Kashyap Patel Had Better Not Rely on the Bill Duhnke Precedent

Contrary to what a lot of people understand of the case, Jeffrey Sterling was not the CIA’s first suspect for the Merlin leaks to James Risen. Senate Intelligence Committee Staff Director Bill Duhnke was. As former CIA press person Bill Harlow testified, he told the FBI that James Risen had close ties to Duhnke when he first talked to them about Risen’s story.

Q. Okay. And you also told them that someone they should talk to about something like this would be Bill Duhnke, a person named Bill Duhnke, correct, up at the — that worked at the U.S. Senate?

BY MR. MAC MAHON: Q. Now, Mr. Harlow, in 2003, you told the FBI that you thought that Mr. Risen might reach out to the Staff Director of the Senate Select Intelligence Committee on Intelligence for confirmation, that Mr. Risen would, correct?


A. My recollection is what the FBI asked me is who are the kind of people that Risen might talk to on a story like this, and I told them that he had regular contact with the Congressional Oversight Committees, including the Senate Intelligence Committee, and so the kind of places he might go to ask about the story would be the Senate Oversight committees. That’s my recollection of it. You know, it’s a dozen years ago but —

Q. And one of the names you gave them was Bill Duhnke, right?

A. Right.

As FBI Agent Hunt explained, however, she was hampered from investigating whether Duhnke (who knew aspects about Merlin that Sterling did not which showed up in Risen’s reporting) was a source for Risen because Senator Pat Roberts refused to cooperate with the FBI, even after then FBI Director Robert Mueller requested himself.

Q. And do you also remember writing in 2006 that the FBI director contacted the SSCI Chairman and Senator Pat Roberts, right?

A. Yes.

Q. And that Senator Roberts told Director Mueller that he wasn’t going to cooperate with the FBI at all in this investigation, correct?

A. Yes.

Q. And that never changed, did it?

A. It did change.

Q. You then got some cooperation from SSCI, correct?

A. I did. Q. You never got an interview with Mr. Duhnke, right?

A. I did not interview Mr. Duhnke.

Thus it happened that Speech and Debate prevented the FBI from investigating whether a key Intelligence Committee staffer played a role in a leak the government claimed was one of the worst ever.

I thought of that precedent when I read this passage in the NYT’s latest story on DOJ’s belated realization that Devin Nunes was using purported oversight requests to discover details that might help Trump delegitimize the Mueller investigation.

In another meeting, Mr. Rosenstein felt he was outright misled by Mr. Nunes’s staff. Mr. Rosenstein wanted to know whether Kashyap Patel, an investigator working for Mr. Nunes who was the primary author of the disputed memo, had traveled to London the previous summer to interview a former British spy who had compiled a salacious dossier about Mr. Trump, according to a former federal law enforcement official familiar with the interaction.

Mr. Patel was not forthcoming during the contentious meeting, the official said, and the conversation helped solidify Mr. Rosenstein’s belief that Mr. Nunes and other allies in Congress were not operating in good faith.

And these passages in an earlier NYT piece on Patel.

Over the summer, Mr. Nunes dispatched Mr. Patel and another member of the committee’s Republican staff to London, where they showed up unannounced at the offices of Mr. Steele, a former British intelligence official.

Told Mr. Steele was not there, Mr. Patel and Douglas E. Presley, a professional staff member, managed to track him down at the offices of his lawyers. There, they said they were seeking only to establish contact with Mr. Steele, but were rebuffed and left without meeting him, according to two people with knowledge of the encounter.

A senior official for the Republican majority on the Intelligence Committee, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to speak about the matter, said the purpose of the visit had been to make contact with Mr. Steele’s lawyers, not Mr. Steele. Still, the visit was highly unusual and appeared to violate protocol, because they were trying to meet with Mr. Steele outside official channels.

Ordinarily, such a visit would be coordinated through lawyers, conducted with knowledge of the House Democrats, who were not informed and the American Embassy.

Given Rosenstein’s concerns that Patel was lying, I find it particularly interesting that he didn’t inform the American Embassy when he was there. It’s as if he was looking for a back channel!

As NYCSouthpaw noted, Patel has been hanging around the White House since he’s started playing this role.

In the months since, Mr. Patel has apparently forged connections at the White House. In November, he posted a series of photos to Facebook of him and several friends wearing matching shirts at the White House bowling alley. “The Dons hit the lanes at 1600 Pennsylvania,” Mr. Patel wrote under the photos.

This would suggest that the Nunes designee who has had firsthand access to all this intelligence, has also gotten really comfortable with the White House, leaving the possibility that he has shared the information with those in charge of delegitimize the investigation.

I’ve long wondered why Nunes has refused to read the information he has fought so hard to get access to. But by giving Patel that access without reading the materials himself, Nunes ensures that someone with easy access to the White House sees the materials, without jeopardizing the power to refuse any cooperation with Mueller.

Nunes, like Roberts did in 2006, could simply refuse to cooperate under speech and debate.

And it might well work!

There is, however one problem with that. You see, one of the ways (admittedly one of the less offensive ways) the President has interfered in the operations of DOJ is by demanding that the department ratchet up the leak investigations. And at a time last summer where Trump was threatening to fire Sessions so he could hire someone who could interfere with the Mueller investigation, Sessions and Dan Coats rolled out a new war on leaks, speaking of new permissiveness for prosecutors. Both Sessions…

To prevent these leaks, every agency and Congress has to do better.

We are taking a stand. This culture of leaking must stop.


Finally, here is what I want to tell every American today: This nation must end the culture of leaks. We will investigate and seek to bring criminals to justice. We will not allow rogue anonymous sources with security clearances to sell out our country any longer.

These cases are never easy. But cases will be made, and leakers will be held accountable.

All of us in government and in every agency and in Congress must do better.

And Coats invoked Congress as a source of leaks specifically.

I would like to point out, however, that these national security breaches do not just originate in the Intelligence Community. They come from a wide range of sources within government, including the Executive Branch and including the Congress.

At the time, those mentions were deemed a warning that (in addition to changing the rules allowing them to pursue journalists), DOJ would also start pursuing Congress and its staffers more aggressively.

So while the available evidence suggests that Patel may be part of Nunes’ effort to funnel information to the White House, and while past history has shown that Nunes’ counterparts have been able to protect intelligence committee leakers, perhaps the witch hunt demanded by Trump will change that.

112 replies
  1. harpie says:

    I was wondering about how “speech and debate” protections might come into this story. Thank you for bringing all this information and recent history together…don’t know how you keep up with all of this, but you’re amazing at it!

  2. Ryan says:

    Somewhat related, has any more info come out about the instaleak of the Comey memos?

    Few things define today’s GOP outrage machine more than the concept of projection and Trump’s outrage about leaks while not always without cause does really take the cake.

    It’s not saying much but at least from an institutional perspective in this case, Paul Ryan is no Pat  Roberts.



    • SpaceLifeForm says:

      Classified or the Unclassified [Redacted]?

      Anyone seen a leak of the Classified?

      What was leaked was probably via DOJ, not HPSCI.

      If I am DOJ, and give redacted unclassified ‘stuff’ to HPSCI, may as well give to WAPO at same time.

      Think about it, If it is now unclassified (albeit redacted), may as well give to media too.

      I mean, what the hell is the purpose of Congress for, but to represent the public?

      Nunes, hoist on own petard!

  3. Charles says:

    For a nation that is supposed to have a separation of powers, we certainly see an extraordinary merger between the White House and Congress… and, increasingly with the installation of hyperpartisans who can’t even get Bar recommendations, the Judiciary.


    If we ever recover a constitutional form of government from this billionaire-soaked bukkake muppet show, inserting a sanitary barrier between the White House and the Congress ought to be on the list of necessary reforms.

    • Avattoir says:

      Begs the question: how is this not, at least strictly on the originalist view, in accord with the Constitution?

      • bmaz says:

        It is perfectly in accord with the letter of the Constitution. The problem is that the Constitution presupposes good faith rational actors, even if partisan, protecting their respective branches. That is not necessarily happening between the Article I and Aricle II branches at this point. But that is not outside of the Constitutional bounds per se.

        • earlofhuntingdon says:

          Neither good faith nor rationality seems much in evidence.  Their absence alone guts constitutional norms, as does the affirmative bad faith of those now governing in an openly racist, mysogistic, anti-regulatory, anti-civil libertarian governing.  Having such governance seems to be the objective of neoliberalism. 

          If such leadership deprives the people of ought but their farm implements and their tumbrels, they will find a use for them. One of the things the lizard brains of Trump and his cohort still fear is organized, physical, pubic protest.

          • dc says:

            This is not neoliberalism.  This is greed and corruption and some strange form of nihilism where they don’t wear black.  And an organized pubic protest would be fearful.

            • orionATL says:

              dc –


              forget the ideogical labels – or apply any damned label that makes you tingle.

              whatever that label, these are the realities:

              – money, extremely large amounts of it. rapidly available and rapidly moveable to and between relevant political contests and legislators. fungible :).
              – very large collective money disparity between interests of corporate/hyperwealthy and interests of “ordinary” voters.
              – focused strategy on part by of corporate/hyperwealthy (think roman legions vs goths).
              – well-established lobbying organizations and activities largely representing corporate/hyperwealthy interests, involving legalized bribery of legislators and regulators, and unimpeded movement between lobbying activities and nominally public interest activities.
              – carefully designed pyschological manipulation and propanganda on the part of political consultants available to corporate/hyperwealthy clients.
              – readily available, ideologiacally sympathetic media channels for disseminating propaganda, e.g., murdoch media corps, breitbart, sinclair.
              – systematic destruction over time of public interest, or workers’ interest, organizations and entities, e.g., unions, gov’t employees, teachers.
              – court packing at all levels of federal courts resulting in a severe imbalance between corporate/hyperwealthy ideological decisions and public interest, ordinary voter, decisions.
              – calculated suppression of voters who want to vote + suppression of voting opportunities for certain categories of voters. diminution/dilution thru calculated computer-designed gerrymandering of voting power of some ordinary voters.

              in summation, there has developed an enormous disparity between the “money rights” of free speech recently gifted by the supreme court to the minority corporate/hyperwealthy segments of society,
              and the rights of majority of ordinary voters to have their votes, as opposed to their money, count precisely equally with each and every vote collected by the application of very, very large amounts of fungible money representing the political/economic interests of the corporate/-hyperwealthy segment of society.

              • orionATL says:

                these are not individual political system problems. they are, taken collectively as a single entity as they should be (w/some additions), THE reason why our political system is substantially, if almost completely, unresponsive to the wishes of voters at every level of government, but especially at the critical state & nat’l levels.

                the consequence of this disjunction between voter concern and state and federal policy is that serious social and economic problems, which are seperate from the problems listed above relating to the dysfunction of the political system, do not get addressed andcsolved.

                just one example of social and economic problems: . it should and could be the case that every child born in this nation is assured of the same adequate level of health care, food, shelter, and education. we do this first because all children are equally needing of these basics and all are equally worthy. we do it second because we recognize that our economic progress as a nation requires the use of the maximally developed abilities of every citizen.; the children become the adults we helped them to become.

                • orionATL says:

                  and this, from the same article:

                  “… In 2016 the Freedom Foundation ran a brazen campaign in Washington and Oregon in which it went knocking on the doors of more than 10,000 childcare and home care workers telling them that under a previous US supreme court ruling they could opt out of paying union dues. In the document obtained by the Guardian, SPN boasts that the foundation’s operation cost the Service Employees International Union (SEIU) in those states $8.8m in lost dues and legal fees…”

                  unions perform many useful functions for lower paid or poorly paid workers.

                  one of these is to focus attention and organize the collectiveceffort of members on socially beneficial government policies such as health care, minimum wage, and consumer protections.

            • earlofhuntingdon says:

              Neoliberalism is greed and corruption.

              An organized pubic event would  make the Base fearful, unless the men were allowed to grab whichever one they liked and could then dispose of their handmaiden without consequence. But perhaps that was a Freudian error.

              I think there was an early Star Trek episode along those lines.  A periodic night of mayhem and debauchery was how Llandru disposed of the remainder in its calculation of human happiness.  These guys just like the mayhem.  It follows them like a shadow, even without the sun.

              • orionATL says:

                “Neoliberalism is greed and corruption.”

                what was “greed and corruption” before neoliberals and “free market” chatter existed?

                and before the “neoliberal” moniker came to be applied in american politics, say during and just after the civil war, e.g. war contracts scandals and grant’s administration.

                like i said, pick any ideological slogan that makes you feel good.

                • earlofhuntingdon says:

                  Words can be slogans.  They are much more, when not stripped of meaning by the Orwellian abuses politicians find so useful to protect their other abuses.

                  As one of Rumpole’s least favorite judges opined, “There is such a thing as the English language. It would be best to use it.”

      • Charles says:

        As others have indicated below, democracies rely on a certain minimum of good faith. One cannot use the Constitution to create a perfect politico-legal mechanism of governance.  We have made a major mistake It is a statement of principles which, if the parties accept them, will permit democracy to function. The Constitution really needs to be viewed not as a proto-legal foundation for the law, but as a statement of the minimum human rights necessary for a society to peacefully function in a democratic form.


        So, sure, if money is magically defined as speech. our Constitution allows billionaires to buy congressional seats. And if the purchase price includes making the president a king or a tsar or simply an outright dictator, then Article I and Article II are mere tissue paper for the populace to weep on. Our Constitution can (and has) been used to justify all sorts of evil… but only because it has been treated as a legal document rather than a moral guideline.

  4. tryggth says:

    “I’ve long wondered why Nunes has refused to read the information he has fought so hard to get access to.”

    Wonder if Rosenstein and Mueller have noticed ;)

    Is it kosher to traffic investigation info back to a subject of the investigation?

  5. Rugger9 says:

    It’s the kind of thing the Question Time in parliaments can help prevent, since it will be on TV.

    With that said, I do not think the Speech and Debate Clause is absolute, but it has also been granted wide leeway starting with when Aaron Burr was shielded from his duel’s outcome. Article 1 Section 6 includes this:
    …shall in all Cases, except Treason, Felony and Breach of the Peace, be privileged from Arrest during their attendance at the Session of their Respective Houses, and in going to and from the same; and for any Speech or Debate in either House, they shall not be questioned in any other Place.

    Case law (specifically Wuterich v. Murtha) also shields against defamation on the House floor, among other examples. However, it seems to me that Nunes’ antics would at least reach to the Felony level of ConFraudUs by obstructing the investigation. It was bad enough that apparently Trey Gowdy (of all people) was sent as a minder to prevent deliberate classified information leakage (which is a felony). So, for me it is apparently an untested area of Constitutional law, and like so many other examples like this from the GOP palace regime, they will push to see where the legal limits are for their conduct.

      • earlofhuntingdon says:

        If he doesn’t have any, the Trumpsters will invent some and shout them to the moon until the Base believes them.

        They all live in an alternative reality, in which fealty to the god-anointed king is their way to heaven, and the way to avoid hell.  We’re all witches to be dumped into the village pond.  When the water rejects us, it means we are evil and should be burnt to avoid tainting the village.

        Mr. Avenatti is a warlock because he attacks god and king.  He should be treated as such.  Time to reread Arthur Miller’s, The Crucible.

        • Rugger9 says:

          That is true, but as a private lawyer there are fewer things that can be done quickly enough to affect the news that will come out shortly.  Bar reviews take time and Avenatti gets his turn.  Unless a judge referred it, it will probably go nowhere.

          • earlofhuntingdon says:

            Oh, I’m not recommending his punishment.  To the contrary, I wish him well and hope his facts are on the up and up and that they and he can survive scrutiny.

            He is taunting the king and his court.  He has invited their attack.  I assume he’s prepared to parry and riposte.

  6. orionATL says:

    i was thinking early this am about nunes’ escapades over time – and about that 800 lb elefunk in the chamber.

    what has become clear to me now, but was not when this started and ew first reported ( https://www.emptywheel.net/2018/02/03/what-harm-did-releasing-the-nunes-memo-cause/ ), is that this persiatant, coordinated attack on the office of special counsel is almost certainly being run out of the office of the speaker of the house, the honorable paul ryan. i infer that from the facts 1) that ryan has the power to shut down nunes’ activities in several ways, 2) that ryan has had several opportunities to do so and has not, and 3) that ryan has been directly questioned about controlling nunes and has demurred.

    if this (that ryan has authorized nunes’ activities) is in fact the case, then we need to understand why ryan is authorzing this attack on osc. what has he to gain by doing so? what does he fear losing if he does not.

    it’s easy to imagine possible explanations, but which one(s) describe reality?

    – ryan is looking to future national office and will need to have the good will of the base republicans who now support trump.

    – ryan knows with confidence that a completed osc investigation will reveal russian cooperation and possibly money in the past election of some house members.

    – ryan wants to avoid a future situation in which a republican house refuses to act in the face of serious legal and ethical actions of president trump and/or some members of his whitehouse staff well and properly documented by the osc and the courts.

    – ryan, like nunes, is simply a passionate, reflexive partisan who does not intend that the republican party should ever be nationally embarrassed in a manner that might cost it legitimacy for decades.

    lots of other possible speculations, no doubt.

    • SpaceLifeForm says:

      How about: Ryan long ago graduated from the ‘witness’ level?

      Now at ‘subject’ level, but is clearly working on graduating yet again to the ‘target’ level.

      He has some sharp classmates too.

      • bmaz says:

        Ryan is neither a formal subject, nor will he ever be a target. Same applied to Nunes. They might ought to be, but never actually will be because of speech and debate protection.

    • orionATL says:

      i suppose when one considers that the behavior of senate majority leader mitch mcconell has been one of indifference to requests from senators to protect the osc from the president, the most likely explanation for why speaker ryan lets his hunting dog nunes run loose to attack osc is is that both the leadership of the republican controlled house and that of the senate fully intend to protect their party from any damaging consequences of a completed ofc investigation, and in particular from allowing a situation to develop in which special counselor mueller finishes his work and drops a bucket of hot coals in their laps, or alternatively provides information that a democraticly controlled house or senate could use to further damage this republican presidency and the republican party’s 2020 presidential chances.

  7. Trip says:

    Run through Google Translate:

    This Zurich lawyer has (been) targeted (by) US special investigator Mueller

    Zurich lawyer Stephan Roh is said to have been interrogated by FBI agents and US special investigator Robert Mueller. This is what the Tagesanzeiger writes in today’s edition.
    …how did the Swiss lawyer get in the sights of the US special investigator? During the US election campaign in the spring of 2016, an advisor to the Trump team called George Papadopoulos has extended its feelers to Russia and offered a possible meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin, it said. Papadopoulos was questioned about this in January 2017 by the FBI and arrested in July for false statements. Since then he cooperates with special investigator Mueller.
    His testimony under oath was then published: Darin describe today’s 29-year-old, as he met in March 2016, a professor from Malta named Joseph Mifsud, who had told of his good contacts in the Russian Foreign Ministry. A month later, Mifsud had offered him from Russian sources “thousands of mails of dirt over Hillary Clinton.”
    And now the connection to Roh: Mifsud had been a consultant for Rohs law firm and have at an Italian private university, which is part of a company Rohs taught, the newspaper.
    The questioning and shadowing of Rohs in New York would indicate that Special Investigator Mueller is suspecting that Roh’s suspicious ties to Russia are suspected. (SAR)


    • harpie says:

      Marcy just retweeted Natasha Bertrand saying: emptywheel @emptywheel 8m8 minutes ago 

      As GOPers cling to this (Russian disinfo) Roh claim that Papadopoulos is a plant, have they figured out how to explain WHY Hillary wasn’t smart enough to USE that story before the election?

      Natasha Bertrand @NatashaBertrand 38m38 minutes ago

      New: Mueller’s team detained a lawyer with ties to Russia who is closely associated with Joseph Mifsud, the shadowy professor who claimed during the election that Russia had “dirt” on Hillary Clinton. / In a new book, the lawyer—who is Mifsud’s “partner and best friend,” per Simona Mangiante—says that Mifsud has been “requested to hide, not to communicate, and not to speak to the press. He has been ‘put away’ and threatened to stay quiet.”

          • earlofhuntingdon says:

            Swiss German, meaning from the German speaking regions of Switzerland (Zurich, for example), as opposed to the French or Italian speaking areas.

            The advice to shut up and hide apparently came from the head of the Italian Secret Service.  Why Roh should know this is odd, but it suggests Mifsud hasn’t taken the advice.  Roh’s approach is very much tabloid news, which suggests it was ghost written.

          • earlofhuntingdon says:

            Apart from having an abundance of mountains, villages, watches, and raclette, Switzerland has a lot of other people’s money – Latin American drug lords, African strongmen propped up by corporate resource extractors, Russian and Italian mobs, Chinese billionaires, the world’s tax allergic wealthy.

            That money funnels through many places – the City, Wall Street, Luxembourg and Dutch holding companies, Caribbean and Mediterranean islands aplenty – it comes to rest in only a few.  Switzerland is one of them.  A lot of it just now is Russian.

            • Trip says:

              She referred to this stuff as what was alleged/written in the book. I didn’t read it as though she was reporting it as fact.

              Also, an aside: but didn’t Pap and his wife split up since he was arrested? I recall seeing some twitter drama, someone posted, between the two.

              • earlofhuntingdon says:

                Closer than ever, by published accounts.  She’s defending him more articulately than he is himself.  Useful, since the Trumpistas have long since thrown him under the bus, and will do so repeatedly if he ever has to take a witness stand.

            • earlofhuntingdon says:

              Her article would be more effective if she more strongly pointed out that Roh’s perspective is emotional and conjecture, that the facts supporting his claims are not in evidence, and that he has sufficient reasons to mischaracterize his experience.

      • earlofhuntingdon says:

        Stephen Roh has every reason and all the training to mischaracterize Mueller and the investigation of Russian influence related to the 2016 election.  For starters, Roh is a multi-millionaire Swiss lawyer with extensive ties to Russia, which suggests that his prosperity and status are intimately tied to promoting the interests of his Russian clients.  He also apparently considers Mifsud to be his BFF.

        In the unlikely event that Mr. Mueller, the FBI and the DoJ needed a reminder, Russian influence campaigns are unlikely to have stopped in November 2016.  The closer investigations come to Trump and his top aides, the more we should expect Trump’s allies to strike out and attempt to damage and discredit those investigations.  Mr. Avenatti is experiencing that now.

        That includes the resources of the GOP and its principal patrons. They have chosen to go all-in to back Mr. Trump, in part, because his public chaos hides what they are doing to strip the government of its ability to hold them to account. Power is not given up, it has to be taken away.

        • Trip says:

          I haven’t seen the latest attacks on Avenatti. He has some balls of steel, though. What do you think his end game is? Running for office, eventually? Or just undoing the Trump Crime syndicate?  He clearly has gone beyond advocacy of Stormy Daniels.

          • Trip says:

            The article @Rugger9 linked above has been removed. Interesting. I wonder if Avenatti sent a letter. :)

            • Rugger9 says:

              I take that as an indicator that its sourcing was suspect.  However, since Avenatti is the loudest threat to the palace (Mueller remains the biggest) he will get lots of trollish attention which I’m sure he is prepared for since he has parried all of the other attempts to go after him.  As I noted before, there are very few things capable of shutting him up as a private lawyer short of an injunction of some kind (which he can fight).  Also, remember that truth is a bulletproof defense against any defamation suit.  I’m just waiting for the linkage-to-Mueller stories to follow.

              After all, one of the fake headline generator sent around a headline about Michelle Wolf and dogs while she was in the news.  Note also that the palace still hasn’t invited the Waffle House hero (a nonwhite man) to the palace nor has bootlicking lackey Sadler apologized (nor has the Kaiser) for slurring McCain (“Loser”) as he is dying.  No wonder Trump was asked to stay away from the coming funeral.

    • harpie says:

      The German from Trip’s link:
      [quote] “Und nun die Verbindung zu Roh: Mifsud sei Berater für Rohs Kanzlei gewesen und habe an einer italienischen Privatuniversität, die zum Teil einer Firma Rohs gehört, unterrichtet, so die Zeitung.
      Die Befragung und die Beschattung Rohs in New York würden darauf hindeuten, dass Sonderermittler Mueller dem Verdacht von Rohs verdächtigen Verbindungen nach Russland nachgehe. (sar)” [end quote]
      I’m pretty sure “sei gewesen” is conditional, as in “was supposedly” or “allegedly”, or maybe “according to” [probably the newspaper Der «TagesAnzeiger» referenced earlier in the article.]

      • Trip says:

        Yeah, the article or story they referenced appeared to be behind a paywall, so I couldn’t go there. And I don’t speak German.

      • harpie says:

        This is a probably passable translation:

        And now the connection to Roh: According to the newspaper, Mifsud had been a consultant for Roh’s law firm and had taught at an Italian private university, which belongs in part to Roh’s company.
        The questioning and shadowing of Roh in New York, may indicate that Special Investigator Mueller is investigating Roh’s suspicious ties to Russia. (SAR)

        • Trip says:

          Thanks. It’s likely they were interviewed, etc. But it sounds like hyperbole in the book about how much Mueller sort of harassed them (paraphrased). Although I have no idea.

          • harpie says:

            Agree. As EoH said above:

            Stephen Roh has every reason and all the training to mischaracterize Mueller and the investigation of Russian influence related to the 2016 election.

            The book sounds like some of the stuff that has been written about Hillary Clinton and other enemies of these people, and it looks like Avenatti is up next. I’d bet Roger Stone is involved.

            • Trip says:

              There are a lot of ratfuckers in/out of this administration (including nearly the entirety of Fox News and Sinclair). You can’t swing a dead cat without hitting one. That said, I await Roger’s ugly-ass time in the barrel.

              • harpie says:

                The photo at the bottom of that page is of the Fox and Friends show when Trump phoned them. The caption says:

                This is how one looks if one must listen to Trump for 31 minutes.


                • Trip says:

                  There’s an interesting article with a diplomat too. He gets up early to read the idiot’s tweets. He has faith that democracy will survive in the US. I wish I felt so certain.

  8. earlofhuntingdon says:

    Forty-one Palestinians killed so far by Israeli troops, hundreds wounded, as they protest the opening of Trump’s new embassy in Jerusalem.  That’s on Trump’s head as much as Netanyahu’s.

    Trump exacerbated already sky-high tensions – his defining characteristic – when he invited a crudely bigoted southern mega-church pastor, Robert Jeffress (hates other Christians, Jews and Muslims), to give an opening “prayer”.  I guess inviting the peacenik Jesuit congressional chaplain would have been too “political” a choice.  (Or not as appealing to end-time christianists in Trump’s declining base.)

    • earlofhuntingdon says:

      At least forty-three now dead, over 1900 injured by live fire.  That’s an Israeli message, not an unfortunate tragedy, based on the planning and rules of engagement the government has recently used.

      Separately, based on their speeches at the embassy opening, it is clear why Jared Kushner avoids public speaking.  He is lousy at it.  Ivanka is better, but so plastic and superficial as to rival her daddy.  Gender aside, she is a clone off the old block.  There’s a reason most governments ban nepotism.

      • Trip says:

        I don’t understand how Netanyahu could have learned about the history of WWII and the Holocaust, and his big take-away was ‘be like the Nazis’. Because that’s what it looks like, in the way he has been treating the Palestinian people.

        I’ve said it before: If you look close enough, side by side, Ivanka looks like Donald, only with some cosmetic surgery. It explains the interest and inappropriate comments by him, about her. Narcissus staring into the pond, loving his own reflection.

        Kushner sounds like a squeaky weasel. (apologies to actual weasels).

        • harpie says:

          That’s the/a part of the speech that’s not on the transcript:

          Ayman Mohyeldin @AymanM 
          [quote] Wow!! Jared Kushner’s controversial comment about Gaza during Embassy opening saying “as we have seen from the protests of the last month & even today, those provoking violence are part of the problem & not part of the solution” was omitted from official White House transcript! [end quote]

        • Trip says:

          No, it’s dog-whistling. How different is he from Trump’s pastor who thought the Jews were the problem during WWII and brought the Holocaust on themselves? Jared is another Nazi-like Netanyahu extremist. The Nazis stole art and the property of Jews in Europe, the Netanhayu Gov’t along with co-conspirators like Jared, took property rightfully owned by Palestinians, kicked them right out of homes, for development and wealth. The parallels are awful.

        • Trip says:

          They KNOW apartheid when they see it:

          SA withdraws Israel ambassador after Gaza deadly attack

          JOHANNESBURG – South Africa has withdrawn its Ambassador to Israel following the killing of Palestinian protestors at the Gaza border.
          In a statement, the South African government says it condemns in the strongest terms possible the latest act of violent aggression carried out by Israeli armed forces.


            • harpie says:

              More from the WH:
              Caroline O.@RVAwonk 
              [quote] Q: Given that it’s only Palestinians being killed, shouldn’t Israel shoulder some of the blame? Raj Shah: “Look…this is a gruesome & unfortunate propaganda attempt. The Israeli govt has spent weeks trying to handle this w/o violence… Again, we believe Hamas is responsible.” / Q: Are you saying it’s the White House’s position that Israel can kill at will?  Raj Shah: “I’m saying we believe that Hamas as an organization is engaged in cynical action that’s leading to these deaths.”  [end quote] 

              • Trip says:

                They have been shooting unarmed protestors for weeks. There are videos of Israeli soldiers just picking people off in a crowd, and chatting/laughing about it, like it’s all whimsy. There was NO gunfire shooting back.

                And why did Huckster-b take the day off? She is particularly good at promoting evil, more so than Shah. The more she lies and distorts reality, though, the less symmetry of her eyes and more distortion in her face. That’s her tell.

    • orionATL says:

      a massacre.

      a calculated, cold-blooded massacre.

      for decades hereafter, those israeli solders involved are going to have some bad thoughts and terrible dreams of what they saw and what some did on this day. that’s one of the costs of war (and torture) for those so ordered by their leaders.

      we may be at the beginning of the time of the trump wars.

      • orionATL says:

        if, as with netanyahu and trump, a leader is in trouble on suspicion of corruption, there nuothing like this spectacle to take peopke’s minds off those little problems.

        • Watson says:

          I’ve got a two word solution for Israel-Palestine, and it isn’t ‘peace process’, it’s ‘compulsory arbitration’.

            • Watson says:

              The ‘peace process’ is a cynical sham intended to maximize Israel’s territory and extinguish Palestinian rights. Former Prime Minister Ariel Sharon characterized the peace process, specifically Israel’s unilateral withdrawal from Gaza, as supplying ‘the amount of formaldehyde that is necessary so there will not be a political process with the Palestinians.’

              The UN has a Permanent Court of Arbitration. The challenge is getting this dispute before that court or a similar, perhaps ad hoc, body.

              • bmaz says:

                That is more than fair. I fail to see the applicability of any “compulsory arbitration” process though. Without a binding agreement (not that the US honors those under Trump), arbitration is a joke.

                • Watson says:

                  I take your point. The parties haven’t agreed to compulsory arbitration, so the ‘compulsion’ would have to be external.

                  If given the opportunity, the UN would probably impose something like the 1967 borders with international status for Jerusalem. Unfortunately, in the foreseeable future, the US would veto such a solution, as both Dems and Repubs are in favor of a blank check for Likud.

                  • bmaz says:

                    Sure. And think you are totally on the right track as to where such a fair minded mandatory arbitration might cloud, and would, go. But that kind of reasonableness has never, not now, nor since Nakba day in 1948 in play as to Israel and the never fair broker, the US. And that is especially so under an idiot like Trump.

          • earlofhuntingdon says:

            Good luck with that.  No such thing in international law regarding traditional political issues.  It does exist, via treaty, regarding such things as multinational company driven issues and venues, such as the WTO.  Forced binding arbitration is ubiquitous in American consumer relations with companies – employers, banks and virtually everyone they buy from.

            The comment about Israeli policy is correct: its goal is to eliminate support for Palestinians.  It abhors the idea of a two-state solution and is determined to nationalize all the land it has occupied via previous wars.

            The killing of scores of Palestinians and wounding of two thousand today cannot be laid solely at Hamas’ feet.  Israeli government policy played a direct part; its people also pulled the triggers, fired the howitzers and flew the jets that dropped the bombs – as a method of civilian crowd control.

            This WH has indeed ended a policy already on life support: the idea that the US is a “good faith” intermediary in this so-called two-state peace process.  Trump, in his usual fashion, collapses complex issues into a whimsical, off-the-cuff, personally enriching decision.  He is a poster child for public corruption.

    • harpie says:

      Ryan Goodman @rgoodlaw  5:02 PM – 14 May 2018  
      [quote] With SCOOP by @JoshMeyerDC (“Ukrainian politician behind controversial peace proposal to appear in Mueller probe“) some key points to add: / 1. Same politician said his discussions with Cohen and Sater began DURING 2016 election—not after. [link] /  2. If discussions of back channel Ukraine plan began “at the time of the primaries,” as Artemenko said—that could be VERY important to any QUID PRO QUO analysis. Think about it: a Russia-friendly plan for Ukraine and lifting sanctions proposed to Michael Cohen in 2016. /  […]  / 5. Breaking news tonight is that Artemenko is scheduled to appear before the grand jury on Friday—giving special counsel Mueller ample opportunity to get to the bottom of this. <end> [end quote] 

    • harpie says:

      Wendy Siegelman @WendySiegelman 

      More info on Artemenko in this thread  – including an interesting connection to Manafort and Konstantin Kilimnik, who both took a 2013 trip to Germany using Artemenko’s plane [link to Miami Herald] 

  9. harpie says:

    $1 million mystery gift to inauguration traced to conservative legal activists; McClatchy; May 14, 2018; 4:41 PM  
    […] While the source of the money used to make the gift was masked from the public, a trail of clues puts the contribution at the doorstep of some of the same actors — most notably Leonard Leo, an executive vice president at the conservative Federalist Society — who have helped promote Trump’s mission, and that of his White House counsel, Don McGahn, to fill judicial vacancies as quickly as he can with staunchly conservative, preferably young jurists. […]

    • harpie says:

      bmaz retweeted Norman Ornstein @NormOrnstein 

      Could that be the same Leonard Leo who made sure Scott Pruitt had a posh taxpayer-funded dinner with a cardinal charged with sex crimes in Rome? The dinner that Pruitt and his EPA cronies, who knew about the allegations in advance, tried to cover up?

  10. harpie says:

    Trump puts his name in large letters on yet another building:

    Josh Rogin  : On the new U.S. embassy plaque, “Donald J. Trump” is in a larger font size than “Jerusalem, Israel”
    Actually, that font may even be larger than “Embassy United States of America”.

  11. harpie says:

    Jeremy Herb and Manu Raju [CNN] report: Haspel says CIA should not have conducted interrogation program Updated 10:46 AM ET, Tue May 15, 2018 

    NEW: In a new letter, Gina Haspel says the CIA should NOT have undertaken the Bush administration interrogation program and that the program “did damage to our officers and our standing in the world,” / The letter to Sen. Warner goes further than Haspel would publicly at her CIA director confirmation hearing last week, when Haspel said she would not restart a CIA interrogation program but wouldn’t criticize the CIA’s post-9/11 actions / You can read the full letter here [link]

      • SpaceLifeForm says:

        It does demonstrate that if you write the best un-sternly letter to a congresscriter, you can get their vote. (Warner to vote yes)

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