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

Ratcliffe Falls to Intelligence Agency Imperialism

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Putin’s Patsies

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Stepping Over Mueller’s Cadaver

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Photo Credit: Andrew Burton/Getty Images

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

There are supposed to be penalties for lying to Congress.

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

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

(Photo by Drew Angerer/Getty Images)

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

Robert Mueller Can’t Recall

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

We are now between the lightning and the thunder.

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

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

Mueller Trips Over His Own Feet

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Photo Credit: Alex Wong/Getty Images

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

The Day #TheResistance’s Dream Died

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It wasn’t supposed to end this way.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Legal wizard say what?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Republicans, Don’t Screw Up the Mueller Hearing

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Shame on Robert Mueller—Again

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

It should.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

What Hillary and Obama Actually Did

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

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

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

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

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

Let’s just establish some key matters of fact.

Norway is a friend. We talk to friends.

We even talk to enemies when we must.

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

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

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

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

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

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

Here are the facts so far:

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

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

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

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

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

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

Russian Hack or CrowdStrike Ruse?

Robert Mueller may live to regret indicting Roger Stone.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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2016 Election • Big Media • Center for American Greatness • Deep State • Mueller-Russia Witch Hunt • Post

Another Media-Fueled Collusion Narrative Falls Apart

It’s a familiar pattern in the Trump era: A partisan figure tasked with thwarting the president—say, Special Counsel Robert Mueller or former FBI Director James Comey—is portrayed as a fair-minded arbiter of truth and justice, a vanguard of our highest democratic institutions, bravely taking on the Bad Orange Man. Such figures are cast as heroes impervious to political bias. Every move they make, we are told, is for our own good. We are not to question their unimpeachable integrity, their stellar reputation or their motives.

Such was the case with Christopher Steele, the author of the infamous dossier that served as the raison d’etre for the FBI’s investigation into Donald Trump’s 2016 presidential campaign.

In order to legitimize the dossier’s dubious claims, the media characterized Steele as an objective player in the nascent Russian collusion plotline, a former British intelligence officer leveraging his long-time Kremlin connections to root out a corrupt scheme between Donald Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin to steal an American election. His work was a profile in courage, we were told; he was a highly-regarded compatriot in America’s fight to make sure our new president was not in fact a covert Russian stooge.

But now that Steele faces questioning by a federal prosecutor assigned to investigate the corrupt origins of the FBI’s probe into the Trump campaign, it’s obvious that the early hype about Steele was just one more example of the media’s complicity in the Russian collusion coup.

Steele’s dossier, often glorified in the media as “raw intelligence,” is a collection of vague, anonymous, inaccurate and unproven allegations, yet it captured the attention of the most powerful people in the world both before and after the election. The dossier was the critical piece of “evidence” cited in a warrant presented to a secret court as justification to spy on a Trump campaign aide. Steele and his longtime associate, Fusion GPS owner Glenn Simpson, circulated the dossier amongst their journo-pals in the D.C. media claque beginning in the summer of 2016.

Pre-election articles in Yahoo News and Mother Jones suggesting chicanery between Team Trump and the Kremlin relied heavily on accusations contained in the dossier, as well as Steele’s probity. (David Corn, who wrote the October 31, 2016 Mother Jones article, referred to Steele, without naming him, as “a credible source with a proven record of providing reliable, sensitive, and important information to the U.S. government.”)

James Comey selected the most outlandish claim in Steele’s dossier about alleged dalliances with Russian prostitutes to warn Trump just days before the inauguration that the Kremlin might be in a position to blackmail the new president. A summary of the dossier was attached to an official report compiled by Obama’s intelligence chiefs, including former CIA Director John Brennan and former Director of National Intelligence James Clapper, that concluded the Russians interfered in the election in order to help elect Donald Trump.

Then, on January 10, 2017, BuzzFeed posted the dossier in its entirety and the media’s swoon over Christopher Steele began.

“It came from a former British MI6 intelligence agent who was hired by a political opposition research firm…who was doing work for both Republican and Democratic candidates opposed to Trump,” legendary reporter Carl Bernstein told CNN’s Jake Tapper during an explosive segment that aired that same day. “They in turn hired this MI6 former investigator. He then came up with additional information from his Russian sources. He then took it to an FBI colleague he had known in his undercover work for years.”

Tapper went on to assure his viewers that Steele, whose name they did not reveal, and his sources had been “vetted” by the FBI and that Steele was considered to be a “credible” purveyor of information.

After Trump dismissed the spurious allegations as fake news, the media shifted into overdrive in early 2017 to defend Steele. The Wall Street Journal, Glenn Simpson’s former employer, publicly identified Steele for the first time as a “former British intelligence officer who is now a director of a private security-and-investigations firm.” Steele’s business partner told the Journal that their firm, Orbis Business Intelligence, had “no political ax to grind.”

The New York Times described Steele as someone “known in British intelligence circles for his knowledge of the intricate web of Kremlin-tied companies and associates that control Russia,” and assured readers in a follow-up article that “by all accounts, Steele has an excellent reputation with American and British intelligence colleagues and had done work for the FBI.” Business Insider outlined an “avalanche of support for Steele’s credentials [reported] in the British press.”

In a lengthy puff piece in Vanity Fair in March 2017, the same month Comey publicly confirmed that the Trump campaign had been under FBI investigation for eight months, Howard Blum portrayed Steele as a reluctant hero, an honorable man just trying to save the world from the evils of Donald Trump.

“Steele’s credentials were the real thing and, apparently, impressive enough to scare the hell out of James Clapper . . . James Comey, [and] John Brennan, the CIA director,” Blum wrote. “How else can one explain their collective decision to pass on the still-unverified dossier to the president and the president-elect?”


But as Congress zeroed in on the political origins of the dossier, the media-constructed facade around Steele began to disintegrate. In October 2017, the Washington Post finally confirmed what Republican lawmakers—and most journalists—already knew: Steele wasn’t just a former British spy but a hired political gun, paid partially by none other than Trump’s campaign rival, Hillary Clinton. Testimony by Glenn Simpson would later reveal that Steele was paid around $180,000 to dig up Russia-related dirt on Trump.

Even after that damning detail was revealed, news reports continued to identify Steele as a “former British intelligence officer” rather than “paid Democratic operative.” (He left MI6 in 2009 to start his London-based consulting business.)

After Representative Devin Nunes (R-Calif.), then-chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, issued his memo in February 2018 detailing how the dossier was cited as evidence in an application presented to the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court without disclosing its political benefactors, the media still ran cover for Steele. (The memo also disclosed that Steele had been fired by the FBI for lying about his contacts with the press.) “Christopher Steele is a hero and Americans owe him their thanks,” insisted Washington Post editor Christian Caryl, presumably with a straight face.

But as Steele began to face real scrutiny, including a criminal referral for lying to the FBI and defamation lawsuits, the narrative quickly shifted from hero to victim. The New Yorker’s Jane Mayer lamented how Steele—the “ex-spy [who] tried to warn the world about Trump’s ties to Russia”—was being unfairly targeted by Trump, Putin, Nunes, and the Fox News cabal. “They’re trying to take down the whole intelligence community!” Mayer reported Steele telling his friends. “And they’re using me as the battering ram to do it.’”

It’s clear now that Steele is not a victim, despite the media’s whitewash. Congressional testimony by former Justice Department official Bruce Ohr exposed his decade-long relationship with Steele; Ohr’s wife, Nellie, worked with Steele as a contractor for Fusion GPS on Trump opposition research.

Newly-released emails further reveal that Steele had ties to Obama’s State Department. And while Steele was working for Clinton and the Democratic National Committee, he also was representing Oleg Deripaska, the Russian oligarch tied to Putin and sanctioned by the U.S. government. Steele also was a paid FBI informant in 2016. Quite a shady network.

Now the author of the most infamous opposition research file in American political history is the target of a federal investigation into FBI misconduct in 2016. A full accounting of his role will prove that the Clinton campaign, not the Trump campaign, colluded with the Russians through Steele to interfere in the election. Steele also could be in legal trouble for lobbying the U.S. government on behalf of a foreign entity (Deripaska) without disclosing his relationship. Other charges could involve perjury and presenting false evidence to law enforcement.

And the media will once again be guilty of its own kind of perjury: Misleading the American public about a key perpetrator of the collusion hoax, all in the service of their crusade to get Donald Trump.

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Center for American Greatness • Democrats • Donald Trump • Elections • Elizabeth Warren • Identity Politics • Mueller-Russia Witch Hunt • Post • The Left

The 2020 News Cycle Will Look Very Different

The Russia collusion narrative and associated Robert Mueller hysteria are all but over.

Mueller’s obstruction of justice narrative involving the non-crime of collusion is ending, too.

Donald Trump’s tax-return psychodrama is going the way of the Emoluments Clause, the Logan Act, the 25th Amendment and the comical in-house coup attempt of former FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe.

What takes the place of Mueller and “the noose is tightening” bombshells? Perhaps the new narratives involving Inspector General Michael Horowitz and FISA abuse, or Attorney General William Barr’s investigation into the origins of the Russia collusion probe—far quieter, far more serious.

The media for three years obsessed over a false “Trump did it” story. But in the next 17 months, the storyline may change from the myth of the “walls are closing in” on the president to the reality that Obama-era officials committed serial felonies—from perjury and lying to federal officials, to leaking classified documents, spying illegally on a political campaign, deceiving a FISA court, and obstructing justice.

As we have already seen with the flare-up between former Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein (who signed a FISA writ, who wrote the memo for Comey’s firing, who appointed his old boss Robert Mueller as special counsel, and who, McCabe says, joined him for a moment in contemplating removing Trump) and former FBI Director James Comey (who likely lied under oath, deceived a FISA court, leaked classified documents and ordered informants placed in the Trump campaign), at some point, these culpable grandees will start turning on each other, and it will be hard to stop.

Even Christopher Steele is rumored to be offering his expertise about the birth and life of his fallacious dossier. And perhaps even the British government will confess behind the scenes that members of its intelligence services may have had suspicious contacts with their U.S. counterparts who were intent on destroying the current U.S. president.

Once federal attorneys present all of these players with real legal exposure, it may be that John Brennan, James Clapper, Comey, McCabe and the rest will fall back to the classic he-ordered-me-to-do-it defenses. And as the next two years wear on, the effort to find who commanded the commander below to command felonious behavior will introduce us to an even more newsworthy group of miscreants.

There are still other possible news narratives in the two years ahead.

The Non “Non-Crisis” on the Border
The old “there is no crisis on the border” progressive reassurance is untenable. The question is not whether hundreds of thousands (1 million so far this year alone) of illegal aliens are crossing the border, with far more on the way, but why and why now?

The obvious answer is not something in the interests of the majority of American voters—as opposed to remittance-receiving Latin America and Mexico, the profit-minded cartels and drug dealers, the captains of our identity politics army, the new demographers of the Democratic Party, and the hate-Trump crowd that is for anything that Trump is against.

Trump is not wrong that support for an open border translates into bad optics and worse ratings.

The Fading Ancient Liberal Regime
The Democratic field is not really Democratic as we used to define the party. Rather, it is a mix of socialists, identity-politics activists, and angry hard-core leftists—and front-runner Joe Biden, who appears to be freeze drying his entire political past in order to microwave it back once he wins the nomination.

In American politics, if the candidate is not an intrinsically charismatic JFK or Ronald Reagan, the trick has always been during the primaries to veer to the hard-core base to get the nomination, but without going on record with too many vapid and embarrassing concessions that will dog the nominee in the general election, as he veers back to the center to pick up independents.

Most of this new party don’t seem to understand that old canard. At least, most of the candidates seem to be fearlessly embracing the Green New Deal, reparations, virtual infanticide, “Medicare for All,” a wealth tax, a new 70 percent top income-tax bracket, free college, the abolition of student debt, the Immigration and Customs Enforcement bureau, and the Electoral College and more still that no one can run on even at this late date in America.

Yet the “centrist” Biden is polling in front of the pack precisely because he ostensibly has not embraced what he more or less is insidiously now beginning to embrace. Bottom line: we are going to witness a strange drama in which a party that has had it with white males has no Barack Obama to replace them with.

A party that systematically turned off the “bitter clingers” and “deplorables” needs just those irredeemables in the general election to restore the blue wall. And a perennially reckless, foot-in-the-mouth, ethically challenged Joe Biden must be recalibrated as a sober and judicious wise man and all-knowing Yoda that smiles at, but does not embrace, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s puerility.

All that is a volatile drama that does not necessarily translate into a supposedly serious, measured, and calming alternative to the Trump presidency, which, after all, in 2020 will likely still have a solid record on the economy and a foreign policy of restored deterrence.

Hating the Most Loyal of Democrats
Valerie Plane was back in the news cycle a few weeks ago. The former CIA agent announced her bid as a Democratic candidate for Congress from New Mexico and opportunistically offered some context for her prior tweets that endorsed (“very provocative, but thoughtful. Many neocon hawks ARE Jewish . . . Read the entire article and try, just for a moment, to put aside your biases and think clearly”) an article titled, “America’s Jews Are Driving America’s Wars.” The essay, inter alia, stated that Jews “own the media,” and embrace views that are as toxic as “a bottle of rat poison.”

About the same time, news reports noted that Hasidic Jews in Brooklyn continue to be attacked regularly on the street—and, when covered honestly, mostly by black and Latino youth.

Representative Rashida Tlaib (D-Mich.) offered an Ilhan Omar-like anti-Semitic riff that won sympathy from Democratic stalwarts such as House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-Md.), afraid that an Ocasio-Cortez-style candidate might primary him next year. Tlaib had been called out for her unhinged revisionist narrative that she had been proud of her Palestinian ancestors for offering sanctuary to Jews fleeing to the Holy Land from the Holocaust—a recognition that explained why Tlaib had offered that thoughts of the Holocaust had a “calming” effect on her.

Hoyer was angry that some literate Americans were angry at the illiterate Tlaib for suggesting the fascist efforts of Palestinian leaders of the 1940s, such as the Grand Mufti of Jerusalem, to destroy Jews not just in Palestine but in fact throughout the Middle East and beyond, had been recontextualized as support for doomed Jews.

I could go on, but the point is that in the age of Louis Farrakhan, the Rev. Jeremiah Wright, Linda Sarsour, Keith Ellison, loud members of the Congressional Black Caucus (e.g., Rep. Hank Johnson and “termites”) and the not-to-be-forgotten Ilhan Omar, leftists are no longer shy about announcing their anti-Semitism. Far more importantly, the geriatric hierarchy of the Democratic Party has made a choice to go with the anti-Semitic progressive Left—thus Hoyer’s grandstanding and the recent failure of fossilized Democrats to pass a simple condemnation of Omar’s serial anti-Semitic views.

Such appeasement likely will only encourage more overt anti-Semitism. At some point, the Jewish community will realize the new, hard-left Democratic Party—especially its minority and youthful members—largely despise Israel. They resent Jews for infringing upon their monopoly victim status for daring to suggest the Holocaust was . . . well, the Holocaust. They conflate Jews with wealthy white privileged Western oppressors. By November 2020, the weekly anti-Semitic narratives and the appeasement of it might finally siphon off at least some of the traditional overwhelming Jewish support of the Democratic ticket.

The News Cycle
We do not know what the economy will be like in 2020. But there is little likelihood of roaring inflation and ascending interest rates.

For all the tariff frenzy, China remains far more vulnerable to the Trump showdown on trade than is the U.S. economy, which remains twice the size of China’s(achieved by a population one third its size), far more versatile, energy and food independent, and not dependent on technological theft and espionage. More importantly, even Democrats and Europeans know that China cheats in trade and America does not. China steals patents and copyrights and America does not. And no one yet has dared to call China out except Trump.

No one knows whether there will be war abroad or backlash at perceived failing U.S. foreign policy as we saw in 1979 and again in 2007. But Trump has understood two things about the world abroad and the American electorate: they do not like to be pushed around, to apologize, or to appease, and they do not want to invade, occupy, and nation-build another country, especially in the Middle East.

That paradox means that if an Iran or North Korea believes it can stage an incident to embarrass Trump during his 2020 reelection campaign, he will likely retaliate, but in a way that minimizes American exposure. For example, if Iran hijacks an American boat or lands a missile a few yards in front of a carrier, or puts a drone hole in an American flagged merchant ship, Trump will likely not invade Iran or try to convert it to democracy.

Nor will Trump ignore the attack. Nor will he respond at the point of contact. Rather he will likely bomb the base that launched the rocket or ship—and do it again and again in tit-for-tat fashion for each fresh assault.

Scandals, unpopular wars, and recessions sink presidencies and reelection efforts. The absence of them reelects incumbents.

Back to the 2016 Future
Trump is currently enjoying polls that are about equal to or better than where both Bill Clinton and Barack Obama were at this juncture in their respective presidencies. His midterms were not as damaging as either of theirs. His record is substantial heading into 2020 where in 2016 it was nonexistent. Trump is polling at or above where he was when he won in 2016.

The press, the progressive machine, and the punditry are all writing Trump off in the manner they did last time, on the theory that lightning never dares to strike the aware, woke, and sophisticated twice. We are once more warned, as in 2016, that the size of Trump’s rallies, his zealous and enthusiastic supporters, and his animal energy and cunning matter little compared to sophisticated polling, esoteric analytics, and expert modeling of the Silicon Valley masters of the universe.

In contrast, few consider whether Trump will receive more minority votes than in 2016, whether he will raise more money, or whether the NeverTrump diehards are now irrelevant.

No “There” There
Hillary Clinton, for all her pathologies, was more or less an advertisement that Clinton, Inc. would return and continue the Obama agenda but with some attempt at centrism, and wink-and-nod old-girl machinations. In 2020, if Bernie Sanders or Beto O’Rourke or Kamala Harris or Elizabeth Warren is not nominated, it is likely that a Biden or Pete Buttigieg will have either an agenda or running mate that would make Joe Biden look circumspect.

If one is progressive and in dispassionate fashion calibrates the present Democratic field, and anticipates the likely quite different news cycle that is emerging post-Mueller, then one logically would escalate the rhetoric of “Trump should be impeached,” “Trump is a racist,” “Trump is a fascist,” “Trump is mentally ill,” and “Trump is a cheat.”

Otherwise, the Democrats and the media have nothing.

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

From Mueller to Mob

Investigators, like prosecutors, use words like “innocent” exceedingly rarely. Concerning the investigation into alleged collusion between Donald Trump’s presidential campaign and the Russians, absolute proof of innocence would require 24/7 transcripts of every activity and every conversation by every member of the Trump campaign or the Russian government. Or perhaps both.

So what Special Counsel Robert Mueller delivered was as close to proof as we can achieve in an imperfect world. After two years and over $25 million searching for evidence, not only was the result insufficient to assure a conviction, but there was no basis even to file charges.

To debate obstruction of justice is nonsensical at this point, now that we know investigators were never on the trail of an actual crime. This would be true even if it were known that obstruction of the investigation had occurred because certain charges rarely make sense on their own. In the case of mail fraud, for example, a perpetrator conspires to defraud someone, and then commits a second crime when he uses the postal service to execute his scheme.

Obstruction of justice has to do with impeding “the due administration of justice.” With no collusion, there was no true administration of justice to impede. It is hard to fault the president for trying to bring an end to a waste of public resources, something we ordinarily praise public servants for doing. Even if his actions technically were wrong they would hardly be “high crimes and misdemeanors.”

Mueller’s recent statement to the media led some observers to say that had prosecuting the president been an option, Mueller would have recommended it for the obstruction charge. He said given that the president cannot be indicted, “it would be unfair to potentially accuse somebody of a crime when there can be no court resolution of the actual charge.” Mueller believed he could not suggest that he thought the president guilty even if he did, as a simple matter of fairness—while leaving the door open for others to do as they will.

If fairness mattered to others as well, that would be the end of the story. Without question, it would be better for the nation for us to move on, and that is what polls tell us most Americans hope the nation will do.

But they will be disappointed. They will be disappointed because leftist partisans never approached the Mueller investigation as a neutral attempt to determine the truth, but as a step toward their predetermined goal of removing the president.

This is why support for impeachment is growing among Democrats. This is why House Judiciary Chairman Jerry Nadler (D-N.Y.) has scheduled a hearing on “Lessons from the Mueller Report: Presidential Obstruction and Other Crimes,” as if we had learned that obstruction and “other crimes” had indeed occurred, and we now need to learn “lessons” from these nonevents.

The more the Democrats come up with nothing, the louder the drumbeat for impeachment will become. This is not about justice. It’s about mob justice. And America will be putting up with it until the 2020 election, because House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) can neither silence nor satisfy the mob.

Pelosi cannot decide that enough is enough and it is time to get to the actual business of governance, because the mob would revolt against her leadership. She cannot move forward with impeachment, because she would become the joke of the Senate. She has no choice but to let the mob rule.

This is the real obstruction we now face: House Democrats abusing their powers of oversight and investigation to obstruct the normal, functioning of government, as they dig in vain for evidence to impeach.

When we look at how much the Trump Administration has accomplished in two and a half years, we must consider how much more could have been done if the president and his administration’s officials had not been forced to waste so much time addressing a bogus investigation.

Expect Democrats to continue holding hearings and “building a case” until October 2020, and for a sudden “revelation” to cast a pall over the final weeks before the election. During those few weeks the hearings can be used to damage the president with no evidence at all.

If there is a silver lining in all this, it is that the longer this goes on, the more obvious it becomes that President Trump was right to use the term “witch hunt” from the beginning. We may hope that Americans will recognize the only just and appropriate way to bring this to an end is to return control of the House to Republicans as they re-elect the president. That is the way for government to get back to work, for Pelosi to escape the Catch-22 in which she now finds herself, and for the president to continue to accomplish great things for the nation.

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2016 Election • Big Media • Center for American Greatness • Congress • Deep State • Democrats • Donald Trump • Mueller-Russia Witch Hunt • Post • Trump White House

Why Are Democrats Obstructing Justice?

It was a shocking acknowledgment from a fierce (and profane) Russian collusion propagandist.

“The Democrats have a clock ticking,” warned CNN analyst Phil Mudd on Tuesday. “If they can’t get things underway before the Department of Justice says, ‘here’s our report on how the [Trump campaign] investigation was initiated, they’re in trouble because the Department of Justice is gonna say, ‘when this thing got started, about the Trump campaign, it was pretty ugly.’ And then we’re off to the races.”

As if that revelation wasn’t enough to panic CNN host Don Lemon, Mudd continued. “I’m going to bet a paycheck when [dossier author Christopher] Steele gets in front of investigators and they say, how can you confirm to us that the information you acquired in that dossier is true, that he is not going to be able to answer.”

Here, Mudd admits two things: One, the attempt by House Democrats to harass Bill Barr over the Mueller report and threaten the attorney general with contempt charges are diversions from the real scandal—the corrupt origin of the Trump campaign probe largely based on a garbage political document. (Calls for impeachment also are a smokescreen intended to distract the attention of the American people.)

And two, the results of the investigation into how James Comey’s FBI launched and handled his agency’s counterintelligence probe into alleged Russian election “collusion” will not be pretty. In fact, it will be ugly.

This is why Democrats and the news media (I know, I repeat myself) want to delay the investigation and discredit Barr. Since his confirmation in February, Barr has publicly expressed his alarm at how the Obama administration weaponized powerful surveillance tools, along with other methods, to target political foes.

Barr last month appointed U.S. Attorney John Durham to take on this task after numerous delays and empty promises from Barr’s predecessor; this is welcome news as Trump’s base is eager for action.

Barr compared former FBI Director James Comey and his top officers to the Praetorian Guard in an interview last week.

“I just think it has to be carefully looked at because the use of foreign intelligence capabilities and counterintelligence capabilities against an American political campaign to me is unprecedented and it’s a serious red line that’s been crossed,” Barr told CBS News reporter Jan Crawford.

In what can only be described as legitimate obstruction of justice, unlike the vague allegations against Donald Trump in the Mueller report, Democrats are frustrating Barr’s investigative efforts with a number of procedural maneuvers coupled with public ad hominem attacks against the attorney general.

Panicked over a White House directive that would permit the declassification of key documents related to the FBI probe, House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff (D-Calif.) encouraged top intelligence officials to quit rather than submit to Trump’s request.

“If it gets to a point they are asked to do things that are unlawful or jeopardize the men and women that work within the I.C., they should speak out,” Schiff told the New York Times on May 30, referring to Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats and CIA Director Gina Haspel. “And, if necessary, follow the example of Secretary Mattis.” (Trump’s former defense secretary resigned in 2018 amid a dispute over troop levels in Syria.)

Schiff, who for more than two years assured Congress and the American public that solid evidence of Russian collusion existed, then made a series of demands in a May 31 letter to the head of each intelligence agency, including the FBI and NSA.

Exceeding his congressional oversight boundaries, Schiff instructed the chiefs to notify his committee prior to any declassification move and provide in-person briefings to disclose which documents have been flagged for declassification.

“The President and Attorney General have engaged in a public campaign to further a conspiracy theory about the investigation of Russia’s interference in the 2016 election,” Schiff wrote.

Schiff continues to call Barr “the second most dangerous man in the country” and unfit for office.

Senator Mark Warner (D-Va.), vice chairman of the Senate Intelligence committee which still is investigating Russian collusion and recently subpoenaed Donald Trump, Jr., is really on a rampage against Barr. Warner wants Barr to resign or be impeached by House Democrats; he told intelligence community chiefs he will “have their back” if they intend to thwart Trump’s declassification orders, and also warned that their actions could endanger the lives of confidential sources and “damage relations with foreign intelligence agencies.”

”Mr. Barr has very little credibility with me and I think the vast majority of not just Democrats but many Americans because he time and again is not acting as our attorney general but as a personal advocate for Donald Trump,” Warner said on “Face the Nation” Sunday.

(Important to remember that the security chief of Warner’s committee, James Wolfe was caught leaking classified documents to his journo-girlfriend in 2017 to smear Trump associates and convicted of lying to federal investigators about it.)  

Barr also has been attacked by Senator Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.) and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.). Former Attorney General Eric Holder tweeted that Barr’s investigation into the investigators is “the height of irresponsibility and politically interferes with both the DOJ/the Intelligence Community. This is a dangerous precedent.”

It’s bad enough that Democrats who are guilty of lying to the American public about Russian collusion for more than two years now want to block Barr’s investigation, but the targets of the inquiry also are speaking out. Comey accused Barr of “echoing conspiracy theories.”

Comey, who said he has no idea where Barr got the idea that the FBI spied on the Trump campaign even though Comey signed a warrant to ask a secret court in October 2016 to spy on Trump campaign aide Carter Page, also accused Barr of acting dishonorably.

“I think he has lost most of his reputation with the way he’s conducted himself,” Comey told CNN’s Anderson Cooper last month.

Comey’s former deputy Andrew McCabe is hitting the cable news circuit, insisting that the Mueller report vindicates the FBI. McCabe recently claimed that Barr “misrepresented” the Mueller report in his four-page summary. (When he served as acting attorney general after Comey was fired, McCabe opened another investigation to determine whether President Trump was a Russian agent.)

Former CIA Director John Brennan, also a potential subject of Barr’s investigation, is doing his part to discredit the attorney general. Brennan laughed off Barr’s characterization of spying and told MSNBC’s Chris Matthews that he’s been “very disappointed in Attorney General Barr. I had higher expectations of him. He [acts] more like a personal lawyer for Donald Trump rather than the attorney general.”

So, for two years, we were told that any criticism of Robert Mueller met the legal threshold for obstruction of justice. The commentariat class insisted that any harsh tweet, comment, or facial expression by Trump about Mueller or his team was intended to thwart his investigation. Even a casual conversation allegedly documented by Comey about former National Security Advisor Mike Flynn is contained in volume two of the Mueller report as possible evidence of obstruction of justice by the president.

But now Democratic lawmakers are openly smearing the attorney general and no one objects?

The very subjects of a criminal investigation into abuse of power, illegally leaking classified information, misleading a federal court, and violating the rights of private citizens are permitted to publicly denigrate the man in charge of the investigation, and that’s not obstruction of justice? Imagine if Republican lawmakers had made the same comments about Robert Mueller: the outrage would have been nonstop.

Let’s hope Barr—or John Durham—gets the last word.

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2016 Election • Center for American Greatness • Congress • Democrats • Donald Trump • Elections • Mueller-Russia Witch Hunt • Post • The Constitution • The Resistance (Snicker)

Democrats Have Always Wanted to Impeach Trump

Let’s imagine for a moment a hypothetical situation in which a president shoots someone on the White House lawn. A two-year, $34 million special counsel investigation ensues. As a result of the investigation, the special counsel finds that there is sufficient evidence to conclude that the president committed murder.

Now does anyone honestly believe the special counsel, in announcing his findings, would refrain from stating a clear conclusion and instead of announcing that simply say, “Charging the president with a crime was not an option we could consider”? Of course not because that would be ludicrous. If the evidence were there, the special counsel would say he found sufficient evidence to conclude that the president committed murder.

Whether the special counsel could “charge” the president with that crime would be totally irrelevant to the inquiry because charging him is not his role and responsibility. The House would initiate impeachment proceedings, the president would be tried in the Senate, and the president would be removed from office. That’s the way it should and would work.

The hypothetical above shows that the blessed “Saint” Robert Mueller is playing games. On the collusion and conspiracy issue, Mueller stated pretty clearly that “there was insufficient evidence to charge.”

Yet on the obstruction of justice allegation, Mueller would not say his team found obstruction but then offered weasel words to the effect that they didn’t find that the president did not commit a crime, noting that charging him was not an option.

Well, that conveniently leaves it wide open, doesn’t it? Which seems to be exactly as Mueller intended.

Mueller could have said there was insufficient evidence to charge. He also could have said there was sufficient evidence to charge but that he had no authority to charge. Or he could have left out the verb “charge” altogether, since his ability to charge is irrelevant, and simply stated his conclusions. As in the murder hypothetical above, he might have said our investigation has led us to the conclusion that the president obstructed the investigation.

But he didn’t say any of those things. Instead, dropping all pretense about his motivations, the partisan political hack played cute. He winked and nodded to Congress without stating a clear conclusion.

Mueller’s equivocation and inconsistency tell you all you need to know. This was always a political hit job with two alternatively acceptable goals in mind: either they were going to impeach the president or damage and undermine him going into the 2020 elections. To be clear, I don’t think Democrats truly care which one it is so long as Donald Trump does not win reelection next year.

There are several sickening aspects to yesterday. First, as Sean Davis at The Federalist noted, we had Robert Mueller trying to propose a new legal theory that an uncharged person was not innocent. Not only does that flip the presumption of innocence on its head—positing now that someone is guilty until that person can prove himself or herself innocent—it also shows that Mueller intended to muddy the waters and wants to undercut this president.

Mueller’s was not the only major investigation over the past two years. We had one underway with the House Intelligence Committee, another with the Senate Intelligence Committee, and yet another with the Senate Judiciary Committee. In addition to the 500 witnesses Mueller interviewed, there were likely hundreds more with those concurrent investigations. Yet all of those people, under oath, didn’t give even one piece of evidence for “collusion” or criminal conspiracy, nor did they give any definitive proof that there was any obstruction of justice—because there wasn’t any.

Now Mueller and the Left are signaling to the country that a political opponent can help instigate an investigation based on false premises through partisan propaganda or through illegally leaked memos, without proof of any wrongdoing, and that such an attempt by someone to defend oneself against such actions will now be construed as obstruction of justice.

Have we completely lost our minds?

If we accept these innovations suggested by Mueller’s actions, we will now be saying that due process and the presumption of innocence are dead. For what? We would destroy the foundations of our republic for a short term and purely partisan gain, to our eternal shame. If we remove those principles and eviscerate the rule of law, all bets on the longevity of our political society are off.

The fact is, Democrats have always wanted to impeach Donald Trump. From day one, unable to accept the results of the 2016 elections, they have sought to nullify them.

Now, with a strong economic tailwind at his back and a collection of Democratic Lilliputians clamoring to be the nominee against him, all of their election models are showing Trump winning re-election in 2020. Democrats, in defiance of common sense, knowing that a Republican Senate won’t remove him, want to impeach him because they think that might be the only way they can cripple him and keep him for winning again in 2020.

They keep blabbering about principle and a supposed constitutional crisis, to which I say: it’s hardly principle to launch oneself off a political cliff, but by all means, stop talking, find the nerve and do it—and be prepared to accept the political consequences for your actions at the ballot box in 2020.

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Administrative State • Deep State • Donald Trump • Free Speech • Intelligence Community • Law and Order • Mueller-Russia Witch Hunt • Post • Technology • The Constitution • The Corner

The Case for Prosecuting Comey and Brennan

Twenty-five years ago, the Arnold Schwarzenegger action hit “True Lies” depicted a jealous husband abusing his access to powerful tools intended to fight terrorism to discover whether his wife was having an affair. The character played by Tom Arnold lamely warns Schwarzenegger’s Harry Tasker that using government surveillance to spy on his wife is a crime (which is true) and that abusing these tools could land them both in prison.

Tasker retorts that they violate the law all the time. Once you have a person’s search history, access to her emails, text messages, and listen to her phone calls, it’s not hard to construct a blackmail scenario. But that could never happen in real life, right?

Wrong. In 2013, almost 20 years after the movie, Reuters reported that at least a dozen U.S. National Security Agency employees were caught using secret government surveillance tools to spy on the emails or phone calls of current or former spouses and lovers. The NSA has repeatedly promised to reform its procedures as the database it keeps on Americans continues to grow in scope and reach.

When you talk to your spouse, your child, or your lover in the presence of your electronic devices, those devices passively listen to what you’re saying just in case you say “Hey Siri,” or “Hey Alexa.” Have you ever noticed that when you suddenly develop an interest in a particular product or service, ads mysteriously seem to appear and follow you around?

Former FBI Director James Comey once admitted he covered his computer camera for his privacy. He would know. Just imagine a snooping government making a word-searchable transcript of audio and digital recording of video passively transmitted from your phone. What could a curious agent, with access to a feed from the two cameras in your phone, record while simultaneously viewing your private life in both directions?

Such data could give unlimited power to influence and blackmail elected officials, private citizens, judges, law enforcement, journalists, and so on.

When Americans see a public official or an influential journalist suddenly reverse a position or do something otherwise deemed illogical, speculation often runs to question whether “somebody has something on” that official. We should worry about the potential abuse of a database containing essentially unlimited source material that easily could be used to gain power over our fellow Americans.

False Affidavits
Congress set up the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court to protect Americans from being spied upon by their own government.
And we also know, as in “True Lies,” that NSA analysts “with greater frequency than previously disclosed . . . used U.S. person identifiers to query,” the giant NSA database. This abuse continues even after repeated promises to Congress and the FISC that NSA revised procedures to safeguard private information about Americans.

The NSA’s inspector general caught this wholesale abuse simply by reviewing a small sample of the searches of the database. “That relatively narrow inquiry found that [a redacted number of] analysts had made [a redacted number of] separate queries using,” names of U.S. citizens to search the database. The inspector general discovered this in the first three months of 2015.

On September 26, 2016, the government submitted to the supervising court a certification that failed to disclose the inspector general’s report even though it was well known by then to the signatories of that certification. Among the supporting affidavits falsely reassuring the FISC that the government was not abusing access to data on Americans: NSA Director Admiral Michael S. Rogers, FBI Director James B. Comey, and CIA Director John Brennan.

On October 24, 2016, in the early days of the Trump-Russia scheme then-dubbed “Crossfire Hurricane” and just a few days after the FISC issued a warrant authorizing surveillance on Carter Page, Rogers dashed to the FISC court to make an oral admission. Two days before the FISC was about to approve the government’s continued use of the database, Rogers admitted to significant “non-compliance” with the NSA’s procedures to protect the private information gathered on Americans from the prying eyes of curious analysts. Rogers amended his affidavit to address the falsehoods of his earlier affidavit supporting the September 2016 certification.

Comey and Brennan apparently did not.

In the October 26, 2016 hearing, “the Court ascribed the government’s failure to disclose” the explosive revelations of widespread abuse of Americans’ data, “to an institutional lack of candor” and “emphasized that ‘this is a very serious Fourth Amendment issue.’” The court further described the NSA’s abuse of the database as “widespread during all periods under review.”

Rogers Breaks Ranks 
Shortly after the 2016 presidential election, Rogers then did something that incensed the Intelligence Community and its allies in the media: he
met with President-elect Trump without first giving President Obama a “heads up.” A cold slap of fear might have stung the offending intelligence officials as Rogers seemed to be tattling. This may explain why the Russia hoax accelerated after the election—to keep the incoming anti-swamp president from exposing their vast exploitation of the private information of Americans.

Georgetown University Law Center published an article arguing that the NSA gathering bulk information about Americans is simply unconstitutional. The NSA’s argument has been that the data is kept safe from unconstitutional searches until there’s a need for to search for a U.S. citizen in connection with a particular crime, at which point a warrant would be issued to “search” the data the government already scooped up. But we know from repeated experience that the database remains an irresistible temptation for bureaucrats looking for dirt on targets.

The government has repeatedly demonstrated that it won’t follow constitutional safeguards. The law review article noted, “As with general warrants, blanket seizure programs subject the private information of innocent people to the risk of searches and exposure, without their knowledge and with no realistic prospect of a remedy.” The article adds: “the seizure of papers for later search was an abuse distinct from, but equivalent to, the use of general search warrants—which is why ‘papers’ was included in the Fourth Amendment in addition to ‘effects’ or personal property.”

Comey and Brennan Have a Big Problem
“The FBI doesn’t spy on people,” Comey recently
proclaimed in a public announcement of the same lie he made to the FISC in his affidavit. Under the statute, the FBI was not supposed to search the NSA database without a court order. The FISC noted that the FBI not only accessed the database, but it did so with such frequency that it resorted to the extra manpower of outside contractors to conduct the searches.

Every search by the FBI without a court order requesting data on an American is a potential crime punishable by a fine of up to $10,000 or imprisonment of not more than five years, or both. Comey submitted a false affidavit to deceive the court charged with protecting our constitution.

That seems like a good reason to interrupt the celebrity deep stater’s interminable publicity tour and hold him accountable. We don’t yet know the identities of the targets of these many searches or how that illegally-obtained information was used. Were wives blackmailed into humiliation? Were public officials coerced into changing positions? Were journalists forced to conform to the Intelligence Community’s talking points? It does seem puzzling that the media cheerleads so vigorously for our intelligence agencies. The victims, if they know what the government did, aren’t talking.

Rogers did the right thing by (eventually) coming clean to the FISA court on the widespread abuse of Americans’ data. But James Comey and John Brennan do not appear to have taken any steps to correct their affidavits certifying that the data was not used improperly. The FISC court did not provide numbers but it’s reasonable to infer that the term “widespread” in reference to ongoing violations by multiple officials could mean thousands of felonies under the cover of the Comey and Brennan affidavits that apparently remain uncorrected, in spite of having been found false by a published court opinion.

Comey and Brennan should be prosecuted and the evidence is in plain sight.

The great gift that Donald Trump gave America may be that he tempted the intelligence community to the task of interfering with an American election and undermining a duly elected president. The abuses related to Trump appear to be the tiny tip of a much larger iceberg that we might never have spotted as our intelligence agencies increasingly seem to see their role as “protecting” us from our own constitutional rights.

James Comey and John Brennan (among others) presided over an assault on the constitutional right to keep the government out of our emails, texts, phone calls, and other data. Our republic must hold them to account. As Roman scholars once observed, ubi jus ibi remedium—”a right must have a remedy.” If no action is taken against those who trampled on our Fourth Amendment rights, then no right remains.

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

No Questions? Nonsense—Mueller Must Testify

After two years of investigation, Robert Mueller on Wednesday gave his first public statement since the inception of the special counsel’s office.

Mueller’s remarks, which lasted less than 10 minutes and entertained no questions, offered no new substantive information apart from the announcement that the office was formally closing and that Mueller would be resigning from the Justice Department.

The statement was carefully designed to give the mainstream media and Democrats in Congress an excuse to continue calling for an investigation and potential impeachment of the president. It also let Mueller portray himself as an unbiased and objective public servant merely stating “the facts.”

Consider the following few lines from Mueller’s statement in which he reiterates that the special counsel’s office would have stated that President Trump did not commit a crime if they had confidence the president clearly did not commit a crime:

And as set forth in the report after that investigation, if we had had confidence that the president clearly did not commit a crime, we would have said so. We did not, however, make a determination as to whether the president did commit a crime.

This soundbite will, no doubt, be repeated ad nauseam by the corporate left-wing media and congressional Democrats for the next few days.

They will make the obvious argument that Mueller said:

  1.    Because of Department of Justice policy regarding the indictment of a sitting president, his office would not make a determination as to whether the “President did commit” a crime. (Why not? The policy is against indicting a sitting president, not against discovering that he committed a crime.)
  2.    Had his office been confident that Trump clearly did not commit a crime, he would have said so, thus making the determination that the president did not commit a crime. (But investigators’ confidence that Trump did not commit a crime does not mean that he actually did not commit a crime. Got it? If only life were so simple.)
  3.    Mueller’s office made no statement that the president did not commit a crime, and so his office did not make a determination that the president did not commit a crime.
  4.    Therefore, Mueller has confidence that the president might have committed a crime, but cannot make the necessary indictments because his office cannot make a determination as to whether the president did commit a crime.
  5.    And because “the Constitution requires a process other than the criminal justice system to formally accuse a sitting president of wrongdoing,” the other branches of government should use political processes (such as asking Jerry Nadler) to punish the wrongdoing of the president.

But Mueller’s argument is based on the faulty assumption that the special counsel’s “confidence” is the same as its “determinations.”

Distinction with a Big Difference

A mere two minutes later, Mueller clearly stated his office had determined that it “would not reach a determination one way or the other about whether the president committed a crime.” (Emphasis added.) This means that even if Mueller was confident beyond a shadow of a doubt that the president committed no crime, he would not have reached a determination.

And here we see the clear distinction between the special counsel’s “determinations” and his “confidence.” Mueller decided he would not make a determination “one way or the other” but never explicitly decided under what circumstances he would have “confidence” in the guilt or innocence of the president.

By subtly allowing his audience to conflate his “confidence” with his investigation’s “determinations,” Mueller sidestepped the question of whether he would have stated publicly that President Trump had committed a crime if his office had confidence that the president clearly had committed a crime.

Consider the phrasing again:

And as set forth in the report after that investigation, if we had had confidence that the president clearly did not commit a crime, we would have said so. We did not, however, make a determination as to whether the President did commit a crime.

Mueller wanted to make sure even though he wasn’t making a determination one way or the other, he would leave people with the impression that he did. And so the Mueller report makes the same distinction clear while offering the same conflation:

First, a traditional prosecution or declination decision entails a binary determination to initiate or decline a prosecution, but we determined not to make a traditional prosecutorial judgment [i.e. a binary determination] . . .

If we had confidence after a thorough investigation of the facts that the President clearly did not commit obstruction of justice, we would so state. Based on the facts and the applicable legal standards, however, we are unable to reach that judgment. The evidence we obtained about the President’s actions and intent presents difficult issues that prevent us from conclusively determining that no criminal conduct occurred. (Emphasis added.)

(Yes Mr. Mueller, it’s always difficult to prove a negative—which is why our criminal justice system begins with the presumption of the accused’s innocence.)

Accordingly, while this report does not conclude that the President committed a crime, it also does not exonerate him.

But no one asked Mueller to exonerate the president and certainly no one asked him what his non-factual, non-legal, and non-prosecutorial confidence was.

As Attorney General William Barr testified on May 1, the job of the Justice Department—and thus the job  of the special counsel—is not to “exonerate.” The job of the Justice Department is to determine whether there is “sufficient evidence to establish an obstruction” and that this “determines whether or not there was a crime.”

Mueller’s job was to make this determination. He declined to make it. But having claimed that they could not make a determination, they did not stop at laying out the facts.

Much in the same way that James Comey and Peter Strzok invented the “extremely careless” category to avoid describing Hillary Clinton’s actions as “grossly negligent,” Mueller and his office came up with the new and nebulous criterion of confidence.

But even on confidence, Mueller and his office are vague. All he said was that had the investigators been confident that Trump clearly did not commit a crime, they would have said so. And given that Mueller carefully sidestepped the question of whether they would have stated publicly that they were confident the president had committed a crime, we can assume that he would rather leave the question unanswered and to the fanciful imagination of the mainstream media.

Media Manipulation (It Isn’t Hard to Do)
By not making a prosecutorial determination and not stating that they were confident the president clearly did not commit a crime, Mueller and his office allowed the media to run wild with speculation.

Mueller and his office punted the question of prosecution to Barr, who subsequently decided not to prosecute the president. Barr also took an unexpected further step. He chose to make the determination not to prosecute “without regard” to the “constitutional considerations” Mueller had cited. Barr’s decision not to prosecute was based on the facts themselves.

The media and Democrats went into a tizzy, with many calling for Barr to resign. No doubt, they had expected Barr simply to rely on Department of Justice policy in his decision not to prosecute, thereby teeing up their impeachment push. By making a definitive judgment on the case, Barr squashed the planned Mueller fever.

Had Mueller stayed quiet after Barr’s decisions and the subsequent release of the Mueller report, then we could have regarded his statements about his office’s confidence as a poorly phrased reminder that, as Mueller said in his statement, “every defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.”

He’d Better Take Questions
But Mueller gave a statement. His statement offered no new information. Coming as it did after Barr’s determination, its purpose is clear. It was, once again, to push the narrative that Mueller does not have confidence that the president clearly did not commit a crime and to advance the fallacy that his non-factual, non-legal, and non-prosecutorial confidence means anything.

If Mueller were a man of character and believed Trump would have been indicted if he were not a sitting president, he could have come out and said explicitly that he was confident that the president had committed a crime. Now that he is a private citizen, he could say this. Instead, he weaseled and equivocated to give cover for the Democrats and their kept media, all while trying to portray himself as above the fray.

It is convenient that the special counsel’s office is formally closing and that Mueller is resigning, given his pledge to “not comment on any other conclusions or hypotheticals about the president.”

We are left with many obvious and unanswered questions that the media and Democrats will either ignore or assume the answers to suit their narrative.

For instance, how did Mueller and his office determine confidence? Why didn’t they explicitly say that they were not confident that the president clearly did not commit a crime? What exactly would it mean for them to not be confident that the president “clearly” did not commit a crime? And would they have stated if they were confident that the President had committed a crime?

We could also ask whether they would have told us if they had some confidence that the president probably did not commit a crime, whether they have confidence in their confidence, and whether they are confident that Brian Stelter is not a homicidal pedophile who has systematically targeted, kidnapped, raped, and killed more than two-dozen children on a private island in the Caribbean. (If they are not confident of the last one, House Democrats should surely open an investigation.)

Later in the statement, Mueller claims that his office was partially “guided by principles of fairness” and that “it would be unfair to potentially accuse somebody of a crime when there can be no court resolution of the actual charge.” His hesitance in this part of the statement may be indicative that he knows just how insincere this claim is.

Because what Mueller doesn’t acknowledge is that it is far more unfair to say something like “if we were confident that the President clearly did not commit a crime, we would say so” and then repeat that statement with an ominous stare after the attorney general makes the determination that there is clearly not enough evidence to prosecute.

The Senate Judiciary Committee must subpoena Mueller and ask—and ask—and ask some more. After the countless hours of interrogations that Mueller himself has presided over these past two years, and after the somehow brazen yet gutless political meddling and harassment, it’s only fair.

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

Another Mueller-Comey One-Two Punch

Most Americans are unaware of the long history of comradeship and chicanery between Special Counsel Robert Mueller and former FBI Director James Comey. For nearly two decades, the pair have held the same jobs, earned the same foes, and swaggered in the same rarified sphere of political prestige and privilege.

This week, the country has been treated to another reminder of how often the twosome operates in tandem.

In fact, their prior relationship should have disqualified Mueller from overseeing an investigation into one of Comey’s fiercest critics and the man who fired him, President Donald Trump. Without Comey helping to fabricate the Trump-Russia collusion narrative in 2016, there wouldn’t have been a Mueller investigation into fabricated Trump-Russia election collusion.

Further, Comey admitted he leaked his internal “memos” to the New York Times after his dismissal in May 2017 in an attempt to prompt the appointment of a special counsel. Comey also would be a witness in Mueller’s investigation; his extemporaneous memos that documented alleged conversations with the president in early 2017 are cited as evidence throughout the obstruction of justice section of Mueller’s report. The conflicts are rife and overshadow the legitimacy of the entire Mueller probe.

Peas in a Pod
Comey and Mueller share similar traits: The lofty rhetoric about the rule of law; the self-aggrandizement disguised as adulation of the government institutions they run; the lust for power; the superiority complex; the petty thirst for vengeance. They are New York natives who once claimed to be Republican. Both served as deputy attorney general for President George W. Bush and director of the FBI for President Barack Obama.

In his 2013 confirmation hearing, Comey was effusive in his praise of the man he would succeed at the FBI. “His legacy of candor and straightforwardness and integrity is one that I pledge to continue,” he told the Senate Judiciary Committee. After Mueller was appointed special counsel in May 2017, Comey referred to Mueller as “one of this country’s great, great pros.”

In 2004, when Mueller was FBI director and Comey was deputy attorney general, the twosome famously ambushed ailing Attorney General John Ashcroft in an intensive care unit to stop him from signing a reauthorization of a surveillance program they viewed as illegal. Mueller lauded Ashcroft for refusing to sign the reauthorization over objections by Bush’s top White House aides, and quietly commended Ashcroft at his bedside.

“The moment had taken a toll on me,” Comey wrote in his 2018 book, A Higher Loyalty. “My heart was racing. I was feeling slightly dizzy. But when I heard Bob Mueller’s tender words, I felt like crying. The law had held.”

Strategic Ambiguity, No Surprises
On March 21, the New York Times posted a lengthy column by Comey headlined, ‘What I Want from the Mueller Report.” Like a soothsayer, Comey wrote, “even though I believe Trump is morally unfit to be president of the United States, I’m not rooting for Mueller to demonstrate that he is a criminal. I’m also not rooting for Mueller to ‘clear’ the president.”

Magically, the very next day, without previous notice to the public, Mueller submitted his report to Attorney General William Barr; coincidentally, it neither charged nor “exonerated” (Mueller’s term) the president.

The Mueller-Comey one-two punch again is evident this week; the pair clearly organized a coordinated hit job against both President Trump and Barr, who currently is investigating possible misconduct by Comey and his FBI.

On Tuesday night, the Washington Post published yet another rant by the increasingly unhinged Comey wherein he basically called everyone a big fat dumb-dumb for not buying into his tales of collusion and his laughable justification for taking the unprecedented step of spying on a rival presidential candidate.

He can’t even keep his own story straight. In the column, Comey misrepresented the details of the George Papadopoulos exchange with a Clinton-tied Australian diplomat in the spring of 2016, among other fibs.

Comey begged for attaboys for not leaking the details of his sham investigation to the press before the election. All the talk in the “fringe media” about a covert attempt to infiltrate Trump’s campaign then carry off a soft coup against the president after he won, according to Comey, is nothing more than the work of conspiracy theorists.

Comey took another shot at Barr by scoffing at the notion that his agency “spied” on the Trump campaign, but then immediately explained how he asked “a federal judge for permission to surveil [Trump campaign aide Carter Page].”

And he referred to cheating spouses and criminal leakers who once worked for him as “good people.”

Parsing Mueller
Comey’s backup would arrive Wednesday morning in the form of a surprise announcement by Mueller. (It is probably safe to assume it did not come as a surprise to Comey.) In a short but wide-ranging statement by the 74-year-old prosecutor, Mueller essentially gave Congress the green light to impeach Donald Trump. Mueller delivered his remarks from the Justice Department while Barr is on business in Alaska; it was the first time in more than two years Mueller has made any kind of public statement.

After announcing his resignation from the department, Mueller reiterated his report’s finding that there was no conspiracy between the Trump campaign and the Russians. He then pivoted to the juicier volume of the report that addresses potential obstruction of justice by the president.

Here, much like Comey, Mueller displayed his politically-expedient grasp of how the legal system is supposed to work: “If we had had confidence that the president clearly did not commit a crime, we would have said so,” Mueller told the silent press corps. “We did not, however, make a determination as to whether the president did commit a crime.”

The reason, Mueller rather incoherently explained, is that Justice Department rules—last codified by the Office of Legal Counsel in 2000 based on both the Constitution and case law—prevented him from indicting the sitting president of the United States.

“Charging the president with a crime therefore was not an option we could consider,” Mueller emphasized. Then he served up the chum that the press and House Democrats were circling the water for: “The [OLC] opinion says that the Constitution requires a process other than the criminal justice system to formally accuse a sitting president of wrongdoing.”

That obviously would be impeachment. “A sitting President is immune from indictment as well as from further criminal process,” the OLC opinion states. “Where the President is concerned, only the House of Representatives has the authority to bring charges of criminal misconduct through the constitutionally sanctioned process of impeachment.”

Now thanks to another grudge-seeking joint stunt by Mueller and Comey, the Democrats and the media are recharged and ready to chase the folly of impeachment in time for the 2020 election.

And this week’s Mueller-Comey one-two punch serves another purpose: to obfuscate the real scandal, which is the pending investigation into how Comey’s FBI weaponized his agency against the Trump campaign and, ultimately, against the president himself.

Even though Mueller has stepped down as special counsel, it’s a fair bet to assume his days of double-teaming with Comey to settle scores are far from over.

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