For the four of you still following this part of The Discord Spygate saga, welcome to another exciting chapter! Yeah, I’m totally unsupervised here on the ‘Cord, but stay tuned for the thrilling climax when I push my friend and blogvesary off the top floor of the Nakatomi Plaza. First, I’m really happy he’s back! At least part-time. The pays still the same, but I love this guy. Yes, I’m already annoying him. Hang in there, Pokey, because Joe Friday’s coming! Yes, the Friday Report will be following the Durham Report to uncover more Obama wrongdoing in the fiction section of your local Barnes & Ignoble. Same Barr time, same Barr channel. For a recap, my friend doesn’t like how the whole Spygate thing started. Sorry, there’s no skip recap button. I’m working on it. I will admit the litany of FBI screwups on the surveillance of a sitting president, unintentional or otherwise, is stunning. My friend is finally coming around to his main point, namely, how wrongdoing begins and ends with Barack Hussien Obama. Why? Because he thinks there are too many mistakes to be a coincidence. Normally I’d agree, but have you tried to make some transactions lately or do something slightly complicated in what’s left of our country? Things were listing to port for many many years, but throw in some Drumpf and his cronies and—
[Michael Flynn-effect joke commuted, pardoned, and dismissed by the DOJ.]
To his credit, my friend does put the FBI’s surveillance blunders into a much more cohesive narrative than the likes of Sean Hannity, which isn’t a very high barr. The following exchange comes at the end of our comments from my last Spgate vs the Russia Probe feature, paraphrased and shortened for your mental health and pandemic needs:
Pokey: You Assume there is obvious wrongdoing. You assume that the investigators are justified. I ask for evidence, and you (and they) show none. The FISA warrant “irregularities” are a small part of this. If it was simply the 17 FISA irregularities that would be one thing.
Zano: Agreed, I do assume wrongdoing, which I attribute to active frontal lobe syndrome (AFLS). You don’t seem to understand how the FBI has been allowed to run rough-shod on all of their cases. They are very used to getting what they want and they’re not used to scrutiny. The threshold is very low after 9/11 to set up an initial inquiry such as Crossfire Hurricane, and they seem to suck at following their own protocols. Across.The.Board. That’s what Horowitz found, which is why he called them ‘findings’. Rosenstein calls these inquiries warrants—still easy peasy for our resident spooks.
“That which we call a bug by any other name.”
Pokey: You keep avoiding the entire Carter Page picture.
Zano: True, I haven’t seen it as the cinemas are still closed. But those who reviewed this case are comfortable that the initial steps of Crossfire Hurricane were properly predicated. Who am I to judge? Yes …they were okay with it too. Raw unverified data (the dossier) is a normal part of meeting this low threshold. Not news, just SOP for the SOBs. After 9/11 any phone conversation from a US citizen to points beyond can be and will be monitored, so some of this seems moot to me. Thanks for that. Withholding evidence is a crime, so no argument there.
Pokey: You gloss over the Clapper leak with “he’ll be questioned.” Oooh…that will show him, as if he just made a mistake; it didn’t have any connection to the FBI investigation or the FBI’s personal and political biases. Clapper’s actions demonstrate conspiracy. Clapper told Comey to go tell the newly elected president of the U.S. about the Dossier. Comey told the President about the Dossier and then reported back to Clapper who then spoke with (illegally leaked to) journalists about the President being briefed on the Dossier. McCabe was in the loop as he emailed higher-ups in the FBI… [etc and so forth, yada yada].
Zano: I am not glossing over James Clapper, in fact, I’d prefer a few thick coats of a premium lacquer. How many times do I have to say, I don’t know how far this goes up? Durham will get to the bottom and the top of this matter, but sadly for you and your ilk he’s not going to get to the POTUS of it. I don’t know the executive/intelligence dos and don’ts, and either does your president. But, thankfully, mine did and does. This happened under the Obama Administration, but any clear winks, nudges, orders, or head nods will not be found—vagueries, sure, but criminal specifics? No. As for the context again, anyone with a clue would be gravely concerned about your voting choices wandering into positions of power. Please get used to that. In a perfect world, Trump wouldn’t be allowed in the WH gift shop.
Pokey: You mentioned nothing about (paid by FBI) Stefan Halper’s meetings with Page prior to Crossfire Hurricane, the press having information on Page prior to the Crossfire Hurricane, and the CIA informing the FBI of Carter Page’s “good standing” working with CIA (I believe prior to the FISA warrant.) They knew the Dossier was politically paid for opposition research. The FBI knew all of this time and before the first FISA warrant.
[Then there’s more on the FBI hid evidence this, and withheld exculpatory evidence that.]
But Zano doesn’t care that investigators withheld exculpatory evidence from Papadapolous and Flynn; as far as he’s concerned these guys got what they deserved. I don’t hear Zano demanding that the FBI agents who committed the same “crimes” as Flynn and Papa (lying to investigators) get their deserved justice. No, he doesn’t because this isn’t about justice to Zano. It’s about politics.
Zano: The dossier was raw intelligence, which is permissible and every judge in this country understands the meaning of raw intelligence and its significance in opening cases, even if you don’t. Ongoing FISA process is the only clear wrongdoing and that’s where the criminal charges will begin and end, but, as always, you still have your relevance deflector on overload. So everything must be proven prior to opening an investigation? Are you familiar with the term investigation? You don’t have to investigate at all if you already have the goods, so that is not remotely the case for any federal case. Reminds me of this bit.
And you mention surveillance on Page before Crossfire Hurricane. What was that one called? How about sticking with the Stones references: Operation Big Brother’s Little Helper, or Emotional Rescue? Too disco? Hey, I would sign that pre-investigation FISA warrant, please forward. My only question, and one you refuse to answer, is this: why are criminals allowed to operate openly in this country? Why did the Feds only care when a crime boss moved into the WH? I have the answer, of course, as I’ve been studying vulture capitalism and late-stage capitalism here on the ‘Cord for many years.
Oh, and we should probably book an opening cover band like Operation: Can’t You Hear Me Knocking? I don’t know the details of this premature surveilliation of Carter Page, and either do you (See: future Durham report). You’re so impatient …and your president should be so inpatient …kidding, you can’t fix axis two, statistically they end up in correctional facilities, or Operation: You Get What You Need. Here’s another prediction, the Durham Report will be released right before Labor Day, the closest to the election still deemed appropriate.
Pokey: So of the 10,000 texts between Agent Strzok and Page, I only provided a few texts that supported my case, you Democrats (Soviets) always turn it around so that the burden of proof is on the accused. OK, I’ll accept the burden of proof. You’re right. There are only a few texts that talk about an “insurance policy” and “we’ll stop him,” and “there’s no big there there.” Show me one that suggests genuine suspicion, one out of 10,000!
Zano: I have not read all 10,000 of the Strzok-Page texts …but Russia, if you’re listening… Actually, I’m waiting for the Durham Rock Opera version. The details of FBI suspicions will be embarrassing to Tweet Tower, so we will not hear the very real concerns from our agents until well after the election. Barr will protect any and all damaging information. He is the fixer, and he’s doing an amazing job when one considers how fast this president breaks stuff. He’s like if Trump’s old protector-lawyer, Roy Cohn, were exposed to mega doses of gamma rays.
[Green energy joke removed by Marvel Comics.]
These very real and pervasive concerns the FBI had will come out, someday, because they will be talking about the fallout and the open criminality of this administration for years to Comey. But those left at FBI headquarters will either fall in line, or fall on your swords. Barr and Trump are the new sheriffs in town.
[Any Blazing Saddles bit I could possibly think would be nixed by the editor. God, I hate liberals too.]
Pokey: You wanted those FBI abuses of power to succeed; you’re still actively working to the detriment of Trump’s presidency. That’s why this conversation has not essentially changed regardless of how many facts prove conspiratorial abuse of power; cause deep down, you don’t care.
Zano: You still fail to understand the context of a flailing and failing nation, essentially you’re saying is this: if people meet with Russian spies and lie about these meetings, we should avoid starting these inquiries? We can listen to anyone at any time in 2016, but if there’s clearly suspicious activity that could undermine our national security, let’s pull off the headphones and back the nondescript van away slowly? Really? While I opposed the Patriot Act and the subsequent expansion of NSA, you were silent. Which is good, because otherwise, they would have heard you.
“As for Spygate, listening to people who lie about meeting with Russian spies goes beyond the original intent of this massive intelligence overreach that I supported at the time.”
—Senator John Q. Republican
Pokey: No, you don’t care about the unfairness in the case of Papadopolous; exculpatory evidence? Alexander Downer lied? Who cares? Papadopolous jail time serves the Trump-Russia collusion narrative, so good news he went to jail regardless of the facts. They set up Flynn, held back exculpatory evidence? He deserved it; he said something bad about Obama and worked for Trump? And deep down, you don’t care about the truth of Trump-Russia. You only care about ongoing resistance and that Trump must be stopped at any cost. The Trump-Russia narrative serves that end, so you assume it, you require it, you believe it with all your soul, and then you place every bit of the burden of proof (if Manafort and Stone were to testify….) on the accused. And you don’t like Barr because he told the truth.
Zano: Flynn was fired for lying to Pence and you speak of fairness in these proceedings with a straight face? I don’t get to obstruct justice, I don’t get promise my co-conspirators that if they don’t squeal, I’ll pardon them. I don’t get to change all the judges in any of my personal cases to the Honorable Shag, Dave Pa, or the Honorable Pierce X. Winslow?
Tell ya what, let’s just pick one of Trump’s crimes and arrest the oaf on the merits. He’s a national security menace and Barr will go down as the most dangerous character in recent memory. I care very much about Russian collusion, because the day he walked into the oval office I predicted doom: our secrets gone, our alliances dead, any meaningful policy unraveled, foreign successes changed to foreign entanglements, and I said on day one that any of his interactions would range from impeachable to indictable. This has since been confirmed by several of his “best people.” My spidey senses are working. Are yours?
And Trump was talking to Russian spies, unsupervised, five minutes into his tenor. If we were spying, why didn’t we get that transcript? All we know is what Moscow told us occurred at that meeting. And where’s the Helsinki transcript? It’s not that they spied, it’s that they did this so incompetently (See: Horowitz Report). And, yes, I want to be on the right side of history. I want to tell my kids I resisted the coming …uh, crossfire hurricane.
And I believe “in my soul” that Trump colluded, because he colluded, or at the very least attempted to. I believe his friends lied to protect him. Barr saved one and Trump saved another, but what of Manafort? Can he still spill the beans?
I believe Trump blatantly obstructed justice because he blatantly obstructed justice. And I believe he is compromised because he’s comprised. To how many countries and how deeply remains to be seen. My guess, at least three and one will reach a Spinal Tapian 11, because our president—I mean, theirs—goes to 11. These, as with all my predictions, are just a matter of doing time.
Where we agree, and I have never disagreed, is on intelligence community consequences for those who purposely misled judges during the FISA process or lied under oath or any of those leaks that aren’t business as usual. Or anyone found to have committed clear wrongdoing, accidental, politically related or otherwise, no matter how far up the food chain. Find one sentence from our debates that suggests otherwise? The Feds should be held to their own strict standards, period. Those standards were reduced, of course, mainly thanks to the republican menace, but there’s still clear wrongdoing here. If and when Durham finds criminal charges then go forth and …well, I was going to say multiply, but with your president let’s stick with addition.