Friday, February 28, 2020

Russiagate in the Time of the Plague

Russiagate appears to have succumbed to a case of coronavirus, there isn't very much, and it's kind of sickly. From Liz Vaughn at Red State, Stunning: Dan Bongino Reveals FBI 302 from May 2017; FBI Team Tells Rod Rosenstein the President is NOT a Suspect
It’s been clear for a long time that the FBI and Robert Mueller knew early on that President Trump had done nothing wrong.

For example, we know that after the FBI’s January 2017 interview with dossier author Christopher Steele’s primary sub-source, they had a pretty good idea it was all a lie. The FBI interviewed the sub-source two additional times, in March and in May 2017 and by then, they were sure of it.

We also learned from the testimony of former FBI lawyer, Lisa Page, that in May 2017, when the FBI turned their counterintelligence investigation over to Robert Mueller, they still had no evidence that Trump had colluded with the Russians to win the election. The FBI had been investigating Trump for ten months at that point.

Until now, we’ve never seen any of those involved actually admit it.

In the following excerpts from an FBI 302 report (summary written by an FBI agent following an interview), it is made clear three times that the FBI did not believe President Trump was a suspect. (Source of information: The Dan Bongino Show, Episode 1191, February 27, 2020)
1. FBI agents confirmed to [acting Attorney General Rod] Rosenstein on May 10, 2017 that the President was not a suspect.
2. This was also Rosenstein’s impression from his initial April 28 briefing he received from then Director Comey.
3. Rosenstein elaborated that based on his May 10 briefing, “there appeared to be no evidence the President was involved personally.”
FD-302 (excerpt): FBI Interview of Rod Rosenstein: May 23, 2017 (emphasis mine) . . .
Cued up to the start of the discussion:

He also takes on the Stone juror issue subsequently

From Breitbart, Scalise: FISA Abusers Need to Be Held Accountable, but they probably won't be. The DOJ is too chicken to take on it's own. Prove me wrong.

From Taylor Millard, Hot Air, FISA Reform Delayed Over Alleged Poison Pills
The House Judiciary Committee was supposed to vote today on a bill making changes to the Patriot Act and Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, portions of which are set to expire next month. It looks like things are on hold, however, following a disagreement involving Congressmen Adam Schiff and Jerry Nadler, and Congresswoman Zoe Lofgren. Via POLITICO:
Rep. Zoe Lofgren (D-Calif.) is preparing Wednesday to offer five amendments that would reform the Watergate-era law, known as FISA, that senior House Democrats see as “poison pills” that would doom the bill in the House. Her push is already rankling top Democrats, who say her proposals would upend months of delicate negotiations that resulted in a bill backed by House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerry Nadler (D-N.Y.) and House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff (D-Calif.).
. . .
The White House is interested in reform but their push appears different from the bill currently in Congress. Attorney General Bill Barr discussed the issue with Senate Republicans yesterday; a meeting POLITICO reported showed a divide between the party on what reforms are necessary.
Attorney General William Barr told Senate Republicans on Tuesday that the Trump administration could support a clean extension of contentious surveillance laws set to expire next month. And Barr said he could make changes on his own to satisfy President Donald Trump and his allies who have railed against the use of the law to monitor his 2016 campaign, according to senators at a party briefing…
But Barr also sparred with skeptics, primarily libertarian-leaning Sens. Mike Lee of Utah and Rand Paul of Kentucky, according to two people familiar with the meeting. Barr told Lee his criticisms of surveillance law are dangerous, while Paul said Americans shouldn’t be subject to secret FISA courts, one of the people said.
The internal change suggestion by Barr bothers me because it gives more power to the executive branch. I realize people will argue he’s the attorney general and should be able to define Justice Department policy, however, it could allow any future modifications to stay in the dark without ever becoming public. It’s not worth putting more power in the hands of bureaucrats, regardless of who’s in office.
Sundance at CTH, Rand Paul: President Trump Does Not Support Clean FISA renewal – McConnell Meets With President Trump to Discuss… Toss it all, and start over. Some work cannot be saved.
“FISA warrants should not be issued against Americans,” Paul said on Thursday afternoon. “Americans shouldn’t be spied on by a secret court. I think he agrees completely with that and that’s the amendment that I’m going to insist on. I’m not letting anything go easy without a vote on my amendment.”

Paul’s conversation with Trump could blow up plans by Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) to extend those expiring authorities, which McConnell said was his preference on Tuesday. (read more)
Chuck Ross at Da Caller, British University Deserves More Scrutiny Over Stefan Halper Ties, Says Researcher Who Knows FBI Informant
“The University of Cambridge was a pivotal place for Spygate,” said Svetlana Lokhova, an academic who studied Soviet-era espionage under one of Halper’s closest associates, Christopher Andrew.

Cambridge has been unwilling to talk about Halper ever since the Daily Caller News Foundation reported in March 2018 that he had a series of contacts during the 2016 presidential campaign with three Trump campaign aides, Carter Page, Sam Clovis and George Papadopoulos.

After confirming that Halper was an FBI informant, that Cambridge staff had been instructed not to discuss Halper, The Washington Post reported in June 2018.

Lokhova, who is writing a forthcoming book about Halper, said she filed several unanswered complaints with her former school seeking an investigation of Halper.

She said she believes Halper to be behind rumors that ended up in the press in 2017 that she had improper contacts with Michael Flynn in February 2014, at an event hosted by the Cambridge Intelligence Seminar, which Halper co-convenes with Christopher Andrew and Sir Richard Dearlove, the former head of MI6.
 Rick Moran at PJ Media, Top Election Security Official Will Keep Her Job After Overstating Russian Interference to Congress
The top intelligence election security official in the U.S. will keep her job after overstating Russian interference in the 2020 election to Congress.

Shelby Pierson, the Intelligence Community Election Threats Executive, briefed Congress earlier this month and said that Russia was interfering in the 2020 election and was showing a preference for Donald Trump. But other officials said that was a "mischaracterization" and an "overstatement" of Russia's intentions.
. . .
But new ODNI Director Richard Grenell apparently thought it prudent to protect Pierson, despite her committing an error that should have cost the woman her job.
News that Pierson is staying put comes amid a shake-up atop the Office of the Director of National Intelligence leadership structure, as acting Director Joseph Maguire was replaced by US Ambassador to Germany Richard Grenell, who then quickly forced out the No. 2 intelligence official in the US government, Andrew Hallman.
Maguire formally resigned last week after Trump made it clear he would not be nominated for the full-time intelligence chief job, a source familiar with the matter tells CNN. The briefing Pierson gave to lawmakers was a key component behind his ouster, with a White House official telling CNN that the President became irate with Maguire over it.
Trump used Pierson's gaffe as an excuse to can Maguire but why didn't Pierson get the boot too?
Keep your friends close, but your enemies closer?

And things that still make you go hmmm? From the Independent, Philip Haney: FBI to investigate death of DHS whistleblower, initially thought to be suicide "Official who spoke out against Homeland Security practices during Obama administration was found shot dead"

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