Saturday, January 19, 2019

Russiagate Feeding the Media Buzz Saw

So where were we yesterday when we finished? Ah yes, Buzzfeed had just dropped the nuclear bomb, alleging the Mueller team had documentary proof that President Trump had asked Michael Cohen to lie to Congress about the timing of their joint plan to build a Moscow motel, one of the lies that Cohen had previously been coerced into confessing to. AllahPundit (no friend of Trump) BuzzFeed Reporter On Trump/Cohen: “We’ve Seen Documents, We’ve Been Briefed On Documents”. TownHall, Analysis: Trump Presidency in Grave Peril if Buzzfeed Report is Accurate, But Let's Wait For Verified Facts. Daily Mail, Eye of the storm: Michael Cohen is pictured returning home from shoulder surgery hours after bombshell report claimed President ordered him to lie to Congress about Trump Tower Moscow project

But wait a minute, other media outlets are having a great deal of trouble verifying the story, Shep Smith And Chris Wallace: Why Haven’t Any Media Outlets Been Able To Corroborate BuzzFeed’s Trump Story?. I watched this exchange live; Shep was desperate to believe.

Another day ending in "y" CNN And MSNBC Repeatedly Floated Impeachment Over Disputed BuzzFeed Report  (Da Caller). Grabien News Montage: Media Was Already Calling for Trump Impeachment Following Disputed BuzzFeed Report  I'd embed this If it wasn't Grabien with its weird videos.

But One Of The BuzzFeed Reporters Behind The Trump Report Has A History Of Making Things Up
One of the authors, Jason Leopold, has quite the history when it comes to bad reporting. Most folks know of his claim that multiple sources told him Karl Rove was going to be indicted in 2006 and how it turned out to be utterly false.
But, as Columbia Journalism Review noted back then, it wasn’t his first problem with facts.
When Leopold’s story was first called into question a few weeks ago, Salon’s Tim Grieve reminded readers of Leopold’s checkered history with the publication. Salon removed Leopold’s August 29, 2002 story about Enron from its site after it was discovered that he plagiarized parts from the Financial Times and was unable to provide a copy of an email that was critical to the piece. Leopold’s response? A hysterical rant (linked above) which claimed that Salon’s version of events was “nothing but lies,” and that “At this point, I wonder why Salon would go to great lengths to further twist the knife into my back. I suppose the New York Times will now release their version of the events. I can see the headline now ‘Jason Leopold Must Die.’”
That is pretty big. But, like always in cases like this, there is more.
Fast forward to March 2005, when Leopold’s memoir, Off the Record, was set to be released. In the book, according to Howard Kurtz, Leopold says that he details his own “lying, cheating and backstabbing,” and comes clean about how he got fired from the Los Angeles Times and quit Dow Jones just before they fired him because, as he said, it “Seems I got all of the facts wrong” on a story about Enron.
Hmm. That seems like the beginnings of a pattern.
But the book was not to be. Rowman & Littlefield, the book’s publisher, cancelled production just before it went to press after one of the book’s sources threatened to sue. That source, Steven Maviglio, who was a spokesman for California Governor Gray Davis, said that Leopold “just got it completely wrong” when recounting how he allegedly told Leopold that he “might have broken the law by investing in energy companies using inside information.”
Like the Salon scandal, Leopold said his publisher was basically out to get him, and that the information cited to be problematic wasn’t even in his book, that they took it from the book proposal and not the finished manuscript.
And yet, still working in journolism. Insty: “BUZZFEED EDITOR-IN-CHIEF BEN SMITH IS HAVING A TERRIBLE, HORRIBLE, NO-GOOD, VERY-BAD DAY,” Twitchy notes; but we’ll come back to them in just a second. First up, Colby Hall of Mediaite writes, “Buzzfeed News Bombshell Reporter: No We Have Not Seen the Evidence Supporting Our Report:”. . .  It's long but wade through it all.

But then, late in the day, another bomb fell, as U.S. special counsel disputes report Trump told lawyer to lie (Reuters), John Sexton, Special Counsel’s Office Disputes Buzzfeed’s Report On Cohen’s Testimony,  Mueller team disputes BuzzFeed report claiming Trump told Cohen to lie (Fox).
Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s office on Friday issued an extraordinary statement disputing a bombshell news report that claimed President Trump directed Michael Cohento lie about the timing of discussions over a proposed Trump Tower project in Moscow.

“BuzzFeed’s description of specific statements to the Special Counsel’s Office, and characterization of documents and testimony obtained by this office, regarding Michael Cohen’s Congressional testimony are not accurate,” Peter Carr, a spokesman for Mueller’s office, said.
WaPoo, sadly: In a rare move, Mueller’s office denies BuzzFeed report that Trump told Cohen to lie about Moscow project. Althouse, who reads NYT, "Mueller Statement Disputes Report That Trump Directed Cohen to Lie."
Never mind. How embarrassing for the Trump haters. I didn't even write about the Buzzfeed story myself. I'm so jaded about the latest impeachment bait.
And Ace, who gets most of it into the headline: You Know BuzzFeed's "HUGE SCOOP" That NeverTrumpers Like John Podhoretz Spent All Day Jacking Themselves Off To? Mueller's Office Has Made the "Rare" Move of Specifically Denying That Report
If you were wondering why I didn't mention the story, even to do what Nice Deb and some honorable others did, which is to point all the ways in which this "story" seemed like bullshit from the start, it's because almost all of these bullshit stories turn out to be bullshit, and they will be exposed as false within 24 hours.

And I refuse to waste my time, or more importantly your time. (Oh, why am I lying? I was honest the first time: most importantly, I don't want to waste my time.)

It's been about 379 times that "The Walls Are Closing In on Trump" and "If this is true, it's all over for Trump."
Da Caller: BuzzFeed’s Trump Story Latest In Long List Of Russia Bombshells That Weren’t

Spectator USA Can you trust Michael Cohen? A mysterious $50,000 payment begs some questions. No. Next question?

Bruce Ohr's and James Baker's testimonies continues to resonate. Byron York at WaEx: Key Justice Department officials, including Mueller deputy, knew about dossier
The Ohr testimony suggests that not only did top FBI officials know about the dossier, but top Justice Department officials did, too. And two of them, Weissmann and Ahmad, went on to work for Mueller.

Finally, Ohr told the House that he took care to tell the FBI that Steele's information might not be reliable. He said he told the bureau that Steele was deeply biased against Trump; that Fusion GPS was ultimately working for the Clinton campaign; and that his wife, Nellie Ohr, worked for Fusion at the time.
Ace: Bruce Ohr Testified That He Repeatedly Told Senior DOJ and FBI Officials That the Dossier Was Suspect and Paid for By Hillary Clinton, But the DOJ and FBI Hid That From the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court Anyway
Strange that Ohr felt the need to warn the DOJ and FBI about Steele's bias and unreliability, but the DOJ and FBI felt the need to hide these exact same warnings from the FISA court.

And this is also a problem: The "Crossfire Hurricane" team claims to not have known nothin' about no dossier until September 2016, but Ohr says he told the team about it on July 30.

That's important, because the Crossfire team continues lying about whether these unverified dossier reports were used to secure the FISA authorization. Their claim is that they couldn't have relied on the dossier, because they didn't even know about it.

But they did know it, and lied to a FISA court to conceal what they knew about it.
. . .
Say, isn't the Special Counsel prosecuting a lot of people for making false statements to investigators?

Will they be likewise investigating themselves?

And this might shake your faith in government, but it turns out Adam Schiff might have been lying about this the whole time:

Jeff Carlson, Epoch Times, Transcripts of Former Top FBI Lawyer Detail Pervasive Abnormalities in Trump Probe. Read all of this one, it's full of goodies.
Confronted with a damning summary of abnormalities, bias, and omissions, which transpired during the investigation, Baker told Congress that the investigation indeed was “highly unusual.”

“I had a jaundiced eye about everything, yes. I had skepticism about all this stuff. I was concerned about all of this. This whole situation was horrible, and it was novel and we were trying to figure out what to do, and it was highly unusual,” Baker told lawmakers.
. . .
Baker served as the FBI’s general counsel when the bureau investigated the Trump campaign and Hillary Clinton’s use of an unauthorized private email server. During two days of testimony on Oct. 3 and Oct. 18, he told lawmakers that he believed even toward the end of the Clinton investigation that she should have been charged over her “alarming, appalling” mishandling of classified information.

He argued with others, including then-FBI Director James Comey, about the issue all the way toward the end of the investigation, but was ultimately persuaded that Clinton should be exonerated.

“My original belief … after having conducted the investigation and towards the end of it, then sitting down and reading a binder of her materials, I thought that it was alarming, appalling, whatever words I said, and argued with others about why they thought she shouldn’t be charged,” Baker told lawmakers.

As of October 2018, nearly two years after the Clinton probe concluded, Baker still believed that the conduct of the former secretary of state and her associates was “appalling” with regard to the handling of classified information.
The same group formed the Mueller Special Counsel operation. Daily Mail: Staff at Ecuadorean embassy in London where Julian Assange is holed up are questioned by Department of Justice investigators over whether he met Paul Manafort. I think it's pretty clear already that Manafort never went near the embassy. But I think he's hoping for another excuse to charge perjury.Da Hill. Senate panel subpoenas Roger Stone associate Jerome Corsi. He should pull a Lois Lerner. Stand up, profess his innocence and tell them to pound sand.

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