Saturday, September 22, 2018

Russiagate: Et Tu , Rod Rosenstein?

If you've been anywhere near the news since about daybreak yesterday, you'll already know that the NYT reported that in a meeting of high level DOJ and FBI officials shortly after Slick Jim Comey was fired, Unctuous Rod Rosenstein and Lyin' Andy McCabe got into a spat about how to go about investigating the President, and Unctuous Rod reportedly said something to the effect of "What do you want me to do, Andy, wear a wire?" to secretly record the President, and discussed using the 25th Amendment to oust the president. You can read a hefty chunk of the NYT article at Power Line

The source is Lyin' Andy's notes. Apparently, it's FBI policy to get out of a meeting, and put your spin on it by writing it down the way that's good for you and bad for your opponents. Whether they were leaked by Lyin' Andy himself or some other miscreant with a bone to pick with Rod (we can assume anything from the NYT is designed to hurt President Trump somehow) is unclear at this point. McCabe, through representatives denied it:

The NYT assures us the statement was made in all seriousness (NY Times Reporter Stands by Rod Rosenstein Bombshell: ‘This Wasn’t a Flippant Remark’) , while NBC assures us the statement was made in just (Rosenstein joked about secretly recording Trump, Justice Department officials say). You know the truth is in trouble when you have to rely on these two sources.

Rosenstein has issued a typically lawyerly denial:
 'The New York Times’s story is inaccurate and factually incorrect.'

'I will not further comment on a story based on anonymous sources who are obviously biased against the department and are advancing their own personal agenda. But let me be clear about this: Based on my personal dealings with the president, there is no basis to invoke the 25th Amendment.'
That being said, it's pretty clear about 7 high FBI and DOJ officials, including Unctuous Rod, were in a room together to discuss whether they should carry out a palace coupe of some sort. And they tell me there's no such thing as a Deep State. I was part of a similar cabal to remove a lab director once upon a time. I don't think we accomplished much, but he did leave.

Some reactions. Ace: NYT: Deputy AG Rod Rosenstein "Suggested" He Could Wear a Wire to Record Trump to Make a Case for a 25th Amendment Removal
Fire him.

A savvy analyst posits that this leak is all about Rosenstein trying to make himself unfireable. He's trying to drum up support from the leftwing (as if he needed more of it) that he's protecting the Deep State from Trump, and that any firing would therefore be another Obstruction of Justice or whatever.

Fire him. Fire him now. Damn the consequences. Fire his ass.
I do think a good case can be made that he's too conflicted to be part of anything higher than Human Resources. Ken Meyer at Mediaite:  Speculation Swirls That Bombshell NYT Report Was Planted to Sabotage Rosenstein. Well, somebody is trying to knife somebody, that's for sure. AllahPundit: No Big Deal: Rod Rosenstein Accused Of Wanting To Wear A Wire To Record Trump, Discussing 25th Amendment With Deputies; Update: Sarcasm?
Bear in mind that the AP reported six months ago that McCabe’s memos are now in Mueller’s possession. If that’s true then Mueller has had evidence for half a year that his own boss was seeking to participate in the investigation as a witness by gathering evidence on Trump firsthand or angling to remove the president from office by approaching cabinet members about removing the president as unfit. Has Mueller concluded that McCabe’s memos are untrustworthy? If not, has he approached Rosenstein about recusing himself, knowing how badly this will damage perceptions of the integrity of the investigation? Is Mueller planning to cite the memos as credible evidence of Trump’s behavior in his final report, and if so, what excuse will Rosenstein give for why he didn’t recuse himself?
As always, the best comments are at Althouse: "Rosenstein Suggested He Secretly Record Trump and Discussed 25th Amendment." And some of the worst, too.

But there is Russiagate news beyond Rosensteingate. Da Caller: EXCLUSIVE: Released Text Messages And Emails Show Mueller Team’s Cozy Relationship With Press. The Press keeps telling us that Mueller never leaks, but they're lying and they're part of the conspiracy:
Hundreds of pages of emails and text messages released from the Department of Justice’s (DOJ) special counsel’s office through a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request show an ongoing relationship between Robert Mueller’s team and the press, according to an investigation by The Daily Caller News Foundation.

The documents, released in September, span months of communication and include messages from reporters ranging from a variety of outlets, including TheDCNF, The Washington Post and BuzzFeed.

While the vast majority of correspondences between Mueller’s spokesman Peter Carr and a variety of journalists ends with a “no comment,” the messages expose Mueller’s team was willing to meet with a number of reporters in private meetings and over the phone.

Coordinating such meetings cuts against the narrative that the special counsel has been hesitant to give information to the press, instead opting to give information only through public announcements and statements.
Through WaPo, an ex-CIA man, tells us Why Trump must not declassify the Carter Page warrant, most of which boils down to don't embarrass us by exposing our dirty underwear. Trump, in response to such whining  agrees to delay release of Russia files, asks IG to review amid DOJ concerns, after international allies (presumably the UK and Australia) objected to the fact that their scheming to take him down, both before and after the election, would be exposed. Trump now owns them.

Ace: Texts Show Disagreement Among Allegedly-Unified Intelligence Community Members on Russian Interference; Some Dismissed Accusations as Coming from Those "With Partisan Axes to Grind"
But I thought they were unanimous and the evidence was unquestionable.

Strangely enough, some of these concerns were voiced by... Peter Strzok, who is himself an intense partisan, but who apparently found some partisans too partisan.
For instance, then-FBI agent Peter Strzok's text and email messages in December 2016 and January 2017 show his boss feared that giving some classified information to the White House, then-Director of National Intelligence (DNI) James Clapper and the larger intelligence community in the final days of the Obama administration might result in political abuse.
Opinion of Mueller helped by Manafort plea deal. But not much help: "42% of Americans approve of how Mueller is handling the investigation.

Rule 5 Saturday - Queen of the Night

This Rule 5 post was inspired by the video just below the break, which I ran into when I googled for a suitable "strip tease" video for Thursday's Russiagate post. I vaguely remember the scene from House.
Lisa Edelstein, born May 21, 1966) is an American actress and playwright. Edelstein is known for playing Dr. Lisa Cuddy on the Fox medical drama series House. Between 2014 and 2018, she starred as Abby McCarthy in the Bravo series Girlfriends' Guide to Divorce.

Edelstein was born in Boston, Massachusetts, to Bonnie and Alvin Edelstein. . . . At 16, Edelstein was a cheerleader for New Jersey Generals. Edelstein encountered trouble when she organized a protest because the team was forcing the cheerleaders to stand in bars while wearing their uniforms. Edelstein said she felt they were treated "like hookers" and organized a cheerleader walkout.

She moved to New York City at the age of 18 to study theatre at New York University's Tisch School of the Arts. While living in New York, she became involved in the club scene (known there only as "Lisa E") and caused enough of a stir in the community to be dubbed New York City's "Queen of the Night" by writer and fellow celebutant James St. James, who briefly refers to Edelstein in his 1999 book Disco Bloodbath.

She has an extensive list of acting credits, but she's one of those actresses where you tend to go "Now where did I see her before?"
From 2004 to 2011, she portrayed her biggest and most notable role to date, Dr. Lisa Cuddy, the Dean of Medicine at Princeton-Plainsboro Teaching Hospital and frequent adversary, friend, and eventual girlfriend of title character Gregory House (Hugh Laurie) on Fox's TV series House. Edelstein has often spoken fondly of her experiences on the show and fellow cast and crew, especially her friendship and strong working relationship with Laurie.
She is currently playing a supporting role in another "doctor" show, "The Good Doctor."

Friday, September 21, 2018


The Chesapeake Bay news feed just figured out that the Chesapeake Bay's problems from Hurricane Florence didn't end when the rain did:
Debris at Conowingo Dam
Photo by MDDNR

Baltimore Sun: Florence has moved on, but high waters still may send torrent of pollution to Chesapeake
Hurricane Florence has moved on, but the storm is nonetheless forecast to deliver another potentially damaging slug of floodwaters and pollution to the Chesapeake Bay over the next few days.

Rising waters on the Susquehanna River are expected to crest Thursday night, prompting the operator of the Conowingo Dam to again open floodgates that allow sediment, nutrient pollution and trash flowing down from Pennsylvania to reach the Chesapeake Bay. Exelon Corp. has already collected three times more debris from the rim of the dam over the past nine months than it normally does over an entire year.

Scientists and bay advocates say the latest surge could be enough to ensure that the estuary’s improving health takes a hit. The region’s second-rainiest summer on record has already washed unusual amounts of pollution and debris into the bay at a time when freshwater flows into its waterways are normally at their lowest.
Putting that into perspective
And a good video of it at: Conowingo Dam opens the floodgates
From the Annapolis Crapital Gazette: Dam debris keeps coming as Conowingo officials are set to open gates Thursday

On Thursday, seven to 10 gates of the dam are scheduled to be opened again to relieve pressure from the remnants of Hurricane Florence.
Some 200,000 cubic feet of water per second are expected to flow through the dam Thursday night.

Aside from the potential environmental damage wrought by the influx of silt-laden fresh water from the Susquehanna River, above the dam the debris is a hazard for boats on the water and a frustrating chore for marinas along the bay and its tributaries.

Frank Carver, captain of Loosen Up charters out of Deale, said he had not seen a lot of detritus floating in the past few days but saw a lot accumulating around Thomas Point Wednesday.

“But two months ago, that was the worst I have ever seen in my 50 years on the bay,” he said. His charter company usually takes two trips a day, shoving off before dawn and again after lunch. At the end of July he had to cancel fully booked trips.
We were gone for the advent and passing of Florence, but everything at home survived fine. The marina pulled my boat out of the slip in an abundance of caution, but at least I got the hull pressure washed.

But floating debris is no joke; Pete lost an engine to a debris strike two years ago.

Russiagate: Whoa Nellie!

Chuck Ross at Da Caller reports Nellie Ohr Is Refusing To Appear For Congressional Deposition
Nellie Ohr, the wife of Justice Department official Bruce Ohr, is refusing to appear before Congress for a closed-door hearing that was scheduled to take place this Friday, sources tell The Daily Caller News Foundation.

Ohr, who worked for Fusion GPS, the firm behind the Steele dossier, was scheduled to appear for interviews during a joint session with the House Judiciary and House Oversight & Government Reform committees. But two congressional sources said that she is not cooperating with the requests and will have to be subpoenaed to compel her appearance.

The sources also said that former FBI general counsel James Baker is not cooperating with the committees’ request for an interview. “The Committee continues to seek the testimony of Nellie Ohr and Jim Baker and will compel their testimony if necessary,” an aide to House Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte told TheDCNF.
Subpoena is such a funny word: Catherine Herridge at Fox News: Republicans may 'compel' testimony from Fusion GPS researcher Nellie Ohr, ex-FBI official James Baker. If they don't show, put them in the Congressional dungeon.

A couple of videos from Sundance at CTH. First Conflicting Reports Over DOJ and FBI “Classification” and “Redaction Removal”…

And second Chairman Devin Nunes Discusses “Unacceptable Delay” in Declassification Process…

Via Wombat-socho's Late Night With In The Mailbox: 09.19.18, the Victory Girls bring Democrats Do Not Want FISA Documents Made Public and The Geller Report: Disgraced Former AG Holder Claims Declassifying FISA Documents “An Especially Dangerous Abuse Of Power”

Michael Barone at WaEx: The air has seeped out of the Russia/collusion balloon and Kyle Cheney at Politico Democrats fear Trump ‘October Surprise’ document dump as well they should. You know they would (and will) do it if they can.

Annie at Salt: #SpyGate Part III ~ THE LIST: Essential Sources & Reading.
My bad. My VERY, VERY bad. BAD Annie! How could I NOT include THE TIMELINE! Doug Ross has compiled, and continually updates, THE MOST COMPREHENSIVE TIMELINE AVAILABLE. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve referred to it to overlay this fact or that and gained INVALUABLE insight. ANY decent researcher must ALWAYS keep one, or have access to one, and THIS IS IT.
Totally objective Former Clinton Staffer and ABC anchor George Stuffinenvelopes reports Michael Cohen spoke to Mueller team for hours; asked about Russia, possible collusion, pardon
The special counsel’s questioning of Cohen, one of the president’s closest associates over the past decade, has focused primarily on all aspects of Trump's dealings with Russia -- including financial and business dealings and the investigation into alleged collusion with Russia by the Trump campaign and its surrogates to influence the outcome of the 2016 presidential election, sources familiar with the matter tell ABC News.

Investigators were also interested in knowing, the sources say, whether Trump or any of his associates discussed the possibility of a pardon with Cohen.

The End of Bikini Season is Nigh, Alas

With the approach of the autumnal equinox, the beginning of the fall is nigh (actually on Saturday evening at (9:54 EDT). Let's prepare to say goodbye to the bikini for the year. We may see a few stragglers here and there (there was one on the beach today) but the weather will soon be too cool for that kind of exposure: