Friday, April 10, 2020

Russiagate Reheating

Seems like some new life. Politico reports that Grassley seeks explanation of Trump’s firing of Atkinson
Sen. Chuck Grassley is working on a bipartisan letter addressed to President Donald Trump demanding an explanation for the firing of Intelligence Community Inspector General Michael Atkinson, according to aides in both parties.

The Senate Finance Committee chairman is still working to secure cosponsors for the letter, a Republican aide said. The letter will focus on Atkinson's Friday firing amid a broader purge by the president of inspectors general.

The letter is supported by Sen. Mark Warner of Virginia, the top Democrat on the Senate Intelligence Committee, and Republican Sen. Susan Collins of Maine.

Trump said recently that he fired Atkinson for doing a "terrible job" with a whistleblower report that kicked off the president's impeachment. Atkinson said he was likely fired for "having faithfully discharged my legal obligations as an independent and impartial inspector general."
while  Fred Fleitz at NYPo explains (again) Why Trump was totally right to fire the intel inspector-general
On Sept. 9, 2019, Atkinson wrote to Congress that he had received an “urgent” whistleblowing complaint, which then-Acting Director of National Intelligence Joseph Maguire was refusing to forward to lawmakers. This complaint, of course, had to do with President Trump’s now-notorious call with his Ukrainian counterpart.

But Atkinson was out of line. Maguire initially refused to forward the complaint because the Justice Department had determined that it was outside Atkinson’s jurisdiction. The complaint didn’t involve “intelligence activity” — an important threshold ­requirement, unless we want our spies to treat the policy and political activities of our elected officials as within their purview.

Justice also rapped Atkinson on the knuckles for ignoring “arguable political bias on the part of the complainant in favor of a rival political candidate.”
The complainant had huge political bias problems, in fact. ­Before he sent his complaint to ­Atkinson, the CIA “whistleblower” brought it to a Democratic staff member on the House Intelligence Committee. He refused to meet with Republican members or staff to discuss it, even after it was ­released. Atkinson conceded to House members in early October that the complainant had “a professional tie” to Joe Biden.

The New York Times revealed on Oct. 2 that House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff learned about the CIA officer’s complaint when the officer brought it to the committee in early August — belying Schiff’s earlier claims that he didn’t know about the complaint before his committee was ­informed about it on Sept 9. This was a political hit job.

Worse, Atkinson refused to ­explain why a form for filing IC whistleblowing complaints was changed to drop a requirement that complainants have firsthand knowledge of alleged wrongdoing. The anti-Trump complaint was based on hearsay.

Then, too, GOP members of the House Intelligence Committee claim Atkinson made false statements about the “whistleblower” and his complaint during classified interviews. This can’t be verified, because Schiff refuses to release the transcript of these interviews. GOP lawmakers are investigating Atkinson for the way he handled the complaint and his alleged false statements to the committee, per ranking member Devin Nunes.
At Hot Air, Capt. Ed had Bill Barr: “No Basis” For Crossfire Hurricane, “One Of The Greatest Travesties In American History”
Don’t hold back — tell us how you really feel. Attorney General William Barr’s interview with Fox News’ Laura Ingraham airs tonight, but they’re teasing out a blockbuster statement from Barr over Operation Crossfire Hurricane. John Durham’s investigation will finish soon, but Barr’s seen enough to call it a travesty with “no basis” for opening the probe in the first place. Barr says the effect of the probe, if not its explicit intent, was to “sabotage the presidency”:
From Sundance at CTH,  Exculpatory Papadopoulos Transcript – FBI Surveillance Wire – Declassified and Released… and Kevin McCarthy Discusses Lack of DOJ Accountability for a Coup Against the President…

And from John Solomon at Just The News, Russia case footnotes to be declassified, exposing FBI concerns about Steele disinformation
The unredacted footnotes are expected to provide new data points in the timeline showing when the FBI learned, or should have suspected, that its key evidence suggesting Trump was colluding with Russia was erroneous and how high up those concerns were known, the sources said.

The new information “will make clear the FBI possessed information at multiple levels that undercut the evidence it was using to sustain a collusion investigation” and will be specific enough to renew a debate in Washington over “whether the FBI intentionally ignored red flags or simply was blinded by ambition from seeing them clearly,” one source with direct knowledge said.

The evidence could also raise new questions about whether statements made to Congress during the Russia probe were false or misleading, and whether the intelligence community’s official assessment that Vladimir Putin was solely trying to help elect Trump was contradicted by some evidence in FBI files, the sources said.

The declassification was prompted in part by a letter sent in January by Senate Finance Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, and Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee Chairman Ron Johnson, R-Wis., that requested four footnotes from the Horowitz report be declassified.
His podcast is also worth the time, especially in quarantine:

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