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PostPosted: Wed Apr 11, 2018 3:12 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

The Dark Side gathers its Force ...

There have been some quick responses.

The "Deep State" figures with their necks most on the line are trying to head off their problems. We have Comey on video characterizing Trump as a "mob boss". It sounds like Dershowitz is right. They are preparing the public for impeachment of Trump.


The old guard is rising up in the Senate.

Senators to introduce new bipartisan bill to protect Mueller
BY JORDAIN CARNEY - 04/11/18 08:58 AM EDT

A group of bipartisan senators is introducing new legislation to limit President Trump's ability to fire special counsel Robert Mueller.

Sens. Cory Booker (D-N.J.). Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), Christopher Coons (D-Del.) and Thom Tillis (R-N.C.) will introduce the legislation, the Special Counsel Independence and Integrity Act, on Wednesday.

The legislation would let Mueller, or any other special counsel, receive an "expedited judicial review" within 10 days of being fired to determine if it was for a "good cause." If it was determined it wasn't, he would be reinstated.

It would also codify regulations that only a senior Justice Department official can fire a special counsel and that they must provide the reason in writing.

"We need to ensure not only that special counsel Mueller can complete his work without interference, but that special counsels in future investigations can, too," Coons said.
[....] http://thehill.com/homenews/se.....ct-mueller

If Trump prevails in this, it is the end of the game for the old guard Republicans, I imagine. But he has to prevail for the sake of his foreign policy.

It's hard to believe that these people -- major politicians, shrewd, tough ... are being totally flummoxed politically by Trump. Perhaps it is too early to tell, but my impression is that the raid on Trump's lawyer's office and his family home -- it sends a signal to a lot of Americans that the Special Prosecutor has gone crazy.

Trump's attorney has been cooperating with the FBI until the raid. The sole purpose of the raid seems to have been to get ahold of documents that are protected by lawyer-client privilege.

Make no mistake, this is ripening into a constitutional crisis. On another front, Nunes and the House Intelligence Committee, are talking about contempt of Congress charges as well as the impeachment of top DoJ and FBI officials who are defying Congress. The present revelations and leaks reveal 'probable cause' for investigations of the FBI and DoJ themselves.

The truth is that Congress, so far, has been unable to compel the FBI to provide evidence that is embarrassing to the FBI.

Nobody, on either front, has backed down yet.

And meanwhile, Trump finds himself on the edge of ordering a final strike against Assad that makes no sense, except politically due to Trump's felt need to demonstrate that he isn't in Putin's pocket.

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PostPosted: Thu Apr 19, 2018 11:03 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Trump allies worry Cohen will flip
Longtime Trump personal lawyer Michael Cohen is fighting the seizure of his records by federal investigators in New York, but people close to the president are fretting he might fold if he faces severe charges.

By DARREN SAMUELSOHN and ANDREW RESTUCCIA 04/18/2018 09:27 PM EDT Updated 04/19/2018 08:27 AM EDT
Michael Cohen is pictured. | AP Photo
“When anybody is faced with spending a long time in jail, they start to re-evaluate their priorities, and cooperation can’t be ruled out,” said one Trump ally who knows Michael Cohen (above). | Craig Ruttle/AP Photo

President Donald Trump and his outside advisers are increasingly worried that his longtime personal attorney might be susceptible to cooperating with federal prosecutors.

Two sources close to the president said people in Trump’s inner circle have in recent days been actively discussing the possibility that Michael Cohen — long seen as one of Trump’s most loyal personal allies — might flip if he faces serious charges as a result of his work on behalf of Trump.

“That’s what they’ll threaten him with: life imprisonment,” said Alan Dershowitz, the liberal lawyer and frequent Trump defender who met with the president and his staff over two days at the White House last week. “They’re going to threaten him with a long prison term and try to turn him into a canary that sings.”

FBI agents overseen by federal prosecutors in New York last week raided Cohen’s office and apartment, as well as a hotel room he’d been using. The Trump lawyer is a figure in the ongoing Russia investigation overseen by special counsel Robert Mueller in Washington, but Manhattan-based government attorneys said in court that he is also under separate investigation for his business dealings.

Cohen, who has not been publicly charged with any crimes, owns New York City taxi medallions. He has also been deeply involved in the $130,000 payment made to adult film actress Stormy Daniels, who has accused Trump of trying to cover up an affair she says the two had in 2006.

In an interview with CNN last week, Cohen called the raid “unsettling to say the least.” But he also said in the same interview that the federal agents were “extremely professional, courteous and respectful” — a dramatic departure from his usual combative style. [....]

This has to be a desperate move. If the attorney-client privilege is not an issue, it suggests that they have some 'crime' on Cohen that would justify their raid on its own merits.

As I understand it, the attorney-client privilege belongs to the client rather than the attorney. Perhaps Trump has no reason to worry about a criminal proceeding, but that isn't what they seek. They are going for impeachment, and their, the Senate is the Court. The problem for Trump is that this material may become evidence for an impeachment.

Sources say Cohen may find himself facing life imprisonment unless he gives the FBI information about Trump that will be useful to the prosecution. On the other hand, Trump can pardon Cohen.

This is the way the police work these days. They don't use modern forensics in the fashion of Sherlock Holmes ... they extort information from people using a kind of abstract torture.

What it does highlight is the way politics is played in the Imperial City.

It becomes more evident daily -- they will use the firing of Meuller as an excuse for an impeachment proceeding. If the mid-terms go the way the Democrats hope, it has a chance.

Meanwhile, you can be sure Trump's camp is planning a counter-move.
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PostPosted: Thu Apr 19, 2018 11:37 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

The sole purpose of the raid seems to have been to get ahold of documents that are protected by lawyer-client privilege.

Dont think it ever was.

The info passed on had merit that criminal action may have taken place , and a judge agreed .
Thus , no client lawyer privilege.

Cohen, when faced with a hefty term will happily offer up whatever the Feds are looking for and hopefully, we find out what Hannity had to hide.

Im sure his wife is interested too !

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PostPosted: Thu Apr 19, 2018 11:59 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

TC gives a bit more of his sunny anticipation of a consitutional crisis in the US. We might call it the sterile emptiness of the superficial mind.

This is not normal law enforcement. Anyone with a brain can see that this is an extraordinary use of the police power of the state to achieve political goals. It's what the Constitution was originally set up to protect Americans from!

There isn't even a crime to investigate. Collusion isn't a crime and there was none. Nor is there an obstruction of justice. The existence of a crime is essential to the legitimate use of the search powers of the state. In this case, it's a clear abuse, at least in the sense that it's unprecedented.

Trump is being forced down a trail he might not want to go down -- a trail that starts with the arrest of Comey, McCabe, Strzok and Paige, and then moves on ... with Hillary and Obama as possible targets.

Any way you cut it, it looks like a stormy path. I don't know how anyone with a functioning brain can welcome it.
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PostPosted: Thu Apr 19, 2018 12:13 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Bugs wrote:
TC gives a bit more of his sunny anticipation of a consitutional crisis in the US. We might call it the sterile emptiness of the superficial mind.

This is not normal law enforcement. Anyone with a brain can see that this is an extraordinary use of the police power of the state to achieve political goals. It's what the Constitution was originally set up to protect Americans from!

There isn't even a crime to investigate. Collusion isn't a crime and there was none. Nor is there an obstruction of justice. The existence of a crime is essential to the legitimate use of the search powers of the state. In this case, it's a clear abuse, at least in the sense that it's unprecedented.

Trump is being forced down a trail he might not want to go down -- a trail that starts with the arrest of Comey, McCabe, Strzok and Paige, and then moves on ... with Hillary and Obama as possible targets.

Any way you cut it, it looks like a stormy path. I don't know how anyone with a functioning brain can welcome it.


Nice try , but wholly without merit.

Its funny, the US Conservative mantra has been "if you did nothing, dont worry about it and let it play out"

Until one of their own gets caught up in something.

Fake News !
Deep State!
Constitutinal Crisis!

Oh no...Hannity !

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PostPosted: Thu Apr 19, 2018 1:01 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

You like constitutional crises, do you? Or you just didn't think it out that far?

Maybe you're right. It would be unusual, but it could happen. Let's wait and see ...

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PostPosted: Tue Apr 24, 2018 8:28 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

This is the video that has caused a storm, because in it the chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, Rep Nunes, reveals that there never was any "intelligence" of collusion between Trump's people and top Russians.

People are now talking about the likelihood of all of this happening without Obama being involved.


The fight now is to confirm this with documents and testimony. McCabe seems to be key. He insists he 'leaked' were on the instructions of the Director.

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PostPosted: Wed May 02, 2018 11:33 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

The crisis moves closer ...

It has been an active week, with jockeying and positioning going on, but the bulk of the records are still being denied to the Congressmen. They are emerging in dribs and drabs. A small few have read a small selection in unredacted form in a guarded room. They were not allowed to take pictures or record anything they had seen. Basically, they just confirm the rumours.

There is every reason to believe that there was a systematic 'rigging' of the system going on at the heart of the FBI. Put differently, the evidence is that Hillary knew that (for practical purposes) she had immunity when she started opening doors for donors to the Clinton Foundation.

Meanwhile, Meuller has a team negotiating with the White House about the grilling he wants to give Trump. This is where the leaks come in. There has been a 'leak' of the questions Meuller wants answers to. They are not about collusion, but they ask about the thoughts behind the firing of Comey, for instance. It raises issues of executive power and the division of those powers -- the heart of the American system.

Meuller looks bad, apparently caught 'leaking' ... just as Comey admitted to, even while denying that those were leaks.

The question is -- who leaked them? I have had the feeling that the revelations tell us there's another 'editor' out there, managing the pro-Trump news. I don't rule out the possibility that Trump's team is responsible for the leaks, but it's now on Meuller's plate. His staff have threatened to subpoena the President.

In other words, the constitutional crisis that some have yearned for ... unless someone backs down.

Special counsel team has floated idea of subpoena for Trump

Associated Press

WASHINGTON (AP) -- The special counsel leading the Russia investigation raised the prospect in March of issuing a grand jury subpoena for President Donald Trump, his former attorney said, confirming that investigators have floated the extraordinary idea of forcing a sitting president to testify under oath.

Attorney John Dowd told The Associated Press on Tuesday that special counsel Robert Mueller's team broached the subject during a meeting with Trump's legal team while they were negotiating the terms of a possible interview with the president.

It was not immediately clear in what context the possibility of a subpoena was raised or how serious Mueller's prosecutors were about the move. Mueller is probing not only Russian election interference and possible coordination with Trump associates but possible obstruction of justice by Trump.

Trump lashed out against the investigation in a familiar fashion Wednesday, saying on Twitter: "There was no Collusion (it is a Hoax) and there is no Obstruction of Justice (that is a setup & trap)."

Even if Mueller's team decided to subpoena Trump as part of the investigation, he could still fight it in court or refuse to answer questions by invoking his Fifth Amendment protection from self-incrimination.

Dowd's comments come more than a month after he resigned from the legal team, and they provide a new window into the nature of the Trump lawyers' interactions with the special counsel, whom the president has increasingly tried to undermine through public attacks.

On Tuesday, Trump said it was "disgraceful" that a list of proposed questions drafted in response to Mueller's negotiations with the legal team was "leaked" to the news media.

The about four dozen questions were compiled by Trump's lawyers during negotiations with Mueller's investigators earlier this year over the prospect of a presidential interview.

A person familiar with the matter, who insisted on anonymity to discuss ongoing negotiations, told the AP that the president's lawyers extrapolated the list of expected questions based off conversations with Mueller's team about the topics prosecutors wanted to cover in a potential sit down with Trump. The questions reflected what the defense lawyers anticipated Trump would be asked, rather than verbatim queries that Mueller's team provided, the person said.

The Washington Post first reported that Mueller's team raised the possibility of a subpoena for Trump. The New York Times first published the list of questions.

According to the list, the questions range from Trump's motivations for firing FBI Director James Comey a year ago to contacts Trump's campaign had with Russians. Although Mueller's team has indicated to Trump's lawyers that he's not considered a target, investigators remain interested in whether the president's actions constitute obstruction of justice and want to interview him about several episodes in office. They have not yet made a decision about an interview.

In his tweet, Trump said there were "no questions on Collusion" and, as he as many times before, called Mueller's investigation a "Russian witch hunt." He said collusion with the Russians "never existed."

In a second tweet, Trump said: "It would seem very hard to obstruct justice for a crime that never happened."

The questions do appear to indicate that Mueller is looking into possible collusion. Some touch on Russian meddling and whether the Trump campaign coordinated in any way with the Kremlin. In one question, Mueller asks what Trump knew about campaign staff, including his former campaign chairman Paul Manafort, reaching out to Moscow.

Mueller has brought several charges against Manafort already, including money laundering and bank fraud. None of the charges relates to allegations of Russian election interference and possible coordination with Trump associates, and Manafort has denied having anything to do with such an effort.

The questions also involve key moments from the early months of the Trump administration, including his reaction to Attorney General Jeff Sessions' recusal from the Russia investigation and Trump's firing of his national security adviser, Michael Flynn.

One question asks whether there were any efforts to reach out to Flynn "about seeking immunity or possible pardon" ahead of his guilty plea last year. Flynn is now cooperating with Mueller.


Associated Press writers Mary Clare Jalonick and Darlene Superville contributed to this report.

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PostPosted: Thu May 03, 2018 8:39 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Good interview with Mister Mayor, Rudy Giuliani ...


This is a long interview with Sean Hannity, so you know that this is Trump's supporters sizing up the situation. But they don't make up facts, and the fact is that all the crimes that have come to light have been committed by the government.

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PostPosted: Sat May 05, 2018 8:51 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

How the "deep State" stays entrenched ...

It's now going on 17 months that Trump is in power, and he is still being thwarted by senior bureaucrats in the security apparatus in the USA. This video explains one of the tactics they have been using, in cooperation (no doubt) with Congressmen who jam up the appointments became the security clearances are being slow-walked through the system.


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PostPosted: Mon May 07, 2018 7:35 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

The tension rises ...

This is a longish interview on the current state of the Meuller investigation. Two of the three have held senior positions in the DoJ and one is an ex-secret service agent. All are serious people, though they are throwing around terms like "coup d'etat" and the like.


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PostPosted: Mon May 14, 2018 1:12 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Is the worm turning?

Robert Mueller’s Gaping Self-Inflicted Wound
May 14, 2018, 12:05 am

It’s a doozy and very embarrassing, as he has clearly been outsmarted.

On February 16, 2018, Special Counsel Robert Mueller obtained a federal indictment of 13 Russian nationals and 3 Russian companies for conspiring to wage “information warfare” by “impairing, obstructing, and defeating the lawful functions of the United States by dishonest means in order to enable Defendants to interfere with U.S. political processes, including the 2016 presidential election.”

According to the indictment, in 2014 the defendants, posing as U.S. persons, contacted American political and social activists on social media sites. Using information derived from these contacts, they structured disinformation operations to be used in the upcoming presidential election.

Once the presidential campaign started, they used stolen Social Security numbers and birth dates of real U.S. persons to set up bank and PayPal accounts. Through these, the defendants funded their “operations primarily intended to communicate derogatory information about Hillary Clinton, to denigrate other candidates such as Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio, and to support Bernie Sanders and then-candidate Donald Trump.”

Quoting from the defendants’ communications, the indictment avers that they set up social media accounts to spread content that focused on “politics in the USA” and to “use any opportunity to criticize Hillary and the rest (except [Bernie] Sanders and Trump — we support them).” The indictment outlines a number of online media postings and other efforts that attacked Clinton and encouraged support for Sanders, Green Party candidate Jill Stein, and Trump.

Also while posing as U.S. persons, the indictment says they contacted Trump campaign operatives to provide support. The indictment makes clear that the Trump organizers were unaware of the Russians’ true identities and motives.

Not until page 23 of the 37-page indictment does the defendants’ true purpose come into focus. As stated there, after the election, they organized and promoted rallies “in support of president-elect Trump, while simultaneously using other false U.S. persons to organize and coordinate rallies protesting the results of the 2016 presidential election.”

For example, on November 12, 2016, the defendants and their unnamed co-conspirators organized a rally in New York designed to “show your support for President-Elect Donald Trump” while on the same date they organized a rally in New York called “Trump is NOT my President.” Three days later, they organized a North Carolina rally entitled “Charlotte Against Trump.”

In addition to undercutting the Trump-Russia collusion narrative, these anti-Trump measures make apparent that, rather than achieve any particular electoral outcome, the defendants intended to sow dissension, bitterness, and distrust among the American electorate. They were trying to do in America what Russia has done in other countries by mounting disinformation campaigns to undermine trust and confidence in democratic institutions.

In announcing the indictment, Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein emphasized that it neither alleges that any American knowingly acted in concert with the defendants nor that the defendants’ efforts changed the outcome of the election. While all of that is undoubtedly true, it must be recognized that the defendants had to have known that their efforts described in the indictment would not have any material effect on the election results. Like everyone else, they could read the polls. Hillary was going to win, and Trump was guaranteed to lose. That solid and inescapable political consensus limited what they could hope to accomplish.

So causing one candidate to win and another to lose was not their goal. Instead their mission was to weaken and erode Americans’ confidence in our democratic institutions and to poison and sabotage the acceptance of the election outcome by millions of Americans who supported the losing candidate. In short, they wanted to cause turmoil, dissension, and disorder and to cripple our government. Given the post-election chaos, division and bitterness, they certainly seem to have achieved their purpose.

The indictment was heralded by the media as a major achievement by Team Mueller. But a few observers questioned whether Mueller truly expected any of the defendants to appear in a U.S. court to answer the charges. Others asked if the indictment was merely an empty public relations move by Mueller attempting to show that his investigation was producing solid results.

The answers to these questions have started to emerge. Against all expectations, in April, lawyers for one of the Russian corporate defendants, Concord Management and Consulting, LLC, entered their appearances in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia. They followed up by serving extensive discovery requests on Team Mueller seeking full disclosure of the government’s case and investigation including sensitive national security and intelligence information.

This type of discovery is called “graymail” (as distinguished from blackmail) in which the government is faced with having to disclose closely guarded state secrets in order to proceed with the prosecution. The alternative is to drop the charges.

Given that the maximum penalty against Concord is an uncollectable $500,000 fine or equally uncollectable compensation to anyone damaged by the alleged conspiracy, the choice is all the more bitter for Team Mueller. Should they litigate the discovery requests? If they lose and are faced with having to disclose sensitive intelligence information about the case and their investigation, should they withdraw the indictment against Concord? And, if they drop the charges, are they prepared for the resulting public mockery and howls of derision?

On Friday May 5, 2018, Team Mueller immediately began backtracking by filing a motion asking U.S. District Judge Dabney Friedrich to postpone Concord’s arraignment set for May 9, 2018.

They claimed that it was unclear whether Concord had formally accepted the court summons related to the case. In their motion, they included Concord’s discovery requests.

“Until the Court has an opportunity to determine if Concord was properly served, it would be inadvisable to conduct an initial appearance and arraignment at which important rights will be communicated and a plea entertained,” wrote the prosecutors. “That is especially true in the context of this case, which involves a foreign corporate defendant, controlled by another, individual foreign defendant, that has already demanded production of sensitive intelligence gathering, national security, and foreign affairs information.” [Emphasis added]

Team Mueller proposed that the arraignment be postponed while the parties briefed the issue of whether the court summons has been properly served on Concord.

The next morning, Concord’s lawyers replied, “Defendant voluntarily appeared through counsel as provided for in [the federal rules], and further intends to enter a plea of not guilty. Defendant has not sought a limited appearance nor has it moved to quash the summons. As such, the briefing sought by the Special Counsel’s motion is pettifoggery.” [Emphasis added]

Defense counsel argued that Team Mueller was trying “to usurp the scheduling authority of the Court” by waiting until Friday afternoon to try to delay a proceeding scheduled for the following Wednesday. They also stated that the special counsel’s office has not replied to Concord’s discovery requests and, ratcheting up the pressure on the Muellerites, stated that their client intends to assert its speedy trial rights.

Judge Friedrich, a Trump appointee, denied Team Mueller’s request and ruled that the arraignment would proceed as scheduled on May 9.

So what happened at the arraignment? Did things get better for Team Mueller? Hardly.

At the arraignment, Concord’s lead counsel, Eric Dubelier, was asked whether he represents Concord Catering, another one of the charged Russian companies. He replied that he did not and added, “I think we’re dealing with the government having indicted the proverbial ham sandwich. That company didn’t exist as a legal entity during the time period alleged by the government.” [Emphasis added]

Then, hinting at more of the graymail yet to come, he remarked darkly that, “We now know that the special counsel apparently has access to [Concord’s] confidential filings at the Office of Foreign Assets Control, which in and of itself is a disturbing fact.”

Dubelier stated, “Your Honor, we waive formal reading of the indictment. We enter a plea of not guilty. We exercise our right to a speedy trial.” [Emphasis added]

So, what does all of this mean? Metaphorically speaking, it would appear that the yapping dog chasing the car has sunk its teeth into the spinning tire. There is no way for Rover to escape injury. Even if Mueller and his pit bulls win the discovery battle and the case at trial, what’s the prize? A $500,000 fine or compensation to victims? How will they collect?

Everyone thought this was a mere gesture on the part of Meuller and the matter would remain moot. But it is only one more piece of a puzzle. The most objective way I can put this is the "leak" analysis is that the FBI had the job of rigging the election in certain ways. The thing is -- these are a bunch of legally trained bureaucrats mounting a rebellion against the elected government, and they do it while making sure their ass is covered. Or that they're protected. You aren't going to see Rob Rosenstein do anything rash.

How far did this go, and where did it come 'from? From Barrack Obama via Eric Holder. And what was it all about? It channelled 'International" money to weild influence (illegally) in Washington. The Clinton Foundation and its spin-offs were the vehicles whereby tax deductions were issued for bribes, all under the cover of charity.

That's the picture the "leaks" create. What is required is documentation that is made public! And that's what has been going on -- a fight to reveal the emails and texts between the people who were doing the actual rigging. The "leaks" suggest that put spies in the Trump camp, for example, wired for sound, like a walking wiretap of every place the suspect was. It's pretty amazing.

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PostPosted: Wed May 16, 2018 6:06 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

This is an excellent discussion from the Laura Ingraham show on Fox. I suggest you skip the first minute and stop it at the 7 minute point, the rest is a commercial.


From this, I would say the worm has definitely turned. The formal investigation being led by Devin Nunes is attempting to find the 'probable cause' that would justify the Meuller investigation in the first place. And it is starting to appear that this evidence was faked up stuff created by the FBI itself (at least in part)!

Without a plausible 'probable cause' to investigate the President of the United States, it looks like they were framing Trump!

The video raises the possibility that Comey himself has been given immunity by Meuller! It certainly fits his cavalier behaviour.

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PostPosted: Thu May 17, 2018 9:22 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

This is a long article from the New York Times, where they finally consent to let their readers know that the FBI was spying on the Trump campaign.

In sorting through the 'events' in this inquiry, which has gone on far longer than I thought, it was my expectation that I could present the news as it happened. But I found that there are 'certified facts' and 'rumours', and what often turns a 'rumour' into a certified fact is publication in the New York Times.

On the other hand, another source of 'certified fact' is the House Intelligence Committee, headed up by Devin Nunes. They proceed with a lumbering caution.

I take some liberties with this article because it is so evidently "whitewashing" the FBI. For graphic clarity, I will break from the article for some comments where the 'whitewashing" is particularly thick.

Code Name Crossfire Hurricane: The Secret Origins of the Trump Investigation

Days after the F.B.I. closed its investigation into Hillary Clinton in 2016, agents began scrutinizing the presidential campaign of her Republican rival, Donald J. Trump.
By Matt Apuzzo, Adam Goldman and Nicholas Fandos

May 16, 2018
WASHINGTON — Within hours of opening an investigation into the Trump campaign’s ties to Russia in the summer of 2016, the F.B.I. dispatched a pair of agents to London on a mission so secretive that all but a handful of officials were kept in the dark.

Their assignment, which has not been previously reported, was to meet the Australian ambassador, who had evidence that one of Donald J. Trump’s advisers knew in advance about Russian election meddling. After tense deliberations between Washington and Canberra, top Australian officials broke with diplomatic protocol and allowed the ambassador, Alexander Downer, to sit for an F.B.I. interview to describe his meeting with the campaign adviser, George Papadopoulos.

The agents summarized their highly unusual interview and sent word to Washington on Aug. 2, 2016, two days after the investigation was opened. Their report helped provide the foundation for a case that, a year ago Thursday, became the special counsel investigation. But at the time, a small group of F.B.I. officials knew it by its code name: Crossfire Hurricane.

The name, a reference to the Rolling Stones lyric “I was born in a crossfire hurricane,” was an apt prediction of a political storm that continues to tear shingles off the bureau. Days after they closed their investigation into Hillary Clinton’s use of a private email server, agents began scrutinizing the campaign of her Republican rival. The two cases have become inextricably linked in one of the most consequential periods in the history of the F.B.I.

This month, the Justice Department inspector general is expected to release the findings of its lengthy review of the F.B.I.’s conduct in the Clinton case. The results are certain to renew debate over decisions by the F.B.I. director at the time, James B. Comey, to publicly chastise Mrs. Clinton in a news conference, and then announce the reopening of the investigation days before Election Day. Mrs. Clinton has said those actions buried her presidential hopes.

Those decisions stand in contrast to the F.B.I.’s handling of Crossfire Hurricane. Not only did agents in that case fall back to their typical policy of silence, but interviews with a dozen current and former government officials and a review of documents show that the F.B.I. was even more circumspect in that case than has been previously known. Many of the officials spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to discuss the investigation publicly.

This seems almost a cruel joke. One of the purposes of the investigation was to do deeper opposition research to 'get the goods' on Donald Trump. 'Leaks' are part of the plan.

[quote]Agents considered, then rejected, interviewing key Trump associates, which might have sped up the investigation but risked revealing the existence of the case. Top officials quickly became convinced that they would not solve the case before Election Day, which made them only more hesitant to act. When agents did take bold investigative steps, like interviewing the ambassador, they were shrouded in secrecy.

Fearful of leaks, they kept details from political appointees across the street at the Justice Department. Peter Strzok, a senior F.B.I. agent, explained in a text that Justice Department officials would find it too “tasty” to resist sharing. “I’m not worried about our side,” he wrote.

Only about five Justice Department officials knew the full scope of the case, officials said, not the dozen or more who might normally be briefed on a major national security case.[/unquote]

The facts, had they surfaced, might have devastated the Trump campaign: Mr. Trump’s future national security adviser was under investigation, as was his campaign chairman. One adviser appeared to have Russian intelligence contacts. Another was suspected of being a Russian agent himself.

This is such balderdash! It's the FBI's cover story, because their "leakihg" is itself a crime. But they do leak. How long did it take Meuller's team to get the financial information from Michael Cohen's law office to Stormy Daniel's lawyer? These things are not accidents. They are contrived in such a way that covers the ass of the leaker.

Remember, this was at a time when the pollsters were claiming Hillary had it in the bag.

The problem is ... they had no 'probable cause' or 'crime' to investigate. This is a search for a crime for use in the political arena -- exactly what nobody wants the nation's secret police doing. And FBI are the US's secret police.

Nunes is looking for the legally justifiable start of the investigation. This is why 'the dossier' is so important. It may have been that their 'probable cause' was opposition research paid for by the Clinton campaign and/or the FBI itself. In short, themy dummied up evidence to justify their unprecedented steps. Their problem now is hat Hillary didn't win and these crimes aren't going to be covered up in the swamp of records at the FBI.

In the Clinton case, Mr. Comey has said he erred on the side of transparency. But in the face of questions from Congress about the Trump campaign, the F.B.I. declined to tip its hand. And when The New York Times tried to assess the state of the investigation in October 2016, law enforcement officials cautioned against drawing any conclusions, resulting in a story that significantly played down the case.

Mr. Comey has said it is unfair to compare the Clinton case, which was winding down in the summer of 2016, with the Russia case, which was in its earliest stages. He said he did not make political considerations about who would benefit from each decision.

But underpinning both cases was one political calculation: that Mrs. Clinton would win and Mr. Trump would lose. Agents feared being seen as withholding information or going too easy on her. And they worried that any overt actions against Mr. Trump’s campaign would only reinforce his claims that the election was being rigged against him.

The F.B.I. now faces those very criticisms and more. Mr. Trump says he is the victim of a politicized F.B.I. He says senior agents tried to rig the election by declining to prosecute Mrs. Clinton, then drummed up the Russia investigation to undermine his presidency. He has declared that a deeply rooted cabal — including his own appointees — is working against him.

That argument is the heart of Mr. Trump’s grievances with the federal investigation. In the face of bipartisan support for the special counsel, Robert S. Mueller III, Mr. Trump and his allies have made a priority of questioning how the investigation was conducted in late 2016 and trying to discredit it.

“It’s a witch hunt,” Mr. Trump said last month on Fox News. “And they know that, and I’ve been able to message it.”

Congressional Republicans, led by Representative Devin Nunes of California, have begun to dig into F.B.I. files, looking for evidence that could undermine the investigation. Much remains unknown and classified. But those who saw the investigation up close, and many of those who have reviewed case files in the past year, say that far from gunning for Mr. Trump, the F.B.I. could actually have done more in the final months of 2016 to scrutinize his campaign’s Russia ties.

“I never saw anything that resembled a witch hunt or suggested that the bureau’s approach to the investigation was politically driven,” said Mary McCord, a 20-year Justice Department veteran and the top national security prosecutor during much of the investigation’s first nine months.

Crossfire Hurricane spawned a case that has brought charges against former Trump campaign officials and more than a dozen Russians. But in the final months of 2016, agents faced great uncertainty — about the facts, and how to respond.

Crossfire Hurricane began exactly 100 days before the presidential election, but if agents were eager to investigate Mr. Trump’s campaign, as the president has suggested, the messages do not reveal it. “I cannot believe we are seriously looking at these allegations and the pervasive connections,” Mr. Strzok wrote soon after returning from London.

The mood in early meetings was anxious, former officials recalled. Agents had just closed the Clinton investigation, and they braced for months of Republican-led hearings over why she was not charged. Crossfire Hurricane was built around the same core of agents and analysts who had investigated Mrs. Clinton. None was eager to re-enter presidential politics, former officials said, especially when agents did not know what would come of the Australian information.

The question they confronted still persists: Was anyone in the Trump campaign tied to Russian efforts to undermine the election?

The F.B.I. investigated four unidentified Trump campaign aides in those early months, congressional investigators revealed in February. The four men were Michael T. Flynn, Paul Manafort, Carter Page and Mr. Papadopoulos, current and former officials said. Each was scrutinized because of his obvious or suspected Russian ties.

You will notice that this is an open-ended question, not probable cause to investigate a crime. It's a journalistic question, not a legal one. These are all people what were targeted for the information that could be squeezed out of them using the same American interogation techniques that kept the world safe from Martha Stewart for two years

They used Carter Page as a wandering wiretap. His phone was activated. They caught Flynn in a white lie, not in a seriously corrupt relationship with Russia. Manafort is up on things he did in the Ukraine a decade earlier. And Popadopoulos??? These last two are people buzzing around the campaign in a helpful way ... the way salesmen and consuktants do.

Mr. Flynn, a top adviser, was paid $45,000 by the Russian government’s media arm for a 2015 speech and dined at the arm of the Russian president, Vladimir V. Putin. Mr. Manafort, the campaign chairman, had lobbied for pro-Russia interests in Ukraine and worked with an associate who has been identified as having connections to Russian intelligence.

Mr. Page, a foreign policy adviser, was well known to the F.B.I. He had previously been recruited by Russian spies and was suspected of meeting one in Moscow during the campaign.

Lastly, there was Mr. Papadopoulos, the young and inexperienced campaign aide whose wine-fueled conversation with the Australian ambassador set off the investigation. Before hacked Democratic emails appeared online, he had seemed to know that Russia had political dirt on Mrs. Clinton. But even if the F.B.I. had wanted to read his emails or intercept his calls, that evidence was not enough to allow it. Many months passed, former officials said, before the F.B.I. uncovered emails linking Mr. Papadopoulos to a Russian intelligence operation.

Mr. Trump was not under investigation, but his actions perplexed the agents. Days after the stolen Democratic emails became public, he called on Russia to uncover more. Then news broke that Mr. Trump’s campaign had pushed to change the Republican platform’s stance on Ukraine in ways favorable to Russia.

This is what earns the Times contempt because their bias shows. Trump did not call on the Russians to release the Hillary e-mails. It was a joke! Page and Popadouplos (as far as I can see) were probably looking for opportunities for well-paid work. Or commissions. There has never been a real connection 'leaked'.

The F.B.I.’s thinking crystallized by mid-August, after the C.I.A. director at the time, John O. Brennan, shared intelligence with Mr. Comey showing that the Russian government was behind an attack on the 2016 presidential election. Intelligence agencies began collaborating to investigate that operation. The Crossfire Hurricane team was part of that group but largely operated independently, three officials said.

Senator Marco Rubio, Republican of Florida, said that after studying the investigation as a member of the Senate Intelligence Committee, he saw no evidence of political motivation in the opening of the investigation.

“There was a growing body of evidence that a foreign government was attempting to interfere in both the process and the debate surrounding our elections, and their job is to investigate counterintelligence,” he said in an interview. “That’s what they did.”

More is known about this. Facebook reported $300,000 in Russian revenue, half of it spent after the election. Secondly, the ads were so poorly done that nobody thinks they were influential. Third, the mone was spent on both sides. It seems that if there was a Russian strategy, it was to heighten conflict rather than take a side.

Moreover, the total effect was probably less or the same as Obama telling Britons not to take the Brexit option.

Abounding Criticism
Looking back, some inside the F.B.I. and the Justice Department say that Mr. Comey should have seen the political storm coming and better sheltered the bureau. They question why he consolidated the Clinton and Trump investigations at headquarters, rather than in a field office. And they say he should not have relied on the same team for both cases. That put a bull’s-eye on the heart of the F.B.I. Any misstep in either investigation made both cases, and the entire bureau, vulnerable to criticism.

And there were missteps. Andrew G. McCabe, the former deputy F.B.I. director, was cited by internal investigators for dishonesty about his conversations with reporters about Mrs. Clinton. That gave ammunition for Mr. Trump’s claims that the F.B.I. cannot be trusted. And Mr. Strzok and Lisa Page, an F.B.I. lawyer, exchanged texts criticizing Mr. Trump, allowing the president to point to evidence of bias when they became public.

The messages were unsparing. They questioned Mr. Trump’s intelligence, believed he promoted intolerance and feared he would damage the bureau.

The inspector general’s upcoming report is expected to criticize those messages for giving the appearance of bias. It is not clear, however, whether inspectors found evidence supporting Mr. Trump’s assertion that agents tried to protect Mrs. Clinton, a claim the F.B.I. has adamantly denied.

Mr. Rubio, who has reviewed many of the texts and case files, said he saw no signs that the F.B.I. wanted to undermine Mr. Trump. “There might have been individual agents that had views that, in hindsight, have been problematic for those agents,” Mr. Rubio said. “But whether that was a systemic effort, I’ve seen no evidence of it.”

Mr. Trump’s daily Twitter posts, though, offer sound-bite-sized accusations — witch hunt, hoax, deep state, rigged system — that fan the flames of conspiracy. Capitol Hill allies reliably echo those comments.

“It’s like the deep state all got together to try to orchestrate a palace coup,” Representative Matt Gaetz, Republican of Florida, said in January on Fox Business Network.

Except, by this time the picture is pretty clear. The problem is we are dealing with a poltiics of leaks. It's the problem of finding certified facts. Everyone in journalism seems to think that if this weren't a palace coup, the "leaks" would have established that. The FBI started an investigation into a candidate for the Presidency of the United States on a transparently partisal basis, not a criminal or security basis. That simple.

Cautious Intelligence Gathering
Counterintelligence investigations can take years, but if the Russian government had influence over the Trump campaign, the F.B.I. wanted to know quickly. One option was the most direct: interview the campaign officials about their Russian contacts.

That was discussed but not acted on, two former officials said, because interviewing witnesses or subpoenaing documents might thrust the investigation into public view, exactly what F.B.I. officials were trying to avoid during the heat of the presidential race.

“You do not take actions that will unnecessarily impact an election,” Sally Q. Yates, the former deputy attorney general, said in an interview. She would not discuss details, but added, “Folks were very careful to make sure that actions that were being taken in connection with that investigation did not become public.”

Mr. Comey was briefed regularly on the Russia investigation, but one official said those briefings focused mostly on hacking and election interference. The Crossfire Hurricane team did not present many crucial decisions for Mr. Comey to make.

Top officials became convinced that there was almost no chance they would answer the question of collusion before Election Day. And that made agents even more cautious.

The F.B.I. obtained phone records and other documents using national security letters — a secret type of subpoena — officials said. And at least one government informant met several times with Mr. Page and Mr. Papadopoulos, current and former officials said. That has become a politically contentious point, with Mr. Trump’s allies questioning whether the F.B.I. was spying on the Trump campaign or trying to entrap campaign officials.

Looking back, some at the Justice Department and the F.B.I. now believe that agents could have been more aggressive. They ultimately interviewed Mr. Papadopoulos in January 2017 and managed to keep it a secret, suggesting they could have done so much earlier.

“There is always a high degree of caution before taking overt steps in a counterintelligence investigation,” said Ms. McCord, who would not discuss details of the case. “And that could have worked to the president’s benefit here.”

They broke the law!!! Put it this way: they have started to act like secret police organizations act in other parts of the world. And now they are trying to save their asses!

Such tactical discussions are reflected in one of Mr. Strzok’s most controversial texts, sent on Aug. 15, 2016, after a meeting in Mr. McCabe’s office.

“I want to believe the path you threw out for consideration in Andy’s office — that there’s no way he gets elected,” Mr. Strzok wrote, “but I’m afraid we can’t take that risk. It’s like an insurance policy in the unlikely event you die before you’re 40.”

Mr. Trump says that message revealed a secret F.B.I. plan to respond to his election. “‘We’ll go to Phase 2 and we’ll get this guy out of office,’” he told The Wall Street Journal. “This is the F.B.I. we’re talking about — that is treason.”

But officials have told the inspector general something quite different. They said Ms. Page and others advocated a slower, circumspect pace, especially because polls predicted Mr. Trump’s defeat. They said that anything the F.B.I. did publicly would only give fodder to Mr. Trump’s claims on the campaign trail that the election was rigged.

Mr. Strzok countered that even if Mr. Trump’s chances of victory were low — like dying before 40 — the stakes were too high to justify inaction.

Mr. Strzok had similarly argued for a more aggressive path during the Clinton investigation, according to four current and former officials. He opposed the Justice Department’s decision to offer Mrs. Clinton’s lawyers immunity and negotiate access to her hard drives, the officials said. Mr. Strzok favored using search warrants or subpoenas instead.

In both cases, his argument lost.

The Russian Collusion charge came after the election, and the best evidence for it was the leaks of the DNC server that fell into the hands of wikileaks. But the FBI has never examined the DNC server that was supposedly 'hacked'. Meanwhile, a computer expert say that the download speed of the 'hack' means that it was done on location. Why hasn't the FBI investigated that? That would establish whether a crime took place.
Answer: because it was never about Russian collusion at all. It was about bringing Trump down.

Policy and Tradition
The F.B.I. bureaucracy did agents no favors. In July, a retired British spy named Christopher Steele approached a friend in the F.B.I. overseas and provided reports linking Trump campaign officials to Russia. But the documents meandered around the F.B.I. organizational chart, former officials said. Only in mid-September, congressional investigators say, did the records reach the Crossfire Hurricane team.

Mr. Steele was gathering information about Mr. Trump as a private investigator for Fusion GPS, a firm paid by Democrats. But he was also considered highly credible, having helped agents unravel complicated cases.

In October, agents flew to Europe to interview him. But Mr. Steele had become frustrated by the F.B.I.’s slow response. He began sharing his findings in September and October with journalists at The New York Times, The Washington Post, The New Yorker and elsewhere, according to congressional testimony.

So as agents tried to corroborate Mr. Steele’s information, reporters began calling the bureau, asking about his findings. If the F.B.I. was working against Mr. Trump, as he asserts, this was an opportunity to push embarrassing information into the news media shortly before the election.

That did not happen. Most news organizations did not publish Mr. Steele’s reports or reveal the F.B.I.’s interest in them until after Election Day.

Possibly because by election day, the predictions of a Hillary victory were getting into the 90% category. All of this last bit is essentially the FBI story. They were approached. But we know that the DNC hired Fusion GPX to create the dossier. They paid $millions to borrow the credibility of a British spy, who could do things that American citizens working for the FBI couldn't do. These are exactly what Devin Nunes is investigating, causing the FBI to look real bad because they are obviously hiding the truth of their own guilt.

Congress was also increasingly asking questions. Mr. Brennan, the C.I.A. director, had briefed top lawmakers that summer about Russian election interference and intelligence that Moscow supported the Trump campaign — a finding that would not become public for months. Lawmakers clamored for information from Mr. Comey, who refused to answer public questions.

Many Democrats see rueful irony in this moment. Mr. Comey, after all, broke with policy and twice publicly discussed the Clinton investigation. Yet he refused repeated requests to discuss the Trump investigation.

Mr. Comey has said he regrets his decision to chastise Mrs. Clinton as “extremely careless,” even as he announced that she should not be charged. But he stands by his decision to alert Congress, days before the election, that the F.B.I. was reopening the Clinton inquiry.

The result, though, is that Mr. Comey broke with both policy and tradition in Mrs. Clinton’s case, but hewed closely to the rules for Mr. Trump. Representative Adam B. Schiff of California, the top Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee, said that alone proves Mr. Trump’s claims of unfairness to be “both deeply at odds with the facts, and damaging to our democracy.”

Spying in Question
Crossfire Hurricane began with a focus on four campaign officials. But by mid-fall 2016, Mr. Page’s inquiry had progressed the furthest. Agents had known Mr. Page for years. Russian spies tried to recruit him in 2013, and he was dismissive when agents warned him about it, a half-dozen current and former officials said. That warning even made its way back to Russian intelligence, leaving agents suspecting that Mr. Page had reported their efforts to Moscow.

Relying on F.B.I. information and Mr. Steele’s, prosecutors obtained court approval to eavesdrop on Mr. Page, who was no longer with the Trump campaign.

That warrant has become deeply contentious and is crucial to Republican arguments that intelligence agencies improperly used Democratic research to help justify spying on the Trump campaign. The inspector general is reviewing that claim.

Ms. Yates, the deputy attorney general under President Barack Obama, signed the first warrant application. But subsequent filings were approved by members of Mr. Trump’s own administration: the acting attorney general, Dana J. Boente, and then Rod J. Rosenstein, the deputy attorney general.

“Folks are very, very careful and serious about that process,” Ms. Yates said. “I don’t know of anything that gives me any concerns.”

After months of investigation, Mr. Papadopoulos remained largely a puzzle. And agents were nearly ready to close their investigation of Mr. Flynn, according to three current and former officials. (Mr. Flynn rekindled the F.B.I.’s interest in November 2016 by signing an op-ed article that appeared to be written on behalf of the Turkish government, and then making phone calls to the Russian ambassador that December.)

In late October, in response to questions from The Times, law enforcement officials acknowledged the investigation but urged restraint. They said they had scrutinized some of Mr. Trump’s advisers but had found no proof of any involvement with Russian hacking. The resulting article, on Oct. 31, reflected that caution and said that agents had uncovered no “conclusive or direct link between Mr. Trump and the Russian government.”

The key fact of the article — that the F.B.I. had opened a broad investigation into possible links between the Russian government and the Trump campaign — was published in the 10th paragraph.

A year and a half later, no public evidence has surfaced connecting Mr. Trump’s advisers to the hacking or linking Mr. Trump himself to the Russian government’s disruptive efforts. But the article’s tone and headline — “Investigating Donald Trump, F.B.I. Sees No Clear Link to Russia” — gave an air of finality to an investigation that was just beginning.

Democrats say that article pre-emptively exonerated Mr. Trump, dousing chances to raise questions about the campaign’s Russian ties before Election Day.

Just as the F.B.I. has been criticized for its handling of the Trump investigation, so too has The Times.

For Mr. Steele, it dashed his confidence in American law enforcement. “He didn’t know what was happening inside the F.B.I.,” Glenn R. Simpson, the founder of Fusion GPS, testified this year. “And there was a concern that the F.B.I. was being manipulated for political ends by the Trump people.”

Assurances Amid Doubt
Two weeks before Mr. Trump’s inauguration, senior American intelligence officials briefed him at Trump Tower in Manhattan on Russian hacking and deception. They reported that Mr. Putin had tried to sow chaos in the election, undermine Mrs. Clinton and ultimately help Mr. Trump win.

Then Mr. Comey met with Mr. Trump privately, revealing the Steele reports and warning that journalists had obtained them. Mr. Comey has said he feared making this conversation a “J. Edgar Hoover-type situation,” with the F.B.I. presenting embarrassing information to lord over a president-elect.

In a contemporaneous memo, Mr. Comey wrote that he assured Mr. Trump that the F.B.I. intended to protect him on this point. “I said media like CNN had them and were looking for a news hook,” Mr. Comey wrote of Mr. Steele’s documents. “I said it was important that we not give them the excuse to write that the F.B.I. had the material.”

Mr. Trump was not convinced — either by the Russia briefing or by Mr. Comey’s assurances. He made up his mind before Mr. Comey even walked in the door. Hours earlier, Mr. Trump told The Times that stories about Russian election interference were being pushed by his adversaries to distract from his victory.

And he debuted what would quickly become a favorite phrase: “This is a political witch hunt.”

Correction: May 16, 2018
An earlier version of this article misstated that news organizations did not report on the findings of the retired British spy Christopher Steele about links between Trump campaign officials and Russia. While most news organizations whose reporters met with Mr. Steele did not publish such reports before the 2016 election, Mother Jones magazine did.
Reporting was contributed by Michael S. Schmidt, Sharon LaFraniere, Mark Mazzetti and Matthew Rosenberg.

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PostPosted: Sat May 19, 2018 7:54 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

It turns out the New York Times article is being interpreted as 'damage control' for the Times itself. They are embarrassed because they supported the losing narrative, in a nutshell.

The spy story is growing. This is still in the 'uncertified fact' realm, but it is impossible to cover the story without covering the leaks, on both sides, because the official position of the DoJ is that they played it by the book. Meanwhile, both sides have leakers that try to refute each other, and the balance of the evidence favours Trump's side.

Which is, itself, interesting.

It is turning out that the plot grows. There was an agent provocateur in London who sucked in Carter Page and Papadopoulos into the mix. He was preparing a legal pretext for using surveillance on the Trump campaign.

The spy was in the campaign itself, and there may have been more than one.

This is a summary of the intepretations being put on the facts as of now by the Wall Street Journal reporters -- who do the best job -- and Hannity. As usual skip the first minute land last bit of commercials.

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Clinton/Trump Russian Collusion thread

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