Some of the most interesting events this week have been the revelation that House Intel Chairman Devin Nunes — who was a Trump surrogate during the campaign and has supposedly recused himself from the Russia investigation after his tragically flawed attempt to expose “unmasking” which was in fact completely appropriate — has been holding together a secret working group of House Republicans whose mission is to investigate the Special Counsel investigation and the FBI with the intention of proving that they are political corrupt and biased against Donald Trump and want to implement a “coup” against him.
A group of House Republicans has gathered secretly for weeks in the Capitol in an effort to build a case that senior leaders of the Justice Department and FBI improperly — and perhaps criminally — mishandled the contents of a dossier that describes alleged ties between President Donald Trump and Russia, according to four people familiar with their plans.
A subset of the Republican members of the House intelligence committee, led by Chairman Devin Nunes [sic] of California, has been quietly working parallel to the committee's high-profile inquiry into Russian meddling in the 2016 presidential election. They haven't informed Democrats about their plans, but they have consulted with the House's general counsel.
The people familiar with Nunes' [sic] plans said the goal is to highlight what some committee Republicans see as corruption and conspiracy in the upper ranks of federal law enforcement. The group hopes to release a report early next year detailing their concerns about the DOJ and FBI, and they might seek congressional votes to declassify elements of their evidence.
This is growing even more intense at this appears to be a coordinated effort with the White House — with Nunez and others meeting Trump several times recently — to argue not only that any of the findings by the FBI and Mueller should be ignored, but that Mueller should be fired and prosecuted.
Ranking House Intel member Adam Schiff along with Ranking Senate Intel member Mark Warner and Former Attorney General Eric Holder have called the potential firing of Mueller the crossing of an Absolute Red Line for our Democracy — but that doesn’t appear to be any deterrent to the Nunes Cabal which seems to include Rep Jim Jordan and Rep. Matt Gaetz who appeared on Ari Melber’s The Beat as shown below.
Besides the fact the crackpots on Fox News have said that the “FBI plotted to assassinate Trump” and Sen Rand Paul has said “Obama Officials colluded against Trump’s candidacy” based largely on nothing, the fact is that the Nunes Cabal’s attacks on the FBI using the example of Agent Peter Strzok’s text messages are pretty near worthless since besides Trump he also criticized Chelsey Clinton, Bernie Sanders, Martin O’Malley, Eric Holder, Julianne Assange, jeff Sessions and Scott Baio and revealed that he is a Conservative Democrat who was mostly leaning toward supporting John Kasich in the election, not Hillary Clinton.
The argument that Mueller’s team can’t be trusted because 6 out of 15 of them gave donations to Democrats has to be balanced against the fact the Mueller, his boss Rod Rosenstein and current FBI Director Christopher Wray [not to mention Comey] are all Republicans. And that Wray himself gave $50,000 to Republican candidates.
Wray is a registered Republican, NJ Advance Media reports, and has donated thousands of dollars to Republican campaigns over the years. This includes both John McCain and Mitt Romney's presidential campaigns, as well as other smaller races — you're talking some $50,000, CNN reported after referencing Federal Election Commission records.
So if being a partisan and providing partisan politician donations means you can’t be trusted to do your job — what does that say about all these investigations when all the bosses at FBI and DOJ are Republicans?
And that’s not even getting in the strong allegations that the New York Field Office of the FBI was “Trumpland” where they provided strategic leaks intended to hurt the Clinton campaign and stonewalled the investigation of the Steele Dossier during the election.
Current and former FBI officials, none of whom were willing or cleared to speak on the record, have described a chaotic internal climate that resulted from outrage over director James Comey’s July decision not to recommend an indictment over Clinton’s maintenance of a private email server on which classified information transited.
“The FBI is Trumpland,” said one current agent.
This atmosphere raises major questions about how Comey and the bureau he is slated to run for the next seven years can work with Clinton should she win the White House.
The currently serving FBI agent said Clinton is “the antichrist personified to a large swath of FBI personnel,” and that “the reason why they’re leaking is they’re pro-Trump.”
Somehow I doubt Nunes will be investigating any of that.
Ranking House Member Adam Schiff suggests that all this is intended to grant Trump cover to fire both Rosenstein and Mueller in order to cover up Russian money-laundering through the Trump organization, and Senator Ron Wyden ranking democrat on the Finance committee has elaborated on that saying that he will idenfinitely hold the nomination to the deputy director the the Treasury until he receives the documents he’s requested, and says that “Firing Bob Mueller would be a criminal act.”
As it turns out over the last decade Donald Trump has gained almost $200 Million from Russian sources included renters in his Condos and mortgages for various properties.
In 2008, Trump sold a mansion in Palm Beach, Florida, to Russian billionaire Dmitry Rybolovlev for $95 million. On the campaign trail, Trump at one point claimed it was his only dealing with Russia, but that’s not accurate.
The same year he sold the mansion, his son, Donald Trump Jr., told the global trade publication eTurboNews that Russians were key investors in the Trump Organization’s assets. "And in terms of high-end product influx into the US, Russians make up a pretty disproportionate cross-section of a lot of our assets; say in Dubai, and certainly with our project in SoHo and anywhere in New York,” Trump Jr. said in the interview. “We see a lot of money pouring in from Russia. There's indeed a lot of money coming for new-builds and resale reflecting a trend in the Russian economy and, of course, the weak dollar versus the ruble."
Money from Russia was particularly important to Trump’s business interests because his many bankruptcies had taken a toll on his creditworthiness. Bankers on Wall Street became unwilling to lend him money due to what they termed “the Donald risk.”
The most notable — and most notorious — of Trump’s Russian investors came through the Bayrock Group, which according to CNN, was “a company run by Soviet immigrants, and according to a lawsuit filed, financed by Russian and Kazakhstan money.” Bayrock, whose operations were headed by a man accused in a lawsuit of using “mob-like tactics to achieve his goals,” helped develop huge Trump projects in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, Phoenix, Arizona, and New York.
Also this week Sen. Mark Warner stated that more indictments beyond Papadopoulos, Flynn, Manfort and Gates are likely to come from Mueller’s office and that includes both Don Trump Jr. and Jared Kushner. [The potential charges against Don Jr. and Kushner I outlined within Update #27]
While all this has been swirling around some even more substantial reports have come out regarding the firing of James Comey and whether or not Trump attempted to obstruct justice in support of Michael Flynn.
Specifically WH documents obtained by Mueller show that White House Counsel Dan McGhan specifically looked up the laws regarding “Lying to the FBI” and the “Logan Act” just after speaking with former Acting AG Sally Yates when she told him “Flynn could be blackmailed by the Russians” since he had told Ambassador Kislyak they would “look at everything” regarding the sanctions Obama put in place to punish Russia for hacking our election then lied when the FBI asked him about it.
The White House turned over records this fall to special counsel Robert Mueller revealing that in the very first days of the Trump presidency, Don McGahn researched federal law dealing both with lying to federal investigators and with violations of the Logan Act, a centuries-old federal law that prohibits private citizens from negotiating with foreign governments, according to three people with direct knowledge of the confidential government documents.
The records reflected concerns that McGahn, the White House counsel, had that Michael Flynn, then the president’s national security advisor, had possibly violated either one or both laws at the time, according to two of the sources. The disclosure that these records exist and that they are in the possession of the special counsel could bolster any potential obstruction of justice case against President Donald Trump.
The records that McGahn turned over to the special counsel, portions of which were read to this reporter, indicate he researched both statutes and warned Trump about Flynn’s possible violations.
In addition to this revelation FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe testified to House Intel behind closed doors for 14 hours this week and while he did so he revealed that he can potentially confirm James Comey’s claim that during a private discussion with Trump — which occurred the day after McGhan informed him that Flynn had committed two felonies — he did indeed ask for Comey’s “Loyalty” and also for him to “let Flynn go.”
In private testimony before the House Intelligence Committee this week, McCabe told lawmakers that Comey informed him of conversations he had with President Donald Trump soon after they happened, according to three sources with knowledge of the matter.
The testimony suggests McCabe could corroborate Comey’s account, including Trump’s ask that Comey show him loyalty, which the President has strongly disputed. Comey previously testified that he briefed some of his senior colleagues at the FBI about this conversation with Trump.
This is indeed a very bad one two punch to Trump’s repeated claims that “Flynn did nothing wrong” and that he never responded to reports about Flynn by trying to shield him from the FBI.
Even if no direct proof of Quid Pro Quo collusion with Russia ever emerges [although I think de facto collusion and conspiracy has already been shown since no one on the Trump team alerted the FBI when they were told Russia “has thousands of Hillary’s emails” even after they were specifically briefed about potential foreign influence and advised to report ANY foreign contacts to the FBI] the obstruction case against Trump personally for trying to cover up how they tried to use Flynn to pay Russia back for their help by dropping sanctions is simply getting stronger and stronger.
Certainly not weaker.