Wednesday, July 31, 2019

Joe DiGenova: John Durham’s 'Lightning' Fast Investigation--And A Case Theory!

I have to say this right up front--Joe diGenova, speaking with his wife Victoria Toensing on Lou Dobbs tonight, did NOT say when the declassifications would happen. However, they had a lot of other interesting things to say:

1) A nice succinct explanation of how the grand jury process works, and why it takes time;

2) A prosecutive theory that allows for the Big Picture conspiracy narrative that I've been hoping for--a theory that gets you past the nickel/dime false statement stuff. It's a conspiracy to defraud the federal government of the faithful services of the agencies involved--the FBI, CIA, maybe DoJ.

Wikipedia has a good discussion of Honest Services Fraud, under 18 USC 1346. Here is the statute:

"For the purposes of this chapter, the term scheme or artifice to defraud includes a scheme or artifice to deprive another of the intangible right of honest services."

And here are some notable excerpts from Wikipedia that should give an idea of how useful this could be for Durham:

The statute has been applied by federal prosecutors in cases of public corruption 
Since at least 1941, particularly in the 1970s and 1980s, and prior to 1987, the courts had interpreted the mail fraud and wire fraud statutes as criminalizing not only schemes to defraud victims of money and property, but also schemes to defraud victims of intangible rights such as the "honest services" of a public official. 
Honest services fraud is generally more easily proven in the public sphere than in the private, because honest services fraud by public officials can include most unethical conduct,  
The statute grants jurisdiction to the federal government to prosecute local, state and federal officials. It is frequently used to fight public corruption because it is easier to prove than bribery or extortion.

UPDATED: John Solomon: Status of James Comey Investigations

Yes, I use the plural, as in multiple investigations. First what most will find disappointing news--even VERY disappointing. Here's what John Solomon is reporting in James Comey's next reckoning is imminent — this time for leaking:

The Justice Department’s chief watchdog is preparing a damning report on James Comey’s conduct in his final days as FBI director that likely will conclude he leaked classified information and showed a lack of candor after his own agency began looking into his feud with President Trump over the Russia probe. 
Inspector General (IG) Michael Horowitz’s team referred Comey for possible prosecution under the classified information protection laws, but Department of Justice (DOJ) prosecutors working for Attorney General William Barr reportedly have decided to decline prosecution — a decision that’s likely to upset Comey's conservative critics. 
Prosecutors found the IG’s findings compelling but decided not to bring charges because they did not believe they had enough evidence of Comey’s intent to violate the law, according to multiple sources.  
The concerns stem from the fact that one memo that Comey leaked to a friend specifically to be published by the media — as he admitted in congressional testimony — contained information classified at the lowest level of “confidential,” and that classification was made by the FBI after Comey had transmitted the information, the sources said. 
Although a technical violation, the DOJ did not want to “make its first case against the Russia investigators with such thin margins and look petty and vindictive,” a source told me, explaining the DOJ’s rationale.

However, Comey is far from out of the woods:

 But Comey and others inside the FBI and the DOJ during his tenure still face legal jeopardy in ongoing probes by the IG and Barr-appointed special prosecutor John Durham. Those investigations are focused on the origins of the Russia investigation that included a Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) warrant targeting the Trump campaign at the end of the 2016 election, the source said. 
“There are significant issues emerging with how the FISA was handled and other conduct in the investigation, and everyone involved remains under scrutiny,” a second source said.

These investigations are at the heart of the Russia Hoax and the conspiracy that Joe diGenova is claiming will be proved. I'll post on that next.

UPDATE: On Hannity tonight John Solomon offered a clarification of his article. He stated that among the "everyone involved" who "remains under scrutiny" is, specifically, James Comey:

There is going to be a very damning report that is going to shame James Comey. This report will not show James Comey as a rule follower. He will be a rule breaker for the second time in a year. But the more important thing to watch Sean is the ongoing investigation by Bill Barr and what we know about the FISA. There’s a quote in my story that says they are discovering some very troubling information about the FISA process and EVERYONE INVOLVED including James Comey remains under significant scrutiny. But stay tuned to what we see this fall… He (James Comey) signed the first FISA. Listen, that’s is going to turn out to be a fraudulent or misleading FISA. So there’s a lot more to come.

Sara Carter: Nunes On Need For Probe Of CIA/FBI Overseas Ops

Sara Carter has an update on the shape the Russia Hoax investigation is taking, where it's headed. I'm linking to the version at Zerohedge: Nunes: FBI/CIA's Actions Against Trump Campaign Overseas Must Be Investigated. The content is fairly self evident, so I'll just copy the main points, mostly direct quotes.  Carter's reporting also address John Durham's work with the CIA. That's an issue that has come up in the comments recently.

First, re Devin Nunes' remarks regarding the need for a thorough probe of the overseas activities of both the CIA and the FBI:

The top Republican with the House Intelligence Committee Rep. Devin Nunes told there is insurmountable evidence of the FBI’s malfeasance regarding the bureau’s probe into President Trump’s 2016 campaign and Russia, but what must be investigated is the FBI’s actions overseas into the campaign. 
Those questions will also naturally involve the CIA and any relationship the clandestine agency had with the bureau during the Russia probe, Nunes said. 
What has been revealed during the course of nearly three years of investigations by the Intelligence Committee and others, is that the FBI had informants spying on the campaign. The most damning information was that the FBI had specifically targeted volunteers with the Trump campaign: Carter Page, George Papadopolous, as well as others who traveled outside the United States. Once they were overseas, the FBI had continuing operations and received information from informants to build an investigation into the Trump campaign and Russia. 

The "as well as others" is clearly a reference to Stephen Miller., and I don't understand why Carter fails to point this out. The attempted targeting of Miller is, to me, a highly significant detail. Miller was--and still is--very much a Trump insider. And he had not conceivable connection to Russia, yet he was being targeted at a very early stage. The appearance is that anyone associated with Trump who traveled abroad was fair game for FBI/CIA/MI6 targeting.

Tuesday, July 30, 2019

Sundance's Game

You've probably seen this at CTH:

Every minute spent outraged at what Comey, McCabe or Muller did yesterday, is one minute less that Bill Barr is being held accountable for what he is not doing today

I assume that Sundance's little game is that, when the declassification begins, he'll try to take credit for bringing the pressure to bear to force it.

It's childish.

McCabe Had A Texting Buddy At MI5

Not much to say except that, yes, these text do shed light. MSN reports: Secret texts cast light on UK's early role in Trump-Russia inquiry. Light is always welcome, right? Even when it reveals that the upper echelons of the FBI appear to have been populated by kooks and criminals.

Two of the most senior intelligence officials in the US and UK privately shared concerns about “our strange situation” as the FBI launched its 2016 investigation into whether Donald Trump’s campaign was colluding with Russia, the Guardian has learned. 
Text messages between Andrew McCabe, the deputy director of the FBI at the time, and Jeremy Fleming, his then counterpart at MI5, now the head of GCHQ, also reveal their mutual surprise at the result of the EU referendum, which some US officials regarded as a “wake-up call”, according to a person familiar with the matter. 
While Russia had previously been viewed as a country that would seek to interfere in western elections, the Brexit vote was viewed by some within the FBI as a sign that Russian activities had possibly been successful, the person said. 
Their exchanges offer new insights into the start of the FBI’s Russia investigation, and how British intelligence appears to have played a key role in the early stages. 
In one exchange in August 2016, Fleming noted that members of the FBI and MI5 had “met on our strange situation”, a veiled reference to discussions about Russian activities, according to the source. 

UPDATED: John Ratcliffe Has The Left Totally Freaked--Good!

Sean Davis at The Federalist reports:

A former federal prosecutor involved in the terrorism financing trial against the Holy Land Foundation confirmed to The Federalist today that Rep. John Ratcliffe, R-Texas, whom President Donald Trump has said he intends to nominate as director of national intelligence, did receive a special appointment as part of the case. 
“John was appointed to look into allegations of potential misconduct involving a juror and one or more of the defendants in that case,” Nathan Garrett, a formal federal prosecutor who worked on the trial team, told The Federalist Tuesday morning. “John is a stellar lawyer, experienced national security prosecutor and leader, and a man of the highest character.” 
ABC News alleged in an article that Ratcliffe “misrepresented” and “embellished” his role in the case, even suggesting that he was not involved with it at all.
“ABC News could find no public court records that connect Ratcliffe to either of the two trials for the case,” the article claimed. “Former officials directly involved in the decade-long Holy Land Foundation investigation could not recall Ratcliffe having any role, and four former defense attorneys who served on the cases told ABC News on Monday they had no recollection of Ratcliffe being involved with any of the proceedings that resulted in the convictions of their clients.” 
Garrett, who is listed on the federal court docket for the Holy Land Foundation case as one of the prosecutors of record representing the United States, told The Federalist that ABC News never contacted him for comment prior to publishing its article.

There's more at The Federalist, but this tactic demonstrates IMO that the Left is seriously freaked over Ratcliffe:  Former Federal Prosecutor Confirms Rep. John Ratcliffe’s Role In Holy Land Foundation Case.

UPDATE: Paul Mirengoff has some interesting observations re Coats and Ratcliffe:

Trump’s track record shows that he’s amenable to hearing, and even following, advice that doesn’t comport with his instincts. Indeed, according to Lake, Coats got on Trump’s bad side after he advised the president to meet with James Comey before making a decision on whether to fire the FBI director. Trump followed this advice and met with the snake, to his extreme detriment, 
On the policy side, Afghanistan is probably the best example of Trump being swayed by advice he disagreed with. From everything I can tell, Trump is a good listener, but only to people he trusts. 
As for Ratcliffe “silencing” the intelligence community, it’s not going to happen. If Ratcliffe makes statements with which even a small portion of that community disagrees, you will read about it in the Washington Post.

A Director of National Intelligence Trump trusts? The horror!

Is Chris Wray Cruising For A Bruising?

Before turning to John Solomon's latest major article, let's briefly consider FBI Director Chris Wray's track record since taking over at the FBI.

- He actively collaborated with Rod Rosenstein in delaying and thwarting GOP House investigators who were attempting to get to the bottom of the Russia Hoax. 
- He continues to delay DoJ investigative efforts by holding up declassification of key documents. 
- He has publicly contradicted AG Barr, saying that he disagrees with Barr's characterization of FBI actions during the 2016 campaign--and continuing, it now appears, virtually up to the present--as "spying." 
- Most recently, Wray responded to Senator Ted Cruz's call for a RICO investigation of Antifa by stating that the FBI views antifa as more of an ideology and noted that the FBI does not investigate ideology. He went on to suggest that the FBI was investigating "anarchist extremists" more or less as individuals.

Who can take a guy like this seriously? The FBI didn't engage in active "spying" on a political campaign and candidate? Really? Antifa activities are not coordinated? Really? Chris Wray is a waste of space.

Is it any wonder that one of Wray's remaining allies--Dan Coats--is being removed as DNI? Who thinks that when President Trump--only days after Wray's absurd statements about Antifa--stated that "[c]onsideration is being given to declaring ANTIFA ... a major Organization of Terror", Trump had not already discussed the matter with Bill Barr? Count on it: Bill Barr is NOT on the same page with Chris Wray. Discount Barr's public "nice talk," just as you should discount his public "my friend Bob" statements. I have no doubt at all that Barr has taken the measure of Wray.

In the wake of Coats' ouster from DNI, Paul Sperry tweeted:

Monday, July 29, 2019

The Russia Hoax: Who Benefits?

Over at Zerohedge there's a perceptive piece that raises the obvious question. If the Russia Hoax is so transparently bogus--and it is--then the only reason it has shown so much staying power must be because someone or some group derives a substantial benefit from it. And so the author asks: Cui Bono? RussiaGate As Organized Distraction. The author is Oliver Boyd-Barrett at, and he focuses largely on actors in the global influence sphere. However, he then moves on to note the effect the use of an inherently implausible hoax has had on the free exchange of information in the US. Here is the concluding section:

Why then does the RussiaGate discourse have so much traction? Who benefits? 
RussiaGate serves the interest of a (No. 1) corrupted Democratic Party, whose biased and arguably incompetent campaign management lost it the 2016 election, in alliance (No. 2) with powerful factions of the U.S. industrial-military-surveillance establishment that for the past 19 years, through NATO and other malleable international agencies, has sought to undermine Russian President Vladimir Putin’s leadership, dismember Russia and the Russian Federation (undoubtedly for the benefit of Western capital) and, more latterly, further contain China in a perpetual and titanic struggle for the heart of EurAsia. 
In so far as Trump had indicated (for whatever reasons) in the course of his campaign that he disagreed with at least some aspects of this long-term strategy, he came to be viewed as unreliable by the U.S. security state. 

Joe diGenova: The Declass Dam Breaks On Wednesday

In his regular appearance on WMAL radio this morning, former DC USA Joe diGenova said that the dam on declass--maintained by outgoing DNI Coats and, unfortunately, current Director FBI Chris Wray is about to break. diGenova says he's told that AG Bill Barr will be releasing declassed documents starting Wednesday--publicly:

diGenova: The reason Barr was given declassification authority was because Coats was in the way--as was Chris Wray, the FBI Director. They were fighting tooth and nail--phony coverups, allegedly to protect sources and methods, when Chris Wray was simply trying to protect the FBI from just HUGELY embarrassing details that are gonna come out now. By the way, the declassification process will start this week. There are going to be documents released, I think by Wednesday. The Attorney General, as I understand it, is in the process of getting those ready to come out. There are gonna be some of the Devin Nunes documents that he requested and then a series of other releases will come after that, because Durham is progressing VERY, very quickly in his criminal investigation. This is not a "review," quote unquote, of what went on. This is a criminal investigation of senior DoJ and FBI officials from the Obama administration and Intelligence Community people--including John Brennan. This is a Federal Grand Jury. This is not a review, this is not an IG audit, this is not some Congressional Research Service look at history. This is a criminal investigation of a bunch of people who tried to seditiously overthrow the President of the United States. So, the stuff is gonna start coming out this week.

One thing I'd like to point out--diGenova, a very highly regarded and experienced lawyer and former US Attorney for DC, used the word "seditiously." Coming from someone of his background I would expect that to be a direct reference to the Smith Act. As I've said before, in the United States prosecutions under the Smith Act require incitement to physical violence--check out the link to Wikipedia and read up on the case law.

On the other hand, it's possible that he was using, for emphasis, the general meaning of the word. Here's how Wikipedia defines it:

Sidney Powell Last December: Mueller Destroyed Evidence, Obstructed Justice

While researching other things last night I came up with an article written by Sidney Powell, back in December of 2018. The article, New Facts Indicate Mueller Destroyed Evidence, Obstructed Justice, in my view sheds light on the likely legal end game Powell is looking at now that she's representing Michael Flynn. All of this plays out in the context of the government's obligation to disclose to the defense what's known as "Brady material"--exculpatory information that the government may possess but that the defense may not be aware of. Powell has already told the court that she needs clearance to review classified documentation--documentation that Flynn's prior legal team never had access to.

I believe this is an indication that, once her review of the case file is completed, Powell will seek to withdraw Flynn's guilty plea and have the case dismissed, citing prosecutorial misconduct in various forms--which she describes in her article. In reviewing the case in light of the then known facts (IOW, as of December, 2018), Powell covers some of the same ground that I also covered in Briefly Noted: The Flynn FD-302; Levin And York, which offers a pretty good intro to the significance of FBI FD-302s. The existence of the classified exculpatory DIA information has also been known, but Powell's presentation ties all this together in, as I said, a very lucid package.

That said, here are the most relevant portions of the article. The entire article is quite lucid and not overly lengthy:

Sunday, July 28, 2019

Something Different: Mathematical Challenges to Darwin’s Theory of Evolution

I found this video quite interesting: Mathematical Challenges to Darwin’s Theory of Evolution with Berlinski, Meyer, and Gelernter. As many of you will know, David Gelernter is a computer scientist who received a letter from the Unabomber. He obviously survived, but you can see the result to his right hand in the video.

Beginning around the 40:00 mark Gelernter speaks about Darwinism in the academic environment--he's a professor of computer science at Yale. He states that in his experience in academia Darwinism has gone "way beyond" scientific theory and is now a religion.

Here's the description:

OFFICIAL: Ratcliffe To Replace Coats As DNI

UPDATED: It's official. Trump Has Officially Nominated Rep. John Ratcliffe to Replace Dan Coats as DNI Chief – Coats Will Leave Office on August 15. Not a day too soon.


Reports are claiming that the long rumored replacement for DNI Dan Coats will be GOP Rep. John Ratcliffe, who has played a prominent role in the House investigation of the Russia Hoax. As a former US Attorney (ED Texas) Ratcliffe was especially active and effective in questioning witnesses. The Hill has one of the more extensive accounts: Trump expected to nominate Texas GOP lawmaker to replace Dan Coats: report.

On its face, I tend to favor this idea at this point in time. As a former USA, Ratcliffe should work well with Barr, Durham, and Horowitz and less likely to be controlled by Deep State operatives. Or so I'd like to think.

The other names that have been mentioned all tend to fall, IMO, within a more standard Deep State mold.

Investigating The Investigators: More On The Case Theory

Last week I looked into the new meme that came to the forefront immediately in the wake of the Mueller Meltdown. As part of my analysis I offered a theory of the case that Barr and Durham would be pursuing, in which I suggested that some form of extortion might well be under examination. Here's how I summarized that case theory in Investigating The Investigators--And A Theory Of The Case:

As I've stated before, the main object of the Russia Hoax was to prevent Donald Trump from taking office as POTUS. How was this to be accomplished, if not by force/violence? The answer is fairly obvious. Trump was to be forced to withdraw or resign by non-physical means--the threat that he could be humiliated, his position made untenable, impeached, hounded from office, ultimately prosecuted. All these things are still being threatened, and that's the point. Threats would be leveled at Trump under the color of law or of official authority, threats that would be presented as if they had a factual predication. The threats would be presented by persons who had official positions in the US government and who would present those threats as expressions of their official authority. Which is to say that Trump would be, in effect, extorted under color of law.
For example.
What was Comey doing when he met with Trump at Trump Tower and told him that there were reports of sexual shenanigans involving Trump in a Moscow hotel? I would argue that Comey was attempting to create a situation in which Trump would feel compelled to withdraw before even being inaugurated as POTUS. I would argue that that is a form of extortion and that, coming from the Director FBI, a suggestion was being made that Comey had some degree of control over this situation--if Trump should withdraw, perhaps Comey could make the problem go away. It's an argument.
The appointment of a special counsel itself was an act under color of law, which had no legal predication, as we know and as both McCabe and Rosenstein both had ample reason to know. The fact that they discussed an attempted use of the 25th amendment is another indication of their knowledge of the lack of predication for a criminal investigation. Was the appointment of a special counsel made with the object of pressuring Trump to resign? His initial reaction ("I'm f*cked") is evidence. I would argue that this, too, was a form of extortion.
Finally, as John Solomon has reported within the last few days, within two weeks of the initiation of the Mueller inquisition Andrew Weissmann had approached the lawyers for a Ukrainian oligarch under US indictment and made offers that for all the world appeared to have been an attempt to suborn perjured testimony against Trump. The idea being, I would argue, that if the imminent threat of criminal allegations could be presented publicly Trump would feel forced to resign.
The question is: Is there a specific statute to cover this? Perhaps a reader can come up with something. My very tentative search just now yielded 18 USC 242:
     Whoever, under color of any law, statute, ordinance, regulation, or custom, willfully subjects any person in any State, Territory, Commonwealth, Possession, or District to the deprivation of any rights, privileges, or immunities secured or protected by the Constitution or laws of the United States ... 
At any rate, I think this general direction--some form of extortion--may hold some promise. But I welcome input.

Unsurprisingly, I'm not the only one, nor the first, to be thinking along those lines--the lines of extortion. It also comes as no surprise to learn that most of the atttention in this regard has focused on the example I list first: Comey's January 6, 2017, "briefing" of Trump on the Steele "dossier's" most salacious--and only the most salacious--claims. In researching another matter I came up with these relevant items from May 16, 2019.

Briefly Noted: Robert Mueller, Aaron Zebley, Hillary's Emails

The Boston Herald has an interesting tidbit on Robert Mueller's long time chief of staff, Aaron Zebley. It appears in a longer article--Mueller collapse raises more questions: John Durham may tie up loose ends. It appears that Zebley both ran the day to day operations of Team Mueller and also had represented a key defendant in the Hillary email case:

... reports are surfacing that reveal that Mueller was a no-show and others may have run the investigation and authored the report. According to the New York Times, Mueller, “Kept noticeably shorter hours than he had as FBI Director,” and he “Seemed to cede substantial responsibility to his top deputies, including Aaron Zebley, who managed day-to-day operations.”
Zebley was in private practice in 2015 and 2016, and he represented a man named Justin Cooper. Cooper was an adviser to the Clinton Foundation and an IT expert who set up and maintained Hillary Clinton’s private email server. According to the FBI, “Cooper did recall two instances where he destroyed Clinton’s old mobile devices by breaking them in half or hitting them with a hammer.”
It is becoming clear that the Mueller report is a partisan document, carefully crafted to cut around nefarious activity perpetuated by Clinton et al., and focus on the most salacious moments of the Trump presidency.

I'm not familiar with DoJ internal guidelines, but I find it hard to impossible to believe that the way Team Mueller was staffed did not violate ethical rules/guidelines.

Saturday, July 27, 2019

UPDATED: Important Clarification On Declassification?

I've noted that in the past week or two we've been getting some releases of information on the progress of the Russia Hoax investigation that appear to be intended to reassure conservatives on two points:

1) Bill Barr's committment to getting to the bottom of it all, and

2) The fact that real progress is being made without undue delay.

President Trump gave an extended interview on "Hannity," July 25, 2019, and in the interview, in response to a question from Hannity, he provided what appears to be a clarification on the whole issue of "declassification." I assume that Trump was given a heads up as to what Hannity's questions would be, or what topics would be covered. Therefore, Trump's response was probably prepared beforehand.

The subject of declassification has been a sore topic in some corners of the conservative commentariat--CTH leads the way, in this respect. Some conservatives have even suggested that the lack of a massive document dump into the public sphere means that somehow a coverup--led by Bill Barr--is underway. That, again, has been suggested several times at CTH. Here is Hannity's question and Trump's response (to the extent that it bears upon declass):

HANNITY: Mr. President, you have the power to literally release the FISA applications and the 302's and the gang made information and you made a decision to hand it over to the Attorney General and let him decide. And I'm curious as to why? 
TRUMP: Well, we have a very respected gentleman, very high quality person named William Barr and he is doing - I can tell you he's working so hard and rather than just doing a total release, I gave him a total release, in other words he's got everything anything he needs, he's got it. 
He is the Attorney General of the United States. He's got a lot of very good people under him that I guess are involved and I gave them a total release. So all of it has been released and he has all of it. I've also given him authorization to release it to whoever he wants. Whether it's his people or, frankly, perhaps people like Devin Nunes who is a star, what he has done and the amount of suffering he has gone through, you know what they did with him where they tried to drive him right out of politics and probably worse than that. He has done an incredible job.

Here's how I take this.

It sounds to me that when the President speaks of a "total release" that means that the President--who, of course, has total access as the chief executive--has granted Barr the same access. That means that Barr can demand access to any classified information that he needs to conduct this investigation. That is not the same as declassification. Barr can also declassify it, but that would require going through the usual time consuming process. The main point is that Barr has the authority to get what he needs to get the job done.

WSJ Publishes Russian Meddling Conspiracy Theory

How did the Russian Government influence the 2016 US presidential election and change its course, handing it to Donald Trump? Inquiring minds want to know! 

Fortunately, there's a simple explanation, which Holman Jenkins alludes to on the "conservative" Op-Ed page of the WSJ this morning: Trump: A Brawler for Democracy--A weak and unlikely and untutored president beats back a concerted campaign of delegitimization. I'm going through this exercise because, obviously, the WSJ has a big readership and is still influential in "conservative" circles. I take it, therefore, that what Jenkins presents is actually influential among conventional, establishment GOP types. And it's still being advanced, even after the Mueller Meltdown.

There's another important reason for spending my time on this. If you persevere to the end you'll see the importance of Bill Barr's focus on the Intelligence Community Assessment--written by John Brennan's "handpicked" analysts. The ICA remains the absolute linchpin of the Russian "meddling" narrative. Barr knows he needs to get to the bottom of that.

So, as usual, Jenkins presents his oft repeated view, utterly daft and unsupported, presenting it as simple fact:

Mr. Trump did launch his campaign as an infomercial to promote his personal brand. He didn’t expect to be president. ... Mr. Trump, expecting he would soon return to private life, kept trying to parlay his newly stratospheric celebrity into a Trump Tower deal in Moscow well into the 2016 campaign.

However, Jenkins does give backhanded kudos to Trump:

And one thing you can say about President Trump: This most unlikely and in some ways weakest of presidents has brawled his way to victory over the most concerted delegitimization campaign any president has ever faced.

But then at the end he lets us in on--or, rather, hints at--the truth of what happened: how the Russians meddled, manipulated the hapless Jim Comey, and changed the course of history--although he requires you to follow a link to the New Yorker to get the real lowdown:

Friday, July 26, 2019

Trump: The One-Man Rebuke

The conclusion to Matthew Continetti's article today--Why impeachment isn't going away:

Democrats overwhelmingly support impeachment. Forty percent of adults in the most recent Economist/YouGov survey say Congress should try to impeach President Trump. That number rises to 70 percent among Democrats. It is no wonder why. Trump is a one-man rebuke of progressivism, of political correctness, of a humanitarianism that does not recognize citizenship or national borders. Since 2016 an entire media-political infrastructure has been built to push the messages that Trump's election was illegitimate, Trump's actions in and out of office are criminal, and Trump ought to be excised from the government as quickly as possible. Even if Mueller and his report fade from view—and there is no guarantee they will—the president's adversaries will continue to search for the annihilating angel who will deliver them from Donald Trump. 
Why? Because the impeachment debate is not about what Trump has done, is doing, or might do. It is about whether he and the social forces he represents are entitled to rule.

They hate you. They really hate you.

Team Mueller Gear4Sale--Used Tinfoil Hats!

I've been busy so I just got around to transcribing this Fox interview with Nigel Farage, "Trump ally" and leader of the UK Brexit Party. It aired yesterday morning and it captures perfectly the extent to which Trump Derangement Syndrome leads to a total divorce from reality. As Mueller might say, the four corners of the transcript speak for itself. I've left out the portions re Boris Johnson:

FOX: The Special Counsel's nearly two year investigation into the Trump campaign took particular interest in one of the so-called Bad Boys of Brexit. [plays video clips] 
"The British newspaper The Guardian reports that Nigel Farage is, quote, "a person of interest" in the inquiry into Russia and the Trump campaign."  
"If you triangulate Russia, Wikileaks, Assange and Trump associates, the person who comes up with the most hits is Nigel Farage." 
"The Special Counsel is interested in Trump ally Nigel Farage." 
FOX: Well, Brexit Party leader Nigel Farage joins us right now. So, you're a person of interest? 
FARAGE: Yes, I'm part of the grand conspiracy that took place in 2016. 
FOX: Could you please explain what happened ...? 
FARAGE: Obviously I raised a lot of Russian money ... I mean, the whole thing is just unbelievable. If you think about it, democracy only works if you have the principle of loser's consent. You lose an election, you don't like it, but you say: Next time around we're gonna win. What we had in '16, with Brexit and Trump, was the Establishment refusing to accept the results. That's why Mueller was there on Capitol Hill yesterday, that's why there's newspaper articles still being written about me. Hillary Clinton publicly said, Nigel Farage is funded by the Russians! I mean, the whole thing ... 
FOX: Why was the Special Counsel interested in you? Is it because Wikileaks and that connection with the UK? 
FARAGE: The story was that I'd run memory sticks from Donald Trump straight to Julian Assange. I mean, you just couldn't make this stuff up! There is no basis of evidence for it whatsoever. They just can't accept Brexit, they can't accept President Trump. They spent three years now trying to invalidate the result, but as you saw yesterday, they're losing.

Small Ball, Long Ball

As if on cue ...

Wednesday we had the Nadler and Schiff's Mueller Meltdown in the House. Immediately afterwords President Trump introduced a new meme into the discourse: Investigate the investigators. This meme was quickly picked up by prominent legal commentators at various news and opinion outlets.

Yesterday I expanded on that notion, trying to present the big picture behind it. At the same time, as a sort of bottom line, I expressed the hope that the Barr/Durham investigation would not confine itself to what could called an investigative version of "small ball"--going after real but highly specific violations of the false statement or fraud variety. Rather, I expressed the hope that they would come up with a case theory that would encompass the full scope of what really happened--an attempted coup. I suggested as a possible theory something in the nature of an extortion conspiracy to pressure the president into resigning. That would be a prosecutorial form of "long ball."

I believe that the Trump administration, closely coordinating at both the White House and DoJ levels, is engaged in a sophisticated and carefully timed public relations campaign. The object is both to educate the public but, almost as importantly, to reassure supporters that progress is being made. The quick response to the Mueller Meltdown was part of that campaign. It was notable that Trump's remarks signalled a move beyond merely spiking the football, so to speak, and very deliberately advanced the discussion into a new area that has been going on in the background, up to now.

Today we have an interesting article at Fox that in a sense draws those two aspects together--small ball and long ball--under the somewhat opaque title DOJ’s Russia probe review focusing on 'smoking gun' tapes of meeting with Trump aide: sources. Here's what they're getting at. They're suggesting that Barr and Durham believe they've identified a "smoking gun" violation:

Thursday, July 25, 2019

Ginsburg Just Doesn't Get It

Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg on Wednesday night defended Associate Justices Brett Kavanaugh and Neil Gorsuch as "very decent" and "very smart" individuals after one of her former law clerks suggested that new nominees lack personal decency. 
Ginsburg's comments turned heads on social media, given the contentious and bitterly personal confirmation hearings last year that Kavanaugh said "destroyed" his family. 
At an hourlong question-and-answer session, Duke Law professor Neil Siegel lamented that "nominees for the Supreme Court are not chosen primarily anymore for independence, legal ability, personal decency, and I wonder if that’s a loss for all of us." 
Ginsburg shot back, "My two newest colleagues are very decent, very smart individuals." 

She has also recently criticized the popular Progressive idea of expanding the SCOTUS. She apparently doesn't understand that it's all about power.

UPDATED: Investigating The Investigators--And A Theory Of The Case

Today I want to try to accomplish two things. First I want to tie a number of threads from yesterday together. Second, I want to see if I can take a step forward on the whole idea of "investigating the investigators.

Where We Are Now

A good place to start is Andy McCarthy's interview on Fox this morning: Andy McCarthy's biggest takeaway from Mueller hearing. The entire interview is worth the 5 minutes of your time it will take to watch it, but here's the lowdown. Having managed to stifle his urge to simply laugh out loud, McCarthy made three major points:

1) Mueller's performance proved beyond any shadow of a doubt that it was simply "inconceivable" that Mueller could have run the investigation that bore his name.

Of course that raises the question: If not Mueller, then who? And we all know the answer--Andrew Weissmann, Mueller's longtime protege at both DoJ and the FBI.

McCarthy's second major point comes at the end, and he repeats what President Trump stated in his parting remarks yesterday afternoon:

2) It's time to "investigate the investigators.

That means, first and foremost: It's time to investigate the FBI. "Investigating the investigators" also includes those who provided the FBI with the pretext to launch their Crossfire Hurricane hoax investigation, and that means--above all--John Brennan and the CIA. This investigation has begun--in fact it's well under way already. But beyond that, as John Solomon has reported (links below), the investigation of John Durham is looking into the work of Team Mueller. This is an extremely important point that we'll return to.

McCarthy's final, and important, point is this:

3) With Mueller's (or whoever's) report and testimony behind us, now is the time to start declassification in earnest.

The important point that McCarthy leaves unspoken here--but which Sidney Powell partially articulated last night with Lou Dobbs--is that for the important work of laying bare the incredible assault on our constitutional order that the Russia Hoax was, the entire nation needs to be involved. Because this concerns the preservation of "our republic," as Powell said. The way to achieve that national consciousness and involvement is through the process that McCarthy pointed to: declassification of the key documents behind the Russia Hoax.

Wednesday, July 24, 2019

TOTAL MUST WATCH--diGenova And Toensing


The whole ten minutes are totally worthwhile, but I'm going to transcribe the last few minutes. Dobbs says how frustrated he is that the IG report still isn't out. Here's what transpires:

DOBBS: Let me conclude as we have the last several discussions. We're approaching August and still no Inspector General report. I'm beginning to believe in almost nothing that emanates from the Inspector General's office. This is pathetic--the time it's taken. It's not the most complex of cases I can imagine in the world. What in the world IS the problem with the Inspector General in getting that report out? 
TOENSING: Forget the IG. 
diGENOVA: Here's what's happening. 
DOBBS: Don't tell me to forget the IG! We've been talking about the IG for a year! 
TOENSING: He's not worth squat! Joe's gonna tell ya. 
diGENOVA: Here's what's happening. As a result of the appointment of Durham people are flocking back to Horowitz to, quote, "correct their testimony." To let him know that they've remembered new things. That they've found out stuff that they didn't know about. People are worried, and they should be, because it's now beginning to become very clear that Durham is moving forward WITH SPEED, and people are going to Horowitz and asking to be re-interviewed. This includes FBI officials and others, and as a result of that I am delighted he's delaying. 
TOENSING: And you're gonna see that Mifsud was a Western agent, not a Russian agent. 
diGENOVA: And it's gonna make Mueller look even worse when Dr. Mifsud gets to have his say. He's already been interviewed by both Horowitz and Durham.

The point about Mifsud is important for a number of reasons. It's important because of his centrality to the beginnings of the Russia Hoax. It's also important because, from what I've heard, he has long wanted to come forward and be interviewed and escape from the prison of his "new identity." The reason he hasn't is because Western Intel agencies have been pressuring him to stay hidden because he can reveal their collusion in the coup attempt. That's over now.

Important Remarks From President Trump

Today President Trump held an impromptu 17 minute Q&A session with reporters as he was about to leave for West Virginia aboard Marine 1. The following is my transcript of what I took to be the most important portion of his remarks:

This whole thing, honestly, has been collusion. It's been collusion with the media. It's been collusion with other countries. This has been a disaster for the Democrats and I think we're gonna win bigger than ever. 
[Question, inaudible] 
No, because we did nothing wrong. The answer's very simple. Nothing was done wrong. This was all a big hoax and if you look at it today, nothing was done wrong. Now-- 
I believe what you're gonna find, you're gonna find a lot of things that were done very wrong, but that's going on now. That's something you haven't been writing about and that has to do with the other side. That has to do with a thing called "investigate the investigators." Let's see what happens. That's gonna be very interesting.

Here's my takeaway.

"Collusion with other countries." Yes, and that's hugely important--to see that the Dems, including Obama and Hillary, were colluding with foreign powers against our country. That also plays into the next takeaway: "Investigate the investigators." And that's what we saw in John Solomon's latest report.

John Durham is reaching out to people in foreign countries for cooperation, as is Michael Horowitz. Steele has been interviewed, Mifsud will be interviewed. More is coming. And the investigators are going to be investigated--Team Mueller is being scrutinized, and that must also mean that Team Mueller's enablers, starting with Rod Rosenstein, will be under the gun, too.

As Trump said, that's gonna be very interesting.


House Democrats hoped that Wednesday’s hearings would allow them to highlight their favorite portions of the Mueller report for people who haven’t read it. Democrats didn’t expect this segment of Americans to include the author. 
Largely unwilling to promote, defend or elaborate on a document with which he seemed strangely unfamiliar, former Justice Department Special Counsel Robert Mueller let stand the report’s finding of no Trump-Russia collusion and, intentionally or not, ensured that his work will not be used to drive a duly-elected President from office.

Who better to explain what went wrong with a Clown Show than the Clown himself?

The impeachment dream is dead, and nobody has more explaining to do at the next meeting of the House Democratic caucus than Judiciary committee Chairman Jerry Nadler of New York. In 2017 he asked his colleagues to entrust him with one job. As this column has noted, after former Rep. John Conyers Jr. resigned amid numerous allegations of harassing women, the New York Times described the Nadler argument for replacing him: 
"Representative Jerrold Nadler of New York has a bold pitch to take over the top Democratic spot on the House Judiciary Committee — that he is best positioned to lead impeachment proceedings against President Trump."

None of this should have been a surprise to those who are reality based. Now we get to see the non-reality-based party sort out who's to blame for this fiasco. One thing seems certain--that Clown Show should be more entertaining than this dud.

UPDATE: GOP Rep Michael Turner absolutely slam dunked Bob Mueller. I guess you could say he took his turn doing so, but I personally found Turner's dunk to be particularly devastating, considering who Mueller is and how he has spent his entire professional life. Here's how CTH puts it:

Representative Michael Turner, R-Ohio, questions former special counsel Robert Mueller about the location of the “DOJ Office of Exoneration”.  Apparently, it is two doors away from the DOJ Office of Figment, and across the hall from the Department of Wishes.

And here's Turner's five minute go at Mueller--OUCH! It's a must watch.

UPDATE 2: Mark Hemingway

That was the Hindenberg of congressional testimony. Yeeesh.
9:12 AM - 24 Jul 2019

Are You A Sadist?

If so, you may want to read these articles about Mueller's testimony.

‘Disaster For The Reputation Of Robert Mueller’: Mueller’s Doddering, Stumbling Performance Shocks Pundits

Ask yourself this. Sure, maybe pundits were shocked--they probably never actually spoke to Bob Mueller. But didn't the Dems speak to him before putting him on? What could they have been thinking? And so they wound up with moments like this:

One moment that stood out in the hours of hearing footage was when Rep. Doug Collins (R-GA) asked Mueller whether “conspiracy” and “collusion” were synonymous terms. Collins read Mueller’s report, which said that to the public, “conspiracy” and “collusion” were synonymous terms, even though “collusion” is not a finite legal term. He asked Mueller if that was correct. 
“No,” Mueller responded. 
Collins proceeded to refer Mueller to his own report, in which he did state that “conspiracy” and “collusion” were synonymous terms. 
Mueller decided to change his answer after reading his own report. An entire two minutes of the hearing were dedicated to Mueller re-learning his own work.

Except, we all know it wasn't really his own work--as was confirmed in too many ways to count throughout the hearing.

Robert Mueller’s Testimony Has Been A Complete Disaster For DemocratsFlustered and unprepared, Mueller undermined the Democrats case for impeachment

By making Mueller look like a mere figurehead unfamiliar with his own report, Republicans were able to highlight the bias and conflict of interest inherent in an investigation that not only originated with a Democratic administration spying on the Republican opposition during an election year, but led by prosecutors who had relationships with opposition Democrats.

So libs are left with trying to flog the usual "mean-spirited-Republicans" meme--although surprisingly NYMag doesn't point out that the GOPers were white:

Conservatives Attack Mueller As ‘Doddering’ and ‘Semi-Senile’ in House Testimony

Larry Tribe: Mueller Sucked The Life Out Of His Report

In an earlier life Larry Tribe was the most renowned liberal law professor in the land. Now he's more like a notorious liberal professor--notorious for his unhinged, non-reality based, tweets against Trump. So, when you read this tweet from Tribe:

Much as I hate to say it, this morning’s hearing was a disaster. Far from breathing life into his damning report, the tired Robert Mueller sucked the life out of it. The effort to save democracy and the rule of law from this lawless president has been set back, not advanced.
9:30 AM - 24 Jul 2019

that pretty much tells you all you need to know about Mueller's disastrous performance today. Liberal pundits across the land are admitting it: impeachment is dead.

Two things I don't get:

1) Why did Dems do this?

2) Why did Mueller do this?

What did the Dems think was realistically in this for them? And, for goodness sake, what did Mueller think could possibly go right for him?

And here's another thing: Mueller can't say Barr didn't offer him a way out. Barr said, I'll support you if you refuse to testify. But, no, Mueller somehow knew better--he listened to Jerry Nadler and the siren call of impeachment theater. Imagine that! Pride goeth before the fall.

It's a bit like, Trump told Theresa May how to do Brexit, but she thought she knew better--she listened to Angela Merkel, instead. Now May is out, and Merkel shakes uncontrollably in public appearances. Trump? He's still tweeting. And laughing.

This could go on and on, but this from Sean Davis says a lot:

It's amazing to watch a federal official and court officer dispute the bedrock judicial standard of "innocent until proven guilty" in this country. But it certainly explains some of his heinous misconduct in previous investigations he ran.

11:00 AM - 24 Jul 2019

Well, here we go--two more tweets:

Buck Sexton 
‏I would feel kinda bad for Bob “Mr Magoo” Mueller today-
except he had no problem threatening, bankrupting, ruining and imprisoning people for minor crimes
in the course of what he had to know what a politically motivated investigation that was all based on a lie.
10:16 AM - 24 Jul 2019

Donald J. Trump

I would like to thank the Democrats for holding this morning’s hearing. Now, after 3 hours, Robert Mueller has to subject himself to #ShiftySchiff - an Embarrassment to our Country! 
10:04 AM - 24 Jul 2019

Trump earned the right to say that--the hard way.

Timeline: From Comey's Firing To Mueller's Appointment

This morning I took out after sundance at CTH for his repeated, absurd--and rather hysterical--smears against AG Bill Barr. It's sad because, as I've noted, CTH has performed signal service to the conservative cause. It's especially absurd because sundance's latest hysterical outburst against Barr comes on the heels of huge Russia Hoax related revelations from Paul Sperry and John Solomon that could only have been written with the help of sources familiar with work being done by both IG Horowitz and USA Durham--under the supervision of Bill Barr.

What follows is, IMO, an excellent example of CTH's work at its best--although not unmixedly so. I'm lifting it from CTH's coverage of Louis Gohmert's grilling of Mueller today, which focused on Mueller's May 17, 2017, Oval Office meeting with Trump. I will add one caution, which is an example of why CTH's work has to be read with a critical eye for detail. The statement sundance makes: "Mueller was ineligible for the position of FBI Director" is not correct. In point of fact Mueller could have been reappointed as FBI Director--if the Senate had approved that move. Nor would this have been unprecedented. Mueller himself is an example of how that would work:

In May 2011, President Barack Obama asked Mueller to continue at the helm of the FBI for two additional years beyond his normal 10-year term, which would have expired on September 4, 2011. The Senate approved this request 100–0 on July 27, 2011.

So, with that caveat, here's an excellent and important timeline of events from Comey's firing to Mueller's appointment. The aspect of this that I find so important is that it highlights the role in the Russia Hoax and the subsequent Mueller inquisition of Rod Rosenstein. To forestall any criticism, I will state: If there is no public accounting for the role that Rosenstein played, then Barr's work will be incomplete. So, omitting links and doing my own formatting:

Being Attorney General: Bill Barr

From news coverage--and also blog coverage, like, right here--one might get the impression that all Bill Barr has to do as AG is to handle the Russia Hoax. Obviously that's an important part of his work, but there's lots more on his plate--which is why he has Michael Horowitz, John Durham and (almost certainly) DAG Jeffrey Rosen hard at work on that. Dealing with inherited personnel problems, after eight years of legal radicalism under Obama and two years of inaction under Sessions, is a huge task. Pushing a new agenda in coordination with the US attorney offices around the country is also a big deal--and you can see Barr's involvement in this from his frequent travels. That's not just for show or because he likes flying around. Coordinating the government enforcement of and response to challenges to Trump's agenda is also part of his job.

Yesterday there was a major development that should impact political and civil life in this country for years to come. Like Trump, Barr is making good on promises he has made. Here I'll simply paste in the WSJ account of this development via Don Surber--including Surber's comments. Note, however, the months of work that went into preparing for this initiative. Never think that Barr is sitting back and taking it easy:

"The Justice Department is opening a broad antitrust review into whether dominant technology firms are unlawfully stifling competition, adding a new Washington threat for companies such as Facebook Inc., Google, Inc. and Apple Inc. 
"The review is geared toward examining the practices of online platforms that dominate Internet search, social media and retail services, the department said, confirming the review shortly after The Wall Street Journal reported it. 
"The new antitrust inquiry is the strongest signal yet of Attorney General William Barr’s deep interest in the tech sector, and it could ratchet up the already considerable regulatory pressures facing the top U.S. tech firms. The review is designed to go above and beyond recent plans for scrutinizing the tech sector that were crafted by the department and the Federal Trade Commission. 
"The two agencies, which share antitrust enforcement authority, in recent months worked out which one of them would take the lead on exploring different issues involving the big-four tech giants. Those turf agreements caused a stir in the tech industry and rattled investors. Now, the new Justice Department review could amplify the risk, because some of those companies could face antitrust claims from both the Justice Department and the FTC. 
"The FTC in February created its own task force to monitor competition in the tech sector; that team’s work is ongoing. 
"The Justice Department will examine issues including how the most dominant tech firms have grown in size and might — and expanded their reach into additional businesses. The Justice Department also is interested in how Big Tech has leveraged the powers that come with having very large networks of users, the department said." 
They should not have messed with conservatives. 
Now they pay. 
The purpose of government is to protect my God-given rights. Treating us like second-class citizens cannot be tolerated. 
Get woke -- and broken up!

The Flynn Intel Group Conviction

Yesterday a federal jury in the Eastern District of Virginia convicted Bijan Rafiekian on charges of conspiring to act as an agent of a foreign government, conspiring to make false statements and willful omissions in a FARA filing, and acting as an agent of a foreign government. Read the DoJ press release here.

CTH covers the story with a simply idiotic lede: U.S. Attorney General Bill Barr Successfully Convicts Flynn Intel Group – Sentencing October 18th. It's the type of hysterical reaction at CTH that I've decried in the past--despite the great services CTH has performed for conservatives.

I won't presume to provide a tutorial on the federal criminal justice system, but the simple fact is that Bill Barr didn't indict Rafiekian and didn't prosecute him. When a subject is indicted by a federal grand jury and prosecution is undertaken by a local US attorney--who is a presidential appointee--there is very little an attorney general can do. In fact, other authorities, other branches of the US government, are also involved. For example a US attorney must seek the leave of the court to dismiss an indictment. Overall, the overall principle of federal prosecution, as set out by the Justice Manual, which sets forth Department of Justice policy, and which delegates broad authority to US Attorneys, is this:

Tuesday, July 23, 2019

A Former FBI Assistant Director Speaks Out

Chris Swecker was Assistant Director of the FBI's Criminal Investigative Division from 2004-2006. Tonight Swecker spoke with Tucker Carlson about Paul Sperry's article about James Comey's targeting of President Trump, and he spoke frankly. Here is a partial transcript of the 3 minute interview, via GP--Former FBI Asst. Director: James Comey and His Inner Circle Were Making up Their Own Set of Rules – This Is ‘Seven Days in May’ – As Shady as it Gets: I've corrected the transcript and expanded it in a few places. For example, in the first paragraph, Swecker speaks of "criminal" statutes (GP has "civil"--big difference). Those who have followed this blog will recognize that Swecker is talking about the same things I've harped on: the three types of investigations, the guidelines, the need for predication, the fact that this all has to be documented, etc.

Chris Swecker: It would be difficult to overstate how egregious and in violation with the Attorney General guidelines and probably several criminal statutes that type of operation would be without predication. And in this case… I don’t see any predication whatsoever and certainly no documentation of an assessment or an intelligence assessment as Comey described it in his book, or a preliminary inquiry or a full investigation. And those are the only three types of investigations there are. So there would have had to have been some sort of documented predication to do that. 
Tucker Carlson: If the documents existed, we would know, right? 
Chris Swecker: Right… I read the article, it sounds like a rogue operation on the part of the FBI Director. ... I thought all along that Deputy Director McCabe’s initiation of an investigation out of the Deputy Director’s office was thoroughly unprecedented. The deputy director should not be running any investigation whatsoever. And the director himself should not be operational in any investigation. So it’s hard to number all the things that are wrong with the things that are described in this article, again assuming that these two sources are true. 
Tucker Carlson: But as someone who spent a lot of time in management over at the FBI you see this and your first thought is, this is bizarre and rotten ...
Chris Swecker: You can’t make this stuff up. This is about as shady as it gets… Jim Comey and his inner circle were just off making their own set of rules, doing their own thing for their own personal reasons, primarily because they just dislike the president
Anything that J. Edgar Hoover was accused of would pale in comparison to this. This is Seven Days in May. This is an inner circle of self-appointed moral guardians taking over the presidency and trying to take it down for their own personal reasons. ...

There's no shadow of a doubt about this. We're living through the biggest political scandal in the history of the United States.

And here's the video:

John Solomon's New Bombshell: Durham Revisiting Mifsud

John Solomon is reporting this evening that US Attorney John Durham--Bill Barr's handpicked head of the DoJ's Russian Hoax investigation--has reached out to Joseph Mifsud's lawyer, Stephan Roh:

An investigator told Swiss attorney Stephan Roh that Durham’s team wanted to interview Mifsud, or at the very least review a recorded deposition the professor gave in summer 2018 about his role in the drama involving Donald Trump, Russia and the 2016 election. 
The contact, confirmed by multiple sources and contemporaneous email, sent an unmistakable message: Durham, the U.S. attorney handpicked by Attorney General William Barr to determine whether the FBI committed abuses during the Russia investigation, is taking a second look at one of the noteworthy figures and the conclusions of former special counsel Robert Mueller’s final report.

Solomon is quick to draw the obvious conclusion: This can only mean that Mueller himself, the conduct of his investigation, and the conclusions his Team Mueller drew are all coming under scrutiny.

Here's one example Solomon gives of anomalies in the Mueller inquisition--and I think we're safe in assuming that Solomon's source pointed this out:

Mueller concluded that Mifsud was a person with extensive Russia ties who planted the story about the Clinton emails in Moscow and then lied about his dealings with Papadopoulos when interviewed by the FBI in 2017. Papadopoulos has pleaded guilty to lying to the FBI about his contacts with Mifsud. 
But unlike others accused of misleading Mueller — including Papadopoulos, former Trump adviser Michael Flynn and former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort — Mifsud was not charged with a crime.

Yeah, how does that work? Some mistatements are lies that are prosecuted and others, well ...

Briefly Noted: Lindsey Graham Will Call Papadopoulos To Testify

The Hill is reporting that Lindsey Graham is planning to call George Papadopoulos to testify before the Senate Judiciary Committee:

Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) said he plans to call former Trump campaign adviser George Papadopoulos to testify as part of a “deep dive” into the early stages of the FBI probe into Russia's election interference. 
“The committee will be looking at the counterintelligence investigation of the Trump campaign. We will call Papadopoulos and we will find out what happened,” Graham said at the start of a hearing Tuesday with FBI Director Christopher Wray.
Graham said that the panel would conduct a “deep dive into 2016 surveillance by the FBI,” reiterating plans he has long had to investigate the origins of the Russia probe. 
Graham said he would wait to jump-start his investigation until after Justice Department inspector general concludes his own inquiry into the FBI’s actions in applying for the Page warrant.

This may actually be a bigger deal than it may at first appear to be. The reason I say that has to do with John Solomon's latest bombshell report. No, I don't mean his stunning report on Andrew Weissmann's shenanigans--Solomon has a new bombshell that I'll be writing up ASAP. Clearly Solomon is being fed leads.

Separately, the linked The Hill article also reports:

Wray has previously testified that he had no evidence personally that the FBI engaged in illegal surveillance during the 2016 campaign.  
Wray was testifying Tuesday as part of a general oversight hearing focused on the FBI. 
Under questioning from Graham, Wray said that Russia has not been deterred by sanctions and other measures and is still engaging in foreign influence campaigns against U.S. elections. 
“The Russians are absolutely intent on trying to interfere with our elections through foreign influence,” Wray said.

I trust I'm not alone in regarding Wray as a complete waste of space.

Recent Comments

I've been trying for a while to figure out how to enable a recent comments feed. I've enabled Blogger's script but it's pretty inadequate. Unfortunately, nothing else seems to work. I hope, inadequate as it is, it will prove somewhat useful.

Ya Gotta Love Bill Barr

So, about that DoJ letter to Robert Mueller, laying out the parameters of his permissible testimony. We're now hearing, per sundance at CTH, that it was Nadler who asked Mueller to get something in writing from DoJ. It seems pretty clear that in Nadler's delusional universe he imagines that portraying AG Barr as the evil minion of the Orange Man who is preventing Mueller from telling the full truth will somehow spark outrage across the fruited plain. How pathetic. The populace across the fruited plain has better things to do than to watch Nadler's impeachment theater and, in any event, has long since discounted anything that Nadler can stage.

This video clip, below, of Barr addressing all this is priceless. You need to watch it to get the full effect. In responding to questions about the letter, Barr offers his usual laconic, two words or less, responses. Yes, Mueller asked for the letter. The fun part is when Barr is asked if he has any reaction to being held in contempt of Congress. He first gives his usual, straight-faced, 'No,' then reconsiders and breaks into a big grin: "Goes with the territory--these days."

Could anything speak more loudly to the regard he holds Congressional Dems in? And does it suggest that he knows their day is coming?


Two Good Reads On The Mueller Dossier--Pre-Testimony!

There are two excellent articles out today. They both are focused on Robert Mueller's upcoming testimony, but they both also make good reading in the wider context of the Mueller coup attempt that we outlined yesterday in discussing the bombshell investigative reporting of Paul Sperry (on James Comey) and John Solomon (on Andrew Weissmann).

The first article is by Judicial Watch's Chris Farrell: A question for Robert Mueller. Farrell, of course, recognizes that the Mueller hearing will be simply political theater--impeachment theater. But then he goes on to make some broader points:

Mueller’s last public appearance was his eight-minute public statement on May 29, in which he basically said that Donald Trump must be viewed as guilty unless proven innocent. “If we had confidence the president clearly did not commit a crime,” he intoned, “we would have said so.”

"Confidence that something is clear" does, in fact, sound a lot like "beyond a reasonable doubt." What an embarrassment! That a lifelong DoJ and FBI official, working now at pretty much the top of the prosecutorial heap on the most important case of his life should stand our most hallowed legal principle on its head--innocent until proven guilty, the "Golden Thread" of our justice system, as Rumpole's famous closing argument puts it. And that he should do this publicly, in writing, and that this abomination and trashing of all we hold dear should be embraced by the chattering classes and the majority party of our House!

Monday, July 22, 2019

Andrew Weissmann: How Corrupt Does The Russia Hoax Get?

Today has been an incredible Big Story day in the ongoing saga of the Russia Hoax. This morning we had Paul Sperry's revelations about James Comey's targeting of President Trump for removal for clearly political motivations--there simply was no case against Trump and everyone involved with this coup attempt knew it. This evening we have John Solomon's absolutely stunning--no other word fits--revelations of Andrew Weissmann's own corrupt attempt to frame President Trump: How Mueller deputy Andrew Weissmann's offer to an oligarch could boomerang on DOJ. Let's start at the beginning.

As we all know, at the time Robert Mueller was appointed Special Counsel it was already well known that the FBI investigation on which the Special Counsel mandate was explicitly based (in Rod Rosenstein's authorization letter) was utterly bogus, because it was based on the already discredited Steele "dossier." The question facing Mueller and his Deputy Andrew Weissmann--whom most regard as the true head of the Mueller inquisition--was clearly: How to proceed in the face of this lack of evidence of any wrongdoing on the part of the president? One approach would be to seek to provoke Trump into a misstep that could be called "obstruction," but that would be time consuming and uncertain of success. Slogging through the Russia Hoax allegations faced the same uncertainty. What about a quick strike at Trump? Remember, the true aim was to force Trump out--whether by impeachment or resignation hardly mattered, and resignation was probably preferable because it would be quicker. But how to force the issue?

DoJ Offers Mueller Some Advice

Reported via Zerohedge. It turns out that Robert Mueller wrote to DoJ requesting advice on how to conduct himself at the Nadler circus. That was smart! Here's DoJ's advice, in its most relevant part:

"...the decision to testify before Congress is yours to make in this case, but the Department agrees with your stated position that your testimony should be unnecessary under the circumstances. ...
"Please note that there should be no testimony concerning the redacted portions of the public version of your report ... any testimony must remain within the boundaries of your public report
"Finally, any testimony must remain within the boundaries of your public report because matters within the scope of your investigation were covered by executive privilege ..."

Sperry's OIG Bombshell: Comey Targeted Trump

Paul Sperry has a terrific article at Real Clear Investigations this morning: Justice Dept. Watchdog Has Evidence Comey Probed Trump, on the Sly. Sperry accomplishes a number of important things in this article (it's fairly lengthy, but absolutely warrants a close reading).

In this important investigative work, Sperry documents that--contrary to the fears of many--Michael Horowitz at OIG has not been simply twiddling his thumbs. Nor, by very direct implication, have Bill Barr and John Durham been idle. The investigative task Congressional investigators--and now the Barr team--faced, and continue to face, is monumental in and of itself. They have had to contend with, and are still confronted by, determined resistance from the Deep State. Sperry's article provides reassurance that we will in due course (i.e., before the 2020 elections) receive some key answers as to the overall shape of the Russia Hoax: its origins, its development, its morphing into the Mueller inquisition.

That last phrase is important in its tripartite structure: the Russia Hoax: its origins, its development, its morphing into the Mueller inquisition. These three aspects of the overall Russia Hoax can be seen, in a sense, as three acts in a drama. Let's see how that metaphor plays out, as we look at Sperry's account.

AG Barr has said he wants to "get his arms around" the origins of the Russia Hoax, and that is the task he has--at least initially--assigned to Durham. To that end, we've heard that Durham is, no doubt among other activities, talking to senior CIA and FBI officials who were associated with the document that was a key to establishing and perpetuating the Russian "meddling" narrative: the Intelligence Community Assessment (ICA). Of course, this aspect of Durham's inquiry also has implications for later events, but it's very much at the origin of the Russia Hoax.

The task of Horowitz and OIG has been to get to the bottom of the fraud that was later perpetrated on the FISA court (FISC). However, Sperry's sources tell him that OIG has gone well beyond that initial task and have examined the targeting of Trump himself by Comey and, more generally, by the FBI, during the period from the election to the appointment of Mueller as Special Counsel. This is the second act, the development of the Russia Hoax from an effort to prevent Trump's election to an attempt at a coup: the removal of a sitting president for political reasons, under the pretense of legal action.

Holy, uh, Cow! Solomon's Big Scoop On Weissmann

Last week I noted John Solomon's tease re "new evidence emerging about the conduct of one of Mueller’s deputies." I assumed that would mean Andrew Weissmann, and I haven't been disappointed. I'm still working on a commentary based on Paul Sperry's article today. I'll finish that first, but I'll just say that Solomon's story is, IMO, very big. Here are the first few paragraphs:

The ink was still drying on special counsel Robert Mueller’s appointment papers when his chief deputy, the famously aggressive and occasionally controversial prosecutor Andrew Weissmann, made a bold but secret overture in early June 2017. 
Weissmann quietly reached out to the American lawyers for Ukrainian oligarch Dmitry Firtash with a tempting offer: Give us some dirt on Donald Trump in the Russia case, and Team Mueller might make his 2014 U.S. criminal charges go away. 
The specifics of the never-before-reported offer were confirmed to me by multiple sources with direct knowledge, as well as in contemporaneous defense memos I read. 
At first blush, one might ask, “What’s the big deal?” It’s not unusual for federal prosecutors to steal a page from Monty Hall’s “Let’s Make a Deal” script during plea negotiations. 
But Weissmann’s overture was wrapped with complexity and intrigue far beyond the normal federal case, my sources indicate.

IMO, Solomon isn't exaggerating: How Mueller deputy Andrew Weissmann's offer to an oligarch could boomerang on DOJ. One more thing for Mueller to explain.

Byron York Deconstructs Nadler's Obstruction "Movie"

In a lengthy article at The Washington Examiner, Byron York explains what the Dems hope to accomplish with their Mueller hearing, and then proceeds to deconstruct it. To do this York borrows a metaphor from a Dem staffer:

Democrats know the report has failed to capture the public imagination, and they hope bringing Mueller to Capitol Hill for questioning will catch the nation's attention.
"Not everybody is reading the book, but people will watch the movie," a House Judiciary Committee official told Politico's Playbook.

York is, rightly, skeptical, because the movie will prove no more compelling than the book. As York observes: Some movies bomb.

Here are the Big Three obstruction narratives--or, wait, possible obstruction narratives--what the Dems will focus on:

Sunday, July 21, 2019

UPDATED: Was Seth Rich Julian Assange's "internal Source" At The DNC?

CTH has a new post up titled: "IMPORTANT – Video Confirms Butowsky Lawsuit Claim: Julian Assange Told Ellen Ratner DNC Emails Received From Seth Rich – Not a Russian Hack…"

This is what we discussed just a week ago in Seth Rich In The News Again. The CTH title is a bit misleading, as I understand this new information. Ellen Ratner does not state that Assange told her that Seth Rich was his DNC source who provided the DNC emails--Assange never identifies his confidential sources. Rather, Ratner does confirm that Assange told her that the DNC emails were not received from the Russians but instead were obtained from a source internal to the DNC. It could have been Seth Rich, but it could have been someone else. OTOH, and in all fairness, it might also have been the case that Assange was lying and that he did receive the emails from the Russians.

But here's the real problem.

Imagine yourself as a Special Counsel, charged with investigating claims that the Trump campaign colluded with "the Russians" to obtain help to win the 2016 presidential election. I key issue in your investigation is the claim--made by the DNC through their contractor, Crowdstrike--that the Russian government "hacked" the DNC server, stole a huge trove of emails, and gave those emails to Assange at Wikileaks. The issue for you is whether Wikileaks was simply a cutout, whether "the Russians" gave those emails to Wikileaks precisely so that Wikileaks could disseminate them publicly to help the Trump campaign. To assess that claim, you need to know:

1) Who actually took those emails?

2) How did the emails got to Wikileaks?

3) Was the Trump campaign involved in some, all, or any of this?

Three Good Reads: The Mueller Circus; Trump Picks Pence

The first article is Michael Goodwin's Dems take desperate final shot at Trump with Mueller testimony. You won't be surprised by a thing Goodwin says, but he says it well--captures the desperation and futility of the whole circus.

The second article fascinated me in a totally different way. It's by Tim Alberta, who is the chief political correspondent at Politico, so if you're guessing that he's not a Trump fan, then you're on to something. And that's part of what makes the article so fascinating.

The article is You Crossed The Rubicon ... There's No Going Back": Karl Rove, Kellyanne Conway, And The Odd Couple Marriage Between Mike Pence And Donald Trump. It's a chapter from the just released American Carnage: On the Front Lines of the Republican Civil War and the Rise of President Trump. Of course Alberta has his own slant, his own agenda, and of course there are repeated efforts at snark, attempts to depict Trump as the buffoonish caricature we're all familiar with. But what keeps coming through the portrait of Trump the person, and especially the positive qualities that suit him as President. His relentless inquisitiveness, his willingness to accept being challenged, his impatience with the BS factor. And his basic humanity and likeability.

Here's the blurb about the overall theme of the book, from which you can readily grasp the author's slant:

Only by viewing Trump as the culmination of a decade-long civil war inside the GOP—and of the parallel sense of cultural, socioeconomic, and technological disruption during that period—can we appreciate how he won the White House and consider the fundamental questions at the center of America’s current turmoil. How did a party once obsessed with national insolvency come to champion trillion-dollar deficits? How did the party of compassionate conservatism become the party of Muslim bans and family separation? How did the party of family values elect a thrice-married philanderer? And, most important, how long can such a party survive?

This chapter doesn't get into much of that, but here's one sample from Kellyanne Conway:

“The Republican Party was always looking for the next Ronald Reagan, but it kept picking Bushes,” Conway says.

It's longish but very interesting. Highly recommended.

Heh, the third is an addon:

Pelosi Can’t Disown Her Political Progeny

The squad was weaned on Pelosi’s mother’s milk of identity politics, bad faith, and fear-mongering. Now, her political offspring make up the face of a party defined by race and gender with a hearty strain of anti-Americanism, animated by name-calling and threats. Diversity, not merit, rules the day. Capitalism is evil, socialism is just. Global warming, not terrorism, is the existential threat to humanity. We are citizens of the world, not to one nation. 
Bullying is a substitute for persuasion. Critics are silenced by smears, not by facts. Imaginary systemic injustices excuse any bad behavior; indignation supersedes hard work. Seniority is a nice word for white patriarchy. Respect flows only one way. 
The squad’s political hubris was a generation in the making, during which time Pelosi was a Democratic Party leader. Aside from her relatively tepid criticism of late, Pelosi, like a bad parent, has mostly accommodated the squad’s tantrums and antics since Election Day. As I wrote in January, it was obvious that Ocasio-Cortez would be the shadow speaker as Pelosi sucked up to her unruly freshman caucus early on.

Flaunting It

If you were a billionaire with a thing about underage girls, but you'd been caught and forced to plead guilty--albeit to a minor charge--and had been required to register as a sex offender, back in 2008, how would you be conducting your affairs? Would you continue as if nothing had changed, or would you be, well, just a bit more discrete? It you picked "be just a bit more discrete" you'd be wrong--that is, if you were Jeffrey Epstein. According to an article by Holly Aguirre in Vanity Fair, Epstein flaunted his behavior.

Locals say Epstein was flying in underage girls long after his conviction for sex crimes—and authorities did nothing to stop him. “It was like he was flaunting it,” says an employee at the airstrip on St. Thomas. “But it was said that he always tipped really well, so everyone overlooked it.”

Oh. "He always tipped really well, so everyone overlooked it." Looks like there are no heroes in this story.

Ever since billionaire Jeffrey Epstein was arrested on July 6 on charges of sex trafficking, the media have been scrambling to make sense of what happened on Little St. James, his 70-acre private island in the Caribbean. But on nearby St. Thomas, locals say Epstein continued to bring underage girls to the island as recently as this year—a decade after he was forced to register as a convicted sex offender—and that authorities did nothing to stop him.
Two employees who worked at the local airstrip on St. Thomas tell Vanity Fair that they witnessed Epstein boarding his private plane on multiple occasions in the company of girls who appeared to be under the age of consent. According to the employees, the girls arrived with Epstein aboard one of his two Gulfstream jets. Between January 2018 and June 2019, previously published flight records show, the jets were airborne at least one out of every three days. They stopped all over the world, sometimes for only a few hours at a time: Paris, London, Slovakia, Mexico, Morocco. When they left St. Thomas, the employees say, they returned to airports near Epstein’s homes in Palm Beach and New York City.

Those weren't the only destinations. Switzerland, Italy, Kenya, and Brazil, too. And among the countries that he entered using his phony Saudi passport you can include: France, Spain, the United Kingdom, and Saudi Arabia. That's a lot of flying, and it's almost certainly only a partial list. No wonder those planes were airborne so much, nor is that amount of travel cheap.