Sunday, April 25, 2021

Russiagate Revived (Again)

It's been over two weeks  since I delved into the bin where I store articles on Russiagate and it looks like the articles have aged pretty well. Daniel Payne at JTN, Once the story of the century, the Trump-Russia conspiracy theory has all but vanished

It had all the makings of a once-in-a-generation scandal: allegations of political sabotage from a hostile foreign power, the willing cooperation of an upstart political candidate, a stolen election, a compromised U.S. national security system, and a genuine threat to the stability and integrity of the United States itself.

Yet after several years of claims from politicians, activists and commentators that President Donald Trump and/or his campaign actively colluded with Russia to steal the 2016 election from Hillary Clinton, the scandal itself has essentially died, with no evidence ever having arisen to substantiate those explosive allegations.

The death knell of the conspiracy theory was likely the March 2019 release of the special counsel's report on the conspiracy theory; the open-ended, years-long investigation, headed by former FBI Director Robert Mueller, was ultimately unable to find any strong evidence that the Trump campaign had collaborated with the Russian government to win the 2016 race.

Yet the evidence for collusion had always been slim: Former Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein admitted under oath last year that by August of 2017 there was no evidence to substantiate claims that Trump had conspired with Russia to steal the election.

Still, the theory persisted for nearly two years afterwards, pushed by major Democratic leaders in Congress and promoted by prominent media personalities, essentially dominating the first two-and-a-half years of Trump's presidency. . . 

I expect AG* Merrick Garland to shut this one down, quietly.  Sundance at CTH,  Lawfare’s Trail – John Durham Deploys Records Subpoena Against Brookings Institute For Steele Dossier Primary Source, Igor Danchenko – Brookings Then Tips-Off New York Times

The Backstory is…. In essence Chris Steele put a bunch of garbage inside his dossier, and his dossier was used to get the Carter Page FISA warrant to conduct surveillance against the Trump campaign (October 21, 2016). Danchenko then disavowed the veracity of all the information he provided during FBI interviews in January, February and March 2017; but the FBI ignored the Danchenko discussion and used the dossier for two more FISA renewals in April and June 2017.

Jerry Dunleavy at WaEx, John Durham scrutinizes Steele dossier source through Brookings Institution subpoena 

Special counsel John Durham is reportedly scrutinizing British ex-spy Christopher Steele’s main source for his discredited dossier, using a subpoena to obtain documents from the Brookings Institution related to its employment of Igor Danchenko, a researcher who visited Russia in 2016 as he worked for the ex-MI6 agent.

The New York Times reported on Monday, citing “people familiar with the investigation," that Durham “has keyed in on the FBI’s handling of a notorious dossier of political opposition research both before and after the bureau started using it to obtain court permission to wiretap a former Trump campaign adviser." The outlet said Durham obtained records from the left-leaning think tank in Washington, D.C., related to Danchenko, who worked for the organization from 2005 to 2010 as a Russia researcher but is best known as the main source for Steele’s discredited Trump-Russia dossier in 2016.

'Shipwrecked Crew' at Red State is less politic,  Russian Hoax Prosecutor John Durham Issues Subpoena to Democrat Party Think Tank "Brookings Institution"

The continued use of information from Danchenko has always been a huge “red-flag” problem in my review of the FBI’s conduct. There was simply too much information known to the FBI by December 2016 and January 2017 to press forward with the investigation while continuing to rely on earlier judgments that there was some substance to the Russia Hoax allegations. Nothing that the investigation was actually turning up — nothing that was later reported by the Mueller Special Counsel investigation or otherwise disclosed by Inspector General Horowitz’s report — has ever supported the FBI’s continued belief in the legitimacy of the “Russia Hoax” allegations such that the investigation should have been carried on after Pres. Trump took office.

Chuck Ross at Da Caller, DOJ Is Reportedly Investigating Ex-Trump Official Who Debunked The Russia Collusion Narrative. The unsinkable Molly Hemingway at Da Fed, Deep State Mouthpiece Retaliates Against Staffer Who Uncovered Russia Collusion Hoax   Bonchie at Red State, The Biden Administration Seeks Revenge on the Man Who Exposed the Trump-Russia Hoax

While it looks like no one of note will be held accountable for perpetuating the hoax that was the Trump-Russia investigation, the Biden administration still looks to be seeking revenge. Kash Patel, the man who blew open the FBI’s spying scheme, is now the subject of a criminal leak case involving classified information. Yes, the same DOJ and FBI, that decided Hillary did nothing wrong and couldn’t investigate a leak to save their lives during the Trump era, is now deeply concerned that Patel may have broken the law. I know, try not to laugh.

Dan and Jerry at WaEx, 'Russiagate' investigator Kash Patel slams 'hypocrisy' of Washington Post column on leaks. WaPoo has benefited from more than a few leaks of classified information, alluding to the Flynn leaks in particular. Chuck Ross again, ‘Outright Lies’: Nunes Accuses FBI Director Of ‘Stonewalling’ During Russia Probe Sundance, Buried Lead – Washington Post Outlines AG Barr As Key Figure Who Blocked Declassification of Spygate Documents

The Washington Post has a lengthy hit-piece against Kash Patel where they infer unsourced claims the DOJ is investigating the former Nunes aide and Trump administration official for releasing classified information.

Keep in mind that President Trump granted full declassification authority to AG Bill Barr on May 23, 2019. I would draw your attention to these two paragraphs buried deep in the reporting (emphasis mine):
(WaPo) […] The battle against the deep state continued, meanwhile. Patel kept pushing, along with DNI Ratcliffe, for declassification of memos challenging the origins of the Russia investigation. Nakasone [NSA Director] strongly dissented, and Esper [Sec of Defense] backed him up in an October letter to Ratcliffe “urging that the information not be released due to the harm it would do to national security, including specific harm to the military,” a senior defense official said. Haspel [CIA Director], too, strongly opposed release of the information. Their argument for protecting sensitive information was finally supported by Attorney General William P. Barr, and Trump backed away, a source close to the events said.

“I think there were people within the IC [Intelligence Community], at the heads of certain intelligence agencies, who did not want their tradecraft called out, even though it was during a former administration, because it doesn’t look good on the agency itself,” Patel said in the RealClearInvestigations interview. (read more)
It is tradition the NSA and CIA run to the Washington Post when they need a media PR firm to push their position. So this article makes sense considering the NSA and CIA both had something to hide within the criminal activity behind Spygate. [Maybe the timing has to do with recent information about the Durham probe.]

The Garland DOJ is trying to extract revenged on Roger Stone for escaping their clutches. Da Blaze,  DOJ sues Roger Stone and wife for $2M in unpaid taxes, alleging fraud, "The longtime Trump ally says the suit is 'politically motivated." Ya think?

Sundance,  Sunday Talks, John Ratcliffe Discusses Severe Political Compromise Within U.S. Intelligence Community. But the video has been taken down thanks to Fox News. 

Matt Taibi, Due Process Is Good, He Said Controversially

The first time I knew something changed on my side of the political aisle in the attitude toward accused people was the Maria Butina case. The New York Times ran a headline, “Maria Butina, Suspected Secret Agent, Used Sex in Covert Plan,” that was wrong in one place, and misleading in another. Butina hadn’t traded sex for information, just joked to a friend that that was all she could pay for his help in getting her car inspected. As for being a “Suspected Secret Agent,” that was only true if you were going by the definition of “agent” as per the “Agents of Foreign Governments” act, something south of genuine espionage, which most readers probably didn’t understand.

Even after the “mistake” about using sex was corrected, brethren in the press gleefully ran “Red Sparrow” stories, even though there was never much evidence, not that she traded sex, was a spy, or was knowingly anything. Her sentencing memo — this is her accusers speaking now — described her as “not a trained intelligence officer” but an “access agent” of a type that “may or may not be witting.” She may very well have been guilty. Still, reporters and political liberals both were once more squeamish about accusing people of serious crimes, particularly sex crimes. The calculus in Butina’s case was that she was Russian who dated a Republican operative and mixed up somehow in the 2016 election scandal, making her a Trump person, so to hell with her.

Via Da Caller, Tom Fitton, President of Judicial Watch is outraged at Schiff’s Secret Subpoenas

“Adam Schiff secretly subpoenaed, without court authorization, the phone records of Rudy Giuliani and then published the phone records of innocent Americans, including President Trump’s lawyers, a member of Congress, and a journalist. And now a federal court ruled today that Schiff, or any member of Congress can’t be held accountable for this unprecedented and potentially criminal abuse of power. Every American should be concerned about a ruling that suggests Congress has unlimited power to take and publish their private phone records!”

Judicial Watch appealed the ruling and an appellate panel here in DC heard oral argument last month. The transcript is worth a read. . . .

WaPoo satisfied that NSA official installed as Trump left office resigns after he was sidelined. But will they be as happy when the shoe is on the other foot? I doubt it. 

Natalie Winters at TNP, REVEALED: Anti-Trump Impeachment Witness Meeting With Chinese Communist Party Think Tank. Noah Feldman, getting his marching orders, no doubt. 

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