2016 Election • Administrative State • Center for American Greatness • Deep State • Donald Trump • Greatness Agenda • Intelligence Community • Mueller-Russia Witch Hunt • Post

Ratcliffe Falls to Intelligence Agency Imperialism

President Trump’s withdrawal of the nomination of U.S. Representative John Ratcliffe (R-Texas) to be director of national intelligence on Friday is the latest of his acts of deference to an Intelligence Community that hindered his election and plays a key role in the ruling class’s subversion of his presidency.

The identical talking points of politicians and pundits who railed against the Ratcliffe selection spooked Trump, and reflect the increasingly important domestic political role that the CIA and the FBI (though not the National Security Agency, which is mostly military) play within America’s ruling class.

Presumably and inexplicably, the president will nominate yet another person to oversee that complex who will answer to itself and not to constitutional authority.

The echo chambers of the Democratic Party, the establishment Republicans, and the media alleged that Ratcliffe would have been Trump’s defender. But these are the very people who have been trying to to take Trump down. We do not know what was in Ratcliffe’s mind, or in Trump’s. We know that the issues involved are bigger than either man. The agencies and the ruling class of which they are part would oppose with equal vigor any outsider who might disrupt their prerogatives.

The following explains those prerogatives’ bases, and hence why challenging them should become a national priority.

More than other parts of the modern administrative state, (or the deep state, or whatever you prefer to call it) and by virtue of the secrecy in which they must operate, these agencies have been able more vigorously to assert the classic claim that their officials are entitled to special deference because they know more than ordinary Americans and their elected officials. But their claim to special expertise is largely counterfactual.

For all the wizards who have hidden behind the CIA’s and FBI’s curtains, this is old news. Nothing could be further from the truth than the assumption (prevalent even at Fox News) that 99 percent of their officers are competent patriots who keep us safe. No. In reality, they are standard-issue bureaucrats who count on the public’s credulity for their privileges. Given their proclivities, we should be grateful for their incompetence.

The CIA, from its very founding, has filled the chasm between the mountain of what it claims to know and the mole hill of what it does know, by pretending that its opinions are facts. Politicians, press, and public are supposed to take its statements, that typically start with “we believe . . . ” or “we have high confidence that . . . ” as if they were founded on reliable secret sources. In fact, the CIA’s human intelligence, based as it is on “official cover,” has always been as ignorant as it has been gullible. Modern encryption has much reduced traditional communications intelligence’s usefulness. But agency people parry inquiry into the basis of their opinions by jutting the chin and asserting that any clarification would put lives in danger.

Almost invariably, those of us who have had the power to push through this pretense have found it to be cover for politics, or for incompetence, or for garden-variety corruption. Or all of the above. Revelations in the course of the war on Trump about the networks of the agency’s friends of friends in cushy sinecures around the world are nothing new to congressional overseers who have kept track of these relationships.

The FBI used to be different. That began to change beginning in the late 1970s under William Webster. After 9/11, as the FBI took on more a more obvious political role under Robert Mueller, the differences between its culture and CIA’s narrowed considerably.

Concern for influence within and service to the ruling class became its leadership’s foremost concern, closely following the felt need to assert sufficiency in the face of circumstances that showed its insufficiency. Its inability to perform the anti-terrorist mission that had become primary—the failure to find out who bombed the 1996 Atlanta Olympics, who mailed the 2001 anthrax letters, to notice the obvious warnings of the Boston Marathon bombing (to name but a few) led the bureau toward the same paths taken by the CIA of integration into the ruling class, of dishonesty, and whoring after political influence.

The Intelligence Community’s war on Trump is focusing national attention on the agencies’ incompetence and corruption. As the Justice Department’s investigations into the agencies’ interference in domestic politics unfold, the public should pay attention to how their conspiracies neglected basic competence, how they disregarded the need for even the mere appearance of truth—never mind truth itself—and how reliant they are on their own sense of entitlement.

Their coordination with the media was and remains impressive in its thoroughness and efficiency; as were the number of people feeding the same talking points to the media apparently independently and authoritatively. They planted stories, then used them as the bases for investigations, the very existence of which they used to foment yet more stories. But the transmutation of innocent events into causes celebres through mere addition of luridly presented pretend-detail are marks of low-grade agitprop. These people were playing with the political destiny of a great nation, and acted like the spoiled self indulgent little people they are.

These people, whose workaday products are of even lower quality, are the ones to whom we entrust—excluding the cost of military intelligence—some $50 billion, as well as the presumptive power of secrecy. These are the people who have claimed the right to decide with whom elected congressmen, senators, and presidents may discuss the nation’s secrets.

President Trump’s reticence and the delusions of Fox News notwithstanding, it is time for the American people to demand adult supervision for these sorcerers’ apprentices.

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2016 Election • Democrats • Donald Trump • Elections • Mueller-Russia Witch Hunt • Post • Russia • The Left

Putin’s Patsies

A patsy is somebody easily manipulated. A pushover. A chump. A sucker.  Look up “patsy” in the dictionary and you should find pictures of Hillary Clinton, media figures, John Brennan, James Clapper, James Comey and dozens of other leftists and deep state actors, because it’s becoming clear that these people were nothing but willing and eager patsies for Vladimir Putin’s attempts to destabilize our constitutional republic.

For years we had to endure to the Left’s wild conspiracy theories about Donald Trump colluding with Putin to steal the 2016 elections, insinuating or even bluntly stating that they believed Trump to be a traitor to his country. Fact is, even the Weissmann-Zebley investigation, formerly known as the Mueller investigation, didn’t find a criminal conspiracy. Those two partisans had tens of millions of taxpayer dollars, unbelievable powers of investigation and subpoena, and still came up blanks.

While the Mueller hearings were a disaster for Democrats, they did confirm several things: with Mueller’s admission that Aaron Zebley ran the day to day operations of the investigation, we know that it was a staff driven investigation. For reminders’ sake, Zebley represented Justin Cooper, who was Hillary’s IT guy—the one who set up her private email server and smashed Blackberries with a hammer to destroy evidence in the face of an ongoing investigation. Furthermore it was abundantly clear that Mueller did not write his report; it was most likely written by Andrew Weissmann, a partisan Democrat who has donated thousands of dollars to candidates and even attended what was supposed to be Hillary Clinton’s victory celebration. This was an investigation run by the most partisan of partisans on Mueller’s team.

But add to all this one of the more jaw-dropping moments during the Mueller hearings. Robert Mueller claimed he was not familiar with Fusion GPS, the outfit that manufactures news for their clients and gave us the Steele dossier. As Mueller was charged with trying to determine the extent of Russian meddling, it would seem he might be mildly interested in determining who and what Fusion was as they were the outfit that helped give life to and then aggressively spread the Russian collusion fairytale back in 2016.

In admitting that he is unfamiliar with Fusion, combined with Zebley and Weissmann running the investigation, tell you all you need to know about the Mueller investigation: it was a political hit job run by partisans who never had any intention of actually getting to the truth of the matter. The Zebley-Weissmann investigation was, in fact, one of the major operations of what amounts to a soft coup to reverse the outcome of the 2016 elections and remove the duly elected president of the United States.

What we have discovered from real investigations and hearings, however, is that Hillary and the DNC did collude with Russia were used by Putin. From former Justice Department official Bruce Ohr’s testimony we know that Christopher Steele’s dossier had two primary sources: an ex-Russian intelligence officer and a Ukrainian businessman with close ties to Putin.

As even Comey has admitted, the Steele dossier was “salacious and unverified” which is what happens when you have Russians whispering fairy tales in your ear. It’s becoming increasingly clear that the dossier, just as I opined on Fox News back in January of 2018, is a Russian misinformation campaign meant to destabilize the United States and part of a wider effort by Putin to destabilize western democracies.

Consider that Hillary Clinton and the DNC actually funded Russian misinformation; there’s no denying that. They paid their hacks over at Fusion GPS millions to have an ex-British spy compile the dossier. Then many in the media acted as compliant messenger boys, broadcasting the misinformation far and wide, injecting this poisonous and infectious disease into the American public’s bloodstream and relentlessly pushing it for years. Unable to help themselves, or perhaps incapable, mainstream media did double work as the propagandists of the Left and Putin.

Somewhere Putin must be laughing his head off that he hit the jackpot of patsies with the American Left. Which of course was not just limited to Hillary, the DNC and the mainstream media. It also included Comey, Brennan, Clapper, McCabe, and others inside our law enforcement and intelligence agencies. These men and others, apparently blinded by Trump Derangement Syndrome and motivated by partisan politics, were willing to use anything to attempt to frame Trump—including the dossier. If you accept the premise that the dossier was Russian misinformation, our Justice Department, FBI and heads of intel used Russian misinformation to secure a FISA warrant to spy on a U.S. citizen. Let that sink in.

As all of the pieces continue to fall in place, it is hoped that there will be real clarity in the very near future as the Justice Department inspector general’s report comes out and Attorney General Bill Barr and U.S. Attorney John Durham finish their investigations into the investigators. It is stunning to note what the American people have been through over the last few years—from hoaxes and conspiracy theories to a soft coup attempt, massive abuses of power, and disregard for constitutional rights. We have to ensure that these things never happen again.

This is why people must bear the full consequences for their actions. There must be jail time for some, a lifetime revocation of security clearances for others, and for others, a complete transparency about what fools they have been and how they were played so that their reputations will never be able to recover. We need all of these things to happen to ensure the future of the rule of law and our constitutional republic.

Content created by the Center for American Greatness, Inc. is available without charge to any eligible news publisher that can provide a significant audience. For licensing opportunities for our original content, please contact licensing@centerforamericangreatness.com.

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2016 Election • Donald Trump • Intelligence Community • Mueller-Russia Witch Hunt • Post

Stepping Over Mueller’s Cadaver

There are few hoaxes in the history of journalism as disgraceful as Russiagate, and few events underscore the media’s shame quite like its tragic, unintentionally humorous  coda.

Liberals expected Robert Mueller’s testimony to be a moment of truth for Trump; but it turned out to be the only truthful moment in this soap opera. How quickly fact goes to work; in an afternoon, the number one “news” story in America for two years had completely evaporated, along with the reputation of its protagonist.

Had Mueller given a lecture on German idealism, his testimony would have been more intelligible and more worthwhile. Testifying about what had been built up as the most important investigation in modern political history, the man who liberal hagiographers had likened to an American giant seemed faintly familiar with his report. To the amused shock of the Right and the horror of the Left, it was revealed that the colossal shadow belonged to a senile old man.

The real Mueller painted, in strikingly ironic visual language, the malignance and power of the national news media that contrived, out of nothing, a deranged conspiracy theory that dominated American politics for the better part of two years.

It is difficult to grasp the profundity of this farce. Absurd as it was, this Russian fairy tale was no mere comedy; it contained elements of great tragedy as well.  People were hurt. A country was torn apart. Strangest of all, it destroyed Mueller too. How ironic, that he should become a casualty of his own witch hunt.

Even those who knew that Mueller’s probe was a sham were not prepared for the comedy that ensued. After months and months of gaslighting, here at last was the grotesque, ridiculous truth. The media could spin whatever tales they wanted about an ongoing investigation. They could pivot from collusion to “obstruction” and chatter about “OLC opinions” and whether the Sphinx of the Justice Department “meant” to say that Democrats should impeach Trump during his cryptic press conference. But here was the man himself, and he hadn’t even read his own report.

Mueller’s pointless, destructive testimony made for a fitting conclusion to this pointless and destructive drama. Like the probe that he was called to discuss, Mueller was preceded by great pomp and expectation. He was supposed to deliver the most spectacular indictment of a president in modern history. He ended by exposing the media’s self-importance and tarnishing his own legacy.

This painful self-parody was inevitable. A lie like this one could only grow so big before it collapsed under its own weight. It was abundantly clear when Mueller finished up months ago that the emperor had no clothes, but the media wouldn’t leave well enough alone. Too much had been invested in the story. The hero couldn’t exit the stage without making a speech.

Mueller didn’t want to do it, but larger forces had decreed that the Bad Orange Man must go down. So Mueller was summoned to drive a stake through Trump’s heart, only to embarrass himself and discredit his own work (assuming, of course, that he was actually involved in any of the work.) His feeble performance just accented the banality of the tragedy: what was all of this national panic even for?

For two years, all else fell by the wayside of a political counter-revolution staged by center-left partisans in the press and their Democrat handlers. The country was distracted, lied to, and deeply hurt. Nothing changed when Mueller finished up without the smoking gun. Accountability did not arrive for the hoaxers, who instead subjected the country to another four months of baseless, fevered conjecture about whether the president broke the law by wanting to end the inquisition.

Through it all, the media revealed its selfishness like never before. They were out to get Trump. It didn’t matter what was true or who got hurt in the process. Americans were divided against each other, their faith in democracy shaken. People like Michael Flynn and Roger Stone, who were never found to have committed any collusion related wrongdoing, were threatened, shaken down, and charged with spurious unrelated crimes. Just when it looked as though Mueller would escape unscathed, #TheResistance decided it needed him for one last impeachment push.

That any of this happened is a testament to the media’s destructive power. But Mueller is no victim, either. He was an active participant in the farce. This national embarrassment could have stopped at any point. It could have ended when Mueller realized he had nothing. It could have ended when Mueller submitted his report. But that is not what Mueller chose to do.

At each step, Mueller obscured things further. What was there to justify all the frothing hysteria, the libel, the early morning raid on a man’s home? Mueller could not say. Instead of closing the case and shutting up, he invented a singular standard of justice to penalize one specific person. Trump did not collude with Russia, neither was he charged with obstruction, but he was “not exonerated,” either.

Mueller’s even more confused testimony laid bare the inanity of the whole probe over six hours of agonized interrogation. He added nothing to the nothing that came before while muddling the whole.

Now, as they have done before, the media will congratulate themselves for a job well done and move on to the next hoax. They will pretend that they never beatified and built a national savior cult around a 74-year-old bureaucrat. Down the memory hole with Robert Mueller and all of his “bombshells.”

They will separate the Mueller report from its author and do what they can with his product. Even now, anyone who still questions the gravitas of that profound canonical work will fall under suspicion of insanity, while those who worshiped its creator for two years will give themselves a pat on the back for their devotion to the “truth.”

But the truth has, for once, come to light, and Mueller has been swallowed up in its monstrous absurdity. The media will gladly take the report and step over the cadaver.

Photo Credit: Andrew Burton/Getty Images

2016 Election • Center for American Greatness • Conservatives • Donald Trump • Featured Article • GOPe • Great America • Republicans

Confessions of a Recovering Neoconservative

The realignment of the political Right has prompted a public confessional of sorts, a raw acknowledgement that millions of us were led astray by Republiican leaders we trusted, we voted for, and we defended during times of war. We only have ourselves to blame, of course, because we did it with our eyes wide open. But the Trump era is forcing many Republicans to reexamine what we once believed and reassess what actually is true.

In a fiery speech earlier this month at the National Conservatism conference in Washington, D.C., Fox News host Tucker Carlson talked about purging his “mental attic” to dust off the ideas that he had accepted as legitimate over past few decades.

“The Trump election was so shocking . . . that it did cause some significant percentage of people to say ‘wait a second, if that can happen, what else is true?’” Carlson said. “Just look around . . . who are the good guys and who are the bad guys? A lot of the people we’ve been told are good guys are not. Some of them are the worst guys. I’ll let you figure out who.”

Carlson didn’t need to name names because the conservatives in the room, I assume, envisioned pretty much the same collection of bad guys—and they aren’t on the Left.

For the most part, the list would include Republican villains such as Bill Kristol, Carlson’s former boss at the now-defunct Weekly Standard, and a number of other conservative commentators still clinging to the mantras that afford them their sinecures; Bush family members and certain administration officials; former Republican presidential candidates Mitt Romney and the late John McCain; former Republican congressional leaders such as ex-Speaker of the House Paul Ryan; and an assortment of well-heeled donors.

They populate most of the Beltway clique of once-influential thought and political leaders who controlled the Republican Party for more than two decades and whose collective incompetence, arrogance, and intellectual torpor resulted in their ouster in the form of Donald Trump’s election on November 8, 2016.

In fact, Carlson’s Trump-inspired epiphany echoed my own internal thoughts during much of the conference—thoughts I’ve had consistently over the past three years—but in my head have been far more harsh than Carlson’s public musings. Others shared similar reflections about both the people and the policies they once were loyal to. As I’ve purged my own mental attic of alleged truisms and political heroes since November 2016, here is what I often think:

You idiot. How dumb could you be? How could you have been duped by these frauds for so long?

Like millions of Republicans, especially those of us who once considered ourselves to be neoconservatives before watching the public meltdown of our one-time heroes into a molten pool of pathetic and sniveling NeverTrump Republicans, the presidency of Donald Trump has forced me to reckon with my own political stupidity and gullibility. Not only was my faith placed in the hands of self-serving and fundamentally dishonest people, I now realize that in trusting them, I unwittingly defended misguided policies that have wreaked havoc on large swaths of the country.

When I first started out in politics in the early 1990s, a few years after I graduated from college, Kristol and his fellow neoconservative headmasters were my political idols. I was “squishy,” as Kristol once put it, on immigration and nodded my head in agreement with those who argued non-Americans would do the work that Americans wouldn’t. After all, who else would happily staff our restaurants and stock our grocery stores and fertilize our lawns while keeping the costs cheap? It’s a win-win for everyone!

Free trade opened up new markets for American goods around the world, there could be no downside. American companies owed us nothing, and if they decided to move jobs and resources and tax dollars to a more hospitable country, welp, that’s laissez-faire economics, folks! If you got hooked on drugs or stuck in a low-wage job or trapped in a decaying industrial town, that was your own damn fault. You should have been more ambitious, anyway.

Nation-building in the Middle East at the expense of American soldiers from the Midwest was the only way to defend our sovereignty and secure our future. Of course U.S. troops would be greeted as liberators in any country. Of course the war would end quickly. No, Colin Powell and Dick Cheney would never mislead us about weapons of mass destruction.

That, and more, was my political mindset for more than two decades. I defended broad policies bolstered by platitudes and endorsed by my “Conservative Betters” without taking a moment to consider the long-term consequences or measure their outcomes. Why quibble about the details when you have all of “The Smart People” on your side? I mean, Bill Kristol was on TV!

In the end, being a neoconservative meant having no skin in the game. You could push for war in other countries because it wasn’t your child who would be deployed. You could argue in favor of “free trade” because your company wasn’t relocating overseas. You could support unfettered immigration because foreigners weren’t taking your job and probably wouldn’t compete with your children when the time came. You could ignore the influx of illegal drugs or the shuttering of manufacturing plants or rising white illegitimacy rates because none of it was happening in your suburb or the tony enclave of your city.

It didn’t matter if none of it really worked in practice as long as it worked in theory.

Meanwhile, those policies that sounded so good in theory from my comfortable environs were hammering Middle America. Simmering rage about the consequences of illegal immigration went unnoticed. Drug abuse soared as illicit narcotics and prescription painkillers, unrestrained by government action or political attention, flooded blighted communities. Unfair trade agreements robbed farmers and steelworkers and small business owners of profit. Still, neoconservatives clung to their vaunted yet vague “principles” as they sneered and looked the other way.

And that’s how we got Trump, as they say.

Now, thanks to Trump’s ascendance, we know why neoconservatives ignored the plight of their less fortunate countrymen: They hold them in contempt. Neocon NeverTrumpers have ridiculed Trump supporters as unsophisticated, racist rubes incapable of independent thought who blindly following the lead of their Bad Orange Master. Kristol said in 2017 that white, working-class Americans were “decadent, lazy, [and] spoiled.” He even accused Carlson, his one-time protégé, of being a white nationalist.

As they pivot away from positions they once claimed to hold, vanquished neoconservatives offer nothing in the way of “conservative” alternatives to Trumpism, just the same stale mantras about free trade and virtuous illegal immigration and the “free market.” Those leaders who once insisted America wage any number of wars securing borders in foreign lands and sold to us as protecting the “national interest” now rage about the sinister roots of Trump-afflicted “nationalism” and complain about those who insist we secure our own borders.

I’m not the only recovering neoconservative with regrets. Norman Podhoretz, one of the original architects of neoconservatism, also has second thoughts about the last couple decades. He has reconsidered his previous adherence to once defining tropes about conservatism, particularly those about trade and immigration.

“The idea that we’re living in a free trade paradise was itself wrong . . . there was no reason to latch onto it as a sacred dogma,” Podhoretz admitted in an April 2019 interview, “And that was true of immigration. I was always pro-immigration because I’m the child of immigrants. So I was very reluctant to join in Trump’s skepticism about the virtues of immigration. What has changed my mind about immigration now—even legal immigration—is that our culture has weakened to the point where it’s no longer attractive enough for people to want to assimilate to, and we don’t insist that they do assimilate.”

That is one reason why the current transformation of the Republican Party will outlive Donald Trump. Yes, the figureheads have changed, but so too have the policy priorities and the views of many rank-and-file Republicans. As we look around at the smoldering debris left behind by a “conservatve” political class that has been inattentive—even hostile—to the basic well-being of so much of the American middle class which is and must be the heart and soul of American society and culture, we know that there is no turning back to the era of selective ignorance and deference to rarified political pedigree.

And the “bad guys” should never be allowed to regain a position of influence again.

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2016 Election • Center for American Greatness • Deep State • Democrats • Donald Trump • Mueller-Russia Witch Hunt • Post

Robert Mueller Can’t Recall

Even I, as someone who has been blue in the face shrieking that the Mueller inquiry would be an unutterable fiasco since the day it was announced, could not have imagined such a terrible shambles as the world watched, gape-mouthed (like the witness much of the time), when Robert Mueller appeared before the House Judiciary and Intelligence committees on Wednesday.

The Democratic line that began with the president being a traitor who would be removed from office and imprisoned, and descended to impeachment but clinging to the Oval Office furniture by the grace of Republican senators, to general odium for moral turpitude, is now reduced to hypocritical pieties about ethics and the robo-repetition that “No one is above the law.”

Wednesday marks the decisive turning from squeezing the last drop out of the lemon of the president’s alleged crimes, to the long-delayed investigation of the investigators.

The revelation that the Steele dossier—cited in Hillary Clinton’s election memoir as evidence of Trump’s treason—was commissioned and paid for by the Clinton campaign was dismissed as a ”talking point” by the Washington Post and the Democrats generally. The fact that it was the basis of false foreign intelligence surveillance applications was disputed and then allowed to pass and fade with full media silence.

The Strzok-Page text messages revealing a rabid partisanship on the part of some of Mueller’s leading collaborators, the instant transition of Clinton’s official whitewashers into Trump’s defamers and tormentors was dismissed as improper aspersing of distinguished professionals. Mueller was portrayed as a virtual Superman of law enforcement integrity, a “Republican” war hero and peerless exemplar of faithful, selfless public and patriotic service, and the most knowledgeable and formidable of the country’s experts on law enforcement and clean government. He would unmask and destroy the perfidious ogre who had swindled, flim-flammed, and sleazed his way into the White House.

Mueller may once have deserved some of that iconization, though a number of episodes, including his handling of the FBI corruption case in Boston, the Atlanta Olympic bomber affair, and the Uranium One affair, leave room for some reservations. But it became clear on Wednesday that he did not remember much of anything about “his” report, could not even retrieve from memory the much bandied-about word “conspiracy,” contradicted himself, and stonewalled the committees on many questions that appeared to be appropriate for him to answer, (though many questions he rightly declined to answer).

Still, it was a bit rich that Mueller criticized the president in his written answers for stating that he (Trump) did not remember the correct answer to some of the special counsel’s (Mueller’s) questions, given the porosity of his own memory. Never mind the invocation by his successor at the FBI, James Comey, 250 times under oath that he didn’t recall recent matters highly germane to his official duties and actions.

David Axelrod, current spiritual holder of the of the Saul Alinsky Prize for slippery political conjuration, tweeted after a couple of hours that the hearings were “very painful.” They were, and not just for those who were hoping that the hearings would grease the skids for the Democratic presidential impeachment launch. Mueller was drawn, pallid, hesitant, and inarticulate, and very unfamiliar with much of what he had been asked to recall and answer. He appeared to be ill and in no condition to deal with such a challenging session, and implausible as the real guiding force behind this massive and completely redundant inquest.

By the end of the day, there was a general recognition that the page had been turned. The more rabid Democrats may continue to huff and puff and shake their fists at the sky like King Lear, and promise vigilance against the machinations of the Kremlin. But those responsible for this monstrous disgrace to the intelligence services and the FBI that merged parts of them with the dirty tricks division of the Democratic National Committee, cannot delay their day of reckoning much longer.

The Coming Backlash for Democrats
The real origins of this satanic sequence of outrages and the real authors of this ridiculous special counsel report will be unmasked. The Democratic impeachers will be overwhelmed by the gathering backlash.

Mueller has been a respectable front for a ghastly assault on the Constitution, and at the end, he was, understandably, a reluctant witness, but—brave old soldier and Bronze Star winner that he is—he took a bullet for the platoon rather than accept the attorney general’s offer of assistance if he wanted to ignore the House subpoenas to appear. He wanted to retain his professional standing while fronting a horrible mutation of the political system. It was a little like Theresa May, the British prime minister who left office the same day, trying to leave Europe and remain in it simultaneously.

As Washington Dinsdale said in the 1939 Marlene Dietrich-James Stewart film “Destry Rides Again,” one “must choose between the bottle and the badge.” Mueller tried to turn an inability to exonerate—a standard that he admitted has never been asked or expected of any kind of American prosecutor—into something the Democratic congressional allies of his investigative team could use to continue their malicious and illegal harassment of the president. He never should have published the second volume of his report, which is a pastiche of selective and spliced scraps scarcely more rigorously composed than the Steele dossier and apparently intended, with no more success, to serve the same partisan interests.

It is a great sadness, a great victory, and a great irony. The spectacle of a stooped and aged Robert Mueller, after he had (voluntarily) been so dishonestly used by the president’s enemies, was an objectively sad one, a sorry swan-song to a substantial career. The victory of the Trump Republicans is seismic, and announces the imminent exposure and punishment of those who abused the system to attack the president and deform the political system.

The irony is two-fold. If Trump’s enemies had not launched the Russian collusion nonsense, all their pre-electoral skullduggery would not have been unearthed—if they had given him the normal honeymoon for incoming presidents, a serene ambiance would have settled Washington down, at least for a year or so, and they would now be wallowing in their Washington lobbying and other sinecures.

The second irony is that there is plenty of room to attack this president in more traditional and acceptable ways. His policies have mainly been successful; but he is too bumptious, egocentric, and stylistically annoying for many people, and the Democrats could have made something of an issue out of his personality.

Instead, they have struck out, will have no window through which to fire live ammunition at Trump, and will have to take the heat for their corrupt actions. They promised “scorched earth,” and are immolating themselves.

We are now between the lightning and the thunder.

Correction: This article originally misidentified which House committees Robert Mueller testified before. He appeared before the House Judiciary and Intelligence committees, not the House Oversight committee. We regret the error.

Content created by the Center for American Greatness, Inc. is available without charge to any eligible news publisher that can provide a significant audience. For licensing opportunities for our original content, please contact licensing@centerforamericangreatness.com.

Photo Credit: Alex Wong/Getty Images

2016 Election • Deep State • Donald Trump • Mueller-Russia Witch Hunt • Post

Mueller Trips Over His Own Feet

Do you remember when the great Willie Mays fell down chasing a fly ball during the 1973 World Series? Here was Mays, one of the most graceful and agile athletes ever to play the game, author of some of the most remarkable fielding plays in baseball history, and here he was, 42-years-old, playing for the Mets, and in the waning days of his remarkable career, tripping over his own feet. It was a sad end for such a legend, and people were pained to watch it.

I couldn’t help but think of the “Say Hey Kid” while watching Robert Mueller’s rambling, awkward, uncomfortable, and disjointed testimony before two congressional committees on Wednesday. It was clear the former special counsel was out of his element, and unfamiliar with much of the report that bears his name. He clearly did not write it and, arguably, did not even bother to read it.

Mueller seemed to be suffering some of the natural effects of aging—and suffering even more (as happens too often with distinguished people) from the effects of shady handlers and manipulators. Such people attach themselves to luminaries like Mueller and hide behind their reputations for probity to carry out nefarious schemes of one kind or another—in this case in service to #TheResistance.

Mueller responded, well over 200 times, with some variation of “I cannot respond,” “that is beyond the purview of the investigation,” “I don’t remember,” “I don’t recall,” “If it’s in the report, it is accurate,” “can you repeat the question?” and the like. He fumbled for obvious words. And all the while he was surrounded by handlers who seemed to prop him up and feed him lines, not a principal in the process but a figurehead.

What Did Mueller Know, If Anything?
That makes the composition of his investigative team so much more suspicious. Did he really not know the politics of his staff attorneys and investigators? Was he unaware that all supported Hillary Clinton in the 2016 election and that half a dozen contributed money to her campaign? Did he even ask?

Had Clinton been a defendant in a criminal case (or Donald Trump, for that matter), and had these attorneys been questioned about their fitness to serve on a jury, all of them would have been barred for potential bias. It is an obvious conflict, and an obvious question that should have been asked of each of them: did you contribute to or actively participate in either campaign? That it was not asked is a clear indication of Mueller’s manipulation.

As was this: the unethical and nonjudicial standard of a potential defendant not being “exonerated.” Such a requirement is unknown in our—or in any—fair-minded judicial system. The presumption of innocence is sacred, for several reasons including the impossibility of ever proving one’s innocence of anything. After all, there might be no evidence of criminality now but who’s to say such evidence won’t appear in a month, a year, or even a decade from now? That is why prosecutions require the foundation of probable cause that a crime was committed (a standard that was not even met in this case) and conviction requires proof beyond a reasonable doubt.

That such deference was not granted to Donald Trump is outrageous.

As was this: the only evidence of collusion between a candidate and a campaign was not actually investigated by Mueller. That evidence was of the Clinton’s campaign’s solicitation of and payment for the salacious and unverified Steele dossier that was published in Russia and used to facilitate spying on American citizens. “Beyond the purview of my investigation”? Mueller should just have admitted that the purview of his investigation was to dig up any dirt it could on the president. Period.

Election Meddling Everywhere
The horrors of Russian interference that purportedly disrupted and corrupted American democracy still haven’t quite been explained. What did the Russians do? Meet with campaign officials? I assume that the campaigns on both sides met with foreigners representing several dozen countries. I myself greet several Russians every week. Is that collusion?

Apparently they purchased ads on Facebook that influenced . . . who exactly? As the joke (by now, old) goes: did the Russians convince Hillary not to campaign in Wisconsin? Even Bill thought that was a big mistake. What did the Russians do that influenced the election? And note that the conflation of “Russians” and “Russian government” is not at all warranted without further evidence.

Politicians are almost always duplicitous and labor to sound pious and sincere, but let’s be frank: do foreign governments take an interest in American elections? Of course they do. The interests of most countries are likely to be furthered by one side or another in any given contest. It is why the United States routinely interferes in Israel’s elections, with the Obama State Department being censured by Congress for spending U.S. tax dollars to campaign against Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in 2013.

The British, French, Germans, Italians, Australians, and Israelis all have an interest in who sits in the Oval Office. As do the Russians, Iraqis, Iranians, and Pakistanis. Sometimes countries will overtly favor one person, other times they will covertly support one over the other, and some countries—usually adversaries—will try to acquire dirt on both parties to hedge their bets and use the information to their advantage in future relations.

That has been a Russian tactic for decades—and one of a nation’s most common uses of its intelligence agencies (and even diplomatic corps) is to gather information on candidates and positions, predict outcomes, and try to reach out to any and all campaigns. I doubt that the Russians are atypical, as I don’t doubt that the United States does exactly the same thing in other countries. (See the histories of Chile, the Philippines, and Iran for just a few examples.)

The whole process of this investigation has been a bizarre farce since the beginning and has corrupted the American legal establishment in ways that will reverberate for quite a while. The tendentiousness is blatant. The misstatements by so many Democratic representatives were reprehensible. It is clear that “collusion” (if it did occur) is not a crime. Period.

So, can a person obstruct justice to impede an investigation into a non-crime? That seems more like obstruction of injustice. Does one obstruct justice by asking an investigator, prosecutor, or judge to go easy on someone? If so, that type of “obstruction” occurs every day, and I have probably violated it hundreds of times. But that is not obstruction. Nor is ranting in private about the injustice of it all, nor is calling a political witch-hunt a political witch-hunt.

The Stuff of Banana Republics
There were repeated references to former Trump attorney Michael Cohen pleading guilty and going to prison for “campaign violations.” Well, that is an obvious falsehood. Cohen was prosecuted for tax evasion and fraud having nothing to do with Trump—and he admitted to a host of other violations simply at the behest of prosecutors who otherwise would not have accepted a deal. The fact that Cohen pleaded guilty to a campaign violation does not even mean that there was a campaign violation, as anyone who has ever pleaded guilty to a seat belt violation instead of a moving violation can attest.

How Trump won remains a mystery only to elitists who, beyond their own circles, know very little about the country in which they reside but pontificate about all the time. It seems pretty apparent that the Democrats hope to perpetuate these investigations through 2020, hoping that the country tires of Trump and the whole tumult.

But the danger to the country is enormous—not just the indifference of politicians to the real problems the country faces but also the harm to its international reputation, the invitation to even more insidious interference in the future, the corruption of the legal process, and the nightmare of an agency with limitless power focusing its enmity and unlimited resources on a political target. That is the stuff of banana republics.

When the Torah taught us “Justice, justice, you shall pursue” (Deuteronomy 16:20), the Kotzker Rebbe explained the redundancy by averring that justice must be pursued only through means that are just. Justice is distorted when the means to attain it are perverse.

Let Mueller rest and retire. His sad decline is depressing to note. But, had I been on the committee, I would have closed with this statement:

Mr. Mueller, there is compelling evidence that your staff was biased against President Trump from the beginning and that you purposely omitted or ignored exculpatory evidence. You may not be guilty of prosecutorial misconduct, but neither have you been exonerated of it.

Unfortunately, those who think that will be the last word on this matter will be sorely disappointed.

Photo Credit: Alex Wong/Getty Images

2016 Election • Center for American Greatness • Democrats • Donald Trump • Mueller-Russia Witch Hunt • Post

The Day #TheResistance’s Dream Died

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It wasn’t supposed to end this way.

Donald Trump, not Robert Mueller, was supposed to be broken and vanquished at the hands of his political foes. Donald Trump, not Robert Mueller, was supposed to suffer a legacy-ending humiliation on national television that would bury his tough-guy reputation and taint his past achievements. The supporters of Donald Trump, not the supporters of Robert Mueller, were supposed to slink away in embarrassment, desperately searching for any calcified crumb of credibility to salvage their beaten hero.

The climax of #TheResistance’s fantasy to take down Donald Trump wasn’t supposed to end with long faces at MSNBC and CNN, or with reporters at the Washington Post and the New York Times admitting defeat. 

Mueller “looked dazed and confused as he listened, mouth agape, to his questioners, often struggling to identify who was talking,” confessed Post columnist Dana Milbank after the hearings on Wednesday. “He stammered, licked his lips, consulted his aide and begged forbearance.”

These are the kinds of things Washington Post opinionators write about Donald Trump, not about Mueller.

Panelists on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe” were supposed to be ebullient after watching their savior in action, not ranting like lunatics about the need for someone to “punch” President Trump. The Lawfare folks were supposed to be popping champagne corks, not turning on House Speaker Nancy Pelosi for refusing to play along with their impeachment crusade. And it was Team Mueller, not Donald Trump, who was supposed to declare victory.

Stumping the Prosecutor
But the dream died on July 24, 2019, when former Special Counsel Robert Mueller not only failed to deliver the goods against Trump but revealed that #TheResistance, once again, had pinned its hopes on a flawed actor not up to the task. Just like the cast of conquerors who came before him—Stormy Daniels, Michael Avenatti, Michael Cohen, and Omarosa, just to name a few—Robert Mueller slouched out of the spotlight after failing to best the Bad Orange Man.

The spectacle in front of the House Judiciary Committee and the House Intelligence Committee was not what the Democrats expected but it was exactly what they deserved. After delaying the scheduled hearing for a week, Mueller reluctantly appeared but only after negotiating a deal that his chief of staff could attend alongside him. Aaron Zebley was sworn in as a witness by House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff (D-Calif.), but Republican members refused to direct any questions to him.

The man who had launched a thousand warnings that Trump’s days were numbered struggled to find page numbers. The man who was celebrated in a Christmas carol, whose face appeared on votive candles and mugs, who became a celebrity crush, couldn’t find the microphone or locate on the dais the lawmaker trying to speak to him. 

The man whose name is emblazoned on the most anticipated report in modern political history was unfamiliar with its contents; after the media and Hollywood actors ridiculed the American public for not reading the report, it was painfully clear that the alleged author hadn’t read it, either. Mueller actually was stumped by Rep. Ted Lieu (D-Calif.) and ended up correcting an explosive comment that quickly deflated the only hopeful moment for Democrats. 

But that wasn’t the worst of it. Mueller made up new tenets of jurisprudence while coterminously violating Justice Department rules. “The finding indicates that the president was not exculpated for the acts that he allegedly committed,” Mueller stumbled to explain to the House Judiciary Committee.

Legal wizard say what?

Mueller sat speechless as Rep. John Ratcliffe (R-Texas) schooled the storied prosecutor about the rule of law and recounted the many ways in which Mueller breached those standards. 

“Volume two of this report was not authorized under the law to be written,” Ratcliffe told Mueller, referring to the obstruction of justice section of the document. “It was written to a legal standard that does not exist at the Justice Department and it was written in violation of every DOJ principle.”

Impeachment Follies
The fair, impartial arbiter of the truth also admitted he was a bit selective about whom he charged with lying to federal officials. 

Under intense questioning by Rep. Jim Jordan (R-Ohio), Mueller confessed that he did not charge Joseph Mifsud, the Maltese professor with alleged ties to Russia who met with George Papadopoulos and purportedly was the reason why the FBI opened up an investigation into the Trump campaign in July 2016, for lying to investigators even though the report cites three instances when Mifsud gave false statements. Papadopoulos, Mike Flynn, Paul Manafort, and others were not so lucky.

And the straight shooter rejected every entreaty to discuss the real foreign election interference: How Fusion GPS, working on behalf of the Hillary Clinton campaign and the Democratic National Committee, retained Christopher Steele, a British operative, to produce the dossier, which reportedly was sourced by Russians tied to the Kremlin. Both Steele and Glenn Simpson, the co-founder of Fusion, were lobbying on behalf of Russian oligarchs at the same time they were working for the Democrats. But Mueller, or whoever wrote the report, conveniently omitted referring either to Glenn Simpson or Fusion GPS in the 448-page missive.

When pressed to answer questions about the omission, Mueller claimed he was “not familiar” with Fusion GPS, making him the only person within a 2,000-mile radius of the Beltway who hasn’t heard of the opposition research outfit. He further refused to answer any questions about the firm’s possible role in the infamous June 2016 Trump Tower meeting, even though his report and investigation devoted a significant amount of time to the 20-minute briefing.

By the end of the day, the charade was so painful to watch that one of #TheResistance’s most despised foes, Rep. Devin Nunes (R-Calif.), had mercy on Mueller and stopped questioning him despite having time on the clock to do so.

So, the dream of Robert Mueller hauling Donald Trump out of the Oval Office in handcuffs is dead. Impeachment dreams based on the good word and work of Robert Mueller also are dead. And now a nightmare looms in the dusk for #TheResistance in the shape of Attorney General Bill Barr, who is investigating the investigators

#TheResistance is faced with getting rid of Trump the old-fashioned way—at the ballot box. But after squandering every ounce of political capital on the collusion plotline, the Democrats’ next nightmare very well might take place the evening of November 3, 2020.

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2016 Election • Center for American Greatness • Deep State • Democrats • Donald Trump • Mueller-Russia Witch Hunt • Post • Republicans

Republicans, Don’t Screw Up the Mueller Hearing

Republicans will have a chance to redeem themselves this week after the farce they helped create: The special counsel investigation into alleged “collusion” between Russia and the Trump campaign to influence the 2016 presidential election.

Robert Mueller is scheduled to testify before the House Judiciary Committee and the House Intelligence Committee in a public hearing for a total of five hours on Wednesday—not nearly enough time to plumb the depths of his 448-page report or to grill Mueller about his tactics and partisan team of investigators. Republicans will need to make the most of the limited time they have.

So, this seems like an appropriate time to remind Republicans that they are as much to blame as Democrats for foisting this costly, useless and destructive travesty on the American people.

With few exceptions, Republicans capitulated to every single Democratic demand and the ongoing media-manufactured hysteria about the urgency required to investigate so-called “election collusion.”

“Some of us very early on saw enormous conflicts [with Mueller], even conflicted as being a witness. We knew there was something wrong,” U.S. Representative Andy Biggs (R-Ariz.), one of the few Republicans skeptical of the Mueller probe from the beginning, told me on Monday. “But once the inspector general report came out and revealed the bias and corruption at the top of DOJ and FBI, we started getting help.”

But Republicans should have been wary before Michael Horowitz released his report in June 2018. By the time Robert Mueller was appointed in May 2017, Republicans on Capitol Hill knew that the collusion accusation had been concocted by Obama loyalists in the government and Democratic political operatives.

Republicans knew that former FBI Director James Comey had been investigating the Trump campaign since July 2016 and tried to hide it from congressional leaders in violation of normal protocol.

Republicans knew that the so-called “dossier” authored by Christopher Steele was loaded with unsubstantiated allegations and that Steele was working on opposition research paid for by anti-Trump partisans. Republicans knew that law enforcement and intelligence officials were illegally leaking classified information to the media to bolster the collusion storyline.

Republicans also knew that Obama holdovers had attempted to criminalize phone calls between Michael Flynn and the Russian ambassador with ludicrous accusations about Logan Act violations to animate the collusion fantasy.

Yet despite the backdrop of malfeasance, most Republicans caved to pleas for a special counsel and defended the appointment of a clearly-conflicted Robert Mueller. (Mueller and Comey have been friends for nearly two decades.) Top GOP lawmakers in the House and Senate, including former Speaker of the House Paul Ryan (R-Wis.), slobbered over Mueller, greenlighting what would turn out to be a sham inquiry that essentially robbed Trump of the first two years of his presidency.

When Mueller’s lengthy report was finished in March, it confirmed what a handful of independent observers—and the president—knew: There was no conspiracy between the Trump campaign and the Kremlin to sway the outcome of the 2016 presidential election. But to divert from their failed mission and fuel the Democrats’ impeachment crusade, Mueller’s report outlined several instances of alleged obstruction of justice by the president

House Democrats will hammer Mueller on the obstruction of justice section of the report, hoping for digestible soundbites to leverage in 2020. House Republicans need to follow their own script and resist playing into the Democrats’ hands. There are plenty of questions that Republicans could ask Mueller to expose the roots of the fruitless inquiry and numerous flaws in the report.

Republican members, however, would be wise to focus on two key controversies: The June 2016 Trump Tower meeting and Trump’s alleged efforts to shut down the investigation into former National Security Advisor Michael Flynn. The media and the special counsel continue to mischaracterize those storylines, omitting crucial details and conflating separate circumstances to present an inaccurate depiction of both.

The Trump Tower Meeting
The June 2016 Trump Tower meeting is the most scrutinized campaign briefing in the history of American politics. Yet it appears the whole thing was a set-up perpetrated by the very same folks who produced the so-called Steele dossier. And since Team Mueller investigated the meeting, including whether it violated campaign finance laws, it’s fair game.

Further, recent comments by developer Felix Sater, a subject of the investigation, suggest that Glenn Simpson, co-founder of Fusion GPS, committed perjury when he claimed that Sater was the reason his firm began looking into Trump’s ties to the Kremlin.

“It actually was the fact he was working for [Natalia] Veselnitskaya, I don’t know if anybody knows that, but he’d been working with her for quite some time,” Sater told reporters on July 14.

If the name “Veselnitskaya” sounds familiar, it’s because she is the infamous Russian lawyer who attended the June 2016 meeting with Donald Trump, Jr. and other top campaign officials. (This is a good time to note that the Mueller report does not mention Simpson or Fusion GPS anywhere in those hundreds of pages.) In the Mueller report, Veselnitskaya is described as a “Russian attorney who advocated for the repeal of the Magnitsky Act and was the principal speaker at the June 9, 2016 meeting at Trump Tower.”

Mueller intentionally omitted the fact that Veselnitskaya was working with Simpson to lobby the U.S. government on behalf of Prevezon, a Russian holding company accused of violating the Magnitsky Act. Mueller omitted mentioning that Simpson had dinner with Veselnitskaya on June 8 in New York City and on June 10 in Washington, D.C. Mueller also omitted mentioning that Simpson was in court with Veselnitskaya in New York City just hours before the dastardly Trump Tower meeting.

This sham could be exposed with two questions: “Mr. Mueller, did you investigate collusion between the Hillary Clinton campaign and the Russians since Mr. Simpson was working for both the Clinton campaign and a Russian company? Do you suspect that the meeting between Trump campaign officials and lobbyists working with Glenn Simpson was a set-up to advance the Russian collusion narrative that Simpson was concocting before the election to impact its outcome?”

The Flynn Matter
One of the most egregious sleights-of-hand in the Mueller report is the distorted portrayal of the Michael Flynn matter in order to concoct the most credible case of Trump attempting to obstruct justice.

Mueller repeatedly referred to the “Russia investigation” as it related to Flynn, an intentionally vague description intended to conflate three separate inquiries: The general investigation into Russia election meddling, the Trump-Russia collusion investigation, and the FBI’s investigation into whether Flynn violated the Logan Act in his conversations with Russian Ambassador Sergei Kislyak (another shady character I have covered at American Greatness.)

According to Comey’s personal memos, on February 14, 2017, Trump mentioned the possibility of “letting Flynn go.” Trump clearly was referring to the FBI’s ridiculous Logan Act probe; Comey sent two FBI agents to ambush Flynn in the White House a few days after the inauguration and interrogate him about the Kislyak calls. Justice Department officials met with Trump’s personal lawyer in late January to alert the White House that Flynn possibly violated the Logan Act, a so-called dead letter law that is on the books but never used.

So when Trump referred to the Flynn “thing,” he meant the Logan Act investigation, not the collusion investigation. Nonetheless, Mueller suggested on page 44 of Volume II that Trump’s comment could constitute obstruction “by shutting down an inquiry that could result in a grand jury investigation and a criminal charge.”

Now, your average reader or Hollywood actor would easily interpret this as an effort by Trump to shut down the collusion investigation into Flynn. The only problem is that Comey did not disclose the FBI’s investigation into the Trump campaign, which included Flynn, until March 2017, one month after Flynn resigned and one month after Trump purportedly made his “let this go” remark. Comey withheld that explosive news from both the president and congressional leaders for months.

House Republicans need to press Mueller on this point: “Mr. Mueller, according to Comey, when Trump asked him to let the Flynn matter go, to what specifically was Trump referring?” If Mueller claims the president was referring to the collusion investigation, lawmakers need to clarify when Trump was made aware of the probe known as “Crossfire Hurricane” that targeted Flynn.

If Mueller replies that it referred to the Logan Act investigation, after a hearty laugh, House Republicans should ask Mueller for a history of grand jury investigations based on an ancient law that has never been used to prosecute anyone.

It’s impossible to gauge the price in terms of tax dollars, legal fees, professional reputations, personal well-being, political capital, and domestic strife inflicted by the Mueller investigation. But now Republicans can exact a small measure of retribution by discrediting the most controversial claims about both collusion and obstruction of justice. Democrats appear to be having second thoughts about Mueller’s public performance. Republicans should make them regret it.

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2016 Election • Center for American Greatness • Democrats • Donald Trump • Mueller-Russia Witch Hunt • Post

Shame on Robert Mueller—Again

Nowhere is the collapse of the Democratic Party as a coherent political organization more evident than in the astounding metamorphosis of Robert Mueller. He returned to public notice as special counsel and was instantly heralded by the Democratic media as a virtual Douglas MacArthur of selfless national duty, precisely the sort of rigorous, incorruptible, no-nonsense public servant who would tear the Trump fraud of corruption and artificiality, dirty tricks, shady accounting, and outrageous misbehavior apart and expose the whole rotten mess that had, by nightmarish mischance, moved into the White House (where the Clinton pay-to-play casino should already have been installed).

Mueller looked the part: tall, slender, slab-faced, jut-jawed, and unsmiling, all business, and no soft bonhomous weakness for anything but a thorough plumbing of the depths of Trump’s unutterable hucksterism, skullduggery, and larceny. The commentariat, though well gone in the saddle after their long incumbency as the country’s political sages, dressed for the part again and took to the airwaves with the smug confidence of veterans and the zest of those addicted to tearing down administrations they found distasteful.

Disentombed from the obscurity that had long enshrouded him, Carl Bernstein resurfaced, speaking matter-of-factly of imminent impeachment and removal of the usurping miscreant. From Nate Silver to Charles Blow and even the once-professional David Gergen, like a phalanx of bobbleheads, they agreed that impeachment was coming and . . . coming and . . . just around the corner.

Bernstein became so exasperated waiting, he sanctimoniously called Trump a “grifter,” but tempered his judgment with an endlessly repeated theory that Trump’s brain had turned to mush and he was not physically and mentally fit to govern. “We have a constitutional crisis.” Not that anyone else noticed. On and on it has gone, without a thought to professionalism, balance, or anything but another partisan smear job on a non-conformist Republican.

The Bushes after all, were good old boys; you had to have a tame Republican on the top of the Democratic wedding cake from time to time, and at the start, practically all the Republicans in Congress were as appalled at the Trump imposture and intrusion as the Democrats. After all, he ran against them, too.

Mueller packed his investigative team with notorious Democratic partisans. Andrew Weissman, who had cooked his share of Republicans already, and attended Hillary Clinton’s victory party the night she lost to Trump, took over the actual work. He and many of those he recruited had just finished white-washing Clinton—on to the tarring-and-feathering of her opponent. Mueller, never a martyr to the work ethic, despite the Democratic media’s wall-to-wall effort to spin him as a war hero Republican, flawless FBI director, and a rail-splitting confessant to the chopping of the cherry tree, left the direction of the investigation to Weissman and his gang, all of them desperate to destroy the president. Perish the thought of any of this pusillanimous bourgeois rubbish about impartiality! Trump was an interloper and he had to be sent packing with such finality that no one would dare interrupt the self-enriching slumbers of the political class for at least another century.

Trump managed the considerable feat of tough-talking as he resisted the depredations of a partisan witch-hunt while completely cooperating and leaving the investigators no ground to allege obstruction. This was the tactically correct response to what instantly was a difficult position. Trump had erroneously promoted an apparently qualified U.S. senator and former prosecutor, Jeff Sessions, as attorney general. Sessions immediately recused himself on all Russian matters and sat like a great eunuch-toad leaving the president whom he served practically defenseless while this rampaging lynch mob ransacked his personal, corporate, campaign, and presidential records. The Strzok-Page text messages indicate that the Mueller team ascertained quite quickly that there was no collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia, and in fact, no nominee of any serious party to the presidency of the United States in its history would ever have partaken of such an evil and preposterous enterprise.

From early on, Mueller’s game was obstruction. He piled demands on the president, required sworn testimony over several days from the White House counsel (who should have immunity in respect of his chief client). The president’s tactic of talking tough while furnishing everything asked by the special counsel got him through the midterm elections.

Few commentators noticed that the big winner in those elections was not the Democrats but the president. When he started out in January 2017, there were demonstrations all around the world and though the Republicans were in nominal control of both houses of Congress, in fact they were both controlled by coalitions of Democrats and NeverTrump Republicans. They sand-bagged the president on health care reform, the Republicans strutting in their hypocrisy, having voted many times to repeal Obamacare while Obama was there to veto their votes. The only place Trump could get a consensus was in appointing conservative judges who would generally adhere to the Constitution and the relevant legislation, (a terrible inconvenience for the Democratic addicts to the authoritarian state). Then he cobbled together the necessary votes for his tax cut and reform package, which has proved an immense success.

The Republicans lost the House in the midterm elections, but Trump never had the majority anyway. His speaker, Paul Ryan, was a conflicted NeverTrumper and retired. But in the Senate, he added two senators as three NeverTrump Republicans—Bob Corker of Tennessee, Jeff Flake of Arizona, and John McCain—departed; in the case of McCain, by dying and causing his funeral to be a tasteless bipartisan Trump-bashing session. This shifted the balance in the Senate.

Trump then fired Sessions, appointed an unsurpassably competent and upright replacement, William Barr, who had held the position under George H. W. Bush. Barr ordered Mueller to wind down his investigation, which Mueller and his sponsors had apparently hoped to keep going through the next election. Trump’s enemies had thought it was their right to have an impeachment-launching special counsel lurking around the White House ready to pounce on anything the Trump-hating media could confect into a cause for removal.

Mueller, the lion of official redemption, failed again and again. He had to choose between keeping faith with his rabidly Trump-hating sponsors, or his claims to professional integrity. Having found no evidence of collusion by anyone, he tried to leave the door open to impeachment for obstruction. He went down with the ship, and stated his inability to “exonerate” on obstruction.

A special counsel finds adequate evidence of criminal wrongdoing, or not. No one wants or asks him to exonerate anyone. In his summary of the report, Barr said there was no conclusion on obstruction but that he and the deputy attorney general Rod Rosenstein, Mueller’s old side-kick who had protected Mueller all through the phantom Sessions term, and the in-house counsel of the Justice Department, all agreed that the elements of obstruction: a corrupt act for a corrupt purpose in contemplation of a legal action, were all absent in this case.

The pitiful attempt by Mueller to leave Trump a live grenade with the pin pulled was made even more absurd by his attempt to run away and hide. He spoke to the press inarticulately from a printed text for less than 10 minutes, took no questions, and said he would have nothing more to say. Finally, the two egregious Democratic committee chairman who still claim to have evidence of impeachable offenses by the president but can’t cite any, Representatives Jerry Nadler (D-N.Y.) and Adam Schiff (D-Calif.), both seriously ill-favored men, called Mueller as a witness, and designed a timetable for his appearance clearly intended to prevent the Republican members from really getting at Mueller.

If his stumbling press statement was indicative of his forensic talents, Mueller will have a real sleigh-ride with a gang of Democrats angry because he couldn’t find anything on the president and Republicans who rightly consider his entire performance an unprofessional and morally corrupt operation.

Attorney General Barr has offered him support if he wishes not to appear. The Trump lynch mob has reached the last round-up. It only remains for Barr and his special prosecutor, John Durham, to indict those who politicized the intelligence agencies and the FBI, fraudulently sought FISA warrants to spy on the Trump campaign, and lied to congressional committees and the FBI. Those who would use the wheels of justice to persecute the innocent, will be ground to powder by them. Mueller is unlikely to have committed any offenses, but his conduct has been contemptible at every stage.

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2016 Election • America • Donald Trump • Post • Progressivism • The Culture • The Left

It’s Guerrilla Warfare

When my liberal friends and colleagues begin to explain to me why they imagine President Trump is appallingly vulgar and incompetent and venal, there is always a point in which their faces go blank. It happens when I say to them, “What about the Little Sisters of the Poor?” That stops them short. They don’t know the reference.

I could also mention Brendan Eich, Barronelle Stutzman, Amy Wax, or Bruce Gilley and get the same response. Liberals who are otherwise informed and well-educated are unfamiliar with those names. They followed the Robert Mueller investigation closely, they tally Trump’s misdeeds weekly, and they are anxious about 2020. But the episodes involving the individuals I cite don’t register with them.

They did with social and religious conservatives, though—deeply so. The Little Sisters of the Poor are a religious order that, among other things, runs facilities for the elderly. They objected to the contraception mandate in Obamacare—it’s contrary to Catholic doctrine—and ended up having to fight the Obama Administration all the way to the Supreme Court.

Brendan Eich was the renowned head of Mozilla who was hounded out of his post after it was discovered he donated $1,000 to Proposition 8, the California ballot initiative that defined marriage as between a man and a woman. The measure passed handily, putting Eich in the majority of California voters, and there was no evidence that Eich had ever discriminated against anyone in the workplace, but that didn’t save him.

Barronelle Stutzman is the florist who on religious grounds declined to do a same-sex wedding. That brought a complaint that led the State of Washington and the ACLU to file suit against her. The original complainant, it should be added, was a longtime client and acquaintance of Stutzman. She had sold him flowers for years, but she couldn’t agree to participate in the ceremony.

Amy Wax is a law professor at the University of Pennsylvania who co-wrote an op-ed in the Philadelphia Inquirer arguing that young people, especially the impoverished, would do well to follow old-fashioned bourgeois culture instead of the coarse, consumerist youth culture of today, including “rap culture.” Her dean proceeded to remove her from part of her teaching, while 33 colleagues signed a public letter denouncing her.

Bruce Gilley is the professor who drew the ire of thousands when he wrote an essay in a scholarly journal questioning “academic orthodoxy” that Western colonialism was a terrible thing. It was a provocative piece, but his aim of shaking the consensus backfired. More than 10,000 people signed a petition demanding the journal retract the article. The journal editor received “credible” threats of personal violence.

As these and many other incidents of anti-conservative targeting (Mark Regnerus, Jack Phillips . . .) were recounted on conservative radio and media, social and religious conservatives couldn’t help but see themselves as potential targets as well.

It’s been going on for years. The culture war waged against them starting in the mid-20th century has developed into a guerrilla war that uses lawsuits, Title IX complaints, boycotts, petitions, intimidation of companies that advertise on conservative shows, banning of conservatives from social media, and organized outrage at those who uphold American patriotism, Western Civilization, Catholic teaching, and any other belief that crosses progressive lines.

The impact has been heavy on the right, but these episodes haven’t reached the ears of white-collar liberals. Or, if they did, they didn’t stick. When I describe such cases to people on the Left, it’s as if I am talking about a scrap that took place in a bar across town. In their eyes, they amount, at most, to the occasional excess by a few zealots. Not a big deal.

Which leaves white-collar liberals exasperated and incredulous, helpless to understand why anyone with any intelligence and goodness could have voted for Donald Trump. The never-ending culture war has done exactly what it was supposed to do: discredit and demean social and religious conservative norms and beliefs. The new guerrilla war is doing exactly what it is supposed to do: expel a few conservatives from the workplace, the media, and the public square, and intimidate the rest—and to do it beneath the radar of white-collar liberals.

It is pointless for conservatives to try to explain to those across the aisle how dispirited and defeated they feel. Liberals aren’t interested. They don’t credit any notions of endangerment, either. They save those sympathies for historically-disadvantaged groups. Besides, liberals regard the sexual revolution and Roe v. Wade, same-sex marriage and open borders, intersectional awareness, and #MeToo as a triumph. If a few decent people lose their jobs or their business, if a hapless fellow becomes the object of a Twitter mob, if a baker has to hire lawyers to fend off a fanatical state civil rights commission, well, the omelet begins with a few cracked eggs. They don’t feel your pain!

Donald Trump did, and still does. In 2016, he promised he would make it stop. He brought the Little Sisters of the Poor up on stage and promised them that their “long ordeal will soon be over.” He pulled “gender identity” out of Title IX, which meant it could no longer be the basis of Title IX complaints. He threatened colleges with loss of federal funding if they violate First Amendment principles.

These actions were designed to halt leftist guerrilla warfare. This is a big reason why Donald Trump won. Would Jeb Bush have taken similar actions? Did John Kasich ever indicate in 2016 that he even recognized ongoing guerrilla tactics against individuals on the right?

Awhile ago, I spoke at a distinguished university in the northeast, where I aligned Donald Trump with an American tradition of Emersonian nonconformity, the solitary individual against a longstanding Establishment.

The audience didn’t buy it; questions were sharp-edged. But to one point there was no rejoinder: “Why did I support Mr. Trump?” I asked. “Because if Hillary had won, my church would have had to hire many, many lawyers, march into court every week, and close some institutions.” What followed was, precisely, that blank look.

“Huh?” the crowd seemed to say.

Yes, that’s exactly what would have happened. And if liberals don’t stop being so doggone obtuse about the experience of conservatives, it’s going to be four more years.

Photo Credit: Brendan Smialowski/AFP/Getty Images

2016 Election • Congress • Deep State • Donald Trump • Post • The Resistance (Snicker)

Dems Try to Undo 2016 Election By Probing Trump’s Inaugural

Even nearly three years later, Republicans still savor and chuckle at the video of the woman in a winter coat and glasses, howling a primordial “Nooooo!” into the cold January air as Donald Trump was inaugurated.

For Democrats, though, Inauguration Day 2017 remains a special kind of wound. As has often been said for going on three years, the Democrats have been trying—with all of the deep state and mainstream media power at their disposal—to undo the 2016 election of Donald Trump.

Democrats feel their opponents must be discredited and destroyed, and their preferred method is lawfare and media innuendo. And, as the ceaseless investigations and legal harassment of the last few years have shown, they have had the power of law enforcement and highly partisan elements of the Department of Justice with which they can exact revenge on Donald Trump and his supporters.

For the first time in memory, Democrats in the Senate have been bullying and frantically urging the Justice Department to investigate all aspects of the opposition party’s inauguration, from individuals connected to the inauguration committee to employees of the Trump Organization, high profile donors and fundraisers, and members of the post-campaign transition team. 

For months, federal prosecutors in New York have been on the hunt. Hundreds of news articles breathlessly reporting the inevitable downfall of these officials were created from leaks by deep state operatives in the Justice Department. 

Unsurprisingly, it always amounted to nothing. 

In a late Friday night news dump last week, prosecutors sheepishly admitted there would probably be no charges filed against anyone in the Trump Organization for inauguration-related activity. 

Where do the people who have been targeted by bogus, partisan investigations go to get their reputations back? Who pays their legal fees, and compensates them for months of time, stress, and worry? 

Now, Democrats and these same activist, partisan lawyers are moving on to Republican donors, again hounding them using the legal system. These donors might have more resources with which to fight such harassment, but any wealthy individual runs up against the limitless means with which the United States government can apply pressure.

In April 2018, Senators Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) and Dick Blumenthal (D-Conn.) authored a letter to then-Attorney General Jeff Sessions, demanding an investigation into Elliott Broidy, a prominent GOP fundraiser and donor to pro-Israel causes. Of course, the two senators weren’t really writing to Sessions. They were sending a signal to Democratic Party loyalists in the Justice Department—then, as now, crammed full of Obama appointees. 

As Liz Sheld at American Greatness asked, “Is this a fight to end corruption or a fight to use government agencies as weapons against political enemies?”

The attack on people like Broidy is strategic: Democrats wish to frighten potential Republican contributors with the prospect of invasive and costly investigations. If “the process is the punishment,” as they say, it’s better to just stop donating to conservative or Republican causes, keep your head down and allow the Left to prevail over American politics uncontested.

People like former National Security Advisor Mike Flynn, who have been the target of this kind of politically motivated prosecution and investigation by the rogue prosecutors, know how daunting it is to face the limitless resources of the U.S. government. If a partisan prosecutor is determined to get you, odds are he will.

The parallels to RussiaGate are alarming, too. That started as a Democrat-funded opposition research project. Christopher Steele, Glenn Simpson, and the gang at FusionGPS—all former intelligence operators or investigative journalists for hire—concocted a narrative and created official-looking “dossiers” to peddle their fanciful stories to the media. It was dishonest, sure, but it was well within the subterranean workings of a political campaign. 

But what made RussiaGate a scandal—rife with illegality and alarming threats to American liberty—was how a phony “dossier” served as the basis for official investigations by the national security bureaucracy. This anti-American politicization of the legitimate functions of government should alarm us all.

“Regardless of the merits of the case,” wrote Streiff at Red State, “campaigning on using your personal clout to strong-arm the Justice Department into investigating someone who is a political opponent is something that just isn’t done in American politics.” 

Indeed.

Photo credit: Tom Watson/Getty Images

2016 Election • America • Center for American Greatness • Democrats • Donald Trump • Foreign Policy • Post

The Sir Kim Kerfuffle: Who’s the Real Terminator?

The Terminator” is a cool movie. Iconic even, in its gritty dystopianism. And, of course, it was the film that solidified Arnold Schwarzenegger as a superstar.

But it’s still sci-fi schlock and a B-movie at bottom. Definitely not what you’d expect to be quoted in a classified cable between Washington and Whitehall. But if you’re Sir Kim Darroch, no problem, Arnie is fit to be included in the most sensitive of communications about the most powerful nation in the world, and its leader, President Trump.

There is a hierarchy in all diplomacy. Not just in official ranks and titles, but in postings. Traditionally, most nations consider Washington and London to be the most prestigious assignments, the ambassadorship to our country’s capital or to the Court of St. James, being reserved for the most senior and trusted professional diplomat, or the biggest campaign donor who deserves to be “rewarded.”

Darroch was not a politically appointed diplomat; he was a career guy, posted to the most important position in all of British diplomacy: Washington D.C. Now he suddenly will be leaving us because of leaked cables that he wrote about the U.S. president, which included the line: “Trump may emerge from the flames, battered but intact, like Schwarzenegger in the final scenes of ‘The Terminator.’”

Such a description may be apposite for a sixth-grader’s essay on American politics, but not from the most senior diplomat from the country with which we have the closest of “special” relationships.

Darroch was right to resign. Actually, 10 Downing Street should have fired him. Why? Not for his churlish, schoolboy comparisons, but for the rest of the leaked cables.

I’ve met Kim Darroch several times. In fact, after the election in which America chose Donald Trump as our 45th president, his team at the British embassy reached out to me first of all the allied nations to establish contact with the presidential transition team, of which I was a member before I officially joined the administration. Perhaps they felt that, as I had been born and raised in the U.K., establishing positive working relations through me with the president-elect would be easiest. And I have to say, I was impressed in all our meetings with the British team that mostly focused on counterterrorism and national security cooperation, which was my primary remit.

If only Ambassador Darroch had been as professional as his subordinates.

The cables leaked to the Daily Mail are scandalous for many reasons, none of which have to do with time-traveling cyborgs. The first is the level of incompetence and laziness they demonstrate on behalf of the seniormost diplomat representing the nation that traditionally has been our closest European ally.

Kim writes of an insecure president and a chaotic and inept White House, using the most hackneyed tropes of the fake news one can imagine. What is remarkable, is how there is not one original piece of information in anything Sir Kim wrote. In fact, all of his supersensitive “classified” reporting could have been cut directly from the pages of the Huffington Post or the Daily Beast. One wonders what London’s ambassador was doing in Washington all these years, because he wasn’t using any diplomatic skills to acquire unique information especially useful for his government and the British prime minister. Her Majesty’s government could have saved itself some trouble and expense by subscribing to the Trump-hating New York Times or a CNN transcription service.

And this isn’t just a critique of laziness. This is utter and total lack of professionalism. Yes, we know that the fake news cannot but call the Trump White House “chaotic” and “inept” because that’s all they’ve done for two-and-a-half years. But so what? Did Sir Kim ever open the window? Did he ever step away from the fancy cocktail parties and white-tie receptions and actually look at what we have been doing?

By any metric, the policies of Donald J. Trump have been historically successful. The Dow just broke 27,000 this week. Twenty-seven thousand. The physical caliphate of ISIS is no more. North Korea has stopped illegal nuclear warhead testing and ballistic missile launches. NATO is finally paying its dues. We have the lowest unemployment in 50 years. How hard would it have been for any diplomat at any rank to report the truth?

Again, this isn’t about one lazy ambassador; it’s about the bankrupt elite that Sir Kim Darroch represents. He had to trash President Trump because President Trump is not a swamp dweller like he is. Truth is, the “swamp” is global. And it should surprise no one that Kim Darroch represented Britain at the European Union and is an anti-Brexit internationalist.

On November 8, 2016, America sent a message to the world, to the Sir Kims in every capital, not just ours: the people want their sovereignty back. Kim and his ilk just can’t stand it. Why? Well, to put it in terms they can understand: Donald Trump is our John Connor.

Content created by the Center for American Greatness, Inc. is available without charge to any eligible news publisher that can provide a significant audience. For licensing opportunities for our original content, please contact licensing@centerforamericangreatness.com.

Photo Credit: Alex Wong/Getty Images

2016 Election • America • Center for American Greatness • Democrats • Donald Trump • Foreign Policy • Post

The Sir Kim Kerfuffle: Who’s the Real Terminator?

The Terminator” is a cool movie. Iconic even, in its gritty dystopianism. And, of course, it was the film that solidified Arnold Schwarzenegger as a superstar.

But it’s still sci-fi schlock and a B-movie at bottom. Definitely not what you’d expect to be quoted in a classified cable between Washington and Whitehall. But if you’re Sir Kim Darroch, no problem, Arnie is fit to be included in the most sensitive of communications about the most powerful nation in the world, and its leader, President Trump.

There is a hierarchy in all diplomacy. Not just in official ranks and titles, but in postings. Traditionally, most nations consider Washington and London to be the most prestigious assignments, the ambassadorship to our country’s capital or to the Court of St. James, being reserved for the most senior and trusted professional diplomat, or the biggest campaign donor who deserves to be “rewarded.”

Darroch was not a politically appointed diplomat; he was a career guy, posted to the most important position in all of British diplomacy: Washington D.C. Now he suddenly will be leaving us because of leaked cables that he wrote about the U.S. president, which included the line: “Trump may emerge from the flames, battered but intact, like Schwarzenegger in the final scenes of ‘The Terminator.’”

Such a description may be apposite for a sixth-grader’s essay on American politics, but not from the most senior diplomat from the country with which we have the closest of “special” relationships.

Darroch was right to resign. Actually, 10 Downing Street should have fired him. Why? Not for his churlish, schoolboy comparisons, but for the rest of the leaked cables.

I’ve met Kim Darroch several times. In fact, after the election in which America chose Donald Trump as our 45th president, his team at the British embassy reached out to me first of all the allied nations to establish contact with the presidential transition team, of which I was a member before I officially joined the administration. Perhaps they felt that, as I had been born and raised in the U.K., establishing positive working relations through me with the president-elect would be easiest. And I have to say, I was impressed in all our meetings with the British team that mostly focused on counterterrorism and national security cooperation, which was my primary remit.

If only Ambassador Darroch had been as professional as his subordinates.

The cables leaked to the Daily Mail are scandalous for many reasons, none of which have to do with time-traveling cyborgs. The first is the level of incompetence and laziness they demonstrate on behalf of the seniormost diplomat representing the nation that traditionally has been our closest European ally.

Kim writes of an insecure president and a chaotic and inept White House, using the most hackneyed tropes of the fake news one can imagine. What is remarkable, is how there is not one original piece of information in anything Sir Kim wrote. In fact, all of his supersensitive “classified” reporting could have been cut directly from the pages of the Huffington Post or the Daily Beast. One wonders what London’s ambassador was doing in Washington all these years, because he wasn’t using any diplomatic skills to acquire unique information especially useful for his government and the British prime minister. Her Majesty’s government could have saved itself some trouble and expense by subscribing to the Trump-hating New York Times or a CNN transcription service.

And this isn’t just a critique of laziness. This is utter and total lack of professionalism. Yes, we know that the fake news cannot but call the Trump White House “chaotic” and “inept” because that’s all they’ve done for two-and-a-half years. But so what? Did Sir Kim ever open the window? Did he ever step away from the fancy cocktail parties and white-tie receptions and actually look at what we have been doing?

By any metric, the policies of Donald J. Trump have been historically successful. The Dow just broke 27,000 this week. Twenty-seven thousand. The physical caliphate of ISIS is no more. North Korea has stopped illegal nuclear warhead testing and ballistic missile launches. NATO is finally paying its dues. We have the lowest unemployment in 50 years. How hard would it have been for any diplomat at any rank to report the truth?

Again, this isn’t about one lazy ambassador; it’s about the bankrupt elite that Sir Kim Darroch represents. He had to trash President Trump because President Trump is not a swamp dweller like he is. Truth is, the “swamp” is global. And it should surprise no one that Kim Darroch represented Britain at the European Union and is an anti-Brexit internationalist.

On November 8, 2016, America sent a message to the world, to the Sir Kims in every capital, not just ours: the people want their sovereignty back. Kim and his ilk just can’t stand it. Why? Well, to put it in terms they can understand: Donald Trump is our John Connor.

Content created by the Center for American Greatness, Inc. is available without charge to any eligible news publisher that can provide a significant audience. For licensing opportunities for our original content, please contact licensing@centerforamericangreatness.com.

Photo Credit: Alex Wong/Getty Images

2016 Election • Administrative State • America • Center for American Greatness • Democrats • Donald Trump • Post

Trump and the Founders: Just What Jefferson Wanted?

How did the Constitution’s framers envision the presidency? Would Donald Trump be their worst nightmare, or just what they had in mind?

We know something about what kind of person their ideal president was because of who was chosen to be our first. More or less the same folks who framed the Constitution agreed that George Washington should be the first president of the United States under the new federal government. Washington had led the Continental Army in its successful revolutionary war against Great Britain, he had presided over the Constitutional Convention itself, and he was regarded as a paragon of sagacity and virtue.

His was a successful presidency, all things considered, and, in particular he was well-served by his first secretary of the treasury, Alexander Hamilton, who put the nation’s finances in order, and by his first secretary of state, Thomas Jefferson, who, though he didn’t serve through both of Washington’s terms, did at least begin to secure a place for the new nation among its old world peers.

Hamilton died defending his honor against the slippery Aaron Burr, and Jefferson went on to serve as president, but both of those men—like Donald Trump—had something of a checkered past. Jefferson admitted that he once “offered love to a handsome lady” not his wife, and Hamilton weathered a blackmail scandal as a result of an unwise dalliance.

Like Hamilton, Trump has succeeded in putting the nation’s finances on a more secure footing, if the stock and jobs markets can be regarded as key financial indicators. Like Jefferson he has scored diplomatic successes, and if he has not yet completely achieved his foreign policy goals, his trade deals show promise of future achievement, and, as Washington advised, Trump has avoided military adventurism abroad.

What is most striking about Trump, however, is that he fits the framers’ preference for seeing the country led by people who are not professional politicians. Washington was a successful farmer and general, Hamilton was perhaps the most accomplished commercial lawyer in New York (and started a newspaper that still publishes there), Jefferson was governor of Virginia, then vice president, and finally president, but he also had a plantation in Virginia, and was a noted scholar, a talented author and inventor, and a cultivated connoisseur.

Washington set a pattern that endured for almost 140 years, of serving no more than two terms as president, and after Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s four elections, it is now enforced by constitutional amendment. This followed the Roman model set by Cincinnatus of serving the nation and then graciously returning to private life, and Washington, of course, was a founding member of an American Society of the Cincinnati to celebrate that new American ideal.

The greatest fear of the founders was that our country, like Great Britain, would succumb to the rivalry of faction in government, or worse, that an entrenched elite would plunge us into the kind of financial corruption to which, our framers believed, Britain had succumbed.

Those who elected Donald Trump in 2016 must have understood that it was the triumph of professional politicians in the 20th and 21st centuries that had brought us to the brink of corruption and concomitant decay. The economic collapse at the end of the second term of George W. Bush, and the stagnant economy under Barack Obama for both of his terms (along with the increased federal regulation that his administration encouraged) demonstrated that our government has come more to serve the interests of an elite corps of professional bureaucrats, lawyers, lobbyists and consultants, than it is working for the American people. As the economy in most of the nation sputtered, Washington and its environs achieved a prosperity it had never before known.

Hillary Clinton was the epitome of everything that was wrong and corrupt about the national government, and whether or not she deserved to be locked up, as the chant went at many Trump campaign rallies, had she been elected, it is clear she would have simply furthered the misguided rule of her predecessor.

President Trump’s promise to “drain the swamp” is best understood as an effort to return us to self-government and to end rule by the administrative state and its minions. Trump’s task of cleaning the Augean stables of Washington is a formidable one, especially when so many entrenched bureaucrats remain in our national government, and when, as we have seen, holdovers from the Obama Administration in and out of power are not above using every means at their disposal to stymie and undercut Trump and his efforts.

The recent flap over the erstwhile British ambassador, Sir Kim Darroche, whose leaked communications suggested his view of the ineptness of the president, is a reminder that our mother country is still suffering from its own entrenched corruptocrats, who surrender their power most unwillingly.

Modern governments, of course, have complex and difficult tasks, and they create the need for the kind of expertise that, unfortunately, leads to the large and almost immovable bureaucracies we have today. Nevertheless, if the sovereignty of the people still has a role to play in our polity, it is the American people themselves, through their elected officials, who have the right to control our future.

Donald Trump may be leading the charge, but it is also time to make more of an effort to eliminate the national professional political class, or at least to tame its power. Several constitutional reform efforts currently are underway, and eventually may succeed, bringing with them term limits for members of Congress and perhaps even some judicial reform which might lead to ending another impediment to popular sovereignty, government by judiciary.

In the meantime, as we approach the election of 2020, then, it is imperative that we not lose sight of what Trump accomplished in 2016 and what he ought to be able to do in another term. Some of the creatures of the swamp—Paul Ryan, John McCain, both Clintons, both Bushes, and Barack Obama are more-or-less gone, but some, such as Nancy Pelosi, Chuck Schumer, Jerrold Nadler, and Adam Schiff fight on.

It is clear that other such professional politicians – most notably many of the contenders for the Democratic nomination, and, in particular Joe Biden, would bring us back to the very situation Donald Trump sought to overcome. Ambassador Darroche saw what he perceived to be disarray, but he was actually witnessing a needed and corrective disruption, of which Jefferson, indeed, might have approved.

Jefferson’s rather radical way of preventing corruption, as he noted in an early letter to James Madison, was that “a little rebellion now and then is a good thing, and as necessary in the political world as storms in the physical.” More strikingly, in another letter he observed that “The tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time with the blood of patriots and tyrants.” This goes further than we need, but the tree of liberty will not be refreshed by a victory by the Democrats in 2020, and we should understand that Trump’s 2016 achievement was a little Jeffersonian rebellion. We could use more of the same.

Content created by the Center for American Greatness, Inc. is available without charge to any eligible news publisher that can provide a significant audience. For licensing opportunities for our original content, please contact licensing@centerforamericangreatness.com.

Photo Credit: Brendan Smialowski/AFP/Getty Images

2016 Election • Center for American Greatness • Deep State • Democrats • Donald Trump • Mueller-Russia Witch Hunt • Post

The Steele Dossier Has Been Discredited—Is the IC Report Next?

 

The three-year orchestrated campaign to discredit Donald Trump and destroy his presidency is littered with sketchy reports authored by partisan characters motivated by power and revenge.

From the Steele dossier and the personal memos of former FBI Director James Comey to Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s report, a trove of dubious documents is burnished as compelling evidence to show the president is an illegitimate occupant of the Oval Office, a Kremlin stooge, or worse, a criminal in plain sight trying to subvert the rule of law and torch our democracy.

What truly should alarm Americans—and, one hopes, interest future historians far removed from this debacle—is how these clearly questionable materials earned the imprimatur of the world’s most powerful law enforcement and intelligence agencies.

The Trump-hating media, once filled with skepticism about how intelligence-gathering violated individual rights in service of wanton political pursuits, regurgitate every outlandish accusation as undeniable fact.

One example is the January 2017 Intelligence Community Assessment (ICA), which claimed Russian President Vladimir Putin directly interfered in the 2016 election to help Donald Trump win the presidency. Two weeks before Trump was inaugurated the 45th president of the United States, Barack Obama’s top security chiefs—acting on a directive from the departing president—issued an official report to suggest that Trump’s victory was tainted.

According to Obama’s FBI, CIA, and NSA, Putin “ordered an influence campaign in 2016 aimed at the US presidential election. Russia’s goals were to undermine public faith in the US democratic process, denigrate Secretary Clinton, and harm her electability and potential presidency. We further assess Putin and the Russian Government developed a clear preference for President-elect Trump.”

But that conclusion reportedly is under scrutiny by Attorney General William Barr as part of his wide-reaching investigation into the corrupt origins of the Trump-Russia collusion hoax.

A special prosecutor appointed by Barr to oversee the probe is supposed to interview senior CIA officials who helped produce the report. According to a June 12 New York Times story disclosing the inquiry, the impending inquiry “has provoked anxiety in the ranks of the CIA.”

It should.

The ICA is an embarrassment to U.S. intelligence services, an obvious piece of government-sanctioned propaganda that would make Putin green with envy. Two of Obama’s henchmen—Comey and former CIA director John Brennan—signed off on the report then briefed both the former and the incoming president on its contents in early January 2017. (In his briefing with Trump, Comey also added a two-page summary of the Steele dossier, including the ludicrous claims about Trump’s alleged dalliances with prostitutes in Moscow.)

Reeling from Trump’s shocking win and desperate to place blame, Obama in early December 2016 ordered a full review of Russia’s election meddling. Twenty days later, the review was completed—hardly sufficient time for an adequate investigation of how a global adversary infiltrated a U.S. presidential election that cost more than $2 billion and involved 130 million American voters.

Nonetheless, in less than three weeks, the agencies claimed to have collected and verified reports from “multiple sources” to affirm their findings.

“To my mind the assessment is very peculiar,” former federal prosecutor Andrew McCarthy told the House Intelligence Committee earlier this month. “Ordinarily the kind of assessment that you’re talking about there would be something that would take well over a year to do, certainly many months to do . . . seems to me, in this instance, there was a rush to get that out within a matter of days.”

The hastily prepared report is akin to a last-minute term paper, carefully formatted with plenty of white space and graphics. Odd anecdotes are stitched together in a hodgepodge manner. It’s filled with repetition and hearsay. One vague passage insists that Putin “holds a grudge for comments [by Clinton] he almost certainly saw as disparaging him.” Another factoid is that a Putin pal said Russia would “drink champagne” if Trump won. Not exactly the kind of conjecture that would pass muster in a court of law.

The document was released in declassified form; readers repeatedly are assured that highly-classified information supports the Intelligence Community’s conclusions but that “the release of such information would reveal sensitive sources or methods and imperil the ability to collect critical foreign intelligence in the future.” (Where have we heard that before?) It strained to make a connection between the Kremlin, WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, and the hacking of the Democratic National Committee.

More than half of the report’s substance detailed how RT America, the Kremlin’s English-speaking news channel, sought to undermine the U.S. presidential election—in 2012. A seven-page “annex” to the report offered a completely irrelevant analysis of RT’s news coverage before Mitt Romney lost to Barack Obama on November 6, 2012. Outdated references to Occupy Wall Street, fracking, and the Georgia-Russia conflict are cited. Weird memes and pictures fill a big chunk of four pages.

One entire page included graphs to measure the social media footprint of certain news outlets including RT, CNN and BBC in 2012, figures that would not reflect the same activity for 2016.

Portions of the ICA appear to be lifted from a June 2016 analysis on the hacking of the Democratic National Committee furnished by Crowdstrike, a private cyber-security firm. Crowdstrike concluded that hackers allegedly tied to Russia had infiltrated the DNCs server. (Perkins Coie, the law firm that contracted with Fusion GPS to produce the dossier, also retained Crowdstrike on behalf of the DNC.)

It is important to remember that neither the FBI nor any U.S. agency inspected the DNC server because they were denied access by Democratic Party officials.

In his June 2017 Senate testimony, Comey admitted his agency did not conduct a forensic review of the device, but instead relied on the work of a “highly-respected private company.” This would explain, although not justify, why the FBI poached part of the Crowdstrike analysis for the ICA report.

The ICA claimed that the alleged Russian hackers first gained access to the DNC network in July 2015 and then “probably began cyber operations aimed at the US election by March 2016. We assess that the . . . operations resulted in the compromise of the personal email accounts of Democratic Party officials and political figures.”

The Crowdstrike report claimed that Russian involvement “has been identified going back to the summer of 2015, while [the Russian hacker] separately breached the network in April 2016.”

Crowdstrike stated that one Russian-affiliated hacker targeted the “U.S. government” as well as “organizations across Defense, Energy, Financial, Insurance, Legal . . . [and] Think Tanks.” Similarly, the ICA alleged that after the election “Russian intelligence began a spearphishing campaign targeting US Government employees and individuals associated with US think tanks and NGOs in national security, defense, and foreign policy fields.”

Further, we now know the ICA was commissioned by two of Trump’s most virulent and dishonest foes: Comey and Brennan. Both men have made outrageous accusations against the president over the past two years; their credibility is shot and their actions before they left the government are under investigation.

When the Intelligence Community’s report was issued, top lawmakers insisted that America had been attacked by the Russians. “It fits the definition of an act of war,” the late Senator John McCain (R-Ariz.) told reporters the day the ICA came out. “The fact [the Russians] were able to do what they did is a threat to national security.”

Americans again are being warned that another “attack” on the 2020 election is imminent. If the ICA is the sum of the evidence for such threats, the veracity of the report must be re-examined. All back-up material must be declassified. Brennan testified under oath that the Steele dossier wasn’t included in the ICA; his testimony is now in doubt.

Chances are, we may soon discover that the flimsy report providing the early underpinning for Russian election interference claims was yet another false flag used in the attempted coup against President Trump.

Content created by the Center for American Greatness, Inc. is available without charge to any eligible news publisher that can provide a significant audience. For licensing opportunities for our original content, please contact licensing@centerforamericangreatness.com.

Photo Credit: Joe Raedle/Getty Images

 

2016 Election • Center for American Greatness • Deep State • Democrats • Donald Trump • Mueller-Russia Witch Hunt • Post

What Hillary and Obama Actually Did

It’s remarkable that the Democrats—and the corporate leftist media—don’t know the difference between Norway and Russia.

One is an unequivocal part of the West, a founding member and staunch pillar of NATO.

The other is a schizophrenic nation with imperialistic tendencies run by a former KGB colonel.

These nuances are apparently lost on the likes of George Stephanopoulos and his accomplices of the FakeNews Industrial Complex.

Since President Trump’s interview with the former Clinton White House official, hundreds of column-inches and hours of television “commentary” have already been committed to the hysterical accusation that the commander-in-chief is condoning “collusion” and that the legitimacy of the 2020 elections has already been undermined.

Let’s just establish some key matters of fact.

Norway is a friend. We talk to friends.

We even talk to enemies when we must.

Roosevelt parlayed with Stalin. Kennedy traveled to Vienna to meet Nikita Khrushchev. And Ronald Reagan negotiated with Mikhail Gorbachev in Reykjavik.

But Norway is an ally, bound to us in a collective defense commitment enshrined in the Washington Treaty that founded NATO. So when Donald Trump, in response to a question, floated a hypothetical scenario that he would listen to the Norwegians if they had derogatory information about a political candidate here in America, he was showing good judgment. In fact, if any reliable international partner showed a willingness to provide information that is pertinent to the health of the country, it would be a dereliction of his duty to reject that information. That’s exactly why we have a complex and secure system for intelligence-sharing with our allies, especially those in the Five Eyes community.

Just imagine if Norway were running a double-agent in the Kremlin who could prove that Bernie Sanders was recruited as an asset by the KGB when he and his wife honeymooned in the Soviet Union in 1988 and that he had been given the mission to run for president, implement socialism in America and so weaken us in our geopolitical contest with Russia. Not only should the president be open to the receipt of such information, it would his sworn duty to do so and to act upon the information given his primary responsibility to protect our nation from all enemies “foreign and domestic.”

Yet the media has proceeded hysterically to misrepresent the president’s words, saying his willingness to be open to such information provided by an ally such as Norway is the same as being open to “opposition research” proffered by adversaries such as China or Russia. He said no such thing. He never once indicated his willingness to work with our enemies in a way that could affect a U.S. election.

This is in contrast with Hillary Clinton, who actually conspired with foreign agents and the government of Russia to do exactly that.

According to the handful of true investigative journalists and actual experts, we have only uncovered a fraction of the truth pertaining to what Dan Bongino has called “SpyGate” and Gregg Jarrett has dubbed “the Russian Hoax.” But given the massive amounts of misinformation swirling around the internet and the egregious and willful negligence by the “mainstream” media in reporting the truth about just how deeply foreign actors were allowed to penetrate and influence the last presidential election, it is crucial to catalog what we already know for sure about Hillary Clinton and the DNC’s collusion with actors inimical to our Republic and our values as Americans.

Here are the facts so far:

  • Christopher Steele, a former British intelligence officer with close ties to the Kremlin and an intense hatred for Donald Trump was paid by Hillary Clinton’s lawyers and the Democrat Party to compile a file of damaging information on candidate Trump. He did so without registering as an agent of a foreign power.
  • This file was replete either with unverifiable fabrications, old accusations that were already out in the open or which were deceptively repackaged to implicate Donald Trump, or outright propaganda Steele had “acquired” from his contacts associated with Russian intelligence.
  • Steele was deemed so unreliable and biased a political actor by the FBI and the State Department, that he was terminated as a source by the Bureau.
  • Senior DoJ official Bruce Ohr’s wife worked for Fusion GPS, the company that hired Christopher Steele, and he funneled anti-Trump opposition research from his wife to the FBI.
  • The DNC dispatched a contractor to the embassy of Ukraine to collect proffered opposition research on Donald Trump from the government in Kiev with a plan to coordinate a smear campaign with officials from that non-NATO nation, foreign power.
  • As the Trump campaign grew in strength, Clinton’s allies in the Obama Administration initiated an unprecedented cross-agency operation code-named CrossFire Hurricane to target Donald Trump and his associates.
  • This involved the exploitation of foreign “liaison services,” especially in the UK (and possibly Italy and Australia as well) in order to circumvent constitutional protection that forbid U.S. intelligence agencies from spying on Americans citizens for political reasons. John Brennan, Obama’s CIA director, was the pivotal actor driving these operations, which led in part to the sudden resignation of the director of GCHQ, the British equivalent of the NSA, and included FBI Director James Comey as well.
  • On multiple occasions, U.S. intelligence assets were tasked with penetrating the Trump campaign to lure its representatives into what they believed were attempts to connect with the Russia government.
  • This included targeting George Papadopoulos, a minor figure in the campaign, via the offices of the Australian diplomat Alexander Downer, and a female FBI “analyst” known as Azra Turk who no one has been able to locate. (Note: When Downer was Foreign Minister he funneled $25 million of taxpayer dollars to the Clinton Foundation).
  • The NSA’s massive database of surveillance intercepts was repeatedly accessed illegally, often by contractors with no authority to do so.
  • At a rate never seen before in the history of the U.S. Intelligence Community (I.C.), the identity of hundreds of American citizens innocently caught up in NSA intercepts were “unmasked” by senior Obama Administration officials. Some of the officials who authorized the unmaskings weren’t even members of the I.C. and who had no plausible reason for the unmasking, including Samantha Power, Obama’s ambassador to the United Nations.
  • The fabricated allegations provided by Russian government sources that Clinton and the DNC bought from Christopher Steele were used to obtain a secret FISA Court warrant to spy on Carter Page and the Trump campaign. The unverified quality of the “Steele dossier” and the fact that is was opposition research paid for by Donald Trump’s political opponent was hidden from the secret FISA court.

In sum: Hillary Clinton and the Democratic Party paid a foreign agent to collect or manufacture damaging information about the Republican candidate for president, information that was sourced from the Russian government. The subsequent propaganda file was used to surveil members of the Trump campaign, illegally, as NSA and British assets were also used to spy on those associated with Clinton’s political rival, and as human intelligence assets were deployed in an attempt to entrap Trump advisers and members of his staff.

The fall-out of the Stephanopoulos interviews is great. But not in the way George and his allies would like it to be.

With one sentence, the president has yet again turned the nation’s attention to the real scandal that should claim our focus: how the Democrats willingly colluded with a nation that remains our enemy in an attempt to win an election and defraud the will of the American people, in the biggest and most successful information operation Moscow has ever deployed against us.

Now it is up to Attorney General William Barr to uncover the rest of their crimes before our next election.

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2016 Election • Administrative State • Deep State • Democrats • Donald Trump • Mueller-Russia Witch Hunt • Post

Russian Hack or CrowdStrike Ruse?

Robert Mueller may live to regret indicting Roger Stone.

Stone is the long-time Republican political operative who made headlines in January when he was hauled out of his home by a squad of FBI agents adorned in tactical gear and carrying M4 rifles. The ostentatious display of force seemed made for television. And as luck—or more likely, leak—would have it, CNN just happened to be on hand with cameras ready to film Mueller’s predawn military raid to arrest Stone, a 66-year-old charged with purely non-violent crimes who’d already indicated he was ready and willing to turn himself in.

The alleged crime that earned Stone this extreme treatment is lying under oath to the House Intelligence Committee during its investigation into alleged Russian election interference. And Stone’s indictment and the publicity generating arrest followed the modus operandi Mueller established as special counsel. Just like his earlier indictments, a lot of headlines were generated suggesting that there was something to the Russian collusion narrative even though Mueller’s indictment contained absolutely nothing to corroborate such a belief.

The lies Mueller claims Stone told were about completely ancillary matters that, even if he’s guilty as charged, have no bearing on whether the Russians and WikiLeaks engaged in espionage on Trump’s behalf and, if they did, whether anyone in the Trump campaign helped or had foreknowledge.

Importantly, Stone was not charged with lying when he denied that he “knew in advance about and predicted the hacking of . . . [Hillary Clinton Campaign Chairman John] Podesta’s email,” or that he’d had any contact with WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange.

So, Mueller’s chump-change charges against Stone do nothing to confirm that Russia conspired with WikiLeaks to put Trump in the White House. But that didn’t stop the corporate leftist media from using Stone’s arrest as an excuse to spend a few weeks running stories drumming the narrative into the public’s mind with subtle headlines like “The WikiLeaks-Russia Connection.”

Indeed, stories repeating but in no way substantiating the WikiLeaks-Russia conspiracy narrative started appearing three months in advance of the indictment, when Mueller’s investigation of Stone somehow got leaked to the Washington Post.

Roger Stone also happens to be one of the few public figures who’s repeatedly expressed skepticism that Russia and WikiLeaks conspired to make Donald Trump president. It’s fair to say that doubting the Russian provenance so widely attributed to WikiLeaks’ 2016 campaign-related releases had become a part of Stone’s brand until he found himself in Mueller’s crosshairs.

The initial leak to the press that he was under investigation and his subsequent indictment, quite naturally, had the effect of focusing Stone’s public pronouncements on the alleged ancillary lies he told Congress. Those might wind up landing him significant jail time. But his forced attention to these matters also kept him away from the central question of whether WikiLeaks spent the 2016 presidential election helping Russian intelligence put Trump in the White House.

In fact, since February 21, Stone has been forbidden from publicly discussing any aspect of his case. And the gag order doesn’t apply only to Stone; it extends to his spokespersons, family members, and even those volunteering their time on his behalf. So, apart from giving the press an opportunity to reinforce the Russia-WikiLeaks conspiracy narrative without substantiating it, Mueller has also, whether by design or not, managed to completely stifle one of the only voices challenging it from a platform high enough to make itself heard above the crowd.

But, unexpectedly, it turns out that Mueller has given Stone the means to launch a more effective attack on the WikiLeaks-Russian conspiracy narrative than would have been possible had he not legally embroiled Stone in the matter.

The search warrants issued in Stone’s and other related cases were predicated on Mueller having evidence that the Russians hacked the DNC servers and then gave the spoils to WikiLeaks. So, last month, Stone’s lawyers filed a motion challenging that premise and requesting to see the only direct evidence that exists: the report CrowdStrike wrote after examining the DNC server.

CrowdStrike’s Connection
If you don’t know what CrowdStrike is, you’re unaware perhaps of the most important player in the Russian-Wikileaks espionage narrative. CrowdStrike is the tech firm the Democratic National Committee hired, allegedly upon learning their servers had been breached. We’re supposed to believe CrowdStrike’s job was to deal with the breach. But the company’s account of the actions it took makes so little sense that company officials either have to be lying or they are too incompetent to be trusted.

According to a puff-piece profile of founder and chief technology officer Dmitri Alperovitch in Vanity Fair, the firm was contacted about a possible breach of the DNC servers on May 4, 2016, and, the very next day, installed software CrowdStrike had developed called Falcon that’s designed to detect intruders. Upon which:

[I]n the early mornings of May 6, Alperovitch got a call indicating that “Falcon ‘it up,’ the email said, within ten seconds of being installed at the DNC: Russia was in the network.”

Yet according to the Vanity Fair story, Alperovitch and CrowdStrike President Shawn Henry spent six weeks monitoring the hostile actors they claim to have found roaming freely in the DNC servers before expelling them on June 10-12.

This is the same story Alperovitch and Henry told on June 14, 2016, when they first released details of the alleged Russian hack of the DNC in the Washington Post. Funnily enough, their story about Russian hacking, which wound up being the basis for discrediting the voluminous amount of negative information about Hillary Clinton’s character and competence later published by WikiLeaks, emerged exactly two days after Julian Assange announced that WikiLeaks would soon be publishing Clinton campaign emails.

And, as researcher Stephen McIntyre has noted, now that they have been published, we know something about the DNC emails WikiLeaks subsequently released that we didn’t know when CrowdStrike officials first told their story:

There were no fewer than 14,409 emails in the Wikileaks archive dating after Crowdstrike’s installation of its security software. In fact, more emails were hacked after Crowdstrike’s discovery on May 6 than before. Whatever actions were taken by Crowdstrike on May 6, they did nothing to stem the exfiltration of emails from the DNC.

It turns out we’re supposed to believe that CrowdStrike sat around and did nothing as they watched the Russians steal the majority of the emails they allegedly passed to WikiLeaks.

As McIntyre goes on to observe, this makes the firm look a lot like the guy dressed like a security guard from the old commercial who, when the bank is robbed, informs the frightened employees, “I’m not a security guard, I’m a security monitor. I only notify people if there’s a robbery . . . There’s a robbery.”

Moreover, CrowdStrike’s reasons for pinning the alleged DNC hack on the Russians undermines their credibility even further. As Scott Ritter has pointed out in an exhaustive exposé on CrowdStrike founder Dmitri Alperovitch’s “shady” rise to fame, fortune, and power in the world of cyber-intelligence, CrowdStrike blames the alleged DNC hack on the Russians because the Russians have used the same malware they claim to have found on the DNC servers. But this malware is also known to have been used by actors unaffiliated with Russian intelligence. So, even without seeing CrowdStrike’s report, the logic behind the claim that the Russians were behind the alleged theft of DNC files (as they watched and did nothing) is worthless.

We’ve known for a long time that the FBI never examined the DNC servers themselves but, instead, just accepted CrowdStrike’s conclusions. This would be bad enough even if the firm’s story actually made sense and their method of attribution weren’t completely spurious. But, thanks to Roger Stone’s motion to actually see CrowdStrike’s report, we now know that it’s much worse than we could have imagined.

In response, the government has admitted not only did it fail to do an independent examination on the DNC servers, officials also didn’t obtain a complete copy of CrowdStrike’s final report. CrowdStrike and the DNC only permitted the Department of Justice and FBI to see a redacted draft copy.

The Blind Faith of Investigators Exposed
But the government’s uncritical parroting of CrowdStrike’s conclusions is even worse. Alperovitch, though Russian by birth, is a member of the virulently anti-Russian Atlantic Council. So, anyone accepting his word that Russia is guilty of what’s repeatedly been referred to as an act of war without any independent examination of his evidence or even a look at his final unredacted conclusions is either a knave or a fool.

And the other CrowdStrike executive heavily involved in investigating the alleged DNC hack, president and CSO Shawn Henry, was the FBI’s head of cybersecurity before cashing in and joining the firm. And after everything we’ve seen in the past three years, perhaps you won’t be surprised to find out that he was promoted by none other than Robert Mueller.

Imagine a husband reports that his wife has been murdered but refuses to let the authorities examine her body and, instead, submits an autopsy report by a private investigator he’s commissioned who used to work for one of the officers leading the investigation and that the report just so happens to accuse someone with whom the private eye has an ax to grind.  That’s what has been going on with the government’s various investigations into the alleged Russian hacking of the DNC.

But now, thanks to Mueller’s indictment of Stone, we find out that the husband didn’t even give the authorities the final report he commissioned but, instead, only let them see a redacted draft version. If a local police department behaved in this way, there would be outrage accompanied by a great deal of skepticism about the conclusions of the report for which the husband paid accusing someone its author just so happens to detest of the most serious possible crime.

Yet, somehow, Republicans in Congress have shown almost no skepticism about the alleged Russian hacking of the DNC. Perhaps this latest revelation that CrowdStrike didn’t even turn over a complete and final draft of their report will finally cause the GOP establishment in Washington to ask questions they should have been asking all along.

But perhaps not. Just before Trump’s inauguration, Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.)  warned that challenging the intelligence community’s unsubstantiated claims about Russian election interference was “really dumb,” because:

Let me tell you: You take on the intelligence community—they have six ways from Sunday at getting back at you.

There’s simply no way to understand Schumer’s remark except as an admission that our intelligence community routinely blackmails our legislators into doing their bidding. Schumer, of course, would know. And, if he was being honest, it would explain a lot about the Washington establishment’s passive acceptance of the notion that Russia and WikiLeaks, with or without his foreknowledge, conspired to put Trump in the White House despite our not having been given any good reason whatsoever to think it’s true and the many good reasons we do have to think it’s not.

Photo Credit: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

2016 Election • Center for American Greatness • Deep State • Democrats • Donald Trump • Hillary Clinton • Obama • Post

Why Wasn’t Everyone Looking for Hillary’s Missing Emails?

Just like in 2016, President Trump appears ready to make Hillary Clinton’s deleted emails an election issue in 2020.

“Just compare how they came after us for three years, with everything they have, versus the free pass they gave to Hillary and her aides after they set up an illegal server, destroyed evidence, deleted and acid-washed 33,000 emails, exposed classified information,” Trump told a raucous crowd in Orlando on  Tuesday night. “Thirty-three thousand emails! But let’s see what happens.”

Even if the media and Democrats are poised to dismiss the missing cache as old news, Trump sure isn’t. Perhaps his renewed attention to the scandal will jigger long-dormant curiosity for why Clinton continues to escape any responsibility for erasing thousands of emails that the public, federal officials, and investigators have never seen.

The Media’s Dumb Play
One of the weirdest attacks against President Trump, going back to 2016, asserts that he asked the Russians to help find the thousands of emails Hillary Clinton deleted from her personal server the month before she announced her candidacy for president.

“Russia, if you’re listening, I hope you’re able to find the 30,000 emails that are missing,” Trump said during an event in July 2016. “I think you will probably be rewarded mightily by our press.”

Most rational people interpreted Trump’s gibe as a backhanded swipe at his presidential opponent’s misdeeds, but others—to this day—insist his comment represented a public plea for Russia to interfere in the election. Among the few people paying close attention—particularly former intelligence officials—there was a genuine concern that a foreign power (maybe Russia, maybe China, maybe North Korea, or maybe just about anyone employing halfway decent computer hackers) could have compromised Clinton’s private email server, which we know contained classified information.

But the press played the story differently.

“Trump’s call was another bizarre moment in the mystery of whether Vladimir V. Putin’s government has been seeking to influence the United States’ presidential race,” the New York Times warned on July 28, 2016.

But the accusation, not Trump’s comment, is what’s bizarre.

The accusation suggests that if Clinton’s contraband communications—emails she claimed were non-work related—had been unearthed before the election, the trove could have influenced the outcome of the 2016 presidential election. But how could that be if Clinton was telling the truth? This should have raised suspicions that Clinton’s deleted emails involved questions that risked implicating her in deeper scandals just months before Election Day. (Talk about interference!)

Instead, the media immediately criminalized any attempt to locate the emails that Clinton’s aides erased from her server—that is correspondence she sent and received during her tenure as secretary of state. Never mind that the files were material to pending lawsuits and an ongoing congressional investigation.

Former FBI Director James Comey claims his agency went so far as to open up a counterintelligence probe into the Trump campaign in July 2016 after an aide allegedly told an Australian diplomat that Russia had “dirt” on Clinton in the form of her deleted documents. (That ruse is now under scrutiny as a potential set-up.)

Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s report even outlined attempts by the Trump campaign to find the files that Clinton deleted from her personal server, as if the pursuit represented some nefarious plot to collude with the Kremlin.

The subject again was raised during last week’s interview between the president and ABC News chief anchor George Stephanopoulos. “She deleted 33,000 emails from—sent by the United States Congress,” Trump reminded the former Clinton confidante in the Oval Office. “They gave a subpoena to Hillary Clinton for 33,000 emails. After the subpoena was gotten, she deleted them. That’s called obstruction.” Stephanopoulos attempted to brush off the accusations against the wife of his one-time boss by insisting the matter already had “been investigated.”

Trump, however, is correct; Clinton’s missing emails were evidence at the time in both a congressional investigation into the 2012 Benghazi terrorist attack and several Freedom of Information Act lawsuits. Her family’s nonprofit, the Clinton Foundation, was under increasing scrutiny from both the FBI and Judicial Watch, a government watchdog group. The State Department’s inspector general in 2014 asked four previous secretaries of state—including Clinton—for any emails sent from a private account during their tenure in order to comply with the Federal Records Act.

But Clinton, claiming the emails were of a personal nature, including dish about yoga classes and her daughter’s wedding, authorized the permanent removal of tens of thousands of pages of potential evidence and federal records. To make sure that “even God can’t read them,” as former Representative Trey Gowdy (R-S.C.) mocked in August 2016, Clinton’s aides installed a special software program that blocked the retrieval of the documents. FBI investigators failed to locate Clinton’s 13 mobile devices and two iPads that might have contained the missing correspondence; her aides admitted to “breaking [her old BlackBerries] in half or hitting them with a hammer.”

Which raises two questions: Why wasn’t everyone, including the FBI, looking for her missing emails? And why did it become a crime to attempt to recover evidence that had been destroyed by the subject of ongoing investigations?

Everyone Should Have Been Looking
While her mishandling of classified information remains the biggest injustice of the Clinton email scandal, the willful destruction of more than half of the 60,000 emails archived on her private, illicit server also remains an overlooked crime for which no one has been held accountable.

Anyone who “knowingly alters, destroys, mutilates, conceals, covers up, falsifies, or makes a false entry in any record, document, or tangible object with the intent to impede, obstruct, or influence the investigation,” is guilty of obstruction of justice, an offense punishable by up to 20 years in prison.

According to the final report on the FBI’s Clinton email investigation, a few weeks after the House Select Committee on Benghazi subpoenaed Clinton’s emails in March 2015, Clinton’s email archive was permanently deleted from her server. A private contractor then installed BleachBit, the program that would prevent the recovery of any deleted records. (In a March 10, 2015 press conference, Clinton erroneously claimed the emails had been deleted before receiving the subpoena.)

The following month, Clinton announced her candidacy for president. In July 2015, Comey’s FBI opened an investigation into Clinton’s use of a private email server; the media lost interest—until Comey announced the conclusion of the so-called Mid-Year Exam one year later. The FBI apparently had little interest in determining whether Clinton destroyed evidence, since the investigation primarily addressed her handling of classified documents. Comey did mention the missing emails in his public statement, however.

“It is also likely that there are other work-related emails that they did not produce to State and that we did not find elsewhere, and that are now gone because they deleted all emails they did not return to State, and the lawyers cleaned their devices in such a way as to preclude complete forensic recovery,” Comey admitted on July 5, 2016.

Hey, no big deal. Why bother tracking down evidence or holding accountable those who intentionally destroyed evidence when you’re trying to get a FISA warrant on Carter Page, right?

To date, according to Judicial Watch—the only entity still interested in pursuing the deleted files—the FBI only has recovered about 5,000 of the 33,000 emails that Team Clinton obliterated from cyberspace.

And although Judicial Watch is scoring wins in court to slowly expose the corruption and, yes, obstruction of justice related to Clinton’s email server, news organizations continue to ignore the subject for the same reasons the media continue to ignore or, worse, justify FISA-gate: Both scandals ultimately lead to Barack Obama.

“The Obama FBI had to go to President Obama’s White House office to find emails that Hillary Clinton tried to destroy or hide from the American people,” said Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton in April after recent testimony by a former top FBI official confirmed the findings. “No wonder Hillary Clinton has thus far skated—Barack Obama is implicated in her email scheme.”

While Democrats and their accomplices in the media daily shriek that Trump is upending democratic norms and the rule of law, each day offers a new reminder of how the previous administration trashed every legal, political and administrative boundary that once guided fair play. Trump should keep raising this galling contradiction—and force his eventual Democratic presidential opponent to answer for it.

Content created by the Center for American Greatness, Inc. is available without charge to any eligible news publisher that can provide a significant audience. For licensing opportunities for our original content, please contact licensing@centerforamericangreatness.com.

Photo Credit: Drew Angerer/Getty Images

2016 Election • Center for American Greatness • Deep State • Democrats • Donald Trump • Post

No Outrage Over Democrat Ties to Foreign Election Interference

In the latest media-manufactured crisis du jour, the president now stands falsely accused of inviting foreign interference into our elections.

During an Oval Office interview with ABC News’ George Stephanopoulos on Thursday, President Trump said there “isn’t anything wrong” with listening to information offered up by a foreigner about a candidate’s political opponent.

“It’s not an interference, they have information. I think I’d take it,” he told Stephanapolous when asked whether it’s appropriate to accept opposition research from someone in another country. “If I thought there was something wrong, maybe I’d take it to the FBI, if I thought there was something wrong.”

The rather innocuous comments unleashed the predictable and tiresome widespread outrage. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) scolded the president for “not knowing between right and wrong” and demanded that “everyone in the country should be appalled.”

Trump’s remarks provided the newest grist for impeachment threats. Perpetual bore Senator Mitt Romney (R-Utah) apparently misunderstood Trump’s response, but nonetheless seized the opportunity again to boast of his moral superiority. “I ran for president twice. I ran for governor once. I ran for Senate twice,” Romney told CNN, once again reminding Americans that he has been in politics for way too long. “I’ve never had any attempt made by a foreign government. Had that occurred, I would’ve contacted the FBI immediately.”

Even Ellen Weintraub, the chairwoman of the Federal Election Commission, weighed in from her long-expired perch (her term officially ended in 2007) at that agency:

While Weintraub’s lecture earned atta boys from the usual suspects, it again brought attention to the legitimate scandal that the media, Democrats, and NeverTrump Republicans continue to ignore and excuse: The use of foreign sources to fabricate and promote the Russian collusion fable during the 2016 presidential campaign.

Further, Weintraub’s agency refuses to act on a complaint filed in October 2017 confirming not only that both Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign and the Democratic National Committee paid for that foreign-sourced dirt but also that they attempted to conceal their efforts from federal authorities in violation of campaign disclosure law.

In 2016, the Clinton campaign and DNC used Perkins Coie, a politically connected and influential law firm, as a pass-through to pay Fusion GPS for opposition research related to Donald Trump. Fusion GPS co-founder Glenn Simpson in turn hired Christopher Steele, a British operative who once worked for the U.K.’s version of the CIA. Steele is a British citizen, also known as a “foreigner.”

At the same time, Steele was working as an FBI informant for the Obama Justice Department and representing Oleg Deripaska, a Russian oligarch close to Russian President Vladmir Putin, in legal matters before the U.S. government.

The former British spy allegedly leveraged his Russian contacts to help compile a series of opposition research memos, commonly known as the “dossier,” for Fusion. Steele anonymously referred to several Kremlin-linked individuals in the dossier; notes recently disclosed from an Obama State Department official revealed that Steele claimed two of his sources were a former Russian intelligence chief and a Putin aide.

That material was then passed to Perkins Coie, the law firm representing both Hillary Clinton’s political action committee and the DNC, which in turn briefed the Clinton campaign. “I’m proud that we were able to assemble some of the research that has brought [Russian collusion] to light,” Clinton campaign manager Robby Mook told CNN’s Anderson Cooper in November 2017 after news reports confirmed the provenance of the dossier. “I’m glad that there was research there…I’m glad we’re paying attention to this now.” Mook bragged about how he first brought attention to attempted Russian meddling in July 2016 (coincidentally, the same month that Jim Comey’s FBI opened up a counterintelligence probe into the Trump campaign for suspected collusion) and later leveraged that propaganda to launch the special counsel investigation.

So Mook, the head of the Clinton campaign, boasted about accepting dirt on Donald Trump furnished by a paid foreigner operative (Steele) and possibly sourced by Kremlin-linked associates—and no one cared. News outlets also did not care; both Yahoo News and Mother Jones published stories based on the dossier before the presidential election. Reporters Michael Isikoff and David Corn personally met with both Simpson and Steele, a foreigner, to learn more about his Russian-based research. Neither contacted the FBI with the alarming news that a British national was peddling Russian-sourced allegations in an effort to plant negative stories about the Donald Trump before Election Day.

Steele also reportedly met with reporters and editors at the Washington Post, New York Times, The New Yorker, and CNN to discuss the dossier, according to Simpson’s Senate testimony. No one notified the FBI.

Another person who seems unconcerned about known foreign interference in an American election is . . . Ellen Weintraub. A Democrat appointed by President George W. Bush in 2002, Weintraub was elected FEC chairwoman the following year. Despite her many public rebukes of President Trump and Republicans—and her deep concern about how Russian Facebook memes could brainwash American voters—Weintraub hasn’t expressed any alarm over the evidence that the Clinton campaign and DNC paid for foreign-sourced information on Trump.

Weintraub’s agency continues to sit on a complaint filed 20 months ago by the D.C.-based Campaign Legal Center detailing how both committees failed to report payments to Fusion GPS, only disclosing nearly $13 million in payments to Perkins Coie during the 2016 election cycle. The funds were vaguely described as “legal services” on reporting documents.

According to the complainant, however, “there is reason to believe that Hillary for America and the DNC filed false reports by (a) failing to accurately report the ‘purpose’ of disbursements, describing disbursements for ‘legal services’ or ‘legal and compliance consulting’ when the actual purpose was research, and (b) inaccurately reporting payments to Perkins Coie that were, in reality, earmarked for Fusion GPS, in violation of FECA’s reporting requirements.”

In his House Intelligence Committee testimony, Simpson said that Perkins Coie paid Fusion $50,000 per month plus expenses beginning in April 2016. Steele, in turn, was paid about $180,000 for his foreign-sourced opposition research. (The only difference between what the Democrats actually did in 2016 and what Trump suggested this week is that the Democrats paid big bucks for their international meddling efforts.)

But the FEC still hasn’t taken action on the complaint—and there might be a reason why. Before joining the FEC, Weintraub herself was an attorney at Perkins Coie, serving as “Of Counsel to the Political Law Group” according to her FEC bio. A spokesman confirmed to me in an email that “nothing yet” has happened with the complaint and he could not say whether Weintraub has recused herself from investigating the claims against Clinton campaign and the DNC.

So, contrary to Weintraub’s threat that “anyone who solicits or accepts foreign assistance risks being on the wrong side of a federal investigation,” her agency has not taken any steps either to punish the known foreign assistance Democrats accepted in the 2016 election to damage Trump’s candidacy, or to impose sanctions on the violations that kept all of that foreign activity hidden from the American public.

The only consolation in this latest fracas is that when the investigation into the corrupt origins of the FBI’s probe into the Trump campaign exposes the many foreign actors involved in the Democratic-choreographed Russian collusion hoax, we should see who is truly concerned with foreign interference in our elections and who again is only joining the latest outrage machine because, Trump.

Content created by the Center for American Greatness, Inc. is available without charge to any eligible news publisher that can provide a significant audience. For licensing opportunities for our original content, please contact licensing@centerforamericangreatness.com.

Photo Credit: Alex Wong/Getty Images

2016 Election • America • Deep State • Democrats • Donald Trump • Elections • Electoral College • Post

Stealing the 2020 Election: How it Could Happen

Errant flashlight beams occasionally escape the basement window of the courthouse as off-book campaign workers carefully replace another seal on a box of completed ballots. At two minutes a ballot, the team will barely finish in time to slip away before the early shift opens the building so the sheriff’s deputy can load the boxes to transport for final counting. Suddenly the snap of a light switch drowns the flashlight beams in merciless fluorescent light. The conspirators freeze as a pair of legs descends the stairs.

“What are you doing?” A voice asks, half puzzled and half accusing.

“Making corrections.” One of the workers responds as he brushes No. 2 pencil eraser crumbs from a ballot.

“This is a waste of time.” The consultant tells the workers. “I have a better way.”

Such is the scene that might play out in the hours after a future presidential election. Why would workers toil for hours to change individual ballots? The same result was achieved in 2016 when only two people were persuaded to change their votes. These two people, who were totally anonymous and unelected, nullified hundreds of thousands of lawfully cast ballots as they succumbed to a secret campaign of intimidation and persuasion in the weeks after the 2016 presidential election.

Politico noted that activists publicly doxxed personal contact information for many electors— “and it’s been used to bury them with massive email campaigns.” Famous actors made a public appeal to the electors to nullify American votes using out-of-context quotes from the Federalist Papers. Sharon Geise, an elector from Mesa, Arizona, estimated 8,000 emails flooded her inbox in the days leading up to the official Electoral College vote in the 2016 presidential election. The four electors from Idaho reported harassing phone calls from activists pressuring them to nullify the ballots cast for Donald Trump.

The effort failed to change the ultimate outcome in 2016. But it did result in the nullification of hundreds of thousands of votes lawfully cast for Donald Trump as two electors from Texas did indeed change their votes.

On October 30, 2016, days before the election, then-Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) wrote the FBI accusing it of covering-up “explosive information about close ties and coordination between Donald Trump, his top advisers, and the Russian government.”

After the initial results of the election in November surprised the Clinton campaign, the Russia collusion hoax became the means by which Democrats would attempt to nullify votes by flipping the Electoral College electors. The effort climaxed in the days between December 9 and December 17, 2016. America came within a hair’s breadth of the 2016 presidential election being overturned through a collaboration of the Clinton campaign, the media, and like-minded public officials.

The CIA made the first move. On December 9, the CIA leaked an accusation that Russia “interfered in the 2016 election to help Donald Trump win the presidency.” On December 12, 2016, just one week before the electors were to cast the final votes for president, a group of mostly Clinton-supporting electors sent a letter in which they demanded a “briefing” from the Director of National Intelligence James Clapper. The letter appears to have been informed by the notorious Steele dossier commissioned by the Clinton campaign and other partisan misinformation. The letter cited an account of Roger Stone’s communication with Wikileaks founder Julian Assange (which was false) and asserted that Stone knew about the hacked emails before they were released (which was also false).

The letter also cited unspecified contact between unspecified Trump aides and those associated with the alleged Russian election interference. This likely is a reference to the Steele allegation that Cohen traveled to Prague to pay-off Russian hackers (which was also false). Or it may have been a reference to the Steele dossier’s claim that former campaign manager Paul Manafort coordinated communication between the Russian government and the Trump campaign (also false). The letter further claimed that Carter Page met with the Putin aide in charge of the Russian intelligence on the U.S. election. That appears to refer to a meeting between Carter Page and Igor Divyekin (which didn’t happen).

Clearly somebody dripped Steele’s poison into the ears of compliant electors to build peer pressure against the Trump electors.

The Clinton campaign formally requested that the electors receive the requested briefing. In lofty tones, the Clinton campaign chairman, John Podesta, lectured, “The bipartisan electors’ letter raises very grave issues involving our national security . . . Electors have a solemn responsibility under the Constitution and we support their efforts to have their questions addressed.” Keep in mind, Podesta would have known that the Clinton campaign secretly commissioned the fabrication and dissemination of the Trump-Russia collusion allegations.

Imagine the result if the director of national intelligence had sponsored the Steele falsehoods to American electors with no resources to investigate or dispute the smears. It’s difficult to imagine the plan would not have worked.

But somebody blinked. On December 16, 2016, the Office of the Director of National Intelligence issued a press release acknowledging the request to brief the electors but declining the invitation to conduct it. The communique made an oblique reference to the classified nature of the underlying information. But this classification could have been lifted by presidential decree in a matter of minutes.

The real reason the electors were not so briefed might have been that insiders had already spotted critical flaws in Steele’s allegations. For example, an astute State Department official, Deputy Assistant Secretary of State Kathleen Kavalec, tipped-off the FBI that Steele incorrectly claimed the payments for the Russian interference were made through the Russian Consulate in Miami (a consulate that does not exist). Also, the FBI travelled to Prague in October of 2016 to run-down a promising arrest of a Russian hacker. It’s likely that they also used the trip to look into reports by Steele that Michael Cohen traveled to Prague months earlier to pay Russian hackers.

We now know that the Prague hacker had nothing to do with the 2016 election and that Cohen did not travel to Prague in 2016. Both Kavalec and senior Justice Department attorney Bruce Ohr warned the FBI that Steele had transparently political motives. Ohr also knew from his own Russian source that the claim that Manafort coordinated with the Russians was “preposterous.” The briefing the electors would have received was just a regurgitation of the lies commissioned by the Clinton campaign.

It didn’t need to be true. It just needed to work.

Viewed in the context of the 2016 election, the present-day effort to end the Electoral College is not about amending the Constitution but about softening-up the playing field for the next post-election campaign to flip electors. By running up vote totals in states like California, Democrats can claim a moral victory in the popular vote to justify an attack on the Electoral College’s constitutional result. In this way, padded vote totals in blue states can be combined with “troubling intelligence” reports by insiders in the deep state to make the next play to overturn an “unacceptable” election result.

That’s exactly what happened in 2016 and there is every indication that the technique will be refined and ratcheted up in 2020. This is the electoral vulnerability that must be addressed if we are to preserve self-government. Imagine the chaos that would have ensued if Clinton succeeded in flipping enough electors to capture the presidency. States should act to eliminate this vulnerability by installing failsafes to overrule citizen electors bribed or threatened into nullifying votes. A single unelected elector should not be allowed to nullify thousands of votes.

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