Tuesday, November 26, 2019

Wading Through the Swamp of Russiagate

It seemed like small puddle until I got started: Sundance at CTH makes the case for a Disturbing Likelihood – FBI Lawyer Manipulated Carter Page’s Own Communication With FBI to Target Him…
There is a very strong likelihood the documentary material that FBI Lawyer Kevin Clinesmith falsified was actual communication from Carter Page to the FBI where Page was seeking their help in 2017. This revelation would explain and reconcile two seemingly contrasting points:
  • Point one – The media have asserted, based on leaks from the principal reviews, the woods file manipulation by Clinesmith did not impact the validity of the original FISA application on October 21st, 2017.
  • Point two – The material Kevin Clinesmith did manipulate was so egregious and unethical, it stands as one of the most clear examples of corrupt FBI abuse of power in recent history.
This outline will highlight a VERY disturbing picture: . . 
Margot Cleveland at Da Fed reports on a number of other Blockbusters Buried In The IG Report On FBI Misuse Of Confidential Sources. More things that the media don't want you to think about:
The most startling revelation in the audit concerned how the FBI handles problems with a CHS’s credibility or accuracy. The report first noted that “validation documents relevant to the credibility of a CHS may be discoverable in judicial proceedings,” explaining that:
. . .
Then the IG detailed that its investigation revealed several troubling steps the FBI took to avoid the mandates of Brady and Giglio.
Dan Chaitin at WaEx, 'Nervous' leakers: Early peek into DOJ watchdog's FISA report emboldens Trump allies leads to Bruce Thornton at Front Page who wonders Will Justice for Trump be Served in the DOJ Inspector General Report?
But for three years, investigation after investigation has led to a few minnows being forced to resign with Cadillac pensions and lucrative jobs at MSNBC awaiting them, while the whales are still swimming freely. The American voters who supported Trump are not going to continue playing Charlie Brown to the investigative Lucy serially jerking the football away. We need to see indictments and trials or punitive plea-bargains, not meaningless slaps on the wrist for “sloppiness” and procedural corner-cutting. Even if juries acquit these rogue bureaucrats, most people will be satisfied that justice has been done.
 Matt Margolis at PJ Media has a FLASHBACK: Former DNI James Clapper Implicated Barack Obama in 2016 Election Scandal. Scott Johnson at Power Line challenges you to Spot the crime in progress. The BL brings Connection revealed between FBI and lawyer working for Hillary Clinton
According to Judicial Watch President Tim Fitton’s statements to Fox News, Wilkinson, who was the lawyer for Cheryl Mills, Heather Samuelson, Jake Sullivan and Philippe Reines, Clinton’s advisers, had a favorable contact with FBI officials who were in charge of the former U.S. Secretary of State’s private server.

Fitton described the situation as “outrageous,” pointing out that for the same reason a criminal investigation should be opened against Clinton.
Making you truly convinced of the media's non-partisanship, Bloomberg News Will Only Investigate Donald Trump. No conflict of interest there. Insty, DEMOCRATS: TRUMP’S WORSE THAN HITLER! Also Democrats: Let’s give him extensive warrantless spying powers! Extending FISA, which they have abused extensively and expect to continue to do so.

Julie Kelly at AmGreat on Devin Nunes, A ‘Farm Kid’ Thwarts the Coup
As chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, Nunes released a memo in February 2018 describing how Barack Obama’s Justice Department misled the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court to obtain permission to spy on Donald Trump’s presidential campaign. Democrats did not want that memo out. In the days and weeks leading up its distribution, Smith describes how the crusade against Nunes “took an even more dangerous turn.”

An orchestrated assault against Nunes’ family, including his wife and three young daughters, posed such a threat that law enforcement agents were assigned to the grade school where Nunes’ wife works. Hackers imitated Nunes’ cell phone numbers; calls were made to up to two dozen relatives, including his 98-year-old grandmother and mother-in-law, so they would answer.

“Then they made it sound like I was kidnapped and that I’d better back off or something bad’s going to happen to me,” Nunes told Smith. “So clearly they had a whole plan where they called to threaten all of those people.”
And CNN proudly reports continued harassment of The Donald as National Enquirer company chief David Pecker talking with New York prosecutors.

On the Ukraine matter, a couple of articles from WaEx. First, from Byron York, ANALYSIS: Why did Trump release Ukraine aid? The answer is simple
"They all became convinced of the same thing," Jordan said last week. "Hey, Mr. President, this guy is real. Go ahead and release the dollars." Jordan also noted that the new Ukrainian parliament was working on anti-corruption reform measures at the time.

Trump's true reason for releasing the aid matters to the Democratic impeachment scheme. If he released the money after learning about the whistleblower — after he realized the jig was up — then that, at least to Democrats, suggests guilt. If he released it after gaining confidence in Zelensky, that does not suggest guilt.

But the evidence suggests that neither explanation is correct, that there is a much simpler reason for Trump's decision to release the aid. On the day he OK'd the aid, Trump learned that Congress was going to force his hand and spend the money anyway. He could either go along or get run over.
. . .
At that point, the president knew he could not maintain the hold on aid in the face of bipartisan congressional action. So he gave in. By early evening on Sept. 11, the hold was lifted.

It was an entirely unremarkable end to the story. President tries to do something. Congress opposes. President sees he has no support and backs down. It has happened many, many times with many, many presidents.

In the end, the release of the aid is not dramatic proof of anything in the Trump-Ukraine matter. The facts do not support the Democratic notion that the president "got caught," knew he was guilty, and gave in. It is not a smoking gun. It is a story of a president and Congress bumping up against each other on spending, and, as often happens, Congress won.
and from Ed Scarry, New York Times memory-holes its own report that Ukraine interfered in 2016 election. But that was then and this is now, and the narrative requires no interference in the election by Ukraine.

At his own site, John Solomon Reports A dozen document troves that could change the Ukraine scandal if Trump released them "#6, All FBI, CIA, Treasury Department and State Department documents concerning possible wrongdoing at Burisma Holdings." Yes, let's see them.

As AllahPundit reports bitterly, Lindsey Graham Responds To Biden: I’m Not Going To Let Our Friendship Stop Me From Investigating Burisma
He’s 99 percent right and I said so on Saturday in writing about Biden’s whiny critique of him. Of all the shots Grandpa Joe could take at Graham, complaining that he’s a bad friend because he won’t conclusively presume his and Hunter’s innocence in the Burisma matter is among the lamest.
At CR, Graham fires back at Joe Biden’s warning: Hunter’s Burisma job ‘doesn’t pass the smell test’. Smells like that stuff they put in natural gas to make leaks obvious. But Lindsey doesn't have any kids to support. Da Nang Dick issues another threat to Lindsey, Sen. Blumenthal: Lindsey Graham Will ‘Regret’ Investigating Biden (Breitbart).

On Impeachment Follies, sundance catches Schiff admitting the weakness of his case, Impeachment by Public Opinion – Oh Noes: Adam Schiff’s Terribly, Horribly, Painfully Transparent Back-Tracking…
Well, there’s a slightly less than strong impeachment position: Impeachment by “inference”.. he says. Previously Mueller and Weissmann attempted to prosecute President Trump, the fictitious horse-thief, for attempting to obstruct his hanging; now Schiff is inferring guilt because President Trump didn’t present alibis for his whereabouts when the fictitious horse wasn’t stolen…. Yup, it’s looking like a fail.
Even Allah Pundit sadly admits, Little Change In Public’s View Of Impeachment After Sondland’s “Bombshell” Testimony or CNN, CNN Poll: No change in views on impeachment after public hearings. That was a whole lot of noise for nothing then. Issues and Insights, Do Democrats Realize How Much Trouble They’re In? Americans are not happy with the abuse of process taking place.
It looked at data from a Politico/Morning Consult poll and found that “independents see impeachment as a continuation of the partisan bickering and media excess that began even before his inauguration.”
At Town Hall, Jeff Courere claims Impeachment Is Destroying Democrats, Matt Margolis, PJ Media, Impeachment Is Falling Apart as Moderate Democrats Get Cold Feet, and as if to prove it, Swing State Dem Flips on Impeachment (NR).
“You can censure, you don’t have to remove the president,” Lawrence said Sunday on No BS News Hour with Charlie LeDuff. “Sitting here, knowing how divided this country is, I don’t see the value of kicking him out of office, but I do see the value of putting down a marker saying his behavior is not acceptable.”
Doug Schoen on Da Hill, Why this impeachment will simply give President Trump exoneration
Democrats have failed to truly shift public opinion and build a national consensus that Trump deserves to be impeached and removed from office. After two weeks of public testimony and depositions, Democrats were unable to persuade Representative Will Hurd of Texas, a moderate Republican that many Democrats had hoped would cross party lines and come out in favor of impeachment. At the hearing, he said he had “not heard evidence proving the president committed bribery or extortion.”
At the Peacock, Noah Rothman: Democrats' 'bribery' impeachment strategy is an unforced error with sobering consequences
But regardless of the lawyerly rhetorical contortions Democrats have performed to make the charge stick, “bribery” doesn’t describe what is alleged to have occurred here. The allegation is that the president misused his authority to secure domestic political advantage, and he did so by withholding rewards Ukraine might expect if it were to, in the whistleblower’s words, “play ball.” The benefit he might have achieved from Ukraine could be construed as material in nature, but the actions in which he engaged to secure that benefit look more like blackmail than solicitation.
At RCP, The Trump Impeachment Theme Song: 'Is That All There Is?' The Democrats have thrown a lot of spaghetti on the wall, but none of it has stuck.
Listen, for instance, to David Holmes, who is based at the U.S. Embassy in Kyiv, in his opening statement at Thursday’s hearing, as he talks about the infamous July 25 call between President Trump and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky:

“Upon reading the transcript, I was deeply disappointed to see that the president raised none of what I understood to be our interagency agreed-upon foreign policy priorities in Ukraine and instead raised the Biden/Burisma investigation.”

This suggests that the priorities of the “interagency” are more important than the priorities of the president. It also implies that political considerations should not influence foreign policy. This is absurd. Political considerations always affect foreign policy. The current president’s approach to China is far different than that of his predecessor. So is his approach to North Korea. Yet Holmes raised concerns in his opening statement about the “emergence of a political agenda” in Ukraine.

The question of whether Ukraine interfered in our 2016 presidential election may be debated, but if it was legitimate for President Obama to authorize spying on candidate Trump’s campaign in 2016 because of concerns about Russian interference, it is certainly equally legitimate for President Trump to ask for an investigation into Ukraine’s role in the same election.
Conor Friedsdorf at the Atlantic writes Why the Strongest Argument Against Impeachment Fails which comes basically down to "Orange man bad."
If the House nevertheless votes down impeachment, or if the Senate declines to convict, what seems more likely? That Trump will stop pressuring foreign regimes to undermine his challenger in the next presidential election, or that, having faced no consequences, he will redouble his efforts to get that foreign help?

And if that eventuality doesn’t bother partisan Republicans, they should imagine how they would feel if a future President Bernie Sanders threatened to withhold foreign aid from Ukraine or Venezuela or Cuba unless those regimes took actions to cast Tom Cotton or Nikki Haley in a negative light.
The compliant liberal press would simply not consider the question.

Allah Pundit hopefully reports ABC: Schiff’s Committee Has Photos, Audio, Video Recordings From Rudy Associate Lev Parnas, Some Of Which Involve Trump And Giuliani, then "Bonchie" at Red State counters with Adam Schiff Throws Up His Impeachment Hail Mary
We’ve entered the fourth quarter and the Democrats are down seven, having failed to capitalize off their public impeachment hearings and seeing support slipping. It’s desperation time and Adam Schiff, always the sucker when it comes to misinformation, is throwing his Hail Mary.

The background on this is that a man named Lev Parnas is currently under federal indictment by the SDNY for a variety of crimes, none of which actually relate to Donald Trump. Naturally, that means the guy facing decades behind bars is going to now claim he’s got damaging information on Trump and other Republicans. It’s the Michael Cohen strategy and it’s apparently catnip for House Democrats.
. . .
The key part of this is that Parnas claims he once asked a Ukrainian oligarch named Dmitry Firtash to help dig up dirt on Biden. In exchange, he promised to somehow influence the DOJ to drop some criminal charges. That should be the first clue that this is a desperate con man searching for a way out. There is a 0% chance that Parnas had any actual influence in the DOJ. The conspiracy theory here is that Trump, through Giuliani, was somehow doing this deal with Parnas as the frontman. But if Trump had any real pull with investigations within the Justice Department, don’t you think he’d have stopped a few other investigations over the past three years? None of it makes any sense.

Perhaps Parnas decided to invent some leverage to use or Giuliani made some empty promises through him. The fact that sleazy people might try to do sleazy things to try to get opposition research wouldn’t surprise me at all. But the relevancy here to impeachment is nil. Parnas is a guy facing hard time and he’s looking for Adam Schiff to save him.

Want to know how I know? Because Schiff’s committee has had these materials for a week and not a single thing has leaked out. If there was any incriminating video or audio involving President Trump, it’d have been leaked immediately (just like all the transcript excerpts) because it would have bolstered the public hearings. The more likely reality is that these are simply pictures of Parnas and Trump in public. Perhaps he also has some recordings of Giuliani talking about getting information on Biden.
Politico,  Don McGahn must testify about time as White House lawyer, judge rules, countered by sundance, HJC -vs- White House – Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson Predictably Rules White House Counsel Don McGahn Must Testify….
This decision (full pdf below) was easily predicted for the past several weeks. The HJC -vs- White House case for McGahn testimony will be appealed and join the HJC -vs- White House case surrounding grand jury information in the DC appellate court.
WASHINGTON — A federal judge ruled late Monday that former White House counsel Don McGahn must obey a subpoena for his testimony issued by the House Judiciary Committee.
Federal District Court Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson [pictured right] said McGahn must appear before Congress but retains the ability to “invoke executive privilege where appropriate” during his appearance. The judge did not put her own ruling on hold, but the Trump administration will likely seek one to put the effect of her ruling on hold while it
pursues an appeal. (link)
Nancy Pelosi and House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerry Nadler need a full House impeachment authorization vote to try and overcome the current obstacles they are facing. The authority for the House Judiciary Committee (HJC) to penetrate the constitutional firewall that protects the separation of power in the main issue; but there are other structural/legal issues that also exist.

1 comment:

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