Monday, January 14, 2019

Russiagate Reach Around

A House Republican's line of questioning uncovered revelations that in May 2017 senior FBI leadership debated whether President Trump was directed by the Russian government to fire FBI Director James Comey, Fox News has learned.

Contacted by Fox, U.S. Rep. John Ratcliffe, R-Texas, confirmed his questions to former FBI General Counsel James A. Baker uncovered the claims, some of which were first reported Friday by the New York Times.

Ratcliffe called the Baker transcript leak "selective," adding that the full transcript of the Oct. 18 interview, which is undergoing a classification review by the FBI and the Justice Department, reveals "that in May 2017, political bias infected senior FBI leadership, and emotion -- not evidence -- drove their decision making."

A separate source said Baker told investigators the internal FBI debate over the president's decision to fire Comey on May 9, 2017, included personnel who have since left the bureau for cause, retired, or have been demoted.

Ratcliffe said he was surprised to read Friday's New York Times report, which quoted part of his Baker interview, and reported that after the Comey firing “law enforcement officials became so concerned by the president’s behavior” that they began investigating whether Trump was working on behalf of Russia.

The House Republican would not further describe the contents of the Baker transcript but said it was clear, based on his direct questioning of Baker, that in May 2017 "FBI senior leadership could not accept Comey was fired for cause and the president had the constitutional authority to terminate Comey."

The Justice Department inspector general concluded in a report last year that Comey was grossly insubordinate in 2016 when he recommended against criminal charges in the Hillary Clinton email investigation, a responsibility that fell to his then-boss, Attorney General Loretta Lynch.
So the Mueller investigation was revenge for beating Hillary and firing James Comey. Andrew McCarthy:  Andrew McCarthy: FBI Russia investigation was always about Trump Of course it was, But it's McCarthy, so it's worth reading it all. Mediatie: Lindsey Graham Finds it ‘Astonishing’ Trump Investigated as Russian Agent: ‘How Could the FBI Do That?’ The FBI has a long and storied history of going off the rails. Power corrupts, and the FBI has a lot of power. Periodically, it needs a good cleansing. Now is one of those times.  Clarice Feldman at AmericanThinker, There Is a Pony in the Mueller Heap of Dung
It is increasingly obvious that there is a pony in the heap of Mueller Trump-Russia dung, and the pony is a corrupt FBI and CIA covering up their unlawful conduct. Even the best efforts by the wrongdoers' media mouthpieces are not sufficient to keep us from seeing that.
From Weaselzippers: Be Prepared, Liberals: ABC’s Jon Karl Warns Mueller Report “Almost Certain To Be Anti-Climatic”

Ann finds Jonathon Turley trying to split the baby, saying there was no collusion, but the FBI was not wrong to launch the unprecedented investigation: "What if there were no collusion or conspiracy but simple cognitive bias on both sides, where the actions of one seemed to confirm precisely the suspicions of the other?"
Asks Jonathan Turley (at The Hill).

There are now two possibilities. The first of those is that Trump really was some “manchurian candidate” placed in the Oval Office by Russia and controlled from afar by Vladimir Putin. Many are unlikely to ever accept any other possibility, though the New York Times story does not suggest that this counterintelligence operation found any basis for the original allegation....

Now to the more intriguing theory that is more consistent with known facts.... Trump started to counterpunch against what he saw as a deep state conspiracy....

Trump had just won an unwinnable election against the establishment. He had expected much of the government to be hostile to his administration. He soon learned that the FBI secretly investigated some of his aides. Then the dossier story hit. The Clinton campaign first denied funding the dossier but later admitted that it funded the effort at a considerable expense, with the money hidden as legal costs by its lawyer and his firm....

The result is two separate narratives that fed off the actions of each other. There likely was bias in the initial assumptions, with a willingness at the FBI to believe Trump would be a tool of the Russians, and a willingness by Trump to believe the FBI would be a tool of the Clintons. Every move and countermove confirmed each bias....

[T]his could all prove to be the greatest, most costly example of cognitive bias in history, and now no one in this story wants to admit it.
As usual, the best activity is in the comment section. Sundance at CTH responds as President Trump Responds to Leaked FBI Claims in Recent NYT Article….
The New York Times article was based on leaks from sources who were responding to the leaks from other sources that were given to the Epoch Times. Each side in the DOJ/FBI corruption story is currently leaking to advance their interests.

Three congressional committees have requested the release of witness transcripts. HPSCI via Devin Nunes (September 2018); and the joint House Judiciary/Oversight committee (December 2018). Congressional allies of President Trump (Nunes, Jordan, Meadows and Collins) are being blocked by corrupt cabinet members within the current administration.

The current DOJ (Matt Whitaker/Rod Rosenstein) and FBI (Christopher Wray/David Bowdich) are refusing to allow the release of those prior witness transcripts. Their excuse for refusing to release is centered around protecting the Mueller investigation.

It appears the current DOJ and FBI prefer to position the new Democrat majority to conduct hearings without the public having the information from prior testimony. That process allows a much easier political narrative to be deployed; thereby hiding the former corruption under a new wave of media attention. The motives really are that simple. This has been the ‘kick-the-can‘ strategy to protect the institutions all along….
Sharyll Attkisson at Da Hill  What would the intelligence community's 'insurance policy' against Trump look like? It would look a lot like the Mueller investigation. MSN, Russia investigation could spark battle to learn Robert Mueller's findings
Whenever Mueller does finish his work, it will kick off a new phase in the legal and political fights over the Russia investigation. The president's legal team is preparing its own report rebutting whatever Mueller concludes; Trump tweeted last month that they'd already finished 87 pages. Giuliani said how much was released depended on what the special counsel concluded.

"If they exonerate him," he said, "we'll just say congratulations."
WaPoo: William Barr’s confirmation hearing expected to be a battle over Mueller’s future. Well of course, there has to be a battle as an excuse for all Democrats to vote against him, and that battle had to be about something. Unless they bring women out of the woodwork to claim sexual assault. But they just used that one, and they probably want to save it for Ginsburg's replacement.
In private conversations with committee members last week, Barr offered assurances he has no plans to interfere with Mueller’s work.

“My intention will be to get that on the record before I’m satisfied,” said Sen. Dianne Feinstein (Calif.), the committee’s top Democrat. “It’s very important that Mueller be able to have no interference whatsoever.”
Hope dies hard on Da Hill:  Manafort developments trigger new ‘collusion’ debate. Manafort shared outdated and mostly public polls with a Russian who worked for him. Try to find something real.
“If sharing polling data with your former partner in political races in the Ukraine is collusion, then I guess it is. I don’t perceive it as collusion,” Sen. Richard Burr (R-N.C.), the chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee leading the Russia investigation in the upper chamber, told The Hill.

Trump lawyer Rudy Giuliani in an interview with The Hill dismissed the sharing of the polling information. “Should he have done it? No. But there’s nothing criminal about it,” Giuliani said.

Still, the revelation, coupled with new details about a Kremlin-linked lawyer who met with the campaign at Trump Tower during the heat of the presidential race, has raised new questions about the Trump team’s links to Russia.

And it has left many wondering what may have been done with the data, which Manafort allegedly handed over to his former business associate, Konstantin Kilimnik, amid a burgeoning effort by the Russian government to use hacking and social media to meddle in the presidential vote with the aim of tipping it in favor of Trump over Hillary Clinton.

Manafort’s defense attorneys inadvertently disclosed in a court filing Tuesday that special counsel Robert Mueller had accused their client of lying about sharing polling data with Kilimnik “related to the 2016 presidential campaign.” They appeared to acknowledge that the interaction occurred but contested the notion that Manafort lied about it, noting he “was unable to recall specific details” before having his “recollection refreshed” by the special counsel.
Fox: Trump rejects report he hid key details of conversations with Putin: 'I don't care'
Trump's version of events about the meeting on the sidelines of the G-20 summit was seemingly backed up by former Secretary of State Rex W. Tillerson, whom Trump fired in March and who has, on occasion, publicly criticized the president.
So this is just more fake news, designed to hurt the President.

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