Wednesday, September 30, 2020

There's No Debating Russiagate

 Did something happen last night? God, that was ugly. 

We have two themes bidding for top spot today, the Flynn hearing, and the newly declassified documents that show the Russians  had intelligence that Hillary had created the "Russia hoax" to take attention away from her own email scandal. This is, apparently, the big news that Lindsey Graham 2.0 has been touting. 

Starting with the second, From the Wombat's In The Mailbox: 09.29.20, Scott Johnson at Power Line, Today in Russia Hoax News.

Sundance at CTH, DNI John Ratcliffe Presents Senate With Brennan Notes Showcasing Clinton Campaign Intent to Create Russian Conspiracy Narrative July 2016… Katie Pavlich at Town Hall,  Newly Declassified Documents Show Hillary May Have Set Up the Russia Hoax, Andy McCarthy, NR, Bombshell Allegation: Hillary Orchestrated Collusion Hoax to Distract From Her Emails, According to Russian Intel, Ace,  Just Declassified: US Had Intelligence That Russian Intelligence Had Information That Hillary Clinton Intended To Launch The Whole "Russia Collusion" Smear Against Trump  Sean Davis and Mollie Hemingway have Russia Believed Clinton Was Planning Anti-Trump Collusion Campaign In 2016, And U.S. Officials Knew It

Not only were Russian officials aware of Hillary Clinton’s campaign plan to accuse Donald Trump of being a Russian asset, top U.S. intelligence authorities knew of Russia’s knowledge of Clinton’s plans, Director of National Intelligence John Ratcliffe disclosed to congressional officials on Tuesday. Before they launched an investigation into whether Trump’s campaign was colluding with Russia, intelligence agencies learned that Russia knew of Clinton’s plans to tarnish Trump with the collusion smear.

At one point, former Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) Director John Brennan personally briefed then-President Barack Obama and other top U.S. national security officials that Russia assessed Hillary Clinton had approved a plan on July 26, 2016, “to vilify Donald Trump by stirring up a scandal claiming interference by Russian security services,” according to Brennan’s handwritten notes.

Fired former FBI Director James Comey and fired former FBI counterintelligence official Peter Strzok were even sent an investigative referral on September 7, 2016, regarding Russia’s alleged knowledge of Clinton’s plans to smear Trump as a treasonous Russian agent, Ratcliffe wrote. Rather than investigate at the time whether Russian intelligence had infiltrated the Clinton operation’s anti-Trump campaign and sowed Russian disinformation within it, the FBI instead used unverified gossip from a suspected Russian agent to obtain federal warrants to spy on the Trump campaign.

There is no evidence the FBI ever investigated the Clinton campaign’s documented use of Russian agents and intelligence assets to interfere in the 2016 U.S. election, raising questions of whether the top federal law enforcement agency may have itself interfered in the election by using its powers to arbitrarily target the campaign of the outgoing administration’s political enemy.

Twitchy, Sen. Lindsey Graham has questions about alleged effort by the Clinton campaign to distract from the FBI’s email probe

Top 20 Tweets from BadBlue Tonight, 09.29.20: The Clinton-Obama-Biden Cabal Edition
Graham said the newly uncovered documents may suggest a double standard at the FBI.

“This latest information provided by DNI Ratcliffe shows there may have been a double standard by the FBI regarding allegations against the Clinton campaign and Russia,” Graham said in a statement. “Whether these allegations are accurate is not the question. The question is did the FBI investigate the allegations against Clinton like they did Trump? If not, why not? If so, what was the scope of the investigation? If none, why was that?”

Graham said he would question Comey about this report at the hearing on Wednesday.

Hey, that's today! Something good to look forward to. And Chuck Ross at Da Caller has 10 Questions James Comey Could Face During His Senate Testimony. And speaking of Russian disinformation, 'shipwreckedcrew' at Red State reports that  Jim Comey Fought to Include a Russian Spy’s Disinformation in the Report on Russian Election Interference

Recall that after Pres. Trump had won the election, Pres. Obama ordered the hasty assembly of an “Intelligence Community Assessment” (ICA) on the nature and impact of Russian interference so that he could take action against Russia for its conduct before his term expired.

The CIA, FBI, and NSA intelligence analysts quickly gathered available intelligence on the Russian efforts and began making “assessments” with regard to the motives of various Russian entities and actors involved. There was agreement among the agencies that Russia had engaged in “active measures” to influence the campaign — but not the election process itself — and there were varying levels of agreement and support on the question of the motives behind such active measures.

One issue over which there was disagreement was on whether to include in the body of the ICA any information taken from the Steele Dossier memos attributed to the PSS — the Russian Spy.

Normally, an ICA is a collection of “intelligence” gathered by the various US agencies who conduct intelligence-gathering operations. The CIA and NSA did not view the material in the Steele Dossier memos attributed to the PSS — the Russian spy — to be “intelligence” gathered by US intelligence agencies and took the position that the Dossier material should not be in the ICA.

Jim Comey disagreed, arguing that Pres. Obama had asked for “everything” the IC agencies had — not just intelligence gathered by the IC agencies themselves. The internal debate on the issue was revealed two months ago in the Senate Intelligence Committee report on the Russia Hoax affair.
. . .
McCabe and Comey are both scheduled to testify in the next several days before the Senate Judiciary Committee. The first question to each from Chairman Graham must be
“Did you know the Primary Sub-Source was assessed as a Russian Agent at the time you fought to put the Steele Dossier information from the Sub-Source in the ICA?”
There is no good answer to that question, gentlemen. Good luck.

Hollywood in Toto,  Showtime’s ‘Comey Rule’ Brings Gaslighting to a New, Frightening Level "Miniseries ignores almost everything we’ve learned about ‘Russian Collusion’" Facts are coming in fast, but they didn't even bother with the ones they had. 

I&I asks Was Russia Probe The Most Corrupt U.S. Investigation Ever? It sure seems like it. Breitbart, Virgil: The Deep State Becomes the Obvious State

And the Flynn hearing, Leslie McAdoo Gordon live tweeted it, and it worth the wade. Sullivan was every bit as bad as you might have guessed. Sidney Powell is filling a motion to have the case removed from his court. Fox, Flynn lawyer in fiery hearing tells judge to recuse self over 'abject bias,' says she asked Trump not to pardon  Sundance: Sidney Powell Discusses Today’s Flynn Persecution Hearing With Lou Dobbs – Where is this going, and why are we in a handbasket?…

The hearing today in the courtroom of Judge Emmet Sullivan was an abject showcase in judicial nuttery. The one good thing to come out of the adversarial arguments was that millions more Americans got to hear first-hand just how broken and corrupt the federal system of the judiciary has become. The judicial farce was only exceeded by the legal nonsense exhibited by Sullivan’s extra-judicial prosecutor/amicus John Gleeson.

At one point in the proceedings Sullivan even threatened Flynn’s defense attorney with a referral to the BAR association for her letter of introduction to AG Bill Barr during the transition between defense counsel. Yes, the judicial activism was that ridiculous.

Yes Alice, unfortunately the fiasco is scheduled to continue… Sidney Powell discusses the day’s events with Lou Dobbs:

After five hours spent on this today, Sullivan said he had not made up his mind about whether or not to dismiss the case. He did say he was aware the appeals court was looking for a quick decision from him. Does that mean he’s going to finally reach a conclusion this week or is he trying to drag this out until the election? I’m not sure what the strategy is here but both he and his hand-picked attorney John Gleeson are behaving like aggrieved partisan looking for a pound of flesh.

Chuck Ross at Da Caller, FBI Source’s Claim About Michael Flynn Was Inaccurate, Special Agent Said 

Barnett, who works in the FBI’s Washington field office, said that the CHS harbored suspicions about Flynn following an event the retired general attended in 2014 in which he unexpectedly left with another person.

The allegation matches closely with a rumor that appeared in the media regarding Flynn and a Russian-British researcher at the University of Cambridge in February 2014.

Barnett said in an investigative memo that was previously released in the criminal case against Flynn that the CHS claimed to have witnessed the incident in question. That memo also indicated that Flynn’s contact was Russian.

According to the latest memo, Barnett said he initially believed the information was concerning and “potentially significant” to the Flynn investigation. But Barnett said that intelligence analysts were unable to locate information that corroborated the report concerning Flynn’s contact. The bureau reached out to foreign intelligence agencies for information for the investigation but found nothing derogatory about Flynn or the other person, the memo says.

According to the memo, Barnett made it clear that he did not believe the CHS’s claim that Flynn left the event with the person. The memo does not say whether Barnett believed the source was lying about the incident.

Jim Treacher, PJ Media, No, Nobody Really Cares About Trump's Taxes

Didja hear the big story about how Trump only paid $750 in taxes? Or maybe it was $1 million. Or $1,000,750. It was definitely one of those, probably. If it even matters.

Does it matter? If so, why?

I would argue, Dear Reader, that it does not matter.

The goal of stories like the NYT’s latest “bombshell,” among our moral, ethical, and intellectual betters in the media, isn’t to convince anyone of anything. And it certainly isn’t to inform anyone. No, the goal is to reinforce the existing beliefs of their audience. People who hate Trump read this earth-shattering story and say, “See? We told you!”

Althouse, "The government allows income to be sheltered from taxation for hundreds of different reasons...."

It makes me think of my old law school tax professor who liked to say that a tax return is an offer, and you see if the government accepts it or makes a counteroffer. Trump made his offer in 2010, and the government accepted it, and sent him $72.9 million refund but also kept investigating. It's 10 years later, and they're still hovering over him, threatening to take it back — with interest and penalties.

The NYT editors say that the IRS needs more more funding so it can quickly and aggressively enforce the existing tax code. The headline speaks of "the profound inequities of the tax code," but the editors never get around to proposing eliminating loopholes and complexity. Why not? Is it because what they want is to get Trump, and changing the law prospectively is irrelevant to that goal? The only thing that relates to Trump is that the investigation is taking too long. If only the IRS could be more aggressive perhaps they could have figured out by now whether it agrees with Trump's interpretation of the over-complicated law or not.

Da Caller,  CNN Anchor Shocked After Rick Santorum Suggests NYT Story On Trump’s Taxes Is False. After 34 years of "Russian collusion", they don't get the benefit of the doubt. 

NYPo, Ron Johnson says Ukraine report will show Joe Biden’s ‘unfitness for office’. As if we needed more. And, Andrew Cuomo’s guest appearance in the Hunter Biden scandals

New Yorkers should take special note of one part of the Senate report on Hunter Biden’s shady business dealings — because one of his wealthy patrons got “economic development” tax breaks from our own Gov. Andrew Cuomo.

Yes, the main implications are national: Hunter got millions from foreign sources while his dad was veep, and though Obama officials feared conflicts, they did nothing. Records “show potential criminal activity between Hunter Biden, his family and his associates” and Ukrainian, Russian, Kazakh and Chinese nationals, the report says.

And the younger Biden sent “thousands” to folks who’ve been tied to “transactions consistent with human trafficking” or have possible associations with the porn industry or prostitution. Ugly stuff.

Yet New Yorkers may care most about the section noting that Hunter’s firm, Rosemont Seneca Thornton, got $242,000 from Russian billionaire Elena Baturina, which it transferred to BAK USA — a Buffalo firm that raked in a quarter-million in tax breaks under Cuomo’s START-UP NY scheme — and then went belly up.

Rosemont, the report adds, got another $3.5 million from Baturina for unspecified “consulting,” but it’s not clear why Biden’s firm was in the middle of payments from her to BAK; New Yorkers can only wonder if Hunter profited off a deal made possible by their tax dollars.

More important, though, BAK is yet another example of Cuomo’s failed AndyLand approach to upstate’s economy: He picks winners (or at least politically connected firms) and showers them with public funds — in the hope they’ll survive and grow jobs. Alas, many deals have simply flopped.

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