|-Lurid Crime Tales-|
|So Obama knew all along about the FBI bid to spy on his rival|
|[American Thinker] Up until now, President Obama has said he knew nothing about the FBI bid to destroy his political rival, Donald J. Trump, as evidenced in the newly released and mighty critical inspector general report.|
Back in August 2016, Obama said:
I do not talk to the attorney general about pending investigations. I do not talk to FBI directors about pending investigations[.] ... I guarantee that there is no political influence in any investigation conducted by the Justice Department or the FBI -- not just in this case, but in any case. FULL STOP. PERIOD. Guaranteed. Nobody gets treated differently when it comes to the Justice Department[.]
Today, Obama's claim is in tatters. Julie Kelly of the Federalist found references within the new I.G. report that Obama was briefed on the gamy investigation and knew all about it all along.
Former FBI Director James Comey briefed President Barack Obama about the investigation into Donald Trump's campaign before the 2016 election, according to a report released today by the Justice Department's inspector general.
So Obama knew, quite contrary to his claims, that this now criticized rat-king of an investigation on his rival was happening as he watched.
It's not a big surprise, actually. As Kelly notes, FBI officials Peter Strzok's and Lisa Page's emails suggested that that was going on:
|Home Front: Politix|
|The inspector general’s report makes Jim Comey’s FBI look terrible|
|[NYPOST] Jim Comey’s FBI comes off pretty bad in the long-awaited report from Justice Department Inspector General Michael Horowitz, and the IG didn’t even look at much of "Crossfire Hurricane," the FBI’s investigation of the Trump campaign and its possible links to Russia.|
Yes, Horowitz says the FBI had adequate reason to open the case ‐ but only because it has such a "low threshold" for opening counterintelligence investigations.
In this case, it was an Australian diplomat’s months-old memory of a vague conversation with low-level Trump campaign adviser George Papadopoulos: The Aussie said the Yank had said a Russian had raised the possibility of handing over dirt on
|Home Front: Politix|
|Kimberly Stassel's Takeaways from the IG Report|
|[Thread Reader of Kimberly Stassel's Twitter postings - H.T. The Boningo Report]|
1) Key findings of Horowitz report:
--Yup, IG said FBI hit threshold for opening an investigation. But also goes out of its way to note what a "low threshold" this is. Durham's statement made clear he will provide more info for Americans to make a judgment on reasonableness.
2) The report is triumph for former House Intel Chair Devin Nunes, who first blew the whistle on FISA abuse. The report confirms all the elements of the February 2018 Nunes memo, which said dossier was as an "essential" part of applications, and FBI withheld info from FISA court
3) Conversely, report is an excoriation of Adam Schiff and his "memo" of Feb 2018. That doc stated that "FBI and DOJ officials did NOT abuse the [FISA] process" or "omit material information." Also claimed FBI didn't much rely on dossier.
4) In fact, IG report says dossier played "central and essential role" in getting FISA warrants. Schiff had access to same documents as Nunes, yet chose to misinform the public. This is the guy who just ran impeachment proceedings.
5) Report is a devastating indictment of Steele, Fusion GPS and the "dossier." Report finds that about the only thing FBI ever corroborated in that doc were publicly available times, places, title names. Ouch.
6) IG finds 17 separate problems with FISA court submissions, including FBI's overstatement of Steele's credentials. Also the failure to provide court with exculpatory evidence and issues with Steele's sources and additional info it got about Steele's credibility.
7) Every one of these "issues" is a story all on its own. Example: The FBI had tapes of Page and Papadopoulos making statements that were inconsistent with FBI's own collusion theories. They did not provide these to the FISA court.
8) Another example: FBI later got info from professional contacts with Steele who said he suffered from "lack of self awareness, poor judgement" and "pursued people" with "no intelligence value." FBI also did not tell the court about these credibility concerns.
9) And this: FBI failed to tell Court that Page was approved as an "operational contact" for another U.S. agency, and "candidly" reported his interactions with a Russian intel officer. FBI instead used that Russian interaction against Page, with no exculpatory detail.
10) Overall, IG was so concerned by these "extensive compliance failures" that is has now initiated additional "oversight" to assess how FBI in general complies with "policies that seek to protect the civil liberties of U.S. persons."
11) Report also expressed concerns about FBI's failure to present any of these issues to DOJ higher ups; its ongoing contacts with Steele after he was fired for talking to media; and its use of spies against the campaign without any DOJ input.
12) Remember Comey telling us it was no big deal who paid for dossier? Turns out it was a big deal in FBI/DOJ, where one lawyer (Stuart Evans) expressed "concerns" it had been funded by Clinton/DNC. Because of his "consistent inquiries" we go that convoluted footnote.
13) IG also slaps FBI for using what was supposed to be a baseline briefing for the Trump campaign of foreign intelligence threats as a surreptitious opportunity to investigate Flynn.
14) Finally, intriguing just how many people at the FBI don't remember anything about anything. Highly convenient.
15) Last point. When IG says he found no "documentary" evidence of bias, he means just that: He didn't find smoking gun email that says "let's take out Trump." And it isn't his job to guess at the motivations of FBI employees. Instead...
16) He straightforwardly lays out facts. Those facts produce a pattern of FBI playing the FISA Court -- overstating some info, omitting other info, cherrypicking details. Americans can look at totality and make their own judgment as to "why" FBI behaved in such a manner.
|-Short Attention Span Theater-|
|Comey: 'We Did Not Spy---We Just Observed And Reported Secretly Without The Subject's Knowledge Or Consent'|
|[Babylon Bee] WASHINGTON, D.C.—After Attorney General Barr suggested that the FBI and other agencies spied on Donald Trump's 2016 campaign, former FBI director James Comey fired back.|
"We did not spy," he told reporters as he stretched for his morning yoga class. "We just observed and reported secretly without the subject's knowledge or consent."
"See, I've never considered that spying," he added as he formed the "downward dog" pose. "That's just kind of secret watching. It's definitely not the same thing. When you spy, you watch someone without their knowledge. When you secret-watch, you just kind of secretly watch them."
"If we redefined spying to include all secret watching, we would have to include all the watching of American citizens on a daily basis as spying, and that probably wouldn't be good for our public image."
He then asked reporters if they would take a picture of him looking pensively up at the trees.
|Inspector General Ramps Up Investigations of FBI Employees|
|[Epoch Times] Open investigations of FBI employees by the Justice Department’s Inspector General (IG) have about doubled in recent years and, as far as available records go, there have never been so many investigations of this kind.|
The Office of IG Michael Horowitz had 104 “open criminal or administrative investigations of alleged misconduct related to FBI employees” as of Sept. 30, according to its latest semi-annual report to Congress (pdf).
The number fell from 112 open investigations just six months earlier, but still fit into a heightened trend. In fiscal 2018, the IG reported 84 and 93 open investigations, respectively. In the decade before that, the average was a bit under 51.
It’s not clear what’s behind the increase.
In the past few years, the IG has worked on a number of high-profile investigations, including one into former FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe for a self-serving media leak and another into former FBI Director James Comey for disclosure of sensitive information.
In June 2018, the IG released a report on his review of the investigation into the purported mishandling of classified information by former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. While the report criticized several FBI officials involved in the probe for political bias, it concluded that “we did not find documentary or testimonial evidence that improper considerations, including political bias, directly affected the specific investigative decisions we reviewed.”
|Home Front: Politix|
|VDH 'When Our Guardians Fail Us'|
|[Townhall] One symptom of a society in crisis is the unreliability or even corruption of its own auditors.|
After all, when the watchmen have lost moral authority to watch, who can be believed or trusted? Or, as the Roman satirist Juvenal famously put it, "Who will guard the guardians?"
It was recently reported that FBI lawyer Kevin Clinesmith altered an email to bolster a suspicious FBI effort to obtain a Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court warrant authorizing the surveillance of Carter Page, a onetime employee of the Trump campaign.
If true, Clinesmith helped the FBI successfully delude the court into granting what was likely an illegal request to spy on the Trump campaign. Clinesmith was reportedly expelled from special counsel Robert Mueller's legal team for cheering on opposition to the Trump presidency by writing "Viva la resistance!" in a text message discussion.
After FBI Director James Comey was fired, he leaked his own memos of private and confidential conversations with the president. Whether Comey would go to jail hinged on how the FBI would categorize his memos post facto -- as merely "confidential," or as "secret" or "top secret."
Two of the adjudicators were Lisa Page and Peter Strzok, former Comey friends and FBI subordinates. The FBI eventually ruled that the leaking of the memos was not felonious. Page and Strzok, who were involved in an amorous relationship, were later dismissed from Mueller's team for exchanging texts that showed bias and hatred toward Trump, the object of their team's investigation.
We are awaiting the results of investigations being conducted by Department of Justice Inspector General Michael Horowitz and federal prosecutor John Durham. Both are examining whether the nation's top investigators at the FBI, CIA and DOJ were themselves corrupt.
|Home Front: Politix|
|Chris Wallace Criticizes Dems for Refusing to Call on Republican Impeachment Witness|
|[NATIONALREVIEW] Fox News commentator Chris Wallace criticized Democrats on Wednesday for refusing to question the lone witness brought by Republicans during the day’s impeachment hearings.|
Republicans called on Jonathan Turley, a professor at George Washington University Law School, to be their witness opposite three professors summoned by Democrats. Turley has previously testified in the 1998 impeachment hearings against , giving background on the impeachment process.
During the 45 minute hearing on Wednesday morning, "only once did [the Democratic counsel] ask Jonathan Turley any questions," Wallace told Fox News.
"Why is he talking to the three and not [Turley]? Because the Democrats, who have the majority, called three Democratic, pro-Trump-impeachment law professors and they wanted to focus on them, and they didn’t want to hear anything from Jonathan Turley," Wallace went on. "This was not a search for justice or wisdom; this was a search for trying to make a case."
|Home Front: Politix|
|Rep. Al Green slams committee over impeachment experts: 'not one person of color'|
|[FOXNEWS] A Texas congressman slammed his fellow Democrats Wednesday after "not one person of color" was called as an expert to testify during the first day of impeachment hearings conducted by the House Judiciary Committee.|
Rep. Al Green, D-Texas, rebuked his colleagues in a speech on the House floor before the committee hearing began. Three legal scholars later testified at the request of Democrats in the first Judiciary Committee impeachment inquiry hearing. Jonathan Turley, a professor at George Washington University Law School, was the sole witness called by the GOP.
"I rise because I love my country, but I also rise today with heartfelt regrets. It hurts my heart, Mr. Speaker, to see the Judiciary Committee hearing experts on the topic of impeachment — one of the seminal issues of this Congress — hearing experts... and not one person of color among the experts," Green told the House floor.
|Home Front: Politix|
|Convicted Pedophile Used In Mueller Investigation Indicted For Funneling Millions In Illegal Contributions to Hillary|
|[DAILYWIRE] George Nader, a convicted pedophile that special counsel Robert Mueller used in his Russia investigation, was indicted on Tuesday for allegedly concealing millions of dollars in illegal campaign contributions to then-Democratic presidential candidate "The Justice Department refers only to an unidentified 2016 presidential candidate, but campaign finance records make clear that the candidate was Clinton," Politico reported.|
In a statement, the U.S. Department of Justice wrote:
According to the indictment, from March 2016 through January 2017, Khawaja conspired with Nader to conceal the source of more than $3.5 million in campaign contributions, directed to political committees associated with a candidate for President of the United States in the 2016 election. By design, these contributions appeared to be in the names of Khawaja, his wife, and his company. In reality, they allegedly were funded by Nader. Khawaja and Nader allegedly made these contributions in an effort to gain influence with high-level political figures, including the candidate. As Khawaja and Nader arranged these payments, Nader allegedly reported to an official from a foreign government about his efforts to gain influence.
"The indictment noted that political committees that received funding unwittingly submitted false disclosure reports and were presumably victims of the plot," The Washington Post reported. "Still, Clinton apparently attended numerous events, including small gatherings, with Nader, who on July 19, 2016, messaged the foreign official a photograph of him with Candidate 1’s spouse ‐ an apparent reference to ‐ at Khawaja’s home.”
|Home Front: Politix|
|The Real Reason the Dems Want Trump Gone|
|[Townhall] The calls to remove Donald Trump from office began before Donald Trump assumed office. They’ve wanted him gone from pre-day one and remain determined to run him off Pennsylvania Avenue by hook, crook, or any other means necessary.|
If not for firing James Comey, then go to Michael Flynn. If that peters out there’s Stormy and Avenatti. No traction? Russian collusion. Didn’t get him? Ukraine’s up next. The effort to oust Trump has been nonstop for three years and shows no signs of slowing.
Why? Why is the inside-the-beltway permanent political class so determined to send Trump packing? Because he’s not a member of "The Club."
Yes Trump is ruff, gruff, combative, and bombastic, but there’s lots of Club members who are all of those things, yet they’ve been around Washington for decades. Truth is that The Club has been effectively insulating itself from the American people, enriching itself and its family members by burying self-pay schemes in the largess of government, and Trump is a threat. There are dark corners inside The Club’s clubhouse, lots of them, and Trump is wandering around with a flashlight.
...Club members have at their direct disposal hundreds of billions of dollars and indirectly, multiple times more. There’s a reason they’re more concerned about Trump’s inquiry into Joe Biden’s dealings than they are with Biden’s dealings. Washington Club members have been money laundering taxpayer dollars guised up as "foreign aid," "military aid," and "humanitarian aid" back to themselves through family, friends, foreign nations and corporations for decades. Ukraine is not unique.
...Since forever, The Club has been cutting deals and running scams for themselves and their families through which they end up filthy rich, incredibly powerful, travel the world at no personal expense, and eat quail on crackers‐all not only behind their constituents’ backs, but with those constituents’ dollars.
In Trump there’s finally someone at the helm who is not a part of the cabal, not a part of The Club, who has his own money, whose children don't need shady, foreign board of directors’ side deals. And, he's a threat to blow the whole thing up. He's shining lights into corners that they prefer remain dark. They must get rid of him; they can't allow this outsider and his flashlight to run roughshod inside the clubhouse. Dark corners must remain dark, no candles allowed. So for three straight years, they’ve looked for something, anything to get his wick snuffed out.
|-Lurid Crime Tales-|
|Whitewash update: Horowitz FBI Didn't Spy On Trump's Campaign|
|[Hot Air] Can you imagine what the presidential sh*tposting about Bill Barr will be like if the Horowitz report turns out to be a dud? Trump is counting on it to deliver his vindication in the Russiagate mess. Barr was the Roy Cohn figure POTUS had longed for after being massively disappointed by Jeff Sessions, the AG who would finally prove that Trump’s worst fears were right all along. The bogus Steele dossier inspired the witch hunt; the renegade deep-staters at the FBI spied on the campaign; Comey, McCabe, Strzok, Page, and God knows who else were all rancid with bias against Trump because they resented a right-wing anti-interventionist president who wasn’t chummy with Washington’s entrenched bureaucracy.|
According to last week’s Times story about the IG’s draft report and now this new one, none of it is true. Per this afternoon’s reporting, inspector general Michael Horowitz is prepared to conclude that the FBI didn’t spy on the campaign.
...although it did use at least two informants to make contact with Trump campaign staff. Huh?
Until now, the debate over whether the FBI had "spied on the campaign" focused on the spying part. Is it "spying" when the police use an informant as part of a legitimate counterintelligence or criminal investigation? (Last week’s reporting claimed that the draft report will find that the Russiagate probe did have a sufficient factual and legal basis when it was opened.) But now we’re going to end up debating the "on the campaign" part too. Was the FBI spying on "the campaign" if it had informants in touch with advisors to the campaign but not attempting to join the campaign themselves? Remember that both Stefan Halper and a mystery woman were each working for the feds when they made contact with George Papadopoulos.
|-Lurid Crime Tales-|
|FBI Attorney 2 Kevin Clinesmith was the Primary Lawyer on the Trump/Russia Case; Here are a Few of His Texts|
|[Red State] Last weekend, we learned that the DOJ Inspector General’s investigators had discovered that FBI lawyer Kevin Clinesmith had altered documents used to support two of the FBI’s applications to the FISA Court for the warrants to spy on Trump campaign foreign policy advisor Carter Page. IG Michael Horowitz has since referred Clinesmith for criminal prosecution and he resigned from the FBI in September.|
For obvious reasons, the media minimized his importance and presented Clinesmith as a low-level FBI lawyer. The reality is that he was a member of the Hillary Clinton email investigation team (Midyear Exam). According to DOJ Inspector General Michael Horowitz’ June 2018 Report (on various actions by the FBI and DOJ in advance of the 2016 election) which can be viewed here, he played a far larger role in the FBI’s counterintelligence investigation of the Trump campaign (Crossfire Hurricane). The report states Clinesmith was the "the primary FBI attorney assigned to that investigation beginning in early 2017." He then joined Robert Mueller’s investigation team and was dismissed in February 2018 after his anti-Trump text messages had been revealed.
Below is an excerpt from the report. The IG was somewhat concerned about the bias of FBI Attorney 2, but apparently not enough to view it as a threat to the outcome of the investigation.
On page 416, the report shows text messages Clinesmith sent on October 28, 2016 to several FBI colleagues he "considered to be his friends." These were sent shortly after Comey announced the reopening of Midyear Exam. But perhaps more significantly, they occurred just after the FBI had submitted the first application to the FISA Court.