Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Sketchy firm behind Trump dossier is stalling investigators

Sketchy firm behind Trump dossier is stalling investigators


A secretive Washington firm that commissioned the dubious intelligence dossier on Donald Trump is stonewalling congressional investigators trying to learn more about its connections to the Democratic Party.
The Senate Judiciary Committee earlier this month threatened to subpoena the firm, Fusion GPS, after it refused to answer questions and provide records to the panel identifying who financed the error-ridden dossier, which was circulated during the election and has sparked much of the Russia scandal now engulfing the White House.
What is the company hiding? Fusion GPS describes itself as a “research and strategic intelligence firm” founded by “three former Wall Street Journal investigative reporters.” But congressional sources says it’s actually an opposition-research group for Democrats, and the founders, who are more political activists than journalists, have a pro-Hillary, anti-Trump agenda.
“These weren’t mercenaries or hired guns,” a congressional source familiar with the dossier probe said. “These guys had a vested personal and ideological interest in smearing Trump and boosting Hillary’s chances of winning the White House.”
Fusion GPS was on the payroll of an unidentified Democratic ally of Clinton when it hired a long-retired British spy to dig up dirt on Trump. In 2012, Democrats hired Fusion GPS to uncover dirt on GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney. And in 2015, Democrat ally Planned Parenthood retained Fusion GPS to investigate pro-life activists protesting the abortion group.
More, federal records show a key co-founder and partner in the firm was a Hillary Clinton donor and supporter of her presidential campaign.
In September 2016, while Fusion GPS was quietly shopping the dirty dossier on Trump around Washington, its co-founder and partner Peter R. Fritsch contributed at least $1,000 to the Hillary Victory Fund and the Hillary For America campaign, Federal Election Commission data show. His wife also donated money to Hillary’s campaign.
Property records show that in June 2016, as Clinton allies bankrolled Fusion GPS, Fritsch bought a six-bedroom, five-bathroom home in Bethesda, Md., for $2.3 million.
Fritsch did not respond to requests for comment. A lawyer for Fusion GPS said the firm’s work is confidential.
Sources say Fusion GPS had its own interest, beyond those of its clients, in promulgating negative gossip about Trump.
Fritsch, who served as the Journal’s bureau chief in Mexico City and has lectured at the liberal Wilson Center’s Mexico Institute, married into a family with Mexican business interests. His wife, Beatriz Garcia, formerly worked as an executive at Grupo Dina, a manufacturer of trucks and buses in Mexico City that benefits from NAFTA, which Trump opposes.
Fritsch’s Fusion GPS partner Thomas Catan, who grew up in Britain, once edited a business magazine in Mexico, moreover. A third founding partner, Glenn Simpson, is reported to have shared dark views of both Russian President Vladimir Putin and Trump. Before joining Fusion GPS, Simpson did opposition research for a former Clinton White House operative.
The Senate Judiciary Committee is also investigating whether the FBI has wrongly relied on the anti-Trump dossier and its author, Christopher Steele — the old spy who was hired by Fusion GPS to build a Russia file on Trump — to aid its ongoing espionage investigation into the Trump campaign and its possible ties to Moscow.
The FBI received a copy of the Democrat-funded dossier in August, during the heat of the campaign, and is said to have contracted in October to pay Steele $50,000 to help corroborate the dirt on Trump — a relationship that “raises substantial questions about the independence” of the bureau in investigating Trump, warned Senate Judiciary Chairman Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa.
Senate investigators are demanding to see records of communications between Fusion GPS and the FBI and the Justice Department, including any contacts with former Attorney General Loretta Lynch, now under congressional investigation for possibly obstructing the Hillary Clinton email probe, and deputy FBI director Andrew McCabe, who is under investigation by the Senate and the Justice inspector general for failing to recuse himself despite financial and political connections to the Clinton campaign through his Democrat activist wife. Senate investigators have singled out McCabe as the FBI official who negotiated with Steele.
Like Fusion GPS, the FBI has failed to cooperate with congressional investigators seeking documents.
Steele contracted with Fusion GPS to investigate Trump’s ties to Russia starting in June 2016, whereupon he outlandishly claimed that Hillary campaign hackers were “paid by both Trump’s team and the Kremlin” and that the operation was run out of Putin’s office. He also fed Fusion GPS and its Hillary-allied clients incredulous gossip about Trump hating the Obamas so much that he hired hookers to urinate on a bed they slept in at the Moscow Ritz-Carlton, and that Russian intelligence recorded the pee party in case they needed to blackmail Trump.
Modal Trigger
AP
Never mind that none of the rumors were backed by evidence or even credible sourcing (don’t bother trying to confirm his bed-wetting yarn, Steele advised, as “all direct witnesses have been silenced”). Steele reinforced his paying customers’ worst fears about Trump, and they rewarded him for it with a whopping $250,000 in payments.
But it’s now clear his “intelligence reports,” which together run more than 35-pages long, were for the most part worthless. And the clients who paid Fusion GPS (which claims to go “beyond standard due diligence”) for them got taken to the cleaners.
Steele’s most sensational allegations remain unconfirmed. For instance, his claim that Trump lawyer Michael Cohen held a “clandestine meeting” on the alleged hacking scheme in Prague with “Kremlin officials” in August 2016 unraveled when Cohen denied ever visiting Prague, his passport showed no stamps showing he left or entered the US at the time, witnesses accounted for his presence here, and Czech authorities found no evidence Cohen went to Prague.
Steele hadn’t worked in Moscow since the 1990s and didn’t actually travel there to gather intelligence on Trump firsthand. He relied on third-hand “friend of friend” sourcing. In fact, most of his claimed Russian sources spoke not directly to him but “in confidence to a trusted compatriot” who, in turn, spoke to Steele — and always anonymously.
But his main source may have been Google. Most of the information branded as “intelligence” was merely rehashed from news headlines or cut and pasted — replete with errors — from Wikipedia.
In fact, much of the seemingly cloak-and-dagger information connecting Trump and his campaign advisers to Russia had already been reported in the media at the time Steele wrote his monthly reports.
In the same August report, for example, Steele connected a Moscow trip taken by then-Trump campaign adviser Michael Flynn to “the Russian operation” to hack the election. But there was nothing secret about the trip, which had taken place months earlier and had been widely reported.
And there was nothing untoward about it. It was a dinner celebrating the 10th birthday of Russian TV network RT, and Flynn sat at the same table with Putin as US Green Party presidential candidate Jill Stein.
The real question is why anyone would take anything in the sketchy report seriously.
But even the CIA gave it credence. The dossier ended up attached to a Top Secret intelligence briefing on Russia for President Obama, even though his intelligence czar last month testified “We couldn’t corroborate the sourcing.” The FBI, moreover, has been using it for investigative leads on Trump associates like Carter Page, even though former FBI Director James Comey this month described the dossier as “salacious and unverified.”
And of course, Democratic leaders in Congress keep referring to it to cook up more charges against Trump, while liberal media continue to use it as a road map to find “scoops” on Trump in the “Russiagate” conspiracy they’re peddling — still hoping against hope that the central thrust of the report — that Trump entered into an unholy alliance with the Russian government during the election — will one day prove true and bring about the downfall of his presidency.
Sperry is a former Hoover Institution media fellow and author of “Infiltration: How Muslim Spies and Subversives Have Penetrated Washington.”

Don's Tuesday Column

                 THE WAY I SEE IT   by Don Polson  Red Bluff Daily News  6/27/2017
                    Escaping heat, finding fake news
Among the meteorologically dramatic, but entirely pleasant, events you can experience has to be the transition from the blast furnace-like heat of our summer scorchers to cool spring conditions at higher elevations. I once worked in blast furnaces; the 130+ degree air in a parking lot is pretty close. You should try Lassen Park or the Coast Range off of Hwy 36.
Our summer travels began with just such a change of scenery as we left with a fully packed motorhome on a “heat wave” Thursday, just as the mercury shot through 95 degrees on its way to 108. It felt like being chased by a thermal tsunami as we watched the hills above Redding approach, and the first views of Shasta Lake radiated a hint of “cool.” However, the only cool air was coming out of the dash air conditioning vents and it stayed that way until we rose above Klamath Falls, Oregon to the 4,000-foot elevation of pine tree lined Hwy 97.
At the Collier Park day use area on the Williamson River, a “hooray” left our lips as we beheld the flowers of spring still blooming. At home, we opened all the windows to catch the nighttime cool breezes, a habit abandoned for 80-degree nights. In Bend, windows got shut to keep out 50-degree breezes in the early morning—a minor problem, to be sure. When you read this, I hope you’re back to 90s (highs) and 60s (lows).
Our destination, the West Yellowstone area of Idaho, Wyoming and Montana, at 6,000 to 7,000 feet in elevation, has only this week transitioned from average highs in the 60s to balmier 70s. An 85-degree day will prompt locals to remark on “the heat”; we will try not to comment.
Unlike past summer travels when I left weeks of written columns to run while traveling (columnists often compose “evergreen” pieces that can run anytime); this trip, I’ll write on the road, or in the campground, as time and inspiration allow. A missed week shouldn’t concern you.
A quote from a piece by Matthew Continetti is an advisory and insight into what passes for journalism in today’s contentious, partisan atmosphere: “Events are turning me into a radical skeptic. I no longer believe what I read, unless what I am reading is an empirically verifiable account of the past. I no longer have confidence in polls, because it has become impossible to separate the signal from the noise. What I have heard from the media and political class over the last several years has been spectacularly proven wrong by events, again and attain…
“The fact is that almost the entirety of what one reads in the paper or on the web is speculation. The writer isn’t telling you what happened, he is offering an interpretation of what happened, or offering a projection of the future. The best scenario is that these theories are novel, compelling, informed, and based on reporting and research. But that is rarely the case. More often the interpretations of current events, and prophesies of future ones, are merely the products of groupthink dogma, emotions or wish-casting, memos to friends written by 27-year-olds who, in the words of (Obama advisor) Ben Rhodes, ‘literally know nothing.’ There was a time when newspapers printed astrology columns. They no longer need to. The pseudoscience is on the front page.”
Continetti ties it into the Georgia 6 election, the 2016 election and the Trump-Russia story. Georgia: the blatant merging of skewed polling (in favor of Democrat Ossoff), the inability or unwilling blindness of the media to honestly report on the half of the electorate that voted for and strongly support Trump, and the revulsion of the same to the hate and hysteria from the Democrat left (i.e. Nancy Pelosi) and to the unhinged, disconnected and mindless blathering from Hollywood. Apply the same observations to last November’s election with little nuance.
No one on our side of the ideological struggle should ever let the MSN, the Democrats and the progressive left off the hook for making up out of whole cloth the phony conspiracy that Donald Trump “colluded” with the Russians to defeat Hillary Clinton and win the election.
Over 7 months ago, as the sobering, depressing (for Hillary et al) reality of Donald Trump’s stunning victory set in, the Clinton-istas—together (knowingly or not) with Obama et al—concocted one of the all-time greatest political hoaxes in American history. Obama set up the intelligence agencies to disseminate endless leaks designed to undermine the incoming president. The phony “dossier” commissioned by Democrats gave the FBI and news media salacious slime.
Actually, it ranks up there with the kook fringe conspiracies over 9/11, certainly beyond the phony “stolen election” of George Bush in 2000 and Diebold-hacked election machines in Ohio, etc, that reelected President Bush in 2004. They love hoaxes; fevered hysteria rules leftists.
Before departing we caught—via the streaming of internet—President Trump’s rally in Cedar Falls, Iowa, which proved how marginalized the news media are in their ability to control the dissemination of content not conforming to their preferred narrative. A CBS reporter, covering the waiting fans as if it were a foreign cult, asked if they thought he was making up news stories. Informed of his CBS affiliation, a man managed to say, “Yeah, some of your news is slanted,” before the interview was cut.
If it were me, I would simply have referred to the obsessive stories over Trump-Russia as exhibits A through Z of phony news based on lying, duplicitous “sources” violating every oath and law they swore to uphold. All to reverse the voters decision to elect Donald Trump as President. Treasonous and shameful! All of the political players working to that end are the “useful idiots” doing the bidding of America’s enemies and adversaries—including Russia.


OBAMACARE: WHAT WOULD REAGAN DO?

OBAMACARE: WHAT WOULD REAGAN DO?

Henry Olsen, master election analyst and a scholar of Ronald Reagan, asks what position Reagan would take in the Obamacare debate. Olsen concludes that The Gipper would (and did) back government-subsidized medical care for people who couldn’t otherwise afford it and would approve of federal subsidies such as those contained in Obamacare.
Olsen bases these conclusions mainly on Reagan’s support for the Kerr Mills Act. Enacted in the pre-Medicare era, this legislation provided federal funds to states to set up programs to pay for medical care for poor senior citizens. Olsen also cites Reagan’s refusal, as governor of California, to repeal the state’s participation in Medicaid.
This demonstrates that, in very different times, Reagan supported certain kinds of subsidies for people who can’t afford health care. But it doesn’t show that Reagan would back Obamacare subsidies or GOP replacement proposals that don’t really repeal them.
Reagan’s support for Kerr-Mills occurred in the pre-Medicare era. His support for California’s participation in Medicaid occurred in the pre-Obamacare expansion era.
By the time Obama was elected president, Medicare and Medicaid provided subsidized insurance for those who need it the most. Obamacare then expanded Medicaid to subsidize insurance for a less needy group. I doubt that Reagan would have supported forcing states to expand Medicaid, as Obamacare was intended to do.
Would Reagan support the present scheme that allows states to opt out of the Medicaid expansion? Possibly. My guess — far less educated than Olsen’s — is that, Reagan would instead support market-based efforts to reduce the cost of health insurance.
What about subsidies to pay for a portion of the health insurance premiums for people who earn too much to qualify for even the expanded version of Medicaid? It’s hard for me to imagine Reagan backing this.
Olsen concludes:
If [Reagan] were convinced, as Senate bill critics argue, that this bill’s Medicaid changes will keep people from getting the care they need, Reagan would surely have worked to find a solution.
I agree. However, I think that, for Reagan, the solution would be market-based, with a focus on eliminating one-size-fits-all federal regulations (something Reagan consistently opposed, as Olsen notes). I also think Reagan would be happy to support a “work” requirement for able-bodied Medicaid recipients.
Reagan opposed passage of both Medicare and Medicaid. He surely would have opposed Obamacare, as every Republican Senator, including Susan Collins and Olympia Snowe, did. Thus, it’s difficult for me to imagine Reagan backing any Obamacare replacement bill that doesn’t radically overhaul it.
Thus, if Reagan opposed the Senate replacement bill — which I think is likely — he probably would have opposed it based more on the complaints of Sens. Lee, Cruz, Paul, and Johnson than on the concerns of Sens. Collins and Heller.

Monday, June 26, 2017

Man Charged with Threatening Ohio Rep: 'We’re Coming to Get' Every Go**amn One of You'

Rep. Steve Stivers, R-Ohio, leaves the House Republican Conference meeting at the Capitol Hill Club on Tuesday, May 20, 2014. (Photo By Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call) (CQ Roll Call via AP Images)
Let members of Congress concealed carry. NOW.
A voice mail that threatened U.S. Rep. Steve Stivers and his family landed a Westerville [Ohio] man in federal court Wednesday, charged with a crime that carries a 10-year prison term if he is convicted.
In the voice mail that authorities said was left with the Upper Arlington Republican’s Hilliard district office on Sunday, the caller mentioned the June 14 baseball practice during which House Majority Whip Steve Scalise, R-La., and four others were wounded or injured in Alexandria, Virginia.
“I’ve seen the prayer ya’ll were saying at the baseball diamond ... I think ya’ll better hit your knees and pray for the people that you’re screwin’ up their lives,” the message stated, according to a criminal complaint filed by Capitol Police in U.S. District Court in Columbus.
“We’re coming to get every g**amn one of you and your families. Maybe the next one taken down will be your daughter. Huh? Or your wife. Or even you.”
E. Stanley Hoff, 68, is charged with threatening to “assault, kidnap, or murder a United States official.” He appeared in federal court wearing a Mickey Mouse T-shirt, jeans and sandals in addition to ankle and wrist chains. [Emphasis added]
According to the complaint, Hoff has left at least five threatening voice mails at Stivers' Hillyard office since February. The voice mails continued even after Capitol Police warned him to knock it off.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Kevin Kelley told Chief Magistrate Elizabeth A. Preston Deavers that Hoff "is a significant danger to the community."
“We had to take it seriously, especially when he mentioned the baseball game,” Kelley said of the latest message.
Preston Deavers ordered Hoff held without bail.
Rep. Thomas Massie (R, Ky.) introduced a bill after Rep. Steve Scalise was shot at the congressional baseball game last week that would "require reciprocity between the District of Columbia and other States and jurisdictions with respect to the ability of individuals to carry certain concealed firearms, and for other purposes." It currently has 40 co-sponsors in the House.
Rep. Mo Brooks (R, Ala.), a member of the Republican baseball team that was attacked on June 14, introduced legislation that would allow members of Congress to carry concealed weapons anywhere in the U.S. except the Capitol or when in the presence of the president or vice president.
Democrats, of course, want a kinder and gentler approach to protecting themselves from enraged murderers. Cleveland.com reports:
A subcommittee where Niles-area Rep. Tim Ryan is top Democrat is about to consider a number of funding proposals to increase congressional security, said Ryan's spokesman Michael Zetts.
"Congressman Ryan is determined to give the Sergeant at Arms and Capitol Police the funding and tools they need to ensure there will never be another tragedy like the one we saw last week," Zetts said.
Toledo Democratic Rep. Marcy Kaptur said Capitol Police have the primary responsibility to protect visitors, Congress members, and staffers at the U.S. Capitol.
"I would prefer to leave the task of maintaining order to the professionals," she said.
When asked whether  it would be a good idea for members of Congress to carry concealed weapons in Washington, D.C., Warrensville Heights Democratic Rep. Marcia Fudge replied: "No. More guns are not the answer."
So their basic plan is to let the bad guys and a handful of Capitol Police have guns, while everyone else has to "shelter in place" and hope for the best. If you were getting the calls Stivers was getting threatening you and your family, would you be comfortable with that arrangement? It's unfair to ask these men and women to be essentially sitting ducks with no way to protect themselves.  If they've passed a firearms course and have obtained their gun legally, they should be permitted to carry, even in that safe, gun-free utopia they call Washington, D.C.

CHARLES GRASSLEY: CHUCK SCHUMER LIED ABOUT RUSSIA INVESTIGATION

CHARLES GRASSLEY: CHUCK SCHUMER LIED ABOUT RUSSIA INVESTIGATION

On Thursday, Sen. Charles Grassley accused Sen. Chuck Schumer of lying about the FBI Russia probe. Grassley didn’t use the term “lying,” but there is no other way to read his remarks.
Grassley, the head of the Senate Judiciary Committee, explained that then-FBI director Comey told him and Dianne Feinstein, the Committee’s ranking member, that President Trump was not under investigation by the Bureau. Grassley said that, in addition, Comey told this to the “Gang of Eight,” a group that includes Schumer.
Yet, says Grassley, even after Comey informed Schumer of this, the unscrupulous Minority Leader told the media the contrary — namely, that Trump was under investigation. He even urged that Trump’s nominee to the Supreme Court, Neal Gorsuch, be held up because Trump was being investigated.
“The whole time,” says Grassley, Schumer “knew it wasn’t true.” In other words, Schumer is a liar.
Grassley also took a shot at Comey for not telling the public that Trump wasn’t under investigation. Grassley urged Comey to disclose this in the name of “transparency and accountability.” But the manipulative, egomaniac Director chose not to inform Americans that the president wasn’t under investigation, even after Schumer public claim Trump was.
Comey’s stated reasons for his refusal make no sense. It’s likely that Comey was attempting to undermine Trump, just as Schumer was. Both still are.
Grassley concluded his remarks by warning that Attorney General Sessions may be about to receive the same kind of treatment. I don’t doubt it. There’s not much that Comey, his friends in the media, and Schumer wouldn’t stoop to.
Via Chuck Ross at the Daily Caller.

Some people hate Trump. More people hate liberals.

Some people hate Trump. More people hate liberals.

For Republicans, winning never gets monotonous. 
The Karen Handel victory in the Georgia 6th District special election repeats a pattern depressingly familiar to the left.  There have been four special congressional elections since the hated Trump took office, and Democrats have lost all four.  In each contest, the left predicted victory – largely based on what they perceived was hatred of President Trump by ordinary Americans, which would generate "enthusiasm" for the Democrat candidate and drive people in overwhelming numbers to the polls.
Each of the four Democrat candidates was well financed and received strong support from the national party.  Each Democratic candidate's campaign was augmented by hundreds or thousands of activist  volunteer Democrats.  And each and every race was seen as a referendum on Donald Trump – not his policies as much as the man himself.  He is Hitler and Howdy Doody all rolled into one, a traitorous SOB (although most liberals only hint that Trump has committed treason), a threat to the rule of law, and a joke as a president.
And each and every time, liberals have been shocked to discover that ordinary people don't view the president that way.
In Georgia's 6th, reality once again intruded on liberals' fantasies.  They once again failed to grasp that some people may hate President Trump.  But more people hate them.  And unless they can grasp that fundamental point, 2018 will turn into another GOP victory.
The resentment of ordinary Georgia voters begins and ends with the $23 million that poured into the district from Democrat donors across the country – most prominently, from Hollywood and Silicon Valley.  Handel's money also came from out of state, but it didn't come from people who look down their noses at Georgia voters and try to instruct them on what they should think.
That brings us to the national media.  More than any other Democrat-allied group, the media promoted the narrative that Trump is so unpopular that a deep red congressional district was almost certainly going to flip. 
Of course, the press professed to be neutral, and all those negative stories trying to wrap Trump around Handel's neck were what people were really thinking.
One tweet last night sort of blows that nonsense out of the water:



Have you ever seen such long faces?  Whom are they trying to kid?
As long as the faces were at CNN when it became clear Handel was the winner, imagine the chins hitting the floor at the DNC.  They were so sure of victory, so confident of success.  If $23 million can't buy them a House seat, where do they go from here?
The media are thinking the same thing.  The following is from CNN:
With the inflated price tag and the 15-month lag time between the special election and the November 2018 midterms, the contest might not hold much predictive value.
And if Ossoff had won?  How "predictive" would that result have been?
After the initial glum reaction of pundits to Handel's win came the excuses.  It was the weather, it was the big GOP advantage in registration, it was early voting, it was Republican outsiders, it was history, it was counter-historical, Ossoff wasn't liberal enough, no unions, blacks didn't turn out, and the most common complaint from the left about ordinary voters...
The people refused to vote "their interests."
All of those excuses fail to get to the crux of why the left keeps losing.  Ordinary Americans simply don't like leftists very much.  And when Hollywood and Silicon Valley unite to tell them they are stupid, are ignorant, are racist, are homophobic, hate Muslims, and shouldn't love America so much, what do they expect the reaction from ordinary people will be?
Republicans are not representatives of the people any more than Democrats are.  But they speak the language of the ordinary voter and usually don't put them down.  The coastal elites who run the Democratic Party and liberal establishment cannot disguise their contempt for ordinary Americans.  In Georgia's 6th District, that smug, self-righteous sense of superiority played about as well as one might expect.
Until the Democrats can learn to mask their hatred of the hoi polloi, ordinary people will hate them more than they hate Trump and the Republicans.
For Republicans, winning never gets monotonous. 
The Karen Handel victory in the Georgia 6th District special election repeats a pattern depressingly familiar to the left.  There have been four special congressional elections since the hated Trump took office, and Democrats have lost all four.  In each contest, the left predicted victory – largely based on what they perceived was hatred of President Trump by ordinary Americans, which would generate "enthusiasm" for the Democrat candidate and drive people in overwhelming numbers to the polls.
Each of the four Democrat candidates was well financed and received strong support from the national party.  Each Democratic candidate's campaign was augmented by hundreds or thousands of activist  volunteer Democrats.  And each and every race was seen as a referendum on Donald Trump – not his policies as much as the man himself.  He is Hitler and Howdy Doody all rolled into one, a traitorous SOB (although most liberals only hint that Trump has committed treason), a threat to the rule of law, and a joke as a president.
And each and every time, liberals have been shocked to discover that ordinary people don't view the president that way.
In Georgia's 6th, reality once again intruded on liberals' fantasies.  They once again failed to grasp that some people may hate President Trump.  But more people hate them.  And unless they can grasp that fundamental point, 2018 will turn into another GOP victory.
The resentment of ordinary Georgia voters begins and ends with the $23 million that poured into the district from Democrat donors across the country – most prominently, from Hollywood and Silicon Valley.  Handel's money also came from out of state, but it didn't come from people who look down their noses at Georgia voters and try to instruct them on what they should think.


Read more: http://www.americanthinker.com/blog/2017/06/some_people_hate_trump_more_people_hate_liberals.html#ixzz4kss1OJFE
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Sunday, June 25, 2017

AN EPIDEMIC OF LAWLESSNESS

AN EPIDEMIC OF LAWLESSNESS

Yesterday’s Washington Post carried the Russia story of the day. Post reporters Greg Miller, Ellen Nakashima and Adam Entous purport to deliver the goods on “Obama’s secret struggle to punish Russia for Putin’s election assault.” It’s a long, long story that is of interest from a variety of perspectives.
The Post purports to give us the inside story on the collection of intelligence on Russian interference in the presidential election and serve up the apologetics explaining the Obama administration’s passive response. Based on highly classified intelligence related to the Post, the CIA discovered Russian interference in the election while it was in process within months of the election in the last year of the Obama administration. According to the CIA intelligence, the interference came on the order of Vladimir Putin and furthered Putin’s desire to aid the election of Donald Trump as president.
The Post dates the critical intelligence “bombshell” obtained by the CIA to August 2016. The Post reports that CIA Director John Brennan deemed it so confidential that he withheld it from the President’s Daily Brief and conveyed it directly in writing to Obama by hand delivery.
The intelligence provided Obama administration officials time to foil Putin’s plans and/or punish Putin’s deeds. Indeed, administration officials concocted plans to punish and deter Russia from interference. The Post reports that “Obama administration secretly debated dozens of options for deterring or punishing Russia, including cyberattacks on Russian infrastructure, the release of CIA-gathered material that might embarrass Putin and sanctions that officials said could ‘crater’ the Russian economy. But in the end, in late December, Obama approved a modest package” (emphasis added). In other words, President Obama declined to take any action while it might still have done some good in 2016.
One might infer from story that President Obama “colluded” with Putin to defeat Hillary Clinton and elect Donald Trump. One might support the inference with Obama’s own comment open mic comment to Dmitri Medvedev that during Obama’s second term he would have more “flexibility” to cooperate with Putin.
To be fair, we might consider the explanation that Obama was just a pusillanimous pussy disinclined to protect the interests of the United States from our enemies. Perhaps Obama’s passivity was overdetermined and other hypothetical explanations apply. Certainly some explanation beyond any offered by the Post’s sources is called for. The possibilities are endless.
By contrast, however, the Post’s reportage offers no evidence of Trump’s “collusion” with the Russian interference intended to assist Trump’s election. Zero. Nada. Not even by inference.
Perhaps evidence of Trump “collusion” with Russia is beyond the scope of the Post’s story. If the Post had obtained such evidence from its numerous sources, however, it would certainly have found a place for it in the story.
So far as I can tell, sophisticated commenters on the story take it at face value and consider it on the terms presented by the Post. See, for example, David French’s NRO column and Tom Rogan’s Examiner column.
The story comes complete with this revelation: “Obama also approved a previously undisclosed covert measure that authorized planting cyber weapons in Russia’s infrastructure, the digital equivalent of bombs that could be detonated if the United States found itself in an escalating exchange with Moscow. The project, which Obama approved in a covert-action finding, was still in its planning stages when Obama left office. It would be up to President Trump to decide whether to use the capability.”
I’m sure Putin is grateful for the heads-up from the Post. You don’t have to be a CIA officer or analyst to figure that out.
Now like much of the Post story, this is a piece of highly classified intelligence whose disclosure violates the oaths of those who gave it to the Post. The violation of a solemn oath by a witness is commonly taken to detract from the credibility of the witness’s testimony. Consider, moreover, that the sources for the story were not under oath when they confided in Greg Miller, Ellen Nakashima and Adam Entous. The intelligent reader would be well within his rights not to believe a word they say.
If we believe it, however, this pertinent fact should be added. The disclosure of highly classified intelligence by government officials also violates the espionage laws of the United States. It is in all likelihood felonious several times over in the case of each of the Post’s numerous anonymous sources.
The Post and its reporters are accomplices to the crimes committed by their sources. They have disseminated highly classified intelligence to the enemies of the United States — as the left has lately discovered Putin and Russia to be.
Taking the story at face value, we can conclude that the Post and its sources have done great damage to the national security of the United States. The Post attributes the leaks on which the story is based to “three dozen current and former U.S. officials in senior positions in government, including at the White House, the State, Defense and Homeland Security departments, and U.S. intelligence services. Most agreed to speak only on the condition of anonymity…” As for the requirement of anonymity imposed by the Post’s sources, see the paragraph above.
Again, taken at face value, the story buries this bombshell. Three dozen current and former U.S. officials in senior government positions have undertaken a campaign of gross lawlessness for their own purposes undermining the national security of the United States beyond anything Vladimir Putin can do.
UPDATE: A reader points out that NBC reported the preparation of the United States for a cyberattack on Russia in November 2016 “according to a senior intelligence official and top-secret documents reviewed by NBC News.”