Tuesday, October 23, 2018

Some Stony Russiagate

Matthew Walter writes of How the Mueller fairy tale ends, not with a bang, but with a whimper:
. . . After 17 months of appending compound adjectives ("Russia-linked," "Kremlin-backed") to the names of an increasingly obscure cast of characters accused of things like sending spam emails and holding pointless meetings that went nowhere, it looks like we are finally getting close to the end of the Mueller probe. A report in Politico suggests that what skeptics have argued for more than a year and a half is true: namely, that Mueller and his team have not found any smoking-gun evidence of "collusion" between Donald Trump's 2016 presidential campaign and the Russian government because no such collusion took place.

It's going to be a letdown. Not only is it likely that the final report will not reveal that the president has been a KGB agent since the late '80s, as at least one mainstream liberal columnist fantasized. It is also possible that it will never even be released to the public, at least not in full. Unless they are granted permission to review them under various conditions that will be imposed by the Department of Justice, not even members of Congress will be able to read Mueller's findings. For reasons that have as much to do with Mueller's own personality and style as they do with the sensitive nature of the material, the text itself is unlikely to be the sweeping anti-Trump manifesto that the president's fiercest liberal critics are longing for. There is every reason to believe that it will be a straightforward, minimally expansive document that does not volunteer information that is not absolutely relevant to the main findings.
Via  Wombat-socho's Late Night With In The Mailbox: 10.22.18, Don Surber notes how the Press ignores the fizzling of Mueller's indictments
Indictments are easy. Now he has to prove it. That is harder.

The judge is not going to roll over, either. She told the counsel for the Russian company that Mueller indicted for meddling, "I’ll give you, Mr. Dubelier, that this is an unprecedented case." That was on Monday.

On Thursday, it got worse. Judge Friedrich issued a three-page order asking Mueller to explain just what-in-the-devil his legal theory is in the indictments. Courthouse News Service reported, "Friedrich on Thursday wrote the government has not substantively responded to the company’s arguments about FECA and FARA and gave prosecutors until October 23 to clarify their position. Friedrich’s order specifically mentions a hearing earlier this week at which prosecutors said they do not need to prove Concord 'had a legal duty to report' under the laws."

Judge Friedrich asked in the order, "Should the Court assume for purposes of this motion that neither Concord nor its co-conspirators had any legal duty to report expenditures or to register as a foreign agent? Specifically, should the Court assume for purposes of this motion that neither Concord nor its co-conspirators knowingly or unknowingly violated any provision, civil or criminal, of FECA or FARA by failing to report expenditures or by failing to register as a foreign agent?"

They bought some ads on Facebook. If a few thousand bucks on Facebook ads were enough to derail Hillary's record-setting $1.2 billion campaign, maybe she is not the person we want running the country. If they are this good, then hire the Russians. They are far better with money.
Byron York belabors the obvious in End could be near for House investigation of Trump-Russia investigators, but gives a good summary of the progress to date, before getting to the obvious.
If Democrats win, Rep. Adam Schiff, who has opposed nearly everything Nunes has done, will become chairman of the Intelligence Committee. Rep. Jerrold Nadler will head the Judiciary Committee. And Rep. Elijah Cummings will take over the Oversight Committee.
Sundance at CTH: Sunday Talks: Chairman Bob Goodlatte Discusses Upcoming Rosenstein Hearing and Questioning…

More on the Mysterious Mr. Mifsud from Debra Heine at PJ Media. Lawyer: Missing Joseph Mifsud Is Not Dead, He's 'Being Kept Quiet by Shadowy, Unidentified Spy Agencies'
Joseph Mifsud, the mysterious professor who vanished from the public eye late last year after his name surfaced in stories about the Russia investigation, is "being kept quiet by shadowy, unidentified spy agencies," his lawyer Stephan Roh suggested to the Associated Press in a recent interview.

What's more, the mysterious Maltese professor has a history of disappearing for long periods of time, an AP investigation found. Last month, the Democratic National Committee (DNC) said in a court filing that the 58-year-old may be dead, but reports of his demise may have been exaggerated.

Mifsud vanished from the public eye late last year after his name surfaced in stories about the Russia investigation. He is the shady character who told former Trump campaign adviser George Papadopoulos that Russia had "thousands of emails" on Hillary Clinton during a meeting in London in April 2016.

Mifsud has dropped out of sight on least three other occasions when he was caught up in scandals, the AP discovered. . . .
Conveniently out of reach of Robert Mueller, and congressional investigators.

DOJ: Russian Troll Tweeted ‘If Trump Fires Robert Mueller, We Have to Take to the Streets in Protest’ Still trying to foment trouble, with help from the Democrats and the media.

All the rest is Roger Stone, Mueller and the democrats last best hope at finding collusion between the Trump crowd and the Russians. ABC: Targeted by Mueller, what did Trump confidante Roger Stone actually do? – and could it even be criminal?
Mueller recently charged 12 Russian spies for interfering in the 2016 presidential election by hacking into Democratic institutions and then orchestrating "the staged release" of stolen documents. To help execute their "large-scale cyber operations," the Russian operatives created an online identity they named "Guccifer 2.0" and "falsely claimed to be a lone Romanian hacker," according to Mueller. Their first big release came in July 2016, when Wikileaks published tens of thousands of emails heisted from the Democratic National Committee.

In the months right after the disclosure, Stone praised Guccifer 2.0 as the "hero" who "hacked and leaked" it all, but he also promised – at least a dozen times – that Wikileaks had yet to release its biggest blow against Hillary Clinton's campaign. He repeatedly called the coming bombshell "an October surprise" because, he later explained to ABC News, an "intermediary" to Wikileaks founder Julian Assange told him early on, "It's coming in October."

Stone's teases offered tantalizing details – he repeatedly said the next release would come from inside the Clinton Foundation, and at one point in August 2016 he pronounced on Twitter that it would soon be "the Podesta's time in the barrel." Stone has since insisted he was referring not only to Clinton's then-campaign manager John Podesta but also to Podesta's lobbyist brother, whose overseas business dealings were starting to receive media scrutiny.

Nevertheless, four days into October 2016, Guccifer 2.0 publicly claimed to have hacked the Clinton Foundation and posted several documents online. "Many of you have been waiting for this, some even asked me to do it," Guccifer 2.0 wrote. And that same week, Wikileaks released thousands of emails stolen from John Podesta's personal email account.

There's no indication Stone ever discussed such disclosures with Guccifer 2.0, and he told ABC News it was a journalist's email that first suggested to him the Clinton Foundation had been hacked. But Stone has admitted exchanging "benign, innocent and even banal" private messages with the online persona. In those exchanges, Stone expressed "delight" over Guccifer 2.0's Twitter account and, at Guccifer 2.0's request, offered minor feedback over a heisted Democratic document just posted online.

Mueller cited the exchanges in his indictment against the 12 Russian spies, describing Stone as someone who discussed "the release of stolen documents" with Guccifer 2.0, which Mueller said was created to "undermine the allegations of Russian responsibility" for the DNC hack.

Throughout the summer of 2016, Stone was engaged in his own effort to discredit those allegations, despite growing evidence from the U.S. intelligence community that Russia was to blame. And Stone has consistently denied ever believing Guccifer 2.0 was a Russian front, even though media reports at the time insisted that was the case.
It's gonna take more to call it a crime. CNN:  Mueller drills down on Roger Stone's WikiLeaks contacts. But according to Vanity Fair, Roger Stone Is Running Out of Options. More likely Mueller is running out of straws to grasp.  For his part, Roger Stone slams 'busted' Washington Post over Mueller report
Longtime President Trump ally Roger Stone on Monday slammed The Washington Post over a report that special counsel Robert Mueller is digging into Stone's alleged ties with WikiLeaks.

"Today’s Washington Post contains one of the shoddiest pieces of reporting that I have seen my 40 years in American Politics," Stone wrote in a statement forwarded to The Hill titled "THE WASHINGTON POST IS BUSTED."
. . .
Stone in his statement proceeded to mark up the Post's report, which he called "rife with inaccuracies and material omissions." Stone argued that he never had any direct contact with WikiLeaks and any contact was limited and exclusively through third-party sources. He also pushed back against the Post's characterization of his previous statements about those third-party connections.

The Post reported that Stone had said liberal comedian Randy Credico was his "only connection to the group," while Stone, in his statement, says that he stated Credico was his "principle [sic] source," but not his only source. "What I said was that Credico himself was the confirming source who told me in late July or early August that Assange did indeed have material on the Democrats and would release it in October," Stone wrote.

He added that he agrees with Credico's testimony, saying he told Credico that he had an additional source who said, "the material was coming and that the revelations would address the Clinton Foundation." That second source, according to Stone, was a journalist whose name the Post has but chose to omit. Stone did not identify that source in his statement.

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