Odd that Rosenstein, as the (practically speaking) acting attorney general, has been the one blocking the release of the FISA warrant when it’s his very own signature at the bottom of it. This is part of the enormous conflict of interest that should have kept him far away from the supervision of this case. In other words, if anyone should have been recused, it’s him.
According to House Intelligence Committee chairman Devin Nunes, even though Inspector General Michael Horowitz was appointed by President Trump to sort this mess out, congressional oversight committees remain frustrated at not getting the documents they have demanded. Rosenstein is apparently still a part of the decision-making process regarding release of the FISA warrants and other materials, and he should not be. That’s especially true when it comes to the 20-page FISA renewal signed by Rosenstein himself, which happens to be the document Congress is most focused on obtaining.
On Tuesday, Tucker Carlson asked Rep. Nunes what would happen if some member of Congress just flat-out took it upon himself to finally put the information out there, risking serious legal jeopardy by saying, “You know, I think as an American that you have the right to see this.” As the process has dragged out over months and months, I’ve wondered that very same thing myself, and I’ll bet you have, too. Nunes pointed out that it’s one thing to talk about this on the floor of the House, but members of Congress don’t HAVE the actual documents to show as physical evidence. Those documents are being closely held by the Justice Department and FBI, I assume in the aforementioned lead-lined titanium vault, along with anything else that they hope never sees the light of day, such as any information that incriminates Hillary Clinton and/or their “investigation” of her.
As for Glenn Simpson and the Democrats he worked for, we know –- even before anything else is declassified –- that they were the ones “colluding” with Russia. As Nunes describes it, information Simpson got through Christopher Steele’s dossier was fed to the FBI through various sources. Simpson, Steele and others shopped it to the media as well. Importantly, Simpson was meeting with the FBI long before he told Congress he had done so, according to Bruce Ohr’s emails. That’s surely why he pleaded the Fifth this week rather than dig himself any deeper.
Incidentally, it’s sadly true that Bruce Ohr is still at the Justice Department, though not in the high position he held during the time in question. Trump tweeted emphatically about this on Tuesday, asking, “Can this really be so?????” Yes, he used five question marks, and I can’t say that I blame him.
Simpson’s lawyer, Joshua Levy, had this to say to reporters after leaving Tuesday’s hearing: “This committee would make Sen. Joseph McCarthy proud. Like Sen. McCarthy, this committee has largely conducted its business through secret, confidential interviews and depositions, binding witnesses and their counsels to silence while the members walk outside to all of you, the media, and the public, and selectively leak from those interviews to tell you what they want you to hear.”
Where to start? Invoking Sen. McCarthy’s name certainly seems like a desperation measure, because these hearings are nothing like the broad-based anti-Communist “witch hunts” of the 1950s. Actually, I’d liken the McCarthy hearings much more to what Justice Brett Kavanaugh went through during his Senate confirmation, where anyone could make an accusation with no evidence whatsoever and the accused was assumed to be guilty until proven innocent. That’s how the McCarthy hearings were conducted; it was “You’ve been accused of being a Communist, so now you're obligated to prove to us that you aren’t one."
And, Mr. Levy, no one “selectively leaks” worse than Democratic committee members like Adam Schiff and friends (who, by the way, dear voters, will be running the show if Democrats take Congress a few short weeks from now). The Republicans hold no monopoly on microphones and cameras once hearings adjourn. Also, some of the hearings can’t be public because the questions involve materials that still haven’t been declassified, and whose fault is that, Mr. Levy? Finally, if all the hearings were public and televised in glorious HD, you lawyers would just fume about that instead, calling it a circus and saying their clients were being unfairly put on display. So enough with the complaints.
I’d much rather speak of a very different McCarthy, one of our go-to legal experts, Andrew C. McCarthy, who presents a very interesting timeline that connects FISA surveillance and the Steele dossier with a media blitz designed to further the “Russia” narrative and help Hillary. Quite ingenious, really, especially considering they assumed it would never be exposed. Here’s the gist:
August 2016 –- Strzok and Page have that meeting in “Andy’s office” to talk about the “insurance policy” against Trump being President.
July-September 2016 –- The Steele dossier claims that the Trump campaign was complicit in Russian hacking to interfere with our election. (Actually, I might start the timeline with this; it sets the stage.)
August 2016 –- Then-CIA chief John Brennan tells Sen. Harry Reid that according to intelligence sources (really just the dossier), the Russians were interfering in our election to help Trump.
September 2016 –- Fusion GPS, which commissioned the Steele dossier, ORGANIZES PRESS BRIEFINGS for Steele to leak that the Trump campaign (through Carter Page) has been complicit in Russia’s hacking plot against our election.
September 2016 –- Journalist Michael Isikoff, after being briefed by Steele, REPORTS that Reid was demanding that the FBI investigate intelligence reports (again, really just the dossier) that the Trump campaign was colluding with Russia.
September 2016 –- Perkins Coie (in other words, Clinton) attorney Michael Sussman meets with FBI general counsel James Baker to convey information (again, from the dossier) about Russia’s interference in the election.
October 2016 --- The DOJ/FBI obtain their FISA warrant to spy on Carter Page, stating in their application that the FBI believes the Trump campaign has been coordinating with Russia to interfere with the election.
As you can see, all of this, including the leaks to the press that were supposedly about intelligence, stem from that “salacious and unverified” dossier. We’ve had to sort of reverse-engineer their plan to figure out how it was done, but now we’ve just about got it. With or without Glenn Simpson's testimony.