Tuesday, September 29, 2020

The Russiagate Circus

A veritable circus of stories today. In the right side ring, Michael Flynn and his attorney Sidney Powell once again go into the battle with the forces of darkness, i.e. Judge Sullivan, who seems determined to keep this case alive at least past the election. Sundance at CTH has the story and the link so you can listen live, if you want. Michael Flynn Hearing Today 11:00am – Open Discussion Thread. From John Solomon at JTN, Epic hearing: Flynn defense to confront judge in bid to get Russia charge dismissed

Armed with bombshell documents suggesting FBI misconduct, lawyers for Michael Flynn on Tuesday will try to persuade a skeptical judge to vacate the former national security adviser's guilty plea for lying and dismiss the charge.

Defense lawyer Sidney Powell will be joined in her request by Justice Department prosecutors, but she must convince U.S. District Judge Emmet Sullivan that the evidence warrants the dramatic dismissal of a case originally brought by Special Counsel Robert Mueller's team.

Sullivan has solicited his own adversarial advice, ordering a report from a former federal judge in New York that recommended against dismissal on the grounds that DOJ's decision to support dropping the charges was forced by President Trump's badgering.

"In the United States, Presidents do not orchestrate pressure campaigns to get the Justice Department to drop charges against defendants who have pleaded guilty — twice, before two different judges — and whose guilt is obvious," the retired U.S. District Judge John Gleeson wrote recently. "The government's attempt to dress up a politically motivated dismissal that smacks of impropriety as a 'policy judgment,' should be rejected."

But Powell is armed with several new bombshell documents released by DOJ in the last week, including one showing the lead FBI agent in the Flynn case, William Barnett, declared there was never evidence of wrongdoing by the retired general or Trump and the Russia probe was kept open by Mueller simply because his team had a "get Trump" goal.

Barnett's claims came in the form of an interview with DOJ officials in which he revealed FBI agents recommended closing the Flynn case both in November 2016 and again in January 2017 because there was no evidence of wrongdoing or intelligence threats, but their bosses in FBI management overruled them and decided to pursue the interview where Flynn was accused of lying.

One of those supervisors, former Assistant Director William Priestap, kept notes questioning the decision to pursue the Flynn interview. Specifically, his notes questioned whether the FBI's motive was to find the truth in the Russia case or "to get him to lie, so we can prosecute him or get him fired."

Barnett's testimony suggested there was no evidentiary basis for the interview or the pursuit of Flynn. "Barnett believed the prosecution of Flynn by SCO [special counsel's office] was used as a means to 'get TRUMP,'" according to the recently released interview report.

In addition, the FBI has released text messages showing some of the intelligence analysts who worked the Flynn case were so concerned the FBI was engaging in misconduct that they bought liability insurance fearing they could be sued after their bosses continued to keep the investigation open based on "conspiracy theories."

"We all went and purchased professional liability insurance," one analyst texted on Jan. 10, 2017, just 10 days before Trump took office.

Ove on the side ring, John also has a list of 16 questions for James Comey in his testimony today befire the Senate Judiciary Committee. James Comey on the hot seat: 16 Russia probe questions he must answer Dozens of explosive pieces of evidence undercutting the entire Russia case have emerged since the disgraced FBI director last testified in public.

1. You testified in 2017 that the Steele dossier was salacious and unverified and yet you signed FISA warrants marked verified that relied on deeply flawed evidence from the dossier. Why did you do that?

A good start. Warming up for that spot, 'shipwreckedcrew' at Red State has Remember the Strzok-Page “Insurance Policy” Exchange – FBI Special Agent Barnett Exposes the Hole Card

I suspect neither has offered this particular explanation under oath — or at least they haven’t limited their explanation to this “rationalization”.

I say that because the new information from Special Agent Barnett strongly suggests the “Insurance Policy” was none other than General Michael Flynn himself. You can make their “rationalization” fit into this concept if you just accept that they weren’t going to name General Flynn individually when they offered the rationalization. But when you put the context of events into their words — and Agent Barnett’s recollection about what was done — or more importantly what was not done — there is only one conclusion. 

Sundance, Former ODNI Ric Grenell Says Additional Intelligence Agencies are Intentionally Withholding Evidence of Wrongdoing….  That's been clear for quite some time. It must be really awful for them to be as tenacious as they have. 

Also, Devin Nunes: Special Counsel and Intelligence Officials Hiding Documents Were “Straight Up Crimes”… (also video).

Sundance has some insider stuff about the old NSA contractor story, Oblique but BIG Release – OIG Horowitz Outlines Notification of FBI for Contractor Database Abuse…. This story seems convoluted, and well buried, but it may be central to all the machinations of Russia/Spygate.

John Solomon thinks the Next declassification could flip Russia collusion script, point to effort to hurt Trump

The Trump administration is preparing one of its biggest declassifications yet in the Russia case, a super-secret document that could flip the collusion theory on its head four years after the FBI first started its investigation.

Multiple officials familiar with the planned declassification, which could happen as early as this week, told Just the News that the new evidence will raise the specter that Russian President Vladimir Putin was actually trying to hurt President Trump, not help his election in 2016, as the Obama administration claimed.

The new evidence would complement a revelation last week that the primary source for the Christopher Steele anti-Trump dossier was known to the U.S. government to be tied to Russia intelligence, raising the possibility that the Russians were undercutting the GOP nominee.

 Bring in the clowns! John Sexton at Hot Air, Brian Stelter: Fox News Prime Time Hosts Are ‘Poisonous’ But CNN’s Don Lemon ‘Is A News Anchor Who Has A Point Of View’

Eventually, Hewitt came around to his main problem with Stelter’s book. He notes that Stelter is criticizing Fox for its coverage of things like the Mueller investigation but, in the end, that investigation found no evidence of the long-promised collusion. Stelter’s reaction is pretty amazing:

HH: We know the end of some stories that you criticize Fox for their coverage of. We know the end of the Mueller report, right? There was no collusion, correct?

BS: You know, I’m not going to play a game about a word that is irrelevant to the question at hand. There’s still a lot we don’t know about the President’s ties with Russia, period.

HH: But Brian, that kind of asks, that begs the question. Your criticism in Hoax, a lot of is based in the coverage of the Mueller investigation and how they downplayed it and called it a Hoax. It turns out there was no collusion, and it turns out we know this week, you couldn’t have known it during writing of Hoax…

BS: Yeah.

HH: …that the primary sub-source of the Steele dossier is probably a Russian agent, correct?

BS: I think there’s a fantasyland that Fox promotes about what you’re describing, about the Steele dossier and all of that that distracts from the key questions about Trump’s ties with Russia. We now know from the New York Times hundreds of millions of dollars of loans. Who does the President owe money to? We need to know. We deserve to know that, Hugh.

HH: Brian, that’s a deflection. The primary sub-source of the dossier was revealed last week to be a Russian agent investigated by the Obama Department of Justice in 2009 and ’10. The dossier is discredited. There was no collusion. These are factual matters. That’s my problem with Hoax.

BS: I’m reflecting, I’m a media reporter, and I’m not a Steele dossier reporter. What I know is that when you use the word hoax over and over again the way the President has, it’s dangerous and poisonous, because it makes people think there’s nothing real and nothing true anymore. And that’s what I think the problem is.

HH: Will you at least agree with me that the primary sub-source of the dossier has been revealed to be a Russian agent?

BS: I literally do not know, because I’m a media reporter.

HH: Okay.

BS: I hate to disappoint you. I just, I don’t cover the dossier over the air…

If you follow the conversation closely here, Stelter first denies that collusion is a settled issue. Then he calls the report that Steele’s primary sub-source was investigated as a likely Russian agent part of Fox’s “fantasyland” about the dossier. Finally, when pressed, Stelter claims he doesn’t know the details about the dossier’s source because that’s not his beat.

That’s quite a series of deflections on Stelter’s part. How can you complain a network isn’t reporting things accurately when you don’t know the facts in the first place? Stelter doesn’t seem to have an answer for that.

From atop Da Hill,  Glenn Greenwald tells Megyn Kelly he has been 'formally banned' from MSNBC. Honest liberals are more dangerous to them than conservatives. 

"And then once I became a critic of Russiagate, I basically got banned from the network, because I became a critic of their coverage of it," Greenwald said.

"Are you saying you're banned from MSNBC?" Kelly asked.

"Yeah. I'm totally, formally banned," Greenwald confirmed.

"How do you know?" Kelly followed.

"I have tons of friends there. I used to go on all the time. I have producers who tried to book me and they get told, 'No. He's on the no-book list,' " he responded.

And now, in the left ring, the "Trump Taxes" show. Via the Wombat's  In The Mailbox: 09.28.20, Legal Insurrection: NYT Debunks Three Media Conspiracy Theories With Article On Trump’s Tax Returns, Don Surber, Media exploits tax ignorance and  Monster Hunter Nation: No, You Idiots, That’s Not How Taxes Work – An Accountant’s Guide To Why You Are A Gullible Moron

So big picture time…

First off, “morality” doesn’t have jack shit to do with taxation. You pay what you legally owe. Nobody willingly pays the government more than they legally owe.

This has always been this way since America has had income taxes. There is endless court precedent. You pay what you legally owe. That’s it. If you pay less than you legally owe, then the government will fine or imprison you. If you pay more than you legal owe, the government will laugh and laugh, because you are an idiot, and you deserve to be poor.

Every single person who barks about how somebody else should be paying more? They themselves are paying the minimum they can get away with. As they should. As should you.

I remember when I was taking my first tax class back in college. This class was all accounting majors by this point. At the beginning of the semester the professor (who’d had a long career as a tax guy) gave us an imaginary family as our clients and had us do their taxes. One kid didn’t take advantage of all the obvious deductions for his clients. When the professor asked why, the kid said some mushy thing about how he didn’t think it was FAIR to keep that money from the government… Holy shit. The professor ripped this kid a new asshole. HOW DARE YOU!?! IT IS NOT THE GOVERNMENT’S MONEY! IT IS YOUR CLIENT’S MONEY. YOU OWE THEM YOUR BEST! IT IS YOUR SACRED DUTY TO SAVE THEIR MONEY! YOU DISGUST ME AND YOU SHOULD NEVER BE A CPA!

 Ace, Alex the Chick: The NYT Claim that Trump Paid $750 in Taxes is a Straight-Up Lie. By Their Own Reporting, He Paid $1,000,000 in 2016 and $4,200,000 in 2017. "Read her thread here." Doug Ross, BOOM: NYT Admits Trump Actually Paid Nearly $6 Million in Taxes in 2016 and 2017

So there it is in print, the NYT obtained the tax records of thousands of people in their desire to get Trump. Sundance, Don Trump Jr. Discusses Tax Returns, SCOTUS, Ballot Harvesting and Biden Debate Expectations…

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