Friday, June 22, 2018

Rascally Russiagate

It seems like an everyday sort of thing, a new column by Andrew McCarthy at NR: The IG Report Should End Mueller’s Obstruction Investigation
The IG finds abundant evidence of corrupt motivation on behalf of the officials who were running the Clinton-emails investigation. And there is a plausible theory — indeed, a very persuasive one — that a corrupt motive (viz., political bias) drove the decision-making: The investigators wanted Clinton to win the election and feared a Trump presidency, so they tanked a solid criminal case against Clinton, then turned their dedicated attention to framing Trump as a traitor based on such “evidence” as the Clinton-campaign-generated Steele dossier.

Nevertheless, Horowitz reasons that the law and Justice Department policy do not permit such a conclusion. The FBI and the Justice Department have broad executive discretion to decide whether charges should be filed, what investigative avenues to pursue, and which investigative techniques should be used. Even if they could have had corrupt motives, the IG says the Justice Department must assume law-enforcement officials exercised their broad discretion legitimately as long as it is possible that valid, non-corrupt reasons supported their decisions — e.g., a belief that precedent did not support charging Clinton with an Espionage Act offense; a belief that granting immunity rather than charging an accomplice with lying to the FBI was a better investigative approach; a belief that consenting to limit their examination of evidence in order to get quick access to it was more prudent than issuing a subpoena that might have resulted in time-consuming litigation.

So, let’s compare. President Trump clearly has broader executive discretion than the FBI and the Justice Department. He is the executive; their powers are limited by their subordinate status and the fact that they are created and heavily regulated by statute. It is incontestable, moreover, that the president had abundant legitimate reasons to fire Comey and to weigh in on whether Flynn merited investigation.

As Horowitz points out, when we are evaluating a discretionary judgment call, the question is not whether we agree with it, or whether it was right or wrong. What matters is whether it was rational. Horowitz’s own report finds major faults with Comey’s performance as director; in this, it echoes Rosenstein’s memorandum written at the time of Comey’s dismissal.
Or a shorter  one Giuliani: "This Is The End Of Mueller's Investigation Effectively"; James Comey Going To Jail, by Ian Schwartz at RCP One can only hope. George Neumayr at the American Spectator: Mueller Has Strzok Out "The only thing Trump obstructed was a partisan railroading."
Mueller, according to his mandate, is supposed to be completing a counterintelligence investigation launched by Peter Strzok, the most abominably anti-Trump partisan FBI official imaginable. That fact alone discredits it. Imagine a judge telling a jury to decide the fate of the accused based on an investigation started by one of his fiercest enemies. In Mueller’s case, the circumstances are even worse than that: he not only inherited Strzok’s poisoned work but added Strzok to his team and would have kept him on it until the end of the probe had Horowitz not revealed Strzok’s anti-Trump texts. Strzok, as he explained to his mistress, had joined the team in the hopes of inducing the impeachment of Trump. Strzok described the Mueller probe as “unfinished business.”
Politico: Trump’s war against Mueller borrows from Bill Clinton’s playbook Are they complaining or admiring? Mueller's team might be starting to crack, from Law and Crime, ‘It’s Not Responsible’: Mueller’s Office Calls Out New York Times for Incorrect Story About Picking Manafort’s Lock
Special Counsel Robert Mueller and his office just wanted to set the record straight about how former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort came to be arrested by the FBI. Articles from the New York Times and the Washington Post were both cited in a footnote of a filing as examples of “not responsible” reporting, particularly on the claim that authorities picked Manafort’s lock.

Mueller and his prosecutors took issue with reported details that FBI agents conducted a no-knock raid and picked the lock of Manafort’s front door. In the footnote, they quote the court: “But, I do question the publication of the completely unsupported speculation that this revelation was an intentional leak by the Office of the Special Counsel. No reporter had any facts to base that on, so I’m not sure why anyone printed it. It’s not responsible.”
Bill Gertz, Washington Free Beacon: IG Report Highlights FBI Counterspy Failings.   Victor Davis Hanson at IBD: Clinton Email IG Report: Scandals Sanitized With Linguistic Trickery If you can't dazzle 'em with brilliance, baffle 'em with BS.
Throughout Justice Department Inspector General Michael Horowitz's massive report on the Hillary Clinton email investigation are lots of strange things. One of the weirdest is the extent to which the FBI went to make up words and phrases to disguise reality.

An early draft of the 2016 FBI report on the email scandal was reportedly subjected to linguistic surgery to exonerate the former secretary of state, who at the time was the Democratic nominee for president. Clinton was originally found to be "grossly negligent" in using an illegal email server. That legalistic phrase is used by prosecutors to indict for violation of laws governing the wrongful transmission of confidential government documents.

Yet the very thought of a likely President Clinton in court so worried the chief investigator, FBI Director James Comey, that he watered down "grossly negligent" to the mere "extremely careless."

FBI investigators also had concluded that it was "reasonably likely" foreign nations had read Clinton's unsecured emails. Comey intervened to mask such a likelihood by substituting the more neutral word "possible."
Marc Thiessen, Fox News: The overlooked bombshell of the IG report
We also learned new details about Clinton's recklessness and willful misconduct in using her private email. The final version of Comey's statement did note that Clinton "used her personal e-mail extensively while outside the United States, including sending and receiving work-related e-mails in the territory of sophisticated adversaries." But we did not know at the time that the original draft included one more sentence: "That use included an email exchange with the President while Secretary Clinton was on the territory of such an adversary." According to the inspector general, "This reference later was changed to 'another senior government official,' and ultimately was omitted."
The Manhattan Contrarian, Francis Menton, notes that I Guess That IG Report Really Struck A Nerve from all the sudden caterwauling about children being taken away from their parents at the border.

All things Strzok: The Washington Times: Anti-Trump FBI Agent Strzok joined Mueller probe to 'fix' 'unfinished business' from 2016 election because he knew he fucked up the Clinton probe.  “For me, and this case, I personally have a sense of unfinished business. I unleashed it with MYE [Midyear Exam, the investigation into Clinton’s emails]. Now I need to fix it and finish it.” Strzok was escorted out of the building because Peter Strzok Has Lost His Security Clearance, Says Jeff Sessions according to da Caller. I was unsettled with his still having access to the FBI computer system, and having a clearance. Good riddance. Ace: Peter Strzok Has Lost His Security Clearance
This probably had to do with the IG's inquiry. The IG can interview federal employees but not ex-federal employees (well, at least the IG has no authority to demand an interview).

People have said, erroneously I think, that Page and Strzok had "cooperated' with the IG. I think that is a misunderstanding. Their lawyered-up, "Gee I don't remember saying 'We'll stop it' and if I did say it I only meant we'll stop the exploitation of child labor" bullshit answers weren't "cooperation." They were just some lies they were telling because they had to offer some answers, so long as they were still sucking off the federal tit.

But now that the IG has probably gotten all of their bullshit answers, there's no reason to continue keeping these two as real employees.

This might be a move towards an eventual firing.
Brew at Peter Strzok Claims He's a Victim Da Hill: GOP lawmaker says evidence might have been tampered with in Flynn case. I had guessed it might have something to do with Flynn before. Good to see it being considered aloud.
Rep. Mark Meadows (R-N.C.) suggested Thursday in an interview wth Hill.TV's "Rising" that evidence may have been tampered with in the case against former Trump national security adviser Michael Flynn.

Meadows, the leader of the conservative House Freedom Caucus and a close ally of President Trump's, said he and other lawmakers are finding evidence of possible tampering, an allegation he previously made at a House hearing where Justice Department Inspector General Michael Horowitz testified.
Joe Hoft at Gateway Pundit: Analysis –Crooked Comey Reopened Hillary Email Case in October 2016 Because Good Cops in the FBI Leaked Info to Congress – Comey Later Fired the Good Cops
We also know that Peter Strzok in a text with Lisa Page noted that FBI Agents in New York were later fired. This was important enough that they noted it with each other and also the FBI redacted part of the text messages about these individuals being fired.  Clearly there is more to this text that will be cleared up when unredacted.

So in summary –

Comey was forced to reopen the Hillary email scandal due to some good cops in the FBI who leaked the information to Congress. Later Comey fired these good cops for leaking.
But it's different when he does it. Gee, I wonder why: FBI’s Popularity Plunges Since February As Plurality Of Independents Now View Agency Unfavorably?

Ed Morrissey at Hot Air: Obama Cyber Chief: You’d Better Believe I Was Ordered To Stand Down On Russia, giving Putin plenty of flexibility.
Consider this a confirmation of an allegation that first emerged in March, because the co-author of the book that contained it certainly does. Michael Isikoff and David Corn published an explosive allegation that the Obama administration issued a stand-down order to efforts to counter Russian cyberwarfare in 2016. Yesterday, the head of the Obama administration’s cyber programs told the Senate Intelligence Committee that’s precisely what happened . . .
Read it all and weep (or get really pissed off).

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