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Today's Commentary: GPS Fusion backstory -- Hatch considering retirement, well sort of -- Visiting the graveyard of history -- Manafort indicted -- CBS shamed -- The "GPS" stands for "grand protection scheme"
Friday, we finally learned who first hired Fusion GPS, the opposition research firm, which eventually led to the scummy “dossier” on Trump that’s filled with Russian-sourced claims that fail the smell test but is suspected to have been used to justify wiretapping Trump’s associates and launching the Russian collusion investigation. Along with the JFK document release, it was the biggest anti-climax since “Lost” went off the air.
It had long been rumored that the dossier originated with a Republican, likely one of Trump’s campaign rivals such as Jeb Bush or Marco Rubio. Well…no. Turns out it was the Washington Free Beacon, the right-leaning news website. The Free Beacon admitted that it uses outside research firms to dig up info on all sorts of persons of interest, including Hillary Clinton and all the GOP candidates (hey, guys: if you wanted to know anything about me, it would’ve been cheaper just to call me and ask.)
But in a statement, the Free Beacon insisted that all the info on Trump that Fusion GPS produced for them came from public sources, and that they ended their relationship with the firm before it ever hired Christopher Steele, the British ex-spy who came up with the scurrilous Russian dossier. By that time, the funding had apparently been taken over by the DNC and a lawyer for the Clinton campaign.
So the hopes of many in the media that they could once again deflect responsibility away from Hillary and onto some Republican presidential candidate were dashed. Too bad for them. Although I am relieved to discover that I was not the one behind it. Whew!
Hatch considering retirement, well sort of
By Mike Huckabee
The Atlantic magazine reports that according to multiple anonymous sources, Utah Sen. Orrin Hatch plans to step down in 2018, clearing the way for Mitt Romney. Everyone seems to agree this is true and accurate, except for Orrin Hatch and his staff, who call it recycled hogwash. But then, what do they know? They’re not even anonymous.
Rules still don't apply in Clinton World
By Mike Huckabee
Remember when Cheryl Mills accompanied Hillary Clinton as her attorney in a case for which she could also have been called as a witness? We hardly even knew how to think about that at the time. In court, judges typically don’t allow a potential witness in a case to also serve as a lawyer, for obvious reasons. That person can be either a witness or a lawyer, but not both. You’d think members of a Congressional committee might have a problem with that, too.
Well, the same strangely cozy arrangement is on display again in Clinton World. When Hillary’s campaign chairman John Podesta was called in to meet with Congressional investigators regarding that infamous Russia dossier from Fusion GPS, guess who was there as his lawyer?
In case the name “Marc Elias” doesn’t ring a bell, I’ll let this excerpt from CNN’s report refresh your memory:
“Sitting next to Podesta during the interview: his attorney Marc Elias, who worked for the law firm that hired Fusion GPS to continue research on Trump on behalf of the Clinton campaign and DNC, multiple sources said.”
What?? (Sound of brakes screeching.) Let’s all stop and think about that for a moment.
The story goes on to clarify: “Elias was only there in his capacity as Podesta’s attorney and not as a witness.”
Oh, okay. Then I suppose that, as Podesta’s attorney, he can now invoke attorney-client privilege if investigators decide at some point that it might be enlightening to question him, too. This arrangement is so crazy, I’m surprised that any court of law --- or even a meeting with members of Congress that calls for legal counsel --- would allow it. The meeting took place before it was revealed that Hillary’s campaign and the DNC had paid millions of dollars to Fusion GPS to finance the Russia dossier. Now that those dots have been connected, it might be good to put Marc Elias in the hot seat as well, but since he's John Podesta’s attorney, his own lawyer (another Clinton crony?) will likely be able to keep him out of it. Then he won't have to bother pleading the Fifth as two Fusion GPS people have done.
By Mike Huckabee
As expected, special counsel Robert Mueller executed an indictment in the Russian collusion probe this morning, but there’s still some question as to whether it has anything to do with Russian collusion. The target, again as expected, was one-time Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort, plus a former business associate, Rick Gates.
It’s a 12-count list of charges, some of which (“conspiracy against the USA”) seem designed to sound as bad as possible. They include money laundering and tax evasion, and stem mostly from Manafort’s failure to report at least $12 million in prior payments for their firm to act as political consultants for the pro-Russia former Ukrainian president, news of which got Manafort fired from Trump’s campaign (he worked on it from June to August of 2016) and replaced by Kellyanne Conway.
The charges seem mostly to date back to 2004 through 2012. How that allegedly helped Vladimir Putin steal the election for Donald Trump last November is something we’ll have to wait for the great minds of our age, like Chelsea Handler, to explain. Some legal experts believe that Mueller is throwing the bookshelf at Manafort and Gates in hopes that they’ll try for a plea bargain by turning on Trump, even though Manafort has already insisted he knows nothing about any Russian collusion in the 2016 election.
But it got all that talk about Obama, Hillary and selling one-fifth of our uranium to Russia out of the headlines. So there’s that. So how about some indictments related to a crime that's happened a lot more recently: the leaking of the news of these indictments to CNN?
By Mike Huckabee
Recently, CBS News ran a story that seemingly praised Iceland for all but eliminating Down Syndrome. But it wasn’t through medical innovations: they simply abort every baby who tests positive for it. That’s not eliminating a medical condition; it’s eliminating people who have that medical condition.
In response, Frank Stephens, a remarkable young man who has Down Syndrome and is an advocate for those who have it, spoke last week before a Congressional committee against the idea that abortion should be used to prevent people like him from existing. He delivered a powerful and moving speech and asked a question that actually silenced Congress and that should fill anyone who advocates this abhorrent, “final solution” mentality with shame:
“Is there really no place for us in the world?”
The "GPS" stands for "grand protection scheme"
The opposition research group Fusion GPS may be embroiled in scandal, but it’s getting protection from almost all sides.
First, it’s got the mainstream media largely looking the other way. The same “journalists” who persist in accusing, with no evidence, President Trump of colluding with Russians to win the 2016 election are greeting the news of real, demonstrable collusion with Russians by Hillary’s campaign and the DNC with a collective yawn. Perhaps modeling their behavior after Hillary’s legendary ability to look the other way at outrageous behavior, they ignore Democrats’ misdeeds –- and even what appear to be illegalities –- and take the concept of “double standard” to new dimensions.
Second, it’s got the Democratic Party leadership giving a similar brush-off to the facts. Spinners have rushed to the airwaves, trying desperately to keep the focus on Trump when there’s nothing to see that survives analysis. Hillary has had zilch to say about the new revelations about her campaign and will likely remain silent until she and her lawyers can craft something suitably protective. Former DNC chairman Debbie Wasserman Schultz has denied any knowledge of the $9 million payment to Global GPS or their involvement in the production of the sleazy work of fantasy called the “Trump dossier.” Of course, it’s highly likely that there were other Congressional Democrats who knew the truth about the dossier and kept it close to the vest.
Longtime Clinton crony and former campaign head John Podesta, who along with his brother Tony have ties that could keep a special counsel busy into the next decade, has also denied that he knew anything about it. Hilariously (to those who are paying attention), the attorney at Podesta’s side as he made this claim to a Congressional committee was Marc Elias, the very lawyer who had procured the services of Fusion GPS on behalf of the Democratic National Committee.
But even all this circling-of-wagons doesn’t provide enough protection against Congressional inquiry. Consequently, both men from Fusion GPS who have been called to testify about their activities have chosen to protect themselves legally by pleading the Fifth. They weren’t about to answer even a simple question like, “Who paid for your services?”
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