Sunday, August 19, 2018

Russiagate, Really

"Paying for this 'opposition research' is the candidate of the party in power. Her confederates, including elected Democrats, conspire to use the FBI's possession of this document to get U.S. media outlets to report allegations from sources who won't identify themselves, who offer no support for their claims, passed along by an operator whose political motives are manifest.... If you are not by now open to the suspicion that the blowhardism of former Obama intelligence officials John Brennan and James Clapper is aimed at keeping the focus away from their actions during the election, then you haven't been paying attention. In his New York Times op-ed this week after being stripped of his courtesy, postretirement security clearance, the CIA's Mr. Brennan finally put his collusion cards on the table: Mr. Trump's ill-advised remark during the campaign inviting Russia to find the missing Hillary Clinton emails. Really? This is it?... [Trump's] jibe was at least as much aimed at the media, which he correctly noted would eagerly traffic in the stolen emails even as it deplored Russian meddling."
 Kimberley Strassel: What was Bruce Ohr doing?
Mr. Ohr was until last year associate deputy attorney general. He began feeding information to the FBI from dossier author Christopher Steele in late 2016—after the FBI had terminated Mr. Steele as a confidential informant for violating the bureau’s rules. He also collected dirt from Glenn Simpson, cofounder of Fusion GPS, the opposition-research firm that worked for Hillary Clinton’s campaign and employed Mr. Steele. Altogether, the FBI pumped Mr. Ohr for information at least a dozen times, debriefs that remain in classified 302 forms.

All the while, Mr. Ohr failed to disclose on financial forms that his wife, Nellie, worked alongside Mr. Steele in 2016, getting paid by Mr. Simpson for anti-Trump research. The Justice Department has now turned over Ohr documents to Congress that show how deeply tied up he was with the Clinton crew—with dozens of emails, calls, meetings and notes that describe his interactions and what he collected.

Mr. Ohr’s conduct is itself deeply troubling. He was acting as a witness (via FBI interviews) in a case being overseen by a Justice Department in which he held a very senior position. He appears to have concealed this role from at least some superiors, since Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein testified that he’d been unaware of Mr. Ohr’s intermediary status.
Speaking of Kimberly, you have to love how she DISMANTLES Washington Post fact check of Bruce Ohr. The start of 21 tweets.
Sara Carter: Bruce Ohr Texts, Emails Reveal Steele’s Deep Ties to Obama DOJ, FBI. Catherine Herrige, Fox News: DOJ's Bruce Ohr wrote Christopher Steele was 'very concerned about Comey's firing -- afraid they will be exposed'.

Rep Todd Rokita: Strzok firing a needed first step to restoring credibility and fairness to the FBI. But just the first.

Tom Rogan, WaEx: The pathetic omission in John Brennan's New York Times op-ed on Russia
Put simply, what was needed from Brennan and his boss in those 2016 days was a threat rendered and then acted upon. There needed to be a threat in August 2016 that if the Russian attacks continued, America would, to borrow from Shakespeare's Henry V respond, "In thunder and in earthquake, like a Jove, That, if requiring fail, [America] will compel."

Instead, the Obama administration did what it knew best: it substituted realist action for meaningless words and made Putin laugh.
Ex-CIA Director John Brennan: Trump is 'drunk on power', Clare Foran, CNN. Daily Pundit: Actually, Brennan Should Be In Jail Right Now
12 ex-intel officials slam Trump for ‘ill-considered and unprecedented’ action against Brennan | Fox News
. . .
A couple of observations:
First, all of these senior officials are former, thank god. And didn’t we dodge a bullet with Betrayus?

Second, security clearances involve principles precisely opposite to those of free speech. In fact, it is a felony to violate security clearance rules in order to “speak out.”
I don’t have much confidence in a group of people who think that having a security clearance is in any way related to free speech. Are these idiots arguing that John Brennan has a First Amendment right to have access to and share classified information? I don’t have a clearance — are my rights being violated? Brennan is on TV all the time and his toxic Twitter feed is active, so where is his speech being stifled?
Exactly. But even if his speech were being stifled, it wouldn’t matter. Stifling speech is the entire point of security and clearances.
And, of course, anything Andy McCarthy has to say about this should be read in entirety. Revoking Brennan’s Security Clearance: The Right Thing, Even if for the Wrong Reason. At Sara Carter: Will Brennan’s Text Messages and Emails Be Next? "Judicial Watch is suing for Brennan’s Communications with Sen Harry Reid" That should prove enlightening. But the WaPo complains about How Trump’s security-clearance gambit could actually get him in deeper trouble with Mueller
I was on an MSNBC panel Thursday night with Elie Honig, a former federal prosecutor for the Southern District of New York, who suggested Trump’s revocation of security clearances could be construed as retaliation against witnesses. “It’s a federal crime -- §1513 if anyone wants to look it up -- to retaliate against someone for providing truthful information to law enforcement,” he said. “So he’s getting closer and closer to really dangerous ground here.”
And more glimpses of the mysterious Mr. Mifsud: Mueller wants prison for Papadopoulos,
George Papadopoulos, a former Trump campaign foreign-policy adviser, should spend 30 days to six months in prison for lying to the FBI during the Russia probe, Mueller prosecutors said in a court filing, per AP's Chad Day.
George Papadopoulos’ lies ‘impeded’ Mueller investigation into Russian interference, court filing says
“The defendant’s lies to the FBI in January 2017 impeded the FBI’s investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election,” the sentencing recommendation from special counsel Robert Mueller says. “The defendant’s lies undermined investigators’ ability to challenge the Professor or potentially detain or arrest him while he was still in the United States.”

The filing says investigators had located the professor in D.C. two weeks after Papadopoulos was interviewed by the FBI on Jan. 27, 2017. The professor left the U.S. on Feb. 11, 2017, and has not returned.
I'm trying to wrap my head around the inability of the FBI to arrest their own asset, as Mr. Mifsud. Or at least is will assume as much, based on his previous actions.

I'm not sure what to think of this, but then, neither do the writers of the piece: White House counsel has spent 30 hours sharing details for Mueller probe: report
The Times reports that Trump's personal lawyers could have exercised attorney-client privilege to know what McGahn planned to tell investigators, but the president's lawyers did not go through that process.

McGahn told investigators that the president attempted to control the investigation and gave a mixture of potentially damaging and favorable information concerning Trump, the newspaper reported. But the White House counsel told Mueller's team he never saw Trump overstep his legal authorities.
What a guilty verdict for Manafort would mean for Trump and Mueller by Gabby Morrongiello, WaEx.
But some legal experts said a direct connection to the president wouldn't be necessary for a guilty verdict to undermine his months-long effort to characterize the special counsel probe as a "hoax."

"It doesn't affect the argument that this has nothing to do with Russia collusion because the trial, if anything, has verified that at least with Manafort, the case was not connected to allegations of Trump campaign collusion with Russia," former U.S. Attorney Kendall Coffey told the Washington Examiner. "But what it does do in a very broad sense is provide vindication for Mueller's team."
So having wrapped up Rod Rosenstein's old nemesis, he could declare victory and go home? I doubt it. Jonathon Turley at the Hill thinks Manafort conviction will add little firepower to Mueller investigation

CNN’s Andrew Kaczynski Cries Foul When Others Use His Own Tactics On Him. This one is classic CNN. Read it all
Yesterday, CNN and other media organizations attempted what can only be described as an exercise in jury intimidation. A motion was filed with the District Judge T. S. Ellis asking him to release the name and addresses of the jurors. Why this information was requested becomes much more curious when one considers that a) the media can’t talk to the jurors until after they are released from duty, b) that maybe the jurors would object to their private information being released, c) and the fact that the jury had just asked Judge Ellis for the meaning of “reasonable doubt.”

One of the most unintentionally hilarious responses was from the dumpster-diving Andrew Kaczynski, who runs the so-called K-FILE at CNN.

Then he deleted it because…people were distributing his address:

If the addresses of private citizens can be released so CNN or other media can interview them, or if CNN hunts down unoffending private citizens and identifies them, then the addresses of CNN reporters so others can engage in “citizen journalism” and interview them at their homes is clearly permissible. Maybe if their kids were followed to school and their schoolmates interviewed, some of these clowns would treat fellow humans with a little bit more respect and consideration. Maybe if a dozen people were camped out on his doorstep at all hours of the day waiting for him to leave the house he might develop a sense of decency.
Who’s up for James Woods vs. CNN’s Oliver Darcy over the merits of unsealing jurors’ personal info?. A pretty good job of laying out how CNN has "doxxed" people in the past.

Morning Music - "Victim of Pleasure"

Mandy Smith:
Mandy Smith was convent educated, and lived in Tottenham as a young child. She met Bill Wyman when she attended the BPI Awards with her sister Nichola Smith. Also, she modelled for Boy and Katherine Hamnett. Maurice Boland was her agent, and made her famous on the back of her affair with Bill Wyman. The story broke in 1986, on her return from Marbella, Spain.

In 1983, when Smith was only 13 years old, a relationship began between her and 47 year old Rolling Stones bassist Bill Wyman. In April 2010, in an interview with the Daily Mail, Smith claimed to have started a sexual relationship with Wyman at just 14. Smith married Wyman in 1989; they divorced in 1991.
. . .
Smith is currently a resident of Manchester where she has now become a teetotaller and vegan. Smith was raised as a Catholic and, in recent years, has returned to the church.
A victim of pleasure, indeed!

Saturday, August 18, 2018

Resplendent Russiagate

It's a big one again, so diving right in with Ace's Judge Tells the FBI That It Will No Longer Be Permitted to Hide Behind "We Can Neither Confirm Nor Deny" Answers, But Must Actually Answer Questions About How It Handled the Alleged Steele Dossier.  No more shuck-and-jive. It's about time. Mark Penn at Da Hill: Press needs to restore its credibility on FBI and Justice Department
Now, these are all established facts. Let’s review them again: Ohr was a senior Justice Department official whose wife was employed by the research firm hired by Clinton and the DNC to get dirt on Trump. This was not reported on any disclosure forms. Ohr’s wife worked on the same Trump-Russia project as Steele, who concocted the dossier, and Ohr himself established a secret back channel with Steele, who had been dismissed for lying to the FBI — all, apparently, so that Steele was never far from learning about the investigation or having input into it. His texts even refer to a fear of “firewalls” being discovered.

This is an absolutely stunning development, suggesting a “deep state” conspiracy hidden even from superiors and driven on the basis of undisclosed dollars ultimately from the opposition candidate going to the wife of a DOJ official. Even moderate senators like Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) have been shocked by this and called for a special counsel to investigate the FBI. Yet, the mainstream media not only ignores the story while in the throes of Omarosa fever, but suggests only tin-hat conspiracy theorists would believe anything is wrong here.

The New York Times did write a story about Ohr — a story wondering why Ohr would possibly be on a list of people the president has suggested might lose their security clearance. The article says Ohr has been “at the center of a right-wing conspiracy theory” about the origins of the Trump-Russia investigation. Ohr, according to the Times, has been the subject of “conservative attacks” about the origins of the investigation which, the article notes, the Justice Department kept under wraps so as not to affect the election. Yup, they were actually trying to help Trump.
Margot Cleveland at the Federalist: New Info Indicates Clinton-Funded Oppo Research Launched FBI’s Trump Investigation. Like we needed new info? Elizabeth Vaughn at the Geller Report: John Brennan’s CIA ‘Operated Like A Branch Office Of The Hillary Campaign’. A useful review. When you've lost Lindsey Graham: Graham calls for special counsel to investigate FBI's handling of Clinton emails, FISA warrantAP Interview: Top Republican opens up about Russia probe. Still nada:
“Nothing in this town stays classified or secret forever,” Burr said. “And at some point somebody’s going to go back and do a review. And I’d love not to be the one that chaired the committee when somebody says, ‘well, boy, you missed this.’ So we’ve tried to be pretty thorough in how we’ve done it.”

Burr said there is “no factual evidence today that we’ve received” on collusion or conspiracy between Russia and President Donald Trump’s campaign. But he said he’s still open on the issue and hasn’t personally come to any final conclusions, since the investigation isn’t finished.
John Sexton at Hot Air: NBC News: Sen. Nelson Leaked Some Genuine, But Classified, Information
So the bottom line here is that while Nelson did not make this story up, he did completely botch the handling of it. First and foremost, he was not supposed to reveal this because it was classified. Second, this apparently has to do with potential, ongoing threats from the 2016 penetration of Florida’s election system, not with any new penetration of the system.
On Paul Manafort's Purge Trial, The big media in the Manafort trial are trying to dox the jury. Ace: CNN and Other Media Organizations Plead to Manafort Judge: Please Give Us the Jurors' Names So That We Can Dox Them Into Voting the Way We Demand.

The judge said NFW, citing among other things, the fact that he has been threatened, and needs protection from the Federal Marshall Service: Manafort Trial Judge Has Been Threatened, Has U.S. Marshals Protection (John Sexton, Hot Air), Manafort’s Judge Is Under Federal Protection After Wave Of Threats (Da Caller). Bay way of Wombat Socho's  "In The Mailbox: 08.17.18" Power Line has: Democrats Frighten Manafort Jurors.

Jack Shafer, Politico, John Brennan’s Trumpian Turn, "John O. Brennan can’t say he didn’t ask for President Donald Trump’s extreme attention." Bloomberg: Trump Is Not Trying to Silence Brennan The president’s strategy is the opposite: to make the former CIA director more prominent and use him as a foil. That would be typical. Nice for Brennan to fall for it, though. Dr. John at Flopping Aces, Trump isn’t trying to silence his critics. He’s stripping away security clearances from those who conspired against him. It's an amazing turn of dishonesty that the media et al accuse him of trying to silence critics by merely taking away their right to handle classified information. But we expect no less. Allahpundit: Trump Eager To Strip More People’s Security Clearances "Eager, but probably not so eager that he’ll nuke all of them at once. Gotta save those revocations for rainy-day news cycles." Well, the media set the game to the news cycle, and Trump has to play within those bounds. Besides, never knowing when the hammer will fall is kind of invigorating. Joe Seyton at Reason: Rand Paul: Trump Should Keep Revoking Ex-Obama Officials’ Security Clearances. Rand Paul has his good moments. David Kris at the WaPo has 3 ways revoking Brennan’s clearance is bad for the country. Because it makes it harder for the WaPo to get insider information is not listed.

Natasha Bertrand at da Atlantic gives Peter Strzok another tongue bath: Why the FBI Fired an Agent Who Wrote Anti-Trump Texts "The FBI’s disciplinary office had recommended Peter Strzok be suspended for two months but was overruled by the bureau’s deputy director."
The Former FBI special agent Frank Montoya Jr., who served as the director of the Office of the National Counterintelligence Executive until 2016, acknowledged that Strzok “made a serious mistake” in exchanging those highly opinionated texts with Page. “But it wasn’t a fireable mistake,” he said. “Guys in the bureau get DUI’s and they get 30 days on the bricks.
Drunken driving gun toting FBI agents with attitude are kept.That's comforting. But even Trevor Noah thinks Strzok's retirement plan is a bit too far (NSFW language):

Allahpundit: Feds Closing In On Michael Cohen Over Stormy Payoff?. It didn't work on John Edwards, but he wasn't a Republican.

AP source: It’s not just audio, Manigault Newman has video. Looking forward to something like this (NSFW link). And if you need something to displace that from your brain try Piers Morgan Says Omarosa Manigault Offered Him Sex to Win ‘Celebrity Apprentice’
“Omarosa sidled up to me at the New York Mercantile Exchange and said, quite seriously: ‘Piers, do you want a showmance?’ ‘A what?’ I replied. ‘A showmance. You know, a romance on the show — we get it on together. Happens all the time on Apprentice. Everyone has sex together. Then we can make lots of money out of it,’” Morgan wrote. “I stared at her grasping, ferociously ambitious little eyes, and laughed: ‘You must be joking, you deluded woman.’ She didn’t take it well. ‘What are you? Gay?’”
And speaking of grasping, and ferociously ambitious,  Stormy Daniels Reportedly Storms Out Of UK “Big Brother” At Last Minute  over "a last-minute demand for an extra £100,000, which was rebuffed" and How Michael Avenatti Got His Start In Political Dark Arts Under Rahm Emanuel.

Rule 5 Saturday - The Outlander - Caitriona Balfe

This week's Rule 5 Special is dedicated to Caitriona Balfe:
Caitriona Balfe (/kəˈtriːnə ˈbælf/; born 4 October 1979) is an Irish actress and former model. She is best known for her role as Claire Fraser in the Starz drama series Outlander, for which she has won two People's Choice Awards and two Saturn Awards, and has received three nominations for the Golden Globe Award for Best Actress in a Television Series – Drama.
It's on my list to see.

In 1999, while studying Theatre at the DIT Conservatory of Music and Drama, Balfe was offered work as a fashion model in Paris. She was featured both in advertising campaigns and on runways for brands such as Dolce & Gabbana, Roberto Cavalli, Max Mara, Bottega Veneta, H&M, Victoria's Secret and Oscar de la Renta over the course of 10 years before she returned her focus toward acting. Balfe has appeared in numerous films, including Super 8, Now You See Me, Escape Plan and Money Monster, and had leading roles in The Beauty Inside, Crush and H+: The Digital Series.
Whether modeling or acting, Caitriona is open to being open (NSFW).