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.

Investigating The Investigators

As the House of Representatives recycles Watergate, the Department of Justice is actually getting something done. The Daily Caller posted an article yesterday about the investigation into the roots of the Russian collusion hoax.

The article reports:

“It is now well established that, in 2016, the U.S. government and others undertook certain intelligence-gathering and investigative steps directed at persons associated with the Trump Campaign,” Boyd (Justice Department official Stephen E. Boyd) wrote Nadler, adding that “there remain open questions relating to the origins of this counter-intelligence investigation and the U.S. and foreign intelligence activities that took place prior to and during that investigation.”

“The Review is broad in scope and multifaceted, and is intended to illuminate open questions regarding the activities of U.S. and foreign intelligence services as well as non-governmental organizations and individuals,” Boyd wrote.

He did not explain the references to foreign intelligence services or non-governmental organizations. It is known that the Australian and British governments were involved in some degree to the counterintelligence activities against Trump associates. Fusion GPS and Christopher Steele, a former British spy, investigated President Donald Trump and his campaign associates on behalf of the Clinton campaign and Democratic National Committee.

We are not engaged in a battle between the Democrats and Republicans–many of them are working on the same side. We are engaged in a battle between globalists and those who believe in American sovereignty. That is the reason the globalists in the Obama administration were able to get foreign help in their quest to stop President Trump, who is not a globalist. A strong America is a globalists’ nightmare, and that is what President Trump is building. I suspect there may be some surprises as the rocks are turned over in the investigation of the misuse of government agencies to spy of candidate Trump and later President Trump.

Twisted

No one ever claimed that the team put together by Robert Mueller to investigate President Trump was politically unbiased, but I at least expected them to report the facts as they uncovered them. Evidently my expectations were too high. On May 8, I posted an article about Joseph Mifsud, claimed by the Mueller Report to be a Russian asset. It turns out that he was training American intelligence officers. His contract with George Papadopoulos had nothing to do with Russia. On June 1st, I posted an article about the editing of a phone message from President Trump’s attorney John Dowd to Michael Flynn. The message was edited in a way that left an impression totally different than what was actually happening. Well, okay, maybe that was just an oversight. That’s two strikes. Now we have another incident where something totally misleading (and false) was stated in the Mueller Report.

John Solomon at The Hill posted an article yesterday with the following headline, “Key figure that Mueller report linked to Russia was a State Department intel source.” The person in questions in Ukrainian businessman Konstantin Kilimnik.

The article reports:

In a key finding of the Mueller report, Ukrainian businessman Konstantin Kilimnik, who worked for Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort, is tied to Russian intelligence.

But hundreds of pages of government documents — which special counsel Robert Mueller possessed since 2018 — describe Kilimnik as a “sensitive” intelligence source for the U.S. State Department who informed on Ukrainian and Russian matters.

Why Mueller’s team omitted that part of the Kilimnik narrative from its report and related court filings is not known. But the revelation of it comes as the accuracy of Mueller’s Russia conclusions face increased scrutiny.

It gets worse:

Three sources with direct knowledge of the inner workings of Mueller’s office confirmed to me that the special prosecutor’s team had all of the FBI interviews with State officials, as well as Kilimnik’s intelligence reports to the U.S. Embassy, well before they portrayed him as a Russian sympathizer tied to Moscow intelligence or charged Kilimnik with participating with Manafort in a scheme to obstruct the Russia investigation.

Kasanof’s and Purcell’s interviews are corroborated by scores of State Department emails I reviewed that contain regular intelligence from Kilimnik on happenings inside the Yanukovych administration, the Crimea conflict and Ukrainian and Russian politics. For example, the memos show Kilimnik provided real-time intelligence on everything from whose star in the administration was rising or falling to efforts at stuffing ballot boxes in Ukrainian elections.

Those emails raise further doubt about the Mueller report’s portrayal of Kilimnik as a Russian agent. They show Kilimnik was allowed to visit the United States twice in 2016 to meet with State officials, a clear sign he wasn’t flagged in visa databases as a foreign intelligence threat.

The emails also show how misleading, by omission, the Mueller report’s public portrayal of Kilimnik turns out to be.

For instance, the report makes a big deal about Kilimnik’s meeting with Manafort in August 2016 at the Trump Tower in New York.

By that time, Manafort had served as Trump’s campaign chairman for several months but was about to resign because of a growing controversy about the millions of dollars Manafort accepted as a foreign lobbyist for Yanukovych’s party.

Specifically, the Mueller report flagged Kilimnik’s delivery of a peace plan to the Trump campaign for settling the two-year-old Crimea conflict between Russia and Ukraine.

“Kilimnik requested the meeting to deliver in person a peace plan for Ukraine that Manafort acknowledged to the Special Counsel’s Office was a ‘backdoor’ way for Russia to control part of eastern Ukraine,” the Mueller report stated.

But State emails showed Kilimnik first delivered a version of his peace plan in May 2016 to the Obama administration during a visit to Washington. Kasanof, his former handler at the U.S. Embassy in Ukraine, had been promoted to a top policy position at State, and the two met for dinner on May 5, 2016.

I am grateful for investigative reporters. It is time to acknowledge that the Mueller Report, despite the fact that it found no evidence of collusion on the part of the Trump campaign, is tainted. It is time to put this entire farce to rest and lift the cloud the Democrats have placed over the Trump administration. It is time to allow the President to solve the problems at our southern border, deal with Iran, negotiate trade deals, and generally be President.

Act II

The Mueller Report fizzled. Donald Trump is still President. The House of Representative is preparing for impeachment on possible charges of a cover-up where there is no crime. Most of the Democrat candidates running for President in 2020 support socialism, killing babies up until the moment when they are actually born, open borders, free healthcare for everyone (including those here illegally), and free college. What could possibly go wrong? Well, now is the time to get out the popcorn.

On Thursday, Victor Davis Hanson posted an article at The National Review about the collapse of the Russian-collusion narrative.

Mr. Hanson points out a few obvious facts that made the narrative doubtful from the start:

One, the Washington swamp of fixers such as Paul Manafort and John and Tony Podesta was mostly bipartisan and predated Trump.

Two, the Trump administration’s Russia policies were far tougher on Vladimir Putin than were those of Barack Obama. Trump confronted Russia in Syria, upped defense spending, increased sanctions, and kept the price of oil down through massive new U.S. energy production. He did not engineer a Russian “reset” or get caught on a hot mic offering a self-interested hiatus in tensions with Russia in order to help his own reelection bid.

The article concludes by noting that the rats are deserting the sinking ship:

Comey is also in a tiff with his former deputy, Andrew McCabe. Both know that the FBI under Comey illegally leaked classified information to the media. But Comey says McCabe went rogue and did it. Of course, McCabe’s attorney shot back that Comey had authorized it. Comey also claims the Steele dossier was not the chief evidence for a FISA warrant. McCabe insists that it was. It’s possible that one might work with prosecutors against the other to finagle a lesser charge.

Former CIA director John Brennan has on two occasions lied under oath to Congress and gotten away with it. He may not get away with lying again if it’s determined that he distorted the truth about his efforts to spread the Steele dossier smears. A former CIA official claims that Comey put the unverified Steele dossier into an intelligence community report on alleged Russian interference. Comey has contended that Brennan was the one who did.

It’s possible that both did. Doing so would have been unethical if not illegal, given that neither official told President Obama (if he didn’t already know) that the silly Steele dossier was a product of Hillary Clinton’s amateurish efforts to subvert the 2016 Trump campaign.

In sum, the old leaky vessel of collusion is sinking.

The rats are scampering from their once safe refuge — biting and piling on one another in vain efforts to avoid drowning.

The really scary part of this is that if Hillary Clinton had been elected, we would know none of this, and using the government to spy on political opponents would have become a way of life in America. Unless the people responsible for using the government as a political weapon are brought to justice, using the government to spy on political opponents will become a way of life in America.

Drip, Drip, Drip…

There are still a lot of unanswered questions about the whole Russian collusion thing. I suspect the truth will gradually come out over the next two or three months, but I wonder if the dyed-in-the-wool Trump haters will believe the truth when it does come out. Meanwhile, there are some very interesting hints of things to come that periodically show up.

The Gateway Pundit posted an article today about some comments made by Trey Gowdy this morning on “Sunday Morning Futures” with Maria Bartiromo. There is a video in the article, but here are the relevant quotes:

Trey Gowdy: There’s a lot of serious questions that need to be asked. When did the Russian probe begin? When did it become hopelessly co-mingled with the Trump campaign? What was the factual predicate? Where are the transcripts, if any exist between the informants and the telephone calls to George Papadopoulos? Why the defensive briefing so inadequate of President Trump? Why didn’t they do a follow-up defensive briefing? That doesn’t even get to the whole FISA abuse in the fall. That’s just the spring and summer of 2016. There’s lots of questions and I hope Bill Barr finds someone who is skilled enough to answer them…

Maria Bartiromo: I’m really glad you brought that up. The FBI’s conversations with George Papadopoulos. Because when the FBI agent sends in informants to someone they’re looking at, typically those conversations are recorded, right? Those people are wired.

Trey Gowdy: Yeah, if the bureau is going to sends in an informant the informant is going to be wired. If the bureau is monitoring telephone calls there’s going to be a transcript of that. Some of us are fortunate enough to know those transcripts exist. But they haven’t been made public. And I think one in particular has the potential to actually persuade people… There is some information in these transcripts that has the potential to be a game changer if it’s ever made public… If you have exculpatory evidence that was not shown to the court, that ain’t good. I’ve seen it. Johnny (Ratcliffe) has seen it. I’d love for your viewers to see it.

Trey Gowdy: We can call it a dossier. It sounds official. It’s really something the National Enquirer would blush if they printed it. So we know it was used four times by the United States government. What we’re trying to figure out is if it was used a fifth time in the intelligence assessment and you’ve got Brennan and Clapper and Comey, all three who know full well whether or not it was used in the intelligence assessment, but they’re giving you different versions. So there is information that exists in December of 2016 and I hope anyone who has access to it, Senator Burr, Devin (Nunes), whoever is open minded, go look at that and I think it will help you understand whether or not that dossier, that unverified hearsay, was used five times or just four times by the United States government. It’s pretty bad if it was used four times. It’s REALLY BAD if it was used five times!

So what can we expect? More attacks on Attorney General Barr, attacks on John Durham, and almost manic attempts to remove President Trump from office will occur in an attempt to prevent the truth from getting out. If the truth is about to come out, look for a major distraction–an indictment of someone that can be somehow connected to President Trump or some such other distraction. The people involved in the misuse of government agencies during the Obama administration are going to play hard ball. The only way to prevent this abuse from happening in the future is to play hard ball back. It is going to get ugly, but if justice prevails, it will be fun to watch.

 

This Is Simply Harassment

Anyone who celebrates the Congressional search for any smidgen of dirt on Donald Trump might want to consider that if this continues, it could happen to any President or any citizen. The two-plus year witch hunt needs to end, and those responsible need to be held accountable. The latter seems to be about to happen. The former has no end in sight.

On Tuesday The City Journal posted an article about Congress’ demand for President Trump’s tax returns (including years he was not in office). This is harassment. However, you only have to look at the events of the past week or so to find out what is actually going on–the quest for tax returns is simply a bright shiny object put in front of the American public to divert from the news that John Durham, the U.S. attorney in Connecticut, will be investigating the origins of the surveillance on the Trump campaign and transition team.

The article points out:

Disappointed by Robert Mueller’s failure to demonstrate President Trump’s perfidy, Democrats are focusing anew on the president’s tax returns. Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin is refusing to order the release of Trump’s federal returns to the House, saying that there is no legislative purpose for doing so, but a new effort to expose Trump’s tax history runs through Albany, where Democrats in 2018 gained solid control of the state senate for the first time in decades. Governor Andrew Cuomo has promised to sign a bill making its way through the legislature that would submit any New Yorker’s state tax returns to Congress, on request from the chairs of any of three revenue-related committees.

The excitement among Democrats is palpable. “We are facing a constitutional showdown,” says State Senator Brad Hoylman, the legislation’s sponsor. “New York, as the home of the president’s state taxes, has a special responsibility to step into the breach.” Assemblywoman Pat Fahy concurs, saying that “we can help hold the president accountable and we will set future precedents for all elected officials, that neither you as a president nor your business interests are above the law.”

Is anyone going to want to run for office under these ‘new’ rules?

The article concludes:

It’s likely that Trump’s pursuers don’t expect to find smoking guns in Trump’s tax returns. Decades in public life, including multiple infamous bankruptcies, have produced no hint of major scandal or criminality. So why should we expect his tax returns—already submitted to the government and scrutinized by forensic professionals with power to arrest—to reveal anything shocking?

Those demanding Trump’s tax returns probably just want to embarrass him by proving old rumors that he isn’t as rich as he pretends to be. For all this effort, though, that would be a weak payoff—especially since the people likely to care about such revelations aren’t Trump voters, anyway.

This is what desperation looks like.

Uncovering The Early Fraud

John Solomon at The Hill posted an article today that reveals that much of what the FBI has put forth about the spying on the Trump campaign is untrue.

The article reports:

Newly unearthed memos show a high-ranking government official who met with Steele in October 2016 determined some of the Donald Trump dirt that Steele was simultaneously digging up for the FBI and for Hillary Clinton’s campaign was inaccurate, and likely leaked to the media.

The concerns were flagged in a typed memo and in handwritten notes taken by Deputy Assistant Secretary of State Kathleen Kavalec on Oct. 11, 2016.

Her observations were recorded exactly 10 days before the FBI used Steele and his infamous dossier to justify securing a Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) warrant to spy on Trump campaign adviser Carter Page and the campaign’s contacts with Russia in search of a now debunked collusion theory.

The article points out one obvious lie in the dossier:

That’s a pretty remarkable declaration in Footnote 5 on Page 15 of the FISA application, since Kavalec apparently needed just a single encounter with Steele at State to find one of his key claims about Trump-Russia collusion was blatantly false.

In her typed summary, Kavalec wrote that Steele told her the Russians had constructed a “technical/human operation run out of Moscow targeting the election” that recruited emigres in the United States to “do hacking and recruiting.”

She quoted Steele as saying, “Payments to those recruited are made out of the Russian Consulate in Miami,” according to a copy of her summary memo obtained under open records litigation by the conservative group Citizens United. Kavalec bluntly debunked that assertion in a bracketed comment: “It is important to note that there is no Russian consulate in Miami.”

We are supposed to believe that the FBI is too stupid to pay attention to an obvious lie that was noted in the summary.

The fiction in the dossier continues:

Steele offered Kavalec other wild information that easily could have been debunked before the FISA application — and eventually was, in many cases, after the media reported the allegations — including that:

    • Trump lawyer Michael Cohen traveled to Prague to meet with Russians;
    • Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort owed the Russians $100 million and was the “go-between” from Russian President Vladimir Putin to Trump;
    • Trump adviser Carter Page met with a senior Russian businessman tied to Putin;
    • The Russians secretly communicated with Trump through a computer system.

Special counsel Robert Mueller’s report, released last month, dispelled all those wild theories while hardly mentioning Steele, except for a passing reference to his dossier being “unverified.” That’s significant, because the FISA request from October 2016 that rested heavily on Steele’s information was marked “verified application” before the FBI submitted it to the court.

It will be interesting to see if anyone is held accountable for misleading the FISA Court.

I suggest that you follow the link above to read the entire article. The misuse of our intelligence community for political purposes is totally unacceptable.

The Saga Continues

Andrew McCarthy has an article up at The National Review today about the roots of the Russian collusion investigation. The title of the article is, “The FBI’s Trump-Russia Investigation Was Formally Opened on False Pretenses.”

Meanwhile, CNN is reporting today:

If Democrats are not careful, they will end up in the worst of all political worlds.

Since the release of the Mueller report, the party’s leadership in Congress has been extraordinarily hesitant about taking the logical next steps. Faced with a 400-plus page report documenting extensive efforts by the President of the United States to obstruct justice, House Democrats have punted — making it pretty clear that impeachment proceedings will not be happening any time soon.

Even as the attorney general takes extraordinary steps to obstruct the subsequent hearings into obstruction, Democratic leaders remain tepid about any conversation that involves impeachment.

Okay. Let’s go back to some basic tenants of American law. First of all, you are innocent until proven guilty. The Mueller Report specifically stated that they could not find the evidence to prove President Trump guilty of anything. That means according to our laws, he is presumed innocent. Second of all, how can you have obstruction when there was no crime involved?

The CNN report is totally misleading and divisive. It states that the President obstructed justice when the Mueller Report concluded that there was no evidence to support that claim.

So let’s look at what Andrew McCarthy has to say about the root of this witch hunt:

Chicanery was the force behind the formal opening of the FBI’s Trump-Russia investigation. There was a false premise, namely: The Trump campaign must have known that Russia possessed emails related to Hillary Clinton. From there, through either intentional deception or incompetence, the foreign ministries of Australia and the United States erected a fraudulent story tying the Trump campaign’s purported knowledge to the publication of hacked Democratic National Committee emails.

Andrew McCarthy points out in his article that in order to begin surveillance on the Trump campaign, the State Department and the FBI had to find something other than the Steele Dossier to base their claims on. They set up George Papadopoulos.

The National Review article lists some of the connects of the people involved in setting up the scam:

The State Department (very much including the American embassy in London) was deeply in the tank for Clinton. Downer has a history with the Clintons that includes arranging a $25 million donation to the Clinton Foundation in 2006, when he was Australia’s foreign minister and then-senator Hillary Clinton was the favorite to become U.S. president in 2008. For years, furthermore, Downer has been closely tied to British intelligence, which, like the British government broadly, was anti-Trump. (More on that in the future.)

The State Department’s Dibble immediately sent Downer’s information though government channels to the FBI.

About three weeks earlier, Victoria Nuland, the Obama administration’s top State Department official for European and Eurasian affairs, had supported the FBI’s request to meet former British intelligence officer Christopher Steele in London. Steele was the principal author of the Clinton-campaign-sponsored faux intelligence reports (the unverified “Steele dossier”), which claimed — based on anonymous sources and multiple layers of hearsay — that Russia was plotting to help Trump win the election, and that it had been holding compromising information about Hillary Clinton.

On July 5, Agent Michael Gaeta, the FBI’s legal attaché in Rome (who had worked with Steele on the FIFA soccer investigation when Steele was still with British intelligence), met with Steele at the latter’s London office. Steele permitted him to read the first of the reports that, over time, would be compiled into the so-called dossier. An alarmed Gaeta is said to have told Steele, “I have to report this to headquarters.”

It is inconceivable that Gaeta would have gone to the trouble of clearing his visit to London with the State Department and getting FBI headquarters to approve his trip, but then neglected to report to his headquarters what the source had told him — to wit, that the Trump campaign was conspiring with the Kremlin to undermine the 2016 election.

As I have previously detailed, after the hacked DNC emails were published, Steele (whose sources had not foretold the hacking by Russia or publication by WikiLeaks) simply folded this event into his preexisting narrative of a Trump-Russia conspiracy.

Prior to early July, when the FBI began receiving Steele-dossier reports (which the State Department would also soon receive), the intelligence community — particularly the CIA, under the direction of its hyper-political director, John Brennan — had been theorizing that the Trump campaign was in a corrupt relationship with Russia. Thanks to the Steele dossier, even before Downer reported his conversation with Papadopoulos to the State Department, the Obama administration had already been operating on the theory that Russia was planning to assist the Trump campaign through the anonymous release of information that would be damaging to Clinton. They had already conveniently fit the hacked DNC emails into this theory.

Downer’s report enabled the Obama administration to cover an investigative theory it was already pursuing with a report from a friendly foreign government, as if that report had triggered the Trump-Russia investigation. In order to pull that off, however, it was necessary to distort what Papadopoulos had told Downer.

To repeat, Papadopoulos never told Downer anything about emails. Moreover, the Mueller report provides no basis for Papadopoulos to have known that Russia was planning the anonymous release of information damaging to Clinton in order to help Trump; nor does the Mueller report allege that Papadopoulos actually told Downer such a thing.

The State Department’s report to the FBI claiming that Papadopoulos had “suggested” these things to Downer was manufactured to portray a false connection between (a) what Papadopoulos told Downer and (b) the hacking and publication of the DNC emails. That false connection then became the rationale for formally opening the FBI’s Trump-Russia investigation — paper cover for an investigation of the Trump campaign that was already under way.

CNN either doesn’t know the truth or chooses not to report it accurately. Either way, they are doing a disservice to Americans by misleading them on the facts of the case.

Sorry, Your Stories Just Don’t Add Up

Scott Johnson at Power Line posted an article today about an article that appeared in The New York Times. Because the article at The New York Times is subscribers only, I am not including a link. The article deals with the FBI’s sending someone to investigate the Trump campaign. Spying, actually. So why is The New York Times finally admitting that the FBI was spying on the Trump campaign? The Inspector General’s report is due out shortly, and Attorney General Barr has openly stated that he will be investigating the roots of the surveillance of the Trump campaign. Both investigations are expected to say that the FBI spied on the Trump campaign.

On April 15th, The New York Post posted an article by Andrew McCarthy about the spying on the Trump campaign. The article includes the following:

On Jan. 6, 2017, Comey, Clapper, CIA Director John Brennan and National Security Agency chief Michael Rogers visited President-elect Trump in New York to brief him on the Russia investigation.

Just one day earlier, at the White House, Comey and then–Acting Attorney General Sally Yates had met with the political leadership of the Obama administration — President Obama, Vice President Joe Biden and national security adviser Susan Rice — to discuss withholding information about the Russia investigation from the incoming Trump administration.

Rice put this sleight-of-hand a bit more delicately in the memo about the Oval Office meeting (written two weeks after the fact, as Rice was leaving her office minutes after Trump’s inauguration):

“President Obama said he wants to be sure that, as we engage with the incoming team, we are mindful to ascertain if there is any reason that we cannot share information fully as it relates to Russia. [Emphasis added.]”

It is easy to understand why Obama officials needed to discuss withholding information from Trump. They knew that the Trump campaign — not just some individuals tangentially connected to the campaign — was the subject of an ongoing FBI counterintelligence probe. An informant had been run at campaign officials. The FISA surveillance of Page was underway — in fact, right before Trump’s inauguration, the Obama administration obtained a new court warrant for 90 more days of spying.

The normal protocol if the FBI believed that a foreign government was attempting to infiltrate a political campaign would be to notify the campaign to put the candidate and the campaign on alert. However, this was not done. Those involved in the operation needed secrecy to keep their operation going. Now, as all of this is about to be revealed, some of the mainstream media is trying to get ahead of the story and undo the lies they have been telling for the past two and a half years. Hopefully, Americans are smart enough to see through their hypocrisy.

High Crimes–Not Misdemeanors

Yesterday Sebastian Gorka posted an article at American Greatness titled, “ObamaGate: No Misdemeanors, Only High Crimes.” I understand all of us are getting tired of hearing about any of the garbage that went on in the Obama administration in terms of spying on the political opposition. However, because that issue has not yet been dealt with, it will remain in the news until those guilty of misusing federal agencies are held accountable.

Sebastian Gorka points out:

…Or look instead at Anderson Cooper, CNN’s putative doyen, who can’t even garner 0.3 percent of the population as viewers for his “flagship” program, and who recently accused Jared Kushner of “gaslighting” the nation over Russia; in other words of making statements aimed at convincing the listeners that they are insane.

This from the network that has so stoked the flames of Russia conspiracy-mongering every day for two years, that they publish outlandish pieces on Robert Mueller’s sealing indictments against the president, and as Cooper’s fellow show host Chris Cuomo qualifies the president’s public statements as those made by a convict already wearing an “orange jumpsuit,” statements that are less gaslighting than full on tinfoil-hattery.

And why was Kushner so calumniated? What craziness was he trying to sell to America as fact? His “gaslighting” sin was to state early last week that the Mueller investigation and the rest of the related farrago had done more damage to our republic and democratic practices than the original illegal actions of Russian actors on Facebook. Yet, ironically, Kushner was lambasted all over the corporate leftist media as the majority of Americans actually agreed with the president’s senior advisor.

The article concludes with some troubling information:

It has been brought to my attention by a former CIA station chief of some prominence and who has a legendary reputation inside the community of pre-Brennan operators, that Hillary Clinton’s loss did not curtail the worst activities of the outgoing Obama team. In fact, through the use of a walled-off team of contractors working inside the Intelligence Community, and for political realms alone, with no FISA-authorization or other national security justification, the Trump White House was spied upon after the January 20 inauguration. (Those responsible for this on-going crime are known to more than one investigative journalist and I have been told that the first of the new revelations will be published in the coming week).

Simply put: the Obama Administration used the most powerful intelligence capabilities in the world to attempt a penetration and subversion of the presidential campaign of the the opposing party. When that failed, they used a special prosecutor to divert attention away from that activity, log-jam the work of the new president, and clean up the evidence of what had been done to him and his team. And most un-American of all: the former intelligence leadership of the Obama Administration continued to spy illegally on Donald Trump and his closest advisers after they had moved into the White House.

Many take offense at the way President Trump uses language, at his tweets and at what they see as his hyperbole. But this week when he called the operations against him and the will of the people who chose him, a “coup” and an “attempted overthrow” of the government, he was making a simple statement of fact. One that will soon make Watergate an irrelevance.

The spying that was done in the Obama administration more closely resembles Soviet Russia than it does America. It is frightening to think that someone whose administration had so little regard for the law or the civil liberties of Americans sat in the White House for eight years. I don’t think a lot of Americans realize that the same force of government used against individuals in the Trump campaign and transition team could someday turn against them for no reason. The punishment for the actions taken against the Trump campaign and administration needs to be severe enough so that another coup attempt will never happen.

 

We Are Beginning To See What Is Under The Bright Shiny Object

The charges that the Trump campaign colluded with the Russians were odd at best. No one ever explained exactly what that collusion looked like or why it was illegal (collusion by itself is generally not illegal). There were also some other odd matters about unmasking, domestic spying, and misuse of foreign information sources. All of that is currently out there, but not necessarily being shouted at this point. Well, The Conservative Treehouse posted an article today that explains some of the reasons for the extreme hype of ‘Russian collusion’ and the reaction when Hillary Clinton lost the presidential election.

The article reports:

Now that we have significant research files on the 2015 and 2016 political surveillance program; which includes the trail evident within the Weissmann/Mueller report; in combination with the Obama-era DOJ “secret research project” (their words, not mine); we are able to overlay the entire objective and gain a full understanding of how political surveillance was conducted over a period of approximately four to six years.

Working with a timeline, but also referencing origination material in 2015/2016 – CTH hopes to show how the program operated.  This explains an evolution from The IRS Files in 2010 to the FISA Files in 2016.

The article details some of the timeline involved:

Early in 2016 NSA Director Admiral Mike Rogers was alerted of a significant uptick in FISA-702(17) “About” queries using the FBI/NSA database that holds all metadata records on every form of electronic communication.

The NSA compliance officer alerted Admiral Mike Rogers who then initiated a full compliance audit on/around March 9th, 2016, for the period of November 1st, 2015, through May 1st, 2016.

While the audit was ongoing, due to the severity of the results that were identified, Admiral Mike Rogers stopped anyone from using the 702(17) “about query” option, and went to the extraordinary step of blocking all FBI contractor access to the database on April 18, 2016 (keep these dates in mind).

The article explains that many of the searches carried out were illegal:

The operators were searching “U.S Persons”. The review of November 1, 2015, to May 1, 2016, showed “eighty-five percent of those queries” were unlawful or “non compliant”.

…The [five digit] amount (more than 1,000, less than 10,000), and 85% error rate, was captured in a six month period.

Also notice this very important quote: “many of these non-compliant queries involved the use of the same identifiers over different date ranges.”   So they were searching the same phone number, email address, electronic “identifier”, or people, repeatedly over different dates.  Specific people were being tracked/monitored.

Additionally, notice the last quote: “while the government reports it is unable to provide a reliable estimate of” these non lawful searches “since 2012, there is no apparent reason to believe the November 2015 [to] April 2016 coincided with an unusually high error rate”.

That means the 85% unlawful FISA-702(16)(17) database abuse has likely been happening since 2012.  (Again, remember that date, 2012) Who was FBI Director? Who was his chief-of-staff? Who was CIA Director? ODNI? etc.  Remember, the NSA is inside the Pentagon (Defense Dept) command structure.  Who was Defense Secretary? And finally, who wrote and signed-off-on the January 2017 Intelligence Community Assessment?

The article explains the role of the Steele Dossier was necessary to continue surveillance:

Fusion GPS was not hired in April 2016 to research Donald Trump.  As shown in the evidence provided by the FISC, the intelligence community was already doing surveillance and spy operations. The Obama administration already knew everything about the Trump campaign, and were monitoring everything by exploiting the FISA database.

However, after the NSA alerts in/around March 9th, 2016, and particularly after the April 18th shutdown of contractor access, the Obama intelligence community needed Fusion GPS to create a legal albeit ex post facto justification for the pre-existing surveillance and spy operations.  Fusion GPS gave them that justification in the Steele Dossier.

That’s why the FBI small group, which later transitioned into the Mueller team, are so strongly committed to and defending the formation of the Steele Dossier and its dubious content.  The Steele Dossier contains the cover-story and justification for the surveillance operation.

Please follow the link above and read the entire article. It is chilling. It paints a picture of an administration that politicized government agencies to spy on Americans and made an attempt to eliminate political opposition by using the force of government. Just for the record, even though the Obama administration is out of office, they are still using the government connections they have to work against the President and against the best interests of Americans.

How We Got Here

Yesterday The Conservative Treehouse posted a  transcript of an interview by Sean Hannity of Congressman Devin Nunes. Congressman Nunes related the history and origins of the spying on the Trump campaign by members of the Obama administration.

This is the essence of the story:

Finally Devin Nunes is outlining what CTH has been calling attention to for over two years.  The spying began in 2015.   “Spygate” was part of the larger “Russian Conspiracy and Collusion” operation.   This was all planned well in advance.

The spying began in 2015, and was part of the collaborative process -and reason- for Nellie Ohr to join the political opposition research being conducted by Fusion GPS.

CIA Director John Brennan had his OCONUS lures, Joseph Mifsud and Stefan Halper on standby awaiting targeting information.  They needed targets.

Fusion-GPS and Nellie Ohr were researching targets based on candidates.  Donald Trump was the most likely candidate to win the GOP nomination.  Trump was the focus of identifying targets.

As the Fusion and Ohr research was ongoing, and when it became transparent that Trump was going to be the victor in the Primaries; the media began demanding to know who were the foreign policy and national security advisors to candidate Trump.  This DNC inspired effort to demand names and lists was in alignment with Brennan, Fusion and Ohr.

Once they had some names identified (March/April ’16), ie. Papadopoulos, Flynn, Manafort and Page,…  Brennan tasked Mifsud and Halper to run the spygate operation.

In/around late June and early July of ’16, Brennan was in position to turn over the outcome of his operation to the FBI via an origination EC memo.

[April 22nd 2018] According to House Intelligence Committee member Devin Nunes; who is also a member of the intelligence oversight ‘Gang-of-Eight’; that EC contains intelligence material that did not come through “official intelligence channels” into the U.S. intelligence apparatus.

The EC was not an official product of the U.S. intelligence community. Additionally, Brennan was NOT using official partnerships with intelligence agencies of our Five-Eyes partner nations; and he did not provide raw intelligence –as an outcome of those relationships– to the FBI. {Go Deep}

CIA Director Brennan formatted the same intelligence to the White House where Susan Rice and Samantha Powers were doing the unmasking to facilitate the leaks.

The FBI took Brennan’s two-page “EC” memo and originated the official counterintelligence operation known as “Crossfire Hurricane” on July 31st, 2016.

FBI Counterintelligence Agent Peter Strzok wrote out the operational instructions and objectives for the operation.  As noted by Trey Gowdy, included in those instructions was the targeting of the “Trump Campaign” specifically.

”’The intelligence outcomes were then continually distributed to the White House and in August 2016 to the Gang-of-Eight as noted by Brennan’s testimony.

Brennan: [13:35] “Third, through the so-called Gang-of-Eight process we kept congress apprised of these issues as we identified them.”

“Again, in consultation with the White House, I PERSONALLY briefed the full details of our understanding of Russian attempts to interfere in the election to congressional leadership; specifically: Senators Harry Reid, Mitch McConnell, Dianne Feinstein and Richard Burr; and to representatives Paul Ryan, Nancy Pelosi, Devin Nunes and Adam Schiff between 11th August and 6th September [2016], I provided the same briefing to each of the gang of eight members.”

“Given the highly sensitive nature of what was an active counter-intelligence case [that means the FBI], involving an ongoing Russian effort, to interfere in our presidential election, the full details of what we knew at the time were shared only with those members of congress; each of whom was accompanied by one senior staff member.”… (LINK)

This is thoroughly disgusting. It is a total misuse of the power of the government. There should be a lot of people held accountable for breaking the law for political purposes.

Spying, What Spying?

Supposedly Attorney General Barr dropped a bombshell when he told Congress that there was spying on the Trump campaign. Although Congress seemed shocked, I suspect most Americans were not.

An article in The Gateway Pundit yesterday quotes James Comey in a recent interview:

“With respect to Barr’s comment, I have no idea what he’s talking about when he talks about spying on the campaign and so I can’t really react,” Comey said Thursday at a Hewlett Foundation conference.

…“The FBI and the Department of Justice conduct court-ordered electronic surveillance, “Comey said. “I have never thought of that as spying…and if the Attorney General has come to the belief that that should be called ‘spying’ – WOW!”

“But I don’t know what he meant by that term — and factually I don’t know what he meant because I don’t know of any court-ordered electronic surveillance aimed at the Trump campaign and that’s the reason for my confusion,” Comey said.

So now the argument is that the FISA warrants were not aimed at the Trump campaign? I’m sure it is just an incredible coincidence that most of the surveillance allowed by those FISA warrants were on members of the Trump campaign who would have communicated with the candidate fairly frequently. This may be believable to the never-Trump crowd, but I sure wouldn’t try to sell it anywhere else.

He who defines the words controls the debate.

It really doesn’t matter if it is court-ordered or not, if you are listening to a person’s private conversations, it is spying. Notice that in claiming it was court-ordered, he avoids the issue of whether or not the court was deceived.

We need to keep in mind that this was court-ordered surveillance of a political opponent’s campaign. It was the use of the government to spy on that campaign–it was not simple ‘opposition research.’ Richard Nixon was impeached for far less. Unless we hold those responsible accountable, this will become an everyday occurrence in political campaigns.

The Truth Begins To Drip Out

If you depend totally on the mainstream media for your news, you might be unaware that there was government surveillance of the Trump campaign and the Trump transition team. There is a school of thought that believes that Admiral Mike Rogers informed President Trump that Trump Tower was under electronic surveillance early in the Trump administration and that is the reason President Trump began doing business from New Jersey. I suspect that will be confirmed in the coming weeks. Meanwhile, there was some very interesting testimony on Capitol Hill by Attorney General William Barr regarding surveillance.

CNS News posted an article today about that testimony.

The article reports:

Sen. Brian Schatz (D-Hawaii) asked Attorney General William Barr at a Senate Appropriations subcommittee hearing on Wednesday to “rephrase” his use of the word “spying” to characterize the government targeting the Trump campaign.

“I want to give you a chance to rephrase something you said, because I think when the attorney general of the United States uses the word ‘spying,’ it’s rather provocative, and in my view unnecessarily inflammatory, and I know what you’re getting at, because you have explained yourself in terms of answering Senator Graham’s questions and the questions of others,” Schatz said.

“Do you want to rephrase what you’re doing, because I think the word ‘spying’ could cause everybody in the cable news ecosystem to freak out, and I think it’s necessary for you to be precise with your language here. You normally are, and I want to give you a chance to be especially precise here,” the senator said.

The article continues:

As CNS News.com reported, Barr told Sen. Jeanne Shaheen (D-N.H.) that “spying” occurred during the 2016 election.

“So you’re not suggesting though that spying occurred?” Shaheen asked.

“I think there was – spying did occur. Yes, I think spying did occur, but the question is whether it was predicated, adequately predicated, and I’m not suggesting it wasn’t adequately predicated, but I need to explore that,” the attorney general said.

“I think it’s my obligation. Congress is usually very concerned about intelligence agencies and law enforcement agencies staying in their proper lane, and I want to make sure that happened,” Barr said.

I suspect that by the end of next week we will know a lot more about the surveillance of the Trump campaign and Trump transition team. The news media being what it is, I suspect a lot of information on this subject will be in the Good Friday news dump because the media is hoping most people will be too preoccupied with Easter to see it.

Is Equal Justice Under The Law Possible?

The Daily Caller is reporting that Attorney General William Barr stated today that an inspector general’s investigation into whether the FBI abused the surveillance court process during the Russia probe will be completed by May or June.

The article states:

Barr also told lawmakers during a House Appropriations Committee hearing that he is reviewing how the FBI handled the counterintelligence investigation of the Trump campaign that began in summer 2016.

…The FBI opened a counterintelligence investigation into Trump campaign advisers on July 31, 2016, purportedly based on information from the Australian government about Trump campaign aide George Papadopoulos.

Alexander Downer, who then served as Australia’s top diplomat to the United Kingdom, claimed that Papadopoulos mentioned to him during a meeting in London on May 10, 2016 that Russia might release information on Hillary Clinton later in the campaign.

While the FBI has claimed its investigation did not begin until receiving the tip from Australia in late July 2016, a longtime FBI and CIA informant, Stefan Halper, made contact with Page in England earlier that month.

The entire Russian collusion investigation was a scam set up by the deep state during the Obama administration. The question is whether or not President Obama was in on the scheme.

The article notes that the entire basis for the FISA warrants was the rather questionable Steele Dossier, which was simply a piece of political opposition research:

The FBI relied heavily on the Democrat-funded Steele dossier to obtain four FISA warrants against Page. The dossier, authored by a former British spy, alleged that Page acted as a liaison between the Trump campaign and Kremlin during the 2016 campaign. Republicans have argued that the FBI should not have relied on the dossier since its allegations were unverified and because the document was opposition research funded by the Clinton campaign and Democratic National Committee.

If this investigation is not handled properly, we can expect political parties in power to use the force of the government against their political opponents in the future. Richard Nixon was impeached for far less. I hope Attorney General Barr has the courage to see this investigation to the end.

The Saga Continues

As the Russian collusion charges are exposed as a hoax, many of those involved are heading for the tall grass or implicating others. There is no honor among thieves, and many of these people compromised their principles long ago.

Today The Gateway Pundit posted an article about some recent remarks made by James Clapper to Anderson Cooper.

The article reports:

ANDERSON COOPER, CNN HOST: The 2017 assessment that the President says he now agrees with, that was done while you and then NCI Director John Brennan were still in office. So, how can we reconcile the President attacking you, but apparently after a very long time finally, allegedly saying — or saying he allegedly agrees with the product of the intelligence community that you, yourself oversaw?

JAMES CLAPPER: Yes, well, this is — yes, as we’ve come to know the President, he is not a stalwart for a consistency or coherence. So it’s very hard to explain that. One point I’d like to make, Anderson, that I don’t think has come up very much before, and I’m alluding now to the President’s criticism of President Obama for all that he did or didn’t do before he left office with respect to the Russian meddling. If it weren’t for President Obama, we might not have done the intelligence community assessment that we did that set off a whole sequence of events which are still unfolding today, notably, special counsel Mueller’s investigation.

President Obama is responsible for that, and it was he who tasked us to do that intelligence community assessment in the first place. I think it’s an important point when it comes to critiquing President Obama.

That sounds to me as if James Clapper is blaming President Obama for the surveillance of the Trump campaign and later the transition team of President Trump. That spying violated the civil rights of a number of Americans. There are also some serious questions about the basis for the FISA warrants. It seems that a number of laws were violated and the people who violated those laws need to be held accountable.

What We Know Didn’t Happen With The Mueller Report

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

The article reports:

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

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

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

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

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

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

Why I Have Concerns About Our Justice System

John Solomon at The Hill posted an article yesterday about some of the information in the Russian investigation that should be made public.

The article reports:

If President Trump declassifies evidence in the Russia investigation, Carter Page’s summer bike ride to a Virginia farm and George Papadopoulos’s hasty academic jaunt to London may emerge as linchpin proof of FBI surveillance abuses during the 2016 election.

The two trips have received scant attention. But growing evidence suggests both Trump campaign advisers made exculpatory statements — at the very start of the FBI’s investigation — that undercut the Trump-Russia collusion theory peddled to agents by Democratic sources.

The FBI plowed ahead anyway with an unprecedented intrusion into a presidential campaign, while keeping evidence of the two men’s innocence from the courts.

Page and Papadopoulos, who barely knew each other, met separately in August and September 2016 with Stefan Halper, the American-born Cambridge University professor who, the FBI told Congress, worked as an undercover informer in the Russia case.

Papadopoulos was the young aide that the FBI used to justify opening a probe into the Trump campaign on July 31, 2016, after he allegedly told a foreign diplomat that he knew Russia possessed incriminating emails about Hillary Clinton.

Page, a volunteer campaign adviser, was the American the FBI then targeted on Oct. 21, 2016, for secret surveillance while investigating Democratic Party-funded allegations that he secretly might have coordinated Russia’s election efforts with the Trump campaign during a trip to Moscow.

To appreciate the significance of the two men’s interactions with Halper, one must understand the rules governing the FBI when it seeks a Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) warrant such as the one secured against Page.

First, the FBI must present evidence to FISA judges that it has verified and that comes from intelligence sources deemed reliable. Second, it must disclose any information that calls into question the credibility of its sources. Finally, it must disclose any evidence suggesting the innocence of its investigative targets.

Thanks to prior releases of information, we know the FBI fell short on the first two counts. Multiple FBI officials have testified that the Christopher Steele dossier had not been verified when its allegations were submitted as primary evidence supporting the FISA warrant against Page.

Likewise, we know the FBI failed to tell the courts that Steele admitted to a federal official that he was desperate to defeat Trump in the 2016 election and was being paid by Clinton’s campaign and the Democratic National Committee (DNC) to gather dirt on the GOP candidate. Both pieces of information are the sort of credibility-defining details that should be disclosed about a source.

To put it succinctly, the whole investigation into Russian collusion was based on false premises and was a distraction to avoid looking at the abuses of the Justice Department during the Obama administration. It’s time we put Russia aside and ask why Lois Lerner, Loretta Lynch, Eric Holder, John Brennan, James Comey, James Clapper, et al, are not under investigation. Using government bureaucrats to spy on an opposition party candidate is a new low in America. Those responsible need to be held accountable so that it will not happen again.

How Much Did This Cost The Taxpayers?

The Daily Wire posted an article today about the final required filing on Friday by Robert Mueller on the Paul Manafort case.

The article reports:

Mueller and his team made their final required filing in Manafort’s case late Friday, submitting a “government sentencing memorandum” to the United States District Court in Washington, D.C., justifying their request for a harsh, 17-year prison sentence against Manafort.

In it, the government argues that Manafort “chose repeatedly and knowingly to violate the law— whether the laws proscribed garden-variety crimes such as tax fraud, money laundering, obstruction of justice, and bank fraud, or more esoteric laws that he nevertheless was intimately familiar with, such as the Foreign Agents Registration Act (FARA),” both before and after he was under scrutiny by the Special Counsel.

Manafort’s portfolio of crimes include incidents going back more than a decade to 2005, to when Manafort was a lobbying the federal government on issues involving Russia and Ukraine. They run all the way up to last year, when Manafort was discovered to have engaged in witness tampering, even after he was indicted on tax fraud charges.

But what the government sentencing document — and Manafort’s apparent list of transgressions — doesn’t include is evidence of actual collusion with Russia during the course of the Trump for President campaign, the actual focus of Mueller’s investigation. Instead, the filing simply says that Manafort committed some of his crimes while under the “spotlight” of the campaign.

The filing is 25 pages long and barely mentions President Trump’s campaign. Collusion between candidate Trump and the Russian government is never mentioned.

The article concludes:

One item does seem to be from the correct era — an instance of “false statements to the Department of Justice” in late 2016, just before the presidential election — but those statements appear, based on the filing, to relate to Mueller’s (and before him, the Justice Department’s) investigation of his work with Ukraine. Instead of lying about something new, it seems Manafort was still covering for actions he took years earlier.

Mueller’s report is expected in early March, but so far, it seems, may have little in the way of evidence that the Trump campaign is guilty of collusion, as a number of Democrats desire.

Keep in mind that eight years ago Paul Manafort was investigated (and cleared) of most of the charges currently against him. The prosecutor that led the exoneration was Rod Rosenstein. Paul Manafort may not be as pure as the driven snow, but I strongly suspect the charges against him have more to do with the “insurance policy” discussed by the FBI than any actual crimes.

I Don’t Think This Is What They Meant To Prove

The National Review today posted an article by Andrew McCarthy about the indictment of Roger Stone. The headline of the article is, “Stone Indictment Underscores That There Was No Trump-Russia Conspiracy.” Since Andrew McCarthy is an experienced prosecutor, he is very familiar with how the law works.

The article notes:

Roger Stone is the shiny object. The obstruction charges in his long-anticipated indictment, made public on Friday, are not the matter of consequence for the United States.

Nor is the critical thing the indictment’s implicit confirmation that there was no criminal “collusion” conspiracy between the Trump campaign and Russia.

What matters is this: The indictment is just the latest blatant demonstration that Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s office, the Department of Justice, and the FBI have known for many months that there was no such conspiracy. And yet, fully aware that the Obama administration, the Justice Department, and the FBI had assiduously crafted a public narrative that Trump may have been in cahoots with the Russian regime, they have allowed that cloud of suspicion to hover over the presidency — over the Trump administration’s efforts to govern — heedless of the damage to the country.

The article continues:

So now we have the Stone indictment.

It alleges no involvement — by Stone or the Trump campaign — in Russia’s hacking. The indictment’s focus, instead, is the WikiLeaks end of the enterprise — i.e., not the “cyberespionage” of a foreign power that gave rise to the investigation, but the dissemination of the stolen emails after the hacking. And what do we learn? That the Trump campaign did not know what WikiLeaks had. That is, in addition to being uninvolved in Russia’s espionage, the Trump campaign was uninvolved in Julian Assange’s acquisition of what Russia stole.

The Stone indictment reads like an episode of The Three Stooges. Stone and two associates — conservative writer and conspiracy theorist Jerry Corsi, and left-wing-comedian-turned-radio-host Randy Credico, respectively denominated “Person 1” and “Person 2” — are on a quest to find out what WikiLeaks has on Hillary Clinton and when Assange is going to publicize it. But that does not suit Stone, who has cultivated an image of political dirty trickster and plugged-in soothsayer. In public, then, Stone pretends to know more than he knows and to have an insider’s view of Assange’s operation; behind the scenes, he scrounges around for clues about what Assange is up to, hoping some insider will tell him.

The article concludes with two paragraphs that should give all of us something to think about:

There is no reason why the special counsel could not have issued an interim report clearing the president of suspicion that he was a Russian agent. Doing so would merely have removed the specter of traitorous conspiracy from the White House. It would not have compromised Mueller’s ability to investigate Russia’s interference in the election; it would not have undermined Mueller’s probe of potential obstruction offenses by the president. (And while it is not Mueller’s job to discourage the president’s puerile “witch hunt” tweets, if the public had been told that the Justice Department withdrew its highly irregular public statements about Trump’s possible criminal complicity in Russia’s espionage, presidential tirades about the investigation would have ebbed, if not disappeared entirely.)

We are not just talking about having our priorities in order — i.e., recognizing that the ability of the president to govern takes precedence the prosecutor’s desire for investigative secrecy. We are talking about common sense and common decency: The Justice Department and the FBI went out of their way to portray Donald Trump as a suspect in what would have been the most abhorrent crime in the nation’s history. It has been more than two years. Is it too much to ask that the Justice Department withdraw its public suggestion that the president of the United States might be a clandestine agent of Russia?

It is time to clean house in the FBI and the DOJ–too many people have taken part in this charade to bring down a duly-elected President.

 

Who Was Actually Running The Show?

On Friday, John Solomon posted an article at The Hill about the events that led up to the appointment of Special Counsel Robert Mueller. Mr. Solomon reminds us of some of the investigative techniques used to gather information on the mafia.

The article reports:

Back in the mafia’s heyday, FBI and IRS agents had a set of surveillance rules.

If one mobster showed up in town, pay notice. If two arrived, be suspicious. If three or four were in the same vicinity, something was going down.

…Mobsters would always have the same calling card, or excuse, to be in town. Attending a funeral (the mid-1980s mob meeting in Chicago) or a vacation in the sticks (the infamous 1957 gathering in upstate New York) were some of the more memorable ones.

Early in my reporting that unraveled the origins of the Trump-Russia collusion probe, tying it to Hillary Clinton’s campaign and possible Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) abuses, I started to see patterns just as in the old mob meetings: FBI or intelligence-connected figures kept showing up in Trump Town USA during the 2016 campaign with a common calling card.

So exactly who showed up where during the 2016 presidential campaign? The article continues:

  • At least six people with long-established ties to the FBI or to U.S. and Western intelligence made entrees to key figures in the Trump business organization or his presidential campaign between March and October 2016;
  • Campaign figures were contacted by at least two Russian figures whose justification for being in the United States were rare law enforcement parole visas controlled by the U.S. Justice Department;
  • Intelligence or diplomatic figures connected to two of America’s closest allies, Britain and Australia, gathered intelligence or instigated contacts with Trump campaign figures during that same period;
  • Some of the conversations and contacts that were monitored occurred on foreign soil and resulted in the creation of transcripts;
  • Nearly all of the contacts involved the same overture — a discussion about possible political dirt or stolen emails harmful to Hillary Clinton, or unsolicited business in London or Moscow;
  • Several of the contacts occurred before the FBI formally launched a legally authorized probe into the Trump campaign and possible collusion on July 31, 2016.

The people who were approached during that time–Paul Manafort, Donald Trump Jr., Michael Cohen, Carter Page, George Papadopoulos, Michael Flynn, Sam Clovis and Roger Stone, to name a few. Obviously these are the names that form the crux of the Mueller investigation. Can you say entrapment? Can you say Peter Strzok’s insurance policy?

So who was controlling the people approaching members of the Trump team? The article has a few educated guesses:

At least two important bodies in Congress — the House Intelligence and Senate Judiciary committees — demanded to be secretly briefed on payments to “undercovers.” They’ve been pretty tight-lipped since, except to express concerns that the public would be alarmed by what was divulged.

From those members of Congress, we can deduce that some of the contacts that occurred in 2016 were related to the political opposition, anti-Trump research funded by the Democratic Party and the Clinton campaign and driven by Steele and his Fusion GPS employer. That work became known as the Steele dossier.

Others of the contacts appear to have been instigated by Western allies, such as an Australian diplomat’s barroom conversation in May 2016 with Papadopoulos.

And the rest are likely to have come from the FBI itself, which clearly dispatched informers, agents and other operatives to gather evidence to bulk up the uncorroborated Steele dossier, so agents could get a FISA warrant in October 2016 to spy on Page, the Trump campaign adviser.

The article concludes:

If this were a mob case, agents would not stop until they knew why each character appeared and who sent them. President Trump can help answer many, if not all, unanswered questions by declassifying the documents as he promised months ago. Congressional leaders and the Justice Department can impose accountability based on what is disclosed.

The American people deserve to know how much of the Trump-Russia probe was the result of agent provocateurs and political muckrakers and FISA cheaters, and how much was legitimate law enforcement work. 

Rumor has it that there will be some answers coming and some justice served this coming week. Frankly, I am getting tired of waiting.