You are currently browsing the tag archive for the ‘2017’ tag.

Any Remainers who missed last week’s BBC4 Storyville documentary about Brexit from a Brussels perspective must watch it before voting in the EU election on May 23, 2019.

The two-part documentary was made by Belgian film-maker, Lode Desmet, who spent two years with Guy Verhofstadt and his team in Brussels.

I did not watch it at the time, because it features Verhofstadt, whom I consider to be odious.

At the weekend, I read a British website where two Remainers commented after watching it. Both said they had changed their minds — to NO DEAL! Amazing.

After that, I looked the Storyville documentary up on YouTube, because BBC iPlayer said their videos could not be played at that time. On BBC iPlayer, part one is here and part two is here.

Each part is just under an hour long. I highly recommend them to everyone, particularly Remainers:

 

Conservative MP Mark Francois is absolutely correct:

What follows is part of his article for Brexit Central (emphases mine):

On one occasion – incredibly, bearing in mind he was on camera – one of Verhofstadt’s staffers, exclaimed on hearing that we had agreed to the 585-page so-called “Withdrawal Agreement”, that “We have made them a colony!”. The sheer joy that was evidenced on the faces of the European negotiators when it became apparent that we had acceded to the “Withdrawal Agreement” tells you everything you need to know about why they regarded it as a clear victory over Britain.

Again and again throughout the documentary, the UK’s negotiating tactics are derided by their interlocutors, including the EU’s Chief Negotiator, Michel Barnier. The Prime Minister and her team are repeatedly disrespected and only on one occasion – when Dominic Raab took over as the Brexit Secretary – did any of the Europeans appear to believe that we had started to resist …

Verhofstadt and his highly self-satisfied team are then filmed watching the result of the first Meaningful Vote in Parliament in January 2019. When the “Withdrawal Agreement” was defeated by 230 votes (the largest defeat in parliamentary history as it turns out), their disappointment is palpable. The pattern is repeated for MV2 and MV3 – by which time Verhofstadt cannot bear to watch, as he has clearly realised what is going to happen.

I have never doubted that I was right to vote against the “Withdrawal Agreement”, but this dramatic insight only confirmed my deep conviction that we were fighting a surrender to the European Union all along. Indeed, Martin Selmayr, the Secretary General of the European Commission said some time ago (although not in the programme) that “Losing Northern Ireland was the price the UK would pay for Brexit”. It seems on reflection the House of Commons was not prepared to pay this price – and rightly so.

One other thing struck me when I watched the programme – as a patriotic Brit – which was that I could not help but be angered by the sheer arrogance of the people on camera and the utter disdain that they had for our country and its people. I was discussing this only yesterday with a TV producer who is a self-declared Remainer but who told me, in her own words:

I have always been pro-EU and I gladly voted Remain, but when I saw that documentary all I could think was – how dare you talk about us like that, f**k you!

As a media expert, she also volunteered that these people were not in any way self-conscious about being filmed – because they clearly thought that they were doing nothing wrong.

Ultimately:

I would urge every MP and indeed everyone who is thinking of casting a vote in the European Elections on 23rd May (which I hope will be as many people as possible) to watch this programme before deciding how to cast their ballot.

The European elite have completely given themselves away – on camera – and proven once and for all via this programme that 17.4 million people were right all along.

The EU elite do not give a fig about Great Britain and Northern Ireland. They are interested only in our money to fund their lavish Brussels lifestyles.

I am surprised that the BBC even showed this documentary, because it really paints a most unflattering portrait of the EU elite.

Therefore, this is one of those rare times I can honestly say, ‘Thank you, BBC!’

Advertisements

Wow.

Twitter just banned a parody account which clearly stated it was a parody account.

Not only that, Twitter banned the account of the person who created said parody account.

The parody account’s creator belongs to a minority religious faith. He happens to be a conservative.

His ban is not a suspension.

It is a permanent ban from Twitter.

Here’s the story via another prominent Twitter conservative:

So, it’s okay to have multiple parody accounts of President Trump, but not one of a freshman congresswoman?

Mike Morrison’s parody tweets were so clever, they seemed like the real thing. That tells one a lot about Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez.

Human Events spoke with Morrison, who said (emphases mine):

I think Twitter banned AOC Press for the increasing amounts of attention it’s been receiving lately.

In the past month and a half alone the account grew by roughly 50,000 followers. We’ve had tweets with over 30,000 likes on them, so I think Twitter decided it was time for [the account] to go. They didn’t like how popular an account created by their political opposition had become.

There might have been a different factor at play in Morrison’s personal account having been banned:

As the creator of the parody, Morrison presumes his personal account was banned by Twitter for having mocked their political allies, though many on the service have pointed to Morrison’s Jewish background and the fact he had also tweeted critically of Hamas in recent days.

Other prominent Jewish conservatives were also banned after tweeting about how terror group Hamas should be destroyed.

Overall, however, bans have also gone on at other social media sites:

The ban is the latest foray by Big Tech into the Presidential Election campaign of 2020.

Last week, high profile Trump supporters such as Alex Jones, Paul Joseph Watson, Laura Loomer, and Milo Yiannopolous were banned from Facebook and Instagram.

Morrison is also MAGA.

Message to Jack Dorsey: UNBAN MIKE.

Jack might be interested in studying the 2017 Supreme Court ruling that says participating in social media is a constitutional right, even for convicts:

Quartz has a good article on the ruling. Excerpts follow about Packingham v. North Carolina:

Public space in the digital age has no shape and no physical place. But the US Supreme Court is now sorting out what that means for free-speech rights. Today (June 19), the justices unanimously held that states can’t broadly limit access to social media because cyberspace “is one of the most important places to exchange views.”

… Acknowledging that every advance in technology leads to new abuses by criminals, the notion that states can bar access altogether is anathema to the high court

As justice Elena Kagan put it then, “Everybody is on Twitter.”

Well, nearly everyone. The rest of us do read and enjoy Twitter.

With that 2017 Supreme Court ruling in mind, I hope that Twitter unbans Mike Morrison — and other conservatives — soon.

The lies from Britain’s Remainers about Brexit’s Leavers are quite incredible.

For the past three weeks, if not longer, Remainers have told Leavers they did not know what they were voting for in the 2016 Brexit referendum.

False!

Let’s go back to when David Cameron was still Prime Minister.

This is what party leaders — Conservative, Lib Dem and Labour — had to say about the referendum. There would be only one:

Cameron summarised the process. Article 50 would be triggered promptly. In February 2016, he said:

Leavers watched the televised debates.

They also researched sites other than Big Media. Guido Fawkes was one of them. Here Guido explains tariffs:

This was the referendum result on June 23, 2016 — 52%-48%:

David Cameron stood down as Prime Minister the morning of Friday, June 24.

Theresa May succeeded him a few weeks later.

In 2017, under May’s premiership, a WTO Brexit was part of the Conservative Party manifesto for the general election held in June:

The Conservative Party manifesto excluded a halfway house Brexit with a foot in each camp. Leavers were told they would get a WTO Brexit:

Before the election, Labour MP Yvette Cooper — whose Bill No. 5 blocking a parliamentary/government No Deal is now law — pledged to honour the Brexit mandate, which, incidentally, the Labour Party manifesto also supported. Note that she represents a Leave constituency:

This is what Leavers voted for:

Fast forward to 2019, and who wants a second referendum — a ‘People’s Vote’? Remainers.

Remainers can rest comfortably knowing that their allies in both Houses — Commons and the Lords — will see to it that they get their wish.

Should Britain end up with a halfway house Brexit — heaven forfend — that is not what Leavers voted for in 2016.

Remainers can share the blame for that with their advocates: parliamentarians and peers alike.

The part of then-candidate Donald Trump’s platform I had the most concerns about in 2016 was a barrier along the southern US border.

Yet, by the end of 2017, I was convinced that something must be built.

However, I had not yet seen the following set of figures from that year, enumerating just how much illegal immigration is costing America, state by state. These are staggering numbers:

The comments in the tweet are illuminating in that many Americans say they are in siege mode: tense, tired, afraid and suspicious.

Others point to the better ways in which such money could be used to improve the lives of American citizens.

Mega-MAGA Young Republican, Scott Presler of Virginia, recently wrote a letter to the editor asking why illegals get better treatment than American citizens. He is not wrong:

Notice that Democrats do not support funding a secure border or a wall. Consequently, not only are the states are paying for illegals’ upkeep, the federal government is, too.

Meanwhile, drugs, gangs and other criminals pour into the United States harming innocent people — law-abiding, tax-paying American citizens and their families. South of the border, amongst the illegal aliens, women and children are subject to trafficking and rape.

How can a Democrat wilfully ignore that?

This absurdity has run its course. President Trump is doing his best to get the wall built and beef up security along the border. Yes, declaring a national emergency for the United States — rather than for a foreign country, for once — was the right thing to do.

Let us pray this situation is resolved, at least partially, by the end of the year.

Until last week, an Independent candidate for Seattle’s city council was running for local elections in 2019.

His is one of the best political adverts I’ve ever seen. Please take two minutes to watch it:

Christopher Rufo has made documentaries for Netflix and PBS, assignments that have taken him around the world. The video shows him with his wife and two sons. Clearly, they are a happy family.

He wants to clean up Seattle, which has become a filthy, depressing place in recent years, and to lower taxes for the city’s hardest hit workers. He says that Seattle doesn’t need more money; it needs better leadership.

What’s not to like?

The radical left went after him, just as they did Tucker Carlson, using the Cuban approach. They harassed one of his sons on his school’s Facebook page and tried to get his wife fired from her job with Microsoft.

On November 14, The Daily Caller reported that, because of the horrific abuse his family has had to take, Christopher Rufo has regrettably dropped out of the 2019 local race. Excerpts follow, emphases mine.

Rufo clearly blamed the radical left:

An independent candidate for Seattle City Council announced on Wednesday that he is dropping out of the race, due to what he described as racial and sexual harassment of his wife by left-wing activists.

Christopher Rufo, a documentary filmmaker, made combatting Seattle’s “activist class” and “the ideologues on our city council” a central part of his campaign for election in 2019.

He sent an email to his supporters explaining the situation. It says, in part:

I had hoped that this would be a campaign of ideas, but I quickly discovered that the activists in this city have no interest in ideas. Since the campaign launch, they have harassed and threatened my family nonstop. I was prepared to take the heat, but unfortunately, they have focused their hatred on my wife and children.

They’ve made vile racist attacks against my wife, attempted to get her fired from Microsoft, and threatened sexual violence. They have even posted hateful messages to my 8-year-old son’s school Facebook page. I know that as the race progresses, the activists will ratchet up their hate-machine and these attacks will intensify significantly

my primary responsibility is to make sure my family is healthy, happy, and safe. That’s not possible in our current political climate, which has been overtaken by polarization and the ever-present threat of violence.

I’ve learned that our problem here in Seattle is much deeper than the city council’s policies—we have created a culture of intolerance that is deeply destructive to the common good. I plan to spend the next few months reflecting on this experience and charting a way forward in a series of essays. I hope that some positive benefit can come out of this disappointment.

Rufo has pledged to refund all of the donations to his campaign, which are upwards of $12,000.

How sad for him and his family. They look like good people.

I cannot imagine going after anyone, especially someone from an ethnic minority or a child. What is wrong with these people, who accuse everyone else of being intolerant?

Where does this end?

Keep in mind that Rufo is probably not a conservative, and is likely to be more of a libertarian.

The Daily Caller‘s article directs readers to another one focussing on Seattle, ‘Seattle Council Member Using Gov Resources To Organize Anti-Trump Protests’, dated January 4, 2017, a few weeks before President Trump’s inauguration:

A Seattle city council member is openly using government resources to organize anti-Trump protests in collaboration with a radical socialist organization.

Councilmember Kshama Sawant posted an open letter to her “fellow activists” on the City of Seattle’s taxpayer-funded website, urging participation in anti-Trump “Occupy Inauguration” protests organized by the Socialist Alternative Seattle. More than 3,500 people have already committed to joining the protests, according to the event’s Facebook page.

“A right-wing anti-worker bigot has been elected President. Donald Trump’s cabinet is a who’s who of multi-billionaires with long records of hostility towards workers, the labor movement, women’s rights, and the planet,” Sawant charges in her letter, which was posted on New Years Eve. She goes on to urge visitors to the government website to engage in “resistance” to the president-elect.

‘Government resources’ is better translated as ‘taxpayer money’.

How can a city council allocate tax money towards protests — of any kind?

Socialist Alternative Seattle, influential in the councilwoman’s campaign and behind the pre-Inauguration protest:

stands in “political solidarity” with the Committee for a Workers’ International, a far-left organization that calls for a “Marxist programme” to end capitalism.

In short, Sawant is using taxpayer resources to organize anti-Trump protests sponsored by a radical socialist organization that brags about its ties to global Marxists

Sawant is the vice-chair of the city council’s committee on civil rights. She did not return a request for comment by press time.

Unbelievable.

Back to Christopher Rufo’s — and Tucker Carlson’s — situation. As one of my readers commented on Saturday:

These orchestrated mob attacks on political dissidents are outrageous and cannot be tolerated. I lay the blame for this escalating violence at the feet of Jeff Sessions, the former US Attorney General.

The first act of terrorism occurred shortly after Donald Trump took office. A Democratic party activist shot Congressman Steve Scalise and several others. Had Jeff Sessions reacted in a decisive manner and declared that violence against Republican officials will not be tolerated and demanded that Democratic party officials condemn the violence, disavow violence as a political tool, and take positive actions to insure that there are no further acts of violence, I believe that we would not see the mob attacks on dissidents we see today.

If local police refused to arrest and local courts refused to prosecute political terrorists, then Jeff Sessions should have stepped in and arrested and prosecuted the terrorists under federal statutes. Recall when Eric Holder was Attorney General, if a local court decision didn’t go the way the Obama administration wanted it to go, Holder would arrest and prosecute the individual under federal statutes.

I couldn’t agree more.

Acting Attorney General Matt Whitaker must now step up to the plate, say ‘Enough!’ and prosecute to the fullest extent of the law.

Americans — from Independents to Libertarians to Republicans — cannot be held hostage or abused by groups of unhinged leftists who belong either in jail or mental health facilities.

How many people know about the Battle of Lepanto?

In the 1970s, when Western education was still decent, I took a year of World History in high school. If we covered it, it must have been a footnote.

I read about it in depth only six years ago, when someone from the West Indies had a WordPress blog, since deleted. The writer was Catholic and explained the religious, historical and cultural significance of October 7, 1571, the date of the victory over the Ottoman Empire.

The victory was important to Mediterranean Europe. Inland, the Battle of Vienna took place just over a century later, on September 12, 1683, led by the indomitable King Jan (John) III Sobieski of Poland. Lepanto was to the Mediterranean what Vienna was to the rest of Europe.

On to the Battle of Lepanto and October 7, which Catholics venerate as the Feast of Our Lady of the Rosary. In 2017, Polish Catholics assembled nationwide to pray the Rosary on that day. The Daily Mail has more (emphases mine):

Hundreds of thousands of Polish Catholics are expected to descend Saturday on the country’s borders to recite the rosary “to save Poland and the world” from the dangers facing them, organisers say, but others claim the event is aimed at protecting Europe from what they term a Muslim onslaught.

The episcopate insists that the “Rosary to the Borders” is a purely religious initiative, but some Catholics view it as a weapon against “Islamisation.”

The date was not chosen at random. October 7 is when Catholics celebrate the Feast of Our Lady of the Rosary, marking the 1571 victory of Christianity over the Ottoman Turks at the Battle of Lepanto.

A victory attributed to the recital of the rosary “that saved Europe from Islamisation”, the Solo Dios Basta foundation said on the website of the event it is organising.

Many Poles see Islam as a threat. The conservative government, which enjoys the backing of a sizeable portion of the population, refuses to welcome migrants to Poland, which has very few Muslims of its own.

Twenty-two border dioceses will take part in the event, whose faithful will congregate in some 200 churches for a lecture and mass before travelling to the border to say the rosary.

The goal is to have as many prayer points as possible along the 3,511 kilometres (about 2,200 miles) that make up Poland’s borders with Belarus, the Czech Republic, Germany, Lithuania, Russia, Slovakia, Ukraine and the Baltic Sea.

Fishing boats will join in at sea, while kayaks and sailboats will form a chain along rivers and lakes. Prayers will also be said at the chapels of a few international airports …

The goal is to pray for world peace, according to Father Pawel Rytel-Andrianik, spokesman for the Polish Bishops’ Conference.

“The initiative obviously received the approval of Poland’s bishops,” he told AFP, emphasising that it would be wrong to view the event as a prayer against the arrival of Muslim refugees.

“It is not a matter of closing ourselves off to others. On the contrary, the point of bringing the rosary to the borders is to break down walls and open ourselves up to Russians, Belarussians, Slovaks, Ukrainians and Germans,” he said

In 2018, on October 7, Italy’s interior minister, Matteo Salvini, appeared on a talk show saying that the influx of immigrants arriving by boat are not true refugees. He estimates that only 10 per cent are. He recommends taking in only women and young children. He objects to turning Italy’s public housing over to immigrants arriving by boat and says that local and regional governments should continue to reserve these flats and houses for Italians. Currently, Angela Merkel is trying to transfer immigrants who had arrived in Germany via Italy back to Italy:

RMC (French talk radio) had a lengthy segment on immigration from Africa on the morning of Monday, October 8. Opinion was strongly divided as to whether and how many more immigrants France — especially Paris — should accommodate. It was a lively discussion with no conclusion. One point that did stand out was that French people were being pushed down the queue for social housing for recently-arrived immigrants. So, the French housing situation is like Italy’s, which is like Germany’s and Sweden’s.

Besides the religious and 21st century significance of the Battle of Lepanto, there is a historic one. It took place at a time when the invasion of hordes of groups of people — not just those from the Ottoman Empire — were invading not only Europe but also Asia.

I had always wondered how these groups had been stopped. A considered essay, ‘The Significance of Lepanto’, explains what happened from that point through to the 18th century.

First, we need to consider the main group of players in Europe’s Holy League. These nation-states also controlled various parts of the Mediterranean, including islands such as Corsica, Cyprus and Crete. Trade and strategic ports were important to the Spanish, the Venetians and to the Vatican, which also controlled territory in this part of the world:

The Battle of Lepanto has a major place in the symbolism of the Western-Islamic relationship, and Niccolò Capponi’s recently published Victory of the West: The Story of the Battle of Lepanto treats the battle as a major encounter between the Islamic Ottoman empire and the forces of Western Christendom.

Lepanto was the last great battle that could be described as a simple clash between Christendom and Islam. Fought on October 7, 1571, it saw the fleet of the Ottoman empire pitted against an alliance of Spain, Venice and various other minor players to form a Holy League under the leadership of Don Juan of Austria, the illegitimate half-brother of Philip II of Spain.

The battle was the response of the Christian powers to the invasion of the Venetian possession of Cyprus. At stake was control of the Mediterranean. If the Ottomans had won then there was a real possibility that an invasion of Italy could have followed so that the Ottoman sultan, already claiming to be emperor of the Romans, would have been in possession of both New and Old Rome. The Pope could have become as much a tool of the Ottoman sultan as his Orthodox counterpart the Patriarch of Constantinople already was.

Yet, as Capponi points out, the Holy League was hardly a model of Christian solidarity. The Spanish and the Venetians had different strategic objectives—the Spanish were concerned primarily with Italy, North Africa and the Western Mediterranean, while Venice was anxious to recover Cyprus and protect its interests in the eastern Mediterranean. The Spanish were not keen for a battle that might lose them precious resources, particularly as Philip II, with interests as well in northern Europe, was usually on the verge of bankruptcy. The Spanish were also concerned that the Venetians were in the process of cutting a deal with the Ottomans. Just a few days before the battle there was a conflict between the Spanish and Venetians that almost tore the fleet apart. Nevertheless the alliance held and the League fleet scored a stunning success.

Lepanto reshaped the religious bent of the Mediterranean:

The cultural shape of the lands around the Mediterranean was confirmed with a largely Islamic East and South staring across the waters at a Christian North and West.

The Ottoman Empire gradually lost territory and influence from that point until it collapsed with the Great War (1914-1918). That said, we are still dealing with the aftermath a century later:

The Ottoman empire, like the ancient Roman empire and the Byzantine empire before it, was left with the task of defending its ever diminishing borders over the next three centuries. When it did finally “fall” after the First World War the ramifications were enormous, and we are still attempting to cope with them from Bosnia to Iraq.

The Europeans defeated the Ottomans because of advanced naval battle tactics and weaponry. They also had more advanced trade and inventions, such as the printing press, which the Ottomans were slow to adopt:

The League won because it used innovative tactics. The usual form that galley warfare took was to ram the enemy ships and then take them by storm. The Venetian ships attempted a new and different tactic. Using a larger and modified form of galley known as galleasses, they filled these ships with cannons and attempted to blow as many of the Ottoman galleys as possible out of the water. League ships carried many more cannon and its troops made much greater use of firearms. Many of the Ottoman troops preferred to use bows, although these were not necessarily inferior to the clumsy arquebus of that time …

In the longer term, however, the future belonged to the new commercial instruments of the West rather than to the bureaucratic machinery of the Ottomans. In her study of seventeenth-century Crete, A Shared World, Molly Green demonstrates that the commercial techniques and practices used by the Venetians were much more sophisticated and developed than those of the Ottoman regime that replaced them in mid-century. It was also the case that the Ottomans were slow to take to make use of printing, with the “printing revolution” that swept the West in the sixteenth century not really taking off in the Islamic world until the nineteenth century.

Europe and Asia had been beset by invaders for centuries, especially during the perilous Dark Ages.

In Europe, during the latter days of the Roman Empire:

Rome, and the Roman empire, had to face an almost continuous set of threats, beginning with the Celts, then moving through to the Germans, Huns, Avars, Arabs and Turks. The Ottoman Turks simply delivered the coup de grâce to what had become little more than a living corpse.

In Asia:

China built its “great wall” to protect itself from nomadic predators, while the damage inflicted by the Mongols on the settled Islamic world, including the sack of Baghdad, was staggering.

These invasions happened because invading tribes of people envied the civilisation of settled societies:

A settled civilisation, by creating a measure of comfort and a settled way of life, makes itself a target for those living outside their boundaries who are drawn by what it has to offer.

Large-scale invasions ended in the 18th century, probably thanks to the Chinese:

the Qing Chinese empire in the eighteenth century successfully conquered and subdued the last of the great nomadic empires of Eurasia. For the first time in millennia no barbarian horsemen, no Huns, no Avars, no Mongols, surged across the great plains of Eurasia to sack and pillage Europe, China and the great civilisations of the Islamic world and India.

When a new barbarian empire emerged powerful enough to threaten the Ottomans, and by this I mean the Russian empire, it was successfully checked by the jealousy of the other European powers. It was also into this world … of empires that were not revitalised by new sets of barbarians, in the Middle East, in India and in China, that the European empires were able to make such inroads from the eighteenth century onwards.

Lepanto, as with so many other advances of that era, helped to usher in modernity to Europe with an emphasis on trade rather than war:

Lepanto can be seen as symbolic of that transition, described by the nineteenth-century French liberal philosopher Benjamin Constant, from the age of war to the age of commerce. Or as others might say, it can be considered as the birth of modernity. Even the overwhelming use of firepower can be found in the pages of Constant as a feature of the utilitarian approach to warfare favoured by commercial nations. The irony was that the somewhat ramshackle empires of sixteenth-century Europe, with their disorganised finances and administrative apparatuses much inferior to those of the Ottomans, would within 300 years come to dominate the world not because of their superior asabiya or virtue but because of their capacity to create modern efficient institutions far superior to the slave bureaucracy of the Ottomans, and because of their ability to deliver superior firepower.

This new European and commercial form of empire supplanted an older, more traditional imperial form. What this meant was that the old rules of empire, of an imperial expansion dictated by the need to conquer to attain booty and slaves and a decline governed by the need to protect its settled possessions from new predators, would give way to a new set of rules. These are the rules of the export and import of capital, as described by Niall Ferguson in his recent studies of the English and American empires.

Looking at present day developments in Europe, there does seem to be an envy of others to have what we Europeans have without contributing to our respective nations. When well-intended private and state generosity is met with Marxist-driven violence and disregard for the host citizenry, it is no wonder that many think of Lepanto.

This post concludes a series on Spygate.

Please see Part 1 for a list of people involved and how they know each other. The same names will be appearing in this and other related posts.

Part 2 covers events from 2015 and the first half of 2016.

Part 3 reviews what happened during the summer that year.

Part 4 covers events from September through November 8, 2016.

Last weekend, The_War_Economy posted a brilliant Twitter thread of 246 tweets with accompanying sources.

His thread is called SPYFALL, available in Thread Reader and individual tweets.

I have been excerpting and summarising SPYFALL this week as well as adding some of my own information so that those of us reading about Spygate can better comprehend its various elements.

When summarising SPYFALL, I will include the relevant tweet number in parentheses which will have a link to the source material.

Emphases mine below.

Today’s conclusion covers events from the 2016 transition period through to Trump’s inauguration on January 20, 2017.

November 2016

While Trump and his transition team were getting organised, the Obama administration wasted no time in working against them. Nor did Christopher Steele:

On November 11, former New Jersey governor Chris Christie stood down from Trump’s transition team. Mike Pence assumed leadership of the team. Meanwhile, former Ambassador to Russia Michael McFaul attended a talk by Russian ambassador Kislyak (202):

On November 16, John Kerry had returned from Antarctica and was in Marrakesh for a UN climate conference. In Washington (206):

ODNI’s Clapper handed in his resignation, and Schumer chose Feinstein to take over the Senate Judiciary Committee, allowing Mark Warner to lead the Senate Intelligence Committee.

On November 15, Admiral Mike Rogers stood down from Trump’s transition team (204). At least one news report suggested he was too much of a Chris Christie ally.

However, Mike Rogers had one more thing to do, which is why I said in Part 4 that he had been invaluable to Trump:

At this point, Republican senator and anti-Trumper John McCain (Arizona) entered the Steele Dossier/UK intelligence nexus:

On November 22, the FBI interviewed either the DoJ’s Bruce Ohr or his wife Nellie Ohr, employed by Fusion GPS in 2016 (212).

December 2016

The FBI ramped things up against the president-elect early in the month (214):

FBI’s Comey put more resources into the counter-intelligence operation into Trump as Randall Coleman resigns and Luke Harding meets with Steele.

The Clinton campaign paid their final fees to law firm Perkins Coie, which received $5.6 million between June and December 2016 (215).

Christopher Steele had given Sir Alex Younger a copy of the infamous dossier (216):

Alex Younger gives a speech at the Secret Intelligence Services Headquarters in London, after he had received the dossier from Steele directly. The dossier was also passed throughout UK’s intelligence services, including GCHQ, who provided their assessment to the NSA.

On December 5, the FBI interviewed one of the Ohrs again (217).

A few days later, John McCain met with James Comey (218):

and handed in the dossier. This was either on December 8, 9 or after the 13th. Who knows? He may have even met Glenn Simpson during this. It’s multiple choice!

On December 9, Obama ordered a review of Russian interference in US elections going back to 2008 (219), the year he was elected to the presidency.

On December 12, the FBI interviewed the Ohrs again and (220):

At the same time, Evelyn Farkas published the article “Here’s What America Needs to Know About Trump and Russia”.

More about Russian meddling on both sides of the Atlantic appeared in the days that followed:

On December 20, the Ohrs went in for another FBI interview (225).

On December 23, Lawfare’s Matt Tait – ex-GCHQ – wrote an article for Politico called ‘Putin’s Way of War‘ (226).

On October 28, Obama took diplomatic action against Russia, which involved a phone conversation between Ambassador Kisylak and General Mike Flynn, a member of Trump’s transition team. This would rebound on Flynn a short time later. Even today, his case is still ongoing and he is relying on the goodness of others to survive:

The FBI said there was nothing wrong with Flynn talking with Kislyak. They were right. As a member of the transition team, he was within his rights to do so:

January 2017

President-elect Trump was clearly unhappy at the intelligence community, Obama people and Democrats opposing his upcoming inauguration.

Senator Chuck Schumer (D-NY) offered a memorable riposte:

Last chance efforts to damage Trump were in play, which included the Steele dossier. The most influential names from Spygate were coming together as one:

On January 6 (235):

the ODNI published the unclassified version of their report on Russian influence in the 2016 United States Presidential election, which both the FBI and the CIA had high confidence in. The NSA? Not so much.

That day, Comey decided to brief Trump about the Steele dossier (236):

… neglecting to tell him who paid for it, but said that CNN was looking for a hook. And then, by coincidence, ODNI’s Clapper appeared on CNN for an interview and told Tapper about the dossier.

Up to that point, the dossier looked like a solid card to play against Trump, until BuzzFeed and the Wall Street Journal got involved. Hilarious, for Trump supporters, anyway!

That said, although the DoJ‘s inspector general Michael Horowitz opened up an investigation into his department on January 12 (239), it was business as usual for Trump’s adversaries in Washington:

On January 17, outgoing US ambassador to the UN Samantha Power used her final speech to verbally attack Russia (242).

Then came Inauguration Day, January 20:

Thus concludes Spygate as The_War_Economy detailed it in SPYFALL.

Thank you very much, The_War_Economy, for your brilliant work!

It was a year ago at this time in May that I visited one of London’s best kept secrets, Pollock’s Toy Museum.

I’d not heard of it until a good friend of mine suggested it as a place I could take my two American friends who were in town during the Whit Sun (Pentecost) Bank Holiday weekend. (Incidentally, this particular weekend was renamed some time ago to Spring Bank Holiday. But, I digress.)

My friends asked to go to a place that was non-touristy. We couldn’t have asked for a better venue, and, for that, I am ever grateful to my friend for the suggestion. He had been there as a boy.

If you want information only about the museum, skip the History part which follows and go to The Pollock’s Toy Museum experience section near the end.

History

The museum

How Pollack’s got to be a museum and in its current location near Goodge Street Tube station is a real rabbit hole.

The museum’s website glosses over a number of moves and transitions. No doubt most visitors aren’t that interested in the finer details:

Pollock’s was originally a shop and printers, dating back to the 1850’s, based in Hoxton, then a poor quarter of London. Benjamin Pollock’s hand printed, constructed and coloured much of the toy theatre material housed in the museum today.

The museum was created and the shop stock re-designed during the 1950’s and 60’s by Marguerite Fawdry It came to it’s current location in the late 1960’s where it has remained. The collection has been built up by purchases, donations from friends, family and the public. It is an independent family run concern. It is run more for the benefit of the public and to display the collection than for profit.

The museum’s Wikipedia page states:

The museum was started in 1956 in a single attic room at 44 Monmouth Street, near Covent Garden, above Benjamin Pollock’s Toy Shop, where Pollock’s Toy Theatres were also sold. As the enterprise flourished, other rooms were taken over for the museum and the ground floor became a toyshop. By 1969 the collection had outgrown the Monmouth Street premises and Pollock’s Toy Museum moved to 1 Scala Street, with a museum shop on the ground floor to contribute to its support. The museum continues today to be run by the grandson of the founder Marguerite Fawdry.[2]

I then ran across a December 2014 page at ArenaPAL, ‘Behind the Scenes at the Pollocks Toy Theatre Shop Factory Workshop’, which begins with this (emphasis in the original):

‘If you love art, folly or the bright eyes of children, speed to Pollock’s’ …wrote Robert Louis Stevenson in an essay which immortalised Pollock’s Toy Shop – a business that was started in 1856 and still runs today from Covent Garden in London.

Robert Louis Stevenson? I will get to his role in a moment.

ArenaPAL‘s page has interesting photographs from the mid-1940s, showing a little boy admiring one of the toy theatres and men in the workshop building them out of Bakelite and wood.

The text went on to say (emphases mine below):

Pollock’s speciality was in fact the sale and manufacture of Toy Theatres – otherwise known as Juvenile Drama. Traditionally the kits comprised a paperboard stage and accompanying set design with cut out characters according to the play being sold – and sometimes the likeness of popular actors of the time. The miniature production would be performed to family and friends using an abridged script and, until the introduction of the television, was one of the most popular forms of home entertainment in Europe. Toy theatre has seen a resurgence in recent years and there are numerous international toy theatre festivals throughout the Americas and Europe.

That, I did not know.

The museum has a lot of these toy theatres of varying sizes and with different scripts.

Benjamin Pollock’s Toy Shop

The Wikipedia page on Benjamin Pollock’s Toy Shop clears up much of the confusion. A summary and excerpts follow.

The original shop was in Hoxton (east London). Its proprietor was:

John Redington (1819–1876), who described himself as a “Printer, Bookbinder and Stationer; Tobacconist; and Dealer in miscellaneous articles” …

The premises were located at 73 Hoxton Street. In 1851, Redington opened a theatrical print warehouse there:

Redington was an agent for the toy theatre publisher John Kilby Green, and when Green died in 1860 Redington bought up his engraved copper plates. Redington ran the Hoxton Street business until his death in 1876, following which his widow, youngest son William, and daughter Eliza carried on with the business; but soon only Eliza Redington was left to run the print business.[2]

In 1877, Eliza Redington married Benjamin Pollock. The couple ran the shop together. They also had eight children — four boys and four girls.

Pollock was still using Green’s and Redington’s plates and theatre sheets, although:

with the imprint changed to ‘B. Pollock’.[5]

The shop was in an excellent location. The Britannia Theatre was across the street.

Despite that, Pollock wasn’t exactly making a fortune. In the 1880s, he began making toy theatres:

or the ‘juvenile drama’ as it was called at the time, selling toy theatre drops and characters from contemporary dramas for “a penny plain, twopence coloured”. Pollock generally republished older plays by using existing plates, simply changing the names of the actors. His version of Cinderella, for example, which could be bought from Pollock in the 1880s, used plates from 1844.[6]

Pollock’s business was not a success as tastes in the 1880s changed towards magic lantern shows and other innovations

Magic lanterns were early slide shows. The museum has a collection of these.

Robert Louis Stevenson

One day in 1884, Robert Louis Stevenson paid Pollock a visit at his shop. Stevenson’s subsequent essay about his visit proved to be a boon for Pollock’s business.

A considered article from 2009 about that visit appears on Spitalfields Life, ‘Benjamin Pollock, a penny plain, tuppence coloured’.

It says that Stevenson was an only child who enjoyed juvenile drama — toy theatres — at home growing up. He was also aware that as toy theatre manufacturers died and others inherited their materials, the names also changed:

the theatres of his childhood that he purchased in a shop on Leith Walk in Edinburgh were produced by Skelt’s Juvenile Drama and the names on the printing plates were altered with successive owners, “This national monument, after changing its name to Park’s, Webb’s, Reddington’s and last of all to Pollock’s, has now become, for the most part, a memory”, he wrote.

Assembling the theatres was more fun than putting on the play:

… even Stevenson admitted “The purchase and the first half hour at home, that was the summit.” As a child, I think the making of them was the greater part of the pleasure, cutting out the figures and glueing it all together. “I cannot deny the joy that attended the illumination, nor can I quite forget that child, who forgoing pleasure, stoops to tuppence coloured.” Stevenson wrote.

Pollock’s in the 20th century

Wikipedia says that the First World War altered Pollock’s intended line of succession, as his son William died in active duty. Pollock’s daughter Louise helped her father run the business.

One year before he died:

The theatre historian and writer George Speaight was first associated with Pollock’s when he gave a toy theatre performance of The Corsican Brothers at The George Inn in Southwark for Pollock’s 80th birthday in 1936. Speaight was already gaining a reputation for his juvenile drama performances using characters and settings obtained from Pollock’s.[10]

Pollock died in 1937. The Spitalfields Life article says:

toy theatres had become an anachronism and the business was in terminal decline. Yet such was the celebrity that Stevenson had brought, Benjamin Pollock received the unique accolade for a Hoxton shopkeeper of an obituary in the Times.

After Pollock’s death, Louise continued with the business, assisted by her sister Selina. In 1944, they sold the business. Shortly afterwards:

the building was destroyed by an enemy bomb.

Today, a plaque is on a brick post outside of the Hoxton Street location. Spitalfields Life has a photo. The site has council flats on it now.

Wikipedia says that, before the bomb hit, bookseller Alan Keen had bought the shop’s stock from Louise and Selina. Keen ran his business in the Adelphi Building just off The Strand — theatre district — and called it Benjamin Pollock Limited.

In 1946, Keen appointed the aforementioned George Speaight as shop manager. Speaight was associated with the shop — and, later, the museum — for the rest of his life.

Keen popularised his toy theatres by using classic films of the postwar years and their famous stars:

Keen modernised the stock to appeal to a contemporary audience with a toy theatre version of the 1948 Laurence Olivier film of Hamlet devised by Speaight[13] among other innovations. A supporter of the shop at this time was the actor Ralph Richardson, who wrote introductions to the plays.[9]

Unfortunately, nothing could return toy theatres to their previous success. In 1950, Keen had to move the premises to Little Russell Street in Bloomsbury. The following year, Benjamin Pollock Limited went into receivership.

In 1955, a BBC journalist, Marguerite Fawdry, was looking for wire character slides for her son’s toy theatre. She ended up buying not only the stock but also the business. She rented a shop at 44 Monmouth Street — in Seven Dials near Holborn (quite a smart street of boutiques and restaurants these days). In 1956, she opened Pollock’s Toy Museum in part of the shop. In 1957, she purchased the plates from Skelt’s, as George Skelt had recently died. Robert Louis Stevenson had Skelt toy theatres as a child, so this was an important acquisition for the company.

In 1969, the rent in Monmouth Street was too high for the business to survive. Fawdry moved Pollock’s to 1 Scala Street near Goodge Street Station.

In 1980, Fawdry maintained the museum in Scala Street and moved the business to the newly renovated Covent Garden Piazza.

In 1988, Fawdry sold the business to brothers Christopher and Peter Baldwin. Peter Baldwin had a collection of toy theatres and was best known for his role as Derek Walton in the long-running evening soap opera, Coronation Street. He had also managed the shop between acting jobs. A lady by the name of Louise Heard was working in the shop at this time. She, too, would play a role in developing the business.

In 2008, Christopher Baldwin retired. Louise Heard became co-owner along with Peter Baldwin. In 2010, the two opened a second Pollock’s Toy Shop at Hatfield House in Hertfordshire.

In 2015, Peter Baldwin died. Louise Heard continues to run both shops. Wikipedia tells us:

Today the shop produces its own range of toy theatres by contemporary artists such as Kate Baylay and Clive Hicks-Jenkins[19] which have been displayed at Liberty, Fortnum & Mason and the Royal Opera House. It sells reproduction and original toy theatres from around the world in addition to books, puppets, music boxes and other traditional toys.[9]

The museum and trust

Marguerite Fawdry’s grandson Eddy Fawdry currently runs the museum.

There is a Pollock’s Toy Museum Trust which helped to populate the inventory at the museum. They are no longer interested in receiving toy donations, only stories. Their main web page also states:

The trust’s collection remains there, although we have been prevented from having free use of it for the benefit of the public, as our trust deed requires us to do.

However, the museum’s contact page states:

Please note that if you come across a site calling itself Pollock’s Toy Museum Trust, this is not the museum, please ignore it.

The Trust are no longer connected to the museum but continue as a sort of strange purpose less entity!

The Pollock’s Toy Museum experience

I will never forget going to Pollock’s Toy Museum.

First, some practical information.

Getting there

By Tube, alight at Goodge Street Station.

When you exit the station at street level, take a left. At the corner, take another left. When you get to the next corner, take another left. That’s three lefts in total. The museum is at the end of the first block on the opposite side. You cannot miss its colourful exterior!

Admission and opening times

The museum is closed on Sundays and Bank Holidays.

If you want to go this weekend, it will have to be Saturday. But, don’t worry, it is likely to be quiet.

Their Contact page has more details on opening hours and admission prices.

Normal admission is £7 per person, with discounts for seniors and children. Credit cards accepted.

Other notes

There is no tour guide or attendant. Once you pay, you’re on your own.

The museum is in two old adjoining buildings — one from the 1780s and the other from the 1880s — with narrow staircases, which isn’t good for anyone with mobility issues.

The museum’s content is also not recommended for young children:

We recommend it for slightly older children and adults of all ages.

Nor would I recommend it to anyone who is triggered by weird looking toys. Seriously, anyone falling into that category will have nightmares.

It will take between 90 minutes and two hours to complete the museum in full. By that, I mean reading all the brief typewritten notes with the exhibits.

There are chairs in some rooms for those who need to sit down.

There is a restroom near the reception area.

Admission

We had a rather eccentric thirtysomething man at the entrance.

There were three of us and he gave us only one pamphlet to the museum.

My friends, who paid for me (thank you!), asked him, ‘Aren’t you going to give us two more pamphlets?’

He paused, looked at us and grudgingly gave us two more.

He had no personality at all, and I think he had a ‘problem’ of sorts. It’s a charitable act giving people like him a job.

The same went for the young woman who had taken his place by the time we left. I don’t think she could feasibly work anywhere else, either.

My friends said ‘Goodbye!’ on the way out and she just stared at us. Finally, she muttered ‘Goodbye’.

The pamphlet

The pamphlet is really helpful in guiding you from room to room.

Of course, they cannot list every type of exhibit, but the text only gives you a good summary of what you’re going to see.

That said, look carefully as you are going around, because there are some unmentioned gems on the walls and in the display cases.

Touring the museum

Everything is chocka with exhibits.

The first little room before the first staircase has mostly American toys from the 19th and early 20th centuries. All are described, including the provenance of the metal of the money boxes.

The first staircase shows that toys weren’t meant to be sources of fun and jollity. There are a number of 19th century — maybe slightly older — education aids for young children, who were expected to learn, not play. These large boards have pictures on them with a variety of small squares with aphorisms and other short items to memorise. The one I recall most vividly — and not mentioned in the pamphlet — is an Italian board depicting a schoolroom scene. A very comely schoolmistress is sitting behind a desk. A long switch is next to her. A little boy is sobbing his eyes out. The other children are quietly doing their schoolwork. Some of these boards depict scientific concepts children were meant to learn. I felt rather stupid looking at them. I’m not sure I learned those until a later stage at primary school.

If you pause on the landing and look opposite, you’ll see — if I remember rightly — Buzz Lightyear. That’s the most modern toy on display.

Things got more normal in the first room on the first floorthe boys’ den. There are Dinky toys (cars, delivery vehicles), train sets and tin soldiers. There are also a number of futuristic toys from the postwar era. Near the window are 19th century optical toys.

Going up the stairs to the second floor, you’ll see early board games as well as some modern ones. There are also some boys’ comic books that are at least a century old and folk toys from the Subcontinent.

The main room on the second floor is devoted to toy theatres, many of them from Pollock’s. You can also see a photo of Pollock there.

By the time you’re on the third floor, you’ve moved from the 1880s building into the one dating from the 1780s. The first room is devoted to dolls. You can see why they were out of the reach of most little girls two centuries ago. These are quite exquisite — and were very expensive. Don’t miss the 4,000 year old toy mouse from the banks of the Nile!

The next room has toy soldiers and teddy bears interspersed with a grand collection of dolls houses. I did not know that the late Victorians and Edwardians thought that little boys should have a masculine equivalent of a doll to comfort them; that’s where the idea of the teddy bear originated. The dolls houses are fascinating, even for men. One English father built his daughter a replica of the family home, complete with vehicles in the drive. The windows on the house open, and everything is exactly as it was in real life. She must have loved that.

The next room has more dolls from the first part of the 20th century. One of these is a black doll that belonged to a London girl who was from the West Indies. It’s got a great family story associated with it, the finer details of which I cannot remember well enough. Be sure to check it out.

There are also tea sets, prams, farm carts and more.

Again, nearly every room has an international collection, so it’s worthwhile looking at everything. The staircase leading down to the gift shop has a lot of toys from Africa and China.

The gift shop is okay, nothing to write home about.

The restroom is on the way out, just past the gift shop. It’s nice and clean.

Any visitor or Londoner who hasn’t visited Pollock’s Toy Museum should certainly consider adding it to their list of activities for a day out.

I want to go again. I think I’ll treat my English friend to an afternoon out.

For more information and photos, see TripAdvisor and Yelp reviews. That said, I disagree with everyone who says it needs updating. Egads. It most certainly does not! This is about the history of toys, not the latest trends. For that, head to Hamley’s, the toy shop in Regent’s Street.

In December 2017 and January 2018, I wrote about the FBI/DOJ schemes to undermine Donald Trump’s campaign and subsequent presidency.

The first burst of information emerged early in December:

December 1 and 2: update on the weekend’s news

At that point, Americans discovered that an FBI investigator, Peter Strzok, had been a Hillary supporter in 2016, was part of the group investigating the ‘matter’ of her email server, then went to work as part of Robert Mueller’s investigation before he was removed from Mueller’s team in the summer of 2017. That news had only been revealed in December.

An FBI/DOJ lawyer, Lisa Page, worked for former FBI deputy director Andrew McCabe and was also assigned to Mueller’s Trump-Russia investigation for a time. She and Strzok developed a close working relationship.

When this became public, it was thought the two were having an extra-marital affair. As time went on, this became less certain. Nevertheless, last year:

Strzok and Page exchanged upwards of 50,000 text messages, many of which have since been recovered. Before that point, however, one of the first sections of texts discovered discussed Strzok’s mention to Page of an ‘insurance policy’:

News in brief — December 12-14, 2017

The ‘insurance policy’ was meant to thwart the Trump presidency:

By January 2018, the DOJ’s inspector general Michael Horowitz had 50,000 of the texts but was missing five months’ more:

Be prepared for 2018 news: part 3 — FBI’s missing texts

I included a message from Q in that post. Q says these missing texts could cast doubt on the FBI and DOJ and put in jeopardy criminal cases from the Obama years:

Then a new batch of texts came to light, which revealed that Strzok and Page discussed an existing ‘secret society’ that would undermine Trump:

Be prepared for 2018 news: part 4 — ‘secret society’ and more on missing FBI texts

After Mueller dismissed Strzok from his team, the latter was assigned to the FBI’s HR department.

Page continued as an FBI lawyer with other, unspecified responsibilities.

On April 11, Senator Rand Paul (R-Kentucky) discovered that, according to FBI director Christopher Wray, both Strzok and Page still had their security clearances. The Conservative Treehouse has a full report with supporting documents. Excerpts follow, emphases mine:

Senator Paul inquired with the FBI Director about whether reassigned FBI Agent Peter Strzok and DOJ/FBI Attorney Lisa Page still retained their Top Secret FBI clearances.

According to Senator Paul, the FBI director would not respond to specific agent inquiry, however, Wray did affirm that all existing FBI officials retain Top Secret clearances.

In essence, Lisa Page and Peter Strzok, despite being removed from investigative authority over their role in the political efforts to target President Trump, retain employment within the DOJ/FBI apparatus in an unknown capacity and thereby their clearances.

This information by Rand Paul dovetails into an increasingly obvious storyline where Lisa Page and Peter Strzok remain employed because they are cooperating with the internal investigation by Inspector General Michael Horowitz and parallel federal prosecutor John Huber.

Similarly, former FBI chief legal counsel James Baker retained his:

In addition to Page and Strzok, former FBI chief legal counsel James Baker and former DOJ-NSD Deputy Bruce Ohr have been removed from their roles yet still remain inside the FBI and DOJ respectively. Those four are joined by the FBI Asst. Director in charge of Counterintelligence, Bill Priestap. However, despite Priestap’s centrality to the 2015/2016 corrupt FBI activity -including the Trump operation- Priestap remains untouched.

After FBI Asst Director Andrew McCabe was fired the subsequent information revealed what happened inside the groupMcCabe lied to FBI and IG investigators about his coordinating leaks to media. McCabe’s story conflicted with the account of his office attorney, Lisa Page.  {Go Deep}

To validate the truthfulness of her position Lisa Page provided FBI investigators with access to her text messages which showed conversations about McCabe directing leaks by Page and FBI communications Director Michael Kortan.  After the Page messages confirmed her version of the events; eventually McCabe admitted to misleading investigators.

Lisa Page, Peter Strzok, James Baker and Bruce Ohr have all been removed from responsibilities within the DOJ and FBI yet all still remain inside the organization.  FBI Director of Counterintelligence Bill Priestap, who was Peter Strzok’s’ boss throughout the corrupt group activity, remains in his role today.

By April 20, things started to unravel at the FBI. Vox has the whole story, but this tweet summarises the situation, saying that Trump will have the best laugh:

By April 25, it was thought that more Strzok-Page texts had been uncovered, although not made public. Q sent out a message (image courtesy of Reddit’s Q research board, greatawakening):

That day, Republican congressmen Devin Nunes (California) and Mark Meadows (North Carolina) appeared on Hannity calling for the release of the texts. The summary to the video linked here says:

Rep. Devin Nunes accuses the Justice Department of slow-walking the release of documents; he and Rep. Mark Meadows speak out on ‘Hannity.’

The next day:

The Last Refuge — Sundance from The Conservative Treehouse — posted a Twitter thread which discusses the newly released, yet redacted, texts. Only Strzok’s were made public. Excerpts follow:

Sundance also posted about this text release on his site, The Conservative Treehouse. Points of interest include the following (red emphases in the original):

♦[May 17th, 2017] Lisa Page mentions reviewing Benjamin Wittes Lawfare website (James Comey BFF and leak conduit) for “arguments to chronicle” on behalf of Special counsel advocacy.

NOTE: This is interesting because Lawfare Blog also mentions the “Insurance Policy”.

Important – May 17th, 2017 is the date of the Special Counsel Mueller appointment.

♦[May 17th, 2017] Date of Mueller appointment. Discussions of team being assembled. Strzok notes “emailing with Aaron”.  Well that’s Aaron Ze[ble]y former FBI Director Robert Mueller’s Chief of Staff who was selected for Special Counsel position. He’s also a partner at WilmerHale, and Strzok mentions to Page that she might find herself working at WilmerHale if she plays her cards right.

The fact that Agent Strzok was emailing with “Aaron” Ze[ble]y prior to the official appointment of the special counsel team should likely raise a few eyebrows.   Of course within this time-frame of the messaging released, the redactions increase.  Go figure.

Toward the end of the release a more thorough picture emerges of who was selecting Robert Mueller’s team and why. Andrew McCabe was key player along with James Baker

Page had broken off her texting with Strzok in 2017, long before the American public was aware of either of them. The Conservative Treehouse interprets her last text as follows:

Page’s final “never write to me again” doesn’t seem like a hostile snub. Seems more like a signal/coded message to a friend: “We’re scr*wed. Every (wo)man for himself. I’m looking out for myself. You should too.”

That day, Q posted the following message (1288). Emphases in the original:

Q !xowAT4Z3VQ ID: 5086f0 1218147 📁
Focus only on the FBI [for now].
Jim Rybicki, chief of staff and senior counselor – FIRED.
James Baker, general counsel – FIRED.
Andrew McCabe, deputy director – FIRED.
James Comey, director – FIRED.
Bill Priestap, Head of Counterintelligence and Strzok’s boss – Cooperating witness [power removed].
Peter Strzok, Deputy Assistant Director of the Counterintelligence – cooperating witness [power removed].
Lisa Page, attorney with the FBI‘s Office of the General Counsel – cooperating witness [power removed].
Conspiracy?
Think about the above.
Only the above.
Get the picture?
Q

By April 29, The Conservative Treehouse stated — wisely — that there was no romantic relationship between Page and Strzok:

There is zero evidence of a romantic relationship between Peter Strzok and Lisa Page; and no, a complete chronological review doesn’t indicate the romantic stuff was withheld. By looking at the messaging chronologically, studying the date and times, there’s nothing to indicate segments of romantic stuff was removed. What does appear obvious in many redactions, and likely some removals of messages, is an intentional effort to remove content that would be of an embarrassing professional nature to Ms. Lisa Page.

It is more than likely the “affair narrative” was likely created by investigators as part of an agreement on content control to explain withholding some information and message redactions. Investigators would not want those being investigated to know the scale of the evidence trail. Regardless, except for the useful story, the romantic angle is irrelevant.

In looking at the ensuing congressional report, Sundance offered this analysis (excerpted, emphasis in the original):

[Congressional Report – Page 18, Item #3, second paragraph] “The DOJ OIG obtained the initial batch of text messages on July 20, 2017.”   It is clear that Ms. Page underwent a period of (no less than) three solid days of extensive initial questioning by FBI (INSD) and DOJ (OIG) officials. [Which ended on/around July 20th, 2017.]

July 20th, 2017 is a key date.  A critical point-of-reference to move forward and review action.  It is absolutely clear [BEYOND CERTAIN], that INSD (Inspection Division) and OIG (Inspector General) knew of every single participant in the Page-Strzok engagement team by the end of July 2017.

Along with Page and Strzok, James Baker was also involved in the leaks (emphases mine):

The officials outlined in media leaks, direct or indirect, included: Lisa Page, Peter Strzok, James Baker (FBI Chief Legal Counsel), Andrew McCabe (Deputy Director), and Michael Kortan (FBI Office of Public Affairs). There are also discussions of other people leaking.

Indeed, one of the more stunning aspects of a full review was the scale of groups’ leaks to the media and how those leaks were used to frame the continued narrative about their ongoing efforts.

The messages show media leaks from 2015 all the way past the appointment of Special Counsel Robert Mueller. Their discussions with the media were so frequent that Page and Strzok referred to media publications as “that’s your story”, or “that’s your article”, and enjoyed talking about the internal and external effect of the published accounts therein.

As for James Baker:

It does not appear accidental that FBI Chief Legal Counsel James Baker was allowed, by INSD and OIG investigators, to remain in place, *until* Baker was notified of being called to testify to congress (December 21, 2017)… then INSD yanked him back; and FBI Director Christopher Wray removed Baker from responsibility.

James Baker remains inside the FBI today; in some unknown capacity. James Baker is also in the text messages as “JB”, “Jim”, “GC” (General Counsel), and “James”. He was also an interoffice mentor/role-model of sorts for DOJ assigned Special Counsel Lisa Page. Both Page and Strzok had a great deal of respect and admiration for Baker.

From the messages we can clearly see that James Baker is a key figure amid everything that was happeningLikely Baker’s cooperation with investigators is the biggest risk to James Comey and Andrew McCabe due to Baker’s knowledge of situations, decisions, non-decisions and events.

Ultimately (emphasis in the original):

Lisa Page, Peter Strzok, Bruce Ohr and James Baker have all been clearly identified by investigative releases as participating in gross misconduct at the DOJ and FBI.  All four of them have been removed from their responsibilities, yet each of them remains employed within the FBI or DOJ.

It is highly likely all four of them are cooperating with INSD and OIG investigators.

Sundance surmises that those in the know who are not co-operating are as follows:

FBI Communications Director Mike Kortan (quit), DOJ-NSD Deputy Asst. Attorney General David Laufman (quit), AG Loretta Lynch (replaced), AAG Sally Yates (fired), DOJ-NSD Asst Attorney General Mary McCord (quit), FBI Director James Comey (fired), Deputy FBI Director Andrew McCabe (fired), FBI Chief-of-staff James Rybicki (quit).

Big news emerged on Friday, May 4. The New York Times reported (emphases mine):

WASHINGTON — Two top F.B.I. aides who worked alongside the former director James B. Comey as he navigated one of the most politically tumultuous periods in the bureau’s history resigned on Friday.

One of them, James A. Baker, was one of Mr. Comey’s closest confidants. He served as the F.B.I.’s top lawyer until December when he was reassigned as the new director, Christopher A. Wray, began installing his own advisers. Mr. Baker had been investigated by the Justice Department on suspicion of sharing classified information with reporters. He has not been charged.

The other aide, Lisa Page, advised Mr. Comey while serving directly under his deputy, Andrew G. McCabe. She was assailed by conservatives after texts that she had exchanged with the agent overseeing the investigation into links between President Trump’s campaign and Russia were made public. In the messages, they expressed anti-Trump views but took aim at Hillary Clinton and other political figures as well.

The decisions by Mr. Baker and Ms. Page to leave the bureau were unrelated. Mr. Baker said in a telephone interview that he would be joining the Brookings Institution to write for Lawfare, its blog focused on national security law.

Sundance at the Conservative Treehouse had mentioned Lawfare, as cited above. Lawfare was helpful to those in the FBI and DOJ in giving them narrative points and discussing the ‘insurance policy’.

The Daily Caller had more on the story:

The FBI attorney who exchanged anti-Trump text messages with another bureau official resigned on Friday, The Daily Caller News Foundation has learned.

The FBI confirmed that the lawyer, Lisa Page, tendered her resignation.

Page has faced months of scrutiny over the text messages, which she exchanged with Peter Strzok, the former deputy chief of the FBI’s counterintelligence division.

The exchanges show a deep hostility to President Donald Trump at a time when the two officials were working on the FBI’s investigation into possible Trump campaign collusion with the Russian government. Some of the texts show Strzok and Page cryptically discussing how to proceed with the investigation, which was opened on July 31, 2016

Both Strzok and Page also served on Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s Russia investigation, which began on May 17, 2017.

Page worked for several weeks on the Mueller team before returning to her position as one of McCabe’s counselors. Strzok worked on the Mueller investigation until July 28, 2017, when Michael Horowitz, the DOJ’s inspector general, notified Mueller of the scandalous text messages.

Page is also a central player in Horowitz’s investigation of McCabe. She is the FBI official who McCabe instructed to speak to The Wall Street Journal regarding an October 2016 article about the FBI’s handling of the Clinton email investigation. McCabe authorized Page to leak to The Journal “in a manner designed to advance his personal interests at the expense of Department leadership,” Horowitz determined.

Attorney General Jeff Sessions fired McCabe on March 16:

based upon a recommendation from the FBI’s Office of Professional Responsibility (OPR).

Horowitz released his report about McCabe on April 13:

that alleged McCabe gave inaccurate and incomplete statements about his authorization of the media leaks. The report, which dinged McCabe for a “lack of candor,” said he initially denied to both the OPR and the inspector general that he authorized Page to speak with The Journal.

The Daily Caller reported that Horowitz’s next findings would focus more closely on Strzok and Page.

That day, Q posted an update to the aforementioned message (1288) in a new one (1316). Emphases in the original:

Q !2jsTvXXmXs 64 📁

[Updated]
James Baker – FIRED [reported today – resigned [false]] / removed Jan/FIRED 4.21
Lisa Page – FIRED [reported today – resigned [false]]
Testimony received.
Tracking_y.
[Added]
Mike Kortan, FBI Assistant Director for Public Affairs – FIRED [cooperating under ‘resigned’ title]
Josh Campbell, Special Assistant to James Comey – FIRED
[DOJ]
David Laufman, Chief of the Justice Department’s Counterintelligence and Export Control Section [NAT SECHRC email invest] – FIRED/FORCE
John Carlin, Assistant Attorney General – Head of DOJ’s National Security Division – FIRED/FORCE
Sally Yates, Deputy Attorney General & Acting Attorney General – FIRED
Mary McCord, Acting Assistant Attorney General – Acting Head of DOJ’s National Security Division – FIRED/FORCE
Bruce Ohr, Associate Deputy Attorney General – Demoted 2x – cooperating witness [power removed]
Rachel Brand, Associate Attorney General – No. 3 official behind Deputy AG Rosenstein – FIRED/FORCE
Cross against House/Senate resignations/final term announcements + CEO departures.
CONSPIRACY?
FAKE NEWS?
THE SWAMP IS BEING DRAINED.
TRUST THE PLAN.
JUSTICE.
Q

From that, it is interesting to see that, for public consumption, Page and Baker ‘resigned’, yet, both, according to Q, were actually ‘FIRED’. Q also notes: ‘Testimony received’.

Hmm.

Two of the other people — namely Mike Kortan and Rachel Brand — had reportedly ‘resigned’, too. Q’s take is that both were similarly FIRED.

The important point in Q’s message going forward are the last five lines before sign-off. What concerned Americans suspected wasn’t a conspiracy theory but actual conspiracy. Action has been taken, and the Swamp draining has begun.

Much more to follow once the next inspector general report is published.

Until then, trust the plan as the Trump administration enters the phase where it metes justice.

In the first half of 2017, Trump supporters — myself included — were enthusiastic about Jefferson Beauregard Sessions as attorney general.

On February 10, I wrote about child molesters and traffickers:

Can Jeff Sessions make pizza great again?

Although perverts and traffickers are always being arrested, under Sessions’s watch, the number began to increase exponentially. Great news!

Another big problem was MS-13. On April 10, I posted:

Attorney General Sessions sends message to MS-13: ‘We will find you’

From those two targets, we see that Sessions’s DOJ was making a move on people all of us can agree fall into the category of criminal.

However, there is another type of criminal: Washington DC politicians who work against the interests of the United States and, within that group, the subset which has been trying to bring down President Donald Trump since November 9, 2016, the day after the election. George True’s guest post of April 15, 2018 explains how serious this is:

Guest post: a reader’s perspective on the Deep State and Mueller investigation

That Jeff Sessions does not consider the DC Swamp rats to be criminals is problematic.

My other 2018 posts about him have reflected this:

Trump tweets frustration with slow investigation (February 24 – 28, 2018)

Increasing outcry for Sleepy Sessions to go (April 19)

Guest post: a reader’s perspective on Jeff Sessions’s priorities (George True, April 20 and Rosenstein’s presidential cufflinks)

Jeff Sessions began recusing himself from Swamp rat investigations early in 2017.

As a result, he has made life extremely difficult for President Trump and his associates. The coup continues apace.

January 10, 2017 — first hint of recusal

As early as January 2017, Sessions said he would recuse himself from any campaign issues involving Hillary Clinton.

On January 10, the Los Angeles Times reported (emphases mine):

Sen. Jeff Sessions, Donald Trump’s pick to be the next attorney general, testified before Congress on Tuesday that he would recuse himself from any investigations and prosecutions involving Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton.

Sessions and Trump called during the fall campaign for Clinton to be investigated and prosecuted for her use of a private email server, despite determinations by the FBI and Justice Department that her actions did not warrant charges. Since his election, Trump has said he did not support such an investigation or prosecution. 

Sessions said he had made comments during the “contentious” campaign about Clinton’s use of the email server and her family’s charitable foundation that could place his objectivity in question.

“I believe the proper thing for me to do would be to recuse myself from any questions involving those kind of investigations that involve Secretary Hillary Clinton,” the Alabama Republican told senators on the Judiciary Committee.

March 2, 2017 – first recusal statement

After Sessions was appointed attorney general, he formally recused himself from campaign investigations.

On March 2, he gave a statement, excerpted below:

During the course of the confirmation proceedings on my nomination to be Attorney General, I advised the Senate Judiciary Committee that ‘[i]f a specific matter arose where I believed my impartiality might reasonably be questioned, I would consult with Department ethics officials regarding the most appropriate way to proceed.’ 

During the course of the last several weeks, I have met with the relevant senior career Department officials to discuss whether I should recuse myself from any matters arising from the campaigns for President of the United States

Having concluded those meetings today, I have decided to recuse myself from any existing or future investigations of any matters related in any way to the campaigns for President of the United States

Quartz provided the background:

US attorney general Jeff Sessions, responding to mounting pressure from Democrats and from his own party, announced that he is recusing himself from any current or future investigations into the 2016 US presidential campaigns. The decision followed reports that he had spoken twice last year with Russia’s ambassador to the US. Russia, of course, is widely believed by US intelligence agencies to have meddled in the election.

Sessions, a former Republican senator and an advisor to US president Donald Trump during the race, had testified during his Senate confirmation hearing in January that he had not had communications with the Russians during the campaign. At his press conference today (March 2), Sessions spoke about one of the meetings, recalling that it ending in a tense confrontation about Ukraine.

Business Insider provided more detail:

The attorney general recused himself on March 2 after reports emerged that Sessions had twice met with the Russian ambassador to the US, Sergey Kislyak, during the course of the election, contradicting statements he made during his Senate confirmation hearing, in which he said under oath that he did not have contacts with Russians during the campaign

Following the bombshell report, Democrats swiftly demanded Sessions’ resignation, while a growing group of Republicans called on the attorney general to recuse himself from campaign-related investigations.

During questioning by Sen. Ron Wyden later in the hearing, Sessions said that there were no classified reasons for his recusal, as former FBI Director James Comey suggested in his Senate testimony last week. Sessions also claimed that he had informally recused himself since he was confirmed to lead the Justice Department. 

I basically recused myself the first day I got into the office because I never accessed files, I never learned the names of investigators, I never met with them, I never asked for any documentation,” Sessions told Wyden. “The documentation — what little I received — was mostly already in the media.” 

Months later, the Los Angeles Times noted:

In March, Sessions announced he was recusing himself from any investigation into charges that Russia meddled in the 2016 presidential election and potential collusion between Russians and Trump’s campaign. Following his announcement, reports surfaced that Trump was irate that Sessions had recused himself from any investigation.

Fake news or a grain of truth in that last sentence?

I’m writing up what happened to HR McMaster, which I will post here in due course, and found that these rumours and reports turned out to be true.

June 13, 2017 – second recusal statement

On June 13, 2017, the Los Angeles Times reported Sessions’s second formal recusal, this time into Russian collusion:

Atty. Gen. Jeff Sessions insists his recusal from any investigation into Russian collusion in last year’s election was simple: It’s the law.

In an opening statement before the Senate Intelligence Committee on Tuesday, Sessions cited a Department of Justice regulation that he said mandated him stepping aside …

“I recused myself not because of any asserted wrongdoing on my part during the campaign,” Sessions said. “But because a Department of Justice regulation, 28 CFR 45.2, required it.”

“That regulation states, in effect, that department employees should not participate in investigations of a campaign if they have served as a campaign advisor,” said Sessions.

Throughout much of the 2016 election, Sessions served as a senior advisor to Trump’s campaign.

July 2017 — a vexed Trump unloads

On July 19, three New York Times reporters — Peter Baker, Michael S Schmidt and Maggie Haberman — published an interview (and transcript) with President Trump at the White House.

Trump did not mince words. The article led with this:

WASHINGTON — President Trump said on Wednesday that he never would have appointed Attorney General Jeff Sessions had he known Mr. Sessions would recuse himself from overseeing the Russia investigation that has dogged his presidency, calling the decision “very unfair to the president.”

In a remarkable public break with one of his earliest political supporters, Mr. Trump complained that Mr. Sessions’s decision ultimately led to the appointment of a special counsel that should not have happened. “Sessions should have never recused himself, and if he was going to recuse himself, he should have told me before he took the job and I would have picked somebody else,” Mr. Trump said.

However, the topic did not come up until later in the interview. On this and other subjects, this has to be one of the best interviews ever. On Robert Mueller, Jeff Sessions and Rod Rosenstein, Trump had this to say:

SCHMIDT: What do you understand to be the four corners of what Mueller [Robert S. Mueller III, the special counsel in the Russia investigation] can look at, if he steps—— [crosstalk]

TRUMP: I don’t know. Nobody has contacted me about anything.

_________

TRUMP: Because I have done nothing wrong. A special counsel should never have been appointed in this case.

BAKER: Can we put that on the record?

TRUMP: Because so far, the only — yeah, you can put it down.

SCHMIDT: Was that [Attorney General Jeff] Sessions’s mistake or [Deputy Attorney General Rod J.] Rosenstein’s mistake?

________

TRUMP: Look, Sessions gets the job. Right after he gets the job, he recuses himself.

BAKER: Was that a mistake?

TRUMP: Well, Sessions should have never recused himself, and if he was going to recuse himself, he should have told me before he took the job, and I would have picked somebody else.

HABERMAN: He gave you no heads up at all, in any sense?

TRUMP: Zero. So Jeff Sessions takes the job, gets into the job, recuses himself. I then have — which, frankly, I think is very unfair to the president. How do you take a job and then recuse yourself? If he would have recused himself before the job, I would have said, “Thanks, Jeff, but I can’t, you know, I’m not going to take you.” It’s extremely unfair, and that’s a mild word, to the president. So he recuses himself. I then end up with a second man, who’s a deputy.

HABERMAN: Rosenstein.

TRUMP: Who is he? And Jeff hardly knew. He’s from Baltimore.

________

TRUMP: Yeah, what Jeff Sessions did was he recused himself right after, right after he became attorney general. And I said, “Why didn’t you tell me this before?” I would have — then I said, “Who’s your deputy?” So his deputy he hardly knew, and that’s Rosenstein, Rod Rosenstein, who is from Baltimore. There are very few Republicans in Baltimore, if any. So, he’s from Baltimore. Now, he, we went through a lot of things. We were interviewing replacements at the F.B.I. Did you know Mueller was one of the people that was being interviewed?

HABERMAN: I did, actually.

TRUMP: He was sitting in that chair. We had a wonderful meeting.

HABERMAN: Day before, right?

SCHMIDT: Did he want the job?

TRUMP: The day before! Of course, he was up here, and he wanted the job.

HABERMAN: And he made that clear to you? He would have——

________

TRUMP: So, now what happens is, he leaves the office. Rosenstein leaves the office. The next day, he is appointed special counsel. I said, what the hell is this all about? Talk about conflicts? But he was interviewing for the job. There were many other conflicts that I haven’t said, but I will at some point. So Jeff Sessions, Jeff Sessions gave some bad answers.

HABERMAN: You mean at the hearing?

TRUMP: Yeah, he gave some answers that were simple questions and should have been simple answers, but they weren’t. He then becomes attorney general, and he then announces he’s going to recuse himself. Why wouldn’t he have told me that before?

HABERMAN: Why do you think it was? What do you think it was?

TRUMP: I don’t know.

BAKER: What would cause you — what would be the line beyond which if Mueller went, you would say, “That’s too far, we would need to dismiss him”?

TRUMP: Look, there are so many conflicts that everybody has. Then Rosenstein becomes extremely angry because of Comey’s Wednesday press conference, where he said that he would do the same thing he did a year ago with Hillary Clinton, and Rosenstein became extremely angry at that because, as a prosecutor, he knows that Comey did the wrong thing. Totally wrong thing. And he gives me a letter, O.K., he gives me a letter about Comey. And by the way, that was a tough letter, O.K. Now, perhaps I would have fired Comey anyway, and it certainly didn’t hurt to have the letter, O.K. But he gives me a very strong letter, and now he’s involved in the case. Well, that’s a conflict of interest. Do you know how many conflicts of interests there are? But then, then Comey also says that he did something in order to get the special prose— special counsel. He leaked. The reason he leaked. So, he illegally leaked.

Trump took to Twitter to express his vexation with Sessions, who was on an MS-13 mission in El Salvador at the time (see his priorities!):

So why aren’t the Committees and investigators, and of course our beleaguered A.G., looking into Crooked Hillarys crimes & Russia relations?

On July 27, Sessions told Tucker Carlson (Fox News) how ‘hurtful’ the President’s tweets were. Note that he defended his recusals:

He never should have taken the job!

Mueller conflicts of interest

To go into all the conflicts of interest in this investigation would take ages. Uranium One is the biggest, and it involves Russia, Mueller and Rosenstein.

That said, the public were angry at the way Big Media — especially CNN — were reporting the Mueller investigation.

On July 24, a contributor to The_Donald posted a testy thread, the title of which is:

FAKE NEWS CNN defending Sessions’ recusal while DEAD SILENT about Mueller needing to recuse for the same reasons. MUELLER IS MORE CONFLICTED THAN SESSIONS! REPORT THE TRUTH!

By way of reply, someone posted a link to a Crime and Consequences article, ‘My View: Mueller is Conflicted Out‘. The premise of the article is that Robert Mueller cannot continue to serve as Special Counsel under 28 USC Section 528 and 28 CFR Section 45.2. You can read the article for the detail.

The author provides an excellent summary of Mueller, James Comey and more. The following continues to be discussed today, particularly in light of Comey’s recent book launch and associated interviews:

Jim Comey and Bob Mueller have been friends for about 15 years

Comey now finds himself smack-dab at the center of the Russian investigation over which Mueller presides. Questions swirl around Comey — about whether the President wanted/hinted/hoped/asked/directed/or something else the investigation of National Security Adviser Gen. Flynn to be stopped/abandoned/slowed/soft-peddled/something else. This is probably the central element of the obstruction of justice case Mr. Trump’s opponents would like to see made against him.

Questions also swirl about Comey’s notes about this conversation, why he gave them to a private individual (Prof. Dan Richman of Columbia Law) to convey to the press. Additional questions have arisen about whether this curious and seemingly devious means of putting contents of the notes in the public domain (leaking, in other words) was designed specifically to bring about the appointment of a Special Counsel outside the President’s direct reach — and, indeed, whether Comey wanted, expected or intended his friend Mueller to get the job.

There is much to be said of all this, none of it very happy-making. But one thing that can be said with considerable clarity if not comfort is that, under the governing rules (set forth above), Mueller has a long-term relationship with Comey that “may result in a personal…conflict of interest, or the appearance thereof.”

He is therefore disqualified. I hope and believe that Mueller, whom I believe to be an honest man and a partisan of the rule of law, will see this for himself. If he doesn’t, I hope Rod Rosenstein will.

As I’ve said in many other contexts, I like rule-orientation and fear self-justification, a ubiquitous flaw in even the best of men. There is no way Comey is not a central witness in this investigation (if not a subject). Even less is there a way Mueller can be expected to evaluate Comey’s credibility with the fresh neutrality, arm’s-length curiosity, and objective sharp eye his job demands.

Whether Mueller’s departure would work out well or badly for Mr. Trump is not knowable (it is also decidedly not the subject of this post). My point is about the application of stated rules to the facts at hand. Let the chips fall where they may, the application is clear: Mueller cannot remain as Special Counsel.

That article was from June 2017. Nearly one year later, nothing has changed. Mueller’s still in situ.

On September 20, Law & Crime‘s Rachel Stockman asked why Rosenstein wasn’t recusing himself from the Mueller probe. Because Sessions recused himself, Rosenstein is the DOJ’s link to Mueller (emphases in the original, those in purple mine):

Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosentein is overseeing Special Counsel Robert Mueller‘s Russia investigation after Jeff Sessions recused himself. However, there are some concerns about his ability to adequately supervise an investigation that he has now become a part of. On Tuesday night, The Wall Street Journal broke the story that over the summer, Mueller’s investigators interviewed Rosentein about President Donald Trump‘s firing of former FBI Director James Comey.

The Journal claims the FBI’s handling of the interview “could be a sign that Mr. Mueller’s team doesn’t view Mr. Rosenstein as a central witness in its probe, as the deputy attorney general hasn’t withdrawn himself from overseeing it since that interview.” That could very well be the case, but the optics don’t look good. A spokesperson for Rosenstein said “if there comes a time when he needs to recuse, he will. However, nothing has changed.” Well, now might be the time …

Rosenstein, as a federal lawyer and a DOJ employee, is guided by both local D.C. ethics rules and Justice Department guidelines. Both would prohibit him from overseeing an investigation if he is a person of interest or a target

However, legal experts emphasize that we don’t know yet whether Rosenstein is a target of the investigation for his role in writing that infamous memo giving Trump “justification” for firing Comey.  Did Rosenstein cooperate in a lie to the public?  18 USC 1512(c)(2) says that obstruction happens when a person “corruptly… impedes [an] official proceeding or attempts to do so.”

“Creating a false narrative for firing Comey could be such an attempt. The definition of ‘official proceeding; includes “a proceeding before a Federal Government agency which is authorized by law.’ That language is broad enough to encompass the FBI and the Comey investigation,” Gillers said.

Now, the hope is that if the investigation starts honing in on Rosenstein, Mueller would advise him that he needed to recuse himself.  BUT there is this added wrinkle: Mueller may have an incentive in wanting to keep Rosentein as his supervisor. Trump’s team has hinted more than once that he might fire Mueller. Federal law says that technically Trump can’t do the firing. Instead, the U.S. Attorney General (or in this case Rosenstein since Sessions recused himself) would have to do it. From all indications, Rosenstein would probably not demure to such a demand from Trump …

In the end, we must rely on Mueller’s integrity, and pray that if Rosenstein was in legal jeopardy, Mueller would do the right thing and ask him to take himself off the investigation. In the wake of James Comey’s breach in DOJ policy, asking us to trust our public officials seems like a scary thought. With so much at stake, so many unknowns, and the world watching, Mr. Rosenstein needs to think long and hard about recusing himself. 

Well, Rosey’s still managing the Mueller investigation.

September 2017 – calls for unrecusal

By September, there were calls for Sessions to unrecuse himself. Here’s Tom Fitton of Judicial Watch:

By December, there was doubt as to whether Sessions should have recused at all:

On December 18, Alan Dershowitz offered the clearest rationale for an unrecusal. Emphases mine below.

He told Fox & Friends (video at the link):

Sessions could un-recuse himself, because the law allows anyone who’s recused themselves to un-recuse if there are new developments or circumstances.

And Dershowitz said the reason Sessions can do this, is because Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein should recuse himself.

Rosenstein is a “key witness” after writing the memo justifying Jim Comey’s firing.

November 2017 – question over possible Uranium One recusal

On November 2, Breitbart reported that Rep. Mark Gaetz (R – Florida) told them that Sessions would recuse over Uranium One (H/T: Conservative Treehouse). Bold emphasis in the original, those in purple mine:

Attorney General Jeff Sessions told a small group of lawmakers in late September he was recused from appointing a special counsel to look into potential corruption surrounding the Uranium One deal and Fusion GPS’s work on the Trump dossier, according to one of the lawmakers present.

Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-FL) told Breitbart News on Wednesday that he and other House Judiciary Committee Republicans had met with Sessions at the Justice Department on September 28 in advance of an upcoming committee hearing with Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein later this month.

Gaetz said that when he asked Sessions to appoint a special counsel to investigate the 2010 Uranium One deal and Fusion GPS, the attorney general stood up, said he could not discuss the matter because he had recused himself, and walked out of the room, leaving them with a group of Rosenstein staffers “who showed no interest.”

“He said that anything that had to do with 2016 election, or Russia, or the candidates in the 2016 election, fell under the scope of his recusal, and he left the room,” Gaetz said.

“It was Sessions’ position that his recusal on the Russia matter divorced him from any oversight on Uranium One and Fusion GPS. That’s troubling. Sessions’ recusal is a function of his involvement in the Trump campaign. In no world does that impact his judgment as it relates to Fusion GPS and Uranium One. But he views the recusal more broadly. That’s troubling because that puts Rosenstein in charge,” he said.

Gaetz said Rosenstein’s staffers provided “no answers” and “no timeline for answers.”

This is why many of us have been saying that Sessions must resign or, as such time as the Senate will approve a replacement, be fired.

Yet, investigative journalist Sara Carter told Fox’s Sean Hannity that the report was not true:

I hope Sara Carter is correct.

November 2017 – Sessions critics told they are disloyal

Sleepy’s critics are constantly being told by his supporters that by being critical of him they are being critical of Trump! False!

As much as I liked Imperator_Rex — currently Vachel Lindsay — on Twitter, the logic that he and others employ with this stance is wrong. Here’s a taster from a rather long thread of his from November 3:

Who knows what’s happening with The Storm? All the people we want to see brought to justice have been going on book tours (Hillary, Comey), giving speeches overseas (Obama) and leading a normal life (e.g. John Podesta).

Re 36, no, it’s not because Trump ‘wants’ Sessions there, it’s because the only way Trump can get a replacement for him is if he (Sessions) resigns (vacancy rules apply).

The Senate told Trump in 2017 that they will not approve any new cabinet members, making it impossible for Trump to fire Sessions. Nor will the Senate allow Trump to appoint someone new when the Senate is not in session. Consequently, the Senate has not been declaring any formal recess.

Trump’s hands are tied, unless Sessions resigns.

Even then, Trump has to have a replacement in mind.

It certainly won’t be Rosenstein.

Re 37, saying that Sessions critics are disloyal to Trump is egregious. We care deeply about President Trump. That’s why we want Sessions out of the way, so that Swamp rats can be dealt with the way the Founding Fathers intended.

Again, we have only Sara Carter’s word for that.

December 2017 – Former FBI director Kallstrom says Mueller should recuse

On December 4, former FBI director James Kallstrom told Breitbart that Robert Mueller should recuse himself:

“Bob Mueller should have never been offered nor accepted the job as special counsel as he has a huge conflict of interest,” Jim Kallstrom tells Breitbart News …

Not only do observers describe Mueller and the man he recommended to replace him as FBI director, James Comey, as close or even best friends, but the special counsel pursues an investigation heavily involving the bureau he once led. How one maintains detachment in leading a team that includes numerous anti-Trump partisans in a probe involving one’s close friend and the former bureau for which Mueller served as director goes unexplained.

Other problems Kallstrom sees include the means by which investigators obtained information and what constituted probable cause to obtain it.

“The Obama administration apparently, had the advantage of using electronic surveillance, collecting information on the Trump campaign,” Kallstrom explains. “That collection, in my view, may be found to be unlawful.”

If the surveillance and investigatory methods prove unlawful, Kallstrom notes that this puts Mueller in an awkward position of looking into his close friend and perhaps the bureau that both men once led.

“If they used the phony dossier as the predicate for the FISA order they obtained, that could be a huge problem,” Kallstrom tells Breitbart News. “If they knew the information was phony, that is a felony. If they did not know it was phony, they were incompetent.”

January 2018 – White House tried to talk Sessions out of recusal

On January 5, 2018, Fox News reported that White House officials tried to talk Sessions out of recusing himself in 2017 (emphases mine):

President Trump instructed three senior White House officials to talk Attorney General Jeff Sessions out of recusing himself from the Justice Department’s investigation into potential ties between Russia and members of the Trump campaign, multiple sources told Fox News on Friday.

Trump called on White House counsel Don McGahn, former Chief of Staff Reince Priebus and former Press Secretary Sean Spicer to stop Sessions from recusing himself.

Spicer has denied the allegation.

The push to convince Sessions allegedly took place over the course of a number of telephone calls that covered a variety of other topics, the well-placed sources told Fox.

On Thursday, The New York Times first reported that Trump had directed McGahn to contact Sessions this past March. According to The Associated Press, two anonymous sources confirmed that McGahn unsuccessfully lobbied Sessions to continue to oversee the Russia investigation.

Sessions supporters will have trouble with ‘multiple sources’ and ‘anonymous sources’, but every single presidential administration has had them.

My upcoming McMaster chronicle shows that, nearly every time one of these sources spoke to the media, they were telling the truth.

March – Sessions took recusal advice from Obama lawyers

Just when the Sessions situation couldn’t seem more intolerable, the Gateway Pundit reported on March 14 that the attorney general took recusal advice from Obama adminstration lawyers (emphases in the original):

On Wednesday night FOX News contributor and legal expert Gregg Jarrett told Sean Hannity that Sessions used the WRONG LAW when announcing his recusal. He took advice from OBAMA OFFICIALS and they misled him.

Gregg Jarrett: He betrayed the president. He knew when he was sworn in that he was going to recuse himself and the very next day he put the recusal in motion. He never told the president about that. And by the way he cited the regulation in his recusal… He cited the wrong law. It didn’t apply.

Sara Carter: I think he was being advised badly at the time.

Gregg Jarrett: Yeah, by Obama’s holdovers. Who in the world would believe them?

Good grief! He cited the wrong law!

The DOJ regulation Sessions cited — 28 CFR 45.2— says “no DOJ employee may participate in a criminal investigation or prosecution if he has a personal or political relationship with any person or organization substantially involved in the conduct that is the subject of the investigation or prosecution, or who would be directly affected by the outcome.”

As Andrew McCarthy at National Review reported, “The regulation he cited applies to a different type of investigation.”

Once again the question must be asked: Who did deep state catch Jeff Sessions in bed with?

My thoughts exactly.

April 2018 – Congress asks Sessions to investigate Swamp

On April 18, members of Congress wrote to Sessions, FBI Director Christopher Wray and United States Attorney John Huber requesting that they issue a criminal referral for a long list of Swamp dwellers, including FBI Director James Comey, Hillary Clinton and others – including FBI employees Peter Strzok and Lisa Page, for a laundry list of potential crimes surrounding the 2016 U.S. presidential election.

You can read the letter in full at Scribd.

ZeroHedge has more (emphases in the original):

Recall that Sessions paired special prosecutor John Huber with DOJ Inspector General Michael Horowitz – falling short of a second Special Counsel, but empowering Horowitz to fully investigate allegations of FBI FISA abuse with subpoena power and other methods he was formerly unable to utilize.

The GOP letter’s primary focus appears to be James Comey, while the charges for all include obstruction, perjury, corruption, unauthorized removal of classified documents, contributions and donations by foreign nationals and other allegations.

The letter also demands that Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein “be recused from any examination of FISA abuse,” and recommends that “neither U.S. Attorney John Huber nor a special counsel (if appointed) should report to Rosenstein.”  

April 2018 – possible partial recusal in Cohen investigation

Early in April, the home, office and hotel room of President Trump’s personal lawyer Michael Cohen were ransacked.

It’s possible that Sessions could recuse himself from this, too — at least partially.

On April 24, Gateway Pundit carried a news story, ‘WTH? AG Sessions Will Not Recuse Himself From Cohen Investigation — Only on Certain Issues‘ (emphases in the original):

Attorney General Jeff Sessions has decided not to recuse himself from the investigation into Trump’s personal lawyer, Michael Cohen.

Don’t get too excited because Sessions will consider stepping back on specific matters tied into the Cohen probe …

On Tuesday, GOP Rep. Lee Zeldin sent a letter to AG Sessions demanding to know his involvement in the FBI raid of Cohen.

“We would like to know if you approved, were consulted, or had any involvement in this decision by the Department of Justice,” Zeldin asked in a letter to AG Sessions about the FBI raid of Cohen on April 9th.

Gateway Pundit cited a Reuters article which says that Sessions discussed the matter at a Senate appropriations subcommittee meeting about the proposed 2019 budget for the Justice Department. Please read it, because it’s got all the classic Sessions recusal statements.

Conclusion

To date, Sessions’s recusals look increasingly like refusals to do the AG job in its entirety.

Jeff Sessions is up for the chop. It’s just a matter of time and circumstance. After the Cohen raid, Trump is even unhappier with the AG and the DOJ than he was a year ago at this time.

© Churchmouse and Churchmouse Campanologist, 2009-2019. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Churchmouse and Churchmouse Campanologist with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.
WHAT DOES THIS MEAN? If you wish to borrow, 1) please use the link from the post, 2) give credit to Churchmouse and Churchmouse Campanologist, 3) copy only selected paragraphs from the post — not all of it.
PLAGIARISERS will be named and shamed.
First case: June 2-3, 2011 — resolved

Creative Commons License
Churchmouse Campanologist by Churchmouse is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 UK: England & Wales License.
Permissions beyond the scope of this license may be available at https://churchmousec.wordpress.com/.

Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Join 1,290 other followers

Archive

Calendar of posts

May 2019
S M T W T F S
« Apr    
 1234
567891011
12131415161718
19202122232425
262728293031  

http://martinscriblerus.com/

Bloglisting.net - The internets fastest growing blog directory
Powered by WebRing.
This site is a member of WebRing.
To browse visit Here.

Blog Stats

  • 1,484,141 hits
Advertisements