Sunday, November 3, 2019

Fall Back Into Russiagate

A rather desultory set articles today, which is appropriate for a Sunday, after all the news is digested and shit out, requiring a bit of cleanup, before the new week's fresh hay.

Starting with Russiagate "proper", Jerry Dunleavy at WaEx reports 'Divorced from the facts': DOJ shoots down claims Strzok and the FBI trapped Flynn
The Justice Department shot down claims by former Trump national security adviser Mike Flynn’s lawyers that former FBI agent Peter Strzok and others at the bureau “set up” their client in a court filing.

Flynn’s attorneys alleged in a filing last week their client was trapped by Obama administration holdovers such as former FBI Director James Comey and former FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe in an effort to hobble newly elected President Trump, that Strzok and the other agent “ambushed” Flynn, and that Strzok and former FBI lawyer Lisa Page manipulated the FBI interview notes so they could claim Flynn had lied when he hadn’t.

"Each contention is divorced from the facts," federal prosecutors said in a 46-page filing Friday.
Hmm, that seems rather more of an opinion than a fact. Flynn's laywer, Sidney Powell, is also a former federal prosecutor, and as a private attorney, won big over Mueller bulldog Andrew Weissman (who engineered the Flynn prosecution) in the Enron case, with this judge, Emmett Sullivan. I rather suspect she is not wasting Judge Sullivan's time reviewing the evidence.

I think I'll let sundance at CTH introduce the next bit, that files from the Mueller investigation have been released via FOIA, and as one might suspect, they claimed to have suspected Trump, his friends and family of all kinds of bad things. They better have had to waste so much time and prosecutorial powers to not come up with anything. Jason and Jerry’s Big Adventure….
While a vertically and horizontally challenged member of congress named Jerry Nadler appeals for the details of the Mueller grand jury inquisition, a rather caffeinated fellow named Jason Leopold charges from his bunker at Buzzfeed to mount his final assault against General Douglas MacArthur….

CNN bats clean up (am I allowed to use baseball metaphors after the World Series?) with Mueller interview notes obtained by CNN show Trump's push for stolen emails
"[Rick] Gates recalled a time on the campaign aircraft when candidate Trump said, 'get the emails.' [Michael] Flynn said he could use his intelligence sources to obtain the emails," investigators wrote in a summary of Gates' April 2018 interview with Mueller's team. Flynn was a foreign policy adviser on the campaign and became Trump's first national security adviser.

"Flynn had the most Russia contacts of anyone on the campaign and was in the best position to ask for the emails if they were out there," the investigators also wrote about Gates' interview.

Gates described in an interview with Mueller investigators last year how several close advisers to Trump, Trump's family members and Trump himself considered how to get the stolen documents and pushed the effort, according to investigators' summary.
Anything that Trump wanted paled in comparison to the corruption on of the media and the intelligenge agencies acting against Trump. Also via sundance, Devin Nunes Discusses Origin of Protodossiers and Media Assistance for DOJ/FBI “Spygate” Effort…
One of the more remarkable aspects to the political weaponization of the intelligence apparatus was the complicity of specific journalists and specific outlets to advance the Russian collusion-conspiracy narrative.

Althouse, "A presidential loathing for Ukraine is at the heart of the impeachment inquiry."
According to The Washington Post:
Three of President Trump’s top advisers met with him in the Oval Office in May, determined to convince him that the new Ukrainian leader was an ally deserving of U.S. support. They had barely begun their pitch when Trump unloaded on them.... In Trump’s mind, the officials said, Ukraine’s entire leadership had colluded with the Democrats to undermine his 2016 presidential campaign. “They tried to take me down,” Trump railed.
Energy Secretary Rick Perry, the senior member of the group, assured Trump that the new Ukrainian president was different — a reformer in Trump’s mold who had even quoted President Ronald Reagan in his inaugural address, for which the three advisers had been present. But the harder they pushed in the Oval Office, the more Trump resisted. “They are horrible, corrupt people,” Trump told them....
“We could never quite understand it,” a former senior White House official said... “There were accusations that they had somehow worked with the Clinton campaign. There were accusations they’d hurt him. He just hated Ukraine.”....
Trump’s hatred, they concluded, was ingrained, irrational and possibly irreversible.
Actually, it's pretty clear that the previous Ukrainian government did, in fact, attempt to meddle in the US election in support of Hillary Clinton, and that probably colored Trump's feeling regarding Ukraine. And he still sent them more aid than the Obama administration.

Oh my God, a superior told a subordinate not to discuss a secret meeting? Impeach the President, Politico is still whining, Testimony: White House lawyer told Vindman not to discuss Ukraine call. He disobeyed. Lock him up!

And on to impeachment follies. Oh Mom! Do I have To? Democrats great fever dream, from Paul Callan at CNN, How a Trump impeachment could lead to a Pelosi presidency. You're not going to get enough votes in the Senate to convict Trump, let alone Pence. Keep smoking whatever it is. AllahPundit, a never-Trumper claims Some Senate Republicans Coming Around On Admitting That Trump Had A Quid Pro Quo With Ukraine, but not seeing the crime. AP, How ‘do us a favor’ led to Trump impeachment inquiry, with vivid imagination, and ill will.

The Dersh upon Da Hill, A partisan impeachment vote is exactly what the Framers feared. I don't think the founders really envisioned a permanent 2 party system, if so, why would they have made the VP the loser of the electoral college? But I think his point is still well taken, that they feared it becoming a political tool, as it has been every time it has been invoked since.
. . . no impeachment should ever move forward without bipartisan support. That is a tall order in our age of hyperpartisan politics in which party loyalty leaves little room for neutrality. Proponents of the House vote argue it is only about procedures and not about innocence or guilt and that further investigation may well persuade some Republicans to place principle over party and vote for impeachment or some Democrats to vote against impeachment. While that is entirely possible, the House vote would seem to make such nonpartisan neutrality extremely unlikely.
And Emma Green at Da Atlantic warns Americans Hate One Another. Impeachment Isn’t Helping. I think that overstates it. Just a little, though. From the libertarian perspective at Reason, Impeachment Is Both the Cause and the Effect of a Too-Powerful Presidency Again, I agree the presidency has become too powerful, I don't see a direct connection.
Rather than squabble over the presidency, Congress can and should reassert its considerable constitutional powers. It could start by reclaiming the sole right to declare war and rediscovering its lawmaking authority, the latter of which it has ceded to executive branch bureaucrats out of laziness, cowardice, and general ineptitude in the face of genuinely difficult work. But there's little evidence the legislative branch has any intention of doing that.
Kamala's sugar daddy at the SanFran Chronic, Impeachment a winner for Democrats? Don’t bet on it. Roger L. Simon PJ Media agrees, Dems' Impeachment Charade a Disaster for Them, Not the American People. And Scott Jennings at CNN, Democrats are wasting America's time on impeachment.
Let me skip to the end: The Democratic-majority US House of Representatives, in partisan fashion, is all but certain to impeach President Donald Trump. The Republican-majority Senate, in partisan fashion, will almost certainly acquit him. And the net result will be that Democrats will have abused the US Constitution to satisfy political passions instead of approaching impeachment as the solemn act the framers intended.
But Andy McCarthy at NR,  Impeachment Is Unpredictable
We don’t know what new revelations might emerge or whether they would unnerve the president’s GOP support.
I suppose, but if Democrats haven't found the smoking gun yet, they aren't likely to.

Althouse, Why is Adam Schiff — as chair of the Intelligence Committee — running the impeachment inquiry?
. . . But Schiff is and was an anti-Trump partisan. There's no way he's the sort of person who would be chosen as a special counsel like Robert Mueller or Ken Starr. It's an entirely unbelievable characterization. It was better to have things out in the open with Nadler's highly partisan public sessions!
Schiff has since declared he will not seek testimony from the whistleblower, which Republicans believe is aimed at preventing GOP lawmakers from asking the whistleblower about his coordination with the intelligence panel.
Is there some reason why we the people are not entitled to that information? I want to know. Once you go into secrecy mode, you create suspicions about what you are trying to hide.
 The AP reports Energy chief Perry asked to testify in impeachment inquiry.
Energy Department spokeswoman Shaylyn Hynes indicated Friday that Perry would not appear for the closed-door hearing but would consider testifying in a public session. Perry has already defied a subpoena from the committees for Ukraine-related documents.

“The Secretary will not partake in a secret star chamber inquisition where agency counsel is forbidden to be present,” Hynes said.
The correct response is FO.

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