Well, Nancy Pelosi has kept to her strict timetable and will go down in history as the House speaker who made the impeachment train run on time. She has officially announced –- in case there was ever any doubt –- that the House will pursue articles of impeachment against President Trump for his “failure to execute the law.” There will be more hearings on Monday, this time featuring House “intel staff” to testify on the report Congress already has. Wouldn’t it be great if they brought in the member or members of Schiff’s staff who talked to the “whistleblower”? Dream on.
Gosh, and wouldn’t it be great if they trotted out those three law professors again instead? Or maybe this time they could bring in three late-night TV hosts --- Jimmy Kimmel, Jimmy Fallon, Stephen Colbert --- to tell Trump jokes. Jimmy Kimmel could even cry.
Don’t worry about Democrats having to pull a couple of all-nighters to come up with the articles of impeachment by Monday. They’ve been working on those babies for YEARS. They must have already gone through hundreds of drafts. The trick is, how do they make the wording vague enough that they don’t need to prove anything really specific?
I find it interesting that they’re moving impeachment forward on Monday, the very day Inspector General Michael Horowitz’s report on the origins of the FBI’s “Trump/Russia” investigation will be made public. Now, I’m not expecting much in the way of criminal referrals; indictments will be the focus of U.S. Attorney John Durham’s investigation. But tucked away in its over-500 pages will be some no-doubt scathing assessments of the FBI’s policies and performance. In and of itself, the culture of the FBI might not be criminal, but –- and this is the important thing –- it SET THE STAGE for what certainly appears to have been criminal. That culture made it possible for the upper echelon of the FBI to act in two completely different ways regarding Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump. I doubt that Democrats want too much attention paid to the report, and that’s why we get “Impeachment Monday.”
As I’ve said before, the Horowitz report likely will turn out to be one of those “mistakes-were-made” internal reports. That would be par for the course. The real value of this report, as I see it, is as a sort of “roadmap” to assist Durham in his CRIMINAL investigation.
Speaking of that, there’s a hard-hitting new piece by Judicial Watch Director of Investigations & Research Chris Farrell, appearing in Gatestone Institute, which describes itself as “a non-partisan, not-for-profit international policy council and think tank dedicated to educating the public about what the mainstream media fail to report” in a variety of areas, including “institutions of democracy and the rule of law” (hooray). His article is about the need for Durham to bring indictments. In it, Farrell explains the likely significance of a particular text from Lisa Page to Peter Strzok, which asks, “You get all our oconus lures approved? ;)” (As in, a wink and a smile.)
Not being a lawyer, I looked up the definition of “oconus lure.” “Oconus” is bureaucrat-speak for “Outside Contiguous U.S.” And the Justice Department defines a “lure” as a technique used to “entice a criminal defendant to leave a foreign country so that he or she can be arrested in the United States.” As it happens, the “oconus lure” text was released as part of a huge batch in February of 2018 by the Senate Homeland Security Committee, and Lou Dobbs brought it up on his FBN show the following June. (Farrell was a guest on that show.) President Trump became aware, and even tweeted about it later that day.
Page almost certainly meant they were going outside the U.S. to conduct a lure to bring them together with someone in the hope of gathering information for a case they were working on. Without context, we don’t know if the case they’re talking about here is the Trump case, but I’d say that, given their focus, the odds are pretty darn good. Farrell certainly believes it is. And guess when Lisa Page send this tweet.
The mainstream media, predictably, shrugged this off last year as “conspiracy theory.” But at that time, we didn’t know as much as we do now about what happened to, say, George Papadopoulos when he was in Europe. An ABC News report from June 7 of last year that set out to describe “the evolution of a conspiracy theory” was vague on the issue of confidential informants, saying only, “Last month, at a controversial briefing for a small group of lawmakers on both sides of the aisle, the Department of Justice revealed documents related to the use of an informant hired by the FBI to touch base with campaign officials suspected of speaking to Russians.”
That’s how fuzzy the information was at that point. Was the informant Stefan Halper, perhaps? Recall that when information was first emerging about Halper, we weren’t supposed to say his name, just as we’re now not supposed to say Eric Ciaramella’s name. (And never mind that people were targeted merely for “speaking to Russians.”)
Anyway, Farrell, a former counterintelligence case officer himself, is convinced that in its investigation of a major party’s candidate for President, the FBI manufactured a foreign counterintelligence (FCI) “threat” that could be “imported” back into the U.S. It would start outside the United States (“oconus”) and would involve confidential human sources such as Halper and Mifsud who would act as “lures” to trap Trump associates. This text, if it’s talking about the Trump campaign, means that they were working on this well before the July 31, 2016, launch of “Crossfire Hurricane.”
What mainstream media dismissed as the rantings of wild-eyed conspiracy theorists actually makes a tremendous amount of sense now, given what we’ve learned since then, and I recommend you read Farrell’s detailed article. No doubt it’s this aspect of the FBI’s “Trump/Russia” investigation that took Durham and Attorney General Barr to Europe a couple of times. As Farrell says, Durham needs to “get into it,” and find out once and for all what FBI officials were or were not up to. When Robert Mueller was questioned in these areas, his answer was always some variation of “I can’t get into that.” And the chief “coup” conspirators, if that is indeed what they are, still are free as the breeze, traveling the country on book tours and appearing as paid contributors on CNN and MSNBC. These very people might have hatched a plot that constituted what Farrell describes as “the single greatest threat to the Constitution since the nation’s founding.”
This piece from Sara Carter back in November gives us reason to think Durham is seriously on the case.
As for the Horowitz report, we may as well wait till its release on Monday rather than speculate further. On the other hand, John Solomon has some great sources, and his outline of what the report will cover is probably spot-on. The question is, will the individuals responsible be held to account? We’ll likely have to wait for Durham’s findings on that.