Category Archives: STEELE DOSSIER

Time For A Reckoning Against The Anti-Trump Coup Leaders

If we are to remain a nation of laws, then the people who manifestly engineered a coup against duly elected President Trump need to be called to account.

By Wolf Howling

Can you believe that it is 2019 and Trump has, to this moment at least, survived a coup attempt?  I did not expect him to survive the onslaught.  He has to be the cleanest President we’ve ever had in office.  He just survived a three year investigatory equivalent of a general warrant to search anywhere for any crime — something the Bill of Rights made unlawful on December 15, 1791.

Unlike a criminal investigation, which benefits from Constitutional limits and protections, things were different for Trump. Beginning on July 31, 2016, when the FBI launched an investigation explicitly aimed at Trump — and right through and including the Mueller investigation, likewise explicitly aimed at Trump, — every aspect of Trump’s life, his businesses, and finances his finances was pried open under the rubric of a “counter-intelligence investigation.”  That he is clean as a whistle is obvious, for we know that, had the FBI or the Mueller team found anything that could be cast as a crime, whether related to Russia or not, they would have used it to destroy Trump. After all, Mueller’s team, while pursuing their Russia counter-intelligence investigation, used evidence about fraud regarding taxi medallions, something far removed from Mueller’s mandate, to prosecute Michael Cohen.

Anti-Trump actors in the government leaked top-secret information from NSA wiretaps to the press.  Mueller’s team metaphorically raped people around Trump  — including Michael Flynn, George Papadopoulos and Trump’s personal attorney, Michael Cohen — to get them to give some evidence that Trump committed crimes.  The Mueller investigative team actively solicited testimony adverse to Trump, unethically and seemingly without regard to whether true or false.  Trump’s personal attorney was subject to a SWAT-style raid, as was Roger Stone when his arrest played out for all on CNN.  At least one person, Carter Page, was subject to four separate FISA warrants — and under the three hop rule, we can safely assume that means Trump and his inner circle were spied upon as part and parcel of that warrant as well.  They were spied upon under four FISA Warrants for an entire year, beginning in October 2016 and concluding in September 2017.   Indeed, it is hard not to conclude that they were the real target, with Carter Page merely a convenient patsy. Strikingly, despite this total warfare, when it came to Trump, Mueller and Co. produced . . . nothing.

There is no predicate in American law or history for any of this, whether the FBI’s counter-intelligence investigation aimed at Trump, the FISA warrants, or the way in which the DOJ unlawfully authorized Mueller to conduct a criminal investigation under the guise and rules of a counter-intelligence investigation. That is, this did not start with a crime that called for an investigation. This started with an elected president whom Washington insiders both feared and disdained and they used the investigation in the hopes that they could find a crime. The only predicate to this approach can be found in the Soviet Union’s Levrentiy Beria, who famously said, “Show me the man, I’ll find the crime.” It was an abuse aimed at finding anything in Trump’s activities that could force him from office or, during the duration of the investigation, get him to make a mistake, then force him from office on a process crime.

It’s this unconstitutional, Soviet-style, bass-ackwards bullshit that allows Mueller to claim before Congress that there’s meaning to the fact that he has not not proven Trump innocent of obstruction. As others have pointed out, Mueller also failed to exonerate Trump of assassinating Lincoln).  And thus do we now have half of the progressive Congresscritters calling for Trump’s impeachment on the grounds that Trump obstructed an investigation . . . that Mueller says was never “curtailed, stopped or hindered” . . . for a crime or crimes . . . that neither Trump nor anyone in his administration committed.

Folks, this is a top-down, engineered coup to overturn the 2016 election.  It is not enough that the coup be defeated.  We need the disinfectant of sunshine — to make public every single aspect of this attempted coup.  And then we need heads on pikes, metaphorically, and people in prison, for real.  Fīat jūstitia ruat cælum. Let justice be done though the heavens fall.

To that end, these are the questions I believe need to be answered:

I.  How did the Russian counter-intelligence operation aimed at the Trump Campaign originate?

A.  When was the Trump campaign targeted, by which law enforcement or intelligence agencies, and to what end in 2016 and 2017?

1)  We now know that, well before Mueller opened the Russia investigation targeting Trump on July 31, 2016, people who were key players in the Russian collusion hoax sought out and interacted with Trump campaign staffers Carter Page, Stephen Miller, and George Papadopoulos.  These key players included Joseph Mifsud, Stefan Halper and Alexander Downer, along with several women, at least one of whom, Azra Turk, the NYT subsequently identified as a U.S. intelligence agent.  Were any of these individuals acting on behalf of an American intelligence or law enforcement agencies and, if so, what were their orders? Were Mifsud or any of these individuals directed  to make contact with George Papadopolous or Carter Page in a sting operation?

2)  Do transcripts or reports of any sort exist of the interactions between Carter Page and George Papadopoulos, on the one hand, and Joseph Mifsud, Stefan Halper, or Alexander Downer, on the other?  Papadopoulos believes that both Halper and Downer tried to get him to make admissions about Russia collusion and were recording or transmitting the discussions.

3)  Why, if Mueller claims Mifsud lied to his investigators on three occasions, was Mifsud the only person who was not then subject to prosecution for the process crime of lying to the FBI, (in comparison to Michael Flynn, Rick Gates, Roger Stone, Michael Cohen, Alex van der Zwaan, and Paul Manafort)?

4)  Did Comey place a spy in the Trump campaign, transition team, or the White House and, if so, under what justification?  Comey repeatedly testified under oath that he was not investigating Trump personally for conspiring with Russia.  Comey did not have probable cause. Yet Comey refused to state that fact publicly and there is evidence that he placed an agent, Anthony Ferrante, a cyber crime specialist, inside the White House.

B.  Did Russian intelligence hack the DNC Server in April-May, 2016? 

It seems insane to have to ask that question about this pivotal issue three years into the nightmare to which this nation has been subject, and yet . . . Mueller made a very deliberate decision not to examine the origins of the Trump-Russia hoax, part and parcel of which is the alleged hack of the DNC server.  The only thing that we know for sure is that in June, 2016, the DNC announced that it had been hacked by Russia and that this hack was obviously intended to benefit Trump.  We know that Julian Assange somehow received thousands of DNC and John Podesta e-mails, which he then released to the public.  We know that Crowstrike, a cyber investigation agency that the DNC employed, analyzed the claimed hack and gave a redacted draft of that analysis to the FBI.  The FBI never saw the server. Beyond that, as Aaron Mate explains in Crowdstrikeout, we do not have even remotely trustworthy evidence that a hack occurred, nor does the Mueller Report, its bald assertions to the contrary, actually tie the hack to the Russian government.

C.  Was an ambiguous comment by third tier staffer George Papadopoulos actually the basis for opening up a counter-intelligence investigation aimed at Donald Trump and the Trump campaign and, if so, was it a reasonable basis? 

Mueller claims in his report that the reason that the FBI, back in July 2016, opened up a counter-intelligence investigation of the Trump Campaign for conspiring with Russia was because of a statement George Papadopoulos purported made to the Australian diplomat and Clinton friend,  Alexander Downer, who then relayed it to the FBI through unofficial channels. This is troubling.

Taking everything in the prosecution of Papadopoulos and the Mueller Report as true — and see Papadopoulos’s testimony before the House Judiciary Committee at p. 21) — nothing Papadopoulos ever said indicated that, before the DNC publicly announced in June 2016 that it had been hacked, he had any knowledge about that hack.  What Papadopoulos did believe in April, 2016 was something that half of America — including FBI Director James Comey — also believed: namely, that Russia possessed some or all of the thousands of emails Hillary generated on her private server while serving as Secretary of State.  Given this publicly held knowledge, how could Papadopoulos’s statement — that Mifsud had told him that Russia had “dirt” in the form of “emails of Clinton,” and that they “have thousands of emails” — standing alone, possibly justify a counter-intelligence investigation into Trump and his campaign that used all of the tools and police power of the U.S. government?  Who signed off on opening this investigation and was Papadopoulos’s statement about commonly held public knowledge the only basis?  Was Papadopoulos’s statement used in any other Court documents to provide probable cause for law enforcement actions as regards Russia, Trump, and his campaign?  Why did Mueller ignore this glaring inconsistency in his report?

II.  Fusion GPS and Christopher Steele and the Steele Dossier:  Their roles in the Russian collusion hoax.

The genesis of the Russian hoax was the Steele Dossier, which the DNC funded as opposition research on Hillary’s behalf. Steele gave it to the FBI and to every major news outlet before the November, 2016, election.  And yet Mueller, in both his report and testimony, all but completely ignored the Dossier and refused to answer questions about it.  Moreover, Mueller even claimed he did not know that Fusion GPS funded the Dossier. It appears that Mueller was tasked by Rosenstein to investigate the Steele Dossier.  There is no rational reason for Mueller and his team to ignore these things in the final report.  The only possible explanation I can see is that, had Mueller acknowledged that the investigation’s genesis was false, unlawful and unconstitutional, his team would have had to halt its fishing expedition (or, if truly honest brokers, redirect the probe from Trump to the Obama administration) without accomplishing the main goal, which was driving Trump from office.

—————————————

Before We Go Further, A Short Summary of Dossier Facts

The Dossier is a series of “intelligence reports” compiled between June and December, 2016, making a series of wild and unfounded accusations against Donald Trump and the Trump campaign.  Specifically, it alleges that:

— Trump was an agent of Russia and had been working for the Russian government for eight years before 2016.  Russians paid Trump by providing him with hookers.

— Trump was being blackmailed by a tape held by the Russian government showing him watching hookers urinate on a bed in 2013.

— Trump actively supported the hacking of Democratic Party computers to steal and release stolen emails.

— Trump campaign volunteer, Carter Page, and campaign manager, Paul Manafort, conspired with the Russian government and coordinated with Russia on behalf of the Trump campaign.

— Carter Page traveled to Moscow in early July 2016 to deliver a public speech at a university. The dossier says he met with two top Kremlin operatives and discussed bribes worth billions of rubles for working to lift economic sanctions.

—  Trump’s personal attorney, Michael Cohen, secretly traveled to Prague in August 2016 to orchestrate payments with agents of Vladimir Putin to manage the growing scandal of Trump-Russia collusion.

It is notable that the dossier contains some glaring errors: Here are just a few:

— A claim that Russian intelligence network was being paid for in part through a Russian consulate in Miami.  There is no Russian consulate in Miami.

— A claim that Mikhail Kalugin, chief of the economic section at the Russian Embassy was a spy responsible for funding Russian hacking, and that he was whisked out of Washington when the hacking scandal broke in August. His return to Moscow was actually a normal rotation announced ten months previously.

—  The claim that Michael Cohen’s wife was Russian and that his father-in-law was a wealthy Russian developer in Moscow.  Neither fact is true.

— The claim that Michael Cohen had been to Prague in August 2016 collapsed when it became apparent that he had never ever been to Prague.

—————————————

A.  Was the dossier, in whole or part, a series of manufactured charges designed to shock the public into supporting Hillary Clinton in the 2016 election, and did the FBI and others misuse it to attack the Trump administration?

1)  What was Christopher Steele’s source (or chain of sources, where there are multiple levels of hearsay) for each allegation contained in the dossier?  Which of the allegations were based on legitimate foreign intelligence and which were not?  Given the specificity of the Steele allegations and his evidentiary claims in the dossier, the fact that not a single allegation has been proven in three years is stunning.  It strongly suggests on its face that some or all of the allegations were manufactured out of whole cloth, with the expectation that the media would make them public before the 2016 election and that both the media and the newly elected Hillary Clinton administration would conveniently bury them thereafter.  That would be the mother of all crimes against our democracy.  Is it true?

2)  What role did Clinton political hatchet men Sidney Blumenthal and Cody Shearer play in providing allegations included in the Steele Dossier?  When these two men are involved, their history is so sordid that lone justifies investigating every last detail of their relevant acts.  We know that Blumenthal  funneled Cody Shearer’s opposition research to Steele using a State Department employee, Jonathan Winer, as a conduit.  I would not be surprised at all to find the more lurid, sex-based allegations against Trump originated with Blumenthal or Shearer. We do not know Shearer’s sources nor do we have a copy of his memo.  Was it too provided to the FBI?

3)  Steele lied to the FBI about briefing the media on the Steele Dossier in October, 2016.  Senators Grassley and Graham made a recommendation to the FBI that Steele be investigated and, if appropriate, prosecuted for this.  Mueller ignored the referral and did not address it in his report.  Why?

4)  It’s already been covered ad nauseum that the Steele Dossier, with its myriad of unverified allegations and obvious discrepancies, was the primary basis to obtain the FISA warrants against Carter Page.  We are awaiting a report from Inspector General Horowitz on whether the FISA warrants targeting Carter Page, signed and attested by Director Comey and others, were criminally deceptive and insufficient.

5)  On whom did the FBI spy as a result of the Steele Dossier?  We only know that the FBI spied upon Carter Page because it was convenient for the left to leak that to the media at the height of the Trump collusion frenzy.  Did the FBI also submit FISA warrants on Paul Manafort, George Papadopoulos, Michael Flynn or anyone else associated with the Trump campaign?  Did any of the players in this coup leak to third parties, including Fusion GPS, Christopher Steele, the DNC, or the media, any of the information gleaned from these FISA warrants?

5)  What was CIA Director John Brennan’s role, if any, in creating and transmitting the Steele Dossier allegations to the FBI, to Congress, and to President Obama?  Did Brennan perjure himself in hearings before Congress (a) in claiming that he did not know about the Steele Dossier until December, 2016; and (b) in claiming that he determined, based solely on independent CIA-developed intelligence, that people in the Trump campaign were conspiring with the Kremlin in July 2016?  Note that Brennan now contends that he provided that intelligence to the FBI in July, yet in the one place one would expect to see independent corroborating evidence, in the FISA Court applications for a warrant to spy on Carter Page, there is no reference to information from the CIA.  There are simply the bare allegations of the Steele dossier, references to Michael Isikoff’s Sept 2016 article (based on information Steele gave Isikoff), and Steele’s personal reputation for honesty.

6)  Why was Trump Attorney Michael Cohen charged with a campaign finance violation while Mueller ignored the DNC’s, Clinton Campaign’s, and Perkins Coie law firm’s glaring violations of the same laws?  The fact that the DNC and Clinton Campaign used Perkins Coie to employ Fusion GPS, thus hiding behind a wall of attorney-client privilege their machinations with Fusion GPS and Christopher Steele, should make them subject to more stringent investigation on fraud grounds rather than getting Mueller’s free pass.

B.  Why has Fusion GPS’s role in manufacturing a Trump-Russian conspiracy been ignored?

1)  One of the pivotal events in the Trump-Russian conspiracy hoax was the fact that Trump family friend Ron Goldstone, arranged a meeting between Donald Trump, Jr. along with several other members of the Trump campaign team, with a Russian lawyer named Natalia Veselnitskaya. While Veselnitskaya claimed to have compromising material on Hillary Clinton, she didn’t. However, the mere fact of the meeting was played in the press as proof of a Trump-Russia conspiracy.

While Mueller, in his report, expends several pages analyzing the meeting, he ignores the elephant in the room, which is that Veselnitskaya had a business relationship with Fusion GPS and that she met with Fusion GPS’s founder, Glenn Simpson, both the day before and the day after the Trump Jr. meeting.  The Mueller Report fails to explain either Simpson’s role in arranging this apparent sting or how and why Goldstone misrepresented the meeting to Donald Trump Jr. and other Trump campaign workers.

2)  There is  clear evidence that Glen Simpson of Fusion GPS misled and affirmatively lied to Congress about his relationship with Nellie Ohr, wife of high-ranking DOJ official Bruce Ohr.  Why hasn’t Mueller or the DOJ pursued this?

III.  FISA Misuse and leaks of classified information

The Trump administration has been plagued by leaks, including the leaks of Top Secret information from FISA intercepts.  It has been abuse on a grand scale for which no one has been held accountable.  The most egregious example was the unmasking and leak of Lieutenant General Michael Flynn’s conversations with the Russian Ambassador that served as the springboard Sally Yates and team Mueller to politically assassinate him.  What, if anything, has been done to identify those abusing the NSA intercepts and leaking / abusing that information?

That concludes my list of questions.  Please feel free to add any that you think I have missed.  I note that Aaron Mate has some different questions in his recent piece, Here are five big holes in Mueller’s work.  And at the Federalist, Adam Mill questions the Mueller investigation itself, given the apparent degree of Robert Mueller’s disconnect from the investigation.

The post Time For A Reckoning Against The Anti-Trump Coup Leaders 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.

Spying On Trump & A Progressive Game of Semantics

Proggie congresscritters claim to be shocked at charges about Obama administration “spying” on team Trump.  Given the public record, that is itself shocking.

This from the Blaze (internal links omitted):

At a hearing before a Senate Appropriations subcommittee, Sen. Jeanne Shaheen (D-N.H.) asked Barr about a team he had indicated the day before that he was putting together to investigate the FBI’s handling of its Russia probe during the 2016 campaign, prior to the appointment of a special counsel. After President Donald Trump fired former FBI Director James Comey in 2017, former Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein appointed special counsel Robert Mueller to head an independent investigation that would be separate “from the normal chain of command.”

Barr responded that he planned on “reviewing both the genesis and the conduct of intelligence activities directed against — at the Trump campaign during 2016.” He said he wanted to “pull together all the information from the various investigations that have gone on, including on the Hill, and in the department, and see if there are any remaining questions to be addressed.”

Shaheen asked Barr why he thought this was necessary.

Roll the tape:

It is shocking indeed that the left would try to defend the FBI, CIA and DOJ on the factually ludicrous claim that none of the agencies were involved in “spying” on Trump, whether before or after the November 2016 election.   The public record is replete with the facts that show they targeted Trump, his campaign and then his administration.

More specifically, we know of multiple FISA warrants on Carter Page.  We know of the investigation — and possible entrapment — of George Papadopoulos.  We know of the unlawful unmasking of Michael Flynn and the obscene full court press by the FBI and the DOJ to successfully destroy him.  We know of the constant leaks from the DOJ and the intelligence agencies to the press, including of information from top secret NSA intercepts.  We know of claims made by Brennan at Congressional Hearings that the CIA had developed evidence of Trump Russia collusion in 2016 wholly independent of the Steele Dossier, though we don’t know a scintilla of his claimed evidence.  We know that Comey passed information to a law professor to set up the Mueller investigation, but we do not know yet if that contained classified information.  And of course, we know that the FBI took up the Steele Dossier as the basis for an investigation.

How can anyone look at the facts in the public domain and still claim that the levers of government were not being used to target the Trump administration, whether lawfully or not, and whether one calls that by the name “spying” or not?

Eric Felten at Real Clear Investigations explains the game the progressives are playing:

The spying, which Barr vowed to investigate, is not the only significant possible violation of investigative rules and ethics committed by agents, lawyers, managers, and officials at the FBI and the Department of Justice. A catalogue of those abuses can be found in recently released testimony that ex-FBI official Edward William Priestap provided to Congress in a closed-door interview last summer.

From the end of 2015 to the end of 2018, Bill Priestap was assistant director of the FBI’s Counterintelligence Division, which meant he oversaw the FBI’s global counterintelligence efforts. In that role, he managed both of the bureau’s most politically sensitive investigations: the inquiry into Hillary Clinton’s handling of classified information and the probe into whether Donald Trump or his campaign conspired with Russia to steal the 2016 presidential election. His testimony provides rare insight into the attitudes and thoughts of officials who launched the Russia probe and the probe of Special Counsel Robert Mueller, whose final report is expected to be released very soon.

More important, his testimony contains extensive indications of wrongdoing, including that the FBI and DoJ targeted Trump and did so with information it made no effort to verify. It paints a portrait of the Obama-era bureau as one that was unconcerned with political interference in investigations and was willing to enlist the help of close foreign allies to bring down its target. And, perhaps presaging a defense to Barr’s claim that American officials had spied on the Trump campaign, it showcases the euphemisms that can be used to disguise “spying.” . . .

[snip]

. . . Back on the record, Priestap presented what smacks of pre-approved testimony: “I’ve not heard of nor have I referred to FBI personnel or the people we engage with as – meaning who are working in assistance to us – as spies. We do evidence and intelligence collection in furtherance of our investigations.”

Shen was happy with the answer, and so she asked Priestap to confirm it: “So in your experience the FBI doesn’t use the term ‘spy’ in any of its investigative techniques?” Priestap assured her the word is never spoken by law-enforcement professionals – except, he said (wandering dangerously off-script), when referring to “foreign spies.”

This game of semantics is apparently at the heart of the Democrat’s claim that there was no “spying” on the Trump administration, and then by a leap of logic that could span the Grand Canyon, if there was no spying on Trump, then nothing the DOJ, FBI or CIA did regarding team Trump should be worthy of investigation as illegal. It is not just Sen. Sheehan, but all other proggie congresscritters as well:

Congressional Democrats are furious over Attorney General William Barr’s statement Wednesday that Donald Trump’s campaign was spied on, accusing the attorney general of mischaracterizing the FBI’s counterintelligence investigation in an effort to please President Donald Trump.

Barr’s comments are likely to ratchet up Democrats’ unease over the attorney general that’s already simmering over Barr’s role in the Mueller investigation and the decision there wasn’t sufficient evidence to prosecute obstruction of justice.

“I’m amazed that the AG would make that kind of statement, I think it’s in many ways disrespectful to the men and women who work in the DOJ, and it shows, I think, either a lack of understanding or willful ignorance on what goes into a counterintelligence investigation,” Virginia Sen. Mark Warner, the top Democrat on the Senate Intelligence Committee, told CNN.

“He almost seems to be endorsing one of these theories that has been debunked time and time again by the various, even House Republican-led, investigations trying to show some kind of resentment,” Warner added.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said of Barr’s testimony that he was “going off the rails. He is the Attorney General of the United States, not the attorney general of Donald Trump,” she said. . . .

Truly, screw these traitorous scum.  If you think back to the last time we had the levers of government misused by the Executive, it was Watergate.  And indeed, Watergate became a cause celebre because both Democrats and Republicans refused to countenance turning the law enforcement and investigative agencies of government into tools of partisan politics.

We’re a long way from Watergate, and our “power at any cost” Democrats are shamelessly demonstrating that they could care less about abuse of power, so long as it is in their favor.   Bullshit.

If there is any chance of this country surviving as a Constitutional Republic, it will only be if rule of law extends to everyone and even the thought of using the law enforcement and investigative agencies of government as tools of partisan politics is rejected out of hand.

The evidence suggests that Hillary tried to set up Trump for an October surprise with the ludicrous Steele Dossier that Fusion GPS duly provided to the FBI.   Fusion GPS briefed Mother Jones and Yahoo News on the Steele Dossier prior to the November 2016 election, and both ran stories stating some of the claims therein, noting that they were the subject of an ongoing FBI investigation.   The real October surprise, though, was that this illegal political dirty trick (for filing a false report with the FBI is illegal) did not swing the election to Hillary.

After the election, the Russia collusion story became the basis for a second bite at the apple — a soft coup orchestrated by the people in the DOJ, CIA and FBI who acted lawlessly prior to the election, not merely in trying to use the October surprise to down Trump, but also to protect those in on the lawless whitewash of Hillary Clinton’s multiple violations of the law regarding security of classified information.  It was a soft coup virtually every proggie in government and the media gleefully embraced.  Unfortunately for them, generating an investigation of Trump on almost certainly bogus — and thus unlawful — grounds to fish for evidence of a crime — any crime — worthy of impeachment came up empty.  Apparently, they should have dug up Lavrentiy Beria to do the investigation.

It is axiomatic that, if you are going to attack the monarch in a bid for power, you need to kill him, else you will face retribution.  In the instant case, retribution is not what we need, but fairly investigating and then, if warranted, enforcing the rule of law is long overdue, richly deserved, and absolutely necessary if this country is to survive. And any proggie who tries to stand in the way of that investigation needs to pay a stiff price indeed.

**  The cartoon at the top of the post was composed by Michael Ramirez and appeared at Townhall.com

The post Spying On Trump & A Progressive Game of Semantics appeared first on Watcher of Weasels.

Random thoughts on the unfolding Russia Collusion hoax

With Barr promising to investigate the Russia Collusion Hoax, it’s a good time to think about the motivations driving those who masterminded the hoax.

Yesterday was another day spent pulling out ivy, a process I found so exhausting, I couldn’t write last night. Not writing, though, doesn’t mean not thinking. I’ve been thinking a lot about the Russia collusion hoax, especially about what drove the major actors to do what they did. After all, even if they thought the risk was minimal because they were banking on a Hillary victory and doing their best to ensure that victory, the power players knew that what they were doing was both illegal and immoral. That’s a pretty big hurdle for otherwise law-abiding people to make.

To get to my answer, I’ll start by looking at what they did (and mine is a slightly different focus than most others), and then I’ll try to answer the question about what powered these people’s engines. Here goes….

I suspect that several of you, like me, remember the Watergate scandal. For any of you young’uns reading this, way back in 1972, while acting on behalf of Nixon and his innermost circle, a bunch of former government operatives broke into Democrat National Committee headquarters at the Watergate office complex to steal information related to the election.

To give what they did some context, the equivalent act would be for some former 49er football players, acting at the behest of the current coach to break into Seattle Seahawk headquarters to steal the coaching book for the upcoming football season. It’s an aggressive form of cheating in the midst of a fiercely fought rivalry.

With that in mind, we can see that there are some parallels to Watergate in the Russia collusion hoax and some things that differ wildly. It’s easiest to start with the obvious difference, which is that the Russia Collusion scandal did not involve outsiders acting only once to steal a playbook. Instead, it involved permanent government employees embedded deeply in our entire security apparatus — the FBI, CIA, and DOJ — working in concert for months. Watergate was kindergarten and this was post-graduate work.

Moreover, unlike Watergate, after Trump was elected, this collusion scandal morphed into a full-blown government coup intended to take down a duly elected American president. That the Left — from the DNC, to the media, to the people down the block from me — looks upon this complacently instead of with horror tells you that the Left no longer has any allegiance to America, American values, or the Constitution. Every Leftist, no matter where situated, is enthusiastically embracing tin-pot banana republic tyranny. There are no words for how sad and how dangerous this is.

Interestingly, though, I haven’t heard anyone articulate what information these bad actors were seeking in the run-up to the election. I know this sounds like a stupid observation, and it may well be. The obvious answer is that these bad actors were seeking evidence of Russian collusion in order to create an October surprise that would bring down Trump’s candidacy.

The thing is, though, that you and I know that, while a few true believers may actually have thought that Trump and/or people within his inner circle were working in concert with Putin, the reality is that the big bad actors — Comey, Brennan, Clapper, McCabe, Strzok, Page, Priestap, etc. — knew perfectly well that there was no collusion. They knew this because (so far as we know) the only proof they could bring to the FISA court to justify spying on Trump was the Steele dossier.

We also know that these same Deep State players were able to “verify” the Steele dossier only by leaking its existence to a reporter and then, in a nice example of bootstrapping, using his subsequent report to bolster the dossier’s bona fides. Otherwise, there was no evidence whatsoever supporting the hearsay upon hearsay upon hearsay accusations in the dossier. So, no, the Deep State inner circle knew that there was no evidence of collusion sufficient to justify spying on Trump.

That being the case, there were only two things they could have been looking for in the months leading up to the election when they attacked the Trump campaign using six different spying methodologies: The first thing they were probably doing, although  no one has talked about it, was engaging in a purely Watergate-type escapade. That is, they used the instruments of state to go after campaign strategies, private polling results, lists of voters, etc. That would have been bad enough and, indeed, worse than Watergate, given the nature of the actors, the scope of their investigation, and the amount of information they stole.

The second thing they were doing, though, was even worse: They brought America’s entire spying apparatus to bear on the Trump campaign in the hope that they might find an October surprise. In other words, America’s vast, all-powerful, potentially Stasi-like surveillance system was put to use for a fishing expedition against a presidential candidate that the unconstitutional fourth branch of government (that is, the permanent bureaucracy), as well as the president sitting at the head of that fourth branch of government, opposed.

This in turn leads to two questions further questions: First, considering that everyone thought Hillary had a lock on the White House, why would these Deep State players feel the need to spy on Trump? I think they did so because of what an old colleague of mine used to call the “belts and suspenders” mindset. In other words, even if your belt is doing a fine job holding up your pants, should there be even the slightest chance your pants might fall down, you can put on suspenders too.

The “belt” for these Democrat Party operatives was that Hillary polled well and that Trump was a brash outsider with no political experience (except, of course, for working with and against politicians and bureaucracies for 40 years, of course). Given that data, their pants seemed stable. But….

There was the little problem of tens of thousands of people turning up for Trump rallies, while tens of people, or maybe hundreds of people, showed up for Hillary’s rallies. Suspenders seemed called for, just in case.

What the Deep Staters were doing can therefore be likened to the “double tap” that shooters — whether they’re good guys or bad — use against their targets. If you’re a professional doing a job, you make damn sure the job is done right, and that’s true whether your work is legal or criminal.

Second, why did these permanent bureaucracy operatives dislike Trump? I think there are three ways to view this.

Some of it was class based. (Think of Kurt Schlichter’s Militant Normals: How Regular Americans Are Rebelling Against the Elite to Reclaim Our Democracy.) The brash, outspoken Trump was just too tacky — and his supporters were worse. “Deplorables” as Hillary called them. Or as Strzok said, “I can smell them at Walmart.” I bet Strzok pulled this face when that “smell” assaulted his nostrils, knowing that he was on his way to making their votes irrelevant:

Some of it was definitely policy based differences. These guys were Democrats and they wanted to see the Obama legacy continue. They knew, as did every person who voted for Obama and intended to vote for Hillary, that Trump was going to do his best to stop and reverse Obama’s policies. Where Obama opened our borders, Trump would close them. Where Obama squashed our economy, Trump would free it. Where Obama demoralized law enforcement, Trump would respect it. Where Obama turned our military into an under-funded Leftist therapy group, Trump would turn it back into the world’s finest fighting machine. Where Obama coddled Muslim terrorists, Trump would grind them into dust. You get the picture. These Leftist bureaucrats liked the Obama status quo. They wanted Hillary.

Mostly, though, I think it wasn’t love or hate or even politics that motivated our criminal bureaucratic class. It was fear. Trump ran on the promise that he would shrink the government that was sucking up American wealth and (as the Russia collusion hoax itself proved) destroying American liberty — for what can be more liberty destroying than wiping out free and fair elections? These people, therefore knew that two things were at stake for them, and they are the two things that routinely lead people to lie, cheat, steal, and kill: Money and Power.

Money (including those all-important government pension benefits) will always be a driving force in human behavior. In fact, though, I don’t think it was the main driver here. The people who masterminded what began as a major cheat on a fair election and then morphed into a full-blown coup knew that they could get money elsewhere. After all, whether in the Democrat-run media or in a private sector staffed by people who all graduated from the same Leftist academic institutions, they were all eminently employable.

What the Deep State operatives really risked losing was power. Their power optimum would be if Hillary won. She knew their secrets and they knew hers, in a merry waltz that would keep them circling the ballroom even as America collapsed around them.

However, even if a Republican other than Trump had won, they still would have maintained their power. Again, they knew the secrets of all the usual Washington players. They also understood that the usual Washington players, no matter the party and no matter their alleged fealty to “shrinking the government,” once they got a seat in Congress or a state house, never shrank government. Sure, a few regulations here and there or a few low-level jobs might go, but nothing that would threaten these power players. Republican or Democrat . . . government always grew.

But Trump, ah, Trump was a different animal altogether. He was an outsider who had a long-established reputation for cutting through things: He cut through red tape, he cut through bad business deals, he cut through realty-TV, etc. If he said he would do it, he did it and he did it damned efficiently. When Trump said he was going to shrink government, they knew in their guts that their power base was about to be destroyed. This was their own personal Defcon 1 event, one that, in their minds, readily justified jettisoning every American law and principle.

Anyway, the above is what I think Barr’s investigation, if it is an honest one, will reveal.

Of course, the biggest question of all is the one that also ties back to the Watergate years:

There is no doubt in my mind that President Obama was in on this, whether at the very beginning, when he wanted to ensure Hillary’s victory or sometime after the election, when he wanted to ensure a re-do. In other words, Obama was either amenable to using the instruments of government to cheat in a presidential election or was amenable to bringing down the United States government because his anointed candidate lost.

I hope Barr has the courage to answer Sen. Baker’s question. I think the American people deserve to know.

(I know that some of you are troubled by trolls in the comments. I therefore want to remind you that Disqus allows you to block those people, even when I cannot do so thanks to their weasel tactics with IP addresses. To block someone, look to the far right of their name, where you will see a little down arrow. Click on that arrow to bring up a menu. One of the choices is to block that person. It’s such an efficient blocking mechanism that you won’t even see them showing up in your emails.

Incidentally, I recommend using this very sparingly. Getting outside our bubbles for a debate about ideas or an exchange of facts if a good thing. I use this only for people who are obscene and abusive without any offsetting value.)

The post Random thoughts on the unfolding Russia Collusion hoax appeared first on Watcher of Weasels.