Archive for the ‘“Trump scandals”’ category

Bloomberg: Manafort Alerted Authorities About Russian Meeting

August 10, 2017

Bloomberg: Manafort Alerted Authorities About Russian Meeting, Jonathan Turley’s Blog, Jonathan Turley, August 10, 2017

Buried in a new article out of Bloomberg is an understated but potentially significant statement: “In fact, Manafort had alerted authorities to a controversial meeting on June 9, 2016, involving Trump’s son Donald Jr., other campaign representatives and a Russian lawyer promising damaging information on Hillary Clinton, according to people familiar with the matter.”  That would be a huge development in this controversy if true, particularly if the notice occurred before the Russian meeting occurred.

Much of the criticism directed at Donald Trump Jr. and Paul Manafort has been that only chumps would have gone to this meeting or, at a minimum, alerted authorities.  Now Bloomberg is saying that it has sources saying that Manafort did indeed alert authorities.  That would go a long way to defusing the conspiracy theories surrounding the meeting and shatter the narrative put forward by critics.

What is also concerning is that, if true, this fact is one of the only facts not leaked out of Congress.  It seems that closed sessions have been mere precludes to media leaks.  Yet, members have been saying as a mantra that the FBI or some other agency should have been notified.  Ironically, this is the most significant part of the Bloomberg story but is buried without further comment.  Why?

Republicans and the Lost Art of Deterrence

August 1, 2017

Republicans and the Lost Art of Deterrence, American Greatness, July 31, 2017

(How about media bias against Candidate and then President Trump? — DM)

In a logical world in which Republicans enjoy monopolies on political power, they would have dispensed with the progressive strategy of emasculating the Trump administration through endlessly hyped fake news accounts of quid pro quo Russia-Trump subversion. And they would have done so by themselves taking the offensive.

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In a perfect and disinterested world, when Washington, D.C. is deluged in scandal, a nonpartisan investigator or prosecutor should survey the contemporary rotten landscape. He would then distinguish the likely guilty from the probably falsely accused—regardless of the political consequences at stake.

In the real cosmos of Washington, however, the majority party—the group that controls the House, Senate, presidency, and U.S. Supreme Court—if it were necessary, would de facto appoint the government’s own special investigatory team, and then allow it to follow where leads dictate. Its majority status would assure that there were no political opponents in control of the investigations, keen on turning an inquiry into a political circus. That cynical reality is known as normal D.C. politics.

But in contemporary Republican La-La Land, the party in power with control over all three branches of government allows its minority-status opponents to dictate the rules of special investigations and inquiry—a Jeff Sessions recused, a Rep. Devin Nunes (R-Calif.) excused from his investigations of unmasking and leaking, a Robert Mueller appointed as special counsel, friend of to-be-investigated James Comey, and employer of partisan attorneys.

Is naiveté the cause of such laxity? Do Republicans unilaterally follow Munich rules because they hope such protocols will create a new “civility” and “bipartisan cooperation” in Washington?

Demonizing Resistance 
Or is the culprit civil dissension among the ranks, as the congressional leadership secretly has no real incentive to help the despised outsider Trump? When Republicans get re-elected on repealing and replacing Obamacare during the assured Obama veto-presidency, and then flip in the age of surety that Trump would reify their campaign boasts, should we laugh or cry? Is the Republican establishment’s aim to see Trump’s agenda rendered null and void—or does intent even matter when the result is the same anyway?

Or is the empowerment of progressive conspiracy-mongering due to fear of the mainstream media, which demonizes principled resistance to progressivism and lauds unprincipled surrender to it?

Or, lastly, is the cause a bewildering misreading of human nature? I say “bewildering” because conservatives supposedly brag that they are the more astute students of unchanging human nature, while progressives are purportedly naïve believers in therapeutic remedies to perceived human frailties?

If any of the above, the Republicans had better soon wise up. For eight months, progressives have swarmed the media and our politics with false charges of Russian collusion, aimed at delegitimizing both a president and his conservative agenda.

In a logical world in which Republicans enjoy monopolies on political power, they would have dispensed with the progressive strategy of emasculating the Trump administration through endlessly hyped fake news accounts of quid pro quo Russia-Trump subversion. And they would have done so by themselves taking the offensive.

Endlessly refuting each week’s new progressive charges—no, Donald Trump did not watch sick sex acts with prostitutes in Moscow; no, Donald Trump did not send his lawyer to Eastern Europe to rig the election; no, three swing states did not have their voting machines rigged; no, the electors will not betray their constitutional responsibilities; no, Trump is not going to be removed through impeachment, the 25th Amendment, or the Emoluments Clause—achieves nothing but to undermine public confidence in the conservative effort to undo the Obama agenda. They are no more serious stories than the scandal sheet allegations that Trump shorts his guests a scoop of Häagen-Dazs, that his wife is an illegal alien, or that his son is autistic. Apparently, Republicans don’t get it that when a president is smeared as watching urine-porn in Moscow or getting Russian hush money for undermining Hillary’s campaign, then the abyss between such charges and assassination chic in the popular media, is considerably narrowed.

Go Full-Bore on Real Scandals
The salvation of both the Trump Administration and the Republican congressional fate in the 2018 elections is to reestablish political deterrence—accomplished by going on a full-fledged offensive against real, not merely perceived or alleged, political scandals. Only that way will the accusers feel the predicament of the accused, especially as there is real merit to Democratic liability in a way that charges of Trump collusion have largely proved a political fraud. Only when deterrence is achieved, will the Democrats be forced to concentrate on agendas, issues, laws, and messages, not on ambushing the president.

The Republicans should announce far more forcefully to the media that Vladimir Putin may have been funneling via shady third-parties millions of dollars to anti-fracking groups. Such collusion, if proven through investigation, really is treasonous—given that the crashing price of oil, brought about solely due to North American frackers, is about the only check on Putin’s ambitions that the West enjoys. So, to take one example, did the San Francisco-based, family-controlled, and hedge-funded Sea Change Foundation receive laundered Russian money to help enhance its anti-fracking messaging? If so, when, how, and who?

Secondly, Republicans should go full bore on the most explosive scandal of the age, the House Intelligence Committee’s investigations into the surveilling, unmasking, and leaking of American citizens by key members of the Obama Administration, likely done for perceived political advantages.

Rather than envisioning the ethical Devin Nunes as a liability to be controlled, the House leadership should see him as an asset to be encouraged to uncover inconvenient truths—especially given that progressives see the unprincipled Rep. Adam Schiff (D-Calif.) as a resource in hiding a scandal. After all, what in the world was the self-righteous and self-described civil libertarian and humanitarian Samantha Power doing, as the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, in allegedly reading, unmasking, and leaking intelligence reports on conservative private citizens during a national campaign?

Thirdly, we forget that Hillary Clinton’s scandals were terminated not by exonerating investigations, but by the fact that she lost a presidential campaign, and thus they were no longer deemed disruptive of an election.

No one has ever really understood exactly why Russian interests paid such lucrative honoraria to Bill Clinton or gave so lavishly to the Clinton Foundation, or why they cut an advantageous deal to acquire substantial interests in North American uranium holdings, but apparently did not prove so generous both before and after Hillary Clinton’s tenure as secretary of state and her announced presidential candidacy. When Clinton not only destroyed requested emails, but also lied that they were all neither classified nor connected to government business, and faced no consequences at a time when regular citizens went to jail for such transgressions, then there is no equality under the law left to speak of.

Fourthly, what an Orwellian world it is when progressives allege “obstruction of justice” (which  Mueller’s burgeoning team of lawyers is apparently investigating) in the case of Donald Trump’s sloppy, off-handed, and out-loud wishes to FBI Director James Comey that he hoped “good guy” Michael Flynn did not get ruined by a loose investigation.

Yet obstruction is not much pursued even when no one seems to deny that former Attorney General Loretta Lynch met stealthily for private discussions with the spouse of a suspect of a current Justice investigation (subsequently dropped), and when she unapologetically seems to have directed the self-described moralist, Director Comey again, to alter the nomenclature of his ongoing investigation of fellow Democrat and presidential candidate Clinton (and Comey shamelessly acceded to Lynch’s detailed requests).

Fifthly, there is the surreal case of Imran Awan and his tribal clan, the frauds, cheats, and possible blackmailers, who worked as techies for Democratic congressional representatives and in particular for former Democratic National Committee Chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz. Schultz apparently maintained some unfathomable relationship with the disreputable Awan that would force her into utterly untenable positions to protect his skullduggery. And unlike other allegations of collusion, the Florida congresswoman appears on video unapologetically threatening the chief of the U.S. Capitol Police with “consequences” unless he returns computer data concerning possible crimes to Awan.

Reestablish Deterrence or Lose
Finally, no one has ever fully gotten to the bottom of the Fusion GPS/Steele dossier, the fountainhead (thanks to Buzzfeed and CNN) of the entire Russia-Trump collusion mythos.

The much passed-around file was one of the most repugnant episodes in our recent checkered history, with evidence of ethical and perhaps legal wrongdoing on the part of Republican primary candidates, the Clinton campaign, the office of Senator John McCain, the FBI, and the Obama administration, who all at various times trafficked in preposterous and pornographic untruth, in some cases leaked the smears to the toady press, and apparently believed that it was the silver bullet that would put down the Trump werewolf.

Reestablishing deterrence—or what a mellifluous constitutional scholar and recent Nobel Peace Laureate once variously called “taking a gun to a knife fight,” “getting in their faces,” and “punishing our enemies”—is not quite Old Testament eye-for-an-eye, but rather, given human nature, the only way to stop a progressive and media lynch mob.

In the old West, a sheriff did not save those falsely accused in his jail by walking outside to the street to calm an armed and frenzied hanging mob through reason and appeals to sobriety.

FBI relies on discredited dossier in Russia investigation

July 21, 2017

FBI relies on discredited dossier in Russia investigation, Washington TimesRowan Scarborough, July 20, 2017

Christopher Steele says in a court filing that his accusations against the president and his aides about a supposed Russian hacking conspiracy were never supposed to be made public, much less posted in full on a website for the world

The FBI is routinely asking witnesses in its Russia investigation about the accusations in a dossier against Donald Trump, further expanding the reach of a discredited opposition research paper sourced from the Kremlin and financed and distributed by Democrats.

A source close to the investigation described the dossier as a checklist agents tick off as they go over numerous unverified charges denounced as fabrications by President Trump and his aides.

The source called it strange that a gossip-filled series of memos is guiding the way the bureau is conducting the investigation.

The memos were used not only to try to surreptitiously influence the November election, but congressional Democrats also used them to attack the president.

The FBI is using the checklist approach even though former Director James B. Comey referred to the memos from ex-British spy Christopher Steele as “some salacious and unverified material” when he testified in June on his firing by Mr. Trump.

He was describing the time on Jan. 6 that he provided the dossier, a loosely sourced bundle of charges, at a closed briefing for the president-elect. Leaks from the meeting became news media’s rationale to detail a document that reporters could not confirm. That month, BuzzFeed posted all 35 pages online.

Mr. Comey has refused in public to answer questions about the bureau’s relationship with Mr. Steele or its bid to pay him to continue investigating Mr. Trump.

The president told The Washington Times that any payment bid would be a “disgrace.”

Some senior policymakers have publicly distanced themselves from Mr. Steele’s work.

When asked at a hearing of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence whether he relied on the dossier to investigate Russian hacking, former CIA Director John O. Brennan replied, “No.”

“It wasn’t part of the corpus of intelligence information that we had,” he said. “It was not in any way used as a basis for the intelligence community assessment that was done.”

Mr. Brennan is the Obama administration official who helped persuade the FBI to investigate the Trump team during the presidential campaign by providing a list of Russians who he said had contacts with Trump insiders. He testified that he did not know what was said.

Next week, at least three Trump associates are scheduled to testify on Capitol Hill, likely assuring that the dossier gets further discussion.

Jared Kushner, a close Trump adviser and his son-in-law, is to testify in a closed session to the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence. He is sure to be asked about the dossier’s charge that campaign aides and Russian intelligence plotted and executed the hacking of Democratic Party computers.

The Trump team denies such a conspiracy.

The Senate Judiciary Committee is scheduled to hear Wednesday from Paul Manafort, Mr. Trump’s summertime campaign manager, and Donald Trump Jr.

The theme: “Oversight of the Foreign Agents Registration Act and Attempts to Influence U.S. Elections: Lessons Learned from Current and Prior Administrations.”

Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Chuck E. Grassley, Iowa Republican, has been investigating the dossier, its creation and its use. He has been stonewalled in his attempt to get Fusion GPS and its founder, former Wall Street Journal reporter Glenn R. Simpson, to provide information on its hiring of Mr. Steele to search for dirt on Mr. Trumpand his team.

The Russian-sourced dossier levels serious charges against at least six people, as well as a technology firm and a bank. It also asserts that Mr. Trump has had a long-term information-sharing relationship with Russian intelligence. The targeted people have all called the charges fabrications.

A scorecard:

• Michael Cohen, Mr. Trump’s attorney, was accused by Mr. Steele’s Russian sources of plotting with Kremlin agents in Prague to cover up the hacking. Mr. Cohen proved that he had never been to Prague and said he had nothing to do with hacking.

• Paul Manafort, accused of organizing the hacking, denies it.

• Carter Page, an energy investor who lived and worked in Moscow, signed on as a campaign volunteer. Mr. Steele’s Russian sources leveled a number of charges, including that he orchestrated the hacking with Mr. Manafort, that he met with two Kremlin figures in Moscow in July 2016 to negotiate sanctions relief and that in return he would receive a commission on the equity sale of an energy company.

Mr. Page has told The Washington Times that he has never met Mr. Manafort, that did not know about the hacking until after it happened, that he never met with the two Kremlin men and that he never discussed any type of commission.

• Mr. Trump, whom Mr. Steele accused of salacious behavior with prostitutes in the Ritz in Moscow. Mr. Trump calls the story made up.

• Aleksej Gubarev, a technology entrepreneur known for Webzilla, was accused by Mr. Steele’s Russian sources of creating a botnet to flood Democratic computers with porn and spyware.

Mr. Gubarev’s attorneys sued BuzzFeed and Mr. Steele for slander. Mr. Steele filed a document in a London court acknowledging that he did not verify the charges he leveled against Mr. Gubarev. Mr. Steele said the dossier should not have been made public nor should Fusion’s Mr. Simpson have spread it around Washington.

• Mikhail Kalugin, economics section chief at the Russian Embassy in Washington, who was whisked out of the U.S. capital after the hacking became public, according to Mr. Steele’s sources. Mr. Steele said Mr. Kalugin was a spy and was involved in laundering Russian veterans’ pension funds to finance the hacking.

Diplomatic sources told The Washington Times that Mr. Kalugin told his American friends that he planned to leave Washington a year before he departed as part of normal rotation. He is back at the Foreign Ministry, where spokespeople said he is a diplomat, and not part of the Federal Security Service, Russia’s spy agency.

A former State Department official told The Times that there was never any discussion at Foggy Bottom about Mr. Kalugin being a spy and that he was well-versed in economics.

• Alfa-Bank, which Mr. Steele’s Russian sources said paid bribes to President Vladimir Putin. The Moscow bank is suing BuzzFeed.

As a backdrop, Mr. Steele’s Kremlin sources assert that Mr. Trump and Russian intelligence have a long relationship and that dirt on Mrs. Clinton has been passed.

Mr. Comey seemed to dispel this charge when he testified before the Senate intelligence committee in June. He said that a New York Times story claiming Mr. Trump’s team had repeated contacts with senior Russian intelligence officials was almost 100 percent wrong.

Meanwhile, Mr. Page, a former Navy officer who runs an energy investment firm in New York City, has repeatedly asked the House and Senate intelligence committees to let him testify.

This week, he sent the same offering to the Senate Judiciary Committee. He complimented Mr. Grassley for his willingness to investigate how the dossier has been used to sully people’s reputations.

“First, the realities of my case can help explain why the FBI’s and intelligence community’s reliance on the 2016 ‘Dodgy Dossier’ reveals both an alarming ignorance about Russia and the willful, unlawful harassment of innocent American citizens for political purposes,” Mr. Carter wrote. “The latter represents one of the most horrendous abuses of power and complete disregard for the civil rights of several U.S. citizens, including myself, during any election in the past 50 years.”

On Mueller investigation, Trump should fight fire with fire

June 22, 2017

On Mueller investigation, Trump should fight fire with fire, American ThinkerKarin McQuillan, June 22, 2017

President Trump has the responsibility to re-establish the rule of law in our country, and he will have the enthusiastic backing of his base if he does so.  It is time to end Democrats’ politically motivated abuse of the law.  Stop the Mueller investigation, and go after Obama Inc.’s multiple crimes.

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John Eastman, law professor at Chapman University, writes in American Greatness this week that the powers invested in Special Counsel Mueller to investigate “Russian hacking/collusion/obstruction poses grave dangers to our body politic and our liberty.”  His advice to President Trump: Fight fire with fire.  Turn the law and the courts back on your opponents. Trump is being investigated without any probable cause of a crime.  The Obama administration, in contrast, is a target-rich arena of criminal activity.

It is unconstitutional to issue a search warrant when there has been no crime and there is no probable cause.  But that is exactly what President Trump’s DOJ has inflicted on the president and his team with Mueller’s special investigation.  It was not just cowardice, but folly for the DOJ to buckle to the left-wing media’s hysterical insistence to investigate our president’s alleged collusion with the FSB.  

According to Professor Eastman:

The special counsel will not to track down the details of a crime known to have been committed and determine “who dunnit,” but will scour the personal and business affairs of a select group of people – the President of the United States, members of his family, his business associates, and members of his presidential campaign and transition teams – to see if any crime can be found (or worse, manufactured by luring someone into making a conflicting statement at some point). This is not a proper use of prosecutorial power, but a “witch hunt,” as President Trump himself correctly observed. Or, to put it more in terms of legalese, this special prosecutor has effectively been given a “writ of assistance” and the power to exercise a “general warrant” against this select group of people, including the President of the United States, recently elected by a fairly wide margin of the electoral vote.

That is the very kind of thing our Fourth Amendment was adopted to prevent. Indeed, the issuance of general warrants and writs of assistance is quite arguably the spark that ignited America’s war for independence.

 Professor Eastman suggests fighting fire with fire, prosecution with prosecution.

Unfortunately, the only antidote may be to fight fire with fire. President Trump: Perhaps it is time to make good on that old pledge to appoint a special prosecutor to look into the Clinton “matters” after all. And while you’re add it, add in referrals to the grand jury for the contempt of Congress committed by the IRS’s Lois Lerner and former Attorney General Eric Holder, an FBI investigation of the destruction of government documents and servers in the midst of the IRS scandal, an investigation into alleged perjury committed by IRS Commissioner John Koskinen in testimony about those matters given under oath to Congress, an “obstruction of justice” investigation against former Attorney General Eric Holder and others (and related perjury charges against Assistant Attorney General Thomas Perez) for allegedly ordering that an egregious voter intimidation case against the New Black Panther Party be dropped shortly before a default judgment was about to be entered in the government’s favor, etc., etc., etc.

President Obama and his leftist minions spat on our constitution  and flouted the rule of law for eight long years.  Google “Obama flouts constitution,” or see here and here and here and here and here.  Their abuse of power was ignored by the media and our partisan courts, but it has not been forgotten by conservatives.

President Trump’s voters would like to see equality before the law upheld once again in America.  It is bad for our country that rich and powerful Democrat politicians and bureaucrats harm our national security and ruin other people’s lives, in flagrant violation of the law, and are never held to account for their crimes.

Professor Eastman’s advice to fight fire with fire stops short.  Based on his own analysis, it is unconstitutional to do warrantless searches with no probable cause.  Ending the baseless “Russian collusion” witch hunt is fundamental to upholding our constitution.

Those who counseled President Trump to not prosecute Hillary Clinton said a Clinton investigation would distract the White House from furthering Trump’s positive agenda.  That was a strong argument – then.  But as Professor Eastman points out, it backfired.  Perhaps Trump’s civility was taken as a sign of weakness.  Hillary launched the lie that the Russians made her lose the election.  Democrats instigated this phony Russian collusion investigation of Trump, precisely in an effort to distract the White House and halt the Trump agenda.  The best defense is to return to offense.

President Trump has the responsibility to re-establish the rule of law in our country, and he will have the enthusiastic backing of his base if he does so.  It is time to end Democrats’ politically motivated abuse of the law.  Stop the Mueller investigation, and go after Obama Inc.’s multiple crimes.

H/T: Powerlineblog.com