Friday, July 24, 2020

Russiagate: It Was All a Set Up, But We Already Knew That

Sean Davis at Da Fed, Declassified Documents Show FBI Used ‘Defensive’ Briefing In 2016 To Spy On Donald Trump
Newly declassified internal Federal Bureau of Investigation documents prove the top U.S. law enforcement agency used a so-called defensive briefing of the Trump campaign in 2016 to spy on and collect information about Donald Trump himself. The new documents, which are just the latest in a string of declassifications regarding the FBI operation to spy on the Trump campaign and later the Trump administration, detail the FBI’s attempts to use a briefing ostensibly meant to warn the Trump campaign about foreign intelligence threats to spy on the Trump campaign itself.

The documents were formally declassified by Director of National Intelligence John Ratcliffe on July 23 then provided to Sens. Charles Grassley (R-Iowa), the chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, and Sen. Ron Johnson (R-Wisc.), the chairman of the Senate Homeland Security and Government Affairs Committee.

In one of the documents declassified and released on Wednesday, FBI supervisory Special Agent Joe Pientka wrote that he deliberately used the briefing to “actively listen for topics or questions” from Trump “regarding the Russian Federation.” Rather than provide the Trump campaign a specific warning that certain campaign principals were being targeted by Russian intelligence, the FBI instead gave a general, non-specific warning that foreign intelligence services might eventually target the campaign.
. . .
Pientka was excoriated in a report from the Department of Justice (DOJ) Office of Inspector General (OIG) for his behavior during the FBI’s spy operation against the Trump campaign. Pientka told the OIG that he designed the August 17 meeting to “gain assessment and possibly have some level of familiarity with [Flynn].”

According to the OIG report, Pientka “was selected to provide the FBI briefings, in part, because Flynn, who was a subject in the ongoing Crossfire Hurricane investigation, would be attending the Trump campaign briefing.”

Pientka told the OIG that he was selected to attend on behalf of the FBI so he could “record” or “overhear” from Trump, Flynn, or Christie “any kind of admission” that they were colluding with the Russian government to steal the election from Hillary Clinton. Pientka also added that he wanted to get a baseline impression of Flynn’s “overall mannerisms” in case he needed to later use that information against him.
As far as anyone knows, Pientka is still working for the FBI, having been moved to SF, and then anonymized. Chuck Ross at Da Caller, Declassified Memo: FBI Planted A Crossfire Hurricane Agent In Trump, Flynn Briefing
Pientka’s memo does not indicate that Trump or Flynn made any incriminating statements. According to Pientka, Trump asked about Russia’s spy activities in the United States compared to other hostile nations, such as China.

“This brief will advise you that if you are not already a target of a Foreign Intelligence Service, due to the fact you are receiving this classified briefing, you will be,” Pientka said in the briefing, according to his memo.

Pientka then detailed differences in how Russia and China use intelligence officers to collect information inside the United States. He also told Trump and Flynn the number of suspected Russian and Chinese intelligence officers working inside the U.S.

According to Pientka, Trump asked him to assess whether Russia or China poses a greater counterintelligence threat.

“Joe, are the Russians bad? Because they have more numbers are they worse than the Chinese?” Trump said, according to Pientka.

Flynn asked Pientka for statistics on the number of FBI special agents and the number of ongoing investigations into homegrown violent extremists, or HVEs.

“See, they don’t have enough resources to work the HVE threat and the IOs,” Flynn told Trump after Pientka shared the data.

Pientka said in response to a question from Flynn that the foreign intelligence threat was be equal to or greater than during the Cold War.

Andrew McCabe, the former FBI deputy director, told the IG that officials picked Pientka to sit in on the briefing because of his position on the Crossfire Hurricane team.
Charles Lipsom at Mercatus calls it a Put-Up Job and says  "Growing evidence that officials involved in the Russia collusion investigation knowingly acted without cause is undermining our governing institutions" and also at Da Fed, Mollie Hemingway thinks  the New FBI Notes Re-Debunk Major NYT Story, Highlight Media Collusion To Produce Russia Hoax. The leaks were real, the news was fake.

Sundance, Rep. Matt Gaetz Discusses the Latest Release from DNI John Ratcliffe…

WaEx, Trump campaign jet fuel? Republicans pin hope on Durham Russia-hoax investigation. At AmGreat, Julie Kelly highlights how the Brookings Institution is A Key Collusion Collaborator.

ET is taking note of the interesting aspects of the current Flynn court fight, DOJ: Flynn’s Judge in Catch-22 Situation–Either Disqualified or Not Entitled to Rehearing
According to the Department of Justice (DOJ), it’s a no-win situation for District Judge Emmet Sullivan, who’s seeking a rehearing of an appeals court decision that ordered him to accept the dismissal of the DOJ’s case against former Trump adviser Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn.

Sullivan, through his lawyer Beth Wilkinson, argued that a three-judge panel of the District of Columbia appeals court erred in its order. He’s asking for a rehearing by the full court (en banc).

But only people with a “personal stake” in the proceedings can seek appellate review, the DOJ said in a July 20 response to Sullivan’s petition.

“A judge does not have—and under the [Constitution’s] Due Process Clause, cannot have—such a stake,” the department said.
WaEx, GOP senator who opposed Roger Stone commutation says Trump should pardon Michael Flynn (Pat Toomey). If necessary, yes, but I would prefer a full exoneration and the trial and sentencing of those who perpetrated this miscarriage of justice.

And didja hear, Judge finds Michael Cohen's return to prison 'retaliatory,' orders his release! (the peacock)."Cohen had refused to sign a form that would have barred him from speaking in public, including by publishing a book, as a condition of home confinement." The point of jail is to restrict your freedoms, including speaking in public and dealing with book editors. If they want you to abide by those restrictions on home release for WuFlu, you should abide by them or go back to the pokey. NYPo, Judge rules Michael Cohen should be released to home confinement
In a court filing Wednesday, prosecutors argued the officials who drafted his home confinement agreement had no clue he was writing a book — and only rearrested Cohen after he’d refused the terms to his home confinement.

“While I was aware that Cohen was a high-profile inmate, at the time I drafted the … Agreement I was not aware that Cohen was writing a book. I drafted the … Agreement without input from the BOP or anyone in the executive branch,” Probation Officer Specialist Adam Pakula wrote in court papers.
AllahPundit at Hot Air (VIP) whines, Judge Transfers Michael Cohen From Prison To Home — Because Feds Want Him To Promise He Won’t Publish Any Books Until His Sentence Ends. Ace, Federal Judge Orders Michael Cohen Released from Jail and Back Into Home Confinement
The Trump Conspiracy Theorists -- who spend half their time scolding people on the right for conspiracy theories and the other half of their time inventing their own conspiracy theories -- will be spinning lots of Exciting New Conspiracy Theories about this.
A Clinton appointee from SDNY:
Hellerstein is a United States District Judge of the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York. He was nominated by President Bill Clinton on May 15, 1998, to a seat vacated by Louis L. Stanton. He was confirmed by the United States Senate on October 21, 1998, and received his commission on October 22, 1998. He took senior status on January 30, 2011.
And he is old as fuck.

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