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

Putin’s Patsies

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Democrats’ Attack Machine Revs Up Against Ratcliffe

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

There are supposed to be penalties for lying to Congress.

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

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

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

Don’t Let Mueller Fool You

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

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

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

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

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

Don’t be fooled. 

Robert Mueller Is Not a Sad Sack

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Greatest Ego Trip Ever

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

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

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

And who will be the arbiter of that final judgement? 

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

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

Straining Credulity

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

Come on. 

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

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

Photo credit:  Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

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America • Donald Trump • Foreign Policy • Post • Russia

Protecting Poland Should Be a Priority

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The aging Russian bear is yet again prowling the forests of Eastern Europe. From the Baltics to the Nordic states—and everything in between—European leaders are girding themselves for inevitable conflict with Moscow. Since 2007, when Russian President Vladimir Putin announced his intention to challenge America’s unipolar world order, Russia has engaged in a series of military campaigns aimed at breaking U.S. influence in what Moscow belligerently calls its “Near-Abroad” (mainly Eastern Europe and the Caucasus but also parts of the Middle East). Russia has further extended its reach in places farther afield, such as Africa, Latin America, and the Asia-Pacific.

The good news is that the Russian threat today is nowhere near as potent as it was during the Cold War. Still, the Russians are able to threaten the world with advanced missile technology, the world’s largest nuclear weapons stockpile, and they have significant capabilities in cyberspace, space, and in the realm of public diplomacy.

Russia’s military threat is most profoundly felt in Eastern Europe. Here, Russia shares a porous land border with these countries and Moscow possesses a large, though old, tank force poised to strike deep into these poorly defended lands, at any time Moscow should decide to do so.

NATO in the Age of Trump
Since taking office, President Donald J. Trump has had to contend with the view, propagated by his political opponents around the world, that he is a “Russian stooge.” This claim is based on lies and partisan rancor. In fact, Trump has been the toughest president on Russia since Ronald Reagan. Trump has also reinvigorated NATO, contrary to what his opponents claimed he would do.

The NATO of today, unfortunately, is not the NATO of yesterday.

During the Cold War, NATO was truly the greatest defensive military alliance in history. Its members shared the burden along with the United States to protect Western Europe from Soviet aggression. Key members, such as the United Kingdom, West Germany, and Turkey guarded the frontiers of freedom against the threat of Soviet totalitarianism.

Today, NATO is fraying. It has become too big for its own good and the interests of its European members are drastically diverging.

NATO’s once-pivotal southern defensive point of Turkey has become a threat to the West; Germany is weak and looking for a new political paradigm away from Trump’s America; and France is more interested in playing the middle-man between Russia and the United States than they are in protecting Europe from a Russia that their elite continuously lists as a strategic threat. The United Kingdom is also struggling to determine its own future, making its contribution to NATO suspect. Other NATO members, such as Italy and Spain, are too preoccupied by the issue of illegal immigration from North Africa and the Middle East to be concerned with the Russian threat in the east. Greece has strengthened its ties with the West, yet the fact remains that Greece shares deep cultural ties with Russia, due to their Eastern Orthodox Christian faith.

In the east, where the Russian threat is most profoundly felt, it is only Poland that is strong enough to mount a reliable defense against Russian revanchism. In this way, then, Poland is playing the role that West Germany once did against the Soviet Union during the Cold War. Yet, in contrast with the Cold War, both Washington and Brussels (where NATO is headquartered) refuse full support to Poland in its efforts to deter Russian aggression. Further, traditional NATO partners, such as those in France and Germany, seek to stymie the enhancement of Polish power relative to their own within the framework of the NATO alliance.

Building Fort Trump in Poland
Earlier this year, the president called for the creation of a massive U.S. base in Poland—jokingly referred to as “Fort Trump”—wherein scores of American combat troops and equipment would serve alongside Polish forces, in an effort to deter any potential Russian aggression.

Rather than fulfill these ambitions, Washington has opted instead to deploy a meager 1,000 noncombat U.S. troops to Poland. As Rachel Rizzo of the Center for New American Security commented, “I don’t see the added deterrent effect of sending an extra 1,000 troops. The U.S. already has rotational forces in Eastern Europe that have proven to be effective in deterring Russia.”

Rizzo’s assessment is correct.

The proponents of this limited move claim that this is much better than the creation of “Fort Trump” in Poland because it will “not violate a 1997 security agreement that prohibits the permanent basing of NATO troops in Warsaw Pact countries.” This is bizarre, considering that Washington has spent the last 30 years ignoring other agreements made with Moscow about the limitation of NATO and European Union expansion into former Warsaw Pact states.

In fact, the United States precipitated the current geopolitical crisis with Russia.

For decades, Washington encouraged the seemingly endless expansion of NATO into Eastern Europe, knowing full well that Moscow viewed these places in much the same way that Washington views Latin America. Washington would never countenance the presence of Russian or Chinese forces in Cuba or Mexico, yet Washington expected Moscow simply to accept unlimited NATO expansion into their western periphery as a fait accompli. And, now that the Russo-American relationship has broken down to nearly Cold War-era levels of animosity, Washington has opted to undercut its own interests by denying Poland the resources needed to better defend against Russian aggression.

While President Trump has been tougher on Russia than any president in the last 30 years, he has also indicated his willingness to do the mother-of-all geopolitical deals with Russia. Yet, in order to negotiate effectively with a counterpart like Vladimir Putin, Trump needs to have leverage and come from a position of credible strength. Placing “Fort Trump” in Poland would be the leverage Trump needs to get his deal. At the same time, it would enhance the defensive capabilities of those NATO states most threatened by potential Russian aggression.

Russia Can Be Dealt With from a Credible Position of Strength
Russia is a pest under Putin but it is not, we can be thankful, the Soviet Union.

Putin is a conservative imperial nationalist with a transactional and realist foreign policy. No matter what Russian propaganda may say—or what Putin may personally despise about the West—if Washington presents Moscow with a deal, Russia will compromise and opt for diplomacy rather than force.

If present trends continue, then Russia may be compelled to take an irresponsible military action against the United States and its partners if only because the West has pushed Russia away diplomatically while at the same time the West has failed to enhance its defensive perimeter with adequate strength—particularly in Poland.

The mere threat of building “Fort Trump” in Poland, coupled with the Trump Administration’s other bold moves against Russia globally, would accomplish the West’s goals of deterring Russia, strengthening NATO, and preventing a military confrontation of any kind with Russia.

After all, the world needs Washington and Moscow cooperating with—rather than competing against—each other. Protecting Poland would go a long way in achieving these goals. Continued weakness on the part of Washington invites more aggression from Moscow.

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America • Deep State • Elections • Law and Order • Post • Russia • The Left

Leftism Makes People Meaner

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The sadistic treatment of Paul Manafort illustrates something I have believed since I attended graduate school in the 1970s and saw the behavior of left-wing students: Leftism makes people meaner.

There are kind and mean conservatives and kind and mean liberals. Neither liberalism nor conservatism makes people kinder or meaner. But this is not the case with leftism. With the handful of exceptions that accompany every generalization, leftism makes people meaner, even crueler.

Take the transfer of Manafort, the one-time Trump campaign manager, from a federal prison to New York’s Rikers Island prison. Rikers Island is universally regarded as a wretched place. As Harvard law professor Alan Dershowitz wrote:

The decision to move Paul Manafort … from the decent federal prison to which he was sentenced to solitary confinement to the dangerous hell hole that is New York City’s Rikers Island seems abusive and possibly illegal.

I know Rikers well having spent time there visiting numerous defendants accused of murder and other violent crimes. It is a terrible place that no one should ever be sent to.

Mass murderers and torturers are among those incarcerated at Rikers Island.

Moreover, Manafort, found guilty solely for white-collar crimes, will be placed in solitary confinement—”for his own safety.”

Virtually everyone who has written about solitary confinement, both on the right and the left, deems it torture. Manafort will therefore be tortured after being sentenced to seven years’ imprisonment for fraud and, in the words of the Daily Wire, “a little-known law that requires lobbyists to report that they are working on behalf of a foreign government (in Manafort’s case, Ukraine).”

Angry over the possibility that Manafort may be pardoned by President Trump, the Manhattan District Attorney, Cyrus Vance, charged Manafort with additional crimes based on state law. That way, if found guilty of state offenses, he cannot be pardoned by Trump, as the president’s power to pardon applies only to federal — not state — crimes.

Everyone knows this prosecution is politically motivated. Vance hates the president and wants to use solitary confinement in a hellhole with violent criminals to squeeze Manafort into testifying against the president.

As Dershowitz said to me on my radio show, what Vance is doing reminds him of Stalin and Beria—the infamous state prosecutor, a man Stalin referred to as “my Himmler.” Dershowitz, a lifelong liberal Democrat and supporter of Hillary Clinton, does not use Stalin analogies loosely.

To her credit, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez tweeted: “A prison sentence is not a license for gov torture and human rights violations. That’s what solitary confinement is. Manafort should be released, along with all people being held in solitary.”

I might add that my opposition to Manafort’s treatment is not partisan or new. On a number of occasions over the years, I have cited favorably New York Review of Books articles describing the horror of solitary confinement.

Despite its history of opposition to solitary confinement, the New York Times article reporting the plan to relocate Manafort said nothing against the unnecessary transfer but did comment on the expensive suits Manafort used to wear.

Solitary confinement is “basically a deathtrap,” former New York City Police Commissioner Bernard Kerik wrote when Manafort was placed in solitary at his federal prison. Manafort should never have been sentenced to solitary confinement. But Robert Mueller (and Judge Amy Berman Jackson) sought it for the same political reason Vance has: to break the man.

As former federal prosecutor Sidney Powell wrote: “When a witness or defendant from whom prosecutors want ‘cooperation’ does not do as they demand, they put him in solitary confinement. And it works. It literally breaks people.

“Solitary does have a place in our prison system, but only for those people who are simply too dangerous to be placed around others at all. However, the torture of solitary confinement should never be used as it is now to break people to prosecutors’ will—to torture them until they will say or do anything to get out.

“Solitary is also called the ‘hole.’ It’s a small space, barely large enough to stand, with a slit for light, to which prisoners are confined/caged for 23 hours a day. …

“Paul Manafort, seventy years old, has endured this torture for eight months. He’s now in a wheelchair, while Judge Amy Berman Jackson mocks his rapidly deteriorating health. Where is the outcry from the ACLU?”

So, then, what enables Vance, Mueller, and Jackson to engage in such evil?

The only answer is their politics—the politics of the Trump-hating Left.

Cyrus Vance, Robert Mueller and Amy Berman Jackson may well be good parents, loving spouses, loyal friends, and charitable individuals. But leftism has given them permission to act vilely and mercilessly while thinking of themselves as fine people—just as evil doctrines have done throughout history.

As noted at the beginning of this column, when I was at Columbia, I witnessed this leftist mean-spiritedness firsthand in the personal cruelty of left-wing agitators against professors and others with whom they differed.

Here’s a question perhaps millions of parents will be able to answer: If your child returned home from college a leftist, was he or she a kinder or meaner person than before he or she left for college?

The question is rhetorical.

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Administrative State • America • Center for American Greatness • Deep State • Foreign Policy • Post • Russia • Technology

The Deep State Just Killed Space Force—and Endangered Us All

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During a private dinner last week at the Capitol Hill Club in Washington, D.C., I was taken to task by a Republican congressman after I pressed him on his lack of support for President Donald Trump’s proposed space force.

The congressman is a war hero. His service is unimpeachable and I maintain a deep respect for his commitment to our country. Yet his responses to my questions were flippant, painfully uninformed, and dangerously rooted in a reflexive NeverTrumpism that is unworthy of the man.

When first confronted about the space force, he insisted that it  “isn’t his problem,” as he is neither a member of the House Armed Services Committee nor of the Foreign Affairs Committee. Fair enough. It’s not his specialty. But as I delved deeper into the matter with him, the Republican congressman finally snapped that he did not support “creating Starfleet” (uh, why not?) because he did not believe that “greater bureaucracy was the solution” to our space woes.

Of course, this is the kind of prepackaged nonsense that reflexive NeverTrumpism supplies. Don’t question the checklist. Low taxes and small government mantras are the only objectives. Stick it to the president when you can, and still attempt to curry public favor.

Such rote recitation of the playbook glosses over a very important fact: not all bureaucracy is bad!

I then gave a brief assessment of the strategic landscape in space, in which our critical though vulnerable satellite constellations—particularly military communications, early missile warning, and surveillance satellites in geosynchronous orbit—are susceptible to surprise disruption and attack from strategic rivals, such as China, Russia, and even Iran, and North Korea. I explained how our enemies had made incredible advances in the development and deployment of their space forces and how a succession of American administrations—Democrat and Republican, to say nothing of  Congress itself—had allowed our once dominant position in space to erode.

The freshman Republican congressman was unimpressed.

He insisted that we should be aware of the dangers, but that he didn’t want to take any further action other than to give the Air Force more authority on matters related to military space policy. Such a move would have been sufficient…20 years ago—before our rivals had already created a robust array of what are known as counterspace weapons. It’s totally inadequate for the circumstances today.

The Potomac Slow Dance
As Representative Mike Rogers (R-AL) has pointed out, historically, the Air Force has maneuvered funds meant for their Space Command into other programs deemed more important during times of budgetary tightening—such as during sequestration. Each time funds were moved away from military space operations into more “mission critical” areas, though, America’s satellites were left more vulnerable to attack. And every time we presented a vulnerability,  American rivals, particularly the Chinese and Russians, took advantage of it, investing ever more funds into building out their counterspace weapon suites.

The concern among proponents of an independent space force is that America is bound to find itself in a situation such as that we had with the Army Air Corps of old—before we created an independent Air Force.  Today, having the Air Force maintain the authority of military space operations would be insufficient to the level and the nature of threat America’s satellites face in space.

After all, operating in space is expensive and bureaucracies rarely accept reorganization of the sort that the Trump Administration has advocated since the 2016 presidential campaign. In the same way that the Army fought the creation of a separate Air Force, the Department of the Air Force has resisted calls to create an independent space force, with its own culture and substantial resources dedicated exclusively to space operations. But American operations in space are too expansive to be relegated to the proverbial backburner; American presence in space is set to expand as the private sector in space grows and interest in colonizing the solar system increases.Whatever many in the Pentagon may presently believe, space is not just an ancillary component of air.

Indeed, space is itself a warfighting domain.

Deep State’s Gonna State—Even in Deep Space!
Tragically, a group of powerful interests have aligned in Washington to prevent the creation of a sixth branch of the United States Armed Forces. Those interests are roughly comprised of the usual suspects behind all of the stymying of Trump’s policies since his historic election three years ago: the permanent bipartisan fusion party.

Ironically, this same group has, in the past, supported calls for the creation of a space force. Yet, because the dreaded Donald Trump has urged the creation of such a force; because “orange man bad!” is the battle cry in Washington today, the space force is being squelched by a bipartisan “Resistance” coalition in Congress.

Unsurprisingly, the most ardent critics of the space force are the so-called elected “conservatives” who zealously guard their hallowed political faith against the unclean hands of Trump and his acolytes. The congressman that I spoke with last week insisted that his primary opposition to the calls for an independent space force resided in his faith in “small” government (whatever that means). Yet, this is the same individual who proudly recounted how he—by no means a Trumpist—convinced the president to remain in Syria, despite the president’s desire to drawdown from that quagmire last year. I guess size is relative.

For the record, since this congressman’s intervention in convincing the president to remain mindlessly engaged in the Syrian civil war, the Department of Defense has spent around $15.3 billion in Syria during FY2018. Most analysts believe that the startup costs for creating an independent space force would be a meager $2 billion.

Imagine what we could have done with the $15 billion that went to the useless Syrian campaign. So much for all of that “small government” rhetoric. Fact is, the same group of permanent bureaucrats, congressional fools, and bean counters—Progressives all—who’ve waged a rolling, administrative coup against the duly elected president of the United States have also likely managed to kill the most important national security reform of the 21st century—at a time when we are susceptible to a Pearl Harbor level event in space.

According to Defense News, the killing blow was likely struck this last week when a bipartisan group of elected representatives told the Pentagon to “come up with other alternatives to establishing a Space Force.” While Congress insists that they’re merely tweaking the Pentagon’s plans, the fact that they’ve rejected a $72 million request by the Department of Defense to build a Space Force headquarters, a critical step toward creating the force, will further delay the White House’s efforts to defend our vulnerable satellite constellations.

Blame the Deep State When We Get Hit
Every delay due to bureaucratic inertia or petty partisanship weakens the military’s ability to defend itself in space. American space policy continues toward atrophy while the military and civilian (one in the same) programs of Russia and China grow stronger and more efficient—posing hitherto unimaginable threats to our country’s essential satellite constellations, as well as to our national prestige.

When Russia deploys space stalkers—tiny, fast-moving satellites with powerful grappling claws designed to push the Army’s critical Wideband Global SATCOM (WGS) satellites (there are 10 of them) out of orbit—before their tanks blitzkrieg into another Eastern European state (something likely to happen soon, unless the administration can negotiate the mother-of-all geopolitical deals with Moscow, yet another thing our foolish “Deep State” is preventing), blame Congress. Or, when China blinds the Navy’s Mobile User Objective System (MUOS) constellation in geosynchronous orbit before they invade Taiwan, just remember that it was the petty politics of the NeverTrumpers in Washington, D.C. who made these new age surprise attacks possible.

The “Deep State” not only threatens the president with a #FakeNews story of Russia “collusion.” They are now seriously undermining American national security all in the name of “resisting” the dreaded “Orange Man” president. Sad!

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

Was Sergey Kislyak Part of the Russian Collusion Hoax?

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

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

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

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

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

McFaul Guy

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Suspicious Contacts

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

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

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

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

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

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

Unsolved Mysteries

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

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

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

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

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

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

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America • Center for American Greatness • Donald Trump • Foreign Policy • Middle East • Post • Russia

Be Careful: Hurting Iran Might Help Russia

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The global price of oil is on track to reach $80 a barrel soon. The Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) voted several weeks ago to curb production, which had already led to global oil prices inching upward. Meanwhile, political instability in oil-producing states such as Venezuela and Libya have caused dislocations in the global energy market, raising the price of oil worldwide. The global energy market has been further strained thanks to the White House’s recent and unexpected decision to deny all exemptions for countries seeking to trade Iranian-produced oil and natural gas sources on the world market.

The decision is part of the Trump Administration’s larger strategy to get tough on Iran. While that overall strategy is necessary for U.S. national security, the tactic of closing all sanctions exemptions without giving the world market advance warning has created severe uncertainty in the global energy market. And, the more volatility that exists in the world energy markets, the higher the price of oil becomes.

This will not only have ramifications for your summer vacation plans, it will also disproportionately benefit the massive petrostate of Russia. Therefore, going after Iran’s oil and natural gas supplies with sanctions might strengthen Russia, which has been weakened from years of chronically low global oil prices.

Russia Loves American Tension with Iran
Considering that Russia is little more than a giant gas station, a consistently higher price of oil makes Russia stronger. When the price of oil drops on the global market—and remains relatively low—Russia suffers.

The last time the political system in Russia seemed stable was during a period of record-high global prices for oil and natural gas. This increase in the price of oil allowed Moscow to engage in a massive military modernization program. Russia was able to get tougher with their neighbors than at any other time in the post-Cold War era.

Between 2007 and 2013, the global price of oil reached historic highs. So long as the global price of oil remained at or above $80 per barrel, Russia benefited. Moscow longs for high global energy prices to fuel its geostrategic return to greatness.

It was during this period that Russian President Vladimir Putin took to the podium at the infamous Munich Security Conference and gave an hourlong tirade against U.S. foreign policy. This moment essentially was Putin’s declaration of a new cold war. If not for the higher-than-usual oil prices, it is unlikely Putin would have had the gumption to act as he did.

Russia’s 2008 National Security Strategy Document
Following this speech, in 2008, Putin ordered his forces to invade neighboring Georgia, in order to prevent what he feared would be Georgia’s accession into the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO). That same year, Russia released its national security strategy memo explicitly outlining how Russia planned to dominate the mineral resources of the Arctic.

According to Jamestown Foundation’s Roger McDermott:

Much attention [in the national security strategy document] was devoted to the potential risk of future energy wars, in regions including the Arctic, where Russia will defend its access to hydrocarbon resources [emphasis added].

Russian leaders recognized the benefits that Russia’s dominant position as a global producer of oil and natural gas had afforded them. What’s more, Russia had become a primary energy provider to neighboring Europe and China. This gave Moscow immense strategic leverage over their otherwise hostile neighbors.

For Russia to remain a dominant and prosperous state, Russian strategists believed they had to claim and develop as many of these energy resources as possible. Becoming a leading producer of oil and natural gas would be the priority for Russia in the decades ahead, as this position would ensure Russia could make itself as a true equal to the United States as major world power.

As Oil Prices Decline, So Does Russia
What appeared to be an implacable, resurgent Russia in 2014, soon found itself deprived of economic security. It was shortly after Russia successfully annexed Crimea from Ukraine in 2014 that the global price of oil dropped precipitously. As the price plummeted, Russian finances collapsed with it.

The West then added to Russia’s woes by smothering it with sanctions and effectively isolating it from much of the rest of the world (aside from the second-largest economy in the world, China). And, while Russia’s economic situation grew bleaker, Putin ultimately was forced to increase his control at home, becoming a supervillain in the eyes of many people around the world.

Talk of Russian military modernization today is laughable. As soon as those petro-funds dried up in 2014, Moscow’s delusions of geopolitical grandeur were put on hold—indefinitely. Russia will remain a spent force unless the world price of oil increases as it did in from 2007-2013. Given that five years of relatively low oil prices persisted, Russia was unlikely to have the means to realize its neo-imperial dreams any time soon. But the Trump Administration’s decision to reimpose sanctions on Iran means the Russian bear might be getting a much-needed shot of adrenaline at an opportune time.

Countering Russia’s Advantages as a Petrostate
It’s not going to be easy for Moscow, though. The world oil market has changed since the days when Russia benefited disproportionately from chronically high oil prices. Today, oil costs $66.15 per barrel—not quite where Russia needs it to be in order to benefit. Also, unlike a decade ago, America can saturate the world market with oil and natural gas to keep the price relatively low, if need be.

What’s more, the primary driver of OPEC—Saudi Arabia—needs the global price of oil to remain between $70-$80 per barrel to balance its budget. If the price goes beyond that range, it might risk a worldwide recession, thereby harming the Saudi economy.

Plus, Riyadh’s rivalry with Iran means that there is incentive for Saudi Arabia to prevent the price of oil from rising too high: the Saudis need the United States to back them and they will therefore acquiesce to Washington’s demands to keep global oil prices in check. Although Russia and Saudi Arabia, as two of the world’s leading oil producers, have formed a close bond in recent years, theirs is not a partnership as valuable to Riyadh as the Saudi alliance with the United States is. Thus, it is likely that Riyadh will attempt to coordinate an increase in oil production with both the United States and OPEC, in order to offset any price shocks from Washington’s recent moves against Iran, effectively damaging Russian dreams of complete, geopolitical restoration.

Yet the Trump Administration should take nothing for granted. In today’s age of durable disorder, things have a way spiraling out-of-control—especially in the complex international energy market. The pessimistic analysts might be right and the price of oil may approach $100 a barrel by year’s end simply because of unintended circumstances from well-meaning actions.

Such an outcome would be welcome news in Moscow.

Self-Restraint with Iran Keeps Russia Down
Iran is a regional threat that must be contained by a U.S.-backed alliance consisting of the Sunni Arab states and Israel. But, inching toward full military intervention against Iran, as U.S. Senator Rand Paul (R-Ky.) and several other congressional leaders fear the Trump Administration is doing, just might inadvertently allow for Russia to threaten U.S. interests across Eurasia.

The key here is for President Trump to strike a strategic balance in the Middle East: the United States cannot ignore Iran’s threat to the region. Balancing with regional powers, like Israel and Saudi Arabia, against Iran in order to contain its threat is good. But, unilaterally (and unexpectedly) slapping all oil sanctions back on Iran in a push for greater levels of hostility, as the White House did recently, creates uncertainty and instability in world energy markets. The more instability that the United States creates in the world energy market through its aggressive actions against Iran, the more likely it is that Russia will benefit.

If that happens, expect Russia to resume the wanton aggression against its Eastern European neighbors that it halted in 2014 when oil prices tanked. Hitting Iran too hard and suddenly would be akin to feeding the Russian bear—and we don’t want that.

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

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America • Americanism • Deep State • Democrats • Donald Trump • Intelligence Community • Mueller-Russia Witch Hunt • Post • Russia • Trump White House

How the Mueller Report Covers for Clinton and the Conspirators

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On April 10, Attorney General William Barr got to the heart of the Russia collusion hoax in a delicate and understated manner.

“Well, I guess—I think spying did occur, yes,” he told a congressional panel. “I think spying did occur. . . . The question was whether it was adequately predicated.”

The term “spying” is actually a euphemism for what really happened. In reality, starting an investigation to create suspicion and a fountain of leaks to frame political opponents to win an election is just the kind of thing Putin did in Russia to subvert what little democracy started to take root after the fall of the old Soviet government. In a way, framing somebody for treason is worse than treason because of the damage it does to the rule of law.

There are two competing narratives for the “predicate” for spying on Donald Trump’s presidential campaign: (1) The Papadopoulos pretext and, (2) the obvious truth. If you want to know why the Left is melting down over Barr’s “spying” comments, it’s very simple: the real “predicate” for spying on Trump is a phony intelligence report commissioned by Hillary Clinton to win an election.

But that’s not the story we’ve been fed.

The lie would be completely irrelevant except that the truth is so much more relevant. The Trump-Russia collusion hoax did not begin with a May 2016 conversation between Trump campaign adviser George Papadopoulos and Australian diplomat and staunch Clinton ally Alexander Downer. In fact, it began with Hillary Clinton’s successful campaign dirty trick: she paid a subcontractor to draft and promote a smear disguised as intelligence to trigger an FBI investigation of her political opponent. It’s that simple. The get-Trump crowd backed into the Papadopoulos story as a pretext.

Similarly, the Mueller report pushes the Papadopoulos pretext: “Papadopoulos had suggested to a representative of that foreign government that the Trump Campaign had received indications from the Russian government that it could assist the Campaign through the anonymous release of information damaging to Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton. That information prompted the FBI on July 31, 2016, to open an investigation into whether individuals associated with the Trump Campaign were coordinating with the Russian government in its interference activities.” It further told readers, “In late April 2016, Papadopoulos was told by London-based professor Joseph Mifsud, immediately after Mifsud ‘s return from a trip to Moscow, that the Russian government had obtained ‘dirt’ on candidate Clinton in the form of thousands of emails. One week later, on May 6, 2016, Papadopoulos suggested to a representative of a foreign government that the Trump Campaign had received indications from the Russian government that it could assist the Campaign through the anonymous release of information that would be damaging to candidate Clinton.”

The Mueller report completely glosses over several important questions in order to prop up the Papadopoulos pretext. First, it should be remembered that the emails the Russians supposedly hacked were from the DNC and Podesta, not Clinton. Papadopoulos made this point in his testimony before the House, “My recollection is that he said the Hillary Clinton emails. Not DNC, not Podesta, nothing like that.” Second, the FBI appears to have tried to plant its own evidence to justify starting the investigation.

John Solomon revealed this stunning revelation: weeks before the FBI supposedly opened an investigation into the Trump campaign for collusion, Stephen Halper, believed to be operating as an FBI informant, approached Papadopoulos with this line, “Oh, it’s great that Russia is helping you and your campaign, right George?” Solomon goes on to report that the FBI withheld Papadopoulos’s response from the FISA court, an emphatic denial, “I have no idea what the hell you are talking about…And I have nothing to do with that, so stop bothering me about it.”  Solomon’s source confirmed that the FBI obtained the transcript of the Halper/Papadopoulos conversation but nevertheless withheld the exculpatory part from the FISA court in the request to spy on the Trump campaign. Papadopoulos also told Solomon that Halper had with him an attractive female companion who implied that she would have sex with Papadopoulos if he would confirm Halper’s theory.

Solomon went on to report, “’The truth is, the Papadopoulos predicate went into reversal, but rather than shut down the probe at that point, the bureau turned to other leads like Steele and Page without giving the court a full picture,’ one source said.”

Sequencing what happened in chronological order proves a useful tool for debunking the Papadopoulos pretext and other myths. That is how I disproved the conspiracy theory that Roger Stone had advance knowledge of a Wikileaks release. It was just a couple of big talkers guessing (incorrectly) about information that was already in the press. As another example, you’ve heard that Donald Trump joking about Russia releasing emails prompted the Russians to do just that. Trump made that joke on July 27, 2016. But Assange began releasing the DNC emails on July 22, 2017—five days earlier.

The FBI opened its counterintelligence probe against Trump on July 31, 2016—before it interviewed Downer about Papadopoulos. By then, the FBI had already begun receiving pieces of the Clinton-procured “dossier.” That dossier formed the basis for the all-important Carter Page surveillance. It’s ridiculous to argue that the dossier Clinton commissioned did not spark the FBI investigation. The Clinton team hired a trusted FBI informant (Christopher Steele) to prepare dummy intelligence reports which successfully triggered the FBI to launch an investigation into Trump.

Although there are literally thousands of moving parts and players in the Trump/Russia hoax, I have prepared a simple timeline below which clearly establishes what I just asserted.

March 1, 2016: Super Tuesday in the Republican Primary. Donald Trump establishes a delegate lead sufficient to make him the favorite for the nomination.

March 6, 2016: Papadopoulos is asked to join the Trump campaign as an adviser on foreign policy issues.

March 16, 2016: Wikileaks launches a searchable database of Clinton emails obtained legally through a FOIA request.

March 22, 2016: The Washington Post announces Papadopoulos is a foreign policy adviser to the Trump campaign.

March of 2016: Papadopoulos met “the Professor” in Italy in mid-March 2016.

April of 2016: The Observer reports, “Panama Papers Reveal Clinton’s Kremlin Connections.” The article recounts how the Panama papers tie the Podesta group to Russian money laundering operations. This very possibly is the “dirt” to which Mifsud referred 19 days later in the conversation with Papadopoulos. Perkins Coie retained Fusion GPS to begin working on the Trump/Russia project. Also in this same timeframe, Perkins Coie hired CrowdStrike, the firm that concluded Russia hacked the DNC servers. On April 26, “the Professor” (likely Mifsud) boasted to Papadopoulos that Moscow was in possession of juicy “dirt” on Hillary.” Mifsud reportedly introduced Papadopoulos via email to Ivan Timofeev, who works for a think tank close to the Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Mifsud would later insist he had no contacts with the Russian Government itself, only a few academic figures, Timofeev being one such figure.

May 10, 2016: Papadopoulos had drinks with Australian diplomat Alexander Downer in Kensington Wine Rooms. Downer is a staunch Clinton ally. Downer was accompanied by a companion, Erika Thompson, who Papadopoulos later claimed was a member of the Australian Secret Intelligence Service. Papadopoulos said the Russians might use some damaging material they had on Hillary Clinton. Papadopoulos is not alleged to have mentioned emails.

June 3, 2016: Donald Trump Jr. is approached by Rob Goldstone to set up what is now known as the infamous June 9, 2016, Trump Tower meeting in which two Fusion GPS-associated Russians (Rinat Akhmetshin and Natalia Veselnitskaya) would meet with Donald Trump Jr. Fusion GPS claims it was a coincidence that it met with one of these Russians before and after the Trump Tower meeting. Fusion GPS also exchanged emails with the other Russian. Fusion GPS even supplied the materials and handouts for the meeting in question.

June 12, 2016: Julian Assange, of Wikileaks, announces plans to release a new batch of Clinton emails.


June 15, 2016: Crowdstrike publishes, “Bears in the Midst,” claiming to have evidence that the Russians hacked the DNC server. The claim remains in dispute to this day.

July 5, 2016: Steele went to his London office to meet with an FBI agent with whom he had an existing relationship to provide some of the early reports that would later form the dossier. This is also the day that Comey exonerates Clinton so the FBI can pivot to investigate Trump.

July 11 or 12, 2016: Halper unsuccessfully attempts to get Papadopoulos to say that the Trump campaign is working with Russia.

July 22, 2016: Wikileaks begins releasing emails from the Democratic National Committee.

July 27, 2016: Donald Trump jokes that Russia should release emails Clinton deliberately destroyed. He’s referring to the emails from her private server, not the DNC emails.

July 31, 2016: According to the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence minority report, the FBI opened its counterintelligence investigation into the Trump campaign.

August 2, 2016: FBI agents summarize an interview with Downer in which he recounts the May meeting with Papadopoulos.

February 2017: Mifsud meets with FBI to give his account of the Papadopoulos interactions.

November 1, 2017: Mifsud gives an interview to an Italian news agency. He claims the following: “I strongly deny any discussion of mine about secrets concerning Hillary Clinton. I swear it on my daughter. I don’t know anyone belonging to the Russian government: the only Russian I know is Ivan Timofeev, director of the think tank “Russian International affairs council.”

The Mueller team’s transparent attempt to distract from Clinton’s role in the origination of the Russia hoax reminds us that Jeannie Rhee, Clinton’s former attorney, worked on the Papadopoulos case for the Special Counsel. If the Mueller team is successful in convincing America that the hoax began as some kind of accident or miscommunication, it will have succeeded in derailing the assignment of accountability to law enforcement officials who played an indispensable role in Clinton’s political operation.

It feels like these dirty tricks are getting bigger and bolder. In 2018, the Democrats reprised the Russia hoax by using a sophisticated tech company to frame the Russians for interfering in the election for the open Alabama Senate seat. Was that the first time Democrats framed the Russians for election interference? Maybe not. The sheer scale and success of the Trump/Russia collusion hoax leads one to wonder whether we are entering a new normal in American politics in which law enforcement will make common cause with political allies to take down their opponents. Actually, the Justice Department’s interference in politics is nothing new (see here, here, and here).. It just gets bolder and bolder as our public servants inch closer to becoming our masters. The only question is whether it’s already too late to restore Constitutional control over the Justice Department. Because if we don’t, we will eventually have an American Putin.

Photo credit:  Benjamin Lowy/Getty Images

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America • Center for American Greatness • China • Deterrence • Foreign Policy • Greatness Agenda • military • North Korea • Post • Russia • Technology

Washington Is Still Not Getting Space Force Right

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At this year’s Space Symposium in Washington, D.C., Acting Secretary of Defense Patrick Shanahan opened his remarks by indicating the United States government takes seriously the threat that China, Russia, Iran, and North Korea pose to our country’s space systems. We rely too much on satellites to provide the necessary bandwidth that our highly technological and interconnected society—as well as our advanced military—requires to function.

While these linkages in space are key for America’s survival (and our global dominance), they are surprisingly poorly defended. Our enemies know this and they’ve made preparations to hold these systems hostage, should tensions escalate between us.

Shanahan’s starkest comments revolved around his claim that China already had deployed advanced ground-based lasers intended to blind and dazzle sensitive American satellites in low-earth orbit. He cautioned that in time, Beijing undoubtedly would seek to deploy laser weapons not only on the ground but ultimately in space itself. Shanahan further stressed that Russia was mirroring China’s development of what’s known in the trade as “counterspace” capabilities.

But, suppose China (and Russia) is much further along in these projects than previously thought.

For those of us who have worked on national security space policy, the threat posed to America’s satellites is nothing new. That the Trump Administration is taking the threat seriously after his predecessors all but ignored it is refreshing. Even so, the fact that the elites in Washington are only now responding to the threat in space is terrifying. After all, China tested its first ground-based anti-satellite (ASAT) weapon in 2008. Chinese academics and foreign policy leaders have written an avalanche of papers advocating for the placement of laser weapons in space going back to 2005.

Our enemies now have significant capabilities in space and pose a direct threat to our systems there precisely because Washington ignored the threat for so long.

Is China Weaponizing the Moon?
It’s not just ground-based counterspace weapons, such as lasers and anti-satellite missiles, that threaten our satellites. There is some evidence suggesting that China is already placing rudimentary weapons systems in orbit—not just around Earth, but also near the moon. When China launched its historic Chang’e-4 mission to explore the dark side of the moon, they also deployed some micro-satellites around the moon.

Placed in what’s known as Lagrangian Point-2 (L2), which is an orbit between Earth and the moon, China told the world that the micro-satellites were meant to serve as communication relays between the Chang’e-4 and Beijing. But, some defense experts worry that the orbits of the Chinese microsatellites place them precariously close to America’s critical defense satellites in geosynchronous orbit (GEO) around Earth.

The Wideband Global Satcom (WGS) constellation of satellites exists in geosynchronous orbit (GEO), which links together America’s military deployed around the world. There are other critical satellites in geosynchronous orbits, such as key spy satellites as well as early missile warning satellites. Due to their distance from Earth and their complexity, these American military satellites are extremely hard to replace in the event of an emergency. Should those systems be lost or degraded, the U.S. military could be left deaf, dumb, and blind.

As Jeff Gossel, the top intelligence engineer at the Air Force’s National Air and Space Intelligence Center told Defense One in October:

You could fly some sort of a weapon around the moon and it comes back—it could literally come at [objects] in GEO . . . And we would never know because there is nothing watching in that direction . . . Why do you need a relay satellite flying around L2? So you can communicate with something that’s going to land on the other side of the moon—or so you can fly around the other side of the moon? And what would that mean for our assets at GEO?

How could a defense establishment that is spending $787 billion on itself have let the Chinese gain on America’s once-unquestioned dominance in space in such a short period of time? What’s more, why haven’t we done more to counter the threat posed in the strategic high ground of space?

People should not assume that just because President Trump has spoken (and tweeted) in favor of the creation of a space force that America’s bloated defense bureaucracy will allow it to happen. In fact, the Pentagon already has been resisting the creation of a fully independent, sixth branch of the United States military, by ensuring that any space force would be subordinate to the Department of the Air Force. As the bureaucratic battle intensifies, the Chinese continue developing and deploying systems with which to render our Armed Forces (and, potentially, even America’s civilian population) deaf, dumb, and blind through dazzling anti-satellite attacks.

The United States is still trying to fight and win World War II without realizing that the world has moved beyond those geopolitical realities because the battlefield has expanded. Our adversaries don’t want to engage in a fair fight and technology exists that will help them avoid a fair fight with the U.S. military while still achieving their strategic objectives. Space plays a significant part in these unconventional strategies for defeating the United States. But, don’t tell the Pentagon. They’re too busy purchasing another $13 billion aircraft carrier that will be useless, thanks to Chinese defenses, should we ever really need to fight Beijing.

We Needed a Space Force Yesterday
In 2000, when Donald Rumsfeld headed the Space Commission, he advised the Pentagon to go slow and start small when creating a space force. At the time, the threats posed to America’s space architecture were negligible.

That was then. Almost 20 years on, things have changed dramatically. The threats to American satellite constellations are immense and growing while America’s ability to defend itself in space is getting weaker. Because Washington delayed creating a true space force for the last 20 years, bigger, bolder, and more immediate action to counter the newer and larger threats today is vital.

But the Pentagon essentially disregards the president’s calls for an independent space force, with only half-hearted responses. The U.S. Senate, meanwhile, still “needs more convincing!” It will take a full-on Chinese or Russian Pearl Harbor-style attack on America’s satellite constellations to convince the Senate to fund a space force in the same way it took 9/11 to generate a serious response to what was then the growing scourge of terrorism.

A robust space force that is detached from the other branches is the only way effectively to defend our satellites. In order to achieve the mission goal of preserving America’s long-held dominance in space, such a force will also require unconventional leadership willing to experiment with new methods of warfare. But for that to happen, Washington’s bureaucrats must wake up to the real threats we face and undertake to defend America in spite of their patent dislike for the man who happens to be president.

Washington’s Permanent Bipartisan Fusion Party will be our undoing. Either we act decisively today or we risk a Pearl Harbor in space tomorrow.

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

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Europe • Foreign Policy • Post • Russia

Does Kiev Hold the Key to the Russian Collusion Hoax?

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The Russian probe is the greatest American political scandal ever because it began with the worst political felony there could be, short of assassination.

Petty bureaucrats fabricated high crimes and misdemeanors to sway an election and then, failing in that, they attempted to thwart a duly elected president.

It was an attempted coup in the way a pot-bellied demagogue in a banana republic orchestrates one, by using the government’s power to defeat its authority.

Here is what we know, so far, about how they did it.

In a newly relevant piece first published on January 11, 2017, headlined “Ukrainian Efforts to Sabotage Trump Backfire,” Politico reported that Alexandra Chalupa, a Ukrainian-American operative, began doing opposition research for the Democratic National Committee about Donald Trump and Russia in late 2015.

Her efforts increased when Paul Manafort joined the campaign. Manafort had done work for pro-Russian Ukrainian president Viktor Yanukovych before he was deposed in 2014, but so had Hillary Clinton’s campaign manager, John Podesta.

DNC contractor that she was, Chalupa was selective in her ire. She sent emails to highly placed Democrats and members of the media accusing Manafort of being Putin’s puppet.

The Ukrainian embassy worked closely with Chalupa in her efforts to undermine Trump’s campaign. As Politico noted, “The Ukrainian efforts had an impact in the race, helping to force Manafort’s resignation and advancing the narrative that Trump’s campaign was deeply connected to Ukraine’s foe to the east, Russia.”

Chalupa was so successful in fanning the Russian nonsense that on October 24, 2016, reporter Michael Isikoff portrayed her work as pivotal in a premature victory lap for the Clinton campaign at Yahoo News.

The work of a single uncredentialed agitator, though, could not have had that much of an impact. Which is the best explanation for why the Clinton campaign commissioned the Steele dossier, to give British spy credibility to Chalupa’s Chicken Little act.

One person influenced by this Ukrainian interference was Obama CIA Director John Brennan. He could not, though, investigate the Republican presidential campaign, because there are rules against spying on Americans.

A formal alliance permits intelligence agencies from the United Kingdom and the United States to engage in common spying in limited circumstances. Called “Five Eyes,” the alliance also includes Australia, Canada and New Zealand.

Brennan could seed the investigation to foreign intelligence services.

Suddenly, minor members of the Trump campaign, including Carter Page and George Papadopoulos, were invited to London to talk to Cambridge professor Stefan Halper. An Australian diplomat, Alexander Downer, recorded a drunken conversation he had with Papadopoulos.

The Russia stuff probably would have remained innuendo and rumors parroted occasionally by Democratic shills in the media. But then something extraordinary happened.

Hillary Clinton’s campaign lost all of its emails in phishing scheme. John Podesta fell for a ridiculous contrivance and disclosed to unknown actors that his email password was “PASSWORD.”

The emails revealed coordination between the Clinton campaign and the Democratic party to fix primaries against Bernie Sanders. These people needed a cover story, quickly.

The Steele Dossier, which the FBI would have seen right about this time, reported among other falsehoods that, “TRUMP associate admits that Kremlin behind recent appearance of DNC emails on WikiLeaks . . . .”

Suddenly, FBI agents were flying to London to check in on the existing Russian investigation. The FBI opened “Crossfire Hurricane” seeking to connect Trump to the lost emails.

Two lovestruck agents instrumental in the FBI’s efforts would text one another a short time later that “we’ll stop” Trump and calling the investigation an “insurance policy” against his presidency.

Shockingly, the FBI never examined the compromised computer servers, delegating its investigatory function to CrowdStrike, whose CTO and co-founder, Dmitri Alperovitch, is a Russian expat and a senior fellow at an anti-Putin think tank, the Atlantic Council.

The Atlantic Council is funded by Ukrainian billionaire Victor Pinchuk, a $10 million donor to the Clinton Foundation. Clinton’s paid consultant found evidence of a Russian hack even though it is ontologically impossible to determine the source of a phishing scheme by mere computer examination.

(For more complete and incisive analysis of the hack that wasn’t, please read Michael Thau’s series here at American Greatness.)

Instead of “Hillary fixed the primaries” the story became “Trump and Putin stole her emails.”

Trump was placed on the defensive. He protested by stating that the federal government has “no idea” who was behind the hacks.

Obama’s FBI and CIA called him a liar, issuing a “joint statement” that falsely suggested 17 intelligence agencies agree that it was the Russians.

Hillary Clinton cited this “intelligence assessment” in the crucial October presidential debate to portray Trump as Putin’s stooge. The media’s fact checkers blasted Trump for not conceding Russian interference.

Trump won anyway. The response to his victory among his political opponents ranged from apoplexy to hysteria, and the Russian collusion story became the preferred form of denial.

A special counsel, Robert Mueller, was appointed to investigate Russian interference. Curiously, it appears that he never examined the servers that the Russians allegedly hacked, deferring instead to the conclusions of CrowdStrike.

Mueller arrested Paul Manafort as well as minor functionaries associated with Trump’s campaign, accusing them of things unrelated to Russia and process crimes, and offered to cut favorable deals if any would admit to Russian collusion; or to “compose” as U.S. District Judge T.S. Ellis III put it.

In the end, nobody played along. They suffered their punishment rather than lie for Mueller. His investigation ended last week not with a bang, but with a whimper.

Ironically, the only nation that has been cleared for colluding with an American political campaign in the 2016 election is Russia. Great Britain, Australia, and especially Ukraine (which recently opened an investigation into its hand in the charade) have some explaining to do.

It is time for a reckoning.

Photo Credit: Jaap Arriens/NurPhoto via Getty Images

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

No Recriminations for the Real Collusion

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Photo credit: Brendan Smialowski/AFP/Getty Images

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Big Media • Congress • Conservatives • Deep State • Democrats • Elections • Intelligence Community • Mueller-Russia Witch Hunt • Post • Republicans • Russia

Devin Nunes: Hero of the Republic

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Special Prosecutor Robert Mueller concluded his investigation by exonerating President Trump of collusion with Russian forces during the 2016 election. Investigating that supposed collusion is the reason he was appointed and his final report declared that he and his team could find no evidence to support the allegation.

But for more than two years, the nation has been torn apart by the claims made Democrats and their operatives in the media. They were sure—sure!—that President Trump would be forced from office in disgrace. The conspiracy theorists seethed with fundamentalist conviction, confident that Robert Mueller would lead them to the promised land. Nonetheless, many are sticking to their story. There may be no evidence, but they just know it in their bones!

What the rest of us know is that we were duped, lied to, and fed garbage. And we should never forget the people who did it. They should not be trusted as journalists, pundits, or pols. But there will be plenty of time for naming the villains. God knows it is a long list. Right now I’d rather do something we don’t do enough. I’d like to take a moment to honor one of the heroes. And as is usual, that list is much shorter. And at the top of it is Devin Nunes, the congressman representing the rural central valley of California . . .

Read the rest at Spectator USA.

Photo credit: Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call

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Administrative State • America • Deep State • Donald Trump • Law and Order • Mueller-Russia Witch Hunt • Post • Russia • the Presidency • Trump White House

The Mueller Dud

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The release on Sunday afternoon of Attorney General William Barr’s four-page summary of the Mueller report confirmed what everyone with a few brain cells and common sense knew two years ago: there was no collusion between Donald Trump’s 2016 presidential campaign and the Russian government. While the charge was ludicrous on its face, Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s report has now removed all doubt surrounding it.

The shame of it is that the Mueller investigation—driven by hyperpartisanship and using the power of the legal and justice system to litigate political and policy differences by those who refused to accept the 2016 election results—spent $35 million, employed 19 attorneys, 40 FBI agents and staff, issued more than 2,800 subpoenas, executed more than 500 search warrants, got 230 orders for communications records, and made 13 requests to foreign governments, and interviewed roughly 500 witnesses to prove there was no collusion.

While some on the Left have tried to spin all of this and say the last two years of investigations were never really about collusion, that of course would be a lie: this was always about the hazy concept of collusion, that our duly elected president somehow conspired with a foreign power to win the White House, that he was potentially a puppet or stooge for Russian President Vladimir Putin. While preposterous on its face, many in the mainstream media, the Democratic Party, and the Leftdriven by absolute derangementfervently believed it was real.

Consider how absurd that is for just a moment.  

Now those who have perpetuated this hoax are confronting reality: there never was any evidence of collusion because it was always a fairytale, and no matter how hard you try, no matter if a team of partisan lawyers equipped with the awesome power of the special counsel spends tens of millions of dollars, you can’t turn a fairytale into facts.

Exposing the Corruption in the Deep State

So now Mueller—who many of his fans said would do exactly what it appears he has done: a professional job—returns to private practice or retirement, no doubt with Representative Adam Schiff (D-Calif.) camping out on his front lawn screaming in frustration. Leaving aside the enjoyment of watching Schiff and the entire Democratic Party’s presidential posse’s heads explode on national television, consider how appallingly stupid this entire exercise has been: the fact that a team of deeply partisan hacks, given incredible powers, couldn’t even come up with one piece of evidence regarding collusion, much less a series of events which is actually what is needed to prove collusion.

Now, after nearly two years of an investigation spun up by a fake dossier and corrupt members of the deep state like John Brennan, James Clapper, James Comey, Andrew McCabe and others, and put on steroids by the various bureaus of propaganda still masquerading as news organizations, the attempt to take out the duly elected president has failed. Completely and utterly failed.

While the Mueller investigation was built on a foundation of lies and constituted an appalling use of our legal and justice system to litigate policy differences, it did have a silver lining: it showed how corrupt the Justice Department and FBI were under Obama. It showed the process of obtaining warrants under the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act is in dire need of reform. It showed that we have a bifurcated legal system and that equal application of the law is a farce. It showed that beyond a shadow of a doubt we have many in the mainstream media who aren’t reporters or journalists; they’re just political operatives masquerading as such. We’ve seen the media annihilate whatever reputation it had left because of their loathing of Trump.

The Damage Done to the Republic

It cannot be understated that all of this all took place in an attempt to push  Trump out of office, a childish but deeply damaging exercise. The Left put on full display its idiocy: even if the House of Representatives were to impeach Trump, he would never be removed by the Senate. And even if he were removed, in the one in a trillion chance, Mike Pence would become president of the United States and pardon Trump.

But as is usual with immature children, nothing is terribly logical. It’s all emotional, in the moment, with no forethought about what comes next—no consideration to the damage being done in the moment and the future implications of what it means for us as a society.

The attempt to nullify the 2016 election results, described by some as a silent coup, has had a destabilizing effect on our constitutional republic. As all of this terrible charade comes to an end, those guilty of pushing this conspiracy theory think they’re going to walk away scot free.

A word to them: your attempted arson of our republic must have consequences. Your attempt to take out a sitting president of the United States should end your careers.

The Manu Rajus and Natasha Bertrands and Ken Dilanians of the world, the mouthpieces of Fusion GPS CEO Glenn Simpson’s substance inspired delusions, don’t get to keep pretending they have any journalistic reputations. Every time they write or open their mouths, they should be dismissed out of hand as conspiracy theorists and political hacks. The same goes for the Chris Matthews and Stephanie Ruhles and a gaggle of other CNN and MSNBC hosts. Sorry, you don’t get to simply say, “Oopsies!” and not be shamed for your stupidity and or expect to be treated with any seriousness or respect. You were played for fools and should be treated as you demonstrated yourselves, in fact, to be.

But more importantly, those like John Brennan, James Clapper, James Comey, Andrew McCabe, men entrusted with great power and responsibility, should be investigated. You cannot use the awesome powers of the surveillance state to take out a president of the United States and walk away as though this was all a great misunderstanding. It was not a misunderstanding. It was intentional. It was systematic and it was evil. They must be fully and thoroughly investigated, and, face prison time if appropriate.

Finally, if there is to be a real return to the rule of law, and a belief in the equal application of the law, the investigation into Hillary Clinton’s email server must be reopened. There was no real investigation, merely the sham of one. There must also be an investigation into the Clinton Foundation as to whether it was nothing but a charity fraud. It appears, from a multitude of information, that the foundation was really nothing but a vehicle for influence peddling. People go to jail for charity fraud and a former secretary of state is not above the law.

If we are to return to something resembling normal life, the American people deserve a full and complete accounting on all of this, from the FISA applications to the original memo that laid out the scope of the Mueller investigation and the justification for it—if any. They must also be shown that while many have played fast and loose with power and the truth and the law, there are consequences for such actions. The future happiness of our republic depends on it.

Photo credit:  Tasos Katopodis/Getty Images

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Deep State • Democrats • Post • Russia • Satire

Exclusive: Fusion GPS Demands to be Paid

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This letter from Fusion GPS accounts receivable to Perkins Coie, the law firm that helped facilitate opposition research for Hillary Clinton’s 2016 presidential campaign, found its way to American Greatness via a mysterious courier and may or may not be on the level. Let’s call it “fake but accurate.”

To: Mark Elias, Perkins Coie

From: Fusion GPS, Accounts receivable

Subject: Billing dispute regarding services rendered in the 2016 election cycle

Dear Mr. Elias,

Fusion GPS is in receipt of the letter questioning our itemized bill to your firm. On behalf of Fusion GPS, we are happy to clarify our services and remind you that the full amount stated remains due.

  1. Questions regarding meal expenses associated with the June 9, 2016, Trump Tower meeting.

As you know, Donald Trump Jr. met with two Russians in June 2016. Media outlets repeatedly have cited this meeting as a smoking gun for Trump/Russia collusion (here, here, and here, for example). Thus it came as a considerable surprise to Fusion GPS that your firm would dispute charges associated with the meeting.

We respectfully remind you that the meeting included two Russians: Natalia Veselnitskaya and Rinat Akhmetshin. We knew Ms. Veselnitskaya because, for more than two years, we shared a client, Denis Katsyv. She dined with our founder Glenn Simpson immediately before and after the meeting at Trump Tower. Ms. Veselnitskaya used research from Fusion GPS as bait to lure Donald Trump Jr. into the meeting.

Similarly, we worked with Mr. Akhmetshin and indeed traded emails with him in the weeks leading up to the meeting. I’m sure you can appreciate the importance of actually having a meeting between Russians and senior officials in the Trump campaign as a way to advance the Trump/Russia collusion project. With this information, we trust your questions regarding these billable items have been resolved.

  1. Questions regarding the accuracy of the Dossier assessment of the Cohen trip to Prague.

Fusion GPS acknowledges that the dossier incorrectly alleges that Donald Trump’s former attorney Michael Cohen traveled to Prague to pay or discuss paying the hackers who obtained emails from the DNC and/or Clinton campaign chairman John Podesta. Fusion GPS further acknowledges that Michael Cohen indeed did not travel to Prague. We further acknowledge that the dossier could have, and perhaps should have, alleged Cohen paid the hackers while in London—a location to which Cohen did travel. However, we believe no refund is due.

In spite of the denials by Michael Cohen himself, pictures of his passport, and the absence of any criminal charge from Special Counsel Robert Mueller related to a Prague trip, our allies in the media continue to maintain that the Cohen trip to Prague could have happened and many still believe that it did. Therefore, Fusion GPS considers this a successful operation which incurred the intended benefit to you, our client, and for which operation our firm is owed payment in full.

  1. Payments to Nellie Ohr.

Fusion GPS acknowledges your questions about why it would be necessary to pay both Christopher Steele, who purportedly obtained information directly from Russian sources, and the Russia specialist researcher Nellie Ohr. Certainly, if Mr. Steele had information directly from reliable Russian sources, it might not make sense also to hire Ms. Ohr.

We remind you, however, that Ms. Ohr’s husband, Bruce Ohr, acted as a senior attorney in the Department of Justice and handed over the Steele information directly to the FBI.

Steele’s dossier, we also remind you, was used by the FBI to obtain the all-important FISA warrant against former campaign figure Carter Page. In contrast, we note that the similar parallel dossier (prepared directly by Mrs. Clinton’s ally, Cody Shearer) received very little traction when Sidney Blumenthal attempted to promote it to the State Department despite there being an existing network of Clinton sympathizers who remained there. Thus, I’m sure you will agree, payments to Ms. Ohr were an integral part of the success of the operation.

  1. Disclosure of Clinton’s financing of the dossier.

Fusion GPS acknowledges your displeasure with the revelation that the Clinton presidential campaign and the Democratic National Committee were the ultimate sources of funding for the dossier. We fought vigorously and did everything possible to prevent Congress from obtaining our financial records.

While the disclosure was regrettable, we disclosed this information as a way of preventing further and even more damaging disclosures of bank records which would have revealed the identities of journalists who received money from Fusion GPS to do “research” on the Russia matter. We remind you that these reporters would be of no use to us if they were exposed for taking money from Fusion GPS.

We also remind you that the complaint to the Federal Elections Commission over your payments to our firm has stalled indefinitely. These laws are not enforced against the Clintons or their surrogates. We see no reason for Perkins Coie to be concerned.

  1. Mistakes concerning Paul Manafort.

In his dossier, Steele claimed that former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort oversaw communication between the Trump campaign and the Kremlin. We recognize that the New York Times (quoting Putin-allied oligarch Oleg Deripaska) since exposed this claim as “preposterous.”

Nevertheless, the conviction of Manafort is frequently cited by our allies in the media as evidence of Russia collusion (here, for example). The fact that this impression would persist after more than two years even after being debunked is simply more evidence of Fusion GPS’s extraordinary skill in this craft. You’re welcome.

  1. Subsequent funding from other sources.

Fusion GPS acknowledges that its continued work on the Trump/Russia project has been financed by George Soros and a group of Silicon Valley billionaires. While this project continues the work Fusion GPS undertook for candidate Clinton in the 2016 election, it is separate and apart from the obligations of Perkins Coie. The money we’re receiving from these patrons is being applied to new work, not the bill of Perkins Coie.

Fusion GPS stands ready for future projects. When you next make a contribution to Kamala Harris, we would appreciate if you would let her know that we’re ready to start a project for 2020.

Please express our regret to Mrs. Clinton about the outcome of the election and the failure of the special counsel to trigger a prompt impeachment of her political opponent.

Nevertheless, we stand by the impressive public relations results achieved during your limited engagement of our firm. We are confident that, upon reflection, you will remit the balance owed.

Sincerely,

Accounts Receivable

Photo Credit: Getty Images

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

Who Leaked the Bogus WikiLeaks Email About Don Jr.?

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The Trump presidential campaign’s alleged ties to WikiLeaks have been a pivotal piece of the Trump-Russia “collusion” story since the beginning. In order to mitigate the damage to Hillary Clinton’s candidacy after WikiLeaks in July 2016 released damning emails swiped from the Democratic National Committee’s server, Clinton’s team skillfully changed the subject by claiming Russia was behind the hack and suggested the Trump campaign had a hand in it, too.

WikiLeaks is back in the news for two reasons. First is the arrest on Friday of former Trump associate Roger Stone, who Special Counsel Robert Mueller alleges made false statements about his communications with the group.

Second, and far more interesting, is renewed allegations by Donald Trump, Jr. that House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff (D-Calif.) leaked details about Don Jr.’s contact with WikiLeaks during the campaign—information that was erroneous and resulted in major correction by CNN, the news organization that first reported the bogus story.

In an interview with Fox News last week, Don Jr. said “there’s a 99.9 percent chance” that Schiff was “the guy that was leaking my testimony as I was testifying.”

“I came out of testimony at about 8 o’clock looking [at my phone] and CNN is running quotes from noon on about my testimony . . . I would bet a lot of money it was him.”

For more than a year, the people who leaked unauthorized information about Don Jr.’s closed-door testimony to the House Intelligence Committee on December 6, 2017, have not been officially identified, let alone punished. It is just one more frustrating example of how government insiders, in collaboration with their accomplices in the press, escape accountability for their role in perpetuating a seditious plot to take down a presidency.

The Big Scoop That Wasn’t
Schiff has been particularly fixated on Donald Trump, Jr. and desperate to prove his ties to Kremlin surrogates. From Don Jr.’s infamous June 2016 Trump Tower meeting with a Russian lawyer (who shared a Russian client with Fusion GPS) to direct messages on Twitter between Don Jr. and WikiLeaks during the campaign, Schiff has gleefully amplified any perceived sketchy connection to prove somehow that the president’s oldest son coordinated with the Kremlin to interfere in the election.

But Schiff apparently flubbed one high-level disclosure, and he still refuses to answer directly whether he was the source of the unauthorized leak that gave CNN the wrong date on a critical September 2016 email from WikiLeaks to Don Jr.

Shortly after Don Jr.’s testimony, CNN ran a big scoop that WikiLeaks had sent an email to Don Jr. on September 4, 2016, furnishing details about how to access an additional trove of DNC documents.

“Trump Jr. was asked about the WikiLeaks email Wednesday when he was questioned in the House Intelligence Committee behind closed doors, several sources familiar with the exchange told CNN,” reported correspondent Manu Raju on December 8.

The point of the story was to suggest that Trump’s son and top campaign advisor had advanced knowledge of hacked emails and that he was secretly plotting with Julian Assange to manage their release to inflict maximum damage on the Clinton campaign. (Don Jr.’s legal team voluntarily furnished the email to lawmakers ahead of the interview.) To bolster its scoop, CNN also cited as evidence a tweet from Don Jr. posted September 4, 2016, that ominously linked to a news article about WikiLeaks. Other news outlets eagerly ran with the story, including NBC News.

But later that day, CNN had to make a major and consequential correction to that scoop. The email actually was dated September 14, not September 4. Whoops!

The 10-day gap is significant because WikiLeaks itself made the documents available to the public on September 13. “The new details appear to show that the sender was relying on publicly available information,” the corrected article confessed. “The new information indicates that the communication is less significant than CNN initially reported.”

Unanswered Questions
A few days later, Don Jr.’s lawyer sent a letter to the Republican-led House Intelligence Committee demanding an investigation into the leaks that had occurred both during and after his client’s confidential testimony.

“In advance of the Interview, Mr. Trump Jr. and his counsel were assured by this committee that, in accordance with its rules of procedure, the Interview would be kept strictly confidential and not discussed publicly unless and until the full Committee voted to release the transcript,” Alan Futerfas, Don Jr.’s attorney, wrote. “Certain members of this Committee and/or their staff began disseminating wildly inaccurate information concerning a September 14, 2016 email sent to my client. These disturbing circumstances warrant examination.”

That letter was dated December 12, 2017; no one yet has been held accountable. It is unclear whether an inquiry by House Democrats is ongoing, and Don Jr.’s testimony is set to be released publicly pending approval by the Justice Department.

Last week, Schiff still refused directly to answer whether he was one of the unnamed officials responsible for leaking the (erroneous) details about the WikiLeaks email. When pressed by CNN’s Wolf Blitzer three times whether he indeed leaked Don Jr.’s testimony, Schiff only responded in vague terms while essentially admitting he did tell the media that the president’s son had been “uncooperative” during his interview.

But considering Schiff’s odd obsession with the president’s son, his well-known penchant for leaking and his desire to be a media star, the California Democrat’s protestations are unconvincing.

“Everyone knows Schiff is the biggest, most shameless leaker in Washington and a craven media ambulance chaser,” one House Republican involved in the Russian investigations told me. “He’s got precisely two goals: to appear non-stop on cable news, and to slime Trump and all his associates with constant accusations that they’re traitors and Russia colluders—just like he did with Donald Trump Jr.”

Once again, the American public was witness to two distinct set of rules this week: When you are on the wrong side politically, you are hauled out of your home at dawn in your pajamas by FBI agents wielding firearms. When you are on the right side politically, you not only escape justice, you earn accommodating news coverage while controlling powerful government committees. (Schiff still has not corrected his misleading memo to Congress on FISA abuse from February 2018.)

Answers and accountability remain elusive hopes for millions of Americans who frustratingly watch this scenario play on a constant loop in Washington.

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Center for American Greatness • China • Defense of the West • Donald Trump • Foreign Policy • Greatness Agenda • military • Post • Russia

Trump Notwithstanding, U.S. Deploys Only Words Against Missiles

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Official Washington has refused to defend America against ballistic missiles, especially from Russia and China, while spending some $300 billion pretending to be trying. For a half century, it has dissembled its intention with techno-speak. On January 17, however, President Trump released the Pentagon’s long internally disputed Missile Defense Review (MDR) with words that might be summed up as, “This time, for sure!”

Said Trump: “First, we will prioritize the defense of the American people above all else.” Wow. Goodbye Robert McNamara and Henry Kissinger. Strike one.

And then: “The United States cannot simply build more of the same, or make only incremental improvements.” Strike two.

Finally: “My upcoming budget will invest in a space-based missile defense layer . . . Regardless of the missile type or the geographic origins of the attack, we will ensure that enemy missiles find no sanctuary on Earth or in the skies above.” Home run!

Most media accounts, and Democrats, took Trump at his word. But whoever fights his way through the MDR’s 8,000 words of bureaucratese, written by people who failed freshman composition, will find no fundamental changes in current policy. It’s a fair bet Trump did not read it.

Tinkering With a Horse-and-Buggy System
The most fundamental of questions—the one that McNamara and Kissinger “settled” with the 1972 Anti-Ballistic Missile treaty before most people reading this were born—is that the U.S government should not even try to defend America against Russian and Chinese missiles, but it may try defending against “theater” threats. The Trump MDR reaffirms their settlement: “While the United States relies on deterrence to protect against large and technically sophisticated Russian and Chinese intercontinental ballistic missile threats to the U.S. homeland, U.S. active missile defense can and must outpace existing and potential rogue state offensive missile capabilities.” Color that no change.

In practice, this long-standing posture has meant the U.S government has not built anything that, even in the pursuit of safety against such regimes as North Korea, would stop significant numbers of missiles from Russia and China. Trump said we would not “build more of the same or make only incremental improvements.” But the MDR mentions only one actual homeland defense measure: an additional 20 ground-based interceptors located exclusively next to the other 40 at Fort Greely in Alaska. They would be improved, and have access to improved warning sensors.

But the basic approach is unchanged from the 1950s. Trump’s words notwithstanding, the only real novelty is that this horse-and-buggy system will be given a genetically modified horse on steroids and carbon-fiber buggy wheels.

It’s not as if those in charge of U.S missile defense don’t know what makes the biggest difference between horse-and-buggy interceptors and effective ones. All of them know that it’s whether you can launch the interceptor before the target comes into view of surface-based radars. The MDR mentions in passing that “Russia maintains and modernizes its longstanding strategic missile defense system deployed around Moscow, including 68 nuclear-armed interceptors [meaning launchers that are loaded and reloaded from underground], and has fielded multiple types of shorter-range, mobile missile defense systems throughout Russia.”

Distant Early Warnings
Why ever do the Russians—whose students outrank ours in math and science—think that these masses of interceptors, which are not nearly as sophisticated and expensive as ours in Alaska, can protect against intercontinental missiles? Because their less-than-ideal interceptors are targeted by the faraway radar systems that also provide early warning. And the interceptors are located close to the places to be defended.

Unifying warning and targeting is the key. Putting nukes on the interceptors also helps, because it relieves the exquisite, failure prone, and prohibitively expensive hit-to-kill technical requirements that we have imposed on ourselves.

Since America is mostly surrounded by oceans, and the missiles coming at us would be coming from places inland in Eurasia, the only way for us to unify early warning and targeting in a forward location is to do so in orbit. And it isn’t as if we don’t know how to do it. A program to do just that (SBIRS-low) was canceled in the 1980s when arms controllers pointed out that it contradicts the 1972 ABM Treaty’s provision against “substituting” for surface-based radars. But oh, look! The 2019 MDR states that research is ongoing into systems that, someday, might let us do that. Don’t hold your breath. The deep state does not want that, including the defense contractors who, naturally, don’t want to jeopardize current programs.

Vulnerability Remains Policy
Because the deep state rules, all proposals for novelty get translated into putting fancier lipstick on the same pigs. Missile defense advocates have ever touted “boost-phase defense”—shooting down missiles just after they are launched, and “space-based missile defense,” by which they usually mean the same thing. The MDR embraces boost phase, even saying some of it will be done by lasers! And Trump trumpeted the latter—almost certainly sincerely. But read the fine print.

The MDR wants to do research into lasers small and light enough to be carried on stealth drones and, with a power supply sufficient to ensure missile kills at a distance greater than 100 miles thanks also to sophisticated systems for countering atmospheric distortion.

Leave aside the absurdity of permanently stationing drones over the territory of a non-idiot enemy. Fact is, this is the third time (first was the Edward Teller’s Free Electron Laser, second was the Air Force’s Airborne Laser lab) that the taxpayer’s pocket has been picked to the tune of some $3 billion for countering high-power lasers’ atmospheric distortion by ex post facto mirror adjustments. No technology can make that possible.

Even crazier, the MDR proposes hovering F-35 fighters near enemy launch sites to shoot down the missiles. Even if they could survive in areas defended by Russian S-400 anti-aircraft missiles, how many planes and what infrastructure would be required to keep one plane in the air 24/7 for more than a couple of days?

As for the MDR’s promise of research into space-based interceptors, note first that this is research rather than building anything. Second, one may ask what the research is meant to uncover, since space-based interceptors have been feasible in one form or another since the late 1960s. Third and most revealing, the MDR specifies that, were space-based interceptors deployed, they would be used strictly to counter threats from such as North Korea and Iran.

Vulnerability to Russia and China remains U.S. policy, notwithstanding the words of Presidents Lyndon Johnson, Richard Nixon, Ronald Reagan, George W. Bush, and Donald Trump. Someday, some president will take his own words seriously. Meanwhile, don’t attempt to kick that football!

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Center for American Greatness • Congress • Deep State • Democrats • Donald Trump • Mueller-Russia Witch Hunt • Political Parties • Post • Russia • The Resistance (Snicker)

Schiff for Brains Misleads Congress

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It’s a good thing President Trump canceled the Democrats’ overseas excursion this weekend because Representative Adam Schiff (D-Calif.) has some work to do here at home. For starters, he needs to take a red pen to his memo that defended the deceptive tactics used by the FBI to obtain a FISA warrant on Trump campaign aide Carter Page days before the 2016 presidential election.

The new chairman of the House Intelligence Committee authored a memo dated January 28, 2018, ironically titled, “Correcting the Record—The Russia Investigation.” But it is Schiff who needs to correct his own record in light of new and damaging information that contradicts several claims he made in that document.

The California congressman might also want to apologize to his predecessor, Devin Nunes (R-Calif.), who Schiff has spent the better part of a year trying to smear and discredit—even suggesting Nunes should be removed as chair of the committee—for releasing his memo that exposed how the FBI manipulated and misled the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court in order to spy on the Trump campaign.

Thanks to reporting by The Hill’s John Solomon and others, we now know that the Justice Department and the FBI were in possession of parts of the dossier far earlier than Schiff suggested in his memo and that the dossier’s author, Christopher Steele, also was in contact with top officials months before Schiff claimed he was. Further, these same officials were warned about Steele’s motivations as well as the connection between the wife of a key Justice Department lawyer, who also was employed by the same opposition research firm that had retained Steele.

The new details also bolster Nunes’s contention that a footnote in the FISA application did not fully and accurately inform the court about the political origins of the dossier, even though the department’s hierarchy was well aware of its partisan provenance at the time.

According to his congressional testimony, Bruce Ohr, the former associate deputy Attorney General, confirmed to lawmakers that he met with Steele on July 30, 2016. Also in attendance at the breakfast meeting was Ohr’s wife, Nellie, who had been hired by Fusion GPS head Glenn Simpson in late 2015 to assist on his Trump-Russia project.

Fusion GPS was being paid by the Hillary Clinton campaign and the Democratic National Committee through a politically connected law firm; Simpson hired Steele in June 2016.

Ohr then disclosed that “his first contact with the FBI was on July 31, 2016, when he reached out to then-Deputy Director Andrew McCabe and FBI attorney Lisa Page. He then was referred to the agents working Russia counterintelligence, including Peter Strzok, the now-fired agent who played a central role in starting the Trump collusion probe,” according to Solomon’s reporting. Around that time, he passed along “source information”—the early installments of Steele’s dossier—to those officials. In August, Ohr briefed senior Justice colleagues, including Andrew Weissmann, now a member of Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s team.

That timeline directly rebuts what Schiff claimed in his memo. First, Schiff stated the FBI team that launched the counterintelligence probe into the Trump campaign received Steele’s reports in mid-September. Then Schiff claimed that Nunes’s memo “mischaracterizes Bruce Ohr’s role, overstates the significance of his interactions with Steele, and misleads about the timeframe of Ohr’s communication with the FBI.”

“In late November 2016, Ohr informed the FBI of his prior relationship with Steele and information Steele shared with him . . . he also described his wife’s contract work with Fusion GPS,” Schiff continued. “This occurred weeks after the election and more than a month after the Court approved the initial FISA application. By the time Ohr debriefs with the FBI, it had already terminated Steele as a source and was independently corroborating Steele’s reporting about Page’s activities.”

Nearly every single word of that passage is false based on Ohr’s account. Further, most of the content in the dossier about Carter Page has either been debunked or remains uncorroborated.

Schiff also argued that the Justice Department “repeatedly informed the [FISA] Court about Steele’s background, credibility, and potential bias.” This passage refers to the controversial footnote on the FISA application that Schiff and his allies insist shows that ex-FBI Director James Comey, who signed the initial request, did indeed notify the court about Steele’s numerous political ties.

The footnote refers in only the vaguest terms to a “U.S. person, who indicated to Source #1 that a U.S-based law firm had hired the identified U.S. person to conduct research regarding Candidate #1’s ties to Russia. The FBI speculates that the identified U.S. person was likely looking for information that could be used to discredit Candidate #1’s campaign.”

The U.S. person is Glenn Simpson and “Source #1” is Steele.

But, according to Ohr, he had admonished his colleagues that the dossier was sketchy political dirt produced by a hired gun with a vendetta against Trump. (Not to mention Steele is a British citizen.) He warned them that the dossier might not be reliable and needed to be checked out. Ohr also admitted that Fusion GPS was “conducting the Trump-Russia research project at the behest of Trump’s Democratic rival, the Clinton campaign.”

None of those material details were included in the dossier; despite Schiff’s insistence that the Justice Department was transparent, it was intentionally opaque. Imagine if the footnote had been completely accurate: “A foreign operative was hired by an opposition research firm to investigate Candidate #1’s ties to Russia. The opposition research firm is being paid via a politically-connected law firm that has been retained by Candidate #1’s presidential opponent and the rival political party of Candidate #1. The spouse of a top Justice Department official also is working with the opposition research firm on the project to investigate Candidate #1’s ties to Russia.”

Fixed it.

There is another part of that footnote that often is overlooked but suggests that the FBI intentionally downplayed the political aspect of Steele’s work. “Notwithstanding Source #1’s reason for conducting the research…based on Source #1’s previous reporting history with the FBI, whereby Source #1 provided reliable information to the FBI, the FBI believes Source #1’s reporting herein to be credible.” The FBI wanted to assure the court that even the vague references to Steele’s political motives were immaterial because he had been a reliable source in the past.

Another glaringly inaccurate point in Schiff’s memo—that the DOJ properly used news articles in the FISA process, demands correction. The September 23, 2016, Yahoo News article by Michael Isikoff was not included in the application to notify the court about Page’s denials, as Schiff explained. Isikoff’s story was supposed to corroborate the dossier and suggest to the court that Congress was concerned about Page’s Russian ties.

That’s why another footnote (erroneously) concluded that Steele didn’t provide any information to the press; Comey wanted to court to believe that the Yahoo News article, which referred to a “well-placed Western intelligence source,” was planted by someone other than Steele. But it was not: Isikoff has confirmed that he met with Steele and Simpson in Washington before he wrote his story.

There are other questionable portions of Schiff’s memo that might need correction in the near future, not the least of which is his contention that the dossier had nothing to do with the FBI’s probe into the Trump campaign. (As the timeline comes together, that look less and less likely.)

For now, Schiff should amend his memo, resubmit it to Congress, then apologize publicly for misleading the American people and for demonizing his colleague. It is true that some facts have come to light in the past year, but Schiff’s overconfidence, fueled by his own political motives, caused him to make those inaccurate statements. Time to correct the record.

But Schiff should keep that red pen handy; he might need again very soon.

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Administrative State • America • Center for American Greatness • Deep State • Department of Homeland Security • Donald Trump • Government Reform • Law and Order • Post • Russia • The Constitution

The FBI Has Become Too Dangerous

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If you’re not the first lady, being alone in the Oval Office with the president of the United States is a rare occurrence. Even visiting heads of state will be accompanied by an interpreter, or an official notetaker, when they meet privately with the most powerful man in the world.

So I will never forget the day, in June 2017, when I found myself in front of the Resolute Desk, with just President Donald Trump in the room with me.

I was there for something that pertained to my job as strategist to the president—if memory serves, it was to discuss our plan to undo the 44th president’s disastrous Iran Deal—when the topic of Russia came up.

Suddenly the president stopped, looked at me, and said: “They will find nothing because there is nothing.”

Since he shared that declaration with me, good men like General Mike Flynn have been charged with process crimes, shady characters like Paul Manafort have been convicted of wire fraud, and young men such as George Papadopoulos have served time in federal prison as a result of their foolish self-aggrandizing. Yet, none of the charges made or convictions brought by Special Counsel Robert Mueller have linked the activities of the Trump campaign with the Kremlin, which of course, was Mueller’s mandate.

Two years later, at a reported cost of well over $25 million, not one charge or conviction has proven the original allegation of “Russian collusion.” At any other time, this would have led otherwise reasonable people to say: Enough! Time for Mueller and his team—a dozen of whom are registered Democrat donors—to close shop and for the former FBI director to end what President Trump justifiably has called a “witch hunt.”

Instead, the Left, and the Left’s domesticated media, have escalated their attacks.

Monday, as the president was preparing to board Marine One on the North Lawn, Kristen Welker, a member of the White House Press Corps working for NBC, actually asked him whether he is working for Russia.

This following a New York Times story, in which we learned that the FBI’s leadership initiated an investigation into the president after he fired James Comey, positing that he was, in fact, an agent of the Kremlin.

President Trump was right to call Welker’s question disgraceful. But we must go further.

First, there is the issue of facts. After two years in which Donald Trump as president has raised the defense budget, sent anti-tank missiles to the government of Ukraine, scolded NATO nations for not taking the threat from Russia seriously and encouraging them to keep their commitments to the alliance, as well as authorizing the killing of more than 200 Russian paramilitary “contractors” in Syria. How can any sane person who values the truth—and her own professional integrity as a journalist—even ask such a ridiculous and surreal question?

But there is an even more serious question, one that raises the specter of sedition at the highest levels of our republic.

As former federal prosecutor Andrew McCarthy noted on my show, “America First,” the FBI is part of the executive branch and its mandate to execute counterintelligence investigations serves one person and one person alone: the incumbent president.

McCarthy, remember, helped put the mastermind of the first World Trade Center attack, Omar Abdel Rahman (the Blind Sheik), behind bars. As he has written time and again, counterintelligence operations are not exercises in evidence gathering designed to lead to a prosecution of a crime in a federal court. They are instead secret activities designed to provide the chief executive with information on what enemy nations or inimical non-state actors are doing to the country so that the president can direct responses to the threat, be it from Soviet agents during the Cold War, or ISIS terrorists here in America today.

This is not what happened in 2017.

Instead, a rogue FBI decided unilaterally to investigate the newly elected president in order to undermine him—rather than serve the elected official who bears ultimate responsibility for the safety of all Americans. Never before in our history has this happened.

The FBI has had problems since the days of J. Edgar Hoover. But never has the seventh floor of FBI Headquarters decided by itself to launch a clandestine operation to target a newly elected president under the cover of working for an alien power simply because they wanted political revenge for their candidate losing an election. Yet this is exactly what happened. Instead of being horrified, the establishment perpetuates the outré assertions day in and day out to further weaken the president.

So what is to be done?

Given the last two years of continued assaults against President Trump by Mueller and Obama-holdovers such as Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, the confirmation of a new attorney general might not be enough.

There may be one solution that preserves the patriotic agents who are protecting the nation while helping drain the Beltway swamp: dissolve the FBI, fire all the senior political operators still in the Hoover Building, and make the 56 FBI field offices across the nation—where the real agents work—the counterterrorism, counterintelligence, and criminal investigations division of the Department of Homeland Security.

This way we may prevent the next palace coup.

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