Wednesday, February 14, 2018

More Rice Memo Muddle

The memo that National Security Adviser Susan Rice wrote to herself in the waning minutes of the Obama administration continues to attract interest and speculation, as well it should:

Ben Shapiro at the The Daily Wire reports that Congress has some questions for Ms. Rice: On Her Last Day In Office, Obama National Security Advisor Rice Sent Suspicious Letter About Obama, Comey, Trump-Russia Collusion Meeting
. . . the double emphasis on Obama stating that he wanted to proceed “by the book” smacks of a bit too much protest. Did Obama really want to proceed by the book? Or did he say that for effect?

Grassley and Graham ask a series of questions that deserve answers:
  • Why did Rice send the email?
  • When was she aware of the Trump-Russia collusion investigation?
  • Was she aware of the FISA warrant on Carter Page?
  • Did Comey or Yates mention any media coverage of the Steele dossier?
  • Was she aware of the Steele dossier?
  • Were there any more meetings of this sort?
The email is certainly odd. It will be fascinating to see if Rice bothers to answer the questions.
Ace lays out a case for Comey concealing facts from Congress: A By the Book Coup: Known Liar Susan Rice's Two-Weeks-After-the-Fact CYA "Memorandum"
. . . You might ask, "What was going on around January 5 that would incite such a big meeting?"

Well -- a whole heck of a lot, actually.
January 3, 2017: According to FNC, "outgoing Attorney General Loretta Lynch secretly signed an order directing the National Security Agency -- America's 60,000-person-strong domestic spying apparatus -- to make available raw spying data to all other federal intelligence agencies, which then can pass it on to their counterparts in foreign countries and in the 50 states upon request."
January 5, 2017: Meeting with Obama, Biden, Rice, Yates, Comey according to Rice's email to herself.
January 10, 2017: Jim Sciutto, Jake Tapper, Evan Perez and Carl Bernstein broke the story in the WaPo that allowed the dossier to go public.
That story said the briefing happened "last week," so that would put it between the 2nd and 6th, and a source tells me it was actually January 6th.

Is there anything else that you should know?

Well, how about this: If Rice's email is truthful about Comey's presence at this little meeting, then Comey misled Congress by not informing them about it.
According to Law & Crime:Dated June 8, 2017, Comey’s "Statement for the Record" provided to the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, notes, "I have tried to include information that may be relevant to the committee."
Comey clearly did not find the January 5, 2017 meeting to be particularly relevant.
In other words, on January 5, 2017, an Oval Office meeting occurred between then-FBI director Comey, the soon-to-be-former president of the United States (Obama), his soon-to-be-former Vice-President (Biden), then-National Security Advisor Susan Rice and soon-to-be Acting Attorney General Sally Yates–and Comey apparently viewed this meeting as irrelevant to congressional investigators.
Comey's failure to disclose this meeting to the Senate committee is likely to be viewed as an intentional and material omission of a highly relevant fact related to the Russiagate investigation.
Coming soon: James Comey tweets a Bible quote of Jesus saying something about the righteous man's obligation to lie to Congress.
John Hinderacker at Powerline suggests why Susan Rice Wrote the Memo to Herself:
The next paragraph of the email remains classified and has been redacted. The email concludes:
The President asked Comey to inform him if anything changes in the next few weeks that should affect how we share classified information with the incoming team. Comey said he would.
Why did Susan Rice send herself an email purporting to document this part of the meeting? Because she was C’ing her own A. Rice was nervous about the fact that, at the president’s direction, she had failed to “share information fully as it relates to Russia” with President Trump’s incoming national security team. This violated longstanding American tradition. Outgoing administrations have always cooperated in the transition to a new administration, whether of the same or the opposing party, especially on matters relating to national security.

Susan Rice is far from the brightest bulb on the tree, but she was well aware that by concealing facts ostensibly relating to national security from her counterpart in the new administration–General Michael Flynn–she was, at a minimum, violating longstanding civic norms. If she actually lied to Flynn, she could have been accused of much worse. So Rice wanted to be able to retrieve her email, if she found herself in a sticky situation, and tell the world that she hid relevant facts about Russia from the new administration on Barack Obama’s orders.

What were the secrets that Obama wanted to keep from the new administration? We can easily surmise that the fact that the Steele memo was paid for by the Democratic Party; that the FBI had to some degree collaborated with Steele; that the Clinton campaign had fed some of the fake news in the dossier to Steele; and that Comey’s FBI had used Steele’s fabrications as the basis for FISA warrants to spy on the Trump campaign were among the facts that Obama and his minions didn’t want Michael Flynn and Donald Trump to know. Susan Rice, we can infer, was told to keep these secrets, and if anyone ever asked why she had failed to disclose them to Michael Flynn and others on Trump’s team, or even lied to those people, she would have the defense that President Obama ordered her to do it.
Tom Cotton To Chris Wray: Does The FBI Still Believe The Steele Dossier Is “Salacious And Unverified”?
“Salacious and unverified” was the phrase famously used by James Comey during testimony last year to describe parts of the dossier, although those comments have since been misinterpreted — including by Republicans on the House Intel Committee — as a reference to the entire document. Cotton’s setting Wray up here for an obvious follow-up: If the dossier is salacious and unverified, how on earth could you offer it to the FISA Court as evidence of probable cause to believe that Carter Page is a foreign agent?

But Wray doesn’t take the bait.

It could be that the answer’s “yes” but he’s reluctant to say that publicly, knowing the political sensation it would cause. But I don’t know what the point would be of saving the truth for this afternoon’s classified testimony. Obviously, if he undermines the dossier’s credibility in that session, it’s going to leak.

Cotton also asks him about the curious coincidence of Christopher Steele reaching out to the Senate Intelligence Committee via an attorney for … Oleg Deripaska, a mega-rich Russian Putin crony. Is it possible that Steele has worked for Deripaska too? If so, the odds that the dossier contains Putin-planted disinformation would rise considerably, which means the credibility of the document would drop accordingly.
Say what? Christopher Steele might have been collecting a check from a Putin crony as well as the Clinton Campaign and the DNC? Ace is on it!  Was Super-Spy Christopher Steele Actually Being Paid by Putin's Close Ally Oleg Deripaska?
As Sheriff J.W. Pepper said when told James Bond was a secret agent, "On whose side?!". . .
If Steele was employed by Deripaska or by his lawyer to do work on his behalf, it is likely to cast the dossier he allegedly authored in a new light.
Yes, one could say. Unless Jake Clapper chooses to ignore it, in which case all the #FakeNews Republican cucks will nod their heads and say in unison, "Jake Clapper is the kindest, bravest, most warm and wonderful person I've ever met."
Ace is also on the mysterious case of Michael Flynn, whom Bob Mueller indicted for lying to the FBI after the FBI reported that they did not believe he had lied to them and how that might relate to the Rice memo:  Byron York: Comey Told Congress That FBI Determined that Michael Flynn Did Not Lie In Interviews, But DOJ Senior Officials Had a Particular Desire to Find Him Guilty of Something
Byron York notes what immediately occurred to me-- around this time, reporters friendly to Obama began talking up the LOGAN ACT and how it's Totally a Serious Law You Guys.

Just a coincidence, I'm sure.

It was Yates who sent the FBI agents to interview Flynn, on the bizarre theory that he might have violated the LOGAN ACT (which is not enforced because you cannot make it illegal to talk to foreigners, and which only even gets discussed as a law when used against Republicans -- Democrats can chat up foreign potentates and enemy leaders all the doo-dah day) and on the bizarre theory that he might be blackmailable.

On those thin reeds, Yates built her case against Flynn.

Oh, and Yates was at that January 5 meeting. Coincidentally enough.

Could it be that that January 5 meeting was to coordinate what the Obama loyalists who would continue in their jobs after the inauguration should be doing to further the coup?
#Russiagate: The Second Time as Farce... or Tragedy?
The more we learn about #Russiagate, or what we might now call #Dossiergate, the more the whole affair comes to resemble a Ken Kesey novel.

Indeed, the more one considers all the players in this unbelievably bizarre saga, including Sid "Vicious" Blumenthal, Cody "The Hatchet" Shearer, James "Reinhold Niebuhr" Comey, text-messaging "Pyramus" Peter Strzok and "Thisbe" Lisa Page, Andrew "The Vanisher" McCabe, Mark "Big Leaks" Warner, Christopher "Get Smart" Steele, Adam "Mendacity" Schiff, and Bruce and Nellie "Ratched" Ohr, not to mention the half-dozen or so other nameless people who mysteriously disappeared from the DOJ in recent days, the more it seems the only sane person in the entire demented charade -- taking the Randle Patrick McMurphy (Jack Nicholson) role in "One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest" -- is Devin Nunes.

Want to know why there are so many redactions in all those FBI/DOJ documents, the ones whose contents you can't make heads or tails of while the indelible ink spills off the pages and stains your best flokati rug black forever? It's only 1% security but 99% humiliation. Forget "sources and methods." They are so ashamed of themselves they don't dare tell the truth. They should put a shroud over the Hoover Building and do penance until the next millennium. It's that embarrassing. (And maybe they should change the name of the building while they're at it. No more Robert E. Lee? No more J. Edgar Hoover. Fair's fair.) . . . 
Ben Stein pleads to the GOP: Come on, GOP, man up.
I can’t help it. I keep reading story after story, hearing harangue after harangue on the television that the Trump/Russia “collusion” is our era’s Watergate, or maybe even worse. My conclusion, after all of this palaver, is that the news stories are right. What’s happening with Trump today is Watergate all over again.

Only it’s the real Watergate. It’s not the fake history Watergate in which RN was committing terrible crimes and was kicked out of office by brave reporters hiding in garages and a heroic Congress.

The real Watergate was where the greatest Peacemaker the nation has ever known, a man with stupendous accomplishments in foreign affairs, the opening of China, the salvation of Israel, the détente with the Soviets, a President who gave us the EPA, the greatest school desegregation there has ever been, and brought America from chaos to order and progress — was deposed in a coup d’état waged by the mainstream media — notably the three major networks, the New York Times, the Washington Post, allied with what we now know as the Deep State — a permanent, powerful prosecutorial bureaucracy hooked up with a Democrat Congress. That coup d’état ousted the President who won by the largest margin in history in 1972. And what was the great crime that Mr. Nixon did?

Why, that no one knows. It all started with a burglary at the Watergate office building in which a group of Cubans broke into the DNC HQ. No one at all even alleges that RN knew a thing about it in advance. What did he know? That some of his friends knew about it.

What was the crime again? That he mentioned — just mentioned — asking the CIA to pull the FBI off the chase. Bad, to be sure. But bad enough to kick out the biggest vote getter in history, who had set the stage for ending the Cold War and saving the world from Armageddon? As bad as smashing Mrs. Clinton’s computer and throwing her emails into the drink and lying to Congress about Benghazi? And how did they do it to Nixon? They got the cool kids, the ones at the anchor desks at the networks, to look solemn and say that RN was a bad guy. They got a special prosecutor appointed whose sole aim was to ruin Nixon. When Nixon fired that wildly partisan prosecutor, to try to get some balance at Justice, that was called a “massacre.”

They did what prosecutors can always do. They asked Nixon’s aides tens of thousands of questions and — of course — found inconsistencies and evasions and got guilty verdicts on lying to the bureaucracy. Thus, they had a “trail” of crimes leading to RN. But of course any prosecutor can do that with any target.

So when RN flew off to San Clemente in August 1974, we had a new form of government: the mass media and the prosecutorial arms of the Deep State were running things. God help us, we got Jimmy Carter.
Unfortunately, that's not how the GOP works.

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