Archive for the ‘“Trump dossier”’ category

Story Laundering: Fusion GPS, Fake News, Russians and Reporters

November 3, 2017

Story Laundering: Fusion GPS, Fake News, Russians and Reporters, Front Page Magazine, Daniel Greenfield, November 3, 2017

 

The media is no longer a journalistic institution. It’s a political institution. It’s a component of a political infrastructure of unelected officials, bureaucracies and institutions that controls our government.

Fake news, Fusion GPS, internet censorship and all the rest are symptoms of this overriding problem.

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“The average reporter we talk to is 27 years old, and their only reporting experience consists of being around political campaigns,” Ben Rhodes gloated. “That’s a sea change. They literally know nothing.”

Rhodes, the White House’s “Obama whisperer”, was explaining how he had pulled the wool over the media’s eyes on the Iran Deal to a journalist. The media responded to the story by attacking the journalist who reported it, not Rhodes for viewing them as easily manipulated useful idiots.

The media knew that it knew nothing. And it didn’t care. It just didn’t want outsiders to know it.

What ties together the debate about Russian collusion, fake news and Fusion GPS is the implosion of the media. What were the professional reporters doing while Rhodes was manipulating the 27-year-olds? They were working at places like Fusion GPS and ‘story laundering’ narratives to the kiddies.

The media markets its investigative journalism chops even as investigative journalism no longer fits into its business model. Companies like Fusion GPS and political manipulators like Ben Rhodes step into the vacuum by covertly providing them with the core product. Much of the media is really in the business of ‘story laundering’ by rewriting talking points, smears and hit pieces from organizations like Fusion GPS.

The readers get talking points served to them without ever knowing who actually produced them. The forensic examination of the Trump dossier answered some of these questions. Hillary Clinton hired Fusion GPS. Fusion GPS hired a British former intelligence officer. And he got his material from, among other sources, a Russian intelligence officer. And they passed the material to the media and the FBI.

It took a great deal of effort, including a congressional subpoena, a national scandal and the threat of impeachment, to peel back the workings of the media and expose how the dossier sausage got made. Most packaged media stories never receive this level of scrutiny. And the media is quick to indignantly defend its lack of transparency and reliance on anonymous sources in its Trump hit pieces.

But what the current controversy really reveals is the decline and fall of the media.

The media has outsourced story generation to the shadowy underworld that produced the Trump dossier. Much as NPR outsourced its coverage of the Iran Deal to Ploughshares and the Iran Lobby in exchange for $100K. This isn’t bias in the conventional sense. It’s native advertising all the way. The media ‘rents’ space to outside interests. It rewrites their stories in the house style and runs them.

Sometimes, like NPR, there’s a financial arrangement. Other times the media gets stories that it lacks the resources and the time to generate on its own. Or access. And sometimes it’s just a political alliance.

The media is trying to cash in on the institutional legacy of the corporations that bear the old names, but have no functional resemblance to what the news business used to be. Today’s media isn’t in the news business. Its outlets report the news only to the degree that they have to. And when they do, they rely on viral stories or rewriting an original report. The media’s real business is serving as a clearinghouse for narratives. These clearinghouses operate out of major urban power centers. They know next to nothing about much of the country. And they don’t care. It’s why they didn’t see Trump’s victory coming.

Trump doesn’t just outrage the media politically. He’s a threat to their business model. The media’s new business is political gatekeeping as the intermediary between political interests and the public. If you want to give Iran a blank check to develop its nukes, touch off a panic over the environment or make anthem protests into a trend, you go to the media. And then your business deal with Iran, your solar panel investments or your hijacked family foundation pushing black nationalist chic will thrive.

The existence of President Trump undermines the media’s gatekeeping powers. He is a living reminder that the media’s power is limited. That’s why he has become the media’s number one target.

The internet is the media’s other problem. Gatekeeping was easier when broadcasting was expensive and hard. The media used Trump’s victory to corral Facebook and Google, the big search and social media companies, into letting them serve as the gatekeepers of online news under the guise of fighting fake news. But the media’s fake news crusade is entirely a consequence of its own corruption.

The public turned to alternative news, both real and fake, because it doesn’t trust the media. And the Trump dossier case is more evidence that the media can’t be trusted. Everything from satire sites to Russian influence operations thrive in the alternative media space because there is no longer a consensus about truth or ethics. And it’s the media that destroyed truth and ethics in journalism.

As the media moved from biased reporting to political gatekeeping, it sharply narrowed the range of permissible opinions. Every story became an ‘ad’ for one cause or another. Fewer stories existed for their own sake. Instead each story promoted a political or cultural agenda. Even if a story was not overtly political, a political ‘advertisement’ of some kind had to be slipped in there somehow.

Most people didn’t realize that they were reading, watching and hearing a bunch of non-stop political ads disguised in a thousand different styles from reporting (“Gun Violence Strikes Again in American City) to explainers (“10 Things You Need to Know About Gun Violence”), but they found the product stifling and artificial. When everything is an ad, then nothing feels real.

The Russians were perfectly adapted to enter this space because the media had become ‘Russian’. It was a collective propaganda organ with close links to the government blasting identical content from its interchangeable outlets. As in Russia, the public instinctively distrusted the media. Different became authentic. The more different, the more authentic.

And instead of trying to regain public trust, the media decided to censor the internet.

The media wasn’t prepared for there to be a debate about the meaning of ‘fake news’. It wants the power to define what ‘news’ and ‘fake news’ are. This is not the agenda of an institution dedicated to public service, but of a cartel whose entire identity is tied up with total control over a product.

The product isn’t news. It’s narrative.

The media is a narrative cartel. Forget the five Ws of journalism, who, what, where, when and why. It isn’t interested in what happened. It wants to make certain things happen. And when you want to make things happen, you’re no longer an observer. You’re not the fifth estate. You’re one of the first two.

And so the media is in a power struggle with the White House not, as it pretends, over access, transparency or truth, but over policy. And it’s acting as a proxy in this power struggle for assorted interests, some named and some nameless, as it did with Hillary’s anti-Trump dossier.

The media is no longer a journalistic institution. It’s a political institution. It’s a component of a political infrastructure of unelected officials, bureaucracies and institutions that controls our government.

Fake news, Fusion GPS, internet censorship and all the rest are symptoms of this overriding problem.

Carter Page bashes House Intelligence Committee in testimony before panel

November 2, 2017

Carter Page bashes House Intelligence Committee in testimony before panel, Washington Times,  November 2, 2017

Carter Page says false charges in a Democrat-financed dossier brought him “irreparable damage” and subjected him to death threats. (Associated Press)

Mr. Steele, who paid Russian sources with Democratic Party money, made allegations that Mr. Page:

  • While on a publicized speaking appearance in Moscow in July 2016, met with two Kremlin connected figures who have been sanctioned by the U.S.
  • Agreed to a brokerage fee in exchange for pushing the end of U.S. sanctions.
  • Told an “ethnic Russian” he was working to swing Bernie Sanders voters to Mr. Trump’s side.
  • Worked hand-in-hand with then-campaign manager Paul Manafort to have Russia interfere in the 2016 election, including hacking Democratic Party computers.

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Former Donald Trump campaign adviser Carter Page on Thursday began his scheduled testimony before the House Intelligence Committee by bashing the panel itself.

He released his opening statement which singles out Democrats for reading charges against him from a Democratic Party-funded dossier.

Rep. Adam Schiff, California Democratic, was especially harsh on Mr. Page at the televised March hearing with then-FBI Director James Comey. Mr. Schiff read unverified allegations against Mr. Page from former British spy and dossier writer Christopher Steele.

Mr. Carter, a former volunteer Trump adviser who runs an energy investment firm in New York and worked for Merrill Lynch in Moscow in the 2000s, called Mr. Schiff’s and other Democrats’ dossier-quoting as “extensive misinformation.”

“Whereas my name was so thoroughly tarnished during your Committee’s March 20, 2017 discussion with James Comey about the Dodgy Dossier on national television,” he said. “I also request in the interest of time that my short biography be submitted for the record.”

If there is one person besides President Trump who was thoroughly trashed in the dossier, it was Mr. Page.

Mr. Steele, who paid Russian sources with Democratic Party money, made allegations that Mr. Page:

  • While on a publicized speaking appearance in Moscow in July 2016, met with two Kremlin connected figures who have been sanctioned by the U.S.
  • Agreed to a brokerage fee in exchange for pushing the end of U.S. sanctions.
  • Told an “ethnic Russian” he was working to swing Bernie Sanders voters to Mr. Trump’s side.
  • Worked hand-in-hand with then-campaign manager Paul Manafort to have Russia interfere in the 2016 election, including hacking Democratic Party computers.

Mr. Page has said the charges are fiction. He never met the two men in Moscow; he did not discuss or receive a brokerage fee; he did not have a discussion about Mr. Sanders; He has never met Mr. Manafort.

Referring to himself in the third person in his submitted biography, Mr. Page said, “He never was asked to obtain nor was he provided negative information about anyone, including Mrs. Hillary Clinton, by any Russian person or entity.”

Mr. Page served on the same campaign advisory panel as George Papadopoulos. Special Counsel Robert Mueller disclosed this week that Mr. Papadopoulos pleaded guilty to lying to an FBI agent about his contacts with Russian-connected people during the campaign. Mr. Mueller said he is cooperating with the investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election.

The panel met one time, with candidate Trump attending.

The FBI obtained a eavesdropping warrant against Mr. Page in the summer of 2016 on suspicion he worked as a agent for Russia.

The Annapolis graduate and former Navy officer said he was never a foreign agent. He called the monitoring unjustified and questions whether it was based on the dossier.

Nothing Burger With Wheeze

October 31, 2017

Nothing Burger With Wheeze, Amerian Greatness, October 31, 2017

 

It’s a carnival of corruption, a carnival of collusion, but the one name missing from the roster of malefactors is that of President Donald Trump. I believe this whole misbegotten investigation, in the end, will garner a lot of scalps. But the scalps will not, I suspect, be those of Trump or his supporters. Rather, the whole focus of the investigation is likely to shift to the real “colluders with Russia,” the Clintons and their enablers.

This is not a result, I surmise, that Robert Mueller will relish. But if he does not recuse himself (and there are good reasons that he should), I suspect that evidence of the real collusion—to deprive the United States of its lawfully elected president—will point in only one direction. It will be irresistible. And it won’t be directed against Donald Trump.

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Given the ocean of blaring red type with which the Drudge Report greeted the news of the indictment of Paul Manafort and Richard Gates on Monday morning, you might have thought that here, at last, was the smoking gun in the Trump-colludes-with-Ruskies-to-snatch-the-election-from-Hillary narrative. I have no doubt the collective hearts of Max Boot, Gabe Schoenfeld, and Bill Kristol skipped a joyous beat when they heard tell of the indictments this weekend. “At last!” I could almost hear them exclaim, “It’s make-way-for-ducklings time! Trump will soon be gone and the power brokers will once again pay attention to us. Order in the universe will be restored.”

No such luck, friends. As Ted Cruz observed many months ago, the whole Russian collusion delusion is a “nothing burger.” Robert Mueller’s heavy-handed “let’s-squeeze-’em” pursuit of these two former players in Donald Trump’s campaign may make for dramatic headlines. And doubtless, it is a nuisance (and potentially more) for Messrs. Manafort and Gates, who, if they have incompetent lawyers, may face jail time and extensive fines. But really, at the end of the day, their alleged malfeasance, despite the “Conspiracy against the United States” heading in the indictment, amounts to concealing from Uncle Sam some $75 million they hoovered up as unregistered foreign agents for Ukraine and sending the proceeds through the rinse, suds, spin, and dry cycle back home in the United States. Naughty, yes; prosecutable, to be sure; but it has nothing to do with the assigned subject of Robert Mueller’s terrier-like activities as special counsel.

As my friend Andrew C. McCarthy put it in a characteristically incisive summary of the episode, Mueller’s case “seems shaky and overcharged” and will likely be a “boon to Trump,” who is not mentioned in the indictment, which focuses on activities that took place five and even 10 years ago, long before Donald Trump began disturbing the sleep of the NeverTrumpers.

“Even from Paul Manafort’s perspective,” McCarthy notes,

there may be less to this indictment than meets the eye — it’s not so much a serious allegation of “conspiracy against the United States” as a dubious case of disclosure violations and money movement that would never have been brought had he not drawn attention to himself by temporarily joining the Trump campaign.

Moreover, McCarthy continues, “From President Trump’s perspective, the indictment is a boon from which he can claim that the special counsel has no actionable collusion case.”

It appears to reaffirm former FBI director James Comey’s multiple assurances that Trump is not a suspect. And, to the extent it looks like an attempt to play prosecutorial hardball with Manafort, the president can continue to portray himself as the victim of a witch hunt.

A few days ago, the world was stunned by the news that 1) the original funder of the Fusion GPS anti-Trump research was the conservative website Washington Free Beacon, edited by Matthew Continetti, the son-in-law of energetic NeverTrumper Bill Kristol, and 2) when the Beacon ended its contract with Fusion GPS, its services were picked up by the Hillary Clinton campaign and the DNC. It was at that point, in May-June 2016, that Fusion GPS employed the former British Spy Christopher Steele to look for dirt on Trump in Russia. That was the origin of the infamous “Trump Dossier,” with its (in the words of former FBI director James Comey) “salacious and unverified” claims about Donald Trump’s behavior in Russia.

This whole story has been exhaustively and exhaustingly picked over. Who knew that Tony Podesta, older brother of Clinton campaign chairman John Podesta, was in bed (and in today’s climate, we must stipulate, not literally) with Paul Manafort? Yep, it’s true. And this just in—the elder Podesta has just announced that he is stepping down from his lobbying firm, the Podesta Group, after, nota bene, it was announced that Mueller was turning his jaundiced eye on him.

Who knew that the FBI, too, engaged the services of Spook Steele to continue gathering dirt on Trump? Did that work provide the rationale for the Obama Administration’s going to the FISA Court to get authorization to bug Trump’s associates? What about Robert Mueller? He was head of the FBI when that storied agency was prevailed upon not to announce it was investigating the Russian company that acquired Uranium One, and thereby some 20 percent of U.S. Uranium assets, back when Hillary Clinton was secretary of state and Barack Obama was still pursuing his “reset” with Russia. What’s going on there? And the $140 million (give or take) that found its way into the coffers of the Clinton Foundation around the time of that transfer? Or the $500,000 speaking fee for a short speech by Bill Clinton, paid by a Russian bank working for the Russian company acquiring Uranium One? What about that?

It’s a carnival of corruption, a carnival of collusion, but the one name missing from the roster of malefactors is that of President Donald Trump. I believe this whole misbegotten investigation, in the end, will garner a lot of scalps. But the scalps will not, I suspect, be those of Trump or his supporters. Rather, the whole focus of the investigation is likely to shift to the real “colluders with Russia,” the Clintons and their enablers.

This is not a result, I surmise, that Robert Mueller will relish. But if he does not recuse himself (and there are good reasons that he should), I suspect that evidence of the real collusion—to deprive the United States of its lawfully elected president—will point in only one direction. It will be irresistible. And it won’t be directed against Donald Trump.

Nunes’ investigating digs up trove of Democrat connections to Russia dossier

October 30, 2017

Nunes’ investigating digs up trove of Democrat connections to Russia dossier, Washington Times,  Rowan Scarborough, October 29, 2017

Rep. Devin Nunes, California Republican and chairman of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, exposed the practice of “unmasking” by Obama aides and flushed out the source of payments for the scandalous anti-Trump dossier that drove the Russia collusion

Mr. Panetta told CNN that Congress needs to find out who funded the dossier.

“Well, it’s obviously something that the intelligence committee is going to have to look at,” Mr. Panetta said. “You know, knowing presidential campaigns, they’re big operations and somehow the left hand may not know what the right hand is doing. And that could be the case here, but I really do think that the committee is going to have to get into this, determine just exactly what happened. Who knew what and when.”

On Saturday, the House intelligence committee said it had reached a deal to inspect Fusion’s banking records.

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On two fronts, Rep. Devin Nunes has shifted the Russia debate in Washington further away from President Trump and closer to Democrats.

He exposed the practice of “unmasking” by Obama aides and flushed out the source of payments for the scandalous anti-Trump dossier that drove the Russia collusion narrative.

The California Republican’s first tactic: He traveled to the Executive Office Building and viewed evidence that the Obama administration had “unmasked” the concealed names of Trump associates in highly classified intelligence reports during the election campaign.

The chairman of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence talked publicly about his discovery to much derision from Democrats and Washington’s press corps. The unmasking suggested that the Obama White House was spying on a political foe through its legal right to unmask the identities of people unintentionally swept up in surveillance operations.

An advocacy group filed a complaint about his disclosure with the Office of Congressional Ethics. Mr. Nunes responded by removing himself as the overseer of the committee’s Russia probe.

But his legacy lives on. Both the Senate and House intelligence committees have summoned former Obama aides as witnesses. It turns out that Samantha Power, as ambassador to the United Nations, made hundreds of unmasking requests, Fox News reported.

Adding intrigue to her research, she told the committee that other people did some of the unmaskings in her name.

The committee subpoenaed documents concerning Ms. Power, former National Security Adviser Susan E. Rice and former CIA Director John O. Brennan. All deny that they were spying on Mr. Trump.

Mr. Nunes‘ second tactic brought the most immediately result: He flushed out the identities — long kept secret — of some of the financial backers for the notorious Trump dossier that has fed the Democrats’ Russia collusion charges for months.

He did it by signing a subpoena for the bank records of Fusion GPS, the liberal opposition research firm that hired the dossier writer, former British spy Christopher Steele.

The Nunes subpoena touched off a chain of events.

Fusion GPS went to U.S. District Court on Oct. 20 and asked a judge to block the subpoena. That move triggered the first unmasking of the dossier’s financier.

On Tuesday, the law firm Perkins Coie decided it was time to fess up. It filed a letter, written to Fusion’s attorneys, acknowledging that Perkins had hired Fusion with money from the Democratic National Committee and the Hillary Clinton campaign.

Perkins, whose attorney Marc E. Elias is the Clinton campaign’s general counsel, urged Fusion to lift the confidentiality of other clients who funded the dossier.

The letter said the flow of money to Fusion started in April 2016 and ended before the Nov. 8 presidential election. Mr. Steele began writing his memos in June. He continued to write and submit dossier memos up until December, meaning there are other moneymen for whom Mr. Nunes would like names.

Because Fusion also has Russian clients, some Republicans have wondered whether anyone in Moscow also paid Mr. Steele’s bills. There has been no proof, to date.

Washington learned of another funder. For months, news reports said the first entity to hire Fusion to conduct Trumpopposition research was a Republican.

The Washington Free Beacon on Friday acknowledged that it had hired Fusion to collect information from publicly available sources. It said the arrangement stopped well before Fusion went to Democrats and received money to pay Mr. Steele.

The Free Beacon, a snappy conservative news website filled with investigative and humorous postings, is funded by Paul Singer, a Republican and big campaign donor. He is also anti-Trump. He backed Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida in the Republican presidential primary race.

Mr. Nunes‘ moves have clearly irked Democrats, who want the investigation confined to suspected Republican coordination with Russian election interference. The Senate and House intelligence committees so far have found no confirmed evidence of Trump collusion.

Fusion’s attorneys, the Washington firm Zuckerman Spaeder LLP, filed court arguments attacking the congressman’s “fishing expedition.”

They said he had no power to act because he recused himself from the Russia investigation. They called his subpoena signature “not part of legitimate legislative activity” and an exercise of “coercive power.”

“The Trump dossier appears to have deeply upset President Trump and some of his allies, including Mr. Nunes, who served on President Trump’s campaign,” the Fusion attorneys said.

Posted in full by BuzzFeed, the dossier accuses Mr. Trump of salacious conduct with prostitutes in a Moscow hotel, a long quid pro quo relationship with Russian intelligence and bribe-paying in Asia. None of those charges has been confirmed publicly.

Mr. Nunes‘ chief congressional critic is Rep. Adam B. Schiff of California, the House intelligence committee’s top Democrat. Mr. Schiff is a big fan of Mr. Steele’s and has repeated his charges in Congress and on TV.

Interviewed last week by CNN’s Chris Cuomo, Mr. Schiff said Mr. Nunes is just trying to change the subject.

“I think, Chris, at the end of the day, what this is about is a technique you see often in criminal cases where the facts are really bad for the defendant, there’s an effort to put the government on trial,” Mr. Schiff said. “So I think Mr. Nunesand the president want to put the government on trial because they don’t want to look at the facts implicating the White House.”

Mr. Cuomo: “That’s problematic when the man that you’re defining that way is in charge of the investigation, is the head of your committee. And it raises the question of when are we going to see what you guys have.”

Mr. Schiff: “It is problematic, Chris, because he had committed to stepping aside and recusing himself from the investigation but has not done that. And so that is a real problem that we have to grapple with every day.”

Mr. Nunes picked up an unlikely supporter in Leon E. Panetta, a Democrat who has served as a congressional representative from California, director of the CIA and secretary of defense.

Mr. Panetta told CNN that Congress needs to find out who funded the dossier.

“Well, it’s obviously something that the intelligence committee is going to have to look at,” Mr. Panetta said. “You know, knowing presidential campaigns, they’re big operations and somehow the left hand may not know what the right hand is doing. And that could be the case here, but I really do think that the committee is going to have to get into this, determine just exactly what happened. Who knew what and when.”

On Saturday, the House intelligence committee said it had reached a deal to inspect Fusion’s banking records.

The nuclear blast of Russian collusion

October 29, 2017

The nuclear blast of Russian collusion, Israel National News, Barry Shaw, October 27, 2017

Democrats unleashed a nuclear storm when they went after Trump on trumped up charges of Russian collusion.  Now they are about to reap the storm they created. It is likely to burn and destroy several Establishment figures.  

Watch out for the names Comey, Rosenstein, Wiseman, Mueller, Lynch, maybe Holder, two Clintons, and Obama.

If this is part of draining the swamp, so be it. 

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When President Donald Trump tweeted “Firm involved with discredited and Fake Dossier takes the 5th. Who paid for it, Russia, FBI, the Dems, or all?” people assumed it was one of Trump’s midnight rants. But, he exposed what looks likely to become the greatest political scandal in America’s history.

For a year, the Democrats, aided and abetted by a Hillary Clinton supporting media and a Deep State Establishment which includes Obama hangovers in the new Trump Administration as well as ‘Never Trump’ Republicans, have been searching under every rock and stone for evidence of a Trump collusion with the Russians.

Before leaving office, FBI head, James Comey contrived to appoint his friend, Robert Mueller, to be the Special Counsel to investigate links between the incoming president and the Russians, portrayed as the greatest evil on the face of the planet.

Now, it seems, the nuclear storm they unleashed of Russian collusion has suddenly changed direction and is blasting the Democrats and the Establishment fully in their own faces. In a two-pronged attack their demons have turned against them in what Trump calls “the Washington swamp.”

Christopher Steele, a British intelligence agent, offered the anti-Trump opposition information that could sink the Trump Campaign. The information came out of the Kremlin. This fake Russian intel was offered through a Russian-infected NGO named Fusion GPS. It was designed to help the Clinton Campaign defeat Donald Trump.

There was a price to be paid for this dossier. James Comey, the head of the FBI considered paying for it but, despite recent denials, it was revealed that the price was paid to Fusion GPS by the Hillary Clinton Campaign and the DNC. Millions of dollars were paid in several payments to Fusion GPS through law firms as cut-outs to cloak where the money was ending up. The dossier was shared with the FBI who sat on it rather than bringing it, as they should, to the attention of Congress.

An FBI informer wanted to bring the details of the dossier and name those involved in the scandal to Congress, but he was threatened by the FBI and by Loretta Lynch’s Depart of Justice with criminal, not civil, charges including serving jail time. The whistle-blower’s lawyer has been campaigning that it was the FBI and the Attorney-General’s duty to bring this matter to Congress, and that they had no jurisdiction to threaten this employee with criminal charges and incarceration.

Congress Oversight and Government Reform Committee member, Ron DeSantis, pressed the current Attorney-General, Jeff Sessions, to release this FBI agent and allow him to testify before Congress. The Attorney-General has now authorized this agent to speak with Congress. DeSantis said on the Lou Dobbs Show on Fox News TV that he is confident that the agent will not only give them details and names, but also offer supporting documents.

The affair is likely to include the breaking news of a huge multi-million-dollar scandal involving the Obama Administration, the FBI, the Department of Justice under the Obama presidency, Hillary and Bill Clinton and their Clinton Foundation.

Democrat Adam Schiff once said of a fake Trump collusion, without one iota of evidence, that it was “one of the most shocking betrayals in history.” Now he is going to witness what will truly be the most shocking betrayals in American history but, to his dismay, it will be Democrat-induced betrayals.

Under Obama and the Clintons, the United States sold 20% of its vital uranium reserves to America’s most evil enemy, Putin in the Kremlin.  Uranium is the prime ingredient for a nuclear bomb. Today, the United States has to import uranium to power its nuclear power plants – from Russia.  Part of the agreement stated that none of this uranium could leave the United States but there is evidence that much of it has left America for Europe and, almost certainly to Russia. Russia also supplies Iran with much of their uranium for their nuclear projects. That is why this issue has important security connotations for Israel.

And, in a pay to play quid pro quo, $145 million made its way from the Russian actors in this deal (acting for the Kremlin) into the coffers of the Clinton Foundation while Hillary Clinton was acting Secretary of State. Her husband, Bill, travelled to Moscow to give a $500,000 speech before having a private chat with Putin himself in his Moscow mansion. This, after Obama was recorded on an open mic in 2012 telling Russian Prime Minister, Dmitry Medvedev, “tell Vladimir that after my election I have more flexibility.”  This was matched by Hillary Clinton pantomiming with Russian Foreign Minister, Sergey Lavrov, that they could press a plastic ‘Reset’ button.

This was the jovial atmosphere that accompanied the Obama Administration’s collusion with Russia which is now being revealed to have sold off one of America’s most vital strategic and security assets to “the greatest threat to any nation” according to FBI’s James Comey, or “Russia is at the top of America’s threat list,” according to Obama’s Defense secretary, Ash Carter, in 2016, or to a country that “engages in hostile acts,” according to Hillary Clinton.

Either way, the Democrats unleashed a nuclear storm when they went after Trump on trumped up charges of Russian collusion.  Now they are about to reap the storm they created. It is likely to burn and destroy several Establishment figures.

Watch out for the names Comey, Rosenstein, Wiseman, Mueller, Lynch, maybe Holder, two Clintons, and Obama.

If this is part of draining the swamp, so be it.

Barry Shaw is a Senior Associate at the Israel Institute for Strategic Studies. 

Implausible Deniability

October 29, 2017

Implausible Deniability, American ThinkerClarice Feldman, October 29, 2017

The aftermath of the 2016 election has revealed the criminality of the Democrats, the perfidy of the Deep State, the corruption of the press, and the bought and paid for motives of the scribblers in the conservative pundit class. And Trump won despite all that. In many ways it reminds me of a Soviet operation called The Trust. If you missed Reilly — Ace of Spies, Edward Jay Epstein describes how the Soviets created a fake anti-Soviet group called The Trust and used it to nab dissidents plotting to overthrow the regime.

Fusion GPS’ dossier was a replay of a classic Soviet disinformation campaign.

“The Trust was not an anti-Soviet organization, it only imitated one.” In reality, he continued, the Trust was a creature of the Soviet secret police. Its purpose was not to overthrow Communism, but to manipulate real anti-communist organizations into misleading the West.

In much the same way, I believe, Russian agents working for the Clintons and the DNC through Fusion GPS and its hireling Christopher Steele provided fake information in a dossier which the FBI (headed by James Comey) and the Department of Justice (headed by Loretta Lynch ) used to craft an affidavit to obtain a FISA warrant authorizing electronic surveillance on people connected, however tangentially, to the Trump campaign. This, after previous such warrants had — and this is unusual — been turned down by the FISA court. Then-president Obama allowed the surveilled communications to be widely circulated throughout the government, so that the names of the targets caught up in the surveillance and their communications were thus widely available for leaking, and were leaked.

As Byron York noted in a series of tweets, here were some of the dossier’s sources:

1/6 — Looking at dossier itself, sure seems Kremlin-linked Russians were participating in anti-Trump effort…

2/6 — For example, dossier Source A is described as ‘senior Russian Foreign Ministry figure.’

3/6 — Dossier Source B is described as ‘former top level Russian intelligence officer still active inside the Kremlin.’

4/6 — Dossier Source C is ‘senior Russian financial official.’

The Trust was funded by émigrés who believed it was legit. And the Russian anti-Trump phony dossier was, we now know, funded by the Clinton campaign and the DNC, which would have us believe that their lawyer Marc Elias, who received over $9 million for unspecified work, did this without their consent or knowledge.

(Fusion GPS was also funded during the nomination period — and before Fusion GPS and Steele were poking around Russia, by Washington Free Beacon, something that it — like Elias — admitted shortly before a likely court ruling that Fusion’s bank account information had to be provided to congressional investigators.) In any event, their work with Fusion GPS ended with the nomination of Trump. They had nothing to do with the hiring of Fusion GPS and the creation and distribution of the dossier.

The Washington Free Beacon is a right-of-center publication, and certainly has done some fine work in the past, but its links to the anti-Trump crowd of the right is unmistakable. The publication is largely funded by hedge fund billionaire Paul Singer, who strongly supports gay rights and open borders. Among its original board members were Bill Kristol, and both the present editors, Michael Goldfarb (formerly deputy communications director for John McCain) and Matthew Continetti (Kristol’s son-in-law) both worked for the Weekly Standard while Kristol was its editor. Kristol, as you may recall, worked hard to promote others to run against Trump for the nomination. Singer financially supported Marco Rubio for the nomination. His aide, Dan Senor, was a senior advisor to vice-presidential nominee Paul Ryan and reportedly retains strong ties to him.

I seriously doubt that any candidate Paul Singer would prefer could ever have won the general election. Singer strongly opposed both Ted Cruz and Trump.

The dossier was a means for the Russians at no cost the them to provide the Democrats with disinformation to be used against Trump.

Mollie Hemingway at The Federalist does the most thorough job of clearing the air on the dossier

Space and copyright limitations keep me from quoting more of it, but here are theten things about the dossier Hemingway thinks you should know:

 “1) Russian officials were sources of key claims in dossier”

“2) No, the Russian dossier was not initially funded by Republicans”

“3) The dossier is chock full of discredited information”

“4) The dossier was used as a basis for wiretaps on American citizens”

5) The FBI also paid for the dossier

…When Trump asked about the FBI payment, many political journalists feigned shock and outrage that he would make such a claim.

They should not have. Their outlets had already reported that the FBI had tried to pay for the dossier and had, in fact, reimbursed expenses for the dossier. We do not know if those expenses include the payments to the Russian officials for salacious stories on Republican nominee for president Trump.

6) Dossier publisher Fusion GPS works with shady outfits”

7) Fusion GPS’ ties to media are problematic

The principals at Fusion GPS are well-connected to mainstream media reporters. They are former journalists themselves, and know how to package stories and provide information to push narratives. They are, in fact, close friends with some of the top reporters who have covered the Russia-Trump collusion story.

Fusion GPS has placed stories with friendly reporters while fighting congressional investigators’ attempts to find out the group’s sources of funding. Fusion GPS leaders have taken the Fifth and fought subpoenas for information about the group’s involvement with Russia.

8) Jim Comey personally briefed Trump on the dossier, shortly before CNN reported it

What really got the ball rolling on last year’s Russia-Trump conspiracy theory, then, was not the dossier itself but the briefing of it by Obama intelligence chiefs to President-elect Trump in January. Former FBI head Jim Comey admitted under oath that former Director of National Intelligence James Clapper asked him to personally brief President Trump about this dossier. The fact of that meeting was quickly leaked to CNN.

Given the dossier’s many problems, was the entire purpose of the meeting to produce the leak that the meeting happened?

9) Mueller investigation spurred by dossier and illegal leaks from intelligence operatives about Trump.

We know from previous reporting that the dossier of Russia-supplied information or disinformation was used by the FBI to secure a warrant to spy on an American citizen advising an opposing political party’s presidential campaign. We know that this dossier was funded at least in part by the Clinton campaign, the Democratic National Committee, and the FBI. The firm that produced the report was itself funded by Russians.

10) The Steele dossier was a Clinton/DNC-funded operation supported by the FBI and influenced heavily by Russian operatives in the Kremlin The Clinton campaign, the DNC, and the FBI all worked wittingly or unwittingly with Russians to affect the results of the 2016 election. Far from just meeting with a Russian and not getting dirt on a political opponent, these groups wittingly or unwittingly paid Russian operatives for disinformation to harm Trump during the 2016 election and beyond.

Worse, these efforts perverted our justice system by forcing the attorney general to recuse himself for the crime of having served as a surrogate on the Trump campaign, spawning a massive, sprawling, limitless probe over Russia.[/quote]

Fusion GPS was also doing work directly for the Russians, which makes its claims doubly suspect:

You see, the Russian lawyer — often carelessly presented as a “Russian government lawyer” with “close ties to Putin” — Natalia Veselnitskaya, who met with Trump, [sic — actually it was Donald Trump, Jr.] also worked recently with a Washington, D.C. “commercial research and strategic intelligence firm” that is also believed to have lobbied against the Magnitsky Act. That firm, which also doubles as an opposition research shop, is called Fusion GPS—famous for producing the Russia dossier distributed under the byline of Christopher Steele, a former British intelligence agent for hire.[snip]

Yet at the same time that Fusion GPS was fueling a campaign warning against a vast Russia-Trump conspiracy to destroy the integrity of American elections, the company was also working with Russia to influence American policy — by removing the same sanctions that Trump was supposedly going to remove as his quid pro quo for Putin’s help in defeating Hillary.Yet it is rare to read stories about comms shops like Fusion GPS because traditional news organizations are reluctant to bite the hands that feed them. But they are the news behind the news—well known to every D.C. beat reporter as the sources who set the table and provide the sources for their big “scoops.” The ongoing transformation of foundering, profitless news organizations into dueling proxies for partisan comms operatives is bad news for American readers, and for our democracy. But it is having a particularly outsized effect on reporting in the area of foreign policy, where expert opinion is prized—and easily bought—and most reporters and readers are only shallowly informed.

The record clearly belies the Clinton-DNC (Debbie Wasserman-Schultz and John Podesta) claim that they didn’t know about the dossier.

In the first place, it is impossible to believe that they handed over $9 million to their lawyer without restriction or oversight. (Yes, I know the Department of State under then-secretary Clinton cannot account for $6 billion dollars, but this was their money, not ours, and I expect they paid more serious attention to it.) Once the bills are turned over to investigators, we’ll see who signed off on them. And we’ll find out soon whether Fusion was listed as a vendor in campaign-finance filings as the law requires.

Interestingly enough, one of Elias’ partners engaged Crowd Strike, ostensibly to review the claim that the DNC server had been hacked by Russia, and Comey’s FBI accepted their review without ever demanding to examine it themselves.

Daniel Greenfield once again does a fine job of analyzing the use made of the dossier and why Fusion GPS was engaged to dish the dirt.

The DNC, Hillary campaign and Obama Administration used former British intelligence agent Fusion GPS’ Christopher Steele as an interface to create deniability, allowing them, in effect, to launder the dossier and create a pretext for snooping on Trump and publicizing whatever dirt they might dig up on his campaign no matter how incredible the sources and product.

Hiring Fusion GPS and then Steele created two degrees of separation between the dossier and Hillary. A London ex-intel man is a strange choice for opposition research in an American election, but a great choice to create a plausible ‘source’ that appears completely disconnected from American politics. [snip]

The official story is that Steele was a dedicated whistleblower who decided to message an FBI pal for reasons “above party politics” while the Fusion GPS boss was so dedicated that he spent his own money on it after the election. Some figures in the FBI decided to take Steele’s material, offering to pay him for his work and reimbursing some of his expenses. Portions of the dossier were used to justify the FISA eavesdropping on Trump officials and were then rolled into the Mueller investigation. [snip]

But there isn’t supposed to be a link between the Democrats and the eavesdropping.

That’s why Marc Elias, the Clinton campaign and DNC lawyer who hired Fusion GPS, had denied it in the past. It’s why Fusion GPS fought the investigation so desperately. Opposition research isn’t a crime. A conspiracy to eavesdrop on your political opponents however is very much a criminal matter.

A forensic examination of the dirty dossier’s journey shows us that this modern Watergate was a collaborative effort between an outgoing Democrat administration and its expected Dem successor.

Greenfield details how the dossier was used to astroturf and create a demand for an investigation, which ultimately resulted in Sessions’ recusal and the appointment of a special counsel. He reminds us that the Obama administration had done such stuff before, spying on congressional opponents on the Iran Deal. (Recall how that spying was used to tar Congresswoman Jane Harmon); giving money to non-profit organizations to spur the media coverage, whispering tidbits to complaisant media shills, and smuggling billions to Iran. And, as he notes, there was the IRS shutdown of conservative groups (for which they finally apologized this week) and the lies about Libya.

Notably, when they thought the Russia “collusion” fairytale was not gathering enough steam, Steele personally briefed David Corn, the same propagandist who confected the story that Valerie Plame was a covert agent deliberately targeted by the Bush Administration as payback against her husband Joe Wilson.

But even more damning is the fact that Hillary herself started tweeting about the dossier shortly after GPS was hired — even though she claims she knew nothing about it.

The first FISA request was made in June and was turned down. In July Fusion GPS was hired. According to James Comey, the FBI began investigating “collusion” reports in July of 2016, Beginning on August 15, Hillary started tweeting about Trump and Russia. She tweeted again on September 7, September 26, October 7, October 25, October 31. The second request was made in October. It was on October 31 when Corn, now atMother Jones “broke the story of a ‘veteran spy’ who gave the FBI information on Trump’s alleged connections to Russia.” It wasn’t until Buzz Feed published the dossier that we could see how preposterous the story was. Mother Jones was just a small part of the media collaboration in spreading the manure — Slate worked it also, and larger outlets got involved.

Former CIA case officer Lee Smith reveals how shoddy was the dossier:

The dossier was designed to dig up “dirt” on Trump and his associates, but, more to the point, it was clearly intended from the start to do so by manufacturing and nurturing a Russian angle. It sought to discredit Donald Trump and to deceive the public, which suggests that Trump has been right all along regarding something like a conspiracy against him which included the active participation of the FBI and possibly other national security agencies.

The president also comes across as credible vis-à-vis his critics because of what has become evident since the dossier was surfaced. The clearly politically motivated multiple investigations carried out so far in which no rock has been unturned have come up with absolutely nothing, either in the form of criminal charges or in terms of actual collusion with a foreign government. And, one might add, there has been little in the way of evidence to sustain the charge that Russia sought to influence the election and might even have succeeded in doing so. But there is one thing new that we do know now: Russiagate began within the Clinton Campaign headquarters.

Trey Gowdy tweeted: “Did FBI rely on a document that looks like the National Enquirer prepared it?” Looks that way. Andrew McCarthy at National Review tweets “Trump DOJ should declassify & disclose FISA app to show what representations were made to court about source of dossier claims.”

That seems uncontestable.

 

Hillary’s very own Russian collusion connection

October 28, 2017

Hillary’s very own Russian collusion connection, Washington TimesWesley Pruden, October 26, 2017

ANALYSIS/OPINION:

The Clinton can is as full of worms as her harshest critics ever imagined it was, and now the worms are turning. Washington is agog, liberal and conservative alike, as the details of the spreading story of confusion, chicanery and crime in Hillary’s campaign for president emerge from the dark and fetid places so abundant in the capital.

Hillary thought she had the presidency in the can, as her friends in Hollywood might have put it, but it turns out that there was no room in the can for a mere presidency. There were too many interesting worms.

It’s turning out that there was in fact Russian meddling in the election last year, and it was not meddling in behalf of Donald Trump, as Hillary and the Democrats have been so loudly decrying for months, but meddling in behalf of the little lady late of Little Rock.

Two tales of chicanery are hotly pursuing Hillary and prominent figures in her campaign. The first is the uranium scam, the purchase of certain assets, arranged and managed by Canadian “facilitators” who greased the path of these assets to the Russians with enormous donations (the grease) to the Clinton Foundation, and even a speech for Bubba in Moscow. He pocketed a cool half-million dollars for reworking an oldie and not even necessarily a goodie. This was a transaction that had to be approved by the State Department, and who better to approve it than a secretary of State.

The FBI discovered this grease moving back and forth in a vast bribery scheme — bigger even than the vast right-wing media that could make up sleazy stuff about a president and a White House intern. The existence of this vast bribery scheme was not disclosed to the agencies of the government examining the details of a transfer in 2010 of American commercial nuclear assets to Russia.

There was no attempt by the FBI to break up the bribery scheme, and five years later, Atty. Gen. Eric Holder and President Obama’s Justice Department disclosed a plea bargain to settle the case with the Russian managing the bribes on a convenient Friday afternoon when the story could be put quietly to sleep, where it slumbered until the Hill, a daily newspaper on Capitol Hill, shook it awake last week.

Conveniences, if not conspiracies, had to be served. Mr. Obama and his secretary of State were hard at work “resetting” U.S.-Russian relations, and the FBI, then under direction of Robert Mueller, was going easy on the investigation. Hillary and her campaign were saved from exposure lest national interests be compromised. What was good for Hillary was good for America. It’s a continuing source of amazement how coincidences like this work in a swamp.

Not that Mr. Mueller, a rampart of rectitude in the nation’s capital, famous as the lawyer who never emasculates an ethic, would suffer anything questionable, but as Holman Jenkins Jr. observes in The Wall Street Journal, “Mr. Mueller has the means, motive and opportunity to obfuscate and distract from matters embarrassing to the FBI, while pleasing a large part of the political spectrum. He need only confine his focus to the flimsy, disingenuous but popular (with the media) accusation that the shambolic Trump campaign colluded with the Russians.” And so it came to pass.

The uranium scam, which requires concentration to follow all the twists and turns, leads inexorably to “the dirty dossier,” which, being about sex, does not require such concentration, because sex is never about technicalities.

This is the dossier retailing lurid tales about naked ladies cavorting with the Donald without interruption even when nature called. Just as Bubba educated inquiring minds about the mechanics of oral sex, so Hillary now educates a later generation about golden showers that require no plumbing.

Hillary’s campaign had a high old time with the tales, spinning them along to eager media just before the inauguration of President Trump. Hillary and the Democrats were outraged, of course, aghast at details of the Russian romp, with endless tut-tuts at Donald Trump for so defiling traditional values with such untraditional behavior. Distraught Democrats hardly knew what to say, but said it anyway.

But such stories rarely survive the light of day, and it turns out that Hillary’s campaign lawyer, one Marc Elias, brokered a deal between the Hillary campaign and the Democratic National Committee and Fusion GPS, a Washington dealer in campaign dirt, to make up the smarmy stuff. Now a lot of reporters, some at The Washington Post and some at The New York Times, are complaining that Hillary’s lawyer lied to them. Heaven forfend!

Did somebody say collusion with Russians?

• Wesley Pruden is editor in chief emeritus of The Times.