Wednesday, December 26, 2018

Boxing Day Russiagate

Not a lot, of course, as all the news makers were off gorging themselves on the hearts and livers  of young children and the poor (yuck). Just enough to keep the series alive:

Mike Rappaport at the Law and Liberty discusses The Corruption of the FBI.
The FBI does not make videotapes of interviews. Apparently, there are FBI guidelines that prohibit recordings of interviews. Instead, the FBI has a second agent listen to the interview and take notes on it. Then, the agent files a form—a 302 form—with his or her notes from the interview.

What is going on here? Why would the FBI prohibit videotaping the interviews and instead rely on summaries? The most obvious explanations do not cast a favorable light on the Bureau. If they don’t tape the interview, then the FBI agents can provide their own interpretation of what was said to argue that the interviewee made a false statement. Since the FBI agent is likely to be believed more than the defendant (assuming he even testifies), this provides an advantage to the FBI. By contrast, if there is a videotape, the judge and jury can decide for themselves.

If this is what is going on, it is outrageous. The FBI uses procedures that allow them to offer a less than a fully accurate version of the interview so that they can convict interviewees. After all, the videotape is the best evidence of what occurred at the interview. So the FBI is not allowing the best evidence, presumably so they can secure convictions.

One might even argue this is unconstitutional under existing law. Under the Mathews v. Eldridgeinterpretation of the Due Process Clause, a procedure is unconstitutional if another procedure would yield more accurate decisions and is worth the added costs. Given the low costs of videotaping, it seems obvious that the benefits of such videotaping for accuracy outweigh the costs.

There is no persuasive justification for this practice. Harvey Silvergate considers the FBI’s reasoning in this extremely helpful article, but none of their arguments are persuasive. Silvergate’s piece is excellent. He explains why the FBI continues this practice of no recordings:
So what happens when the sole arbiter of what a witness says in an FBI interview is the 302 Report written by an FBI agent? If that witness should later be compelled to testify at a grand jury proceeding (leading to an indictment of the target of the investigation) or at the trial itself, he is under tremendous pressure to testify consistently with what the 302 report claims he told the agents when interviewed. Should a witness give testimony that is in conflict with the 302 report, he opens himself up to a felony conviction—either he had lied to the FBI in his initial interview, or he is lying to the grand jury or the court (or the congressional committee) in his testimony. Either way, he remains stuck between the Scylla of perjury and the Charybdis of a false-statements charge. Few question the veracity of the 302 report; after all, who will a jury more likely believe, a single witness or two upstanding FBI agents swearing that what they wrote in their 302 report accurately represents what the witness said when interviewed? When the feds suspect that a witness might tell a tale at the grand jury or at trial that is inconsistent with the prosecution’s favored factual scenario, the prosecutors will usually show him or his lawyer the 302 report. It becomes clear to the witness that he either must stick to the 302 version, or else risk a false statement or perjury charge when he testifies differently under oath.
That is outrageous. This aspect of the FBI—which does not mainly involve politics—needs to be reformed. It is corrupt and pernicious.

I’m not holding my breath. In the meantime, don’t expect me to respect an organization that behaves in this way.
An oldie but goodie:

Hence the Flynn persecution. What is needed is for judges to stop taking the 302s as valid evidence. If it isn't on tape, it didn't happen.

Are the Investigations the Cover-Up? by Bryce Buchanan at the American Thinker. The short answer is probably, at least in part.
. . . Mueller’s key role is to have nearly absolute control over what information is released to investigators or the public. Mueller determines what Horowitz and Huber can see. Mueller can hide anything he wants by claiming that release of the information would hinder his ‘investigation’. He has given Rod Rosenstein a list of lines of inquiry that will not be allowed. Rosenstein, who volunteered to be part of the soft coup, is happy to comply. We have witnessed Rosenstein repeatedly refuse to turn over documents to Congress, flagrantly obstructing its oversight role.

What is the most effective way to hide the truth and protect the deep-state criminals? It’s the never-ending Mueller investigation. Sure, Mueller’s team is still in the business of promoting the Trump-Russia fiction, but the most important role of this ‘investigation’ may be to obstruct any real investigation.

Conspiracy theories become conspiracy facts when enough evidence piles up to support the theory. Consider this evidence, starting before the election:
  • Comey wrote a letter exonerating Hillary from her very intentional crimes long before she or key witnesses were interviewed.
  • Hillary’s key co-conspirators were given immunity, allowed to share attorneys, sit in on each other’s depositions, and even destroy evidence. This was a sham investigation.
  • Hillary’s influence peddling through the Clinton Foundation was effectively swept under the rug. The Clintons enriched themselves by selling future favors, often to foreign entities. The foundation has been called “The Biggest Charity Fraud Ever”.
  • The Trump-Russia collusion narrative was developed as part of the effort to undermine Trump. It was not started by any actionable intelligence. Spies were placed in the Trump campaign to aid the false narrative and to allow further illicit intelligence gathering.
  • Spying on the Trump campaign was authorized by presenting fraudulent, hearsay evidence to FISA Court judges. This criminal act led to many other criminal acts including rampant “unmasking” of American citizens associated with Trump. Comey and Rosenstein both played roles in FISA abuse. White House officials did much of the unmasking.
  • On September 28, 2016, Peter Strzok texted Lisa Page that “hundreds of thousands” of email messages from Anthony Weiner’s computer had been turned over to the FBI by U.S. Attorneys who were conducting an investigation into Weiner’s sex crimes. This was a treasure trove of information about Huma and Hillary. The FBI immediately hid the information for a month while they figured out how to whitewash it to protect Hillary. The bomb-control team successfully defused another bomb. Surely, they expected a future reward from President H.R. Clinton.
Inspector General Horowitz’s June report had the goal of soft-peddling criminal behavior. The report said that some unfortunate things were done, but there was no reason to think that bias played a key role in important decisions. It did not find fault with things like granting immunity to the man who lied to the FBI and destroyed Hillary’s illegal server. As we have learned, lying to the FBI can be fine, depending on who does the lying. Destroying subpoenaed evidence is okay too, at times.

Horowitz’ public statement about his toothless report was followed by FBI Director Christopher Wray telling us not to worry about a thing because he intended to schedule a day when FBI agents would have a meeting to discuss bias. Okay then -- I guess that takes care of it.

Last year, when members of Congress were rightly frustrated about evidence being hidden, there were increasing calls for a special prosecutor to investigate surveillance abuses by the Obama administration, the shady Uranium One deal, and the Clinton Foundation’s influence peddling. The idea of appointing a truly independent prosecutor was thwarted by Jeff Sessions, who appointed a career insider to do the investigation instead. Sessions promised that an Obama holdover in Utah, John Huber, would do a “full, complete and objective evaluation of these matters.”

At this point, there is every reason to believe that the purpose of Huber’s investigation is to hide the truth, not to find it; to protect the criminals, not to charge them. The key witnesses in each of the matters under investigation have not even been contacted. It appears that no grand juries have been empaneled. Tom Fitton, of Judicial Watch says, “Huber wasn’t tapped to investigate anything”, he was just “a distraction”.
What we are witnessing here is a carefully planned and orchestrated cover-up of a series of very serious crimes. The deep swamp is pretending to investigate the deep swamp.
I hope it's not true, but I'm not confident.

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