Thursday, September 13, 2018

Rushin' Through Russiagate

Got to get on the road soon. Which road, we haven't decided.

From Ace, shockingly, according to Lindsey Graham Trump Is Right to Declassify DOJ/FBI RussiaGate Documents; Politicization of These Agencies Began Under Obama

Trump has not yet declassified these documents, but is rumored by many to be nearing the decision to do so.

Meanwhile, useless Senator Richard Burr, who has been part of the Keep the Investigation Going Forever brigade, admits there is no evidence of collusion, and even John Kerry admits the probe has found no evidence of collusion and no evidence of any other serious crime, either.
Matthew Walter at The Week: The Mariia Butina fiasco
. . . It has also become clear that if Butina's projects are evidence of "collusion" between the Russian government and American conservatives, there is virtually no sphere of activity, in heaven or on Earth, that would not answer to that description. The highest Russian official with whom Butina appears to have been in contact was Alexander Torshin, a recently appointed deputy of the Central Bank of Russia and former Russian senator. The extent of her contact with the Putin regime extends not much further than having once contacted the Kremlin press office via a generic public email address in the hope of persuading the Russian president to appear in one or more programs on the Outdoor Channel, which agreed to pay her some $20,000 in exchange for this vital lobbying. The cable entity eventually suspended its payments to Butina when it became clear that, pace her claim that "[n]o Western media company (or even news organization) has EVER had this much access to President Putin," she had no useful channels of communication with the Kremlin. It is clear that Butina was a transnational dissembler, but on whose ultimate behalf beyond her own she worked and lied remains unclear. She is certainly no Alger Hiss.

Which is why I think there is a much broader lesson here about the vague question of influence peddling. As I write this there are hundreds of thousands of individuals working in some capacity or other on behalf of foreign nationals to influence the politics of this country. If every single one of them registered formally as a foreign agent under the terms of FARA or with the U.S. attorney general per Section 951, the offices responsible for handling such cases would be overwhelmed. In an era of globalized, more or less free communications, inexpensive travel, and virtually limitless cash in the hands of billionaire would-be influencers, it is nearly impossible to quantify or even rigorously define concepts such as "election meddling." Who and what constitute an attempt by foreigners to shape public affairs and business in the United States? It has never been easier for anyone anywhere to attempt to do so. The relentlessly pro-NAFTA New York Times remains partially owned by a Mexican billionaire. Most of "our" major corporations are either foreign-owned subsidiaries of companies you've never heard of or tax dodgers that maintain their unimaginable profitability by relying upon shady offshore accounting schemes; all of them spend millions of dollars jockeying for influence, formally and informally.

These conditions need to be acknowledged and understood. More scrutiny should be applied to our conversations about "meddling," even when there appears to be a legal basis for the accusations. Anything can sound sinister when reduced, sans context, to the supposedly affectless prose of hard news.
Unsanctioned diplomacy? Hmmm. Adam Mill, Da Federalist: 5 Times Trump People Were Trapped Into Creating Russiagate Narratives
1. Joseph Mifsud Plants an Idea in Papadopoulos’s Head ...
2. The Trump Tower Entrapment ...
3. Stefan Halper’s Information Plants and Halper dropped the topic ...
4. Bruce Ohr’s Recruitment of a Russian Oligarch ...
5. The Comey-Trump Meeting Setup ...
Da Caller: Home Depot Co-Founder Challenges Robert Mueller — ‘Come Out And Say What You Got’ 
“We live in the greatest country on Earth, and the American people spoke loud and clear,” said Langone. “The establishment is shocked that Donald Trump won. But he won. He won fair and square. I don’t — this Mueller investigation, come on, let’s end it. Let’s decide. Come out and say what you got. There’s a notion here that this guy should not be President of the United States. I beg your pardon. He won fair and square. He won 307 electoral votes. He is our president. Respect the office of the presidency.”
Never expect a prosecutor to put limits on prosecutors:. Mediaite: Ken Starr: Giuliani’s Wrong, The President Can Be Indicted

Via Larwyn's Linx:

Damning New Strzok-Page Texts: “Times...Angry With Us About...WP Scoop”: Sara Carter
Jim Jordan: Strzok lawyer’s spin on texts ‘doesn’t pass the smell test’: Chris Pandolfo
Trump: Strzok, Page are an 'embarrassment' to FBI: Katelyn Caralle
Brief Makes Compelling Case That Mueller Appointment is Unconstitutional: Peter Flaherty
Papadopoulos willing to testify on suspicion he was set up by Western intelligence officials: Caitlin Yilek

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