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

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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.

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: Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call

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Congress • Deep State • Democrats • Donald Trump • Elections • GOPe • Post • Republicans

T’was a Nice Republic, While It Lasted

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On or around 9 a.m. EST, on July 24, 2019, as a gentle breeze wafted over the gingerly groomed Kentucky bluegrass grounds of the National Mall, the great God-Emperor of American Justice himself—Robert Swan Mueller III—descended, like Moses from Mount Sinai or Zeus from Mount Olympus. Downward he came from his lofty perch in the heavenlies, whence the right judgments of his all-knowing, unbiased and perfectly objective mind emanate like piercing UV rays of legal wisdom from the sun itself.

Why were we blessed with this spectacular, once in a lifetime visitation, which only a few million eyes have seen?

As the media mavens breathlessly informed us, over and over again, Lord Mueller was summoned to appear in deceptively frail human form to converse with his humble servants (i.e., congressional House Democrats) about his most recent, and apparently final, infallible encyclical on the serious matter of Russia’s successful attempt to install Donald J. Trump as president and personal sock-puppet to Vladimir Putin—thereby denying the Oval Office the graces of its rightful heir and pre-ordained occupant, Madam Secretary Hillary! Rodham Clinton.

Lord Mueller assured everyone that CrowdStrike was correct: Putin achieved this dastardly feat of WikiLeaks hacking and stole the American presidential election by: a) running a couple thousand dollars worth of ads on Facebook; b) somehow guessing that John Podesta’s email password was “password”; and c) somehow getting into the former secretary of state’s basement where she kept her private unsecured email server—no matter what Ellen Ratner says Julian Assange told her directly, and despite not ever having had either servers in the FBI’s chain of custody.

To lend Mueller’s definitive analysis even more credibility, the very Democrat attorney who represented Clinton’s former IT guy (who at Clinton’s direction allegedly wiped her server clean of any evidence) was sworn in with Mueller. This same attorney, the Democrats were relieved to hear, also ran the special counsel’s day-to-day affairs while Lord Mueller apparently was napping most of the time. But for Lord Mueller’s assurances, there were absolutely no conflicts of interest in any of this, this fact might otherwise have been mildly concerning, even to CNN legal analysts, who were busy organizing impeachment parties before the hearing started.

In any event, the assembled patron saints of congressional districts from sea to shining sea had been entrusted, by virtue of this divine commission, the great task of explaining to the boobery in red-state flyover country why—despite the apparent lack of any actual evidence of collusion, conspiracy, or whatever—and a terribly confusing explanation from Lord Mueller himself as to why he was (uncharacteristically) unwilling to make a prosecutorial decision at all about obstruction of justice—it is nonetheless their somber and sublime duty to impeach the duly elected president, Donald J. Trump. And, as a bonus, they must hang him high for treason (something to do with building hotels before he became president), too.

After all, Lord Mueller pronounced Trump “not exonerated,” and as everyone knows, the presumption in America has always been that Republican presidents must prove their innocence beyond any reasonable or unreasonable doubt whatsoever, and be subjected to endless accusation and systematic investigation until they resign, or are impeached, or at least are not re-elected.

Various sundry hoi polloi and their rabble-rousers (i.e., congressional House Republicans) also attended, to maintain the illusion that what was going on was somehow vaguely connected to the Constitution; but Mueller rightly paid them no mind. Instead, he cleverly Jedi mind-tricked them into repeating their questions several times over the course of nearly half their allotted time, and otherwise encouraged them to use the rest of their allotted minutes talking to his trembling right hand. Apparently, his hand had nothing to say, either.

He was, in short, having none of their impertinent inquiries into his staff deliberations, reasons for declining to prosecute implicated Democrats, decisions to arrest and torture others he wished to see punished, why he only looked into one side of his remit and studiously ignored the other, and other such off-topic desiderata that might actually have boosted the spectacle’s ratings.

To be sure, there was no way the majority was going to insist he lower himself and be subjected to mere mortal standards of under-oath testimony—which is to say, Jerry Nadler (D-N.Y.) and Adam Schiff (D-Calif.) were not going to allow much less compel him to be seriously cross-examined, or even frisked. No. That they will reserve for the likes of the fiendish (not to mention suspiciously hot) Hope Hicks.

All in all, Mueller’s testimony amounted to a dreadfully dull affair in which any discerning patriot would realize that all these endless XYZ-gates and their interminable special investigations have achieved is to flip every principle we say we stand for upside-down in the bloodlust for partisan electoral advantage.

T’was a nice republic, while it lasted. Requiescat In Pace.

Photo Credit: iStock/Getty Images

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Center for American Greatness • Deep State • Democrats • Donald Trump • Intelligence Community • Post • Republicans • Russia • The Media

Democrats’ Attack Machine Revs Up Against Ratcliffe

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Twenty minutes before President Trump announced Sunday afternoon on Twitter that Representative John Ratcliffe (R-Texas) would be his choice to replace Dan Coats as the director of national intelligence, the Democrats’ attack machine already was in action.

“John Ratcliffe, by one measure the second most conservative member of Congress, appears to believe that the Russia investigation was cooked up by Democrats who ‘committed crimes.’ Now Trump reportedly is considering placing atop the US intelligence community,” tweeted NBC News analyst Ken Dilanian, pejoratively known as “Fusion Ken” for his ties to the infamous opposition research shop, Fusion GPS.

(Take note of Dilanian’s scare quotes around “committed crimes” as if the whole thing was legit and not under criminal investigation by a U.S. attorney or a separate probe by the Justice Department inspector general.)

Trump then confirmed the pick on Twitter, saying Ratcliffe will “lead and inspire greatness for the Country he loves.”

Ratcliffe, a member of both the House Intelligence and House Judiciary committees, earned plaudits last week during the disastrous Robert Mueller hearings for his verbal vivisection of Mueller’s claims about not exonerating Donald Trump on alleged obstruction of justice offenses.

“The special counsel’s job, nowhere does it say that you were to conclusively determine Donald Trump’s innocence,” Ratcliffe told the bewildered prosecutor. “It’s not in any of the documents, it’s not in your appointment order, it’s not in the special counsel regulations, it’s not in the OLC opinions, it’s not in Department of Justice manual.”

Pointing out that the president, like any other American, is entitled to a presumption of innocence immediately caused the Left to brand Ratcliffe a Trump shill, lackey and suck-up.

Now Trump foes are using Ratcliffe’s performance against him while lauding the work of Coats, who publicly made it clear in May that he intended to stonewall Trump’s directive to declassify all documents related to the corrupt origins of the Obama Administration’s investigation into Trump’s presidential campaign. Coats succeeded James Clapper, a known anti-Trump partisan, who was a key player in concocting the bogus Russian collusion hoax in 2016. Attorney General Bill Barr is investigating the entire scandal, which includes any involvement by Clapper or his surrogates.

The media and top Democrats, including Clapper’s partner-in-collusion, former CIA Director John Brennan, immediately started bashing Ratcliffe on Twitter while commending Coats as a courageous straight shooter.

“Dan Coats served ably & with deep integrity,” Brennan tweeted early Monday morning. “Ratcliffe showed abject subservience to Trump in Mueller hearings. The women & men in the Intelligence Community deserve a leader like Coats who puts nation first; not a servile Trump loyalist like Ratcliffe.”

Coats “has had the independence and strength to speak truth to power,” tweeted House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff (D-Calif.). Senator Mark Warner (D-Va.), the ranking member of the Senate Intelligence Committee that will preside over Ratcliffe’s confirmation hearing, tweeted that the “mission of the intelligence community is to speak truth to power. As DNI, Dan Coats stayed true to that mission.”

CNN contributor Garrett Graff mocked Ratcliffe while lauding his CNN colleague: “Before becoming DNI, Jim Clapper had worked in U.S. intelligence for nearly fifty years and personally headed two of the nation’s 17 intel agencies. By comparison, John Ratcliffe was the mayor of Heath, Texas, pop., 8000.”

The increasingly unstable Joe Scarborough, host of MSNBC’s “Morning Joe,” offered some public relations advice to those seeking to tank Ratcliffe’s nomination.

“Just start calling Ratcliffe a fascist,” Scarborough suggested on Monday morning’s show. “And call him a fascist throughout this entire process. Call him a fascist for the rest of his career until this fascist apologizes to capitalists who are Democrats who he has mislabeled.”

Washington Post columnist Paul Waldman insisted that the “ultra-conservative” Ratcliffe would make Russian interference in the next election “more likely.” Waldman’s perpetually hysterical colleague, NeverTrumper Max Boot, claimed that “Ratcliffe has no qualifications in the intelligence field, but he does have a history of slavish loyalty to Trump—as he demonstrated by berating and maligning special counsel Robert S. Mueller III during the House Judiciary Committee hearing last week.”

Ratcliffe, 53, is qualified to serve as DNI, a position created in 2004. (Coats, a former U.S. senator from Indiana, served for one term on the Senate Intelligence Committee.) The third-term congressman is a former U.S. attorney, federal terrorism prosecutor. and Texas mayor.

But the freakout about Ratcliffe has nothing to do with his qualifications or his appropriate excoriation of Robert Mueller last week. The Left and NeverTrump Republicans who’ve been fully invested in the now-discredited Russian collusion scam also have helped cover up the real scandal, which is how the most powerful law enforcement and intelligence agencies in the world were weaponized by the Obama administration against the Trump campaign and the incoming Trump administration. They are terrified that Ratcliffe, like Barr, will expose the abuse of power, widespread corruption and media complicity behind the hoax, just as the 2020 election gets underway.

Unlike the current deification of Coats for allegedly “speaking truth to power,” the real truth-seekers are people like Representative Devin Nunes (R-Calif.), Ratcliffe, Barr, and Trump who know that Americans are entitled to know exactly what went down in 2016 and 2017. Senate Republicans would be well-advised to make sure Ratcliffe’s nomination proceeds quickly, despite the egregious attacks.

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: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

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Deep State • Mueller-Russia Witch Hunt • Post • Russia

Did John Brennan Lie to Congress About 2016 Gang of Eight Briefings?

During an interview with Fox News’ Maria Bartiromo Sunday morning, Rep. Devin Nunes (R-Calif.) suggested that former CIA director John Brennan lied under oath to Congress in May 2017.

In written testimony to the House Intelligence Committee, Brennan claimed that he had briefed each member of the so-called Gang of Eight about “Russian attempts to interfere in the election” between August 11, 2016 and September 6, 2016.

At the time, the Gang of Eight—congressional leaders who are briefed on classified intelligence matters by the executive branch—was comprised of Senators Harry Reid (D-Nev.), Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.), Richard Burr (R-N.C.), and Representatives Paul Ryan (R-Wis.), Devin Nunes (R-Calif.), and Adam Schiff (D-Calif.).

“Again, in consultation with the White House, I personally briefed the full details of our understanding of Russian attempts to interfere in the election to congressional leadership,” Brennan wrote. “I provided the same briefing to each Gang of Eight member. Given the highly sensitive nature of what was in what was an active counterintelligence case, involving an ongoing Russian effort, to interfere in our presidential election, the full details of what we knew at the time were shared only with those members of congress; each of whom was accompanied by one senior staff member.”

After his meeting with Brennan, Reid fired off a letter to FBI Director James Comey demanding an investigation into “the questions raised” in the Clinton/DNC/Steele dossier.

But Nunes told Bartiromo on “Sunday Morning Futures” that he and former Speaker Paul Ryan were never told about the Steele Dossier, which contained allegations about Russian interference and contacts with the Trump campaign.

“The CIA has mostly come clean about its activities during the 2016 election,” Nunes said. “The only one who has questions to answer is John Brennan,” he added. “We now know that John Brennan briefed Harry Reid on the dossier in August of 2016,” Nunes said. “At the same time, he never briefed me or Paul Ryan, who was the Speaker of the House at the time.”

Yet Brennan claimed that he gave each member of the Gang of Eight the same “full” briefing.

As legal eagle “Undercover Huber” noted on Twitter, this discrepancy could become a problem for Brennan.

“Big problem for Brennan: if true, he lied under oath to Congress—in written testimony, not just a slip of the tongue,” Huber tweeted.

This, of course, wouldn’t be the first time the former director had been accused of lacking veracity in testimony before Congress.

In a post at NRO last year, American Greatness senior contributor and columnist Victor Davis Hanson detailed a number of occasions where Brennan almost certainly lied under oath:

In 2011, Brennan, then the country’s chief counterterrorism adviser, had sworn to Congress that scores of drones strikes abroad had not killed a single noncombatant — at a time when both the president and the CIA were both receiving numerous reports of civilian collateral deaths.

In 2014, John Brennan, now as CIA director, lied emphatically that the CIA had not illegally accessed the computers of U.S. Senate staffers who were then exploring a CIA role in torturing detainees. Or as he told Andrea Mitchell: “As far as the allegations of the CIA hacking into Senate computers, nothing could be further from the truth. . . . We wouldn’t do that. I mean, that’s just beyond the, you know, the scope of reason in terms of what we do.” Brennan’s chronic deceptions drew the ire of a number of liberal senators, some of whom echoed the Washington Post’s call for his immediate resignation. After months of prevarications, but only upon release of the CIA inspector general’s report, Brennan apologized to the senators he had deceived.

Brennan, in May 2017, as an ex-CIA director, again almost certainly did not tell the truth to Congress when he testified in answer to Representative Trey Gowdy’s questions that he neither knew who had commissioned the Steele dossier nor had the CIA relied on its contents for any action. Yet both the retired National Security Agency director, Michael Rogers, and the former director of National Intelligence, James Clapper, have conceded that the Steele dossier — along with the knowledge that it was a Clinton-campaign-funded product — most certainly did help shape the Obama’s intelligence communality interagency assessments and actions, often under the urging of Brennan himself.

There are also numerous reports that, despite his denials about knowledge of the dossier, Brennan served as a stealthy conduit to ensure that it was disseminated widely, at least in the sense of meeting in August 2016 with Senator Harry Reid to brief the senator about its unverified contents in hopes that he would pressure the FBI to further its investigations, which Reid did in a call two days later to James Comey.

There are supposed to be penalties for lying to Congress.

Section 1621 of the U.S. Code stipulates that anyone who “willfully and contrary to such oath states or subscribes any material matter which he does not believe to be true” is guilty of perjury and shall be fined and/or imprisoned up to five years.

Section 1001 covers false statements made while not under oath. The section stipulates that “whoever, in any matter within the jurisdiction of the executive, legislative, or judicial branch of the government of the United States, knowingly and willfully” provides false information or conceals information may also be fined or imprisoned up to five years.

(Photo by Drew Angerer/Getty Images)

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

Robert Mueller Can’t Recall

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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

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

Mueller Trips Over His Own Feet

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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

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America • Deep State • Donald Trump • Intelligence Community • Post • Russia • The Leviathian State • Trump White House

Don’t Let Mueller Fool You

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Former Special Counsel Robert Mueller on Wednesday gave a performance in front of the House Judiciary and Intelligence committees that Fox News anchor Chris Wallace described as a “disaster for Democrats.” 

Mueller, who was appointed by the Justice Department in 2017 to investigate whether Donald Trump’s presidential campaign “colluded” with Russia to rig the 2016 election, appeared nonplussed by his surroundings. His responses to members’ questions posed to him were laconic, to say the least. After a little more than two years of a seemingly unforgiving and endless investigation, Mueller’s appearance was a total flop.

The Democrats have responded to Mueller’s lackluster showing either by quietly admitting it was an unmitigated disaster for their party heading into what will be another contentious presidential election year, or by insisting, as Representative Adam Schiff (D-Calif.) continues to do without evidence, that it proved everything the Left has been saying about Trump’s perfidy. 

Republicans mainly have agreed that Mueller was an embarrassment; a doddering old man who was well beyond his prime. Rush Limbaugh has maintained for months that Mueller was merely a figurehead for the investigation into Trump; that he was uninvolved with the day-to-day operations of the insidious, politically-charged investigation. 

Instead, Mueller’s presence as the namesake of the investigation into President Trump and his 2016 campaign allowed for true partisans to run amok—and to do so while still hiding in the murky shadows of the swamp. 

Don’t be fooled. 

Robert Mueller Is Not a Sad Sack

Mueller knew exactly what he was doing. Yes, he appeared much as Muhammad Ali did against Trevor Berbick in 1981: a sad remnant of a once-dominant fighter who was ultimately crushed by his own frailties. Yet, unlike Ali in that fight against Berbick, Mueller has no known or discernible physical or mental ailment that would reduce his talents. 

What Americans saw Wednesday was an act by Mueller to deflect attention away from the fact that his investigation was never going to “prove” any “collusion.” The entire thing was a grotesque act of political theater designed to give the anti-Trump forces of the establishment the boost they needed going into 2020. 

Mueller also wanted to protect critical intelligence sources from deeper public scrutiny, meaning that those responsible for initiating the absurd investigation into Trump will not be punished for their wrongdoing and, further, that these same people will be free to attempt similar shenanigans in the future. That’s right. The deep state will live to fight another day. Now that their attempt to defeat Trump through investigations and false accusations has faltered, Mueller would rather be viewed as a hapless hack than as the corrupt top cop he is. 

At the end of June, the House Democrats issued a subpoena demanding that Mueller appear before the House to answer questions related to the Russia investigation. Shortly before Mueller’s appearance, Deputy Attorney General Bradley Weinsheimer sent a letter to Mueller reminding him that his testimony, “must stay within the boundaries of your public report because matters within the scope of your investigation were covered by executive privilege.” Mueller did exactly as he was instructed by the Department of Justice. 

This was not the act of an ignoramus, rather it was the mark of a truly deceptive personality.

Mueller has been a career federal prosecutor. He has been involved in some of the biggest, high-stakes investigations both as a prosecutor and, later, as the second-longest-serving FBI director in history. Mueller has survived endless controversies, whether it be engaging in a massive cover-up after the FBI engaged in heinous informant abuse, or botching the 2001 anthrax terror attack investigation. 

After each controversy, Mueller maintained his good standing in “polite” society. 

The Greatest Ego Trip Ever

Mueller, I believe, accepted the role as special counsel investigating claims of a conspiracy between the Trump campaign and Russian intelligence because his ego would not allow him to pass up the chance. Not only did Mueller personally and politically dislike Trump (being a “Republican,” as we know, does not preclude NeverTrumpism), but as a career federal prosecutor, Mueller could not help but to envision himself the man to take down this much-maligned president. 

Pride goes before a fall, though, and Mueller has suffered through the greatest ego deflation of any public figure in recent memory. Touted as the purest of the pure; proclaimed to be the most respected man in Washington; portrayed as being too smart and tough for Trump to handle, Mueller has been stymied at every turn—and had minimal effect on Trump. 

The world did not witness the public nervous breakdown of a once-powerful member of the elite in that hearing. Instead, we saw the shiftiest move an inside operator could make in these tough circumstances. Mueller played dumb; he allowed himself to be the center of a partisan feeding frenzy, while ominously insisting that the president was neither guilty nor innocent—a sort of legal purgatory, awaiting final judgement. 

And who will be the arbiter of that final judgement? 

Mueller slyly showed us his devious hand: the president would be subject to an investigation by the U.S. attorney’s office for the Southern District of New York. He would not be investigated for “conspiracy” to rig the 2016 election. Instead, Trump would be subject to an investigation into purported corrupt practices that occurred during his tenure as head of the Trump Organization. This investigation would begin the moment Trump leaves office, provided he loses in 2020, and it would be Mueller’s last laugh. 

Whether or not this come-from-behind-winds investigation can be more successful than the current spate of inquiries into President Trump is another matter, and not an especially important one for Mueller’s purposes. What Mueller appearance showed was the long-game that our wretched elite are playing. The Right can joke among themselves that Mueller broke down today and laugh at his embarrassing display. Yet, what most in the Right-wing media don’t get is that Mueller and his ilk are not playing for laughs and they don’t worry about the embarrassment. They are playing for keeps. 

Straining Credulity

Ask yourself: do you really believe a former FBI director would be unaware of the fact that virtually all of the people working for his investigation team were not only rank partisans who hated Donald Trump, but who also were active supporters of Hillary Clinton? Is it probable that Mueller is fine with his eponymous investigation turning up a royal goose egg for all to see?  

Come on. 

Mueller was shining everyone on today and that’s why all of us should be upset and why Trump and his supporters should continue to be on guard. These corrupt elites are only just getting started—especially the more obvious it becomes that they will not defeat Trump in a fair election.

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:  Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

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Administrative State • Big Media • Deep State • Donald Trump • Political Parties • Post • The Media

The ‘Marlene Effect’: Why Our Reasonable Neighbors Are Blind to the Deep State

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In an essay that I published recently at The American Mind, I argue that we need a conservative revolution to reclaim our constitutional republic. Exposing the deep state is a necessary condition for this revolution. By deep state, I mean a species of corruption exercised by a largely hidden elite almost completely insulated from the oversight of the sovereign people. This elite act in direct violation of the principles of limited and balanced government as well as democratic participation.

While the evidence for this corruption is overwhelming, the soft power of both the deep state and the institutions supporting it is so great that public opinion remains largely immune to evidence, even as those Americans who are “woke” to it, strive to resist. It is here where the most insidious consequences of the deep state begin to come into view.

How do people with reasonable and moderate political views and who possess the typical American generosity of soul refuse to believe something so obvious to so many others? I’ll call this the Marlene effect, after one concrete example of my acquaintance. Marlene has a general faith in the American government and in the public discourse about politics and issues found in legacy media outlets. 

So far as she is concerned, the news she gets every day is fair if not entirely unbiased. Her exposure to Donald Trump through the media, long before the election, sparked in her an aesthetic disgust with him.  He is not (or is not portrayed) as the sort of man she could admire. Because she shared this revulsion with those in her social circle, her views became hardened and, to her, altogether obvious. Every story amplifies her feelings. 

When Donald Trump was elected, this patriot of some 80 years could only be baffled by the results. By logical necessity, she had to assume that her proper disgust at the misogynist president ought to be extended to a great many citizens who have now become alien to her—the “other” who she thinks threatens the values that she associates with the America of her experience and the America of her dreams. 

Marlene has become, unexpectedly and suddenly, aware of a hidden America, a dangerous America, and now she is able to see in all manner of symbols (words, cars, hats, and so many more that suddenly fit her new social and moral map of America) the deplorables who are all around her: driving down the road, standing next to her in the grocery store, or fixing her plumbing. 

Fortunately, the most powerful institutions in America offered Marlene hope. Her most trusted news sources promised Marlene that this stain on America’s reputation, this global embarrassment of a president, would be brought down. The most respected people in her world—the FBI, Justice Department, and perhaps seasoned, wise public servants at other federal agencies—were taking their constitutional and moral duties seriously to remove the president for cause. Marlene sought information daily on the gossip and developments of the Mueller investigation and other efforts, but she did so through the news sources that she trusted. Insofar as she heard about any alternatives to these sources or was subjected to alternative interpretations, she was regularly reassured that they were conspiracy theorists and cranks who are not to be trusted—they were part of the problem, the philistines to be vanquished. 

When disconcerting evidence emerged and the facts lined up against the narrative that she had internalized, her trusted sources supplied her with odd and strained explanations and asserted a bit more loudly that whatever you think you see is not actually there. Only the narrative is true—trust the narrative, not the facts. The guardians of public opinion promise to make the crooked line of evidence straight for you. Marlene is reminded of the self-evident truth beneath the evidence: Trump is bad, the Democrats in Congress and their allies in the trusted government agencies are trying to protect American principles, and the media is there to supply you with a comforting and useful narrative. 

The deepest problem is that Marlene is not capable of challenging this narrative. To do so would be to risk both social alienation and her own sense of place in the world. 

The Marlene effect is particularly strong among educated (especially professional) people over age 50 who have long thought of themselves as moderate, practical, and deeply informed. They care about cultural, social, and aesthetic trends and plug into the most socially acceptable forms of information that keep them connected to the cosmopolitan trends appropriate to their actual or aspirational station. The more geographically distant from the center of cultural and social power, the more powerful the Marlene effect on those needing reliable sources to provide them with the right opinions, tastes, and styles.

The distance between Marlene and the evidence, coupled with the need to have the correct opinion on matters she is incapable of assessing directly, puts her completely at the mercy of the sources of authoritative information and assessment that she has chosen. More than perhaps any other segment of the population, those afflicted by the Marlene effect are most controlled by a public opinion generated by elite institutions rather than by their own experiences (indeed, as we noted before, their experiences are shaped by the opinions with which they are supplied). Like all provincials who aspire to be known for their cosmopolitanism, Marlene cannot question the authority of her sources without exposing her complete dependence on the work of others for her most cherished opinions and values. 

The Marlene effect makes people immune to evidence and dependent on a constructed narrative. The Marlene effect reveals that the most important battle is about who gets to define reality for the citizens of a self-ruling nation.

Photo credit: iStock/Getty Images

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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

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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.

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

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

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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

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Center for American Greatness • Deep State • Donald Trump • Foreign Policy • North Korea • Post • The Media

Donald Trump the Statesman

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When Donald Trump took office, his predecessor warned him that North Korea was going to be his biggest international headache. Within months of receiving that warning from Barack Obama, the Trump team was faced with escalating nuclear threats from Pyongyang. The world braced as a nuclear standoff appeared to unfold and as President Trump moved U.S. forces into the region, issuing threatening tweets in response to escalating North Korean provocations. 

Meanwhile, the hateful Left and its allies embedded within the so-called deep state, decried the president’s supposed “warmongering” against North Korea’s Kim Jong-un. Once Trump stunned the world and met with Kim in Singapore last summer—without preconditions—those same Leftists and deep staters insisted Trump was appeasing an intractable dictator intent on acquiring nuclear weapons to use against the United States and its allies. 

In reality, Trump was pursuing an America First strategy that used all the tools of statecraft available to his—tools most of these “experts” had forgotten how to use. 

Those Who Want Respect Give Respect
For too long, American policymakers had an all-or-nothing view of foreign policy. Either the United States got everything it wanted through force or it got nothing. Threats, such as those from North Korea, festered. 

This was odd, considering that the United States, as the reputed global hegemon, had many other tools beyond the military that it could use to mitigate and deter threats. Trump, a man who until a few years ago was a real-estate-tycoon-turned-reality-television personality, somehow grasped this basic fact better than the supposed wise men and women who have spent their lives working in foreign policy. 

Trump did use military brinkmanship, and willingly, but he also was willing to consider other methods—notably sanctions and public diplomacy through his unpopular but effective tweets—to force Pyongyang to calm down. Once calm, Trump then offered Kim Jong-un the olive branch. Ever since the Singapore summit last summer, the situation between the West and North Korea has been improving.

Ignorami of the Permanent Bipartisan Fusion Party
Unlike the foreign policy establishment, Trump is not beholden to the predominant theories and assumptions that most “experts” hold close. This might frustrate the elites, but it does allow Trump greater flexibility to achieve the ultimate objective: the mitigation of the North Korean nuclear weapons threat and, therefore, the reduction of the risk of war.

Since the North Korean nuclear threat became prevalent during the 1990s, the permanent bipartisan fusion party that runs Washington has been unable to do much in the way of ending that threat—while watching as Pyongyang worked itself closer to acquiring nuclear weapons. Trump may not have permanently ended the North Korean threat, but he did stop all North Korean missile tests for more than 400 days. Even after the setback that happened during the second summit between Trump and Kim in Vietnam, there was only one North Korean missile test and it was conducted by a shorter-range missile than the ones that Pyongyang was launching before Trump met with Kim in Singapore last summer.

The people in Washington who run our foreign policy establishment fancy themselves statesmen (and women). They are not. These individuals are beholden to stodgy ideologies and methodologies formed in the previous century. While not everything they believe is wrong simply because they believe it, much of it is wrong nonetheless. North Korea is a terrible place run by an evil regime, true. It is undeserving, certainly, of the attention of the West. But simply ignoring the problem is not really a workable solution. By isolating North Korea, America has turned a festering threat into an implacable foe. 

These Are Not Real Foreign Policies
Virtue-signaling and thumping our chests at Pyongyang has done little to dissuade the Kim regime from pursuing its malicious foreign policy objectives. 

At the same time, the United States (and our regional allies, including South Korea and Japan) cannot afford a major war with North Korea right now. Should a conflict with North Korea erupt, it will also galvanize both Pyongyang’s main benefactor of China as well as Russia against the United States. 

It remains to be seen if the Trump Administration’s North Korea policy will work in the long-run. For the moment, however, North Korea is nowhere near the threat to the United States and our allies that it was just two years ago. This is explicitly because President Trump did not listen to the “experts” in foreign policy. Instead, he followed his instincts. Whatever happens next, the Americans will be dealing with North Korea from a much better position than the one in which the Obama Administration left us.

Far from being the Neville Chamberlain in Munich moment the NeverTrump buffoons had hoped for, the Trump-Kim relationship appears to have blossomed along similar lines to that of the Reagan-Gorbachev relationship. Thus, Trump is turning out to be a solid statesman. We are lucky to have him as president as opposed to those proud members of the permanent bipartisan fusion party who are running against him in 2020. 

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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Administrative State • Deep State • Donald Trump • Foreign Policy • Middle East • Post

Lessons from Bill: Call the S.O.B.

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In January 2016, Bill Clinton’s presidential library made public transcripts of telephone calls between the president and British Prime Minister Tony Blair. The calls, placed between May 1997 and December 2000, represent, as the New York Times noted, “a time capsule . . . captur[ing] the priorities and perceptions of the moment that, judged with the harsh certainty of hindsight, look prescient or wildly off base.”

One remark of the former president is striking, not so much for its prescience or its predictive error but rather for what it tells us about the American foreign policy status quo and the potentially tragic enslavement of our presidents to media narrative. Speaking with Blair about Saddam Hussein, Clinton said, “If I weren’t constrained by the press, I would pick up the phone and call the son of a bitch. But that is such a heavy-laden decision in America. I can’t do that and I don’t think you can.”

Clinton’s statement is a loaded one. It tells us much about the traditional power of “media optics” in our national politics, much about the constraints such optics have placed upon our presidents—and much, also, about how President Donald Trump stands apart.

Would the world be a different place today if President Clinton had actually picked up the phone and called the S.O.B. in Baghdad? Clinton hoped to assure Saddam of his intentions: that he wanted the elimination of any chemical or biological weapons programs, not the destruction of the Iraqi regime itself. But, to keep the media at bay, Clinton relied upon third parties to make his point to Saddam. We are left only to wonder if Clinton’s message was ever really conveyed. And even if it was, did the Iraqi leader believe it given the impersonal and roundabout manner of its delivery?

As Winston Churchill once remarked, “meeting jaw to jaw is better than war.” This was not a call for some type of spineless appeasement—surrendering to the insatiable demands of a tyrant and strengthening that tyrant, in turn, to do his worst. Churchill’s call was for dialogue and interpersonal summit politics: discussion between leaders at the apex of government, without interference, and certainly without bowing before the dictates of the media.

Summitry Out of Favor
At root, President Clinton’s inability or unwillingness to call Saddam was based in politically-calculated risk-aversion. To protect his domestic image from media criticism—perhaps from those who would claim that he had “legitimized” Saddam Hussein, or that he was being “weak” just by talking to him—the president actually allowed a far greater risk to grow. As we now know, by 2003 a central part of the problem with Iraq was precisely a lack of communication. Bad information led to miscalculation on both sides. If Clinton, and George W. Bush after him, had actually been speaking to the S.O.B., might there have been verifiable assurances given about weapons programs? Could an understanding have been reached to avert war and all of its toll? We cannot know. But, as history has shown, it would have been worth a try. Given the rising tensions today with Iran, the lesson of this history is all the more important and worth remembering.

Summit politics—leader to leader, jaw to jaw—has fallen out of favor, in part, due to the rise of the administrative, bureaucratic state. Bill Clinton might have had domestic, political reasons to shy away from contacting bad actors in the world; but there was also a kind of “system-logic” to his choice. As the media repeatedly told us around the time of President Trump’s first meeting with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, there are typically many exchanges between lower officials before any summit discussion is held. Trump’s meeting with that S.O.B. thus violated a modern “norm” of foreign policy: that everything must be worked out in advance by the technocrats, and that the actual leaders just show up to sign papers.

Such thinking is part and parcel of the impersonal, delegated politics that has slowly but surely stripped power from our elected officials—and thus from democracy, and thus from the people. Power has, instead, devolved to unelected, unaccountable personnel throughout the government, a permanent clique of insiders.

Understanding this development is key to recognizing why Clinton’s intuition about media fallout was right. It’s not that the media would have been so concerned with Clinton “legitimizing” a bad leader. What, after all, does this even mean? Holding power in a sovereign nation, commanding a military, and threatening not only a region but, potentially, the world itself qualifies one as a player on the global stage. Merely wishing this were not so is pointless.

And it’s not that the media might, for an opportunistic moment, parrot or amplify the most hawkish voices on the Right, deriding a president as “weak” for calling a foreign adversary. No. The real reason for Clinton’s media-fear, the real reason he didn’t just call the S.O.B., is this: Clinton knew, with all his media-savvy, that the D.C. press are friends with the D.C. permanent government class. These individuals are in the same club in the same city. They were in Washington when Clinton still lived in Little Rock. They would remain there when he moved to Chappaqua. For Clinton to go outside the lines, to usurp the planners and the permanent civil servants—to upset the status quo and those who imagine themselves entitled to rule within it—risked the wrath of institutional Washington.

Lessons of the Iran Deal
The process by which President Obama negotiated with Iran underscores the point. Countless rounds of meetings and sessions between American diplomatic personnel and Tehran resulted in a final agreement that did nothing but pay Iran to maintain the status quo of not having nuclear weapons for a temporary period of time. The agreement was, essentially, one-way appeasement, much like previous arrangements with North Korea. But it was also Establishment-approved, an example of the status quo maintaining itself at extraordinary cost, even if only for a little while longer.

Where, after all, was the summit between Barack Obama and the Supreme Leader of Iran, the Ayatollah? At what point did Obama tell the Ayatollah, as only the President of the United States could do, to stand down his nuclear weapons program and cease aggression against Israel? This would have meant going jaw to jaw. This would have conveyed the fact that the United States was serious, that its president was serious, but also—and this is crucial—that its president was personally involved. Such involvement implies the possibility of real conversation, real dialogue, and creative solutions outside of bureaucratic system-think. It also means that the president’s personal prestige is on the line, which sends an unambiguous signal that America is as determined as the stakes are high.

Enter President Donald Trump. He has incurred the wrath of the media so feared by Clinton, and at a magnitude Clinton likely could never have imagined. In his willingness to do so, in the joyful way in which he revels in press hatred, Trump is unique among recent presidents. Mainstream coverage of Trump’s first summit with Kim stretched between incredulity and mockery. But this meeting represented a new tack; it acknowledged decades of failure by the permanent government class and its status quo. By first projecting strength, the president brought Kim to the table. They sat down. They went jaw to jaw. Whatever happens next, it cannot be for lack of dialogue, or failure of communication. Trump made it clear that the future of North Korea is in Kim’s hands and that the consequences for that future are his to bear.

Some of Trump’s meetings with Vladimir Putin have provided a similar kind of Establishment/media consternation. The comments of Strobe Talbott, deputy secretary of state under Clinton and subsequently a Washington think-tanker, are representative of the “elite” consensus. As Talbott told the Washington Post, the president’s “outrageous” secrecy, his daring to meet one-on-one with Putin, “handicaps the U.S. government—the experts and advisers and Cabinet officers who are there to serve [the president]—and it certainly gives Putin much more scope to manipulate Trump.”

Note that Talbott’s concern is that the U.S. government not be handicapped, by which he means fellow institutionalists within it. The government is many things, but the interests of Strobe Talbott’s careerist friends—those experts and advisers, and perhaps even a few Cabinet officers—are not synonymous with it. What actually matters is whether American foreign policy benefits, whether the people of America and their interests benefit, whether democratically-elected leadership is working. It is fairly rich, too, to hear a former American diplomat fret over the U.S. president being “manipulated.” The backdrop of this particular insult—that Trump must not be left unsupervised in a room with the Russian president—is the Russia-collusion hoax, itself a product of the same clique of D.C. insiders. The establishment is nothing if not thorough.

Forget “Media Optics,” Ditch the Deep State Handbook
Meeting jaw to jaw is no guarantee of results. To date, the standoff with North Korea is unresolved. Russia is an adversary and is acting like one, regardless of what happened in the meetings between Trump and Putin. And now, as the last few days have shown, Iran is moving center stage. By withdrawing from Obama’s Iran deal, Trump took the first step against the status quo and its illusion of security. The Iranian state is suffocating under the pressure of American sanctions; its recent, violent actions against cargo ships and an American drone demonstrate its growing desperation.

The president, to his credit, and by contrast, has coupled displays of strength with equal displays of restraint. The American retaliatory attack/non-attack, called off by Trump at the last moment, perfectly illustrates his posture: poised to take military action, but hoping to negotiate. The next, logical step is possibly a summit meeting with the Ayatollah. Trump has indicated his openness to future talks. Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe—with whom Trump has cultivated close, personal ties—appears willing to help facilitate the dialogue. These efforts should be encouraged. Summit politics with Iran may not work, but there is no use in wondering “what if” at the outbreak of a new war in the Middle East.

The point is this: the American president needs free rein to meet with his counterparts, to discuss the issues, to make American interests clear and unambiguous. If it turns out that diplomacy cannot solve the problem, then we will know we have tried. Ultimately this is a call for true transparency, the kind possible only between heads of government. This is the last but also, perhaps, the best failsafe in what can otherwise become the inevitable logic of war.

Foreign policy should not be conducted by the rules of media optics or according to the deep state handbook. Our president should not be left with regrets, nor should the nation. The president should lead. For everyone’s sake, he should pick up the phone. He should call the S.O.B.

Photo Credit: Peter Turnley/Corbis/VCG via Getty Images

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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?

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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.

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

What Hillary and Obama Actually Did

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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.

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

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

Russian Hack or CrowdStrike Ruse?

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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

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America • Deep State • Donald Trump • Foreign Policy • Middle East • Post

Be Skeptical About War with Iran

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Americans are weary of Middle Eastern wars and skeptical of claims from our intelligence agencies supporting such conflict. While the attack on Iraq in 2003 depended on intelligence suggesting an ongoing nuclear weapons program and attacks on Syria occurred after Bashar al-Assad’s supposed use of illegal chemical weapons against civilians, both of these assumptions either were refuted or at least face serious, evidence-based criticism.

In comparison, the most recent charge against Iran—a mine attack on a Japanese cargo vessel that caused no casualties—is pretty weak sauce. As far as its magnitude, this is hardly Pearl Harbor. At the same time, the grainy video of an Iranian patrol boat parked alongside the vessel does not prove to the satisfaction of reasonable American skeptics that Iran was responsible for the explosion.

War Drums In the Distance
The recent incident occurred in a climate of sharpening anti-Iranian rhetoric from the United States, in particular National Security Advisor John Bolton, as well as our country’s regional allies Saudi Arabia and Israel. The three nations have aligned against Iran in recent years. This focus on Shiite Iran has occurred, even as the most dramatic and deadly terror attacks in Europe, the United States, and the Middle East have chiefly come from Sunni extremist groups like al-Qaeda and ISIS.

While much of the anti-Iran rhetoric employs the language of counter-terrorism, balance of power politics are the real source of hostility. Iran is a regional competitor to Saudi Arabia, and the two countries are engaged in a proxy war for influence in conflicts occurring in Syria, Yemen, and Iraq. Israel has reached a modus vivendi with Saudi Arabia, and appears little concerned with extremist groups unaffiliated with Iran. The whole situation is byzantine in its complexity, and the moral rights and wrongs of the Sunni-Shia conflicts are ambiguous at best.

Skepticism Is In Order
There is good reason to be skeptical of the claims of Iranian involvement in this attack. For starters, an attack like this would not seem to benefit Iran, and Iran is justifiably wary of an American attack. While it has the home turf advantage, Iran faces the prospect of crippling air strikes and other costs if the United States were to wage war.

As far as the alleged maritime attack, the ship in question was operated by a Japanese company with a Japanese crew. The Japanese prime minister was visiting Tehran at the time of the attack. Trump, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, and American intelligence agencies have circulated a video purporting to be a “slam dunk” showing an Iranian military vessel removing a mine from the side of the damaged cargo ship. But Iran claims to have sent ships to aid the crew, some of whom ended up in Iranian custody.

More important, the Japanese crew said they saw an airborne attack of some kind, which would suggest that the story about “limpet mines” is, at least, disputable. According to reports, “Company president Yutaka Katada said Friday he believes the flying objects seen by the sailors could have been bullets. He denied any possibility of mines or torpedoes because the damage was above the ship’s waterline. He called reports of a mine attack ‘false.’”

This attack follows close on the heels of earlier alleged attacks involving mines on ships in the Persian Gulf and a drone attack upon a Saudi Arabian oil pipeline.

The recent history of highly politicized intelligence in the Skirpal poisoning incident, Syrian chemical attacks, Russian collusion, and most notoriously Iraqi weapons of mass destruction have combined to limit the willingness of Americans and their politicians to believe their intelligence agencies uncritically, especially when their advice would lead to war.

Apart from the uncertainty of the intelligence, war could only be justified in an extreme case where the stakes are high and there is a clear path to victory. In Iraq, while the intelligence was ultimately incorrect, the stakes were reasonably high. An advancing nuclear program hosted by an openly hostile state is a serious matter that may sometimes justify a preemptive strike. Even if one accepted the official account of the recent Iranian tanker attacks, a few mines is hardly of the same magnitude.

One should also consider the background of the Iraq intelligence, where various constituencies and ideologues wanted the evidence to reach a particular conclusion. In these cases, particularly high degrees of skepticism are called for. After all, there is no reason to think it beyond the ability or ethics of the Mossad, the CIA, or the Saudi Arabian intelligence agencies to push things along to a desired conclusion. These things have been done or planned before. While we like to think our nation would not do such things, as Trump himself observed during the 2016 campaign, “You think our country’s so innocent?”

Drain Foreign Policy Swamp, Too
As in his domestic policy, Trump faces the risk of individuals and agencies with their own agendas either resisting his efforts or dragging him where they already wanted to go. While America’s Mideast policy has been ineffective and costly, it is constrained by a great deal of inertia and influenced by various stakeholders, particularly our continued alliances with Israel and the various Sunni regimes. Open conflict with Iran obtains support from both of these sources, but while Iran is certainly no friend to the United States, the broader strategic picture does not point to an obvious benefit to American interests from such a conflict.

Whether the attacks came from Iran, Saudi Arabia, or an even worse regime in the region, they all must ultimately sell their oil to benefit from it. Whether Sunni or Shia, both sides appear to be in the grips of centuries-old sectarian conflict in which America has no stake and can do little to resolve.

Iraq was a mistake. The mistake was rooted in excessive trust of our intelligence agencies, excessive optimism about our ability to shape results, and listening to the advice of interested parties, particularly Israel, which accrued the benefits but bore little of the burden of U.S. efforts. The current push for war with Iran has many of the same features. We should ensure that we are not dragged into another conflict by our allies that does little to benefit America or its interests.

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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?

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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

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

No Outrage Over Democrat Ties to Foreign Election Interference

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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

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

Stealing the 2020 Election: How it Could Happen

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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.

Photo Credit: Jessica Rinaldi/The Boston Globe via Getty Images

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Administrative State • Center for American Greatness • Deep State • Democrats • Identity Politics • Post • The Left • The Leviathian State

A Conservative Resistance?

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Leftists in America treat conservative voters, elected officials, and policies as illegitimate. Should conservative Americans return the favor? Could they?

Few outside the corporate leftist media took seriously Hillary Clinton’s accusation that Donald Trump might refuse to accept defeat in the 2016 election. Though Americans’ sociopolitical divisions had already become irreconcilable, no one really believed that a major party would rebel against the voters, and hence against our constitutional republic—yet.

And yet the Democratic Party and the ruling class that it represents did just that, and decided never again to concede legitimacy to any serious opponents’ victory.

#TheResistance began as an attempt by Clinton and her staffers to explain why their unexpected electoral defeat had to be illegitimate. It burgeoned quickly into rejection of rule by voters because so many on the Left and in the ruling class rallied to it, having already decided that ordinary Americans have no right to stand in their way.

Clinton’s characterization of Trump voters as “deplorables” and “irredeemables” and Barack Obama’s description of rural Republican voters as “clingers” to Bibles, guns, and racism, has long been ruling-class conventional wisdom. This attitude is what crossed the threshold of revolution.

Because the Resistance succeeded so well in limiting the impact of the 2016 election, it solidified the Left and the ruling class’s sense of common identity and entitlement. Henceforth, the bureaucracies, the educational establishment, the judges, the corporate establishment and the media will continue to impose themselves, regardless of conservative election victories or laws, never mind the Constitution. This attitude is not the result of a policy decision, but the expression of an evolving identity.

The Resistance also portends the wholesale abandonment by the ruling class of limits in cases of electoral victories. Already we have the precedent of the Obama Administration refusing to enforce laws it disliked (defense of marriage, religious freedom restoration, illegal immigration), and ruling “with a pen and a phone” on the principle of “stop me if you can.”

With the advent of the Resistance, the ruling class merged with radical identity groups and has become dependent upon them for electoral success. Because radical blacks, third-wave feminists, LGBTQ identitarians, etc. regard most Americans as enemies, given that “intersectionality”—i.e., concurrence in wreaking vengeance upon the rest of America—is what binds these disparate groups together, a victorious Democratic Party’s extra-legal rule will be far more noxious next time around.

Were the radicalized Democratic Party to win the 2020 elections, the top of its agenda would feature prohibition of abortion restrictions, a crackdown on non-public education, and the pursuit of “environmental criminals”—as well as ever newer and more Byzantine impositions of political correctness.

Would a conservative resistance to such a turn of events even be possible? Conservatives lack the control of society’s commanding heights that made the ruling class’s resistance to 2016 so successful. Constitutionalist judges might well rule that certain government actions were ultra vires. But the ruling class would ignore such judges, as they do now, and the media would pillory them. The media would also cheerlead the prosecution of whomever stood in the way.

The conservative resistance would have to be organized, openly as a revolution, by national-level political leaders, whose credible voices could not be silenced. This resistance would have two assets: state-local government backed by the people, and economic boycotts.

But rallying the deplorables would have to overcome the natural conservative reluctance to acknowledge that the Republic of the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution, the republic of “all men are created equal,” is beyond our capacity now to restore. It must be understood that it needs instead to be reasserted anew.

Unlike the Left’s resistance, however, the conservative one would aim not at forcing anything upon those who deplore us, but at ruling ourselves in living our lives as we think we should.

The state and corporate officials who have pressured conservative America to bend to their ways by withdrawing their business from recalcitrant localities threaten those whom they target with isolation. They discount the fact that isolation is a double-edged sword, which their targets can wield to greater effect than they. Some 180 corporate CEOs declared they will reduce business in states that restrict abortions. But the moment that conservatives come to view companies and institutions like, say, Procter & Gamble, or Disney, or corporate Hollywood, as an enemy of their way of life, said institution is cut in half, at best. Twitter says conservative speech is hate speech. Why should conservatives use Twitter?

Conservative boycotts would intend not to change corporate policies, but to channel conservative patronage away from their enemies—to amputate diseased parts of the body politic so that healthy ones might grow.

Similarly, conservatives should call out and boycott schools and any other institutions that show themselves to be promoting a way of life alien to them. Why should we associate with those who hate us?

Analogously, the past decade has seen 11 states, notably Colorado, California, Oregon, and Washington, legalize the production and marketing of marijuana for recreational use, contrary to federal law. Any number of states and localities, also following their voters, have refused to enforce U.S immigration laws. Explicitly, the governors of California and New York have made their governments part of the Resistance to the Trump Administration. The federal government has not used force against these states or their cannabis entrepreneurs, or against officials who violate federal immigration law. There is no reason why conservative state and local governments could not, should not follow their voters’ preferences with regard to abortion, health care, or anything else in defiance of what the federal government, or judges, or bureaucrats, or anyone, might demand of them.

The ruling class, unwilling to loosen its grip on America, will appeal to “the rule of law,” use its control of the bureaucracy to cut funds, its control of the media to intimidate, and might even send some federal agents to give substance to that intimidation. They might point guns. But knowing what they are up against, they dare not shoot.

America has already come apart. The conservative resistance can conserve only one of those parts.

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