In MAJOR BREAKING NEWS: Thursday evening, President Trump issued an executive order giving U.S. Attorney General William Barr the “full and complete authority” to DECLASSIFY material related to his investigation into the origins of the “Russia” probe.
We’re talking about every aspect of the Mueller investigation, including that elusive memo about the “scope” of the special counsel, all the documents relating to the FISA applications for spying, all the memos and transcripts relating to the surveillance of Trump campaign associates such as George Papadopoulos (including exculpatory evidence that may have been withheld from judicial proceedings), and more.
This should be great news to anyone who wants to know what really happened, but to give you an idea of how the mainstream media will be covering this, here’s a sample sentence from Thursday’s AP story: “The directive marked an escalation of Trump’s efforts to ‘investigate the investigators,’ as he continues to try to undermine the findings of special counsel Robert Mueller’s probe and mounting Democratic calls for impeachment proceedings.”
Wrong. First, Mueller had no “findings” to undermine –- there’s no case. Second, what Trump wants to do, in his words, is make sure that “all Americans learn the truth about the events that occurred and the actions that were taken during the last Presidential election and will restore confidence in their public institutions.” The implication here is that after the material is declassified by the attorney general, it will be made available to the public.
To show how widespread Trump suspects the withholding of documents may be, his order doesn’t just apply to the FBI, but to the entire intelligence community and to agencies such as the Department of Energy, the Department of Homeland Security, the Treasury Department and (ta-da!) the State Department. This order, in effect, says, “No more slow-walking documents. They all go to the attorney general, NOW!”
As reported by AP, House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff accused Trump and Barr of trying to “conspire to weaponize law enforcement and classified information against their political enemies.” If you aren’t laughing helplessly at the irony of that statement, I can’t help you.
The AP story also was written in such a way as to try to discredit Barr, mentioning that Trump had told close confidants that he “finally” had “my attorney general.” I would say that after having Jeff Sessions missing in action for so long as AG, and the special counsel being overseen by deputy AG Rod Rosenstein, Trump would be expected to say something like that. It’s a nice change for Trump just to have a functioning attorney general at all. (Recall that President Obama had a self-described “wingman” in his AG, Eric Holder.)
There appears to be only one limiting factor in Trump’s directive: his intention to release information pertaining to this investigation “in accordance with the long-established standards for handling classified information,” which means they’re still supposed to protect “sources and methods.” But Barr, not the intelligence people, will have the responsibility of determining that.
Trump’s critics will say he’s out to destroy the reputation of the intelligence community. I say that the FBI, DOJ and CIA didn’t need any help from him to do that; they have done it themselves. (And, of course, many of the rank-and-file agents are horrified by what they see.) Exposing what has been going on is the only way the integrity of our Justice Department and intel community can be restored. Sunshine truly is the best disinfectant for this kind of deep contamination.
The timing of this directive is actually kind of fun, as Nancy Pelosi came out earlier the same day, after holding a “special meeting” about impeaching Trump, and tried in vain to invoke the ghost of Watergate by ridiculously accusing him of a “cover-up.” After that, the Democrats publicly questioned his mental state and criticized him for not working with them (!) on an infrastructure bill. I can imagine Trump hearing Pelosi and thinking, “COVER-UP? Are you kidding? I’m not the one who’s trying to cover up wrongdoing! It’s YOU guys! You want to see transparency, I’ll GIVE you transparency!”
It must be clear to Trump at this point that Mueller was aware early on that there was no Russian “collusion” (apparently, exculpatory material exists that will show he had to know this), but that he kept investigating anyway, digging and digging, pushing and pushing to get him to testify, knowing he didn’t do anything but hoping to set a perjury trap for him. But now the tables are turned and we’re going to see just what the Obama Justice Department was doing and --- it is hoped --- how far up it went.
As I wrote yesterday in the context of the British spying, sources told John Solomon that there’s no way MI-5 and MI-6 spies would have been involved in spying on an American without then-CIA Director John Brennan being told. Already, Brennan, former FBI Director James Comey and former Director of National Intelligence James Clapper are starting to point fingers at each other about the use of the Steele “dossier” to justify spying on the Trump people.
By the time Trump is through with these sanctimonious characters and whoever they were working with to try to prevent his election and, later, to use a fake investigation to overthrow a President of the United States, they’re the ones who are going to need an intervention or a nice long stay at a sanitarium (or, in some cases, a jail cell). Certainly when she sees what has happened to her party, Nancy Pelosi will need professional help. Judging from her current demeanor, I’d suggest she start now.
A classic Saul Alinsky tactic is to accuse one’s opponent of doing just what YOU are doing. Even without this sweeping declassification of the documents, it’s been clear to anyone paying attention that this is exactly the strategy Democrats (and some anti-Trump Republicans) have been using. It was Hillary’s campaign and the DNC that “colluded” with foreigners, certainly in the creation and dissemination of the Hillary-financed Steele dossier and also, it appears, in the release of Manafort’s “black ledger” by a Ukrainian official. But there has never been any evidence that showed Trump’s campaign was similarly occupied.
Another thing we should want to learn more about with the release of all this material is the strategy of unmasking (and, in some cases, illegally leaking) the names of those Americans caught up in FBI surveillance, such as Michael Flynn. Certain Democrats, particularly then-U.N. Ambassador Samantha Powers, stunningly unmasked hundreds of names, and we’ve never known why.
In related news, Tom Fitton of Judicial Watch was on HANNITY Thursday night --- the show was hosted by Dan Bongino --- to talk about the documents he’s working on obtaining now, some of which reflect the changes made to Comey’s “talking points” for his July 5, 2016, press conference in which he laid out all of Hillary’s misconduct (crimes) but then said “no reasonable prosecutor” would bring the case. Comey had to avoid quoting the actual law, because then it would be obvious that she deserved prosecution. Also, the FBI investigators actually MADE A CHART, with all of Hillary’s crimes on one side and the reasons (excuses) for not prosecuting her on the other. I am not kidding. This we’ve gotta see.
Fitton also pointed out that we can’t trust what Mueller and his team have said to characterize the evidence underlying their report. That’s why it’s so important that the attorney general release it so we get to see it and judge for ourselves. And that is precisely what Trump has set in motion today.