|-Lurid Crime Tales-|
|Senators Blast Intel Community IG For Continuing To Stonewall Congress On Whistleblower Rule Changes|
|[The Federalist] Three top senators blasted the intelligence community inspector general (ICIG) Michael Atkinson for continuing to stonewall congressional efforts to determine why whistleblower rules and forms requiring firsthand information were suddenly changed last month. As The Federalist first reported and the ICIG confirmed in a subsequent press release, whistleblower forms and guidance requiring all complaints to contain firsthand information were secretly changed and then backdated after the ICIG received an anti-Trump complaint that consisted entirely of second-hand information.|
Sens. Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, Ron Johnson, R-Wisc., and Mike Lee, R-Utah, wrote Atkinson on Wednesday demanding answers about his office’s actions and behavior regarding the whistleblower rules changes. The lawmakers expressed dismay at his refusal to answer their previous queries on the matter.
"[W]e are concerned that you are ’unable to explain how or why the language [about how the ICIG must be in possession of reliable, firsthand information] was included, or how it came into use’ in the informational sheet," the three lawmakers wrote. "The information we seek and the questions we are asking should be easily obtained or answered especially in light of your testimony before the intelligence committees."
"We expect that this ‐ our third request ‐ will be the final time that we have to request that you provide full and complete answers to the Committees," they tersely noted.
Grassley, Johnson, and Lee noted that Atkinson had refused to answer 13 separate questions regarding the secret changes his office made to whistleblower rules after it received a complaint that was built entirely on second-hand information and gossip and riddled with errors.
They wrote that Atkinson’s responses to their previous letters "mostly repeated information from your press release and failed to answer the vast majority of the questions" they had asked. In addition to directing Atkinson to fully respond to those 13 questions instead of stonewalling, the senators posed an additional question about whether the anti-Trump complainant may have lied on the form he submitted to the ICIG.
|Ukraine probes ex-prosecutor named in Trump scandal|
|[AlAhram] Ukraine on Tuesday opened a probe into possible abuse of power by Yuriy Lutsenko, the former prosecutor who figures in the whistleblower complaint against US President Lutsenko, who was fired from his post of prosecutor general in August, is suspected of "abetting illegal gambling business," the spokeswoman of Ukraine's State Bureau of Investigations Anzhelika Ivanova told AFP.|
The investigation was launched at the request of Ukrainian s, she said, without elaborating on the exact allegations.
Ukrainian news agency Interfax reported that the probe started after a statement given by David Arakhamia, a senior MP with the party of President Volodymyr Zelensky.
The statement has not been made public but Lutsenko, who is currently in London, "One must have great imagination to accuse me of what Mr. Arakhamia is saying," Lutsenko said on his Facebook page.
Last week Lutsenko wrote that the complaint against him for abuse of power made by a security services employee was "manipulative and untrue".
Meanwhile the US whistleblower complaint published last week claimed Trump attempted to advance his personal interest in a call with Zelensky in July, during which he praised Lutsenko as a good prosecutor and suggested he keep his position.
Trump and his allies claim that former US vice president , his potential rival in the 2020 presidential race, pressured Kiev to fire a previous prosecutor Viktor Shokin in 2015-16 to protect his son Hunter, who sat on the board of Burisma, a gas company accused of corruption.
EU countries and the International Monetary Fund had also called for Shokin to be removed.
Lutsenko has said that he met with Trump's lawyer Rudi Giuliani over the matter, but that ultimately there was no reason to investigate Biden and his son under Ukrainian law.
The whistleblower complaint says earlier this year Lutsenko had made allegations regarding activities of Biden's family in Ukraine, and claimed that former US ambassador Marie Yovanovich obstructed Ukrainian law enforcement.
The claims have been echoed by Trump's allies, and Yovanovich was recalled from her post in May. She has now been summoned to be questioned by US congressional committees in the impeachment inquiry against Trump.
|Home Front: Politix|
|Graham coordinates with Jared to save Trump from new wave of attack|
|[PRESSTV] US Republican Senator is engaging in an attempt to defend President amid the Ukraine scandal.|
The South Carolina senator, who played golf with Trump at the president’s club in Sterling, Virginia, on Saturday morning, rejected allegations that Trump acted against national security interests by pushing Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy to investigate political rival before enjoying the US military aid.
"In America you can’t even get a parking ticket based on hearsay testimony," tweeted Graham, once a Trump critic. "But you can impeach a president? I certainly hope not."
The Republican was reportedly heard on a JetBlue flight from Washington, DC, to Charleston, South Carolina, apparently coordinating his defense initiative with Trump's son-in-law and senior adviser, Jared Kushner.
"His phone rang and he answered, ’Hey, Jared!’ He was . . . saying he’s going to be on ’Face the Nation’ on Sunday. He said, ’Listen ‐ this is what I’m going to lay out,’ " according to the report. "He was like, ’We need to know why Hunter [Biden] was receiving $50K’ " for being on the board of Ukrainian gas company Burisma. "He then said, ’You can’t impeach someone on hearsay.’ He was laying out his story for Sunday."
So... ummm... this story is based on hearsay?
|Home Front: Politix|
|Hillary, kindly make like a tree|
|[AMERICANTHINKER] AT's Thomas Lifson reports that is on the way out as a candidate and that is ready to step into his shoes, still griping about 2016, still vicious and nasty and still bent on for slights carried over from the last century.|
Handlers have slicked her up and painted over the look of staggering drunken homelessness that Hillary successfully modeled the last three years. It didn't help. All across America, voters are throwing things at their televisions. A run on straight razors is expected.
America doesn't want this woman as president. We don't want her as a candidate. Our feelings for her fall between the levels of affection for bedbugs and cockroaches. We don't want to surrender our country to her wholesale criminality and rape of our Constitution. We don't want to read about Arkancides clearing out all opposition.
Enough of Chelsea in the news. We've had our fill of Huma. Spare us Little Georgie Stephanopoulos resuming his embarrassing suckuppery right out front where everybody can see. We don't want more of our strategic minerals going to the Russians or our ultra-secret weapons systems declassified to benefit the Chinese.
We don't want still more emails going to our enemies. We don't want more stories of Americans fighting and dying in faraway lands while Hillary turns over and goes back to sleep. We don't want to hear that scratchy voice punctuated with "you know" every few seconds. We don't want a First Husband running a personal porn industry out of the White House.
We don't want the economy messed with now that has it running like a Swiss watch.
We don't want this vile creature who sneers at us, calls us names, insults our intelligence, denigrates us ‐ we don't want this queen of the Deep State at the helm. One of those was plenty, thank you.
Clinton fatigue doesn't begin to describe how we feel about this evil woman and her sick husband. Americans of both sexes and all ages, parties, religions, colors, sexual orientations, national origins, and dysfunctions want the Clintons, paraphrasing Biff Tannen, to make like a tree and get out of here.
|Home Front: Politix|
|Rep. Andy Biggs Introduces Motion to Censure Adam Schiff|
|[BREITBART] Rep. Andy Biggs (R-AZ) on Friday introduced a motion to condemn and censure House Intelligence Committee Chairman (D-CA) for performing a fabricated conversation between President Donald Trump and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky during his opening statement at a panel hearing Thursday morning.|
"During yesterday’s hearing, Chairman Schiff’s opening statement included a blatantly false retelling of President Trump’s conversation with the Ukrainian president. Democrats previously initiated an impeachment inquiry, which leads to one of the most serious, constitutional duties of Members of Congress: removal of the President of the United States," Biggs, a member of the House Judiciary Committee, said in a statement. "Through this process, if the President has committed high crimes or misdemeanors, Congress may overturn the election of the President and the will of the American people. It is therefore inexcusable to toy with the process and mislead the American public with such a statement."
Although the White House released Wednesday a transcript of the Trump-Zelensky call, Schiff made-up his own transcript that he read ahead of the testimony of acting DNI chief Joseph Maguire in which he accused the president of engaging in quid pro quo with the intent of exchanging U.S. military aid to Ukraine for an investigation into Hunter Biden, the son of former Vice President and 2020 White House hopeful "We’ve been very good to your country. Very good. No other country has done as much as we have. But you know what? I don’t see much reciprocity here. I hear what you want. I have a favor I want from YOU though. And I’m going to say this only seven times so you better listen good," said Schiff.
"I want you to make up dirt on my political opponent, understand? Lots of it," the congressman continued.
|Home Front: Politix|
|GOP Senator Ron Johnson Suggests Investigating Biden and Ukraine|
|[AmGreatness] Senator Ron Johnson (R-Wisc.), Chairman of the Homeland Security Committee, has reportedly voiced his support for a possible investigation into former Vice President Joe Biden and his questionable conduct regarding Ukraine, the Daily Caller reports.|
The reports first surfaced in a Washington Post piece that cited three unnamed sources who were "familiar with the conversations" that Johnson reportedly had with some of his Senate colleagues. When asked about the conversation in question, Johnson said that "we have and will continue to gather information...on alleged misconduct with government agencies."
Biden’s actions towards Ukraine as vice president have come under heavy scrutiny in recent weeks, with the "whistleblower" complaints against President Donald Trump only forcing mainstream media coverage of Biden’s actions, about which President Trump voiced his concern to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky.
As vice president in 2016, then-Vice President Biden demanded that the Ukrainian government fire then-Prosecutor General Viktor Shokin, who was investigating the suspicious business dealings of energy company Burisma Holdings, of which Biden’s son Hunter was a board member. It is widely believed that Biden did so in order to protect his son, and went so far as to threaten to withhold $1 billion in U.S. aid to Ukraine if Shokin was not fired.
|Home Front: Politix|
|Democratic senator warns O'Rourke AR-15 pledge could haunt party for years|
|[THEHILL] Sen. Christopher Coons (D-Del.) on Friday warned that Beto O’’s pledge that the government will confiscate semiautomatic AR-15 rifles will become a rallying cry for gun rights groups for years to come and haunt the Democratic Party far into the future.|
"I frankly think that that clip will be played for years at Second Amendment rallies with organizations that try to scare people by saying that Democrats are coming for your guns," Coons, an ally of former Vice President in the Democratic race, told CNN’s Poppy Harlow in an interview.
O’Rourke, a former member of Congress from Texas, received loud applause at the Democratic debate in Houston on Thursday when he declared: "Hell yes, we’re going to take your AR-15, your AK-47. We’re not going to allow it to be used against fellow Americans anymore."
O’Rourke’s statement confirms the fears of many Republicans and gun rights advocates who say the ultimate goal of the gun control movement is government confiscation of firearms.
"When you really understand what the endgame of the left is, it’s literally mandatory buybacks or as I call it: confiscation. This is a step-by-step process for them," Sen. Ron Johnson (R-Wis.) told The Hill Thursday when asked about the debate over expanded background checks for firearms sales.
Coons, who is working with Republicans to pass more modest gun control measures, scrambled on Friday to contain the fallout from O’Rourke’s statement.
"I don’t think having our presidential candidates, like Congressman O’Rourke did, say that we’re going to try to take people’s guns against their will is a wise policy or political move," Coons said.
Asked if O’Rourke’s statement was irresponsible or hurt the party, Coons said, "we’ll have to see."
Coons has sponsored a bill with Sen. Pat Toomey (R-Pa.) that would require law enforcement officials to be notified when someone prohibited from purchasing a gun attempts to buy one.
|Home Front: Politix|
|The road not taken: Another FBI failure involving the Clintons surfaces|
|[The Hill] August in Washington can be the political equivalent of an elephant graveyard: One good rain can wash away the dirt and expose the bones of scandals past.|
And this August did not disappoint. Thanks to the relentless investigative work of Senate Finance Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) and Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee Chairman Ron Johnson (R-Wis.), we are learning that the Hillary Clinton email case may not really be settled.
A staff memo updating the two senators’ long-running probe discloses that the FBI ‐ the version run in 2016 by the now-disgraced and fired James Comey, Andrew McCabe and Peter Strzok ‐ failed to pursue access to "highly classified" evidence that could have resolved important questions.
The failure to look at the evidence back in 2016 occurred even though the agents believed access to the sensitive evidence was "necessary" to complete the investigation into Clinton’s improper transmission of classified emails ‐ some top-secret ‐ on her unsecure private email server, the memos show.
To make matters worse, the Trump Department of Justice (DOJ) has known about that decision since at least 2018, thanks to the work of the DOJ’s internal watchdog, Inspector General (IG) Michael Horowitz, who provided DOJ leaders and Congress with a classified appendix explaining what happened.
But Johnson and Grassley have been unable to get answers for a year, even from Attorney General William Barr, about whether the FBI intends to look at the critical evidence it skipped back in 2016.
The Senate staff memo succinctly lays out just how egregious the FBI’s decision was in 2016.
The inspector general’s "appendix raised a number of serious questions because, as explained on page 154 of the unclassified DOJ IG report, the FBI decided not to seek access to certain highly classified information potentially relevant to the investigation despite members of the FBI case team referring to the review as a ’necessary’ part of the investigation," the Senate staff wrote.
"As a result of the findings in that appendix, Senator Grassley wrote a classified letter to DOJ on October 17, 2018, which remains unanswered. On January 15, 2019, at Mr. Barr’s nomination hearing, Senator Grassley asked Mr. Barr if he would answer the letter, if confirmed, to which he attested, ’Yes, Senator.’ On April 16, 2019, Senators Grassley, Johnson, and Graham sent a letter to Attorney General Barr reiterating the need for a written response to that letter."
The DOJ’s silence on the road that the FBI willfully chose not to take is all the more deafening given what we already know about the Clinton email case.
As I previously wrote, then-FBI Director Comey’s original draft findings in the Clinton case concluded her transmission of classified emails through an unsecure server was "grossly negligent," the legal standard supporting a felony charge under the Espionage Act.
And now we learn the FBI willfully chose to ignore highly classified evidence in the Clinton email case and has stonewalled Congress for a year on whether it intends to reexamine that evidence.
It’s exactly that sort of behavior that leaves many Americans wondering whether there are two systems of justice inside the FBI ‐ one for the Clintons, and one for the rest of the country.
So far little has occurred that is visible that would make one think that we are not a 2-tiered system of justice and that the FBI is not slow-walking information.
|-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.
WHAT’S THE CURRENT DEBATE
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.