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 1-25 of 32

  • Mark J Taylor

    01/21/2019 07:04 PM

    How do we get a comment from Adam Schiff on Ohr's testimony verses the rebuttal memo put forth by minority members?

  • Loretta DeBoard

    01/20/2019 04:09 PM

    I am so worried about our great nation. I did not like the road our nation was heading when OBAMA was president. I did not know at that time it was as bad as I have found out it is. Thank you for your emails and I read all of them. I am also worried about Barr. I hope he is not another Sessions or maybe even worse.

  • Linda Olds

    01/18/2019 09:32 PM

    So, even though the Obama DOJ was spying on the Trump Campaign (so they knew from the beginning that he wasn't 'colluding' with the Russians), and even though the Hillary-led DNC paid for a fictional dossier made by Steele (a former British spy) with the help of Russians (collusion?), Mueller has continued to investigate President Trump and his campaign and administration.
    I would be astonished if Mueller or anyone investigated the right people.
    He and all of his friends hate Trump, and will try to pin something on him instead of going after the true criminals. The liberals, including most of the media, gleefully applaud. Meanwhile, the American public suffers, as Trump is hindered in his efforts to make America great again and is blamed for being 'divisive'.
    I am disgusted by all of these people, including Republicans who are either afraid to support Trump, or are maneuvering to pick up the Republican presidential nomination.

  • Diane Samples

    01/18/2019 04:12 PM

    I agree with you about Barr. It is strange that he was chosen right after President Trump meet with Bush. The Bush's are not Trump allies.

  • Linda Orf

    01/18/2019 09:31 AM

    First, we don't know if Bruce Ohr is telling the truth or covering his own behind. We have all learned from experience that people lie under oath to do as much.
    Secondly, regarding Mr. Barr, he may have the very mind set that I just described. So although he may have heard or read all the reporting we all have, his experience may be that reporting is not absolute truth absolutely all the time. Therefore, in his mind, he can honestly say Mueller is a straight shooter because he has not SEEN first hand Mueller behave in any way other than a straight shooter. Hence the testimony we heard from his confirmation hearings.
    There was something very sincere about him as he testified, he was always careful to add things to his answers with phrases like, "according to the regulations in place" or "not without cause". Leading me to believe he is the perfect man for the head of the DOJ. Of course, he has not yet been confirmed, and only if he is will we see if my thoughts and analysis of his testimony is correct.

  • Janet Evanson

    01/18/2019 05:45 AM

    Love your articles!!! Keep the heat on. Question on border wall funding..why dont we use all the confiscated drug money and assets seized by feds..liquidate to cash for bordet wall/fight drugs and illegals. Recycle that money!!! A cash cow. Try that on Nancy. Love your daughter..smart and classy with TOUGH JOB!!

  • Byron Mullet

    01/18/2019 01:59 AM

    One thing I have held on to in this whole mess is, what if Robert Mueller really is the great guy they say he is and he actually did investigate Obama's weaponization for political purposes and Hillary & and Bills skullduggery. He would need to throw people off by continually investigating Trump. Guess we'll find out.

  • Paul Travis Kern

    01/18/2019 12:10 AM

    For2 years it has been like a shell game, if you remember back when. The carnival guy/gal had three shells lying face down. Put a pea under one and started shuffling you paid your money and made a guess as to which one it was under. As in Vegas the dealer usually won.

  • Bella Gray

    01/17/2019 09:52 PM

    Laura Ingraham says she has known Barr for 20 (30?) years, that he is honorable and exactly what we need. That said, the Democrats were far too willing to accept Barr's answers without that constant intense badgering attacks. Any time a Democrat doesn't total destroy the innocent, you know there is something corrupt going on that they know and you don't. I for one am sick to death of all the corruption in our government, courts, and legal system. When a government becomes this corrupt nothing ever stops it or corrects it except a war. Of course there is no assurances in any war that the good guys will win. Why does it take a blood bath? Because that is when people will do what has to be done and to h*ll with politically correct. People have to have real skin in the game, and be willing to fight to the death to set things right.

  • Sue Palakst

    01/17/2019 09:47 PM

    one last comment....I just hope the President is aware if what we say here about Barr. WHY choose another Mueller chronie? Why?

  • Lynn Taylor

    01/17/2019 08:54 PM

    I’m stating what every American who chooses to discern truth over non-truth by facts, and that is: we are all so frustrated about all these powerful “people in our justice system” lying, cheating, leaking and tearing down all America ‘s trust in our “fireproof “ judicial system. So wrong! It always always starts with the “top dog.” And “follow the money.”

  • Ben Dati

    01/17/2019 06:35 PM

    Is anyone really surprised that the Neo-Socialist Democrats are doing everything in their power to thwart the success of the American government and strive to increase suffering for the American people? Isn’t that exactly what they promised on Inauguration Day on January 20, 2016 when Donald Trump was sworn in as the duly elected POTUS? It is such a rare occurrence that Neo-Socialists keep their promises that it ought to be refreshing to see that they can be counted on for something.

    But let us not ignore the Neo-Socialist Republicans – that’s right REPUBLICANS – who have joined ranks with their fellow Swamp Creatures and worked feverishly to inflict harm on OUR president; so much so that they have been willing to throw the entire nation into the flames of Socialism that is hell-bent on reaching the goal of Global Communism, as predicted by the illustrious Vladimir Lenin.

    How dare the people of the USA – mostly hard-working taxpayers – how dare they vote for someone who does not meet the approval of the Swamp Masters. How? Keep your eyes on 2020 and maybe you will finally see “how.”

  • Howard Hill

    01/17/2019 06:24 PM

    Barr has also been found in favor of gun control. A big no no if you are in charge of the justice dept. Supposed to be neutral and enforce the laws, not advocate for the increased restrictions of constitutional freedoms.

  • William Taylor

    01/17/2019 05:45 PM

    Mike,
    Why don’t you mention, when referring to ’the dossier’, that Fusion GPS was initially hired by other Republican presidential candidates to do ‘opposition research’ on Donald Trump? Isn’t that the kind of full disclosure you are seeking from others?

  • Michelle Azimi

    01/17/2019 05:27 PM

    I believe it would be a very big mistake for William Barr be confirmed since he is close friends with Bob Mueller and thinks highly of James Comey. I don't believe he would be impartial and I don't think he would clean up the DOJ or FBI. I do not understand why Trump thinks he is an acceptable candidate.

  • Anne Turner

    01/17/2019 04:41 PM

    I am very discourage. Despite piles of evidence against likes of the Clintons, it does no good. I don’t see how anything is going to change with the radicalization of your voters. We elect a fluffy little girl of limited intelligence, and a couple of Muslim antisemites, one of whom, I heard married her brother, plus A GOP white supremisist to Congess. What kind of people are our citizens? If we can’t do better than Pelosi and Schummer to provide leadership, we are lost. With the media and educational system squarely in the left corner, plus the demise of religious principles, what chance is there?

  • Lynn Hoyt

    01/17/2019 04:37 PM

    I just don't understand why President Trump would even suggest someone so close to Mueller, to a position in the justice dept. We need someone who will stand behind President Trump as well as the rest of us.

  • william smith

    01/17/2019 03:42 PM

    MUELLER IS A TOP CRIMINAL AND HAS TWISTED THE LAW MANY TIMES AND CONVICTED People who were not guilty!HE is a total conflict of interest and doing nothing more than robbing the bank along with the democrat trash helping him!

  • william cronquist

    01/17/2019 02:47 PM

    Let's say everything you just said is true, what and who will address these facts. What about the judge that issued the subpoena? Does he have recourse or power over those who requested it?

  • Darlene Donston

    01/17/2019 01:39 PM

    Well, I told my husband yesterday that from what I read about Barr, that I did not trust him at all. As much as I like Trump and what he is doing, where does he find people like Barr and Sessions to put into the AG? I am not too fond of these women anymore as I am beginning to think most are out of their minds, but why doesn't he put in Judge Jeanine! She is a straight shooter, a good Judge, she has common sense, and she never seems racist. I have been following her for a very long time. She was on Fox and Friends this morning and she just seems so nice and the people there seemed to like her also! Getting a good Attorney General should not be so hard to find. I just don't think Trump talks to the right people and gets bad advice! Well, we have to do something! We also need to change our voting system before 2020 or he will not get re-elected. I do hope he sticks to his guns and GETS THAT WALL BUILT. There is a very good post on FB this morning that a teacher wrote that works in Los Angeles and she was right on the button about the illegals, Everyone should read it! Thanks for you input on Barr because I was wondering about Barr.

  • David Colonna

    01/17/2019 12:58 PM

    Mike,
    Thank you for keeping the story so recent and the truth going strong. It truly makes me cringe listening to Grandpa Chuck and Grandma Nancy tell untruthful stories or have fake news conferences. I guess the deep state DOJ members get their que or permission to lie from our lousy liberal leaders. I just do not underatand why all Republican House and Senate members dont stand up against Chuck and Nancy, why do they have so much control over everyone. I am definitely going to ask God this question when I make it to heaven, but these liberals make it so hard to he a good Christian, sitting back and watching all this corruptiion. Is their not something we all can do... Road trip to Capitol count me in and make sure we get to speak in front of House and Senate.

  • Theodore Andreas

    01/17/2019 12:34 PM

    The bottom line: Mueller is a criminal who should not be investigating anyone, but should be investigated for his activities...but our justice system is broken and True Americans are very frustrated.

  • Eric Bates

    01/17/2019 12:27 PM

    I truly believe our government is very corrupt, including top agency officials past & present. What absolutely kills me though is this, for many months all we've heard is who was truly involved in the real collusion, real crimes were committed by Hillary, Comey, McCabe, Strok, Mueller, Rosenstein, etc. yet NOTHING happens to any of these rotten corrupt bastards!! And why, if there is so much glaring evidence against these players in the fraud, coverups, lies, destroying Federal property, lying to Congress, lying to the FISA Court, lying to the FBI &/or DOJ, obstruction of justice, etc., is it taking sooooo longgggg to indict/prosecute/jail these people? I just watched Dan Bongino's speech recently about all the connecting of the dots, and it's hard for me to understand why some or many conservative federal prosecutors have not filed criminal charges against all these people. These cases should be slam dunks if all this evidence is true. Or will all of this corruption come to nothing? It's hard to have any faith in our legal/justice system with all these facts having come to light, yet NONE of the players are punished at all. and it shouldn't matter what position you previously held, still hold, period!! Right now there is NO EQUAL JUSTICE FOR ALL!!!

  • Douglas Morgan

    01/17/2019 12:08 PM

    First an admission, I do not pretend to know exactly how the Washington District of Corruption works but one has to be blind not to see the corruption, waste and criminal actions committed by our elected leaders, never to be indicted or prosecuted.
    I was encouraged by the refreshing outside, business, and common sense that Presidential candidate Trump presented. He talked of “draining the swamp!” “Make America Great Again!” to which I and over 60 million others said Yea, Yea! But, I could see that the “swamp” was populated with both democrats and RINOs whose common enemy was Trump. So all sorts of Whale Dung from the bottom of the ocean sized swamp began to surface. Trump was a threat to the Swamp Rats. AND, we saw it and liked it.
    Then reality struck us after President Trump began to select his staff. Rats like Sessions and others were selected by the President either through naivety or Satanic deception of the outsider. The swamp creatures began to feed off the bottom to obtain a more nasty attack to prevent swamp drainage.
    GOP lawmakers have long pretended to stand against "waste, fraud, and abuse," claiming the corruption, bloat, and thoughtlessness of big government represents a gross injustice to U.S. taxpayers. They pretended to be responsible stewards of public money and trust? For decades the swamp preached the message of “immigration reform.” Did they exercise their influence when they were in control? Nope! The swamp had set the rules for a long time. Play by them and you gain. You may lose your soul, but you gain power and money and prestige.
    Now when we begin to see a ray of hope that maybe some of the corruption may be addressed, we see yet another AG appointed by the President that comes directly from the swamp he has promised to drain.
    I support President Trump and believe he is the leader for our time. He is our only hope for righting the wrongs of our Federal Government. But the swamp is more corrupt and violent than anyone expected.
    Maybe the government shut-down may work to eliminate some of the swamp rats. Hopefully he can stand strong and survive long enough for people to realize that maybe the government can run efficiently without thousands of the bureaucrats and eliminate some of the agencies such as the EPA, Department of Education, and Department of Energy!

  • Sue Palakst

    01/17/2019 11:41 AM

    You mentioned "old guard." I've said before: Follow the trail of connections: Barr-Bush/Barr-Mueller/Mueller-Rosentein. I have legal background and my quiet observances over many year is: There seemed to be blinders/or perhaps denials when it comes to critique of fellow peers. I am just having a hard time trusting "anyone" anymore. If Barr is confirmed, we can judge him again by what he does with the Clintons, the email destruction/illegal servers, Comey, Ohr, etc. I will remain "hopeful"...but watchful....