The week of December 11, 2017 has been chock-a-block with news.
It’s unlikely Big Media have reported the bulk of it. What follows are a few stories people might have missed.
The anti-Trump FBI ‘insurance policy’
A series of text messages between FBI counterintelligence official Peter Strzok and his mistress, FBI lawyer Lisa Page were released on Tuesday, December 12. The Daily Caller reports (emphases mine):
Two FBI officials who worked on Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s Russia investigation exchanged text messages last year in which they appear to have discussed ways to prevent Donald Trump from being elected president.
“I want to believe the path you threw out for consideration in Andy’s office — that there’s no way [Trump] gets elected — but I’m afraid we can’t take that risk,” FBI counterintelligence official Peter Strzok wrote in a cryptic text message to Lisa Page, an FBI lawyer and his mistress.
“It’s like an insurance policy in the unlikely event you die before you’re 40,” Strzok wrote in the text, dated Aug. 15, 2016.
Andy is likely Deputy FBI Director Andrew McCabe.
Several congressional panels have been after these text messages since the beginning of December, when news emerged of their existence. However, Strzok was dismissed from the Mueller investigation four months ago.
The text messages, some of which The Daily Caller quotes, are anti-Trump. Some have four letter words. Most are cryptic:
“Maybe you’re meant to stay where you are because you’re meant to protect the country from that menace,” Page wrote.
“I can protect our country at many levels, not sure if that helps,” Strzok replied.
Like many of the exchanges, the full context of the message is not entirely clear.
Strzok also offered praise for Clinton while suggesting that he planned to vote for her.
In a March 2, 2016 text Strzok said he would likely vote for Clinton. In another exchange he wrote that if Trump won the Republican primary, Clinton would likely win the presidency.
On Wednesday, December 13, the Department of Justice inspector general, Michael Horowitz, released more information about the texts. The Daily Caller has more on the story. Horowitz received the text messages on July 20:
A week later, he met with Mueller and Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein to inform them of the politically-charged texts.
Strzok was “immediately” removed from the investigation after Mueller was told of the texts.
Strzok, who then served as the FBI’s No. 2 counterintelligence official, conducted many of the biggest interviews in the investigation, including with Clinton and her top aides, Huma Abedin and Cheryl Mills …
The FBI handed over those messages on July 20, 2017. After reviewing those exchanges, Horowitz expanded the investigation to include all of the text messages exchanged between Strzok and Page from Nov. 30, 2016 to July 28, 2017.
Horowitz’s office received those messages on Aug. 10.
Strzok’s departure from Mueller’s team was reported by ABC News on Aug. 16. The network reported that Strzok had been placed in a job in the FBI’s HR department.
The reason for Strzok’s demotion remained a secret for nearly four months as the Justice Department and Mueller’s office declined media and congressional requests for an explanation. The levy finally broke on Dec. 2, when The Washington Post and New York Times simultaneously reported the existence of the text messages.
A sample of the texts were released Tuesday night ahead of Rosenstein’s testimony before the House Judiciary Committee …
Republicans on the House Judiciary Committee pressed Rosenstein on that text message, suggesting that Strzok was indicating that he planned to prevent Trump from being elected.
[Senator Charles] Grassley, who chairs the Senate Judiciary Committee, sent a letter to Rosenstein on Wednesday inquiring about the text message.
Rosenstein said Wednesday that the Justice Department and FBI plan to soon make Strzok available for an interview with the House Intelligence Committee.
Strzok’s cryptic Aug. 2016 text [re the insurance policy] was sent just after he was handpicked to supervise the FBI’s investigation into possible collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia.
Horowitz’s letter leaves a few questions unanswered. For one, it is not clear whether Strzok sent politically-charged texts with anyone else. It is also not clear whether the messages contained in the second requested batch of Strzok texts contain any controversial remarks.
The Wall Street Journal has more (note final paragraph):
This is a developing story which has the potential for unveiling criminality — but ultimately:
Alabama special election
In a surprise upset, the Democrat candidate Doug Jones was elected to the Senate, defeating Roy Moore.
The background to the story is that Jeff Sessions vacated his Senate seat in Alabama to serve as Attorney General earlier this year. Sessions appointed Luther Strange to replace him. Alabama governor Kay Ivey directed that a special election take place. However, I read anecdotally that she did not need to hold a special election. Strange could have served until his term ran out.
In any event, Luther Strange ran against Judge Roy Moore in the Republican primary. Strange lost to Moore. Accusations of molesting a teenage girl in the 1970s — unproven — led by an attorney who tried to smear then-candidate Donald Trump in 2016 — dogged Moore. Even so, Moore did not have any get-out-the-vote programme, whereas Jones and the Democrats did. Moore then lost to Jones — but only by 1.5%.
Could this have been a case of voter fraud in a state that votes overwhelmingly Republican?
Rumours are circulating that out-of-state voters were brought into Alabama and driven around from polling station to polling station — a classic Democrat strategy that works.
The Republican Party — specifically Mitch McConnell, Senate Majority Leader — also refused to help Moore. McConnell’s detractors refer to him as Turtle.
Imperator_Rex has a good analysis, excerpted below:
He concludes that Trump surely has a game plan in mind.
The 2018 mid-terms require Republicans like McConnell to shape up or ship out.
However, as Imperator_Rex says, McConnell and his ilk don’t really care. They are all part of the Uniparty, so life continues for them much as before. Democrat dominance, especially when it comes to opposing Trump, is preferable to a Republican majority that might be persuaded to turn Trump policies into law.
Jones’s election nearly puts the number of Democrat senators on a par with Republicans. Danger, Will Robinson, danger!
Message to the black electorate
On December 13, the Revd Leon Benjamin and his family were guests at the White House.
They are an example of the middle class families helped by Trump’s proposed tax reform. Trump spoke about the tax plan, then invited the pastor to speak.
Pastor Benjamin had an important message, which began with:
To God be the glory!
Former Milwaukee sheriff David A Clarke expressed similar sentiments the day before:
On Wednesday, December 13, First Lady Melania Trump participated in a charity drive for toddlers, the Marine Corps Reserve’s Toys for Tots, at Joint Base Anacostia-Bolling in Washington, D.C.
Press Secretary Sarah Sanders received a verbal kicking after Thanksgiving from CNN’s April Ryan, a annoying journo at the White House press briefings. Ryan criticised Sanders’s pecan pies, accusing the press secretary of not having made them herself.
So (although the crusts look store-bought) …
Here’s what happened on the day. Food really does bring people together:
Never mind that. Sarah’s dad had a message for her:
This will be my last news-related item until after Christmas.