Monday, January 21, 2019

A Cold Serving of Russiagate

Yesterday at this time it was 55 F outside. But the temperature did nothing but drop all day as the wind picked up to 30 mp or more. By sundown it was only 32, and by this morning it was 14. Brrr!

Anyway, Russiagate. The story continues to be the busted Buzzfeed story. In short, the media only regrets that it got caught with its pants down. BuzzFeed is sticking to its guns with this NEW: Latest statement from BuzzFeed.
“As we’ve re-confirmed our reporting, we’ve seen no indication that any specific aspect of our story is inaccurate. We remain confident in what we’ve reported, and will share more as we are able.”
CNN admits: Reporter with checkered past comes back with Trump Tower Moscow bombshells for BuzzFeed. Rick Moran PJ Media:  BuzzFeed Reporter Cormier: 'We Can't Get Into, Like, the Details Here'

Stephen Green (VodkaPundit) Instapundit quips, That's because they're all made up!  Mark Levin says stop praising Mueller, release of BuzzFeed denial was ‘to cover their own asses’. Cynical, but entirely possible. Taking the usual digs at Fox for being pro-Trump, Caleb Howe at Mediaite admits Fox News’ Restraint on Buzzfeed Paid Off, and Should Be a Lesson to Other Outlets. Should be. Won't. Pilot Online: Analysis, BuzzFeed's stumble fuels doubts about the press, even if a few details are missing. No, it further confirms our knowledge of a deeply biased press corps. At Patterico's  Brian Stelter and His “Reliable Sources”

Rachel Maddow, and MSNBC generally, is in the bargaining phase. BUT HE’S STILL A BAD MAN! Don’t stop trying to impeach him just because Buzzfeed may have screwed up, and anyway, maybe Buzzfeed’s report is false but accurate! RUSSIA RUSSIA RUSSIA!

It took Maddow 10 minutes to conclude “Happy Two Years of the Trump Administration” before turning to Ben Smith, who defended the story.

See what she did there? Mueller’s rebuke of Buzzfeed becomes an afterthought.

Michael Goodwin at NyPo: The media’s ‘Gotcha!’ hysteria is shameful. Without a doubt.
I have my doubts the media will do the necessary soul searching. As I have argued repeatedly since 2016, too many outlets are too invested in getting the scoop that brings down the president they love to hate. They have trashed their standards, and Friday was the inevitable result.

But there is another possible silver lining emerging from the dark day, and I have more hope this one will make a difference. It is it a recognition that the endless Mueller probe has become a problem of its own making.
Stacy McCain: Haunted by Ghosts of ‘Fitzmas’ Past: Jason Leopold’s Trump/Cohen Debacle
Watch that interview closely, because something Cormier said may give away where this story actually came from:
“[Our sources] have been working the Trump Moscow tower portion of the investigation…before Mueller. So they had access to a number of different documents, 302 reports which are interview reports,” he said. “That stuff was compiled as they began to look at who the players were speaking with, how those negotiations went, who all from the Trump organization and outside the organization were involved in getting that tower set up.”
“They began to compile the evidence before Michael Cohen decided to cooperate and speak with the Special Counsel,” Cormier added.
Doesn’t this indicate that this story is coming from sources who are no longer involved in the investigation, perhaps James Comey, Peter Strzok, Lisa Page, et al.? In other words, it appears that Cormier and Leopold are taking the word of “individuals” who say they “know this happened,” but this doesn’t tell us anything about the direction of Mueller’s current investigation or what Mueller can actually prove. In other words, even if it were true that Trump directed Cohen to lie in his testimony to Congress, the sources cited by Cormier and Leopold would not have knowledge of whether Mueller could prove this, because their sources were involved “before Mueller.” He was appointed special counsel in May 2017, so when Cormier says these sources “began to look at who the players were speaking with” prior to May 2017, shouldn’t we infer that these “two federal law enforcement officials involved in an investigation” are not relating any recent information obtained by the Mueller probe?

A gigantic nothingburger — that’s what this story was . . .
Moving on, Mueller Team Knew 'Dossier' Kicking Off Trump Investigation Biased. Not new but worth reminding yourself. Mueller did not pick the probe; the probe picked him to be it cover. Victor Davis Hanson wonders how it would have gone if the outgoing Bush team had done a similar probe of the incoming Obama administration in Should the FBI Run the Country?. Well, for one it wouldn't have had all the favorable media enablers. They would have been screaming about civil rights instead. Mark Levin again: Find the criminals in Mueller’s office.
“If, in fact, either of these so-called reporters for BuzzFeed saw documents … now where would those documents be?” he added.  “They would be with Mr. Mueller and his people, in Mueller’s office.”

“Mr. Whitaker and Mr. Rosenstein and the director of the FBI must now trigger a leak investigation. Find who the criminals are in Mr. Mueller’s office, if it’s not Mr. Mueller himself,” Levin continued.
Da Beast is horrified: Giuliani: ’So What’ If Trump Talked To Cohen About His Testimony. That's kind of what lawyers are for.

And for our lighter moment, Russia detains model claiming Trump secrets (Yahoo!)
Russia on Thursday detained a Belarusian model who claimed she had evidence of Russian efforts to help Donald Trump win office, witnesses told AFP.

Anastasia Vashukevich, known by her pen-name Nastya Rybka, was held for questioning at a Moscow airport on Thursday evening after she was deported from Thailand as part of a group convicted of participating in a "sex training course," other passengers on the flight told AFP.
Anastasia Vashukevich
Deported from Thailand for prostitution? What's the problem. Giving competition to the local talent and depressing wages? Build a wall!
Russian authorities detained her and several others including Alex Kirillov, a self-styled Russian seduction guru, witnesses said. Plain-clothes officials led away four of the group including Vashukevich and Kirillov, a woman who gave her name as Kristina told AFP after emerging at Sheremetyevo airport arrivals.
And later,  from Legal Insurrection: *Sexiest* Russian Collusion Story Bites The Dust
Alleged prostitute Anastasia Vashukevich, also known as Nastya Rybka,was detained last year in Thailand on charges related to soliciting for sex and conspiracy to solicit.  At the time of her arrest and subsequent plea, she claimed to have video and audio tape evidence of Russian interference in the 2016 U. S. presidential election.

She has now retracted that claim and apologized for making a false claim.  It’s not clear why she initially made this claim, but reports suggest that she was trying to leverage this purported “evidence” into a lesser charge/sentence.
Which is what we all thought at the time. But you can't blame a girl for trying!
Frankly, she’s not the most reliable of witnesses, and it doesn’t appear that she made any assertions that the Russians she claimed discussed “a plan for the elections” were in any way working in collusion with the Trump campaign. It doesn’t appear that she ever indicated she had evidence of any such connection at all.

I don’t think anyone is in doubt that Russia attempted to interfere with the 2016 U. S. election; if they didn’t, it would be an historical anomaly.

But this retraction and apology underscore yet again the tenuous claims that Russian interference in our elections rises to the level of collusion with the Trump campaign. Indeed, the connection between interference and collusion is further exposed as, thus far, a complete fabrication based on sour grapes and anti-Trump wishful thinking.

The Wombat was a little late with Rule 5 Monday: Elizabeth Pipko and FMJRA 2.0: Abrasive Flow Machining this week.

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