I started writing this cumbersome analysis of the ongoing probe into Trump-claimed “Deep State spying” in “Russiagate” a few days ago. Today we had this update from Lindsey Graham, under the FOX headline: Newly Declassified Documents on Russia Probe Origins Could Point to Criminality.
Note the squishiness of that “Could”. “Could” could mean pretty much anything. Injecting disinfectant into the lungs could cure Covid-19 in about a minute, as the president once theorized. The seemingly impossible could become possible, like after the first runner broke the four minute mile and then many other top athletes did too. A cow could jump over the moon.
Could is the key here: in spite of all the previous investigations that found an adequate legal predicate and reason to believe the Russians were interfering in 2016 (and are again in 2020) Mueller’s, Senate, House, DOJ’s Inspector General, — this new probe COULD find that the origins were criminal, done out of pure hatred of the greatest president in American history.
To rewrite the narrative on Russian interference on behalf of Mr. Trump once and for all, Trump’s party has initiated its fearless Senate inquiry into the real oringes of the 2016 investigation into Russian election meddling, as the Department of Justice dangles criminal charges against the investigators. The Mueller investigation that resulted in several criminal convictions for members of Trump’s campaign has been recast as illegal Obama “spying,” an attempted “coup” orchestrated by traitors.
As Republicans hang tough on denying economic relief to 30,000,000 unemployed Americans, during a raging pandemic that makes paid work for them impossible, Lindsey Graham began the Senate Judiciary Committee interrogation of former Obama officials delving into their roles in “Russiagate.”
The president is still clearly very upset and frustrated about the “witch hunt” that he insists was arbitrarily and illegally started against his campaign team by Obama (who the president and Mr. Barr say — Barr hedges on the characterization– illegally, baselessly spied on him) and Biden (a Chinese Communist puppet, according to Mr. Trump, nobody’s puppet). Mr. Trump was, as Mueller “acknowledged” (according to AG Bill Barr, you may search the report in vain for the quote) rightfully frustrated and angry to be under investigation, which is why the president tried to get first Comey, then Sessions, McGahn and several others to shut down all Flynn then Russia-related investigations, including making numerous attempts to have others fire Mueller, who began unfairly going against Trump himself (for Obstruction of Justice, of all things!) once the president’s attempts to interfere in his investigation became clear.
The Senate, controlled by Trump’s party, has already issued a detailed (158 heavily redacted pages) report that agreed with the findings of the Mueller “witch hunt” regarding sweeping and systematic Russian meddling on behalf of Donald Trump in the 2016 presidential election and finding that the initial investigation into this meddling was legally justified . Mueller’s entire investigation, of course, outside of that “immaterial” conclusion about Russian interference (the “immateriality” of Flynn’s lies are why, according to Barr, Flynn’s guilty pleas must now be tossed), Trump’s party now argues, was predicated on the flimsiest of cooked partisan evidence, the result of TDS (Trump Derangement Syndrome), purely and viciously partisan in its criminal oringes.
The Department of Justice’s Inspector General, Michael Horowitz, concluded his exhaustive report, which noted numerous misstatements and sloppy assertions in FISA warrants that led the government to open an investigation into Russian influence on behalf of the Trump campaign in 2016:
The decision to open the Crossfire Hurricane investigation was made by the FBI’s then Counterintelligence Division (CD) Assistant Director (AD), E.W. “Bill” Priestap, and reflected a consensus reached after multiple days of discussions and meetings among senior FBI officials. We concluded that AD Priestap’s exercise of discretion in opening the investigation was in compliance with Department and FBI policies, and we did not find documentary or testimonial evidence that political bias or improper motivation influenced his decision. While the information in the FBI’s possession at the time was limited, in light of the low threshold established by Department and FBI predication policy, we found that Crossfire Hurricane was opened for an authorized investigative purpose and with sufficient factual predication.
Bill Barr and Federal Prosecutor John Durham (assigned to find underlying criminality) immediately, publicly, disputed this finding. Barr calling “Russiagate” “one of the greatest travesties in American history.” (Recall that the Watergate travesty led to the resignation of Mr. Nixon, another martyred champion of unlimited presidential power on behalf of rich, white Americans).
Trump loyalists are now determined to show the American public that their leader, like Roger Stone, Paul Manafort and the unfairly persecuted Michael Flynn, is as innocent as Hillary Clinton, former FBI director James Comey, former CIA director John Brennan, Andrew McCabe, Joe Biden, Hunter Biden, Adam Schiff, Nancy Pelosi, Alexander Vindman, Marie Yovanovich, Michael Cohen, etc. are guilty.
The shit show officially started in Lindsey Graham’s Senate Judiciary Committee last week. Stay tuned for the exciting follow up — the election time announcement, by the unimpeachable Mr. Barr, of the criminal indictments of some of these viciously partisan “traitors” found by Barr-appointee John Durham’s globetrotting criminal probe. Barr and Durham traveled to Europe together in search of evidence to incriminate those who COULD, very well, be guilty of terrible crimes.
ASIDE– not for nothing — after the Mueller investigation concluded and Barr declared that Mueller had found nothing incriminating or illegal, the president denounced the “Mueller witch hunt” as a “big fat waste of time and money” ($30,000,000, according to his tweets). In contrast, the protracted Benghazi investigation into Crooked Hillary’s un-prosecuted alleged complicity in the murders of four innocent Americans in Libya only cost the taxpayers about $7,000,000 .
The legal predicate for opening the investigation into the Russian electoral interference extensively documented by Mueller, and in the Democratic House and the Republican Senate reports, was found to be sufficient by DOJ IG Michael Horowitz. As noted above, this finding was quickly and publicly challenged by Bill Barr, who followed up this way (live on Laura Ingraham’s show on Fox):
“My own view is that the evidence shows that we’re not dealing with just mistakes or sloppiness. There is something far more troubling here, and we’re going to get to the bottom of it. And if people broke the law, and we can establish that with the evidence, they will be prosecuted…
I think the president has every right to be frustrated, because I think what happened to him was one of the greatest travesties in American history. Without any basis they started this investigation of his campaign, and even more concerning, actually is what happened after the campaign, a whole pattern of events while he was president. So I — to sabotage the presidency, and I think that – or at least have the effect of sabotaging the presidency.”
American Presidential Medal of Freedom recipient Rush Limbaugh amplified Mr. Barr’s concerns with “one of the greatest travesties in American history.” Limbaugh has all this Chinese Communist anti-Trump propaganda (that Trump’s campaign accepted Russian help, that Trump tried to shut down the Mueller probe several times, etc.) cogently covered HERE. (Here’s a little taste of Rush  and a hint of what makes him a presidential medal of freedom recipient honored at Trump’s 2020 State of the Union.)
The Trumpist endgame is making Americans believe that Obama’s people illegally spied on Trump’s campaign, violated the law, committed serious crimes, and that somebody needs to go to jail. Indict them right before the election: guilty until proven innocent! The story you are to believe is that the people who said Trump and his campaign were guilty of various crimes are actually the guilty ones.
The logic of establishing that there was no legal predicate to the initial Russia election interference probe, and therefore also the Mueller investigation (forget about what the DOJ’s inspector general already determined — he’s likely a Deep State traitor!) is elementally simple. Let’s walk through it:
If Michael Flynn was an innocent victim of lying Obama/Biden/Hillary spies then Trump was 100% right to tell Comey to drop the “Flynn thing”. Since Barr has recently declared Flynn a completely innocent victim of partisan FBI trickery, whose prosecution for “immaterial” lies was based on deliberate FBI lies and whose guilty pleas were induced by entrapment and poor legal advice, Trump had every goddamned right in the world to be angry and frustrated and to fire FBI director James Comey.
Since the president was right to tell Comey to shut down the “Flynn thing,” a “thing” which turned out not to be a thing at all, according to the top law enforcement official in the world’s greatest democracy, then Mueller never should have fucking been appointed! The witch hunt was a terrible thing that should never have happened, if only disgraced AG Jeff Sessions wasn’t so spineless as to listen to the damned ethics lawyers at the DOJ and recuse himself so he couldn’t limit Mueller’s investigation and, if things got bad, fire Mueller. DON’T YOU SEE?!!! DON’T YOU SEE?!!!
That’s why the Senate has to compel this testimony from all these anti-Trump zealots in the Deep State, to prove the Mueller witch hunt resulted from a Biden/Obama/Strozk/Page/et al conspiracy of illegal spying to baselessly frame innocent American patriots!
Including the president himself.
NOT for nothing: Mary Trump’s book about her uncle sold more copies in its first week than her uncle’s masterpiece “The Art of the Deal” sold in its first twenty-nine years. Just sayin’.
the Republican-controlled Senate Intelligence Committee performed its own independent and exhaustive review of the ICA and, as expressed in Volume IV of its report titled “Review of the Intelligence Community Assessment and Additional Views,” expressed, inter alia, these “Findings”: (1) “The Committee found the ICA presents a coherent and well-constructed intelligence basis for the case of unprecedented Russian interference in the 2016 U.S. presidential election;” (2) “The ICA reflects proper analytic tradecraft despite being tasked and completed within a compressed timeframe;” (3) “The differing confidence levels on one analytic judgment are justified and properly represented;” and (4) “In all the interviews of those who drafted and prepared the ICA, the Committee heard consistently that analysts were under no politically motivated pressure to reach specific conclusions. All analysts expressed that they were free to debate, object to content, and assess confidence levels, as is normal and proper for the analytic process.”
The ICA, along with the extensive investigative efforts taken by Mueller and Horowitz, seem unlikely to have left any material stone unturned regarding the details of Crossfire Hurricane and Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election. If there are any pebbles left for Durham to unearth, they seem highly unlikely to suffice as evidence of criminal wrongdoing or of improper political motivation. This will not deter Durham from completing his tasking, which increasingly seems intended principally for political use by the Trump administration. The president has never relented in decrying Crossfire Hurricane and the Mueller Investigation as “witch hunts,” employed to perpetrate the “hoax” that the Russians sought to sway the election in his direction. From the moment Barr assumed office, he has repeatedly amplified this theme with his personal view that improprieties have been directed at the Trump campaign and administration – commentaries that consistently violate the Justice Department’s own regulations prohibiting public comment acknowledging the existence of, or any details regarding, an ongoing investigation.
 from Politifact.com
The latest information released Dec. 14 shows that since the [Mueller] investigation started in May 2017 through Sept. 30, 2018, direct spending reached $12.3 million and indirect spending $12.9 million, totaling $25.2 million.
[The investigation of Hillary Clinton’s role (if any) in the killing of four Americans in Benghazi investigation, by contrast was a bargain:]
Led mostly by Republicans, critics saw the congressional investigations as a political move against Hillary Clinton, who served as secretary of state when the attack happened. The investigations concluded in 2016, costing about $7 million. The investigations did not suggest that Clinton was personally responsible for or could have prevented the attack.
The cost of the president’s frequent outings to golf courses he owns, of course, including security details, transportation, hotels, etc., dwarfs both of these numbers, (talk about a big, fat waste of money):
Trumpgolfcount.com addressed the fact-check on its website, saying: “At the time his article was published, our cost estimate was $72,251,706, but (Washington Post’s Glenn) Kessler correctly pointed out that since our estimates have a great deal of uncertainty, they shouldn’t be stated to the exact dollar. We’ve updated our site accordingly, and our total cost is now rounded to the nearest million.”
latest tally: about $138,000,000 for Trump golf trips. Nothing to fucking see here!!!
(you can check out this assertion at the link below, though, be forewarned, they are liars who suffer from extreme TDS!)
So if Barr and Durham are doing this [criminal investigation into the oringes of the Mueller witch hunt], then what’s left to these people but to discredit Barr and to discredit Durham and to discredit Trump and to make it look like what they report is nothing more than sour grapes. So, yeah, there’s no question that that’s probably an element here. But you know what? Despite that, David, what you saw on MSNBC today would have happened anyway. You’re looking at borderline insanity when you turn on MSNBC.
You’re looking at borderline (let me qualify it further) political insanity.
You’re looking at borderline delusional political insanity when you turn on CNN.
And then you add the frustration of failure to these people who don’t know failure. When they decide to take somebody out, they generally succeed in doing it. But they have failed with Trump. So even if there weren’t a need to discredit Barr, if there weren’t a need to discredit Trump, investigate, whatever, they would still react this way. Trump is in their heads, has totally poisoned them, and no matter what he does, no matter what he says, this is the reaction they’re going to have to it.