In the past couple of days, we who are paying attention learned that text messages exchanged by Peter Strzok and Lisa Page just days after the 2016 election made direct reference to sending someone into a briefing with Trump’s transition staff with the intention of “developing relationships.” And we who are not utterly clueless know that within the intelligence community, this means SPYING. Spies acquire information in large part by recruiting and developing assets, unwitting or not, usually for the long-term.
Attorney General Bill Barr himself has said he believes spying did take place, and that now he has to determine whether or not it was properly “predicated” (justified). Before he dared to say the word “spy,” It was obvious that members of candidate Trump’s campaign staff had been, well, surveilled. Hundreds of names in classified transcripts of recorded conversations were unmasked, and some of these were illegally leaked. It went even further than eavesdropping over the phone, as some campaign advisers realized they were being contacted, engaged in conversation and oddly “set up” for meetings.
It occurs to me, as long as the intelligence community is recording so many phone conversations, why can’t the FBI bother to record their in-person interviews, instead of relying on the agents’ “302” notes? The agents can't possibly write down everything as it was said, perfectly accurately, and therefore must rely on their impressions, which are bound to be subjective. But for some reason it’s not FBI policy to record interviews. Just phone calls and private conversations, it seems. I digress.
We even know about Admiral Mike Rogers discovering the FISA “702” surveillance and apparently briefing President-elect Trump at the White House, going over the head of his boss –- James Clapper –- to do so, and Trump abruptly moving his transition team out of Trump Tower and out to his golf club in New Jersey. (I imagine a scene in which Rogers marches Trump out of his penthouse office, down the hall and into a small conference room, closes the door and turns on super-loud music to hide their voices in case the room is bugged. Or perhaps Rogers just silently hands Trump a note: “The FBI is spying on your team, man. Better clear out!”) When Trump tweeted that Trump Tower had been “wiretapped,” he was ridiculed by people who would have known better if it weren’t for their Trump Derangement Syndrome. And now we have the Strzok-Page texts that directly refer to "developing relationships" within the transition team.
Sebastian Gorka can add to that.
He says his information is from an impeccable source, a former CIA station chief “of some prominence” who has a legendary reputation within the community of “pre-Brennan” operators. This source told him that even the worst activities of the outgoing Obama FBI team were not curtailed by the fact that Hillary lost. Just the opposite; this person told Gorka that the spying did indeed continue as Trump assembled his transition team. This was done by a “walled-off” team of contractors inside the intelligence community, operating with no FISA authorization or any other type of national security authorization. In other words, this work was strictly political in nature.
We won’t have to wait long to find out if this source knows what he’s talking about. Gorka has also been advised that the first of these revelations will be published in the coming week, and also that more than one investigative journalist already knows the names of those involved in the spying.
If this is correct --- and it certainly is consistent with what we hear from other sources --- then Trump is simply stating a fact when he uses uncomfortable-sounding words such as “coup.” (Heck, I’ve used that word myself.) It’s hard for many to fathom how serious this is. High-up members of the Obama administration --- perhaps as high as it gets, if you know what I mean --- used the FBI to penetrate and surveil the opposing party during a Presidential campaign. Trump won anyway, so they took the next step and got a special counsel investigation to divert attention from what they had done on behalf of Hillary Clinton and also to limit Trump’s authority as President. Even after Obama was out of office and his very top people, like John Brennan and Loretta Lynch, had left as well, the illegal spying appears to have continued. (I would add that these “intelligence professionals” did even more: they conducted a destructive media campaign in “collaboration” with a more-than-willing anti-Trump press.)
Gorka says this is so serious, it “will soon make Watergate an irrelevance.” I don’t doubt it.
Some have actually started asking what Obama’s role in all this might have been. In case you didn’t see this piece from last week, Peter Kirsanow at NATIONAL REVIEW notes thats “in the wake of the Mueller report’s completion, Barack Obama continues to stand aloof --- a god king exempt from the trifling concerns of mortals.”
Recall that in September of 2016, Lisa Page texted Peter Strzok that “potus wants to know everything we’re doing.” In 2019, it’s finally time to turn the tables: WE need to know everything POTUS was doing. Most of the media won’t touch this, of course, but a few amazing investigative reporters will pursue it anyway and will determine the extent of Obama’s knowledge and involvement. In doing so, they will prove themselves to be highly deserving of Pulitzer Prizes that they will not get. Right now, it’s gratifying just to see that some people are at least starting to wonder out loud.
AG Barr is scheduled to testify Wednesday before the Senate Judiciary Committee, chaired by Lindsay Graham, and on Thursday before the House Judiciary Committee, chaired by the thoroughly disrespectful Jerry Nadler. But Democrats led by Nadler have (not surprisingly) changed the rules and want to have Barr questioned not just by them, but by committee lawyers, who would go last. Barr had agreed voluntarily to appear, but this was not the deal, and at this writing, in light of the Democrats’ new terms, he may just say “forget it.” And he’s backed by the Justice Department.
Of course, if Barr doesn’t show up, Nadler will subpoena him. He’s already sent out 81 subpoenas; what’s one more?
A spokesperson for Rep. Doug Collins, the ranking Republican on the House committee, said, “Democrats have yet to prove their demands are anything but abusive and illogical in light of the transparency and good faith the attorney general has shown our committee.”
Republicans on the Senate committee, not being deranged, are just going to follow the rules and ask the questions themselves. That hearing will happen for sure, and it should be good, so pop the popcorn and sit back.