I'm not watching the cockamamie Senate hearing on the Inspector General report largely because I wrote a book called PROOF OF COLLUSION that makes every word out of Lindsey Graham's mouth a war crime against the truth
If you want to know what really happened the book's on Amazon
Like seriously I came on Twitter and saw a tweet from someone who is actually watching the hearing and apparently Lindsey Graham said something along the lines of "poor George Papadopoulos" and I was like NOPE and went to go cook some macaroni and cheese
Papadopoulos is the sort of guy who takes $10,000 cash from someone he thinks is a Mossad agent in a seedy Tel Aviv hotel as part of a nebulous deal involving Saudi arms and then when caught says he was confused and probably the whole thing was an FBI setup
We all know that guy
Today is a good day to remember that Carter Page went on TV and lied about whether he'd secretly met a top Kremlin official in Moscow while working for Trump, after previously calling himself a "Kremlin adviser" and giving intel to Russian spies he admitted he *knew* were spies
If Page was a CIA asset from 2008 to 2013, not only does it mean the CIA messed up by not telling the FBI, it contextualizes the valid FBI concern about his activity and puts a knife in the heart of all these claims that Page is so stupid no intelligence service would've used him
If Page at any point did do work for the CIA it was in substantial part because his suspicious activities with the Russians had aroused the interest of the CIA and they demanded his assistance presumably in place of charging him with a crime or monitoring him the rest of his life
If anyone wants to testify the CIA secretly paid Page to give info to Russian spies and go to Moscow and give speeches attacking America and lie about meeting Kremlin officials while working on a campaign that's fine, it has nothing to do with whether FBI suspicion was reasonable
Side note: I have the odd distinction of being the only person to write a whole book chapter on the possibility the Kremlin has compromising videos of Trump, and I'll say that we *only* have probative evidence that they *do* (a *lot*) and have *no* evidence suggesting they don't
It's ironic if anyone credits what the CIA says about Page but simultaneously *not* what the CIA told the BBC about the so-called pee tape, which is that multiple compromising sexual tapes involving Trump are in the possession of the Kremlin involving multiple dates and locations
Jesus Christ I just, because I couldn't help myself, turned it on and I'm already absolutely livid. Christopher Steele opposed Trump's election ***because of the intelligence he had compiled*** not because of a preceding bias against a family whose daughter he was friends with(!)
Moreover, Congress already has sworn testimony that Steele ***did not know who the client was*** while he was collecting the evidence, and that prior to working as a double-blind contractor for Democratic interests he did the *very same thing* (on Trump!) for Republican interests
How is it that a professor in New Hampshire knows infinitely more about this f****** case then the goddamn inspector general of the DOJ
What kind of rinky-dink kindergarten classroom is the Senate running here
If you read PROOF OF COLLUSION, with its thousands of citations, you are as livid as I am right now because you know Horowitz is giving a performance every bit as bumbling as Mueller's *on the content* but is just far smoother about it and therefore getting away with it
OK, I've calmed down a bit. It's hard when you spent untold hundreds of hours getting the truth on something from thousands of sources and have to watch Graham's smug smile on TV as he ensures a much larger number of people then could ever have read your book will be misinformed.
So the first thing to understand about the Steele dossier is that when it was handed over, Steele made clear it was raw intelligence that had to be further processed. He assessed that approximately 70% of the dossier was accurate. What we know now suggests it was at *least* that.
And the FBI never said a peep to the American public about the Russia investigation during the campaign, except to *lie to The New York Times about whether it had evidence of Trump-Russia ties*. In other words, it *aided* Trump. What Graham is discussing happened *post-election*.
Investigations begin upon reasonable suspicion that a crime was committed, is being committed, or is about to be committed; warrants require a slightly higher standard, probable cause. The dossier, given its author and sourcing and corroboration, *was* a basis for probable cause.
I've read many search warrants. I'm assuming Horowitz has, too. If you look at 100 search warrants, you'll probably find about 25 with defects. For FISA warrants I'm assuming that number is the same or higher, because it's comparatively easy to get a warrant from a secret court.
In my experience, Republican voters are substantially less well-informed about the criminal justice system than Democratic voters, which is one of the reasons they habitually fall for GOP rhetoric about the justice system. What Graham is doing today is misrepresenting the system.
Graham wants viewers to think the system works like it does on NCIS. He wants viewers to believe mistakes are rare, and if they occur they're probably nefarious. The reality, almost anyone in the system will tell you, is mistakes are common and usually the result of incompetence.
There's very little an experienced criminal justice professional will hear in this hearing that will surprise them. Infinitely more surprising is rogue FBI agents leaking to Giuliani, or the FBI lying to the NYT a week pre-election when asked a direct question about an open case.
When I was a defense attorney, I could have read local search warrants for **six years straight** and not found a **single one** that deliberately included info that was exculpatory (favorable to the defendant) and hostile to the issuance of the warrant. People need to know that.
The federal system is different, but at the same time I can promise you there are thousands and thousands of FBI agents at home right now watching Lindsey Graham's smug smirk about not including exculpatory information in a warrant package and rolling their eyes to the damn moon.
Like I'm watching Graham smile his smug creepy smile about information the CIA gave to the FBI that the FBI did not look at carefully enough. The CIA *also* gave out information that there were compromising tapes on Trump. Does Graham think the FBI should've taken THAT seriously?
If I were a Democrat on the committee, I'd read to Horowitz the BBC report on the compromising tapes and ask whether the CIA also gave that information to the FBI as well as to the BBC, and if not, why not. I'd wipe that smug smirk off Graham's face faster than you could believe.
If I were a Democrat on the committee, I'd take a stroll down memory lane with respect to Page's secret dealings with Russian intelligence as a "Kremlin adviser," and his lies about meeting with Kremlin officials, and his emails revealing he wasn't joking about being pro-Kremlin.
If Lindsey Graham's creepy smile as he treats information potentially (unfairly) damaging to federal law enforcement as the most delicious thing he has ever eaten does not remind you of Emperor Palpatine, you are not the nerd you could be.
Understand also that Trump 100% got a defensive counterintelligence briefing on August 17, 2016 regarding not just the Russian threat to the United States but the Russian threat to his campaign. I've no idea what the testimony on this topic is talking about. This is a known fact.
Trump's campaign was explicitly and repeatedly told to notify federal law enforcement if it had any concerns the campaign had been infiltrated. Months earlier, Papadopoulos had told trump to his face that he was secretly in talks with the Kremlin.
Trump said nothing to the feds.
If I were Democrat on this committee, I'd *digitally remaster* Horowitz on cross-examination.
Lindsey Graham literally said there was *no defensive briefing* of Donald Trump, and within 30 seconds he was asking Horowitz about the "defensive briefing" of Donald Trump. This is like *Twin Peaks*, Jesus.
And then, I swear just seconds after Graham mentions the "defensive briefing" of Donald Trump, he says, "they never lifted a finger to help the campaign."
Another point about Page: the CIA telling the FBI that he was used as a CIA "source" between 2008 and 2013 by no means would preclude him being a Kremlin *agent* (or source) in 2016. Frankly even if he were a CIA agent the FBI could encounter evidence of him being a double-agent.
My point is, the CIA giving the FBI information about past activities by Carter Page does *not* make his present activities innocent rather than suspicious. The FBI literally investigated Carter Page as a possible Russian agent just 2 years before the presidential campaign began.
It would have been a wholly different situation if the CIA had said to the FBI that Carter Page is their man *now* (in 2016). They pointedly did *not* say that, and I hope to hell some Democrat on the committee is going to point that out (I am a bit behind in my watching, here).
It'd be *absolutely impossible* for Horowitz to have been telling the truth when he said that the FBI found no corroboration for the information about Carter Page in the Steele dossier, because **Page has admitted that some of the information about him in the dossier was true**!
Indeed, the dossier perfectly replicated at least two conversations Page secretly had with Kremlin officials and lied about on national TV when he returned to the United States. The dossier's replication of those conversations was in fact one of its *best indicia of reliability*.
It doesn't seem to me from watching this hearing that either Graham or Horowitz has *any familiarity whatsoever* with the dossier, or *any familiarity whatsoever* with analyses of how those contents link up with other corroborated information. This is all so *surreal* to watch.
Clarification: IG says both Clinton and Trump received *identical* "strategic counterintel briefings" as opposed to "defensive" briefings. Reporting at the time and since confirms both campaigns were warned about campaign infiltration and asked to report suspicious info to FBI.
IOW, it remains the case that Trump or Flynn or *both* almost certainly lied to their ODNI briefers when questioned about whether they had any information to report, and that Trump *and* Flynn were fully apprised of Russian attacks on America and the danger to the Trump campaign.
Horowitz testified that he has never in his career as DOJ IG, across hundreds and hundreds of investigations, encountered a situation in which officials at the DOJ insisted the DOJ engaged in MORE misconduct than the DOJ IG found.
Until Barr. Until this *one* case. *Amazing*.
You can follow @SethAbramson.
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