Saturday, November 30, 2019

Polling: Is The Third Time The Charm?

CTH is reporting that a third major national poll is now reporting support for Trump among African Americans in the low to mid thirties range: 33-35%. We've seen Rasmussen and Emerson College come up with those results in the last few weeks, but the new poll is NPR/PBS and Marist, which would generally be considered to slant liberal. You may wish to simply refer to CTH, as the presentation may be a bit easier: Third National Poll Outlining 33/34 Percent Black and Minority Voter Support for President Trump.

This has to be mind blowing for Dems. What effect will it have on Impeachment Theater? It's becoming increasingly apparent that impeachment is a niche, white-liberal, thing.

Friday, November 29, 2019

Dems Are So 1960s

I've had this post--empty but for the title--sitting in my drafts for at least a week, probably longer. I ended up using the material I was gathering--about Nixon and Watergate--in Turning Over The 2016 Rocks. But just now I was reading Don Surber who quoted Glenn Reynolds' latest: Dems shouldn't be surprised when another election passes them by.

In the course of the article Reynolds makes this observation about "the army of leftist activists whose nonstop craziness is moving moderates into the Trump column day by day":

Like I said, it's fantasy role-play, in this case by people sad that they were born too late for the 1960s. ...
I could go on and on, but pretty much any random day's survey of the news makes my point.

Impeachment: Trial Or Dismissal?

Not long ago there was a lively debate going on among Republicans about what would be the best approach for the Senate to take to possible House articles of impeachment against President Trump arriving on its doorstep--dismissal of the articles as insufficient or a very full trial. That question seems to have been answered by Trump himself, who has stated a preference for a full trial. The attractions are immediately obvious, and Republicans are coming up with suggested witness lists--starting with the Bidens, father and son.

On the other hand, I was reminded today that the option of a possible quick dismissal of articles of impeachment or even a refusal by the Senate to recognize their constitutional sufficiency has real merit. The merit lies in issuing a principled rebuke to the full frontal assault that House Dems have launched against our constitutional order--and I don't exaggerate.

We're all familiar with the Maxine Waters Doctrine: "Impeachment is about whatever the Congress says it is. There is no law." It's easy enough to dismiss this nonsense with a simple "consider the source," although it's widely parroted on the Left. Reality based people understand that the Constitution itself is our basic "law of the land," and it lays down the law with regard to impeachment.

But what are we to say to the Nancy Pelosi Doctrine, enunciated by the Speaker back in May, according to which Congress is superior to the other branches of government?

Thursday, November 28, 2019

Happy Thanksgiving!

To all readers and commenters! It's been a very busy year for me. The comments--and simply knowing that people are reading--have pushed me to learn or relearn, to think and rethink positions. Thanks to everyone.

The Moyer/Clinesmith IMs And Who Got Paid So Much

Yesterday a bit of controversey arose with regard to an exchange of IMs between two now disgraced and former FBI lawyers: Sally Moyer (Attorney 1) and Kevin Clinesmith (Attorney 2). The subject of this IM exchange was raised by IG Horowitz in an OIG report dated June 2018: A Review of Various Actions by the Federal Bureau of Investigation and Department of Justice in Advance of the 2016 Election. For reference purposes the subject of the IM exchange occurs in Chapter Twelve of the report "TEXT MESSAGES, INSTANT MESSAGES, USE OF PERSONAL EMAIL, AND ALLEGED IMPROPER DISCLOSURES OF
NON-PUBLIC INFORMATION", Section C. "FBI Attorney 2 Instant Messages". The Table of Contents lists Section C. as beginning on p. 419, however it may be easier to use the pagination of the entire PDF report document, according to which the relevant IM exchange is discussed beginning on p. 448.

In the OIG report the focus with regard to this IM exchange is with the politically charged and anti-Trump nature of the comments, in the course of which Clinesmith uses the now well known phrase: "Viva le resistance.” However, in our discussion was focused on a different topic that is referenced in the IM exchange: the amount of money an unnamed person was paid while working for the Trump campaign. Thus, for our purposes, here is the relevant passage from the report (I've inserted the surnames for ease of reading):

The third exchange we identified was on November 22, 2016. Clinesmith sent an instant message to Moyer commenting on the amount of money the subject of an FBI investigation had been paid while working on the Trump campaign. Moyer responded, “Is it making you rethink your commitment to the Trump administration?” Clinesmith replied, “Hell no.” and then added, “Viva le resistance.” Moyer responded that Trump was “going to eliminate all of our pensions in order to pay for people like” the person discussed in the instant message exchange, and Moyer and Clinesmith then began a discussion of federal pension and retirement issues.

The question, then, is: Who is this person who was apparently paid a considerable sum of money "while working on the Trump campaign"?

Commenter Mike Sylwester suggested that the person in question was Carter Page, and that the IM commentary between Clinesmith and Moyer arose from the FBI becoming aware in the course of preparing the FISA on Page that Page was a highly paid CIA asset. In that context, the two FBI lawyers were expressing surprise at the amount of money the CIA had paid Page.

I countered that Paul Manafort, as campaign manager (for a time), seemed a more likely candidate to have been paid large amounts by the Trump campaign. I also maintained that the CIA would likely never 1) identify an asset to the FBI except in dire circumstances, 2) would never identify the size of asset payments. To do either of the above would be extraordinarily amateurish tradecraft and would lead to the names of CIA assets being bandied about among nitwit FBI lawyers with absolutely no need to know about such matters.

In addition, there are two other factors that militate against Carter Page as the person in question:

Wednesday, November 27, 2019

Turning Over The 2016 Rocks

That's the theme of Holman Jenkins' column in today's WSJ: "Who Will Turn Over the 2016 Rocks?" Jenkins, in line with his NeverTrumpism, buys into the idea that James Comey--among others--was "played by the Russians" (re a supposed forged email chain), even while backhandedly acknowledging the difficulties of that position:

"Making further mincemeat of Mr. Comey's rationale [the supposed email chain], the inspector general has revealed that his FBI colleagues judged the Russian intelligence to be 'objectively false' and possibly a Kremlin plant."

Nevertheless, Jenkins finishes off with some big picture observations of the lay of the land facing the Deep State and its Fourth Estate lackeys. I offer them here as food for thought for the Thanksgiving weekend, as we await solid news in the coming weeks:

Wafting above all is an odor of 1963, when the press deliberately ignored Lee Harvey Oswald's communist affiliations in favor of a distracting talking point about right-wing extremism in Dallas. Do I think the republic today can survive a full airing of the US intelligence community's inept actions in the 2016 race? Yes, and with minimal shock at this point. It's the FBI and CIA that are unlikely to survive without undergoing a sweeping institutional housecleaning. 
Which brings us to the latest inspector general's report due in a couple weeks, itself a down payment on a criminal investigation now in the hands of US Attorney John Durham. Because Washington is seldom keen to prosecute even plainly illegal leaks when Republicans are the victims, and because unprofessional credulousness in the face of dubious "intelligence" (like the Steele dossier) is not about to become a crime, the cathartic prosecutions of Obama intelligence officials that some Trump loyalists crave are unlikely to happen. 
Many of us avidly await the coming revelations for a different reason: to see if the mainstream media will finally interest itself in the truths of 2016.  Looming over the fourth estate is a quietly important question: whether continuing to collude in a coverup can remain consistent with commercial survival.

My reactions:

Tuesday, November 26, 2019

Major Development In The Flynn Case

This afternoon there was a major development in the Flynn case. The government--meaning, the USA for DC--filed a motion to abate the schedule that Judge Sullivan had set for the Flynn case. I take it that this was by agreement with Flynn's attorney's--my reasons for believing so should be apparent from Sidney Powell's tweets. However, what I'll do is paste in CTH's copy of the motion as well, because it highlights the most relevant section.

As sundance notes, the most likely conclusion to be drawn is that some issues regarding the Brady material requested by Flynn are addressed in the forthcoming OIG FISA report--which the motion specifically references as a reason to abate the schedule that Judge Sullivan had set. It also seems likely from this that DoJ may have intervened here to suggest this abatement, since one presumes that the USA would not otherwise be aware of the relevance of the OIG FISA report to the Flynn case. I would expect that Judge Sullivan would grant this agreed motion. At this point I won't speculate as to the ramifications of this. You can see from Powell's tweets that she doesn't seem displeased to see Flynn's case formally connected to the various investigations of FBI misconduct by OIG and, by extension, John Durham.

ADDENDUM: Here's my thinking. At a minimum, this delay will allow the judge to make his decision based on much more information about the background to this case than he has at present. Official information, not just assertions in the pleadings of the two parties. IMO, this can only be good for Flynn.

UPDATED: The Dog That Didn't Bark In The Mueller Dossier

Well, I was trying to come up with a clever title, and that was the best I could do. Actually, I was inspired by Margot Cleveland's interesting article today:

New Fusion GPS Info Confirms The Special Counsel Probe Was A Hit Job
The renewed focus on the Steele dossier are cementing the case that the special counsel probe served as a taxpayer-funded political hit on President Trump.

Cleveland's thesis is simple:

Today’s release of Glenn Simpson and Peter Fritsch’s book on the Steele dossier, “Crime in Progress: Inside the Steele Dossier and the Fusion GPS Investigation of Donald Trump,” has put the former MI6’s collection of anti-Trump memoranda back in the news. The renewed focus on the Steele dossier are cementing the case that the special counsel probe served as a taxpayer-funded political hit on President Trump and not a true investigation into Russia’s election interference.

That much--that the Mueller Witchhunt was simply a "a taxpayer-funded political hit on President Trump"--seems to me to be totally uncontroversial. It was an obvious attempt to either force Trump's resignation or remove him via impeachment. Where I take issue, however, is with the route that Cleveland takes to arrive at that conclusion. Cleveland begins with important observation, which others have also made, that:

“Not once in the 448-page tome does Mueller mention an investigation into whether Russia interfered with the U.S. presidential election by feeding dossier author Christopher Steele misinformation.”

She concludes that Team Mueller, in their supposed "investigation into whether Russia interfered with the U.S. presidential election," avoided examining Chris Steele's "dossier" was to avoid the possibility that Steele was "played by the Russians."

I think there's another explanation which is, if anything, even more corrupt. However, lets start at the beginning.

Monday, November 25, 2019

Two Good Russia Hoax Reads, And ...

Here are the two good Russia Hoax reads:

1. The Pitfalls of a Pit Bull Russophobe

This is by Ray McGovern. McGovern was chief of the CIA’s Soviet Foreign Policy Branch during the 1970s. His target here is Fiona Hill:

Like so many other glib “Russia experts” with access to Establishment media, Fiona Hill, who testified Thursday in the impeachment probe, seems three decades out of date.

but also the entire Russia Hoax narrative, especially the Russia-meddled-ICA that Brennan and Clapper put out to validate the coup attempt against Trump:

As for the “Intelligence Community Assessment,” the banner headline atop The New York Times on Jan. 7, 2017 set the tone for the next couple of years: “Putin Led Scheme to Aid Trump, Report Says.” During my career as a CIA analyst, as deputy national intelligence officer chairing National Intelligence Estimates (NIEs), and working on the Intelligence Production Review Board, I had not seen so shabby a piece of faux analysis as the ICA. The writers themselves seemed to be holding their noses.  They saw fit to embed in the ICA itself this derriere-covering note: “High confidence in a judgment does not imply that the assessment is a fact or a certainty; such judgments might be wrong.”  
Not a Problem 
With the help of the Establishment media, Clapper and CIA Director John Brennan,  were able to pretend that the ICA had been approved by “all 17 intelligence agencies” (as first claimed by Clinton, with Rep. Jim Himes, D-CT, repeating that canard Thursday, alas “without objection).”  Himes, too should do his homework.  The bogus “all 17 intelligence agencies” claim lasted only a few months before Clapper decided to fess up. With striking naiveté, Clapper asserted that ICA preparers were “handpicked analysts” from only the FBI, CIA and NSA. The criteria Clapper et al. used are not hard to divine. In government as in industry, when you can handpick the analysts, you can handpick the conclusions. 
Maybe a Problem After All 
“According to several current and former intelligence officers who must remain anonymous because of the sensitivity of the issue,” as the Times says when it prints made-up stuff, there were only two “handpicked analysts.”  Clapper picked Brennan; and Brennan picked Clapper.  That would help explain the grossly subpar quality of the ICA. 
If U.S. Attorney John Durham is allowed to do his job probing the origins of Russiagate, and succeeds in getting access to the “handpicked analysts” — whether there were just two, or more — Hill’s faith in “our intelligence agencies,” may well be dented if not altogether shattered.

2. FBI Lawyer Referred for Criminal Prosecution by Horowitz Was Primary FBI Attorney on Trump-Russia Case

h/t on this one to Mike Sylvester. My feed on Jeff Carlson's blog seems slow to refresh. This showed up in my feed reader eventually, but not before Mike pointed it out.

This blog is all about Kevin Clinesmith. There's not a lot here that we haven't already heard, but it puts a lot of information at your fingertips in a readable way. Recommended. After reading it you'll have no doubts about why Clinesmith's situation--targeted by John Durham in a criminal investigation--could be a game breaker.

3. The Carlson blog on Clinesmith leads me to sundance's latest piece, in which he suggests that the "altered email" that Clinesmith used to bolster a woefully weak Carter Page FISA application was, in fact, an email from Page himself (complaining about death threat occasioned by leaks about him). I don't see how this could be true based on the information that we have at this point. According to the NYT, Clinesmith:

“took an email from an official at another federal agency
that contained several factual assertions, then added material to the bottom that looked like another assertion from the email’s author, when it was instead his own understanding.”

If the email Clinesmith altered was, in fact, from "an official at another federal agency" then it wasn't from Carter Page.

OTOH, for separate reasons, I'm inclined to suspect that the renewal application to which this altered email was applied may well have been the final renewal, which was done for Team Mueller.

QUICK ADDENDUM: Ron Paul has a nice piece at Zerohedge. Nothing you don't know, but succinct--all about the "interagency consensus" or Deep State: The Real Bombshell of the Impeachment Hearings.

UPDATED: More On OIG's Report On Problems In The FBI's Confidential Human Source Program

Yesterday we took a look at how OIG's reports on various aspects of the Russia Hoax will likely end up both supporting one another as well supporting certain aspects of the Durham investigation (OIG's Interlocking Reports). In doing so we quoted extensively from Brian Cates' fine article. Today Margot Cleveland has an excellent analysis of the same OIG report on problem within the FBI's CHS program. I recommend the entire article: Blockbusters Buried In The IG Report On FBI Misuse Of Confidential Sources (h/t Cassander), which is eye opening. However, I want to add a bit of a caveat.

The Russia Hoax involves the world of foreign intelligence collection and of counterintelligence. The agencies involved in this work gather information in various ways, but the use of confidential human sources remains, even in this day of sophisticated electronic data gathering, remains an essential part of that process. Essential, yet problematic. Evaluating the human motives of a CHS is always difficult at best, and even an evaluation of their reliability can be problematic. It's as complex as human nature and the human personality. Conclusions regarding a CHS can and should never be final, yet workers in the intel world are human, too. A source who lies in one situation may be truthful in another--nothing is simple. The dangers of being too trusting in a long term source who tells you what you want to hear, or of distrusting a source for various reasons--including being the bearer of bad news--are always factors to be borne in mind. Bureaucratic rules and guidelines, while necessary, will never be able to cover all situations and subjective considerations cannot be eliminated.

Here's what I'm leading up to. One aspect of the OIG report that Cleveland singles out is this:

Exempting Sources Like Steele from Routine Validation
A third important point gleaned from last week’s IG report on confidential human sources concerns the attorney general guidelines’ requirement that all long-term sources receive an enhanced validation every five years, except “those CHSs providing information for use in national security investigations or foreign intelligence collections.”
So, under the guidelines, while the FBI must seek and obtain the approval of the Human Source Review Committee (HSRC) every five years for most confidential sources, individuals, such as Steele, who feed the FBI unverified information from supposed foreign-intelligence collections are exempt. Not that a HSRC review would likely matter, in any event, since the HSRC must rely on the Annual Validation Reports and other relevant FBI documentation which, as the IG report revealed, intentionally omits negative information about CHSs.

Note that Cleveland rightly points out that the fact that the AG Guidelines do not require that a CHS used in "national security investigations or foreign intelligence collections" be subject to "an enhanced validation every five years" is, from one point of view, irrelevant. That point of view is the fact that OIG documented that the FBI "intentionally omits" documenting negative information about confidential human sources. (See the article for more on that.) Apart from other considerations, Cleveland again rightly cites OIG's concerns that the failure to document such negative information can adversely affect not only investigations but even, potentially, agent safety.

Mattis Speechwriter The "Anonymous" Author Of "A Warning"?

Via TGP, it seems that The New Republic has outed Guy Snodgrass, speechwriter for Jim "Moderate Dog" Mattis, as 'Anonymous'--the "senior official" who first wrote the early "resistance" Op-ed for the NYT and now has a supposed "tell all" book out called "A Warning." It seems Snodgrass isn't denying it, just not commenting. Read more at the link, but here's the quote from TNR:

“Reading Snodgrass’s Pentagon memoir, Holding the Line, the clues to Anonymous’s identity are apparent. As in A Warning, the sentences and paragraphs are pithy and punchy. Every chapter in both books begins with an inspiring but not cliched quotation from an historic figure. Many passages in both books are remarkably similar: the ordeal of conducting a Pentagon briefing for Trump; national security staffers exchanging appalled asides about Trump’s conduct of foreign policy via Twitter; and the arguments for why American alliances strengthen national security and immigration policy shouldn’t be based on building a border wall. In particular, both books stress that, when briefed about international alliances, Trump derails discussions by griping about how allies are stiffing the United States, from allegedly miserly NATO contributions to ostensibly one-sided trade policies.”

How terrible--derailing briefings by stuffed shirt bureaucrats! Impeach him, resist him! Elections be damned! Swamp rules!

DoJ is seeking the identity of the author because it claims he may have violated non-disclosure agreements.

Sunday, November 24, 2019

Is Alexandra Chalupa Behind The Russia-Hacked-The-DNC Hoax?

Well, we're gonna find out, right? If senators are on to this, you have to suppose that John Durham is, too. And we know how interested he is in the origins of that story and who dreamed up the ICA. Paging John Brennan for comment!

OIG's Interlocking Reports

Brian Cates at Epoch Times has a simply outstanding article out that examines the OIG's very recent (11/19/19) report on the FBI's management of its Confidential Human Source program. Cates' article is titled Why DOJ Inspector General Horowitz Had to Produce Two Reports, which gives a clear indication of where he's going: the relationship between the CHS report and the forthcoming FISA report--due out 12/9/19. Before we get into that, lets review a few background matters, which will help guide our way forward.

First, commenter Forbes recently referred to the forthcoming OIG FISA report as "more an audit than an investigation." I demurred--to an extent, adding that Forbes was on to something. That something is that OIG investigations are often confused with criminal investigations by prosecutors--which they are not. So, for reference, here is how OIG describes its work:

The OIG has jurisdiction to review the programs and personnel of the FBI, ATF, BOP, DEA, USAO, USMS, and all other organizations within the Department, as well as contractors of the Department and organizations receiving grant money from the Department. The OIG fulfills this mission, in part, through auditing and inspecting Department programs and issuing reports of its findings. Below please find the OIG’s audits, evaluations, inspections, and reviews.

I won't get into the distinctions, but rest assured they are real. However, to provide two very relevant examples, the CHS report is classed as an audit: Audit of the Federal Bureau of
Investigation’s Management of its Confidential Human Source Validation Processes. In this case, OIG audited the FBI for compliance with applicable guidelines. Here are the findings of that audit, short and not so sweet:

We found that the FBI's vetting process for CHSs,
known as validation, did not comply with the Attorney
General Guidelines.
We also found deficiencies in the
FBl's long-term CHS validation reports which are relied
upon by FBI and Department of Justice (Department or
DOJ) officials in determining the continued use of a
CHS. Further, the FBI inadequately staffed and trained
personnel conducting long-term validations and lacked
an automated process to monitor its long-term CHSs.


Briefly Noted: Recommended Read, Clinesmith And Team Mueller

Before the recommended read, a brief Kevin Clinesmith note: I hope you've all noted that Clinesmith was part of Team Mueller and was forced off by Horowitz for the same reasons as Strzok/Page--his extreme bias. However, before that he also dealt with Carter Page re Page's complaints of death threats fueled by the Russia Hoax. And--coordinated and led one of the Team Mueller interviews of George Papadopoulos. That was in fact a very important part of the Team Mueller effort to oust Trump. This means Durham has significant leverage over an inside Team Mueller player.

The recommended read is a fine big picture article at AmThinker: Attorney General Barr Stands athwart History. Several commenters have remarked on related matters and how central Barr's role is and will be. Nice read on a Sunday morning.

Saturday, November 23, 2019

McCarthy: About The "Premise" Of That Investigation ...

Commenter Cassander's prodding reminded me to read Andy McCarthy's latest article--The First Glimpse into Horowitz’s FISA-Abuse Report. I haven't got far into it, but right near the beginning McCarthy really hits the nail right on the head, skewering some of the spin that some of us have been fretting over. McCarthy addresses the business about the "premise" (or "predication") for the FBI investigation that served as the basis for the Carter Page FISA that is the main focus of the OIG FISA report--due out December 9th.

I discussed this at some length earlier today, but McCarthy gets right to the heart of the CNN spin very elegantly and pithily. It's a useful reminder of how we need to focus on key issues in order to separate the wheat from the chaff. After briefly recounting the news, the revelations about disgraced former FBI lawyer Kevin Clinesmith's bad behavior with other people's emails, McCarthy writes:

You All Know I Have High Hopes For Barr, But ...

I hadda laugh out loud at this blog at Zerohedge:

Barr Ends All Conspiracy Theories Forever By Saying Epstein Died Via A Series Of Coincidences

The author goes is referring to Barr's recent remark:

“I can understand people who immediately, whose minds went to sort of the worst-case scenario because it was a perfect storm of screw-ups,”

and then proceeds to go down a bullet list of coincidences--10 bullet points long.

Just a few excerpts:

Well if reporting that he’s reviewed footage which we were previously told didn’t exist isn’t enough to dampen those kooky conspiracy theories, I don’t know what is.
So there you have it. The US government says that an intelligence asset with damning information on many powerful individuals did in fact kill himself due to an admittedly bizarre and wildly unlikely series of strange coincidences. I for one have no more questions. Checkmate, conspiracy theorists.
     “Mr. Epstein’s death in August at a federal detention center in Manhattan set off a rash of unfounded conspiracy theories on social media that were picked up and repeated by high-profile figures, including Mayor Bill de Blasio and former Mayor Rudolph W. Giuliani. No matter their ideology, the refrain of the theories was the same: Something did not add up,” says The New York Times in its report Barr’s statements.
Couldn’t have said it better myself. It’s a completely unfounded conspiracy theory to believe that someone with ties to powerful institutions and individuals might be murdered in a way that was made to look like a suicide. We don’t live in a world where opaque organizations do evil things in secret, we live in a world where the government is always our friend and the TV would never lie to us. I’m glad these comments made by Barr (whose father in another strange coincidence gave Epstein his first job) have at long last struck a fatal blow to anyone who would doubt the beneficent hand of our beloved institutions.

Actually, I've read that those original stories that Barr's dad gave Epstein his first job aren't true.

UPDATED: What Can We Reasonably Expect From OIG's FISA Report?

I'll admit I was a bit bummed by the end of yesterday. The initial upper of learning that, beyond the obvious misrepresentations in the Carter Page FISA application, OIG determined that an FBI lawyer had actually altered material that was submitted in support of a renewal application was followed by the heavy downer of the NYT's claims that downplayed the overall significance of the OIG report. Although the sources for the NYT story were obviously interested parties, what disturbed me beyond the spin was semi factual assertions such as these (I quote from the WSJ):

The Justice Department's inspector general is expected to conclude there was a proper legal basis for the government's application to monitor a former Trump campaign foreign-policy adviser, but that errors and lapses in judgment were made during the process, according to people familiar with the matter.

Now, some of this could be spin. "Errors and lapses in judgment" could be a minimum assessment. If there were proof of motive, those "errors and lapses in judgment" would unquestionably be criminal acts. The problem from a prosecutorial standpoint is establishing the motive beyond a reasonable doubt. Even obvious bias against a political candidate may not be adequate to establish that the bias was itself the motivation that actuated the "errors and lapses in judgment" that led to a FISA warrant. And three FISA renewals. Against a man who has been charged with no crimes.

What were some of these "errors and lapses in judgment"? According to the NYT the report will say that

The paperwork associated with the renewal applications contained information that should have been left out, and vice versa, ...

In other words, errors and lapses of judgment of both omission and commission. Two glaring examples come immediately to mind:

Confirmed: Mr. Vindman Is The "Whistleblower"

The sourcing seems impeccable. If Schumer says so, who would know better? After all, he could have called him a witness.

Friday, November 22, 2019

Deep State Spinning?

Sure looks like it. And, to be fair, Republicans are out there spinning, too, about what to expect from the OIG FISA report.

A few days ago John Ratcliffe was saying, Look, it doesn't take 500 pages (the reported length of the report) to say nobody did anything wrong. We've had other conservatives claiming that there will be indictments. And today President Trump said the report will be "historic," the "greatest scandal in history."

Now comes the NYT, to tell us that a low level (former) FBI lawyer is in trouble, but Strzok and Comey and the rest of the gang are gonna skate. That has led to despair in some circles. For example at TGP we read:
The Deep State is leaking and spinning ahead of Michael Horowitz’s much-anticipated report on FISA abuses which is set to be released shortly. 
According to leaks from the New York Times, Horowitz’s report will not condemn former FBI Director James Comey or former counterintelligence chief Peter Strzok. 
Rather, a low-level FBI lawyer named Kevin Clinesmith is facing criminal charges for ‘altering an email’ related to the Carter Page FISA documents. 
Recall, Kevin Clinesmith was one of several FBI lawyers who was previously referred for investigation by the DOJ IG for sending anti-Trump text messages over official FBI phones. 
Mueller fired Clinesmith for his anti-Trump text messages.

Interestingly, it's sundance at CTH who's telling conservatives to just chill. And along the way he provides interesting new details about Clinesmith's email altering activities.

I come down on sundance's side of this--as he says, I think the report will be more than what the NYT is spinning. Sundance begins with a programmatic passage (italicized portions are from the NYT article):

AG Barr: Epstein’s death was a ‘perfect storm of screw-ups’

I couldn't resist this--the link is to FR:

AG Barr: Epstein’s death was a ‘perfect storm of screw-ups’ 
Southeast Missourian ^ | 11/22/2019 | michael balsamo 
The attorney general also sought to dampen conspiracy theories by people who have questioned whether Epstein really took his own life, saying the evidence proves Epstein killed himself. He added that he personally reviewed security footage that confirmed that no one entered the area where Epstein was housed on the night he died.
(Excerpt) Read more at ...

This is why I couldn't resist--from a comment at FR:

John Durham, Frequent Flyer (To Rome)

Speaks for itself. Durham's a busy guy:

UPDATED: Trump: Give Me A Full Trial With Affirmative Defense

So we've gone around on this a bit here--should the Senate refuse to dignify a Kangaroo Court impeachment, or should they go for the throat in a full scale trial? In a perfect world any articles of impeachment would be trash canned by the Senate. But this isn't a perfect world. Moreover, for better and/or worse, impeachment is inherently political--given that it is handled by the Legislative Branch.

President Trump has apparently settled the issue, according to the Washington Examiner:

White House counsel Pat Cipollone signaled during a Thursday meeting with key Senate Republicans that Trump has concluded he has more to gain politically from presenting a detailed defense at trial than from no trial at all, said GOP sources familiar with the discussion.

There's more at the link, but that's really the long and the short of it. And who am I to argue with the decision of a guy who has pulled one political rabbit after another out of his hat for the past three years?

UPDATE: Jonathan Turley, law professor and noted impeachment scholar:

TURLEY: I don’t know. Whether this is intentional or not, it seems designed to fail in the Senate. I don’t think you could prove a removable offense of a president on this record even if the Democrats were in control. This thing is too narrow, it is – it doesn’t have a broad foundation, and it’s an undeveloped record. There are a lot of core witnesses that were not called. And the question is why? They said, “We want a vote by December. We want to vote before Santa.” Why? Why – why would you – why would you be pushing this instead of calling these critical witnesses?
TURLEY: They are. And you know, the Senate, the Republicans will be in charge of the rules. I was Adam Schiff’s opposing counsel last time we did this, in the last impeachment. And Adam benefited greatly because the Democrats were the ones who wrote those rules. Now it’s going to be the opposite. Even the Chief Justice in that proceeding does not get the final word. If he makes a ruling on evidence, the majority of the Senate can overturn him. And so the question is, what is this going to look like in the Senate? And I got to tell you, I think this could be the trial that Trump wants. And they will – the first witness they call may be Hunter Biden.

FISA Report: "It's Historic!"

That's what President Trump says he's "been told" about the forthcoming OIG FISA report. Who told him that? Presumably that's what Bill Barr told him, when Barr and White House Counsel Pat Cippolone met with Trump recently in the Oval Office. Recall that the conversation, as viewed through the windows, appeared to be "animated," and Trump delayed his flight to Louisiana by 45 minutes. Historic, never been anything like this before, gonna be criminal charges, the leak about the FBI lawyer is the tip of the iceberg. Trump was saying all this.

More highlights:

Also: Barr is a "great attorney general, we maybe woulda ended this thing long ago if he'd been in there." This was "an overthrow attempt of the presidency."

"Durham will be coming out" shortly after OIG's FISA report.

Does the criminality go all the way to the Oval Office? To Obama?

How high did it go? "Personally I think it went all the way. Because for Brennan and Clapper and all those losers over there, for them to be doing things, let's see what it all says, it's impossible, Susan Rice, ... No, I think this went to the highest levels, I hate to say this, I think it's a disgrace, they thought I was gonna win and they said, How can we stop him? They wrote up the phony, the fake dossier, the disgusting fake dossier, and they tried to have it put out prior to the election."

Like any Trump interview, it's hard to follow a single thread for long, but you get the picture. I don't think he's overselling this.

Did The FBI Lawyer Who Altered A Doc Work For Strzok?

This morning Fox has its story about the former FBI lawyer--"forced out of the bureau"--who "altered" a document relating to the Carter Page FISA. There are two significant paragraphs in the Fox story--Horowitz reportedly finds FBI lawyer falsified FISA doc; WaPo stealth-deletes Strzok connection--that contain tantalizing information:

The new evidence concerning the altered document, which was related to the FBI's FISA court warrant application to surveil Page, is expected to be outlined in Horowitz's upcoming report. CNN first reported the news, which was largely confirmed by The Washington Post.
The Post, hours after publishing its story, conspicuously removed the portion of its reporting that the FBI employee involved was underneath Peter Strzok, the FBI's since-fired head of counterintelligence. The Post did not offer an explanation for the change, which occurred shortly after midnight. Earlier this week, the DOJ highlighted a slew of anti-Trump text messages sent by Strzok when he was leading the Hillary Clinton email investigation and the probe into the Trump campaign. 
Horowitz reportedly found that the FBI employee who modified the FISA document falsely stated that he had "documentation to back up a claim he had made in discussions with the Justice Department about the factual basis" for the FISA warrant application, the Post reported. Then, the FBI employee allegedly "altered an email" to substantiate his inaccurate version of events. The employee has since been forced out of the bureau.

Of course lots of people working Counterintelligence (CI) at FBIHQ would be "underneath" Strzok. However, I doubt that very many FBI lawyers at that level would have been that involved with the Carter Page FISA, so that leads to the suspicion that the misrepresentations to DoJ were made with Strzok's knowledge--possibly even at his request. There can be no doubt that Horowitz pursued that angle and that Durham will continue to press the issue if it hasn't already been resolved. Who else knew besides the lawyer? Surely more than just that lawyer pored over the original documentation that was supposed to provide probably cause against Carter Page (which is required for a FISA against a US person).

The other item of interest confirms my doubt that an original investigative case file document had been altered. It sounds like the lawyer made verbal representations to DoJ and then "altered an email" to corroborate the verbal representations. Again, how would that work? Probably the lawyer who claimed to have an email to support the claimed version of events (a surveillance matter) said he/she would forward the substantiation. But, rather than forwarding the entire email simply "quoted" it--an edited, altered, quote.

Again, we'll be learning more.

An additional point. Sidney Powell, lawyer for Michael Flynn, follows all these developments closely. She will be sure to include reference to this matter in countering government claims that she has "no reason to doubt" their representations regarding the Flynn 302 that was created by Strzok, probably in cooperation with others at the FBI.

Thursday, November 21, 2019

MULTIPLE UPDATES: CNN Claims FBI Official Under Criminal Investigation Re Page FISA

See bottom for additional UPDATES.

UPDATE: CNN has updated their reporting. The "FBI official" is now reported to be a "former FBI lawyer," so I've changed the body of the blog. See bottom for additional UPDATES.

Further, we learn:

During one of interviews this year, [OIG] confronted the witness about the document. The witness admitted to the change, the sources said. 
The lawyer, who was a line attorney, is no longer working at the bureau, said a person familiar with the matter. A line attorney is a lower level lawyer within the FBI. 
No charges that could reflect the situation have been filed publicly in court.

But Durham is on the case. The fact that this was a "lower level lawyer" strengthens my belief that this is probably a misrepresentation rather than a physical alteration. Nevertheless, since the FISA in question concerned unquestionably the most consequential case in Bureau history, I refuse to believe that a "lower level lawyer" just did this on their own account--whether it was a misrepresentation or a physical alteration. Durham must be pushing to find out who's behind this. Also, while this lawyer is no longer working at the Bureau, the fact that he/she was interviewed by OIG makes it a near certainty that he/she was still employed when the interview took place.

Now begins the original blog:


It's difficult, well, not possible, to be sure what's being said in this CNN story: FBI official under investigation after allegedly altering document in 2016 Russia probe. On the face of it, it seems clear enough, but as soon as you start asking questions it becomes more elusive.

Here are the main factual statements:

A former FBI lawyer is under criminal investigation after allegedly altering a document related to 2016 surveillance of a Trump campaign adviser, several people briefed on the matter told CNN. 
It's unknown how significant a role the altered document played in the FBI's investigation of Page and whether the FISA warrant would have been approved without the document. The alterations were significant enough to have shifted the document's meaning and came up during a part of Horowitz's FISA review where details were classified, according to the sources.

There are multiple ways to explain this, so I'll try to keep this simple.

Looks Like Durham's Doing A Deep Dive On The Deep State

Sara Carter is reporting this afternoon that Barr's Russia Hoax prosecutor of choice, John Durham is questioning personnel at the Office of Net Assessment about Stefan Halper (Carter misspells Halper's first name). The ONA is about as Deep State as it comes. Here's Wikipedia's description:

The United States Department of Defense's Office of Net Assessment (ONA) was created in 1973 by Richard Nixon to serve as the Pentagon's "internal think tank" that "looks 20 to 30 years into the military's future, often with the assistance of outside contractors, and produces reports on the results of its research". The Director of Net Assessment is the principal staff assistant and advisor to the Secretary and Deputy Secretary of Defense on net assessment.

Apparently ONA was used to launder payments to high level, or supposedly high level, CIA operatives. Like Stefan Halper, who was paid over a million dollars by the Obama administration through ONA for doing only God knows what.

This could signal a major expansion of Durham's investigation, as Carter suggests: Durham Probe Expands to Pentagon Office That Contracted FBI Spy Stephan Halper, although "FBI spy" is probably not the most accurate characterization. I suspect Halper was more or less on loan to the FBI. Here's what Carter's sources have told her:

Justice Department prosecutor U.S. Attorney John Durham is questioning personnel connected to the Pentagon’s Office of Net Assessment, which awarded multiple contracts to FBI informant Stephan Halper. Halper, who was informing the bureau on Trump campaign advisors, is a central figure in the FBI’s original investigation into President Donald Trump’s 2016 campaign, has learned.
These latest developments reveal the expansive nature of what is now a Justice Department criminal probe into the FBI’s investigation into the Trump campaign. ... 
Multiple sources confirmed to this news site that Durham has spoken extensively with sources working in the Office of Net Assessment, as well as outside contractors, that were paid through Pentagon office. 

Senator Chuck Grassley is also in on the action. Grassley now heads the Senate Finance Committee, which has learned that--get ready for this--ONA kept sloppy records about their payments. As if a money laundering operation for CIA sources would keep in depth and accurate records! That would violate deniability, which is a far higher bureaucratic principle than the Constitutional principle of Legislative oversight. Carter reports:

UPDATED: Support For Impeachment Flips, Especially Marked Among Independents

Those are the findings of the latest Emerson Poll. Emerson College Polling shows up fairly well in the FiveThirtyEight analysis, so FWIW. Anyway, the findings are somewhat notable and tend to support the Marquette Law School polling in Wisconsin which showed support for Trump surging. The Emerson poll was national, conducted November 17-20. Here are the main findings for our purposes (read it all here):

A new Emerson poll finds  
  • President Trump’s approval has increased in the last month with 48% approval and 47% disapproval, a bounce from 43% approval in the last Emerson National poll in October. 
  • Support for impeachment has flipped since October from 48% support with 44% opposing to now 45% opposed and 43% in support. 
  • The biggest swing is among Independents, who oppose impeachment now 49% to 34%, which is a reversal from October where they supported impeachment 48% to 39%. 
The impeachment hearings are being watched or followed by 69% of voters.  
  • A plurality (26%) is getting their information from Fox News, 
  • 24% are getting their information from 1 of the 3 network stations (ABC, NBC, CBS), 
  • 16% are watching CNN, 
  • 15% MSNBC and 
  • 19% are going somewhere else for their information.

After months of attempts to gin up impeachment fever, could there reasonably be any worse results for Dems, given the usual divide in the country? We know each major party gets about 40% support, so to see a complete flip to rejection among Independents is pretty stunning.

Also interesting to see such a large percentage, 19%, "going somewhere else for their information."

UPDATE: Michael Barone has a nice piece at AEI--The Democrats’ impeachment pseudo-event--that fits right in with these polling results--Barone himself is rather an expert on polling, so he understands what's up. He also starts it out by explaining--via Daniel Boorstin--what Impeachment "Theater" is:

"The Image: A Guide to Pseudo-Events" is the title of a 1960s book by historian and Librarian of Congress Daniel Boorstin. Pseudo-events, he wrote, are staged solely to generate news media coverage. Real events, in contrast, involve independent actors and have unpredictable outcomes. 
It’s not difficult to say which category the House Democrats’ impeachment hearings belongs in. It’s a classic pseudo-event stage-managed to prod sympathetic media into running predictable stories. Inconvenient questions from Republican members are blocked. Even the name of the original “whistleblower” is concealed, though no law requires that, and the stage managers know who he is. ... 
... Real events have uncertain and possibly momentous outcomes. 
Not so for the impeachment hearings. Witnesses are heard complaining that Trump subverted the “formal interagency policy process” and that he pressured — “bribed” is the focus-group-determined but inapt verb that Democrats are now using — Ukraine’s government for political gain. But Ukraine is not a formal U.S. ally, and Obama refused to provide it even defensive weapons when Russia seized its territory in Donbass and Crimea. Now we’re told that Trump should be ousted from office for a two-month delay in delivering those weapons. 
“The executive power,” Article II of the Constitution states, “shall be vested in a president of the United States of America.” That president, as the career diplomats testifying have acknowledged, has no obligation to follow “interagency” processes or consensus. It’s hard to avoid concluding that Democrats who detest Trump seized on this weak pretext for impeachment when and because the charges of Russian collusion they brandished for three years turned out to be baseless. 
Polls show support for impeachment declining. Americans, it turns out, don’t have to read Boorstin to recognize a pseudo-event when they see one.

Corruption Of Fourth Estate On Full Display

Fourth Estate? Wikipedia helpfully explains:

The term Fourth Estate or fourth power refers to the press and news media both in explicit capacity of advocacy and implicit ability to frame political issues.

And Epoch Times offers a devastating example of the perhaps unprecedented degree of corruption we've witnessed over the past several years. The article explains that, for the second time in the same number of days the "venerable" AP has had to correct demonstrably false information that it has attempted to foist on news consumers:

The Associated Press deleted a tweet that pushed false information about President Donald Trump on Nov. 20, the second time in two days the wire agency has been forced to significantly amend its reporting on Trump. 
The agency, also known as the AP, wrote in a post on Twitter: “Contradicting the testimony of his own ambassador, President Trump says he wanted ‘nothing’ from Ukraine and says the #ImpeechmentHearings should be brought to an end.” 
But Trump was quoting from what ambassador Gordon Sondland said during testimony to the House Intelligence Committee. 
“I finally called the president… I believe I just asked him an open-ended question, Mr. Chairman,” Sondland told Chairman Adam Schiff (D-Calif.). “What do you want from Ukraine? I keep hearing all these different ideas and theories and this and that. What do you want?”
“It was a very short abrupt conversation, he was not in a good mood, and he just said, ‘I want nothing. I want nothing. I want no quid pro quo. Tell Zelensky to do the right thing,’ something to that effect,” Sondland added.

AP issued a correction for an inexcusable bit of fake news, but offered no apology:

“An earlier tweet that didn’t make clear that President Trump was quoting from Gordon Sondland’s testimony in which he was quoting Trump has been deleted,” the agency wrote.
It did not apologize for the error.

That followed this:

The situation unfolded one day after the AP, wire agencies Reuters and AFP, and a slew of media outlets, deleted or significantly revised stories that reported a claim by a supposed expert that the Trump administration had detained 100,000 migrant children. 
The media outlets took their figures from a U.N. report published Nov. 18, the author of which has since admitted the numbers are from a U.N. refugee agency report citing data from 2015. 
That was during the administration of President Barack Obama. 
The AP also did not apologize for circulating the number and attributing it to the Trump administration.

Terrific Read: Conrad Black Goes To Bat For Richard Nixon

As he has done before, Conrad Black comes to the defense of Richard Nixon. One of the core Dem myths is the claim that Richard Nixon was a bad man who got what he deserved and that the progressive jihad against him somehow saved the country. The exact reverse is something like the truth. Nixon's impeachment had a devestating impact on our country, the deleterious effects of which are still with us--more manifest than ever. The truth is that Nixon was impeached for being an outsider, for being a patriot, and for being anti-communist. All faults for which progressives could never and will never forgive him. Oh, and there was another major fault for which Nixon could never be forgiven--he twice defeated progressive standard bearers, the second time by the greatest plurality in US history. Remind you of anyone?

But we can know better. Black's Nixon’s Lessons for the Would-Be Impeachers offers serious lessons for us today, coming from a Canadian:

Only extremely grave offenses should deprive Americans’ right to choose their president. Nixon didn’t meet the impeachment bar. Neither does Trump.

I will simply offer some excerpts from this fine article, and urge you to read it in its entirety.

One thing that will quite possibly be achieved by the nonsensical impeachment investigation being conducted in the House of Representatives is the end of the extreme criminalization of policy differences.

I'm not nearly as sanguine as Black in this regard. In a country that is oblivious to its own history, in which forces that seek to erase our historical memory gain ground every day, prospects are not good.

Dems Trash US's Most Important Ally

We're in wait-and-see mode, waiting for the FISA report to be released on December 9th. Then it'll be hurry-up-and-read mode.

In the meantime we can amuse ourselves by occasionally chronicling Dem inanities.

Derek Hunter does that this morning: Impeachment Hearings Have Exposed What Democrats Have Become.

He begins by pointing out how the Dems are degrading our public life with Impeachment Theater. The examples are obvious enough: Schiff's kangaroo court, make 'em and break 'em approach to hearing rules, and Pelosi's appalling dismissal of the presumption of innocence--

If the president has information that demonstrates his innocence in all of this, which we haven’t seen. If he has information that is exculpatory -that means ex, taking away, culpable, blame – then we look forward to seeing it.

--thus trashing Lord Sankey's famous "golden thread" of Anglo-American law (made famous by Horace Rumpole):

Throughout the web of the English Criminal Law one golden thread is always to be seen, that it is the duty of the prosecution to prove the prisoner's guilt ...

As Hunter observes:

Of all the examples of hypocrisy and incompetence on display in this sham, one sticks out to me beyond the others, and it’s perhaps the most disturbing. It’s how willing Democrats are to beclown themselves for the cause. 
Zealots have always been willing to go to any length to obtain their objective. People routinely strap explosives to their bodies and ignite them, for just one example. But politicians, particularly American politicians, generally had more sense than this. Not anymore, it seems.

But then Hunter settles on a truly remarkable aspect of the Impeachment Theater--the Dem trashing of the one country they would have us believe is the country in the world most important to our own national security: Ukraine.

Wednesday, November 20, 2019

Save The Date: December 9th!

Yes, that's December 9 ... 2019! The OIG FISA report will be released on that Monday. Lindsay Graham says it's a lock:

Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., told Fox News Wednesday that Department of Justice Inspector General Michael Horowitz's report on allegations of Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) warrant abuse during the 2016 election will be released on Dec. 9. 
During an appearance on "Hannity" Wednesday, host Sean Hannity noted Horowitz will be coming before Graham's committee on Dec. 11 to testify on the matter and went on to ask Graham not to allow a Friday night document "dump" that could muffle the coverage of the news. 
In response, Graham smiled and nodded. 
"It'll be December 9th -- you'll get the report," the South Carolina lawmaker said.
"That's locked."

UPDATED: Is Wisconsin A Leading Indicator?

Per one of my brothers. The Marquette University Law School--that's in Milwaukee--conducts regular polling in Wisconsin. The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel is reporting: Marquette Poll shows support for impeachment has slipped in Wisconsin as Trump leads 4 top Democratic rivals.

Support for impeachment has slipped in Wisconsin, according to Wednesday's Marquette University Law School Poll. 
And for the first time, President Donald Trump has surged ahead of four Democratic rivals in potential head to head matchups.

Just 40% of Wisconsin registered voters believe Trump should be impeached and removed from office, while 53% disagreed, according to the survey. 

Last month, 44% said the president should be impeached and removed while 51% said he should not be. 
In head to head matchups, Trump led former Vice President Joe Biden by 47% to 44%, within the poll's margin of error. In August, Biden led the president by 51% to 42%.
"Call it a small advantage to Trump," Franklin said. 
Trump led U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont, 48% to 45%. 
Trump had a lead of 48% to 43% over U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts. 
And Trump had a wider lead over South Bend, Indiana Mayor Pete Buttigieg, 47% to 39%. 
The survey of 801 registered Wisconsin voters was taken Nov. 13 through Sunday. The margin of error for the full sample was plus or minus 4.1%. ...

Keep that Impeachment Theater going!

UPDATE: Whoa! Here's a real bombshell--or, make that, BOMBSHELL:

In Genius Move, Trump Supports Impeachment, Forcing Democrats To Oppose

The FBI Has Sought To Interview Eric Ciaramella

This story comes via Yahoo, and the details are somewhat sketchy. The article stresses supposed internal debates at the FBI and suggests there was support for the idea that Ciaramella's complaint raised important issues: FBI seeks interview with CIA whistleblower. Whatever the nature of any internal debate, the FBI did reach out to Ciaramella but, obviously, since he's represented by Mark Zaid any such interview is unlikely. I would add that it's unlikely that the FBI would seek such an interview without having done significant background investigation on Ciaramella. The article specifically disclaims any knowledge re the scope of the intended interview and investigation. Excerpts below. Some of these statements are subject to more than one interpretation. Without knowing who the "former senior official" is it's difficult to judge. There are several former FBI officials who have adopted a clearly propagandistic stance in the Russia Hoax and related matters:

WASHINGTON — The FBI recently sought to question the CIA whistleblower who filed a complaint over President Trump’s July 25 Ukraine call — a move that came after a vigorous internal debate within the bureau over how to respond to some of the issues raised by the complaint’s allegations and whether they needed to be more thoroughly investigated, according to sources familiar with the matter. 

Tuesday, November 19, 2019

UPDATED: Just For Laughs

I have a searchable copy of the Constitution bookmarked, but somehow ...

Lefties--the stupid people.


Confirmed: Vindman Falsified Trump's Phone Call With Zelensky

Alexander Vindman's testimony today was an utter disaster on so many levels--but it could hardly have been otherwise, given what has emerged since his secret deposition. This is one that will come back to haunt Vindman and the Dems, or maybe will bite them in the ass--your choice of metaphors:

On a perhaps trivial level, speaking as a civilian who once spent a year in a military environment:

And then there's this:

Because maybe Vindman's superiors at the NSC made sure Vindman never spoke to the president. Which leads us to something we noted a few days ago but has gotten little notice today, except at Breitbart--Vindman Admits Making up Parts of Trump Call Summary:

Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman admitted he made up elements of President Donald Trump’s call with Ukranian President Volodymyr Zelensky in an official summary.
Prior to the call, Vindman included a discussion about corruption in the talking points provided to the president but Trump did not use them in the call.
The summary Vindman wrote after the call read: 
     President Trump underscored the unwavering support of the United States for Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity – within its internationally recognized borders – and expressed his commitment to work together with President-elect Zelenskyy and the Ukrainian people to implement reforms that strengthen democracy, increase prosperity, and root out corruption.

But Vindman clarified during his testimony that the president did not bring up the topic rooting out corruption during the phone call, but he included it in his summary of the call anyway. 
When asked by the Democrat counsel about whether the summary he wrote was false, Vindman hesitated. 
“That’s not entirely accurate, but I’m not sure I would describe it as false, it was consistent with U.S. policy,” Vindman said. 
Vindman said he included the rhetoric about corruption as a “messaging platform” to describe U.S. policy toward Ukraine, even though it was not discussed on the call.

 In other words, Vindman used the call summary as released to the press as "messaging platform" to express to the world what HE WANTED US POLICY TO BE (Did Vindman Falsify Trump's April Call With Zelensky?). President in his own mind.

And there was much, much more.

McCarthy: Trump impeachment inquiry obstructed by Democrats

Andy McCarthy has an excellently concise explanation of the way in which the whole "whistleblower" charade dishonestly and illegally--if the Impeachment Theater were an actual legal proceeding--obstructs the inquiry. You can read the whole thing: Trump impeachment inquiry obstructed by Democrats' 'whistleblower' secrecy charade. All this has to do with the supposed need to hide the identity of Eric Ciaramella, the putative author of the complaint against Trump.

I'll slightly rearrange McCarthy's argument a bit to hopefully help bring out the essentials.

First of all, we all know that Eric Ciaramella is not, in fact, an individual who is covered by the "Whistleblower Act".

Secondly, even if Ciaramella did qualify as a whistleblower, the Act does not provide for hiding a whistleblower's identity. What the Act does is protect individuals from reprisals for revealing information that may be embarrassing or incriminating.

Thirdly, it is a fundamental principle of our constitutional order, enshrined in the 6th Amendment, part of the Bill of Rights, that due process of law requires that an accused person be allowed to confront his accusers and not be tried on the word of anonymous persons. Even if the "Whistleblower Act" purported to change that--it would be unconstitutional. In other words, "who we are as Americans" (the phrase so hypocritically used by liberals) forbids that we stage show trials without presenting witnesses to the actual events and facts that are at issue. Nor do we allow hearsay, generally--the facts must be vouched for by identified persons with firsthand knowledge who can be subjected to examination by the defense.

With these facts and principles firmly in mind, McCarthy provides a lucid account of what's been going on with Impeachment Theater--and how fundamentally and outrageously wrong it is:

UPDATED: Dumb Strzok

As nearly as I can tell, Mark Steyn coined that moniker, but it's being used with new verve as people read the FBI's Office of Professional Responsibility (OPR) report on Peter Strzok. The OPR report was released in connection with Strzok's wrongful termination lawsuit.

Much of the report simply goes over details that are now well known. The report confirms that Strzok and Lisa Page were reprehensible individuals who applied different standards to themselves while they investigated others (notably, Hillary Clinton) for doing essentially the same things they did on a daily basis.

It's important to note that the OPR investigation did not deal with the whole issue of FISA--we'll be seeing OIG's report on that within about two weeks. Strzok and Page should figure into OIG's FISA report, although probably not to the same extent as people higher up the chain of command.

To me the one aspect of the report that may have significance for the Barr/Durham investigation is the portion of the report that deals with Strzok's Dereliction of Supervisory Duty. That has to do with Strzok's failure to conduct appropriate investigation in the Clinton email case after the NY FBI (NYO) came into possession of the Weiner laptop, containing hundreds of thousands of Clinton emails.

OPR found that Strzok's explanations simply didn't wash. Those explanations come under five of headings:

1) NYO's delay in processing the laptop 
2) A lack of specific Information about what the NYO had discovered on the laptop 
3) A belief that the laptop did not contain significant new information 
4) The team's focus on the Russia investigation 
5) Legal impediments to reviewing the material on the laptop

OPR dismisses all the supposed legal objections as lacking in substance--in fact, they are excuses rather than reasons. The whole point is that Strzok should have acted immediately to obtain a search warrant for the laptop--but didn't. Had he acted promptly the FBI would have been ready to review the material as the NYO completed processing it and would have been in a position to know exactly what had been discovered. The suggestion that he believed the laptop contained no significant new information is obviously absurd, although it does play into Comey's dismissal of Clinton's criminal behavior as "extremely careless."

A reading of the report shows that Strzok's real reason was #4--he regarded the new emails as just another "lead" to be disposed of, probably sometime in 2017, i.e., after Clinton's election. He explicitly states that the "Russia" investigation--which is to say, the Trump investigation, the investigation of the man he elsewhere texted that the FBI would prevent from becoming president--was much more important.

This determination factors into 1) the unwarranted acceptance of the Steele "dossier" as predication for a full CI investigation as well as 2) the determination to focus on the new Trump administration. It goes toward proving that the investigations of Trump and his associates were based on bias and, significantly, led both to certain concrete investigative steps being taken as well as steps not being taken. This could factor into the larger conspiracy theory.

One other matter that I found remarkable. Comey, in footnote #26, states that in retrospect maybe he should have had two separate investigative teams rather than combining the Hillary email and "Russia" investigations on one team under Strzok.

Coming from a highly experienced prosecutor that's dumbfounding. I certainly hope Barr/Durham are paying attention to that and conducting interviews about that decision. Because it stinks.

UPDATE: Since we're on the topic of the Clinton emails, here's a link to an interview with Senator Ron Johnson. At the 1:45 mark Johnson states that his committee had been investigating the Clinton emails but "pretty much dropped it after the election, pretty much at the direction of President Trump, because he said, 'we don't prosecute people that we beat in elections.'"

Sen. Ron Johnson: "INDICATION" that "A NUMBER OF HIGH LEVEL FBI OFFICIALS" held Offsite Meetings