• The big point everybody is missing about the FBI/CIA spy from Cambridge University

    It is a sad sign of decline at Cambridge University that their latest spy is working for United States.

    What is this poor world coming to?

    Cambridge spies are supposed to work for the Russians.

    There is tradition to uphold here, folks.

    Can Putin and his minions no longer recruit idealistic socialists who hate their country?

    Must they give up on entirely British universities and rely on Berkeley, Oberlin, and Evergreen State?

    There is a small glimmer of continuity. At least the recruiting agencies were up to no good.

    They were doing their best to infiltrate an American political campaign.

    The story is here, complete with the spy’s name and picture. We know those details thanks entirely to CYA leaks from the DOJ or FBI, trying desperately to get ahead of Congressional investigations and the Horowitz report (the DOJ Inspector General).

    Those details were supposed to be top secret. That the officials charged with keeping the secrets released them to protect themselves is a scandal in its own right.

    On a more serious note: the house that Comey, Clapper, Brennan, and their aides built now looks increasingly like a game of jenga. The wooden blocks are being removed, though the process is moving very, very slowly because of  DOJ and FBI self-protection.

    Did these guys previously work on transparency and document security for Joe Paterno’s athletic department?

    But with each new block removed, the whole structure looks more and more likely to collapse.

     

  • Federal Bureau of . . . Incompetence? Impropriety?

    The FBI, which took custody of Hillary’s server, seems to have “lost the chain of custody.”

    Normally, I assume incompetence, and that’s probably true here. Probably, but not certainly.

    If you want to see how much the public’s trust in the FBI has declined, just ask yourself,

    • Do you absolutely trust their explanation?
    • Do you trust it, given that you can’t trust them with the investigation of that server, its owner, or its chain of custody?”

    Somebody needs to explain.

    Under oath.

    That would include the head of the agency at the time.

    That would be Robert Mueller.

     

  • Federal Judge Sharply Rebukes Mueller Team over Manafort Investigation, saying it looks like they are on a fishing expedition to get Trump and have overstepped their authority

    Judge T. S. Ellis III wasn’t buying the Mueller team’s argument and accused them flatly of lying. According to the Reuters report of pre-trial proceedings (link here):

    A judge sharply questioned whether Special Counsel Robert Mueller overstepped his authority by charging Paul Manafort with crimes unrelated to Russian election interference while also suggesting that the onetime Trump campaign chairman was indicted to coerce his cooperation against the president.

    U.S. District Judge T. S. Ellis III expressed deep skepticism Friday about whether Mueller went too far in signing a bank- and tax-fraud indictment against Manafort. Ellis questioned how Mueller could prosecute financial crimes dating back a decade without charging Manafort for his election activities.

    “I don’t see how this indictment has anything to do with anything the special prosecutor is authorized to investigate,” Ellis said at a hearing on a motion by Manafort to dismiss the case.  –Reuters

    Judge Ellis explicitly said that he thought

    1. The only interest Mueller had in Manafort was to get him to testify about Trump;
    2. An investigation of alleged bank fraud more than a decade old had zero to do with a legitimate investigation into Russian collusion in the 2016;
    3. Mueller’s team had overstepped its legitimate authority and would not tell him the truth about it, so he demanded to read the memo giving them authority in unredacted form (which Mueller’s team does not want to do)

    Ellis ordered that prosecutors give him the full memo within two weeks, saying he’ll determine whether the explanation of why Manafort was under investigation is adequate.

    Mueller’s office took over an investigation of Manafort that had been conducted by prosecutors in the Eastern District of Virginia, where Ellis sits. The judge appeared impatient with Dreeben, who has argued more than 100 cases before the U.S. Supreme Court. Ellis repeatedly interrupted [Justice Department attorney Michael] Dreeben as he pressed for an explanation of Mueller’s authority.

    “It covers bank fraud in 2005 and 2007?” Ellis said. “Tell me how. How does that have to do with links or coordination with Russia and Trump?”

    “This indictment didn’t arise from your investigation,” Ellis said. “It arose from the pre-existing investigation.” –Reuters

    The judge ended his statement to the prosecutors: “I understand your argument, but it kind of invites, ‘C’mon man.’”

  • Judge reopening Flynn plea deal. He wants to know if Mueller’s team withheld evidence

    Here’s the headline (link here)

    How A Plea Reversal From Michael Flynn Could Uncover More Federal Corruption

    Did Robert Mueller’s office withhold other evidence in Michael Flynn’s prosecution, either from the FISA court or from Flynn’s attorneys

    There is reason to believe so.

    It’s from a conservative site, The Federalist, but it is not really an editorial story. It’s news, possibly quite important news, and it has been completely overlooked.

    On Friday, Judge Emmet Sullivan issued an order in United States v. Flynn that, while widely unnoticed, reveals something fascinating: A motion by Michael Flynn to withdraw his guilty plea based on government misconduct is likely in the works.

    Just a week ago, and thus before Sullivan quietly directed Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s team to provide Flynn’s attorneys “any exculpatory evidence. ….

    On November 30, 2017, prosecutors working for Mueller charged former Trump national security advisor Flynn with lying to FBI agents. The following day, Flynn pled guilty before federal judge Rudolph Contreras. Less than a week later — and without explanation — Flynn’s case was reassigned to Judge Emmet G. Sullivan.

    With [the judge’s new] protective order in place, Flynn’s attorneys should start receiving the required disclosures from the special counsel’s office. There is reason to believe these will include some bombshells. –The Federalist

    We now know that the FBI agents who interviewed Flynn believed he told the truth and were overridden by Mueller’s team. We do not know if that information or other exculpatory evidence was revealed to Flynn. We do know that the Mueller prosecution was bankrupting him and involved legal threats to Flynn’s son, which seemed to disappear after the father’s plea. We also know that Flynn failed to register as a foreign agent, as he was legally required to do.

    We also know that the #2 guy on Mueller’s team has been reprimanded previously by a judge for withholding evidence and, separately, was overruled 9-0 by the Supreme Court for his prosecution of the Arthur Andersen accounting company, a prosecution that destroyed the company and cost over 10k jobs.

    FYI: Judge Sullivan is the one who absolutely lacerated the US Attorneys who systematically concealed evidence in their corrupt prosecution of Alaskan Republican Sen. Ted Stevens, causing him to lose the election and swing the US senate. Do not mess with Judge Emmet Sullivan.

  • The Stench at Obama’s DOJ and FBI. My latest at Real Clear Politics.

    My latest at Real Clear Politics (link here)
    Here’s a synopsis:

    The Stench at Obama’s DOJ and FBI

    January 24, 2018

    The investigation by Special Counsel Robert Mueller is not the only major investigation in progress.

    There are now three major Congressional probes of the Obama-era FBI, Department of Justice, and intelligence agencies. They are slowly peeling away layers of political bias, unequal application of the law, and, perhaps even felonies by senior officials who may have leaked classified documents, obstructed justice, and violated Fourth Amendment guarantees against unreasonable search and seizure.

    These Congressional probes are not mere diversions, as Democrats charge. They have serious, legitimate intentions and raise troubling questions.

    • Why did former FBI Director James Comey and his team pre-judge and soft-soap the investigation into Hillary Clinton’s unsecured private server and her classified emails?
    • Why did they decide to clear her before completing key interviews with Mrs. Clinton and her aides?
    • Why did DOJ grant immunity so freely to obtain evidence that could have been easily subpoenaed by a grand jury?
    • Why did the government itself then destroy that evidence, so no one could do a real investigation later?
    • For that matter, why didn’t they convene a grand jury in the first place, as Mueller did almost immediately?
    • What involvement did the FBI counter-intelligence division have with the FusionGPS, Christopher Steele “Russian dossier,” financed by the Clinton campaign?
    • Was the dossier used, in part, to obtain a warrant to spy on Trump associates and, if so, was the FISA court completely informed about the dossier’s financing, provenance, and lack of verification?
    • And what the hell happened to months of text messages among key anti-Trump investigators at the FBI and DOJ?

    VERY important questions. The public deserves answers.

    That’s why these investigations are at least as important as Mueller’s, and for the same reason. They are both about honest elections and the rule of law, applied equally to insiders and outsiders, Democrats, Republicans, and Independents.

    It’s about whether our most powerful government agencies are worthy of our trust. If we have lost sight of those values, we’ve lost our Constitutional bearings.

    The complete op-ed is here (link)

     

     

  • FBI Search Dog On the Prowl and Pointing Toward . . .

    The Chicago Tribune‘s wonderful editorial cartoonist, Scott Stantis, has often penned negative drawings about Pres. Trump.

    He has not been especially critical of the Trump investigations… until now.

    His balanced stance makes his devastating take on the FBI’s unraveling mess all the more meaningful.

    http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/opinion/stantis/

  • A balanced analysis of Mueller and his team by a leading conservative

    Amid strenuous conservative criticism of the Mueller team (the best of it by Trey Gowdy and Tucker Carlson), and equally strenuous pushback from progressives (led by Adam Schiff), Andrew McCarthy offers a serious analysis of what should–and shouldn’t–concern the public about the investigation’s fairness.

    McCarthy is a former federal prosecutor with considerable experience. His stance is conservative but not doctrinaire, and his analysis is not a prosecutor’s case against Mueller.

    The op-ed was published in the Washington Post (link here).

    Key excerpts:

    Is special counsel Robert S. Mueller III running an impartial investigation?

    That this is a fair question to ask is itself troubling.

    In Mueller’s case, there are various grounds for worry. Mueller’s investigation was triggered when former FBI director James B. Comey, no fan of the president who dismissed him, leaked a memo of a meeting with President Trump. Comey admitted hoping this revelation would lead to appointment of a special counsel….

    Furthermore, the investigative team Mueller has assembled includes Democratic donors and supporters, including one lawyer who represented the Clinton Foundation and one who represented a subject in the Hillary Clinton email investigation. This month, moreover, it came to light that two members of the team, who had also worked on the Clinton email investigation, were having an extramarital affair and exchanged text messages expressing partisan political views — favoring Clinton and depicting Trump as “loathsome.”

    Worse, in one August 2016 text, one of them, FBI agent Peter Strzok, asserted that the FBI “can’t take that risk” that Trump could be elected, equating some unspecified action against this seemingly unlikely possibility to “an insurance policy in the unlikely event you die before you’re 40.” Dismayingly, this text, which crosses the line between political banter and tainted law enforcement, refers to a meeting in the office of FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe, then (and now) the bureau’s No. 2 official.

    McCarthy praises Mueller for his results (which “so far appear free of political taint”) and for removing Strzok from the investigation. He is not alarmed that Mueller’s staff has strong political views, but is concerned about Andrew Weissman for a specific reason.

    A gifted career Justice Department lawyer, Weissmann sent former acting attorney general Sally Yates an effusive email shortly after Yates was fired for insubordinately defying Trump on enforcement of the so-called travel ban. The obstruction aspect of Mueller’s investigation calls for an objective evaluation of how much independence law-enforcement officials have from the chief executive. Weissmann’s lauding of Yates suggests he is not objective on this point.

    McCarthy’s conclusion: Remove Weissman to ensure the public perception of fairness.

  • ZipDialog Roundup for Tuesday, November 14: All Sleaze Edition

    Articles chosen with care. Your comments welcomed.
    Linked articles in bold purple

    Roy Moore abandoned by national Republicans as more women accuse him

    Comment: With such a thin margin in the Senate, Republicans need the Alabama seat to pass legislation (not that they have done so, yet), but individual office holders cannot afford to back him. And they are absolutely right, ethically, to back away from this sleazebag.

    Unfortunately for Republicans, Moore owes them nothing, so they have no leverage to force him out of the race.

    Trump and his Press Secretary will have to answer the question, an awkward prospect.

    A write-in candidacy might win, but it’s a long shot.

    The New York Sun notes the precedent of the Adam Clayton Powell case, where the House refused to seat the long-time congressman in 1966 because of corruption. He took the case to the Supreme Court and won. In other words, Congress can remove people from office after giving them hearings but cannot refuse to seat them.

    That would mean immediate and nasty hearings to unseat Moore, with the prospect of further public humiliation. When he contemplates that, he might decide to back out. If he does, the Governor would probably postpone the election–over strenuous Democratic objections and lawsuits.

     AG Sessions testifies before Congress on Russia, Clintons, Roy Moore (New York Times)

    Attorney General Jeff Sessions, testifying before the House Judiciary Committee, showed selective recall on the Trump campaign’s Russia contacts.

    Mr. Sessions said he had “no reason to doubt these women” who have accused the man who wants his old Senate seat, Roy S. Moore, of seeking sexual or romantic favors from them as teenagers. –New York Times

    Sessions floats prospect of a Special Counsel to Investigate Uranium One, Clinton Foundation (Washington Post)

    The New York Times reports the same thing.

    Comment: There seems to be enough smoke here to warrant a serious investigation. If so, then it should be conducted by a Special Counsel, not the DOJ for several reasons. The most important, by far, is this:

    Any investigation of political opponents by law enforcement carries the heavy burden of perceived unfairness. Supporters of the opposing party (or candidate) will fear that the state’s power to investigate and punish is being used to crush opposition. That should never happen in a democracy. Even if the investigation is fair, it must be perceived as fair.

    While Sessions and other political appointees could–and would–say that the task has been delegated to “career professionals,” they would have to sign off on any recommendations to charge. Again, their opponents could not be confident the process was fair and impartial.

    Bottom line: Appoint a Special Counsel to investigate Uranium One, the Clinton Foundation, and the botched FBI investigation of the Clinton email server, including James Comey and Loretta Lynch’s roles.

    ♦♦♦♦♦♦♦