Sunday, June 3, 2018

Road Kill Russiagate

John Sexton at Hot Air: Prosecutors Interview James Comey About Former Deputy Andrew McCabe At this point why should anyone believe either one of them:
The D.C. U.S. Attorney’s Office has interviewed former FBI Director James Comey as they consider whether or not to charge his former deputy Andrew McCabe. As you probably recall, McCabe was fired a day before he was set to retire. DOJ Inspector General Michael Horowitz subsequently released a report stating that McCabe had lied about arranging a leak to the Wall Street Journal on four separate occasions, three of them under oath. One of the people McCabe allegedly lied to was his boss, James Comey. From the Washington Post:
By the inspector general’s telling, in seeking to advance his own interests, McCabe authorized two FBI officials to talk to the Wall Street Journal about a story he believed would cast him as standing in the way of a probe of Hillary Clinton’s foundation. Then, according to the inspector general, McCabe misled Comey and FBI and inspector general investigators about having done so…
Comey and McCabe offered varying accounts of who authorized the disclosure for the article. They discussed the story the day after it was published, and Comey, according to the inspector general’s report, told investigators McCabe “definitely did not tell me that he authorized” the disclosure.
McCabe has countered that emails between the two “clearly show that Mr. McCabe specifically advised Director Comey that he was working with colleagues at the FBI to correct inaccuracies in the story before it was published, and that they remained in contact through the weekend while the work was taking place.” Those emails, though, were in reference to a different Wall Street Journal story about donations McCabe’s wife had received from a political action committee controlled by Terry McAuliffe, a Clinton ally, McCabe’s lawyer has acknowledged. The inspector general ultimately credited Comey’s account.
Lying to Comey might not itself be a crime. But the inspector general alleged McCabe misled investigators three other times.
So if lying to Comey wasn’t a crime, why bother talking to Comey? It’s almost certainly because on of the other three instances of lying McCabe was accused of is based on Comey’s recollection of events. In his first two interviews under oath, McCabe told agents he had not authorized any leaks and had no idea who had done so. But in November 2017, McCabe was interviewed again and completely revised his story. . .
Sexton has also noticed the "Republicans Sieze" on meme: Inspector General’s Report Isn’t Out Yet, But The Washington Post Is Already Worried Republicans Will Seize On It
Whenever some news that is harmful to Democrats becomes a story, someone in the media will publish it under a version of this headline: “Republicans Seize on…”

For instance, outspoken members of the Democratic party have been pushing Trump’s impeachment for a year. Last month the NY Times published a story headlined, “Republicans Seize on Impeachment for Edge in 2018 Midterms.” There is some news here but the headline could easily have been “Democratic push for impeachment could backfire this fall” but the bad news for Dems gets refocused into a “Republicans Seize…” story instead.Friday the Washington Post set a new milestone in the “Republicans seize” genre: A “Republicans about to seize” story about an IG report that hasn’t even been published yet.

The headline doesn’t literally say “Republicans seize” but that’s the gist: “As Justice Dept. inspector general moves from Clinton email to Russia and Trump, he risks becoming a political weapon.” How does IG Horowitz risk becoming a weapon? Apparently by releasing a fair and accurate report critical of the FBI:
In the coming weeks, Horowitz is expected to release a nearly 500-page report criticizing the Justice Department and FBI for their handling of the Clinton email investigation, people familiar with the matter said…
Those who know Horowitz say his findings will be as nonpartisan as they are thorough. But his work is almost certain to be weaponized by President Trump against federal law enforcement, and some question whether it will quell the tension gripping Washington…
One of Trump’s lawyers, Rudolph W. Giuliani, said this week that the forthcoming Clinton email report could be a boon for the president — justifying his firing of Comey, and undercutting that as a piece of Mueller’s probe into whether the president obstructed justice. Giuliani said Horowitz is “not a guy who is known to play politics,” and his report “could lay out an overwhelming case.”
The article says multiple times that Horowitz is renowned as a straight-shooter. So he’s not the problem. And because he’s a straight-shooter his report will be fair and accurate. So what’s the problem here exactly? The unspoken problem is that Democrats and their narratives are likely to take a hit from this report.
Via Wombat-sochos  "In The Mailbox: 06.01.18" Powerline presents:The Curious Case of Mr. Downer
Kim Strassel’s weekly Wall Street Journal column looks into “The curious case of Alexander Downer.” Downer is the former Australian ambassador to the United Kingdom whose conversation with George Papadopoulos in London supposedly led to the counterintelligence investigation that culminated in the appointment of Robert Mueller as Special Counsel to torment President Trump. Downer thus lies at the heart of one of the origin stories — perhaps the key origin story — of the synthetic Trump-Russia collusion hysteria. Strassel isn’t buying the story. She concludes:
For months we’ve been told the FBI acted because it was alarmed that Mr. Papadopoulos knew about those hacked Democratic emails in May, before they became public in June. But according to the tipster himself, Mr. Papadopoulos said nothing about emails. The FBI instead received a report that a far-removed campaign adviser, over drinks, said the Russians had something that might be “damaging” to Hillary. Did this vague statement justify a counterintelligence probe into a presidential campaign, featuring a spy and secret surveillance warrants?
Unlikely. Which leads us back to what did inspire the FBI to act, and when? The Papadopoulos pretext is getting thinner.
Josh Gerstein at Politico resents that Trump’s FBI attacks divide bureau’s longtime critics  and force him and other liberals to side with the FBI:
To longtime critics of the FBI’s most intrusive investigative tactics, Trump’s attacks on the bureau are self-serving, uninformed and transparently intended to deflect from his own conduct.

But the president’s claim that his campaign was infiltrated by an FBI informant also echoes longtime complaints by left-wing political activists, as well as the American Civil Liberties Union and Muslim-American groups, that the bureau often relies on flimsy evidence to justify spying on U.S. citizens.

“What’s wrong for the goose is wrong for the gander,” said Fordham University Law School’s Karen Greenberg, who tracks the FBI’s use of informants in terrorism sting operations that she argues often concoct crimes rather than uncovering them. “This is the FBI’s way of doing business — and not just in terrorism cases.”

“I’ve actually been thinking obsessively about it,” said Harvey Silverglate, a criminal defense attorney and famed civil liberties advocate. “It’s very difficult for me because I loathe and distrust completely the FBI. I loathe and distrust completely the president of the United States, and I loathe and distrust completely Hillary Clinton. I am in a real bind.”

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