Russiagate: Mueller Team Drops Russian Charges

Tuesday, March 17, 2020
Sundance at CTH reacts DOJ Drops Rosenstein and Mueller’s Nonsense Case Against Russian Company Concord LLC…
Almost everyone who researched the substance behind Rod Rosenstein and Robert Mueller’s heavily promoted Russian indictments knew the underlying claims were centered on the thinnest of evidence.

A few Facebook memes were used to accuse Russian company Concord LLC of violating FARA and FEC election laws.

In July,2018, Robert Mueller asked a federal judge in Washington for an order that would protect the handover of voluminous evidence to lawyers for Concord Management and Consulting LLC, one of three companies and 13 Russian nationals charged in a February 2018 indictment. They are accused of producing propaganda, posing as U.S. activists and posting political content on social media as so-called trolls to encourage strife in the U.S.

Indeed, to an incurious media, a Russian catering company posting Facebook memes might sound like a good justification for a vast Russian election interference prosecution; however, when Concord & the accused Russians show up in court and request to see the evidence against them, well, the prosecutors might just have a problem. It’s that problem that dogged the Mueller prosecution since 2018. Today, predictably and finally, the DOJ dropped the nonsense case (full pdf below) . . .

The prosecution was always just a farce. The ridiculous Russian indictments were only created to give some sense of validity to a premise that did not exist; and to allow the Robert Mueller investigation to continue operating when there was never a valid justification for doing so.

This was perhaps the biggest shell game operation, with a non-existent pea, using the DOJ and FBI to give the impression that something nefarious had happened; when factually the ‘Russian Conspiracy Narrative’ was all just one big hoax upon the American people.

The purpose of Robert Mueller was to create something, find anything, that would lead to their political allies being able to remove a sitting president. Deputy AG Rod Rosenstein participated in that hoax for those intents….

This purposeful fraud has yet to be addressed.
More at the link. Yep, it's almost like they knew from the start it wouldn't fly.

Not surprisingly, WaPoo puts a different spin on it in Justice Dept. abandons prosecution of Russian firm indicted in Mueller election interference probe
Assistants to U.S. Attorney Timothy Shea of Washington and Assistant Attorney General for National Security John C. Demers cited an unspecified “change in the balance of the government’s proof due to a classification determination,” according to a nine-page filing accompanied by facts under seal.

Prosecutors also cited the failure of the company, Concord Management and Consulting, to comply with trial subpoenas and the submission of a “misleading, at best” affidavit by Yevgeniy Prigozhin, a co-defendant and the company’s founder. Prigozhin is a catering magnate and military contractor known as “Putin’s chef” because of his ties to Russian President Vladi­mir Putin.

“Upon careful consideration of all of the circumstances, and particularly in light of recent events . . . the government has concluded that further proceedings as to Concord . . . promotes neither the interests of justice nor the nation’s security,” federal prosecutors wrote.

“The better course is to cease litigation” against Concord and a sister catering company, also owned by Prigozhin, the prosecutors said. The government added that Concord enjoys “immunity from just punishment” even if found guilty, since it has no business presence in the United States.
. . .
Facebook’s former chief security officer, Alex Stamos, who oversaw the social media giant’s investigation of the disinformation campaign, said he was disappointed by the Justice Department’s decision.

“The unclassified evidence I have seen with my own eyes, and that Facebook provided to DOJ in 2017, demonstrates that the Internet Research Agency conducted an influence operation aimed at driving political divisions in the U.S.,” said Stamos, who now heads a research group that studies disinformation, the Stanford Internet Observatory. “If this activity is illegal, then I don’t understand why the prosecution would turn on a classification decision.”
Maybe because they never really expected to have to fight it in court.

Bongino, REPORT: Durham Probe to Wrap Up by Summer, Oh goody, just in time for the election! Well, these things always seem to drag out longer than predicted. Flashback to Jan, Dem Senators Urge FBI Not To Cooperate w/Senate Investigation (Front Page). It's like they have something to hide.

Bongino again, Trump Considers “Full Pardon” for Michael Flynn. Not really news except that the President tweeted,
Fox News’ Catherine Herridge reported last night that the judge in the Flynn case said “things happen” when confronted by Powell about the whereabouts of the original 302s.

Court documents reveal that Powell said, “I keep noticing that the government talk about not having the original 302 in their possession. Was it destroyed? Because there had to have been one under FBI regulations and other information that I’ve received, that there was an original 302 written by Mr. Pientka. So it would have to be in the FBI’s computer system. It can be retrieved even if it had been destroyed, so that is a point we will be discussing further.”

“The government, I’m sure, will address that,” replied the judge. “I don’t want to focus on any more cases before the Court, but, you know, sometimes, throughout the best efforts…things happen and documents are lost. I mean it just happens…but we will wait for the government’s submission.”
Via the Wombat's In The Mailbox: 03.16.20 LI has Trump “strongly considering” a “Full Pardon” of Michael Flynn.   Liz Vaughn at Red State, President Trump ‘Strongly Considering’ a Full Pardon for General Michael Flynn, Here’s the Back Story  Read that one. WaEx, Trump considering 'full pardon' for Michael Flynn after FBI 'lost' records. Ace, As FBI "Loses Records" on General Flynn, Trump Says He Is "Strongly Considering a Full Pardon" "Good."

WaPoo, Trump says he’s ‘strongly considering’ pardoning Michael Flynn spins
If Trump pardons his former national security adviser, it would be the latest such move by the president after several recent high-profile clemency announcements. Last month, Trump pardoned or commuted the sentences of seven convicted white-collar criminals alongside four others whose cases were not as well known.

The pardons and commutations focused on the type of corruption and lying charges that Trump’s associates were convicted of as part of the Russia investigation. Among those whose crimes were forgiven were disgraced former Illinois governor Rod R. Blagojevich, convicted junk bond king Michael Milken and former New York police commissioner Bernard Kerik.
 Bruce Hayden, a commenter at Althouse:
With all the hoopla the last day or two on this, I thought for sure something new had happened there in the case. Nope. Just finally bubbled up to the notice of PDJT.

The missing evidence is, of course, the original FD 302s from the Flynn interview FBI agents Peter Strzok and Joe Pientka setup as a perjury trap by Deputy Director Andrew McCabe. The funny thing though is that all the pieces were there by that summer, in public, when Mueller was forced to dump Strzok and Page the next summer because some of their text messages became public. In those text messages, they talk about waiting for McCabe to approve 302s, and then the trigger was pulled. The question then was why the Deputy Director of the FBI was approving witness interview transcripts. That just isn’t done. Thousands of 302s are generated a day by FBI agents around the world, and automatically logged into their Sentinel change management system. Yet, McCabe insisted on approving one particular 302. That turned out to have been the 302s submitted by the Mueller prosecutors to Flynn’s compromised first set of attorneys as Brady material.

Brief interlude. Most documents are not directly admissible in court to directly prove a case, as being hearsay. The FBI routinely gets around this by immediately (w/I 48 hours) writing down witness testimony on 302s, which fits into a hearsay rule exception. Because chain of custody is important, every version of the 302s written by FBI agents are automatically entered into their Sentinal system.

These were experienced FBI agents, who after decades in the FBI, no doubt automatically wrote down what Flynn said in their interview of him, as well as their impressions of how he said it (he appeared truthful). But the original 302s, written near contemporaneously weren’t the 302s submitted to Flynn’s lawyers by the Mueller prosecutors. Instead, in direct disobedience to Judge Sullivan’s standing Brady order, the 302s submitted were the ones personally approved by DD McCabe maybe six weeks after the interview (which, of course makes them inadmissible hearsay). Moreover, we found out (again from their text messages) that the changes to the 302s that were approved by McCabe were given to Strzok by Page, then McCabe’s personal FBI lawyer. To summarize - the FBI’s Deputy Director’s personal attorney, upon his orders, modified the testimony of these two agents that was submitted to the court.

Why was this important? We didn’t know for well over two years, but Powell appears to have gotten copies of early versions of the 302s, and they indicate that the FBI agents (Strzok and Pienta) believed at the time that Flynn was testifying honestly, and that part was removed by McCabe and Page. Which of course blows up the case, since the one charge was just that - lying to those two FBI agents.

Then we get to the prosecutors. Led by a previously disciplined career prosecutor with decades of experience. They knew how the Sentinel system works, and that six week late 302s are not evidence, but inadmissible hearsay. They knew that the 302s submitted weren’t the right ones, by their dates. By this point, they had likely dealt with hundreds, if not thousands, of 302s, and knew that they had to be near contemporaneous to be admissible evidence.

Here is the bottom line, and everyone knows it. The Sentinel system for 302s is a change management system for legal documents. Every version of a 302 is present in the system, or its deletion has to be logged and authorized, very likely by a high level supervisor. The originals are either still in the system, or their deletion was authorized by someone in the FBI’s top management, and the name of that person was logged. Moreover, the prosecutors have been hiding this from the judge.
Jeff Mordock at WaT, Schiff protects intel 'status quo' power by sinking wide-reaching FISA reform: Source.
Mr. Schiff, California Democrat and chairman of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, ran roughshod over House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerrold Nadler, New York Democrat, whose panel had control over the battle to reform the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, said advocates on both sides of the aisle.

The power struggle created an awkward moment in which Mr. Nadler canceled the markup of his own bill just minutes before it was scheduled.

FISA allows U.S. intelligence agencies to meet with judges behind closed doors and explain why spying is needed without anyone to question their evidence. The process has come under scrutiny since revelations last year confirmed that the FBI abused FISA to surveil Trump campaign figure Carter Page as part of its probe into Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election.
My response is that the administration should open up intelligence investigations into a wide range of Democrats, and leak it to the press (the precedent is obvious). The Democrats will be clamoring for FISA reform before you know it.

Monica Showalter at AmThink, All those Democrat 'priorities' might just keep the coronavirus bill from passing
Democrats have always had, to put the term delicately, their "priorities."
They've also got an ethos of never letting a crisis go to waste.
But it might be that this time, it won't work in the coronavirus bill. According to Fox News:
The House overwhelmingly okayed the emergency coronavirus package in the wee hours of Saturday morning after more than 20 phone calls between House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) and Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin.
"What made it hard is that we could never get everyone in the same room," said one source.
In other words, social distancing contributed to a problem in the drafting of the legislation and trading of offers. Usually, the sides would lock themselves into a room and go around the table. But not in the age of coronavirus.
A second problem, the television network noted, is that the Senate is gummed up in passage of the unrelated FISA bill on government surveillance. They apparently have to get that done first before they can get the coronavirus bill done.

A third problem after that is when it starts to get sticky — no one knows what the cost of this bill is going to be — and that's reason enough for Senate Republicans to want to make changes.

But here's a fourth problem, so typical of this Adam Schiff House: they didn't do all their homework, and now they need to get elements of the bill passed a second time. Until that happens, the Senate will stand by and wait, Fox notes . . .
Send Papa Joe the bill, Hunter Biden Cost U.S. Taxpayers $200k.  (Matt Palumbo at Bongino). To be fair, it's pretty easy to run up a $200k bill when the government does anything. They have zero incentive to save money.
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