Monday, July 30, 2018

Russiagate Today

An odd mix; I guess the weekend had lots of hanging chads or something

According to the AP Manafort trial to focus on lavish lifestyle, not collusion. As Instapundit notes: The Mountain has Labored and Brought Forth a Mouse . . .  Hmm. Is the Dowager Empress of Chappaqua living a “lavish lifestyle?”
Jurors are expected to see photographs of his Mercedes-Benz and of his Hampton property putting green and swimming pool. There’s likely to be testimony, too, about tailored Beverly Hills clothing, high-end antiques, rugs and art and New York Yankees seasons tickets.

The luxurious lifestyle was funded by Manafort’s political consulting for the pro-Russian Ukrainian political party of Viktor Yanukovych, who was deposed as Ukraine’s president in 2014.

Lawyers have tangled over how much jurors will hear of his overseas political work, particularly about his ties to Russia and other wealthy political figures.

At a recent hearing, U.S. District Judge T.S. Ellis III, who will preside over the trial, warned prosecutors to restrain themselves, noting the current “antipathy” toward Russia and how “most people in this country don’t distinguish between Ukrainians and Russians.” He said he would not tolerate any pictures of Manafort and others “at a cocktail party with scantily clad women,” if they exist.

Prosecutor Greg Andres reassured the judge that “there will be no pictures of scantily clad women, period,” nor photographs of Russian flags.

“I don’t anticipate that a government witness will utter the word ‘Russia,’” Andres said.
So now it's illegal to live life better than a government drone? Well, that may well work with a D.C. or NOVA jury. Damn, I wanted to see those scantily clad women, too.

Old Prosecutors Speaking Frankly by Clarice Feldman at the American Thinker:
About once a year the Society of Old Prosecutors meets in a private libation spot the name of which I am honor bound not to disclose. We met to discuss the week’s events and, as long as I don’t name the participants, I was given permission to share some of the talk. (Given the mad-dog operations of the Special Counsel some feared that to publicly state their views they’d be subject to midnight FBI raids with their nightgown-garbed wives rousted from bed and felt up by armed agents, or all their assets seized and their private correspondence unrelated to anything handed over to Democratic spinners like Lanny Davis to be megaphoned on CNN.)
Lawyer 1: The President is denying his former lawyer Cohen’s claim that he approved the meeting in Trump Tower. Funny that meeting, isn’t it? I mean, why did Loretta Lynch allow Natasha Veselnitskaya to have a special visa to enter the country and why did Natasha choose as her translator Anatoli Samochornov, who for over a decade was a U.S. State Department Translator?’ I’ve handled far weaker entrapment cases.

Lawyer 2: Funnier yet, the meeting was ostensibly to discuss Russian orphan adoption issues. But even if it had been to hear the dirt Russia had on Hillary, when and why and how would it be unusual or illegal for a campaign to want to hear dirt on a competitor? I mean, get real -- Hillary paid for the Dossier which was confected by an anti-Trump former UK spy whose sources were all Russian. Not since I read Alice in Wonderland as a kid, have I seen such an upside down universe.

Lawyer 3: Now speaking of the Dossier, how much longer will the FISC continue in operation after having rubberstamped over and again widespread spying on a political campaign based on the most idiotic of warrants? I cannot imagine a regular court granting these and FISC was, we were told by most (but not the late Robert Bork) that it would provide greater protections for citizens against unwarranted privacy intrusions. . . .
At NewsBusters: NBC’s New Anti-NRA Attack Line: They’re Infiltrated By the Russians! We knew that was coming. Another Instaquip: MAN, THE LEFTIES AT NBC TURNED INTO THE JOHN BIRCH SOCIETY SO SLOWLY, I HARDLY EVEN NOTICED. This may well be Putin's intention.

DAMN son! Sharyl Attkisson takes TROLL defending John Brennan APART in EPIC point-by-point tweet

Indicted Senate Staffer James Wolfe Leaked a 2017 Copy of Full FISA Warrant Against Carter Page to Reporter Ali Watkins… (Sundance, CTH)
Note the FISA application (original first application) is 83 pages, with a blank page. That’s 82 pages total.

Note page #6 of the Wolfe indictment: “82 text messages” corresponds with James Wolfe texting 82 images of the FISA application to Ali Watkins. Wolfe likely took pictures of each application page and sent them to Ms. Watkins.
. . .
Important to note: depending on how the FISA copy was processed by the DOJ(?), and considering this was to the Senate Intel Committee, it is likely the SSCI copy was not heavily redacted (if at all).

♦Yes, that means reporter Ali Watkins (Buzzfeed then New York Times) has had a copy of the original FISA application against Carter Page since March 17th, 2017.

♦Yes, that also means the U.S. DOJ has known since December 15th, 2017, that SSCI Chief Staffer James Wolfe leaked the FISA application to the media in March 2017.

♦Yes, that also means the U.S. DOJ has known the media has been holding a copy of the original FISA application since March 17th, 2017.
The Curious Case of James Wolfe Continues… Sundance at CTH makes the case that James Wolfe, the Congressional Security chief recently indicted for lying to the FBI probably leaked a doctored copy of the unredacted Carter Page FISA application to the his girl friend and NYT reporter, Ali Watkins. A false date on the doctored application was used to catch him in the act.
Some key things about this leak:
  1. It is highly likely there were no redactions in the copy Wolfe leaked to the media.
  2. It is highly likely Wolfe was caught in a leak hunt, and the copy given to him included a specific, and intentionally wrong, internal date using October 19th as the origination date for FISA application approval. (The actual date was Oct 21st).
  3. The October 19th date then shows up in subsequent media reports which were based on the leak. The New York Times and Washington Post used the wrong date; the concentric reporting of the NYT and WaPo spread the wrong date like a virus.
  4. However, despite overwhelming and easy to prove evidence against him, Wolfe was never charged with the Carter Page FISA leak. The DOJ/FBI have him dead-to-rights on that leak, but he was charged with the more disingenuous crime of lying to the FBI.
 Much more here: Wolfe’s Indictment, Media Leaks & the Page FISA Application

Brett Samuels at Da Hill: Trump lashes out at Mueller for alleged conflicts of interest

Trump has alleged on multiple occasions via Twitter that Mueller has unspecified conflicts of interest, however, Sunday's tweet marks the first time he's elaborated beyond such accusations. The president seemingly confirmed a New York Times report from January that said Trump attempted to fire Mueller in June 2017 over alleged conflicts of interest.

The Times reported that Trump listed three conflicts he believed should disqualify Mueller: A dispute over fees at Trump’s National Golf Club in Virginia, his interview for FBI director before being named special counsel, and Mueller’s previous employment at a law firm that represents Trump’s son-in-law, Jared Kushner.

Trump reportedly backed off his demand after White House counsel Don McGahn refused Trump’s order and threatened to quit. Multiple reports indicated Trump interviewed Mueller for the vacancy, but it's unclear if Trump turned him down for the position before he was named special counsel in May 2017.

Trump's accusations about Mueller's alleged conflicts of interest came amid a string of tweets in which he claimed the special counsel's team is filled with Democrats.
John Bowden at Da Hill: GOP lawmaker: 'Nobody’s going to be surprised' if Trump approved Russia meeting
“If he’s proven to have not told the whole truth about the fact that campaigns look for dirt, and if someone offers it, you listen to them, nobody’s going to be surprised,” Issa told Cavuto. “There are some things in politics that you just take for granted.”
Allahpundit: Chris Wallace: So What If Trump Knew About Don Jr’s Meeting With The Russian Lawyer?
And even the meeting itself – while it certainly doesn’t seem praise-worthy that American political candidates or their team would be meeting with a Russian lawyer to try to get dirt on Hillary Clinton that was being offered to them – that falls a long way from any hint of collusion between Trump and the Kremlin.”

The Dersh at Breitbart: Dershowitz: Even if Cohen’s Claims Are True, ‘It’s Not a Crime’ – It’s ‘A Political Problem’
“I think the big picture is that even if everything he says is true, it’s not a crime. … Even if the president actively sought material dirt on Hillary Clinton, terrible thing, but even if he sought it, but the dirt had already been gathered, and he wasn’t asking them to hack the DNC or do anything criminal, that would not be a crime. It would show, quote, perhaps collusion, but there’s nothing in the federal code that makes collusion itself a crime.”
Giuliani says experts think 'someone messed' with Cohen tape
According to Giuliani, analysts say the public audio is a “tape of a tape,” and because of that, they are unable to determine if Cohen cut off the recording in the room, in real time, or altered and/or erased parts of it at a later date.

“Since we don’t have the original, we asked for it,” Giuliani said. “Our expert analysis is done until we get the raw copy, which we are seeking.”

Giuliani speculated that the chances of success for obtaining the raw tape are narrow.

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