When The Roots Are Rotten

John Solomon posted an article at The Hill yesterday about some recent information dealing with the roots of the charges that candidate Donald Trump was colluding with the Russians.

The article reports:

And the behavior of FBI agents and federal prosecutors who promoted that faulty evidence may disturb us more than we now know.

The first, the Christopher Steele dossier, has received enormous attention. And the more scrutiny it receives, the more its truthfulness wanes. Its credibility has declined so much that many now openly question how the FBI used it to support a surveillance warrant against the Trump campaign in October 2016.

At its best, the Steele dossier is an “unverified and salacious” political research memo funded by Trump’s Democratic rivals. At worst, it may be Russian disinformation worthy of the “garbage” label given it by esteemed reporter Bob Woodward.

The second document, known as the “black cash ledger,” remarkably has escaped the same scrutiny, even though its emergence in Ukraine in the summer of 2016 forced Paul Manafort to resign as Trump’s campaign chairman and eventually face U.S. indictment.

In search warrant affidavits, the FBI portrayed the ledger as one reason it resurrected a criminal case against Manafort that was dropped in 2014 and needed search warrants in 2017 for bank records to prove he worked for the Russian-backed Party of Regions in Ukraine.

There’s just one problem: The FBI’s public reliance on the ledger came months after the feds were warned repeatedly that the document couldn’t be trusted and likely was a fake, according to documents and more than a dozen interviews with knowledgeable sources.

The article explains the problem with the “black cash ledger”:

For example, Ukraine’s top anticorruption prosecutor, Nazar Kholodnytsky, told me he warned the U.S. State Department’s law enforcement liaison and multiple FBI agents in late summer 2016 that Ukrainian authorities who recovered the ledger believed it likely was a fraud.

“It was not to be considered a document of Manafort. It was not authenticated. And at that time it should not be used in any way to bring accusations against anybody,” Kholodnytsky said, recalling what he told FBI agents. 

Likewise, Manafort’s Ukrainian business partner Konstantin Kilimnik, a regular informer for the State Department, told the U.S. government almost immediately after The New York Times wrote about the ledger in August 2016 that the document probably was fake.

Manafort “could not have possibly taken large amounts of cash across three borders. It was always a different arrangement — payments were in wire transfers to his companies, which is not a violation,” Kilimnik wrote in an email to a senior U.S. official on Aug. 22, 2016.

He added: “I have some questions about this black cash stuff, because those published records do not make sense. The timeframe doesn’t match anything related to payments made to Manafort. … It does not match my records. All fees Manafort got were wires, not cash.”

Special counsel Robert Mueller’s team and the FBI were given copies of Kilimnik’s warning, according to three sources familiar with the documents.

So why didn’t Mueller simply end the investigation because the roots of it were proven to be false?

The article concludes:

Rep. Mark Meadows, a senior Republican on the House Government Oversight and Reform Committee, told me Wednesday night he is asking the Justice Department inspector general to investigate the FBI and prosecutors’ handling of the Manafort warrants, including any media leaks and evidence that the government knew the black ledger was potentially unreliable or suspect evidence.

The question of whether the Mueller team should have used the ledger in search warrant affidavits before that is for the courts to decide.

But the public has a substantial interest in questioning whether, more broadly, the FBI should have sustained a Trump-Russia collusion investigation for more than two years based on the suspect Steele dossier and black ledger. 

Understandably, there isn’t much public sympathy for foreign lobbyists such as Manafort. But the FBI and prosecutors should be required to play by the rules and use solid evidence when making its cases.

It does not appear to have been the prevailing practice in the Russia collusion investigation. And that should trouble us all.

It is becoming very obvious that the Mueller investigation did not follow normal investigative rules or procedures. When he knew that both pieces of evidence were totally unreliable, Robert Mueller should have ended the investigation. I suspect that would have been long before the 2018 mid-term election. Somehow I think the clown show we are currently seeing in the House of Representatives as a result of the Democrats taking the majority is at least partially the result of continuing the Mueller investigation combined with reckless, baseless charges made against the President by some Washington insiders now working in the media.

This Could Get Very Ugly

There are a lot of questions about how the Jeffrey Epstein trial and sentencing was handled in Florida. A lot of evidence has remained secret, and a lot of circumstantial evidence seems to require a much harsher sentence than was given. The Miami Herald has followed this story and done a lot of investigative reporting on the case.

Yesterday The Miami Herald posted an article about the latest twist in the Jeffrey Epstein case.

The article reports:

Two mysterious parties, labeling themselves Jane Doe and John Doe, have filed separate legal briefs in an attempt to limit the public release of personal information that could connect them to an underage sex trafficking operation allegedly run by New York financier Jeffrey Epstein and his partner, Ghislaine Maxwell.

Jane Doe, represented by Kerrie Campbell, a Washington-based gender equality lawyer, appears to be a victim who wants to remain unidentified, but indicated she is amicable to the release of some information — as long as it doesn’t identify her, court documents filed this week show.

The other party, John Doe, submitted a brief in support of Maxwell, who continues to mount a last-ditch legal campaign to keep court records that allegedly contain details of their sex exploits involving young girls — and other third party people who may be involved — under seal.

It’s not clear whether the latest challenges will delay release of the documents, said Sanford Bohrer, attorney for the Miami Herald, which filed an action to unseal the files last year as part of its investigation into Epstein called “Perversion of Justice.’’

The article concludes:

Epstein, who was not party to the lawsuit, has denied he ever ran a sex trafficking operation. In 2005, he came under investigation by Palm Beach police, accused of molesting three dozen underage girls by luring them to his mansion under the guise of paying them for massages.

Eventually, under a secret plea deal negotiated by then-Miami U.S. Attorney Alexander Acosta, Epstein pleaded guilty to two prostitution charges in state court and served 13 months in the county jail, where he enjoyed liberal work release privileges despite that being prohibited for sex offenders.

In November, the Miami Herald published a series of articles that deconstructed how Epstein and his lawyers manipulated the criminal justice system, working secretly with federal prosecutors to conceal and minimize his crimes. The handling of the case is now under investigation by the Department of Justice.

On March 4, some of Epstein’s lawyers wrote an op-ed letter to The New York Times denying that Epstein ran a sex trafficking ring and contending that the number of women involved in his criminal case was “vastly exaggerated.’’

Acosta, who is now President Trump’s secretary of labor, has come under pressure by some in Congress to resign his post, but the president on Tuesday expressed his support.

This is a story to keep an eye on. There are a lot of people involved in the Epstein story who would very much like to keep their names secret. We know a lot of their names because some of the flight logs of the plane to “Lolita Island” have been released. If more of the records regarding the Epstein trial are made public, there are a number of public figures who will have a lot of explaining to do.

This Really Isn’t A Surprise

One of the things that pundits who understand the politicization of the FBI and DOJ during the Obama administration have stated is that the corruption in the upper levels has not spread to the lower levels of the FBI. That is becoming obvious. On Tuesday The Daily Caller posted an article about some recent rumblings within the ranks of the FBI.

The article reports:

  • Sources tell The Daily Caller several FBI agents want congressional subpoenas to testify about the agency’s problems.
  • The sources claim there is a demand within the agency to prosecute former Deputy FBI Director Andrew McCabe. They also say the bureau has become totally politicized.
  • The subpoenas are desired by the FBI agents because it requires Congress to pay for their legal fees and protects them from agency retribution. 

…These agents prefer to be subpoenaed to becoming an official government whistleblower, since they fear political and professional backlash, the former Trump administration official explained to TheDC.

The subpoena is preferred, he said, “because when you are subpoenaed, Congress then pays…for your legal counsel and the subpoena protects [the agent] from any organizational retaliation…. they are on their own as whistleblowers, they get no legal protection and there will be organizational retaliation against them.”

DiGenova (former federal prosecutor Joe DiGenova) — who along with his wife, Victoria Toensing, has represented government whistleblowers in the past — agreed, telling TheDC, “It’s an intelligent approach to the situation given the vindictive nature of the bureau under Comey and McCabe. I have no idea how to read Chris Wray, who is not a leader and who has disappeared from the public eye during this entire crisis. You know, he may be cleaning house but if he’s doing so, he’s doing it very quietly.”

Let’s hope those subpoenas are issued soon. We need to drain the swamp that the FBI and DOJ have become and get on with dealing with our economy and the national security threats that were allowed to develop during the past administrations.

The Information Is Finally Coming Out

When Andrew McCabe was fired, there were a lot of questions as to why he was fired and why he was fired when he was fired. That information is slowly leaking out. The other information that is leaking out with that is that the alleged affair between Strzok and Page may have simply been a shiny object put in front of the public to take our attention away from what was actually happening.

The Conservative Treehouse posted an article today about Andrew McCabe. It seems that the reason for Mr. McCabe’s firing was that he had made a number of false statements to the Inspector General, to internal federal investigators, and to James Comey. The interesting aspect of this information is that it comes from leaks at CNN.

The article reports:

Giving credence to the reason why Inspector General Horowitz and Federal Prosecutor Huber don’t want to release unredacted investigative information to a leaky congress, a report surfaces via anonymous sources to CNN.

The leaked information comes after the DOJ released the substance behind the FBI Office of Professional Responsibility (OPR) recommendation to fire former FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe. Previously, Inspector General Michael Horowitz referred McCabe’s false statements to the OPR; the OPR reviewed, investigated and then recommended McCabe’s termination to Attorney General Jeff Sessions. Sessions fired him.

Congress was recently provided information from within the IG referral and OPR report.  Those details are now leaked, with an accompanying narrative, to CNN.

I’m skipping most of the narrative outline because, well, it’s an editorial narrative. However, at the bottom of the CNN narrative there’s an important series of dates which highlight the larger issue with McCabe. 

The truth on what was actually going on at the FBI is coming out slowly, but it is coming out.

An article at Power Line notes:

If the report of serial lying by McCabe is accurate then he has bigger problems than his sacking by Jeff Sessions. Criminal charges may well be in his future.

McCabe has already raised $500,000 via a fundraising page for his legal defense. Smart move.

I don’t like to see anyone’s life ruined by stupid mistakes, but it seems as if some of the higher ups in the FBI were out to destroy other people’s lives. I guess poetic justice (and karma) have a way of catching up with all of us.

A Lot Of People Involved In Investigations About Politicians And Fraud Seem To Be Dying Lately

Yesterday The Gateway Pundit reported that the body of Beranton J. Whisenant, Jr., was found on a Hollywood, Florida, beach in May. Mr. Whisenant was a Federal Prosecutor investigating VISA and passport fraud in Debbie Wasserman Schultz‘s Congressional District.

The article reports:

The police were investigating at the time to determine if Whisenant’s death was a “homicide, suicide, or something else.”

Then it gets weird.

The article further reports:

Officials say Beranton’s death was a suicide and he shot himself in the head.
But no gun was ever found.
The Sun-Sentinel reported:

Detectives and a medical examiner found Whisenant had shot himself in the head, Hollywood police said.

Police searched for two blocks north and south of the crime scene but couldn’t find the gun or any other weapon.

He was assigned to the Miami office of the U.S. Attorney’s Office and been hired as federal prosecutor a few months earlier.

How can it be a suicide by gunshot to the head when no gun was found? I suspect we may hear more about this story at a later date.