Wednesday, June 26, 2019

Russiagate: Mueller in the Hot Seat?

Just broke on Drudge last night from the Peacock, Robert Mueller to testify publicly before House committees on July 17
Former special counsel Robert Mueller has agreed to testify in public about his two-year Russia investigation at a hearing before the House Intelligence Committee and Judiciary Committee on July 17. The announcement came from the chairmen of the two panels, who issued a subpoena compelling his testimony.

In a news release issued late Tuesday, Judiciary Committee Chairmen Jerrold Nadler, D-N.Y., and Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff, D-Calif., said that Mueller had agreed to testify next month.

“Pursuant to subpoenas issued by the House Judiciary and House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence tonight, Special Counsel Robert S. Mueller III has agreed to testify before both Committees on July 17 in open session,” the chairmen said in a statement.
 I have a lot of questions for Mueller myself. But here's a good place to start, 25 Questions for Robert Mueller. It will, of course, be circus, with Democrats asking questions leading towards evidence of non-existent Russian collusion, and Republicans, to the extent that the committee chairmen allow them to question him, trying to dig into the bizarre matters of "spygate." Politico notes, Mueller’s team may think it is done. Democrats have other ideas.
It’s the latest twist for the special counsel’s attorneys who spent nearly two years working on one of the most scrutinized investigations in American history and now are resurfacing at major law firms touting their work on the Russia probe. Some are even giving interviews to journalists, a big change from the “no comment” mantra they practiced to almost comical extremes, while another has a reported book deal.

Democrats struggling to find witnesses to guide their probes of Donald Trump say they’ve noticed the recent uptick in activity — and they want in.

These are, after all, the same attorneys who personally interviewed the president’s aides and a wide cast of characters connected to Moscow’s election interference campaign. They worked closest with the special counsel in deciding who merited prosecution or even a mention in his final report. As a result, they could offer new investigative leads, suggest ways to stymie the foreign assistance Trump seems open to accepting and further the congressional probes fueling impeachment calls. In short, they could do what Mueller himself has yet to do, although the special counsel did agree late Tuesday to testify on July 17.
I imagine if the House hearings are the circus I expect, Senate leaders may demand an equal opportunity. Meanwhile, Sundance at CTH is still on the case of Michael Flynn's persecution, prosectution, guilty plea, and still a yet undone sentencing with three different posts. DOJ Confirms Flynn Defense Team Never Received Transcript of Flynn/Kislyak Phone Call…
During a court appearance today by new attorney Mrs. Sidney Powell, the topic of needing a classified security clearance -to review documents- was raised.  The DOJ responded to the assertion by saying no classified information was provided to the prior Flynn defense team, therefore Ms. Powell doesn’t need not carry that concern.

However, by admitting the DOJ provided no classified information to the defense, the prosecution is simultaneously admitting they never provided Flynn with a copy of the phone call transcript (December 29, 2016) between President-elect Trump’s incoming National Security Advisor and Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak.  The content of that phone call lies at the heart of the FBI interview that took place on January 24th, 2017.

Judge Emmet Sullivan originally asked for the Flynn/Kislyak transcript; however, the prosecution said it was irrelevant to their case.  The judge accepted the non-production.
Wow, the main piece of evidence in the case that Flynn lied to the FBI the contents of his talk with Kislyak, the transcript (which was leaked to the press by someone, presumably at the FBI or DOJ), was deemed by the prosecution to be irrelevant to the case? Why, because they have a carefully crafted 302 from Peter Strzok and Andrew McCabe that swears he lied? Michael Flynn Was Not “Unmasked” – Evidence Flynn Was Under Active, FISC Authorized, Surveillance…. The collection of his call with Kislyak was not "incidental", Flynn was under active surveillance from far earlier, using the excuse of his "Russian contacts", but in fact, because of his opposition to Obama policies. Transcript of Michael Flynn Status Hearing – June 24th (full pdf)
One of the reasons why the Flynn legal situation is so interesting is not really because of Flynn himself; but rather because the Flynn situation is a likely example of President Obama’s surveillance network in operation.

Tenuous legal theories (Logan Act) and obscure laws (technical FARA violations) appear to have been exploited by DOJ administration officials, in close ideological alignment with the Lawfare Group. In association with overall Obama administration officials, the fellow travelers used the legal system to create a DC surveillance network.

At the 30,000 ft. level Obama’s surveillance network looks like this:
• White House identifies a target; •passes request to the DOJ National Security Division (middlemen); •who then use the auspices of possible FARA violations to pass the instructions to the FBI contractors; •who data-mine the NSA database.
•The FBI results are then passed back to the DOJ-NSD; •who weaponize the information for FISA applications (becomes legal cover); and •pass the authorized surveillance (spying) results back to the White House etc.
It’s a circle of surveillance activity that could encompass almost every politician in Washington DC as they network with foreign lobbyists and special interests.
 Sebastian Gorka at AmGreat, What Hillary and Obama Actually Did
Just imagine if Norway were running a double-agent in the Kremlin who could prove that Bernie Sanders was recruited as an asset by the KGB when he and his wife honeymooned in the Soviet Union in 1988 and that he had been given the mission to run for president, implement socialism in America and so weaken us in our geopolitical contest with Russia. Not only should the president be open to the receipt of such information, it would his sworn duty to do so and to act upon the information given his primary responsibility to protect our nation from all enemies “foreign and domestic.”

Yet the media has proceeded hysterically to misrepresent the president’s words, saying his willingness to be open to such information provided by an ally such as Norway is the same as being open to “opposition research” proffered by adversaries such as China or Russia. He said no such thing. He never once indicated his willingness to work with our enemies in a way that could affect a U.S. election.

This is in contrast with Hillary Clinton, who actually conspired with foreign agents and the government of Russia to do exactly that.

According to the handful of true investigative journalists and actual experts, we have only uncovered a fraction of the truth pertaining to what Dan Bongino has called “SpyGate” and Gregg Jarrett has dubbed “the Russian Hoax.” But given the massive amounts of misinformation swirling around the internet and the egregious and willful negligence by the “mainstream” media in reporting the truth about just how deeply foreign actors were allowed to penetrate and influence the last presidential election, it is crucial to catalog what we already know for sure about Hillary Clinton and the DNC’s collusion with actors inimical to our Republic and our values as Americans.
 Jeff Carlson at ET, Tracing the Origins of Congressional Democrats’ ‘Obstruction’ Strategy
Less than six months after Mueller’s appointment—on Oct. 10, 2017—the Brookings Institution published the first of two reports titled “Presidential Obstruction of Justice: The Case of Donald J. Trump,” which outlined, among other things, a scenario whereby Mueller would refer his obstruction findings to Congress, which would then take up the matter and continue investigating. The report also discussed ways in which Congress could impeach the president, mentioning the word “impeachment” a total of 90 times.

Norman Eisen and Barry Berke, two of the authors of the Brookings report, were later retained by House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerry Nadler (D-N.Y.) on a consulting basis as special oversight counsels to the Democrat majority staff.

As Nadler noted in an announcement, the two men would have a particular focus on reviewing Mueller’s investigation and would be advising the committee. It also appears Nadler intended for the two lawyers to question Attorney General William Barr.
. . .
Wittes was also the author of an article in October 2016 that discussed the need for an “insurance policy,” which, according to Wittes, was a “cross-ideological network of lawyers and philanthropists” dedicated to fighting Trump in court, should he win the election. Wittes was very forthright in his feelings, noting:

“If Trump wins it, the Coalition of All Democratic Forces needs to be prepared to see him in court,” Wittes wrote.
So, it was the insurance policy from the beginning. CR, The framers never intended for impeachment to be a political weapon, former federal judge tells Levin
Earlier this year, House Judiciary Chairman Jerry Nadler, D-N.Y., publicly said that impeachment was a “political act” and rested upon the “will of the American people” while explaining the supposed justification for impeachment proceedings against the president.

In contrast to these ideas, Levin asked the constitutional scholar about how this view played out during the Constitutional convention, specifically bringing up a dispute between James Madison and George Mason over whether or not impeachment should happen over charges of “maladministration” — i.e., doing a bad job.

“George Mason proposed that the president be impeachable for ‘maladministration’ and Madison objected to that, saying that that would effectively make him serve at the pleasure of the Senate — meaning that they could get rid of him whenever they wanted to and that would destroy his independence,” McConnell explained. “It’s pretty clear that Madison, at least, believed that the president needed to be insulated from impeachment for anything that isn’t really truly a high crime or misdemeanor.”
Fox, Hans von Spakovsky: Sorry, media -- talking to foreigners does not violate federal campaign laws
Here’s the bottom line: a federal candidate who is freely given information is not receiving a “contribution” or “thing of value” and is thus not violating federal campaign finance law or the regulations issued by the Federal Election Commission (FEC). I know. I served as an FEC Commissioner.

If getting dirt on an opponent were a “thing of value,” then any adverse information concerning a candidate—even informed criticism of a rival’s policy proposals—would also have to be considered a “thing of value,” and both would have to listed as a financial “contribution” to a campaign. Such a broad interpretation of the law would be potentially unconstitutional and impractical to administer or enforce. Moreover, it is not a position that has been taken by the FEC.

Federal law (52 U.S.C. §30121) prohibits a foreign national from contributing or donating money or a “thing of value” to a federal, state, or local candidate or political committee. Foreigners are also banned from engaging in independent political expenditures. That means that the Chinese government, for example, can’t give money directly to a candidate, nor can it buy an ad in the New York Times telling Americans they should vote for or against a particular candidate.

This ban doesn’t prevent foreign nationals from volunteering to help a campaign, as long as the foreigner does not “dictate, control, or directly or indirectly participate in the decision-making process” of the campaign under a regulation issued by the FEC (11 CFR §110.20). The federal statute also says that the term “contribution” does not include an “individual who volunteers to behalf of a candidate.” The FEC specifically notes that a foreign national “may volunteer personal services to a federal candidate or federal political committee without making a contribution.”

According to prior FEC enforcement actions and advisory opinions, this means that a foreign national can, for instance, develop intellectual property such as a website, logos, and trademarks for a campaign as a volunteer (Advisory Opinion 2014-20, Make Your Laws PAC). Under the FEC’s reasoning, a foreigner who volunteers could also do research and share the results with the campaign.

Furthermore, foreign volunteers can speak at campaign events and even solicit contributions for a federal candidate as long as they solicit only Americans and not other foreigners (Advisory Opinion 2004-26, Weller). Why, a talented foreign musician can even contribute an uncompensated performance at a candidate’s fundraiser (Matter Under Review 5987)—as Elton John did at a Radio City Music Hall concert that raised $2.5 million for Hillary Clinton’s campaign.

A foreign national who simply volunteers to provide information to a campaign would certainly seem to fall within this regulatory exemption.

However, the FEC says that this exemption for a foreign volunteer applies only “as long as the individual performing the service is not compensated by anyone.” Makes you wonder why the FEC hasn’t investigated a certain presidential campaign in 2016 that allegedly paid a former British intelligence agent (i.e., a foreigner) to do political opposition research, doesn’t it?
Julie Kelly at AmGreat, The Steele Dossier Has Been Discredited—Is the IC Report Next?
A special prosecutor appointed by Barr to oversee the probe is supposed to interview senior CIA officials who helped produce the report. According to a June 12 New York Times story disclosing the inquiry, the impending inquiry “has provoked anxiety in the ranks of the CIA.”

It should.

The ICA is an embarrassment to U.S. intelligence services, an obvious piece of government-sanctioned propaganda that would make Putin green with envy. Two of Obama’s henchmen—Comey and former CIA director John Brennan—signed off on the report then briefed both the former and the incoming president on its contents in early January 2017. (In his briefing with Trump, Comey also added a two-page summary of the Steele dossier, including the ludicrous claims about Trump’s alleged dalliances with prostitutes in Moscow.)

Reeling from Trump’s shocking win and desperate to place blame, Obama in early December 2016 ordered a full review of Russia’s election meddling. Twenty days later, the review was completed—hardly sufficient time for an adequate investigation of how a global adversary infiltrated a U.S. presidential election that cost more than $2 billion and involved 130 million American voters.

Nonetheless, in less than three weeks, the agencies claimed to have collected and verified reports from “multiple sources” to affirm their findings.

“To my mind the assessment is very peculiar,” former federal prosecutor Andrew McCarthy told the House Intelligence Committee earlier this month. “Ordinarily the kind of assessment that you’re talking about there would be something that would take well over a year to do, certainly many months to do . . . seems to me, in this instance, there was a rush to get that out within a matter of days.”

The hastily prepared report is akin to a last-minute term paper, carefully formatted with plenty of white space and graphics. Odd anecdotes are stitched together in a hodgepodge manner. It’s filled with repetition and hearsay. One vague passage insists that Putin “holds a grudge for comments [by Clinton] he almost certainly saw as disparaging him.” Another factoid is that a Putin pal said Russia would “drink champagne” if Trump won. Not exactly the kind of conjecture that would pass muster in a court of law.

The document was released in declassified form; readers repeatedly are assured that highly-classified information supports the Intelligence Community’s conclusions but that “the release of such information would reveal sensitive sources or methods and imperil the ability to collect critical foreign intelligence in the future.” (Where have we heard that before?) It strained to make a connection between the Kremlin, WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, and the hacking of the Democratic National Committee.

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