Daily Recap — June 5

“Great works are performed not by strength but by perseverance.”

— Samuel Johnson


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A TINY PIECE OF THE PUZZLE

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I didn’t expect much information to be leaked from the Bill Priestap hearings on Capitol Hill today, and that expectation was mostly met. But we did get a tiny piece of information that could foreshadow things to come.

As of this writing, Fox News is the only outlet to receive any information whatsoever regarding the hearings. Here is their report in its entirety:

Peter Strzok, who was pulled off Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigative team last year, played a more central role than previously known in both the Russia and Hillary Clinton email probes, a lawmaker familiar with the matter told Fox News Tuesday.

The lawmaker’s assessment of Strzok’s role in both investigations was based on the most recent records and testimony, including a closed-door interview with FBI espionage chief Bill Priestap.

Priestap was interviewed Tuesday as part of an ongoing joint investigation by the House Judiciary and Oversight committees. Priestap was Strzok’s supervisor and oversaw both the Russia and Clinton investigations.

The lawmaker described Strzok as a very cooperative witness, but added that unanswered questions remained about Priestap’s overseas travel. One line of questioning Tuesday concerned a trip to London by Priestap in May 2016 and whether it was connected to the Russia case.

The trip was referenced by Strzok in a May 4, 2016 text message to FBI lawyer Lisa Page that said “Bill” would be “back from London next week.”

On Jan. 30 of that year, Strzok emailed Priestap and another FBI colleague expressing dismay about statements made by then-White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest claiming Clinton was not a target of the FBI probe into her private email server that she kept while secretary of state.

“Below not helpful,” Strzok wrote. “Certainly the WH is going to do whatever it wants, but there is a line they need to hold with regard to the appearance of non-interference.”

Strzok was reassigned to the FBI’s human resources division following revelations that he was romantically involved with Page and exchanged politically charged text messages. An FBI spokesperson told Fox News last month that Page had “resigned” to “pursue other opportunities.”

In addition to his work on the Mueller probe, Strzok was the lead agent on the Clinton email case known inside the bureau by the code name “Mid Year Exam” or MYE.

Lawmakers are scheduled to interview two other FBI officials later this month: Michael Steinbach, former head of the agency’s national security division; and Steinbach’s predecessor, John Giacalone. They are also expected to interview Justice Department Inspector General Michael Horowitz, who is due to release a report on the FBI’s conduct in the Clinton investigation.



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KEY POINTS:

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1) The revelation about Strzok playing a more central role in those investigations than previously reported is significant, if for no other reason than we know Strzok hates PDT with the hot hot heat of a thousand suns. If he was the mover and shaker for these investigations, both of them must be called into question completely. The texts to his fellow NeverTrumper and mistress Lisa Page reveal him to be incapable of thinking objectively as it relates to the president.

Every defense team involved with the Trump circle should be having a field day with this. The only question is what, exactly, a “more central role” means. That information remains in the hands of Congress. Hopefully it leaks soon.

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2) The timing of Priestap’s trip to London is beyond suspect. Remember, we’ve learned that British intel (GCHQ) likely had a role in monitoring the Trump campaign. And we also have information, though nothing concrete as of yet, that Barry’s CIA homeboy John Brennan likely initiated that partnership.

And now, just weeks before this whole thing supposedly began, we learn that the head of the FBI counterintelligence division (remember, the spy was sent into the Trump campaign as part of a counterintelligence operation) flew to London. And we still don’t know the nature of that trip. Why?

The timing demands answers. 

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THE BIG PICTURE:

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As always, we’re relying on tiny tidbits of information to slowly add to our view of the situation. The puzzle is slowly but surely being put together.

We now know that coochie boy Strzok was an even bigger player than we already knew, and his boss Priestap was off talking to the Brits just before they eavesdropped on Trump’s circle, if not Trump himself.

All I can say is stay tuned. We’re getting small puzzle pieces now, but over the next couple weeks the information will be flowing nonstop. 

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TARGET: MANAFORT

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Looks like King Bob found another excuse to lock up Manafort.

Mueller’s office is accusing Manafort of attempting to get witnesses to lie for him in court, and have officially asked the judge to send him to jail as he awaits his trial.

 

One of the witnesses told investigators recently that Manafort wanted them to commit perjury about a lobbying effort they worked on for him in the US. Manafort is currently out on house arrest and a $10 million unsecured bail. He awaits a trial in Virginia that is scheduled for late July and a trial in DC scheduled to begin in September. He has pleaded not guilty to charges related to his failure to disclose his US lobbying work for a foreign government and to bank fraud and other financial crimes.
Tampering with a witness is a crime in itself — and it’s one Manafort has not yet been charged with.

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WHAT HAPPENED?

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In late February, the new filing says, Manafort “repeatedly contacted” two anonymous people who may be witnesses against him, called Person D1 and D2. Those two people had previously assisted lobbying and public relations efforts that Manafort masterminded in the US and Europe. They’re the ones who told the King Bob crew that Manafort was witness-tampering.
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Manafort and a confidante first asked the two people to claim that the Ukrainian lobbying work only happened in Europe, effectively attempting to get their stories all on the same page, since all involved knew the group had lobbied Congress, investigators said. Manafort also attempted to use the two people to influence the distinguished group of former European political leaders they previously worked with, called the Hapsburg group, who were part of the alleged lobbying scheme.
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The two people had previously helped Manafort arrange for the Hapsburg group to contact US senators, meet with members of Congress and their staffs, and publish an op-ed in The Hill newspaper in Washington that supported the politics of former Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych while posing as independent voices. In Monday night’s filing, prosecutors attached several emails and schedules from 2011 to 2013 about the Hapsburg group’s meetings in the US with members of Congress.
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Manafort’s allegedly illegal contacts with the two people happened in the days after prosecutors unveiled a new set of criminal charges against him in DC related to his lobbying work. Those charges had revealed for the first time the existence of the Hapsburg group and its efforts in the US.
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WHATSAPP MESSAGES AND PHONE CALLS:

Manafort’s contacts with the two potential witnesses started benignly enough, with phone calls and text messages through the service WhatsApp.
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“This is paul,” the first encrypted text message that the government obtained said.
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Then, two days later, he sent a news article about the Hapsburg group revelation in his court case. “We should talk. I have made clear that they worked in Europe,” Manafort wrote.
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He called Person D1 five times in late February.
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Person D1 tried to avoid him, even hanging up on one of the calls, the prosecutors said.
Another Manafort confidante whom prosecutors have said has ties to Russian intelligence then contacted the second Manafort lobbying assistant on February 28 “out of the blue,” the person told investigators, sending a “hi! How are you? Hope you are doing fine” and a wink emoji. The Manafort confidante, referred to as Person A, then told the second potential witness he wanted to reach Person D1 “to brief him on what’s going on.”
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The confidante continued to try to spread Manafort’s message, by sending an encrypted text that outlined Manafort’s “quick summary” that “our friends never lobbied in the US.”
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Because witness tampering is a crime, and Manafort’s bail provisions warn that he shouldn’t break the law while awaiting trial, the prosecutors argue they have “little confidence that restrictions short of detention will assure Manafort’s compliance,” the filing said.
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Manafort currently wears two GPS monitor ankle bracelets on separate legs, keeping him confined to his Alexandria condo except for legal, medical and religious appointments. He has attempted to post $10 million in properties as his bail several times since his initial arrest in late October, so he could move about more freely, to no avail.
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Prosecutors also submitted the filing they made in DC to the judge overseeing Manafort’s financial crimes case in Virginia, T.S. Ellis, in case he wants to change Manafort’s bail terms there.
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WHAT’S ACTUALLY GOING ON?

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The same thing as always — pressure on Manafort to flip. That’s what this whole case is about. Do you think King Bob gives a damn about a decade-old lobbying violation? Please. That’s a jaywalking charge in D.C. The case against Manafort has always been about pressure, getting him to flip and spew whatever he has on Trump. Even the judge in his case noted as much a couple weeks ago. 

The new allegation places even more pressure on Manafort, who has stared down prosecutors as they heaped charges on him and pretend to investigate the possibility that he coordinated with Russians during the 2016 presidential election.
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His spokesman, Jason Maloni, said that the former campaign daddy was innocent:
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“Nothing about this latest allegation changes our defense. We will do our talking in court,” Maloni said.
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Manafort must respond more thoroughly by Friday in court to the special counsel’s office allegations that he attempted to tamper with witnesses before his trial. He and King Bob’s prosecutors will also discuss the allegation and whether he should be imprisoned for violating his bail terms at a hearing June 15. At that hearing, an FBI agent who tracked Manafort’s communications with the potential witnesses and the witnesses themselves, who have not been named, may testify.
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Either way, he’s not going to turn on Trump. I don’t even think there’s anything to turn with. 
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TURTLE GETS TOUGH

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The Dims finally pushed Turtle McConnell to the point of becoming useful.

Turtle announced today that he will cancel the August recess, citing “historic obstruction” by Dims.

“Due to the historic obstruction by Senate Democrats of the president’s nominees, and the goal of passing appropriations bills prior to the end of the fiscal year, the August recess has been canceled,” McConnell said in a statement.

He added that senators would stay in session “to pass legislation, including appropriations bills, and to make additional progress on the president’s nominees.”

The Senate had been expected to leave town on Aug. 3 for a four-week break and not return to Washington until early September, after Labor Day.

But under Turtle’s new plan, senators are expected to be out of town for the week of Aug. 6. They will then return to Washington and remain in session for the rest of the month.


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GOP senators had hinted for weeks that they expected the Senate leader to cancel at least part of the break in an effort to catch up on confirming Trump’s nominees and avoid passing another mammoth omnibus spending bill later this year.

In additions to appropriations and nominees, McConnell noted that the Senate still needs to approve the National Defense Authorization Act, water infrastructure legislation, the farm bill, reauthorization of the Federal Aviation Administration and renewal of the flood insurance program.

GOP Sens. Complyin’ Ted Cruz and Lamar Alexander have also been circulating a survey amongst their colleagues as they look for additional agenda items that would have enough support to pass during a midterm election year.


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WHAT’S ACTUALLY GOING ON?

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Same thing always — politics. 

It’s true that Dims have been obstructing progress left and right. It’s also true that our elected representatives need to stay their asses in D.C. and get something done for a change. But those facts are ancillary at best. This is a political move that accomplishes two tasks: draws a contrast between Republicans working overtime and the Dims they’re forced to work overtime to compensate for, and, more importantly, forces a slate of vulnerable red-state Dims to remain in D.C. and off the campaign trail.

Sen. John Cornyn(R-TX) borderline-taunted them today with this statement

“I think now they’re desperate because now they realize they’re more exposed politically because they’ve got so many people up running for re-election in red states,” Cornyn said earlier today when asked about canceling the recess.  

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BIG PICTURE:

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Dims have done everything in their power to keep anything from getting done on the Hill.

Turtle responded by making them work overtime (or normal working hours for us commonfolk) while also taking their vulnerable Senators off the campaign trail at a critical time.

It was a cut-throat political move.

I like it.  

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SADLER OUT

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I guess the libs will rejoice about this one.

Kelly Sadler, the White House communications aide who got into big trouble with the #FakeNewsCrew for a private remark about the insignificance of Cooter McCain’s vote, is no longer working at the White House.

The firing must have come today, since Sadler was active in the White House press office with her name on press releases as recently as yesterday. PDT declined to comment on the report during a bill signing ceremony when asked by a reporter about Sadler’s job status.


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Cooter’s daughter, Meghan McCain, has been raising hell ever since the infamous comments, saying that Sadler apologized for the comments privately and promised to do so publicly, before reneging on that promise.

While sitting alongside the cackling hens of “The View,” where she is a co-host, Meghan said that Sadler’s reversal showed the Trump administration to be “incapable” of apologies.

“I was promised an apology, Kelly Sadler, publicly to my family. I did not receive that,” McCain said. “This is not an administration that’s capable of apologizing.”

“When I had a conversation with Kelly, I asked her to publicly apologize and she said she would,” she added. “I have not spoken to her since and I assume that it will never come.”

I have to be honest. I’m certainly not incapable of apologies, but I am definitely incapable of caring about hurting Cooter McCain’s feelings. I know he’s sick, but….just sayin’.


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Sadler’s offensive comments came after the Cootmeister wrote a letter to his Senate colleagues urging them to reject Gina Haspel’s nomination to the CIA over her past work on the agency’s “enhanced interrogation” program, which liberal wussies consider torture.

Her comments sparked an effort inside the West Wing to identify people who leak information to the press, a phenomenon that staff members reportedly said “made it difficult to do their jobs.”

Listen people, I had to deal with paperwork and poloygraphs every time I traveled more than a few miles out of town. And I didn’t even get to work in the White House. Stop your whining.

But I digress.

That whole scene reportedly led to a contentious exchange in the Oval Office when Sadler allegedly told PDT that senior White House communications aide Mercedes Schlapp was behind several of the leaks, while Schlapp was in the room.

Hey, give her credit. She’s not a back-stabbler. 

Unfortunately, Mercedes carries quite a big stick within the Trump administration. If Sadler couldn’t prove to Trump’s satisfaction that she really was behind some of the leaks, that move could have backfired spectacularly.

I don’t know if that’s what happened, though. And I’m not going to speculate. All I can say is Kelly Sadler is gone and it makes me sad.

Anyone who makes inappropriate Cooter McCain jokes has my respect.

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MCCABE SEEKS IMMUNITY

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Ruh roh. Deep State McCabe is feeling nervous about upcoming testimony on Capitol Hill. Or perhaps it’s everyone else who should be worried.

McCabe is seeking legal immunity in exchange for his testimony on the FBI’s handling of the investigation into Hillzdawg Clinton’s use of a private server in her friggin bathroom.

A lawyer for McCabe wrote to Senate Judiciary Chairman Chuck Grassley today seeking a guarantee of immunity for McCabe’s testimony before the panel, writing that the former FBI official would plead the Fifth if prompted to testify otherwise.

“Mr. McCabe is willing to testify, but because of the criminal referral, he must be afforded suitable legal protection,” McCabe attorney Michael Bromwich wrote to Grassley. 

“This is a textbook case for granting use immunity…If this Committee is unwilling or unable to obtain such an order, then Mr. McCabe will have to no choice but to invoke his Fifth Amendment privilege against self-incrimination.”


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Mr. Bromwich is correct. With the criminal referring looming overhead, McCabe would be stupid not to request some sort of legal protection before speaking to lawmakers. After all, we wouldn’t any more of the “misunderstandings” that led him to perjure himself several times last year. 

This is still interesting, though, because if granted, McCabe will be free to give a conflicting account of what his former butt buddy Leakin’ James Comey has been saying over the past couple weeks, which is that his version of events is the true one and that McCabe isn’t credible. Comey has even hinted at testifying against McCabe, if need be.

I don’t think Leakin’ James wants to see Deep State McCabe take the stand with nothing to lose. Just a hunch. 


 

Grassley has also invited Comey, as well as former Attorney General Loretta Lynch, to testify before the committee about the Clinton email investigation, sources told CNN.

Get used to hearing the names “Lynch, Comey and McCabe” over the next month because they’ll be bandied about quite a bit, as the IG report focuses on them throughout (from what I understand).

Lynch’s tarmac meeting, Comey’s clearing of Hillary before the investigation was complete and McCabe’s lies are all big parts of the approximately 500-page IG report, which was set to be discussed on Capitol Hill on June 11 but now looks to be delayed yet again to a date not yet determined.

Yes, I know. I’m angry too. What can I do? I just report the news. 


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At least we know some things are coming down the pipe, and at least some of it is going to be popcorn-worthy.

See you tomorrow, Trumpers. 

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There it is, homeskillet. You know the drill: questions, comments, concerns, memes, insults, compliments, stickers, jokes, emojis and, if we have time, complaints.


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1 thought on “Daily Recap — June 5

  1. Well, if Manafort is anything like my husband, the more my husband is pressured, the tighter he sets his jaw. Using logic, he figures out the worse case scenario, & moves backward. Now, if a common man is like impossible to sweat with pressure; just think how a seasoned political consultant is going to react— Deep State—the entire wad of festering boils needs the purulence squeezed out. Excellent recap Trey; a thorough testimony. I never, never could stand McCain— hot- headed fool. Good job of telling bad news. Excellent bargain. (Sometimes, I have to scan by FP posts from conservatives; if I see 1 more photo of obama, I am going to puke.)

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