombshell The Answers I'm Getting To My Questions Don't Hang Together interview. The bombshell in the interview was the revelation of what Barr personally finds most riveting:

Sunday, May 19, 2019

Is There A Prosecutive Theory To Fit The Russia Hoax?

Let me get this out of the way right up front, because I don't want it to get buried down below: I owe a big hat tip to commenter Mike Sylwester. I'll explain.

Many observers of the Russia Hoax have expressed frustration that what seems in a common sense way to be a clearly treasonous or seditious conspiracy by the Obama Administration is not being discussed in that sense by legal conservative types. I've explained to several commenters that the Founding Fathers delibarately made these types of prosecutions very difficult, even going so far as to embody their restrictive views in the Constitution itself:

Article III, Section 3
1: Treason against the United States, shall consist only in levying War against them, or in adhering to their Enemies, giving them Aid and Comfort. No Person shall be convicted of Treason unless on the Testimony of two Witnesses to the same overt Act, or on Confession in open Court.

There were good historical reasons for this but, even as I maintained that these laws didn't fit the facts of the Russia Hoax, I had to admit that the alternatives were--to take a term from Bill Barr--"inadequate." Yes, it seems clear that various criminal statues have been violated, but none of them capture the full scope of what was in reality a broadly based conspiracy to subvert a national election or, failing that, prosecute a lawfare coup against President Trump by fraudulent means. Kim Strassel captures this big picture excellently ("A Searing Indictment Of The FBI"). To prosecute the perps of this massive subversion of our constitutional order as a nation on other charges seems, relatively speaking, a nickel dime affair when compared to the enormity of what actually took place over a period of years at the highest levels of the Obama Administration, it's Department of "Justice", and the Intelligence Community (FBI/CIA). "Inadequate," to quote Bill Barr again.

I was stewing over this when Mike Sylwester reminded me of 18 U.S.C. § 371—CONSPIRACY TO DEFRAUD THE UNITED STATES. And, better than just reminding me, Mike pointed me to the Department of Justices Criminal Resource Manual, which provides guidance on the application of criminal statutes by prosecutors. You can read the entire section on Conspiracy to Defraud the United States here, but I'll be quoting selected portions. As it happens, I've previously discussed 371 at some length as forming a possible theory that the Russia Hoaxers hoped to use against Trump. I'll append that discussion below, but suffice it to say that at that time I didn't find the theory far fetched as a theory--the problem was that Trump failed to oblige the Russia Hoaxers by engaging in a pattern of conduct that would match facts to theory.

So ...

Saturday, May 18, 2019

"A Searing Indictment Of The FBI"

Many of you have already viewed this Kim Strassel video: The Left will Silence You. The title of this post actually comes from a Strassel article that I quoted back on March 24, 2019. I have some reservations about a few of the things she says--for example, about the supposedly "anything goes" nature of CI investigations. Nevertheless, her big picture narrative of the FBI and of the Media, of Mueller's corruption, of the accurate perception of unequal justice, is so good that I highly recommend you spend a half hour listening to Strassel. I think it's a great way to spend that small amount of time while we wait for developments from AG Barr's investigation:

Friday, May 17, 2019

UPDATED: "A Real Attorney General"

If you haven't watched this interview with Devin Nunes, it's a must view. Nunes is clearly worked up and more plain spoken than I've ever seen him.

In response to segments of the Bill Barr interview with Fox News, in which Barr says that he has more questions now about the Russia Hoax than when he first started as AG, and that the questions he's received are inadequate, Nunes points out that the same is true for the House. For example, he says, just this week, even today, they've finally seen interagency emails regarding Christopher Steele--emails that "the FBI" (he means "Chris Wray") had hidden from Congress.

How did we just find out about this [the Kavalec email]? ... I think what you're seeing is, you're seeing a real Attorney General, a professional, and someone who's not gonna take this poisonous garbage [started by the Dems, and still pushed by irresponsible Dems and their media allies.]

I think I get it. Jeff Sessions wasn't a real Attorney General, nor was Rod Rosenstein. If Devin Nunes knows this, count on it: Bill Barr sure knows it. And I think he's telling us that Barr told Chris Wray how high to jump. When opportunity offers, Wray will be gone. Barr doesn't want to go through another confirmation just now, but if Wray wants to leave, it'll be: Hey, don't let the door hit you in the ass on the way out. In the meantime, he's got him on a leash--a short one.

As for Barr not shying away from the word "spying"?

Sandra, it's ridiculous. Every American out there knows what spying is. This [objecting to the "S" word] is all about narrative building by the Left to cover up what they did, and you have accomplices in the media. This is foolishness. ... He [Barr] used to work at the CIA, for God's sake. I've never seen something so ridiculous, where the media is culpable for this nonsense. Everybody in the media oughta be laughing at these politicians ... It's a joke, it's a joke.

Thursday, May 16, 2019

Bill Barr: The Answers I'm Getting To My Questions Don't Hang Together

In a preview to a longer interview that will air on Fox News, AG Bill Barr offered his usual frank assessment:

"I’ve been trying to get answers to the questions and I've found that a lot of the answers have been inadequate and some of the explanations I've gotten don't hang together, in a sense I have more questions today than when I first started," Barr told Fox News' Bill Hemmer in an interview set to air Friday on "America's Newsroom."
"Why does that matter?" asked Hemmer. 
"People have to find out what the government was doing during that period. If we're worried about foreign influence, for the very same reason we should be worried about whether government officials abuse their power and put their thumb on the scale," ...

Hemmer then added a teaser for the full interview tomorrow (Friday). According to Hemmer, Barr is personally troubled by what happened between the election and the inauguration. According to Hemmer, the one specific example that Barr kept returning to was the Trump Tower meeting on January 6, 2017, between disgraced former FBI Director James Comey and Trump, when Comey tried to blackmail, er, when Comey briefed the President Elect about the salacious claims of the Steele "dossier". Weirdly, all those salacious claims appeared in the press within days of the meeting.

Hemmer: "He clearly has a lot of questions about that ..." Yeah. Go figure. And the answers he's gotten "don't hang together."

Interesting, though, that Barr should say, in almost so many words: If we're worried about foreign influence on our elections, by the same token we should be worried about whether our own government abused their power and put their thumb on the scale. Putin and Obama both.

Uh-Oh! Developments In The Flynn Case

Undercover Huber has posted the latest:

Undercover Huber

BREAKING: D.C. Judge Sullivan orders DOJ to file on the public docket:
Fully unredacted parts of Mueller report that relate to @GenFlynn 
TRANSCRIPT of @GenFlynn's calls with Russian ambassador KISLYAK 
Both by May 31 2019

It's necessary to bear in mind that Flynn has repeatedly insisted--under oath--that he's guilty and that he wants to plead guilty and pay the price for his supposed crimes. As part of his plea he also states that he violated the Foreign Agents Registration Act (FARA), although he was never charged for that supposed crime. Nevertheless ...

It seems to me to be unlikely that Team Mueller is pleased with this development. To my way of thinking--and maybe I'm wrong--but the second part in particular, the TRANSCRIPT of Flynn's calls with Kislyak, can only be relevant to the issue of why the FBI wanted to interview Flynn about his contacts with Kislyak in the first place. Does Judge Sullivan want to ask Team Mueller to explain why Flynn was subjected to a setup interview without counsel for doing his job?

There are a lot of moving parts here. If Flynn was already under FBI investigation, why was that? From what we know, it appears he was being targeted for political reasons. OTOH, it does appear that he violated FARA--but why not just warn him and require him to register, as is usually done? Further, it seems vanishingly unlikely that any previously initiated FBI investigation had anything to do with a supposed violation of the Logan Act--that doesn't pass the laugh test.

And then there's the question of whether Flynn's plea was truly voluntary--despite his statements under oath. It's hard to help a guy like Flynn who's his own worst enemy, but on the other hand Sullivan is nobody's fool in these matters. One wonders whether Sullivan is contemplating some rather dramatic intervention and wants the public record out there so that there will be no doubt about the basis for his actions.

Interesting days.

Briefly Noted: Declassification Coming; Inherent Contempt Of Congress

Today, following on the heels of Laura Ingraham's report that declassification of key Russia Hoax documents could come as soon as next week, CTH has a lengthy explanation of what's involved. The long and short of it is that, especially when you have multiple agencies and departments involved, the process is is complex. CTH walks you through it: Laura Ingraham Reports: Declassification Directive Possible Next Week … Sundance approves of the timing--immediately before release of the OIG report(s).

You've undoubtedly been hearing a lot about contempt of Congress in recent weeks. During the past week there's been increasing talk among Dems about resorting to what's known as "inherent contempt" of Congress, whereby Congress would arrest supposed contemnors, put them on trial, find them guilty, and then imprison or fine them--or both. What's this about?

Here's the Wikipedia version:

Inherent contempt 
Under this process, the procedure for holding a person in contempt involves only the chamber concerned. Following a contempt citation, the person cited is arrested by the Sergeant-at-Arms for the House or Senate, brought to the floor of the chamber, held to answer charges by the presiding officer, and then subjected to punishment as the chamber may dictate (usually imprisonment for punishment, imprisonment for coersion, or release from the contempt citation). 
Concerned with the time-consuming nature of a contempt proceeding and the inability to extend punishment further than the session of the Congress concerned (under Supreme Court rulings), Congress created a statutory process in 1857. While Congress retains its "inherent contempt" authority and may exercise it at any time, this inherent contempt process was last used by the Senate in 1934, in a Senate investigation of airlines and the U.S. Postmaster. After a one-week trial on the Senate floor (presided over by Vice President John Nance Garner, in his capacity as Senate President), William P. MacCracken, Jr., a lawyer and former Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Aeronautics who was charged with allowing clients to remove or rip up subpoenaed documents, was found guilty and sentenced to 10 days imprisonment. 
MacCracken filed a petition of habeas corpus in federal courts to overturn his arrest, but after litigation, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that Congress had acted constitutionally, and denied the petition in the case Jurney v. MacCracken.
Presidential pardons appear not to apply to a civil contempt procedure such as the above, since it is not an "offense against the United States" or against "the dignity of public authority."

The reason for resorting to "inherent contempt" rather than the statutory process that has been in place since 1857 is obvious: in the statutory process the matter would be referred to AG Bill Barr. You may have also noticed that the Dems are talking about using "inherent contempt" to levy heavy fines. This is, presumably, to avoid a petition of habeas corpus. My guess is that even as we read this there are smart lawyers in the administration who are working on challenges to this attempt to avoid judicial review on constitutional grounds. I'm also guessing that the courts would find a way to review such a high handed and potentially abusive procedure.

If you really want to get into the weeds on this, I found a Congressional Research Service report yesterday:  Congress’s Contempt Power and the Enforcement of Congressional Subpoenas: Law, History, Practice, and Procedure (Updated May 12, 2017). It's long, but the section on Inherent Contempt is covered in only about six pages.

The key to all of this is that Congress's power of inherent contempt can only be exercised in matters over which Congress has jurisdiction. In other words, Congress must be exercising a valid legislative or oversight function, not attempting to misuse its powers for a purely political purpose--such as, to embarrass the president. That is the ground on which this will be fought if Congress attempts to use inherent contempt.