Saturday, June 2, 2018

Russiagate on the Road

Handicapped by travel and unfamiliar equipment.

Debra Heine at PJ Media: Obama White House Tried to Intrude on FBI's Russia Investigation Obstruction much? Think Mueller is going to handle it?
The Obama administration tried to take over the FBI's investigation of the Trump campaign, The Hill's John Solomon reported on Fox News Thursday night. And according to Solomon, the FBI began spying on members of the Trump campaign to gather the intelligence that ultimately justified the collusion investigation, weeks or even months before the FBI had a formal predicate.

"That's very important. The rules say you can't use sources until you have a predicated investigation. The predication is July 31, 2016," Solomon told Fox host Sean Hannity. The investigative reporter said he had sources and documents backing up his claim that he would be making public in his report in The Hill on Friday.

He stressed that informants were making contacts with the Trump officials and providing information to the FBI "much, much earlier than July 31."
D.C. McAllister also at PJ Media:The Real Reason Why the FBI Had a Spy in the Trump Campaign. Because they thought they could get away with it?
Why did Brennan send a CIA crony with a shady past abroad to spy on a political campaign adviser? Could it be that Halper’s purpose wasn’t to discover information, but to twist it, to manipulate his targets to bend to the Trump-Russia collusion narrative, something a qualified undercover agent wouldn’t do? Was he looking to set someone up as a foreign agent instead of merely gathering information?

To begin a preliminary investigation, there must be "information or allegation" that someone was acting as an agent of a foreign power and a threat to national security. According to my source, this isn’t a very high bar to reach, but it can’t be just any allegation. There must be "articulable information" that would stand up in court. "Remember," the expert said, "we eventually have to make the case to a jury, and we want to have legitimate reasons for what we did every step of the way."
 Read the whole thing.Ace: Is the FBI Lying about the Australian Diplomat's Claims, Too?
Kim Strassel in the WSJ:
To hear the Federal Bureau of Investigation tell it, its decision to launch a counterintelligence probe into a major-party presidential campaign comes down to a foreign tip about a 28-year-old fourth-tier Trump adviser, George Papadopoulos.
The FBI's media scribes have dutifully reported the bare facts of that "intel." We are told the infamous tip came from Alexander Downer, at the time the Australian ambassador to the U.K. Mr. Downer invited Mr. Papadopoulos for a drink in early May 2016, where the aide told the ambassador the Russians had dirt on Hillary Clinton. Word of this encounter at some point reached the FBI, inspiring it to launch its counterintelligence investigation into the Trump campaign on July 31.
Notably (nay, suspiciously) absent or muddled are the details of how and when that information made its way to the FBI, and what exactly was transmitted. A December 2017 New York Times story vaguely explains that the Australians passed the info to "American counterparts" about "two months later," and that once it "reached the FBI," the bureau acted. Even the Times admits it's "not clear" why it took the Aussies so long to flip such a supposedly smoking tip. The story meanwhile slyly leads readers to believe that Mr. Papadopoulos told Mr. Downer that Moscow had "thousands of emails," but read it closely and the Times in fact never specifies what the Trump aide said, beyond "dirt."
Meanwhile, something doesn’t gel between Mr. Downer's account of the conversation and the FBI's. In his Australian interview, Mr. Downer said Mr. Papadopolous didn't give specifics. "He didn’t say dirt, he said material that could be damaging to her," said Mr. Downer. "He didn’t say what it was." Also: "Nothing he said in that conversation indicated Trump himself had been conspiring with the Russians to collect information on Hillary Clinton."
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....
Which leads us back to what did inspire the FBI to act, and when? The Papadopoulos pretext is getting thinner.
Strassel writes about the strangeness of the Australian response to this tip so smoking-hot the FBI immediately lurched into action -- the Australians did not report it to the US. Her sources say that Downer himself walked the tip in, not to officials in Washington, DC, but to the American Embassy in London.

London again.

Why London? Why are the early days of this investigation always... conveniently overseas, where the John Brennan's CIA was not forbidden by US law to operate?
That ought to do it.

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