Posted tagged ‘FBI’

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.

Manafort surrenders…What has this got to do with Trump?

October 30, 2017

Manafort surrenders…What has this got to do with Trump? IWB, Mark Angelides, October 30, 2017

GWB. Remarks at Graduation Ceremony for FBI Special Agents. Quantico, VA.

It seems fairly obvious that when Manafort’s home was raided and he was warned by prosecutors that he would be facing charges, it was an attempt to get him to roll over on the president and either give up some real evidence or make up some tales to extricate himself. Those who know Manafort personally have stated that “he wouldn’t lie,” (at least not to get others IN trouble, getting himself OUT is clearly a different matter).

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Former Campaign manager to the Trump team, Paul Manafort has turned himself into the authorities after the long-awaited charges were finally filed on Friday. It is not our place to judge his guilt, but we can ask one question…What has this got to do with Donald Trump and the Russian conspiracy?

Back in the summer, the media had a frenzy about the FBI raiding Manafort’s home searching for evidence of money laundering from his days as a Ukraine spin master and lobbyist. According to the filed charges (you can read them here), they’ve found it. But not one of the charges mentions a single word about Donald Trump, his campaign team, his presidential bid, or in fact anything whatsoever that you would expect from an investigation into the aforementioned!

So why are the charges coming out now? If I were of a more paranoid bent, I would suggest that since the eruption of at least four major scandals over the last two weeks (all of which concerning Russia, Mueller himself, and the DNC) that Mueller, along with press, are trying desperately to get back to “the narrative.”

It seems fairly obvious that when Manafort’s home was raided and he was warned by prosecutors that he would be facing charges, it was an attempt to get him to roll over on the president and either give up some real evidence or make up some tales to extricate himself. Those who know Manafort personally have stated that “he wouldn’t lie,” (at least not to get others IN trouble, getting himself OUT is clearly a different matter).

So with Manafort refusing to dish the dirt, they have just gone ahead with the charges of money laundering, tax evasion, and of course, lying to authorities about it. Yet this really seems to have nothing to do with the president.

Lest you think this is an indulgent flattery piece that suggests the president can do no wrong, rest assured, I think it highly likely that at some point in time, the president has been involved in some questionable practices (especially with regards to his business dealings). But this is about special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation, and this has turned up nothing to do with a Trump-Russia collusion deal! So what is the purpose?

Simply, the prosecutors (most of whom were large Clinton donors), Mueller (who was the guy who tried to falsify evidence in the case of trying arrest Julian Assange in Iceland), and the DNC, who have the most to gain by getting rid of Trump, have no realistic route back to power other than forcing the president to leave in disgrace. They have no new policies, no new ideas, and no new candidates…All they have are hints and allegations of some mysterious scandal that even today, with Manafort’s arrest, has still failed to materialize.

FBI’s Focus On Manafort Doesn’t Have Anything To Do With Russian Collusion In The Election

October 30, 2017

FBI’s Focus On Manafort Doesn’t Have Anything To Do With Russian Collusion In The Election, Daily Caller, October 29, 2017

(I have read the lengthy indictment of Paul Manafort and Richard Gates, released today (October 30th). It mentions neither Trump nor the campaign and appears to have nothing to do with Russian collusion. It is available here. — DM)

Paul Manafort (Getty Images)

The FBI’s investigation into President Donald Trump’s former campaign manager, Paul Manafort, is focused on several suspicious wire-transfers he made four years before the presidential election, according to a Sunday report from Buzzfeed.

Manafort allegedly made 13 wire transfers from 2011 to 2012 that drew the attention of federal law enforcement officials who were examining if he was helping the Ukrainian regime launder millions it plundered through corrupt dealings. Much of the money was filtered through the U.S. before landing in various areas around the world, Buzzfeed’s report notes.

Trump’s former campaign manager has been the subject of multiple law enforcement investigations into  Russian influence in the 2016 presidential election.

A spokesman for Manafort did not respond to reporters’ questions about the investigation or any of the specific wire transactions. He became Trump’s campaign manager in May 2016 before he was forced to resign three months later after media reports exposed his ties to Russian oligarchs.

Manafort has since emerged as a key figure in special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into Russian influence, despite the former campaign manager’s repeated denials of any wrongdoing. His widely-reported connections to corrupt former Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych sparked speculation he used Russian agents to help Trump at the expense of Clinton.

American financial institutions, which are required by law to tell the Treasury Department about any transactions they deem suspicious, began flagging Manafort’s transactions, Buzzfeed’s report notes. Suspicious activity reports do not prove wrongdoing, but they are sufficient to begin probes. Federal law requires financial institutions to file reports on cash transactions exceeding $10,000 in a single day.

Manafort’s suspicious financial transactions were flagged as far back as 2012 and forwarded to the FBI’s International Corruption Unit and the Department of Justice, a former Treasury official told reporters. Law enforcement officials said they found red flags in his banking records going back to 2004.

Four of the transfers originated with Manafort’s political consulting firm Global Endeavour, which was hired by Yanukovych to consult and lobby on his behalf. Manafort was working with the former Ukrainian president to lobby the U.S. and other Western countries to support for Ukraine’s entry into the European Union.

Tony Podesta and the Podesta Group’s involvement in Ukrainian politics is also complicating the situation. Mueller expanded the investigation to focus on Podesta and his Democratic-leaning lobbying firm with connections to Clinton, sources told NBC in an Oct. 24 report.

Manafort organized a public relations campaign for a group called European Centre for a Modern Ukraine (ECMU), which lobbied the U.S. to support Ukraine’s EU push. Podesta’s company was one of many firms that worked on the campaign.

The sources said Mueller’s investigation into Podesta, the brother of Clinton campaign chairman John Podesta, began as a fact-finding mission about Manafort’s role in the campaign but quickly morphed into a criminal inquiry into whether the firm violated the Foreign Agents Registration Act, known as FARA.

People and firms who lobby on behalf of foreign governments must file detailed disclosures about their spending with the Department of Justice. Willful failure to file is a felony and can result in up to five years in prison. Podesta and Manafort filed the requisite forms only after the media began reporting on their dealings with ECMU, according to NBC’s report.

CNN reported Friday that Mueller has filed charges in sealed indictments. It is currently not known what the charges are or who they have been filed against. CNN reported that multiple people could face charges. The FBI could begin arresting those charged within the week.

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”?).

 

JW Pres. Tom Fitton discussing Clinton/Russia Collusion, 72K New Clinton Docs, & Purple Heart Battle

October 28, 2017

JW Pres. Tom Fitton discussing Clinton/Russia Collusion, 72K New Clinton Docs, & Purple Heart Battle via YouTube, October 27, 2017

 

The blurb beneath the video states,

JW President Tom Fitton was live discussing the latest on Hillary Clinton’s camp colluding with the Russians to obtain the infamous Trump dossier. Also, why hasn’t the State Department finished reviewing all of the 72,000 email records from Hillary Clinton’s time as Secretary of State? Finally, Judicial Watch is in court fighting for a soldier injured in the Fort Hood massacre to be posthumously-awarded the Purple Heart.

We Need an Investigation of the Entire Justice Department Now

October 26, 2017

We Need an Investigation of the Entire Justice Department Now, PJ MediaRoger L Simon, October 25, 2017

While media reports describe former “Black, Manafort & Stone” principal Paul Manafort as Trump’s main tie to the investigation, the source said it is Manafort’s role as a liaison between Russia and the Podesta Group that is drawing the scrutiny….

The time has come for a thorough airing to renew the trust of the citizenry.  That means a special investigator, but one with a wide berth to look into the entire DOJ and FBI, its patterns and practices, and, let’s be honest, our intelligence agencies as well. We’re living in a bureaucratic nightmare.  As Mark Steyn  put it so succinctly on Tucker Carlson’s show Wednesday night, “Everyone is colluding with Russia except Trump!

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Bravo,  Charles Grassley!  The Iowa senator has turned into something of an aging Mr. Smith taking on corruption in the Obama administration (and its Justice Department) and calling for a special investigator for the metastasizing Uranium One Scandal.  But is it enough?

As has been reported, this 2010 deal was made despite a hitherto unknown FBI investigation that exposed bribery, kickbacks, etc. on the part of the Russian company involved.  The pact resulted in 20% of U.S. uranium in Putin’s hands (some of which, in lethal yellow cake form, has already disappeared into the ether) and millions of dollars in the Clinton Foundation’s coffers, basically at the same time.

Or should we now call this the Podesta, Podesta & Manafort Scandal, because an ongoing and related report on Tucker Carlson’s cable show is unmasking a series of connections that make the most paranoid conspiracy theorist seem rational?

A thus-far-reliable source who used to be involved with Clinton allies John and Tony Podesta told Tucker Carlson that press reports appearing to implicate President Trump in Russian collusion are exaggerated.

The source, who Carlson said he would not yet name, said he worked for the brothers’ Podesta Group and was privy to some information from Robert Mueller’s special investigation.

While media reports describe former “Black, Manafort & Stone” principal Paul Manafort as Trump’s main tie to the investigation, the source said it is Manafort’s role as a liaison between Russia and the Podesta Group that is drawing the scrutiny….

Manafort was, at the time, representing Russian business and political interests during the Obama era.

The source said the Podesta Group was in regular contact with Manafort while Hillary Clinton was America’s chief diplomat….

According to Carlson, “Manafort was clear that Russia wanted to cultivate ties to Hillary” because she appeared to be the presumptive 45th president.

In other words, as the French say, it’s the world upside down. Russia? Trump? Oh, sorry, no, it’s the Brothers Podesta and, through them, Hillary. Meanwhile, over at the also related (phony) Trump Dossier Scandal:

In the midst of a court case that threatened to reveal the dossier’s funding, it emerged Tuesday night that political consulting firm Fusion GPS was retained last year by Marc E. Elias, an attorney representing the Democratic National Committee and the Clinton campaign. The firm then hired former British intelligence officer Christopher Steele to write the dossier that contained unverified and lurid allegations about Trump and his team’s ties to Moscow.

In the latest news, it appears Elias’ firm was being used as a cut-out to avoid campaign disclosure laws in the promulgation of Fusion’s garbage.  Possible criminal liability looms.  It’s “unclear” whether Mrs. Clinton herself knew about this utterly disgusting behavior in her name, though loyalist Brian Fallon hinted as much on cable news Wednesday.

More disturbingly, indications are that the FBI itself relied on this execrable pack of nauseating lies to jump-start the Trump-Russia collusion investigation.  They may even have made additional payments to Fusion GPS themselves.  [bold decidedly mine]

Holy Toledo!  Has the FBI turned into CNN? Or are they just dumber than the proverbial stones?

Speaking of which, we also have the unanswered questions about Deborah Wasserman Schultz and her Pakistani computer expert who had access to the data of dozens of congressional Democrats, not to mention the unsolved mystery of the murder of Seth Rich and the hacking of the DNC server.  The FBI and the DOJ have told us next to nothing about either.  In general, we learn more from Julian Assange, like him or not.

And then’s there’s the Unmasking Scandal with its attendant mysteries.  Who was ordering Samantha Powers to do hundreds of unprecedented unmaskings of U.S. citizens in foreign intelligence surveillances?  Where does that trail begin and end? With the death of democracy?

It’s obvious these various scandals are beginning to intersect or, more precisely, intersected long ago and now the connections are being revealed.  Undoubtedly, more are to come.  And it’s a safe bet they’ll be yet more astonishing.

Grassley’s calling for a special investigator for Uranium One, laudable as it is, is far too circumscribed.   There are so many scandals, not to mention people at the highest echelons of our government, involved here it’s hard to count them.  They keep popping up like rodents in a game of whack-a-mole.

Peter Berkowitz wrote the other day in the WSJ that “James Comey and Robert Mueller Imperil the Rule of Law. ” Indeed they do. But the recusal of Mueller, which I previously called for, is not enough. We have a systemic problem within the DOJ and FBI that has been going on for some years and has grown to the extent these organizations act like mini-states, impervious to supervision by anyone, especially the very people they are supposed to serve — you and me.  They are the Deep State taken to the tenth power.  The internal conflicts of interest are so many they’d fill the Mariana Trench.

The time has come for a thorough airing to renew the trust of the citizenry.  That means a special investigator, but one with a wide berth to look into the entire DOJ and FBI, its patterns and practices, and, let’s be honest, our intelligence agencies as well. We’re living in a bureaucratic nightmare.  As Mark Steyn  put it so succinctly on Tucker Carlson’s show Wednesday night, “Everyone is colluding with Russia except Trump!

The question is: how do we find this person or persons untainted and honest enough to conduct this investigation?  Oh, Diogenes!