Saturday, June 22, 2019

Scrounging Around for More Russiagate

There were only three articles in the digital bin when I started this morning. It's still a light set, but I scrounged around and found a few more: Elizabeth Vaughn at Red State: News Of A Third Scope Memo Emerges; Why Is No One Talking About The Role Of The Conflicted Rod Rosenstein?
Byron York writes that the DOJ recently provided access to several members of Congress to a third scope memo, written by Rosenstein and dated October 20, 2017. According to York:
At the moment, the third scope memo, like most of the second scope memo, remains a secret. Mueller included a brief description of it in his report, revealing that Rosenstein reauthorized him to investigate Michael Cohen, Richard Gates, and Roger Stone “as part of a full and thorough investigation of the Russian government’s efforts to interfere in the 2016 presidential election.” But the report, as released, blacked out other names on the grounds of “personal privacy.” It is not clear what parts of the investigation they represented, and it is not clear why a third scope memo was necessary in the first place.
Most of all, it is not clear whether all that secrecy is warranted. Perhaps the memos concern matters that are still ongoing that need to remain under wraps. On the other hand, Mueller announced that his investigation into conspiracy and coordination between Russia and the Trump campaign — the core area of his jurisdiction — was over and done. “The office has concluded its investigation into links and coordination between the Russian government and individuals associated with the Trump campaign,” the Mueller report said.
Will other scope memos emerge? What, if any, evidence did Rosenstein require from Mueller to expand the scope? Was there ever a Mueller request that Rosenstein said no to?

It was Rosenstein’s role to supervise the activities of the Special Counsel, and his apparent submission to Mueller suggests that Mueller was actually driving the bus.
Read it all. The jury is still out on Rod, though I think it's pretty clear the Paul Manafort was his great white whale. Maybe Mueller promised to bag him in exchange for a free hand to persecute prosecute Donald Trump and his friends. From a comment by Bruce Hayden at Althouse:
We all know now that the Steele Dossier was essentially a hoax, and that a bunch of insiders, including Bruce Ohr, Andrew McCabe, Peter Strzok, Andrew Weissman, etc, knew that it was fake from the outset, and that it had been funded by Clinton and the Clinton controlled DNC. But Rosenstein? I really don’t think so. He comes across to me as a plodder who keeps his head down, works hard, doesn’t stick his neck out more than he can, and got almost to the top of the DoJ by not making any serious enemies. When he was signing the FISA warrant application, I think that he was basing it on the underlying paperwork that looked to be all in order. And when presented with the Dossier for expanding the Mueller mandate, I think that it is again likely that he still didn’t know of its many flaws. Remember, as far as we know so far, the extensive knowledge about the many problems with the Dossier was across the street in the FBI. Over at main Justice, where Rosenstein worked, the only two we know so far who knew about the problems with the Steele Dossier were Bruce Ohr and Andrew Weissman.

That said, what is scary to me is that they enticed, blackmailed, or somehow got DAG Rosenstein, in his third scope letter to Mueller, to expand the investigation to include Rosenstein’s immediate boss, AG Sessions. Part of why it is a bit scary is that Weissman, etc put together that very aggressive Obstruction theory that they were using that essentially considered anything affecting, or potentially affecting an investigation (including, of course, their own) to be Obstruction. With Sessions now officially under investigation, that means that any attempt by him to take control over the investigation, including unrecusing himself, would be treated by them as Obstruction of Justice. The justification for his recusal always seemed a bit contrived, which is why a lot of people wondered why he didn’t just unrecuse himself. From the outside, that looked to be the easiest way to rein in Mueller’s investigation. Now we know how that option was taken off the table. Looking back, the only realistic way to shut the Mueller investigation down was to replace Sessions with some who would see the game being played, and refuse to do what they wanted him to do, and that ultimately meant replacement by AG Barr.
Quod Verum attempts to explain the importance of George Papadopuolos in  Man in the Middle : The Importance of George Papadopoulos. Something about Turkey, pipelines and how the Obama crowd hated Israel. It might be right.

The WaPoo (30 day pass) is orgasmic about making a link between Sean Hannity and Paul Manafort,  ‘I cannot allow them to win’: Through federal case, Paul Manafort found ally in Sean Hannity. Imagine that, actually talking to someone in the news! They should try it. At Da Caller, Judge Unseals Text Messages Between Paul Manafort And Sean Hannity. Protesting his innocence! Obstruction of justice! Also from WaPoo, Roger Stone continues to irritate his judge and prosecutors for publicly stumping for his innocence, Judge orders Roger Stone to explain Instagram posts attacking FBI, prosecutors despite gag order. I see no other explanation; if they thought it was hurting him, why would they try to make him stop? First amendment, anyone?
Postings in Stone’s Instagram this week included photos of commentators referring to the “Russia Hoax” and claiming Stone’s defense has exposed “the ‘intelligence community’s’ betrayal of their responsibilities” and revealed “deeply disturbing lessons about the level of corruption at the top levels of the agencies charged with protecting us from external threats.”
Dangerous stuff, photos of comments. Never know where that might lead!

From Chuck Ross at Da Caller, Felix Sater Fails To Show Up For House Intel Hearing, Now Faces Subpoena
“The Committee had scheduled a voluntary staff-level interview with Mr. Sater, but he did not show up this morning as agreed. As a result, the Committee is issuing a subpoena to compel his testimony,” a spokesman for Democrats on the committee said in a statement.

Sater said earlier this week he planned to show up for the interview and that he “will answer every question.” Sater’s attorney, Robert Wolf, told a BuzzFeed News reporter that Sater did not show up to the interview because of health issues. “Due to health reasons, Mr. Sater was unable to appear today. He looks forward to voluntarily appearing at the next rescheduled date,” Wolf said.
He should have shown up and given them all the flu.

From the Wombat's In The Mailbox: 06.21.19, Power Line describes how The Times tips the FBI. It's not illegal, but it certainly is part of their slant on the news.
This is the context, perhaps inapposite, in which I set Daniel Chaitin’s Examiner report “NYT reporter flagged Jared Kushner meetings with Russians to FBI.” Here we see the Times reaching out to its friends at the FBI to lend them a hand:
New York Times Michael Schmidt fed information about Jared Kushner meeting with Russians to the FBI, newly released emails show.
Journalist Michael Schmidt sent an email on March 24, 2017, to FBI Assistant Director for Public Affairs Michael Kortan, stating that his colleagues were reporting on the FBI’s Russia investigation and had stumbled onto some information about President Trump’s son-in-law and top adviser.
“Wanted to flag you on something. Three of my colleagues are working on a story about the Russia investigation. They’re told that Jared Kushner is among the individuals who the F.B.I. is scrutinizing for their meetings with Russians,” Schmidt said. “My colleagues were told that Ambassador Kislyak, after meeting Kushner and General Flynn in early December at Trump Tower, set up a meeting with Kushner and a Russian banker. Kushner ultimately met with the Russian banker. The banker worked for Alpha Bank. Thanks. Mike.”
Chaitin reports that the email was only recently obtained by Judicial Watch in one of its FOIA cases seeking documents from the FBI. Chaitin adds . . .
Can we imagine them similarly reaching out to alert ICE of an immigration violation? Also from the Wombat's post, at the Victory Girls, Hope Hicks Testimony Makes The Democrats Look Foolish. To be fair, it wasn't that hard:
But from Politico, Fat Jerry claims Nadler: Hope Hicks testimony is huge gift in legal battle with Trump
House Democrats are planning to file a lawsuit within days to force former White House counsel Don McGahn to testify on Capitol Hill — and they say Hope Hicks’ reluctant testimony Wednesday will help deliver them a crucial win in court.

Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerry Nadler said Hicks’ blanket refusal to tell lawmakers about her tenure in the West Wing is the real-life illustration Democrats needed to show a judge just how extreme the White House’s blockade on witness testimony has become.

“It very much played into our hands,” Nadler said in an interview in his Capitol Hill office Thursday. “It’s one thing to tell a judge blanket immunity is not a right thing. It’s another thing when a judge can see what that means in actuality, and how absurd it is.”

Nadler said he is working with the House general counsel to draft the lawsuit against McGahn, a central witness for special counsel Robert Mueller. The New York Democrat said he’s confident that a win in the McGahn case would create a precedent that forces the White House to back off its resistance to Democrats’ investigations and permit other key Mueller witnesses, like Hicks, to talk to lawmakers.

“That court case is key to everything,” Nadler said. “[Hicks] will be forthcoming only under legal compulsion.”

White House lawyers intervened hundreds of times on Wednesday to claim that Hicks, a longtime confidante of Trump who served as White House communications director, had “absolute immunity” from talking to Congress. Though some Democrats were infuriated by Hicks’ refusal to answer even basic questions about her years working in the Trump White House, Nadler said he anticipated the stonewalling and that his decision to move forward with the interview was by design.
And again denies he meant anything by calling her Mrs. Lewandowski:  'I just screwed it up': Nadler says he misspoke in calling Hope Hicks 'Ms. Lewandowski'
Nadler said that he was also "thinking about" all the objections raised by White House lawyers to his questions about her time while serving at the White House.

"That's what I was thinking about, and I screwed it up," Nadler said. "I meant nothing by it."

Nadler apologized to Hicks during the closed hearing, which he noted in Friday's interview.

After the transcript was released Thursday evening, Nadler found himself taking fire from GOP officials over the "Ms. Lewandowski" episode. Republicans accused Nadler of seeking to subtly insult Hicks, the former White House communications director, with even Vice President Mike Pence's spokeswoman Alyssa Farah tweeting that Nadler's misstatement amounted to "sexist garbage."
Beating up on a young woman is his idea of a style statement. When is she old enough to run for President?

Wombat has Rule 5 Sunday: Cheryl Ann Tweedy and FMJRA 2.0: Even Better Than The Real Thing working toward your amusement and education.

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