It Is Scary That This Happened In America

Yesterday Jay Sekulow posted an article at Fox News about new information found in recently disclosed documents.

The article reports:

Stunning new information just released by the American Center for Law and Justice (ACLJ) shows that the Obama administration stepped up efforts – just days before President Trump took office – to undermine Trump and his administration.

The ACLJ, where I serve as chief counsel, has obtained records that show the Office of the Director of National Intelligence, under Director James Clapper, eagerly pushed to get new procedures as part of an anti-Trump effort. The procedures increased access to raw signals intelligence before the conclusion of the Obama administration, just days before President Trump was inaugurated.

By greatly expanding access to classified information by unelected, unaccountable bureaucrats, the Obama administration paved the way for a shadow government to leak classified information – endangering our national security and severely jeopardizing the integrity and reputation of our critical national security apparatus – in an attempt to undermine President Trump.

Consider the fact that had Hillary Clinton been elected, this would never have been done. This is further evidence that the Obama administration considered itself an arm of the Democrat party–the did not consider themselves accountable to the American people for their actions.

The article continues:

As I told Sean Hannity on his Fox News Channel program, the documents were obtained as a result of one of our Freedom of Information Act lawsuits – this one against the Office of the Director of National Intelligence and the National Security Agency.

The documents confirmed what we suspected: the Office of the Director of National Intelligence rushed to get the new “procedures signed by the Attorney General before the conclusion of this administration,” referring to the Obama administration.

The documents also reveal that Robert Litt, who worked in the Office of the Director of National Intelligence, told the Office of the Undersecretary of Defense’s Director of Intelligence Strategy, Policy, & Integration: “Really want to get this done … and so does the Boss.” Presumably “the Boss” is a reference to Director Clapper. 

And documents the ACLJ received that were produced by the National Security Agency show that NSA officials discussed that they “could have a signature from the AG as early as this week, certainly prior to the 20th of Jan.” In other words, certainly before President Trump’s inauguration.

Consider what we now know about the nature and degree of Deep State opposition to President Trump.

The article also notes:

In this particular instance, it concerned us when we heard that, according to The New York Times, “in its final days, the Obama administration has expanded the power of the National Security Agency to share globally intercepted personal communications with the government’s 16 other intelligence agencies before applying privacy protections.”

On December 15, 2016 – after President Trump’s election – Director of National Intelligence Clapper executed a document titled “Procedures for the Availability or Dissemination of Raw Signals Intelligence Information by the National Security Agency Under Section 2.3 of Executive Order 12333.”

On January 3, 2017 – just days before President Trump’s inauguration – then-Attorney General Loretta Lynch executed the document, indicating her approval.

According to The New York Times, “the new rules significantly relax longstanding limits on what the N.S.A. may do with the information gathered by its most powerful surveillance operations.”

Changing the law may have been legal, but does anyone actually doubt the intention?

Rules??? What Rules?

The Federalist posted an article yesterday listing five times the Mueller Probe broke basic prosecutorial rules.

The article lists the rules broken:

1. Using Leaks And Press Conferences to Trash Un-charged Targets

Rule 3.8 of the American Bar Association’s rules of professional responsibility for prosecutors provides,

A prosecutor shall, except for statements that are necessary to inform the public of the nature and extent of the prosecutor’s action and that serve a legitimate law enforcement purpose, refrain from making extrajudicial comments that have a substantial likelihood of heightening public condemnation of the accused and exercise reasonable care to prevent investigators, law enforcement personnel, employees or other persons assisting or associated with the prosecutor in a criminal case from making an extrajudicial statement that the prosecutor would be prohibited from making under Rule 3.6 or this Rule.

2. Using Their Power to Crush Client-Attorney Privilege

Rule 3.8 also provides,

A prosecutor shall not subpoena a lawyer in a grand jury or other criminal proceeding to present evidence about a past or present client unless the prosecutor reasonably believes:

(1) the information sought is not protected from disclosure by any applicable privilege;

(2) the evidence sought is essential to the successful completion of an ongoing investigation or prosecution; and

(3) there is no other feasible alternative to obtain the information;

3. Prosecuting Despite Knowing They Can’t Prove Their Case

Rule 3.8 also provides “The prosecutor in a criminal case shall: refrain from prosecuting a charge that the prosecutor knows is not supported by probable cause.”

Notwithstanding that the key collusion allegation had already been disproven before Mueller first turned on the lights in the special counsel’s office, for nearly two years Mueller has been trying President Trump in the court of public opinion. This is more than a mere expression. The venue for trying the president is in the Senate under Article I, Section 3 of the Constitution, and the constitutional framers always intended that senators make their decisions based in part on the opinions of the electorate they represent.

4. Special Counsels Aren’t Supposed to Be a Partisan Hit Squad

Federal law regarding the “Independence of the Special Counsel” says: “An individual named as Special Counsel shall be a lawyer with a reputation for integrity and impartial decisionmaking, …. The Special Counsel shall be selected from outside the United States Government.”

Mueller should not have been selected as the special counsel, due to his close personal relationship with Comey. Further, his entire staff was clearly not impartial.

As one example, the prominent attorney Jeannie Rhee worked for the Clintons to keep Hillary’s emails out of public view only months before joining the Mueller team to investigate Hillary’s political opponent. Clinton might face legal consequences for secretly starting the Russia collusion hoax using campaign funds.

5. Rosenstein Used His Government Position to Protect Himself

Federal conflict of interest law (28 C.F.R. § 45.2 (a)) says:

Unless authorized under paragraph (b) of this section, no employee shall participate in a criminal investigation or prosecution if he has a personal or political relationship with: (1) Any person or organization substantially involved in the conduct that is the subject of the investigation or prosecution; or (2) Any person or organization which he knows has a specific and substantial interest that would be directly affected by the outcome of the investigation or prosecution.

The article concludes:

The get-Trump crowd has been carrying the scorpion of the Mueller investigation on their backs for nearly two years. The damage this has done to America may never be undone. The zealots claiming Trump to be a threat to the rule of law have proven themselves right by using their outrage to trample important constitutional principles such as the presumption of innocence, the right to defend oneself from criminal accusations, attorney-client privilege, and the right to be free from unreasonable searches.

None of that seemed important if we truly had a Russian agent occupying the White House. But we don’t. The anti-Trump zealots, not Trump, threatened these cherished principles that ensure equal treatment under the law for all Americans, even the president, regardless of political party.

The people responsible for the abuse of the role of the Special Counsel need to be held accountable. Otherwise, anytime someone the deep state disapproves of is elected, we will go through this entire scenario again. Rules were broken, attorney-client privilege was totally disregarded, and innocent people had their lives ruined simply because they tangentially worked with President Trump. That is unacceptable. The price paid by those who engineered and carried out this travesty needs to be so high that no one will ever attempt it again. This truly was an attempted coup. Those responsible need to pay the appropriate price.

Strategic Leaking

One of the urban legends of the Mueller investigation was that there were no leaks. Well, some information has come out that totally undoes that myth.

Yesterday The Conservative Treehouse posted an article showing that certain information was selectively leaked during the investigation.

The article reports:

There has been a widespread media claim for two years that Robert Mueller’s special counsel team never leaked.  However, today, while entirely obfuscating the lede aspect to their admission/story, Buzzfeed News outlines how FBI agents assigned to Robert Mueller’s team actually leaked documents from their investigation to the media.

This admission is stunning…. I don’t even think Buzzfeed realizes what they are admitting to here. It’s in these paragraphs (emphasis mine):

(Buzzfeed) […] I’d also like to share an accounting of how we came to our characterization, to give our audience and people who reasonably raised questions about our reporting as much information as possible about how the story came to be.

Our story was based on detailed information from senior law enforcement sources. That reporting included documents — specifically, pages of notes that were taken during an interview of [Michael] Cohen by the FBI.

In those notes, one law enforcement source wrote that “DJT personally asked Cohen to say negotiations ended in January and White House counsel office knew Cohen would give false testimony to Congress. Sanctioned by DJT. Joint lawyer team reviewed letter Cohen sent to SSCI about his testimony about Trump Tower moscow, et al, knowing it contained lies.”

The law enforcement source also wrote: “Cohen told OSC” — the Office of Special Counsel — “he was asked to lie by DJT/DJT Jr., lawyers.”

At the time, the sources asked reporters to keep the information confidential, but with the publication of Mueller’s report they have permitted its release. (read more)

Please follow the link to the article at The Conservative Treehouse for further details. The press is not fulfilling its calling to provide unbiased news to the American public. Part of that is their fault, and part of that is the fault of Americans who do not take the time to evaluate the news they hear.

What We Know Didn’t Happen With The Mueller Report

Yesterday Byron York posted an article at The Washington Examiner titled, “Five things that didn’t happen in the Mueller investigation.” Please follow the link and read the entire article. It is very insightful.

The article reports:

1. Mueller did not indict Donald Trump Jr., Jared Kushner, or other people whose purported legal jeopardy was the subject of intense media speculation in the last year.

2. Mueller did not charge anyone in the Trump campaign or circle with conspiring with Russia to fix the 2016 election, as was the subject of intense media speculation in the last year.

3. Mueller did not subpoena the president, as was the subject of intense media speculation in the last year.

4. The president did not fire Mueller, as was the subject of intense media speculation in the last year.

5. The president did not interfere with the Mueller investigation, as was the subject of intense media speculation in the last year. In his letter to Congress, Barr noted the requirement that he notify lawmakers if top Justice Department officials ever interfered with the Mueller investigation. “There were no such instances,” Barr wrote.

All of those five things are very different than what we have been hearing from the media for the past two years. What about the reckless comments made by former government officials and cable news anchors? Can they be held responsible for what was either total ignorance masquerading as inside knowledge or outright lies? When are the government officials who violated the civil rights of innocent people by unmasking their identifies when it was unnecessary? When are the people who used government agencies to wiretap on spy on an opposition party candidate going to be held accountable? When are the public officials who leaked information going to be held accountable? I have no answers to any of the above questions. My hope is that there is an Inspector General somewhere who is looking into these matters. It is a faint hope, but it is a hope.

Who Has The Transcript? Who Is Leaking The Transcript? Why Is It Being Leaked?

Byron York posted an article at The Washington Examiner today about James Baker’s two interviews with House of Representatives investigators last October. The article notes that Republican Rep. Mark Meadows called parts of Baker’s testimony “explosive.”

The article reports:

Republicans intended to make the interview transcripts public. The questioning was not conducted in a classified setting, and Baker had FBI and other lawyers with him the whole time. But the House still had to send the transcripts to the FBI for clearance, just to make sure public release would not reveal any classified or otherwise secret information.

If Republicans hoped for a quick OK from the bureau, they were sorely disappointed. October passed. Then November. Then December. And now, half of January. The FBI still has the transcripts, and there is no word on when the bureau will clear them for release.

Even though the transcripts have not been released, they are in the news.

The article explains:

Two major news stories in the past few days have been based in whole or in part on what Baker told lawmakers. Some news organizations appear to have read the transcripts, or at least significant portions of them, or had them read to reporters by someone with access. Suddenly, the Baker transcripts are hot.

Again, the FBI still has the transcripts and is not yet saying when they will be cleared for release.

It seems as if both The New York Times and CNN have reported on information in the transcripts (along with comments by Jim Jordan and Mark Meadows):

The Baker excerpt, revealing the criminal investigation, is a new and important part of the story of the FBI’s handling of the Trump-Russia investigation. Release of the full transcripts could shed new light on the FBI’s use of the Trump dossier in the Russia probe. But they remain secret — and it is the FBI that has the final word on whether and when to allow the release of information that is unflattering to the FBI.

The second big story that came in part from the Baker transcript was the New York Times piece last Friday headlined, “FBI Opened Inquiry Into Whether Trump Was Secretly Working on Behalf of Russia.”

The story caused intense excitement in anti-Trump circles. “Counterintelligence investigators had to consider whether the president’s own actions constituted a possible threat to national security,” the Times reported. “Agents also sought to determine whether Mr. Trump was knowingly working for Russia or had unwittingly fallen under Moscow’s influence.”

In the piece, the bureau’s reasoning was explained by references to … the secret Baker transcripts. The paper said Baker told lawmakers that the FBI viewed President Trump’s firing of Director James Comey as a national security issue. “Not only would it be an issue of obstructing an investigation, but the obstruction itself would hurt our ability to figure out what the Russians had done, and that is what would be the threat to national security,” Baker said in the still-secret testimony, according to the Times. The paper said portions of the testimony “were read to The New York Times.”

Not long after, CNN published an article, “Transcripts detail how FBI debated whether Trump was ‘following directions’ of Russia.” CNN quoted significant portions of the Baker transcripts, in which Baker said the FBI wanted to know if Trump “was acting at the behest of and somehow following directions, somehow executing [Russia’s] will.”

It’s time for the FBI to stop playing games and release the transcripts. If there are rogue elements of the FBI that will be revealed in these transcripts, so be it. It is time that we cleaned up our justice system and brought back transparency and equal justice under the law.

 

Glossing Over The Actual Crime

This week we watched the Mueller investigation recommend that Michael Flynn not be incarcerated because of his extensive cooperation with the investigation. This creates more questions than it answers. Why was there any kind of continuing investigation of Michael Flynn? Notes released from the investigation show that no one who interviewed him thought he was lying. So why wasn’t the investigation dropped? But wait–there’s more!

Kimberley Strassel posted an article at The Wall Street Journal yesterday with the following title, “Mueller’s Gift to Obama.” The article reminds us that the charges against Michael Flynn were based on his telephone calls and interactions with Russian Ambassador Sergei Kislyak. As incoming National Security Advisor, Michael Flynn would have been expected to have those conversations. It is also expected that those conversations would be wiretapped because they involved a Russian Ambassador. What is not protocol is the unmasking of General Flynn’s identity.

The article reports:

But what about the potential crimes that put Mr. Flynn in Mr. Mueller’s crosshairs to begin with? On Jan. 2, 2017, the Obama White House learned about Mr. Flynn’s conversations with Mr. Kislyak. The U.S. monitors phone calls of foreign officials, but under law they are supposed to “minimize” the names of any Americans caught up in such eavesdropping. In the Flynn case, someone in the prior administration either failed to minimize or purposely “unmasked” Mr. Flynn. The latter could itself be a felony.

Ten days later someone in that administration leaked to the Washington Post that Mr. Flynn had called Mr. Kislyak on Dec. 29, 2016. On Feb. 9, 2017, someone leaked to the Post and the New York Times highly detailed and classified information about the Flynn-Kislyak conversation.

House Intelligence Committee Chairman Devin Nunes has called this leak the most destructive to national security that he seen in his time in Washington. Disclosing classified information is a felony punishable by up to 10 years in federal prison. The Post has bragged that its story was sourced by nine separate officials.

The Mueller team has justified its legal wanderings into money laundering (Paul Manafort) and campaign contributions (Michael Cohen) on grounds that it has an obligation to follow up on any evidence of crimes, no matter how disconnected from its Russia mandate. Mr. Flynn’s being caught up in the probe is related to a glaring potential crime of disclosing classified material, yet Mr. Mueller appears to have undertaken no investigation of that. Is this selective justice, or something worse? Don’t forget Mr. Mueller stacked his team with Democrats, some of whom worked at the highest levels of the Obama administration, including at the time of the possible Flynn unmasking and the first leak.

It is becoming very obvious that Robert Mueller’s investigation is wearing blinders. Their prosecution of Michael Flynn while ignoring the crime of leaking classified material and unmasking Americans on foreign phone calls  (not to mention ignoring the Clinton campaign’s relationship with Fusion GPS, Christopher Steele, and the dossier) is a glaring example of the politicization of our Justice Department. The Congressional hysteria over the idea that Mueller could be fired or limited in any way is a glaring example of the ignorance on the part of some Congressmen of our Constitution. For the past two years we have had a taste of what it would be like to live in a country where justice is political. If we do not successfully deal with this, we will have taken a pretty big step toward becoming a banana republic.

 

 

A Slightly Different Take On The Recent National Security Leaks

Andrew McCarthy posted an article at PJMedia about the recent leaks of classified information and the search for the source of the leaks. He points out that a special prosecutor may not be the answer to solving the problem of who is leaking and stopping the leaks.

Mr. McCarthy explains why pursuing the leaks as a criminal matter is probably not a good idea:

The lesson here — of far more political than legal significance — is that President Obama is a reckless custodian of the nation’s secrets. That is yet another good reason why it is so important to defeat him come November. The rest — who said what — is details. It’s the guy in the Oval Office who sets the tone. And that guy, by the way, is fully empowered to declassify whatever information he chooses to declassify, no matter how sensitive, no matter how damaging its disclosure. So if it turns out that Obama effectively approved the leaks, they are probably not actionable disclosures of classified information anyway.

I will admit–that is an angle I had not considered.

Mr. McCarthy further reminds us:

 If the president decides to make information public, it is public — no matter how classified it was before, and no matter who in the government thinks the publicizing of it is a bone-headed move. The president gets to do that — and that’s part of why it matters who the president is.

Classified information belongs to the executive branch. Under the Constitution, the executive power is vested in a single official, the president. As Justice Scalia pointed out in his classic dissent in Morrison v. Olson, this does not mean some of the executive power; it means all of the executive power. The president can make a bad de-classification decision, but it is his decision to make.

It does matter who the President is.

 

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