Friday, October 25, 2019

Russiagate: Durham Investigation Goes Criminal

Some pretty big news in the "spygate" saga. The investigation into the origin of the Russiagate probe by Federal prosecutor John Durham has turned into a criminal probe, giving him the ability to issue subpoenas, and seat a grand jury and indict people. The news originates with the NYT, conveniently cited at MSN, Justice Dept. Is Said to Open Criminal Inquiry Into Its Own Russia Investigation
Justice Department officials have shifted an administrative review of the Russia investigation closely overseen by Attorney General William P. Barr to a criminal inquiry, according to two people familiar with the matter. The move gives the prosecutor running it, John H. Durham, the power to subpoena for witness testimony and documents, to convene a grand jury and to file criminal charges.
Suffice it to say NYT and other liberals are not happy about the prospect of being probed.
The opening of a criminal investigation is likely to raise alarms that Mr. Trump is using the Justice Department to go after his perceived enemies. Mr. Trump fired James B. Comey, the F.B.I. director under whose watch agents opened the Russia inquiry, and has long assailed other top former law enforcement and intelligence officials as partisans who sought to block his election.
WaPoo, Justice Dept. investigation of Russia probe is criminal in nature, person familiar with case says. Much more analysis by Sundance at CTH,  BIG – Report: U.S. Attorney Durham “Administrative Review” is now “A Criminal Investigation”…
My initial question was/is: does this mean the *interviews* with John Brennan and James Clapper were predicated on a shift into a criminal investigation? If yes, is that reality the baseline for the New York Times changing the reporting?
Ace, (in bold red type, with a flaming skull) John Durham Has Reclassified Russian Hoax Inquiry as an Official DOJ Criminal Investigation "So many conspiracy theories, presented "without evidence" and "without foundation." So many. So, so many." Power Line, Barr Probe Turns Criminal,
Once upon a time the Times expressed concern with the government’s abuse of the awesome powers it wields in the name of national security. Now it occupies itself exclusively with the potential benefit exposure might have on the political fortunes of Bad Man Orange.

UPDATE: The Wall Street Journal also reports on the turn of Barr’s review into a criminal investigation here.
John Sexton at Hot Air,  NYT: Justice Dept. Opens Criminal Investigation Of The ‘Crossfire Hurricane’ Russia Investigation
Durham’s interest apparently goes beyond the launch of Crossfire Hurricane to events that happened in early 2017. It’s not clear yet what that means but I wonder if he wants to ask Clapper and Brennan about the decision to brief Trump about the Steele dossier. The stated reason for the briefing was that the intel community knew the news media was on the verge of publishing some of the claims in the dossier. And yet, within days of the briefing, CNN had learned of it and made the briefing the news hook to publish a story about the dossier’s contents. As Mollie Hemingway asked two years ago “was the entire purpose of the meeting to produce the leak that the meeting happened?”

That seems far-fetched to a lot of people but I’m not sure why. Given John Brennan’s over-the-top hostility toward Trump, nothing would surprise me. Remember this is the guy who predicted all sorts of final indictments were coming that never came. He later apologized for that but there’s no doubt he’s very partisan and, I think it’s fair to conclude, always has been.
Also from Sundance, CNN  CNN, Including James Clapper, React to Durham “Review” Shifting to “Criminal Investigation”…

More background at Red State, Here’s A Look Into ‘New Evidence’ Heating Up The Durham Investigation, He’s ‘Very Interested’ To Question Clapper, Brennan, ET, Focus of Durham Probe Shifts to Senior Obama Officials, Dan Chaitin, WaEx, CIA 'rattled' by DOJ inquiry into Russia investigation origins.

Another big piece of news from Sundance on the Flynn case, Stunning, Potentially Game-Changing, Court Filing by Flynn Defense Lawyer Sidney Powell…
We’re going to go through the primary filing and four exhibits to the evidence Attorney Sidney Powell is delivering to Judge Emmet Sullivan which contain some explosive discoveries. Toplines including:

(1) Lisa Page edited the Flynn 302’s, then forgot when questioned by DOJ officials, then re-remembered when shown her texts. (2) The 302’s themselves were written with lies that do not match notes taken during the interview. (3) The felony leaker of the Flynn-Kislyak phone call is named (James Baker). (4) New texts from Page and Strzok that highlight the entrapment plan. (5) ODNI James Clapper telling WaPo reporter Ignatius to “take the kill shot on Flynn“. (6) The purposeful use of Judge Contreras to take the December 1st 2017 plea agreement; and much, much more. . . .
If true (and in court, 2 sides get to present their case), Flynn should be exonerated, and awarded court costs for time and trouble. You should wade through this if you're at all interested. Also from Sundance, Good News / Bad News – Horowitz Report: Likely No Classified Appendix / Review Phase Has Not Started…
A letter from DOJ Inspector General Michael Horowitz provides both good news and bad news. The goods news is Horowitz letter says likely no need for a “classified version” which means AG Bill Barr likely declassifying a lot of it.

However, the bad news is on page #2 where Horowitz says the final draft assembly is still ongoing, and the “review phase” has not yet begun. Which means the report is not likely to be made public before Thanksgiving.
Jerry Dunleavy, WaEx, DOJ defends assessment by CrowdStrike and FBI that Russia interfered in 2016 election
Adam Hickey, the deputy assistant attorney general for the DOJ’s National Security Division, made the comments while appearing on a panel before the House Judiciary Committee on Tuesday to discuss election security for the upcoming 2020 presidential election. President Trump has long said he believes in a conspiracy theory that posits without evidence CrowdStrike is owned by a wealthy Ukrainian and that a missing DNC server is hidden in Ukraine.

“Looking back at the FBI’s activities investigating the 2016 election, it has been reported that the FBI never obtained the original servers from the Democratic National Committee that had allegedly been hacked by Russia, instead relying upon imaged copies,” Arizona Republican Debbie Lesko asked. “First of all, is that correct?”

Hickey replied that federal investigators were able to obtain evidence on Russian interference, noting that “it’s pretty common for us to work with a security vendor in connection with an investigation of a computer intrusion,” a reference to CrowdStrike.

CrowdStrike, a large California-based cybersecurity firm that was co-founded by a Russia-born U.S. citizen and is used by both Republicans and Democrats, examined the DNC’s systems in 2016 and concluded that Russian state actors were responsible for months of cyber intrusions. The DNC did not provide the FBI with access to its servers, but CrowdStrike did provide the bureau with forensic copies.
Work with does not necessarily mean take their draft testimony at face value.


On to Ukraine! From Breitbart, Nolte: Adam Schiff Desperate to Hide William Taylor Testimony that Would Kill Ukraine Hoax
This has been the cycle since the beginning of Schiff’s Star Chamber: The worst possible testimony is leaked out of context, and it sounds awful — at least until we get the other side of the story, where we inevitably learn that this whole thing is going nowhere, that all the evidence points to there being no quid pro quo, to us learning how Schiff is badgering witnesses to say what he wants.

So we are currently enjoying a remarkable time in history where congressional Democrats are looking to overturn a presidential election using secret testimony backed by selective leaks, and the national media are colluding with them as if this is all normal and okay.
Althouse, "Donald Trump's defense has collapsed. The quid pro quo has been proven.... That's more or less been the unanimous chorus in the impeachment press..."
"... since Tuesday, when State Department envoy to Ukraine William Taylor testified to the House Intelligence Committee. The problem with this narrative is that all we have to rely on is Mr. Taylor's opening statement and leaks from Democrats. What we don't know is how Mr. Taylor responded to questions, or what he knew first-hand versus what he concluded on his own, because like all impeachment witnesses he testified in secret. Chairman Adam Schiff, with the approval of Speaker Nancy Pelosi, refuses to release any witness transcripts.... House Republicans staged a protest at the House Intelligence hearing room on Wednesday to demand an open process, and it was a PR stunt. But they are right about the disgrace of this closed-door impeachment. This isn't routine oversight of a bad presidential decision or reckless judgment. The self-described goal of Mr. Schiff's hearings is to impeach and remove from office a President elected by 63 million Americans. This requires more transparency and public scrutiny than Mr. Schiff's unprecedented process of secret testimony, followed by selective leaks to the friendly media to put everything in the most anti-Trump light, in order to sway public opinion."

From "Schiff's Secret Bombshells," an editorial in the Wall Street Journal.
 WaPoo, U.S. ambassador to E.U. ‘does not recall’ threatening Ukraine over funding, attorney says
Sondland testified last week that he knew Giuliani had conditioned a coveted White House invite for Ukraine’s new president, Volodymyr Zelensky, on such investigations. But he said he did not know whether the White House had also made security assistance contingent on Zelensky’s committing to launch the probes.

Taylor, the senior U.S. diplomat in Ukraine, contradicted Sondland’s account Tuesday. In prepared remarks delivered to congressional investigators, Taylor wrote that Sondland not only knew of such a quid pro quo, but also had communicated the threat to Ukraine.

Taylor said he understood that on Sept. 1, Sondland warned Zelensky aide Andrey Yermak that the security assistance “would not come” unless Zelensky committed to pursuing the investigation into Burisma, which could have damaged Joe Biden, a top 2020 Democratic presidential hopeful.
"Understood" as in, was told by someone else who hated Trump. John Solomon on Da Hill, Top Ukrainian justice official says US ambassador gave him a do not prosecute list
Ukrainian Prosecutor General Yuriy Lutsenko told Hill.TV's John Solomon in an interview that aired Wednesday that U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine Marie Yovanovitch gave him a do not prosecute list during their first meeting.

“Unfortunately, from the first meeting with the U.S. ambassador in Kiev, [Yovanovitch] gave me a list of people whom we should not prosecute,” Lutsenko, who took his post in 2016, told Hill.TV last week.

“My response of that is it is inadmissible. Nobody in this country, neither our president nor our parliament nor our ambassador, will stop me from prosecuting whether there is a crime,” he continued.
Wanna bet Burisma was on the list? Sean Davis at Da Fed, CNN Failed To Disclose Biden Apologist’s Business Ties To Burisma. So what do I have to do to get some of this sweet Burisma cash? Capt. Ed at Hot Air, NBC: Say, Guess Who “Advised” A Romanian Suspect While Biden Demanded A Crackdown On Corruption?. So Hunter did some actual work for his $82k a month? Maybe . . .
Stop us if you’ve heard this before, although perhaps not from NBC News. The Obama administration sends Joe Biden to a foreign country to press for corruption reform and prosecution. One of the obvious targets for that reform then hires an American lawyer to “advise” on his operations, and the lawyer just so happens to have the same last name as the Vice President.
And more on the "anonymous" whistleblower from Gregg Re and Catherine Herridge, Whistleblower acknowledged additional element of potential anti-Trump bias, sources say, but Adam Schiff won't let you know what that is.

Meanwhile impeachment continues to generate too much for rationale analysis:

House Republicans Storm Schiff's Secret Impeachment Room
Impeachment war: Democrats threaten GOP with ethics charges for barging into closed proceeding
Why the secrecy, Rep. Schiff?
Adam Schiff’s Intelligence Committee chairmanship is Pelosi’s big mistake
If Democrats Are Worried About Releasing Testimony, Why Are They Leaking? | News and Politics
MSNBC’s Hallie Jackson Appears Irritated When Rep. Matt Gaetz Won’t Agree On SCIF, Closed-Door Meetings For Impeachment | The Daily Caller
Melting DOWN: Byron York calling Dems OUT for not releasing Taylor’s full testimony triggers a WHOLE lotta stupid –
Bad news from Judge Nap: Schiff's following the rules ... approved by House Republicans
Trump Impeachment: Nancy Pelosi, Bring It into the Light | National Review
House Republicans request first impeachment witness: The whistleblower
Graham: Get ready for our resolution condemning House impeachment inquiry as "illegitimate, unconstitutional"
The Real Coup
Dems Like Biden and Nadler Used 'Lynching' The Way Trump Did
President Trump's Impeachment Will Be Trump’s Fault | National Review
Theo Spark: Cartoon Round Up....
Rep Mark Meadows Discusses Latest Impeachment Schemes… | The Last Refuge
Media Fell for Trump's Lynching Trick - The Rush Limbaugh Show
Ace of Spades HQ - The Soyciety Page: "Judge Nap" Shows Himself to be a Bluffer and an Incompetent Yet Again
Graham: If Republicans were using these Democratic impeachment procedures, "you'd be beating the sh*t out of us"
Trump confronts the limits of impeachment defense strategy
Bolton Silence Hangs Over Impeachment Inquiry as Threat to Trump
Update on the Star Chamber that is the “impeachment inquiry” – The New Neo

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