View Full Version : Haunted by Ghosts of ‘Fitzmas’ Past: Jason Leopold’s Trump/Cohen Debacle

01-21-2019, 04:19 PM
Haunted by Ghosts of ‘Fitzmas’ Past: Jason Leopold’s Trump/Cohen Debacle

...It was not actually a secret that Plame worked at the CIA, but until Novak’s column, nobody had connected the dots. Novak had gotten this scoop from Deputy Secretary of State Richard Armitage, but nobody knew this at the time, and the anti-war Left instead focused suspicion on their two most-hated villains in the Bush administration, Vice President Dick Cheney and senior political adviser Karl Rove. A special counsel investigation by Patrick Fitzgerald was undertaken in December 2003 and, although Fitzgerald learned early in the investigation that Armitage was Novak’s source, the investigation inexplicably dragged on past the 2004 election, in which Bush defeated anti-war Democrat John Kerry.

Having failed to defeat Bush at the polls, therefore, the anti-war Left was now obsessed with the idea that this “CIA leak” investigation would provide the scandal that brought down Bush, and so in 2005, speculation about Fitzgerald’s probe was rampant on the newly emergent liberal blogosphere. In December 2005, the phrase “Fitzmas” was coined to describe the moonbat Left’s hope that Fitzgerald would indict Karl Rove and bloggers gloated over their fantasies of Rove being “perp-walked” in handcuffs after what they hoped would be his imminent arrest. Alas, December came and went with no “Fitzmas” to celebrate, but in May 2006, Jason Leopold broke the exclusive news: Fitzgerald’s grand jury was about to return an indictment against Rove....

This was simply false, and so far as we know to this day, the “knowledgeable” sources were figments of Jason Leopold’s imagination. Rove was never indicted, and the only person prosecuted by Fitzgerald was Cheney’s aide Scooter Libby who had lied about his conversations with two reporters, Tim Russert of NBC News and Matt Cooper of Time magazine....

Once it became clear that Leopold’s story about Rove’s indictment was wrong, the Columbia Journalism Review mocked his story as “Leopold’s latest addition to his application for membership in the Stephen Glass school of journalism.” (In case you don’t know, Stephen Glass was an infamous journalistic fraud who once worked for The New Republic.) The key point about the Rove indictment story is this: Not once in more than a dozen years since that debacle has Leopold explained how and why he got it wrong....

....Indeed, after the BuzzFeed “bombshell” about Cohen and Trump exploded Thursday morning, many people familiar with Jason Leopold’s past brought up his previous bungles, and CNN’s Alisyn Camerota raised the issue with Anthony Cormier in an interview Thursday morning...

Watch that interview closely, because something Cormier said may give away where this story actually came from:

“[Our sources] have been working the Trump Moscow tower portion of the investigation…before Mueller. So they had access to a number of different documents, 302 reports which are interview reports,” he said. “That stuff was compiled as they began to look at who the players were speaking with, how those negotiations went, who all from the Trump organization and outside the organization were involved in getting that tower set up.”
“They began to compile the evidence before Michael Cohen decided to cooperate and speak with the Special Counsel,” Cormier added.

Doesn’t this indicate that this story is coming from sources who are no longer involved in the investigation, perhaps James Comey, Peter Strzok, Lisa Page, et al.? In other words, it appears that Cormier and Leopold are taking the word of “individuals” who say they “know this happened,” but this doesn’t tell us anything about the direction of Mueller’s current investigation or what Mueller can actually prove.

In other words, even if it were true that Trump directed Cohen to lie in his testimony to Congress, the sources cited by Cormier and Leopold would not have knowledge of whether Mueller could prove this, because their sources were involved “before Mueller.” He was appointed special counsel in May 2017, so when Cormier says these sources “began to look at who the players were speaking with” prior to May 2017, shouldn’t we infer that these “two federal law enforcement officials involved in an investigation” are not relating any recent information obtained by the Mueller probe?

A gigantic nothingburger — that’s what this story was, and when BuzzFeed published it, Professor Jacobson speculated about the motive:

The Buzzfeed story, like the Steele Dossier, serves a purpose. Just like the Dossier was used as justification for a FISA warrant on Carter Page and two years of Russia collusion conspiracy theories, the Buzzfeed story is being used by Democrats in the House to demand a House investigation be launched to see if there is evidence to support impeachment of Trump. . . .