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 28 – August 5, 2016: The Strzok-Page Texts 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) 

September 2016 – August 10, 2018 – Opinion: Conservative Treehouse details the true Russian collusion during the 2016 Election

(…) “In essence, Christopher Steele was interested in getting Oleg Deripaska a new VISA to enter the U.S.  Steele was very persistent on this endeavor and was soliciting Bruce Ohr for any assistance.  This also sets up a quid-pro-quo probability where the DOJ/FBI agrees to remove travel restrictions on Deripaska in exchange for cooperation on ‘other matters.’

Now we skip ahead a little bit to where Deripaska gained an entry visa, and one of Oleg Deripaska’s lawyers and lobbyists Adam Waldman was representing his interests in the U.S. to politicians and officials.  In May of 2018, John Solomon was contacted by Adam Waldman with a story about how the FBI contacted Deripaska for help in their Trump Russia investigation in September of 2016.

(Credit: Conservative Treehouse)

Keep in mind, this is Waldman contacting Solomon with a story.

Waldman told Solomon a story about how his client Oleg Deripaska was approached by the FBI in September of 2016 and asked for help with information about Paul Manafort and by extension Donald Trump.  Within the backstory for the FBI and Deripaska was a prior connection between Robert Mueller and Deripaska in 2009.

Again, as you read the recap, remember this is Waldman contacting Solomon.  Article Link Here – and my summary below:

In 2009 the FBI, then headed by Robert Mueller, requested the assistance of Russian billionaire Oleg Deripaska in an operation to retrieve former FBI officer and CIA resource Robert Levinson who was captured in Iran two years earlier.  The agent assigned to engage Deripaska was Andrew McCabe; the primary FBI need was financing and operational support.  Deripaska spent around $25 million and would have succeeded except the U.S. State Department, then headed by Hillary Clinton, backed out.

In September of 2016 Andrew McCabe is now Deputy Director of the FBI, when two FBI agents approached Deripaska in New York – again asking for his help.  This time the FBI request was for Deripaska to outline Trump’s former campaign manager Paul Manafort as a tool of the Kremlin.  Deripaska once hired Manafort as a political adviser and invested money with him in a business venture that went bad. Deripaska sued Manafort, alleging he stole money. However, according to the article, despite Deripaska’s disposition toward Manafort he viewed the request as absurd. He laughed the FBI away, telling them: “You are trying to create something out of nothing.”

This story, as told from the perspective of Adam Waldman, Deripaska’s lawyer/lobbyist, is important because it highlights a connection between Robert Mueller and Oleg Deripaska; a connection Mueller and the DOJ/FBI never revealed on their own.

I wrote about the ramifications of the Solomon story HERE.  Again, hopefully most will review; because there’s a larger story now visible with the new communication between Christopher Steele and Bruce Ohr.

It is likely that Oleg’s 2016 entry into the U.S. was facilitated as part of a quid-pro-quo; either agreed in advance, or, more likely, planned by the DOJ/FBI for later use in their 2016 Trump operation; as evidenced in the September 2016 FBI request.  Regardless of the planning aspect, billionaire Deripaska is connected to Chris Steele, a source for Chris Steele, and likely even the employer of Chris Steele.

The FBI used Oleg Deripaska (source), and Oleg Deripaska used the FBI (visa).

Here’s where it gets interesting….

In that May article John Solomon reports that Deripaska wanted to testify to congress last year (2017), without any immunity request, but was rebuked. Who blocked his testimony?

(…) “Now, think about this….  Yes, with Oleg Deripaska in the picture there was indeed Russian meddling in the 2016 election; only, it wasn’t the type of meddling currently being sold.  The FBI/DOJ were using Russian Deripaska to frame their Russian conspiracy narrative. It is almost a certainty that Deripaska was one of Chris Steeles sources for the dossier.

Now, put yourself in Deripaska’s shoes and think about what happens AFTER candidate Donald Trump surprisingly wins the election.

All of a sudden Deripaska the asset becomes a risk to the corrupt Scheme Team (DOJ/FBI et al); especially as the DOJ/FBI then execute the “insurance policy” effort against Donald Trump and eventually enlist Robert Mueller.

It is entirely possible for a Russian to be blackmailing someone, but it ain’t Trump vulnerable to blackmail; it’s the conspiracy crew within the DOJ and FBI.  Deripaska now has blackmail material on Comey, McCabe and crew.

After the 2017 (first year) failure of the “insurance policy” it now seems more likely President Trump will outlive the soft coup.  In May 2018, Oleg tells Waldman to call John Solomon and tell him the story from a perspective favorable to Deripaska.

As the story is told, in 2017, Oleg [Deripaska] was more than willing to testify to congress…likely laughing the entire time. But the corrupt participants within congress damned sure couldn’t let Deripaska testify.  Enter corrupt (SSCI) Vice-Chairman, Mark Warner:

Senator Mark Warner (l) and Senator Richard Burr confer at a Senate Intelligence Committee meeting. (Credit: public domain)

The Russians (Deripaska) really do have leverage and blackmail…but it ain’t over Trump. Oleg has blackmail on Comey,  McCabe and conspiracy crew.  Oleg Deripaska must be kept away from congress and away from exposing the scheme.

Guess who else must be controlled and/or kept away from congress?

Julian Assange.

Assange has evidence the Russians didn’t hack the DNC.

Between Deripaska’s first-hand knowledge of the DOJ/FBI work on both the Dossier and the DOJ/FBI intention for his use as a witness; and Julian Assange’s first-hand knowledge of who actually took the DNC email communication…well, the entire Russian narrative could explode in their faces.

Control is needed.

You can almost hear the corrupt U.S. intelligence officials calling their U.K. GCHQ partners in Britain and yelling at them to do something, anything, and for the love of God, shut down Assange’s access to the internet STAT.  Yeah, funny that.

Now, who moves into position to control Julian Assange?

BREAKING: US Senate Intelligence Committee calls editor @JulianAssange to testify. Letter delivered via US embassy in London. WikiLeaks’ legal team say they are “considering the offer but the conditions must conform to a high ethical standard”. Also: https://t.co/pPf0GTjTlp pic.twitter.com/gQIUstbGbq

— WikiLeaks (@wikileaks) August 8,2018

Apparently the SSCI wants to interview WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, in a closed session.  Signed by none-other than our corrupt-o-crats Richard Burr and Mark Warner.  Yeah, funny that.

Lest anyone need a reminder, the most corrupt part of congress is the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence (SSCI). The SSCI is the center of the deepest part of the Deep State swamp. The SSCI never, ever, E.V.E.R…does anything that does not protect and advance the self-interest of the corrupt Washington DC professional political class.” (Read much more: Conservative Treehouse, 8/10/2018)

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

(…) “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)

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)