Monday, May 20, 2019

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:

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.

So, Barr is focused on what appears to be an attempt by Comey to blackmail Trump into backing out of the inauguration--first by the briefing, then when that didn't work by leaks of the "dossier" to the media.

If you find it somehow implausible that an FBI Director--no matter how self important and narcissistic--would take this task upon himself unbidden, you're not alone. The key here, which Barr didn't mention, is that the January 6 meeting didn't happen in a vacuum. Michael Goodwin, in a brief section (Team Bam in Barr’s sites) of a longer summary of the week's events hits that nail squarely on its head:

Among fishy events of the Obama administration, one that smells especially rotten took place on January 6 of 2017 when intelligence officials briefed President-elect Donald Trump. 
The meeting is now in the crosshairs of Attorney General Bill Barr, who tells Fox News it was part of “some very strange developments” he wants to examine. 
Heart be still. The meeting, and events just before and after, could offer a road map of the plot against Trump. 
At Trump Tower, CIA Director John Brennan, Director of National Intelligence James Clapper and FBI boss James Comey told Trump about Russian meddling. Then Comey met alone with Trump to tell him of the prostitute allegations only, and didn’t mention the Steele dossier. 
Days later, CNN revealed the briefing, and Clapper, after denying it, admitted to Congress he told anchor Jake Tapper about it. BuzzFeed soon published the entire dossier, giving oxygen to the Russia, Russia, Russia hysteria. 
There’s more. Uniquely, the events directly implicate Obama.

 And then Goodwin goes into the details of those "events just before and after,[that] could offer a road map of the plot against Trump." We've all heard about the White House gathering on January 5, 2017, but they take on new significance in light of Barr's focus and the possibility of a true big picture prosecutive theory. Goodwin draws on Comey's book, which begins to look very much like an initial defense and threat against Obama himself:

Comey revealed there was a meeting in the White House on the previous day, Jan. 5, to plan the briefing. He said Obama approved of him telling Trump about the prostitutes. 
Obama’s presence was also acknowledged in a strange memo Susan Rice wrote to herself on Inauguration Day. In a “Dear Diary” tone, she insisted Obama did not push for “anything from a law-enforcement perspective,” demanding only that everything be done “by the book.” Hmmm. 
Rice also puts Joe Biden and Deputy Attorney General Sally Yates in the room.
More likely, the meeting aimed to entrap Trump and overturn the election. 
Whatever the aim, Barr is on the case. Prepare for bombshells.

Don Surber, tracking Goodwin (Comey's book implicates Obama), provides the passage from Comey's book:

"Obama turned his head to his left and looked directly at me. He raised and lowered both of his eyebrows with emphasis, and then looked away. . . . To my mind his Groucho Marx eyebrow raise was both subtle humor and an expression of concern. It was almost as if he were saying, 'Good luck with that.'"

Who suspects that Barr has bigger fish to fry now than the obsessively texting duo of Peter Strzok and Lisa Page, that he's aiming for Obama? Goodwin clearly does, and so do I.

But let's move on now to developments in London. I've made no secret over the months of my conviction that the entire British intelligence establishment was involved in the Russia Hoax to one degree or another--whether laundering technical surveillance for the US IC or facilitating FBI/CIA "OCONUS lures" against Trump campaign officials. Apparently the Brits can see what's coming from Barr's "review" because The Daily Telegraph--newspaper to the British national security establishment--is reporting in a major article: UK spies given lurid dossier on Trump: Explosive memos handed to MI5 and MI6 weeks before US president knew of them. Here's a nice image of the front page of the Telegraph:

Of course the Brits wouldn't be the Brits if they were totally coming clean. The notion, for example, that they bought Steele's tarradiddles--hook, line, and sinker--doesn't pass the laugh test, given that Kathleen Kavalec saw through Steele in minutes. Nor does the claim that PM May wasn't briefed. Significantly, no mention is made of the precipitate resignation of GCHQ's Robert Hannigan, days after Trump's inauguration.

All this is pure CYA stuff. Obviously this whole "disclosure" is motivated by Brit concerns that Barr is focusing on the January 6 meeing (as you'll see), but we'll also see that this "disclosure" doesn't tell the real story. It's almost laughable, if it weren't so serious, that the best defense the Brits can mount is the absurd claim that they "treated the Steele dossier with gravity." Nevertheless, FWIW, here's the official, self serving, CYA version--per Ben Riley-Smith's Twitter feed. Riley-Smith is the US editor for the Telegraph and previously covered Westminster.

British spy chiefs were briefed on Christopher Steele’s dossier before Donald Trump knew of its existence.  
Heads of MI5, MI6 + one of Theresa May’s most trusted security advisers all knew of the Russian links claims before Trump. 
Summary thread below...

Lots is known about how the FBI handled the Steele dossier - 17 memos compiled by former MI6 agent Christopher Steele about Trump campaign’s Russia links. But the story of what UK intelligence leaders knew is revealed for the first in tomorrow’s @Telegraph.  
Throughout the summer + autumn of 2016 Steele had uncovered a string of concerning allegations. Among them - that Trump campaign figures had secretly met Russians, the Kremlin was trying to tilt the election + there was “kompromat” on the candidate himself (always denied). Before the Nov 2016 election Steele had been determined to warn the Americans, passing on what he knew to the FBI. But after Trump’s shock win, he decided the claims he uncovered were now an issue of British national security. It was time to approach the UK government... 
The man Steele approached was Sir Charles Farr. He was head of the Joint Intelligence Committee - the body that assess intelligence. He had also been a top counter-terrorism adviser in May’s Home Office. Plus Steele had known Farr for 20 years. He would know what to do. 
Steele and Farr met a week after Trump’s election win. The venue was Farr’s detached house on a suburban street in Wimbledon, South London - an incongruous venue given what they were to discuss. For hours the pair went through Steele’s explosive memos line by line. Farr would ask questions. Steele would spell out what he knew. After their meeting, Farr reached a conclusion - the dossier had to go up the chain of command. 
Within days, according to well-placed sources, the allegations were shared with the most senior intelligence figures in Britain. MI5 director general Andrew Parker and MI6 chief Alex Younger are both understood to have been briefed. Britain’s spy chiefs then had a decision - should they tell May?  
The PM was used to receiving classified intel from her Home Office days. She is likely to have been aware of Steele’s work from the Litvinenko inquest. But also, she needed to build a relationship with Trump... Steele’s information was “marked up to the top”, according to sources. But Number 10 figures say categorically that she was not briefed on the dossier.  
Exactly why the intel chiefs shielded May from the claims is not known. Possible reasons could include protecting May given the political need to build a relationship with Trump, uncertainty about elements of the dossier, or delay while verification took place.  
(To repeat, the reason is not known.) 
Eventually Trump himself would learn about the dossier - but not until Jan 6 2017. That was the day James Comey briefed him one-on-one in Trump Tower. Just a few days later, on Jan 10, Buzzfeed published the whole thing. Everyone could read the dossier for themselves. 
By the end of that month, May flew to Washington to appear by Trump’s side, becoming the first world leader hosted in his White House. She praised his “stunning” election victory. She also delivered an invite from the Queen for a state visit. He takes up that offer next month.  
What is the significance of our disclosure? 
One, it suggests British intel figures treated the Steele dossier with gravity, escalating it rapidly up the system. That is in marked contrast to Trump’s position, which is that the dossier is “fake” and “phony”.  
Two, it risks deteriorating UK-US relations. Trump has tweeted criticism of Steele + his dossier more than 50 times in office. He’s also tweeted a claim that British intel services helped spy on his campaign.  
What will he think of them knowing about the dossier before him?

Again, the Brits see a crisis coming and are trying to get out in front of it, playing a pathetic hand as well as they can.

But let's take a look at the one actually significant revelation, which is that Steele--the scuffling, self-promoting ex (?) MI6 spook--is said to have met in person with Sir Charles Farr, at that time Chairman of the Joint Intelligence Committee. While that's a significant admission, the damage is limited by the fact that Sir Charles is dead--he died on February 15, 2019, so there's no danger of him contradicting any of this.

What's the Joint Intelligence Committee? Wikipedia explains:

The Joint Intelligence Committee (JIC) is an interagency deliberative body responsible for intelligence assessment, coordination and oversight of the Secret Intelligence Service, Security Service, GCHQ and Defence Intelligence. The JIC is supported by the Joint Intelligence Organisation under the Cabinet Office.

In other words, Charles Farr sat at the top of the British intelligence establishment. A bit like a British James Clapper. And we're supposed to believe that Farr--after meeting in person with Steele and going through the "dossier" "line by line", grilling Steele on it all--shared this nonsense with "the most senior intelligence figures in Britain" and they were all taken in.

Clearly we have a partial modified hangout here. The Brits have decided to play the buffoon and even admit that they were briefed before Trump was. The one thing they don't want to admit is that they were in on the grand conspiracy before the election. They want to conceal, if it were possible, that the UK was the real foreign power that meddled in the US presidential election of 2016--at the behest of the Obama administration and the Clinton campaign.

Unfortunately, that cat is out of the bag, thanks to the talkative Chris Steele and our diligent note taker at DoS, Kathleen Kavalec. No wonder Chris Wray was so anxious to conceal her write-up!

Gateway Pundit pulls the curtain back on all this by simply reproducing Kavalec's notes, in which we clearly see Kavalec citing "Multi-lat[eral] JIC" and "London outcomes paper." Notably, Kavalec met with Steele on October 11, 2016, only a few days short of a month before the 2016 election--November 8, 2016.

The Brits will need to do better than this. In the meantime, our understanding of the coup plot of the Russia Hoax is gaining depth with each passing day.

UPDATE: Svetlana Lokhova is pointing out that three days before Trump's inauguration MI6 was already semi-officially dubbing Steele an "idiot":

Current MI6 boss Sir Alex Younger is said to be livid that Steele agreed to take on the work and has caused worldwide embarrassment to British secret services.  
One senior intelligence source called him 'an idiot' and told The Sun: 'Chris should never have accepted this bit of work.  
'It was always going to come out at some stage, as was his involvement with it, and that is deeply embarrassing to the service.' 

Which raises the question: Why the current admissions through the Telegraph that the deceased Charles Farr had met with Steele and taken him seriously? Will that not be a source of "worldwide embarrassment to British secret services?"

Lokhova attributes the current admissions to a desire to embarrass PM May further, whereas the Telegraph indicates the Brit spooks are trying to stand by their own seriousness in accepting Steele's tales--a very tough sell at best. And, after all, if May was supposedly never briefed, how does this further embarrass May and not the UK intel establishment?

I think GP is getting the big picture right, here. This is a desperate attempt to draw a line on Brit collusion.


  1. I don't think Comey's revealing the Piss-Tape allegations were an attempt to get Trump to back out of the inauguration- that ship had sailed after the Electoral College vote had been sent to Congress by the 28th of December 2016. Of course, the actual count by Congress, of the Electoral College vote, also occurred on January 6th 2017, but I don't think that really mattered any longer- such objections to the slate were sure to be turned down by the elected Congress and Senate.

    Given that Comey does appear to have pushed back against Trump actively calling for an investigation into the piss tape allegations, I think Comey etal were hoping Trump would do the exact opposite, and use that as a basis for impeachment/investigation.

    1. Interesting theory, Yancey:

      "hoping Trump would do the exact opposite, and use that as a basis for impeachment/investigation."

      I'm not sure how that works--refusal to take admittedly unverified nonsense as a basis for impeachment/investigation? It seems a stretch.

      They're both theories, but I tend to think that the Dems were still desperately hoping to prevent the actual inauguration.

  2. I think that the "insurance policy" was preparation for the possibility that Donald Trump might win in the Electoral College by only a small margin. A FISA warrant to collect communications within Trump's sphere, and then some of those communications could be used to persuade the necessary number of Electoral College voters to change their votes from Trump to Clinton.

    Trump's Electoral College margin was far too large, however, to change enough votes. Furthermore, the collected communications did not contain any information that incriminated Trump.

    Until December 19, when the Electoral College voted, there still was some hope that the FISA search would find some bombshell evidence against Trump.

    December 19 passed, and the Electoral College elected Trump. He would become President after all.

    From that point, the main strategy was to develop evidence that he had collaborated with Putin. Meantime, the FISA warrant would continue to justify collection of communications within Trump's sphere. That evidence might be useful in the future, if the collected communications ever did discover incriminating evidence against Trump.

    Ten days after the Electoral College confirmed Trump's election, President Obama expelled 35 Russian diplomats because of the supposed Russian meddling in our election. The real purpose of the expulsion was to develop an anti-Russia hysteria in the US public. The diplomats were expelled three weeks before Trump's inauguration.

    Any effort by Trump and his staff to reconcile with Russia would be leaked and criticized as proof that Trump was involved in an evil relationship with Russia, a hostile country that had meddled in the US election to help Trump defeat Clinton.

    The main purpose of Jim Comey's meeting with Trump on January 6, 2017, was to justify the mass media in the publication of the Dossier. In addition, Comey and his fellow conspirators would develop gradually a situation in which Trump could be portrayed as obstructing an FBI investigation of Russian meddling in our election.

    The conspirators intended to develop a situation in which the Republican leaders of Congress would go as a group to President Trump and ask him to resign.

    1. Mike, my one area of disagreement is at the beginning:

      "the "insurance policy" was preparation for the possibility that Donald Trump might win in the Electoral College by only a small margin."

      I don't think the plotters could calibrate that finely and would prefer to simply leave it at insurance against Trump winning at all.

      In support of that more minimalist approach I would adduce the speculation at the time (election to inauguration) that Trump somehow might not go ahead with inauguration, even after it was clear that he had an electoral landslide.

    2. The "insurance policy" was Obama/Rice/Lynch/Brennan/Clapper/Comey/McCabe actually weaponizing the CIA & FBI & Democrat Media against the deplorables.

      But the gang of Obama/Rice/Lynch/Brennan/Clapper/Comey/McCabe were actually arsonists, not "insurance" agents.

  3. The contingency plan for a Russia collusion OP was hatched in 2015 and could have been applied to any of the Republican presidential candidates depending upon who won the primaries. This plan was green-lighted in early 2016 before Trump's ascendancy was assured, and Brennan was tasked with fleshing out the details using CIA assets. He quickly reached out to the Brits & Ausies for help and solicited both their advice and aid. As an exemplar, the Brits recounted their use of similar tactics in a 1970s internal political OP, and Brennan jumped at the idea. The Brits were also instrumental in bringing Halper onboard and using his relationship with Trubnikov to seed the disinformation that would eventually become the Steele Dossier. The Brits became a major player in the OP at the very beginning, and used their arms-length assets at the London Center for International Law Practice (Papadopoulus hired as director) and the Link Campus in Rome (Mifsud as OCONUS lure). MI6 also utilized an agent in it's DC embassy as a go-between with Nellie Orr. Steele was their point man and not just a dossier enabler. The Skripals were also involved in soliciting Russian fodder for the dossier, and their "poisoning" was a botched OP to get them into hiding. Ditto for Mifsud. This whole thing was a FUBAR from the get-go and there are lots of lower lever CIA that would love to blow the whistle on this.

    1. Something that has long puzzled me is that the Russia Hoax does appear to have started, or was placed in readiness, by the end of 2015 at the latest--probably earlier. That would seem to mean that it was regarded more or less as a one size fits all hoax, applicable to any GOP candidate. That seems to be the conclusion to be drawn from the late 2015 Strzok/Page texts about "OCONUS lures." All was being placed in readiness, but they couldn't possibly have known that Trump would be the candidate. Did they really think the Brit involvement, the London lures, etc. would really work against any candidate?

    2. I think the reason this reaches back to 2015 is that this all starts with Clinton's vulnerability on the private e-mail server. By the Fall of 2015, it was already being bandied about that unfriendly foreign governments likely had penetrated this server and had all the e-mails. So, this was a defense strategy against that possibility, and it is one-size fits all.

    3. I agree re Clinton, but the one size fits all means it has to include Rubio, Cruz, others. Did they know something about those guys and Russia, too?

  4. Nice commentary by you.

    Correct me if I'm wrong, but I thought that the Comey meeting solo with DJT about the tape was to give Clapper and Brennan the means to go ahead after the meeting to leak to CNN, NYT and WaPo. At least that's my fuzzy memory.

    Also, back to our musings about what crime with which to charge the conspirators, let's not forget the unmaskings of US persons. Also, unauthorized contract searches of NSA databases.

    I'm sticking to my claim that the conspirators will turn on each other. The media are already reporting the Comey vs. Brennan and Clapper angle.

    1. Re the purpose of the meeting ...

      IMO, there wasn't one simple purpose, but rather several--depending on Trump's reaction. So, yes, part of Comey's ploy gave Clapper and Brennan cover for their leaks, which they went ahead with because Trump had rejected the dossier out of hand. I think they knew that was a possibility, and the hope that he might back out was very much a long shot--but worth the try.

      Some people have suggested to me that RICO would be a possibility for prosecuting the conspiracy, but these are people who haven't thought this through, IMO. For example, you mention unmaskings. That's not a predicate offense for purposes of RICO. Nor are leaks--something Barr is very interested in. While I can't say that this conspiracy to defraud the USG theory will be adopted, I do argue that it offers a viable option. We'll see, but I don't think RICO would work.

    2. Mark,

      I have read the previous thread- I mostly think of this as plain old obstruction of justice, though I think the British term "perversion of the course of justice" is more applicable in this case.

    3. In terms of traditional chargeable offenses that's true, but the thing about conspiracy is that you can introduce so much more--including acts that advanced the conspiracy but would not normally be considered criminal in themselves. Much broader and inclusive, and flexible.

  5. P.S. A common saying in crimes is follow the money.

    In this case, follow the smears of Barr. If he is not a threat to them, I'll eat my hat.

  6. I just read Don Surber's excellent piece as well as Michael Goodwin's update.

    Either deliberately, subconsciously or unwittingly, the conspirators are outing each other. I vote for CYA and if I go down, I'm taking you with me.

    1. It's hard to keep it all straight when there are so many moving parts. I also like Comey outing Obama in his book. It seems like a not so veiled threat: stick up for me or ...

  7. It's not a crime but how about SLAPP lawsuits? SLAPP = Strategic Lawsuit Against Public Participation.

    Barr could launch a string of different kinds of charges against the plotters. Misappropriation of funds for bogus targeting, SLAPP, etc.

    I'm not a lawyer but I'm guessing that Barr has a lot of arrows in his quiver.

  8. Lying to Congress is one, too.

    1. Yes, there's actually very little that couldn't come under the umbrella of 371 conspiracy to defraud.

  9. Didn't the FBI move the Hillary 'matter' into upper management control? The Obama administration needed Hillary to win the election because it was concerned that if the public knew that Obama allowed the Russians to purchase 20% of American Uranium, Obama might have committed Treason. Hillary had to win the election. When Trump won, the same group of individuals had to keep Trump from telling the big scandal. These individuals are Obama, Clapper, Brennen, Comey, McCabe, Rosenstein, Holder, Lynch, Mueller, and others. Brennen had to be involved because UK knew all.

    1. I'm quite open to the view that we haven't seen the half of it all yet.