Sunday, February 4, 2018

Finding Memo

The #ReleaseTheMemo effort--a combination of MAGA-Hats and Russian bots (but The Omnivore repeats himself!)--got their way and, in what is becoming a pattern, may come to wish they hadn't. Breaking with the InfoWars playbook of claiming to have block-buster data--but never quite revealing it--Nunes released the kraken memo and it landed with a thud.

What we learned:

  • A little bit about how FISA courts work
  • That Papadoc had been being followed before the Cart Page stuff started
  • That, it turns out, Page had bragged about his Kremlin contacts (we learned this the day after from the TIME).
  • That the dossier was used in getting the warrant (but that each 90 days they had to keep the warrant open so some other info must have come out).
If you were Nunes, whose opponents are now using the memo to fundraise against him, why would you want to bring this on yourself?

A Specifc Play To The Base

The memo makes a specific play--a specific message to Trump's base. This is it: they have been convinced of several lies--to wit:
  • By virtue of not being verified the Steele dossier has been fully discredited. This is not true. Lack of verification of what happened inside the Kremlin is in no way the same as not having evidence that what Steele reports could well be true. The fact is: we don't know yet--but it's not insane to believe that significant portions of the Steele dossier are accurate.
  • That after many, many months of looking for evidence of "collusion," nothing has been found and therefore what remains is just a witch-hunt. This is not true. Firstly, the Don Jr. emails are evidence of what appears to be at least attempted collusion. The firing of Comey with an official story of "Hillary's Emails" and a real-reason of "Russia" plus lying about Don Jr.'s emails sure looks like a cover-up. There are allegations that Trump pressured people doing the GOP platform on Ukraine--and so on. A bunch of stuff "has been found" but we aren't doing  the investigation--the investigation has yet to conclude.
  • The Trump Jr. meeting was a GPS-Democrat set up/sting operation. In this lie, the lawyer's association with GPS is proof that the whole thing was a sting-op to trap Team Trump into . . . something (?). What, of course isn't clear. The fact that the Free Beacon (conservative) also hired GPS is easily forgotten by these people. Basically, there a pretty big issue with with theTrump Tower meeting and the base has have a reason to dispute it.
So what this memo does is try to tie the dossier--which the base believes is a work-of-fiction hit-job (which has been debunked) to the unlawful surveilance of Trump (yes, Carter Page--but remember, the base still thinks the FBI illegally wiretaped Trump--this is directionally important)--which means that the FBI--and therefore Mueller are trying to create false evidence with which to convict Trump.

The memo is just another talking point in this (stupid) line of reasoning--but it will help those who are having a hard time with cognitive dissonance sleep better.


  1. I'll stipulate all of the above, yet some troubling questions remain:

    * Associate Deputy Attorney General Bruce Ohr brokered the Steele dossier between the Fusion GPS psy-ops company and the FBI

    * Fusion GPS was employed by the Clinton campaign

    * Ohr’s wife worked for Fusion GPS

    * This at least somewhat-dubious dossier somehow convinced a FISA court judge to issue warrants to surveil US citizens in an election campaign

    * Deputy FBI Director Andrew McCabe’s wife apparently accepted $700,000 from Terry McAuliffe, the Clintons' go-to bagman, when she ran for a Virginia State Senate seat a few months before McCabe assumed command of the Hillary Clinton email investigation

    * FBI Deputy Assistant Director of the Counterintelligence Division, Peter Strzok, and his workplace girlfriend, FBI lawyer (for Andrew McCabe!), Lisa Page, appeared to plot against Trump in their many cell-phone text exchanges

    It's tempting to apply "where there's smoke, there's fire" here, but I don't know what's going on, only that, in aggregate, it all looks pretty bad and that the FBI et al are desperately trying to protect themselves from the political blowback engendered by all the above fishy-sounding dealings.

    What's your take?

    -- Ω

    1. I think that when you need a "wall of crazy" (the TV Trope) to explain a conspiracy you're basically screwed on it. Right now by Nune's own admissions:
      1. The political origins WERE included in the request, just in a small font, and did not say "Crooked Hillary" on them.
      2. The FBI *opened* the Russia investiagion with Popodop and *started* the Page surveilance AFTER he left the campaign.

      Moreover the idea that ObamaHillaryFBIDeepState and FusionGPS coordinated to put together a ton of fake evidence in order to surveil someone who *turned out* to be a wannabe Russian-asset is in total violation of Occam's Razor. It's basically saying: SURE, YOU WERE RIGHT--BUT BY THIS COMPLEX CHAIN OF EVENTS YOU WERE OBVIOUSLY DIRTY-DEALING TO GET THERE.

      This isn't a good look for anyone.

      -The Omnivore

    2. Please don't misunderstand me - I was not suggesting that there are any "vast [left]-wing [conspiracies]" at work here, only that it looks bad, in aggregate. I think that's what you meant by "This isn't a good look for anyone.", yes?

      And your first bullet point is well taken [paraphrasing]: the fallacy that anything not proven 100% incontrovertibly true must be completely false. I think that everyone intellectually knows that's nonsense, but clearly, many do not at an emotional level. "There are none so blind as those who will not see", right? (This supposedly goes all the way back to Jeremiah 5:21, even if the English antecedent is "only" about 500 years old). This is what runs through my mind whenever I hear about imbeciles brandishing snowballs as "proof" of the nonexistence of climate change, anthropogenic or otherwise. How I wish they'd gone with that moniker instead of "global warming" from the beginning! Yeah, sure, near-unanimous agreement among hundreds of scientists (looking at you, Bjørn Lomborg) whose credentials and knowledge are all vastly superior to yours - that's effortlessly trumped (see what I did there?) by people's emotional need to believe otherwise. Bah!

      Anyway, I think the whole thing stinks, whichever "side" your "team" plays for. Even if it turns out that the FBI was doing all sorts of underhanded and even illegal stuff, it doesn't invalidate any of what they learned about Page, Manafort, Flynn, Papadopoulos et al (though it's possible that a judge might rule some of it to be legally inadmissible as a result). The best that can be said about Devin Nunes is that he's a third-rate political hack; and if the Trump administration goes down, I think that the most likely proximate cause is that Donald Trump Jr. is breathtakingly stupid.

      AFAIK no one has ever been convicted of violating the Logan Act (though two people have been indicted for that over the last 200 years), but it sure looks like Carter Page might end up being the first.

      Crooks, liars, and idiots, everywhere you look. A long way to go to MAGA, I think.

      -- Ω