AG BILL BARR: “I think spying on a political campaign is a big deal. It’s a big deal.”
COMMITTEE MEMBER: “So...you’re not, you’re not suggesting, though, that...spying occurred.”
BILL BARR: (long pause)...”I think spying did occur. Yes, I think spying did occur. I’m not suggesting it wasn’t adequately predicated, but I’d need to explore that.”
First of all, anyone old enough to remember Watergate (count me in) knows that spying on a political campaign IS a big deal. The Watergate scandal –- which changed history in incalculable ways –- began as a low-tech, early-’70s version of political spying on a presidential campaign, a simple break-in at the Democratic National Committee headquarters at the Watergate Hotel in Washington, DC, to install a wiretap. Keep in mind, this was in the Jurassic Period, before the age of digital communication, so the physical installation of listening devices (“bugs”) was necessary. But it was the same thing that happened in 2016: SPYING.
At Barr’s use of that term, Democrats suffered seizures and grabbed their smelling salts. (I’d say it made them go insane, but they already are.) When they objected to the connotations of the word “spying,” Attorney General Barr pulled back a bit and used the term “unauthorized surveillance.” That's still SPYING.
Doesn’t matter –-- ever since Barr said that, Democrats have been trying to discredit one of the most straight-up individuals we’ve seen in government in a long while. Not that they were pleased with him before he said it; since he was a Trump appointee (as any current AG would have to be), he was automatically under suspicion from the moment he was nominated. And they sure didn’t like the four-page conclusion he wrote about the Mueller report, which they had hoped would be an immediate take-down of President Trump. Nancy Pelosi said Barr had gone “off the rails” and called him “the attorney general of Donald Trump,” whose words “undermine our Constitution.” Barr was “trashing his reputation in the name of Donald Trump.” He was even labeled a “hatchet man.” (Have you noticed that hacks for the Democrat Party NEVER pull back on words that might come across to the rest of us as too strong?)
Barr and those who believe him were immediately characterized as tin-foil hat conspiracy theorists. Actually, Barr was stating a FACT: you and I have known for a fact for a long time that members of the Trump campaign were surveilled. This was even reported in The New York Times, though they ridiculously tried to walk it back in their headline: “FBI Used Informant to Investigate Russia Ties to Campaign, Not to Spy, as Trump Claims.” Of course, so-called journalists from CNN and MSNBC call this “a phony-baloney story.” They assume that if Barr expresses a thought that Trump happens to agree with, he’s doing it not because of the supporting evidence but only because of politics. So, are we all supposed to be like the populace in “The Emperor’s New Clothes” and pretend the spying didn’t happen? That’s what they're doing.
In other words, until now, these media outlets have simply ignored the story, even laughing at Trump when he tweeted that Trump Tower had been wiretapped. Now that they can’t ignore it, they’re trying desperately to discredit it, reacting with shock and horror to a story we’ve known about for a long time. But that won’t work, because it really happened.
So the question now is, was the spying done for a lawful reason? Were the FISA application and the three renewals made in accordance with the law, or were they knowingly based on a work of fiction known as the “Trump dossier”? Of course, it’s possible (at least theoretically) that the FBI had an acceptable reason to SPY on the Trump campaign; that’s what Bill Barr plans to look into. In the meantime, Democrats are making it clear that he’s not supposed to say out loud what we know actually happened.
Liars such as James Clapper are making it easier for them to stay in denial, at least for now. So is former Chuck Schumer aide Chris Hahn when he calls human informants who spied on the Trump campaign “Americans who are doing their job.” (Yes, he actually said that, on Laura Ingraham’s show.) Chris, I hate to break this to you, but some of them weren’t even Americans.
Ex-CIA chief John Brennan (who has called the President a traitor) went on MSNBC on Wednesday and said Barr “acted more like a personal lawyer for Donald Trump today rather than the attorney general.” Obviously, that’s going to be the main talking point going forward. I find Brennan’s words especially interesting considering that Barr said other investigative agencies besides the FBI might have been involved. Can you say “CIA”?
So, given that Russians were trying to influence our election (and they were), what would legitimize the FBI’s spying on Carter Page (and, by way of him, the entire campaign)? Under almost any imaginable circumstances, it would seem more appropriate for the FBI to have warned then-candidate Trump personally and worked with him to find out what was going on if they had legitimate suspicions of Russian infiltration. After all, that’s what they did with Dianne Feinstein when it was discovered she had a longtime employee who was a Chinese spy. Note this exchange with Lindsay Graham:
Graham: “Would it be odd that the candidate was never really briefed by the Department that ‘your campaign may be targeted by a foreign entity’?”
Barr: “That is one of the questions I have, is --- I feel, normally, a campaign would have been advised of this.”
Graham: “And, can you think of a good reason, right now, why they wouldn’t have been?”
Barr: “Uh, I’m interested in getting that answer. They had two former U.S. attorneys in Chris Christie and Rudy Giuliani involved in the campaign, and I don’t understand why the campaign was not advised.”
Florida Rep. Matt Gaetz, in an appearance on Wednesday’s Tucker Carlson s how, pointed out that we’d know more about why this wasn’t done if Dan Coates, the Director of National Intelligence, had released transcripts of the House Intelligence Committee of closed-door testimony from James Clapper, James Comey, Andrew McCabe and John Brennan. According to Gaetz, it’s been four months since over 50 transcripts have been voted out of the House Intelligence Committee to be declassified. (I assume this was before Adam Schiff took over the chairmanship of the House Intelligence Committee!)
Incidentally, Gaetz made a great case for Schiff being removed from his chairmanship. He said having Schiff in charge of the House Intelligence Committee after telling so many demonstrable lies is like having Lori Loughlin in charge of the College Board, or Jussie Smollett in charge of the Hate Crime Division of the FBI. Gaetz gets the James Woods Award for Quote of the Day.
More that’s new: Georgia Rep. Doug Collins has released additional congressional transcripts from former top FBI attorney James Baker (the lone voice arguing in vain for Hillary to be indicted), which reveal there was talk of appointing a special counsel to investigate the Trump campaign sooner than we thought. The timeline keeps getting earlier and earlier.
Recall that James Comey said in testimony that he leaked the personal notes of his meeting with Trump (which, incidentally, were not his property to give) in the hope that a special counsel would be appointed. Guess he knew that another anti-Trump headline in The New York Times would be just the thing to get that going.
In a developing story, Collins has also released a transcript of testimony from Peter Strzok. More on this as soon as we have it.
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