Sunday, December 8, 2019

Russiagate and The Peleton Girl

We have a relative (and I stress relative, since recent days have been overflowing) dearth of Russiagate today, which, will I'm sure, pick up tomorrow, as the IG Horowitz report becomes public, and the House Democrats restart their efforts to impeach the President.

We'll lead of with a post of sundance at CTH where he expresses his fear that IQ Horowitz is going to pull a lot of punches in his report based on a highly flexible, and seemingly partisan interpretation of intent, and the need for intent for a crime to be committed in Varying Expectations For IG Horowitz Report – The Convenient Application of “intent”……
If prior IG reports are predictive we should see something akin to:

…Everyone collectively just happened to make identical mistakes, at the same time, in the same direction, together with all the administrative staff within all intelligence organizations… many of them were professionally trained lawyers… but no-one did anything wrong on purpose….

Remember the modern mantra for DOJ definitions of legality are all about “intent“.
I'm not quite as pessimistic about it, but yes, generally I suspect that DOJ types contort themselves not to find criminal acts in colleagues in the same game, the same professional courtesy that keeps sharks from eating lawyers. Victor Davis Hanson seems to share the fears in When Our Guardians Fail Us. However, someone is doing something about it, as Judicial Watch files 5 more lawsuits: Pelosi/Schiff Abuse Worsens, FBI “Finds” Clinton Emails, PLUS 5 NEW JW Lawsuits Against Deep State. One in particular to note:
As the coup abuse against President Trump accelerates, Judicial Watch focuses on the real Ukraine collusion scandal. We just sued the State Department for documents related to a reported “untouchables list” given by former U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine Marie Yovanovitch to Ukraine Prosecutor General Yuriy Lutsenko in late 2016 (Judicial Watch vs. U.S. Department of State) (No. 1:19-cv-03563).

Lutsenko recently told The New York Times that Yovanovitch “pressed him not to prosecute anti-corruption activists.” Lutsenko previously reportedly said the do-not-prosecute list included a founder of the Ukraine group Anti-Corruption Action Centre (AntAC), which was funded by George Soros foundations and the U.S. federal government, and two members of the Ukrainian Parliament who vocally supported the Soros group’s agenda:
. . .
We filed our FOIA lawsuit here in DC after the State Department failed to respond to our September 24, 2019, FOIA request for:

  • All records of communication between the Department of State and any representative of the Ukrainian government regarding any actual or proposed investigation or prosecution of the AntAC; the International Renaissance Foundation [Open Society Foundations’ office in Ukraine]; and/or Transparency International.
  • All records concerning any meeting or telephonic conversation between former Ambassador Marie Yovanovitch and former Ukrainian Prosecutor General Yuriy Lutsenko.
  • All records related to the list of individuals and entities provided to Lutsenko by Yovanovitch in late 2016.
Another target is Michael K. Atkinson – former Assistant Attorney General in DOJ’s National Security Division (NSD) from 2016 to 2018 and currently Inspector General of the Intelligence Community (ICIG).
During the period Atkinson was legal advisor to Carlin and later McCord, the FISA court found there was “significant non-compliance with the NSA’s minimization procedures involving queries of data,” otherwise known as spying, under the Obama Administration. Additionally, during this period, DOJ-NSD was working in coordination with the FBI Counterintelligence Unit on Operation Crossfire Hurricane, which included former FBI officials Bill Priestap, Peter Strzok and Lisa Page. Page was the intermediary between FBI Counterintelligence and DOJ-NSD.

Since becoming Inspector General, Atkinson also has come under scrutiny for his handling of the so-called “whistleblower” complaint raising concerns about President Trump’s dealings with Ukraine, which became the basis for the ongoing impeachment proceedings against Trump:

  • Atkinson changed the standing practice of requiring whistleblowers to present firsthand information in order to have their complaint considered both “credible” and “of urgent concern” for submission under the Intelligence Community Whistleblower Protection Act.
  • After receiving the complaint and a recommendation from Atkinson that it be referred to Congress, the DNI refused to forward the complaint because, based on an opinion of the Justice Department Office of Legal Counsel, “The complaint submitted to the ICIG does not involve an ‘urgent concern.’” In testimony before Congress, Acting Director of National Intelligence Joseph Maguire, said the complaint was essentially “hearsay” and not “corroborated by other folks.”
  • After the existence of the whistleblower was leaked to the press, Atkinson told Congress he was unaware the whistleblower had first gone around him to House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff and his staff with his complaint before submitting it to the IG’s office.
Since Judicial Watch has a far better record of forcing the government to reveal secrets than anyone else, I look forward to the results. Unfortunately, these things take forever, as the government drags its feet at every opportunity.

Dan Chaitin at WaEx, 'I would be a coward if I didn't speak out': Comey blasts Mattis for silence on Trump. Naw, he wasn't biased,

Fox, GOP senators seek records on 'connection' between Dem operatives, Ukrainian officials in 2016, Meanwhile, Democrats are trying to establish a precedent that investigating Democrats during election season (and it's always election season) is illegal. Gateway Pundit, Once Again… Biden Deflects to Trump Impeachment After Reporter Confronts Him About Son Hunter and Burisma During Iowa Bus Tour (VIDEO), Even Politico pounces, ‘People have real questions about this’: Hunter-Ukraine questions cloud Biden tour “I probably shouldn’t have challenged him to pushups,” Biden told reporters when asked about the run-in." Through Hot Air, the NYT whines about the GOP Impeachment Tactic: Turn Ukraine Allegations Against Biden., and at Red State, Liz Vaughn writes Dems Panic After The Republican Chairmen of Three Senate Committees Request the ‘Transcribed Staff-Led Interviews’ of Alexandra Chalupa. I wonder why?

Anne Althouse, I'm catching up on Rudy Giuliani's tweets about Ukraine. "I won't do links for each tweet. Here's his Twitter page. I'm just crushing everything together. The relevant tweets are from December 5 to December 7." Pretty interesting, actually.

Stacy McCain, The Impeachment Circus Continues, But Does Any Sane Person Actually Care?
I’ve spent the past week ignoring the impeachment circus, but did you know that “the Trump campaign took in $15 million in small-dollar donations in the first three days after Pelosi announced the inquiry”? Did you know that Trump’s approval rating has gone up since the Shifty Schiff UkraineGate hearings began last month? Not to dismiss the seriousness of all this — the fact that Nancy Pelosi believes she has a mandate for impeachment is disturbing, even if you think it’s absurd — but it is difficult to see how this is going to be anything other than a political catastrophe for Democrats. And CNN, but I repeat myself. . . .
Well, if you go further, I assume you care. At WaPoo, Marc Thiessen thinks Pelosi may have signed a political death warrant for moderate Democrats in Trump districts. One can only hope. Across the pond at the Guardian, Nancy Pelosi is bungling the impeachment inquiry into Trump  Althouse,"[M]oderate Democrats are worried that liberals in their own party are going to put forward articles of impeachment that are hard to vote for and even harder to explain voting for..."
"Democrats in politically difficult districts tend to favor writing charges that most closely hew to the Ukraine affair and might be most easy to explain to voters, while lawmakers from more solidly Democratic turf are feeling more adventurous and tend to want to reach out toward former special counsel Robert Mueller's Russia probe and other matters.... 'Judiciary’s not really reaching out to the people' whose political fates could rest on their impeachment votes, one senior Democratic aide close to party moderates said. 'There are 31 Democrats who are going to have to live, breathe and die this vote for the next year.'... Meanwhile Republican-aligned outside groups... have been trying to influence Democratic lawmakers by running advertisements and conducting polling in their districts..."
From "Why moderates are holding back on impeachment/Analysis: Some Democrats say they don't want to commit to articles they haven't seen"
Althouse, "See? They're so desperate. They're like 'Oh, no! Nobody cares!'"
I say out loud when I click on the link Meade just messaged me from across the room: "Why care about the Trump impeachment? Your right to vote in free elections is at stake/The Trump impeachment is about protecting our freedom and right to vote from lawless foreign election manipulation invited by a dangerous president" by Laurence Tribe (USA Today)
"Peleton Girl, Monica Ruiz
Insty, ED MENTIONED THIS EARLIER, BUT THIS IS FUNNY ENOUGH TO MENTION AGAIN: ‘Peloton Girl’ Stars as Herself in the Greatest Sequel Ever: An Aviation Gin Ad. (YouTube version here.)
Meanwhile, one of my Facebook friends has composed “Peloton Girl,” to the tune of Neil Young’s “Cinnamon Girl,” and it’s a boss hitbound single:
I wanna live with a Peloton girl
I’ll be athletic the rest of my life
With a Peloton girl
We ride in the daytime, we run in the night
Getting our cardio under the moonlight
My Peloton girl.
Well, you get the idea. Hey, she’s more popular than the impeachment hearings. So she’s got that going for her, which is nice.
EBL has a nice spread on the "Peleton Girl," Peloton Wife: Monica Ruiz 😬🚴🏻‍♀️🎄. I can appreciate both the Peleton Girl and the Impeachment Follies.

At PJ Media Michael van der Galien thinks Impeachment Is Destroying CNN. Who?

A national security aide to Vice President Mike Pence submitted additional classified evidence to House impeachment investigators about a phone call between Pence and Ukraine's president, House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff revealed Friday.

In a letter to Pence, Schiff (D-Calif.) asked the vice president to declassify supplemental testimony from the aide, Jennifer Williams, about Pence’s Sept. 18 phone call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, arguing that there is no “legitimate basis” to keep it secret.

“The Office of the Vice President’s decision to classify ‘certain portions’ of the Sept. 18 call … cannot be justified on national security or any other legitimate grounds we can discern,” Schiff wrote to Pence, requesting a response by Dec. 11.
He's got a lot of Chutzpah complaining about abuse of classification.

 Twitchy, Rep. Devin Nunes says his phone records do not match what Rep. Adam Schiff put into his report. Sundance, Devin Nunes: “My phone records don’t match what Schiff, Dems put in report”…

Via Insty, JOSH BLACKMAN AND SETH BARRETT TILLMAN: Defining a Theory of ‘Bribery’ for Impeachment.
“We disagree with this framework for analyzing bribery in the political context. Indeed, this theory, if adopted by the House, could have consequences for the separation of powers. The executive branch could come to view routine political compromises and horse-trading as illegal, and subject members of Congress to investigation and indictment. This theory would also make it effectively impossible for the president to exercise his personal constitutional authority to investigate wrongdoing by anyone, including those closely affiliated with his opponents, lest he be charged with a quid pro quo. The better theory, we contend, is that President Trump made a lawful request to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky to begin an investigation of Hunter Biden, just as he could regarding any other Americans for that matter.”
All I know is that if a Democratic president had done the exact same thing regarding a Republican, we’d be hearing “politics ain’t beanbag.”
Sundance, Chairman Nadler Announces House Presenters for Monday Impeachment Inquisition…
According to the visible structure Lawfare Counsel Barry Berke (representing the majority) and Republican Counsel Stephen Castor (representing the minority) will make opening arguments to the House Judiciary Committee.

Lawfare Counsel Daniel Goldman & Lawfare Counsel Barry Berke will then present the evidence for impeachment. House judiciary member questioning will look like last week’s questioning of academic impeachment experts.

The Wombat has Rule 5 Sunday: Bonnie Bedelia and FMJRA 2.0: [This Space Intentionally Left Blank] up and running on time and within budget.

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