Tuesday, August 21, 2018

Rosenstein's Wife and Russiagate

An interesting piece from Stacy McCain, which might take a tinfoil hat and a few grains of salt to assimilate. Picking up in the middle, because the beginning reiterates a whole bunch of irritating facts that tend to get forgotten: Who Is Lisa H. Barsoomian?
Now who is LISA BARSOOMIAN? Let’s learn a little about Mrs. Lisa H. Barsoomian’s background.
Lisa H. Barsoomian, an Attorney that graduated from Georgetown Law, is a protégé of James Comey and Robert Mueller.
Barsoomian, with her boss R. Craig Lawrence, represented Bill Clinton in 1998.
Lawrence also represented:
Robert Mueller three times;
James Comey five times;
Barack Obama 45 times;
Kathleen Sebelius 56 times;
Bill Clinton 40 times; and
Hillary Clinton 17 times.
Between 1998 and 2017, Barsoomian herself represented the FBI at least five times.
You may be saying to yourself, OK, who cares? Who cares about the work history of this Barsoomian woman?
Apparently, someone does, because someone out there cares so much that they’ve “purged” all Barsoomian court documents for her Clinton representation in Hamburg vs. Clinton in 1998 and its appeal in 1999 from the DC District and Appeals Court dockets (?). Someone out there cares so much that even the internet has been “purged” of all information pertaining to Barsoomian.
Historically, this indicates that the individual is a protected CIA operative. Additionally, Lisa Barsoomian has specialized in opposing Freedom of Information Act requests on behalf of the intelligence community. Although Barsoomian has been involved in hundreds of cases representing the DC Office of the US Attorney, her email address is Lisa Barsoomian at NIH.gov. The NIH stands for National Institutes of Health. This is a tactic routinely used by the CIA to protect an operative by using another government organization to shield their activities.
It’s a cover, so big deal right? What does one more attorney with ties to the US intelligence community really matter?
It deals with Trump and his recent tariffs on Chinese steel and aluminum imports, the border wall, DACA, everything coming out of California, the Uni-party unrelenting opposition to President Trump, the Clapper leaks, the Comey leaks, Attorney General Jeff Sessions recusal and subsequent 14 month nap with occasional forays into the marijuana legalization mix …. and last but not least Mueller’s never-ending investigation into collusion between the Trump team and-the Russians.
Why does Barsoomian, CIA operative, merit any mention?
She is Assistant Attorney General Rod Rosenstein’s WIFE!
The assertion that Lisa Barsoomian is a “protected CIA operative” is, of course, not something that I can prove — or disprove — but it is also perhaps irrelevant to the larger point: Rosenstein’s wife is connected in various ways to the Clintons, to Mueller, and to other figures involved in the “RussiaGate” investigation. Some observers have said it was never necessary for Attorney General Jeff Sessions to recuse himself from this investigation, and that appointing Mueller as Special Counsel, under the DOJ supervision of Rosenstein, was a trick to ensure that these pro-Clinton/anti-Trump operatives could have carte blanche to run their “Deep State” conspiracy to sabotage the Trump administration.

Whether or not Barsoomian is (or was) working for the CIA, it would behoove congressional investigators to ask questions about her acquaintance with all these figures — including Mueller, Comey and ex-CIA director John Brennan — in the interest of discovering whether Rosenstein, who is supervising the Mueller probe, has a serious conflict of interest due to his wife’s connections to Team Clinton. As I’ve been saying for many months, the Mueller investigation is not actually an investigation, it’s a cover-up, the purpose of which is to conceal wrongdoing by the Clinton campaign and the Obama administration.
It's not a shock that high powered lawyers marry other high powered lawyers, but there does appear to be an interesting set of coincidences well beyond the usual inside the beltway incest. Which, at the very minimum, begs the question of why Rod Rosenstein hasn't recused himself from the various investigations?

And back to more regular programming, with the still mysterious relationship between Professor Mifsud, and George Papadopuolos. Margot Cleveland at the Federalist: In Papers Saying Papadopoulos Lied, FBI Reveals It’s Either Lying Or Incompetent
Approximately two weeks later, the FBI interviewed Mifsud when, as the special counsel put it, “the FBI located him in Washington, D.C.” That shouldn’t have proven too difficult, given that Mifsud had flown to the United States to present at a conference sponsored by the State Department! Yet the FBI did not detain or arrest Mifsud, and the special counsel’s filing from last week represents the first public acknowledgment of the FBI’s February 2017 interview of Mifsud.

But in acknowledging that the FBI had interviewed Mifsud and released him, in the sentencing memorandum the special counsel implies that it was Papadopoulos’ lies that allowed Mifsud to leave the U.S. unscathed:. . .
. . .
Mueller’s assertions, however, cannot be squared with the facts. First: in his January 2017 interview, Papadopoulos claimed that he was not part of the Trump campaign when Mifsud told him the Russians had “dirt” on Hillary. The FBI knew that statement was false, as demonstrated by the FISA application submitted in October 2016.

According to Rep. Adam Schiff’s memo, in the FISA application the DOJ informed the “court that the FBI initiated its counterintelligence investigation on July 31, 2016, after receiving information” concerning Papadopoulos. While Schiff’s memo redacted what Papadopoulos revealed, it expressly stated that the “individuals linked to Russia” informed Papadopoulos in late April 2016 of those details and that they “took interest in Papadopoulos as a Trump campaign foreign policy adviser.”

Also, as the government stated in its court filings, the Trump campaign publicly named Papadopoulos a foreign policy advisor on March 21, 2016. Under these circumstances, Papadopoulos’ first misstatement — that he was not yet working with the Trump campaign — could not possibly have “substantially hindered investigators’ ability to effectively question Mifsud.”
In Mueller memo, Papadopoulos emerges as bit player in Trump-Russia affair, by Byron York, WaEx.
Mifsud was in the U.S. for a meeting of a private group affiliated with the State Department. At the time, he was living in Italy and presumably available and approachable until he disappeared months later, after the announcement of the Papadopoulos plea put his name in the news at the end of October.

One possible problem with Mueller's story is that even after securing Papadopoulos' cooperation, Papadopoulos didn't seem to have much new to tell the FBI. "What's notable here is that, according to the sentencing memo, even after agreeing to cooperate, Papadopoulos provided no substantial information that the FBI didn't already have," Yahoo's Michael Isikoff noted in a tweet on Saturday.

Mueller seemed miffed about that, characterizing Papadopoulos as an unwilling witness. "The defendant did not provide 'substantial assistance,'" Mueller wrote, "and much of the information provided by the defendant came only after the government confronted him with his own emails, text messages, internet search history, and other information it had obtained via search warrants and subpoenas well after the defendant's FBI interview as the government continued its investigation." Mueller was also irritated that Papadopoulos did not tell investigators about a cell phone he used in London until late in the proffer process, although he ultimately handed it over and consented to a search of it.

So it appears Mueller got everything Papadopoulos had. But that is the problem. If Papadopoulos were a key player in a Trump-Russia conspiracy to fix the 2016 election, he would probably have had more to tell investigators. His emails and texts and phone conversations and electronic devices would probably have had more to tell them, too.

But the fact is, Papadopoulos is heading to sentencing on a pretty small charge, facing a pretty light sentence. (If the judge goes along with Mueller's recommendation, that is; Papadopoulos' lawyers will, of course, respond by arguing he should serve no time.) In the end, the man sometimes called a central figure in the Trump-Russia affair did not have a starring role at all.
At this point, it's a fairly safe assumption that Mifsud was an agent provocateur of western governments, sent to plant incriminating knowledge on the Trump campaign. He is now in hiding with the collusion of the CIA and other western intelligence agencies so that he can't be forced to testify to that effect. As for Papadopoulos? He's an idiot, and probably deserves a short stretch to consider his actions. To wit,  Da Caller reports that Papadopoulos Told Feds He Received $10,000 From Foreign National He Believed Was A Spy, an Israeli. Again, likely a Brennan CIA set up.

Liz Shield: The Brennan Pageant Continues and Much, Much More.
“John Brennan, former CIA Director and cable news sweetheart, dominated the Sunday spin show chatter after President Trump yanked his security clearance last week. Just to recap, Brennan most likely orchestrated the entire fake RUSSIA collusion operation which publicly kicked-off when he told Twitter personality James Comey to brief Trump on the salacious and unverified dossier and then leaked the briefing to his media pals.”
Straight outta the propaganda playbook! Sharyl Attkisson takes John Brennan and Sen. Wyden APART and DAMN 

and there's more there there. Michael Hayden dares Trump to revoke his security clearance, too. I'm OK with that, too. Kathryn Blackhurst at LifeZette: So Sue Me — Eager Trump Calls Out Brennan’s Court Threat - If the former CIA director takes legal action, the chief executive warned it would be 'very easy' to obtain 'all of his records'. Allahpundit: Trump And Rudy To John Brennan: We Dare You To Sue Over Your Security Clearance:

Glass houses and stones. Why John Brennan Doesn’t Deserve a Security Clearance - After leaking for a while, most boils dry up and go away. Not this one.
Brennan monetized his security clearance to flavor his “commentary” with the tang of inside knowledge. There is no government interest in that, and the government has no place allowing Brennan to hold a clearance for his own profit. Shutting him down preserves the entire point of issuing a clearance, which is so the grantee can do Uncle Sam’s bidding. A clearance isn’t a gift; it’s a tool issued by the government so employees can get work done. Brennan is working now only for himself. He deserved to lose his clearance.
Ann Althouse: I'll link to this in case you want to talk about it, but I'm not in the mood to have my agenda set. "Trump Lawyers’ Sudden Realization: They Don’t Know What Don McGahn Told Mueller’s Team" (NYT).
I don't like being nudged to get excited about this — sudden realization, etc. etc. Is something specific and important happening here or is the NYT serving its own interests? Without looking more deeply into this, I'm inclined to assume McGahn did what he was asked to do and operated within his role as White House Counsel of protecting the institution of the presidency. That's different from Trump's own lawyers, who focus on this particular problem. And the longterm interest of the presidency is in preserving confidentiality and executive privilege. Trump with his lawyers wanted to cooperate with Mueller (or at least appear to be doing so unless and until Mueller goes too far). What is the sudden crisis?
 Bob Bauer at Lawfare: The President’s Lawyer and His Cooperation in the Russia Investigation. Tom Maguire at Just One Minute asks Who And What Is Behind The Big McGahn Leakage to the Times?
Say what? My handicapping has the arrows pointing in the opposite direction - Team Trump is leaking this to make the points that Trump has been cooperating and there is no need for Mueller to interview Trump since they already have his story by way of the White House attorney (who strictly speaking represents the office of the Presidency, not the current incumbent).
. . .
But my mind-reading is this: The key United States versus Nixon case covered a subpoena for evidence that would be produced at trial. Here we are talking about a grand jury. The prosecutors are looking for enough evidence to indict, not proof of guilt beyond a reasonable doubt. So I suspect Team Trump will ask, what is Trump's testimony going to add beyond the tale told by the White House attorney?

At trial Trump might be a useful corroborating witness, but for a grand jury? If Trump is telling the same story as his attorney he may have added a bit of confidence but he hasn't added new information. Or, if Trump is telling a different story from his attorney than the case is a muddle, which may hinder rather than help the grand jury (Yeah, Team Trump is just trying to save Mueller from himself, amirite?)
Slate appears bummed:  Don McGahn Has Not Turned on Trump - The White House counsel has figured out how to appear transparent without giving Mueller the information he needs. Axios calls it Trump's epic Mueller gamble. It's not a gamble if you know the answer.

Bloomberg: Trump Says His Russia Probe Fight Is Wrongly Seen as Obstruction. Was it obstruction when Clinton resisted the Starr probe? Maybe, but not legally. But the rules always change when it's a Republican. Mark Moore, New York Post: Trump: Mueller’s team trying to meddle in midterm elections. See, it's not obstruction to say that. And it's probably true.

AP sources: Prosecutors preparing charges against Cohen. Cohen is scum, but his scumminess would be unremarkable in New York City were it not for his association with Trump.

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