Sunday, May 31, 2020

Trump: ANTIFA To Be Designated Terrorist Organization

Very smart move by Trump--as you'd expect:
Donald J. Trump
The United States of America will be designating ANTIFA as a Terrorist Organization.

The Dems have put themselves in the position of having to oppose everything Trump does or says. Now they find themselves having to support terrorists. Yes, they'll try to distinguish between peaceful protestors and their violent base. I predict it's not gonna work. Americans are smart enough to see through that.

First they shut the Blue cities down, now their base is trying to burn the Blue cities down before they can even reopen. And there's an election coming up. See a problem with that scenario?
Wanna bet that Barr and Trump have a well coordinated strategy?

As the riots heated up on Saturday, President Trump tweeted that the culprits were “Antifa and the Radical Left.” Attorney General William Barr similarly pointed out that the rioters and looters were engaging in “Antifa-like tactics.”

Bye, Bye, Boente

Yesterday we learned that Dana Boente--long time Deep State operative in the DoJ, and currently General Counsel at Chris Wray's FBI--was apparently given the choice of being fired or of resigning. He resigned. The General Counsel is essentially the FBI Director's personal lawyer for official business, so it can be assumed that the two work hand in glove together. Nevertheless, reports had it that 

"the decision to dismiss [Boente]came from high levels of the Justice Dept. rather than directly from FBI Director Wray."

I think it's safe to say that this was AG Bill Barr's decision, and that Barr saw no reason to consider anything Wray had to say on the matter. If Barr took that attitude toward firing Wray's right hand man for all things legal pertaining to the FBI, it's hard to see how Wray himself is not on thin ice--despite Barr's typical supportive statements. That's just Barr's style--everything's fine until suddenly they're not fine. 

Monica Showalter has a nice summary of the firing and its possible implications for Wray: Bell tolling for FBI Director Christopher Wray? As a reminder of who Boente is, she quotes sundance:

Dana Boente is enmeshed in all of it: the Wolfe case and cover-up, the Assange case and cover-up, and the hiding of documents in the Flynn case and cover-up.  Boente’s role as a manipulative fixer to protect the ongoing corrupt action of the Mueller probe was exactly why FBI Director Chris Wray hired him.

Boente also signed off on one of the Carter Page FISA renewals, so that could be another thing hanging over his head.

Sundance, of course, has to aim one of his trademark dumb-ass asides at Barr, but I think Showalter gets it exactly right:

Attorney General Bill Barr is a tough player. And the Trump team has already demonstrated that 'you're fired' is a thing.

Trump could have cleaned house before Barr took over. He didn't do it, presumably for good reasons. Barr is doing his housecleaning at his own pace and in his own style. His style is apolitical--actions speak louder than words. Barr's views are well known. He has no need to convince anyone that he's in charge. When the time is right he pulls the trigger, and he doesn't back down. For example, Barr apparently thought Tim Shea was the right guy for the USAO in DC, but when Shea screwed up he was quickly removed, without fanfare. Wray may be about to find out all about Barr's approach to managing.

Saturday, May 30, 2020

Tucker Tells It Like It Really Is

I can't embed this Tucker monologue, but I can highly recommend that you follow the link and watch it:

Tucker: Our leaders have sided with the agents of chaos

It's even better than the title.


Here's a simple question: A police station in a major American city was occupied, looted and burned on Thursday night. Most of us assumed we’d never live to see something like that happen here. But it did happen.

So the question is, has anyone been arrested for doing it? Will anyone ever be arrested?

No one in authority seems especially interested in apprehending the people who did it.


It’s a very different experience from the ones most Americans have living here.

The Flynn Transcripts

A few days ago I suggested that the Flynn Transcripts, when released, woud be a big nothing--in the sense that there would be no revelations of things we didn't know. We all knew that Flynn did nothing wrong. Sean Davis has written a good article () about the actual content of the transcripts, 

Newly released declassified transcripts of call transcripts and summaries between Flynn and Kislyak contradict key claims made against Flynn by former Special Counsel Robert Mueller.

Davis' basic point regarding the dishonesty of Mueller is well taken. In any 1001 False Statement prosecution, the statements in question, as made by the defendant, should actually be false--what a concept, eh? Mueller stands that concept on its head. In the Flynn prosecution the actual false statements were made by the prosecutors, a prosecutorial technique spearheaded over preceding years by the likes of Mueller, Comey, and Weissmann. Example:

According to the charging documents from Mueller, Flynn allegedly falsely claimed to Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI) agents that he did not ask Kislyak to “refrain from escalating” in response to U.S. expulsion of Russian diplomats and falsely claimed that he did not ask Kislyak to help defeat an anti-Israel resolution pending before the United Nations at the time. Mueller also claimed that Flynn lied when he said he didn’t remember Kislyak telling him that Russia would “moderate its response” to the expulsions.

The transcript of the December 29 conversation, which was cited by Mueller, does not include a request from Flynn that Russia “refrain from escalating” in response to U.S. expulsions of Russian diplomats. According to the transcript, Flynn asked Kislyak for Russia’s response to be “reciprocal” so that the U.S.–not Russia–would not be forced to escalate beyond the expulsions.

This is really shocking, even by previous liberal political standards of dishonesty. This type of behavior by prosecutors should be dealt with severely--by prosecuting the prosecutors!

At the end Davis touches on an aspect that interests me, because it deals with something that will play out in the next few days:

Friday, May 29, 2020

Good Read: Gregg Jarrett On Rod Rosenstein

Like Joe diGenova, FoxNews legal analyst Gregg Jarrett is no fan of Rod Rosenstein. He shares his views today:

Jarrett directs plenty of invective Rosenstein's way, beginning with this:

Former Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein is a master of prevarication and deflection. He holds an M.S. in BS and a Ph.D. in vacuous excuses. He’s a professor emeritus of duplicity and deception. As a prodigious suck-up, he’s the Eddie Haskell of lawyers.

We can expect Rosenstein’s skill set to be on full display Wednesday when he finally and belatedly appears before the Senate Judiciary Committee as its first witness in an investigation into the origins and evolution of the fallacious Trump-Russia collusion probe.

However he also gets into substantive matters:

UPDATED: I Was Wrong About 'CR Cuts'

Yesterday a friend pointed out to me that I was mistaken regarding the meaning of a Peter Strzok reference to "CR cuts." For that I apologize. Here's the short version:

Whereas I thought that the words "CR cuts" referred to "tech cuts" associated with the Crossfire Razor, i.e., Michael Flynn case, in fact the reference is to the Steele dossier. 

Now here's the longer explanation.

First, I want to be clear that this changes nothing regarding the Flynn/Kislyak conversations as far as issues of non-minimization or 'unmasking' are concerned. The testimony of disgraced former Director James Comey and of Andrew McCabe is explicit: Those conversations were written up, at least initially, in the form of 'tech cuts' and Flynn's name was not minimized or redacted. The reason for his name was not minimized was that Flynn was already the subject of a Full Investigation and thus fell within the exceptions to the minimization requirements. I've covered all that previously, and it all remains 'operative.' As a reminder, here's what a 'tech cut' is:

In FBI parlance a FISA order is referred to as "technical coverage". Or, simply, a "tech." The typed up summaries of, for example, telephone conversations captured in that way are referred to as "tech cuts" or, commonly, as "cuts."

Thus, I assumed that "CR" meant "Crossfire Razor" and "cuts" meant "tech cuts." However, there's a sort of dual context involved:

1) The context at the time Strzok and Lisa Page were texting, and

2) The context at the time I was writing.

To start with #2, I was writing in the context of new documentary revelations regarding the Flynn case, and debates about whether Flynn's name had ever been masked and, if not, why not. I was able to address those issues successfully, but then wrongly assumed, working from incomplete data, that "CR cuts" fell into the same category. In other words, I assumed that Strzok and Bill Priestap were objecting that DNI James Clapper should not be providing raw tech cuts to the White House. 

Now we turn to #1. Here's the fuller data, the full text thread between Strzok and Page on January 3, 2017, slightly reformatted:

Thursday, May 28, 2020

Is Walid Phares The 'Fifth Man'

H/T emailer Jim.

At the beginning of this month DoJ released a copy of Rod Rosenstein's "scope memo" for Team Mueller, the one dated August 2, 2017 (Rod Rosenstein's Second "Scope Memo" For Team Mueller). The released copy was largely unredacted--in fact, as regards the well known "four Americans" (Flynn, Page, Manafort, Papadopoulos) who were the original subjects of Crossfire Hurricane, the scope memo was totally unredacted. But there was a fifth subject, and that person was totally redacted. Speculation as to the identity of this 'Fifth Man' centered on familiar persons such as Michael Flynn, Jr.

This evening the NYT is reporting:

F.B.I. Once Investigated Trump Campaign Adviser’s Ties to Egypt
Investigators scrutinized ties between Walid Phares and the Egyptian government. He was never charged with a crime.

Wow! "Ties" to Egypt--that sounds pretty serious, and yet he was never charged with a crime. Isn't there some statute in the criminal code that criminalizes "ties"? Am I missing something? Was Walid Phares that mysterious 'Fifth Man'?

While the NYT doesn't offer an absolutely categorical answer to that last question, they certainly hint very strongly that that is the case.

The F.B.I. and the special counsel’s office investigated whether a former Trump campaign adviser secretly worked for the Egyptian government to influence the incoming administration in the months before President Trump took office, according to several people familiar with the inquiry. 
The former adviser, Walid Phares, was one of five Trump campaign aides investigated over their ties to foreign countries. Robert S. Mueller III took over the investigations after he was appointed special counsel in May 2017. 
The decision to investigate Mr. Phares was based on highly classified information, the people said. Investigators examined the matter for months but ultimately brought no charges. 
Though Mr. Mueller’s primary mandate was to examine Russia’s covert operation to sabotage the election and whether any Trump associates conspired, several Trump campaign advisers and transition team members elicited concerns at the F.B.I. because of their overseas contacts and the possibility that a variety of foreign governments might have been trying to secretly use the advisers to advance their agendas. 

If you're wondering whether, once Phares signed on to the Trump campaign, the FBI started scrambling to find out: Who is this guy? Who is Walid Phares? The answer to that question is, Probably not.

The Attacks On Barr Miss The Real Point

Just as Debra Heine got us thinking back to who the real Rod Rosenstein is, this Dan Bongino tweet (below) explains EXACTLY why it's "taking Barr/Durham so long." Even a blogger I really respect, Don Surber, has consistently come out with wrongheaded--and factually mistaken--posts attacking Barr. Today, for example: Barr kicks the unmasking can past the election. Surber appears to believe that "unmasking" is a crime that someone could be indicted for.

Bongino tweets Tucker Carlson exposing exactly who blew the perfect chance to expose the entire Russia Hoax. It wasn't Barr:

News: Bash, Rosenstein, Sullivan

Catching up on the news right now--we can do it quickly.

AG Barr has appointed John Franklin Bash III--currently US Attorney for the Western District of Texas (i.e., San Antonio) to probe more deeply into "certain aspects" of the Deep State unmaskings of Donald Trump and members of his campaign and administration--which is to say, the "certain aspects" will concern unmaskings that took place both "before and after the 2016 election." That's according to FoxNews. DoJ spokeswoman Kerri Kupec noted that while unmasking isn't illegal, what Barr is having Bash examine could play into the bigger picture investigation that John Durham is conducting:

"Unmasking inherently isn't wrong, but certainly, the frequency, the motivation and the reasoning behind unmasking can be problematic, and when you're looking at unmasking as part of a broader investigation -- like John Durham's investigation -- looking specifically at who was unmasking whom, can add a lot to our understanding about motivation and big picture events."

"Big picture?" Can you say "conspiracy"? I sure can. As I noted last night in a comment, Bash will certainly be examining whether any unmaskings can be associated with illegal leaks targeting the Trump administration, which have been rampant right up to the present. However, even unmaskings that cannot be associated with specific criminal acts may be associated with the "big picture" conspiracy. If those unmaskings can be seen to be in furtherance of the conspiracy, they become criminal acts in and of themselves. Obviously Barr thinks that Durham has come up with something that's worth pursuing regarding the unmaskings. He wouldn't be pulling a US Attorney from a major metro area if he didn't think so.

Interestingly, Bash has the distinction of having been one of the very few non-girl law clerks for Brett Kavanaugh.

Moving on.

When the DC Circuit took up the Flynn camp's petition for a mandamus directed at Sullivan, the three judge panel, in addition to ordering Sullivan to respond, "invited" the government to also file a response. DoJ has confirmed, as expected, that they will file a brief that will reiterate the position they stated previously: that the Flynn prosecution should be dismissed with prejudice.

No surprise here. It would have been passing strange if DoJ had ignored the DC Circuit's invitation.

Finally, we learned yesterday that Rod Rosenstein, former Deputy AG and Acting AG and ringmaster for all things Russia Hoax related--especially Team Mueller--will voluntarily testify before the Senate next week. If some really obvious questions are asked--and pressed--Rosenstein's testimony might prove to be of interest. Presumably Senator Graham has consulted with AG Barr about the parameters for Rosenstein's testimony--which may be circumscribed by some prior agreement with Barr and Durham.

The Russia Hoax world seems to be divided into two camps: those who think Rosenstein was either a dupe or a Trump mole in DoJ, and those who regard him as an evil weasel. I'm pretty firmly in the latter camp. In that regard, Debra Heine has dredged up some of Rosenstein's emails dating back to 2017, and it's all highly incriminating as regards Rosenstein's total complicity in the plot against the president. We've seen these before, but it's an excellent reminder--Key Questions Former DAG Rod Rosenstein Should Be Asked at Senate Oversight Hearing Next Week:

Wednesday, May 27, 2020

Rod Rosenstein Was Barney Fife To Team Mueller?

That's what former federal prosecutor shipwreckedcrew is saying today:

Yes -- I think RR is not a "player" in the action.  I think he was "Barney Fife", and the players just needed to keep him on the sidelines and out of their way. So they told him what they thought he needed to know in order to keep him from feeling like he needed to engage more.

12:35 PM · May 27, 2020

So, lemme see if I understand this. The Deputy Attorney General of the United States of America--confirmed as such with the advice and consent of the United States Senate--can approve a Special Counsel investigation without any actual basis or predication, and it's OK as long as he didn't feel engaged? He's not held to any higher standard to determine the basis of the investigation than anyone moron picked at random? He's not in any way responsible for the ensuing grotesque false prosecutions and violations of civil rights? In other words, he walks? Really?

I think I'm with John Dowd on this one. In fact I know I'm with John Dowd.

Kevin Brock Dissects Strzok's CH Opening EC

Predication. It's impossible to stress the importance of this concept too much when evaluating the attempted lawfare coup against President Trump that we know as the Russia Hoax. Kevin Brock, a former assistant director of intelligence for the FBI, has a fine article at The Hill today in which he walks through the Strzok Opening EC for Crossfire Hurricane. We covered this in The Crossfire Hurricane Opening EC--Predication And The Way Forward. Brock provides additional perspective that I believe most will find informative. In fact, his article, New FBI document confirms the Trump campaign was investigated without justification, works well as a followup to Gregg Jarrett's interview article with John Dowd. Whereas Dowd focuses on the responsibility of key prosecutors--Rod Rosenstein and Robert Mueller--Brock looks at the document that those prosecutors would ultimately have had to rely upon. If they had been men of integrity, not intent on framing and removing the president. Stylisticly, I find the opening paragraph very strong:

UPDATED: John Dowd: Mueller And Rosenstein Should Not Walk

Brian Cates won't like this, but President Trump's attorney during the Mueller Witchhunt, John Dowd, is saying that Rod Rosenstein needs to be held to account. This is included in a Gregg Jarrett at Fox: Trump attorney accuses Mueller of 'monstrous lie and scheme to defraud'

The fact that Dowd believes he was lied to and deliberately misled by Mueller isn't news. What's of interest in the article is Dowd's take on how the entire DoJ/FBI campaign against Trump relied on the Steele Dossier--a document they knew to be discredited. It is for this act of corruption that Dowd says Rod Rosenstein must be held to account:

They used it as a pretext to spy on the Trump campaign and investigate the president. This led to the illegitimate appointment of the special counsel, Bob Mueller, who launched an investigation in search of a crime that never occurred. As Dowd correctly stated in his letter, the special counsel appointment was “void” because it was the product of corruption. 
On Tuesday, Dowd called Mueller’s investigation and report a sham. “They knew there was nothing there.” Dowd said that Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein also knew it and is “just as guilty.” 
Dowd said he hopes that U.S. Attorney John Durham, who is currently investigating the Russia hoax, would hold all of them to account for their rampant corruption and dishonesty. “Their three-year investigation was all phony,” he observed.       
Trump’s attorney concluded our conversation with these words: 
“They knew there was nothing to investigate. People subverted the system of justice. One corrupt act after another. It’s staggering. The lies were monstrous. It was all pretense and fraud. Mueller should not walk. Rod Rosenstein should not walk.”

Once again: Predication.

UPDATE: Rosenstein to testify as part of Graham's Russia investigation probe

Rosenstein, in a statement, confirmed that he would testify. 
"I am grateful to Chairman Graham for the opportunity to testify before the Senate Judiciary Committee about information that has come to light concerning the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act process and the FBI’s counterintelligence decision-making, as a result of completed inquiries by Department of Justice Inspector General Michael Horowitz and ongoing reviews by U.S. Attorneys John Durham and Jeff Jensen," he said. 

Tuesday, May 26, 2020

What Went Wrong?

Apologies in advance if this post seems unduly self absorbed. I can't help it. To me it was personally important and I believe this history remains important to understanding the present. It's necessarily incomplete, but it's hopefully a start.


It's finally happening. Throughout the ongoing Russia Hoax coup attempt there has been no lack of criticism of the FBI. That's only natural, since two of the leading protagonists--as chronicled at this blog--have been the most recent two directors of the FBI: Robert Mueller and the now disgraced James Comey. However, much of the attention that the FBI has received has been focused more on the crimes and misdeeds of a limited group of indiviudals. It's true that many pundits have questioned the FBI's institutional culture--how could the FBI have gone so wrong? Usually this has played out within a narrative of "good" field Special Agents (SAs or simply "agents") versus "bad" HQ schemers. What's finally happening is that retired agents are beginning to speak out, offering a perspective on organizational developments that were part of led to a transformation of the FBI from its formerly pristine image (deserved or not) to the systemically corrupt organization that the nation now sees.

A major impetus to this willingness of retired agents to speak out--if only in short tweets--has been the 2018 article by retired Supervisory Special Agent (SSA) James Gagliano: Robert Mueller and the 'up or out' management policy that damaged the FBI.  Gagliano was certainly correct to draw attention to Mueller's role in the transformation of the FBI from its role as the "premier law enforcement agency" (and also the lead counterintelligence agency) in the United States to a major player in the globalist world of Deep State power politics. Unfortunately, Gagliano writes from a viewpoint that is more narrowly focused on the grievances of former Bureau managers. While those grievances are real, in my view a longer range historical perspective is necessary if we are to fully understand the significance of what has come to pass. What I think we are seeing is the end result of Congress' decision, following the death of Director Hoover, to integrate the FBI fully into the federal legal bureaucracy and, fatefully, after 9/11, the new centralized Deep State: The Intelligence Community. A key part of this process has been the decision to turn leadership of the FBI to former federal judges and career prosecutors who have imposed a managerial style ill suited to the real problems facing the FBI.

Perhaps a bit of autobiography will help get us started on this trip, moving from the past to the present.

How Deep Will Durham Go?

If Adam Housley is to be credited, the Durham investigation will go beyond the Russia Hoax and may get into issues that ultimately relate to the fake impeachment. Here's my reasoning.

Today Housley tweeted:

The corruption runs deep and through both parties and it ain’t gonna look good when it’s all said and done. 
It ain’t about Republican and Democrat anymore…it really isn’t. People were given the opportunity to do the right thing and some chose wrong. It’s about right versus wrong. 
Names to watch…McMaster. Rosenstein….McCain. This crosses party lines and you all need to be prepared. This isn’t about being pro Trump, or anti Trump. You ALL need to understand that….and you need to be willing to call it out irrespective of party. 
Major issues within the FBI. An agency that I love as you guys know. But major issues. Sides being taken and even amongst former agents, a lot of frustration. Especially outside of headquarters. 
Wray should have cut out the cancer and didn’t.

The key here, I think, is McMaster. With Rosenstein and McCain we're basically talking about the Russia Hoax, pure and simple. True, Rosenstein's involvement in the Mueller Witchhunt leads to impeachment, but not directly. I think we can distinguish Rosenstein from McMaster in that regard.

While it's true that with McMaster we could be dealing with leaks, nevertheless the fact that McMaster took Eric Ciaramella as his personal aide is highly suggestive. It's a far more direct link to fake impeachment than anything else we can come up with.

If Durham is seriously looking at McMaster--as I very much hope--then Barr's characterization of the Durham investigation as "sprawling" takes on a whole new meaning.

Grennell's Final Declassifications

FoxNews has a story out about formerly Acting DNI Grennell's final declassifications--Grenell declassifies slew of Russia probe files, as Ratcliffe takes helm as DNI. It will now be up to new DNI John Ratcliffe to decide which of the newly declassified documents will be made public. Of course the story leads with what, to my mind, will end up being a non-story--the call transcripts of Kislyak and Flynn. However there is mention of a document that is undoubtedly near the heart of the Durham investigation. It has to do with "manipulation of intelligence," which undoubtedly concerns John Brennan's "shaping" of the ICA, which was the basis for all subsequent coup and fake impeachment efforts. In that case, it's possible that Ratcliffe--undoubtedly in consultation with Barr/Durham--will withhold that document for the time being. As a former USA himself, Ratcliffe will fully understand whatever the dynamics are in that decision:

The documents include transcripts of phone calls that then-incoming National Security Adviser Michael Flynn and then-Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak had in December 2016, during the presidential transition period. Grenell said publicly last week that he was in the process of declassifying those files, after House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff, D-Calif., asked that he do so. 
Fox News has learned that the declassification review of those transcripts is now complete, and it will be left up to Ratcliffe on whether to release them publicly. 
Fox News has learned that Grenell also completed the declassification review of other documents related to the origins of the Russia probe — including one that a senior intelligence official told Fox News was “very significant in understanding how intelligence was manipulated to support launching the Russia investigation.” 
The official could not provide further details on that newly declassified document, but said that it will also be up to Ratcliffe to decide whether to make it public.

Speaking with Tucker Carlson, FoxNews' Ed Henry focused on the documentation regarding the Intelligence Community Assessment (ICA), stating that, if some of the other newly declassified documents are released, "it could get sticky for John Brennan in particular, because of some of the other info":

Major New Post In Process

Well, maybe that's a bit grandiose, but at least I'll be working hard at it. We'll see how it turns out. I'll try to be enabling comments fairly promptly but may not be participating too much. Unless we get significant new revelations.

Monday, May 25, 2020

Did Sullivan Help Set Comey Up With An Endowed Chair At Howard U.?

In September, 2017, after his role in the ambush interview and subsequent firing of Michael Flynn was well known, disgraced former FBI Director James Comey gave an address at Howard University in Washington, DC.:

Comey, who was appointed FBI director by President Obama in 2013 to lead the FBI, was fired by President Trump in May. His dismissal provoked the appointment of Robert Mueller, himself a former FBI director, as the special counsel tasked with investigating Russian interference in the 2016 election.
Howard University named Comey an endowed chair in public policy last month, with his $100,000 salary going to provide scholarships to the school. "I look forward to contributing to this remarkable institution and engaging students and faculty alike," Comey said in a statement upon his hiring.

The Gateway Pundit is reporting that Emmet Sullivan was instrumental in getting that set up, although apparently misstating details:

Judge Sullivan worked with President [Wayne] Frederick to get Jim Comey as a guest speaker for a $100,000 fee.

TGP states that its lengthy blog on Sullivan's friends and family is based on material provided in large part by Yaacov Apelbaum.

I haven't seen Sullivan's role in this confirmed elsewhere, although he is a prominent alumnus of Howard U. If true, this would shed startling light on Sullivan's egregious and controversial actions as well as his words throughout proceedings in the Flynn case. The propriety of Sullivan not recusing himself also comes into question.

Sunday, May 24, 2020

Undercover Huber's Analysis Of The Railroading of Papadopoulos

Earlier today Undercover Huber posted a masterful thread exposing the railroading of George Papadopoulos by Team Mueller. You can read it all here, but I want to highlight the part that really struck me, which has to do with Papadopoulos's initial appearance before a federal magistrate. This occurred the day after he was arrested at Dulles Airport, after reentering the US without the cash that had been planted on him in hopes of setting him up on a money laundering charge. It looks to me like a classic violation of the Right to Counsel.

The more you read about the Papadopoulos case the more you're impressed with how hard Team Mueller and the FBI worked at framing him. The sheer malevolence--the word UC Huber uses--is pretty stunning.

Here are those excerpts re the initial appearance:

Undercover Huber

That sealed Court appearance in Virginia lasted 4 mins, was delayed by hrs (GP left detention for the courthouse at 08:30am, it didn't start until 03:02pm) & was presided over by only a Magistrate Judge (who then just transferred case to DC) who spelled BVGs name wrong as "Gratt”.
11:48 AM · May 24, 2020

Papadoupolos wasn’t represented by Counsel at that initial appearance, even though he had been represented by the same Counsel (Thomas Breen and co.) since Feb 2017, who had attended multiple FBI interviews with him too. The Mag Judge wasn’t made aware of this by the SCO.

Yet GP's Counsel (Mr. Breen) had been informed of GP's arrest and spoken to GP twice the night before  (see FD-302 extracts) & knew of his court appearance the next day (see extract from Politico interview) So this "obstruction" charge is really going “by the book” so far .

The overall effect on the disorientated @GeorgePapa19 appears to have been profound. He describes in his book how he took the “serious jail time” threat seriously, fearing spending *25 years in prison.* Note: he'd never even been arrested before & had no Counsel present to help.

What GP's lawyers could've said at that initial hearing is out of scope of this thread - they could've noted GP didn't even commit those alleged crimes in "D.C" (they took place in Illinois, so the venue was wrong) & his lawyers *personally knew the obstruction charge was false*

Now here is Undercover Huber's overall conclusion, which he wrote up separately. Obviously I don't agree with UC Huber's notion that Barr and Durham are about to let Kevin Clinesmith off "scot free." Nevertheless, the narrative is compelling, and I wouldn't want to be in Clinesmith's shoes when it comes time to pay the piper.

UPDATED: Recommended Read: Curiously Odd Decision By Judge Sullivan to Hire Beth Wilkinson

Shipwreckedcrew hereby solidifies his reputation as an experienced prosecutor who is able to explain complex legal matters in everyday language. While I don't fully agree with his conclusion, the whole piece is worth your time to read to get the big picture of what's going on.

Curiously Odd Decision By Judge Sullivan to Hire Beth Wilkinson

The fairly lengthy article summarizes the entire Flynn case, obviously glossing over the earlier parts:

Just when you thought the Gen. Flynn case couldn’t get any more weird.
Let’s briefly recap the madness:

However, I want to urge readers not to skip over the early parts. You may think it's old history, but I want to suggest that it may explain why AG Barr thought it might be a wise move to allow the Flynn case to play out in Sidney Powell's capable ends--that it was already winding down to its logical conclusion quite rapidly, and it would be better to avoid a controversial intervention until the reason for intervening was patently clear.

From that perspective, I think the summary helps to show that that's exactly what was going on--until Sullivan ran totally off all judicial rails, appointing himself prosecutor.

Read it with an open mind. Yes, this is a major case in the Russia Hoax. Nevertheless, Barr has bigger fish to fry--and those fish will be even more controversial. Therefore he needs to proceed methodically to set the groundwork for those coming prosecutions, while avoiding an appearance of stage managing processes that are supposed to be handled at the US Attorney level.

But then by all means move on to the question of Sullivan hiring Beth Wilkinson:

Saturday, May 23, 2020

MULTIPLE UPDATES: Remarkable: Sullivan Hires Hugely Expensive Lawyer

I can think of two possible reasons for this off hand. 

One reason is that Sullivan may possibly fear disciplinary action for his contumacious actions--contumacious toward obvious DC Circuit precedent. He may feel he needs help in fending off the consequences of his action.

The other reason may be that he feels he needs help in explaining his actions. I have a problem with this, however, in that the Court of Appeals ordered the "district judge" (Sullivan) to respond. I took it that that meant the Court of Appeals wanted Sullivan's own explanation for his actions. Like TechnoFog (also below) I have to wonder whether the Court of Appeals will even allow this--who ever heard of a judge calling in a boutique defense lawyer to explain an order he has given, when the Appeals Court has asked him for an explanation? If he can't explain his own orders he should step down. Is he really flipping the Appeals Court off?

All things considered, I have to go with the first alternative, but we shall see. 

The federal judge who refused a Justice Department request to immediately drop the prosecution of former Trump adviser Michael Flynn has hired a high-profile trial lawyer to argue his reasons for investigating whether dismissing the case is legally or ethically appropriate. 
In a rare step that adds to this criminal case’s already unusual path, U.S. District Judge Emmet G. Sullivan has retained Beth Wilkinson to represent him in defending his decision to a federal appeals court in Washington ... 
Wilkinson, known for her top-notch legal skills and get-results style, is expected to file a notice with the court in the coming week about representing the judge. ... 
A federal judge doesn’t typically hire private counsel to respond to an appeals court, ... 
Sullivan also asked retired New York judge John Gleeson to examine whether Flynn may have committed perjury while pleading guilty to lying about his pre-inauguration contacts with Russia’s ambassador. Flynn’s lawyers then accused Sullivan of bias and asked the U.S. Court of Appeals to intervene. 
On Thursday, that higher court took the extraordinary step of ordering Sullivan to answer within 10 days. The court also invited the Justice Department to comment. 
Wilkinson, a go-to advocate for prominent officials snared in major Washington investigations and high-stakes legal battles, now joins the fray. Wilkinson represented Justice Brett M. Kavanaugh when he was a Supreme Court nominee and battling accusations he had sexually assaulted Christine Blasey Ford when they were both teens. Her firm also represented [Cheryl Mills] longtime confidant of Hillary Clinton amid an investigation into whether Clinton, then secretary of state, had mishandled classified information while trying to avoid using government emails.

Mike Davis and TechnoFog ask a highly pertinent question:

On FBI Inspections

Yesterday's announcement by current FBI Director Chris Wray that the FBI's Inspection Division would be, what else, inspecting bad behavior by the FBI in the Michael Flynn case was greeted with considerable derision. About time! was about the mildest comment.

Shipwreckedcrew is a former federal prosecutor who has become a bit of an overnight sensation on the conservative interwebs--deservedly so, since he offers knowledgeable insight on legal/prosecutive matters in an easily understood style. Noting the rough reception Wray's announcement received, shipwreckedcrew attempted to defend the FBI's Inspection Division. Judging from the tone of his article this morning at RedState, Visits By FBI Inspections Division Can Have Real Consequences — Heads Often Roll, it seems he must have received a fair amount of pushback from former agents. Deservedly so. Here's how the article begins:

The announcement on Friday that FBI Dir. Christopher Wray has ordered FBI Inspections Division to look into the FBI’s activity in the investigation of General Michael Flynn was met with quite a bit of skepticism and cynicism.  I made some efforts on Twitter to convince readers that within the FBI the Inspections Division is taken seriously, and their arrival at a particular field office is normally a circumstance filled with dread. 
Based on my own discussions with FBI agents over the years, the general sentiment from the “rank and file” in the offices subjected to inspections is that they believe the inspection team shows up knowing that certain people  have been targeted for “scrutiny”, and that a visit from the Inspections Division is really to “collect some scalps”. 
I think a bit of background on how inspections in the FBI are conducted might help readers understand why I have this view.

He goes on to explain how inspections are conducted--an accurate account in the "by the book" sense. He spends a fair amount of time describing how regular inspections of FBI Field Divisions are conducted. However, the Inspection Division is not confined to those types of inspections and can be called in for specific issues or to examine the handling of specific cases--such as the Flynn case. Here's his overview of the process, which can be tweaked to apply to most cases:

A Cuban American Perspective On Lockdown Violations

I know you won't be exactly blow away by this, and may not even consider it news, but ...

Poll: Democrats Much More Likely Than Republicans to Snitch on Neighbors for 'Lockdown' Violations

Nevertheless it's worth reading, as further documentation of our ongoing Culture Wars. Sample:

“Democrats are far more likely than Republicans to say they’d report neighbors for holding a social gathering in violation of coronavirus stay-at-home orders, according to a new Just the News Daily Poll with Scott Rasmussen. 
“There is a huge partisan difference,” Rasmussen said. “By a 44% to 31% margin, a plurality of Democrats would turn in their neighbors. By a 60% to 25% margin, Republicans would not." 
Any more questions about why Cuban-Americans register majority Republican, and why many of us have an instinctive—almost visceral—revulsion to many Democrat policies? 
Though not mentioned, even by the conservative media, with regard to this issue, Castroite Cuba is the historic prototype of a snitch society.
Maybe it was a coincidence that New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio—a Democrat who honeymooned in Cuba and quoted Che Guevara during his micro-campaign--seemed particularly fond of installing neighborhood snitch/rat groups in his realm.

Friday, May 22, 2020

MAJOR UPDATE: File Under: Where Do They Find Time?

As if dealing with FISA abuse and all isn't enough, OIG's plate is kept full with matters such as these:

Significant findings:

The OIG investigation found that the SAC sexually harassed six subordinate employees while serving as the SAC and two subordinate employees while serving in a previous position as a Section Chief at FBI Headquarters, failed to report an intimate relationship with a subordinate, engaged in actions following the end of that relationship that created a hostile work environment for the subordinate, and lacked candor during the SAC’s interview with the OIG, all in violation of FBI policy. The OIG investigation also found that the SAC violated the Department of Justice’s zero tolerance policy with respect to sexual harassment. 
The OIG has completed its investigation and provided its report to the FBI for appropriate action.

One suspects that the zero tolerance policy is honored in the breach until such time as it can no longer be ignored or swept under a rug.

UPDATE: Adam Mills has a nice article on the general topic, Justice Department Protects Its Own from Tax Prosecution, (which in turn contains a link to a much longer article by Eric Felten, Accused in Justice Dept.'s Upper Echelon, and Innocent Until Scot-Free).

The general topic, of course, is how to deal with corruption among those charged with upholding societal standards of morality, as embodied in the laws. I remember as a very young first office agent (that's Bureau lingo--we were transferred several times in our careers) getting into an argument with another first office agent, also a lawyer. He maintained that the laws we enforced had nothing to do with morality. It was wrong to disobey the laws simply because the laws were the laws. He later rose to a fairly high level in the Bureau, and I was reminded of him when I recently saw his name on the list of 2000 former DoJ/FBI officials calling on AG Barr to resign over the dismissal of charges against Michael Flynn. I was mildly gratified to see how few ex-Bureau people had signed on.

More broadly, Wikipedia has an informative article Quis custodiet ipsos custodes? that summarizes the dilemma nicely. As I have urged in the past, the dilemma becomes especially pressing when the highest standard for conduct becomes--as it seems to be in modern America--a purely positivist one, usually measured by the criminal law or the strictures of PC think. It then, logically, reduces morality to whatever you can get away with. If Bill Haydon is right that the intelligence services are the measure of a society's help, we're in a bad way.

Anyway, Wikipedia:

Quis custodiet ipsos custodes? is a Latin phrase found in the work of the Roman poet Juvenal from his Satires (Satire VI, lines 347–348). It is literally translated as "Who will guard the guards themselves?", though it is also known by variant translations, such as "Who watches the watchers?" and "Who will watch the watchmen?". 
The original context deals with the problem of ensuring marital fidelity, though the phrase is now commonly used more generally to refer to the problem of controlling the actions of persons in positions of power, an issue discussed by Plato in the Republic. 
This phrase is used generally to consider the embodiment of the philosophical question as to how power can be held to account. It is sometimes incorrectly attributed as a direct quotation from Plato's Republic in both popular media and academic contexts. There is no exact parallel in the Republic, but it is used by modern authors to express Socrates' concerns about the guardians, the solution to which is to properly train their souls.

Who will guard the guardians? It's none of your business, but since you ask, the guardians will guard themselves--which is the whole incentive for becoming a guardianin the first place. That seems to be where we're at. You can tell from the howls of rage from the elite when AG Barr suggests the some standards of right and wrong actually have objective value.

UPDATED: Four Important Reads: Liberal Schadenfreude

While waiting for whether there will be late Friday revelations in the aggregated Russia Hoax scandal, here are four important stories on major shakeups in the Left Universe--as Thomas Lifson describes it at AmThinker: Media, Higher Education, Government Schools (aka "public" schools), the organs of mass indoctrination. Start with Lifson's thoughtful article:

Propaganda organs of the left hard hit by lockdown

The nation’s blue state governors seem to be far more enthusiastic about lockdowns than their red state counterparts, perhaps because they recognize that the small businesses being driven toward extinction are a key component of the GOP base. But if their motives are so ruthless, perhaps they need to reckon with the damage being done to the key propaganda organs of the left: progressive media, higher education, and government schools.

From there he covers the three bases of mass indoctrination, and the forces shaking their foundations.

Also at AmThinker, Monica Showalter takes a specific example--and it's delish:

Schadenfreude: Mommy Warbucks shuts her purse on The Atlantic's lefty denizens

The Lefty social revolutionaries thought they were shielded from the real world because they had The Billionaires on their side, not hated greedy shareholders. Joke's on you, suckers!

Here Showalter quotes Forbes

Thursday, May 21, 2020

UPDATED: Overall Looks Like A Favorable DC Circuit Panel For Flynn

The three judges who are handling Powell's Petition for a Writ of Mandamus are:

Neomi Rao - Trump; notable:

In an October 11, 2019, opinion of a three-judge panel of the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit, Rao was the dissent in a 2-1 ruling to affirm a district court ruling supporting a congressional subpoena for President Trump's records from accounting firm Mazars USA LLP. Her opinion stated, "allegations of illegal conduct against the president cannot be investigated by Congress except through impeachment."

Karen LeCraft Henderson George H. W. Bush; notable:

In February 2020, Henderson joined the opinion of Circuit Judge Thomas B. Griffith when the majority held that the United States House Committee on the Judiciary could not enforce a subpoena upon President Trump's former White House Counsel, Don McGahn.

Robert L. Wilkins - Obama

Sullivan has ten days to respond to Powell's petition. Sidney Powell comments: "The short time-table recognizes the seriousness of the issue to the proper administration of justice." Also, note that the court specifically invites a response from the government.

UPDATE 1: shipwreckedcrew:

In more than 30 years of practicing law, almost exclusively in federal courts, I have never seen a federal appeals court direct a district court judge to personally respond to a litigant’s motion, petition, or appeal.

Flynn was fortunate to draw the panel he did. It consists of Karen LeCraft Henderson, a Bush 41 appointee, Naomi Rao, a Trump appointee, and Robert Wilkins, who was appointed by Obama.
That panel’s order is “per curiam.” There is no indication that Judge Wilkins disagreed with it.

Hans Mahncke:

Hans Mahncke
The D.C. Circuit just asked Sullivan to answer this exact question, i.e. on what basis does he claim to have discretion not to dismiss? He could have asked the parties to write briefs. Now he's been ordered to do it himself. 
Quote Tweet

Hans Mahncke
 · May 13
The only legitimate question that Sullivan can ask is whether he has any discretion not to dismiss? That’s it. If he thinks he might have some discretion then he should either figure it out himself or ask the lawyers to write briefs. Instead, he’s allowing the mob to smear Flynn. 
5:51 PM · May 21, 2020

If you can't get enough of this:

UPDATE 2: Here's the unrolled thread by John M. Reeves that commenter EZ pointed to. Very thorough explanation:

DiGenova On The Flynn/Kislyak Call

Appearing on the Howie Carr show this week, Joe diGenova weighed in on the non-unmasking of Michael Flynn with regard to the famous Flynn/Kislyak call. DiGenova comes down on the side of those who say that the the monitoring of the call was not done by traditional FISA means as I've described them--picking Flynn up on the FISA for the Russian embassy. You can get a good link here, with the relevant portion near the end. Here's a word for word transcript of what Joe says:

I think it's going to become pretty clear that Michael Flynn was NOT unmasked but was rather the subject of a separate intelligence electronic surveillance by a foreign intelligence service at the request of John Brennan. Most likely the United Kingdom GCHQ, which is their NSA. When you look at the timeline in all the of the unmaskings of Flynn, those were done within a timeline that shows that the Kislyak conversation was not conducted in the United States. The Kislyak conversation was when Flynn was in the Dominican Republic and Kislyak was in Moscow for the Orthodox Christian Christmas, which is January 2nd. And so that means that in order for them to be wiretapped and have their calls intercepted that had to be done by a foreign power. And if you do that at the request of the United States, and you know that a US person is your target, and not Kislyak, that is a crime. That is a violation of federal law. You cannot wiretap an American citizen overseas under circumstances like that.

I want this on the record so that, if I turn out to be wrong, anyone who wants to rub my nose in it will have a good point of reference. Sitting here right now I see many problems with what Joe says.

First, what Joe has right--and I don't mean to sound flippant when I say that. He's right that to have targeted Flynn while he was overseas (in the Dominican Republic) in the absence of a FISA order on Flynn would have been illegal.

The problems start with the statement that "Kislyak was in Moscow for the Orthodox Christian Christmas, which is January 2nd." The Russian Orthodox Christmas is NOT on January 2nd. The Russian Orthodox Christmas is actually on January 7th--about nine days after the phone call, which was on December 29th.

The Crossfire Hurricane Opening EC--Predication And The Way Forward

Late yesterday a redacted version of the Crossfire Hurricane Opening EC was released to Judicial Watch. Hopefully a cleaner version will be out in the not too distant future. I understand that AG Barr is playing all of this close to the vest as John Durham prepares his case, but the redaction of information that We The People really should have access to is offensive. After all, we all know what the redactions are about: The identity of foreign governments and their operatives--and some of our own operatives--who colluded in a coup attempt against the established government of the United States. Democracy dies in darkness, as the WaPo has taken to saying, and the identities of all governments and operatives who conspired against our constitutional order need to be made known.

That said, the Opening EC--a Peter Strzok production--is as absurd as expected. Here's the gist of it, actually a very lightly edited paraphrase. It really is as threadbare in terms of predication as this summary indicates:

The [Redacted - but presumed to be Australian] government had been seeking prominent members of the Donald Trump campaign in which to engage to prepare for potential post-election relations should Trump be elected U.S. President. One of the people identified was George Papadopoulos. Mr. Papdopoulos was located in [Redacted - presumed London] so the [Redacted - presumed to be Alexander Downer] met with him on several occasions, with [Redacted] attending at least one of the meetings.

Note what's being said there. Against all odds, this Australian/US operative who claimed to be seeking "prominent members of the Trump campaign" came up with George Papadopoulos. (It tells you something about our Embassy/CIA staff that they were unable to identify the correct spelling of such a common Greek name.) We're supposed to believe that after active consideration of the possible candidates in the Trump campaign one of the top Australian diplomats decide to spend his time cultivating the likes of George Papadopoulos. Not only that, but it's clear from a quick read between the lines that Papadopoulos was not a target of opportunity--he had to be "located". IOW, Downer, or his US handlers, went looking for Papadopoulos, a sort of Quest for the Ideal Fallguy.

Wednesday, May 20, 2020

Super Thread By @JohnWHuber Re Manafort Case--And More!

Undercover Huber has done a deep dive and dug up some remarkable information regarding Team Mueller's tactics in the Paul Manafort case--but with ramifications (which he goes into, as well) for the Flynn and Cohen cases. The thread is quite long, but here's a link to it unrolled.

Why am I dwelling on this past history, when the Russia Hoax is unraveling before our eyes--so it certainly seems--with the revelation of the absurd opening EC for the Crossfire Hurricane case? I think it's worthwhile to take another look at the appalling "legal" tactics that the Left leveled at innocent people in order to take out the President the country had elected. The cynicism and corruption is beyond what most of us could imagine.

Here's the short version regarding Manafort--follow the link for the rest.

Team Mueller decided that if they were ever going to force Manafort to lie about President Trump (NB: he never did) they would need to somehow drag Manafort's attorney in front of their grand jury and force the attorney to testify against his client, Manafort. You read that right. That's exactly what they did, and they used similar tactics in the other cases, as well.

That's a tough trick to pull off, and so they decided that they needed to create a media buzz to play up the idea of Russian "collusion" and what a threat to National Security Paul Manafort was--right before the secret hearing before Judge Beryl Howell. How to do it?

The way Team Mueller seized upon was to leak a fake news story to CNN the day before the first hearing before Judge Howell. How fake was the story? Totally fake. They had CNN publish a story stating that the FBI had obtained a FISA warrant--no, wait, it was actually TWO FISA warrants, because Manafort was that bad of a dude. Here's the bombshell part of the article:

US government wiretapped former Trump campaign chairman
Some of the intelligence collected includes communications that sparked concerns among investigators that Manafort had encouraged the Russians to help with the campaign, according to three sources familiar with the investigation. Two of these sources, however, cautioned that the evidence is not conclusive.

Special counsel Robert Mueller's team, which is leading the investigation into Russia's involvement in the election, has been provided details of these communications.

See how well sourced the story was? Not just one source--three sources! And since it came from a FISA that would mean that the FBI had recorded conversations (or perhaps other communications) of Trump's former campaign manager encourage the Russians--God help us, THE RUSSIANS!--take down our democracy and destroy our way of life, inflicting the Orange Man on an unsuspecting nation.

But it was all BS. Totally BS. But that's the great thing about FISA warrants--they're secret. So how was Judge Howell to know whether any of this was true? But it sure sounded like Team Mueller was hot on the trail of the second most dangerous man in the world. Second only to Numero Uno, the Orange Man, Donald J. Trump, now ensconced in the White House thanks only to that Evil Genius, Vlad "The Impaler of Democracies" Putin. And, of course, the inbred idiots in Flyover Country.

But, to repeat: It was all BS.

Endorsement Of My "Theory"

Once again: It ain't a theory.

A long time prosecutor endorses my explanation of what went down with the Flynn/Kislyak overhear (the linked article cites my explanation extensively):

Based on my experience, this is the best explanation for where the Flynn/Kislyak call info came from. Regular interception of Russian Embassy Comms -- by Ambassador and others -- done by FBI Counter-Intelligence section on a continual basis.
Classified Leak Against Michael Flynn Didn’t Come From An ‘Unmasking’ Request, Analysis Suggests 
Gen. Flynn was the subject of a CI investigation under Crossfire Hurricane/Razor. He would not have been "masked" in these "tech cuts" which are for internal use only. This kind of data is accumulated by intel analysts and then pushed out to case agents who have "need to know".  
That would have included the CH/CR case agents. But they made no use of it in their investigation, which leads to the conclusion that they saw nothing in the "tech cuts" of the Flynn/Kislyak calls that supported the basis for opening the counterintel investigation on Gen. Flynn.  
And this explains why on Jan 5 Comey had nothing of substance to tell Obama and others in terms of what Flynn and Kislyak had discussed -- only that the number of conversations seemed "unusual."  
If there was anything truly sig[nificant] in any of the calls, the tech cuts would have been referenced in some investigation somewhere, and Comey would have gone over such information with Obama and the others in that Jan 5 meeting. Rice's memo confirms that he did not. 

This is actually an almost classical application of Occam's Razor--not to be confused with Crossfire Razor.

Yesterday I heard a smart lawyer (Joe diGenova) agreeing with another smart lawyer (Andy McCarthy) that the CIA must have been spying on Flynn from overseas. Uh, why? Why would smart lawyers come up with complicated explanations of a very simple fact situation?

We know that the FBI conducts non-stop monitoring of the Russian Embassy Comms. Therefore, if Flynn communicated with the ambassador--which he did--then the FBI would inevitably capture that conversation. The Russians knew it, Flynn knew it, you and I know it. Even if the conversation had--in addition to the FBI capture--been captured in some other way, the FBI capture of the conversation would be the easiest and least controversial way to document what had happened--so you go with that!

And that's exactly what happened, as the FBI has be happy to tell the world. The FBI captured the conversation. The FBI wrote it up in "tech cuts." The FBI gave the tech cuts to James Clapper, and Clapper gave it to the White House. Boom. End of story.

UPDATED: Susan Rice: The WH Counsel Told Me To Write It

So Senator Ron Johnson's earlier speculation in the course of a Fox News interview turned out to be well informed speculation. Johnson stated that the Susan Rice email-to-self read like something she was told to write by--Johnson suggested--the White Counsel. That is confirmed by Gillian Turner, citing Rice's "team":

Gillian Turner
@AmbassadorRice’s team confirms to #FoxNews that she was directed by White House Counsel to write the Jan 20, 2017 memorandum documenting an Oval Office meeting in which President Obama & National Security officials discussed #MichaelFlynn.
12:08 PM · May 20, 2020

The White House Counsel at that point would have been long time Clintonista Neil Eggleston.

Remember the FBI's Flynn FD-302? It took weeks to write and turned out to be a team effort. Maybe the Rice email-to-self was like that. We know it took weeks to write, and now Senator Johnson's suggestion that it was a team effort may turn out to be right on the money. And after all, if you wanted to CYA, wouldn't you prefer to have a legal operative like Eggleston do it rather than a Susan Rice?

No doubt John Durham will want to discuss this with Eggleston. In front of a Grand Jury.

UPDATE 1: shipwreckedcrew has an article at RedState that parses the Rice email-to-self--and related correspondence--in excruciating detail. Based on that parsing he poses the question: Has Susan Rice Made Herself a “Target” for Durham Probe With Langauge in Her CYA Memo? His answer is: Yes.

Shipwreckedcrew argues that the email actually represents Obama's own self serving version of his meeting with Comey and Yates. He concludes, based on that understanding (which I agree with):

Andy McCarthy has posited — convincingly in my view — that the true purpose of the Memorandum written by Rice was to allow Pres. Obama to point the finger of blame at Comey for whatever might happen in the aftermath of the transition into power of the Trump Administration.  According to Rice’s Memorandum, Pres. Obama told Comey to do everything “by the book”, and if Comey did not do so then Comey — and only Comey — was to blame. 
Did Rice put herself present in the room just so she could avoid setting forth in the Memorandum that the details she memorialized had come from Pres. Obama? Was she playing the “loyal soldier” by creating the impression that Obama’s version of the conversation had at least one supporting witness — herself — rather than have it as a “He said, He said” between Pres. Obama and Jim Comey at some future point in time? 
Whichever answer is true, neither is a defense to the crime of violating Section 1001.

UPDATE 2: Brett Tolman nails it:

Was The Rice Email Declassification Barr's Message To Obama?

You have to wonder how the revelation of the full Susan Rice email plays into the big picture of the Barr/Durham investigation.

At the beginning of the week AG Barr very publicly stated that he "doesn't expect" criminal charges against Obama and Biden. But that was very quickly followed by the bombshell Rice declassification. The Rice email-to-self, far from exonerating Obama (as Rice must have intended), shows Obama very closely involved with the coup conspirators--plotting against Flynn and thus against Trump himself.

Was Barr sending an equally public message to Obama? If so, that message may have run something like this:

"Look, as a former president we can give you a pass on your involvement and confine our criminal charges to the triumvirate: Brennan, Clapper, Comey. We're prepared to do that, but know this: If you don't back off from public interference with our investigation, life could get a lot more unpleasant for you going forward. Don't count on us not having more than just the Rice email. And know from this--the revelation of the Rice email--that we're ready to use what we have. It's up to you."

Bill Barr is the guy who's ultimately in charge of all this. He's AG, and he guides Durham. He also has authority over all declassifications. When Grenell shows up at Main Justice with a satchel of "stuff", count on it--it's all been carefully calibrated and orchestrated. None of this--not the events and not the timing--is happening by coincidence.

UPDATED: Brett Tolman Analyzes The Susan Rice Email To Self

Readers will know that I always find Brett Tolman's analysis of legal developments worthwhile. Yesterday Tolman offered a brief but pithy analysis of the now famous Susan Rice email to self which was finally fully declassified.

Like me, Tolman regards the email as basically a CYA exercise--designed to cover Obama and herself. In the process, however, it's apparent that all the targeting of Flynn was a structure built on sand--there never was any "there" there, there never was any valid predication to investigate Flynn at all. Ever.

Now, read Tolman with this sound bite from Devin Nunes in mind, taken from a Fox interview with Liz MacDonald. Speaking of the Rice email Nunes says:

If you can believe anything they say, which is a whole 'nuther story.

Which is to say, you have to take everything that Rice writes with a grain of salt. Here's what I mean.

If this email is a CYA exercise, which it is, then it's necessary to claim that the Flynn investigation had some valid basis. Yet, on the other hand, they had nothing to point to--no actual investigative results to point to. Moreover, as we reviewed once again in James Comey Unmasked, they were even unable to articulate any fact based predicate for the Flynn investigation to begin with. That's totally damning. Comey's admission that they've found NOTHING "thus far" is incredibly weak when combined with the lack of predication.

But the fact that Obama is even having this discussion with Comey--in front of a "shellshocked" Sally Yates--is telling. Reading between the lines of the email, it appears that Obama is looking for reassurance that Comey will keep Obama's knowledge of and involvement in the Flynn investigation mum--even while encouraging Comey to continue the operation against Flynn. However, Rice frames this as if Obama knew no specifics and wanted no factual update. Instead, Obama is portrayed as offering only the most general sort of guidance--Do it "by the books," guys!

Tuesday, May 19, 2020

James Comey Unmasked


The disgraced former FBI Director is once again revealed as an evil, narcissistic, conniver. Just a despicable excuse for a human being.

The context this time, of course, is the complete declassification of Susan Rice's famous email-to-self--written on 1/20/17 (two weeks after the event), minutes before being escorted out of the White House to make way for the incoming Trump administration. In what may be his parting shot to The Swamp--but there's always hope!--Acting DNI Grenell did the deed and declassified the remaining paragraph in the email. Rice had hoped to keep that paragraph hidden until after any Trump second term.

Here is the full email. The previously redacted but now declassified portion is bolded:

On January 5, following a briefing by IC leadership on Russian hacking during the 2016 Presidential election, President Obama had a brief follow-on conversation with FBI Director Jim Comey and Deputy Attorney General Sally Yates in the Oval Office.  Vice President Biden and I were also present.

President Obama began the conversation by stressing his continued commitment to ensuring that every aspect of this issue is handled by the Intelligence and law enforcement communities “by the book”.  The President stressed that he is not asking about, initiating or instructing anything from a law enforcement perspective.  He reiterated that our law enforcement team needs to proceed as it normally would by the book.

From a national security perspective, however, President Obama said he wants to be sure that, as we engage with the incoming team, we are mindful to ascertain if there is any reason that we cannot share information fully as it relates to Russia.

Director Comey affirmed that he is proceeding "by the book" as it relates to law enforcement. From a national security perspective, Comey said he does have some concerns that incoming NSA Flynn is speaking frequently with Russian Ambassador Kislyak. Comey said that could be an issue as it relates to sharing sensitive information. President Obama asked if Comey was saying the NSC should not pass sensitive information related to Russia to Flynn. Comey replied "potentially. He added that he has no indication thus far that Flynn has passed classified information to Kislyak, but he noted that "the level of communication is unusual.

The President asked Comey to inform him if anything changes in the next few weeks that should affect how we share classified information with the incoming team.  Comey said he would.

This whole email reads very much like an ass covering exercise on behalf of Obama. The reason Susan Rice would have written this would be because--for the conspiratorial mindset--for Obama to have written something like this would have seemed too obviously self  serving. Rice writing it might seem more in keeping with the dutiful subordinate taking notes.

UPDATED: Sidney Powell Petitions For A Writ Of Mandamus In Flynn Case

It was pretty much a question of who would file a petition for a writ of mandamus first: Flynn or the government. Sullivan's antics have been that outrageous. There's nothing surprising in the petition itself. The relief sought is exactly what would be expected in this case:

Petitioner respectfully requests a Writ of Mandamus ordering the district court to
(1) grant the Government’s Motion to Dismiss with prejudice,
(2) vacate its order appointing an amicus curiae, and
(3) assign the case to another judge for any additional proceedings.

The one thing that surprised me was that Powell didn't point out Sullivan's painfully obvious ignorance concerning the Constitutional definition of Treason. Powell did, of course, several times point to Sullivan's now infamous Treason Tirade as evidence of prejudice and grounds
for removing Sullivan from the case. And rightly so. However, while the Circuit Court will be well aware that, even assuming the original government charges against Flynn were true, nothing remotely resembling Treason occurred, I thought that for the sake of completeness Powell should have expressly point this out. An express description of Sullivan's painful ignorance regarding the facts of the case and the Constitutional definition of Treason could only have strengthened the case for his removal.

On the other hand, Powell's presentation of the injustice done to Flynn by DoJ, by the FBI, and by Team Mueller is moving. So also is her presentation of the unscrupulous and determined efforts of Sullivan to assume the role of prosecutor to punish a defendant he obviously hates for purely political reasons.

By any reasonable standards this petititon should be a slam dunk. However, I'm somewhat disappointed that DoJ has failed to weigh in to date. Hopefully that will happen before the week is out.

UPDATE: I should add another disappointment for me in Powell's petition. She does mention the issue of predication. She does so by quoting the government's motion to dismiss:

the Government has concluded that the interview of Mr. Flynn was untethered to, and unjustified by, the FBI’s counterintelligence investigation into Mr. Flynn—a no longer justifiably predicated investigation that the FBI had, in the Bureau’s own words, prepared to close because it had yielded an ‘absence of any derogatory information.’” 

That may seem fine, but from my perspective I would never, ever, want to give the impression of conceding that "the the FBI’s counterintelligence investigation into Mr. Flynn" was EVER a "justifiably predicated investigation." IT WAS NOT. IT NEVER WAS. The entire "predication" of that investigation--as documented in the opening and closing ECs (both presumably either written by or, if not, then approved by Joe Pientka)--rested on two propositions. The predication maintained that it was reasonable to believe that Michael Flynn was an agent for the Russian government because:

FLYNN had ties to various state-affiliated entities of the Russian Federation, as reported by open source information;
and FLYNN traveled to Russia in December 2015, as reported by open source information.  

That is laughably inadequate as a basis for launching a full investigation of anyone. Travel to Russia and "ties" to the innumerable "entities" of the Russian Federation that are state-affiliated is simply not probative in any way for the proposition that any given person is a Russian agent. If it were, virtually anyone who has ever travelled to Russia would have a full investigation opened on them. And I'm here to tell you that that is not the way the FBI operates.

I really wish Powell had attacked the entire predication for any investigation of Flynn in those very specific terms. And I'm very disappointed that Barr allowed that motion to dismiss to go forward with such a pusillanimous semi-repudiation of the Flynn investigation.

Need-To-Know Distancing Is Now A Thing In The Intel Community

Need-to-know--what a concept, right? Why should the FBI be routinely receiving Codeword/SIGINT briefings without a demonstrated need to know?

Apparently that's a question that soon-to-be-former Acting DNI Ric Grenell asked himself. That's just one more reason why a clearly panicked Senate Select Committee on Intelligence (SSCI) is rushing the nomination of previous outcast John Ratcliffe for the DNI post with almost unseemly haste.

Not only did Grenell come up with that question, but he found an answer: there is NO reason for that practice. In fact, it's an elementary violation of sound Intel practice. So, having found an answer to his question, Grenell acted--per Jack Posobiec:

Jack Posobiec
BREAKING: New DNI instruction removes FBI from codeword SIGINT briefings and products that contain sources/methods. They have been ordered to return to core LE/CT work.
More: The FBI will no longer receive raw or refined sources and methods COMINT/SIGINT product, only sanitized analyst product.
The orders have already gone out to the relevant IC commands, including INSCOM. Now FBI's access will only be granted on a per-incident basis if matter is not directly related to terrorism or a criminal activity under active investigation.
With the exception of terrorism and criminal matters the FBI is out of the raw intelligence business. 

One reason to enforce need to know rules is to diminish the number of possible leakers. And now we know that the SSCI can act expeditiously when faced with an emergency. Who knows what other questions Grenell has been asking himself?

Monday, May 18, 2020

Regarding Barr's Remarks Today On The Durham Investigation

By now everyone will be aware that AG Barr stated today that he "doesn't expect" that the involvement of Obama and Biden in the Russia Hoax "will lead to a criminal investigation over either man. Our potential on criminality is focused on others."

That's a kind of good new - bad news statement. The good news is for Obama and Biden. The bad news has to do with those "others" on whom Durham is focused, because I assume that that this increases Durham's determination to take his investigation as high up the chain of command in the Obama administration as possible.

Strictly speaking, Barr's words could be parsed in a number of ways, and contradictions founds.

One standard for every American? Except ex POTUS and VPOTUS? How does that work?

On the other hand, "doesn't expect ..."? Is Barr open to surprises?

Rather than nitpick, however, I think we understand where he's coming from--he, unlike Dems, is actually concerned for the country. He wants--again, unlike Dems--to point the way to depoliticizing justice in America. It's a laudable goal and worth striving for--no matter how unrealistic it is. Here is Undercover Huber's summary:

UPDATED: Perjury, Contempt, Mandamus

For now things seem to be hanging fire in the Flynn case--although you can bet that behind the scenes there is frenetic activity and heated debate. The question that interests me today is one that is surely part of that heated debate: Can either the Flynn camp or DoJ seek a writ of mandamus before Sullivan enters a final judgment?

Higher courts would clearly be reluctanct to go down that road, and that understandable reluctance is undoubtedly what Sullivan is counting as he games the system to delay justice past the November election. However, two articles today, when combined, help frame an affirmative answer to that question about whether a writ of mandamus can only issue after a final judgment. The question takes on added interest in light of recent attempts by the SCOTUS--even now including Justice Ginsburg--to reign in lower courts that are abusing and even arguably acting outside their powers as part of a so-called "resistance".

The first article is by Leslie McAdoo Gordon:

Here’s Why Judge Sullivan Can’t Legally Punish Michael Flynn For ‘Perjury’
Sullivan should not embark on any contempt proceeding against Michael Flynn. Doing so would be a misuse of his contempt power.

In her article, Gordon focuses on whether perjury is grounds for a contempt prosecution. Her answer is 'No,' and she maintains that do so is actually beyond a judge's powers.

Here's the heart of her argument:

Sunday, May 17, 2020

UPDATED: Follow-Up Re Minimization--And The Flynn Case

The value of commenters to this blog was on display earlier today on the Minimization, Tech Cuts, Unmasking--A Guide post. First, commenter EZ pushed me a bit on my explanations, leading to some valuable exchanges. Then commenter Brad Crawford pointed me to Stephen McIntyre's discussion of my earlier post (a discussion that Brad had spurred). McIntyre dug up a quote from disgraced FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe's book (no, I don't link that stuff) that provides light on this whole business of minimization under FISA but especially sheds considerable light on how it worked in the Flynn case.

Bear with me and we'll see how this works. First, here's passage from McCabe's book that explains how he learned about Flynn's conversation with Russian ambassador Kislyak. We assume that anything McCabe writes will be self serving, but most of this has the ring of truth. As so often, the most interesting parts are what are left out, but for our purposes this works:

Minimization, Tech Cuts, Unmasking--A Guide

What follows is a thoroughly revised version of my post from yesterday: The Flynn Case: Unmasking, Pen Registers, Tech Cuts. Although I call this a "guide," it's actually tailored specifically to the Flynn case because that's the context in which most of the public discussion of "unmasking" has arisen.


There continues to be an enormous amount of confusion swirling around the leak of Michael Flynn's telephone conversation with Russian Ambassador Kislyak to David Ignatius of the Washington Post. A lot of people have been twisting themselves into conceptual pretzels. All sorts of theories to explain why Flynn was or, as it happens, was not "unmasked" have been advanced--few of which show any understanding or even awareness of FISA procedures and rules. I'll state the bottom line first: With regard to the Flynn/KIslyak conversation itself, "unmasking" is basically irrelevant because there was no need to unmask Flynn's identity in that conversation--for reasons that will be explained. On the other hand, the massive and quite unprecedented amount of "unmasking" that went on in the Obama administration does point to a very serious problem. What it indicates is that high Obama officials, usually often political appointees, were combing through intelligence reports in an attempt to find derogatory information on political opponents. 

To understand "unmasking" it may be helpful to get down to a procedural level. How does that occur, and why? The circumstances in which unmasking is requested by a government official near the top of the food chain would normally be something like this. The official receives an intelligence "product" of some sort in which identifying information regarding a US Person (USPER) is "minimized"--in other words, information in the report is redacted to hide the identity of the USPER because the lower level official who prepared the document judged the USPER's identity to be irrelevant for official government purposes. The higher level official receiving the "product" may disagree--perhaps knowing more about the context of the report--than the lower level preparer. So the official submits a request to unmask the USPER's name. That should be done for an articulable reason, not simply out of curiousity. That's how it's all supposed to work.

The real problem arises when unmasking is not done for articulable official purposes but instead for personal or political reasons--usually as a prelude to leaking the USPER's name to the outside world, which is a crime. A few instances of unmasking by a given official may not appear overly troubling on its face, but when unmasking becomes a pattern of behavior real suspicions can arise that the unmasking official is actively seeking information to leak for political purposes. The suspicion arises because it would be unusual to be second guessing the highly trained preparers of intelligence documents on such a regular basis. That seems to have been the case with Samantha Power. The problem isn't with the unmasking per se so much as with the use that the unmasked information is put to. In the case of Flynn, of course, it was part of an elaborate frame job.

The fact that in administrations prior to the Obama administration unmasking was so rare speaks volumes about the mindset in the Obama administration. However, the difficulty for the investigator of unmasking is to link specific unmaskings to specific leaks by specific individuals. Were you wondering what's taking Durham's investigation so long? If you reflect on the above you'll have some idea. There's a lot of digging involved, and especially with so much activity as we've seen.

As if all this weren't complicated enough, uninformed opinions are regularly advanced to "explain" all this. Dan Bongino and sundance have each came up with what they think is the answer to what should be a non-question: How did the FBI know about Flynn's conversation with Kislyak. It may not surprise you to learn that Bongino and sundance have each came up with different answers. Bongino thinks it came from an illegal use of emergency FISA powers by Obama himself. Sundance thinks it came from a pen register on Flynn's phone.

Me? My answer has always been: it came from a "tech cut". Remember tech cuts? I wrote about them in What does "CR cuts" Mean?