As impressive as Bill Barr was in many respects during his Tuesday confirmation testimony before the Senate Judiciary Committee --- particularly his emphasis on equal justice for all --- he did seem to be very much a part of the old guard, and that alone tends to make little alarm bells go off.  A longtime friend of Robert Mueller’s, he expressed confidence that Mueller was conducting a legit investigation.  When asked if he thought Mueller was on a “witch hunt,” he said no.

But to those of us on the outside looking in, given what we know (even with all the redactions), it seems that Mueller and his team are indeed on a witch hunt.  The prosecutors he chose for his team and the tactics they’ve used would strongly suggest that.

 

Barr has been described as a straight shooter.  But then, so has Mueller (by Barr, in fact).  I think that very shortly we’re going to find out who at the Justice Department is a straight shooter and who is not, and it may be disappointing if not heartbreaking.  Of course, we’ve long suspected that Mueller is no straight shooter, and new revelations from John Solomon reinforce that view.  From what Solomon has just learned about Bruce Ohr’s testimony, we can deduce that Mueller has known from the start of his investigation what the FBI was up to with the Steele dossier and even that it came from the Clinton campaign.

 

Here’s how we know that:  The dossier involved collusion with Russian sources, primarily a former Russian intelligence service agent, in an attempt to tie Trump to Russia.  Thus, it was very much a part of the “Trump/Russia” story that they were supposedly investigating.  (Glenn Simpson of Fusion GPS was also doing work for another Russian-controlled company.)  Mueller certainly could –- and should –- have expanded his investigation to include the origins of the dossier and its misuse by the FBI.  Yet he never did.

 

I can think of one other possible scenario, and that is Mueller (if he’s such a straight shooter) going to Rod Rosenstein, who was overseeing the special counsel, to see about expanding his probe to include the dossier and the FBI’s use of it before the FISA court, and Rosenstein saying, in effect, “You ain’t goin’ there.”  After all, Rosenstein was one of the officials who signed off on the applications!  The possibility of a situation like this is why Rosenstein should never have been supervising the special counsel --- not with his tremendous conflict of interest.

 

And here’s how we know Mueller would have had to be aware of what the FBI was up to:  In July and August of 2016, according to Ohr, he briefed senior officials at the FBI and DOJ about the Steele dossier, SPECIFICALLY WARNING THEM THAT IT WAS A CLINTON CAMPAIGN DOCUMENT AND THE INFORMATION IT CONTAINED WAS UNVERIFIED..  (Recall that his wife Nellie was working for Fusion GPS on the dossier project and was able to very conveniently pass it to the Justice Department through her husband, who was fourth in command there.)  The people he told included deputy FBI Director Andrew McCabe, plus a top lawyer for then-Attorney General Loretta Lynch and a Justice Department official who would soon become special counsel Mueller’s right-hand man.  I’m talking about his notorious “attack dog,” Andrew Weissmann.

 

A few weeks later, when the FISA application was made to spy on Trump associates to find out if Trump was “colluding” with Russia, there was no mention of Ohr’s warning about the reliability of the dossier and its inherent political bias.

 

Oops.  The information contained in a FISA warrant application is supposed to be verified.  (Incidentally, James Baker has said in testimony that he was the one who prepared the application because he was considered to be the “FISA expert.”  Baker is currently under investigation for leaking.)  To mislead the FISA court is against the law.  We already knew that they had tried to bury the fact that it was “oppo research” in a convoluted footnote.  Now we know that they also had been warned it was unverified and not to be trusted.


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Rather than describing the dossier as unverified material related to Clinton and her campaign (which would have gotten it immediately shot down by the court), the application said Steele was a reliable source in past criminal investigations who “was hired by a person working for a U.S. law firm” to conduct research on Trump and Russia.

 

In Solomon’s words, “Ohr’s activities, chronicled in handwritten notes and congressional testimony I gleaned from sources, provide the most damning evidence to date that FBI and DOJ officials may have misled federal judges in October 2016 in their zeal to obtain the warrant targeting Trump adviser Carter Page just weeks before election day.”

 

The application did say the FBI “speculates” that those who hired Steele were “likely looking for information to discredit” Trump’s campaign.  “Speculates”???  They knew it for doggone sure, because Bruce Ohr had explicitly warned FBI officials to “be aware” of it in July.  July 31, to be exact --- one day after meeting with Steele.

 

Ohr said he also disclosed to them his wife’s connection to Fusion GPS, the company that had hired Steele.  Of course, we know that Fusion GPS was hired by the Clinton campaign through the law firm Perkins Coie.  Ohr testified that he didn’t know Fusion GPS had been hired specifically by the DNC but did know it was “associated” with the Clinton campaign, and that’s what he had told them.

 

It was in August, still two months before the FISA application was made, that Ohr was asked to brief Justice Department officials on the dossier, and he told them what he’d told the FBI.  Significantly, two of the three people he briefed, Andrew Weissmann and Zainab Ahmad, would go on to become part of Mueller’s team.  (The third was Bruce Swartz, the longtime head of DOJ’s international operations.)  It’s hard to fathom that the special counsel was not made aware of the origins of the Steele dossier and the misuse of it by his friends at the FBI, given that Weissmann and Ahmad had been briefed.  But for all anyone can tell, Mueller never touched it.

 

Straight shooter, my eye.

 

https://thehill.com/opinion/white-house/425739-fisa-shocker-doj-official-warned-steele-dossier-was-connected-to-clinton

 

 

Speaking of John Solomon, my mention of his story about the DOJ pushing to get tougher with journalists in serving subpoenas sparked a smart reader question... 

 

 

From Adrian R:

Since when does any law enforcement agency tell anyone before issuing a subpoena?  Isn’t that a bit like telling a criminal before the police come to arrest him?  Why would the DOJ ever alert news organizations first before issuing a subpoena?

 

From me:

You’re right –- giving anyone advance notice that you’re coming with a warrant might cause them to fire up the ol’ paper shredder (or get the BleachBit).  I’m not a lawyer, but I do know that, traditionally, it’s always been a big deal to subpoena journalists because of concerns for First Amendment freedoms --- specifically, freedom of the press.  My speculation is that this is the reason why the process has been more favorable to them.  At any rate, the DOJ wants to change that.  It’s the other part of what they want to do --- lowering the threshold for issuing subpoenas --- that seems of particular concern.  With their tendency towards selective prosecution (translation:  targeting conservatives), they might have a field day with that.

 

 

And reader Vern is wise to be skeptical of the media, even when they get something right…

 

From Vern B:

Why are folks believing what the NYT is reporting?  Aren’t they part of the fake news media?

 

From me:

Yes, they are, part and parcel.  But just as a broken clock is right twice a day, sometimes a story in the NYT (once you read past the spin) is factually correct.  In this case, it appears to be information that was deliberately leaked to them by someone at the FBI or DOJ to get ahead of the story before the evidence came out.  You’d think if something this serious –- this outrageous –- weren’t true, the FBI would demand a retraction and apology.  There would be an uproar.  I hear crickets.

 

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Comments 26-32 of 32

  • Vickie Fiorentino

    01/17/2019 11:41 AM

    I should be "None of the ABOVE!" Trump knew this before the elsction and complained about being investigated & wire tapped, ALL DUE to this investigation! Such a farce and WE THE PEOPLE are still shelling out $$$$$ of these riduculous allocations. we could have built the wall by now!

  • Jerry Korba

    01/17/2019 11:31 AM

    Mike I was stunned when Barr said Mueller was a straight shooter and the 2 of them working for 30 years together is so wrong for many reasons one being is collusion actually a crime and if not why have Mueller and the band of fired Comey, McCabe, resigned FBI agents demoted agents and all of Muellers friends, lawyers spent so much time and money on colusion if its not a crime. The lawyers know it,Mueller knows it what is it that Barr knows a former AG that this investigation is not a witch hunt? Is this another here we go again moment with the DOJ another feeble guy with hollow words that will say what needs to be said when the camera is on then do the opposite behind the locked door. Beware look at the head of the FBI he may be adding to the mess it has there, are we leaving a mess at the DOJ for a new mess?? Remember both sides of the isle said Mueller was a straight shooter and they thought he could be trusted, people in DC should never use the word trusted (this is one time when never can be used) Trusted in DC cannot be defined. It is so very important that the leaders of our departments including the FBI DOJ CIA all of them are held accountable. If we can not do this we might as well sell the our country to the highest bidder. It may be time to move DC to the dessert and let them negotiate under a gazebo with just one case of water starting at 9AM till 5:00 try working a 8 hour day in the heat. Nancy and Chuckie don't bother to dress up you look like unmade beds anyway. Just like your policies ...........

  • Lanny Wilkerson

    01/17/2019 11:20 AM

    I do not understand why anyone such as Mr. Trump, who I wholeheartedly support, would allow someone like Barr who is friends with Mueller to be considered for the position of AG. Is there no one with complete integrity with no prior ties to this situation who could step in and bring common sense and decency back to this position? Look at all the inferior people in this position, all the way back to Janet Reno! This circus come to town is no longer fun and they've stayed long enough, their excrement is starting to really stink up the place instead of provide the things they came to town for. So tired and fed up of this whole government fiasco!

  • rodney Burke

    01/17/2019 11:17 AM

    Yeah, Mike, I get warning bells too. Unless Barr is just saying what he thinks congress ( demwits) want to hear, I think he is extremely suspect. Recusal? At the bare minimum. He knows the criminal enterprise and is friends. Mueller has a track record and it;'s all bad. He is waist deep in uranium 1 and that makes him liable for all kinds of crimes. Now, Trump may have him set up for a special reason to handle a specific task and them he'll go to someone else. No, I under no circumstance trust Barr as far as I can throw him from Dallas. RR is the one who needs replacing without any question. Matt Whitaker is just fine for the job.

  • Holly Cortez

    01/17/2019 11:00 AM

    Why would Trump appoint Bill Barr if he is good friends with Mueller? Mueller appears to be part of the Swamp and if they are friends Barr is probably of the same persuasion. I thought the idea was to drain it??

  • Ron Carmony

    01/17/2019 10:28 AM

    Governor,
    Fathom the hysterical push back from the left and its minions in the press if even a fraction of the outrageous and disrespectful comments made about the president were instead said about Obama by conservatives. There would be outrage and demands for resignations. There would be threats of violence nationwide. Boycotts of states and anybody who does business in those states would be announced. Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton would be on CNN every night spouting off some form of lunacy. The recent diabolical hatred thrown at Karen Pence for teaching at a Christian school is truly over the top. At what point, Governor, do we Christians take off the gloves and fight back? I truly believe we are on the cusp of another Civil War. But, what bothers me most are our friends and relatives who profess to be Christians, but continue to vote for the very people who endorse and propagate such vile incivility.

  • Linda Olds

    01/17/2019 09:17 AM

    I think it's true that Mueller has known, pretty much from the beginning of his investigation, that it was all a bunch of 'nothing there'.
    I don't know what kind of person he is, or if he or anyone in Washington has any integrity.
    People are saying that William Barr should not be trusted because he is friends with Mueller, and says that the investigation is not a witch hunt. I don't know Barr, either, but I'm sure he knows that if he says that the investigation IS a witch hunt, he will not be confirmed. I HOPE that Bwhoarr thinks that Mueller is someone doesn't like Trump and wants to find something against him but hasn't, and needs to find a way to end it.
    All of the dishonesty in Washington makes me think of the saying "all that glitters is not gold...". Many of these people, especially politicians, are slick, and think that covering themselves with 'glitter' makes them look like gold. They dislike President Trump, claiming that his sometimes crude remarks are 'unpresidential', and a reason to get rid of him.
    I think that Trump's purpose is to "make America great again", and beneath the crude remarks is a president who truly is gold.

As impressive as Bill Barr was in many respects during his Tuesday confirmation testimony before the Senate Judiciary Committee --- particularly his emphasis on equal justice for all --- he did seem to be very much a part of the old guard, and that alone tends to make little alarm bells go off.  A longtime friend of Robert Mueller’s, he expressed confidence that Mueller was conducting a legit investigation.  When asked if he thought Mueller was on a “witch hunt,” he said no.

But to those of us on the outside looking in, given what we know (even with all the redactions), it seems that Mueller and his team are indeed on a witch hunt.  The prosecutors he chose for his team and the tactics they’ve used would strongly suggest that.

 

Barr has been described as a straight shooter.  But then, so has Mueller (by Barr, in fact).  I think that very shortly we’re going to find out who at the Justice Department is a straight shooter and who is not, and it may be disappointing if not heartbreaking.  Of course, we’ve long suspected that Mueller is no straight shooter, and new revelations from John Solomon reinforce that view.  From what Solomon has just learned about Bruce Ohr’s testimony, we can deduce that Mueller has known from the start of his investigation what the FBI was up to with the Steele dossier and even that it came from the Clinton campaign.

 

Here’s how we know that:  The dossier involved collusion with Russian sources, primarily a former Russian intelligence service agent, in an attempt to tie Trump to Russia.  Thus, it was very much a part of the “Trump/Russia” story that they were supposedly investigating.  (Glenn Simpson of Fusion GPS was also doing work for another Russian-controlled company.)  Mueller certainly could –- and should –- have expanded his investigation to include the origins of the dossier and its misuse by the FBI.  Yet he never did.

 

I can think of one other possible scenario, and that is Mueller (if he’s such a straight shooter) going to Rod Rosenstein, who was overseeing the special counsel, to see about expanding his probe to include the dossier and the FBI’s use of it before the FISA court, and Rosenstein saying, in effect, “You ain’t goin’ there.”  After all, Rosenstein was one of the officials who signed off on the applications!  The possibility of a situation like this is why Rosenstein should never have been supervising the special counsel --- not with his tremendous conflict of interest.

 

And here’s how we know Mueller would have had to be aware of what the FBI was up to:  In July and August of 2016, according to Ohr, he briefed senior officials at the FBI and DOJ about the Steele dossier, SPECIFICALLY WARNING THEM THAT IT WAS A CLINTON CAMPAIGN DOCUMENT AND THE INFORMATION IT CONTAINED WAS UNVERIFIED..  (Recall that his wife Nellie was working for Fusion GPS on the dossier project and was able to very conveniently pass it to the Justice Department through her husband, who was fourth in command there.)  The people he told included deputy FBI Director Andrew McCabe, plus a top lawyer for then-Attorney General Loretta Lynch and a Justice Department official who would soon become special counsel Mueller’s right-hand man.  I’m talking about his notorious “attack dog,” Andrew Weissmann.

 

A few weeks later, when the FISA application was made to spy on Trump associates to find out if Trump was “colluding” with Russia, there was no mention of Ohr’s warning about the reliability of the dossier and its inherent political bias.

 

Oops.  The information contained in a FISA warrant application is supposed to be verified.  (Incidentally, James Baker has said in testimony that he was the one who prepared the application because he was considered to be the “FISA expert.”  Baker is currently under investigation for leaking.)  To mislead the FISA court is against the law.  We already knew that they had tried to bury the fact that it was “oppo research” in a convoluted footnote.  Now we know that they also had been warned it was unverified and not to be trusted.


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Rather than describing the dossier as unverified material related to Clinton and her campaign (which would have gotten it immediately shot down by the court), the application said Steele was a reliable source in past criminal investigations who “was hired by a person working for a U.S. law firm” to conduct research on Trump and Russia.

 

In Solomon’s words, “Ohr’s activities, chronicled in handwritten notes and congressional testimony I gleaned from sources, provide the most damning evidence to date that FBI and DOJ officials may have misled federal judges in October 2016 in their zeal to obtain the warrant targeting Trump adviser Carter Page just weeks before election day.”

 

The application did say the FBI “speculates” that those who hired Steele were “likely looking for information to discredit” Trump’s campaign.  “Speculates”???  They knew it for doggone sure, because Bruce Ohr had explicitly warned FBI officials to “be aware” of it in July.  July 31, to be exact --- one day after meeting with Steele.

 

Ohr said he also disclosed to them his wife’s connection to Fusion GPS, the company that had hired Steele.  Of course, we know that Fusion GPS was hired by the Clinton campaign through the law firm Perkins Coie.  Ohr testified that he didn’t know Fusion GPS had been hired specifically by the DNC but did know it was “associated” with the Clinton campaign, and that’s what he had told them.

 

It was in August, still two months before the FISA application was made, that Ohr was asked to brief Justice Department officials on the dossier, and he told them what he’d told the FBI.  Significantly, two of the three people he briefed, Andrew Weissmann and Zainab Ahmad, would go on to become part of Mueller’s team.  (The third was Bruce Swartz, the longtime head of DOJ’s international operations.)  It’s hard to fathom that the special counsel was not made aware of the origins of the Steele dossier and the misuse of it by his friends at the FBI, given that Weissmann and Ahmad had been briefed.  But for all anyone can tell, Mueller never touched it.

 

Straight shooter, my eye.

 

https://thehill.com/opinion/white-house/425739-fisa-shocker-doj-official-warned-steele-dossier-was-connected-to-clinton

 

 

Speaking of John Solomon, my mention of his story about the DOJ pushing to get tougher with journalists in serving subpoenas sparked a smart reader question... 

 

 

From Adrian R:

Since when does any law enforcement agency tell anyone before issuing a subpoena?  Isn’t that a bit like telling a criminal before the police come to arrest him?  Why would the DOJ ever alert news organizations first before issuing a subpoena?

 

From me:

You’re right –- giving anyone advance notice that you’re coming with a warrant might cause them to fire up the ol’ paper shredder (or get the BleachBit).  I’m not a lawyer, but I do know that, traditionally, it’s always been a big deal to subpoena journalists because of concerns for First Amendment freedoms --- specifically, freedom of the press.  My speculation is that this is the reason why the process has been more favorable to them.  At any rate, the DOJ wants to change that.  It’s the other part of what they want to do --- lowering the threshold for issuing subpoenas --- that seems of particular concern.  With their tendency towards selective prosecution (translation:  targeting conservatives), they might have a field day with that.

 

 

And reader Vern is wise to be skeptical of the media, even when they get something right…

 

From Vern B:

Why are folks believing what the NYT is reporting?  Aren’t they part of the fake news media?

 

From me:

Yes, they are, part and parcel.  But just as a broken clock is right twice a day, sometimes a story in the NYT (once you read past the spin) is factually correct.  In this case, it appears to be information that was deliberately leaked to them by someone at the FBI or DOJ to get ahead of the story before the evidence came out.  You’d think if something this serious –- this outrageous –- weren’t true, the FBI would demand a retraction and apology.  There would be an uproar.  I hear crickets.

 

 LEAVE ME A COMMENT BY CLICKING HERE. I READ THEM!

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Comments 26-32 of 32

  • Vickie Fiorentino

    01/17/2019 11:41 AM

    I should be "None of the ABOVE!" Trump knew this before the elsction and complained about being investigated & wire tapped, ALL DUE to this investigation! Such a farce and WE THE PEOPLE are still shelling out $$$$$ of these riduculous allocations. we could have built the wall by now!

  • Jerry Korba

    01/17/2019 11:31 AM

    Mike I was stunned when Barr said Mueller was a straight shooter and the 2 of them working for 30 years together is so wrong for many reasons one being is collusion actually a crime and if not why have Mueller and the band of fired Comey, McCabe, resigned FBI agents demoted agents and all of Muellers friends, lawyers spent so much time and money on colusion if its not a crime. The lawyers know it,Mueller knows it what is it that Barr knows a former AG that this investigation is not a witch hunt? Is this another here we go again moment with the DOJ another feeble guy with hollow words that will say what needs to be said when the camera is on then do the opposite behind the locked door. Beware look at the head of the FBI he may be adding to the mess it has there, are we leaving a mess at the DOJ for a new mess?? Remember both sides of the isle said Mueller was a straight shooter and they thought he could be trusted, people in DC should never use the word trusted (this is one time when never can be used) Trusted in DC cannot be defined. It is so very important that the leaders of our departments including the FBI DOJ CIA all of them are held accountable. If we can not do this we might as well sell the our country to the highest bidder. It may be time to move DC to the dessert and let them negotiate under a gazebo with just one case of water starting at 9AM till 5:00 try working a 8 hour day in the heat. Nancy and Chuckie don't bother to dress up you look like unmade beds anyway. Just like your policies ...........

  • Lanny Wilkerson

    01/17/2019 11:20 AM

    I do not understand why anyone such as Mr. Trump, who I wholeheartedly support, would allow someone like Barr who is friends with Mueller to be considered for the position of AG. Is there no one with complete integrity with no prior ties to this situation who could step in and bring common sense and decency back to this position? Look at all the inferior people in this position, all the way back to Janet Reno! This circus come to town is no longer fun and they've stayed long enough, their excrement is starting to really stink up the place instead of provide the things they came to town for. So tired and fed up of this whole government fiasco!

  • rodney Burke

    01/17/2019 11:17 AM

    Yeah, Mike, I get warning bells too. Unless Barr is just saying what he thinks congress ( demwits) want to hear, I think he is extremely suspect. Recusal? At the bare minimum. He knows the criminal enterprise and is friends. Mueller has a track record and it;'s all bad. He is waist deep in uranium 1 and that makes him liable for all kinds of crimes. Now, Trump may have him set up for a special reason to handle a specific task and them he'll go to someone else. No, I under no circumstance trust Barr as far as I can throw him from Dallas. RR is the one who needs replacing without any question. Matt Whitaker is just fine for the job.

  • Holly Cortez

    01/17/2019 11:00 AM

    Why would Trump appoint Bill Barr if he is good friends with Mueller? Mueller appears to be part of the Swamp and if they are friends Barr is probably of the same persuasion. I thought the idea was to drain it??

  • Ron Carmony

    01/17/2019 10:28 AM

    Governor,
    Fathom the hysterical push back from the left and its minions in the press if even a fraction of the outrageous and disrespectful comments made about the president were instead said about Obama by conservatives. There would be outrage and demands for resignations. There would be threats of violence nationwide. Boycotts of states and anybody who does business in those states would be announced. Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton would be on CNN every night spouting off some form of lunacy. The recent diabolical hatred thrown at Karen Pence for teaching at a Christian school is truly over the top. At what point, Governor, do we Christians take off the gloves and fight back? I truly believe we are on the cusp of another Civil War. But, what bothers me most are our friends and relatives who profess to be Christians, but continue to vote for the very people who endorse and propagate such vile incivility.

  • Linda Olds

    01/17/2019 09:17 AM

    I think it's true that Mueller has known, pretty much from the beginning of his investigation, that it was all a bunch of 'nothing there'.
    I don't know what kind of person he is, or if he or anyone in Washington has any integrity.
    People are saying that William Barr should not be trusted because he is friends with Mueller, and says that the investigation is not a witch hunt. I don't know Barr, either, but I'm sure he knows that if he says that the investigation IS a witch hunt, he will not be confirmed. I HOPE that Bwhoarr thinks that Mueller is someone doesn't like Trump and wants to find something against him but hasn't, and needs to find a way to end it.
    All of the dishonesty in Washington makes me think of the saying "all that glitters is not gold...". Many of these people, especially politicians, are slick, and think that covering themselves with 'glitter' makes them look like gold. They dislike President Trump, claiming that his sometimes crude remarks are 'unpresidential', and a reason to get rid of him.
    I think that Trump's purpose is to "make America great again", and beneath the crude remarks is a president who truly is gold.

As impressive as Bill Barr was in many respects during his Tuesday confirmation testimony before the Senate Judiciary Committee --- particularly his emphasis on equal justice for all --- he did seem to be very much a part of the old guard, and that alone tends to make little alarm bells go off.  A longtime friend of Robert Mueller’s, he expressed confidence that Mueller was conducting a legit investigation.  When asked if he thought Mueller was on a “witch hunt,” he said no.

But to those of us on the outside looking in, given what we know (even with all the redactions), it seems that Mueller and his team are indeed on a witch hunt.  The prosecutors he chose for his team and the tactics they’ve used would strongly suggest that.

 

Barr has been described as a straight shooter.  But then, so has Mueller (by Barr, in fact).  I think that very shortly we’re going to find out who at the Justice Department is a straight shooter and who is not, and it may be disappointing if not heartbreaking.  Of course, we’ve long suspected that Mueller is no straight shooter, and new revelations from John Solomon reinforce that view.  From what Solomon has just learned about Bruce Ohr’s testimony, we can deduce that Mueller has known from the start of his investigation what the FBI was up to with the Steele dossier and even that it came from the Clinton campaign.

 

Here’s how we know that:  The dossier involved collusion with Russian sources, primarily a former Russian intelligence service agent, in an attempt to tie Trump to Russia.  Thus, it was very much a part of the “Trump/Russia” story that they were supposedly investigating.  (Glenn Simpson of Fusion GPS was also doing work for another Russian-controlled company.)  Mueller certainly could –- and should –- have expanded his investigation to include the origins of the dossier and its misuse by the FBI.  Yet he never did.

 

I can think of one other possible scenario, and that is Mueller (if he’s such a straight shooter) going to Rod Rosenstein, who was overseeing the special counsel, to see about expanding his probe to include the dossier and the FBI’s use of it before the FISA court, and Rosenstein saying, in effect, “You ain’t goin’ there.”  After all, Rosenstein was one of the officials who signed off on the applications!  The possibility of a situation like this is why Rosenstein should never have been supervising the special counsel --- not with his tremendous conflict of interest.

 

And here’s how we know Mueller would have had to be aware of what the FBI was up to:  In July and August of 2016, according to Ohr, he briefed senior officials at the FBI and DOJ about the Steele dossier, SPECIFICALLY WARNING THEM THAT IT WAS A CLINTON CAMPAIGN DOCUMENT AND THE INFORMATION IT CONTAINED WAS UNVERIFIED..  (Recall that his wife Nellie was working for Fusion GPS on the dossier project and was able to very conveniently pass it to the Justice Department through her husband, who was fourth in command there.)  The people he told included deputy FBI Director Andrew McCabe, plus a top lawyer for then-Attorney General Loretta Lynch and a Justice Department official who would soon become special counsel Mueller’s right-hand man.  I’m talking about his notorious “attack dog,” Andrew Weissmann.

 

A few weeks later, when the FISA application was made to spy on Trump associates to find out if Trump was “colluding” with Russia, there was no mention of Ohr’s warning about the reliability of the dossier and its inherent political bias.

 

Oops.  The information contained in a FISA warrant application is supposed to be verified.  (Incidentally, James Baker has said in testimony that he was the one who prepared the application because he was considered to be the “FISA expert.”  Baker is currently under investigation for leaking.)  To mislead the FISA court is against the law.  We already knew that they had tried to bury the fact that it was “oppo research” in a convoluted footnote.  Now we know that they also had been warned it was unverified and not to be trusted.


Commentary continues below advertisement


Rather than describing the dossier as unverified material related to Clinton and her campaign (which would have gotten it immediately shot down by the court), the application said Steele was a reliable source in past criminal investigations who “was hired by a person working for a U.S. law firm” to conduct research on Trump and Russia.

 

In Solomon’s words, “Ohr’s activities, chronicled in handwritten notes and congressional testimony I gleaned from sources, provide the most damning evidence to date that FBI and DOJ officials may have misled federal judges in October 2016 in their zeal to obtain the warrant targeting Trump adviser Carter Page just weeks before election day.”

 

The application did say the FBI “speculates” that those who hired Steele were “likely looking for information to discredit” Trump’s campaign.  “Speculates”???  They knew it for doggone sure, because Bruce Ohr had explicitly warned FBI officials to “be aware” of it in July.  July 31, to be exact --- one day after meeting with Steele.

 

Ohr said he also disclosed to them his wife’s connection to Fusion GPS, the company that had hired Steele.  Of course, we know that Fusion GPS was hired by the Clinton campaign through the law firm Perkins Coie.  Ohr testified that he didn’t know Fusion GPS had been hired specifically by the DNC but did know it was “associated” with the Clinton campaign, and that’s what he had told them.

 

It was in August, still two months before the FISA application was made, that Ohr was asked to brief Justice Department officials on the dossier, and he told them what he’d told the FBI.  Significantly, two of the three people he briefed, Andrew Weissmann and Zainab Ahmad, would go on to become part of Mueller’s team.  (The third was Bruce Swartz, the longtime head of DOJ’s international operations.)  It’s hard to fathom that the special counsel was not made aware of the origins of the Steele dossier and the misuse of it by his friends at the FBI, given that Weissmann and Ahmad had been briefed.  But for all anyone can tell, Mueller never touched it.

 

Straight shooter, my eye.

 

https://thehill.com/opinion/white-house/425739-fisa-shocker-doj-official-warned-steele-dossier-was-connected-to-clinton

 

 

Speaking of John Solomon, my mention of his story about the DOJ pushing to get tougher with journalists in serving subpoenas sparked a smart reader question... 

 

 

From Adrian R:

Since when does any law enforcement agency tell anyone before issuing a subpoena?  Isn’t that a bit like telling a criminal before the police come to arrest him?  Why would the DOJ ever alert news organizations first before issuing a subpoena?

 

From me:

You’re right –- giving anyone advance notice that you’re coming with a warrant might cause them to fire up the ol’ paper shredder (or get the BleachBit).  I’m not a lawyer, but I do know that, traditionally, it’s always been a big deal to subpoena journalists because of concerns for First Amendment freedoms --- specifically, freedom of the press.  My speculation is that this is the reason why the process has been more favorable to them.  At any rate, the DOJ wants to change that.  It’s the other part of what they want to do --- lowering the threshold for issuing subpoenas --- that seems of particular concern.  With their tendency towards selective prosecution (translation:  targeting conservatives), they might have a field day with that.

 

 

And reader Vern is wise to be skeptical of the media, even when they get something right…

 

From Vern B:

Why are folks believing what the NYT is reporting?  Aren’t they part of the fake news media?

 

From me:

Yes, they are, part and parcel.  But just as a broken clock is right twice a day, sometimes a story in the NYT (once you read past the spin) is factually correct.  In this case, it appears to be information that was deliberately leaked to them by someone at the FBI or DOJ to get ahead of the story before the evidence came out.  You’d think if something this serious –- this outrageous –- weren’t true, the FBI would demand a retraction and apology.  There would be an uproar.  I hear crickets.

 

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Comments 26-32 of 32

  • Vickie Fiorentino

    01/17/2019 11:41 AM

    I should be "None of the ABOVE!" Trump knew this before the elsction and complained about being investigated & wire tapped, ALL DUE to this investigation! Such a farce and WE THE PEOPLE are still shelling out $$$$$ of these riduculous allocations. we could have built the wall by now!

  • Jerry Korba

    01/17/2019 11:31 AM

    Mike I was stunned when Barr said Mueller was a straight shooter and the 2 of them working for 30 years together is so wrong for many reasons one being is collusion actually a crime and if not why have Mueller and the band of fired Comey, McCabe, resigned FBI agents demoted agents and all of Muellers friends, lawyers spent so much time and money on colusion if its not a crime. The lawyers know it,Mueller knows it what is it that Barr knows a former AG that this investigation is not a witch hunt? Is this another here we go again moment with the DOJ another feeble guy with hollow words that will say what needs to be said when the camera is on then do the opposite behind the locked door. Beware look at the head of the FBI he may be adding to the mess it has there, are we leaving a mess at the DOJ for a new mess?? Remember both sides of the isle said Mueller was a straight shooter and they thought he could be trusted, people in DC should never use the word trusted (this is one time when never can be used) Trusted in DC cannot be defined. It is so very important that the leaders of our departments including the FBI DOJ CIA all of them are held accountable. If we can not do this we might as well sell the our country to the highest bidder. It may be time to move DC to the dessert and let them negotiate under a gazebo with just one case of water starting at 9AM till 5:00 try working a 8 hour day in the heat. Nancy and Chuckie don't bother to dress up you look like unmade beds anyway. Just like your policies ...........

  • Lanny Wilkerson

    01/17/2019 11:20 AM

    I do not understand why anyone such as Mr. Trump, who I wholeheartedly support, would allow someone like Barr who is friends with Mueller to be considered for the position of AG. Is there no one with complete integrity with no prior ties to this situation who could step in and bring common sense and decency back to this position? Look at all the inferior people in this position, all the way back to Janet Reno! This circus come to town is no longer fun and they've stayed long enough, their excrement is starting to really stink up the place instead of provide the things they came to town for. So tired and fed up of this whole government fiasco!

  • rodney Burke

    01/17/2019 11:17 AM

    Yeah, Mike, I get warning bells too. Unless Barr is just saying what he thinks congress ( demwits) want to hear, I think he is extremely suspect. Recusal? At the bare minimum. He knows the criminal enterprise and is friends. Mueller has a track record and it;'s all bad. He is waist deep in uranium 1 and that makes him liable for all kinds of crimes. Now, Trump may have him set up for a special reason to handle a specific task and them he'll go to someone else. No, I under no circumstance trust Barr as far as I can throw him from Dallas. RR is the one who needs replacing without any question. Matt Whitaker is just fine for the job.

  • Holly Cortez

    01/17/2019 11:00 AM

    Why would Trump appoint Bill Barr if he is good friends with Mueller? Mueller appears to be part of the Swamp and if they are friends Barr is probably of the same persuasion. I thought the idea was to drain it??

  • Ron Carmony

    01/17/2019 10:28 AM

    Governor,
    Fathom the hysterical push back from the left and its minions in the press if even a fraction of the outrageous and disrespectful comments made about the president were instead said about Obama by conservatives. There would be outrage and demands for resignations. There would be threats of violence nationwide. Boycotts of states and anybody who does business in those states would be announced. Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton would be on CNN every night spouting off some form of lunacy. The recent diabolical hatred thrown at Karen Pence for teaching at a Christian school is truly over the top. At what point, Governor, do we Christians take off the gloves and fight back? I truly believe we are on the cusp of another Civil War. But, what bothers me most are our friends and relatives who profess to be Christians, but continue to vote for the very people who endorse and propagate such vile incivility.

  • Linda Olds

    01/17/2019 09:17 AM

    I think it's true that Mueller has known, pretty much from the beginning of his investigation, that it was all a bunch of 'nothing there'.
    I don't know what kind of person he is, or if he or anyone in Washington has any integrity.
    People are saying that William Barr should not be trusted because he is friends with Mueller, and says that the investigation is not a witch hunt. I don't know Barr, either, but I'm sure he knows that if he says that the investigation IS a witch hunt, he will not be confirmed. I HOPE that Bwhoarr thinks that Mueller is someone doesn't like Trump and wants to find something against him but hasn't, and needs to find a way to end it.
    All of the dishonesty in Washington makes me think of the saying "all that glitters is not gold...". Many of these people, especially politicians, are slick, and think that covering themselves with 'glitter' makes them look like gold. They dislike President Trump, claiming that his sometimes crude remarks are 'unpresidential', and a reason to get rid of him.
    I think that Trump's purpose is to "make America great again", and beneath the crude remarks is a president who truly is gold.