Monday, November 25, 2019

Ruminating on Russiagate

A relatively slow day, as the weekend has less real news, and Washington D.C. starts to prepare for the annual Turkey Day food coma. Andy McCarthy at NR offers  educated speculation on reports that the IQ Horowitz report will leave the bulk of the FBI and DOJ ringleaders unscathed: The First Glimpse into Horowitz’s FISA-Abuse Report
If the narrative taking shape is that there may have been some abuses but it doesn’t change the fact that Russia meddled in the election, that misses the point. The questions are: What was the FBI’s evidence — which it represented as verified information in the warrant application — that the Trump campaign was in a cyberespionage conspiracy with the Kremlin? What evidence led the Bureau and the Justice Department to allege that Carter Page — who as late as spring 2016 was apparently cooperating in a federal prosecution of Russian spies — was a willful agent of the Putin regime engaged in clandestine activities against his own country?
. . .
If evidence tampering by a low-ranking FBI lawyer ended up making no difference to the validity of the Carter Page FISA warrants, that is hardly the stuff of scandal. It would be small-scale misconduct of the kind that unavoidably happens from time to time, and that the government has handled appropriately — by forcing the culprit out of the FBI and referring him to U.S. attorney Durham for possible prosecution.

On the other hand, if the Horowitz report is going to take the tack that, because Russia did in fact meddle in the 2016 campaign, any investigative overreach amounts merely to regrettable but understandable overzealousness, that would be a very big deal — and not in a good way.

The question is not whether Russia meddled. On four separate occasions, the FBI and the Justice Department solemnly told the FISC there were grounds to believe that Carter Page and others in the Trump campaign, potentially including Donald Trump himself, were complicit in a criminal conspiracy with the Kremlin. The question is: What was their compelling basis for making that explosive representation, which breached the American norm against government intrusion in our political process?
Sundance at CTH has Liars Club – Fusion GPS Glenn Simpson Claims He was Tricked by Russian Operative Natalia Veselnitskaya…
It would appear U.S. Attorney John Durham digging into the origin of the ‘vast Russian collusion-conspiracy’ has the founders of Fusion-GPS getting twitchy. The “Mamet Principle”of pretending not to know things was on full display today during a Meet the Press interview with Fusion founders Glenn Simpson and Peter Fritsch.

For obvious reasons fellow traveler Chuck Todd avoided the most damning lines of questioning including why they hired Nellie Ohr, why Simpson lied to the House intelligence committee, and why Glenn Simpson invoked the fifth amendment in refusing to testify to the House Judiciary Committee.

Dr. John at Flopping Aces reminds us Whistleblowers are sacred to democrats, but only if they harm the GOP
In January 2017 Adam Lovinger was selected by Michael Flynn to be part of the National Security Counsel after 12 years at the Office of Net Assessment as a Strategic Affairs analyst.

Then on May 1, 2017 he was stripped of his security clearance and demoted. He had made the grievous offense of discovering that Stefan Halper was being paid to spy on Americans. . . .
 Big news from Paul Sperry:
Twitchy, No WONDER they’re so desperate! Sharyl Attkisson shares timeline of ‘alleged’ sabotage of Trump in ’16 by Dems and Ukraine. It's extensive, and otherwise poorly reported.
Through Hot Air, NYT whines that New Documents Reveal Details Of Pompeo’s Role In Ukraine Affair
The emails indicate that Mr. Pompeo spoke at least twice by telephone with Mr. Giuliani in March as Mr. Giuliani was urging Ukraine to investigate Mr. Trump’s rivals, and trying to oust a respected American ambassador to Ukraine, Marie L. Yovanovitch, who had been promoting anticorruption efforts in the country. Mr. Pompeo ordered Ms. Yovanovitch’s removal the next month. The first call between Mr. Giuliani and Mr. Pompeo was arranged with guidance from Mr. Trump’s personal assistant, the documents suggest.
Oh My God, somebody spoke to somebody! Impeach them both! At PJ Media Rick Moran delves into how Biden, Graham Dispute Over Request for Hunter Biden Docs Gets Personal
Graham has requested documents on Hunter Biden and his Ukraine adventures. But father Joe is apparently very protective of his wayward son, and personally attacked his friend for even suggesting it.
Fox News: Former Vice President Joe Biden said Friday he is "embarrassed" for his former Senate colleague Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., over his request for documents pertaining to Hunter Biden and Ukraine.

But Biden's further remarks about Graham drew a response on Twitter from Trump lawyer Rudy Giuliani, who wrote that Biden's comments amounted to "a threat to a U.S. Senator," and reminded the former federal prosecutor of "my old mafia cases."
During an interview with CNN's Don Lemon, Biden also criticized President Trump, claiming Graham cannot break with the president for fear of losing his Senate seat in 2020.
Graham has sent a letter to Secretary of State Mike Pompeo requesting the release of any documents related to contacts between Joe Biden, Hunter Biden, and former Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko. Biden, whose own contacts with the Ukrainian government are being questioned, responded with a political attack.
Graham’s letter, which was released as the final day of public hearings in the House impeachment inquiry into Trump wrapped up, asked Pompeo to release a series of documents and transcripts of conversations in 2016 between Biden and Poroshenko in relation to an investigation into the Ukrainian natural gas company, Burisma Holdings.
Burisma – specifically, Hunter Biden’s role on the company’s board of directors – has become one of the main talking points from Trump and the Republicans amid the impeachment inquiry into the president.
In his interview with CNN, Biden said he is "quite frankly... angered" by Graham's move.
To judge Trump, it is only fair to uncover what the previous administration was doing with Ukraine. The president says he was trying to assist the Ukraine government in rooting out corruption. Wouldn't it be useful to discover what the Obama administration had been doing in that regard?
What does fairness have to do with impeachment? A reminder from Breitbart, Adam Schiff Ran Against Impeachment in First Campaign for Congress. Foolish consistency and all. Allah Pundit, at Hot Air sadly reports WaPo Reporter: We’re Hearing Behind The Scenes That More House Dems Are Getting “Cold Feet” About Impeachment and sundance reports how the House Calendar Doesn’t Align with Speaker Pelosi Talking Points, and House Resolution on Impeachment…. The year is getting short. But according to Jazz Shaw at Hot Air, Trump insists “I Want A Trial”. He always does better than expected in a chaotic, media driven environment. Town Hall, Uh Oh: Lefty Media Realizing Impeachment May Be Bad for Democrats. Nancy will get to say "I told you so!"

Taylor Millard at Hot Air says Schiff Not Planning Any More Hearings…Yet Does that mean he thinks he has all he needs, or he's run out of easy targets? See comments regarding calendar above. Michael Barone at WaEx propounds on The Democrats' impeachment pseudo-event
The Image: A Guide to Pseudo-Events is the title of a 1960s book by historian and Librarian of Congress Daniel Boorstin. Pseudo-events, he wrote, are staged solely to generate news media coverage. Real events, in contrast, involve independent actors and have unpredictable outcomes.

It’s not difficult to say which category the House Democrats’ impeachment hearings belongs in. It’s a classic pseudo-event stage-managed to prod sympathetic media into running predictable stories. Inconvenient questions from Republican members are blocked. Even the name of the original “whistleblower” is concealed, though no law requires that, and the stage managers know who he is.

Yet on the front pages and cable news, this pseudo-event is crowding out two genuine events of potentially world-shaking importance and uncertain outcome.
President Trump is going to be impeached by the House and will not be removed from office by the Senate. But the potential for regime change — or regime rigidification — resulting from the prolonged rioting in Hong Kong and recent protests in Iran is hugely consequential and entirely unpredictable.
Sundance watches (and clips) the Sunday talk shows so you don't have to:Steve Bannon -vs- Maria Bartiromo on Political Pros/Cons of Impeachment… Congressman Lee Zeldin Discusses “Where we go from here”…. and Representative Elise Stefanik -vs- Maria Bartiromo… |

The Slatest from Slate (cute pun, huh?) Giuliani Once Again Says He Has “Insurance” if Trump Throws Him “Under the Bus”
“I’ve seen things written like he’s going to throw me under the bus. When they say that, I say he isn’t, but I have insurance,” Giuliani went on to say. “This is ridiculous. We are very good friends. He knows what I did was in order to defend him, not to dig up dirt on [former Vice President Joe] Biden.”
When you dig into Ukraine, you find Bidens. Kyle Smith at NR, What If the Democrats Hadn’t Cried Wolf?
The excitable team of Brian Stelter and Oliver Darcy is especially excitable in Stelter’s a.m. newsletter today. Darcy, filling in today for Stelter, thinks everything has changed. “Historic day” is the headline of his newsletter. Isn’t every day? Approvingly, he quotes CNN colleague Jeffrey Toobin: “I think you can divide the Trump presidency into two periods, before November 20th, 2019, and after, because now we know. I mean, now we know that every fantasy about how corrupt this administration was is actually true. That this was a corrupt enterprise from the very beginning.”

I won’t bore you by listing all the other times Team Excitable has solemnly declared that Suddenly Everything Has Changed, the Other Shoe Finally Dropped, and it’s The Beginning of the End. Just to give a quick recap, Trump was going to be dragged out of the Oval Office because he colluded with the Russians during his campaign; because he fired James Comey, which was obstruction of justice; because he paid off Stormy Daniels; because he interfered with the Mueller investigation, which was obstruction of justice; and because he violated the Emoluments Clause by continuing to be a hotelier. This last was deemed the “number one” reason to impeach Trump by the Democratic party’s shaman-healer-id, Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, as recently as April.

Toobin’s statement is self-contradicting; Gordon Sondland’s testimony didn’t demonstrate that this administration “was a corrupt enterprise from the very beginning.” That Toobinism is the Democrats’ problem; the fact that they’ve been calling this administration a corrupt enterprise from the very beginning negates the idea that Sondland’s Testimony has Changed Everything. Darcy enthusiastically quotes pundits who called yesterday a “John Dean moment.” I think not. People who grew up in the 1930s and 1940s were about four standard deviations less cynical about politics than everyone is today.

Brian Stelter’s newsletter would have us believe that yesterday was like the moment when Krusty the Clown’s switch was flipped from Good to Evil.
. . .
These hearings might be a different story if the Democratic-media blob had managed to restrain itself from ever uttering the I word until September 25, when Trump released the transcript of the July 25 phone call with the Ukrainians. If the Demmedia had spent these first three years of the Trump administration building up a reputation as honest, sober brokers who fully conceded the legitimacy of Trump’s election and were not interested in trying to beat him to death with every wisp of straw they could get their hands on, the citizenry might actually be listening to these hearings and becoming as angry as the Democrats wish them to be. Instead, the New York Times is running pieces such as, “‘No One Believes Anything’: Voters Worn Out by a Fog of Political News . . . Many Americans are throwing up their hands and tuning it all out.” Whose fault is that, Democrats?
Paul Bedard at WaEx tells of the  Historian who calls Trump ‘one of America’s great presidents,’ impeachment no ‘scar’
President Trump should be considered one of America’s “greatest presidents” for his achievements so far despite the impeachment drive that in the end, will be viewed as a partisan attack similar to the Russia collusion charge, according to a New York Times best-selling historian and presidential adviser.

“Donald Trump should easily be ranked as one of America’s great presidents,” writes Doug Wead in his upcoming book, Inside Trump's White House: The Real Story Of His Presidency, a copy of which was shared with Secrets today.

In listing Trump’s efforts on the economy, in foreign policy, and presidential communications, Wead argued that the president’s legacy won't be destroyed by impeachment because it showed that he was under Democratic attack from the start yet still accomplished his agenda.

“It is very possible that the preposterous Russian collusion story has successfully inoculated Donald Trump from any new scandals that the impeachment process can uncover. While Russian collusion was meant to be a knockout blow, it may, in the end, be his key to political survival,” wrote Wead, an adviser to both Bush presidencies and Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul.
 And what has been the reaction?
He has been the target of several pre-publication death threats that he said the FBI believes are from anti-Trump activists.

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