Sick of everything having to do with the FBI investigation, the special counsel investigation, the D.C. Circuit Court investigation, the congressional Democrats’ re-investigation and the Republicans’ investigation of the investigation? Me, too. At the same time, thanks to the appointment of Attorney General Bill Barr, we’re just at the point where the full story is gelling. This is the really important part for our country.
So to start the week, I’m providing a valuable public service: the “CliffsNotes” version (yes, that’s how they spell it now) of where we are right now in this whole darn thing, for everyone who doesn’t care to slog through the approximately 450 pages of the Mueller report, or listen again to the twisted press conference he gave on his way out the door, or hear one more idiotic word from the likes of Maxine Waters or Eric Swalwell.
First, I’ll quote someone who demonstrates much greater intelligence (and succinctness). Former Attorney General Michael Mukasey, when asked by Maria Bartiromo if there will be accountability for the spying and the abuse of the FISA Court, said, “ABSOLUTELY.” He credits the appointment of Bill Barr, who is totally dedicated to finding out what happened.
Next, here’s something smartly written, by Clarice Feldman at AMERICAN THINKER, that manages to cover a lot of ground while sticking to interesting, pertinent facts. Feldman talks about Robert Mueller the man, as someone with a prestigious upbringing and stellar political connections who nevertheless racked up some spectacular failures in his career with the FBI. She briefly outlines some of the worst ones. (I would say that, like so many in government, Mueller “failed up.”)
Now, he’s tried to outsmart Bill Barr. That is like Wile E. Coyote trying to set a trap with ACME dynamite. On the edge of a mile-high cliff. As Feldman says, “This fiasco should be the last of his blundering career.”
Next: That video clip from Barr’s interview with CBS’ Jan Crawford, the one in which he states that Mueller could have made a determination on the question of criminal “obstruction,” was featured by Maria Bartiromo in her Sunday morning show as she played it for Texas Rep. John Ratcliffe. Ratcliffe, who sits on the House Judiciary, Intelligence and Homeland Security Committees, responded by saying that Mueller not only could have made a decision on that but SHOULD have. Mueller was able to do the job of a prosecutor on “collusion” and decide that no one committed any crime by conspiring with Russia, so why didn’t he FINISH his job by deciding on “obstruction” as well?
Instead, as Ratcliffe pointed out, Mueller went on for about 200 pages doing what a prosecutor is NOT supposed to do: talk about the potential crimes and “conduct” of someone he has no intention of charging. As for Mueller’s rationale that the Office of Legal Counsel rule –- about not indicting a sitting President –- should keep him from deciding whether a crime was committed, Ratcliffe, a former federal prosecutor himself, called it “absurd.” He said Mueller’s nonsensical reasoning was less reminiscent of James Madison than it was of Billy Madison (the Adam Sandler movie), in that everyone who was there is now dumber for having heard it.
The way the law is supposed to work, the Justice Department –- including the special counsel –- doesn’t investigate crimes to make criminal referrals to Congress. That’s all part of the Executive Branch. Congress is part of the Legislative Branch. (Are you paying attention, AOC and all you other leftists who slept through Government 101?) As Barr has said, they are not an “adjunct” to Congress. But since when did this Congress care about the Constitution?
Moving on. Something else that’s getting attention right now: the lack of a truly comprehensive “defensive briefing” for the Trump campaign back in the summer of 2016 when the FBI was looking into Russian infiltration. On August 17 of that year, Trump’s campaign was given what is called an “intelligence assessment,” but no heads-up was given about suspicions of Russian influence or the fact that on July 31, an investigation (Operation “Crossfire Hurricane”) had actually been opened into these suspicions by the FBI. A letter from Gregory Brower, assistant director of the Office of Congressional Affairs, to Sen. Chuck Grassley, then-chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, dated October 26, 2017, referred to the defensive briefing as being “conducted by an experienced FBI counterintelligence agent and focused on the broad range of threats posed by foreign intelligence entities.”
Okay, let’s see...who was the agent who opened “Crossfire Hurricane”to investigate Trump? That would be Peter Strzok, the man who texted “We’ll stop him.” And who was the “experienced FBI counterintelligence agent” who conducted the defensive briefing for then-candidate Trump? Um, that would also be Peter Strzok, again, the man who texted “We’ll stop him.” If anyone was in a position to brief Trump on suspicions of Russian infiltration into his campaign (including the unverified material in the Steele dossier and the suspected contacts of Carter Page), it was Strzok. But he kept the Bureau’s activities secret.
"Cardinal" Jim Comey has said they didn’t want to “tip their hand” about the investigation. No kidding. If they had told Trump about this early on –- as they should have, instead of trying to drum up “evidence” to implicate him –- there would never have been a special counsel. And after the election, a special counsel is precisely what Trump’s political opponents wanted.
But here’s the thing: On August 25, 2016, at the same time the FBI was secretly investigating Trump’s campaign, CIA Director John Brennan called Democratic Sen. Harry Reid (Senate Minority Leader at the time) and briefed HIM on the Steele dossier and the investigation into Carter Page. It seems that Sen. Reid got a much more thorough intelligence briefing than Donald Trump did.
As Ratcliffe noted, one reason we haven’t yet seen the documents declassified by Barr, who was given that authority by President Trump, is that U.S. Attorney John Durham, the investigator Barr appointed to look into the FBI’s creation of the “Trump/Russia” investigation, may want to put them before a criminal grand jury.
Finally, do they give prizes for the worst idea of the week? If so, Geraldo Rivera would definitely win for last week for something he suggested via Tweet on Friday. The deal: that IF the Democrats agree to drop all Trump/Russia-related investigations, then AG Barr agrees to drop his probe of the counterintelligence operation that targeted Donald Trump. And then we all just move forward.
I was surprised at this from Geraldo, as he’s been talking a lot of sense lately. But, really, Geraldo, are you out of your mind?? As it turned out, the response from both left and right was overwhelmingly negative. Clearly, Democrats have already gotten their answers; they don’t LIKE them, but they have them. Republicans still need THEIR answers. And we’re just getting to the good part.
Later in the day, Geraldo tweeted this intriguing response: “Ok, I get that the left doesn’t want peace. Then fasten your seatbelts. Mark my words – before this is over many of your heroes will be profoundly diminished.”
I do believe he’s correct in that. Here’s the link, but you might want to skim past the column of hateful and inaccurate left-wing tweets. Nobody needs that.
Anyway, that’s today’s “CliffsNotes” version of where we are with Mueller, Barr and the road to accountability. As always, I promise there won’t be a test.