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February 15, 2018

Andrew McCarthy: Susan Rice's Email-to-Self Was Really an Email for the Record

John Hindraker of Powerline was discussing this yesterday; Andrew McCarthy seems to agree.

The Rice email outlines Obama's strategy to withhold key details of the Russia investigation.

On her way out the White House door and out of her job as national-security adviser, Susan Rice writes an email-to-self. Except it's not really an email-to-self. It is quite consciously an email for the record.

Her term having ended 15 minutes before, Rice was technically back in private life, where private people have private email accounts -- even notepads if they want to scratch out a reminder the old-fashioned way. Yet, for at least a few more minutes, Rice still had access to her government email account. She could still generate an official record. That's what she wanted her brief email to be: the dispositive memorialization of a meeting she was worried about -- a meeting that had happened over two weeks earlier, at which, of course, President Obama insisted that everything be done "by the book."

Funny, though: The "by the book" thing about contemporaneous memos is that they are, well, contemporaneous -- made at or immediately after the event they undertake to memorialize. They're written while things are as fresh as they will ever be in one's mind, before subsequent events motivate the writer to spin a decision, rather than faithfully record it.

An email written on January 21 to record decisions made on January 5 is not written to memorialize what was decided. It is written to revise the memory of what was decided in order to rationalize what was then done...


According to Rice, immediately after the briefing, President Obama had his two top law-enforcement officials, Yates and Comey, linger for "a brief follow-on conversation" with the administration’s political leadership: Obama, Biden, and Rice.

...

Significantly, by the time of this January 6 meeting with Trump [the dossier briefing which was immediately leaked to CNN -- ace], the 90-day surveillance period under the FISA warrant would have had just a bit over two weeks left to run -- it was set to expire just as Trump was to take office. (Reporting suggests that there may also have been a FISA warrant on Paul Manafort around this time.) The Obama administration was therefore confronting a deadline if the FISA warrant was to be renewed while Obama was still in power.

The officials in the meeting would need to figure out how the investigation could continue despite the fact that its central focus, Trump, was about to be sworn in as president.

How do you get a re-authorization authorized by the president who you're seeking an illegal, shoddy warrant on?

Simple: You conspire to hide the existence of the warrant re-authorization from him.

You have James Comey lie to him, telling him three times he's not under investigation, which may be technically true, but which is for all real purposes false, given that the point of this warrant is not gather information about Carter Page, but against Trump.

And that's what that meeting was about -- inaugurating a conspiracy to lie to the duly-elected president and hide the warrant process from him.

This is interesting, too:

...

We've heard the story a million times: After President-elect Trump was briefed by agency leaders on the intelligence community's Russia report, Comey met privately with Trump to brief him on the Steele dossier.

But is that what happened? I don’t think so. I believe Trump was briefed only on a sliver of the dossier. Remember, the Obama administration presumption was: “We cannot share information fully as it relates to Russia."

After arguing (proving, I'd say) the case that Comey only shared a very narrow sliver of the dossier with Trump -- the part about the Pee-Pee Party Prostitutes -- while withholding from Trump that Hillary paid for it and that Trump was the ultimate objective in the investigation, McCarthy continues:

...

By thus bowdlerizing what it means to be a suspect, Comey could repeatedly assure Trump that he (Trump) was not "personally under investigation."

...

This is a distorted understanding of how investigations work. Whether eavesdropping is done for national-security purposes under FISA or for law-enforcement purposes under criminal statutes, the objective is always the same: to uncover the full scope of a conspiratorial enterprise. The point is to identify all of the conspirators, and especially to establish the complicity of the most insulated leaders. Carter Page may have been the surveillance target named in the FISA warrant, but he was of low rank in the alleged conspiracy. The point of monitoring Page was to determine exactly what he was doing and, just as crucial, who was directing him. In the conspiracy outlined by Steele, Page was a virtual nobody. His only relevance was vis-a-vis Trump.

...

Since Trump would have the power to shut down the investigation, the trick was to avoid making him feel threatened by it. Therefore, the strategy was to withhold information that illustrated Trump's centrality to the investigation, assure him that he was not a suspect, and gently admonish him about the need to respect law enforcement's independence (on pain of being accused of obstruction).

Can't wait for the homoerotic authority-worshippers to tell us all that this is just how you get Justice in America, and to call us Traitors for questioning Clapper, Brennan, Comey, Rice, and Yates.

After all -- they're Public Servants.



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posted by Ace at 02:41 PM

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