Bill Barr Risks becoming Joseph Mifsud’s New Coffee Boy

Yesterday, the Daily Beast provided details about what Bill Barr was doing in Italy on the trip to dig up dirt first confirmed by the WaPo. According to DB, Barr and John Durham went to Italy on short notice (that is, even as the Ukraine scandal he is personally implicated in was breaking) to watch a videotaped deposition by Joseph Mifsud.

Barr was in Rome on an under-the-radar mission that was only planned a few days in advance. An official with the embassy confirmed to The Daily Beast that they had to scramble to accommodate Barr’s sudden arrival. He had been in Italy before, but not with such a clear motive. Barr and Durham are looking into the events that led to Robert Mueller’s Russia investigation, and suddenly all roads were leading to Rome.

The Daily Beast has learned that Barr and Durham were especially interested in what the Italian secret service knew about Joseph Mifsud, the erstwhile professor from Malta who had allegedly promised then-candidate Donald Trump’s campaign aide George Papadopoulos he could deliver Russian “dirt” on Hillary Clinton. The Italian justice ministry’s public records show that Mifsud had applied for police protection in Italy after disappearing from Link University, where he worked and, in doing so, had given a taped deposition to explain just why people might want to harm him.

A source in the Italian Ministry of Justice, speaking on the condition of anonymity, told The Daily Beast that Barr and Durham were played the tape. A second source within the Italian government also confirmed to The Daily Beast that Barr and Durham were shown other evidence the Italians had on Mifsud.

There are a ton of reasons why this trip is batshit crazy. For one, Barr is placing himself in the role of a line Special Agent, someone without the requisite expertise chasing off to watch taped depositions while he should be running DOJ. For another (as I’ll show in more detail later), Barr is literally just chasing conspiracy theories sown by sworn liar George Papadopoulos, conspiracy theories which fabulist John Solomon (and his obvious sources named Rudy Giuliani and some Russian and Ukrainian oligarchs including Oleg Deripaska) has both fed and magnified. That Barr is doing it as he becomes personally embroiled in a scandal which could implicate him criminally suggests he and Trump may be trying to beat the clock, produce results before the shit really hits the fan.

But what’s most remarkable about the trip is the Attorney General of the United States went out on this goose chase without first ensuring he’d get what he was promised.

There’s a principle often aired when discussing Trump’s failed diplomacy with North Korea. You don’t send out the Principal for a meeting before getting certain commitments that advance your own goals. Trump should not have met with Kim Jong-Un without first getting concessions, because by doing so he took away several things of value (such as conferring credibility on the world stage) that Kim was most interested in.

The same is true here. The Attorney General should never run off to do the work of an FBI line Special Agent. But he certainly shouldn’t do so unless he was getting what he was really after.

And Billy Barr just flew to Italy without getting what he was really looking for.

Handily, for this scandal, Papadopoulos and Solomon and Chuck Ross have been ready scribes for the script that Trump and Billy Barr are supposed to be following. It’s all out in the open.

The Attorney General’s voyage to Italy got set in motion last fall when Ross published two stories relying on Mifsud’s “attorney” Stephen Roh (who himself has close ties to Russia). The first, dated September 10, reported that Mifsud was alive and well hiding in Italy. The second, published October 24, was explicitly a set-up for George Papadopoulos’ testimony before the joint OGR/HJC investigation into the Russian investigation. It included comments from Roh alleging that Mifsud was not a Russian asset, but was instead a Western one. Ross included those comments almost as a side note, even though the comments make what would normally be big news.

Roh told TheDCNF this week that Mifsud claimed in their previous meetings that he was working under the direction of the FBI when he made contact with Papadopoulos. He also claims that Mifsud told him that he was ordered to stay out of the public spotlight until the conclusion of special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation.

“Prof Mifsud explained that he is and was always a trusted cooperator of Western Intelligence services,” Roh said on Oct. 20.

“Prof Mifsud explained to us that he agreed not to speak, not to give interviews and to hide until the [Mueller] Investigation is terminated,” said Roh, who added that Mifsud claimed that he was being assisted by a London law firm in his discussions with the Mueller team.

The claims, if true, would be bombshell developments in the Russiagate saga. But TheDCNF was not able to independently verify Roh’s claims. The special counsel’s office declined comment.

While some of Roh’s claims about Mifsud would seem to support Papadopoulos’s theories, Roh has also said that Mifsud denies Papadopoulos’s allegation that he mentioned Clinton emails during their April 2016 meeting. Roh has asserted that Papadopoulos was working as an “agent provocateur” for a Western spy agency.

The next day, Papadopoulos — cued by Zachary Somers, then Majority Counsel for Bob Goodlatte — pointed to the Daily Caller piece as the basis for his belief that Joseph Mifsud was actually western intelligence.

Q Okay. So, and Mifsud, he presented himself as what? Who did he tell you he was?

A So looking back in my memory of this person, this is a mid-50’s person, describes himself as a former diplomat who is connected to the world, essentially. I remember he was even telling me that, you know, the Vietnamese prime minister is a good friend of mine. I mean, you have to understand this is the type of personality he was portraying himself as.

And, you know, I guess I took the bait because, you know, usually somebody who — at least in Washington, when somebody portrays themselves in a specific way and has credentials to back it, you believe them. But that’s how he portrayed himself. And then I can’t remember exactly the next thing that happened until he decided to introduce me to Putin’s fake niece in London, which we later found out is some sort of student. But I could get into those details of how that all started. Q And what’s your — just to kind of jump way ahead, what’s your current understanding of who Mifsud is?

A My current understanding?

Q Yeah. A You know, I don’t want to espouse conspiracy theories because, you know, it’s horrifying to really think that they might be true, but just yesterday, there was a report in the Daily Caller from his own lawyer that he was working with the FBI when he approached me. And when he was working me, I guess — I don’t know if that’s a fact, and I’m not saying it’s a fact — I’m just relaying what the Daily Caller reported yesterday, with Chuck Ross, and it stated in a categorical fashion that Stephan Roh, who is Joseph Mifsud’s, I believe his President’s counsel, or PR person, said that Mifsud was never a Russian agent.

In fact, he’s a tremendous friend of western intelligence, which makes sense considering I met him at a western spying school in Rome. And all his interactions — this is just me trying to repeat the report, these are not my words — and when he met with me, he was working as some sort of asset of the FBI. I don’t know if that’s true or not. I’m just reporting what my current understanding is of this individual based on reports from journalists.

As I’ll show, this was not the only time Papadopoulos did this in a deposition that was supposed to air what Papadopoulos knew, personally. His testimony served to validate conspiracy theories planted in right wing propaganda outlets.

In May Devin Nunes, in the guise of raising counterintelligence concerns about the number of high level people (including Boris Johnson, who would not be Prime Minister of the UK right now without dodgy financing of Leave) who had interacted with Mifsud, wrote a letter airing Roh’s claims and information that otherwise has been sourced from Roh, wrote Mike Pompeo, Paul Nakasone, Gina Haspel, and Chris Wray claiming Mueller misrepresented Mifsud.

Alternatively, if Mifsud is not in fact a counterintelligence threat, then that would cast doubt on the Special Counsel’s fundamental description of him and his activities, and raise questions about the veracity of the Special Counsel’s statements and affirmations. It should be noted that the Special Counsel declined to charge Mifsud with any crime even though, to justify seeking a prison sentence for Papadopoulos, the Special Counsel claimed Papadopoulos’ untruthful testimony “undermined investigators’ ability to challenge the Professor [Mifsud] or potentially detain or arrest him while he was still in the United States.” Furthermore, it’s still a mystery how the FBI knew to ask Papadopoulos specifically about Hillary Clinton’s emails, on multiple occasions throughout 2016-17 before having interviewed Mifsud, if the FBI hadn’t already somehow received this information directly or indirectly from Mifsud himself.

Obviously, Nunes’ “concerns” are rank bullshit. The tip from Australia was sufficient to raise question about the emails. And Mueller didn’t charge a bunch of other suspected foreign assets (some even in the US), which is how counterintelligence works. But Nunes’ letter sufficed to make this an official request.

Apparently, then, Stephen Roh shared a transcript of a deposition with some Republicans in Congress and Solomon. That, and more cues from Republicans, Roh, Papadopoulos, and who knows who else, got laundered through a Solomon story full of obvious misrepresentations (one that irks me, for example, is his use of a February 2017 email Mifsud sent following up on his FBI interview to claim Mifsud exchanged emails with the FBI, as if that substantiated an otherwise independent relationship with the Bureau). The news hook of the story is that John Durham wanted to interview Mifsud. But if he couldn’t do that, Solomon dutifully reported, Durham would like to “review a recorded deposition” he gave to Roh.

An investigator told Swiss attorney Stephan Roh that Durham’s team wanted to interview Mifsud, or at the very least review a recorded deposition the professor gave in summer 2018 about his role in the drama involving Donald Trump, Russia and the 2016 election.

The contact, confirmed by multiple sources and contemporaneous email, sent an unmistakable message: Durham, the U.S. attorney handpicked by Attorney General William Barr to determine whether the FBI committed abuses during the Russia investigation, is taking a second look at one of the noteworthy figures and the conclusions of former special counsel Robert Mueller’s final report.

Solomon went on to claim — and the frothy right believes it as scripture now — that if Durham would just interview Mifsud, he would learn that the whole Papadopoulos story was actually a set-up by Western intelligence agencies seeking to frame George Papadopoulos and Donald Trump.

Roh told me the information he is preparing to share with Durham’s team from his client will accentuate those concerns.

Mifsud was a “longtime cooperator of western intel” who was asked specifically by his contacts at Link University in Rome and the London Center of International Law Practice (LCILP) — two academic groups with ties to Western diplomacy and intelligence — to meet with Papadopoulos at a dinner in Rome in mid-March 2016, Roh told me.

A May 2019 letter from Nunes to U.S. intelligence officials corroborates some of Roh’s account, revealing photos showing that the FBI conducted training at Link in fall 2016 and that Mifsud and other Link officials met regularly with world leaders, including Boris Johnson, elected today as Britain’s new prime minister.

A few days after the March dinner, Roh added, Mifsud received instructions from Link superiors to “put Papadopoulos in contact with Russians,” including a think tank figure named Ivan Timofeev and a woman he was instructed to identify to Papadopoulos as Vladimir Putin’s niece.

Mifsud knew the woman was not the Russian president’s niece but, rather, a student who was involved with both the Link and LCILP campuses, and the professor believed there was an effort underway to determine whether Papadopoulos was an “agent provocateur” seeking foreign contacts, Roh said.

The evidence, he told me, “clearly indicates that this was not only a surveillance op but a more sophisticated intel operation” in which Mifsud became involved.

The point is, though, that the ask was an interview, at which Barr and Durham (and, if they had brought experienced interrogators, which the DB does not report they did) would be able to test Mifsud’s credibility. Sitting in a secure room and watching a deposition (without experts there to test the provenance of the deposition video, no less) was not the ask and provides no way to obtain what would really be necessary.

But Barr didn’t demand that, and he didn’t get that. Instead, he allowed himself to be lured into a dark room in Italy to watch something — possibly without anyone with the relevant counterintelligence expertise to help him understand it — that provides very little useful information to test Mifsud’s claims. That puts the Attorney General in an incredibly vulnerable position (even beyond being implicated in covering up the President’s extortion to get such access), because he not only has traded away a lot of leverage to get what he would actually need to test this information, but he has already met a suspected Russian asset on the asset’s terms.

A lot of what Papadopoulos has done over the last three years was downright idiotic. But he has the excuse of being stupid, untrained, venal, and overly ambitious.

Billy Barr has no excuses for doing something that is even stupider than much of what Papadopoulos did. And yet he did just that.

165 replies
  1. Peterr says:

    But Barr didn’t demand that, and he didn’t get that. Instead, he allowed himself to be lured into a dark room in Italy to watch something — possibly without anyone with the relevant counterintelligence expertise to help him understand it — that provides very little useful information to test Mifsud’s claims.

    GIven how Barr summarized the contents of the Mueller Report, I am sure that the absence of any counterintelligece people to help him with the Mifsud interview will not hinder Barr’s ability to summarize Mifsud’s comments just as accurately.

    Barr is not concerned with testing the information, only creating his less-than-scrupulous summaries for public consumption. Indeed, if others went with him and saw this deposition, it might hinder his ability to carry out this task.

    Just look what happened once the Mueller report got out. Can’t have that happening again, you know.

    • Tom says:

      Yes, if there’s no there there over there, Barr doesn’t want anyone knowing he went all the way over there to get stood up..

      • Xboxershorts says:

        Does there really have to be a “There” there? Isn’t Trussia attempting to force Ukraine to fabricate some bullshit that barely dangles the tip of a toe in actual reality in order to implicate Joe Biden in some kind of nefarious scheme to enrich his son?

        If Trussia is willing to use Ukraine to fabricate evidence. Why not also Italy? You say that Barr is watching a video deposition from Mifsud? Who’s to say that hasn’t been doctored? Or that it won’t be doctored at some point in the future?

        Am I the only one who remembers that it was Italian Security that produced for Cheney and Co the forged Nigerian Yellow Cake receipts?

        We already know Italy will lie on demand. What’s to keep that from happening here?

        • Tom says:

          I agree with your argument and left another comment yesterday at 9:25 pm speculating on all that we don’t know about the videotape Barr supposedly saw. Rayne replied to my comment to point out that we have even less reason to believe Italian intelligence than I thought. But thanks for your reply.

    • klynn says:

      Oh I think they do…I think the issue is they are taking careful steps to avoid also becoming as Lenin like to say about the West “useful idiots” like Barr.

    • earlofhuntingdon says:

      They probably do, but seem determined not to respond to it. Goes with the no impeachment vote in the House.

    • Rayne says:

      They do. Just look at the Twitter timelines of Reps. Ted Lieu, Eric Swallwell, Alexandria Ocasio Cortes, Senator Richard Blumenthal, Ron Wyden — very clear they know how insane this entire situation is, how difficult it is to try to do their jobs as legislators while confronting the Trump administration’s insanity.

      The problem isn’t that Democratic members of Congress can’t recognize it but that the Constitution provides inadequate tools in the face of a batshit presidency replete with a wholly corrupt cabinet and a Senate under the control of a wholly compromised party aligned with the batshit president.

        • Savage Librarian says:

          Yup, no doubt about that. It’s interesting that the Mercers are being credited with initiating the Biden oppo research. I remember months ago reading a weird article about Rebekeh Mercer having created an actual boardgame with various characters and plays. I guess it didn’t turn out like she anticipated.

    • Frank Probst says:

      I think almost everyone knows how batshit crazy this is. The Attorney General is running around the world trying to gather “evidence” of, well, something that he can turn into a quasi-coherent narrative. Most people are letting him have all of the rope he needs.

      Among other things, he’s been tasked by the President with more or less “outing” the agents that got the ball rolling on the whole Russia inquiry, in order to discredit the investigation (and discourage future investigations). This was expected to be an easy task, because he’s got Insta-declassification powers, and he has substantial experience with being a “fixer” as AG.

      I think that he’s run into two major roadblocks, one small and one that’s basically an iceberg that was (and is) being totally underestimated. The small one is that Christopher Wray, Trump’s pick for the head of the FBI, doesn’t look like he’s playing ball. His name doesn’t seem to be popping up in any of the mushrooming scandals that are cropping up daily, and I don’t think any of his agents have been “outed”.

      The iceberg is the result of “owning the libs” when it came to Trump’s pick to head the CIA. Gina Haspel was an unpalatable pick for the left because of her involvement in the Bush/Cheney torture program. However, she was almost impossible to effectively oppose, because she would be the first woman to lead the CIA, and she was an internal pick who was well-respected within the Agency and had over three decades of experience there.

      The result is that Trump, Barr, and (to a lesser extent as of now) Pompeo are trying to run a smear campaign against the intelligence community, particularly the FBI and the CIA. All of them are using the standard smear playbooks that they’ve used in the past with other smear campaigns. And they’ve crashed into the “Don’t fuck with the Agency” iceberg, which Pompeo (as former head of the CIA) should have been able to see and avoid. Their problem is that Haspel isn’t a political hack. She’s a well-respected and trusted leader of the Agency with over 30 years of experience there. So to use the annoying metaphor that everyone seems to love, she’s playing ten-dimensional chess, while the rest of the bumblers are playing checkers.

      The result is that more and more damning evidence of various misdeeds is coming out. By now, I think that the whole thing is snowballing to the point that anyone who’s done ANYTHING even remotely sketchy is trying to shiv someone else before they get shivved themselves.

      Just my WAG.

      • SaltinWound says:

        I hate to think Haspel was almost impossible to effectively oppose, given her enthusiastic torture history. Not sure they gave it the best shot.

      • Stacey says:

        Wasn’t there a musical about that…”West Wing Story” or something, maybe that one has yet to be written, but the fight scene is going to be AWESOME!

        • Savage Librarian says:

          We may need a new national holiday after all this resolves. Maybe we can call it Affirmation Day.

  2. Chuck Smith says:

    Hey, maybe Bill Barr *did* get what he wanted: I’m sure Italy is lovely this time of year, and much preferable to being in Washington DC and dealing with your increasingly unhinged boss.

  3. earlofhuntingdon says:

    In the hunt on a fast new horse, I see. Many thanks for all your work.

    I assume Barr is there to open doors no longer readily open to the blithering president’s normal envoys. And to keep whatever he’s looking for under wraps, although quite how that is supposed to work is not clear.

    As you point out, AG’s do not do street level investigations. They do not normally even run the DoJ’s daily operations: that’s the Depty AG’s job, the inappropriately experienced Jeffrey Rosen.

    Barr and Pompeo are infinitely smarter than Trump, but they are exposing themselves as equally corrupt. This is a great illustration of how Trump amplifies the corruption in whatever he touches, ultimately destroying it.

    • Avattoir says:

      “AG’s do not do street level investigations”

      Au contraire, according to those the 35% or thereabouts Trump supporters, raised on a large body of comic books, Marvel movies & mainstream pop TV shows depicting chiefs of police and line prosecutors as investigators who roll up their sleeves and get their hands all dirty fightin’ crime.

      • P J Evans says:

        They also seem to think that “24” was a documentary. (The studio was across the street and a block down from where I live.)

    • Molly Pitcher says:

      Kind of like Midas, E of H ? Everything he touches turns ‘gold’ and ultimately kills him ? I guess that is how he ended up with that 24K gold toilet.

    • earlofhuntingdon says:

      That seems right. The ranks of those they can delegate to are thinning. Then there’s what else is on his agenda that’s not on his agenda. He did make his bones at the CIA.

      • BobCon says:

        The one case I can recall where any truly top White House people descended from Olympus for the Iraq War intel fraud was Cheney.

        And when he leaned on US analysts, I think he knew exactly what he was after and how to keep things contained.

        Barr seems to be blundering in the dark, and he is already being leaked on.

    • klynn says:

      Actually, I think it implies that after the agent list was handed off to Potus, no one can leave the US. They are not safe.

      Let me just add, trusting Italian intel right now would be difficult. Italy and RU are involved in a big submarine contract.

      • earlofhuntingdon says:

        Barr, in particular, Trump has authorized to see whatever top-level intelligence he desires. Presumably, he travels with any number of baby sitters in tow.

      • BobCon says:

        I suspect the danger to US officials would be getting ambushed by a camera crew from a Berlusconi video prank show, along with a guy in a gorilla suit throwing pies, the runners up from the 2016 Ms. Montenegro pageant dancing in bikinis and MAGA hats, and Italy’s entrant in Eurovision lip syncing a Lionel Richie song, all against a backdrop of the fake pee tape.

    • Rugger9 says:

      Possible, but I also think that the timeline available to manufacture the cover story keeps shrinking and to make sure no one else blows the whistle on the Palace a very short list of top-level officials would be allowed to go. It doesn’t explain why Gorka (who has been tweeting about owning the libs) was coming along. I don’t think he even works for Faux News any longer.

      I see that the House is asking Rick Perry about Ukraine stuff as well.

  4. Rugger9 says:

    Barr ought to be smart enough to realize that he needed the direct interview, not an orchestrated videotape to make the case objectively. Then again, Barr is also a master of the misinformation process where he would issue a memo later like he’s done now several other times saying he “reviewed” the Italian evidence and “found” the conspiracy to cover Individual-1’s needs. This has all of the look of a hastily concocted Palace-directed snipe hunt similar to what was published in the NYT today about the border closure “by noon tomorrow”. I-1 really needs Barr here to defend against the House committees. Strangely, MMMcT has been rather quiet as well, perhaps weighing whether to risk his majority to cover for the Palace. I see a shiv coming from MMMcT when the impeachment hits the Senate for trial since by then there will be lots more out there and none of it will help the GOP.

    I would suspect that the Italy trip and its details wasn’t really meant to be publicized until much later after the memo was put out there, and that cover narrative is now blown. Another tell was that Seb Gorka came along at (possibly) taxpayer expense, so what was Gorka doing there as a private citizen (IIRC) not even associated with the 2020 campaign?

      • Americana says:

        Sebastian Gorka is likely there as a translator for certain eastern European languages that might be needed in their travels since it’s a given Gorka will observe whatever omertà AG Barr deems necessary. He’s also a known anti-terrorism, anti-jihad figure and will undoubtedly milk that to the maximum as needed.

          • Americana says:

            You’re right. Maybe he’s there to suck the lifeblood out of foreign officials till they cry “Uncle!” and give Gorka all the dirt in their possession about this original Russia investigation business! It will be interesting to watch what Gorka does w/this trip to inflate his own myth over the next few years. He’s another WH fop who’s learned how to play to the audience to maximize his ego. Did you see what he pulled in one of the last of the WH Rose Garden pressers?

    • Rayne says:

      Gorka is there instead of a press pool which would normally follow the AG abroad. He’s there to create ‘alternative’ media content.

      They haven’t been able to persuade anyone overseas to manufacture content so they’re bringing a manufacturer to their sites.

      This is a low-grade alternative to stovepiping intelligence.

  5. Dan says:

    He’s not there to watch a Mifsud video, is the problem with this analysis, which is otherwise very good. He’s there to meet with Rybolovlev. The Mifsud stuff is a *very stupid* smokescreen, a smokescreen on par with the *very, very stupid* release of the Ukraine call transcript. I wouldn’t be shocked if Barr stayed overseas for… the rest of his life. Again, that’s not to say this analysis of Mifsud isn’t completely correct. This is not, I repeat not, a criticism of the analysis, which is spot on, but I think what explains Barr’s idiotic behavior is that the reason he’s stating for the trip is a lie.

    [Welcome to emptywheel. Please use a more differentiated username when you comment next as we have several community members named “Dan”. Thanks. /~Rayne]

    • I Never Lie and am Always Right says:

      Agreed. This was my first reaction. There is something else going on. My nose tells me that, whatever that “something else “ is, the reaction of people not aligned with Trump to its public disclosure would create a firestorm significantly larger than the existing firestorm. They don’t want anyone else to know what is going on and can’t risk the possibility that someone else might leak what is really going on.

  6. Peterr says:

    One more reason to add to your list of why this trip is batshit crazy: if this trip is necessary, it is necessary because of the counter-intelligence issues it raises. Thus, if you’re going to send a principal to view it, you send the ADNI or DCI, not the AG.

    • Americana says:

      Trouble is, Barr can’t have witnesses to these discussions for reasons that should be clear. Once again, we’ve got Trump’s foreign activities being conducted behind an opaque smoke screen that will never be lifted unless Barr manages to procure precisely what he wants from these governments and individuals on behalf of Trump.

      I hope we manage to get ALL of Putin’s phone calls w/Trump released during this process. I don’t know what the likelihood is of that but Putin shouldn’t be allowed to claim executive privilege in the United States after what he’s done.

  7. OmAli says:

    Has anyone heard any details about the meeting between the IG from State and the committee staffers? I imagine it was/will be closed-door.

    • Americana says:

      I imagine it will be a few days before we’re sure but this story seems credible that it might be part of the IG’s urgent concern. The story suggests disinformation from John Solomon potentially appeared in a 50-page packet of collected material sent to the IG. (If the John Solomon stories have bothered you as much as they’ve bothered me, I’m surprised the IG didn’t receive multiple 50-page packets filled w/John Solomon stories.) The Oleg Deripaska story/interview was one of Solomon’s most egregious. Whatever his reasons, Solomon is an industrial churner of BS — Disinformation Central for Purposeful Propaganda.

      I can certainly see the IG presenting a collection packet of disinformation related to the Ukrainian situation as part of an “urgent” presentation to the Congressional leadership. However I don’t think that Solomon’s disinformation covers all the bases as to why the IG would have called for a closed door briefing. First, because the John Solomon material is already released. Second, because Solomon has been facing serious headwinds over his falsehoods. The Solomon angle — if it was delivered in a 50-page packet of varied and significant disinformation — could be part of the IG’s analysis of how the factionalized gov’t is reacting overall to the evolving Ukraine situation and now the impeachment inquiry phase. The IG has to be aware of the good faction vs the bad faction by this point in time?

      From the above link:

      In March, The Hill’s investigative reporter John Solomon published a story claiming that the U.S. government had pressured Ukrainian prosecutors to drop a probe of a group funded by the Obama administration and liberal billionaire George Soros. The story was published at 6 p.m., according to a timestamp on the paper’s website. Solomon himself didn’t share it on his Twitter account until 6:56 p.m. that night. The earliest cache of the story in the Internet Archive is from 7:42 pm. Eastern time.

      But hours before that, at 12:52 p.m. Eastern time, Solomon appears to have sent a version of the article to Ukrainian-American businessman Lev Parnas and the Trumpworld lawyers Joe diGenova and Victoria Toensing. The email was titled “Outline of Soros reporting, including embedded documents” and included the headline and the text of his piece.

      Two congressional sources confirmed to The Daily Beast that Solomon’s email was part of a roughly 50-page package of material that was turned over to lawmakers on Wednesday by the State Department’s Inspector General’s office. Reuters was the first to report the email’s inclusion in the packet.

  8. orionATL says:

    let’s start with st. john, that’s st. john of dunham.

    dunham is being presented to the public as a “very serious doj professional” who is often tasked by the power-elite to do “very serious” intelligence-related legal investigations.

    personally, i think the guy is a legal cover-up artist not unlike william barr, operators who hide the truth behind portentously mouthed legal justifications for the benefit of their patrons, the medici. i base this prejudice on dunham’s long, ineffectual investigation of the destruction of the cia’s torture tapes. what a surprise he decided no charges too be filed despite the fact that the tapes were clear evidence of cia torture, thst he was asked by a judge not to, and that torture is illegal in both u.s. and international law.

    what will john dunham find with bill barr riding herd on his ass? what amazing chutzpah! an institution that should value investigator/prosecutor independence of thought and fair mindedness because of that independence would not allow the the attorney general to bird-dog a prosecutor. that barr is doing so is a colossal affront to doj integrity as well as an indication that barr is anxious to steer dunham in a certain direction.

    cheating. it is what trump men do best.

    • Savage Librarian says:

      This is probably totally coincidental, but one of the other businesses on the document you shared is R &B, which I see has a global presence when I follow the link. You know who else decided to call their new consulting firm R & B? Dana Rohrabacher and Paul Behrends.

  9. viget says:

    Hmmm…. my suspicion is that they already knew what they were likely to “find” and although it’s not what they wanted, it’s good enough for right now to keep the Frothy Right rumor mills running and prevent further erosion in Trump support. Will it be enough to save Trump? Not sure, time will tell, but I doubt it considering that the House Dems probably still have many aces up their sleeves.

    Which brings us to the real reason they’re there, to plan the next steps. This smells of desperation by Team Trump, almost as if their lines of communication have suddenly been cut off and they need to communicate in person.

    I have this weird feeling that something big happened on September 23rd to allow the dam to start to break. Just a hunch.

  10. Peterr says:

    From my member of Congress, Emanuel Cleaver, responding to a WaPo story about Barr asking foreign governments and intelligence agencies to assist in attacking the conclusions of the US IC:

    If kneeling for the National Anthem at a football game is unpatriotic, what would you call travelling around the world trying to discredit the men and women serving in the American intelligence and law enforcement community?

  11. L. Eslinger says:

    Yes, Barr (and others) are engaging in behaviors that are fairly described as “bat-shit crazy,” but can and will congress (meaning the non-Republican members of congress) do anything about this?

    [Welcome back to emptywheel. Please use the same username each time you comment so that community members get to know you. This is your second user name — you’ve posted previously without the initial “L.” Thanks. /~Rayne]

  12. Jenny says:

    Thank you Marcy.
    My favorite line from your insightful post is: “There are a ton of reasons why this trip is batshit crazy.”

    Perhaps FBI director, Wray will be having lunch with CIA director, Haspel soon to try and figure out Barr’s Italian trip. Wine tasting, eating pasta (Spaghetti alla Carbonara), sampling gelato flavors (pistachio, coffee, chocolate hazelnut) , a visit to the Sistine Chapel, a meeting with the Pope.

  13. Vince says:

    Yesterday, CREW (Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington) requested that US District Judge Amy Berman Jackson issue an emergency order to the White House to preserve all records of calls between Racist Donnie and any foreign leaders.

  14. NorskieFlamethrower says:

    When is someone gunna connect the dots between Barr, George HW, Iran contra and George W “I’ve looked into his (Putin’s) heart”. If the entire story of this coupe is not completely unwound all the way back, no more “we are looking forward not backward”, then like Watergate and Iran Contra this thing will keep going until the international oligarchs own us all.

  15. Terrapin says:

    Trump himself no doubt sent Barr on this wild goose or Barr feels the need to demonstrate his zealousness to his boss to avoid the fate of his predecessor. In any case, hard proof Barr is acting more like Trump’s personal attorney than the chief attorney of the nation.

  16. Rapier says:

    The best conclusion is that Barr believes in this stuff, 100%. He’s fighting the deep state. No matter he was part of it all his life. It’s weird. It’s a lot scarier when the guys are saying they are worried about fluoridation just to rile up the crowds and something else when they believe it.

    The thing is there are thousands of people with real agency that believe it too.

  17. earlofhuntingdon says:

    The creepiest press conference by any president who does not run up the stairs yelling, “Charge the blockhouse!”

    • earlofhuntingdon says:

      Even by Trump’s low standards, this was an exceptionally angry, defensive, rude, bumbling, lie-filled press conference.

      The man is not well and it’s getting visibly worse. His hinges are loose and are about to come off.

    • 200Toros says:

      Yes, and did you see the part where trump gropes the President of Finland’s knee, who then brushes away his hand!
      I think I’d do the same, when said groper had been speaking about handling jockstraps and such.(okay, “blankstraps”)
      That has to be one of the most bizarre presidential quotes ever. Until tomorrow anyway…

    • Rayne says:

      I haven’t checked to see if it was saved to the Internet Archive. Hoping their press releases are still all over the place.

      • P J Evans says:

        Article says it was “restored, though sometimes hard to reach”. Which makes me wonder what they removed (or which pages they took out the links to).

      • harpie says:

        A Weisburd did a thread on this this morning, links to online archived page:
        7:15 AM – 2 Oct 2019

        What you get up to is a reflection of who you know. So with that in mind, let’s get to know some of the people associated with Rudy Giuliani, shall we?

        To begin, the website is still available online, archived here: [link]

        Let us also note that Rudy Giuliani is a good and an honorable man, as are all of his associates. All very good, and very honorable. And surely all quite happy to be known to associate with each other. First, a sampling of news about the firm with the disappeared website. [screenshots] / [THREAD]

  18. earlofhuntingdon says:

    If, as Trump now claims, Mike Pence was part of his call to Zelensky, and the crimes suggested by it, does that mean that Ms. Pelosi is now interested in impeachment?

  19. Rita says:

    Why is Att’y General Barr chasing down wacko conspiracy theories?

    Is he trying to placate Trump?
    Is he trying to vindicate the work done by the FBI and CIA by chasing down theories himself and finding no justification?
    Or is he supporting the fringe conspiracy theories for other reasons?

    Many have explained Barr’s partisan performance so far as just his defense of his extreme theory of presidential power. But is this really a satisfactory explanation?

    • BobCon says:

      Running theory is he is the DoJ version of Cheney. He really believes this stuff just like Dick really believed Hussein did 9/11 and had nukes, and evidence against was just stronger evidence for.

      • AndTheSlithyToves says:

        Dick Cheney never, ever believed Saddam Hussein was connected to 9/11. He was privy to the intelligence proving that Hussein wasn’t connected to it. That’s why he had to destroy Joe Wilson and Valerie Plame.
        Bill Barr knows full well that the Russians meddled in our 2016 election, and, by now, he has all the details on how they did it, including who assisted them, and how deep the treachery goes.
        Q. Rep. Will Hurd (R-Texas): Is this…In your investigation did you think that this was a single attempt by the Russians to get involved in our elections, or did you find evidence to suggest that they’ll try to do this again?
        A. SC Robert Mueller: Oh, it wasn’t a single attempt. They’re doing it as we sit here. And they expect to do it, uh..uh…uh, during the next campaign.

        P.S. As AG, Barr also knows all about the Jeffrey Epstein situation and the kompromat that Epstein had collected over the years. There is a connection.

        • Rita says:

          I am not sure about the Epstein connection.

          And it may just be that Trump is adept at entangling somewhat honorable men in his dark web.

          • AndTheSlithyToves says:

            Barr auditioned for the job via his op-ed in the NYT. There is no honor among thieves. The Epstein kompromat may be too toxic to come out.

  20. Drew says:

    It is astounding that grown up people with law degrees and careers and everything would do transparently stupid stunts like this. It’s so astounding that many people are inclined to disbelieve that that is what they are doing {There MUST be something more behind the scenes!}

    It is this, that people in these desperate situations are counting on–that their own supporters, at least, will give them the benefit of the doubt and if they get just the right break, they can push it to their own advantage. 10 or 20 years ago, I would think that people who were in boring & responsible positions wouldn’t take this kind of risk. But then, in my own little corner of the world, I saw people do just that–desperation leading to incredible mendacity and totally brazen stupid stunts.

    The love of power does extraordinarily crazy things to people. Especially in these Republican times.

  21. Matthew Harris says:

    Questions of motivation are always difficult, and often immaterial. And are prone to bringing out the worst in armchair psychologists. So this is all grain of salt territory:

    Barr seems to have gone beyond the normal obstructionism and bureaucratic plausible deniability to spending his time advocating conspiracy theories. It is interesting because there has to be a lot of cognitive dissonance for someone who has been a government operative for so long to suddenly believe he is some outside rebel fighting against the “Deep State”. As far as I can guess, there are probably two things going on here:

    1. He started to become his mask. The talk of the “Deep State” is kept vague enough by Trump and his cohorts to mean two things to two different groups of people. They can use it in a Very Serious Adult way to describe the entrenched bureaucracy that is resistant to change. But at the same time, directed towards others, it is meant to mean the International Satanist Illuminati etc. Its the same concept, directed to a certain subset of middle America, and also directed to the True Believers. And people like Barr, who have worked in government their entire lives, would only be using the 2nd set for propaganda. Except, I think with enough repetition, they are starting to get their own line blurred. They are starting to eat their own dogfood.

    2. Barr, having grown up before the internet, is not inocculated against the internet. This might sound silly, because he is an educated person, and nothing he has done is stupid, but a lot of times even educated, intelligent people who grew up before the internet don’t have the instinctive filter for conspiracy theory than people who grew up with “Ask Snopes”. Barr is just in a world that is too wild for him and is trying to make sense of it, poorly.

    These don’t really seem adequate answers for me, but they are as close as I can get to someone like Barr, who can see what happened to Jeff Sessions, who can see what happened to Michael Cohen, think “I want to do as much as possible to defend Trump”

    • Vicks says:

      Barr deserves none of the credit you are giving him
      The conspiracy is nuts, and Barr has access to more of the truth than any of the wing nuts he out ranks.
      Most people make the effort for things that reward them in one way or the other.
      Maybe he loves the power and missed “landing the planes.”
      (Or was it “plane?”)
      Maybe he is working for Putin or maybe he is just a dude that smelled opportunity.
      No matter what his motivation is he believes the world has different rules for those that are as clever and manipulative as he is.
      It not a trick of the mind. He just is really freaking good at it.

      • Ruthie says:

        I think the truth may be half way between these two comments.

        For sure, Barr is a wily operator, but these overseas trips are so beyond the pale it’s hard not to think he might have lost his edge/mind. The internet/Fox ecosystem has made a lot of older people crazy, my mother included (much to my dismay).

          • Matthew Harris says:

            Barr is old school, and the “source of power” for all of the Republicans in the Reagan/Bush administration wasn’t through the president or through a charismatic leader: it was through a really thick system of corporate and government relationships. Pretty much what they are now calling “The Deep State”.

            With Sessions, it made a little more sense. He was a minor Republican senator without much power, and without the senate leadership paying any attention to him, he had no way to continue his ideological agenda. But even Sessions, who did have a source of power in Donald Trump, realized that either he wasn’t going to get what he wanted, or that the cost was too high.

            It could be that Barr, and people like him, think that Trump is a temporary phase, and that once he is out of the picture, the old Republican hierarchy will assert itself. So Barr would be protecting Trump with the idea that he is really protecting the Old Republican Club (ORC?). That seems like a pretty difficult thing to believe in 2019, but perhaps that is it.

            But what power is Barr preserving? Does he have a specific, personal agenda that is furthered through Trump? Does he just like the accessories of power? Or does he really have some strongly held ideological belief that in defending Trump, he is defending what he sees as the American way of life? I don’t know.

            • Vicks says:

              These aren’t followers we are talking about these are powerful men who got there only because they made conscious choices.
              Barr saw Trump in action and decided to send in his resume (and now we learn/are reminded wrote suck up opinion pieces in the Times)
              He stole and then hid information from regarding the behavior of our President from the people of the United States and crapped on democracy and our constitution every step of the way.

            • Gnome de Plume says:

              From Barr’s first appearance on the scene, I have been wondering who sent him? As Mr. Harris above asserts, is there still an Old Republican Club? Because I cannot believe that those driven to the top, like Barr, are as venal and soulless as comic book villains. Or as stupid as this gang appears. My poor brain cannot accept this; that there is no puppeteer, no secret cabal controlling this mess. Who created this unbelievable movie script?

        • paulpfixion says:

          It’s so fascinating how true this is. My mother’s mantra when we were children was that “TV rots your brain.” Now…she is a fox news zombie, who, when speaking outside of the ecosystem you mention, sounds like a garbled cartoon villain.

  22. GKJames says:

    Could Barr’s objective be not to test Mifsud’s credibility but merely his usefulness in perpetuating the preferred narrative of the president and his people? Assume that Barr is (i) not dumb; and (ii) committed to protecting the president and using the alleged Deep State conspiracy to do so, and to getting him re-elected. He wanted to get the measure of Mifsud to determine whether the conspiracy theory was plausible for spin purposes, and to show the base that he’s taking the theory seriously. Whether there is merit to it likely doesn’t much matter to Barr. He just needs to keep the plates spinning through that first Tuesday in November 2020.

    • Americana says:

      This theory represents some of my thinking about the Barr/Giuliani rear guard investigation to protect Trump. If Barr and Guiliani don’t locate sufficient evidence material to exonerate Trump outright as well as condemn Comey, Mueller, et al, which is the other half of the reason for their investigation, they might well locate enough material to tease their investigation out until it’s too late for impeachment. Say, if Barr and Guiliani find several connections linked to Mifsud that muddy the waters sufficiently, they might pretend they need additional time to sort them all out. This is likely just another legal tactic they’re using but we won’t know it until later.

      It would be crazy to imagine Trump would be able to delay an impeachment into a second term considering the evidence that’s being uncovered. But I don’t trust this class of Republican congressional folks to vote w/their brains which is what is required in this circumstance.

  23. Molly Pitcher says:

    — “Robert Mueller Rejoins Law Firm to Conduct Corporate Investigations,” by NYT’s Noah Weiland: “On his first day back, Mr. Mueller had a somewhat simpler puzzle than determining whether a presidential campaign engaged in a sprawling criminal conspiracy with a foreign power.

    “‘He’s just being refreshed on how to use the computers,’ [Robert T. Novick, a WilmerHale managing partner,] said. ‘If he’s doing any more than that, I’d be really impressed. I doubt it’s a highly revenue-generating day.'” NYT

    • Rayne says:

      Considering how much wallpaper, whitewash, and spackling I’ve found at the Observer, view the piece with skepticism. It doesn’t need to be wholly right or wrong to propel disinfo.

      This isn’t on my priority list to read at the moment because of the source. Still tracking Rudy’s bullshit anyhow.

      • orionATL says:

        rayne –

        i know schindler very well. i did not put this up here for no good reason. it is clear to me you did not read it. my whole point is that schindler writing in nov 2017 in kushner’s paper was writing up a story that was SUPPORTVE of what john brennan might have written and what the mueller team decided had happened, i.e., misfud was a probable russian agent.

        now the trump story has changed, but schindler’s work still remains as a reflection of that camp’s indifference 2 yrs ago.

  24. Yohei72 says:

    Speaking of balls-crazy conspiracy theories… Surely many here are already aware of the latest burp of gas from the right wing fever swamps: Schiff apparently got a vague heads up on the impending whistleblower complaint because the WB went to an intelligence committee staffer first to ask how to report his concerns and was told to submit a report through the ICIG. According to the likes of National Review Online commenters, this invalidates the entire complaint, because the law says you have to go through the ICIG first. It also proves somethingsomething deep state conspiracy and that Schiff might have even written the complaint himself. If you listen carefully, you can faintly hear the screaming of the Trumpist hordes now, from anywhere in the country, like the wailing of damned souls in the Pit.

    My brain can barely process the sight of delusion this powerfully toxic. How do these people find the doorknobs to leave their houses in the morning?

    • Rayne says:

      As Robert DeNiro said this past week so succinctly, Fuck ’em.

      • Marinela says:

        Thank you Rayne for the link. Explains few things.

        Just seen Trump’s news conference and my head is spinning. For people that don’t read EW, or other resources, Trump narrative is so powerful, it is like hypnotism.
        Hoping the democrats can break thru, but is going to be hard to watch.

      • Yohei72 says:

        Yes, thanks, Rayne (and Bobby). Just had to get that off my chest, and also I share Marinela’s concern about the GOP’s talent at making transparent bullshit stick, and the Dems’ corresponding clumsiness at countering it.

        Of course, the NYT’s crap framing in the headline doesn’t help.

  25. orionATL says:

    i am curious. why would attorney general barr and doj prosecutor john dunham go to italy? what would have caused them to choose italy.

    misfud is not italian, but maltese. midsfud had an entire web of higher education associations in britain. he did meet papadoupolos in italy once, but italy does not seem a center of misfud’s or papadoupolos’ activity.

    did they receive a promise of help with trump’s demented quest prior to their trip?

    the most likely explanation may be that papadoupolos’ wife simona is an italian lawyer who has been busy in her native country:

    i suspect it is she who concocted papadoupolos’ entire post- prison story about how p. was a victim of western, not russian, intelligence and that misfud was a western rather than an eastern spy.

    love is not blind but inventive.

    • Rayne says:

      It’s really none of your business how the algorithms work here, but I’ll tell you that sharing links increases your odds of being delayed by moderation. Respect that this is what it takes to keep crap out of the comments.

      • orionATL says:

        you didn’t have to misread my comment. i have zero interest knowing in this site’s protective algorithms. you know that. i asked because i did not understand if i had mistyped or subject to censure again. it is obviously censure which was unnecessary, and which i really, really do not appreciate, given the thought i put into this.

        as for the second cite, the question i raised was why was barr/dunham going to italy and why did popodoupolos change his story and become so aggressive about bruitig it about in the mefia? my thought was self-justification involving a story his lawyer wife constructed for him to use.

        I also wonder if that is not one reason barr/dunham went to italy, other than having a malleable gov’t. all speculation, but not i conceivable.

        [8:55 am EDT 03-OCT-2019 — Stop arguing with me or you’re going in auto-mod. Let it go. /~Rayne]

        • Rayne says:

          you didn’t have to misread my comment.”

          Then don’t ask such a question in comments. If you put thought into it you’d realize there are perfectly good reasons security measures aren’t aired out and commenting here may require simple patience.

        • orionATL says:

          no, rayne. i’m not going into automod again – ever. you can take your arbitrariness and your very curious, untrustworthy night time irritability and instability and apply it to other commenters.

          your blog, your rules.

          my time, my time conscientious effort.

          good riddance. find somebody else to dissemble with and try to lord it over.

          p.s. elizabeth wsrren just outlined the most important economic plan involving a rewrite of labor rules in 40 yrs.

          good luk!!,

    • harpie says:
      4:21 PM – 2 Oct 2019

      This is what Trump meant when he said to Zelensky that she [Yovanovitch] would be “experiencing some things.”

      [Links to]:
      4:17 PM – 2 Oct 2019

      Photographs of some of the documents provided by State IG Linick to lawmakers, which were reviewed by Reuters, promoted unsubstantiated conspiracy theories about former US envoy to Ukraine, Marie Yovanovitch.

      A meeting participant, speaking on condition of anonymity, said the materials arrived at the State Department this spring and that Linick passed them on to the FBI. [MORE]

      [added] The photographs of documents delivered by Linick to Congress included what appeared to be a cover sheet addressed to Pompeo on White House stationary.

      • Vicks says:

        Every story I am finding on this includes different info, but none of them answer my probably stupid question;
        Did Linick believe he was bringing over a pile of propaganda or did he think he was handing them intimidating facts?

  26. Tom says:

    So as far as Professor Misfud’s videotaped deposition goes, we don’t know how long it is, how detailed, or what areas he covers, how credible Misfud comes across as on the tape, nor do we know if Barr or his aides were allowed to take notes, or perhaps take a copy of the tape with them back to the U.S. (I’m just guessing but that would seem unlikely). We don’t even know if it was actually Misfud on the tape, though I would assume Italian intelligence would have confirmed his identity. I get the sense that, if Barr can help it, we won’t learn any of those details either so as not to interfere with whatever alternate reality narrative he is trying to concoct.

    Another thing that seems odd, one of the stories Trump et al. are promoting is that Ukraine intervened in the 2016 election to help Hillary get elected. But if so, why didn’t Paul Manafort pick up on any of that information or rumours given all the time he spent hobnobbing with Ukrainian oligarchs? Rhetorical question.

    • P J Evans says:

      Manafort didn’t pick up on it because that wasn’t happening. (Why would Ukraine have done it? How would they have benefited, given that Clinton’s campaign wasn’t run by conspiracy theorists or fools?) But Manafort did make it easier for the Russians to help the GOP-T and its candidate.

      • Tom says:

        I realize Manafort didn’t pick up on anything because there was nothing to pick up–it’s a bogus story. That’s why I added “Rhetorical question” at the end but I should have made my meaning clearer.

    • Rayne says:

      LOL why would we trust Italian intelligence? Why would we trust Italian intelligence to have sufficiently advanced technology to detect Deep Fakes? There are even easier edits a less-than-trustworthy and less competent intelligence agency would fail to detect or report.

      With regard to “why didn’t Paul Manafort pick up on any of that information”: Occam’s Razor first — there isn’t any.

      Manafort and all the pro-Russian minions are neatly avoiding the ‘black ledger’ even if it wasn’t what Special Counsel’s investigation relied on. They are also pointedly ignoring Manafort’s bank and tax statements, looking firmly in the other direction.

      • Tom says:

        Thanks for the clarification re: the capabilities of Italian intelligence. So the videotape Barr reportedly viewed could be just more smoke & mirrors. Also, just to clarify, I don’t accept the conspiracy theory of Ukraine interfering in the 2016 election on behalf of HRC.

  27. harpie says:

    5:49 PM – 2 Oct 2019
    Giuliani consulted on Ukraine with imprisoned Paul Manafort via a lawyer [link]
    Oct. 2, 2019 at 8:41 p.m. EDT

    2] MARCY: emptywheel/status/1179565510654078976
    6:15 PM – 2 Oct 2019

    This is unbelievably damning given that Rudy and Manafort were likely paid via the same means.

    6:02 PM – 2 Oct 2019

    Months before Manafort was charged, he handed a “playbook” to GOP operative Yuri Vanetik who was setting up an office in Kiev. Vanetik also funneled $ from Ukrainian oligarch Fuks into the Trump inauguration. Fuks is a Giuliani parter. Vanetik MUST be brought in for questioning. [link] […]

    Vanetik has access to Manafort, Pompeo, Fuks, Giuliani and other Ukrainians. He has to be questioned.

  28. tvor_22 says:

    So Italy is a safe space for Russian assets.

    Guccifer2.0’s godfather, TheNeoGod, and NKWT2.0’s new leader (their old leader was Phre, aka Popov) earliest appearance on the record is January 17th 2013. Even more interesting is the target: The Italian Democratic Party, Many kinds of foreshadowing. TheNeoGod dumped the user database composed of 630 records. This is important because it predates both the Fisher hackingteam hack and the dubious self-proclaimed affiliations with italian hacks when NKWT2.0 turned up late to the party on November 9th. ‘’ was listed as a target on NKWT2.0’s blog–which was puzzling, seeing as how the blog proper came out long after the hackingteam Phineas Fisher hacks.

    • Americana says:

      Interesting… Thanks for reminding us about checking some of the hacker tracker sites for juicy information like this.

  29. Hika says:

    If Trump and Co. didn’t fear losing the 2020 election, they wouldn’t be so desperate to undermine the basis of the Mueller Report. The fact that they are so very unhinged in their desperation suggests (to my mind, at least) that they see the strong likelihood of electoral loss in 2020 followed by many indictments (and convictions) for obstruction of justice. I hope those fears gnaw at them every day until they rest easy in the prison they deserve.

    • Tom says:

      I’ve been wondering whether Trump believes the threat of impeachment or the possibility (probability?) of losing the 2020 election is the most serious threat to him right now. He certainly seems focused on the idea of Joe Biden being his most serious opponent next year and thus, the efforts to drag his name through the mud and his son along with him. At present, the general consensus seems to be that impeachment is less of a danger to the President because the Senate would never vote to remove him from office; plus, impeachment might gain him some sympathy support if he is successful in painting himself as the aggrieved victim, though that situation could change. It’s interesting that there hasn’t been a slow drip, drip, drip of revelation about the workings of the Trump administration around the Ukraine matter. It’s been more like opening the door to Fibber McGee’s closet.

      Also, the desperation you mention on the part of Trump and his apparent eagerness to get Zelensky to agree to some settlement with Putin to end their conflict and give the President a pretext to lift sanctions on Russia makes me wonder about the old idea of Putin having some kompromat on Trump. Perhaps Trump is under some approaching deadline to get the sanctions lifted or else Putin will spill whatever goods he has on him.

  30. General Sternwood says:

    This Washington Post article has good information about all the figures being talked about, including the prior link between Mangiante and Mifsud, fairly clear evidence of Alexey Klishin’s links to the Russian state, Roh’s role in Novichok disinformation campaign, and Mifsud’s being a Russian asset not an FBI one.

Comments are closed.