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-Short Attention Span Theater-
Former Trump chief of staff Reince Priebus officially joins Navy
[The Hill] Former White House chief of staff Reince Priebus on Monday officially joined the U.S. Navy following a commissioning ceremony led by Vice President Pence.

Priebus, 47, was commissioned as an ensign, the junior rank in the Navy, following a months-long application process. Several lawmakers and fellow Wisconsinites attended the ceremony and shared photos after its conclusion.

"It was an honor and privilege to attend @Reince’s naval commissioning ceremony this morning. Congratulations and thank you for your service Ensign Priebus!!!" Sen. Ron Johnson (R-Wis.) tweeted.

Rep. Bryan Steil (R-Wis.) also attended.

-Lurid Crime Tales-
Peter Strzok Suspected CIA Was Behind Inaccurate Media Leaks
[Daily Caller] Peter Strzok suspected CIA employees were behind inaccurate leaks to the press regarding possible Trump campaign contacts with Russia, according to an email the former FBI counterintelligence official sent to colleagues in April 2017.

"I’m beginning to think the agency got info a lot earlier than we thought and hasn’t shared it completely with us. Might explain all these weird/seemingly incorrect leads all these media folks have. Would also highlight agency as source of some of the leaks," Strzok wrote in an email to FBI colleagues on April 13, 2017.

The email is highlighted in a letter that two Republican senators sent Monday to Michael K. Atkinson, the inspector general of the intelligence community.

In the letter, Sens. Chuck Grassley of Iowa and Ron Johnson of Wisconsin asked Atkinson if he has investigated whether the CIA or other intelligence community agencies leaked information to the press.

They pointed to a Dec. 15, 2016 text message that Strzok, the lead investigator on the Trump-Russia probe, sent to then-FBI attorney Lisa Page.

"Think our sisters have begun leaking like mad. Scorned and worried and political, they’re kicking in to overdrive," Strzok wrote Page.

-Lurid Crime Tales-
Strzok/Page Texts Suggest Effort to Recruit White House Staffers to Spy on Trump Team
[PJ] Communications between two former FBI officials nine days after the 2016 election regarding a briefing with Vice President-elect Pence have attracted fresh scrutiny from top Senate Republicans, Fox News reported Thursday.

The text messages, exchanged between FBI lovebirds Peter Strzok and Lisa Page, "may show potential attempts by the FBI to conduct surveillance of President-elect Trump's transition team" wrote Sen. Charles Grassley, chairman of the Senate Finance Committee, and Sen. Ron Johnson, chairman of the Senate Committee on Homeland Security, in a letter to Attorney General William Barr Thursday.

To be clear, the texts may show that top officials at the FBI were attempting to recruit staffers to spy on the Trump transition team.

In the letter, the senators wrote that they wanted to bring the matter to Barr's attention to assist his review into the "genesis and conduct of intelligence activities directed at the Trump campaign during 2016." According to the letter:

Home Front: Politix
The Senate Can Amend Effort To Block Trump's Border Emergency Declaration
[The Federalist] Life is full of mysteries. Does a tree make a sound when it falls in the forest, and no one is around to hear it? What lies beyond the edge of the observable universe? Can senators amend a resolution of termination under the National Emergencies Act?

Well. Maybe not that last one. Some questions may not have answers. Others have yet to be answered. But we already know senators can amend a resolution of termination.

Why? Because the Senate hasn’t yet said they can’t. It’s as simple as that.

Some Republicans believe that they can amend a resolution to terminate a presidential emergency declaration. However, many suspect that those amendments must be germane to the underlying resolution. Some worry that adding non-germane amendments to the resolution could risk its privileged status and thus make it subject to the filibuster.

This week, Sen. Ron Johnson (R-Wis.) acknowledged that he and his colleagues are trying to determine if amendments are in order and, if so, whether they must be germane to the underlying resolution. "We’re checking right now with the parliamentarian whether it’s amendable."

Since 1935, the Senate’s parliamentarian has advised senators on the rules and practices that govern their proceedings. The parliamentarian can be especially helpful in situations like this where, in Johnson’s words, "there’s all kinds of gray area."

But it is good to remember that senators can also answer these questions for themselves. This is because the parliamentarian is not an oracle. She does not practice divination. When senators ask her a question, she looks to the rules for the answers. And so can they.

-Lurid Crime Tales-
Medicaid fraud exploded after Obamacare expansion: GOP report
[Wash Times] Medicaid fraud has risen and bogus payments have more than doubled since Obamacare expanded the government’s chief health insurance program for the poor, topping $37 billion a year, according to a new report released Wednesday by the Senate’s chief watchdog committee.

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), which oversees the program, doesn’t even have an anti-fraud strategy, and has ignored 11 separate recommendations by the Government Accountability Office over the last three years to combat fraud, the Republicans said on the Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee said.

California alone paid out $1 billion in sketchy payments, yet the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), which oversees the program, told Congress it didn’t see any urgency in trying to go after the money.

Making efforts to collect that money should be a start for CMS, said the GOP staffers, in a report issued by committee Chairman Ron Johnson, Wisconsin Republican.

"CMS is not effectively policing Medicaid fraud," the committee’s Republican staff said in the new report, blaming program directors going back more than a decade.

Home Front: Politix
Peter Strzok Admitted to Obstruction of Justice (Again) in Newly Released Text Messages
[Offended America] Newly released text messages between the FBI’s Former Deputy Head of Counterintelligence Peter Strzok and his mistress, FBI Lawyer Lisa Page appear to show an admission of guilt in committing obstruction of justice.

In August 2016, Page and Strzok discuss starting a new "program" to get around FBI text message archiving protocols. These protocols allow for due process when text messages and other investigative materials are made available to defendants as part of discovery.

The messages were uncovered as part of an inquiry by Sen. Ron Johnson (R-WI) who heads up the Senate Homeland Security and Government Affairs Committee. Sen. Johnson was thrust into the spotlight of investigations of the FBI and DOJ when he reported that he was in contact with an informant inside of the "Secret Society" referenced in text messages between Peter Strzok and Lisa Page.

Sen. Ron Johnson sent an additional letter to the FBI and Department of Justice requesting additional communications records for senior federal law enforcement and intelligence officials including James Comey, Andrew McCabe, James Rybicki, John Giaclone, James Turgal, Jonathan Moffa and Randy Coleman, among others.


-Lurid Crime Tales-
Did Barack Obama ‘Obstruct Justice' in Clinton Email Case?
[Townhall] Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into the possibility the Trump campaign colluded with Russian officials appears to have morphed into an investigation into alleged "obstruction of justice."

On Tuesday, the Washington Post reported Mueller has requested to question President Trump directly about his decision to fire former FBI Director James Comey, as well as the departure of Trump’s former national security advisor, Michael Flynn. It is believed Mueller is looking for evidence that shows Trump’s motive for firing Comey was to end the FBI’s investigation into Flynn and Russian interference in the 2016 election.

Although liberal pundits and many congressional Democrats have long argued Trump’s decision to fire Comey was, in effect, a move to cover up other potential crimes, there is an ongoing debate among legal scholars over whether a president, the nation’s chief executive, can be charged with obstructing justice after firing a law enforcement official in the executive branch.

If such a scenario is possible, Democrats might want to tread cautiously, because recently revealed information about the FBI’s handling of the Hillary Clinton email investigation suggests President Barack Obama’s administration may have also "obstructed justice" ‐ or, at the very least, had a very strong incentive to do so.

As Andrew McCarthy noted on Tuesday in National Review, a letter issued over the weekend by Senate Homeland Security Committee Chairman Ron Johnson (R-Wis.) discusses a draft of Comey’s statement about the Clinton email investigation that is dated June 30, 2016. This draft differs, at least in one way, substantially from the infamous statement Comey made on July 5, during which he recommended no charges be brought against Clinton for her use of an illegal private email server. In the draft, Comey mentions that President Obama had communicated with Clinton while she served as secretary of state and "was on the territory of ... an adversary":


-Lurid Crime Tales-
OH LOOK! Justice Department Watchdog Finds ‘Lost' FBI Text Messages
[Breitbart] The Justice Department Inspector General Michael Horowitz informed lawmakers Thursday that he has found the missing five months of text messages between senior FBI officials Peter Strzok and Lisa Page that the DOJ said were lost due to a technical glitch.

In a letter to Homeland Security & Governmental Affairs Committee Chairman Ron Johnson (R-WI) and Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley (R-IA), Horowitz wrote:

The OIG has been investigating this matter and, this week, succeeded in using forensic tools to recover text messages from FBI devices, including text messages between Mr. Strzok and Ms. Page that were sent or received between December 14, 2016, and May 17, 2017.

That time period covered a number of significant developments in the FBI’s investigation of the Trump Russia allegations and the lead-up to the special counsel, which was convened on May 17, 2017.

-Lurid Crime Tales-
Trey Gowdy on Strzok-Page FBI Texts:
[The Federalist] In an interview with Fox News’s Martha MacCallum on Monday night, Reps. Trey Gowdy and John Ratcliffe revealed new details about the text messages between two FBI agents who were kicked off the ongoing investigation into Donald Trump for bias likely to affect their handling of the case.

The FBI provided members of Congress with nearly 400 pages of these text messages between Peter Strzok and Lisa Page, two FBI agents removed, after months on the job, from the ongoing Russia probe. That is investigating whether Trump and his campaign associates colluded with Russian officials to sway the 2016 election. Officials discovered anti-Trump messages between the two.

Strzok and Page, who were allegedly having an affair with each other, left or were removed from the Robert Mueller probe in the summer of 2017. Printouts of text messages between these two from August 2015 to December 2016 were given to members of Congress Friday evening, according to a letter by Sen. Ron Johnson. Text messages between the two from December 14, 2016 to May 17, 2017 were reportedly lost due to a technical glitch on the FBI’s part.

"The loss of records from this period is concerning because it is apparent from other records that Mr. Strzok and Ms. Page communicated frequently about the investigation," Johnson wrote.

Home Front: Politix
Sen. Ron Johnson: FBI Informant Says 'Secret Society' Held Secret Meetings Off-Site
[PJ] An FBI informant has apparently informed Congress that a secret society at the FBI was holding secret meetings off-site after the election of Donald Trump.

On Special Report with Bret Baier Tuesday evening, Senator Ron Johnson (R-Wisc.) called it "corruption of the highest levels of the FBI."

"That secret society ‐ we have an informant that's talking about a group that were holding secret meetings off-site," Johnson said. "There is so much smoke here."

This comes after text messages between FBI counterintelligence agent Peter Strzok and senior FBI lawyer Lisa Page, his paramour, revealed that a "secret society" of officials within the FBI met the day after the election of Donald J. Trump to plot against the president-elect.

"A secret society?" Baier asked. "Secret meetings off-site of the Justice Department? And you have an informant saying that?"

"Yes," Johnson answered matter-of-factly.

-Lurid Crime Tales-
The FBI Lost 5 Months Worth of Text Messages Between Anti-Trump Agents
[Daily Caller via Townhall] The Daily Caller reports that the FBI "failed to preserve five months of text messages" exchanged between two anti-Trump FBI employees who may have compromised on going investigations such as the Clinton e-mail scandal and the investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election.

The Daily Caller’s Chuck Ross reports that "The disclosure was made Friday in a letter sent by the Justice Department to the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee (HSGAC).

'The Department wants to bring to your attention that the FBI’s technical system for retaining text messages sent and received on FBI mobile devices failed to preserve text messages for Mr. Strzok and Ms. Page,' Stephen Boyd, the assistant attorney general for legislative affairs at the Justice Department, wrote to Wisconsin Sen. Ron Johnson, the chairman of HSGAC

He said that texts are missing for the period between Dec. 14, 2016 and May 17, 2017."

As this author previously noted, according to the Washington Post, Strzok's actions may have influenced other investigations, such as the FBI investigation into Hillary Clinton's illegal e-mail use. The "text messages with a colleague" the Times refers to is regarding messages critical of President Trump exchanged with FBI attorney Lisa Page, with whom Strzok was having an affair.

Related: Daily Caller - FBI Agents Spoke Of ‘Pressure’ To Wrap Up Clinton Probe As Trump Surged To GOP Nomination


-Land of the Free
Newly released texts between ex-Mueller team members suggest they knew outcome of Clinton email probe in advance
[FOX] The Justice Department has given various congressional committees nearly 400 pages of additional text messages between two FBI officials who were removed from Special Counsel Robert Mueller's investigation into alleged collusion between the Trump campaign and Russian officials.

One of the newly discovered messages, lawmakers said, appeared to indicate that Peter Strzok and Lisa Page knew that charges would not be filed against Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton as a result of the investigation into her email server -- before Clinton was interviewed by the bureau.

Strzok and Page were pulled off the probe last summer after it emerged that some of their messages to each other included anti-Trump content. Strzok, an FBI counterintelligence agent, was reassigned to the Bureau's human resources division after the discovery of the exchanges with Page, with whom he was having an affair.

According to a Saturday letter to FBI Director Christopher Wray from Sen. Ron Johnson, R-Wis., the chairman of the Senate Homeland Security Committee, the Justice Department provided 384 pages of messages to lawmakers on Friday. However, Johnson noted that additional texts sent between Dec. 14, 2016 and May 17 of last year were not preserved by the FBI's system.


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