As former House Intelligence Committee chairman Devin Nunes asked on Laura Ingraham’s FOX News show Thursday night, what do you suppose the reaction would be from Democrats if it were discovered that he (Nunes) had met privately with Glenn Simpson of Fusion GPS last summer? Keep in mind, Glenn Simpson is central to the “Trump/Russia” investigation; he was paid millions by Hillary Clinton through her law firm to hire Christopher Steele and further the “Trump/Russia” narrative. Can you hear the screams that would be emanating from current Intel Committee chairman Adam Schiff? Can you imagine the crazed look in those eyes, and how it would keep you up at night even more than it already does?
But guess who DID meet with Glenn Simpson last July? Ha, it was Adam Schiff.
As you know, the Steele “dossier,” a highly imaginative, “salacious and unverified” work of fiction, became the foundation for the FBI’s investigation into Trump, including a fraudulent FISA application to spy on associates of his campaign. By the time Schiff met with Glenn Simpson last summer, at a conference in Aspen, the Intelligence Committee had already received testimony from Bruce Ohr –- supported by calendar notations and contemporaneous handwritten notes –- that called into question what Simpson had told them. Importantly, this involved the timeline; Simpson had testified he hadn’t met with Ohr until after Thanksgiving, but Ohr told them it was in August, well before the election and while the FBI was starting its investigation into Trump. (We also know that Ohr briefed numerous FBI and DOJ officials around that time about the highly partisan nature of the dossier.)
John Solomon, reporting in THE HILL, says that after both men were confronted with photographic evidence of their meeting at the conference, their offices issued statements describing their talk as “brief”…“not substantive”...“social in nature.”
In other words, it was purely coincidental! Completely not pre-planned in any way. Just like the purely coincidental and not pre-planned meeting on the tarmac between Bill Clinton and then-Attorney General Loretta Lynch just days before Hillary was let off the hook for her private email server. They just happened to run into each other. What a small world. Did they, too, talk about their grandchildren?
Solomon dutifully points out that according to law and the House committee’s rules, there is nothing illegal or technically improper about a congressman meeting –- intentionally or not –- with a witness in an investigation. But two years ago, when Nunes had meetings with national security officials at the White House without informing the committee, Schiff went so ballistic that Nunes temporarily recused himself from the Russia probe. Can you say “double standard”?
At the time, Schiff said, “I believe the public cannot have the necessary confidence that matters involving the President’s campaign or transition team can be objectively investigated or overseen by the chairman.” Okay, then, if we’re going to apply the same standard now (but of course, we’re not), these matters can’t be overseen by Schiff, either.
Schiff should recuse himself immediately.
I like what Mike Conaway, the Texas Republican who headed the Russia investigation while Nunes was recused, said about this: “I don’t know if they’re under any obligation to disclose it, but certainly if we were conspiracy theorists the way that my Democrat colleagues appear to be, we could weave an awful tale into that and weave all kinds of nonsense about it.”
Conaway also touched on just how central Simpson is to this story: He owned the company that Hillary paid for the Steele dossier. He hired Steele. He met with Ohr at the Justice Department. He (along with Steele) pitched the “dossier” story to reporters. He even met with Russian lobbyist Natalia Veselnitskaya before and after that Trump Tower meeting with Don Trump, Jr. (We could easily “weave an awful tale” and call that meeting a set-up.) And then he was photographed with Schiff in Aspen.
Of course, the House Intelligence Committee will do everything possible to block anyone looking into Adam Schiff’s meeting with Glenn Simpson. Because the committee is chaired by...Adam Schiff.
Yes, there’s still more news on the “Trump/Russia” probe, and it’s quite important. You know how, when a prosecutor is making his case against a defendant, he tries to construct a “pattern” of behavior, to show the jury the accused is capable of breaking the law? Well, observers of Robert Mueller have done the same with his behavior, and the pattern is unmistakable.
Over and over, going back years, the FBI, under his leadership, cheated on surveillance warrants.
We didn’t know this until now because of the secrecy of the FISA court, but Mueller himself was called before the court to address the many, many instances of this. We learn from the testimony before House investigators last year of Trisha Anderson, formerly the principal deputy general counsel for the FBI, that agents applying for FISA warrants in sensitive counterintelligence and counterterrorism cases omitted material facts, just as they did more recently in the application to spy on Carter Page. This kind of underhandedness is nothing new.
“It preceded my time with the FBI,” Anderson testified, “but as I understood it, there was a pattern of some incidents of omission that were of concern to the FISA court that resulted in former Director Mueller actually appearing before the FISA court.”
As John Solomon points out, this is a serious matter, because the FISA court is the one court in America where the accused gets no representation or the chance to defend himself. (I would add that since it is secret, the accused doesn’t even know this is going on!) So the FBI is obligated to disclose evidence of both guilt and innocence.
This problelm goes back a long way; the concern arose in 2002-2003 following the 9/11 attacks and dealt with cases that dated from the late ‘90s. So the culture of corruption appears to have already been in place, pre-dating Mueller as director. At that time, Mueller assured the court that they had put in place some rules called the Woods Procedures to VERIFY MATERIAL included in the warrant applications and make sure nothing exculpatory was left out.
However, we know now that the Woods Procedures weren’t followed for the warrant to spy on Carter Page (or for the three subsequent renewals). The material was not verified, and significant information was left out, notably the origin of the Steele dossier “evidence,” which we’ve learned from Bruce Ohr’s testimony was known by the FBI and DOJ to be Hillary’s campaign opposition research, created by a fervent opponent of Trump who was apparently “colluding” with Russians himself.
Judging from some of the people he hired for his special counsel team, Mueller didn’t get the message when he was brought before the FISA court almost two decades ago as a new FBI director. Maybe for a time he had his agents go more “by the book” –- we don’t know –- but it’s obvious that more recently, when top FBI officials, his close friends, worried that Trump might be elected President, the rules went out the window. And now it’s impossible to trust Mueller, Weissmann (another notorious rule breaker) and the rest of them.