The Deep State Continues To Block Investigations

The Hill posted an article today about Nellie Ohr’s refusal to answer questions asked by members of a congressional task force investigating the FBI’s handling of the infamous Steele dossier. The questions were asked in a closed-door session.

The article reports:

Congress faced another hurdle this week in its effort to establish the record of how, why and when the FBI was given information from Fusion GPS on its controversial investigation of President Trump.

Just last week, Fusion GPS co-founder Glenn Simpson refused to answer any additional questions by invoking his Fifth Amendment privilege against self-incrimination. Now, former Fusion employee Nellie Ohr, the wife of Justice Department official Bruce Ohr, has invoked spousal privilege to refuse to answer questions from the committee. The use of spousal privilege in this context, however, could prove more damaging for Congress than the underlying allegations involving Ohr. Congress needs to seriously examine of the basis and scope of this common-law privilege in the context of an oversight investigation.

Despite exaggerated claims on both sides, Congress has a legitimate interest in establishing the underlying facts concerning the work of Fusion GPS and the novel involvement of the Ohrs. The fact that a secret investigation was launched under the Obama administration targeting associates of a political opponent should concern all citizens. We now know the Clinton campaign funneled a huge amount of money through its campaign counsel to fund the report by former British spy Christopher Steele. Fusion GPS and Steele also actively tried to place negative media stories about Donald Trump during the presidential campaign.

There was an obvious attempt to block the election of President Trump and an obvious attempt to limit his ability as President to accomplish anything. It appears that Mrs. Ohr was part of that effort, along with many high-ranking members of the FBI and Department of Justice (DOJ). We need to find out who did what and what happened. If we don’t hold the people involved accountable, we can expect our justice system to be used in the future for political purposes. If we don’t deal with the wrongdoing that went on during the 2016 election and beyond, we will lose the principle of ‘equal justice under the law.’

The article concludes:

Washington is a small town filled with power couples. Under Ohr’s approach, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) and his wife, Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao, could refuse to answer questions on a corruption scandal due to their speaking more as spouses than officials.

Ohr may have been asked questions that inappropriately delved into marital confidences; such questions can threaten the “harmony” of marriages long protected under the rule. If, however, Ohr used the privilege to refuse to answer an array of questions, as was reported, then Congress may want to challenge the assertion or, at the very least, consider how to approach such questions in the future.

Nellie and Bruce Ohr chose to mix their marital and professional worlds. The use of the privilege outside of marital conversations would be opportunistic, obstructionist and increasingly irresistible, if allowed. None of this means that the allegations involving Nellie Ohr are true — but she needs to answer those questions in her professional, not her marital, capacity.

The American public is entitled to answers to all questions regarding the corruption in the FBI and DOJ. Congress needs to use its power to get those answers.

While We Were All Watching Judge Kavanaugh…

Yesterday The Daily Caller reported that the House Judiciary Committee has issued a subpoena to Glenn Simpson, the co-founder of Fusion GPS, the opposition research firm that commissioned the Steele dossier on the Trump campaign. The subpoena was issued on Friday.

The reason the Judiciary Committee wants to interview Mr. Simpson is that his testimony does not agree with the testimony of other witnesses in the investigation of the Christopher Steele dossier. Someone is lying, and the Committee needs to figure out who it is.

The article explains:

Simpson and Bruce Ohr met before and after the 2016 election to discuss dossier author Christopher Steele and Fusion GPS’s investigation into President Donald Trump’s possible ties to Russia. Simpson, who has been interviewed by three congressional committees so far, told the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence in November that he did not meet with Ohr until after the election.

But Ohr said in a congressional deposition on Aug. 28 that he met with Simpson in August 2016, four months before the election.

The article reports:

On Thursday, Simpson’s attorney, Josh Levy, told Goodlatte and South Carolina Rep. Trey Gowdy, the chairman of the House Oversight Committee, that Simpson would not appear for an interview, as the committees had requested last week.

“Part and parcel of this concerted effort by the President’s congressional allies has been a campaign of retaliation against the government’s whistleblowers, including our client Mr. Simpson, for their willingness to cooperate with US law enforcement and for their exercise of their constitutional rights to free speech and political activity as American citizens,” Levy wrote.

There is no way that Mr. Simpson is a whistleblower–he is part of a group that intended to end the presidency of a duly-elected President.

Some People Who Don’t Want To Talk To Congress

The Daily Caller is reporting today that sources have told The Daily Caller News Foundation that Nellie Ohr, the wife of Justice Department official Bruce Ohr, is refusing to appear before Congress for a closed-door hearing that was scheduled to take place this Friday. Former FBI general counsel James Baker has also refused to cooperate with requests for an interview.

The article reports:

Ohr was slated to appear before the committees to discuss her work for Fusion GPS. Ohr, an expert on Russian affairs, worked for Fusion GPS from December 2015 until just after the election.

Bruce Ohr, the former assistant deputy attorney general, was in contact with dossier author Christopher Steele and Fusion GPS founder Glenn Simpson before and after the election.

The Ohrs both met Steele, a former British spy, in Washington, D.C. on July 30, 2016, a day before the FBI formally opened its counterintelligence investigation into possible collusion between the Trump campaign and Russian government.

Congressional sources have told TheDCNF that Bruce Ohr briefed then-Deputy FBI Director Andrew McCabe about his interaction with Steele within days of the meeting.

Ohr’s contacts with Steele increased after the FBI cut ties with the dossier author just before the election because of unauthorized contacts with the press. Ohr provided at least a dozen briefings to the FBI about his interactions with Steele from November 2016 to May 2017.

The article concludes:

Baker, a close ally of former FBI Director James Comey’s, resigned from the FBI on May 4. Congress has wanted to quiz him about his knowledge of the Trump-Russia probe as well as the FBI investigation into Hillary Clinton’s emails.

Neither Ohr nor Baker responded to emails seeking comment.

Just by watching the squirming about declassification and the people who do not want to talk to Congress, I can’t help but believe that the scandal around spygate extends even further than we have been led to believe.

Manipulated By The Department Of Justice And The Press

Little by little emails are being released that reveal how the government used its power to interfere in the 2016 election to make sure that Hillary Clinton won. I guess that is another example of the basic effectiveness of our government agencies. However, the actions taken by the government were illegal. Those actions have somehow escaped the investigative skills of Special Prosecutor Robert Mueller.

Yesterday Sara Carter posted an article about some recently discovered emails that provide further insight into what was going on during the Presidential campaign.

The article reports:

Newly released text messages and documents obtained by the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee reveal that senior members of the FBI and Department of Justice led a coordinated effort to leak unverified information to the press regarding alleged collusion with Russia to damage President Donald Trump’s administration, according to a letter sent by the committee to the DOJ Monday.

The review of the documents suggests that the FBI and DOJ coordinated efforts to get information to the press that would potentially be “harmful to President Trump’s administration.” Those leaks pertained to information regarding the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court warrant used to spy on short-term campaign volunteer Carter Page.

The letter lists several examples:

  • April 10, 2017: (former FBI Special Agent) Peter Strzok contacts (former FBI Attorney) Lisa Page to discuss a “media leak strategy.” Specifically, the text says: “I had literally just gone to find this phone to tell you I want to talk to you about media leak strategy with DOJ before you go.”
  • April 12, 2017: Peter Strzok congratulates Lisa Page on a job well done while referring to two derogatory articles about Carter Page. In the text, Strzok warns Page two articles are coming out, one which is “worse” than the other about Lisa’s “namesake”.” Strzok added: “Well done, Page.”

The letter notes the troubling nature of the text messages. Former Deputy Director Andrew McCabe was fired by Attorney General Jeff Sessions after a scathing report from the DOJ Inspector General Michael Horowitz’s investigation charging McCabe with lying to investigators and leaking to the press. Last week, the DOJ announced that McCabe is currently under a grand jury investigation.

The article concludes:

In March this news outlet also revealed that Weissmann, a top prosecutor on the Mueller team, had met with reporters from the Associated Press in April 2017 just one day before their explosive story on Paul Manafort’s dealings with Ukraine officials.

According to sources familiar with the meeting, the reporters had promised to share documents and other information gleaned from their own investigation with the Justice Department.

AP spokeswoman Lauren Easton told this news outlet, “we refrain from discussing our sources.”

“Associated Press journalists meet with a range of people in the course of reporting stories, and we refrain from discussing relationships with sources. However, the suggestion that AP would voluntarily serve as the source of information for a government agency is categorically untrue,” added Easton.

At the time of the meeting, Weissmann was head of the Justice Department’s fraud division. He was the most senior member of the Justice Department to join the special counsel in May.

The AP meeting arranged by Weissmann came to light in a letter sent to Justice Department Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein from House Intelligence Committee Chairman Devin Nunes, R-CA, late last year, requesting specific FBI and DOJ documentation related to the controversial Fusion GPS dossier that alleged collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia.

That meeting with the AP was attended by three different litigating offices. Two employees from the U.S. Justice Department and the other representative was from the U.S. Attorney’s office, according to the sources. FBI agents also attended the meeting, law enforcement sources confirmed.

According to sources, the FBI agents in attendance filed a complaint about Weissmann and the meeting with the DOJ fearing his arrangement of such a meeting would hurt the investigation.

Laws were broken, government agencies were involved in politics, and people need to be held accountable. It’s time for justice to replace the clown show that is Special Prosecutor Robert Mueller.

Somehow It Always Comes Back To The Same Players

Yesterday The Conservative Treehouse posted an article about some things that have been learned about the testimony of Bruce Ohr. It is a very complex article, and I strongly suggest that you follow the link and read the entire article. I will try to grab the high points, but there is a lot there.

My first observation concerning the things Donald Trump is accused of is that generally speaking they are just not sexy enough to be interesting to the American public. Paying off a girlfriend just isn’t anything new. In 2017, CNN posted an article stating that Congress had a fund that had paid out $17 million as a result of sexual harassment claims against Congressmen (and Congresswomen). Does anyone honestly believe that some of that wasn’t hush money? That makes Donald Trump look like a piker. But back to the testimony of Bruce Ohr.

The article at The Conservative Treehouse notes some connections between Bruce Ohr and some of the players on Robert Mueller’s team:

…Nellie Ohr was working for Fusion GPS in 2015.  Previous to that statement by Issa the timeline for Nellie Ohr working with Fusion GPS began in April of 2016 (simultaneous to Fusion beginning the contract work for the Clinton Campaign and sub-contracting of Chris Steele).

…Ohr testified that Fusion approached his wife for a job and that she began working for the research firm in late 2015. California GOP Rep. Darrell Issa said Ohr testified that his wife was paid $44,000 by Fusion GPS. As TheDCNF has reported, Ohr did not disclose his wife’s Fusion income on his annual ethics disclosure form.

Perkins Coie, the law firm for the Clinton campaign and Democratic National Committee, paid Fusion GPS more than $1 million for the Trump-Russia project. Fusion paid Steele nearly $170,000 for his work. (read more)

The article then gets a bit technical:

We have long suspected that Fusion-GPS was one of the contractors with access to the FBI/NSA database.  The contractors were conducting political opposition research by exploiting the FISA 702(16)(17) process which would be available for counterintelligence purposes; hence the DOJ-National Security Division.

…From November 1, 2015, to May 1st, 2016, thousands of search queries were conducted with a “non-compliance rate of 85%”. That means the “contractors” were massively abusing their access to the database; and a full 85% of their activity was demonstrably unlawful.

It is highly likely, almost certain, all of this unlawful query activity was political opposition research being conducted by political operatives, agents and DOJ/FBI affiliates within the apparatus. Fusion GPS seems like an obvious organization who would be participating in that activity. Adding to this likelihood we now have Nellie Ohr working within this exact timeline.

Further connections to the Mueller investigation are cited in the article:

Sources familiar with Ohr’s testimony before the House Judiciary and House Oversight Committees told The Daily Caller News Foundation that Ohr informed Andrew McCabe, Peter Strzok and Lisa Page about his interactions with Steele and Simpson. He also informed Justice Department prosecutor Andrew Weissmann about his dossier-related work.

Weissmann is now serving as right-hand man to Robert Mueller at the special counsel’s office.

Ohr testified that he informed his Justice Department peers, but not his superiors, about his contacts with Steele and Simpson. One of the superiors kept out of the loop was former Deputy Attorney General Sally Yates. Ohr said he was demoted as assistant deputy attorney general in December because he failed to tell Yates and other top officials about his dossier interactions. (more)

The article concludes:

This information pipeline from Fusion to Bruce Ohr to Andrew Weissmann, in combination with the meeting between Weissmann and AP reporters, is essentially another round of same-method of manufacturing evidence; it is a collaborative effort.

In the first example where the Fusion-GPS information circle was exploited, the FBI gained a FISA Title-1 search warrant against Carter Page. In the second example of an almost identical information flow, the result was Special Counsel Robert Mueller gaining Title-III search warrants against Paul Manafort.

I think we are investigating the wrong people for collusion and corruption.

 

Sunshine Is The Best Disinfectant

Today The American Greatness website posted an article by Victor Davis Hanson about the Mueller investigation. The article is a refreshing bit of common sense in a world of spin.

Mr. Hanson observes:

Special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation was star-crossed from the start. His friend and successor as FBI director, James Comey, by his own admission prompted the investigation—with the deliberate leaking of classified memos about his conversations with President Donald Trump to the press.

Mueller then unnecessarily stocked his team with what the press called his “dream team” of mostly Democratic partisans. One had defended a Hillary Clinton employee. Another had defended the Clinton Foundation.

Mr. Hanson notes that the investigation has been less than transparent, noting that “Mueller at first did not announce to the press why he had dismissed Trump-hating FBI operatives Lisa Page and Peter Strzok from his investigative team. Instead, he staggered their departures to leave the impression they were routine reassignments.”

Mr. Hanson then points out that there is at least an appearance of collusion by the Clinton campaign that Mueller has chosen to ignore:

It is likely that during the 2016 campaign, officials at the Department of Justice, FBI, CIA and National Security Agency broke laws to ensure that the outsider Trump lost to Hillary Clinton. FBI and Justice Department officials misled the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court in order to obtain warrants to surveil Trump associates. National security officials unmasked the names of those being monitored and likely leaked them to the press with the intent to spread unverified rumors detrimental to the Trump campaign.

A spy on the federal payroll was implanted into the Trump campaign. Hillary Clinton’s campaign team paid for research done by a former British intelligence officer working with Russian sources to compile a dossier on Trump. Clinton hid her investment in Christopher Steele’s dossier by using intermediaries such as the Perkins Coie law firm and Fusion GPS to wipe away her fingerprints.

As a result of wrongful conduct, more than a dozen officials at the FBI and the Justice Department have resigned or retired, or were fired or reassigned. Yet so far none of these miscreants has been indicted or has faced the same legal scrutiny that Mueller applies to Trump associates.

There is no doubt that Hillary Clinton destroyed evidence when she was being investigated for her private email server, but somehow no one in the Justice Department seems concerned about that. Can you imagine what would happen if you or I destroyed subpoenaed evidence?

Mr. Hanson concludes:

The only way to clear up this messy saga is for Trump to immediately declassify all documents—without redactions—relating to the Mueller investigation, the FISA court warrants, the Clinton email investigation, and CIA and FBI involvement with the dossier, and the use of informants.

Second, there needs to be another special counsel to investigate wrongdoing on the part of senior officials in these now nearly discredited agencies. The mandate should be to discover whether there was serial conflict of interest, chronic lying to federal officials, obstruction of justice, improper unmasking and leaking, misleading of federal courts, and violation of campaign finance laws.

It is past time to stop the stonewalling, the redacting, the suppression, the leaking to the press and the media hysteria. The government must turn over all relevant documents to two special counsels and free each to discover who did what in 2016.

Americans need the whole truth to ensure equality under the law and to thereby set us free from this nearly two-year nightmare.

Let the truth come out.

Looking For Your Keys Under The Light

There is an old joke about a man who was walking around under a street light and another man asked what he was doing. He explained that he was looking for his car keys which he had dropped across the street next to his car. The other man then asked why he wasn’t looking for the keys where he had dropped them. The first man then answered, “Because the light is better here.” That pretty much describes the Mueller investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election. There is a lot of low-hanging fruit for investigators on one side that the investigation chooses to ignore. There is no evidence on the other side, so the investigators are chasing rabbit trails.

Yesterday Kimberley Strassel posted an article at The Wall Street Journal about the Mueller investigation.

The article notes some basic inequities:

And they are now witnessing unequal treatment in special counsel Robert Mueller’s probe. Yes, the former FBI director deserves credit for smoking out the Russian trolls who interfered in 2016. And one can argue he is obliged to pursue any evidence of criminal acts, even those unrelated to Russia. But what cannot be justified is the one-sided nature of his probe.

Consider Mr. Cohen, the former Trump lawyer who this week pleaded guilty to eight felony charges. Six related to his personal business dealings; the other two involved campaign-finance violations arising from payments to women claiming affairs with Donald Trump. The criminal prosecution of campaign-finance offenses is exceptionally rare (most charges are civil), but let’s take Mr. Khuzami’s word for it when he says Mr. Cohen’s crimes are “particularly significant” because he’s a lawyer who should know better, and also because the payments were for the purpose of “influencing an election” and undermining its “integrity.”

If there is only “one set of rules,” where is Mr. Mueller’s referral of a case against Hillary for America? Federal law requires campaigns to disclose the recipient and purpose of any payments. The Clinton campaign paid Fusion GPS to compile a dossier against Mr. Trump, a document that became the basis of the Russia narrative Mr. Mueller now investigates. But the campaign funneled the money to law firm Perkins Coie, which in turn paid Fusion. The campaign falsely described the money as payment for “legal services.” The Democratic National Committee did the same. A Perkins Coie spokesperson has claimed that neither the Clinton campaign nor the DNC was aware that Fusion GPS had been hired to conduct the research, and maybe so. But a lot of lawyers here seemed to have been ignoring a clear statute, presumably with the intent of influencing an election.

The article concludes:

Of the seven U.S. citizens Mr. Mueller has charged, five have been accused of (among other things) making false statements to federal officials. But there have been no charges against the partisans who made repeated abjectly false claims to the FBI and Justice Department about actions of their political opponents. There have been no charges against those who leaked classified information, including the unprecedented release of an unmasked conversation between former national security adviser Mike Flynn and a Russian ambassador. Nothing.

Some of these charges might not stand up in court, but that’s beside the point. Plenty of lawyers would poke holes in the campaign-finance charges against Cohen, or the “lying” charges against Mr. Flynn. Special counsels wield immense power; the mere threat of a charge provokes plea deals. It’s the focus that matters.

Prosecutors can claim all they want that they are applying the law equally, but if they only apply it to half the suspects, justice is not served. Mr. Mueller seems blind to the national need for—the basic expectation of—a thorough look into all parties. That omission is fundamentally undermining any legitimacy in his findings. Lady Justice does not wear a blindfold over only one eye.

I guess it’s okay for the FBI to lie to the FISA Court but not okay for regular people to lie to the FBI. Seems like a double standard to me.

Much Ado About Nothing (As Usual)

The let’s-trap-Trump major media is getting old. The memes on Facebook are having a ball with some of the reporting. One meme stated that Trump should come out against the wall so that Democrats would support it. Things have gotten that bad. Last weekend there was a hair-on-fire story that totally illustrated how weird things have become.

Byron York posted an article at The Washington Examiner on Monday about the latest effort by the mainstream media to get Trump. I don’t know how the average voter reacted to the excited reports by the mainstream media, but to an informed voter, the reports were pathetic.

The reporting had to do with a Trump Tower meeting between Donald Trump, Jr., and Russian-born American lobbyist Rinat Akhmetshin; Irakly Kaveladze, a Russian associate of the businessman Aras Agalarov, who was involved in the 2013 Miss Universe pageant with the Trumps; British music promoter Rob Goldstone; Russian-born American translator Anatoli Samochornov; and Russian lawyer Natalia Veselnitskaya (who gave written answers).

The article reports that:

…the Senate Judiciary Committee… also interviewed Fusion GPS’s Glenn Simpson, who did not attend the meeting but who met with Veselnitskaya both before and after the meeting and who prepared some of the material that Veselnitskaya presented.

Are you getting the feeling that this was a set up?

Donald Trump, Jr., was lured to the meeting on the premise that Veselnitskaya had incriminating information on Hillary Clinton. When he got there, the meeting was about Russian adoptions.

The article reports:

But when the meeting took place, the “information that would incriminate Hillary” was nowhere to be found. Veselnitskaya, who was connected to the Kremlin and at the same time working with Fusion GPS, spoke briefly and vaguely about some sort of distantly-Clinton-related tax matters in Russia — none of the Americans had any idea what she meant — and then quickly moved to the issue of adoption. When Russians like Veselnitskaya talk about adoption, they’re not really talking about adoption. They’re talking about the Magnitsky Act, the U.S. law placing sanctions on Russia. In retaliation for the Act, Russian President Vladimir Putin cut off American adoptions of Russian children. So from a Russian standpoint, the adoption battle is really about the Magnitsky Act, and the Magnitsky Act is about U.S. sanctions on Russia. Several participants told the Senate Judiciary Committee that much of the meeting was about adoption. Start off with Akhmetshin.

“How did you introduce yourself?” a Senate investigator asked Akhmetshin. “Do you remember?”

Akhmetshin said he told the Trump team: “‘I am Rinat Akhmetshin. I work for this organization in Washington that is trying to restart adoptions.”

Classic bait and switch. But I have one question. Why is the media so upset about Donald Trump, Jr.’s meeting but not upset about the collusion with the Russians by the Clinton campaign involving the Russian dossier? Also, does anyone else think it odd that Glenn Simpson met with Russian lawyer Natalia Veselnitskaya both before and after the meeting. Remember the connection between Fusion GPS and Bruce Ohr. Seems like a bit of a double standard.

What We Learned From Congressional Hearings Yesterday

This article is based on an article at The Federalist today which lists five things Mollie Hemingway learned from the hearings. I agree with her conclusions.

Here is her list:

1. This Is What DOJ Obstruction Looks Like

2. Strzok Somehow Came Off Even Worse Than He Did In His Texts

3. Democrats Run Interference

4. DOJ Clearly Hiding Its Relationship With Democratic-Funded Smear Group

5. The Mystery Of Why The Investigation Started

The goal of the obstruction seemed to be to minimize where the authorization to spy on the Trump campaign came from. There were a number of questions about how the FBI got hold of the Steele Dossier and the links between the dossier and the Clinton campaign. Generally speaking, those questions were not fully answered. Peter Strzok replied to any substantive questions by saying his lawyers at the Department of Justice told him not to answer questions about an ongoing investigation. Basically he very carefully told us nothing.

Peter Strzok came across as the snotty little kid who lived on the block who simply annoyed everyone with his arrogance and self-righteousness. He could not have been more obnoxious if he had tried.

The Democrats were almost comical in making sure no significant information came out in the hearings. They made sure that the hearings took on the appearance of a rather undisciplined circus. It has become obvious in recent years that the Democrat party is expert at circling the wagons around any Democrat, regardless of what they have done. President Trump was trashed for what he said about women, Bill Clinton was never trashed even when he was believably accused of rape.

The article details the relationship between the DOJ and Fusion GPS (these were questions Peter Strzok generally refused to answer):

But Strzok did admit that Bruce Ohr, husband of Fusion GPS operative Nellie Ohr, funneled documents to the FBI related to the Russia case. He refused to say what those documents were. Yesterday, Sen. Chuck Grassley asked DOJ to declassify the dozen reports summarizing Ohr’s 12 information-sharing meetings with the FBI.

The FBI used Fusion GPS-hired Christopher Steele until the end of October, when he was terminated for lying about his leaks to the media. But Fusion and Steele were able to continue funnelling information to the FBI using colleague Nellie Ohr and her husband Bruce Ohr, a top DOJ official who worked closely with acting Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein.

When the Russia story first broke, Americans didn’t realize that the dossier was a secret Clinton/DNC operation, or that the unverified opposition research was sent to various Obama officials in multiple agencies. Americans didn’t know that a top DOJ official was married to an employee of the group that created the dossier, or that he was used to get information into the government.

The article concludes:

The entire investigation has major problems from start to finish, whether it’s the use of a dossier that Steele created and Bruce Ohr sent to the FBI, or the fact that Strzok ended up having to be removed from the investigation for his obvious and extreme bias. Strzok said Mueller never asked him about his texts, and didn’t seek to find out more from him about what his “insurance policy” or “impeachment” rhetoric meant.

Again, the hearing was less than substantive because of the ongoing obstruction and stonewalling campaign engaged in by DOJ. That was itself instructive.

It will be a miracle if anyone in the DOJ or FBI is ever held accountable for their use of government agencies to influence the 2016 election. Russia is not guilty of election meddling–our own government is.

 

Exactly How Did The Surveillance Of The Trump Campaign Begin?

Every now and then I post a story that I don’t understand, but I think is important. This is one of those stories. I think we may see its importance in the coming months, but right now it just looks like bureaucracy.

Breitbart is reporting the following today:

House Intelligence Committee Chairman Devin Nunes (R-CA) on Monday referred ten current and former U.S. officials to the House Judiciary and Oversight & Government Reform Committees’ joint task force, as it investigates potential DOJ and FBI wrongdoing related to the Trump-Russia probe.

In question is exactly when the federal investigation into and surveillance of the Trump campaign began and whether or not it was justified when it began.

The article at Breitbart reports:

Papadopoulos was reportedly told by a Maltese professor named Joseph Mifsud that Russia had dirt on Hillary Clinton in the form of emails. Downer requested a meeting with Papadopoulos weeks afterward. Papadopoulos reportedly told Downer in May 2016 that he was told Russia had dirt on Clinton, but did not specify “emails.”

The conversation was reportedly passed on from Downer to Amb. Joe Hockey, who was Australia’s ambassador to the United Kingdom serving in London at that time. Hockey reportedly passed on the conversation to the U.S. Embassy in London after the emails were released on July 22, 2016, who relayed it to the FBI.

Normally, intelligence passed on from a member of the “Five Eyes” alliance — Australia, Canada, New Zealand, the U.K., and the U.S. — to another member comes through an official channel for intelligence sharing.

However, Nunes, upon reviewing the document that formally launched the FBI’s investigation, said there was no intelligence shared through that official channel, meaning that the intelligence was shared through unofficial means.

U.S. officials who were serving at the U.S. Embassy in London listed in Nunes letter include: Elizabeth Dibble, Lewis Lukens, and Thomas Williams.

Dibble served as the deputy chief of mission at the embassy from 2013 through July 2016. Previously, she served as the principal deputy assistant secretary in the State Department’s Bureau of Near Eastern Affairs, from 2011 to 2013.

Lukens is the current deputy chief of mission at the embassy, who has served there since August 2016. Williams serves as the minister counselor for political affairs at the embassy, where he has served since at least December 2015. (The italics above are mine).

The article also mentions:

Nunes’s letter also lists Colin Kahl, former national security adviser to former Vice President Joe Biden, another former Biden aide, and former journalist Shailagh Murray – who is married to a Fusion GPS executive Neil King, Jr. – as well as former top Clinton State Department aide and campaign official Jake Sullivan.

This is getting to the bottom of the swamp.

 

The Smelly Swamp

Breitbart posted an article today with the following headline:

Russian Lobbyist at Don Jr. Meeting Says He ‘Might’ Have Seen John McCain at Summit Where Senator Learned of ‘Pee’ Dossier

Wow. What an incredible coincidence.

The article reports:

Russian-born Washington lobbyist Rinat Akhmetshin says he might have spoken to McCain and the senator’s assistant David J. Kramer at the Halifax International Security Forum in 2016. However, Akhmetshin claimed that he did not discuss the dossier with McCain or Kramer, and that he didn’t know about the existence of the controversial dossier.

The information raises immediate questions about the possibility of dirty tricks in arranging the infamous Trump Tower meeting. This considering a recent Breitbart News report that email transcripts and other information disclosed in Akhmetshin’s testimony reveal a significant relationship between the lobbyist and the controversial Fusion GPS firm that produced the infamous, largely discredited anti-Trump dossier.

It was at the security conference in Canada in November 2016 that McCain says he was approached by Sir Andrew Wood, a former British ambassador to Moscow and friend of ex-British spy Christopher Steele, the author of the dossier.

Wood briefed McCain and Kramer, a former State Department official and longtime McCain associate who agreed to meet Steele in London for a fuller briefing on the dossier contents.

The Washington Post reported in February that after meeting with Steele, Kramer went to Washington and received the dossier document directly from Fusion GPS. McCain then passed the dossier to FBI Director James Comey.

In a New York Times oped in January, GPS co-founders Glenn Simpson and Peter Fritch wrote that they helped McCain share their anti-Trump dossier with the Obama-era intelligence community via an unnamed “emissary.”

Please follow the link above to read the entire article. It is becoming obvious that members of both parties were involved in the ‘insurance policy’ to derail the Trump administration. This actually makes sense when you realize the threat President Trump is to both parties–if an outsider who is not part of the ‘in crowd’ can be successful in Washington, the power of both political parties will be diminished. Most of the people in Congress are there to increase their power–not to have it diminished. We can only hope that the few members of Congress who love America more than they love their own power can drain the smelly swamp Washington has become.

The Best Question Asked On The Sunday Morning Shows

The following video was posted at YouTube yesterday:

Most of the interview is a classic example of media bias and rehearsed talking points, but the question as to why the Democrats did not focus on the places the Russians knew to focus on is wonderful! Just for the record, there is no evidence that the Democrats were behind the hacking of the DNC. Remember that the DNC would not let the FBI examine their computers.

The Conservative Treehouse has a few relevant comments on this intervieiw:

Interesting interview. The Russians didn’t keep Hillary out of Wisconsin; the Russians didn’t make Hillary use personal email; the Russians didn’t hire Fusion-GPS; the Russians didn’t pay Christopher Steele; the Russians didn’t make a dossier or deliver work product to the State Dept; the Russians didn’t do the unmasking of campaign officials.

The Russians didn’t apply for a FISA warrant; the Russians didn’t lie to a FISA court; the Russians didn’t leak Mike Flynn monitored phone calls; the Russians didn’t use DOJ and/or FBI databases to download FISA 702(16)(17) queries and extract the data to private contractors; the Russians didn’t hire Nellie Ohr and Russians didn’t approach president-elect Trump and warn him of politically weaponized intelligence surveillance…

The… wait…. then again, THAT’S ENTIRELY THE MOTIVE to blame the Russians:

If the Russians were actually successful in influencing the 2016 election, it was because Americans were not paying close attention to what was going on. The Russians will always try to influence our elections. We will always try to influence elections in other countries. We live in the world of Spy v. Spy illustrated by Mad Magazine in the 1950’s. It is our responsibility as Americans to do our own research into what we see on social media. The best defense against foreign meddling in our elections is an informed electorate!

 

Putting Out The Cheat Sheet

Does anyone actually believe that Diane Feinstein’s release of the closed-door testimony of Fusion GPS founder Glenn Simpson was not a carefully planned move? How else will the people from GPS who testify in the future be able to keep their stories straight?

The Daily Caller posted an article yesterday about the release of the transcript.

The article states:

Feinstein published Simpson’s testimony on Tuesday, catching Republicans by surprise. Simpson’s testimony, taken during August of last year, covered his firm’s role in producing the infamous anti-Trump dossier for the Clinton campaign and Democratic National Committee.

Feinstein, 84, expressed regret on Wednesday for keeping Sen. Grassley in the dark, and suggested it was because of a “bad cold.”

“The one regret I have is that I should have spoke with Senator Grassley before,” she told NBC News. “And I don’t make an excuse but I’ve had a bad cold and maybe that slowed down my mental facilities [sic] a little bit.”

This is amazing. This is so against protocol. I am convinced that the transcript was released as crib notes to those who are going to testify. There is so much rotten going on with the Fusion GPS story that the Democrats need to keep things under wraps. If the dossier was the basis for the FISA warrant against the Trump campaign (and there are now indications from various sources that it was), this is Watergate on steroids. Watergate was a third-rate burglary that was actually totally unnecessary. The spying on the Trump campaign and Trump transition team was the use of the government bureaucracy against a political opponent. If Charles Colson went to jail for Watergate, there are an awful lot of people involved in the surveillance of President Trump that need to go to prison. Whether that will ever happen, I don’t know. I do know that it should. If no one goes to prison, we have lost the concept of equal justice under the law.

It Just Gets Uglier

The Federalist is reporting today that since April President Obama has sent nearly a million dollars of his campaign money to the law group that hired Fusion GPS. This information appears in records filed with the Federal Election Commission (FEC).

The article reports:

The Washington Post reported last week that Perkins Coie, an international law firm, was directed by both the Democratic National Committee (DNC) and Hillary Clinton’s campaign to retain Fusion GPS in April of 2016 to dig up dirt on then-candidate Donald Trump. Fusion GPS then hired Christopher Steele, a former British spy, to compile a dossier of allegations that Trump and his campaign actively colluded with the Russian government during the 2016 election. Though many of the claims in the dossier have been directly refuted, none of the dossier’s allegations of collusion have been independently verified. Lawyers for Steele admitted in court filings last April that his work was not verified and was never meant to be made public.

OFA, Obama’s official campaign arm in 2016, paid nearly $800,000 to Perkins Coie in 2016 alone, according to FEC records. The first 2016 payments to Perkins Coie, classified only as “Legal Services,” were made April 25-26, 2016, and totaled $98,047. A second batch of payments, also classified as “Legal Services,” were disbursed to the law firm on September 29, 2016, and totaled exactly $700,000. Payments from OFA to Perkins Coie in 2017 totaled $174,725 through August 22, 2017.

The significance of this is simple. The information in the dossier put together by Fusion GPS and Christopher Steele is said to be the basis for the surveillance of the Trump campaign and the Trump transition team. Think about that. Essentially President Obama paid to have a group gather dirt on Donald Trump and then used that dirt (even though it was questionable at best) as the basis for electronic surveillance. That sort of political spying on American citizens is exactly what those in Congress who opposed the Patriot Act were trying to prevent. It seems as if there are a lot of people in Washington who abused their power in recent years and need to be held accountable. The swamp must be drained.

They Really Don’t Have A Great History

Fusion GPS is the company responsible for the dossier that provided the basis for the electronic surveillance of the Trump campaign team and the Trump transition team. Congress is currently trying to get to the bottom of exactly who ordered the dossier and how it came to the attention of the media. They are not having an easy time.

Scott Johnson posted an article at Power Line Blog today that refers back to a Fox New Story from yesterday.

Power Line Blog reports:

The so-called strategic intelligence firm Fusion GPS is behind the infamous Trump Dossier. The dossier is one of the keys to the anti-Trump hysteria in which we have been engulfed since the election. Who paid for the Trump Dossier? The House Intelligence Committee has issued subpoenas to figure out what happened and at whose behest. Fusion GPS, however, won’t say. The company’s lawyer has submitted a 17-page list of reasons why the company won’t comply. Something is happening here. It is a most peculiar matter.

A Fox News/AP report asserts that the attorney’s letter signals the company’s refusal to comply with the committee subpoenas. The letter states that if any of the Fusion GPS employees who have been subpoenaed (Glenn Simpson and two others) are compelled to appear before the committee, they will exercise their “privileges” not to testify. Byron York has more on the letter here.

The Fox News article reports some of the past activities of Fusion GPS:

“I believe that Fusion GPS’s business is to do basically whatever the paymasters tell them to do,” Alek Boyd, the Venezuelan journalist, told Fox News in his first American TV interview. “They are particularly good at spreading misinformation, disinformation and smears.”

Boyd says he was targeted after his 2012 reporting on Derwick Associates, a power company with close ties to the Venezuelan government. The company allegedly skimmed nearly a billion dollars from rigged contracts with the late Venezuelan dictator Hugo Chavez.

“It is my understanding that [Fusion GPS] were hired basically to smear Derwick opponents and to dispel any possible doubts that regular media may have had at the time,” he said.

…Boyd’s allegations mirror sworn congressional testimony from Bill Browder, an American businessman who told senators this summer that Fusion GPS used smear tactics to discredit him and his late attorney Sergei Magnitsky who, he says, was tortured and murdered eight years ago in a Russian jail. The so-called Magnitsky Act issued tough economic sanctions against Russia which are still in place today.

In the Magnitsky case, Browder filed a complaint with the Justice Department in July 2016 because he says Fusion worked on behalf of a foreign government and its interests. The Justice Department would not comment on the complaint status.

In a congressional declaration, human rights activist Thor Halvorssen also said Fusion GPS had “smear experts” and used “scorched earth methods.”

One wonders exactly who hired Fusion GPS and exactly what Senator John McCain’s involvement in the story is. So far, evidence seems to point to Senator McCain as one of the people who originally received the completed dossier.

At any rate, it is obvious that Fusion GPS does not want to tell the American people or their representatives anything.

After More Than A Year Of Questions, There Are Still No Answers

Robert Mueller was appointed to investigate ties between President Trump and Russia, possibly involved in sabotaging the election process. Historically, this was the excuse put out by the Hillary campaign when they lost, but the media liked it, James Comey played along, and we now have a special prosecutor. One of the questions in the part of the investigation that has been made public is the dossier on President Trump that was used as an excuse for the electronic surveillance on the Trump campaign staff and Trump cabinet before and after the election. Where did that file come from, how did the media get hold of it, and who authorized it? Even the Wall Street Journal is commenting on the media’s lack on interest in finding the answers to these questions. The article is behind the subscribers’ wall, but here is the link.

The Daily Caller has also taken an interest in the story. They posted an article today about the media cover up of the history of the dossier.

The article in the Daily Caller notes:

What’s significant about the newspaper’s piece is that Fusion GPS was co-founded by three former Journal reporters, Glenn Simpson, Peter Fritsch and Tom Catan. But that relationship provides no cover for the Fusion trio.

“The Beltway media move in a pack, and that means ignoring some stories while leaping on others. Consider the pack’s lack of interest in the story of GPS Fusion [sic] and the ‘dossier’ from former spook Christopher Steele,” writes the Journal’s editorial board, which is considered right-of-center on the political spectrum.

“Americans don’t need a Justice Department coverup abetted by Glenn Simpson’s media buddies.”

The dossier, which Steele began working on after being hired by Fusion GPS last June, has become a centerpiece of the ongoing investigation into possible Trump campaign collusion with Russian operatives.

Fusion was working for an ally of Hillary Clinton’s when it hired Steele to look into Trump’s activities in Russia. The result was a 35-page dossier consisting of 17 memos dated from June 20 to Dec. 13 containing a slew of salacious allegations about Trump’s personal activities in Russia. It also alleges that the Trump campaign was exchanging information with the Kremlin to help the election effort.

The article reminds us that when Republicans have attempted to investigate the origins and history of the dossier, they have been met with opposition from the Democrats. Not that opposition from the Democrats is anything new, but you would think that the Democrats might want to learn the truth about this matter.

The article concludes:

“The real question is why Democrats and Fusion seem not to want to tell the public who requested the dossier or what ties Fusion GPS boss Glenn Simpson had with the Russians in 2016,” they write.

Fusion GPS has maintained close ties to reporters at the major news outlets, not just on the Trump-Russia story but for other investigations conducted for corporate and political clients.

During the campaign last year, Fusion GPS and Simpson shared some of Steele’s reporting with reporters at The New York Times, The Washington Post, Yahoo! News and Mother Jones. Steele has revealed in a court in London, where he is based, that Fusion GPS directed him to brief reporters on some of his findings. He has also said that Fusion directed him to provide some memos in the dossier to Arizona Sen. John McCain.

I totally understand why globalists in Washington would not want Donald Trump to become President and why they would not want his agenda to succeed. I guess I just thought that there might be a few more honest people in Washington who really wanted what was best for the country, rather than for their own personal ambitions. Obviously, the few honest people who are there are going to have to fight very hard to drain the swamp. As Harry Truman once said, “You want a friend in Washington? Get a dog.”

This Really Was Not Unexpected

Yesterday Breitbart posted an article about the Russian investigation. It seems as if this investigation has been going on forever, and so far nothing has been found. I am waiting for the eventual charge that someone went to a Russian tea room for a cup of tea and therefore should be prosecuted. Unfortunately, because special prosecutors tend to want to charge someone with something, all these lawyers with political leanings may eventually charge someone with a process crime (they forgot something in their testimony and gave an answer on a minor point that did not satisfy the investigators). However, it is becoming rather obvious that the tale the left has been spinning since the election of foreign intrigue tied to the Trump campaign or Trump Administration is pure fiction.

Breitbart reports:

Investor William Browder testified at the Senate Judiciary Committee on Thursday that Fusion GPS, the firm that had been responsible for creating and pushing the so-called “Russia dossier” against Donald Trump, had been paid by the Russian government to push for the repeal of the human rights sanctions in the Magnitsky Act of 2012. In other words, the Russian government may have been paying to smear Trump with false and salacious accusations.

Until now, the media and the Democrats have proceeded under the assumption that Russia intervened in the 2016 election by hacking the email server of the Democratic National Committee, as well as the private email of Hillary Clinton campaign chair John Podesta, and releasing their emails via Wikileaks. They have further claimed — with no evidence — that the Trump campaign may have colluded with the Russians in obtaining or releasing the emails.

The entire theory rests on the ridiculous claim that Trump had invited Russia to hack Clinton and the Democrats when he joked last July about the Russians releasing the emails Clinton had deleted from her illicit private server.  (The left-wing HuffPost observed Thursday as the anniversary that Trump “asked for Russian help in the election.”) That joke prompted then-CIA director John Brennan to convene an investigation of alleged Russian interference.

Thursday The Wall Street Journal posted an article by Kimberly Strassel (the article is not linked here because it is subscribers only) noting a connection between Fusion GPS and the Democratic party.

In an interesting move, Congressional Democrats, who were ready to hold public hearings about Russian election interference featuring Donald Trump Jr. and Paul Manafort, have decided to hold those hearings in private (where they can’t pontificate instead of asking questions). Why? Because if Donald Trump Jr. and Paul Manafort were questioned in public, then Fusion GPS co-founder Glenn Simpson would also be questioned in public. For whatever reason, the Democrats were willing to give up their dog and pony show to avoid Glenn Simpson’s public testimony (where he would have been asked who paid for the false dossier on Donald Trump).

The Wall Street Journal article asks:

What if, all this time, Washington and the media have had the Russia collusion story backward? What if it wasn’t the Trump campaign playing footsie with the Vladimir Putin regime, but Democrats? The more we learn about Fusion, the more this seems a possibility.

We know Fusion is a for-hire political outfit, paid to dig up dirt on targets. This column first outed Fusion in 2012, detailing its efforts to tar a Mitt Romney donor. At the time Fusion insisted that the donor was “a legitimate subject of public records research.”

The article at Breitbart concludes:

Or the truth could be that Russia was trying to embarrass both parties, to weaken the eventual winner. Browder told the Senate Judiciary Committee that it is common for Russia to back both sides in elections, simply to create chaos.

Regardless, the Russia conspiracy theory has now collapsed. There is no evidence that Russia was colluding with the Trump campaign. But there is evidence Russia was working against it. And the truth is only beginning to emerge.

The following quote is from Shakespeare’s Macbeth:

Life’s but a walking shadow, a poor player,
That struts and frets his hour upon the stage,
And then is heard no more. It is a tale
Told by an idiot, full of sound and fury,
Signifying nothing.

The same thing can be said about the investigation into President Trump’s ties to Russia.

 

For Your Consideration

The fact that I am posting this does not mean that I believe it is true–it means that I think this is a necessary item to add to the current debate.

The U.K Daily Mail posted an article today based on a National Enquirer story .

The U.K. Daily Mail article states:

Hillary Clinton and a firm with ties to the Democratic party setup President Donald Trump and his family in an attempt to destroy the billionaire businessman and politician according to the National Enquirer

The tabloid magazine, which has made no secret of its pro-Trump agenda, came to this conclusion after what they describe as an ‘exhaustive investigation’ into the matter.

These attempts by ‘evil’ Hillary to bring down her rival included luring Donald Jr. into meeting with shadowy Russian lawyer Natalia Veselnitskyaya claims the tabloid.

And the firm in the middle of all this is Fusion GPS according to the tabloid, the same group that allegedly compiled Christopher Steele’s scandalous dossier of claims about President Trump that was published in January.

I don’t know if this story is true or false. What I do know is that there is a group of establishment politicians in Washington that is intent on preventing President Trump from accomplishing anything. The Washington establishment has become the ‘cool’ kids at the high school lunch table who refuse to let anyone they deem unworthy to enter their group. It is high time that someone tipped their table over and sent them home.

Remember, the National Enquirer broke the John Edwards story. Lately they have a better track record than The New York Times.