Crossfire Boomerang...the Storm has Come

Dwight Schrute

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https://thefederalist.com/2020/09/25/obsession-uncovers-the-plot-to-impeach-trump/

‘Obsession’ Uncovers The Plot To Impeach Trump

Veteran journalist Byron York's new book, 'Obsession: Inside the Washington Establishment's Never-Ending War on Trump,' turns the story of Trump's impeachment into a compelling real-life thriller that will leave readers indignant.

Tony Daniel
Author Byron York’s writing room—and perhaps his brain—must look like a trapdoor spider’s nest with a thick webwork of connections, characters, plots, subplots, reveals, twists, reversals, turns, and counterturns. Yet in “Obsession: Inside the Washington Establishment’s Never-Ending War on Trump,” York’s chronicle of the partisan maneuvering to remove Trump from the presidency from 2016 to 2019, he delivers a cogent, complete, and surprisingly lucid (given the subject) account.

He does so by simply telling the story and letting the weirdness and complexity develop as his tale unfolds. Since York has covered the matter from day one in his position as a chief political correspondent at the Washington Examiner, perhaps all he really needed to do was pull out notes, jog his memory, and start writing.

York’s theme is that collusion, impeachment, bribery — all of it — was an arabesque. There was never any “there” there. Yet Democrats could not let it go.

J. Edgar Comey

Many may have forgotten some of the surreal details of the journey. York places the origin of the Democratic obsession on election night at Hillary Clinton HQ in Brooklyn, where it slowly dawned on the gathered faithful that the ceiling full of shattered-glass-shaped confetti would have to stay in the rafters, and their certainty of victory due to moral superiority was the only thing that would be broken that evening.

The ugly and strange Electoral College certification role call in January 2017 is another detail that may be lost in the smoke for some. As York reminds us, none other than Vice President Joe Biden presided over the formal certification of Trump as president. During the Trump roll call, House Democrat after House Democrat stood up and made objection to electoral totals. All were out of order, and Biden had to shut them down. Trump was certified.

As Republicans applauded, Biden turned to shake [House Speaker Paul] Ryan’s hand and said, ‘God save the Queen.’ It was unclear precisely what he meant, but it seemed to be a mild joke to ease the tension of one of the strangest Electoral College certifications ever.

Republicans should have taken this omen to heart, but did not. Yet.

A successful operation of smoke and mirrors starts with the set-up. This role was performed by a previous master of this dance, FBI Director James Comey. York provides a useful reminder that Comey was directly behind the appointment of special counsel Patrick Fitzgerald, who looked into the so-called Valerie Plame outing as a CIA employee during the George W. Bush years, an investigation that sent the second-term Bush White House into conniptions.

“[Trump’s] instincts were that Comey was no good,” says York. But Trump believed he could eventually win him over. Comey was likewise wary of Trump because he feared Trump would suspect he was trying to behave like J. Edgar Hoover and hold information over him for leverage. “Trump might make that assumption because that was exactly what Comey was doing,” York comments.

Comey was fishing for any kind of legally actionable statement from Trump. When he didn’t get anything, he moved to the Rube Goldberg apparatus known as “Crossfire Hurricane.” It was through this operation and its use of the spurious and ridiculous Steele dossier (a folder of alleged personal dirt on Trump provided by an ex-British spy who was employed, through a cut-out law firm, by the Hilary Clinton campaign) that Comey set his trap.

“Trump’s classic businessman approach caused him to repeatedly misjudge the intentions of rivals in Washington, especially in the critical early months of his presidency,” says York. If he’d fired Comey sooner, Crossfire Hurricane might have died in its own poisonous juices, and we all might have been spared making the acquaintance of the likes of the FBI’s Peter Strzok, James Rybicki, Andrew McCabe, and Lisa Page and DOJ attorney James A. Baker — and most of all, that twist of human barbwire made of equal strands narcissism, megalomania, and namby-pamby-existentialism, James Comey.

One doesn’t simply fire James Comey, however. Like the creature in “Alien,” he keeps coming back. Comey forwarded a series of memos that he had essentially written to himself during early 2017 to a friend with media connections, who promptly leaked them. These seven memos outlined the accusations against Trump and the hall of mirrors Comey constructed regarding the case for “Russian collusion.” Their purpose was to trigger the Justice Department to appoint a special counsel, which is exactly what happened.

Fortune Favors the Innocent

At this point, York introduces his heroes. This is the dogged, nondescript group of White House lawyers who mounted the response to the Mueller probe and, later, the Ukraine impeachment. York reveals that, while they may not be geniuses or divas (with the exception — on the diva end of things — of Rudy Giuliani, who joined later in the process), they had one big strength and they capitalized on it at every turn: the fact that, despite what the legal thrillers may say, it is far, far easier to defend an innocent man.

These lawyers included Mark Kasowitz, Michael Bowe, Jay Sekulow, James Quarles, Ty Cobb, John Dowd, and in 2018, Giuliani, and husband and wife team Marty and Jane Raskin. York gives the legal team character development worthy of a novel, as circumstance and reversals slowly force them to face their understandable naivete and adapt.

For a sea change had come to the American left, and Democrats had become the political version of religious zealots. Like zealots throughout history, they just would not let their obsession go. Quoting Dowd, York writes:

‘We said, ‘look, we kept our end,’ ’ Dowd recalled telling Mueller, ‘Are you going to hold up your end?’ ’ The next moment marked an enormous change in the course of the investigation. ‘Well, you know, if we’re going to square our corners,’ Mueller replied, according to Dowd, ‘we ought to really talk to the president.’

For the White House team, phase two of the legal battle, the attempt to “square the corners,” was about wary defense of a strong position. There had been sharing and transparency. There was no case for obstruction of justice, and no reason for the president to submit to hours of legal grilling. In the end, Mueller’s team caved and sent written questions, whose extreme complexity and specificity gave a taste of the ambush that would have been in store for the president.

Another key theme of York’s account is the reluctant realization by the White House lawyers that Mueller was in physical and mental decline. He’d hired 13 lawyers who were stated Democrats. None of the Mueller team were Republicans. People thought this might be corrected with the straight-shooting Mueller in charge.

But Mueller was not in charge of anything. York presents evidence from early Trump team spokesman and public relations expert Mark Corallo, who knew Mueller from a previous job.

‘I said to [Mueller team member] Andrew Goldstein, ‘Hey, how’s he doing?’ They said great. I said, ‘Well, he looks a little gaunt. Is he eating? Is he tired?’ They said, ‘No, he’s running circles around us.’ This was the first time I noticed that he was not physically robust.’

Nearly a year and a half later, watching Mueller testify on television, Corallo was taken aback. ‘When I saw him testifying, it was significantly more apparent,’ he recalled. “And trust me, I was not the only one.’

Over the course of 2017 and early 2018, the president’s legal team pieced together a series of clues that Mueller had checked out. While at first maddening, the White House lawyers ultimately realized that they had been handed the game. “[A] bunch of scumbags were running the operation,” as Giuliani put it.

Again, the White House team had the one ace up their sleeve to beat all others: their man had done nothing wrong. In the end, there was no collusion. Although the final report did not categorically exonerate Trump from obstruction, there was nothing on which to hang a congressional impeachment trial. The Democratic humiliation was complete. But zealots don’t give up in the face of mere rationality.

York serves up the Ukraine impeachment saga to serve as a tragi-comic denouement. It is clear from York’s reporting that, whatever the identity of the “whistleblower,” the Ukrainian flap was all Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman from start to finish.

The entire House impeachment rested on the delusions of grandeur of one jumped-up National Security Council bureaucrat, a supposed expert on Ukraine, his talk of “interagency consensus” as cringe-inducing and cloying as the Reverend Casaubon’s obsession with his “Key to All Mythologies” in “Middlemarch.” Yet again, there was no “there” there. York reminds us, “the President of the United States is simply not subject to any whistleblower laws.”

York gives us pointillist portraits of impeachment actors Rep. Jerry Nadler, chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, and House Intelligence Committee chair Adam Schiff. He reminds us of perhaps the oddest and most prescient reporting of the past four years, as well. This is Federalist Senior Editor Mollie Hemingway’s remarkable account of sitting near Nadler on the Acela train in November 2018, where she overheard Nadler loudly speaking into a cellphone about his plan to destroy Trump now that Democrats controlled the House.

Nadler was so loud Hemingway could take notes verbatim. Her report is both hilarious and horrifying. (In fact, considering how many Pulitzers have been handed out to dozens of undeserving idiots, hacks, and toadies over the past few years, Hemingway’s keen reporting is a reminder that of the old adage that good luck is when opportunity meets preparedness.) In the end, Nadler proved incompetent at putting his plans into action, and House Democrats sidelined him for the Mephistophelean Schiff.

Swamp Creatures

With a steady drumbeat of factual, piece-by-piece storytelling, York captures the Chautauqua of sleaze and venality that has overtaken official Washington for the past four years in this, the greatest ongoing emanation of meaningless sound and fury in U.S. political history. It was a plot hatched by a comprehensive assortment of all the monstrous personalities in which the capital specializes: schemers, narcissists, and zealots, sure, but also the monomaniacally insane, the gutlessly obsequious, and, most of all, the overblown and hyperextended of ego.

In short, those who may have been people once, but have whittled themselves down to mere psychotic nubs, personas, corrupt freaks possessed of souls with the size and consistency of a mildewed ear — and all these behavioral mutants bathing in, absorbing their sustenance from, a miasmic slough of verbal pus spewed forth by a nattering, nattering, forever nattering horde of sideline-sitting SAT progenies, beard-tugging sophists, vitriolic fops, and cheese-brained shawties gussied up in meaningless degrees, chemical tans, pancake makeup, and whitened teeth looking like corpses attending their own funerals.

During that time, some Democrats worked themselves into a seemingly permanent state of hysteria over Russia. There was breathless (and endless) discussion of each new revelation out of the Mueller probe. There were serious people who, with a straight face, called the president a Russian agent. There were serious people who accused him of treason. There were serious people who believed the allegations in the Steele dossier. Reason, proportion, and critical thinking virtually disappeared from the daily debate.

York tells the story with no polemic. He doesn’t need it. All he has to do is illustrate the fact that there was no evidence supporting the great plot to bring down President Donald Trump.

This is the salient fact to which York returns time and again in this nuanced, complex, and remarkably complete account of the mania that overtook not only the political far left, but the Democratic Party, and quite a few bureaucratic operatives in their attempt to remove a U.S. president from office, and possibly see him to prison. Unfortunately, it is a mania that is far from spent.

Tony Daniel is the author of 11 fantasy and science fiction novels, the latest of which is young adult fantasy, "The Amber Arrow." He’s also an award-winning short story writer. Daniel has co-written screenplays for monster movies that appear on the SyFy and Chiller Channels including the films "Beneath" and "Flu Birds." Daniel is also a senior editor at Baen Books. His website is tonydaniel.com. Follow him on Parler @darkcoffee.
 

Dwight Schrute

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https://thefederalist.com/2020/09/25/obsession-uncovers-the-plot-to-impeach-trump/

‘Obsession’ Uncovers The Plot To Impeach Trump

Veteran journalist Byron York's new book, 'Obsession: Inside the Washington Establishment's Never-Ending War on Trump,' turns the story of Trump's impeachment into a compelling real-life thriller that will leave readers indignant.

Tony Daniel
Author Byron York’s writing room—and perhaps his brain—must look like a trapdoor spider’s nest with a thick webwork of connections, characters, plots, subplots, reveals, twists, reversals, turns, and counterturns. Yet in “Obsession: Inside the Washington Establishment’s Never-Ending War on Trump,” York’s chronicle of the partisan maneuvering to remove Trump from the presidency from 2016 to 2019, he delivers a cogent, complete, and surprisingly lucid (given the subject) account.

He does so by simply telling the story and letting the weirdness and complexity develop as his tale unfolds. Since York has covered the matter from day one in his position as a chief political correspondent at the Washington Examiner, perhaps all he really needed to do was pull out notes, jog his memory, and start writing.

York’s theme is that collusion, impeachment, bribery — all of it — was an arabesque. There was never any “there” there. Yet Democrats could not let it go.

J. Edgar Comey

Many may have forgotten some of the surreal details of the journey. York places the origin of the Democratic obsession on election night at Hillary Clinton HQ in Brooklyn, where it slowly dawned on the gathered faithful that the ceiling full of shattered-glass-shaped confetti would have to stay in the rafters, and their certainty of victory due to moral superiority was the only thing that would be broken that evening.

The ugly and strange Electoral College certification role call in January 2017 is another detail that may be lost in the smoke for some. As York reminds us, none other than Vice President Joe Biden presided over the formal certification of Trump as president. During the Trump roll call, House Democrat after House Democrat stood up and made objection to electoral totals. All were out of order, and Biden had to shut them down. Trump was certified.

As Republicans applauded, Biden turned to shake [House Speaker Paul] Ryan’s hand and said, ‘God save the Queen.’ It was unclear precisely what he meant, but it seemed to be a mild joke to ease the tension of one of the strangest Electoral College certifications ever.

Republicans should have taken this omen to heart, but did not. Yet.

A successful operation of smoke and mirrors starts with the set-up. This role was performed by a previous master of this dance, FBI Director James Comey. York provides a useful reminder that Comey was directly behind the appointment of special counsel Patrick Fitzgerald, who looked into the so-called Valerie Plame outing as a CIA employee during the George W. Bush years, an investigation that sent the second-term Bush White House into conniptions.

“[Trump’s] instincts were that Comey was no good,” says York. But Trump believed he could eventually win him over. Comey was likewise wary of Trump because he feared Trump would suspect he was trying to behave like J. Edgar Hoover and hold information over him for leverage. “Trump might make that assumption because that was exactly what Comey was doing,” York comments.

Comey was fishing for any kind of legally actionable statement from Trump. When he didn’t get anything, he moved to the Rube Goldberg apparatus known as “Crossfire Hurricane.” It was through this operation and its use of the spurious and ridiculous Steele dossier (a folder of alleged personal dirt on Trump provided by an ex-British spy who was employed, through a cut-out law firm, by the Hilary Clinton campaign) that Comey set his trap.

“Trump’s classic businessman approach caused him to repeatedly misjudge the intentions of rivals in Washington, especially in the critical early months of his presidency,” says York. If he’d fired Comey sooner, Crossfire Hurricane might have died in its own poisonous juices, and we all might have been spared making the acquaintance of the likes of the FBI’s Peter Strzok, James Rybicki, Andrew McCabe, and Lisa Page and DOJ attorney James A. Baker — and most of all, that twist of human barbwire made of equal strands narcissism, megalomania, and namby-pamby-existentialism, James Comey.

One doesn’t simply fire James Comey, however. Like the creature in “Alien,” he keeps coming back. Comey forwarded a series of memos that he had essentially written to himself during early 2017 to a friend with media connections, who promptly leaked them. These seven memos outlined the accusations against Trump and the hall of mirrors Comey constructed regarding the case for “Russian collusion.” Their purpose was to trigger the Justice Department to appoint a special counsel, which is exactly what happened.

Fortune Favors the Innocent

At this point, York introduces his heroes. This is the dogged, nondescript group of White House lawyers who mounted the response to the Mueller probe and, later, the Ukraine impeachment. York reveals that, while they may not be geniuses or divas (with the exception — on the diva end of things — of Rudy Giuliani, who joined later in the process), they had one big strength and they capitalized on it at every turn: the fact that, despite what the legal thrillers may say, it is far, far easier to defend an innocent man.

These lawyers included Mark Kasowitz, Michael Bowe, Jay Sekulow, James Quarles, Ty Cobb, John Dowd, and in 2018, Giuliani, and husband and wife team Marty and Jane Raskin. York gives the legal team character development worthy of a novel, as circumstance and reversals slowly force them to face their understandable naivete and adapt.

For a sea change had come to the American left, and Democrats had become the political version of religious zealots. Like zealots throughout history, they just would not let their obsession go. Quoting Dowd, York writes:

‘We said, ‘look, we kept our end,’ ’ Dowd recalled telling Mueller, ‘Are you going to hold up your end?’ ’ The next moment marked an enormous change in the course of the investigation. ‘Well, you know, if we’re going to square our corners,’ Mueller replied, according to Dowd, ‘we ought to really talk to the president.’

For the White House team, phase two of the legal battle, the attempt to “square the corners,” was about wary defense of a strong position. There had been sharing and transparency. There was no case for obstruction of justice, and no reason for the president to submit to hours of legal grilling. In the end, Mueller’s team caved and sent written questions, whose extreme complexity and specificity gave a taste of the ambush that would have been in store for the president.

Another key theme of York’s account is the reluctant realization by the White House lawyers that Mueller was in physical and mental decline. He’d hired 13 lawyers who were stated Democrats. None of the Mueller team were Republicans. People thought this might be corrected with the straight-shooting Mueller in charge.

But Mueller was not in charge of anything. York presents evidence from early Trump team spokesman and public relations expert Mark Corallo, who knew Mueller from a previous job.

‘I said to [Mueller team member] Andrew Goldstein, ‘Hey, how’s he doing?’ They said great. I said, ‘Well, he looks a little gaunt. Is he eating? Is he tired?’ They said, ‘No, he’s running circles around us.’ This was the first time I noticed that he was not physically robust.’

Nearly a year and a half later, watching Mueller testify on television, Corallo was taken aback. ‘When I saw him testifying, it was significantly more apparent,’ he recalled. “And trust me, I was not the only one.’

Over the course of 2017 and early 2018, the president’s legal team pieced together a series of clues that Mueller had checked out. While at first maddening, the White House lawyers ultimately realized that they had been handed the game. “[A] bunch of scumbags were running the operation,” as Giuliani put it.

Again, the White House team had the one ace up their sleeve to beat all others: their man had done nothing wrong. In the end, there was no collusion. Although the final report did not categorically exonerate Trump from obstruction, there was nothing on which to hang a congressional impeachment trial. The Democratic humiliation was complete. But zealots don’t give up in the face of mere rationality.

York serves up the Ukraine impeachment saga to serve as a tragi-comic denouement. It is clear from York’s reporting that, whatever the identity of the “whistleblower,” the Ukrainian flap was all Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman from start to finish.

The entire House impeachment rested on the delusions of grandeur of one jumped-up National Security Council bureaucrat, a supposed expert on Ukraine, his talk of “interagency consensus” as cringe-inducing and cloying as the Reverend Casaubon’s obsession with his “Key to All Mythologies” in “Middlemarch.” Yet again, there was no “there” there. York reminds us, “the President of the United States is simply not subject to any whistleblower laws.”

York gives us pointillist portraits of impeachment actors Rep. Jerry Nadler, chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, and House Intelligence Committee chair Adam Schiff. He reminds us of perhaps the oddest and most prescient reporting of the past four years, as well. This is Federalist Senior Editor Mollie Hemingway’s remarkable account of sitting near Nadler on the Acela train in November 2018, where she overheard Nadler loudly speaking into a cellphone about his plan to destroy Trump now that Democrats controlled the House.

Nadler was so loud Hemingway could take notes verbatim. Her report is both hilarious and horrifying. (In fact, considering how many Pulitzers have been handed out to dozens of undeserving idiots, hacks, and toadies over the past few years, Hemingway’s keen reporting is a reminder that of the old adage that good luck is when opportunity meets preparedness.) In the end, Nadler proved incompetent at putting his plans into action, and House Democrats sidelined him for the Mephistophelean Schiff.

Swamp Creatures

With a steady drumbeat of factual, piece-by-piece storytelling, York captures the Chautauqua of sleaze and venality that has overtaken official Washington for the past four years in this, the greatest ongoing emanation of meaningless sound and fury in U.S. political history. It was a plot hatched by a comprehensive assortment of all the monstrous personalities in which the capital specializes: schemers, narcissists, and zealots, sure, but also the monomaniacally insane, the gutlessly obsequious, and, most of all, the overblown and hyperextended of ego.

In short, those who may have been people once, but have whittled themselves down to mere psychotic nubs, personas, corrupt freaks possessed of souls with the size and consistency of a mildewed ear — and all these behavioral mutants bathing in, absorbing their sustenance from, a miasmic slough of verbal pus spewed forth by a nattering, nattering, forever nattering horde of sideline-sitting SAT progenies, beard-tugging sophists, vitriolic fops, and cheese-brained shawties gussied up in meaningless degrees, chemical tans, pancake makeup, and whitened teeth looking like corpses attending their own funerals.

During that time, some Democrats worked themselves into a seemingly permanent state of hysteria over Russia. There was breathless (and endless) discussion of each new revelation out of the Mueller probe. There were serious people who, with a straight face, called the president a Russian agent. There were serious people who accused him of treason. There were serious people who believed the allegations in the Steele dossier. Reason, proportion, and critical thinking virtually disappeared from the daily debate.

York tells the story with no polemic. He doesn’t need it. All he has to do is illustrate the fact that there was no evidence supporting the great plot to bring down President Donald Trump.

This is the salient fact to which York returns time and again in this nuanced, complex, and remarkably complete account of the mania that overtook not only the political far left, but the Democratic Party, and quite a few bureaucratic operatives in their attempt to remove a U.S. president from office, and possibly see him to prison. Unfortunately, it is a mania that is far from spent.

Tony Daniel is the author of 11 fantasy and science fiction novels, the latest of which is young adult fantasy, "The Amber Arrow." He’s also an award-winning short story writer. Daniel has co-written screenplays for monster movies that appear on the SyFy and Chiller Channels including the films "Beneath" and "Flu Birds." Daniel is also a senior editor at Baen Books. His website is tonydaniel.com. Follow him on Parler @darkcoffee.
 

Dwight Schrute

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https://justthenews.com/accountabil...nt-coup-just-mueller-probe-fizzles-anti-trump

'Permanent Coup': Just as Mueller probe fizzles, anti-Trump cabal hatches new collusion tale

Below follows the second installment of a two-part excerpt from Just the News contributor Lee Smith's book "The Permanent Coup: How Enemies Foreign and Domestic Targeted the American President":

Robert Mueller's July 24, 2019 congressional testimony about his nearly two-year long investigation seemed to bring an end to the conspiracy theory holding that Donald Trump had colluded with Russia to win the 2016 election. And yet the very next day, the anti-Trump resistance seized on another opportunity to try to destroy his presidency. He would again be accused of colluding with a foreign power to defeat a Democratic rival.

On July 25, Trump spoke with new Ukrainian president Volodmyr Zelensky on the phone and asked him to cooperate with Attorney General William Barr. He and Trump were both determined to discover the origins of the FBI's Crossfire Hurricane investigation of the 2016 Trump campaign.

"They say a lot of it started with Ukraine," Trump told the Ukrainian president. "I would like to have the attorney general call you or your people, and I would like you to get to the bottom of it," he said. "Whatever you can do, it's very important that you do it, if that's possible."

Trump had another matter he wanted to raise. "There's a lot of talk about Biden's son, that Biden stopped the prosecution and a lot of people want to find out about that so whatever you can do with the attorney general would be great. Biden went around bragging that he stopped the prosecution, so if you can look into it. It sounds horrible to me."

Other senior U.S. officials whose duties and areas of expertise required it were listening in on the call. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo was listening, and so was Lieutenant Colonel Alexander Vindman, the NSC's Ukraine director. After the morning call, Vindman registered his concerns with two NSC staff lawyers, one of whom was his twin brother, Yevgeny. In the afternoon, Alexander Vindman phoned Eric Ciaramella, who also worked on Ukraine and Russia issues.

The next day Ciaramella wrote a memo about his conversation with Vindman: "The official who listened to the entirety of the phone call was visibly shaken by what had transpired and seemed keen to inform a trusted colleague within the U.S. national security apparatus about the call."

The official described the call as "crazy," "frightening," and "completely lacking in substance related to national security."

The official asserted that the president used the call to persuade Ukrainian authorities to investigate his political rivals, chiefly former vice president Biden and his son Hunter. The official stated that there was already a conversation underway with White House lawyers about how to handle the discussion because, in the official's view, the president had clearly committed a criminal act by urging a foreign power to investigate a U.S. person for the purposes of advancing his own reelection bid in 2020.

"The president," Ciaramella wrote, "did not raise security assistance."

Just two days after the curtain dropped on the Mueller investigation, Ciaramella was rebooting the collusion narrative. According to the story the CIA officer and his colleagues would tell, Trump was again in league with a foreign power to defeat a rival candidate. They rotated Ukraine in for Russia and Biden for Clinton.

The operation's personnel drew from the same sources as the Russia collusion operation — serving officials from powerful government bureaucracies, the CIA, Pentagon, and State Department, as well as elected officials, political operatives, and the press. Therefore, the process was also the same: The actors would work the operation through the intelligence bureaucracy and the media to start an official proceeding, in this case an impeachment process. The play was set to begin.

Ciaramella first expressed his concern to a CIA lawyer. Frustrated that his action wasn't moving quickly enough, he turned to the intelligence community inspector general responsible for oversight of all 17 of the nation's agencies. On August 12, he filed a whistleblower's report with ICIG Michael Atkinson.

It was a version of the dossier, allegations based on second- and thirdhand sources. Steele said that his information came from anonymous Russians; Ciaramella claimed his came from unnamed Americans.

"In the course of my official duties," wrote Ciaramella, "I have received information from multiple U.S. Government officials that the President of the United States is using the power of his office to solicit interference from a foreign country in the 2020 U.S. elections."

He even replicated a key feature from Steele's memos that helped the FBI obtain the FISA warrant. The dossier alleged that the Trump campaign had agreed to two Ukraine-related quid pro quos. One, in exchange for the hack and release of DNC emails, the Trump team would sideline Ukraine as campaign issue. Two, in exchange for dropping Ukraine-related sanctions on Russia, a Putin ally promised Trump advisers energy deals.

Ciaramella also alleged a Ukraine-related quid pro quo. His August 12 report added a detail missing from the July 26 memo. He claimed in his document he'd learned earlier in July that Trump had "issued instructions to suspend all security assistance to Ukraine." With this, the CIA official had planted the seed that would grow into the basis of the impeachment charges brought against Trump: The president had withheld foreign aid in exchange for something that would benefit him personally — an investigation of his political rival.

Ciaramella and his confederates had simply taken the boastful blunder Biden made in front of the Manhattan audience and hung it on Trump. Now he was the one using U.S. aid to secure a favor from a Ukrainian president. It was an audacious move, but the Ciaramella dossier was also a defensive maneuver. "It was born out of desperation," says one of his former colleagues.

"He wasn't just trying to protect Biden," says the source, a former senior Obama administration intelligence official.

"Remember that Ciaramella is setting up all those phone calls and meetings with the Ukrainian president Poroshenko and then handling all the follow-up. He's like Al Capone's bookkeeper in 'The Untouchables' — he knows everything that went on. When he finds out Trump may get the Burisma investigation restarted, he's worried for himself, too."

As Steele had, Ciaramella inserted hearsay and secondhand sources into official intelligence channels. He had help. The form for reporting whistleblower complaints to the ICIG required firsthand information. Ciaramella's complaint, however, was based on secondhand information, from Vindman. In September, the ICIG quietly changed the language in the form to remove the ban on hearsay information. Then he backdated the change in the complaint form to August.

On August 26, Atkinson forwarded the complaint to Joseph Maguire, the acting director of national intelligence. Maguire, though, didn't believe it satisfied the requirements of the whistleblower statute. It didn't concern an intelligence activity, and it didn't concern a member of the intelligence community; it was about the president.

The Justice Department agreed. "The complaint does not arise in connection with the operation of any U.S. government intelligence activity, and the alleged misconduct does not involve any member of the intelligence community," the Office of Legal Counsel noted in a September 3 memo. "Rather, the complaint arises out of a confidential diplomatic communication between the President and a foreign leader that the intelligence-community complainant received secondhand."


Seemingly closed down, the anti-Trump operatives had a back door into official intelligence channels, the same entrance they'd used for the Steele dossier — the media. A September 5 Washington Post editorial reported that Trump was "attempting to force Mr. Zelensky to intervene in the 2020 U.S. presidential election by launching an investigation of the leading Democratic candidate, Joe Biden."

Now that the article had sparked interest in a part of the unfolding operation, Atkinson produced another piece of the puzzle. He notified the Senate and House Intelligence Committees on September 9 that he had a whistleblower complaint. Chairman of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence (HPSCI) Adam Schiff was on relay. That same day, he and two other Democratic committee chairmen announced the opening of an investigation into Trump, Giuliani, and Ukraine. They cited recent press reports, a less than subtle reference to the September 5 Washington Post op-ed. It was the same process used during the Russiagate operation: A report based on a fraudulent document is leaked to the press, which publishes it, and intelligence officials cite it as a pretext to justify starting an investigation.

On September 13, Schiff subpoenaed Maguire to get the complaint. That same day, he put out a press release about the subpoena, which forced the whistleblower's complaint into the public for the first time. HPSCI had always treated whistleblower's complaints with discretion — but the point of the Ciaramella dossier operation was to force the complaint into the public.

On September 18, three of the Washington Post's top collusion conspiracy theory reporters, Greg Miller, Ellen Nakashima, and Shane Harris, wrote that the whistleblower's complaint involves "Trump's communications with a foreign leader" and a "promise" that was made. The release of the transcript would show no promise was made.

On September 19, the Washington Post's Aaron Blake showed two of the pieces together. He wrote that the complaint dealt with Ukraine and hinted it had to do with foreign aid. "Lawmakers were concerned," wrote Blake, "that the administration was failing to provide $250 million for the Ukraine Security Assistance Initiative, which is intended to help Ukraine defend itself from Russia."

By declassifying the transcript of his call with Zelensky, Trump had gained a step on his opponents. The Steele dossier was made of rumors and whispered accounts of things that never happened, but Ciaramella's fiction was based on a real dialogue that anyone could now read for themselves to know the truth. Trump's reluctance to hand out U.S. taxpayer dollars to a foreign government was unlikely to turn supporters against a president who had campaigned on America First. That his adversaries saw it rather as a vulnerability highlighted how far Washington was from the rest of America.

When Vindman later testified that he "became aware of outside influencers promoting a false narrative of Ukraine inconsistent with the consensus views of the interagency," he might as well have been describing a galaxy far, far away. What did the consensus opinion held by the federation of officials from the Departments of State, Defense, and Treasury and the intelligence bureaucracies matter to American voters? They were under the impression that the president they sent to the White House implements the foreign policy they voted for. It says so in the Constitution.

After Speaker Nancy Pelosi officially initiated impeachment proceedings on September 24, HPSCI Democrats took depositions from 17 witnesses whose transcripts they eventually made public. They also convened a secret hearing with Michael Atkinson, who had circumvented normal procedures to get Ciaramella's compromised whistleblower's report to Schiff. The HPSCI chairman marked that hearing as classified and never released the transcript or sent it for a declassification review.

Schiff had first promised that Ciaramella, the whistleblower, would testify, but he changed his mind soon after it was reported that Schiff's staff had met with him before he was passed on to Atkinson, even though the HPSCI chair had publicly denied the committee had any contact with him. It seems Schiff was reluctant to subject Ciaramella to Republicans' questions about his secret contact with Schiff staffers, but there may be another reason Schiff kept his whistleblower under wraps.

"At a certain point he must have found out that he was Biden's guy on Ukraine," says Ciaramella's former colleague in the intelligence community. "If he testifies and the Republicans start asking him questions about Biden and Ukraine, it's over."
 

Dwight Schrute

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https://justthenews.com/accountabil...-declassification-could-flip-russia-collusion

Next declassification could flip Russia collusion script, point to effort to hurt Trump

The Trump administration is preparing one of its biggest declassifications yet in the Russia case, a super-secret document that could flip the collusion theory on its head four years after the FBI first started its investigation.

Multiple officials familiar with the planned declassification, which could happen as early as this week, told Just the News that the new evidence will raise the specter that Russian President Vladimir Putin was actually trying to hurt President Trump, not help his election in 2016, as the Obama administration claimed.

The new evidence would complement a revelation last week that the primary source for the Christopher Steele anti-Trump dossier was known to the U.S. government to be tied to Russia intelligence, raising the possibility that the Russians were undercutting the GOP nominee.

Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., hinted at the big revelation in a Sunday appearance on the Fox News show "Sunday Futures with Maria Bartiromo."

"Everything Russia-Trump was looked at. You had $25 million, 60 agents. You had subpoenas, you had people’s lives turned upside down," Graham said. "The question is, 'Did they look at Russia coming after Trump?' "

Referring to last week’s revelation, Graham added: “We’ve got a Russian spy on the payroll of the Democratic Party putting together a document that details the FBI was not reliable.”

The possibility that the FBI and CIA had reason to suspect Russia was trying to hurt Trump and help rival Hillary Clinton first emerged in a Just the News article last month that revealed a House Intelligence Committee secret report accused the U.S Intelligence Community Assessment of ignoring credible evidence that the Russians tried to help Clinton in 2016.

"When I was briefed on the House Intelligence Committee report on the January 2017 ICA, I was told that John Brennan politicized this assessment by excluding credible intelligence that the Russians wanted Hillary Clinton to win the 2016 election and ordered weak intelligence included that Russia wanted Trump to win,” former CIA and National Security Council official Fred Fleitz said last month.

Brennan was the CIA director at the time.

"I also was told that Brennan took both actions over the objections of CIA analysts. I am concerned about what happened to these analysts and worry that they may have been subjected to retaliation by CIA management," Fleitz also said. "These analysts are true whistleblowers, and they should come to the congressional intelligence committees to tell their stories and set the record straight on the ICA."

An official familiar with the document said it will show the intelligence community “cherry-picked pebbles of evidence” to make the case Russia sought to help Trump win in 2016 when there was similar evidence to the contrary.

Several prominent Russia experts, including the CIA’s former station chief in Moscow, have argued that the intelligence community assessment got it wrong and that Russia’s true intentions in 2016 was actually to sow chaos and discord in America without regard to which candidate won.
 

AkPatsFan

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Of course Russia was trying to help the Democrats, remember when Obama told Medvedev that he would be more flexible after the election, they were planning on continuing their scheme once Hilary was elected. Obviously that all backfired when Trump won instead. I have zero doubt that it was the Dems that conspired with Russia to help Hilary in the election (thankfully she lost bigly).
 

Dwight Schrute

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Of course Russia was trying to help the Democrats, remember when Obama told Medvedev that he would be more flexible after the election, they were planning on continuing their scheme once Hilary was elected. Obviously that all backfired when Trump won instead. I have zero doubt that it was the Dems that conspired with Russia to help Hilary in the election (thankfully she lost bigly).

Uranium One is getting another look-see from Durham.
 

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Interesting read from Radcliffe to Graham

~Dee~

 

O_P_T

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LMAO.
Hillary Clinton colluded with the Russians.

Actually, no this doesn't say that.

It says that the Russian intelligence services said she signed off on a plan to claim Trump did.

In addition, Ratcliff says the IC can't say if this claim by Russian intelligence is true or not. It may be disinformation by the Russians.

Now, Hillary using Steele, who used Danchenko, who was thought to be a Russian spy by the FBI, is better evidence of Russian interference in the election.

IMHO, the fact that the FBI was briefed by the IC about Hillary signing off on this plan, and simply ignored it, and assumed everything that Steele had was "genuine" even after they knew he worked for Hillary is the big reveal here.

I expect Commey to get raked over the coals on this very question tomorrow, when he testifies.
 

patswin

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Actually, no this doesn't say that.

It says that the Russian intelligence services said she signed off on a plan to claim Trump did.

In addition, Ratcliff says the IC can't say if this claim by Russian intelligence is true or not. It may be disinformation by the Russians.

Now, Hillary using Steele, who used Danchenko, who was thought to be a Russian spy by the FBI, is better evidence of Russian interference in the election.

IMHO, the fact that the FBI was briefed by the IC about Hillary signing off on this plan, and simply ignored it, and assumed everything that Steele had was "genuine" even after they knew he worked for Hillary is the big reveal here.

I expect Commey to get raked over the coals on this very question tomorrow, when he testifies.

It's not remotely imaginable that she wasn't aware of what Steele was doing. But clearly more info needed. And as Ratcliff also states additional declassification
is under consideration. And further he is willing to provide classified briefings to Graham. He has more info than this.
 

O_P_T

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It's not remotely imaginable that she wasn't aware of what Steele was doing. But clearly more info needed. And as Ratcliff also states additional declassification
is under consideration. And further he is willing to provide classified briefings to Graham. He has more info than this.

OK, maybe I misunderstood you.

I thought you were saying that the first bullet point in Ratcliff's letter showed she colluded with the Russians.

It doesn't for the reasons I stated.

I did say that the Steele/Danchenko bit was much better evidence.

if you're just talking about the latter, then we agree.
 

deec77

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Actually, no this doesn't say that.

It says that the Russian intelligence services said she signed off on a plan to claim Trump did.

In addition, Ratcliff says the IC can't say if this claim by Russian intelligence is true or not. It may be disinformation by the Russians.

Now, Hillary using Steele, who used Danchenko, who was thought to be a Russian spy by the FBI, is better evidence of Russian interference in the election.

IMHO, the fact that the FBI was briefed by the IC about Hillary signing off on this plan, and simply ignored it, and assumed everything that Steele had was "genuine" even after they knew he worked for Hillary is the big reveal here.

I expect Commey to get raked over the coals on this very question tomorrow, when he testifies.

Yep but it can leave a sting considering she is the architect of the dossier and ....most likely all the state department stuff. Now Comey is person non grata.....I’m guessing since Durham/Barr aren’t giving an interim Report, these classified releasing are going to be key

~Dee~
 

Dwight Schrute

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Yep but it can leave a sting considering she is the architect of the dossier and ....most likely all the state department stuff. Now Comey is person non grata.....I’m guessing since Durham/Barr aren’t giving an interim Report, these classified releasing are going to be key

~Dee~

The troubling part?

Durham wouldn’t have green lighted any of this to be redacted if it bore an impact on his investigation.

So?

She skates.
 

patfan64

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I may have mentioned this before but my wife is crushed that Comey might actually be a bad guy. They worked together a number of years ago (my wife is a paralegal at Bridgewater Associates) and when she was diagnosed with MS, Comey was very supportive. Would go out of his way to say hello and make sure she was taking care of herself.

She also met McCain who spent some time in a Town Hall thing at Bridgewater.
 

Dwight Schrute

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He’s hitting him hard.

Comey continuing to plead ignorance

---------- Post added at 10:43 AM ---------- Previous post was at 10:41 AM ----------

Breaking news of Killery distraction email brief Comey doesnt recall inquiry notification.
 
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