Drudge Retort: The Other Side of the News
Thursday, October 26, 2017

Let's give plausible accounts of the known facts, then explain why demands that Robert Mueller recuse himself from the Russia investigation may not be the fanciful partisan grandstanding you imagine.

Here's a story consistent with what has been reported in the press -- how reliably reported is uncertain. Democratic political opponents of Donald Trump financed a British former spook who spread money among contacts in Russia, who in turn over drinks solicited stories from their supposedly "connected" sources in Moscow. If these people were really connected in any meaningful sense, then they made sure the stories they spun were consistent with the interests of the regime, if not actually scripted by the regime.

The resulting Trump dossier then became a factor in Obama administration decisions to launch an FBI counterintelligence investigation of the Trump campaign, and after the election to trumpet suspicions of Trump collusion with Russia.

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We know of a second, possibly even more consequential way the FBI was effectively a vehicle for Russian meddling in U.S. politics. Authoritative news reports say FBI chief James Comey's intervention in the Hillary Clinton email matter was prompted by a Russian intelligence document that his colleagues suspected was a Russian plant.

For anyone who cares to look, the real problem here is that the FBI itself is so thoroughly implicated in the Russia meddling story.

The agency, when Mr. Mueller headed it, soft-pedaled an investigation highly embarrassing to Mrs. Clinton as well as the Obama Russia reset policy. More recently, if just one of two things is true -- Russia sponsored the Trump Dossier, or Russian fake intelligence prompted Mr. Comey's email intervention -- then Russian operations, via their impact on the FBI, influenced and continue to influence our politics in a way far more consequential than any Facebook ad, the preoccupation of John McCain, who apparently cannot behold a mountain if there's a molehill anywhere nearby.

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The article concludes:

Let's stop here. All this needs to be sorted out, but not in a spirit of panic and hysteria. We are a prosperous, successful country, in pretty good shape right now by historical standards, even if our officials behave in the frequently dubious, self-interested way they always have.

But still: By any normal evidentiary, probative or journalistic measure, the big story here is the FBI -- its politicized handling of Russian matters, and not competently so.

To put it bluntly, whatever its hip-pocket rationales along the way, the FBI would not have so much to cover up now if it had not helped give us Mrs. Clinton as Democratic nominee and then, in all likelihood, inadvertently helped Mr. Trump to the presidency.

At the end of the day, this may be the biggest story that comes out of this mess.

#1 | Posted by Rightocenter at 2017-10-26 04:08 PM | Reply

This made NNN (Nibiru News Network) yesterday. I was going to post it, but who takes the Wall Street Journal seriously anymore?

#2 | Posted by HeliumRat at 2017-10-26 04:29 PM | Reply

But still: By any normal evidentiary, probative or journalistic measure, the big story here is the FBI -- its politicized handling of Russian matters, and not competently so.

I read the article and closed it. Then I decided I wanted to copy/paste a quote from the article and it's asking me to subscribe. That sucks.

Anyhow. I thought Comey's actions - having a friend leak his personal memos of his interactions with Trump - were highly unusual and inappropriate. Now, it makes more sense. The FBI may have a lot to hide here and by prompting a special counsel he must have assumed that his close friend Mueller would be appointed. If the reporting is accurate, Mueller would have motivation to protect himself as well as the agency from any embarrassing information coming forward. I saw this asked earlier, "Who is investigating the investigators?" At this point, Mueller is technically a witness and if he has any actual integrity he'd recuse himself from this investigation.

This whole thing stinks.

#3 | Posted by JeffJ at 2017-10-26 04:36 PM | Reply

lol... Mueller must be getting close, what with all the rwingers demanding he shouldn't be investigating.

#4 | Posted by Corky at 2017-10-26 04:36 PM | Reply

"The resulting Trump dossier then became a factor in Obama administration decisions to launch an FBI counterintelligence investigation of the Trump campaign, and after the election to trumpet suspicions of Trump collusion with Russia."

A factor, but not the only factor. For example, the FISA warrant obtain during the summer of 2016 on Carter Page:

included a lengthy declaration that laid out investigators' basis for believing that Page was an agent of the Russian government and knowingly engaged in clandestine intelligence activities on behalf of Moscow, officials said.

Among other things, the application cited contacts that he had with a Russian intelligence operative in New York City in 2013, officials said. Those contacts had earlier surfaced in a federal espionage case brought by the Justice Department against the intelligence operative and two other Russian agents. In addition, the application said Page had other contacts with Russian operatives that have not been publicly disclosed, officials said.

www.washingtonpost.com

IOW, Page's name showing up in Steele's dossier wouldn't have been enough to get a FISA warrant:

"Applications for FISA warrants, Comey said, are often thicker than his wrists, and that thickness represents all the work Justice Department attorneys and FBI agents have to do to convince a judge that such surveillance is appropriate in an investigation."

#5 | Posted by Gal_Tuesday at 2017-10-26 04:40 PM | Reply

The fact that Page was known to the FBI since 2013 and had a history of interacting with Russian spies raised a red flag for the FBI when Trump first named him as part of his foreign policy team in March, 2016, which would have been several months before Steele was hired by Fusion GPS and started compiling his dossier:

"Three years before Page became an adviser to the Trump campaign, he came to the attention of FBI counterintelligence agents, who learned that Russian spy suspects had sought to use Page as a source for information."

I would say that is likely the dossier when they received it confirmed some of FBI's developing and worst suspicions.

#6 | Posted by Gal_Tuesday at 2017-10-26 04:46 PM | Reply

I don't buy it for one reason: Pokemon aren't involved.

#7 | Posted by HeliumRat at 2017-10-26 04:53 PM | Reply

Also, it is important to note that the reason that Comey intervened right before the election to make the announcement about Clinton's emails being on Weiner's laptop is because Jason Chaffetz leaked the classified letter Comey had sent to Congress, as part of his accountability to them, to the public. This forced Comey's hand:

FBI Director James Comey alerted Republican members of Congress on Friday that bureau investigators would review some additional emails that might relate to Hillary Clinton's email server. Rep. Jason Chaffetz (R-UT), the chairman of the House Oversight Committee who has already vowed to spend the next several years investigating Clinton should she be elected president, quickly rushed to announce the news, falsely claiming that the case had been "reopened.

Minutes later, Speaker of the House Paul Ryan repeated Chaffetz's incorrect assessment and demanded that Clinton's classified intelligence briefings  --  something provided to both major party nominees  --  be ceased.

In a rally in New Hampshire, an ebullient Donald Trump told supporters, "The FBI has just sent a letter to Congress informing them that they have discovered new emails pertaining to the former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton's investigation and they are reopening into the case into her criminal and illegal conduct."

Other Republicans in Congress were quick to make the same false claims.

Though nothing in Comey's letter said the case was being reopened, an array of news outlets repeated Chaffetz's incorrect characterization. NBC News initially posted a story with this framing, later changing the headline and lede to drop the claim. USA Today tweeted, falsely, that the FBI director had said the probe was being reopened. The Hill and Bloomberg also got the facts wrong.

thinkprogress.org

#8 | Posted by Gal_Tuesday at 2017-10-26 04:56 PM | Reply

No the big story is that the Russians tried to compromise US politicians (successfully with Trump). The FBI has to investigate this and find out how much Russian mob money Trump is dependent on and which laws were broken. Who paid for the dossier is not important, whether it contains facts is what matters.

#9 | Posted by bored at 2017-10-26 05:17 PM | Reply

#9

So if Steele/Fusion took money from Clinton and the DNC and paid that to Russian sources for "information" about Trump to include in the dossier, you are cool with that?

If money was paid, through intermediaries, to the Clinton Foundation and in a $500,000 speaking fee to Bill Clinton in an effort to get the Uranium One deal paid, you are cool with that?

If Holder told Mueller, as the head of the FBI, to slow roll an investigation into Russian bribery and corruption in connection with the Uranium One deal until it had been approved to deflect criticism away from the Clintons or the Administration, you are cool with that?

#10 | Posted by Rightocenter at 2017-10-26 05:27 PM | Reply

Dirty politics were at work, for which the GOP and not Comey should be held accountable. Not only did the GOP rush to the microphones with false information, they rushed to the mics with classified info:

"Comey's vague letter to Congress, promptly leaked by Republican congressman Jason Chaffetz, said the bureau would evaluate communications – subsequently identified as coming from a device used by disgraced ex-congressman Anthony Weiner, whose estranged wife Huma Abedin is a Clinton aide – for connections to the Clinton server. Comey's allies say he was placed in an impossible position after previously testifying to Congress it would take an extraordinary development for him to revisit the Clinton issue. Throughout the summer and fall, Trump has attacked the FBI as corrupt for not effectively ending Clinton's political career."

This from the article:

'The FBI is Trumpland': anti-Clinton atmosphere spurred leaking, sources say

that begins:

Deep antipathy to Hillary Clinton exists within the FBI, multiple bureau sources have told the Guardian, spurring a rapid series of leaks damaging to her campaign just days before the election.

Current and former FBI officials, none of whom were willing or cleared to speak on the record, have described a chaotic internal climate that resulted from outrage over director James Comey's July decision not to recommend an indictment over Clinton's maintenance of a private email server on which classified information transited.

"The FBI is Trumpland," said one current agent.

www.theguardian.com

#11 | Posted by Gal_Tuesday at 2017-10-26 05:27 PM | Reply

Uranium One deal paid => Uranium One deal approved.

#12 | Posted by Rightocenter at 2017-10-26 05:27 PM | Reply

Let us not seek the Republican answer or the Democratic answer, but the right answer. Let us not seek to fix the blame for the past. Let us accept our own responsibility for the future.

-John F. Kennedy

#13 | Posted by Rightocenter at 2017-10-26 05:30 PM | Reply

I think the FBI should be investigated. All of it. Remember Giuliani's claims that people in the bureau had confided in him about an upcoming Clinton bombshell? That was likely leaked info. Ever wonder why you haven't heard from Rudy lately? Ever wonder why Chaffetz retired?

#14 | Posted by Gal_Tuesday at 2017-10-26 05:30 PM | Reply

#13 I told you I'm good with that. What I'm not good with is turning these investigations into "get the Democrats only" investigations because the GOP is in charge of Congress. Or a get "Comey and Mueller only" investigations because the GOP want to protect themselves and Trump. Which is exactly what the article you linked to is making the case and pushing for.

#15 | Posted by Gal_Tuesday at 2017-10-26 05:33 PM | Reply

To quote JeffJ: "This whole thing stinks." But all the stinkiness is not on the Democratic side.

#16 | Posted by Gal_Tuesday at 2017-10-26 05:35 PM | Reply

#15 and 16.

I agree, the ball has been rolling against the GOP and Trump for months now, and that investigation will continue to proceed as this new one against Holder/Hillary/Obama heats up. There is plenty of stinkiness to go around on both sides of the aisle.

Where it gets interesting in this article is the discussion as to what extent the FBI is involved in all of this-Uranium One, the Steele Dossier, Hillary's emails- and what is going to happen at the FBI as a result.

#17 | Posted by Rightocenter at 2017-10-26 05:44 PM | Reply

"you are cool with that?"

She's just one cool kitty, Daddy-O!

#18 | Posted by snoofy at 2017-10-26 05:46 PM | Reply

#16 | POSTED BY GAL_TUESDAY

I'm shocked and disappointed that Corky is letting you juggle all these threads solo.

#19 | Posted by SheepleSchism at 2017-10-26 06:24 PM | Reply

#19

Gal is the only poster on the DR Left with the balls to confront this news head on. The rest of them, not so much.

#20 | Posted by Rightocenter at 2017-10-26 06:44 PM | Reply

#20 Yeah, she's got gusto.

I'm just hoping that at some point, she realizes, "WTF am I doing defending these people?"

#21 | Posted by SheepleSchism at 2017-10-26 06:50 PM | Reply

"I agree, the ball has been rolling against the GOP and Trump for months now, and that investigation will continue to proceed"

I'm not convinced that the case against the GOP and Trump will continue. Congress isn't going to do it (they aren't going to investigate Trump and themselves), and if the Mueller investigation is scuttled, that will be the end of any investigations because Trump's DOJ and handpicked US attorneys in DC and NY will also scuttle any investigations going on there.

#22 | Posted by Gal_Tuesday at 2017-10-26 06:57 PM | Reply

I'm not convinced that the case against the GOP and Trump will continue.

It will, but Mueller will have to be recused from the Uranium One investigation, which will result in "dueling banjos" so to speak.

There is too much to lose on both sides if these investigations run wild, so it will be interesting to see what, after 100s of Millions of Dollars spent on them, turns up.

#23 | Posted by Rightocenter at 2017-10-26 09:39 PM | Reply

Grassley is calling for a separate investigation for the Clinton-uranium-bribery case.

#24 | Posted by SheepleSchism at 2017-10-26 10:02 PM | Reply

And it looks like a Federal judge is going to order Fusion to produce its bank account records to investigators.

#25 | Posted by Rightocenter at 2017-10-26 10:13 PM | Reply

It will, but Mueller will have to be recused from the Uranium One investigation, which will result in "dueling banjos" so to speak.

I doubt it. The aim is to compromise and tarnish Mueller so he will be removed from the Trump investigation and it will be shut down. Then the GOP will quickly wind up the Congressional investigations, saying they found nothing regarding Team Trump. Not sure if they will claim to find anything on Obama, Holder, Lynch and Clinton, or if they will just call it a day on the whole process.

#26 | Posted by Gal_Tuesday at 2017-10-26 11:08 PM | Reply

You may be right, but my guess is that they will allow, by agreement, the Mueller investigation to be "completed" and then Manafort and Flynn will get varying degrees of punishment. The GOP may require Elias to also get a wrist slap, but that remains to be seen.

Sausage making at its wurst.

#27 | Posted by Rightocenter at 2017-10-26 11:54 PM | Reply | Funny: 1

David Frum‏ @davidfrum

House / Senate GOP acting as Trump bodyguards on Russia probe.

"GOP eyes end of Russia probes with Trump collusion unanswered"
www.politico.com"

Between lines: GOP offering Dems a deal. We'll join you to stop future Russian interference if you give Trump a pass on past interference.
3:44 AM - 27 Oct 2017

#28 | Posted by Gal_Tuesday at 2017-10-27 01:24 PM | Reply

Comey sold OUR URANIUM, Mueller is Comey's friend.
- the Right

#29 | Posted by ichiro at 2017-10-28 03:39 AM | Reply

= Mueller is Comey's friend.

Correct. He was his mentor.

#30 | Posted by SheepleSchism at 2017-10-28 11:08 AM | Reply

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