Posted tagged ‘Wiretapping Trump campaign HQ’

If you strike at a presidential candidate, you better defeat him.

March 15, 2017

If you strike at a presidential candidate, you better defeat him, SpectatorGeorge Neumayr, March 14, 2017

(Did Obama unleash a perpetual motion machine? — DM)

Confirmations of the Obama administration’s investigation of the Trump campaign keep trickling out. Naturally, the media has shown no interest in them. It wants evidence of Trump-Russia collusion, not evidence that Obama’s embeds were sniffing around Trump’s computer server — an abuse of power no different than LBJ wiring Nixon’s campaign plane to see if he was colluding with the Vietnamese.

In light of these new confirmations, an honest media would have called James Clapper back to explain his elliptical denial. “The FBI investigated a Trump server in its Russia probe,” reports the online publication Circa News in a piece co-authored by John Solomon, the respected former Washington Post reporter and Washington Times editor. Can Clapper deny that the FBI investigated a Trump server? Can Comey? Can Lynch? Can Brennan? They have all fallen silent. Comey pathetically tried to confuse people by leaking out to friendly reporters that he wanted the controversy addressed by Justice Department officials. But what would he want them to deny? The investigation into Trump’s server that he had his officials conduct?

According to Circa News, the FBI “used traditional investigative techniques to review a computer server tied to the the [sic] soon-to-be-president’s businesses in Trump Towers in New York but located elsewhere.”

Traditional investigative techniques? That sounds even more ominous than the FBI just wiretapping individual members of Trump’s campaign. Using “traditional investigative techniques to review” Trump’s computer server could mean anything. Did agents talk to Trump’s employees? What did these employees say to them or show them? How do you use traditional investigative techniques to review Trump’s computer server without dislodging information about him? That is the abuse to which Trump, with his crafty intuition, was drawing attention with his tweets.

If you strike at a king, you better kill him. To apply that adage to this scandal, if you investigate a presidential candidate’s campaign and business, you better find something. And the Obama embeds didn’t. That compounds the scandal of their criminal leaks. It is bad enough that they planted stories in the press to the effect that the Trump campaign was under government investigation for ties to Russia. But now it is coming out that they did so knowing full well that that investigation had turned up nothing. That gives the Justice Department an even stronger reason to investigate these criminal leakers. They were breaking the law for the sake of inflicting maximum political damage on a candidate (and then president) by leaving the impression of wrongdoing while knowing that none had occurred.

“Agents were examining allegations of computer activity tied to Russia,” reports Circa News. “Very quickly, they concluded the computer activity in question involved no nefarious contacts, bank transactions or encrypted communications with the Russians, and likely involved routine computer signals.”

So in the month before the election the FBI was investigating a presidential candidate’s computer server and found nothing—and all at the bidding of John Brennan, Obama’s Trump-hating CIA director, who had urged it on the pretext of “intelligence” from a Baltic state, and at the bidding of Hillary’s campaign, which desperately wanted attention diverted from Comey’s investigation into her. On October 31, the New York Times reported, “Hillary Clinton’s supporters, angry over what they regard as a lack of scrutiny of Mr. Trump by law enforcement officials, pushed for these investigations.” The headline on that story was: “Investigating Donald Trump, F.B.I. Sees No Clear Link to Russia.”

That wasn’t the headline the Obama embeds and Hillary supporters wanted. So they continued leaking. Then lo and behold, the day before the election, an article appeared in Heat Street, written by the anti-Trump journalist, which stated:

Two separate sources with links to the counter-intelligence community have confirmed to Heat Street that the FBI sought, and was granted, a FISA court warrant in October, giving counter-intelligence permission to examine the activities of “U.S. persons” in Donald Trump’s campaign with ties to Russia.

Contrary to earlier reporting in the New York Times, which cited FBI sources as saying that the agency did not believe that the private server in Donald Trump’s Trump Tower which was connected to a Russian bank had any nefarious purpose, the FBI’s counter-intelligence arm, sources say, re-drew an earlier FISA court request around possible financial and banking offenses related to the server. The first request, which, sources say, named Trump, was denied back in June, but the second was drawn more narrowly and was granted in October after evidence was presented of a server, possibly related to the Trump campaign, and its alleged links to two banks; SVB Bank and Russia’s Alfa Bank. While the Times story speaks of metadata, sources suggest that a FISA warrant was granted to look at the full content of emails and other related documents that may concern US persons.

Heat Street’s sources wanted Americans to think Trump’s computer server had a nefarious purpose. Notice the misleading construction of the opening sentence in the second paragraph cited above. The second part of the sentence is not “contrary” to the first. No matter how many warrants the FBI was pursuing, it wasn’t finding anything. But Obama’s embeds and Hillary’s supporters needed voters to think it was. Yes, a powerful government tried to tip the election — ours.

By now, it is clear that the essence of Trump’s tweet — that the Obama administration investigated his campaign/business — is true. But by the time this is all over, it may even come out that his direct communications were compromised, either by FBI agents interviewing Trump employees about his computer server (a cagey FBI agent can get employees of a company to share anything) or through “backdoor searches” that the intelligence community exploits, as related in this Hill story:

The intelligence community may legally conduct so-called “backdoor searches” of Americans’ communications, without a warrant, if the target of the surveillance is not a U.S. citizen.

If Trump or his advisors were speaking directly to foreign individuals who were the target of U.S. spying during the election campaign and the intelligence agencies recorded Trump by accident, it’s plausible that those communications would have been collected and shared amongst intelligence agencies, surveillance law experts say.

Thanks to Obama’s last-minute executive order, 16 government agencies now have access to that data. That is how Michael Flynn’s chat with the Russian ambassador ended up on the front page.

The Obama embeds were fiendishly busy in October, at once investigating Trump’s computer server and leaking to the press about it, all on the gamble that their exertions would help catapult Hillary into the White House. They gambled wrong.

What happens if Obama was involved in illegal surveillance?

March 9, 2017

What happens if Obama was involved in illegal surveillance? Fox News via YouTube, March 7, 2017

 

Retired NSA Official: Every Phone Call You Make Is Recorded And Stored | Hannity Fox News

March 8, 2017

Retired NSA Official: Every Phone Call You Make Is Recorded And Stored | Hannity Fox News, Fox News via YouTube, March 6, 2017

 

Trump’s wiretapping tweets, the media and reality

March 7, 2017

Trump’s wiretapping tweets, the media and reality, Rebel Media via YouTube, March 6, 2017

(A very good summary of the information now available. — DM)

 

Remember When Obama Spied on Congressmen Opposed to Iran Deal?

March 6, 2017

Remember When Obama Spied on Congressmen Opposed to Iran Deal? Front Page Magazine, Daniel Greenfield, March 5, 2017

obamanixon

When the media puts on its befuddled face over Trump’s allegations, remember what Obama was doing little more than a year ago.

The National Security Agency’s (NSA) continued surveillance of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Israeli leaders may also have swept up private conversations involving members of Congress, the Wall Street Journal reported Tuesday night.

Further, the Journal reports that intercepted conversations between Israeli leaders confirmed Israel’s knowledge of the talks, as well as its intent to undermine any nuclear deal with Iran by leaking its details. When Netanyahu and his top aides came to Washington to talk with Jewish-American groups and members of Congress to lobby against the deal, the NSA was there to pick up the conversations.

Senior officials told the WSJ that those conversations collected by the NSA raised fears “that the executive branch would be accused of spying on Congress.” The White House wanted the information anyway, however, because it “believed the intercepted information could be valuable to counter Mr. Netanyahu’s campaign.”

So in order to avoid leaving a trail, the White House left it to the NSA to figure out what to share, and the NSA obliged, deleting names of members and any personal attacks on the administration.

To summarize…

1. Obama Inc. used surveillance of an ally and of domestic groups, even members of Congress, to defend its own political agenda

2. It did so relying on plausible deniability

3. The information was shared across the administration and planted in the media

Kerry justified his accusation by pointing to Israeli media reports, but those reports were a convenient source, given that “Intelligence officials said the media reports allowed the U.S. to put Mr. Netanyahu on notice without revealing they already knew his thinking. The prime minister mentioned no secrets during his speech to Congress,” wrote the Journal.

There was no firewall between spying for national security and for a political agenda. That was the most important point here. Everything else is plausible deniability.

White House officials believed the intercepted information could be valuable to counter Netanyahu’s campaign. They also recognized that asking for it was politically risky. So, wary of a paper trail stemming from a request, the White House let the NSA decide what to share and what to withhold, officials said. “We didn’t say, ‘Do it,’ ” a senior U.S. official said. “We didn’t say, ‘Don’t do it.’ ”

When you hear the current Obama denials, remember that they almost certainly played another variation of the same game.

#ObamaGate Is a Lot More than a Hashtag

March 6, 2017

#ObamaGate Is a Lot More than a Hashtag, PJ MediaRoger L Simon, March 5, 2017

(Please see also, Yes, There Could Be Serious Legal Problems if Obama Admin Involved in Illegal Surveillance. — DM)

obama_security_risk_feature_4-11-16-1-sized-770x415xt

If I were a Democrat, I’d be afraid.  I’d be very afraid.

Forget the usual smokescreen of hyper-partisan blather from Chuck Schumer on “Meet the Press” or the myriad calls for Trump’s head from the usual press suspects and consider the situation:  Congressional committees, the FBI, not to mention numerous avid media organizations and who knows who else (NSA? CIA? ASPCA?) have been investigating putative Trump-Russia collusion for some time now and come up with… exactly nothing.

Are they likely to come up with something of significance at this point?  Almost certainly not.

So now we have Trump’s bold, brash, “unhinged” Twitter accusations that Obama wiretapped him.  This came after Mark Levin, Breitbart, Andrew C. McCarthy, Louise Mensch and others I’ve forgotten about or am unaware of reported about two appeals to FISA courts (one denied last summer and one approved in October) for permission to tap phones in Trump Tower. Did they happen?

It seems that tapping of some sort actually occurred because it was virtually acknowledged  in tweets from Obama speechwriter Jon Favreau,  who sprang to action only hours after Trump tweeted, writing : “I’d be careful about reporting that Obama said there was no wiretapping. Statement just said that neither he nor the WH ordered it.” Kevin Lewis, a spokesman for the former president, had almost simultaneously declared:  “Neither President Obama nor any White House official ever ordered surveillance on any U. S. citizen.”  Ordered?  That’s what we used to call plausible deniability and now is known as a wiggle word.

Trump wants this possible surveillance to be investigated along with the rest of the supposed Russia mess — the little that’s left of it to be cleared up.  Meanwhile, that Democratic Party house organ The New York Times is reporting that James Comey himself wants the Justice Department to issue a denial that such a wiretap ever existed — or so the paper’s ubiquitous “sources” say.  Of course the Times itself saw it differently only a couple of months ago. Meanwhile, former DNI James Clapper — who famously told all his fellow citizens a boldface lie about the NSA — has assured the media regarding this particular tap, “I can deny it.” (Yes, you can.)

All this while Barack and Michelle Obama, rather than graciously depart the D. C. scene in the manner of previous presidents, recent ones anyway, have moved into a local estate with their constant companion Valerie Jarrett in some kind of Ménage à Medici as if Barack never had an intention to leave and expects to serve a third term.

My guess is this will all come down to whether our former president knew about this wiretapping — whoever authorized it and wherever it came from — and, if so, when. And also how he reacted to it and what he did from there.  It’s all, in the grand Clintonian tradition, about what the definition of “ordered” is.

Interviewed on “Fox News Sunday,” Sen. Tom Cotton — as close an approximation to “Mr. Smith” as we have in Congress — was asked if the Senate Intelligence panel would address Trump’s wiretapping claim and his answer was a Jimmy Stewart-like “sure.”

Now to why, if I were a Democrat, I’d be afraid.  To explore that you don’t need to be some super-experienced attorney like Andrew McCarthy, although that doesn’t hurt.  Rusty old Occam’s Razor will do — just change the blade and ask some obvious questions somehow overlooked by the MSM in this weekend’s chat shows.  These questions, needless to say, might best be asked under oath by a congressional committee. Later, they might even have to be dealt with in a court of law, as attorney Robert Barnes details well in this article.

Would an attorney general (in this case Loretta Lynch) normally inform the White House of a decision to go to a FISA court for approval of the tapping of a political presidential opponent?  Did Ms. Lynch so inform the White House?  Was there any discussion of this decision between the WH and the DOJ?  Why did the Justice Department decide to go back to the FISA court in October for a second try at approval? Whose idea was that? Did they did have additional information?  What was that?  Was Trump’s name included in the brief the first time but omitted in the second?  Why?  If none of this happened, who made it up and why?  That makes no sense, considering how easy it would be to disprove. Unless, of course, although it’s not supposed to happen, the NSA just regularly taps everything and everybody, including presidential candidates, the president elect, and the president himself.  But why then on Jan 12 of this year, again according to the New York Times, did the Obama administration suddenly broadly extend the powers of the NSA?

I could go on, but you get the point.  The possibilities here are endless. And WikiLeaks already revealed Obama’s extensive use of wiretaps.  It’s a long list.  Nothing particularly new here except this one, if it happened, was aimed at his most important adversary in our democratic republic, threatening the very underpinnings of our country and making Nixon seem like an amateur.  No doubt the Democrats will hide behind national security, but that can only go on for so long.  People in leadership positions like Sen. Cotton are entitled to the facts — and they will get them eventually, perhaps quickly since this is a Trump administration finally, even if so many appointments are being held up.  Also — and this is what the sleaze-artists like Schumer and my own Rep. Adam Schiff know well — Trump has obviously been wiretapped up the you-know-what, probably from numerous sources.  If not, where have all these leaks come from?  Mars?

Former Bush AG Mukasey: Trump ‘Right’ That There Was Surveillance

March 6, 2017

Former Bush AG Mukasey: Trump ‘Right’ That There Was Surveillance, ABC News via YouTube, March 5, 2017

H/t Conservative Tree House for the link to the video and for this insight:

Here’s what’s going on, that almost everyone seems to be missing.

President Trump cannot publicly disclose anything relating to his first hand knowledge of national security issues, specifically intelligence gathering, without opening himself up to accusations of the mishandling of classified information…. which naturally his opposition would use to: #1) drive a media narrative, #2) demand an investigation of him as a leaker of classified intel, and #3) ultimately lead to pearl-clutching calls for impeachment etc. [Emphasis added.]

President Trump cannot publicly discuss anything related to his knowledge of classified information or intelligence.  His opposition (Dems and Media) know this, and therefore use his inability to discuss these matters as a tool to shape their chosen narratives.

The Alinsky accuser can run to the microphones, but the accused has a constitutional gag order.  See how that works?

Absent of the President’s ability to discuss or defend himself, he enters into the media matrix at a disadvantage.  The media can claim anything, and President Trump cannot provide evidence to refute their claims without compromising his position.   The media knows this. The media use this dynamic to their advantage.

The President cannot publicly discuss anything provided to him from the intelligence community.  However, President Trump CAN publicly discuss, or draw attention to, media reports which contain stories about leaks as derived from classified intelligence leaks.

Please read the entire article.

Yes, There Could Be Serious Legal Problems if Obama Admin Involved in Illegal Surveillance

March 5, 2017

Opinion | Yes, There Could Be Serious Legal Problems if Obama Admin Involved in Illegal Surveillance, Law Newz, March 4, 2017

(Speculative, because fewer than all pertinent facts are now available. However, it’s an interesting legal analysis.– DM)

obama-2-6-e1486411130362

President Trump recently tweeted claiming that former President Obama wiretapped him during his campaign. One can only imagine how nuts the media would have gone if the roles had been reversed: President Trump wiretapping either Obama or the Clintons, though his DOJ could have authority to do just that given the expansive leaks of intelligence information by Obama and Clinton supporters the last few months. Heck, he could wiretap the media at this point, legally and legitimately, as the sources of these unlawful leaks, for which Obama himself set precedent. Do liberals understand what Pandora’s Box Obama opened up by Obama using the powers of the NSA, CIA and FBI to spy on his political opponents? Even Nixon never did that.

If the stories are correct, Obama or his officials might even face prosecution. But, we are still early in all of this and there are a lot of rumors flying around so the key is if the reports are accurate. We just don’t know at this time. The stories currently are three-fold: first, that Obama’s team tried to get a warrant from a regular, Article III federal court on Trump, and was told no by someone along the way (maybe the FBI), as the evidence was that weak or non-existent; second, Obama’s team then tried to circumvent the federal judiciary’s independent role by trying to mislabel the issue one of “foreign agents,” and tried to obtain a warrant from the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act “courts”, and were again turned down, when the court saw Trump named (an extremely rare act of FISA court refusal of the government, suggesting the evidence was truly non-existent against Trump); and so, third, Obama circumvented both the regular command of the FBI and the regularly appointed federal courts, by placing the entire case as a FISA case (and apparently under Sally Yates at DOJ) as a “foreign” case, and then omitted Trump’s name from a surveillance warrant submitted to the FISA court, which the FISA court unwittingly granted, which Obama then misused to spy on Trump and many connected to Trump. Are these allegations true? We don’t know yet, but if any part of them are than Obama and/or his officials could face serious trouble.

Can a President be charged with a crime? Only once out of office. While in office, impeachment remains the exclusive remedy in order to avoid a single judicial branch trying to overturn an election, such as a grand jury in any part of the country could. Once out of office, a President remains immune from civil liability for his duties while President, under a 1982 decision of the United States Supreme Court. However, as the Nixon pardon attests, nothing forecloses a criminal prosecution of the President after his presidency is complete for crimes against the country. Obama, the Constitutional lawyer, should know that.

What crimes could have been committed? Ironically, for Democrats falsely accusing Attorney General Sessions, perjury and conspiracy to commit perjury, as well as intentional violations of FISA. Rather shockingly, no law currently forbids misusing the power of the presidency to spy on one’s adversaries. What the law does forbid is lying to any judicial officer to obtain any means of surveillance. What the law does forbid, under criminal penalty, is the misuse of FISA. Both derive from the protections of the Fourth Amendment itself. Under section 1809, FISA makes it a crime for anyone to either “engage in” electronic surveillance under “color of law” under FISA without following the law’s restrictions, or “disclose” or “use” information gathered from it in contravention of the statute’s sharp constrictions.

FISA, 50 USC 1801, et seq., is a very limited method of obtaining surveillance authority. The reason for its strict limits is that FISA evades the regular federal court process, by not allowing regularly, Constitutionally appointed federal judges and their magistrates to authorize surveillance the Fourth Amendment would otherwise forbid. Instead, the Chief Justice handpicks the FISA court members, who have shown an exceptional deference to the executive branch. This is because FISA court members trust the government is only bringing them surveillance about pending terror attacks or “grave hostile” war-like attacks, as the FISA statute limits itself to. Thus, a FISA application can only be used in very limited circumstances.

One important reminder about electronic surveillance. Occasionally, a law enforcement officer will hear or see or record information not allowed by the warrant, but incidental or accidental to otherwise lawful surveillance. Their job is to immediately stop listening, stop recording, and to delete such information. This is what you occasionally see in films where the agent in the van hears the conversation turn away from something criminal to a personal discussion, and the agent then turns off the listening device and stops the recording. Such films simply recognize long-standing legal practice.

FISA can only be used for “foreign intelligence information.” Now that sounds broad, but is in fact very limited under the law. The only “foreign intelligence information” allowed as a basis for surveillance is information necessary to protect the United States against actual or potential “grave” “hostile” attack, war-like sabotage or international terror. Second, it can only be used to eavesdrop on conversations where the parties to the conversation are a foreign power or an agent of a foreign power. An agent of a foreign power cannot be a United States person unless they are knowingly involved in criminal espionage. No warrant is allowed on that person unless a FISA court finds probable cause the United States person is knowingly engaged in criminal espionage. Even then, if it involves a United States person, special steps must be taken to “minimize the acquisition and retention, and prohibit the dissemination, of non publicly available information concerning un-consenting United States persons.”

This includes procedures that require they never identify the person, or the conversation, being surveilled, to the public where that information is not evidence of a particular crime. Third, the kind of information sought concerns solely information about a pending or actual attack on the country. That is why the law limits itself to sabotage incidents involving war, not any form or kind of “sabotage,” explicitly limiting itself to those acts identified in section 105 of Title 18 of the United States Code.

This bring us to Watergate-on-Steroids, or #ObamaGate. Here are the problematic aspects of the Obama surveillance on Trump’s team, and on Trump himself. First, it is not apparent FISA could ever be invoked. Second, it is possible Obama’s team may have perjured themselves before the FISA court by withholding material information essential to the FISA court’s willingness to permit the government surveillance. Third, it could be that Obama’s team illegally disseminated and disclosed FISA information in direct violation of the statute precisely prohibiting such dissemination and disclosure. FISA prohibits, under criminal penalty, Obama’s team from doing any of the three.

At the outset, the NSA should have never been involved in a domestic US election. Investigating the election, or any hacking of the DNC or the phishing of Podesta’s emails, would not be a FISA matter. It does not fit the definition of war sabotage or a “grave” “hostile” war-like attack on the United States, as constrictively covered by FISA. It is your run-of-the-mill hacking case covered by existing United States laws that require use of the regular departments of the FBI, Department of Justice, and Constitutionally Senate-appointed federal district court judges, and their appointed magistrates, not secretive, deferential FISA courts.

Out of 35,000+ requests for surveillance, the FISA court has only ever rejected a whopping 12. Apparently, according to published reports, you can add one more to that — even the FISA court first rejected Obama’s request to spy on Trump’s team under the guise of an investigation into foreign agents of a pending war attack, intelligence agents apparently returned to the court, where, it is my assumption, that they did not disclose or divulge all material facts to the court when seeking the surveillance the second time around, some of which they would later wrongfully disseminate and distribute to the public. By itself, misuse of FISA procedures to obtain surveillance is itself, a crime.

This raises the second problem: Obama’s team submission of an affidavit to to the FISA court. An application for a warrant of any kind requires an affidavit, and that affidavit may not omit material factors. A fact is “material” if it could have the possible impact of impacting the judicial officer deciding whether to authorize the warrant. Such affidavits are the most carefully drawn up, reviewed, and approved affidavits of law enforcement in our system precisely because they must be fully-disclosing, forthcoming, and include any information a judge must know to decide whether to allow our government to spy on its own. My assumption would be that intelligence officials were trying to investigate hacking of DNC which is not even a FISA covered crime, so therefore serious questions arise about what Obama administration attorneys said to the FISA court to even consider the application. If the claim was “financial ties” to Russia, then Obama knew he had no basis to use FISA at all.

Since Trump was the obvious target, the alleged failure to disclose his name in the second application could be a serious and severe violation of the obligation to disclose all material facts. Lastly, given the later behavior, it is evident any promise in the affidavit to protect the surveilled information from ever being sourced or disseminated was a false promise, intended to induce the illicit surveillance. This is criminalized both by federal perjury statutes, conspiracy statutes, and the FISA criminal laws themselves.

That raises the third problem: it seems the FISA-compelled protocols for precluding the dissemination of the information were violated, and that Obama’s team issued orders to achieve precisely what the law forbids, if published reports are true about the administration sharing the surveilled information far-and-wide to promote unlawful leaks to the press. This, too, would be its own crime, as it brings back the ghost of Hillary’s emails — by definition, FISA information is strictly confidential or it’s information that never should have been gathered. FISA strictly segregates its surveilled information into two categories: highly confidential information of the most serious of crimes involving foreign acts of war; or, if not that, then information that should never have been gathered, should be immediately deleted, and never sourced nor disseminated. It cannot be both.

Recognizing this information did not fit FISA meant having to delete it and destroy it. According to published reports, Obama’s team did the opposite: order it preserved, ordered the NSA to search it, keep it, and share it; and then Obama’s Attorney General issued an order to allow broader sharing of information and, according to the New York Times, Obama aides acted to label the Trump information at a lower level of classification for massive-level sharing of the information. The problem for Obama is simple — if it could fit a lower level of classification, then it had to be deleted and destroyed, not disseminated and distributed, under crystal clear FISA law. Obama’s team’s admission it could be classified lower, yet taking actions to insure its broadest distribution, could even put Obama smack-middle of the biggest unlawful surveillance and political-opponent-smear campaign since Nixon. Except even Nixon didn’t use the FBI and NSA for his dirty tricks.

Watergate would have never happened if Nixon felt like he could just ask the FBI or NSA to tape the calls. This is Hoover-esque abuses of the kind Bob Woodward pal, former FBI Assistant Director Mark Felt (otherwise known as Deep Throat), routinely engaged in at the FBI until convicted and removed from office. (You didn’t know that Deep Throat was really a corrupt part of Deep State, did you? Guess who ran the famous COINTELPRO? That’s right — Deep Throat. How would the public have reacted if they knew the media had been in bed with the deep state all the way back then? Maybe that was the reason Woodward, Bernstein and Bradley kept Deep Throat’s identity secret all those years?)

Democrats may regret Sessions’ recusal, as his replacement is a mini-Sessions: a long-respected, a-political, highly ethical prosecutor, Dana Boente, whose reputation is well-warranted from his service at the Tax Division, and who won’t be limited by any perceived ties to Trump, given his prior appointment by Obama. Obama himself appeared scared of Boente, as he removed Boente from the successor-to-Sessions position during the lame-duck part of Obama’s presidency, but Trump restored Boente to that role earlier this month. Democrats may get the investigation they wanted, but it may be their own that end up named in the indictment.

Robert Barnes is a California-based trial attorney whose practice focuses on tax defense, civil rights and First Amendment law. You can follow him at @Barnes_Law

Lt. Col. Shaffer on wiretapping: This is Soviet behavior

March 4, 2017

Lt. Col. Shaffer on wiretapping: This is Soviet behavior, Fox News via YouTube, March 4, 2017

(Please see also, Trump Goes Nuclear with Claim Obama Wiretapped him During Election [Updated] and my parenthetical comment there. — DM)

 

Trump Goes Nuclear with Claim Obama Wiretapped him During Election [Updated]

March 4, 2017

Trump Goes Nuclear with Claim Obama Wiretapped him During Election [Updated], Power LineJohn Hinderaker, March 4, 2017

(Please see also, Mark Levin to Congress: Investigate Obama’s ‘Silent Coup’ vs. Trump for this confirmation of the wiretapping:

October: FISA request. The Obama administration submits a new, narrow request to the FISA court, now focused on a computer server in Trump Tower suspected of links to Russian banks. No evidence is found — but the wiretaps continue, ostensibly for national security reasons, Andrew McCarthy at National Review later notes. The Obama administration is now monitoring an opposing presidential campaign using the high-tech surveillance powers of the federal intelligence services.

— DM)

Someone in the intelligence/law enforcement bureaucracy had applied for a FISA warrant to tap the Trump people in June, It was turned down. Renewed and granted in October, I think. The details are out there. That’s what he’s talking about.

**********************

Early this morning, President Trump unleashed a barrage of tweets accusing then-President Barack Obama of wiretapping his office in Trump Tower during the presidential election:

Terrible! Just found out that Obama had my “wires tapped” in Trump Tower just before the victory. Nothing found. This is McCarthyism!

Is it legal for a sitting President to be “wire tapping” a race for president prior to an election? Turned down by court earlier. A NEW LOW!

I’d bet a good lawyer could make a great case out of the fact that President Obama was tapping my phones in October, just prior to Election!

How low has President Obama gone to tapp my phones during the very sacred election process. This is Nixon/Watergate. Bad (or sick) guy!

This is the most explosive political allegation in many years, far more explosive than Watergate. Is it true? I assume it has some basis in fact, e.g., Trump’s security people may have told him that they detected a tap on one or more of his phone lines. I have no idea how that works, or why it would only be detected now, or how the presence of a wire tap could be connected to the Obama administration. But it seems unlikely that Trump would make such a dynamite allegation without some kind of support.

I also wonder what Trump means by “turned down by court earlier.” It sounds like the Obama administration applied for a tap on Trump’s phones at some point, and was denied. Is it possible that Obama later succeeded in getting a wire tap order from a partisan judge, and that is what has now come to light? That is hard to imagine, but there are some very bad federal judges. The comment “nothing found” may support this interpretation.

At this point, it is all quite mysterious. But the claim is nuclear, and I can’t believe it is wholly without basis. Stay tuned!

UPDATE: Scott emails:

Someone in the intelligence/law enforcement bureaucracy had a applied for a FISA warrant to tap the Trump people in June, It was turned down. Renewed and granted in October, I think. The details are out there. That’s what he’s talking about.

This is astonishing to me, as I have never heard a word about this story. If the Obama administration abused the FISA process to wiretap a political opponent, it is a scandal of the first order–the worst political scandal of my lifetime, easily. And the press has known about it and covered it up? Unbelievable.