Advertisement

South Carolina Sen. Lindsay Graham, chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, has been saying for months that he would hold hearings on the “Trump/Russia” investigation and FISA abuse by the FBI. I know, I know –- more hearings, lots of oratory, lots of lawyerly evasion, maybe little to come of it all. On the other hand, it might actually be pretty darn productive; the first witness scheduled is former deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein.

Rosenstein released a statement saying how “grateful” he is to Sen. Graham for the “opportunity” to testify. I'm not kidding; he actually said that. Personally, I’m “grateful” for the “opportunity” to see this guy squirm under oath before the committee. What he has previously said under oath sounds utterly ridiculous in light of what we now know about the Carter Page FISA warrant, so this might really be amusing. I might even write up my own list of “just for fun” questions for Mr. Rosenstein.

"During my three decades of service in law enforcement,” his statement reads in part, “I learned firsthand that most local, state and federal law enforcement officers deserve the high confidence people place in them, but that even the best law enforcement officers sometimes make mistakes and that some engage in willful misconduct.” Well, he would know! Also, I’d want him to define the word “best.”

Here’s Rosenstein’s entire statement.

Recall that Rosenstein signed off on the last renewal of the FISA warrant against Carter Page, well after it was known they'd turned up no real evidence. He also wrote the “scope” memo (first and second versions) for Robert Mueller’s special counsel team, tasking Mueller in August of 2017 with investigating allegations against Carter Page (innocent), Michael Flynn (innocent), George Papadopoulos (innocent) and Paul Manafort (innocent of anything having anything to do with the campaign).

There’s yet a third Mueller “scope” memo that hasn’t been declassified yet; Rosenstein wrote it in October of 2017, long after they knew the "Trump-Russia" evidence was fiction.

No doubt Rosenstein will be asked about reports that he talked with other agents about wearing a wire into the Oval Office as part of a plan to use the 25th Amendment to get Trump removed from office. Sources told NBC NEWS that he was only “joking” about recording the President. Maybe he’ll regale us with a few more hilarious jokes while he’s under oath in Senate chambers.

Mark your calendars; the Senate’s “Oversight of the Crossfire Hurricane Investigation: Day 1” will be June 3.

Speaking of the Mueller investigation, John Dowd, President Trump’s lead attorney during that time, spoke out on Tuesday in an interview with Gregg Jarrett, saying the special counsel engineered a perjury trap for the President in the exact same way that James Comey’s FBI set a trap for then-National Security Adviser Michael Flynn.

"Mueller’s scheme was the same one captured in the FBI set-up notes pertaining to Flynn,” Dowd told Jarrett. “They knew they had nothing, but using their official power they created and perpetuated the fraud of an investigation.”

Dowd said that his transparency with the special counsel team was turned against the President and that Trump’s legal counsel was “misled.” According to Dowd, they deliberately exploited what they knew to be untrue and discredited information (I assume he meant the Steele “dossier,” which was still kicking around after being debunked as fiction).

Stunningly, Mueller ADMITTED during a meeting with the President’s lawyers on March 5, 2018, that there was no evidence of Trump-Russia “collusion” to influence the 2016 election. But remember how they still tried to push Trump to testify? Dowd said he thought they had a “trusting” relationship with Mueller, “based on his word and handshake.” (Are you kidding me?) The special counsel had received “everything” they asked for, “including the most intimate notes of conversations.” Dowd didn’t see how there could be a “whisper” of obstruction under these circumstances.

As Mueller kept pushing for Trump to testify, Dowd realized it was a perjury trap, as this was the only thing they could possibly get. “Robert Mueller --- ‘D.C.’s great man’ --- completely and deliberately misled us in order to set up a perjury/false statement trap for POTUS," Dowd said. "It was a monstrous lie and scheme to defraud.”

This isn’t just Dowd's word; he came to the interview supplied with documents and letters supporting his accusations. Jay Sekulow, another of Trump’s lawyers, confirmed some of his accounts as well. As Jarrett says of the documents, “They paint a vivid picture of a special counsel determined to damage the President with an investigation bereft of any credible evidence.”

I hope you’ll read Jarrett’s piece in full; it goes into more detail about what Mueller was up to, particularly in trying to “get” Trump on obstruction simply for firing FBI Director James Comey. (No one has ever more richly deserved to be fired than Comey.) Mueller even said that Trump’s criticism of the special counsel might be construed as obstruction. Trump wasn’t even supposed to say anything in his own defense.

Quoting Jarrett: “Dowd felt that Mueller and his subordinates were now living in an alternate universe where their version of the law bore no resemblance to statutes, Supreme Court decisions, and accepted constitutional law.”

I hope John Durham has been talking with Dowd in his investigation of the “Russia” case. Sounds as if Dowd could tell him a thing or two about how that was really conducted. He told Jarrett he wants them all to be held to account for their corruption and dishonesty and their phony three-year investigation. NONE of them should walk, he said. “They knew there was nothing to investigate. People subverted the system of justice...It’s staggering. The lies were monstrous. It was all pretense and fraud.”

Finally, in breaking news announced Wednesday by the Justice Department, Attorney General Bill Barr has tapped Western Texas U.S. Attorney John Bash to look specifically into the issue of unmasking, as a support to the investigation being conducted by Durham.

Unmasking, when done for an appropriate reason, is not illegal, but it's a big deal, and there are many questions about why so many unmaskings took place, especially during Obama’s second term. Of course, there’s also the rapt attention that was being paid to Mike Flynn’s phone calls.

Incidentally, U.S. Attorney Jeff Jensen, who was assigned by Barr to review the Flynn case, told Barr that based on what we now know, he doesn’t believe that ANY ONE of the 93 U.S. attorneys in the country would have continued to prosecute Flynn. So the mystery deepens as to why Judge Emmet Sullivan so bizarrely insists on doing it.

While the New York Times and other liberal media outlets are ghoulishly marking the 100,000th US death from the COVID-19 (Chinese) coronavirus and attempting to blame them on all President Trump (is he also responsible for all the deaths in other nations from the same worldwide pandemic unleashed by China?), questions are being raised about whether that number is remotely reliable.

There have already been criticisms that a number of deaths attributed to the virus were just people who happened to be carrying the virus, even if they died of something else and just picked up the virus when they were brought to the hospital. Some whistleblowers have also claimed that because of extra funding for those handling virus cases, there’s a financial incentive to label a death as being from COVID-19, even if it wasn’t, or if the victim had multiple co-morbidities such as old age, heart disease, diabetes or obesity. But this is definitely taking it too far.

A study by the Freedom Foundation of the official COVID-19 death toll from the Washington State Department of Health found that 82% of deaths “list some variation of ‘COVID-19’ in one of the causes of death” on the death certificate; 5% of the death certificates do not list COVID-19 as a cause of death, but as a “significant condition contributing to death;” and 13% involve persons who “had previously tested positive for COVID-19 but did not have the virus listed anywhere on their death certificate as either causing or contributing to death.”

Democratic Gov. Jay Inslee assailed the report as “dangerous,” “disgusting” and “malarkey” (man, Democrats love that word!) He also accused the Freedom Foundation of “fanning these conspiracy claims from the planet Pluto” and not caring about lives lost to the virus, even though the numbers came straight from his own Health Department.

And a spokeswoman for the DOH (or “D’oh!” as Homer Simpson would appropriately say) admitted that five people on the virus death list appear to have actually died from gunshot wounds. Oh, well, liberals blame of all those on Trump, too.

On the subject of malarkey that endangers public health, here’s another study showing that because of all the endless lockdowns and canceling of “non-essential” non-coronavirus medical procedures ordered by liberal Governors such as Inslee, nearly half of Americans have delayed getting needed medical care. This has resulted in serious outcomes, such as suffering strokes or heart attacks at home.

Maybe people should claim they’re having a heart attack because of the coronavirus, and then they’d actually be able to get into a hospital.

Today, President Trump reportedly plans to issue an as-yet undisclosed executive order aimed at ending political bias in the “fact-checking” and censoring of conservative posts on social media platforms such as Twitter and Facebook.

This has been brewing for a long time, but it came to a head when Twitter, for the first time, branded one of Trump’s tweets as substantially false and linked to CNN and Washington Post articles “debunking” it. Problem was, the tweet was about mail-in voting being an invitation to voter fraud, something that’s been widely established around the country, even as liberal media outlets continue to don blindfolds and deny it exists, in the same way that social media giants deny that bias exists in their ranks, no matter how obvious it is or how many former employees blow the whistle about it.

For instance, take a look at the past comments of Twitter’s “Head of Site Integrity,” the person tasked with insuring that posts are “just the facts, ma’am,” with no political partisanship:

Mark Zuckerberg of Facebook tried to distance his company from this stench, saying, "We have a different policy than, I think, Twitter on this. I just believe strongly that Facebook shouldn't be the arbiter of truth of everything that people say online. Private companies probably shouldn't be, especially these platform companies, shouldn't be in the position of doing that."

Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey wasn’t thrilled with that, responding: "Fact check: there is someone ultimately accountable for our actions as a company, and that’s me. Please leave our employees out of this. We’ll continue to point out incorrect or disputed information about elections globally. And we will admit to and own any mistakes we make. This does not make us an 'arbiter of truth.' Our intention is to connect the dots of conflicting statements and show the information in dispute so people can judge for themselves. More transparency from us is critical so folks can clearly see the why behind our actions."

First of all, I think criticizing an employee is fair game when that employee’s job is to prevent partisanship on Twitter and his history of radical leftwing partisanship on Twitter includes denigrating “flyover country” for electing a “racist tangerine” and putting “actual Nazis in the White House.” Seriously, did NOBODY else apply for that job?

Secondly, the problem arose when these social media platforms started yielding to the left’s demands to brand anything that they disagree with as a “lie.” I’m hard pressed to think of a single leftist policy of the past hundred years that hasn’t been a complete disaster, but I don’t accuse them of lying when they claim they work. I just assume they’re deluded and say, “Bless their hearts.”

These platforms have grown into the equivalent of America’s town square, a place where free speech should reign supreme. But they’ve been threatened with lawsuits because of what users post on them. They’ve enjoyed legal immunity because they’re classified as a "platform" (merely a conduit for other people’s comments), not a “publisher” (which implies that they control what is or isn’t posted.) Publishers can be sued. This is why they need to back off the editing and censoring of posts if they don’t want to worry about losing their immunity from lawsuits.

On the other hand, in our lawsuit-happy world, if Trump declares them publishers, that will practically force them to start exerting even more control over speech on all sides. They’ll no longer let radical leftists post threats against people they disagree with, but they’ll also edit and censor any remotely “controversial” posts by conservatives. That could easily include many of Trump’s own tweets.

As much as I hate the one-sided politics of the social media giants, I’d hate to see them replaced with even heavier censorship of both sides. How about returning to the idea of the Internet as the 21st century version of the Founders’ vision of a free marketplace of ideas, where bad ideas weren’t declared bad by self-appointed gatekeepers but by the wisdom of the people in shooting them full of holes and discarding them?

Now, I hope I don’t get banned from Facebook and Twitter for using the phrase “shooting them full of holes.”

Public Service Announcement: There are many Americans who don’t have direct deposit bank accounts and still haven’t received their stimulus payments to cope with the pandemic. Those are being mailed out in the form of pre-loaded debit cards. At the link is some information on what to look for in the mail and how to use them.

First and most important point: when you see a plain envelope that appears to contain a plastic debit card, DO NOT throw it away thinking it’s a come-on to get you to sign up for a credit card. It might be, but it might also be your $1200-a-person stimulus payment.

The Fight Over Fisa

May 28, 2020

House Democrats were all set to vote on reauthorizing the use of advanced surveillance tools under the FISA court system, but they adjourned last night without voting after President Trump threatened to veto it. He tweeted, "Our Country has just suffered through the greatest political crime in its history. The massive abuse of FISA was a big part of it!"

Trump also urged Republicans to vote no "until such time as our Country is able to determine how and why the greatest political, criminal, and subversive scandal in USA history took place!”

Supporters of the FISA system argue that it’s needed to give intelligence agencies the tools they need to secretly intercept threats such as terrorist plots. However, as we’re learning more every day, when the people in charge don’t follow the rules, it can quickly become an unconstitutional, Soviet-style “secret court” system targeting US citizens without them even knowing it. We were assured that safeguards had been built in to prevent that, but they’re only as secure as the people entrusted to follow them – people like Peter Strzok, need I say more? I’m reminded of Benjamin Franklin’s comment on due process rights, that it’s better that 100 guilty men should escape than that one innocent man should suffer.

My “Huck’s Profiles in Cluelessness Award” goes to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, who declared that we need to extend the FISA system because “if we don't have a bill, our civil liberties are less protected." Tell it to Michael Flynn! Come up with a bill that protects our civil liberties from the people running the FISA courts and then we’ll talk.

PS - Big props to Newsmax for picking the perfect photo to illustrate the story of Trump’s veto threat stopping this bill. I’ll bet when Nancy Pelosi pulled this little stunt for the cameras, she never imagined it being used to illustrate her own loss to Trump.

Pray for Minneapolis

May 28, 2020

I hope you’ll join me in praying for peace, order and clear thinking to be restored in Minneapolis. Protests over the death of a black man named George Floyd erupted last night into arson and looting. Here are some details of what’s going on in Minneapolis:

This is a fast-breaking story, so keep an eye on the news for updates. By way of background, this began when police got a call about someone trying to pass a counterfeit bill. They detained Floyd, who reportedly matched the description. A citizen captured disturbing cell phone video that later went viral, apparently showing an officer kneeling on Floyd’s neck for almost eight minutes until he became unresponsive. He later died in a local hospital. That officer and three others with him were fired, and there are widespread calls for charges to be filed. Local police and the FBI are investigating.

Rather than waiting for justice to be done, protesters decided to make a horrible situation worse by erupting into violence and looting of local businesses. Now, armed vigilantes are getting involved to protect the businesses and homes. And radical activist groups are using Floyd’s death to fan the flames of racial hatred, calling for attacks on all white people. I believe there is a term for blaming the actions of an individual on everyone who shares the same skin color: “Racism.” Isn’t that what these groups claim to oppose?

More Michael Flynn news? Yes, and I hope I don’t have to tell you how important this ongoing story is. I know it's frustrating to you that the information continues to come to us in dribs and drabs, because it is to me. But this story, from its beginning –- as far back as 2014 –- is emblematic of a law enforcement/intel bureaucracy gone horribly wrong. I hope you’ll bear with me, as we’re finally getting to the most important part of all: discovering how involved President Obama was in this travesty of “justice.” Deductive reasoning tells us he knew all about it; evidence starting to come in now likely will show he was running it.

And John Solomon has done it again. He’s examined more text messages between Peter Strzok and Lisa Page, these from January 3, 2017. That date falls just the day before FBI investigators informed Strzok that they were ready to close the case against Flynn, having found precisely nothing, and just two days before the big Oval Office meeting with Obama, Biden, Brennan, Clapper, Comey, Yates and Rice. It was 17 days before President-elect Trump would take office.

In these texts, Strrok and Page are discussing the White House attempting to obtain some Flynn transcripts. They know the investigation has turned up nothing on Flynn, and there has been concern from...someone...that the White House will politicize the transcripts, that they will be “politically weaponized.” Given what we know, and with the timing of the text exchange –- just after Strzok has had a conversation with Priestap –- it seems probable that it was Priestap who has expressed this concern. Apparently, Priestap is concerned that James Clapper will share the conversations with President Obama.

"He, like us, is concerned with oversharing,” Strzok texts Page. “Doesn’t want Clapper giving CR cuts [“Crossfire Razor,” meaning Flynn; “cuts” meaning excerpts from phone calls] to WH. All political, just shows our hand and potentially makes enemies.”

ALL POLITICAL..JUST SHOWS OUR HAND??

Strzok later texts Page: “The question [presumably from Priestap] is should we [provide them], particularly to the entirety of the lame duck [U.S. Intelligence Community] with partisan axes to grind.”

PARTISAN AXES TO GRIND??

Then Strzok and Page talk about Presidential Daily Briefings, and that’s where this gets really interesting and shows how much more we need to find out. “Did you follow the drama of the PDB last week?” Strzok texts Page. “Yup, don’t know how it ended though,” Page responds. “”They didn’t include any of it,” Strzok texts, and Bill [Priestap] didn’t want to dissent.” Page answers, “Wow, Bill should make sure Andy [McCabe] knows about [this] since he was consulted numerous times about whether to include the reporting.”

Solomon says he's had these texts since September 2018; apparently he couldn’t publicize them because they hadn't been declassified. In the meantime, however, he's had “interviews with officials familiar with the conversations,” so what sounds cryptic to us is probably well understood by him. Here are the texts themselves.

The investigations going on now are trying to determine whether Obama’s longstanding distaste for Flynn, which we’ve detailed here, influenced the FBI’s decision to reject the recommendation by its own agent, Joe Pientka, to shut down the Flynn investigation in early January 2017 and instead work up a plan to set him up to “lie” to the FBI. Solomon says that one investigator “with direct knowledge” told him that “the evidence connecting President Obama to the Flynn operation is getting stronger.”

According to that investigator, “The Bureau knew it did not have evidence to justify that Flynn was either a criminal or counterintelligence threat and should have shut the case down. But the perception that Obama and his team would not be happy with that outcome may have driven the FBI to keep the probe open without justification and to pivot to an interview that left some agents worried involved entrapment or a perjury trap.”

As Solomon said to Sean Hannity Tuesday night, “It gives us a state of mind that the White House was driving the Flynn decisions in this very critical time leading up to…Trump taking office.”

Also on Tuesday, acting Director of National Intelligence Ric Grenell turned the office over to new DNI John Ratcliffe, just after declassifying MORE phone calls between then-national security adviser Michael Flynn and then-Russian ambassador Sergey Kislyak. It’ll be up to Ratcliffe if and how soon the transcripts of those calls will be made public.

According to a FOX NEWS report Tuesday night, a senior intelligence official said that key documents will provide “a very significant understanding of how intelligence was manipulated to support the launch of the Russia investigation.” Much more to come on that.

Also, Andrew C. McCarthy has a must-read column about Judge Emmet Sullivan and the role politics is playing right now to deprive Flynn of his due process rights.

As McCarthy told Shannon Bream on FOX NEWS Tuesday night, “I think the problem Judge Sullivan has is the same problem a lot of people analyzing this have, which is that the political dimension of it has in some ways, I think, paralyzed people’s way to look at what is really a very simple legal equation.”

As McCarthy explains, only the Justice Department --- the prosecution, which is part of the Executive Branch --- has the power either to open a case or to continue it. “A judge has no power to force the government either to bring charges or to continue charges."

Bream read from the Fokker case, which has been cited as precedent by Flynn attorney Sidney Powell: “It has long been settled that the Judiciary generally lacks authority to second-guess those Executive determinations, much less to impose its own charging preferences.” It doesn’t get much clearer than that.

The judge was given an opportunity to fix this; the three-judge appeals panel gave him 10 days. He still could do this, but considering that he has dug in and hired his own attorney, it doesn’t seem likely.

Finally, Margot Cleveland has another great column on Judge Sullivan, also focusing on the politics. She does say it’s appropriate for a judge to hire a lawyer in a mandamus petition such as this. (McCarthy, in contrast, called Sullivan's decision to do this “jaw-dropping,” and Powell has raised numerous questions about it, particularly about who is paying the lawyer.) But Cleveland reveals something new about Sullivan’s choice of attorney, Beth Wilkinson: she happens to be the lawyer who represented Hillary Clinton during the FBI’s “investigation” of her mishandling of classified information in 2016. Hey, it’s real cozy down there in the swamp.