Saturday, July 20, 2019

Steaming Through Russiagate

9 AM and it's already 86 F with 84% relative humidity here. Headed for the mid-90s again.

Are we being set up for another Charlie Brown football kick? From Da Hill, House gears up for Mueller testimony, and from the AP, something we already knew, Democrats questioning Robert Mueller to focus on obstruction, because that Russian collusion chocolate cake turned out to be shit. WaPoo,  Democrats hope Mueller testimony will put bright spotlight on Trump’s efforts to derail investigation. You mean that investigation into something that never happened? The Peacock, Mueller hearings to highlight 'shocking evidence of criminal misconduct' by Trump, Democrats say. They've been saying that a long time, and never coming up with the goods, too. But Devin Nunes (CNS News) says 'I Really Expect the Worst' When Mueller Testifies. His colleagues never disappoint to disappoint.
"Mueller, when he walked in the door, knew there was no evidence of collusion and conspiracy, and they knew the only thing they had on obstruction of justice was Comey's memos. I mean, Comey illegally leaked those memos to the press, and for what? In order to try to get a special counsel...which he admitted," Nunes said.

"So sitting with this open for two years, to me, I think people should look at this as an obstruction of justice trap, and then you can go through for the $40 million that we spent on this report, there are so many holes in this report. It was heavy on rhetoric and I'll would say it kind of read like a bad Russian spy novel."
And they didn't even get paid by the page, which by the way, comes out to roughly $100,000/per page. Not bad for government work, really. Conrad Black at AmGreat calls Shame on Robert Mueller—Again
Mueller packed his investigative team with notorious Democratic partisans. Andrew Weissman, who had cooked his share of Republicans already, and attended Hillary Clinton’s victory party the night she lost to Trump, took over the actual work. He and many of those he recruited had just finished white-washing Clinton—on to the tarring-and-feathering of her opponent. Mueller, never a martyr to the work ethic, despite the Democratic media’s wall-to-wall effort to spin him as a war hero Republican, flawless FBI director, and a rail-splitting confessant to the chopping of the cherry tree, left the direction of the investigation to Weissman and his gang, all of them desperate to destroy the president. Perish the thought of any of this pusillanimous bourgeois rubbish about impartiality! Trump was an interloper and he had to be sent packing with such finality that no one would dare interrupt the self-enriching slumbers of the political class for at least another century.

Trump managed the considerable feat of tough-talking as he resisted the depredations of a partisan witch-hunt while completely cooperating and leaving the investigators no ground to allege obstruction. This was the tactically correct response to what instantly was a difficult position. Trump had erroneously promoted an apparently qualified U.S. senator and former prosecutor, Jeff Sessions, as attorney general. Sessions immediately recused himself on all Russian matters and sat like a great eunuch-toad leaving the president whom he served practically defenseless while this rampaging lynch mob ransacked his personal, corporate, campaign, and presidential records. The Strzok-Page text messages indicate that the Mueller team ascertained quite quickly that there was no collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia, and in fact, no nominee of any serious party to the presidency of the United States in its history would ever have partaken of such an evil and preposterous enterprise.

From early on, Mueller’s game was obstruction. He piled demands on the president, required sworn testimony over several days from the White House counsel (who should have immunity in respect of his chief client). The president’s tactic of talking tough while furnishing everything asked by the special counsel got him through the midterm elections.
But it's tough when your case relies on people like this, Mueller witness George Nader charged with transporting 14-year-old boy for sex, child porn. WaPoo, George Nader indicted on child sex transportation charges. Lots of innuendo about Trump in the article, zero evidence.

From 90 Miles from Tyranny, Latest Development In Flynn Case Proves Special Counsel Was A Cover For Taking Down Trump as a way of introducing Margot Cleveland's article in Da Fed, Latest Development In Flynn Case Proves Special Counsel Was A Cover For Taking Down Trump. It's a very detailed article, hard to extract a simple quote from, but well worth the read.
In what appears to be a clear case of revenge, the intelligence community handed off their supposed intel on Flynn, knowing neither Flynn nor Rafiekian could adequately counter it because it was classified, and all Rafiekian’s attorneys would likely get would be a lousy one-sentence summary of the “multiple independent pieces of information.” That one-sentence summary would be made public and implicate Flynn in a criminal conspiracy.

After receiving this notice, Rafiekian’s attorneys argued to the court that the recently disclosed evidence is quite clearly Brady evidence and that “if Mr. Rafiekian is convicted without his counsel having access to this exculpatory evidence, we believe it will go right to the heart of his due process and confrontation rights.” But, as of yet, the court has refused to provide Rafiekian access to the intel (in a classified setting, of course).

There is no good excuse for intelligence agencies to have withheld this information from the special counsel team. There was a very bad excuse for it, though: The intelligence community knew the special counsel probe was a sham designed to take down a president and any other enemies of the deep-state status quo.

Flynn clearly fit the bill. Once he agreed to plead guilty and cooperated, that was good enough for the intelligence community. Their goal was accomplished, and the fact that Mueller had also been charged with investigating Rafiekian and Alptekin was of no matter.
Breitbart,  Federal Prosecutors Won’t Bring Additional Charges in Trump Campaign Finance Probe, but
. . . Alan Dershowitz repeatedly argued there was never actually a case against President Trump. “The president doesn’t break the law if, as a candidate, he contributes to his own campaign. So if he gave $1 million to two women as hush money, there would be in crime. If he directed his lawyer to do it, and he would compensate the lawyer, he’s committed no crime,” he explained to MSNBC last year. “The only crime is if a third-party, namely, Cohen, on his own, contributed to a campaign, that would be a campaign contribution. So it is a catch-22 for the prosecution. if they claim that the president authorized him to do it or directed him to do it, it is not a crime for anybody. If Cohen did it on his own, then it is a crime for Cohen but not the president.”
But WaPoo has clearly not given up hope that they can tarnish Hope Hicks reputation in this. Hope Hicks was not involved in discussions to pay Stormy Daniels hush money, her attorney says
On Thursday, a federal judge in New York unsealed FBI documents from spring 2018, shortly before agents raided Cohen’s home, office and hotel room.

In the documents, FBI agents laid out evidence they had gathered indicating that Cohen had made an illegal campaign contribution when he arranged a $130,000 payment to Daniels.
Stormy Daniels, aka Stephanie Clifford

In an affidavit, an FBI agent wrote that Cohen exchanged calls, text messages and emails with an attorney for Daniels — who is also known as Stephanie Clifford — as well as executives for the National Enquirer, Trump and members of Trump’s inner circle, as he negotiated the payment in October 2016.

“Based on the timing of these calls, and the content of the text messages, I believe that at least some of these communications concerned the need to prevent Clifford from going public,” the agent wrote.
Karen McDougal

Some of the communications occurred in the immediate wake of an Oct. 7, 2016, report published by The Washington Post about a recording in which Trump could be heard referring to women in vulgar terms, which became a moment of crisis for the campaign.

According to the affidavit, phone records show that Hicks called Cohen the following evening; 16 seconds into the call, records show that Trump joined the call, which continued for an additional four minutes.

The Cohen-Trump-Hicks call was followed by calls that evening among Cohen, National Enquirer executives and Hicks.

When Hicks testified before the House Judiciary Committee last month, she said she was “never present” at a time when Cohen and Trump discussed Daniels. She also said she “had no knowledge of Stormy Daniels” during the campaign other than that she had heard her name mentioned as possibly “shopping stories around.”
So, their evidence consists of the fact that Trump, Hicks and Cohen communicated on the same day? It's not like these people don't spend all day on the phone. And besides, as Dersh noted, and SDNY reluctantly concluded, it was not illegal for Trump to do. But the USA Today tries to keep hope alive with Prosecutors weighed DOJ policy blocking indictment of a sitting president in closing Trump hush-money probe. So it wasn't a crime, but if it was a crime we would be unable to do anything about it? Sounds like a great excuse for a investigation. Besides, it only says they considered it, not that they considered it determinative. And boy is Andy Weissman pissed.

The Wombat has Rule 5 Sunday: Victoria Baldessara and FMJRA 2.0: Kryptonite on time and within budget at The Other McCain.

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