Saturday, December 1, 2018

Russiagate Razzamataz

It's definitely heating up, now that most of the dust from the midterms has settled.

In the matter of Cohen vs Mueller, the Media is Giddy at Cohen Plea: Turning 'Gun' on Trump, Prez Is Next, 'Just the Beginning'  Maybe not quite the whole media, but Shep Smith sure is. And sometimes, in their rush, they "misplace" the facts. NPR reported "Trump Jr.'s 2017 Testimony Conflicts With Cohen's Account Of Russian Talks", but then had to walk it back:
Editor's note: An earlier version of this report mischaracterized an answer Donald Trump Jr. gave to Senate investigators in 2017 about the prospective projects his family was negotiating with people in Moscow.

The story reported that Trump Jr.'s response — that negotiations on one project concluded by the end of 2014 — contrasted with the version of events as laid out in the guilty plea by Michael Cohen on Thursday. In fact, Trump Jr. and investigators were alluding to a different set of negotiations — not to a deal that Cohen was reportedly pursuing. Trump Jr. did acknowledge in his testimony that Cohen and another man were exploring a possible deal in Moscow in 2015 or 2016.

Trump Jr. did not address what Cohen has now admitted — that talks about such a deal continued at least into June 2016, longer than previously known and well into the presidential campaign.
Twitchy ‘This entire story is a lie’: NPR gets CALLED OUT for bogus story on Donald Trump Jr. and Russia. Ace: Mollie Hemingway: NPR Is Incompetent or Lying In Its Claim That Cohen's Testimony Contradicts Trump Jr.'s Testimony - And Now: NPR Adds a Huge "Clarification" To Article, But Does Not Retract It Or Admit The Central Claim It Made Is Entirely False
That Donald Trump, he lies so much.

As opposed to every other political player. And by political player, I definitely mean the partisan media.

So you've probably heard the media's latest shriek, that Donald Trump Jr. denied the Trump organization was pursuing any deals in Russia in 2015 and 2016, while Michael Cohen says they were pursuing one in 2016.

Well, they are either incompetent or lying -- and as it turns out, both.
I still don't understand why the United States government underwrites an explicitly liberal news organization. Don't they have enough private ones? Power Line has some disorganized thoughts on the Cohen Caper.  And Mark Levin assures us: The president is ‘not in any kind of legal jeopardy’
“People keep saying, ‘What are the legal implications for Trump?'” Levin asked. “There are none. Zero. There’s no legal implication; there’s no legal jeopardy, period. Moreover, in all this so-called reporting and analysis by these phony experts, where did President Trump collude, coordinate, or conspire with the Russians during the election, to fix the result of the election? Where is this evidence? And since there’s not a scintilla of evidence, this should underscore the point that this entire investigation is bogus.”
WaPo: Cohen seeks ‘time served’ prison sentence, says again his crimes were meant to protect Trump. Still saying what the prosecutors wants to hear? What should the sentence be for getting a date wrong? Ed Morrissey at Hot Air: Trump: Russia Business Deal “Very Legal & Very Cool” and also, nothing ever came of it.

Althouse: "The problem is Mueller is straying away from his mandate to find crime and he is now looking for political sin."
"Building buildings in Moscow, using stolen material from Assange. These are not crimes. He has no authority to be a roving commissioner to find political sins. So far, I don’t see any evidence of crimes except for ones that he helped to facilitate by getting people to lie in front of his own investigators."

Said Alan Dershowitz to Sean Hannity, quoted (with video) at Mediaite.
Which of course, is precisely what conservatives warned about when Mueller was appointed. Not finding sufficient evidence of the non-crime he was charged with investigating, he's set out to create and prosecute process crimes among the Presidents followers. Via Wombat-socho's Late Night With In The Mailbox: 11.29.18, Power Line has even more More Mueller Madness
Trying to understand what it’s all about, I have taken my cues on the substance of the Muller investigation from Andrew McCarthy and two or three other knowledgeable observers with insight and judgment. Yesterday morning Andy appeared for a brief interview on the heavy-breathing Corsi and Stone stories. The video clip is posted here along with a brief story. Host Sandra Smith asked Andy to comment on the news to give us a sense “where all this goes,” as she put it.

“What I get from all of this,” he said as he warmed up, “and I’m coming at this as somebody who has known and respected Bob Mueller and a number of the people on his staff who are very able lawyers, so I want to give this thing the benefit of the doubt.”

The preliminaries out of the way, he recalled, “they were asked to get to the bottom of what Russia did to interfere with the election, which is a worthy cause. But that’s camouflage, it seems to me, for what has become a clown show.”
Watch the video. Conrad Black at American Greatness, The Nixon ‘Road Map’ Won’t Save Mueller’s Futile Prosecution
The copycat litigation of the Trump-haters today is of no significance.

But the increasing evidence of the Mueller special counsel’s tug-of-war to try to extort perjury against the president by effectively threatening Paul Manafort with decades of solitary confinement, and trying to intimidate Jerome Corsi, George Papadopoulos (a third of the way through his 14-day prison term—it was to such nonsense that Mueller is reduced), is cautionary. That inquiry, including its predecessor, has been going for 28 months, arose from a fired FBI director leaking a tendentious and contested memo that was government property to the New York Times to provoke his and Mueller’s old sidekick Rod Rosenstein to set up a special counsel, and the staff was composed entirely of fang-and-claw Trump-hating partisans.

At least there was a crime at the Watergate and a few other places. But both attempts at pseudo-legal putsches are and have been disgusting and profoundly illegal corruptions of the system, and contribute to an understanding of why the American prosecutors win a North Korean level 99 percent of their indictments, 97 percent without a trial, and the sweet land of liberty has six to 12 times as many incarcerated people per capita as comparable large and prosperous democracies: Australia, Canada, France, Germany, Japan, and the United Kingdom.
Margot Cleveland at the Federalist: The Guardian’s Manafort Story Looks Like An Effort To Create Trump Collusion Narrative Three. Three strikes? Stephen Green: A Collusion Probe Still Without Any Collusion.
Another thing which needs to be said is this: The international hotel and resort industry is a dirty one. Given that it exists at the juncture of big finance, big government, union construction, and grubby municipalities, there's just no other way for business to do business. The whole thing is political in the worst possible way. It's not too bad in this country, but anyone wanting to build a hotel in, say, Mexico or Russia is going to have to deal with some shady (or even sinister) people.

That's one of the reasons I had issues with Trump during the Republican primaries: Not that he's a bad guy, but that the nature of the industry would lead to... let's be gentle and just say "complications."

But if this, as Neumayr points out, is as complicated as it gets, then that's not nearly as bad as I'd thought it might be.
George Neumayr at the AmSpec: Where’s the Beef, Mueller?
Does anybody outside of the ruling-class bubble really think that the American people will demand Trump be tossed from office based on a Talmudic reading of his pre-presidential statements? Why, he said that he had no deals in Russia! That his lawyer (whom he wanted to fire at one point) sought a deal but didn’t get one doesn’t contradict his campaign statements. But even if it does, who cares (from the vantage point of impeachment)? Good luck getting two-thirds of the Senate to drive him out of office on that one. Of course, the gibbering pundits on CNN fervently hope that Trump may have lied about this matter more recently. But what’s the basis of that hope? Trump’s lawyers say that in his written responses to Mueller he acknowledged that he knew about Cohen’s talks. “The president said there was a proposal, it was discussed with Cohen, there was a nonbinding letter of intent and it didn’t go beyond that,” said Rudy Giuliani. 
But speaking for the ruling-class bubble, CNN's Jeffrey Toobin says that for the first time, he thinks 'Trump might not finish his term in office' (The Week) and Matt Lewis at Da Beast warns, Conservatives, Prepare Yourself Now for What Mueller May Find.

Seeking revenge?, Prosecutors say they are still weighing new charges against ex-Trump campaign chairman Manafort (WaPo)
Prosecutor Andrew Weissmann told U.S. District Judge Amy Berman Jackson at a hearing in Washington, D.C., that the special counsel’s office had not yet decided exactly how to handle what it said was a breach of Manafort’s plea agreement by lying and was weighing options that might increase the sentence he will ultimately receive.

“With respect to whether there will be additional charges, we have not made that determination yet,” Weissmann said.
Weissman is about as crooked as a prosecutor gets, this side of the bars.

Speaking of chutzpah, James Comey files case against House Republicans to stop subpoena. He's trying to delay until the Democrats get into the house. But, Judge delays ruling on Comey motion to quash House subpoena
The federal magistrate judge hearing a request Friday by former FBI director James B. Comey to quash a subpoena from two House committees delayed his ruling until Monday but indicated he is unlikely to grant Comey’s motion.

The House Judiciary and Oversight committees jointly subpoenaed Comey last week to appear in a closed-door deposition to discuss the FBI’s investigations into both Russian interference in the 2016 election and the email practices of former secretary of state Hillary Clinton.

Comey said he wanted to speak in an open hearing, not behind closed doors, which he said would enable Republicans to misrepresent his testimony without the public watching.
It is no court's business how the Congress does it's job. 

Things that make you go hmmm. Da Caller: FBI Raids Home Of Whistleblower On Clinton Foundation, Lawyer Says. The DOJ getting a leg up on his testimony? And now that it's illegal to lie to Congress again, Senate Intel Committee Has Made Criminal Referrals To Mueller, Chairman Reveals. One can find numerous cases of lying to Congress which have gone unpunished. It seems to be DOJ's discretion, and it seems to go all one way.

And a little clarification about yesterday's story Federal Employees Are Warned Not to Discuss Trump ‘Resistance’ at Work. It turns out, Office Of Special Counsel (not Mueller's crowd) reports that  Federal Employees Keep Asking Us If It’s Okay To Advocate Impeachment At Work. Do they just want to know the boundaries, or are they looking to report someone?

No comments:

Post a Comment