Tag Archives: Diane Feinstein

Feinstein’s leak of Fusion GPS’s Glenn Simpson’s Senate testimony backfires, by Alexander Mercouris

They’re splitting hairs on the Fusion GPS Trump Dossier and its use by the FBI, even as it’s now obvious that the unverified dossier was the basis of the Russiagate investigation against Trump. Heads will roll. From Alexander Mercouris at theduran.com:

Attempt to give Trump Dossier credibility fails, instead highlighting its role in triggering Russiagate investigation

An infallible sign that a bad case is collapsing under its own weight comes when its proponents show that they have misunderstood the evidence which is supposed to underpin it.

A classic example of this happened yesterday in the Russiagate case when Senator Dianne Feinstein unilaterally published the transcript of the testimony of Glenn Simpson of Fusion GPS given to the Senate Judiciary Committee on 22nd August 2017.

Fusion GPS is the political consultancy firm which acting on behalf of the DNC and the Hillary Clinton campaign commissioned from the ex British spy Christopher Steele the ‘research’ which became the Trump Dossier.

As it has become increasingly clear that the Trump Dossier is the primary evidence – indeed so far it is the only evidence – behind the allegations of collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia, and that information from it was used by the Justice Department and the FBI to obtain surveillance warrants on members of the Trump campaign from the FISA court, hard questions have increasingly been asked about it by the Republicans in the Senate and the House.

Recently the FBI has admitted that it has been unable to verify the collusion claims in the Trump Dossier, whilst Senators Grassley and Lindsey Graham have recently written a letter to the Justice Department asking for an investigation of Christopher Steele – the Trump Dossier’s compiler – because of inconsistencies in his statements.

Grassley’s and Lindsey Graham’s letter about Steele to the Justice Department annoyed Feinstein, who has now countered by publishing Simpson’s testimony without first consulting Grassley, who is the chair of the Senate Judiciary Committee.

Feinstein’s reasons for doing this are not entirely clear – her statement explaining her reasons is vague and unhelpful – but initial media reports strongly suggest that she thought Simpson’s testimony would rescue the credibility of the Trump Dossier by showing that its claims had been corroborated by a source within the Trump campaign who had independently contacted the FBI.

To continue reading: Feinstein’s leak of Fusion GPS’s Glenn Simpson’s Senate testimony backfires

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So Deep It’s Sunk, by Robert Gore

If you strike the king but do not kill him, by definition your position is weak.

There has never have been a deeper deep state than the Soviet Union’s. It controlled everything: the military, intelligence, the judicial system, the rest of the government, the press, and the economy. It operated in shadows and darkness; there was no loyal opposition or media to shine the occasional light. Yet at 7:32 p.m., December 26, 1991, the Soviet flag was lowered from the Kremlin and replaced with the Russian flag. The Soviet of the Republics of the Supreme Soviet of the Soviet Union’s declaration number 142-H recognized the independence of the Soviet republics. Mikhail Gorbachev had resigned, handing power to Boris Yeltsin. The Soviet Union and its deep state were no more.

There are still lessons to be generally recognized from the fall of the Soviet Union. First and foremost: command and control doesn’t work. That’s a lesson US commanders and controllers and their media and academic fellow travelers ignore at their peril. They cling to their cherished vision of American life directed from above, with the infamous Deep State at the apex of the power pyramid, the ultimate string pullers. Recent maneuvers, however, suggest a Deep State so tangled in its own strings that any attempt to free itself will only make the situation worse.

A deep state operates submerged from public view. The US deep state had to emerge in its effort to topple Trump, an emergence that screams weakness (see “Plot Holes”). The ineptitude of the effort made the weakness that much more apparent. A claim that Russia had hacked the Democratic Nation Committee (DNC) last summer and then used Wikileaks to disseminate what it had hacked, all in collusion with Donald Trump’s campaign, was the cornerstone of this maladroit coup. It should have raised more eyebrows than it did that the DNC refused to turn over its servers to the FBI for analysis, and that the only confirmation of the hacking claim came from a contractor, Crowdstrike, which had numerous conflicts of interest, including that it was paid by the DNC.

No objective, scientific analysis of the evidence was performed until that of the Veterans Intelligence Professionals for Sanity (VIPS). That group forensically analyzed the metadata associated with the alleged hack. The speed with which the material was downloaded precluded an Internet based hack. The only way it could have been downloaded so quickly was onto an external storage device. That’s a leak, not a remote hack. It had to have been done by someone with direct access to the DNC’s computer system, which suggests a DNC insider, perhaps Seth Rich.

Alternative news site consortiumnews.com published the VIPS’ analysis and conclusions . Mainstream “confirmation” followed at the left-leaning thenation.com. With its cornerstone gone, the Russian collusion story collapsed. For form’s sake Special Prosecutor Mueller will fan the embers for the next few months, perhaps uncovering a technical violation or two of this or that inconsequential law, perhaps releasing some sort of face saving report, but even the most rabid anti-Trumpers appear to recognize that the Russian hack dog won’t hunt.

If this is the best the supposed all-powerful deep state could come up with, then the deep state isn’t nearly as powerful as supposed. The way this affair was handled buttresses that conclusion, because it opens deep staters to serious legal liability.

Before the election they thought they would be shielded by a Clinton administration, but now they’re wide open to prosecution for a number of possible crimes. There is the FBI’s dereliction of duty, not performing its own analysis of DNC servers and accepting Crowdstrike’s conclusions without further scrutiny. (It was apparently in bed with the Clinton camp from the get-go.) There are the multiple leaks to friendly news outlets of classified information. There are the intelligence reports with their damning and much-reported, but evidence free, best assessments and probable conclusions. Potentially the most legally troublesome: a cabal of deep state insiders concocted their story to unseat a duly elected United States president. That makes out a prima facie case of treason.

If you strike the king but do not kill him, by definition your position is weak. He can exact ultimate retribution and your head is in a basket, or he can let you twist in the wind. The best guess is that Trump will do both, depending on the specifics of each conspirator’s situation and which course will be most useful to him.

When California Senator Diane Feinstein says conciliatory things about Trump, infuriating her base, you know things have changed. As ranking Democrat on the Senate Judiciary Committee, she has also joined chairman Charles Grassley requesting interviews with two high-ranking FBI officials concerning the discredited Trump dossier. She’s one of the shrewdest power players in Washington, a deep state stalwart. Her effort with Grassley and her conciliation aren’t magnanimous gestures from the bottom of her black heart. Rather she’s bending the knee; Trump has won the game of thrones.

When the major mainstream media outlets in unison condemn Antifa’s violent tactics, you know things have changed. George Soros, meet Donald Trump and the new order. The condemnations toss the latest kerfuffle about what Trump said after Charlottesville down the memory hole, and give Trump cover to do something about fringe violence in the future. The extremists are by no means finished; that wouldn’t serve anyone’s purposes. They’ll make handy scapegoats; you never know when there’s going to be a fire at the Reichstag.

There has been a tiresome litany of articles about Trump’s capture by the deep state, characterizing him as a puppet for the military and Goldman Sachs. Whatever idealism motivated his run for president is gone and he’s now supposedly just an errand boy. The commentators who bemoaned the firing of Michael Flynn dusted off their articles, changed and rearranged a few things, and bemoaned the departure of Steve Bannon. Poor Donald’s all by himself in big, bad Washington. Except he’s mowing down his enemies one by one (it looks like James Comey may be next), and he’s got the deep state cornered. As for his associates, if there’s one clear lesson from Trump’s life it’s that everyone—wives, employees, Goldman Sachs flunkies, generals, you name it—is expendable. Some of those he’s terminated in the past probably thought they had the upper hand.

Many of the same Trump-as-puppet commentators dusted off their articles bemoaning Trump’s bombing of the Syrian air base, changed and rearranged a few things, and bemoaned Trump’s Afghanistan escalation. Few of those latter articles mentioned that the Syrian government, with the aid of Russia, Iran, and Hezbollah, has turned the corner on quashing the rebellion, ISIS is on the run, and Syrian refugees are returning home. All of which sets the stage for the US to eventually leave Syria. Look for something similar to eventually play out in Afghanistan, and to go similarly unremarked upon.

Donald Trump didn’t risk all for the Iron Throne to let Goldman Sachs and the military run the show. He has allied with those power centers, but he’s calling the shots. Trump has allied with another power center: state and local police departments. He has given them fulsome, vocal support, encouragement to be more brutal, rescission of President Obama’s civil asset forfeiture rollback, and promises of more military gear. This is what one would expect of a ruler bent on consolidating his power—secure the praetorians. The Bill of Rights won’t stand in the way of sealing that alliance.

Trump’s supporters can’t believe their man’s primary motivation is acquiring power. Trump’s enemies, other than Senator Feinstein, can’t believe how good he is at it. Neither side will recognize the real danger until it’s too late. Legions of worrywarts fret that an erratic, captured Trump will go off half-cocked and press a nuclear button or do something else almost as stupidly devastating. What should worry them are the precise calculations and bloodless strategies of the most ruthlessly Machiavellian president since Franklin D. Roosevelt as he further consolidates and extends his power. Given present jurisprudence, nothing in the Constitution stands in his way.

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Standoff brews between Senate, FBI over Trump dossier, by Byron York

Senator Charles Grassley, chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, and Senator Diane Feinstein, it’s ranking Democrat, would like to talk to two high-ranking FBI officials about the now infamous Trump dossier. The FBI and Justice Department are resisting. From Byron York at washingtonexaminer.com:

Senate Judiciary Committee chairman Charles Grassley and the committee’s ranking Democrat, Dianne Feinstein, want to interview two high-ranking FBI officials about some key aspects of the bureau’s role in the Trump-Russia investigation — the Trump dossier, the firing of James Comey, and more. But the FBI doesn’t want those officials to talk — even though the Judiciary Committee has oversight responsibility for the FBI, and even though the request is bipartisan, and even though there appears to be no conflict with the ongoing Trump-Russia investigation conducted by special prosecutor Robert Mueller.

A standoff could be developing.

It began on July 11, when Grassley and Feinstein wrote letters to James Rybicki, who was Director Comey’s chief of staff, and Carl Ghattas, head of the bureau’s national security branch. “The committee is investigating the removal of FBI Director James Comey, Russian interference in the 2016 election, and allegations of improper interference in law enforcement investigations,” the chairman and ranking member wrote. “Please make yourself available for a transcribed interview during the week of July 24, 2017.”

It didn’t happen. On July 27, Samuel Ramer, the acting assistant attorney general, wrote to say that Rybicki and Ghattas would not be talking. Noting the Mueller investigation, Ramer said, “Under these circumstances and consistent with the department’s long-standing policy regarding the confidentiality and sensitivity of information relating to pending matters, the department cannot make Mr. Ghattas or Mr. Rybicki available for transcribed interviews at this time.”

Grassley and Feinstein did not agree. They knew that committee staff, Republican and Democrat, had had so-called “de-confliction” discussions with Mueller’s office on how the Senate investigation might proceed without interfering with Mueller’s criminal probe. And they didn’t see a conflict. So on August 25, Grassley and Feinstein wrote another letter, this time to Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein.

To continue reading: Standoff brews between Senate, FBI over Trump dossier

Sen. Feinstein called for ‘patience’ with Trump. Now she faces a liberal backlash as she ponders reelection, by Seema Mehta

SLL will have more to say about this story in an article coming out this weekend. Not surprisingly, Senator Feinstein is running into flack from her liberal, California base for suggesting that it learn to live with Trump’s presidency. From Seema Mehta at latimes.com:

At a time when the Democratic base is more restive than it has been in decades, Sen. Dianne Feinstein ignited a firestorm earlier this week when she refused to back the impeachment of President Trump and instead called for “patience” over his presidency.

The statements — provocative in Democratic circles and near-heretical in her hometown of San Francisco, where she made them — reflected a moderation and pragmatism that have been hallmarks of Feinstein’s career. But these qualities, after proving politically advantageous for decades, could become an albatross because of the state’s shifting demographics and political leanings as the 84-year-old decides whether to seek a sixth term.

Potential rivals are already circling.

Senate President Pro Tem Kevin De León lashed out at Feinstein’s remarks hours after she made them Tuesday at the Commonwealth Club, saying that women, children, people of color, immigrants and members of the LGBTQ community had little time for patience in the face of the president’s policies.

“It wasn’t the proper tone or tenor, especially given the current state of politics at the national level,” De León, who is termed out and rumored to be considering a Senate run, said in an interview with The Times. “We don’t owe Trump patience. We owe Californians resistance.”

To continue reading: Sen. Feinstein called for ‘patience’ with Trump. Now she faces a liberal backlash as she ponders reelection