Sunday, May 13, 2018

Wrangling with Russiagate

The charges that the FBI had a spy in the Trump campaign are still dominating the news like Eric Schneiderman at a Girl Scout sleepover.  From Wombat-socho's "Late Night With In The Mailbox: 05.11.18" Power Line has An FBI Informant In The Trump Campaign? Part 1 and Part 2. Andrew McCarthy at NR has a good take, as usual in Did the FBI Have a Spy in the Trump Campaign?
From painstaking research, Nunes and committee staff believe they have identified such a spy. When they demanded information about this person — whose name remains unknown to the public — the Justice Department’s response was not “No, you’re wrong, there was no spying.” It was first to bloviate that the department would not be “extorted” (Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein’s unusual understanding of what is more commonly known as congressional oversight) and then to claim that providing the information sought by the committee would risk “potential loss of human lives, damage to relationships with valued international partners, compromise of ongoing criminal investigations, and interference with intelligence activities.”

By now, Nunes has learned that if he is catching flak, he is over the target.
"Tyler Durnden" at Zero Hedge: Brennan, Strzok And Kerry Allegedly Set "Spy Traps" For Trump Team; Hunt For FBI Mole Intensifies identifies the same person that Conservative Tree House claimed is responsible in yesterday's post.
Nunes is also investigating whether former CIA director John Brennan perjured himself during Congressional testimony about the Steele Dossier. As Paul Sperry wrote in February:
In his May 2017 testimony before the intelligence panel, Brennan emphatically denied the dossier factored into the intelligence community’s publicly released conclusion last year that Russia meddled in the 2016 election “to help Trump’s chances of victory.”
Brennan also swore that he did not know who commissioned the anti-Trump research document (excerpt here), even though senior national security and counterintelligence officials at the Justice Department and FBI knew the previous year that the dossier was funded by the Hillary Clinton campaign. -RealClear Investigations
So, if Sperry's tweet is correct, the Obama State department, CIA, and FBI conspired to set "Russian espionage traps" for minor players in the Trump campaign, and the FBI had a mole within the Trump campaign, that giant sucking sound you might hear is nothing short of the US Intelligence community starting to implode.
In what must a an embarrassing moment Mueller Indicted A Russian Company That Didn't Even Exist, Court Transcripts Say
U.S. Magistrate Judge G. Michael Harvey asked Eric Dubelier, one of two lawyers representing the accused Russian company, Concord Management and Consulting LLC, if he was representing a third company listed in Mueller's indictment.

"What about Concord Catering?" Harvey asked Dubelier. "The government makes an allegation that there's some association. I don't mean for you to – do you represent them, or not, today? And are we arraigning them as well?"

"We're not," Dubelier responded. "And the reason for that, Your Honor, is I think we're dealing with a situation of the government having indicted the proverbial ham sandwich."

"That company didn't exist as a legal entity during the time period alleged by the government," Dubelier continued. "If at some later time they show me that it did exist, we would probably represent them. But for purposes of today, no, we do not."
First the house and now the Senate say Comey testified that agents did not believe Gen. Flynn lied to them: Sen. Grassley: Comey Said FBI Agents Saw No Sign Gen. Flynn Lied
A letter sent yesterday by Sen. Chuck Grassley backs up a claim made in the House Intel report released last month and contradicts statements made by former Director Comey on his book tour. Specifically, Grassley says Comey told his Senate Committee the FBI agents who interviewed Michael Flynn saw no evidence he was lying. From Grassley’s letter:
On February 15, 2017, this Committee requested on a bipartisan basis a copy of the transcript of the widely reported call between Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn and the Russian ambassador and the FBI report summarizing the intercepted calls. The Justice Department declined to provide any of that information, and instead then-FBI Director Comey provided a wide-ranging briefing to us on March 15, 2017 that touched on the Flynn issues.
Like the Flynn interview itself, that briefing was not transcribed. Also like the Flynn interview, there are notes taken by a career, non-partisan law enforcement officer who was present. The agent was on detail to the Committee staff at the time. According to that agent’s contemporaneous notes, Director Comey specifically told us during that briefing that the FBI agents who interviewed Lt. General Michael Flynn, “saw nothing that led them to believe [he was] lying.” Our own Committee staff’s notes indicate that Mr. Comey said the “agents saw no change in his demeanor or tone that would say he was being untruthful.”
That’s significant because it matches what the House Intelligence Committee says Comey told the House in a briefing around the same time as the one given to the Senate. “Director Comey testified to the committee that ‘the agents…discerned no physical indications of deception. They didn’t see any change in posture, in tone, in inflection, in eye contact. They saw nothing that indicated to them that he knew he was lying to them,'” the report states based on a transcript of the briefing.

More importantly, the House and Senate records are directly at odds with what Comey has said in recent interviews during his book tour about what he told lawmakers during those briefings. The Washington Examiner points out several instances where Comey has denied saying the FBI agents saw no evidence Flynn was lying:
Indict him for perjury! You can't lie to Chuck Todd! If for nothing else, for bad talking an American president while abroad: Ex-FBI director James Comey compares Trump to a Mafia boss at talk in Toronto

On the continuing saga of Michael Cohen, Mueller Asked Ford for Records After It Rejected Michael Cohen Consulting Overture. Not doing something is now a crime?  Leaving no turn unstoned or a witch hunt? Giuliani Says Cohen Never Spoke With Trump About His Big-Dollar Clients. In an amusing calculation, CNN, MSNBC Have Given Michael Avenatti $175 Million In Earned Media Time
The Washington Free Beacon analyzed 108 appearances by Avenatti on MSNBC and CNN over a 64-day period from March 7 to May 10. To calculate his earned media time, the Free Beacon multiplied the length of his appearances on a program by its "National Publicity Value" determination from media monitoring site

The total came out to $174,631,598.07 from at least 65 CNN appearances and 43 MSNBC appearances. Avenatti's favorite shows include CNN's "Anderson Cooper 360" (at least 20 interviews), MSNBC's "The Last Word with Lawrence O'Donnell" (14), CNN's "New Day" (12), CNN's "Tonight with Don Lemon" (eight), and MSNBC's "Deadline White House" (seven).
Alberto Gonzalez (remember him? There but for Harry Reid a Supreme Court justice) explains the  The real questions and dangers of criminally charging the president

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