Sorry, starting late today because of breakfast with friends, and then a stop at the gym.
I've decided that Trumps term "Spygate" shall refer to those parts of the scandals refering to the spying on the Trump campaign by the FBI, DOJ and assorts Obama agencies. So, we'll start with the Spygate roundup: WaPo After day of negotiations, Democrats and Republicans briefed on secret FBI source who aided Russia probe and by this time:
Justice Department and intelligence community leaders conferred twice with top Republican and Democratic lawmakers Thursday, hoping to defuse a partisan conflict over the FBI’s use of a confidential source to aid the investigation into whether the Trump campaign coordinated with Russia.After hours of discussion, though, there seemed to be little in the way of resolution. Instead, the meetings spawned classic Washington fights over who was there, who wasn’t, and how it all might look.Bridget Johnson, PJ Media: McConnell: 'Nothing Particularly Surprising' About Info Revealed in Contentious FBI Briefing. I'm not sure it's possible to be surprised any more. Allahpundit at Hot Air: What Was Trump’s New Russiagate Lawyer Doing At Today’s Classified DOJ “Spygate” Briefing For Congress?
Contradicting its earlier position, the White House allowed top Democrats to join their Republican colleagues, and also dispatched two of its own representatives — Chief of Staff John F. Kelly and White House lawyer Emmet T. Flood — to relay a message from the president. That raised some suspicion , as the matter being discussed concerned an ongoing criminal investigation involving the Trump campaign. Even Sen. Lindsey O. Graham (R-S.C.) told a reporter that he presence of Flood, who is handling the White House response to the special counsel investigation, was “a bit odd.”
House Intelligence Committee ranking Democrat Adam B. Schiff (Calif.) said in a statement that Flood’s “involvement — in any capacity — was entirely improper, and I made this clear to him. His presence only underscores what Rudy Giuliani said: the President’s legal team expects to use information gleaned improperly from the Justice Department or the President’s allies in Congress to their legal advantage,” Schiff said. Giuliani joined the president’s legal team last month.
But what was he doing there in the first place? He works for Trump on Russiagate, to defend him against any criminal charges that might be filed by the DOJ. Today’s briefing by the DOJ was supposed to be for Congress only, ostensibly to answer questions about the how’s and why’s of Stefan Halper supplying the FBI with information on the Trump campaign in 2016. Trump claims that it’s crucial for Congress to be briefed in case there was wrongdoing by the DOJ; the legislative branch needs to know what the Justice Department was up to so that it can provide oversight. But his critics claim that’s BS, that House Republicans want to know what the DOJ knows so that they can leak it to Trump to help him and (maybe his aides) beat the rap.Both can be true. It is customary (and legally required) for the prosecution to provide exculpatory information to the defense, although the DOJ has been known to shirk that duty in high profile cases against Republicans like Ted Stevens. Ace: Media, Democrats, and NeverTrumpers (But I Repeat Myself Thrice) Are All Shrieking That Someone With Spy Connections Asked by the FBI or CIA to Spy on You Isn't Really a "Spy"
In a world of extreme anti-Trump journalism bias “the spy isn’t actually a spy” still stands out https://t.co/DB5RfHtAcg— Mollie (@MZHemingway) May 23, 2018
PJ Media's Liz Shield About that SPYgate meeting...
But the left and their flying monkeys have taken up the narrative that there was no spying; they are playing a game of semantic polka. There was at least one person kanoodling with obscure Trump campaign volunteers in an effort to gain information and pass that information along to the CIA and FBI. That is what we call a spy. And we learned about the NOTSPY from The New York Times and The Washington Post, not from Republican leaks. The committees didn't even know about the NOTSPY, that's why they are asking for documents. So who did know about the NOTSPY? The DOJ and the FBI knew -- they are the leakers.Smitty at The Other McCain: Clapper & the Invisible Spies of Happiness
John Wagner at WaPo: ‘A terrible and corrupt leader’: Trump lashes out against Comey after he accuses the president of lying about ‘spygate’. I gotta agree with him:Come to think of it, if I were the #FBI, and felt the need to skulk about a campaign, I'd kind of want a memo/warrant documenting everything known going in, including when the candidate was informed, as a CYA measure.— I Came; I Saw; I Got Over Macho Grande (@smitty_one_each) May 24, 2018
I mean, didn't Comey write memos about his DJT chats?
“I think of the things that I’ve done for the country, the firing of James Comey is going to go down as a very good thing,” Trump said. “The FBI is great. I know so many people in the FBI. The FBI is a fantastic institution, but some of the people at the top were rotten apples. James Comey was one of them.”Thomas Lifson at American Thinker: Coming attractions: FBI agents speaking out about the abuses of Comey and McCabe. Redact this, asshole: Andrew McCabe Spent $70,000 On A Table. The FBI Hid It From Congress, and stop nagging me about Pruitt's $25,000 "Quiet Room."
Jim Hoft at Gateway Pundit: Deep State James Clapper: Embedding Spy Inside Trump Campaign Is “Standard Investigative Practices – Goes On All the Time” Show us how it happened to Hillary. It's a Day Ending in "y", so James Clapper Deceives Again., James Clapper: Let’s Face It, Russia Was The Difference In The Election, without any evidence, pretty much the same way he started the "Spygate" probes. Mark Levin: We Need to Know What Brennan, Clapper, Comey, Rice, Power and the Rest of Them Did
We now know that the Obama administration spied on Trump. They spied. Look, it's the Obama administration. Obama is the president. The buck stops at his desk. He may be playing around with his library in Chicago and gone off and started writing a phony book and all of that. He is to be held responsible and his surrogates are to be held responsible.Craig Shirley for the WaPo: More history involving Stefan Halper: Stefan Halper didn’t steal Carter’s debate prep books for Reagan. A Democrat did. A Kennedy Democrat. Debra Heine, PJ Media: Michael Caputo: A 2nd Possible Mole Approached Me in May of 2016 and Mueller Was Very Interested in Hearing About That:
The FISA court failed us. The FISA court failed us repeatedly. We have these so-called national security letters that are supposed to be used in extreme circumstances. Instead they are being used by a cabal of FBI agents who took it upon themselves to investigate a candidate and his campaign, and then we have of course actual spies attempting to entrap members of the Trump campaign.
What the hell is this? The Soviet Union, Venezuela? It's the United States of America. So let me say this. Once Mr. Mueller, Mr. Mueller turns over his report to Mr. Rosenstein, the president of the United States should do two things. He should select the most professional, the most competent, and most aggressive prosecutor he can and give him an assignment.
The president should tell him, I want you to investigate the activities that took place in this election, let the chips fall where they may. The interference in this election by the FBI, the CIA, the national intelligence director I want to know what Brennan did, I want to know what Clapper did. I want to know what Comey did --- not because I'm going to punish them --- but to prevent this from ever hapenning again. You'll make the determinations about this.
Moreover, I would also tell him and I've said this before. We need to fix this. We cannot have another election where the federal government, our United States government, is interfering with an election.
And so what I think the president also needs to do is appoint a commission of five or six or seven people. Top-notch men and women from prior administrations -- and appoint them and instruct them to fix the FBI at the top, fix the CIA, fix the intelligence agencies -- because we cannot allow this to happen to another president of the United States.
Why haven't Republicans called these FISA judges before Congress? Because they're gutless.You have certain Republicans who thronged with the Democrats because they want to destroy this president. They can't get over the fact that he got elected and they can't get over the fact that the American people didn't follow them. The American people don't even know who they are.
But I want to emphasize something here: we need an accounting of what Mr. Brennan did and what Mr. Clapper did and what Mr. Book Salesman Comey did. We need an accounting of what Susan Rice did, of what Samantha Powers did. And we haven't even gotten to the unmasking stuff yet.
This is nt because we want to get even. This is because we need an accounting. People need to be held to account, number one.
Number two, we need to fix these departments and agencies. To make sure this never, ever happens again
Caputo told Fox News' Tucker Carlson Wednesday evening that it wasn't until he heard about the government informants latching onto the Trump campaign that a light bulb went off in his head. And curiously, when he told the House and Senate Intelligence Committees and Mueller's investigators about the first incident, he said, "they didn't seem the least bit interested."Michael Walsh, American Greatness: Naked is the Best Disguise: the Bipartisan Deep State. J.E. Dyer at The Lid: When The Obama Administration Became The Deep State. My guess would be from the get-go, taking some time to ramp up, and intimidate naysayers. IBD: Why Did Obama Administration Spy On Trump Campaign? Was It Politics, Or Fear Of Russian Meddling? Why does a dog lick his balls? Because he can. Kathryn Blackhurst at PoliZette: Congress Must ‘Fight for Its Rightful Role’ in Overseeing Spy Agencies. Clearly, not that they do it well, but because an administration won't police itself. Nadler is an idiot: Top Dem points to Trump, Devin Nunes for possibly breaking federal law in FBI informant disclosure. IIRC it was the NYT and WaPo who effectively outed Halper, with the help of the intelligence agencies, as a form of preemptive strike.
Caputo didn't feel at liberty to talk about the second incident in detail because Mueller's team was keenly interested in that when they questioned him two weeks ago. "There's another approach to me that was done in late May or the last half of May by somebody who I believe was organized by the investigators," he told Carlson. "I can't talk about it on television because I think the Mueller team wanted to talk about it a lot -- so much ... that they sounded like the authors of it," he said.
Jared Kushner receives permanent security clearance, an indication he may no longer be a focus of the special counsel. Now will the NYT and WaPo shut up about him? Joe diGenova and Victoria Toensing: It’s time for Mueller to put up or call it quits. Hell yeah.Well, that's different people, because, shut up!
Seth Lipsky at The New York Post: The hypocrisy of American election investigations into Israel It was all a Zionist plot I tell you:
Seth Lipsky at The New York Post: The hypocrisy of American election investigations into Israel It was all a Zionist plot I tell you:
Special counsel Robert Mueller has sent his gumshoes to Israel. They’re reportedly looking into an Israeli firm that may have led “a social-media manipulation effort” designed to help elect President Trump.
It’s the latest tangent of the sprawling “collusion” inquiry. And the move lays bare a glaring hypocrisy. After all, if the United States wants to investigate meddling in foreign elections, Israel is a great place to look. Just not for the reason Mueller & Co. think.
Just a few years ago in 2015, then-President Barack Obama threw everything he had into an effort to defeat Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s party in Israel’s most recent election. He became only the latest of our Democratic US presidents to do so.
Things that look bad, but probably aren't illegal: Uh Oh: Roger Stone Sought Information On Clinton From Assange, Emails Show. If it's OK for professional journolists to seek stolen information, it's OK for the rest of us citizen journalists. It's the stealing that counts.
Noted Never-Trumper Jonah Goldberg (who retains vestigial signs of rationality): ‘Collusion’ and the insane media divide
For devotees of prime-time Fox News, the only story that matters is how the Deep State — i.e., partisans in nonpartisan disguise at the CIA and Justice Department — worked to either destroy Donald Trump or anoint Hillary Clinton in the 2016 presidential election. According to this group, the allegation of Trump-Putin “collusion” is merely a frivolous conspiracy theory, and Robert Mueller’s investigation is both a “witch hunt” and a distraction from this “worse than Watergate” scandal.But it still needs to be proved.
For viewers of prime-time MSNBC and CNN, this Deep State stuff is the real bogus conspiracy theory, intended to muddy the waters from the actual “worse than Watergate” scandal, which is Trump-Putin collusion and the president’s attempt to obstruct any inquiry into it.
The problem is that both stories might be true. The cartoon versions offered by the usual suspects on the left and the right are surely shot through with hyperbole. But both stories have some truth to them.
It certainly seems like the Justice Department was simply going through the motions in its investigation of Clinton and her off-book server and email system.
Andrew McCarthy, a former federal prosecutor, has meticulously and persuasively argued that the Obama administration was never interested in taking the Clinton investigation all that seriously, because it would’ve implicated President Barack Obama and possibly derailed or damaged 2016’s presumptive Democratic winner. (Which is ironic, because if the Deep State harmed anyone in 2016, it was Clinton, not Trump.)
Meanwhile, the argument that President Trump colluded — an ill-defined, non-legal term — with the Russians to beat Clinton has more plausibility than those shouting “conspiracy theory!” and “witch hunt!” are willing to entertain.
I still don’t think Trump hatched an explicit scheme to work with the Russians, but normally the hardest thing to prove in most conspiracy theories is intent.