Tuesday, December 31, 2019

The lies and distortions by the hatchet men at Fusion GPS (Longer piece but well worth it)

The lies and distortions by the hatchet men at Fusion GPS 

Written by Washingtonexaminer | Source: The Washington Examiner | December 27, 2019 01:37 AM
Glenn Simpson and Peter Fritsch tried to keep the American people in the dark as long as possible.
For most of 2017, the founders of Fusion GPS hid the truth about the origins of their now-infamous dossier on President Trump. The real story behind their fight to keep its partisan funding a secret is very different from the version the journalists-for-renttell in their recent book, Crime in Progress. I know, because I was there.
They smear me, and my former boss, Sen. Chuck Grassley, who was chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee. Then they paint themselves as victims of "ruthlessly partisan" McCarthyite tactics. The irony is rich, given that these former journalists collected a million bucks from one political party to accuse the other of acting as agents of Russia.
The dossier they peddled ignited hysteria about alleged traitors in our government more than anything else has since Joe McCarthy’s Enemies from Within speech nearly 70 years ago.
Unlike traditional opposition research, the dossier relied on anonymous foreign sources to allege an international criminal conspiracy between the Trump campaign and the Russian government. Two independent reviews have since gutted its sensational claims.
The report by the Justice Department’s independent inspector general exposed how the FBI improperly used the dossier to justify domestic spying (a Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act warrant).
The IG made it clear that the dossier was clearly unreliable. Special counsel Robert Mueller was unable to find sufficient evidence to charge a single American with the dossier’s collusion conspiracy despite two years, $32 million, 500 witnesses, and 2,800 subpoenas-worth of additional investigation.
Like the dossier itself, Fusion’s attempt to defend its work in Crime in Progress cannot withstand scrutiny.
It devotes a chapter to denouncing Grassley for asking inconvenient questions about Fusion and the dossier. The essentially fictitious story casts Simpson as "Captain America":
Working to "protect the republic at all costs" from a Manchurian Candidate, with the First Amendment as his only shield, Simpson battles Congressional persecutors who were "trashing the Bill of Rights" by subpoenaing his bank to learn who funded the dossier.
Fusion’s founders target me, as then-counsel to Grassley, for supposedly "pulling the strings" that led to outing their secret.
They had promised never to reveal who bankrolled the project. Why? Their book concedes a "more strategic reason" to stonewall: They wanted to control the larger political narrative.
As they write in Crime in Progress: "If it came out too soon that the dossier had been paid for by the Clinton Campaign, that revelation would allow the Republicans to depict [Christopher] Steele’s work as a partisan hit job." It was "a fact that Fusion managed to keep secret" for nearly 11 months after the dossier became public.
During those 11 months, Fusion’s clients denied their involvement, and Fusion fought to keep anything from coming to light that would contradict those denials.
Grassley tried to learn more about the dossier’s claims and Fusion’s involvement. Fusion’s founders claim they would have been willing "to explain their past work" without a protracted battle if "Grassley had simply approached Fusion in good faith and asked."
Actually, we tried.
When I called Simpson, he immediately refused to talk. He lawyered up. He’s also one of only two people who refused to cooperate with the inspector general. Without voluntary cooperation, prying any information loose would prove to be a challenge. Absent a full committee vote, no subpoena could be issued without Ranking Member Sen. Dianne Feinstein’s agreement. Contrary to Fusion’s caricature of our efforts as hyperpartisan, we adopted those new rules in early 2017 to strengthen the committee’s hand in what we expected would be bipartisan oversight work during the Trump administration.
Feinstein was initially willing to question Fusion, but bipartisan efforts to look into the dossier and its allegations soon disappeared.
In the beginning, she co-signed document requests to Fusion, which its founders misrepresent in their book as ominous partisan threats solely from Grassley. Feinstein also agreed to subpoena Simpson to testify at a public hearing in the summer of 2017, but he refused to appear, citing his Fifth Amendment rights. We later negotiated a limited voluntary interview in private, where he refused to answer questions on many topics, including who funded the dossier.
Feinstein increasingly began to resist any dossier-related line of inquiry.
At the time, Grassley and his staff were unaware the Democratic National Convention’s law firm had funded the dossier or that that a former Feinstein staffer, Daniel Jones, had privately claimed to the FBI that he raised $50 million from "seven to 10 wealthy donors primarily in New York and California." That money reportedly funds Fusion’s ongoing post-election efforts to vindicate the dossier. It’s unclear how much Feinstein and her staff knew about this at the time.
Grassley played it straight.
He supported the Mueller investigation and bucked his own GOP leadership in the Senate to shepherd a bipartisan bill protecting Mueller’s independence through his committee. He worked to conduct vigorous oversight and ask tough questions of everyone, even threatening to subpoena Trump’s son to ensure Democrats had an unlimited opportunity to question him on the record. Of course, Fusion’s narrative omits this evidence of good faith.
The House Intelligence Committee subpoenaed Fusion’s bank records, and in late October 2017, its clients fessed-up to funding the dossier after it became clear they were going to lose in court.
New York Times senior White House correspondent Maggie Haberman wrote, "Folks involved in funding this lied about it, and with sanctimony, for a year." A nonpartisan, nonprofit organization complained to the Federal Election Commission that campaign disclosures falsely described payments to Fusion for opposition research as "legal services."
During the court battle, Fusion unleashed "a blizzard of filings" in which it "piled on new allegations" of supposed congressional misconduct. The court rejected all of them.
One of the failed tactics that Fusion considered "central" was to argue that the House Intelligence Committee learned "Fusion had an account at TD Bank from someone in Grassley’s staff" and to imply that was somehow improper. While it is true that we had asked about the bank during Simpson’s voluntary interview on the Senate side, it is false to claim, as Fusion does, that we learned the bank’s name from his "confidential" interview and that the information was unavailable elsewhere.
Anyone reading the transcript (p.
17-18) can see that committee staff already knew the bank’s name and mentioned it first. Fusion’s attorney did not ask how we learned it, and we wouldn’t have answered if he had. The committee protects whistleblowers and confidential sources, just as the press does. Fusion had apparently made little effort to keep its bank’s name confidential up to that point. Not only did Simpson voluntarily confirm it when asked, but we also had reason to believe he listed it on invoices to clients, so it was hardly a state secret.
Casting aspersion on the congressional investigators who forced the truth about the dossier’s funding into the open is no more effective in Fusion’s book than it was in the court proceedings.
In the end, it’s merely a distraction from the bigger issues with the dossier’s unreliability, which go far beyond the partisan motives of its sponsors.
Although the special counsel and inspector general reports dealt devastating blows to its credibility, Simpson and Fritsch still maintain in their book that "time will tell" whether the dossier "deserves to take its place among" documents that have "bent the course of history," such as the Pentagon Papers or the Warren Report.
A more apt analogy might be the phony list of traitors hyped by McCarthy. But, unlike the Americans targeted in the dossier, a few of McCarthy’s victims actually were colluding with the Russians.

Democrats' Stalingrad: The Tide Has Turned on Impeachment

Adam Schiff (D-Calif.) arrives at a House Intelligence Committee
Rep. Adam Schiff (D-Calif.) arrives at a House Intelligence Committee interview on July 18, 2018. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)
Over the coming weeks, one question will be paramount in the wake of the Democrats’ disastrous impeachment fail. Should President Trump wage a pitched and protracted battle in the upcoming Senate trial? Or will cooler heads--like Senator Lindsey Graham’s--prevail upon him to accept a perfunctory hearing or outright dismissal?
Fox News host Laura Ingraham posited a paraphrase of that question to Ken Starr before Christmas. She asked the former Clinton scandal independent prosecutor whether Trump should simply “declare victory” in light of Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s passive-aggressive call to sit on the House articles like a distraught hen sits on an egg sucked dry by a barnyard viper. Starr opined that the president should move on, sparing the nation the continued sociopolitical angst and division this travesty has wrought.
Not so fast. Graham, fresh from a White House meeting, declared that the president was “mad as hell.” That may indicate that Trump will aggressively move to obtain the exoneration he believes he so richly deserves. But Graham has also said that he doesn’t want to give the Schiff/Nadler impeachment senatorial credibility that it does not deserve.
The 2019 impeachment saga remains extremely fluid. This piece could be rendered obsolete before it is ever published. But it seems we have a temporary status quo. Democrat impeachers have left the building, gone home to face the damage they’ve done to themselves. GOP point men like Rep. Matt Gaetz (for future president?) have done irreparable damage to the flimsy impeachment cause, relentlessly characterizing the debacle for the partisan and pseudo-constitutional circus it is.
Now it’s the Senate’s turn, and Majority Leader McConnell is waiting. But something happened on the way to the upper chamber. Pelosi is hanging fast to the last shred of her party’s denuded credibility. There’s no two ways about it—she has blinked.  Another Fox host, Shannon Bream, asserted in late December that “both sides are dug in.” Really? No. The tide has turned. The Democrats are in retreat, and Donald Trump may be preparing to mount a major counteroffensive.
The Democrats have arrived at their Stalingrad.
But there is a profound difference between Pelosi's forces and the German generals who launched Operation Barbarossa against the Soviet Union in the early summer of 1941. Unlike Adolf Hitler and his inner circle of military strategists, Democrats never really believed in the mission. It was always a sketchy desperation gambit and they are now looking to mitigate the price they must pay for pursuing it.
Under plans drawn by Hitler and his high command, Germany attacked the county with which it had only recently signed a non-aggression pact for two main reasons (among others): to militarily decapitate a potential threat, and secure lands for the growth of a thousand-year Reich (Lebensraum).
The Democrats plotted and launched impeachment with the goal of mortally wounding an adversary poised to vanquish their electoral prospects in the coming election, and placate an incensed and often unhinged party apparatus that has been bested in every way imaginable by the current Oval Office occupant.
Hitler’s armies swooped into Russia with lightning speed, blitzkrieging towns and villages, slaughtering civilians and combatants alike. Meeting valiant but disorganized resistance from Russian forces, the Germans penetrated deep into the Soviet Union.  The Battle of Stalingrad, beginning in the summer of 1942, was the largest of World War II. The Germans first bombed and then attacked the city, resulting in significant Russian casualties. But after street-to-street fighting, fierce Russian defensive efforts caused the German offensive to stall.
The Democrats stormed into the impeachment process, blocking any chance for Trump or the Republicans to mount a substantive defense.  From his basement bunker, Rep. Adam Schiff promised great things to his party operatives and rabid base, assuring though a series of lies that he had the evidence they needed to prevail. A Goebbels-like leftist media helped propagandize the proceedings, and a series of toothless non-material inquiry witnesses continued the rampant prevarication and smears.
Inside the very gates of the Russian city, the tide began to turn against the Fuhrer’s invading 6th Army and 4th Panzers.  The Russians were entrenched, suffering casualties and deprivations, but no decisive defeats. All the while, the Soviet generals were biding their time, stoking the seething outrage growing in the Red Army and Russian citizenry over Germany’s brutal incursion. Similarly, the Schiff/Nadler impeachment filled Republican House defenders with determined resolve.
Though Hitler would not countenance retreat, German soldiers in the field (comparable to the Democrats’ “dirty thirty-one,” representatives in districts won by Trump in 2016) began to understand the reality of the situation. Diseases like dysentery swept the ranks. Supply lines from the Fatherland became strained, and then were cut. Winter set in. Wehrmacht soldiers died with ice-gripped fingers around their rifles. They cooked and ate rats.
The Democratic Party's winter of discontent has now begun. They’ve punted into a headwind and are looking for some kind of fallback position. Like Hitler’s generals, they’ve realized the blunder of the mission.
Like the Russian generals plotting a mass counterattack in the winter of 1942, Trump may be planning his own counteroffensive and encirclement.
In February of 1943, the Stalingrad Germans surrendered. With the spring thaw across the Great Bear of the Russian interior, the Red Army’s Operation Uranus began. The Germans carried out a scorched-earth retreat which only inflamed the Russian appetite for vengeance and vindication. As any student of history knows, the Red Army and their allies, notwithstanding a few last-ditch Germanic delaying actions, kicked Hitler’s ass all the way back to Berlin and the Reichstag building.
There is no opportunity left for valor on the Democrat side of the aisle. They’re not dug in. They’ve moved to retreat, and even appeasement, as the House signature on Trump’s U.S.-Canada-Mexico Trade Agreement shows.
But the sense in Washington is that President Trump may not be willing to accept a merciful end to the Democrats' suffering. Whatever Pelosi does with the articles, however long she delays sending them over, her troops must know that the tide has turned. Waiting in the Senate is what they most fear: payback, exoneration, and ultimate victory for the man they so cynically tried to take down. They’re now trying to move the goalposts in a governmental body they have no control over.
Considered voices, like those of Ken Starr and Senator Graham, will call for a quick denouement when (and if) the articles of impeachment reach the Senate floor. They see a palliative wisdom in quickly dismissing this awful footnote in American history, and letting impeachment 2020 die a ground-out and ignominious death.
In the end, only one voice may matter. Trump punches back. He returns fire. And he deserves the chance to set the record straight. The Democrats are retreating from their Stalingrad. But a new year is upon us, and the balance of power has shifted.
Mark Ellis is the author of A Death on the Horizona novel of political upheaval and cultural intrigue. He came aboard at PJ Media in 2015. His literary hangout is Liberty Island. Follow Mark on Twitter.

Don's Tuesday Column

      THE WAY I SEE IT   by Don Polson   Red Bluff Daily News   12/31/2019
      The “fake news” parade won’t stop

Looking back a year multiplies the difficulty of the task; rather than last week’s news, things stand out from 2, 5 or 10 months ago. My January 1, 2018 column found a government “shutdown” (involving “nonessential” workers unnoticed by 99 percent of Americans, now remembered by zero percent) screaming in headlines. President Trump determined that the shutdown would have a light burden on we, the people.

Barack Obama had “weaponized” his shutdown for maximum inconvenience of veterans who had planned on visiting the WWII memorial, or weddings depending on access to public lands. Dems may have found the tactic unhelpful to besting Trump in public opinion.

Illegal immigration—with its criminal violence and the inherent anti-American, anti-rule-of-law of so-called “sanctuary” policies—earned some space last January, as I recounted the lessons in “Death by Sanctuary State.” To wit, the death of 1) legal residents at the hands, guns or cars of illegals, and 2) those enticed to try to slip across a river, around a fence or overstay a visa to lawlessly use our resources, or take American jobs. Recent deportations of illegals created job openings for African-Americans, 20% of whom will vote for Trump. Trump has cut illegal immigration; he’s saved lives.

The responsible truthfulness of local news reporting was compared to the agenda-driven, fact-checking-be-damned, Democrats-with-bylines’ puerile bilge from the networks, the AP, the New York Times, Washington Post, CNN and MSNBC. We’ve had a year since then to compile a record of news misreporting, political skullduggery, anonymous hearsay, baseless conjecture and projection by media.

Someone suggested that the “fake news” label could be avoided for any news outlet that devotes the same time or space correcting the record as they did promoting erroneous, inaccurate news. In October, the New York Times provided an anecdote to drive a phony narrative: A 69-year-old Pennsylvania Trump voter that regrets his 2016 choice. It sent itself throughout the land without the benefit of fact-checking by the anti-Trump media.

It took an independent right-of-center skeptic to ask the local registrar a simple question, the answer to which was “No, the man had not actually voted in the presidential election, let alone vote for Trump.” Look up “Desperately seeking regretful Trump voters,” by John Hinderaker, for more on the story.

You can easily see how the process would inconvenience the media’s Democrats, cutting into their breathless reporting on the next made-up scandal or dastardly deed by President Trump. They would have to spend 3 years correcting the mistaken, made-up hoax of Trump/Russian collusion. Rachel Maddow’s head would explode to have to undo every minute of furrowed-brow, emotionally overwrought, unverified Trumpian abominations that never happened.

In “Fakiest News of 2018,” Powerlineblog.com’s Scott Johnson noted “fake news” from McClatchy News (or substitute another news source); they reported that one-time Trump attorney (and proven fabulist) Michael Cohen had traveled to Prague “to work out the details of Trump’s collusion with Putin.” It never happened; did the correction get the same prominence as the original story?

If you come across any of these books, they are worth your time and money and, for Trump opponents, may help to dispel misplaced anger and accusations of constitutional perfidy by our president: “Ball of Collusion: The Plot to Rig an Election and Destroy a Presidency,” by Andrew McCarthy; “The Plot Against the President: The True Story of How Congressman Devin Nunes Uncovered the Biggest Political Scandal in U.S. History,” by Lee Smith; “Witch Hunt: The Story of the Greatest Mass Delusion in American Political History,” by Gregg Jarrett; and, not least, “Resistance (At All Costs): How Trump Haters Are Breaking America” by Kimberly Strassel. Also, “Intel Community Blog Founder Admits Nunes Was Right About Spygate From the Beginning,” by Tristan Justice.

Taking just the titles, consider the harm done to America’s collective respect for the political, intelligence, law enforcement and media institutions that pretty much held hands to implement (or looked away from) the ultimately failed attempt to prevent Donald Trump’s election. They’ve now done all they could to effect Trump’s removal before voters can reelect him. Make no mistake, it’s a war in all but the organization and leadership of military violence. A truce starts with the left simply accepting elections.

How can any member of the national media not hang their heads in shame over, if nothing else, the character assassination and disgrace heaped on the Covington Catholic School kids who had a Native American drummer get in their faces? They were shown to have done nothing wrong but were unjustifiably pilloried, mocked, condemned and threatened. Shame on all who fabricated the narrative of smirking MAGA-hat wearing, aggressive racists (look up “The Media’s Worst Moments of 2019,” Powerlineblog.com).

How about the outrage against “racist” Trump supporters that supposedly attacked Jussie Smollett in Chicago? It turned out to be, like most hate crimes, a hoax. They still haven’t accepted the Mueller Report’s exoneration of President Trump; they refuse to accept the potentially criminal misuse of FISA warrants to “spy on” and “wiretap” the Trump campaign through lies about Carter Page. We now, or will soon, know—when Prosecutor Durham rolls out his indictments—who are the perps and their accomplices.

I’m really not picking on the ignorant young climate crusader, Greta Thunberg, who said: “Even at 1 degree of warming we are seeing an unacceptable loss of life and livelihoods.” A chart, “Deaths from Climate and non-Climate Catastrophes, 1920-2017,” (British disaster database) shows “climate deaths” declining from almost a half a million a year to about 25,000; that’s fewer than non-climate-related deaths.

Finally, I must correct writing back a while that President G. W. Bush was “impeached.” Also, a DN obituary writer listed the birth year for someone as “1642.” Folks probably excused both mistakes.

California becomes a one-state homelessness machine

California becomes a one-state homelessness machine

While California wags its finger at President Trump and blames him for all the ills of their own making, a new Housing and Urban Development report identifies the state as the skunk at the garden party. According to Axios, emphasis mine:
Homelessness in the U.S. has risen for a third consecutive year, driven by a spike in California, the Department of Housing and Urban Development said in a new report.
By the numbers: The annual HUD single-night survey, conducted in January and released Friday found homelessness increased to 567,715, up 2.7% on 2018.
  • Homelessness has decreased in 29 states and Washington, D.C. since 2018 and increased in 21 states. 
  • The number of veterans listed as homeless dropped 2.1% and homelessness among children declined 4.8%. 
  • Overall, the number of people listed as homeless has fallen nearly 11% since 2010.
California is the state that has erased everyone else's gains, even the ones with small rises. This would be the same California whose smarmy governor, Gavin Newsom, blamed President Trump for his state's atrocious record, and insisted it was nothing to do with him or his one-party blue state which excludes all Republicans.
Now we have the result.
Doing their part? They aren't even carrying their own baggage. They've made themselves a magnet for homelessness, same as they've done for illegals, and they've done all that can be done to perpetuate the problems. They own this, and not only do they own this, they stick out for their failure. Fox News's Charles Payne sums up the big picture neatly:

And as that damning homelessness problem comes out, sure enough another companion report accompanied it: Californians are fleeing. More fled the state than entered, according to another report just yesterday. Here's the CBS story on that:
“More people moved out of California than into California this year. That was negative for the first time since 2010,” said Eddie Hunsinger, a demographer with the California Department of Finance.
The migration loss has been a boon to other states, particularly Nevada. Last month, Nevada passed the 3 million population mark as the U.S. Census Bureau ranked it as the fastest-growing state in 2018 — mostly because of a steady stream of Californians moving in.
Not exactly the kind of state anyone wants to live in. Yet leftists continue to tout the place as paradise and shout their failures as a model for others. As they drive the taxpaying public out, they will eventually run out of other people's money. But for now, all these clowns have concluded as people leave is 'more for me.'
President Trump is already talking about a takeover of this state for its many many failures. A federal takeover with Trump loyalists at the helm, hosing the hellhole out, would be the most welcome thing in the world for the decent people in this state who can't leave.

Monday, December 30, 2019

“Disturbed” Lisa Murkowski Typical Republican Squish

“Disturbed” Lisa Murkowski Typical Republican Squish

“Disturbed” Lisa Murkowski Typical Republican Squish
Senator Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) gave an interview to NBC Alaska affiliate KTUU in which she claimed to be “disturbed” by Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s plan to coordinate with the White House on the Impeachment Trial of President Donald Trump. By this action, she has proved herself a typical Republican squish. The kind of squish who has sold out Republican ideals for decades.
Before we discuss the KTUU interview, let’s take a look at the background of Lisa Murkowski. She is currently in her third full, six year term. She fulfilled the term of her father in 2002. He resigned from the Senate after he won the race for Governor of Alaska, and he appointed his little girl to his seat. That has got to be in the Top Five of things I despise in our political system. So, that’s strike one against Murkowski.
Lisa Murkowski voted “No” on elevating Judge (now Justice) Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court. Think back to those medieval days of the Kavanaugh hearings. Only some type of myopic, radical feminist and/or agenda-driven liberal could believe Blasey-Ford’s sketchy claims against Brett Kavanaugh. Here is a portion of the statement that Murkowski read regarding her vote against Kavanaugh:
This hasn’t been fair to the judge, but I also recognize that we need to have institutions that are viewed as fair and if people who are victims, people who feel that there is no fairness in our system of government, particularly in our courts, then you’ve gone down a path that is not good and right for this country. And so I have been wrestling with whether or not this was about qualifications of a good man or is this bigger than the nomination.
And I believe we’re dealing with issues right now that are bigger than the nominee and how we ensure fairness and how our legislative and judicial branch can continue to be respected. This is what I have been wrestling with, and so I made the — took the very difficult vote that I did.
That statement has got to be Olympian in the amount of excrement extruded. In order for any institution to be seen as fair, it has got to be blind to anything but the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth. Lisa Murkowski had to know the provenance of the claims against Justice Kavanaugh. She listened to the fake emotions and obfuscations of Blasey-Ford, and still voted no and issued this statement. Strike two against, Senator Murkowski.
Which leads us to the current squishy disturbance in the force for Miss Murkowski. As with Kavanaugh, Murkowski has got to have some clue that her Democrat “colleagues” have been trying to rid themselves of President Trump since November, 2016. She can read the transcript of the call with Zelensky that began this latest fracas. President Trump wasn’t asking for a personal favor in the transcript. The “quid pro quo” section asked President Zelensky to do “us” a favor. I think the Bidens’ have been grifting off of Joe’s government positions for decades. If anyone commits a crime, all he has to do is run for public office and avoid scrutiny. The Alaska Senator has got to know all of this. Unless, of course, she doesn’t read news accounts, didn’t watch the House hearings, and never talks to any of her fellow Senators.
Her statement to KTUU reads:
“And in fairness, when I heard that I was disturbed,” Murkowski said before describing that there should be distance between the White House and the Senate in how the trial is conducted. “To me it means that we have to take that step back from being hand in glove with the defense, and so I heard what leader McConnell had said, I happened to think that that has further confused the process.”
McConnell “further confused the process”? Our Republic, our electoral system, our Constitution has been under attack by the Democrats for decades. It is finally coming to a head, and Lisa Murkowski thinks McConnell coordinating with the White House “confused the process”.
Senator Murkowski addressed her squishiness with Katie Couric in 2010:

We, in the Republican Party, don’t need any more RINOs, Sunshine Patriots or squishes. We need people willing to stand-up and shout “No” to the forces, Russian, Ukrainian, Chinese, and internal, which are trying to divide us.
Three strikes and you are out, Senator. From here on out, squishes need not apply.
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