Category Archives: MUELLER REPORT

The Four C’s Of The Impeachment Sham — Constitution, Corruption, Comity & Coup (by Wolf Howling)

The House is considering three articles of Impeachment.  The Constitution is at issue in questions of Obstruction of Justice, Contempt of Congress and the form of the Senate Trial.  Comity and Corruption are at issue as to the Bidens and Abuse of Power.  And is this is an unlawful attempted coup?

The Constitution

The House is considering three Articles of Impeachment, one of which is expected to be for contempt of Congress.  The House claims that Donald Trump refused to honor lawful subpoenas for testimony and documents as pertains to the Ukraine. Was Trump within his rights to do so?  That is wholly a Constitutional question.  It is also closely related in at least one relevant part to a likely Second Article of Impeachment, namely Obstruction of Justice as to the Russian Hoax inquiry.

The only vote the House of Representatives has held to authorize an impeachment inquiry of Donald Trump was defeated overwhelmingly in January, 2017.  In response to the Ukraine IC IG matter, Nancy Pelosi, as Speaker, unilaterally declared an “impeachment inquiry” on September 24, 2019, and the House immediately began issuing subpoenas for witnesses and documents.  As to the latest vote held a week ago to formalize the procedures being used in the ongoing Star Chamber, Speaker Nancy Pelosi was adamant that the Resolution was not an authorization of an “impeachment inquiry.

Can anything less than a vote by the entire House of Representatives to authorize an “impeachment inquiry” be considered Constitutionally valid?  As I’ve discussed before, this is far from mere form.  If the House of Representatives approves a resolution for an impeachment inquiry, the House gains a power that it, by the explicit terms of the Constitution, does not otherwise possess — the judicial power to enforce subpoenas and requests for documents on matters outside its Art. I, Sec. 8 enumerated powers.  Without that power, the White House was acting lawfully when it refused to cooperate.  Tellingly, the House, rather than take those subpoenas to a Court to enforce them — and risk having a Court declare their proceeding unconstitutional — appears to be simply rolling all but one of their refused “subpoenas” into an contempt of Congress charge.

Then there is Part II of the Mueller Report.  We can expect the House to adopt Part II virtually in toto as an obstruction of justice charge.  There is a twist on this, however, and it is where this overlaps with the Contempt of Congress charge.  Without the judicial power of an impeachment inquiry, the House has no power to subpoena the Grand Jury testimony that Mueller referenced in his report.  The House subpoenaed the Department of Justice for that information and got the matter heard before an Obama judge (yes, John Roberts, there are progressive judges who rule by ideology, not the law) who ruled that the House was authorized to receive the material — and thus that their current “impeachment inquiry” was constitutionally sufficient.  The White House made an emergency appeal to the D.C. Circuit Court, which granted a stay, and the matter is now to be heard on November 12 before the D.C. Circuit. If the D.C. Circuit affirms the lower court’s ruling, the Trump administration will assuredly bring it to the Supreme Court, but there is no guarantee that the Supreme Court will take up the case.

All of this brings up a huge, core Constitutional issue:  Which branch of government has the power to determine the meaning of the Constitution — specifically in this case, when the question is whether the House may claim judicial powers without a vote of the House of Representatives to authorize an impeachment inquiry? There is no doubt that Articles of Impeachment (other than Contempt of Congress) that the House votes upon would be facially constitutional.  So this question applies only to whether the President may be validly held in contempt of Congress for failing to cooperate with an impeachment inquiry that was never authorized by a vote of the full House of Representatives.

The Judicial Branch long ago claimed for itself the power to definitively interpret the Constitution, but that right to do so appears nowhere in the text of the Constitution.  Can the Senate summarily dispense with any claim for Obstruction of Justice as to this “impeachment inquiry” because the Senators believe that the House acted “unconstitutionally?”  Can the Senate do so in the face of a D.C. Circuit Court opinion to the contrary?  Could the Senate do so in the face of a Supreme Court refusal to hear an appeal from the D.C. Circuit?  And lastly, could the Senate do so even if the Supreme Court hears an appeal and concludes that the obscene House Star Chamber proceeding meets the standards for constitutionality?  Those are all valid questions that I believe should be answered in the affirmative, but that could have long term ramifications for how our nation operates.

A second Constitutional question that touches on this and all of the Articles of Impeachment concerns whether Donald Trump will be afforded the same due process rights at trial (rules of evidence, right to bring definitive motions, etc.) that are afforded all Americans in court?  As Supreme Court Justice Story said, in 1833 when remarking on impeachment:

It is the boast of English jurisprudence, and without it the power of impeachment would be an intolerable grievance, that in trials by impeachment the law differs not in essentials from criminal prosecutions before inferior courts. The same rules of evidence, the same legal notions of crimes and punishments prevail. For impeachments are not framed to alter the law; but to carry it into more effectual execution, where it might be obstructed by the influence of too powerful delinquents, or not easily discerned in the ordinary course of jurisdiction, by reason of the peculiar quality of the alleged crimes.

Under current Senate Rules, the President does not explicitly have those protections.  Under the modifications suggested here, he would gain them.  Assuming that the Senate does adopt those changes then before trial begins President Trump should move to dismiss Contempt of Congress Charges for failing to state a legal claim — i.e., the House did not vote to authorize an impeachment inquiry, and thus the President did not obstruct a lawful process.  As to the obstruction of justice charge, President Trump should make a motion to dismiss the claim on the grounds that, even assuming all of the facts alleged in the Mueller Report to be true, it does not as a matter of law show a violation of the law or a political offense for which impeachment is warranted.  President Trump committed no underlying crime.  President Trump substantially complied with the investigation and he committed no act that resulted in the investigation being hindered.

Corruption & Comity

A third Article of Impeachment, according to Breitbart, will be for Abuse of Power.  The House’s Star Chamber proceeding is likely to result in a claim that President Trump abused his power by withholding aid from Ukraine subject to them investigating Joe and Hunter Biden for corrupt practices.

This is yet another Article that should be dealt with on a motion to dismiss.  The President’s practice and authority to negotiate with foreign countries for the aid they may receive from America is a well-established power of the Presidency, one that has been exercised by numerous other Presidents.  Thus negotiating foreign aid with the Ukraine cannot itself, be grounds for impeachment.  It is axiomatic that, to again quote Justice Story, impeachment may not be used tomake that a crime at one time, or in one person, which would be deemed innocent at another time, or in another person.  And in fact, the aid was ultimately released in full to the Ukraine in September, 2019, so there is no Constitutional concern with Congress’s power of the purse, nor any legal concern with the Impoundment Control Act of 1974.

That leads to the next question, whether what Trump was negotiating for — the facts surrounding Joe and Hunter Biden in the Ukraine and whether it involved corruption — was an improper purpose.  (It should be noted that Trump never in the transcript explicitly said that Ukraine’s receiving the money hinged on looking into the Biden matter. Indeed, it’s a stretch even to read into the transcript his having said such a thing implicitly.) As a textual matter, Article II § 3 of the Constitution requires the President to “take care that the laws be faithfully executed.”  So when the President looks into possible legal violations, he is acting in fulfillment of his Constitutional duties.

That leaves the last question: Did President Trump have reasonable grounds to suspect that Joe Biden violated federal rules of ethics, and perhaps American laws, regarding corrupt practices?  That is a factual matter. Trump does not need to show actual guilt.  But he needs to be able to show that, based on the facts as he knew them, a reasonable person would suspect that there was enough evidence of corruption that further investigation was warranted.

As a threshold matter, the Joe and Hunter show went far beyond Ukraine.  It was both foreign and domestic.  As to the former, when Daddy became Vice President and was given control of foreign affairs in certain countries,  Hunter Biden became Joe Biden’s little lamb.  With apologies to Sarah Hale and a hat tip to the poetess Bookworm:

Joe Biden had a little Hunter,
That filled its nose with snow,
And everywhere Joe Biden went
Hunter was sure to go;
He followed Joe to Ukraine,
Romania & China too;
He sold his daddy’s name there,
But saying so sparked a coup.

Hunter Biden’s escapades are well documented in the Ukraine, Iraq, China and Romania, for we know that he followed his father into those countries (sometimes flying into them with his father on Air Force Two) and immediately struck lucrative deals with corrupt politicians or, in the case of China, the government itself.  Standing alone, these undisputed facts stink to high heaven.  The mere appearance of corruption is an ethical problem for Joe Biden.  It becomes a legal problem for Joe Biden if he used his position as Vice President to further his son’s enrichment or to protect him from investigation. And to be clear, based on the facts as we know them, if Trump and Trump’s children had done what Joe and Hunter Biden did, the call to impeach and jail him would be deafening.

When it comes to Ukraine, we know Hunter Biden was hired to sit on the Board of Bursima, a Ukrainian energy company owned by a man who is a suspect in billions of dollars of government corruption.  We know that Hunter Biden was not qualified for such a seat beyond his familial relationship to Joe Biden.  We know that people associated with Bursima then dropped Hunter Biden’s name to lobby the State Dept. in order to quash the corruption probes targeting their client.  We know that at least one American official raised this as a problem to Biden’s office.  And we know . . .

It is in fact an open question, not yet definitively answered, whether the prosecutor whom Joe brags about getting fired had an active corruption investigation into Bursima — and perhaps Hunter Biden as well.  That was the question Trump seemed to be asking the President of Ukraine to find an answer to in his 25 July phone call.  If so, there is more to investigate, such as what did Joe Biden know and when did he know it.

But according to Democrats, it is an abuse of power even to ask those questions.  They can go pound sand.  No one is above the law, not even a Democrat candidate for office.  The only thing Trump asked for is information from an investigation.  Was that pretextual or warranted?  The first might arguably be grounds for impeachment, the second cannot be.  Thus the only factual issue to determine whether to proceed to a full impeachment trial on abuse of power grounds is whether Trump was justified in seeking an investigation of Biden’s seemingly corrupt dealings.

Bottom line, we need to hear from Joe Biden and Hunter Biden, under oath at any Senate trial, to determine whether there was sufficient appearance of corruption for a reasonable person in Trump’s shoes to investigate.  Indeed, the rule changes I suggested for the Senate’s impeachment trial are in anticipation of precisely that reality.

Democrats are going nuts over that issue.  This from the Daily Beast, warning that “comity” in the Senate would be irreparably damaged by forcing the Bidens to testify:

Senate Democrats issued stark warnings on Wednesday that Republicans would severely damage the institution of Congress if they acquiesced to a push from Trump allies to haul former Vice President Joe Biden and his son Hunter for testimony about their actions in Ukraine.

A top Biden ally, Sen. Chris Coons (D-DE), told The Daily Beast that calling the 2020 presidential contender—who served for 35 years in the Senate—and his son for testimony “would be literally rolling a grenade down the aisle of the Senate” that would have “lasting consequences” on the upper chamber’s ability to work together.

“Look, Joe Biden is well known, widely respected, and frankly beloved by many in the Senate on both sides of the aisle,” said Coons. “The impeachment process is already disruptive enough. I think we should be approaching it with seriousness, not by entertaining conspiracy theories that are utterly unfounded. And I think it would be a very unfortunate move.”

Right.  As if the left overturning an election and pushing us to the brink of a second civil war over the proposition that they are above the law while the rest of us are below it is not exponentially beyond concerns of “comity” in the Senate.  Truly, screw these people.

Coup

And finally, here’s a question to pick up after what promises to be a failed impeachment attempt.  Mark Zaid, attorney for the whistle blower who orchestrated this Ukraine madness, tweeted in 2017:

#coup has started. First of many steps. #rebellion. #impeachment will follow ultimately. #lawyers https://t.co/FiNBQo6v0S

— Mark S. Zaid (@MarkSZaidEsq) January 31, 2017

Zaid has since claimed that what he meant only a “legal” coup. There is no such thing. A coup is, by definition, an “illegal seizure of power from a government.” Now, if what Mr. Zaid had in mind was an unlawful abuse of the laws of this nation to effect a coup . . . that is still not legal. It is an act of sedition punishable at law.

We certainly now have evidence of Mr. Zaid’s state of mind. We have reason to suspect that his client was likely previously involved in the leak of classified information to the press in order to damage President Trump and may have spied on Trump on behalf of the FBI, both illegal acts.  Then we have long standing ties between the whistle blower and Adam Schiff’s staff and we have Adam Schiff’s own statement that they coordinated filing a whistle blower complaint.  Lastly, we have a grossly legally deficient whistle blower complaint that should never have been filed as such, and certainly never should have been addressed to Congress as a finding of urgent concern.  The IC IG did not conduct due dillegence in his investigation.

Now, that could all mean nothing.  Or, it could mean that certain people were conspiring to effect a bloodless coup.  There is enough here to warrant an investigation to determine the truth.  And prosecution would be warranted if what we discover is in fact a seditious conspiracy rather than a series of simple errors.  That would in fact be an unlawful coup.

The post The Four C’s Of The Impeachment Sham — Constitution, Corruption, Comity & Coup (by Wolf Howling) appeared first on Watcher of Weasels.

Probable Cause And A Coup — RussiaGate Facts Tell A Story (by Wolf Howling)

With Bruce Ohr’s 302’s and Kathleen Kavalec’s memo available, the full picture of the agency machinations behind RussiaGate looks just like a coup.

If the FBI and DOJ undertook the Trump Russia collusion investigation without probable cause, then the question becomes whether it was a coup by the government with a thumb on the scale, or simply a series of honest mistakes.  We finally have enough information in the public realm to answer that question — and it’s not looking like a series of honest mistakes.

I. INTRODUCTION

Recently, the administration released the Bruce Ohr Form 302’s and a memo that Kathleen Kavalec sent to the FBI. These documents clarify whether the FBI and DOJ made criminal misrepresentations and material omissions in the 2016 and 2017 Verified Applications they submitted to the FISA Court for warrants to surveil Carter Page and effectively, through him, the Trump administration.

The documents establish that the government made errors in the four applications for a FISA warrant. Those errors, standing alone, do not mean that anyone in government committed a crime.  But if the FBI Supervising Special Agent (SSA) and the other signatories knowingly falsified or knowingly made omissions of material facts before the Court, then this was a crime — and by extension, an attempted coup.

Whether government agents possessed culpable levels of knowledge depends on what they knew or should have known and when they knew it.  The recently released Bruce Ohr 302’s and the Kathleen Kavalec memo go a long way to establishing what they knew — and what they refused to know. This memorandum summarizes that information.

As you read, green text highlights recently released information from Bruce Ohr and/or Kathleen Kavalec.  That is just to make it easier to see where this information fits into the larger mosaic. At the end of the post, you’ll find a timeline through the FISA warrants in 2017, along with links for reference.

II. WHAT IS THE NEWLY RELEASED INFORMATION AND WHEN DID THE FBI INVESTIGATORS KNOW ABOUT IT?

Before doing a deep dive into the entirety of information available, everyone should be on the same page about the nature of the recently released information and why it matters. This section therefore briefly sums up what Ohr’s 302’s and Kavalec’s memo offer and when the FBI supervisors in charge of the Russia investigation effectively received them.

The Bruce Ohr 302’s

Bruce Ohr was a DOJ attorney. He matters because, for several years before the events at issue here, he knew both Glenn Simpson, who founded and headed Fusion GPS, and Christopher Steele, whom Fusion GPS hired to dig for dirt on Donald Trump. Although the reasons are unclear, we know that, during the critical period from July 2016 until at least May 2017, which was when the FBI targeted an investigation at Donald Trump and obtained the first FISA warrant on Carter Page, Ohr acted as a conduit between Simpson and Steele, on the one hand, and the FBI, on the other.

Critically, Ohr testified that, within a day or two of each contact he had with Simpson and/or Steele, he would then meet with FBI agents to pass on any and all information he had learned. [Bruce Ohr House Interview, pp. 13-14; 22; 25]. After his first meeting in July 2016 with Steele, Ohr took the information he received to FBI Assistant Director Andrew McCabe. McCabe directed him to brief the lead Special Agent, Peter Strzok. After the briefing, Strzok arranged for another FBI agent to be Ohr’s regular contact whenever Ohr had something to report. The agent recorded each briefing on a Form 302, except for Ohr’s first (August 2016) and second (September/October 2016) meetings with the FBI, and then several meetings that occurred after May, 2017.

The Kathleen Kavalec Memo

Kathleen Kavalec, a Deputy Assistant Secretary in the State Department, met with Christopher Steele on October 11, 2016, although it’s not clear why. That said, Kavalec took notes and, on October 13, 2016, she typed them up and emailed them to the FBI where they were immediately forwarded to Special Agent Peter Strzok. Kavalec’s meeting covered the identity of Steele’s employer, Steele’s motivation to have his information released to the public, and the details of several of the allegations Steele asserted against Trump and his staff. [State Dept. Red Flag on Steele Went to Senior FBI Agent Well Before FISA Warrant]

Having now identified these newly released, and quite pivotal, documents, it’s time to return to the story behind the FBI’s applications to the FISA court for permission to eavesdrop on Carter Page and, through the two-hop rule, on anybody and everybody in the Trump campaign, including Trump himself.

III. The FBI / DOJ Carter Page FISA Applications in 2016 and 2017

The Carter Page FISA warrants, once issued, gave the FBI a license to use the most intrusive powers of government to fish among all of Page’s communications and then two bounces beyond — i.e., to President Trump and all in his campaign. Moreover, because the FBI was now fishing with what amounted to a general warrant (i.e., an open-ended search warrant with minimal substantive restrictions), if it happened to stumble on evidence of any crimes unrelated to the Russia investigation, whether the crime was tax evasion or anything else, then the FBI could and did prosecute.  (Compare, McCarthy 2004 to McCarthy 2017)

You will recall that, while no one whom Steele mentioned in his Dossier had actually engaged in the chicanery alleged in the Dossier, Mueller nevertheless found grounds on which to prosecute for many of them, mostly for process crimes during the investigation itself. Ironically, two of the fish that neither the FBI nor Mueller managed to catch despite this unrestricted search were Carter Page or Donald Trump.

Given the vast power a FISA warrant extends to the government, the government has to meet a high bar to get the warrant approved. Keep in mind as you read the following that the person upon whom the FBI wishes to spy is unaware of these proceedings, so he has no representative in the FISA Court to protect his interests – nor does anyone else, such as Donald Trump, who likely to be caught and spied upon through the two hop rule.

Per 18 U.S.C. § 1804(a)(3)(A), the government must show the FISA court that there is probable cause to believe the original target is acting as an “agent of a foreign government.” 50 U.S. C § 1801(b)(2)(B) defines an “agent of a foreign government” as a person who, “pursuant to the direction . . . of a foreign power, knowingly engages in any other clandestine intelligence activities for or on behalf of such foreign power, which activities involve or are about to involve a violation of the criminal statutes of the United States.”

When a representative of our government goes before the FISA court, he is under a legal duty to include in the application all relevant information that would allow a judge to evaluate probable cause in a fair manner – remembering, again, that neither the original target nor any two-hop targeted is represented in this secret proceeding. Because our government once took seriously its Fourth Amendment responsibilities, the federal code holds that including an intentional fabrication or a knowing material omission in a FISA warrant application violates 18 U.S. Code § 1001 (lying in official proceedings) that carries a sentence of up to five years in prison.

In the case of “RussiaGate,” the FBI submitted – and the FISA court granted warrants based thereon — four “Verified Applications” to for Carter Page. The first was an October 21, 2016, application that James Comey (FBI) and Sally Yates (DOJ) signed [FISA p. 1]. The rest occur in 2017: A January application that James Comey (FBI) and Sally Yates (DOJ) signed [FISA p. 84]; an April application that James Comey (FBI) and Dana Boente (DOJ) signed [FISA p. 182]; and a June application that Andrew McCabe (FBI) and Rod Rosenstein (DOJ) signed [FISA p. 292].

Although all four warrants are mostly redacted, the relevant part in each – Part III – is mostly unredacted. Part III is the section in which, as former DOJ attorney Andrew McCarthy explained, the FBI must set forth all relevant facts for the judge to evaluate probable cause.

IV. PROBABLE CAUSE

To understand the FISA warrant applications, one first needs to understand probable cause. This doctrine goes to the heart of whether the investigation of Trump and his campaign was a legitimate investigation or a coup attempt.

Much of the law and our system of government is based on a question so old it goes back to Plato. Who watches the watcher? In our political system, we answer the question in the Constitution with “checks and balances.” In the legal system, the answer has been enshrined in Western law since the Magna Carta as “due process of law.” The concept of “probable cause” is at the foundation of “due process of law.

Just because the law enforcement branch of government intends to use the authority and power of government to search or arrest someone — or in this case, to affect our country’s entire political future — doesn’t mean law enforcement agents can act unilaterally. They must convince an ostensibly neutral authority (i.e., a judge) that they are acting fairly and with justification (i.e, with “probable cause”). This due process is the difference between the American legal system, where the standard is “show me your probable cause to search and arrest someone,” and a police state system, which relies upon the “show me the man and I’ll find the crime” standard.

In a legitimate judicial system, probable cause has to be based on facts that have some objective reliability. Normally, when police apply for a warrant, the judge, acting pursuant to long standing rules of evidence, looks to facts based on first-hand observations; e.g., someone attests “I saw the crime” or “I tested the blood.” The further we get from those first-hand observations, the more stringent the standards must be – and even when we deal with those first-hand observations, the probity of the person attesting is of paramount importance. Ultimately, the sum of the facts must be sufficient to lead a reasonable man to believe that whatever fact law enforcement is asserting to the judge is more likely true than not. Here are five examples to explain:

Example 1: A warrant application states “Bob swears that he personally saw Kay steal a cake from Dave’s oven.” That would be a fact based on Bob’s first-hand observation. In this example, there is no reason to believe that Bob is either dishonest or biased.

A judge would always find probable cause to search Kay on those facts.

Example 2: A warrant application states “Bob swears that he heard Abe say that Kay stole a cake from Dave’s oven.” Abe is not there to attest to the truth of the matter asserted (namely, whether he saw Kay steal a cake), so all we have is Bob’s “hearsay” statement (“Bob heard Abe say. . . .”).

Standing alone, hearsay is not considered reliable. A judge would never find probable cause to search or arrest Kay on those facts alone.

Example 3: A warrant application states “Bob swears that Abe told him that Kay stole a cake from Dave’s oven. Additionally, Bob has provided accurate information in the past on other matters and there is no evidence he is prejudiced against Kay.”

This example still does not give probable cause to search or arrest Kay. While it matters that Bob has a reputation for truthfulness and lack of bias, that reputation standing alone still cannot be used to make hearsay evidence reliable. What matters in this example is still Abe’s description of what he allegedly saw and, as to Abe, we have no useful information about the truth of the matter asserted – that is, we don’t know if Abe said what Bob thinks he heard him say or saw what Bob thinks Abe saw.

Example 4: A warrant application states “Bob swears that he heard Abe say that he saw Kay steal a cake from Dave’s oven. Dave swears his chocolate cake was stolen and Charlie swears that he saw Kay a few minutes later in the vicinity of the oven with chocolate smeared on her lips. Moreover, Bob has previously told law enforcement accurate information.”

Most judges would rule that this establishes probable cause to invade Kay’s privacy and search for evidence that Kay stole the cake. There is hearsay, but there is additional first-hand evidence that ties Kay to the time and location of the crime, as well as circumstantial evidence that she may have been consuming chocolate at about the time of the crime. Moreover, it helps that Bob has a proven reputation for solid information.

Example 5: A warrant application states “Bob swears that he heard Abe say that he saw Kay steal a cake from Dave’s oven. Dave says his chocolate cake was stolen and Charlie swears that he saw Kay later that day with chocolate smeared on her lips. Bob has previously given honest and accurate information to law enforcement, but he hates Kay and is being paid by people who have a vested interest in seeing Kay arrested.” . . .

An officer aware of any reason to mistrust Bob would be under a duty to make the Court aware of those reasons. A judge would likely rule that the application does not establish probable cause, but would need more evidence, such as a sworn declaration from Abe or more circumstantial evidence that would tie Kay to the illegal act. In other words, Bob’s manifest bias taints the information and requires extra layers of certainty before the judge will impinge upon Kay’s Fourth Amendment rights to be free from unreasonable search and seizure.

These examples sum up the problem for the FBI and DOJ when seeking a FISA warrant against Carter Page. Everything that Christopher Steele recorded in his memos charging Carter Page – acting as a liaison with Russia in an unlawful conspiracy and engaging in clandestine meetings with Igor Sechin and Igor Divyekin — was hearsay evidence. Steele had no first-hand knowledge of the criminal acts (and the known fact that Page traveled to Russia to make a public speech was not an illegal act that would lend weight to anything). Faced with this hearsay, the only way to establish probable cause would be for the government to show both that Christopher Steele had no substantial bias and that there were independent corroborating facts.

The government did neither: It hid from the court both the fact that Steele was ferociously biased and the fact that there were no independent corroborating facts. These major omissions could not be the result of carelessness or stupidity. They could only be intentional. And when you intentionally lie to a high-level secret court in order to spy on an opposition presidential candidate (and president-elect and president) . . . well, if it walks like a coup and talks like a coup, it’s a coup.

V. FBI/DOJ FALSEHOODS TO ESTABLISH PROBABLE CAUSE IN THE CARTER PAGE FISA APPLICATIONS

In the 2016 FISA application, Part III primarily memorializes Steele’s hearsay allegations regarding Carter Page. Without more, this should not have been enough to establish probable cause to issue a warrant. To punch up the application, and get the judge to issue a warrant, the FBI needed to corroborate at least some of those hearsay facts. (As an aside, we know from Jay Sekulow, Trump’s attorney, that the FISA court had already rejected three FISA applications earlier in 2016. I wouldn’t be surprised to learn that they contained Steele’s hearsay allegations without any corroboration.)

To that end — to corroborate Steele’s hearsay — in its October 2016 application the government offered a September 23, 2016 article from investigative reporter Michael Isikoff that recounted as fact the same allegations Steele had made. It turns out there was a good reason the article paralleled Steele’s claims: While Isikoff never names Steele as his source, the reality is that Isikoff based the article in toto on a briefing Steele gave him. Everything in the article was a repeat of Steele’s hearsay, just under Isikoff’s byline.  By forgetting to mention this fact to the FISA court, the FBI and DOJ pretended that two separate parties independently knew the same facts — when, in truth, Steele’s hearsay was the only source for everything.

That is a huge lie to the Court, one that cannot, under any circumstance, be explained away or excused. It is axiomatic that a person’s own hearsay declarations, standing alone, can never be used to corroborate those same declarations. Anyone who knowingly misleads a court in this way is acting unlawfully. One could not have clearer evidence of bad faith.

Nor can anyone in the FBI defend these pivotal omissions as mere oversights. In the three-page section of the 2016 FISA Application devoted to the Isikoff article, this language appears in Footnote 18:

[Steele] provided the results of his research to [Simpson], and the FBI assesses that Simpson likely provided this information to the law firm that hired [Simpson] in the first place. Steele told the FBI that he/she only provided this information to [Simpson] and to the FBI. [Redacted] The FBI does not believe that [Steele] directly provided this information to the press.”

Bullshit. The Federal Bureau of INVESTIGATION failed to investigate whether Steele “directly provided this information to the press.”

Steele, while employed by Glen Simpson and Fusion GPS, was also acting as a confidential informant on the FBI payroll in September and October of 2016. [Judicial Watch].  The original agreement between the FBI and Steele was that, while acting as an informant, Steele would only provide his Russia allegations “to [Simpson] and to the FBI.”  If the FBI is talking about what they “believe” rather than statements made under oath from Steele and Simpson, that means that they never asked the glaringly, blatantly obvious question, “Did you, Mr. Steele, brief Michael Isikoff for his September 23 article?”

In other words, when the Isikoff article came out, the FBI studiously ignored it and maintained deliberate ignorance so they could continue to use the article as corroboration for all of Steele’s hearsay allegations.  And these are our super-spies???? It’s like something out of an episode of Get Smart. This was a trick beneath the level of high school kids.  Not only for the good of our country, but for the good of the gene pool, these people need to be placed in a jail.

If you want more proof about the FBI’s deliberately assumed ignorance, the recently released Kavalec memo provides it. As a reminder, Kavalec sent her memo to the FBI eight days before the 2016 FISA Application and the FBI internally forwarded it the Special Agent in charge of the Trump Russia investigation. Thus, the Special Agent had the opportunity to read that

The [institution that had been hacked and now employed Steele] had approached Orbis [Steele’s Company] based on the recommendation of Glenn Simpson . . . and is keen to see this information [Steele’s voluminous allegations re Trump] come to light prior to November 8. [emphasis added]

Folks, that is called being put on notice that Steele had a motivation to see his Russia allegations make it into the public realm before the election.  Thus, it was criminally unreasonable of the FBI merely to make an assumption about the Isikoff article, then use it as corroboration of the Steele hearsay, without directly questioning Steele.

And how concerned was the FBI that no one in the FBI or DOJ might screw up and find the answer to whether Steele briefed Isikoff — thereby imputing knowledge to the FBI at large? We know that too and the answer’s not pretty.

In Bruce Ohr’s first recorded FBI interview given within 31 days of the Oct. 21, 2016 FISA Application filed with the Court, Ohr states in apparent response to a question from the FBI handler:

Simpson and Steele could have met with Yahoo or Michael Isikoff jointly, but Ohr does not know if they did.

One would think that, given Ohr’s inclusive answer, the FBI could have and should have pursued the issue about Simpson’s and Steele’s communications with the media. Nevertheless, we know that nothing changed in the way the FBI presented Isikoff’s articles in its three subsequent FISA applications. The same footnote comments to the Isikoff article, with the same bald assertion about what the FBI “believed,” remained in place. Put another way, not only did the FBI deliberately not ask Steele or Simpson whether they briefed Isikoff in October 2016, when they were put on notice that Steele or Simpson could in fact have briefed Isikoff, they nevertheless continued their “ignorance is bliss” approach for each of the three subsequent FISA Warrants in 2017. In that way, they could continue using the Isikoff article as independent corroboration for Steele’s hearsay allegations.

This deliberate ignorance was criminal with regard to the 2016 FISA. It was outrageously criminal as to the three subsequent Verified Applications for FISA Warrant filed in 2017.

Earlier, I noted the fact that the FBI’s conduct would have fit comfortably into a Get Smart episode. The Get Smart analogy becomes even stronger by the end of October 2016, when the FBI deliberately enveloped itself in a “cone of silence” so that it would be ignorant of events in the outside world – for that was when it became public knowledge that Steele had been briefing reporters. Journalist David Corn, after a briefing with Steele, effectively outed Steele as his source in his October 31, 2016, Mother Jones article, A Veteran Spy Has Given the FBI Information Alleging a Russian Operation to Cultivate Donald Trump. As a result of the article, the FBI officially terminated Steele as a source. [Washington Times] Yet still no one in the FBI asked Steele if he had briefed Isikoff.

By November 2016, the FBI had ample reasons to believe that Steele was briefing other news outlets, even if they assiduously refrained from asking Steele that question. The reality was that, despite getting paid as a confidential informant for the FBI, during the September and October 2016 time frame, Steele was doing a PR blitz that saw him briefing virtually every major media outlet in the US, from Mother Jones, to the Washington Post, to the New York Times, to ABC, to NBC, and Yahoo. [Senate Testimony of Glen Simpson.] Thus, in the first FBI interview with Bruce Ohr for which a 302 exists, the FBI agent recorded:

Ohr knew Glen Simpson hired Steele to dig up Trump’s connections to Russia. . . . Ohr knew that Glen Simpson was hired by a lawyer who does opposition research. Ohr knew Steele’s reporting was going to the Clinton Campaign, John Winer at State Dept., and the FBI. Ohr was aware that Simpson was passing Steele’s information to many individuals or entities and at times Steele would attend meetings with Simpson.

In the second interview not long after that, the agent recorded:

Simpson directed Steele to speak to the press as that was what he was being paid to do. Ohr does not know if Steele going to Mother Jones was Simpson’s idea or not.

And again, in the third interview, still in December 2016, after Ohr had met again with Simpson, Ohr told his FBI briefer that:

Simpson asked Steele to speak to the Mother Jones reporter as it was his Hail Mary attempt.

In sum, the FBI was under a legal duty to provide all relevant information to establish probable cause. It knew – it could not avoid knowing – that the Isikoff article, because it was based upon Steele’s hearsay, could not then be used to corroborate Steele’s hearsay. Nevertheless, the FBI repeatedly continued to use the Isikoff article as the primary means to corroborate Steele’s hearsay – something signed off on by FBI Directors James Comey (FISA Warrants 1-3) and Andrew McCabe (FISA Warrant 4), as well as by DOJ Attorneys Sally Yates (FISA Warrants 1-2), Dana Boente (FISA Warrant 3) and Rod Rosenstein (FISA Warrant 4).

It is criminal that FBI employees repeatedly submitted to a FISA judge a document in which they falsely verified a critical fact by intentionally maintaining ignorance despite readily available information.  It is not that they were that dumb.  It is that they never had any expectation of their wrongdoing ever being made public.

VI. ADDITIONAL OMISSIONS OF MATERIAL FACT IN THE FISA WARRANTS

The follow is a list of additional o missions of material fact in the FISA warrants. These material omissions go to Steele’s reliability as a witness free of bias and to any other indicators that there were problems with the material he was providing.

1) In all four FISA Verified Applications, the FBI tries to establish that Steele did not know for whom he was ultimately working when Glenn Simpson (an intermediary) hired him. Doing so would allow the FBI to avoid having to address whether his true employer’s interest in defeating Trump was an influence upon Steele. To that end, in Footnote 8 to all four verified FISA applications, the FBI states:

[Steele] was approached by [Glen Simpson] who indicated to Steele that a law firm had hired [Simpson] to conduct research regarding Simpson’s ties to Russia. . . . [Simpson] hired [Steele] to conduct this research. [Simpson] never advised [Steele] as to the motivation behind the research into [Trump’s] ties to Russia. The FBI speculates that [Simpson] was likely looking for information that could be used to discredit [Trump’s] campaign.

Again, the FBI had notice that this was false in all of its particulars. Steele knew precisely who his ultimate employer was, even if the FBI was playing dumb in the FISA application. In her October 13, 2016 memo, Kathleen Kavalec writes of her meeting with Christopher Steele:

[Steele’s company] Orbis undertook the investigation into Trump/Russia at the behest of an institution that he declined to identify that had been hacked. The institution approached them on the recommendation of Glen Simpson. . . . (Emphasis mine.)

Nod nod, wink wink.

What kind of high school-level bullshit games are these people playing? “An institution that . . . had been hacked.”??? “The FBI speculates . . . “???

It does not matter what the FBI or anyone else thinks. What matters when a judge evaluates a declarant’s bias is what the declarant thinks. Steele believed the DNC was employing him – and, in fact, he was correct. The FBI’s failure to provide that information to the Court — and indeed, its manifest effort to leave the FISA Court with a false impression about Steele’s understanding — is a criminal omission of material fact.

A side note: 52 U.S.C. § 30104(b)(5)(A) requires campaigns to itemize and report their expenditures over $200. The Hildabeast campaign hired Marc Elias of Perkins Coie to serve as general counsel for the campaign. In addition to providing legal services, Elias also hired Glen Simpson to dig up opposition research. Simpson, in turn, hired Steele.

The Hildabeast campaign, by using Perkins Coie as cover, never itemized its expenses for Fusion GPS, obscuring the fact that it funded the FBI investigation that turned America upside down for three years. Suffice it to say, if Michael Cohen can be convicted for a campaign finance violation for expenses paid to Stormy Daniels that Trump never itemized, if we are to have equal justice in this country, Marc Elias needs to be occupying the prison cell adjoining Cohen. He looks like he could benefit from a prison diet anyway.

Having said all of the above, on yet a second side note, you can see the slimeball James Comey playing this high school level game of feigned ignorance in action in April, 2018.  He’d be eaten alive in Court.

2) After recounting Steele’s past history of providing information to the FBI that was subsequently corroborated in court, the FBI then states in the 2016 FISA Warrant at Footnote 8: “. . . the FBI is unaware of any derogatory information [regarding Steele].

Folks, a witness’s bias is always material and relevant to evaluating whether the witness’s information is reliable. The Court needs this “derogatory information,” especially in a secret hearing, such as a FISA hearing, at which the parties being affected by any court rulings are not only not represented, they’re not even aware there is a hearing taking place. Besides the fact addressed above – namely, that Steele understood that the Hillary campaign was his true employer – we know (and the FBI knew) from Ohr’s first 302 that Steele had a deep personal animus against Trump:

Steele was desperate that Trump not get elected and passionate about him not being the U.S. President.

That was not included in any of the four FISA warrants, although, as a senior DOJ attorney’s assessment, it was material, relevant and known to the FBI. Again, a criminal omission on the warrants.

3) Yet another piece of derogatory information that would be relevant to the Court is whether any of the information Steele provided was false. In the FISA warrants, the FBI made much of the fact that Steele had previously provided information that was subsequently corroborated in Court in a case predating the Trump-Russia hoax. Apparently FBI personnel felt that information erased the need for them to advise the Court that some of the information Steele was now providing was false on its face. Again going back to Kavalec’s October 13, 2016 memo, she wrote:

[Steele claims that] there is a technical/human operation being run out of Moscow targeting the election. There is a significant Russian network in the U.S. run by the Russian Embassy that draws on emigres to do hacking and recruiting. . . . Payment to those recruited are run out of the Russian Consulate in Miami. (Comment: . . . It is important to note that there is no consulate in Miami.) (Emphasis mine.)

That claim, about the pension scheme and the Russian Consulate in Miami, was also a part of Steele’s dossier, Dossier No. 2016/095. It was undated, but the numbering puts the date between July 21 and 29, 2016, so we know that Steele’s erroneous information was known to the FBI even before the Kavalec memo – yet it appears in none of the FISA applications.

Interestingly, and just for a bit of humor to put Russian interference in context, Steele, after making all the nefarious allegations about this pension scheme, memorializes in what we can imagine are shocked and breathless tones that the Russian scheme involved “tens of thousands of dollars.” Really. [Steele Dossier] As you contemplate that number, note that the total amount spent in the 2016 election was $6.8 billion – and that Hillary’s contribution alone was a comfortable $1.2 billion.

IV. REMAINING UNKNOWNS

There is no doubt that the FBI had cause to investigate foreign involvement in our 2016 election, regardless of its size. But did the FBI or anyone else have cause to open a formal investigation into the Trump campaign for complicity with Russia?  That depends on George Papadopoulos.

The standard to investigate someone is a “reasonable suspicion” that the person is involved in a crime. The “hook” for investigating Trump and his campaign was supposedly a reasonable suspicion that George Papadopoulos of the Trump campaign knew of the DNC hack before it was publicly announced. Indeed, that is mentioned prominently in all four FISA Applications filed against Carter Page.

The facts were that George Papadopolous was a third tier, unpaid aide to the Trump campaign.  On March 14, 2016 Papadopoulos met Maltese Professor Josef Mifsud [U.S. v. Papadopoulos] There is an outstanding question as to whether Mifsud was a Western Intelligence operative whom our own intel folks sent to make contact with Papadopoulos. [Redstate citing multiple other sources].

Regardless, in April 2016, Mueller alleges that the DCCC and DNC were hacked. [Mueller Report]  On April 26, 2016 Papadopoulos meets Mifsud, who had just returned from Russia. Mifsud tells Papadopoulos that he had “learned that the Russians had obtained “dirt” on then-candidate Clinton. . . . “the Russians had emails of Clinton”; “they have thousands of emails.” [U.S. v. Papadopoulos] Papadopoulos stated in testimony before the House that he believed that meant the Russians had emails from Clinton’s time as Secretary of State, when she was running all State Department business through an illegal, unsecured private server in her home. [Papadopoulos House Interview p. 21]  So did half of America.

But it would be months before the FBI interviewed Papadopoulos and this legitimate ambiguity explained.  In the interim, Papadopoulos met with Australian diplomat Alexander Downer and allegedly stated something about what he had heard from Mifsud.  Downer allegedly wrote it down in a memo he forward to Australian intelligence.  The Aussies forwarded that memo to the FBI when Wikileaks began releasing e-mails. This was the basis on which the FBI justified opening an investigation of presidential candidate Trump?

What was in the memo?  It has never been made public.

Downer, in a Sky News Interview, stated that, in the memo he forwarded to Australian Intelligence, he wrote that Papadopoulos “mentioned that Russia might have information on then-Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton that they could release before the 2016 election.” Downer further stated that “There was no suggestion from Papadopoulos nor in the record of the meeting that we sent back to Canberra, there was no suggestion that there was collusion between Donald Trump or Donald Trump’s campaign and the Russians.”

So again, does this really constitute reasonable suspicion in July 2016 to open an investigation of Donald Trump and his campaign?  It does not seem to be, but the last piece of the puzzle, at least during the period from July 2016 through January 2017, is the 302 Form of the FBI’s interview in August, 2016 with Alexander Downer, which has not been released.  We need to see it. Either the investigation into Trump never should have begun or, without anything to corroborate the criminal allegations of  Steele, it should have ended the moment the DOJ and FBI determined that their suspicions about Papadopoulos were unfounded.

Certainly, after the FBI interviewed Papadopoulos on January 27, 2017, it was false to continue making the accusations that Papadopoulos knew of the DNC hacks before, absent facts to the contrary.  Yet Papadopoulos appears in all of the Verified Applications to the FISA Court right through June 2017.  Moreover, Papadopoulos’s understanding was known before Rod Rosenstein, in May 2017, gave Mueller the mandate to conduct illegal criminal investigation into Trump and others under the guise of a counter-intelligence investigation.  The whole foundation for the coup rests on that knowingly false allegation.

VI.  SUMMARY

As for whether what I describe above constitutes a coup attempt, I’m reasonably confident that it does. The documents available to the public reveal that the FBI and the DOJ deliberately and consistently lied by omission to the FISA Court. This is worse than lying to an ordinary court in which the opposing party is present and can fight back against the government claims. The FISA Court is an utterly secret proceeding that is kept from tyranny only because of the requirement that the government must make available to the judge, not only information supporting the government’s petition, but also weaknesses in the government’s petition. When the government manifestly and purposefully violates those rules, it is committing a criminal act – and in this case, it committed the criminal act in an effort to destroy, first, an opposition president candidate, second, a president elect, and third, an actual president.  I think that there is more than sufficient probable cause to investigate all of that.


ADDENDUM – TIMELINE

March 2016 Podesta and the Clinton Campaign allege that they’ve been hacked. [Mueller Report]

March 2016 Trump is the front runner for the Republican nomination and appears near certain for the nomination after Super Tuesday on 15 March.

March 14, 2016 Papadopoulos first meets Maltese Professor Josef Mifsud [U.S. v. Papadopoulos] According to Mifsud’s attorney, Mifsud is associated with Western Intelligence and his superiors at Link University, an agent training ground, instructed him to make contact with Papadopoulos. [Redstate citing multiple other sources]

April 2016 Mueller alleges that it was within this time that the DCCC and DNC were allegedly hacked. (To date, no one outside of the DCCC, the DNC< and Crowdstrike has seen the servers to confirm the alleged hacks). [Mueller Report]

April 2016 Perkins Coie, acting on behalf of the DNC and Hillary for America, hires Fusion GPS to conduct opposition research. [NYT, 24 Oct 2017 Ltr Perkins Coie] A spokesman for Perkins Coie later claims that Perkins Coie, to which the DNC and Hillary Campaign paid $12.4 million, never informed its clients that Perkins Coie had hired Fusion GPS on their behalf. [ABA Journal] By doing this, Perkins Coie (1) creates work product and attorney-client protections; and 2) gives the campaigns plausible deniability for evading campaign finance laws. Because opposition research is not a normal legal expense, the campaigns should have publicly itemized money sent to Fusion GPS for its work. [FEC Complaint for campaign finance violation, CFR v. Steele et. al)

April 26, 2016 Papadopoulos meets Mifsud who had just returned from Russia. Mifsud tells Papadopoulos that he had “learned that the Russians had obtained ‘dirt’” on then-candidate Clinton. . . . “[T]he Russians had emails of Clinton”; “they have thousands of emails.” [U.S. v. Papadopoulos] Papadopoulos stated in testimony before the House that he believed that meant the Russians had emails from Clinton’s time as Secretary of State when she was running affairs of state over an illegal, and unsecured, private server out of her home. [Papadopoulos House Interview p. 21]

April or May 2016 Perkins Coie employed Fusion GPS to do opposition research on Trump. Glenn Simpson, Fusion GPS’s founder and principal, understood that the DNC and Hillary Campaign were Perkins Coie’s employers and that any work his form did was ultimately on their behalf. [Simpson House Testimony, p. 19]

May 6 2016 According to Mueller, “Papadopoulos suggested to a representative of a foreign government that the Trump Campaign had received indications from the Russian government that it could assist the Campaign through the anonymous release of information that would be damaging to Hillary Clinton.” [Mueller Report at p.89] Papadopoulos has testified that he did have a conversation on May 6 with Alexander Downer, but he has no recollection of discussing Russia. [Papadopoulos House Interview p. 21]

May 10, 2016 Alexander Downer, in a Sky News Interview, states that he wrote a memo he forwarded to Australian Intelligence. He said that Papadopoulos “mentioned that Russia might have information on then-Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton that they could release before the 2016 election.” Downer further stated, “There was no suggestion from Papadopoulos nor in the record of the meeting that we sent back to Canberra, there was no suggestion that there was collusion between Donald Trump or Donald Trump’s campaign and the Russians.” [Daily Caller] That said, the FBI interviewed Downer shortly after the FBI received his memorandum. The 302 of that interview is still not public. [Daily Mail] Although Papadopoulos was purportedly Ground Zero for concerns about Trump and Russia, the FBI first interviewed him in January, 2017, six months after it opened its investigation into Trump.

May 18, 2016 DNI Clapper announces that “Foreign spy services are trying to hack into digital networks used by U.S. presidential campaigns.” [LA Times]

June — October 2016 The FISA Court rejects three different FISA applications from the FBI that apparently targeted Team Trump. [CTH]

June 2016 During his October 11, 2016 meeting with the State Department’s Kathleen Kavalec, Steele tells her that Fusion GPS hired him in June. Within two weeks of his hiring, Steele suddenly claimed to have knowledge that Trump had been a Russian spy for at least five years — something that had apparently eluded our intelligence agencies the entire time. Coincidentally, at that time Hillary (who was getting tens and hundreds of people at her rallies) needed something dramatic to deal with the threat Trump (who was getting tens of thousands of people at his rallies) posed to her candidacy.

June 3, 2016 Rob Goldstone emailed Donald Trump, Jr., to set up a meeting, stating “The Crown prosecutor of Russia . . . offered to provide the Trump campaign with some official documents and information that would incriminate Hillary and her dealings with Russia and would be very useful to your father.” [Mueller Report at pp. 110-123]

June 9, 2016 A meeting takes place at Trump Tower between Donald Trump, Jr., Paul Manafort, jared Kushner and Fusion GPS employer/Russian government lawyer Natalia Veselnitskaya. The meeting did not go as promised for Veselnitskaya did not offer negative information. [Mueller Report at pp. 110-123] Simpson would later refer to the meeting in his testimony as validating the claim in the June 20 Dossier memo that Trump was exchanging information with Russia. [Senate Testimony of Glen Simpson, pp. 154-155]

June 14, 2016 The Washington Post reports that Russian hackers had hacked the DNC. [Moscow Project]

June 20, 2016 Buzzfeed publishes the Steele Dossier (No. 2016/080), complete with its claims that Trump has been in league with Russia for five years and that he could be blackmailed by Russia because they the Russians have a tape of Trump with Russian hookers who are urinating on a bed. [Steele Dossier]

July – September 2016 Simpson testifies that “I had spoken with reporters over the course of the summer and through the fall about the investigations by the government and the controversy over connections between — alleged connections between the Trump campaign and the Russians. Some of what we discussed was informed by Chris’s [i.e., Steele’s] reporting.” [Senate Testimony of Glen Simpson, p. 203]

July 4, 2016 This is the approximate date on which Steele contacts the FBI in to provide them with a copy of his first report. [Senate Testimony of Glen Simpson, pp. 159-163; House Testimony of Glen Simpson, p. 77] According to Steele, Steele made this decision unilaterally, without consulting his client. [House Testimony of Glen Simpson, pp. 59-61]

July 5, 2016 FBI Director Comey announces that, even though Hillary had deliberately and intentionally bypassed State Department security for all her communications, including those that were confidential and or had top secrets, he had decided that she could not be prosecuted. [Bookwormroom]

July 19, 2016 Steele produces Dossier No. 2016/94, which accuses Carter Page of meeting in Russia with Sechin and Divyekin to discuss lifting sanctions and of accepting bribes worth billions. [Steele Dossier] This 2nd Steele Report claims a Trump official knows that Russia is responsible for DNC hacks and is using Wikileaks for plausible deniability; and that Page and Manafort are the liaisons with Russia. This same report states that Russia is financing its activities using a pension scheme run out of Russian consulates in New York, Washington, and Miami [Steele Dossier] There is no Russian consulate in Miami.

July 22, 2016 Wikileaks begins publishing the DNC / Podesta e-mails [Moscow Project]

July 21 – 29, 2016 Steele produces Dossier No. 2016/095, which is undated, but numbering puts the date between July 21 and 29. Again, it states that a Trump associate acknowledges the Kremlin behind DNC hack and using Wikileaks to release for plausible deniability – all with the full knowledge of Trump and his senior staff. In return, Trump “had agreed to sideline Russian involvement in the Ukraine as a campaign issue and to raise US/NATO defense commitments in the Baltics and Eastern Europe to deflect attention away from the Ukraine,” calling that a “priority” for Putin. Carter Page and Manafort are the liaisons with Russia. This report lays out the pension scheme supposedly being run through Russian consulates in New York, D.C., and Miami to fund hacking. [Note again that there is no Russian consulate in Miami.] According to Steele, “tens of thousands of dollars” are involved. [Steele Dossier] Note that the total amount spent in the 2016 election was $6.8 billion. [CBS News]

July 26, 2016 According to Footnote 465 in the Mueller Report, Alexander Downer’s May 6, 2016, conversation with Papadopoulos arrived as a tip to the FBI. The actual information is not quoted, nor is there any indication about how it arrived at the FBI. To my knowledge, the FBI has not formally interviewed Downer. Footnote 465 reads: “This information is contained in the FBI case-opening document and related materials. The foreign government conveyed this information to the U.S. government on July 26, 2016, a few days after WikiLeaks’s release of Clinton-related emails. The FBI opened its investigation of potential coordination between Russia and the Trump Campaign a few days later based on the information.” [Mueller Report]

July 30, 2016 Steele produces Dossier No. 2016/097. In it, he now contends that the Trump-Russia intel relationship has been ongoing for eight years, not five. Trump Team and Putin concerned about fallout from the DNC hack. [Steele Dossier]

July 30, 2016 1st Steele-Ohr Meeting (reported by Ohr in his November 22, 2016, interview). Bruce Ohr, Nellie Ohr, and one other person from Orbis are present. Steele is very anxious to brief the FBI and Ohr. Gives the prior reports on Trump-Russia, including Carter Page allegations.

July 31, 2016 The FBI opens up its Crossfire Hurricane investigation aimed at alleged Trump-Russia ties. [Mueller Report]

August 2016 Simpson meets with Bruce Ohr to brief him on suspected Trump liaisons with Russia. McCabe then directs Ohr to meet with “Peter Strzok, Lisa Page, and some people from the Department’s — Justice Department’s Criminal Division, and I gave them the information that I had received.” Ohr specifically told these people the information he had was unvetted intel from someone connected the Clinton campaign. [Bruce Ohr House Interview, pp. 13-14; 22; 25]

August 5, 2016 Steele produces Dossier No. 2016/100, which purports to contain inside Kremlin information. [Steele Dossier]

August 10, 2016 Steele produces Dossier No. 2016/101, which purports to have more inside Kremlin information. It asserts that Russia subsidized visits to Russia by Jill Stein, Carter Page and Mike Flynn. [Steele Dossier]

August 10, 2016 Steele produces Dossier No. 2016/102 with yet more alleged inside Kremlin information. [Steele Dossier]

August 22, 2016 Steele produces Dossier No. 2016/105 in which he contends that Ukrainian President Yankovich made kick-backs to Manafort but tells Putin they are untraceable. Ukraine corruption concerns and Lewandowski drove out Manafort. [Steele Dossier]

August 27, 2016 Harry Reid sends a letter to Comey referencing Carter Page and others in the Trump organization who have ties to Russia, demanding a full investigation, and referring to Trump as an “unwitting agent” of Russia. [pdf]

September 14, 2016 Steele produces Dossier No. 2016/111 based on what he claims is inside Kremlin information. He states that Mikhail Kalugin, a Russian diplomat in DC involved in the spying and hacking ops, was pulled out of DC on short notice because he was about to be exposed for overseeing the pension payment scheme. [Steele Dossier] In actuality, Kalugin’s rotation back to Moscow after a six-year posting had been announced months prior. [Washington Times]

September 14, 2016 Steele produces Dossier No. 2016/112 which again purports to have inside Kremlin info. [Steele Dossier]

September 14, 2016 In Steele Dossier No. 2016/113, Steele asserts that Trump supposedly had sex parties and hookers in St. Petersburg. [Steele Dossier]

Mid-to Late-September 2016 Simpson testifies that Steele, at the FBI’s request, met with FBI agents in Rome to give a full and complete briefing on his findings, including the identities of his sources. [Senate Testimony of Glen Simpson, pp. 174-175] Simpson seems to give conflicting testimony about this in the House, claiming that no one from government reached out to Simpson or Steele until Bruce Ohr contacted them “after Thanksgiving.” [House Testimony of Glen Simpson, p. 78]

September 2016 Steele, in a court admission, states that he gave “off-the-record briefings to a small number of journalists about the pre-election memoranda in late summer/autumn 2016.” (The 1st day of Fall that year was September 22.) “The journalists initially briefed 16 at the end of September” by Steele “and Fusion at Fusion’s instruction were from the New York Times, the Washington Post, Yahoo News, the New Yorker, and CNN. “ [Senate Testimony of Glen Simpson, pp. 204-205] At least one of these briefings occurred in the office of the DNC’s general counsel. [Washington Times]

September 23, 2016 On or about this day, Steele met again with Bruce Ohr. Steele stated that “the Alfa server in the U.S. is the link to the Trump campaign and that Sergei Millian’s Russia/America organization had used the server in the past two weeks. . . .” Ohr also assessed that Steele “was desperate that Donald Trump not get elected and passionate about him not being the U.S. President.” Further, Ohr states “Simpson and Steele could have met with Yahoo or Michael Isikoff jointly, but Ohr does not know if they did.” This appears in the 302 from November 22 meeting with the FBI. Simpson seems to give conflicting testimony about this in the House, claiming that no one from government reached out to Simpson or Steele until Bruce Ohr contacted them “after Thanksgiving.” [House Testimony of Glen Simpson, p. 78] [Note that the Alfa Bank server theory was later definitively debunked (Washington Times) Mueller does not even mention allegations regarding the Alfa Bank server in his report. [Mueller Report]]

September 23, 2016 Investigative Reporter Michael Isikoff, following a briefing from Michael Steele and Glen Simpson [Isikoff describes meeting] publishes an article repeating Steele’s allegations against Carter Page and Trump and establishing that the charges were sufficiently serious that they were under federal investigation. [U.S. intel officials probe ties between Trump adviser and Kremlin, Yahoo News]. Isikoff used another official as an independent source to corroborate that the FBI was investigating Page. He had no independent verification for the substantive statements he relayed from Steele. [Here’s How the Steele Dossier Spread Through the Media and Government, Daily Caller]

End of September 2016 Nellie Ohr, Bruce Ohr’s wife, ends her employment with Fusion GPS. She had worked there since October 2015. [House Interview of Nellie Ohr]

October 11, 2016 Deputy Assistant Secretary of State Kathleen Kavalec prepares a memo following her meeting with Christopher Steele. She writes that “[Steele’s company] Orbis undertook the investigation into Trump/Russia at the behest of an institution that he declined to identify that had been hacked. The institution approached them on the recommendation of Glen Simpson . . . and is keen to see this information come to light prior to the election. Orbis undertook the investigation in June 2016.” She later writes that Steele stated “There is a technical/human operation being run out of Moscow targeting the election. There is a significant Russian network in the U.S. run by the Russian Embassy that draws on emigres to do hacking and recruiting. . . . Payment to those recruited are run out of the Russian Consulate in Miami. (Comment: . . . It is important to note that there is no consulate in Miami.)” [Kavalec Memo pdf]

October 12, 2016 Steele produces Dossier No. 2016/130 with purported inside Kremlin information. [Steele Dossier]

October 13, 2016 Deputy Assistant Secretary of State Kathleen Kavalec forwarded her notes (typed and handwritten) in an email to the FBI. [FBI Steele Story Falls Apart] FBI Agent Stephen Laycock received the email and forwarded it immediately to FBI Agent Strzok. [State Dept. Red Flag on Steele Went to Senior FBI Agent Well Before FISA Warrant]

Mid-October 2016 On instruction from Fusion GPS, Steele participated in further meetings with Fusion and the New York Times, the Washington Post, and Yahoo News. [Senate Testimony of Glen Simpson, p. 205]

October 18, 2016 Steele produces Dossier No. 2016/134. In it, Steele alleges a Carter Page meeting with Sechin, including the promise of a billion dollar bribe to remove sanctions; asserts that Michael Cohen is supposedly a key player in the Trump Russia conspiracy; and claims Cohen’s wife is Russian and that her father is a major developer in Moscow. [Steele Dossier] None of this is true. Regarding Cohen’s wife, she is Ukrainian. Her father, whose name Steele misspelled, was an emigre to the United States and lived and worked in New York. Note that “the same source that Steele used for the Cohen allegations provided Steele with information about Trump campaign adviser Carter Page. “ [Daily Caller]

October 19, 2016 Steele produces Dossier No. 2016/135. In it, he now asserts that Trump lawyer Michael Cohen is the liaison with Russia after Manafort and Page departures. Cohen, he says, met with Russian agents in an EU country in August to cover up the Trump relationship. [Steele Dossier]

October 20, 2016 Steele produces Dossier No. 2016/136. His new “information” is that Michael Cohen met in Prague with Russian government figures in August to “clean up” after revelations about Manafort and Carter Page in the news. [Steele Dossier]

October 21, 2016 The FBI submits a FISA Application on Carter Page, which Peter Strzok verifies and that Comey signs for the FBI and Sally Yates signs for the DOJ. [FISA at p. 1]

October 28, 2016 Comey reopens the FBI’s investigation into Hillary e-mails after tens of thousands of them are found on Anthony Weiner’s computer. Weiner, a convicted sex offender, is the husband to Huma Abadein, Hillary Clinton’s closest aide. [Washington Times]

Late October 2016 “[A]gain at Fusion’s instruction, in late October 2016 [Steele] briefed the journalist from Mother Jones by Skype.” [Senate Testimony of Glen Simpson, p. 206]

October 31, 2016 Journalist David Corn, after briefing by Steele, effectively outs Steele as his source when he publishes A Veteran Spy Has Given the FBI Information Alleging a Russian Operation to Cultivate Donald Trump in Mother Jones.

November 1, 2016 Steele had been paid as an informant by the FBI. [Federalist, Judicial Watch] Because Steele had admitted to a third party that he was an FBI informant for the FBI, the FBI officially ends using Steele as a source. [Washington Times]

November 8, 2016 Trump wins the general election, becoming President-Elect of the United States.

Mid-November 2016 Senator John McCain’s aide, David Kramer, attends the Halifax International Security Conference. Sir Andrew Wood, a retired British diplomat who knew Steele from his time in the Foreign Office, tells him about the Steele Dossier. [Testimony of David Kramer, pp. 22-23]

November 22, 2016 Bruce Ohr does an interview with the FBI. He states that his first meeting with Steele occurred on or about 30 July. Steele produced first two reports. Ohr states that during the time span from July 30 through November 22, 1) he knew Steele had been hired by Glen Simpson; 2) “Ohr knew Simpson was hired by a lawyer who does opposition research;” 3) “Ohr knew Steele’s reporting was going to the Clinton Campaign, John Winer at State Dept., and the FBI.” 4) and Ohr was aware that Simpson was passing Steele’s information to many individuals or entities and at times Steele would attend meetings with Simpson.”

Ohr talks about meeting with Steele on or about September 23, at which time Steele discussed the “Alfa server” and Ohr assessed Steele as being “desperate” to ensure Trump did not win election. Further he notes that either Simpson or Steele or the two together briefed Isikoff before the latter wrote his September 23 article. [Note that the Alfa Bank server theory was later definitively debunked (Washington Times) Mueller does not even mention allegations regarding the Alfa Bank server in his report. [Mueller Report]]

Ohr “never believed that Steele was making up information or shading it. He . . . would say this is what [redacted] are telling me. . . . Ohr honestly believes Steele reported what he heard from [redacted] but that doesn’t make the story true.” [Bruce Ohr 302’s]

According to Ohr, present at this meeting were Peter Strzok, Lisa Page, and Ohr’s new FBI handler, Joe Pientka, to take reports of his Steele/Simpson meetings. [Ohr House Interview, p. 132]

November 28, 2016 At Senator. McCain’s request, David Kramer flies to London to meet Steele. Steele briefs Kramer and lets him review a hard copy of the dossier. [Testimony of David Kramer]

November 29, 2016 Next day, Kramer flies back to U.S. and meets Glenn Simpson who gives him a hard copy of the dossier with the understanding that Kramer will give it to McCain. [Testimony of David Kramer]

December 5, 2016 Bruce Ohr’s second FBI interview. Questions are about what Ohr knew of Steele’s relationship with John Winer at State Dept. Many redactions. Ohr says he knew the two often met, but that he was never present. Ohr states that “Simpson directed Steele to speak to the press as that was what he was being paid to do. Ohr does not know if Steele going to Mother Jones was Simpson’s idea or not.” Glenn Simpson hired Ohr’s wife to do research for the firm. [Bruce Ohr 302’s]

December 12, 2016 Bruce Ohr’s third FBI interview. Ohr reports he met with Simpson on December 10 and that Simpson gave him a 10 GB thumb drive. Ohr does not know what is on it. Simpson identified Michael Cohen as having many Russian clients and now acting as the liaison between Trump and Russia. Cohen may have attended a meeting in Prague in September as regards the conspiracy. More minor information. Confirms that Simpson did tell Steele to brief Mother Jones as a “hail Mary.” [Bruce Ohr 302’s]

December 13, 2016 Steele produces Dossier No. 2016/166. More information on Cohen’s alleged meeting in Prague. [Steele Dossier]

December 29, 2016 Steele asks Kramer to meet Ken Bessinger of Buzzfeed to discuss the dossier. Does not direct one way or the other on providing a copy of the dossier. Kramer left Bessinger alone with the dossier and Bessinger took photographs. [Testimony of David Kramer at p.p. 58-63]

December 2016 Kramer testifies that Simpson is very interested in whether the FBI is acting on the Dossier as provided by McCain to Comey on 9 Dec. Simpson and Kramer spoke about it on several occasions, some of which were initiated by Simpson. [Testimony of David Kramer at p. 47-48]

December 2016 Media began contacting Kramer about the Dossier, incl. Mother Jones, the Guardian, ABC News, Washington Post, the New York Times and McClatchy. Moreover, Kramer provided copies of the dossier to WSJ, Wapo and McClatchy. Kramer further testified “And there were three others.· Two of whom Mr. Steele asked me to meet with. So maybe if you want, I will deal with the last one first. I gave a copy to Bob Little at NPR. I believe 16 the day before it was all released. And that was I felt NPR I could trust. Then, the other two were Buzzfeed and Carl Bernstein. Both of the meetings occurred at Mr. Steele’s 21. [Testimony of David Kramer at p. 48 – 54]

January 4, 2017 DNI Clapper releases “Assessing Russian Activities and Intentions in Recent US Elections” based on input from hand picked analysts from CIA, FBI and NSA. None of the other intelligence agencies were involved.

January 2017 FISA Application for renewal on Carter Page signed by James Comey and Sally Yates. [FISA at p. 84]

January 23, 2017 Fifth interview of Ohr by FBI. Ohr was contacted on 20 Jan. by Simpson. Guessing from the redactions, Steele was concerned with the Buzzfeed publication of the entire Dossier. Steele said that he spoke with a staff member in McCain’s office at the request of [redacted]. Steele had not discussed the Dossier with anyone after October, 2016. [Bruce Ohr 302’s]

January 27, 2017 FBI does its first interview with George Papadopoulos. [U.S. v. Papadopoulos]

February 6, 2017 Sixth interview of Ohr by FBI is cryptic. Steele had contacted Ohr to ask who would be his knew contact with the FBI if he was fired. The agents interviewing Ohr asked “if he [Steele] would be comfortable getting the name of an FBI Agent.” “. . . Ohr reminded the interviewing agents Kavalec spoke with Steele several times before the 2016 election and believed Steele’s reporting to have generated from mainly ________ [redacted]” [?????] “Ohr also advised _________ [redacted] an attorney representing _________ [redacted]. _________ [redacted] explained his client felt _________ [redacted] _________ [redacted] were recently complicated by the FBI, who he felt viewed him as a criminal. _________ [redacted] informed Ohr that _________ [redacted] would like “to clean things up” and felt the circumstances surrounding the 2016 election had become “too emotional.” Ohr stated, as he understood it, _________ [redacted] was informed of what was required after the FBI interview. [Bruce Ohr 302’s]

February 14, 2017 Seventh interview of Ohr by the FBI. Steele contacted Ohr on Feb. 11. “Steele’s company is continuing to work for both _________ [redacted] and another attorney for _________ [redacted]. “. . . Steele was beginning to worry about his business and was preparing a __________ [redacted] to broker a business relationship with the FBI.” [Bruce Ohr 302’s]

March 20, 2017 In testimony before the House, “in contravention of Justice Department policy, that [the DOJ had authorized him to announce that] (a) the FBI was conducting a counterintelligence investigation of the Russian government’s efforts to interfere in the election; (b) this probe included “investigating the nature of any links between individuals associated with the Trump campaign and the Russian government, and whether there was any coordination between the campaign and Russia’s efforts”; and (c) the FBI would further assess whether any crimes were committed.” Dana Boente was acting AG at the time of the announcement. [McCarthy]

April 2017 3rd FISA Application for a warrant on Carter page, signed by James Comey for the FBI and by Dana Boente for the DOJ [FISA at p. 182]

May 8, 2017 Eighth interview of Ohr by the FBI. Steele contacted Ohr on 3 May. Steele and Simpson are “lawyering up.” Steele was concerned about Comey’s testimony and his responses would be to questions by Sen. Grassley, but was now satisfied. Steele restricted by UK law and thus could not testify before Congress. Winer “was bringing over a letter separately.” [Bruce Ohr 302’s]

May 12, 2017 Ninth interview of Ohr by the FBI. Steele had contacted Ohr about a letter he had received from the Senate Intelligence Committee. _________ [redacted] requested Ohr ask Steele if he would be willing to have a conversation with FBI agents in the UK. [Bruce Ohr 302’s]

May 15, 2017 Tenth interview of Ohr by the FBI. Steele had spoken with Ohr on 12 May. Ohr asked whether Steele would meet with FBI agents in UK. Steele agreed though would have to check with _________ [redacted]. Ohr “was clear that this would be nothing more than a conversation with the FBI . . .” [????] [Bruce Ohr 302’s]

June 2017 4th FISA Application for a warrant on Carter page, signed by Andrew McCabe for the FBI and by Rod Rosenstein for the DOJ [FISA at p. 292]

October 24, 2017 Perkins Coie waives attorney-client privilege as regards its employment of Fusion GPS [24 Oct Ltr Perkins Coie]

RussiaGate Coup

The post Probable Cause And A Coup — RussiaGate Facts Tell A Story (by Wolf Howling) appeared first on Watcher of Weasels.

The DNC Server, the Russian Hoax, & the Murder of Seth Rich

We still do not know whether the DNC, FBI and DOJ acted unlawfully to create an October surprise that would elect Hillary in 2016, nor do we know beyond reasonable doubt that Seth Rich’s murder was unrelated.

Two recent articles raise important issues regarding the Russia hoax.  At Real Clear Investigations, Aaron Mate has written “CrowdStrikeOut: Mueller’s Own Report Undercuts Its Core Russia-Meddling Claims.”  Mate points out that the FBI has never inspected the DNC server and that Mueller’s “evidence” that the server was hacked by Russians is speculative, not definitive.   At Yahoo News, Michael Isikoff has written “The true origins of the Seth Rich conspiracy theory. A Yahoo News investigation.”  In it, Isikoff claims that Seth Rich’s murder was unrelated to the theft of DNC emails and that claims to the contrary are Russian disinformation.  What — and whom — to believe?

To put this in perspective, per the Mueller Report, we now know definitively that neither Donald Trump nor anyone in his campaign conspired with the Russian government to influence the 2016 election.  We do not know whether the Russian narrative Mueller was tasked to investigate was an illegal hoax, though there is ample reason to suspect various illegalities at its heart.

The central part of the Russian narrative is the claim that Russian agents hacked the DNC server.  Amazingly, inexplicably and criminally, we do not, to this day, know if that is true because the FBI has never examined the server. An entity employed by the DNC, Crowdstrike, asserted that the emails were hacked in a phishing scheme.  Both Comey and Mueller assumed that to be true without any verification.

Further, the answer to whether the DNC was phished could definitively answer an open question about the murder of DNC employee Seth Rich.  If the DNC server was phished, than Julian Assange’s charge that Rich, not Russia, was the source of the DNC emails and that he may have been killed because of it, can be definitively disproven.  But that is a charge that the entire progressive left claims is verboten to even ask.  The FBI decided not to involve itself in the investigation of Rich’s murder — inexplicable given the potential relationship to the DNC server hack — and Mueller chose not to interview Julian Assange.

Relevant Background:

Hillary Clinton, during her time as Secretary of State from 2008 to 2012, used an unsecured private server to conduct her official business.  She illegally placed classified emails on the server in the thousands, including at least 14 that were classified at the highest level, Top Secret.  She had her private server wiped clean, all in violation of laws regarding security of classified information as well as the destruction of government records subject to a subpoena.  When it became public knowledge, the FBI ostensibly began an investigation.  Clinton, expected by many to be a shoo-in for the Democrat party nomination, then to be followed by a Presidential coronation, suddenly had a huge electability problem — a problem exacerbated by her false and constantly changing justifications for using a private server.

In May 2016, the Perkins Coie law firm, on behalf of their clients, the DNC and the Hillary campaign, hired Fusion GPS to do opposition research on Donald Trump.  In a move that Glenn Simpson of Fusion GPS has never adequately explained, with the clock running down, he opted to investigate Trump’s Russia ties, though that was one of the few areas of the world were Trump had no history of business ties and minimal history of personal ties.  In May, 2016, Simpson hired former British intelligence agent and Russia specialist Christopher Steele to investigate Trump’s Russia connections.

By June, 2016, Steele wrote his first report in what was to become known as the dossier, asserting that Trump was a Russian agent of five years standing and that he was being blackmailed for perverted sexual acts with Russian hookers.  Oh, and by the way, the Russians do not have any of Hillary’s emails from her private server.  The desired result was the assumption — proven true as regards the MSM — that when the dossier was made public  Hillary’s own problems of illegality and veracity would pale in comparison to Trump’s alleged illegal acts. To add an additional air of verisimilitude to an otherwise ridiculous narrative, sometime in July , 2016, Steele began feeding his dossier to the FBI in order to start an investigation that Steele et. al would tout in October.

Early in July 2016, in what has to be rated as one of the most obscene travesties of justice our nation has ever seen, FBI Director James Comey announced that Hillary would not be prosecuted for violating security of classified information.  He did not even address her destruction of government records subject to a subpoena.  The ostensible investigation was a sham.

On July 10, 2016, DNC employee, Bernie-bro Seth Rich was murdered by two men.  He still had his valuables on his person when found by police.  Police speculate that Rich was murdered in a failed robbery attempt, but it is without evidentiary support and no one has been arrested for the murder.  In August, 2016, Julian Assange implied that Seth Rich was the source of the leaked DNC emails and that Rich may have been murdered because of it.

The meat of the claim of Russian interference in the 2016 election came in July, 2016, when Hillary Clinton’s campaign manager announced in an interview with Jake Tapper that the DNC server had been hacked, that the Russians had done it, and that they had done so in order to help elect Trump.  None of the DNC emails were a smoking gun that caused the Clinton campaign anything more than minor embarrassment..

Mook’s claim that the DNC server had been hacked by Russia was based on a preliminary analysis conducted by a firm employed by Perkins Coie, Crowdstrike, on behalf of the DNC.  Crowdstrike sent a draft preliminary analysis with redactions to the FBI.  The FBI, under Director James Comey, never inspected the server or independently verified the hack.  Likewise, Robert Mueller, in his independent investigation, never took control of the server to verify the hack.

On Sept. 23, 2016, Michael Isikoff became the first journalist to unleash the DNC’s October surprise.  In his article for Yahoo News, U.S. intel officials probe ties between Trump adviser and Kremlin, Isikoff claimed the FBI was investigating Carter Page who was supposedly interceding with “Moscow” to influence the election.

Russian interference in the 2016 election did not become a serious issue for the Obama administration prior to the November 2016 election..  After the election, it became a cause celebre in order to delegitimize, if not destroy, Trump and his presidency.

Discussion

If the DNC server was not hacked by Russia, that raises a number of questions.  One, who leaked the emails to Wikileaks?  Could it indeed have been Seth Rich and might it perhaps be related to his murder?  And if it was Rich or someone else on the inside of the DNC who leaked the emails to Wikileaks, what was their motivation?  Were they Bernie supporters angry at the DNC’s rigging of the primary for Hillary, or was there something more going on?

For instance, who benefited most from the Wikileaks release of the DNC emails?  It was not Trump.  Yes, Wikileaks released a huge trove of emails, but none of them were anything beyond minimally embarrassing to the Clinton campaign.  Arguably, Clinton and the DNC benefited the most from the leak. for it put Russian interference and perhaps Trump collusion to the very center of the campaign during a time when Hillary was still trying to escape from under the cloud of her illegal private server.  Moreover, this alleged “hack” occurred within two months after  Fusion GPS inexplicably chose to begin investigating Trump’s almost non-existent Russia ties and supposedly hit the mother lode of opposition research — Trump was a Russian spy working for Putin.  The felonious Hillary Clinton would look like an angel in comparison.  Looked at in that light, the “hack” and its timing seem fortuitous indeed.

To anyone who would now start yelling CONSPIRACY THEORY, let me just say up front, after the whole Russian hoax, the complexities of how it was formed and executed, and the mindless drive by the progressive left to get rid of Trump . . . feel free to go fornicate yourself.   America absolutely deserves definitive answers.  Because the DOJ and FBI jettisoned virtually every investigative protocol in order to rehabilitate Hillary in 2016 and then to destroy Trump thereafter, we do not have those answers.  What we have are progressives yelling “conspiracy theory!!!” to shut down questions and the DNC asking us to trust them.  Neither can be allowed to stand.

There was always an easy way to answer all of this — the FBI should have taken a snapshot of the DNC server after the alleged hack and analyzed it.  In any other situation, that would be what the FBI does — secure evidence and analyze it to determine the nature of any crime.  That the FBI did not do that with the DNC server is simply beyond belief.  Instead, the DNC refused to make the server available to the FBI and, instead, provided a draft memo by a firm employed by Perkins Coie on behalf of the DNC, the memo itself partially redacted, supposedly proving that the Russian government hacked the server.

One, the DNC and Clinton stood to — and did — benefit from the claim that Russia electronically hacked the DNC server.  It let them play the victim card and furthered the ridiculous narrative that Trump and Russia were collaborating to steal the 2016 election.

Two, FBI Director James Comey justified the FBI’s complete abdication of its responsibility to investigate the server on the grounds that the firm employed by the DNC  to evaluate the server, Crowdstrike, had a sterling reputation for honesty and accuracy.  Bullshit.  Do you know who else had a sterling reputation for honesty, accuracy and professionalism in July 2016? Christopher Steele, author of the dossier claiming that Trump was a Russian agent.

Mr. Mate, author of the above referenced article at RCI, Crowdstrikeout, gives further reasons to question the received truth that the Russians hacked the DNC server.  This from Mr. Mate:

While the 448-page Mueller report found no conspiracy between Donald Trump’s campaign and Russia, it offered voluminous details to support the sweeping conclusion that the Kremlin worked to secure Trump’s victory. The report claims that the interference operation occurred “principally” on two fronts: Russian military intelligence officers hacked and leaked embarrassing Democratic Party documents, and a government-linked troll farm orchestrated a sophisticated and far-reaching social media campaign that denigrated Hillary Clinton and promoted Trump.

But a close examination of the report shows that none of those headline assertions are supported by the report’s evidence or other publicly available sources. They are further undercut by investigative shortcomings and the conflicts of interest of key players involved:

  • The report uses qualified and vague language to describe key events, indicating that Mueller and his investigators do not actually know for certain whether Russian intelligence officers stole Democratic Party emails, or how those emails were transferred to WikiLeaks.

  • The report’s timeline of events appears to defy logic. According to its narrative, WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange announced the publication of Democratic Party emails not only before he received the documents but before he even communicated with the source that provided them.

  • There is strong reason to doubt Mueller’s suggestion that an alleged Russian cutout called Guccifer 2.0 supplied the stolen emails to Assange.

  • Mueller’s decision not to interview Assange – a central figure who claims Russia was not behind the hack – suggests an unwillingness to explore avenues of evidence on fundamental questions.

  • U.S. intelligence officials cannot make definitive conclusions about the hacking of the Democratic National Committee computer servers because they did not analyze those servers themselves. Instead, they relied on the forensics of CrowdStrike, a private contractor for the DNC that was not a neutral party, much as “Russian dossier” compiler Christopher Steele, also a DNC contractor, was not a neutral party. This puts two Democrat-hired contractors squarely behind underlying allegations in the affair – a key circumstance that Mueller ignores.

  • Further, the government allowed CrowdStrike and the Democratic Party’s legal counsel to submit redacted records, meaning CrowdStrike and not the government decided what could be revealed or not regarding evidence of hacking.

  • Mueller’s report conspicuously does not allege that the Russian government carried out the social media campaign. Instead it blames, as Mueller said in his closing remarks, “a private Russian entity” known as the Internet Research Agency (IRA).

  • Mueller also falls far short of proving that the Russian social campaign was sophisticated, or even more than minimally related to the 2016 election. As with the collusion and Russian hacking allegations, Democratic officials had a central and overlooked hand in generating the alarm about Russian social media activity.

  • John Brennan, then director of the CIA, played a seminal and overlooked role in all facets of what became Mueller’s investigation: the suspicions that triggered the initial collusion probe; the allegations of Russian interference; and the intelligence assessment that purported to validate the interference allegations that Brennan himself helped generate. Yet Brennan has since revealed himself to be, like CrowdStrike and Steele, hardly a neutral party — in fact a partisan with a deep animus toward Trump.

Do read the whole article.

Yet another article touching on all of this came out this week.  It is the Isikoff article purporting to show that “right wing conspiracy theories” surrounding the murder of Seth Rich were all part of a Russian disinformation campaign.  Why that topic, why now, and why is Isikoff the investigative journalist breaking the story?

First, understand Isikoff’s role in the Russian hoax.  In the run up to the 2016 election, Fusion GPS’s Glen Simpson and Christopher Steele briefed every major news entity on the contents of the Steele Dossier in the hopes of making Steele’s allegations public and dooming Trump.  It was the mother of all October surprises.  Yet in a pool of hyper partisan Trumpophobes that included CNN, the New York Times and the Washington Post, it was only Isikoff (and later rabid proggie David Corn) who published the ridiculous and unsubstantiated allegations in advance of the 2016 election as if they were serious allegations under investigation by the FBI.  Isikoff either lacks any journalistic ethics or he is naïve to the point of gross incompetence.  Either way, nothing he writes on anything touching the Russia hoax can be taken at face value as reasonably likely to be true.

So why are we reading now that that the theory Seth Rich was involved in the transfer of emails to WikiLeaks was nothing more than a conspiracy theory ginned up by the Ruissians?  It is of course possible that Isikoff’s article is accurate and that his timing of the report now is merely coincidental.  Let me posit a second possibility.

Attorney General Barr has authorized a top to bottom investigation of the Russia hoax and the attorneys involved are seeking to sequester the DNC server for a grossly belated investigation.  The DNC is contesting it and the matter is already or soon will be litigated.  Someone with a vested interest in ensuring that the server is never examined by the FBI has spoon fed the allegations used by Isikoff in his article, the same way Christopher Steele spoon fed Isikoff the Steele Dossier with the intent it be published in time to effect the election.  Isikoff, already shown to be a useful fool (and Leftist tool), is the obvious person to go to with such a story.  And no doubt one argument in favor of sequestering the server is that it may shed light on the murder of Seth Rich.  Isikoff’s article is aimed at taking that justification off of the table.

We will eventually know, I hope, the results of AG Barr’s investigation.  It might well be that there was no illegality by the Clinton campaign, the DNC, the FBI or any other entity as regards the Russian hoax and that all were acting in good faith.  I can live with that.  What I cannot live with is progressives obstructing the investigation.  After three years of progressives with their thumbs on the scales of justice, corrupting investigations hang them and hang them high if they try to do the same yet again.

The post The DNC Server, the Russian Hoax, & the Murder of Seth Rich appeared first on Watcher of Weasels.

Part II of the Mueller Report is a singularly dishonest political document

This post offers you five reasons to view Part II of the Mueller Report as a purely political document without any supporting legal rationales.

Part I of the Mueller Report conclusively found no evidence that President Trump or anyone close to him ever conspired with, or attempted to conspire with, the Russian government to affect the outcome of the 2016 election. That should put the matter to bed.

Those who say that the Mueller report also doesn’t find affirmative proof that President Trump did not conspire with the Russians need to go back and study their basic American jurisprudence. In America, individuals do not have to prove their innocence; it is the prosecution that bears the high burden of proving their guilt. Case closed.

With Russian Collusion a dead-in-the-water talking point, the President’s critics have swung to Part II, which implies that the president of obstructed justice, whether it came about in the form of fulminating against what he knew was a witch hunt, debating with his attorney whether it was possible to fire the chief witch hunter, issuing orders to keep quiet about those discussions, or refusing to appear for an oral deposition.

See that, say President Trump’s critics. President Trump clearly had bad motives, which makes him unfit for the office he holds.

But for presidents, just as for everyone else, having bad motives doesn’t matter unless they’re followed by conduct. The fact that I put myself to sleep at night, not by counting sheep but by figuring out different ways to poison my enemies is irrelevant if I never poison my enemies or inflict any other criminal harm on them. My motives also do not make it a crime if someone later catches me sneering at one of those enemies, because sneering, while rude, is not a criminal act.

The record shows that Trump did not fire anyone and that his subordinates spoke freely to investigators. As for refusing to appear for a deposition, Mueller acceded to Trump’s request that he be subject only to written questions. That was a bargain, not an obstruction.

I’ve also noted before that it’s questionable whether one can claim “obstruction of justice” when there was no actual justice going on. The laws about obstruction of justice posit a known, actual crime; a prosecutor honestly investigating who did that crime; and a person, even an innocent one, deliberately engaging in affirmative acts (destruction of evidence, silencing of witnesses, etc.) to block that investigation.

In this case, however, the facts we know argue against “justice” having any part in this farce. Instead, a continuously emerging stream of new information tells us that government investigative agencies under Obama used illegal means to spy on the Republican presidential candidate. Then, when Trump won, he was accused of doing something bad with the Russians, although no one could quite finger what the precise illegality was. Trump’s FBI director then illegally leaked classified material to the media to trigger a special prosecutor. Although Mueller lacked evidence of an actual crime, he zealously spent two years and $35 million hunting for a crime, any crime, that he could pin on Trump.

That’s not justice. That’s Soviet-style political persecution.

So, is it “obstruction of justice” to fulminate against political persecution (because Trump knew at all times that he had done nothing wrong) and to explore avenues to make it stop, but then, at the end of the day, to cooperate completely with the farce? I say no, but I’ll freely admit my bias on this one.

But there’s more wrong with Part II than just the fact that Trump fulminated about but did not block investigators or that there was no justice present here. The public recently got to see a letter from Emmet T. Flood, Trump’s new White House counsel. (In addition to embedding the actual letter at the bottom of this post via Scribd, I’ve included the full text in this post, as I find Scribd documents hard to read.)

I highly recommend reading Flood’s every word. He details how Mueller’s office deviated from the special prosecutor’s mandate in order to write a blatantly political document intended to give Democrats an impeachment road map. It also explains how Mueller & Co. violated the special prosecutor’s law when they refused either to recommend indicting Trump for obstruction of justice or to state that he should not be indicted. Instead, they spelled out all sorts of things that prosecutors are never supposed to make public . . . only to punt.

By the way, what Mueller did is the fun house mirror of how James Comey screwed Hillary in July 2016 — only instead of punting after telling all the illegal things she did, Comey shoved aside AG Lynch and unilaterally and improperly decided that she should not be prosecuted. That is, Mueller detailed that Trump did nothing criminal (see below) he nevertheless refused to say Trump should not be prosecuted, while Comey detailed textbook criminality but refused to say Hillary should be prosecuted. Both Comey and Mueller are political hacks of the highest order.

Before you read the Flood letter, though, I want to direct your attention to one more thing, which was Bill Barr’s recently revealed quarrel with Mueller about the applicable federal statute for determining whether someone obstructed justice. The part I want to focus on is something that Scott Adams, a very astute observer, misunderstood because he’s not a lawyer. I realized then that a lot of people might not understand it.

The whole matter came out thanks to an excellent post that Will Chamberlain wrote for Human Events, entitled Checkmate. How President Trump’s Legal Team Outfoxed Mueller. A large part of that outfoxing boils down to a statutory quarrel that’s central to Part II of the Mueller Report, the part regarding obstruction:

At the end of Volume II of the Mueller Report, however, there were 20 pages of genuinely new material.

There, the former FBI director turned Special Counsel Robert Mueller defended his “Application of Obstruction-Of-Justice Statutes To The President.”  These overlooked 20 pages were dedicated to defending Mueller’s interpretation of a single subsection of a single obstruction-of-justice statute: 18 U.S.C. § 1512(c)(2).

Before Mueller issued his report, way back in June 2018, the White House got wind of the peculiar interpretation Mueller and his team intended to put on the statute. William Barr got wind too and, in his capacity as a private citizen he wrote an entire letter to Rod Rosenstein expressing his concerns about what he was hearing. You can read the whole debate in Chamberlain’s article, but I just want to focus on the core issue, which is the language in 18 U.S.C. § 1512(c)(2):

(c) Whoever corruptly—
(1) alters, destroys, mutilates, or conceals a record, document, or other object, or attempts to do so, with the intent to impair the object’s integrity or availability for use in an official proceeding; or
(2) otherwise obstructs, influences, or impedes any official proceeding, or attempts to do so,
shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than 20 years, or both.

Read literally, the above statute says that whoever intentionally messes with records, documents, or other objects so as to interfere with an investigation is subject to a fine and a long prison sentence. In addition, whoever intentionally does anything else to interfere with an investigation is subject to a fine and a long prison sentence. This is how Scott Adams understood the statute. It is not the law’s way of understanding it and, moreover, had Adams drilled down, with his fine mind he would have realized that his instincts are completely illogically.

Re-read the statute and ask yourself this: Why would subjection (1) focus tightly on a very specific type of interference if subsection (2) says any type of interference is criminal?

Let me simplify things by giving a more relate-able example. Imagine reading the following two-part statute:

(1) Any person who owns a Chihuahua, a Pomeranian, or a Toy Poodle shall be fined $100 a day.

(2) Any person who owns any other dog shall be fined $100 a day.

Again, you find yourself asking why subsection (1) goes to the effort of singling out three types of dogs when subsection (2) fines owners for any and all types of dog. Given that subsection (1) is obviously a subset of subsection (2), subsection (1) is redundant, pointless, meaningless, and confusing.

The same goes for the Mueller team’s preferred reading of 18 U.S.C. § 1512(c)(2). Mueller desperately wanted to say that, in addition to criminal penalties for destroying documents or other tangible objects in a way that interferes with an investigation, a personal is also subject to criminal penalties for anything and everything else that interferes with an investigation.

But here is where the rules of statutory interpretation come to our aid. (And this is what Barr argued, although I’m doing so in more user-friendly and less lawyerly fashion.)

There is a very old doctrine (we know it’s old because it’s a Latin-named doctrine) called ejusdem generis. Per the Black’s Law Dictionary’s definition of ejusdem generis:

Of the same kind, class, or nature.  In statutory construction, the “ejusdem generis rule” is that where general words follow an enumeration of persons or things, by words of a particular and specific meaning, such general words are not to be construed in their widest extent, but are to be held as applying only to persons or things of the same general kind or class as those specifically mentioned. Black, Interp. Laws, 141 ; Cutshaw v. Denver, 19 Colo. App.341, 75 Pac. 22; Ex parte Le- land, 1 Nott & McC. (S. C.) 462; Spalding v. People, 172111. 40, 49 N. E. 993.

To go back to our canine example, let me show you how ejusdem generis works:

(1) Any person who owns a Chihuahua, a Pomeranian, or a Toy Poodle shall be fined $100 a day.

(2) Any person who owns any other dog shall be fined $100 a day.

Logic tells us that subsection (1) delineates a very specific class of dogs: toy or miniature dogs. Under the doctrine of ejusdem generis, subsection (2) must mean “any other dog that falls within the class of toy or miniature dogs.” That means those who own Labbies and and German Shepherds can breathe a sigh of relief, but people owning Miniature Pinschers, Italian Greyhounds, etc., had better decide whether to start paying or give up their doggies.

The same holds true for interpreting 18 U.S.C. § 1512(c)(2). Subsection (1) manifestly describes someone deliberately destroying or manipulating tangible evidence, since as documents or records or other “objects.” It does not refer to talking to people or engaging in behavior other than destroying or manipulating tangible evidence.

Once we have classified the type of wrongdoing described in subsection (1) we know that subsection (2) is a catch-all to describe any deliberate destruction of similar types of evidence. For example, when 18 U.S.C. § 1512(c)(2) was originally enacted in 1982, there was no such thing as being able to wipe out a hard drive using BleachBit. By using the catch-all, the legislators didn’t have to amend the statute every time new technology for storing or erasing data came along. Subsection (2) effectively sweeps in newer technology that’s clearly within the same class of tangible evidence as old-fashioned paper documents.

Finally, please read Andrew McCarthy’s latest post, Mueller’s Preposterous Rationale for Tainting the President with ‘Obstruction’ Allegations. Here’s just a snippet, but you must read the whole thing:

In gross violation of Justice Department policy and constitutional norms, a prosecutor neither charges nor recommends charges against a suspect, but proceeds to smear him by publishing 200 pages of obstruction allegations. Asked to explain why he did it, the prosecutor says he was just trying to protect the suspect from being smeared.

This is the upshot of the Mueller report’s Volume II. It might be thought campy if the suspect weren’t the president of the United States and the stakes weren’t so high.

The smear-but-don’t-charge outcome is the result of two wrongs: (1) Mueller’s dizzying application of Justice Department guidance, written by the Office of Legal Counsel (OLC), holding that a president may not be indicted while he is in office; and (2) the media-Democrat complex’s demand that only laws they like — those that serve their anti-Trump political purposes — be enforced.

The rest of this post is Emmet T. Flood’s letter. I hope that all these things give you a new way of thinking about Part II of the Mueller Report.

*****************************************

The White House
Washington

April 19, 2019

Via Hand Delivery

The Honorable William P. Barr
Attorney General of the United States
United States Department of Justice
950 Pennsylvania Ave. N.W.
Washington D.C. 20530

Dear Mr. Attorney General:

I write on behalf of the Office of the President to memorialize concerns relating to the form of the Special Counsel’s Office (“SCO”) Report (“SCO Report” or “Report”) and to address executive privilege issues associated with its release.

The SCO Report suffers from an extraordinary legal defect: It quite deliberately fails to comply with the requirements of governing law. Lest the Report’s release be taken as a “precedent” or perceived as somehow legitimating the defect, I write with both the President and future Presidents in mind to make the following points clear.

I begin with the SCO’s stated conclusion on the obstruction question: The SCO concluded that the evidence “prevent[ed] [it] from conclusively determining that no criminal conduct occurred.” SCO Report v.2, p.2. But “conclusively determining that no criminal conduct occurred” was not the SCO’s assigned task, because making conclusive determinations of innocence is never the task of the federal prosecutor.

What prosecutors are supposed to do is complete an investigation and then either ask the grand jury to return an indictment or decline to charge the case. When prosecutors decline to charge, they make that decision not because they have “conclusively determin[ed] that no criminal conduct occurred,” but rather because they do not believe that the investigated conduct constitutes a crime for which all the elements can be proven to the satisfaction of a jury beyond a reasonable doubt. Prosecutors simply are not in the business of establishing innocence. any more than they are in the business of “exonerating” investigated persons. In the American justice system, innocence is presumed; there is never any need for prosecutors to “conclusively determine” it. Nor is there any place for such a determination. Our country would be a very different (and very dangerous) place if prosecutors applied the SCO standard and citizens were obliged to prove “conclusively . . . that no criminal conduct occurred.”

Because they do not belong to our criminal justice vocabulary. the SCO’s inverted-proof-standard and “exoneration” statements can be understood only as political statements, issuing from persons (federal prosecutors) who in our system of government are rightly expected never to be political in the performance of their duties. The inverted burden of proof knowingly embedded in the SCO’s conclusion shows that the Special Counsel and his staff failed in their duty to act as prosecutors and only as prosecutors.

Second, and equally importantly: In closing its investigation. the SCQ had only one job — to “provide the Attorney General with a confidential report explaining the prosecution or declination decisions reached by the Special Counsel.” 28 C.F.R. § 600.8(c). Yet the one thing the SCO was obligated to do is the very thing the SCO — intentionally and unapologetically — refused to do. The SCO made neither a prosecution decision nor a declination decision on the obstruction question. Instead, it transmitted a 182-page discussion of raw evidentiary material combined with its own inconclusive observations on the arguable legal significance of the gathered content. As a result, none of the Report’s Volume II complied with the obligation imposed by the governing regulation to “explain[] the prosecution or declination decisions reached.” Id.

The SCO instead produced a prosecutorial curiosity — part “truth commission” report and part law school exam paper. Far more detailed than the text of any known criminal indictment or declination memorandum, the Report is laden with factual information that has never been subjected to adversarial testing or independent analysis. That information is accompanied by a series of inexplicably inconclusive observations (inexplicable, that is, coming from a prosecutor) concerning possible applications of law to fact. This species of public report has no basis in the relevant regulation and no precedent in the history of special/independent counsel investigations.

An investigation of the President under a regulation that clearly specifies a very particular form of closing documentation is not the place for indulging creative departures from governing law. Under general prosecutorial principles, and under the Special Counsel regulation’s specific language, prosecutors are to speak publicly through indictments or confidentially in declination memoranda. By way of justifying this departure. it has been suggested that the Report was written with the intent of providing Congress some kind of ” road map” for congressional action. See, e.g., Remarks of House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerrold Nadler, 4/18/19 (Press Conference).[Fn 1] If that was in fact the SCO’s intention, it too serves as additional evidence of the SCO’s refusal to follow applicable law. Both the language of the regulation and its ” legislative” history make plain that the “[c]losing documentation” language was promulgated for the specific purpose of preventing the creation of this sort of final report.[Fn 2] Under a constitution of separated powers, inferior Article II officers should not be in the business of creating “road maps” for the purpose of transmitting them to Article I committees.

[Fn 1] Some commentators have pointed to the so-called Watergate “Road Map” as precedent for giving Congress a prosecutor’s report containing no legal conclusions. That “Road Map” is shrouded in a bodyguard of myths, and the many separation of powers problems presented by its transmission remain largely unexplored. But the idea that it was a straightforward. just-the-facts type summary is easily dispelled. As two top Watergate prosecutors wrote years after the events of 1973-74, the Watergate Task Force created the “road map [to] serve as a do-it-yourself kit for the Judiciary Committee, helping it reassemble the individual pieces of grand-jury testimony and other evidence into a coherent theory of a criminal case as we and the [grand] jury saw it.” Ben-Veniste & Frampton. Stonewall: The Real Story of the Watergate Prosecution 242-43 (1977) (emphasis added).

[Fn 2] At the time of the Special Counsel regulations’ creation in 1999. it was widely understood that Section 600.8(c) was not intended to provide for “a report which discusses the evidence at length,” much less its public dissemination. The Future of the Independent Counsel Act: Hearings before the S. Comm. On Governmental Affairs, 106th Cong. 236 (1999) (letter from Robert B. Fiske, Jr.); see also id. at 252 (prepared statement of Janet Reno, Att’y Gen. of the United States); Reauthorization of the Independent Counsel Statute, Part I: Hearings Before the Subcomm. On Commercial and Admin. Law of the H. Comm. On the Judiciary, 106th Cong. 36 (1999) prepared statement of Eric H. Holder, Jr., Deputy Att’y Gen.).

With the release of the SCO Report and despite all of the foregoing, the President has followed through on his consistent promise of transparency. He encouraged every White House staffer to cooperate fully with the sea and, so far as we are aware, all have done so. Voluntary interviewees included the Counsel to the President, two Chiefs of Staff, the Press Secretary and numerous others. In addition, approximately 1.4 million pages of documents were provided to the SCO. This voluntary cooperation was given on the understanding (reached with the SCO) that information (i) gathered directly from the White House or White House staffers and (ii) having to do with Presidential communications, White House deliberations, law enforcement information, and perhaps other matter may be subject to a potential claim of executive privilege and, for that reason, would be treated by the SCO as presumptively privileged. Volume II of the report contains a great deal of presumptively privileged information, largely in the form of references to, and descriptions of, White House staff interviews with the SCO. It also includes reference to presumptively privileged documentary materials.

The President is aware that, had he chosen to do so, he could have withheld such information on executive privilege grounds, basing such an assertion on the established principle that to permit release of such information might have a chilling effect on a President’s advisors, causing them to be less than fully frank in providing advice to a President. Notwithstanding his right to assert such a privilege, and with a measure of reluctance born of concern for future Presidents and their advisors, the President has in this instance elected not to assert executive privilege over any of the presumptively privileged portions of the report. As a consequence, not a single redaction in the Report was done on the advice of or at the direction of the White House.

The President therefore wants the following features of his decision to be known and understood:

(1) His decision not to assert privilege is not a waiver of executive privilege for any other material or for any other purpose;

(2) His decision to permit disclosure of executive-privileged portions of the report does not waive any privileges or protections for the SCO’s underlying investigative materials such as, for example, FBI Form 302 witness interview summaries and presumptively privileged documents made available to the SCO by the White House.

(3) His decision does not affect his ability as President to instruct his advisors to decline to appear before congressional committees to answer questions on these same subjects. It is one thing for a President to encourage complete cooperation and transparency in a criminal investigation conducted largely within the Executive Branch; it is something else entirely to allow his advisors to appear before Congress, a coordinate branch of government, and answer questions relating to their communications with the President and with each other. The former course reflected the President’s recognition of the importance of promoting cooperation with a criminal investigation. The latter course creates profound separation of powers concerns and — if not defended aggressively — threatens to undermine the integrity of Executive Branch deliberations. The President is determined to protect from congressional scrutiny not only the advice rendered by his own advisors, but also by advisors to future Presidents.

A great deal is said these days about the rule of law and the importance of legal norms. In that spirit, and mindful of the frenzied atmosphere accompanying the Report’s release, the following should not be forgotten. Government officials, with access to classified information derived from a counterintelligence investigation and from classified intelligence intercepts, engaged in a campaign of illegal leaks against the President. Many of those leaks were felonies. They disclosed the identity of a U.S. person in violation of his civil rights; they misused intelligence for partisan political purposes; and they eroded public confidence in the integrity and impartiality of our intelligence services. The criminal investigation began with a breach of confidentiality executed by a very senior administration official who was himself an intelligence service chief. This leak of confidential information, personally directed by the former Director of the FBI, triggered the creation of the SCO itself – precisely as he intended it to do.

Not so long ago, the idea that a law enforcement official might provide the press with confidential governmental information for the proclaimed purpose of prompting a criminal investigation of an identified individual would have troubled Americans of all political persuasions. That the head of our country’s top law enforcement agency has actually done so to the President of the United States should frighten every friend of individual liberty. Under our system of government, unelected Executive Branch officers and intelligence agency personnel are supposed to answer to the person elected by the people — the President — and not the other way around. This is not a Democratic or a Republican issue; it is a matter of having a government responsible to the people — and, again, not the other way around. In the partisan commotion surrounding the released Report, it would be well to remember that what can be done to a President can be done to any of us.

These leaks and this investigation also caused immense and continuing interference with the functioning of the Executive Branch. Our constitution makes the President the sole constitutional officer “for whom the entire Nation votes. and [who] represent[s] the entire Nation both domestically and abroad.” Clinton v. Jones, 520 U.S. 681, 711 (1997) (Breyer, J., concurring). As a result, “[i]nterference with a President’s ability to carry out his public responsibilities is constitutionally equivalent to interference with the ability of the entirety of Congress, or the Judicial Branch, to carry out its public obligations.” Id. at 713. It is inarguable that the now-resolved allegation of “Russian collusion” placed a cloud over the Presidency that has only begun to lift in recent weeks. The pendency of the SCO investigation plainly interfered with the President’s ability to carry out his public responsibility to serve the American people and to govern effectively. These very public and widely felt consequences flowed from, and were fueled by, improper disclosures by senior government officials with access to classified information. That this continues to go largely unremarked should worry all civil libertarians, all supporters of investigative due process, and all believers in limited and effective government under the Constitution.

I respectfully ask you to include a copy of this letter in the Department’s records relating to the SCO investigation.

Sincerely,

Emmet T. Flood
Special Counsel to the President

*****************************************

Flood letter to Barr by on Scribd

The post Part II of the Mueller Report is a singularly dishonest political document appeared first on Watcher of Weasels.

The collusion and obstruction investigation indicts others, not Trump

Officially, Mueller investigated Trump’s alleged collusion and obstruction. We now know that there was collusion and obstruction — but not by Trump.

The investigation into Trump’s campaign began with the ludicrous hearsay (in some cases, multiple levels of hearsay) allegations compiled by Michael Steele, paid for by the DNC, provided to the FBI before the 2016 election, and briefed to every major media outlet as part of an “October surprise” that failed to derail Trump.  It is worth quickly reviewing what those allegations were.  To summarize the charges in the original Buzzfeed “report”:

  1.  Trump was a Russian intelligence asset who had been working for Russian intelligence for at least seven years.
  2. Trump, who had no business interests in Russia, was being paid in Russian prostitutes for his services.
  3. Russian intelligence has a tape of Trump inviting prostitutes to his hotel room during the 2013 Miss Universe contest held in Moscow and so they could perform a “golden shower” on the bed.
  4. Trump was handling the payment of Russian assets in New York through a complicated money laundering scheme.
  5. Trump coordinated with Russian intelligence through Paul Manafort, Carter Page, George Papadopoulos, and his private attorney, Michael Cohen.
  6. Carter Page’s business trip to Russia in 2016 was cover for a meeting with Russian intelligence.
  7. The Trump campaign coordinated with Russia for the release of DNC emails hacked by Russian intelligence.  Papadopoulos admitted to knowing this information in near real time, before it was made public by the DNC.
  8. Michael Cohen was subject to Russian influence through his Russian wife (she is not Russian, by the way).  Cohen traveled to Prague to coordinate with Russian intel on behalf of Trump once Russian involvement in the campaign became public knowledge.

All involved denied those allegations. Moreover, Mueller’s $30 million-plus, two year-plus investigation either affirmatively disproved them or was unable to find any facts that might prove them.  None are supported in the Mueller Report.  And indeed, Mueller makes only passing reference to the Steele Dossier.

Now recall that, once it became apparent that the Steele Dossier did not provide probable cause for anything, because all of its wild allegations were affirmatively false or incapable of proof, a story appeared in the NYT  on Dec. 30, 2017, based on a leak, that the investigation was warranted because Papadopoulos in fact knew of the theft of DNC emails before that theft was made public.

There’s only one problem with the NYT’s “bombshell of the moment”: Reviewing the FBI affidavit that supports charging Papadopoulos with the crime of lying to investigators, it is readily apparent that Papadopoulos had said nothing at all that tied the hacked DNC emails to Russia. As I wrote at the time, anyone paying attention to the Hillary email scandal suspected that Hillary’s emails had long before been hacked by foreign intelligence from her time as Secretary of State.

Yet, “even in the FBI’s indictment against Papadopoulos for lying, the “FBI” seems to go the extra mile not to clarify precisely which emails Papadopoulos was talking about.”  In other words, the FBI was assuming without reasonable justification, that Papadopoulos was talking about the Wikileaks emails, not her emails from Secretary of State. The implication then, is that Papadopoulos was in on the Russian hack into the DNC, which he knew about before it went public, rather than his referring to Hillary’s own unsecured server.”

And that factually unsupported indictment was the basis for three years of investigating Trump and placing a millstone around his ability to execute his duties as president?

I wrote the above quoted paragraph when the NYT published its December 30, 2017 report. Since then, the Mueller Report did nothing at all to challenge my conclusions. And today retired DOJ attorney Andrew McCarthy sums up what was really going on — The FBI’s Trump-Russia Investigation Was Formally Opened on False Pretenses:

There is no evidence whatsoever, including in the 448-page Mueller report, that Papadopoulos was ever told that Russia intended, through an intermediary, to disseminate damaging information about Clinton in a manner designed to hurt Clinton’s candidacy and help Trump’s. There is, furthermore, no evidence that Papadopoulos ever said such a thing to anyone else — including Downer, whom he famously met at the Kensington Wine Rooms in London on May 6, 2016.

The claim that Papadopoulos made such a statement is a fabrication, initially founded on what, at best, was a deeply flawed assumption by Downer, the Australian diplomat.

On July 22, 2016, the eve of the Democratic National Convention and two months after Downer met with Papadopoulos, WikiLeaks began disseminating to the press the hacked DNC emails. From this fact, Downer drew the unfounded inference that the hacked emails must have been what Papadopoulos was talking about when he said Russia had damaging information about Clinton.

Downer’s assumption was specious, for at least four reasons.

1) In speaking with Downer, Papadopoulos never mentioned emails. Neither Downer nor Papadopoulos has ever claimed that Papadopoulos spoke of emails.

2) Papadopoulos did not tell Downer that Russia was planning to publish damaging information about Clinton through an intermediary. There is no allegation in the Mueller report that Mifsud ever told Papadopoulos any such thing, much less that Papadopoulos relayed it to Downer. Mueller’s report says:

Mifsud told Papadopoulos that he had met with high-level Russian government officials during his recent trip to Moscow. Mifsud also said that, on the trip, he learned that the Russians had obtained “dirt” on candidate Hillary Clinton. As Papadopoulos later stated to the FBI, Mifsud said that the “dirt” was in the form of “emails of Clinton,” and that they “have thousands of emails.”

(Vol. I, p. 89 & n. 464). In neither the Mueller report nor the “Statement of the Offense” that Mueller filed in connection with Papadopoulos’s plea (pp. 6–7) have prosecutors claimed that Mifsud told Papadopoulos what Russia was planning to do with the “dirt,” much less why. And, to repeat, Mifsud denied telling Papadopoulos anything about emails; Mueller never alleged that Mifsud’s denial was false.

3) Papadopoulos says the emails he claims Mifsud referred to were not the DNC emails; they were Clinton’s own emails. That is, when Papadopoulos claims that Mifsud told him that Russia had “dirt” in the form of “thousands” of “emails of Clinton,” he understood Mifsud to be alluding to the thousands of State Department and Clinton Foundation emails that Clinton had stored on a private server. These, of course, were the emails that were being intensively covered in the media (including speculation that they might have been hacked by hostile foreign intelligence services) at the time Mifsud and Papadopoulos spoke – i.e., April 2016, when neither Mifsud nor Papadopoulos had any basis to know anything about hacked DNC emails. . . .

The State Department and the FBI Distort What Papadopoulos ‘Suggested’

Downer’s flawed assumption that Papadopoulos must have been referring to the hacked DNC emails was then inflated into a Trump-Russia conspiracy theory by Clinton partisans in the Obama administration — first at the State Department, and then in the Justice Department, the FBI, and the broader intelligence community — all agencies in which animus against Donald Trump ran deep.

There is much more, so I would suggest that you read McCarthy’s entire article.  The main takeaway is that the Fourth Amendment requires probable cause before law enforcement can conduct the type of investigation launched against Trump and his associates. In the absence of probable cause, the Trump investigation was unlawful — a political dirty trick that broke the law, involved misuse of the police power of government on a scale not seen outside a police state, and resulted in a scandal that dwarfs the facts of Watergate.  It also makes the push to punish Trump for “obstructing” this investigation utterly surreal.

If you want to see obstruction in action, look today at what the Left is doing to try and savage Barr and Trump.  Rep. Jerry Nadler has scheduled a vote of contempt against AG Barr for failing to appear before the House Judicial Committee.  Virtually every Democrat is screaming to the rafters that AG Barr lied to Congress and now needs to resign.

Then there is Jim Comey, who is also criticizing Barr.  Let’s not forget him because, if the facts are as I suspect they may be, he is dirty as the day is long.  This from Victor Davis Hanson today:

Comey seems to be prepping his own defense by a transparent preemptive attack on the very official who may soon calibrate Comey’s own legal exposure. Comey should at least offer a disclaimer that the federal prosecutor he is now attacking may soon be adjudicating his own future—if for no other reason than to prevent a naïf from assuming that Comey’s gambit of attacking Barr is deliberately designed to suggest later on that prosecutor Barr harbored a prejudicial dislike of likely defendant Comey.

How ironic that Comey who used to lecture the nation on “obstruction” and the impropriety of Trump’s editorializing about the Mueller prosecutorial team, is now attacking—or perhaps “obstructing”—the Attorney General before he has even issued a single indictment.

Three, Comey somehow remains seriously delusional about the abyss between his sermonizing and his own unethical and likely illegal behavior.

Remember, James Comey assured the nation that the Steele dossier, contra the testimony of his subordinate Andrew McCabe (already facing criminal referrals) was not the chief evidence presented to a FISA court. That is likely untrue. And if it is not, Comey’s other evidence he presented is likely to be just as compromised.

Comey also misled a FISA judge by not admitting 1) that his submitted dossier evidence was compiled by a contractor paid by Hillary Clinton; 2) that ex-British spy Christopher Steele’s work was unverified; 3) that Steele’s relationship with Comey’s FBI has already been severed due to Steele’s unprofessional behavior; and 4) that submitted news accounts of “collusion” were in circular fashion based on the dossier itself. Had Comey’s behavior ever become standard procedure in FISA applications, there could be no longer a FISA court.

Comey also misled about his meetings with President Trump, as memorialized in his now infamous memos. He briefed the president on the Steele dossier—without telling Trump that it had been paid for by Hillary Clinton.

Comey likely also lied in telling Trump he wanted to brief him on the dossier in worries that the press might otherwise report on it first. In fact, his meeting with Trump by design was the necessary imprimatur the press had been waiting for to leak information from the dossier, which shortly followed. . . .

The post The collusion and obstruction investigation indicts others, not Trump appeared first on Watcher of Weasels.

Russia Collusion Peddlers Will Turn on Each Other—Trump 2020 Adviser Steven Rogers

TRUMP/PUTIN RUSSIA COLLUSION DOES NOT EXIST; DITTO THAT FOR OBSTRUCTION

Communists, their co-conspirators in the global media complex guided by the deep state, appointees of Obama under Barack Obama’s instruction and comrades in both Houses of Congress, John McCain, Jeff Flake, fellow NeverTrumpers, the DNC and Hillary Clinton, et al.,  conspired against the 2016 Republican Party presidential candidate, Donald J. Trump.  Their allegations (a) Russia collusion during the 2016 presidential campaign with Vladimir Putin.

When Plan A failed after candidate, Trump against all odds won the 2016 presidential election, Plan B was launched.  That is where false allegations of Russia collusion, the fake Christopher Steele dossier and eventually obstruction  (also false) were put into play, endgame of which was  (is) the termination of the Trump presidency, annihilation of the Trump name, organization and entities.

Let’s be honest; endgame of which was and continues to be the the final nail in the coffin of the American dream for every American, little boy and little girl.  They failed.

HUNGRY FOR POWER, EXPOSED AS LIARS

Traitors to the Republic underestimated President Donald J. Trump as much as they over-estimated Robert Mueller; and with the appointment (just in time) of Attorney General, Robert Barr, the findings, rather lack thereof of the Mueller Report, results of which exonerated and vindicated President Trump to the dismay of the facilitators of the failed coup sending power-hungry totalitarians even further over the cliff.

Swamp rats were exposed after lying to the world, even worse to American voters, for nearly two years about the 2016 presidential election, followed by another two years plus of false allegations, fake narratives, fake news, fake dossiers including the fact that there was no Russia collusion between President Trump and Vladimir Putin has been exposed.

THAT GLORIOUS DAY OF RECKONING

It is a matter of time until those who conspired against the 45th president of the United States and the Republic begin to scatter like rats fleeing New York City’s sewer system a few years back during Hurricane Sandy.

The only Russian collusion is between Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton and yes, Joe Biden, members of the Obama administration including the likes of Robert Mueller among others and Putin.  Let’s not forget the Ukraine.

Question:  Who do you think will fall on their sword(s) to save Barack Obama?

The post Russia Collusion Peddlers Will Turn on Each Other—Trump 2020 Adviser Steven Rogers appeared first on Watcher of Weasels.

President Trump is the “dayenu” president

No matter how imperfect Trump is, looking at his record of accomplishments, as to each one I say the Passover word “dayenu” — it would have been enough.

During the Passover dinner, one of the songs Jewish families sing is Dayenu. It is in the nature of a “count your blessings song,” with the song reciting each of God’s miracles during the Exodus and, after every verse reciting “dayenu,” which means “it would have been enough” or “it would have sufficed.” Growing up,  I considered this song one of the best parts of the proceedings. I was in good company, for Jews have been singing Dayenu for around one thousand years.

The song consists of three groups of praise for God’s miracles. The first group recites the miracles that challenged Pharaoh, the second recites the miracles that were the Exodus itself, and the third recites the miracles of being with God and getting the Ten Commandants during the forty years in the wilderness. Chabad provides a nice version of the lyrics in  both English and Hebrew:

If He had brought us out from Egypt, and had not carried out judgments against them Dayenu, it would have sufficed us! אִלּוּ הוֹצִיאָנוּ מִמִּצְרַיִם וְלֹא עָשָׂה בָהֶם שְׁפָטִים דַּיֵּנוּ
If He had carried out judgments against them, and not against their idols Dayenu, it would have sufficed us! אִלּוּ עָשָׂה בָהֶם שְׁפָטִים וְלֹא עָשָׂה בֵאלֹהֵיהֶם דַּיֵּנוּ
If He had destroyed their idols, and had not smitten their first-born Dayenu, it would have sufficed us! אִלּוּ עָשָׂה בֵאלֹהֵיהֶם וְלֹא הָרַג אֶת בְּכוֹרֵיהֶם דַּיֵּנוּ
If He had smitten their first-born, and had not given us their wealth Dayenu, it would have sufficed us! אִלּוּ הָרַג אֶת בְּכוֹרֵיהֶם וְלֹא נָתַן לָנוּ אֶת מָמוֹנָם דַּיֵּנוּ
If He had given us their wealth, and had not split the sea for us Dayenu, it would have sufficed us! אִלּוּ נָתַן לָנוּ אֶת מָמוֹנָם וְלֹא קָרַע לָנוּ אֶת הַיָּם דַּיֵּנוּ
If He had split the sea for us, and had not taken us through it on dry land Dayenu, it would have sufficed us! אִלּוּ קָרַע לָנוּ אֶת הַיָּם וְלֹא הֶעֱבִירָנוּ בְּתוֹכוֹ בֶּחָרָבָה דַּיֵּנוּ
If He had taken us through the sea on dry land, and had not drowned our oppressors in it Dayenu, it would have sufficed us! אִלּוּ הֶעֱבִירָנוּ בְּתוֹכוֹ בֶּחָרָבָה וְלֹא שִׁקַּע צָרֵינוּ בְּתוֹכוֹ דַּיֵּנוּ
If He had drowned our oppressors in it, and had not supplied our needs in the desert for forty years Dayenu, it would have sufficed us! אִלּוּ שִׁקַּע צָרֵינוּ בְּתוֹכוֹ וְלֹא סִפֵּק צָרְכֵנוּ בַּמִּדְבָּר אַרְבָּעִים שָׁנָה דַּיֵּנוּ
If He had supplied our needs in the desert for forty years, and had not fed us the manna Dayenu, it would have sufficed us! אִלּוּ סִפֵּק צָרְכֵנוּ בַּמִּדְבָּר אַרְבָּעִים שָׁנָה וְלֹא הֶאֱכִילָנוּ אֶת הַמָּן דַּיֵּנוּ
If He had fed us the manna, and had not given us the ShabbatDayenu, it would have sufficed us! אִלּוּ הֶאֱכִילָנוּ אֶת הַמָּן וְלֹא נָתַן לָנוּ אֶת הַשַּׁבָּת דַּיֵּנוּ
If He had given us the Shabbat, and had not brought us before Mount Sinai Dayenu, it would have sufficed us! אִלּוּ נָתַן לָנוּ אֶת הַשַּׁבָּת וְלֹא קֵרְבָנוּ לִפְנֵי הַר סִינַי דַּיֵּנוּ
If He had brought us before Mount Sinai, and had not given us the Torah Dayenu, it would have sufficed us! אִלּוּ קֵרְבָנוּ לִפְנֵי הַר סִינַי וְלֹא נָתַן לָנוּ אֶת הַתּוֹרָה דַּיֵּנוּ
If He had given us the Torah, and had not brought us into the land of Israel Dayenu, it would have sufficed us! אִלּוּ נָתַן לָנוּ אֶת הַתּוֹרָה וְלֹא הִכְנִיסָנוּ לְאֶרֶץ יִשְׂרָאֵל דַּיֵּנוּ
If He had brought us into the land of Israel, and had not built for us the Beit Habechirah (Chosen House; the Beit Hamikdash) Dayenu, it would have sufficed us! אִלּוּ הִכְנִיסָנוּ לְאֶרֶץ יִשְׂרָאֵל וְלֹא בָנָה לָנוּ אֶת בֵּית הַבְּחִירָה דַּיֵּנוּ

So you can get a sense of the melody, here is the Maccabeats’ charming version of the song (although when we were kids we perked up rather than collapsing during the song):

The point of the song, obviously, is not to get greedy, but to be grateful for whatever gifts or miracles come your way. God doesn’t need cumulative miracles to prove His greatness and the debt Jews owe Him. Each little thing He did, standing alone, would have been enough.

So what’s this got to do with Trump? Well, let me first assure you that I am not likening Trump to God. He is no God. He is, instead, a very imperfect man, but one who nevertheless has taken a series of steps that, even if each stands alone, is a reminder why a Trump presidency is so much better than the Hillary alternative.

The genesis for this thought came about because I got an email from a very dear friend, one whom I respect more than you can imagine, who is baffled by my fondness for Trump. Before the Mueller report, he saw Trump as a crude buffoon. Since the Mueller report, he sees him as a dangerously corrupt individual. Worse, he sees Trump as way less successful than a good Republican president should be. As readers of this blog know, I’ve come to hold Trump in quite high esteem. Thinking about how to explain my esteem to my friend, I came up with the “dayenu” meter.

To begin with, remember that America’s choice in November 2016 was completely binary: Hillary or Trump. So we’re not measuring Trump against some perfect Republican candidate; we’re measuring Trump against Hillary, who was committed to continuing the Obama administration, although with the addition of the Clintons’ unique brand of financial corruption. It is in that context that I look at what Trump has done. (As an aside, I would argue, as Wolf Howling already has, that Trump is proving to be an extraordinary conservative president who, only halfway through his first term, can measure up even to Ronaldus Magnus.)

Also, regarding what Trump has not done, or not yet done, I never lose track of the fact that, for two-and-a-half years, Trump has been contending with the weight of an entirely false accusation that he entered into a conspiracy with Russia to keep Hillary from the White House. (Incidentally, that’s why Trump said he was “f**ked* when he realized the immensity of this whole Russia collusion hoax. He wasn’t saying, “Oh, my God, the jig is up! I’m going to jail.” He was saying, “Oh, my God, this will paralyze my effectiveness as a president.”)

So here’s my dayenu recital for Trump:

If Trump had merely presided over a booming economy, even if one accepts Leftist talking points that it wasn’t his policies that made the change — Dayenu.

If Trump had merely lowered taxes, even if one accepts Leftists talking points that lower taxes didn’t help the economic boom — Dayenu.

If Trump had merely massively cut regulations, even if one accepts Leftist talking points that lessening the government’s stranglehold over businesses didn’t help the economic boom — Dayenu.

If Trump had merely presided over minorities seeing the best economic years of their lives, even if one accepts Leftist talking points that Trump didn’t help the economic boom — Dayenu.

If Trump had merely appointed two conservative Supreme Court justices, even though the remaining Leftists Supreme Court justices show no sign of vacating their seats — Dayenu.

If Trump had merely put dozens of strict constructionists in federal appellate and district courts, even though enough Leftist judges remain to thwart many of his policies — Dayenu.

If Trump had merely taken seriously and worked hard to address American’s concerns about illegal aliens flooding our southern border security, even though the Democrats’ have successfully hamstrung Trump through Leftists activist judges — Dayenu. (Don’t get me started on Congress’s failure to act on the southern border when Republicans controlled both houses. Just don’t get me started.)

If Trump had merely shifted the long-standing, failed paradigm that saw the US sending no-strings (or almost no-strings) money to North Korea and, instead, offered Kim Jong-un a carrot and stick approach to abandoning North Korea’s nuclear program, even though Kim recently conducted a rocket test and talked to Putin — Dayenu. (I’m not worried about Kim allying with Putin, because he’s always been allied with communist regimes; I think his recent posturing, including that rocket test, is just that — posturing intended to keep his own worst enemies, the ones inside his regime, at bay.)

If Trump had merely defeated ISIS on the battlefield, even though radical Islamism remains a worldwide scourge — Dayenu. (You have to start defeating radical Islamists somewhere, especially because it’s the nature of Islam to respect a strong horse and want to gut and devour a weak one.)

If Trump had merely walked out of the illegal Kyoto Accord, which was set to deplete the American economy while propping up the hyper-polluting Chinese economy, even though his administration is still paying some lip service to the cult of climate change — Dayenu.

If Trump had merely supported a reinvigorated American oil, gas, and coal sector, which will bring employment to vast numbers of people and lower product prices for everyone, even though the climatistas are up in arms — Dayenu. (I have long believed that “renewables” cannot provide First World energy needs. Forcing America onto renewables will return us to a pre-industrial time which, while pastoral, was deadly and uncomfortable. The answer is to use our technology to make cleaner-burning fossil fuels and, if Scott Adams is correct, to turn to Generation IV nuclear reactors, which are completely safe and will burn up existing nuclear waste.)

If Trump had merely withdrawn from the illegal Iran Deal — which propped up the mullahs and funded world-wide terrorism — and instead reimposed economic sanctions on Iran, even though the mullahs are still rattling sabers and making trouble — Dayenu. (Nobody expected the mullahs to collapse the instant Trump undid that vile deal; it’s enough that he undid it and is starting to reapply pressure on a very shaky regime.)

If Trump had merely reinvigorated the American military by pouring more funds into it and by ending the habit of treating it as a social justice experiment, even though doing so hurts the feelings of transgender people — Dayenu. (The military exists to protect our nation, not to make people feel good about themselves.)

If Trump had merely put the screws to China’s predatory trade practices, which have been depleting the American economy for decades, in such a way that China appears to be backing down, even though people on the Left and the Right are now saying all tariffs are bad — Dayenu. (I believe in free trade, but free trade works only if there isn’t cheating. Moreover, while many claim that things will eventually right themselves if left alone, that’s a fine thing to say to one or two generations of Americans who are economically destroyed by China’s unfair trade practices, which include intellectual piracy, slave labor, and government underwriting in the marketplace. This “dayenu,” incidentally, also goes to the new trade deals Trump negotiated with other nations.)

If Trump had merely managed to de-fang most of Obamacare, which was a drag on the economy and which destroyed people’s relationships with their physicians while doing nothing to improve the delivery of medical care in America, even thought the vicious, unprincipled John McCain did everything he could to block Trump’s efforts — Dayenu.

If Trump had merely proved to be the staunchest friend Israel has ever had in the White House, or certainly the staunchest friend since Reagan, and implemented policies that are putting a stop to the Palestinians’ non-stop, bad faith demands, even as the whole Democrat Party is turning increasingly anti-Semitic — Dayenu.

If Trump had merely presided over a Department of Education that withdrew the “Dear Colleague” letter that turned already Leftist campus administrations into fanatically man-hating entities that destroyed young men without due process and on the merest threads of accusations, even though . . . I don’t know what “even though” clause could be used here — DAYENU!

If Trump had merely threatened to withdraw federal funds from institutions of (ostensibly) higher education that squash free speech, even though . . . heck! There is no “even though” here either.  DAYENU!

If Trump had merely shown fearlessness in the face of stifling, Leftist political correctness, thereby freeing other Americans to speak honestly, even though . . . what’s the downside here? None. DAYENU!

I could go on all day with this. Trump is rude, crude, bumptious, impulsive, cold-blooded, combative, etc. I see that. I also see that he’s incredibly funny, that he has a wonderful knack for making Leftists reveal their true colors, and that his initiatives, even if imperfect or ultimately ineffective, nevertheless have shifted paradigms at home and abroad in ways that are important to and beneficial for America.

As far as I can tell, the worst thing that Trump has left completely unfixed and unaddressed — and something that is a dangerous time bomb that could destroy America — is the $21 trillion national debt, which skyrocketed under Obama and has continued to rise under Trump. This is unsustainable and we need to work hard and fast to bring government spending down even as we hope that the soaring economy will help increase tax revenues to pay off that debt.

Also, while I’m on the subject, I want to address the Mueller report’s statement that Trump refused to let Mueller interview him and the allegation that Trump played with the idea of dismissing Mueller and, while he eventually did not do so, asked White House counsel to lie about the fact that he even contemplated that dismissal.

First, the undoubted fact that Trump refused to allow Mueller to interview him: No sane attorney would have allowed Mueller anywhere near his client. We saw with General Flynn that the Mueller approach was to trip people up on small, inconsequential details, and then use those trip-ups to prosecute them for perjury in the hope of squeezing more out of them. It was Mueller’s version of the torture Torquemada used during the Spanish inquisition.T

Just think for a moment about the fact that the FBI agents who interviewed Flynn believed he was trying to tell the truth, but that he didn’t remember something they knew only because of their spying. Despite Flynn’s manifestly honest intentions, and the fact that he did not committed any of the crimes for which he was being investigated, Mueller destroyed Flynn professionally and financially, and finally brought Flynn to heel by threatening Flynn’s family.

Imagine what would have happened if Mueller, with all the information available to him through Obama-era spying, had gotten his talons into Trump. The only way to protect Trump was (a) to demand that Trump respond only to written interrogatories that could be carefully reviewed with an attorney and (b) to have Trump in those interrogatory responses denying remembering anything as to which he did not have absolutely perfect recall. To do otherwise would have thrown Trump into the maw of the new American Stasi.

I’m equally unimpressed with the allegation that, according to White House counsel Don McGahn, Trump wanted to fire Mueller, backed down on that desire, and then instructed his attorney to lie. It’s meant to show that Trump had evil in his heart, even though he didn’t fire Mueller, and then he tried to make his attorney complicit in that evil. Let’s unpack this, shall we?

First, we only have Don McGahn’s word for this. Trump was never asked about his side. The due process protections of examination and cross-examination are missing, making this pure hearsay from an attorney who had witnessed how Mueller destroyed the lives of those who didn’t cooperate with him. In that way, his testimony was probably as honest as any testimony coming from one of Torquemada’s victims.

Second, I can tell you as an attorney with decades under my belt that clients, when talking to their attorneys, often ask, “Can we do X?” or “Can we do Y?” with X and Y being either stupid or against the law. By the way, please remember that things can be against the law even if they’re not morally wrong. One of the scary things about today’s over-legislated and over-regulated world is that it’s impossible for us to know what the law is, making us sitting ducks for zealous or biased prosecutors. The fact that Trump didn’t know his suggestion couldn’t fly means nothing.

Once client asks such a question (“can we do X?”), the attorney’s role is to be extra cautious to protect the client. This may mean drawing lines that the attorney recommends the client not cross. When you have a bulldog client such as Trump, you, as the attorney, may have to take a strong stand to show that you’re not joking about the fact that something that seems logical and moral is still illegal: “No, you can’t do that, and if you insist on doing it, I’ll have to quit as your counsel.”

If that thread is indeed what McGahn had to make, Trump then did what 99% of clients do: He backed down and McGahn remained as his attorney. But Trump is in a unique class. Rather than this back-and-forth staying confidential, so that no one knows what ideas a client had before behaving perfectly legally, his attorney spilled the beans, making Trump look uniquely evil rather than completely ordinary.

One more thing about Trump’s query about firing Mueller, if he indeed did make that query: To the extent Trump knew he was being framed, it was quite reasonable for him to wonder if he could stop a baseless witch hunt intended to invalidate an American election.

Third, keep in mind that we’re dealing with exceptionally humorless people here. I sure you remember how, on the campaign trail, Trump said, “Russia, if you’re listening, I hope you’re able to find the 30,000 emails that are missing,” Sane people immediately recognized that Trump was making a humorous riff about the fact that Hillary’s blatant, grossly illegal security violations meant that the Russians had almost certainly been in possession of her emails for years.

Insane people — and that means the entire Left — insisted that Trump had the brazen effrontery to demand in public that Putin collude with him to hack Hillary’s already hacked emails. When you remember that Mueller’s attack dogs were all die-hard Democrat establishment members, you start to wonder, as I do, it’s entirely possible that Trump made an obvious joke to McGahn (“Hey, remember not to tell Mueller I wanted to fire his humorless little ass”).

So, yeah, I’m totally unimpressed by Mueller’s obstruction drama. And if you’d like more reasons to be unimpressed, I recommend watching this Mark Levin video on the subject:

Finally, if you’re interested in a stellar analysis of Trump — warts and all — as well as an explanation for why every American should find appalling the behavior of the bureaucratic caste arrayed against him, I highly recommend this Victor Davis Hanson interview, every minute of which is entertaining and informative (hat tip: Maggie’s Farm):

The post President Trump is the “dayenu” president appeared first on Watcher of Weasels.

Comey is right that there are questions — but he’s asking the wrong one

Jim Comey is now claiming his firing was obstruction of justice.  Apparently, Comey must hear those “walls [that were supposed to be] closing in” on Trump.
By Wolf Howling

Jim Comey was part and parcel of several events that could end up with him in prison.  One was the DOJ / FBI cover-up of crimes by Hillary Clinton under the cover of an ostensible investigation.  That cover-up almost certainly involved the crime of spoliation of evidence.  Next was his involvement in the FISA abuse predicated on the unverified Steele dossier.  Lastly, there was his release of potentially classified information to the person whom he employed to leak his anti-Trump screed to the NYT.

Those are just the things we know in the public domain.  So it’s no surprise that Comey, a man who has been silent of late, apparently felt like a man lost in the woods . . .

. . . when his carefully choreographed effort to give Trump the Lavrentiy Beria treatment (show me the man, I’ll find you the crime) ended with Robert Mueller’s complete exoneration of President Trump on charges of collusion with Russia and punting the decision on obstruction of justice back to the DOJ.  They have since decided.  Comey knows how this goes.  No reasonable prosecutor would bring such a case.

To quote Scooby Doo, “Ruh-Roh.”

And thus it was no surprise to find Comey on NBC Nightly News pushing the canard that Trump’s decision to fire Comey was in fact obstruction of justice:

FBI Director James Comey said in an interview Wednesday that President Trump may have obstructed justice in his decision to fire him.

Comey’s remarks came via a clip from his NBC Nightly News interview, during which Lester Holt brought the conversation back to early May 2017, when Comey testified before the Senate Judiciary Committee.

During that hearing, Comey spoke on a variety of topics, including the Hillary Clinton email investigation.

“But you declined to answer questions specifically about evidence of collusion at that point. A couple days later, you’re fired,” Holt said.

“A few days after that, I sit down with President Trump,” he continued. “He says, ‘when I decided to just do it,’ talking about firing you, ‘I said to myself, I said you know, this Russia thing with Trump and Russia is a made up story.’ What did you think when you heard that?”

Comey replied: “I thought that’s potentially obstruction of justice and I hope somebody is going to look at that.”

A swing and a miss, but it’s all Comey has left.  Now its someone else’s turn at bat.  This today from Fox:

President Trump was enthusiastic about the idea of appointing a second special counsel to review the origins of the Russia investigation when it came up during a meeting Tuesday with Republican senators, a source familiar with the discussions told Fox News.

The president was specifically reacting to GOP Sen. Lindsey Graham’s call for another special counsel as well as the senator’s vow to look into issues like the alleged abuse of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act at the dawn of the Russia probe. The source told Fox News that the president seemed excited about that course during a Senate GOP lunch on Capitol Hill, which Graham and other senators attended.

All I can say is it’s about time.

To date, the collusion narrative has resulted in enough criminal activity (filing of false reports, FISA warrants, unmasking) and likely perjury (Christopher Steele to the FBI, Glenn Simpson to the House) to more than justify appointment of a special Counsel.  Since we now know definitively that there was no “collusion” on the part of Trump or anyone associated with him, that leaves the question of whether this was an outrageous and unlawful political dirty trick designed to throw the 2016 election to Hillary Clinton, then  afterwards, to destroy Trump’s Presidency, in essence overturning the results of the 2016 election.

In that spirit Sharyl Attkisson has listed The Many Unanswered Questions About the Trump Investigation she would like answered.

If, in the end, Mueller found no convincing evidence that Americans colluded with Russia, how did top current and former U.S. intel officials supposedly become so convinced otherwise?  In fact, one might ask, were they really convinced, or were they promulgating a narrative they knew was at best unproven and quite possibly false?

How and why did ex-MI6 spy Christopher Steele come to meet with certain Russian sources close to President Vladimir Putin in 2016, as they supposedly passed on the wildest sort of rumors about Trump, which Steele then wrote up in his “dossier” for Glenn Simpson’s Fusion GPS?

Did these Russian sources, Steele, and Simpson conspire to influence the 2016 campaign?

How did the former UK ambassador to Russia, Sir Andrew Wood, learn about the “dossier,” and how was it that he then told Sen. John McCain and McCain’s onetime adviser David Kramer about it as they attended a security conference in Halifax, Nova Scotia, in November 2016?  Did this contact qualify as an additional foreign attempt to influence our election?

Who at the FBI and Justice Department believed that the dossier, funded by Democrats and the Hillary Clinton campaign, passed the credibility test without even minimal verification?

Who further determined that the dossier merited inclusion as evidence in an application to wiretap Trump campaign adviser Carter Page?

Who thought it was a valid idea to continue to wiretap Page, time after time after time, as if he were a Russian agent, while they apparently turned up no evidence that he was?

Did any Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court judges question the FBI’s relentless pursuit of Carter Page and the dragnet the wiretaps allowed them to secretly cast for those around him, including, quite possibly, Trump?

Who was behind the campaign of anti-Trump leaks—frequently including false information—that became ubiquitous in the news media?

Who worked to make the entire false conspiracy theory about Russia colluding with Trump or the Trump campaign dominate our news and political landscape day in and day out?

What does it say about the judgment of some of our one-time top intel officials if they really believed Trump colluded with Russia? This includes former CIA Director John Brennan, former FBI Director James Comey, former Director of National Intelligence James Clapper, former national security adviser Susan Rice, and former ambassador Samantha Power.

What other mistakes did they make, and what actions did they take based on any such mistakes?

Were any of the “unmaskings” of American citizens by these intel officials in 2016 politically motivated?

[Samantha] Power reportedly told Congress that many of the hundreds of “unmasking” requests made in her name in 2016 were not made by her. It should be simple to track where those requests originated and who signed her name to them. Has anybody attempted to learn who committed this alleged national security crime?

What did the Justice Department ever do about the criminal referral Sens. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) and Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) made against Steele in January 2018?

What happened to the criminal referral made by the Justice Department inspector general almost a year ago against former FBI official Andrew McCabe over his alleged lying to investigators about his media contacts?

Has anyone been held accountable for the FBI’s supposedly lost or accidentally erased text messages and emails relevant to the investigation?

Were some of those involved in furthering the false Trump–Russia collusion narrative trying to deflect from real crimes or other wrongdoing? If so, what?

Did Mueller’s investigation touch upon or attempt to answer any of these questions as his work led him to conclude that Trump–Russia collusion never happened?

I think that we’d all like those answers.

The post Comey is right that there are questions — but he’s asking the wrong one appeared first on Watcher of Weasels.

Bookworm Beat 3/27/19 — the post-Mueller report illustrated edition

The MSM is trying to make the Mueller Report exoneration old news, but it’s not, and even Chicago “justice” for Jussie Smollett won’t wipe that issue away.
















(Yes, you’ve been Rick-rolled.)

















The post Bookworm Beat 3/27/19 — the post-Mueller report illustrated edition appeared first on Watcher of Weasels.

The end of Russian collusion reveals entrenched Leftist delusions

Reading unhinged Leftist delusions about Trump’s criminality — despite the Mueller report’s exoneration — reminds me strongly of people with dementia.

When she was already in her high 80s, my mother had to go to the hospital for heart surgery. The surgery went very well and gave my mother another five good years. What didn’t go well, though, was the hospital stay.

Those of you with elderly parents may already be familiar with something called “sundowning,” which is a form of dementia that worsens at night. Although it’s technically a symptom of Alzheimer’s disease, it’s also very common in elderly people who do not have dementia, but who are thrown into an unfamiliar setting — especially a hospital setting that sees them woken up at all hours of the night and living in a sort of perpetual twilight. (As you may have guessed from its name, sundowning is associated with disrupted Circadian rhythms.)

On my mother’s first night after surgery, the nurses telephoned me at 3 a.m. because Mom had been hysterically calling out for me to rescue her. They hoped that I could talk her down. I couldn’t, though, because although she recognized my voice on the phone, she was convinced that I was an alien being who had kidnapped her daughter and taken the daughter’s (that is, my) place.

Because the phone call didn’t help, I threw my clothes on and headed to the hospital. I shouldn’t have bothered. My mother was in the grip of a deep hallucination and didn’t recognize me. It was very strange having her desperately calling me to rescue her even as I stood there in front of her. I went back home.

When I returned to the hospital the next day, Mom filled me in on exactly what had happened to her that night. The nurses, she told me, were using the mobile computer carts that they brought to the bedside to run an illegal retail business selling designer clothes. They had kidnapped her and brought her down to a cellar beneath the hospital, put her at a sewing machine, and brutally forced her to sew clothes for ten hours to make products for their illegal business. She’d demanded that they bring her daughter to her (that would be me), because she knew I would rescue her. I never came, though. Instead, they sent an impostor to trick her. Later, when they returned her to her bed, the patient in the next bed was dying, and they forced mom to nurse the patient.

As my Mom was otherwise lucid that morning, I tried to show her that the patient in the next bed was alive and well and that the computer in her room was limited to patient data. I told her that I had talked to her on the phone and come to the hospital. I also pointed out that Mom wasn’t any good at sewing now that her vision was diminished. None of that mattered. Even while she acknowledged as true every single fact I told her, she nevertheless clung steadfastly to her narrative. It had happened and nothing could persuade her otherwise. She believed in that delusion until the day she died.

The next night, Mom called for me again and again I spoke to her on the phone without her recognizing me. This time, though, I didn’t go to the hospital because doing so would be pointless.

When I visited her the next morning, she had a new night-time adventure to report. She told me that she had been sleeping in her bed when she saw three Germans arrive from “there” (pointing to the window). The Germans came to her bed and stood around her as they discussed using her body in strange and torturous ways for scientific research. She was frightened and called for me, but I didn’t come, which was a tremendous betrayal of my alleged love for her.

This morning, Mom was able to walk, so I took her to the window — the same window through which, she assured me, the Germans had arrived. When we reached the window, I pointed out that (a) it could not open and (b) her room was on the third floor of the hospital. Because that evidence was before her eyes, she readily agreed that my facts were correct. But again, she refused to deny her hallucination. It was another one she clung to until her dying day.

Although my mother was an intelligent woman, had a lot of common sense, and was closely tied to reality when she wasn’t in the hospital, those visions were all-encompassing. They felt completely real to her. It was apparent that they had interwoven themselves so completely into her synapses that she could not accept that they were anything other than the truth — even if they conflicted with common sense, physics, trusted sources, whatever. They had happened.

You all know where I’m going, of course. People suffering from Trump Derangement Syndrome invested themselves so completely and thoroughly in the Russian Collusion theory that nothing will shake their belief that it happened. That mass delusion, that collective hallucination, has become as real to them as the chair on which they sit, the food they eat, or the face they see in the mirror. And because it has profound emotional resonance, playing as it does on their fears and their fantasies, their hates and their hopes, they cannot let it go.

With that in mind, I’d like to share with you two posts I saw on my real-me Facebook page. One is from a die-hard Proggie and the other from a #NeverTrumper. Both are people whom I’ve known for decades, so I can attest to the fact that they have jobs (one of them, indeed, is a leader in his field), they have families, they have friends, and they manage their lives with reasonable skill.

They’re also completely delusional. Here’s the Proggie’s take on what we know to date about the Mueller report:

Just remember that the report says there was not enough PROOF to prove collusion at this time.

He is still a criminal.
He is still a liar, cheat and fraud.
He is still a horrible person.

Not enough proof? At this time?! Let’s talk about what 19 lawyers, 40 FBI agents, and all their support staff did for two years (and here I’m quoting from the Barr letter): They “issued more than 2,800 subpoenas, executed nearly 500 search warrants, obtained more than 230 orders for communication records, issued almost 50 orders authorizing use of pen registers, made 13 requests to foreign governments for evidence, and interviewed approximately 500 witnesses.”

And after all that effort, here’s what Barr summarizes as the Special Counsel’s findings on collusion:

The report further explains that a primary consideration for the Special Counsel’s investigation was whether any Americans – including individuals associated with the Trump campaign – joined the Russian conspiracies to influence the election, which would be a federal crime. The Special Counsel’s investigation did not find that the Trump campaign or anyone associated with it conspired or coordinated with Russia in its efforts to influence the 2016 U.S. presidential election. As the report states: “[T]he investigation did not establish that members of the Trump Campaign conspired or coordinated with the Russian government in its election interference activities.”

Do you see any language there about “not enough proof at this time,” because I sure don’t. Or how about in this paragraph about Russian efforts at sowing disinformation:

As noted above, the Special Counsel did not find that any U.S. person or Trump campaign official or associate conspired or knowingly coordinated with the IRA in its efforts, although the Special Counsel brought criminal charges against a number of Russian nationals and entities in connection with these activities.

Again, I’m not seeing any hedging statement saying, “The Special Counsel thought there was something there, but damned if he could find any proof after those 2,800 plus subpoenas, after reviewing God alone knows how many documents, and after talking to approximately 500 people.”

That’s just disinformation, though. What about the computer hacking? Surely that’s where my Proggie friend saw language about “not enough proof at this time.” Hmmm, not so much:

But as noted above, the Special Counsel did not find that the Trump campaign, or anyone associated with it, conspired or coordinated with the Russian government in these efforts, despite multiple offers from Russian-affiliated individuals to assist the Trump campaign.

This wasn’t a case of “not enough proof.” As Barr summarizes it, this was a case of NO PROOF. NADA. ZILCH. NOTHING.

There was no proof whatsoever that anyone in the Trump campaign, from Trump on down, did anything wrong with regard to the Russians. Indeed, reading between the lines, blame can only go to one place for Russian behavior vis-a-vis the 2016 election: The Obama administration, which failed to (did it even try to?) stop the Russians.

But facts are irrelevant. My Proggie friend is in the Stygian depths of Trump Derangement Syndrome. He’s in the political equivalent of that hospital basement with my Mom, sewing clothes for nurses to sell through their hospital computers. He can no longer distinguish reality from his fantasy. The fact that the Special Counsel’s efforts, aided by a team of die-hard Hillary supporting Democrat attorneys, couldn’t find diddly-squat to tie Trump to collusion is meaningless. He has hardwired himself to a fantasy and cannot let it go.

And then there’s the #NeverTrumper. . . . He was absolutely horrified that Trump said that the people in government who pushed the collusion story had done a very bad thing — indeed, a treasonous thing — and that he intended to look into their conduct. Here’s what the Proggie had to say:

He should be thankful for possibly dodging a bullet but instead he seems to want to demonstrate he is unfit for office (as the National Review once wrote – any office, even Travis County dog catcher…)

Huh? Did I just understand this man to say that someone who has just been exonerated entirely (go back to the Barr quotes) should be grateful that he “dodg[ed] a bullet”? What bullet? Is the #NeverTrumper saying Trump should be grateful that he survived a treasonous cabal of political operatives anxious to hang onto power, aided by a Special Counsel staff composed entirely of his political enemies, all trying to stage a coup that successfully wiped out the 2016 election? That bullet?

I don’t think that’s what my #NeverTrump buddy is arguing. I think he’s arguing that, despite the most thorough exoneration in American political history, Trump’s lucky he didn’t get caught . . . doing whatever nefarious hallucination is winding around like some tapeworm in the #NeverTrumper’s delirious imaginings. No wonder, then, that this #NeverTrumper thinks that Trump, an innocent man, is “unfit for office” because he stated that he intends to bring justice to those who almost succeeded in carrying out the first true political coup in American history.

My mother’s excuse was that she had an aged brain. All of us who are aging can look at her and think “there but for the grace of God go I.”

It’s different when it comes to the people who wrote those ludicrous statements, both of which are untethered to explicit and undisputed facts. These permanently sundowning Proggies and #NeverTrumpers who proudly display their hallucinations for all to see on Twitter and Facebook, and in MSM articles and TV shows, can’t claim age-related dementia. They’re in the primes of their lives.

Instead, like drug addicts, they did this to themselves. They’ve wallowed for years in unwholesome, destructive, dishonest, and deranged fantasies, and now they’re trapped in a state of permanent sundowning, completely unable to distinguish their sick fantasies from reality.

And if that analogy doesn’t work for you, I’ve got one more, from the late, great C.S. Lewis. If you’re a C.S. Lewis fan, you may remember a scene from The Last Battle, his parable about the Apocalypse. In that scene, although the dwarfs have survived Aslan’s judgment which allows some eternal life while consigning others to perdition, they are unable to appreciate their good fortune. Even though the dwarfs are sitting in a glorious sunlit field, they are convinced that they are in a dark and dirty shed. And when Aslan places a feast before them, they perceive it as disgusting refuse that they trample into the dirt as they fight each other.

Do I need to say more? It’s enough to know that, like my mother in the hospital cellar, those in the grips of Trump Derangement Syndrome are forever mired in a dark, smelly stable, eating dirt.

The post The end of Russian collusion reveals entrenched Leftist delusions appeared first on Watcher of Weasels.