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Friday, April 10, 2020

Bill Barr: "Without Any Basis"

The second part of Laura Ingraham's very important interview with AG Bill Barr played last night--AG William Barr on the Russia investigation: 'There's something far more troubling here'.

Here are what I think are the important points we can take from what Barr said.

First of all, it seems apparent that the Durham investigation has completed most of its evidence gathering--whether documentary or through interviews. That doesn't mean the investigation is finished. There is also the question of putting together a prosecutive case, and that will probably involve complicated negotiations with the lawyers for the persons being investigated. That, in turn, could lead to further substantive investigation. But the bottom line is that at this point Barr appears confident that he knows what happened and, most likely, who was behind it. As Barr says, this is a "sprawling" case.

Second, Barr several times refers to things that "they" did.  Not things that "were done." So, multiple human perpetrators. That points toward the strong likelihood that a conspiracy case is being pursued that will encompass an attempt to "sabotage the presidency." As Barr says, this is a "sprawling" case. And this case is very much focused on developing a criminal prosecution of the conspirators.

Third, Barr says that, while Durham's "primary focus" is not on preparing a report, a report will "probably" result from Durham's investigation. That's important. IMO, the American people deserve a report that lays out the narrative of how a group of highly placed federal government operatives conspired to "sabotage the presidency." Such a report would be unusual coming from a prosecutor, but this is an unusual case that goes to the heart of our constitutional order. The American people deserve to have a report that they can read and readily understand, rather than having to glean the narrative from complicated testimony, court proceedings, and documents written in bureacratic language and, possibly, released without full context. The release of the Papadopoulos interview is a down payment, as are no doubt the firings of corrupt Deep State operatives such as Dan Coats, Michael Atkinson, and others.

Fourth, there is a twofold key in what Barr tells. He tells us that Crossfire Hurricane--"this investigation of [Trump's] campaign"--was inititated "without any basis." That means that Crossfire Hurricane was initiated without proper predication and was an unlawful investigation. I think we will see confirmed what we've always known, that Crossfire Hurricane was initiated for the purpose of developing a narrative that could derail and sabotage a presidential election. But, that baseless investigation nevertheless served as the predication for what Barr says he has found "even more concerning": "... what happened after the campaign--a whole pattern of events while [Trump] was president ... to sabotage the presidency."

From this I think we can readily gather why this Durham investigation is so "sprawling." What happened after the campaign? The attempt to frame Michael Flynn and to sabotage the presidency through the frame job on Flynn, at the very inception of the administration, to tar it as "colluding" with Russia, rather than conducting foreign policy. The continued renewals of the Carter Page FISA, known to be fraudulent, which implicate the highest levels of the FBI and of DoJ--McCabe, Comey, Yates, Boente, Rosenstein, and many more. The bogus Intelligence Community Assessment, the development of which we're told Durham has spent so much time examinging.

And lastly but far from least, the entire Mueller Witchhunt--which, as framed by Rod Rosenstein, purported to be a continuation of the baseless FBI investigation, Crossfire Hurricane. The release of the Papadopoulos transcript not only is a dagger in the heart of the predication for Crossfire Hurricane and the Carter Page FISA, a dagger in the heart of the FBI's role in the conspiracy. It is also a dagger that, along with the final FISA renewal, we may learn is directed at Team Mueller through its pursuit of George Papadopoulos.

And no doubt there is much more to come.

One skeptical note: I have reservations about how Barr thinks he can institute "safeguards" for FISA that would be effective--without substantive statutory changes. Because FISA is such a wrenching of our constitutional order--involving technologies far beyond the imaginings of the Framers--"reforming" FISA will necessarily be a far more complicated matter, IMO, than tweaking guidelines.

Enjoy!


LAURA: John Brennan has come out *smashing* the President's firing of Inspector General Michael Atkinson.

BARR: I think the President did the right thing in removing Atkinson. From the vantage point of the Department of Justice, [Atkinson] had interpreted his statute [the law defining IG powers]--which is a fairly narrow statute--which gave him jurisdiction over wrongdoing by *intelligence* people, and tried to turn it into a commission to explore anything in the government and immediately report it to Congress without letting the Executive Branch look at it and determine whether there was any problem. He was *told* this in a letter from the Department of Justice and he is *obliged* to follow the interpretation of the Department of Justice, and he ignored it. So I think the President was correct in firing him.

LAURA: It's the second Inspector General he's fired since the beginning of this pandemic, and of course that's used to say, 'Well the President just doesn't want a watchdog.'

BARR: I think that's true. I think he wants *responsible* watchdogs.

LAURA: What can you tell us about the state of John Durham's investigation? People have been waiting for the final report on what happened with this. What can you tell us?

BARR: Well, I think a report may be--and probably *will* be--a byproduct of his [Durham's] activity, but his primary focus isn't to prepare a report. He is looking to bring to justice people whose abuses he can show were criminal violations, and that's what the focus is on. And, as you know, being a lawyer yourself, building these cases--especially the *sprawling* case we have between us that went on for two or three years here--it takes some time. It takes some time to build the case. So he's diligently pursuing it. My own view is that the evidence shows that we're not dealing with just mistakes or sloppiness. There's something far more troubling here and we're going to get to the bottom of it. And if people broke the law and we can establish that with the evidence, they will be prosecuted.

LAURA: The President is very frustrated. I think you, obviously, you know that, about Andrew McCabe. He [Trump] believes that people like McCabe and others just were basically able to flout laws and, so far, with impunity ...

BARR: I think the President has every right to be frustrated because I think what happened to him was one of the greatest travesties in American history. Without any basis they started this investigation of his campaign. And even more concerning, actually, is what happened after the campaign--a whole pattern of events while he was president ... to sabotage the presidency ... or at least have the effect of sabotaging the presidency.

LAURA: Will FISA abuses really be prevented going forward, given what happened here, where FISA judges are not given critical pieces of information [like the just released exculpatory transcript of the FBI CHS talking with George Papadopoulos]--material facts about the evidence that informed the government's OKing the surveillance of American citizens?

BARR: You know, I think it's possible to put in a regime that would make it possible to make it very hard either to *willfully* circumvent FISA or to do so sloppily without due regard for the rights of the American person involved, and also to make it very clear that any misconduct *will* be discovered--and discovered *very* promptly. So I do think we can put in safeguards that will enable us to go forward with this important tool. I think it's very sad--and the people who abused FISA have a lot to answer for--because this was an important tool to protect the American people. They abused it. They undercut public confidence in FISA, but also the FBI as an institution, and we have to rebuild that.

58 comments:

  1. Normally, with the Fruit of Poision Tree doctrine, all subsequent findings of criminal conduct are tainted leading to tossed cases and overturning of convictions.

    Moreover, those that are principle involved are designated as being not credible making any further cases pending involving them tainted.

    I say normally because this was done under the auspices of counter intelligence, a lie in and of itself.

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  2. Mark, link to article on Barr’s appearance on Ingraham brings error “access denied”. As in the past http has to be changed to https. Here is the link:

    https://www.foxnews.com/media/ag-william-barr-on-the-russia-investigation-theres-something-far-more-troubling-here

    His interview was excellent. In addition to main points, I also liked his not approving of releasing prison inmates because of the coronavirus: “We are here to protect the public” (paraphrased). I also liked his response about Durham’s “report” (again, paraphrased) that there could be a report, but it would be a byproduct of Durham’s job, which is to bring to justice anyone who committed a crime. He also mentioned how long that can take. I’m sure he knows the natives are restless about indictments, convictions, etc., and that has given rise to doubts about him and Durham. Unfortunately people believe what they want to believe. Many don’t know anything more about the law than what they saw on “Law & Order”, where a case would be wrapped up - investigation, arrest, charge and trial with conviction - within one hour, including commercials…

    I had read that he and Durham wanted any convictions to stick, to hold up on appeal. That is not the easiest thing to do, especially with the crafty high-level persons involved in this coup attempt...

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    1. Hmmmm. Not sure what you're telling me re the link. My link is in fact to the one you indicate, including the "https" protocol. If you hover over the link you should see that. I think the fact that you get sent to an address using the "http" protocol has something to do with your browser settings.

      Barr and Durham are professionals--Durham, in particular, is a professional prosecutor. The only reason they would not prosecute a case, IMO, is if they decided the evidence didn't stack up.

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    2. I can confirm the access denied issue. I believe Fox News is blocking this URL because it sees it is a "referral" from another site. If you copy/paste the URL in your browser, it works fine. Furhermore, once you goto the page manually and click the link, it also works. Mark, try your site on a different browser and click the link and I think you'll see the error. I'm not sure how to solve this other than using a URL shortener... https://bitly.com/

      Oh, great article as well!

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    3. You're right--I just tried it in another browser. The link works but access to the page is denied. However, see my reply to Ray, just below.

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    4. I wouldn’t have known about that https vs http business had I not learned it from you, Mark, some months ago when something similar happened to another poster and you told them about having to add the s. :-)

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    5. Okay. I just followed Mark’s embedded link, got Access Denied message, double-clicked on address field and - ta-dah - the url changed from http to https and away I went. No need to do anything more.

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  3. With fox links, I found you sometimes need to refresh

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    1. You're right. I followed the link in another browser. I got the access denied message. So I double clicked in the URL space (which highlights the URL for me) then refreshed/hit Enter. Presto!

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  4. And what of the contents of Weiners laptop?

    4 years now?

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  5. Pelosi (and her minions in the House) have continued the coup against Trump via politicizing and misusing the Constitutional impeachment process once already, and she is now threatening a second go-round using the Coronavirus crisis as a pretext. Both are shams, and the ongoing nature of this political warfare (especially in a time of health crisis) represents a clear and present danger to our system of governance. She has also made it crystal clear that she will continue this obsession until she succeeds.

    As such, Barr's real task is therefore to put the brakes on this ongoing treason by holding those responsible to account. And the only push-back that can impact the Deep State is prosecution, conviction, and serious prison time.

    This debacle is not about Trump, it's about the Office of the Presidency. If Barr/Durham are unable to make the price of treason high enough, it will only repeat and intensify in the future and we will have become a full-fledged Banana Republic.

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    1. Here we are at the first week in April. Is Barr/Durham accelerating in view of other events, or were previous estimates more long range to tamp down unrealistic expectations? We'll see. I can't see Barr making these kinds of statements about findings unless the process is well along.

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    2. I seem to recall a late Spring, early Summer projection. May is late Spring. Early June is early Summer.

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    3. Yeah, so maybe we're right on schedule.

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  6. This is one of the key sentences:

    "My own view is that the evidence shows that we're not dealing with just mistakes or sloppiness."

    [emphasis added.]

    The bolded text is the key part of the quote; Barr isn't simply saying his opinion is that it isn't just "mistakes and sloppiness" -- he's saying the EVIDENCE (in his humble opinion) SHOWS it was NOT just mistakes and sloppiness.

    He's saying there EVIDENCE that indicates something far more sinister than negligence is the explanation for the facts in launching this unpredicated investigation and subsequent sabotage of the Trump Administration.

    If he has evidence to back this up, it means his theory of what happened isn't just some speculative fever dream.

    And, let us remember that which is not negligent is intentional. And "intentionality" is an element of proving "Malum prophibitum."

    It would appear Durham has more evidence than we know about.

    And as MW points out, Barr's use of the plural "they" referring to the collective group of miscreants suggest the evidence points to an active conspiracy to commit prohibited acts.

    This is the exact antithesis of the Mueller Investigation, that rambled around for two years pretending to look for evidence of things that never happened, conspiracies that didn't exist, and obstructions that never took place.

    Durham and Barr have hard evidence, not some fairy tale they are trying to resuscitate for partisan political purposes.

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    1. IMO, Barr's use of "in my own view" is pretty much pro forma. He may say that, but the fact is his "own view" is based on viewing the evidence. I think we can all bet that Durham doesn't disagree with that view.

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  7. Hello. Good Friday. Thank you, Lord, for giving your precious life for us. Please persuade Daughters of St Paul to put up your Alba House translation of the Gospels, approved by US bishops, onto biblegateway.org. I see that it is only available in compact form, which most people don't want to read. Also, they might print out a large-print edition..say 11-14 point font. Thank you and God bless.

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    1. Thanks for the free ad, Anon. There is another option that I highly recommend:

      The New Testament: St. Paul Catholic Edition

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  8. Every time Barr speaks I feel hope. Trump is an outsider and a barbarian in the eyes of D.C. Barr is an insider and sounds like a counterrevolutionary. He may be the medicine our society needs. If we can just re-elect Trump and stay on the path...

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  9. This seems illuminating:

    "[Durham] is looking to bring to justice people whose abuses he can show were criminal violations."

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  10. "And even more concerning, actually, is what happened after the campaign--a whole pattern of events while he was president ... to sabotage the presidency"

    When I read this line it for some reason made me think he may have evidence that not only ensnares the many known suspects within the Obama executive branch but also for members of the legislature that may have helped facilitate some aspect of the post-election "event". I never really considered that possibility but for some reason Barr's words seem to suggest it.

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    1. Yeah. To be honest, I wasn't sure where to draw the line. I don't for a moment doubt that Team Mueller members were in touch with Congressional Dems, just as others in the Resistance in the Exec Branch helped stage a fraudulent and unconstitutional impeachment. The thought occurred to me, but I drew a line. I hope.

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  11. FLASH TRAFFIC!

    The footnote declassification:

    >> https://www.grassley.senate.gov/news/news-releases/fbi-ignored-early-warnings-debunked-anti-trump-dossier-was-russian-disinformation <<

    “It’s ironic that the Russian collusion narrative was fatally flawed because of Russian disinformation. These footnotes confirm that there was a direct Russian disinformation campaign in 2016, and there were ties between Russian intelligence and a presidential campaign – the Clinton campaign, not Trump’s.”

    The IG report detailed how the FBI’s application for a Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) warrant to spy on Page relied heavily on an unverified dossier compiled by former British spy Christopher Steele on behalf of Fusion GPS, which was conducting opposition research for the Clinton campaign and Democratic National Committee. According to Footnote 302, in October 2016, FBI investigators learned that one of Steele’s main sources was linked to the Russian Intelligence Service (RIS), and was rumored to be a former KGB/SVR officer. However, the FBI neglected to include this information in its application, which the FISA court approved that same month. Two months later, investigators learned that Glenn Simpson, the head of Fusion GPS, told a Justice Department attorney that he assessed the same source “was a RIS officer who was central in connecting Trump to Russia.” In January, the FISA warrant was renewed.

    Footnote 350 states that, in 2017, the FBI learned that intelligence reports “assessed that the referenced subset [of Steele’s reporting about the activities of Michael Cohen] was part of a Russian disinformation campaign to denigrate U.S. foreign relations.”

    That same footnote states that a separate report, dated 2017, “contained information … that the public reporting about the details of Trump’s [REDACTED] activities in Moscow during a trip in 2013 were false, and that they were the product of RIS ‘infiltra[ing] a source into the network’ of a [REDACTED] who compiled a dossier of information on Trump’s activities.”

    The surveillance warrant against Page was renewed two more times – in April and in June of 2017 – raising questions about when exactly the FBI received and reviewed these new intelligence reports, and what it did with them. Grassley and Johnson expect the footnotes to be further declassified in the coming days.

    Citing the IG report, the FISA court ordered the FBI to explain how it will take corrective action on the FISA process. A subsequent IG audit of the FBI procedures to ensure accuracy of FISA applications found errors in 29 unrelated applications, prompting the court to order more information from the FBI.

    The declassified footnotes were contained in an April 2, 2020, letter from the Justice Department responding to Grassley and Johnson’s January 28, 2020, inquiry.

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    1. You realize, of course, that Grassley's narrative of "a direct Russian disinformation campaign in 2016" plays right into Brennan's claim that the ICA was honest intel assessment? I won't believe the "direct Russian disinformation campaign" until I see some good evidence. And I haven't seen any for my money.

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  12. You got a nice mention by Tom Lifson in the American Thinker.

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    1. He always lets me know about using material.

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  13. Footnotes more:

    >> https://dailycaller.com/2020/04/10/fbi-russian-disinformation-steele-dossier-trump/ <<

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  14. >> https://pbs.twimg.com/media/EVRCzkFWsAI-Z4j?format=jpg&name=large <<

    Further unredaction expected in coming days.

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  15. Undercover Huber
    @JohnWHuber
    FN334 - HUGE - the “Primary Sub Source” Steele’s entire dossier relied on, told the FBI that he/she “did not view his/her contacts as a network of sources”

    So Steele had 1 source - the PSS - who had *no* sources, just people they shot the breeze with over drinks?

    >> https://twitter.com/JohnWHuber/status/1248700446614728710 <<

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  16. Key point: the Russian disinfo claim pertains only to Michael Cohen material, not the rest of the Dossier allegations.

    I think the rest of the disinfo in the Dossier was fabricated by FusionGPS and fed to Steele either directly or via cut-outs.

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    1. https://twitter.com/JohnWHuber/status/1248726263763738624

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    2. Another way of putting it:

      https://twitter.com/TheLastRefuge2/status/1248732607170465792

      What he means to say is, CIA/FBI wanted to be able to source what they knew to be BS to an identifiable source who could be deemed credible. But they knew it was all BS, as Sidney Powell and JohnHuber say.

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    3. Svetlana:

      As I’ve always said: Steele and Halper had no sources. They made it up.

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  17. John Solomon on Hannity Radio this afternoon apparently reporting DC GJ has issued multiple subpoenae for Durham.

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    1. Knock me down with a feather!

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    2. Oops; "on behalf of," not "for."

      Post in haste; repent in

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  18. We read last week that Durham couldn’t work out a flight to DC in March so he got in his car and drove down. Emmett Tyrrell was the one who wrote about it.

    https://spectator.org/durhams-on-the-way/

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    1. I erred. Tyrell’s articl was dated Wednesday 4/8. A bit from it after he recites the effect Durham’s questions had on the IC types. Rattled them…

      Durham is looking into this controversy and into other matters. He is investigating Brennan’s relationship with the Steele dossier. Was it used in the 2017 assessment? Did former FBI Director James Comey and former Deputy Director Andrew McCabe insist on the dossier being part of the assessment? If so, why? And most importantly, did Brennan dissemble about its use?

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  19. The audio - Solomon on Hannity radio program today:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=t1WyPP26Ilw

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  20. Have listened to some of Solomon’s recording on Hannity. Seems that the subpoenas he mentioned were ones that he had heard of from persons who had received them. Grand jury witnesses. A bit of reinforcement about what Durham has been doing, but the twitter that exploded was apparently a bit overblown, IMO.

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    1. link to Solomon interview:

      >> https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=t1WyPP26Ilw <<

      Lots on interesting details near the end.

      1. subpoenae were for witnesses over the past 4-6 weeks. Not something new.

      2. based on questions witnesses were asked, Solomon concludes one focus of the GJ investigation is "false testimony" (likely to congress.)

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  21. There was no Russian government disinformation. The Steele Dossier was all made up by the conspirators and their stooges.

    What confuses me is that this flurry of misdirection is being directed by an Assistant AG right under Barr's nose, and Johnson and Grassley seem to be going along with it.

    WTF?

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    1. My mind's too full of things. Who is that Asst AG again? It does worry me that there's not more pushback to this narrative. OTOH, Durham is focusing on ICA, which seeks to cement this false narrative in place.

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    2. I'll bet you meant "focusing on ICA, which SOUGHT to cement....".

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    3. Past tense may be better, except in a sense it's still an ongoing thing, so present seems OK to me, too.

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  22. The Assistant Attorney General in charge of 'redactions' is a guy named Stephen Boyd...who came to DOJ with... Jeff Sessions. Sessions? Really?

    Boyd has already raised Trump's ire with his dishonest approach to the Nunes memo: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stephen_Boyd_(attorney)

    In hindsight Boyd was totally wrong on Nunes.

    Here's a link to Boyd's letter to Ron Johnson a few days ago: https://theconservativetreehouse.files.wordpress.com/2020/04/footnote-declassification-1.jpg

    It reads like gobbledygook to me. It purports to clarify Horowitz' footnotes by unredacting them. Instead its more of the same obfuscation. And it promotes the (to my mind ridiculous) theory that Steele, and then the FBI, were mislead by 'Russian' disinformation...

    I see no evidence that anything in the Dossier was legitimate Russian government information (whether ‘dis’ or not, or true or not). I conclude that everything in the Dossier was ‘made up’, either by Steele or Nellie Ohr, or by Glenn Simpson, or by Sidney Blumenthal or Cody Shearer, or by anti-Putin oligarchs or Ukrainians in league with Steele and his masters, or by Stefan Halper… Or by who knows?

    But not by legitimate Russian government officials trying to defeat Mrs Clinton or simply sow chaos.

    There is no reason why the explanation that anything in the Steele Dossier came from Russians attempting to defeat Mrs Clinton makes any sense.

    Why would the Russian government...or anyone speaking for it...trash Trump to bring Clinton down? It makes no sense. There is even some old testimony from Bill Priestap (Strzok's boss) suggesting that he apparently agrees.

    Furthermore we know the Steele Dossier is, bottom line, simply false paid political oppo research. Why would any legitimate Russian government official cooperate with Steele to provide either true or false oppo research? In other words, why would they help Hillary Clinton?

    And would someone please tell me why a single word of the Horowitz report is still redacted? If the purpose of redaction is to protect sources and methods associated with national security activities, what conceivable national security interest is present here since the entire FBI investigation was a hoax?

    As for Barr going along with this...I just don't understand. Could he possibly be letting guys like Boyd continue to hang themselves as disloyal Deep State operatives? 5D chess? Doesn't make sense...

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    1. Thanks. The name Stephen Boyd had slipped off my radar. I fully agree that the Russian disinformation campaign narrative is in fact an IC disinformation campaign narrative--for all the reasons you cite, and more. It bothers me, as well, that Barr doesn't put a stop to that within DoJ. OTOH, the bottom line is John Durham, and a major focus for him--as we've heard repeatedly--is the ICA that tried to cement that false narrative as gospel.

      Re Priestap, however, I read his remarks as quite the opposite of what people like Herridge etc. think he's saying. Reread them.

      Also, IMO Priestap is an idiot, and I believe he was regarded as such by others in FBI leadership. McCabe, Strzok, Page.

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    2. I only mention Priestap because his unconvincing testimony about the rationale for Russian involvement undermines the Deep State narrative.

      Which is not surprising or even terribly important...since the Deep State narrative is all...

      Made Up.

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    3. I'm inclined to think he's dumb enough not to get what was actually going on--or only partially. Nor surprise that he was unable to give a convincing rationale since he probably never thought it through.

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  23. Catherine Herridge has written a pretty good summary of this ridiculously convoluted situation:

    https://www.cbsnews.com/news/footnotes-in-watchdog-report-indicate-fbi-knew-of-risk-of-russian-disinformation-in-the-steele-dossier/

    The gist of the current tempest is that the Crossfire team accumulated increasing amounts of information exculpating the targets at the same time they pursued FISA warrants...and warrant renewals.

    I have no disagreement with the argument that the Crossfire team (and then the Mueller team) ignored exculpatory evidence. My argument is that it is unlikely that the false statements in the Steele Dossier came from the Russian government (or Russian intelligence services). The only conclusion that makes sense is that the false information in the Dossier which was attributed to Russian officials was...

    Made Up.

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    1. Precisely. And accepting the false narrative of the Russian disinformation campaign prevents people from seeing the major role Brennan played *after the election* (Barr!) through the ICA that Durham is so focused on.

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    2. I hope there are counter-espionage guys in FBI writing reports on all this ongoing disinformation from so-called IC sources. The reports will be Exhibits in the Durham prosecutions. Just to clarify for the jury what the "news" has been doing the last 4 years. I wonder how jurors will feel about being lied to.

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    3. "how jurors will feel about being lied to."
      Indeed, most will quite resent it, but Barr's problem will be the handful who'll nullify everything, out of hate for DJT.

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    4. Hate spurred on by the media.

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