Friday, January 31, 2020

About The Vindmans--And Bolton

I didn't know this, and maybe some regular readers weren't aware of this either. According to an article at American Greatness,
The Vindman Twins Are Creatures of John Bolton
The American people have the former national security advisor to blame for the presence of the self-serving brothers on the National Security Council staff.

Bolton is behind Impeachment Theater in more ways than one. The article states that Bolton in fact hired both of the Vindman twins. It also goes on to make some interesting observations about Bolton's MO which--from everything I've read--sounds in character and the author seems to have the background to know whereof he speaks:

Joseph Duggan is a former White House speechwriter for President George H. W. Bush.


Is There An Even Darker Side To Eric Ciaramella?

Greg Rubini has a long thread--it's unrolled at the link:

1. ERIC CIARAM3LLA is involved in much darker things than you can imagine.
Joe Biden, John Brennan, & Barack Obama are also in it.
and Victoria Nuland.
The Ukraine Holocaust

Obviously I can't vouch for the truth of this, but the questions that are raised are questions that we need to get to the bottom of.

It's one thing to say that the President--and by extension the Executive--decides foreign policy under our Constitution.

It's quite another thing to allow a Deep State of career bureaucrats under the direction of a revolving door of appointed officials to run amuck. We The People have a say in this, but we can only decide what to say if the truth is known.

BTW, there are reports out that Ciaramella was personally involved in Biden's firing of the Ukrainian prosecutor.

Thursday, January 30, 2020

UPDATED: Barr's New USA in the District Of Columbia

H/T commenter EZ.

Jessie Liu was on the way out, but the big question was: Who would Barr--woops--Trump appoint to the hugely important DC USAO?

We've got the answer, which is a combination of very good news and, well, decide for yourself.

First the good news, via AP:

WASHINGTON (AP) — Attorney General William Barr on Thursday named Timothy Shea, one of his closest advisers, to be the next top prosecutor in the nation’s capital.
Shea will lead the largest U.S. attorney’s office in the country, which has been historically responsible for some of the most significant and politically sensitive cases the Justice Department brings in the U.S.
He is a senior counselor to the attorney general ... 
As the U.S. attorney in the District of Columbia, Shea would oversee some of the lingering cases from special counsel Robert Mueller’s Russia investigation, along with a number of politically charged investigations. The office is also generally responsible for handling potential prosecutions if Congress finds a witness in contempt.

And here's that other bit:

[Shea] was Barr’s right-hand man helping institute reforms at the federal Bureau of Prisons after Jeffrey Epstein’s death at the Metropolitan Correctional Center in New York City. 
In the wake of Epstein’s death, Barr and Shea worked hand-in-hand to manage the crisis and investigation into the circumstances surrounding the wealthy financier’s death. Shea visited the jail days after Epstein’s suicide and helped advise the attorney general as Barr shook up the agency’s leadership, removing its acting director.

Overall, it's probably very good news.

UPDATE: Report: Barr Names His Close Personal Confidant as U.S. Attorney in D.C. Who Will Handle “Highly Political” Cases

Here are some excerpts:

The timing of this and the choice is interesting. 
One can’t help but wonder if this is a move made to support possible indictments and whatnot down the road pertaining to #SpyGate. 
Just a few weeks ago William Barr sat down with NBC Today and said in no uncertain terms that the FBI acted in “bad faith” in regards to the Russia investigation.

FISA: The Real Choices

I hope I'm not beating a dead horse here, repeating myself. I've been putting forward the views of Angelo Codevilla, Professor Turner, and the late Robert Bork who all argue that FISA and its regime of the FISC is unconstitutional and should be repealed. However, I fear there are some--especially "conservatives"--who think this would put an end to "spying". Nothing could be further from the truth. The constitutional solution is to leave the power to spy for national security reasons up to the Executive--with Congress conducting oversight. Thus our real choices are these:

1. Continue with an unconstitutional FISA regime, which--except in truly exceptional circumstances--provides a get out of jail free card through the device of pre-approval by a "court." That's what the FBI wanted back in 1978, and that's what they got. The excuse that "mistakes were made" is almost always a winner--a guarantee that there will be no serious accountability.
2. Return to the constitutional scheme--long recognized by the courts--according to which the Executive is responsible for national security. That would include all traditional means, such as warrantless spying of all sorts. Congress would, as in the past, provide oversight. This was our traditional constitutional framework.

We all know that the Executive Branch agencies have no reason to police themselves--as proven by the GWOT and Russia Hoax shenanigans with unfathomably genormous NSA databases. Big Brother is among us, and the courts--or "courts"--are certainly not up to the job of ensuring his good behavior. The real question is: Is Congress up to the job? The ever increasing willingness of the Left to trash our constitutional order leaves the answer to that question very much in doubt. I'm not sure where the way forward leads, quite frankly. Having learned the lessons of the Russia Hoax, if the Left is able again to occupy the White House will they and their MSM allies ensure that a Black Swan event like Trump never happens again? If so, all the tools for totalitarian rule are in place--with the will to use them. Are we as a nation ready to deal with that possibility? We have barely been able to deal effectively with the current crisis--in fact, our ability to do so has yet to be proven.

Today Issues and Insights has an interesting editorial which advocates for the constitutional scheme. I'll paste in the last part. Read it with the above reflections in mind. I would suggest, in addition, that the bigger problem with the FISA regime is usually missed in the current debate. Most people, including the author of this editorial, see the problem as one of the FISC granting warrants too readily. In my view, the true problem is that the courts were never going to be effective watchdogs--as Bork, Codevilla, and Turner warned, the FISA regime was always going to be essentially a placebo. Instead, by substituting the FISA regime, Congress was all too easily able to abdicate its own oversight responsibilities, with results that were foreseeable and, humanly speaking, inevitable. Unfortunately--or, especially unfortunately--this all took place in an environment of exponentially expanding technological capabilities for spying, and a blurring of domestic and national security as issues, brought about by the GWOT and porous borders.

With that--Do We Even Need A FISA Court?

The civil liberties aspects of this are nothing small. The federal government, through an agency wielding its greatest law enforcement powers, violated a politically active American’s Fourth Amendment rights. And the motivation, as we know from internal FBI communications, was crassly and purely political: to stop the man who would be elected president, with his strong anti-establishment agenda. When prosecutor John Durham is finished with his investigation, and the full rot is drilled down into, we may find top officials ending up behind bars. 
For the sake of historical vindication, it’s worth pausing to note that among those with the foresight to vote against the FISA law in 1978 – though with varied reasons – were future Democratic Speaker of the House Tom Foley, future House Majority Leader and Democratic presidential candidate Dick Gephardt, future House Judiciary Committee chairman and ranking Republican on the House Intelligence Committee Henry Hyde, current GOP Sen. Chuck Grassley, former California Rep. Bob Dornan, and then-Rep. Jack Kemp. 
There is so much trust in the FBI, National Security Agency, and other federal agencies with the ability to surveil – perhaps warranted until recent years – that the FISA Court has amounted to a veritable warrant factory. The effective appeals court available after a denial of a warrant is the three-judge Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court of Review. But since the FISCR’s establishment in 1978, it has come into session a grand total of twice. 
There may as well be no FISA Court at all considering its rubber stamping of most everything that comes before it; like the old saw that a grand jury would indict a ham sandwich, this hidden panel of unknown judges trustingly gives government permission to spy on any animal, vegetable or mineral it suspects.
And if the FISA Court isn’t acting as a real court, it would be better to discontinue the charade and let the executive branch be its own official judge – with Congress looking over its shoulder. 
Naturally, politics would seep into such oversight. But politics is preferable to pretense.

Yale Med School To Stop Teaching Medicine Discovered By White Males

January 29th, 2020
NEW HAVEN, CT—Yale University has been under intense criticism after the recent decision to stop teaching “Introduction to Art History: Renaissance to the Present” because of its focus on Western art – mainly by white males.
Many people have called Yale out, saying they “didn’t go far enough” and that dropping a measly freshman art survey class was “wimpy” and “weak”.
In response, Yale has decided to take a stunning and brave stand against white males by striking all medicine discovered by white males from its med school curriculum. This has been lauded as a much-needed stand for diversity at Yale, especially by current med students who will now have much more time to deal with the stress of med school by watching Netflix.

Rick Scott--Yes!

This is great--sets just the right tone:

UPDATED: Republicans Excited, Dems Anxious

Lifted from Don Surber's AP says Trump supporters pumped.

The Associated Press reported, "AP-NORC poll: GOP more fired up for 2020, Democrats anxious." 
The poll asked voters about the election. 43% of Republicans and 33% of Democrats are excited. 
46% of Republicans and 66% of Democrats are anxious. 
The story said, "A party usually wants its voters excited rather than anxious, said George Marcus, a political scientist at Williams College ... 
Why might this poll be true? 
First, the impeachment is backfiring. Democrats presented a case that was full of vitriol but devoid of evidence. President Trump's retort -- "read the transcript" -- cannot be overcome by name-calling. 
Democrats look disorganized. They say they have the evidence to lock him up. Jerry Nadler said the House case was "proven beyond any doubt at all." But then they say we need more witnesses and testimony. If you cannot run an impeachment, how can you run a government? 
Second, the economy does well. Unemployment is at a 50-year low. The GDP grew 2.3% last year -- well above the 1.5% growth Obama averaged.

UPDATE: If you want to see more about why impeachment excites GOPers rather than making them anxious, look no further than Monica Showalter's morning piece--Dems' case for witnesses in Senate impeachment trial collapsing fast...and it gets worse:

Wednesday, January 29, 2020

NEWSFLASH: Steele Made It All Up!

Really! I just read it at Zerohedge, although the story has been out for a few days:

The 'Leading British Spy Expert' would be Nigel West.

In some not so surprising news, a spy expert has come out saying what most of us already knew: the Steele dossier was completely “fabricated.”  Nigel West, one of Britain’s leading experts on espionage, was hired to examine the dossier written by his friend Christopher Steele. He concluded it was all manufactured falsehoods. 
It took West a long time to come out with the information that the dossier was an utter fabrication.  It isn’t clear why he waited so long to reveal what most already knew anyway. ... 
Steele himself was paid purely above-board, of course: by Fusion GPS, which was a client of the law firm Perkins Coie LLP, on behalf of the Democratic National Committee, at the direction of Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign.  
West told RT that he was surprised Steele made such obvious errors in the dossier.  Some of the most glaring mistakes were those such as treating one particular source as an expert in three entirely different fields or making up the existence of the Russian consulate in Miami, Florida. The source in question starts out as a middle-manager at the Ritz-Carlton in Moscow, but is later described as an expert on cyber warfare, and later yet as an expert on money-laundering by Russian immigrants in the US, West explained.

UPDATED: Roberts, CJ--What A ...

Somebody please pull the plug on this!

UPDATE 1: As we know, Roberts has once again abused his power by obstructing a United States senator in the performance of his duties:

I suspect Roberts will end up regretting this.

UPDATE 2: Professor Jonathan Turley weighs in. If you got him to comment anonymously, I suspect he'd say that this wasn't a very smart move by Roberts--guarantees ill will on the part of the majority party in the Senate:

Flynn's Supplemental Motion And Brief

This is a very long post, but I'll make it just a bit longer by adding a preface of sorts. In the body of this post there is repeated reference to "SSA1"--Joe Pientka. See if your impression is the same as mind. My impression is that Pientka is the source of the information about the altering of the original 302, which means that at some point in the past Pientka came clean--probably first to OIG, but possible to someone in DoJ. That would explain why Pientka is now under a protective order. I wonder, too, and this is pure speculation, whether Pientka's action in admitting the truth to some person in DoJ or OIG may have led Rod Rosenstein to experience the change of heart he appears to have experienced--and to appoint John Durham to begin investigating the Russia Hoax in late summer or early fall of 2018, before Barr was yet nominated to become AG.

Fool Nelson
This Michael Horowitz revelation, that the @JusticeOIG referred Andy McCabe for criminal conduct that isn't public, is now relevant given we learned today that McCabe might've pressured Pientka to alter his 302, leading Pientka to inform the IG.
@GTS_Watch notes that Pientka was interviewed 2 days later, vouching for the 302 to the FBI. My hypothesis is that the IG/DOJ gave Pientka immunity to flip on McCabe and permission to lie to the FBI to shield that investigation from McCabe/co-conspirators.

Also, thanks to commenter EZ for spurring me on to complete this. I'm afraid it'll be a difficult read, but it's a necessary one. For the record, I still believe Flynn will be exonerated. Fully. Powell has done a bang up job here.


Today, as promised, Flynn's lawyer, Sidney Powell, filed a supplemental motion and brief in support of Flynn's motion to withdraw his guilty plea. You can read all 55 pages of it here. As promised, it's stunning. It portrays, with a wealth of factual detail, Flynn as a man fleeced and then betrayed by his lawyers from Covington Burling.

Because the document itself, while clear as legal documents go, is necessarily complex both factually and in its presentation of the law, I've taken some liberties in reformatting for the sake of clarity and removing citations of authorities. At times I've also omitted ellipses (...). When I cite page numbers, the numbers go to the pagination of the entire pdf. I'll avoid the details of legal ethics, but hope to give an overview of Powell's argument--which I find compelling.

This is a no holds bar document. Powell savages the Covington lawyers. She also, albeit briefly, takes Judge Sullivan to task--making it clear that error on his part will figure into an appeal, if it comes to that.

To begin, Powell makes an opening statement that presents her overall argument (pp. 5-7):

New Pleadings Re Flynn's Effort To Withdraw His Guilty Plea

As promised by Sidney Powell, Michael Flynn's attorney, today we have additional pleadings to support Flynn's motion to withdraw his guilty plea:


I've only read the Declaration thus far. My impression is that the overwhelming emphasis is on the conflict of interest that Flynn's first attorneys--Covington, Burling--labored under. 

In What Are Flynn's Chances For Withdrawing His Guilty Plea? I offered my opinion that, while Flynn was fighting an uphill battle, he was not without hope of prevailing. I based that view on the argument that the standards for withdrawing a plea are necessarily tied to the specific facts of a given case. In my view, the facts in the Flynn case place Flynn in a far more favorable position than in a typical criminal case. The bottom line of Rule 11 is to come to a "fair and just" resolution. That gives Flynn, IMO, hope--because of the facts specific to his case. I concluded:

I've provided this lengthy set of facts because I think Powell can reasonably argue that the facts in Flynn's case are very different from the Cray facts. Specifically, Flynn will be relying on credible claims of a conflict on the part of Flynn's first lawyers as well as government misconduct and undue pressure brought against a vulnerable family member by prosecutors to coerce a guilty plea. Judge Sullivan will have to decide whether that constitutes "a fair and just reason for requesting the withdrawal". Cray will no doubt offer guidance, but the facts should provide Sullivan with the latitude to tailor a "fair and just" resolution.

I'll turn to the much longer supplemental motion and brief. Based on the declaration, IMO Powell makes a good case. Powell begins:

As will be seen below, and at any evidentiary hearing ordered by this Court, Mr. Flynn’s guilty  plea (and later failure to withdraw it) was the result of the ineffective assistance of counsel  provided by his former lawyers, who were in the grip of intractable conflicts of interest, and severely prejudiced him.

Now to see what's in the supplemental!

Here's how Powell begins her presentation of Covington's conflict and its detrimental effect on Flynn:

First, Mr. Flynn’s former counsel at Covington & Burling LLP (“Covington”) developed what is often referred to as an “underlying work” lawyer-to-client conflict of interest early in the representation. It arose from mistakes that the firm made in the Foreign Agents Registration Act (FARA) filings it had made for Mr. Flynn and his company Flynn Intel Group (“FIG”). Rather than disclosing the errors—and insisting Mr. Flynn obtain new counsel to fix the problem, or allowing Covington to continue the representation (and the fix), knowing the truth—the lawyers said nothing to Mr. Flynn, charged him hundreds of thousands of dollars to re-do its own prior work, and still did not take the readily available steps of amending or supplementing the FARA forms.

OUCH! IOW, Covington failed to disclose its underlying FARA mistakes to Flynn, charging him hundreds of thousands of dollars to fix their own mistake, and then did a bad job of it:

At every turn, the lawyers’ interest was in obscuring their original errors, hiding the fact that they had never come clean with their client, and trying ever-harder to sweep their problems under the rug by arranging for and preserving a plea that Mr. Flynn wanted to withdraw.

And so, Powell finishes her opening statement with this one, two:

In this Circuit, a defendant seeking to withdraw a guilty plea before sentencing must establish the “prejudice” element by showing “that there is a reasonable probability that, but for counsel’s errors, he would not have pleaded guilty and would have insisted on going to trial.” Taylor, 139 F.3d at 929-30. In this case, the evidence will show that if Mr. Flynn had been given constitutionally adequate advice, he would not have pled guilty in 2017, and he would have withdrawn his plea in 2018. The taint of Covington’s constitutional violations permeates this case. 
In addition, there were defects in the Rule 11 plea colloquy. When this Court extended the colloquy in December 2018, among the questions this Court did not ask was if any additional  promises or threats were made to Mr. Flynn. The answer to that question is yes, there were. Moreover, this Court ended the sentencing hearing noting that it had “many, many, many more questions” about the factual basis for the plea. Hr’g Tr. Dec. 18, 2018 at 50:12-13. Accordingly, withdrawal of the plea should be allowed pursuant to Cray, 47 F.3d 1203.

UPDATED: So Frustrating

We're always blaming people around Trump who are backstabbers and so forth, but it's really frustrating to read sh*t like this:

Trump was warned not to make Sessions the AG, and look what happened--Sessions promised Schumer to recuse. Later Trump said he gave the job to Sessions out of a misguided sense of loyalty. OK, shame on Sessions. Maybe.

Now, however, Trump is telling us that he was warned not to appoint a known idiot like Bolton but went ahead and did it because ... Bolton begged him? Shame on Trump!

Tuesday, January 28, 2020

MAJOR UPDATE: Grassley, Johson Charge Horowitz Dossier Misleads Public

We don't know the substance behind these allegations because the substance is classified, so we'll have to wait for developments. Nevertheless, I find it hard to believe that Senators Grassley and Johnson would go public like this if they didn't believe they had sound reasons for doing so.

Basically, the senators are demanding that AG Barr declassify four footnotes in the Horowitz Dossier. The reason for their demand is that they assert that the classified footnotes contradict supposed "information" that was made public in the Horowitz Dossier. The senators' letter to Barr is in two versions--one classified, the other unclassified and made public. The unclassified version states in part:

We have reviewed the findings of the Office of the Inspector General (OIG) with regard to the FBI’s Crossfire Hurricane investigation, and we are deeply concerned about certain information that remains classified. Specifically, we are concerned that certain sections of the public version of the report are misleading because they are contradicted by relevant and probative classified information redacted in four footnotes. This classified information is significant not only because it contradicts key statements in a section of the report, but also because it provides insight essential for an accurate evaluation of the entire investigation. The American people have a right to know what is contained within these four footnotes and, without that knowledge, they will not have a full picture as to what happened during the Crossfire Hurricane investigation.”

I'm guessing that Barr will need to take these complaints seriously. They strike at the credibility of both OIG and DoJ. Could it be that these footnotes relate to John Durham's harsh comments on Horowitz's work?

The full text:

Did The Dems Impeach Trump For Treason?

That's the contention of Michael Tracy, in a brilliant article at RCP: Democrats' Dubious Impeachment Subtext of Treason. I think Tracy is on to something of supreme importance. Let me first restate and rephrase Tracy's summary conclusion of what the Dems actually did in the first article on "abuse of power." What the Dems assert is this:

1) The U.S. is in a state of war with Russia;  
2) President Trump committed treason by betraying the national security of the United States, to the benefit of Russia;  
3) The President of the United States lacks the constitutional authority.

Let's walk through Tracy's argument. What Tracy contends is that the Dems avoided openly stating that President Trump was being accused of treason because to have done so would have given their game away and could have led to enough defections among "moderate" Dems to actually have defeated the articles. Instead, what they did was issue a mammoth 658 page Judiciary Committee report ("the Report") on the articles, and buried inside that report is a definition of treason as a "betrayal of national security". That phrase was then inserted into the first article as code for "treason." Once the Impeachment Theater in the Senate is finished we will see Dems openly claiming that Trump was impeached "forever" (Pelosi's word) for Treason.

Here's how it works. Tracy quotes the Report:

“At the very heart of ‘Treason’ is deliberate betrayal of the nation and its security. Such betrayal would not only be unforgivable but would also confirm that the President remains a threat if allowed to remain in office. A President who has knowingly betrayed national security is a President who will do so again. He endangers our lives and those of our allies.”

Now let's turn to the first article. You've been told by Dem media ad nauseam that this article on "abuse of power" is all about a quid pro quo involving the conditioning of military aid in exchange for high profile investigations of Trump's political enemies. But there's more to it than that. Here's how the first article reads in relevant part. I've also inserted--in BLUE--a portion of a running commentary by the NYT:

The Constitution provides that the House of Representatives “shall have the sole Power of Impeachment” and that the President “shall be removed from Office on Impeachment for, and Conviction of, Treason, Bribery, or other high Crimes and Misdemeanors”. ... Donald J. Trump has abused the powers of the Presidency, in that: 
Using the powers of his high office, President Trump solicited the interference of a foreign government, Ukraine, in the 2020 United States Presidential election. He did so through a scheme or course of conduct that included soliciting the Government of Ukraine to publicly announce investigations that would benefit his reelection, harm the election prospects of a political opponent, and influence the 2020 United States Presidential election to his advantage. President Trump also sought to pressure the Government of Ukraine to take these steps by conditioning official United States Government acts of significant value to Ukraine on its public announcement of the investigations. President Trump engaged in this scheme or course of conduct for corrupt purposes in pursuit of personal political benefit. In so doing, President Trump used the powers of the Presidency in a manner that compromised the national security of the United States and undermined the integrity of the United States democratic process. He thus ignored and injured the interests of the Nation. 
President Trump engaged in this scheme or course of conduct through the following means:

 An enumeration of Trump's supposed "scheme or course of conduct" is omitted.

(3) Faced with the public revelation of his actions, President Trump ultimately released the military and security assistance to the Government of Ukraine, but has persisted in openly and corruptly urging and soliciting Ukraine to undertake investigations for his personal political benefit. 
These actions were consistent with President Trump’s previous invitations of foreign interference in United States elections.6
6. This is a reference to Russia’s interference in the 2016 campaign on Mr. Trump’s behalf. While the special counsel Robert S. Mueller III said he did not find enough evidence to allege a criminal conspiracy between the Trump campaign and Russia, he documented extensive contacts between the two. In 2016, Mr. Trump publicly invited “Russia, if you’re listening,” to hack Hillary Clinton’s emails, which Moscow’s agents tried to do later that day. Mr. Trump later said he was only joking.
In all of this, President Trump abused the powers of the Presidency by ignoring and injuring national security and other vital national interests to obtain an improper personal political benefit. He has also betrayed the Nation by abusing his high office to enlist a foreign power in corrupting democratic elections. 
Wherefore President Trump, by such conduct, has demonstrated that he will remain a threat to national security and the Constitution if allowed to remain in office, and has acted in a manner grossly incompatible with self-governance and the rule of law. President Trump thus warrants impeachment and trial, removal from office, and disqualification to hold and enjoy any office of honor, trust, or profit under the United States.

So we can clearly see that the Report presents a definition of "treason," which is then introduced into the first article, while slyly avoiding the actual word.

But wait, you may object. Doesn't the Constitution itself provide a definition of Treason? Forgive my interpolations:

Treason against the United States, shall consist only in levying war against [the United States], or in adhering to ... enemies [of the United States], giving [enemies of the United States] aid and comfort. (Article III, Section 3)

When did Trump "levy war" against the United States, or adhere to its enemies, or give aid and comfort to those enemies? As it happens, the Report actually explains that, which means that treason was very much on their minds. I'll let Tracy himself explain how the Report slyly designates Russia as an "adversary", i.e., an enemy nation :

First, in order to have engaged in treason, one must have acted to further the interests of a nation with which the U.S. is in a state of war — thereby “endanger[ing] our lives and those of our allies,” in the words of the report’s authors. Clearly, the “ally” in this scenario is Ukraine, and the “adversary” is Russia. The designation of Russia as an “adversary” is sourced to what the impeachment report’s authors describe as the official “national security policy” of the United States. (Underpinning the logic of the entire impeachment exercise is the notion that Trump defied so-called “official” U.S. foreign policy — a characterization attributed to witness George Kent in the report — as if presiding over “official” policy is the purview of unelected members of the national security state bureaucracy, not the elected president.)

 Thus, it's not the president who determines who a foreign enemy is. Bureaucrats do that, and if the president disagrees a Dem House can impeach him.

The report’s authors cite impeachment witness Tim Morrison, the former National Security Council operative under Trump, as saying: "The United States aids Ukraine and her people so that they can fight Russia over there, and we don't have to fight Russia here." (Adam Schiff directly cited this quote during one of his trial soliloquies.) Central to the reasoning behind these impeachment articles, then, is the presumption that the U.S. is engaged in direct hostilities with Russia, and taking any steps to interrupt these hostilities — such as temporarily withholding (but not actually rescinding) future dispersals of military aid — constitutes a treasonous betrayal of the American people. Only in the minds of the most hardened and conspiratorial Cold Warriors does that prospect have even the slightest plausibility. 
And the idea, asserted almost in passing by the report’s authors, that the lives of Americans are “endangered” by the temporary withholding of military aid to Ukraine is of course another incredibly fraught proposition, seeing as it conflates U.S. national security with that of Ukraine. Assuming that sending lethal weaponry into Ukraine’s eastern provinces actually does enhance its long-term national security (another disputed premise), the concept that U.S. and Ukrainian interests are one and the same is not some objective statement of fact but a highly ideological proposition devised to justify an interventionist U.S. policy. ...

Tracy then turns to assertion in the first article that Trump’s actions with regard to Ukraine “were consistent with [his] previous invitations of foreign interference in United States elections.” Again, that is coded language by which the entire Russia Hoax--as codified by John Brennan's Intelligence Community Assessment (ICA)--is incorporated by reference into the first article. See why Barr/Durham are focusing on that ICA? Tracy elaborates on what the Report has to say about the Russia Hoax:

“These previous efforts include inviting and welcoming Russian interference in the 2016 United States Presidential election,” the report reads. So we are now back to the Mueller investigation, which was widely presumed to have been discarded. Far from it: the report’s authors state that Trump’s conduct vis-a-vis the 2016 election confirms that there are “sufficient grounds” for impeachment. Past instances of “inviting and welcoming Russian interference” include the infamous Trump wisecrack on July 27, 2016 about Hillary Clinton’s private email server (“Russia, if you’re listening, I hope you’re able to find the 30,000 emails that are missing”). They also include Trump exclaiming, “I love WikiLeaks!” on the campaign trail and the allegation that members of the Trump campaign “were maintaining significant contacts with Russian nationals.” (Yes, Russian “nationals” are supposed to be seen as sinister, even if such “nationals” have no connection to any government body.) There is even a reference to George Papadopoulos and his purported discussion with Joseph Mifsud about “dirt” related to Hillary Clinton.

Article one states that inviting foreign interference in a US election is a betrayal of the Nation. That means that when done by a president (recall, in 2016 Trump wasn't yet president) it's a violation of his oath of office and is Treason. "Maintaining significant contacts with Russian nationals" seems to be treasonous as well--when a Republican is involved.

These were all core tenets of the Mueller investigation and they were all exhaustively analyzed, and summarily debunked as constituting any illicit or conspiratorial relationship between Trump and Russia. But Democrats in their zeal still managed to smuggle Mueller back in. When Nancy Pelosi proclaimed that impeachment was never fundamentally about Ukraine, but about Russia — exclaiming “All roads lead to Putin” as her justification for the endeavor — she wasn’t kidding.

 My bet is that the Dems will be bringing this up on a regular basis from now until November. I'm guessing that once the Senate show is over we may also see increasingly open use of the T word: Treason. The stealth impeachment for treason will give way to the brazenly open claim.

Harvard's Wuhan Connection--Or Vice Versa?

I'll admit it--I've been compulsively following the Chinese coronavirus story. The big question seems to be: Does the coronavirus come from bats and snakes, or simply from a Chinese bio-warfare lab that's conveniently located near Wuhan?

Today we learn of another possibility. Maybe it came from Harvard University!

It's not every day that a department chair at Harvard gets arrested by the feds, but Zerohedge has the story, via the WSJ--Harvard Chemistry Chair & Two Chinese Nationals Arrested For Lying About China Ties, Smuggling "Biological Material".

Charles Lieber is the Chemistry chairman in question:

It seems one of Lieber's Chinese friends attempted to smuggle "21 vials of biological materials in his sock". I'm guessing the biological materials were secreted in the Chinese associate's own sock, not Lieber's, but it's not clear from the account I read.

Officially, Lieber has only been charged with lying to investigators, but Zerohedge poses the obvious question: "Will this Harvard Chemistry Department Head be remembered as the Aldrich Ames of the new 'Cold War' with China?" After all, "Lieber's actions look like an unvarnished attempt at espionage."

Lieber was reportedly paid $50,000 a month by Wuhan University of Technology for participating in its "Thousand Talents" program, and was given more than $1.5 million to establish a lab and do research at Wuhan University of Technology, according to federal prosecutors in Boston ...

Wasn't Hunter Biden getting $50K/mo. from Burisma? Is that some sort of standard fee?

According to the WSJ:

When Defense Department investigators asked Mr. Lieber in 2018 about his foreign research collaborations, he told them he had never been asked to participate in the Thousand Talents Program, the complaint said. But Mr. Lieber had signed such a talent contract with Wuhan University in 2012, the complaint said.
NIH also asked Harvard about Mr. Lieber’s affiliation with Wuhan that same year, the complaint said. After interviewing Mr. Lieber, Harvard told NIH in January 2019 that Mr. Lieber had no formal affiliation with Wuhan after 2012 and that he had never participated in the Thousand Talents Program, even though Mr. Lieber had a formal relationship with the university through 2017, the complaint said.
In conjunction with the program, Mr. Lieber became a “strategic scientist” at Wuhan University of Technology, according to the complaint. For “significant periods” from 2012 to 2017, his contract called for a $50,000 a month salary on top of $150,000 in living expenses paid by WUT, it said. He was also awarded more than $1.5 million by WUT and the Chinese government to set up a research lab, it said.
“The charges brought by the U.S. government against Professor Lieber are extremely serious,” a Harvard spokesman said Tuesday. “Harvard is cooperating with federal authorities, including the National Institutes of Health, and is initiating its own review of the alleged misconduct. Professor Lieber has been placed on indefinite administrative leave.”

UPDATED: Just For A Laugh

This whole Bolton thing is simply more theater of the absurd, and attempts by establishment Republicans to assure us that Bolton isn't actually a very creepy guy are, well, absurd.

Mickey Kaus captures it well:

UPDATE: Mark Steyn pretty much agrees with Kaus--if you want more Trump, Rick Wilson's your go to guy. Steyn, of course, says it at greater length and with his usual flair:

But I do wonder if, in a democratic age, it is politic to mock half the country as stump-toothed knuckle-dragging bozos who know no more of the world than where to go for a jigger of moonshine and a bunk-up with your cousin. Especially when they're the half of the country that won the election. The Demo-media line has always been that GOP presidents - Eisenhower, Reagan, both Bushes - are dull-witted and ignorant. To extend that contempt to the electorate would not seem prudent - and rather un-self-aware surely for a chap who advertises himself as committed to "the growing need for inclusion to fight the forces of hate and division". If you want more Trump, this is the way to get it.

~The likes of Rick Wilson are a big part of why voters looked elsewhere. Here's me in July 2015:
The 'normal rules' of American politics have delivered America into the hands of a permanent ruling class content to preside over a hyper-regulated, corrupt, cronyist, indebted borderless ruin mitigated according to taste by a deranged hyper-sexualized identity-politics totalitarianism hunting down homophobic bakers and confederate-flag decals... Your mileage may vary. But the fact is that in a two-party system the Democratic Party is relatively effective at delivering to its voters the world they want to live in. The Republican Party not so much. Responding to my attack on the GOP's consultant class, one of its most eminent members, Rick Wilson, responds: 
'@WillvonKaenel @MarkSteynOnline Weird. There are twice as many elected Rs in the county [sic] today than 15 years ago. Yeah, we built that.' 
Built what? If the purpose of a political party is to elect officeholders to sit in offices, you're doing great. But that's kind of Trump's point, isn't it?
If you're hot for Obamacare, diversity, open borders, gay marriage, the Democrats, as I note above, deliver. By contrast, to reprise another line from the summer of 2015:
The Republican Party has become the party of 'Nothing Can Be Done.' It's the Council of Despair. Donald Trump is the symptom, but the disease is a do-nothing Republican Party.
Nothing says "credulous rube" like writing a check to the GOP knowing they're passing it straight to Rick Wilson.

Monday, January 27, 2020

John Ratcliffe On Schiff And Ciaramella

This came out in a Sunday interview with Maria Bartiromo. Here's the key part of what Ratcliffe had to say:

"The House managers kept putting up charts talking about the 17 witnesses," Ratcliffe began. "But there were 18 ... I was there. It's the one transcript out of 18 that hasn't been released. It's a 179-page transcript ... It's the one transcript that talks about Adam Schiff and the whistleblower. Now, everyone knows by now that Adam Schiff was not truthful about his contacts with the whistleblower. What they don't know and what's in that transcript is that the whistleblower wasn't truthful about his contacts with Adam Schiff. This whole thing started, Maria, when the whistleblower filed a complaint with the inspector general under penalty of perjury that wasn't true and correct, made representations in writing and verbally that weren't true and correct. And when we found that out and tried to get into the details of that, Adam Schiff, who was in charge of this investigation, shut it down, and now he's trying to bury that transcript."


The Infantilized Left

Michael Lind, certified liberal--

a frequent contributor to The New York Times, Politico, The Financial Times, The National Interest, Foreign Policy, Salon, and The International Economy. He has taught at Harvard and Johns Hopkins and has been an editor or staff writer for The New Yorker, Harper’s, The New Republic, and The National Interest

has written a mildly interesting article for Salon. I'll admit I was mostly attracted by the title, although his theme is serious--even if it's not exactly news. He unfortunately doesn't get into the reasons why the left is susceptible to infantilization. My own view is that Leftism itself is a product of an infantile outlook on reality--a less than reasonable, adult worldview.

In any event here are some excerpts. Lind has written a book on this topic, but I won't be bothering. His overall goal is to somehow relegitimize the neoliberal managerial (read: progressive) elites, by waving the magic wand of "shared power" over them. My one substantive comment here is that Lind mentions only one "intermediary institution" that "neoliberalism" has destroyed: labor unions. In fact, he should have included two other significant institutions: mass education and the establishment religious bodies.

The debunked "Russian influence" nonsense is infantilizing liberals
The Russian money spent to influence the election was negligible. Its persistence as an explanation is bad for Dems

The populist wave in politics on both sides of the Atlantic is a defensive reaction against the technocratic neoliberal revolution from above that has been carried out in the last half century by national managerial elites. Over the last half century, the weakening or destruction by neoliberal policy makers of the intermediary institutions of mid-twentieth century democratic pluralism, particularly labor unions, has deprived much of the working class of effective voice or agency in government, the economy, and culture. Populist demagogues can channel the legitimate grievances of many working-class voters, but they cannot create a stable, institutionalized alternative to overclass-dominated neoliberalism. Only a new democratic pluralism that compels managerial elites to share power with the multiracial, religiously pluralistic working class in the economy, politics, and the culture can end the cycle of oscillation between oppressive technocracy and destructive populism.

That is the thesis of this article. It is a minority viewpoint within overclass circles in the US and Europe. A far more common view among transatlantic elites interprets the success of populist and nationalist candidates in today's Western democracies not as a predictable and disruptive backlash against oligarchic misrule, but as a revival of Nazi or Soviet-style totalitarianism. One narrative holds that Russian president Vladimir Putin's regime, by cleverly manipulating public opinion in the West through selective leaks to the media or Internet advertisements and memes, is responsible for Brexit, the election of Trump in 2016, and perhaps other major political events. A rival narrative sees no need to invoke Russian machinations; in this view, without aid from abroad, demagogues can trigger the latent "authoritarian personalities" of voters, particularly white working-class native voters, many of whom, it is claimed, will turn overnight into a fascist army if properly mobilized. These two elite narratives, promulgated by antipopulist politicians, journalists, and academics, can be called the Russia Scare and the Brown Scare (after earlier "brown scares" in Western democracies, with the color referring to Hitler's Brownshirts).

Go Figure: Yevgeniy Vindman In Charge Of NSC Pre-Pub Review?

But he probably wouldn't have been the only one with access:

Why Is Joe Pientka Under A Protective Order?

And from whom is Joe Pientka being protected?

I really have no idea, but to me the most likely explanation is that he's a key cooperating witness in some sort of an investigation. Peter Strzok's right hand man 'Friday,' Bruce Ohr's handler, Michael Flynn's sly stalker and interrogator. What else?

It's almost like he's getting whistleblower treatment! I wonder what's going on?

UPDATED: The Bolton Leak

Obviously the substance of the leaked portions of Bolton's book, as reported by the NYT, amounts to much ado about nothing. As always. Like all the "bombshells" about this president.

The simple facts, that too many lose sight of in all the yammering about a "quid pro quo", are these:

1. The Constitution makes it abundantly clear that foreign policy is the exclusive responsibility of the president. There are two explicit exceptions enumerated in the Constitution: Declarations of War and Confirmation of Treaties. That's it. We recently covered these constitutional principles (by republishing Professor Turner's outstanding law review article, with comments) in our give part Unconstitutional FISA series. FISA and foreign intelligence gathering generally, of course, is just one more aspect of foreign policy.

2. Foreign policy is always conducted according to the mutual interests of the parties (nations) involved. As such, there is always a quid pro quo than can be enunciated.

3. Legitimate law enforcement concerns of the United States do not stop at our borders--that's the reason we have extradition treaties, embassies and consulates, and FBI Legat offices overseas.

4. Running for office does not exempt a US person from the laws of the United States, nor from the operation of the president's powers and responsibilities in the field of foreign relations. Only the tin foil hat crowd of the Left--for who their ends justify any means no matter how damaging to our constitutional order--imagine otherwise.

Not long ago--January 19, 2020, to be precise--we commented on the Top NSC Staffer Escorted From WH. That NSC staffer was reporter Liz Peek's son, Andrew Peek, who had only recently been appointed as head of European and Russian affairs at the National Security Council (NSC). At the time we cited at length CTH's revelations about Peek's close ties to Deep State (Never Trump) figures. The assumption, of course, was that Peek had been removed from his position for leaking--and we all awaited revelations about what his leaks were.

Today CTH expresses the suspicion that most of us harbored as soon as the Bolton leak came out "officially"--that Peek was behind the leak of Bolton's book to the NYT: Another Carefully Timed National Security Council Leak? – John Bolton Book Manuscript Leaked to New York Times.

Bolton had, as was required, submitted his book to the NSC for pre-publication review regarding any possibly classified material. I will add one fairly obvious factor which offers strong circumstantial support for CTH's view that Peek leaked Bolton's book: Peek, as head of European and Russia affairs at the NSC, would have had responsibility over the review of Bolton's book.

The bottom line is that, while this may lend support to those who wish Bolton to testify at the Senate's Impeachment Theater, it adds nothing at all to the legal and constitutional issues. It does, however, also lend strong support to those who also wish to bring the Bidens and other witnesses to the Ukraine Hoax before the Senate. To include Vindman, Ciaramella, and all the rest. Maybe even such Ukraine involved figures as Glenn Simpson and Nellie Ohr. I'd be very much surprised if Trump's team is not fully prepared for this, so the leak--and Schiff's predictable call for Bolton to testify--may turn out to be another object lesson in being careful what one wishes for.

UPDATE 1: (H/T one of my brothers) Ann Althouse--former professor of Constitutional Law--has a (mostly) pretty shrewd blog on all this today: Why can't John Bolton's publisher just release the book ahead of schedule so we're not subjected to second-hand reports of what's in it?  Excerpt:

Saturday, January 25, 2020

UPDATED: How Bad Is It For Dems?

In the comments we've been puzzling over, What's going on? Is there a game plan? Is there a hidden method to Dem madness? Or is it just madness?

There have been a variety of theories put forward to explain Dem Impeachment Theater. For example:

1. Impeachment Theater will drag Sanders back to DC and allow a "moderate" like Joe Biden to surge ahead and grab the nomination.

2. Or, maybe Impeachment Theater is something to keep the Dem base fired up--but that might mean that the base, which is gravitating toward Sanders, will get out and vote for Sanders! And that's a multi-dimensional problem.

I've suggested that there's an insoluble dilemma to this type of strategery, which is that #1 will alienate much of the Dem base, which is increasingly gravitating toward Sanders, and #2 will alienate the independents the Dems need to get past ~40% in the general election. Not only that, but the alienated Sanders supporters are unlikely to support any other Dem if Sanders is somehow denied.

I know this isn't exactly news, but Steve Hayward at Powerline (The State of Things for Dems: Gloomy & Getting Gloomier) provides some numbers and analysis to put it all in perspective:

The Saudi Connection: Inside the 9/11 Case

Is anyone else totally sated with Impeachment Theater? As far as I'm concerned life is too short to waste valuable time reading the endless commentary on a hoax. The serious constitutional issues of what the Dems are attempting have all been recognized and dealt with.

So, I offer--h/t emailer Jim--the following article on the continued Deep State efforts to prevent fuller details on the Saudi connection from being made public.

Let me be clear on where I stand. I recognize that there can be valid national security reasons for restricting access to some information. Nevertheless, we're approaching 20 years after this most devastating terrorist attack. That attack has served as the justification for the resulting GWOT and almost incalculable expenditures and suffering. In my view, if the United States is to function as a republic rather than an empire, the citizenry deserves more transparency in order to give informed consent to the policies that continue to flow from that traumatic event.

This article--

The Saudi Connection: Inside the 9/11 Case That Divided the F.B.I.
A small team of agents spent years investigating whether one of Washington’s closest allies was involved in the worst terror attack in U.S. history. This is their story.

recounts at considerable length the background of the continuing efforts to make the details of the Saudi connection public. Those efforts include the participation of FBI agents who worked on the 9/11 related cases, but who believe that the government is refusing to reveal details without sufficient justification. Excerpt:

On the morning of Sept. 11 last year, about two dozen family members of those killed in the terror attacks filed into the White House to visit with President Trump. It was a choreographed, somewhat stiff encounter, in which each family walked to the center of the Blue Room to share a moment of conversation with Trump and the first lady, Melania Trump, before having a photograph taken with the first couple. Still, it was an opportunity the visitors were determined not to squander. 
One after another, the families asked Trump to release documents from the F.B.I.’s investigation into the 9/11 plot, documents that the Justice Department has long fought to keep secret. After so many years they needed closure, they said. They needed to know the truth. Some of the relatives reminded Trump that Presidents Bush and Obama blocked them from seeing the files, as did some of the F.B.I. bureaucrats the president so reviled. The visitors didn’t mention that they hoped to use the documents in a current federal lawsuit that accuses the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia — an American ally that has only grown closer under Trump — of complicity in the attacks. 
The president promised to help. “It’s done,” he said, reassuring several visitors. Later, the families were told that Trump ordered the attorney general, William P. Barr, to release the name of a Saudi diplomat who was linked to the 9/11 plot in an F.B.I. report years earlier. Justice Department lawyers handed over the Saudi official’s name in a protected court filing that could be read only by lawyers for the plaintiffs. But Barr dashed the families’ hopes. In a statement to the court on Sept. 12, he insisted that other documents that might be relevant to the case had to be protected as state secrets. Their disclosure, he wrote, risked “significant harm to the national security.”

Surely more could be revealed at this point?

Friday, January 24, 2020

What's The Point Of Being A Dictator?

I mean, if a dictator can be voted out of office, why would anyone bother? Impeachment Theater has reached it's destination: Theater of the Absurd:

No wonder people like John Hinderaker are asking: What If They Gave an Impeachment and No One Came?

The Democrats are getting their anti-Trump headlines, of course, but once again, there is little evidence that anyone cares. This isn’t surprising: on the list of reasons why we should evict from office a duly elected President, “He didn’t give military aid to Ukraine for a while, and then he did” ranks near the bottom. 
The polls offer no evidence that voters are impressed by the Democrats’ performance. At Rasmussen Reports, Trump stands at 49% approval/49% disapproval, pretty much where he always does. 
Then, too, the Democrats are playing without an endgame. There is no possibility of getting a 2/3 vote in the Senate, and never has been. So what will be the reaction of persuadable voters, when the whole impeachment farce turns out to be a colossal waste of time? Presumably those few who ever believed that what is happening in the Senate is serious will also see it as serious when the Democrats lose. It is hard to see this as a positive outcome for the Democrats. 
Don’t despair, though. Somewhere in the bowels of the House of Representatives, Democrats are already hard at work, preparing their second term articles of impeachment.

MSM Pushing On A String

Having flushed their credibility down the toilet, the MSM is finding that they're unable to influence anyone except the tinfoil hat crowd when it comes to Impeachment Theater. Via Greg Jarrett:

New Poll Shows Dem’s Impeachment Hopes are Doomed 
A new Hill-Harris poll shows that 60% of Americans do not believe that any new information will be revealed during the Senate impeachment trial.

A new Hill-Harris poll shows that 60% of Americans do not believe that any new information will be revealed during the Senate impeachment trial. As expected, the poll shows that Democratic individuals are much more hopeful that something significant will come out during the proceedings. 
In fact, an astonishing 61% of Democrats who were polled thought something potentially explosive will come out. Independents and Republican individuals were more realistic in their expectations with only 30%, and 25% of them respectively thinking that new important information will be revealed. 
After the first two days of the Senate trial not revealing any new information, the left-wing media has apparently sold the narrative of the Democratic party very well only to Democratic party supporters.

There could be a very rude awakening when the Trump team puts on their case.

UPDATE: Here's a perfect example of the MSM irretrievably flushed their credibility away. Can you imagine that the MSM is acclaiming Schiff's performance as "dazzling"?

What Are Flynn's Chances For Withdrawing His Guilty Plea?

Undercover Huber has an interesting thread today regarding Michael Flynn's chances to prevail on his motion to withdraw his guilty plea. You can view the thread unrolled here. What prompts UCH to these reflections is that Judge Sullivan has asked the parties

to address whether there needs to be an evidentiary hearing on Flynn's effort to withdraw his guilty plea.  
Hearing may include "testimony from Mr. Flynn and other witnesses under oath, subject to cross-examination"

As UCH puts it:

Might as well reschedule this to the 4th of July because if it happens, they'll [sic] be no need for any other fireworks

Sullivan cites the DC case of United States v. Cray (1995) as controlling precedent. Here's UCH's summary of the Cray holding, re what the standards are to allow a defendant to withdraw a guilty plea:

There will be 3 main components that Sullivan will use when deciding whether to accept Flynn's motion to withdraw his guilty pleas. Flynn will need to satisfy all three. 
1. Make a "legally cognizable defense" to the charges against him.
This will need to be an *affirmative* defense of being *innocent* (not just not guilty), that is legally sound, as well as factually accurate. Flynn has never done this - yet - to the lying to FBI charge. 

My guess is that Flynn's attorney, Sidney Powell, will rely heavily on two factors: The lack of predication behind the interview of Flynn, and the government's failure to produce the "original" 302--this would amount to the contention that Flynn was tricked into pleading to a set of facts in a "revised" 302 that misrepresented to him what actually took place at the interview. Flynn, of course, didn't take notes at the interview, but the TWO agents did.

Thursday, January 23, 2020

Briefly Noted: Two Terrific Reads

This summary is not available. Please click here to view the post.

UPDATED: FISC Opinion: At Least Two Page FISA Warrants Invalid

I'm busy right now, but will write more later. For now I'll paste in three links to articles about this development, plus commenter Cassander's comment and my (edited) response:

FISA Court Confirms Two Carter Page Surveillance Applications ‘Not Valid’

DOJ says surveillance of Trump campaign adviser Page lacked evidence

BREAKING: Spy Court Admits FISA Warrants Against Carter Page Were ‘Not Valid’


FISC finds absence of predication for Carter Page FISA applications ##3 and 4. This is big. Techn Fog is also tweeting this development.
  1. Yes, I was reading about it elsewhere. The important part is what is most likely:

    The last two warrants--to include the one obtained by Team Mueller--were the warrants invalid that were stated to be "not valid. " I've made no secret of my view that they were ALL invalid, because there was never any real Probable Cause (PC) that Page was an agent of a foreign power (Russia). What was ALWAYS known by the FBI was that Page was an agent of the FBI and the CIA.

    I say that the last two warrants being found to be invalid was always the  most likely initial outcome as a simple matter of common sense. If the FBI didn't have PC for the first two, it's unlikely that they'd later develop PC--in the circs. After all, since Page knew in the late summer or fall of 2016 that the FBI were leaking that he was a spy, a Russian agent, how likely is it that he'd START working as a Russian agent at that point?

    Of course it was ALWAYS a no brainer that they NEVER had PC that Page was a Russia agent. I assume that this opinion is based on Clinesmith's forgery, which came with the last two renewals.

    OTOH, NR says the earlier warrants are still under investigation. I'll repeat: It has ALWAYS been a no brainer that the FBI NEVER had PC that Page was a Russian agent.

    What's big about this development, of course, is that it gives Durham what he needs to turn Team Mueller inside out. Or at least to start that process. It's called predication.

This is a nice development coming up in the midst of the Impeachment Theater. Kinda like a big fish thrown onto the stage while Schiff and Nadler are trying to peddle their warmed over Russia Hoax lies.