Saturday, January 06, 2018

Is Paul Ryan Behind The House Putin-Gate Cover-Up For Trump?


Any impartial observers would agree that House Intelligence Committee chairman Devin Nunes has been doing all he can do to sabotage his own committee’s bipartisan examination of the Russian activities that took place in regard to the 2016 presidential election. There are no progressives on the committee, just a pack of conservative New Dems (Adam Schiff, New Dem chairman Jim Himes, Terri Sewell, Andre Carson, Mike Quigley, Joaquin Castro, Denny Heck, plus moderates Eric Swalwell and Jackie Speier) so I have no way of getting any inside information. Watching Eric Swalwell on MSNBC frequently, I get the idea that the Democrats on the committee all feel Nunes has been functioning on the committee as a Trump enabler and cover-up puppet master. According to a Thursday night CNN report, it looks like Nunes may well have been getting his walking orders from none other than Speaker Paul Ryan.

Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein and FBI head Christopher Wray paid an unscheduled visit to Ryan’s office about Nunes’ role in the Putin-Gate scandal on Wednesday. Ryan appears to have defended Nunes’ sabotage of the investigation.
Over the summer Nunes served subpoenas seeking a broad range of documents connected to the dossier of compromising allegations about President Donald Trump's connections to the Kremlin, including those related to payments the FBI made to fund it (if any), efforts to corroborate any information contained in it and whether the FBI used information from the dossier to apply for warrants to conduct surveillance under the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act on Trump associates. The Justice Department has already allowed Intelligence Committee members and staff to review a number of highly classified materials at a secure location at the department, but last month Nunes escalated the feud, threatening top officials at Justice and the FBI with contempt of Congress if they did not meet all of his subpoena demands.

At Wednesday's meeting-- initiated at Rosenstein's request-- Rosenstein and Wray tried to gauge where they stood with the House speaker in light of the looming potential contempt of Congress showdown and Nunes' outstanding subpoena demands, sources said. CNN is told the discussion did not involve details of the separate Russia investigation being led by special counsel Robert Mueller.

While Ryan had already been in contact with Rosenstein for months about the dispute over documents, Rosenstein and Wray wanted to make one last effort to persuade him to support their position. The documents in dispute were mostly FBI investigative documents that are considered law enforcement sensitive and are rarely released or shared outside the bureau.

During the meeting, however, it became clear that Ryan wasn't moved and the officials wouldn't have his support if they proceeded to resist Nunes' remaining highly classified requests, according to multiple sources with knowledge of the meeting.

Sources also told CNN that the Justice Department and the FBI also had learned recently that the White House wasn't going to assert executive privilege or otherwise intervene to try to stop Nunes.

Ryan spokeswoman AshLee Strong told CNN on Thursday, "The speaker always expects the administration to comply with the House's oversight requests," but would not address the details of the discussion.

A compromise was reached later Wednesday that allows House Intelligence Committee members to go to a Justice Department facility to view the documents, sources said. Nunes said in a statement Wednesday night that he was being given "access" to the materials he had requested. Normally congressional committees want documents turned over to them. In this case, the documents can be reviewed but not taken from FBI and Justice Department possession.

The Justice Department has also approved a slew of Justice and FBI officials to be interviewed by the committee in January, including former Associate Deputy Attorney General Bruce Ohr, an official with ties to Fusion GPS, the opposition research firm behind the Trump dossier; embattled FBI Special Agent Peter Strzok, whose text messages trashing the President became cannon fodder for congressional Republicans last month; and recently reassigned FBI General Counsel James Baker. The committee will also be permitted to interview FBI Attorney Lisa Page (who exchanged the texts with Strzok), FBI Attorney Sally Moyer, FBI Assistant Director for the Office of Congressional Affairs Greg Brower, FBI Assistant Director Bill Priestap and FBI Chief of Staff James Rybicki.

CNN has also learned from a source with knowledge of the negotiations that a second batch of Strzok's text messages is expected to be produced for the committee next week.
All the candidates who would like to replace Nunes in Congress, have spoken out against him and his role in the Putin-Gate coverup  But one candidate, Andrew Janz, is extremely conservative-- a real Blue Dog type-- and another, Ricardo Franco, is a committed progressive who would like to see real changes in Congress. Franco told us that "In 16 years, Nunes has been in Congress and done nothing for his constituents from the Central Valley. Now he's actively driving the nation towards a potential constitutional crisis and puppet regime for Putin. Those of us here in the Valley like to think of ourselves as very practical people, and when we look at Nunes we just see pure incompetence. The biggest criticism I hear of Nunes from his fellow conservative constituents is not about what he's done concerning Russia, but rather that he's just incompetent, to put it politely. The rest of the country and the world got introduced to him from his midnight Uber ride to the White House. I think people then believed he was scheming and politicking his way into discrediting the Democratic party or the justice system as a whole. In reality, scheming and politicking is giving Nunes way too much credit. He's not competent enough to do that. We've known that here all along. To borrow some words from Lindsey Graham, he's more of an Inspector Clouseau than anything else."

What Nunes wants is all the information about the pee-pee dossier. Nunes may not want the public to see what that information leads to (Trump’s money laundering) though as Glenn Simpson and Peter Fritsch, founders of Fusion GPS indicated in their NY Times OpEd on Tuesday— The Republicans’ Fake Investigations, there’s plenty for Trump allies to cover-up. They wrote that “In the year since the publication of the so-called Steele dossier — the collection of intelligence reports we commissioned about Donald Trump’s ties to Russia— the president has repeatedly attacked us on Twitter. His allies in Congress have dug through our bank records and sought to tarnish our firm to punish us for highlighting his links to Russia. Conservative news outlets and even our former employer, the Wall Street Journal, have spun a succession of mendacious conspiracy theories about our motives and backers.”
Republicans have refused to release full transcripts of our firm’s testimony, even as they selectively leak details to media outlets on the far right. It’s time to share what our company told investigators.

We don’t believe the Steele dossier was the trigger for the F.B.I.’s investigation into Russian meddling. As we told the Senate Judiciary Committee in August, our sources said the dossier was taken so seriously because it corroborated reports the bureau had received from other sources, including one inside the Trump camp.

The intelligence committees have known for months that credible allegations of collusion between the Trump camp and Russia were pouring in from independent sources during the campaign. Yet lawmakers in the thrall of the president continue to wage a cynical campaign to portray us as the unwitting victims of Kremlin disinformation.

We suggested investigators look into the bank records of Deutsche Bank and others that were funding Mr. Trump’s businesses. Congress appears uninterested in that tip: Reportedly, ours are the only bank records the House Intelligence Committee has subpoenaed.

We told Congress that from Manhattan to Sunny Isles Beach, Fla., and from Toronto to Panama, we found widespread evidence that Mr. Trump and his organization had worked with a wide array of dubious Russians in arrangements that often raised questions about money laundering. Likewise, those deals don’t seem to interest Congress.

We explained how, from our past journalistic work in Europe, we were deeply familiar with the political operative Paul Manafort’s coziness with Moscow and his financial ties to Russian oligarchs close to Vladimir Putin.

Finally, we debunked the biggest canard being pushed by the president’s men-- the notion that we somehow knew of the June 9, 2016, meeting in Trump Tower between some Russians and the Trump brain trust. We first learned of that meeting from news reports last year-- and the committees know it. They also know that these Russians were unaware of the former British intelligence officer Christopher Steele’s work for us and were not sources for his reports.

Yes, we hired Mr. Steele, a highly respected Russia expert. But we did so without informing him whom we were working for and gave him no specific marching orders beyond this basic question: Why did Mr. Trump repeatedly seek to do deals in a notoriously corrupt police state that most serious investors shun?

What came back shocked us. Mr. Steele’s sources in Russia (who were not paid) reported on an extensive-- and now confirmed-- effort by the Kremlin to help elect Mr. Trump president. Mr. Steele saw this as a crime in progress and decided he needed to report it to the F.B.I.

We did not discuss that decision with our clients, or anyone else. Instead, we deferred to Mr. Steele, a trusted friend and intelligence professional with a long history of working with law enforcement. We did not speak to the F.B.I. and haven’t since.

…Congress [Nunes and Ryan] should release transcripts of our firm’s testimony, so that the American people can learn the truth about our work and most important, what happened to our democracy.

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At 10:22 AM, Anonymous Hone said...

Wow. I think someone should release the transcripts, a la the Pentagon Papers, ASAP. Is there a Democrat on the intelligence committee who has the transcripts? Would someone please be a whistleblower to save our country?

The entire Republican party is now obstructionist and guilty as hell in this massive effort to cover up the Trump triad - obstruction, collusion and money laundering. The big three. His guilt is so freaking obvious, and he has always been way too stupid to cover his tracks. He has always gotten away with it by bullying and threatening law suits and he thinks following this path will work for him in the White House. Actually it is shocking that in NY he has never been criminally charged with money laundering. This in itself is a travesty.

I'll bet Mueller is onto all of it but what will happen with what he uncovers and reveals? No matter what criminality is exposed, the Republicans will NEVER impeach Trump, they have made that crystal clear. They have turned the party's soul over to the devil.

As Krugman says, only a blue wave (tsunami) in 2018 will save us. But will we even last until then? Now the CDC is providing instructions in case of a nuke. And still the Republicans leave this insane orange man in office! They will be responsible for a nuclear war, too. This is just terrific.

At 11:51 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hone and Krugman... just how the fuck will any blue wave change anything? Please enlighten me.

As someone who has been watching congress since 1976, **ALL** congressional oversight since at least 1981 has been a (sometimes) choreographed song and dance meant to entertain but NEVER EVER meant to get to the truth of anything that would be bad for money. The best example there is, for democrap lovers, is the FACT that dodd and frank, who were chairs of their respective banking committees for long periods of time and who were tasked with oversight on banking, took big checks from them but didn't do shit to oversee them. Besides Clinton and democraps doing GLBA and CFMA, the most guilty parties are the committees who never did their jobs even though FUCKING BANKERS saw 2008 coming as far back as 2000 (read "The Big Short").

Anyone who expected... or even hoped that any committee with republicans (or democraps) in the majority would conduct a meaningful investigation is a total dipshit. A fucking imbecile. A delusional hallucination. OK?

This whole piece took space away from a different, possibly relevant, offering.

At 1:50 PM, Blogger Mr Spar weRqpr said...


At 4:09 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I suspect that money laundering is going on in just about every advanced nation where corporations hold incredible power of the national governments. Politicians are among the world's most expensive prostitutes, and corporations can pay the price and not feel it.

Until the average human can stuff the evil corporate Jinn back into the bottle and keep it corked, it can only grow worse.


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