Democrats versus Barr versus Mueller are not fading away

The Mueller investigation led to the Barr letter which was followed by the release of most of the Mueller report was followed by the release of a Mueller letter to Barr, and now Barr has been questioned in the US senate. And the controversies continue, predictably with many angles being taken by media and politicians.

Washington Examiner: 5 takeaways from the Barr hearing

1. Tension between Attorney General William Barr and Robert Mueller

Barr revealed a split with the special counsel over the pursuit of evidence that President Trump tried to obstruct the probe. Mueller did not draw any conclusion on obstruction, despite gathering the evidence.

“The investigation carried on for a while as additional episodes were looked into,” Barr told the panel. “So my question was, why were those investigated if, at the end of the day, you weren’t going to reach a decision on them?”

Later in the hearing Barr dismissed a March 27 letter from Mueller complaining about Barr’s four-page memo to Congress about the report. “The letter’s a bit snitty and I think it was written by one of his staff people,” Barr told the Senate Judiciary Committee.

2. Barr didn’t review Mueller’s evidence.

Under questioning from Sen. Kamala Harris, D-Calif., a former prosecutor who is running for president, Barr acknowledged neither he nor Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein reviewed the trove of evidencegathered by the Mueller team before he cleared Trump of any wrongdoing.

The Mueller report did not clear Trump of any wrongdoing, but Barr’s letter summarising the findings of the investigation were taken by Trump and others as doing that.

3. Barr is probing leaks to media.

Under questioning from Republicans on the panel, Barr said he is investigating Department of Justice leaks to the media regarding the investigation into alleged Russian collusion with the Trump campaign.

4. Barr is examining the justification for surveillance warrants into Trump campaign.

Barr said he is investigating the basis for the Justice Department’s decision to secretly surveil the Trump campaign beginning in October 2016. Barr said he is working with Justice Department Inspector General Michael Horowitz to determine if a surveillance warrant was properly obtained by the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance court the month before the election.

5. Senate Judiciary (probably) won’t call Mueller to testify.

Democrats are eager to hear testimony from special counsel Robert Mueller, they said Wednesday. But Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., doesn’t plan to invite him.

“I’m not going to do any more,” Graham said after Barr’s day-long hearing. “Enough already, it’s over.”

But it appears to be far from over.

RealClear Politics – Pelosi: Attorney General Barr Committed A Crime; “He Lied To Congress”

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi on Thursday accused Attorney General William Barr of criminally lying to Congress about special counsel Robert Mueller’s report and Mueller’s letter relating to how Barr has characterized its findings.

“What is deadly serious about it is the attorney general of the United States of America is not telling the truth to the Congress of the United States. That’s a crime,” the Speaker told reporters.

Asked again about the accusation, Pelosi said: “He lied to Congress. If anybody else did that, it would be considered a crime. Nobody is above the law.”

Asked whether Barr should go to jail, the speaker said: “There’s a process involved here.”

There’s something for everyone to cherry pick from.

US Attorney General’s letter to Congress on Mueller report

The US Attorney General William Barr’s summary letter to Congress on the Mueller investigation has been released.

“The investigation did not establish that members of the Trump campaign conspired or coordinated with the Russian government in it’s election interference activities”.

Mueller handed responsibility on whether to proceed on possible obstruction of justice to the Attorney General.

The Special Counsel states that “while this report does not conclude that the President committed a crime, it also does not exonerate him”.

 

https://judiciary.house.gov/sites/democrats.judiciary.house.gov/files/documents/AG%20March%2024%202019%20Letter%20to%20House%20and%20Senate%20Judiciary%20Committees.pdf

Brownlee’s letter to the Speaker

Gerry Brownlee, Shadow Leader of the House, has written this letter to the Speaker (Trevor Mallard) expressing “serious concerns’ about Mallards chairing of Parliament.

He details his concerns and says” As a result our confidence in you as Speaker has been significantly shaken. This is not an acceptable position for you to be in.”

His main concerns are about a “silly little girl” story being circulated to media.

We expect a full explanation from you about your role in pushing this story in the media before the House resumes at 2 pm tomorrow.

I don’t know how an ultimatum will go down with Mallard.


Letter – Harry Reid to James Comey

BJ Marsh asked me Yesterday to most the text of this letter from Democratic leader to then FBI director James Comey (August 2016).

Sorry I forgot, I blame Fridayitis.

For Al in particular, I have come across this letter from Harry Reed, the Leader of the Democrats in the US Senate. I found its contents quite interesting because it summarises what the basis is of the Democrat’s claim to the “unwitting” contact by Trump with the Russians. It also shows just how important the Seth Rich case, and the claim he was responsible for passing the DNC emails to Wikileaks is to the truth. Reeds letter:

HarryReidLetter1

HarryReidLetter2

For Gezza, I have noted your rebuttal of the evidence surrounding the Seth Rich case from his investigator and considered that alongside other comments and have tentatively concluded that Freeman has been got at by the opposing forces. Also, the Rich extended family’s outspoken representative is a Democrat employed media fixer, an has been completely compromised by his bias.
Al, what doe you think of the strength of the case against Trump presented by the Democrats?

Clinton blames both Comey letters

Hillary Clinton has blamed her loss in the presidential election to both James Comey letters.

Fox News: Clinton tells fundraisers FBI Comey letter sank presidential bid

Hillary Clinton has offered a couple of private but candid explanations about why she lost her White House bid, telling high-dollar fundraisers Saturday that FBI announcements about a second probe into her emails from her time as secretary of state were too damaging.

Clinton said, “Our analysis is that Comey’s letter raised doubts that were groundless and baseless…” and “stopped our momentum”.

From what I remember Clinton was already dropping back in the polls when Comey’s first letter hit the campaign, but the polls dropped quite a bit more afterwards as well.

Clinton suggested her campaign’s internal poll numbers plunged after the letter but nevertheless rebounded, a person on the Saturday call told Politico.

However, she said the second Comey letter, three days before Election Day, saying that she had essentially been cleared in the unrelated case, awakened Trump voters.  

So she says that while the second letter cleared her it motivated ‘Trump voters’ – but there appears to have been a lot of anti-Clinton voting as well.

It’s impossible to tell how much the election was affected by the Comey letters. It is likely to have been significant, but hard to tell whether it made the difference.

Clinton’s past email problems, Benghazi, her links to her husband and to the current Obama administration, and her bland campaign will also have been major factors.

But regardless of causes, which will have been many and complex, the simple fact is that Clinton lost and Trump won.

Election over, move on.

 

What Comey’s letter said

A letter from FBI director James Comey ignited a new fire storm in the US presidential campaign, but it actually said very little, especially about Hillary Clinton.

From ThinkProgress: What the FBI Director’s letter about the Clinton emails really says

comeylettter

The relevant paragraph in this brief letter is the middle one, where Comey writes that the FBI “has learned of the existence” of emails that it previously did not review. In response to this new information, the FBI will now “allow investigators to review these emails to determine whether they contain classified information.”

The FBI, in other words, is not reexamining its previous findings. It is not questioning its previous legal conclusion that “no reasonable prosecutor” could determine that charges are warranted. Based on the letter, it appears that the FBI will simply provide the same scrutiny to these newly uncovered emails as it previously applied to the emails it already reviewed when it determined that criminal charges are not warranted.

It would be remarkable if the US presidential election swung on this letter.

It would appear that at the very least it has handed an enhanced weapon to Donald Trump’s campaign.

 

Trump versus New York Times

A New York Times story from Wednesday (US time):

Two Women Say Donald Trump Touched Them Inappropriately

Donald J. Trump was emphatic in the second presidential debate: Yes, he had boasted about kissing women without permission and grabbing their genitals. But he had never actually done those things, he said.

“No,” he declared under questioning on Sunday evening, “I have not.”

At that moment, sitting at home in Manhattan, Jessica Leeds, 74, felt he was lying to her face. “I wanted to punch the screen,” she said in an interview in her apartment.

More than three decades ago, when she was a traveling businesswoman at a paper company, Ms. Leeds said, she sat beside Mr. Trump in the first-class cabin of a flight to New York. They had never met before.

About 45 minutes after takeoff, she recalled, Mr. Trump lifted the armrest and began to touch her.

According to Ms. Leeds, Mr. Trump grabbed her breasts and tried to put his hand up her skirt.

Ms. Crooks was a 22-year-old receptionist at Bayrock Group, a real estate investment and development company in Trump Tower in Manhattan, when she encountered Mr. Trump outside an elevator in the building one morning in 2005.

Aware that her company did business with Mr. Trump, she turned and introduced herself. They shook hands, but Mr. Trump would not let go, she said. Instead, he began kissing her cheeks. Then, she said, he “kissed me directly on the mouth.”

It didn’t feel like an accident, she said. It felt like a violation.

Following that a letter from Trump’s lawyer:

trumplawyerletternytimes

The New York Times has responded:

cuqivy3wiaapfpy

This probably won’t help Trump turn his ailing campaign around, although he try playing the ‘me against the media ‘ card some more.

Government and Police versus burglaries

The Government is getting more openly involved in trying to combat crime. John Key has written to Asian communities trying to give them reassurances, and Judith Collins has announced that the Police will now attend all reported burglaries to try and improve the 10% rate of solving this insidious crime.

NZ Herald: PM’s open letter after fears of people taking law into own hands

Prime Minister John Key says an open letter he wrote to the Chinese community about burglaries was partly prompted by concerns people would start arming themselves to defend themselves and their property.

Key’s ‘open letter to the Chinese community’ was sent to four Chinese newspapers this week. It was a modified version of a column he wrote for about 30 ethnic media outlets.

Key said it was aimed at reassuring those communities the Government was taking the issue of crime seriously.

He said crime was often raised with him by ethnic communities. High profile burglaries or assaults sometimes prompted concern an ethnic group was vulnerable or being targeted.

Key said he himself had been burgled three or four times “and I know what an invasive and disturbing experience this can be.”

It said Police were now putting more focus on preventing and resolving burglaries and from September 1 would treat it as a priority, including a goal of attending every burglary scene.

“I would like to reassure you National remains as focused as ever on preventing crime and helping to keep our communities safe.”

The Government has been under pressure over low resolution rates for burglaries.

Yesterday Minister Judith Collins announced a greater focus by Police on addressing a major problem with burglaries.

Police take further steps to counter burglary

Police Minister Judith Collins welcomes Police’s decision to attend all house break-ins, which comes into effect today.

While burglary rates are still below that of recent years, there has been an increase over the past 12 months. Police has responded by raising dwelling burglary from a volume crime to a priority offence.

“This shows Police are serious about tackling burglary and also sends a clear message to offenders.”

The new policy sets the expectation of full attendance at dwelling burglaries so the public can now expect either a constabulary or scene of crime officer to attend within a reasonable time.

“Given the nature of policing there will be occasions where they cannot attend a dwelling burglary for a range of reasons, including adhering to the wishes of the victim. However, the Commissioner of Police has made his expectations clear.

“Police have assured me that they continue to make burglary a priority with ongoing work in every district to reduce this crime type while also focusing on increasing resolution rates.”

If police attend all burglaries it will give them more visibility in the community, which may help address other types of crime too.

While not raised here the number of police officers is becoming a bigger issue.

Letter to John Key re Lt Col Bill Blaikie

Following this post Active Service Veteran support  which makes the case of Lt Col Bill Blaikie, an Afghanistan veteran, father of 3, battling with the effects of PTSD and needing treatment” here is a letter to John Key from bjmarsh1 (posted as a comment here).


“Dear Prime Minister,

I wish to draw your attention to a serious failure in the unwritten contract between the Government and the servicemen they send off to active service. That unspoken contract which dates back to the Land Wars in New Zealand is that the Government will ensure that they provide the necessary treatment for battle casualties, and provide for affected dependants.

This contract if fundamental to the maintenance of morale and the fighting ethic of New Zealand servicemen. The consequences of a failure to keep the Government’s end of the bargain inevitably leads to a loss in combat efficiency and effectiveness. This is an elementary fact of warfare.

Lt Col Bill Blaikie a father of three children, as a consequence of his active service has received some treatment in New Zealand, but now needs specialised treatment for PTSD which is not available in New Zealand.but is available in Australia.

After being rejected by Veterans Affairs for support, as well as apparently the RSA, he is now reduced to an appeal to the public of New Zealand for $40,000 to fund his treatment.

I as a former senior Army Officer with active service experience including Vietnam, am horrified by a National Government’s failure to act, and am even more disappointed that the Minister in charge of Veterans Affairs was not available for comment. He lacks moral courage.

Shame on you all.”

The response I received was an automatic reply indicating that because this was a personal opinion I would not necessarily receive a response from the Prime Minister. This is not the sort of response I would expect from a caring Government to an experienced Officer especially on the day we as a country have committed our servicemen to a further two years of commitment in a hostile environment.

I call upon the Prime Minister to respond to my questions in Public. It is time to be honest John Key!

bjmarsh1


I expect that bj will have used his own name in his letter to Key.

The Lt Coll Bill Blaikie Givealittle page for those interested.
https://givealittle.co.nz/cause/onedollarwarriorsfightforbill

UPDATEL Currently 1,119 donors, $42,060 raised. That is a great result so far.

It includes these donations within the last hour:

RNZRSA $4,961.00

On behalf of RSAs around the country, we are stand with you. Thank you for your service.

Auckland RSA $6,250.00

On behalf of the Auckland RSA we are very greatful to you and your family for your service. You are not alone. Go well my friend.

Good to see.

But donations do not excuse the Government’s inaction.

Key versus Little – letters and crap

The flag debacle got worse today with John Key and Andrew Little squabbling over bottom lines or not, and letters and basically making arses of themselves over the Red Peak issue.

Key hasn’t managed this well but I’m particularly pissed off with Labour and Andrew Little who, despite having flag change as their party policy, have \ignored that and hypocritically played spoilers as much as the can throughout the process.

Scrapping the whole thing is a tempting feeling but that’s giving Labour a dirty victory.

Stuff reported: Andrew Little, John Key squabble over Red Peak flag meeting

NZ Herald: John Key and Andrew Little’s back and forth on Red Peak

This is crap. It’s supposed to be the people’s choice on whether we change our flag or not, a chance in a lifetime probably. But leaders of our major parties shit on the process to try and score cheap political points. Shame on them.

Little’s letter:

Key’s Letter:

Apparently Little has sent another letter. Whoopdy do. He should be showing he’s capable of actual leadership. If anything will put me off going back to voting for Labour it is this.