Refusing To Acknowledge Or Deal With The Problem

The Federalist is reporting today that the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court (FISC) presiding Judge James Boasberg  has chosen David Kris to review the FBI’s proposed changes to its surveillance application process.

The article notes:

Kris, who served as assistant attorney general for the DOJ’s National Security Division, recently claimed the IG report that catalogued egregious abuse of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) powers actually vindicated the FBI. He also smeared Rep. Devin Nunes in 2018, saying his initial sounding of the alarm about those abuses was incorrect, threatened national security, and should be harshly punished.

Kris appeared in locations that pushed the false Russia collusion narrative, such as Rachel Maddow’s MSNBC show, the Lawfare blog, and Twitter, to defend the FBI and attack President Trump and other critics of the harmful surveillance campaign. He once wrote that Trump “should be worried” that Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into treasonous collusion with Russia meant “the walls are closing in.”

The appointment of a former official who served as an apologist for the FBI signals that the court isn’t particularly concerned about the civil liberty violations catalogued by Inspector General Michael Horowitz’s investigation into the year-long surveillance of Carter Page. Page is the Trump campaign affiliate whose phone and email communications federal agents wiretapped, and who had confidential human sources and overseas intelligence assets placed against him. False claims that Page was a Russian spy were leaked to the media by government officials as part of a years-long campaign to paint President Trump as a traitor who had colluded with Russia to steal the 2016 election.

This is not good news for our country. It shows that the deep state is still protecting itself and will continue to do so at least in the near future. Dirty cops will not be dealt with as long as they have the right political views. We are at a tipping point–either we are going to have equal justice under the law or we are going to live in a surveillance state. The only way to change this is for voters to vote anyone out of office who hindered in any way the investigations into the corruption that took place at the senior levels of the Department of Justice, FBI, IRS,  etc., under the Obama administration.

The Swamp Has Been The Swamp For A While

Issues & Insights posted an article today with the following headine, “This Isn’t The First Time The IG Denied Flagrant Bias At The FBI.”

The article reports:

Democrats and the mainstream press – is there any difference between the two these days? – have been clinging to the “no bias” statement by the Justice Department inspector general with all their might.

The IG said that he couldn’t state definitively that political bias motivated officials at the FBI to launch and then sustain an investigation against the Trump campaign based on the Clinton-campaign funded and thoroughly discredited Steele Dossier.

That was enough for press to run headlines such as:

“Bias didn’t taint FBI leaders running Trump-Russia Investigation”

“Report on F.B.I. Debunks Anti-Trump Plot”

“Mistakes, but no political bias in FBI probe of Trump campaign: watchdog”

And when Inspector General Michael Horowitz testified before the Senate Judiciary Committee on Wednesday, Democrats repeatedly pressed him to state his “no bias” claim over and over.

“You didn’t find a ‘deep state’ conspiracy against candidate or President Trump,” Sen. Diane Feinstein asked in the form of a statement.

“We found no bias,” Horowitz said.

Sen. Patrick Leahy repeated the “question,” saying that the IG had found “no evidence that the investigation was motivated by anti-Trump or political bias.”

The notion that there was “no bias” at all is impossible to believe when you look at the evidence that Horowitz gathered.

The article also notes:

In any case, this “no bias” language in the latest IG report is almost identical to what Horowitz said in his June 2018 report about the hopelessly biased FBI “investigation” into Hillary Clinton’s use of a private email server when she was secretary of State.

In that report, the also G claimed that there was “no evidence that the conclusions by department prosecutors were affected by bias.” The report then went on to say that officials made a series of “judgment calls” that were technically proper.

But the truth is that every single one of these judgment calls benefited Clinton.

Plus, the IG found plenty of evidence of flagrant bias among the key players in that investigation, including exchanges between Peter Strzok and Lisa Page about how “we’ll stop” Trump from being elected.

The article concludes:

What kind of “inaccuracies and omissions”? Oh, things like hiding from the court information that “raised significant questions about the reliability of the Steele reporting that was used.” And failing to tell the court that Page had been an FBI informant, which involved working with Russian intelligence officers.

“We also found” he went on, “basic, fundamental, and serious errors during the completion of the FBI’s factual accuracy reviews.” And it found that FBI officials “did not give appropriate attention to facts that cut against probable cause.”

In other words, any shreds of evidence that there was no reason to spy on Page.

Horowitz said these “basic and fundamental errors” were made by “three separate, hand-picked investigative teams.”

If the FBI were simply incompetent, you’d expect these “fundamental errors” to be more random. But as with the “judgment calls” during the Clinton email investigation, all of these mistakes just happened to cut in one direction only. In this case of Clinton, they all helped the FBI reach the decision they’d made at the start to exonerate her. In Trump’s case, every supposed screw-up all helped to keep the probe going.

Even Horowitz himself wouldn’t categorically deny that bias played a role in the FISA applications. As he told Sen. Patrick Leahy, the Vermont Democrat, “it gets murkier … when you get to the FISA.”

“Murkier” is one way of putting it. “Deep state, anti-Trump bias” is another way. Just because an inspector general won’t say those words doesn’t mean it didn’t happen.

We truly are on a quest to restore equal justice under the law. Right now we don’t have it.

Even Rolling Stone Has Figured It Out!

Yesterday Rolling Stone posted an article about the Inspector General’s Report. Please follow the link to read the entire article–it is well written and informative. I will try to highlight some of it, but you really do need to read the whole thing.

The article notes:

The Guardian headline reads: “DOJ Internal watchdog report clears FBI of illegal surveillance of Trump adviser.”

If the report released Monday by Justice Department Inspector General Michael Horowitz constitutes a “clearing” of the FBI, never clear me of anything. Holy God, what a clown show the Trump-Russia investigation was.

Like the much-ballyhooed report by Special Counsel Robert Mueller, the Horowitz report is a Rorschach test, in which partisans will find what they want to find.

Much of the press is concentrating on Horowitz’s conclusion that there was no evidence of “political bias or improper motivation” in the FBI’s probe of Donald Trump’s Russia contacts, an investigation Horowitz says the bureau had “authorized purpose” to conduct.

Horowitz uses phrases like “serious performance failures,” describing his 416-page catalogue of errors and manipulations as incompetence rather than corruption. This throws water on the notion that the Trump investigation was a vast frame-up.

However, Horowitz describes at great length an FBI whose “serious” procedural problems and omissions of “significant information” in pursuit of surveillance authority all fell in the direction of expanding the unprecedented investigation of a presidential candidate (later, a president).

The article comments on the role the news media played in this drama:

Not only did obtaining a FISA warrant allow authorities a window into other Trump figures with whom Page communicated, they led to a slew of leaked “bombshell” news stories that advanced many public misconceptions, including that a court had ruled there was “probable cause” that a Trump figure was an “agent of a foreign power.”

There are too many to list in one column, but the Horowitz report show years of breathless headlines were wrong. Some key points:

The so-called “Steele dossier” was, actually, crucial to the FBI’s decision to seek secret surveillance of Page.

Press figures have derided the idea that Steele was crucial to the FISA application, with some insisting it was only a “small part” of the application. Horowitz is clear: 

We determined that the Crossfire Hurricane team’s receipt of Steele’s election reporting on September 19, 2016 played a central and essential role in the FBI’s and Department’s decision to seek the FISA order.  

The report describes how, prior to receiving Steele’s reports, the FBI General Counsel (OGC) and/or the National Security Division’s Office of Intelligence (OI) wouldn’t budge on seeking FISA authority. But after getting the reports, the OGC unit chief said, “receipt of the Steele reporting changed her mind on whether they could establish probable cause.”

The article notes:

Steele in his “reports” embellished his sources’ quotes, played up nonexistent angles, invented attributions, and ignored inconsistencies. The FBI then transplanted this bad reporting in the form of a warrant application and an addendum to the Intelligence Assessment that included the Steele material, ignoring a new layer of inconsistencies and red flags its analysts uncovered in the review process.

Then, following a series of leaks, the news media essentially reported on the FBI’s wrong reporting of Steele’s wrong reporting.

The impact was greater than just securing a warrant to monitor Page. More significant were the years of headlines that grew out of this process, beginning with the leaking of the meeting with Trump about Steele’s blackmail allegations, the insertion of Steele’s conclusions in the Intelligence Assessment about Russian interference, and the leak of news about the approval of the Page FISA warrant.

As a result, a “well-developed conspiracy” theory based on a report that Comey described as “salacious and unverified material that a responsible journalist wouldn’t report without corroborating,” became the driving news story in a superpower nation for two yearsEven the New York Times, which published a lot of these stories, is in the wake of the Horowitz report noting Steele’s role in “unleashing a flood of speculation in the news media about the new president’s relationship with Russia.”

The article has a fantastic conclusion:

No matter what people think the political meaning of the Horowitz report might be, reporters who read it will know: Anybody who touched this nonsense in print should be embarrassed.

Rolling Stone doesn’t always get it right, but this time they nailed it!

Why Is It Always The Same People?

Inspector General Michael Horowitz stated in his report that he believed that there was no political bias involved in the surveillance of Carter Page and the Trump campaign. I guess he never read the emails that went between Peter Strzok and Lisa Page–particularly the one about an ‘insurance policy’ if Donald Trump became President. Wow. But there is another interesting character related to the Inspector General’s Report.

American Thinker posted an article today about Bruce Swartz. Who is Bruce Swartz?

The article reports:

The Inspector General’s Report from the Department of Justice (DOJ) features a heretofore unheralded costar by the name of Bruce Swartz, the assistant attorney general in the Criminal Division. Swartz was also the supervisor of the feckless Bruce Ohr, husband of Fusion GPS contractor Nellie Ohr and frequent breakfast buddy of Christopher Steele of Steele dossier fame.

Unreported by Inspector General Michael Horowitz, however, was Swartz’s starring role in another DoJ drama some 15 years earlier. Given the scant media attention the case received in 2004-2005, it is possible Horowitz did not even know about Swartz’s yeoman effort to save Clinton National Security Advisor Sandy Berger from a lengthy sojourn in a federal Supermax.

“We did not find documentary or testimonial evidence that political bias or improper motivation influenced the decisions to open the four individual investigations,” reported Horowitz. Had the IG been able to compare Swartz’s protection of Berger to his pursuit of one-time Trump adviser Paul Manafort, the evidence would have kicked him in the teeth.

As Swartz himself acknowledged, he had a Javert-like zeal to bring Manafort to justice. “Ohr and Swartz both told us that they felt an urgency to move the Manafort investigation forward,” reported Horowitz,  “because of Trump’s election and a concern that the new administration would shut the investigation down.” This urgency translated into frequent semi-covert meetings with the FBI lovebirds Peter Strzok and Lisa Page. Strzok told the IG that Swartz wanted him to “kick that [investigation] in the ass and get it moving.”

Swartz continued to “weigh in” on the Manafort investigation even though it was clearly outside his jurisdiction. In December 2016, concerned that the DoJ’s money laundering division (MLARS) was not moving fast enough against Manafort, Swartz brought colleague Andrew Weissman into the act.

The article continues:

Swartz is the textbook swamp dweller. From all appearances, no matter who sits in the attorney general’s chair, these seemingly respectable subversives protect the progressive deep state and punish those who would threaten it. Supplied leads by a complicit media and shielded by that same media from exposure, people like Swartz have been perverting justice for decades.

If proof were needed, Swartz and his boys recommended a $10,000 fine for Berger and three-year loss of security clearance for a crime that would have put a Republican in prison for decades. Happily for the Deep State, Berger regained his clearance just in time to serve as a Hillary Clinton adviser in the 2008 campaign.

Manafort did not fare quite so well. He was indicted by a federal grand jury in a city that gave Donald Trump 4 percent of its vote. Then, to prevent President Trump from dangling a federal pardon, the New York friends of the Deep State prosecuted Manafort on state charges.

True, the Russia collusion fears that inspired the Manafort investigation were imaginary, but the federal and state charges are very real. Manafort has descended into a Kafkaesque legal hell from which the 70-year-old will likely not emerge alive.

Until the swamp is fully drained, we will not have equal justice under the law.

Actions Have Consequences

One American News posted an article today quoting a remark made by Senator Lindsey Graham during the Department of Justice Inspector General’s hearing today.

The article reports:

During the Department of Justice Inspector General’s hearing Wednesday, the senator said there needs to be more “checks and balances to make sure something like this never happens again.”

The Republican lawmaker also warned Inspector General Michael Horowitz against refusing to recommend charges against the bureau for mishandling the investigation.

Graham went on to say he has serious doubts the FISA court can continue working if nothing is done, adding that the court will “lose his support” if no corrective action is taken.

Meanwhile, Horowitz told senators the FBI maintained surveillance on Carter Page even when its investigation into him was winding down. While discussing his report Wednesday, Horowitz outlined 17 instances where the bureau intentionally “omitted or withheld” information in their application for FISA warrants.

People went to jail because of a third-rate burglary in the Watergate Building when they attempted to spy on an opposing political candidate. The FISA scandal involves using a government agency to accomplish what the Watergate burglars were attempting. Why is it being handled so differently by both the press and the political class? This entire situation shows the need for tighter controls on the government’s ability to spy on its citizens. There could easily come a time in the future when government surveillance is used against everyday Americans of a political party different than the one in power. That is the reason that the people who did the illegal spying need to face consequences.

Common Sense From NBC?

Yesterday Breitbart reported some recent statements on NBC News by justice correspondent Pete Williams.

The article reports:

On Monday, during NBC News breaking new following the release of Justice Department Inspector General Michael Horowitz’s report, justice correspondent Pete Williams said Horowitz found that the FBI “screwed up at every level.”

Williams said the inspector general found, “The FBI failed to document to the court assertions in the FISA application that undercut Steele’s credibility.”

…He added, “The IG report says the FISA application was inaccurate, incomplete, or unsupported. It says, for example, that the FBI failed to look at some of the problems in Steele’s past work, but that was never sufficiently addressed.”

This is the most important part of what Pete Williams said:

He concluded, “The inspector general is so concerned about these problems that if the FBI so mishandled this application for an investigation into a candidate for president, then how is it doing it for garden variety people who are subject to these warrants? And for that reason, we learned today the inspector general is now opening a new investigation on how the FBI gets these warrants on American citizens.”

It’s time to wake up and realize that privacy is a thing of the past. How does an average American protect himself from this sort of invasion of privacy and unwarranted legal charges? That should be the lesson learned from all of this–if President Trump with all of his money and all of his power is vulnerable to political surveillance and witch hunts, how secure from government attacks are the rest of us?

Slowly The Truth Comes To Light

On Tuesday, Sara Carter posted an article about a recent court hearing for General Flynn. It seems that in an effort to destroy General Flynn because of his association with President Trump, the Justice Department broke many of the laws put in place to protect American citizens from overzealous prosecutors.

The article reports:

A bombshell revelation was barely noticed at National Security Advisor Michael Flynn’s hearing Tuesday, when his counsel revealed in court the existence of a Justice Department memo from Jan. 30, 2017 exonerating Flynn of any collusion with Russia. The memo, which has still not been made available to Flynn’s attorney Sidney Powell, is part of a litany of Brady material she is demanding from prosecutors. The memo is currently under protective order and Powell is working with prosecutors to get it disclosed, SaraACarter.com has learned.

U.S. District Court Judge Emmet G. Sullivan presided over the hearing Tuesday  and set a tentative Dec. 18 sentencing date. He told the prosecution and defense that the sentencing date could be moved depending on the outcome of requests for Brady material requested by Powell and how the case will unfold in the upcoming months. Sullivan also noted during the hearing that the Brady order takes precedence over the plea agreement.

The article continues:

Powell noted the extraordinary misconduct of the government during the hearing. She also said that Flynn would have never pleaded guilty if the government had disclosed the Brady materials before the original trial that she is now demanding. There would not have been a plea if the prosecutors had met their Brady obligations, Powell argued before the court.

Powell’s discovery of the memo shatters not only the narrative that was pushed by former Obama Administration officials regarding Flynn but also the ongoing narrative that President Donald Trump’s concern over Flynn’s prosecution amounted to alleged obstruction.

The January, 2017 timeline of the DOJ memo is extremely significant. Former FBI Director James Comey said in previous interviews that he leaked his memos through a friend to be published in the New York Times with the hope of getting a special counsel appointed to investigate Trump for obstruction. In late August, Inspector General Michael Horowitz released his much anticipated report on Comey. It was scathing and revealed that he violated FBI policy when he leaked his memos that described his private conversations with  Trump. However, the DOJ declined to prosecute Comey on Horowitz’s referral.

The article concludes:

According to Comey’s memo Trump said: “I hope you can see your way clear to letting this go, to letting Flynn go. He is a good guy. I hope you can let this go.”

Comey suggested that Trump’s request was inappropriate, accusing him of obstructing justice by asking him to drop Flynn’s case. He used this as a pretense to leak his memos and put the nation through more than two years of Robert Mueller’s Special Counsel, which in the end found no evidence of a conspiracy with Russia. As for obstruction, Attorney General William Barr and then Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein concluded that there was no obstruction based on the evidence gathered by Mueller’s team.

However, if Comey would have advised Trump of the Jan. 30 memo it would have cleared up any unfounded lies that Flynn had in any way colluded or conspired with Russia.

Even if the charges against Flynn are dropped, is the government going to buy him a house to replace the one he had to sell to pay the lawyers to defend him? The bill for a new house should be presented to James Comey, Robert Mueller, Andrew Weissmann, and Rod Rosenstein, and it should be a mansion.

The Reason It Is Taking So Long

Yesterday Catherine Herridge posted an article at Fox News about the investigation into the FISA abuses that occurred during the final months of the Obama administration.

The article reports:

Key witnesses sought for questioning by Justice Department Inspector General Michael E. Horowitz early in his investigation into alleged government surveillance abuse have come forward at the 11th hour, Fox News has learned.  

Sources familiar with the matter said at least one witness outside the Justice Department and FBI started cooperating — a breakthrough that came after Attorney General William Barr ordered U.S. Attorney John Durham to lead a separate investigation into the origins of the bureau’s 2016 Russia case that laid the foundation for Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s probe.

While the investigative phase of the inspector general’s long-running probe is said to be complete, the sources said recent developments required some witnesses to be reinterviewed. And while Barr testified that he expected the report into alleged Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) abuse to be ready in May or last month, multiple sources said the timeline has slipped.

I can’t help but wonder if the delay is a stall tactic. I think the Democrats are still hoping for a presidential victory in 2020 that will allow them to sweep the FISA abuse investigation under to rug never to return. That may be wishful thinking on their part, but if enough illegal immigrants somehow manage to vote, I suspect they can do it.

The article concludes:

A spokesman for Horowitz would not comment on the report’s status. But during largely unrelated testimony in November, Horowitz offered some guidance for the timeline of the FISA abuse probe in response to questions from GOP Rep. Jim Jordan.

“What I can say is given the volume of documents we’ve had and the number of witnesses it looks like we’ll need to interview, we are likely to be in the same sort of general range of documents and witnesses as the last report,” Horowitz said, referring to his team’s review of the Clinton email case. “It wouldn’t surprise me if we are in that million or so plus range of documents and a hundred-ish or so interviews. The last review, as you know, took us about … 16 months or so.”

If that same guidance holds, the window for completion would begin this month, though it remains unclear how much the DOJ/FBI review and the additional interviews could delay the process.

It would be nice to see all investigations end. The testimony of Robert Mueller on July 17th should be an indication of whether or not an end is in sight.

What Does This Say About The Candidate?

Kamala Harris is currently considered the up-and-coming Democrat candidate for President in 2020. She achieved that status after an attack on Joe Biden that stretched the truth more than a little. Well, Ms. Harris is serious about her campaign. The Washington Examiner is reporting today that the Harris campaign hired Marc Elias, who heads Perkins Coie’s political law group.

The article reports:

…Elias, who held the same position in Clinton’s campaign, is named in two pending Federal Election Commission complaints and in a recent federal lawsuit alleging that the Clinton campaign broke campaign finance laws when it used Perkins Coie to hire Fusion GPS.

Fusion GPS went on to hire British ex-spy Christopher Steele, who compiled an unverified dossier allegedly based on sources close to the Kremlin which was disseminated to the media and used by the FBI to obtain Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act warrants targeting former Trump campaign associate Carter Page. Justice Department Inspector General Michael Horowitz is reviewing alleged FISA abuse related to the dossier and Attorney General William Barr launched his “investigation of the investigators” earlier this year.

Clinton’s former presidential campaign manager Robby Mook said in 2017 that he authorized Elias to hire an outside firm to dig up dirt on Trump’s connections with Russia. “I asked our lawyer and I gave him a budget allocation to investigate this, particularly the international aspect,” he said.

Mook said Elias was receiving information from Fusion GPS or directly from Steele himself about the research into Trump and Russia in 2016, and that Elias then periodically briefed the Clinton campaign about the findings.

The article concludes:

Elias is a fixture in Democratic politics. Aside from working for Harris, Clinton, and the DNC, Elias has said that he and his colleagues at Perkins Coie have represented the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee, the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, the Democratic Governors Association, various Democratic PACs, the pro-abortion EMILY’s List, dozens of Democratic senators, and more than a hundred Democratic members of the House.

Neither the Harris campaign nor Elias responded to the Washington Examiner’s request for comment.

I wonder if Mr. Elias’ name is going to come up during the release of the Inspector General’s Report or the questioning of Robert Mueller. Stay tuned.

Slowly The Truth Continues To Drip Out

The Conservative Treehouse posted an article today that featured some remarks made by Devin Nunes on the Laura Ingraham Show. The article includes a video of the discussion.

These are the main issues discussed:

(1) The targeting/framing of Michael Flynn and the positioning of a false narrative around innocuous Russia contacts. (2) The use of Joseph Mifsud as an asset by the CIA/FBI running a counterintelligence operation against the Trump campaign. (3) The Trump Tower meeting as organized by Fusion-GPS.

But there is a more troubling statement in the discussion:

Additionally, for the first time Devin Nunes confirms that it was Robert Mueller who blocked delivery of documents to the House investigative committees.  While this might be old news to CTH readers, this confirms our earlier research.  It was Robert Mueller and Rod Rosenstein who were protecting DOJ interests by using the Russia-probe as a shield.

That’s why Chicago U.S. Attorney John Lausch was essentially an exercise in futility (and he was never heard from).  With Nunes confirmation that Mueller used his probe to keep congress away from documents adverse to his interests…. that increases the likelihood Mueller deployed the same strategy with IG Michael Horowitz (as earlier reported); and only after Mueller was completed was the IG office allowed unfettered access to evidence…. hence, the delays.

Somehow I don’t think Mueller was an objective Special Counsel. We seem to learn something every day that questions his objectivity in the investigation of something that never happened and that he probably knew never happened very early in the investigation.