Tuesday, January 9, 2018

Last Call For Meanwhile In Bevinstan...

Kentucky GOP House Speaker Jeff Hoover resigned from his leadership position last month after it came out that he had settled a sexual harassment claim with a female staffer using taxpayer money. There's only one problem as the 2018 Kentucky General Assembly session got underway last week: Jeff Hoover was still House Speaker.  On Monday, Hoover finally resigned, but only after a 20-minute tirade where he declared himself the real victim.

Oh, and he's staying in the KY House.

On Monday, after vacillating for weeks about whether to step down, Hoover announced in a bitter and defiant speech from the House floor that he would give up his role as speaker but hang onto his seat in the legislature.

In remarks lasting more than 20 minutes, Hoover portrayed himself as the victim of a wide-ranging conspiracy to oust him from power, accusing the governor and fellow lawmakers of lying about his actions.

With his wife of 26 years watching from the balcony, he acknowledged having traded inappropriate texts with the staffer, but denied any misconduct, saying that while the messages were ill-advised, they were consensual.

“What’s the one thing you’re most ashamed of that you have done in the past five years?” Hoover asked the chamber. “What if you woke up one morning and that one thing that you’re sitting there thinking about was on the front page of every newspaper in this state?”

His voice quavered as he explained how the scandal had impacted him and his family, saying he had lost 33 pounds in the span of four weeks because he couldn’t eat.

“I laid on my couch day after day after day in the fetal position,” he said. “I got down on the floor when no one was at home, crying uncontrollably and screaming out to almighty god to help me through this situation and to help my family and my daughters. I went into depression. I went into isolation.”

In defying calls to quit the House entirely, Hoover stands as something of an exception among the dozens of powerful men in government, media and entertainment who have been toppled by sexual misconduct claims in recent months. Many have been fired or forced to resign as a growing wave of women, and some men, have come forward with allegations of rape, assault and harassment.

Unfortunately there's not a lot Kentucky Dems can do at this point.  Indeed, the state party is crumbling in the House as major retirements are starting to mount.  GOP Gov. Matt Bevin still believes Hoover should leave the House as well as the remaining GOP leadership in the Kentucky House and Senate, but that seems very unlikely now.

Oh, and let's not forget Hoover is an awful human being.

Russian To Judgment, Con't

Last week, Fusion GPS founder Glenn Simpson, the man who employed Christopher Steele to create the now infamous Steele Dossier on Trump, demanded that the closed-door testimony that Simpson gave to the Senate Intelligence Committee on the dossier be released to the public.  Republicans balked, so ranking Democrat on the Committee California Sen. Dianne Feinstein, released the transcripts.

And they are pretty shocking, even at this point in the proceedings.

The British ex-spy who authored a dossier of allegations against then-presidential candidate Donald Trump was told the FBI had someone inside Trump’s network providing agents with information, according to a newly released transcript of a congressional interview.

Glenn R. Simpson, a founder of the research firm Fusion GPS, spoke to investigators with the Senate Judiciary Committee for 10 hours in August. As the partisan fight over Russian interference in the 2016 election has intensified, Simpson has urged that his testimony be released, and a copy of the transcript was made public Tuesday.

It was released by the ranking Democrat on the Senate Judiciary Committee, Sen. Dianne Feinstein of California. That decision marks the most serious break yet in the cooperative relationship she has had with the Republican chairman of the committee, Sen. Charles E. Grassley (R-Iowa).

[Read the full transcript of Glenn Simpson’s Senate testimony]

Fusion GPS was hired in mid-2016 by a lawyer for Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign and the Democratic National Committee to dig into Trump’s background. Earlier that year, the firm had been probing Trump for a conservative website funded by a GOP donor, but that client stopped paying for the work after it became clear Trump would win the GOP nomination, according to people familiar with the matter.

The FBI had a mole in the Trump campaign, and we know that because the FBI said as much. The FBI said as much because Steele corroborated their inside person on the Trump campaign.

Steele first reached out to the FBI with his concerns in early July 2016, according to people familiar with the matter. When they re-interviewed him in early October, agents made it clear, according to Simpson’s testimony released Tuesday, that they believed some of what Steele had told them.

“My understanding was that they believed Chris at this point — that they believed Chris might be credible because they had other intelligence that indicated the same thing and one of those pieces of intelligence was a human source from inside the Trump organization
,” Simpson said. Using the parlance of spies and law enforcement officials, Simpson said the FBI had a “human source from inside the Trump organization.” Simpson added that his understanding was the source was someone who had volunteered information to the FBI or, in his words, “someone like us who decided to pick up the phone and report something.”

Somebody who volunteered to the FBI that something bad was going on.  This was the reason why the Trump campaign got caught up in FBI surveillance.  I surmised as uch, Simpson all but said so last week and essentially said "I stand by my testimony, make it public."  He did that because of course the GOP is demanding an investigation into Steele himself for lying to the FBI...only the transcript kills that dead when it was released.

Sen. Feinstein did just that, although parts are heavily redacted.  Still, the transcript backs up Simpson's story. The FBI knew that parts of the Steele Dossier were credible because they had a person inside the Trump campaign saying the same thing.

So who was the whistleblower in the Trump campaign?  We don't know.  Yet.  We may never know.  But the GOP isn't standing still on this, they're fully going after the FBI and the media for daring to report on Dear Leader Trump.

Broadening their political counterattack in defense of the White House, President Donald Trump's allies in Congress are placing new scrutiny on contacts between top Justice Department officials and reporters covering the Trump-Russia investigation.

In recent weeks, GOP congressional investigators have publicly and privately questioned senior Justice Department and FBI leaders about interactions with reporters covering the Trump campaign’s connections to Russia. The goal, according to a half-dozen lawmakers and aides, is to expose any concerted effort by law enforcement officials to spin an anti-Trump narrative in the media through unauthorized leaks.

"There are a number of other inappropriate communications that have transpired between the FBI/DOJ and media outlets that have not been disclosed," said Rep. Mark Meadows (R-N.C.), a top House conservative and member of the Oversight Committee.

On Thursday, Republicans demanded more information from the Justice Department officials about a meeting Andrew Weissman, a career federal prosecutor now on special counsel Robert Mueller's investigative team, held with reporters last April. In a Jan. 4 op-ed, Meadows and Rep. Jim Jordan (R-Ohio) called for Attorney General Jeff Sessions to be replaced, citing in part an "alarming number of FBI agents and DOJ officials sharing information with reporters."

Last month, House Republicans cast public suspicion on communication they say occurred in the fall of 2016 between former FBI general counsel James Baker and a Mother Jones reporter who wrote stories at the time about the FBI’s probe of Trump-Russia ties. The lawmakers cited Justice Department documents for the claim but have provided no further details.

Republicans have offered no evidence of wrongdoing and say they are merely seeking more information for now. Democrats call the focus on reporter contacts the latest front in a wide-ranging campaign by some GOP lawmakers to discredit the Russia probe as an anti-Trump conspiracy fueled by what Trump has characterized as a “deep state” determined to bring him down.

We now know why the GOP is so eager to attack the FBI now.  Stay tuned.

Nevada Justice, Gunmerica Style

A judge in Las Vegas has decided to dismiss criminal charges against a Nevada rancher and his sons accused of leading an armed uprising against federal authorities in 2014.

Chief U.S. District Judge Gloria Navarro signaled when she declared a mistrial last month that she might dismiss the case outright against 71-year-old Cliven Bundy, sons Ryan and Ammon Bundy, and Montana militia leader Ryan Payne.

The judge severely criticized prosecutors for what she called “willful” violations of due process rights of defendants, including failing to properly turn over evidence to their lawyer.

But she gave the government a chance to submit written documents opposing dismissal of all charges.

The Monday decision is sure to reverberate among states’ rights advocates in the Western U.S., where the federal government controls vast lands that some people want to protect and others want used for grazing, mining and oil and gas drilling.

The tense armed standoff outside Bunkerville, about 80 miles (129 kilometers) northeast of Las Vegas, stopped a federal Bureau of Land Management roundup of Bundy cattle from public land including what is now Gold Butte National Monument.

About three dozen heavily armed federal agents guarding corrals in a dry riverbed faced hundreds of flag-waving men, women and children calling for the release of some 400 cows. The cattle had been rounded up under court orders issued over Bundy letting his herd graze for 20 years without paying government fees.

No shots were fired before the outnumbered and outgunned federal agents withdrew.

Several gunmen among the protesters who had assault-style rifles were acquitted of criminal charges in two trials last year.

As I said almost four years ago, if Cliven Bundy weren't white, he'd be dead.  Feds would have mowed him down and FOX News would have cheered the same way they did when Ferguson and Standing Rock happened.

Ryan Payne still faces charges from the armed takeover of a federal wildlife office in Oregon in January 2016, but most of those charges have been dismissed as well, especially against the Bundy family.  They're basically clear as of today.

Nice gig if you can get it.
Related Posts with Thumbnails