DOJ to Reduce ‘Extreme and Excessive’ Sentencing Recommendation for Roger Stone; Multiple Attorneys on Case Resign

The Department of Justice is reportedly stepping in to reduce the sentencing recommendation for former Trump confidant and GOP operative Roger Stone after federal prosecutors announced an unusually stiff prison sentence for process crimes.

Stone last year was found guilty on seven counts of obstruction, witness tampering and making false statements to Congress on charges stemming from former Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s Russia investigation.

In his defense, Stone’s lawyers argued that he did not have an actual inside connection with WikiLeaks and it was not proven beyond a reasonable doubt that he had lied to Congress.

Not surprisingly, most of the assistant U.S. attorneys and prosecutors on the case—Jonathan Kravis, Michael Marando, Aaron Zelinsky and Adam C. Jed—have impressive liberal credentials. From 2009 to 2010, Kravis served as Associate Counsel to then-President Obama. He is now deputy chief of the fraud and public corruption section in the U.S. attorney’s office for the District of Columbia, where Marando also works.

Zelinsky and Jed are both former members of Mueller’s team. Last year, former Trump campaign adviser Michael Caputo accused Zelinsky of trying to ensnare him in a process crime when he was interviewed by the special counsel team in May of 2018.

On Monday, the anti-Trump lawyers asked Judge Amy Berman Jackson, an Obama appointee, to sentence Stone to between 87 and 108 months in prison.

Their draconian recommendation prompted an outcry from Republicans.

“Lying to Congress: Brennan, Vindman Obstruction of Justice: Hillary deleted emails, wiped/bashed/bit washed hard drives- subpoenaed Lying to the FBI: McCabe Leaking: McCabe, Comey, Clapper, Page Yet Stone may get prison for process crimes as hoax victim!” wrote retired Lt. Col. Jim Hickmen on Twitter.

“Can someone please remind me how many years John Brennan is spending in prison for lying under oath?” asked Republican strategist Andrew Surabian.

“This is completely insane, and these prosecutors should be embarrassed to request something so unjust and outrageous from the court How many years will they ask McCabe to get sentenced to?” tweeted former CIA analyst Buck Sexton. “He lied under oath. But the answer is ZERO.”

President Trump himself decried the sentence, calling it “disgraceful” on Twitter, spurring speculation that a pardon was in the works for his former associate. “This is a horrible and very unfair situation,” the president wrote in another late-night tweet. “The real crimes were on the other side, as nothing happens to them. Cannot allow this miscarriage of justice!”

It appears that the top brass at the DOJ were also appalled at the “extreme, excessive and grossly disproportionate” sentence.

“The Department was shocked to see the sentencing recommendation in the filing in the stone case last night,” a DOJ official told Fox News. “The sentencing recommendation was not what had been briefed to the Department.”

The source told Fox that the DOJ would be clarifying its position later on Tuesday.

“The Department finds seven to nine years extreme, excessive and grossly disproportionate to Mr. Stone’s offenses,” the official said.

This wouldn’t be the liberal attorneys have acted in an “extreme, excessive and grossly disproportionate” manner in the Stone case.

In January of 2019, heavily armed FBI agents stormed Stone’s home in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, in a pre-dawn raid. CNN, apparently tipped off ahead of time, was on the ground to capture the the over-the-top show of force live.

Surveillance footage from Stone’s home showed CNN arriving about an hour before a fleet of trucks filled with heavily armed agents arrived to arrest the 66-year-old.

Fox News’ Tucker Carlson, who aired the footage in February of 2019, said, “The footage depicts what you’d expect if the FBI raided the home of a Mexican drug lord.”

Stone’s sentencing is scheduled for Feb. 20.


Zelinsky withdrew from the case Tuesday and is resigning from DOJ effective immediately, the Federalist reported:


Another one bites the dust!



Tuesday afternoon, the DOJ issued a Supplemental and Amended Sentencing Recommendation memo, objecting to the previous sentencing recommendation.


Murando throws in the towel, too:



Tulsi Gabbard Sues Hillary Clinton Over Russia Smears

Democratic Hawaii Rep. Tulsi Gabbard is suing Hillary Clinton for defamation over the former Secretary of State’s remarks on a podcast characterizing the Democratic presidential candidate as “a favorite of the Russians” last year.

Gabbard filed the defamation lawsuit Wednesday in the U.S. District Court in Manhattan, New York. Gabbard’s lawyers allege that Clinton’s comments have “smeared” Gabbard’s “political and personal reputation.” Gabbard claims that Clinton made her remarks as “retribution” for Gabbard endorsing Sen. Bernie Sanders over Clinton in 2016, USA TODAY reports.

The lawsuit says it aims to hold Clinton and other “political elites” accountable for “distorting the truth in the middle of a critical Presidential election.”

“Clinton has not gotten over her loss in that election and still dwells on what happened,” the lawsuit says, adding that “Clinton blames many persons for her loss,” including Sanders. “But Clinton reserves a special hatred and animosity for Tulsi—who never endorsed Clinton, did not campaign for her, and to top it off, gave the nomination speech for Senator Sanders at the 2016 Democratic National Convention.”

“If Hillary Clinton and her allies can successfully destroy my reputation — even though I’m a war veteran and a sitting member of Congress — then they can do it to anybody,” Gabbard, said in a statement released this morning. “I will not allow this blatant effort to intimidate me and other patriotic Americans into silence go unchallenged.”

Asked to comment on the lawsuit, Clinton spokesman Nick Merrill told USA TODAY, “That’s ridiculous.”

The lawsuit claims, Gabbard has “suffered significant actual damages, personally and professionally, that are estimated to exceed $50 million—and continue to this day,” because of Hillary Clinton’s smear.

Clinton made her remarks during a podcast appearance on “Campaign HQ” in October with David Plouffe, a Democratic strategist. Clinton suggested that the GOP was “grooming” a Democratic presidential candidate to run as a third-party candidate. Although she did not identify whom she was referring to, the comment was seemingly directed to the Hawaii Democrat.

“She’s the favorite of the Russians, they have a bunch of sites and bots and other ways of supporting her so far, and that’s assuming Jill Stein will give it up, which she might not, because she’s also a Russian asset,” Clinton said. “Yeah, she’s a Russian asset, I mean totally. They know they can’t win without a third party candidate.”

Following Clinton’s comments, Gabbard wrote in a tweet: “Great! Thank you @HillaryClinton. You, the queen of warmongers, embodiment of corruption, and personification of the rot that has sickened the Democratic Party for so long, have finally come out from behind the curtain.”

Gabbard’s 2020 presidential campaign has struggled to garner significant support over the past several months, and she was left out of the last two Democratic primary debates. She has said she will not run for president as a third-party candidate.


New FISA Court Order Slams FBI

On December 17, 2019, Rosemary M. Collyer, the Presiding Judge of the United States Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court issued an order requiring the FBI to “inform the Court in a sworn written submission of what it has done, and plans to do, to ensure that the statement of facts in each FBI application accurately and completely reflects information possessed by the FBI that is material to any issue presented by the application.” The judge gave the FBI until January 10, 2020.

Although numerous FBI defenders have downplayed the deficiencies noted in the recent OIG report on the FISA-related misconduct involving the Carter Page investigation, Judge Collyer reacted to the revelations with urgency and surprise. “In order to appreciate the seriousness of that misconduct and its implications, it is useful to understand certain procedural and substantive requirements that apply to the government ‘s conduct of electronic surveillance for foreign intelligence purposes.” The FBI, she noted, applies for these warrants on an “ex parte” basis, meaning that the court is totally dependent upon the truth and completeness of the FBI submission. The FISA court is the last guarantor of the FBI’s compliance with the Fourth Amendment. She noted, “the government. . . has a heightened duty of candor to the FISC in ex parte proceedings… The FISC expects the government to comply with its heightened duty of candor in ex parte proceedings at all times. Candor is fundamental to this Court’ s effective operation.” 

The court noted that the OIG report described several instances in which FBI personnel withheld “information in their possession which was detrimental to their case for believing that Mr. Page was acting as an agent of a foreign power.” The court further noted that, “an attorney in the FBI’s Office of General Counsel (OGC) engaged in conduct that apparently was intended to mislead the FBI agent who ultimately swore to the facts in that application about whether Mr. Page had been a source of another government agency.”

The court did not adopt the OIG’s characterization of the misconduct in the OIG report as unintentional deficiencies. She wrote, “The FBI’ s handling of the Carter Page applications, as portrayed in the OIG report, was antithetical to the heightened duty of candor described above. The frequency with which representations made by FBI personnel turned out to be unsupported or contradicted by information in their possession, and with which they withheld information detrimental to their case, calls into question whether information contained in other FBI applications is reliable. The FISC expects the government to provide complete and accurate information in every filing with the Court.”

The court noted that the FBI certified that Paul Manafort used Carter Page as an intermediary to collude with Russia. The FBI knew Page had never met Manafort but withheld that fact from the court. It also noted that the warrant application also claimed Page met with Igor Sechin and Igor Divyekin while in Russia. The FBI knew by October 2016 that Page never met either of these men. The FBI also withheld from the court Steele’s October 2016 admission that he had questions about the reliability of his own source. The FBI also exaggerated the extent to which Steele’s reporting was corroborated and falsely reported that it had been used in prior criminal proceedings. 

The Order also indicated that the government is currently conducting a declassification review of a more extensive December 5, 2019 order. The court gave the government until December 20 to finish that review in anticipation of the FISA court publishing that order with “minimal if any redactions.”


Schiff and Complicit Media Are Due For a Reckoning After IG Report Exposed Their Lies

Now that the inspector general report on FISA abuse has vindicated the work of Rep. Devin Nunes (R-CA), the former chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, and thoroughly debunked the fraudulent conspiracy theories and smears of the current chairman Adam Schiff, many conservatives are crying out for retribution.

At the very least, Schiff should face an ethics complaint for lying in his memo, American Commitment President Phil Kerpen says.

In February of 2018, both Republicans and Democrats released memos about the Department of Justice’s efforts to secure a warrant to wiretap Carter Page. As even the Washington Post has been forced to admit, the IG report’s conclusions corroborated the claims made in the Nunes memo, while exposing the Schiff memo as a massive fraud “riddled with lies and false statements,” as Mollie Hemingway reported at the Federalist.

Will Chamberlain, the Editor-in-Chief of Human Events, posted a thread on Twitter containing major sections of Schiff’s “response” FISA Memo that turned out to be false.

But in 2018, with Schiff leading the charge, Nunes was maligned, ridiculed and subjected to a smear campaign for the crime of being right about the counterintelligence malfeasance that was going on in the FBI.

The anti-Trump media jumped on Schiff’s bogus bandwagon and published stories about how the Republicans were concocting “conspiracy theories” and destroying the nation’s law enforcement agencies.

Twitter Legal Eagle “Techno Fog” reminded followers of some of the worst offenders in a long Twitter thread:

Senator Charles Grassley (R-IA) reminded followers how Democrats and their media allies attacked the Grassley-Graham criminal referral of one of the leading Russia Hoax villains, former British spy Christopher Steele:

The Washington Free Beacon and Grabien have created Mash-ups of Democrats and the media lying about the FBI’s conduct.

Since his now legendary Russia collusion hoax lies, Schiff has also been caught lying about meeting with the so-called “whistleblower,” fabricated the text of a presidential phone call, and released phone records of the president’s lawyer, Rudy Giuliani; journalist John Solomon; and Rep. Nunes, among others.

As Hemingway noted, there simply must be accountability from Schiff and other Democrats in the Congress, as well as their corrupt media shills who put the President and his allies through years of trauma based on malicious lies.


Government Doesn’t Deny Editing Flynn’s Statement Before Charging Him

Federal prosecutors’ response to Sidney Powell’s explosive filing leaves many unanswered questions.

The federal government’s response Friday to Michael Flynn and his attorney’s bombshell claims of prosecutorial misconduct raises three concerns. First, that the “false statement” Flynn is accused of making was revised and edited since his interview with the FBI. Second, that Flynn never received a copy of the transcript of the conversations he supposedly lied about. And third, that Flynn’s purported “lies” are, in some cases, disputes over the accuracy of vague characterizations about his calls with the Russian ambassador.

As I recently reported, the case has reached a dramatic crossroads as Flynn’s new attorney, Sidney Powell, has forced the prosecution team, led by Brandon Van Grack, to respond to allegations of government misconduct. 

A History of Delays and Evasions

To review: On November 30, 2017, the government indicted Flynn, alleging the former Trump campaign figure and National Security Advisor lied to the FBI about his conversations with then-Russian ambassador Sergey Kislyak. The conversations took place after the 2016 election and were not part of any alleged “collusion.” The incoming president asked Flynn to reach out to as many as 20 countries to begin the process of transitioning foreign policy. The FBI obtained surveillance recordings of Flynn’s call with Kislyak. 

Deputy Director Andrew McCabe, a longtime Flynn enemy, then sent FBI agents Peter Strzok and Joe Pientka to interview Flynn. Subsequently, the two agents produced records of the interview using the FBI form 302. 

Immediately after Flynn pleaded guilty, the story broke that Strzok exchanged politically charged text messages with his lover Lisa Page (who happened to be McCabe’s legal advisor within the Bureau). A few days after that, the judge who accepted Flynn’s plea was mysteriously recused from the case. It turned out, the reassigned judge actually socialized with Strzok and Page. 

The new judge, however, was none other than Emmet Sullivan, the same judge who handled a case in which the Justice Department successfully swung a U.S. Senate election by framing Senator Ted Stevens with bribery. Sullivan ordered Flynn prosecutor Brandon Van Grack to come clean and produce all evidence relevant to Flynn’s guilt or innocence. 

After nearly a year of mysterious delays to the process, Flynn fired his old attorney and hired Powell to represent him. Since then, Powell has peppered the prosecution with several complaints about how the case had been conducted.

Curious Government Claims

Friday’s 17-page response did not deny that the account of Flynn’s “false statement” was edited by other FBI officials not present for the interview. The government contends the “final interview report and every draft of that report document those same false statements, in a clear and consistent manner.” The government further argues “there were no material changes” after the initial draft reports.

But many of the false statements attributed to Flynn require subjective judgments about whether vaguely worded denials were really intentional false statements. 

For example, one of Flynn’s statements charged as materially false was his denial that he called Kislyak to “get a sense of where countries stood on the vote” because he responded to a question with, “Not really. I don’t remember.” 

The government gave a particularly curious response to the allegation that it suppressed an early draft of Flynn’s statement to the FBI: “Even if an earlier draft of the interview report once existed, there is no reason to believe it would materially differ from the interviewing agents’ handwritten notes or the other drafts.” 

Unanswered Questions

All of this raises the question of why the FBI would not make an audio recording of Flynn’s interview to avoid the need for drafting and editing his statement after-the-fact. 

Powell made this point in her motion. “This is one of the many reasons no one should be prosecuted for [making a false statement] unless the statement has been recorded,” she argued. “Every law enforcement officer has that ability on his phone.”

What’s more, it doesn’t appear that the government furnished—at least not publicly—the original recorded conversation between Flynn and the Russian ambassador. Nor does the government’s response appear to address Powell’s complaint that, “the press has long had transcripts of the Kislyak calls that the government has denied to the defense.” 

Nevertheless, the prosecution insists it “complied with Brady, and this Court’s Standing Order,” to produce all evidence of Flynn’s guilt or innocence. 

Flynn’s attorney has until noon on November 4 to file a response to Friday’s filing from the prosecution. Although Powell has asked Sullivan to dismiss the case, it is more likely that the judge would agree to let Flynn withdraw his original guilty plea and go to trial.


How Michael Flynn Was Set-Up

It was a minor oversight, more than likely due to the former national security advisor’s lack of recall. Nevertheless, in the phony outrage generated by the since-discredited Russian collusion hysteria, Flynn was forced to resign and admit to a process crime to spare his family from a long, crippling trial.

General Michael Flynn was indicted based on a conversation he had with the Russian ambassador on December 29, 2016, seven weeks after the presidential election.

That was the day lame-duck President Obama expelled 35 Russian diplomats—including gardeners and chauffeurs—for election interference.

After the measures were announced, members of the Obama Administration listened in on Flynn’s conversation with the ambassador via wiretap.

They expected Flynn to say: “President-elect Trump believes this Russian collusion thing is a fantasy and these sanctions will be lifted on his first day in office.”

There is nothing wrong with the incoming national security advisor telling an ambassador that the new administration will have a different approach to foreign policy than its predecessor. That is what typically happens in a transition.

Here, though, the accommodation would have been cited to suggest a quid pro quo proving the nonexistent collusion.

The statement would have been improperly leaked and the New York Times headline would have been something like, “Trump Secretly Agrees to Lift Sanctions in Exchange for Putin’s Election Interference.”

Given the political considerations prevailing at the time, it is unlikely that Trump’s presidency would have survived the hit. The CIA, the FBI, and their friends in the media would have worked together to ensure maximum damage.

But Flynn was noncommittal about future administration policy. Drat!

The conspirators did have transcripts of what he said in that and other conversations with the ambassador. This is where the tin-pot dictator behavior of former FBI Director James Comey is fully displayed.

The FBI invited Flynn to be interviewed, supposedly about Russian collusion to steal the election. If you’re Flynn, you say, “Sure, I want to tell you 100 different ways that there was no collusion and when do you want to meet.”

What Flynn did not know was that the purpose of the interview had nothing to do with the election. It would be a test pitting his memory against the transcripts.

Think about that for a moment. Comey did not need to ask Flynn what was said in his conversations with the ambassador—he had the transcripts. The only reason to ask Flynn was to cross him up.

Last week, Flynn’s attorney Sidney Powell filed a brief citing evidence that Comey said “screw it” to longstanding FBI protocols that would have prevented the interview.

The brief points out, “Deputy Attorney General Sally Yates candidly opined that the interview ‘was problematic’ and ‘it was not always clear what the FBI was doing to investigate Flynn.’”

In support of the statement, “They knew what they were doing was wrong,” the brief quotes one of the texts Lisa Page sent to her lover and fellow FBI employee Peter Strzok leading up to the interview: “I can feel my heart beating harder. I am so stressed about all the ways THIS has the potential to go fully off the rails.”

The brief catalogs “planning and rehearsing tactics calculated to keep Mr. Flynn ‘relaxed’ and ‘unguarded’ so as to not alert him to the significance of the conversation.”

While answering questions in an interview he thought was inconsequential, Flynn did not have a strong recollection of his conversations with the ambassador.

In his defense, he did not believe he was sitting there to tell the FBI how the Trump Administration would be dealing with Russia going forward. The conversation was supposed to be about the election.

He certainly did not think the FBI would compare transcripts of his conversations to his answers. That would be unlawful.

His lack of complete recall notwithstanding, the agents determined that he had told the truth. They prepared a summary of the interview—a form 302—after concluding that he had answered honestly.

In early February, it was disclosed that Flynn had told Trump’s transition team that he never discussed sanctions with the Russian ambassador. The illegally unmasked transcripts, however, indicated that the subject had come up at one point.

It was a minor oversight, more than likely due to Flynn’s lack of recall. Nevertheless, in the phony outrage generated by the since-discredited Russian collusion hysteria, Flynn was forced to resign.

The FBI now had Flynn “lying” to Trump’s transition team. The problem was his 302 indicated he had not lied in his interview. Incredibly, the FBI then amended its 302 to suggest, yes, he lied to us, too.

As Powell points out, “The agents moved a sentence to make it seem to be an answer to a question it was not.” The words “FLYNN stated he did not” were added to the document.

FBI shenanigans such as these led to the appointment of Robert Mueller as special counsel. He threatened to indict Flynn for numerous crimes, including the failure to register as a foreign agent over some work he did involving Turkey.

Facing certain financial destruction and a criminal proceeding that would have harmed his family, Flynn punted. He copped to a minor crime—lying to the FBI—to avoid a crucible.

A judge recently threw out the case involving Flynn’s business partner in the Turkey matter, ostensibly resolving in his favor the crime that was fabricated to obtain his guilty plea.

Powell is now seeking to have Flynn’s case dismissed for prosecutorial misconduct. She wrote in her brief:

In this case, high-ranking FBI officials orchestrated an ambush-interview of the new president’s National Security Advisor not for the purpose of discovering any evidence of criminal activity—they already had tapes of the relevant conversations about which they questioned Mr. Flynn—but for the purpose of trapping him into making statements they could allege as false.

Also last week, U.S. Attorney John Durham opened a criminal investigation into whether the whole Russian collusion canard that forced Flynn to sit down for an interview was itself a fabrication.

The walls are closing in on the conspirators.

What do you call a system of government that cannot tolerate a transition of power without corrupt criminal prosecutions by those unwilling to cede control?

“Banana republic” is a term that comes to mind.


Flynn Attorney Sidney Powell: FBI ‘Ambushed’ Flynn, Deceptively Manipulated 302 File

An explosive new court filing from Gen. Michael Flynn’s legal team lays out in shocking detail, how high-ranking FBI officials plotted to entrap Trump’s short-lived national security adviser.

Sidney Powell, Flynn’s lead council, filed a 37-page brief on Thursday alleging that FBI agents manipulated official records of the January 2017 ambush interview that led to him being charged with lying to investigators. Powell is urging the court to “dismiss the entire prosecution for outrageous government misconduct.”

Powell’s bombshell filing comes amid news that U.S. Attorney John Durham’s ongoing probe into potential FBI and Justice Department misconduct has transitioned into a full-fledged criminal investigation.

DOJ Inspector General Michael Horowitz’s upcoming report on alleged FBI surveillance abuses against the Trump campaign will shed light on why Durham’s probe has become a criminal inquiry. Horowitz announced on Thursday his report would be available to the public soon, with “few” redactions.

In her last filing, Powell accused “certain elements in the government” of targeting Flynn for destruction because he had “publicly expressed intent to audit the intelligence agencies where billions of dollars are unaccounted for.”

Flynn eventually pleaded guilty to making false statements to anti-Trump agent Peter Strzok and another agent regarding his conversations with former Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak. Documents related to the questioning, however, indicated the agents did not believe at the time that Flynn intentionally lied to them. Flynn’s FBI 302—a form used by agents to report or summarize interviews—was later altered to reflect that he had purposefully lied, Powell alleges.

According to Powell, a team of “high-ranking FBI officials orchestrated an ambush-interview of the new president’s National Security Advisor, not for the purpose of discovering any evidence of criminal activity—they already had tapes of all the relevant conversations about which they questioned Mr. Flynn—but for the purpose of trapping him into making statements they could allege as false.”

Powell alleges that texts between FBI lovebirds Peter Strzok and Lisa Page reveal that “the upper echelon of the FBI” orchestrated the hit on Flynn.

The corporate media played a major role too. In the days following the publication of the Clinton and DNC-funded anti-Trump dossier, Strzok texted Page excitedly: “Sitting with Bill watching CNN. A TON more out. . . We’re discussing whether, now that this is out, we can use it as a pretext to go interview some people.”

Powell reveals that over next two weeks, there were “many meetings” between Strzok and [former FBI Deputy Director Andrew] McCabe to discuss “whether to interview National Security Advisor Michael Flynn and if so, what interview strategies to use.”

Then “on January 23, the day before the interview, the upper echelon of the FBI met to orchestrate it all. Deputy Director McCabe, General Counsel James Baker, Lisa Page, Strzok, David Bowdich, Trish Anderson, and Jen Boone strategized to talk with Mr. Flynn in such a way as to keep from alerting him from understanding that he was being interviewed in a criminal investigation of which he was the target.”

Next, fired FBI Director James Comey’s decided to “screw it” in contravention of longstanding DOJ protocols,” and McCabe “personally called Flynn to pave the way for the uncounseled conversation.”

“In short, they planned to deceive him about the entire scenario, and keep him ‘unguarded,’” Powell claimed. She stressed that “Comey and McCabe were executing their own agenda—not investigating a crime,” and went on to claim the government is hiding evidence “of the original 302, other exculpatory texts, and other forms of information completely.”

Comey’s notes on the decision to interview Flynn were not turned over to defense, nor were the notes of then-Deputy Attorney General Sally Yates’  even though she had opined that the interview “was problematic” and “it was not always clear what the FBI was doing to investigate Flynn,” according to Powell.

In a sealed statement, Strzok confirmed that the “agents did three briefings the day of the interview,” and that Flynn “had a sure demeanor, and he was telling the truth or believed he was—even though he did not remember it all.”

The FBI and DOJ went on to write “an internal memo dated January 30, 2017, exonerating Mr. Flynn of acting as an ‘agent of Russia’”  expressing no concerns of a possible Logan Act violation, according to the filing.A couple of weeks later, all that changed with the help of a malicious leak to the media.

“On February 10, 2017, the news broke—attributed to ‘senior intelligence officials’—that Mr. Flynn had discussed sanctions with Ambassador Kislyak, contrary to what Vice President Pence had said on television previously.”

Flynn’s 302 was substantially changed overnight according to Powell: “Those changes added an unequivocal statement that ‘FLYNN stated he did not’—in response to whether Mr. Flynn had asked Kislyak to vote in a certain manner or slow down the UN vote.”

“This is a deceptive manipulation” Powell explained, “because, as the notes of the agents show, Mr. Flynn was not even sure he had spoken to Russia/Kislyak on this issue. He had talked to dozens of countries.”

Overnight, someone also added a line indicating Flynn had been questioned on whether “KISLYAK described any Russian response to a request by FLYNN.”

While the agents’ actual notes do not include that question or answer, Powell pointed out that it was later included in the criminal offense charges against Flynn. And “the draft also shows that the agents moved a sentence to make it seem to be an answer to a question it was not,” Powell added.

The day after those changes were made, Strzok texted Page asking: “Also, is Andy good with F 302?” Page replied: “Launch f302.”

Powell argues: “Neither Mr. Flynn nor his former counsel had any of these documents or knowledge of the plethora of information discussed above when Mr. Flynn entered his plea.”

In the filing, Powell also referred to a purported conversation between former Director of National Intelligence James Clapper and Washington Post reporter David Ignatius, claiming Clapper told the reporter “words to the effect of ‘take the kill shot on Flynn,’” after he allegedly obtained the transcript of Flynn’s phone calls.

A spokesman for Clapper denied the allegation in a statement to Fox News, saying that he “absolutely did not say those words to David Ignatius.”

“It’s absolutely false,” the spokesman said. “It’s absurd.”

Powell also claims that the official who leaked the transcripts of the calls to Ignatius was a Pentagon official who was Stefan Halper’s “handler.”

Halper, an American professor, has been widely reported as a confidential source for the FBI during the bureau’s original investigation into Russian meddling in the 2016 election. Halper, in 2016, contacted several members of the Trump campaign including former foreign policy adviser George Papadopoulos and former aides Carter Page and Sam Clovis.

“The evidence the defense requests will eviscerate any factual basis for the plea and reveal the conduct so outrageous—if there is not enough already—to mandate dismissal of this prosecution for egregious government misconduct,” Powell wrote.

Also in the filing, Powell notes that U.S. District Judge Rudolph Contreras, the judge who accepted Flynn’s guilty plea, was “suddenly and inexplicably recused” days later.

A conflict of interest was revealed last year when text messages showed that Contreras and Strzok had a personal relationship.

“The government knew that well in advance of Mr. Flynn’s plea that Judge Contreras was a friend of Peter Strzok and his recusal was even discussed in an exchange of multiple texts,” Powell wrote, referencing text messages between Strzok and Page where they discussed Strzok and Contreras speaking “in detail” on anything “meaningful enough to warrant recusal.”

This filing is just the latest in a series of motions Powell has brought to the court on behalf of Flynn. Last week, she demanded federal prosecutors turn over two BlackBerry phones that were used by Western intelligence asset Joseph Mifsud, aka “the mysterious Maltese Professor” who allegedly told Trump campaign adviser George Papadopoulos that the Russians had thousands of Hillary Clinton’s emails.

After many months of delay, U.S. District Judge Emmet Sullivan has set sentencing date of Dec. 18 for Flynn.



Flynn Attorney Accuses Government Prosecutors of Suppressing Evidence the Defense Uncovered

In a scorching court filing Wednesday, Gen. Michael Flynn’s legal team accused Department of Justice prosecutors of stonewalling and suppressing exonerating evidence the defense itself uncovered.

Lead counsel Sidney Powell also accused “certain elements in the government” of targeting Flynn, President Trump’s former national security adviser, for destruction because he had “publicly expressed intent to audit the intelligence agencies where billions of dollars are unaccounted for.”

Flynn is awaiting sentencing for lying to federal agents about his discussions with Russian ambassador Sergey Kislyak, although internal FBI documents revealed that the agents involved did not believe Flynn had intentionally lied.

Powell requested that Flynn’s Reply brief be filed on the public docket.

“Much of the information in the Flynn Reply is legal argument and authorities, or factual information and analysis developed in the defense’s own investigation,” Powell argued.  “As government has stated repeatedly, it has not given the defense “any classified information.”

Powell complained that she has given the government “every opportunity to dismiss the case in the interest of justice” because of the “rampant wrongdoing of government agents at the inception of the ‘investigation.'”

Instead of doing so, the government has continued to defy its constitutional, ethical, and legal obligations to this Court and to the defense, and to hide evidence that it knows exonerates Mr. Flynn. As is the essence of the problem here, the “government” is protecting its own criminal conduct and operatives.

In the filing, Powell included correspondence from DOJ lawyers claiming that “various equity holders” (government agencies) need to review the evidence for redaction.

Said Powell in the filing: “The only real ‘equity holder’ in this case is Michael T. Flynn, whose career was deliberately and maliciously destroyed by outrageous government conduct documented in our brief in reply.”



Flynn Lawyer Asks DOJ to Produce ‘Brady Material’ from Joseph Mifsud’s Two BlackBerry Phones

The attorney representing General Michael Flynn filed a motion Tuesday demanding that the Justice Department produce the “Brady Material” that has recently come into the government’s possession. “Brady Material” is favorable or exculpatory evidence that has been withheld from the defense.

Specifically, Sidney Powell, a well-known defense attorney and legal pundit, is asking for two BlackBerry phones that were used by Western intelligence asset Joseph Mifsud, aka “the mysterious Maltese Professor” who allegedly told Trump campaign adviser George Papadopoulos that the Russians had thousands of Hillary Clinton’s emails.

“Michael T. Flynn (‘Mr. Flynn’) requests the government be ordered to produce evidence that has only recently come into its possession,” the filing states. The evidence requested includes the data and metadata of the two devices.

“Certain persons in the government only recently came into possession of these phones that had been given to Mifsud to use,” Powell wrote on Twitter. “Of course, pretty sure bad actors knew of them previously—certainly the operation that gave them to him!” she added.

Recall, three weeks ago, Attorney General William Barr and U.S. Attorney John Durham traveled to Italy to meet with senior government officials and request their assistance in Durham’s probe of U.S. intelligence activities during the 2016 election and its aftermath.

Powell is hoping to prove that her client was maliciously framed by deep state actors.

Flynn, President Trump’s short-lived national security adviser, pleaded guilty in December 2017 to making false statements to the FBI when he was interviewed at the White House in January 2017 about his contacts with the former Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak.

Powell argued in court last month that the entire prosecution against Flynn should be “dismissed for egregious government misconduct and long-time suppression” of exculpatory evidence. Powell told Judge Emmett Sullivan that the prosecution had failed to disclose documents that exonerated Flynn from being a Russian agent before he signed his plea deal.

“There never would have been a plea to begin with if the government had met its Brady obligation disclosing what it knew before Mr. Flynn entered a plea and, frankly, before he even made a proffer,” Powell told Judge Sullivan on September 10.

In Tuesday’s court filing, Powell alleged that the two phones were used by Mifsud to set Flynn up “with certain Russians” as early as 2014.

The defense requested this information initially by email to Mr. Van Grack and Ms. Ballantine on Friday, October 11, 2019. The government did not reply to the email of October 11, but it did reply in response to the notice of our Motion on October 15, 2019.

This information is material, exculpatory, and relevant to the defense of Mr. Flynn, and specifically to the “OCONUS LURES” and agents that western intelligence tasked against him likely as early as 2014 to arrange—unbeknownst to him—“connections” with certain Russians that they would then use against him in their false claims. The phones were used by Mr. Joseph Mifsud.

The Mueller Report briefly mentions a previous FBI investigation of Flynn that was allegedly “based on his relationship with the Russian government.” The Flynn filing suggests that Mifsud may have been involved in that investigation, as well.

The DOJ responded Tuesday: “If we determine that they contain information that is discoverable or that is relevant to sentencing, we will produce them to you.”

The Mueller Report described Mifsud as a Maltese professor with ties to Russia.

In a Washington Post op-ed last May, fired FBI director James Comey referred to Mifsud as an “agent” of Russia.

“In April 2016, that adviser talked to a Russian agent in London, learned that the Russians had obtained ‘dirt’ on Hillary Clinton in the form of thousands of emails and that the Russians could assist the Trump campaign through the anonymous release of information damaging to Clinton,” Comey wrote.

In reality, Mifsud has ties to U.S., British, and Italian intelligence services, as well as the U.S. State Department, as Rep. Devin Nunes pointed out on Fox News in May.

“I never knew that you could use counter-intelligence capabilities –these are the capabilities that we have in our government to go after and target terrorists — I never knew that you could actually go out and use those capabilities to spy on Americans,” Nunes noted sadly. “Look, we don’t know all this for sure, but we have strong suspicions that that is exactly what was happening.”

Suspiciously, Mifsud and Comey were both reportedly in Australia at the same time right before Mifsud’s meeting with George Papadopoulos.

“BOTH Mifsud and Halper were tasked with spying on Flynn and myself. This is a major breakthrough!” Papadopoulos tweeted in response to Flynn’s court filing on Tuesday.

He went on to call Western assets Australian diplomat Alexander Downer, Cambridge professor Stephan Halper and Mifsud “the three stooges.”






Confirmed: AG Barr and U.S. Atty. John Durham Traveled to Italy to Question Officials About Russia Hoax

Attorney General William Barr and U.S. Attorney John Durham met with senior government officials in Italy last week, where Barr asked the Italians to assist Durham in his probe of the U.S. intelligence activities during the 2016 election and its aftermath, the Washington Post reported Monday.

American Greatness reported over the weekend that Barr had quietly traveled to Italy last week on “official business,” although the Department of Justice had provided few details about the trip. It was apparently not his first trip to Italy to meet intelligence officials, according to an official familiar with the matter.

The Trump administration has reportedly also reached out to officials in Great Britain, Australia and Ukraine for help investigating the role of those countries in the Russia hoax.

A Department of Justice team led by Durham is “exploring the extent to which a number of countries, including Ukraine, played a role in the counterintelligence investigation directed at the Trump campaign during the 2016 election,” former Bush Attorney General Michael Mukasey’s wrote Monday in the Wall Street Journal. “While the Attorney General has yet to contact Ukraine in connection with this investigation, certain Ukrainians who are not members of the government have volunteered information to Mr. Durham, which he is evaluating.”

The New York Times reported on Monday [based on another anonymous leak] that President Trump in a recent phone call urged Australia’s prime minister to provide assistance to the ongoing Justice Department inquiry. Trump made the request for cooperation at Barr’s urging, according to the Justice Department.

Former Trump Campaign adviser George Papadopoulos charged in May that senior Australian diplomat Alexander Downer was a Western asset who was sent to London to make contact with him.

Papadopoulos said he was targeted in London and Rome by FBI (and possibly CIA) informants, Stefan Halper, Azra Turk, Joseph Mifsud, and Downer.

The Australian met Papadopoulos at an upscale bar in London in May of 2016, where the Trump adviser supposedly spilled what he knew about the the Russians having Clinton dirt.

Downer is believed to have reported what he learned to Australian authorities, who in turn told the FBI, leading to its counterintelligence investigation into the Trump Campaign code-named “Crossfire Hurricane.”

Papadopoulos was thrilled at the news that the United States Justice Department was starting to zero in on Australia’s role in the Russia-Gate farce.

DOJ spokeswoman Kerri Kupec said: “Mr. Durham is gathering information from numerous sources, including a number of foreign countries. At Attorney General Barr’s request, the President has contacted other countries to ask them to introduce the Attorney General and Mr. Durham to appropriate officials.”

A spokesperson for the Australian government said in a statement that it has “always been ready to assist and cooperate with efforts that help shed further light on the matters under investigation. The [prime minister] confirmed this readiness once again in conversation with the President.”


AG Barr’s Hush Hush Trip to Italy Sets Tongues Wagging on the Left and the Right

Attorney General William Barr traveled to Italy last week on “official” business, according to ABC’s Alex Mallin on Friday.

Mallin said that the Department of Justice provided few details about what he was doing in Italy.

“DOJ will only say he’s meeting with govt officials,” said Maillin on Twitter. “No details on what about or who he traveled with.”

The State Department meanwhile announced in a news release on its website on Friday that Secretary of State Mike Pompeo will travel to Italy, The Holy See, Montenegro, North Macedonia, and Greece from October 1 to 6.

The Secretary will attend the U.S.-Holy See Symposium on Partnering with Faith-Based Organizations, where he will deliver keynote remarks.  He will have a private audience with His Holiness Pope Francis, and meet with Secretary of State Cardinal Parolin and Secretary for Relations with States Archbishop Gallagher.

In Rome, Italy, the Secretary will meet with President Mattarella, Prime Minister Conte, and Foreign Minister Di Maio. He will also visit Abruzzo to tour his ancestral home.

The Secretary will then travel to Montenegro, where he will meet with President Djukanovic, Prime Minister Markovic, and Foreign Minister Darmanovic.

Next, the Secretary will travel to North Macedonia, where he will meet with President Pendarovski, Prime Minister Zaev, and other government officials. The Secretary will also tour the Holy Mother of God “Peribleptos” monastery complex while visiting Lake Ohrid.

Finally, the Secretary will travel to Athens, Greece, where he will meet with Prime Minister Mitsotakis, Foreign Minister Dendias, and Defense Minister Panagiotopoulos.

CNA, a Singapore-based news outlet reported on Friday that Pompeo would “seek to counter Russian influence” during his visit to Montenegro and North Macedonia.

A senior US official at the UN in New York last week told ANSA that during visits to both of those countries, they “will talk about Russian efforts to sow discord there.”

“It’s up to these sovereign and independent states and their people to make their decisions on the direction they want to go, and their decision to pursue NATO membership, I think, has been important for them,” the official said.

Reports that the attorney general was in Italy last week set off spasms of speculation on the left that Barr was “running and hiding” from the House Democrats’ big, bad subpoenas.

The Palmer report’s breathless analysis of Barr’s trip is a good example of the left’s read on the situation.

According to Palmer, the AG was so panic-stricken, he high-tailed it to Italy to “physically distance” himself from the “whistleblower” scandal.

Bill Barr is conveniently in Italy right now. No, really. He’s on “official travel. Come on, is the United States Attorney General urgently needed in Rome this week for some reason? We all know what’s going on here: Barr is so desperate to distance himself from the whistleblower scandal, he’s physically distancing himself from it.

Palmer reported that the House subpoena ordered Barr to cooperate now, or “he’s going to prison after Donald Trump is gone.”

On the right, there was speculation that Barr might have been in Rome to interview Joseph Mifsud, the mysterious Maltese professor who is believed to be at the center of the Spygate scandal.

In the Spring of 2016, Mifsud told former Trump campaign adviser George Papadopoulos the Russians had thousands of Hillary Clinton’s emails. The Mueller report characterized Mifsud as someone with Russian connections, bit now it’s widely believed that he has links to U.S., British, Italian intelligence services and the State Department.

” Mifsud had long worked with Western intelligence and he was … asked to connect with George Papadopoulos,” Solomon said Mifsud’s lawyer Stephan Roh told him. “It was some form of an intelligence operation,” he added. “If that’s the case, that means the flash-point that started the whole investigation was in fact manufactured from the beginning.”

Mifsud in August reportedly provided an audio deposition to Attorney John Durham, the U.S. attorney in Connecticut who was tapped by Barr to examine the origins of the Russian collusion hoax.

Said investigative journalist John Solomon last month on Fox News: ” I can absolutely confirm that Durham investigators obtained an audio deposition of Joseph Mifsud where he describes his work because he targeted George Papadopoulos, who directed him to do this, what instructions were given to him, and why he set in motion the whole process of introducing Papadopoulos to Russia in March 2016, which is really the focal point and starting point of the whole affair of the narratives on collusion.”

He added, “I can also confirm that the Senate Judicial Committee obtained the same deposition.”

Solomon noted that Durham and Barr were focused on the period of March to July of 2016—before the official FBI investigation “Crossfire Hurricane” began—to see if Western assets “were deployed as part of an earlier effort to start probing the Trump campaign and its Russian ties, maybe leaving the breadcrumb evidence that Christopher Steele then picked up and gave to the FBI.”

Solomon said that Mifsud gave his lawyer an audiotape deposition before he went into hiding following the 2016 election, and Durham is trying to get a copy of that.

It is not outside the realm of possibility that Barr is in Italy to investigate Mifsud’s role in the SpyGate scandal from March to July of 2016.



DOJ Inspector General Has Concluded FISA Abuse Probe

Inspector General Michael Horowitz on Friday notified the attorney general that he has concluded his investigation into alleged Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) abuses by the Justice Department and FBI during the 2016 election, and is finalizing his report.

U.S. Representative Doug Collins (R-Ga.), the top Republican on the House Judiciary Committee, revealed the development in a letter to House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerry Nadler (D-N.Y.) Friday afternoon.

Collins called on the Democrat to invite Horowitz and FBI Director Christopher Wray to testify before the panel once his report is released.  The report will be sent to the Judiciary Committee and made public after the Justice Department and FBI have had a chance to review it and make any necessary redactions.

“As you know, FISA oversight falls squarely within the Judiciary Committee’s jurisdiction. We must act swiftly to address concerns outlined in the Inspector General’s report,” Collins wrote.

Accordingly, I write to request you schedule a hearing as soon as possible following Congress’s receipt of the report. Further, I request that you invite Inspector General Michael Horowitz and Federal Bureau of Investigation Director Christopher Wray to discuss the findings of the investigation at that hearing.

In accordance with the Committee’s jurisdiction under House Rule X, it is critical that the Judiciary Committee be the first House committee to query the Inspector General about his findings and Director Wray about steps he is taking to ensure any abuses do not reoccur. Members of the Judiciary Committee on both sides of the aisle have unique expertise regarding FISA, making our Committee best equipped to directly address the concerns contained in the Inspector General’s report.

In March 2018, Horowitz launched the investigation into whether the FBI improperly used former British spy Christopher Steele’s unverified Clinton/DNC/Obama–financed opposition research to secure a FISA warrant on Trump campaign volunteer Carter Page. Although he is an Obama appointee, Horowitz has a reputation for being a thorough and fair nonpartisan.

In a letter dated September 13 to the chairs and ranking members of the Senate Homeland Security and Judiciary committees, as well as the House Judiciary and Oversight and reform committees, Horowitz noted his team has conducted more than 100 interviews and reviewed over one million records as part of its investigation.

“We have now begun the process of finalizing our report by providing a draft of our factual findings to the department and the FBI for classification determination and marking,” Horowitz wrote. “This step is consistent with our process for reports such as this one that involve classified material.”

Joe diGenova, a former U.S. attorney for the District of Columbia, claimed last month that all four FISA warrant extensions against Page had been found to be illegally obtained.

“I can report categorically that the inspector general has found that all four FISA warrants were illegal. They were based on false information supplied to the FISA Court. And Michael Horowitz has concluded that all four FISA warrants were illegal,” diGenova told WMAL.

Rep. Jim Jordan (R-Ohio) said earlier this week that he expected Horowitz to report that all four FISA warrants were illegally obtained.

Fox News’ Sean Hannity asked Jordan for a “yes or no prediction” on the inspector general’s report at the end of an interview Monday night. “I think he will. Michael Horowitz does good work,” Jordan said. Fox News legal analyst Gregg Jarrett concurred, saying, “Absolutely.”

Of course, until the report is publicly released, such predictions should be viewed with a grain of salt. That day is coming soon, according to Fox News’ chief intelligence correspondent Catherine Herridge, Friday afternoon.

“We are officially in the endgame,” Herridge reported. She said that one of the “lingering stumbling blocks” is how much of the report will be made public and how much will be redacted.

“Republicans want as much public as possible,” Herridge said. She added that her sources are telling her that there will be a declassification of records prior to the release of the IG report that will allow the report to be as public as possible.


Flynn Lawyer: ‘Egregious Government Misconduct’

Former national security adviser Michael Flynn’s lead defense attorney argued in court Tuesday that she is seeking to have the entire prosecution against Flynn “dismissed for egregious government misconduct and long-time suppression” of exculpatory evidence.

Flynn’s attorney, Sidney Powell, said in a status conference in federal court in Washington D.C. that “there never would have been a plea to begin with if the government had disclosed Brady information about what it knew before the plea agreement.”

The “Brady material” mentioned in the complaint is in reference to the “Brady v. Maryland” Supreme Court case that established the government must turn over all exculpatory evidence.

Flynn pleaded guilty to making false statements to the FBI when he was interviewed at the White House in January of 2017 about his contacts with the former Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak.

Judge Emmett Sullivan had scheduled the hearing earlier this month in response to Powell’s motion to compel the government to give up the alleged exculpatory material.

During the hearing, Powell demanded access to classified materials she claims the government has blocked them from viewing, including FBI documents detailing the actions of Bruce Ohr, a former high-ranking official at the Department of Justice who had multiple contacts with former British spy Christopher Steele, the author of the infamous anti-Trump dossier.

According to the Federalist’s Margot Cleveland, what was expected to be a quick status hearing turned into a 45-minute inquisition of Powell’s plan to combat the government’s alleged misconduct. Powell told the judge that the prosecution had failed to disclose documents that exonerated Flynn from being a Russian agent before he signed his plea deal.

“There is far more at stake here than sentencing,” Powell began. “As new counsel, we have an ethical obligation to review everything that has happened in the case or not happened, as the case may be, and that is why we filed the motion to compel production of Brady material.”

She then proceeded to detail several examples of the government’s “stunning failures to produce Brady” material, such as the government’s delay in providing the Lisa Page and Peter Strzok text messages to Flynn’s prior counsel and withholding of various internal documents exonerating Flynn of being a Russian agent and violating the Logan Act.

Powell also hit hard the government’s failure to disclose the original Flynn 302 interview summary written by FBI Agent Joseph Pientka. “They say they don’t have it,” Powell noted, adding that “it would certainly be in the FBI’s computer system.” “Things don’t disappear like that,” the defense attorney stressed, seemingly forgetting Hillary Clinton’s missing 30,000 emails. Judge Sullivan appeared less concerned by the disappearance, noting “notwithstanding the best efforts of everyone, things happen and documents are lost. I mean, it just happens.”

Sullivan also pushed Powell to explain the relevance of the various evidence she was seeking. “There never would have been a plea to begin with if the government had met its Brady obligation disclosing what it knew before Mr. Flynn entered a plea and, frankly, before he even made a proffer,” Powell explained.

But it was when Powell said “there’s one thing after the other that we can document that exonerates Mr. Flynn in any number of ways,” that Judge Sullivan interjected: “You’re suggesting that a basis exists to file a motion to withdraw his plea? Is that where this is headed towards?”

“I can’t say right now exactly where it’s headed,” Powell responded, noting she didn’t “think it’s going to be a motion to withdraw the plea.” Rather, Flynn’s new attorney explained she intended “to show that the entire prosecution should be dismissed for egregious government misconduct and long-time suppression of Brady material.”

Prosecutor Brandon Van Grack rejected Powell’s claims, saying “the government has exceeded its discovery and disclosure obligations in this matter,” stating that it had provided Flynn with more than 22,000 pages of documents.

But Powell called Van Grack’s response “patently absurd,” noting that the DOJ has not even given Flynn the full texts between the FBI lovebirds Peter Strzok and Lisa Page.

“To the extent text messages appear to be incomplete or contain gaps, we do not possess additional messages that appear to fill such gaps,” she said. Judge Sullivan issued a Brady/Discovery Order in December 2017, but prosecutors did not produce the incomplete Page–Strzok texts until March of 2018.

“Although the Inspector General notified Special Counsel of the tens of thousands of text messages between Peter Strzok and Lisa Page no later than July 2017—the prosecutors did not produce a single text message to the defense until March 13, 2018,” Flynn’s Motion to Show Cause and Compel states.

Powell says in the motion that “immediately upon accepting Mr. Flynn’s defense” on June 6, 2019, she sent the government a list of 40 demands “in unredacted form pursuant to Brady and its progeny,” and requested the aid of the court to enforce its Dec. 2017 order.

Included on the list is a request for communications by and between U.S. intelligence agencies and intelligence “assets” like Cambridge Professor Stefan Halper and former head of the British Secret Intelligence Service (M16) Richard Dearlove.

All payments, notes, memos, correspondence, and instructions by and between the FBI, CIA, or DOD with Stefan Halper—going back as far as 2014—regarding Michael Flynn, Svetlana Lokhova, Mr. Richard Dearlove (of MI6), and Professor Christopher Andrew (connected with MI5) and Halper’s compensation through theDOD Office of Net Assessment as evidenced by the whistleblower complaint of Adam Lovinger, addressed in our brief.

This includes David Shedd (former Deputy Director of DIA) and Mike Vickers, who were CIA officers; James H. Baker; former DIA Director LTG Stewart; former DIA Deputy Director Doug Wise; and the DIA Directorof Operations (DOD). This should also include any communications or correspondence of any type arising from the investigation or alleged concerns about Mr. Flynn that contained a copy to (as a “cc” or “bcc”) or was addressed directly to the DNI James Clapper and his senior staff; to CIA Director Brennan and his senior staff; or to FBI Director Comey, his Deputy Andrew McCabe and senior staff.

Flynn’s legal team is also seeking “Any information, including recordings or 302s, about Joseph Mifsud’s presence and involvement in engaging or reporting on Mr. Flynn and Mifsud’s presence at the Russia Today dinner in Moscow on December 17, 2015.”

Additionally, they are requesting a mysterious interview summary (302) mentioned in the Mueller report dated January 19, 2017,  five days prior to Flynn’s Jan. 24 FBI Interview. That memo could potentially involve a pre-inauguration FBI effort to spy on the transition team.

On top of that, team Flynn is asking for records of calls between former director of national intelligence James Clapper and Washington Post reporter David Ignatius, who reported on the leaked calls between Flynn and Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak. This request suggests that Powell and Co. suspect that Clapper is the “senior US Govt official” who leaked the information to Ignatius.

The defense team also requested “an internal DOJ document dated January 30, 2017 in which the FBI exonerated Flynn of being “an agent of Russia” and “unredacted scope memos written for the Special Counsel and any requests by Special Counsel that mention Mr. Flynn or his son”

Powell explained to Fox News’s Sean Hannity Tuesday night that former Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein authorized Mueller to investigate Flynn’s son, Michael Flynn Jr.

“We know that Mr. Mueller got a letter from Mr. Rosenstein that allowed him to target Michael Flynn Jr., and there was significant pressure to enter a guilty plea while they were hiding all the evidence that showed he had not been an agent of Russia, that there were no Logan Act violations,” Powell told Hannity.

“When you put together the fact that Mr. Mueller got the letter authorizing him to target Michael Flynn Jr., and they had seized Michael Flynn Jr.’s computers and electronic devices and those things, it’s not too hard to imagine that that might have happened,” she said.

In court papers Powell compared the government’s conduct toward Flynn to the case of former Alaska Sen. Ted Stevens—which ended with Judge Sullivan finding prosecutorial misconduct. Powell wrote about that case and others in her book, Licensed to Lie, which features as its “lead villain,” Andrew Weissmann, aka Mueller’s “legal pit bull.”

Powell told the court Flynn passed a polygraph test in 2016 and had his security clearance renewed, undercutting accusations that Flynn was an “agent of Russia” or “agent of Turkey.”

“There is just a plethora of information out there that we need the actual documents to support and the notes to support,” she said.

Sullivan set a deadline for the defense to reply to the prosecution’s brief for Oct. 15 and set a tentative sentencing date of Dec. 18.


Why Did the FBI Neglect to Investigate Hot RussiaGate Tip Involving Rick Wilson?

Fusion GPS co-founder Glenn Simpson passed along a hot tip to the FBI regarding never-Trumper Rick Wilson in December of 2016, and the Bureau for some reason neglected to check it out.

The claim, recently made public through Judicial Watch litigation, had the potential to be explosive:  “A former Trump campaign official, possibly Rick Wilson, was talking about some of the Trump ties to Russia and the Trump Campaign tried to sue him for violating his non-disclosure agreement,” Simpson said, according to the FBI File.

The Bureau could have easily tracked down Rick Wilson—a veteran political strategist and Republican operative— to verify that claim, but according to RealClearInvestigations’ Eric Felten, the FBI passed.

When asked whether he ever heard from the Bureau, Wilson told Fenten, “nope. Not a word.”

Asked why the FBI never contacted Wilson, Bureau spokeswoman Carol Cratty replied, “The FBI has no comment.”

It’s not like the claim wasn’t easy to debunk. As Fenten notes, Wilson at that time was already a well-known “Never-Trump” Republican.

He not only didn’t work for the campaign; Wilson had told CNN in the early presidential primary days of 2015 that he was gathering opposition research of his own on Trump. He bragged that his file on Trump was going to be “the most magnificent document in history.”

The FBI’s lack of curiosity may say more about its eagerness to work with Steele and company than anything else. Bureau officials had been so eager that they made Steele a “confidential human source,” promising to pay him for information, even though it knew he was already being paid by the Hillary Clinton campaign and the Democratic National Committee. In October 2016, the FBI and Department of Justice vouched for Steele’s credibility in using his claims to help secure a spy warrant on Trump campaign adviser Carter Page.

FBI records uncovered by Judicial Watch show that Steele was cut off as a “confidential human source” in November 2016 after he disclosed his relationship with the FBI to the media.

Despite this, Associate Deputy Attorney General Bruce Ohr communicated with Steele regularly for another full year, transferring information from Steele and Fusion GPS to the FBI until November 2017. This workaround allowed Ohr and his wife Nellie—who worked for Fusion GPS—to keep the bureau in the loop on their anti-Trump allegations.

In the ensuing years, current and former FBI officials insisted that the bureau had aggressively vetted all of Steele and Simpson’s claims.

On Dec. 7, 2018, for instance, disgraced former FBI Director James Comey told lawmakers on the House Judiciary and Oversight committees that “an effort was under way to try to replicate, either rule in or rule out, as much of that collection of reports that’s commonly now called the Steele dossier as possible.”

Fenten points out that most of the dossier’s claims were impossible to verify.

Take the infamous “golden shower” assertion. That’s when Trump, staying at the Moscow Ritz-Carlton in 2013, supposedly hired “a number of prostitutes” to urinate “in front of him” on a bed that President Obama had slept on. Steele said it was likely Russia state security services had taped the incident, leaving Trump open to blackmail. This lewd anecdote is attributed to a couple of unnamed sources, one of whom (Source F) is at least described: “a female staffer at the hotel when TRUMP had stayed there.”

Imagine the degree of difficulty for even the most determined and dedicated G-man given the task of corroborating such a claim. Where would the agent start in trying to track down a woman who worked at the hotel three years before, knowing nothing else about her? How would he find the right prostitutes in a town with a large number of them?

On the other hand, the allegation about Rick Wilson would have been easy to “either rule in or rule out” by simply picking up the phone and giving the Republican strategist a call. It would have been a good way to test the reliability of Steele and Simpson’s claims.

But no. Instead, Comey set up a private briefing with Trump at Trump Tower in January 2017, in which he told the president-elect about the unverifiable “golden shower” allegation, in an apparent effort to collect evidence on the then-president-elect. During this one-on-one meeting, Comey told Trump he was not a subject of the investigation.

Inspector General Michael Horowitz’s report reveals that Comey and senior FBI officials—including supervisors of the counterintelligence inquiry—discussed the briefing ahead of time, hoping that Trump would “make statements about or provide information of value to the pending Russia interference investigation.”

The “hot tip” about Rick Wilson, meanwhile, was filed away and forgotten.

Center for American Greatness • Great America

This Was the Most Powerful Man in America for Two Years?

For two years, Robert Mueller was the most powerful man in America. Since May 2017, he has ruled the media, the government, and the public discourse. Elusive by design, Mueller, along with his team of partisan prosecutors, operated in a rarified sphere exempt from the normal political constraints of scrutiny and accountability.

Americans repeatedly were assured that Robert Mueller possessed superhuman faculties. His integrity is unimpeachable, his professional track record is flawless—or so we were told. A war hero and former FBI Director, appointed by Republicans doncha know, Robert Mueller was the man, the patriot, who would get to the bottom of how Donald Trump and his corrupt campaign associates colluded with the Russians to throw the 2016 election in Trump’s favor.

Leaders on both sides of the aisle assured us that Mueller would act in a fair manner, that he would oversee every detail, and that any case against the president would be rock solid. Any tepid criticism of the special counsel was the equivalence of treachery, an attempt to subvert the rule of law; any Trump tweet aimed at the man in charge of a politically-motivated investigation intended to take down his presidency was proof of his criminality.

For two years, Congress, mostly led by Republicans during that time, cowered in the powerful shadow of Robert Mueller. Governance ground to a halt as our country’s legitimate challenges, including a porous southern border, were ignored. Conservative commentators piled on, working with the Left to attack anyone who dared to challenge Mueller’s power. Americans repeatedly were warned that “the end is near,” “the walls are closing in,” “Trump’s days are numbered,” as Mueller’s team notched one indictment after another, although none was related to election collusion. Americans braced for the worst, or the best depending on one’s political affiliation, as we became convinced Donald Trump would be hauled out of the Oval Office by the Messianic Mueller.

But the man who appeared before Congress today lived up to none of the hype. Far from the media portrayal of a meticulous man in charge, Mueller was unfamiliar with his own report. He seemed confused by his own material, straining to understand inquiries about information contained in the lengthy document that bears his name. “If it’s in the report” was his frequent reply when challenged about certain passages. He was frail, shaky, and distracted. He had to correct one crucial part of his testimony.

Unlike the promised profile of a forthright adjudicator whose only fidelity was to the facts, Mueller refused to answer numerous questions about his team’s work. He often insisted that easy questions were unanswerable or “outside his purview.” He feigned ignorance about key players in the collusion hoax, such as Fusion GPS. He admitted his investigation into election collusion only cut one way: against Donald Trump.

Americans first were sold a lie about Russian election collusion, then about Mueller. Democrats are unlikely to end this charade and the media will keep playing along with the farce it helped create.

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Center for American Greatness

Let’s Call the Russian Collusion ‘Hoax’ What it Really Is

During the Japanese bombardment of Shanghai in 1932, the Austrian essayist Karl Kraus was anguishing over the placement of commas in a column. It might seem futile at such a moment, he told a friend, but “if those who are obliged to look after commas had always made sure they were in the right place, then Shanghai would not be burning.”

Hyperbolic? Perhaps. But the general point holds: words matter, as do the their appurtenances, punctuation. (After all, “Let’s eat Grandma” means something quite different from “Let’s eat, Grandma.”)

George Orwell made a kindred observation about the importance of having the courage to call things by their real names. Euphemism, the counterfeit of good manners, is the enemy of truth, which is the only ally worth having.

I have been thinking about this constellation of ideas recently as the news has been full of talk about the “Russian collusion hoax.” Use of the term “hoax” got a big boost in the aftermath of the Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s report on the question of whether there was actionable cooperation, coordination, or collusion between the Trump campaign and the Kremlin. Two years, $34 million, and a wide swath of debilitating rumor, innuendo, and unrelated indictments and prosecutions later and we know that the answer to that question is “No, there was no cooperation, coordination, or collusion between the Trump campaign and the Kremlin.”

Anyway, we know that if we haven’t locked ourselves in the bunker bulwark, closed our eyes, put our fingers in our ears, and chanted continually the NeverTrump mantras.

I myself have deployed the term “hoax” to describe what happened to Donald Trump and his colleagues—and to the American people—during and after the 2016 presidential campaign. But a couple of friends have pointed out how inadequate the term “hoax” is for what just happened and—to at least some extent—is still happening in the machinery of our government.

The term “hoax” is wholly inadequate to describe the enormity of the political scandal that was perpetrated against Donald Trump, against the office of the president, and ultimately against the American people.

According to The American Heritage Dictionary, a hoax is “1. an act intended to deceive or trick” or “2. Something that has been established or accepted by fraudulent means.”

The spectacle of round-the-clock hostile media coverage of the Trump-Russia fantasy certainly was intended to “deceive or trick.” And certainly we learn almost every day a little more about how the various investigations were started on the basis of “fraudulent means” (here’s looking at you Christopher Steele).

But thinking about it, I conclude that the term “hoax” is wholly inadequate to describe the enormity of the political scandal that was perpetrated against Donald Trump, against the office of the president, and ultimately against the American people.

For one thing, the word “hoax” implies something jocular or prankish. The joke might be malicious, but it is still intended to be humorous. There was nothing at all humorous about what just happened in our political life, though the hysteria of the anti-Trump chorus—the pussy-behatted females complaining about how “crude” Trump was, the “comedian” who paraded about with a bloody doll’s head representing the president, the tears and imprecations and jeremiads disgorged by the press and by Trump’s political enemies: all that did have a sort of ghastly if pathetic humor about it.

But when we step back and consider what actually happened over the past three years—and, more, what almost happened—it is clear that the word “hoax” does not begin to cover the reality of what I have been calling for many months the greatest political scandal in the history of the American republic.

Does that, too, sound hyperbolic, like worrying about commas when Shanghai is burning? Some people think so. I have several times said why I think they are wrong.

Perhaps the best way of summarizing my disagreement is by suggesting an alternative to the word “hoax.” It’s not a novel suggestion.

On the contrary, it’s often been used in concert with or as a synonym for “hoax.” But I think it is a better word in this context because it expresses the malign intention behind the multifarious activities directed against candidate Trump and then President Trump. The word I have in mind is “coup.”

Again, I know that that is a dramatic, maybe a melodramatic, word. But I think it accurately expresses the deliberate effort by actors in the Obama Administration, including by President Obama himself, to assure Hillary Clinton’s victory by destroying the reputation of Donald Trump. “Most Presidents leave office,” the commentator L. J. Keith recently wrote, “and essentially step back from public life. Not Barack Obama. Shellshocked by Hillary Clinton’s loss, Obama, Brennan, Clapper, Comey, and Clinton set in motion a series of events that will forever tar his presidency, and decimate the concept of a peaceful transition of power.”

There have been scores if not hundreds or even thousands of columns written about every aspect of this complex story. We all know by now about the deployment of shadowy characters like Alexander Downer, the former Australian Ambassador to the UK and Hillary Clinton supporter (Downer engineered a $25 million contribution from the Australian government to the Clinton Foundation). Downer had drinks with George Papadopoulos, a minor Trump campaign aide, and thereby helped get the ball rolling on the Russia investigation. For a nanosecond, the New York Times said that was where it all started.

But Downer was just the tip—or maybe just a tip—of the iceberg. One of the remarkable things about this story is how many people it has involved and how long it has taken to get a full headcount of the anti-Trump team. Remember when Joseph Mifsud’s name first surfaced? Or Stefan Halper’s? Remember when we learned about Peter Strzok and his alleged paramour, Lisa Page? Then there was Bruce Ohr, former associate deputy attorney general: he had his part to play in the drama, too. But wait! It turned out that his wife is Nellie Ohr and that she worked for Fusion GPS, the company that hired Christopher Steele. Gosh. And what about Steele himself? When we were first introduced to him, he was a former British spy, a “highly respected” operative, who had got the goods on Donald Trump.

Remember how long it took before we learned that Steele had been paid by the Democratic National Committee and the Hillary campaign, and that his dossier was not just “unverified” and “salacious,” as James Comey put it, but was in fact nothing but a scurrilous piece of opposition research made up out of “random” scraps of gossip that Steele had assembled from highly dubious sources? Nevertheless, it was the dossier, and nothing but the dossier, that provided the unverified “evidence” for the supposedly “verified” FISA warrants to spy on Carter Page, an American citizen, and hence to spy on the campaign and then the administration of Donald Trump.

And on and on this kaleidoscopic onion has gone, as one layer after the next has been peeled back only reveal another layer and additional personalities.

Finally, however, I believe we are nearing the hollow center of the onion. The dogged Attorney General William Barr is proceeding methodically, inexorably to lay bare the origins of the spurious Russia investigation.

There are still many details we do not know. Some we may never know. And dogged though Barr may be, many of the principal actors in this attempted coup will probably never be held to account. Will Hillary Clinton? Will Barack Obama? I doubt it.

In fact, it was not so long ago that I was resigned to the eventuality that no one would be held to account, not John Brennan or James Comey, not Peter Strzok or Lisa Page, not James Clapper or Sally Yates or Samantha Power.

Barr’s arrival on the scene has made me rethink my resignation. But whatever happens to those individuals, it now seems clear that Barr’s investigation will reveal for all to see that what began in 2016 or even 2015 and continued until and beyond the day that Robert Mueller deposited his nearly 500-page report clearing the president of “collusion” was not a hoax at all. It was an attempted coup.

We should face up to that unpleasant fact and call things by their real names. The actions taken by the Obama Administration threatened not just Donald Trump and his presidency but the very processes and protocols by which the peaceful transition of power has been effected in the United States. As L.J. Keith observed, “Even in the most contentious elections and after disputed results, there was never been this sort of dangerous, systematic, deliberate rejection of the will of the people. The abrogation of the constitution to use extrajudicial methods to destroy the incoming president. It is the very definition of a coup.”

Indeed. So let’s call it what it is. A coup.

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Leaky Bob Is Desperate to Slow the Reckoning

Don’t fool yourself. This latest assault on Attorney General Barr is a coordinated hit job cooked up between the media, the special counsel, and their allies in Congress. And it has only one purpose, to stop or slow Barr’s inquiry into the gross abuses leading up to the effort to spy on the Trump campaign.

Shortly after arriving at the Department of Justice, Attorney General William Barr directed the Mueller team to prepare their report so the grand jury information that could not be disclosed could be readily identified and redacted in order to make the fastest possible release to the public.

He did it again March 5, 2019, when the attorney general met with the special counsel to instruct him to prepare the report with an eye towards making the redactions as easy as possible.

“I asked that they [the Mueller team] identify [grand jury] material.” When he received the report on March 22, it was clear that Mueller defied Barr’s request. “Unfortunately, it did not come in that form,” and Barr quickly realized that it would take “three or four weeks” to untangle the mess Mueller made.

I explained exactly why Mueller defied Barr here: “By salting the report with grand jury information that required redaction, Mueller guarantees the president remains subject to the innuendo and suspicion that comes with unnecessary secrecy.

In other words, it was a dirty trick. Open your eyes, Mr. Attorney General, because they’re coming for you now.

“Leaky Bob” Mueller, who repeatedly has violated rules against using the newspaper as a courtroom, recently struck again leaking his March 27, 2019 letter to Attorney General Barr in which he objects to the attorney general’s failure to disclose to the public the introduction and executive summary of each volume of the special counsel’s report. Leaky Bob’s team has leaked, by one count more than 25 times, and that count needs to be updated to add several more leaks that have happened since the list was compiled.

This new leak tells us that after Barr sent Congress the letter providing the bottom-line conclusions of the report, Mueller redacted the report summaries and transmitted them to Barr on March 25, the next day. Remember, this is something Barr asked Mueller to do beforehand. Instead, Mueller purposely created a dispute over how to characterize the report so he could undermine his boss with leaks to the media.

It’s no coincidence that Mueller would write a letter urging Barr to release these summaries the day after Slate made this implausibly prescient guess, “Mueller surely wrote an executive summary of his findings for Barr, and it clearly would have been easier for Barr simply to give Congress and the public Mueller’s summary than to write this letter himself.” Mueller clearly was coordinating message with the press.

Allow me quickly to dispense with how ridiculous of an attempt this is to discredit Barr before moving to the extremely damning view it gives us of Mueller’s actions. As noted by the attorney general, 98 percent of volume two, the portion that deals with “obstruction” has been made available to the public. The report is “lightly redacted.” The media, currently in a froth over how Barr summarized a report, can now simply read and summarize the report however they want.

We can draw our own conclusions and, while Barr’s summary was totally factual and accurate, it failed to strike that initial public relations blow Mueller wanted to land against the president.

I thought we were still pretending that the Mueller political hit squad were not a bunch of leaky lawyers who use sycophant media instead of courtrooms to trash their targets? I guess we’ve dropped that pretense and now Mueller is scolding Barr for not issuing a “get Trump”-compliant press release.

Coordinating with their allies in the media and the Senate, Mueller has attempted to set-up the attorney general. Barr was asked whether he knew why Mueller’s team was upset with the attorney general’s summary. He said he did not know what their concerns were.

That was a truthful statement. But Senator Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) has attempted to use Mueller’s leaked letter to argue that the attorney general lied to Congress when he said he didn’t know what was of concern to Mueller’s team. The attorney general gave a factual and able explanation for the ginned-up discrepancy.

Mueller should not have leaked this letter. Essentially, Mueller argues that Barr should have used the summary to mount a public relations attack on the president. Mueller’s leaked letter cites 28 C.F.R. §609(c), a regulation that does not exist. This appears to be a sloppy typo with intended reference to 28 C.F.R. §600.9(c) which allows the attorney general (not the special counsel) to determine whether the release of the special counsel’s report is in the public interest.

The regulation further provides, “All other releases of information by any Department of Justice employee, including the Special Counsel and staff, concerning matters handled by Special Counsels shall be governed by the generally applicable Departmental guidelines concerning public comment with respect to any criminal investigation, and relevant law.”

Isn’t it interesting that the $35 million special counsel dream team can’t write a letter to the attorney general without bungling the only legal citation fig leafing an otherwise nakedly partisan scold? Not when you remember these hacks bungled their one and only case in a courtroom leading to a confused but mostly anti-Trump jury returning a mistrial on more than half of the presented counts.

Was leaky Bob Mueller authorized to leak this letter to the Washington Post? Justice Department general regulation on confidentiality and media contact provides “DoJ personnel should presume that non-public, sensitive information obtained in connection with work is protected from disclosure . . . [and] disclosure of such information to anyone . . .  is prohibited . . . .”

Why would the public need to read about a dispute over how to preview a report we now have in its entirety? The reason is simple: to mount an attack on an attorney general who can’t seem to get with the deep state program.

Barr is not a partisan hack. Hoax boosters were lulled into a sense of false hope by Barr’s close friendship with Mueller. Thus they might have hoped he would have looked the other way at the malfeasance that led to the Mueller probe in the first place—Clinton’s dirty dossier and the politically corrupt Justice Department officials who peddled it to throw the election to Clinton. Barr doesn’t seem to share the media’s view that “spying” on a political campaign is not a big deal so long as the spying is done with the consent of the partisan leadership of the Justice Department.

What is Mueller’s goal here? Impeachment? Don’t be ridiculous. An impeachment vote could be taken before dinnertime tonight. It requires a bare majority. But impeachment is not a conviction. The matter would then proceed to the Senate with no hope of conviction. The cooler heads among the media have correctly noted that impeaching President Trump would make him stronger.

To answer that question, go back and look at where the Mueller people were standing on the night that Donald Trump shocked the world by upsetting Hillary Clinton. Robert Mueller left a $3.4 million partner job with WilmerHale, the same law firm that had just won a lawsuit for the Clinton Foundation, keeping Hillary Clinton’s emails secret. The Mueller probe provided former Clinton Foundation attorney Jeannie Rhee with the opportunity once again to protect Clinton by making sure the word “Fusion” never appeared in the Mueller report and by steering the Papadopoulos prosecution to help obscure the role of the Clinton-financed dossier in the hoax.

The endgame is to continue to protect the coup plotters and deep-state bad actors who have used surveillance of Americans in much the same way the Soviets used it in East Germany.

Mueller was friends with fired FBI Director James Comey who should have been in trouble for leaking classified information. Mueller’s position on the probe gave him the ability to protect his friend while supposedly investigating the Trump/Russia hoax. Mueller even helped prepare Comey for his congressional testimony. The Carter Page FISA warrant abuse is actually a tiny tip of a giant iceberg of FISA abuse leading back to Comey’s bogus certification to the FISA court that promised the court that Americans were not being improperly spied upon. Mueller deputy Andrew Weissmann was literally standing in the Clinton election-night (supposed to be victory) party. The probe provided these people with a unique platform for their revenge.

This is high stakes stuff. If the elites can continue using intelligence and law enforcement to interfere in American elections, they will eventually get good at it and we will lose our republic. The deep state allies are fighting like the “Unsullied” protecting the gates of Winterfell to cover for the bad actors still fumbling for their golden parachutes.

Bottom line: the report, these new leaks, they’re just desperate attempts to delay the reckoning. The attorney general is now subject of a campaign of smear and intimidation and he must be protected so he can hold these villains to account.

That reckoning cannot come soon enough.

Center for American Greatness • Great America

Pursue Those Indictments!

They broke the law because they believed they answered to a “higher” law. They need to be called to account.

Last month, Chris Buskirk wrote a column for the Spectator USA describing Representative Devin Nunes as “a hero of the Republic.” It was well-deserved praise. Nunes, a Republican Congressman from a rural district in California was, until January, chairman of the House Permanent Special Committee on Intelligence (he is now the ranking member). Nunes has worked tirelessly for more than two years to expose what our masters in deep-state Washington would bury from the glare of public scrutiny: the evidence that the entire Trump-Russian collusion narrative was a partisan effort, first, to undermine the Trump presidential campaign and, when that failed, to cover up the effort while still working assiduously to destroy the Trump presidency.

As Buskirk points out, without Nunes’s terrier-like efforts—conducted, it has to be pointed out, against the background of scurrilous and unremitting calumnies from the Democrats and their bought-and-paid-for megaphones in the media—the public would likely be totally in the dark about what really happened over the course of 2016 as the Obama Administration and the Hillary Clinton presidential campaign endeavored to “dirty up” Trump and his colleagues, calmly at first, and then with growing hysteria as Trump, against all the odds, emerged as a serious challenger and eventual victor in the election that all the smartest people knew, just knew, that Hillary had sewn up.

Think about it: without Nunes, we wouldn’t know that “Susan Rice, Obama’s National Security Adviser, spied on members of the Trump campaign before the election and then unmasked their names with the likely knowledge that they would be leaked—which they were.” Pause for a moment to think about that. The national security advisor for one administration spied on members of her political opponents in a presidential election and then unmasked their identities and made sure their names were leaked to the press.

If you don’t find that breathtaking you have become too inured to living in a banana republic.

But that is not all. As Buskirk goes on to point out, without Nunes, “We would not have details about the plot in the FBI and DOJ to use the phony dossier paid for by the Clinton campaign, created by Democratic party-aligned opposition research firm Fusion GPS, and circulated by an associate of Republican senator John McCain.”

Savor that tidbit as well: a dossier of unverifiable gossip secretly commissioned and paid for by one campaign covertly injected into the intelligence apparatus of the United States to justify a counterintelligence investigation against an opposing campaign. And note the role of the late “maverick” John McCain, surely one of the most disgusting political actors in recent American history: it was at his request that Christopher Steele wrote the final installment of his vampire fantasy, a.k.a., “the dossier,” and it was through McCain’s intervention that the dossier was given to the FBI and emunctory media outlets like BuzzFeed.

And there’s more. Without Nunes, Buskirk reminds us, “We would not know about [Lisa] Page and [Peter] Strzok. We would not know about the meeting that occurred in the FBI in which they conspired against President Trump and rested sure that at least they had the dossier as an ‘insurance policy.’ And we would not know about the flagrant abuse of the FISA courts. The FBI and DOJ lied to the FISA court three separate times in order to illegally obtain warrants to spy on Trump associates.”

Biggest Scandal in U.S. History

You can see why the Democrats don’t like Devin Nunes. He has been instrumental in exposing the plot to destroy Trump the candidate and then, when that failed, to undermine the Trump presidency.

As I have been saying for a couple of years now, this is the biggest scandal in American history. It dwarfs Watergate. Indeed, it challenges the fundamental integrity of our democratic—i.e., accountable—institutions. It challenges, too, the sacrosanct ideal of the separation of powers. Finally, it challenges the presumption of basic fairness and open competition without which our republic could endure in name only.

Anyone who cares about future of our political system, be he Democrat or Republican, owes Devin Nunes thanks for his efforts. And that debt has just been compounded with Nunes’s announcement that, “now that we have an attorney general,” i.e., William Barr, not Jeff Sessions, he is sending eight criminal referrals to the Department of Justice.

As Nunes explained in an interview with Maria Bartiromo, five of those referrals are “straight-up” referrals about a specific crime: lying under oath, for example, or leaking classified information.

The other three referrals are more complex. One involves conspiracy to lie to the FISA court. A second involves the manipulation of intelligence for partisan political ends. The third involves what Nunes calls “global leaks” of highly sensitive information: a call between the Australian Prime Minister and President Trump, for example, a call between the Mexican president and President Trump, and a call between General Mike Flynn and Russian ambassador Sergey Kislyak. How many people had access to such information? How many were in a position to leak it?

We do not yet know the names of those being referred to the Department of Justice for review. All told, Nunes estimated that the total number might reach “two-dozen” individuals. What the outcome of the referrals will be is anyone’s guess. Disgraced former Deputy Director of the FBI Andrew McCabe has been referred to the U.S. Attorney in Washington, D.C. but as I write he is traipsing about the country on his book tour telling people about how he, Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, and others thought about trying to get Trump’s Cabinet to go along with a plan to invoke the 25th Amendment to remove him from office. Which is to say, a criminal referral, while not something you would choose for a holiday weekend, is not necessarily the end of the line.

A Lengthy List of Suspects

But who do you think makes the list? Were I a modern-day Koko, my little list would include former CIA Director John Brennan, an implacable enemy of the president and a good candidate for the title of fons et origo of the Trump-Russia investigation.

It would include the FBI’s Peter Strzok, Andrew McCabe, and former Director of National Intelligence James Clapper, former acting attorney general Sally Yates, Bruce Ohr and his wife Nellie who (unbelievably) actually worked for Fusion GPS.

That other James, the oleaginous James Comey, former Director of the FBI, would certainly be on the list, as would several people in the Obama Administration: the aforementioned Susan Rice, for example, and former U.N. Ambassador Samantha Power, who, like Rice, did a lot of unmasking in her final months in office.

There are others—quite a few others, in fact, as anyone who has been keeping up with the reporting on this unfolding scandal knows well. According to Rep. Mark Meadows (R-N.C.), there are more criminal referrals to come. “Overwhelming evidence shows multiple FBI + DOJ executives abused their power to undermine a duly elected President Trump,” he said in a tweet. That, I think, is now undeniable. He concludes: “They will be held accountable.”

But will they? The jury is out on that.

In a recent column for the Washington Examiner, Devin Nunes wrote that “It is astonishing that intelligence leaders did not immediately recognize they were being manipulated in an information operation or understand the danger that the dossier could contain deliberate disinformation from Steele’s Russian sources.” It is in fact so astonishing, he goes on to note, that it is positively incredible, not in the sense of amazing but in the root sense of not credible.

“It’s now clear,” Nunes says, “that top intelligence officials were perfectly well aware of the dubiousness of the dossier, but they embraced it anyway because it justified actions they wanted to take—turning the full force of our intelligence agencies first against a political candidate and then against a sitting president.”

Turning the full force of our intelligence agencies first against a political candidate and then against a sitting president. Let that sink in for a moment. As Nunes notes, the whole Trump-Russia hoax was “a gift to our nation’s adversaries, most notably Russia.” Beyond that, though, the partisan weaponization of our intelligence and police services is a serious blow to the integrity of our democratic institutions.

Primarily a Political Operation

The entire Trump-Russia investigation—the Mueller hoovering operation, of course, but also “Crossfire Hurricane,” the counterintelligence probe that began at the end of July 2016, as well as the preliminary forays into the Trump campaign by shadowy figures like Stefan Halper and other “assets” of British and American intelligence services—the whole kaleidoscopic spectacle has proceeded on two tracks. One track is legal. There were tips, suspicions, insinuations, worries. They provided the pretext for the various investigations and surveillance.

Here we ask questions like, were the CIA and the FBI justified in the courses of action they took? Was it OK to take out a FISA warrant on Carter Page, an American citizen, who has never been charged with a crime? What besides the Steele Dossier, “oppo research” that has been shown to be a tissue of lies and innuendo, justified that extraordinary step? Was it OK to spy on the Trump campaign? Did the CIA and FBI follow their own protocols? Did key individuals break the law in pursuing President Trump and his associates?

The other track is political. Whatever nuggets of suspicious activity British or Estonian intelligence communicated to John Brennan, what are we to make of the machinery he helped set in motion? In my view, the Trump-Russia hoax (to use Nunes’s term) was primarily a political operation. The legal aspects were merely pretexts for the main event, which had two phases: preventing Donald Trump from becoming president, first of all, and then destroying his presidency. A long and tedious process has been set into motion by Devin Nunes and others, and Attorney General William Barr appears determined to see it out. But the scary bottom line is this: over the last couple of years, one political party, aided and abetted by a compliant media and a deep-state bureaucracy, conspired to void the results of a free, open, and democratic election because they disapproved of the people’s choice.

Some people think that it would be best if we put this whole episode behind us, that we sharply limit any investigations into wrongdoing and that, especially, we refrain from punishing the highly placed actors who leaked, lied, and conspired against the president. I am not of their number. What just happened in the United States represented an existential threat to the integrity of our institutions. It happened because highly placed individuals had cultivated a sense of entitlement and presumption of higher virtue—what James Comey called a “higher loyalty”—which they believed exempted them from the constraints and procedures that the rest of us must observe. They broke the law because they believed that they answered to a “higher” law. Out of such convictions are revolutions born and countries destroyed. The best safeguard against it happening again—indeed, against it continuing on now—is to hold those responsible to account. It is too early to say whether that will happen.

As I say, some of my friends think it would be a bad thing for the country to pursue high-profile indictments. I, on the contrary, thinking about what the country has just been put through, believe that our best hope of preventing this from happening again is to make an example of those who, smitten with the delicious sensation of their own virtue, did their best to reverse the results of an election because a candidate they did not like had the temerity to win.

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Center for American Greatness • Great America

A Tight and Tangled ‘Collusion’ Web

Public service is a marvelous thing.

Most people reading this will know Sir Walter Scott’s famous couplet (from the narrative poem Marmion):

Oh, what a tangled web we weave
When first we practise to deceive!

Less well known, but undeservedly so, is the excellent completing couplet by J. R. Pope, published under the sly title, “A Word of Encouragement”:

But when we’ve practiced for a while,
How vastly we improve our style!

Indeed. You really have to give it to the suits in Barack Obama’s intelligence services and Department of Justice (many of whom, of course, are still strutting about in Donald Trump’s administration). It was quite a web they wove and tangled with complexity. Yet their prodigious practice also made it nearly impenetrable to anyone not inside their charmed circle.

That adamantine carapace of impenetrability is a sign of their high style, their assiduity, the reason that a “word of encouragement” did not come amiss.

Put your hand on your heart. Can you really tell me what happened and who all the major players are in the Get Trump farce that has been occupying the nation for more than two years now? There have been various worthy efforts to unpack the drama—I’ve made a few myself—but at bottom, it is like Russia according to Winston Churchill, “a riddle, wrapped in a mystery, inside an enigma.”

Part of the problem is the shifting roles of the main players. Or rather, the shifting roles that elevate one or more players at one moment only to demote them back to the chorus a week or two later. How many people were suddenly cast into starring roles only, a few days or weeks later, to find themselves pushed back into bit-player status? George Papadopoulos: remember him? For a brief shining moment, he was the key to the whole “Russian Collusion” mythos. The New York Times told us so. But after he strutted and fretted his hour upon the stage he faded from sight and now is heard no more.

It’s the same with so many other characters—the Russian lawyer who one moment was supposed to have provided the smoking gun for the whole investigation, finally nailing Donald Trump, Jr. if not Sr., but she too sang her one aria and was pushed back to the room marked “Extras.”

Nevertheless, there are a few actors in this Gesamtkunstwerk who, though they started slowly, have exhibited surprising resilience and staying power.

Consider the unlikely power couple Bruce and Nellie Ohr.

As I recall, they first popped up on the radar screen during those heady weeks that brought Andrew McCabe, former Deputy Director of the FBI, and the love birds Peter Strzok, head of the FBI’s counterespionage division, and Lisa Page, an FBI lawyer who worked seriatim on the faux-investigation into Hillary Clinton’s emails, the Russia investigation, Robert Mueller’s grand fumigation team, and was also Andrew McCabe’s conduit to the press for the purpose of leaking sensitive information to sympathetic journalists.

McCabe was fired. So was Strzok, but not before his text duet with Page in August 2016:

Page: [Trump’s] not ever going to become president, right? Right?!

Strzok: No. No he won’t. We’ll stop it.

Public service is a marvelous thing.

Any Day Now

We’re just about out of popcorn for this entertainment. It’s difficult, even for specialists, to keep the whirling kaleidoscope of personalities straight. Once again, for about the tenth time, Robert Mueller is said to be almost, nearly, just about finished with his investigation into—into what? It’s hard to say. Tax evasion decades ago. Working as an unregistered agent for a foreign power (but not, as it turns out, Russia). Misspeaking to the FBI (why does anyone ever talk to the FBI?). And what was it that the jester Roger Stone is supposed to have done? Something very serious, one presumes, to earn a pre-dawn, swat-team enforced, guns-drawn raid on his house.

Maybe we’ll be notified soon that the report is on its way to the attorney general. Maybe some bits of it will be made public. It was supposed to be Friday. But then again, it was supposed to be a couple of months ago, last fall, over the summer. . . . The Mueller Report is a little like that sea battle Aristotle talks about in disabusing us of too-simple a view of necessity: either the battle will take place tomorrow or it won’t take place tomorrow. It would seem that both statements cannot simultaneously be true. This is where the distinction between the potential and the actual comes in. Also contingency: the most humbling reality that our quest for certainty faces. Things happen. When they do, we know, but our knowledge is always glimpsed in a rear-view mirror, never, really, in the road ahead.

But I digress. The news today—well, Friday, really—is that Doug Collins, ranking member of the House Judiciary Committee, released, motu proprio and sua sponte, a transcript of the committee’s interview with Bruce Ohr in August 2018. There are some interesting tidbits in the 250-plus page document. Anyone who has been following this production of “The Mousetrap” knows that Christopher Steele, the former British spook who compiled the infamous dossier of dirt on Donald Trump for Hillary Clinton, was fired by the FBI for leaking material to the press.

But Ohr’s testimony confirms what was suspected, that his firing was no impediment to getting material from Steele to the FBI. Bruce Ohr provided “backchannel” access. And his sources were good: his wife, for example, did anti-Trump research for Fusion GPS, which had hired Steele.

For reasons that are mysterious, but not really, Bruce Ohr is still employed by the Department of Justice (though demoted), despite his having failed to report that his wife was working for Fusion GPS. The web, you see, is tangled!

“She provided me with a memory stick,” Bruce Ohr said of his wife, “that included research she had done for Fusion GPS on various Russian figures. And the reason she provided that information to me is [that] . . . . it related to the FBI’s Russia investigation. And she gave me that stick to give to the FBI.” Why didn’t Nellie give the flash drive to the FBI herself? Former Congressman Trey Gowdy (R-S.C.), one of those questioning Ohr, wondered that, too.

Mr. Gowdy: Well, all marriages are different, so I’m trying to envision this cold start to a conversation with, “Here, honey, here’s a thumb drive.” There were no conversations before that?

Mr. Ohr: Well, Nellie was present with me in the end of July, when I first heard Russia information—information relating to the Russia investigation from Chris Steele. So she was present for some of that conversation. So she was certainly aware at that point that Chris Steele was giving me some information about Russia. At some point, I don’t remember when, I became aware that she was looking at some of the same figures as part of her work for Fusion GPS.

And on it goes. Shadowy Russian magnates. Lots of Christopher Steele. Lots of Fusion GPS.

To the Center

Doug Collins said he plans to release additional transcripts, with the minimum redactions necessary for national security, of other interviews—with Lisa Page, for example, and Peter Strzok, and Nellie Ohr.

Why now? Collins explained that his patience had “grown thin” with the Justice Department. They have had the transcripts for months but refused to release them. Why?

I think it all comes back to weaving that web and keeping it tight. A few days ago, we got the news that Paul Manafort was sentenced to “only” 47 months in the slammer. Mueller’s prosecutors were disappointed. They were hoping for 24 years. There is always next week, though, when Paul Manafort comes up before a different (and Obama-appointed) judge who is expected to throw the book at him. Then it will be party time for the prosecutors, who can rejoice that they really have utterly destroyed another victim.

I have no brief with Manafort, who seems to be a pretty slimy operator. But, as Andrew McCarthy just noted, he was one of many such “consultants.” Moreover, Manafort’s financial malfeasance had nothing to do with Russia. He was working for people in the Ukraine, not Russians. But why is Manafort and not other such consultants charged—his partner Richard Gates, for example?

This brings us to the center of the web. As I and others have often had occasion to observe, neither Paul Manafort nor anyone else in this star-studded show would have caught the eye of Robert Mueller had Donald Trump not been, first, a stronger candidate than expected and, second, had he not had the temerity to win an election he was declared to have lost before the voting began. Indeed, not only would no one have caught the idea of Robert Mueller, Mueller would not now be traipsing around with the title special counsel.

Andy explains it thus: “Understand: Paul Manafort would never have been prosecuted if he had not joined Donald Trump’s campaign. He would not have been prosecuted if Hillary Clinton had won the 2016 election and spared Democrats the need to conjure up a reason to explain their defeat.”

And it’s not just Manafort who would still be sporting ostrich-skin jackets. Andrew McCabe, Peter Strzok, Lisa Page, John Brennan, James Comey, James Clapper, and the rest—they all would be up to their old tricks instead of wallowing in various states of disgrace and likely indictment. Had Hillary Clinton become President, all illegal surveillance and FISA warrants against Trump proxies would have been quietly swept under the rug and the Clinton Foundation would still be doing big business.

As it is, several people close to Donald Trump have suffered from that proximity, not because of any “collusion” but simply because they offered convenient scalps that might plausibly lead to the chief scalp, Donald Trump’s.

So far, it hasn’t worked out that way, and from all accounts Mueller’s report will be but a tissue of innuendo with no crimes charged against the president. That indeed is why Jerry Nadler and other Democrats are revving up alternative schemes to hobble and ultimately destroy him. It wouldn’t surprise me at all if impeachment documents were drawn up. It would surprise me greatly were they taken seriously. The chance of their passing the Senate with a two-thirds majority are vanishingly small.

But of course, that is not the end of the story. The web-spinners are still hard at work. So are the miners, looking for ever deeper shafts into which they can bury news of the complex plots to frame first candidate and then President Trump. The fact that Representative Devin Nunes (R-Calif.) is no longer head of the House Intelligence Committee is a great asset for them.

Working strongly against them, however, is this still under-appreciated development: Donald Trump now has a competent and unhampered attorney general. As will soon become clear, it is not only people on Paul Manafort’s side of the aisle who should be advised to put their affairs in order.

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Elections • History • Intelligence Community • Mueller-Russia Witch Hunt • Political Parties • Post • Progressivism • Russia • The Left • The Resistance (Snicker)

Russia Meddled and Almost Nobody Cared, Until . . .

Political leaders and journalists are deeply concerned about Russian meddling in U.S. elections. Took ’em long enough.

The Russians have been meddling in U.S. elections for at least 70 years.

In 1948, the Progressive Party—a front for the Soviet-controlled Communist Party—ran former Vice President Henry Wallace (pictured above with actor Edward G. Robinson) as its presidential candidate. Wallace arguably threw the election to President Truman by attacking him, undercutting Republicans’ claims that Truman was “soft” on the Russians.

“President Eisenhower today accused Soviet Premier Nikolai A. Bulganin of meddling in the American election campaign,” the United Press reported on October 21, 1956. Bulganin had suggested that Democratic nominee Adlai Stevenson was more likely to get an agreement halting H-bomb tests. That, Eisenhower said, constituted “interference by a foreign nation in our internal affairs . . . in the midst of a national election campaign.”

Historian Bruce Dearstyne reported that the Russian ambassador in 1960 invited Stevenson to the embassy, “plied” him with “drinks, caviar, and fruit,” and offered to back him if he would run for president again. Stevenson rejected the offer.

Nikita Khrushchev, the Soviet premier in 1960, bragged in his memoirs that, “by waiting to release the U-2 pilot Gary Powers until after the American election, we kept Nixon from being able to claim that he could deal with the Russians; our ploy made a difference of at least half a million votes, which gave Kennedy the edge he needed.”

In 1968, under orders from Moscow, the Soviet U.S. Ambassador Anatoly Dobrynin offered to secretly fund Hubert Humphrey’s presidential campaign. The offer was made during a breakfast at Humphrey’s home. Dobrynin wrote in his memoirs that Humphrey declined the offer, saying, “it was more than enough for him to have Moscow’s good wishes which he highly appreciated.”

In 1976, Senator Henry “Scoop” Jackson (D-Wash.), a strong anti-Communist, ran for president. The Russians sent forged FBI letters to journalists claiming that Jackson was a closeted homosexual.

Also in 1976, the Russians had a spy among top Democratic Party activists, who participated in a three-hour strategy session with Governor Jerry Brown (D-Calif.) and presidential candidate Jimmy Carter.

In 1984, the Heritage Foundation issued a report, “How Moscow Meddles in the West’s Elections.”

“Last year the Soviets tried to influence elections in West Germany and Britain,” Heritage reported. “And this year it is America’s turn. For months, Moscow’s statements and actions have been aimed at defeating Ronald Reagan.” Methods included manipulation of the peace movement, threatening statements, and “direct appeals” to voters including “mass demonstrations.” Russian meddling was so frequent that the West German chancellor commented, “One was used to this sort of thing.”

As far as I can tell, the report exposing Russian meddling received no news coverage.

Political scientists Lawrence Caldwell and Robert Levgold pointed out that the Russians had begun to focus on such tactics as looking for “exploitable differences in the opposing camp” and appealing to the people “over the heads of their government.”

U.S. media during this time gave lots of exposure to Americans who bypassed the government to communicate directly with the Russians. For example, a 10-year-old girl from Maine who wrote a pro-peace letter to Russian leader Yuri Andropov was given her own Disney Channel program about politics, “Samantha Smith Goes To Washington.”

Among those seeking to work with the Russians was U.S. Senator Edward Kennedy (D-Mass.), brother of martyred President John F. Kennedy and Attorney General Robert F. Kennedy. According to a KGB memo, Kennedy passed along a plan for countering President Reagan by creating pro-Russia news coverage and bringing Soviet officials to the United States to “appeal directly to the American people.”

“The senator underlined the importance that this initiative should be seen as coming from the American side,” wrote KGB chief Viktor Chebrikov.

In a 2015 article, Politifact quoted Ken Adelman, Reagan’s deputy U.N. ambassador, explaining that the Reagan Administration ignored the Kennedy overture because “We knew senators were doing this sort of thing all the time.”

Russian meddling declined after the Cold War, then resumed.

“Occupy Wall Street” protests, beginning in 2011, were heavily supported by the Russians, as noted in a report by U.S. intelligence agencies: “RT’s [Russia Today] Editor in Chief . . . characterized RT’s coverage of the Occupy Wall Street movement as ‘information warfare’ that is aimed at promoting popular dissatisfaction with the U.S. Government. RT created a Facebook app to connect Occupy Wall Street protesters via social media,” and “RT featured its own hosts in Occupy rallies.”

At least since 2011, the Russians have funneled money to groups in the United States and Europe opposed to fracking, which threatens Russia’s dominance in oil and gas. To do this, they use a network of front organizations that include corporations, law firms, and nonprofit groups, with some of the money getting into the United States through Bermuda.

Facing criticism from Republicans over his soft-on-Putin policies, President Obama sought during his 2012 reelection campaign, to avoid confrontation with the Russians. The Russians cooperated. In March 2012, Obama was heard on an open microphone telling Putin sidekick Dmitry Medvedev that he would “have more flexibility” after the election but “it’s important for him to give me space.” Medvedev replied: “I will transmit this information to Vladimir, and I stand with you.”

Time and time again, Russia meddled. It was, “the experts” said, something we were used to, something that happened all the time, no big deal. Then, one day, Democrats needed an excuse for losing an election. And everything changed.