It’s Going To Be An Interesting Week

CNS News posted the following headline today, “Glenn Simpson, James Baker, and Nellie Ohr Scheduled to Testify This Week; Simpson Taking the 5th.” My, what an interesting combination of testimonies.

The article reports:

Glenn Simpson, the founder of Fusion GPS, will take the Fifth, refusing to testify, when he appears before the House Judiciary Committee on Tuesday.

Taking the Fifth does not necessarily mean that you are guilty of anything, but the article speculates on why Mr. Simpson might want to take the Fifth:

Simpson previously has testified before the House intelligence committee and two Senate committees. In response to a subpoena to testify on Tuesday, Simpson’s lawyers sent a letter to Judiciary Committee Chairman Rep. Bob Goodlatte, saying in part that the “inquiry is not designed to discover the truth.”

“The obvious — and at times explicitly stated — goal of this Committee is to discredit and otherwise damage witnesses to Russia’s interference in the 2016 election, all as part of an effort to protect a President who has sought to placate and curry favor with a hostile foreign power and who demands that the Justice Department stop investigating him,” said the letter obtained by various media outlets.

When the flak becomes thick, it means that you are getting close to the target. It is becoming obvious to almost everyone that the Special Prosecutor’s investigation is going nowhere because it was a political scheme to interfere with the Trump presidency. Now we are reaching a time when those responsible for the scheme may be held accountable.

The article further reports:

Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein refused a request to appear last Thursday, prompting calls by some Republicans to subpoena him:

“He didn’t show up,” Rep. Jim Jordan (R-Ohio) said of Rosenstein. “Look, when you’re the guy who in reality is running the Justice Department, and the chairman of the committee that has jurisdiction over your agency asks you to come, you are obligated to come and you’re obligated to come and testify under oath. He didn’t do that.

“So if it takes a subpoena, that’s exactly what should happen. We need him to answer questions about all kinds of issues associated with the Trump-Russia investigation, but specifically the statement that it’s alleged that he said where he talked about actually recording the commander in chief of our great country and he talked about the 25th Amendment.

“That is specifically what I want to ask him about,” Jordan told “Sunday Morning Futures” with Maria Bartiromo.

Rosenstein has said he was joking when he suggested wearing a wire into the Oval Office with the goal of documenting the alleged dysfunction of the commander in chief.

But according to some press reports, three FBI officials — Andrew McCabe, Lisa Page, and James Baker — did not take Rosenstein’s words as a joke, believing him to be serious about wiretapping the president in the wake of James Comey’s firing.

It’s interesting that Rod Rosenstein wrote the letter that recommended Comey’s firing.

The article highlights some of the history of the Russian collusion investigation:

Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein refused a request to appear last Thursday, prompting calls by some Republicans to subpoena him:

“He didn’t show up,” Rep. Jim Jordan (R-Ohio) said of Rosenstein. “Look, when you’re the guy who in reality is running the Justice Department, and the chairman of the committee that has jurisdiction over your agency asks you to come, you are obligated to come and you’re obligated to come and testify under oath. He didn’t do that.

“So if it takes a subpoena, that’s exactly what should happen. We need him to answer questions about all kinds of issues associated with the Trump-Russia investigation, but specifically the statement that it’s alleged that he said where he talked about actually recording the commander in chief of our great country and he talked about the 25th Amendment.

“That is specifically what I want to ask him about,” Jordan told “Sunday Morning Futures” with Maria Bartiromo.

Rosenstein has said he was joking when he suggested wearing a wire into the Oval Office with the goal of documenting the alleged dysfunction of the commander in chief.

But according to some press reports, three FBI officials — Andrew McCabe, Lisa Page, and James Baker — did not take Rosenstein’s words as a joke, believing him to be serious about wiretapping the president in the wake of James Comey’s firing.

Hopefully anyone involved in plotting against a duly-elected President will pay a high price for their actions.

Footnote 43

Yesterday John Solomon posted an article at The Hill about the redactions in the House Intelligence Committee Report Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election.

The article reports the following about declassifying the report:

The Department of Justice (DOJ) and the FBI have tried to thwart President Trump on releasing the evidence, suggesting it will harm national security, make allies less willing to cooperate, or even leave him vulnerable to accusations that he is trying to obstruct the end of the Russia probe.

Before you judge the DOJ’s and FBI’s arguments — which are similar to those offered to stop the release of information in other major episodes of American history, from the Bay of Pigs to 9/11 — consider Footnote 43 on Page 57 of Chapter 3 of the House Intelligence Committee’s report earlier this year on Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election.

Until this past week, the footnote really had garnered no public intrigue, in part because the U.S. intelligence community blacked out the vast majority of its verbiage in the name of national security before the report was made public.

From the heavy redactions, all one could tell is that FBI general counsel James Baker met with an unnamed person who provided some information in September 2016 about Russia, email hacking and a possible link to the Trump campaign.

Not a reporter or policymaker would have batted an eyelash over such a revelation.

Then, last Wednesday, I broke the story that Baker admitted to Congress in an unclassified setting — repeat, in an unclassified setting — that he had met with a top lawyer at the firm representing the Democratic National Committee (DNC) and received allegations from that lawyer about Russia, Trump and possible hacking.

It is becoming very obvious that releasing the report of the Committee will not harm national security as much as it will harm the reputation of the Department of Justice and FBI. It’s time to release the report.

This Is Not The America Most Of Us Want

Yesterday Judicial Watch posted the following Press Release:

‘[N]o such hearings were held with respect to the acknowledged FISA applications. Accordingly, no responsive hearing transcripts exist.’

(Washington, DC) – Judicial Watch today announced that in response to a Judicial Watch Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) lawsuit, the Justice Department (DOJ) admitted in a court filing last night that the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court held no hearings on the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) spy warrant applications targeting Carter Page, a former Trump campaign part-time advisor who was the subject of four controversial FISA warrants.

In the filing the Justice Department finally revealed that the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court held no hearings on the Page FISA spy warrants, first issued in 2016 and subsequently renewed three times:

[National Security Division] FOIA consulted [Office of Intelligence] … to identify and locate records responsive to [Judicial Watch’s] FOIA request…. [Office of Intelligence] determined … that there were no records, electronic or paper, responsive to [Judicial Watch’s] FOIA request with regard to Carter Page. [Office of Intelligence] further confirmed that the [Foreign Surveillance Court] considered the Page warrant applications based upon written submissions and did not hold any hearings.

The Department of Justice previously released to Judicial Watch the heavily redacted Page warrant applications. The initial Page FISA warrant was granted just weeks before the 2016 election.

The DOJ filing is in response to a Judicial Watch lawsuit for the FISA transcripts (Judicial Watch v. U.S. Department of Justice (No. 1:18-cv-01050)).

In February, Republicans on the House Intelligence Committee released a memo criticizing the FISA targeting of Carter Page. The memo details how the “minimally corroborated” Clinton-DNC dossier was an essential part of the FBI and DOJ’s applications for surveillance warrants to spy on Page.

Judicial Watch recently filed a request with the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court seeking the transcripts of all hearings related to the surveillance of Carter Page.

“It is disturbing that the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance courts rubber-stamped the Carter Page spy warrants and held not one hearing on these extraordinary requests to spy on the Trump team,” said Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton. “Perhaps the court can now hold hearings on how justice was corrupted by material omissions that Hillary Clinton’s campaign, the DNC, a conflicted Bruce Ohr, a compromised Christopher Steele, and anti-Trumper Peter Strzok were all behind the ‘intelligence’ used to persuade the courts to approve the FISA warrants that targeted the Trump team.”

This is a blatant example of using the apparatus of the government to spy on a political opponent. It is illegal and should result in jail time for those involved. To let this go unpunished means that it will be acceptable behavior in the future. We are in danger of losing our country to a group of elites who have no respect for either the law or the voters.

How Many Smoking Guns Do We Need?

On August 16th, Sara Carter posted an article about the latest batch of emails released between Bruce Ohr and other people involved in the lead up to the investigation of President Trump and Russia.

The article reports:

In one of Ohr’s handwritten notes listed as “Law enforcement Sensitive” from May 10, 2017, he writes “Call with Chris,” referencing Steele. He notes that Steele is “very concerned about Comey’s firing, afraid they will be exposed.” This call occurred months after FBI Director James Comey testified before the House Intelligence Committee and revealed for the first time that the FBI had an open counterintelligence investigation into President Donald Trump’s campaign and alleged collusion with Russia.

Steele is also extremely concerned about a letter sent from the Senate Judiciary Committee asking Comey for information on his involvement with Steele. Grassley sent 12 questions to Comey regarding the bureau and Steele’s relationship and wanted all information on any agreements they had during the investigation into alleged Russia-Trump collusion. Grassley also wanted to know if the FBI ever verified any of the information in Steele’s reports.

In Ohr’s notes from May 10, 2017, he goes onto write that Steele is concerned about a letter from the Senate Intelligence Committee, writing:

“Asked them 3 questions:

  1. What info (information) did you give to the U.S. govt (government)?
  2. What was the scope of yr (your) investigation?
  3. Do you have any other info that would assist in our question?”

SaraACarter.com first reported this week text messages between Steele and Ohr, revealing that Steele was anxious about Comey’s testimony and was hoping that “important firewalls will hold” when Comey testified.

Wouldn’t we all like to know exactly what those important firewalls were.

The Real Answer To The Mueller Investigation

Last night Tucker Carlson stated the following on his television show (posted at The Gateway Pundit):

Tucker Carlson: I just wanted to say this. We spoke to the Chairman of the House Intelligence Committee a minute ago. Devin Nunes of California is an honorable person… He has read the whole text of the application for the FISA warrant by the government, the Obama administration to spy on Carter Page and the Trump Campaign. He says the parts that have been redacted do not in any way threaten American national security. It is merely butt-covering on the part of the bureaucracy. We ask the obvious question which is why don’t you just tell us what’s in it and let the public decide, let the public judge. In the commercial break I got an interesting text, I’m going to read it on the air from a very informed person in Washington. And I’m quoting, “Dianne Feinstein entered the CIA torture memos into the record of the senate and was protected by the speech and debate clause. Any Republican with access to the FISA warrant could do the same. Complete immunity awaits them. I believe that to be true… I will say one more time, if you know what’s in the redacted portions of that application please send it to us. The public has a right to know.

I believe transparency is the answer to the current corruption in Washington. The best way to deal with the ‘deep state’ is to expose it.

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.

 

When Is A Leak Not A Leak?

This article is based on two articles–one posted at The Washington Examiner today and one posted at Fox News yesterday. Both articles have to do with leaking by high ranking members of our government.

The Washington Examiner article deals with James Clapper. The article states that Mr. Clapper provided the House Intelligence Committee with ‘inconsistent testimony’ about his contact with the media.

The article reports:

The former spy chief initially said he did not speak with journalists about a secret intelligence assessment containing the information, before later admitting he discussed the dossier with CNN reporter Jake Tapper and possibly others, the report said.

A spokesman for the committee did not immediately respond to a request for comment on whether the committee will seek criminal charges. Last month, Clapper avoided charges for a separate alleged lie to Congress due to a five-year statute of limitations.

A spokesman for Clapper did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

According to the report, Clapper “flatly denied” during a July 2017 interview with the committee “discuss[ing] the dossier [compiled by former British spy Christopher Steele] or any other intelligence related to Russia hacking of the 2016 election with journalists.”

The activities of the upper levels of our government during the past two years are shameful.

The article at Fox News reports:

Former FBI Director James Comey, in a wide-ranging interview with Fox News on Thursday, defended sharing his memos about conversations with President Trump with multiple people, while denying it was a “leak.”

“That memo was unclassified then,” Comey told anchor Bret Baier during an appearance on “Special Report.” “It’s still unclassified. It’s in my book. The FBI cleared that book before it could be published.”

Comey acknowledged giving the memos to at least three people including his friend, Columbia University law professor Daniel Richman. He said he sent Richman a copy of the two-page unclassified memo and “asked him to get the substance of it out to the media.” 

“The reason I’m smiling, Bret,” Comey said. “I don’t consider what I shared Mr. Richman a leak.” 

It really doesn’t matter whether or not Mr. Comey considered it a leak. I suspect that those familiar with laws regarding leaks might come to a different conclusion.

Both these stories are examples of the war on President Trump that has been going on since he became a candidate for President. It is sad that certain areas of our government have been politicized to the point that they can be used to work against the policies of an elected President. It truly is time to clean house thoroughly in Washington.

All Americans Are Equal Under The Law…Except Those Who Are Not

Yesterday Tablet Magazine posted an article about the ongoing Robert Mueller investigation. The magazine has a unique take on the investigation and cites numerous events that illustrate why they drew the conclusions they did.

The article reminds us of some of Robert Mueller’s recent activities:

News that special counselor Robert Mueller has turned his attention to Erik Prince’s January 11, 2017 meeting in the Seychelles with a Russian banker, a Lebanese-American political fixer, and officials from the United Arab Emirates, helps clarify the nature of Mueller’s work. It’s not an investigation that the former director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation is leading—rather, it’s a cover-up.

After all, Mueller took his job not at the behest of the man who by all accounts he is likely to professionally and personally disdain, Donald Trump, but of the blue-chip Beltway elite of which he is a charter member. Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein appointed him nearly a year ago to lead an investigation without parameters. That’s because Mueller’s job is to obscure the abuses of the US surveillance apparatus that occurred under the Obama administration.

The fact that someone at the level of former FBI director was called in to sweep up the mess left by bad actors in the bureau and Central Intelligence Agency and other parts of the intelligence bureaucracy suggests that the problems are even worse than previously thought. And that means the constituency for Mueller’s political intervention is enormous.

Mueller is said to believe that the Prince meeting was to set up a back channel with the Kremlin. But that makes no sense. According to the foundational text of the collusion narrative, the dossier allegedly written by former British spy Christopher Steele, the Kremlin had cultivated Trump himself for years. So what’s the purpose of a back channel, when Vladimir Putin already had a key to the front door of Mar-a-Lago?

The group behind the goals of this investigation are counting on the American people to get bored and stop paying attention. They are also hoping that we are not asking questions about the cost and strange direction the investigation has taken.

The article also reveals that some of the information the investigation is using could have only come from illegal unmasking of the people involved:

Prince was thrown into the middle of Russiagate after an April 3, 2017 Washington Post story reported his meeting with the Russian banker. But how did anyone know about the meeting? After the story came out, Prince said he was shown “specific evidence” by sources from the intelligence community that the information was swept up in the collection of electronic communications and his identity was unmasked. The US official or officials who gave his name to the Post broke the law when they leaked classified intelligence. “Unless The Washington Post has somehow miraculously recruited the bartender of a hotel in the Seychelles,” Prince told the House Intelligence Committee in December, “the only way that’s happening is through SIGINT [signals intelligence].”

Mueller presumably knows whether Prince’s name was indeed unmasked and then leaked to the press—and that the leak was a crime. Mueller certainly knows that most of the case he has regarding Russian interference in the 2016 election was built by abuses of the foreign intelligence surveillance apparatus and other related crimes that are punishable with jail time. The identity of Trump’s short-tenured National Security Adviser Michael Flynn was swept up and leaked to the press in the same way as Prince’s. It was leaked to the same newspaper, the Washington Post.

As I explained last week, the identity of Attorney General Jeff Sessions was also unmasked from intelligence intercepts and leaked to the Washington Post. The fact that the FBI had secured a Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act warrant on Carter Page was also leaked to the Post. The warrant on Page was secured on the basis of the findings in the Steele dossier, an unverified piece of opposition research paid for by the Clinton campaign and Democratic National Committee.

One of the main conclusions in the article:

The purpose of the Mueller inquiry is therefore not to investigate the mostly ludicrous-seeming charges in the Steele dossier, but to protect the institution of the FBI, former colleagues, as well as the national security surveillance system. Therefore the inquiry has to cover up the sinful origins of the collusion narrative itself—which was born in repeated abuses of power and subsequent crimes committed by US officials in the intelligence bureaucracy and the Obama administration.

Please follow the link to read the entire article. It reveals some of what President Trump is up against in trying to reclaim America for the average American.

From The Gateway Pundit

Posted today at The Gateway Pundit:

Jarrett also said, “Again, if true, Rosenstein’s action was an illegal abuse of power and he should no longer serve as Deputy Attorney General. He allegedly used threats to try to stop the Intelligence Committee from exposing wrongful behavior in an attempt to cover it up.’

The swamp is deep, and there will be a lot of resistance to cleaning it up. Hopefully there are enough honest people in Washington to get the job done. It is time for some people to be fired and arrested.

The Plot Thickens

It seems as if there were some major infringements on the privacy and civil rights of American citizens during the last year or so of the Obama Administration. Fortunately, it looks as though these violations will be investigated and the guilty parties will be held accountable.

The Washington Free Beacon posted an article today about the ongoing investigation into the unmasking of the names of American citizens who were named in classified intelligence community reports. Oddly enough, many of these citizens were associated with the Donald Trump campaign for President or his transition team.

The article reports:

Rep. Devin Nunes (R., Calif.), chair of the House Intelligence Committee, which is handling the probe, petitioned Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats last week to request his help in addressing the unmasking issue.

Nunes disclosed in his letter that the former Obama administration had “easy access” to sensitive classified information and that they may have used it to “achieve partisan political purposes, including the selective, anonymous leaking of such information.”

Congressional investigators uncovered that “one official [whose] position has no apparent intelligence-related function”—now believed to be Power—”made hundreds of unmasking requests during the final year of the Obama administration.”

Little justification was provided for the request of this sensitive classified information, which government insiders described as outside the purview of a U.N. ambassador.

“Of those requests, only one offered a justification that was not boilerplate and articulated why that specific official required the personal information for the performance of his or her official duties,” according to Nunes.

One former senior U.S. official intimately familiar with the national security infrastructure told the Free Beacon that Power would have little reason to be requesting such information, particularly information that included in raw intelligence reports related to Trump and his team.

“Asking for an unmasking is rare at the [National Security Council] or the State Department. It is frankly shocking that anyone would be asking for dozens, and if there are really hundreds it is indefensible,” said the former official. “It does make me wonder why [National Security Agency] didn’t stop her [Power], by questioning this practice and getting the head of NSA to raise it with the president or the national security adviser.”

In addition to Power, the House Intelligence Committee has subpoenaed former National Security Adviser Susan Rice and other top officials as part of its investigation into these leaks.

This is NOT politics as usual. The unmasking of American citizens and then leaking classified information is an example of using a government position for political purposes. Not only is it illegal, it is a danger to our republic.

The article concludes:

One veteran congressional adviser who has been briefed by senior Intelligence Committee members told the Free Beacon that the emergence of Power’s role in these unmasking efforts could point to the improper use of this information, given her unrelated role at the U.N.

“The outrage about Obama officials spying on Americans, let alone on the Republican candidate and then incoming president, is both real and legitimate,” said the source, who would only discuss the sensitive matter on background. “But there are still a lot of known unknowns, which could make things a lot worse.”

“The Obama folks may have made a deliberate decision to use Power, even though they knew it would risk giving away their unmasking campaigns, because she had no business making those requests,” the source said. “What was so bad they had to use her for the requests, rather than someone who would have had a better excuse but may have balked?”

Stay tuned. Even if the mainstream media ignores this story, you will be hearing more about this in the future.

 

Finding The Leaks

I am still enough of an optimist to think that there are some members of Congress who actually care about what happens to America. I am tired of watching the dog and pony show of endless accusations, endless hearings, endless anonymous sources, and no one being actually found guilty of anything. I believe that the election of President Trump has illustrated the fact that there is a deep state of the Washington establishment that does not want anyone to rock their boat.

I have quoted Carrol Quigley before:

I would like to believe that he was wrong. There is some hope.

The Washington Free Beacon is reporting today that the House Intelligence Committee has issued subpoenas for Samantha Power and other Obama Administration figures, including former national security adviser Susan Rice, in an effort to find out who has been leaking raw intelligence reports to the press during the presidential transition period.

The article reports:

Power’s role in this unmasking effort is believed to be particularly questionable given her position as the U.N. ambassador, a post that does not typically require such sensitive unmasking activities, according to former U.S. officials and other sources familiar with the matter.

“Unmasking is not a regular occurrence—absolutely not a weekly habit. It is rare, even at the National Security Council, and ought to be rarer still for a U.N. ambassador,” according to one former senior U.S. official who spoke to the Washington Free Beacon.

“It might be defended when the communication in question relates directly to U.N. business, for example an important Security Council vote,” explained the former official, who would only discuss the matter on background. “Sometimes it might be done out of other motives than national security, such as sheer curiosity or to defend a bureaucratic position. Or just plain politics.”

The Intelligence Committee’s focus of Power and other key Obama officials is a prime example of the Obama administration’s efforts to spy on those close to Trump, according to sources familiar with the ongoing investigation.

“The subpoena for Power suggests just how pervasive the Obama administration’s spying on Americans actually was,” said one veteran GOP political operative who has been briefed on the matter by senior Congressional intelligence officials. “The U.N. ambassador has absolutely no business calling for the quantity and quality of the intelligence that Power seems to have been asking for.”

It is becoming obvious that President Obama used to power of his office to spy on and limit the influence of his political opponents. Under President Obama, the IRS became a political arm of the Democratic party–slow walking nonprofit applications from conservative groups. The Justice Department was also politicized when voter intimidation by the New Black Panthers was ignored despite video evidence. It should not be a surprise that the Patriot Act was also misused in the way feared by those in Congress who opposed it.

It is time to hold those who misused their government offices accountable. Leaking raw intelligence to the media is a crime. There are penalties. The law needs to be applied, and it needs to be applied evenly to everyone who broke it. Either Congressional investigations have value or they are a dog and pony show that wastes taxpayer money. We are about to find out which.

 

The Layers Of The Obama-Orchestrated Palace Intrigue

President Obama has been relatively quiet since leaving the White House, but that doesn’t mean that he doesn’t have people representing his interests in the Democratic Party and the media. What are his interests? The main one is preventing President Trump from undoing his executive orders and other policies that were put in place that were not helpful to the American economy. On Saturday, The New York Post posted a list of recent Presidents and the economic growth under each.

This is the list:

Here are the average growth rates for each president:

  • Johnson (1964-68), 5.3 percent
  • Kennedy (1961-63), 4.3 percent
  • Clinton (1993-2000), 3.9 percent
  • Reagan (1981-88), 3.5 percent
  • Carter (1977-80), 3.3 percent
  • Eisenhower (1953-60), 3 percent
  • Nixon (1969-74), 2.8 percent
  • Ford (1975-76), 2.6 percent
  • G.H.W. Bush (1989-92), 2.3 percent
  • G.W. Bush (2001-08), 2.1 percent
  • Truman (1946-52), 1.7 percent
  • Obama (2009-16), 1.6 percent

There are some real questions as to the methods former President Obama and those who supported him plan to use to prevent President Trump from taking actions to improve the economy. It is becoming obvious, however, that one of those methods is to attempt to delegitimize President Trump. So far the attempts to do this have included bogus information accusing President Trump of strange activities while visiting Russia, a claim that the Electoral College is unfair, and a charge that the Russians helped President Trump win the election. So far the only success these people have had has been the destruction of General Flynn and the withdrawal of one of the President’s cabinet nominations. However, we shouldn’t conclude that they are anywhere near giving up.

Sometimes the best laid plans backfire. An illustration of that is found at Bloomberg.com today in an article by Eli Lake.

The article reports:

White House lawyers last month learned that the former national security adviser Susan Rice requested the identities of U.S. persons in raw intelligence reports on dozens of occasions that connect to the Donald Trump transition and campaign, according to U.S. officials familiar with the matter.

The pattern of Rice’s requests was discovered in a National Security Council review of the government’s policy on “unmasking” the identities of individuals in the U.S. who are not targets of electronic eavesdropping, but whose communications are collected incidentally. Normally those names are redacted from summaries of monitored conversations and appear in reports as something like “U.S. Person One.”

Oddly enough, these conversation involved members of the Trump transition team and contained information that would be of value politically.

The article also points out that Susan Rice has publicly denied any knowledge of President Trump’s transition team being caught up in intelligence collection. I would like to remind everyone that Susan Rice’s record on honesty is not spotless.

The article further reports:

Both the House and Senate intelligence committees are probing any ties between Trump associates and a Russian influence operation against Hillary Clinton during the election. The chairman of the House intelligence committee, Representative Devin Nunes, is also investigating how the Obama White House kept tabs on the Trump transition after the election through unmasking the names of Trump associates incidentally collected in government eavesdropping of foreign officials.

Rice herself has not spoken directly on the issue of unmasking. Last month when she was asked on the “PBS NewsHour” about reports that Trump transition officials, including Trump himself, were swept up in incidental intelligence collection, Rice said: “I know nothing about this,” adding, “I was surprised to see reports from Chairman Nunes on that account today.”

This scenario is an illustration of the nightmare those who opposed the Patriot Act saw coming–the intelligence community being used as a political weapon. The problem is not entirely with the Patriot Act; part of the problem is unethical politicians who do not understand that they are also required to abide by the law and follow the Constitution. The Fourth Amendment rights of a number of people were violated by the actions of the Obama Administration. Those responsible need to be brought to justice.