Posted tagged ‘Democrat National Committee’

Bernie-Aligned Group: ‘Corruption That Plagues the Democratic Party is Bigger Than One Primary’

November 2, 2017

Bernie-Aligned Group: ‘Corruption That Plagues the Democratic Party is Bigger Than One Primary’, Washington Free Beacon , November 2, 2017

(Corruption? In the DNC? In Washington? How could that possibly happen? It’s shocking!

–DM

Sen. Bernie Sanders / Getty Images

A liberal group made up of former staffers of Bernie Sanders’s presidential campaign has responded to the admission by former Democratic National Committee chairman Donna Brazile that the primary was rigged in favor of Hillary Clinton. They said the “corruption that plagues” the party goes far beyond the 2016 primary.

Brazile, who became the DNC’s interim chairman during last year’s primary, disclosed in Politico on Thursday morning that she was able to find “evidence of internal corruption” showing the DNC rigged the system “to throw the primary to Hillary” during her time as chairman. The evidence came in the form of an August 2015 agreement between the DNC and the Clinton campaign that gave Clinton control of the DNC’s finances, strategy, and staffing decisions a full six months before a single vote was cast.

Saikat Chakrabarti, who was director of organizing strategy for the Sanders campaign and now runs a group aiming to change the Democratic Party, said he wasn’t surprised to hear the admission from Brazile.

“We all knew that the primary was rigged,” Chakrabarti said on behalf of Justice Democrats, a group he founded. “But the corruption that plagues the Democratic Party is bigger than one primary—it’s become a rot set at the very root of a party [that] claims to be for working people.”

Chakrabarti added that the Democratic Party is currently “devoid of message, devoid of money, and devoid of a winning strategy.”

“The people want a party that works for the people and wins,” he said. “We are sick and tired of wasting money on helping a party that wastes it through incompetence and corrupt negligence.”

Justice Democrats says it has seen an uptick in donations—$2,500 an hour—since Brazile’s admission broke on Thursday morning. The group currently has a slate of candidates running for office in 2018, many of them challenging Democratic incumbents.

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.

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.

 

Investigate This (3)

October 28, 2017

Investigate This (3), Power LineScott Johnson, October 28, 2017

This is why I believe that the dossier took on added importance after the initial denial of a FISA order. We know, or think we do, that the FBI wanted Steele to do additional research. The focus of that research, however, would have to be to establish “reason to believe” that Trump or persons close to his campaign were “agents of a foreign power.” Only that would get them the FISA coverage they wanted. Lacking those, FISA was the quick route, but it required “reason to believe” that Trump or persons close to his campaign were “agents of a foreign power.” Voila the “dossier” as it apparently featured in the successful FISA application in October, the height of the campaign. And then it came to be used in the attempt to nullify the election (the attempted “coup”?).

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Now we know that the Trump Dossier was not just a product funded by Democrats, but was commissioned by the general counsel of the Clinton presidential campaign. After the Trump campaign collusion hysteria fomented by Democrats and their media friends roughly since the election, we learn that Russian disinformation (as it seems to me) disseminated by the friends of Vladimir Putin (i.e., the Russian officials identified by alphabetic descriptors in the dossier) has come to us courtesy of Hillary Clinton herself. Yet John Podesta, Debbie Wasserman Schultz, and campaign general counsel Marc Elias have all denied knowledge, either now or in the past. Whole lotta lyin’ goin’ on. As for Hillary herself, well, “she may or may not have been aware.”

But there is more. Rowan Scarborough has reported that the first of the dossier memos was circulated last year in late June. The first dossier memo is dated June 20, 2016, and cites Sources A (“a senior Russian Foreign Ministry figure”) and B (“a former top level intelligence officer still active in the Kremlin”). Sources A and B tout the collusion scenario. Sources A and B were not out to help Donald Trump, were they? They were out to throw sand in our gears or to help Hillary Clinton.

Former CIA Director John Brennan was a key player in the collusion scenario, but he has left much to implication in his congressional testimony. Brennan has acknowledged, however, that “that there were efforts made by the [FBI] to try to understand whether or not any of the information in that [dossier] was valid.”

Following up on his comments yesterday, our friend with two decades of experience in counterintelligence as an FBI Special Agent writes to add “some additional context that may be be useful.” He writes:

Why was the “dossier” ultimately so important for the anti-Trump conspiracy (if you think of a better way of putting it, let me know)? The reason, I think, is that the use of standard political smears against Trump had proven ineffective. Therefore it became necessary to take it all a step further and to attempt to make some superficially credible allegations of action against the national interest (again, the vague allegations of Mafia ties had fallen flat).

We know that that effort began some time in the late Spring or early Summer of 2016 because an application was made to the FISC in June/July. That application mentioned Trump by name–and was rejected. Why FISA? Because a Title III “wiretap” would have required an actual investigation based on a violation of a real US criminal law and a quite high and specific standard in the application for a court order.

Why, you might ask, was that application even made? Why not rely on the flow of info coming from NSA, which notoriously scoops up virtually all electronic communications? The answer is that Trump and all those close to him were US Persons (USPERs). The NSA targets foreign powers and individuals. If those foreign powers and individuals of concern are in contact with USPERs and, in the judgment of NSA, US counterintelligence (basically, FBI) should know about those USPERs, then NSA informs the FBI.

In my own career, outside FBI headquarters, I only saw a handful of NSA referrals of that sort. They were mostly general in nature. They could perhaps be used to initiate a Preliminary Inquiry (PI) to gain a bit more insight into the nature of the relationship between the USPER and the foreign power or individual — if we judged that advisable based on our own knowledge and experience — meaning that typically the NSA info would not rise to the level needed in order to say that there was “reason to believe” (i.e., for practical purposes, probable cause) that the USPER was an actual agent of a foreign power. That means: no Full Investigation (FI), therefore no FISA.

But in the anti-Trump conspiracy that’s exactly what was needed: FISA coverage, “wiretaps.” There was no time to do the painstaking research on Trump and his associates–they needed FISA and they needed it NOW. They’d already been turned down at least once. The NSA info was essentially useless, because what they really wanted was to get conversations between Trump and his associates here in the US–all USPERs–not international conversations (those were either lacking or harmless). Yes, NSA probably scoops up internal US communications of USPERs, too, but to use it without a FI and without a FISA order would be illegal. Therefore, the “dossier.”

For the conspirators the significance of the “dossier” was that it provided supposed “reason to believe” that Trump or those close to him were “agents of a foreign power,” subject to blackmail or pressure by a foreign power, already cooperating with a foreign power. The ability to claim that most of this “information” was coming via friendly foreign intel services with contacts in Russia added a bit of verisimilitude.

A “dossier” that could provide that sort of “reason to believe” would justify a FI and then FISA coverage. And therefore access to Trump campaign related communications (the extent would be dependent on the nature of the FISA order, who were the USPERs listed as targets–Page for sure, Flynn maybe, etc.). NB: Although they were claiming Trump collusion with Russia, what they were really targeting was campaign communications. By claiming that key people were foreign agents they could collect ALL their domestic communications with anybody.

This is why I believe that the dossier took on added importance after the initial denial of a FISA order. We know, or think we do, that the FBI wanted Steele to do additional research. The focus of that research, however, would have to be to establish “reason to believe” that Trump or persons close to his campaign were “agents of a foreign power.” Only that would get them the FISA coverage they wanted. Lacking those, FISA was the quick route, but it required “reason to believe” that Trump or persons close to his campaign were “agents of a foreign power.” Voila the “dossier” as it apparently featured in the successful FISA application in October, the height of the campaign. And then it came to be used in the attempt to nullify the election (the attempted “coup”?).

 

How Obama Used Hillary’s Dossier to Spy on Trump

October 26, 2017

How Obama Used Hillary’s Dossier to Spy on Trump, FrontPage Magazine, Daniel Greenfield, October 26, 2017

(Please see also, We Need an Investigation of the Entire Justice Department Now. — DM)

Hillary and the DNC hire Fusion GPS. Fusion GPS hires Steele. Steele contacts an FBI pal. The FBI takes up the dossier. And then it’s turned into a pretext for eavesdropping.

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.

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How do you legally spy on your political opponents?

At some point in time that question was asked in the White House, at the DNC or in the hotel suites where Hillary and her staff were staying during her speaking tours. It wasn’t exactly asked that way.

But it was asked. And now we know more of the answer.

What Hillary and Obama did wasn’t Watergate. That was amateur hour. Its sophistication is a tribute to the left’s deep knowledge and control of the workings of Washington, D.C. The men and women who planned this and carried it out understood not only government, but had an intimate familiarity with the loopholes in the laws and the networks of contacts that could realize their highly illegal plans.

The eavesdropping on Trump officials carried the ‘fingerprints’ of an administration that bypassed Congress to fund left-wing groups by blackmailing banks into huge settlements paid out to political allies in a billion dollar slush fund and sent pallets of foreign currency to Iran on unmarked planes. A complete lack of ethical norms was combined with the careful use of legal loopholes to protect the actions of the perpetrators even while they were engaging in a criminal conspiracy.

The revolutionary cell is embedded into left-wing organizing. These cells combined into networks across government, the media and the non-profit sector to pursue a collective agenda. The latest revelations about the Trump dossier give us greater insight into how Obama and Hillary’s people conspired to legally eavesdrop on political opponents by breaking up that eavesdropping into a series of legal actions carried out across different cells.

The road that led to Susan Rice and Samantha Power ‘unmasking’ Trump officials began with the Clinton campaign and the Democratic National Committee funding a dossier pushing Trump-Russia conspiracies. The dossier was sourced through Fusion GPS which is notorious for handfeeding material to reporters.

The Clinton campaign was seeing to it that whatever Fusion GPS produced would make its way into media stories without having Hillary’s fingerprints on it. Indeed the only reason we learned that Hillary and the DNC were ultimately behind the dossier was a congressional subpoena that risked exposing other Fusion GPS clients.

But the second reason was far more devious and devastating.

Fusion GPS’ man for the job was Christopher Steele. The former British intelligence figure had connections with FBI people. Hillary Clinton wasn’t just doing “opposition research” as her former press secretary has claimed.  The best way to do opposition research in an American election doesn’t involve hiring a Brit in London with contacts in Russian intelligence and the FBI.

That is however the best way to independently produce information that can be injected into an intelligence investigation. (It’s also, perhaps not coincidentally, a great way for the Russians to inject their own material into a presidential election without getting their fingerprints on it.)

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.

What would an ex-M.I.6 agent have to do with Hillary, Obama or Trump?

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.

That is how cells coordinate by breaking up a larger plot into a series of individual actions that just happen to produce the ideal result. Hillary and the DNC hire Fusion GPS. Fusion GPS hires Steele. Steele contacts an FBI pal. The FBI takes up the dossier. And then it’s turned into a pretext for eavesdropping.

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. The effort was broken up into two big pieces. The Clinton side would generate the material. The Obama side would make use of it. Steele was positioned as the interface between the two sides of the effort.

The London detour created and laundered the dossier. Moving the operation offshore tangled the connection between the Clinton side and the Obama side. This was important because what Steele produced wasn’t really opposition research, but a pretext for a government investigation.

That pretext couldn’t come directly from Hillary. But the FBI was too politically divided to generate it.

Obama Inc. needed that pretext, but it also didn’t want to generate it internally. Any investigation of the political opposition was inherently explosive. It was better if the intelligence came from outside and especially overseas. That was why Fusion GPS brought in Steele.

The first FISA request was filed in June. It was shot down by the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court. That was the same month we were told that Fusion GPS hired Steele. The second FISA request came through in October. That was the month, Steele did his first media interview with Mother Jones.

Two birds were being killed with one stone.

Obama’s Watergate depended on extensive compartmentalization. The process that led to the eavesdropping on Trump officials and their unmasking at the hands of his officials had to appear as ‘clean’ as possible. Susan Rice and Samantha Power could make unmasking requests to the NSA, but they couldn’t be involved in generating the investigation that led to those requests.

Seeding the media with an astroturf campaign through Fusion GPS created the appearance of an organic push to investigate Trump-Russia ties. Targeting the lefty fringe of the media, Mother JonesThe Guardian, would bake in the narrative among a demographic already prone to conspiracy theories.

The operation was vastly more sophisticated than the crude ugliness of Watergate. But it was not unique in that regard. The fusion of government loopholes, political campaigns, media operations, opposition research and covert funding had occurred more than once during the Obama era.

The most recent example of such a fusion before Trump-Russia was the Iran Deal in which members of Congress were eavesdropped on, money was moved around through non-profits to influence the media, a White House operation planted stories in the media and billions were smuggled to Iran. This mixture of influence operation, propaganda, eavesdropping and laundering has likely happened far more often in the previous administration than we know.

The IRS targeting of conservatives, shutdown theater and the Libyan War offer more examples.

Obama’s eavesdropping on Trump didn’t break the norms. They had already been thoroughly broken. The network that is being uncovered, the interfaces between media insiders, top government officials and private interests, demonstrates why Obama Inc. believed that it could get away with it.

It had gotten away with all its old abuses. There was no reason to doubt it could do so again.

America still has elections. The rule of law exists. In theory. But the network being uncovered in the dossier investigation looks very much like something that would be found in a totalitarian state.

The combination of media propaganda, government surveillance and contrived investigations of political opponents is the sort of thing you would expect to find in… Russia. The key players were wary enough that they compartmentalized their conspiracy, breaking it up across the private and public sector, the media, private firms, law enforcement figures and even another country. But that just makes it look like a cross between terrorist cells and organized crime.

And that is what we are dealing with here.

The left’s networks are becoming increasingly malignant. They executed a sophisticated attack on the political process while contriving to blame it on their victims. What the attack reveals is just how much the levers of power in our political system are embedded in the shadowy networks that operate in and around government. And what those networks are willing to do to win.

FEC complaint accuses Clinton campaign, DNC of violating campaign finance law with dossier payments

October 26, 2017

FEC complaint accuses Clinton campaign, DNC of violating campaign finance law with dossier payments, Washington TimesDave Boyer, October 25, 2017

(But what difference does it make now! — DM)

FILE – In this Oct. 22, 2015, file photo, then-Democratic presidential candidate, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton testifies on Capitol Hill in Washington, before the House Benghazi Committee.

Hillary Clinton’s campaign and the Democratic National Committee violated campaign finance law by failing to disclose payments for a dossier on Donald Trump, according to a complaint filed Wednesday with the Federal Election Commission.

The complaint from the nonprofit Campaign Legal Center said the Democrats effectively hid the payments from public scrutiny, contrary to the requirements of federal law. By law, campaign and party committees must disclose the reason money is spent and its recipient.

“By filing misleading reports, the DNC and Clinton campaign undermined the vital public information role of campaign disclosures,” said Adav Noti, senior director of trial litigation and strategy at CLC and a former FEC official. “Voters need campaign disclosure laws to be enforced so they can hold candidates accountable for how they raise and spend money. The FEC must investigate this apparent violation and take appropriate action.”

Media reports on Tuesday alleged that a lawyer for the Clinton campaign hired Fusion GPS to investigate Mr. Trump in April 2016. The private research firm reportedly hired Christopher Steele, a former British spy with ties to the FBI, to conduct the opposition research, and he compiled a dossier containing allegations about Mr. Trump’s connections to Russia.

The Clinton campaign and the DNC funded the effort until the end of October 2016, just days before the election.

“Questions about who paid for this dossier are the subject of intense public interest, and this is precisely the information that FEC reports are supposed to provide,” said Brendan Fischer, director of federal and FEC reform at CLC. “Payments by a campaign or party committee to an opposition research firm are legal, as long as those payments are accurately disclosed. But describing payments for opposition research as ‘legal services’ is entirely misleading and subverts the reporting requirements.”

Was it a Hack or a Leak? (4)

September 1, 2017

Was it a Hack or a Leak? (4), Power LineScott Johnson, September 1, 2017

(Didn’t AG Sessions recuse himself? — DM)

“This entire business with Comey setting in motion the steps to get a special counsel named has not been sufficiently investigated. And this story makes it clear that the FBI was lackluster when it came to investigating the DNC. What is Attorney General Sessions doing?”

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We have followed the argument presented by Patrick Lawrence in the Nation asserting that the alleged Russian hack of the DNC email was rather an inside job. Lawrence explored the findings of the analysis supporting the thesis Democratic National Committee was not hacked by the Russians in July 2016, but rather suffered an insider leak. Lawrence’s article is here; the most recent report with the analysis summarized by Lawrence is here. The analysis has been promoted by dissident former intelligence officials gathered under the umbrella of Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity (VIPS).

Lawrence’s long article in the Nation called for a response of some kind by proponents of the Russia hacking conspiracy theory, but it has been greeted mostly by silence. I am not aware of any analysis directly disputing VIPS.

Since the publication of Lawrence’s long article in the NationThe VIPS analysis has been taken up by Leonid Bershidsky at Bloomberg View and by Danielle Ryan at Salon. The DNC itself responded to Lawrence’s article:

U.S. intelligence agencies have concluded the Russian government hacked the DNC in an attempt to interfere in the election. Any suggestion otherwise is false and is just another conspiracy theory like those pushed by Trump and his administration. It’s unfortunate that The Nation has decided to join the conspiracy theorists to push this narrative.

Ryan rightly commented that the statement “is so lackluster it is almost laughable[.]” Students of logical fallacy may recognize both the argument from authority and the ad hominem in the three-sentence DNC statement. That is pathetic.

Philadelphia attorney George Parry takes up the VIPS analysis in his Philly.com column “Will special counsel Mueller examine the DNC server, source of the great Russiagate caper?” Parry prefaces his account of the VIPS analysis with a useful reminder of the origin story:

Much to the embarrassment of Hillary Clinton, the released [DNC email] files showed that the DNC had secretly collaborated with her campaign to promote her candidacy for the Democratic presidential nomination over that of Bernie Sanders. Clearly, the Clinton campaign needed to lessen the political damage. Jennifer Palmieri, Clinton’s public relations chief, said in a Washington Post essay in March that she worked assiduously during the Democratic nominating convention to “get the press to focus on … the prospect that Russia had not only hacked and stolen emails from the DNC, but that it had done so to help Donald Trump and hurt Hillary.”

Thus was laid the cornerstone of the Trump-Russia-collusion conspiracy theory.

Since then, the mainstream media have created a climate of hysteria in which this unsubstantiated theory has been conjured into accepted truth. This has resulted in investigations by Congress and a special counsel into President Trump, his family, and his campaign staff for supposed collusion with the Russians.

But in their frenzied coverage, the media have downplayed the very odd behavior of the DNC, the putative target of the alleged hack. For, when the Department of Homeland Security and the FBI learned of the hacking claim, they asked to examine the server. The DNC refused. Without explanation, it continues to deny law enforcement access to its server.

Why would the purported victim of a crime refuse to cooperate with law enforcement in solving that crime? Is it hiding something? Is it afraid the server’s contents will discredit the Russia-hacking story?

Parry also provides a good summary of the VIPS analysis. A friend comments and concludes with one more good question: “This entire business with Comey setting in motion the steps to get a special counsel named has not been sufficiently investigated. And this story makes it clear that the FBI was lackluster when it came to investigating the DNC. What is Attorney General Sessions doing?”