Posted tagged ‘FBI’

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!

DOJ lifts gag order; former FBI informant can tell Congress about 2010 uranium deal

October 26, 2017

DOJ lifts gag order; former FBI informant can tell Congress about 2010 uranium deal, Washington Times,  October 26, 2017

Attorney General Jeff Sessions speaks at the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Western District of Texas, Friday, Oct. 20, 2017, in Austin, Texas. (Ricardo B. Brazziell/Austin American-Statesman via AP)

The congressional investigations could also have implications for Hillary Clinton, who served as secretary of state at the time the deal was made.

The New York Times reported in 2015 that at least one individual involved in the transaction donated some $2.35 million to the Clinton Foundation. Those donations weren’t publicly disclosed by the Clintons despite an agreement Mrs. Clinton had with the Obama White House to identify all donors to the foundation.

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The Justice Department has lifted a gag order on a former FBI informant who had been blocked from speaking to congressional investigators about a 2010 deal that allowed a Kremlin-backed company to gain control of a substantial amount of America’s uranium supply.

Two House committees opened investigations into the controversial deal this week, but said a key informant was unable to discuss the matter because he was bound by a confidentiality agreement with the Justice Department.

In a statement issued Wednesday evening, DOJ spokesman Ian Prior said the informant was authorized to disclose to the congressional leaders of three committees “any information or documents he has concerning alleged corruption or bribery involving transactions in the uranium market, including but not limited to anything related to Vadim Mikerin, Rosatom, Tenex, Uranium One, or the Clinton Foundation.”

The Republican chairmen and ranking Democrats on the Senate Judiciary Committee, House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, and House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence and limited staff members were all cleared to speak with the informant.

Lawmakers have sought to learn more about the circumstances surrounding the U.S. approval of the partial sale of Canadian mining companyUranium One, which had some U.S. mining assets, to Russia’s atomic energy giant Rosatom.

The State Department and eight other U.S. agencies on the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States unanimously approved the deal, but lawmakers have questioned to what end officials were informed at the time of the FBI’s investigation into bribery, kickbacks and money laundering within the Russian nuclear industry.

Four years after the deal was approved, the Justice Department criminally charged Mikerin, an executive for the Russian nuclear firm Tenex, a subsidiary of Rosatom. Mikerin pleaded guilty in money laundering in which U.S. authorities said he arranged for more than $2 million in bribes to be paid in exchange for lucrative no-bid uranium trucking contracts.

The Hill reported that the informant’s work helped secure Mikerin’s conviction.

The congressional investigations could also have implications for Hillary Clinton, who served as secretary of state at the time the deal was made.

The New York Times reported in 2015 that at least one individual involved in the transaction donated some $2.35 million to the Clinton Foundation. Those donations weren’t publicly disclosed by the Clintons despite an agreement Mrs. Clinton had with the Obama White House to identify all donors to the foundation.

Tom Fitton on Clinton/Russia Scandal, FBI Coverup of Clinton/Lynch Meeting, & Abedin/Weiner Laptop

October 20, 2017

Tom Fitton on Clinton/Russia Scandal, FBI Coverup of Clinton/Lynch Meeting, & Abedin/Weiner Laptop, Judicial Watch via YouTube, October 20, 2017

(Please see also, How Corrupt Are American Institutions? — DM)

House Intelligence Panel is Reviewing Uranium One Deal Amid New Evidence of Russian Bribery

October 20, 2017

House Intelligence Panel is Reviewing Uranium One Deal Amid New Evidence of Russian Bribery, Washinton Free Beacon, October 20, 2017

Getty Images

Grassley on Thursday called on the Justice Department to lift a gag order on an FBI informant barring him from speaking to Congress about the Russian bribery scheme and any links to the Obama administration’s decision to approve the Moscow takeover of a U.S. uranium mine.

The Justice Department during the Obama administration reportedly threatened to prosecute the informant if he disclosed details of his involvement in the investigation to Congress.

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The House Intelligence Committee has started asking federal agencies about the Obama administration’s approval of a Russian acquisition of a large uranium mine—a deal that is now under new scrutiny amid revelations about a sweeping Russian bribery scheme from an FBI informant.

The panel so far is only making “preliminary inquiries” and has not launched a formal, full-scale investigation, according to a knowledgeable GOP source.

Information from the FBI informant and court documents about a criminal investigation and prosecution of Russian officials for bribery—and whether key U.S. government agencies knew about the probe—are raising new questions about the uranium deal and whether the United States should have approved it.

New details about the extensive Russian bribery scheme and the U.S. government’s prosecution of it, reported by the Hill newspaper and Circa News, also has drawn renewed attention to millions of dollars the Clintons received from Russians with ties to the state-owned entity involved in the acquisition.

The House Intelligence panel’s questions follow public statements this week from Sen. Chuck Grassley (R., Iowa), the chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, who said on Wednesday he started investigating the new information about the uranium deal last week and pressed Attorney General Jeff Sessions about it during a committee hearing Wednesday.

Sessions would not say whether the Justice Department had launched an official investigation into the matter but told Grassley that his concerns about the deal “would be reviewed.”

Grassley during the Wednesday hearing said the Clinton Foundation had received millions of dollars from “interested parties” in the uranium deal and highlighted a $500,000 payment former President Bill Clinton received for a speech in Moscow before a Russian-government-aligned bank.

Grassley on Thursday called on the Justice Department to lift a gag order on an FBI informant barring him from speaking to Congress about the Russian bribery scheme and any links to the Obama administration’s decision to approve the Moscow takeover of a U.S. uranium mine.

The Justice Department during the Obama administration reportedly threatened to prosecute the informant if he disclosed details of his involvement in the investigation to Congress.

Grassley said he said he also questioned the circumstances surrounding the uranium deal in 2015.

Sen. John Barrasso (R., Wyo.) asked the Justice Department this week for documents related to the FBI’s investigation into the uranium deal, as the Washington Free Beacon reported Thursday.

Barrasso’s concerns about the deal first began in 2010, when he learned that Rosatom, Russia’s state-owned nuclear arm, would be acquiring up to 20 percent of U.S. uranium, in a deal with Canada-based Uranium One.

The senator, a senior member of the GOP leadership who sits on the Energy and Natural Resources Committee, says the Obama administration never responded to his requests for information after reports that Bill Clinton had received the $500,000 sum for speaking to a Moscow state-aligned bank and several Uranium One officials donated $2.35 million to the Clinton Foundation.

Key House Republicans provided some of the harshest public warnings about the deal in 2010 before it was approved.

Four top House Republicans raised the alarm about the Uranium One deal with Russia, citing “widespread and continuing” Russian corruption and urging a top Obama official to block it.

The lawmakers sent a letter to then-Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner in October 2010 urging him not to approve the sale of the U.S uranium mine to a subsidiary of Rosatam, Russia’s state-owned energy firm that serves as its main nuclear agency. They released the letter in a press release Oct. 5, 2010. The U.S. government moved forward and approved the deal later that month.

The GOP lawmakers who signed the letter are: Reps. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen of Florida and Peter King of New York, along with then-Reps. Spencer Bachus of Alabama and Howard “Buck” McKeon of California. The lawmakers at the time served, respectively, as the ranking members of the House Foreign Affairs, Homeland Security, Financial Services and Armed Services Committees.

“Rosatom is a state-owned entity, overseen by a government that has shown little if any inclination to effectively address the widespread and continuing corruption within Russia, particularly its energy sector,” the lawmakers wrote at the time.

The Republicans said the deal also raises serious questions because “Russia has a record of transferring dangerous materials and technologies to rogue regimes, such as those in Iran and Syria.”

“Its willingness to provide nuclear assistance to any regime with cash and its repeated attempts to undermine U.S. nonproliferation efforts disqualifies Russia from being regarded as a reliable partner,” they wrote.

As treasury secretary, Geithner served on the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS), the federal interagency that considers the national security implications of foreign investments. He served alongside some of the most powerful members of President Obama’s cabinet, including Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, Attorney General Eric Holder, and Defense Secretary Robert Gates.

Members of Congress now want to know if CFIUS and other U.S. agencies that signed off on the transaction were aware of the FBI’s criminal probe into the Russian bribery scheme. As attorney general, Holder would have known about the FBI probe.

In addition to the Russian corruption issues, the GOP lawmakers warned that Rosatom also had a history of training Iranian scientists and designed and built Iran’s Bushehr nuclear power plant, which they said had just become operational a few months prior, in August, 2010.

Russia, they asserted, was already supplying that nuclear plant with enriched-uranium fuel rods, and has signaled its interest in building further nuclear reactors in Iran.

“This cooperation has caused great distress that it could advance Iran’s nuclear ambitions, be it through the extraction of weapons-grade plutonium from the reactor or the use of Bushehr (and any future additional reactors) as a cover for the prohibited transfer of other sensitive technology,” they wrote. “It has also undermined longstanding efforts to compel Iran to abandon its pursuit of nuclear weapons.”

Officials for Uranium One USA, the entity that owned the U.S. uranium mine, said before the deal went through that they were skeptical the transaction would result in the transfer of any mined uranium to Iran.

The lawmakers pushed back on that idea, arguing that they “remain convinced” that Iran could receive uranium supplies through direct or secondary proliferation.

Just a few years earlier, in 2007, Rosatom had signed an agreement to help build nuclear facilities in Burma and train Burmese scientists, despite U.S. concerns about the Burmese government.

Uranium One Means Mueller Must Recuse Himself from Russia Probe

October 19, 2017

Uranium One Means Mueller Must Recuse Himself from Russia Probe, PJ MediaRoger L Simon, October 18, 2017

(Please see also, How Much Did Mueller and Rosenstein Know about Uranium One? — DM)

(AP Photo/Jeff Chiu)

At the end of their lengthy editorial regarding the new Uranium One revelations —  “Team Obama’s stunning coverup of Russian crimes” — the New York Post editorial board writes:

Until September 2013, the FBI director was Robert Mueller — who’s now the special counsel probing Russian meddling in the 2016 election. It’s hard to see how he can be trusted in that job unless he explains what he knew about this Obama-era cover-up.

I’ll go the Post one better. Virtually whatever Mueller has to say about his involvement or non-involvement in this metastasizing scandal, he must recuse himself immediately for the most obvious reasons of propriety and appearance. Frankly, it’s outrageous that he, Ron Rosenstein, or anyone who even touched the Uranium One investigation now be involved with the current probe — unless the real name of the FBI is actually the NKVD.  This is not how a democracy is supposed to work, even remotely.  Forget transparency — this was deliberate occlusion.

The collusion Trump & Co have been accused of is chickenfeed compared to twenty percent of U.S. uranium ending up in Putin’s hands under the aegis of Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton and Eric Holder, the latter two members of CFIUS (the inter-agency committee that reviews the transfer of U.S. companies to foreign entities and was then chaired by Timothy Geithner).  We have heard disturbing allegations of this for some time, via “Clinton Cash” and even from the New York Times, but the new disclosure that a 2009 FBI investigation of this possible nucleardeal uncovered kickbacks, money laundering, and bribes from the Russian company involved (Rosatom) and yet it still was given the go-ahead by the Obama administration is — I can think of no better word — appalling.  How could it have come to pass that this occurred?  Why are we supposed to believe anyone now?

On Wednesday, Senator Grassley asked Attorney General Jeff Sessions: “What are you doing to find out how the Russian takeover of the American uranium was allowed to occur despite criminal conduct by the Russia company that the Obama administration approved the purchase?”

Evidently, not much.  At least so far. In fact Sessions said that Deputy Attorney General Ron Rosenstein, who led this long-hidden investigation, should “investigate himself.”

No, Jeff.  You may have properly recused yourself from the Russian investigation, despite Trump’s criticism, but this one is your job.  You run the Department of Justice and therefore the FBI.  Something is rotten as much as it ever was in Denmark.  Indeed it’s worse, since nuclear weapons were not even dreamed of in Hamlet’s time.  So don’t be like Hamlet.  Act now.

For starters, Mueller must step down.  We cannot have an investigation of this magnitude that half the country will completely disrespect — and for increasingly good reason.  History will mock it, also for good reason.  On top of that, with our country as split as it is, the results could be catastrophic.

Equally important, the reputation of the FBI must be resuscitated.  Speaking entirely as a private citizen, I do no trust the FBI anymore. To be honest, it scares me. And I am certain I am not alone.  It feels like an often-biased organization so bent on self-preservation that it hides evidence and lets the powerful off the hook. That’s the royal road to totalitarianism.  No, it’s not the NKVD yet.  No one that I know of is being hauled off in the middle of the night.  But very few of us know what it is really up to, how it makes its frequently dubious decisions, or whether it is working for the good of the citizenry at all.  Almost everything we learn of its investigations is so heavily redacted, no one but one of the myriad leakers seems to know what it means — and they’re usually lying.  This, as they say, will not end well.

People can dismiss my view by claiming I am a right-wing ideologue, but the problem transcends administrations, as have FBI directors.  Something is wrong with the system.  No one seems to be watching the watchers, from the FBI to the NSA.  Other than Senator Grassley, will anyone have the guts to save us?