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 - Andrew McCarthy writes about 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)

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)

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)