Friday, April 26, 2019

Some Early Afternoon Russiagate

Again delayed because of Friday breakfast date (and the gym), so we got some new stuff in before I started including this gem, from Catherine Herridge at Fox News, Strzok-Page texts suggested using post-election briefing to gather information on Trump team
Text messages between former FBI officials Peter Strzok and Lisa Page indicate they discussed using briefings to the Trump team after the 2016 election to identify people they could "develop for potential relationships," track lines of questioning and "assess" changes in "demeanor" – language one GOP lawmaker called “more evidence” of irregular conduct in the original Russia probe.

Fox News has learned the texts, initially released in 2018 by a Senate committee, are under renewed scrutiny, with GOP Sens. Chuck Grassley and Homeland Security Committee chair Ron Johnson sending a letter Thursday night to Attorney General Bill Barr pushing for more information on the matter.

"Any improper FBI surveillance activities that were conducted before or after the 2016 election must be brought to light and properly addressed," the senators wrote.
Nope, no spying here. More from Nice Deb and PJ Media, Strzok/Page Texts Suggest Effort to Recruit White House Staffers to Spy on Trump Team

I've been leaning one way then the other on Rosenstein from the beginning, but this seems to suggest his hat was at least light gray: Rosenstein: The “Previous Administration” Didn’t Tell Us The Whole Truth, And Don’t Get Me Started On Comey
Rosenstein offered this metaphor as a hint:
There is a story about firefighters who found a man on a burning bed. When they asked how the fire started, he replied, “I don’t know. It was on fire when I lay down on it.” I know the feeling.
Da Federalist offers up  5 Times The Mueller Probe Broke Prosecutorial Rules That Ensure Justice 1. Using Leaks And Press Conferences to Trash Un-charged Targets, 2. Using Their Power to Crush Client-Attorney Privilege, 3. Prosecuting Despite Knowing They Can’t Prove Their Case, 4. Special Counsels Aren’t Supposed to Be a Partisan Hit Squad, and 5. Rosenstein Used His Government Position to Protect Himself. Not to be outdone, by way of Wombat's In The Mailbox: 04.25.19, American Greatness has 25 Questions For Robert Mueller. Good ones, too, some I might not have come up with.

At American Greatness, Victor Davis Hanson explains how the Mueller Investigation Was Driven by Pious Hypocrisy. A taste:
Yet Mueller’s team went down every blind alley relating to its investigation—except where Obama-era officials were likely culpable for relevant unethical or illegal behavior.
More analysis at Hogewash, The TL:DR on the Mueller Report and Stacy McCain explains What Mueller Did With Our Money
Without regard to Mueller’s failure to find any evidence of the fictitious “Russian collusion,” Democrats and the media (but I repeat myself) are acting as if obstruction of justice is a proven fact, raising the question of how an innocent man’s effort to prove his innocence can obstruct justice. If you’re not a witch, and yet you’ve become the target of a witch-hunt, is it wrong to try to stop the witch-hunt? You’re never going to see anyone make that point on CNN, but then again, unless you’re stuck in airport, you’ll probably never see CNN at all.
The Daily Caller, Georgian Businessman Releases Texts With Cohen That Were Left Out Of Mueller Report . "A Georgian-American businessman is accusing special counsel Robert Mueller of publishing “glaring inaccuracies and misrepresentations” about rumors of alleged sex tapes of President Donald Trump during a visit to Moscow in 2013." I thought it was supposed to be comprehensive? WaEx,  Barr to testify about Mueller report. That should prove amusing. Useful? Maybe. WaFreeBee: ‘Nonpartisan’ Mueller Investigation-Focused Group Tied to Dem Dark Money. I'm shocked that Democrats would lie to us. But outside the beltway, few care Mueller-Plotz: Dems Discover Few Care Outside The Beltway (Ed Morrissey at Hot Air).

WSJ, Trump Says He Never Asked McGahn to Fire Mueller. We'll see, but it wouldn't be obstruction if he did.   Conrad Black at NR, Donald Trump Collusion Charges Fade, Democratic Lies Emerge,
Their day of reckoning is about to begin. They will gag and balk at the evidence as it emerges that the Clinton campaign and the Obama Justice Department, the FBI, and the intelligence services were up to their eyeballs in an unprecedented unconstitutional attempt to manipulate and then undo the result of a presidential election. They have shown almost superhuman self-discipline in ignoring and implicitly denying the existence of the evidence of this wrongdoing. The failure of elected officials, and of the journalists and commentators upon whom the nation has a right to rely for serious and fair reporting and analysis of important political events, will weigh very heavily upon them. The Democrats will pay for their dishonesty at the polls in 2020. And the national political media will require a very long time to recover the confidence of the American people that they have so energetically squandered.
At AmGreat, Obstructing Injustice: Why It Would Be Wrong to Impeach Donald Trump, but Judge Napolitano ruins his chances for being appointed to the Ginsburg seat by asserting Let’s Face It, Trump Obstructed Justice. I disagree, but more importantly, so does William Barr (and the Dersh).

And on the on the Spygate front, at Front Page Michael Ledeen reminds us that The Operation Against General Flynn Started Long Before The Election. When does he get sentenced? Before or after he gets pardoned? At CR, John Brennan must be held accountable for his role in advancing the Russia hoax. And when does he get sentenced? And at Da Federalist, James Clapper Knew There Was No Evidence of Trump-Russia Collusion In 2016. And when does he get sentenced?

Thomas Lifson at AmThink uses a familiar phrase in The walls are closing in on Obama. He is almost certainly at the heart of it all, but  will never face any consequences. Consequences are for Republicans.
A second scandal threat for the Obama administration is also slowly being excavated. Proof is piling up that White House operatives exploited the NSA's surveillance of all electronic communications in the United States to monitor political opponents. This very long and detailed post by Sundance of Conservative Tree House defies any possibility of concise summary. But by putting together information from the Mueller Report with a ruling by FISA Court Judge Rosemary Collyer, Sundance teases out the clear implications. This requires time and focus to follow but is rewarded by a deeper understanding of how the Obama administration actually did spy on its oppponents, not just on the Trump campaign.
And speaking of that NSA surveillance, they've suddenly decided it's no longer useful. Via Sundance at CTH, BIG! – NSA Recommends Dropping Phone Surveillance Program…., hoping like hell that Trump will ignore how it was weaponized against him. Also at CTH, President Trump: “It is now just a question of time before the truth comes out, and when it does, it will be a beauty!”…

Kurt Schlicter at Town Hall asks, What Do The Never Trump Losers Do Now?. When in trouble or in doubt, run in circles, scream and should!

USAToday, Maria Butina is not a Russian spy, but a 'spotter': DOJ revives intrigue over gun rights activist
Maria Butina’s arrest last year produced breathtaking headlines about a young, attractive woman spying on Americans on behalf of the Russian government.

Butina is neither a covert agent nor a trained intelligence officer. And the only crime she was accused of committing – acting as an unregistered foreign agent – has nothing to do with stealing secrets, let alone engaging in "cloak-and-dagger activities," the Justice Department acknowledged.

But as Butina, 30, waits to be sentenced, the Justice Department revived the question that hung over her case from the moment she was arrested: Was she a spy?

Nearly a year after they first filed charges against her, prosecutors said last week that she isn't – at least in the traditional sense of the word. But they alleged for the first time that her courting of influential Republicans in the months before the 2016 election appeared "entirely consistent" with an intelligence operation to spot Americans who will be potentially valuable to the Russian government.

This claim, which Butina’s attorneys say were baseless, reinvigorated the intrigue over the gun-toting, red-haired Russian graduate student and activist whose arrest last summer sparked a speculative frenzy about who or what she really is.

Prosecutors accused Butina of engaging in a years-long campaign to find politically connected Americans and infiltrate political organizations on behalf of the Kremlin. She pleaded guilty to acting as an unregistered foreign agent, and is scheduled to be sentenced in federal court on Friday.
I think this case has been oversold by the FBI and DOJ.

1 comment:

  1. I point out again, that the effort to destroy Mike Flynn was begun before Trump even entered the race and was driven by Brennan and Clapper, and Obama's, anger that he would not toe the line on downplaying the threat from ISIS. Worse, he had pressure on analysts to alter their products investigated! When he got involved with Trump that was just icing on the cake, and another avenue to attack.
    Brennan and Clapper both belong in jail.