Friday, March 30, 2018

Russiagate Revving Up

Still not a special counsel who can drag people in front of a grand jury and indict them.

Personally, I see it as just another excuse for Snoozy Jeff to not appoint an actual special counsel.

On the other hand, Snoozy Jeff can prosecute based on information gathered by the IG, and this IG seems, from what we know so far, to be a diligent investigator. We'll have to see about that, though: We only have rumors that more is coming, and we don't know that his report won't wind up whitewashing most of this.
For a contrary point of view:  Why AG Sessions declined to appoint a special counsel
But, for the moment, at least, I see good reason for Sessions to take this position. In the letter, Sessions noted that he has asked the DOJ’s Inspector General Horowitz to investigate these matters, and, in a new disclosure, tasked US Attorney John W. Huber to investigate. Huber serves in Utah, far from the beltway, and was first appointed US Attorney by President Obama, and reappointed by Trump.

First of all, while the IG cannot convene a grand jury and subpoena witnesses outside the DOJ’s employees, Huber can. And the IG can and does make criminal referrals. There is tremendous inside expertise on the DOJ resident in the IG’s organization, meaning that there is no start-up delay and no learning curve in getting to work on abuses. So, with the IG digging up information, and referring it to Huber, further steps, including subpoenas to former DOJ and FBI employees, such as Andrew McCabe and James Comey, can be taken before a grand jury in Utah. An indictments issued by that grand jury presumably could be tried before a federal jury in Utah, whereas a special counsel would most likely work with courts in the District of Columbia, Virginia, or Maryland, beltway strongholds. Which jury pool would you prefer? The District of Columbia or Utah?

Even more importantly, there is reason to believe that a lot of work already is underway by Huber and his staff. . .
Sessions Pushes Rosenstein to Start Delivering Subpeonaed Documents to Congress Jeff Sessions Is Winning for Donald Trump. If Only He Can Keep His Job:
Even if his tenure ends tomorrow, Sessions would leave a legacy that will affect millions of Americans. He has dramatically shifted the orientation of the Justice Department, pulling back from police oversight and civil rights enforcement and pushing a hard-line approach to drugs, gangs and immigration violations. He has cast aside his predecessors’ attempts to rectify inequities in the criminal-justice system in favor of a maximalist approach to prosecuting and jailing criminals. He has rescinded the Obama Administration’s Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program and reversed its stances on voting rights and transgender rights. “I am thrilled to be able to advance an agenda that I believe in,” he told a group of federal prosecutors in Lexington later that day. “I believed in it before I came here, and I’ll believe in it when I’m gone.”
Congressman: FBI Report Says Andrew McCabe ‘Lied Four Times’ About Media Leaks I was about to say it's not illegal when they do it, but: Fired FBI official Andrew McCabe soliciting online donations for legal defense fund. Find Michael Flynn's legal defense fund here, instead.

Swiped from Theo's

I don't see anything in there about asking him about leaking, or McCabe's claim that all of his own leaks were known and authorized by Comey (disputing Comey's congressional testimony to the contrary), or the proposition that the bureaucracy is the true government of a nation, rather than its officials.

What I see is what sounds like an open celebration of the Magic that is James Comey, like Jake Tapper celebrated Broward Sheriff Scot Israel, the Spokesmoppets, and the proposition that Dana Loesch is nigh a murderess.
 First Investigate, then Dismantle, the FBI
The FBI, bluntly, is a mess. The level of incompetence mixed with bias is stunning. If the FBI were a private corporation, it would either be in Chapter 11 or fighting off stockholder rebellion or both. Unfortunately, however, it's our most important law enforcement agency,

Its litany of incompetence is extraordinary -- completely missing the Boston Marathon and Pulse night club terror murderers when they were staring them in the face and overlooking the Parkland schools mass killer when his violent psychosis should have been apparent to anyone with an IQ in triple digits are but three recent catastrophes on their watch.

As for the bias part, well, that is what is being uncovered.  The extent of it, it is easy to predict, will be great.  It already is. We have already seen how dishonest the organization is, how desperately they are hiding facts from the public. Documents have to be pried out with a crowbar. The stonewalling is endless, the numbers of self-serving redactions myriad and seemingly rote.  It is anti-democratic in the extreme.

The FBI, in sum, no longer looks out for the American citizen.  It looks out for itself or the leaders it chooses.  It deserves to be dismantled and a new FBI built from the ground up.  An entirely new system must be devised.  As perspicacious as the Senate and House committees have been, they are not enough.  Congresspeople alone cannot oversee this, nor should they have to.

After the IG reports have all been published, as suggested by Alan Dershowitz, an independent commission should be convened to review what has happened, devise these systems, and reconstitute a new FBI that  is organized differently and directly responsible to the citizenry.  This will not be easy.  Bureaucracies abhor transparency.
At some point the primary business of every governmental agency becomes keeping itself going. That is precisely the point at which it should be junked and reconstituted.

Via Wombat-socho's "In The Mailbox: 03.29.18" Power Line has The Democratic Party Collusion Story Gets Worse:
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.
The texts indicate that Strzok and Page knew their actions were illegal or, at a bare minimum, improper, and intended to keep them safe from FOIA requests or Congressional investigations. (To be fair, this was standard practice in the Obama administration.)
Page texted Strzok on Aug. 2, 2016, saying: “Make sure you can lawfully protect what you sign. Just thinking about congress, foia, etc. You probably know better than me.”
The White House was involved in the Democrats’ plans from an early date, contrary to Barack Obama’a public claims:
Days later, on Aug. 8, 2016, Strzok texted Page: “Internal joint cyber cd intel piece for D, scenesetter for McDonough brief, Trainor [head of FBI cyber division] directed all cyber info be pulled. I’d let Bill and Jim hammer it out first, though it would be best for D to have it before the Wed WH session.”
In the texts, “D” referred to FBI Director James Comey, and and “McDonough” referred to Chief of Staff Denis McDonough, the GOP investigators said.
So Obama’s White House was in on the FBI’s machinations more or less from the start.
The congressional investigators pointed out to Fox News that the CIA and FBI are supposed to be “independent agencies,” and noted that “coordination between political actors at the White House and investigators would be inappropriate,” raising questions about the level of involvement of Obama White House officials.
But that’s not all. Democrats at the CIA and the FBI brought Senate Democrats into the act as well:
But weeks later, on August 25, 2016, Brennan went to Capitol Hill to brief Harry Reid — and it was unclear whether FBI officials attended the briefing, a congressional source told Fox News.
Two days after the briefing, Reid penned a letter to Comey requesting an investigation into potential collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia.
Harry Reid was the Senate Minority Leader at the time. Did John Brennan brief the Majority Leader, Mitch McConnell, as well? . . .
Victor Davis Hanson: The Distortions of Our Unelected Officials
If there is such a thing as a dangerous “deep state” of elite but unelected federal officials who feel that they are untouchable and unaccountable, then John Brennan is the poster boy.

Immediately after the 2008 election of Barack Obama, the careerist Brennan quickly reinvented himself as a critic of the very methodologies that he once, as a George W. Bush administration official, had insisted were effective. Brennan was initially appointed Obama’s top counterterrorism adviser, and then took over the CIA after the abrupt and mysterious resignation of Gen. David Petraeus following the 2012 election.

Brennan claimed that intelligence agencies had not missed clear indications in 2009 that Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, the so-called “underwear bomber,” would try to take down a U.S. airliner. Just days later when his denials were ridiculed, Brennan flipped and blasted intelligence agencies for their laxity.

In 2011, Brennan falsely alleged that the Obama administration’s drone program had not caused a single civilian death in Pakistan over the previous year. In truth, around 50 civilians had been killed by drones since the 9/11 attacks. The same year, Brennan offered various versions of the American killing of Osama bin Laden. His misleading narratives required White House revisions.

In March 2014, Brennan denied accusations that CIA analysts had hacked the computers of U.S. Senate staffers to find out what they knew about possible CIA roles in enhanced interrogations. After he was caught in a lie, Brennan was forced to apologize to members of the Senate Intelligence Committee.

Most recently, in May 2017, Brennan testified under oath before Congress that he had no knowledge during the 2016 presidential campaign of the origins of the Fusion GPS/Christopher Steele dossier. Nor, Brennan claimed, was he aware that the FBI and the Department of Justice had used the infamous file to obtain surveillance warrants from the FISA court before and after the election.

Several sources, however, have said that Brennan was not only aware of the Steele dossier, but wanted the FBI to use it to pursue rumors about Trump. Brennan reportedly briefed Democratic Sen. Harry Reid on the dossier. Armed with those rumors, Reid then became insistent that they be leaked before the 2016 election, according to reports.
Brennan is typical of the careerist deep state.
Trigger Warning — 2016.
Hillary Clinton has called the 2016 election a "traumatic" experience. Fox News's Paulina Dedaj:
Almost a year and a half since losing her bid for president, former Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton still is talking about election woes, calling it a “traumatic” experience.
Speaking at Rutgers University Thursday, Clinton spoke primarily about being a woman in politics — and being targeted as a result, the problem Republicans face as a disjointed unit, the upcoming elections and her hopes that the recent events under the Trump administration would motivate people enough to vote for change.
In another part of her Rutgers remarks, Clinton suggested that Russian election meddling could have swung 21 states into the Trump column...

“At some point, I worry that we don’t know what we don’t know my friends. We don’t know,” Clinton said while speaking at Rutgers University. “When they say, ‘well, you know, the Russians got into 21 states and their voter registration files but nothing changed.’ I’m sitting there thinking well how do we know?”

NTK Network pointed out:
Russia was successfully able to penetrate the voting systems in 21 states during the 2016 election.
Despite Clinton’s open speculation that Russia could have changed votes, federal officials have determined and repeatedly said that this interference did not result in any votes changing.
Former FBI Director James Comey said as much during a Senate Intelligence Committee hearing in 2017.
“Are you confident that no votes cast in the 2016 presidential election were altered?” Sen. Richard Burr (R-NC) asked Comey.
“I’m confident,” Comey responded. “When I had left as director, I had seen no indication of that whatsoever.”
“Collusion” Stories Undermine Democracy More Than The Russians Ever Could
. . . Kirchick argues that Trump’s opponents who are constantly ginning up talk of collusion in terms of High Crimes and Misdemeanors are actually doing Russia’s work for them, undermining public confidence in our elections and even our democracy. (Emphasis added)
The word “collusion” became a household term. For some Trump critics, every action or utterance of his presidency — firings, tweets, executive orders — is analyzed through the prism of these presumptions, breathlessly anticipating special counsel Robert S. Mueller III’s nearly year-long Russia investigation will find a smoking gun validating it all.
Trump supporters, up to and including Trump himself, have tried to delegitimize Mueller’s necessary investigation for crassly partisan purposes — with the president constantly professing innocence while routinely acting guilty. But it’s also true that Trump’s opponents, eagerly taking reports of each new crumb of circumstantial corroboration as ironclad proof of collusion, are rapidly delegitimizing the presidency, our government and democratic processes.
In their haste to brand President Trump a tool, they’re unwittingly doing the Russians’ work for them: validating the notion that our democracy is a sham.
That has the ring of truth to it. From the beginning, I’ve said that if it turns out that either the President or his campaign staff were knowingly working with actors from the Russian government to disrupt the election, alter the vote count or otherwise directly change the outcome, the public deserves to know and all guilty parties must be held to account. And if it involved the President himself then he would need to be impeached.
But if, as so many indicators have suggested thus far, the only fire under all of the MSM smoke is a few inexperienced campaign aides talking to people they thought might have useful information, only to continually fail like the Gang Who Couldn’t Shoot Straight, what then? If the Russians were the only party responsible for hacking the DNC emails (a subject still up for debate) then they may have succeeded in having an effect on the polls, but if they didn’t involve the Trump campaign then most of this collusion talk becomes smoke and mirrors.
It's a feature, not a bug. 

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