Why It Matters

On Wednesday Real Clear Politics posted an article titled, “What the ‘Obamagate’ Scandals Mean and Why They Matter.” The article lists and details the scandals and why they matter. I will list them and then share the conclusion. Please follow the link to the article for further details.

The article lists the scandals:

Scandal No. 1: Massive, illegal surveillance of American citizens, using the database of the National Security Agency

Scandal No. 2: Spying on the Trump campaign

Scandal No. 3: Covering up this spying, continuing it during the new administration, charging that Trump was not legitimately elected, and impeding his presidency with major investigations, based on false charges

The article concludes:

Obama officials worked especially hard to remove incoming National Security Adviser Michael Flynn. Because Gen. Flynn was an experienced intelligence officer, he would surely uncover the surveillance of Trump’s campaign and transition and stop its continuation against the new administration. He had to go. Now we know just how low the Obama administration and Comey FBI sunk to make that happen: spying, unmasking, leaking classified phone calls, discarding FBI protocols to set up an entrapment interview based on a meaningless “legal violation,” and telling Trump directly, as Obama did, not to hire Flynn.

Beyond this destructive mission, Brennan loyalists at the CIA burrowed into Trump’s National Security Council while the FBI tried to plant agents in the White House itself. Most important of all, the Obama team and their congressional allies helped launch multiple, full-scale investigations of “Russian collusion” with no solid basis, plenty of contrived “evidence,” and breathless media headlines. It all failed, but not before it damaged Trump’s presidency and the basic tenets of liberal democracy.

It’s an ugly picture, one that goes beyond dirty tricks and the normal bounds of “loyal opposition.” We still have a lot to learn, but we already know a great deal. We know how grave the three scandals were. We know they fit together, forming something much larger. With each new tranche of declassified documents, we see something big and hideous emerging from the Swamp, a political scandal of profound import.

This information needs to be shouted to the American people. There are many Americans who still believe that President Trump did collude with the Russians, and they need to be told the truth. No one likes to admit that they believed a lie, but it is time to educate the American citizens on what the truth actually is.

Judicial Watch Uncovers The Beginning Of Obamagate

Yesterday, in their weekly update, Judicial Watch posted the text of the memo that was used to justify the spying on the Trump campaign, the Trump transition team, and later the administration. The memo is redacted to continue to protect the guilty, but there is enough left to see what was going on.

Here is the memo:

The document is dated July 31, 2016. Here is the text of the “electronic communication”:

FEDERAL BUREAU OF INVESTIGATION
Electronic Communication

Title: Crossfire Hurricane Date: 07/31/2016

Cc: [Redacted]
Strzok Peter P II

From: COUNTERINTELLIGENCE
[Redacted]
Contact: Strzok Peter P II, [Redacted]

Approved by: Strzok Peter P II

Drafed by: Strzok Peter P II

Case ID #: [Redacted]

CROSSFIRE HURRICANE;
FOREIGN AGENTS REGISTRATION ACT –
RUSSIA;
SENSITIVE INVESTIGATIVE MATTER

This document contains information that is restricted to case participants

Synopsis: (S/ / ) Opens and assigns investigation

Reason 1.4 (b)
Derived from: FBI
NSISC-20090615
Declassify On: 20411231

[Redacted]

(S/) An investigation is being opened based on information received by Legat [Redacted]         on 07/29/2016. The text of that email follows:

SECRET/
[Redacted]

Title: (S/ / CC/NF) CROSSFIRE HURRICANE
Re: [Redacted] 07/31/2016

BEGIN EMAIL

(U/ /) Legat [Redacted] information from [Redacted] Deputy Chief of Mission

Synopsis:
(U/ /) Legat [Redacted] received information from the [Redacted] Deputy Chief of Mission related to the hacking of the Democratic National Committee’s website/server.

Details:
(S/ /[Redacted] On Wednesday, July 27, 2016, Legal Attaché (Legat) [Redacted] was summoned to the Office of the Deputy Chief of Mission (DCM) for the [Redacted] who will be leaving [Redacted] post Saturday July 30, 2016 and set to soon thereafter retire from government service, advised [Redacted] was called by [Redacted] about an urgent matter requiring an in person meeting with the U.S. Ambassador. [Note: [Redacted]. The [Redacted] was scheduled to be away from post until mid-August, therefore [Redacted] attended the meeting.

(S/ [Redacted]) [Redacted] advised that [Redacted] government had been seeking prominent members of the Donald Trump campaign in which to engage to prepare for potential post-election relations should Trump be elected U.S. President. One of the people identified was George Papadopolous (although public media sources provide a spelling of Papadopoulos), who was believed to be one of Donald Trump’s foreign policy advisers. Mr. Papdopoulos was located in [Redacted] so the [Redacted] met with him on several occasions, with [Redacted] attending at least one of the meetings.

(S/ [Redacted]) [Redacted] recalled [Redacted] of the meetings between Mr. Papdopolous and [Redacted] concerning statements Mr. Papadopolous made about suggestions from the Russians that they (the Russians) could assist the Trump campaign with the anonymous release of information during the campaign that would be damaging to Hillary Clinton. [Redacted] provided a copy of the reporting that was provided to [Redacted] from [Redacted] to Legal [Redacted]. The text is exactly as follows:

(Begin Text)

(S/ [Redacted]) 5. Mr. Papadopolous [Redacted] also suggested the Trump team had received some kind of suggestion from Russia that it could assist this process with the anonymous release of information during the campaign that would be damaging to Mrs. Clinton (and President Obama). It was unclear whether he or the Russians were referring to material acquired publicly of through other means. It was also unclear how Mr. Trump’s team reacted to the offer. We note the Trump team’s reaction could, in the end, have little bearing of what Russia decides to do, with or without Mr. Trump’s cooperation.
(End Text)

(s/ [Redacted]
[Redacted]
(s/ [Redacted] Legat requests that further action on this information should consider the sensitivity that this information was provided through informal diplomatic channels from [Redacted] to the U.S. Embassy’s DCM. It was clear from the conversation Legal [Redacted]
had with DCM that [Redacted] knew follow-up by the U.S. government would be necessary, but extraordinary efforts should be made to protect the source of this information until such a time that a request from our organization can be made to [Redacted] to obtain this information through formal channels.

END EMAIL

(S/ / ) Based on the information provided by Legat [Redacted] this investigation is being opened to determine whether individual(s) associated with the Trump campaign are witting of and/or coordinating activities with the Government of Russia.

The article includes Judicial Watch’s reaction to the memo:

No wonder the DOJ and FBI resisted the public release of this infamous “electronic communication” that “opened” Crossfire Hurricane – it shows there was no serious basis for the Obama administration to launch an unprecedented spy operation on the Trump campaign. We now have more proof that Crossfire Hurricane was a scam, based on absurd gossip and innuendo. This document is Exhibit A to Obamagate, the worst corruption scandal in American history. This document shows how Attorney General Barr and U.S. Attorney Durham are right to question the predicate of this spy operation.

What was done during 2016 and into 2017 was a purposeful effort to undermine the principle of a peaceful transition of power in a republic. This is a serious matter despite the fact that the press is working very hard to ignore it. If we cannot depend on the peaceful transition of power, we no longer have a republic. On that note, I would like to say that people do need to be held accountable, but the only way forward is to temper justice with mercy.

How To Write A Report Without Actually Saying Anything

When I heard about the article in The New York Times that proclaimed that a Republican-led Senate panel has issued a report that “undercuts claims by President Trump and his allies that Obama-era officials sought to undermine his candidacy by investigating Russia’s 2016 election meddling,” I wondered how that was possible considering the recently declassified information relating to Operation Crossfire Hurricane. Well Andrew McCarthy posted an article at The National Review yesterday that cleared that up for me. First of all I would like to state that I believe that the Senate Intelligence Committee is one of the most corrupt and leaky groups in Washington. They have been caught leaking fake news on more than one occasion. At any rate, Andrew McCarthy explained in his article exactly what was said in the report and what was not said in the report.

The article notes:

In truth, the story is a nothing-burger. We learn that one of the most useless committees on Capitol Hill, the Senate Intelligence Committee, has issued a 158-page report — festooned with the usual “there are things we can’t tell you” redactions — as a capper to its three-year investigation into a question no one is asking: Did the intelligence community competently conclude that Russia interfered in the 2016 campaign?

No one is asking that question because, for the vast majority of people closely following the collusion caper, that would be like asking whether the Chiefs won the Super Bowl.

We know Russia interfered in our campaign. Given Moscow’s long history of meddling in American politics, it would only have been a story if Russia did not meddle. The principal argument by President Trump and other intelligence agency critics has not been that Obama officials undermined Trump’s candidacy and presidency “by investigating Russia’s 2016 election meddling.” The argument is that they undermined Trump’s campaign and presidency by claiming that Trump and his campaign were complicit in Russia’s 2016 election meddling.

On that key question the Useless Committee is, as is its custom, mum.

They also punted on another key question:

The real question is whether the Obama administration and its officials held over by the new administration fabricated a tale about the Trump campaign’s complicity in Russia’s hacking. Did they peddle that tale to the FISA court while willfully concealing key exculpatory evidence? Did they continue the investigation under the guise of counterintelligence after Trump was elected, in the hope of finding a crime over which he could be impeached? Did they consciously mislead an American president about whether he was under investigation? Did they purposefully suggest in public testimony that the president was a criminal suspect, while privately assuring him that he was not one? And finally, when the Trump-Russia collusion nonsense was collapsing in a heap, did they open a criminal obstruction case — based on an untenable legal theory and facilitated by a leak of investigative information that was orchestrated by the just-fired FBI director — in order to justify continuing the probe under the auspices of a special counsel?

On these questions, the Useless Committee’s report is silent. Indeed, the report says right up front, in the findings section, that the intelligence agencies, over the FBI’s objection, did not include information from the infamous Steele dossier in its December 30, 2016, assessment on Russian interference — though, “as a compromise to the FBI insistence,” dossier allegations were included in an annex to the assessment. The Senate-report findings do not get into why the FBI was pushing so hard on the preposterous dossier. Nor do they mention that, by the time of the assessment, the bureau had already heavily relied on the dossier to obtain a surveillance warrant from the FISA court, and was even then preparing a submission to get yet another warrant — telling the federal judges the bureau believed that the Trump campaign was conspiring with the Kremlin.

Please follow the link to read the entire article. Andrew McCarthy explains how a 158-page report can say absolutely nothing. It is not a coincidence that this report was released just as declassified documents are showing illegal surveillance of the Trump campaign and administration and we are awaiting the Dunbar report. This report is a pre-emptive strike put out by the political class in Washington.

One Reason Transparency About The Russia Investigation Is Taking So Long

Yesterday John Solomon posted an article at Just The News about some behind-the-scenes maneuvering by Adam Schiff that made it difficult to get the truth out about the investigation into President Trump and any connections he might have had with Russia.

The article reports:

Shortly after Schiff took over from Republican Rep. Devin Nunes as chairman of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence (HPSCI) in 2019, he sent a letter to the office of then-Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats.

The letter obtained by Just the News specifically ordered that the witness transcripts — some of which contained exculpatory evidence for President Trump’s team — not be shared with Trump or White House lawyers even if the declassification process required such sharing.

“Under no circumstances shall ODNI, or any other element of the Intelligence Community (IC), share any HPSCI transcripts with the White House, President Trump or any persons associated with the White House or the President,” Schiff wrote in a March 26, 2019 letter to then-Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats.

“Such transcripts remain the sole property of HPSCI, and were transmitted to ODNI for the limited purpose of enabling a classification review by IC elements and the Department of Justice,” Schiff added.

U.S. intelligence officials said Schiff’s request made it impossible for them to declassify 10 of the transcripts, mostly of current and former White House and National Security Council witnesses, because White House lawyers would have had to review them for what is known as “White House equities” and presidential privileges.

But 43 of the transcripts were declassified and cleared for public release and given to Schiff’s team, but they have never been made public despite the committee’s vote to do so, officials said.

One senior official said the 43 transcripts were provided to Schiff’s team some time ago, and the 10 remain in limbo. Asked how long House Intelligence Democrats have had the declassified transcripts, the official said: “You’ll have to ask Mr. Schiff.”

A spokesman for Schiff and House Intelligence Committee Democrats did not return an email Monday seeking comment.

The article concludes:

Newly declassified footnotes from the Horowitz report released last week show the FBI’s key informant in the case, the former British spy Christopher Steele, may have been the victim of Russian disinformation. More declassified evidence from that probe is expected to be released later this week.

In the meantime, Republicans who led the House Intelligence Committee probe in 2018 when the witnesses were interviewed are trying to learn what came of the transcripts.

Schiff’s letter to Coats suggests that at the time the new Democratic chairman was still interested in releasing the transcripts.

“I hope our staff can reach agreement soon on a schedule for returning the transcripts to the Committee for ultimate public release,” he wrote.

Nearly 13 months since the letter, that release has not happened.

Elections have consequences. The consequences of turning the House of Representatives over to the Democrats was three years of wasted money on an investigation that many of the Democrats knew was unwarranted from the beginning. Because the Democrats were so focused on getting President Trump, they overlooked the looming problem of the coronavirus and were not prepared to deal with it. In fact when President Trump closed our borders to China, the Democrats criticized him for it. We may find out in the coming months why the Democrats were so intent on removing President Trump. As more information comes out about the surveillance of the Trump campaign and Trump presidency, it is becoming more obvious that laws were broken. The goal may have been to take out President Trump before that was discovered.

As Declassification Of FISA Warrants Continues…

The Federalist posted an article today listing seven things that we have learned about Operation Crossfire Hurricane as documents are being declassified. None of these things make our intelligence-gathering communities look good. I am going to simply list the seven things. Please follow the link to the article to read the details. They are chilling:

Here is the list:

1. The FBI Always Intended to Spy on the Trump Campaign

2. FBI Failed to Brief Trump About Its Page Suspicions

3. The FBI Spied on the Trump Administration

4. Rep. Adam Schiff Is a Rotten, No-Good, Two-Faced Liar (his attacks on Devin Nunes were based on information he knew to be false).

5. FBI Relied Solely on Fake News to Support Portions of the FISA Applications

6. The Special Counsel Pushed Pathetic Intel Too

7. Oh, the Sweet Irony

As I previously stated, please follow the link to read the entire article.

Bucket Five Is Released

Those of us who have followed the investigation into Crossfire Hurricane closely have been waiting for the information in Bucket Five to be released. That is the information that investigative reporters have cited from the beginning as having the real story behind the surveillance on the Trump campaign and the early days of the Trump presidency. The Conservative Treehouse posted an article today about the documents the Senate Judiciary Committee has released today. The article includes links and screenshots of information and is very detailed. I recommend that you follow the link and read the entire article, but I will includes some of the highlights here.

The article reports:

The documents include more Papadopoulos transcripts from wired conversations with FBI confidential human source Stefan Halper; and also for the first time less redacted version of all three Carter Page FISA applications.  It’s going to take some time to go through this.

The declassification and release includes some seriously interesting documents the DOJ submitted to the FISA court, as far back as July 2018, which completely destroy the prior claims made by Lisa Page, Peter Strzok, James Baker, James Comey, Andrew McCabe and their very vocal media and Lawfare defenders.   Here’s one example:

Lisa Page testified to congress, and claimed in media, that the FBI never had any contact with the Steele dossier material until September 2016.  However, the DOJ directly tells the FISA court that Chris Steele was funneling his information to the FBI in June 2016.

Obviously those involved in the surveillance never expected the truth to come out. They assumed that Hillary Clinton would be elected and their illegal activities would be buried in a sea of classified information. All Americans need to understand that if the Democrat party gains power in Washington, no one involved in this illegal surveillance will ever be held accountable and similar activities will continue in the future. Until the people involved in these activities are held accountable, there will be no guarantee that the civil rights of Americans will not be violated by our government in the future.

The Case For Investigating The Trump Campaign And Presidency Just Keeps Getting Weaker

Yesterday John Solomon posted an article at Just The News with the following title, “The 13 revelations showing the FBI never really had a Russia collusion case to begin with.”

I am going to list the revelations without the comments, so please follow the link to read the entire article. It is chilling to think that a political party in power can use such flimsy information to spy on the political campaign (and presidency) of the opposing party.

Here is the list:

1.) The FBI possessed information dating to 2015 in Steele’s intelligence (Delta) file warning that he might be the victim of Russian disinformation through his contacts with Vladimir Putin-connected oligarchs.

2.) Senior Justice Department official Bruce Ohr warned the FBI in August 2016 that Steele held an extreme bias against Trump (he was “desperate” to defeat Trump) and that his information was likely uncorroborated raw intelligence.

3.) Steele’s work on the dossier was funded by Trump’s rival in the election, Hillary Clinton’s campaign, and the Democratic Party, through their opposition research firm, Fusion GPS.

4.) Steele told a State Department official in October 2016, 10 days before the FISA warrants were first secured, that he had leaked to the news media and had an election day deadline for making public the information he had shared with the FBI as a confidential human source.

5.) Steele was fired Nov. 1, 2016 for violating his confidential human source agreement by leaking to the news media.

6.) Information Steele provided to the government was proven, before the FISA warrants were granted, to be false and inaccurate.

7.) Steele was caught in October 2016 peddling a false internet rumor also being spread by a lawyer for the Democratic National Committee and a liberal reporter.

8.) The FBI falsely declared to the FISA court it had corroborated the evidence in Steele’s dossier used in the search warrant application, including that Carter Page had met with two senior Russians in Moscow in summer 2016

9.) The FBI interviewed Steele’s primary sub-source in January 2017, who claimed much of the information attributed to him was not accurate, exaggerated or rumor.

10.) The FBI possessed statements of innocence from Page collected by an undercover informer in August and October 2016, including that Page denied meeting with the two Russians and did not play a role in changing a GOP platform position on Ukraine during the Trump nominating convention.

11.) The CIA alerted the FBI that Page was a friendly U.S. asset who had assisted the Agency on Russia matters and was not a stooge for the Russian government.

12.) The FBI possessed exculpatory statements made by Trump campaign adviser George Papadopoulos in which he told an undercover informer he and the Trump campaign were not involved in the Russian hacking of Clinton’s emails and considered such activity to be “illegal.”

13.) The FBI concluded in January 2017 that Trump national security adviser Mike Flynn was not being deceptive in his interviews with agents and likely suffered from a faulty memory and was not operating as an agent for Russia.

The only thing I can add to this is that this should NEVER happen again in America. The only way to prevent it from happening again is the put the people in jail who violated the civil rights of Americans by lying to the FISA Court.

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.