Category Archives: WATERGATE

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

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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.)

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