Thursday, July 12, 2018

Stormy Weather Russiagate

One half of the Strzok/Page Lovebird team of the FBI/DOJ leakers and conspirers has a date today, and by all reports, she plans to duck it. Anti-Trump FBI lawyer Lisa Page refuses to testify, despite subpoena (Washington Examiner):
Lisa Page, the former anti-Trump FBI lawyer who was briefly part of special counsel Robert Mueller’s team, will not attend a Congressional hearing for which she had been subpoenaed, House Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte confirmed late Tuesday. Ms. Page was scheduled to testify on Wednesday before the House Judiciary and Oversight and Government Reform committees.

In a statement, Mr. Goodlatte, Virginia Republican, said Ms. Page “has no excuse” for her failure to appear, saying she has known for months the two committees were interested in her testimony. “It appears that Lisa Page has something to hide,” he said. “She plans to blatantly defy a congressional subpoena by refusing to appear for her deposition.” “We will use all tools at our disposal to obtain her testimony,” Mr. Goodlatte’s statement continued.
“The Committees would be asking Lisa about materials that she has not yet been shown. In fact, Lisa andf I went to the FBI today today to review the materials that were previously produced to Congress related to her proposed interview, but after waiting more than three hours, we were not provided with any documents,” Ms. Jeffress said.

Ms. Jeffress said her client asked the Committee to schedule another date that would allow her more time to prepare. But, the statement continued, “the Committees have not honored this request. As a result, Lisa is not going to appear for an interview at this time.”
. . .
Mr. Strzok, who was also a member of Mr. Mueller’s team, is scheduled to testify before the two committees on Thursday. Last month, Mr. Strzok spent 11 hours testifying in a closed session.

On Tuesday morning, Mr. Trump appeared to indicate that Ms. Page and Mr. Strzok would not be testifying before Congress.
Liz Shield at PJ Media:
Wow, I wonder if President Trump and his attorneys will be afforded knowledge of "the scope of the interview" and be able "to view the materials" produced to the special counsel for his much sought-after interview with the Mueller firing squad?
She's had more time to prepare than her lover, Peter Strzok,  gave Michael Flynn. Put her in jail for contempt until she changes her mind. Breitbart: Chairman Bob Goodlatte: ‘Appears that Lisa Page Has Something to Hide’ Jazz Shaw at Hot Air: Lisa Page Tells Congress What They Can Do With Their Subpoena
So what happens now? In theory, Page could be charged with contempt of Congress. That carries a penalty of between one and twelve months in jail and/or a fine not to exceed $1,000. But it requires some extraordinary circumstances before they hand out penalties like that. Page’s attorney is making it sound as if she has every intention of complying but simply wants to review the materials she’ll be asked about in advance.

In a courtroom setting involving something more complicated, that sort of request would probably be seen as nothing unusual and the delay might have been readily granted. But what “material” could they be planning on asking Page about? Almost certainly the questions will have to do with her text messages and how she felt about Donald Trump and whether or not that impacted her job performance. What is there to review? Those are her own messages so surely she’s already “familiar” with them.

But even assuming there is some real need to “review” the material, couldn’t Page just show up and answer all of the questions by taking the Fifth and saying she declines to answer on advice of counsel until she’s better prepared? They can’t punish her for taking the Fifth and then she wouldn’t be exposed to the potential perils of ignoring a subpoena. It just seems to me that some members of the committee are already in a rather foul mood over her involvement in all of this and bailing out on the hearings at the eleventh hour isn’t going to do anything to improve their outlook.
 NR's Andrew McCarthy on why Mueller Will Not Present ‘Collusion’ Evidence at Manafort’s Fraud Trial
It may well be that Mueller does not have a prosecutable collusion case (indeed, we have long surmised as much). But that is not a conclusion that can sensibly be drawn from the unremarkable fact that the special counsel does not plan to prove collusion in the imminent Manafort trial. Because collusion evidence would not be germane to the fraud allegations that the jury will be asked to decide, there would be no reason to introduce such evidence, if it exists.

Moreover, if Mueller were to have made collusion with Russia part of his case against Manafort, due-process rules would have required him to provide the defense with extensive discovery of his investigative files on that topic. In other contexts, both Mueller’s prosecutors and the Justice Department have taken the position that they will not discuss the posture of Mueller’s investigation, or even the factual basis for believing there are crimes to be investigated (which, by regulation, is supposed to be established as a condition of appointing a special prosecutor). To do so, they have asserted, would compromise their ability to conduct the investigation effectively.

Having taken that position, the special counsel obviously would not raise the issue of collusion in Manafort’s trial. Otherwise, he would have to lay his cards on the table. Indeed, he would lose control of his cards: Once an issue is deemed relevant to the merits of a criminal trial, it is up to the presiding judge to determine what information the prosecutor must disclose — and that is invariably more information than the prosecutor wishes to disclose.
Ace: Mueller Reveals In Court Filings That There's No Connection Between the Manafort Prosecution and Russian Collusion, and No Connection to Trump, Either
 The only connection to Trump Mueller's team plans to discuss isn't even a connection to Trump. Manafort applied for loans, misstating his income level and debts (Mueller alleges), and a banker hoping to curry favor with Trump approved them, despite his questions about Manafort's finances.

That's not a connection to Trump. That's a connection to someone who wanted a connection to Trump. So this is what #TheResistance has.

Question: If the FBI had really squeezed Hillary's outrageously perjurious IT guy this hard, instead of gifting him with get out of jail free immunity cards, what might he have disclosed about Hillary's and her lawyers' orders to him?
ABC: Judge denies Manafort request to stay at rural jail. I confess I have no opinion on what's really behind this. Kathryn Blackhurst at PoliZette: ‘Not Rocket Science’ to Hold Manafort Outside Solitary Confinement, Mukasey Says
“There are people who are convicted of dealing in child pornography who are out and about who get restrictions on their access to computers and so on. This can be done. It is not rocket science,” Mukasey continued. “And it would not be rocket science to put Paul Manafort in a setting outside a prison in which his access to a telephone may be restricted, monitored and so on. This is unnecessary.”
But a child molester is more likely to be a member of the deep state, than to be able to help the deep state get Donald Trump. Betsy Woodruff at Da Beast: Inside Mueller’s New Army As the special counsel zeroes in on Russia’s online arsonists, he’s brought in a new crew of cyberspy fighters—and a straight-up street crime prosecutor, too. He really doesn't show any interest in getting this over with. Sara Carter: Court Docs Allege More Corruption by Mueller’s “Pit Bull” in Manafort Case:
Manafort’s lawyers are requesting a hearing based on Weissmann’s alleged improper disclosure of confidential grand jury information, non-public information, false information and potentially classified materials, the court documents state. Weissmann met with AP journalists on April 11 after reporters informed him of their own investigation into Manafort’s dealings with Ukrainian officials.
Chuck Ross at Da Caller: Russian Musician Who Arranged Trump Tower Meeting Denies Collusion Allegations
Emin Agalarov, the son of a Azerbaijani-Russian oligarch close to Vladimir Putin, denies the collusion allegations in an interview with Vice News that airs Tuesday night. “I have been accused of influencing — this is gonna sound very strange — influencing the American election,” Agalarov said. “It’s quite a strange and ridiculous accusation.”

Agalarov’s denials are unlikely to satisfy Democrats who consider him to be a central figure in their collusion conspiracy theories. But his interview will help settle some speculationgenerated from Agalarov’s recent release of a music video that featured a Trump impersonator and mocked the 2013 Moscow visit.
. . .
Agalarov and his father, Aras, partnered with Trump to host the 2013 Miss Universe pageant in Moscow. The event was held at Crocus Hall, a venue owned by the elder Agalarov. It is during that visit that the infamous Steele dossier alleges that Kremlin operatives sent prostitutes to Trump’s hotel room for the purposes of blackmailing the real estate tycoon. The dossier, which was funded by the Hillary Clinton campaign and the Democratic National Convention, also alleges that the prostitutes performed a “golden showers” routine in front of Trump. Video of the incident has been used as leverage over Trump, the unverified dossier claims.

Keith Schiller, Trump’s former bodyguard, has testified to Congress that he was approached during the Moscow visit by a man who offered to send five prostitutes to Trump’s hotel room. Schiller testified that he declined the offer and that he did not see any women go into Trump’s room. The book “Russian Roulette” established that Trump stayed one night in Moscow and had only a small window of opportunity to engage in the activity alleged by the dossier.
Julie Kelly at American Greatness: Nunes Targets the Real Collusion: The Media and DOJ so he must be destroyed. Jim DeMint at the Federalist: Jim Jordan Is A Man of Integrity Being Railroaded With Factless Allegations.  R Emmett Tyrell at the American Spectator: How Perkins Coie Plan to Get Congressman Jim Jordan for the crime of being a Republican. For those that don't remember, Perkins Coie is a big Washington D.C. law firm that took money Hillary's campaign and paid for the Steele Dossier.
My friends on the left cannot move from A to B without contradicting themselves in this crazy world that they have, in large part, constructed. They are attacking Congressman Jordan for not reporting the homosexual behavior of a randy doctor in the 1980s (he, incidentally, committed suicide in 2005), behavior which they now approve of or at least are sympathetic toward. What is more, many of the Ohio State wrestlers back in the 1980s had reached their majority. They were over 18. Moreover, most could have broken the doctor’s legs. By the way, Jordan, who was barely older than the wrestlers, now stands accused of failing to report charges that these athletes also failed to report.
John D. O'Connor, The attorney who revealed Mark Felt as Watergate's Deep Throat at Da Caller: Did US Intelligence Agencies Collude With Clinton To Influence The 2016 Election? He marshals a pretty good line of evidence to demonstrate it, most of which is not new to readers of these reviews. Ace: John Solomon: Hillary Clinton and Fusion GPS Just Kept Sending Fresh Copies Of the "Dossier," Using Stooges as Deliverymen to Hide Their Role, Until the FBI Finally Bit
Hillary's operation just kept using different stooges (or dupes) to keep pestering the FBI with their opposition research smear.

Among those stooges and/or dupes: Christopher Steele, obviously. Glenn Simpson says he didn't, but a Peter Strzok email says he did. Mother Jones' David Corn, one of the leftwing "journalists" pushing this nonstory the hardest pre-election.

And of course John McCain. . . .
Read it all.

Mollie Hemingway at the Federalist: Somebody At DOJ Isn’t Telling The Truth About Rosenstein’s Subpoena Threats Against Congressional Staff and all signs point to Rosenstein. And now Rosenstein want "help" with vetting Brett Kavanaugh for the Supreme Court. Rod Rosenstein requests 93 federal prosecutors help vet Brett Kavanaugh: Report. I understand it's a lot of material to go through to decide what's privileged and what's not, but frankly, why would anyone trust him now? And will it be used to provide a convenient excuse for slow delivery of Russiagate documents? Hot Air: Dems To Kavanaugh: If We Lose, You Must Recuse … On Mueller Bullshit. Benjamin Wittes at Lawfare: Brett Kavanaugh and the Mueller Investigation: What Do His Writings Really Say?
If Kavanaugh’s writings on special counsel investigations really influenced Trump’s decision to nominate him, then Trump is a bigger fool than I have imagined. Kavanaugh’s writings on the subject don’t clarify all of his views on the subject of the Mueller investigation. But they clarify certain big things, and those things are really not good for Donald Trump. Noah Feldman writes that “Properly understood, Kavanaugh’s expressed views actually support the opposite conclusion” than the one to which many knees are jerking. Feldman is exactly right. In some respects, he actually understates the case.
Shattering liberal dreams of tying Trump to another sex scandal, the HuffPo reports  Playmate Who Had Affair With Major GOP Fundraiser Has Never Met Trump, "Sources Say Contrary to speculation about a secret affair with Trump, two sources say Shera Bechard has had no contact with the president." Say, did you know that under the Obama Administration, Shera Bechard was given a coveted genius visa to immigrate to the US? I'd forgotten too, until I searched on her name.

And fresh this morning, Ann Althouse bring us some stormy weather: Why was Stormy Daniels arrested last night in a strip club in Ohio?
I saw the story first in The Daily Mail:
Stormy Daniels has been arrested in Ohio for allegedly grabbing an undercover officer's backside while performing in a strip club....
Then I saw it in the NYT:
Stephanie Clifford, the pornographic film actress who said she had an affair with Donald J. Trump before he became president, was arrested at a strip club in Columbus, Ohio, her lawyer said early Thursday.
Ms. Clifford, who performs under the name Stormy Daniels, had been scheduled to appear at Sirens Gentlemen’s Club in northeastern Columbus....
She was arrested “for allegedly allowing a customer to touch her while on stage in a non sexual manner,” her lawyer, Michael Avenatti, said on Twitter....

The Daily Mail does at some point in the article get to the lawyer's presentation of what happened:
On Twitter, Avenatti said: 'My client Stormy Daniels was arrested in Columbus, Ohio, while performing same act she has performed across the nation at nearly a hundred clubs. This was a setup and politically motivated. It reeks of desperation. We will fight all bogus charges.'
And, for its part, the NYT does eventually get around to this:
Police officers at the club said that while dancing topless, Ms. Clifford pressed patrons’ faces into her chest and fondled the breasts of some women in the audience, according to an affidavit filed by the police. She performed similar acts on three officers, and grabbed one by the buttocks, the affidavit said.
It's a story with 2 sides (at least). There's an Ohio law governing the operation of a "sexually oriented business." I think what Avenatti is referring to when he speaks of touching "in a non sexual manner," is that the text of the statute bars all touching, which just deprives you of any room to defend yourself by saying it wasn't sexual . . .
Bitch was set up! The charges were Trumped up! (Yeah, I stole that) He thrust his ass into her face! And the chicks gave implicit consent by not moving out of the way fast enough!

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