Tuesday, June 5, 2018

Resonant Russiagate

First off, fresh from Drudge, the shocking news that Robert Mueller claims to have driven Paul Manafort into committing another process crime, and demands that his bail be revoked, and he be jailed for resisting prosecution: Manafort attempted to tamper with potential witnesses -U.S. special counsel:
President Donald Trump's former campaign chairman, Paul Manafort, who has been indicted by U.S. Special Counsel Robert Mueller, attempted to tamper with potential witnesses, Mueller said in a court filing on Monday. Mueller, who is investigating possible collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia, asked the judge overseeing the case in U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia to revoke or revise an order releasing Manafort ahead of his trial. Manafort was released to home confinement after his arraignment in October.
. . .
FBI Special Agent Brock Domin, in a declaration filed with Mueller's motion, said Manafort had attempted to call, text and send encrypted messages in February to two people from "The Hapsburg Group," a firm he worked with to promote the interests of Ukraine.
Or he could have just been trying to conduct business. . .
The FBI has documents and statements from the two people, as well as telephone records and documents recovered through a search of Manafort's iCloud account showing that Trump's former campaign manager attempted communication while he was out on bail, according to Domin. The communications were "in an effort to influence their testimony and to otherwise conceal evidence," Domin wrote. "The investigation into this matter is ongoing."
 And it will be until they can create enough crimes to put him away.

Manafort is the most senior member of Trump's campaign to be indicted, though the charges do not relate to campaign activities. Mueller urged Judge Amy Berman Jackson to "promptly" schedule a hearing on the whether to change Manafort's conditions of release, which could result in Manafort going to jail.
Scott Johnson at Power Line: Trump looks back in anger. Virginia. Kruta at Da Caller: Trump Questions Why Comey, FBI Never Alerted His Campaign About Manafort Investigation

Well duh, they were more interested in getting Trump than stopping Manafort.

Now onto the ongoing pardon foofaraw.  WaPo: Trump’s legal team readies for fraught showdown with Mueller, even as president declares broad powers Jazz Shah at Hot Air: Can The President Pardon Himself? Obviously but can he make it stick? Jonathon Turley at USA Today: Yes, Donald Trump can pardon himself, but it would be a disastrous idea. Allahpundit at Hot Air: The Longest Pause: Ted Cruz Passes When Asked If Trump Has The Power To Pardon Himself "
 Hoo boy. This must be the first time in his life, all the way back to his pre-school years, that Cruz has passed on a question about the Constitution claiming insufficient knowledge of the topic.
Also from Allah: “No One May Be A Judge In His Own Case”: The President Can’t Pardon Himself, Says 1974 DOJ Memo So write a new memo. Memos aren't laws.  Conor Friedsdorf at the Atlantic:  The Celebrity Pardoner - Donald Trump cares much more about the rich and famous than the common person.. Liberals always project, and liberals always double down. Speaking of which: Sailor pardoned by Trump is SUING Obama and Comey for going easy on Hillary Clinton but sending him to prison after he photographed classified area of nuclear sub. Label as lawsuits I wish to succeed. It won't, though. Maegan Vazquez and Veronica Stracqualursi, CNN: Preet Bharara says Trump pardoning himself would be 'almost self-executing impeachment' I agree it would be hail Mary.

By way of Wombat-socho's "In The Mailbox: 06.04.18" JustOneMinute asks Can Mueller Subpoena Trump? also, More On A Trump Subpoena in which Tom Maguire compares the possible Trump subpoena and it's outcome to Harry Truman taking over the steel industry.
So, my question - is that the sort of objection Kmiec has in mind - that a Trump order to the head of the FBI to halt an investigation would specifically exceed a statutory limit in a way that attempting to nationalize the steel industry would not? I'm baffled.
Because it's different when Democrats do it! Also via Wombat-socho's "In The Mailbox: 06.04.18", Power Line has The spy who came in to be told:
Note to Chuck Todd and others: Andrew McCarthy knows what he is talking about. McCarthy continues with this thought: “With all due respect to Congressman Gowdy, I don’t think the American people would be happy with the idea that the norm we’ve had in this country, I think from the beginning of this country but certainly in the modern era since Watergate, that the incumbent administration does not use the awesome counterterrorism and law enforcement powers that it has to monitor the opposition party in an electoral campaign is a norm the American people would like to keep in place.”

Key point for slow learners (emphasis in McCarthy’s remarks): “And Gowdy is simply wrong when he says that the object here was to monitor the activities of a few tangential that had kind of tenuous connections to the Trump campaign. It was said explicitly in congressional testimony a number of times by former Director Comey that the FBI was conducting was conducting an investigation of the Trump campaign for coordinating in Russia’s cyberespionage operation…”
Byron York at the Washington Examiner: Newly leaked memo reveals previously unknown evidence in Michael Flynn case
A newly-leaked January 29 memo from President Trump's first legal team to special counsel Robert Mueller suggests the president believed fired national security adviser Michael Flynn was no longer under investigation when he famously asked FBI Director James Comey — by Comey's account — to let the Flynn case go. With a wealth of previously-unreleased information about the Flynn affair, the memo also supports the contention that the FBI did not believe Flynn lied to the agents who questioned him in the Trump-Russia probe.

The bureau interviewed Flynn on Jan. 24, 2017, about his transition conversations with Russian ambassador Sergey Kislyak. In March 2017, Comey told the House Intelligence Committee that the agents "saw nothing that indicated to them that [Flynn] knew he was lying to them." Comey said the same thing to the Senate Judiciary Committee at around the same time; chairman Sen. Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, wrote recently that Comey "led us to believe … that the Justice Department was unlikely to prosecute [Flynn] for false statements made in that interview."

Now, with the Trump lawyers' memo leaked to the New York Times, it seems clear that all the key players in the Flynn affair, including the president himself, were aware of the FBI's assessment in real time. And the president's knowledge — that the agents did not think Flynn lied, plus strong hints that the investigation was actually over — underlay Trump's Feb. 14, 2017, statement to Comey that, "I hope you can see your way to letting this go, to letting Flynn go." Trump's lawyers argue that the president had no intention to obstruct an investigation he thought was finished.
How dare President Trumps administration leak in self defense! It's not over until Bob Mueller says it's over!

Something interesting from Ace:  Claim: Papadopolous Only Pled Guilty After Mueller Threatened to Charge Him as a Foreign Agent of... Israel, What? Not Russia? Ah, the mysterious Professor Misfud!
George Papadopoulos' wife, Simona Mangiante, said her husband was not involved in collusion between the Trump campaign and the Russian government and that he pleaded guilty in the special counsel’s investigation to avoid facing charges that he was an agent of the Israeli government.

In an exclusive interview with The Daily Caller News Foundation, Mangiante also claimed that it was former Trump campaign aide Papadopoulos who, during an interview with the FBI on Jan. 27, 2017, brought up Joseph Mifsud, the mysterious Maltese professor who mentioned Hillary Clinton’s emails to him during a meeting in London in April 2016.

Papadopoulos' willingness to bring up Mifsud during that FBI interview suggests he was not trying to cover up a conspiracy involving Clinton's emails, Mangiante said.
Ken Klippenstein at Da Beast: Inside the Mysterious "Israeli" Intelligence Firm Now in Mueller’s Sights. They looks like something equivalent to FusionGPS, who picked the wrong side to work for. Sometimes I get the sense that Mueller is using the investigation to settle political scores.
Wikistrat bills itself as a “crowdsourced” geopolitical analysis firm based in Washington, D.C. But interviews with current and former employees and documents reviewed by The Daily Beast tell a different story: that the vast majority of Wikistrat’s clients were foreign governments; that Wikistrat is, for all intents and purposes, an Israeli firm; and that the company’s work was not just limited to analysis. It also engaged in intelligence collection.

Robert Mueller’s office is investigating Wikistrat and Zamel, according to The Wall Street Journal, as the special counsel’s probe expands into Middle Eastern governments’ attempts to influence American politics.
John D. O'Connor, The attorney who revealed Mark Felt as Watergate's Deep Throat at Da Caller: Politicizing the FBI: How James Comey Succeeded where Richard Nixon Failed.
In the years running up to the 2016 presidential election, Comey made sure not to make the same “mistakes” of Felt that plagued Nixon. The IRS conservative harassment scandal was swept under the rug. The Clinton Foundation, seemingly overtly corrupt, was given a pass even after the Uranium One sale by a large Clinton Foundation donor was approved by the Clinton State Department. Comey even went so far as to take the unusual step of exonerating Hillary Clinton for her grossly negligent handling of classified materials, not a decision that was his to make. More shockingly, he permitted the destruction of 30,000 Clinton emails and relevant hard drives. It strains credulity to contend that Comey would have done the same for President Donald Trump if the occasion arose.

Comey’s exoneration of Clinton clearly transgressed clear DOJ standards, although Comey makes a tenuous argument that this was made necessary by the clear bias of Attorney General Loretta Lynch. In so doing, though, he admits that the proper course would have been to recommend a Special Counsel. But, stunningly, he also admits in his recent book that he did not do so because the public might think she was guilty, a political calculation if there ever was one.

Recent revelations show, chillingly, that he involved the FBI in what appears to have been a plot to entrap, and even frame, a political opponent and his campaign regarding Russian collusion. This radical politicization of the Bureau makes any Nixonian scheme seem like child’s play. Nixon shamefully tricked the FBI into doing a routine background check on his enemy, journalist Daniel Schorr. Comey outdid Nixon by a wide margin, using his FBI to construct a false case of possible treason against a political enemy.
Result? John Nolte at Breitbart: Spygate: Majority Believe Feds Broke Law to Stop Trump from Winning Presidency
A majority of 51 percent of voters now believe “senior law enforcement officials are likely to have broken the law in an effort to prevent Trump from winning the presidency,” according to a poll from Rasmussen Reports. Only 42 percent of voters believe it is “unlikely that these officials illegally attempted to stop a Trump presidency.” In other words, we now live in a country where only 42 percent of voters believe it is “unlikely” federal law enforcement officials tried to illegally meddle in a presidential election.
Rethuglicans pounce. Streif at Red State: The DOJ IG Report Must Be Devastating Because The Media Has Already Started The Spin Cycle.
What makes this article so significant is that nowhere in it does it entertain the possibility that the IG investigation will NOT be fodder for critics of the Clinton email investigation. One can even see it being bad enough that the investigation will be re-opened. Neither is the possibility that the FBI acted appropriately considered. The assumption, and either that assumption is informed by knowledge of the investigation or the WaPo is just making stuff up, is that the IG report on the surveillance of the Trump campaign will lead to more blistering tweets by Trump.
I urge lowering expectations. I don't believe Horowitz wants to tear apart the DOJ, even if they deserve it.

No comments:

Post a Comment