Archive for the ‘Mueller – political animal’ category

Inside Judicial Watch: The Politicized DOJ — Mueller, Comey, Strzok, Yates, & More!

December 7, 2017

Inside Judicial Watch: The Politicized DOJ — Mueller, Comey, Strzok, Yates, & More! Judicial Watch via YouTube, December 5, 2017

 

Robert Mueller’s mighty tuna shrinks to a goldfish

December 5, 2017

Robert Mueller’s mighty tuna shrinks to a goldfish, Washington Times, December 4, 2017

James Comey. (Associated Press) ** FILE

ANALYSIS/OPINION:

Robert Mueller has the heart of a Las Vegas hooker and the guile of a New Orleans stripper. Not to push the metaphor too far, he’s skilled at showing a little skin in a cloud of satin and lace, but never quite comes across with what the customer is paying for.

Mr. Mueller, held up by his fellow Blackstones as a model of lawyerly rectitude, teased everyone last week that after testing his prowess to the limit, he had hooked a mighty tuna. His hallelujah chorus in the media celebrated the hundred-pound monster, but overnight it melted into a two-inch goldfish.

The special prosecutor might yet get the last laugh. He may yet land the promised tuna if there’s actually one out there in the briny deep. So far he’s coming up with nothing but net. The Associated Press, which has never been accused of giving Republicans a break, called the arrest “lots of smoke, but no smoking gun.” The “lots of smoke” looked as the new week began as merely a thin tuft of smoke, or more likely a wisp of fog.

The president’s sharpest detractors, agreed CNBC News, among the most fervent of those detractors, have so far been unable to find evidence that the Trump campaign coordinated with, or was even aware of, Russian efforts to swing the 2016 presidential election against Hillary Clinton.

The Democrats figure that since the tuna turned out to be a goldfish, it’s time to resurrect something dead from the recent past. Sen. Dianne Feinstein, whose Senate seat has been getting a little warm, resurrected a notion discarded earlier that Mr. Trump obstructed justice by firing James Comey as director of the FBI. Mr. Comey is best buds with Robert Mueller, who has never given up trying to rehabilitate Mr. Comey from goat to grandee. Only last week Mr. Comey himself took a turn as Bible scholar, attempting to apply a verse from the Book of Amos (5:24) — “But let judgment run down as waters, and righteousness as a mighty stream” — to Mr. Mueller’s search for a crime. A Bible verse in the hands of a novice can be like a child with a gun.

Alan Dershowitz thinks the idea that the president, by sacking Mr. Comey, obstructed justice is nonsense. Mr. Dershowitz, the distinguished law professor at Harvard, warned Mrs. Feinstein and Democrats who are trying to build a case that the president obstructed justice that they’re wasting their time.

“You cannot charge a president with obstruction of justice for exercising his constitutional power to fire Comey and his constitutional authority to tell the Justice Department who to investigate, who not to investigate. That’s what Thomas Jefferson did, that’s what Lincoln did, that’s what Roosevelt did. We have precedents that clearly establish that.”

The president’s tweets are making trouble for him again. Some Democrats, eager for something, anything, to hang their hats on, argue that Mr. Trump’s tweet on Sunday “suggested” that the president knew former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn lied to the FBI, and that implies obstruction of justice. Or it might only be that these Democrats inferred that that’s what the president did. They should study the difference. A desperate Democrat might infer a lot of fake stuff. To pursue a president for obstruction would ultimately require that “clearly illegal acts” would have to have been committed.

This is what some of Mr. Trump’s pursuers would call mere technicalities in the law. Destroying Donald Trump is of such transcendent purpose, the goal of every right-thinking American, that anything goes. Ask any never-Trumper. What does the Constitution have to do with it, anyway? Six and seven decades of drinking the poison that the Constitution is only “a living document,” subject to reinterpretation to fit any theory of the law, has done great damage.

The Flynn episode might be the needed tutorial in constitutional law. Lawyer and layman alike can learn something useful. Alan Dershowitz thinks Mr. Trump’s lawyers should learn something, too. Legally speaking, he says, Mr. Flynn was “up for sale,” and his “credibility is worthless” since he has been credibly accused of perjury.

“I think the administration is not aggressive enough with [Mr.] Mueller,” Mr. Dershowitz told Laura Ingraham of Fox News last week. “They should be in court challenging what he has been doing. He is going far beyond any possible scope of his investigation.”

The president’s lawyers could be challenging subpoenas, and who are called as witnesses. An investigation, whether called for or not, should be done with a semblance of fairness or it will invite a generation of vipers to do their evil work. If Donald Trump is half as bad as the Democrats say he is, Robert Mueller does not need a railroad to get to where he’s trying to go.

• Wesley Pruden is editor in chief emeritus of The Times.

Trump’s Right — the FBI Is in Tatters

December 4, 2017

Trump’s Right — the FBI Is in Tatters, PJ MediaRoger L Simon, December 3, 2017

In a series of heavily criticized tweets (aren’t they always) Trump is asserting that the FBI’s reputation is in tatters.  Of course, he’s right.  This isn’t justice as it’s supposed to be, not even faintly. It’s Kafka meets Orwell in the Deep State.

Robert Mueller may not realize it, but the conclusion of his investigation, whatever it is, will never be accepted by a huge percentage of the public. As the French say, Mentir est honteux.  Lying is shameful.  Mike Flynn may have lied, but so, undoubtedly, has the FBI, multiple times, more than Flynn could ever dream of doing or be capable of doing.  And they’re the ones we’re supposed to trust in the end.

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What’re we supposed think when it’s revealed the man running the Hillary Clinton email server investigation (Peter Strzok) was a married Hillary supporter conducting an adulterous affair with a government lawyer, while dissing Donald Trump in his clandestine billet-doux text messages?

(Was he auditioning for Harvey Weinstein’s next movie, assuming Weinstein is ever allowed to make a movie again or even would make one that in any way besmirched his good friend Hillary?)

As an FBI agent, Strzok’s use of text messaging for such an enterprise was nothing short of moronic in this digital age, but nevertheless he was not fired but simply and quietly sent to FBI  “Siberia” last summer, his activities only miraculously coming to public attention last week.

Why the secrecy? Many reasons, probably yet to be determined, but it comes down to this: the FBI, like the Mafia, practices omertà.

They have a code of silence as Tom Fitton of Judicial Watch, who spends his life trying to pry information from our supposedly premier law enforcement agency, can tell you.  Ditto, now, the House Intelligence Committee, whose chairman Devin Nunes, as Byron York reports for the Washington Examiner, is apoplectic.

Word of the messages and the affair were news to Nunes, even though the committee had issued a subpoena that covered information about Strzok’s demotion more than three months ago. The committee’s broadly worded subpoena for information related to the so-called Trump dossier went to the FBI and DOJ on Aug. 24. In follow-up conversations on the scope of the subpoena, committee staff told the FBI and DOJ that it included information on the circumstances of Strzok’s reassignment.

On Oct. 11, Nunes met with deputy attorney general Rod Rosenstein. In that meeting, Nunes specifically discussed the committee’s request for information about Strzok.

In an Oct. 31 committee staff meeting with the FBI, bureau officials refused a request for information about Strzok.

On Nov. 20, the committee again requested an interview with Strzok. (Three days earlier, on November 17, Strzok met with the Senate Intelligence Committee.)

On Nov. 29, Nunes again spoke to Rosenstein, and again discussed Strzok.

On Dec. 1, the committee again requested to speak with Strzok.

Obviously nothing has been forthcoming until now.  But speaking of FBI stonewalling, there’s this new revelation from Fitton, concerning the “happenstance” meeting between Bill Clinton and then AG Loretta Lynch at the Phoenix airport.  The “accidental” encounter supposedly resulted in some chit-chat about grandchildren, but only a few days later then FBI director Comey announced he wouldn’t recommend prosecution of Hillary Clinton:

Because of the revelation in our other lawsuit, the FBI – without our knowledge—”reopened” our [July 7, 2016] FOIA request. The agency supposedly found about 30 pages of information, which it needed six weeks to review. The FBI finally gave them to us late Thursday.

Now we know why the FBI played shell games. The documents show that FBI officials were concerned solely about the leaking of details of the tarmac meeting. None of the documents show top agency officials cared one whit about the propriety of the meeting itself, but only about who blew the whistle on the covert tête-à-tête.

In one email, an FBI official writes “we need to find that guy.” And in another we learn that the Phoenix FBI office was contacted “in an attempt to stem any further damage.” An FBI official working on Lynch’s security detail even goes so far as to suggest non-disclosure agreements to keep the full facts from coming forth.

No wonder the FBI didn’t turn these documents over until we caught it red-handed, hiding and lying about them.

Simply put, the FBI appears to be fully complicit in a cover-up that attempted to influence a presidential election for a favored candidate – Hillary Clinton. And the truth was trampled on a Phoenix tarmac.

Sense a pattern here, Watson?

The FBI seems suddenly concerned with leakers when it affects them. Well, that’s only a part of the story — but a significant part.  Like most bureaucratic organizations, whether in law enforcement or not, as they grow self-preservation increasingly becomes the dominant motivation.  In the case of the FBI, it’s self-preservation leavened with a significant dollop of political bias, conscious and unconscious.

In the case of Strzok, the bias was clearly a bit too conscious for his own good, but who could doubt, given the dramatis personae of Mueller’s investigation, that many of his cohorts share the same views but have the horse sense to leave them out of their text messages.? (Apropos Strzok, it’s interesting he wasn’t fired.  Was it because they feared he would go rogue?)

In a series of heavily criticized tweets (aren’t they always) Trump is asserting that the FBI’s reputation is in tatters.  Of course, he’s right.  This isn’t justice as it’s supposed to be, not even faintly. It’s Kafka meets Orwell in the Deep State.

Robert Mueller may not realize it, but the conclusion of his investigation, whatever it is, will never be accepted by a huge percentage of the public. As the French say, Mentir est honteux.  Lying is shameful.  Mike Flynn may have lied, but so, undoubtedly, has the FBI, multiple times, more than Flynn could ever dream of doing or be capable of doing.  And they’re the ones we’re supposed to trust in the end.

Nunes blows up, threatens contempt after FBI stonewalls House on Russia investigator demoted for anti-Trump bias

December 3, 2017

OPINION: Nunes blows up, threatens contempt after FBI stonewalls House on Russia investigator demoted for anti-Trump bias, Washington ExaminerByron York, December 2, 2017

(Please see also, FBI Stonewalls Corruption Probe, which opens with this sentence:

The Obama administration corrupted everything it touched, including the FBI. A scandal is brewing, and the FBI, predictably, is responding with the Obama playbook: it is stonewalling. Byron York has the story:

— DM)

Stories in both the Washington Post and New York Times on Saturday reported that Peter Strzok, who played a key role in the original FBI investigation into the Trump-Russia matter, and then a key role in Mueller’s investigation, and who earlier had played an equally critical role in the FBI’s Hillary Clinton email investigation, was reassigned out of the Mueller office because of anti-Trump texts he exchanged with a top FBI lawyer, Lisa Page, with whom Strzok was having an extramarital affair. Strzok was transferred to the FBI’s human resources office — an obvious demotion — in July.

The Post reported that Strzok and Page exchanged text messages that “expressed anti-Trump sentiments and other comments that appeared to favor Clinton.”

Word of the messages and the affair were news to Nunes, even though the committee had issued a subpoena that covered information about Strzok’s demotion more than three months ago. The committee’s broadly worded subpoena for information related to the so-called Trump dossier went to the FBI and DOJ on Aug. 24. In follow-up conversations on the scope of the subpoena, committee staff told the FBI and DOJ that it included information on the circumstances of Strzok’s reassignment.

On Oct. 11, Nunes met with deputy attorney general Rod Rosenstein. In that meeting, Nunes specifically discussed the committee’s request for information about Strzok.

In an Oct. 31 committee staff meeting with the FBI, bureau officials refused a request for information about Strzok.

On Nov. 20, the committee again requested an interview with Strzok. (Three days earlier, on November 17, Strzok met with the Senate Intelligence Committee.)

On Nov. 29, Nunes again spoke to Rosenstein, and again discussed Strzok.

On Dec. 1, the committee again requested to speak with Strzok.

After each occasion, the FBI and DOJ did nothing. Now, in what appears to be an orchestrated leak, both the Post and Times published the reason for Strzok’s demotion, along with concerns that the revelation might help President Trump. “Among federal law enforcement officials, there is great concern that exposure of the texts they exchanged may be used by the president and his defenders to attack the credibility of the Mueller probe and the FBI more broadly,” the Post reported. The Times reported that “the existence of the text messages is likely to fuel claims by Mr. Trump that he is the target of a witch hunt.”

Well, yes. It will be of concern to Trump’s defenders, and to defenders of fair investigations generally, that such an important figure in both the Clinton and Trump probes privately expressed bias. It will be important for investigators — and the public — to see Strzok’s and Page’s texts to assess the extent of the problem. But in any event, Nunes is extremely unhappy — not only with the revelation of bias but with the FBI’s resistance.

“By hiding from Congress, and from the American people, documented political bias by a key FBI head investigator for both the Russia collusion probe and the Clinton email investigation, the FBI and DOJ engaged in a willful attempt to thwart Congress’ constitutional oversight responsibility,” Nunes said in a statement Saturday afternoon. “This is part of a months-long pattern by the DOJ and FBI of stonewalling and obstructing this committee’s oversight work, particularly oversight of their use of the Steele dossier. At this point, these agencies should be investigating themselves.”

To add insult to injury, at just the moment the leaked stories appeared, the Justice Department out of the blue notified Nunes that it would meet some of the committee’s demands for information that it had been refusing for months. That didn’t make the chairman happy, either.

“The DOJ has now expressed — on a Saturday, just hours after the press reports on Strzok’s dismissal appeared — a sudden willingness to comply with some of the committee’s long-standing demands,” Nunes said in the statement. “This attempted 11th-hour accommodation is neither credible nor believable, and in fact is yet another example of the DOJ’s disingenuousness and obstruction.”

As a result, Nunes said he has instructed committee staff to draw up a contempt of Congress citation for Rosenstein and for FBI Director Christopher Wray. The chairman promised to take action on the citation before the end of December unless the FBI and DOJ meet all the committee’s outstanding demands.

Obviously Nunes is angry that he did not know about the real reasons for Strzok’s demotion. And he is equally angry with the FBI’s and DOJ’s treatment of the committee. Contempt of Congress is a big move for lawmakers to take, especially against an agency controlled by the same party as leaders of the House. But remember, House Speaker Paul Ryan has already said the FBI and DOJ “stonewalled” the House, and he demanded that it comply immediately. That was five weeks ago. Now, after this latest episode, it seems likely that leaders in Congress are becoming increasingly frustrated with what they see as the FBI and DOJ jerking lawmakers around. At some point, they will act.

 

Charge Against Flynn is More Evidence that Mueller Has Nothing

December 2, 2017

Charge Against Flynn is More Evidence that Mueller Has Nothing, Power LineJohn Hinderaker, December 1, 2017

News media are breathlessly reporting that Gen. Michael Flynn has agreed to plead guilty to lying to the FBI. You can read the Statement of the Offense here. The false statements alleged by the government seem rather pathetic: 1) Flynn falsely told an FBI agent that he didn’t ask the Russian ambassador to “refrain from escalating the situation in response to sanctions” the U.S. had just imposed, and 2) that he didn’t recall the ambassador subsequently telling him that the Russians had moderated their response per his request; 3) Flynn falsely said that he didn’t ask the Russian ambassador to delay or defeat a pending U.N. Security Council resolution, and 4) that the ambassador never subsequently described his country’s response to that request. (Flynn tried, unsuccessfully, to convince several members of the Security Council, including Russia, not to proceed with an anti-Israel resolution. This is to his, and President Trump’s, credit.)

That’s it, after a year of huffing and puffing. Nothing about the election, nothing about the long-awaited “collusion” between the Trump campaign and Russia. I have no idea why Flynn apparently lied to an FBI agent, assuming that he did. But the communications described in the information are exactly the sorts of contacts that a national security advisor to an incoming president should be having with foreign powers.

In short, the allegations against Flynn suggest that Robert Mueller has nothing significant against President Trump or other members of his administration.

The press, of course, is gleeful. ABC‘s headline blares, “Flynn Prepared To Testify Against Trump, Trump Family, White House Staff.” Really? Testify to what?

ABC’s Brian Ross reports: Michael Flynn promised “full cooperation to the Mueller team” and is prepared to testify that as a candidate, Donald Trump “directed him to make contact with the Russians.”

But of course, there is nothing wrong with directing Flynn to make contact with the Russians. ABC says this is contrary to statements that Trump has made, but I don’t know whether that is true or not. It would require considerable research into Trump’s many statements to discern whether he has said that he never directed Flynn to contact any Russian on any subject.

In any event, what is the point? Contacting foreign governments was part of Flynn’s job, and directing Flynn to contact foreign governments was part of Trump’s job.

Andy McCarthy sees the Flynn plea the same way that I do:

Obviously, it was wrong of Flynn to give the FBI false information; he could, after all, have simply refused to speak with the agents in the first place. That said, as I argued early this year, it remains unclear why the Obama Justice Department chose to investigate Flynn. There was nothing wrong with the incoming national-security adviser’s having meetings with foreign counterparts or discussing such matters as the sanctions in those meetings. Plus, if the FBI had FISA recordings of Flynn’s conversations with Kislyak, there was no need to ask Flynn what the conversations entailed. Flynn, an early backer of Donald Trump and a fierce critic of Obama’s national-security policies, was generally despised by Obama administration officials. Hence, there has always been cynical suspicion that the decision to interview him was driven by the expectation that he would provide the FBI with an account inconsistent with the recorded conversation — i.e., that Flynn was being set up for prosecution on a process crime.

In the information filed against Flynn, what is most important is what is not there–the dog that isn’t barking:

[W]hen a prosecutor has a cooperator who was an accomplice in a major criminal scheme, the cooperator is made to plead guilty to the scheme. This is critical because it proves the existence of the scheme. In his guilty-plea allocution (the part of a plea proceeding in which the defendant admits what he did that makes him guilty), the accomplice explains the scheme and the actions taken by himself and his co-conspirators to carry it out. This goes a long way toward proving the case against all of the subjects of the investigation. That is not happening in Flynn’s situation. Instead, like Papadopoulos, he is being permitted to plead guilty to a mere process crime. A breaking report from ABC News indicates that Flynn is prepared to testify that Trump directed him to make contact with the Russians — initially to lay the groundwork for mutual efforts against ISIS in Syria. That, however, is exactly the sort of thing the incoming national-security adviser is supposed to do in a transition phase between administrations. If it were part of the basis for a “collusion” case arising out of Russia’s election meddling, then Flynn would not be pleading guilty to a process crime — he’d be pleading guilty to an espionage conspiracy.

I suppose it is still possible that Mueller could surprise us, but General Flynn was supposed to be the key witness, and he apparently has little or nothing to say that is newsworthy.

Moves by Michael Flynn’s legal team suggest he may be cooperating with special prosecutor: Report

November 24, 2017

Moves by Michael Flynn’s legal team suggest he may be cooperating with special prosecutor: Report, Washington Times, November 23, 2017

(Please see also, Special Counsel Mueller Probing Kushner’s Role in Blocking Obama’s Betrayal of Israel at UNSC (not satire) and Humor | Turkey pardoned by Trump had multiple contacts with Russian officials. — DM)

In this Feb. 1, 2017, file photo, then-National Security Adviser Michael Flynn speaks during the daily news briefing at the White House, in Washington. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster, File)

The Times cautioned that the termination of information-sharing isn’t proof that Mr. Flynn either has cut a plea deal with prosecutors or is trying to do so — and presumably cooperating with them as a condition of the deal.

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The legal team of former national security adviser Michael Flynn is reportedly no longer sharing information with attorneys for President Trump, a move that commonly happens when an investigation target starts cooperating with prosecutors.

In its report Thursday, The New York Times cited “four people involved in the case” as saying that Mr. Flynn’s attorneys had “notified the president’s legal team in recent days that they could no longer discuss” the investigation of Special Counsel Robert S. Mueller.

Mr. Mueller is probing the Trump team’s ties to Russian officials and its possible involvement in Kremlin efforts to influence the 2016 U.S. presidential election. Mr. Flynn, who resigned the NSC chief post just a couple months into Mr. Trump’s administration, is widely as the most legally vulnerable Trump insider.

The Times cautioned that the termination of information-sharing isn’t proof that Mr. Flynn either has cut a plea deal with prosecutors or is trying to do so — and presumably cooperating with them as a condition of the deal.

“Defense lawyers frequently share information during investigations, but they must stop when doing so would pose a conflict of interest. It is unethical for lawyers to work together when one client is cooperating with prosecutors and another is still under investigation,” wrote reporters Michael S. Schmidt, Matt Apuzzo and Maggie Haberman.

The Times had no official comment from either the Trump or Flynn legal teams.

Humor | Turkey pardoned by Trump had multiple contacts with Russian officials

November 22, 2017

Turkey pardoned by Trump had multiple contacts with Russian officials, Duffel Blog, November 22, 2017

(Please see also, Special Counsel Mueller Probing Kushner’s Role in Blocking Obama’s Betrayal of Israel at UNSC. I initially thought it might be satire but concluded that it wasn’t.– DM)

WASHINGTON — The turkey pardoned by President Donald Trump has had multiple contacts with Russian officials over the past year, Duffel Blog has learned.

Grav E. Gobbles, a 4-year-old bird from western Minnesota, received a pardon Tuesday during a ceremony in the Rose Garden. But how Gobbles was able to secure a presidential pardon has come under scrutiny, sources say.

According to sources, Gobbles met privately on multiple occasions with Russian officials over the past year, leading some to allege a pumpkin pie-to-play scheme. In one instance, for example, Gobbles spoke with Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak, though the details of what was discussed are still unknown.

“First, I’m never going to do that,” Kislyak told reporters when asked for details of the meeting. “But I can tell you, without any reservation, our conversation was totally gravy.”

Gobbles also reportedly met with Trump’s former national security adviser Michael Flynn, according to sources, in a campaign on his own behalf. At that meeting, Gobbles reportedly schemed with Flynn to kidnap a fellow turkey from his home, before stuffing him into a waiting van headed to The White House.

“You can say it was a recipe for deliciousness,” the source said.

The revelation comes just days after Attorney General Jeff Sessions was grilled on Capitol Hill over his own recollections of meetings with Russian officials during the presidential campaign.

Special counsel Robert Mueller is already aware of the allegations against Gobbles, and sources say he is expected to roast him in the coming days