Saturday, December 15, 2018

Rainy Day Russiagate

Another rainy day. According to the weather people, today's rain pushed the year's total over previous records on both the DC and Baltimore area, so I presume it did here too. First off, from Ace: Whoa: Mueller Tells Judge in Mike Flynn Case to Go F*** Himself, Refusing to Deliver The Original Notes of the Flynn Interview As He Was Ordered To Do
Mueller was ordered to turn over all notes of the Flynn interview and the orginal 302 filed by Strzok and Pientka. That is an interesting 302, because, of course, it has been reported that the interviewing witnesses said that Flynn did not offer any deception.

But then seven months later, when Mueller's looking prosecute Trump, a new 302 gets written that says Flynn did lie?

And Mueller continues defying a judge, refusing to turn over the original, despite being specifically ordered to produce it?

I don't think this calls for a sentence of no time to be served; I think this calls for a striking of Flynn's plea deal and a statement that Flynn has no longer pled guilty and is now officially just innocent.

You cannot tell a fucking judge to go fuck himself.

And you would not do so, unless you had real crimes of your own to cover up.
More Via Wombat's In The Mailbox: 12.14.18 American Power has Checking Robert Mueller
From Kim Strassel, at WSJ:
The whole thing stinks of entrapment, though the curious question was how the Flynn defense team got the details. The court filing refers to a McCabe memo written the day of the 2017 meeting, as well as an FBI summary—known as a 302—of the Flynn interview. These are among documents congressional Republicans have been fighting to obtain for more than a year, only to be stonewalled by the Justice Department. Now we know why the department didn’t want them public.
They have come to light thanks to a man who knows well how men like Messrs. Mueller and Comey operate: Judge Sullivan. He sits on the U.S. District Court in the District of Columbia, and as he wrote for the Journal last year, he got a “wake-up call” in 2008 while overseeing the trial of then-Sen. Ted Stevens of Alaska. Judge Sullivan ultimately assigned a lawyer to investigate Justice Department misconduct.
The investigator’s report found prosecutors had engaged in deliberate and repeated ethical violations, withholding key evidence from the defense. It also excoriated the FBI for failing to write up 302s and for omitting key facts from those it did write. The head of the FBI was Mr. Mueller...
Still more.
My guess is that the draft 302s no longer exists because Andrew Weissman (who has been on the team longer than Mueller) ordered them destroyed, as also happened in the Ted Stevens prosecution and Andrew Weismann's Enron prosecution. Margot Cleveland at Da Federalist: The Federal Judge Overseeing Michael Flynn’s Sentencing Just Dropped A Major Bombshell
The earlier version(s) of the 302s will either support or contradict Comey’s testimony. Same with McCabe’s January 24, 2017 memorandum. The latter will prove particularly interesting given the conflict between Comey’s latest testimony and that of McCabe, who served as deputy director of the FBI at the time. In an executive session of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, McCabe acknowledged “the two people who interviewed [Flynn] didn’t think he was lying, . . .”

Of course, this all assumes that the special counsel’s office still has copies of the initial 302s created, which might not be the case given that when Mueller’s “pitbull,” Andrew Weissmann, led the Enron Task Force, his team, among other things, systematically destroyed draft 302s.
I'd dismiss the Flynn charges with prejudice, and order the Mueller team not to go after him or his family on any other charges.

Also from the Wombat, The Geller Reportbrings us Obama’s FBI Paid More On Russian Dirt & Fake News In The 2016 Election Than The Russians, Power Line: Flynn’s Fate, and Weasel Zippers: Obama Administration Reportedly Gave Classified Info To Senators For Use Against Trump.

USA Today: Robert Mueller: No 'coercion' in Michael Flynn FBI interview; urges court to reject attempt to downplay crime. From the Trump-hating WaPoo, Special counsel rejects suggestion by Flynn’s attorneys that he was misled in FBI interview, because of course he does.
Special counsel Robert S. Mueller III wrote Friday that he continued to support little or no prison time for Flynn. But he and his prosecutors vigorously pushed backed against the idea raised by Flynn’s defense attorneys that he was caught unawares by FBI agents. And they argued that his lies to Vice President Pence and others were a “material” part of a national security investigation.

“The Court should reject the defendant’s attempt to minimize the seriousness of those false statements to the FBI,” prosecutors wrote in a memo filed ahead of Flynn’s scheduled sentencing next week. “Nothing about the way the interview was arranged or conducted caused the defendant to make false statements to the FBI.”
How does he know? He wasn't their supervisor at the time. That was Lyin' Jim Comey. Fox: Comey admits decision to send FBI agents to interview Flynn was not standard
Asked to describe how two FBI agents ended up at the White House to interview Flynn in January 2017, Comey, speaking to MSNBC’s Nicolle Wallace during a forum discussion Sunday, said flatly: “I sent them.”

Comey went on to acknowledge the way the interview was set up – not through the White House counsel’s office, but arranged directly with Flynn – was not standard practice. He called it “something I probably wouldn't have done or maybe gotten away with in a more … organized administration.”

Describing how it is usually done, Comey said, “If the FBI wanted to send agents into the White House itself to interview a senior official, you would work through the White House counsel, and there would be discussions and approvals and who would be there.”

Recalling his decision to bypass those steps, Comey said, “I thought: ‘It’s early enough, let’s just send a couple guys over.’”

Remember, Mueller was appointed by Rosenstein as a result of the firestorm after Comey was fired, prompted by memos leaked by Comey.  Washington Free Beacon, Harrington: Flynn’s ‘Only Crime’ Was ‘Going to Work for a Republican President’
"In the Russia matter, I don't think the Cohen revelation and sentencing did too much to advance the narrative. He is going to prison for tax evasion," Harrington said. "But on the Flynn matter, I think we have a lot more questions on the double standard that the FBI took in handling and going scorched earth after Trump but [using] kid gloves with Hillary Clinton. And I think Flynn's only crime here was going to work for a Republican president because you had [former FBI Deputy Director Andrew] McCabe, who himself was fired for lying to investigators, encouraging Flynn to not have a lawyer, basically setting him up."
The Future of Capitalism, RBG to the Defense of Flynn. She just isn't aware of it:
As the plea agreement of President Trump's first national security adviser, Michael Flynn, attracts renewed attention this week because of Judge Emmet G. Sullivan's skepticism (Emmet means "truth" in Hebrew), it's worth mentioning that the federal crime to which Flynn pleaded guilty, Title 18 of the United States Code, Section 1001, is one that has been on our radar screen since the February 24, 2004, New York Sun editorial Martha Stewart and the Law.

That provision of the criminal code provides for a fine or up to five years in prison for anyone who "knowingly and willfully" makes any materially false statement or representation "in any matter within the jurisdiction of the executive, legislative, or judicial branch of the Government of the United States." That New York Sun editorial said:
a liberal Supreme Court justice, Ruth Bader Ginsburg... in a concurring opinion in the 1996 Supreme Court case Brogan v. United States, warned of "the sweeping generality" of Section 1001's language.
Justice Ginsburg wrote: "The prospect remains that an overzealous prosecutor or investigator — aware that a person has committed some suspicious acts, but unable to make a criminal case — will create a crime by surprising the suspect, asking about those acts, and receiving a false denial."...
Justice Ginsburg wrote, "the Department of Justice has long noted its reluctance to approve §1001 indictments for simple false denials made to investigators."
Ginsburg warned that the law's "encompassing formulation arms Government agents with authority not simply to apprehend lawbreakers, but to generate felonies, crimes of a kind that only a Government officer could prompt."
Twitchy: WOW: Judicial Watch report on when & how Dems’ ‘Russiagate’ narrative spread looks BAD for the Obama admin

Mystery Mueller mayhem at a Washington court. Somebody is resisting, but it isn't clear who. WaPoo: Mueller’s treatment of cooperating witnesses suggests end of Russia investigation may be near. Pretty much all his cooperating witnesses have been convicted of perjury. It's going to be hard to put them on a stand.
In the cases of Cohen, former campaign adviser George Papadopoulos, former campaign chairman Paul Manafort, and former national security adviser Michael Flynn, Mueller has proceeded to the sentencing of each without first making him testify at trial against others.

That’s at odds with the common practice of prosecutors — which is to hold the stick of a tougher prison sentence over defendants until they have completed all of their cooperation, particularly any public testimony.

While the recent legal action has led to speculation that prosecutors are narrowing in on the president in anticipation of more criminal charges, Mueller’s sentencing timeline suggests a different outcome to some legal experts — that the accounts of those cooperating witnesses will appear in a written report, not in court.

Former Trump lawyer Michael Cohen pleaded guilty to crimes in August and November. On Dec. 12, a federal judge sentenced him to three years in prison. (Monica Akhtar/The Washington Post)

Cooperators “usually go last,” said Robert Ray, a former independent counsel on the Whitewater investigation.

The sentencing of those Mueller defendants “suggests to me that whatever those individuals have done for the special counsel investigation, there is no further use for them,” Ray said. “If there were any contemplation of using them at trial, you would sentence them later. And the only conclusion I can draw from all that is that we are nearing the end.”
Jeffrey Toobin at Da New Yorker:  Adam Schiff’s Plans to Obliterate Trump’s Red Line. I think Shiff's friends and family need a good scrutiny too. Maybe three or four undercover FBI agents need to tempt him with some illegal act, like a stolen fake copy of Trumps tax returns. Speaking of which, George Papadopoulos, I’m Running For Congress. I'd support him. He was naive, but now he really knows how the dirty work is done.

AP: Michael Cohen claims Trump knew hush money payments wrong. There's wrong, and there's illegal. Notice that he was still lawyer enough not to say he told Trump it was illegal (which is debatable). It's wrong to cheat on your wife. It's illegal to lie to Congress about it. Rich Lowry at NyPo, Sorry, but hush-money payments won’t send Trump to prison despite democrats fever dreams.

Instpundit has two interesting points.

Cheap tricks are what they have.

Allahpundit: Giuliani On The Unreported Karen McDougal Payoff: Even If This Was A Crime, It Wasn’t A Big Crime "
“Nobody got killed, nobody got robbed… This was not a big crime,” Giuliani told The Daily Beast on Wednesday. He added, sardonically, “I think in two weeks they’ll start with parking tickets that haven’t been paid.”
They're way past that. Now they're trying to pin hiring undocumented illegal alien housemaids by low level people in the Trump organization on him. Also: Orrin Hatch: I Regret Saying That I Don’t Care About The Allegations Against Trump. Priorities, son.

Kyle Smith at NRO: Hero to Zero: The Rise and Fall of Michael Avenatti But if it weren't for Michael, we wouldn't have Stormy Daniels (NSFW)  or Mareli Miniutti (NSFW) to talk about!

Marie Butina
And fresh from today's WaPo: In filing intended to be under seal, U.S. prosecutors ask to transport Maria Butina, possibly to testify at grand jury
U.S. prosecutors on Friday asked a federal judge for permission to move Maria Butina to and from jail for ongoing interviews, including potentially to testify before a grand jury, in a filing intended to be sealed that appeared on the public docket for her case.

Butina, 30, pleaded guilty Thursday to conspiring to act as an unregistered agent of the Russian government to infiltrate the National Rifle Association and the wider conservative movement to set up back-channel communications with leading Republicans around the time of the 2016 U.S. presidential election.

As part of her plea deal, she agreed to cooperate with prosecutors.

In a seven-page document filed Friday afternoon to a judge, prosecutors said they were making their travel request under seal because disclosing Butina’s movements from Alexandria City Jail, where she has been held since July, “may jeopardize defendant’s safety and may jeopardize the ongoing investigation.”
"Nice witness you have there. It would be a shame if anything happened to her."

The main point of the Butina prosecution is to cast a cloud over the NRA. If they prosecuted the "crime" of being an unregistered foreign lobbyist in the Washington DC metro area, they'd have to kick all the crack dealers out of jail to make room.

Linked at Pirate's Cove in the weekly Sorta Blogless Sunday Pinup and links. The Wombat has Rule 5 Sunday: Merry Christmas! and FMJRA 2.0: Sunday Morning Coming Down ready for your digital pleasure.

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