Sunday, March 22, 2020

Russiagate in Remission?

We seem to have slight revival of Russiagate issues. Is this the period before it gets better, or before it becomes critically ill?

The intelligence chiefs who plotted against Trump are now upset that he is removing their handpicked embedded successors from the agencies. WaPoo, Joseph Maguire, John Brennan, Michael Leiter, Matthew G. Olsen, Nicholas Rasmussen, Andrew Liepman, Geoffrey O'Connell, Michael, V. Hayden and James Clapper,  Former intelligence chiefs: Trump’s removal of experts is deeply destructive to our nation’s safety

Today’s Washington Post front page features a sensational story claiming the intelligence community was warning President Trump and Congress way back in January that coronavirus was going to be a worldwide pandemic.
But closely reading the key graph shows it to be based on one anonymous source, plus the opinions of anonymous “others:”
“Intelligence agencies ‘have been warning on this since January,’ said a U.S. official who had access to intelligence reporting that was disseminated to members of Congress and their staffs as well as to officials in the Trump administration, and who, along with others, spoke on the condition of anonymity to describe sensitive information.”
And. on the opinion page (or do I repeat myself?), what is this but “nine former intelligence chiefs” warning that:
“We cannot let the covid-19 pandemic be a cover for the deeply destructive path being pursued by the Trump administration. The most recent illustration of this unprecedented attack is the continuing dismissal of career intelligence professionals — officers who have ably served both Republican and Democratic administrations regardless of their personal political stripe.”
Translation: Trump is remaking the leadership of the intelligence community, displacing the entrenched bureaucrats – careerists and career political operators – who tried to sell us the Russia hoax, the Mueller probe and the quid pro quo. So in response, they are weaponizing the coronavirus.
Althouse, "President Trump has taken historic, aggressive measures to protect the health, wealth and safety of the American people — and did so, while the media and Democrats chose to only focus on the stupid politics of a sham illegitimate impeachment."
"It’s more than disgusting, despicable and disgraceful for cowardly unnamed sources to attempt to rewrite history — it’s a clear threat to this great country."

Said a White House spokesman statement, quoted in The Washington Post, which sought a response for its article, "U.S. intelligence reports from January and February warned about a likely pandemic." From the article, published last night:
The intelligence reports didn’t predict when the virus might land on U.S. shores or recommend particular steps that public health officials should take.... But they did track the spread of the virus in China, and later in other countries, and warned that Chinese officials appeared to be minimizing the severity of the outbreak....
But despite that constant flow of reporting, Trump continued publicly and privately to play down the threat the virus posed to Americans. Lawmakers, too, did not grapple with the virus in earnest until this month....
To be fair, "lawmakers" were very preoccupied with the impeachment of the President.
. . .
Just so you know the timeline: Trump was caught up in an impeachment trial and was not acquitted until February 5th. He had the obligation to perform all his duties as President while dealing with the impeachment, but it sounds as though the White House was working on the virus throughout January, whether Trump did personal meetings with Azar or not.

WaPo quotes some of Trump's early public statements about the virus, and, indeed, he did express optimism. He's still doing optimism. How that correlates to serious protective action for us is another matter.
Politico notes how DOJ seeks new emergency powers amid coronavirus pandemic
The Justice Department has quietly asked Congress for the ability to ask chief judges to detain people indefinitely without trial during emergencies — part of a push for new powers that comes as the coronavirus spreads through the United States.

Documents reviewed by POLITICO detail the department’s requests to lawmakers on a host of topics, including the statute of limitations, asylum and the way court hearings are conducted. POLITICO also reviewed and previously reported on documents seeking the authority to extend deadlines on merger reviews and prosecutions.
I would be more sanguine about it if I thought DOJ would let go of those powers after the virus passes. Sundance at CTH has a full on conniption fit: Bill Barr Goes Rogue – DOJ Asks Congress to Expand Legal Authorities to Circumvent Pesky Civil Liberties…
The Deep State is playing COVID-19 perfectly. With the intention to create/instill extra fears amid center-right Americans; and timed to emphasize the center-left narrative of authoritarian Trump; U.S. Attorney General Bill Barr steps in to execute his role.

U.S. AG Bill Barr asks legislators to empower him with more legal authority to take actions within the justice department amid the crisis known as the 2020 Coronavirus pandemic.
. . .
Perfectly timed to ignite a week before AG Barr goes before the House Judiciary Committee for testimony March 31st. Strong execution game by the deep state.

Democrats will position themselves a pearl-clutching civil libertarians, and AG Barr will respond by framing the Trump administration as authoritarian. Everyone has a role to play in the political framework and purposing of COVID-19 as a snowball rolling downhill gathering speed…

The state is operating to protect itself, by any means necessary.
And Judicial Watch is still on watch,  FBI Finds New Clinton Emails, Including Discussion about Benghazi and Additional Classified Material
Judicial Watch today released 80 pages of new emails recently found by the FBI that further document how former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton used her unsecure, non-government email to transmit classified and other sensitive government information. The documents include 11 new Clinton email documents. The emails include an email sent by Mrs. Clinton a month after the Benghazi terrorist attack referencing a “Benghazi security” issue. The emails also include talking points, which are redacted, for a meeting with President Obama. (This is the second release from the batch of Clinton emails the FBI inexplicably found late last year.)

The State Department previously claimed it had produced all releasable Clinton emails, including emails recovered by the FBI that Hillary Clinton tried to destroy or withhold. The State Department initially claimed all responsive emails had been produced in 2018, but then found more emails, which were produced for the first time early this year.

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