Friday, April 24, 2020

Russiagate in Spades

OK, so where were we when we were so rudely interrupted by reality?

Chuck Ross at Da Caller has an EXCLUSIVE: Dossier Author Testified His Emails Were ‘Wiped,’ He No Longer Has Documents Related To Primary Source, you mean, like, with a cloth? I wonder why?
Christopher Steele told a British court last month that he no longer has documents and other information from his meetings with the main source for his Trump dossier, suggesting that the former British spy has no way of backing up his side in a dispute with the Justice Department’s inspector general (IG), according to a deposition transcript obtained by the Daily Caller News Foundation.
From Breitbart, FISA Docs Show John Kerry’s State Dept. Was Key Player in Russia Collusion Hoax. Can I borrow your shocked face? Mine is busted.
Last Thursday, Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Lindsey Graham released a trove of documents from the FBI’s Crossfire Hurricane investigation into Trump’s campaign, including a less redacted version of the Obama administration’s FISA warrant applications to spy on Page, who served as a tangential adviser to Donald Trump’s 2016 presidential campaign.

The disclosures focus renewed attention on the text of the warrant, which begins by claiming Page is “an agent of a foreign power” and that “the status of the target was determined in or about October 2016 from information provided by the U.S. Department of State.”

The newly declassified sections underscore that the FBI under its disgraced former chief, James Comey, relied heavily on the Christopher Steele dossier alleging debunked Russian collision charges. The dossier was produced by Fusion GPS, which was paid for its anti-Trump work by Hillary Clinton’s 2016 presidential campaign and the Democratic National Committee.
And  FBI Used Left-Wing Conspiracy Theory to Spy on Trump Campaign Adviser
Newly declassified documents show that in order to build its dubious case of Russian collusion to a Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) court, James Comey’s FBI utilized the misleading Democratic Party talking point that Donald Trump’s 2016 presidential campaign had the Republican Party platform gutted so as to “not provide defensive weapons to Ukraine.”

Last Thursday, Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Lindsey Graham released a trove of documents from the FBI’s Crossfire Hurricane investigation into Trump’s campaign, including a less redacted version of Comey’s FISA warrant applications to spy on Page, who served as a tangential adviser to Donald Trump’s 2016 presidential campaign.

The disclosure reveals that the FISA warrant cites a “July 2016 article in an identified news organization” claiming that Trump’s campaign “worked behind the scenes to make sure” the GOP “platform would not call for giving weapons to Ukraine to fight Russian and rebel forces, contradicting the view of almost all [the Republican Party’s] foreign policy leaders.”

Without offering any evidence, the FISA application claims “the FBI assesses that, following Page’s meetings in Russia, Page helped influence Political Party #1 and Candidate #1′ s campaign to alter their platforms to be more sympathetic to Russia.”

Political Party #1 refers to the Republican Party and Candidate #1 is Trump. Page repeatedly denied having the meetings in Russia referred to in the FISA applications.

There are several layers of problems with the FBI’s claims to the FISA court about the Republican Party platform.

Firstly, the “July 2016 article” is actually an opinion piece by the Washington Post’s Josh Rogin titled “Trump campaign guts GOP’s anti-Russia stance on Ukraine.”

Second, the charge, which comes mostly from that Washington Post opinion piece, remains so unproven that even the left-leaning PolitiFact failed to reach a judgement on the issue, allowing “it’s hard to use those news reports as evidence in this fact-check.”

The entire issue revolved around one platform committee member, a Ted Cruz supporter, who wanted to use language calling for the U.S. to provide “lethal defensive weapons” to the Ukrainian military. Instead the platform eventually called for “appropriate assistance” to Ukraine – which leaves open the possibility of providing “lethal defensive weapons” – and called for “greater coordination with NATO defense planning.”
David Krayden at Da Caller, Former NSC Chief Of Staff: John Brennan Buried Evidence That Putin Actually Favored Hillary In 2016 and Tyler O'Neil at PJ Media, U.S. Intelligence Knew Russia Preferred Hillary to Trump, But John Brennan Hid the Truth, Ex-NSC Chief Says. Politicization of the intelligence community was total under Obama.

Andy McCarthy at NR, More Media Misdirection on Trump-Russia
So now, the committee that does nothing has released a report about nothing new, which the Times promptly serves up as a bombshell that purportedly undercuts Trump contentions about the Obama administration’s Russia investigation . . . even though the committee report does not actually address the president’s main contention: that Obama intelligence and law-enforcement officials tried to frame Trump for conspiring in Russia’s election meddling.
But there are signs of progress on another front, from Jerry Dunleavy at WaEx, John Durham expands investigative team amid coronavirus outbreak
U.S. Attorney John Durham has expanded his team as his review of the Trump-Russia investigators ramps up during the coronavirus pandemic, which has gripped the country and swept the globe.

The top federal prosecutor for Connecticut selected additional team members for his investigative effort in recent weeks, adding agents from the FBI as well as the chief of the Violent Crimes and Narcotics Trafficking Section for the U.S. attorney’s office in Washington, Anthony Scarpelli, according to sources cited by CNN. Durham, who has been running the operation out of Connecticut and D.C., drove down to Washington a few weeks ago to keep the investigation moving even as the COVID-19 virus hampered many law enforcement efforts nationwide. The CNN report said Durham requested witness information in March and April.

Attorney General William Barr said in an interview this week that Durham’s investigation into the origins of the Crossfire Hurricane operation and the conduct of associated law enforcement officers and intelligence officials is proceeding full speed ahead, and the timing of a report or possible criminal charges will not be based on the 2020 election calendar. But, he stressed, an announcement or possible indictments are not imminent.
Capt. Ed at Hot Air notes you don't add prosecutors unless you intend to prosecute. Hmmmm: Durham Bolsters Investigative — And Prosecutorial — Team. Also, adding FBI guys to an investigation involving FBI guys? It's hard to avoid, but it would seem to be a problem.

News Thud, Schiff, Nadler Call for IG to Review AG Barr’s Comments on Atkinson Firing. Tough titties.

Sundance at CTH, House Democrats Install Joe Biden Handler, Jim Clyburn, As Lead For Newly Created Trump Removal Committee…
The DNC Club boldly created the Coronavirus Oversight Committee to find new and insightful ways to claim the Wuhan Virus was caused by President Trump. However, it is the installation of Jim Clyburn, the engineer for the Joe Biden campaign, as the head of that committee that shows the political intents for 2020.

Democrats are not even trying to hide it.
and Jim Jordan Discusses Pelosi and Clyburn’s New ‘Remove Trump’ Sub-Committee…

Linked at Pirate's Cove in the weekly Sorta Blogless Sunday Pinup and links.

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