Wednesday, June 6, 2018

Russiagate, Now with More Meat

Lot's of meaty substance in today's collection. For example, via Larwyn's Linx, The Conservative Tree House brings us news that FBI Director of Counterintelligence Bill Priestap to Testify Tomorrow to Joint Congressional Committee…
As previously discussed, FBI Director of Counterintelligence E.W. “Bill” Priestap, FBI Head of National Security Division, Michael Steinbach, and the former head of the FBI National Security Division, John Giacalone, are all scheduled to testify to congress this month.

The three FBI officials will be testifying to a joint congressional committee of the Judiciary and House Oversight members. The joint committee was formed by Judiciary Chairman Bob Goodlatte and Oversight Chairman Trey Gowdy. The first testimony is tomorrow; and FBI Director of Counterintelligence Bill Priestap will go first. This will be Priestap’s first congressional testimony. Unfortunately, the testimony will be behind closed doors.

FBI Asst. Director of Counterintelligence, Bill Priestap, is central to all of the activity that was happening in both the Clinton investigation and the Trump investigation. Bill Priestap was FBI Agent Peter Strzok’s immediate boss. However, as noted in the text messages Strzok often worked around Priestap at the behest of the person giving him political instructions – FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe.

The timing of the testimony also speaks to the timing of the upcoming Inspector General report regarding the politicization of the DOJ and FBI surrounding the Clinton investigative outcomes. Some of the most significant releases have come while President Trump is outside of Washington DC; and with the G7 on June 8th – 9th in Canada; it would seem likely the IG report is to be made public anytime over the next 72 hours.
I won't exactly have bated breath, but this could be interesting. I await the inevitable leaks. By way of Wombat-socho's "In The Mailbox: 06.05.18",Weasel Zippers: Andrew McCabe Requests Immunity To Testify In Clinton E-Mail Probe
Former FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe is set to appear before the Senate Judiciary Committee soon, but he apparently has made a request for immunity in exchange.

According to CNN, McCabe is requesting “the Senate Judiciary Committee provide him with immunity from prosecution” in exchange for testimony on the handling of the Clinton email probe:

“Under the terms of such a grant of use immunity, no testimony or other information provided by Mr. McCabe could be used against him in a criminal case,” wrote Michael Bromwich, a lawyer for McCabe, to Senate Judiciary Chairman Chuck Grassley, who has requested McCabe testify next week.
Gee, I wonder what he thinks he needs immunity from? If he's committed no crime, he needs no immunity. Also by way of the Wombat, we can get into the pardon follies via Don Surber who provides this interesting historical note:   Press In 2016 – If Indicted, Hillary Could Pardon Herself
"If Hillary Is Indicted, President Clinton Could Pardon Herself and Congress Might be Helpless," Law and Crime reported on October 28, 2016.

The piece came as Jimmy the Weasel Comey re-opened Hillarygate v7.0.

Presidential pardoning is in the Constitution.

Chris White wrote, "Based on the language of Article II, Section 2, the only limits placed on the power are that pardons may only be issued for federal offenses (not civil or state crimes), and a pardon cannot override the Congress’ impeachment power. Presidents have used this power to issue pardons in a wide range of matters throughout the country’s history. However, no president has ever attempted to pardon himself."
Chris Pandolfo, at the Conservative Review: Levin: The media have no clue on the Constitution or Trump’s pardon power
“The media have determined that [Trump] can’t,” Levin said. “Now, they have no constitutional background, they can’t point to a single thing at the Constitutional Convention or any of the ratification conventions.” He went on to explain what the U.S. Constitution says and why the media are wrong.
Expecting consistency from the press is a fool's game. WaPo: ‘A tremendous abuse’: Senate Republicans warn Trump not to pardon himself. I agree in principal, but it might be fun to watch all the heads explode. Ruth Marcus at WaPo thinks Mueller has waited long enough. It’s subpoena time. Of course she does.

 George Papadopoulos poses with his then fiancee, Simona Mangiante
From Liz Shield's Good Tuesday morning Live Blog at PJ Media
Chuck Ross at The Daily Caller had a whopper of a story yesterday. Simona Mangiante, former Trump campaign volunteer George Papadopoulos' wife Simone . . . Mangiante appeared on Tucker Carlson's show last night and asked President Trump to pardon her husband.

“I honestly — I know how committed, how much dedicated he was to the Trump campaign,” Mrs. Papadopoulos said. “I trust and I hope and I ask the president to pardon him. I hope he will.”
I could live with that.

Jazz Shaw at Hot Air: Manafort Develops Yet Another Mueller Problem, and Bloomberg: Mueller Plays Hardball With Manafort, Sending a Message to Others
“Mueller’s action should send a message loud and clear -- as Mueller’s prosecutions of false statements should -- that Mueller takes extremely seriously attempts to distort our system of justice and the rule of law,” said former Manhattan federal prosecutor Mimi Rocah.

It’s a warning to anyone questioned by his team who fabricates stories or tries to coordinate a coverup. While the full extent of Mueller’s inquiry isn’t clear, he’s questioning others about their accounts of key meetings. These include a pre-election Trump Tower gathering attended by a Russian lawyer and a pre-inauguration meeting in the Seychelles that included a Trump associate, Erik Prince, and the head of a Russian wealth fund. Mueller may not yet have posed questions about such meetings to Trump family members or key confidantes.
Ace has got some real meat too, with Someone Also Invited Trump Immigration Adviser Stephen Miller to that Same Cambridge, UK Confab Where Halper Sidled Up to Carter Page
This article doesn't say who invited Stephen Miller, unless I missed it. It just says he (passive voice) was invited.

By whom? For what purpose?

One might have a guess or two.
Carter Page was not the only Trump campaign adviser invited to a July 2016 event at the University of Cambridge, the storied British institution where "Spygate" is believed to have originated.
The Daily Caller News Foundation has learned that an invitation to attend the campaign-themed event was extended to Stephen Miller, another Trump campaign adviser who currently serves in the White House. Miller did not attend the event, which featured former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright as a keynote speaker.
J. D. Gordon, the director of the campaign's national security advisory committee, told TheDCNF he believes the invitation from Cambridge to Miller was sent in May 2016. That's a month before a graduate assistant of FBI informant Stefan Halper sent an invitation to Page to visit the campus.
The three-day Cambridge conclave was where Page first met Halper, a former Cambridge professor who turns out to have also been working for the FBI as part of a counterintelligence investigation into the Trump campaign.
Page, an energy consultant, has said Halper, a veteran of three Republican administrations, offered advice about the campaign during a brief chat on the sidelines of the event.
Neither Halper nor the White House responded to requests for comment.
Miller did not attend the event.

One might speculate that the people spying on Trump's campaign tried a higher-level guy like Miller, then, with Miller refusing, set their sights on lower level people.

Remember: Your media and Conservative Establishment betters have told you that it's all perfectly normal for the CIA and FBI to spy on a political campaign during a presidential election, and you peons have no standing to disagree.
Victor Davis Hanson at American Greatness imagines The Scandal on the Other Foot
Consider the following alternate reality.

Imagine that it is now summer 2024. A 78-year-old lame-duck President Trump is winding down his second term, basking in positive polls. His dutiful vice president in waiting, Mike Pence, is at last getting his chance to run for president. Imagine also that Pence is a shoo-in, facing long-shot, hard-leftist, and octogenarian Senator Bernie Sanders. Polls show an impending Pence landslide.

Team Trump is nevertheless horrified about the slight chance that the nation could conceivably elect an ossified, self-proclaimed socialist. It accuses Sanders of wanting to turn upside down free-market capitalism, and to nullify the entire eight-year Trump agenda.

Allies abroad in 2024 are especially worried about the neutralist Sanders, who has promised to recalibrate all of America’s alliances.

Worrisome to lame-duck President Trump are also the supposed machinations of the Iranian theocracy. Furious over Trump’s prior cancellation of the Iran deal in 2018, eager to have crippling sanctions at last lifted, and hoping that a Sanders presidency might restore Obama-era détente, Iranian operatives are reportedly not shy about their preference for a Sanders presidency. . .
I think you can see where this is going by now, but read the whole thing. Hanson is a treasure.

Wombat-socho has "Late Night With Rule 5 Monday: Eunice Gayson, RIP" ready.

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