The FBI spied on a Trump associate. Do they have evidence that Trump colluded with Russians, or was this a rampant abuse of power?
These latest leaks of classified information appear to be in response to Sen. Charles Grassley’s inquiry to FBI Director James Comey on behalf of the Senate Judiciary Committee he chairs. Grassley noted a February 28 Washington Post report, which used anonymous sources to report the FBI had made plans to pay dossier author Christopher Steele to continue investigating Trump before the election.
Paying an opposition researcher to investigate the Republican nominee for president in the run-up to the election “raises further questions about the FBI’s independence from politics, as well as the Obama administration’s use of law enforcement and intelligence agencies for political ends,” Grassley wrote.
Grassley demanded that the FBI turn over all records relating to the agreement, interviews of Steele, information on any government officials outside the FBI discussing the agreement with Steele, information on how the FBI obtained the dossier, any official reports that used Steele-collected information, any indication the FBI used the information before verifying it, and various other information, including:
9. Has the FBI relied on or otherwise referenced the memos or any information in the memos in seeking a FISA warrant, other search warrant, or any other judicial process? Did the FBI rely on or otherwise reference the memos in relation to any National Security Letters? If so, please include copies of all relevant applications and other documents.
These latest leaks answer that question. And the leaks about what intelligence agencies were doing during the presidential campaign begin to answer questions about whether the U.S. government has hard evidence that the Trump campaign had foreknowledge of Russian meddling and coordinated with Russians about that meddling, or whether there was rampant abuse of power in stripping an innocent U.S. citizen of his right not to be surveilled by his own government. Read the rest of this entry »
Adam Housley and Malia Zimmerman report: Lawmakers probing the surveillance of key officials in the Trump campaign and administration say the intelligence agencies now nominally under the president’s control are stonewalling efforts to get to the bottom of who revealed names and leaked protected information to the press.
“Our requests are simply not being answered.”
– House Intelligence Committee source
The House and Senate Intelligence Committees are currently investigating allegations the Obama administration spied on Trump associates – and possibly Trump himself – for as long as the year preceding his inauguration. And while former Obama National Security Adviser Susan Rice has been implicated as at least one of the officials who sought redacted names from surveillance transcripts, multiple lawmakers and investigators for the panel told Fox News the CIA, FBI and National Security Agency – all agencies in position to aid the probe – are not cooperating.
“Our requests are simply not being answered,” said one House Intelligence committee source about the lack of responsiveness. “The agencies are not really helping at all and there is truly a massive web for us to try and wade through.”
A Senate Intelligence Committee source said the upper chamber had the same experience.
“Any information that will help find the wide extent on the unmasking and surveillance is purposely not being provided,” said the Senate source.
An FBI spokesperson said the bureau is working in good faith. Read the rest of this entry »
John Solomon and Sara Carter reports: As his presidency drew to a close, Barack Obama’s top aides routinely reviewed intelligence reports gleaned from the National Security Agency’s incidental intercepts of Americans abroad, taking advantage of rules their boss relaxed starting in 2011 to help the government better fight terrorism, espionage by foreign enemies and hacking threats, Circa has learned.
Dozens of times in 2016, those intelligence reports identified Americans who were directly intercepted talking to foreign sources or were the subject of conversations between two or more monitored foreign figures. Sometimes the Americans’ names were officially unmasked; other times they were so specifically described in the reports that their identities were readily discernible. Among those cleared to request and consume unmasked NSA-based intelligence reports about U.S. citizens were Obama’s national security adviser Susan Rice, his CIA Director John Brennan and then-Attorney General Loretta Lynch.
Some intercepted communications from November to January involved Trump transition figures or foreign figures’ perceptions of the incoming president and his administration. Intercepts involving congressional figures also have been unmasked occasionally for some time. Read the rest of this entry »
Nunes’ Trump surveillance claims raise more even questions.
James Rosen reports: Republican congressional investigators expect a potential “smoking gun” establishing that the Obama administration spied on the Trump transition team, and possibly the president-elect himself, will be produced to the House Intelligence Committee this week, a source told Fox News.
Classified intelligence showing incidental collection of Trump team communications, purportedly seen by committee Chairman Devin Nunes, R-Calif., and described by him in vague terms at a bombshell Wednesday afternoon news conference, came from multiple sources, Capitol Hill sources told Fox News. The intelligence corroborated information about surveillance of the Trump team that was known to Nunes, sources said, even before President Trump accused his predecessor of having wiretappedhim in a series of now-infamous tweets posted on March 4.
The intelligence is said to leave no doubt the Obama administration, in its closing days, was using the cover of legitimate surveillance on foreign targets to spy on President-elect Trump, according to sources.
The key to that conclusion is the unmasking of selected U.S. persons whose names appeared in the intelligence, the sources said, adding that the paper trail leaves no other plausible purpose for the unmasking other than to damage the incoming Trump administration.
The FBI hasn’t been responsive to the House Intelligence Committee’s request for documents, but the National Security Agency is expected to produce documents to the committee by Friday. The NSA document production is expected to produce more intelligence than Nunes has so far seen or described – including what one source described as a potential “smoking gun” establishing the spying.
Some time will be needed to properly assess the materials, with the likely result being that congressional investigators and attorneys won’t have a solid handle on the contents of the documents – and their implications – until next week.
Because Nunes’s intelligence came from multiple sources during a span of several weeks, and he has not shared the actual materials with his committee colleagues, he will be the only member of the panel in a position to know whether the NSA has turned over some or all of the intelligence he is citing. However, Fox News was told Intelligence Committee Ranking Member Rep. Adam Schiff, D-Calif., had been briefed on the basic contents of the intelligence described by Nunes. Read the rest of this entry »
Even a prominent Trump adviser accepts the false premise that there has been no ‘ethical shadiness.’
Even Trump adviser Peter Thiel seems to agree. When the New York Times’s Maureen Dowd observed during an interview that Mr. Obama’s administration was “without any ethical shadiness,” Mr. Thiel accepted the premise, saying: “But there’s a point where no corruption can be a bad thing. It can mean that things are too boring.”
In reality, Mr. Obama has presided over some of the worst scandals of any president in recent decades. Here’s a partial list:
• State Department email. In an effort to evade federal open-records laws, Mr. Obama’s first secretary of state set up a private server, which she used exclusively to conduct official business, including communications with the president and the transmission of classified material. A federal criminal investigation produced no charges, but FBI Director James Comey reported that the secretary and her colleagues “were extremely careless” in handling national secrets.
• Operation Fast and Furious. The Obama Justice Department lost track of thousands of guns it had allowed to pass into the hands of suspected smugglers, in the hope of tracing them to Mexican drug cartels. One of the guns was used in the fatal 2010 shooting of Border Patrol Agent Brian Terry. Congress held then-Attorney General Eric Holder in contempt when he refused to turn over documents about the operation.
• IRS abuses. Mr. Obama’s Internal Revenue Service did something Richard Nixononly dreamed of doing: It successfully targeted political opponents. The Justice Department then refused to enforce Congress’s contempt citation against the IRS’s Lois Lerner, who refused to answer questions about her agency’s misconduct. Read the rest of this entry »
Russia Says ‘Нет, у нас нет никаких компрометирующих материалов на Трампа’
Russia has denied such accusations and described them as unsubstantiated and an attempt by U.S. politicians to distract attention from domestic issues.
Laura Mills writes: Russia on Wednesday denied it has compromising material on Donald Trump, calling a dossier of unverified allegations an “absolute fabrication” and an attempt to damage U.S.-Russian relations.
“Among the allegations, contained in a set of confidential memos written by the former official, are that Mr. Trump’s attorney, Michael Cohen, met with Kremlin officials and discussed how to arrange cash payments to hackers working under Moscow’s direction against the presidential campaign of Hillary Clinton.”
Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov dismissed the report, which claimed that Russia has material that could be used to blackmail Mr. Trump, as “pulp fiction,” according to Russian news agencies.
“The FBI has found no evidence that he traveled to the Czech Republic, where the meeting allegedly took place in August of last year, officials said.”
“This is a clear attempt to damage our bilateral relations,” he said. “Truly, there are those who whip up this hysteria, who will break their necks to support this ‘witch hunt’”
Mr. Peskov said that the Kremlin wasn’t involved in collecting compromising information on anyone, including Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton.
His comments come a day after it emerged that U.S. intelligence agencies and the Federal Bureau of Investigation have spent months trying to substantiate explosive claims, compiled by a former Western intelligence official, that Russian government operatives engaged in an extensive conspiracy with advisers to Mr. Trump’s presidential campaign and employees of his company, according to people familiar with the matter.
The U.S. intelligence community and top officials have repeatedly accused Russia of trying to influence the 2016 presidential election, releasing a report last week that leveled broad accusations against Moscow, including cyberattacks meant to undermine the election and skewed coverage by state-funded Russian media.
Russia has denied such accusations and described them as unsubstantiated and an attempt by U.S. politicians to distract attention from domestic issues.
The latest claims were deemed sufficiently significant by senior intelligence officials to summarize them in a two-page addendum to the classified briefing President-elect Trump received last Friday about Russian efforts to influence the U.S. presidential campaign, the people said.
“FAKE NEWS – A TOTAL POLITICAL WITCH HUNT!” Mr. Trump tweeted after the allegations surfaced publicly Tuesday evening.
U.S. officials confirmed that a summary of the information had been given to Mr. Trump. They said sharing of such unverified information was taken out of an abundance of caution that the incoming president should be aware of allegations being made against him that could become public—a decision intelligence experts backed. President Barack Obama received the same information, officials said. Read the rest of this entry »
Don’t Kid Yourself — Liberals Are Just As Susceptible To Fake News. Their brand may be more sophisticated, but it’s no less harmful.
Party leaders are moving leftward, naively assuming they can win over working-class voters with a socialist-minded message.
Josh Kraushaar writes: In the aftermath of the election, shell-shocked Democrats struggled to pinpoint a reason behind their stunning loss to Donald Trump. Hillary Clinton blamed FBI Director James Comey. Democratic operatives criticized the Clinton campaign team for taking the Rust Belt for granted. Bernie Sanders and his ascendant left-wing flank of the party blames the party’s closeness to Wall Street.
“On issues ranging from the president’s hesitance to label terrorism by its name to an unwillingness to criticize extremist elements of protest groups like Black Lives Matter to executive orders mandating transgender bathrooms, the administration offended the sensibilities of the American public.”
No one is pointing a finger at the most glaring vulnerability—the party’s cultural disconnect from much of the country. On issues ranging from the president’s hesitance to label terrorism by its name to an unwillingness to criticize extremist elements of protest groups like Black Lives Matter to executive orders mandating transgender bathrooms, the administration offended the sensibilities of the American public.
Among liberal-minded millennials, President Obama’s actions were a sign that he was charting “an arc of history that bends towards justice.” But to older, more-conservative Americans, it was a sign that the administration’s views were well outside the American mainstream.
“Among liberal-minded millennials, President Obama’s actions were a sign that he was charting ‘an arc of history that bends towards justice.’ But to older, more-conservative Americans, it was a sign that the administration’s views were well outside the American mainstream.”
Clinton tried to win over moderates by raising red flags about Trump’s foreign policy and his racially charged, misogynistic rhetoric. But she didn’t have a Sister Souljah moment to criticize the excesses of the Left—as Bill Clinton famously did during the 1992 campaign—for fear of alienating the Obama coalition. In fact, her line that “implicit [racial] bias is a problem for everyone” during the first debate was a moment that couldn’t have been more repellent to those white Rust Belt voters who deserted the Democrats this year.
“Democrats will be spending their time in the political wilderness figuring out how to rebuild a shattered party. But early indications suggest that party leaders are veering even further to the left instead of moderating their rhetoric.”
As New York Times columnist Ross Douthat presciently wrote in September: “The new cultural orthodoxy is sufficiently stifling to leave many Americans looking to the voting booth as a way to register dissent.” Opposing political correctness was one consistent theme in Trump’s very muddled campaign message.
“They’ve concluded—with the assistance of Sanders, Elizabeth Warren, and polemicist Michael Moore—that they would have performed better with working-class white voters if they only articulated a more populist economic message. They’ve shown no inclination to reject Clinton’s controversial notion that half of Trump’s supporters were deplorable and irredeemable.”
Democrats will be spending their time in the political wilderness figuring out how to rebuild a shattered party. But early indications suggest that party leaders are veering even further to the left instead of moderating their rhetoric. Read the rest of this entry »
‘The electorate has, in its plurality, decided to live in Trump’s world of vanity, hate, arrogance, untruth, and recklessness’
There are, inevitably, miseries to come: an increasingly reactionary Supreme Court; an emboldened right-wing Congress; a President whose disdain for women and minorities, civil liberties and scientific fact, to say nothing of simple decency, has been repeatedly demonstrated. Trump is vulgarity unbounded, a knowledge-free national leader who will not only set markets tumbling but will strike fear into the hearts of the vulnerable, the weak, and, above all, the many varieties of Other whom he has so deeply insulted.
[Read the entire, self-serving, vicious, inflated, bloated, painful, ridiculous, hysterical, ignorant, hateful rant here, at The New Yorker]
The African-American Other. The Hispanic Other. The female Other. The Jewish and Muslim Other. The most hopeful way to look at this grievous event—and it’s a stretch—is that this election and the years to follow will be a test of the strength, or the fragility, of American institutions. It will be a test of our seriousness and resolve.
Early on Election Day, the polls held out cause for concern, but they provided sufficiently promising news for Democrats in states like Pennsylvania, Michigan, North Carolina, and even Florida that there was every reason to think about celebrating the fulfillment of Seneca Falls, the election of the first woman to the White House. Potential victories in states like Georgia disappeared, little more than a week ago, with the F.B.I. director’s heedless and damaging letter to Congress about reopening his investigation and the reappearance of damaging buzzwords like “e-mails,” “Anthony Weiner,” and “fifteen-year-old girl.” But the odds were still with Hillary Clinton.
All along, Trump seemed like a twisted caricature of every rotten reflex of the radical right. That he has prevailed, that he has won this election, is a crushing blow to the spirit; it is an event that will likely cast the country into a period of economic, political, and social uncertainty that we cannot yet imagine. Read the rest of this entry »
— Andrew C. McCarthy (@AndrewCMcCarthy) November 6, 2016
Read more here….
OH YES THEY DID: Hillary Clinton Staffers Knew Weiner Was Talking to Underage Girl Five Years Ago; Did NothingPosted: October 31, 2016
John Podesta and Neera Tanden, another adviser, were forwarded news of an investigation into Weiner’s online contact with a 17-year-old Delaware high school student by Jennifer Palmieri, the current campaign communications director, in June 2011.
John Podesta – now chair of Clinton’s presidential campaign – and Neera Tanden, another adviser, were forwarded news of an investigation into Weiner’s online contact with a 17-year-old Delaware high school student by Jennifer Palmieri, the current campaign communications director, in June 2011.
“Back in April 2011, the then-teenager openly expressed her love for Weiner, who followed her on Twitter. Palmieri forwarded the news article to Podesta and Tanden with the comment, ‘Oof’.”
At the time he was married to Huma Abedin, another member of Clinton’s inner circle, who is now at the center of fresh FBI investigation into the handling of classified material while Clinton was in office.
The email detailed lurid claims of private messages to an underage girl being investigated by police – and was met with the response ‘oof’ by Podesta.
‘Police on Friday afternoon came to the home of a 17-year-old high school junior to ask her about direct online communications she has had with Rep. Anthony Weiner,’ email read, quoting a Fox News article from the same time.
‘Two officers from the New Castle County Police Department arrived at the girl’s home around 4:30 p.m. and asked to speak with the girl’s mother about the daughter’s contact with Weiner. Another officer appeared at the home a short time later.’
Palmieri forwarded the news article to Podesta and Tanden.
Six days later, on June 16, 2011, Weiner announced his resignation after accidentally tweeting a photo of himself in bulging briefs to all of his followers.
Despite that Abedin stood by him.
Sources close to the 17-year-old at the time told Fox News that the girl and Weiner had direct-messaged each other on Twitter.
Back in April 2011, the then-teenager openly expressed her love for Weiner, who followed her on Twitter.
Palmieri forwarded the news article to Podesta and Tanden with the comment, ‘Oof’
In her feed, she expressed her love of married men, according to Patterico.com.
At one point she said: ‘HE IS MINE ALL MINE HE LOVES ME AND NO ONE ELSE ILY ILY ILY!!!’ and added ‘@RepWeiner I’m in love with you’ two days later.
At the time Weiner admitted that he had contact with the girl, but denied sending inappropriate messages, according to Politico.
The FBI sensationally announced on Friday that it was investigating thousands of emails that might be related to the former secretary of state’s private server. Read the rest of this entry »
[VIDEO] Dr. Charles Krauthammer: FBI ‘Were Not Going to Indict the Democratic Candidate for the Presidency’Posted: September 29, 2016
Impressed by the lack of a prosecution in the Hillary Clinton e-mail scandal, Charles Krauthammer contended that the FBI had an understanding that they could not indict the Democratic nominee, and he also said that it is possible Obama will pardon all those remaining who were involved.
“It looks awful. Normally you give immunity so you can prosecute. You may lose the case but at least you prosecute. There’s not even a prosecution. The impression left is — and we probably will never know — it was understood. Not said, not written, not e-mailed, but it was understood: We were not going to indict the Democratic candidate for the presidency, and thus everything else followed.”
“And the close aides are getting immunity as well. It looks very suspicious. I credit Comey’s sincerity, but I don’t know what role he played.”
“The one thing I would say is that if she wins I think it is possible that Obama will pardon the remaining high officials who are going to end up in office with her, as a way out of this, because otherwise this could pursue her and pursue them into her presidency. Remember Watergate came after, long after reelection. There’s a fuse here that I think will remain lit otherwise.”
Source: The Corner
The FBI’s Blind Clinton Trust.
The closer we look at the FBI’s investigative file on Hillary Clinton’s emails, the more we wonder if Director James Comey always intended to let her off the hook. The calculated release before the long Labor Day weekend suggests political favoritism, and the report shows the FBI didn’t pursue evidence of potential false statements, obstruction of justice and destruction of evidence.
“The notes also show the G-men never did grill Mrs. Clinton on her “intent” in setting up her server. Instead they bought her explanation that it was for personal convenience. This helped Mr. Comey avoid concluding that her purpose was to evade statutes like the Federal Records Act. Mr. Comey also told Congress that indicting her without criminal intent would pose a constitutional problem.”
Mr. Comey’s concessions start with his decision not to interview Mrs. Clinton until the end of his investigation, a mere three days before he announced his conclusions. Regular FBI practice is to get a subject on the record early then see if his story meshes with what agents find. In this case they accepted Mrs. Clinton’s I-don’t-recall defenses after the fact.
“Ms. Mills has a particular reason for denying early knowledge of the server: She became Mrs. Clinton’s personal lawyer after they both left State. If Ms. Mills knew about the server while at State, she’d be subject to questions about the server. But if she didn’t know about the server until leaving State, she can argue that conversations with Mrs. Clinton are protected by attorney-client privilege. The FBI ignored all this, and it even allowed Ms. Mills to accompany Mrs. Clinton to her FBI interview as Mrs. Clinton’s lawyer.”
The notes also show the G-men never did grill Mrs. Clinton on her “intent” in setting up her server. Instead they bought her explanation that it was for personal convenience. This helped Mr. Comey avoid concluding that her purpose was to evade statutes like the Federal Records Act. Mr. Comey also told Congress that indicting her without criminal intent would pose a constitutional problem. But Congress has written many laws that don’t require criminal intent, and negligent homicide (for example) has never been unconstitutional.
The FBI notes also blow past evidence that Clinton advisers may have engaged in a cover-up. Consider page 10 of the FBI report: “Clinton’s immediate aides, to include [Huma] Abedin, [Cheryl] Mills, Jacob Sullivan, and [redacted] told the FBI they were unaware of the existence of the private server until after Clinton’s tenure at State or when it became public knowledge.”
That’s amazing given that Ms. Abedin had her own email account on the private server. It is also contradicted by page 3: “At the recommendation of Huma Abedin, Clinton’s long-time aide and later Deputy Chief of Staff at State, in or around fall 2008, [ Bill Clinton aide Justin] Cooper contacted Bryan Pagliano . . . to build the new server system and to assist Cooper with the administration of the new server system.”
The FBI must also have ignored two emails referred to by the State Inspector General showing Ms. Mills and Ms. Abedin discussing the server while they worked at State: “hrc email coming back—is server okay?” Ms. Mills asked Ms. Abedin and Mr. Cooper in a Feb. 27, 2010 email. Read the rest of this entry »
BREAKING: Disgraced FBI Director James Comey Gets Defensive About Timing of Clinton Investigation Labor Day Document DumpPosted: September 7, 2016
FBI Director James Comey is defending the bureau’s Friday afternoon release of documents from the Hillary Clinton email investigation, saying “we don’t play games” and that the documents were put out when ready.
We don’t play games. So we released it Friday. We are continuing to process more material and will release batches of documents as they are ready, no matter the day of the week,” Comey said.
He concluded the memo by writing, “Those suggesting that we are ‘political’ or part of some ‘fix’ either don’t know us, or they are full of baloney (and maybe some of both).
Jed Babbin writes:
“…The defining characteristics of banana republics are a matter of history. First, the law is not enforced against a chosen class in a banana reps…blic, usually the allies of the autocrat in charge. Second, foreign policy is always performed in the autocrat’s interests and often in disregard of the nation’s actual interests. This describes how
America functions in the era of President Obama.
The newly-released FBI documents on the investigation of Hillary Clinton make it clear beyond argument that the fix was in and that the FBI never had any intention of recommending that she should be prosecuted for her crimes.
That is very hard to write. I have had very good friends among the agents of the FBI, men of unshakeable dedication to the fair enforcement of the law. But that is no longer the FBI’s goal, as just a few references to the documents published last week reveal. Read the rest of this entry »