Patrick Byrne: I ended up in the center of the Russian and the Clinton investigations. I have all the answers. I have been sitting on them waiting for America to get there. Last summer I figured out… what they all are is all about political espionage. It had nothing to do with law enforcement, it was all political espionage. Here’s the bottom line. There is a deep state like a submarine working just beneath the waves of the periscope depth watching our shipping lane. And a nuclear ice breaker called the USS Bill Barr has snuck up on them and is about to ram midship.
That’s about to happen and I think we’re about to see the biggest scandal in American history as a result. But it was all political. Everything you think you know about Russia and Clinton investigations is a lie. It’s all a cover-up. It was all political espionage.
David Asman: You think Bill Barr is going to get to the bottom of it.
Patrick Byrne: I think he has gotten to the bottom of it.
Obviously, the most intriguing aspect to Byrne's remarks is his contention that AG Barr has the big picture, he knows what went on. The implication would be that Barr, John Durham, and Michael Horowitz are assembling the evidence--documentation of all sorts above all, but also witness statements--in order to prepare prosecutable cases, to assign prosecution priorities, assessing witnesses, negotiating deals. All the things that have to be in place before a major investigation can move to the prosecution stage.
The glaring problem with what Byrne had to say at that time was: How does he know all this? Why should we believe him? Yesterday, on the whole, I believe he provided the answers to those questions. I won't attempt to summarize what Byrne said in his interviews yesterday. Those details are available at several sites, but I will say that I believe sundance's assessment is judicious (links below):
... if you get beyond the confusing mess of communication, what Byrne is describing does factually align with what is already known. However, Byrne is describing an aspect to the DOJ/FBI operation that has not been discussed very much.
Byrne is describing the DOJ-NSD and FBI using Russian national Maria Butina as an unwitting, walking, FISA surveillance virus.
J. E. Dyer offers essentially the same assessment:
In spite of Patrick Byrne’s garbled, erratic communication style, what he says parses sensibly in light of what we already know, and has the potential to bring a lot of threads together – if it’s true.
I agree. Obviously what Byrne is describing is shocking for anyone who expects the DoJ and FBI to pursue their duties in a lawful manner, but on the other hand everything that Byrne says makes sense--IF, as we now know, the DoJ and FBI were operating as de facto criminal enterprises. What Byrne says sounds right to me.
If you want to get a bit more into the weeds, here are additional links:
Founder of Overstock.com resigns, goes public about his role in FBI surveillance of presidential campaignsBy Thomas Lifson @ American Thinker
Patrick Byrne Describes Maria Butina as a Walking FISA Virus – Also Names: Peter Strzok, Bill Priestap, John Carlin, Andrew McCabe and James Comey…
For fuller background on the relationship of Byrne and Butina and Butina's activities in the US and eventual prosecution, this link to Zerohedge will tell you what you need to know: Russia Probe Twist: The FBI, A Convicted Russian Agent, & A Billionaire American CEO.
Without getting into the whole Who Struck John of this, for our purposes the important thing about the FBI using Byrne (who had previously cooperated with the FBI and had extensive political contacts) to steer Maria Butina toward cultivating contacts within the Trump, Cruz, and Rubio campaigns was that the DoJ/FBI wanted to use Butina--in sundance's apt words--"as an unwitting, walking, FISA surveillance virus." How that worked is relatively simple, unlike the FISA process involving Carter Page.
The key to this use of Butina is that Butina was present in the US on a student visa. That means that for purposes of FISA she was not a United States Person (USPER)(50 U.S. Code § 1801,(i)). As a result, few of the safeguards that applied to FISA applications with regard to USPERs like Carter Page would apply to Butina. It would be far easier to assert that Butina was an agent of a foreign power and, crucially, it would not be necessary to claim that she was involved in a violation of a criminal statute of the United States. Thus, it would be relatively simple for DoJ/FBI to obtain a FISA on Butina and obtain all her communications--including those with USPERs associated with Republican presidential campaigns. Based on what we know, I have to assume that this was done, but that nothing of substantive value was obtained from FISA coverage of Butina.
However, this isn't the end of the matter. This is not a No Harm No Foul situation. This situation plays into the Russia Hoax and, as Dyer says, "has the potential to bring a lot of threads together."
While it might be difficult to prove anything criminal in any application for a FISA on Butina herself, the fact that she was being steered--using Byrne's political contacts--toward interaction with the Trump, Cruz, and Rubio campaigns plays directly into the prosecutive theory of a conspiracy at DoJ/FBI to deprive the US Government of the honest services of key agencies for partisan political purposes. From what Byrne related in his interviews, he was in contact with FBI officials who worked in the Field, but who were directed by FBIHQ personnel: Peter Strzok, Bill Priestap, Andrew McCabe and James Comey--and with the knowledge of key DoJ players such as John Carlin. The names of these FBI Field officials and they are able to verify Byrne's claims and point the finger at the FBI's top brass at HQ. The whole sequence powerfully demonstrates that the FBI--beginning pretty much at the start of the primary campaign season in 2015--was conspiring to frame any potential Republican candidates. The lie is thus given to any claim that FBI targeting of the Trump campaign only began with supposedly reliable source information from the likes of Chris Steele. The resulting narrative of the overall conspiracy should prove powerful to any jury.
A further aspect that arises is that Butina's lawyer--citing Patrick Byrne by name--claims that Team Mueller wrongly withheld Brady material--exculpatory material--during the prosecution of Butina. Sound familiar? It should, because similar allegations have arisen with regard to every single Team Mueller prosecution that I'm aware of. I see a pattern of misconduct, and nothing would surprise me less than to learn that the Barr DoJ is checking into this prosecutorial misconduct--as well as in the Papadopoulos and Flynn cases, and possibly the Manafort case as well. This, too, could prove to be an extension of the overall conspiracy described above. In other words, Barr and Durham could claim that Team Mueller's prosecutions and the harsh treatment meted out to Butina and Manafort in particular were intended, in part, to silence them and cover up the overall conspiracy. Indeed, Byrne suggests that an SEC enforcement action against Overstock may have been tantamount to "a billion dollar bribe" (Strzok's wife, Melissa Hodgman, the Associate Director of the SEC Enforcement Division, was leading the SEC investigation of Overstock).
Finally, J. E. Dyer makes a worthwhile point about former Acting AG Matt Whitaker's reaction when asked for his take on Byrne's claims. I assume that Whitaker's recent appearances on Fox are an indication that he's positioning himself to be a legal expert--with inside experience--when indictments and prosecutions come. So, when asked, Whitaker didn't confirm anything, but neither did he suggest that Byrne's claims were in any way outlandish or even facially difficult to believe.