Sunday, July 15, 2018

Rollicking Russiagate

As probably intended, the indictment of 12 Russians who will never be arrested or stand trial for meddling in our elections seems to have overwhelmed the noise created by Peter Strzok's contentious "testimony" to Congress. Still, Kevin Brock at Da Hill says Peter's 'principles' damaged public's faith in FBI
Stilton's Place

Disgraced FBI agent Peter Strzok spent a long Thursday on Capitol Hill, trying his best to sell the idea that his own words are not indicative of how he acts. What a third-grader would recognize as absurd, nevertheless got the full political-theater treatment by an oversight committee that seemed to miss the point.
. . .
Mr. Strzok may have convinced himself that he wasn’t biased but there apparently wasn’t a single member of the two House oversight committees who believed him. The Republicans attacked him because they thought he was biased against the president. The Democrats defended him because ... they thought he was biased against the president. And there, in the kind of hearing that makes Congress’s low approval ratings understandable, oversight got bogged down in a playground argument.
I think I said this yesterday.
Don't know much about history: 24,000 RETWEETS AND COUNTING: John Brennan uses bogus Abe Lincoln quote to bash Congress over Peter Strzok hearing (Twitchy).

Andrew McCarthy at NR Strzok by a Farce. This isn't one of his fact filled, insightful column; this is a gut reaction to the Strzok show:
The principal question before the joint investigation of the House Judiciary and Oversight Committees is whether the Democratic administration’s law-enforcement and intelligence arms strained to manufacture an espionage case against the Republican candidate, having buried an eminently prosecutable criminal case against the Democratic presidential nominee.

It should be straightforward to answer this question, provided that the investigative process has the one attribute central to any credible probe: the capacity to compel the production of evidence and testimony, with the corollary power to hold witnesses in contempt for defiance.

The House investigation has devolved into farce because it lacks this feature.

Oh, it exists on paper. There is even a statute making contempt of Congress a crime, punishable by up to a year in prison (and not less than a month). That may not sound like much, but the months can pile up: A separate offense occurs each time a question is ducked or a document is not surrendered. As the Wall Street Journal’s Bill McGurn explains, Congress has inherent power to enforce its subpoenas unilaterally, or it can seek assistance from the other branches.

But then reality intrudes. The committees pursuing the probe lack either the will or the votes — or perhaps both — to hold witnesses in contempt. This, despite audacious refusals to answer questions and turn over documents that would explain when and why the Trump–Russia investigation commenced.

It is an elaborate game of chicken.
Scott Johnson at Powerline: Strzok mounts the Otter defense
Watching disgraced G-Man Peter Strzok lecture us on politics and patriotism this week made my skin crawl. He is a repulsive character. Neo-neocon drew on her knowledge of art to find the comic antecedent to Strzok’s deep thoughts in Eric “Otter” Stratton’s defense of his fraternity in Animal House (video below).

Hot Air swipes from Garret Graff at the paywalled NYT: The Real FBI Election Culprit Isn’t Peter Strzok
The F.B.I. agent corps today overwhelmingly fits the demographic profile of a Trump voter. During the 2016 campaign, in The Guardian, one agent said, “The F.B.I. is Trumpland.” In his testimony, Mr. Strzok all but laughed out loud when committee members pressed him Thursday on whether the whole F.B.I. was made up of Democrats.

The New York field office, one of only three headed not by a special-agent-in-charge but by a full assistant director, has always been a particular challenge for bureau leaders — it’s fiercely independent, combative and notoriously leaky. The office, which works closely with the local United States attorney for the Southern District of New York, a job held by both Mr. Comey and Mr. Giuliani, is sometimes referred to inside the Justice Department as the “Sovereign District of New York” for charting its own course . . .
Switching to Mueller, as Rod Rosenstein intended us to, Mueller, pushing to wrap up parts of Russia probe, faces question of American involvement. He is pushing pretty hard to find someone to justify his abusive tactics. ABC News: Mueller team pushing for information on Roger Stone, WikiLeaks, sources say, and Roger Stone says he’s the 'US person' mentioned in Mueller indictment. He fully admits he emailed with "Guccifer 2.0", who Mueller claims to have indicted, thinking he was a Romanian hacker. He could still be right, since Mueller will never have to test his claim.
“As I testified before the House Intelligence Committee under oath, my 24 word exchange with someone on Twitter claiming to be Guccifer 2.0 is benign based on its content, context and timing,” Stone said when reached by ABC News late Friday. "This exchange is entirely public and provides no evidence of collaboration or collusion with Guccifer 2.0 or anyone else in the alleged hacking of the DNC emails, as well as taking place many weeks after the events described in today’s indictment,” he said.
Adam Hill at the Federalist maintains  The DOJ Has Turned The Russia Investigation Into A Puzzle Designed Never To Be Solved
Like Leonard Shelby in “Memento,” Rosenstein and others embarrassed by DOJ’s actions may derive raison d’ĂȘtre, if not safety, from the never-ending nature of the investigation. And like Leonard Shelby’s investigative file, the Russia investigation has become a puzzle that is designed to never be solved. Because to do so would end the “ongoing investigation” excuse that keeps the cause of DOJ’s embarrassment under wraps.

The key to understanding all of this starts with Perkins Coie, a law firm hired by Hillary Clinton and the DNC. . . .
Read it all. But it's a nice smooth transition to Rosenstein not smiling anymore after House Republican’s spotted with his impeachment docs. From Da Hill, Donald asks a good question, Trump on Russia indictment: Why didn’t Obama do something? Because, like everyone else, he thought Hillary was going to win and sweep everything under the rug. Besides, he was objectively pro-Russian.

Seems like I've heard this before: Assange could soon be evicted from London embassy ( Mary Kay Linge, The New York Post). He was a hero of the left until he leaked on them.

And, Russiagate by contamination Fusion GPS Targets Jim Jordan, by Julie Kelly At American Greatness.
Fully invested in pushing the phony Trump-Russia plotline in a malicious attempt to destroy Trump’s presidency, the media are intensifying this narrative and creating new villains in the process.

The Ohio congressman has been under a relentless media siege since NBC News reported on July 3 that Jordan ignored “sexual abuse” by a team doctor when Jordan was an assistant coach for the wrestling team at The Ohio State University from 1986 to 1994. The article is short on evidence of sexual abuse but quotes a few of Jordan’s former teammates who insisted the congressmen knew of the inappropriate behavior by Dr. Richard Strauss and did nothing about it. In April, the university announced it would investigate allegations against Strauss, who committed suicide in 2005.

The NBC News report offered mostly innuendo from less-than-credible sources: One accuser is an ex-con who did time in prison for mail fraud, drug possession, and stealing from investors; another is a shady business owner with a “long history of litigation and an apparent bone to pick with the Jordan family” who allegedly sent a disturbing picture to the widow of a former OSU wrestler.

But the initial story did provide one telling clue about where the Jordan smear job originated: Perkins Coie, the same law firm that hired Fusion GPS on behalf of the Democratic National Committee and the Hillary Clinton campaign in 2016 to produce the infamous “Steele dossier.” Perkins Coie is overseeing OSU’s investigationinto Strauss and has “interviewed more than 150 former students and witnesses and is engaged in further investigative efforts.”

Coincidence? Not a chance. . . .

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