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Power User
Posts: 41392

« Reply #300 on: September 20, 2017, 08:14:30 PM »

For proper formatting, see here:


Paul Manafort Is in Legal Jeopardy fullscreen Paul Manafort (Reuters file photo: Carlo Allegri) Share article on Facebook share Tweet article tweet Plus one article on Google Plus +1 Print Article Adjust font size AA by Andrew C. McCarthy September 20, 2017 7:28 AM @AndrewCMcCarthy But Trump may not be We already knew that Paul Manafort was in a heap of trouble. It was almost two months ago — July 26, to be precise — that his Virginia residence was raided by the FBI in the predawn hours. As I said at the time, prosecutors do not obtain warrants to toss the homes of people they regard as cooperating witnesses. When they are dealing with cooperators, prosecutors politely request that documents be produced, expecting the witness (and his lawyers) to comply. If some coercion is thought necessary, they will issue a grand-jury subpoena — an enforceable directive to produce documents, but one that still allows the witness to hand over the materials, not have them forcibly seized. The execution of a search warrant, even if it goes smoothly, is a show of force. It is intimidating. When we first learned of the raid, I also emphasized its timing: predawn. Under federal law, search warrants are supposed to be executed during daytime hours, when agents can be expected to knock on the door, announce their presence and purpose, and be admitted by the occupant of the premises. If investigators want to search a home before 6 a.m., they need permission. To get it, they have to convince the judge that, if the occupant were alerted to the agents’ presence before they entered, it is likely he would destroy evidence or pose a danger. When I pointed that out, some said I was reading too much into it. To promote agent safety, they countered, the FBI proceeds in the early morning whenever possible. In fact, that is not always the case; and, in any event, the FBI’s preference to proceed in “the early morning” (e.g., at 6 a.m.), is not the same thing as barging in even earlier — for which, again, special permission is required. But now you needn’t take my word for it. Assuming Monday’s New York Times report is correct, the FBI entered covertly by picking the lock on Manafort’s front door while he was sleeping. Clearly, that is not standard operating procedure — certainly not in a white-collar case. Mueller’s investigators wanted to start grabbing files and copying hard drives before Manafort had a chance to call his lawyers or impede the search in any way. It was their way of saying Manafort could not be trusted. That’s intimidating, too. Powered by In light of the latest revelations (which our David French has outlined well in a Corner post), I stand by what I said when news of the raid first surfaced: There are two possible rationales for a search warrant under the circumstances. First, the legitimate rationale: Investigators in good faith believed Manafort, who is either a subject of or witness in their investigation, was likely to destroy rather than surrender relevant evidence. Second, the brass-knuckles rationale: The prosecutor is attempting to intimidate the witness or subject — to say nothing of others who are similarly situated — into volunteering everything he may know of an incriminating nature about people the prosecutor is targeting. Note that these rationales are not mutually exclusive. A few points are worth mulling over at this stage. 1. The current Manafort probe is a criminal investigation, which special counsel Mueller is pursuing with a grand jury in the Eastern District of Virginia. The July search involved a regular criminal-law search warrant. By contrast, the prior surveillances of Manafort were counterintelligence investigations conducted by the Obama Justice Department and FBI with the assistance of the secret court created by the 1978 Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA). Counterintelligence investigations are thus often called “FISA investigations” or “national-security investigations.” The difference, as we’ve pointed out several times, is significant. A criminal investigation is an effort to make a prosecutable case that a suspect has committed a crime. A FISA investigation is an effort to understand the actions and intentions of a foreign power by monitoring one of its suspected agents — i.e., by eavesdropping on communications or conducting searches under FISA. Being a foreign agent is not a crime, per se; whether the relationship is criminal depends on the nature of the actions the operative takes (including whether he has disclosed his agency, as required by federal law). So in a FISA investigation, it is not necessary to show probable cause that a suspect has committed a crime in order to search his home or tap his phone; all that is needed is probable cause that he is acting as an agent of a foreign power. According to CNN’s latest revelations, the FISA surveillance took place in two phases: the first, from 2014 until sometime in early 2016; the second in late 2016 into early 2017. This suggests that they were probably two separate FISA investigations: Initially, I suspect Manafort was investigated as an agent of the Kremlin-backed Yanukovich faction in Ukraine (for which he had done political consulting work for many years, reportedly for millions of dollars); subsequently, Manafort was investigated as a suspected agent of Russia in connection with the Putin regime’s meddling in the 2016 election. I am betting the probable-cause evidence was overwhelming in Phase I, and sketchy in Phase II. While criminal and FISA investigations are critically different, they can also be closely related — intelligence derived from FISA can incidentally bolster a criminal case, although the federal government is not permitted to use FISA as a ruse to conduct what is actually a criminal investigation. Mueller wants to prosecute Manafort, so criminal-law investigative tactics are now being used. 2. As I pointed out in the aforementioned column, the criminal search warrant executed at Manafort’s home on July 26 would give us insight into what suspected crimes Mueller is investigating. There would have to have been a probable-cause showing of specific crimes before a judge authorized the warrant; and the warrant itself had to have described the evidence the agents expected to find. We still do not know what crimes are under investigation, because the Justice Department did not comply with a regulation that calls for it to provide a factual description of the criminal investigation the special counsel has been authorized to conduct. But Manafort has a good idea of what Mueller is after, because the agents were required by law to provide Manafort with a copy of the warrant and an inventory of what they seized. These have not been publicly revealed. 3. Prosecutors do not like it when other investigative bodies, including congressional committees, are trying to scrutinize the same matters they are probing. We should bear this in mind in considering the timing of the search warrant. Not only did Manafort meet with Senate Intelligence Committee investigators the day before the search; he was also scheduled to testify before the Senate Judiciary Committee on the very day of the search. Indeed, by pouncing at the precise time Manafort was cooperating with Congress, Mueller’s investigators were able to seize binders of documents that Manafort and his counsel had prepared to assist his Senate testimony. After the early-morning raid, Manafort ended up not testifying before the Judiciary Committee. The committee’s senior senators, chairman Charles Grassley (R., Iowa) and ranking member Dianne Feinstein (D., Calif.), later issued a joint statement that their subpoena to Manafort had been withdrawn because he produced documents (reportedly over 300 pages’ worth) to the committee. Obviously, though, Manafort would not have the same willingness to testify before Congress if he suddenly had reason to believe he was likely to be indicted (such that any testimony he gave could be used against him in a criminal case). The New York Times reports that Mueller’s prosecutors have told Manafort they intend to indict him. That, too, is intimidating. It is more plausible that the first FISA surveillance was aborted because it was not turning up any useful intelligence about the Putin regime and its Ukrainian puppets. 4. CNN claims that the first FISA surveillance of Manafort was shut down in 2016, after over a year, due to “lack of evidence.” That is strange. Again, the point of FISA surveillance is not to build a criminal case but to gather intelligence about the foreign power for which the subject is allegedly acting as an agent. To say FISA surveillance was aborted for “lack of evidence” makes it sound like Manafort was not an agent for the Ukrainian faction after all. But we know he was: Not only is this common knowledge; he belatedly registered as a foreign agent. It is more plausible that the first FISA surveillance was aborted because it was not turning up any useful intelligence about the Putin regime and its Ukrainian puppets. That implies that the Obama Justice Department and FBI concluded that Manafort was no longer an active foreign agent in early 2016 — before he (briefly) joined the Trump campaign. 5. CNN elaborates that the second FISA surveillance, apparently begun in late 2016, “was part of the FBI’s efforts to investigate ties between Trump campaign associates and suspected Russian operatives.” This is not news: Months ago, we began discussing reports that there may have been FISA surveillance of Manafort and longtime Trump confidant (and Manafort partner) Roger Stone, as well as Carter Page, a tangential figure who was identified by the Trump campaign as a foreign-policy adviser but does not seem to have been much of one or to have much of a relationship with Donald Trump. CNN says it is “unclear” when the second FISA surveillance started, but that the FBI’s interest in Manafort was rekindled “last fall because of intercepted communications between Manafort and suspected Russian operatives, and among the Russians themselves.” This FISA counterintelligence investigation of Manafort is said to have included a search warrant, executed in early 2017 on a storage facility he controlled. Because this was a FISA search warrant, it is classified; there has been no leak (yet) about what the Obama Justice Department’s application alleged and what the agents found. Assuming these claims are true (and of that we cannot be sure), the timing of the surveillance and search would be of great importance. Was it before the November election, in the immediate aftermath of which President Obama said the Russians did not and could not rig it? Or was it later, when Democrats had settled on a narrative that Russia stole the election in collusion with the Trump campaign? 6. It has been reported that during the campaign’s final weeks, the FBI was dealing with Christopher Steele, the former British spy retained to compile the so-called Trump dossier by the opposition research firm Fusion GPS. As the Washington Examiner’s Byron York reports, the FBI and Justice Department have been stonewalling the House Intelligence Committee’s efforts to find out whether any part of the dossier factored into in the Russia investigation. The dossier’s allegations, which former FBI director James Comey has described as “salacious and unverified,” were said to come from Steele’s well-placed Russian sources, and the research effort was backed by wealthy Hillary Clinton supporters. So, the question naturally arises: Was any part of Steele’s claims used by the FBI in applications to the FISA court for surveillance and searches of Manafort or other Trump associates? 7. On a parallel track with the 2016–17 FISA investigation, we also know that Obama’s national-security team was involved in a startling amount of “unmasking” in intelligence reporting — i.e., revealing the names of Americans who were incidentally caught up in foreign-intelligence-collection efforts targeting other people. Normally, unmasking just means that these identities get revealed in classified reports disseminated among intelligence agencies, not that they get revealed to the public. Yet, we now know that there was considerable leaking — very likely by design. Thus, another obvious question: Was there correlation between (a) the intelligence generated by the FISA surveillance of Manafort and (b) the unmasking of people associated with the Trump campaign? Obama’s national-security team was involved in a startling amount of ‘unmasking’ in intelligence reporting. We should stress, of course, that if there was solid evidence of an espionage relationship between Manafort and the Kremlin, there would be nothing necessarily inappropriate in conducting surveillance and unmasking relevant American identities. The question is: Was there solid evidence? 8. Some Trump enthusiasts are suggesting that the latest revelations about the surveillance of Manafort “vindicate” the president in his March tweets, which accused his predecessor of tapping his phone lines at Trump Tower. Even if Trump had been proven 100 percent correct about this — and he clearly has not — he would not be vindicated. It was an irresponsible allegation for him to make, especially the way he made it: (a) FISA investigations are classified; (b) it was an explosive thing to accuse a former president of; (c) since Trump had access to the relevant information, he had a special responsibility to be ironclad accurate if he chose to speak about it; and (d) Twitter is not a proper or sensible forum in which to make a startling claim regarding a surveillance process that requires some explanation. All that said, though, I have been arguing for months that the Obama camp’s denials, for all their strident indignation, have been narrow and Jesuitical. Some Obama apologists made the point that the president neither orders FISA surveillance nor directs the steps taken to carry it out. This was silly: Every sentient person understood that Trump was talking about the Obama administration under Obama’s guidance; he was not claiming that Obama personally interacted with the FISA court or personally conducted any surveillance. When interviewed by the press, former Obama officials, such as his national intelligence director, James Clapper, gave denials that sounded sweeping but, when parsed, told us nothing more than that Trump’s tweet was literally wrong — his personal phone lines at Trump Tower had not been targeted for eavesdropping. That carefully avoided addressing other phone lines that may have been subjected to surveillance, and it was not a categorical denial that Trump’s conversations had ever been monitored. The artful answers left open the possibility that Trump, even though not named as a target in a FISA application, may have been monitored incidentally, perhaps even under circumstances in which his interception had been quite foreseeable (because the actual FISA targets were associates of his known to be in contact with him). Now we have more reason to believe Manafort was targeted for FISA surveillance at a time when he had a residence at Trump Tower and was in periodic contact with Trump. Again, this doesn’t make Trump’s tweets correct or justifiable. But it does once again raise the question whether Trump’s conversations were tapped. If they were, the Obama camp’s denials would seem, shall we say, lawyerly. Bottom line: Paul Manafort appears to be in serious jeopardy, but any suspected criminality may involve matters having nothing to do with President Trump. It is worth recalling former FBI director James Comey’s congressional testimony: Trump wanted it made clear that he personally was not under investigation, but agreed that “if some of my satellites did something wrong, it’d be good to find that out.” Maybe we’ll soon find out. It has never necessarily followed that legal trouble for Manafort is legal trouble for Trump — even if it does portend tremendous political trouble for the Trump administration.

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Power User
Posts: 15264

« Reply #301 on: September 20, 2017, 08:30:10 PM »

Remember When James Clapper Categorically Denied Any Wiretap Against Trump Campaign?
by Larry O'Connor | 12:08 pm, September 19th, 2017
Why in the world would the mainstream media continue to take James Clapper seriously?

In March the former Director of National Intelligence under President Barack Obama appeared on Meet the Press to respond to President Donald Trump‘s now-infamous tweets regarding a “wiretap” related to his campaign during the Obama Administration. Host Chuck Todd asked Clapper point-blank whether any wiretap had occurred:

But I will say that, for the part of the national security apparatus that I oversaw as DNI, there was no such wiretap activity mounted against– the president elect at the time, or as a candidate, or against his campaign. I can’t speak for other Title Three authorized entities in the government or a state or local entity.

Fmr. DNI Clapper: "There was no such wiretap activity mounted against the president, president-elect, candidate or campaign."
8:24 AM - Mar 5, 2017

Fox & Friends Guest: 'Jim Clapper is an Idiot,' Has a 'Vacant Look'
Clapper’s answer appeared unequivocal, but there was still a little wiggle room.  So Todd, to his credit, drilled down and asked a very specific question about a very specific scenario:

TODD: Yeah, I was just going to say, if the F.B.I., for instance, had a FISA court order of some sort for a surveillance, would that be information you would know or not know?


TODD:  You would be told this?

CLAPPER:  I would know that.

TODD:  If there was a FISA court order–


TODD:  –on something like this.

CLAPPER:  Something like this, absolutely.

TODD:  And at this point, you can’t confirm or deny whether that exists?

CLAPPER:  I can deny it.

Now we learn that there was, in fact, a FISA court order and it came from the FBI and Clapper, in his own words, claimed he would have known about that. And he denied it, unequivocally.  Maybe he forgot all about the FISA order wiretapping Paul Manafort while he was in direct contact with Trump in his campaign and after the election.

Clapper also “forgot” that the NSA had a data collection program of every single American citizen when he testified before the Senate Intelligence committee and denied its existence.

James Clapper, former DNI chief and now, favorite guest of media outlets looking to attack President Trump, either has a terrible, terrible memory, or he was kept in the dark about a FISA order that occurred on his watch, or he’s just a liar.  Can’t think of any other options here, can you?

I ask again, why in the world would the mainstream media continue to take James Clapper seriously?  Or, for that matter, book him as a guest?

Power User
Posts: 41392

« Reply #302 on: September 22, 2017, 01:35:33 AM »
Power User
Posts: 15264

« Reply #303 on: September 23, 2017, 01:21:38 PM »

Obama had to spy on Trump to protect himself.
September 20, 2017  Daniel Greenfield  359

Daniel Greenfield, a Shillman Journalism Fellow at the Freedom Center, is an investigative journalist and writer focusing on the radical left and Islamic terrorism.

Last week, CNN revealed (and excused) one phase of the Obama spying operation on Trump. After lying about it on MSNBC, Susan Rice admitted unmasking the identities of Trump officials to Congress.

Rice was unmasking the names of Trump officials a month before leaving office. The targets may have included her own successor, General Flynn, who was forced out of office using leaked surveillance.

While Rice’s targets weren’t named, the CNN story listed a meeting with Flynn, Bannon and Kushner.

Bannon was Trump’s former campaign chief executive and a senior adviser. Kushner is a senior adviser. Those are exactly the people you spy on to get an insight into what your political opponents plan to do.

Now the latest CNN spin piece informs us that secret FISA orders were used to spy on the conversations of Trump’s former campaign chairman, Paul Manafort.  The surveillance was discontinued for lack of evidence and then renewed under a new warrant. This is part of a pattern of FISA abuses by Obama Inc. which never allowed minor matters like lack of evidence to dissuade them from new FISA requests.

Desperate Obama cronies had figured out that they could bypass many of the limitations on the conventional investigations of their political opponents by ‘laundering’ them through national security.

If any of Trump’s people were talking to non-Americans, the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) could be used to spy on them. And then the redacted names of the Americans could be unmasked by Susan Rice, Samantha Power and other Obama allies. It was a technically legal Watergate.

If both CNN stories hold up, then Obama Inc. had spied on two Trump campaign leaders.

Furthermore the Obama espionage operation closely tracked Trump’s political progress. The first FISA request targeting Trump happened the month after he received the GOP nomination.  The second one came through in October: the traditional month of political surprises meant to upend an election.

The spying ramped up after Trump’s win when the results could no longer be used to engineer a Hillary victory, but would instead have to be used to cripple and bring down President Trump. Headed out the door, Rice was still unmasking the names of Trump’s people while Obama was making it easier to pass around raw eavesdropped data to other agencies.

Obama had switched from spying on a political opponent to win an election, to spying on his successor to undo the results of the election. Abuse of power by a sitting government had become subversion of the government by an outgoing administration. Domestic spying on opponents had become a coup.

The Democrat scandals of the past few administrations have hinged on gross violations of political norms, elementary ethics and the rule of law that, out of context, were not technically illegal.

But it’s the pattern that makes the crime. It’s the context that shows the motive.

Obama Inc. compartmentalized its espionage operation in individual acts of surveillance and unmasking, and general policies implemented to aid both, that may have been individually legal, in the purely technical sense, in order to commit the major crime of eavesdropping on the political opposition.

When the individual acts of surveillance are described as legal, that’s irrelevant. It’s the collective pattern of surveillance of the political opposition that exposes the criminal motive for them.

If Obama spied on two of Trump’s campaign leaders, that’s not a coincidence. It’s a pattern.

A criminal motive can be spotted by a consistent pattern of actions disguised by different pretexts. A dirty cop may lose two pieces of evidence from the same defendant while giving two different excuses. A shady accountant may explain two otherwise identical losses in two different ways. Both excuses are technically plausible. But it’s the pattern that makes the crime.

Manafort was spied on under the Russia pretext. Bannon may have been spied on over the UAE. That’s two different countries, two different people and two different pretexts.

But one single target. President Trump.

It’s the pattern that exposes the motive.

When we learn the whole truth (if we ever do), we will likely discover that Obama Inc. assembled a motley collection of different technically legal pretexts to spy on Trump’s team.

Each individual pretext might be technically defensible. But together they add up to the crime of the century.

Obama’s gamble was that the illegal surveillance would justify itself. If you spy on a bunch of people long enough, especially people in politics and business, some sort of illegality, actual or technical, is bound to turn up. That’s the same gamble anyone engaged in illegal surveillance makes.

Businessmen illegally tape conversations with former partners hoping that they’ll say something damning enough to justify the risk. That was what Obama and his allies were doing with Trump.

It’s a crime. And you can’t justify committing a crime by discovering a crime.

If everyone were being spied on all the time, many crimes could be exposed every second. But that’s not how our system works. That’s why we have a Fourth Amendment.

Nor was Obama Inc. trying to expose crimes for their own sake, but to bring down the opposition.

That’s why it doesn’t matter what results the Obama surveillance turned up. The surveillance was a crime. Anything turned up by it is the fruit of a poisonous tree. It’s inherently illegitimate.

The first and foremost agenda must be to assemble a list of Trump officials who were spied on and the pretexts under which they were spied upon. The pattern will show the crime. And that’s what Obama and his allies are terrified of. It’s why Flynn was forced out using illegal surveillance and leaks. It’s why McMaster is protecting Susan Rice and the Obama holdovers while purging Trump loyalists at the NSC.

The left’s gamble was that the Mueller investigation or some other illegitimate spawn of the Obama eavesdropping would produce an indictment and then the procedural questions wouldn’t matter.

It’s the dirty cop using illegal eavesdropping to generate leads for a “clean” case against his target while betting that no one will look too closely or care how the case was generated. If one of the Mueller targets is intimidated into making a deal, the question of how the case was generated won’t matter.

Mueller will have a cooperative witness. And the Democrats can begin their coup in earnest. It will eventually turn out that there is no “there” there. But by then, it’ll be time for President Booker.

There’s just one problem.

If the gamble fails, if no criminal case that amounts to anything more than the usual investigational gimmick charges like perjury (the Federal equivalent of ‘resisting arrest’ for a beat cop) develops, then Obama and his allies are on the hook for the domestic surveillance of their political opponents.

With nothing to show for it and no way to distract from it.

That’s the race against the clock that is happening right now. Either the investigation gets results. Or its perpetrators are left hanging in the wind. If McMaster is fired, which on purely statistical grounds he probably will be, and a Trump loyalist who wasn’t targeted by the surveillance operation becomes the next National Security Adviser and brings in Trump loyalists, as Flynn tried to do, then it’s over.

And the Dems finally get their Watergate. Except the star won’t be Trump, it will be Obama. Rice, Power, Lynch and the rest of the gang will be the new Haldeman, Ehrlichman and Mitchell.

Once Obama and his allies launched their domestic surveillance operation, they crossed the Rubicon. And there was no way back. They had to destroy President Trump or risk going to jail.

The more crimes they committed by spying on the opposition, the more urgently they needed to bring down Trump. The consequences of each crime that they had committed spurred them on to commit worse crimes to save themselves from going to jail. It’s the same old story when it comes to criminals.

Each act of illegal surveillance became more blatant. And when illegal surveillance couldn’t stop Trump’s victory, they had to double down on the illegal surveillance for a coup.

The more Obama spied on Trump, the more he had to keep doing it. This time it was bound to pay off.

Obama and his allies had violated the norms so often for their policy goals that they couldn’t afford to be replaced by anyone but one of their own. The more Obama relied on the imperial presidency of executive orders, the less he could afford to be replaced by anyone who would undo them.  The more his staffers lied and broke the law on everything from the government shutdown to the Iran nuke sellout, the more desperately they needed to pull out all the stops to keep Trump out of office. And the more they did it, the more they couldn’t afford not to do it. Abuse of power locks you into the loop familiar to all dictators. You can’t stop riding the tiger. Once you start, you can’t afford to stop.

If you want to understand why Samantha Power was unmasking names, that’s why. The hysterical obsession with destroying Trump comes from the top down. It’s not just ideology. It’s wealthy and powerful men and women who ran the country and are terrified that their crimes will be exposed.

It’s why the media increasingly sounds like the propaganda organs of a Communist country. Why there are street riots and why the internet is being censored by Google and Facebook’s “fact checking” allies.

It’s not just ideology. It’s raw fear.

The left is sitting on the biggest crime committed by a sitting president. The only way to cover it up is to destroy his Republican successor.

A turning point in history is here.

If Obama goes down, the left will go down with him. If his coup succeeds, then America ends.
Power User
Posts: 41392

« Reply #304 on: September 23, 2017, 06:18:30 PM »

« Last Edit: September 23, 2017, 06:22:24 PM by Crafty_Dog » Logged
Power User
Posts: 7506

« Reply #305 on: September 24, 2017, 06:19:14 AM »

Finally finishing the Court of the Red Tsars about Stalin .

Endless stories on how they would arrest anyone that Stalin didn't like and everyone that person knew.

The lucky ones just got sent to Siberia.  Some were spared torture others were beaten into confessing "their crimes" to the Party ot the State, real, imagined, made up , or infinitely trivial.

They would also be beaten till they gave up the names of other political enemies.

What Mueller is doing is only a different version of the above.  We will torture you every way we can till you give up Trump for crimes to the Democratic Party , real , imagined, trivial , or made up.

Power User
Posts: 41392

« Reply #306 on: September 26, 2017, 06:18:15 PM »
Power User
Posts: 9130

« Reply #307 on: September 27, 2017, 09:32:37 AM »

During the Obama administration, the Obama administration unleashed the enormous powers of the IRS against their political opponents.

During the Trump administration, the Obama administration unleashed the enormous powers of the IRS against their political opponents.
Power User
Posts: 7506

« Reply #308 on: October 01, 2017, 01:42:44 PM »

The left does not want this to come out.
Where are the Dems demanding this evidence?

Of course they already have their fall back position:

The Russians gave it to whoever gave it to Assange to cover their tracks.  That way they keep the phony news story going.
« Last Edit: October 01, 2017, 04:59:27 PM by Crafty_Dog » Logged
Power User
Posts: 9130

« Reply #309 on: October 09, 2017, 10:54:53 AM »

Sharyl Atkisson formerly of CBS lays out what we know so far:

1. The New York Times
Nov. 1, 2016
According to the newspaper, the FBI says there’s no definitive connection between Donald Trump and the Russian government, reaching that conclusion after a wide-ranging investigation. The Times cited law-enforcement officials who said any cyberattacks carried out were “aimed at disrupting the presidential election rather than electing Trump.” The FBI also found no conclusive evidence of deliberate communications between Trump and a Russian bank, that were alleged earlier.

President Trump
2. Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wisconsin, House Speaker)
Feb. 28, 2017
No one has ever showed us any evidence that any collusion had occurred between an American involved with the political system and the Russians.”

3. James Clapper (Former Obama Director of National Intelligence)
March 5, 2017
“[Regarding] NSA, FBI…CIA…Director of National Intelligence (DNI), that had anything, that had any reflection of collusion between members of the Trump campaign and the Russians, there was no evidence of that included in our [January] report,” Clapper testified. He was asked, “…but does it exist?” He answered, “Not to my knowledge.”

Former Obama Director of National Intelligence James Clapper
4. Rep. Devin Nunes (R-California, House Intelligence Committee Chairman)
March 20, 2017
During a hearing, Nunes questioned then-FBI Director James Comey:
NUNES: Do you have any evidence that any current Trump White House or administration official coordinated with the Russian intelligence services?
COMEY: Not a question I can answer…
NUNES: Well, I think — I understand that…but I can tell you that we don’t have any evidence and we’re conducting our own investigation here.
Rep. Devin Nunes, Chairman of House Intelligence Committee

5. James Comey, then-FBI Director
March 20, 2017
Comey was asked if he agreed with former Director of National Intelligence (DNI) Clapper who said there was “no evidence” of “collusion between the members of the Trump campaign and the Russians.” Comey replied, “I think he’s right about characterizing the [January] report which you all have read.”

6. Rep. Chris Stewart, (R-Utah, House Intelligence Committee)
March 20, 2017
“At this point, everyone on this dais should agree with Mr. Clapper because we in the committee have seen no evidence, zero, that would indicate that there was collusion or criminal wrongdoing between any members of the previous [sic] administration or campaign and Russian officials.”

The Kremlin in Moscow is the official residence of the Russia’s President.
7. Rep. Adam Schiff (D-California, House Intelligence Committee) 
April 2, 2017
When asked, “Can you say definitively that there was collusion, there were people affiliated with the Trump campaign who were working with Russians to time the release of damaging information about Hillary Clinton that had been hacked either from [Hillary campaign chair] John Podesta or the DNC?” Schiff replied, “I don’t think we can say anything definitively at this point.”

8. Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-California, Senate Intelligence Committee)
May 3, 2017
When asked if she had evidence of collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia during the 2016 presidential campaign, Feinstein replied, “Not at this time.”

9. Sen. Joe Manchin (D-West Virginia, Senate Intelligence Committee)
May 8, 2017
“People that might have said they were involved, to what extent they were involved, to what extent the president might have known about these people or whatever, there is nothing there from that standpoint that we have seen directly linking our president to any of that.”

10. James Clapper (again)
May 8, 2017
At a hearing, Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-South Carolina) asked Clapper if it’s still accurate that he has no knowledge of the existence of evidence of collusion between members of the Trump campaign and the Russians. Clapper replied, “It is.”
Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC)
Photograph by: Frank Plitt via Wikimedia Commons

11. Rep. Maxine Waters (D-California)
May 9, 2017
Rep. Waters has repeatedly stated that President Trump “has colluded with the Russians,” but when asked if she has seen evidence to back up her claims, Waters replied: “No, we have not.”

12. President Donald Trump
May 9, 2017
In a letter of termination to FBI Director Comey, President Trump wrote that Comey had informed him “on three occasions that I am not under investigation.” (This was later confirmed by Comey, contrary to reporting that stated Trump was “lying.”)
President Donald J. Trump

13. James Clapper (yet again)
May 28, 2017
On NBC, Clapper states that in looking at possible Russian collusion, “my dashboard warning light was clearly on” but “I have to say, at the time I left, I did not see any smoking gun certitude evidence of collusion.”

14: Sen. Mark Warner (D-VA)
June 4, 2017
On CNN, Sen. Warner is asked whether he has seen any evidence of collusion between the Russians and the Trump campaign. He says: “There is a lot of smoke,” but “we have no smoking gun at this point.”

15. Former FBI Director James Comey (again)
June 8, 2017
Comey confirmed to Congress that he had, indeed, told President Trump three times that he was not personally under investigation.

16. Jeh Johnson, Obama Homeland Security Secretary
June 21, 2017
In Congressional testimony, Johnson was asked whether, at the time he left the government in January 2017, he had  “seen any evidence that Donald Trump or any member of his campaign colluded, conspired or coordinated with the Russians or anyone else to infiltrate or impact our voter infrastructure?” He said, “Not beyond what has been out there open-source, and not beyond anything that I’m sure this committee has already seen and heard before, directly from the intelligence community. So anything I’d have on that is derivative of what the intelligence community has — and the law enforcement community.”

17. Senate Select Intelligence Committee Chairman Richard Burr (R-NC) at press conference with Vice Chairman Mark Warner (D-VA)
Oct. 4, 2017
“We can certifiably say that no vote totals were affected, that the tallies are accurate. The outcome of the election, based upon the counting votes. They did not in any way shape or form that we’ve been able to find alter that.” As for collusion with Russia, “the issue of collusion is still open, that we continue to investigate both intelligence and witnesses, and that we’re not in a position where we will come to any type of temporary finding on that until we’ve completed the process.”
Power User
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« Reply #310 on: October 09, 2017, 06:13:59 PM »

By Kimberley A. Strassel
Oct. 5, 2017 6:57 p.m. ET

More non-news on the Russia-collusion front came Wednesday, when the Senate Intelligence Committee said it has now verified what everyone knew nine months ago: Russia worked to sow chaos during the 2016 election; vote totals weren’t affected; and no evidence has emerged that Donald Trump was in cahoots with Moscow.

But in the more distant, less camera-filled corners of Washington, there actually is some interesting new information. It centers on the document that increasingly looks central to the “chaos” Russia sowed: the Trump dossier.

That was the infamous list of accusations compiled starting in the summer of 2016 by a former British spook, Christopher Steele, who had been hired by the liberal opposition-research firm Fusion GPS. The discredited rumors about Mr. Trump came from anonymous Russian sources. This is notable, since it turns out Fusion was separately—or maybe not so separately—working with entities tied to the Kremlin.

How close was Fusion’s leader, Glenn Simpson, to Natalia Veselnitskaya, the Kremlin-linked lawyer? Did the Russians know about the dossier all along and help plant the information in it? Were American law-enforcement agencies relying on Russian-directed disinformation when they obtained secret warrants against Trump associates? Chaos, indeed.

Witness how hard the Federal Bureau of Investigation is fighting to avoid divulging any information about the dossier. More than a month ago the House Intelligence Committee issued subpoenas to the FBI and the Justice Department, asking for dossier-related documents. Lawmakers were told to go swivel.

A little more than a week ago, the committee’s frustrated chairman, Rep. Devin Nunes, took the case all the way to Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, who finally offered to make an FBI official available for a briefing. But the bureau is still withholding all documents. To date, Sen. Chuck Grassley’s Judiciary Committee has not received any paper from the FBI on Russia matters, despite numerous requests, some countersigned by the Democratic ranking member, Dianne Feinstein.

Increasingly, one name is popping up: Gregory Brower, who leads the FBI’s Office of Congressional Affairs. Mr. Brower is an odd man for the job. These gigs tend to go to more-junior people, since they involve the drudgery of answering calls from grumpy congressional staffers. Yet Mr. Brower is a former U.S. attorney—a job that requires Senate confirmation—and a former Nevada state senator.

Before his latest role, he was the deputy general counsel of the FBI. In that post he was described as a confidant of former FBI Director James Comey. It was Mr. Comey who installed Mr. Brower in the congressional affairs job, just a few days before President Trump fired the director.

Mr. Brower has been shutting down congressional requests and stonewalling ever since. He has even tried appealing directly to House Speaker Paul Ryan’s office to squelch committee demands for documents. The FBI keeps justifying its intransigence by saying it doesn’t want to interfere with Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation. But Mr. Grassley recently announced that Mr. Mueller’s separate inquiry would no longer be considered a legitimate reason for the FBI to withhold information from Congress.

Now here’s the surprise: Reuters reported Wednesday that Mr. Mueller “has taken over FBI inquiries into a former British spy’s dossier” against Mr. Trump. How very convenient. The Mueller team has leaked all manner of details from its probe, even as it had avoided the dossier. But just as Congress is ratcheting up pressure on the FBI, anonymous sources say that it’s out of the bureau’s hands.

Some Republicans might be tempted to cheer news that the special counsel is looking into the dossier. They shouldn’t. A Mueller takeover will make it even harder for Congress to conduct an independent investigation—which may well have been the reason for the move. Mr. Mueller has had months to look into the document, and his lack of curiosity so far speaks volumes. As a friend of Mr. Comey and a former FBI director himself, Mr. Mueller cannot be counted on to examine impartially whether the FBI was duped.

Sen. Richard Burr, who leads his chamber’s Intelligence Committee, noted on Wednesday that his dossier investigation has “hit a wall.” Mr. Steele has gone underground. Mr. Simpson won’t hand over relevant documents or say who paid him. The FBI is stiff-arming lawmakers. No one wants to talk about a dossier that Paul Roderick Gregory, a Russia expert at the Hoover Institution, found to read like something “compiled by a Russian, whose command of English is far from perfect and who follows the KGB (now FSB) practice of writing intelligence reports.” No one wants to discuss an array of Russian lawyers, lobbyists and Kremlin officials who may have been involved in its creation.

All of this is a lot more shady than Facebook ads. If Congress wants to produce the answers it has promised, it has to break through the dossier “wall.”

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« Reply #311 on: October 10, 2017, 05:02:11 PM »
Power User
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« Reply #312 on: October 16, 2017, 10:36:41 AM »

By The Editorial Board
Updated Oct. 15, 2017 6:03 p.m. ET

The Beltway media move in a pack, and that means ignoring some stories while leaping on others. Consider the pack’s lack of interest in the story of GPS Fusion and the “dossier” from former spook Christopher Steele.

The House Intelligence Committee recently issued subpoenas to Fusion GPS, the opposition research firm that paid for the dossier that contained allegations against then-candidate Donald Trump and ties to Russia. The dossier’s details have been either discredited or are unverified, but the document nonetheless framed the political narrative about Trump-Russian collusion that led to special counsel Robert Mueller.

Democrats and Fusion seem to care mostly that House Intelligence Chairman Devin Nunes issued the subpoenas, given that he temporarily stepped aside from the Russia probe in April. But only the chairman is allowed to issue subpoenas, and Mr. Nunes did so at the request of Republican Mike Conaway, who is officially leading the probe.

The real question is why Democrats and Fusion seem not to want to tell the public who requested the dossier or what ties Fusion GPS boss Glenn Simpson had with the Russians in 2016. All the more so because congressional investigators have learned that Mr. Simpson was working for Russian clients at the same time he was working with Mr. Steele.

Americans deserve to know who paid Mr. Simpson for this work and if the Kremlin influenced the project. They also deserve to know if former FBI director James Comey relied on the dossier to obtain warrants to monitor the Trump campaign. If the Russians used disinformation to spur a federal investigation into a presidential candidate, that would certainly qualify as influencing an election.

The House committee also subpoenaed FBI documents about wiretap warrants more than a month ago but has been stonewalled. There is no plausible reason that senior leaders of Congress—who have top-level security clearance—can’t see files directly relevant to the question of Russian election interference.

Justice Department excuses about interfering with Mr. Mueller’s investigation don’t wash. Mr. Mueller is conducting a criminal probe, while Congress has a duty to oversee the executive branch. Both investigations can proceed simultaneously. Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, who supervises Mr. Mueller, needs to deputize specific Justice officials to handle Congress’s requests.

The media attacks on Mr. Nunes for issuing the subpoenas are a sign that he is onto something. He recused himself in April after complaints about his role bringing to light Obama Administration officials who “unmasked” and leaked the names of secretly wiretapped Trump officials. Mr. Nunes has since been vindicated as we’ve learned that former National Security Adviser Susan Rice and former U.N. Ambassador Samantha Power did the unmasking. Yet Democrats on the House Ethics Committee have refused to clear Mr. Nunes—trying to keep him sidelined from the Russia probe.

Senate Judiciary Chairman Chuck Grassley has also pursued the Fusion GPS trail, but he could use House backup. Speaker Paul Ryan needs to call on the Ethics Committee to render a quick decision on Mr. Nunes or allow him to resume his Russia investigation. Mr. Ryan should also prepare to have the House vote on a contempt citation if the Justice Department doesn’t supply subpoenaed documents.

Mr. Mueller will grind away at the Trump-Russia angle, but the story of Democrats, the Steele dossier and Jim Comey’s FBI also needs telling. Americans don’t need a Justice Department coverup abetted by Glenn Simpson’s media buddies.
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« Reply #313 on: October 17, 2017, 06:32:58 PM »
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« Reply #314 on: October 18, 2017, 05:49:17 PM »

October 18, 2017
FBI Confirms: Yes, James Comey Finished His Draft of the Speech Absolving Hillary Clinton Months Before Concluding the Investigation
A lot of people most convinced of their holy integrity are actually vile rats.

In documents it released on Monday, the FBI confirmed that former FBI Director James Comey drafted a statement about the conclusion of the Hillary Clinton email investigation months before interviewing Clinton.
The records show that on May 2, 2016, Comey emailed Deputy Director Andrew McCabe, general counsel James Baker and chief of staff and senior counselor James Rybicki. The subject of the email was "midyear exam," and though the email says its contents are unclassified, the body of the email is redacted in the release.


FBI and Justice Department analysts are divided on whether Comey violated rules or broke with tradition by drafting the statement prior to interviewing Clinton and other witnesses. "To me, this is so far out of bounds it’s not even in the stadium," Chris Swecker, who retired from the FBI in 2006 as assistant director for the criminal investigative division and acting executive assistant director for law enforcement services, previously told Newsweek. "That is just not how things operate.... It's built in our DNA not to prejudge investigations, particularly from the top."

For Comey's response, we'll have to wait to see what he leaks to his friend at Columbia and then to the New York Times.
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