Center for American Greatness • Democrats • Hillary Clinton • Immigration • Obama • Post

Border Crisis Hypocrites on Parade

Conventional wisdom holds that political parties evolve, but do so slowly, over passing generations.

But today’s Democrats have broken land-speed records as they have careened leftward on the question of immigration. Today’s Democratic Party is nearly unrecognizable when compared with where it was a decade ago, or even five years ago. And the transformation has been extreme.

On the floor of the U.S. House of Representatives this week, Democrats lined up to denounce the unsanitary and overcrowded housing conditions of unaccompanied minors at the border, wildly or willfully ignorant of the fact that they have known for nearly two months that the Department of Health and Human Services—the agency given the job of caring for unaccompanied children—is rapidly running out of money.

While claiming there’s “a special place in hell” for Trump’s border policies, Democrats blocked resources to care for these kids no fewer than 17 times.

Even after the Senate negotiated a compromise bill that passed the chamber with 84 of 100 votes, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) publicly opposed it, threatening to drag out negotiations—and resources for unaccompanied kids—even longer. (After openly waged intraparty warfare, House Democrats eventually passed the Senate’s bill late Thursday.)

Even the New York Times has had enough, telling Democrats last month to “give Trump his border money,” because “there is a crisis at the southern border.”

Yet Democrats, both in Congress and on the debate stage, continued to demagogue the state of the border, claiming as recently as last week that there is no crisis. They do so while falsely claiming that families are still being separated (kids are only removed from their parents at this point if the adult is a threat to the child, or if the child is not related to the alleged parent) and wringing their hands about the fate of the unaccompanied children being held at the border—while shamelessly blocking resources to address the issue.

The hypocrisy here is both brazen and breathtaking. Due to a lack of resources and a Congress uninterested in addressing this deficit, or the incentives that draw waves of migrants, detention conditions are indeed terrible—and have been for years, under many presidents, and at some times, even worse than they are now.

Let’s review. Democrats said nothing about the bodies of 61 migrants found near the border in 2016 or the southwest border deaths which peaked in 2012, the unaccompanied migrants abused while in custody between 2009 and 2014, the tear gas used at the border more than 75 times in fiscal year 2012, and the overcrowded, trash-filled cells that housed migrants in 2016. And Fort Sill, which the Democrats howl is “a former internment camp” used to house migrants, was also used by the Obama administration to house overflows of illegal immigrants in 2014. And yes, families were separated under President Obama, too.

Democrats, it seems, think it’s completely fine to ignore such “atrocities” when a Democrat is in the White House, but expect everyone to defer to their moral leadership when it’s a Republican.

The WayBack Machine (Which Is Only Five or Ten Years Ago)
In a moment that crystallizes just how far the Democrats have come on illegal immigration, 10 of the 20 Democratic candidates were asked on Thursday night if crossing the border should be de-criminalized, and all of them raised their hands. There was an equally unanimous response to the question of whether or not illegal immigrants would be covered by the candidates’ taxpayer funded health plans.

Contrast this to just 10 years ago, when President Barack Obama addressed a joint session of Congress to assuage bipartisan concerns that Obamacare—then still a proposal—would use taxpayer funds to cover illegal immigrants.

Or just five years ago, when President Obama declared a “humanitarian crisis” at the border, with far fewer crossers, and no one called it out as “fake.” Moreover, not a single Democrat raised issue with Obama’s language about deportation orders as a means of deterring families from coming:

The journey is unbelievably dangerous for these kids. The children who are fortunate enough to survive it will be taken care of while they go through the legal process, but in most cases that process will lead to them being sent back home. I’ve sent a clear message to parents in these countries not to put their kids through this . . . With our international partners, we’re taking new steps to go after the dangerous smugglers who are putting thousands of children’s lives at risk.

On both debate stages this week, there was no discussion of border security, or enforcement. Just talk of pathways to citizenship, decriminalizing border crossings, and legalizing DACA recipients. And though several candidates raised the gut-wrenching photo of migrants who recently drowned trying to cross the Rio Grande, none of the candidates were questioned on how their policies would actually spur more immigrants to undertake risky border crossings, rather than solving long-term problems.

There was also zero discussion, or even questions, about legal immigration reform—despite the White House putting forward a detailed proposal. The Democratic Party, it seems, has stopped making the distinction between legal and illegal immigration, counting both in the same category.

It’s a distinction that just 10 or 12 years ago, this party was able to make. Consider these statements from Democratic Party leaders.

From Hillary Clinton, in 2014:

We have to send a clear message that just because your child gets across the border, that doesn’t mean the child gets to stay . . . We need to do more to provide border security in southern Mexico. They should be sent back as soon as it can be determined who responsible adult in their families are because there are concerns about whether all of them can be sent back, but I think all of them who can be should be reunited with their families.

From Bernie Sanders in 2007:

I believe we have very serious immigration problems in this country, I think as you’ve heard today, sanctions against employers who hire illegal is virtually non-existent. Our border is very porous . . .

From Nancy Pelosi in 2016:

The action the president [Obama] will take this week are about securing the border, holding undocumented immigrants accountable, and again, by making sure that everyone plays by the rules.

From Chuck Schumer in 2009:

When we use phrases like undocumented workers, we convey a message to the American people that their government is not serious about combating illegal immigration- which the American people overwhelmingly oppose. If you don’t think it’s illegal, you’re not going to say it. I think it is illegal and wrong and we have to change it. Above all else, the American people want their government to be serious about protecting the public, enforcing the rule of law, and creating a rational system of legal immigration that will proactively fit our needs rather than reactively responding to future waves of illegal immigration. People who enter the United States without our permission are illegal aliens and illegal aliens should not be treated the same as people who enter the U.S. legally.

In just a few short years, Democrats have embraced the open borders policies that used to make a large portion of the party uneasy. It appears that on immigration the choice for voters will be between one of sovereign enforcement, or utter lawlessness.

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America • Democrats • Economy • Elections • Hillary Clinton • Post • Republicans • Trade

Richard Trumka and Big Labor Try to Come Home

Richard Trumka needed to come home.

Walking into the union hall at the Pittsburgh Federation of Teachers building along the Monongahela River, the AFL-CIO president shed the twisted expression on his face as he shook hands with his rank-and-file organizers. With the older union hands, there were no handshakes but instead familiar hugs.

Trumka, the son and son-in-law of coal miners, grew up in the Western Pennsylvania region, working the coal mines himself, in the hollers of the mountains before heading off to college.

He rose up the ranks of the United Mine Workers of America union during the bloody strikes in the 1980s and eventually became the head of the 12.5 million-member AFL-CIO, the nation’s largest labor union.

His passionate speech on race and labor in support of Barack Obama in 2008 is legend around these parts.

Trumka seems to recognize the men and women in the room here are the men and women who were ignored in the last presidential election. Hillary Clinton ignored them, not because she didn’t want their vote but because she took it for granted. Clinton’s campaign even persuaded union leadership that microtargeting voters on gender issues was more important than peer-to-peer communication among union families on the issues of jobs and opportunities.

Clearly, it wasn’t. The blue wall of Pennsylvania, Ohio, Michigan, and Wisconsin crumbled in 2016. Exit polls showed Clinton did win union households, but her shortfall among these households, compared with Obama’s numbers, was her downfall in Michigan, at least.

Democrats had lost sight of what mattered to working people, and they had made the union bosses forget as well.

During the 2016 election, labor leaders got caught in the middle of several transitions, explained Paul Sracic, a political science professor at Youngstown State University: “For years they walked lockstep with the Democratic Party. This made sense, because most Republicans were tone-deaf to the concerns of labor, and the Democratic Party still had enough social conservatives in it to allow union members, many of whom were very socially conservative, to not feel out of place.”

As the Democrats rapidly moved to the left on social issues and embraced identity politics, rank-and-file union members began to feel alienated from their own party. Economic interests, including trade, kept many of them in the party, but they were leaving even before Donald Trump.

When Trump went after trade, however, they got the push that they needed to join Trump’s party, explained Sracic. “Leadership, however, was busy in Washington D.C. and had longstanding relationships with Democratic politicians,” he said. “Hanging out with Republicans seemed unnatural, and in fairness, most of the Republicans in Congress, especially the Senate, wouldn’t have much to talk about with someone like Richard Trumka.”

In a way, though, the union leaders got co-opted and just went along with the leftward shift on social issues.

And as the Democratic Party became more coastal, its core voters became increasingly internationalist, including on trade.

Obama papered over these differences, running on anti-trade rhetoric to please people like Trumka and then governing as a free trader.

“The rank-and-file union members lost faith in the Democrats, and now leaders like Trumka are in a difficult position,” Sracic said.

Trumka kicked off a three-day tour, beginning in Pittsburgh Monday and followed with stops in Youngstown, Akron, Cleveland and Toledo in Ohio, as well as Detroit, in the following days. Why? To reconnect with “the people.” He wanted to hear what workers think about the new United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement, a trade agreement to replace the hated NAFTA.

“This tour is the people purpose. One it is to inform our members of the state of the negotiations we’re at with the trade agreement. And two, it’s to hear from them—get some instructions back from them,” he said.

Darrin Kelly, president of the Allegheny County Labor Council, said the AFL-CIO affiliate was pleased by Trumka’s visit. “It is important that we are heard. And we want everybody to know that the Rust Belt still has a strong voice in organized labor,” he said.

Dave Green was at Trumka’s roundtable visit in Youngstown. Green is the president of UAW Local 1112 and one of the final seven UAW workers to turn out the lights at the now-shuttered General Motors Lordstown Assembly Plant. He does not think labor failed the workers in his area in the last election. “I think the Democratic Party failed labor,” he said. “They did not talk about jobs, or opportunity, or the dignity of work.”

“And that’s why Trump won in my hometown, because that’s all he wanted to talk about: jobs and opportunity,” said Green, who himself did not vote for Trump.

It’s unclear who will earn labor’s support in 2020, but it’s crystal clear to Trumka what union leadership has to do, and he tells me his plan before he approaches the podium: “Listen.”


Photo credit: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

But the press played the story differently.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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2016 Election • Administrative State • Center for American Greatness • Deep State • Democrats • Donald Trump • Hillary Clinton • Intelligence Community • Law and Order • Mueller-Russia Witch Hunt • Obama • Post • The Constitution

Colluders, Obstructionists, Leakers, and Other Projectionists

Before the defeat of Hillary Clinton, the idea that the Russians or anyone else could warp or tamper with our elections in any serious manner was laughed off by President Obama. “There is no serious person out there who would suggest that you could even rig America’s elections,” Obama said in the weeks leading up to the 2016 election.

Obama was anxious that the sure-to-be-sore-loser Trump would not blame his defeat on voting impropriety in a fashion that might call into question Clinton’s victory. After Clinton’s stunning defeat, Russian “collusion”—thanks initially to efforts by Obama holdover Deputy Attorney General Sally Yates to go after Michael Flynn and the successful attempts of the CIA and FBI to seed the bogus Steele dossier among the government elite—became a club to destroy the incoming Trump Administration.

Colluders, Inc.
How ironic that Russian “collusion” was used as a preemptive charge from those who actually had colluded with Russians for all sorts for financial and careerist advantages.

The entire so-called Uranium One caper had hinged on ex-President Bill Clinton, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, and their Clinton Foundation uniting with Russian or Russian-affiliated oligarchs to ease restrictions on the sale of North American uranium reserves to a Russian company with close ties to Vladimir Putin. Coincidentally what followed were massive donations from concerned Russian parties to the foundation, as well as a $500,000 honorarium to Bill Clinton for a brief Moscow speech. Note that no more money has been forthcoming from Russia to either of the Clintons or their foundation.

Had Donald Trump been caught, as President Obama was in Seoul in March 2012, on a hot mic assuring the Russians that he would be more flexible with Russia after the 2012 election (“On all these issues, but particularly missile defense, this, this can be solvedbut it’s important for him [Putin] to give me space”) he would likely now be facing real impeachment charges.

Imagine the cries of outrage from Representatives Jerrold Nadler (D-N.Y.) and Adam Schiff (D-Calif.) had Trump inadvertently blurted out to the world that he was willing to warp U.S. security interests to fit his own reelection agenda. (Remember: “This is my last election . . . After my election, I have more flexibility.”) Such a stealthy quid pro quo certainly would have been the crown jewel of Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s report.

The locus classicus of Russian collusion, however, is Hillary Clinton’s effort in 2016. The facts are not in dispute. Using the three firewalls of the Democratic National Committee, the Perkins Coie law firm, and Glenn Simpson’s Fusion GPS, the Clinton campaign paid a foreign national, British subject Christopher Steele, to compile a smear dossier against Clinton’s then-opponent, Donald J. Trump.

Steele then bought Russian and Russian-related sources to produce supposed dirt on Trump. None of these Russian-generated smears would ever be verified. In fact, almost immediately most slurs proved to be outright lies and completely made up in their details—if not the stuff of a Russian disinformation campaign.

Nonetheless, Steele seeded his contracted dirt during the 2016 election, and later during the Trump transition and presidency, among the highest Obama Administration officials at the Justice Department, FBI, and CIA. After more than three years of ex-Obama officials’ obfuscation, stonewalling, and chronic lying, we now know Clinton used Russian fake sources both to generate damaging anti-Trump media stories and to prompt government investigations designed to hamstring his governance. Again, if there is such a thing as “Russian collusion,” then Hillary Clinton is its font.

Obstructors of Justice
Mueller spent more than $34 million and wrote over 440 pages to inform the American people that Trump could not realistically be indicted for obstructing justice, mostly because the underlying crime—“collusion”— never existed in the first place. Moreover, Mueller and other officials were never actually hampered in their investigations. No matter: “obstruction” was supposedly the key to destroying the Trump Administration after collusion imploded. To this day it remains the battle cry of the impeach-Trump Left.

But what exactly would real obstruction of justice look like it? It might be a deliberate effort by government officials to mislead and impede the proper conduct of a Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court, in an effort to spy on an American citizen deemed useful in proving “collusion.”

That is, James Comey, Sally Yates and others signed FISA requests when they knew, but did not dare disclose to the court, that their sources of evidence—the Steele dossier and news accounts in circular fashion based on it—were unverified, products of Hillary Clinton’s bought oppositional research, and written by a contractor at the time fired by the FBI for unprofessional conduct.

Had Comey simply told the court that Clinton had paid for his evidence, that the Yahoo News account was not independent but based on the dossier, that he had fired Steele as an FBI collaborator, and that nothing in the dossier had been verified, then the court never would have granted him permission to spy on Trump campaign volunteer Carter Page. In other words, top FBI and Justice Department officials deliberately obstructed and essentially destroyed the normal protocols necessary to protect the sanctity of legal surveillance, during the election, the Trump transition, and the early Trump presidency.

Or maybe obstruction would be defined as the efforts of a recused attorney general like Loretta Lynch, who had stepped aside from the FBI probe of Hillary Clinton’s emails, to have met secretly on an airport tarmac with the spouse of the target of her department’s investigation.

Or would obstruction be classified as Lynch supposedly ordering the FBI not even to use the word “investigation” when it was investigating Clinton? Or would obstruction constitute deliberately destroying more than 30,000 emails under subpoena, in the fashion that Clinton ordered her aides to “bleach bit” her correspondence and destroy mobile communication devices?

Or would obstruction be classified as deleting emails germane to an investigation of the collusion scam in the fashion of Nellie Ohr erasing emails received from her husband’s government email account, or perhaps in the manner of Mueller team staffers who wiped clean the mobile phones of the fired Lisa Page and Peter Strzok?

Or would obstruction characterize the brag of the anonymous New York Times guest editorialist? He preened in a September 5, 2018 column that he was an unnamed high administration official and NeverTrump Republican who, along with like-minded “resistance” leaders, was trying his best to disrupt his own president’s governance. What would anonymous’s obstruction entail—deliberately ignoring legal mandates? Failing to follow new federal guidelines? Trying to subvert nominations? Illegally leaking to the press? Obstructing anything he did not like, whether in legal or illegal fashion?

Logan Acting
The pathetic attempt to invoke the ossified Logan Act—with two indictments and no convictions in the law’s 220-year history—by Sally Yates likely fueled much of the Trump collusion investigations, well before Mueller’s misadventure.

Yates testified before Congress that her theory of supposed violations of the Logan Act prompted her own request for FBI interviews with Michael Flynn. Trump’s first national security advisor had purportedly dared to talk about sanctions with the Russian ambassador during the Trump transition in the days before Obama left office. In other words, Obama officials believed there really was a viable Logan Act, or at least the façade of one that could be deemed useful to destroy a political opponent.

But for the sake of argument, assume it is unwise to allow any private citizen to subvert government foreign policy. What then would be a classical definition of a Logan Act violation?

Perhaps the ongoing efforts of former Secretary of State John Kerry fit the bill. During the lead-up to the Trump’s Administration’s cancelation of the Iran deal and in its aftermath, private citizen Kerry met with high Iranian officials and purportedly advised them how to obstruct or at least survive the ramifications of Trump’s new Iranian policies.

In spring 2018, Kerry’s sought out meetings with Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif in Norway, Germany, and perhaps as well at United Nations headquarters in New York. He purportedly discussed ways to preserve the spirit of the prior Iran deal negotiated by the two—an agreement which was no longer official U.S. policy and had just been canceled by Trump.

In other words, the ex-secretary of state and, again, now private citizen Kerry met secretly with an Iranian foreign minister to brainstorm about how the elements of their deal might survive his own country’s current policies. Note that Senator Dianne Feinstein likewise just met with Zarif, a sort of copycat performance of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s 2007 meeting with the murderous Bashar al-Assad, who at the time was doing all he could to help Iran spike American deaths in Iraq.

If Kerry’s machinations were deemed grey violations of the Logan Act, how about the more overt recent efforts of another former State Department official Susan Thornton? Here is what she boasted about recently in Shanghai to an audience of Chinese analysts and academics:

I tell all our foreign counterparts they should keep steady, keep their heads down and wait. [They should] try to not let anything change dramatically . . . If this skeptical attitude towards talking diplomacy continues in this administration, you might have to wait till another administration . . . 

Thornton seems to be advising the likely veneer of the Chinese apparat and government to stall out the Trump Administration and thus wait to find a more familiar and compliant America that would follow past protocols. That advice might be taken to mean she is advising them to stonewall her current American president and find better ways to facilitate the accustomed serial Chinese patent and copyright infringement, dumping, currency manipulation, technological appropriation, massive trade and account surpluses, and imperialist initiatives in the South China Sea.

When Thornton crows, “I tell all our foreign counterparts” she seems to assume that she is playing the role of omnipotent shadow State Department grandee, whose message is geared to assist almost any power other than her own government.

Thornton’s advice is old news. It is simply a more muscular version of former Obama Pentagon official Rosa Brooks’ June 30, 2017 reassurance to the nation and the world (“3 Ways to Get Rid of President Trump Before 2020”) about how  best to depose the just inaugurated U.S. president without having to wait for a constitutionally mandated election in four years.  

After just a week of Trump in office, Brooks had concluded Trump had to go. Her blueprint for his forced retirement was in an apparent answer to “the question being asked around the globe” (note how our would-be best and brightest always boast of having their hands on the pulse of the like-minded global elite).

Presumably Brooks would reassure her foreign friends and kindred Democrats at home that Trump most certainly could be stopped after just a few days in office—if only the right people began the right adoption of her tripartite strategy of either impeachment, removal under the 25th Amendment, or an outright military coup (e.g., “The fourth possibility is one that until recently I would have said was unthinkable in the United States of America: a military coup, or at least a refusal by military leaders to obey certain orders.”)

The revolutionary Brooks could sum up Trump after a few days in office as a likely target of a military plot (one far more likely to have been successful than Andrew McCabe’s later comical 25th Amendment effort to record Trump secretly and then convince the Cabinet of his mental derangement). Brooks ended her scenarios with a triumphant approval of the idea of a revolutionary coup d’étatnever before seen in our history: “For the first time in my life, I can imagine plausible scenarios in which senior military officials might simply tell the president: ‘No, sir. We’re not doing that,’ to thunderous applause from the New York Times editorial board.”

Noble Dangerous Leaking
Lately, House impeachment hounds Nadler and Schiff have whined that Trump’s effort to declassify government intelligence records concerning the collusion scheme poses a grave threat to national security. In other words, the chronic leakers who recently demanded an unredacted Mueller report and serially leak supposed impending “bombshells,” suddenly have become anti-leakers and pro-redactors. The only common denominator in their chameleonism is Trump hatred.

But what would dangerous and illegal leaking consist of?

James Comey leaking to media conduits classified, private-one-on-one presidential conversations to prompt the appointment of a special prosecutor?

Andrew McCabe feeding the media self-serving hoaxes about collusion?

Former Director of National Intelligence James Clapper seeding to CNN the private Comey briefing with President Trump—and then deploring such illegal leaks, as he leveraged that scoop to land himself a future CNN analyst billet?

FBI sources planting stories of pre-election “collusion” with Yahoo and Mother Jones?

Or how about leaks to tip off the media about the timing Roger Stone arrest? Or periodic Mueller team “walls are closing in” and “noose is tightening” leak-lies to the obsequious media?

What have we learned about the Left’s moralistic talk of Trump’s supposed collusion, obstruction, Logan Act violations, and leaking?

One, that these are all projections of real resistance behavior. The zeal to remove Trump by any means necessary justified colluding with Russians, obstructing justice, undermining his administration abroad, and chronic leaking.

Two, these deep-state and media elites are narcissistically delusional. So inured are they to deference that they really believed they should have the power, indeed the right, to subvert democracy, to overturn a U.S. election on the justification that the wrong voters had voted for the incorrect candidate and both needed to be corrected by the right people. All that is why the last 28 months have been both scary and dangerous.

Real coups against democracies rarely are pulled off by jack-booted thugs in sunglasses or fanatical mobs storming the presidential palace. More often, they are the insidious work of supercilious bureaucrats, bought intellectuals, toady journalists, and political activists who falsely project that their target might at some future date do precisely what they are currently planning and doing—and that they are noble patriots, risking their lives, careers, and reputations for all of us, and thus must strike first.

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Photo credit: Eduardo Muñoz-Alvarez/VIEWpress/Corbis via Getty Images

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

Was Sergey Kislyak Part of the Russian Collusion Hoax?

If the Trump-Russia election collusion hoax was a movie, Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak would have a starring role.
From Attorney General Jeff Sessions’ fateful recusal to National Security Advisor Michael Flynn’s resignation to the aftermath of FBI Director James Comey’s firing, the former Russian diplomat made more than just a few consequential appearances. The question is, were these incidental cameos or was Kislyak following a script written for him by the collusion fraudsters?

As Senate Republicans threaten to excavate the origins of the corrupt investigation into Donald Trump’s presidential campaign, they might want to take a closer look at how Kislyak helped shape the bogus Russian collusion plotline.

Kislyak appears 55 times in Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s recent report. Alleged spy Maria Butina, sentenced last month to 18 months in federal prison for one count of conspiracy, met with Kislyak numerous times in 2015 and 2016 and promised to “collect the contact information of prominent conservatives” for him. He has openly bragged about his numerous contacts with Trump associates.

But it’s Kislyak’s relationship with the Obama Administration that should raise suspicions that his interactions with Trump campaign aides before and after the election were intentional, designed to help fuel the phony collusion narrative.

According to visitor logs, Kislyak visited the Obama White House nearly two dozen times, including at least twice in October 2016. He met with National Security Advisor Susan Rice in the White House on October 7, 2016, the same day intelligence officials issued the warning about Russian election interference. Kislyak was there allegedly to receive a harshly worded message to Vladimir Putin about the meddling efforts.

McFaul Guy

In another meeting on October 14, 2016, Kislyak ran into his former counterpart, Michael McFaul, who had served as U.S. Ambassador to Russia for two years under President Obama. McFaul is an Obama confidante and was sworn-in as ambassador by then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton in January 2012: He also is a vocal Trump foe and collusion conspiracy theorist. (More questions: Why was McFaul at the White House on October 14, 2016, when he no longer worked there? Further, why was Kislyak, the representative of our alleged biggest geopolitical foe trying to crash our election, at the White House again?)

McFaul and Kislyak are close. A few weeks after the 2016 presidential election, McFaul lavished effusive praise on the diplomat whose country supposedly had just attacked America’s election, threatening the very foundation of our democracy and whatnot.

During an event at Stanford University on November 30, 2016, McFaul gushed that Kislyak’s job “is to represent his country here and I think he does it fantastically well.” McFaul repeatedly bragged about his relationship with the Kremlin’s diplomat. “He was a tremendous friend and colleague to me when I served in the government. I really value what you helped me do as a government official and what you did for me as a friend,” he said to Kislyak.

It was an odd and oddly timed tribute to the representative of a nation that villainously unleashed social media bots to throw the presidential election to Donald Trump—especially since Kislyak’s boss purportedly stole the election from the woman McFaul worked for at the State Department in an embarrassing rebuke of his friend, Barack Obama.

But perhaps McFaul spared any outrage for his Russian pal because Sergey Kislyak had helped Obama and Clinton loyalists manufacture one of the greatest political hoaxes of all time.

Kislyak solicited meetings with Team Trump beginning in April 2016, when he attended Trump’s foreign policy speech in Washington, D.C. It was the first time, according to the Mueller report, that Kislyak met Trump; he also had brief exchanges with Jeff Sessions and Jared Kushner. Later that day, McFaul oddly tweeted, “Did Russian ambassador Kislyak attend opposition campaign event today? #doublestandards.”

In July 2016, Kislyak attended the Republican National Convention in Cleveland, where he interacted with Sessions and campaign aides Carter Page and J.D. Gordon. “Ambassador Kislyak continued his efforts to interact with Campaign officials with responsibility for the foreign-policy portfolio—among them Sessions and Gordon—in the weeks after the convention,” the Mueller report stated.

Gordon, perhaps smelling a rat, rejected one overture by Kislyak in August 2016, declining his invitation for lunch at the official Russian residence in D.C. The next month, Kislyak’s office contacted then-Senator Jeff Sessions, a member of Trump’s campaign committee, requesting a meeting. Sessions and Kislyak met in Sessions’ Senate office on September 8, 2016.

Suspicious Contacts

After the election, Kislyak contacted Jared Kushner, who agreed to meet with the diplomat on November 30, 2016. (Michael Flynn also attended the meeting.) According to the Mueller report, Kislyak offered to have Russian generals brief the transition team. (LOL.)

In December 2016, Kislyak continued to pursue more meetings with Trump’s son-in-law. “Kushner declined several proposed meeting dates, but Kushner’s assistant indicated that Kislyak was very insistent about securing a second meeting,” the special counsel wrote. The Russian ambassador also was insistent about wanting “Kushner to meet someone who had a direct line to Putin.” Totally not sketchy. At all.

Despite the fact the brief interactions and communications had nothing to do with a coordinated effort between the campaign and the Kremlin to influence the election, Kislyak’s outreach resulted in explosive news coverage in early 2017 to seed the collusion plotline. McFaul (unconvincingly) tweeted on March 31, 2016, “Never dreamed my former colleague Sergey Kislyak would become so famous,” with a link to a Washington Post article detailing Team Trump’s contact with his Russian pal.

Congressional Democrats pounced. “Ambassador Kislyak . . . also attends the Republican Party convention and meets with Carter Page and additional Trump advisors,” Representative Adam Schiff (D-Calif.) said during a March 2017 hearing of the House Intelligence Committee. “Ambassador Kislyak also met with National Campaign committee chair and now-Attorney General Jeff Sessions.”

(Earlier that month, based on a recommendation by Justice Department staff, Sessions had recused himself from any matters related to the investigation into the Trump campaign due to his pre-election interactions with Kislyak and alleged attempts to cover-up the meetings.)

A May 2017 Washington Post article claimed Kislyak told Moscow that it was Kushner, not him, who was seeking a “secret communications channel” between the Trump campaign and the Kremlin.

Unsolved Mysteries

But it was Kislyak’s role in the Michael Flynn debacle that is the most suspicious and caused the greatest personal and professional damage to Trump’s short-lived national security advisor. The envoy reached out numerous times to Flynn during the transition, including the night before the Obama administration would announce weak sanctions against Moscow for election meddling on December 28, 2016. The subject of those calls, including how the Kremlin would respond to the sanctions, eventually landed Flynn in legal trouble.

Sally Yates, the acting attorney general for 10 days and a Trump-hating partisan, told the White House shortly after the inauguration that Flynn was in violation of the never-enforced Logan Act for attempting to undermine U.S. foreign policy. When that tactic didn’t work, several officials illegally leaked details about Flynn’s calls with Kislyak to the media and suggested Flynn lied to the public about what had been discussed.

Flynn resigned in February 2017 amid pressure by the Trump White House and later pleaded guilty to one count of lying to federal investigators about the Kislyak calls.

And there is another odd angle to the Kislyak mystery that still is unresolved. The ambassador apparently received a $120,000 payment 10 days after the 2016 election. “Employees at Citibank raised an alarm about the transaction because it didn’t fit with prior payroll patterns and because he immediately split the money in half, sending it by two wire transfers to a separate account he maintained in Russia,” BuzzFeed reported in January 2018. It’s unclear whether this payment remains is under investigation by Congress or the FBI.

It will take months, maybe years, to fully vet all of the information contained in the Mueller report and give renewed scrutiny to the key players in the saga. But Kislyak’s central role, coupled with his close ties to the Obama White House, requires more immediate attention.

If the Russian ambassador to the United States was indeed acting at the direction of American political operatives to infiltrate a rival presidential campaign, influence a presidential election and taint an incoming administration, we can add yet another example of norm-breaking behavior to the long list of malfeasance and misconduct related to the Trump-Russia collusion hoax.

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Administrative State • Deep State • Democrats • Hillary Clinton • Obama • Post

Clinton Projection Syndrome

Hillary Clinton recently editorialized about the second volume of special counsel Robert Mueller’s massive report. She concluded of the report’s assorted testimonies and inside White House gossip concerning President Trump’s words and actions that “any other person engaged in those acts would certainly have been indicted.”

Psychologists might call her claims “projection.” That is the well-known psychological malady of attributing bad behavior to others as a means of exonerating one’s own similar, if not often even worse, sins.

After 22 months of investigation and $34 million spent, the Mueller report concluded that there was no Trump-Russia collusion—the main focus of the investigation—even though that unfounded allegation dominated print and televised media’s speculative headlines for the last two years.

While Mueller’s report addressed various allegations of Trump’s other roguery, the special counsel did not recommend that the president be indicted for obstruction of justice in what Mueller had just concluded was not a crime of collusion.

What Mueller strangely did do—and what most federal prosecutors do not do—was cite all the allegedly questionable behavior of a target who has just been de facto exonerated by not being indicted.

What Mueller did not do was explain that much of the evidence he found useful was clearly a product of unethical and illegal behavior. In the case of the false charge of “collusion,” the irony was rich.

Russians likely fed salacious but untrue allegations about Trump to ex-British spy Christopher Steele, who was being paid in part by the Hillary Clinton campaign and the Democratic National Committee to find dirt on Trump.

The Russians rightly assumed that Steele would lap up their fantasies, seed them among Trump-hating officials in the Barack Obama administration and thereby cause hysteria during the election, the transition and, eventually, the Trump presidency.

Russia succeeded in sowing such chaos, thanks ultimately to Clinton, who likely had broken federal laws by using a British national and, by extension, Russian sources to warp an election. Without the fallacious Steele dossier, the entire Russian collusion hoax never would have taken off.

Without Steele’s skullduggery, there likely would have been no Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act Court-approved surveillance of Trump aide Carter Page. There might have been no FBI plants inserted into the Trump campaign. There might have been no subsequent leaking to the press of classified documents to prompt a Trump collusion investigation.

Given the Steele travesty and other past scandals, it is inexplicable that Clinton has not been indicted.

Her lawlessness first made headlines 25 years ago, when she admitted that her cattle futures broker had defied odds of one in 31 trillion by investing $1,000 from her trading account and returning a profit of nearly $100,000. Clinton failed to report about $6,500 in profits to the IRS. She initially lied about her investment windfall by claiming she made the wagers herself. She even fantastically alleged that she mastered cattle futures trading by reading financial newspapers.

To paraphrase Clinton herself, anyone else would have been indicted for far less.

The reason that foreign oligarchs are no longer donating millions of dollars to the Clinton Foundation, and that Bill Clinton is not being offered $500,000 for speaking appearances in Moscow, is simply because Hillary Clinton is not secretary of state. She is no longer in a public position to hector her colleagues into approving pro-Russian commercial deals, such as the one that gave Russian interests access to North American uranium.

As secretary of state, Clinton also sidestepped the law by setting up a home-brewed email server. She transmitted classified documents over this insecure route and lied about it. And she destroyed some 30,000 emails that were in effect under subpoena. Anyone else would have been indicted for far less.

In truth, Clinton was at the heart of the entire Russian collusion hoax. Even after the election, she kept fueling it to blame Russia-Trump conspiracies for her stunning defeat in 2016. Unable to acknowledge her own culpability as a weak and uninspiring candidate, Clinton formally joined the post-election “resistance” and began whining about collusion. That excuse seemed preferable to explaining why she blew a huge lead and lost despite favorable media coverage and superior funding.

For much of her professional life, Hillary Clinton had acted above and beyond the law on the assumption that as the wife of a governor, as first lady of the United States, as a senator from New York, as secretary of state and as a two-time candidate for the presidency, she could ignore the law without worry over the consequences.

For Clinton now to project that the president should be indicted suggests she is worried about her own potential indictment. And she is rightly concerned that for the first time in 40 years, neither she nor her husband is serving in government or running for some office, and therefore could be held accountable.

Photo Credit: Paul Morigi/Getty Images


America • Center for American Greatness • Democrats • Featured Article • Hillary Clinton • Obama • Progressivism • The Left

The Adolescent Progressive Mind

One of the strangest things about the series of psychodramas that surround the ongoing effort to remove President Trump before the 2020 election is progressive schizophrenia. In teenage fashion, one moment a player in the Trump removal intrigue is deemed by the media-progressive nexus a demigod. The next moment, he’s a devil. It depends solely on his perceived sense of utility.

Robert Mueller, Saint to Sinner
When Robert Mueller was appointed in May 2017 as special counsel to investigate alleged Trump campaign “collusion” with Russia following the firing of FBI Director James Comey, he was practically canonized as a secular saint. The media was giddy over his “all stars” and “dream team” of almost all liberal lawyers who shortly would prove the supposedly obvious: sure winner Hillary Clinton lost only because the vile Trump conspired with Vladimir Putin to sabotage her campaign by leaking John Podesta’s emails.

As the Mueller investigation lumbered along over the last 22 months, the media periodically announced that their newfound hero had inside information, privileged but unnamed sources, and high-ranking anonymous officials who confirmed “the noose was tightening,” the “walls were closing in,” and “a bombshell” was about to go off. It was as if pre-teenagers had group-talked themselves into seeing witches and goblins.

Mueller was just about to ensure Trump’s impeachment, indictment, or voluntary exile. More direct leaks apprised us that Mueller supposedly was sealing Trump’s fate by flipping the alleged sell-out Michael Flynn. Or was it the dastardly Carter Page? Or perhaps the supposed wannabe George Papadopoulos was Trump’s true nemesis. Or again, maybe the deified Mueller had so leveraged Stormy Daniels, or Michael Cohen, or Roger Stone, or Jerome Corsi that Trump would all but confess and slink off into infamous oblivion.

How even to digest such a cornucopia of conspiracy fruit! We saw Mueller’s SWAT teams and perp walks, and worshiped new heroes like Michael Avenatti and Andrew Weissmann who would all frog march Trump out of the White House. Fossils from our Watergate past, like Carl Bernstein and John Dean, creaked back into the limelight to furrow their brows and grimace what Mueller would do to Trump soon in comparison would make Nixon’s scandals look like minor misdemeanors.

And then no collusion. Nada. After 400 pages, 22 months and $34 million, Trump, Mueller found, did not collude with the Russians.

Oh, Mueller in his “Volume II” threw every bit of gossip, hearsay, anti-Trump testimony, and innuendo to sort of, kind of, and maybe suggest that in theory or in the abstract Trump could have been indicted for obstruction (of a non-crime), but then he could have not been as well.

The result? Now the media ambushes Mueller at Easter church services, sticking a mike in his once-consecrated Lincolnesque face as he leaves church. Progressives mutter that he let them down, that he did not let pit bull Andrew Weissmann off his leash, that the dream team was too dreamy—in other words, that Mueller was a Republican after all, a sell-out, a Trump puppet. In other words, in the world of the 13-year-old, the once cool Mueller is now in the out-crowd.

Michael Avenatti, Street Fighter to Felon?
If suing in three states to overturn the election, if trying to warp electors in December 2016, if invoking the Logan Act, the Emoluments Clause, and the 25th Amendment, and if unleashing Mueller did not abort the Trump presidency, perhaps the problem was that progressives were not crass and crude enough.

So up stepped sleazy ambulance chaser Michael Avenatti, attorney for porn star Stormy Daniels. To keep Stormy from blabbing about a 2006 “encounter,” candidate Trump had paid her to sign a “non-disclosure” payment. Translated, that means when an embarrassment out of a politician’s distant past emerges, the first remedy is to pay off the blackmailer.

But the check of $130,000 to Stormy transpired when candidate Trump supposedly had no chance of ever being elected president. So after the election, she reemerged wanting far more publicity and money, now guided by the disreputable Avenatti to make wild charges and all sorts of conspiratorial threats.

Soon, her would-be Svengali—or was it rather a Rasputin?—was on cable news nonstop, promising to “take down” Trump with “explosive” charges from Stormy that were the keys to unlocking Trump’s supposedly corrupt empire—all a precursor for Avenatti’s presidential bid.

This nonsense was devoured by progressive media. Of course, this hubris only brought nemesis to the fly-by-night Avenatti. The same modus operandi he used to use Stormy had elsewhere been used to shake down corporations and defraud clients. Now the one-time cable news heartthrob faces several felony charges and is not just persona non grata in the progressive world but also has simply been deplatformed in the full Leon Trotsky airbrushing mode.

In short, for adolescent left-wingers, Avenatti is now so boring.

Brennan-Clapper, the No-Longer-Dynamic Duo
Former CIA Director John Brennan and former Director of National Intelligence James Clapper became a beloved progressive duo to the extent that their names almost became a compound noun. And no wonder given their recent careers were joined at the hip.

Their past respective lying under oath to Congress, their previous incarnation as Bush-era “conservatives,” tough-guy, anti-terrorism fighters, and their dubious employment in the suspect intelligence services were all forgotten. Then, after leaving the Obama Administration, in which Brennan-Clapper had in deep-state fashion reinvented themselves from erstwhile pro-Bush, enhanced interrogation, anti-terrorism fighters into anti-Bush, pro-Obama multiculturalists and deep thinkers, they reappeared in a third manifestation as CNN and MSNBC bona fide Trump haters.

Daily we heard from the duo (who had once respectively assured us that jihad was essentially a personal growth odyssey and that Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood was largely secular) that Trump was a Russian asset and a veritable traitor.

By monetizing their security clearances and prior employment at the highest levels of the U.S. Intelligence Community, they fortified gossip and fantasies with an imprimatur of televised seriousness. Neither was shy about talking about “sources” and “inside” knowledge as they prognosticated Trump’s imminent downfall.

Then the Mueller report came out that there was no proof of the collusion that both Clapper and Brennan had insisted would soon be proved. Worse, information leaked that both had likely once again not been truthful in sworn testimony before Congress. Both seemed to have a lot of legal exposure concerning foreign informants, seeding the bogus Steele dossier, leaking classified information, and monitoring the Trump campaign.

Suddenly, no progressive laps up the latest speculation from John Brennan; no leftist cares what a desperate James Clapper spins next. They were not long ago both useful idiots predicting, with side glances and studied grimaces, the “bombshells” to come—as long as the charge of collusion was viable. When it dissipated, so did Clapper and Brennan.

Now each awaits possible criminal referrals, or at least months of further testimonies to congress and federal investigators about what did they know and when did they know it. For the Left, both are once again old Bush white guys, soon to be without a job or a platform. In sum, in teen-aged progressive-ese they are now very much not “woke” In fact, they’re even lame.

James Comey, Hero, Villain, Hero—Tiresome
James Comey as FBI director was once sanctified by progressives. While he dwelt a bit too much on Hillary Clinton’s unethical antics, he nonetheless exonerated candidate Clinton before he even interviewed her, and bowed to a “recused” attorney general’s directives of exemption.

Case closed: Comey was a hero who resisted right-wing hit teams.

Or did he? The unstable, triple-guessing careerist suddenly in the days before the election, replayed his Hamlet role by “reopening” the case against Hillary’s sloppy use of confidential State Department emails.

Comey was in, then out! The Left roared that Comey was a monster, a fake, and a fraud who, hand-in-glove with Trump and the Russians, was sandbagging Hillary’s campaign. Case once again closed?

But not quite. In 2017, the finger-in-the-air Comey had reinvented himself still again into “higher loyalty” Comey. The Left held its breath as Comey finagled to get into a position of destroying Trump.

When word leaked that Comey had investigated Trump, trafficked in the Steele dossier, and misled a FISA court, the Left recalibrated him as valuable asset. And when he was fired, then leaked to the press confidential and classified memos of conservations with Trump, and had been instrumental in staging the platform for Mueller’s appointment, the Left began to adore Comey. He was now the sacrificial victim of Trump’s dastardly venom—and no doubt would start producing smoking guns from the files of the FBI.

Better yet, Comey defiantly claimed amnesia when testifying to Congress. He lied nobly in saying the Steele dossier was not really the evidence that swayed the FISA court to grant surveillance of Carter Page. He gave interviews about the toxic, dangerous, obscene, crude, duplicitous, and conniving Trump who was destroying, obliterating and undermining his beloved FBI and indeed the country itself.

Was not James Comey talking truth to power? His bestselling book and tour seemed to suggest just that, as the last boy scout peddled A Higher Loyalty, an argument that administrative careerists like himself were above politics and, in high-minded fashion, serve only the American people. If the Left first saw the refashioned Comey now as beneficial, they soon would come to love his vitriol and claim him as downright adorable.

Or so it seemed. But soon Comey started to wear thin. There was no collusion. But there were lots of stories about Comey’s upcoming legal problems, concerning possible lying under oath, deluding a FISA judge, and improper use of federal surveillance. But most importantly, Comey was now fired and gone. His accusations had only a brief shelf-life and were already fading. Like his former deputy Andrew McCabe, Comey became just another fired apparatchik, bitter at the president who had dismissed him, and those responsible for taking him from the press conference spotlights.

So the Left no longer had a use for Comey in his retirement, as he descended into tweeting out shop-worn aphorisms and adages, illustrated by Thoreau-like nature snapshots. For the Left Comey turned out not so much a street-fighting leftist Buddha as an irrelevant blabbering Yoda.

The common denominator in progressive fluidity is not traditional worry about government surveillance of American citizens, unchecked government power, or the use of informants to spy on American citizens, but whether a bureaucrat can prove a temporarily useful idiot in the grand design of removing Donald J. Trump before the 2020 election.

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Big Media • Democrats • Hillary Clinton • Obama • Post • Religion and Society • Religion of Peace • The Culture • The Left

Why Hillary and Obama Tweeted About ‘Easter Worshippers’

Sometimes, a few sentences tell you more about a person—and, more importantly, an ideology—than a learned thesis. That is the case with tweets from Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama in response to the mass murder of more than 300 Christians and others in Sri Lanka.

Their tweets are worth serious analysis because they reveal a great deal about the Left. Of course, they reveal a great deal about Clinton and Obama, too, but that doesn’t interest me.

And that, too, is important. Many Americans—especially conservatives and “independents”—are more interested in individual politicians than in political ideologies.

Many conservatives have long been fixated on Clinton—so much so that probably any other Democrat would have defeated Donald Trump, as conservative anger specifically toward her propelled many people to the polls. Similarly, Republican NeverTrumpers are fixated on Trump rather than policy. They care more about Trump’s personal flaws than about the mortal dangers the Left poses to America and the West or about the uniquely successful conservative policies Trump promulgates.

And independents all claim to vote “for the person, not the party.”

Only leftists understand that one must vote left no matter who the Democrat is, no matter who the Republican opponent is. Leftists are completely interchangeable: There is no ideological difference among the 20 or so Democrats running for president. Mayor Pete Buttigieg is not one degree to the right of Kamala Harris or Elizabeth Warren.

That is why it is important to understand Clinton and Obama’s tweets: to understand the left, not to understand her or him.

Here are the tweets:

Obama: “The attacks on tourists and Easter worshippers in Sri Lanka are an attack on humanity. On a day devoted to love, redemption, and renewal, we pray for the victims and stand with the people of Sri Lanka.”

Three hours later, Clinton tweeted: “On this holy weekend for many faiths, we must stand united against hatred and violence. I’m praying for everyone affected by today’s horrific attacks on Easter worshippers and travelers in Sri Lanka.”

As they both spelled “worshipers” the same idiosyncratic way and used the term “Easter worshippers,” it is likely they either had the same writers or Clinton copied Obama.

Here’s what’s critical: Neither used the word “Christians.” And in order to avoid doing so, they went so far as to make up a new term—”Easter worshippers”—heretofore unknown to any Christian.

When Jews were murdered at the Tree of Life synagogue in Pittsburgh, Clinton mentioned the synagogue in a tweet. But in her post-Sri Lanka tweet, despite the bombing of three churches filled with Christians, Clinton made no mention of church or churches. In a tweet after the massacre of Muslims in New Zealand, she wrote that her heart broke for “the global Muslim community.” But in her latest tweet, not a word about Christians or the global Christian community.

Obama similarly wrote in his tweet about New Zealand that he was grieving with “the Muslim community” over the “horrible massacre in the Mosques.” But in his tweet about Sri Lanka, there is no mention of Christians or churches.

The reason neither of them mentioned Christians or churches is that the left has essentially forbidden mention of all the anti-Christian murders perpetrated by Muslims in Europe, the Middle East, and Africa and of all the Muslim desecration of churches in Europe, Africa and anywhere else. This is part of the same phenomenon—that I and others have documented—of British police and politicians covering up six years of rape of 1,400 of English girls by Muslim “grooming gangs” in Rotherham and elsewhere in England.

Essentially, the left’s rule is that nothing bad—no matter how true—may be said about Muslims or Islam and nothing good—no matter how true—may be said of Christians or Christianity.

Clinton’s post-New Zealand tweet also included these words: “We must continue to fight the perpetuation and normalization of Islamophobia and racism in all its forms. White supremacist terrorists must be condemned by leaders everywhere. Their murderous hatred must be stopped.”

She made sure to condemn “Islamophobia,” but she wrote not a word about the far more destructive and widespread hatred of Christians in the Muslim world, seen in Muslims’ virtual elimination of the Christian communities in the Middle East, the regular murder and kidnappings of Coptic Christians in Egypt and the murder of Christians in Nigeria. She calls on “leaders everywhere” to condemn “white supremacist terrorists,” one of the smallest hate groups on Earth, but never calls on leaders everywhere to condemn Islamist terrorists, the largest hate group on Earth.

These two tweets tell you a lot about Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama. But far more importantly, they tell you a lot about the Left.


Photo credit: Ishara S. Kodikara/AFP/Getty Images

Democrats • Donald Trump • Elections • Hillary Clinton • Post • Progressivism • The Left

An Open Letter to Hillary Clinton: Run!

Dear Hillary Rodham Clinton:

I write this in the hope that all is not yet lost. I beg you, from the bottom of my heart: run for president again!

You are the only one who can save the Democratic Party from itself. Only you have the ruthlessness, the unbending determination and the intestinal fortitude to claim what is rightfully yours. The current crop of contenders is nothing but political lightweights and cheesy wannabes. The election is less than 19 months away, and the wheels are already coming off this Democratic jalopy.

Hillary, you owe it to yourself. You owe it to the Democratic Party. You owe it to America. You owe it to the millions of young girls who wanted to see you become president three years ago. You owe it to their parents. You owe it to the world. Run!

I know you look at the Betos, the Kamalas, the Cherokees, the Mayor Petes, the Amys, and the Bernies, and reach for the chardonnay, certain in the knowledge that Trump will be there for four more years. Most of these so-called “candidates” wouldn’t be electable in Albania—much less in America. This crowd is a pathetic joke. Just looking at these people requires something far stronger than a chardonnay. Only you can bring sanity. Only you can do what you already almost did before. Twice.

You, Hillary, have been tested in the fiery crucible of presidential electoral politics. You are a veteran of four presidential campaigns, counting your husband’s. No one (except Joe Biden, and I will get to him in a moment) has more experience running for president than you. No one.

True, you have more baggage than a cargo hold of a 747 on a transatlantic flight—but that baggage has been on display in 2016, and it didn’t stop you. Unlike all the men, who never power through anything, you powered through every scandal known to man, and a few that weren’t. All the dirty laundry (well, most of the dirty laundry) is already public knowledge. You are a Clinton, after all—and that says it all.

This isn’t even about you now—it’s about these so-called “candidates.” The inmates of the Matteawan State Hospital for the Criminally Insane make for more credible candidates than most of the lunatics who call themselves “Democratic presidential candidates.” Those who aren’t complete loons are political midgets.

Take Beto O’Rourke, for example. The man is a threadbare lining of an empty suit. The El Paso City Council should have been his lifetime career ceiling—but white male privilege among Democrats being what it is, he rose in Democratic politics to become the Big Loser in the Texas U.S. Senate race. And the more we learn about him, the more of a bizarro oddball he is revealed to be. I mean, the guy admitted to trying to feed feces to his wife, for Pete’s sake! Can you imagine him in a debate with Trump? The worst culinary offense that anyone can accuse you of is baking inedible cookies.

Or take Amy Klobuchar. That woman is Minnesota-nice-meets-the-psychotic-boss-from-hell. Whatever else they can say about you, there is no record of your staffers ever shaving your silky-smooth legs, or any other part of your body. Neither Philippe Reines nor Robby Mook has ever wielded the razor over your so-near-yet-so-far-almost-presidential legs. But can you imagine Klobuchar going up against Donald Trump, regardless of the amount of personal grooming she gets from her harried staffers? He will shred her long before we get to November 2020, and won’t even break a sweat.

Kirsten Gillibrand? Gillibrand? That ungrateful, back-stabbing bitch! After all you and Bill have done for her—this is how she thanks you? That awful woman becoming president would be the ultimate insult. Thankfully, she polls at exactly zero percent.

Or take Bernie. I know you hate him. And you are right to hate him. The man should have had the minimal decency to bow out of the race by April 2016—and yet his ego wouldn’t let him. He went down in flames—and, what’s worse, he took you down with him. Bernie is an old leftist crackpot—and you, while an old leftist, seem almost reasonable in comparison. (In all fairness, looking reasonable, given the current lineup, is hardly a challenge).

That Kamala woman probably drives you nuts. She is just like you, only worse. Kamala Harris is even less relatable than you (and that says something!), and a whole lot more obnoxious. And not even too bright. Who the hell does she think she is, anyway? First, she sleeps her way to the top. (NTTAWWT, but at least you married the guy and cleaned up his messes for decades—and all she had to do was . . . ehh, let’s not even go there.) Then she makes a fool of herself during the Kavanaugh hearings. And she thinks she can be president? Wrong, wrong, and wrong!

She has zero appeal in the Midwest—unlike you. With a better team running your campaign than Mook and the gang, you can take the Midwest by storm! Working people love you there! There is a vast pool of sleeping Hillary voters all over the Rust Belt, just waiting to be awakened. Harris is a goner even before she is out of the gate—no wonder she is polling in the single digits.

Liz Warren? What a joke. If she were any whiter, she’d be Casper the Friendly Ghost. That DNA test imbroglio was an embarrassment to every woman who ever wanted to run for president on a Native American platform. Besides, show me a single person who has ever wanted to shave Warren’s insectoid legs, and I’ll show you a fetishist and a closet pervert. She just doesn’t look natural—or presidential. She is way too old, too, as she nears 70. Can you imagine anyone that age getting elected? It’s just ridiculous! And, her worst offense: she is from Massachusetts. When was the last time anybody from Massachusetts got elected president? JFK? 1960? Right.

Cory Booker? The guy who has male and female sexual harassment skeletons in his closet? Your husband may be a sexual predator, but at least he only preys on women. Compared to Booker, he seems almost like a #MeToo poster child—and in a good way! Let’s be honest here: America is not ready for an equal-opportunity sex fiend in the Oval Office. At least with Bill doing his thing in the White House again as First Dude, we know what we’re getting.

Pete Buttigieg? Is this some sort of a sick joke? Can you believe we’re seriously discussing Buttigieg? We’re now electing small-town mayors as president when we can elect the Most Qualified Woman Ever™ instead? His biggest executive achievement so far has been supervising the South Bend dog catcher. And he wants to be President? Hillary, just ask yourself one question: if it’s between you and Buttigieg, who is the better choice?

Julian Castro? Sure, the guy might be OK—for a secretary of something or other, nobody can even remember what. Even you probably can’t remember what he did, all those years ago. But president? Come on, it’s no contest there. And he can’t win. Trump will eat him for breakfast.

And let’s talk about Biden. You were right to blame him for your losing the 2016 race. He could have done better for you. He should have done better for you. He should have taken that ridiculous “working class Joe” act of his on the road far more often. Where was he in Wisconsin, when you needed him? Where was he in Michigan? In Pennsylvania? If he couldn’t deliver Pennsylvania, how the heck does he plan to win in 2020? He can’t. It’s all a mirage. You can win—but Biden is hopeless. The man is 100 percent certain to crater—it’s a question of when, not if.

Biden has almost as much baggage as you. Probably more—we’re talking two 747s worth of baggage there. The man is on the record as a racist and a sexist. Nobody has ever accused you of fondling 13-year-old boys—if nothing else, you definitely have that going for you. You’ve never fondled minors of any gender, as far as we know. Nobody has ever accused you of publicly massaging men not your husband, either. Biden? The man is a macabre dinosaur. He is not just a creepy old goat—he is a creepy old goat who parades his creepiness in front of video cameras! His clammy paws fondle women on camera, for the whole world to see! And he wants to take on Trump? I mean, we’re talking about Biden here. Biden! Forget the Democratic Party—the man is an embarrassment to the entire country.

The Democrats can do better. You know it.

Now, Republicans are certain to make an issue of your health. You probably remember (and so does everyone else) your near-coma during the 9/11 remembrance event in 2016, when you were out of action for weeks due to “a minor cold,” contracted on a balmy 75-degree day. Then the cold turned into bronchitis. Then bronchitis turned into . . . well, still bronchitis, just “severe bronchitis.”

You need to deal with this head-on. And there is a way to lay this issue to rest once and for all. A 12-member bipartisan medical commission will examine you, and pronounce you fit as a fiddle. I recommend having three Democratic congressmen, three Republican congressmen, three Democratic senators, and three Republican senators as members of the commission. Not even the most partisan Republicans will be able to argue with straight face that you are medically unfit to be president, after Ted Cruz, Mitch McConnell, and Rand Paul thoroughly probe you and explore you (er . . . I mean, explore your health status), and find nothing of note except high blood pressure, chronic respiratory problems, and post-trauma blood clots in the brain, which are all perfectly manageable with high doses of Warfarin. The bipartisan medical commission would be the final nail in the coffin of all those Republican canards that you have serious health problems.

Hillary, this is your moment. Without you, the Democratic Party is doomed. You are the only person in the entire country who has the stature, the gravitas, the experience and the respect of every single American (legal and not so legal, North American and Latin American), to be the Democratic nominee for president. The time has come to show all those Democratic wishful thinkers and self-deluding nutbags who is the real boss. The deplorables will not stop you this time. The New York Times will not stop you this time. James Comey will not stop you this time. (Trump fired him, so we’re all good there.) The Macedonian hackers and the Russians are on the run—you’re on to them.

The time has come to announce your 2020 presidential run. The world is waiting.

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Big Media • Center for American Greatness • Deep State • Donald Trump • Hillary Clinton • Law and Order • Mueller-Russia Witch Hunt • Post • The Media • The Resistance (Snicker)

Dear Citizen Collusion Truther—You Own This, Too


Hey, what’s up . . . wait, where are you going?

Why the dark glasses? Did you dye your hair? What’s with all the deleted tweets and Facebook posts lately?

Oh, I get it. Now that Special Counsel Robert Mueller didn’t find any evidence of collusion between the Trump campaign and the Ruskies to throw the 2016 election, you want to move on. Act like it never happened. Or at least pretend that you weren’t part of the whole damn hoax from the start.

But . . . not so fast.

It wasn’t just the entire American media infrastructure—every broadcast network, cable news outlet, opinion page, political website, blue-checked social media account, washed-up D.C. pundit, unhinged MSNBC host, irrelevant Bush hanger-on, complicit Obama lackey, and Clinton bitter clinger who fell for the Trump-Russia collusion fairy tale. It wasn’t just every Democratic lawmaker and candidate—and a good chunk of the establishment Republican elite—who peddled a bogus story for two years. It wasn’t just every Hollywood actress, producer, legend, fluffer, has-been and late night host who caterwauled for months about Trump’s treachery.

You did it, too, my fellow citizen.

For two years, you helped do the dirty work of the vanquished Hillary Clinton campaign and the sore-loser Democratic Party. You reposted memes on your Facebook and Instagram pages that depicted Donald Trump as a Putin puppet, even suggesting tongue-in-cheek (in a way that you’d call homophobic if the other side did it) that Trump was Putin’s gay lover. You warned your neighbors that Trump’s son was a traitor. You insisted to your co-workers that, yes, Trump’s campaign team was populated by Russian agents and that the president’s attorney general, his secretary of state, his education secretary, his national security advisor, his son-in-law—among others—were Kremlin plants in the new administration.

You actually believed that Carter Page was a spy. You actually believed that the FBI opened up an investigation into the Trump campaign because a drunken George Papadopoulos said he had Hillary Clinton’s missing emails. You actually believed that Trump urinated on a Russian prostitute at a Moscow hotel. You actually believed that a teeny tiny batch of Facebook memes and Twitter posts allegedly controlled by Moscow masterminds somehow convinced voters in Michigan and Wisconsin to vote for Donald Trump.

You believed that Michael Cohen went to Prague. You believed that Russia hacked the DNC email system and fed those emails to Wikileaks. You believed that Roger Stone orchestrated the release of those emails. You believed that Sam Nunberg and Jerome Corsi and Konstantin Kilimnik had the goods on Trump.

You tuned into Joe Scarborough each morning and Rachel Maddow each night, desperate to gratify your collusion urges with their passionate rants about Trump and Putin. Ditto for Anderson Cooper and Jake Tapper and Chris Cuomo. The pages of the New York Times and the Washington Post read like collusion porn every morning, teasing you and titillating you with erotic tales about secret phone calls and mysterious interpreters and raven-haired Russian lawyers.

You swooned over Adam Schiff. You suddenly believed every word of faux conservatives such as Bill Kristol and David Frum and Max Boot; people you had held in contempt prior to the 2016 election. You retweeted every post by the Krassenstein brothers, Kathy Griffin, and Alyssa Milano.

You bought prayer candles with Robert Mueller’s face etched across the glass and instead of sending Christmas cards last year, you sent everyone a weird video of washed-up celebrities singing “We Wish You a Mueller Christmas.” You signed every petition to “Protect Robert Mueller!” and reposted every commercial that warned Congress to “Save the Special Counsel!” You worried that Russian bot accounts were trying to mess with Mueller.

You bought James Comey’s book. You bought Andrew McCabe’s book. You donated to Peter Strzok’s GoFundMe page. You urged Sally Yates to run for office. You believed that Christopher Steele was just a former British spy whose dossier was totally legit. You were bummed Rod Rosenstein didn’t wear a wire while talking to the sitting president of the United States. You were equally bummed that Paul Manafort isn’t going to die in prison.

You were the baritone in the Trump-Russia collusion quartet, harmonizing along with the news media, the Democrats and the NeverTrump Republicans: “The walls are closing in!” “Trump’s days are numbered!” “It’s not a question of if, it’s a question of when!” “His cabinet is turning on him, ready to invoke the 25th Amendment!” “He’s brooding and angry and lashing out at staff as Mueller gets closer to finding out the truth!” “Trump won’t survive the week/month/year/term!”

Details and evidence were of no concern to you. You believed all of the following things for no reason other than that you wanted to. Trump told the Russians to hack Hillary Clinton’s emails before the election. (He didn’t.) Donald Trump Jr. colluded with Russia when he met in June 2016 for 20 minutes with a Russian lawyer in Trump Tower. (The meeting was a setup between Russian lobbyists working with Glenn Simpson, the head of Fusion GPS which produced the dossier, and Trump’s campaign team. No “dirt” on Hillary Clinton was passed along.)

Mike Flynn promised the Russian ambassador that Trump would drop sanctions against Russia. (No such promise was made.) President Trump told James Comey to drop the investigation into Flynn. (The only evidence that Trump suggested such a thing is Comey’s own memo; Trump was unaware of the investigation into his campaign at the time.)

And so on.

But the most compelling evidence that you refused to accept was right before your very eyes the entire time. In nearly two years, Mueller did not charge one person with so-called “collusion.” Not one associate tied to the Trump campaign was indicted or convicted of any crime related to the election.

I know you still have hope that the full Mueller report will contain some far-fetched nugget of collusion evidence to vindicate your gullibility/ignorance/foolishness. You’ve already moved the goalposts to an imaginary crime of obstruction of justice even though there was no underlying crime to obstruct.

History will not be kind to the Trump-Russia collusion truthers in Congress, the expert class, Hollywood, and the media. But history also shouldn’t forget the role that you, Citizen Collusion Truther, played in this. No matter how many tweets and Facebook posts you delete, it cannot erase your complicit stupidity in this scandal.

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2016 Election • Administrative State • Center for American Greatness • Deep State • Democrats • Donald Trump • Hillary Clinton • Intelligence Community • Mueller-Russia Witch Hunt • Obama • Post • The Media

The Tables Turn in Russian Collusion Hunt

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The irony of the entire Russian collusion hoax is that accusers who cried the loudest about leaking, collusion, lying, and obstruction are themselves soon very likely to be accused of just those crimes.

Now that Robert Mueller’s 674-day, $30 million investigation is over and has failed to find the original goal of its mandate—evidence of a criminal conspiracy between the Trump presidential campaign and the Russian government to sway the 2016 election—and now that thousands of once-sealed government documents will likely be released in unredacted form, those who eagerly assumed the role of the hunters may become the hunted, due to their own zealous violation of the nation’s trust and its laws.

Take Lying
Former FBI Director James Comey’s testimonies cannot be reconciled with those of his own deputy director Andrew McCabe. He falsely testified that the Steele dossier was not the main basis for obtaining FISA court warrants. On at least 245 occasions, Comey swore under oath that he either did not know, or could not remember, when asked direct questions about his conduct at the FBI. He likely lied when he testified that he did not conclude his assessment of the Clinton illegal email use before he had even interviewed Clinton, an assertion contradicted by his own written report. I guess his credo and modus operandi are reflected in the subtitle of his recent autobiography A Higher Loyalty: “Truth, Lies, and Leadership.”

Andrew McCabe currently is under criminal referral for lying to federal investigators about leaking to the media. He and Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein each have accused each other of not telling the whole truth about their shared caper of trying to force President Trump out of office by invoking the 25th Amendment.

Former Director of National Intelligence James Clapper has admitted to lying under oath to Congress—and since lied about his earlier admission of that lying. His recent sworn congressional testimony of not having leaked information about the Steele dossier to the media is again likely to be untrue, given that Clapper had admitted to speaking to CNN’s Jake Tapper about the dossier’s contents. CNN, remember, would in turn go on to hire the mendacious Clapper as an analyst. And once on air, Clapper would insist that Trump was both a Russian asset and thus guilty of collusion crimes greater than those of Watergate. Lies. All lies.

Former CIA Director John Brennan has admitted to lying under oath to Congress on two occasions. He may well face further legal exposure. When he lost his security clearance, he repeatedly lied that Trump was guilty of collusion, however that non-crime is defined. And as the Mueller probe wound down, Brennan with pseudo-authority and trumped-up hints of phony access to secret intelligence sources deceitfully assured the nation that Trump within days would face indictment—perhaps along with his family members.

Brennan in 2016 also reached out to foreign intelligence services, primary British and Australian, to surveille and entrap Trump aides, as a way of circumventing rules preventing CIA monitoring of American citizens. And he may well have also reverse-targeted Americans, under the guise of monitoring foreign nationals, in order to build a case of so-called Trump collusion.

Finally, Brennan testified to Congress in May 2017 that he had not been earlier aware of the dossier or its contents before the election, although in August 2016 it is almost certain that he had briefed Senator Harry Reid (D-Nev.) on it in a spirited effort to have Reid pressure the FBI to keep or expand its counterintelligence investigation of Trump during the critical final weeks of the election.

Clinton aides Cheryl Mills and Huma Abedin likely also lied to FBI investigators when they claimed they had no knowledge while working at the State Department that their boss, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, was using an illegal private email server. In fact, they had read her communications on it and actually inquired about its efficacy.

Samantha Power, the former U.N. ambassador, in her last year in office requested on more than 260 occasions to unmask names of Americans monitored by the government. Yet Power later claimed that most of these requests were not made by her. And yet she either does not know or does not cite who exactly used her name to make such requests during the election cycle. In any case, no one has come forward to admit to the improper use of Power’s name to request the hundreds of unmaskings.

Susan Rice, the former Obama national security advisor, could have made a number of unmasking requests in Power’s name, although she initially denied making any requests in her own name—a lie she immediately amended. Rice, remember, repeatedly lied on national television about the cause and origins of the Benghazi attack, denied there were cash payments for hostages in the Iran deal, misled about the conduct of Beau Bergdahl, and prevaricated over the existence and destruction of weapons of mass destruction in Syria.

Deputy Attorney General Bruce Ohr did not tell the truth on a federal written disclosure required by law when he omitted the key fact that his wife Nellie worked on Christopher Steele’s Fusion GPS dossier. Ohr’s testimony that he completely briefed key FBI officials on the dossier in July or August 2016 is not compatible to what former FBI attorney Lisa Page has testified to concerning the dates of her own knowledge of the Steele material.

Take Foreign Collusion
Christopher Steele is a foreign national. So are many of the Russian sources that he claims he had contacted to solicit dirt on Donald Trump and his campaign aides. In fact, John Brennan’s CIA, soon in consultation with the FBI, was used in circuitous fashion to facilitate surveillance of Donald Trump’s campaign through the use of foreign nationals during the 2016 campaign.

Foreigners such as Maltese professor Josef Mifsud, and former Australian minister for foreign affairs Alexander Downer and an array of intelligence contractors from the British Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) mysteriously met with minor Trump aide George Papadopoulos and others. It is likely that to disguise American intelligence agencies’ efforts to besmirch, surveille, and leak to the press damaging unfounded rumors about the Trump campaign that John Brennan enlisted an entire cadre of foreign nationals. And it is likely to be the most egregious example of using non-U.S. citizens to affect the outcome of an election in our history. If there is a crime of foreign collusion—a conspiracy of U.S. officials to use foreigners to interfere with an American election—then Brennan’s efforts are the textbook example.

Take Leaking
Many of the names unmasked by requests from Samantha Power and Susan Rice were leaked illegally to the media. James Comey himself leaked confidential memos of presidential conversations to the press; in at least one case, the memo was likely classified.

Former FBI general counsel James Baker is currently under criminal referral for improperly leaking classified documents. He seems to have been in contact with the media before the election and he may have been one of many FBI officials and contacts, along with Christopher Steele, that reporters such as David Corn, Michael Isikoff, and Julia Ioffe anonymously referenced in their pre-election published hit pieces on Russian collusion—all the result of the successful strategies of Fusion GPS, along with some in the FBI, to seed unverified anti-Trump gossip to warp the election. Andrew McCabe also is under criminal referral both for leaking classified information and then lying about it.

In a fashion emblematic of this entire sordid mess, the always ethically compromised James Clapper in January 2017 had leaked the dossier to Jake Tapper of CNN and likely other journalists and then shortly afterwards publicly deplored just this sort of government leaking that had led to sensational stories about the dossier.

Take Obstruction of Justice
A number of FBI and Department of Justice high ranking employees such as James Comey, Andrew McCabe, Rod Rosenstein, and Sally Yates all signed off on FISA warrants to surveille Carter Page without apprising the courts that they knew that their chief evidence, the Steele Dossier, was unverified, was paid for by Hillary Clinton, and was used in circular fashion as the basis for news accounts presented to the court. Nor did the Justice Department and FBI officials apprise the FISA justices that Christopher Steele had been terminated as a FBI source.

No one believes that former Attorney General Loretta Lynch just happened to meet Bill Clinton on a Phoenix airport tarmac and confined their conservations to a variety of topics having nothing to do with Hillary Clinton—at a time when Lynch’s Justice Department was investigating her. Note the meeting was only disclosed because a reporter got a tip and arrived on the scene of the two adjoining Lynch and Clinton private jets—which suggests that the only thing Lynch and Clinton regretted was being found out. Few believe that Lynch had recused herself as she promised, given her strict oversight of the sort of language Comey’s FBI was allowed to use in its investigation of Clinton.

Take Conflict of Interest
Andrew McCabe never should have been in charge of the FBI investigation of Hillary Clinton, given that just months earlier his wife had been the recipient of $675,000 in campaign cash donated by Clinton and Democratic Party-affiliated political action committees. And the apology of a “time line” that suggests conflicts of interest like McCabe’s expired after an arbitrary date is specious. McCabe knew his spouse had been a recent recipient of Clinton-related money, knew that he had substantial influence on the fate of her email investigation, and hoped and assumed that she was likely to be the next president of the United States quite soon.

Rod Rosenstein never should have been appointed acting attorney general in charge of oversight of the Mueller investigation. He knew Mueller well. In circular fashion, he had drafted the rationale to fire Comey that had prompted the Mueller’s appointment. He had signed off on a FISA warrant request without apprising the court of the true nature of the Steele dossier’s origins and nature. He had met shortly before the Mueller appointment with acting FBI director Andrew McCabe to investigate the chance of removing Trump under a distortion of the 25th Amendment. So, in essence, Rosenstein had been one of the catalysts for McCabe to investigate removing Trump for his own part in the removal of Comey and then in Orwellian fashion joined McCabe’s efforts.

Comey deliberately leaked a classified memo of a presidential conversation, in which he had misled the president about his actual status under FBI investigations, in order to cause enough media outrage over his firing to prompt the hiring of a special counsel. That gambit succeeded in the appointment of his own longtime associate Robert Mueller, who would be charged to investigate “collusion,” in which Comey played an important role in monitoring the Trump campaign with the assistance of British national Christopher Steele.

Robert Mueller did not need to appoint a legal team inordinately Democratic, which included attorneys who had been either donors to the Clinton campaign, or had been attorneys for Clinton aides, or had defended the Clinton Foundation. And he certainly should not have included on his investigative team that was charged with adjudicating Russian collusion in the 2016 election both Zainab Ahmad and Andrew Weissman, Obama Justice Department officials, who had been briefed by Bruce Ohr before the election on the nature of the Steele dossier and its use of foreign sources.

It will be difficult to unravel all of the above lying, distortion, and unethical and illegal conduct.

The motives of these bad actors are diverse, but they share a common denominator. As Washington politicos and administrative state careerists, all of them believed that Donald Trump was so abhorrent that he should be prevented from winning the 2016 election. After his stunning and shocking victory, they assumed further that either he should not be inaugurated or he should be removed from office as soon as they could arrange it.

They further reasoned that as high and esteemed unelected officials their efforts were above and beyond the law, and rightly so, given their assumed superior wisdom and morality.

Finally, if their initial efforts were predicated on winning not just exemption from the law, but even promotions and kudos from a grateful President Hillary Clinton, their subsequent energies at removing Trump and investing in the collusion hoax were preemptive and defensive. Seeding the collusion hoax was a way either of removing Trump who had the presidential power to call them all to account for their illegality, or at least causing so much media chaos and political havoc that their own crimes and misdemeanors would be forgotten by becoming submerged amid years of scandal, conspiracies, and media sensationalism.

And they were almost—but so far not quite—correct in all their assumptions.

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2016 Election • Administrative State • Big Media • Center for American Greatness • Deep State • Democrats • Donald Trump • Hillary Clinton • Mueller-Russia Witch Hunt • Post • Russia • The Left • The Media • The Resistance (Snicker)

No Recriminations for the Real Collusion

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The total exoneration of President Trump and his campaign has given his voters a few days of smiles and happy headlines, but not deep satisfaction. The claim that Donald Trump, his family, and his staff were traitors and Russian agents remains a sickening reminder of the corruption of our FBI, Department of Justice, and Barack Obama’s administration. The debasement of our once free press into a state propaganda ministry is an ongoing assault on our country. None of these problems are resolved with the end of Robert Mueller’s witch hunt.

The Russia collusion hoax has left the credibility of our justice system in tatters. We did, in fact, have Russian collusion to affect the outcome of 2016 the electionand it was entirely the handiwork of Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama. Justice requires not only that the innocent are exonerated, but that the guilty are punished. It isn’t going to happen. Justice takes a second seat to politics.

How It Came to Be
It was obvious from the first that Hillary Clinton, via Fusion GPS, was the creative force behind the Russian collusion hoax. The euphemism “dossier” could not disguise what was soon revealed to be a concoction of opposition research lies. Worse, Clinton’s accusations were produced in collusion with Russian agents—“dossier” author and former British spy Christopher Steele relied on old contacts in Moscow to relay unverifiable gossip—in order to discredit the outcome of a presidential election.

As for holding President Obama and his administration responsible for their many criminal actions? I don’t know why journalists write columns raising this possibility when they know it will never happen.

It doesn’t matter who is attorney general when the Justice Department remains packed with Obama loyalists. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s slow-walking of Trump appointments for two years has kept the deep state in power. Justice from that quarter seems unlikely. But those aren’t the most important barriers to justice. There will be no special investigator into the Russia hoax.

Talking about uncovering the miscreants behind the hoax is good for clicks and polling. Doing something? Years of further investigations likely would alienate milquetoast suburban moms and the vast majority of blacks. It is not smart politics. Trump needs to peel off some of those voters, and going after Clinton and Obama would be counterproductive to his reelection hopes.

A few high-profile, lower level agents may feel some heat, but not the top dogs. I doubt if the investigation would rise to the level of former Attorney General Loretta Lynch, former U.N. Ambassador Susan Rice, or former Director of National Intelligence James Clapper. All three would get us close to President Obama. No one is going after Obama, ever.

Over and over, Trump’s voters have been told the next investigator would be an honest cop, like Gary Cooper in “High Noon.” This time, Clinton and Obama’s criminal shenanigans would be called to account. Don’t make me laugh.

Does anyone remember how often we were told that former FBI Director James Comey was a bipartisan straight shooter? That Trump’s first attorney general, Jeff Sessions, was loyal and courageous and hated false accusations? We were assured that Justice Department Inspector General Michael Horowitz was the upright man who would expose the fake Clinton investigation and clean house at the FBI. That never happened.

Unjust Double Standards
Each time we’ve had to relearn the bitter lesson that America has a two-tiered justice system: one for politically well-connected Democrats and one for the rest of us.

It just happened again, with a Chicago prosecutor letting “Empire” actor Jussie Smollett walk free, ignoring the grand jury findings of probable cause that he faked a hate crime to smear Trump supporters. There was a call to the Cook County attorney from Michelle Obama’s former chief of staff, a $10,000 “contribution” (in the form of a surrendered bail bond) and a clean slate with no trial. The true hate crime is ignored: the lie that Trump supporters are racist, homophobic thugs. That hate gets a free pass, although more than once it has led to violence, including attempted murder. The country is once again damaged by liberal race-baiting, and Democrats are happy.

U.S. Senator Lindsey Graham’s scathing denunciation of Democrats during Brett Kavanaugh’s confirmation hearings rings truer than ever. “Boy, y’all want power. I hope you never get it,” Graham said. “I hope the American people can see through this sham. God, I hate to say it, because these have been my friends. But let me tell you, when it comes to this, you’re looking for a fair process? You came to the wrong town at the wrong time, my friend.”

Those are the political reasons nothing will be done about the Russia hoax.

Media Complicity and Cooperation
The second reason is equally ominous for our country
how the Democrats get away with it. We can’t have political accountability without an honest media. Fox News is mostly honest, but it does not reach low-information voters and Democrats.  We’ve always had a partisan mainstream media, pretending to be objective. Now they have become outright liars. That is why justice will never be done.

The Clinton-Obama team, including key players in Obama’s inner circle such as Susan Rice and John Brennan, and also the crooked agents and lawyers in the FBI and Justice Department, could not have carried off the Russian collusion hoax to subvert our presidential election without the wholehearted collusion of the American press.

The Russian collusion hoax has been debunked, but the underlying problems remain. Throughout the Obama years, the press willingly transformed itself into a propaganda arm of the Democratic National Committee. They had to hide damning facts about Obama’s career as an American-hating Alinskyite or he would never have been nominated, much less elected.

The press suppressed the video of Obama with anti-Israeli radical Rashid Khalidi. They suppressed the photo of Obama with his arm around Farrakhan. They hid that Obama’s church for 20 years was not only anti-white and anti-Jewish, but also socialistcongregants took a “black value system” pledge against “the Pursuit of Middleclassness.”  The press hid candidate Obama cheating in the primary against Hillary Clinton. The media repeated the lie that the Illinois senator was not close to the “radical, Leftist, small ‘c’ communist,” convicted terrorist Bill Ayers. Facts on record showed that Ayers hired Obama for the biggest job of his life, distributing $100 million meant to help Chicago’s schoolchildren, which they siphoned off for radical causes instead.

Protecting Obama’s presidency from scrutiny required ongoing corruption from the press corps. The sins of omission got bigger and more consequential as the Obama presidency wore on. Somewhere along the way, they turned to sins of commission, with the media pushing lies to help Obama get re-elected and free from damaging scandals.

They had to hide the fact that Obama siphoned off $640 million from bank fines and directed the funds to radical groups. They made light of his administration weaponizing the IRS against political opposition. They happily fed into the echo chamber the administration’s lies about the Iran nuclear weapons deal. And, of course, they recycled the administration’s phony talking points about the Benghazi disaster.

Most of all, the press had to push the lie that Obama was a “moderate” and a “racial healer,” despite his cynical incitement of racial division over the corpse of Trayvon Martin and his role in advancing the “hands up, don’t shoot” lie in Ferguson, Missouri.  The press supported the lies and set back race relations in this country by many decades.

After nine years of covering up for Obama, it was second nature for the press to push the Obama-Clinton frame-up of Trump as a Russian stooge.  

The danger and destruction this propaganda press is visiting upon America cannot be overstated.

Without the checks of a professional press, Democrats will never be held to account, not in the courts and not in the court of public opinion.

Progressive America is free to run amok. They have not been chastised and they will not stop.

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2016 Election • Administrative State • America • Big Media • Center for American Greatness • Deep State • Democrats • Donald Trump • Hillary Clinton • Intelligence Community • Mueller-Russia Witch Hunt • Obama • Post

America Needs a SetUpGate Truth Commission

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What happened?

On the one hand, we know what happened: nothing. Neither Donald Trump nor anyone in his 2016 campaign, family, or businesses “colluded” with Russia or with any other foreign power to steal the 2016 election.

But, really, we knew this already. By “we” I here mean anyone not insane and/or in the grip of a monomaniacal anti-Trump rage. The story was, from the beginning, so ridiculous on its face, so devoid of even the flimsiest evidence, that no one not desperate to believe bought it for a second.

I would include in that “we” also those few who forced themselves to take the story seriously, through all its mind-numbing twists and turns, despite its obvious implausibility. That’s more than I can say for myself; I never could muster the mental energy to follow the details, the same way I can’t bring myself to spend any time on 9/11 “truthism.” But journalists such as Mollie Hemingway, Catherine Herridge, Chuck Ross, Kim Strassel, Byron York, Julie Kelly, and Tucker Carlson (and too few others ), by wedging their minds open, just in case any evidence were to emerge, are in the catbird seat right now.

Not that anyone in the corporate-Left media (CLM) will give them credit. To the contrary, the moment Mueller delivered his report to the Attorney General and informed a distraught media that no further indictments would be forthcoming, the cable shows and Twitter have been desperately searching for a silver lining. Drumpf must have done something! Just because he’s “not guilty” by some arcane legal standard doesn’t mean he’s innocent!

They’re right on one point, though not in the way they think. There’s plenty of guilt to go around. But it all resides with them, broadly understood: the media, of course (reporters and pundits alike); the tippy-top Obama Administration officials who engineered this farce; the deep state operatives who helped them and kept it going once the Obamanauts were out of office; the Democratic Party; the Hillary campaign; the Clintons themselves; the elite law firm that offered itself up as a cutout; plus the special counsel himself and his team, who must have known long ago that their original remit would never pan out but kept going (for 674 days and $50 million) anyway.

Which is to say: the most powerful individuals, institutions and interests in America conspired to set up a presidential candidate, and later president-elect, and later still President. Their goal? To defeat him in 2016; should he be elected, to prevent his taking office; and should he take office, to have him removed. And yet it’s precisely these people who accused (and, in many cases, still accuse) Mr. Trump of “stealing” and “rigging” an election, of “subverting our democracy.” This is projection on an unimaginable scale. As Carlson likes to point out, whatever the modern Left accuses its enemies of doing, you can be sure that’s exactly what they’re doing.

“Set up” is actually generous. RussiaGate was not the deliciously complex framing orchestrated by a criminal-mastermind villain in an Agatha Christie novel. The Russia-collusion narrative was, to the contrary, ham-fisted and preposterous from the beginning—so transparently dumb that the only way to believe it was to be dumb yourself, or else desperately to want to believe.

Alas, most people fooled by SetUpGate—for the real scandal deserves a more accurate name—fall into the latter category. They wanted—and still want—to believe that Trump is guilty of colluding with a foreign power to win the 2016 election. For them, SetUpGate is just a tent pole on which to hang their real desires. Few have the imagination or the will to conjure into being a false narrative that others can rally around. But most need such a narrative in order to rally. Lucky for them, human nature provides a small but steady supply of bold liars to create new narratives. Which is why a persistent feature of our corrupt times are fake stories—“Hands up, don’t shoot!”; “indelible in the hippocampus”; “He smirked!”; “This is MAGA country!”—designed to froth up the faithful.

This, at root, is all SetUpGate is, or ever was: a story for people already anti-Trump to seize upon, to allow them to frame their opposition as something deeper and higher-minded than “White nationalism!!” or “Orange Man Bad.”

Others were the first to call SetUpGate the biggest political scandal in American history. It is that, of course, but it’s also something else, something bigger, something worse: the largest—by far—instance of elite malfeasance in American history.

It’s illuminating to contrast SetUpGate with another fiasco: the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001. Both are examples of elite-government failure, but the lessons emerge from the differences.

“Truther” conspiracy theories notwithstanding, the officials in charge of protecting America from terrorist attack did not want 9/11 to happen. They were acting not to make something happen but to prevent an unquestionable harm to our country. Their failure therefore hurt us all. But also, since their intentions were good, the blame settled on them had the character of shared sadness: those who failed no less than those whom they failed—i.e., the entire country—regretted the failure. Hence most everyone—citizen and official alike—wanted answers. A Commission was duly formed to find those answers. And, in fact, many were found.

SetUpGate was—thank God—no less a failure, but a failure of an entirely different kind. The elites who failed were acting affirmatively, pushing a project, not merely trying to prevent something bad. Though, of course, their project was itself bad, which is why we should all be elated that they failed. Yet, unlike in the aftermath of 9/11, opinion about their failure is divided. Those who support President Trump are of course elated that they failed. Those who are actually sincere when they claim to care about democracy, even if they don’t like Trump, should at least be relieved. And those who oppose him and don’t care at all about democracy, or who identify “democracy” with their own interests and preferences, are crushed.

Those in the first two categories should want answers. Those in the third naturally do not. But answers there must be. How did this happen? How did our every institution, public and private, and hundreds—possibly even thousands—of privileged, educated, credentialed and supposedly well-meaning people in positions of power and trust get something so big, so wrong, on purpose? How did they—how were they allowed to—act deliberately and directly against their supposed charges and responsibilities, consistently, for more than two-and-a-half years?

If American institutions—public and private—are ever to regain even a modicum of trust and legitimacy, a full reckoning must occur. If it does not—if those responsible refuse to explain, fully, their culpability, their actions, their decisions, their outrageous rhetoric, their lies—then those institutions will become husks, empty shells. A fate they will deserve.

Ideally, this reckoning would proceed on two tracks: first, each affected institution would investigate itself; second, the government would use its powers to mount a comprehensive investigation of its own. The latter would examine governmental misconduct, but also—as did the 9/11 and other commissions—the misconduct of all relevant actors, public and private.

But even to make this suggestion is to laugh. We all know that none of this will ever happen. The media will spend not one nanosecond in introspection or soul-searching—neither as an industry, nor as individual organizations. It will instead—as it is already doing—pour its energies into retroactive self-justification and desperate hair-splitting to keep the dream alive. Mueller did not exonerate Trump! He only said he couldn’t “establish” that any collusion took place, not that he could prove that no collusion took place! And he explicitly declined to exonerate Trump for obstruction!

The media and their Democratic Party masters will go on like this for, roughly, ever. The massive number of unforced errors they committed during the whole fiasco—the huge catalogue of false stories they broadcast and published—they will excuse, as again they already are excusing, as examples of their righteous zeal to get “information” and “news” to the public as quickly as possible. There will be no reckoning, and no one will pay a price.

The government, or parts of it, likely will conduct quick, desultory “investigations,” the purposes of which will not be to get to the truth but to “do something” so that they can say they did. The posture will be “We investigated this, found a few process missteps, reassigned one or two people and rebuked others (we won’t say who), and you can trust us now. We cleaned our own house.” Only a fool or a true believer will believe a word of that.

So what, then, is to be done? Here’s a suggestion. A lot of money is donated and spent by the Right every year. Why not commit a couple hundred grand of that to a small team of investigative reporters and researchers to do the job that all the complicit organizations will not do? To do what the press ostensibly exists to do but will not? Granted, such an investigation—lacking subpoena and other official powers—will be far less effective than a real investigation with teeth. But since we know the latter will never happen, why make the perfect the enemy of the as-good-as-it’s-gonna-get?

Here are some of the questions I suggest they look into. This is by no means a comprehensive list, since I am far from a leading expert on SetUpGate. Therefore I further suggest that, once the money is committed and this new investigation gets rolling, those leading it immediately consult the people named above on what lines of inquiry to pursue. Or, even better, why not hire some of them?

  • Who made the initial decision to hire Fusion GPS to do opposition research on Trump? Was it Hillary herself? Bill? Someone lower down in the Clinton campaign? Someone in the Democratic Party? Who?
  • Did Fusion GPS decide on its own to make the focus of its “research” alleged “collusion with Russia”? Or did they do so in collaboration with the Clinton campaign? If so, with whom? When did those conversations take place?
  • What did Hillary and Bill know and when did they know it? When did they learn that opposition research they paid for was alleging that Trump was compromised by, or even working directly with, Russia? Did they ever raise objections or have any misgivings? Who, in total, on the Clinton campaign and that DNC knew of the campaign’s/Party’s role in creating the dossier? Did anyone in either organization raise any objections or have any misgivings?
  • Previous reporting suggests that the notorious “dossier” was merely the tip of the iceberg of a much larger opposition research effort focused on alleged Trump-Russia collusion. What other products were created? By whom? What were their contents and allegations? With whom were they shared in government and the media? What was the Clintons’ direct or indirect involvement?
  • Whose idea was it to pay Fusion through a law firm in order to hide the campaign’s involvement? Who specifically at Perkins Coie approved the use of his (or her) firm for this purpose? Did the firm’s entire senior leadership know or were some kept in the dark? If so, why? Were any criminal or civil statutes broken? Were any national or state bar association ethical rules violated?
  • How, exactly, and through whom, did the dossier and other Russia-related opposition “research” get into the hands of the U.S. government? Who specifically within the federal government came up with the idea to use that “research”—including but limited to the dossier—to obtain warrants to spy on the Trump campaign? Who approved that idea? Who knew about it?
  • What were all the ways the “dossier” and other such “research” were fed to the U.S. government? We know it got into the hands of the FBI, the Justice Department and the State Department (the latter fact is still little recognized). How many government agencies received this information? Which ones specifically? Which officials? Under what circumstances did they receive it? Who, specifically, gave it to them and when? What were the political and institutional affiliations of those who provided the information?
  • What were the exact circumstances of how the FBI obtained its surveillance warrants on Trump’s campaign team? That is to say, what did officials tell—and what did they withhold from—the judges from whom they obtained those warrants? Were the judges, as has been suggested in some reporting, deliberately misled so as to issue warrants that, had they known all the facts, they would not have issued?
  • What persons either formally employed by or affiliated with the Trump campaign, did the U.S. government telephonically surveil? Name them all. Who authorized such surveillance and on what explicit justification? Who knew about the surveillance and when?
  • To what extent did the U.S. government rely on human spies—aka “HUMINT”—to surveil the Trump campaign? When did that effort begin? How many such spies were employed? Who were they? For whom did they work? Who ordered the use of such spies and on what explicit justification? Who were those spies “targets”—i.e., on whom did they spy? Who in the U.S. government knew about this operation? Did anyone in the Clinton campaign know about it?
  • What did the Obama team know and when did they know it? When all this was coming together, Barack Obama was still President. Senior members of his administration still ran all these agencies. What did they know? How involved were they? Specifically, Barack Obama, Joe Biden, Loretta Lynch, Sally Yates, James Clapper, John Brennan, Susan Rice, Avril Haines, Ben Rhodes—what did they know and when?
  • Did any of them actually participate in decision-making to use the power of the state to spy on the Trump campaign? Or were they merely told about it? If the latter, were they told contemporaneously or later? Did anyone raise any objections or concerns? Explain their precise roles. If they knew, how could they not have been a part of the plot? If they did not know, how could they not have been negligent in their roles and responsibilities?
  • Finally—and I’ve saved the most important for last—who leaked information from Mike Flynn’s phone conversations with the Russian ambassador? This remains the most serious—by far—actual crime committed throughout this whole sordid affair. We know this is a crime; all one has to do is read the statute. We know it happened; all one has to do is read the reporting. The only thing we don’t know is who did it. The initial leak(s) happened when the Obama Administration was still in office. There’s no way to blame Trump or anyone around Trump for this one. Who did it? Who knew about it and either approved of it or didn’t stop it?

These questions are but the tip of the iceberg. There are dozens more that demand answers just from the period before Trump took office. Broaden the inquiry to the subsequent two years and the list expands to hundreds. Include questions about the media’s conduct, and that of the former officials it hired to opine mendaciously, the list expands to thousands.

Our institutions—with few exceptions—have already demonstrated a fundamental incuriosity about all of these questions, and indeed about any questions whose answers might further impugn the reputations of said institutions.

Which is why, unless some well-resourced patriot, or patriots, step forward to bankroll a real investigation, the reckoning for which so many are clamoring will never come.

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2016 Election • Administrative State • Center for American Greatness • Deep State • Democrats • Donald Trump • Hillary Clinton • Mueller-Russia Witch Hunt • Post • The Media

How a Former McCain Associate Obtained the Steele Dossier and Helped Advance the Russian-Collusion Narrative

After receiving a subpoena to appear before the House Intelligence Committee last year,  David Kramer, a close associate of the late Senator John McCain (R-Ariz.), invoked his Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination. The committee had additional questions to ask Kramer about his handling of the infamous Steele dossier, which he helped circulate on Capitol Hill and in the news media after the 2016 presidential election.

Now, we may know why.

Kramer’s recently unsealed court deposition in a lawsuit related to the dossier contains bombshell revelations that not only directly contradict media reporting about how McCain came into possession of the dossier, but Kramer’s December 2017 testimony also undercut claims made by McCain himself in his 2018 book. This might explain why Kramer refused to appear before the committee for a second time.

It’s important to revisit the history of the dossier. While the term is meant to confer seriousness (it sounds more official than “file”), the dossier is nothing more than unverified political opposition research produced by Christopher Steele, a former British intelligence officer who now runs a consulting firm in London. Steele was hired in mid-2016 by Glenn Simpson, the head of Fusion GPS, also a political consulting firm, to dig up Russia-related dirt on then-candidate Trump. Simpson, in turn, was being paid by the Democratic National Committee and Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign.

(Steele and Simpson have collaborated since 2009 on behalf of “oligarchs litigating against other oligarchs,” according to a 2017 article in The Guardian.)

Steele confessed that he never traveled to Russia, and instead relied on distant sources and hearsay for the dossier, which is a poorly formatted and in some places, ridiculous, collection of allegations about Trump and some associates. It’s nothing close to hard evidence—but that did not stop former FBI Director James Comey from presenting the dossier to a secret court in order to obtain a warrant to spy on a Trump campaign volunteer.

The dossier was used before the election for a number of nefarious purposes by political schemers at the highest levels of government. But McCain’s engagement occurred after the election. This is even more troubling because the shady dossier was legitimized arguably by Trump’s most powerful enemy on Capitol Hill in a campaign to sabotage the duly elected president of the United States.

Shortly after the election, McCain and Kramer attended a conference in Nova Scotia. Kramer, who worked for the McCain Institute at the time, hosted a panel with Sir Andrew Wood, a former British ambassador to Russia. At the November 19, 2016 event, McCain, Kramer, and a staffer for the Senate armed services committee briefly met with Wood.

According to Kramer, Wood mentioned “the possibility of a video that might have shown the president-elect in a compromising situation. He mentioned that it was, if it existed, from a hotel in Moscow before he was president-elect, and . . . [it] was of a sexual nature.” (Wood was referring to the infamous “pee pee” tape that has yet to surface.)

In his final book, The Restless Wave, McCain described the somber climate of the meeting despite its farcical topic.

“Our impromptu meeting felt charged with a strange intensity,” McCain wrote. “We spoke in lowered voices. The room was dimly lit, and the atmosphere was eerie.” Both Kramer and McCain admit that Wood did not present to them any material, including the dossier. At that point, it was gossip. But McCain “was taken aback. They were shocking allegations.” (Wood, it turns out, is an advisor to Steele’s consulting firm.)

What happened afterwards appears to be in dispute. McCain wrote, “Kramer offered to go to London to meet with Steele, confirm his credibility, and report back to me. I agreed to the idea.”

But Kramer had a different, and far more consequential, version of the story. In his deposition, Kramer testified that McCain directed him to meet with Steele. “[Wood] said that the person who gathered this was in London and would be willing to meet. And so the Senator turned to me and asked me if I would go to London to meet with what turned out to be Steele.”

This is a distinction with a major difference; if Kramer indeed offered to go of his own accord, that’s far different than a sitting U.S. senator directing an associate to travel overseas to track down information from an unknown British consultant that would humiliate the incoming U.S. president. In his own June 2018 court deposition, Steele testified that “McCain nominated [Kramer] as the intermediary” between the hired gun and the senator.

There is another significant fact Kramer revealed that contradicts news reports as well as McCain’s suggestion in his book about who furnished the dossier to him. The public has been led to believe that Steele gave Kramer a top-secret copy of the dossier during their November 28, 2016 meeting in London; Kramer, in turn, gave it to McCain upon his arrival home. “Kramer flew back to Washington that same night, guarding his hard-won prize with his life,” wrote Howard Blum in a 2017 puff piece about Steele for Vanity Fair.

McCain also intimated that Steele was his source for the dossier. “When David returned and shared his impression that the former spy was . . . a respected professional . . . I agreed to receive a copy of what is now referred to as ‘the dossier.’ I reviewed its contents. The allegations were disturbing.”

In fact, Steele refused to give Kramer the dossier in London; instead he arranged for Kramer to meet Glenn Simpson in Washington the very next day. It was Simpson, a DNC-Hillary Clinton hired gun, who was responsible for furnishing two versions of the dossier to Kramer and ultimately to McCain.

“Both [Simpson] and Steele knew that I was going to give this to Senator McCain,” Kramer testified. “[Simpson] indicated to me that it was a very sensitive document and needed to be handled very carefully. That it covered material that was politically sensitive and in terms of the allegations in here, so it was not something to be bandied about.” Kramer also acknowledged he became aware that Fusion had a “relationship” with Steele at that point.

Even more troubling, Kramer claimed McCain did not carefully vet the 35-page dossier.

“He had not read the whole thing but had read parts of it and indicated that he would think about what to do and would probably go see [FBI Director James] Comey,” Kramer explained in his deposition, referring his November 30, 2016 meeting with McCain. The senator delivered the dossier to Comey over a week later, on December 9; it’s unclear whether Comey informed the senator that he already had possession of the dossier since the summer.

McCain, true to form, put a selfless, patriotic spin to what he did. “I did what duty demanded I do,” he wrote. “I gave it to the people best equipped to answer those questions. Had I done any less I would be ashamed of myself.” The reason he was given the dossier, McCain explained, was not that he was a Republican foe of a Republican president who had won the office that McCain twice failed to win himself, but because McCain is “known internationally to be a persistent critic of Putin’s regime.” Anyone who disagreed with his handling of the dossier could “go to hell,” he warned.

Kramer has a different view of why Steele and Simpson wanted McCain involved. “I think they felt a senior Republican was better to be the recipient of this rather than a Democrat because if it were a Democrat, I think that the view was that it would have been dismissed as a political attack,” he said during his deposition.

But in late 2016, there was no difference between McCain and the Democrats; in fact, McCain was a more dangerous adversary than any of his Democratic colleagues considering his vaunted status in the U.S. news media. Trump-hating journalists were happy to do the dirty work of any Trump foe, especially a Republican one with unmatched influence on Capitol Hill.

As I will detail later this week, the reason McCain passed along the dossier to Comey appears to have had less to do with national security than with confirming that explosive news with complicit journalists. While McCain worked over the news media in late 2016 to peddle stories about Trump and Russia, Kramer worked with Simpson behind the scenes to validate the dossier. It was a carefully executed strategy—in collaboration with the Democrats—to undermine Trump and sap the public’s trust in their newly-elected president.

In the end, it backfired.

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Photo Credit: Win McNamee/Getty Images

America • Americanism • Hillary Clinton • Lincoln • Post • The Culture

Time to Embrace the ‘American’s Creed’

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America today is an enormously divided nation, both politically and culturally. We should hope this situation soon will change in a manner that, among other things, embodies and puts into practice the very special words of the “American’s Creed.” In order for this to happen, many currently serving politicians—at all levels of government—will first need to learn what the “American’s Creed” says and then learn to use its words as guidance for actions and decisions.

Last year marked the 100th anniversary of the adoption of the “American’s Creed” by the U.S. House of Representatives. In April 1918, Congress accepted the words composed in 1917 by William Tyler Page during World War I as the official “American’s Creed.

Referring to the creed, Page said: “It is the summary of the fundamental principles of the American political faith as set forth in its greatest documents, its worthiest traditions, and its greatest leaders.” His wording of the creed used passages and phrases from the Declaration of Independence, the Preamble to the Constitution, Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address, and Daniel Webster’s reply to Robert Y. Hayne in the Senate in 1830. The creed reads as follows:

I believe in the United States of America as a Government of the people, by the people, for the people; whose just powers are derived from the consent of the governed; a democracy in a Republic; a sovereign Nation of many sovereign States; a perfect Union, one and inseparable; established upon those principles of freedom, equality, justice, and humanity for which American patriots sacrificed their lives and fortunes. I therefore believe it is my duty to my Country to love it; to support its Constitution; to obey its laws; to respect its flag; and to defend it against all enemies.

If today’s politicians, at all levels of government but especially members of the United States Congress, strongly embraced and let the “American’s Creed” guide their daily actions and decisions, it would certainly be in the best interests of America. Such a “lifestyle” should help overcome, one hopes in a major way, the terribly bitter and divisive political environment that presently exists in America.

For the benefit of the nation as a whole, Americans serving in high political offices need to join with their patriotic ancestors in supporting and living out the very special words of the “American’s Creed.”

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

Autopsy of a Dead Coup

The illegal effort to destroy the 2016 Trump campaign by Hillary Clinton campaign’s use of funds to create, disseminate among court media, and then salt among high Obama administration officials, a fabricated, opposition smear dossier failed.

So has the second special prosecutor phase of the coup to abort the Trump presidency failed. There are many elements to what in time likely will become recognized as the greatest scandal in American political history, marking the first occasion in which U.S. government bureaucrats sought to overturn an election and to remove a sitting U.S. president.

Preparing the Battlefield
No palace coup can take place without the perception of popular anger at a president.

The deep state is by nature cowardly. It does not move unless it feels it can disguise its subterranean efforts or that, if revealed, those efforts will be seen as popular and necessary—as expressed in tell-all book titles such as fired FBI Directors James Comey’s Higher Loyalty or in disgraced Deputy FBI Director Andrew McCabe’s psychodramatic The Threat.

In candidate and President Trump’s case that prepping of the battlefield translated into a coordinated effort among the media, political progressives and celebrities to so demonize Trump that his imminent removal likely would appear a relief to the people. Anything was justified that led to that end.

All through the 2016 campaign and during the first two years of the Trump presidency the media’s treatment, according to liberal adjudicators of press coverage, ran about 90 percent negative toward Trump—a landmark bias that continues today.

Journalists themselves consulted with the Clinton campaign to coordinate attacks. From the Wikileaks trove, journalistic grandees such as John Harwood, Mark Leibovich, Dana Milbank, and Glenn Thrush often communicated (and even post factum were unapologetic about doing so) with John Podesta’s staff to construct various anti-Trump themes and have the Clinton campaign review or even audit them in advance.

Some contract “journalists” apparently were paid directly by Fusion GPS—created by former reporters Glen Simpson of the Wall Street Journal and Susan Schmidt of the Washington Post—to spread lurid stories from the dossier. Others more refined like Christiane Amanpour and James Rutenberg had argued for a new journalistic ethos that partisan coverage was certainly justified in the age of Trump, given his assumed existential threat to The Truth. Or as Rutenberg put it in 2016: “If you view a Trump presidency as something that’s potentially dangerous, then your reporting is going to reflect that. You would move closer than you’ve ever been to being oppositional. That’s uncomfortable and uncharted territory for every mainstream, non-opinion journalist I’ve ever known, and by normal standards, untenable. But the question that everyone is grappling with is: Do normal standards apply? And if they don’t, what should take their place?”

I suppose Rutenberg never considered that half the country might have considered the Hillary Clinton presidency “potentially dangerous,” and yet did not expect the evening news, in 90 percent of its coverage, to reflect such suspicions.

The Democratic National Committee’s appendages often helped to massage CNN news coverage—such as Donna Brazile’s primary debate tip-off to the Clinton campaign or CNN’s consultation with the DNC about forming talking points for a scheduled Trump interview.

So-called “bombshell,” “watershed,” “turning-point,” and “walls closing in” fake news aired in 24-hour news bulletin cycles. The media went from fabrications about Trump’s supposed removal of the bust of Martin Luther King, Jr. from the Oval Office, to the mythologies in the Steele dossier, to lies about the Trump Tower meeting, to assurances that Michael Cohen would testify to Trump’s suborning perjury, and on and on.

CNN soon proved that it is no longer a news organization at all—as reporters like Gloria Borger, Chris Cuomo, Eric Lichtblau, Manu Raju, Brian Rokus, Jake Tapper, Jeff Zeleny, and teams such as Jim Sciutto, Carl Bernstein, and Marshall Cohen as well as Thomas Frank, and Lex Harris all trafficked in false rumors and unproven gossip detrimental to Trump, while hosts and guest hosts such as Reza Aslan, the late Anthony Bourdain, and Anderson Cooper stooped to obscenity and grossness to attack Trump.

Both politicos and celebrities tried to drive Trump’s numbers down to facilitate some sort of popular ratification for his removal. Hollywood and the coastal corridor punditry exhausted public expressions of assassinating or injuring the president, as the likes of Jim Carrey, Johnny Depp, Robert de Niro, Peter Fonda, Kathy Griffin, Madonna, Snoop Dogg, and a host of others vied rhetorically to slice apart, shoot, beat up, cage, behead, and blow up the president.

Left wing social media and mainstream journalism spread sensational lies about supposed maniacal Trump supporters in MAGA hats. They constructed fantasies that veritable white racists were now liberated to run amuck insulting and beating up people of color as they taunted the poor and victimized minorities with vicious Trump sloganeering—even as the Covington farce and now the even more embarrassing Jussie Smollett charade evaporated without apologies from the media and progressive merchants of such hate.

At the same time, liberal attorneys, foundations, Democratic politicians, and progressive activists variously sued to overturn the election on false charges of rigged voting machines. They sought to subvert the Electoral College. They introduced articles of impeachment. They sued to remove Trump under the Emoluments Clause. They attempted to invoke the 25th Amendment. And they even resurrected the ossified Logan Act—before focusing on the appointment of a special counsel to discredit the Trump presidency. Waiting for the 2020 election was seen as too quaint.

Weaponizing the Deep State
During the 2016 election, the Obama Department of Justice warped the Clinton email scandal investigation, from Bill Clinton’s secret meeting on an airport tarmac with Attorney General Loretta Lynch, to unethical immunity given to the unveracious Clinton aides Huma Abedin and Cheryl Mills, to James Comey’s convoluted predetermined treatment of “likely winner” Clinton, and to DOJ’s Bruce Ohr’s flagrant conflict of interests in relation to Fusion GPS.

About a dozen FBI and DOJ grandees have now resigned, retired, been fired, or reassigned for unethical and likely illegal behavior—and yet have not faced criminal indictments. The reputation of the FBI as venerable agency is all but wrecked. Its administrators variously have libeled the Trump voters, expressed hatred for Trump, talked of “insurance policies” in ending the Trump candidacy, and inserted informants into the Trump campaign.

The former Obama directors of the CIA and National Intelligence, with security clearances intact, hit the television airways as paid “consultants” and almost daily accused the sitting president of Russian collusion and treason—without cross-examination or notice that both previously had lied under oath to Congress (and did so without subsequent legal exposure), and both were likely knee-deep in the dissemination of the Steele dossier among Obama administration officials.

John Brennan’s CIA likely helped to spread the Fusion GPS dossier among elected and administrative state officials. Some in the NSC in massive and unprecedented fashion requested the unmasking of surveilled names of Trump subordinates, and then illegally leaked them to the press.

The FISA courts, fairly or not, are now mostly discredited, given they either were willingly or naively hoodwinked by FBI and DOJ officials who submitted as chief evidence for surveillance on American citizens, an unverified dossier—without disclosure that the bought campaign hit-piece was paid for by Hillary Clinton, authored by a discredited has-been British agent, relied on murky purchased Russian sources, and used in circular fashion to seed news accounts of supposed Trump misbehavior.

The Mueller Investigation
The Crown Jewel in the coup was the appointment of special counsel Robert Muller to discover supposed 2016 Trump-Russian election collusion. Never has any special investigation been so ill-starred from its conception.

Mueller’s appointment was a result of his own friend James Comey’s bitter stunt of releasing secret, confidential and even classified memos of presidential conversations. Acting DOJ Attorney Rod Rosenstein appointed a former colleague Mueller—although as a veteran himself of the Clinton email scandal investigations and the FISA fraudulent writ requests, Rosenstein was far more conflicted than was the recused Attorney General Jeff Sessions.

Mueller then packed his investigative team with lots of Clinton donors and partisans, some of whom had legally represented Clinton subordinates and even the Clinton Foundation or voiced support for anti-Trump movements.

Mueller himself and Andrew Weissmann have had a long record of investigatory and prosecutorial overreach that had on occasion resulted in government liability and court mandated federal restitution. In such polarized times, neither should have involved in such an investigation. Two subordinate FBI investigators were caught earlier on conducting an affair over their FBI-issued cell phones, and during the election cycle they slurred the object of their subsequent investigation, ridiculed Trump voters, and bragged that Trump would never be elected. Mueller later staggered, and then hid for weeks the reasons for, their respective firings.

The team soon discovered there was no Trump-Russian 2016 election collusion—and yet went ahead to leverage Trump campaign subordinates on process crimes in hopes of finding some culpability in Trump’s past 50-year business, legal, and tax records. The point was not to find who colluded with whom (if it had been, then Hillary Clinton would be now indicted for illegally hiring with campaign funds a foreign national to buy foreign fabrications to discredit her opponent), but to find the proper mechanism to destroy the presumed guilty Donald Trump.

The Mueller probe has now failed in that gambit of proving “collusion” (as even progressive investigative reporters and some FBI investigators had predicted), but succeeded brilliantly in two ways.

The “counterintelligence” investigation subverted two years of the Trump presidency by constant leaks that Trump soon would be indicted, jailed, disgraced, or impeached. As a result, Trump’s stellar economic and foreign policy record would never earn fifty percent of public support.

Second, Mueller’s preemptive attacks offered an effective offensive defense for the likely felonious behavior of John Brennan, James Clapper, James Comey, Andrew McCabe, Bruce Ohr, Peter Strzok, and a host of others. While the Mueller lawyers threatened to destroy the lives of bit players like Jerome Corsi, George Papadopoulos, and Roger Stone, they de facto provided exemption to a host of the Washington hierarchy who had lied under oath, obstructed justice, illegally leaked to the press, unmasked and leaked names of surveilled Americans, and misled federal courts under the guise of a “higher loyalty” to the cause of destroying Donald J. Trump.

The Palace Coup
All of the above came to a head with the firing of the chronic leaker FBI Director James Comey (who would lie to the president about his not being a target of an FBI investigation, lie to House investigatory committees by pleading amnesia and ignorance on 245 occasions, and repeatedly lie to his own FBI bureaucrats).

In May 2017, acting FBI director Andrew McCabe took over from the fired Comey. His candidate wife recently had been a recipient of huge Clinton-related campaign PAC donations shortly before he began investigating the Clinton email scandal. McCabe would soon be cited by the Inspector General for lying to federal investigators on numerous occasions—cynically stooping even to lie to his own New York FBI subordinates to invest scarce resources to hunt for their own nonexistent leaks as a mechanism for disguising his own quite real and illegal leaking.

The newly promoted McCabe apparently felt that it was his moment to become famous for taking out a now President Trump. Thus, he assembled a FBI and DOJ cadre to open a counterintelligence investigation of the sitting president on no other grounds but the fumes of an evaporating Clinton opposition dossier and perceived anger among the FBI that their director had just been fired. In addition, apparently now posing as Andrew McCabe, MD, he informally head counted how many of Trump’s own cabinet members could be convinced by McCabe’s own apparent medical expertise to help remove the president on grounds of physical and mental incapacity under the 25th Amendment. This was an attempted, albeit pathetic, coup against an elected president and the first really in the history of the United States.

At one point, McCabe claims that the acting Attorney General of the United States Rod Rosenstein volunteered to wear a wire to entrap his boss President Trump—in the manner of Trump’s own attorney Michael Cohen’s entrapment of Trump, in the manner of James Comey taking entrapment notes on confidential Trump one-on-one meetings and leaking them to the press, and in the manner of the Department of Justice surveilling Trump subordinates through FISA and other court authorizations.

McCabe was iconic of an utterly corrupt FBI Washington hierarchy, which we now know from the behavior of its disgraced and departed leadership. They posed as patriotic scouts, but in reality proved themselves arrogant, smug, and incompetent. They harbored such a sense of superiority that they were convinced they could act outside the law in reifying an “insurance policy” that would end the Trump presidency.

The thinking of the conspirators initially had been predicated on three assumptions thematic during this three-year long government effort to destroy Trump:

One, during 2016, Hillary Clinton would certainly win the election and FBI and DOJ unethical and illegal behavior would be forgotten if not rewarded, given the Clintons’ own signature transgressions and proven indifference to the law;

Two, Trump was so controversial and the fabricated dossier was so vile and salacious, that seeded rumors of Trump’s faked perversity gave them de facto exemptions to do whatever they damned pleased;

Three, Trump’s low polls, his controversial reset of American policy, and the general contempt in which he was held by the bipartisan coastal elite, celebrities, and the deep state, meant that even illegal means to continue the campaign-era effort to destroy Trump and now abort his presidency were felt to be moral and heroic acts without legal consequences, and the media would see the conspirators as heroes.

In sum, the Left and the administrative state, in concert with the media, after failing to stop the Trump campaign, regrouped. They ginned up a media-induced public hysteria, with the residue of the Hillary Clinton campaign’s illegal opposition research, and manipulated it to put in place a special counsel, stocked with partisans.

Then, not thugs in sunglasses and epaulettes, not oligarchs in private jets, not shaggy would-be Marxists, but sanctimonious arrogant bureaucrats in suits and ties used their government agencies to seek to overturn the 2016 election, abort a presidency, and subvert the U.S. Constitution. And they did all that and more on the premise that they were our moral superiors and had uniquely divine rights to destroy a presidency that they loathed.

Shame on all these failed conspirators and their abettors, and may these immoral people finally earn a long deserved legal and moral reckoning.

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Democrats • Donald Trump • Foreign Policy • Hillary Clinton • Post • The ME Agenda • the Presidency

Avoid the Russian Trap in Afghanistan

President Trump in his January 2 cabinet meeting restated his desire to get U.S. troops out of Afghanistan.

He views the war in Afghanistan as a serious problem for the United States, and illustrated his point with a history lesson. “Russia used to be the Soviet Union. Afghanistan made it Russia, because they went bankrupt fighting in Afghanistan,” he explained.

Though there are important differences between Russia’s war in Afghanistan and America’s war in Afghanistan, Trump’s general point is correct.

America is in tremendous debt today, well over $20 trillion, and a significant portion of that is due to Afghanistan—around $1 trillion to $2 trillion, or maybe even more depending on how it’s calculated.

Additionally, Afghanistan calls into question whether the United States is facing a moral bankruptcy. Americans do not like to see their sons killed in faraway and barbaric places, then shipped home in caskets. It makes people wonder if America is closer to some type of decaying pseudo-empire than the righteous republic it has been for so long.

The war in Afghanistan is America’s longest war ever. America is suffering irreparable damage to its prestige, both at home and abroad.

Trump raised an insightful point worthy of deep consideration. However, the response to his remarks have been rather troubling. Rather than focusing on Trump’s broader point, the Establishment put its energy into playing gotcha games to undermine Trump. MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow even went so far as to respond to Trump’s cabinet meeting by strongly hinting that Trump was a Russian puppet. This is a dangerous reversal of reality.

Russia must be absolutely giddy that America is self-destructing in Afghanistan.

In the 1980s, American planners could watch with glee as Russia got trapped in Afghanistan. Now, the Kremlin gets their turn enjoying the grim spectacle of American suffering in Afghanistan.

Putin, the man who lamented the break up of the Soviet Union, can now enjoy revenge. Every day that America stays in Afghanistan is a day where Russia’s relative standing in the world—in terms of economics, the military, and prestige—goes up.

When Trump wants to remove America from Afghanistan, he isn’t acting on Russia’s behalf, he is protecting Americans from Russia.

In fact, the current situation is so beneficial to Russia, that they are not just fortunate bystanders, but active participants. Just as the CIA armed the Mujahideen to undermine Russia, Russia is now arming the Taliban to undermine America.

If Democrats are truly concerned about covert Russian machinations to hurt America, they would do well to dig into Russian strategic and tactical action as it relates to Afghanistan.

Afghanistan may be a far more sophisticated trap than many realize. America is in Afghanistan because the 9/11 attacks provoked America to respond. Well, there is concrete evidence suggesting Russia played a role in the 9/11 attacks.

A key link between Russia and 9/11 is to be found in the Al-Qaeda terrorist Ayman al-Zawahiri. The Washington Post reported that many consider Zawahiri to be the true “brains” of Al-Qaeda, and also the man responsible for a 1998 shift in Al-Qaeda strategy towards more aggressive violence versus America.

This begs the question: where did Zawahiri come from?

In 1997, Zawahiri was in Russia, under the control of Russian authorities. Russia’s official story, according to their Federal Security Service (FSB), the successor to the KGB, was that they held Zawahiri for half a year but couldn’t identify the terrorist so let him go free. However, their explanation is belied by the fact that Zawahiri was already a world famous terrorist due to his role in the assassination of Anwar Sadat.

Alexander Litvinenko, a former officer at the FSB who defected to England, stated, “Ayaman al-Zawahiri, is an old agent of the FSB… he received special training at one of the educational bases of the FSB.” A year after this statement, Russians poisoned Litvinenko with polonium-210.

Democrats, and the American intelligence community, would do well if they looked at Russian actions here with a mere fraction of the energy they put into maligning Trump. There is significantly more evidence pointing to a Russian role in 9/11 than there is that Trump is a Russian puppet.

Putting aside the genesis of America’s war in Afghanistan, no matter how it started, America being bogged down in Afghanistan suits Russia just fine.

Trump alluded to this in his cabinet meeting, when he said, “I want to spend money on our military without depleting it every day.”

Indeed, Russia enjoys watching America deplete its military.

Current hoax outrage over Russia has done great harm to America. The Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s two-year probe serves Russian interests just fine. America is ripping itself apart from the inside.

But it’s not too late to leverage this disaster into an opportunity. Russian geopolitical actions—so long ignored or misunderstood by the likes of Barack Obama, George W. Bush, and Hillary Clinton—could finally be analyzed with the necessary skepticism. The United States could leave Afghanistan and finally focus on long term prosperity and security for Americans in America.

Photo Credit: Mai/Mai/The LIFE Images Collection/Getty Images

Administrative State • Center for American Greatness • Deep State • Democrats • Donald Trump • Hillary Clinton • Intelligence Community • Mueller-Russia Witch Hunt • Post • The Leviathian State • the Presidency

An Epidemic of Erasures, Redactions, Omissions, and Perjuries

Imagine the following: The IRS sends you, John Q. Citizen, a letter alleging you have not complied with U.S. tax law. In the next paragraph, the tax agency then informs you that it needs a series of personal and business documents. Indeed, it will be sending agents out to discuss your dilemma and collect the necessary records.

But when the IRS agents arrive, you explain to them that you cannot find about 50 percent of the documents requested, and have no idea whether they even exist. You sigh that both hard copies of pertinent information have unfortunately disappeared and hard drives were mysteriously lost.

You nonchalantly add that you smashed your phone, tablet, and computer with a hammer. You volunteer that, of those documents you do have, you had to cut out, blacken or render unreadable about 30 percent of the contents. After all, you have judged that the redacted material either pertains to superfluous and personal matters such as weddings and yoga, or is of such a sensitive nature that its release would endanger your company or business or perhaps even the country at large.

You also keep silent that you have a number of pertinent documents locked up in a safe hidden in your attic unknown to the IRS. Let them find it, you muse. And when the agents question your unilateral decisions over hours of interrogatories, you remark to them on 245 occasions that you have no memory of your acts—or you simply do not have an answer for them.

In some instances, you state things that are not true, cannot be true by any stretch of the imagination, and contradict things you have said in the past—and you make it clear that you don’t think much of such inconsistencies. When pressed with contradictory evidence, you nonchalantly reply that you gave the “least untruthful” answer.

What would happen to you, a typical American citizen, should you follow this current Washington model of erasing, redacting, omitting, forgetting, and lying?

Of course, you are a citizen and so must obey the law. Therefore, you might well find yourself either broke, out on bail, in jail, or mired in endless litigation. But since 2016 we have seen how many high government officials involved in any number of such investigations, were not so much citizens as hyper-citizens above the law, who felt they were not subject to audit. And they were largely right in their assumptions.

Audacious Deletions
Take erasure. Hillary Clinton arbitrarily decided that some 30,000 communications under subpoena were not relevant to FBI inquiries about her illicit email server. So she erased them, or rather “bleached” them electronically to such an extent that they could not be recovered. Some of them, in fact, were likely classified, given even her surviving trove contained classified information. She also had her devices smashed to destroy any electronic footprints.

Again, try all that in a civil suit, and inform a judge that you have determined that electronic messages requested were irrelevant, and so were destroyed.

Investigators on special counsel Robert Mueller’s team arbitrarily announced that months of text communications on FBI phones between FBI employees Lisa Page and Peter Strzok, including critical periods in which Strzok interviewed key persons related to various scandals, were lost, due perhaps to thousands of messages slipping through bureaucratic cracks or to “technical glitches.” That is, the Mueller team apparently determined that texts on the surrendered FBI phones of its fired employees either could not be read for technical reasons, or were erased, purportedly because the Mueller team alone had determined that they found not only nothing of interest to themselves, but also nothing of concern to those who might disagree with them.

Once more, try explaining to a prosecuting attorney or judge that both technological glitches and your own determination of their superfluity explain why requested messages on your phone vanished.

Redacting Into Oblivion, Lying By Omission
Redaction for “national security” purposes now often results in making released documents almost unreadable, given the lacunae. When the FBI finally released over 400-pages related to the October 2016 FISA applications to surveille Carter Page they were so redacted as to become almost meaningless.

Moreover, two essential truths of the FISA application—the Steele dossier, as former deputy FBI director Andrew McCabe had testified, was the chief impetus for the surveillance request (along with news reports in circular fashion based on it), and the dossier was paid for by Hillary Clinton to damage the candidacy of Donald Trump—were obscured by omissions in the applications.

The infamous James Comey memos—the confidential transcripts of supposedly private conversations with the president, written on FBI devices and on FBI time, and deliberately and likely unlawfully leaked by Comey to the press to prompt the appointment of a special prosecutor—are both heavily redacted and full of deliberate omissions. Comey recounts his briefings with Trump on the Steele dossier, but somehow does not inform the president that his own (likely fabricated) information arose from the fact that Hillary Clinton had hired a law firm to hire an investigative firm to hire foreign national Christopher Steel to hire foreign Russian sources to provide supposed dirt on Clinton’s own presidential rival.

We, the public still cannot read the full texts. But apparently Comey passed the supposedly confidential and apparently in some cases classified memos (Comey himself initially wrote on them “secret” and “confidential”), unredacted, to a small circle of friends, who had full access to what was government property, not Comey’s own. Note that Comey promised that he was doing everything he possibly could to limit leaks of confidential information, even as both he and Andrew McCabe were talking to the press, and Comey was soon crafting memos that were by design his insurance policy to be leaked to the media.

As for lying, the litany of top officials in the Justice Department, FBI, and CIA who routinely have not told the truth is now legion. James Clapper, former director of national intelligence, lied under oath to Congress; former CIA director John Brennan did on two occasions. Both have admitted such, as has former FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe. James Comey lied by omission by not answering or evading questions asked by Congress under oath—on 245 occasions. His testimonies cannot be reconciled with those of McCabe. He lied by omission by not informing the FISA court the true origins of the Steele dossier—sort of in the fashion of Bruce Ohr who filled out government forms without noting that his own wife worked for GPS on the dossier, while he sought to promote its currency from his office.

The Power Elite Exemption
To this day, we have no idea which officials in government leaked the unmasked names of surveilled Americans to the media, or leaked the transcripts of a conversation between the Russian Ambassador and Gen. Michael Flynn. I say we have no idea, because no one in government has any interest in finding out, because for the few, who might, to do so would earn them media and partisan venom.

The message from the Clinton email scandal, the Mueller investigation, and the careers of Brennan, Clapper, Comey, and McCabe seems to be that if the government wishes a document then do not provide it. If you are finally forced to surrender it, either erase or destroy what you can reasonably get away with hiding. Or barring that, insist that it be heavily redacted, according to your own judgment, for the sake of America. If asked to explain such behavior or allegations of leaking information to the press, either deny or claim faulty memory.

Do all of that and be of the correct political persuasion and of Washington repute, and there is little chance of criminal exposure.

Such exemption so far is the message that we’ve learned from the behavior of high officials of the Obama Justice Department, CIA, FBI and National Security Council. Or put another way, our illustrious government officials are reminding us Americans, “We are better than you.”

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Center for American Greatness • Deep State • Democrats • Donald Trump • Hillary Clinton • Intelligence Community • Mueller-Russia Witch Hunt • Post

Defeat and the Dossier Explain Everything

Donald Trump’s former consiglieri Michael Cohen, along with being charged with tax avoidance and improper business deals, allegedly is guilty also of trying to leverage money and attention by exaggerating his influence with candidate and later President Trump.

In other words, Cohen to spec followed the standard creepy daily fare for Washington and New York wannabe fixers. But did we need Robert Mueller’s 18 months and $40 million to uncover and redirect to federal attorneys what was largely self-evident? Could not the U.S. government long ago, without the prompt of a special counsel, have uncovered that Michael Cohen did not fully pay his taxes—in the manner of an Al Sharpton, Timothy Geithner, and Tom Daschle?

The diabolical Cohen also tried to enforce, extend, or create non-disclosure agreements (Swampese for hush money) with two women from Trump’s past. The two reappeared out of nowhere in 2016, apparently to translate their alleged Trump hookups of a few hours in years past to notoriety and additional profit in the new age of “President Trump.”

Swamp Crimes
In other words, Michael Cohen was a sort of rough-hewn version of former Bill Clinton crony Vernon Jordan. The latter, remember, was the erstwhile Clinton fixer who in 1998 had sought to keep the still unknown Clinton paramour Monica Lewinsky quiet—and to whisk her away from the Washington media, by arranging for Monica a quid pro quo $40,000 a year job with Revlon in New York, via Clinton friend and Revlon CEO Ron Perelman—all with impunity.

Cohen certainly lacked the tact and savvy of another Clinton clean-up specialist, Betsey Wright, who in 1992 coined the term “bimbo eruptions” for her efforts to track down and neutralize any sudden public confessionals from the legions of past Clinton hookups.

Who knows, had we a Robert Mueller in 1933 he might have been able to charge General Douglas MacArthur and his alleged bag man, aide Major Dwight Eisenhower, with at least something for secretly delivering a bribe of $15,000 to MacArthur’s then 19-year old mistress, Isabel Rosario Cooper (who allegedly had been the general’s mistress since she was 16). The plan was to get her out of the United States and away from the reporting of sleazy muckraker Drew Pearson, who was eager to break the story.

Cohen’s efforts to pay off the Trump gals were understandably rebranded by federal attorneys into the acquitted John Edwards-style “campaign finance violations.” And who knows, now Cohen may well have to pay far more than the existing record federal elections commission fine of $375,000 involving 1,300 undisclosed contributions levied on the 2008 Barack Obama campaign—an event generally ignored by the media given the extenuating hurrahs of 2009.

Mueller and the New York federal attorneys were rightly upset that Cohen allegedly lied and admitted that he lied under oath. By all means, let us jail Cohen for subverting the entire foundation of our legal system that must rely on honest testimonies in all government inquiries.

And in that same spirit, let the Department of Justice also charge former Director of National Intelligence James Clapper for lying under oath when he deliberately misled congress about NSA surveillance (and admitted to lying), and John Brennan as well, who as CIA director lied on two occasions about drone collateral damage and CIA surveillance of Senate staff computers (and admitted to such), and has serially misrepresented his efforts with then-Senator Harry Reid to seed the Steele dossier.

And let us indict either the former director James Comey or the deputy director Andrew McCabe of the FBI—or both—for making false statements to federal investigators and Congress, given their respective testimonies under oath about leaking to the press and the role of the Steele dossier in FISA warrants cannot be reconciled.

With all due respect to Michael Cohen, what is currently destroying the concept of the American system of jurisprudence are not the self-serving lies of such a minor shady operator, but rather the deliberate and more artful prevarication under oath of the nation’s top intelligence and law enforcement officers.

The Loco Act
General Michael Flynn, the special counsel also asserts, might have sort of, kind of not registered as a foreign agent when making contracts with the Turkish government, the normal stuff of Washington revolving door entrepreneurs.

I think any good D.C. journalist could swiftly send Mueller the names of 1,000 Washington wheeler-dealers, starting with Bill Clinton and Tony Podesta, who might fit his definition of failing to register under the statutes of the Foreign Agents Registration Act.

Any time a prosecutor resorts to name dropping ominously the ossified “Logan Act” (as in criminalizing Flynn’s talking to Russians), it is a de facto admission that he has no credible case and is throwing around smears and slanders to see what will stick. The Logan Act never does.

To the degree there even exists a real 1799 Logan Act any more—which is meant to outlaw private citizens freelancing at foreign policy to undermine the current U.S. government—the locus classicus would obviously be citizen John Kerry’s secretive meetings this year with the Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif. Kerry allegedly commiserated with Zarif over the Trump Administration’s cancellation of the Iran Deal and was seeking ways to keep the vestiges of the deal and their joint anti-Trump private channels alive until there was regime change in Washington.

If Mueller is more concerned about transition teams than with purely private citizens like Kerry, he could look back to 2008 rumors that senator and candidate Obama allegedly suggested to Iraqis that they reconsider and put off their ongoing basing arrangements discussions with the Bush Administration until there was a new administration in power in 2009. The Logan Act, then, is nothing other than a talking point brought up whenever the exasperated out-of-power party wishes to suggest it was once undermined by the current in-power party.

While being threatened with the Logan Act, Flynn allegedly did not recount his conversations in a way that matched transcripts of furtive surveillance of the Russian ambassador. Translated, that means Flynn was likely reversed targeted on the chance of catching him in a perjury trap. In the old days, liberals would have argued that the warrant for such surveillance—originally based in part on a fictitious Steele dossier that created a sort of government hysteria to monitor all things Trump and Russian—contaminated all that followed as the “fruit of a poisonous tree.” And according to the “exclusionary rule,” Flynn would have never faced perjury charges had he not been reverse targeted for perfectly proper conversations with the Russian ambassador who was targeted for surveillance.

Flynn may have been unmasked largely due to a mysterious last-minute Obama executive order vastly expanding government access to surveillance transcripts—and in hope of guaranteeing that the names of those whom the Obama Administration had spied on would be unmasked and leaked to the press.

In other words, “Russian collusion” that spread throughout the government and the media after the 2016 election to undermine Trump’s transition and presidency can be traced almost entirely to Christopher Steele’s machinations.

The Font
What then is the Mueller chase all about?

In reductionist terms, in the midst of a political campaign, and as “insurance” for an expected  Clinton victory, had Hillary Clinton not hired the Perkins Coie law firm (masking her own role) to hire Glenn Simpson’s Fusion GPS, to hire foreign national Christopher Steele, to hire foreign national Russian sources, to spin yarns about Donald Trump’s alleged “collusion” (spiced up for media leakage with lurid stories of Trump urolagnia), to create 11th-hour election anti-Trump hysteria throughout the media and federal government, then special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation would never have existed.

Or is it even worse than that?

Had Hillary Clinton just won the election as she was supposed to do, and Donald Trump, as he too was supposed to do, just sulked back in humiliation and media ridicule to his penthouse suite at Trump Tower, then the 2016 campaign’s sensationalized leaked yarns from the Steele dossier would have at best warranted a tiny lurid goodbye hit piece on Trump from the New Yorker or Vanity Fair. But simply by winning, Donald Trump brought untold misery upon his family, friends, associates—and himself.

What all the later unmaskings of U.S. citizens’ names by Obama officials, all the daily leaking of “bombshell” rumors to warp an election, transition, and presidency, all the lying under oath, all the texting of Page and Strzok, all the machinations of Andrew McCabe and James Comey, all the FBI insertions of informants, all the involvement of the CIA, Justice, and State Department in seeding the rumors and slander, all the collusion of a foreign national spying on a presidential candidate—what it was all about in the end was simple: In 2016, legions of bureaucrats wanted to score points in Hillary Clinton’s foreordained new administration by vying with each other to “insure” her blowout, to brag they had done in the ogre Trump, and to expect not so much impunity as adoration for their illegal but supposedly patriotic service beyond the call of duty. Trump was not just to be defeated but humiliated and destroyed as a lesson.

Then Clinton lost—or rather she blew a sure Electoral College victory.

All at once, the embarrassing comic-book contents of the ridiculous Steele dossier became the scapegoat. Accordingly, those still stunned, dumbfounded,and furious in the media and government immediately once again found the campaign collusionary dossier useful—now not to destroy candidate Trump, but rather to explain the inexplicable, and to ruin the culprit for her defeat and overturn the verdict of the election.

And given the ensuing hysteria, within about seven months the creation of Special Counsel Robert Mueller was the result.

Hillary Clinton, Christopher Steele, and Robert Mueller are all joined at the hip.

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Democrats • Donald Trump • Elections • Hillary Clinton • Identity Politics • Post • The Left

The 2020 Democratic National Circus: The Other Guys—and Her

As the midterm hoopla winds down, inevitably, the drama surrounding the upcoming Democratic presidential primaries begins to heat up. Previously we have reviewed the candidates most likely to be favored by the party establishment, as well as those who are most likely to run as political outsiders. But every playground has those who finish last or fail to be picked by either team. And here we are with potential Democratic candidates. In a field promising to be as large and divided as the 2020 Democratic primaries, the misfits may not get off the bench, but they may still end up wrecking the game. Let’s have a look at some of these players and their strategies going forward.

While the establishment focuses on current senators, and the outsiders court billionaire activists, this potential peanut gallery of “middle-of-the-road” candidacies could also produce some of the more interesting—if not politically viable—candidates in the upcoming presidential race. Although most have more Quixotic bids, they could all do much to add to the drama and, at least,force consideration of their potential in a vice presidential role?

HUDdling Up for a Run?
Former Housing and Urban Development Secretary Julian Castro made waves with his keynote speech at the 2012 Democratic National Convention, with many drawing parallels between his speech and Obama’s speech at the 2004 DNC.

As a young and outspoken Latino Democrat from deep-red Texas, he too was the source of much speculation as a possible running mate in 2016. He has kept low profile since that election, however, while other minority candidates such as Kamala Harris and Cory Booker get all the attention for 2020.

Although all signs point to his intention of running, it is likely that Castro could find himself upstaged in the inevitable “Minority Olympics” that the 2020 primaries will become. Because although Castro is Hispanic, he is still a straight male, whereas someone like Kamala Harris is both a woman and a member two separate racial minorities. It’s just a question of what’s more sexy to the identity politics soaked voters in the Democratic Party.

At the same time, Castro’s unusually low profile over the last two years (and even while he was still HUD Secretary) could prove to be a hindrance. While he has been quietly mulling a run, others like Harris have spent the interim loudly filling that energy vacuum and earning the support of the same party leaders that Castro would need in order to have a chance.

A Hawaiian Hail Mary
Rep. Tulsi Gabbard of Hawaii, by far the youngest of the potential contenders, has long been seen as one of the more surprisingly moderate Democrats in Congress. She has expressed a willingness to work with the Trump Administration, and shares the President’s skepticism of free trade and opposition to a hawkish foreign policy approach, especially in the Middle East.

Although these moderate stances, as well as her youth and status as a veteran, could give her a broader appeal to the American electorate, these same factors would undoubtedly make her rather unpopular with the far-left base. Barring a sudden shift to the left in order to appease these people, Gabbard most likely could never win the support of the grassroots in 2020.

The Beto Male
A very recent entry into 2020 speculation is Democratic Senate nominee Beto O’Rourke of Texas. Although O’Rourke came shockingly close to unseating Ted Cruz, he still lost after raising more than $70 million in the most expensive Senate race in American history. Nevertheless, he has undoubtedly established a national profile as a result. Like Castro, O’Rourke would market himself as a symbol of Democratic hope in a Republican stronghold, while also emphasizing his own youth.

Towards the end of the race, it was reported that O’Rourke had no intention of sharing any of his campaign wealth with any of his fellow Democratic Senate candidates around the country. Aside from the irony of a Democrat refusing to share the wealth, this move also led to speculation that perhaps O’Rourke never truly intended to win, but his failed Senate race was instead a prelude to a 2020 campaign. Not even 24 hours after his loss, there were already glowing puff pieces hyping up a possible run against Trump.

Of course, as in his attempt in Texas, a national run would most likely be a failed longshot. And, since he—like Elizabeth Warren—is a white person parading as a minority, he would also likely suffer in the race to be the most oppressed person on the debate stage. As a result, he probably wouldn’t even have a fair shot at landing the VP slot.

The Other Ryan
If the Democratic Party leadership had any semblance of a collective brain or a hint of common sense, Rep. Tim Ryan of Ohio would be their top candidate. Nominating Ryan would take seriously the advice of a wise New York Times op-ed penned in July 2017, imploring Democrats to return to its more centrist status from the days of John Kennedy or Bill Clinton, rather than continue moving further to the left.

Ever since the 2016 election, Ryan has been among the earliest and most vocal critics of the Democratic leadership. Declaring that the party had “forgotten the middle class” and became a “coastal” party, Ryan mounted a surprisingly impressive bid to unseat Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) as House Minority Leader after the 2016 election, where he garnered nearly one-third of all House Democrats’ votes.

Now, there is just as much speculation around a possible presidential bid for the young Ohio moderate as there is a possible re-run against Nancy Pelosi, though this time for House Majority Leader. Ryan, in the same mold as men like former Montana Governor Brian Schweitzer or former Senator Jim Webb of Virginia, appeals to middle- and working-class Americans while carefully avoiding the toxic rhetoric of identity politics.

Ryan’s message undoubtedly would maintain a focus on economic policies that would benefit Middle America, and thus could still realistically run as more of a populist than a traditional politician, like his fellow Ohio Democrat, Senator Sherrod Brown.

But the elephant in the room with a possible Ryan bid, once again, is his obvious status as the one thing the far-left hates the most: A straight white male who is not an avowed socialist. And that is why men like Ryan, Schweitzer, Webb, or others who are trying their hardest to cling to the Clinton-era Blue Dog Democrat brand could almost certainly never win a presidential nomination in this current climate.

Hillary 4.0?
And, of course, there’s the one name that just will not go away. Like a pesky insect in the summer heat, a most infuriating itch, or a wildly contagious disease, Hillary Clinton’s name just keeps coming back no matter how many times you try to purge it from our political discourse. The latest resurgence of the Wicked Witch of DC comes from the pages of the Wall Street Journal, in an op-ed penned by former Clinton strategist Mark Penn and former New York politician Andrew Stein.

The piece reads almost like satire at first, listing all of the different ways that Hillary has changed her positions and persona each time she has been in the spotlight: First, she was a progressive who touted healthcare-for-all as First Lady, then a moderate who was elected to the Senate but lost in her 2008 bid for the Democratic presidential nod. Then she returned to being a progressive in 2016, only to lose moderate voters in the Midwest. Now, for 2020, the authors claim she plans to run again and win by… still being a progressive?

By highlighting her inauthenticity and unlikability, this piece inadvertently proves exactly why Hillary keeps losing. The op-ed even laughably claims that her age and health are not at issue because she’s a whopping one year younger than President Trump. Seriously?

The authors also try to invoke an historical comparison to prove that their idea is not so far-fetched: If Richard Nixon came back from defeat, then so can Hillary!

Never mind the fact that Nixon lost by a much closer margin in 1960, in an election that some still believe may have been rigged. And when he did return in 1968, he did not face off against the same man who beat him eight years earlier, the charismatic John Kennedy, but instead the much weaker candidate of then-vice president Hubert Humphrey. The last time there was ever an exact presidential rematch was 1956, when Democratic Adlai Stevenson faced off against President Dwight Eisenhower; he lost by an even larger margin than he did in 1952.

As some have already noted, this attempt at stirring the political pot is most likely just a last-ditch effort by its two authors to maintain some semblance of relevance as both are long past their primes; Stein last held office in 1994, and has since been indicted for his involvement in a Ponzi scheme, while Penn’s entire reputation revolves around his relationship with the Clintons.

On top of this, the possibility of Hillary Redux, has quickly generated doubt and discouragement even from the Left; a possible third run was shot down not just by one, but two CNN op-eds, while a piece by the Charlotte Observer summed things up pretty nicely in its title: “That’s one way to keep Trump.”

If nothing else, there is no denying that the stigma of losing to Donald Trump will hang heavy over any possible resurrection of Hillary Clinton’s presidential aspirations, and will even be the source of criticism by her fellow candidates. Combine this with the DNC’s deliberate reduction of the power of “superdelegates,” which carried Hillary over the finish line in the 2016 nomination, and a third run by Hillary Rodham Clinton will be dead on arrival.

Once more, the 2020 Democratic field will come down to the establishment versus outsiders. But rather than being a one-on-one battle between two candidates, with each side represented by only one candidate, each (as was the case in 2016) may expect many more candidates to try to claim the mantle from both sides.

“Also ran” candidates, like Rep. John Delaney of Maryland, will find themselves contributing to nothing except the size of the primary field, with the further likelihood that the debates, like those of the 2016 GOP field, will also be divided into two parts of upper-tier and lower-tier candidates.

Can any of these candidates beat President Trump?

The short answer to that? No.

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