Wednesday, July 10, 2019

Russiagate Still Rolling Along

I've decided to can the Epstein coverage in all this, and include only material which touches Trump and Russiagate directly, and despite loads of articles, that appears to be zero today.  However, we do have some interesting new developments.

We were all wondering what the firing of Gen. Michael Flynn's lawyers and the hiring of Sydney Powell was going to mean, and I think we're starting to see. From Sundance at CTH DOJ Reverses Course in FARA Case – Calls Flynn “co-conspirator”, Doesn’t Want Flynn Testimony – Judge Sullivan Intervenes…
The direct case against Flynn (Judge Sullivan court – Washington DC), where Flynn copped a guilty plea for lying to FBI investigators, has a sentencing predicated on Flynn’s ongoing cooperation in the Eastern District of Virginia (EDVA) case against Bijan Rafiekian and FIG (Flynn Intel Group). However, in a stunning move today the DOJ prosecuting Rafiekian now says it will not call Flynn as a witness; and further the DOJ state they now consider Flynn an “unindicted co-conspirator”.

From court filings (on behalf of Flynn) we find the reason. Michael Flynn refused a demand by the DOJ to testify that the Flynn Group FARA filing was completed with knowingly false information and contained “false statements”.

Michael Flynn refused to testify to this DOJ construct because the claim was not true.

Michael Flynn and his lawyers say there was no intentional filing of false information in the Flynn Group FARA submissions; and the FARA forms were submitted based on legal advice provided for their completion. If there were mistakes in the FARA filing, they were not falsehoods and/or mistakes made purposefully or with purposeful intent.

When Flynn agreed to the plea for lying, he was agreeing with hindsight and accepting the government position that some of the material in the FARA submission was false. However, Flynn did not admit that anything was intentionally false, but rather an outcome of mistakes made within a process that relied on legal advice.
. . .
♦ In a late breaking development, Judge Anthony Trenga (EDVA) ruled the DOJ has not presented evidence sufficient to establish “evidence of a conspiracy” for the purposes of admitting the hearsay statements of alleged co-conspirator (Flynn).
Is this a first step towards getting his lying conviction looked at and thrown out too? One can hope.

Michael Isakoff reports that Russians concocted the theory that Seth Rich was shot after leaking the DNC material. Could be? But, it could also be that the material was fed to him by FusionGPS, just like the Steele Dossier. That's one reason you can't trust the press anymore (not that you ever should have). And speaking of Steele, Reuters reports Trump 'dossier' author grilled by Justice Department watchdogs
Three attorneys from the Inspector General’s office of the U.S. Department of Justice met in person in early June with dossier author Christopher Steele in Britain, said two sources with direct knowledge of the lawyers’ travels.

The interview with Steele, a former top spy on Russia for Britain’s Secret Intelligence Service, or MI6, took place while Trump was in London for a formal state visit with Queen Elizabeth and a meeting with UK Prime Minister Theresa May.

Steele’s dossier, made public in 2017, alleged that Moscow attempted to interfere in the 2016 U.S. presidential election and that there was potential collusion between Russia and Trump’s campaign, along with other unverified and salacious claims about the president.
John Sexton at Hot Air: Christopher Steele Was Questioned For 16-Hours By DOJ Inspector General’s Office
Department of Justice Inspector General Michael Horowitz sent three lawyers to interview dossier author Christopher Steele last month. The story was first reportedby Reuters based on two anonymous sources but now Politico is also reporting the story based on two anonymous sources:
Christopher Steele, the former British spy behind the infamous “dossier” on President Donald Trump’s ties to Russia, was interviewed for 16 hours in June by the Justice Department’s internal watchdog, according to two people familiar with the matter…
The interview was contentious at first, the sources added, but investigators ultimately found Steele’s testimony credible and even surprising. The takeaway has irked some U.S. officials interviewed as part of the probe — they argue that it shouldn’t have taken a foreign national to convince the inspector general that the FBI acted properly in 2016. Steele’s American lawyer was present for the conversation…
Conservatives have also seized on Mueller’s conclusion that no criminal conspiracy existed between the Trump campaign and the Kremlin as evidence that Steele’s sensational dossier was a fraud.
But the extensive interview with Steele, and the investigators’ sense that he offered new and important information, may dampen expectations among the president’s allies who’ve claimed that Steele’s sensational dossier was used improperly by the bureau to “spy” on the campaign.
Did you catch that “conservatives seized” trope in this story? It’s amazing that after two years of Democrats talking about collusion, no one in the media thinks they seized on this idea. Only Republicans seize (on the truth in this case).
Greater depth of coverage by sundance in IG Horowitz Investigators Interviewed Chris Steele June 3rd – 5th, 16 Hour Session….

Chuck Ross at Da Caller, House Intel Committee Witness Accuses Fusion GPS Founder Of Perjury. Well, he is a paid, professional liar, after all.
Felix Sater, a real estate developer who has worked with the Trump Organization, discussed the Fusion GPS founder, Glenn Simpson, while taking a break from a closed-door interview with the House panel.

Democrats sought an interview with Sater to discuss whether the Kremlin could have any leverage over President Donald Trump due to his business dealings in Russia. Sater worked closely with former Trump lawyer Michael Cohen from October 2015 through June 2016 on a failed bid to build a Trump-themed skyscraper in Moscow.

Sater told reporters during his break that the interview covered little in the way of new information about his links to Trumpworld that have not already trickled out in the press, or in the special counsel’s report.

But he added: “We did cover a new topic.”

Asked what the topic was, Sater said, “Glenn Simpson perjuring himself at the Judiciary Committee on two occasions.”

When asked what topic Simpson might have perjured himself on, Sater replied: “Me, specifically, and the fact that that’s what motivated him to start investigating, when it was actually the fact that he was working for Veselnitskaya, if anybody knows that.”

Sater was referring to Natalia Veselnitskaya, the Russian lawyer who attended an infamous June 9, 2016 meeting with Donald Trump Jr. Veselnitskaya was also with Simpson on behalf of a Russian company called Prevezon Holdings, which opposed U.S. sanctions against Russia.
Chuck also reports that DOJ Watchdog Has Conducted More Than 100 Interviews, Reviewed One Million Documents In FISA Abuse Probe and is nearing completion. I look forward to his report with cautious optimism.

David Harsanyi at Da Fed, Barr Is Right: The Trump-Russia Conspiracy Is ‘Bogus,’ And Mueller Proved It
Barr is giving investigators the benefit of the doubt by claiming, and not very tacitly—since he explicitly states it in the New York Times piece—that he interested the systematic, not individual, failures that allowed a FBI to spy on an opposing political campaign.

Barr antagonists argue that we already know that the counterintelligence investigation was completely legit. A low-level functionary said something about Hillary Clinton and Russia. Trump made a dumb joke about Hillary’s emails. Trump hired campaign advisers like Michael Flynn, “who attended a dinner with Vladimir Putin,” and Carter Page, who had “with Russia ties,” and Paul Manafort, “who worked for a Russia-allied president of Ukraine.”

What kind of precedent does this standard set? It might come as a surprise to some people, but being friendly with Russians—even autocratic ones—isn’t a criminal act. Trump openly advocated for better relations with Putin during the 2016 campaign. A presidential campaign has the right to hire people who will pursue its foreign policy goals. Whether it’s good policy, or whether Page, Paul, or Flynn are bad hires or unsavory people, is up to voters, not intelligence agencies.
. . .
Whatever the case, explicit or tacit, none of this means investigators are guilty of wrongdoing. Aren’t all the same arguments we’ve been hearing about law and order still in play? For more than two years, didactic Democrats lectured about how transparency was a reflection of a healthy democracy
Dan Chaitin at WaEx, Trey Gowdy dishes on 'Mueller’s out' in public hearing
Former South Carolina Rep. Trey Gowdy warned people not to get their hopes up for special counsel Robert Mueller's open testimony next week.

During an interview Monday evening, Gowdy discouraged hype on the Right for what might be uncovered related to the Russia investigation after discussing the July 17 hearing with Rep. John Ratcliffe, a leading GOP investigator on both the Judiciary and Intelligence committees, which are hosting the event.

"I think what he is going to say on that, and John Ratcliffe and I were discussing it over the weekend. I think what he’s going to say, 'That is not what Rod Rosenstein asked me to do. I did what the acting DOJ [attorney general] he asked me to do, which is look at — go back to Rod’s memo. What did Russia do in 2016? And then a specific reference to the Trump campaign,'" Gowdy said on Fox News, referring to scope memos that outline the breadth and limitations of the special counsel's mandate.
Preparing to be disappointed is the adult thing to do. There are other, much better questions for Mueller.

Politico, ‘What’s the point?’ Lawmakers fess up to not fully reading the Mueller report. Like most scientific papers, few make it far past the abstract.

Via the Wombat's In The Mailbox: 07.09.19, Power Line republishes Eric Felten's Insinuendo in the Mueller Report. It is a good article, read it if you hadn't
Eric Felten is a man of many parts. Among other things, he is a meticulous and literate reporter as well as one of my favorite analysts of the mysteries of Russiagate. In his July 1 RealClearInvestigations column “Insinuendo: Why the Mueller Report Doth Repeat So Much,” Eric waded into the Mueller miasma. RCI authorizes the republication of its articles with attribution. Our friends at Spectator USA posted it here yesterday and have given me the idea to present it to Power Line readers here. . . 
Paul Bedard at WaEx, Liberal Media Scream: Bernstein wants probe of why people support Trump. After all, none of his friends do. Scratch a liberal, find a fascist.

From Fox, House Judiciary Dems prepare slew of subpoenas for Trump-tied targets. Just plain harassment of Trump supporters dressed up as "investigation."

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