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Recent Appearances... Rantburg

-Lurid Crime Tales-
Russian oligarch's story could spell trouble for Team Mueller (Opens to Video)
[The Hill] Sometimes it is the quiet, elusive ones who come back to haunt you. And for ex-special prosecutor Robert Mueller, one of those might be a Russian billionaire named Oleg Deripaska.

The oligarch who once controlled Russia’s largest aluminum empire has been an international man of intrigue in the now-completed and disproven Trump collusion investigation.

Deripaska was a disaffected former business client of Donald Trump’s fallen campaign chairman Paul Manafort. He also was a legal research client of Trump-hating, Clinton-aiding British spy Christopher Steele. In his spare time, he was an occasional friendly cooperator with the FBI and its fired deputy director, Andrew McCabe.

And, at the height of the Russia collusion hysteria, Deripaska was sanctioned by the Trump administration to financially punish Russian President Vladimir Putin for his meddling in the 2016 U.S. presidential election.

With the Russia case, in which he had so many connections, now completed, Deripaska is breaking his silence. And what he has to say could impact Mueller’s July 17 testimony before Congress.

In a wide-ranging interview with me, Deripaska confirmed a story told to me more than a year ago by law enforcement sources: He was indeed interviewed by FBI agents in September 2016 during the early Russia probe, and he told them he strongly doubted the bureau’s theory that the Trump campaign, through Manafort, was colluding with Moscow to hijack the 2016 election.

"I told them straightforward, ’Look, I am not a friend with him [Manafort]. Apparently not, because I started a court case [against him] six or nine months before ... . But since I’m Russian I would be very surprised that anyone from Russia would try to approach him for any reason, and wouldn’t come and ask me my opinion,' " he said, recounting exactly what he says he told the FBI agents that day.

"I told them straightforward, I just don’t believe that he would represent any Russian interest. And knowing what he’s doing on Ukraine for the last, what, seven or eight years."

OK, so why should you care if a Russian denied Trump campaign collusion with Russia during the election?

-Lurid Crime Tales-
Andrew McCabe Says Now Is The Time To Try To Impeach Trump
What makes today different than any other day?
[DAILYWIRE] After a leading question from CNN host Chris Cuomo, fired FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe said now is "absolutely" the time to start impeachment proceedings against President Donald Trump
...Oh, noze!...
McCabe made the statement after being asked by Cuomo, "Do you believe that an impeachment inquiry is warranted based on what you understand and what has come out of the Mueller report?"

McCabe, who wrote a memoir trashing Trump and defending the FBI, immediately agreed with Cuomo, saying, "absolutely."

The Hill reported that McCabe insisted Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s final report provided enough evidence to impeach Trump, even though the report found no evidence of collusion and made no determinations regarding obstruction of justice. Democrats have fixated on the obstruction claims, even though Mueller’s investigation was supposed to be a counterintelligence investigation, which is done on behalf of the president and therefore cannot be obstructed by the president. Further, since there was no underlying crime, only partisans can argue that Trump was obstructing rather than protesting the false accusations against him.

"I think we are clearly there with the results of the special counsel team," McCabe said regarding impeachment. "There are so many witnesses who could provide important, essential testimony to Congress that can only be done in the scope of an impeachment inquiry."

McCabe added that "Action should be taken immediately," and that it didn’t matter whether such an inquiry led to an actual impeachment.

McCabe was fired 26 hours before he was set to retire from the FBI and collect his full pension. His firing came as the result of an inspector general investigation that found he had leaked information to the media regarding the special counsel investigation and then lied, repeatedly, to Sherlocks about doing so.

-Lurid Crime Tales-
McCabe: Comey’s Draft Statement Exonerating Clinton Two Months before Her FBI Interview Was Not Normal Protocol
[BREITBART] “This is the only time I am aware of, sir.” “I have not seen that before, sir.” “I’ve never seen that.”

These are just some of the words utilized by former acting FBI director Andrew McCabe when asked during closed door testimony about an email penned by disgraced ex-FBI chief James Comey
The disgraced, except in his own mind, former head of the FBI...
circulating a draft statement exonerating Hillary Clinton in the private email server case a full two months before the FBI interviewed Clinton and other witnesses in the criminal probe.

Documents previously released by the FBI show that Comey on May 2, 2016 sent the email in question to McCabe, FBI general counsel James Baker and chief of staff and senior counselor James Rybicki. Clinton was interviewed by the FBI on June 2, with Comey later testifying that she was not sworn in and that the interview was not recorded.

Two months before Clinton’s FBI interview, Comey circulated the draft statement testing language to be used for not recommending charges against Clinton.

Former Rep. Bob Goodlatte, who served as chairman of the House Judiciary Committee at the time of McCabe’s December 21, 2017 testimony, read aloud Comey’s email. A transcript of the testimony was released three weeks ago by House Judiciary Committee Ranking Member Doug Collins, R-Ga, although the portion in question did not receive media attention.

-Lurid Crime Tales-
Who Ran Crossfire Hurricane? Barr's investigators should focus on John Brennan and Gina Haspel.
[American Spectator] Crossfire Hurricane" ‐ the melodramatic code name for the FBI/CIA spy operation on candidate Trump and his early presidency ‐ was run for the FBI by then-FBI Director James Comey, his deputy Andrew McCabe, Special Agent Peter Strzok, and a few others.

Then-CIA director John Brennan ran it for the CIA. Brennan had to have help, but who was it? A lot of evidence points to the CIA’s then-chief of station in London in 2016-2017, and now the Director of Central Intelligence, Gina Haspel.

President Trump claimed that the FBI and CIA’s spying on his campaign and early presidency was treason. Attorney General William Barr said that, legally, it wasn’t.

-Lurid Crime Tales-
Behind the FBI's witch-hunt targeting Donald Trump
[Washington Times] In the burgeoning controversy about the FBI investigation of Donald Trump, one thing is clear: The decision by Andrew McCabe as acting FBI director to open a counterintelligence probe targeting Mr. Trump after he fired FBI Director James Comey was based on false pretenses.

In his book "The Threat," Mr. McCabe says he opened that investigation and urged Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein to appoint a special counsel based almost entirely on Mr. Trump’s comment to NBC’s Lester Holt that he thought about "this Russia thing" when he decided to fire Jim Comey as FBI director in May 2017.

Mr. McCabe interpreted those meandering words to mean that Mr. Trump fired Mr. Comey because the director was pursuing the ongoing FBI investigation into interference in the election and Mr. Trump wanted to stop it. But as noted in my book "The Trump White House," Mr. Trump went on to say twice to Mr. Holt that he recognized that by firing Mr. Comey, he was probably prolonging the investigation and that he wanted it "to be absolutely done properly." It was the exact opposite of attempting to obstruct an investigation.

If Mr. McCabe had cited the rest of what Mr. Trump said, he would have exposed as baseless his own rationale for starting an investigation of Mr. Trump. But Mr. McCabe did not. Instead, in his book Mr. McCabe deliberately and dishonestly omitted the rest of what Mr. Trump said to Mr. Holt about his dismissal of Mr. Comey probably lengthening the Russia investigation.

Mr. McCabe went on to cite parenthetically the fact that in a "demeaning and dismissive way," Mr. Trump had referred to the ongoing FBI investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election ‐ which included the possibility of collusion by the campaign ‐ as a "witch-hunt." So now defending yourself is reason to open an investigation that could lead to criminal charges against you.

-Lurid Crime Tales-
DOJ IG To FBI: Why Did You Cite Christopher Steele As Credible In Spy Warrant Application For Trump Campaign Official
[Townhall] The Department of Justice inspector general is about to drop their report on alleged FISA abuses in June. IG Michael Horowitz has been doing a thorough review of the allegations that the FBI used an unverified piece of political propaganda to obtain a FISA spy warrant against former Trump campaign foreign policy adviser Carter Page in 2016. It was reauthorized three more times into 2017. The main body of evidence allegedly is the so-called Trump dossier compiled by former MI6 spook Christopher Steele, which was funded by the Democrats, specifically the DNC and the Clinton campaign. It was an opposition research file aimed at getting dirt on Trump. Steele used former and current sources within the Kremlin. Yeah, some could call this Clinton-Russia collusion, but that’s a tale for another time.

It’s a document that’s virtually unverified. It remains that way to this day, which is why most news organizations didn’t post the full document. BuzzFeed decided to be that guy in the room. It’s trash. And it was probably part of a Russian disinformation campaign. That allegation is going to be investigated by the DOJ on order of Attorney General William Barr.

Fired Deputy FBI Director Andrew McCabe refused to answer questions during congressional testimony about whether the bureau verified the document before allegedly using it obtain a spy warrant against an American citizen who has not been charged or proven to have committed any crime. He now says that applications for the FISA warrants were "adequate." The report filed by Special Counsel Robert Mueller on the Trump-Russia collusion myth proved definitively that no such operation occurred. The Trump team and the Kremlin did not collude. So, what’s the deal with this document? The DOJ IG has been reportedly asking the FBI multiple times why they continued to cite Christopher Steele as a credible source when it came to these spy warrant applications. Well, we all know what the answer: they didn’t really verify anything. And let’s just say there were some interesting rendezvous between DNC lawyers and the FBI before that FISA warrant was doled out. And it’s not like no one spoke up about the integrity of this document. (via WSJ) [emphasis mine]:

-Lurid Crime Tales-
Top FBI Lawyer Testified Rosenstein Discussed Removing Trump From Office
[The Federalist] James Baker, the former top lawyer of the FBI, testified to members of Congress last fall that Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein and other FBI officials discussed wearing a wire in meetings with President Trump and removing him from office, according to a transcript of Baker’s testimony released on Tuesday.

In a joint committee on October 3, 2018, Baker was questioned in a closed-door interview on his knowledge of the Christopher Steele dossier, classified information leaked to the media, and invoking the 25th Amendment against President Trump.

Baker’s testimony confirmed what former acting FBI Director Andrew McCabe previously said about national security officials strategizing to remove President Trump from office. Baker said Rosenstein made a serious suggestion to wear a wire when near the president in order to collect evidence that the president obstructed the investigation on Russian collusion. Baker also said he suspected Rosenstein was acting in response to the firing of James Comey, and that he felt he had been "used" by the president in his justification for firing Comey.

Home Front: Politix
USA Today Calls For Investigation Into Obama-Era Deep State Election
[DCWHISPERS] The Russia investigation did not come from nothing, of course. Moscow did try to influence the 2016 election, part of a long history of attempted involvement in American politics going back to the days of the Comintern. This Russian activity prompted President Obama to tell Vladimir Putin
...President-for-Life of Russia. He gets along well with other presidents for life. He is credited with bringing political stability and re-establishing something like the rule of law, which occasionally results in somebody dropping dead from poisoning by polonium or other interesting substance. Under Putin, a new group of business magnates controlling significant swathes of Russia's economy has emerged, all of whom have close personal ties to him. The old bunch, without close personal ties to Putin, are in jail or in exile or dead from poisoning by polonium or other interesting substances...
personally to "cut it out" or face "serious consequences." And the FBI gave the Trump campaign a standard counterintelligence briefing on the possibility of foreign interference in the summer of 2016, multiple government sources told NBC News and CNN.

Yet Obama officials also treated Trump campaign staffers as targets themselves. They used cooperative foreign intelligence services to chat them up overseas, both to put a layer of deniability between them and this questionable behavior, and to get around prohibitions against spying on American citizens. The recently released transcript of the House Committee on the Judiciary and Committee on Government Reform and Oversight interview with Trump campaign adviser George Papadopoulos goes into great detail how this targeting was conducted. Papadopoulos claims that foreign governments are now cooperating to reveal more about these activities.

There are also numerous classified documents related to the collusion illusion that have been either hidden or released in severely redacted form. Last September, President Trump instructed the Office of the Director of National Intelligence and the Department of Justice immediately to declassify materials related to the Russia investigation, including "all text messages ... without redaction" of James Comey, Andrew McCabe, Peter Strzok, Lisa Page and Bruce Ohr, as well as documents concerning the warrant application under the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act for Trump adviser Carter Page.

Democrats objected that declassifying text messages regarding the Russia investigation will compromise FBI "sources and methods," and the move was delayed after "key allies" objected.


Home Front: Politix
Victor Davis Hannson - The Tables Turn in Russian Collusion Hunt
[American Greatness] The irony of the entire Russian collusion hoax is that accusers who cried the loudest about leaking, collusion, lying, and obstruction are themselves soon very likely to be accused of just those crimes.

Now that Robert Mueller’s 674-day, $30 million investigation is over and has failed to find the original goal of its mandate‐evidence of a criminal conspiracy between the Trump presidential campaign and the Russian government to sway the 2016 election‐and now that thousands of once-sealed government documents will likely be released in unredacted form, those who eagerly assumed the role of the hunters may become the hunted, due to their own zealous violation of the nation’s trust and its laws.

Former FBI Director James Comey’s testimonies cannot be reconciled with those of his own deputy director Andrew McCabe. He falsely testified that the Steele dossier was not the main basis for obtaining FISA court warrants. On at least 245 occasions, Comey swore under oath that he either did not know, or could not remember, when asked direct questions about his conduct at the FBI. He likely lied when he testified that he did not conclude his assessment of the Clinton illegal email use before he had even interviewed Clinton, an assertion contradicted by his own written report. I guess his credo and modus operandi are reflected in the subtitle of his recent autobiography A Higher Loyalty: "Truth, Lies, and Leadership."

Andrew McCabe currently is under criminal referral for lying to federal investigators about leaking to the media. He and Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein each have accused each other of not telling the whole truth about their shared caper of trying to force President Trump out of office by invoking the 25th Amendment.

Former Director of National Intelligence James Clapper has admitted to lying under oath to Congress‐and since lied about his earlier admission of that lying. His recent sworn congressional testimony of not having leaked information about the Steele dossier to the media is again likely to be untrue, given that Clapper had admitted to speaking to CNN’s Jake Tapper about the dossier’s contents. CNN, remember, would in turn go on to hire the mendacious Clapper as an analyst. And once on air, Clapper would insist that Trump was both a Russian asset and thus guilty of collusion crimes greater than those of Watergate. Lies. All lies.

Former CIA Director John Brennan has admitted to lying under oath to Congress on two occasions. He may well face further legal exposure. When he lost his security clearance, he repeatedly lied that Trump was guilty of collusion, however that non-crime is defined. And as the Mueller probe wound down, Brennan with pseudo-authority and trumped-up hints of phony access to secret intelligence sources deceitfully assured the nation that Trump within days would face indictment‐perhaps along with his family members.

Home Front: Culture Wars
The Late - not so great - Muller Investigation (VDH)
[National Review] It followed the Soviet style: ’Show me the man, and I’ll show you the crime.’

Had Hillary Clinton just won the 2016 election, there would have been neither a Mueller investigation nor much talk of Russian collusion.

A losing Donald Trump would have slunk off to left-wing and Never-Trump ridicule and condemnation ‐ and no investigation about collusion.
On the other hand ...
Of course, a President Hillary Clinton herself may well have faced some Russian blackmail attempts. Kremlin fixers would have likely threatened to go public that their planted lies to Christopher Steele were gobbled up by President Clinton’s own private Fusion GPS hit team. In essence, the Russians would have claimed that they had fueled the dossier that wounded the Trump campaign ‐ and expected some sort of quid pro quo, perhaps in Uranium One fashion.

Obama-administration bureaucrats ‐ Attorney General Loretta Lynch, subordinate attorneys general such as Bruce Ohr and Rod Rosenstein, FBI grandees such as James Baker, James Comey, and Andrew McCabe, intelligence kingpins such as John Brennan and James Clapper, and national-security officials turned intelligence sleuths such as Susan Rice and Samantha Power ‐ would all have been competing on the basis of service beyond the call of duty for top jobs in the Clinton administration.

Among their swamp talking points would have been rival obsequious claims to have squashed Trump. Clinton-administration transition officials would have had to parcel out patronage by judging the relative help of people who had seeded Hillary’s Steele dossier around the government and the media, or fooled a FISA court to monitor Carter Page and thereby generated leaks that the Trump campaign was "under investigation," or obstructed the Clinton email investigation, or placed an informant in Trump’s campaign, or unmasked the contents of surveilled conversations and leaked them to the press.

Translated, that means the hysteria that helped prompt the Mueller investigation was in part whipped up by those who had knowingly acted unethically or illegally during and also after the 2016 campaign. These Obama officials bet on the sure-thing but wrong horse and suddenly, after Nov. 8, 2016, feared that they were soon to be subject to lots of criminal exposure.

Assume that both the ruse of "collusion" and James Comey’s leaking gambit to prompt a special counsel’s investigation were thus the preemptive defenses of an assortment of crimes by Obama-era officials, such as lying to federal officials, conspiracy to obstruct justice, illegally leaking confidential or classified documents to the media, deceiving a FISA court, and myriad conflicts of interest. In other words, there were never any evidentiary reasons to appoint a special counsel other than to divert attention away from an array of wrongdoing. After 22 months, that fact finally became clear even to a largely partisan group of attorneys, once eager to become folk heroes by aborting the Trump presidency.

Let us hope both that Attorney General Barr can now turn to the real illegal behavior of an entire array of Obama-administration officials, and that the public at last can have access to unredacted documents that record their frenzied and illegal efforts.
Oh, DO read the whole thing! Take the time to look up a few obscure references. Classic Victor Davis Hanson!

Home Front: Politix
Andrew McCabe Concedes James Comey ‘Eroded the Credibility of the FBI’
[BREITBART] Andrew McCabe, the disgraced former acting FBI director, conceded in his new book that James Comey’s infamous decision to hold a presser to announce no charges against Perennial Presidential Campaigner Hillary Crooked Hillary Clinton
... former first lady, former secretary of state, former presidential candidate, Conqueror of Benghazi, Heroine of Tuzla, formerly described by her supporters as the smartest woman in the world, usually described by the rest of us as The Thing That Wouldn't Go Away...
in her email case worked to "erode the credibility of the FBI."

Perhaps unwittingly lending weight to some of President Trump’s own arguments for ultimately firing Comey, McCabe blasted Comey’s unprecedented presser as possibly doing "long-term damage" to the FBI.

On July 5, 2016, at the height of the presidential campaign, Comey held a notorious presser during which he bypassed Justice Department tradition by unilaterally declaring that "no charges are appropriate" in the case of Clinton’s private email server. It is not the role of the FBI to make such pronouncements.


-Lurid Crime Tales-
The 25th Amendment Talk Isn't The Real Scandal. The Spygate Coup Attempt Is
[The Federalist] Last week when Andrew McCabe launched his Orange Man Bad tour, he stunned the public with claims that Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein suggested using the 25th Amendment to remove President Trump from office. Reaction on the hill came quickly, with Sen. Lindsey Graham calling the claim "beyond stunning."

Graham, the new chair of the Senate Judiciary Committee, promised an investigation, telling CBS’s "Face the Nation": "There’s an allegation by the acting FBI director at the time that the deputy attorney general was basically trying to do an administrative coup, take the president down [using] the 25th Amendment process. The deputy attorney general denies it. I promise your viewers the following: that we will have a hearing about who’s telling the truth, what actually happened."

But the supposed consideration of the 25th Amendment shouldn’t be the focus of the outrage. After all, that amendment, which allows the vice president plus a "majority of either the principal officers of the executive departments or of such other body as Congress may by law provide" to declare the president "unable to discharge the powers and duties of his office," is part of our constitutional system. Its stringent requirements for removing a president ensure it cannot be used to execute a soft coup by political opponents.

The true scandal is not the swirling gossip that Rosenstein mentioned the 25th Amendment, but what has been front and center for more than two years: It’s the dossier, stupid!

It’s the dossier, its funding, its creation, and its use. It’s the leaks, the sabotage by political appointees and career DOJ and FBI agents, the media’s complicity, and the triggering of a special counsel, all with the end goal of removing the duly elected president by pressuring Trump to resign or face impeachment.

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