Beyond the fringe
by Tom Sullivan
Patrick Byrne’s rambling, half-hour tale of deep-state conspiracy, spies, romance, and “Men in Black” Thursday night on CNN could only have been more unhinged if he had given it in 90-degree heat on the White House lawn with a helicopter idling loudly in the background.
The newly former (as of yesterday) CEO of Overstock.com told Chris Cuomo on “Cuomo Prime Time” a disjointed tale of being recruited by “X, Y, and Z” at the FBI to stay close to Maria Butina, to the point of encouraging a romantic relationship with her. The Russian woman now serving a prison sentence for conspiracy to act as a foreign agent sought to build contacts with Hillary Clinton, Marco Rubio, Ted Cruz, and Donald Trump. She arranged a secret meeting between Don Jr. and Russian banker Aleksandr Torshin at a 2015 NRA convention in Tennessee (and/or at some other meeting in Kentucky), Byrne claimed as he bobbed around the shot.
News flash: Byrne also claims Butina was being groomed by key oligarchs to be president of Russia.
In an earlier (and oddly consistent) interview with Fox News, Byrne had named John Carlin, Andrew McCabe, and James Comey as officials “X, Y, and Z” who had “hijacked” the FBI from the top to turn a counterintelligence effort into political espionage. Peter Strzok was their “errand boy.” But Republicans are wrong, Byrne told Cuomo. The Russians were definitely up to something. Just what was hard to make out from Bryne’s bonkers interviews. Nor was Byrne’s point.
Asha Rangappa, a former FBI official and CNN legal analyst, said elements of Byrne’s claims about how the FBI encouraged his initial efforts to build a relationship with Butina line up with how the bureau would typically run a counterintelligence investigation.
But she said she was skeptical about his claim that the bureau later encouraged him to have a “romantic relationship” with Butina.
Byrne had shared information concerning the early days of the Russia investigation in a meeting earlier this year with Justice Department officials, a US official said, confirming his account in last week’s statement.
Justice officials found aspects of Byrne’s story to be believable in part because he shared operational details that were not widely known, the US official said. The official would not say who Byrne met with and what specifically was discussed.
Naturally, the “Deep State” fringe will be all over this story this morning. Nothing so far from Dons Sr. or Jr.
….like he’s the King of Israel. They love him like he is the second coming of God…But American Jews don’t know him or like him. They don’t even know what they’re doing or saying anymore. It makes no sense! But that’s OK, if he keeps doing what he’s doing, he’s good for…..
After the chosen one’s “increasingly untethered to reality” statements to the press, one wonders after Byrne’s interviews if the acting president’s personal manias are contagious. He might be the one who needs to be in isolation.