Opinions/Editorials

Early 2009 – Obama bans Sidney Blumenthal from working at State Department

November 2005 – Sidney Blumenthal (Credit: MSNBC)

The New York Times reports, “…the White House recently scuttled Mrs. Clinton’s effort to bring Sidney Blumenthal, a journalist and confidant of both her and former President Bill Clinton, into the State Department.”  Read more: (New York Times, July 15, 2009)

Law professor Jonathan Turley reports, “The White House has reportedly blocked Hillary Clinton’s effort to bring controversial columnist Sidney Blumenthal into the State Department to advise her. Blumenthal has been long seen as a polarizing and, according to some, a vicious partisan — including allegations that he spread malicious rumors about Obama during the campaign.” (Read more: Jonathan Turley, July 17, 2009)

December 03, 2011 – Opinion: Grifters-in-Chief

Kimberly Strassel (Credit: Wall Street Journal)

By Kimberley Strassel

(…) “The memo came near the end of a 2011 review by law firm Simpson Thacher & Bartlett into Clinton Foundation practices. Chelsea Clinton had grown concerned about the audacious mixing of public and private, and the review was designed to ensure that the foundation didn’t lose its charitable tax status. Mr. Band, Teneo boss and epicenter of what he calls “ Bill Clinton, Inc.,” clearly felt under assault and was eager to brag up the ways in which his business had concurrently benefited the foundation, Clinton political causes and the Clinton bank account. The memoed result is a remarkably candid look at the sleazy inner workings of the Clinton grifters-in-chief.
The cross-pollination is flagrant, and Mr. Band gives example after example of how it works. He and his partner Declan Kelly (a Hillary Clinton fundraiser whom Mrs. Clinton rewarded by making him the State Department’s special envoy to Northern Ireland) buttered up their clients with special visits to Bill’s home and tête-à-tête golf rounds with the former president. They then “cultivated” these marks ( Coca-Cola, Dow Chemical, UBS) for foundation dollars, and then again for high-dollar Bill Clinton speeches and other business payouts.

Teneo’s incestuous behavior also included Mrs. Clinton’s State Department. The Band memo boasts that Mr. Kelly (while he was Mrs. Clinton’s State envoy) introduced the then-head of UBS Wealth Management, Bob McCann, to Bill Clinton at an American Ireland Fund event in 2009. “Mr. Kelly subsequently asked Mr. Mccann [sic] to support the Foundation, which he did . . . Mr. Kelly also encouraged Mr. Mccann [sic] to invite President Clinton to give several paid speeches, which he has done,” reads Mr. Band’s memo. UBS ultimately paid Bill $2 million.

American Ireland Fund meanwhile became a Teneo client, and made Mr. Kelly (of former State envoy fame) a trustee, where he “ensured that the AIF is a significant donor to the Foundation.” AIF then bestowed upon Mrs. Clinton a major award on her final trip to Northern Ireland in 2012, in an event partly sponsored by . . . Teneo.

Not that this is all one way. Mr. Band let slip just how useful all these arrangements were for Teneo, too, when he backhandedly apologized in the memo for hosting 15 client meetings in a hotel room rented by the Clinton Global Initiative.

The memo removes any doubt that the foundation is little more than an unregistered super PAC working on the Clintons’ behalf. Donors to the charity are simultaneously tapped to give Bill speech requests and other business arrangements, including the $3.5 million he was paid annually to serve as “honorary chairman” of Laureate International Universities. Mr. Band’s memo also notes his success at getting donors to “support candidates running for office that President Clinton was supporting.” (Read more: Wall Street Journal, 10/27/2016) (Simpson, Thacher & Bartlett LLC “Governance Review” 12/03/2011)

November 17, 2015 – Commentary – Shaky Foundations

Ken Silverstein (Credit: Speakerpedia)

By: Ken Silverstein – “After endless delays and excuses, the Clinton Foundation released its 2014 tax return as well as amended returns for the previous four years and an audit of its finances. That fulfilled a pledge made last April by Clinton Foundation acting CEO, Maura Pally, who acknowledged that the foundation had previously made a few unfortunate accounting “mistakes.”

Journalists are going to be scouring through this new financial information and pumping out “balanced” stories that evade what is already evident, namely that the  Clintons have used their foundation for crass profiteering and influence peddling.

If the Justice Department and law enforcement agencies do their jobs, the foundation will be closed and its current and past trustees, who include Bill, Hillary, and Chelsea Clinton, will be indicted. That’s because their so-called charitable enterprise has served as a vehicle to launder money and to enrich Clinton family friends.

It is beyond dispute that former President Clinton has been directly involved in helping foundation donors and his personal cronies get rich. Even worse, it is beyond dispute that these very same donors and the Clintons’ political allies have won the focused attention of presidential candidate Hillary Clinton when she served as Secretary of State. Democrats and Clinton apologists will write these accusations off as conspiracy mongering  and right-wing propaganda, but it’s an open secret to anyone remotely familiar with accounting and regulatory requirements for charities that the financial records are deliberately misleading. And not coincidentally, those records were long filed by a Little Rock–based accounting firm called BKD, a regional auditor with little international experience.” (Read more: Harpers Magazine, 11/17/2015)

July 8, 2016 – Hillary Cheated

Hillary arrives for her acceptance speech, July 28, 2016. (Credit: Mark Kauzlarich/Reuters)

(…) Hillary Clinton did not run a clean campaign.

She cheated.

If we want to be the kind of country that doesn’t care about that sort of thing, if fair play isn’t an American value, fine with me. But let’s go into this general election campaign with our eyes wide open.

Caucus after caucus, primary after primary, the Clinton team robbed Bernie of votes that were rightfully his.

Here’s how. Parties run caucuses. States run primaries. The DNC is controlled by Hillary Clinton allies like chairman Debbie Wasserman Schultz. Democratic governors are behind Clinton; state election officials report to them. These officials decide where to send voting booths, which votes get counted, which do not.

You thought this was a democracy? Ha.

In the first in the nation Iowa caucus, Bernie Sanders pulled off a surprising tie where he was expected to lose badly — Hillary won by just 0.2 percent. However, party officials never bothered to send vote counters to the most rural parts of the state, where Bernie was favored over Hillary. About 5 percent of Iowa caucus votes were never counted. At other caucus sites, Democratic officials loyal to Hillary purposefully undercounted Sanders caucusers. No doubt about it, Bernie should have won that one, as well as votes in other states that would have been affected by a big Sanders upset.

Voters in pro-Sanders precincts in Arizona faced long lines because pro-Hillary elections officials didn’t provide enough voting booths. With lines of three hours or more still to go, the media called the state for Hillary.

New York State was arguably the most important contest of the primary season. Had Bernie Sanders defeated Hillary Clinton in her adopted home state where she had served 1 1/3 terms as senator, he would have dealt her campaign a blow from which she might never have recovered, along with a pile of delegates. Because of her local roots and the fact that New York was a closed primary state in which independence were not allowed to vote, it was a long shot for Bernie. But like the LAPD in the O.J. Simpson case, the Clinton team wasn’t taking any chances.

Did they drop a line to Governor Andrew Cuomo, who endorsed Clinton? Or did state elections officials act on their own initiative? Either way, Bernie Sanders stronghold, the borough of Brooklyn where he was born, was targeted for massive voter suppression. At least 125,000 New Yorkers were illegally purged from the rolls, had their votes lost/thrown away, or were not permitted to vote due to broken voting machines — all in Brooklyn.

Even Mayor Bill de Blasio, who endorsed Clinton, was angry. “It has been reported to us from voters and voting rights monitors that the voting lists in Brooklyn contain numerous errors, including the purging of entire buildings and blocks of voters from the voting lists,” De Blasio said. “The perception that numerous voters may have been disenfranchised undermines the integrity of the entire electoral process and must be fixed.”

The skullduggery continued through the last major primary, California. The night before, the Associated Press put its thumb on the scale, declaring Hillary the nominee in an epic act of voter suppression. Who knows how many Sanders voters decided to stay home once they heard it was all over?

Hillary Clinton was declared the winner by a substantial margin, but after it turned out that state election officials, who report to Governor Jerry Brown, who endorsed Clinton, didn’t bother to count a whopping 2.5 million provisional ballots. According to investigative journalist Greg Palast, the nation’s leading expert on the manipulation of elections, Bernie Sanders actually should have won the state of California along with the majority of its delegates. (Disclosure: I work with Palast as a Fellow of his Investigative Fund.)

One of the most disreputable moves of the campaign was the Associated Press poll of party superdelegates, party insiders who are allowed to vote for whoever they want but, because they are party insiders, inevitably support the establishment candidate. Truth is, the superdelegate system itself is official cheating. But the AP survey made a terrible system even more deadly to democracy. (Read more: Rassmussen Reports, 7/08/2016)

July 11, 2016 – Did Spygate source Stefan Halper work for the Clinton Campaign?

(…) “On July 6, 2016, just days before Halper dined with Page and a dozen other select guests at Magdalene College, Halper spoke at a plenary lecture series at Cambridge on “the phenomenon which is ‘Trump’s maverick candidacy.’” A write-up of the talk noted that Halper “explain[ed] the deficits in Clinton’s campaign which have caused the campaign to become almost too close to call,” and then “concluded his talk by stating that if the media focuses on Clinton, she will lose, whereas if they continue to focus on Trump, he will lose.”

Vin Weber (l), Chair: Steven Schrage (c), and Madeline Albright (r) (Credit: YouTube)

“This will be true despite Trump’s adept handling of the media that has resulted in him receiving two billion dollars’ worth of free media coverage,” Halper said, according to the blog post.

Four days after sharing his sage insights with the attendees of the lecture series, Halper welcomed Clinton surrogate and former Secretary of State Madeline Albright, and former Republican Party strategist and outspoken Never Trumper Vin Weber, to the same Cambridge conference Page attended. According to the Washington Post, Page’s presence at that conference came at the behest of Halper, whose grad student called and emailed Page an invitation to the seminar. The Post also reported that Cambridge paid for Page’s air travel and accommodations—a strange arrangement given that Page was not a featured speaker at the conference.

While at Cambridge, Page dined with Halper and a small group of other dignitaries. On August 5, 2016, the Washington Post also reported that while at the Cambridge conference, Page attended “a closed-door session co-chaired by former secretary of state Madeleine K. Albright and Republican consultant Vin Weber.” Page declined to comment on the article, though, which portrayed Page as a Russian patsy and further laid the groundwork for the Russia-collusion conspiracy theory.

But if Page did not speak with reporters, who told the Post that Page participated in a “closed-door session” with Albright and Weber? Could it have been Halper?

This same time frame—late July to early August—was when Fusion GPS and Christopher Steele, in concert with and on the payroll of the Democratic National Committee and Clinton campaign, also began promoting the Russia-conspiracy hoax in earnest. While Steele worked the FBI, details from the dodgy dossier were also peddled to the press, as demonstrated by this July 26, 2016 text from Damian Paletta—then with the Wall Street Journal—show.

The text’s mention of Page’s supposed meeting in Moscow with Igor Sechin, and the Russian’s possession of “solid kompromat on Clinton as well as Trump,” mirrored portions of Steele’s July 19, 2016 memorandum. This suggests either Steele or Fusion GPS had begun plying the press with the dossier almost as soon as Steele penned that work of fiction.” (Read more: The Federalist, 3/13/2020)  (Archive)

July 28 – August 5, 2016: The Strzok-Page texts, a trip to London and the origins of the Trump-Russia investigation

By Andrew C. McCarthy

“Peter Strzok and Lisa Page’s texts shine a highly redacted light on how the Trump-Russia investigation began.

It was July 31, 2016. Just days earlier, the Obama administration had quietly opened an FBI counterintelligence investigation of Russian cyber-espionage — hacking attacks — to disrupt the 2016 election. And not random, general disruption; the operating theory was that the Russians were targeting the Democratic party, for the purpose of helping Donald Trump win the presidency.

FBI special agent Peter Strzok was downright giddy that day.

The Bureau had finally put to bed “Mid Year Exam.” MYE was code for the dreaded investigation of Hillary Clinton’s improper use of a private email system to conduct State Department business, which resulted in the retention and transmission of thousands of classified emails, as well as the destruction of tens of thousands of government business records. Strzok and other FBI vets dreaded the case because it was a go-through-the-motions exercise: Everyone working on it knew that no one was going to be charged with a crime; that Mrs. Clinton was going to be the next president of the United States; and that the FBI’s goal was not to be tarnished in the process of “investigating” her — to demonstrate, without calling attention to the suffocating constraints imposed by the Obama Justice Department, that the Bureau had done a thorough job, and that there was a legal rationale for letting Clinton off the hook that might pass the laugh test.

That mission was accomplished, Strzok and his colleagues believed, with Director James Comey’s press conference on July 5, outlining the evidence and recommending against charges that “no reasonable prosecutor” would bring. Now, having run the just-for-show interview of Hillary Clinton on July 2 — long after Comey’s press statement that there would be no charges was in the can — Strzok was on the verge of a big promotion: to deputy assistant director of counterintelligence.

Even better: Now, he was working a real case — the Trump-Russia case. He was about to fly to London to meet with intelligence contacts and conduct secret interviews.

Not so secret, though, that he could contain himself.

As was his wont several times a day, Strzok texted his paramour, Lisa Page, the FBI lawyer in the lofty position of counsel to Deputy Director Andrew McCabe — which made Page one of the relative handful of Bureau officials who were in on the new probe. Late Sunday night, as he readied for his morning flight, Strzok wrote to Page, comparing the investigations of Clinton and Trump.

“And damn this feels momentous. Because this matters. The other one did, too, but that was to ensure that we didn’t F something up. This matters because this MATTERS.

This MATTERS.”

(Read more: National Review, 5/14/2018) 

August 17, 2016 – Trump himself was the target of Obama administration’s Russia probe

(…) Among the most significant of the newly declassified documents is a memorandum written by FBI agent Joe Pientka III, the case agent on Trump-Russia. It was Pientka who, at the FBI’s New York City headquarters on August 17, 2016, purported to brief Trump and two top campaign surrogates — the aforementioned General Flynn and then–New Jersey governor Chris Christie, who was slated to run the transition if Trump won.

In reality, Pientka and the FBI regarded the occasion not as a briefing for the Republican presidential nominee but as an opportunity to interact with Donald Trump for investigative purposes. Clearly, the Bureau did that because Trump was the main subject of the investigation. The hope was that he’d blurt things out that would help the FBI prove he was an agent of Russia.

The Obama administration and the FBI knew that it was they who were meddling in a presidential campaign — using executive intelligence powers to monitor the president’s political opposition. This, they also knew, would rightly be regarded as a scandalous abuse of power if it ever became public. There was no rational or good-faith evidentiary basis to believe that Trump was in a criminal conspiracy with the Kremlin or that he’d had any role in Russian intelligence’s suspected hacking of Democratic Party email accounts.

You didn’t have to believe Trump was a savory man to know that. His top advisers were Flynn, a decorated combat veteran; Christie, a former U.S. attorney who vigorously investigated national-security cases; Rudy Giuliani, a legendary former U.S. attorney and New York City mayor who’d rallied the country against anti-American terrorism; and Jeff Sessions, a longtime U.S. senator with a strong national-defense track record. To believe Trump was unfit for the presidency on temperamental or policy grounds was a perfectly reasonable position for Obama officials to take — though an irrelevant one, since it’s up to the voters to decide who is suitable. But to claim to suspect that Trump was in a cyberespionage conspiracy with the Kremlin was inane . . . except as a subterfuge to conduct political spying, which Obama officials well knew was an abuse of power.

So they concealed it. They structured the investigation on the fiction that there was a principled distinction between Trump himself and the Trump campaign. In truth, the animating assumption of the probe was that Trump himself was acting on Russia’s behalf, either willfully or under the duress of blackmail. By purporting to focus on the campaign, investigators had the fig leaf of deniability they needed to monitor the candidate.

Just two weeks before Pientka’s August 17 “briefing” of Trump, the FBI formally opened “Crossfire Hurricane,” the codename for the Trump-Russia investigation. The Bureau also opened four Trump-Russia subfiles, related to Trump campaign officials Paul Manafort, Carter Page, George Papadopoulos and Flynn.

There was no case file called “Donald Trump” because Trump was “Crossfire Hurricane.” The theory of Crossfire Hurricane was that Russia had blackmail information on Trump, which it could use to extort Trump into doing Putin’s bidding if Trump were elected. It was further alleged that Russia had been cultivating Trump for years and was helping Trump’s election bid in exchange for future considerations. Investigators surmised that Trump had recruited Paul Manafort (who had connections to Russian oligarchs and pro-Russia Ukrainian oligarchs) as his campaign manager, enabling Manafort to use such emissaries as Page to carry out furtive communications between Trump and the Kremlin. If elected, the theory went, Trump would steer American policy in Russia’s favor, just as the Bureau speculated that Trump was already corruptly steering the Republican party into a more pro-Moscow posture.” (Read more: National Review, 8/01/2020)  (Archive)

October 21, 2016 – The “critical first FISA application, the basis for the warrant granted against Carter Page”

Andrew C. McCarthy (Credit: National Review)

By: Andrew C. McCarthy

“In a word, the Grassley-Graham memo is shocking. Yet, the press barely notices.

(…) “The Grassley-Graham memo corroborates the claims in the Nunes memo: The Obama Justice Department and FBI used anonymously sourced, Clinton-campaign generated innuendo to convince the FISA court to issue surveillance warrants against Carter Page, and in doing so, they concealed the Clinton campaign’s role. Though the Trump campaign had cut ties with Page shortly before the first warrant was issued in October 2016, the warrant application was based on wild allegations of a corrupt conspiracy between the Trump campaign and the Kremlin. Moreover, the warrant meant the FBI could seize not only Page’s forward-going communications but any past emails and texts he may have stored — i.e., his Trump campaign communications.”

(…) “Last Friday, the Nunes memo asserted that the FBI and Justice Department had significantly relied on the unverified Steele dossier to obtain FISA warrants on Page. In the week that followed, House Intelligence Committee Democrats and their media echo chamber bleated about how things had been taken out of context, with some suggesting that there was plenty of other evidence to establish probable cause that Page was acting as a Russian agent. (See my column last Sunday responding to claims by Representative Jerrold Nadler, here.) It was even implied that Nunes & Co. had deceptively reported committee testimony by the FBI’s then deputy director Andrew McCabe that the Steele dossier was essential to this probable-cause showing.

We’re not hearing much of that now. No wonder. Here’s the Grassley-Graham memo on the critical first FISA application, the basis for the warrant granted on October 21, 2016:

The bulk of the application consists of allegations against Page that were disclosed to the FBI by Mr. Steele and are also outlined in the Steele dossier. The application appears to contain no additional information corroborating the dossier allegations against Mr. Page, although it does cite to a news article that appears to be sourced to Mr. Steele’s dossier.

We’ll come to the news article — the stupefying circular attempt to corroborate Steele with Steele. For the moment, suffice it to say that the senators have confirmed the Nunes memo’s account, except with much more information than House Republicans were able to include. Information such as this:

When asked at the March 2017 briefing [of Judiciary Committee leaders] why the FBI relied on the dossier in the FISA applications absent meaningful corroboration — and in light of the highly political motives surrounding its creation — then-Director [James] Comey stated that the FBI included the dossier allegations about Carter Page in the FISA applications because Mr. Steele himself was considered reliable due to his past work with the Bureau. (Emphasis added.)

On this score, Grassley and Graham quote directly from the warrant applications: “Based on [Steele’s] previous reporting history with the FBI whereby [Steele] provided reliable information to the FBI, the FBI believes [Steele’s] reporting to be credible.” (Emphasis added.)

I cannot stress enough how irregular this is. It is why there is abundant reason to demand that the judge explain his or her rationale for granting the warrant.

As I outlined at greater length last week (here, in section C), in applying for a warrant, the government must establish the reliability of the informants who witnessed the alleged facts claimed to support a probable-cause finding. Steele was not one of those witnesses. He is not the source of the facts. He is the purveyor of the sources — anonymous Russians, much of whose alleged information is based on hearsay, sometimes multiple steps removed from direct knowledge. Steele has not been in Russia since his cover as a British spy was blown nearly 20 years ago. He has sources, who have sources, who have sources . . .  and so on. None of his information is better than third-hand; most of it is more attenuated than that.

For purposes of justifying a warrant, it does not matter that, in a totally unrelated investigation (involving corruption at FIFA, the international soccer organization), the FBI judged that the hearsay information provided by Steele, then a British agent, checked out. In his anti-Trump research, Steele could not verify his sources. Furthermore, he was now a former foreign intelligence officer who was then working for private clients — which is the advocacy business, not the search-for-truth business.” (Read more: National Review, 2/10/2018)

February 18, 2017 – Opinion: No one mentions that the Russian trail leads to Democratic lobbyists – Podesta and Sberbank

(…) “The media’s focus on Trump’s Russian connections ignores the much more extensive and lucrative business relationships of top Democrats with Kremlin-associated oligarchs and companies. Thanks to the Panama Papers, we know that the Podesta Group (founded by John Podesta’s brother, Tony) lobbied for Russia’s largest bank, Sberbank. “Sberbank is the Kremlin, they don’t do anything major without Putin’s go-ahead, and they don’t tell him ‘no’ either,” explained a retired senior U.S. intelligence official. According to a Reuters report, Tony Podesta was “among the high-profile lobbyists registered to represent organizations backing Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovich.” Among these was the European Center, which paid Podesta $900,000 for his lobbying.

That’s not all: The busy Podesta Group also represented Uranium One, a uranium company acquired by the Russian government which received approval from Hillary Clinton’s State Department to mine for uranium in the U.S. and gave Russia twenty percent control of US uranium. The New York Times reported Uranium One’s chairman, Frank Guistra, made significant donations to the Clinton Foundation, and Bill Clinton was paid $500,000 for one speech from a Russian investment bank that has “links to the Kremlin that was promoting Uranium One stock.” Notably, Frank Giustra, the Clinton Foundation’s largest and most controversial donor, does not appear anywhere in Clinton’s “non-private” emails. It is possible that the emails of such key donors were automatically scrubbed to protect the Clinton Foundation.

Let’s not leave out fugitive Ukrainian oligarch, Dymtro Firtash. He is represented by Democratic heavyweight lawyer, Lanny Davis, who accused Trump of “inviting Putin to commit espionage” (Trump’s quip: If Putin has Hillary’s emails, release them) but denies all wrongdoing by Hillary.

(…) Lobbying for Russia is a bi-partisan activity. Gazprombank GPB, a subsidiary of Russia’s third largest bank, Gazprombank, is represented by former Sen. John Breaux, (D., La.), and former Senate Majority Leader Trent Lott (R., Miss.), as main lobbyists on “banking laws and regulations, including applicable sanctions.” The Breaux-Lott client is currently in the Treasury Department list of Russian firms prohibited from debt financing with U.S. banks.” (Read more: Forbes, 2/18/2017)

June 8, 2017 – Opinion: Coleen Rowley – Comey and Muller: Russiagate’s Mythical Heroes

Coleen Rowley (Credit: public domain)

Shortly after former FBI Director Robert Mueller was announced as the special counsel for the Russia investigation, the screeching hordes of America’s “always wrong about everything” punditry class cheered in near unison, lauding the man as some sort of second coming. This sort of thing should always be seen as a red flag, and thanks to an excellent article written by retired FBI special agent Coleen Rowley, everyone can now know exactly why.

But first, who is Coleen Rowley?

Coleen Rowley, a retired FBI special agent and division legal counsel whose May 2002 memo to then-FBI Director Robert Mueller exposed some of the FBI’s pre-9/11 failures, was named one of TIME magazine’s “Persons of the Year” in 2002. Her 2003 letter to Robert Mueller in opposition to launching the Iraq War is archived in full text on the NYT and her 2013 op-ed entitled “Questions for the FBI Nominee” was published on the day of James Comey’s confirmation hearing.

It’s important to be aware of that background as you read the following excerpts from the excellent post published at CounterPunch titled, Comey and Mueller: Russiagate’s Mythical Heroes:

“Mainstream commentators display amnesia when they describe former FBI Directors Robert Mueller and James Comey as stellar and credible law enforcement figures. Perhaps if they included J. Edgar Hoover, such fulsome praise could be put into proper perspective.

Although these Hoover successors, now occupying center stage in the investigation of President Trump, have been hailed for their impeccable character by much of Official Washington, the truth is, as top law enforcement officials of the George W. Bush Administration (Mueller as FBI Director and James Comey as Deputy Attorney General), both presided over post-9/11 cover-ups and secret abuses of the Constitution, enabled Bush-Cheney fabrications used to launch wrongful wars, and exhibited plain vanilla incompetence.” (Read more: Liberty Blitzkrieg, 6/09/2017)

September 2, 2017 – Opinion: It Wasn’t Comey’s Decision to Exonerate Hillary – It Was Obama’s

Andrew C. McCarthy (Credit: National Review)

By: Andrew MCCarthy

(…) “In his [Obama’s] April 10 comments, Obama made the obvious explicit: He did not want the certain Democratic nominee, the candidate he was backing to succeed him, to be indicted. Conveniently, his remarks (inevitably echoed by Comey) did not mention that an intent to endanger national security was not an element of the criminal offenses Clinton was suspected of committing – in classic Obama fashion, he was urging her innocence of a strawman crime while dodging any discussion of the crimes she had actually committed.

As we also now know – but as Obama knew at the time – the president himself had communicated with Clinton over her non-secure, private communications system, using an alias. The Obama administration refused to disclose these several e-mail exchanges because they undoubtedly involve classified conversations between the president and his secretary of state. It would not have been possible to prosecute Mrs. Clinton for mishandling classified information without its being clear that President Obama had engaged in the same conduct. The administration was never, ever going to allow that to happen.

What else was going on in May 2016, while Comey was drafting his findings (even though several of the things he would purportedly “base” them on hadn’t actually happened yet)? Well, as I explained in real time (in a column entitled “Clinton E-mails: Is the Fix In?”), the Obama Justice Department was leaking to the Washington Post that Clinton probably would not be charged – and that her top aide, Cheryl Mills, was considered a cooperating witness rather than a co-conspirator.

Why? Well, I know you’ll be shocked to hear this, but it turns out the Obama Justice Department had fully adopted the theory of the case announced by President Obama in April. The Post explained that, according to its sources inside the investigation, there was “scant evidence tying Clinton to criminal wrongdoing” because there was “scant evidence that Clinton had malicious intent in [the] handling of e-mails” (emphasis added). Like Obama, the Post and its sources neglected to mention that Mrs. Clinton’s felonies did not require proof of “malicious intent” or any purpose to harm the United States – just that she willfully transmitted classified information, was grossly negligent in handling it, and withheld or destroyed government records.

As I recounted in the same May 2016 column, the Obama Justice Department was simultaneously barring the FBI from asking Mills questions that went to the heart of the e-mails investigation – questions about the process by which Clinton and her underlings decided which of her 60,000 e-mails to surrender to the State Department, and which would be withheld (it ended up being about 33,000) as purportedly “private” (a goodly percentage were not).

This was the start of a series of Justice Department shenanigans we would come to learn about: Cutting off key areas of inquiry; cutting inexplicable immunity deals; declining to use the grand jury to compel evidence; agreeing to limit searches of computers (in order to miss key time-frames when obstruction occurred); agreeing to destroy physical evidence (laptop computers); failing to charge and squeeze witnesses who made patently false statements; allowing subjects of the investigation to act as lawyers for other subjects of the investigation (in order to promote the charade that some evidence was off-limits due to the attorney-client privilege); and so on. There is a way – a notoriously aggressive way – that the Justice Department and FBI go about their business when they are trying to make a case. Here, they were trying to unmake a case.” (Read more: National Review, 9/02/2017)

October 25, 2017 – Editorial: When Scandals Collide

Andrew C. McCarthy

By: Andrew McCarthy

(…) “we have learned finally, courtesy of the Washington Post, that Fusion GPS, the research firm that produced the notorious “Trump Dossier,” was funded by the Hillary Clinton presidential campaign and the Democratic National Committee. Of course, the Clinton campaign and the DNC always want layers of deniability and obfuscation – and let’s note that it has served them well – so they hire lawyers to do the icky stuff rather than doing it directly. Then, when the you-know-what hits the fan, outfits like Fusion GPS try to claim that they can’t share critical information with investigators because of (among other things) attorney-client confidentiality concerns.

Here, the Clinton campaign and the DNC retained the law firm of Perkins Coie; in turn, one of its partners, Marc E. Elias, retained Fusion GPS. We don’t know how much Fusion GPS was paid, but the Clinton campaign and the DNC paid $9.1 million to Perkins Coie during the 2016 campaign (i.e., between mid-2015 and late 2016).

In its capacity as attorney for the DNC, Perkins Coie – through another of its partners, Michael Sussman – is also the law firm that retained CrowdStrike, the cyber security outfit, upon learning in April 2016 that the DNC’s servers had been hacked.

A friend draws my attention to an intriguing coincidence.

Interesting: Despite the patent importance of the physical server system to the FBI and Intelligence-Community investigation of Russian meddling in the 2016 election, the Bureau never examined the DNC servers. Evidently, the DNC declined to cooperate to that degree, and the Obama Justice Department decided not to issue a subpoena to demand that the servers be turned over (just like the Obama Justice Department decided not to issue subpoenas to demand the surrender of critical physical evidence in the Clinton e-mails investigation).

Instead, the conclusion that Russia is responsible for the invasion of the DNC servers rests on the forensic analysis conducted by CrowdStrike. Rather than do its own investigation, the FBI relied on a contractor retained by the DNC’s lawyers.” (Read more: National Review, 10/25/2017)

October 31, 2017 – Editorial: The Papadopoulos Case

Andrew C. McCarthy (Credit: National Review)

By: Andrew C. McCarthy

(…) “Papadopoulos is a climber who was clearly trying to push his way into Trump World. We recall that much of the Republican foreign-policy clerisy shunned Trump during the campaign. Thus did comparatively obscure people like Carter Page get seats at the table. George Papadopoulos was another of these: a 30-year-old who graduated from DePaul in 2009, later got an M.A. from the London School of Economics, and did sporadic work for the Hudson Institute between 2011 and 2014.

While living in London in early March 2016, he spoke with an unidentified Trump-campaign official and learned he would be designated a foreign-policy adviser to the campaign. These arrangements are very loose. Papadopoulos was a fringe figure, not plugged into Trump’s inner circle.

In London, Papadopoulos met an unidentified Russian academic (referred to as “the Professor”), who claimed to have significant ties to Putin-regime officials and who took an interest in Papadopoulos only because he boasted of having Trump-campaign connections. There appears to be no small amount of puffery on all sides: Papadopoulos suggesting to the Russians that he could make a Trump meeting with Putin happen, and suggesting to the campaign that he could make a Putin meeting with Trump happen; the Professor putting Papadopoulos in touch with a woman who Papadopoulos was led to believe was Putin’s niece (she apparently is not); and lots and lots of talk about potential high- and low-level meetings between Trump-campaign and Putin-regime officials that never actually came to pass.

In the most important meeting, in London on April 26, 2016, the Professor told Papadopoulos that he (the Prof) had just learned that top Russian-government officials had obtained “dirt” on then-putative Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton. The dirt is said to include “thousands of emails” — “emails of Clinton.” The suggestion, of course, was that the Russians were keen to give this information to the Trump campaign.

This may raise the hopes of the “collusion with Russia” enthusiasts. But there are two problems here.

First, Papadopoulos was given enough misinformation that we can’t be confident (at least from what Mueller has revealed here) that the Professor was telling Papadopoulos the truth. Remember, by April 2016, it had been known for over a year that Hillary Clinton had used a private email system for public business and had tried to delete and destroy tens of thousands of emails. The Russians could well have been making up a story around that public reporting in order further to cultivate the relationship with Papadopoulos (whom they appear to have seen as potentially useful). Note that the Professor suggested the Russians had Clinton’s own emails. But the emails we know were hacked were not Clinton’s — they were the DNC’s and John Podesta’s (Hillary is on almost none of them). So, Papadopoulos’s Russian interlocutors could well have been weaving a tale based on what had been reported, rather than on what was actually hacked and ultimately released by WikiLeaks.

Second, and more significant: If the proof, at best, implies that the Russians acquired thousands of Clinton emails and then had to inform a tangential Trump campaign figure of this fact so he could pass it along to the campaign, that would mean Trump and his campaign had nothing to do with the acquisition of the emails.”  (Read more: National Review, 10/31/2017)

April 13, 2018 – Editorial: McCabe: Leaking and Lying Obscure the Real Collusion

Matt Axlerod (Credit: Linklaters)

By: Andrew C. McCarthy

“The Justice Department’s inspector general has referred Andrew McCabe to the U.S. attorney’s office in Washington, D.C., for a possible false-statements prosecution. It was big news this week. But the story of how the FBI’s former deputy director lied to investigators, repeatedly, is mainly of interest to him. It is the story of what he lied about that should be of interest to everyone else.

He lied about leaking a conversation in which the Obama Justice Department pressured the FBI to stand down on an investigation of the Clinton Foundation.”

(…) “Yes, McCabe shouldn’t have leaked, and it is even worse that he wouldn’t own up to it. But what was his leak about?

It was about more Obama-administration scheming to rig the election for Hillary Clinton.

The tense conversation McCabe had on August 12, 2016, was with a Justice Department official the IG report identifies only as the “Principal Assistant Deputy Attorney General (PADAG).” That post was then held by Matthew Axelrod, top aide to Sally Yates, Obama’s deputy AG eventually fired by Trump for insubordination. Lisa Page told the Wall Street Journal that the PADAG was “very pissed off” because the Justice Department had learned that the FBI’s New York office was “openly pursuing the Clinton Foundation probe.”

Yup, the campaign stretch-run was upon us, and the oh-so-non-partisan Obama Justice Department was fretting that Mrs. Clinton could be toast if the public heard about yet another criminal investigation.” (Read more: National Review, 04/13/2018)

April 30, 2018 – Commentary: The double standards of the Mueller investigation

 “The country is about to witness an investigatory train wreck.

In one direction, special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation train is looking for any conceivable thing that President Donald Trump’s presidential campaign team might have done wrong in 2016.

The oncoming train is slower but also larger. It involves congressional investigations, Department of Justice referrals and inspector general’s reports — mostly focused on improper or illegal FBI and DOJ behavior during the 2016 election.

Why are the two now about to collide?

By charging former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn for lying to the FBI, Mueller emphasized that even the appearance of false testimony is felonious behavior.” (Read more: Chicago Tribune, 4/30/2018)

May 10, 2018 – Opinion: About That FBI ‘Source’

Kimberly Strassel (Credit: Wall Street Journal)

By Kimberley A. Strassel

“The Department of Justice lost its latest battle with Congress Thursday when it allowed House Intelligence Committee members to view classified documents about a top-secret intelligence source that was part of the FBI’s investigation of the Trump campaign. Even without official confirmation of that source’s name, the news so far holds some stunning implications.

Among them is that the Justice Department and Federal Bureau of Investigation outright hid critical information from a congressional investigation. In a Thursday press conference, Speaker Paul Ryan bluntly noted that Intelligence Chairman Devin Nunes’s request for details on this secret source was “wholly appropriate,” “completely within the scope” of the committee’s long-running FBI investigation, and “something that probably should have been answered a while ago.” Translation: The department knew full well it should have turned this material over to congressional investigators last year, but instead deliberately concealed it.

House investigators nonetheless sniffed out a name, and Mr. Nunes in recent weeks issued a letter and a subpoena demanding more details. Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein’s response was to double down—accusing the House of “extortion” and delivering a speech in which he claimed that “declining to open the FBI’s files to review” is a constitutional “duty.” Justice asked the White House to back its stonewall. And it even began spinning that daddy of all superspook arguments—that revealing any detail about this particular asset could result in “loss of human lives.”

This is desperation, and it strongly suggests that whatever is in these files is going to prove very uncomfortable to the FBI.” (Read more: Wall Street Journal, 5/10/2018)

May 23, 2018 – Editorial: How the Clinton-Emails Investigation Intertwined with the Russia Probe

Andrew C. McCarthy (Credit: National Review)

By: Andrew C. McCarthy

(…) “It was a little after midnight on May 4, 2016. FBI lawyer Lisa Page was texting her paramour, FBI counterespionage agent Peter Strzok, about the most stunning development to date in the 2016 campaign: Donald Trump was now the inevitable Republican nominee. He would square off against Hillary Clinton, the Democrats’ certain standard-bearer.

The race was set . . . between two major-party candidates who were both under investigation by the FBI.

In stunned response, Strzok wrote what may be the only words we need to know, the words that reflected the mindset of his agency’s leadership and of the Obama administration: “Now the pressure really starts to finish MYE.”

MYE. That’s Mid-Year Exam, the code-word the FBI had given to the Hillary Clinton emails probe.”

(…) “When Attorney General Loretta Lynch’s shameful Arizona tarmac meeting with former President Clinton becomes a scandal in late June, she tries to mitigate the damage by announcing an intention to accept whatever recommendation the FBI makes. Lisa Page spitefully texts Peter Strzok. “And yeah, it’s a real profile in couragw [sic], since she knows no charges will be brought.”

That was July 1. The very next day, the FBI does its just-for-show interview of Mrs. Clinton. Three mornings later, July 5 (at the start of the work week after Independence Day), Comey holds his press conference to announce that, of course, no charges will be brought.

To accomplish this, he effectively rewrites the classified-information statute Clinton violated; barely mentions the tens of thousands of official government business emails that she destroyed; claims without any elaboration that the FBI can see no evidence of obstruction; and omits mention of her just-concluded interview in which — among other things — she pretended not to know what the markings on classified documents meant.

On the very same day, the FBI’s legal attaché in Rome travels to London to interview Christopher Steele, who has already started to pass his sensational dossier allegations to the bureau. And with the help of CIA director John Brennan and British intelligence, the FBI is ready to run a spy — a longtime CIA source — at Carter Page in London on July 11, just as he arrives there from Moscow.

With the pressure to finish MYE in the rearview mirror, Hillary Clinton looked like a shoo-in to beat Donald Trump. By mid September, Lisa Page was saying as much at a meeting in Deputy Director McCabe’s office. But Strzok was hedging his bets: Maybe “there’s no way [Trump] gets elected — but I’m afraid we can’t take that risk. It’s like an insurance policy in the unlikely event you die before you’re 40.”

Soon, as the campaign wound down, the FBI and the Obama Justice Department were on the doormat of the FISA court, obtaining a surveillance warrant on Carter Page, substantially based on allegations in the Steele dossier — an uncorroborated Clinton-campaign opposition-research screed. Meanwhile, the FBI/CIA spy was being run at George Papadopoulos, and even seeking a role in the Trump campaign from its co-chairman, Sam Clovis.

Or maybe you think these things are unrelated . . .” (Read more: National Review, 5/23/2018)

June 1, 2018 – Opinion: Curious Origins of FBI’s Trump Russia Probe

John Solomon (Credit: Gage Skidmore/Wikipedia)

By: John Solomon

“The bridge to the Russia investigation wasn’t erected in Moscow during the summer of the 2016 election.

It originated earlier, 1,700 miles away in London, where foreign figures contacted Trump campaign advisers and provided the FBI with hearsay allegations of Trump-Russia collusion, bureau documents and interviews of government insiders reveal. These contacts in spring 2016 — some from trusted intelligence sources, others from Hillary Clinton supporters — occurred well before FBI headquarters authorized an official counterintelligence investigation on July 31, 2016.

The new timeline makes one wonder: Did the FBI follow its rules governing informants?

Here’s what a congressman and an intelligence expert think:

“The revelation of purposeful contact initiated by alleged confidential human sources prior to any FBI investigation is troublesome,” Rep. Mark Meadows (R-N.C.), an ally of President Trump and chairman of a House subcommittee that’s taking an increasingly aggressive oversight role in the scandal, told me. “This new information begs the questions: Who were the informants working for, who were they reporting to and why has the [Department of Justice] and FBI gone to such great lengths to hide these contacts?”

Kevin Brock agrees that Congress has legitimate questions. The retired FBI assistant director for intelligence supervised the rewriting of bureau rules governing sources, under then-director Robert Mueller a decade ago. Those rules forbid the FBI from directing a human source to target an American until a formally predicated investigative file is opened.

Brock sees oddities in how the Russia case began. “These types of investigations aren’t normally run by assistant directors and deputy directors at headquarters,” he told me. “All that happens normally in a field office, but that isn’t the case here and so it becomes a red flag. Congress would have legitimate oversight interests in the conditions and timing of the targeting of a confidential human source against a U.S. person.” (Read more: The Hill, 6/01/2018)

June 19, 2018 – Editorial: Andrew McCarthy addresses the “intent” behind Clinton’s unsecured, private server

Andrew C. McCarthy (Credit: National Review)

(…) “The Obama Justice Department and FBI spin on intent takes no account of the 800-pound gorilla in the room: The only reason officials were put in this position of compromising intelligence was that their boss, Clinton, established an improper communications network. And, again, she perfectly well understood that this was a monumental security breach.

It was not just a matter of whether any single transmission was an intentional flouting of the rules. It was, more significantly, a matter of erecting a renegade network for the systematic conduct of the State Department’s most sensitive work — including communications with the president and other top national-security and foreign-policy officials.

And observe how perverse this is: The Justice Department and FBI’s crimped construction of intent and knowledge enabled Clinton — the person singularly responsible for creating the problem — to escape liability on the ground she could not be held responsible for poor decisions by her staff. Investigators reasoned that the secretary of state was one of the nation’s highest government officials, who was more often than not receiving, not sending, sensitive information, and who was inundated by so much information that she had no choice but to rely on underlings to make judgments about what information could safely be sent to her.

It is a classic in the Clinton genre: rules-don’t-apply-to-me sense of privilege causes mess; subordinates blamed for mess; Washington looks the other way. If the FBI thought it was tremendously important that Clinton was on the receiving end of most (but not all) classified emails (inference: it was not her fault that people who should have known better sent her secret intelligence), how could it not have been even more important that Clinton imposed a non-secure, non-government server on her subordinates’ ability to communicate with her?

Remarkably, even blinding themselves to critical evidence was not enough to bury the case. In order to conclude that there was no prosecutable offense, the Obama Justice Department and FBI still had to rewrite the applicable statute (the Espionage Act, codified in Section 793 of the federal penal code). That’s because, for all the supposed obsession about whether investigators had enough evidence of criminal intent, the law does not actually require such evidence — if one is an official who has been schooled in the handling of national defense secrets, gross negligence will do.

The IG obligingly confines this aspect of his perfunctory assessment to a footnote (number 124):

Even though Section 793(f)(1) does not require intent, prosecutors told us that the Department has interpreted the provision to require that the person accused of having removed or delivered classified information in violation of this provision possess knowledge that the information is classified. In addition, based on the legislative history of Section 793(f)(1), the prosecutors determined that conduct must be “so gross as to almost suggest deliberate intention,” be “criminally reckless,” or fall “just a little short of willful” to meet the “gross negligence” standard.

In other words, the Justice Department added proof elements that are not in the statute. The Espionage Act literally says that if you are a government official who has been entrusted with sensitive information, you are guilty if you either willfully cause its transmission to an unauthorized person or place (Section 793(d)), or are grossly negligent in permitting it to be removed from its proper custody, transmitted to an unauthorized person, or lost, stolen, or abstracted (Section 793(f)(1)).”  (Read more: National Review, 6/19/2018)

September 5, 2018: Opinion – Papadopoulos Court Docs Provide More Evidence Russiagate Was A Setup To Get Trump

George Papadopolous (l) and Joseph Mifsud (Credit: public domain)

By: Margot Cleveland

(…) “Papadopoulos’ sentencing memo reveals new evidence that further indicates the FBI’s goal in Crossfire Hurricane was to investigate Trump—not Russia’s interference with the presidential election.

In the memo, Papadopoulos’s lawyers detailed the FBI’s January 27, 2017, questioning of their client, explaining that for two hours, Papadopoulos answered questions about professor Joseph Mifsud, Carter Page, Sergei Millian, the “Trump Dossier,” and others on the campaign. According to Papadopoulos, “[t]he agents asked George if he would be willing to actively cooperate and contact various people they had discussed.” Papadopoulos said he would be willing to try.

Yet when Mifsud—the Maltese professor who in late April 2016 told Papadopoulos that the Russians had “dirt on Hillary” in the form of “thousands of emails”—visited the United States just two weeks later to speak at a State Department-sponsored conference, the FBI didn’t even bother to have Papadopoulos reach out to his former colleague.

Instead, the FBI questioned Mifsud, then in the special counsel’s sentencing memorandum blamed Papadopoulos for the government’s inability “to challenge the Professor or potentially detain or arrest him while he was still in the United States.” According to Mueller’s office, Papadopoulos’ “lies also hindered the government’s ability to discover who else may have known or been told about the Russians possessing ‘dirt’ on Clinton,” and prevented the FBI from determining “how and where the Professor obtained the information [and] why the Professor provided information to the defendant.”

(…) “Why didn’t the FBI wire Papadopoulos and arrange for him to meet with Mifsud during the State Department conference? What would be more natural than Papadopoulos, who had spent months in London communicating with Mifsud and working at Mifsud’s London Centre of International Law, attending the professor’s speech at the February 2017, Washington D.C. Global Ties conference and inviting him for dinner or drinks? Then Papadopoulos could steer the conversation to the Russia hacking and Mifsud’s earlier comment about Russia having “thousands of emails.” (Read more: The Federalist, 9/5/2018)

September 14, 2018 – Opinion: Lisa Page testifies FBI couldn’t prove Trump-Russia collusion before Mueller appointment

Lisa Page arrives on Capitol Hill July 16, 2018, to participate in an interview with the House judiciary and oversight and reform committees. (Credit: Michael Reynolds/EPA-EFE)

By: John Solomon

To date, Lisa Page’s infamy has been driven mostly by the anti-Donald Trump text messages she exchanged with fellow FBI agent Peter Strzok as the two engaged in an affair while investigating the president for alleged election collusion with Russia.

Yet, when history judges the former FBI lawyer years from now, her most consequential pronouncement may not have been typed on her bureau-issued Samsung smartphone to her colleague and lover.

Rather, it might be eight simple words she uttered behind closed doors during a congressional interview a few weeks ago.

“It’s a reflection of us still not knowing,” Page told Rep. John Ratcliffe (R-Texas) when questioned about texts she and Strzok exchanged in May 2017 as Robert Mueller was being named a special prosecutor to take over the Russia investigation.

With that statement, Page acknowledged a momentous fact: After nine months of using some of the most awesome surveillance powers afforded to U.S. intelligence, the FBI still had not made a case connecting Trump or his campaign to Russia’s election meddling.

Page opined further, acknowledging “it still existed in the scope of possibility that there would be literally nothing” to connect Trump and Russia, no matter what Mueller or the FBI did.

“As far as May of 2017, we still couldn’t answer the question,” she said at another point.”

(…) “For those who might cast doubt on the word of a single FBI lawyer, there’s more.”  (Read more: The Hill, 9/14/2018)

October 1, 2018 – Opinion – The FBI refuses to declassify and release 37 pages of memos about Russia, Clintons and Uranium One

Eight years after its informant uncovered criminal wrongdoing inside Russia’s nuclear industry, the FBI has identified 37 pages of documents that might reveal what agents told the Obama administration, then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and others about the controversial Uranium One deal.

There’s just one problem: The FBI claims it must keep the memos secret from the public.

Their excuses for the veil of nondisclosure range from protecting national security and law enforcement techniques to guarding the privacy of individual Americans and the ability of agencies to communicate with each other.

(…) “I was the reporter who first disclosed last fall that a globetrotting American businessman, William Douglas Campbell, managed to burrow his way inside Russian President Vladimir Putin’s nuclear giant, Rosatom, in 2009 posing as a consultant while working as an FBI informant.

Campbell gathered extensive evidence for his FBI counterintelligence handlers by early 2010 that Rosatom’s main executive in the United States, Vadim Mikerin, orchestrated a racketeering plot involving kickbacks, bribes and extortion that corrupted the main uranium trucking company in the United States. That is a serious national security compromise by any measure.

The evidence was compiled as Secretary Clinton courted Russia for better relations, as her husband former President Clinton collected a $500,000 speech payday in Moscow, and as the Obama administration approved the sale of a U.S. mining company, Uranium One, to Rosatom.

The sale — made famous years later by author Peter Schweizer and an epic New York Times exposé in 2015 — turned over a large swath of America’s untapped uranium deposits to Russia.

Mikerin was charged and convicted, along with some American officials, but not until many years later. Ironically, the case was brought by none other than current Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein — a magnet for controversy, it turns out.

But the years-long delay in prosecution mean that no one in the public, or in Congress, was aware that the FBI knew through Campbell about the Russian bribery plot as early as 2009 — well before the Obama-led Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS) approved Uranium One in fall 2010.

Since the emergence of Campbell’s undercover work, there has been one unanswered question of national importance.

Did the FBI notify then-President Obama, Hillary Clinton and other leaders on the CFIUS board about Rosatom’s dark deeds before the Uranium One sale was approved, or did the bureau drop the ball and fail to alert policymakers?

Neither outcome is particularly comforting. Either the United States, eyes wide open, approved giving uranium assets to a corrupt Russia, or the FBI failed to give the evidence of criminality to the policymakers before such a momentous decision.” (Read more: The Hill, 10/01/2018)

December 11, 2018 – Opinion: State filings suggests the Clinton Foundation mislead the IRS

By: John Solomon

“When confronted by detractors, the Clinton Foundation often uses a common line of defense: The charity is one of the most scrutinized in history and no one has found anything wrong with it.

But state regulatory filings suggest that may not be true.

In December 2005, for example, the Utah Division of Consumer Protection flagged missing information in the Clinton Foundation’s federal tax filing with the IRS, known as a form 990. The state regulator specifically flagged money spent on professional fundraisers and consultants that were excluded from the required section of the filing.

The state regulator urged the charity to file “an amended IRS form 990 reporting professional fundraising/consultant fees on line 30.” In particular, officials questioned nearly a half-million dollars in consultant fees about which it wanted more detail.

The foundation’s tax filing for the year in question, 2004, showed zero dollars spent on the required line for fundraising consulting expenses, even though other documents filed with the IRS identified more than $400,000.

The review was standard for a charity seeking a license to operate in Utah. The response regulators got back, however, was not so standard: Former President Clinton’s charity declined to make the change, even though Utah was suggesting the foundation’s federal tax form was incomplete or misleading.

“The problem that the Foundation faces is the enormous expenses and undertaking it would be to amend its 990,” a law firm representing the Clinton Foundation wrote back.

“Given that obstacle, the Foundation has no choice but to withdraw its application to register to solicit the public in Utah.”

In lay words, the cost of properly informing the IRS and complying with federal tax law was too much, so the foundation just ditched its Utah licensing request. There is no record of amended 2004 tax form by the charity, which means Utah’s concerns about possible missing information for the IRS wasn’t addressed at the federal level.

Foundation officials confirm the episode but said they believed they did not mislead the IRS because other parts of their submission included fundraising consulting expenses in a category called “Other Expenses.” “Our 2004 Form 990 is complete by IRS standards as we fully disclose fundraising expenditures in Part II – Other Expenses,” the foundation said in a statement emailed to me.

The Utah episode, though a decade old, and other state regulatory issues involving the Clinton Foundation are gaining new attraction because they are included in thousands of pages of documents gathered in a whistleblower submission filed last year by a firm composed of former federal law enforcement investigators, called MDA Analytics LLC.

That submission made with the IRS and eventually provided to the Justice Department in Washington and to the FBI in Little Rock, Ark., alleges there is “probable cause” to believe the Clinton Foundation broke federal tax law and possibly owes millions of dollars in tax penalties. That submission and its supporting evidence will be one focus of a GOP-led congressional hearing Thursday in the House.

The foundation strongly denies any wrongdoing. But it acknowledges its own internal legal reviews in 2008 and 2011 cited employee concerns ranging from quid pro quo promises to donors, to improper commingling of personal and charity business.

Another of the issues the foundation’s own lawyers flagged: a culture of noncompliance.

Some issues with compliance are clear in a review of more than 2,000 pages of state regulatory filings and actions involving the foundation that were included in the whistleblower submission.

For example, the foundation entered into a consent decree in 2002 in Mississippi in which it admitted it had raised money in the state without a proper license. The foundation says it was simply an oversight, paying a small fine in the hundreds of dollars.

But the charity potentially engaged in false statements for years later, inaccurately declaring in numerous states that it had never been subject to an adverse regulatory action — while failing to disclose the Mississippi violation.

The whistleblower submission to the IRS identified more than 100 state forms in which the foundation inaccurately answered. The foundation conceded the errors to me but suggested they were akin to minor traffic violations, pointing to a column by a tax expert two years ago that made such a case.

Likewise, in 2008, the Clinton Foundation’s AIDs charitable arm had its license to collect donations in Massachusetts involuntarily revoked for failure to file the necessary paperwork.

Foundation officials blamed that action on paperwork failing to keep up with changes in the group, which altered its name and eventually spun off from the foundation. State regulators weren’t told the old group’s name had been allowed to expire.

The records also show the foundation received multiple deficiency notifications and had its license expire once in the state of Georgia, usually because of late paperwork. (Read more: The Hill, 12/06/2018)

January 14, 2019: Opinion – NYT Reveals FBI Retaliated Against Trump For Comey Firing

Mollie Hemingway

By: Mollie Hemingway

“…the New York Times revealed the FBI’s surprisingly flimsy justification for launching a retaliatory investigation into President Donald Trump, their chief adversary during their recent troubled era.

The Saturday New York Times article appeared on page one, above the fold, with the almost laughable headline “F.B.I. Investigated if Trump Worked for the Russians.” The online version of the story was headlined “F.B.I. Opened Inquiry Into Whether Trump Was Secretly Working on Behalf of Russia.” Nine paragraphs into the story, the reporters admit that there is and was literally “no evidence” to support the idea Trump worked for Russia.

The top of the article, however, immediately presented the FBI-friendly interpretation of the agency’s motivations as fact — without evidence and despite strong evidence to the contrary — saying the FBI began its investigation because they were “so concerned by the president’s behavior” rather than saying it was because they were “so concerned he’d continue to expose their behavior” or “so concerned he’d hold them accountable for their political investigations.”

The article accepts FBI spin that arguing for better relations with the nuclear-armed Russia “constituted a possible threat to national security” that could only be explained if Trump was “knowingly working for Russia or had unwittingly fallen under Moscow’s influence.” Because FBI officials personally opposed Trump’s foreign policy, and that of the tens of millions of Americans who voted for him, the FBI was “suspicious” of him, we’re told. The reporters admit the reckless decision by FBI officials was “an aggressive move” that disturbs many former law enforcement officials.

The FBI never had a good reason to investigate Trump, according to information in the article, but even the justifications they use are erroneous. For example, all three items mentioned here are inaccurately framed and presented:

Mr. Trump had caught the attention of F.B.I. counterintelligence agents when he called on Russia during a campaign news conference in July 2016 to hack into the emails of his opponent, Hillary Clinton. Mr. Trump had refused to criticize Russia on the campaign trail, praising President Vladimir V. Putin. And investigators had watched with alarm as the Republican Party softened its convention platform on the Ukraine crisis in a way that seemed to benefit Russia.

First, Trump never called on Russia to hack Clinton, despite repeated media claims to the contrary. Clinton had already destroyed her server, along with 30,000 emails she claimed were about yoga, while she was under investigation for mishandling classified information. Trump was highlighting that tons of hackers could have already accessed her insecure server when it still existed and, if they had, those emails should be released so that Americans would know what foreign governments undoubtedly already did. It was a way to highlight her reckless handling of classified information and the global security concerns of that.

Second, having a foreign policy different from those who seek conflict with Russia is neither a problem nor any of the FBI’s business. In fact, it’s a big part of why the American people voted for Trump. The American people get to determine who sets foreign policy, and they do so through elections. The FBI does not get to set foreign policy by running criminal and counterintelligence investigations to punish those who step outside their preferred approach. They have no constitutional authority to do that.

Third, even if the Republican Party had changed its convention platform regarding Ukraine, which it had not, that is also neither a problem nor any of the FBI’s business. It’s shocking and scandalous that the FBI thinks it should criminalize foreign policy disputes.” (Read more: The Federalist, 1/14/2019)

January 17, 2019 – Charles Ortel Opinion: The ‘Benghazi’ scandal likely involves national security offenses, money laundering, campaign-finance crimes, charity fraud, and public corruption

Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama (Credit: Manuel Balce Ceneta/The Associated Press)

“The recent ruling by US District Judge Royce C. Lamberth may become a breakthrough in the 5-year long Clinton email scandal, Wall Street analyst Charles Ortel told Sputnik, asking how it happened that the Obama administration, the CIA and FBI had apparently overlooked “one of the gravest modern offenses to government transparency.”

“The ‘Benghazi’ scandal likely involves national security offenses, money-laundering, campaign-finance crimes, charity fraud, and public corruption”, says Wall Street analyst and investigative journalist Charles Ortel, commenting on a US federal judge ordering former Obama officials to answer the conservative watchdog Judicial Watch’s (JW) questions on Hillary Clinton’s private email issue and the Benghazi scandal.

On 15 January, US District Judge Royce C. Lamberth ruled that former national security adviser Susan Rice, former deputy national security adviser Ben Rhodes, fmr. secretary of state Clinton’s former senior advisor and deputy chief of staff Jacob Sullivan, and FBI official E.W. Priestap must answer the watchdog’s written questions about the State Department’s response to the deadly 2012 terror attack in Benghazi, Libya.

BREAKING: Citing government shutdown, DOJ/State seek to stall court-ordered discovery ordered to begin yesterday on Clinton Email, Benghazi Scandal: Top Obama-Clinton Officials, Susan Rice, and Ben Rhodes to Respond to @JudicialWatch Questions Under Oath https://t.co/kka1QCEWtG pic.twitter.com/WYHLLTFP0G

— Tom Fitton (@TomFitton)

​”In time, historians will likely document that the Clintons and Obamas entered office in January 2009 with a grand plan to transform America’s relations with key powers, especially in the Middle East,” Ortel said. “This plan involved toppling national leaders in many nations by fomenting local uprisings using clandestine resources, in actions that were not likely validly authorized by Congress, as is certainly required under US laws.” (Read more: Sputnik News, 1/17/2019)

January 18, 2019 – Opinion: Buzzfeed, like Lawfare, has a role to play in Resistance operation

(Credit: Conservative Treehouse)

“While the media banter relentlessly about their latest resistance angle du jour; it is perhaps a more beneficial discussion to remind and outline the larger strategy at play. Honing the political skills.

The baseline here is that everything the institutional-left does, is sequential and planned. This is what they do.  This is all they do.  None of the characters within the institutions of professional leftism create anything; build anything; have a life purpose for anything, other than organizing their efforts to exploit control of others via politics.  This is all they know how to do.  When you develop your skills to see their patterns you can then see the predictability behind it.

Prior Example: Former FBI Director James Comey briefs president-elect Trump on the two-page salacious dossier aspect; Former DNI James Clapper, knowing the briefing, then discusses the dossier briefing with CNN… this opens the door for the media who are waiting. Once the narrative door is opened, Buzzfeed enters and transmits the story of the unfounded and uncorroborated Steele Dossier. The key point to understand is that everything from the briefing, to Clapper, to CNN, to Buzzfeed, was scripted and planned. This is the pattern. As we have mentioned the pattern becomes predictable.

This predictability is how CTH was able to state in December 2018 that Michael Cohen would most likely be the centerpiece of the first ‘impeachment’ block; and from knowing how the script rolls, CTH was able to predict the exact timing (Thursday after Superbowl, 2/7/19); and the exact committee (Cummings, House Oversight); for the first hearing that will exploit Michael Cohen.

(Credit: Conservative Treehouse)

The current Buzzfeed claims being widely promoted today are all part of that pre-scheduled ‘impeachment’ process.  When we approach the term “impeachment” we are not discussing it as the technical and legal approach for removal of a President; but rather the political use of the process to damage President Donald Trump.

Professional political Democrats would not be using “impeachment” in the constitutional sense of the process; but rather weaponizing the process –as a tool itself– to: •target the executive office; •diminish the presidency (“isolate”/”marginalize”, Alinsky rules); •and position themselves for 2020.

Optics and innuendo are key elements, tools per se’, in the Alinsky narrative engineering process.  That’s why Pelosi, Schumer and the democrat machine are going bananas about getting a raw Mueller report and not a version from AG Barr {explained here}.

From Pelosi’s rules, we now know Elijah Cummings will deliver the schedule for impeachment hearings before his deadline on April 15th. We also know from the outline of the process they are following, the next likely witness to be subpoenaed, and to grab the media headlines will be Donald Trump Jr.

That’s where Adam Schiff (HPSCI) and Jerry Nadler (Judiciary) come in with the technical hearings to begin the ‘impeachment’ specifics.  However, they need a predicate to get from Michael Cohen to Donald Trump Jr.

So, knowing they need a baseline predicate…. How do you get from Michael Cohen to Donald Trump Jr?  A = You use the Trump Tower Moscow narrative….  See the map?

Elijah Cummings needs a reference point to take Cohen toward DT-Jr, that’s where Buzzfeed comes in.  Is there any factual basis for the claims within the Buzzfeed report?  No, but that’s not what they need… they need “innuendo” to investigate.

“President Donald Trump directed his longtime attorney Michael Cohen to lie to Congress about negotiations to build a Trump Tower in Moscow, according to two federal law enforcement officials involved in an investigation of the matter.” (link)

The article is fraught with flawed assumptions and flat-out nonsense; even claiming emails and documents (unseen by the authors) to support the foundation of the article.  Note that no-one else in media is validating this claim. However, that doesn’t matter…. what matters is the ‘claim that needs to be investigated’.  Did President Trump direct Michael Cohen to lie to congress; no, that’s silly.

In the aftermath of the SSCI (Mark Warner) drum-beating a false story about Trump Tower Moscow as evidence of ‘possible’ influence over Trump….. Did Cohen participate in writing a brief set of talking points for the Trump organization to clear up this false and malicious political narrative?  Probably.  Most large organizations do that to share with top executives so everyone has the same set of facts to deal with.

Is that document the electronic evidence (emails) inferred, skewed, and manipulated within the Buzzfeed report?…  I’d wager B.I.N.G.O.

All of it is a nothing-burger, but that doesn’t technically matter for the needs of the ‘resistance’; what they need is a tenuously valid innuendo trail they can exploit with Michael Cohen on February 7th, that will allow Elijah Cummings to pass that specific aspect to Adam Schiff and Jerry Nadler.

See how that works?

(Conservative Treehouse, 1/18/2019) (Republished with permission)

January 23, 2019 – Opinion: FBI Special Agent Joseph Pientka Is the DOJ’s Invisible Man

Christopher Steele and Bruce Ohr (Credit: public domain)

(…) “The Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court [FISC] was not alerted to the fact that much of the information in the surveillance warrant on Trump campaign foreign policy adviser Carter Page was being provided by paid political propagandists employed by the Hillary Clinton campaign.

To continue receiving Trump-Russia collusion propaganda from opposition research firm Fusion GPS and Christopher Steele—who had been hired by Fusion GPS on behalf of the Clinton campaign and DNC—the FBI established a back-channel through former Associate Deputy Attorney General Bruce Ohr at the Department of Justice. After every meeting with Steele, Ohr would sit down for an interview with FBI Special Agent Joseph Pientka, who would fill out official FD-302 interview forms to pass on the information within the FBI.

(…) It seems something spooked the SpyGate plotters into presenting an appearance of drawing back from Christopher Steele and Fusion GPS while still surreptitiously using that political propaganda shop as a source for their ongoing investigations.

This back-channel allowed the FBI to hide Fusion GPS’s—and the Clinton campaign’s–role in providing much of the “evidence” being used to drive these politically-motivated investigations of Trump and his associates.

So why Bruce Ohr? Because he was a top official inside the Department of Justice and close to the DOJ’s National Security Division [NSD].

The point was to launder Fusion GPS’s Trump-Russia allegations through Ohr to Deputy FBI Director Andrew McCabe and lead agent on the Trump case, Peter Strzok, so it could be claimed the information was coming from a legitimate intelligence source instead of from paid political propagandists working for Hillary Clinton.

This means it’s highly likely that when Bruce Ohr’s personal notes from his meetings with Fusion GPS are compared with the official FD-302 interview forms that Agent Pientka filled out following his interviews with Ohr, they are not going to match when it comes to what the stated source was for the Trump-Russia information.

For Pientka to write down on the 302 forms that this information on Trump-Russia he was being given by Ohr was still coming from the Fusion GPS boys after the FBI had supposedly severed all ties with them would have defeated the entire reason for going to the trouble of establishing a backchannel in the first place.

Investigative journalist John Solomon of The Hill has stated in his reports that he has been shown Ohr’s handwritten notes that he made during his talks with Glenn Simpson and Christopher Steele. So in his own notes, Ohr made it clear who he was talking to and where he was getting these allegations from.

So now the $56,000 question: What do the FD-302 forms Pientka filled out actually say about where the Trump-Russia allegations came from? Do the interview forms admit the allegations were coming from a politically motivated propaganda shop, or do they claim the information came from politically neutral intelligence sources?

I’ve no doubt that at some time in the past year and a half, the DOJ Inspector General’s office sat Pientka down for extensive and detailed interviews about his dual roles in both the Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn affair (he and Strzok interviewed Flynn), and with the Fusion GPS back-channel to the FBI. What he told them must have been incredibly sensitive, since nobody has publicly seen or heard from Pientka all this time, even though House and Senate committees have requested that the DOJ produce him for testimony.  Whatever Inspector General Michael E. Horowitz’s investigators discovered in their interviews with Pientka, they are keeping a very tight lid on it.” (Read more: The Epoch Times, 1/23/2019)

March 27, 2019 – Opinion: Stephen Cohen – The Real Costs of Russiagate

Rachel Maddow (Credit: The Nation)

(…) “Contrary to a number of major media outlets, from Bloomberg to The Wall Street Journal, nor does Mueller’s exculpatory finding actually mean that “Russiagate . . . is dead” and indeed that “it expired in an instant.” Such conclusions reveal a lack of historical and political understanding. Nearly three years of Russiagate’s toxic allegations have entered the American political-media elite bloodstream and they almost certainly will reappear again and again in one form of another.

This is an exceedingly grave danger because the real costs of Russiagate are not the estimated $25 to $40 million spent on the Mueller investigation but the corrosive damage it has already done to the institutions of American democracy—damage done not by an alleged “Trump-Putin axis” but by Russsigate’s perpetrators themselves. Having examined this collateral damage in my recently published book War with Russia? From Putin and Ukraine to Trump and Russiagate, I will only note them here.

— Clamorous allegations that the Kremlin “attacked our elections” and thereby put Trump in the White House, despite the lack of any evidence, cast doubt on the legitimacy of American elections everywhere—national, state, and local. If true, or even suspected, how can voters have confidence in the electoral foundations of American democracy? Persistent demands to “secure our elections from hostile powers”— a politically and financially profitable mania, it seems—can only further abet and perpetuate declining confidence in the entire electoral process. Still more, if some crude Russian social media outputs could so dupe voters, what does this tell us about what US elites, which originated these allegations, really think of those voters, of the American people?

— Defamatory Russsiagate allegations that Trump was a “Kremlin puppet” and thus “illegitimate” were aimed at the president but hit the presidency itself, degrading the institution, bringing it under suspicion, casting doubt on its legitimacy. And if an “agent of a hostile foreign power” could occupy the White House once, a “Manchurian candidate,” why not again? Will Republicans be able to resist making such allegations against a future Democratic president? In any event, Hillary Clinton’s failed campaign manager, Robby Mook, has already told us that there will be a “next time.” (Read more: The Nation, 3/27/2019)

Tales of the New Cold War: 1 of 2: The Russiagate damage comes home to America. Stephen F. Cohen @NYU @Princeton EastWestAccord.com

Tales of the New Cold War: 2 of 2: The Russiagate damage comes home to America. Stephen F. Cohen @NYU @Princeton EastWestAccord.com

April 19, 2019 – Opinion: Mueller/Rosenstein and the entire apparatus were trying to provoke Trump in all manners to enhance the obstruction case

The *methods* the team used were always focused on trying to goad Trump into firing, or interfering, thereby creating more obstruction fuel.

Everything Mueller and Rosenstein were doing in late 2017 and throughout 2018 was intended to drag-out the Russia conspiracy narrative as long as possible, even though there was no actual Trump-Russia investigation taking place and Robert Mueller *DID* interview President Trump about the obstruction case. Rod Rosenstein was there for the deposition…. Only President Trump didn’t know his remarks were being recorded and transcribed.

Robert Mueller Did Interview President Trump Regarding Obstruction Case

What, you think that over-the-top broadcast (leaked to CNN) raid on Roger Stone with heavily armed SWAT teams was a mistake? Oh hell no… Team Mueller/Rosenstein were trying to get Trump to lash out. It was strategic and purposefully agressive, just like the Manafort raid.

Every action was taken by the Mueller special counsel in order to get Trump to respond to the heavy-handed tactics. It was always “obstruction” bait. Intentional provocation…. It was purposefully over-the-top. They were goading the President.

People still don’t appreciate just how sinister and Machiavellian this was. It was the obstruction case they hoped would build the impeachment outcome.

This was always the objective….. all the way back to May of 2017.

The obstruction case was based on the updated Scope Memo written by Rosenstein on August 2nd, 2017. Everything they were doing was to create that obstruction case. That’s why we are not allowed to see the scope memo.

The scope memo outlines the same targets that originally existed within Crossfire Hurricane and the Steele Dossier: Paul Manafort, George Papadopoulos, Carter Page, Michael Flynn and Michael Cohen. This was how they hoped to get to Trump.

Mueller targeted these individuals on other issues, any issues, because he needed to shut them down, hide the fraudulent origin of the original operation…. and thereby protect his obstruction investigation… For Mueller’s purposes:

  1. The Obstruction investigation, building toward the impeachment narrative, was always the original goal of Mueller and Rosenstein. Therefore…
  2. The Obstruction investigation needed the precursor of the Trump-Russia investigation to remain standing; However…
  3. The structure of the Trump-Russia investigation, the underlying evidence to support the effort, is predicated on the “Steele Dossier”. Therefore…
  4. Mueller needed to protect the Steele Dossier from scrutiny and deconstruction.

Remember, because there was no Trump-Russia collusion/conspiracy, it was always the “obstruction” investigation that could lead to the desired result by Mueller’s team of taking down President Trump through impeachment.

The “obstruction case” was the entirety of the case they were trying to make from August 2017 through to March 2019.

New scope memo. New FBI Team Leader. New approach. New goals. Mueller’s goals. What he was enlisted to produce. etc.

The Mueller targets would generate pressure points against President Trump. If they could not deliver direct evidence against Trump (on any criminal angle) they could be used to bait Trump into taking actions that would assist the obstruction case.

Obstruction was always the impeachment long-game, and their political plan needed the 2018 mid-term election and the House of Representatives in Pelosi’s hands to work.

 

This is why DAG Rod Rosenstein pressured Trump in September of 2018 not to declassify the underlying SpyGate/FISA documents.

Rosenstein knew sunlight would have undermined the Russia narrative, and worse…. it might have upended the goal of winning the House (a key part of their long-term plan); so Rosenstein informed Trump declassification would be impeding the Mueller investigation.

Along the road toward building the obstruction case, Mueller and Rosenstein needed to retain the illusion of a “Russian Interference Investigation.

The need to keep up the “Muh Russia” appearances is why Mueller and Rosenstein had to pause every six months and throw out a few phony, structurally silly, Russia indictments.

Robert Mueller, Andrew Weissmann and Rod Rosenstein knew the people they accused would never show up to defend themselves. The Russian interference indictments were for appearances only, and always came with a specific disclaimer:

This disclaimer is purposeful for two reasons. Number one: there was no Trump-Russia collusion/conspiracy; and number two: saying it satiated their target, President Trump.

While President Trump’s legal team were asking what was taking so long, the real program was for Mueller’s team to build the ‘obstruction’ case, which would be the launching point for the impeachment.

Andrew Weissmann & team were continually trying to bait/provoke President Trump into making statements, or taking action that could be added to the ‘obstruction’ file; while Mueller is telling Trump’s legal team they were only a subject-witness in the Russia investigation.

The entire Mueller team were working to goad President Trump into something Mueller could then color/construe as obstruction and then open House impeachment grounds; and they were having fun doing it.

The manner of the pre-dawn raid on Paul Manafort, and the way they treated him, along with the manner of the raid on Michael Cohen was all done purposefully hoping to draw a reaction from Trump, which they would add to the obstruction file.

Once Rosenstein and Mueller had the mid-term election goal secure (Dec ’18), then they set about enhancing the impeachment narrative with even stronger ‘obstruction‘ provocations.

The outrageous manner of arrest of Roger Stone is an example. The scale of it; heavily armed swat teams, tanks etc; and the fact that Weissmann enlisted CNN for the purpose of intentionally broadcasting the outrageous nature of the arrest, was by design.

After the 2018 election the type of provocations increased. From all appearances they had no intention of not continuing to ramp up the provocation.

All designed to make Trump lash out and give the appearance needed for obstruction.

The reason why Mueller’s team ended up stopping the scheme is because William Barr showed up and refused to participate. This would explain why a disgruntled Weissmann and Mueller team punted on the obstruction decision to AG William Barr.

It was their last desperate effort, amid a failure to construct a solid legal case, to politicize the possibility and innuendo, and force Barr to be the one to say: “no obstruction.”

(Read more: The Last Refuge/Conservative Treehouse, 4/19/2019)

(Editor’s note: republished with permission, photos courtesy of Conservative Treehouse)

May 3, 2019 – Opinion: How US and Foreign Intel Agencies Interfered in a US Election

By Larry C. Johnson
Sic Semper Tyrannis 

The preponderance of evidence makes this very simple–there was a broad, coordinated effort by the Obama Administration, with the help of foreign governments, to target Donald Trump and paint him as a stooge of Russia.

The Mueller Report provides irrefutable evidence that the so-called Russian collusion case against Donald Trump was a deliberate fabrication by intelligence and law enforcement organizations in the United States and the United Kingdom and organizations aligned with the Clinton Campaign.

The New York Times reported that a man with a long history of working with the CIA, and a female FBI informant, traveled to London in September of 2016 and tried unsuccessfully to entrap George Papadopolous. The biggest curiosity is that U.S. intelligence or law enforcement officials fully briefed British intelligence on what they were up to. Quite understandable given what we now know about British spying on the Trump Campaign.

The Mueller investigation of Trump “collusion” with Russia prior to the 2016 Presidential election focused on eight cases:

    • Proposed Trump Tower Project in Moscow
    • George Papadopolous
    • Carter Page
    • Dimitri Simes
    • Veselnetskya Meeting at Trump Tower (June 16, 2016)
  • Events at Republican Convention
  • Post-Convention Contacts with Russian Ambassador Kislyak
  • Paul Manafort

One simple fact emerges–of the eight cases or incidents of alleged Trump Campaign interaction with the Russians investigated by the Mueller team, the proposals to interact with the Russian Government or with Putin originated with FBI informants, MI-6 assets or people paid by Fusion GPS, and not Trump or his people.

There is not a single instance where Donald Trump or any member of his campaign team initiated contact with the Russians for the purpose of gaining derogatory information on Hillary or obtaining support to boost the Trump campaign. Not one.

Simply put, Trump and his campaign were the target of an elaborate, wide ranging covert action designed to entrap him and members of his team as an agent of Russia.

Let’s look in detail at each of the cases.”  (Read more: Sic Semper Tyrannis, 5/03/2019)

May 31, 2019 – Sidney Powell discusses DOJ in the Lawfare era: “guilty until proven innocent”

Not enough people understand the role of the Lawfare group in the corruption and political weaponization of the DOJ, FBI and larger intelligence community.

Benjamin Wittes (Credit: Conservative Treehouse)

What Media Matters is to corrupt left-wing media, the Lawfare group is to the corrupt DOJ and FBI.

All of the headline names around the seditious conspiracy against Donald Trump assemble within the network of the Lawfare group.

Three days after the October 21st, 2016, FISA warrant was obtained, Benjamin Wittes outlined the insurance policy approach.

FBI Director James Comey, FBI Legal Counsel James Baker, Comey memo recepient Daniel Richman, Deputy AG Sally Yates, Comey friend Benjamin Wittes, FBI lead agent Peter Strzok, FBI counsel Lisa Page, Mueller lead Andrew Weissmann and the Mueller team of lawyers, all of them -and more- are connected to the Lawfare group; and this network provides the sounding board for all of the weaponized approaches, including the various new legal theories as outlined within the Weissmann-Mueller Report.

The Lawfare continuum is very simple.  The corrupt 2015 Clinton exoneration; which became the corrupt 2016 DOJ/FBI Trump investigation; which became the corrupt 2017 DOJ/FBI Mueller probe; is currently the 2019 “impeachment” plan.  Weissmann and Mueller delivering their report evolved the plan from corrupt legal theory into corrupt political targeting.  Every phase within the continuum holds the same goal.

The current “impeachment strategy” is planned-out within the Lawfare group.

After the 2018 mid-terms, and in preparation for the “impeachment” strategy, House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff and House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerry Nadler hired Lawfare Group members to become committee staff. Chairman Schiff hired former SDNY U.S. Attorney Daniel Goldman (link), and Chairman Nadler hired  Obama Administration lawyer Norm Eisen and criminal defense attorney Barry Berke (link), all are within the Lawfare network.

Remember, Special Prosecutor Robert Mueller didn’t come into this process as an ‘outsider’, and Mueller didn’t select his team. The corrupt Lawfare team inside government (FBI Counsel James Baker, DOJ Deputy Andrew Weissmann, FBI Deputy McCabe etc.) already knew Mueller.  The team had established personal and professional connections to Mueller, and they brought him in to lead the team.

When you realize that Robert Mueller didn’t select the team; rather the preexisting team selected their figurehead, Robert Mueller; then results make sense.  Robert Mueller can never be allowed to testify to congress because if questioned he actually has very little understanding of what took place.

A disconcerting aspect to the Lawfare dynamic is how current U.S. Attorney General William Barr has knowledge of this.  Barr knows and understands how the Lawfare network operates. Barr is from this professional neighborhood. Like Mueller, Barr also knows these people.

“As a matter of law. In other words, we didn’t agree with the legal analysis- a lot of the legal analysis in the report. It did not reflect the views of the department. It was the views of a particular lawyer or lawyers.

AG BILL BARR

Under Eric Holder, Sally Yates, Loretta Lynch, Tom Perez, Robert Mueller, James Comey and Andrew McCabe, the focus of the DOJ and FBI became prismatic toward politics and tribalism.  All of the hired senior lawyers and officials had to be aligned with the political intents of the offices.

(CIA Director John Brennan brought the same political goals to an intelligence apparatus that held a preexisting disposition of alignment, see Mike Morell: “I ran the CIA now I’m endorsing Hillary Clinton.”)

Their agencies were used against their ideological enemies in large operations like Fast-n-Furious, IRS targeting, Gibson Guitar etc.  And also smaller operations: Henry Louis Gates, George Zimmerman, Darren Wilson, Ferguson, Baltimore etc.  All of these activist Lawfare examples were pushed and promoted by an allied media.

Many of the ‘weaponized’ approaches use radical legal theory (ex. disparate impact), and that ties into the purposes and methods of the Lawfare Group.  The intent of Lawfare is described in the name: to use Law as a tool in Warfare.  The ideology that binds the group is the ideological outlook and purpose: using the legal system to target political opposition.

The Lawfare group ensures you have the right to remain guilty until they verify your politics and determine your alignment with the tribe.  If accepted, your disposition shifts to innocent and you receive a pass to avoid any legal jeopardy…

When special counsel Robert Mueller formally closed the Russia investigation on May 29th, he opened the door to wide-ranging speculation as to the intent behind his statement. In the eyes of Former Texas Prosecutor Sidney Powell, Mueller’s words stood the rule of law and the presumption of innocence on their heads. (Conservative Treehouse, 6/01/2019)

July 25, 2019 – WSJ Editorial: What Mueller Was Trying to Hide

By Kimberly Strassel

A CSpan subtitle refers to the Mueller hearing on July 24, 2019, as an Obstruction of Justice Investigation by the House Judiciary Committee. (Credit: CSpan3)

(…) “The most notable aspect of the Mueller report was always what it omitted: the origins of this mess. Christopher Steele’s dossier was central to the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s probe, the basis of many of the claims of conspiracy between the Trump campaign and Russia. Yet the Mueller authors studiously wrote around the dossier, mentioning it only in perfunctory terms. The report ignored Mr. Steele’s paymaster, Fusion GPS, and its own ties to Russians. It also ignored Fusion’s paymaster, the Clinton campaign, and the ugly politics behind the dossier hit job.

Mr. Mueller’s testimony this week put to rest any doubt that this sheltering was deliberate. In his opening statement he declared that he would not “address questions about the opening of the FBI’s Russia investigation, which occurred months before my appointment, or matters related to the so-called Steele Dossier.” The purpose of those omissions was obvious, as those two areas go to the heart of why the nation has been forced to endure years of collusion fantasy.

Mr. Mueller claimed he couldn’t answer questions about the dossier because it “predated” his tenure and is the subject of a Justice Department investigation. These excuses are disingenuous. Nearly everything Mr. Mueller investigated predated his tenure, and there’s no reason the Justice Department probe bars Mr. Mueller from providing a straightforward, factual account of his team’s handling of the dossier.

If anything, Mr. Mueller had an obligation to answer those questions, since they go to the central failing of his own probe. As Florida Rep. Matt Gaetz asked Mr. Mueller, how could a special-counsel investigation into “Russia’s interference” have any credibility if it failed to look into whether the Steele dossier was itself disinformation from Moscow? Mr. Steele acknowledges that senior Russian officials were the source of his dossier’s claims of an “extensive conspiracy.” Given that no such conspiracy actually existed, Mr. Gaetz asked: “Did Russians really tell that to Christopher Steele, or did he just make it up and was he lying to the FBI?”

Mr. Mueller surreally responded: “As I said earlier, with regard to Steele, that is beyond my purview.”

So it went throughout the whole long day. Republicans asked basic questions about the report’s conclusions or analysis, and Mr. Mueller dodged and weaved and refused to avoid answering questions about the FBI’s legwork, the dossier’s role and Fusion’s involvement. Ohio Rep. Steve Chabot asked how the report could have neglected to mention Fusion’s ties to a Russian company and lawyer. Mr. Mueller: “Outside my purview.” California Rep. Devin Nunes asked several questions about one of the men at the epicenter of the “collusion” conspiracy—academic Joseph Mifsud, whom former FBI Director Jim Comey has tried to paint as a Russian agent. Mr. Mueller: “I am not going to speak to the series of happenings as you articulated them.”

Then again, how could he? The Mueller team, rather than question the FBI’s actions, went out of its way to build on them. That’s how we ended up with tortured plea agreements for process crimes from figures like former Trump aide George Papadopoulos and former national security adviser Michael Flynn. They were peripheral figures in an overhyped drama, who nonetheless had to be scalped to legitimize the early actions of Mr. Comey & Co. Mr. Mueller inherited the taint, and his own efforts were further tarnished. That accounts for Mr. Mueller’s stonewalling.” (Read more: The Wall Street Journal, 7/25/2019)

August 1, 2019 – Opinion: Here Are 5 Big Holes in Mueller’s Work

Robert Mueller testifies to congress on July 24, 2019. (Credit: Saul Loeb/Agence France Presse/Getty Images)

“Robert Mueller’s two-year, $25.2 million investigation was supposed to provide the definitive account of Donald Trump, Russia and the 2016 election. Yet even after he issued a 448-page report and testified for five hours before Congress, critical aspects remain unexplained, calling into question the basis for the probe and the decisions of those who conducted it.

Time and again in his report and his testimony, Mueller refused to address a wide range of fundamental issues, claiming they were beyond his purview. Some of the issues Mueller and his team did not clarify include whether the FBI had a sound predicate for opening a counterintelligence probe of the Trump campaign; whether the FBI knowingly relied on false material; and the links between U.S. government agencies and key figures who fueled the most explosive claims of an illicit Trump-Russia relationship. Mueller claimed that he was prevented from answering critical questions due to ongoing Justice Department reviews, one by Attorney General William Barr and U.S. Attorney John Durham and the other by Inspector General Michael Horowitz. In the meantime, here are some of the biggest mysteries that Mueller’s team left hanging in the air.

Who Is Joseph Mifsud, and Was He the Actual Predicate for the Russia Investigation?

Mueller’s pointed refusal to answer questions about Mifsud underscored that his team did not provide a plausible explanation for the incident that supposedly sparked the Russia investigation in July 2016. Mifsud is the mysterious Maltese professor who reportedly informed Trump campaign volunteer George Papadopoulos that the Russian government had “dirt” on Hillary Clinton. Their conversation took place in , before the alleged hacking of Democratic Party emails was publicly known. (cont.)

What Was the Role of the Steele Dossier?

Christopher Steele: described as “Source #1” and “credible.”
(Credit: Victoria Jones/The Associated Press)

Mueller also refused to address another key driver of the Trump-Russia probe – the series of unverified and salacious opposition research memos against Trump secretly financed by the Clinton campaign and the DNC and  compiled by former British intelligence agent Christopher Steele. Some Republicans believe the dossier was the real trigger of the FBI probe and that Mifsud was later used as an excuse by the FBI to cover that up once the dossier’s partisan origins were revealed. As he did with Mifsud, Mueller, who was FBI Director between 2001 and 2013, stonewalled the many Republican efforts to press him on this topic. (more)

Why Did the Mueller Team Invent the Polling Data Theory About Konstantin Kilimnik, and Omit His U.S. Ties?

Konstantin Kilimnik
(Credit: The Associated Press)

Mueller also refused to answer critical questions about his report’s portrayal of Konstantin Kilimnik. The longtime business associate of Trump’s one-time campaign manager, Paul Manafort, became central to the Trump-Russia conspiracy theory as a result of the Mueller team’s own innuendo. In January 2019, Mueller accused Manafort of lying about sharing Trump campaign polling data with Kilimnik during the 2016 campaign. According to Mueller, the FBI had assessed that Kilimnik has an unspecified “relationship with Russian intelligence.” In court, Mueller deputy Andrew Weissmann repeated that ambiguous claim and tacked on a piece of tantalizing flourish: “This goes to the larger view of what we think is going on, and what we think is the motive here. This goes, I think, very much to the heart of what the special counsel’s office is investigating.” Weissmann’s comments fueled widespread speculation – and even confident assertions – that Kilimnik had passed on the polling data to the Russian government, which then put it to use for its supposed social media interference campaign targeting malleable swing-state voters. (cont.)

Why Did the Mueller Team Falsely Suggest That Trump Tower Moscow Was a Viable Project – and What Was the Role of FBI Informant Felix Sater?

Along with the discredited polling-data theory, House Democrats repeatedly played up the Mueller team’s indictment of Michael Cohen for lying to Congress about the failed effort to build a Trump Tower Moscow. In court filings, the Mueller team insinuated that the project was a viable and lucrative one. Because Cohen had lied to Congress and Trump had denied having business dealings in Russia, Rep. Joaquin Castro asked Mueller if he had assessed whether “President Trump could be vulnerable to blackmail by the Russians.” (cont.)

Was Specious Info Leaked to Justify the Absence of Trump-Kremlin Links?

In the absence of evidence tying the Trump campaign to the Kremlin – and a preponderance of leads involving key figures actually tied to the West – U.S. intelligence officials helped cast a pall of suspicion through misleading, and sometimes false, media leaks. In January 2017, then-FBI Director James Comey briefed President-elect Trump on the Steele Dossier’s most explosive allegation: that the Russians had a tape of him with prostitutes in a Moscow Ritz-Carlton hotel room. Comey’s briefing to Trump was leaked to the press, leading to the dossier’s publication by BuzzFeed and cementing the story atop the news cycle for the more than two years since.” (cont.)

(Read more: RealClearInvestigations, 8/01/2019) 

September 14, 2019 – Opinion: Scott Ritter probes Russian informant, Oleg Smolenkov’s role as a CIA asset and the use of his data by Brennan

Reports that the CIA conducted an emergency exfiltration of a long-time human intelligence source who was highly placed within the Russian Presidential Administration sent shock waves throughout Washington, D.C. The source was said to be responsible for the reporting used by the former director of the CIA, John Brennan, in making the case that Russian President Vladimir Putin personally ordered Russian intelligence services to interfere in the 2016 U.S. presidential election for the purpose of tipping the scales in favor of then-candidate Donald Trump. According to CNN’s Jim Sciutto, the decision to exfiltrate the source was driven in part by concerns within the CIA over President Trump’s cavalier approach toward handling classified information, including his willingness to share highly classified intelligence with Russia’s Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov during a controversial visit to the White House in May 2017.

On closer scrutiny, however, this aspect of the story falls apart, as does just about everything CNN, The New York Times and other mainstream media outlets have reported. There was a Russian spy whose information was used to push a narrative of Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election; this much appears to be true. Everything else that has been reported is either a mischaracterization of fact or an outright fabrication designed to hide one of the greatest intelligence failures in U.S. history — the use by a CIA director of intelligence data specifically manipulated to interfere in the election of an American president.

The consequences of this interference has deleteriously impacted U.S. democratic institutions in ways the American people remain ignorant of — in large part because of the complicity of the U.S. media when it comes to reporting this story.

Oleg Smolenkov (Credit: public domain)

This article attempts to set the record straight by connecting the dots presented by available information and creating a narrative shaped by a combination of derivative analysis and informed speculation. At best, this article brings the reader closer to the truth about Oleg Smolenkov’s role as a CIA asset; at worst, it raises issues and questions that will help in determining the truth.

(…) Every Russian diplomat assigned to the United States is screened to ascertain his or her susceptibility for recruitment. The FBI does this from a counterintelligence perspective, looking for Russian spies. The CIA does the same, but with the objective of recruiting a Russian source who can remain in the employ of the Russian government, and thereby provide the CIA with intelligence information commensurate to their standing and access. Turning a senior Russian diplomat is difficult; recruiting a junior Russian diplomat like Oleg Smolenkov less so. Someone like Smolenkov would be viewed not so much by the limited access he provided at the time of recruitment, but rather his potential for promotion and the increased opportunity for more essential access provided by such.

The responsibility within the CIA for recruiting Russian diplomats living in the United States falls to the National Resources Division, or NR, part of the Directorate of Operations, or DO — the clandestine arm of the CIA. In a perfect world, the CIA domestic station in Washington, D.C., would coordinate with the local FBI field office and develop a joint approach for recruiting a Russian diplomat such as Smolenkov. The reality is, however, that the CIA and the FBI have different goals and objectives when it comes to the Russians they recruit. As such, Smolenkov’s recruitment was most likely a CIA-only affair, run by NR but closely monitored by the Russian Operations Group of the Agency’s Central Eurasia Division, who would have responsibility for managing Smolenkov upon his return to Moscow.

The precise motive for Smolenkov to take up the CIA’s offer of recruitment remains unknown. He graduated from one of the premier universities in Russia, the Maurice Thorez Moscow State Pedagogical Institute of Foreign Languages, and he married his English language instructor. Normally a graduate from an elite university such as Maurice Thorez has his or her pick of jobs in the Foreign Ministry, Ministry of Defense or the security services. Smolenkov was hired by the Foreign Ministry as a junior linguist, assigned to the Second European Department, which focuses on Great Britain, Scandinavia and the Baltics, before getting assigned to the embassy in Washington.”  (Read more: Consortium News, 9/14/2019)

October 14, 2019 – Fiona Hill fails the truth test — reveals her value as a Kremlin agent

“In the mind of Fiona Hill (lead image, right), the recently departed senior director for Russia at the National Security Council (NSC), everybody in Washington is vulnerable to Russian attacks of one kind or another, but not her.

Instead, she admitted in testimony to the Congressional committees investigating impeachment evidence against President Donald Trump,  that she’s on an attack operation of her own.  “I’m sorry to be very passionate but this is precisely…why I joined the [Trump] administration. I didn’t join it because I thought the Ukrainians had been going after the President.”  She says the reason she joined up was to fight the Russians.

“I thought it was very important to step up, as an expert, as somebody who’s been working on Russia for basically my whole entire adult 1ife, given what had happened in 2016 and given the peril that I actually thought that we were in as a democracy, given what the Russians I know to have done in the course of the 2016 elections… I’m extremely concerned that this is a rabbit hole that we’ re all going to go down in between now and the 2020 election, and it will be to all of our detriment.”

Hill testified that she’s certain that “what happened in 2016” was that the Kremlin intervened to help Trump defeat Hillary Clinton. “We’re in peril as a democracy because of other people interfering here. And it doesn’t mean to say that other people haven’t also been trying to do things, but the Russians were [the ones] who attacked us in 2016, and they’re now writing the script for others to do the same. And if we don’t get our act together, they will continue to make fools of us internationally.”

“He’s [President Vladimir Putin] looking out there for every opening that he can find, basically, and somebody’s vulnerability to turn that against them. That’s exactly what a case officer does. They get a weakness, and they blackmail their assets. And Putin will target world leaders and other officials like this. He tries to target everybody.”

So, in the logic of Hill’s analysis of how the Russians operate against everybody, including herself, what evidence is there that Hill hasn’t, by concealment, calculation, corruption, or by mistake, succumbed to Putin’s attack,  too? Not once was Hill asked by either the Democrats or Republicans during the deposition, nor did she volunteer her own explanation, of how she managed to inoculate herself and is now telling the truth.

If Hill is telling the truth, and equally if she isn’t,  she has inflicted serious damage on her own colleagues and superiors,   the US Government’s Russia-hating professionals. In her testimony Hill depicts them as lying to each other and to the press; constantly scheming for and against the President; incapable of coordination among themselves, agreement with their allies, or negotiation with their enemies. Most valuable of all to the Kremlin, Hill reveals that the American warfighter is predictable in everything he or she understands, plans or does.

To reveal this much is precious intelligence for Moscow because the Russian secret services and Putin would be less willing to believe it if it had come from home-grown agents. Either Hill is a willing dupe, or she is the fool she is warning her colleagues to beware of.

On October 14, Hill gave ten hours of question-and-answer testimony before the Congressional committees on intelligence, foreign affairs and oversight. The record comprises 446 pages of verbatim transcript. This has just been released in unclassified, partially redacted form; click to read in full.

(…) Hill’s testimony reveals, though she doesn’t admit it, that Trump had come to distrust the intelligence analysis and policy advice he was getting from Hill as the coordinator of all the government agencies involved in Ukraine and Russia. She admitted to knowing little personally and directly of what Trump and his senior aides and advisors discussed and decided among themselves. What she knew was indirect, down the White House staff chain,  and by hearsay.

Her preoccupation, Hill emphasized repeatedly, was with Russian plotting in Washington, and in Hill’s assessment, the Russian successes. Christopher Steele, whom Hill had known as her counterpart intelligence officer for Russia at the British MI6 years before, had been lured, she testified, by the Russians into the “rabbit hole” Hill called the Golden Showers dossier.   Victoria Nuland, former Assistant Secretary of State, was tricked by the Russians into promoting the Steele dossier to NSC officials. Ambassador Geoffrey Pyatt, ex-Ambassador to Ukraine, was victimized by the Russians who eavesdropped on his telephone calls with Nuland when he and she were plotting the Kiev putsch of February 2014.

Left to right: Christopher Steele; Victoria Nuland; Geoffrey Pyatt. (Credit: John Helmer)

Hill swore on oath that she too was targeted by Russian agents when she was writing her last book on President Vladimir Putin in 2012.   “My phone was hacked repeatedly, and the Brookings system was hacked repeatedly,” she told the Congressmen. “And at one point, it was clearly obvious that someone had exfiltrated out my draft…And then, mysteriously, after this I started to get emails from people who purported to have met me at different points in my career, people I kind of vaguely remember. I’d look online, and there would be these, you know, Linkedln pages or there might be, you know, something I could find out some information for them. And they’d start offering me information, you know, that somehow purported to, strangely enough, some of the chapters that I was actually working on. And when I would go to meetings in Russia, people would basically, you know so that I was being played, or they were attempting to play me as well.”

Hill was not asked if she reported this to the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) at the time.  That she didn’t report the alleged plot not only discredits her making the allegation now, seven years later; it also warns the Russian services to tell Putin that there is nothing US officials like Hill don’t imagine or won’t fabricate.

For Hill, those Americans who have been targeted the most are so obviously innocent, it’s a Russian operation to think, say, broadcast or publish otherwise. She is convinced, for example,  of the innocence of former Vice President Joseph Biden and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton in taking money from Ukrainians seeking to influence US policy, when they were in charge, or when Clinton was running for president. (Hill said she is just as certain Paul Manafort was guilty of taking Ukrainian money.)

As for the current allegation against the Bidens, father and son, that they were corruptly trading US Government favour for cash paid through the Ukrainian oil and gas exploration company Burisma, Hill revealed she had seen no intelligence report on the subject during her time in office. “From your knowledge of Burisma, are they a corrupt company? DR. HILL: I don’t know a lot about Burisma, I’ll be frank… And you never heard of any reason why anybody should be investigating Vice President Biden? A[nswer]. …correct… And are you aware of any evidence that Vice President Joe Biden in any way acted inappropriately while he was Vice President…A[nswer]. I’m not.”

For details of the Burisma case, and the involvement of Ukrainian oligarch Igor Kolomoisky, read this.

Hill also expressed the unqualified conclusion, after her professional assessment of the US intelligence, that the narrative of the anti-Trump forces in Congress and the press is accurate.  “Do you have any reason,” she was asked by Daniel Goldman, head of investigations for the intelligence committee, “to doubt either the facts alleged in the [Mueller] indictment or the Intelligence Community’s assessment that Russia did interfere in the 2016 election? A[nswer]: I do not. Q. And do you have any reason to believe that Ukraine did interfere in the 2016 election? A[nswer]: I do not. We’re talking about the Ukrainian Government here when you say Ukraine, correct? A. Yes. Yes, I do not.”

Neither Goldman nor the Republican Congressmen asked Hill what she knew of Victor Pinchuk, the Ukrainian oligarch acting for the Ukrainian Government in sending large sums of money to the Clinton Foundation and Hill’s employer, Brookings.”  (Read more: John Helmer, 11/12/2019) (Archive)

December 9, 2019 – The IG FISA report suggests the FISA court is complicit in the FBI FISA abuses

Margot Cleveland

“While the IG’s 478-page report includes many damning details, the following passage indicates that the FISA court abdicated its responsibility of providing “an external check on executive branch decisions to conduct surveillance” in order “’to protect the fourth amendment rights of U.S. persons.”

This paragraph describes how the government described their sources to the FISA court:

The final application submitted to the FISC contained a description of the source network that included the fact that Steele relied upon a Primary Sub-source who used a network of sub-sources, and that neither Steele nor the Primary Sub-source had direct access to the information being reported. The drafts, read copy, and final application also contained a separate footnote on each sub-source with a brief description of his/her position or access to the information he/she was reporting. The Supervisory Intel Analyst assisted the case agent in providing information on the sub-sources and reviewed the footnotes for accuracy. According to the [Office of Intelligence] Attorney, the application contained more information about the sources than is typically provided to the court in FISA applications. According to [the Deputy Assistant Attorney General, Stuart] Evans, the idea was to present the source network to the court so that the court would have as much information as possible.

From this paragraph we know that the FISA court was expressly told that neither Christopher Steele nor his primary sub-source were the actual sources of the information included in the FISA applications. Instead, the FISA applications made clear that Steele and his primary sub-source were repeating information other individuals told them. And it appears from this passage that the only additional information provided to the court concerned a sub-source’s “position” or “access to the information” on which he was reporting.

Further, there appears to be no assertion in the FISA applications that the sub-sources were reliable. (Even if the FISA applications professed the reliability of sub-sources, “courts hold that conclusory statements that informants are ‘believed to be reliable sources,’ ‘standing alone without any supporting factual information, merit absolutely no weight and that information obtained from a reliable source must be treated as information obtained from an informant of unknown reliability.’”) Instead, the FISA applications focused on Steele’s supposed reliability.

But as a legal matter, that is not enough: Even though the probable cause threshold is low, “an untested, unidentified informant’s second-hand report” does not “clear the bar.” (Read more: The Federalist, 1/10/2020)  (Archive)

December 20, 2019 – FISA Court Owes Some Answers

Kimberly Strassel

“Federal Bureau of Investigation for “misconduct” in the Carter Page surveillance warrant. Some would call this accountability. Others will more rightly call it the FISC’s “shocked to find gambling” moment.

Presiding Judge Rosemary Collyer issued her four-page rebuke of the FBI Tuesday, after a Justice Department inspector general report publicly exposing the FBI’s abuses. The judge blasted the FBI for misleading the court by providing “unsupported or contradicted” information and by withholding exculpatory details about Mr. Page. The FISC noted the seriousness of the conduct and gave the FBI until Jan. 10 to explain how it will do better.

The order depicts a court stunned to discover that the FBI failed in its “duty of candor,” and angry it was duped. That’s disingenuous. To buy it, you’d have to believe that not one of the court’s 11 members—all federal judges—caught a whiff of this controversy until now. More importantly, you’d have to ignore that the court was directly informed of the FBI’s abuses nearly two years ago.

On Feb. 7, 2018, Devin Nunes, then chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, sent a letter to Judge Collyer informing her of its findings in his probe of the FBI’s Page application. He wrote that “the Committee found that the FBI and DOJ failed to disclose the specific political actors paying for uncorroborated information” that went to the court, “misled the FISC regarding dissemination of this information,” and “failed to correct these errors in the subsequent renewals.” Mr. Nunes asked the court whether any transcripts of FISC hearings about this application existed, and if so, to provide them to the committee.

Judge Collyer responded a week later, with a dismissive letter that addressed only the last request. The judge observed that any such transcripts would be classified, that the court doesn’t maintain a “systematic record” of proceedings and that, given “separation of power considerations,” Mr. Nunes would be better off asking the Justice Department. The letter makes no reference to the Intelligence Committee findings. (Read more: The Wall Street Journal, 12/20/2019)  (Archive)

January 17, 2020 – The Comey Coverup Unravels

Former FBI Director James Comey on Capitol Hill, Dec. 17, 2018. (Credit: J. Scott Applewhite/The Associated Press)

“In a curious report on Thursday evening, the New York Times carefully averts its eyes from everything that’s interesting. Even Adam Schiff has acknowledged that James Comey’s actions in 2016 may represent the most important and significant Russian influence on the election. (Hoist your shot glass. This will be the umpteenth time I’ve quoted Mr. Schiff on this matter in this column.)

Surely one of the most consequential pieces of intelligence ever received by U.S. agencies was, as we now learn, received in early 2016 from a Dutch counterpart. This is the dubious Russian intelligence that set off Mr. Comey’s multiple interventions in the last presidential race, culminating in an improper act that may have inadvertently elected Donald Trump. Even at the time Mr. Comey’s FBI colleagues considered the intelligence, which indicated questionable actions by the Justice Department to fix the Hillary email investigation, to be false, possibly a Russian plant.

The Times adds the unsurprising revelation that Mr. Comey himself is suspected in the illegal leak that, in early 2017, alerted the media to this untold aspect of his 2016 actions, before the matter disappeared again behind a veil of official secrecy. Yet bizarrely, the paper plays down its scoop, suggesting that any inquiry into a “years-old” leak now can only be a political hit job by an “ambitious” Justice Department attorney seeking to please President Trump.

First of all, I doubt this subject pleases Mr. Trump—it re-raises the question of whether his election was an accident caused by Mr. Comey. Second, the information is obviously important. The scandal hiding in plain sight is our intelligence establishment’s misuse of its authority to muck around in the 2016 election.

As a bonus, I’m going to suggest the FBI’s own pursuit of the collusion will-o’-the-wisp may have been occasioned by its hope of finding that the same fabricated Russian intelligence was in the hands of the Trump campaign, providing an ex post justification for Mr. Comey’s actions that he desperately would have wanted once fingers began pointing at him for Mrs. Clinton’s defeat. (I guess we can at least be glad he didn’t plant the information on Carter Page. )

Let’s call a spade a spade. The media is a big part of the coverup. When the Justice Department inspector general issued his damning report on Mr. Comey, not one media outlet in the Factiva database told its readers about the existence of its classified appendix except this column and Britain’s Daily Mail tabloid.” (Read more: The Wall Street Journal, 1/20/2020)  (Archive)

February 29, 2020 – We Need to Talk About Hillary Clinton’s Disturbing Harvey Weinstein Ties

(Credit: Larry Busacca/Getty Images)

(…) As many outlets have reported, Weinstein has strong ties to both the Clintons and the Obamas, as well as to the Democratic Party establishment overall. Weinstein has donated tens of thousands of dollars to Democrats since the ‘90s, and has hosted fundraisers for candidates and even a birthday party for Hillary in 2000, during her candidacy for senator of New York. Former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, who was a Republican but is now in the race for the Democratic presidential primary, also had a “years-long, mutually beneficial relationship” with Weinstein, as reported by Fox Business. (Bloomberg’s “company, through its male managers and employees from Chief Executive Officer Bloomberg on down, engaged in a pattern and practice of sexual harassment, sexual degradation of women,” according to one lawsuit; that multi-billion dollar corporation has had several women sign NDAs.)

(Credit: CNN, May 2012)

(…) The Times has also reported that political allies tried to warn Hillary Clinton about his behavior. Both Lena Dunham and Tina Brown (former editor-in-chief of The Daily Beast) allege that they told Hillary’s aides about the stories going around about Weinstein—Brown says she did so in 2002, and Dunham in 2016, during Hillary’s presidential campaign. There’s also reporter Ronan Farrow’s claims to BuzzFeed that Hillary refused to meet with him about another, unrelated book once her team caught wind of his investigation into the sexual assault allegations against Weinstein.

Weinstein is especially proud of his connection to the Clintons, and before the allegations against him became public, both parties did what they could to hand favors back and forth. These indulgences included a Weinstein TV appearance where he interviewed Bill, as well as an appearance on CBS News during Hillary’s 2016 primary campaign that the Clinton team coached him for, according to leaked emails. (As revealed via screenshots by conservative writer Alexandra DeSanctis, in 2012, beloved Hollywood director and former public relations mogul Ava DuVernay tweeted that she had “heard all the Harvey stories over the years” but was “still a fan,” based on this interview with the former president.)

 

PHOTO: Michelle Obama once described Weinstein as a “wonderful human being”. (Credit: Kevin Lamarque/Getty Images)

(…) The Obamas also cashed in on their Weinstein connections while the air was clear. In February 2017, Barack Obama’s daughter Malia interned at The Weinstein Company mere months before the allegations against the producer were published. Before that, during the summer of 2015, Malia interned on the set of Dunham’s HBO TV show Girls; Dunham told the Times that, in 2016, during the Clinton presidential campaign, she warned Hillary’s aides—including the campaign’s deputy communications director Kristina Schake and spokeswoman Adrienne Elrod—that Weinstein was a rapist and known throughout the industry to be a predator. According to Dunham, Schake said they would share this information with campaign manager Robby Mook, who is now a political pundit on CNN. Both Elrod and Schake deny that Dunham “mentioned rape,” and Hillary’s current communications director Nick Merrill implied to Times reporters that Dunham should’ve contacted the police, not Hillary’s aides, about the allegations.

Mook knew Weinstein personally, as well. In October, just before the 2016 general election, The Intercept reported on hacked emails that showed Weinstein and Mook strategizing, in April of that year, about how to counter Bernie Sanders’ support from African-American communities, especially given the Sanders campaign’s endorsement from the late Black Lives Matter activist Erica Garner, daughter of Eric Garner, who was killed while unarmed by police officer Daniel Pantaleo in 2014. In the emails, Weinstein brought up the Vermont senator’s voting history on guns, suggesting that Hillary’s campaign link it to the recent Sandy Hook massacre. According to emails, Mook was enthusiastic about the strategy and made plans to meet up with Weinstein to work it out. (Read more: The Daily Beast, 2/29/2020)  (Archive)

March 12, 2020 – Kimberley Strassel: Adam Schiff’s surveillance state

“Lawmakers are debating ways to prevent the Federal Bureau of Investigation from abusing its surveillance authority again. While they’re at it, they have an obligation to address their own privacy transgressor, Rep. Adam Schiff.

Brendan Carr (Credit: public domain)

That’s the gist of a pointed letter from Federal Communications Commissioner Brendan Carr, which landed Thursday at the House Intelligence Committee. Chairman Schiff spent months conducting secret impeachment hearings. His ensuing report revealed that he’d also set up his own surveillance state. Mr. Schiff issued secret subpoenas to phone carriers, to obtain and publish the call records of political rivals. Targets included Rudy Giuliani and another attorney of the president, the ranking Republican on the Intelligence Committee (Rep. Devin Nunes) and a journalist (John Solomon).

Impeachment is over, but Mr. Carr hasn’t forgotten this abuse of power, and his letter, which I obtained, calls for answers and reform. The FCC takes call privacy seriously, only recently having proposed some $200 million in fines on phone carriers for failing to protect customer data. Mr. Carr’s message to Mr. Schiff is that Congress doesn’t get a pass. It is not automatically entitled to “a secret and partisan process that deprives Americans of their legal right to maintain the privacy of this sensitive information.”

Mr. Carr doesn’t dispute that Congress may, “in at least some circumstances,” have the legal authority to obtain call records under the Communications Act. The offense, he writes, was denying his targets the right to fight the subpoenas: “Courts long ago established a process for Americans to seek judicial review before Congress obtains and then publishes documents in response to a congressional subpoena.” (Read more: Fox News, 3/12/2020)  (Archive)

April 22, 2020 – Fred Fleitz: Brennan suppressed intelligence that suggests Putin favored Clinton in 2016 election

(…) Accusing the intelligence community of improper “analytic tradecraft” in analyzing Russia’s strategic intentions is an extremely grave indictment for a congressional oversight committee to make. In my opinion, there is no question the House Intelligence Committee is right for the reasons in its 2018 report and other subsequent findings.

The House committee found the intelligence community assessment violated protocols for drafting such assessments. This major finding shows why America needs strong legislative oversight over the intelligence services.

For example, although the protocols require intelligence community assessments to be “community products” and vetted with all intelligence agencies and analysts with equities in a given subject, only three intelligence agencies were asked to draft this assessment: the CIA, National Security Agency and FBI.

With the 14 other intelligence agencies left out, the three participating agencies included only two dozen “handpicked” analysts. Other intelligence agencies working on this issue, such as the Defense Intelligence Agency and the Department of Homeland Security, were excluded.

In addition, House Intelligence Committee staff revealed the actual drafting of the intelligence community assessment was done by three close associates of former CIA Director Brennan, who has proven to be the most politicized intelligence chief in American history.

Contrary to common practice for controversial intelligence community assessments, Brennan’s team allowed no dissenting views or even an annex with reviews by outside experts.

These were extraordinary violations of intelligence community rules to ensure that analysis is accurate and trusted. The Senate committee reports ignored these foundational violations.

The Senate Intelligence Committee report falsely claims that “all analytical lines are supported with all-source intelligence” and that analysts who wrote the intelligence community assessment consistently said they “were under no politically motivated pressure to reach specific conclusions.”

House Intelligence Committee staff members found the opposite. They told me there was conflicting intelligence evidence on Russian motivations for meddling in the 2016 election.

More gravely, they said that CIA Director Brennan suppressed facts or analysis that showed why it was not in Russia’s interests to support Trump and why Putin stood to benefit from Hillary Clinton’s election. They also told me that Brennan suppressed that intelligence over the objections of CIA analysts.

House Intelligence Committee staff told me that after an exhaustive investigation reviewing intelligence and interviewing intelligence officers, they found that Brennan suppressed high-quality intelligence suggesting that Putin actually wanted the more predictable and malleable Clinton to win the 2016 election.

Instead, the Brennan team included low-quality intelligence that failed to meet intelligence community standards to support the political claim that Russian officials wanted Trump to win, House Intelligence Committee staff revealed. They said that CIA analysts also objected to including that flawed, substandard information in the assessment.” (Read more: Fox News, 4/22/2020)  (Archive)


On May 12, 2020, Ed Henry confirms Fred Fleitz’s findings:

May 22, 2020 – Editorial: Media Cowardice and the Collusion Hoax

By

(Credit: Sean Delonas/PoliticalCartoons)

(…) “To many hack commentators, “conspiracy theory” has become a term used to make certain kinds of implicit and explicit cooperation unacknowledgeable.

With evidence newly in hand last week, we see that the resources poured into promoting the Steele dossier before the 2016 election were nothing next to those mobilized by Clinton campaign chief John Podesta after the inauguration. Transcripts two years old show various Obama officials denying under oath that they possessed evidence of Trump-Russia collusion while they implied the opposite on TV.

Even the outside firm that the FBI relied on for its claim that Democratic emails were hacked by the Russians admitted under oath to finding no evidence that emails had been actually removed from Democratic servers.

Newsies in the aftermath of the Russia hoax now insist they were merely reporting on official actions. They carefully avert their eyes from the fact that the leaks they received and possibly even the official acts they reported were manufactured deliberately to put lies into the news.

If they had any grit, many of our senior reporters would be hopping mad now to learn they had been manipulated into reporting untruths to the public.

If they had any grit. Instead many of them seem to be hanging around the same leakers and whisperers, hoping for new talking points to get themselves off the hook in air-clearing now coming. It’s all part of what Matt Taibbi of Rolling Stone and Aaron Maté of The Nation (two left-wing critics of the Russia hoax) call the “privilege protection racket.”

Take a podcast in February with former Obama adviser David Axelrod and Rep. Adam Schiff, under the auspices of the University of Chicago and CNN. In an hourlong, intimate setting, how could Mr. Axelrod not ask about the unraveling of the Russia collusion theory and the Steele dossier that Mr. Schiff so assiduously promoted for three years?

The questions needn’t be accusatory, but how does someone with a living mind not ask? Instead, Mr. Axelrod abused JFK by painting Mr. Schiff as a profile in courage for peddling a lie that made him extraordinarily popular with the anti-Trump media (as if this could ever be courage).

At least Mr. Axelrod noted that Mr. Schiff comes from a safe seat unlike the many Republicans Mr. Schiff constantly accuses of cowardice. But how could any GOP officeholder work with Democrats to rein in Mr. Trump when voters back home see Mr. Schiff falsely trying to frame the GOP president as a Kremlin mole?

The failure to think about these larger consequences is the real cowardice. (For the record, Messrs. Taibbi and Maté in their own podcast refer to Mr. Schiff as a “pathological liar” and the person most likely to assure Mr. Trump’s re-election.)

When all is said and done, half the story of our age will be how Democrats and the press became more Trumplike than Trump in their opposition to Trump.”  (Read more: The Wall Street Journal, 5/22/2020)  (Archive)

May 27, 2020 – Plandemic – A Documentary

We are posting this video to our site for posterity’s sake.

“Humanity is imprisoned by a killer pandemic. People are being arrested for surfing in the ocean and meditating in nature. Nations are collapsing. Hungry citizens are rioting for food. The media has generated so much confusion and fear that people are begging for salvation in a syringe. Billionaire patent owners are pushing for globally mandated vaccines. Anyone who refuses to be injected with experimental poisons will be prohibited from travel, education, and work. No, this is not a synopsis for a new horror movie. This is our current reality.

Let’s back up to address how we got here…

In the early 1900s, America’s first billionaire, John D. Rockefeller bought a German pharmaceutical company that would later assist Hitler to implement his eugenics-based vision by manufacturing chemicals and poisons for war. Rockefeller wanted to eliminate the competitors of Western medicine, so he submitted a report to Congress declaring that there were too many doctors and medical schools in America and that all-natural healing modalities were unscientific quackery. Rockefeller called for the standardization of medical education, whereby only his organization be allowed to grant medical school licenses in the US. And so began the practice of immune suppressive, synthetic and toxic drugs. Once people had become dependent on this new system and the addictive drugs it provided, the system switched to a paid program, creating lifelong customers for the Rockefellers. Currently, medical error is the third leading cause of death in the US. Rockefeller’s secret weapon to success was the strategy known as, “problem-reaction-solution.” Create a problem, escalate fear, then offer a pre-planned solution. Sound familiar?

Flash forward to 2020…

They named it COVID19. Our leaders of world health predicted millions would die. The National Guard was deployed. Makeshift hospitals were erected to care for a massive overflow of patients. Mass graves were dug. Terrifying news reports had people everywhere seeking shelter to avoid connect. The plan is unfolding with precision. But the masters of the Pandemic underestimated one thing… the people. Medical professionals and every-day citizens are sharing critical information online. The overlords of big tech have ordered all dissenting voices to be silenced and banned, but they are too late. The slumbering masses are awake and aware that something is not right. Quarantine has provided the missing element: time. Suddenly, our overworked citizenry has ample time to research and investigate for themselves. Once you see, you can’t unsee.

The window of opportunity is open like never before. For the first time in human history, we have the world’s attention. Plandemic will expose the scientific and political elite who run the scam that is our global health system, while laying out a new plan; a plan that allows all of humanity to reconnect with healing forces of nature. 2020 is the code for perfect vision. It is also the year that will go down in history as the moment we finally opened our eyes.

https://plandemicmovie.com/

June 24, 2020 – Appeals court rules against Flynn judge; Judge Rao writes scathing rebuke of Judge Wilkins dissenting opinion

Judge Neomi Rao (Credit: Diego Radzinsch/ALM)

“In all my years of appellate practice, I don’t think I’ve ever seen a non-US Supreme Court appellate opinion that so thoroughly demolishes a dissenting opinion as this one. Judge Rao could not have done better in writing the opinion, and it should be required law school reading.

Judge Robert Wilkins (Credit: public domain)

In addition, Judge Wilkins’ dissenting opinion is so off-the-mark that I believe he has shot himself in the foot for purposes of en banc review–in other words, he has ensured that otherwise-sympathetic judges on the DC Circuit will vote against en banc review.

Judge Rao comes out swinging by holding that its earlier opinion in Fokker “foreclose[s] the district court’s proposed scrutiny of the government’s motion to dismiss the Flynn prosecution.” p. 7.

In relying on Fokker, Judge Rao explicitly rejects Judge Wilkins argument that Fokker’s holding is dicta (that is, non-binding). She holds Fokker “is directly controlling here.” p. 14.

Keep in mind that Fokker was written by Chief Judge Srinivasan, an OBAMA appointee. Judge Srinivasan does NOT want Fokker’s legitimacy undermined, no matter his politics.

Judge Wilkins’ dissent implies that Fokker was wrongly decided and that it conflicts with other federal appellate courts. See p. 23 of 28. Judge Srinivasan will NOT be impressed by this argument in deciding whether to grant en banc rehearing. Fokker does not create a split.

Judge Rao goes on to emphasize that while judicial inquiry MAY be justified in some circumstances, Flynn’s situation “is plainly not the rare case where further judicial inquiry is warranted.” p. 6.

Rao notes that Flynn agrees with the Govt.’s dismissal motion, so there’s no risk of his rights being violated. In addition, the Government has stated insufficient evidence exists to convict Flynn. p. 6.

Rao also holds that “a hearing cannot be used as an occasion to superintend the prosecution’s charging decisions.” p. 7.

But by appointing amicus and attempting to hold a hearing on these matters, the district court is inflicting irreparable harm on the Govt. because it is subjecting its prosecutorial decisions to outside inquiry. p. 8

Thus, Judge Rao holds, it is NOT true that the district court has “yet to act” in this matter, contrary to Judge Wilkins’ assertions. p. 16.

“[T]he district court HAS acted here…[by appointing] one private citizen to argue that another citizen should be deprived of his liberty regardless of whether the Executive Branch is willing to pursue the charges.” p. 16. This justified mandamus being issued NOW.

Judge Rao also makes short work of Judge Wilkins’ argument that the court may not consider the harm to the Government in deciding whether to grant mandamus bc the Government never filed a petition for mandamus. p. 17.

Judge Rao notes “[o]ur court has squarely rejected this argument,” and follows with a plethora of supporting citations. p. 17.

Judge Rao also notes–contrary to what many legal commentators have misled the public to believe–that it is “black letter law” that the Govt. can seek dismissal even after a guilty plea is made. This does not justify greater scrutiny by the district court. p. 6, footnote 1.

As to Judge Wilkins’ argument that a district court may conduct greater scrutiny where, as here, the Govt. reverses its position in prosecuting a case, Judge Rao points out that “the government NECESSARILY reverses its position whenever it moves to dismiss charges….” p. 13

“Given the absence of any legitimate basis to question the presumption of regularity, there is no justification to appoint a private citizen to oppose the government’s motion to dismiss Flynn’s prosecution.” p. 13.

But Judge Rao saves her most stinging and brutal takedown of Judge Wilkins’ dissent for the end
Judge Rao writes that “the dissent swings for the fences–and misses–by analogizing a Rule 48(a) motion to dismiss with a selective prosecution claim.” p. 17.

While it is true that the Executive cannot selectively prosecute certain individuals “based on impermissible considerations,” p. 18, “the equal protection remedy is to dismiss the prosecution, NOT to compel the Executive to bring another prosecution.” p. 18

And Judge Rao is just getting warmed up here…She then notes that “unwarranted judicial scrutiny of a prosecutor’s motion to dismiss puts the court in an entirely different position [than selective prosecution caselaw assigns the court].” p. 18

“Rather than allow the Executive Branch to dismiss a problematic prosecution, the court [as Judge Wilkins and Judge Sullivan would have it] assumes the role of inquisitor, prolonging a prosecution deemed illegitimate by the Executive.” p. 18

And now for Judge Rao’s KO to Judge Wilkins and Judge Sullivan: “Judges assume that role in some countries, but Article III gives no prosecutorial or inquisitional power to federal judges.” p. 18.

In other words, Judge Rao is likening Judge Wilkins’ arguments, and Judge Sullivan’s actions, to what is done in non-democratic, third world countries. p. 18. Outstanding opinion. No mercy. (Appeals Court opinion re Mandamus, 6/25/2020)  (John M. Reeves@reeveslawstl/Twitter)