Judicial Watch Investigates

Judicial Watch is one of my favorite organizations. The have turned the use of Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests into an art form. They are a non-biased group that is simply demanding transparency in government–from both parties.

Yesterday One America News Network posted an article about the latest FOIA request from Judicial Watch.

The article reports:

Conservative watchdog group filed a lawsuit Tuesday against the FBI in an effort to pierce the veil of the resources used in the $25 million probe.

Specifically, the organization is looking to obtain all communications and payments made to the author of the anti-Trump dossier — Christopher Steele.

The former British intelligence officer was funded by the Clinton campaign and the Democratic National Committee in order to compile his 35 page document.

Judicial Watch is now trying to determine the FBI’s involvement.

It’s already known that the FBI made 11 payments to Steele, but the details behind those payments were heavily redacted.

Conservatives suspect rogue actors at the bureau were looking to reverse the results of the 2016 election, which is something Attorney General William Barr said he’s looking into.

I don’t think they were rogue actors–I think the operation began very high up in the FBI, but we will have to wait to see if that is where the trail leads.

This Is Governing?

Yesterday Sara Carter posted an article on some recent actions taken by Chairman of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee Elijah Cummings and Financial Services Chairwoman Maxine Waters.

The article reports:

Chairman of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee Elijah Cummings and Financial Services Chairwoman Maxine Waters executed a secret Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) to “target” President Trump and subpoena all his financial and banking records, according to a letter sent to Cummings from ranking committee member Rep. Jim Jordan.

Further, Jordan’s letter indicates that other MOUs have apparently been signed and agreed to with House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence Chairman Rep. Adam Schiff, D-Ca, who has promised to continue investigations into the president despite findings by Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s office that there was no conspiracy between the Trump campaign and Russia. Attorney General William Barr released a summary of Mueller’s 400 page report several weeks ago and the redacted version of the report is expected to be released by the DOJ this Thursday.

I can’t believe that the American public will tolerate the use of Congressional Committees to target one American. This is the sort of thing you see done in Communist countries.

Representative Jordan has asked that Representative Cummings answer several specific questions about the MOUs.

These are the questions:

  1. How many MOUs with committee chairpersons have you signed as Chairman since the beginning of the 116th Congress?
  2. Would you provide the Committee with a detailed list of the other MOUs you have signed, including their dates, signatories, and topics?
  3. Why did you not publicly disclose that you had signed MOUs with committee chairpersons?
  4. Will you publicly disclose all the MOUs you have signed as Chairman since the beginning of the 116th Congress?
  5. Why did you choose not to consult with any Republican Members before signing these MOUs?
  6. Have you signed any MOUs as Chairman with any entities outside of the House Representatives relating to the Committee’s oversight or legislative work?
  7. To the extent your MOUs create duties for the Committee that conflict with the Rules of the House of Representatives or the Rules of the Committee, which duties prevail?
  8. The Rules of the Committee for the 116th Congress do not authorize the Chairman to bind the Committee through an MOU.[2]Could you explain the specific authority that allows you to bind the Committee through an MOU without first obtaining approval through a vote of the Committee?
  9. As I understand your MOU with Chairwoman Waters, you have committed to sharing Committee information with the Financial Services Committee. This provision of your MOU may conflict with Rules of the House of Representatives and the Committee’s whistleblower protocol, which requires the Committee to keep some Committee information confidential. Will you still protect the confidentiality of whistleblower information notwithstanding your apparent obligation to share it with the Financial Services Committee?
  10. As I understand your MOU with Chairwoman Waters, you have agreed to consult with her before issuing a subpoena. Do you intend to consult with Chairwoman Waters before or after you consult with me, as required by Committee Rules? If I object to your proposed subpoena, do you intend to consult with Chairwoman Waters before or after the Committee votes, as you promised in the Committee’s organizing meeting?
  11. As I understand your MOU with Chairwoman Waters, you have declined to include any provision protecting the Minority’s rights to documentary or testimonial information. Can you guarantee that Minority Members will have the same access to documentary or testimonial information under this MOU as we do in every other Committee inquiry?

At least some Republicans have learned to push back against the never-ending attempts to undo the results of the 2016 election. The Democrats would do better to focus on developing policies that will win the 2020 election rather than trying to undo 2016.

 

The Scam We Hope Will Be Fully Revealed Soon

The mainstream media has been less than enthusiastic about uncovering the root of the investigation into the Trump campaign and the Trump transition team. However, in spite of their efforts to bury the misdeeds of people in the Obama administration, the story is slowly beginning to come out. Most of the mainstream media is still avoiding telling the story, but you can still find it in some outlets.

Yesterday The New York Post posted an article by Andrew McCarthy that reminds us of some of the unseemly (and probably illegal) things that were going on in late 2015 through early 2017. I strongly suggest that you follow the link to read the entire article, but there are a few things that need to be highlighted.

The article notes:

In Senate testimony last week, Attorney General William Barr used the word “spying” to refer to the Obama administration, um, spying on the Trump campaign. Of course, fainting spells ensued, with the media-Democrat complex in meltdown. Former FBI Director Jim Comey tut-tutted that he was confused by Barr’s comments, since the FBI’s “surveillance” had been authorized by a court.

(Needless to say, the former director neglected to mention that the court was not informed that the bureau’s “evidence” for the warrants was unverified hearsay paid for by the Clinton campaign.)

The pearl-clutching was predictable. Less than a year ago, we learned the Obama administration had used a confidential informant — a spy — to approach at least three Trump campaign officials in the months leading up to the 2016 election, straining to find proof that the campaign was complicit in the Kremlin’s hacking of Democratic emails.

But there is more to the story. I never understood the significance of some of the other events in the story. Andrew McCarthy explains them:

In the months prior to the election, as its Trump-Russia investigation ensued, some of the overtly political, rabidly anti-Trump FBI agents running the probe discussed among themselves the prospect of stopping Trump, or of using the investigation as an “insurance policy” in the highly unlikely event that Trump won the election. After Trump’s stunning victory, the Obama administration had a dilemma: How could the investigation be maintained if Trump were told about it? After all, as president, he would have the power to shut it down.

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.

This memo is evidence that President Obama was at least aware of what was going on. That should be all over the front pages of every newspaper in the country. Somehow it isn’t.

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.

Trying To Keep The Drip Going

Someone once told me that the Grand Canyon was the result of water dripping on a rock. I’m not sure if that is true, but it is an interesting thought. The Congressional Democrats are actually setting out to prove or disprove that theory.

Yesterday John Solomon posted an article at The Hill titled, “Note to Team Mueller: If you don’t indict, you can’t incite.” Those are wise words that could actually do a lot of good in healing the divide in America if they were heeded.

The article states:

I’ve covered the Justice Department for three decades, and seldom have I seen a story like the one published in The New York Times this week under the headline, “Some on Mueller’s Team Say Report Was More Damaging Than Barr Revealed.”

What concerned me most is that the story’s anonymous allegations reflect a fundamental misunderstanding of the role prosecutors play, including special counsels such as Robert Mueller.

The job of prosecutors is not, as the Times headline suggested, to pen “damaging” narratives about people they couldn’t indict. And it’s not their job to air those people’s dirty laundry, or that of suspects outside of a grand jury room or a courtroom.

Mueller concluded there wasn’t evidence President Trump colluded with Russia to hijack the 2016 election, and therefore no indictment was warranted. And he punted on the question of obstruction, leaving his bosses — Attorney General William Barr and Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein — to determine that there wasn’t enough evidence to indict the president on that charge.

And, most significantly, there were no other people charged. That means Trump legally could not be named as an unindicted co-conspirator in an obstruction plot.

Many of the Democrat Congressmen (and Congresswomen) who are calling for the full, unredacted release of the Mueller Report are lawyers. They know that the full Mueller Report includes both Grand Jury testimony and classified information. They know that Grand Jury testimony is not public information and often contains things that may be misleading or have a negative impact on an innocent person’s life. Theoretically they are also aware of the rules regarding the handling of classified information. So if they understand the law, why are they requesting that the Attorney General break the law? Actually, the subpoena for the Mueller Report is simply part of a larger strategy.

The Attorney General is compelled by law to deny the subpoena. This sends the case to the courts where it will be tied up for at least two years–through the 2020 presidential election. I am sure some of the actions of whatever court is involved will keep the story in the news through the election.

Recently someone familiar with the report noted that the summaries in the report, written by highly partisan investigators contain classified information or Grand Jury testimony. If Congress has the full report (or even the redacted version), they can selectively leak things (that might be misleading) to keep the collusion-delusion in the headlines. Victor Davis Hanson noted in a recent article that the Russian investigation was a soft coup attempted by the deep state. I have no reason to believe that the attempt is over.

Fixing The Intelligence Community

On Friday, The Daily Caller posted an article titled, “OPINION: How Could The Intelligence Community Fail So Badly?”

The article states:

Far more than a failure of journalism, the Russia collusion narrative was, at its core, a monstrous failure of U.S. intelligence and counterintelligence.

All criticism of the news media aside for the moment, the bottom line is that professional journalists received fake intelligence information from U.S. government leakers whom they trusted.

That is probably true, but I also think that the personal bias of those individuals reporting the news caused them to believe things that most people would have regarded as totally ridiculous.

The article continues:

The entire Russian collusion debacle shows that the American intelligence and counterintelligence processes have broken down.

Emphatic former CIA director John Brennan, a main engine behind spreading the Russia collusion story through the intelligence community and into the media, suddenly doesn’t sound so certain about himself. The day after Attorney General William Barr released the special prosecutor’s finding of no collusion, Brennan confessed to MSNBC, “I don’t know if I received bad information but I think I suspected that there was more than there actually was.”

This is a shocking admission from the man who was, at the time, the nation’s highest-ranking professional intelligence officer.

Brennan wasn’t indicting just himself. He inadvertently accused the entire CIA. Whatever quality control systems it has, the CIA failed to prevent “bad information” from making its way up the chain to the national strategic level.

The article goes on to mention that journalists have learned to depend on leaks from government officials. Leaking classified information is a crime punishable by law. Those leaking need to be held accountable. At the same time, the government needs to be more transparent. A lot of things that are classified are classified to save the government from embarrassment.

The article concludes:

This leads to the most dangerous conclusion of all. The Russia collusion debacle has shown that the FBI and CIA leadership are not effectively under the oversight of elected officials, but instead are capable of tampering with the American democratic process and constitutional governance.

All this must stop. President Trump should assemble a team of solid intelligence and counterintelligence veterans to dig deep into the FBI and CIA leadership, discover the real nature of the problems and devise solutions before our system self-destructs.

It’s time to create an intelligence community that is apolitical. I don’t know if that is possible, but it’s a great goal.

What Happens Next?

The Mueller Report cost American taxpayers just more than $25 million through December according to The Weeklyn on March 22nd. The Conservative Treehouse is reporting today that the Report has now been submitted to AG William Barr and Deputy AG Rod Rosenstein. AG Barr will commission a “Principle Conclusion” summary report that he will deliver to congress.

The article at The Conservative Treehouse reports:

The summary report from AGBarr will be given to House and Senate judiciary oversight committees before wider dissemination. The Chair of the House Judiciary Committee is Jerry Nadler (ranking member Doug Collins); the Chair of the Senate Judiciary Committee is Lindsey Graham (Vice-Chair Dianne Feinstein). AG William Barr may also brief those committees, or he may assign DAG Rosenstein to the briefing.

Depending on conversations between the DOJ and congressional leadership, there’s also a possibility of a more extensive briefing covering details within the Mueller investigation. However, that briefing would likely be reserved for the intelligence oversight group known as the “Gang of Eight”: Nancy Pelosi, Kevin McCarthy, Adam Schiff, Devin Nunes, Mitch McConnell, Chuck Schumer, Richard Burr and Mark Warner.

Due to the politics surrounding the Barr report, it is likely the White House will be given the Principle Conclusion Summary around the same time as congress. The White House (executive branch) may also be able to review the full underlying documentation behind the summary…. that’s likely where the political fight for the ‘narrative’ will take place.

The article at The Conservative Treehouse explains the next steps in the drama:

Each of the Mueller team members will be leaking information, and building innuendo narratives about their investigative activity, to the Lawfare community and media.  The ‘small group‘ effort will certainly work in concert with political allies in congress and the DNC.  This is just how they roll.

Keep in mind the larger picture and most likely political sequence:

    1. Mueller report.
    2. Chosen One.
    3. Cummings Impeachment Schedule, known as “oversight plans” (April 15)
    4. Horowitz report

#2 and #3 are not sequence specific; they may reverse.  However, the larger objective of the resistance apparatus will remain consistent.

The narrative around the Mueller investigative material will launch the chosen DNC candidate (possibly Biden).  The professional political class will work to lift this candidate by exploiting the Mueller investigative file as ammunition against President Trump.

As pre-planned within Speaker Pelosi’s rules, House Oversight Chairman has until April 15, 2019, to deliver his schedule for congressional hearings to Speaker Pelosi.  That hearing schedule is based around witnesses they can extract from the Mueller material.

Nothing happens organically.  All of the broad strokes are planned well in advance, and the democrats just fill in the details as they successfully cross pre-determined tripwires.  Once we know where the tripwires are located, their behavior becomes predictable.

…As Pelosi and Schumer wage their political battle and attempt to weaponize the Mueller report for maximum damage, Senator Graham will be exploring the DOJ and FBI corruption of the FISA court and spygate. That angle is a risk to multiple Obama-era administration officials.

President Trump and team have genuine political ammunition that includes FISA abuse, the ‘spygate’ surveillance scandal and an upcoming OIG Horowitz report.

Speaker Pelosi and team have the fabricated political ammunition of the Mueller probe to weaponize.

Both teams will now go to battle on the road to 2020.

This is a sad moment for our country–even after the investigation is concluded, the political slander of people in government continues, and a number of people have had their lives and reputations ruined for no reason.

Setting A Really Bad Precedent

The pettiness in Washington is getting totally ridiculous. We have reached the point where if President Trump endorsed the idea of Democrat  Congressmen wearing suits to work, they would all show up looking as if it were casual Friday. There have always been political differences in Washington, but the ‘resistance’ has reached a really unhealthy level.

Paul Mirengoff posted an article at Power Line today about the confirmation process of William Barr for Attorney General.

The article notes:

The vote in the Judiciary Committee was 12-10. Every Democrat on the Committee voted against Barr.

This is the same William Barr whom the Senate confirmed unanimously three times during the Reagan-Bush years. The last of these times, when Barr was nominated to be Attorney General under Bush, the Judiciary Committee approved him by unanimous vote, and the full Senate confirmed him by a voice vote.

Barr was confirmed unanimously even though he testified that Roe v. Wade was incorrectly decided. Joe Biden, then the chairman of the Judiciary Committee, praised Barr for his candor. Biden added that Barr, who had been serving as Deputy Attorney General, as “a throwback to the days when we actually had attorneys general that would talk to you.”

This time around, Barr received no votes from Committee Democrats. In all likelihood, he will receive virtually no Democratic votes on the Senate floor.

The article concludes:

The Democrats’ unanimous opposition to Barr isn’t about Mueller, a personal friend of Barr. Rather, it’s the product of their resistance to President Trump. Indeed, any number of Trump appointees have been approved without any Democrat support or with virtually none.

Accordingly, the next time a Democrat is president, Republicans will be well within their rights unanimously to oppose his or her nominees. They should exercise this right freely, though not indiscriminately.

If Republicans happen to control the Senate, meaning that the nominee can’t be confirmed without some GOP votes, this should not deter them from saying no. I suspect it will deter a few GOP members, but it shouldn’t.

This is no way to run a country. It is also pointless. The Republicans have enough votes in the Senate to pass the nomination. The ‘resistance’ simply looks stupid and petty. If I were a Democrat in the Senate, I might want to consider the concept of karma before I voted no.

The Week To Come

Next week is shaping up to be an interesting week. On Tuesday we will hear President Trump’s State of the Union Address followed by a response given by failed Georgia gubernatorial candidate Stacey Abrams.

On Tuesday Townhall posted an article about the choice of Ms. Abrams.

Some highlights from the article:

Abrams, who believes illegal aliens should be able to vote in elections, refused to concede to duly elected Georgia Governor Brian Kemp and repeatedly accused him of racism.

Interestingly enough, in addition to scheduling President Trump’s address for the coming week, the Democrats have now scheduled February 7 as the date to vote on the confirmation of William Barr as Attorney General, and scheduled acting Attorney General Matthew Whitaker’s testimony before the House Judiciary Committee for February 8. There is a method to their plan. Part of the method is that the President’s speech is quite likely to be about the amazing economic achievements of his two years in office and he will probably talk about some of the problems on our southern border. The Democrats are looking for a way to blunt any positive impact of the speech.

Yesterday American Greatness posted an article about some aspects of the scheduling.

The article reports:

The committee’s vote is scheduled to take place one day before acting Attorney General Matthew Whitaker testifies in front of the House Judiciary Committee on a number of topics, including the Mueller probe; Trump foes claim Whitaker should have recused himself from oversight of the investigation based on some of his past comments, even though a Justice Department ethics review cleared him of any conflicts.

This one-two punch has a purpose: To taint Barr’s impartiality and discredit his office on all matters related to Trump-Russia. Why? Because during his confirmation hearing, Barr agreed—at the behest of Republican senators—to begin his own inquiry into who, why, and how the FBI launched several investigations into Trump’s presidential campaign and, eventually, into the president himself.

As indictments unrelated to Trump-Russia collusion pile up, Republican lawmakers and Trump’s base increasingly are outraged that the culprits behind perhaps the biggest political scandal in American history remain untouched. Barr signaled that the good fortune of these scoundrels could soon take a dramatic shift under his stewardship.

The article notes a very interesting aspect of this whole Russian investigation:

A few days before Barr’s hearing, the New York Times reported that in May 2017, the FBI opened an investigation into the sitting U.S. president purportedly based on suspicions he was a Russian foreign agent. Then-acting FBI Director Andrew McCabe—whom the Times does not mention by name at any time in the 1,800 words it took to report this information—initiated the probe immediately after Trump fired his predecessor, James Comey.

McCabe was fired last year and now is under criminal investigation for lying to federal agents.

The article concludes:

Other materials of public interest include the initiating documents for Crossfire Hurricane, the FBI’s investigation into four Trump campaign aides—which Comey claimed he never saw—and any details about who at the FBI started the unprecedented counterintelligence and criminal investigation into a sitting U.S. president.

And while he’s at it, and before Mueller’s team is finished, Barr should begin a formal inquiry into why the special counsel’s office scrubbed the iPhones used by Peter Strzok and Lisa Page while they worked for Mueller for a brief time in 2017. The phones and the data contained on those devices are public property. Barr needs to find out why that information was not collected and archived since both FBI officials already were under scrutiny. Destroying potential evidence is a crime.

The enormousness of Barr’s task and the devastating consequences for those involved are now coming into clear view. The timing couldn’t be worse for Democrats and NeverTrump Republicans who are desperate to defeat Trump and the GOP in 2020. That’s why we can expect both parties to whip up more criticism of Barr over the next few months. One hopes he will resist that criticism—and both Trump and Graham need to reassure the new attorney general and the American public that his investigation will receive the same amount of protection that was afforded to the Mueller team.

Get out the popcorn, the show is about to begin.