James Howard Kunstler notes that the #Resistance has been losing bigly in recent days as each new “bombshell” it manufactures turns out only to reveal its modus operandi, which is that the end justifies the means - the end being to evict the wicked Mr. Trump from office and the means being dishonesty and bad faith in its use of the government’s prosecutorial machinery.
The New York Times has a Friday op-ed, The Mueller Report Is Coming. Here’s What to Expect, declaring, “A concise report will probably act a a ‘road map’ to investigation for the Democratic House — and to further criminal investigation by other prosecutors.”
Translation: prepare to be disappointed by Mr. Mueller’s report and microwave a giant tub of popcorn for an extravaganza of sequels and re-boots. Beware of what you wish for. If the baton is passed to House committee chairs Jerrold Nadler, Maxine Waters, and Elijah Cummings, then in Act Two of the show, the country will be treated to something like the Spanish Inquisition as performed by Moe, Larry, and Curly.
But, as The Wall Street Journal's Kimberley Strassel notes, there’s been no more reliable regurgitator of fantastical Trump-Russia collusion theories than Democratic Rep. Adam Schiff. So when the House Intelligence Committee chairman sits down to describe a “new phase” of the Trump investigation, pay attention. These are the fever swamps into which we will descend after Robert Mueller’s probe.
The collusionists need a “new phase” as signs grow that the special counsel won’t help realize their reveries of a Donald Trump takedown. They had said Mr. Mueller would provide all the answers. Now that it seems they won’t like his answers, Democrats and media insist that any report will likely prove “anticlimactic” and “inconclusive.” “This is merely the end of Chapter 1,” said Renato Mariotti, a CNN legal “analyst.”
Mr. Schiff turned this week to a dependable scribe—the Washington Post’s David Ignatius—to lay out the next chapter of the penny dreadful. Mr. Ignatius was the original conduit for the leak about former national security adviser Mike Flynn’s conversations with a Russian ambassador, and the far-fetched claims that Mr. Flynn had violated the Logan Act of 1799. Mr. Schiff has now dictated to Mr. Ignatius a whole new collusion theory. Forget Carter Page, Paul Manafort, George Papadopoulos—whoever. The real Trump-Russia canoodling rests in “Trump’s finances.” The future president was “doing business with Russia” and “seeking Kremlin help.”
So, no apologies. No acknowledgment that Mr. Schiff & Co. for years have pushed fake stories that accused innocent men and women of being Russian agents. No relieved hope that the country might finally put this behind us. Just a smooth transition—using Russia as a hook—into Mr. Trump’s finances. Mueller who?
What’s mind-boggling is that reporters would continue to take Mr. Schiff seriously, given his extraordinary record of incorrect and misleading pronouncements. This is the man who, on March 22, 2017, helped launch full-blown hysteria when he said on “Meet the Press” that his committee already had the goods on Trump-Russia collusion.
“I can’t go into the particulars, but there is more than circumstantial evidence now,” Mr. Schiff declared then. Almost two years later, he’s provided no such evidence and stopped making the claim—undoubtedly because, as the Senate Intelligence Committee has said publicly, no such evidence has been found.
At an open House Intelligence Committee hearing on March 20, 2017, Mr. Schiff stated as fact numerous crazy accusations from the infamous Steele dossier—giving them early currency and credence. He claimed that former Trump campaign aide Carter Page secretly met with a Vladimir Putin crony and was offered the brokerage of a 19% share in a Russian company. That Trump campaign manager Paul Manafort tapped Mr. Page as a go-between. That the Russians offered the Trump campaign damaging documents on Hillary Clinton in return for a blind eye to Moscow’s Ukraine policy. Mr. Schiff has never acknowledged that all these allegations have been debunked or remain unproved.
There was Mr. Schiff’s role in plumping the discredited January BuzzFeed story claiming Mr. Mueller had evidence the president directed his former personal lawyer Michael Cohen to lie to Congress. The special counsel’s office issued a rare statement denying the report. There was Mr. Schiff’s theory that the mysterious phone calls Donald Trump Jr. placed before his 2016 meeting with Russians at Trump Tower were to Candidate Trump. Senate Intel shot that down. And don’t forget Mr. Schiff’s February 2018 memo claiming the Steele dossier “did not inform” the FBI probe, because the bureau didn’t obtain it until long after the probe’s start. Testimony from Justice Department officials shot that one down, too.
With a track record like this, who wouldn’t believe Mr. Schiff’s new claim, in the Ignatius interview, that the key to collusion rests in Trump finances—in particular something to do with Deutsche Bank ? But hold on. Where did we first hear that Deutsche Bank theory? That’s right. See pages 64 and 117 of the wild House testimony of Glenn Simpson—head of Fusion GPS, the organization behind the Steele dossier. It’s right there, stuffed in between Mr. Simpson’s musings that Ivanka Trump might be involved with a “Russian Central Asian organized crime nexus,” that there is something nefarious happening on the “island of St. Martin in the Caribbean,” and that Roger Stone is part of a “Turkey-Russia” plot.
Mr. Schiff is taking his cue for Phase 2 of his investigation from the same Democrat-hired opposition-research group that launched the failed Phase 1.
At the start of all the Russia craziness, Mr. Schiff had a choice: maintain the bipartisan integrity of his committee by working with Republicans to find honest answers, or take on the role of resident conspiracy theorist. He chose his path. The rest of us should know better than to follow him.
Meanwhile, as Jim Kunstler continues, ths antics of Waters, Schiff et al., may be eclipsed by the now inevitable inquiry around the misdeeds carried out by public officials in Act I of the show: the Russia Collusion Ruse. Based just on the current Andy McCabe book tour, there will be an awful lot to get to, and it is liable to be far more compelling than the nonsense conjured up by the Three Stooges. Mr. McCabe, in his quest to hand off the hot potato of culpability to his former colleagues, and to sell enough books to pay his lawyers’ retainers, has neatly laid out the case for his orchestrating a coup d’etat within the FBI.
It’s an ugly story, and it’s all out there now, like so much spaghetti hurled against the wall, and it won’t be ignored. There are many other spaghetti wads already plastered on that wall ranging from Hillary Clinton’s Fusion GPS hijinks, to Loretta Lynn’s written assurances to the Clinton campaign that the email server matter would be dropped, to the rather complete failure of the FISA process, and much much more that needs to be ventilated in a court of law.
I suspect that Barack Obama and his White House confidantes will enter the picture, too, sooner later, and to the great dismay of his partisans who do not want to see his legacy tarnished. Whatever your view of all these dark events, it would be pretty awful for the country to have to see him in a witness chair, but it may be unavoidable. Ditto Hillary, who is liable to go all Captain Queeg-y when she finally has to answer for her campaign’s turpitudes.
Most of this cast of characters has seemingly gone-to-ground in recent months, laying low, staying out of the news, probably spending much of their time conferring with their attorneys - Brennan, Clapper, Comey, et al, all keeping their traps shut in recent days as Andy McCabe takes his hangdog road-show around the Cable Networks and the NPR fluff chamber, spelling out the “stress” that prompted the FBI’s desperate attempt to cover its ass following the unbelievable 2016 election results.
I don’t pretend to know what the new Attorney General William Barr might do. He must realize that if he lets all this slide, the institutional damage will be permanent and severe. He is reputed to be a good friend of Special Prosecutor Mueller. Mr. Mueller’s reputation as the straightest of straight arrows seems at odds with the actual exercise of his office: generating rinky-dink “process” crimes against bit-players in the story, often via malicious prosecutorial tactics. The likely truth is that he was brought into the scene to protect the very characters who misused the terrible powers of the FBI and the Department of Justice. His investigation has been hermetically sealed against leakage. For all I or anyone else knows, he has spent some time preparing a case against the very officers who cooked up the Russia story in the first place. Perhaps not a high-percentage bet, but there it is for consideration.
It’s going to be an interesting month. Have you forgotten that General Michael Flynn will be returning to Judge Emmet Sullivan’s courtroom after three months in the doghouse that the judge sent him to for the purpose of reconsidering his guilty plea? Perhaps Gen. Flynn rediscovered that he has a spine this winter and will venture into a trial of the Mickey Mouse charge against him: that, as incoming National Security Advisor to the President, he had preliminary discussions with the Russian ambassador — in all other transitions-of-power, a completely normal procedure — and supposedly lied about it to the FBI. To the very people orchestrating a coup against his boss, the chief executive.