I want to reiterate everything David Gordon said in his excellent post. Michael Flynn needs to be in Jail; William Barr needs to Resign.
But I also want to direct your attention to some ominous signs of the “grand distraction” that the Trump White House and his sycophant supporters in Congress are about to unleash on the American public to try to distract you from the thousands of Americans dying from the coronavirus pandemic and a depression-level economy. It is something that has been hinted at in news reports over the past year: Trump plans to relitigate Robert Mueller’s Russia investigation by putting the government investigators on trial in Stalinist show trials before Senate committees.
In a churlish interview with CBS news last night, Attorney General William “Coverup” Barr was asked, “How will history look back on your decision to drop charges against Flynn?” He sneered in response, “Well, history is written by the winners. So it largely depends on who’s writing the history.” Bill Barr Defends Michael Flynn Reversal: ‘History Is Written by the Winners’.
One might be inclined to dismiss this as just a braggadocio reference to an oft-used phrase frequently misattributed to Winston Churchill. The History of “History Is Written by the Victors”. But in context, it was a chilling warning of things to come.
Former FBI agent and senior lecturer at the Jackson Institute for Global Affairs at Yale University, Asha Rangappa, explained in a Twitter thread:
Asha Rangappa followed up with an op-ed at the Washington Post. Pardoning Flynn would have looked bad. Dropping the charges is far worse.
President Donald Trump hinted at things to come in a telephone conversation with his handler, Russian President Vladimir Putin, before the Flynn story even broke on the news wires. Trump Says He Discussed Russia ‘Hoax’ With Putin in Phone Call:
President Donald Trump said he discussed the U.S. investigation of Russian interference in the 2016 election with Russian President Vladimir Putin on Thursday, calling the probe a “hoax.”
“I said, ‘You know, it’s a very appropriate time, because things are falling out now and coming in line showing what a hoax this whole investigation was, it was a total disgrace, and I wouldn’t be surprised if you see a lot of things happen over the next number of weeks,”’ Trump said. “This is just one piece of a very dishonest puzzle.”
Trump went on Fox & Friends this morning, and instead of talking about the topic du jour, the depression-level economy and his criminal negligence in mishandling the coronavirus pandemic, he used the greater part of the interview to air his grievances about the Russia investigation and his impeachment for the Ukraine scandal. Trump seemed excited to drop hints of things to come to his Trump TV propaganda network.
Chris Cillizza at CNN reports, The 40 most astonishing lines from Donald Trump’s Friday ‘Fox & Friends’ interview (excerpt):
The interview — such as it was — allowed Trump to give voice to his various grievances and celebrate his alleged successes, all without a word of contradiction from the Fox hosts.
1. “Really most people knew from the beginning, and they knew it was just a total hoax. It was a made-up story, a disgrace to our nation.”
The intelligence community, special counsel Robert Mueller and the Republican-led Senate Intelligence Committee all concluded that Russia sought to interfere in the 2016 election to help Trump and hurt Hillary Clinton. Or, yeah, a “hoax” and a “made-up story.” And away we go!
2. “These are dirty politicians and dirty cops and some horrible people.”
The President of the United States, ladies and gentlemen!
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5. “They tried to take down the president of the United States, a sitting, duly elected president of the United States before I even won.”
In which Trump alleges that “they” — not clear who he means — was involved in a coup attempt to keep him from serving as president. His proof of this grand conspiracy? That former President Barack Obama allegedly knew about a call between Michael Flynn and Russian official Sergey Kislyak.
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10. “And other people around President Obama were totally involved. And you’ll see more and more things come out I think because like I know how it works.”
To be clear on what Trump is alleging here: There was a broad-scale conspiracy by President Obama, Vice President Joe Biden and other top officials in their administration to undermine his presidency before it even began. How? Why? “Because like I know how it works.”
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13. “If this were a Republican and if this were — 25 people would be in jail for 50 years. They would be in jail for 50 years and it would have happened two years ago because everybody knew this was a hoax.”
Well, he is the “Chief Law Enforcement Officer.” In theory.
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22. “That’s when we found all of the emails and the texts where you had the two lovers, Strzok and Page, talking about how the insurance policy that if she doesn’t win essentially we have an insurance policy, meaning if she doesn’t win — that’s what we went through — that we’ll take him out. “
The Inspector General’s report made very clear that neither Peter Stzrok nor Lisa Page influenced the start of the investigation into Russian interference nor was there any evidence of political bias on their part in how they behaved during the investigation.
What Trump is alluding to in his grievances is the investigation by Attorney General William “Coverup” Barr and John Durham, a senior U.S. attorney in Connecticut, to review the FBI’s decision to open an investigation of the Trump campaign’s contacts with Russians in 2015. This report could be ready to drop any day, at Barr’s time of choosing.
In February, Senator Lindsey Graham Promised Even More Investigations Into Trump’s ‘Enemies’:
What I’m going to do is I’m going to call the people who are involved in investigating the counterintelligence investigation. You have twenty-one people involved that I’ve named, or to find out what did McCabe and Comey know. When did they know the dossier was unreliable, but the Department of Justice has withdrawn the two warrant requests, saying they were illegal? in January 2017, the primary Russian sub-source told four members of the Department of Justice and FBI that the dossier was a bunch of bartok [sic] and hearsay and not reliable. I want to find out when did Comey and McCabe understand it was not reliable.
Earlier this week we learned that President Obama Privately Blasted A Republican Investigation Into Joe Biden And Ukraine, Calling It An Effort To Boost “Russian Disinformation”:
The office of former president Barack Obama privately blasted a congressional investigation into former vice president Joe Biden and his son, as well as alleged Ukrainian election interference, calling it an effort “to give credence to a Russian disinformation campaign,” according to a letter obtained by BuzzFeed News.
In March, Obama’s office told the National Archives and Records Administration — which maintains presidential records — that a request from two top Republican senators for Obama administration documents related to Ukraine was improper.
“It arises out of efforts by some, actively supported by Russia, to shift the blame for Russian interference in the 2016 election to Ukraine,” said the letter, dated March 13. It pointed to comments made by Fiona Hill, a former senior National Security Council official in the Trump White House, during the impeachment investigation into the president, calling Ukrainian election meddling “a fictional narrative that is being perpetrated and propagated by the Russian security services.”
The November request for records came from Republican Sens. Chuck Grassley and Ron Johnson, who have been investigating matters related to Democrats and Ukraine since the fall, when Trump was impeached for his interactions with Ukraine. Grassley and Johnson, who chair the Finance and Homeland Security committees, respectively, asked the National Archives for records on meetings between the Obama administration and Ukrainian officials, as well meetings between Obama officials and Alexandra Chalupa, the Democratic operative at the heart of the debunked Ukrainian election interference narrative.
The letter from Obama adds to Democratic criticism of the Senate probe as being a politically motivated effort to damage Biden’s presidential campaign against President Donald Trump and represents the first time Obama or his office has commented on the controversial investigation into his former vice president.
However, Obama ultimately agreed that the records could be released “in the interest of countering the misinformation campaign underlying this request,” according to the letter, which was provided to BuzzFeed News by his office in response to questions about the records request. Since mid-March, the National Archives has turned over around 9,400 pages of records to the Senate committees, according to an agency spokesperson.
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It’s unclear what’s in the Obama administration records that the senators now possess, but Grassley and Johnson have said they want to know whether reports about Ukrainian officials working to undermine the Trump campaign are accurate and whether US policy toward Ukraine was affected in any way by Biden’s son, Hunter, serving on the board of a corrupt Ukrainian energy company. The senators have insisted that the probe is not an effort to help the president get re-elected.
“Our investigation is extensive and our request for President Obama’s records is only one of many lines of inquiry,” Altenburg added.
A spokesperson for Grassley did not respond to a request for comment.
US intelligence officials reportedly told Congress in the fall that Russia has sought to pin its election interference during the 2016 election on Ukraine. The Senate Intelligence Committee, which has been investigating Russian interference for more than three years, inquired about the Ukrainian interference theory and came up short, Politico reported.
“The request for early release of presidential records in order to give credence to a Russian disinformation campaign — one that has already been thoroughly investigated by a bipartisan congressional committee — is without precedent,” said the letter, signed by Obama’s records representative. “This use of the special access process serves no legitimate purpose, and does not outweigh or justify infringing confidentiality interests that all presidents have sought to protect.”
Despite allowing the records to be released, Obama’s office leveled a warning about Grassley and Johnson’s request, saying that “abuse” of the process by which Congress can access presidential records “strikes at the heart of presidential confidentiality interests and undermines the statutory framework and norms that govern access to presidential records.”
Though Grassley has previously raised questions about Chalupa, a former Democratic National Committee contractor, his investigation with Johnson ramped up in the fall and has continued since then. BuzzFeed News previously reported that the senators were expecting approximately 10,000 pages of records from the National Archives and thousands more from the State Department.
The investigation has been slowed by the coronavirus outbreak but not halted. Last week, Grassley and Johnson penned a letter to the State Department asking for additional documents following an initial request for records in November.
Working days are running out on the Senate calendar — there is the August Recess/Labor Day break, and currently the last working day before Election Day is October 9 — so you know this must be coming soon (June is a full working month, and most of September into early October).
William “Coverup” Barr and John Durham will release their fictional rewrite of the Russia investigation in a partisan hit job so that Senators Graham, Grassley and Johnson can hold their Stalinist show trials of all the favorite “villains” from Trump TV propaganda during a presidential campaign, all while thousands of Americans continue to die from coronavirus and many thousands more que in unemployment lines and food bank lines as the economy sinks deeper into depression.
This is the moral depravity of the Party of Trump.
UPDATE: During a wide-ranging “pool spray” with reporters as he met with Texas governor Greg Abbott, a Republican, President Trump accused Obama administration Justice Department officials of “treason” as the agency moved to drop all charges against his first national security adviser, retired Army General Michael Flynn. Trump accuses Obama’s DOJ of ‘treason’ in wild rant against department and FBI over Michael Flynn:
“The Obama administration Justice Department was a disgrace,” the president said in the Oval Office. “It’s treason. It’s treason.”
The president slammed those who were at the top of DOJ and the FBI in the late days of the Obama administration, who began looking at Mr Flynn’s contacts with Russians and his private business dealings, “dishonest” and “crooked.”
He again blasted those now-former officials for going after a “duly elected president” (himself) and other “fine people,” including Mr Flynn and others who once were in his inner circle.
About his first national security adviser, whom Mr Trump said he fired for misleading Vice President Mike Pence in February 2017 about those Russian contacts, the president on Thursday referred to him as “an innocent man” who is now “an even greater warrior.”