Friday, March 2, 2018

Russiagate on a Windy Day

Too windy to go out much. So here's today's update on the world of Russiagate.

First, by way of Wombat-socho's "In The Mailbox: 03.01.18" Powerline suggests that Robert Mueller is thinking about charging Trump with a thought crime, thinking about firing Attorney General Jeff Sessions for what he perceives to be an improper reason: Mueller’s Investigation Takes A Bizarre Turn.
The Washington Post reports that Robert Mueller is investigating President Trump’s “private comments and state of mind” during the period when he issued a series of tweets belittling Attorney General Jeff Sessions. According to the Post, the thrust of Mueller’s inquiry is to determine whether the president’s goal was to oust Sessions in order to pick a replacement who would exercise control over Mueller’s investigation.

If this story is true, it demonstrates why the nation needs someone in the Justice Department to exercise control over Mueller’s investigation. It also confirms the suspicion that Mueller is either nuts, desperate to get Trump, or both.
. . .
Whatever one thinks of Trump’s view, he is entitled to hold it, to express it, and to remove Sessions because of it (which he could have done but did not do).

Mueller, though, suspects that the attack on Sessions wasn’t a fit of rage about the past, but rather was all about the future — and about Mueller. He thinks that, heaven forbid, Trump’s goal was to increase Justice Department supervision over him and his team of Trump-haters.

It’s conceivable that such a motive played a part. But what if it did? It’s abnormal for an attorney general not to be able to oversee an investigation as important as Mueller’s. How can it be obstruction of justice to think about remedying, or hoping to remedy, this situation?

Since Trump didn’t sack Sessions and the attorney general didn’t resign, we don’t know who would have replaced him or how his replacement would have acted. Thus, we don’t know what the effect, if any, of a Sessions resignation would have been on Mueller’s investigation. Would the new AG have “obstructed” Mueller? One can only speculate. Building an obstruction of justice claim on such speculation seems crazy, desperate, or both.
Speaking of Trump's recent rampage against Sessions, David Blackmon thinks it's kabuki theater to impress the media and make them more respectful of the upcoming IG report: How to Read Trump’s Wednesday Tweet About Jeff Sessions Trump is smarter than the media, but maybe not quite as smart as he thinks he is.
I think that what we saw on Wednesday from the president and his AG is a bit of Kabuki theater. That exchange was designed to produce exactly the reaction in the Establishment news media that ended up taking place, i.e., a knee jerk among all the Democrat talking heads to defend and praise IG Horowitz as an upright and impartial arbiter of the facts.
Former FBI employee and host to "meetings" in his "office" Andy McCabe is one of the targets of the DOJ Inspector General's report to be released within the next few months.
The Department of Justice’s internal watchdog will criticize former FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe for authorizing leaks to the media and giving misleading statements to investigators about doing so, according to two new reports.

McCabe, 49, authorized FBI officials to speak to the media for articles prior to the 2016 election, including one about an ongoing investigation into the Clinton Foundation, according to a report being prepared by Justice Department Inspector General Michael Horowitz.

The FBI No. 2 also misled watchdog investigators when they initially asked about the media disclosures, according to The Washington Post.
On Hope Hicks Hope Hicks Bolts White House And You Should Care. House Intel Dems Are Accused Of Inaccurate Leaks Of Hope Hicks Testimony Sadly, bu not surprisingly, her testimony was being leaked as she was giving it. Allahpundit reports that Hope Hicks Reportedly Quit After Trump “Berated” Her For Admitting To Telling “White Lies” For Him, but he doesn't really believe it.

Mueller To Charge Russians Who Hacked DNC, Podesta Emails. More people who will never face trial, or Mueller's team attempting to bankrupt them.  Secret Documents From Russia’s Election Trolls. I would be very leery of any information "leaked" by Russians. Say, like the infamous Steele dossier. Indicted Russians. That's It?
The Russians spent some money buying Americans to demonstrate? Or just found kindred spirits online to do it free? Or, horror of horrors, Russians lied on their visa applications? Or, Americans cheated on their tax returns? Or, Americans made “false statements” to FBI investigators when, as in the Flynn debacle, the bureau had already said there were no lies?

That’s the output thus far from Team Mueller with regard to their mission to investigate whether there was Russian meddling in our presidential election in 2016, and whether Americans “colluded” with the Russians in such endeavors. So far, we haven’t seen anyone indicted for such matters, but we do see truly shocking and genuinely dangerous corruption among the investigators and the enforcers.

The corruption is widespread throughout our society; it runs from the top of the FBI in Washington to the Broward County police in south Florida. Sometimes it seems tied to payoffs and other times it’s rooted in the political corruption that we can easily see. It doesn’t require special prosecutors to show it, and it’s unquestionably the greatest threat we face. Often it takes the form of our “leaders” ignoring real crimes, and alleging “process crimes.”
Senator seeks answers on why FBI waited weeks to act on Weiner laptop in Clinton case
Senate Homeland Security Committee Chairman Ron Johnson, R-Wis., fired off a letter Thursday to Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein asking about the timeline, citing texts between two key FBI investigators.

The messages, first reported by The Wall Street Journal in late January, indicate that top bureau officials were aware of the discovery of thousands of emails from Weiner well before the FBI sought a search warrant in late October, and effectively revived the Clinton probe right before the election.

"The cryptic and disjointed nature of the text messages, in addition to heavy redactions applied to other FBI documents, make it difficult to understand fully the sequence of events,” Johnson wrote to Rosenstein, giving him a deadline of March 15 to provide information to the committee.
One can be reasonably certain it was to help Clinton and hurt Trump, even as it worked out the other way. The guys and gals at the FBI aren't as smart as they think they are either.

Nunes: FBI may have violated criminal statutes in FISA application to spy on Trump adviser Carter Page 
The FBI may have violated criminal statutes, as well as its own strict internal procedures, by using unverified information during the 2016 election to obtain a surveillance warrant on onetime Trump campaign aide Carter Page, the chairman of the House Intelligence Committee charged Thursday in a letter obtained by Fox News.

House Intelligence Committee (HPSCI) Chairman Devin Nunes, R-Calif., wrote in his letter to Attorney General Jeff Sessions that “in this instance, it’s clear that basic operating guidance was violated.”
. . .
An Oct. 2011 version of the operations guide states that the “accuracy of information contained within FISA applications is of utmost importance... Only documented and verified information may be used to support FBI applications to the court.”
But you can tell he's over the target from the flak he's getting:  (Liberal) Watchdog group files ethics complaint against Nunes after report of House Intel leaks, which take a lot of chutzpah after the leaks from Democrats on the committee. And from the Never-Trumpers at Redstate: It’s Time For Devin Nunes To Go – For Good

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