Mueller Russia Probe – Part 1 Dismisses Top FBI Agent

 

First, a refresher timeline:

  • 4/9/2016: Strzok interview Clinton employee Cheryl Mills
  • 7/2/2016: Strzok and DOJ attorney David Laufman interview Clinton herself
  • 7/5/2016: James Comey issues public statement closing the Clinton e-mail investigation.
  • 1/24/2017: Gen. Michael Flynn, National Security Advisor, interviewed by the FBI.
  • 3/2/2017: Atty General Jeff Sessions recuses himself from the Russia probe.
  • 5/8/2017: FBI summons Donald Trump, Jr. and Eric Trump to FBI’s New York headquarters for a meeting with cybersecurity & CIA representatives to inform them of supposed attempted overseas cyberattack on the Trump Organization.
  • 5/9/2017: James Comey fired from FBI Director position, citing Rosenstein memo re: Comey’s handling of the probe into Hillary Clinton’s use of a private email server, etc.
  • 5/16/2017: James Comey, through a private citizen/friend, leaked memo of notes he’d taken as FBI Director to the New York Times, alleging Trump in an Oval Office meeting in Feb. 2017 asked Comey to end FBI investigation into dismissed NSA advisor Gen Michael Flynn. “I hope you can let this go,” the president told Mr. Comey.
  • 5/17/2017: Deputy AG Rosenstein names Mueller Special Counsel for Russia investigation

UPDATE 1: 

  • 12/4/2017:
    • It is reported (CNN, Fox, etc.) that FBI Agent Strzok, who led the investigation of Hillary Clinton’s private email server as the No. 2 official in the counterintelligence division, is the one who changed Comey’s earlier draft language describing Clinton’s actions as “grossly negligent” to “extremely careless”. CNN sources a handful of people reviewed Comey’s draft as edits were made.
    • Daily Caller reports Agent Strzok did all of the most significant interviews in the Clinton e-mail case, including HRC aides Cheryl Mills and Huma Abedin. Their statements to Strzok and Justice Department attorney David Laufman (Mills April 2016) denied knowing about Clinton’s server until leaving the State Department. E-mail exchanges prior to 2013, however, show both Mills and Abedin either directly discussed or were involved in discussing Clinton’s server. In testimony before the House Judiciary Committee hearing held on Sept. 28, 2016, Comey suggested such conflicting recollections of facts were common. Congressman Jason Chaffetz suggested that Mills would have had an incentive to deny knowing about the server during Clinton’s State Department tenure because it would allow her to cite attorney-client privilege to avoid discussing certain aspects of Clinton’s email setup. Mills began working as one of Clinton’s lawyers just after they left the State Department.
    • Neither Mills nor Abedin were ever charged with making false statements to the FBI.
    • Supporting Strzok’s conflict of interest is fact that his wife, a Securities and Exchange Commission attorney named Melissa Hodgman, has a strong pro-Clinton bias. Her Facebook account shows she’s a member of groups called “We Voted for Hillary” and “Thank You Obama.”
    • Less widely report (only on Fox as of this date), is that the FBI interviewed Flynn without his being aware it was to be an official on-the-record probe, and without an attorney present.
      • “According to another source, with direct knowledge of the Jan. 24 interview, McCabe had contacted Flynn by phone directly at the White House. White House officials had spent the “earlier part of the week with the FBI overseeing training and security measures associated with their new roles so it was no surprise to Flynn that McCabe had called,” the source said.

        McCabe told Flynn “some agents were heading over (to the White House) but Flynn thought it was part of the routine work the FBI had been doing and said they would be cleared at the gate,” the source said.

        “It wasn’t until after they were already in (Flynn’s) office that he realized he was being formerly interviewed. He didn’t have an attorney with him,” they added.

    • Also reported on Tucker Carlson’s show, Tom Fitton of Judicial Watch indicated they had received via a FOIA request indication from high-level FBI e-mails that the FBI was more interested in finding out who leaked Loretta Lynch’s meeting with Bill Clinton on the airport tarmac than they were what occurred during the meeting between Lynch/Clinton. FBI believed a Phoenix police officer leaked and were trying to find a way to confirm/”get” him. Fitton states their initial FOIA request to FBI got nothing; FBI told them there were no FBI records of the tarmac meeting. Fitton’s group noted a reference from response to another FOIA request to DOJ.
    • KEY FACT: It’s reported that Strzok is the one who interviewed both Hillary Clinton (not under oath and presumably therefore unable to be charged with lying to the FBI when she stated there were no classified e-mails on her server when they later found some), and Michael Flynn (under oath). Additionally, it is also reported that Michael Flynn was interviewed on the basis of the never before used to indict Logan Act and without benefit of an attorney present. It’s presumed this Logan Act interview is what the FBI used to charge Flynn with lying to the FBI.

UPDATE 2:

  • 12/5/2017:
    • Daily Caller 12/4/1
    • Attorney Andrew Weissmann on Mueller’s team sent e-mail on January 30, 2017 to Acting Attorney General Sally Yates’ commending her refusal to enforce President Trump’s Middle East travel ban executive order stating, “I am so proud. And in awe. Thank you so much. All my deepest respects” (source article below). Problem with this may not be so much bias as applauding one of the most ostentatious acts of “resistance” by a government official since Trump took office. 
    • Daily Beast article published 8/16/17 – Weissmann worked as a prosecutor in the U.S. attorney’s office for the Eastern District of New York with both Loretta Lynch and Beryl Howell, and was more than casual acquaintances with both.
      • Beryl Howell is the federal judge now overseeing Mueller’s grand jury. In 2006 she co-wrote with Weissmann a scholarly law article which argued the overturning of Weissmann’s Arthur Andersen case didn’t mean prosecutors would have trouble bringing obstruction cases thanks to Sarbanes-Oxley. She helped him with a 2007 law journal article he wrote and appeared with him on a 2010 panel. She worked 10 yrs on Senate Judiciary Committee for Patrick Leahy (D) on complex intellectual property issues and the Patriot Act.
      • Loretta Lynch also knew Weissmann more than casually as part of a small group that would often go out for lunch and dinner together.
    • Catherine Herridge, Fox News, reports that Strzok’s changing Comey’s earlier draft language describing Clinton’s actions as “grossly negligent” to “extremely careless” occurred 3 days after the pro-Clinton/anti-Trump texts he exchanged
    • Jeannie Rhee identified as another member of Mueller’s team with strong Democratic ties. Democrat contributor who’s done legal work on behalf of the Clinton Foundation. A former senior adviser to former Attorney General Eric Holder and a white-collar crime specialist, she represented Ben Rhodes before the House Select Committee on Benghazi and served as his point of contact with the House Intelligence Committee in its investigation into Russia (Ingraham, Fox News). Ben Rhodes, ardent Trump critic and Obama Admin Deputy National Security Advisor under Susan Rice who along with other Obama employees ramped up unmasking of Trump campaign staff during the summer and transition period when it’s suspected Michael Flynn was recorded speaking with Russian contacts.

UPDATE 3:

  • 12/7/2017:
    • Devin Nunes, House Intelligence Committee Chair, cleared by House Ethics committee of accusation he divulged classified info in Russia investigation. The Ethics committee cleared Nunes after they brought in experts with classified access to make the determination.
    • Bruce Ohr, an Obama administration holdover, was demoted from Associate Deputy Attorney General this week. DOJ originally indicated Ohr was moved because he held two positions and needed to concentrate on one. James Rosen at Fox News learned, however, that it was discovered Ohr had withheld from superiors two meetings last year with Christopher Steele (before the election) and Glenn Simpson (after the election), Fusion GPS company founder who hired Steele to compile the dossier. Ohr still heads organized crime and drug task force. House Intelligence Committee will be issuing a subpoena for Ohr.
    • Another conflict of interest reported: Attorney Aaron Zebley, known as Mueller’s right hand man on the task force, previously represented the Clinton employee who set up the home IT server and was interviewed/questioned under the Clinton e-mail investigation.
    • News outlets report U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia said that Judge Rudolph Contreras recused himself, but did not disclose why he had done so.  Reuters phrased it “has been recused”.  Contreras is one of few FISA court judges.  It’s possible that Judge Contreras signed off on the FISA warrant in October 2016 that initiated the counterintelligence wiretapping and surveillance of the Trump campaign.  That wiretapping and surveillance ultimately led to the questioning of Michael Flynn; the consequence of which brings Flynn to Contreras courtroom.

Update 4:

  • 12/11/2017 Fox News:
    • James Rosen reports: House Intel Committee uncovered Ohr meetings with Fusion GPS last week. Also discovered Ohr’s wife Nellie Ohr, an academic Russia expert, worked for Fusion GPS last year around time dossier was funneled to FBI and perhaps when dossier funneled to GPS. Bruce Ohr’s contacts with Christopher Steele were thought to go back 10 yrs to about 2006. Mrs. Ohr’s publications on Russia date back farther, which may change her that 10 yr association.
    • Catherine Herridge: Sir Andrew Wood, former British ambassador to Russia, was asked by Steele to contact McCain about the dossier. In August, Steele briefed Wood on what was in the dossier. Dossier handed off to McCain in January, who gave it to FBI. FBI already had a copy of the dossier at that time.

Fusion GPS pushed dossier to 5 media outlets: The New York Times (twice), The Washington Post (twice), CNN, The New Yorker and Yahoo News (twice).


On Saturday, the New York Times and the Washington Post reported that top FBI official Peter Strzok, assigned to special counsel Robert S. Mueller III’s probe, was removed from the team in July over anti-Trump/pro-Clinton text messages exchanged around the time of the Hillary Clinton e-mail investigation.

  • The text messages were exchanged with FBI lawyer Lisa Page, with whom Strzok, deputy head of counterintelligence at the FBI, was having an extra-marital affair at the time he was also a key player in the investigation into Clinton’s use of a private email server. Strzok also played a key role in the original FBI investigation (under Comey) into the Trump-Russia matter.
  • Ms. Page worked for Deputy Director Andrew McCabe (whose involvement in investigating Clinton e-mails at all has been questioned due to hundreds of thousands of dollars in political donations made by a key Clinton ally to McCabe’s wife, a 2015 candidate for political office in Virginia).
  • Ms. Page also worked on the Mueller team but left two weeks before it became aware of the text message allegations.
  • During the Clinton email investigation, Ms. Page was a regular participant in Comey’s meetings with a small group of advisers who met to address sensitive cases.
  • Strzok was given a job in the human resources division of the FBI after being removed from Mueller’s team; widely considered a demotion.
  • The House Intelligence Committee (chaired by Devin Nunes) more than three months ago issued a broadly worded subpoena for information related to the so-called Trump dossier that covered information about Strzok’s demotion.
  • Since that time, in multiple follow-up meetings on the scope of the subpoena, the committee has specifically requested information about Strzok and his reassignment, which FBI officials have denied. (On November 20, 2017, Nunes requested and was denied a meeting with Strzok even though on November 17, Strzok met with the Senate Intelligence Committee.)
  • Both the WaPo and the NYT this weekend published the reason for Strzok’s demotion, along with concerns that the revelation might help President Trump.

WaPo: “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”

NYT: “the existence of the text messages is likely to fuel claims by Mr. Trump that he is the target of a witch hunt.”

  • Hours after the press reports on Strzok’s dismissal appeared, DOJ notified Nunes that it would meet some of the committee’s demands for information that it had been refusing for months.
  • Based on FBI/DOJ stonewalling and obstruction of the House investigation, Nunes threatened a contempt of Congress citation for Rosenstein and for FBI Director Christopher Wray before the end of December unless the FBI and DOJ meet all of the committee’s outstanding demands. (Note: Speaker Ryan five months ago declared at a microphone that the FBI and DOJ “stonewalled” the House, and demanded that they comply immediately with the Intelligence Committee.)

I’ve been paying closer attention to Devin Nunes since the unmasking drama. Contrary to how he’s been portrayed by media, he is actually well-versed and well-suited to intelligence oversight, and not the spinmeister/placeholder type some of the other committee members and chairs appear at times. Victor Davis Hanson knows and thinks highly of him, which is a high recommendation in my book.

The Senate Intelligence Committee is accepting whatever DOJ decides to feed them, and is, in fact, issuing statements criticizing the White House but nothing of substance to report to Americans. Nunes is the one in Congress who has been getting info on the agencies they apparently do not want Congress to know. In fact, I remember recognizing the name of one of the agency employees who alerted Nunes (per media, not from Nunes himself) to the Obama admin unusually high rates of unmasking in the months during the transition, buried in a news blurb as being moved from his position. The guy who did exactly what he was supposed to do — alert Congress oversight committee of possible agency violations — was quietly removed after doing so. Meanwhile, no word on who in intelligence unmasked Flynn or leaked like a sieve during early days of Trump admin, and probably still have their intelligence access.

Mueller gets no credit from me for removing a biased FBI agent from his team. I wonder instead why he selected for a purportedly independent investigation people who were so intertwined with Comey and previous investigations of the key subjects. There is no way that any product they produce could be considered a fresh look or reliable. Nevermind his apparent disregard for bias in the selection of his team members.

Unlike what Flynn might know or be saying that might implicate Trump, this is a factual indication there are serious problems with the FBI, DOJ, and the special counsel investigation. This should be headlining newscasts, but I’ll be pleasantly surprised if it does.

Something is always hopping with the Trump White House, but I have noted that leaks about Mueller’s special counsel activity (a potential negative impact on Trump, of course) have tended to occur during or around something that would normally be positive headlines for Trump, like a highly significant foreign policy trip or passage of the first key legislation under the Trump administration out of the US Senate.

Final note: The May 8, 2017, FBI summons of the Trump brothers to FBI NY headquarters is not discussed in these articles. It’s always stood out to me as an event that happened so close to Comey’s firing: something no one expected, not even the uber-connected Comey. The meeting was never verified by either brother, and on paper appears like a simple notification. A warning of an imminent threat to a family’s livelihood (and the ability of an external entity, like the US government, to access private financial/personal records) can appear many ways in person based on facial expression, voice tone, and body language. While the Trump brothers may not have known much about the archaic Logan Act, I have little doubt New York real estate moguls used to dealing with some tough customers have no trouble recognizing a Vito Corleone act if they see one.

Sources:

http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2017/12/02/mueller-dismisses-top-fbi-agent-in-russia-probe-over-possible-anti-trump-texts.html

https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/national-security/two-senior-fbi-officials-on-clinton-trump-probes-exchanged-politically-charged-texts-disparaging-trump/2017/12/02/9846421c-d707-11e7-a986-d0a9770d9a3e_story.html?utm_term=.9e2c3ae33b07

http://www.washingtonexaminer.com/doj-provides-congress-with-hundreds-of-texts-between-ex-mueller-team-agent-peter-strzok-and-alleged-mistress-lisa-page/article/2643321

http://www.washingtonexaminer.com/byron-york-nunes-blows-up-threatens-contempt-after-fbi-stonewalls-house-on-russia-investigator-demoted-for-anti-trump-bias/article/2642387

http://www.cnn.com/2017/12/04/politics/peter-strzok-james-comey/index.html

http://dailycaller.com/2017/12/04/clinton-aides-went-unpunished-after-making-false-statements-to-anti-trump-fbi-supervisor/

https://hotair.com/archives/2017/12/05/proud-mueller-deputy-congratulated-sally-yates-fired-refusing-enforce-trumps-travel-ban/

https://www.thedailybeast.com/why-bob-mueller-placed-a-controversial-legal-bulldog-on-his-team

Flynn’s judge recused https://theconservativetreehouse.com/2017/12/08/the-big-ugly-why-u-s-district-court-judge-rudolph-contreras-recusal-from-mike-flynn-case-is-a-big-deal/

http://www.washingtonexaminer.com/judge-recuses-himself-from-michael-flynns-case/article/2642920#!

http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2017/12/11/wife-demoted-doj-official-worked-for-firm-behind-anti-trump-dossier.html

Sir Andrew Wood gives dossier to McCain http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2017/12/11/inside-trump-dossier-handoff-mccains-go-between-speaks-out.html

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  1. Stina Member
    Stina
    @CM

    Mim526: While the Trump brothers may not have known much about the archaic Logan Act, I have little doubt New York real estate moguls used to dealing with some tough customers have no trouble recognizing a Vito Corleone act if they see one.

    Could you expand on this a bit? I don’t know what it is or how you draw the significance between the cyber security threat and Comet firing.

    • #1
  2. Hoyacon Member
    Hoyacon
    @Hoyacon

    Great work on this.  Thanks.

    WaPo: “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”

    NYT: “the existence of the text messages is likely to fuel claims by Mr. Trump that he is the target of a witch hunt.”

    Funny.  Note that the concern is over whether the Trump team can use the information to attack the credibility of the investigation, not whether the information actually does undermine the credibility of the investigation.

    • #2
  3. Brian Wyneken Member
    Brian Wyneken
    @BrianWyneken

    Mim526:I wonder instead why he selected for a purportedly independent investigation people who were so intertwined with Comey and previous investigations of the key subjects there is no way any product they produce could be considered a fresh look or reliable. Never mind his apparent disregard for bias in selection of his team members.

    I think this point is key on the investigation team, much more so (as you indicate) any issue of ideological bias. Bias was likely unavoidable, so Mueller may have decided that an anti-Trump ideological bent could work to (1) reduce in-fighting and leaks, and (2) to encourage vigorous effort. The other side of that of course is the bias blind spot, which is why most would have counseled him to have a more ideologically diverse team. Your point, however, highlights why this investigation’s credibility has been undermined from the start. I don’t see how anyone versed in analyzing conflicts of interest (which should, in theory, include every American lawyer)  wouldn’t see this as a glaring issue.

    • #3
  4. Muleskinner Member
    Muleskinner
    @Muleskinner

    Stina (View Comment):

    Mim526: While the Trump brothers may not have known much about the archaic Logan Act, I have little doubt New York real estate moguls used to dealing with some tough customers have no trouble recognizing a Vito Corleone act if they see one.

    Could you expand on this a bit? I don’t know what it is or how you draw the significance between the cyber security threat and Comet firing.

    I suppose Comey could have set this up as J. Edgar Hoover-type “see what people are saying about you, and this is why you need to keep me on as director” kind of meeting?

    • #4
  5. Mim526 Member
    Mim526
    @Mim526

    Stina (View Comment):

    Mim526: While the Trump brothers may not have known much about the archaic Logan Act, I have little doubt New York real estate moguls used to dealing with some tough customers have no trouble recognizing a Vito Corleone act if they see one.

    Could you expand on this a bit? I don’t know what it is or how you draw the significance between the cyber security threat and Comet firing.

    I’ll try.  It’s nothing official; just my thoughts (hopefully not too Lost In Space) on something I always found curious, colored by how civil service functions.

    Many attributed Comey’s abrupt firing to Trump’s “you’re fired” persona or the Trump campaign/Russia collusion allegations.  Seemed to me there might be more to it.

    Dems and the media were pushing the collusion meme hard once they had to accept Trump was actually POTUS (his address to joint session of Congress in February pretty much nailed it IMO) — collusion muttering had been going on for awhile, so why 5/9/17?

    Why fire Comey at all for the Trump/Russia collusion mutterings when Comey had assured Trump on multiple occasions that Trump was not under FBI suspicion?

    If Comey was fired for his performance related to HRC e-mail investigation (an official response in concert with Rosenstein assessment memo to WH), that was the case when Trump first took office, so why wait until 5/9/17?

    Other staff whom Trump has let go (Spicer, Preibus, Price, Bannon) were not surprised; they’d obviously had enough interaction with either Trump himself or a spokesperson, that they expected to be leaving.  Comey was shocked (everyone seemed so…there were no leaks, and the WH was leaking like a sieve then).

    So I went looking for what else happened right around 5/9/17 and found the FBI session with Donald Jr. and Eric Trump, reported very briefly.

    Letting someone know they’re vulnerable to cyberattack is a responsible, innocuous act.  But what if subordinates of the guy who’s been saying you are not under investigation suddenly require your kids/heirs’ presence at FBI HQ to personally inform them in a way that translates “take note boys: every piece of data on you and your business is an open book [to us] which, if made public [we] can [ensure] harm[s] you”.  What reads on paper (or in official documents/reports) like a perfunctory federal notice can in person be perceived as a threat.  I wondered, how would a father who’s also POTUS feel receiving information from his sons/heirs of a perceived threat delivered to them — not through official channels directly to him by agency heads as the dossier had been — in federal police HQ? In those circumstances Comey might appear more mafia don, smiling with what you think are favored assurances while his associate shivs you, than public servant.

    5/16 NYT reported Comey (Vito?) leaked memo to associate, expecting a Mueller.

    • #5
  6. Mim526 Member
    Mim526
    @Mim526

    Muleskinner (View Comment):

    Stina (View Comment):

    Mim526: While the Trump brothers may not have known much about the archaic Logan Act, I have little doubt New York real estate moguls used to dealing with some tough customers have no trouble recognizing a Vito Corleone act if they see one.

    Could you expand on this a bit? I don’t know what it is or how you draw the significance between the cyber security threat and Comet firing.

    I suppose Comey could have set this up as J. Edgar Hoover-type “see what people are saying about you, and this is why you need to keep me on as director” kind of meeting?

    Sounds intimidating, doesn’t it? And what was being described as cyberattack would have left the Trump Organization past and present completely exposed:  internationally and nationally; to the public, the business community, and of course govt/law enforcement/intelligence community.

    • #6
  7. Mim526 Member
    Mim526
    @Mim526

    Brian Wyneken (View Comment):

    Mim526:I wonder instead why he selected for a purportedly independent investigation people who were so intertwined with Comey and previous investigations of the key subjects there is no way any product they produce could be considered a fresh look or reliable. Never mind his apparent disregard for bias in selection of his team members.

    I think this point is key on the investigation team, much more so (as you indicate) any issue of ideological bias. Bias was likely unavoidable, so Mueller may have decided that an anti-Trump ideological bent could work to (1) reduce in-fighting and leaks, and (2) to encourage vigorous effort. The other side of that of course is the bias blind spot, which is why most would have counseled him to have a more ideologically diverse team. Your point, however, highlights why this investigation’s credibility has been undermined from the start. I don’t see how anyone versed in analyzing conflicts of interest (which should, in theory, include every American lawyer) wouldn’t see this as a glaring issue.

    You said it better than I did.  I used ‘never mind’ as a colloquialism meaning that in addition to the undeniable evidence of bias during the investigation that the articles refer to, Mueller had a problem from the beginning in the people he chose for his team.  They’re hip deep in all 3 high profile investigations, tied to Comey/Mueller/Rosenstein.  Expert maybe, but not independent, not unbiased.  Americans deserved expert, unbiased, fresh eyes if this case had to be launched (also questionable IMO).

    One of Mueller’s lawyers in particular Weissmann is also problematic, known for aggressively overcharging without sufficient grounds.  Had at least 2 high profile cases reversed (Arthur Andersen and Merrill Lynch if I remember correctly), with one receiving criticism from a SCOTUS Chief Justice.

    • #7
  8. DocJay Inactive
    DocJay
    @DocJay

    Great article.  I didn’t see it before I wrote mine and I like yours better,  excellent thoroughness especially.

    • #8
  9. Mim526 Member
    Mim526
    @Mim526

    DocJay (View Comment):
    Great article. I didn’t see it before I wrote mine and I like yours better, excellent thoroughness especially.

    Oh no…this way we got meat and potatoes, salad, and dessert.  I love your take.

    Mine’s a product of yrs having to compile and document for CFO/CEOs what’s going on in my finance operations departments, augmented by my assessment.  Very dull stuff LOL.

    • #9
  10. Judge Mental Member
    Judge Mental
    @JudgeMental

    Hoyacon (View Comment):
    Great work on this. Thanks.

    WaPo: “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”

    NYT: “the existence of the text messages is likely to fuel claims by Mr. Trump that he is the target of a witch hunt.”

    Funny. Note that the concern is over whether the Trump team can use the information to attack the credibility of the investigation, not whether the information actually does undermine the credibility of the investigation.

    This.

    • #10
  11. DocJay Inactive
    DocJay
    @DocJay

    I think there’s a good chance you’re on to something with the 5/8/17 meeting.   I think Comey, despite being forced to acknowledge the Weiner computer, was always an agent of Obama.

    • #11
  12. Larry Koler Inactive
    Larry Koler
    @LarryKoler

    First thing I want to know is: how many news trucks and reporters are camping out in front of Mueller’s house like they did with Ken Starr?

    Second thing I want to know is: when will the news media outlets start running polls on who’s more popular, Trump or Mueller — like they did with Clinton and Starr? We need this for historical purposes — doesn’t matter a whit if Mueller is more popular. The question is: why aren’t they doing it?

    Third thing I want to know is: why are Republican Senators so weak — both morally and de facto?

    • #12
  13. Larry Koler Inactive
    Larry Koler
    @LarryKoler

    Mim526: Something is always hopping with the Trump White House, but I have noted that leaks about Mueller’s special counsel activity (an potential negative impact on Trump of course,) have tended to occur during or around something that would normally be positive headlines for Trump, like a highly significant foreign policy trip or passage of the first key legislation under the Trump administration out of the US Senate.

    Excellent observation. Thanks. Mueller is a dangerous and dishonest and disgusting human being. Comey is just a corrupt clown.

    Remember that Mueller changed his mind about inspecting Trump for obstruction of justice when there were rumors of Mueller being fired. Such hubris. He knows he’s on the side of righteousness and breaking the rules we all know is OK if you are in an existential struggle. The deep state knows that Trump is the most dangerous and the least prepared for event in their lives.

    • #13
  14. Mim526 Member
    Mim526
    @Mim526

    Larry Koler (View Comment):

    Mim526: Something is always hopping with the Trump White House, but I have noted that leaks about Mueller’s special counsel activity (an potential negative impact on Trump of course,) have tended to occur during or around something that would normally be positive headlines for Trump, like a highly significant foreign policy trip or passage of the first key legislation under the Trump administration out of the US Senate.

    Excellent observation. Thanks. Mueller is a dangerous and dishonest and disgusting human being. Comey is just a corrupt clown.

    Remember that Mueller changed his mind about inspecting Trump for obstruction of justice when there were rumors of Mueller being fired. Such hubris. He knows he’s on the side of righteousness and breaking the rules we all know is OK if you are in an existential struggle. The deep state knows that Trump is the most dangerous and the least prepared for event in their lives.

    Oh my Lord, even digging through the supposition, there’s some serious issue with Mueller I had no idea about.  I had him pegged when he authorized rousting Manafort & wife n their bedroom early am, searching her in her PJs, after Manafort and his lawyer had been cooperating.  I have no problem playing hardball, but treating a civil charge (not yet convicted crime) like you would a drug kingpin is dirty pool.

    Too bad Gohmert et al didn’t speak on record with long and loud concern when Mueller was being originally touted as highly qualified, fair and virtuous pick for special counsel.  Don’t know if people would have listened, but would have good to hear it more.  One problem with being part of power plays like Freedom Caucus have been part of on occasion, is that people don’t know whether your actions/whistleblowing are more power play or genuine concern.

    • #14
  15. Curt North Inactive
    Curt North
    @CurtNorth

    Mim526 (View Comment):
    So I went looking for what else happened right around 5/9/17 and found the FBI session with Donald Jr. and Eric Trump, reported very briefly.

    Letting someone know they’re vulnerable to cyberattack is a responsible, innocuous act. But what if subordinates of the guy who’s been saying you are not under investigation suddenly require your kids/heirs’ presence at FBI HQ to personally inform them in a way that translates “take note boys: every piece of data on you and your business is an open book [to us] which, if made public [we] can [ensure] harm[s] you”

    I didn’t know (or had forgotten) of the FBI meeting with the Trump brothers.  Considering the Comey firing was the very next day, you have to wonder what the conversation was around the Trump diner table that night.  If it walks, talks, and quacks like a duck, it’s a duck.  Sounds like Comey may have overplayed his hand in trying to force Trump to keep him on.

    • #15
  16. JeffHawkins Coolidge
    JeffHawkins
    @JeffHawkins

    If he doesn’t shut it down soon, it becomes 2018 fodder.  He is going to be indicted for obstruction in October 2018 over an investigation into a crime that appears to not have existed.

    So far Mueller has given 4 indictments, only 1 has to do with the election process. 2 are prior to the election, 1 is for actions taken after the election.

    It’s baffling to me that no one in this administration seems to be exerting pressure on Rosenstein or why McCabe hasn’t been fired.  I think one of the things I am tired of is the “fear” over the appearance of impropriety.  The media and the “public opinion” are against you any way.

    The Logan Act?  Is Tulsi Gabbard going to be brought up on charges?  Her actions were far more egregious.

    Take the hit now, shut it down right before Christmas at the same time the tax cut goes into effect.  Or give Mueller a drop dead date.  There are too many conflicts of interest to allow this to continue.  Either that or Jeff Sessions need to file countercharges re: Uranium One and put some people on the defensive.

    My only takeaway is either this administration is too afraid to play politics, or think they’ll eventually be exonerated in a DC court should charges come, and with a 92 percent Democrat voter pool, I wouldn’t rely on people’s better natures

     

    • #16
  17. DocJay Inactive
    DocJay
    @DocJay

    Curt North (View Comment):

    Mim526 (View Comment):
    So I went looking for what else happened right around 5/9/17 and found the FBI session with Donald Jr. and Eric Trump, reported very briefly.

    Letting someone know they’re vulnerable to cyberattack is a responsible, innocuous act. But what if subordinates of the guy who’s been saying you are not under investigation suddenly require your kids/heirs’ presence at FBI HQ to personally inform them in a way that translates “take note boys: every piece of data on you and your business is an open book [to us] which, if made public [we] can [ensure] harm[s] you”

    I didn’t know (or had forgotten) of the FBI meeting with the Trump brothers. Considering the Comey firing was the very next day, you have to wonder what the conversation was around the Trump diner table that night. If it walks, talks, and quacks like a duck, it’s a duck. Sounds like Comey may have overplayed his hand in trying to force Trump to keep him on.

    Seems like team Trump had an idea the director was out to get them.   Perhaps merely for ‘redemption’ in the eyes of those who mattered.

    • #17
  18. Old Bathos Moderator
    Old Bathos
    @OldBathos

    Nicely done.

    Too bad we don’t have a Republican President who would have the authority to order the FBI and DOJ to produce everything immediately.  Such a President would also have the authority to send White House lawyers, the Attorney General and Director of the FBI to supervise and expedite the document assembly and production.  Those Presidential agents could also act to identify individuals who should be fired/prosecuted for their role in the cover-up, the pretextual use of the Logan Act to justify illegal use of domestic surveillance and the public disclosure of the content of such surveillance to the media for partisan political effect.

    I have to admit to being baffled as to how a New Caesar/fascist like Trump seems to have zero control over so much of the federal government.

    • #18
  19. Guruforhire Inactive
    Guruforhire
    @Guruforhire

    JeffHawkins (View Comment):
    The Logan Act? Is Tulsi Gabbard going to be brought up on charges? Her actions were far more egregious.

    Is John Kerry?  He negotiated with the North Vietnamese, a country we were actually at war with, by his own admission.

     

    • #19
  20. Guruforhire Inactive
    Guruforhire
    @Guruforhire

    JeffHawkins (View Comment):
    My only takeaway is either this administration is too afraid to play politics, or think they’ll eventually be exonerated in a DC court should charges come, and with a 92 percent Democrat voter pool, I wouldn’t rely on people’s better natures

    Or the incoming contempt charges from congress provide an iron clad excuse to terminate employment.

    • #20
  21. Judge Mental Member
    Judge Mental
    @JudgeMental

    Guruforhire (View Comment):

    JeffHawkins (View Comment):
    My only takeaway is either this administration is too afraid to play politics, or think they’ll eventually be exonerated in a DC court should charges come, and with a 92 percent Democrat voter pool, I wouldn’t rely on people’s better natures

    Or the incoming contempt charges from congress provide an iron clad excuse to terminate employment.

    Or he could do it as part of firing every single remaining Obama appointee.  He’s supposed to replace all of those people as part of the normal course of business.

    • #21
  22. JeffHawkins Coolidge
    JeffHawkins
    @JeffHawkins

    Also awaiting McCarthy/French/smarter people on law than me re: Strzok/Page and the possibility the entire thing is tainted, especially given Srzok’s role in “but her emails”

    Possible Mueller went hard on process crimes after realizing Strzok gave a gift to any defense attorney barring new information.

    • #22
  23. Ed G. Member
    Ed G.
    @EdG

    Old Bathos (View Comment):
    Nicely done.

    Too bad we don’t have a Republican President who would have the authority to order the FBI and DOJ to produce everything immediately. Such a President would also have the authority to send White House lawyers, the Attorney General and Director of the FBI to supervise and expedite the document assembly and production. Those Presidential agents could also act to identify individuals who should be fired/prosecuted for their role in the cover-up, the pretextual use of the Logan Act to justify illegal use of domestic surveillance and the public disclosure of the content of such surveillance to the media for partisan political effect.

    I have to admit to being baffled as to how a New Caesar/fascist like Trump seems to have zero control over so much of the federal government.

    My guess is that too many people are itching for any pretext for impeachment and removal. Heck, some seemingly weak stuff amidst a seemingly fake controversy was enough for AG to recuse and for special prosecutor to be launched; we’ve had a year long investigation (with no actual evidence of a crime – shouldn’t we require a crime before we investigate?) with little justification IMO. I think pulling that kind of executive maneuver would serve some people as the justification they needed – they could spin away the details and cover the glaring non-sense with volume and repetition. My further guess is that it’s been the administration’s strategy to let “independent” parties bring the relevant parts to light so as not to taint any exoneration which might be forthcoming or even any counter prosecution spurred by facts brought to light in this process.

    • #23
  24. Bob Thompson Member
    Bob Thompson
    @BobThompson

    These two observations about elapsed time:

    The time between the FBI meeting with Don Jr. and Eric Trump about cyber attacks and President Trump firing James Comey, and

    The time between President Trump firing James Comey and the appointment of a Special Counsel, who happens to be closely associated with Comey.

    The first can be understood as Comey saying one thing and the President seeing something that looks different and nefarious.

    The second looks like some sort of setup maybe to respond to a different scenario but implemented nonetheless for these particular events.

    We have witnessed numerous inquiries and investigative events over the last couple of years and not once has any government component of the bureaucracy or the legislature executed an action as quickly as the appointment of this adversarial Special Counsel.

     

    • #24
  25. Larry Koler Inactive
    Larry Koler
    @LarryKoler

    Bob Thompson (View Comment):
    These two observations about elapsed time:

    The time between the FBI meeting with Don Jr. and Eric Trump about cyber attacks and President Trump firing James Comey, and

    The time between President Trump firing James Comey and the appointment of a Special Counsel, who happens to be closely associated with Comey.

    The first can be understood as Comey saying one thing and the President seeing something that looks different and nefarious.

    The second looks like some sort of setup maybe to respond to a different scenario but implemented nonetheless for these particular events.

    We have witnessed numerous inquiries and investigative events over the last couple of years and not once has any government component of the bureaucracy or the legislature executed an action as quickly as the appointment of this adversarial Special Counsel.

    I can’t verify this myself but my sense is that you are right.

    Rod Rosenstein seemed to be cocked and ready to fire off the investigation. He’s into this up to his eyeballs and he’s the single most important cog in the Get-Trump machine. How did he get his position as Deputy AG? Who suggested him, who promoted him to the Trump selection committee? He needs to be fired.

    • #25
  26. Mim526 Member
    Mim526
    @Mim526

    Ed G. (View Comment):

    Old Bathos (View Comment):
    Nicely done.

    Too bad we don’t have a Republican President who would have the authority to order the FBI and DOJ to produce everything immediately. Such a President would also have the authority to send White House lawyers, the Attorney General and Director of the FBI to supervise and expedite the document assembly and production. Those Presidential agents could also act to identify individuals who should be fired/prosecuted for their role in the cover-up, the pretextual use of the Logan Act to justify illegal use of domestic surveillance and the public disclosure of the content of such surveillance to the media for partisan political effect.

    I have to admit to being baffled as to how a New Caesar/fascist like Trump seems to have zero control over so much of the federal government.

    My guess is that too many people are itching for any pretext for impeachment and removal. Heck, some seemingly weak stuff amidst a seemingly fake controversy was enough for AG to recuse and for special prosecutor to be launched; we’ve had a year long investigation (with no actual evidence of a crime – shouldn’t we require a crime before we investigate?) with little justification IMO. I think pulling that kind of executive maneuver would serve some people as the justification they needed – they could spin away the details and cover the glaring non-sense with volume and repetition. My further guess is that it’s been the administration’s strategy to let “independent” parties bring the relevant parts to light so as not to taint any exoneration which might be forthcoming or even any counter prosecution spurred by facts brought to light in this process.

    I agree.  Trump has significantly reigned in what have to be strong CEO tendencies (from years of doing so) to give instructions/commands regarding all levels of a business.  Contrary to what many feared, that he would take an authoritarian approach to imprinting himself on the US government, he has restrained himself to the Executive Branch.

    He has in fact, exerted influence as we haven’t seen a President do since I can’t remember when: by visiting Congress/phoning/inviting to the White House as a supplicant, motivator…not a coercer. I’ll admit, even secondhand (I don’t follow his Twitter account), some of his tweets make me wince or outright SMH.  That said, people, most especially press people, make the mistake of reading tweet criticisms as orders/directives and not the opinions they are.  Top level opinions as a POTUS, yes, but still:  opinions.

    • #26
  27. DocJay Inactive
    DocJay
    @DocJay

    Strzok it’s now known was privvy to Comey’s letter exonerating Clinton before the interview he had with Clinton and her lawyers.   Strzok was instrumental in changing gross negligence to extremely careless.  Strzok opened the Russia case on Trump.

    I’d be willing to bet Strzok was going for a big position in a Clinton administration.

    He is a deep state warrior, partisan hack, and his very presence in this investigation totally discredits it.

    If Mueller goes after Trump kids or the president, we may end up with some serious violence given the obvious bias and partisanship.

    Apparently the OIG at the DOJ has been investigating partisanship at the FBI/DOJ since January.

     

    • #27
  28. Mim526 Member
    Mim526
    @Mim526

    DocJay (View Comment):
    Strzok it’s now known was privvy to Comey’s letter exonerating Clinton before the interview he had with Clinton and her lawyers. Strzok was instrumental in changing gross negligence to extremely careless. Strzok opened the Russia case on Trump.

    I’d be willing to bet Strzok was going for a big position in a Clinton administration.

    He is a deep state warrior, partisan hack, and his very presence in this investigation totally discredits it.

    If Mueller goes after Trump kids or the president, we may end up with some serious violence given the obvious bias and partisanship.

    Apparently the OIG at the DOJ has been investigating partisanship at the FBI/DOJ since January.

    I updated the timeline with today’s new info.  It seems to me that Rosenstein has more than enough justification for pulling the plug on this as a tainted investigation.  Key point to me is Strzok being the one to interview Flynn and Flynn then being charged with lying to the FBI.

    Anyone heard anything from DOJ or Rosenstein on this (other than DOJ’s OIG partisanship investigation)?  Anyone in Congress said anything?  They were all over the need to appoint Special Counsel to investigate collusion.

    This is serious stuff that goes way beyond biased texts.  FBI is actively stonewalling Congress and the most sensitive investigations, from the standpoint of affecting our highest elected officials, are seriously tainted.  And that’s with the little that we do know; shudder to think what we don’t know.

    • #28
  29. Larry Koler Inactive
    Larry Koler
    @LarryKoler

    DocJay (View Comment):
    Strzok it’s now known was privvy to Comey’s letter exonerating Clinton before the interview he had with Clinton and her lawyers. Strzok was instrumental in changing gross negligence to extremely careless. Strzok opened the Russia case on Trump.

    I’d be willing to bet Strzok was going for a big position in a Clinton administration.

    He is a deep state warrior, partisan hack, and his very presence in this investigation totally discredits it.

    I assume that all the guys chosen are exactly as stridently partisan and that Strzok was chosen because of his bias — he just was careless and got found out and only then was he dismissed. Mueller chose these people for their solid credentials with the left and the Dems. Strzok was not someone who “slipped through.”

    • #29
  30. Bob Thompson Member
    Bob Thompson
    @BobThompson

    Larry Koler (View Comment):

    DocJay (View Comment):
    Strzok it’s now known was privvy to Comey’s letter exonerating Clinton before the interview he had with Clinton and her lawyers. Strzok was instrumental in changing gross negligence to extremely careless. Strzok opened the Russia case on Trump.

    I’d be willing to bet Strzok was going for a big position in a Clinton administration.

    He is a deep state warrior, partisan hack, and his very presence in this investigation totally discredits it.

    I assume that all the guys chosen are exactly as stridently partisan and that Strzok was chosen because of his bias — he just was careless and got found out and only then was he dismissed. Mueller chose these people for their solid credentials with the left and the Dems. Strzok was not someone who “slipped through.”

    But isn’t he still working at the FBI? Sad.

    • #30
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