Thursday, May 28, 2020

Russiagate Still Humming Along

Minimal new stuff on Flynn, while the courts and Judge Sullivan wait to work out their differences. From Da Blaze, Appeals court to Flynn judge: Why haven't you dismissed this case? If I were Sullivan, I'd be mighty mad at DOJ, but not at Flynn. Still more to come out? Capt Ed at Hot Air, Today’s Hot Question: When Will Ratcliffe Release Transcripts At Heart Of The Flynn Prosecution? My question is "if" not "when". If he doesn't release them he doesn't have guts enough for the job.
The real question isn’t will but when. Now that Grenell has declassified the documents, it won’t be long before House and Senate Republicans will want to see them, and that means they will leak quickly. They also might be subject to FOIA demands from outfits like Judicial Watch and others, as well as media outlets with some interest in exploring the ways power might have been abused in Russiagate. That might leave out the major media outlets, admittedly, but they have a significant number of competitors who will tread that path whether mainstream outlets do or don’t.

One party to the call has a particular interest in those transcripts. Flynn attorney Sidney Powell openly complained last week that the defense had never been provided the calls or the transcripts. She bet that the word “sanctions” never appeared in any of them even though that was the issue on which the FBI and DoJ later claimed Flynn lied, leading to his prosecution. Even if Flynn had discussed sanctions with Kislyak, though, it would have been legal for him to do so as part of the incoming presidential transition team. The full set of transcripts could answer definitively whether the FBI and DoJ ever had a legit case against Flynn for obstruction — and that might embarrass one judge in particular, who refuses to sign off on the DoJ’s dismissal motion.
The best summary of Russiagate I've seen yet. Comprehensive, but not too deep in the weeds from Charles Lipsom at RCP, What the 'Obamagate' Scandals Mean and Why They Matter. Consider it a homework assignment. And speaking of in the weeds, Sundance at CTH has the video of an ET interview with Matthew Whitaker at The “Obstruction of Justice Trap” – Former AAG Matt Whitaker Confirms Mueller Probe Was Used As Weapon to Cover Coup Effort….. It's long but well worth the time. I'd be happy with him as AG in the Ivanka Trump administration.

At Da Wire, Ryan Saavedra, Grenell Declassifies Document That Is ‘Very Significant’ To Origins of Russia Investigation
The documents include transcripts of the phone calls that then-incoming national security adviser Michael Flynn had with then-Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak, which is at the center of the Obama administration’s “unmasking” scandal.

The newly declassified documents will have to be released by new Director John Ratcliffe, who was sworn in on Tuesday morning.

Fox News reported “that Grenell also completed the declassification review of other documents related to the origins of the Russia probe — including one that a senior intelligence official told Fox News was ‘very significant in understanding how intelligence was manipulated to support launching the Russia investigation.'”
Kevin Brock from Da Hill thinks the New FBI document confirms the Trump campaign was investigated without justification
To the untrained eye, the FBI document that launched Crossfire Hurricane can be confusing, and it may be difficult to discern how it might be inadequate. To the trained eye, however, it is a train wreck. There are a number of reasons why it is so bad. Two main ones are offered below (if you would like to follow along, the document is here) . . .
Insty, IT WAS AN ATTEMPTED COUP, DESIGNED TO OVERTURN AN ELECTION, AND THE PERPETRATORS SHOULD BE JAILED OR SHOT: New FBI document confirms the Trump campaign was investigated without justification. But we’ll be lucky if they pay any serious price at all.
A parting shot from Grenell:
But I'm not sure Rubio is who we need at the head of the  Senate Intelligence Committee, Marco Rubio zeroes in on Russia — not Obama (Politico).  "The new Senate Intelligence Committee chairman has no interest in fighting Trump's election-year battles." Sundance is sure, Marco Rubio Moves to Protect Senate From Exposure in Their Role Against President Trump….

WaPoo, Rod Rosenstein to testify in Senate committee’s examination of Russia probe. Sundance, Rod Rosenstein Scheduled to Testify to Senate Judiciary Committee – June 3rd, 10:00am… "Yeah, Rosenstein has a lot to answer for." Ace, Lindsey Graham Responds to Pressure to Finally Investigate Russiagate by Inviting Rod Rosenstein to Testify
Boy that Lindsey. What a hero.

Of course, Graham is inviting one of the lesser figures to testify. He's not making waves by demanding Clapper, Brennan, Comey, McCabe, Baker, Strzok, or Page testify.

Inviting this one lesser figure to testify will give him six months of tough-but-folksy-sounding soundbites to offer up to Fox & Friends.

Not all heroes wear capes, you know.
I'm interested in hearing from Rosenstein. My feeling was that he was an "institution" man, more interested in keep DOJ running smoothly than in pursuing the President, but took over an institution where many at the top had that goal. He was just sitting on the fence the whole time. Fox News, Barr asks US Attorney John Bash to review 'unmasking' before and after 2016 election, DOJ tells Fox News
Attorney General Bill Barr has asked U.S. Attorney for the Western District of Texas John Bash to review the practice of "unmasking" before and after the 2016 presidential election, a controversy that has picked up steam after the Justice Department moved to drop charges against former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn, the DOJ told Fox News on Wednesday night.

Republican lawmakers have demanded more information about the extent of the practice after a previously clandestine list of Obama-era officials who sought to reveal what turned out to be the identity of Michael Flynn in intelligence reports was released earlier the month. The DOJ had moved to drop the Flynn case after internal memos were released raising serious questions about the nature of the investigation that led to his late-2017 guilty plea for lying to the FBI about his Russia contacts.

DOJ spokeswoman Kerri Kupec told Fox News' "Hannity" that U.S. Attorney John Durham, who has been reviewing the origins of the Russia investigation, was looking into "unmasking" but Barr determined certain aspects of the practice needed further review, and Bash has been assigned to do so.
Texas, huh? That's interesting. Hold those treason trials in a red county, not Washington D.C.

Sundance, Devin Nunes: House Cannot Debate FISA Reauthorization When Democrats are Not Here…. Video at link. Chuck Ross at Da Caller, Trump Urges House Republicans To Vote Against Spy Tool Used To Snoop On His Campaign. Fox, DOJ urges Trump veto on FISA legislation, vote in limbo. Curiously, Trump and the Barr DOJ are on different sides of this; Trump wants FISA reformed more after it was used against him; Barr wants less reform so he has tools against terrorists. But it gets them to the same place: BREAKING: President Trump Vows to Veto FISA Reauthorization if Passed… (Sundance). WaPoo, House effort to pass surveillance overhaul collapses after Trump tweets and pushback from DOJ

Via the Wombat's In The Mailbox: 05.27.20 Nice Deb at American Greatness reminds us Former Mueller Prosecutor Weissmann Now Fundraising For Joe Biden. Ace, Andrew Weissman, the Real Ringleader of the So-Called "Mueller" Report, Is Such an Extreme Partisan That He Quits a High Paying Job at MSNBC Rather Than Skip His Fundraiser for Biden
"Nah, I don't want money of my own. I'd rather raise money for a Democrat politician."
Is exactly the sort of thing a non-partisan who can be trusted with an inherently partisan investgiation says all the time.

I mean, every non-partisan independent I know is always using vacation days to canvass for Democrat politicians. Non-partisan independents just can't wait to take their own wealth and assets and donate them to Democrat politicians.
"If the fundraiser goes forward, I’m withdrawing from MSNBC so I can be in compliance with their policy," Weissmann said in a Friday night phone interview, in reference to the network's policy that employees avoid activities "that may create the appearance of a conflict of interest."
There's one circumstance where this makes perfect sense: If you are very scared you might be facing criminal liability from a Trump Administration but definitely not a Biden one, it would make sense to quit a job to campaign for the guy who will end the investigation into your crimes.
Hot Air cites WSJ in Trump Imitates The Steele Dossier In Attacks On Joe Scarborough. After all the horrible things they've said about Trump over the last three years that turned out not to be true, a little sauce for gander is amusing, if not especially presidential.

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