Author Topic: Russia and US politics  (Read 1618 times)

DonaldD

  • Member
  • All Members
    • View Profile
Re: Russia and US politics
« Reply #50 on: October 30, 2017, 04:11:34 PM »
Neither of which, BTW, addresses whether the chicken came first, or the egg.

LetterRip

  • Member
  • All Members
    • View Profile
Re: Russia and US politics
« Reply #51 on: October 30, 2017, 10:04:49 PM »

LetterRip

  • Member
  • All Members
    • View Profile
Re: Russia and US politics
« Reply #52 on: October 31, 2017, 02:29:37 AM »
Also apparently Papadopoulos plead guilty October 5th, and has been acting as a 'proactive cooperator' since July,

Quote
“The term ‘proactive cooperation’ is generally understood to mean that the defendant will engage in some type of undercover work on behalf of the Government, such as wearing a wire and/or meeting face to face with persons suspected of involvement in criminal activity.”

http://www.theblaze.com/news/2017/10/30/legal-expert-suggests-papadopoulos-may-have-worn-a-wire-for-months-in-mueller-probe/

One thing I was wondering about on Friday, was if the announcement at that time was to induce people to make panicked phone calls, as a tool to try and get additional evidence via wiretaps.  However with Papadopoulos cooperating, that opens the possibility that he could have made calls this weekend to 'get assurances'.

Ah well, enough speculation, I suppose we shall see soon enough.
« Last Edit: October 31, 2017, 02:32:04 AM by LetterRip »

Greg Davidson

  • Member
  • All Members
    • View Profile
Re: Russia and US politics
« Reply #53 on: October 31, 2017, 10:31:23 AM »
The day that Papadopoulos committed a crime by lying to the FBI about Trump Campaign ties to the Russians was the same day when President Trump invited Comey to dinner and asked him to pledge his loyalty.

LetterRip

  • Member
  • All Members
    • View Profile
Re: Russia and US politics
« Reply #54 on: November 03, 2017, 02:39:22 AM »
Looks like Sessions is suddenly remembering that he knew about Papadopoulos' meeting with the Russians now that the FBI has testimony about it from Papadopoulos, which Sessions seems to have forgotten during his testimony before Congress.

http://www.cnn.com/2017/11/02/politics/jeff-sessions-congress-russia-trump-campaign/index.html

Wayward Son

  • Member
  • All Members
    • View Profile
Re: Russia and US politics
« Reply #55 on: November 15, 2017, 05:52:32 PM »
An interesting article from The Guardian, giving the background of Christopher Steele and the timeline of the Trump dossier.

Wayward Son

  • Member
  • All Members
    • View Profile
Re: Russia and US politics
« Reply #56 on: December 01, 2017, 01:43:21 PM »
And another domino falls: Flynn pleads guilty to lying to the FBI, the same thing that Papadopoulos plead guilty to back in October.

And this is a big domino (or at least bigger than any one before).  FiveThirtyEight gives four reasons why, the most important of which is that he is almost doubtlessly cooperating with the investigation.  (Why else would he get such a minor charge as lying to the FBI? ;) )

More to come! :)

Fenring

  • Member
  • All Members
    • View Profile
Re: Russia and US politics
« Reply #57 on: December 01, 2017, 01:54:56 PM »
I doubt this is a result of 'justice being done'. It's all politics, regardless of what he did or didn't do. If "lying to the FBI" was really a serious matter then surely Democrats far and wide would have been calling for Hillary's arrest after the testimony she gave them about her servers. It may feel good for 'the other side' to get theirs when caught (assuming that's what's happening), but the general degradation of truth in favor of beating one's political opponents harms everyone in the end. There are no winners in a fragmented, feuding society. I'm not trying to talk about Hillary again, but only to mention that one should be judicious when feeling gleeful of the 'bad guys' getting what they deserve when that same vehemence goes both ways. Should it be any surprise that partisan inability to communicate is getting worse rather than better?

yossarian22c

  • Member
  • All Members
    • View Profile
Re: Russia and US politics
« Reply #58 on: December 01, 2017, 02:30:32 PM »
If Flynn did nothing other than lie to the FBI the charge is reasonably construed as "politically motivated." However if this was the charge he pled guilty to as part of a plea deal to avoid more serious charges then it is justice.  I believe the latter, if Muller had wanted to throw the book at him Flynn probably would have been charged with the foreign agent registration violation as well. That was one of the charges against Paul Manafort.

It seems likely at this point Flynn is co-operating with the special council.

TheDrake

  • All Members
    • View Profile
Re: Russia and US politics
« Reply #59 on: December 01, 2017, 02:33:11 PM »
Double standards go both ways.

Quote
At a rally in Manchester, New Hampshire, on the day of the FBI director’s surprising announcement, Trump claimed that “this is bigger than Watergate in my opinion,” referring of course to the scandal that led to the resignation of President Richard Nixon and the convictions of numerous others.

So if he felt like that about Hillary's lies, he must be infuriated about the people in his own administration doing it.

Fenring

  • Member
  • All Members
    • View Profile
Re: Russia and US politics
« Reply #60 on: December 01, 2017, 03:14:25 PM »
It seems likely at this point Flynn is co-operating with the special council.

Perhaps so. But realistically, what did he really do that's so bad? I don't believe for a minute that he or Trump were 'conspiring with Russia', which then leaves a few options for real wrongdoing. One could be simply lying to the FBI because they're stupid and thought it wouldn't matter, and another could be that they were trying to use tricks to win an election, such as using opportunities to get dirt on their opponents from questionable or even nefarious sources. Maybe they chatted with Russians on a conversational level, maybe they did so in a strategizing capacity. Are there other possibilities for what the 'terrible thing' is that he'd done? I agree that it makes sense to suggest he's accepted this as a plea bargain, but what's the actual thing they've got on him? I hope it isn't a bunch of legal technicalities that can technically be used against him but that in reality are attempts to catch non-lawyers in hoops they didn't know they had to jump through. It's no excuse to be ignorant of these things when in office, but on the other hand I don't think it's good to discourage anyone except lawyers from becoming high-level politicians. We shouldn't be subjecting VIP's to intense scrutiny on trivial breaches of the law when their intentions are ok. So that's what I'm interested to try to glean from all this: were his intentions basically ok, or did they really intend to knowingly do illegal things to win?

I think a big distinction needs to be made in general between trying to expose corruption, collusion, and illegal conspiracy, versus trying to catch people up in details they were unaware of while trying to do their jobs. Based on the current news reports it looks like he knows they've got him on something, but I hope it's something serious rather than "ha! we got enough little details to nail you with, so you'd better spill the beans." If he really did do something untoward I'll be as happy as anyone to see justice done, as long as that's what it really is.

NobleHunter

  • Member
  • All Members
    • View Profile
Re: Russia and US politics
« Reply #61 on: December 01, 2017, 03:28:20 PM »
Flynn definitely seems to have been involved with foreign governments though not necessarily for Trump's advantage in the election.

Wayward Son

  • Member
  • All Members
    • View Profile
Re: Russia and US politics
« Reply #62 on: December 01, 2017, 03:55:39 PM »
It's seem fairly certain that Flynn did not plead guilty to the worst charge, so they must have gotten him dead-for-rights on something pretty serious for him to plea deal as he did.  (If he didn't deal, I would expect the government would have gone after him for the higher charge.)

So for now, assume he did something pretty bad.

Also assume that he has given information on people higher-up that leads to things that are pretty bad, too.  Otherwise, they wouldn't have bothered to plea-deal with him.

We'll see how it play out.  My guess is that it will end before it reaches Trump, but not before it reaches his cabinet.  (Much like Contra-gate back in the 80's.)  But this isn't the end of it.  And lying to the FBI will be the least of the charges.

Crunch

  • All Members
    • View Profile
Re: Russia and US politics
« Reply #63 on: December 01, 2017, 04:43:06 PM »
It seems likely at this point Flynn is co-operating with the special council.

Perhaps so. But realistically, what did he really do that's so bad? I don't believe for a minute that he or Trump were 'conspiring with Russia', which then leaves a few options for real wrongdoing. One could be simply lying to the FBI because they're stupid and thought it wouldn't matter, and another could be that they were trying to use tricks to win an election, such as using opportunities to get dirt on their opponents from questionable or even nefarious sources. Maybe they chatted with Russians on a conversational level, maybe they did so in a strategizing capacity. Are there other possibilities for what the 'terrible thing' is that he'd done?

For what it's worth, I found this analysis:
Quote
[A]s I explained in connection with George Papadopoulos (who also pled guilty in Mueller’s investigation for lying to the FBI), when a prosecutor has a cooperator who was an accomplice in a major criminal scheme, the cooperator is made to plead guilty to the scheme. This is critical because it proves the existence of the scheme.

In his guilty-plea allocution (the part of a plea proceeding in which the defendant admits what he did that makes him guilty), the accomplice explains the scheme and the actions taken by himself and his co-conspirators to carry it out. This goes a long way toward proving the case against all of the subjects of the investigation.

That is not happening in Flynn’s situation. Instead, like Papadopoulos, he is being permitted to plead guilty to a mere process crime. A breaking report from ABC News indicates that Flynn is prepared to testify that Trump directed him to make contact with the Russians — initially to lay the groundwork for mutual efforts against ISIS in Syria. That, however, is exactly the sort of thing the incoming national-security adviser is supposed to do in a transition phase between administrations. If it were part of the basis for a “collusion” case arising out of Russia’s election meddling, then Flynn would not be pleading guilty to a process crime — he’d be pleading guilty to an espionage conspiracy.

So maybe it's just a small time "We gotta show something for all this effort" deal since Flynn was pretty much doing the job you'd expect him to do at that time:
Quote
Understand: If Flynn’s conversations with the Russian ambassador had evinced the existence of a quid pro quo collusion arrangement — that the Trump administration would ease or eliminate sanctions on Russia as a payback for Russia’s cyber-espionage against the Hillary Clinton campaign and the Democratic party — it would have been completely appropriate, even urgently necessary, for the Obama Justice Department to investigate Flynn. But if that had happened, Mueller would not be permitting Flynn to settle the case with a single count of lying to FBI agents. Instead, we would be looking at a major conspiracy indictment, and Flynn would be made to plead to far more serious offenses if he wanted a deal — cooperation in exchange for sentencing leniency.

Wayward Son

  • Member
  • All Members
    • View Profile
Re: Russia and US politics
« Reply #64 on: December 01, 2017, 04:55:02 PM »
That explanation is certainly plausible, Crunch, except for one thing:  I don't believe Mueller would charge someone just to "show something for all this effort."

He is someone with long-time experience in the FBI, through several administrations.  He is beholden to neither side (and, IIRC, has voted Republican).  He doesn't strike me as a guy who would slap a minor charge on someone just to justify a job he didn't ask for and probably would have rather not taken.  Especially if what Flynn had done was "exactly the sort of thing the incoming national-security adviser is supposed to do."

But, time will tell if this is the last domino or not.

NobleHunter

  • Member
  • All Members
    • View Profile
Re: Russia and US politics
« Reply #65 on: December 01, 2017, 05:08:20 PM »
As having something to show for it, finding nothing more significant than Flynn and the others would be as significant a result as impeachment. Being able to say with certainty that a candidate for President did not collude with Russia matters right now.

Crunch

  • All Members
    • View Profile
Re: Russia and US politics
« Reply #66 on: December 01, 2017, 05:44:39 PM »
As having something to show for it, finding nothing more significant than Flynn and the others would be as significant a result as impeachment. Being able to say with certainty that a candidate for President did not collude with Russia matters right now.
Precisely why FusionGPS and Clinton’s as well as Obama’s ties to it are important to investigate

Wayward Son

  • Member
  • All Members
    • View Profile
Re: Russia and US politics
« Reply #67 on: December 01, 2017, 06:27:58 PM »
So what happens if Trump decides to fire Mueller this weekend?  ;)

DonaldD

  • Member
  • All Members
    • View Profile
Re: Russia and US politics
« Reply #68 on: December 01, 2017, 07:11:02 PM »
Quote
Precisely why FusionGPS and Clinton’s as well as Obama’s ties to it are important to investigate
It's interesting how wide the political divide is, and how it so dramatically affects the ability to analyze information.  There is a certain segment of the populace that looks at the information available, and sees absolutely nothing wrong with either the Steele dossier, how it was funded, why FusionGPS was hired, nor any nefarious links between FusionGPS and the Clintons.  Then there's another segment of the populace that takes it as a given that Hillary Clinton should go to jail because of her links to the company.

TheDrake

  • All Members
    • View Profile
Re: Russia and US politics
« Reply #69 on: December 01, 2017, 07:21:55 PM »
Quote
I hope it isn't a bunch of legal technicalities that can technically be used against him but that in reality are attempts to catch non-lawyers in hoops they didn't know they had to jump through. It's no excuse to be ignorant of these things when in office, but on the other hand I don't think it's good to discourage anyone except lawyers from becoming high-level politicians

You don't have to be a lawyer to be honest and transparent, do you? When they ask "did you meet a Russian" and you're thinking "I don't think that's important enough to mention" - mention it anyway and say "I don't think this is really important but, yes".

If you think there's a conflict somehow, or an obligation to secrecy, you say "I need to consult with counsel".

CEOs do this all the time. They are rarely lawyers themselves, they just have access to them and know when they need them.

Fenring

  • Member
  • All Members
    • View Profile
Re: Russia and US politics
« Reply #70 on: December 01, 2017, 08:02:28 PM »
Drake,

My point is the acts themselves, rather than the lawyerly explanations, can be what are used against you. So you get together with some Russians to play a game of Risk one day (Ukraine is weak!) and later on, the midst of a Russian conspiracy narrative, you're asked point blank "did you meet with the Russians!?" and you think to yourself, "oh boy, I mean I did have a gaming session with them but I didn't 'meet with them' meet with them, so I'll say no, because if I say yes it sounds incriminating and they'll never believe it was to play a board game." So you foolishly say no and get caught, but in reality the real mistake was thinking that playing Risk could ever have a positive outcome. It would have required a lawyer's mind to realize in advance to keep distance from the Russians even in otherwise innocent interactions. I'm not pushing this as the truth of what happened, but just giving of an example of how people who don't think in terms of legal technicalities could get caught looking stupid.

DJQuag

  • Member
  • All Members
    • View Profile
Re: Russia and US politics
« Reply #71 on: December 01, 2017, 11:06:35 PM »
It seems likely at this point Flynn is co-operating with the special council.

Perhaps so. But realistically, what did he really do that's so bad? I don't believe for a minute that he or Trump were 'conspiring with Russia',

I find this interesting. Given what we've seen and know about Trump - that he has a massive ego, a fear of public failure, and a willingness to break rules both written and unwritten - what makes you so sure he wouldn't have sent a couple guys to speak with the Russians? Saying something along the line of, "We both hate her, I want to win, do you have anything that could help me out?"

To say you're unsure is one thing, but you seem convinced that it couldn't have happened.

Fenring

  • Member
  • All Members
    • View Profile
Re: Russia and US politics
« Reply #72 on: December 02, 2017, 01:11:59 PM »
I find this interesting. Given what we've seen and know about Trump - that he has a massive ego, a fear of public failure, and a willingness to break rules both written and unwritten - what makes you so sure he wouldn't have sent a couple guys to speak with the Russians? Saying something along the line of, "We both hate her, I want to win, do you have anything that could help me out?"

To say you're unsure is one thing, but you seem convinced that it couldn't have happened.

I guess at this point it would have been more helpful to specify what I meant since as you point out there's an entire spectrum of things that could have happened. At one end would be the "Trump and Putin made secret pact for quid pro quo in order to win Trump the election", and at the other end would be "Russia took steps to hurt Hillary's election because they hated her." I don't question that Russia was active during the election, but the issue in question is to what extent Trump would have sold out America or violated American laws in order to gain Russian favors. Your phrasing is somewhere in the middle, and I do think your version of it might be plausible, insofar as Trump could have informally chatted with Putin and said "Hey man, here's your chance to hit her where it hurts, I won't get in your way".

Putting aside the collusion and conspiracy angle, though, Trump's argument during the primaries and then in the general was that the U.S. needed a dealmaker in officer who could get things done, and in terms of foreign policy he was the only Republican candidate to expressly say he believed in achieving a beneficial dialogue with Putin. I was highly in favor of him on this topic at the time, and so there's something to discuss there in terms of what would actually be good for the country. Closed door conspiracies involving rigging an election would be extremely bad if that happened, whereas open and transparent dialogue with Russia for the common good of both would be outstanding and a milestone in diplomacy. So the difference there really lies in whether the deals made are legal, and on the up-and-up.

Fenring

  • Member
  • All Members
    • View Profile
Re: Russia and US politics
« Reply #73 on: December 02, 2017, 07:24:03 PM »
Uh-huh:

https://www.cnbc.com/2017/12/01/abc-news-issues-corrects-bombshell-michael-flynn-report.html

Quote
Earlier in the day, ABC cited an unnamed source saying Flynn was prepared to testify that he made overtures to the Russian ambassador at Trump's behest, while the heated presidential contest was underway.

Yet by Friday evening, the network had backtracked, saying Flynn would likely state that Trump's instructions occurred after the election. That distinction effectively altered the timeline and lessened the significance of the discussions — which according to ABC's report were meant to galvanize U.S.-Russian efforts to fight ISIS in Syria.

What a fiasco. It's still true that Flynn is pleading guilty to something or other. But the context of the 'Russian collusion' has been retracted from being "they talked to the Russians during the campaign" and is now "they talked to the Russians after Trump won. By the way, we already knew that, it isn't even news at all. The only thing that's news is that Flynn is being charged for something, although as we discussed above I don't know what they've really got over him. But the whole Russian conspiracy angle about the legitimacy of the election is bunk (in context of this story) as Trump had already won when this took place.

EDIT - I'd like to just add: it appears that on the face of the the whole issue is exactly what was brought up months ago, which is that Trump had him to talk to Russia after winning in order to discuss how to stop ISIS, which was an entirely legitimate conversation to have. If Flynn lied about it and is now getting in trouble for it then he's an idiot, but again, if that's all it is then this is a whole lot of nothing. I hope there's more to it than that.
« Last Edit: December 02, 2017, 07:26:49 PM by Fenring »

LetterRip

  • Member
  • All Members
    • View Profile
Re: Russia and US politics
« Reply #74 on: December 02, 2017, 10:51:14 PM »
Fenring,

We know that Mannafort, Trump Jr., and Kushner met with a Russian government agent to get dirt on Clinton, and that Trump Sr. tweeted during that time window that he would soon have dirt on Clinton to announce.  That they were told her contact with them was on behalf of the Russian government.  We know that Kushner and Trump Jr. lied about the nature of the meeting repeatedly once it was discovered that it occurred.  That Kushner likely committed a felony when he failed to disclose it on his foreign contact disclosure form for his security clearance.

So there is definitely stuff beyond the post election contact.

Also some of the actions taken by Flynn during his contact, that we know about. likely violated the Logan act.
« Last Edit: December 02, 2017, 11:02:09 PM by LetterRip »

LetterRip

  • Member
  • All Members
    • View Profile
Re: Russia and US politics
« Reply #75 on: December 02, 2017, 11:03:11 PM »
Fenring,

We know that Mannafort, Trump Jr., and Kushner met with a Russian government agent to get dirt on Clinton, and that Trump Sr. tweeted during that time window that he would soon have dirt on Clinton to announce.  That they were told the agents contact with them was on behalf of the Russian government.  We know that Kushner and Trump Jr. lied about the nature of the meeting repeatedly once it was discovered that it occurred.  That Kushner likely committed a felony when he failed to disclose it on his foreign contact disclosure form for his security clearance.

So there is definitely stuff beyond the post election contact.

Also some of the actions taken by Flynn during his contact, that we know about. likely violated the Logan Act, and similarly that Trump made tweets during that time related to the Logan Act violations.

yossarian22c

  • Member
  • All Members
    • View Profile
Re: Russia and US politics
« Reply #76 on: December 02, 2017, 11:03:37 PM »
That explanation is certainly plausible, Crunch, except for one thing:  I don't believe Mueller would charge someone just to "show something for all this effort."

Plus he already has the more serious charges against Manafort and Gates to "show for all the effort." The charges here with the immediate guilty plea scream co-operating witness. The only question is who Flynn's testimony is going to implicate. My money is on Jared Kushner being the next one charged, it will be interesting to see if Trump breaks out his pardon pen to save his son-in-law.

Seriati

  • Member
  • All Members
    • View Profile
Re: Russia and US politics
« Reply #77 on: December 04, 2017, 10:44:31 AM »
[It's interesting how wide the political divide is, and how it so dramatically affects the ability to analyze information.  There is a certain segment of the populace that looks at the information available, and sees absolutely nothing wrong with either the Steele dossier, how it was funded, why FusionGPS was hired, nor any nefarious links between FusionGPS and the Clintons.  Then there's another segment of the populace that takes it as a given that Hillary Clinton should go to jail because of her links to the company.

I think it's interesting that there is a segment of the population that believes their is nothing wrong with Clinton paying a foreign agent, on a undisclosed basis, to produce a dossier for political gain that was actually linked to media, while screaming about Russian collusion by Trump based on the idea that the Trump campaign talked to a foreign agent (no evidence of payment), on an undisclosed basis, for political gain that has never been identified (what exactly did the Russian's provide the Trump campaign again)?  Maybe I'm missing it, but the idea that the proven incidence of paying a foreign agent for political benefit, is less serious than the unproven (and probably fictitious) one has me baffled.

Seriati

  • Member
  • All Members
    • View Profile
Re: Russia and US politics
« Reply #78 on: December 04, 2017, 10:55:52 AM »
Fenring,

We know that Mannafort, Trump Jr., and Kushner met with a Russian government agent to get dirt on Clinton,....

Lol.  You don't know that.  You want that to be true.  All you know is that they took a meeting with a Russian lawyer where they thought they would get dirt and it turned out to be about the Magnitsky Act.  Or do you have more evidence than anyone else.

To my knowledge, the lawyer in question has been connected with many governmental and nongovernmental clients, on what basis did you establish that she was acting on behalf of the government of Russia?

Given you think this is significant, why do you then not think its significant that Fusion GPS met with her before and after said meeting (while taking money from the Democratic campaign).  If the conversation is illegal, how is what could easily be construed as paying to arrange or influence it not be?

Quote
That Kushner likely committed a felony when he failed to disclose it on his foreign contact disclosure form for his security clearance.

I've refuted this at least 3 times on this site.  There aren't that many threads here these days.

You seem to build in a lot of assumptions and disproven facts into your litany.  I suggest taking a big step back and rethinking things.  Honestly, Fenring hit on one of the big points, after the election, it was perfectly appropriate for the incoming Administration to be reaching out to foreign governments, and in fact it was Flynn's job to do so.  It's something Obama's administration did, and both Presidents Bush as well as President Clinton.

TheDrake

  • All Members
    • View Profile
Re: Russia and US politics
« Reply #79 on: December 04, 2017, 10:57:24 AM »
I think it's interesting that there is a segment of the population that believes their is nothing wrong with Clinton paying a foreign agent, on a undisclosed basis, to produce a dossier for political gain that was actually linked to media, while screaming about Russian collusion by Trump based on the idea that the Trump campaign talked to a foreign agent (no evidence of payment), on an undisclosed basis, for political gain that has never been identified (what exactly did the Russian's provide the Trump campaign again)?  Maybe I'm missing it, but the idea that the proven incidence of paying a foreign agent for political benefit, is less serious than the unproven (and probably fictitious) one has me baffled.

Clinton is a lot better at this stuff and it has material differences - That's my understanding. They had double blinds and shells all over the place. They met with Fusion who then retained the agent. But "they" in this case wasn't Chelsea's husband, it was a DNC person who didn't officially work for the campaign at all. They certainly never lied about meetings they weren't party to. And even though Steele was a former British intelligence officer, he wasn't lobbying for policy change - since once again he never met anybody in the campaign. Unlike the lawyer Jared met with, who appears to have had a primary objective of discussing the Magnitsky act.

Am I missing something here?

Seriati

  • Member
  • All Members
    • View Profile
Re: Russia and US politics
« Reply #80 on: December 04, 2017, 11:31:33 AM »
Yes, you're missing that talking about the Magnistsky Act isn't illegal.  The "crime" in question here is an election law violation that makes it illegal for campaigns to pay any non-citizen for anything beneficial.  That's literally violated by paying Steele, even indirectly, and would only be implicated if you could establish some kind of offer of payment between Trump and the Russian lawyer.

The media is not helping this, they keep acting like legal behaviors are illegal, and that legitimate contacts are evidence of a crime.  It's never been illegal to talk to Russian people, not even if they are Russian agents.

yossarian22c

  • Member
  • All Members
    • View Profile
Re: Russia and US politics
« Reply #81 on: December 04, 2017, 11:32:09 AM »
[It's interesting how wide the political divide is, and how it so dramatically affects the ability to analyze information.  There is a certain segment of the populace that looks at the information available, and sees absolutely nothing wrong with either the Steele dossier, how it was funded, why FusionGPS was hired, nor any nefarious links between FusionGPS and the Clintons.  Then there's another segment of the populace that takes it as a given that Hillary Clinton should go to jail because of her links to the company.

I think it's interesting that there is a segment of the population that believes their is nothing wrong with Clinton paying a foreign agent, on a undisclosed basis, to produce a dossier for political gain that was actually linked to media, while screaming about Russian collusion by Trump based on the idea that the Trump campaign talked to a foreign agent (no evidence of payment), on an undisclosed basis, for political gain that has never been identified (what exactly did the Russian's provide the Trump campaign again)?  Maybe I'm missing it, but the idea that the proven incidence of paying a foreign agent for political benefit, is less serious than the unproven (and probably fictitious) one has me baffled.

Partially the Clinton's are much more effective at using cut-outs and creating plausible deniability. Clinton didn't pay Steele, a lawyer who worked for Clinton payed Fusion GPS (a DC op research firm), who payed Steele. So there are 3 degrees of separation between Clinton and a foreign national. If Clinton cut-outs had paid the Russian intelligence to hack Trump and/or the RNC. Or even if Bill had been taking secret meetings with Steele it would look a lot worse than what happened.

In short it is believable that Clinton didn't know that the person that Fusion GPS was paying to do research wasn't an American.

Also I don't remember any news of the dossier coming out before the election. Based on my recollection the dossier was compiled then handed over to the FBI and news of its existence didn't come out until after the election.  Giving additional credibility to separation from the Clinton campaign, since they didn't try to use all of the info in it before the election.

On another note it is more believable that an agent working for money, not directed by their government doesn't have ulterior foreign policy objectives they want in exchange for their help. Also Britain is an ally while Russia is an adversary, those different relationships color the perceptions of the interactions. Also there is no evidence the UK tried to manipulate voters or hack election software. All of this makes the Clinton campaign's relationship with Steele less troubling than the Trump's campaign's relationship with Russia.

Seriati

  • Member
  • All Members
    • View Profile
Re: Russia and US politics
« Reply #82 on: December 05, 2017, 08:44:14 PM »
So, according to Fox, Peter Strzok of the FBI, is a single agent, who changed the description of Clinton's conduct in the email from probe from "gross negligence" to "extremely  careless" (they mean the same thing, but the first is in the statute that she violated and would have literally been stating that she violated it, while the later lets Comey claim no reasonable prosecutor would take the case), signed off on the start of the Russian investigation, and participated in the Mueller probe (including overseeing Flynn's interrogation).  Now its come to light that he was dismissed from the Mueller probe for partizan dislike of Trump (implied, but not clear that he's rabidly partisan).

Fox has multiple top stories.  CNN has no headlines that name him, and the only way you can easily find him on their web page is with a search (meanwhile they have as their top headline some form of click bait to try and imply guilt on behalf of Pence).  NY Times also covered it (over the weekend) with no headlines naming him, and today seems to feel a special need for wall to wall Weinstein coverage (wonder why?  distract, distract, distract).

Less you think it was a completely random reason it's on Fox, the FBI and the DOJ are looking like they are going to face contempt of congress charges in connection with they previous refusal to provide information related to the dismissal of Strzok from Mueller's probe, and there were developments in that field today.  Of course if you rely on CNN for your news, you may miss important real news like that.
« Last Edit: December 05, 2017, 08:46:38 PM by Seriati »

D.W.

  • Member
  • All Members
    • View Profile
Re: Russia and US politics
« Reply #83 on: December 06, 2017, 11:32:37 AM »
Just a quick aside:  Isn't it a GOOD thing if they are dropping people for partisan activity / speech?  Wouldn't it be a big deal if they found out about this and did nothing? 

I get that Fox would want to raise this story as a special treat to a partisan base.  "See, we KNEW it was a witch hunt!" but that's not the story.  The story is they are trying to remain impartial and may even be exercising an excess of caution on that front due to the seriousness of the investigation.

Which, is not much of a story anyway, unless you are prone to believe the FBI isn't impartial...  Which makes it a story that caters to a specific type of network.

Seriati

  • Member
  • All Members
    • View Profile
Re: Russia and US politics
« Reply #84 on: December 06, 2017, 03:00:44 PM »
Just a quick aside:  Isn't it a GOOD thing if they are dropping people for partisan activity / speech?  Wouldn't it be a big deal if they found out about this and did nothing?

If this was the start of the story yes, however, it's not the start.  Mueller assembled what's widely known to be a partisan team filled with Clinton donors, which is going to color any results they get.

When you consider that Sessions had to recuse himself from anything to do with Russia over his tangential relationship to the campaign, how exactly is Mueller not required to recuse himself when apparently a primary part of his investigation is based on what happened to his former protege and  friend Comey? 

Quote
I get that Fox would want to raise this story as a special treat to a partisan base.  "See, we KNEW it was a witch hunt!" but that's not the story.  The story is they are trying to remain impartial and may even be exercising an excess of caution on that front due to the seriousness of the investigation.

Maybe, or the story is that they are not at all impartial and smacked down on provable examples of bias that got leaked.  Keep in mind they have been stonewalling Congress on why Strzok was removed from the team.

Quote
Which, is not much of a story anyway, unless you are prone to believe the FBI isn't impartial...  Which makes it a story that caters to a specific type of network.

I am prone to believe that many career bureucrats are not impartial.  I suspect many FBI agents are completely impartial, I'm just not so sure about their leadership.

Crunch

  • All Members
    • View Profile
Re: Russia and US politics
« Reply #85 on: December 06, 2017, 03:16:18 PM »
Just a quick aside:  Isn't it a GOOD thing if they are dropping people for partisan activity / speech?  Wouldn't it be a big deal if they found out about this and did nothing? 

Actually, they did do nothing. Peter Strzok was not sent packing until will after he'd already helped cover for Hillary and her email server and the damage was done to Flynn - and it may actually compromise the case against Flynn, from a former prosecutor and judge:
Quote
Did the prosecution tell Flynn’s lawyer that their main witness against him was removed for bias? Since Strzok led the interview and his testimony would be needed to establish untruthfulness, he is a critical witness not just a prosecutor. If not disclosed, would this not be a Giglio violation? This is the kind of misconduct that can get a case dismissed and a lawyer disbarred. It is a Constitutional violation. This has bothered me since I heard about it.

There are more people than Peter Strzok who shared his animosity toward the President:
Quote
Jeannie Rhee, who was hired by Mueller last summer to work on the probe, was the personal attorney of Ben Rhodes and also represented the Clinton Foundation...

Do you think Mueller just didn't know who she was or that she was connected to the Clinton's? Try to pass that off in court ...   :o

There's more:
Quote
A top prosecutor who is now a deputy for Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s Russia probe praised outgoing acting Attorney General Sally Yates after she was fired in January by President Trump for refusing to defend his controversial travel ban.

The email, obtained by Judicial Watch through a federal lawsuit, shows that on the night of Jan. 30, Andrew Weissmann wrote to Yates under the subject line, "I am so proud."

He continued, "And in awe. Thank you so much. All my deepest respects."

Sally is a well known Clinton supporter and has been courted to run for Governor on the Democrat ticket as recently as last February. You may know Sally's husband, Comer, he is a top donor to Democrats and former President Obama. I'm sure Mueller knew all this too - it's kind of public record ... very public.

Why are so many Clinton supporters and those vocally and publicly opposed to Trump doing the investigation? How many more Clinton cronies and lackeys are there involved in this investigation?

TheDrake

  • All Members
    • View Profile
Re: Russia and US politics
« Reply #86 on: December 06, 2017, 03:35:17 PM »
Wouldn't you have to fire about 40% of the FBI during this and any other administration to avoid people with animosity toward the President?

Most prosecutors and cops have animosity toward the people the investigate, do they not? :D

D.W.

  • Member
  • All Members
    • View Profile
Re: Russia and US politics
« Reply #87 on: December 06, 2017, 05:13:27 PM »
Quote
Maybe, or the story is that they are not at all impartial and smacked down on provable examples of bias that got leaked.  Keep in mind they have been stonewalling Congress on why Strzok was removed from the team.
So the criticism is that they didn’t explain early on that they weeded him out due to partisan conversations?  I get that it sounds juicy, but isn’t this predictable?  Hey, we wana shut down claims we aren’t being impartial and this kinda *censored* is gonna be a problem.  Lets just remove him from the team quietly. 
Why quietly?  Because it’s more of an ethics thing than a legal thing (as I understand it).  Why mess with the guy’s career when you don’t have to?
Quote
Actually, they did do nothing. Peter Strzok was not sent packing until will after he'd already helped cover for Hillary and her email server and the damage was done to Flynn - and it may actually compromise the case against Flynn, from a former prosecutor and judge:
So to you, this isn’t about the Trump campaign/administration at all?  At issue is that no partisan ship or political speech or donations is acceptable at all amongst the FBI?  Not sure I follow this point at all.

Not only what TheDrake said about the % of people, but this president is openly hostile and derogatory towards the whole agency.  Demanding professionalism is one thing, that they all be politically neuter is something else.

Crunch

  • All Members
    • View Profile
Re: Russia and US politics
« Reply #88 on: December 06, 2017, 06:18:14 PM »
They’re not just donors, they’re ranked aming top donors.  It’s not like they just did the minimum. They’re also cnnected directly to the Clinton’s, it’s not just a political speech issue. These people are connected political animals, they work with and for the Democratic party. They’re not all FBI agents, they’re appointed prosecutors.

They have more than simple animosity torward Trump, they’re players in the political game with a track record of opposing him in borderline illegal ways - if not actually illegal. It’s one thing to not like Trump, quite another to actually have skin in the game.

Seriati

  • Member
  • All Members
    • View Profile
Re: Russia and US politics
« Reply #89 on: December 06, 2017, 06:19:20 PM »
Quote
Maybe, or the story is that they are not at all impartial and smacked down on provable examples of bias that got leaked.  Keep in mind they have been stonewalling Congress on why Strzok was removed from the team.
So the criticism is that they didn’t explain early on that they weeded him out due to partisan conversations?

No.  The claim is that the entire team is hopeless conflicted and should have recused itself.  As ethical matter, they should recuse themselves when there is an appearance of impropriety, having an actual conflict of interest or open hostility is way beyond the standard.

It's a separate claim that when you have removed a member because you've found proof of their impropriety that its improper to hide that event.  In fact, the most appropriate response is an open acknowledgement and an in depth review of everything the guy touched.  It's literally possible that this failure will taint the entire investigation and lead explicitly to what could have been convictions not occurring.

Quote
I get that it sounds juicy, but isn’t this predictable?  Hey, we wana shut down claims we aren’t being impartial and this kinda *censored* is gonna be a problem.  Lets just remove him from the team quietly.

Which is exactly why that's completely unethical.  Reccusal is not intended to be a secret process, that is fundamentally inconsistent with its purpose, which is to protect both the appearance of an impartial process and the substance of one.  In fact, hide it should lead to further dismissals.

Quote
Why quietly?  Because it’s more of an ethics thing than a legal thing (as I understand it).  Why mess with the guy’s career when you don’t have to?

Because corruption is a termination event.

Quote
Quote
Actually, they did do nothing. Peter Strzok was not sent packing until will after he'd already helped cover for Hillary and her email server and the damage was done to Flynn - and it may actually compromise the case against Flynn, from a former prosecutor and judge:
So to you, this isn’t about the Trump campaign/administration at all?  At issue is that no partisan ship or political speech or donations is acceptable at all amongst the FBI?  Not sure I follow this point at all.

Mueller didn't build his team exclusively from the FBI, he went and and recruited private politically connected lawyers that supported Hillary and the DNC.  Have you really read nothing on point?

Quote
Not only what TheDrake said about the % of people, but this president is openly hostile and derogatory towards the whole agency.  Demanding professionalism is one thing, that they all be politically neuter is something else.

I see.  So then why demand Sessions recuse himself?  Let's put him back in charge of Mueller.

TheDrake

  • All Members
    • View Profile
Re: Russia and US politics
« Reply #90 on: December 06, 2017, 06:29:30 PM »
Quote
Mueller didn't build his team exclusively from the FBI, he went and and recruited private politically connected lawyers that supported Hillary and the DNC.  Have you really read nothing on point?

I wonder how easily that could be avoided. You need someone familiar with the applicable law - which means they are going to be politically connected lawyers. They are either connected with Democrats or Republicans. Picking ones connected to Republicans would make an even stronger case toward recusal, wouldn't it? Using FBI lawyers might have been a possibility - but I'm not so familiar with that.

Using somebody outside political circles would take longer and invite mistakes that could be very damaging in a variety of ways.

Crunch

  • All Members
    • View Profile
Re: Russia and US politics
« Reply #91 on: December 06, 2017, 06:35:56 PM »
Quote
Mueller didn't build his team exclusively from the FBI, he went and and recruited private politically connected lawyers that supported Hillary and the DNC.  Have you really read nothing on point?

I wonder how easily that could be avoided. You need someone familiar with the applicable law - which means they are going to be politically connected lawyers. They are either connected with Democrats or Republicans. Picking ones connected to Republicans would make an even stronger case toward recusal, wouldn't it? Using FBI lawyers might have been a possibility - but I'm not so familiar with that.

Using somebody outside political circles would take longer and invite mistakes that could be very damaging in a variety of ways.

There are 100’s of FBI agents, lawyers and prosecutors are plentiful. Picking major donors, Democratic party elite could have been easily avoided.

TheDrake

  • All Members
    • View Profile
Re: Russia and US politics
« Reply #92 on: December 06, 2017, 06:57:52 PM »
Here's a detailed account of the team he assembled. Mostly, he went out and got people who worked at his own firm. In other words, people he knew personally not some random. One guy worked on the Watergate investigation, which makes him pretty highly qualified for a mater like this. In that role, he a specialist in campaign finance research. The next big name was general counsel at the FBI. He oversaw the Enron investigation. The list continues. Had he picked "just anybody" then the criticism coming from the Trump people would be that he had surrounded himself with people who weren't up to the job.

linky

yossarian22c

  • Member
  • All Members
    • View Profile
Re: Russia and US politics
« Reply #93 on: December 06, 2017, 07:02:53 PM »
I see.  So then why demand Sessions recuse himself?  Let's put him back in charge of Mueller.

Sessions doesn’t just have a political opinion he was part of the campaign being investigated. Which makes him a witness and potential target of the investigation. The standard you are setting for impartiality here is unattainable. As it is the investigation is being led by Muller (Republican) and supervised by Rosenstein (Republican). Yet you are claiming that because one investigator expressed an anti-trump opinion that the whole investigation is tainted. Further the investigator in question was fired when muller learned of his statement. Investigators are people, they have political opinions, all we can ask is that they conduct themselves honestly and with integrity in their official roles. Muller’s team seems to be meeting this standard.

Crunch

  • All Members
    • View Profile
Re: Russia and US politics
« Reply #94 on: December 08, 2017, 10:33:13 AM »
More context:
Quote
It's been 10 months since Washington learned that former British spy Christopher Steele, author of the so-called "Trump dossier," took the Hillary Clinton-funded opposition research document to the FBI, which considered sponsoring the anti-Trump work at the height of the 2016 presidential campaign. Now, congressional investigators have made what is perhaps an even more consequential discovery: Knowledge of the dossier project, during the campaign, extended into the highest levels of the Obama Justice Department.

The department's Bruce Ohr, a career official, served as associate deputy attorney general at the time of the campaign. That placed him just below the deputy attorney general, Sally Yates, who ran the day-to-day operations of the department. In 2016, Ohr's office was just steps away from Yates, who was later fired for defying President Trump's initial travel ban executive order and still later became a prominent anti-Trump voice upon leaving the Justice Department.

Unbeknownst to investigators until recently, Ohr knew Steele and had repeated contacts with Steele when Steele was working on the dossier. Ohr also met after the election with Glenn Simpson, head of Fusion GPS, the opposition research company that was paid by the Clinton campaign to compile the dossier.

So let's put it all together. Early in the primaries, a republican candidate (can't recall who) hires FusionGPS to do some oppo research on Trump. After less than 2 months, the plug is pulled. Along comes Hillary and the DNC and they start picking up the tab and funding FusionGPS and Steele - at one point, the FBI considered getting in on the funding of FusionGPS. At this time, the Obama DOJ is also working with FusionGPS, apparently through Ohr (thus, no need for FBI funding, right?). The compiled "dossier" is then polished up and presented to the FISA court as an intelligence document so they can begin tapping the phones of the Trump campaign during the election.

From this, we get the "investigation" we have now where anti-Trump prosecutors are trying to make the dossier stick. These include at least one person that was on the Clinton Foundation payroll and another that was so connected to the Democrat party they considered her s a candidate for governor and her husband is a primary donor (as well as failed politician for the Democrat party).

TL:DR - the DNC, Clinton campaign and the Obama Justice department colluded to fund and use opposition research to tap Trump campaign communications. That same, or similar, group is now driving the investigation.
« Last Edit: December 08, 2017, 10:40:38 AM by Crunch »

Crunch

  • All Members
    • View Profile
Re: Russia and US politics
« Reply #95 on: December 08, 2017, 10:52:48 AM »
Here's a detailed account of the team he assembled. Mostly, he went out and got people who worked at his own firm. In other words, people he knew personally not some random. One guy worked on the Watergate investigation, which makes him pretty highly qualified for a mater like this. In that role, he a specialist in campaign finance research. The next big name was general counsel at the FBI. He oversaw the Enron investigation. The list continues. Had he picked "just anybody" then the criticism coming from the Trump people would be that he had surrounded himself with people who weren't up to the job.

linky

The argument is not that they're unqualified to conduct these types of investigations. The argument is that they're so politically motivated and so biased against Trump that the investigation is actually a corrupt witch hunt that amounts to nothing more than a "soft" coup and are going to, by hook or crook, get Trump.

Wayward Son

  • Member
  • All Members
    • View Profile
Re: Russia and US politics
« Reply #96 on: December 08, 2017, 11:03:41 AM »
Quote
TL:DR - the DNC, Clinton campaign and the Obama Justice department colluded to fund and use opposition research to tap Trump campaign communications. That same, or similar, group is now driving the investigation.

That's all well and good, Crunch, and perhaps worthy of an investigation in its own right. 

But how does that affect whether any information in the dossier is true or not?

While it is important to make sure past Administrations did not engage in criminal or unethical behavior, it is more important to make sure the current Administration is not engaging in such behavior.  The latter has far more potential to harm us.

It's kinda like Hillary's e-mails illegally stolen and leaked by Wikileaks.  The fact that the information was illegally obtained doesn't mean we should ignore that information.

Quote
The argument is that they're so politically motivated and so biased against Trump that the investigation is actually a corrupt witch hunt that amounts to nothing more than a "soft" coup and are going to, by hook or crook, get Trump.

Of course, the first thing any criminal politician will do if he is being investigated is to cry that it's a "witch hunt," that everything is made-up, and that all the investigators are biased against him. :)  (IIRC, Bill Clinton made similar claims.)  Which is why any results of such an investigation needs to be reviewed by non-biased, responsible individuals to make sure the investigation really was on the up-and-up.

Which they cannot do until the investigation is complete. ;)

Crunch

  • All Members
    • View Profile
Re: Russia and US politics
« Reply #97 on: December 08, 2017, 02:03:33 PM »
Quote
TL:DR - the DNC, Clinton campaign and the Obama Justice department colluded to fund and use opposition research to tap Trump campaign communications. That same, or similar, group is now driving the investigation.

That's all well and good, Crunch, and perhaps worthy of an investigation in its own right. 

But how does that affect whether any information in the dossier is true or not?
Some of it has already been proven false, most of it is unsubstantiated rumor gathered in a way that is very suspect (payoffs). You wanting this one facet of it to be the true thing in a web of deception is not near enough.
While it is important to make sure past Administrations did not engage in criminal or unethical behavior, it is more important to make sure the current Administration is not engaging in such behavior.  The latter has far more potential to harm us.
Down the memory hole, eh?
  The fact that the information was illegally obtained doesn't mean we should ignore that information.
Wow, really? I am confident LetterRip will be along to tear into why this is so bad, some fruit and tree thing.  8)
Quote
The argument is that they're so politically motivated and so biased against Trump that the investigation is actually a corrupt witch hunt that amounts to nothing more than a "soft" coup and are going to, by hook or crook, get Trump.

Of course, the first thing any criminal politician will do if he is being investigated is to cry that it's a "witch hunt," that everything is made-up, and that all the investigators are biased against him. :)  (IIRC, Bill Clinton made similar claims.)  Which is why any results of such an investigation needs to be reviewed by non-biased, responsible individuals to make sure the investigation really was on the up-and-up.

Which they cannot do until the investigation is complete. ;)
Actually, we can. We have all their texts, public statement, a money trail, party affiliations, etc that undeniably demonstrate the bias.  8)

Crunch

  • All Members
    • View Profile
Re: Russia and US politics
« Reply #98 on: December 11, 2017, 06:02:39 PM »
More context:
Quote
It's been 10 months since Washington learned that former British spy Christopher Steele, author of the so-called "Trump dossier," took the Hillary Clinton-funded opposition research document to the FBI, which considered sponsoring the anti-Trump work at the height of the 2016 presidential campaign. Now, congressional investigators have made what is perhaps an even more consequential discovery: Knowledge of the dossier project, during the campaign, extended into the highest levels of the Obama Justice Department.

The department's Bruce Ohr, a career official, served as associate deputy attorney general at the time of the campaign. That placed him just below the deputy attorney general, Sally Yates, who ran the day-to-day operations of the department. In 2016, Ohr's office was just steps away from Yates, who was later fired for defying President Trump's initial travel ban executive order and still later became a prominent anti-Trump voice upon leaving the Justice Department.

Unbeknownst to investigators until recently, Ohr knew Steele and had repeated contacts with Steele when Steele was working on the dossier. Ohr also met after the election with Glenn Simpson, head of Fusion GPS, the opposition research company that was paid by the Clinton campaign to compile the dossier.

So let's put it all together. Early in the primaries, a republican candidate (can't recall who) hires FusionGPS to do some oppo research on Trump. After less than 2 months, the plug is pulled. Along comes Hillary and the DNC and they start picking up the tab and funding FusionGPS and Steele - at one point, the FBI considered getting in on the funding of FusionGPS. At this time, the Obama DOJ is also working with FusionGPS, apparently through Ohr (thus, no need for FBI funding, right?). The compiled "dossier" is then polished up and presented to the FISA court as an intelligence document so they can begin tapping the phones of the Trump campaign during the election.

From this, we get the "investigation" we have now where anti-Trump prosecutors are trying to make the dossier stick. These include at least one person that was on the Clinton Foundation payroll and another that was so connected to the Democrat party they considered her s a candidate for governor and her husband is a primary donor (as well as failed politician for the Democrat party).

TL:DR - the DNC, Clinton campaign and the Obama Justice department colluded to fund and use opposition research to tap Trump campaign communications. That same, or similar, group is now driving the investigation.

Yet more context, Ohr had those contacts with Steele because Ohr’s wife worked for FusionGPS during the 2016 election. Quite the conflict there.