The go-to political bromide is that the cover-up is worse than the crime, because the typical political scandal involves sex, money or abuse of power…issues that are injurious, but not necessarily fatally so, to the Nation.
But when the crime is treason, well… that’s different.
Brian Beutler at Crooked exposes Chuck Grassley’s shambolic attempts to discredit the Steele Dossier in all their ugly gory, but contends that grotesque as they were, the crime they tried to cover was infinitely worse.
Beutler suggests, laborious as it might be, that when reading the transcripts of the Fusion GPS testimony freed from captivity by Senator Feinstein, that you separate the questioning of DiFi’s lawyers from that of Grassley’s shysters to arrive to the truth of what was going on in the hearings.
One side was trying to uncover the truth, while the other was shoveling dirt back on it as it quickly as it emerged:
“The transcript reads in chapters, which alternate hour by hour from questioning by Grassley’s counsel to questions by Feinstein’s and back. It is somewhat tedious, but extremely revealing, to reorder the transcript after first reading, and consume the Grassley half and the Feinstein half as separate, continuous wholes.
From the latter, we learn that by the time Steele reached out to law enforcement, independent sources had already tipped the FBI off to the cooperative relationship between the Trump campaign and Russia. We learn that, using decades of combined experience detecting disinformation, Simpson and Steele scrubbed the raw intel Steele collected, and were convinced that none of it was intentionally planted by Russian counterintelligence. We learn that Steele, with Simpson’s blessing, turned over his information to the FBI as a departure from their political intelligence gathering, expecting no political dividend because, Simpson said, “from my decades of dealing with U.S. elections [as a newspaper reporter] that you can’t expect the government or the FBI to be of any use in a campaign because the DOJ has rules against law enforcement getting involved in investigations in the middle of a campaign.”
But Steele and Simpson’s efforts to interpret what they had uncovered about the efforts of the Kremlin to, at first groom, and then, empower Donald Trump did not interest Grassley and his GOP counterparts who were already busy in the process of using that ill gained influence to enact their long dreamed of fleecing of the American sheeple for their masters in the Manor House.
“By my count, over the course of about five hours, Chuck Grassley’s lawyers asked Simpson literally zero questions designed to increase their own understanding of Russian efforts to disrupt the election. They likewise asked no questions aimed at establishing Simpsons’ level of confidence in the information in the dossier, or in documentary evidence he compiled of Trump’s involvement in money laundering and his ties to organized crime.
They spent their hours instead trying without much success to impeach Simpson’s credibility and paint him as a partisan. They were particularly interested in skewing the composition of Simpsons’ client base to make it seem tilted to Democrats (it isn’t), and in getting Simpson to testify that he had a financial interest in triggering an FBI investigation of the Trump campaign (he didn’t). Confronted with the allegation that the Trump campaign was complicit in a criminal plot to sabotage the Clinton campaign, Grassley’s representatives wanted to know why Simpson had the nerve to try to alert the public, through the media.
Grassley doesn’t work for Trump and neither do his aides, but their conduct blends seamlessly into the obstructive behavior Trump and his advisers exhibited during the campaign and after, and thus represents a total abdication of their Constitutional roles. Rather than alert the FBI, as requested, about Russian meddling, the Trump campaign cooperated with Russian hackers, and used their stolen materials to maximum benefit. When the FBI acknowledged the existence of its investigation of the Trump campaign, Trump called it a witch hunt and tried to quash it, along with parallel investigations limping along on Capitol Hill. Grassley’s efforts began where Trump’s left off. The special counsel’s investigation of the Trump campaign continues, so Grassley has devoted himself to proving that it is the fruit of poisonous partisanship. First, they hoped Simpson would melt and confess to being a high-rent version of Roger Stone. When they failed to discredit Simpson, Steele, and the dossier, or to establish that the dossier triggered the FBI’s investigation, Grassley tried to bury the testimony, and then to discredit the dossier by proxy with a baseless accusation that Steele is a criminal.”
Beutler’s indictment of the Republicans is a long but productive read that fair use and a need to attend to other matters do not allow me to do justice to…
I urge you to read for yourselves.