Wednesday, March 28, 2018

Some Random Russiagate

Dan K. Webb, a Republican, is a former U.S. attorney for Illinois and a corporate and white-collar-defense lawyer for the firm Winston and Strawn.

In a statement, his firm said the president and his team recently reached out to Webb and D.C.-based partner Tom Buchanan.

“They were unable to take on the representation due to business conflicts. However they consider the opportunity to represent the President to be the highest honor and they sincerely regret that they cannot do so,” the firm said. “They wish the president the best and believe he has excellent representation in Ty Cobb and Jay Sekulow,” referring to the two lawyers now handling Trump’s defense.
I wonder if there's a bit of market manipulation going on here. It's customary for big corporations to put good law firms in certain field on retainer to prevent their opponents from using them. Could the various Democrats and never-Trumpers be doing something similar? “A Target< Not a Witness": Will Trump's Legal B-Team Collapse Before Mueller?
The president’s struggle to recruit experienced lawyers could mask more ominous concerns. “As far as I can tell, Ty Cobb is the only attorney left on the Trump team with experience handling federal criminal investigations,” says one former prosecutor. “The team is thinner than you might expect for perhaps the most important investigation of our lifetime.”
. . .
Given the sheer number of lawyers representing clients in Mueller’s probe, it is possible, too, that a small town like Washington is simply running out of white-shoe firms without conflicts. That was, after all, the reason that diGenova and Toensing ostensibly parted ways with Trump. Toensing has been representing Mark Corallo, who represented Trump’s legal team last year, before resigning in the wake of revelations about Donald Trump Jr.’s meeting with a Kremlin-connected Russian lawyer.
Christopher Steele Claimed A Russian Oligarch Had RT Founder Killed In Washington, DC. I thought it might be Seth Rich. But then again, with the Russians, it could be both. The Next Big Revelations About The Steele Dossier Will Come From Courts, Not Congress
. . .the next big information burst will likely come during the course of Aleksej Gubarev’s twin libel lawsuits, one against the dossier’s author, former British MI6 spy Steele, and the second against BuzzFeed, the online media outlet that first ran Steele’s opposition research in its entirety, and its editor-in-chief, Ben Smith.

In his lawsuits, Gubarev, who emigrated from Russia to Cyprus in 2002, claims Steele defamed him by stating that his companies, XBT Holding S.A. and its Florida-based subsidiary, Webzilla, hacked the Democratic Party by “using botnets and porn traffic to transmit viruses, plant bugs, steal data and conduct ‘altering operations.’” While Gubarev’s lawsuits focus on only a sliver of the Steele dossier, to prove his case—especially against BuzzFeed, which as a U.S. media outlet is protected from liability absent malice—Gubarev needs details.

BuzzFeed needs details as well, because it seeks to avoid liability based on a so-called “Fair Report Privilege” which, according to BuzzFeed, grants “the press (and others) the right to republish allegedly defamatory statements, . . . as long as they were made within the context of government activities.” Accordingly, to (respectively) prosecute and defend the civil claims, Gubarev and BuzzFeed need information from both those responsible for compiling and distributing the Steele dossier and those in the government who used the information.
One can only hope they both lose, and lots of information gets released in the process.

 Ace: FBI Continues to, Get This, Stonewall Production of Andrew McCabe's Texts Despite Judge's Order Compelling Just That Start hauling them off to jail for contempt.

American who escaped al-Qaeda captivity in Syria says the FBI under Mueller and Comey 'betrayed' him and claims the bureau tried to run an intelligence operation instead of rescuing him Mueller let al-Qaeda drain his bank accounts during his captivity, rather than attempt to figure out where he was being held and rescue him. Eggs, omelette.

Jonathan Turley: If Michael Flynn Was Charged For Perjury, Why Is Andrew McCabe Not Being Charged?
He says McCabe's Clinton-like, Comey-approved defense -- he didn't have the intent to lie because he was "confused and distracted" -- applies equally to Flynn, who was also quite a busy man at the time he made his disputed statement.
Are our straight-arrow non-partisan without-fear-or-favor Defenders of Law showing favoritism for their own and antagonism to outsiders?
Spoiler alert: Yes. Yes they are.
. . .
Turley notes that the worst aspect of the making-a-false-charge law isn't that it's overly broad -- it's that its over-broadness permits the FBI to selectively and arbitrarily apply it, or selectively and arbitrarily decide that its FaceBook Friends List is immune.
Partisanship and John Brennan’s Plot: Obama CIA use of foreign spies against the Trump campaign should be cause for alarm, no? While the Democrats and media (but I repeat myself) hyperventilate about a foreign firm possibly (the verdict is still out) using dishonestly collected Facebook data (is there any other kind?) to help Trump's election, they ignore the use of the CIA and foreign intelligence offices against Trump
What we reported is this. A source with a record of proven reliability over many years overheard FBI agents venting about John Brennan, the former head of the CIA, using British intelligence agents to spy on the Trump campaign. American contractors were also used. The British used American equipment. They had an extensive spying network here in America, using the twelfth floor of a building in Crystal City, Virginia and a building in San Antonio. Moreover, Brennan was not the only one who knew about the spying. Director of National Intelligence James Clapper was another, and still more senior officials in the Obama Administration were aware of it. I am told that James B. Comey and Andrew McCabe were also aware of the surveillance of Trump. They had tried to get FISA warrants for snooping on Trump’s associates but were turned down, though they would later get a warrant to spy on Carter Page. So Brennan turned to the British. If they wanted to keep their spying a secret they were pretty sloppy, but then they thought they could afford to be sloppy. They knew that Hillary was going to win.
Right up until Trump won.

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