Friday, June 26, 2020

More On Fallout From The Strzok Notes

Please note that I have corrected this post based on info from commenter Cassander--Sally Yates was NOT Acting AG at the time of the Oval Office meeting re Flynn.

The enormity of the revelation from the Peter Strzok notes is slowly starting to sink in. It's not that the notes reveal things that--realistically--we didn't know already. It's that we can now look to the future and get some idea of what could be in the offing--what has the Progs and Libs and crazy Lefties of all sorts bouncing off the walls.

Let me start my pasting in some dressed up comments from earlier this morning, exchanges with commenters.

My initial impression upon looking at the Strzok notes was that they appeared to have been taken by a participant at the Oval Office meeting involving Obama, Biden, Sally Yates (NB: Did AG Loretta Lynch absent herself deliberately?) and disgraced former FBI Director Jim Comey. But there's no way that a guy at Strzok's level could have been present at such a meeting. We'll probably find out later how it worked. I don't believe Comey could have recorded it, so I'm guessing--just a guess--that Comey took notes on his way back to FBIHQ and then, as part of a briefing for the Russia Hoax inner circle at FBIHQ, read the notes to participants in that briefing--who took notes on Comey's notes. Perhaps if we could get a look at the redacted portions of the notes we'd understand fully. Or, perhaps Strzok wasn't actually present at that Comey briefing but received a second hand briefing, and took notes from someone else who was reading their notes from the Comey briefing.

However it worked, the very fact that there were any such briefings raises interesting prospects for the future, prospects that the Barr/Durham investigation is unquestionably focused on. We have to presume that at the Comey briefing issues that flowed from the Oval Office meeting were discussed. Issues like: Where do we go from here? What concrete steps do we at the FBI take?

Durham will want to know--among other things:

1. Who was present at Comey's briefing and any subsequent meetings and discussions? We've seen from his own notes that Bill Priestap, an Ass't Director, participated in high level discussions in which the Flynn interview was planned. FBI General Counsel Jim Baker (said to be cooperating with Durham) and Deputy Director Andy McCabe would also have had to be present. Since Lisa Page was counsel to McCabe, it's possible that she would have been present. It's also possible that Strzok, who would be one of Obama's "right people" who would be interviewing Flynn, would also have been called in.

2. What was the substance of the issue discussions--given that Comey had shared his own view that the Flynn - Kislyak calls were "legit"? In my view there's no possible way that an egomaniac like Comey would have been talked around to viewing the calls as non-legit by an idiot like McCabe. As for Baker, he's far too smart a lawyer to have made such an absurd argument. However the decision came down, Comey went in with his eyes wide open. He and the rest of the coup plotters at the FBI knew they were on thin ice going forward against Flynn. But they went ahead.

Talk about a gamble! Because, after all, Flynn was only the proximate target. The real target, the real objective, was the removal of a sitting POTUS--whether through an attack on his national security adviser, through Comey's attempted blackmail via the Steele "dossier," or by other means yet to be determined. And the fact that they did go ahead with the plot speaks volumes about their perception of the lay of the land in Deep State and Establishment Washington, DC.

Barr and Durham probably had a pretty clear idea of all the above quite a while ago. Their first question in light of all this would probably have been: Who were the note takers and where are their notes? We've known for years now that Comey always took notes after speaking with Trump, but we can be pretty sure that he took notes whenever he spoke with anyone above him. That's almost certainly why Susan Rice wrote her email-to-self, preemptively exonerating Obama from any responsibility if the coup plot turned to doo-doo: Obama's White House Counsel, Neil Eggleston probably strongly advised that such an exoneration be put in writing to counter any notes that Comey took. So, we have to assume that Comey has/had notes on the Oval Office meeting.

We already know about Priestap's notes regarding the meetings that took place to plan for the interview of Flynn. Priestap's notes were incredibly damaging in that regard, but why should we think that those are his only notes that could be pertinent to the Russia Hoax? Now we have Strzok's notes--or maybe just a few of them. But ask yourself: Were these Strzok notes really just discovered by Jensen, or ... what? How did Priestap's notes get out, but Strzok's notes were withheld until now? And how about Jim Baker's notes--you know he took notes, and he was at all the major meetings. Not to mention Comey himself and others. What role did Dana Boente and Chris Wray play, sitting at the top of the FBI?

And--God help all coup plotters--how about Rod Rosenstein. Surely he took notes! He probably wrote a book while waiting for Barr to be confirmed.

My guess is that Durham has much if not all of that material already, and has had for some time. Preserving documentary evidence would have been step #1 in his investigation. The problem with the Flynn case was that Barr/Durham didn't want to tip their hand publicly by releasing too much too soon. Sullivan's craziness forced DoJ's hand to some extent--to support the motion to dismiss with documentary evidence--but my guess is that they're still holding back evidence from public view.

What this reveals to us, however, is why Barr has spoken so frequently and so confidently about the lack of "predication", of a "basis," of a "foundation" for any of the Russia Hoax related investigations--and that also leads into the fake impeachment, as well. Don't suppose for a moment that Barr isn't looking at that farce from multiple angles. But for now we have this takeaway from the Strzok notes: We see clearly that Barr and Durham are building a strong conspiracy case, and these notes give us a glimpse of the evidence that they're assembling to prove the baseline element of a conspiracy: a clear and common intent among the conspirators. So, predication--this has always been about predication, first and foremost.

I think Barr will ultimately reveal all he learns--and it will be damning. Obama will be touched. That's the significance of the Strzok notes--Obama and Biden have now been touched. Biden is demented, a figurehead. But that Obama has been openly fingered to the public is very significant. There will be more. That we can count on.

Now let's continue our speculation by reviewing a transcript of a Fox and Friends interview from yesterday with Brett Tolman. I've already in the past cited Tolman's views on Bivens actions and the applicability of such an action to the Flynn case (among other cases). A Bivens action provides for monetary damages to persons whose constitutional rights have been deprived by the action of federal officials.

Any person who participated in the Russia Hoax conspiracy is a potential defendant in a Bivens action. Think about that.

That obviously would include all the FBI officials we named above. It would also include multiple officials at DoJ (Hello, Sally Yates!) and, especially, members of Team Mueller--including "Bob" himself. It could also include multiple White House officials--including those who pressured the FBI to take illegal actions against persons such as Michael Flynn. Are you listening, Obama?

We're talking here about the possibility of the mother of all Bivens actions, which is part of why I've always believed the Flynn case is so important--it leads to the heart of the Russia Hoax in a highly actionable way. The only thing I can think of that would hinder a Bivens action would be--simultaneous criminal prosecutions. But there's good news there, too, for any Bivens plaintiffs. Any material facts established in a criminal trial or plea agreement will be taken as proven in a Bivens action--which would greatly expedite matters.

Of course, everyone who's anyone in legal circles in DC knows all this. The possible scope of revelations from the combination of criminal prosecutions and Bivens actions is mind boggling--which explains why Dems appear to be currently intent on their own version of the Samson Option. It also explains the fear and loathing that Bill Barr generates.

Now, the Brett Tolman interview:

Flynn case was 'manipulated' at highest levels of Obama admin to go after Trump
Q: Brian Kilmeade:
A: Brett Tolman: 
Q: Newly unsealed notes by former FBI agent Peter Strzok now suggesting that former president Obama--and Joe Biden--weighed in on the Michael Flynn case with the Russian ambassador back in 2017 in the Oval Office. This is the handwritten note showed former FBI Director Jim Comey--get this--*downplaying* Flynn's call, saying they, quote, "appear legit," with Kislyak of Russia. So, could Flynn *sue* over malicious prosecution? And what *else* do we get from that conversation and those notes?  
Here to discuss it, former federal prosecutor, former US Attorney for Utah, Brett Tolman. Brett, does Michael Flynn, first, have a legal case?
A: Well, he certainly does. I mean, that's why there is an action called a Bivens action, and that is to go after a federal investigator that violates someone's constitutional rights. That's specific for that occasion, and I hope that he [Flynn] is looking at it strongly. 
Q: What do you take from these notes that Strzok produced? First off, on the Comey comment. The conversations "appear legit." 
A: Well [laughs], that's the biggest reason why, now we know, that so much was withheld from General Flynn in the case. These weren't turned over when the investigation went forward, or the prosecution. So, now they discover it and they see that at the highest levels of the FBI they indicate that the calls were legitimate. That should concern *everyone* that they still, *somehow,* found a way to manipulate a case and bring it when they deemed his underlying action as legitimate. 
Q: So, if Comey thinks it's legitimate, why would the investigation continue? You point to Headquarters at the FBI. 
A: [Nods]. Yeah. McCabe saves this case from being dismissed. And why does he do it? Because there is an absolute effort--call it a collusion, a conspiracy, whatever you wanna say, that now we know goes as high as the vice president and the president--to not only withhold information about the investigation [from] the incoming president, but to go after an incoming president, through [his] incoming National Security Adviser, on an investigation that did not have a foundation to it. [I.e., no predication] *That was why* they withheld this, that's why they continued to prosecute him, because they were doing what they could to try and prevent Donald Trump from getting into the Oval Office. 
Q: Brett, we also know that the first person to bring up the Logan Act appears to be the then vice president, Joe Biden. So he can't duck this issue. Number two is President Obama. He wonders if he should keep intelligence from the incoming administration! And one of the two things he gave, told, President Trump, President-Elect Trump, when he was touring around the White House was: North Korea's gonna be your number one problem and, number two, essentially, look out for Michael Flynn--he's trouble. Why do you think he said that? 
A: Yeah, I mean, think about that! The vice president has now been caught in a lie--indicates he didn't know it, but he may have been the one who planted the seed of the Logan Act--and then you have the president of the United States, in a vital conversation with the incoming president, who seems to be tipping his hand at the fact that *something* is going on with General Flynn. Does he want President Trump to be concerned about it? Is he trying to protect the fact that they've already launched an investigation they're not gonna tell him about? It's concerning at that level, but it's concerning to *me* as a prosecutor that we would then see them utilize and manipulate FISA warrants, the Steele "dossier", and everything that they did in their power to try to take down a sitting president. 
Q: While the Secretary of State's overseas, saying, 'The president is gonna get impea-'--former Secretary of State, John Kerry--'is gonna get impeached, don't worry about him.' Telling Iran, 'Hold on, we'll get a new, he's not gonna last four years. If he does he's gonna be gone.' Unbelievable, the undermining that took place.


  1. I'm new here...
    You refer to "Comey's attempted blackmail via the Steele "dossier", I guess at comey's Trump 'briefing'?
    Does that indicate that comey thought the pee pee dossier was true?
    Or maybe was looknig for any reaction that would tell him it was true despite Trump being a germaphobe?
    Trump's response should not have encourged comey.

    1. My theory is that Comey was on a bit of a fishing expedition, largely along the lines you sketch out. IOW, while he may have hoped that Trump would react in a way that confirmed the otherwise unconfirmable Steele "dossier," he may have generally hoped that Trump would be frightened by the realization that there had been a huge amount of research into his past that would be coming out. That, of course, also turned out to be nonsensical. Trump clearly had no fears on that score.

    2. Comey had no way of knowing with certainty at that point whether there was any truth to it, but due to the outlandish nature of the rumor itself, and the complete absence of any corroborating information, he should have regarded it to be as unfounded as a rumor that Trump was an extraterrestrial. He had no business even mentioning it to the incoming POTUS. As Mark says, Comey was obviously up to something. There was a reason he brought it up. And it wasn't a good reason.

  2. MikeyinFL,
    A little OT, but I still keep thinking about the Susan rice email and how this all might fit together. What doesn't add up is why did she wait until inauguration day to send it? She could have done it days or even hours before the last moments of 44? Was is that she was expecting something else to happen besides the normal TO of power that day? Were others thinking that too? Or was she just getting around to crafting her CYA at the last moment before she lost access to that email system based on her 2nd thoughts or possibly someone else's recommendation? I may be out there, but I keep wondering if they somehow thought that the inauguration of DJT might not happen? Not sure why, but if so maybe something overt or just the revelations coming out of "Russian Collusion" putting a halt to the ceremony? (knowing that they knew it was all false of course) Still the timing seems very odd or maybe I'm wanting to read to much into it???

    1. That's my belief--that they really thought they might be able to stop the inauguration. They certainly IMO tried.

    2. @Mikey and Mark

      I have also thought the same.

      We also know that the CYA email was apparently the brainchild of White House Counsel, Neil Eggleston.

      Now Eggleston's main client was Barack Obama, not Susan Rice. It's inconceivable that Eggleston signed off on Rice's email without getting approval from his client. It's therefore highly unlikely that the email didn't go through multiple drafts.

      Keep in mind that it is exponentially harder to draft an email which is a delicate web of lies than it is to simply write down the truth. It takes time. The greater the delicate untruths the more debate over how to word it and even whether to publish it. More time.

      It was probably a tough call what to say and when to send and it was made at the last possible moment.

      No wonder

  3. From a rube out here in flyover country, Obama's remark (really a demand when coming from a superior) about getting the "right people" involved seems like he's speaking from prior experience, e.g. the Clinton server and classified email scandal. The "right people" seemed to migrate from that "matter" over to the Flynn and Trump set up. I'd be willing to bet Obama was routinely briefed on the Clinton whitewashing operation and was probably referring to those "right people" to ensure the knowledge was kept in a small circle of trusted agents.


    1. There's the Strzok/Page text that seems to confirm that he wanted to be kept informed.

  4. You are setting up Sidney Powell to be Arkancided.

    1. I was sorry to see this kind of comment here.

  5. Too busy to comment, but what a great post. So much food for thought...

  6. Excellent post, Mark. The dots are certainly connecting.

    This is a very minor quibble, maybe it doesn't even matter, but I want to put it on the record.

    Sally Yates was not the Acting AG on January 5. At least not the capital "A" acting AG. Loretta Lynch was still AG. I only mention this because I have had this suspicion for quite some time that she was not fully on board with the conspiracy.

    Yes she acquiesced in the 'matter not investigation' word play, but perhaps not happily. Perhaps she was told to.

    Yes she met with Bill Clinton on the tarmac, but perhaps not happily. Who knows what deals were offered to her or threats were made? Perhaps her version of a Clinton email exculpation would not have been as sweeping as Bill Clinton was concerned it had to be.

    Yes she let Comey do the dirty work of holding a highly unusual press conference to let Mrs Clinton off the hook. Comey says it was his idea. But maybe Lynch was unwilling to be the front man for that little legal atrocity.

    And apparently Lynch absented herself from the FISA process which was the legal tool used first to investigate the candidate for election as President, then the President-elect. Its interesting that the nation's chief legal officer was not in charge of the legal investigation into Donald Trump and his associates. See:

    And then the coup plotters met in the Oval Office on January 5 and the sitting Attorney General of the United States was not present.

    Hmmm. I would guess John Durham has had or will have a little sit down with Loretta Lynch.

    1. Thanks for that. Teach me not to trust my memory--I thought I'd just read somewhere that Yates became acting right after the New Year. I've often wondered at her seeming absence from most of these legal shenanigans, too. That Lynch was still AG makes her absence from the 1/5 meeting all the more remarkable.

    2. "Who knows what deals were offered to her or threats were made?"

      Likely none. It was the mere presence of the former president whose power partner "wife" was allegedly under investigation by the agency Lynch directed. Nothing and nobody was going to get in the way of Bill getting back into the White House and his hands on the power levers by proxy. Slick Willy didn't need to make any threats or proffers. His sudden invasion of the AG's space at his discretion was more than sufficient messaging.

    3. @Anon

      Yes and no.

      They talked about more than golf and grandkids for 40 minutes. Bill made his points.

    4. "They talked about more than golf and grandkids for 40 minutes. Bill made his points."

      I didn't know there's audio. Can you upload it somewhere?

    5. Just my opinion. As yours is yours.

  7. Excellent post, Mark. If Comey took his own notes, why wouldn't DOJ produce those notes? Comey's notes would be much more trustworthy (assuming his notes were accurate). Strzok's notes are hearsay. He presumably wrote what Comey told him what happened. I suspect that Barr released Strzok's notes to: (1) motivate the DC Circuit to not hear the case en banc; (2) motivate Sullivan to finally dismiss the damn case; and (3) preserve the Comey notes as part of Durham's investigation and release them when the indictments are publicized.

    Also, one clarification on dual-tract cases. Flynn's Bivens case can proceed at the same time as the criminal case against the the Plotters. Supreme Court case-law says you don't need to delay a civil case just because there's related criminal case pending. The Defendants will want to delay the civil case because they don't want to testify and have that testimony held against them in the criminal case. The Supreme Court says tough. You can assert your 5th Amendment right against self-incrimination in the civil case. But there's an inference that your testimony would be against you. As a result, Flynn would be better off suing the Plotters immediately after the dismissal in his criminal case. He could haul Comey, et al in for depositions. They'd assert their 5th Amendment rights, and the court wold construe all inferences against them. As Napoleon & Hitler learned, it's no fun fighting 2-front war. The Plotters would be under enormous pressure having to fend off 2 cases at the same time.

    1. Makes you almost feel sorry for them [plays tune on world's smallest violin]. Ha ha!

      While Strzok's notes might be hearsay as to Obama, they wouldn't be as against Comey's state of mind re the Flynn case. I agree re why the Strzok notes were released. Which does make one wonder what else COULD have been released but wasn't. Possible defendants must have a sick feeling in the pit of their stomachs.

    2. Yes; I found it interesting that Mr. Strzok has mode no public comment on his "notes" since their release, likely for the reason you mention -- there's more to come, and he does not want to lock himself into an explanation that becomes "no longer operative."

      Barr is the cat playing with the mouse he caught before devouring it.

  8. Obama was a community organizer.

    The modus operandi of a community organizer is apply pressure till the other side caves. For private companies the Danegeld is often donations to the right cause. Pressure can be protests, boycotts, bad press, government pressure, government investigations, accusations of racism, lawsuits, etc. This model had a lot of success in the Obama administration using the power of the Federal Government.

    I wonder, if all this success, created a lot of hubris, making Obama believe they could get Trump to resign.

    1. I'm sure they thought he was nothing but a blowhard who would wilt under the pressure in DC--or even before he made the move to DC.

    2. I'd bet they thought Trump would fold like a cheap cardboard suitcase over the golden showers allegations in the 'dossier,' and beg Comey for protection, just because of the seriousness and perversity of the allegations. Probably had a really nice exit plan all set up for him, including they'd make sure it never hit the papers! I also don't doubt they knew all the allegations were false, because they were 'tailored' for that purpose.

  9. I always thought that the larger reason Comey told President-elect Trump about the golden showers allegations was to convince Trump that he needed daily Intel briefings after Trump said he didn't want them every day. I believe I read that he said, "I'm a smart guy and have a good memory."

    Denied their daily access to the president, the Intel heads freaked because they lost their chance not only to influence Trump's thinking on a wide variety of subjects, they also lost the ability to observe his reactions to the edited intel they planned to feed him.

  10. William L. Gensert has an article at American Thinker this morning that addresses the potential grammatical context of Strzok's notes as the actual conversations took place in the meeting. His view is that it points the finger more at Obama than Biden - but he, like many, has to read into and beyond what the notes contain.


    1. My initial impression was that the notes portray Obama as more or less brushing Biden aside when Biden strays into personal anecdotes.

    2. Just read Gensert and it's plausible. Obviously we can really only speculate, but one thing is for certain: Obama is the one pushing for the FBI to be looking into Flynn: "Make sure you look over things and have the right people on it." It's all on Obama as far as being the driving force.

    3. Adds meat to Page's text that "POTUS wants to know everything" or words to that effect (can't recall exact quote at the moment).