The Slow Drip Of Investigations Into FISA Abuse Continues

Yesterday The Washington Examiner posted an article titled, “FISA court orders DOJ to review flawed surveillance applications and provide names of targets.”

The article reports:

The Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court demanded answers about whether FISA applications were invalid after a new Justice Department inspector general report found pervasive issues with the FBI not following fact-checking procedures.

Friday’s ruling came days after DOJ Inspector General Michael Horowitz released a memo showing FISA flaws were not just limited to the surveillance of Trump campaign associate Carter Page.

The findings of Horowitz’s audit released on Tuesday focused on the FBI’s requirement to maintain an accuracy subfile known as a “Woods file.” Investigators found serious problems in each of the 29 FISA applications they examined.

“We believe that a deficiency in the FBI’s efforts to support the factual statements in FISA applications through its Woods Procedures undermines the FBI’s ability to achieve its ‘scrupulously accurate’ standard for FISA applications,” Horowitz concluded.

The article continues with information that might indicate the FISA court is not happy about being misled:

“It would be an understatement to note that such lack of confidence appears well-founded. None of the 29 cases reviewed had a Woods File that did what it is supposed to do: support each fact proffered to the Court. For four of the 29 applications, the FBI cannot even find the Woods File,” presiding Judge James Boasberg said. “For three of those four, the FBI could not say whether a Woods File ever existed. The OIG, moreover, ‘identified apparent errors or inadequately supported facts’ in all 25 applications for which the Woods Files could be produced. Interviews with FBI personnel ‘generally have confirmed’ those deficiencies, not dispelled them.”

Boasberg said the wide-ranging problems “provide further reason for systemic concern” about the FBI’s FISA process and “reinforces the need for the Court to monitor the ongoing efforts of the FBI and DOJ to ensure that, going forward, FBI applications present accurate and complete facts.” The judge said, “When problems are identified in particular cases, furthermore, the Court must evaluate what remedial measures may be necessary.”

The article concludes:

In a rare public order last year, the FISA court criticized the FBI’s handling of the Page applications as “antithetical to the heightened duty of candor described above” and demanded an evaluation from the bureau. The FISA court also ordered a review of all FISA filings handled by Kevin Clinesmith, the FBI lawyer who altered a key document about Page in the third renewal process. He is now under criminal investigation by U.S. Attorney John Durham, a prosecutor from Connecticut who was tasked by Attorney General William Barr with investigating the origins and conduct of the Russia inquiry.

I will not be impressed with any of this until people actually go to jail for violating the civil rights of American citizens. I am still not convinced that will ever happen.

 

Refusing To Continue A Practice That Was Abused

Townhall posted an article this morning stating that the House Freedom Caucus will refuse to reauthorize the FISA (Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act) court unless serious reforms are made. The FISA court was the vehicle used by the Obama administration to spy on the Trump campaign and the early days of the Trump administration. The authorization to spy was gained by misleading the court, specifically by omitting the fact that Carter Page was a CIA asset–not a Russian asset and omitting the fact that Joseph Mifsud was an American asset–not a Russian spy.

The article reports:

Members of the House Freedom Caucus released a statement Wednesday morning vowing to vote against any reauthorization of the FISA court unless serious and substantial changes are made to the spying program. 

“Members of the Freedom Caucus have long called for reforms to FISA (Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act). Recent revelations that FISA was severely and repeatedly used to spy on a presidential campaign are beyond the pale—if the government can misuse this system to spy on a presidential campaign, they can surely do it to any other American citizen,” members of the caucus said. “As Congress considers reauthorizing FISA, anything short of significant and substantive reforms would betray the trust of the American people. The House Freedom Caucus will oppose any bill that does not meet a Constitutional standard for the protections of American citizens’ rights. We will also oppose any ‘clean’, short-term reauthorization of the current, harmful version of FISA.”

Members of the Freedom Caucus include House Oversight Committee Ranking member Jim Jordan, Paul Gosar, Louie Gohmert, Matt Gaetz, Chip Roy and other long time critics of FISA. 

The FISA court was misused by the Obama administration, and unless it is seriously reformed, could easily be used for political purposes again. There needs to be a limitation so that the court could only use surveillance on foreign citizens–not Americans. Unfortunately, FISA misuse was one of many traps set in place by the Obama administration to hinder the progress of the Trump administration.

The article continues:

“Enhanced penalties for abusing the system and additional layers of certification from the Department of Justice and the FBI are insufficient to gain our support, particularly when, to date, no one has been charged with a crime for previous abuses,” the statement continues. “A proposal for additional scrutiny when elected officials and candidates are the target of investigations similarly misses the point: politicians don’t need more protection from government spying than their fellow citizens. More fundamental changes to standards of evidence and process that mirror as closely as possible our Article III courts are needed to gain our support.”

Yesterday the House reached a compromise on how to move a bill, sponsored by House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerry Nadler, forward for reauthorization of the program. It does not reform the system that was used as a political weapon against President Trump in 2016 and well into his presidency.

Until people are held accountable for past abuses of FISA, it should not be reauthorized.

A Small Step Toward Justice

Ed Morrissey at Hot Air is reporting today that there have been some small steps taken by the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance (FISA) Court to insure that the civil rights of Americans will not be violated as they were in the case of Carter Page.

The article reports:

Substantively, it might not seem like much, but symbolically, this order will sting the FBI and Department of Justice. The Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court effectively barred any agents involved in the Carter Page FISA warrants from taking part in its proceedings as a consequence of the misconduct that took place in Operation Crossfire Hurricane. Also, the court will now require agents and attorneys to swear under oath explicitly that they have included all potentially exculpatory evidence in their presentations:

A secretive federal court on Wednesday effectively barred F.B.I. officials involved in the wiretapping of a former Trump campaign adviser from appearing before it in other cases at least temporarily, the latest fallout from an internal inquiry into the bureau’s surveillance of the aide.

A 19-page opinion and order by James E. Boasberg, the chief judge of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court, also largely accepted changes the F.B.I. has said it will make to its process for seeking national-security wiretaps following a damning inspector general report about errors and omissions in applications to monitor the adviser, Carter Page.

But Judge Boasberg ordered law enforcement officials to specifically swear in future cases that the applications to the court contain “all information that might reasonably call into question the accuracy of the information or the reasonableness of any F.B.I. assessment in the application, or otherwise raise doubts about the requested findings.”

…The banishment of Crossfire Hurricane figures is almost certainly meant to be embarrassing, but that’s about as much teeth as FISC has in this situation. As the New York Times’ Charlie Savage points out, the court has limited authority to deal with FBI misconduct. It has no oversight over the Department of Justice at all, which is an executive-branch agency. Presumably the court’s rotating judges had already adopted a more skeptical approach to more recent surveillance warrant applications after reading the Michael Horowitz report, but unless Congress changes the FISA law, courts are still required to follow it.

Speaking of which, the law is due to expire, and Donald Trump has already declared he won’t sign an extension without significant changes. Given what happened in Crossfire Hurricane, few would be surprised to know that, of course:

Unless it it renewed, FISA sunsets on March 15th. There are recommendations on the table to reform the law. President Trump has stated that he will not sign an extension of the law without reforms. Considering how the law was illegally used against him and his campaign, I think that is a very reasonable approach.

We Need To Have A Chat About Civility

I understand that some people truly dislike President Trump (and his supporters). Chances are they get their news from the mainstream media and are totally unaware of the good things he has done for America. They have made the choice not to notice when the economy improves or our overseas military escapades seem to be winding down or when America becomes energy independent. That’s fine. They are totally entitled to their opinion. However, they do not have the right to harm people because they disagree with them politically. If you are ‘triggered’ by someone wearing a ‘Make America Great Again’ hat, maybe you should look at your own problems rather than attack the person wearing the hat. Civility is rapidly becoming a lost art.

The Washington Examiner reported the following today:

A Denver city councilwoman appeared to cheer on a message about spreading the coronavirus at one of President Trump’s rallies.

Councilwoman Candi CdeBaca, a Democrat, enthusiastically responded last week to a tweet that featured a graphic that said, “For the record, if I do get the coronavirus I’m attending every MAGA rally I can.”

Her quote tweet said, “#solidarity Yaaaas!!” along with five emojis, three of which were faces laughing so hard that they were crying.

The councilwoman later responded to a reporter’s tweet, saying, “1. Are you listening to ANYTHING Trump has said about the virus? 2. Do you realize Trump reduced the virus to a common flu? 3. I know sarcasm is hard to read in a tweet, but you are usually a bit quicker than this. Next time I will use more emoji’s just 4 you.”

Neither the city council’s office or the Trump campaign responded to a request for comment.

Is she aware of the precautions the Trump administration has taken to prevent the spread of the virus in America? Is she aware of the task force that was formed in January to combat the virus in America? Even if she is not aware of the efforts made to protect Americans, her comments are totally inappropriate. I don’t know if I would remove her from office, but I certainly believe she needs to apologize and to understand that her comments were not befitting an elected official.

The Networks Are Slowly Becoming Obvious

Yesterday One America News reported the following:

New documents have exposed a former Department of Justice official’s alleged involvement in the firing of former FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe.

According to newly released notes from a 2017 interview, former Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein sought out James Comey’s advice about appointing a special counsel. These notes, in addition to 300 pages of witness interviews, suggest McCabe told investigators Rosenstein asked him to get Comey’s opinion on whether a special counsel should be appointed.

Comey was stripped of his role as leader of the Russia investigation after the president determined he was unfit to to lead the bureau. Rosenstein then appointed Robert Mueller to take on the Russia probe, who’s investigation did not establish a criminal conspiracy between the Trump campaign and the Kremlin.

The article includes a quote from Tom Fitton, President of Judicial Watch:

“You notice this with the Ukraine argument, they don’t want the President to investigate what went on. Its now expanded from Ukraine to the President wasn’t allowed to make entrees to his attorney general, who is investigating this spying operation on candidate Trump…it’s incredible. They want to criminalize investigations of this activity.”

— Tom Fitton, President – Judicial Watch

It is becoming more obvious every day that the ‘insurance policy’ was set up before President Trump was sworn in and planned carefully with the goal of taking him out of office. The people responsible need to face justice.

 

An Attempt At Justice

Yesterday John Hinderaker at Power Line Blog posted an article about lawsuits brought by Carter Page. It seems to be common knowledge that before being targeted by the Obama administration as a back door to spy on the Trump campaign, Carter Page had done a lot of work for three-letter government agencies and was regarded as a reliable source of information.

The article reports:

Former Trump campaign adviser Carter Page filed a lawsuit Thursday in federal court against the Democratic National Committee, law firm Perkins Coie and its partners tied to the funding of the unverified dossier that served as the basis for highly controversial surveillance warrants against him.

…“This is a first step to ensure that the full extent of the FISA abuse that has occurred during the last few years is exposed and remedied,” attorney John Pierce said Thursday. “Defendants and those they worked with inside the federal government did not and will not succeed in making America a surveillance state.”

He added: “This is only the first salvo. We will follow the evidence wherever it leads, no matter how high. … The rule of law will prevail.”

The lawsuit will be heard in the Federal District Court in Northern Illinois.

The article concludes:

Page could sue Steele, except that Steele is in England and has made it clear that he doesn’t plan to visit the U.S., ever again. Nearly all potential defendants other than Steele–Comey, Clapper, McCabe and the like–would try to erect a firewall by denying any knowledge that the Steele dossier was a fraud.

Whether such guilty knowledge could be proved is doubtful. At a minimum, Page will have to get far enough to conduct meaningful discovery against the existing defendants. Do the DNC’s or Perkins Coie’s emails contain evidence of a conspiracy to lie about Carter Page, for the purpose of damaging Donald Trump? Who knows? If the participants were careful, they don’t; then again, those who were talking to each other in 2016 and 2017 probably didn’t foresee that their actions might one day be exposed in court. So perhaps they were careless. Maybe, too, any such communications were deleted or destroyed long ago.

There is at least one obvious exception to the above analysis–the DOJ lawyer who misrepresented a CIA email to the FISA court. The email said that Carter Page was a CIA asset. The lawyer changed it to say that Page was not a CIA asset. That guy, who has been fired and I assume will be criminally prosecuted, has no defense other than causation. He likely would argue that he was just a cog in a giant wheel of lies, and that Page would have been equally defamed, surveilled and harassed even if he hadn’t lied about the CIA email. Which undoubtedly is true, although it is questionable as a defense.

What Carter Page is doing is noble. Let’s hope he succeeds in shedding light on the biggest political scandal, by far, in American history.

Finally, a fun fact: Page is represented by the same lawyers who are representing Tulsi Gabbard in her defamation case against Hillary Clinton, who called Gabbard a Russian asset. Which, of course, is what she and her minions also called Carter Page, an equally absurd lie.

Stay tuned.

When The Truth Is Stretched So Thin You Can See Through It

Yesterday The Gateway Pundit posted an article that included an amazing comment by one of the House Impeachment Managers.

The article notes:

Impeachment manager Hakeem Jeffries (D-NY) on Thursday was asked whether the Clinton campaign’s use of the Steele Dossier in 2016 would be considered impeachable under the Dems’ standard.

Hakeem Jeffries said no because the Steele dossier was opposition research that “was purchased.”

What a disaster for the Democrats!

So if Hillary Clinton won the 2016 election, the legitimacy of her victory would not be in question by the Democrats even though she paid a former British spy to compile a dossier using Russian intel sources.

In other words, foreign interference in US elections is fine as long as you are a Democrat and you pay for it.

Wow. So according to Representative Jeffries, it is okay to use foreign sources to influence and election as long as you pay those sources.

What is interesting about this is that the Democrats are no longer contesting the fact that the Clinton campaign paid for the Steele Dossier. Are they also willing to admit that the Dossier was passed on to government agencies for nefarious purposes? Will they be willing to admit that their opposition research was used by the Obama administration to spy on the Trump campaign? Will the Democrats ever take responsibility for the use of government agencies for political purposes that occurred during the Obama administration?

I am not worried about foreign influence supporting Republicans in the 2020 election. I have no reason to believe that the Democrats will again choose to break any law they think they need to in order to win. If you haven’t seen the Politico article about Ukrainian interference in the 2016 Presidential election, please read it (I strongly disagree with the opening statement, but there is a lot of good information in the article).

Presenting A Deceptive Brief

Yesterday Byron York posted an editorial at The Washington Examiner about the impeachment brief Democratic House managers have compiled. The title of the article at The Washington Examiner is, “Two deceptions at the heart of Democrats’ impeachment brief.”

The editorial notes:

Democrats insist on Trump’s immediate removal because, they argue, he was the knowing beneficiary of Russian help in the 2016 election, and if he is not thrown out of office right now, he will do it again. But in making their argument, Democrats make two critical mischaracterizations about Trump, Republicans, and 2016. One is flat-out wrong, while the other is misleading.

The one that is flat wrong is the Democrats’ assertion that Trump wanted Ukraine to investigate “a debunked conspiracy theory that Russia did not interfere in the 2016 presidential election to aid President Trump, but instead that Ukraine interfered in that election to aid President Trump’s opponent, Hillary Clinton.”

The problem is, the theory does not hold that Russia “did not interfere” in the 2016 election. There is a mountain of evidence that Russia interfered, and that has been the conclusion of every investigation into the matter, beginning with the first congressional probe, by the House Intelligence Committee under then-chairman Devin Nunes. The theory is that in addition to Russian interference, some people in Ukraine, including some government officials, also tried to influence the U.S. election. It was not a government-run effort, and it was on a far smaller scale than the Russian project, but it happened.

I don’t know if any of the available information about Ukrainian interference will ever make it out to the mainstream media, but there have been criminal trials in Ukraine that confirm that the government was involved in 2016 in support of Hillary Clinton. The information is out there, but most of the mainstream media has successfully avoided reporting it.

The editorial reports the second deception:

The other mischaracterization in the Democratic brief is the assertion that, in 2016, Trump “welcomed Russia’s election interference.” The brief quotes special counsel Robert Mueller’s report that the Trump campaign welcomed Russian help because it “expected it would benefit electorally from information stolen and released through Russian efforts.”

That’s not wrong — Trump did, in fact, welcome Russia-based leaks — but grossly out of context. The context is this: Trump welcomed Russia-based leaks about the Clinton campaign because the media were enthusiastically embracing and repeating Russian-based leaks about the Clinton campaign. Print, internet, TV, everyone, was accepting, repeating, and amplifying the material released by WikiLeaks from the Russian hack of top Clinton campaign official John Podesta.

Perhaps people have forgotten how prominently media organizations featured the Russia-based material.

The editorial then lists a number of examples of media hysteria about Russian during the 2016 election.

The article concludes:

Of course, the Times was not the only media organization to trumpet the Russia-based leaks. They all trumpeted the Russia-based leaks. Everyone was complicit. And that is what makes the Democratic charge against Trump so misleading. He wasn’t welcoming something that everyone else was condemning. He was welcoming something that everyone else was welcoming, too. And now, in retrospect, that is a terrible offense, part of the foundation for removing the president from office?

Neither mischaracterization in the Democratic brief is a mistake; Democratic prosecutors know full well what actually happened. But the mischaracterizations are necessary to build the case against the president, to show that he had corrupt motives in the Ukraine matter. They are, of course, not the entire case, but they are important. And they are wrong.

Any Congressman who enables this farce of an impeachment to continue needs to be voted out of office as soon as possible.

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.

Crooks Always Deny

Honest people make mistakes, admit to them, and move on. Dishonest people continue to deny their mistakes even after the evidence becomes apparent. As we await the Inspector General’s report on Monday, we are watching those who know they are named in the report squirm. We are also watching facts come out that have previously been denied and that some politicians are attempting to deny even after evidence is disclosed.

Yesterday The Gateway Pundit posted an article about recent information that has come to light about the Democrat party’s actions during the 2016 campaign. There is now little question that the Democrats worked with Ukraine to obtain information to damage the Trump campaign. To some extent they were successful.

The article reports:

Democrat lawmakers freaked after Republican Senators Chuck Grassley (IA), Lindsey Graham (SC) and Ron Johnson (WI) announced they are seeking “staff-led transcribed interviews” DNC operative Alexandra Chalupa had with Ukrainian officials during the 2016 election.

Recall, Alexandra Chalupa met with Ukrainian officials at the Ukrainian embassy and was given damaging information on Trump’s campaign manager Paul Manafort.

Democrat lawmakers freaked after Republican Senators Chuck Grassley (IA), Lindsey Graham (SC) and Ron Johnson (WI) announced they are seeking “staff-led transcribed interviews” DNC operative Alexandra Chalupa had with Ukrainian officials during the 2016 election.

Recall, Alexandra Chalupa met with Ukrainian officials at the Ukrainian embassy and was given damaging information on Trump’s campaign manager Paul Manafort.

Left-wing sites such as Politico reported on Alexandra Chalupa’s meetings with Ukrainian officials during the 2016 election in order to aid Hillary Clinton’s campaign.

“The interview and records requests are a continuation of an inquiry that Grassley launched in 2017 following news reports that a Democratic National Committee consultant solicited derogatory information on the Trump campaign from Ukrainian embassy officials prior to the 2016 election  According to those reports, elements of the Ukrainian government were actively working to undermine candidate Trump’s electoral prospects in favor of Hillary Clinton,” the Senators wrote.

The Democrat response to this is predictable:

Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer came unhinged and accused the Republican Senators of pushing Vladimir Putin’s talking points and conspiracy theories.

We will probably hear more references to Vladimir Putin’s talking points from the Democrats in the coming days. The Democrats are counting on the American voters not to know the story of Ukraine, as the major media has pretty much ignored it. Stay tuned. There is going to be a significant amount of mud flying through the air on both sides in the coming week.

 

 

When You Really Don’t Want A Speaker To Speak

Many liberal college campuses have used the technique of requiring unusually large security deposits when conservative speakers are planning events. This is one subtle way of limiting the speech of conservatives. Well, it looks like the city of Minneapolis has taken a page from that playbook.

The Gateway Pundit posted an article today with the following headline, “DEMOCRAT EXTORTION: In 2009 Minneapolis Charged Obama $20K for Security at Rally – Today They Are Charging Trump $500K for Rally.”

The article reports:

Liberal Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey is wanting to extort money from the Trump Campaign to pay for an outlandish security bill to hold a campaign rally in the Twin Cities this week.

This is a common tactic of the left to deny Trump supporters access to venues for their events and gatherings.
Of course, the violent left NEVER have to go through this same type of torment.  Liberal politicians use this tactic exclusively against conservatives.

Mayor Frey is quite bold though for pulling this on the Republican President of the United States.
The Justice Department should sue him for harassment.

The article notes:

In 2009 Minneapolis charged President Obama $20,000 for security.
This week the Democrat Mayor wants to extort $500,000 from the Trump campaign for security.

The Trump campaign should take this to court–this is definitely unequal treatment.

When You Poke The Bear

There were two articles posted at The Federalist yesterday (here and here) about the current circus in the House of Representatives. I suspect this is not going exactly the way the Democrats had intended.

The first article notes:

In tense testimony before the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence (HPSCI) on Friday, the inspector general for federal spy agencies refused to disclose why his office backdated secret changes to key whistleblower forms and rules in the wake of an anti-Trump whistleblower complaint filed in August, sources told The Federalist.

As The Federalist reported and the Intelligence Community Inspector General (ICIG) confirmed, the spy watchdog secretly changed its whistleblower forms and internal rules in September to eliminate a requirement that whistleblowers provide first-hand evidence to support any allegations of wrongdoing. In a press release last week, the ICIG confessed that it changed its rules in response to an anti-Trump complaint filed on August 12. That complaint, which was declassified and released by President Donald Trump in September, was based entirely on second-hand information, much of which was shown to be false following the declassification and release of a telephone conversation between Trump and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky.

The first article concludes:

Several top lawmakers in the Senate raised similar concerns about Atkinson’s behavior in a separate letter.

“Why did the IC IG initially require first-hand information in its May 2018 disclosure form?” the senators asked. “Why did the IC IG remove the requirement for first-hand information?”

Atkinson has not answered their questions, either, raising questions that his behavior following his receipt of the anti-Trump complaint might not be completely above board. Atkinson ignored legal guidance from both the director of national intelligence and the Department of Justice that the anti-Trump complaint was statutorily deficient and forwarded it to HPSCI even though it did not meet the legal definition of an “urgent concern” that is required to be given to Congress.

The embattled ICIG also admitted on Friday that the anti-Trump complainant lied on his whistleblower complaint form by concealing the complainant’s previous secret interactions with House Democratic staff prior to submitting the complaint. Atkinson never even bothered investigating potential coordination between the complainant, whom DOJ said showed evidence of partisan political bias, and House Democrats prior to the filing of the anti-Trump complaint.

The second article is more of a history of the entire Ukraine scandal. It mentions the fact that there are genuine concerns about Ukraine interference in the 2016 American presidential election.

The second article also suggests some motivation behind this current circus:

The Democrats’ case for impeachment is hopeless, but their motivation is simple. They whipped up their base into such a delusional frenzy during the “Russia investigation,” they have to keep the narrative going at all costs. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi faces a rebellion from her caucus if she doesn’t go along with it.

There may be a more serious motivation behind this:

But there’s a group of intelligence bureaucrats at work here, and their motivation is a bit different. An immediate motive may be to prevent an investigation into how the Russia probe started. This includes an investigation into how a document the Hillary Clinton campaign created — using anonymous Russians and a British national tied to Russia — was used by our intelligence agencies to investigate Trump.

The other possible motivation is more complex. During the “Russia investigation,” many in the intelligence agencies worked to subvert Trump’s foreign policy and remove Trump, through spying, a large series of leaks, and articles planted with friendly outlets. Trump’s campaign was even spied on before the election, via something called the “two-hop rule,” once a secret court granted a warrant to spy on Trump campaign officials such as Carter Page.

Because of this, the White House moved to cut off the broader “intelligence community” — inexorably tied to America’s foreign policy establishment that Trump ran against — from information the White House knew many in the intelligence agencies would use to selectively leak.

That could mean some of what’s going on today, at least from the CIA angle, is intelligence bureaucrats “striking back” because they lost their access to diplomatic communications, a coveted source of the intelligence community’s power. But even the Obama administration liked to hide diplomatic calls from the broader intelligence community, which should tell us something about that bureaucracy.

The second article includes the following statement:

In other words, the real big takeaway here is that we have a problem with our Washington bureaucracy, including our intelligence agencies, which have routinely crossed the line into policymaking. How much of the impeachment mess is due to CIA bureaucrats being incensed that Trump, who is elected, would dare to question military aid to Ukraine, and would dare to curtail their eavesdropping on diplomacy?

What we see here is an illustration of the reason why we need to drain the swamp.

Things That Make You Wonder

A website called Truth and Action posted an article (there is no date on the article) about Hillary Clinton’s actions on election night 2016. Obviously she was distressed–she had reason to be–everyone had predicted she would win and she lost. She made a statement that night that is recorded in the article at Truth and Action and a number of other places.

The statement as quoted in the article (and other places) is below (with a few editorial changes because this blog is G-rated) with more of the story:

Journalist Matt Stiller shared in a recent report that during the 2016 presidential election Hillary Clinton was unhinged, and that various NBC insiders can substantiate his account.

According to Still, during last year’s presidential campaign at the Commander-In-Chief Forum on September 7, 2016, moderator Matt Lauer went “off script” and asked Hillary about her using an illegal, private email-server when she was secretary of state.

According to Bill Still’s source — an unnamed “NBC associate producer of the forum” — Hillary was so enraged that, after the forum, she went into a ballistic melt-down, screaming at her staff, including a racist rant at Donna Brazile, calling Brazile a “buffalo” and “janitor”. Brazile recently turned against Hillary — now we know why.

…She screamed she’d get that f**king Lauer fired for this. Referring to Donald Trump, Clinton said, ‘If that f**king b***ard wins, we all hang from nooses! Lauer’s finished, and if I lose, it’s all on your heads for screwing this up.’

Her dozen or more aides were visibly disturbed and tried to calm her down when she started shaking uncontrollably as she screamed to get an executive at Comcast, the parent company of NBC Universal, on the phone. Then two rather large aides grabbed her and helped her walk to her car.”

Please consider the essence of the statement that if Donald Trump wins, we all hang from nooses. We live in a representative republic. People who lose elections do not normally hang from nooses. Why did she see that as a threat? Is it possible that she was fully aware of what had gone on during the campaign and understood that it would eventually be revealed?

Fast forward to today. We know that the Inspector General’s Report will probably come out in the next month or so. I have no doubt that the Republicans will push to make as much of that report public as possible. Through Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests, we already have a pretty good idea of what is in the report. I believe that impending report is behind the move by Democrats in the House of Representatives to impeach President Trump as quickly as possible, discredit Attorney General Barr, discredit Vice-President Pence, and simply impugn the credibility of anyone who might expose the events of the 2016 election. The one thing we do know is that a group of government workers at the highest level worked behind the scenes to spy on the Trump campaign, the Trump transition team, and the Trump presidency. They also worked hard to destroy anyone associated with the campaign or administration. I believe this is the first time in our history that we have had a Congresswoman call for members of an administration to be harassed in public places. The fact that she was not severely censored for that statement is cause for alarm.

Is Anyone Considering The Consequences?

The Democrats are accusing President Trump of an impeachable offense again. Russia, Russia, Russia didn’t work. Racist, racist, racist didn’t work. So the third chapter is Ukraine, Ukraine, Ukraine. Let’s look at some of the history of the Trump Administration.

Remember early on when conversations between President Trump and leaders from Australia and Mexico were leaked. That might have been the reason for placing conversations in more secure places. We have seen anyone working for President Trump subjected to incredible legal actions, some related to their position and some not. We have seen questionable information used as an excuse to spy on the Trump campaign and administration. We have seen people placed in the administration for the sole purpose of undermining the administration. We have seen people working for the Trump administration being removed from restaurants or harassed when out in public. This has gone far beyond partisan politics. There is no excuse for it.

What are those who oppose President Trump doing to the office of the presidency? How will their actions impact future Presidents? Have the actions of the opponents of President Trump created a new normal for political opposition?

Those who are too impatient to wait for the next election (or who fear the reelection of President Trump) are truly undermining our representative republic. At some point they need to be held accountable for their actions. It is a shame that the Republican party does not have the moral integrity to deal with the abuses of power engaged in by the opponents of President Trump.

 

This Is What American Enterprise Looks Like

President Trump has made a lot of money. He is evidently a smart businessman who understands how to create, market, and sell an idea. He is using those skills to raise money for his 2020 presidential campaign.

The Daily Caller posted an article Saturday about one of the Trump campaign’s more creative ways to raise campaign funds.

The article reports:

President Donald Trump’s move to sell merchandise as a means of piggybacking off his recent media antics has managed to net his campaign nearly $1 million in donations.

The campaign has sold nearly 55,000 packs of plastic straws, netting over $823,000 in sales, whereas campaign officials have sold about $50,000 worth of Sharpie pens, campaign communication director Tim Murtaugh told The New York Times.

More than a third of the people who purchased the straws had never donated to the campaign, Murtaugh said.

Trump began selling the Sharpies on Sept. 6 to raise money after CNN criticized him for supposedly using a pen on a map to alter Hurricane Dorian’s trajectory. The president doubled down on a tweet suggesting the storm would hit Alabama after many in the media tried to correct him, showing a map of the path of the hurricane that had been altered with a Sharpie.

“Buy the official Trump marker, which is different than every other marker on the market, because this one has the special ability to drive @CNN and the rest of the fake news crazy!” Brad Parscale, Trump’s campaign manager, said in a tweet announcing the marketing ploy.

This is a fantastic example of how to raise campaign funds and drive the media crazy. This is the way marketing works.

Hoping To Shed Some Light On A Very Strange Story

Today The Conservative Treehouse posted an article about Patrick Byrne, who resigned his position as CEO of Overstock yesterday. Mr. Byrne’s story involves spying on certain political campaigns for the FBI.

The article reports:

After a cursory meeting in/around July 2015, Byrne claims in the period of September to December 2015 he reported contact with Russian national Ms. Maria Butina to the FBI as a precaution related to his security clearance.

Byrne claims he was asked to participate in an FBI intelligence operation and to introduce, and/or facilitate the introduction of, Ms. Butina to the campaigns of Marco Rubio, Ted Cruz and Donald Trump.

In December of 2015 Mr. Byrne became suspicious of the FBI motives because he warned FBI officials of a potential that his efforts, his reputation and those who trust him, may result in Butina gaining entry into campaign confidences. The FBI agents told Byrne that was exactly the intent; people high up in the FBI wanted Ms. Butina to gain deep access into the Trump campaign. Mr. Byrne became suspicious of a corrupt political motive, but didn’t say anything at the time.

Additionally Byrne’s assistance was requested for an investigation of a high-level government official, he later named as Hillary Clinton.

[Sidebar: It’s noteworthy that during these FBI engagements Byrne was never requested to facilitate Ms. Butina into the Bernie Sanders campaign.  The inference in that omission is the Dem primary was rigged, and the riggers saw no value wasting time on Bernie]

In/around Feb or March 2016 Byrne was told to focus Ms. Butina’s attention to the campaign of Donald Trump and to diminish any attention toward Rubio or Cruz.

The assistance of the investigation of the federal official (Hillary Clinton) ended in late June and early July of 2016.  Immediately thereafter Ms. Clinton was publicly -and unusually- cleared by FBI Director James Comey on July 5th, 2016.

In/around this same June & July time-frame (2016), FBI agents requested Mr. Byrne to focus on developing a closer romantic relationship with Ms. Butina and to use his influence to target her to closer proximity with the Trump family and Trump campaign.

It was within these June and July 2016 engagements where FBI agents were apologetic about the requests and specifically mentioned their instructions were coming from three principle FBI officials Byrne described as “X, Y and Z”.   Later Byrne identified FBI Director James Comey as “Z”.

In the Fox MacCallum interview Byrne named James Comey, Andrew McCabe, Bill Priestap, John Carlin (DOJ-NSD) and Peter Strzok.   Mr. Byrne said the specific instructions were coming to the agents from Special Agent Peter Strzok as he relayed the requests of those above him [X, Y and Z (Comey)].

This FBI contact structure highlights an arms-length operation; perhaps intentionally constructed to create plausible deniability for those above the directly instructing agents.

In its conclusion, the article notes:

I’m sure it is just a coincidence, but FBI Special Agent Peter Strzok’s wife, Melissa Hodgman, happens to be the Assoc. Director of the SEC Enforcement Division, who happened to be leading the SEC investigation of Peter Byrne’s company. [LINK]

So the wife of the FBI agent who was directing Patrick Byrne in the sketchy FBI operation targeting Donald Trump… just happens to open an investigation of Byrne shortly after the corrupt FBI operation containing her husband first hit the headlines in early 2018.

It will be interesting to see how much of this story makes it to the mainstream media.

Knowing Where The Bodies Are Buried

Insiders in Washington who are honest have a pretty good idea what went into the framing of candidate Trump (and President Trump) as a Russian agent. Many of them have remained relatively quiet for various reasons–not wanting to leak classified information, not wanting to get ahead of the story, and waiting for more information to come out. Well, it seems as if we may finally getting near some of that information.

John Solomon posted an article at The Hill yesterday listing ten items that should be declassified that will turn what we have heard from the mainstream media on its head.

This is the list:

  1. Christopher Steele’s confidential human source reports at the FBI. These documents, known in bureau parlance as 1023 reports, show exactly what transpired each time Steele and his FBI handlers met in the summer and fall of 2016 to discuss his anti-Trump dossier.
  2. The 53 House Intel interviews. House Intelligence interviewed many key players in the Russia probe and asked the DNI to declassify those interviews nearly a year ago, after sending the transcripts for review last November.
  3. The Stefan Halper documents. It has been widely reported that European-based American academic Stefan Halper and a young assistant, Azra Turk, worked as FBI sources. We know for sure that one or both had contact with targeted Trump aides like Carter Page and George Papadopoulos at the end of the election.
  4. The October 2016 FBI email chain. This is a key document identified by Rep. Nunes and his investigators. My sources say it will show exactly what concerns the FBI knew about and discussed with DOJ about using Steele’s dossier and other evidence to support a Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) warrant targeting the Trump campaign in October 2016.
  5. Page/Papadopoulos exculpatory statements. Another of Nunes’s five buckets, these documents purport to show what the two Trump aides were recorded telling undercover assets or captured in intercepts insisting on their innocence. Papadopoulos told me he told an FBI undercover source in September 2016 that the Trump campaign was not trying to obtain hacked Clinton documents from Russia and considered doing so to be treason.
  6. The ‘Gang of Eight’ briefing materials. These were a series of classified briefings and briefing books the FBI and DOJ provided key leaders in Congress in the summer of 2018 that identify shortcomings in the Russia collusion narrative.
  7. The Steele spreadsheet. I wrote recently that the FBI kept a spreadsheet on the accuracy and reliability of every claim in the Steele dossier. According to my sources, it showed as much as 90 percent of the claims could not be corroborated, were debunked or turned out to be open-source internet rumors.
  8. The Steele interview. It has been reported, and confirmed, that the DOJ’s inspector general interviewed the former British intelligence operative for as long as 16 hours about his contacts with the FBI while working with Clinton’s opposition research firm, Fusion GPS.
  9. The redacted sections of the third FISA renewal application. This was the last of four FISA warrants targeting the Trump campaign; it was renewed in June 2017 after special counsel Robert Mueller’s probe had started and signed by then-Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein.
  10. Records of allies’ assistance. Multiple sources have said a handful of U.S. allies overseas — possibly Great Britain, Australia and Italy — were asked to assist FBI efforts to check on Trump connections to Russia. Members of Congress have searched recently for some key contact documents with British intelligence.

If what went on here were not so serious, it would be a major get-out-the-popcorn moment. However, the biggest questions is, “How much of this will the major media report when it is released?”

We Now Have The Proof

On May 8, I posted an article about Joseph Mifsud. The article pointed out that some members of Congress were aware that Joseph Mifsud was an American asset. The Mueller Report describes him as a Russian spy. Well, that was the beginning clue that something might be wrong. Now we have the evidence.

The Gateway Pundit posted an article today about an interview by Maria Bartiromo on Sunday Morning Futures. Ms. Bartiromo interviewed John Solomon of The Hill.

The article reports:

The two discussed John Solomon’s latest interview with CIA operative Joseph Mifsud’s attorneys.

According to Mr. Mifsud’s attorneys their client was working for the CIA and was NOT a Russian operative as reported by the Mueller witch hunt team of liars.

Maria Bartiromo: We know that there were informants thrown at certain Trump campaign people, like George Papadopoulos. George Papadopoulos was on this show and he told me directly on this show that Mifsud was the guy they wanted him to meet in Italy… That is the individual who told him that Russia has emails on Hillary Clinton. Why is that important, John?

John Solomon: Well, I interviewed Mr. Mifsud’s lawyer the other day, Stefan Rowe, and he told me and also provided me some deposition evidence to both Congress and myself that his client was being directed and long worked with Western intelligence. And he was being directed specifically, he was asked to connect George Papadopoulos to Russia, meaning it was an operation, some form of intelligence operation. That was the lawyer’s own words for this. If that’s the case that means the flash point the started the whole investigation was in fact manufactured from the beginning.

The use of Joseph Mifsud in this manner is an example of blatant misuse of intelligence operations for political purposes. All of those involved need to be charged with violating the civil rights of various people in the Trump campaign. They need to be punished so that this will not happen again.

Some Basic Facts

Yesterday Mark Penn posted an article at Fox News about the Mueller investigation. Mark Penn was the chief strategist on Bill Clinton’s 1996 presidential campaign, Hillary Clinton’s 2000 Senate campaign, and Mrs. Clinton’s 2008 presidential campaign.

The article reminds us of some important facts regarding the investigation:

Robert Mueller’s testimony to Congress, by any reasonable standard, should have been the swan song of the impeachment movement.

To state the obvious, there is no evidence that President Trump or any other American probed by the Mueller investigation conspired with the Russian government to influence the 2016 presidential election.

…So why does a third or more of the public still believe in Russia collusion? Because partisanship by our politicians and some in the media knows no bounds, and to partisans, facts and evidence are simply inconvenient bumps on a road to power.

That brings us back to the Mueller testimony and the Mueller Andrew Weissmann investigation. Mueller turned out to be the classic emperor-has-no-clothes witness. He once again said that he did not indict Trump because of the Justice Department policy against indicting a president only to once again retract the statement hours later.

He may be old, but he surely understood he was playing and retracting that card — he would have practiced that question 10 times as it was the only anti-Trump card remaining in his dwindling hand. He ignored that Attorney General William Barr, former Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein and career Justice Department lawyers all determined that the facts he listed didn’t constitute criminal obstruction of justice.

The president was, as far as the Justice Department was concerned, cleared on obstruction of justice.

Mueller’s weak grasp of the facts, combined with his deputy Weissmann’s documented history of prosecutorial abuse, strongly suggests Weissmann ran the investigation, not Mueller. It also indicates that Weissmann enjoyed free rein to go after not just the facts, but the people associated with the president.

The article concludes with a very important observation:

Targeting political opponents through the legal and subpoena process after a massive investigation revealed no collusion undermines our democracy. It is a far greater threat to our country and its institutions than any ads on Facebook. Whether you think the FBI acted out of political malice (which is now being investigated) or a sense of duty, there is simply no evidence that the president ever committed a crime, or that his top aides were involved in collusion or conspiracy. Nothing of consequence alleged in the Steele dossier was ever proven true.

Mueller’s testimony confirmed these basic facts, and it should put impeachment investigations in the rearview mirror.

The investigation and surveillance of the Trump campaign and the early days of the Trump administration were a violation of the civil rights of a number of Americans. This is unacceptable. Those who violated those civil rights need to be held accountable or our Justice Department will become a political instrument to be used against political opponents. At that point we will have lost our republic.

Trivial Pursuit By The Press Corps

We have a quickly changing international situation brewing with the seizure of ships by Iran in the Strait of Hormuz. Decisions made in the White House could have major consequences in the lives of all Americans. Hopefully the right decisions will be made, but the situation is worth everyone’s attention. But I guess the Press Corps has other things on its mind.

Yesterday The Washington Examiner reported that shortly after receiving news that two tankers had been seized by the Iranians, the President was talking to the Press Corps.

The article reports:

President Trump was asked if he was “in favor of banning plastic straws” by a reporter on Friday afternoon, just a short time after an Iranian provocation in the Strait of Hormuz.

“Are you in favor of banning plastic straws?” a reporter asked the president outside the White House.

“I do think we have bigger problems than plastic straws. You know, it’s interesting about plastic straws. So you have a little straw, but what about the plates, the wrappers, and everything else that are much bigger and they’re made of the same material? So the straws are interesting, everybody focuses on the straws, there’s a lot of other things to focus on. It’s an interesting question.”

Evidently there was some context for the question:

“Trump Straws” went on sale on the Trump campaign website on Thursday. The 10-pack of reusable red straws are laser engraved with “Trump” on them, and the description reads, “Liberal paper straws don’t work. STAND WITH PRESIDENT TRUMP and buy your pack of recyclable straws today.”

I don’t know whether I would have been so gracious as to answer the question. It seems as if the Press Corps is playing Trivial Pursuit and ignoring the major news around them.

Be Careful What You Wish For

CNS News posted an article today about the upcoming appearance of Robert Mueller before the House of Representatives.

The article notes:

Be careful what you wish for, Rep. Mark Meadows (R-N.C.) told Fox News’s Laura Ingraham Tuesday night:

“Listen, it is not a good day for America, but Bob Mueller better be prepared. Because I can tell you, he will be cross-examined for the first time, and the American people will start to see the flaws in his report.”

Republicans have many unanswered questions about the scope of Mueller’s investigation, including the process leading up to the FISA warrant on Carter Page and when Mueller’s team learned that there was no coordination between the Trump campaign and the Russians.

Meadows said Democrats have courted Mueller “just so that they can harass the president” and keep the collusion/obstruction narrative going for political reasons.

Meadows predicted that Mueller’s testimony will “backfire” on Democrats.

Mueller, in his only public comment on the report, said it speaks for itself and he would have nothing to add beyond what is in it.

But “Congress has questions that go beyond the report,” Rep. Schiff told CNN Tuesday night:

“So we have any number of questions about the counter-intelligence investigation, and the role of the counter-intelligence agents within his team to questions about some of the prosecutorial decisions that were made. We have fact questions about some of the statements that are made in the report, so there are any number of issues that we wish to cover with him,” Schiff said.

So what about the questions some of the rest of us have:

  • How was the investigation team chosen?
  • Why was the investigation team composed solely of Democrat campaign contributors and in one case a lawyer who had worked for the Clintons?
  • Why was someone put in charge of investigating the President right after the President had rejected his job application? Was he expected to be objective?
  • Why did the Mueller Report totally ignore Christopher Steele, Bruce Ohr, Nellie Ohr, etc.?
  • Why was an unverified dossier used as the basis for a FISA Warrant?
  • How many attempts were made to place undercover agents in the Trump campaign?
  • Why were charges against Paul Manafort that had been deemed not worth prosecuting more than ten years ago suddenly brought to life again?
  • Why did the investigation look equally into both campaigns?
  • Did the report include the fact that the Democrats never allowed the FBI to examine their computer servers that they claimed the Russians had hacked?
  • When did Robert Mueller realize that there was no collusion between President Trump and Russia?

Those questions might make for an interesting hearing. I would be willing to watch that on C-SPAN.

What They Actually Did

Yesterday Sebastian Gorka posted an article at American Greatness about the recent dust-up about President Trump’s comments in an interview with George Stepanopoulos. The comments had to do with accepting information on an opposing candidate from a foreign source. Sebastian Gorka’s response to the dust-up is to list the offenses committed by President Obama and candidate Hillary Clinton that fit that description. I strongly recommend that you follow the link and read the entire article, but I will try to list the highlights.

The article lists what we know as fact so far:

  • Christopher Steele, a former British intelligence officer with close ties to the Kremlin and an intense hatred for Donald Trump was paid by Hillary Clinton’s lawyers and the Democrat Party to compile a file of damaging information on candidate Trump. He did so without registering as an agent of a foreign power.
  • This file was replete either with unverifiable fabrications, old accusations that were already out in the open or which were deceptively repackaged to implicate Donald Trump, or outright propaganda Steele had “acquired” from his contacts associated with Russian intelligence.
  • Steele was deemed so unreliable and biased a political actor by the FBI and the State Department, that he was terminated as a source by the Bureau.
  • Senior DoJ official Bruce Ohr’s wife worked for Fusion GPS, the company that hired Christopher Steele, and he funneled anti-Trump opposition research from his wife to the FBI.
  • The DNC dispatched a contractor to the embassy of Ukraine to collect proffered opposition research on Donald Trump from the government in Kiev with a plan to coordinate a smear campaign with officials from that non-NATO nation, foreign power.
  • As the Trump campaign grew in strength, Clinton’s allies in the Obama Administration initiated an unprecedented cross-agency operation code-named CrossFire Hurricane to target Donald Trump and his associates.
  • This involved the exploitation of foreign “liaison services,” especially in the UK (and possibly Italy and Australia as well) in order to circumvent constitutional protection that forbid U.S. intelligence agencies from spying on Americans citizens for political reasons. John Brennan, Obama’s CIA director, was the pivotal actor driving these operations, which led in part to the sudden resignation of the director of GCHQ, the British equivalent of the NSA, and included FBI Director James Comey as well.
  • On multiple occasions, U.S. intelligence assets were tasked with penetrating the Trump campaign to lure its representatives into what they believed were attempts to connect with the Russia government.
  • This included targeting George Papadopoulos, a minor figure in the campaign, via the offices of the Australian diplomat Alexander Downer, and a female FBI “analyst” known as Azra Turk who no one has been able to locate. (Note: When Downer was Foreign Minister he funneled $25 million of taxpayer dollars to the Clinton Foundation).
  • The NSA’s massive database of surveillance intercepts was repeatedly accessed illegally, often by contractors with no authority to do so.
  • At a rate never seen before in the history of the U.S. Intelligence Community (I.C.), the identity of hundreds of American citizens innocently caught up in NSA intercepts were “unmasked” by senior Obama Administration officials. Some of the officials who authorized the unmaskings weren’t even members of the I.C. and who had no plausible reason for the unmasking, including Samantha Power, Obama’s ambassador to the United Nations.
  • The fabricated allegations provided by Russian government sources that Clinton and the DNC bought from Christopher Steele were used to obtain a secret FISA Court warrant to spy on Carter Page and the Trump campaign. The unverified quality of the “Steele dossier” and the fact that is was opposition research paid for by Donald Trump’s political opponent was hidden from the secret FISA court.

The article concludes:

In sum: Hillary Clinton and the Democratic Party paid a foreign agent to collect or manufacture damaging information about the Republican candidate for president, information that was sourced from the Russian government. The subsequent propaganda file was used to surveil members of the Trump campaign, illegally, as NSA and British assets were also used to spy on those associated with Clinton’s political rival, and as human intelligence assets were deployed in an attempt to entrap Trump advisers and members of his staff.

The fall-out of the Stephanopoulos interviews is great. But not in the way George and his allies would like it to be.

With one sentence, the president has yet again turned the nation’s attention to the real scandal that should claim our focus: how the Democrats willingly colluded with a nation that remains our enemy in an attempt to win an election and defraud the will of the American people, in the biggest and most successful information operation Moscow has ever deployed against us.

Now it is up to Attorney General William Barr to uncover the rest of their crimes before our next election.

Much of America is waiting for equal justice under the law.

 

When The Roots Are Rotten

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

The article reports:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The article concludes:

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

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

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

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

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

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

Pulling Back The Curtain On Over-The-Top Investigation Tactics

On June 6, Real Clear Investigations posted an article by Paul Sperry about the tactics used by the people working with Robert Mueller in the Mueller Investigation. Now that the investigation is complete, some of the people who were investigated feel free to speak out about the extreme tactics used in dealing with witnesses and suspects in this investigation.

The article first deals with general misbehavior by the Mueller team:

Veteran journalist Art Moore was editing a story on the Trump-Russia probe last October when he heard a knock at the door. He saw a couple of men in suits on the front porch of his suburban Seattle home and thought they were Jehovah’s Witnesses making the rounds. But they weren’t missionaries there to convert him; they were FBI agents there to interrogate him, sent by Special Counsel Robert Mueller.

The G-men wanted to talk about WikiLeaks, specifically whether the Trump campaign had any connection to the hacktivist group’s release of thousands of emails stolen from Hillary Clinton’s campaign during the 2016 election.

Art Moore: “They were clearly on a fishing expedition.”

The two FBI agents – cyber-crimes experts Jared Brown and Aleks Kobzanets, the latter of whom had a Russian accent – grilled Moore, an editor for the news site WND.com, for about 90 minutes. Among other things, they asked about former WND correspondent Jerome Corsi and whether he had any advance knowledge of WikiLeaks’ dumps of Clinton campaign emails. Corsi, who is friendly with the president, had used Trump confidante Roger Stone as a source during the campaign.

“They were clearly on a fishing expedition,” Moore said, recounting the incident to RealClearInvestigations publicly for the first time.

“They seemed desperate to find something to hang onto the narrative” of Russian collusion, he said.

The article notes that the accounts of the people interviewed are similar:

Their firsthand accounts pull back the curtain on the secret inner workings of the Mueller probe, revealing how the special counsel’s nearly two dozen prosecutors and 40 FBI agents used harshly aggressive tactics to pressure individuals to either cop to crimes or implicate others in felonies involving collusion.

Although they interacted with Mueller’s team at different times and in different places, the witnesses and targets often echoed each other. Almost all decried what they called Mueller’s “scorched earth” methods that affected their physical, mental and financial health. Most said they were forced to retain high-priced Washington lawyers to protect them from falling into “perjury traps” for alleged lying, which became the special counsel’s charge of last resort. In the end, Mueller convicted four Trump associates for this so-called process crime, and investigated an additional five individuals for allegedly making false statements – including former Attorney General Jeff Sessions.

Some subjects of investigation said Mueller’s agents and prosecutors tried to pressure them into admitting things to give the appearance of collusion. They demanded to know if they had spoken to anyone with a “Russian accent.” They threatened to jail them “for life” and to drag their wives or girlfriends into the investigation.

Former special prosecutors say the tactics used by Mueller’s team appear excessive.

The article then goes on to tell the stories of people specifically targeted during the investigation. I strongly suggest that you follow the link above to read those stories. Investigations in America should not be handled this way.

The article concludes with a statement by former Pentagon inspector general who worked on the Trump campaign, Joseph Schmitz:

Schmitz said Mueller’s investigation was a costly and terrible waste of time. Even federal law enforcement veterans say the probe was overkill.

“[He] put the country through two years of divisive trauma based on an investigation that he knew was baseless,” former FBI agent and lawyer Mark Wauck said.

After the terror attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, Biasello said, he was one of 10 FBI agents selected to serve on Mueller’s team to investigate and research the hijackers assigned to American Airlines Flight 77.

“In this case,” he said, referring to the Trump-Russia probe, “he obviously was corrupted by his personal relationship with [former FBI Director James] Comey and politics. The glaring failure to produce a thread of a case against the president caused him and his office to resort to unethical investigative and prosecutorial methods.”

Ex-Trump campaign official Michael Caputo, who went public earlier, complaining he had to remortgage his house after having to hire expensive Washington lawyers, wants Mueller and his team investigated for “prosecutorial abuses.” “Ruining lives was blood sport for them,” he said.

Moore (veteran journalist Art Moore) agreed: “You look at the lives ruined — Corsi, Michael Flynn and others. That alone is enough to warrant a special investigation.”

Telling Only Half The Story To Paint The Picture You Want

Yesterday Townhall posted an article about the Mueller Report and the Russian collusion charges. Last week I posted an article about the misrepresentation of Konstantin Kilimnik, portrayed in the Mueller Report as a “Russian asset” when in fact he was a source for American intelligence. In May I posted an article about Joseph Mifsud, also portrayed as a “Russian asset” when in fact he was training American intelligence agents in Italy. It seems that the Mueller Report spent a lot of time grasping at straws. There is also the matter of editing a phone message to make it appear as something it was not. The Mueller Report is not the objective document it is supposed to be.

The Townhall article deals with the charges that Carter Page was colluding with Russia.

The article reports:

The Department of Justice inspector general is said to be readying a scorching report on the alleged FISA abuses. It’s expected to be released this summer. At the heart of the Trump-Russia collusion nonsense is Spygate and the FISA warrant secured to monitor Page based off this dossier. First, there’s the allegation that FBI, or the CIA, tried to infiltrate the Trump campaign based on this Russian collusion hysteria. The second part is the FBI citing this dossier as credible evidence to secure a spy warrant on Page. It was renewed three times through 2017. Political opposition research was cited to secure a spy warrant on the rival campaign from the sitting presidential administration of the opposing party during an election year. Yeah, one could argue that’s weaponizing the DOJ to go after your enemies. How much did Obama know? Also, welcome to this circus, State Department. 

The officials in the Obama administration knew that this was biased trash days prior to securing the FISA warrant is bad enough. Another odd angle is that this very intelligence community knew Carter Page because he worked with the CIA, the State Department, and the FBI…before he became a Russian traitor or something (via RCP):

“I was asked various questions, not only by State, FBI, etc, but also the CIA,” he said. “I had a long-standing relationship with the CIA going back decades essentially, and I was always very transparent, open.”

“I had a longstanding relationship with the CIA, going back decades, essentially,” Page said. “I was always very transparent, open.”

The Mueller Report was an opportunity to provide a factual account of bad behavior during the 2016 election. Unfortunately the report turned a blind eye to actual foreign intervention and went on a witch hunt instead. It is my hope that the people involved in the misuse of government agencies and the witch hunt will be brought to justice.