Senate Intelligence Report Is Long On Pages And Short On Intelligence

senate_large_sealWhere Shakespeare is credited in writing “Much To Do About Nothing,” the Senate may have achieved credit for writing “nothing about much.”  It is remarkable about how comparably little can be said in 1000 pages. The Senate Intelligence Committee released report yesterday on its own Russian investigation. I have been plowing through the report but what was most striking thus far is how little really new material the Senate was able to uncover. Indeed, it notes that it did not even look into the basis for the claims of the Steele dossier, which was used and widely cited for the early allegations of collusion. One of the few notable points is that the Report states that Donald Trump’s 2016 presidential campaign chairman Paul Manafort worked closely with a known Russian intelligence officer and that he “represented a grave counterintelligence threat” due to that relationship with Konstantin Kilimnik.  Yet, the Report is largely descriptive of known allegations with few concrete conclusions or original disclosures.  It confirms and adds details on Russian interference with the election, but it does not materially add new information on key areas where some of us hoped the Committee could gain greater access.

Even on the Manafort issue, the Senate never appears to have secured access to encrypted communications between the two men despite the fact that Special Counsel Robert Mueller presumably did have such access before declaring that he found no evidence of knowing collusion between campaign officials and the Russian operation to influence the election. The Senate does not contest that finding and further states that the Steele dossier, which was funded by the Clinton campaign, was a highly dubious product that did not meet the most basic standards for intelligence collection and analysis.

For some of us, the allegation against Manafort is hardly surprising but we were hoping for new evidence on his conduct. I have been a long critic of Manafort and criticized his selection by the campaign. I  both supported his federal prosecution and opposed any presidential pardon or clemency.  I also viewed his sentence as far too light.  As I previously wrote, Manafort has been long known to be a reckless and corrupting influence in Washington. It does not surprise me at all if Russian intelligence saw him as an easy mark or worse. The role of Kilimnik as a possible Russian asset has been discussed for years, though the House Intelligence Committee seemed to largely ignore his role.

What was interesting to me was the statement that, because the pair used encrypted communications, the Committee could not really determine if there was criminal or collusive conduct.  Mueller presumably did get past these encryption walls since Manafort cooperated and did not find any other crime to charge or evidence of knowing collusion. Manafort and Kilimnik were engaged in a variety of business ventures.  Yet, the Senate never appeared to get access to this information. That is troubling to me as someone who has long advocated a robust legislative role in oversight.

The report also indicates other areas left largely untouched like the actual validity of the allegations in the Steele dossier that was widely cited in the media and used by the FBI in justifying secret surveillance. Again, the Senate just left those questions unaddressed and unresolved while shredding Steele for his lack of professionalism and questionable practices.  It also reaffirmed the concern of American intelligence that the dossier was used by Russian intelligence to spread false information, saying that Steele gave Russian intelligence “several opportunities . . .  to insert disinformation.” It dismissed his tradecraft as “generally poor” and relied on unreliable sources and information.  Yet, that was also previously known and there was little “value added” after a massive investigation that decided not to look at the specific Steele allegations.

Again and again, I was struck by the gaps in the report which spent over a 1000 pages but contributed little new to the discussion.  For example, the Senate indicates that it believes that Trump lied in denying any recollection of speaking to Roger Stone about Wikileaks.  That denial also struck me as dubious. Yet, the Senate simply noted that it is clear to the Committee that such a conversation occurred.  I was hoping to see new possible interviews of third parties that might support or disprove Trump’s denial. Instead, the report leaves the long-standing allegation as unresolved.

Likewise, the Report notes (as previously alleged) that two participants in the June 9, 2016 meeting between Trump campaign officials and Russians at the Trump Tower had “significant connections to the Russian government, including Russian intelligence services… far more extensive than what had been publicly known.” Specifically, it was referring to Natalia Veselnitskaya and Rinat Akhmetshin as having “significant connections to the Russian government, including the Russian intelligence services.” Yet, again, this was previously alleged and, while noting greater connections to the Russian intelligence, the Report offers little in terms of the purpose of the meeting or whether it was part of an actual Russian intelligence operation. It simply says that the two “may” have hidden their true motives in working in the United States.  Again, Mueller found no evidence of knowing collusion with the Russians, but I was hoping that the Senate could drill down further on the allegations rather than noting that it found this particularly disturbing.

The report also repeated what is largely known about Carter Page, Ukrainian theories, and other dimensions to the Russian investigation. As someone who has closely followed this controversy, the report is a disappointment in terms of adding new information. It fulfilled the stereotype of bipartisan commission in Washington that spend hundreds of pages largely restating what is known without reaching meaningful conclusions.  The Manafort allegation is the most glaring. It is hard to understand why a Senate Committee could not review such material from an individual who was a cooperating witness on a now closed Special Counsel investigation.

I was critical of the 9-11 Report for its lack of accountability, but the report did produce new and probative information.  This report is remarkably pedestrian in its marshaling of evidence and facts. It even fails to adequately address the obvious limits of its own investigation as a matter of concern for oversight investigations.

This is why Marx got it right all along — Groucho, not Karl: “Politics is the art of looking for trouble, finding it everywhere, diagnosing it incorrectly, and applying the wrong remedies.”

150 thoughts on “Senate Intelligence Report Is Long On Pages And Short On Intelligence”

  1. So the SSCI held the report until they got word that Durham would, in fact, be charging at least Clinesmith, and decided on the “counterintelligence not criminal investigation” spin, and timed the release to precede his plea when the date became known.

    Once published, the spin is the official cover story for Strzok (he just said as much on his twitter) and the rest. It was only counterintelligence, they now say, and if a few people had to spend a few million defending themselves from process crimes resulting from that, well, that’s just an unfortunate turn of events. Not, repeat NOT, a criminal investigation! Media rinse and repeat.

  2. Mitch McConnell has been the weakest Senate leader and Graham is all talk and no action. They have continuously complained about now “missing information” they have requested. They fold under pressure from Senate Democrats. For decades we’ve been cheated as constituents by the Republican “Gentlemen” rule. But what choice other than the obvious double standard Democrats?

  3. I guess Natch and CTHD don’t want anybody to think about what an awful failure the DNC infomercial / convention has been so far. Boring, tedious, over-wrought, bullying of anyone that does not agree with BLM, and so far the only memorable moments came from people who were common folks or perhaps Jill Biden who has more charm in her thumbnail than Michelle Obama ever did in her whole person. But very little of value for the voters to parse the nominees. But hey, they probably don’t want people to notice what an unfolding disaster that empty exercise is proving to be.

    Not that the CNN talking heads have not slobbered all over themselves praising and servicing their false idols, but, we all understand that is all they are paid to do, something like a chorus line of approval for anything the string pullers desire the plebs to accept. ergo, in one word, an informercial!

    1. Kurtz, all conventions are infomercials these days, as will be next weeks as well. I think it’s been very effective selling it’s main ideas:

      1. Trump can’t cut it, most effectively told by Clinton, Kerry, and Powell
      2. We are a country of many parts and that should make us proud – most effectively told in the roll call vote and opening national anthem
      3. Joe is a good man who is kind to all people, large and small, with a long record of working with all types, and is also experienced and tough – most effectively told by the NY security guard, McCain’s wife, and Powell.
      4. Trump is a rich prick with zero empathy – most effectively told by the Lou Gherig’s Disease guy and others who rely on health insurance Trump has tried to sabotage.

      I don’t think militia want to be’s like you are the target audience Kurtz.

  4. So the report is inconsequential. Thanks to Turley for this assessment. It saves me the trouble of bothering over it at all.

    As to Marx, Karl not Groucho, he described how history has revealed certain social systems based on economic arrangements, and how at times the tensions between layers of society formed by those arrangements, come into conflict, and then produce new arrangements and systems. I can accept that notion

    I can also accept the vague notion that most of history was arranged according to what may be called feudalism, in the old days. And that at some point, the rising money powers called “capitalists” overthrew the former upper stratum of kings and priests, and reconstituted governments according to liberal ideology, ie, regimes of individual rights, including property rights, contract rights, and certain political rights like democracy and secularism. Ok!

    I also accept that there is a tension between classes inherent in capitalism, ie, the proletariat, the workers, versus capitalists, a very thin upper caste that controls most of the productive resources. I will spare the subdivisions and hybrids of these.

    I reject the predictions of Marx, which were wrong, on the whole. The whole thing is more useful as history than it is as economics.

    But there is an aspect that I do find very relevant today, which comes from after Marx, from some of his enthusiasts. They talked about imperialism. This notion is useful for understanding American politics because I would suggest that both parties, continue to be somewhat in thrall to international capitalist financiers, such as Geo Soros, who although Soros and Bloomberg and Steyer and various other billionaires who desire to reinstitute free trade and get rid of Trump by electing Democrats, the lesser Republicans beyond and below Trump, continue to try and curry the favor of the international financial elites.

    So they waste a lot of time and energy on dreck like this.

    The point is to both accomplish nothing, but at the same time, vaguely uphold the strategy of tension against Russia.

    This is key and very important to Soros and the globalist international financiers. They not only want to bully the US into sacrificing its interests and sovereignty, they wanto to also bully Russia into sacrificing its interests and sovereignty.too.

    The best way these do-nothings think they can help the globalist agenda, without too much angering Trump, is by producing vague and inconsequential anti-Russian statements like this.

    They are utterly pathetic wastes of effort. Of course Russia has influence operations, of course Russia has spies, of course it meddles in elections.

    But let’s turn from a small adversary to a big one. What is the PRC which may just have the biggest economy in the world, maybe 7x the size of Russia’s what are THEY doing to meddle in the US political affairs?

    Has this question even been asked with any seriousness whatsoever>?

    it was not so long ago we found out that Diane Feinstein’s personal chauffer of many years was a Chinese spy. This caught a news story which was then forgotten. I just offer it as an example. If you think Di Fi is the only elected official they have targeted, you’re naive. I would start with Alexandria Ocasio Cortez. They could be delivering her paper bags full of money every day under the table in or nearby her Queens locations and few might notice or care. Other than the FBI. And yet the FBI seems to be obsessed with Russia.

    Are they doing their job? I don’t know. I only ask

    1. No, the report is not inconsequential, though JT has to take that line as deep as he has gotten into it.

      1. if you can say why it is consequential, in a simple way, i would be pleased to hear a different opinion. but if it brings nothing new, then I dont see how it is consequential at all.

      2. personally, i have never been under any delusion that Russians were not meddling. I always assumed they were. I have just thought that their meddling was more nuanced and complicated than the Democratic party propagandists have suggested it was. they have oversimplified it as a mere attempt to get Trump elected. That was not ever the primary aim. if they had that aim at all, and perhaps they did, it was subordinate

        The primary aim of their influence operations is to discredit American elections as such. American elections are so critical to the legitimacy of our system of government and our soft power abroad, that Russians desire to destroy the general belief that they are, for all their faults, “free and fair,” exercises validly reflecting the general democratic will etc. The Russians want to discredit us, not because they are evil, but simply because they are our adversaries. We are eating away at Russia for decades, and perhaps that too is not evil per se, but it paints them into a smaller and smaller corner. They aim their attacks where they may profit. So of course they meddle.

        The best way for America to address the meddling is to let the FBI chase after it and deter and try to stop it, and otherwise, we should all agree and project the united opinion that their meddling is inconsequential. This is what Nixon did when faced with proof that there was voter fraud in Chicago which helped JFK get elected: he brushed it aside as immaterial. But he did it in part, because Nixon was a patriot and did not want to leverage small fraud into a big bad effect, which might be, complaining too much and thereby killing the goose that laid the golden egg for us all.

        The Democratic party leadership had little such insight or self restraint as Nixon. When faced with some Russian meddling, they exagerratted and amplified it. They made a mountain out of a molehill. They did this out of rage at the unexpected result of Trump’s win. it was also a gamble that they might unseat him by impeachent.

        By taking the Russian bait, the Democratic party leadership took the bait and told Americans for near 4 years that the election was basically invalid because Russians meddled. Now the Russians delighted in this leveraging and amplifying of their meddling, because it achieved precisely what they wanted: to discredit our electoral system as such.

        Now if you tell me this was a Republican group saying that Russians meddled, ok. I said they meddled too. I just said don’t make a mountain out of a molehill and thereby destroy the credibility of our system as such. These Republicans, i am not sure what they said, but if they have amplified the Russian meddling message, then they are doing exactly the same stupid thing Democrats did, but perhaps for other reasons

        But they are all in the long run, serving the interests of over arching masters of geopolitical conflict, the international financial elites, like yes Geo Soros, who wish to destroy sovereignty as such, both for Russia and the USA.

        He will try against Russia by funding Human rights and also gadflys like Pussy Riot. Opposition parties, etc. Building up pro western forces in Ukraine. The Maidan had Soros fingerprints on it too.

        He will try to undermine American sovereignty by stunts like funding BLM and their chaos.

        But I am sure Soros has an eye on undermining American elections too. In very different and subtle ways than the Russians.

        I would speculate, I can’t prove, just hypothesizing, that some Soros associates helped come up with this notion of expanding the franchise by massive “vote by mail” initiatives, which would create new federal rights that do not exist now, to vote by mail. In every state I think there are absentee ballot measures. Ok. and in some states there are vote by mail systems beyond abstentee. ok fine

        but there is not now any federal right to “vote by mail”

        this is what some proposals would try to establish, which have not been passed into law

        this is also what some clever lying propagandists want people to IMAGINE that they have as a federal right when they do not.

        I speculate, Soros or one of his clever idea people, have their fingerprints on that too.
        The aim would not only be to win this election for HIS favored pony, the Dems, but also, to further divide the American population, to atomize it, and to make our electoral system actually weaker, by enhancing the pressure on the legacy population which still represents a potential danger to globalist agendas.

        1. Kurtz, can you cut edit that down a few hundred words?

          Here’s the facts:

          1. Unlike your bedtime story, experts across all parties and appointments agree that Russia interfered with the 2016 election in favor of Trump and against Hillary.
          2. Trump actively sought Russian help and even coordinated events with them during the 2016 election
          3. Throughout his presidency Trump has acted in Putin’s interest and even defended and took his side against our own experts.
          4. Trump refuses to take any action in defense of further meddling by the Russians in the 2020 election.
          5. There evidence that Trump may owe money to Russians and that he has sought to expand his businesses there, though he hides his financial records to an extant unheard of for a president since at least before Reagan.

          The ball is in his court to prove he’s not a traitor with his balls in Putin’s pocket and maybe he’ll attempt that in his coming infomercial. Smart observers will assume he is a traitor until proven otherwise.

          1. well, sorry i did ramble. I think Russians did meddle and always will. I have always said so. I also think Trump as head of government, does support the perpetual task of FBI in counteracting that.

            I think Trump’s associations with Russians in business are inconsequential as him making his MAGA hats in China. Which is an amusing but inconsequential little hypocrisy.
            Overall, you guys make a mountain out of a molehill, is my continuing belief, essentially just that there is a story here but it is about a hundredth as significant as you have made it. And further, that by overstating the problem, you have fallen into a judo-throw by Putin, which uses your zeal against all of us. Tomo-nage is the move I have in mind, the one Captain kirk used to do where the guy runs at you hard and you fall down and put your foot in his stomach and flip his whole body overhead.

          2. 1. Experts do not agree that Russia interfered to prefer Clinton — in fact John Durham is currently reviewing whether Brennan cooked the books to that effect, and his view that they favored HRC was not supported by any evidence or other experts. He pushed for the appearance of a false consensus.

            2. So what, nothing illegal, publicly much of it baked into the vote, and Trump didn’t go so far as HRC to actually pay for Russian dirt… (Her Steele sub-source was Russian at Brookings).

            3. Trump has taken more active measures than Obama against Russia, including supporting European pipeline alternative to Russian gas, aiding Ukrainians with lethal military aid, killing Russian troops in Syria, bombing Syria against Putin’s desires and interests… No “Russian reset” from Trump to date…

            4. What “meddling”? Buying 10k in FB ads? To what effect? (Who isn’t trying to influence the 2020 election?) Why would Russia’s tiny drop in the ocean of social media buzz make any difference whatsoever?

            5. I have no idea, but given your track record so far…

            1. John if you’re talking to me, I think the FB ad buy the Russians did does qualify as meddling. But it was small in effect.

              I want to take a closer look at this question, did they favor Trump? At first I think not. But, it is possible this changed.

              Let me just ask why may it have changed? The usual Democrat BS is “because they could control him.” this is obviously false. Trump is a maverick and unpredictable.

              No. But they may have decided to favor him, and for what reasons?

              Well, obviously, he was not a war hawk like Hillary. I immediately liked Trump for criticizing all these middle eastern engagements that she has so often encouraged with glee, if not actively instigated like Libya. Of course Russians don’t like these wars because they have sometimes displaced Russian interests. Personally, I don’t care if the US pulls in its wings a little, I think that would be good. But on to more ambiguous things….

              When they heard his message against globalism, they very well may have decided he would be a better choice for their interests. The reason is globalism, of which Hillary is a staunch ally, aims to get rid of national boundaries. Well, that has worked in the interests of the USA in the past, as have some other aspects of globalization. But for Americans like me, I reject the globalization and consider that however it may have been a useful angle for American strategists in the past, now the cost is too much for we little peasants on the ground here in flyover. So I supported Trump and his fair trade over free trade agenda, and his immigration restriction agenda. those are both anti-globalist.

              it is very possible that Russia actually did chose to favor trump if they could, because long term, seeing in him one who might neutralize some of the momentum of globalization.

              I would observe that the USSR LIKED globalization, in some ways that the PRC China does now, but Russia is a different entity.

              Likewise, there are forces inside the PRC who fear globalization too, and hate Soros, even though XI Jinpeng has an alliance with him against Trump. One may view the Hong Kong protests as a globalization movement because they were human rights oriented, and thus, weakening sovereignty as a legal norm. But Xi seems to have totally crushed Hong Kong, both with the COVID restrictions, and also his exercise of brute sovereignty over it himself. So he may yet still favor alliance with globalists, in spite of a long term threat they might pose to the PRC itself as well. To support my thesis, I observe the PRC’s enthusiastic participation in the World Economic Forum

            2. 1. Every National Security Director including long time GOP senator and Trump appointee Dan Coates, as well as the GOP controlled Senate Intelligence Committee have firmly stated that the Russians interfered in the 2016 election to aid Trump and against Hillary. Don’t be an idiot.

              2. Glad we agree there was collusion. The Trump campaign’s soliciting of and coordinating with the Russians is distasteful enough that they have continued to lie about it to this day and if we had full disclosure may have been illegal. It also suggests payback and the question of what the Russians have gotten in return. In either case it demonstrates a willingness to cheat, lie, and seek help from a foreign power that is often in an adversary role with the US.

              3.Trump has passively approved – in some cases after resisting – congressional and military establishment approved actions, and in the case of the Ukraine, held back support in an effort to benefit his campaign. He also forced a change in the GOP platform on providing weapons to them. Conditions in both Russia and the Ukraine changed since Obama was in office – (the “reset” was when Putin was not the President and resulted in a new nuclear agreement). Instances of Trump acting as Putin’s agent include his sabotage of NATO, undermining our alliances with democracies in Europe while helping Kremlin connected European political leaders, lobbying for Russia’s joining the G7, weakening sanctions imposed by Obama, withdrawing from Syria, and now refusing to act against continued Russian interference in the 2020 election. There are more:


              4. Meddling included Manafort aided ad targeting on FB and other platforms and Manafort aided and campaign coordinated releasing of Wiki-leaks email, stolen by the Russians. Stone made sure those were released just as the “p…y grabbing” tape came out.

              5. No one has an idea what Trump is hiding in his finances, but there is evidence his loans of last resort where underwritten by Russians, and we also know that he was seeking business deals in Russia while campaigning for President and saying he wasn’t.

              1. You claim that the Russians handed the DNC and Podesta emails to Wikileaks without evidence other than the word of US IC head, the same ones that perpetrated the hoax that is now unraveling, the same people who from the Jan 2017 intelligence assessment using the dossier and direct quotes from it as their evidence. So you need to have more proof now besides the fact that Russian, China and Iran are US adversaries. Of course they would want to weaken the US political system by creating pretexts for domestic actors to exploit as dis-information campaigns against their opponents.

                So if the US IC had done their job they would have acted to thwart Russian, Chinese and other infiltration attempts into campaigns with defensive briefings, cautioning unexperienced citizens about the tricks of subversion and spycraft. Instead, due to their own corrupt political agenda the US IC itself became prey to a staggering indictment on the integrity of our establishments.

                We know now that Obama had approved an operation in 2015 headed by Bruce Ohr to entice ‘friendly oligarchs’ with easing of sanctions to pull them away from Putin. Ohr was working with Steele in Jan 2016 to negotiate with Oleg Deripaska along these lines. They communicated through a mutually hired DC attorney, Adam Waldman. We know also the Deripaska hired Steele to hire Simpson to investigate Manafort just at the time Manafort volunteered for the Trump campaign (for no pay). We also see the email that Manafort sent to Deripaska through Kilimnik asking for instruction of “how to get whole.” Manafort owed Deripaska $19MM from a failed project 4 years prior. At the same time this was happening, March-May 2016 Hillary Clinton hires Simpson to hire Steele to find/fabricate dirt on the Trump campaign. Question with the information from the Trump campaign flowing out through Manafort to Deripaska, who would have been the highest bidder for such information, Putin or Clinton? They both had equal access certainly. Hillary-Russia collusion explains the Deripaska-Manafort connection much better a Trump Russia cooperation. But since only the lowest creature imaginable would accuse someone of the exact despicable act they were themselves doing nobody can see that voted for Hillary.

                1. “You claim that the Russians handed the DNC and Podesta emails to Wikileaks without evidence other than the word of US IC head”

                  That’s correct, and the Mueller Report and Senate Intelligence Report confirmed it.

          3. I also do not believe that the campaign actively sought illegal help from Russian government in the election. I think the Hillary campaign may have in respect of the dossier, even if it was legally done. Perhaps the Trump people made some errors in judgment which were embarrassing mistakes. It seems to me that Meuller said there was not sufficient evidence to prosecute, ie, the problems were small. That is not exactly a clean bill of health from Mueller I would agree, certainly not praise, but it is fairly considered exoneration. There are nuances here that are always being ignored.

            it seems to me that the big thrust of Democratic strategy long term could have been to demand reform of the electoral college ie a change to win by popular vote. That is where the action on the Democrat side seems to be long term, in light of the social dynamics of urbanization, and you may wish to consider, whether or not your leaders were wise in neglecting this reform in favor of the ongoing Russia narrative. Personally, I reject any such changes, but if I were paid to give an opinion by the Democrats of where there best hopes would lay, it would be there.

            Now, I wonder, and I sincerely do not have any hypothesis about this yet, but why would Democrat strategists not be talking up this angle? I haven not heard the point all year long. A couple years ago, it was a big one.

            Is there some reason the Democrat leadership might now actually want to retain the electoral college system for POTUS?

            This is beyond my ken at the moment. I think I have a lot of answers but this one perplexes me

            1. “It seems to me that Meuller said there was not sufficient evidence to prosecute, ie, the problems were small.”

              Mueller said they were not able to fully investigate these events due to resistance to interviews, and the report lists 10 instances of possible obstruction of justice by Trump himself. Those go to hiding evidence, not the size of the “problems”.

    2. I can also accept the vague notion that most of history was arranged according to what may be called feudalism, in the old days. And that at some point, the rising money powers called “capitalists” overthrew the former upper stratum of kings and priests, and reconstituted governments according to liberal ideology, ie, regimes of individual rights, including property rights, contract rights, and certain political rights like democracy and secularism. Ok!

      Uh, no. Pressure from commercial and industrial interests does not lie behind the evolution of agrarian systems in either eastern or western Europe. Neither does the fall of Europe’s crowned heads of state have much to do with the pressures of commercial and industrial interests.

  5. The role of the Senate and House Intelligence Committees is not to conduct intelligence investigations, it is to OVERSEE the intelligence agencies- that is all.

  6. “since Manafort cooperated”

    Wow. I’m astounded that Turley is either so ignorant (and so lazy in terms of checking his claims) or so dishonest.

    Manafort initially agreed to cooperate but then breached his plea deal by lying (see, e.g.,, which is why he ended up being prosecuted. As Mueller’s office noted, Manafort “committed federal crimes by lying to the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Special Counsel’s Office on a variety of subject matters.“

    “[Mueller] did not find any other crime to charge or evidence of knowing collusion”

    On the contrary, Mueller repeatedly noted evidence, but also noted that it wasn’t sufficient to prove a crime beyond a reasonable doubt — and that obstruction from multiple parties made it difficult to gather sufficient evidence.

    If people want more detailed analyses of the report, I recommend other websites, including:

    For example, Marcy Wheeler has a column today “SSCI Confirms that Mueller Considered CFAA Charges for Don Jr.”
    Turley makes no reference to the multiple people the SSCI referred for possible indictment.

    1. Again CTHD says Turley is lazy, incompetent, and lying

      Yesterday it was “unethical” because lying

      Today just lazy and incompetent

      What a scurrilous harridan CTHD is, an ingrate who uses Turley’s free resource here every day and never thanks only insults. Pathetic!

      And what she knows about the process of FBI debriefing a cooperating sentenced defendant is obviously nothing. The process is exhaustive. The point is that the FBI and Mueller DID HAVE access to encrypted communications and the Senate people apparently did not. That point and what flowed from it, seems to have sailed clear over her head. I am not going to spend time repeating Turley’s points over the daily fog this troll generates with her flying fingers, I just want to say, here we go again. More obfuscation, more insults, more ingratitude.

      1. Kurtz, I take it as a badge of honor that you spend so much energy insulting me and that you have such a hard time presenting actual counterevidence to what I’ve said.

        “debriefing a cooperating sentenced defendant”

        He wasn’t cooperating. He was pretending to cooperate while lying. That’s why DC District Court Judge Amy Berman Jackson ruled that he’d lied and voided the plea deal: And he wasn’t sentenced until after his subsequent trial.

        “the FBI and Mueller DID HAVE access to encrypted communications”

        Prove it. I’d be happy to be actually learn something from you.

        1. Your trolling doesnt work on me. “prove it” is a challenge that is meant to get me busy on your homework. you can do your own homework.

          Turley knows how it works you can see from his resume the proof. And I am a nobody but even I know how that process works because i have seen it with my own two eyes in my own little work which is about 1000 times less important than Turley’s but I have seen the process he alluded to. You obviously have not.

          I am not teaching you nor law students here. No free class for you. I will however give you this much to help you understand on the outside chance you have any sincerity at all. “Cooperating” is a process that can go on for years. It can involve tens of thousands of documents delivered to AUSAs or FBI and many debriefings. It is complicated and you pretend that it is simple,. In federal courthouses around the country there are disputes between lawyers about whether a person who has plead guilty is cooperating or not. The point has to be proven to judges who sit back and let it unfold. The Uniform Sentencing Guidelines put a premium on guilty people cooperating but the government expect a hell of a lot of out of them and sometimes wants more cooperation than people can offer. Judges help moderate those government demands., overall it is far, far more complicated than you pretentiously oversimplify in your rhetorical remarks

          You call Turley dishonest based on your own ignorance. So that is not an insult, it is a reply to your original insult. You did not need to say Turley was dishonest but you said it yesterday and you say it again. You’re totally fake.

          1. I do my own homework. I’m not going to do yours. Your claim, your burden of proof.
            If you can’t or won’t provide evidence for your own claim, then it remains evidenceless.

            As for your claim “‘Cooperating’ is a process that can go on for years,” again: it didn’t. Judge Berman Jackson voided the plea deal because Manafort was not cooperating. I gave you the link to her 2/13/19 ruling. I gather that you don’t want to read it. [shrug]

  7. The quotation at the end of this thoughtful article is a good one and presented well as a punch line. But Groucho Marx didn’t write the statement that “Politics is the art of looking for trouble, finding it everywhere, diagnosing it incorrectly, and applying the wrong remedies.” Etymologist Barry Popik is a reliable fact checker on quotations and he concluded that this statement should be attributed to British publisher and writer Ernest Benn, even though Groucho Marx has said or written many great maxims and witticisms. Mr. Popik couldn’t find that saying in any of Marx’s writings or known correspondence. But Popik did trace the statement to a 1930 Massachusetts newspaper where Ernest Benn is quoted as saying the expression, with slight variation in wording. The quote can also be found, attributed to Benn, in Henry Powell Spring’s 1944 book “What is Truth.” Nonetheless, the misattribution to Groucho Marx is understandable because the quotation has been repeated for scores of years as credited to Marx. According to Popik, the earliest instance of Marx being credited with the expression was in a 1964 issue of the Kentucky New Era newspaper.

  8. I did not read the report, only scanned it and also scanned the various reactions to it: Washington Post, Foxnews, Turley, etc. However, given that it was a bi-partisan Senate deal and meant to focus more on either shoring up, shooting down, or both, the Mueller report, it seems the perfect political issuance. It confirmed Mueller’s findings and put the event to rest. For the anti-Trump side, it responded to Trump’s blithering that anything that he doesn’t like is fake and whoever comes up with it is a traitor or worse, doesn’t like Trump. For the pro-Trump side; well Turley’s response is there. There was and remains no way for a Republican dominated Senate to produce a ‘bi-partisan’ report that would be any less unbiased, or balanced, irrespective of what it did or did not delve into enough, too much, or not at all. Read WAPO and Foxnews and you will see that everybody’s happy.

  9. If you are an American you can not communicate with a Russian. Oh it’s ok to talk to a Commie from China.
    So folks: don’t talk to the Russians.

    One of the Manafort co agents sang a song while awaiting his interview.
    “Well I went out with a waitress, that I hardly knew…
    “How was I to know? She was with the Russians too?”

  10. I do not why the Senate refused to interview me. Russia and Putin certainly influenced my vote in 2016 . I received several personal calls from Putin and his minions urging me to vote for The Donald . I resisted at first but finally gave in when they offered me two cases of Russian Vodka that could also e used for hand sanitizer . So Trump got my vote in 2016 in Illinois. Sadly , the Senate ignores my testimony which could have provided evidence of crucial electron interference and muddling. WHY???

  11. John, the US Senate Intelligence committee is headed by two fools, Senator Burr is asleep and Senator Warner is a very biased and was part of deep state involved in pushing this hoax. There are other talented Senators on the Committee that can do a much better job.

    When you have hoax it is hard to come up with a sound and informative report.

  12. Still, at the end of the day, Trump gets away with refusing to be deposed and refusing to turn over documents. Of course, the Russians aren’t handing over documents or cooperating, either. Therefore, without cooperation, there can be NO exoneration. No government investigation has been able to depose or review the records of the 2 main characters: Russia and Trump. Trump has crooked his way through his entire life, in business, in his marriages, and now, to cheat his way into the White House with Russia’s help. We do know that no US bank would continue loaning him money due to his repeated failures, and that some entity other than Deutsche Bank was really financing the loans he did get. No government agency has been able to review his financials or probe the extent to which he is beholden to Russia, so when Turley or anyone else tries to make the case that Trump did nothing wrong, there is no credibility.

    1. Natacha, sweetie. Trump gave Mueller every document and every witness Mueller and his minions asked for. He did give written interrogatories for himself. He is POTUS and a busy person. The problem with a deposition is they could have gone rogue and considering who was running Mueller (Weissmann) they were going to go rogue.

      1. Anonymous, Honey, please don’t repeat Fox News talking points. No, Trump did NOT give every document Mueller asked for. He continues to fight to hide his financials, and he did order members of his “administration” not to cooperate, and not just with the Mueller investigation, but with all of the government oversight investigations. He fires Inspectors General because he refuses to be accountable and he has this twisted idea that everyone in government works for him and should be “loyal” to him. The “written interrogatories” were answered by Giuliani, and the answers were evasive, off-point and incomplete, and he refused to supplement or amend. Trump does not deserve the title POTUS because he cheated and he is unworthy of the respect and dignity of this office. He is NOT busy, either, at least doing the business of this country. He spends most mornings watching cable TV news and tweeting out insults about Joe Scarborough and Mika Brzyzinski. He has golfed more than any predecessor. He is afraid to be deposed because he has ADD and can’t remember what lie he is supposed to tell. He has not cooperated and because neither Mueller nor Congressional investigators have been able to get to the truth, he cannot be exonerated. If he had nothing to hide, he should cooperate. There is no “going rogue”–I mean, really? “Rogue” about what, exactly? We do know Russia helped him win, and this was by cheating: hacking into Hillary Clinton’s e-mail accounts and releasing them and having Russians spread lies about her on social media to districts directed by his campaign. He tried to get Ukraine to make up lies about Joe Biden and his family. Now, he’s frantically trying to stop people from voting by mail, even to the point of handicapping the USPS, so voters have to risk their health to vote in person because he thinks this will help him to once again defeat the will of the American people. Russia is also helping him cheat again,

        1. Natacha, sweetie, you pretend to be an attorney. Don’t you and your fellow attorneys in the office fill out interrogatories for clients? Or did that slip your mind? As for the House committee, they were not properly formed to subpoena Trump or anyone else. Some decided to comply, others did not. Remember they had to do a do over to get it right.

          And, sweetie, you do know that NYC still hasn’t counted all the votes for its primary which was over a month ago. Plus, a man was just arrested today for voting using his dead mother’s absentee ballot for the last 3 elections. And I won’t even get into the amount of ballots going to wrong addresses or the percentage of absentee ballots that are invalidated.

          1. Anonymous, darling: No, attorneys do not “fill out” interrogatories as to the substantive facts that are requested. Most attorneys don’t have the facts,, anyway, for things like personal family history, marriages, divorces, employment history, medical history, and the relevant facts about the subject-matter of the lawsuit. Attorneys send the questions to the client, the client writes down the responses, and the attorney puts them in proper grammatical form and lodges any objections there may be. The answers are those of the client, because the client signs the interrogatories, under oath, subject to the penalties for perjury.

            The “wrong address” was a return address, not the address of the voter. More Fox News slop. At least we agree that Trump DID NOT cooperate, (your excuse is a lame one) but don’t worry–the truth will eventually come out because it always does.

            1. So, Natacha, you do the final draft for the client. Do you think it was different for Trump somehow? BTW, you have to stop watching CNN and MSNBC. Find some real news.

              1. I don’t represent crooks or liars like Trump, so I don’t need to make up facts or weasel-word responses of my clients to interrogatories. The answers are always those of the client, because the client is the one who could be subject to perjury charges if the answers aren’t correct. If the interrogatory seeks information about legal theories, I help the client frame responses in a manner that explains how his/her factual situation fulfills the elements of the tort or breach of contract, or statutory violation, for example. The client is not skilled in knowing the elements of proof for a tort or the statutory requirements. But, we don’t lie or evade the questions.

                In the case of Giuliani drafting Trump’s responses, the questions were not that deep or involved, to my understanding: just straightforward requests for information about finances and entanglements with Russians. Trump simply wanted to evade the substance of what was being sought. Then, you have Barr and the DOJ taking the position that a court could not compel him to answer fully and truthfully. Bottom line is: Trump did not cooperate. His responses were evasive and incomplete, and he refused to amend or supplement We all know why: he wants to hide the truth, especially about his financials.

                1. I don’t represent crooks or liars….

                  You don’t represent them… ARE them.

                2. If you’ve never had a client lie to you Natacha then either you never figured it out, or maybe, you just havent represented many

                  wow. that was a good one. “I dont represent crooks nor liars.” I tell you the best lawyers I know do exactly that. With pride. Jesus helped bad people, and if we are worth our salt, we are willing to help bad people too. Within ethical guidelines of course, not to perpetuate a fraud, etc etc. But lies are as common as spring showers in the law practice, and they come from all points on the compass. you might as well be living in the desert if you never had to meet with a rainstorm but even there they sometimes happen too

                  Trump never was a lawyer so your remarks were inapposite to begin with, I just couldnt help noticing this one. If you said that at a lunch table of lawyers, you would be laughed at. I bet you don’t take your lunch with lawyers very often either. your arrogance and presumptuousness is running hot as ever i can see.

                  1. She didn’t say a client had never lied to her. But that’s the way to take an answer and run with it, turning it into a writing prompt of sorts.

                3. Since you want to play the truth game, Natacha, attach a selfie and last year’s tax forms to your response to this.

                4. I have persecuted and defended frauds and never had an ethical problem. But, once i was accused on the internet of assisting a client with perpetuating a fraud. Actually as it turned out we prevailed across the full range of cases in question. Total victory. The predictions of doom for the client never materialized. the publications were defamatory and actionable but the client laughed it off. I did too. Their lies were annoying, but ultimately inconsequential.

                  Of course the defamation perps never retracted their lies. They rarely do. See, that’s how yellow journalism operates. Innuendo, false light, repeating lies that can’t be easily disproven, bogus “anonymous sources,” informants paid to lie, even making stuff up out of the blue against socalled public figures, so long as it meets editorial objectives, it goes to print.

                  The irony is, if you falsely accuse another person of lying, then you’re the liar. But if you got a bankroll, then you get away with it. Think, then, what a newspaper like Washington Post can get away with, considering they’re owned by the richest man in the world Jeff Bezos. he could pay his flunkies to lie every day in the worst ways, maybe lose a bunch of suits, and it would never matter, he could just keep shoving more capital into the corporate kitty.

                  People who think that our precious “Freedoms” are so important and economic factors like this are not, are not taking in all the relevant factors. I have to say, first amendment freedom of the press, has become a mask for the overweening oligopolies of multinational corporations that control all our information and we are suffering badly from it. We need to bring antitrust to bear on them if we’re gonna reap the promise of the first amendment truly.,

                  I feel fortunate that my Marxist professors in university taught me to think about the economic factors at every turn, or else so much of “What’s happening now” would be a mystery. As it is, it all makes a lot of sense.

                  And it comes down to this. The multinational corporations and global financial plutocracy are united in their hate of Trump, because of money things.

                  So unless you’re in the C Suite of an MNC or on the payroll of the likes of Soros yourself, be smart, vote your economic interests, VOTE TRUMP

      2. Trump is the least busy POTUS in my lifetime. He spends hours a day watching TV and goes golfing on average every 4 days, at a huge cost to taxpayers ( Not only did he refuse to be interviewed, he also refused to answer a number of the written questions:
        And Trump isn’t the only witness who refused to be interviewed by the SCO. Trump Jr. is another, and the SSCI report makes clear that he was referred to the DOJ for prosecution for lying to Congress.

  13. And it never occurred to investigators to explore these coincidences:
    1) Bruce Ohr hired Steele to try to recruit Oleg Deripaska in January 2016 in accordance to Obama program to pull away “friendly oligarchs” from Putin.
    2) A couple months later Deripaska hires Glenn Simpson and Fusion GPS through Chris Steel’s Orbis to do research on Paul Manafort, who allegedly owed Deripaska $19MM. And at this very moment Manafort agreed to volunteer his services at no charge to the Trump campaign for a position he had been paid for in the past, and is traditionally paid.
    3) Then less than a month later Manafort emails Kilimnick to ask if Deripaska is seeing the news reports of Manafort’s progress in the Trump campaign and asks “How do we use this to get whole.”
    4) Meanwhile this is likely all under surveillance because Obama DoJ’s Bruce Ohr’s wife is charged with investigating Manafort for Simpson, who is hired by Steele, who works for Deripaska, who Bruce Ohr is recruiting.
    5) Did I mention that Hillary Clinton was the main financier of all of this as the client of Simpson, whom lied to the US House and Senate investigators to cover up this connection, telling them he was hired by a conservative? Simpson also lied claiming he employed no one who could speak Russian. He forgot to mention he employed Nellie Ohr.
    6) The information coming out of the Trump headquarters through Manafort would have been worth millions to Hillary Clinton. I wonder if it ever found its way from Deripaska to Steele to Simpson to Clinton?

    1. JT, do you think someone other than Shakespeare wrote “Much Ado About Nothing”? If so, who and state your case. This could be really fun.

  14. Why am I not surprised that you are dismissing this report. All of the FOP Senators on the Committee knew everything in the report but decided to vote against impeachment anyway. It’s disturbing and disconcerting that they decided Trump and Party were more important that the Consittuion or the country.

  15. This report had to get out before the Senate adjourned for recess. Children at play wasting taxpayer dollars is nothing new. Do us all a favor and don’t come back in September.

  16. Unbelievable how far in the tank JT is on this. Beyond defending Trump, he is so far in the “no collusion” campaign he looks like a fool, not just a suck up.

    Did Trump collude with the Russians and Wiki-Leaks for his own benefit? Yes.

    Did he lie about it to Mueller and the world? Yes

    We already knew he personally concocted the cover story for the Tower meeting with Kremlin agents, so no surprise there.

    Was he trying to swing a deal for a building in Russia during the campaign and did Kushner and Jr lie about that? Yes.

    Does the GRU have pictures of him cavorting with prostitutes in Moscow from the 90’s? Probably.

    Did Manafort provide polling info to a Russian agent tied in with media targeting campaigns? Yes.

    Was all this normal, ethical, and no collusion? Well, they lied about it, so what’s your guess? JT doesn’t have a clue.

    1. Collusion is not a crime, and the Wikileaks link has never been proved. (Even if Trump benefited from a Wikileaks dump, or encouraged it, that’s different than being a party to the original hack.) Trump asking to have Hillary’s emails dumped by the Russians was public record and baked into the vote.

      The Trump Tower meeting, however offensive to you, was still a logical subset of HRC/DNC actually PAYING for Russian dirt on Trump, then turning it over to peers in the same-party incumbent administration to SPY on her political rival’s campaign. Nothing you mention comes close to that.

      Manafort’s prior Russian ethical lapses haven’t the slightest to do with the campaign.

      At the end of the day, HRC colluded more with the Russians (check the Steele sub-source, who worked at Brookings) than anything Trump did. Yet that doesn’t constitute a crime either — until we start getting into intel people like Comey lying to a FISA court.

      1. Conspiracy is a crime. Obstruction of justice is a crime. The Mueller Report included 10 instances of obstruction carried out by Trump that would likely have been charged had the OLC not issued its opinion that a sitting President cannot be indicted.

        “Manafort’s prior Russian ethical lapses haven’t the slightest to do with the campaign.”

        Yeah, turning over campaign polling data to Kilimnik has nothing to do with the campaign. /s

        “HRC colluded more with the Russians (check the Steele sub-source, who worked at Brookings)”

        HRC had no idea that Steele was hired by Fusion, much less who Steele’s sub-source was. Hiring Fusion was public info, in contrast to what was going on on Trump’s end.

        You can also contrast Gore and Trump Jr.:

        Goldstone to Jr. on June 3, 2016: “The Crown prosecutor of Russia met with his father Aras this morning and in their meeting offered to provide the Trump campaign with some official documents and information that would incriminate Hillary and her dealings with Russia and would be very useful to your father. This is obviously very high level and sensitive information but is part of Russia and its government’s support for Mr Trump…”
        Jr. to Goldstone: “… if it’s what you say, I love it, especially later in the summer…”

        Whereas when “A debate preparation binder compiled by the Bush campaign was delivered to an adviser to the Gore campaign. Instead of using stolen insider information, the Gore campaign immediately reported it to the FBI.”

        1. Again you are playing around with legal concepts that are highly dubious in relation to core Article II powers. The “obstruction” charges you mention in passing are profoundly constitutional questions and very deep ones.

          To give you just one example, Trump has a fiduciary responsibility to manage the DOJ. If he, on coming in (or at some point later), learned that it might have been weaponized for partisan purposes against him (not at all an unreasonable inference given all we now know about FISA, etc…) or that Mueller’s team was itself corrupt, it would in fact be Trump’s Article II RESPONSIBILITY to fire Mueller, interrupt the investigation, and end it, if he thought as chief executive it was a partisan witch hunt, for which there is far more ample evidence than there is his campaign ever colluded.

          The reality is Trump was licensed by the voters to be the head of the Executive, and if the DOJ or FBI or CIA has been corrupted, there is utterly nothing wrong with Trump accepting his mandate from the American people to clean it up. In any Mueller v Trump showdown, Mueller must lose on constitutional grounds.

          A sitting President of the United States is not required to sit impotent while major legal institutions are corrupted to bring him down — and Part II was widely viewed as speculative new legal theory — including by such players as Rosenstein, the DOJ’s own office of review, Barr, and many others. It is logically incoherent to place Mueller, who’s beneath Trump in the Executive hierarchy, above Trump.

          The question is not just “the rule of law”, but what the law is. Also, many of the examples of obstruction or meddling cited by the corrupt/crooked Weissman team included even public statements Trump had made during the campaign — an absurd criminalization of political differences that had already been baked into the vote.

          1. You and I disagree about what there’s “ample evidence” of, and I doubt that we’re going to come to agreement on that.

            You can believe that “In any Mueller v Trump showdown, Mueller must lose on constitutional grounds,” but your personal opinion about this hypothetical isn’t fact. SCOTUS has been clear that the president is not above the law, and Trump simply declaring his personal belief about something doesn’t make it factual, especially given how prone to lying he is. We’d have to wait and see how they ruled.

            1. I’m not remotely claiming Trump has Article II powers because of “Trump’s personal belief”, but rather that Article II makes an overwhelming case (ratified by 62+ million voters) that Trump has a power to superintend the Executive that includes removing corrupt investigators, when necessary.

              I don’t know how much more evidence you would need of the corruption of the Mueller team. Weissman, Mueller’s henchman, just came out the other day in opposition to the prosecution of Klinesmith for altering an email to say the EXACT OPPOSITE of what it said to FALSELY INCULPATE Page before a SECRET court.

              That such a stunning abuse of power can be ratified by Weissman in his hatred for Trump is unbelievable. Nor are the Flynn-Klinesmith analogies remotely parallel, as the one was on the prosecuting side of the a corrupt investigation and the other on the receiving end of one. (Political entrapment with prosecutors who said they wanted to get Flynn “fired” or “to lie” over a perfectly normal phone call, with the investigating FBI agents not even believing Flynn lied.) Who pushed the reopening of the Flynn case? Stzrok of those infamous texts — or Comey?

              17 MAJOR DECEPTIONS of the FISA court in the FISA warrants — unless you believe those 17 errors, always against the Trump campaign, were random, which insults anyone’s intelligence… Oppo research known beforehand by the FBI to be bunk, paid for by Hillary, submitted to spy. Why wasn’t the Russian sub-source of Steele appearing in the Mueller Report? Why wouldn’t it be of relevance that the OTHER MAJOR PARTY CANDIDATE ACTUALLY PAID FOR RUSSIAN DIRT?

              How many strategic leaks about the Steele dossier from such as Comey to frame a false narrative? How many times did Comey or Brennan lie to either the American public or to Congress? Was the Steele dossier pushed by Brennan to be a part of an intelligence assessment — over the opposition of people who understood it was bunk?

              How many questions have to be raised about malfeasance by the Mueller team themselves — about McCabe, Sztrok, Page, Klinesmith, etc. — before there are profound constitutional questions raised by such a clique toying with highly speculative theories of Article II power not being sufficient to upending and firing their con?

              There is INFINITELY MORE corruption among the Mueller team and the entire Russiagate setup (how many agents were wearing wires against the Trump campaign over hearsay at a bar?) than there is any evidence whatsoever of Trump-Russian collusion. Manafort’s crimes from 10 years ago don’t count…

              1. Re: “Trump’s personal belief,” I wasn’t referring to his Article II powers, but to things like “if he thought as chief executive it was a partisan witch hunt.” Whether it’s a “partisan witch hunt” is an opinion, not a fact, and Trump is not an unbiased judge with respect to that issue.

                Clinesmith didn’t “alter[] an email to say the EXACT OPPOSITE of what it said to FALSELY INCULPATE Page.”

                The charging document states that the text of the email was “My recollection is that [Individual #1] was or is “[digraph]” and not a “source” …,” where the words in italics are what Clinesmith added. Individual #1 is Page. “[digraph]” is a reference Page having been an “operational contact” (per Horowitz’s IG report, which explains that the CIA “uses a specific two-letter designation, or digraph, to describe a U.S. person who has been approved … for operational contact”).

                Horowitz’s report further states “According to the other U.S. government agency [i.e., the CIA], ‘operational contact,’ as that term is used in the memorandum about Page, provides ‘Contact Approval,’ which allows the other agency to contact and discuss sensitive information with a U.S. person and to collect information from that person via ‘passive debriefing,’ or debriefing a person of information that is within the knowledge of an individual and has been acquired through the normal course of that individual’s activities,” and “As noted earlier in this chapter, according to the U.S. government agency that approved Page as an operational contact, the approval did not allow for the operational use or tasking of Page.”

                But I’ve since learned that for the CIA, a source is someone who CAN be tasked with gathering info. So the CIA didn’t consider Page a “source,” only an “operational contact.” Clinesmith’s addition seems to be true, and when Clinesmith answered questions from the judge today, he didn’t say that what he added was false, only that “At the time, I believed the information I was providing in the email was accurate, but I am agreeing that the information I inserted into the email was not originally there and I inserted that information.” As best I can tell from the charging document, the DOJ isn’t alleging that “not a ‘source’” was false, only that it was false to portray it as coming from the Liaison (that’s why it’s charged under . Also, Clinesmith included a copy of the original email without the added phrase. So I condemn him for adding the phrase, but I still don’t see how it’s materially false.

                “prosecutors who said they wanted to get Flynn “fired” or “to lie” over a perfectly normal phone call,”

                That’s false. There was a question about the goal of the interview. Not only is a question not a statement, but the conclusion was “If we’re seen as playing games, WH will be furious. Protect our institution by not playing games.”

                I disagree that there’s more corruption among Mueller and his team than among Trump and his team. But that’s a longer discussion than I’m inclined to get into.

                1. Sir, you’re just plainly lying here. One of the quotes verbatim from the notes is:

                  “”What’s our goal? Truth/Admission or to get him to lie, so we can prosecute him or get him fired?” reads the note, written by the FBI’s then-director of counterintelligence. “If we get him to admit to breaking the Logan Act, give facts to DOJ & have them decide. Or, if he initially lies, then we present him [redacted] & he admits it, document for DOJ, & let them decide how to address it.”

                  It may well be that other notes include they arrived at a different conclusion for how to proceed. The point is the scribbled note shows their own state of mind — for approaching a veteran who had served this country for 33 years honorably.

                  These were people actively talking about the (absurdly political) Logan Act, and talking about the possibility of getting Flynn to lie or be fired BEFORE they even interviewed him.

                  This goes to state of mind, and suggests real political corruption was at work, despite your lies…

                  1. It should be added that this is not analogous to prosecutors approaching some mob lower operative, where the goal might be to induce a process crime to get them to lie and twist them against someone else.

                    We are having high-level FBI personnel talk of the Logan Act — as Turley said, a major red flag — in the same context that they contemplate in the subjunctive goals that are not wholly the purview of the FBI (i.e. getting him fired, which is a POLITICAL goal).

                    They are speaking as people with a partisan interest in securing guilt against someone with an incoming administration, extending no benefit of the doubt and even contemplating ways they can bring him down.

                  2. It’s “Ms.,” and you haven’t quoted anything false from me.

                    You wrote “prosecutors who said they wanted to get Flynn “fired” or “to lie” over a perfectly normal phone call,” and I pointed out that it was a question about the goal, and you’ve quoted the questions confirming this: ”What’s our goal? Truth/Admission or to get him to lie, so we can prosecute him or get him fired?” Asking “Do we want X?” is not the same as stating “We want X,” which is why I noted that a question isn’t a statement. You presented it as statement (“they wanted to get Flynn “fired” or “to lie””), and I noted that that’s false, as they didn’t state that they wanted that; they only asked whether that was a goal. Nowhere do the notes conclude that that was a goal.

                    They discussed a variety of things. But the conclusion — at the bottom of the right-hand column — was “If we’re seen as playing games, WH will be furious. Protect our institution by not playing games.”

                    If you’re going to claim that I’m lying, you should at least quote what I wrote that you believe to be false.

                    1. You’re toying with a literal reading of an obvious instance of plausible deniability — since they were even contemplating (on paper) a goal that is wholly foreign to the goals of FBI investigators (the political goal of getting someone fired) — and just naming it, as naming the Logan Act, raises major concerns.

                      If you were to substitute “If we were to torture him for a confession” and later add they were just toying with hypotheticals, my point becomes more clear…

                      I did not speak falsely as it’s not clear this possibility would even have been committed to paper unless they had it as a goal; nor that the paper was meant for other eyes.

                      Getting this much through the keyhole, but then holding it was only entertained in a larger spirit of Socratic inquiry by the question mark added, is preposterous.

                      The general architecture of my original point withstands correction: such things are not listed if they are not wanted.

                      The general dishonesty of your manner of argument is you always ignore the fractal bigness of what has been inadvertently disclosed for a parsing that is less honest than the original sense I gave.

                      As if people can’t display their mens rea in the questions they put on a page.

                    2. John, I overlooked that CTHD answered you charge on the FBI note about questioning Flynn more thoroughly that I did. It’s meaning is obviously not as you read it. Have you never brain stormed with team members on an action where the range of possibilities were mentioned, and maybe discussed? Of course you have. In this case the note even shows rejecting the worst case action which you are somehow claiming is what they must have done.. No, it’s not and the notes demonstrate it was rejected.

                    3. From my longer comment lower down on this thread:

                      My general point of inference remains that, by Occam’s razor, it is (FAR) more reasonable to infer there was political motive here than not, when one reads one possible motivation listed on the page as getting Flynn fired, and another as using the Logan Act.

                      Further, the entire tone of their discussion is highly odd given this is an incoming NSA they are targeting. Having committed what crime, exactly, before the FBI interview? What would justify this level of scruple over something so quotidian as Flynn warning the Russians to not retaliate over sanctions? How many prior incoming NSAs or other heads of state might have been making similar warnings to other nations during the gray interregnum of a presidential transition?

                      They are approaching this “casual sit-down” that Comey setup as if it’s imperative they nail Flynn on some pretext or another. Why would this be? Why would this be their orientation toward high-level official of an incoming administration who had served his nation for 33 years in uniform?

                    4. “Having committed what crime, exactly, before the FBI interview?”

                      Again, it was a counterintelligence interview, not a criminal interview, as it appeared that Flynn had lied to Pence about Flynn’s communications with a foreign adversary (and Pence and Trump later confirmed that Flynn had lied to Pence about this). Moreover, Russia knew that Flynn was apparently lying to the VP-Elect, since Pence made it clear in a public statement on TV, so Russia could potentially use Flynn’s lie as compromat on Flynn.

                      “What would justify this level of scruple over something so quotidian as Flynn warning the Russians to not retaliate over sanctions?”

                      Flynn lying to the VP-Elect and Russia possibly having compromat on Flynn. Seriously, you think it’s OK for the incoming NSA to be lying to the VP-Elect about Flynn’s communications with a foreign adversary, rather than something that needs to be investigated?

                    5. They are approaching this “casual sit-down” that Comey setup as if it’s imperative they nail Flynn on some pretext or another.

                      It should be obvious that it was NOT “imperative they nail Flynn on some pretext or another”

                      Strzok and Pientka could have easily made an effort to nail Flynn on some pretext. What is noticeably absent is any allegations by the two eye witnesses that there ever was a crime. If you want to apply Occam’s razor you would expect that if their intent was to nail Flynn that at some point the eyewitnesses to this hypothetical crime would have made some mention of their having witnessed such a crime. But we have no record of Strzok and Pientka ever saying they believed Flynn had lied.

                      What we have instead is a record of the two eyewitnesses saying the opposite. That is important because it means any prosecution of making false statements should (in theory) be impossible with the two agents well trained in making such determinations unwilling to determine that they had witnessed any false statements.

                      So how did Flynn get convicted with the only two people who could provide the evidence against him conspicuously not providing that evidence? The answer of course is that Flynn supplied the evidence.

                  3. John, that was one of several options the writer of that note wrote, and he ended by saying (words to the effect of) “we better play this straight”.

                    1. And my general point of inference remains that, by Occam’s razor, it is (FAR) more reasonable to infer there was political motive here than not, when one reads one possible motivation listed on the page as getting Flynn fired, and another as using the Logan Act.

                      It should be occasionally pointed out how very unlikely it is to have even gotten ahold of these notes, which weren’t turned over in a timely fashion to the defense team, and which at the very least add to the weight of other vectors of concern.

                      The brainstorm they were having was very obviously about taking down Flynn, and there is not any sense this was a legitimate exercise of FBI power, as Flynn had committed no crimes, and it was perfectly normal for him to be talking with the Russians as incoming NSA.

                      This was not a normal investigation, and the Flynn matter must be viewed in the larger context of an extraordinary amount of investigative intrigue and abuses against the Trump campaign and transition.

                      Particularly when one party is investigating high-level officials of its political rival, the predicates must be more clarion than they were here.

                    2. This was not a normal investigation, and the Flynn matter must be viewed in the larger context of an extraordinary amount of investigative intrigue and abuses against the Trump campaign and transition.

                      yes that is the storyline that the Trump administration was selling by their hiring of Mueller to create the kayfabe Special Counsel investigation. The Mueller probe was a phony wrestling match created for the purpose of giving the illusion that Trump was engaged in mortal combat with the deep state. And of course, like all Kayfabe wrestling marches the outcome was predetermined.

                2. You’re also engaged in a jesuitical parsing of Clinesmith’s words, when the obvious larger import is to deceive the FISA court by omission — i.e. that there would be some legitimate reason that Page might have more frequent contact with Russians that your average American that was known to the government and not a cause for concern.

                  This sort of jesuitical parsing can always be engaged by governments determined to spy on their political opponents, which you are clearly supporting here.

                  The effect of Clinesmith’s edit was to make the FISA application more opaque, not more clear. And always — was with the 17 major errors/omissions — AGAINST Trump.

                  You would never extend the same parsing of minutiae to spy ops run by Trump against Biden. The double standard is obvious.

                  1. “to deceive the FISA court by omission”

                    Nope. Nothing was omitted from the Liaison’s email. Clinesmith added a phrase and didn’t delete anything.

                    “that there would be some legitimate reason that Page might have more frequent contact with Russians that your average American”

                    Again: the relevant text already included the “[digraph]” statement — that Page was an operational contact.

                    “You would never extend the same parsing …”

                    You shouldn’t make assumptions about facts not in evidence.

                    And half of my response about it were quotes from the charging document and the Horowitz Report, so you’re objecting to details that they saw as relevant.

                    “The effect of Clinesmith’s edit was to make the FISA application more opaque, not more clear”

                    I disagree. The CIA doesn’t consider “operational contact” and “source” to be synonyms, and the SSA2 was trying to determine whether Page was a “source.”

                  2. John, CTHD is right on the money. The literal reading is just that a literal reading. You’re adding an assumption after the fact. You’re still stuck on the assumption that a question is a statement fallacy. CTHD’s point follows the true context of the wording by pointing out the entirety of the conversation not just focusing on the question that somehow morphs into a statement that doesn’t exist to fit the narrative you want to be true. Even a grammar teacher would point out the relevance of a question vs a statement in determining context.

                    CTHD gets a lot of criticism or annoyance because she dives in on details, very specific details that make it difficult to defend the current narrative of those defending Turley or trump supporters. It’s obvious she has a full understanding of the issue. Far better than most. With that level of knowledge it makes it very easy to spot Turley’s misleading narratives or his ignorance.

                    1. With respect to both you and CTHD — toward whom I might have used to strong a term in saying “lying”, but was concerned about the magnitude of what is being misconstrued here — I take your and her point, but do not think this is how language is actually used, despite admiring close-readers as an English major myself.

                      What I mean is that if FBI interrogators are mentioning on a paper of their notes that one possible goal could be to get Flynn fired — even if they frame it in the larger question of an interrogatory on the page — that something about state of mind has been relayed in the same way as if they toyed with the idea of whether they should or should not torture Flynn to induce a confession, but only mean it “rhetorically”.

                      The reason I inject this dramatic example is to point out that people making notes on a page are reflecting intentions — particularly if they weren’t thinking those notes might be reviewed by others — and it seems far closer to Occam’s razor to conclude getting Flynn fired was a sentiment felt / goal of the investigators than that it was not merely by saying there is a question being asked.

                      In other words, if one has to choose one side or the other of a 50/50 dividing line on the likelihood that was a goal, their naming it on the paper makes it far more plausible — particularly in nexus with the Logan Act, which is a dinosaur of a likely unconstitutional law being invoked in relation to an incoming NSA talking with foreign powers — when that is in the very nature of presidential transitions of power, if a bit unsavory, to occur…

                    2. John, the Logan act was amended by Congress as recently as the 1990’s and was to be amended again around 2005 (maybe 2008?) when the larger crime bill, of which it was part, was scrapped in Congress for other reasons. It has not been ruled unconstitutional by any court.

  17. When you are a very busy person you can forget that you attended a meeting, had a conversation, signed a document, etc. This has happened to me. I do not hold this against the President. I do not think it is a lie. I would not hold it against Hillary Clinton. Look how much she cannot remember, or Susan Rice, or Sally Yates, etc. Susan Rice had to send a memo to herself to remind herself that everything was “by the book”.

  18. I’m stunned that someone of Turley’s intelligence can’t recognize a whitewash of Democratic malfeasance when he sees it… The deliberate omissions about a more trenchant review of the Steele dossier, its Russian sub-source at Brookings, etc. is highly material to everything here. (How can THAT Russian meddling not be germane?)

    Turley to be fair has called out the FISA abuse and intel corruption in other posts and articles. But his dogged refusal to see Russiagate writ large in its obvious emerging context of misdirection away from (infinitely weightier) intel, spying, and prosecutorial abuse of power (like Flynn) is amazing.

    How many more questions about the integrity of the Mueller team and its members have to be raised — how many more members impugned — before Turley publicly stops pretending and grasps there is a zero-sum relation between the farce of Russiagate and what it was meant to cover up?

    1. Yet, it was born of a Republican dominated Senate ‘bi-partisan’ group. It would appear that a bone was thrown to the Democrats in not refuting Mueller’s findings and a bone was thrown to the Republicans by not delving too deep regarding all the connections between Trump’s pals, family, etc and the Ruskies.

      1. Eh, a third of the Republican senators hate Trump anyway. The idea that they didn’t expose the HRC/DNC Russian collusion (we now know actually happened) is highly asymmetrical with all the non-collusion by the (spied upon) Trump campaign and Russia. The Dems actually paid a Russian operative at Brookings, a sub-source of Steele, albeit indirectly…

        1. More accurately every Republican Senator hates Trump. But only a third have the minerals and local support to make it known or even likely. At first lots of Republican Senators openly challenged Trump. Then it became known how much damage he could do to their constituencies and they caved, one after the other, most notably Graham. Then when it became obvious that Trump was instrumental in advancing the Republican positions, there were nothing by @##lickers. Now, slowly, as it appears likely that Trump will get his walking papers and among regular idiocies spouted by this disgrace of a President, Republicans are growing backbones, and/or strapping on parachutes.

          1. “as it appears likely that Trump will get his walking papers”

            Was it the DNC convention that convinced you? hehe

        2. It is not illegal – or unethical – to use campaign funds on foreign products, or there would be no US flags at the conventions. It is illegal and unethical to receive foreign help for free – like the Manafort aided FB dumps or Wiki-leak dump of stolen emails – because the implied “consideration” will be owed and eventually paid with favors.

          1. With respect, this is an opinion and a gloss: “It is illegal and unethical to receive foreign help for free – like the Manafort aided FB dumps or Wiki-leak dump of stolen emails – because the implied “consideration” will be owed and eventually paid with favors.”

            It is in fact not illegal to receive foreign INFORMATION for free — nor for that matter to pay for foreign information, if one wasn’t a party to the original hack or illegal operation by which it was gained. We live in a 24/7 information world, and courts have consistently held that information cannot be “a thing of value” in the same sense as other sorts of campaign aid. That’s not least because any private citizen can go out and pay for foreign dirt, then turn around and freely give it to either the Trump or Clinton campaign.

            Your latter predicate — “will be owed and eventually paid with favors” only becomes “illegal” once some quid pro quo has occurred — and this involving a crime. You cannot make the inference that because Campaign A might benefit from Information B from Country C, it therefore follows under our First Amendment there is not a right to try to get that information — provided A is not party to any crime by which the information was gleaned.

            1. “It is in fact not illegal to receive foreign INFORMATION for free ”

              The 3-time Chair and current Commissioner of the Federal Election Committee, Ellen Weintraub, disagrees with you:
              See also EllenLWeintraub/status/1177335224662921226

              Information can indeed be a “thing of value”: “Federal courts have consistently applied an expansive reading to the term “thing of value” in a variety of statutory contexts to include goods and services that have tangible, intangible, or even merely perceived benefits, for example: promises, information, testimony, conjugal visits, and commercially worthless stock.” — see footnote 8 for the court rulings:

              You claim “courts have consistently held that information cannot be “a thing of value” in the same sense as other sorts of campaign aid,” but you don’t cite any court rulings.

              1. What precedent, with respect, has been allowed to stand that has a force of law on this question for presidential candidates?

                I’m no lawyer, but has SCOTUS weighed in in support of this view of speech? (Lower courts routinely come up with a pastiche on such questions.)

                What would forbid a newspaper from hiring a PI to go dig up dirt but not a campaign? How could a newspaper have greater First Amendment rights than a politician running for the presidency?

                After all, a third party could always pay for / expose the dirt. How would one prevent a third party from paying for information in a 24/7 Internet world — exposing that info to the benefit of Candidate A or Candidate B? Isn’t there an enormous practical problem here of enforcement?

                Say a liberal activist pays for a trove of Russian emails proving Trump was a pedophile and reaches out to the Biden campaign. They publish the trove 10 days out from election day. Would there not be deep strong First Amendment protections for that? How could that not be relevant political speech, near the core and pith of protected speech under our First Amendment. It would be of munificent relevance.

                I do not understand how such a legal proscription would ever have any practical enforcement…

                1. Again: you claimed “courts have consistently held that information cannot be “a thing of value” in the same sense as other sorts of campaign aid,” but you’ve yet to cite any court rulings.

                  1. I plead guilty here; you have convicted me. 🙂 I did speak in error, and got carried away with hyperbole, which happens from time to time.

                    Nevertheless on the broader architecture of the question, what controlling high-level SCOTUS precedent would permit viewing a presidential candidate’s paying for information as a “thing of value”, as it’s my general understanding First Amendment law has trended the other way toward more liberalism.

                    Turley or Dershowitz or many other First Amendment experts would be dubious on this reading. It does not seem practical or wise to criminalize speech in this way, and the research of dirt on one’s opponent is a never-ending past time of politics…

                    1. Here’s the law:

                      It hasn’t been ruled unconstitutional.

                      To be clear: section (a)(2) does not refer to a candidate paying for something and then declaring that payment on the required forms. Complaints have been filed by the Campaign Legal Center with the FEC against both the Clinton and Trump campaigns for failing to properly report payments they made.

                      Gore’s campaign, however, didn’t pay for the Bush campaign binder and promptly reported it to the FBI. Trump’s campaign **should have** reported the Russian offer of assistance, and Trump should not have asked for assistance from Russia (with Clinton) or China (with Biden) or Ukraine (with Biden) or anywhere else.

  19. Excellent article! The Senate report is above all bipartisan; and, therefore, a nothing-burger.

    1. “The Senate report is above all bipartisan; and, therefore, a nothing-burger.”

      Yeah, nothing really bad happened there, did it? And I am positive that if it was Obama who this action was taken against, you wouldn’t be sharing the same dismissive viewpoint.

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