Thursday, March 29, 2018

Gathering Russiagate

Newly uncovered text messages between FBI officials Peter Strzok and Lisa Page suggest a possible coordination between high-ranking officials at the Obama White House, CIA, FBI, Justice Department and former Senate Democratic leadership in the early stages of the investigation into alleged collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia, according to GOP congressional investigators on Wednesday.

The investigators say the information provided to Fox News “strongly” suggests coordination between former President Barack Obama’s Chief of Staff Denis McDonough, then-Senate Democratic Leader Harry Reid, and CIA Director John Brennan — which they say would “contradict” the Obama administration’s public stance about its hand in the process.
Ace: All such straight-arrows they menaced the streets looking for gay arrows to bash.
A friend told me he'd heard someone, maybe Brit Hume, make this point: He (I think, could have been someone else) said that McCabe was deliberately making himself a partisan lightning rod because being a partisan lightning rod would guarantee you an acquittal in any possible trial for lawbreaking. You'll always have 2-3 (at least) members of #TheResistance on the jury to nullify any verdict, just based on them sympathizing with you for being #DownWithTheCause.

It could be that Brennan, who's been pretty partisan, is likewise considering such a strategy.
Porcini Mushrooms
 John McCain’s FBI Handoff Turned Trump Hoax Dossier Into ‘Urgent Matter’
“Upon examination of the contents, and unable to make a judgment about their accuracy, I delivered the information to the director of the FBI,” McCain said at the time. “That has been the extent of my contact with the FBI or any other government agency regarding this issue.” Shortly after McCain gave Steele’s dossier to Comey, the FBI chief updated then President-Elect Trump and President Obama on the dossier in an official classified briefing.

As Breitbart News documented, Comey’s dossier briefing to Trump was subsequently leaked to the news media, setting in motion a flurry of news media attention on the dossier, including the release of the document to the public. The briefing also may have provided the veneer of respectability to a document that had been circulating for months within the news media but was widely considered too unverified to publicize.
Wheels within wheels. It appears to me that Steele/Hillary/DNC/FBI/CIA kept bringing the damn thing to light in order to magnify its apparent importance. John McCain was just one of those tricked into acting as their agent.

Wood Ear mushroom
Another undercover op? Why Was Papadopolous Contacted Out of the Blue by a Man Named Halper, Who In Turn Is a "Close Associate" of a Man Named Dearlove, Who In Turn is a Former MI-6 Colleague of Christopher Steele?
But here's what I'm wondering, if all of this was true: Was this all part of the Fusion operation to "incept" Trump aides with information which could, upon their repeating it, serve as a pretext to get the FBI investigating Trump?
Devin Nunes: Trump's foes getting boomeranged, could face impeachment
"Now this has effectively boomeranged on them," Nunes continued. "You have at least I think half of the American people now know that the other party, the Democrats, appear like they weaponized, to some degree, the intelligence services by using the foreign intelligence surveillance apparatus in this country to go and target the opposition campaign is totally unacceptable."
House subpoena rattles Justice Department; Sessions 'angry' at slow response; FBI 'called on the carpet'
Senior staff on both sides of the street have met on this and the FBI is getting called on the carpet. The Attorney General is angry with how slow the process has moved when it comes to requests from Congress to the FBI. He's told Wray that the pace is unacceptable and that if the FBI needs to double the number of people working on this, then that's what they need to do, but he is done seeing the Department criticized for the FBI's slow walking of requests from Congress like the last administration when these requests should be a top priority.
In response, Wray doubled the number of FBI agents clearing documents, and set up shift work.

Oyster Mushrooms
Gates Knew Contact During Campaign was Russian Intelligence, Says Mueller DocumentNew Mueller Filing: Manafort, Gates Tied To Russian Spy In 2016 But then I would assume anyone important in Russia would be somehow connected to Russian intelligence. It's what they do, it's what they are.
Politico’s Kyle Cheney remains cautious on whether this means much — yet:
The filing shed little light on whether Americans aided Russia’s interference in the 2016 election, but it shows that prosecutors believe a top Trump official remained in contact with a Russian intelligence-linked operative well into the campaign. …
Gates remained in touch with “Person A” late in the campaign, Mueller said, communicating with the associate and van der Zwaan in a “series of calls” in September and October of 2016.
IG investigating FBI abuses of FISA in Trump campaign surveillance
The Justice Department’s inspector general said Wednesday that he is investigating whether the FBI overstepped its bounds when it conducted secret surveillance of a Trump campaign figure in 2016 and 2017, and whether the FBIbungled its handling of the anti-Trump “Steele dossier.”
. . .
“In response to requests from the Attorney General and Members of Congress, the Office of the Inspector General (OIG) will initiate a review that will examine the Justice Department’s and the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s (FBI) compliance with legal requirements, and with applicable DOJ and FBI policies and procedures, in applications filed with the U.S. Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court (FISC) relating to a certain U.S. person,” Mr. Horowitz said in a statement.
Hen-of-the-Woods Mushrooms
More here: DOJ Inspector General To Look At FISA Court Applications (Update: Goodlatte Responds) It's a start, but an IG from DOJ doesn't have enough authority to investigate the CIA, the NSA, the DNC etc.

Mr. Mueller: Was the DNC Server Actually Hacked by the Russians? "So much evidence suggests it was not, starting with the DNC’s refusal to cooperate." They probably did, but others might have as well. It appears the data was taken on a thumb drive physically attached to the DNC network. Seth Rich?

A federal judge has denied Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s request for a protective order for materials gathered during discovery for the upcoming trial of former Trump campaign manager Paul Manafort in Alexandria, Virginia.

In a two-page order entered Wednesday morning, U.S. District Judge T.S. Ellis III said Mueller’s request was “insufficiently specific in describing the information to be subject to the requested protective order, which is, in the circumstances, excessively broad.”

“To be sure, there may be good reason to apply a protective order to certain specific information in this case, but that information has not been adequately identified or described,” Ellis wrote. “Instead, the protective order simply refers vaguely to ‘other confidential materials’ that need to be shielded from disclosure.”
But I thought Mueller was a legal saint? GOP Senator John Kennedy: Mueller Probe is 'Why God Made Special Counsels'

ANALYSIS: Constitution Compels Sessions Dismiss Mueller From Non-Campaign Cases
Paul Manafort‘s legal team brought a motion to dismiss on Tuesday, noting that Rosenstein could not appoint Mueller to any investigation outside the scope of the 2016 campaign since Sessions did not recuse himself for anything outside the campaign. I agree with this take on Mueller’s authority. If we follow that argument that would mean Sessions himself has exclusive authority to appoint a special counsel for non-collusion charges, and Sessions has taken no such action. Sessions himself should make that clear to Mueller, rather than await court resolution. Doing so would remove three of the four areas of inquiry from Mueller’s requested interview with President Trump.
Analysis is only a good as the analyzer. I like the direction, but I'm not compelled. So is Mueller just covering all the bases, or conducting a witch hunt? The verdict is still out.

Former Trump Lawyer Talked Pardons For Flynn And Manafort With Their Attorneys Last Year Old meme, Presidents get to act with Presidential power, newer meme, Presidents who exercise legitimate presidential powers against democratic objections commit obstruction of justice. Newest meme, Presidents whose advisers even talk about exercising legitimate presidential powers over democrat objections commit obstruction of justice.

Are You Ready For The James Comey, CNN Town Hall? No? How about a variety show; I'll bet that tall guy can dance with the stars, tell a joke, and make a funny skit.

We Will Never Have an Honest Conversation about Russia Again Analysis, true, in no small part to the shenanigans of the "Deep State."

Wombat-socho has "Rule 5 Sunday: Lieutenant Dish" and "FMJRA 2.0: And Now A Few Words From The Evolution Control Committee" up and running on time.

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