Under The Radar

On Wednesday The Epoch Times reported the following:

President Donald Trump and Attorney General William Barr announced on Wednesday significant developments in the administration’s efforts to eradicate the notorious MS-13 gang, including its plan to seek the death penalty of an alleged gang member in connection to the slayings of two New York teens.

Trump said his administration’s “campaign to destroy MS-13” had lead to the arrest and indictment of dozens of MS-13 members and its leaders. The Justice Department launched Joint Task Force Vulcan (JTFV) in August 2019 in an effort to disrupt, dismantle, and ultimately destroy the vicious gang, which has been responsible for a wide range of criminal activity across the United States such as human trafficking, drug trafficking, kidnapping, and murder.

Among the arrests include the indictment of Melgar Diaz, who became the first MS-13 member to be charged with terrorism-related offenses, officials say.

“He was responsible for activities in 13 states—20 cliques in the United States.  He was also the person who would greenlight assassinations in the United States.  The orders come from El Salvador—or they request to assassinate people who go down to El Salvador, and he would greenlight the hit,” Barr said during a press conference at the oval office on Wednesday.

Diaz, whose indictment was unsealed on July 14, was charged with offenses including conspiring to provide material support to terrorists, conspiring to kill or maim individuals overseas, and conspiring to commit acts of terrorism transcending national boundaries.

The article concludes:

The attorney general told reporters that more actions against the leadership of MS-13 are expected, saying that the administration had been working very closely with counterparts in El Salvador.

MS-13 was initially formed by Salvadoran immigrants that came to the United States in order to escape the civil war in their home country, according to a study published in the Journal of Gang Research in 2009.

This action is long overdue. Securing our borders is one way to keep members of MS-13 from coming into the country. Arresting the members that are already here is another step toward making America a safer place.

This Could Be Very Interesting

This week will be the beginning of the Senate Judiciary Committee hearings on the Russia and Ukraine investigations. The first witness will be former Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein. It’s a pretty safe bet that he will not remember things or claim that he cannot answer a lot of questions because of classified information involved. We shall see.

Just the News posted an article yesterday that details nine items to look for. I am posting the list. Please follow the link to the article to read the details.

Here is the list:

1.) Will Rosenstein admit to failures and talk about the 25th Amendment fiasco?

2.) Will the ODNI declassify more documents, including former House Intelligence Committee Chairman Devin Nunes’ secret report to the CIA Inspector General highlighting flaws in the Intelligence Community Assessment of Russian interference in the 2016 elections? 

3.) What will the DC Circuit Court of Appeals do in the Flynn dismissal case?

4.) Who else will Graham’s committee interview or subpoena?

5.) Will any congressional committees zero in on former President Barack Obama and Vice President Joe Biden’s conduct in the Russia case?

6.) Will Attorney General William Barr and the special prosecutors he named, like U.S. Attorney John Durham of Connecticut, to investigate the Russia case investigators bring any criminal charges?

7.) Will the Democratic strategy firm Blue Star Strategies comply with a subpoena in the Senate investigation into Hunter Biden’s Ukrainian business dealings?

8.) Who else might Johnson subpoena in the Ukraine probe?

9.) Will Johnson’s committee issue an interim report this summer on the evidence it has already uncovered about Hunter Biden, Joe Biden and Burisma?

This does have the potential of being a lot of sound and fury signifying nothing, but there is always the possibility that Congress might actually do its job and investigate the corruption that is Washington.

This Is Really Pathetic

Yesterday Breitbart reported the following:

House Democrats told the Supreme Court on Monday they need access to secret grand jury materials because they are still investigating President Donald Trump in connection with Russia “collusion” and may want to impeach him, again.

In a legal filing published by CNN, Democrats said that they need the grand jury materials because the House Judiciary Committee’s impeachment inquiry into Trump’s alleged obstruction of justice in the Russia investigation is ongoing.

Unbelievable. The story belongs in the Babylon Bee, but unfortunately it is real. This needs to be added to the list of reasons to end Democrat control of the House of Representatives in November. I can’t believe this is what Democrat voters voted for.  What have the Democrats accomplished in the House of Representatives in the past two years other than harass the President?

The article continues:

The Democrat-run House seeks “disclosure to the House Committee on the Judiciary of a limited set of grand-jury materials for use in the Committee’s ongoing Presidential impeachment investigation,” the Supreme Court filing says.

The saga began in 2019, when Special Counsel Robert Mueller determined that there had been no collusion between Russia and the Trump campaign. When he released his report, however, Mueller submitted two volumes — one on the collusion investigation, and one on a separate obstruction of justice investigation. Though he made no recommendation for prosecution, Democrats seized on the latter as providing the basis for potentially impeaching Trump for obstruction.

Democrats also claimed that certain redactions in the report must have hidden relevant information — though they declined to read a less redacted version. They also demanded access to material that Mueller had shown a grand jury. Normally grand jury proceedings are secret, and so Attorney General William Barr, citing federal law, declined the Democrats’ request. They then held him in contempt of Congress, and took their case for the materials to federal court.

The case made its way through the courts, and Democrats won at the D.C. Circuit. The Department of Justice appealed to the Supreme Court on May 7, and Chief Justice Roberts put a temporary hold on the grand jury materials on May 8.

In their court filing, the Democrats complain that further delays in the release of the grand jury materials would make it impossible for them to impeach the president again before Congress’s term ends:

Maybe the Democrats should actually try to accomplish something instead of chasing partisan unicorns.

Distorting A Quote To Fit An Agenda

It’s no secret that the mainstream media does not like President Trump. It is no secret that they were hoping to celebrate the election of Hillary Clinton as President. Okay. They’re biased–but that is no excuse for totally distorting the truth to create the narrative that President Trump is a dictator controlling the Justice Department (his predecessor pretty much did that with the IRS, the New Black Panthers, the Russian Hoax, etc.). There is no evidence that President Trump has spied on political opponents or newsmen (James Rosen) or done any of the things the media has routinely accused him of. So why am I surprised when they take a quote totally out of context to make President Trump look bad? This is the story in an article posted at Just The News yesterday.

The article reports:

Meet the Press,” the signature news show hosted by Chuck Todd, apologized Sunday and admitted it had deceptively edited a video clip of Attorney General William Barr after the Justice Department cried foul.

I guess we should be grateful that they apologized.

The article explains:

The episode began when Todd aired a clip of CBS News’ Catherine Herridge asking how history would judge the DOJ’s decision to dismiss the Michael Flynn criminal case. The clip showed Barr initially laughing before saying,” History is written by the winners, so it largely depends on who’s writing the history.”

Todd immediately comments that he was “struck by the cynicism of the answer — it’s a correct answer, but he’s the attorney general. He didn’t make the case that he was upholding the rule of law. He was almost admitting that, yeah, this was a political job.”

But Barr did says in the CBS interview he felt the Flynn decision upheld the rule of law, which “Meet the Press” failed to air.

“I think a fair history would say it was a good decision because it upheld the rule of law,” Barr said. “It upheld the standards of the Department of Justice, and it undid what was an injustice.”

A short while later, Barr’s spokeswoman went to Twitter to sharply criticize the NBC show.

Fortunately we currently have a Department of Justice that calls out fake news.

The article notes:

A short while later, Barr’s spokeswoman went to Twitter to sharply criticize the NBC show.

“Very disappointed by the deceptive editing/commentary by @ChuckTodd and @MeetThePress on AG Barr’s CBS interview,” Kerri Kupec tweeted. “Compare the two transcripts below. Not only did the AG make the case in the VERY answer Chuck says he didn’t, he also did so multiple times throughout the interview.”

A short while later, the official “Meet the Press” Twitter account posted an apology.

“You’re correct. Earlier today, we inadvertently and inaccurately cut short a video clip of an interview with AG Barr before offering commentary and analysis,” the tweet said. “The remaining clip included important remarks from the attorney general that we missed, and we regret the error.”

Excuse my cynicism, but they don’t regret the error–they regret being publicly called out for the error. Errors like that–because many people will not see the apology–are one of many reasons the country is divided.

How The Russia Hoax Unraveled

John Solomon posted an article at Just The News today that details some of the research he has done over the last three years and also lists the twelve revelations that destroyed the carefully-crafted narrative that President Trump was colluding with the Russians.

This is the list. Please follow the link to the article for details and the sources:

1. Flynn’s RT visit with Putin wasn’t nefarious.

2.  (Flynn was) Not a Russian agent.

3. Case closed memo.

4. DOJ heartburn.

5. Logan Act threat wasn’t real.

6. Unequal treatment.

7. Disguising a required warning.

8. “Playing games.

9. No deception.

10. No actual denial.

11.) Interview Reports Edited.

12.) Evidence withheld.

The article also notes how John Solomon’s investigation began:

Shortly after my colleague Sara Carter and I began reporting in 2017 on the possibility that the FBI was abusing the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act to spy on Americans during the Russia investigation, I received a call. It was an intermediary for someone high up in the intelligence community.

The story that source told me that day — initially I feared it may have been too spectacular to be true — was that FBI line agents had actually cleared former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn of any wrongdoing with Russia only to have the bureau’s leadership hijack the process to build a case that he lied during a subsequent interview.

In fact, my notes show, the source used the words “concoct a 1001 false statements case” to describe the objections of career agents who did not believe Flynn had intended to deceive the FBI. A leak of a transcript of Flynn’s call with the Russian ambassador was just part of a campaign, the source alleged.

The tip resulted in a two-and-a-half-year journey by myself and a small group of curious and determined journalists like Carter, Catherine Herridge, Greg Jarrett, Mollie Hemingway, Lee Smith, Byron York, and Kimberly Strassel to slowly peel back the onion.

The pursuit of the truth ended Thursday when the Justice Department formally asked a court to vacate Flynn’s conviction and end the criminal case, acknowledging the former general had indeed been cleared by FBI agents and that the bureau did not have a lawful purpose when it interviewed him in January 2017.

Attorney General William Barr put it more bluntly in an interview Thursday: “They kept it open for the express purpose of trying to catch, to lay a perjury trap for General Flynn.”

To understand just how dramatic a turnaround Thursday’s action was, one has to go back to the headlines of 2017 fanned by the likes of The Washington Post, The New York Times, MSNBC, CNN and others and told by a host of former Obama administration officials and their Democratic allies in Congress.

Flynn was suspected of violating the Logan Act by talking with the Russian ambassador. He may have been compromised by a 2015 visit with Vladimir Putin at a Russia Today event. He lied to the FBI. He may have been an agent of Russia and involved in colluding to hijack the election. He betrayed his country.

All of that was alleged, it turns out, without proof. And then Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s team pressured Flynn to plead guilty to falsely telling FBI agents that he did not discuss sanctions with Russia’s ambassador. It turns out that wasn’t true either.

Thank God for the honest reporters who were willing to pursue this story. They were a necessary part of finding out the truth.

The Slow Drip Of Investigations Into FISA Abuse Continues

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

The article reports:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The article concludes:

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

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

 

The Truth Is Slowly Coming To Light

The Federalist posted an article today about the Inspector General’s (IG) report on Operation Crossfire Hurricane.

The article notes:

Sens. Chuck Grassley and Ron Johnson dropped that bombshell in a letter delivered to Attorney General William Barr that requested Barr declassify the information hidden in the redacted footnotes. While the declassified version of the Grassley-Johnson letter did not identify the four footnotes at issue, a detailed analysis of the IG report suggests the redacted information concerned Christopher Steele’s sources and potentially the FBI’s purported predication for the launch of Crossfire Hurricane. These conclusions come from a deep-dive into the IG report read in tandem with the Grassley-Johnson letter.

That letter noted that the senators had “reviewed the classified report of the Office of the Inspector General (OIG) with regard to the FBI’s Crossfire Hurricane investigation, and [were] deeply concerned about certain information that remains classified.” Their concern? “That certain sections of the public version of the report are misleading because they are contradicted by relevant and probative classified information redacted in four footnotes.”

The next sentence is the key, as it establishes that the redacted information concerns not just a few details addressed in the IG report, but goes to the heart of the entire Crossfire Hurricane investigation: “This classified information is significant not only because it contradicts key statements in a section of the report, but also because it provides insight essential for an accurate evaluation of the entire investigation.”

The author of the article reads between the lines to list the contradictions within the report and provides the connections between the parts of the report’s footnotes that were redacted and areas of the report those footnotes contradict. The bottom line here is that the redactions are made to protect the intelligence community–not in the interest of national security.

The article concludes:

Without Barr declassifying the information contained in these footnotes, as well as other material, such as the complete FISA applications, we’ll just have to take Grassley and Johnson’s word that the redacted information contradicts other portions of the IG report, making “certain sections of the public version of the report” “misleading.” However, given the accuracy and honesty of Rep. Devin Nunes’ memo on FISA abuse, I’m inclined to trust the Republican senators.

It’s time for full disclosure. The people in the government who misused their power seem very comfortable with the idea that they will not be held accountable for their misconduct. I hope they are wrong.

Accidental Honesty?

The Gateway Pundit posted an article today that included a very telling quote from Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi.

The article notes:

Pelosi admitted that the Mueller investigation was also about impeachment.

“The biggest criticism in this process has been the speed at which the House Democrats are moving,” a moderator from Politico’s “Women Rule” summit said to the Speaker this week.

Speed?” Pelosi said. “It’s been going on for 22 months, okay? Two and a half years actually.”

Pelosi continued, “But we’re not moving with speed. It was two and a half years ago that they initiated the Mueller investigation.”

When you consider the problems with the way the Mueller investigation was initiated, this is a very troubling statement. If you read the Inspector General’s Report and listen to the comments of Attorney General William Barr, you realize that the Mueller investigation did not start on solid ground. The entire Russian fiasco was based on illegal surveillance and baseless accusations. What Speaker Pelosi admitted is that the Democrats had planned to impeach President Trump as soon as he got elected. The text messages between Lisa Page and Peter Strzok were further proof of that. That behavior is more appropriate in a banana republic than a representative republic.

Let’s back up a  minute and look at where we are. The House Judiciary Committee has approved two articles of impeachment against President Trump. Next week the full House will vote on impeachment. At that point, it goes to the Senate for trial. There are a few options–it can be dismissed because of the civil rights violations in the House investigation, it can be voted on immediately and defeated (it is unlikely any Republicans will vote for impeachment, and it needs a two-thirds majority to pass), or the Senate can hold a full trial with witnesses. The third option is where the swamp comes into play. There are very few politicians in Washington with clean hands. If you pull the loose yarn on a sweater, are you in danger of unraveling the entire sweater? Joe Biden is not the only Congressman with family ties to Ukraine and other foreign nations. The full trial with witnesses is what needs to happen, but my guess is that much of the corruption in Washington will continue to be protected by those in charge, and a quick vote will be the choice of those in power.

Does America Have Equal Justice Under The Law?

We are about to find out if the same rules apply to everyone. One America News Network is reporting today that Attorney General William Barr’s probe into the origins of the Russia investigation is turning into a criminal case. For those listening to the mainstream media spin that this is just retribution for impeachment, have you considered the Constitutional protections that were violated when there was massive surveillance on the Trump campaign, the Trump transition team, and even the Trump presidency? Have you looked at the changes made in the handling of classified information that took place in the final days of the Obama administration that made leaking information much easier?

The article notes:

The change reportedly allows U.S. attorney John Durham, who was chosen by Barr to lead the probe, to subpoena documents as well as witness testimonies and to file criminal charges if necessary. This comes after reports last week said Barr was expanding the investigation after Durham found something “significant.:” However, it’s still not clear what exactly prompted the switch.

The probe was first launched in May as an administrative review into the origins of the Russia hoax. President Trump has repeatedly denounced former special council Robert Mueller’s Russia probe by calling it a “witch hunt” and a “hoax.” When asked whether he prompted the attorney general to open the investigation, however, the president said he hadn’t, but also said he appreciates Barr’s work.

The article concludes:

Meanwhile, Durham has reportedly expressed interest in investigating former Director of National Intelligence James Clapper and CIA Director John Brennan, who were in charge while the since-debunked Steele dossier was released. This led to the secret surveillance of Trump campaign officials in 2016.

It was recently reported that multiple CIA officials have pursued legal council because of Durham’s legal review. Horowitz has said his report will be released in the near future.

Spying on Americans by the CIA is illegal. However, if the CIA used overseas resources to accomplish what was illegal, they need to be held accountable. One of the things that the Obama administration was known for was the politicization of government agencies–the IRA targeted conservative groups by slow walking their 501(c)(3) applications, the administration dismissed charges against the New Black Panthers for voter intimidation when there was video evidence, the administration eavesdropped on James Rosen and his parents because they didn’t like his reporting, etc. It would not really be a surprise if they had used the government to further their political agenda. It will be interesting to see if anyone is held accountable for the violations of the civil rights of American citizens that occurred during the Obama administration.

Tearing Down The Foundation

The most important part of a building is the foundation. If the foundation is sturdy, chances are the building will stand. Our government is built on the concept of Judeo-Christian values. The Constitution states that our rights come from God and that the Constitution is there to insure those rights are protected–the rights do not come from government.

On Friday night, Attorney General William Barr gave a speech at Notre Dame about the attack on those traditional values that form the basis of our society. Yesterday The Observer posted an article about the speech. The Observer is a student-run, daily print & online newspaper serving Notre Dame, Saint Mary’s & Holy Cross.

The article reports:

U.S. Attorney General William Barr spoke at Notre Dame Law School on Friday evening, calling for a defense of Judeo-Christian values and religious freedom in response to growing secularism in America.

The event was reserved for students, faculty and staff of the Notre Dame Law School and de Nicola Center for Ethics and Culture, both of which hosted the lecture. It took place in the McCartan Courtroom while another room in the law school streamed the speech to another crowd of ticket-holding students and faculty.

Barr began by discussing the new challenges the United States is facing today. It’s a difficulty he said the Founding Fathers foresaw as “the supreme test of a free society.”

“The central question was whether over the long haul, we the people can handle freedom,” Barr said. “The question was whether the citizens in such a free society could maintain the moral discipline and virtue necessary for the survival of free institutions.”

In the Founders’ view, Barr said, free government was only suitable for people who had the discipline to control themselves according to a transcendent moral order. As John Adams put it, he said, the United States Constitution was made only for “a moral and religious people.” 

“Now, modern secularists dismiss this idea of morality as sort of otherworldly superstition imposed by a killjoy clergy,” Barr said. “But in fact, Judeo-Christian moral standards are the ultimate utilitarian rules for human conduct. They reflect the rules that are best for man not in the by-and-by but in the here-and-now.”

By the same token, he said, violations of these moral laws have “bad, real world consequences” for man and society — such as society is seeing today.

“I think we all recognize that over the past 50 years, religion has been under increasing attack,” Barr said. “On the one hand, we have seen the steady erosion of our traditional Judeo-Christian moral system and a comprehensive effort to drive it from the public square. On the other hand, we see the growing ascendancy of secularism and the doctrine of moral relativism.”

With escalating suicide rates, the drug epidemic, hate crimes and more, there is a campaign to “destroy the traditional moral order,” Barr said, and secularists ignore these results and press on with “even greater militancy.”

Please follow the link to read the entire article. The last part of the article includes the students’ reaction to the speech. Some of that reaction reflects the moral rebellion that has characterized many of our young college students.

CNS News also posted an article about the speech.

CNS News notes:

The secularist government attempts to alleviate bad consequences by advancing abortion, enabling drug use and assuming the roles of parent and spouse, Barr said. And, while promising unlimited freedom, the end result of the secularist religion is one of servitude, he warned:

“So, the reaction to growing illegitimacy is not sexual responsibility, but abortion.

“The reaction to drug addiction is safe injection sites.

“The solution to the breakdown of the family is for The State to set itself up as an ersatz husband for the single mother and an ersatz father for the children. The call comes for more and more social programs to deal with this wreckage.

“And, while we think we are solving problems, we are underwriting them.

“We start with an untrammeled freedom and we end up as dependents of a coercive state on whom we depend.”

“Interestingly, this idea of The State as the Alleviator of Bad Consequences has given rise to a new moral system that goes hand-in-hand with the secularization of society. It can be called the System of Macro-Morality. And, in some ways, it is an inversion of Christian morality.

“Christianity teaches a Micro-Morality: we transform the world by focusing on our own personal morality and transformation. The new secular religion teaches Macro-Morality. Once morality is not gauged by their private conduct, but rather their commitment to political causes and collective action to address various social problems.

“This system allows us not to worry so much about the strictures on our own private lives, because we can find salvation on the picket line. We can signal our finely-tuned moral sensibilities by participating in demonstrations on this cause or on that.”

The generation that is fighting to destroy the foundation of America will have to live with the consequences of their actions. They might not like what they have created.