Saturday, January 28, 2023

Narratology: White Whale

Narratology really starting to come into its own, as the Special Counsel picks up on the stuff I've been telling you, and the Mar-a-Lago documents case merges with the case of Trump's effort to incriminate the Crossfire Hurricane and Mueller investigations, as I've been saying it should; according to The Independent and the great Murray Waas:

Investigators working for Justice Department Special Counsel Jack Smith have reportedly questioned multiple ex-Trump administration officials about the fate of a large tranche of classified documents pertaining to the FBI probe into Russia’s campaign of interference in the 2016 election.

A report by Murray Waas, a freelance investigative reporter and former National Journal staff writer, wrote on Wednesday that “at least three” figures in Mr Trump’s inner circle have been pressed by prosecutors on whether Mr Trump took “thousands of pages” of documents from the White House — including many bearing classification markings — with an eye towards making them public in attempt to discredit the Justice Department’s probe into alleged ties between his 2016 campaign and the Russian Federation.

I'd hope the three or more figures would include Cassidy Hutchinson, who witnessed the process, on the cooperative side. We've known something about these documents for a long time—Trump started claiming he had already declassified a stash of documents on the subject as early as a Tweet of October 2020—

“I have fully authorized the total Declassification of any & all documents pertaining to the single greatest political CRIME in American History, the Russia Hoax. Likewise, the Hillary Clinton Email Scandal. No redactions!”

 —which, like so many Trump statements, was more aspiration than fact; it wasn't, in fact, until January 19 2021, the day before the Biden inauguration, that, with some documents in hand, in a "binder" he'd received from the Justice Department on December 30, he finally issued a memorandum to the attorney general, DNI, and DCI directing them to declassify it, with the redactions demanded by the FBI. I don't think it's been reported whether they obeyed this order, but it also seems certain that at least one copy of those materials, probably without redactions and with intact classification markings, was among the stuff stolen and sent to Trump's Palm Beach club that day, along with at least one copy of the classified stuff stolen from the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence by Chairman Nunes and Chief of Staff Meadows that the staff had made so many photocopies of on the same day

What I'm saying is that Jack Smith seems to have come to the same conclusion as I did on a motive for at least some of the Mar-a-Lago document theft—his long quest to avenge himself on the FBI and everyone who exposed his collusion with Russian intelligence in the 2016 election, and (taking it, as I always do, just a notch farther than the reported story) that will be the basis on which Trump is indicted in this case. As, I think, I've been telling you.

Not only that, but also this week is the wonderful reporting in The New York Times by Charlie Savage, Adam Goldman, and Katie Benner that shows former attorney general Billy Barr pushing special counsel John Durham on the same quest to incriminate the FBI and others over the Crossfire Hurricane and Robert Mueller investigations in the face of the fact that there was no evidence of any wrongdoing to begin with, and of course practically none squeezed out after millions of dollars and years of effort (one minor deception in the filing of the third renewal request on the surveillance order against Carter Page, discovered not by the special counsel but the FBI inspector general. Corroborating what I've been telling you since October 2019  at least, including anticipations of this week's stories in

  • that snipe hunt for evidence in Italy where Barr and Durham came up dry, in October 2019, and the switch to a criminal investigation, of which I wrote at the time

"It's about Trump, and the idée fixe of Trump's increasing paranoia: that he must get to his enemies by using their weapons, of saying "bad things" and getting "dirt". Investigate them all! Lock them up! And its failure so far, which has been accelerating in recent weeks, as Barr's meta-investigation falls apart. "

  • the pressure on inspector general Horowitz to come up with the stuff in April 2020, with a nod to John Solomon's participation in the effort going back to August 2019

"My [i.e., Solomon's] 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"

  • the use of Russian intelligence disinformation to hint at a bogus case against Hillary Clinton "to vilify Donald Trump by stirring up a scandal claiming interference by the Russian security service" in October 2020 (with a guest appearance by the big binder mentioned above, delivered by DNI John Ratcliffe to Barr's DOJ)

It's always seemed me that this was one big story, starring mad Trump as Captain Ahab after the white whale of the FBI, and all Trump's henchmen from Solomon and Patel back to Bully Barr as the Pequod's doomed crew (Cassie Hutchinson is Ishmael, alone escaped to tell thee?), only it's not a ship but a criminal outfit. And now the news narrative is finally coalescing to my point, under Jack Smith's guidance. I think there could be a lot of indictments, though sadly not of Barr and Durham, who are in some ways the most reprehensible of all (committing some of the exact same crimes of which they falsely allowed Hillary Clinton, together with Comey, McCabe, Mueller, and others, to be accused), and it's looking as if I've had pretty good instincts on this up to now.

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