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While media attention was distracted by other things, House GOP leaders have been quietly putting together a couple of immigration reform bills to try to get passed before the election. There is a conservative version that’s strong on security, and a compromise between conservatives and moderates that includes a pathway for the DACA illegal immigrants who were brought here as children to stay in the US.
Moderate Republicans want the compromise bill passed because helping the “Dreamers” is popular in polls, and they’re facing tough reelections, some in heavily Hispanic districts (and I’m sure many honestly agree with its sentiments). They also assume it’s the only one with a chance of passing, since moderate Republicans and Democrats will all vote against the conservative bill.
But a new wrinkle just got thrown in: President Trump today surprised GOP House leaders by announcing that he won’t sign the compromise bill. He says any bill he signs must include tough border security, including building a wall. Both bills do tighten security and have money for the wall, but conservatives don’t think the compromise bill goes far enough. Now, with Trump coming out against it, its passage is looking iffy.
My suggestion: keep working until you find something a majority can back and Trump will sign. I don’t believe there will be a “blue wave” in November, but if the Democrats eke out even a one-vote majority and Nancy Pelosi becomes Speaker, there will be no border security bill at all. The only thing keeping everyone from streaming across the border then will be knowing they’re coming into a country where the House is run by Nancy Pelosi.
Speaking of Nancy Pelosi, she’s wondering why there aren’t “uprisings all over the country” against Trump’s border security policies and suggesting that “maybe there will be.” Thank goodness “House Democratic Leader” is not a job that requires a sense of responsibility.
By now, you’ve probably heard about the IG report’s revelation of a previously-undisclosed text exchange between FBI lovebirds Lisa Page and Peter Strzok. Three months before the 2016 election, Page worriedly texted, “(Trump’s) not ever going to become president, right? Right?!” Strzok replied, “No. No he’s not. We’ll stop it.”
(This would be a good place to insert: “But there’s no EVIDENCE of any bias!”)
This raises a number of questions, but the most pressing is this: Why was that "previously-undisclosed," even to Congress? As part of their Constitutional oversight power, Congressional investigators demanded to see all the relevant FBI texts. Yet they never saw this one until we all saw it yesterday. I’m curious what top secret classified information would have been revealed by letting Congress see that unredacted. Unless letting cats out of bags harms national security.
Hot mic catches CNN’s Jim Acosta bragging that he accost-a’s the President rudely and inappropriately on purpose, even at the historic North Korea summit, if he thinks he's not getting proper respect. Personally, I think Trump is showing him precisely the respect he’s earned.
Acosta also pulled one of his self-aggrandizing soliloquies on my daughter and discovered that she knows more than him about both immigration law and the Bible (no surprise to me on either count.) Someone please tell him the Tony Awards are over, and he didn’t win.
If you have a box of Kellogg’s Honey Smacks cereal in the pantry, don’t eat it until you read this story. It might be recalled due to salmonella contamination. Don’t get smacked down with that!
Great story that illustrates how random acts of kindness can come back to reward you in unexpected ways.
Reminder: Sunday is Father’s Day. Let Dad know how much he’s loved, needed and appreciated before Monday rolls around and the media go back to whining about "toxic masculinity."
Inspector General Michael Horowitz may have declined to confirm the cause-and-effect relationship between stunning anti-Trump bias at the FBI and the outcome of Hillary’s email case, but all the evidence of vicious partisanship is there in his report. He’s included what we already knew or suspected, but there’s much more. The FBI in 2016 was infected with bias. We can connect the incredibly obvious dots ourselves and come to our own conclusions about the motivation behind the FBI’s investigation of Trump and even the special counsel probe..
Of course, most major media will focus on the report’s mystifying conclusion without delving much deeper into its 568 pages. That’s because the deeper one goes, the more horrifyingly biased the culture of the FBI is shown to be.
If you thought the Strzok-Page texts provided evidence of bias, wait until you see the texts between another pair of FBI agents who were romantically involved (they’re now married). They’re identified in the report only as “Agent 1” and “Agent 5,” but we know they were directly involved in the Hillary investigation. Anyone looking at their texts and not concluding that “the fix was in” for Hillary is just refusing to accept the obvious.
“Agent 1” was one of just four agents assigned to the Hillary email case, and he, for one, did not want to interview her at all, thinking it was a “continued waste of resources and time and focus..” “I’m actually starting to have embarrassment sprinkled on my disappointment,” he instant-messaged to “Agent 5.” “Ever been forced to do something you adamantly opposed.”
Like Lisa Page, “Agent 1” believed that Hillary’s election was a foregone conclusion. After completing the interview with Clinton, “Agent 1” messaged “Agent 5” that he was “done interviewing the President.”
He also made it clear to “Agent 5” that he was “with her.” As in, “I’m With Her.”
When “Agent 5” complained to “Agent 1” about the “MYE” (Mid-Year Exam, the Hillary case) work she was having to do, “Agent 1” wrote back in a way that confirms what the political environment was like at the FBI. He referred to the Hillary investigation as “a case that doesn’t matter and is predestined.” He went on to say, “The DOJ comes in every once in a while and takes a wishy-washy, political, cowardice stance. “
“This is the environment love,” he tells her. “Can’t sugar coat it.” He advised her to just do the best she could.
When asked later by investigators about the case being “predestined,” he said he had no information about that.
“Agent 1” also interviewed Hillary’s personal IT assistant. You’ll want to read the whole exchange, but when another FBI employee asked him how the interview went, “Agent 1” said, “Awesome. Lied his a-- off.”
The employee replied that “it would be funny if he was the only guy charged in this deal.”
And in a testament to the way anti-Trumpers view Trump supporters, “Agent 5” texted “Agent 1” to say the ones in Ohio were “retarded.” She also wrote to him that if Hillary should lose, “I’m gonna be walking around with both of my guns...and likely quitting on the spot.”
In his report, Michael Horowitz admonished the FBI employees who had shown bias, saying that their conduct “had cast a cloud over the entire FBI investigation and sowed doubt about the FBI’s work on, and its handling of, the Midyear investigation. The damage caused by these employees’ actions extends far beyond the scope of the Midyear investigation and goes to the heart of the FBI’s reputation for neutral factfinding and political independence.”
In other words, where do they go to get their reputation back? But the damage goes far beyond the FBI’s reputation. We know that the Hillary investigation was deliberately botched. This goes to the nature of the whole American system of justice –- the old-fashioned idea that Lady Justice is wearing a blindfold, not an “I’m With Her” button.
With jobless claims at a 44-year low, retail sales strong and consumer confidence at an 18-year high, the Atlanta Federal Reserve has raised its second quarter GDP growth estimate from 4.6% to 4.8%.
With Democrats hoping to take over Congress again in November, let’s take a stroll down Memory Lane, to when Donald Trump said in a debate with Hillary Clinton that his policies could bring growth up from 1% to 4% or even higher. Obama scoffed that Trump had no “magic wand” to make better trade deals, raise growth or bring jobs back. And the Washington Post offered this lengthy, detailed, carefully researched and achingly condescending lecture to the simpleton Trump for why robust growth like that in India or China was simply not possible anymore in the US. And this analysis had to be correct. After all, it quotes a Harvard professor!
One of the little-reported details in the Inspector General’s report is that “numerous FBI employees, at all levels of the organization and with no official reason to be in contact with the media…were nevertheless in frequent contact with reporters.” And these contacts (i.e., “leaks”) extended to “improperly receiving benefits from reporters, including tickets to sporting events, golfing outings, drinks and meals, and admittance to nonpublic social events.”
Glenn Reynolds of Instapundit, himself a law professor, had the best take on this, noting that it is prosecutable as bribery “because...it’s bribery.”
Thursday, the New York Attorney General filed a lawsuit against President Trump’s charity foundation, claiming that it illegally used money to settle disputes related to his business and gave charity donations, mostly to veterans groups, in ways that boosted his campaign. Trump called the case “ridiculous” and politically-motivated and vowed not to settle it. His son, Donald Trump Jr., said every penny of the foundation’s money goes to charity with zero expenses taken out, and that board members, including him and his dad, sister and brother, don’t take any salary from it.
You can read the details at the link. I’m not a charity law expert so I won’t get into whether these accusations have any basis or not. I will note that most of the alleged business expenses do seem to be at least related to charity fundraisers, and those that were questioned have already been reimbursed and even had fines paid. As for whether it’s a crime to use charitable donations to boost your political fortunes, I’d say that going after the $18 million Trump Foundation while ignoring the $2 billion election slush fund that is the Clinton Foundation is sort of like trying to swat a fly while you’re standing in a snake pit.
There’s also a concept in election finance law that something isn’t necessary a campaign expense just because it might help your electoral chances. For instance, giving money to charity might improve your public image, but it isn’t a direct campaign PR expense. This case seems to blur that line. As for the veterans groups, they apparently don’t care if the giver’s deepest, personal motivations were pure as the driven snow, they were just thrilled to get Trump’s million dollar donation. If it had been a Clinton Foundation effort, the million would probably have gone for a week-long symposium on veterans issues at a five-star resort in Tahiti, followed by the cutting of a check for 50 bucks to veterans.
Interesting, and urgently-needed article: some budget experts offer five creative suggestions for cutting the government’s trillion-dollar budget deficits. If you don’t have time to read all five, here’s just one: Stop spending more than you take in!
Dumbest campaign ad of the year…so far. It’s hard to say which is dumber: what the candidate says, or the fact that after he says it, he pepper-sprays himself in the face. There’s a reason why stunts like that are synonymous with the word “Jackass.”
500+-page IG report on FBI’s Hillary investigation summarized in one sentence: The FBI interviewed her without recording her or taking notes; let her delete her emails, scrub the hard drives & smash the devices; then the IG concluded there's no evidence of wrongdoing.
Prediction: “But there’s no EVIDENCE of bias!” will become the conservative version of “That’s what SHE said!,” attached to all MSM stories about Trump from now on.
Lisa Page: [Trump’s] not ever going to become president, right? Right?!
Peter Strzok: No. No he won’t. We’ll stop it.
Set aside --- for the moment --- the Inspector General’s perplexing minimization of the role played by political bias in the FBI’s handling of Hillary Clinton’s email case. (And perhaps you’ll want to take the opportunity to swallow some Pepto-Bismol to fight the waves of nausea.) This exchange of text messages in August of 2016, which for some reason wasn’t even discovered until last month, may speak more eloquently than the entire 568-page report about the political climate at the FBI.
Strzok and Page weren’t rank-and-file staffers at the FBI. Strzok was a top-level player, central to both the Hillary and Trump/Russia probes (he was even on the Mueller team till some of his anti-Trump text messages emerged), and, unbelievably, he's remained employed at the FBI with his security clearance intact. Lisa Page was the legal assistant to deputy Director Andrew McCabe –- surely the “Andy” referred to in another anti-Trump exchange with Strzok about the “insurance policy.” And these two weren’t the only ones; the IG report includes other anti-Trump texters. (No anti-Hillary or pro-Trump texts were to be found.) The report shows an FBI clearly infected with anti-Trump bias.
This report is so long that it’s going to take a while to work through it –- keeping in mind that it’s undergone weeks of DOJ “review” –- but we quickly see it does acknowledge that the FBI under James Comey went far afield of protocol in its investigation of Hillary, as we already knew it had done. Horowitz is firm in his condemnation of that, particularly in the damage it caused to the credibility of the FBI. The report is similarly stark in its comparison of the kid-glove treatment given Hillary and her witnesses to the unsparing approach taken with the Trump campaign, but we already knew about that, too.
We learn that then-Attorney General Loretta Lynch showed “an error in judgment” in meeting with Bill Clinton in June of 2016 (gosh, really?) and “clearly did not understand the implications,” particularly in terms of bad optics. Sorry to disagree, but I think Loretta Lynch understands perfectly well the implications of everything she says and does, and that includes knowing when she’s going to get away with something.
Significantly, the report confirms that Hillary’s classified-but-nonsecure emails were indeed “compromised by unauthorized individuals to include foreign governments and intelligence services via cyberintrusion and other means.” One such document was even classified SECRET. Yet Horowitz bizarrely concludes that there's no proof of bias having any effect on outcomes in the Hillary case and offers no opinion on the question of whether, under the circumstances, her case should be reopened. She skates again.
Incidentally, Horowitz notes that “President Barack Obama was one of the 13 individuals with whom Clinton had direct contact using her clintonemail.com account.” Obama lied about not knowing about her private email acount. Think anything will come of that?
Horowitz actually admits that there was “a willingness to take official action to impact Trump’s electoral prospects.” Given that, and the way the Hillary investigation was handled, his conclusion that there’s no proof of bias driving the decisions regarding her case makes me feel as though we’re all being “gaslighted,” a reference to the classic film GASLIGHT with Charles Boyer and Ingrid Bergman. She clearly sees the lights in the house going down; he tells her they’re not. She clearly hears footsteps in the attic; he tells her she’s imagining things. After months of this, she doubts her own mind and even her sanity and becomes resigned to whatever fate her husband chooses for her. It finally takes someone else to come in and prove that she was right about those things and was being deceived.
Some of my readers feel that same resignation, thinking the swamp will never be drained and that we’re at the mercy of our once-cherished institutions from here on in. And they’re right to believe that without major intervention, this is a preview of America's future. The question is, who will provide that intervention and what form will it take? It has to happen now.
From Kim Strassel at the Wall Street Journal, here is much more detail on the bias found by Horowitz:
FBI Director Christopher Wray appeared at a press conference Thursday to address the problems outlined in the report. He said the FBI had not made “the best choices” (a masterpiece of understatement) but that they would hold employees accountable for any misconduct through the FBI’s Office of Professional Responsibility. Oh, and all senior executives from around the world will “convene for in-depth training, specifically focused on learning the lessons that we should learn from this report.” That should do it! (If senior executives still need “training” on something as basic as this, what does that tell you?) They plan to stress “the importance of objectivity, of avoiding even the appearance of personal conflicts or political bias in our work,” including with recusals.
Hey, does this mean deputy AG Rosenstein is finally going to recuse himself? No?
I’ll have a lot more later, but right now I have to go take a little more Pepto, to settle my stomach. In the meantime, in case you’ve already taken yours, here’s the entire report...