Tuesday, April 14, 2020

And the (journalistic) grift goes on

Startled by a headline in The Hill

AG Barr just signaled that things are about to get ugly for the Russia collusion team

into thinking what? there's a chance that Junior and Jared, Flynn and Prince, Stone and Parscale, and some of those other malefactors could be in trouble?

Sadly, no, and of course that's not what Barr is talking about. The headline writers didn't realize that the expression "Russia collusion team" has an obvious meaning. What the author of the article, one Kevin R. Brock, is offering, is an interpretation of what Barr meant on his visit the other day to Laura Ingraham's Foxhole:
"I think the president has every right to be frustrated, because I think what happened to him was one of the greatest travesties in American history," Barr said. "Without any basis they started this investigation of his campaign, and even more concerning, actually is what happened after the campaign, a whole pattern of events while he was president. So I -- to sabotage the presidency, and I think that – or at least have the effect of sabotaging the presidency." 
That is, Brock is hoping Barr's announcing an effort to get the real villains, McCabe and Strzok, Simpson and Ohr, and Robert Mueller and presumably James Comey and Barack Obama and maybe FBI inspector general Michael Horowitz, who had the nerve to say that the investigation of the Trump campaign was not baseless, or a travesty, or sabotage, at all.

In fairness, the IG is not a criminal investigator and certainly not steeped in counterintelligence matters. The attorney general, on the other hand, owns the Attorney General Guidelines that dictate what it takes to initiate an FBI investigation, particularly of an American citizen. He is the ultimate arbiter. 
Which leads to the second point: The AG is logically being briefed on the progress and findings of U.S. Attorney John Durham’s investigation, which he commissioned to examine how the empty Russia collusion case got started in the first place and if it involved any wrongdoing on the part of the government.
Oh right, the IG doesn't know how to do his job whereas the US Attorney for the Connecticut district is totally steeped in counterintelligence matters, and besides Barr "owns" the rules, whatever that means (does it mean Horowitz wasn't allowed to have a copy?). But if Durham's terms of reference start with the presupposition that the case was "empty" it sounds like it is really going to be openly biased from the get-go. That's how I determine bias

National Review's legal correspondent Andrew McCarthy thinks Durham's taking an awfully long time to come to a conclusion, though—
"I think just as a matter of common sense if you're Durham, and we don't know what his timeline is, but to make a decision one way or another," he added. "But the closer it gets to Election Day, the more any charges he brought would be framed by the media as kind of a Trump campaign stunt," McCarthy said.
Gosh, folks, how improbable does that sound? Trump and his minions staging a phony investigation as a campaign stunt?

One thing I'm pretty sure of is Comey and Horowitz don't watch the Laura Ingraham show and Donald Trump does, which brings me to the Washington Post editorial board's thought that the whole thing might be meant for the #AudienceOfOne:
it is hard to determine which possibility is worse: that the attorney general is cynically toeing Mr. Trump’s line to stay in the president’s good graces, or that he really believes the things he says.
It's easy to determine which is more realistic, though. Cynicism is such a good bet you'd be crazy not to make it. So I'll say right now, with some confidence, that I'm not worried about Comey and Obama going to jail any more than I have been up to now by the periodic campaigns to suggest that somebody or other (I'm so old I remember when it was Horowitz) is going to send them to their doom any minute.

The thing that's really hugely interesting me is that The Hill seems to have managed to replace fabricator and Giuliani partner John Solomon, who did so much to further the rumor that Marie Yovanovitch and Joe Biden had committed some nameless crimes in Ukraine but also devoted plenty of time to suggesting that Comey and McCabe will be getting busted at any moment for daring to suspect that God-Emperor Donald might have some connection to some Russians.
My reporting, including interviews with four dozen U.S. officials over the last several months, actually identifies a much larger collection of documents — about a dozen all together — that, when declassified, would show more completely how a routine counterintelligence probe was hijacked to turn the most awesome spy powers in America against a presidential nominee in what was essentially a political dirty trick orchestrated by Democrats. (Solomon at The Hill 20 August 2019)
Because who Kevin Brock used to be is one of Solomon's special FBI sources, originally as a "former FBI agent"
and then

These guys never quit, do they? Wouldn't be surprised if Solomon was writing Brock's pieces, indeed (he was himself so discredited by the Marie Yovanovitch and other stories that The Hill had to dump him, but perhaps they wanted his work to go on).

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