The attempted coup — beyond Mr. Mueller's purview

By Paul Ackerman | Aug 01, 2019

Last week’s performances by former Special Counsel Robert Mueller before the House Judiciary and Intelligence committees were as cringe-worthy as watching a top-ranked skater fall multiple times during a televised national competition. At least with a figure skater, one doesn’t have the sickening feeling that the judges will award them a medal anyway because of outright bias.

Not so the majority Democrats on these committees. They were absolutely appalling in their efforts to lead Mr. Mueller through his paces to the exact “Yes” answers to their soliloquies posing as questions. The goal of their questions was not to elicit any sort of explanatory response; it was simply to have Mueller rubber-stamp their dishonest rhetoric for media soundbites. This example is merely a portion of the invented-out-of-whole-cloth speculations of Rep. Zoe Lofgren, D-Calif., and every Democratic question was of this ilk.

“Well, Mr. Mueller, I appreciate your being here and your report. From your testimony and the report, I think the American people have learned several things. First, the Russians wanted Trump to win. Second, the Russians went on a sweeping cyber-influence campaign. The Russians hacked the DNC and they got the Democratic game plan for the election. Russian (sic) campaign chairmen met with Russian agents and repeatedly gave them internal data, polling and messaging in the battleground states.”

Lofgren must live in an alternate universe, because the great majority of what she states as “facts” here are total lies. First, given that the Russians had paid the Clintons (through their foundation) more than $400 million after the Uranium One deal went through, and so clearly had a financial interest in seeing Hillary Clinton win, not Donald Trump, and second her "sweeping cyber-influence campaign” claim is beyond laughable. According to Facebook’s own statements, the Russian ad purchases amounted to about $100K, and much of it was after the election to continue sowing “discord” within both parties’ supporters.

After the “sweeping cyber-influence” expenditures reported by The Washington Post in 2017 in a congressional hearing on this very issue, Patrick Ruffini outlined Russian ad expenditures with Facebook in “battleground states” before the election as follows — Wisconsin, $1,979; Michigan, $823; Pennsylvania, $300.

Compared to the combined total of the Clinton and Trump campaigns' Facebook ad expenditures of $81,000,000 ... well, the $100K possible total some Russian ad firms spent is maybe a micro-toothbrush in terms of influence.

Ruffini, a digital ad expert in the field of political campaigns, made the following observation about the Russian ads: “...And if the ads revealed this past week were an attempt to influence the election, they were a laughably botched and failed attempt. The total amount spent was less than what I've seen spent online in competitive congressional races. The ads were not well targeted to the battleground states that were most decisive. And the subject matter was designed to engage extremist voices on the political fringe, not persuadable voters undecided between Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton.”

The most important aspect of Mr. Mueller’s testimony really was what he shockingly asserted no knowledge of; the actual origins of, and persons behind, the specious claims of Trump campaign collusion with Russian agents of influence. As such, the Steele Dossier was “beyond my purview.”

Mueller’s answers to repeated questions in this area clearly appear calculated to avoid implicating his lead prosecutor, Andrew Weissman, and others who already have been identified as being knowledgeable of, and involved in, the dissemination of the so-called Steele Dossier.

As Andrew McCabe, the former FBI deputy director, previously testified under oath, without the Steele Dossier they would not have gotten the FISA warrants to spy on the Trump campaign/organization.

Mueller’s standard phrases of avoidance, “That’s beyond my purview,” "I can’t speak to that,” "I can’t get into that,” all under the fairy-cloak of supposed restrictions on what he was allowed to discuss according to a letter he’d received from the Department of Justice. Only what the media carefully left out was that Mueller specifically requested the letter from DOJ, it was not their initiative at all. A complete setup to make it appear his testimony was being throttled by the administration, when it was an excuse to avoid answering any awkward inquiries.

When questions were asked about people who are central to the specious claims of collusion/conspiracy, Mueller’s answers were indicative that either he had no functional knowledge of the actual investigation, or worse yet, he was using the “can’t speak of that” to prevent any mention of areas where the investigation/investigators themselves were violating DOJ ethics and legal guidelines, or contained outright untruths now exposed.

Here is just one example — the “Russian agent” that Lofgren invented in her questions — that Mueller made no objection to then — resurfaced in the questions from a California Republican, Rep. Tom McClintock, with a startling twist.

McClintock:

You — you extensively discussed Konstantin Kilimnik's activities with Paul Manafort. And you described him as, quote, "A Russian/Ukrainian political consultant," and, "longtime employee of Paul Manafort, assessed by the FBI to have ties to Russian intelligence."

And again, that’s all we know from your report, except that we’ve since learned from news articles that Kilimnik was actually a U.S. State Department intelligence source, yet nowhere in your report is he so identified. Why was that fact omitted?

Mueller:

I don't — I don't necessarily credit what you're saying occurred.

McClintock:

Were you aware that Kilimnik was a — a ... State Department source?

(Crosstalk)

Mueller:

I'm not going to go into the ... ins and outs of what we had in the — in the course of our investigation.

This was a sad and a tremendous waste of Mr. Mueller’s time. If he was truly unaware until now, Mr. Mueller might need to ask his former assistant, Andrew Weissman, for some answers .He might actually learn what the criminal activities were that led to the attempted coup they are still trying to resuscitate.

Another View is written by a group of concerned conservative citizens/writers including Jan Dolcater, a retired salesman and former chairman of both Rockport and Knox County Republicans; Dale Landrith, former manager and owner of Manset Marine Supply in Rockland and founding member of Cornerstone Baptist Church in Camden; Ralph “Doc” Wallace, a former educator and member of the U.S. Department of Education’s National Blue Ribbon Schools Panel, who lives in Rockport; Ken Frederick, a retired intelligence community employee/contractor and secretary of Lincoln County Republican Committee; and Paul Ackerman, a published opinion and technical writer. The column has been honored with Maine Press Association awards.

Comments (15)
Posted by: Ronald Horvath | Aug 06, 2019 18:36

Really, Eric, shouldn't you be posting on 8chan or some other right wing lunatic site.  It's the perfect place for right wing hysterics like you.

 

And haven't you heard?

 

 

"An American started a fake news website to see how ridiculous a story had to be before Donald Trump supporters realised it was untrue – and ended up concluding that some of them would believe absolutely anything.

Despite aiming to write stories no-one would believe, James McDaniel found Trump supporters who believed that Barack Obama had been plotting a coup from a secret bunker near the White House, and that the British singer Adele had demanded he be jailed for such treachery.

Mr McDaniel, 28, who is based in Costa Rica and works for an American nutrition company, said that within two weeks of him starting his website undergroundnewsreport.com, it had received more than one million visitors, and hundreds and thousands of likes and shares on Facebook.

He followed ‘Obama ran paedophile ring out of White House’ with a fake story about Wikileaks publishing an email in which Hillary Clinton supposedly urged the then president to restrict his child abuse to ‘the pizza arrangement’.

Despite the obvious reference to Pizzagate, Trump supporters responded by urging Julian Assange to reveal all his Clinton information immediately - because otherwise Democrats might distract the American people with “fake news”."
https://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/americas/us-politics/fake-news-donald-trump-supporters-gullible-believe-anything-barack-obama-paedophile-hillary-clinton-a7623441.html?fbclid=IwAR2FXLrnEKBEX4dpMGMWRczY03l27IcxuiZZDWf6DyQOlM5kaRIS4PMbQaM

 

And we know where the real "fake" news comes from, don't we, Eric.  From our hate monger in chief, naturally.



Posted by: Eric Schrader | Aug 06, 2019 18:13

Nobody will be screaming except you, when they come to put you in a straight jacket. You exhibit all the classic attributes of a leftist sociopath. The only nerve that will be struck is when they administer ECT to you with multiple sessions scheduled.



Posted by: Ronald Horvath | Aug 06, 2019 17:18

Ooooh, ouch.  Struck a nerve did I, Eric?  Feeling just a bit guilty there are we?  Maybe you should read a reputable media source, the ones reporting that both shooters were right wing ideologues who idolized previous shooters and supporter trump all the way.  It was after all trump who joked about shooting asylum seekers, remember:

 

"trump:  I was badly criticized for using the work 'invasion', but that's what it is -
an invasion. But how do you stop these people..."

 

And when someone in the audience said, "You shoot them" the president laughed.

 

The president of the united states laughed."

 

Yes, that's right, our loutish oaf in the oval office laughed.

 

So, scream all you want, Eric.  This is on you and all other false patriots who support our draft dodger, liar, and racist in chief.  You want to call it a "mental health" problem?  Fine, but let's start with the mental illness called American conservatism that has degraded into a murderous right wing ideology.  Let's start with the mental case occupying the oval office.  There's where the real problem lies.

 

"But the language used by the alleged killer replicates language used by Trump, and his re-election campaign, not in any obscure forum but on his official Facebook and Twitter pages. The second sentence of the manifesto – “This attack is a response to the Hispanic invasion of Texas” – echoes white nationalist rhetoric falsely asserting that people of Latino or Hispanic descent represent an “invasion” in the United States. Trump has used similar language on numerous occasions.

 

Trump’s campaign has used the word “invasion” to describe migrants seeking entry at the US-Mexico border in 2,199 Facebook ads since January, according to a Guardian analysis of Facebook’s political ad archive. Those ads have been viewed between 1,059,000 and 5,559,801 times by Facebook users and cost the Trump campaign between $7,900 and $241,601 to promote. (Facebook reports spending and performance of ads as a range.)"
https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2019/aug/05/trump-internet-facebook-ads-racism-immigrant-invasion?CMP=fb_gu&utm_medium=Social&utm_source=Facebook&fbclid=IwAR0NZ51ycTm_gBmox_lMhDmcmRS7J2M2sSRg-3YDd90b5pWtX8MmMfYfBW4#Echobox=1565049368

 


"US counties where President Donald Trump held a campaign rally saw a 226% increase in reported hate crimes compared to similar counties that did not hold a rally, political scientists at the University of North Texas said in a Washington Post analysis."
https://www.businessinsider.com/trump-campaign-rally-hate-crimes-study-maga-2019-3?IR=T%3Futm_source%3Dfacebook&utm_medium=referral&utm_content=topbar&utm_term=mobile&referrer=facebook&fbclid=IwAR0QKFwap6Gt7cqLzb87o8GzlAgm-RN1A6AjiSn6grXbltG4o7RdVW35Bus

 

A reminder: 10 years ago an internal Homeland Security report warned about the danger of right-wing domestic terrorism. Republicans learned about it, rose up in outrage, and demanded that efforts to counter the threat be canceled." -Paul Krugman



Posted by: Eric Schrader | Aug 06, 2019 13:46

Neither of the shooters were Trump supporters, so take your pathetic comment and shove it. You are the personification of what is wrong with this country. Everything has to be politicized. You're no better than O'Rourke and Ryan, the two losers who won't even be a footnote in history and when you're dead and gone, your headstone will read "Here lies Cut 'n Paste, the ultimate backbencher".



Posted by: Ronald Horvath | Aug 05, 2019 17:51

Dream on , Eric.  You and Moscow Mitch seem to be seeing a lot of "retiring" Republicans.  The tide may be truly turning when Americans can't even go to the mall without being slaughtered by a trump "supporter."



Posted by: Eric Schrader | Aug 05, 2019 15:19

Tick, Tock, time is running out for the DemoRats that will be turning on each other to save their own skin once the IG report comes out in Sept. and Durham issues his report to Barr. It will be worst than the famous St. Valentine's massacre.



Posted by: Kevin Riley | Aug 04, 2019 10:13

The point missed by some is the renter called management many times and got no response for something that was a fault with the building, water intrusion. As Harold correctly pointed out black mold is the result of excess moisture in this case on the cabinets. A proper and responsive management team would have sent help at the first call.



Posted by: Harold Bryson Mosher | Aug 04, 2019 03:54

Black mold is a consequence of water damage or chronic excessive dampness.



Posted by: Eric Schrader | Aug 02, 2019 10:55

I went to the USA Today story and those apartments look very good. One resident says "I had black mold in my cabinets. I called them, I called them, I called them. And they never did anything." Now how do you get black mold in your cabinets and somehow it's Kushner's fault. Maybe if a lot of tenants stopped living like pigs, it would help. There is the old saying, "you don't $heet where you live".



Posted by: Ronald Horvath | Aug 02, 2019 06:34

And exactly what does any of that have to do with trump's tower being used as a gated community for crime figures, Eric?  Oh, and you for got to mention that trump's son-in-law, Kushner, is one of the biggest slum lords in Baltimore.   The best quote to appear about this whole situation has to be:

 

"Better to have a few rats than to be one." — The Baltimore Sun on Trump.



Posted by: Eric Schrader | Aug 01, 2019 20:44

Hey Horvath, go back and look at the CSPAN video in 1999 of Cummings talking about his own district as "drug infested". And Ben Carson, head of HUD, confirmed yesterday that there was nearly 15 billion Federal dollars sent to Baltimore County just in 2018. Wonder where that went. The mayor before the clown that they have now went to jail on a corruption conviction. BTW, Dr. Ben Carson was a renowned pediatric neurosurgeon at none other than John Hopkins University Hospital right in downtown Baltimore for 30 years, so I think he knows a little about the failures of the Democrat administrations going all the way back to the Pelosi era. That's right, Pelosi's old man. Cummings asked for it when he derided the head of DHS, who was testifying in Congress for more resources. People who live in glass houses shouldn't throw stones.



Posted by: Richard McKusic, Sr. | Aug 01, 2019 18:07

And on a more positive note:   https://knox.villagesoup.com/p/to-care-or-not-care-is-a-choice/1825869#1826560?from=%2Fpost%2Fmanage%2Fposts.seam%3FformId%3D1%26page%3D0



Posted by: Ronald Horvath | Aug 01, 2019 18:00

Barr backed off, Eric, because he has nothing to go on.  That much is clear.  How embarrassing would it be to make a charge that just won't stick and end up being called a hack for using the DOJ for a political mob hit. He might also be trying to muddy the waters of his own partisan sycophancy in support of trump, his son-in-law's boss.  It could be that the den of thieves that we call the trump administration is trying to distract the public eye from themselves once again.  It is, after all, trump's main mode of defense when his own questionable behavior is called attention to -17 criminal charges to date, over twenty accusations of sexual assault-, accusing others of his own crimes.  It's his Pee Wee Herman act.  (And of course he has his quislings to back him up, right Paul.)

 

It's interesting that trump's "rat infested" slur against Baltimore is now coming home, Karma as it were:


"A now-viral Twitter thread gives a floor-by-floor historical breakdown of convicted and alleged criminals who either rented, owned or hid from law enforcement in Trump's New York City towers.

Beginning with former 2016 Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort, Twitter user @Zeddary, laid out more than a dozen mobsters, money launderers and tax evaders who have called President Donald Trump's 5th and 1st Avenue namesake towers home over the past several decades. The thread, which has acquired more than 21,000 likes, reveals the extensive list of convicted executives who stayed in Trump Tower as juxtaposition against a "rich and white" U.S. businessman labeling places such as Baltimore and Atlanta "crime infested."

"Trump himself could well be facing 12 felonies or more the second he leaves office," wrote 'Zeddy,' the thread author. "Nothing is more 'crime-infested' than Trumpworld. His properties, his charity, his business, his 'university,' his friends, his campaign, his inauguration, his White House, his family."

The largest subgroup of shady tenants who either previously or currently stay in Trump Tower are tied to the Russian mafia including Helly Nahmad, Vadim Trincher, David Bogatin and Vyacheslav Ivankov. As the "Zeddy" Twitter thread lays out, several of these Russian mob figures including Ivankov even went on the lam inside Trump World Tower as the FBI conducted worldwide manhunts."
https://www.newsweek.com/trump-tower-criminal-tenants-thread-twitter-russian-mafia-renters-owners-1452138?fbclid=IwAR08TiIVMn7jcon5sr0mFyTeDbNyLIq3FJkY_TdRvWP-5WB2ATpLTvkqvdQ

 

All friends of Kilimnik, no doubt.



Posted by: Eric Schrader | Aug 01, 2019 15:58

Great article summarizing the train wreck that was the Mueller hearing. I watched quite a bit of the hearing and Ratcliffe, Gohmert, Jordan and others hung him out to dry with his own report. I thought the ground rules for his testimony was "he was going to stay within the 4 corners of the report". Well, most of the questions from the Republican side in fact quoted passages from the Report, yet Mueller decided to "punt" with his "not within my purview". Mueller's scope of work memo clearly allowed him to explore the flip side of the coin looking at the DNC, the Clinton campaign, Christopher Steele, Misfud, etc. but none of that side of the alleged conspiracy was explored, which was the genesis of the FISA warrant to spy on the Trump campaign and early months of his Presidency. The word collusion was widely used, but collusion is not a crime. Conspiracy is and that is what happened with the whole host of characters across the pond. That wasn't an accident to keep this overseas. Just yesterday, there was a criminal referral to the DOJ against Comey for release of classified documents, but Barr has decided, FOR NOW, not to prosecute. There is a bigger shoe ready to drop on Comey and it's the false testimony rendered to obtain the FISA warrant that Comey signed off on. This little gem will put him in jail.



Posted by: Ronald Horvath | Aug 01, 2019 15:55

OK, Paul, let's start with a  run down of YOUR "dishonest rhetoric" and " total lies."

How about that whopper on Uranium One.

"The 2010 (Uranium One) deal allowed Rosatom, the Russian nuclear energy agency, to acquire a controlling stake in Uranium One, a Canadian-based company with mining stakes in the Western United States.  Donald Trump falsely accused former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton of giving away U.S. uranium rights to the Russians and claimed — without evidence — that it was done in exchange for donations to the Clinton Foundation."

On June 8, 2010, Uranium One announced it had signed an agreement that would give “not less than 51%” of the company to JSC Atomredmetzoloto, or ARMZ, the mining arm of Rosatom, the Russian nuclear energy agency.

At the time, Uranium One’s two licensed mining operations in Wyoming amounted to about “20 percent of the currently licensed uranium in-situ recovery production capacity in the U.S.,” according to the Nuclear Regulatory Commission

But the deal required multiple approvals by the U.S., beginning with the Committee on Foreign Investments in the United States.

The Committee on Foreign Investments has nine members, including the secretaries of the treasury, state, defense, homeland security, commerce and energy; the attorney general; and representatives from two White House offices (the United States Trade Representative and the Office of Science and Technology Policy).

The committee can’t actually stop a sale from going through — it can only approve a sale. The president is the only one who can stop a sale, if the committee or any one member “recommends suspension or prohibition of the transaction,” according to guidelines issued by the Treasury Department in December 2008 after the department adopted its final rule a month earlier.

For this and other reasons, we have written that Trump is wrong to claim that Clinton “gave away 20 percent of the uranium in the United States” to Russia. Clinton could have objected — as could the eight other voting members — but that objection alone wouldn’t have stopped the sale of the stake of Uranium One to Rosatom."

We don’t even know if Clinton was involved in the committee’s review and approval of the uranium deal. Jose Fernandez, a former assistant secretary of state, told the New York Times that he represented the department on the committee. “Mrs. Clinton never intervened with me on any C.F.I.U.S. matter,” he told the Times, referring to the committee by its acronym."
https://www.factcheck.org/2017/10/facts-uranium-one/

And is this the "sweeping cyber-influence campaign” that you're laughing at?

"Democrats on the House Intelligence Committee on Thursday released about 3,500 Facebook ads purchased by Russian agents around the 2016 presidential election... illustrate the extent to which Kremlin-aligned forces sought to stoke social, cultural and political unrest on one of the Web’s most powerful platforms.

In doing so, Russia’s online army reached at least 146 million people on Facebook and Instagram, its photo-sharing service, with ads and other posts. Sometimes, Russian trolls also tried to fuel rallies and protests,

In total, ads purchased by agents tied to the Kremlin-backed IRA reached about 10 million U.S. users around the 2016 presidential election, according to Facebook’s own estimates.

Facebook previously estimated that Russia-tied profiles and pages generated 80,000 pieces of organic content around the 2016 election

The documents released Thursday also reflect that Russian agents continued advertising on Facebook well after the presidential election. Until August 2017, Russian-aligned pages and profiles advertised their opposition to immigrants, targeting a range of users, including those who appear to like Fox News.

"Russian agents also had created thousands of accounts on Twitter, and in January, the company revealed that it discovered more than 50,000 automated accounts, or bots, with links to Russia. It notified about 1.7 million users that they had fallen victim to Russian propaganda during the 2016 election."
https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/the-switch/wp/2018/05/10/here-are-the-3400-facebook-ads-purchased-by-russias-online-trolls-during-the-2016-election/?utm_term=.e30588d46054

And is this your "intelligence source?"

"Kilimnik, an elusive 48-year-old, has already been charged by Mueller with witness tampering. His most recent business partner has been charged with illegally funneling $50,000 from a wealthy Ukrainian into Trump’s inauguration fund.

"Kilimnik was fired from his job heading the International Republican Institute’s (IRI) office in Moscow in early 2005, after he was caught secretly working part-time for Manafort"

Kilimnik was also caught up in Manafort’s apparent intentions in 2016 to use his position at Trump’s side to settle multimillion-dollar debts claimed by their ex-client Oleg Deripaska, an oligarch close to Vladimir Putin, the Russian president."

"As Mueller’s interest in Kilimnik increased last year, Kilimnik abruptly left Kiev with his wife and two children and moved to Moscow, where he had lived in the late 1990s and early 2000s. He is now living in a gated community in Khimki, the same Moscow suburb that houses the GRU unit accused by Mueller in an 11-count indictment in July of spearheading the hacking of Democratic emails in 2016."
https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2018/nov/09/konstantin-kilimnik-russia-trump-manafort-mueller

Sounds like something more than an "intelligence source" doesn't he?

And of course you disparage Mueller for refusing to discuss any ongoing investigations as any prosecutor, special or otherwise, would never do.  

When it comes right down to it, Paul, this is the only exchange in the Mueller hearing that counts as of ultimate concern to any American.

Schiff:  "Trump and his campaign welcomed and encouraged Russian interference?"

Mueller: "Yes."

Schiff:  "And then Trump and his campaign lied about it to cover it up?"

Mueller:  "Yes."

 

What more needs to be said?



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