Readers will know by now the mantra we've been mumbling for, well, since February, 2018, as it turns out. It goes along these lines:
FISA, probable cause, criminal predicate, Preliminary Investigation, reasonable suspicion, Full Investigation, enterprise counterintelligence investigation, specific and articulable facts, predication, predication, predication.
And variations on the theme with seemingly no end.
Andy McCarthy today, Politics is front and center for Russiagate probe -- and the farce has reached new heights, lays it out for everyone in easily digestible bite size chunks, but what he's talking about is what Bill Barr keeps talking about whenever he's asked: Predication. And that's the by far most likely reason that Robert Mueller doesn't want to talk to Congress and Congress doesn't want to talk to Robert Mueller--despite all the political theater going on.
The bottom line is that the special counsel not only found no collusion between Trump’s campaign and Russia.
It appears that the FBI’s investigation was opened on false pretenses: [= no valid predication] namely, the fiction that low-level Trump campaign advisor George Papadopoulos was dealing with a Russian agent (he wasn’t), who told him Russia possessed emails damaging to Hillary Clinton (he probably didn’t), which information Papadopoulos passed on to an Australian diplomat – wrong again: Papadopoulos said nothing to the diplomat about emails; rather, after WikiLeaks published hacked DNC emails, the diplomat, in consultation with the Obama State Department, suddenly decided Papadopoulos’s reference to damaging information about Clinton must have been about the hacked DNC emails (it wasn’t).
It gets worse. The high likelihood is that, after taking over the investigation in May 2017, Mueller knew early on that there was no “collusion” case against the president. [= knew there was no valid predication for the investigation he just agreed to take]
That allegation was largely built on the “Steele dossier,” the Clinton campaign-sponsored opposition research screed, which was based on anonymous sources and multiple levels of hearsay, and which the government is now investigating on suspicion that it may have been Russian disinformation. Based on the dossier, the Obama Justice Department and the FBI started seeking FISA court warrants to surveil Carter Page, a former Trump campaign adviser, in October 2016.
The last warrant of four 90-day warrants would have lapsed in September 2017. But Mueller, who by then had been on the case for four months, opted not to go back to the FISA court to seek a new warrant. That suggests that investigators no longer stood behind the dossier and its sensational, uncorroborated claim that Trump was in cahoots with the Kremlin. [= knew there was no probable cause behind it, no valid predication]
Of course, that raises a big question: Why did Mueller allow the “collusion” investigation to continue for well over a year after it seemed obvious that there was no case? [= exactly the question Barr wants an answer for--where was the predication for all that investigative activity?]
This is real bottom line stuff, and everything else flows from it. This is really serious stuff, and the Kathleen Kavalec notes are a bit like icing on the cake.
ADDENDUM: The basic reason that I believe none of the Dem political theater is going to derail Barr's investigation is simply this: If there's one thing the American people can fasten on to and assimilate, can understand, it's FBI Spying on Americans. That's what will ultimately drive this whole thing, while the legal types use their phrases like "probable cause" and "predication." That's why Barr was SO RIGHT to say he wouldn't back down from using that word: SPYING. Yes, talk about "predication" and so forth, but always come back to FBI SPYING. Well, let's not forget about John Brennan, of course. But I guarantee: FBI SPYING is what will resonate in the public consciousness.
Apparently, Andrew McCarthy still is unaware that Papadopoulos talked with Alexander Downer's associate Erika Thompson -- surely an Australian Intelligence officer working under an embassy cover -- four days before he talked with Downer. Any of Papadopoulos's signifiant remarks about e-mails were said to Thompson, not to Downer. In order to keep Thompson out of the story, however, Downer at some points in time hinted that those remarks were said to Downer himself.ReplyDelete
Instead of wondering whether Steele was victimized by "Russian disinformation", we all should be supposing that Steele himself is a liar who conned gullible, Trump-hating leaders of the US Intelligence Community.
I do not see any good reason to suppose that "Russian disinformation" played any role whatsoever in this farce.
After Rod Rosenstein approved the last FISA warrant against Carter Page, then what are the following facts:
* From how many Trump associates were communications collected by the FBI?
* What were those associates' names?
* How many communication items were collected?
* Who in the FBI studied those communications?
* What information was sought in the collected communications?
* What information was found, and how was it used?
* When did the collection of communications end?
* What is the current status of the communications and information that was collected from Trump's associates?
In particular, I want to see those facts from the period after Rosenstein approved the last FISA application.
Mike, I think you're second point is the most important, and feeds into the rest. HOWEVER, I don't think that Steele conned the IC. I think the IC needed a foreign source of "intelligence" as a cover justification for their domestic political op. The Brit intel establishment, had their own reasons to be on board.Delete
Like you, I'm fascinated by the Rod Rosenstein angle. He's clearly at the center of it all, clearly had a duty to examine the predication for the investigation, the probable cause for the FISA, etc. He was either weak or stupid. Or, I suppose, malign. But one way or another he needs to be talking to a Grand Jury.
This comment has been removed by the author.ReplyDelete
Yancey, I think you need to check that link again. However, yes, Comey is a lowlife, as is Mueller, as is Wray, as are the rest of the crew. And they all go back together.Delete
Oop, sorry about that. Let's try that link again:ReplyDelete
Tx. I couldn't figure how to navigate that site, or couldn't figure it out quickly. I'll have to read that later since I'm juggling a few things.Delete
Yes, Ricochet is not really worth anyone's time, but I got the the link on Powerline.ReplyDelete
My opinion of Rosenstein changes on a daily basis. Sometimes more than once in a day. I am being serious, not flippant like I am in some posts.ReplyDelete
I vacillate between RR is bad, good and amoral. By amoral I mean kind of like an unfortunate protagonist/antagonist with a noir film. In noir films, a character could choose the right or wrong path but oftentimes fate conspires to sweep him into situations with powerful forces. The more that I type, the more I'm seeing RR possibly this way.
I'm convinced that Rosenstein means his words about respect for the law, appreciating his private conversations with DJT, and his support for the ideas that DJT espoused in his inaugural address (h/t to Jeff Carlson.)
I'm starting to wonder if Brian Cates is right and that Rosenstein will be shown to be a good guy. I'm not intransigent in that belief. Because I respect your FBI service and the expertise it brings you, in past cmments I have asked your opinion of Comey and Mueller. You told me that you see them as bad actors. I agree with you.
RR is one of the few characters left that I scratch my head about.
I understand, because I've had some of the same questions. Comey and Mueller are clearly bad actors, unscrupulous--anyone familiar with their records over many years can see that. Re RR, I'm actually tempted to go along with Comey's view--!!Delete
Comey stated that RR is weak in character. I'll be frank--I don't know enough about the Uranium One case to pass judgment on RR's role there, although on the face of it it seems suspect.
So, not knowing much about RR personally, I have to fall back on the facts as we know them in the Russia Hoax. It's clear to me that RR totally fell down in fulfilling his responsibilities. Nor were these minor failings.
1. If he didn't think Comey should've been fired, then he shouldn't have written his memo.
2. His discussions re the 25th amendment and obstruction were not only seriously disloyal to his oath of office but were legally absurd.
3. His appointment of Mueller--in effect, his decision to continue an investigation that everyone knew then had no basis (McC: "false pretenses")--was seriously deficient with regard to any review of the predication, which was a grave responsibility in his position and considering what he would be subjecting the president and the country to. It was reckless and irresponsible in an objective sense.
4. His reaapproval of the FISA for the final time was just as deficient and reprehensible as his authorizing the SC, and for similar legal reasons. He had a very grave responsibility at that point--three FISA periods already with nothing to show for it--to subject that application to serious questioning, and he should have been aware of the deficiencies of Steele as a source. As well as other problems.
So, to me, as an objective matter and disregarding whether he felt under pressure, he should be targeted for prosecution for some really egregious and objective misconduct of his office.
You lay out a powerful case, hence my doubt.Delete
On the other hand, I also see the affection shown to him at his departure ceremony. I think to myself "If he's done something wrong, he should slink out of the DOJ, not be celebrated."
If he's done wrong, he deserves to face the consequences. We invest enormous power in government officials and there is no margin for abuse.
Because he's been such a central player--really, he's been in control of the whole thing, he's the guy who made the key decisions--I believe we'll be learning a lot more about his actions. At this point I have to go with the facts as I know them. I don't know of any reason to doubt the facts as I've set them out. I can't read his mind, but I'm unaware of any defense for his actions. None.Delete
This is my first post here, and I appreciate the perspective of someone with your background. My take on Rosenstein was that he had three options- let Mccabe run the coup, shut down the coup, or turn it over to somebody else. Options 1 or 2 would have guaranteed the prompt end of Trump's presidency. It was going to take time to shake out the players and evidence to prove Trump's innocence. And proving Trump innocent was the ONLY way. Had the Russia investigation, in any form it took, been shut down, nobody would have talked about the predication- only that Trump was surely guilty as proven by the shutdown. If anyone doubts that the republicans would have turned enthusiastically against Trump, you only need to recall 2016- the Rs were out to destroy Trump from the first debate to the Access Hollywood tapes.Delete
Regardless of Mueller's many well-known failures, his SC role did two critical things- it cleared the Russia nonsense to a certainty- or as close as can be humanly achieved, and it interrupted the leak machine that was such a critical part of the coup.
As for the 25th amendment talk- that was Mccabe's version. The event happened just before Rod yanked that whole investigation out of Mccabe's hands by way of the SC. Had Rosenstein been weak or interested in taking out Trump, all he needed to do was sit and wait for Mccabe and the boys to do what they do. He did not do so. I don't believe it was a coincidence that the specific scope memo was only issued on the day of Wray taking over the FBI. The Mueller appointment was to get the whole thing out of Mccabe's hands.
Regarding the FISA renewal that Rosenstein signed, he acted on what he was briefed, just as Dana Boente had done. I can see two potential reasons for doing so- 1) trapping the people that lied to him and 2) using the FISA, and specifically, the "2 hops", to go after the corrupt actors. Carter Page was, for almost a year, Typhoid Mary. Everyone he interacted with share in the same type of surveillance. He knew that, and cheerfully interacted with every dirtbag he could. How many times did that guy just sit and smile in 2017 while everybody lined up to talk to him? Did Jake Tapper realize that by interacting with Page, he was opening his own records up for inspection? But, hey, it's not like Tapper ever received classified info from the outgoing DNI about early January presidential briefings, right?
And I agree with McCarthy but with one quibble- this whole things was dirty politics, yes, but it was much more. It was an attempted overthrow of the elected president, and the only way it was going to work was if it happened in early 2017. Mueller slowed the investigation down to a crawl, and locked it away. And now, weeks after the Mueller report, comes the IG report. Mueller isn't stupid- I'd be stunned if he didn't make criminal referrals regarding the origins of the investigation he was given. It's not in his report, and the only logical conclusion for that is that it was outside his scope. Corrupt or not, Mueller still would have made the referral(s), if only to CYA. I'm also expecting his testimony to be rather prominent in the IG report.
Interesting points, CJ.Delete
I've previously argued that RR engaged in a lot of crazy obstruction and 25th talk with McCabe and others at the FBI, then realized that McCabe wanted to run with that and that he (RR) had got himself in a real fix unless he could detach McCabe from any investigations of Trump. To that extent, the SC can be argued to be part of the effort to get McCabe out of control of the investigation. HOWEVER, that doesn't change the fact that RR had a responsibility to really scrutinize the predication to begin with, and that as Lisa Page has testified, after 9 mos. they had nothing. Opening an investigation on someone--and all the more so when that someone is POTUS--is a very serious matter. McC is basically a NeverTrumper, so when he says the predication was actually a "false pretense," you can tell how flimsy--non-existent--it is. There's no justification for that.
Re the FISA, RR's responsibility goes beyond accepting whatever he was briefed on. He had a responsibility to review the PC. Further, since this was a renewal application, he had a responsibility to review the representations with regard to the renewal. Part of a renewal FISA is that you need to show either that the FISA has been productive or offer a justification to excuse lack of productivity. This was a third renewal. None of the renewals we've seen appear to offer anything significant--if at all--in the nature of product from the earlier warrants. And that raises some questions about the judges, too. The FISA targeted Page--you can't tell the court that you're targeting Page but actually be targeting other people. You have to have probable cause against the named subject. Otherwise, you're committing a fraud on the court.
I don't expect Mueller to figure in the IG report much if at all, simply because the IG report is focused on FISA, which occured before the SC--Mueller did not apply for the Page FISA.
If I'm wrong, you get to say you told me so. :-)
CJ, just to be clear ...Delete
Re FISA: If the FISA on Page wasn't productive--i.e., if it was not producing evidence in accordance with the predication, the theory of the case, which was Russian "collusion"--then RR hand an obligation to shut it down. It's clear that it wasn't productive in that sense because Mueller never sought a renewal. This is what the IG investigation is all about--the lack of justification for any FISA. Renewing it was therefore serious misconduct by RR unless there's some plausible excuse.
Again, starting up the SC to "prove Trump innocent?" That's a totally illegal use of the criminal justice process for a political reason. Trump is presumed innocent. No investigation without predication can be conducted. And it's clear from the Mueller dossier that there couldn't have been real predication. This too is serious misconduct. It can't be justified by political motives to "clear" Trump--which I'm quite sure are imaginary.
When Rosenstein was appointed, the Russia investigation was already underway. Yes, it was started without any legitimate predicate, but attempting to shut it down in spring 2017 would have ended Trump's presidency. The plan was based on the hope that Trump would shut it down, and the "Trump is Nixon" stories were probably already written and ready for launch at WAPO and NYT. No amount of complaining about predication by RR to justify his decision would have changed the outcome. That's political reality.Delete
The FISA warrant process isn't something I have any deep understanding of, but consider the volume. 1372 apps in 2017. There's no way that the AG, or in this case DAG, can sift through the detail of all those cases- that's approx 1 per work hour all year! There's also a 113,000 employee agency to run.
The AG role is to certify that the process was followed, not to study the facts and evidence, and even then, they're relying 100% on the briefing provided by the team that delivers them. They must have told RR that they had acquired additional evidence that justified further surveillance. If there was fraud and perjury committed during the applications to the court, I am certain that the same lies were given to the guy who signs off on the process.
On the proving Trump innocent point, I agree with you 100% that Trump is presumed innocent and that political smears masquerading as LE investigations should never happen. But the reality is, it did happen, and further, a majority of Congress- R and D alike, would have gladly used it as the basis to impeach or force resignation in early 2017. Shutting down a corrupt investigation was the right thing to do, yes, but it would have led to successful completion of the coup. Trump walked into office with half of voters picking him, and no support from his own party! I believe, as you do, and I believe as RR does, "Fiat justitia ruat caelum" But you can't play that out in a hopelessly corrupted system- which is what we had. The only option available to RR when he was appointed was to defuse the bomb. He took it and isolated it. Since it was, in fact, a hoax, it could only end one way, and that exoneration was necessary after the American public was given a solid 2.5 years of lies from almost the entire spectrum of media.
"When Rosenstein was appointed, the Russia investigation was already underway. Yes, it was started without any legitimate predicate, but attempting to shut it down in spring 2017 would have ended Trump's presidency."Delete
What you're saying is that the criminal justice system should be abused for political purposes--to supposedly save the Trump presidence. The ethical course for RR to have followed was this: Shut down the investigation stating clearly that it was opened under false pretenses; direct OIG to investigate the process by which the investigation was opened; the claim that to have done this would have ended the Trump presidency is therefore utterly unwarranted.
"There's no way that the AG, or in this case DAG, can sift through the detail of [1372 FISA applications in a year]"
There are not 1372 FISA applications made against (in effect) the POTUS. The idea that the AG/DAG could ethically skim such an application is absurd.
"The AG role is to certify that the process was followed, not to study the facts and evidence, and even then, they're relying 100% on the briefing provided by the team that delivers them."
That statement is false. 1804(a) clearly states that the AG certifies "that it satisfies the criteria and requirements of such application as set forth in this subchapter." That includes probable cause.
"They must have told RR that they had acquired additional evidence that justified further surveillance."
Wrong again. An application for renewal of a FISA contains a separate section to document what evidence pursuant to the probable cause has been collected. If that section isn't there, the application must not be certified. If it's inadequate as compared to the probable cause advanced, it must not be certified.
"Shutting down a corrupt investigation was the right thing to do, yes, but it would have led to successful completion of the coup."
I've rarely read anything so irresponsible in my life. It was RR's sworn responsibility to shut down any corrupt investigation, and to root out those who had begun it. Further, the processes for accomplishing this without damage to the presidency are in place: that's what OIG investigations are for.
"Since it was, in fact, a hoax, it could only end one way ..."
This is a false statement. Comey and Mueller were complicit in the hoax prosecution of Lewis Libby, and they got away with it. Hoaxes do not inevitably fail.
Sessions, but failing him, Rosenstein should have told the nation:Delete
The FBI opened an investigation against the Trump campaign on false pretenses, using documentation that they had reason to know was untrustworthy. It was done in violation of all existing guidelines and involved abuse of NSA databases for political purposes. I've put a stop to that abuse and am instructing IG Michael Horowitz to get to the bottom of how such outrageous abuse began in the first place.
Far from ending the Trump presidency, it would have liberated Trump from what followed and given him the freedom to operate that every new president deserves.
RR was appointed 04/26/17. Comey was fired on May 9. McCabe then opened an obstruction investigation on Trump. He had also opened a perjury investigation on Sessions. No doubt he had something special planned for RR, too. The same day that McCabe pushed RR on investigating Trump ("what do you want me to do Andy, wear a wire?"), he met with Mueller and Trump. The next day, Mueller was SC.Delete
At the time Mueller was appointed, McCabe had been AD for just over a week and was full throttle with the coup. RR didn't know much of what has now become public reported. He didn't know the guy just down the hall was involved (Ohr), he didn't know who the leakers were, and who he could trust. He may well have wanted to make a personal deep dive into CH, but while he studied the 1.2 million docs, McCabe would have been sending NYT leaks to make him look like Trump's cover-up guy.
RR couldn't stroll up to the podium and say to the cameras, "I'm shutting it down guys. This is a total witch hunt. I'm getting the IG on it, and in a year or two, he'll give you the scoop."
RR surely lacked sufficient information to rule that the investigation was corruptly initiated and that Trump was falsely accused in his first few weeks on the job. Mueller's massive team couldn't so conclude until 5-6 months in.
Attempting to shut down the investigation would have been disastrous. RR could have given the order, and McCabe would have refused, like Yates refused to enforce the immigration order. Then what, fire McCabe?
Followed of course by the NYT reporting that Mccabe was fired after he started investigating Trump personally. That was the trap that was laid, and Trump/RR didn't take it, which is why Trump is still president.
Regarding the FISA apps, RR's testimony when questioned by Gaetz last year is interesting. "People can make all kinds of allegations publicly. I am quite confident of my conduct throughout this investigation... We'll see what the inspector general finds." Later, "The process sir is that these FISA applications and renewals first come up through the FBI chain of command. They are sworn under oath by a career federal agent. I'm not the affiant." "My responsibility... was to approve the filing of FISA applications... We sit down with a team of attorneys from the DOJ, all of whom review that, provide a briefing for us about what's in it, and sir I've reviewed that one in some detail... the information that is public about that doesn't match with my understanding of the one that I signed. But I think it's appropriate to let the inspector general complete that investigation. These are serious allegations. And I don't do the investigation. I'm not the affiant. I'm reviewing the finished product sir. If the IG finds that I did something wrong, then I'll respect that judgement, but I think it's highly highly unlikely sir, given the way the process works."
If RR erred in the renewal, surely he knew as such by the June 18 hearing. Why, then, did he go out of his way to say all that? Also, why would Barr be so supportive of RR if he was a corrupt or incompetent DAG?
I appreciate you reading and responding to my thoughts. I agree with so much of what you write, which may not be apparent as the first time I've spoken to you has been a rare point of dispute. I think voices like yours have been sadly lacking over the last 2 years- people who actually know the ins and outs of the process. Thank you for this blog.
"RR couldn't stroll up to the podium and say to the cameras, "I'm shutting it down guys. This is a total witch hunt. I'm getting the IG on it, and in a year or two, he'll give you the scoop."Delete
He could have and should have. It was the only professional and ethical thing for him to do.
"RR surely lacked sufficient information to rule that the investigation was corruptly initiated and that Trump was falsely accused in his first few weeks on the job. Mueller's massive team couldn't so conclude until 5-6 months in."
If he didn't have that information he had only himself to blame. He had only to ask for the FBI case file to find out what the predication was. He could look at the FISA application anytime he wanted. The dossier story and the Russian narrative had been in the news for months. The FISC report was available. There was NOTHING more important for him to bone up on. To continue the FBI investigation and INTENSIFY it by raising it to a new level, putting the entire Trump administration under the gun of a Special Counsel investigation, without being sure of the facts was unconscionable. He had plenty enough evidence that Comey was unstable and untrustworthy--he wrote the memo justifying Comey's firing himself. Ditto re McCabe. RR had every reason to know that McCabe was unstable, untrustworthy, biased because of his wife--all that was public knowledge, including McCabe's attempted refusal to recuse himself.
Re FISA, RR is misstating the facts. His job is not to "approve FISA applications." He has a serious duty to probe the sufficiency of the applications and reject them if they fail to meet PC standards, especially in this extraordinary and unprecedented situation. To have demanded to know what steps had been taken to verify the already controversial Steele "information" should have been a no-brainer. Again, all the evidence is that the three previous FISAs had produced NOTHING. That alone should have told him all he needed to know and was the question he should have insisted on. Nine months of intensive investigation of a president and NOTHING to show for it? Reckless and irresponsible to continue.
He can argue he did nothing wrong, and he may not be held to account, but he failed the country. His argument is essentially that he treated this FISA like any other. That may keep him from being indicted, but that's a pathetically low bar.
Barr has spoken well of RR? Barr is rid of him. Jeff Sessions offered his resignation as soon as he heard that RR authorized the SC without discussing it with anyone. Jody Hunt, Sessions' chief of staff, wrote in his notes that he told Rosenstein that what he had done was despicable and unprofessional. Few reputable commenters are willing to defend RR any longer.
The Russia investigation was not just the dossier, though the FISA app was mostly that. Trump told Comey he wanted to know if anybody on his campaign did anything improper, and he told Lester Holt that he wanted the investigation done properly (that is, not by Comey or McCabe). RR knew that Manafort certainly was dirty, with shady Ukraine connections that could have very well extended into Russia. So no, RR did not have sufficient info in May 17 that the entire thing needed to be shut down. Manafort, Craig, and Tony Podesta should have been charged far sooner, in fact, and I'm certain that Podesta's day is coming, given that he's been AWOL for 2 years.Delete
How would RR have uncovered evidence to confirm his suspicion that the Russia thing was bogus? Stroll into Strzok's office and ask? Just like they lied to the FISA court, certain folks in the FBI lied to their superiors- they would have lied and stalled if RR had tried to do his own legwork. He also had no clue then about Fusion GPS or its funding, Steele's contacts, Simpson's contacts, the Ohrs, etc. And really, who was going to tell him, "sorry boss, this a big ole hoax. We admit it"?
RR walked into a nest of vipers, and he knew it. Oh and by the way, the FBI AD was gunning for the president, and trying to ensnare him in the plot.
Given that, he likely believed that the russia investigation was a pile of BS on top of a kernel of truth and twisted to attack Trump. OTOH, he absolutely knew that there was a conflict in the FBI. I suppose he could have suggested that McCabe be fired, leading to a Saturday Night Massacre scenario. Then, when RR and Sessions got shuffled out the door, who would have Bob Corker, John McCain, and Jeff Flake voted to confirm to replace them? Nobody- and they'd skip the vote to plan the impeachment.
You mention John Dowd's telling on the SC appointment, describing Session's and Hunt's take. What did any of those three men know about the Russia investigation or RR's decision making basis in May of 2017? Absolutely nothing, unless you're suggesting that they were operating unethically. Sessions, and by extension, Hunt, were recused. Dowd had one job- shepherd his client through a particular matter- and his client was not Trump the president, but Trump the man, and particularly, the man when he was a candidate and president-elect.
Speaking of Sessions, he is a private citizen, and he did not need to go to RR's retirement ceremony. If RR did something despicable, I would hope that Sessions would have sat it out. I strongly recommend that you watch the video of the event- Barr and Sessions aren't just making a polite appearance. Sessions called him "one of the most important leaders in the department's history," "a man of the law, who believed in the law, and a man of integrity". "He made every decision based on his best judgement of what he though was best for this country. He stayed the course during some of the most difficult times in the history of the department... Rod, you did your duty.. you fully understood the nature of your responsibility... you have honorably overseen this process, which has affirmed the rule of law". Are Barr, Sessions, and (soon to be shown) Horowitz reputable commentators?
By the time the SC was started ...Delete
Page had been complaining publicly for months that he was being smeared. Since Page had cooperated in a case that went to DoJ, RR could easily have reviewed the DoJ file, and not relied on the FBI. He would have discovered that Page had been a cooperating witness for three years.
It was known that there was no Papadopoulos collusion case.
It was readily verifiable by RR that Flynn had done nothing wrong, that there was NO predicate for the investigative interview, that he had in fact been set up for a process crime.
Manafort was dirty? RR knew that the previous case against him had been declined.
All this is important because the FBI investigation was an "enterprise" investigation--the predication claimed that they were acting as a unit. We know this from Comey's Congressional testimony. A review of the FBI case file would have led to grave concerns about that predication based on the four men's pasts and presents, their lack of coordination with each other. It would have led to the strong suspicion that the very existence of the "enterprise" was a fiction.
More damning--the FISA.
There was a FISA on Page and likely on others. Any FISA is a two edged sword that can make or just as easily break a case. In this case, the FBI "enterprise" investigation, it definitely broke the investigation by disproving the predication. The FISA(s?) came up with no evidence that these four men were colluding with each other or with Russia. That's why Mueller dropped the FISA he inherited. But that means, as McCarthy has pointed out, that Mueller and RR knew there was no collusion case within 3 months at the very latest, and almost certainly quite a bit earlier--as Devin Nunes and others maintain. In reality, RR had every reason to know that before he ever authorized the SC. If, in the remote possibility that the SC investigation was started in good faith, it should have been stopped immediately at that point.
If RR wanted Manafort investigated--again--there was zero need for an SC or to involve anyone else.
"The Russia investigation was not just the dossier ..."
In fact, the dossier WAS a "sine qua non" for the investigation. Without it, no investigation. Without it, no FISA. Anything beyond the dossier--primarily Papadopoulos--was only subterfuge to support the dossier. Lindsey Graham was on TV yesterday proclaiming that truth. Nunes, Jordan, and many others have asserted it repeatedly. The FISA as unredacted confirms it, since the PC is essentially the same as for the underlying investigation. RR had every reason to know it and to question it, since it formed the basis on which he authorized the SC.
"Trump told Comey he wanted to know if anybody on his campaign did anything improper, and he told Lester Holt that he wanted the investigation done properly."
The FBI doesn't initiate investigations to find out whether anyone or someone has done "anything improper"--even when the POTUS expresses a desire to know such things. And if the FBI does start an investigation on that basis, it's DoJ's business to put a stop to it.
"[RR] had no clue then about Fusion GPS or its funding, Steele's contacts, Simpson's contacts, the Ohrs, etc."
Interesting that you know that. If, after a very, very cursory search, I learned that no later than July, 2017, NBC knew of Glenn Simpson as the man "who helped write the Trump-Russia dossier," then I think your assertion that RR had "no clue" about these matters is dubious at best.
The honorable, ethical, professional thing to do was to pull the plug.
For my part, my belief is that of the many informed observers who believe that RR couldn't take the heat when Comey was fired and appointed the SC to regain favor with the Washington Establishment that had confirmed him 94-6.
I think our difference on this is one of perspective. When RR stepped in, he had a lot of big problems going on at once. I agree with you that RR knew or suspected much of what we now know about the Russia case. But what other problems existed? What's the bigger problem, a political hit dressed as an investigation, or the fact that the people who designed such a case are still there, with an entrenched, efficient network, ready to bring more such cases against Trump and anyone in Trump's administration?Delete
I that that RR had extensive experience in public corruption cases- those cases are slow developing and require a very cautious approach in planning and executing the steps. Given the size of the criminal enterprise, it wasn't going to be a quick job. I believe we have been witnessing that part play out over the last two years, with the real work still in the shadows, except for public announcement of RR taking the lead on the leaks.
An immediate, direct attack on the Russia investigation would have been a certain way to cripple or end the Trump administration, and leave the real players untouched. For what? Strzok's scalp, maybe McCabe's?
RR is the architect of a masterful plan. He isolated the immediate threat in order to dismantle the network of its creators. While Mueller was sifting through horse manure, the corrupt network at FBI/DOJ was mapped out and eliminated, one by one.
It's unfathomable to me that anyone would think that RR "couldn't take the heat," given that only a complete idiot would not know that he was jumping into the hottest fire imaginable by taking the job. RR is no idiot, and he knew exactly what he was facing.
"What's the bigger problem, a political hit dressed as an investigation, or the fact that the people who designed such a case are still there, with an entrenched, efficient network, ready to bring more such cases against Trump and anyone in Trump's administration? ... An immediate, direct attack on the Russia investigation would have been a certain way to cripple or end the Trump administration, and leave the real players untouched."Delete
That's some of the most ridiculous stuff I've ever read on this. The solution to a Deep State political hit on the POTUS is to simply let it play out. As I've already said, both directions can be followed out simultaneously and efficiently--a direct attack on the hoax includes accountability. Far from ending the Trump admin it would empower it and simultaneously take out the real players at an earlier stage while the GOP still controlled the House and could make effective use of their political leverage. What you're suggesting is simply nonsensical.
"The solution to a Deep State political hit on the POTUS is to put it on steroids and see what happened." That's EXACTLY what happened. A SC op staffed with Hillary partisans that wrote as damaging a report as possible and that only ended when Barr did exactly what you deprecate: launched "an immediate direct attack." But for that, it never would have ended.Delete
Please stop this nonsense.
Speaking of prior dialogue that you and I have exchanged in past comments, we agree that Sundance is a reliable source who occasionally goes off the rails. He recently statedReplyDelete
"Whoever advised President Trump (likely Senator Lindsey Graham) to tweet about not having Mueller testify is only trying to protect the institutional deep state; and that protection encompasses the familiar process to control information."
I have had plenty of disagreements with Graham in the past but do not believe that he is out to undermine the Republic. He seems to believe in the rule of law.
Yeah, I don't really follow the reasoning there. It's not like Mueller is being shielded from scrutiny if he fails to testify before Congress. We're already seeing the results of the scrutiny he's being subjected to, and that scrutiny will likely get quite a bit more intense.Delete
The following is something that I want to put out here solely because it popped in my mind. In one of yesterday's posts, you referred to Joe Digenova. I watched some of the clips with Joe and (I could be conflating my sources here, I read a lot and don't always retain who said what), it was stated that Papa D left $10,000 in a hotel room. He refused to take the bait!ReplyDelete
Can you imagine how angry the plotters were when Papa D didn't have that money? How dare you let us down?!
This is from Papadopolous' book. Buy it.Delete
"I wonder if they had been planning to use the $10,000 from Tawil to hit me with finance or smuggling charges or even spying charges or whatever entrapment plan they were hatching. If that is the case, now they have to scramble and find other charges. When they get to court, they tell the magistrate I’m accused of two crimes: Lying to an FBI agent and obstructing justice. The prosecutors—one of them is Jeannie Rhee, a former deputy assistant attorney general for the Barack Obama administration from 2009 to 2011—say I’m looking at twenty-five years in prison. This is not happening. This can’t be happening. Lying? What did I say? Obstruction? What did I do? Prosecutors tell the court I lied to Special Agent Curtis Heide. Apparently, I told him that I wasn’t in contact with Mifsud in April of 2016—something to the effect of, “It’s not like I’m messaging him when I’m with Trump in April.” It turns out I emailed Mifsud once in that time span. No doubt as I was trying to arrange a meeting that never happened. What a devastating lie! The entire future of democracy was jeopardized by my failure to recall a single, meaningless email! For God’s sake. As for the obstruction charge, which is the one that carries serious jail time, it has to do with the fact that I deleted my Facebook account—which my lawyers told me I could do! I’m trying to keep it together. I’ve barely slept in two days. I’m wearing the same shirt that I left Athens in. I smell like garbage. I look like garbage. I’m disoriented—because while I’ve just finally heard the charges, I still don’t really understand any of it. What is truly hard to understand is a prison sentence of twenty-five years. Is that even remotely possible? For lying and doing something my lawyers told me I could do? I have no baseline for any of what’s happening. Then, suddenly the prosecutors tell the judge I’ve indicated that I’m “willing to cooperate with the government in its ongoing investigation into Russian efforts to interfere in the 2016 presidential election.” I actually don’t remember saying any of this to anyone—remember, I still don’t truly grasp the deeper specifics of the case against me. Is it an open and shut case? Can I mount a strong defense? So why would I instantly cave? All I can think is that my counsel in Chicago discussed my cooperation. The Mueller team says they hope I will be a “proactive cooperator.” In other words, a valuable informant. I am baffled by this whole sequence of events. I’ve never been in trouble with the law. As I say, I’ve never had a speeding ticket. Exhausted, I’m taken to a new cell, where I meet my chicken wing-loving inmates. The drug dealer asks me what I’m looking at in terms of a trial. “I don’t know,” I say. “I’ve got no idea.” “They’re just going to keep you here for a couple of months, probably,” he says, sharing his jailhouse wisdom. “Unless you got somebody to post bail. But if you don’t, then you might get a chance to go in front of the judge and appeal it.” It was shocking to hear this. He was talking to me as if I were a real criminal. Someone who is facing serious time. Someone who has no support network. Someone who was going to really care about the food menu. A prisoner. I am a prisoner. Jesus. I don’t say much. I’m just trying not to have a mental breakdown. The next day, I’m released. Just like that—no bail, no demands that I remain in custody, no nothing. After all this—sting operations, harassment, FISA warrants—they now know I’m in no way a Russian asset or colluder. They offer me a get out of jail free card. I am—in this moment—elated. Yes, I’m facing jail time, but for now, I’m sprung. All the anxiety about getting stuck in jail, waiting to make bail, and not being able to talk to Simona and my family and my lawyers just fades away. I am beyond relieved. For a few seconds, anyway."
Barr, I know, reentered public service for the right reasons. He had a good life and implied that he didn't want the job for himself; he had a duty. Even though this is a big headache for him, he's doing the right thing.ReplyDelete
Mueller is like the polar opposite. He's had a good life (at least in terms of prestige, money, etc.) and also felt a duty to answer the call to duty. But hismotive, unlike Barr's, was not pure.
Barr wants to uncover the dirt, Mueller wants to bury it. Even though Mueller didn't deserve to have a good reputation, nevertheless he enjoyed one. If he had said 'no' to the special counsel offer, he likely would've avoided ruining his reputation and escaped prison. Now he's in jeopardy of both.
Good, I say.