Archive for the ‘FBI’ category

Destroying Donald Trump is all that matters in the newsrooms of the mainstream media

May 19, 2017

Destroying Donald Trump is all that matters in the newsrooms of the mainstream media, Washington Times,

(America can survive, and probably prosper, under President Trump. The “mainstream media?” Maybe not. — DM)

ANALYSIS/OPINION:

Now anything goes. All restraints are loosened, all self-discipline trashed. There’s no cure or even treatment for Trump Derangement Syndrome, a disease as wild and as swiftly lethal as anything imported from the Ebola River valley of the dark continent. The rules and taboos that once guided even the sleaziest excuse for a newspaper no longer apply.

Destroying Donald Trump is all that matters in the newsrooms of the mainstream media, so called, and by any means necessary. Rarely have so many hysterics contributed so much of the national conversation.

A columnist in The New York Times, ground zero in the epidemic of Trump Derangement Syndrome, suggests that a mutiny at the White House is the “more appropriate” way to rid the nation of the legitimate 46th duly elected president of the United States. Why waste time on impeachment? Mike Pence, Paul Ryan and Mitch McConnell could organize the ambush. The columnist likens them to “stewards for a syphilitic emperor.”

Ross Douthat is regarded as a “conservative” at The New York Times, and he thinks impeachment would take too long, be too messy, and recommends invoking the Twenty-fifth Amendment, which permits the president’s Cabinet to remove the president if a majority of the secretaries tells Congress that the president can no longer perform his duties.

Ultimately, he writes in the newspaper once known as “the old gray lady” and which has become “the old crazy lady,” he does not believe “our president sufficiently understands the nature of the office he holds, the nature of the legal constraints that are supposed to bind him, perhaps even the nature of normal human interactions, to be guilty of obstruction of justice in the Nixonian or even Clintonian sense of the phrase.”

A half-century ago a certain magazine thought a long-distance psychiatric examination of a presidential candidate was in order, and asked 12,000 psychiatrists (who knew there were so many headshrinkers on the fruited plain?) whether they thought Barry Goldwater was crazy, and 1,189 responded with a diagnosis: Mr. Goldwater, the Republican nominee for president in 1964, was nothing less than nuts. The American Psychiatric Association, sensitive to the public outrage that followed, told their members never to do it again.

But since the psychiatrists wouldn’t do it, Ross Douthat was fitted out with degrees in medicine and psychiatry (honorary degrees, we must hope), and told to get to work. (He is expected to retire his shingle once President Trump has been dispatched to the nut house, but who knows? On the Upper East Side there’s never enough psychiatrists.) Dr. Douthat writes that the president has no aides, friends and confidantes who have any remaining regard for him. “They have no respect for him, indeed they seem to palpate with contempt for him, and to regard their mission as equivalent to being stewards for a syphilitic emperor.”

Since impeachment would take so long, Dr. Douthat would “respectfully ask Mike Pence and Paul Ryan and Mitch McConnell to reconsider their support for a man who never should have had his party’s nomination, never should have been elevated to this office, never should have been endorsed and propped up and defended by people who understood his unfitness all along.”

It’s hard to imagine anything more calculated to invoke a Second Amendment answer to such a Twenty-fifth Amendment coup, and it would be nothing less than a coup by the Republican elites and the press that so many Americans believe have “rigged” the elections meant to express the nation’s will. You don’t have to be a Trump friend, supporter or voter to see where this would inevitably lead. The United States has never been a banana republic or a third world dump where elections are ultimately determined in the streets, but this would be the ultimate national indignity, wrought by just those who would go to civil war to depose an indignity.

The two stories that have dominated the news this week were the work of the very two newspapers, The Washington Post and The New York Times, that have become the not-so-loyal opposition, drivers of the coup with tales told in every edition. The Post accuses the president of dispensing national secrets to the Russians, based on the word of an anonymous source who concedes he wasn’t in the meeting, and denied by those who were. The New York Times says it heard a passage read from a memo written by James Comey, telling how the president asked him go easy on Mike Flynn, and denied by the White House.

All this to support tales of Trump campaign collusion with the Russians, which Democrats and Republicans agree that no one has yet found any evidence of. There’s no fire and only a few wisps of something that might be smoke, or more likely, the passing of partisan gas.

Chris Farrell on Trump/Russia Probe: “There are two sides” to Fmr. FBI Director Robert Mueller

May 18, 2017

Chris Farrell on Trump/Russia Probe: “There are two sides” to Fmr. FBI Director Robert Mueller, Judicial Watch via YouTube, May 18, 2017

 

The Nuclear Option: Comeygate Latest Fake News Hysteria for Trump/Russia Conspiracists

May 13, 2017

The Nuclear Option: Comeygate Latest Fake News Hysteria for Trump/Russia Conspiracists, Breitbart, Charles Hurt, May 12, 2017

(Scandal? Scandal? What scandal? Comeygate was nothing! Here’s a real scandal, certain to bring Trump down: Media throw hissy fit because Trump gets more ice cream than them. Not only is Trump devious, he tries to starve poor, struggling reporters and is the cruelest president evah. — DM)

Every time the Washington political press freaks out and goes into full panic mode against President Trump, the blockbuster, Watergate-volume story always unfolds the same way.

First, the news starts leaking or breaking. Newsrooms from the Potomac to the Hudson become seized and fixated on every morsel of the delicious story. News flashes zing around the internet.

Then it hits cable television and the press starts slinging the most salacious and scandalous accusations they can whip up, charging the president with the highest crimes imaginable.

Each time, these reporters sink deeper and deeper into a fantasyland as they dream bigger and bigger. THIS TIME, they keep thinking, we FINALLY got him!

Reporters and Democrats alike — not to repeat myself — are actually now speculating about whether Mr. Trump will survive the certain impeachment hearings to come.

But then, as the heavy breathing subsides and the adrenaline rush gives way to factual, concrete reporting, the most damning charges fall away.

Turns out Mr. Trump is a germaphobe and wasn’t in that Russian hotel room.

The bust of Martin Luther King is still in the Oval Office.

He didn’t abandon conservatives by naming his sister to the Supreme Court.

Mr. Trump’s Tower — and people involved in his campaign — were, in fact, surveilled.

Slowly, agonizingly, Truth becomes very inconvenient for all these people predicting Mr. Trump’s certain demise.

In the end, they are all left clinging to the smallest Styrofoam shard of their original story, bobbing in the harsh sea of Donald Trump Derangement Syndrome.

The last remaining wastrels pontificating about the “scandal” formerly larger than Watergate are left with just one flimsy accusation.

“Well, he could have handled it better,” they sniff. “He didn’t follow Washington political protocol.”

Are you freaking kidding me? It all starts with charges of high crimes and misdemeanors — impeachment imminent — and when it all turns out to be fake news these people walk away grumbling about how Mr. Trump could have handled it better?

Just look at this latest “Watergate” scandal.

The upshot is that Mr. Trump finally fired a man who every single person in all of Washington, except perhaps James B. Comey’s wife, has said at one time or another in the past year should have been fired.

Why was he fired? For all the reasons every single person in Washington has stated at one point or another during the past year.

But if you are among the legions around here suffering from Donald Trump Derangement Syndrome, it is always much more sinister.

Russia!

The FBI was closing in on Donald Trump’s sordid connections to the Russians! (Minus the laughably debunked Moscow hotel room scandal that was one of Mr. Trump’s previous “Watergate” scandals.)

The FBI had just asked for more money to pursue the Trump-Russia connection, we were breathlessly told. Subpoenas were just being issued to known associates of known associates of President Trump!

So incensed by the lies of the scandal’s cover-up, it was reported, that a top official in the Justice Department was threatening to quit in protest rather than carry on working for such a criminal in the White House.

And then inconvenient reality unfolds again.

One by one, each of these blockbusters came under clouds of scrutiny. Nobody quits in protest.

By Thursday morning, the whole scandal had substantially come unraveled.

At a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing, Chairman Chuck Grassley, Iowa Republican, said he and Sen. Dianne Feinstein, the ranking Democrat on the committee, had recently met with Mr. Comey and came away with the clear impression that, in fact, Mr. Trump is not a target of any investigation by the FBI.

“Sen. Feinstein and I heard nothing that contradicted the president’s statement,” he said.

And in a stunning display of nonpartisanship, Mrs. Feinstein agreed.

Well, OK. But the White House should have handled it better.

In Clinton Caper, Comey Was the Most Visible Player, Not the Most Consequential

May 10, 2017

In Clinton Caper, Comey Was the Most Visible Player, Not the Most Consequential, PJ MediaAndrew C. McCarthy, May 10, 2017

FBI Director James Comey testifies on Capitol Hill in Washington, Wednesday, Dec. 9, 2015 (AP Photo/Susan Walsh)

If Comey had gone the other way, his recommendation to file charges would have been rejected, and his wings would have been clipped in a hurry. He is being cast as the official responsible for key decisions in the Clinton case and the fate of the Clinton candidacy. But the decisive scandal is Hillary Clinton’s alone, and the key decisions were never Jim Comey’s to make.

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At National Review last weekend, I addressed the Democrats’ loopy claim that the FBI became a Trump partisan in the 2016 election. The claim is worth more examination in light of President Trump’s dismissal of FBI Director James Comey.

In Clinton World, self-absorption always triumphs over self-inspection, so nothing could be more predictable than Hillary Clinton’s scapegoating of Comey, a diversion from acknowledging what really cost her the election: her own manifest flaws. Congressional Democrats are along for the ride: those who were swooning over Comey in July when he announced that Clinton would not be charged, then ripped him in October when he reopened and quickly reclosed the FBI’s investigation, and then branded him a Trump partisan hack after the votes were counted, are suddenly back in swoon mode.

Comey, of course, hasn’t changed through all of this. He’s always been the same guy. The laughably transparent explanation for all the careening around him is politics.

Mrs. Clinton was hoping to put the e-mail scandal behind her by arguing that she had been vindicated by a thorough, highly professional FBI investigation. But she lost, so the investigation that was to be her credential for office became the downfall that denied her. Comey thus became Rationalization 1 for her defeat … at least until Rationalization 1A, Russia, got some media traction. So now, Comey has gone from villainous J. Edgar Hoover to valiant Elliot Ness again – not out of anything he did, but because Democrats calculate that framing his termination as part of a “cover-up” may resuscitate the Trump-Russia narrative, which has grown stale in the absence of concrete evidence of collusion.

Note that in all of this, Comey is always in the center of events, but he has never been in control of events. Don’t be fooled by appearances. The FBI director has been the most visible player, but he has not come close to being the most consequential.

Yes, the FBI that actually carries out the dual functions of criminal inquiry and foreign intelligence collection. In either type of investigation, it is the Bureau that performs the rubber-meets-the-road work of gathering information and analyzing it, searching for the connections that prove actions and intentions. Consequently, Director Comey has gotten top billing in this drama – a happenstance made more pronounced by the director’s very forceful personality. It has made him look more important than, in fact, he has been.

Some perspective, please. There could have been no indictment against Hillary Clinton unless the Obama Justice Department approved it. Comey headed an investigative agency; he had no authority to exercise prosecutorial discretion – to decide whether charges got filed.

In the Clinton caper, Comey ostensibly seized the Justice Department’s decision-making power. In reality, though, he exercised it within obvious limitations, and under circumstances in which his superiors factored decisively.

Those superiors were President Obama, the chief executive, who made crystal clear in his public comments that he did not want Clinton indicted; and Attorney General Loretta Lynch, the head of the real decision-making department – the Justice Department. Contrary to media-Democrat intimations, Lynch never actually recused herself after being caught in a shameful private meeting with Bill Clinton. That was right before the Justice Department – not Comey, the Justice Department – declined prosecution against Mrs. Clinton.

Lynch could have ignored Comey, and surely would have if he had not come out the “right” way. In effect, Comey was able to project the authority of the official making a tough call as long as the call he made was against filing an indictment.

The Obama Justice Department was never, ever going to indict Hillary Clinton. Even if he had wanted to push against that outcome, Comey had to know doing so would have been futile. But as long as he accepted the inevitable – as long as he defended the decision with dizzying disquisitions on mens rea and other criminal law esoterica – he would be given a wide berth.

That is what enabled him to do some highly irregular things: e.g., the July press conference describing the damning evidence but recommending against criminal charges, and the late October letter informing Congress that the investigation had been reopened (but, significantly, not suggesting that any charges were anticipated). The point, if I may speculate, was to protect the reputation of the FBI as much as possible under circumstances in which the Bureau was unavoidably embroiled in a political controversy. Comey knew there would be no indictment. That meant the FBI was vulnerable to charges of participation in a whitewash. The director no doubt convinced himself that it was essential, for the sake of the rule of law, to show that the FBI had not been corrupted – that it had investigated as thoroughly as the constraints imposed by the Justice Department allowed.

Comey’s agenda to protect the FBI happened to coincide with the political agenda of Obama and Lynch. They, too, needed to show that there had been a thorough, professional investigation – they knew they could prevent any charges from being filed, and they reckoned that a solid FBI investigation would make their non-prosecution decision look like good-faith law enforcement rather than partisan politics. With a little help from their media friends, the general public would remain in the dark regarding the instances in which Lynch’s Justice Department frustrated the FBI’s ability to investigate: the close working relationship with Clinton team defense lawyers, the cutting off of salient areas of inquiry, the bizarre immunity grants.

What the public would see was Hillary “exonerated” after the FBI “left no stone unturned.”

Undoubtedly, Obama and Lynch were not thrilled by Comey’s press conference, laying out the FBI’s investigation. They may even have been quite angry about it. But they also realized that Comey remained a net positive in the equation. Because of their vulnerabilities – Obama because he could not be seen as interfering with law enforcement, and Lynch because of her bone-headed meeting with Bill Clinton – they needed the decision not to indict to appear to be made by someone with bipartisan credibility. Comey fit the bill, so they were willing to put up with a lot … as long as he held firm on the bottom line.

But make no mistake: If Comey had gone the other way, his recommendation to file charges would have been rejected, and his wings would have been clipped in a hurry. He is being cast as the official responsible for key decisions in the Clinton case and the fate of the Clinton candidacy. But the decisive scandal is Hillary Clinton’s alone, and the key decisions were never Jim Comey’s to make.

Trump Fires FBI Director James Comey

May 10, 2017

Trump Fires FBI Director James Comey, Breitbart, Daniel Nussbaum, May 9, 2017

AP Photo

President Donald Trump fired FBI Director James Comey on Tuesday, according to a statement from the White House.

In a statement from the press office, the White House said Trump acted on the recommendation of Attorney General Jeff Sessions and Deputy Attorney General Rod Borenstein.

Report: House Investigation of Susan Rice Scandal Expanding

April 12, 2017

Report: House Investigation of Susan Rice Scandal Expanding, PJ MediaDebra Heine, April 12, 2017

(Please see also, A Shoe Drops: Obama Administration Spied on Carter Page [Updated] — DM)

(AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster, File)

Fox News reported Tuesday night that members of the House Intelligence Committee have expanded their investigation into the Susan Rice surveillance controversy.

Appearing on The O’Reilly Factor, investigative reporter Adam Housley said the following:

They’re looking into allegations where Americans including politicians have possibly been unmasked and had their information collected into the files, similar to what they did to the Trump team.

Housley also said that both the House and Senate investigations are being stonewalled:

They say the FBI is being very difficult. We’re told [investigators] just want to know about the unmasking. How frequent was this? Who was doing it? Why were they being unmasked?

Housley added:

[A Committee member says the FBI is] going to have to turn everything over or we’re not going to authorize the congressionally approved 702 program which allows them to do this in the first place. This investigation is full-blown.

Section 702 of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, or FISA, is up for reauthorization in 2017. The program surveils non-U.S. persons believed to be located outside the United States, incidentally sweeping up the communications of Americans as well, in order to acquire foreign intelligence.

O’Reilly asked Malia Zimmerman, an investigative reporter working with Housley, if the FBI was investigating the case. Zimmerman answered:

There’s a big question about the FBI’s role in this and there’s concern in the House about generally how the FBI is handling this case.

She added that FBI Director James Comey has yet to come back to the Hill to answer the 100 questions the House Intelligence Committee wants answered:

The FBI claims to be “preparing the information,” but it’s been four weeks, Bill.

O’Reilly suggested getting Attorney General Jeff Sessions involved, “because he’s Comey’s boss.”

Housley said they were making progress on the story, but because of the sensitive and classified nature of the information, it’s been difficult work.

Zimmerman added that some of the whistleblowers who have been talking to them may come forward and provide testimony to the House Intelligence Committee:

That would really start to expand this investigation even further.

A Shoe Drops: Obama Administration Spied on Carter Page [Updated]

April 12, 2017

A Shoe Drops: Obama Administration Spied on Carter Page [Updated], Power Line, John Hinderaker, April 11, 2017

[E]ver since the Inauguration the Democratic Party, especially its press wing in Washington and New York, has relentlessly pushed the Trump/Russia story. What story? There isn’t one. But that hasn’t stopped Democrats in the press from talking about little else for the last three months.

And yet, all along, the Democrats have known that their spying produced nothing. This whole story is almost unbelievably sordid. The relevant Congressional committees should investigate thoroughly, and criminal prosecutions should follow where laws have been broken.

****************************

I assume this Washington Post story is true: “FBI obtained FISA warrant to monitor former Trump adviser Carter Page.” It confirms what has been sporadically reported since late last year, that the Obama administration sought and ultimately received a FISA order to spy on at least one associate of Donald Trump. So Trump’s famous tweets were, in substance, true.

The FBI obtained a secret court order last summer to monitor the communications of an adviser to presidential candidate Donald Trump, part of an investigation into possible links between Russia and the campaign, law enforcement and other U.S. officials said.

Do the leaks come from the same Obama administration holdovers who have leaked in the past, trying to get ahead of disclosures that will confirm that President Trump’s suspicions were correct? Or do they come from officials appointed by Trump? I don’t know, but the Post’s illicit sources are pretty much always Democrats.

The FBI and the Justice Department obtained the warrant targeting Carter Page’s communications after convincing a Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court judge that there was probable cause to believe Page was acting as an agent of a foreign power, in this case Russia, according to the officials.

That’s a strong charge, but I doubt that there is evidence to support it. Carter Page “worked in Moscow for Merrill Lynch a decade ago and … has said he invested in Russian energy giant Gazprom.” He never had any official association with the Trump campaign, but has been referred to as an “informal adviser.” He has asked to testify before a Congressional committee to clear his name.

The current leakers, whoever they are, described the Obama administration’s FISA application in detail. Or else the Post reporters have seen it.

The government’s application for the surveillance order targeting Page included a lengthy declaration that laid out investigators’ basis for believing that Page was an agent of the Russian government and knowingly engaged in clandestine intelligence activities on behalf of Moscow, officials said.

Among other things, the application cited contacts that he had with a Russian intelligence operative in New York City in 2013, officials said. Those contacts had earlier surfaced in a federal espionage case brought by the Justice Department against another Russian agent. In addition, the application said Page had other contacts with Russian operatives that have not been publicly disclosed, officials said.

The Obama administration was already trying, last Summer, to find evidence that Russia’s government was “meddling” in our presidential election:

The application also showed that the FBI and the Justice Department’s national security division have been seeking since July to determine how broad a network of accomplices Russia enlisted in attempting to influence the 2016 presidential election, the officials said.

I find it hard to believe that Russia’s rulers, from Vladimir Putin on down, wanted to help elect a president who vowed to rebuild America’s dwindling military strength, and to put America first, in place of an administration that was consistently supine in the face of Russian aggression and was borderline anti-American. Possibly Putin and his advisers are that dumb, but I doubt it.

In any event, the Obama administration failed to find any evidence that anyone associated with Trump was somehow cooperating with the Russians–not even a “junior member of the [Trump] campaign’s foreign policy advisory group,” as Page described himself. If they had, we would have learned about it long before now.

We haven’t heard the last of this story, but for the moment one thing is clear: a great many people, inside and outside of the media, owe President Trump an apology. Assuming that President Obama knew of, and approved, the FISA application–a safe assumption, I think–Trump’s much-reviled tweet was true:

Obama had my “wires tapped” in Trump Tower just before the victory. Nothing found.

How much of this Trump knew all along is, at this point, unclear.

UPDATE: We are now starting to get a picture of how sinister this whole Democratic Party misinformation campaign is. Through the last half of 2016, the Obama administration was desperately searching for evidence of some link between the Trump presidential campaign and Russia. They went to the length of seeking (twice, reportedly) and finally obtaining a FISA order that allowed them to spy on at least one insignificant Trump associate.

In addition, we now know that Susan Rice headed up an operation whereby raw NSA intelligence was sifted for names of Trump associates, no doubt in hopes of uncovering dirt of some sort.* And we also know that these efforts came up dry. The Obama administration found no compromising information about Trump or any of his associates.

Nevertheless, ever since the Inauguration the Democratic Party, especially its press wing in Washington and New York, has relentlessly pushed the Trump/Russia story. What story? There isn’t one. But that hasn’t stopped Democrats in the press from talking about little else for the last three months.

And yet, all along, the Democrats have known that their spying produced nothing. This whole story is almost unbelievably sordid. The relevant Congressional committees should investigate thoroughly, and criminal prosecutions should follow where laws have been broken.

It is time to get to the bottom of the Obama spy scandal.
___________________________

* All of this is reminiscent of Watergate, in this sense: after the fact, no one could figure out why the Plumbers bugged the Democratic National Committee, given that President Nixon was obviously going to be re-elected anyway. (The answer to that question may still be unknown, but that is another story.) Similarly, Barack Obama and his minion Susan Rice no doubt were confident that Hillary Clinton would win the election and serve Obama’s third term. Yet, they weren’t taking any chances.