Some Thoughts On Our Religious Liberty

Yesterday Andrew McCarthy posted an article at The National Review about a recent Supreme Court decision. The title of the article is, “It wasn’t just religious liberty that Chief Justice Roberts strangled.” The article is detailed and complex, so I suggest that you follow the link to read the entire article. However, there are a few things I want to point out that I think are very significant.

The article notes:

Most startling was that Chief Justice John Roberts not only joined the court’s four left-leaning justices (Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Stephen Breyer, Sonia Sotomayor, Elena Kagan) in declining to uphold religious liberty. Roberts also wrote a brief opinion explaining his decision. 

That opinion is an eye-opener. Roberts accords the right to worship no deference by virtue of its being a fundamental liberty expressly protected by the First Amendment. We are to see it as an activity like any other activity, commercial or social, the pros and cons of which technocrats must weigh in fashioning regulations. The opinion, moreover, champions the power of government officials to dictate to the people who elect them without “second-guessing by an unelected federal judiciary” — exactly the power that the Bill of Rights, and the incorporation jurisprudence by which the court has applied much of it to the states, are meant to deny.

The article also points out:

In rejecting the religious liberty claim, Roberts counters that it is not a matter of unlawful discrimination if different things are regulated in different ways. Religious gatherings, he rationalized, are being restricted like gatherings that are physically similar, such as lectures, concerts, theater productions and spectator sports. He conceded that less intense restrictions have been imposed on other activities, such as shopping, banking and laundering. But that, he insists, is because of salient differences in the way they are conducted: small groups, no extended proximity, and so on.

But wait a second. What about the constitutional pedigree of religious exercise? That was the point pressed by Justice Brett Kavanaugh, in a brief dissent joined by Justices Clarence Thomas and Neil Gorsuch. (Justice Samuel Alito also opposed the denial of First Amendment relief but did not join Kavanaugh’s dissenting opinion.)

The article concludes:

There is no recognition, in Roberts’ rendering, that there is another side to this equation — a side where 400 times the number of people who’ve died have lost their jobs, millions of them facing ruin. The stubborn message: Don’t expect the court to help you, you’re the ones who elected these people; if you don’t like what they do, un-elect them. If you’ve elected social engineers who say the Bill of Rights is above their pay grade, that’s your problem.

The justices are happy to order that abortion must be available, to decide which couples (or perhaps throuples) must be permitted to marry, and to dictate what’s ever next in the ceaseless march of progressive, organic “liberty.” But as for the liberties that are actually in the Constitution, we are on our own.

Unfortunately Justice Roberts has been something of a disappointment to those of us who expected him to be a responsible judge who would uphold the Constitution. He has wandered away from the constitutional role of the judiciary more than once.

The Problem With Justice In Minneapolis

The death of George Floyd is a tragedy. There is no doubt that he would still be alive if he hadn’t been held down on the ground by the police for as long as he was. However, the autopsy does not give asphixiation as the primary cause of death. So where do we go from here?

Andrew McCarthy posted an article at The National Review today that might provide some answers.

The article notes:

For one thing, contrary to most people’s assumption, Mr. Floyd appears not to have died from asphyxia or strangulation as Chauvin pinned him to the ground, knee to the neck. Rather, as alleged in the complaint, Floyd suffered from coronary-artery disease and hypertensive-heart disease. The complaint further intimates, but does not come out and allege, that Floyd may have had “intoxicants” in his system. The effects of these underlying health conditions and “any potential intoxicants” are said to have “combined” with the physical restraint by three police officers, most prominently Chauvin, to cause Floyd’s death.

As I’ve noted in a column on the homepage, Hennepin County prosecutors have charged Chauvin with third-degree depraved-indifference homicide. Now that the complaint has been released publicly, we see that a lesser offense was also charged: second-degree manslaughter. This homicide charge involves “culpable negligence creating an unreasonable risk” of serious bodily harm, and carries a maximum sentence of ten years’ imprisonment.

It is easy to see why prosecutors added this charge (and why they shied away from more serious grades of murder described in my column). The case is tougher for prosecutors if there is doubt about whether Chauvin’s unorthodox and unnecessary pressure on Floyd’s neck caused him to die. Had he been strangled, causative effect of the neck pressure would be patent. But if the neck pressure instead just contributed to the stress of the situation that triggered death because of unusual underlying medical problems (possibly in conjunction with intoxicants Floyd may have consumed), it becomes a harder murder prosecution.

Stay tuned. This is going to get complicated. I believe that the police force was correct to fire the officers involved. However, getting them to pay a more serious price for their abuse of power is going to be difficult. Even with video evidence, they are innocent until proven guilty and have to be convicted ‘beyond a reasonable doubt.’

 

A Synopsis Of What Obamagate Was And How It Happened

Yesterday Andrew McCarthy posted an op-ed piece in The Washington Examiner detailing some of the highlights of Obamagate. Please follow the link to read the entire article. I am going to focus on a few highlights.

The op-ed notes:

The Trump-Russia inquiry was ingeniously designed. If the president demanded that his subordinates unveil the intelligence files that would reveal the prior administration’s political spying, he stood to be accused of obstructing investigators and seeking to distract the country from his own alleged criminality.

On that score, an underappreciated aspect of the saga is that Trump came to office as a novice. His unhinged Twitter outbursts obscure an abiding uncertainty about the extent of the president’s power to direct the intelligence bureaucracy. A more seasoned Beltway hand would have known what he could safely order reluctant bureaucrats and Obama holdovers to produce for him or disclose to the public. Trump, however, was at sea. That is why it was so vital for his antagonists to sideline Michael Flynn and Jeff Sessions, Trump loyalists with deep experience in intelligence and law enforcement, who could have put a stop to the farce if they’d remained, respectively, national security adviser and attorney general.

The article concludes:

There are two lessons to be drawn from all this.

First, Barr could not be more right that the malfeasance in our government today is the politicization of law enforcement and intelligence. The only way to fix that is to stop doing it. That cannot be accomplished by bringing what many would see as the most politicized prosecution of all time. The imperative to get the Justice Department and the FBI out of our politics discourages the filing of charges that would be portrayed as banana-republic stuff. Yet, even if Barr succeeds in this noble quest, there is no assurance that a future administration would not turn the clock back.

Second, when wayward officials are not called to account, the powers they have abused become the target of public and congressional ire. The problem is that the powers are essential. Without properly directed foreign counterintelligence, supplemented by legitimate law enforcement, the United States cannot be protected from those who would do her harm.

The Trump-Russia farce has destroyed the bipartisan consensus on counterterrorism, and on the need for aggressive policing against cyberintrusions and other provocations by America’s enemies. There is an implicit understanding: The public endows its national security officials with sweeping secret authorities, and those officials solemnly commit that these authorities will only be used to thwart our enemies, not to spy on Americans or undermine the political process.

That understanding has been fractured. In counterintelligence, government operatives have to be able to look us in the eye and say, “You can trust us.” Americans no longer do. The sentiment is justified. That will not make our consequent vulnerability any less perilous.

Consequences for the guilty parties would be appropriate. However, until the American public is educated on exactly what happened, any consequences are going to look political. What is needed at this time is a massive education campaign to bring the general public up to speed. Unfortunately, the mainstream media is not likely to participate in that campaign. I am concerned that because of the dishonesty of the mainstream media,  many Americans have no idea that there actually was an attempted soft coup against President Trump. Attorney General Barr and those working with him will need the wisdom of Solomon to navigate the maze that lies before them.

As More Information Comes To Light, There Are More Questions

Everything surrounding the case against General Flynn has been looked at, analyzed, and dissected, but it seems that the more we learn, the more questions arise. The Federalist posted an article today about the weaponization of the intelligence community by the Obama administration. I suspect that what we are learning is only a taste of what is to come. The article at The Federalist is complex, and I suggest that you follow the link to read the entire article. I will attempt to summarize the high points.

The article reports:

The drip-drip-drip of newly declassified documents related to the Trump-Russia investigation, together with recent reports that a classified leak against former National Security Advisor Michael Flynn might not have come from an unmasking request, leaves little doubt that the Obama administration weaponized federal surveillance laws to target Trump associates and undermine the incoming administration.

The story thus far is complex, but it reveals a disturbing abuse of power by the Obama administration that suggests congressional reform of federal surveillance laws is needed to ensure this never happens again.

Just as a side note, I can assure you that if those who misused the intelligence community are not punished, we will see this again.

The article continues:

According to Rice’s bizarre email, which she wrote to herself as President Trump was being inaugurated on Jan. 20, 2017, Comey told Obama and Biden he had “some concerns that incoming NSA Flynn is speaking frequently with Russian Ambassador Kislyak,” and that “the level of communication is unusual.” How did Comey know this? Because the FBI had been spying on Flynn as part of a counterintelligence investigation it launched in August 2016.

Flynn’s conversations with the Russian ambassador became national news after someone in the Obama administration illegally leaked to Washington Post columnist David Ignatius, who revealed in a Jan. 12, 2017, column that Flynn had spoken to Kislyak several times on Dec. 29, 2017.

That touched off an effort by Republicans to find out who leaked to the Post. Last week, responding to a request from Sens. Ron Johnson (R-Wis.) and Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa), acting Director of National Intelligence Richard Grenell released a list of former senior Obama administration officials who requested the unmasking of Flynn between Nov. 30, 2016, and Jan. 12, 2017.

This is the important (often overlooked) fact:

But the dates of the unmasking requests don’t match up with Flynn’s Dec. 29 conversations with the Russian ambassador, which suggests Flynn was identified in an intelligence report that didn’t require the concealment of his identity. On Wednesday, the Washington Post reported that, according to an anonymous former senior U.S. official, “When the FBI circulated [the report], they included Flynn’s name from the beginning,” and that, “There were therefore no requests for the unmasking of that information.”

This report matches with a theory floated over the weekend by National Review Online’s Andrew McCarthy, that Flynn’s call with Kislyak might have been “intercepted under an intelligence program not subject to the masking rules, probably by the CIA or a friendly foreign spy service acting in a nod-and-wink arrangement with our intelligence community.”

Please follow the link to read the rest of the story–it is amazing.

How To Write A Report Without Actually Saying Anything

When I heard about the article in The New York Times that proclaimed that a Republican-led Senate panel has issued a report that “undercuts claims by President Trump and his allies that Obama-era officials sought to undermine his candidacy by investigating Russia’s 2016 election meddling,” I wondered how that was possible considering the recently declassified information relating to Operation Crossfire Hurricane. Well Andrew McCarthy posted an article at The National Review yesterday that cleared that up for me. First of all I would like to state that I believe that the Senate Intelligence Committee is one of the most corrupt and leaky groups in Washington. They have been caught leaking fake news on more than one occasion. At any rate, Andrew McCarthy explained in his article exactly what was said in the report and what was not said in the report.

The article notes:

In truth, the story is a nothing-burger. We learn that one of the most useless committees on Capitol Hill, the Senate Intelligence Committee, has issued a 158-page report — festooned with the usual “there are things we can’t tell you” redactions — as a capper to its three-year investigation into a question no one is asking: Did the intelligence community competently conclude that Russia interfered in the 2016 campaign?

No one is asking that question because, for the vast majority of people closely following the collusion caper, that would be like asking whether the Chiefs won the Super Bowl.

We know Russia interfered in our campaign. Given Moscow’s long history of meddling in American politics, it would only have been a story if Russia did not meddle. The principal argument by President Trump and other intelligence agency critics has not been that Obama officials undermined Trump’s candidacy and presidency “by investigating Russia’s 2016 election meddling.” The argument is that they undermined Trump’s campaign and presidency by claiming that Trump and his campaign were complicit in Russia’s 2016 election meddling.

On that key question the Useless Committee is, as is its custom, mum.

They also punted on another key question:

The real question is whether the Obama administration and its officials held over by the new administration fabricated a tale about the Trump campaign’s complicity in Russia’s hacking. Did they peddle that tale to the FISA court while willfully concealing key exculpatory evidence? Did they continue the investigation under the guise of counterintelligence after Trump was elected, in the hope of finding a crime over which he could be impeached? Did they consciously mislead an American president about whether he was under investigation? Did they purposefully suggest in public testimony that the president was a criminal suspect, while privately assuring him that he was not one? And finally, when the Trump-Russia collusion nonsense was collapsing in a heap, did they open a criminal obstruction case — based on an untenable legal theory and facilitated by a leak of investigative information that was orchestrated by the just-fired FBI director — in order to justify continuing the probe under the auspices of a special counsel?

On these questions, the Useless Committee’s report is silent. Indeed, the report says right up front, in the findings section, that the intelligence agencies, over the FBI’s objection, did not include information from the infamous Steele dossier in its December 30, 2016, assessment on Russian interference — though, “as a compromise to the FBI insistence,” dossier allegations were included in an annex to the assessment. The Senate-report findings do not get into why the FBI was pushing so hard on the preposterous dossier. Nor do they mention that, by the time of the assessment, the bureau had already heavily relied on the dossier to obtain a surveillance warrant from the FISA court, and was even then preparing a submission to get yet another warrant — telling the federal judges the bureau believed that the Trump campaign was conspiring with the Kremlin.

Please follow the link to read the entire article. Andrew McCarthy explains how a 158-page report can say absolutely nothing. It is not a coincidence that this report was released just as declassified documents are showing illegal surveillance of the Trump campaign and administration and we are awaiting the Dunbar report. This report is a pre-emptive strike put out by the political class in Washington.

There Are Serious Problems In Our Justice System

Yesterday The Washington Times posted an article about the sentencing of Roger Stone. Frankly it seems as if Roger Stone’s biggest crime was supporting President Trump.

The article reports:

Federal prosecutors’ initial recommendation that Roger Stone serve between seven to nine years in prison was unusually excessive compared to similar sentences imposed for lying to Congress, according to an analysis by The Washington Times.

However, the Justice Department’s move to reduce the sentencing recommendation for an ally of President Trump set off a politically-charged fracas in Washington. Capitol Hill Democrats demanded an investigation into why the department overruled prosecutors’ initial request as “excessive and unwarranted.”

A Washington jury convicted Stone in November of lying to Congress, obstruction of justice and witness tampering for thwarting lawmakers’ investigation into Trump campaign collusion with Russia.

Roger Stone was arrested in a predawn raid with a S.W.A.T. team. He was not considered a danger to anyone, and his wife is deaf. Can you imagine the fear she felt. This whole scenario is over the top.

Meanwhile, do you remember Brock Allen Turner? He was a Stanford University student athlete caught in the act of raping a female student. He was sentenced to six months in the county jail and probation. What about Hillary Clinton and her secret server? How many security violations and destruction of evidence charges were overlooked there? Meanwhile a young submariner was sent to jail for taking a picture of his workspace.

Our justice system is wandering down a road that should not be traveled.

The article at The Washington Times notes:

Two other political figures ensnared in then-special counsel Robert Mueller’s Russia probe also were convicted for lying to Congress:

⦁ Lobbyist W. Samuel Patten pleaded guilty and prosecutors dropped the charge. He got three years probation for illegal lobbying.

⦁ Former Trump fixer Michael Cohen received four years in prison after he pleaded guilty to lying to Congress and other crimes.

The key difference between Stone’s and other cases is he also went down for obstruction and tampering with witnesses. Prosecutors with the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Washington said the added convictions demanded more prison time.

They were “piling on,” said former federal prosecutor Andrew McCarthy.

“A sentence of nine years is unreasonable,” he said. “The Justice Department could have brought this whole case as one count of obstruction and instead brought seven felonies.”

This sentence does need to be revised.

Putting Up The Smoke Screen

The Inspector General’s report on the foreign intervention in the 2016 election is expected to come out in the next two weeks or so. Many of us are getting very impatient. Based on what the alternative media has been reporting for years now, Attorney General Barr and his investigating team are looking in all of the right places–Russia, Australia, Italy, Ukraine, and Britain. Those who took part on the scam and the investigation that followed are correct to be very uncomfortable about what is to come. The mainstream media is trying to blunt the impact of the information that will be made public.

Yesterday Newsbusters posted an article detailing exactly what is going on. It is a complicated article, so I suggest you follow the link and read the entire article, but I will provide a few highlights.

The article reports:

Once upon a time — in a galaxy far, far away — The New York Times and The Washington Post were the go-to papers when it came to uncovering political scandals.  

Both papers made a point of running the Pentagon Papers, an internal and secret U.S. government history of  various presidents and their relevant Cabinet secretaries decision-making on American involvement in the Vietnam War. The Post, of course, was also famous for its birddogging young reporters Woodward and Bernstein and their digging out the details of the Watergate scandal. In fact, movies have been made with Hollywood A-listers lionizing both The Post and the journalists involved. Robert Redford and Dustin Hoffman starred in the Watergate movie (All the President’s Men), while Tom Hanks and Meryl Streep starred in the dramatic tale of the Post’s battles with government officials over  breaking the Pentagon Papers story (The Post. )

So it is with no little irony that today the two papers are leading the media charge to cover-up “Spygate” – the considerable scandal that is the the use of American intelligence agencies to spy on the political opponents of Obama and Clinton in 2016.

The Wall Street Journal has noticed, saying this in an editorial titled: “Foreign Influence and Double Standards. Democrats want to stop Barr from investigating what happened in 2016.” 

The article also notes:

Over at the Times, that paper is busy running stories like this one by the virulent Trump-hater Michelle Goldberg. This jewel of political framing is titled: “Just How Corrupt Is Bill Barr?” 

Perhaps the real question should be: Just How Corrupt is The New York Times

A perfect example of the game at play in this article is Goldberg citing one “Stephen Gillers, a professor of legal ethics at New York University School of Law.” I recall Stephen Gillers. In fact, I took a look at Gillers in my 2005 book The Borking Rebellion, a recounting of the Senate confirmation of Bush nominee Judge D. Brooks Smith for the Third Circuit of Appeals. The Post had asked Gillers for comment on a supposed ethics issue involving Judge Smith, presenting him, as does Goldberg today, as an above-it-all, strictly non-partisan legal ethics expert.

In fact, in the Smith battle I uncovered the fact that Gillers was hardly a non-partisan. He had served as a consultant to a far left special interest group called the Community Rights Counsel. The CRC had issued a report harshly critical of the Judge, and The Post went to Gillers for comment, leaving out of their story Gillers own ties to the CRC, the very group whose report on Smith he was being asked to comment. 

Goldberg plays the same game, citing Gillers as if he were some lofty non-partisan when, in fact, his background and record illustrate that he is anything but. Goldberg’s presentation is, to borrow again from her title, corrupt.

Andrew McCarthy at The National Review noted recently:

The strategy here is obvious. The Democrats and their note-takers would like the public to believe that Barr’s investigation is an adjunct of the Trump 2020 campaign — and a grossly improper one at that. The misimpression they seek to create is that Barr is putting the nation’s law-enforcement powers in the service of Trump’s reelection campaign, in the absence of any public interest. The hope is that this will delegitimize not only any information that emerges from Ukraine but the whole of the Justice Department’s investigation of intelligence and law-enforcement abuses of power attendant to the 2016 election.

If the people who used government and foreign resources to spy on a political opponent in 2016 are not held accountable, their actions will become the template for future political campaigns. This will destroy our republic.

Some Disturbing Thoughts On The Jeffrey Epstein Case

Yesterday Andrew McCarthy posted an article at The National Review about the Jeffrey Epstein case. Andrew McCarthy is the former Chief Assistant United States Attorney in the Southern District of New York who led the terrorism prosecution against the “Blind Sheikh” (Omar Abdel Rahman) and eleven other jihadists for conducting a war of urban terrorism against the United States that included the 1993 World Trade Center bombing and a plot to bomb New York City landmarks. He served as a prosecutor for 20 years. He has testified before Congress as an expert on issues of constitutional law, counterterrorism, and law-enforcement.

Below are some of his observations about the case against Jeffrey Epstein:

On Monday, Geoffrey Berman, the U.S. attorney for the Southern District of New York, announced that his office has now charged Epstein. While the SDNY indictment may be new, Epstein’s crimes are not. They are the same offenses from which Acosta agreed to spare Epstein from federal prosecution if he pled guilty to state prostitution charges — which Epstein proceeded to do, in reliance on Acosta’s commitment. There is thus a very good chance, based on the Constitution’s guarantee against double jeopardy, that the SDNY case against Epstein will be voided by the SD-Florida non-prosecution agreement (non-pros).

To be sure, the SDNY has a counterargument, and it will be vigorously made. It has two components. First, there is language in the non-pros that appears to limit the agreement to SD-Florida, to wit: “prosecution in this District for these offenses shall be deferred in favor of prosecution by the State of Florida” (emphasis added). Here, “deferred” effectively means forfeited — the same effect for double-jeopardy purposes as a conviction or acquittal — because of Epstein’s compliance with the requirement that he plead guilty in the state case. Second, there is jurisprudence in the Second Circuit (which controls in the SDNY) holding that one federal district’s agreement does not bind another.

Therefore, prosecutors will argue that the 2007 SD-Florida non-pros does not bar a 2019 SDNY indictment arising out of the same conduct and charging the same offenses.

I’m skeptical . . . and I think the SDNY is, too, notwithstanding the brave face prosecutors put on this week. They have carefully drafted an indictment far narrower than the SD-Florida’s contemplated case. If prosecutors really believed that there was no double-jeopardy problem, they’d have no such hesitation: They’d throw everything the FBI ever had at this sociopath. They know they are on thin ice.

Mr. McCarthy’s evaluation of the situation is not encouraging. I hope he is wrong, but his history and knowledge suggest he is probably right.

Please read the entire article to see the full argument. It would be a shame if this sleazeball escaped justice twice. I know he is innocent until proven guilty, but he has already been proven guilty–he just didn’t have to pay any real price for his horrific behavior.

 

The Saga Continues

Andrew McCarthy has an article up at The National Review today about the roots of the Russian collusion investigation. The title of the article is, “The FBI’s Trump-Russia Investigation Was Formally Opened on False Pretenses.”

Meanwhile, CNN is reporting today:

If Democrats are not careful, they will end up in the worst of all political worlds.

Since the release of the Mueller report, the party’s leadership in Congress has been extraordinarily hesitant about taking the logical next steps. Faced with a 400-plus page report documenting extensive efforts by the President of the United States to obstruct justice, House Democrats have punted — making it pretty clear that impeachment proceedings will not be happening any time soon.

Even as the attorney general takes extraordinary steps to obstruct the subsequent hearings into obstruction, Democratic leaders remain tepid about any conversation that involves impeachment.

Okay. Let’s go back to some basic tenants of American law. First of all, you are innocent until proven guilty. The Mueller Report specifically stated that they could not find the evidence to prove President Trump guilty of anything. That means according to our laws, he is presumed innocent. Second of all, how can you have obstruction when there was no crime involved?

The CNN report is totally misleading and divisive. It states that the President obstructed justice when the Mueller Report concluded that there was no evidence to support that claim.

So let’s look at what Andrew McCarthy has to say about the root of this witch hunt:

Chicanery was the force behind the formal opening of the FBI’s Trump-Russia investigation. There was a false premise, namely: The Trump campaign must have known that Russia possessed emails related to Hillary Clinton. From there, through either intentional deception or incompetence, the foreign ministries of Australia and the United States erected a fraudulent story tying the Trump campaign’s purported knowledge to the publication of hacked Democratic National Committee emails.

Andrew McCarthy points out in his article that in order to begin surveillance on the Trump campaign, the State Department and the FBI had to find something other than the Steele Dossier to base their claims on. They set up George Papadopoulos.

The National Review article lists some of the connects of the people involved in setting up the scam:

The State Department (very much including the American embassy in London) was deeply in the tank for Clinton. Downer has a history with the Clintons that includes arranging a $25 million donation to the Clinton Foundation in 2006, when he was Australia’s foreign minister and then-senator Hillary Clinton was the favorite to become U.S. president in 2008. For years, furthermore, Downer has been closely tied to British intelligence, which, like the British government broadly, was anti-Trump. (More on that in the future.)

The State Department’s Dibble immediately sent Downer’s information though government channels to the FBI.

About three weeks earlier, Victoria Nuland, the Obama administration’s top State Department official for European and Eurasian affairs, had supported the FBI’s request to meet former British intelligence officer Christopher Steele in London. Steele was the principal author of the Clinton-campaign-sponsored faux intelligence reports (the unverified “Steele dossier”), which claimed — based on anonymous sources and multiple layers of hearsay — that Russia was plotting to help Trump win the election, and that it had been holding compromising information about Hillary Clinton.

On July 5, Agent Michael Gaeta, the FBI’s legal attaché in Rome (who had worked with Steele on the FIFA soccer investigation when Steele was still with British intelligence), met with Steele at the latter’s London office. Steele permitted him to read the first of the reports that, over time, would be compiled into the so-called dossier. An alarmed Gaeta is said to have told Steele, “I have to report this to headquarters.”

It is inconceivable that Gaeta would have gone to the trouble of clearing his visit to London with the State Department and getting FBI headquarters to approve his trip, but then neglected to report to his headquarters what the source had told him — to wit, that the Trump campaign was conspiring with the Kremlin to undermine the 2016 election.

As I have previously detailed, after the hacked DNC emails were published, Steele (whose sources had not foretold the hacking by Russia or publication by WikiLeaks) simply folded this event into his preexisting narrative of a Trump-Russia conspiracy.

Prior to early July, when the FBI began receiving Steele-dossier reports (which the State Department would also soon receive), the intelligence community — particularly the CIA, under the direction of its hyper-political director, John Brennan — had been theorizing that the Trump campaign was in a corrupt relationship with Russia. Thanks to the Steele dossier, even before Downer reported his conversation with Papadopoulos to the State Department, the Obama administration had already been operating on the theory that Russia was planning to assist the Trump campaign through the anonymous release of information that would be damaging to Clinton. They had already conveniently fit the hacked DNC emails into this theory.

Downer’s report enabled the Obama administration to cover an investigative theory it was already pursuing with a report from a friendly foreign government, as if that report had triggered the Trump-Russia investigation. In order to pull that off, however, it was necessary to distort what Papadopoulos had told Downer.

To repeat, Papadopoulos never told Downer anything about emails. Moreover, the Mueller report provides no basis for Papadopoulos to have known that Russia was planning the anonymous release of information damaging to Clinton in order to help Trump; nor does the Mueller report allege that Papadopoulos actually told Downer such a thing.

The State Department’s report to the FBI claiming that Papadopoulos had “suggested” these things to Downer was manufactured to portray a false connection between (a) what Papadopoulos told Downer and (b) the hacking and publication of the DNC emails. That false connection then became the rationale for formally opening the FBI’s Trump-Russia investigation — paper cover for an investigation of the Trump campaign that was already under way.

CNN either doesn’t know the truth or chooses not to report it accurately. Either way, they are doing a disservice to Americans by misleading them on the facts of the case.

Sorry, Your Stories Just Don’t Add Up

Scott Johnson at Power Line posted an article today about an article that appeared in The New York Times. Because the article at The New York Times is subscribers only, I am not including a link. The article deals with the FBI’s sending someone to investigate the Trump campaign. Spying, actually. So why is The New York Times finally admitting that the FBI was spying on the Trump campaign? The Inspector General’s report is due out shortly, and Attorney General Barr has openly stated that he will be investigating the roots of the surveillance of the Trump campaign. Both investigations are expected to say that the FBI spied on the Trump campaign.

On April 15th, The New York Post posted an article by Andrew McCarthy about the spying on the Trump campaign. The article includes the following:

On Jan. 6, 2017, Comey, Clapper, CIA Director John Brennan and National Security Agency chief Michael Rogers visited President-elect Trump in New York to brief him on the Russia investigation.

Just one day earlier, at the White House, Comey and then–Acting Attorney General Sally Yates had met with the political leadership of the Obama administration — President Obama, Vice President Joe Biden and national security adviser Susan Rice — to discuss withholding information about the Russia investigation from the incoming Trump administration.

Rice put this sleight-of-hand a bit more delicately in the memo about the Oval Office meeting (written two weeks after the fact, as Rice was leaving her office minutes after Trump’s inauguration):

“President Obama said he wants to be sure that, as we engage with the incoming team, we are mindful to ascertain if there is any reason that we cannot share information fully as it relates to Russia. [Emphasis added.]”

It is easy to understand why Obama officials needed to discuss withholding information from Trump. They knew that the Trump campaign — not just some individuals tangentially connected to the campaign — was the subject of an ongoing FBI counterintelligence probe. An informant had been run at campaign officials. The FISA surveillance of Page was underway — in fact, right before Trump’s inauguration, the Obama administration obtained a new court warrant for 90 more days of spying.

The normal protocol if the FBI believed that a foreign government was attempting to infiltrate a political campaign would be to notify the campaign to put the candidate and the campaign on alert. However, this was not done. Those involved in the operation needed secrecy to keep their operation going. Now, as all of this is about to be revealed, some of the mainstream media is trying to get ahead of the story and undo the lies they have been telling for the past two and a half years. Hopefully, Americans are smart enough to see through their hypocrisy.

The Scam We Hope Will Be Fully Revealed Soon

The mainstream media has been less than enthusiastic about uncovering the root of the investigation into the Trump campaign and the Trump transition team. However, in spite of their efforts to bury the misdeeds of people in the Obama administration, the story is slowly beginning to come out. Most of the mainstream media is still avoiding telling the story, but you can still find it in some outlets.

Yesterday The New York Post posted an article by Andrew McCarthy that reminds us of some of the unseemly (and probably illegal) things that were going on in late 2015 through early 2017. I strongly suggest that you follow the link to read the entire article, but there are a few things that need to be highlighted.

The article notes:

In Senate testimony last week, Attorney General William Barr used the word “spying” to refer to the Obama administration, um, spying on the Trump campaign. Of course, fainting spells ensued, with the media-Democrat complex in meltdown. Former FBI Director Jim Comey tut-tutted that he was confused by Barr’s comments, since the FBI’s “surveillance” had been authorized by a court.

(Needless to say, the former director neglected to mention that the court was not informed that the bureau’s “evidence” for the warrants was unverified hearsay paid for by the Clinton campaign.)

The pearl-clutching was predictable. Less than a year ago, we learned the Obama administration had used a confidential informant — a spy — to approach at least three Trump campaign officials in the months leading up to the 2016 election, straining to find proof that the campaign was complicit in the Kremlin’s hacking of Democratic emails.

But there is more to the story. I never understood the significance of some of the other events in the story. Andrew McCarthy explains them:

In the months prior to the election, as its Trump-Russia investigation ensued, some of the overtly political, rabidly anti-Trump FBI agents running the probe discussed among themselves the prospect of stopping Trump, or of using the investigation as an “insurance policy” in the highly unlikely event that Trump won the election. After Trump’s stunning victory, the Obama administration had a dilemma: How could the investigation be maintained if Trump were told about it? After all, as president, he would have the power to shut it down.

On Jan. 6, 2017, Comey, Clapper, CIA Director John Brennan and National Security Agency chief Michael Rogers visited President-elect Trump in New York to brief him on the Russia investigation.

Just one day earlier, at the White House, Comey and then–Acting Attorney General Sally Yates had met with the political leadership of the Obama administration — President Obama, Vice President Joe Biden and national security adviser Susan Rice — to discuss withholding information about the Russia investigation from the incoming Trump administration.

Rice put this sleight-of-hand a bit more delicately in the memo about the Oval Office meeting (written two weeks after the fact, as Rice was leaving her office minutes after Trump’s inauguration):

“President Obama said he wants to be sure that, as we engage with the incoming team, we are mindful to ascertain if there is any reason that we cannot share information fully as it relates to Russia. [Emphasis added.]”

It is easy to understand why Obama officials needed to discuss withholding information from Trump. They knew that the Trump campaign — not just some individuals tangentially connected to the campaign — was the subject of an ongoing FBI counterintelligence probe. An informant had been run at campaign officials. The FISA surveillance of Page was underway — in fact, right before Trump’s inauguration, the Obama administration obtained a new court warrant for 90 more days of spying.

This memo is evidence that President Obama was at least aware of what was going on. That should be all over the front pages of every newspaper in the country. Somehow it isn’t.

Why We Need Total Transparency Of The Mueller Report

Yesterday Andrew McCarthy posted an article at Fox News that brings up a very interesting (and largely unreported) aspect of the Mueller Report. The article asks the question, “How long has Mueller known there was no Trump-Russia collusion?” That questions is important because it is obvious that the two-year long investigation had an impact on the 2018 mid-term elections–it suppressed the Republican vote. It also cast a cloud over the Trump presidency which I am sure had an impact on the President’s ability to govern. Was that intentional? We will probably never know, but the article states some interesting facts.

The article reminds us:

Now that Special Counsel Robert Mueller has concluded that there was no criminal collusion, the question arises: When during their exhaustive 22-month investigation did prosecutors realize they had no case?

I put it at no later than the end of 2017. I suspect it was in the early autumn.

By the time Mueller was appointed on May 17, 2017, the FBI had been trying unsuccessfully for nearly a year to corroborate the dossier’s allegations. Top bureau officials have conceded to congressional investigators that they were never able to do so – notwithstanding that, by the time of Mueller’s appointment, the Justice Department and FBI had relied on the dossier three times, in what they labeled “VERIFIED” applications, to obtain warrants from the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court.

And make no mistake about what this means. In each and every application, after describing the hacking operations carried out by Russian operatives, the Justice Department asserted:

The FBI believes that the Russian Government’s efforts to influence the 2016 U.S. presidential election were being coordinated with Page and perhaps other individuals associated with [Donald Trump’s] campaign.

Yes, the Justice Department continued to make that allegation to the secret federal court for months after Trump was sworn in as president.

Notably, in June 2017, about a month after Mueller took over the investigation, while he was still getting his bearings, the Justice Department and the FBI went on to obtain a fourth FISA warrant. Yet again, they used the same unverified information. Yet again, they withheld from the court the fact that this information was generated by the Clinton campaign; that the Clinton campaign was peddling it to the media at the same time the FBI was providing it to the court; and that Christopher Steele, the informant on whom they were so heavily relying, had misled the bureau about his media contacts.

You know what’s most telling about this fourth FISA warrant? The fact that it was never renewed. The 90-day authorization lapsed in September 2017. When it did, Mueller did not seek to extend it with a new warrant.

This is the key:

This means that by autumn 2017 when it would have been time to go back to the court and reaffirm the dossier’s allegations of a Trump-Russia espionage conspiracy, the major FBI officials involved in placing those unverified allegations before the court had been sidelined. Clearly up to speed after four months of running the investigation, Mueller decided not to renew these allegations.

Once the fourth warrant lapsed in September, investigators made no new claims of a Trump-Russia conspiracy to the court. The collusion case was the Clinton campaign’s Steele dossier, and by autumn 2017, the investigators now in charge of the Trump-Russia investigation were unwilling to stand behind it.

The article concludes:

When Special Counsel Mueller closed his investigation last week, he almost certainly knew for about a year and a half that there was no collusion case. Indeed, the indictments that he did bring appeared to preclude the possibility that the Trump campaign conspired with the Kremlin.

Yet the investigation continued. The Justice Department and the special counsel made no announcement, no interim finding of no collusion, as Trump detractors continued to claim that a sitting American president might be a tool of the Putin regime. For month after month, the president was forced to govern under a cloud of suspicion.

Why?

What impact will releasing the entire bundle of background and other information that went into this investigation have? Would it do anything to heal the divide the media has caused by claiming this investigation would result in impeachment (impeachment will probably still happen, but that has nothing to do with this investigation)? Would it undo an election that was influenced by a lie? I think all information that can be released without harming innocent people or compromising national security should be released. However, I don’t think it will change anything. Any member of the government who is still employed by the government who was involved in the creating of the collusion narrative should be fired. The public will judge the media.

Some Interesting Legal Aspects Of The Isis Bride Who Wants To Come To America

Andrew McCarthy posted an article at National Review yesterday about Hoda Muthana, currently detained in a refugee camp in Syria, who wants to come home to America.

The article reports:

Now Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has announced that Muthana will not be allowed to reenter the U.S. because she is not an American citizen: While born in America, she was the daughter of a diplomat and thus not subject to the jurisdiction of the U.S. As the secretary put it in his statement, “Ms. Hoda Muthana is not a U.S. citizen and will not be admitted into the United States. She does not have any legal basis, no valid U.S. passport, no right to a passport, nor any visa to travel to the United States.”

This conclusion is disputed by Muthana’s family and allies, and they may have a case. I would strongly urge the Justice Department to file an indictment against Muthana for treason, material support to terrorism, and any other readily provable offenses. She is less likely to press the issues of citizenship and right to enter if she understands that she faces prosecution and, very likely, lengthy imprisonment if she succeeds in coming here.

But it’s worth taking a closer look at the citizenship question itself. To my mind, the concept of citizenship implies not just the benefits of being a full-fledged member of the body politic, but also a duty of fealty to the nation. In a rational world, then, a citizen who made war against the United States would be stripped of citizenship.

Ms. Muthana left America to join ISIS, a group that was (and is) at war with America. If she claims to be a citizen, she should be charged with treason.

The article concludes:

Again: If the president and the secretary do not want Muthana to try to come back to the United States, the best strategy is to have the Justice Department indict her on serious felony charges. She may seek another alternative if she knows the risk of coming back here is decades of imprisonment. Of course, Muthana may decide to come anyway. After all, (a) she might see life in an American prison as better than her other alternatives, and (b) if she is an American citizen, there is a good argument that her young son is a citizen, too — he’d have a more promising chance of survival and a decent life here than in Syria (or wherever else in that godforsaken region they could end up).

In any event, the State Department has made its decision. Now it is up to Muthana’s supporters to establish her citizenship if they can, and for the Trump administration to indict her if it chooses.

I Don’t Think This Is What They Meant To Prove

The National Review today posted an article by Andrew McCarthy about the indictment of Roger Stone. The headline of the article is, “Stone Indictment Underscores That There Was No Trump-Russia Conspiracy.” Since Andrew McCarthy is an experienced prosecutor, he is very familiar with how the law works.

The article notes:

Roger Stone is the shiny object. The obstruction charges in his long-anticipated indictment, made public on Friday, are not the matter of consequence for the United States.

Nor is the critical thing the indictment’s implicit confirmation that there was no criminal “collusion” conspiracy between the Trump campaign and Russia.

What matters is this: The indictment is just the latest blatant demonstration that Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s office, the Department of Justice, and the FBI have known for many months that there was no such conspiracy. And yet, fully aware that the Obama administration, the Justice Department, and the FBI had assiduously crafted a public narrative that Trump may have been in cahoots with the Russian regime, they have allowed that cloud of suspicion to hover over the presidency — over the Trump administration’s efforts to govern — heedless of the damage to the country.

The article continues:

So now we have the Stone indictment.

It alleges no involvement — by Stone or the Trump campaign — in Russia’s hacking. The indictment’s focus, instead, is the WikiLeaks end of the enterprise — i.e., not the “cyberespionage” of a foreign power that gave rise to the investigation, but the dissemination of the stolen emails after the hacking. And what do we learn? That the Trump campaign did not know what WikiLeaks had. That is, in addition to being uninvolved in Russia’s espionage, the Trump campaign was uninvolved in Julian Assange’s acquisition of what Russia stole.

The Stone indictment reads like an episode of The Three Stooges. Stone and two associates — conservative writer and conspiracy theorist Jerry Corsi, and left-wing-comedian-turned-radio-host Randy Credico, respectively denominated “Person 1” and “Person 2” — are on a quest to find out what WikiLeaks has on Hillary Clinton and when Assange is going to publicize it. But that does not suit Stone, who has cultivated an image of political dirty trickster and plugged-in soothsayer. In public, then, Stone pretends to know more than he knows and to have an insider’s view of Assange’s operation; behind the scenes, he scrounges around for clues about what Assange is up to, hoping some insider will tell him.

The article concludes with two paragraphs that should give all of us something to think about:

There is no reason why the special counsel could not have issued an interim report clearing the president of suspicion that he was a Russian agent. Doing so would merely have removed the specter of traitorous conspiracy from the White House. It would not have compromised Mueller’s ability to investigate Russia’s interference in the election; it would not have undermined Mueller’s probe of potential obstruction offenses by the president. (And while it is not Mueller’s job to discourage the president’s puerile “witch hunt” tweets, if the public had been told that the Justice Department withdrew its highly irregular public statements about Trump’s possible criminal complicity in Russia’s espionage, presidential tirades about the investigation would have ebbed, if not disappeared entirely.)

We are not just talking about having our priorities in order — i.e., recognizing that the ability of the president to govern takes precedence the prosecutor’s desire for investigative secrecy. We are talking about common sense and common decency: The Justice Department and the FBI went out of their way to portray Donald Trump as a suspect in what would have been the most abhorrent crime in the nation’s history. It has been more than two years. Is it too much to ask that the Justice Department withdraw its public suggestion that the president of the United States might be a clandestine agent of Russia?

It is time to clean house in the FBI and the DOJ–too many people have taken part in this charade to bring down a duly-elected President.

 

The Holy Land Foundation Trial

I have been doing a short segment on a local talk show on Fridays. The segment airs sometime between 6 and 7 pm. The station is 107.1 WTKF out of Morehead City, North Carolina. This week Lockwood Phillps and I discussed the Holy Land Foundation Trial, a subject that does not get a lot of press. He asked me to share the information we discussed at rightwinggranny.com. This post is the result of that request.

The following information comes from two books—Catastrophic Failure by Stephen Coughlin and Sharia The Threat To America Report of Team B2. Some of the members of Team B2 were General Jerry Boykin, Major Stephen Coughlin, Frank Gaffney, Jr., John Guandolo, Clare Lopez, Andrew McCarthy, Tom Trento, Diana West, and James Woolsey.

In August 2004 Maryland Transportation Authority Police Office observed a woman wearing traditional Islamic garb videotaping the support structures of the Chesapeake Bay Bridge and conducted a traffic stop. The driver of the vehicle was identified as Ismail Elbarasse and detained on an outstanding material witness warrant issued in Chicago in a Hamas case.

The FBI’s Washington Field Office raided Elbarasse’s residence in Annandale, Virginia, and in the basement of his home they found a hidden sub-basement. In that sub-basement, they found the archives of the Muslim Brotherhood in North America. The documents showed the connections between many of the Muslim-American groups in America and the Muslim Brotherhood.

Between July and September 2007, prosecutors from the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Dallas, along with attorneys from the main Department of Justice in Washington, working with FBI case agents and analysts from the FBI Dallas Field Office, tried the Holy Land Foundation for Relief and Development and its senior leadership in U.S. Federal Court. The HLF was funneling money overseas to Hamas.

The exhibits in that trial included “An Explanatory Memorandum on the General Strategic Goal for the Group in America.” This is the document that outlines the Muslim Brotherhood plan to undermine the government of the U.S. and create a sharia state in America.

In this memorandum is a list of organizations that the Muslim Brotherhood considers its ‘friends.’ Some of these groups still have access to our government at the highest levels.

 The first trial resulted in a mistrial. The second trial resulted in five convictions with sentences ranging from 15 to 65 years.

It gets worse:

In 2011 elements of the American Muslim Brotherhood wrote the White House demanding an embargo or discontinuation of information and materials relating to Islamic-based terrorism—even insisting on firings, “re-training,” and “purges” of officers, analysts, special agents, and decision-makers who created or made such materials available. The letter was drafted by Farhana Khera, President and Executive Director of Muslim Advocates, and addressed to John Brennan, then Assistant to the President for Homeland Security and Counterterrorism (later director of the CIA). Days later, Brennan responded by agreeing on the necessity for the “White House [to] immediately create an interagency task force to address the problem’ by removing personnel and products that the Muslim Brotherhood deemed “biased, false, and highly offensive.”

…Talks between the administration and the Brotherhood took place at high levels, with the Director of the FBI going so far as to meet with the Brotherhood in February 2012 against the expressed directives of Congress. More alarming, however, is that the FBI then proceeded to undertake the very purging of documents that the Brotherhood had demanded. The Department of Defense followed shortly thereafter with a Soviet-style purge of individuals along with disciplinary actions and re-education.

Not only did the Secretary of State endorse such curbs on speech, the Assistant Attorney General seemed eager to enforce them.

Just for the record, the Secretary of State in 2011 was Hillary Clinton.

The following is from an article posted at the Center for Security Policy on March 25, 2014:

Virtually every country there has found itself under siege from Muslims seeking to impose the supremacist Islamic doctrine they call shariah on everyone else.  The preeminent organization promoting this agenda is the Muslim Brotherhood, now banned as a terrorist group in its home country of Egypt, but prospering in the United Kingdom and elsewhere in what has been known as the Free World.  In fact, as Egyptian courts hand down death sentences to those engaged with the Brotherhood’s violent efforts to overthrow the government there, ours is opening the door to asylum for those who have only engaged in “limited” material support for terrorism.

More insidious than the Muslim Brotherhood’s violence, however, is its stealthy subversion.  In a 1991 strategic plan introduced into evidence in the Holy Land Foundation trial, a senior Brother named Mohammed Akram described this form of warfare as “civilization jihad.”

In Akram’s words, the goal of the Brotherhood’s civilization jihadists is “eliminating and destroying the Western civilization from within…so that God’s religion is made victorious over all other religions.”  His “Explanatory Memorandum on the General Strategic Goal for the Group in North America” lays out how this ambitious goal is to be achieved under our noses by penetrating and subverting “from within” the West’s civil society and governing institutions.

The London Telegraph reports that this campaign has just scored a major success in Great Britain. That country’s trade association for lawyers, the Law Society, has declared its members can begin drawing up shariah-compliant wills that will be enforceable in British common law courts.

 The fight to preserve our republic is far from over. The deep state has many forms. I have met some of the analysts who were fired in the 2011 purge. As far as I know, they do not have their jobs back. The threat is still there, and most Americans have never heard of the Holy Land Foundation Trial or the government exhibits from the trial. You can find the exhibits on the Internet and read them for yourself. They include a list of groups in America that work closely with the Muslim Brotherhood.

A Summation Of What Robert Mueller Is Actually Doing

On December 1, Andrew McCarthy posted an article at National Review summarizing what he believes is the goal of the Mueller investigation. His summary makes a lot of sense.

First of all Andrew McCarthy reminds us that this investigation is leading to a report–not a trial. Therefore, the fact that the only charges so far involve lying (which obviously discredits a witness in a trial) is irrelevant. He then notes that the investigation is a counterintelligence investigation, not a criminal investigation.

The article notes:

This is why, from the beginning of the Trump-Russia investigation, and certainly since Mueller’s appointment on May 17, 2017, we have stressed that the probe is a counterintelligence investigation, not a criminal investigation. The idea was not to dizzy you with Justice Department esoterica. The point is that we don’t want prosecutors involved until it has been established that a crime was probably committed, warranting use of their awesome, intimidating investigative powers. Our main interest is in the crime we authorize prosecutors to investigate; we are not looking to have prosecutors manufacture crimes through the process of investigating — even if we agree that people should not be permitted to lie to investigators with impunity.

With respect to the president and “collusion,” Mueller does not have a crime he is investigating. He is investigating in hopes of finding a crime, which is a day-and-night different thing.

The article further explains the methods of investigation being used:

Mueller is turning such lies into guilty pleas, for three reasons.

First, he is not going to indict the president, which would precipitate a trial at some point. The convicted liars are not going to be jury-trial witnesses, so Mueller is not concerned about their lack of credibility. The report will detail disturbing — and thus politically damaging — connections between Trump associates and Kremlin cronies. But there will be no collusion crime, and thus no charges and no need for witnesses.

Second, with the media as his biggest cheerleader (other than Jeff Flake), the false-statements pleas create the illusion of a collusion crime, and thus appear to vindicate Mueller’s sprawling investigation. As I’ve previously explained, the game works this way: The media reports that Mueller is investigating Trump–Russia collusion and that dozens of people have been charged or convicted; but the media omits that no one has been charged, much less convicted, of any crime involving collusion between Trump and Russia. The great mass of people who do not follow the news closely come away thinking a Trump–Russia collusion crime is an established fact; by now, Mueller must be tightening the noose around Trump because he’s already rolled up a bunch of the apparent accomplices.

Third, defendants convicted of making false statements are very useful because Mueller is writing a report, not preparing for a jury trial. Convicted liars never get cross-examined in a report. Nor do they give the bumpy, inconsistent testimony you hear in a courtroom. Instead, their version of events is outlined by a skilled prosecutor, who writes well and knows how to make their stories sing in perfect harmony. They will sound far better in the report than they would on the witness stand. We’ve already gotten a taste of this in the offense narratives Mueller has incorporated in each guilty plea. Read the criminal information in Cohen’s case and ask yourself whether Mr. Fixer could have recited matters with such clarity.

Aside from the fact that this investigation has been a colossal waste of money, it is sad that the press so readily signed on to the idea of bringing down a President they did not like. It’s odd that when Donald Trump was a Democrat he got awards for his work in racial harmony, was hailed for putting the first woman in charge of constructing a New York skyscraper, and fought city hall to make sure Mar-a-Lago did not discriminate against either Jewish people or black people. The press loved him then. They laughed at his unfiltered remarks and gladly put him in their social pages. It is amazing how much that changed when he ran for President as a Republican.

Reality vs Practicality

Yesterday Andrew McCarthy posted an article at National Review about birthright citizenship. President Trump is considering ending birthright citizenship by executive order. Actually, it’s not so much a question of ending birthright citizenship as it is reviewing exactly what the 14th Amendment actually says.

The article explains:

My friend John Eastman explained why the 14th Amendment does not mandate birthright citizenship in this 2015 New York Times op-ed. In a nutshell, the Amendment states: “All persons born or naturalized in the United States and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the State wherein they reside.” The highlighted term, “subject to the jurisdiction thereof” was understood at the time of adoption to mean not owing allegiance to any other sovereign. To take the obvious example, if a child is born in France to a married couple who are both American citizens, the child is an American citizen.

If I am living in Britain on a work visa and have a child, that child is not automatically a British citizen. Why should America do things differently?

The article concludes:

Moreover, it seems to me that, because Congress has weighed in on citizenship by codifying the 14th Amendment, the courts will swat down any executive order on the ground that it exceeds the president’s authority. That is, the courts will not even have to reach the merits of what jurisdiction means for purposes of the 14th Amendment and Section 1401.

We have seen something like this in an area of more certain executive power. President Bush attempted unilaterally to set up military commissions in wartime under his commander-in-chief authority. Even though there was plenty of precedent supporting this, the Supreme Court invalidated the commissions and told the president he needed Congress’s statutory blessing. (Congress later enacted the Military Commissions Act.)

Consequently, if the president actually issues an executive order changing the birthright-citizenship policy, I doubt the sun will set before an injunction is issued. I am in favor of changing the current understanding of birthright citizenship, but I believe such a change must be done by statute to have any hope of surviving court-scrutiny . . . and even then, I give it less than a 50-50 chance.

Stay tuned.

The Real Question

Legend has it that Green Bay Packers coach Vince Lombardi would begin every spring practice with the words, “Gentlemen, this is a football.” Those words were said to newcomers who had never played pro football and seasoned veterans, but they were uttered every year. He always took the time to remind his players of the basics of the game.

There is an article posted at The National Review today written by Andrew McCarthy that also seeks to remind us of some basic principles of law. The title of the article is “Mr. Rosenstein, What Is the Crime?” That is the question.

The article reports:

For precisely what federal crimes is the president of the United States under investigation by a special counsel appointed by the Justice Department?

It is intolerable that, after more than two years of digging — the 16-month Mueller probe having been preceded by the blatantly suspect labors of the Obama Justice Department and FBI — we still do not have an answer to that simple question.

Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein owes us an answer.

To my mind, he has owed us an answer from the beginning, meaning when he appointed Special Counsel Robert Mueller on May 17, 2017. The regulations under which he made the appointment require (a) a factual basis for believing that a federal crime worthy of investigation or prosecution has been committed; (b) a conflict of interest so significant that the Justice Department is unable to investigate this suspected crime in the normal course; and (c) an articulation of the factual basis for the criminal investigation — i.e., the investigation of specified federal crimes — which shapes the boundaries of the special counsel’s jurisdiction.

This last provision is designed to prevent a special counsel’s investigation from becoming a fishing expedition — or what President Trump calls a “witch hunt,” what DAG Rosenstein more diplomatically disclaims as an “unguided missile,” and what Harvard’s Alan Dershowitz, invoking Lavrentiy Beria, Stalin’s secret-police chief, pans as the warped dictum, “Show me the man and I’ll show you the crime.” In our country, the crime triggers the assignment of a prosecutor, not the other way around.

I would strongly suggest that you follow the link to read the entire article. Andrew McCarthy presents a very strong legal argument as to why the Mueller investigation is not in compliance with the statute for a special prosecutor. Unfortunately the Mueller investigation has become a vehicle to ruin anyone financially that might have had even a tangential relationship with either the Trump campaign or the Trump presidency. Notice that nothing anyone has been charged with has any relationship with a conspiracy with Russia or election tampering. The only things that have been uncovered show the use of government agencies to spy on a political opponent in order to sway an election, and those things have been ignored by Mueller.

The article concludes:

So what are the suspected crimes committed by Donald Trump that Mueller has been authorized to investigate, and what was the factual basis for Rosenstein’s authorization of this investigation?

We still haven’t been told.

The anti-Trump Left decries all criticism as an effort to “delegitimize” and “obstruct” the Mueller investigation. But no one is questioning the investigation of Russia’s interference in the election. We are questioning why a special counsel was appointed to investigate the president of the United States. It is the Justice Department’s obligation to establish the legitimacy of the appointment by explaining the factual basis for believing a crime was committed. If there is no such basis, then it is Mueller’s investigation that is delegitimizing the presidency and obstructing its ability to carry out its constitutional mission — a mission that is far more significant than any prosecutor’s case.

We’re not asking for much. After 16 months, we are just asking why there is a criminal investigation of the president. If Rod Rosenstein would just explain what the regs call for him to explain — namely, the basis to believe that Donald Trump conspired with the Kremlin to violate a specific federal criminal law, or is somehow criminally complicit in the Kremlin’s election sabotage — then we can all get behind Robert Mueller’s investigation.

But what is the explanation? And why isn’t the Republican-controlled Congress demanding it?

The Mueller investigation is an example of the deep state trying to protect itself. That is what Bob Woodward’s book is about and that is what The New York Times editorial is about. Unfortunately there are both Republicans and Democrats in the deep state. Until we elect people who love America more than they love money and prestige, the deep state will remain.

The Plot May Be Beginning To Unravel

One of the problems with trying to maintain a conspiracy is that as it begins to unravel, people begin to say things to distance themselves from responsibility for any wrongdoing that has occurred. I believe that is what is happening regarding the wiretapping of the Trump campaign and possibly regarding the Mueller investigation.

The Gateway Pundit quoted President Obama’s Former Director of National Intelligence, James Clapper, today. James Clapper made the following statement on CNN yesterday:

If it weren’t for President Obama we might not have done the intelligence community assessment that we did that set up a whole sequence of events which are still unfolding today including Special Counsel Mueller’s investigation. President Obama is responsible for that. It was he who tasked us to do that intelligence community assessment in the first place.

We need to put this into perspective in terms of what was going on during the final days of the Obama administration. During the final year of the Obama administration, Susan Rice, Ambassador to the United Nations. made an unprecedented number of requests for unmasking Americans whose conversations were inadvertently captured in wiretapped conversations. (article here) Americans were routinely being spied on by their government at this time.

Most Americans, particularly those familiar with procedures in the intelligence community were reluctant to believe what was reportedly going on with domestic spying. However, the truth has become obvious in recent days.

The following is an interview with Andrew McCarthy, who was initially skeptical that the FISA (Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act) court was being used for political purposes. The interview is posted at YouTube:

I believe that the Mueller investigation is the ‘insurance policy’ discussed in Andrew McCabe’s office. We know that Lisa Page and Peter Strzok were involved in that discussion. We don’t know if anyone else was. The investigation was supposed either to create enough turmoil to remove President Trump from office (before he could cut taxes, appoint judges, or actually accomplish anything) or to cripple his presidency to the point where he accomplished nothing. Obviously the plan has created a lot of turmoil, but not a lot of the results the plotters were aiming for.

Ideally we will see this entire charade resolved within the next year. I am hopeful, but not necessarily optimistic.

The Timing Is The Key

The video below was posted yesterday at National Review in an article by Andrew McCarthy. It illustrates the timeline (and the linkage) of the exoneration of Hillary Clinton for breaking the laws regarding the handling of classified information and the attack on Donald Trump as colluding with the Russians. The article illustrates that in the minds of the highly-politicized FBI, Hillary needed to be exonerated early in the campaign and Donald Trump needed to be painted as working for the Russians in order to insure a Clinton victory. Hopefully the dishonest actions of those at the top of the FBI and DOJ will be dealt with in the near future.

Slowly But Surely The Truth Quietly Comes Out

The Friday-night news dump is a tradition of politicians and Washington types who are forced to release information they don’t want to release and are hoping no one will actually notice it. The latest Friday-night news dump has to do with redactions made on the FBI Russia report that have more to do with protecting the mistakes of the FBI than protecting national security (as claimed by those doing the redacting).

Andrew McCarthy posted an article at The National Review today citing some of the redactions and why the reasons for them are invalid.

The article cites a number of examples:

When the House first issued its report on the Russia investigation, a heavily redacted portion (pp. 53–54) related that Trump’s original national-security adviser, Michael Flynn, had pled guilty to a false-statements charge based on misleading statements to FBI agents about his December 2016 conversations with Russian ambassador Sergey Kislyak.

…But there was one intriguing disclosure in the redacted report: Flynn pled guilty “even though the [FBI] agents did not detect any deception during Flynn’s interview.” There was no elaboration on this point — no discussion of why Flynn was interrogated by FBI agents in the first place; no insight on deliberations within the FBI and Justice Department about whether Flynn had deceptive intent; no explanation of how he came to be charged months later by Mueller’s prosecutors even though the trained investigators who observed Flynn’s demeanor during the interview did not believe he’d lied.

This is what the unredacted Russian report reveals:

  • Elaborate on why the FBI did not believe Flynn had lied, including quotations from Comey’s testimony.
  • Reveal that for some period of time during 2016, the FBI conducted a counterintelligence (CI) investigation of Flynn.
  • Note that top Obama Justice Department and FBI officials provided the committee with “conflicting testimony” about why the FBI interviewed Flynn as if he were a criminal suspect.
  • Illustrate that the FBI and Justice Department originally insisted on concealment of facts helpful to Flynn that are already public.

Meanwhile Flynn’s reputation has been ruined, his finances wrecked, and his life turned upside down. I recently posted an article about the Special Prosecutor‘s dealings with Michael Caputo, a campaign worker for President Trump. He has also had his life ruined and his financial stability destroyed by the Mueller investigation. The Mueller investigation has now reached the point where its goal is intimidating and ruining the lives of people who hold political views different from those on the investigating team. It is long past time for this charade of an investigation to stop.

Please follow the link above to the article at The National Review to see what else the FBI really didn’t want the American public to know.

The Circus Continues

The National Review posted an article today by Andrew McCarthy on the subject of the questions Robert Mueller would like to ask President Trump. The article is written on the assumption that the list of leaked questions is relatively accurate.

Andrew McCarthy makes some very good points as to why the Justice Department should block any interview of President Trump by the Special Prosecutor.

Andrew McCarthy points out that there is no evidence of a crime:

A president should not be subjected to prosecutorial scrutiny over poor judgment, venality, bad taste, or policy disputes. Absent concrete evidence that the president has committed a serious crime, the checks on the president should be Congress and the ballot box — and the civil courts, to the extent that individuals are harmed by abusive executive action. Otherwise, a special-counsel investigation — especially one staffed by the president’s political opponents — is apt to become a thinly veiled political scheme, enabling the losers to relitigate the election and obstruct the president from pursuing the agenda on which he ran.

That is what we are now witnessing.

Pretextual appointment of the special counsel
Robert Mueller was appointed special counsel for two reasons: (1) ostensibly to take over a counterintelligence probe; (2) in reality, as a cave-in to (mostly) Democratic caviling over Trump’s firing of FBI director James Comey — which was lawful but incompetently executed. Democrats contended that Comey’s dismissal, in conjunction with Comey’s leak of Trump’s alleged pressure to drop the FBI’s investigation of Michael Flynn, warranted a criminal-obstruction probe. That is, the pretext of obstruction was added to “Russia-gate,” the already-existing pretext for carping about the purported need for a special counsel.

Neither of these reasons was a valid basis for a special-counsel investigation.

Andrew McCarthy also explains that the whole premise of the investigation is flawed:

As we have repeatedly noted, a counterintelligence investigation is not a criminal investigation. To the extent it has a “subject,” it is a foreign power that threatens the United States, not an American believed to have violated the law. A counterintelligence investigation aims to gather information about America’s adversaries, not build a courtroom prosecution. For these (and other reasons), such investigations are classified and the Justice Department does not assign prosecutors to them, as it does to criminal cases. Counterintelligence is not lawyer work; it is the work of trained intelligence officers and analysts. It is not enough to say that Justice Department regulations do not authorize the appointment of a special counsel for a counterintelligence probe. The point is that counterintelligence is not prosecution and is therefore not a mission for a prosecutor.

Please follow the link above to read the entire article. It is extremely informative. What we have going on right now is a very expensive attempt to prove that the 2016 election victory was stolen from Hillary Clinton. It wasn’t. Get over it. She was a very flawed candidate that somehow committed numerous crimes that the Justice Department chose to ignore. The innate sense of fairness of the American voter and the American voters’ belief in equal justice under the law probably had something to do with Hillary Clinton’s defeat in 2016. The Special Prosecutor needs to stop spending money looking for a crime and deal with the crimes that were actually committed–mishandling of classified material, pay-for-play as illustrated by Uranium One, fixing the Democratic primary, etc.

Annoying Things Done By Politicians

Representative Adam Schiff released the Democratic memo about FISA surveillance on Saturday (when he assumed no one would be paying attention). The memo is an effort to deflect charges that the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and the Department of Justice (DOJ) were weaponized for political purposes during and after the 2016 presidential campaign. The memo itself was a purely political move, and the release of the memo on a Saturday night was also a political move. The release of the memo is interesting bercause the memo does not help the Democrats’ case.

Yesterday Andrew McCarthy posted an article at National Review explaining that the memo does more damage to the Democrats’ arguments than helps them. Because of his extensive legal background, Andrew McCarthy is the perfect person to dissect this memo.

The article is detailed, and I suggest that you follow the link to read the entire article, but I will try to summarize it.

The article reports:

The memo concedes that the FISA-warrant application relied on allegations by Steele’s anonymous Russian hearsay sources that:

Page met separately while in Russia with Igor Sechin, a close associate of Vladimir Putin and executive chairman of Roseneft, Russia’s state-owned oil company, and Igor Divyekin, a senior Kremlin official. Sechin allegedly discussed the prospect of future U.S.-Russia energy cooperation and “an associated move to lift Ukraine-related western sanctions against Russia.” Divyekin allegedly disclosed to Page that the Kremlin possessed compromising information on Clinton (“kompromat”) and noted the possibility of its being released to Candidate #1’s [i.e., Donald Trump’s] campaign. . . . This closely tracks what other Russian contacts were informing another Trump foreign policy adviser, George Papadopoulos.

1) This was obviously the most critical allegation against Page. The Democrats attempt to make much of Page’s trip to Moscow in July 2016, but the uncorroborated Sechin and Divyekin meetings, which Page credibly denies, are the aspect of the Moscow trip that suggested a nefarious Trump–Russia conspiracy. That’s what the investigation was about. Far from clandestine, the rest of Page’s trip was well publicized and apparently anodyne.

2) Democrats implausibly insist that what “launched” the FBI’s counterintelligence investigation was not Steele’s allegations but intelligence from Australia about George Papadopoulos’s contact with what Democrats elusively describe as “individuals linked to Russia.”

…Even if we assume for argument’s sake that these characters had solid regime connections — rather than that they were boasting to impress the credulous young Papadopoulos — they were patently not in the same league as Sechin, a Putin crony, and Divyekin, a highly placed regime official. And that, manifestly, is how the FBI and the DOJ saw the matter: They sought a FISA warrant on Page, not Papadopoulos. And, as the above-excerpted passage shows, they highlighted the Steele dossier’s sensational allegations about Page and then feebly tried to corroborate those allegations with some Papadopoulos information, not the other way around. (More on that when we get to Schiff’s notion of “corroboration.”)

The article also notes:

…because Page was an American citizen, FISA law required that the FBI and the DOJ show not only that he was acting as an agent of a foreign power (Russia), but also that his “clandestine” activities on behalf of Russia were a likely violation of federal criminal law. (See FISA, Section 1801(b)(2)(A) through (E), Title 50, U.S. Code.) It is the Steele dossier that alleges Page was engaged in arguably criminal activity. The Democrats point to nothing else that does.

Because of the way this whole story has been reported, I am not sure many Americans realize that the constitutional rights of one of their fellow citizens were violated by the FISA Court. All of us need to remember that this could happen to any one of us. We also need to note that if the use of the FBI and DOJ for political purposes is not dealt with and the guilty parties punished, we will see more of this behavior in the future.

The article continues:

How’s this for transparency? The FISA warrant application says that Steele, referred to as “Source #1,” was “approached by” Fusion GPS founder Glenn Simpson, referred to as “an identified U.S. person,” who

indicated to Source #1 that a U.S.-based law firm had hired the identified U.S. Person to conduct research regarding Candidate #1’s [i.e., Trump’s] ties to Russia. (The identified U.S. Person and Source #1 have a longstanding business relationship.) The identified U.S. Person hired Source #1 to conduct this research. The identified U.S. Person never advised Source #1 as to the motivation behind the research into Candidate #1’s ties to Russia. The FBI speculates that the identified U.S. Person was likely looking for information that could be used to discredit Candidate #1’s campaign. [Emphasis in Schiff memo, p. 5]

The first thing to notice here is the epistemological contortions by which the DOJ rationalized concealing that the Clinton campaign and the DNC paid for Steele’s reporting. They ooze consciousness of guilt. If you have to go through these kinds of mental gymnastics to avoid disclosing something, it’s because you know that being “transparent” demands disclosing it.

As I stated, it is a very long and detailed article. Please follow the link above to see the other problems with the Schiff memo.

 

The Collusion Without A Crime

Sometimes it is very easy to overlook the obvious when you in the middle of dealing with an intense situation. The Mueller investigation might be considered an intense situation, and there is something obvious being overlooked. Andrew McCarthy pointed it out in an article at National Review today.

Mr. McCarthy points out that after a year of investigation, there is no evidence of Russian cyberespionage. If there is no evidence of cyberespionage, how can there be collusion with cyberespionage? Remember, the FBI was never allowed to examine the Democratic National Committee (DNC) servers–the examination was done by a group hired by the DNC. If I were guilty of a crime and the FBI wanted to search my house, would they let me hire a friend to do the searching? Somehow I don’t think so.

The article states:

We have paid too much attention to the so-called collusion component of the probe — speculation about Trump-campaign coordination in Russia’s perfidy. There appears to be no proof of that sort of collusion. Because it has been our focus, though, Mueller has gotten a free pass on a defect that would be fatal to any related prosecution theory: He cannot prove beyond a reasonable doubt that Russia is guilty of hacking the Democratic National Committee and prominent Democrats.

This doesn’t mean it didn’t happen — like the U.S. intelligence agencies, I’m assuming it did, and that Russia should continue to be the subject of intense government counterintelligence efforts. The point is that Mueller can’t prove it in court, which is the only thing for which a prosecutor is needed. If he can’t establish to the required standard of proof that Russia conducted an espionage attack on the election, it is impossible to prove that anyone conspired with Russia to do so. There is no criminal case.

It is important to remember that when Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein appointed a special counsel, he did not specify a crime. That alone should have shut down the investigation immediately–what are you investigating? Are you simply on a fishing expedition hoping you can find someone who is guilty of something?

The article concludes:

That is another good reason to deduce that Mueller’s team is playing a long game — impeachment, not prosecution. As a practical matter, there is no prospect of articles of impeachment unless Democrats win the 2018 midterms. So, if you thought or hoped Mueller’s investigation would be winding down anytime soon, disabuse yourself.

Still, after 18 months of investigating, it would be worth putting two simple questions to Deputy Attorney General Rosenstein, who — at least nominally — supervises Special Counsel Mueller: 1) Does the Justice Department believe, contrary to the apparent concessions in the intelligence agencies’ Russia report, that the government can prove beyond a reasonable doubt that Russia is guilty cyberespionage against the 2016 election; and 2) if not, what is the point of Mueller’s investigation?

The Republican party almost destroyed itself when they tried to impeach President Clinton because the public liked him (and the media was on his side). The Democrats need to learn from that–the public trusts President Trump more than Congress or the media. If the Democrats attempt to impeach him, they will lose seats in 2020 and their presidential candidate will not have a chance.