Thursday, August 15, 2019

Not Too Much Russiagate

There’s an interesting lawsuit playing out involving a woman Svetlana Lokhova and Steven Halper.
Halper was one of the “informants” that the FBI ran against Trump campaign associates, including Carter Page, George Papadopoulos, and Sam Clovis. In fact, it was Halper who invited George Papadopoulos to London in the first place, where he would then ask Papadopoulos if he knew "about the hacking the emails from Russia." This would be what Papadopoulos repeated to an Australian diplomat, helping to form the shaky genesis of the Trump-Russia investigation (further pushed by the Steele Dossier).
If it sounds like the FBI purposely lied to someone in order to later use it as an excuse to investigate the Trump campaign, that's probably because that is what appears to have happened. The investigation into all this is ongoing under the leadership of current AG Bill Barr and John Durham.
In regards to Lokhova, she is suing Halper for defamation over his alleged planting of false stories in the media accusing her of having an affair with Gen. Michael Flynn and working for the Russian government
Because the lawsuit mentions him being an FBI informant/spy, he responds that while he's not "crediting" that claim as true, the courts should take it as true and declare he has qualified sovereign immunity from suit -- being a government employee-- and dismiss the case.

It's a bad argument. Qualified sovereign immunity only covers stuff that are explicitly within your job parameters, the stuff you're directed by your employer (the state) to do. Because the state would have sovereign immunity in those cases, you get that immunity so long as you're just an instrument of the state.

But... is planting libel about someone in newspapers in order to gin up a coup really within the explicit ambit of an FBI informant/spy? And is an FBI informant really the type of taking-official-action-for-the-state position where sovereign immunity could possibly apply?

This is a question that couldn't be resolved until discovery, when Halper admits he's a spy, the FBI admits he used him for spying, and the FBI explains what actions he was precisely directed to undertake.

And if the FBI did explicitly direct him to plant libelous stories about people for purposes of furthering a coup -- we need to know that.
A government asset willing to state that his job was to set up the National Security adviser? That would be worth something.

There's something in Comey's memos the FBI really, really doesn't want you to know. Sundance at CTH, Comey Memo FOIA Update: CNN Files Motion Demanding Immediate Production – DOJ Says 60 Days…
Two days ago Judge James Boasberg ruled the DOJ and FBI must turn over the mostly unredacted Comey Memos and fully unredacted Archey Declarations to CNN and the media groups represented within the FOIA lawsuit.

However, in a response to CNN dated yesterday, August 13th, the DOJ stated they intend to utilize the full 60-day appellate window before producing the memos and declarations
. . .
It looks to me like the DOJ/FBI is implying they will produce the material in 60 days, and not sooner. In response to that email today CNN has filed a motion requesting intervention by Judge Boasberg, and demanding immediate production. . .

There is a possibility the DOJ is delaying production because they want to wait until after the Inspector General report is made public. Strategically, that might make sense.
 WaPoo, IRS analyst pleads guilty to leaking Michael Cohen’s financial records to Michael Avenatti.
John Fry, who had worked as an investigative analyst with the IRS in San Francisco, entered his plea in federal court there. Fry was charged in February with the unauthorized disclosure of suspicious-activity reports, or SARS. Such reports are meant to flag potentially unlawful financial conduct to government investigators but do not necessarily indicate wrongdoing.

Fry pleaded guilty to one count. He is scheduled to be sentenced in December. The crime carries a potential prison term of up to five years.

“John Fry was given access to sensitive and powerful government databases containing people’s private financial information,” said David L. Anderson, the U.S. attorney in San Francisco. “And he was given that access in order to do his job as an investigative analyst. Fry thought that his politics were more important than his obligation to follow the law, and in that he was mistaken.”
Off with his head! The good Roger Simon at PJ Media, Epstein? Russia? Move the DOJ and FBI Out of Washington.
If you read about the Russia probe, numerous names repeat on all sides of the argument. Everyone, or almost, knows each other. They're all cronies on one level or another. When you know and are involved with people, when you eat, drink and socialize together, it's hard to have the impartiality required by Lady Justice. In fact, it's almost impossible. Corruption is right around the corner, as it clearly has been.

In a certain sense, all of Washington should recuse itself.

The solution — part of it anyway — is to move the Department of Justice and the Federal Bureau of Investigation out of D.C. Yes, I know they all have branches everywhere, but I'm talking about their headquarters. It's the old fish from the top thing. No more J. Edgar Hoover Building with all the creepy overtones that has in terms of even-handed justice. (Maybe make it an adjunct of the Spy Museum.) Away, away.
My dad came up with the idea of moving the whole federal government to Fargo, ND. That would really show who was sincere.

From Elizabeth Vaughn at Red State, Fat Jerry Nadler Tries To Mislead A District Court Judge And The DOJ, Gets Clobbered. Just a speed bump on his road to impeachment, no doubt.

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