Wednesday, March 20, 2019

Racing Through Russiagate

Before more accumulates. In a clear sign of something, Mueller's team claims to be doing something this week. CNN, In court filing, Robert Mueller's team says it's very busy this week.
Robert Mueller's prosecutors dropped yet another head-scratching signal in their latest court filing Tuesday that the special counsel investigation may be wrapping up -- or maybe it's not.

Either way, they're very busy.

Senior appellate litigator Michael Dreeben told a federal judge on Tuesday that he and his co-counsel "face the press of other work" and would like a deadline extension this week in response to a request to unseal court documents in Paul Manafort's now-wrapped criminal case.
A growing number of people are unhappy with the probe. Breitbart, Poll: More Americans Think Mueller’s Probe Is a ‘Witch Hunt’ Against Trump You can't say Americans are quick learners, but they do learn.
Half of Americans agree with President Trump that Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s probe is a “witch hunt” and that he has been subjected to more investigations than previous presidents because of politics, according to a poll published on Monday.

That is more than 47 percent of Americans who disagree, according to the new poll, conducted by USA Today/Suffolk University Poll. Just three percent did not have an opinion.
Hot Air catches Preet Bharara warning Democrats not to get their hopes too high:  It’s Possible ‘The Mueller Report Will Not Be That Damaging To The President
“All these people who hope that he’s going to take this scourge of a man out of the White House are going to be really disappointed when he doesn’t do that,” Bharara says. “I think it’s perfectly possible that the Mueller report will not be that damaging to the president. And all of us need to be prepared to accept that and move on.”
Almost like an instruction to do so, Nadler: Trump Better Not Claim Executive Privilege On The Mueller Report. (Hot Air)  And Ex-U.S. Attorney Bharara to Trump: don't mess with Manhattan probes (Yahoo!) Why would you take "advice" from your adversaries?

Of course, the "big news" of the cycle was how Records show special counsel zeroed in on Cohen early on (AP). Like wolves identify the weakest animal in the herd.
But the documents made public Tuesday show that Mueller’s investigators early on began looking into possible misrepresentations Cohen made to banks to shore up his financially troubled taxi business.

They were also initially interested in money that was flowing into Cohen’s bank accounts from consulting contracts he signed after Trump got elected. Prosecutors were looking into whether Cohen failed to register as a foreign agent.
CBS, Michael Cohen investigation involved secretive "Triggerfish" tracking device, but they're weren't wiretapping Trump's campaign, right?
It is not clear exactly what information other than location that law enforcement gleaned from its use of a Stingray targeting Cohen. The devices also capable of collecting the calls, text messages and even the emails sent to and from phones.

And because they act as cell towers, they don't just collect information from the targets of investigations. Stingrays are capable of taking in information from entire neighborhoods, which is why civil liberties groups have for years objected to their use.

The devices are made by defense contractor Harris Corporation, and its patents indicate Stingrays and similar devices have been used for about two decades, though law enforcement rarely acknowledges their use.

The government has even withdrawn charges against criminal defendants rather than turning over information to defense teams about the Stingray, according to a 2017 policy analysis by the Cato Institute, a libertarian think tank.
CNN, Cohen was paid more than $500,000 from company linked to Russian oligarch. Hell, Bill Clinton made that from the Russians with one half hour speech. 

Maybe he wants to be there to protect his ass, Rosenstein Sticking Around A Bit Longer. He's still a slightly mysterious character. Is he a black, white or gray hat?

From Da Caller, Here’s How The Steele Dossier Spread Through The Media And Government.  Julie Kelly at American Greatness has more details about How a Former McCain Associate Obtained the Steele Dossier and Helped Advance the Russian-Collusion Narrative. John McCain didn't cover himself with glory in this instance.
As I will detail later this week, the reason McCain passed along the dossier to Comey appears to have had less to do with national security than with confirming that explosive news with complicit journalists. While McCain worked over the news media in late 2016 to peddle stories about Trump and Russia, Kramer worked with Simpson behind the scenes to validate the dossier. It was a carefully executed strategy—in collaboration with the Democrats—to undermine Trump and sap the public’s trust in their newly-elected president.
But it was more than just the FBI/DOJ complex, Mark Meadows: US ambassadors conspired with DOJ to take down Trump
Rep. Mark Meadows, R-N.C., hinted Monday the coming release of documents that will "show" U.S. ambassadors conspired with the FBI and the Justice Department to harm President Trump.

“It's additional information that is coming out that will show not only was there no collusion, but there was a coordinated effort to take this president down,” Meadows told Fox News’ Sean Hannity. “We talk about the 'Deep State.' There are players now, even ambassadors, that are sitting ambassadors that were involved in part of this with the FBI-DOJ.”

Meadows did not name any ambassadors.
Giving them time to resign? The Epoch Times' Brian Cates, The Spygate ‘Insurance Policy’ Coup Never Had a Chance
The Spygate plotters, both in the federal agencies and in the DNC Media Complex, had hoped to get way more mileage out of a shadowy, anonymous document that was held from public scrutiny. Once Buzzfeed blew the game, they were caught flat-footed.

Then, a second disaster struck. Rod Rosenstein, Trump’s handpicked guy, was dropped into the middle of the Spygate plot on April 25, 2017, when the U.S. Senate confirmed him as Deputy Attorney General.

Much to the Spygate plotters’ horror, Trump’s new appointee hit the ground running, and wasted no time in blowing all their carefully laid plans to smithereens.

The Spygate plotters panicked on hearing, right after he got done firing James Comey as director of the FBI, that Rosenstein might take control of the Trump-Russia investigation from acting FBI Director Andrew McCabe and hand it to a special counsel who he would appoint himself. Text messages sent between FBI agent Peter Strzok and FBI lawyer Lisa Page showed them anxiously wanting to know of any news if “Rod” was going with “Andy.”

“Rod” didn’t go with “Andy.” Instead, Rosenstein ripped control of the Trump-Russia investigation from McCabe’s desperately clutching hands over his strident objections and sidelined him. McCabe, who was subsequently investigated for illegal leaking to the media and eventually fired from the FBI, has been the subject of a grand jury investigation for almost a year, so his troubles are far from over.

To sum it up: Spygate plotters lost their leaking strategy with the Steele dossier in early January, and by May, that no longer mattered because Comey had been fired and the Trump-Russia investigation was no longer under their control.

Mueller’s special counsel’s office is about to close shop without having come within yodeling distance of any Trump-Russia collusion or any other Trump crime. This “insurance policy” plot never had a chance, thanks to BuzzFeed News blowing the leak strategy and Rosenstein taking over the Russia investigation.
As Theoden said in regard to an insidious traitor, "Oft evil will evil mar."

Judicial Watch continues to fight. Judicial Watch Files Ethics Complaint Against Chairman Schiff for Contacts With Witnesses (CNS News). They probably won't win that one, but turn around is fair play, after all. Judicial Watch Victory: Federal Court Rules FBI’s Search of Records about Peter Strzok’s Removal from Mueller Investigation Inadequate; Orders New Search. Mueller seems curiously uninterested in the Strzok/Page relationship and accompanying texts.
Judge Cooper ordered that the FBI must conduct a new search that includes “the email accounts of any of Agent Strzok’s superiors or other Bureau officials who were involved in the decision to assign him to the Special Counsel’s Office or the decision to reassign him to the FBI’s Human Resources Division after his removal from the Mueller investigation.”

The FBI must also expand its search to other forms of communication in addition to email. Given Strzok’s well-known use of text messaging, “it strikes the Court as reasonably likely that he discussed his assignment to the Special Counsel’s Office in text messages—which again is the standard for assessing an agency’s selection of search locations.”
My guess is he was smart enough not to leave a paper or electronic trail. Make him testify. Judicial Watch Sues for Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein’s Communications During Time of Comey Firing, Mueller Appointment
Judicial Watch filed the lawsuit after the DOJ failed to respond to a September 21, 2018, FOIA request (Judicial Watch v. U.S. Department of Justice (No. 1:19-cv-00481)). Judicial Watch seeks:
Any and all e-mails, text messages, or other records of communication addressed to or received by Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein between May 8, 2017, and May 22, 2017.
The time period referred to in the suit was a critical one. On May 8, 2017, Rosenstein wrote a memo to President Trump recommending that FBI Director James Comey be fired. The next day, President Trump fired Comey. On May 17 Rosenstein appointed former FBI Director Robert Mueller to investigate Russian meddling in the 2016 presidential election.

Between May 8 and May 17, Rosenstein met with then-acting FBI Director Andrew McCabe and other senior Justice Department FBI officials and discussed invoking the 25th Amendment to remove President Trump and whether Rosenstein and others should wear a wire to secretly record conversations with the President.

Judicial Watch previously filed a FOIA lawsuit seeking records of communication of former FBI Deputy Director McCabe, the Office of the Attorney General Jeff Sessions, or the Office of Deputy Attorney General Rosenstein discussing the 25th Amendment or presidential fitness. Additionally, that lawsuit seeks all recordings made by any official in the Office of the Attorney General or Deputy Attorney General of meetings in the Executive Office of the President or Vice President.

“These critical days in May, a scant three months into President Trump’s term, included extraordinary targeting of President Trump by Rod Rosenstein and other Deep State officials at the DOJ and FBI,” Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton said. “Judicial Watch’s focused FOIA lawsuit aims to uncover what exactly Mr. Rosenstein’s role was in any discussions to overthrow President Trump.”
 He's still a slightly mysterious character. Is he a black, white or gray hat?

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