Saturday, May 21, 2022

Narratology: The Plot Against the King


Kash Patel has released his memoir, on how he personally saved "handsome King Donald" from the machinations of Hillary Queenton and Keeper Komey to knock him off the throne, before he even got a chance to mount it! Or as he puts it himself in his own little blurb, "the true story behind the Steele Dossier, and the Russian collusion narrative," only with better costumes, and fewer details. Only $19.99 from Beacon of Freedom Publishing House. I think Kash is the flashy bearded wizard in blue-green, at upper left.

I hate to tell you, this may not be the actual story, not only because Donald wasn't ever actually the king, which we basically don't have in our country, but also because Special Counsel John Durham, hired by former attorney general Barr to investigate the insidious plot in which the Clinton campaign commissioned a British Russia expert to make up a crazy story about candidate Trump conspiring with Russian intelligence in order to, um—get the FBI to find out whether the crazy story was true or not, has so far been unable to find any evidence that it existed. 

Unsurprisingly, perhaps, because as you or I could have told him, it didn't. The FBI's investigation into the Trump campaign was inspired by Georgie Papadopoulos and his prophecy that the Russians had thousands of emails that they could use to sink the Clinton campaign, and it turned out that they actually did have thousands of emails that they used in the hope of sinking the Clinton campaign, and Trump was on TV asking them to please find more and saying "I love WikiLeaks!" And even that wasn't enough to persuade the FBI to investigate Trump himself, which waited until he became president and made himself look ridiculously guilty by firing the FBI director, telling the Russian foreign minister and the Russian ambassador at an unannounced private Oval Office meeting,

“I just fired the head of the F.B.I. He was crazy, a real nut job,” Mr. Trump said, according to the document, which was read to The New York Times by an American official. “I faced great pressure because of Russia. That’s taken off.”

The only effect the Steele dossier had on the FBI was to send it off on a wild goose chase after Carter Page (who the Russians had considered too dumb to use as an agent), which was probably the purpose for which the Russians had slipped Steele some misinformation about him.

Meanwhile, unlike Kenneth Starr's investigation of President Clinton, which ranged broader and broader as he found less and less evidence, from the Arkansas swamps to Ms. Lewinski's semen-stained dress, Counsel Durham's gets narrower and narrower, to the point where its attention is now almost wholly focused on the almost microscopic case of Michael Sussmann, a cybersecurity expert lawyer with the Democratically-linked firm of Perkins Coie, whose trial began last week, on charges of not having made it exactly clear whether or not he was representing a client other than the client he was representing, when he had a meeting with FBI general counsel Jim Baker in September 2016 to talk about the mysterious electronic communications going on in May-July 2016 between servers belonging to Alfa-Bank in Russia and Trump Tower in New York, if that's what they were, discovered by some researchers at Georgia Tech, Indiana University, and the information security firm Neustar (all of which you may vaguely remember from its brief irruption as a Trump scandal in Frank Foer's Halloween 2016 Slate post, which I adverted to in March 2017). 

Which would be a very serious crime, because if he was representing the client he didn't say he was representing, the Clinton presidential campaign, and failed to tell Baker about it, Baker might have been inclined to take the Alfa-Bank matter less seriously than he did—though it would have been hard to take it much less seriously than the FBI in fact did. If I've got this right.

Certainly the FBI didn't take it as seriously as the Senate Armed Services Committee (chairman John McCain), which commissioned a report from The Democracy Integrity Project finding that FBI screwed its investigation up and there was "likely human interaction and coordination between personnel working on behalf of Alfa Bank (or their designees) and personnel working on behalf of the Trump Organization (or their designees):

(H/t Insider) or the Senate Select Intelligence Committee (chairman Richard Burr), which concluded that

Sussmann himself had previously been involved with the Georgia-Indiana nexus, the "Union of Concerned Nerds" as Foer said they called themselves, in determining that it was Russian intelligence forces that stole the DNC emails and supplied them to WikiLeaks, so I'm just saying maybe they do favor Democrats, but they don't do shabby work.

And whatever the outcome of the Sussmann trial (which emptywheel is following like an implacable Javert—I won't attempt to cover it with narratology until it's over, if then), it's a clear further indication that the origins of the Crossfire Hurricane investigation had nothing to do with Democrats, Richard Steele, Bruce Ohr and Mrs. Ohr, or anybody other than solid, though overly cautious, work by the FBI. (Unlike the Huma Abedin laptop investigation that clearly affected the outcome of the 2016 election and was clearly manipulated by Rudolph Giuliani and Trump charity beneficiary Jim Kallstrom, on which for all I know old Horowitz is still working, but I'm starting to have my doubts).

It's clear that the Durham investigation is an utter failure within its own terms of reference, that it's learned nothing in its three years other than the stuff it's refusing to acknowledge (that there is nothing whatever improper about the origins of Crossfire Hurricane), and that Trump's allegations of witch hunting and "wiretapps" and persecution are without any factual basis—I know, you're not surprised—and that the general outline of Trump-Russia collusion as we receive it from the SSCI's report, vol. 5, is fundamentally correct, though much about the details of the actual conspiracy remains obscure or confused. 

Meanwhile, some of your favorite villains are hard at work creating a narrative that's even more wrong than Kash's, hard as that may be to imagine:

Sometimes I just don't know what to think any more. Well, that is, what to imagine. What to think is pretty easy.

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