Tuesday, March 19, 2019

Just Some Regular Old Russiagate

Not too much this Tuesday morning, and not a lot of pattern in it all. From Sundance at CTH, Representative Doug Collins Explains The Reasoning and Sequencing of House Transcript Releases…

Funny how no important state secrets have been revealed. But a lot of stuff embarrassing to the FBI and DOJ has been.  From Corey's Digs, 12 HUGE Bombshells in One Week – But, “Nothing’s Happening?” "#4 Ex-FBI Lisa Page’s Revealing Transcripts Released, #5 Late Senator McCain’s Role in Spygate Scandal, #7 “Pitbull” Andrew Weissmann is Leaving Special Counsel, #9 Paul Ryan Blocked Subpoenas of Democrats, #11 Jim Jordan Grills Adam Schiff in Classic Social Media Style"

The Daily Wire, Christopher Steele’s Former MI6 Boss Slams Trump Dossier As ‘Overrated’
Scarlett had just finished speaking at the Jamestown Foundation’s 12th annual terrorism conference on a panel titled “2018 in Review and the Prospects for Terrorism in 2019.” Retired U.S. Marine Corps General John R. Allen was also on the panel moderated by Georgetown University professor Dr. Bruce Hoffman.

When the panel concluded, journalist Nicholas Ballasy asked Scarlett about his former employee, Steele, and the dossier that helped launched the “collusion” theory that Trump colluded with the Russian government to steal the 2016 election from Hillary Clinton. Ballasy asked Scarlett, in a recording released just last week, what the former MI6 chief thought of the dossier and if he believed what was written in it.

“Well, no,” Scarlett said, “I looked at it and I thought these are commercial intelligence reports; I don't know about the sources -- they might be right, they might be wrong and they'll probably be overrated and they've been overrated.”

Ballasy then asked if Scarlett thought the dossier could ever be verified, to which Steele’s former boss responded: “No.”
. . .
Finally, Ballasy asked what Steel was like to work with. Scarlett answered: “I’m not going to comment” and walked away.
WaT: Mueller probe pursues Russia collusion leads, but issues remain. The bad news is that they're now behind a paywall...
Former acting Attorney General Matthew G. Whitaker said in January that he had been read-in on the nearly two-year probe and concluded it was “close to being completed.”
But there are signs that Russia issues remain:

• Court filings in the prosecution of former Trump campaign manager Paul Manafort show that Mr. Mueller is still investigating a fall 2016 meeting at a Manhattan cigar bar where the lifting of U.S. sanctions on Russia was discussed.
Mr. Mueller still has questions about the Ukraine amendment to the 2016 Republican Party platform.
• The indictment of Trump political adviser Roger Stone for allegedly lying to Congress sets up the possibility of a plea bargain. Mr. Stone has denied wrongdoing and has said he will never betray President Trump. But he has added that he is willing to cooperate.
A big job, Attorney General William Barr tries to restore confidence in Justice Department (Arcmax). The witch hunt continues, Federal Authorities Raided Trump Fundraiser’s Office in Money Laundering Probe (ProPublica). Looking in the oddest places, Democrats ask FBI for criminal, counterintelligence investigations into Li "Cindy" Yang
The four top Democrats from the House and Senate Intelligence and Judiciary committees have called on the FBI to open both criminal and counterintelligence investigations into Li "Cindy" Yang, the founder of a chain of massage parlors in Florida. Yang also reportedly ran a business that claimed to sell access to President Trump and his associates.

The Miami Herald and Mother Jones magazine have both reported that Yang created a business called "GY US Investments" whose website, since taken down, offered clients "the opportunity to interact with the President, the [American] Minister of Commerce and other political figures." The company said it could arrange photo ops with the president and arrange "White House and Capitol Hill" dinners.

"If true, these allegations raise serious counterintelligence concerns," the lawmakers wrote in a letter, obtained by CBS News, that was sent to FBI Director Christopher Wray, Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats, and Director of the U.S. Secret Service Randolph Alles last Friday. "China has frequently used non-traditional intelligence collectors and businesspersons to compromise targets."
Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) defended John McCain as "one of the most consequential senators" in history amid renewed attacks from President Trump against his late friend and GOP colleague.
"As to @SenJohnMcCain and his devotion to his country: He stepped forward to risk his life for his country, served honorably under difficult circumstances, and was one of the most consequential senators in the history of the body," Graham tweeted on Sunday.

"Nothing about his service will ever be changed or diminished."
Which is true, but that doesn't diminish the bad things that McCain did as a Senator. I'll give him a break due to brain damage, however. He should have stepped down the minute he knew he was impaired, or likely to be impaired.

And a bit of fun from Adam Mill at American Greatness: Exclusive: Fusion GPS Demands to be Paid
This letter from Fusion GPS accounts receivable to Perkins Coie, the law firm that helped facilitate opposition research for Hillary Clinton’s 2016 presidential campaign, found its way to American Greatness via a mysterious courier and may or may not be on the level. Let’s call it “fake but accurate.”
To: Mark Elias, Perkins Coie

From: Fusion GPS, Accounts receivable

Subject: Billing dispute regarding services rendered in the 2016 election cycle

Dear Mr. Elias,

Fusion GPS is in receipt of the letter questioning our itemized bill to your firm. On behalf of Fusion GPS, we are happy to clarify our services and remind you that the full amount stated remains due.

1) Questions regarding meal expenses associated with the June 9, 2016, Trump Tower meeting.

As you know, Donald Trump Jr. met with two Russians in June 2016. Media outlets repeatedly have cited this meeting as a smoking gun for Trump/Russia collusion (here, here, and here, for example). Thus it came as a considerable surprise to Fusion GPS that your firm would dispute charges associated with the meeting.

We respectfully remind you that the meeting included two Russians: Natalia Veselnitskaya and Rinat Akhmetshin. We knew Ms. Veselnitskaya because, for more than two years, we shared a client, Denis Katsyv. She dined with our founder Glenn Simpson immediately before and after the meeting at Trump Tower. Ms. Veselnitskaya used research from Fusion GPS as bait to lure Donald Trump Jr. into the meeting.

Similarly, we worked with Mr. Akhmetshin and indeed traded emails with him in the weeks leading up to the meeting. I’m sure you can appreciate the importance of actually having a meeting between Russians and senior officials in the Trump campaign as a way to advance the Trump/Russia collusion project. With this information, we trust your questions regarding these billable items have been resolved.
Read it all.

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