By Dan Peak
The Commoner Call (4/20/17)
Dear Fellow Reader,
There are two points I’d like to share. I’ll start with the tame; it’s simple and not so controversial. I’ll save the fireworks for the second point.
We begin with Sunday in The New York Times, Mike Conaway Emerges From Relative Obscurity To Lead House Russia Inquiry
David Nunes stepped down as co-chair of the House Intelligence investigation into election influence by Russia. You might remember Nunes running circles around Washington DC to receive and deliver and report on classified information that might benefit President Trump. His replacement is Mike Conaway who is a sitting member of the committee and was noted for this penetrating interrogation of FBI Director Comey:
“My wife’s Red Raiders are playing the Texas Longhorns. She really likes the Red Raiders,” Mr. Conaway said, referring to the teams at the University of Texas and Texas Tech. “I mean, the logic is that because he really didn’t like president — the candidate Clinton, that he automatically liked Trump. That assessment’s based on what?”
Conaway promises a fresh start and offered, “I just want to find out what happened.” But there’s also this:
In January, in , Mr. Conaway likened Russian interference in the election to Mexican stars who campaigned on behalf of Hillary Clinton, remarks that he struggled to explain to a handful of incredulous constituents last week. He conceded that he had done “…a poor job of nuancing what I was trying to get at.”
Nunes Exits With Ill-advised Disclosure?
That’s as kind as I can be since I don’t know if his comments break any laws, but in March Nunes confirmed on Fox News that of “people working at the White House now,” none are under intel investigation or surveillance “but one.” I have no idea what he was thinking but I’m starting to notice a pattern? Sometimes these comments remind me of Enron and Smartest Guys in the Room – I wonder if Jeffrey Skilling would have gone to prison had he not tried to show off to the world while testifying to Congress. So when I hear Roger Stone, Carter Page, Rudi Giuliani and Donald Trump making predictions through the campaign and encouraging Russia to hack Hillary it’s possible they were being too cute for their own good.
I can imagine – I add emphasis so it’s a clear I am making a departure into opinion – that Giuliani et al believed they were winning the battle inside the FBI and with the help of the Russians had some bombshells that could change the outcome of the election – they were confident they were never going to be found out and after the election, who cares anyway and they’d control all the levers (like no US attorneys in place right now, all fired, none replaced). Remember, we’re hearing how the US was late to understand and investigate in spite of many warnings from their European counterparts.
It seems pretty clear the main points of FISA interest are Carter Page, Paul Manafort and Boris Epshteyn. We’ve covered some things about both Carter Page and Paul Manafort so we’ll skip ahead. Though do note that Paul Manafort, like Erik Prince, is also off in China recruiting business – fishing in the same pond. I especially liked this one quote from the Financial Times [Sorry the FT has a pay wall.]:
“Chinese entrepreneurs are obsessed with everything to do with America at the moment. Everywhere else is second fiddle,” said Mr Hoogewerf. “To be able to hook up with one of Trump’s right-hand men is one of the things these entrepreneurs want.”
Thank you for allowing me that indulgence, it just reminds me of Ivanka learning she gained approval for three new trademarks the same day she dined with Chinese President Xi at Mar-A-Lago. At least we now know Ivanka’s job in the White House and that Paul and Erik are mercenaries off beating the bushes in China for their own enrichment.
We know there was an approved FISA application and it was renewed. There is much discussion around the approval process and the target(s) of the application but it’s increasingly clear that Epshteyn was one of the targets. Boris is described as a Soviet-born American political strategist, investment banker and attorney; he is described as combative and difficult to work in his role with as Senior Trump Adviser but our interest is: Boris Epshteyn Named in July FISA Application; Did Nunes Obstruct Justice.
Latest news, there are now zero people at the White House under intel investigation, Boris Epshteyn left the White House on Monday to work for Sinclair Broadcasting Group. If, or when, Epshteny’s name comes up certainly we’ll hear “he played a minor role for a short period of time”. Which seems to be true for anyone that doesn’t have Trump as their last name (or Kushner).
But to get back on target, what was Nunes’ doing by saying what he said?
I offer this with some apprehension but the source has been proven to be right numerous times though even batting 1.000 doesn’t mean you’re assured of a hit the next time up to bat. The person behind the claim is Louise Mensch and every right-wing outlet will be highly critical of her. On the other hand she claimed the FBI was granted a secret FISA warrant on November 7, 2016 – her claim ultimately led to the Trump Twitter storm about “wire-tapped” and “Bad (or sick) guy” – those Tweets happened in March. Mensch points to corroboration from the BBC and the Guardian. She was well ahead of the story which doesn’t make her right all the time but does make her worth listening to. So with that qualification…
Sighting other sources that simply repeat the single accusation isn’t the same as corroboration (unless you operate like Sean Spicer) but it does add weight and hopefully encourages far more investigation, and hey, it’s Keith Olbermann: Is There an Actual Tape of Trump’s Russia Collusion? | The Resistance with Keith Olbermann.
So is Trump compromised by Russian bailouts following the 2008 financial crisis? Were the Russians using Alfa Bank to launder money through a Trump bailout? Mensch was right (and ignored) in November, is she right again? Good thing for Trump that his tax statements are under audit or it might have some embarrassing details.
I gave this a good deal of thought and decided to share this. Do I know this to be true? Of course not, but as I say, this is looking more and more like Smartest Guys in the Room. Or maybe this is no more significant than Conaway’s reference to Mexican stars that supported Hillary.
Again, we’ll see!