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As Paul Manafort is now confined under house arrest instead of in a prison cell because of COVID-19 –- he’s definitely at high risk for a “negative outcome” (death) –- we’re learning about something very shocking that was done in his case by prosecutors.

The Special Counsel’s Office told Judge Beryl Howell a “fake FISA warrant” story to give the impression that it was in the national interest to violate Manafort’s attorney-client privilege. The goal: to compel testimony from Manafort’s attorneys to incriminate their client --- and also, it was fervently hoped --- to help them reach the ultimate target, President Trump.

But as it turns out, that story was a lie; there never was a FISA warrant on Manafort. CNN was wrong (surprise, surprise!) when they too-conveniently reported in 2017 that the government had applied for a FISA warrant to spy on Manafort, just as they had Carter Page, and that they’d already been surveilling him because of national security concerns. Not only was this a fake story to the judge, but it was a fake story to the media as well, and CNN was only too happy to cooperate. It would sure be nice to know who leaked it.

Inspector General Michael Horowitz states in his report that not only did the FBI not seek a FISA warrant on Manafort in the “Crossfire Hurricane” investigation, but they never even “seriously considered” getting one. Horowitz has repeated this under oath as well.

According to “Undercover Huber” --- sounds conspiratorial but is actually a great source --- whoever leaked the story to CNN was trying to create a narrative that since Manafort had a FISA (remember, he didn’t), there was probable cause to believe he was an agent of a foreign power.

They even came up with a phony “on-again, off-again” timeline to their supposed surveillance, to show a gap around the time of the Trump Tower meeting n which the “real” collusion might have happened. Crafty.

Recall that they got quite showy about this hokum, conducting a dawn raid on Manafort's house and searching a storage unit. It was all just drama, as it was with Roger Stone.

Rod Rosenstein’s “scope” memo on Manafort, written on August 2, 2017, authorized the Special Counsel’s Office to investigate him for potential “collusion” with Russia and also for “payments he received from the Ukrainian government.” Both of these probes were based on lies, as the allegations of “collusion” came from the fake Steele “dossier” and the allegations of payments from Ukraine came from the fake “black book” of cash payments that didn’t happen.

Then --- and here’s where it gets amazingly bad --- on August 18, the Special Counsel’s Office issued a subpoena to MANAFORT’S ATTORNEY to to TESTIFY AGAINST HIS OWN CLIENT before the Grand Jury. Manfort’s attorney refused, of course, and so the Special Counsel did what lawyers in any kangaroo court would do and filed a motion to compel testimony. They really, really wanted that attorney’s testimony, as they needed to get Manafort on FARA (Foreign Agents Registration Act) violations and considered his testimony essential.

As Huber wrote: “On October 2, 2017, Judge Howell ruled against Manafort (in a non-public sealed opinion), ultimately piercing Attorney/Client privilege and forcing his lawyer to testify against him about the preparation of those FARA filings. Big win for the SCO [Special Counsel’s Office].”

There was never any national security issue related to the charges under which Manafort was prosecuted: some white-collar stuff and false FARA filings. Huber has explained that the real reason for the fake FISA story on Manafort was to set a “tone” that would help implicate President Trump. He also shows how these ruthless tactics even helped influence Michael Flynn’s attorneys to advise him to plead guilty, as THEY saw what was happening and certainly wouldn’t want to be dragged before the Grand Jury as Manafort’s attorneys were. The way to make that threat go away was to get Flynn to take the plea.

Huber comments that such an aggressive approach might have been justified had there been any real threat to national security, but, again, that claim was just a cover. All made up.

The people who did this are bad, folks. The Manafort story clearly shows what can happen when overzealous prosecutors don’t have any actual evidence. Sometimes they’ll just make it up, lie through their teeth. They have “six ways from Sunday” for getting at you. Add political motivation to the mix, as was clearly the case here, and it's banana republic time. Media outlets such as CNN are happy to aid and abet. And in this case, our own law enforcement bureaucracy was willing to trash the justice system, even attorney-client privilege, if it helped them in their strategy to take down President Trump.

Opening an FBI investigation into a presidential campaign is supposed to be a huge deal. If government officials are going to allege that members of a campaign --- maybe even the candidate --- are in cahoots with Russia (!), they'd better have the goods.

But a newly declassified memo (another one!) makes it clear that the Papadopoulos “evidence” used to justify “Crossfire Hurricane” was really just flimsy hearsay. They had to be looking for any pretext they could put together. Since they had no evidence of criminality, they turned to Downer’s “suggestion” that Trump campaign advisor George Papadopoulos might be talking with Russia on the release of Hillary’s emails. As John Solomon writes, “[Alexander] Downer had heard the information about the Russians during a bar conversation in May 2016 from Papadopoulos, who had heard it two months earlier from a European professor who had heard it from Russians allegedly.”

The investigation, he says, was opened based on a “third-hand ‘suggestion’ of wrongdoing and the thinnest of suspicions that illegal foreign lobbying had occurred.” It’s clear from the memo that the criminal basis for opening “Hurricane” was suspected violations of the Foreign Agents Registration Act, but the memo does not mention a single incidence of violating FARA.

Peter Strzok expressed reservations about the evidence he had, yet he pressed forward. Sometimes, as they say, you’ve “gotta go with what you got.” Strzok both drafted the memo and approved the investigation himself, keeping the memo away from interagency oversight.

Kevin Brock, former head of counterintelligence for the FBI, told Solomon, “There is nothing in the [electronic communication] that meets the traditional thresholds for opening up a [Foreign Agents Registration Act] or [counterintellgence] investigation. It appears hastily constructed.”

When asked if he would’ve approved this, Brock said, “Not in a million years. I wouldn’t have approved it as a squad supervisor, either. This would have set off alarm bells in any FBI field for not meeting our standards for a predicate.”

All this is consistent with what Robert Ray said on WITCH HUNT, a FOX NEWS special on Sunday night hosted by Gregg Jarrett. He believes the Durham investigation likely will lead to indictments of Bureau officials.

"It is a criminal investigation with grand-jury authority, and I don’t think the attorney general expects this is going to be just be left to the side of history without actual prosecutions being brought to hold those responsible accountable,” he said. “Even if no felony prosecution is ever brought as a result of this, this is a political scandal of the highest order and the American people should be paying attention.”

I would respectfully suggest to Mr. Ray that if no felony prosecution is ever brought, too many American people will NOT pay attention and it WILL be left to the side of history, thanks to media spin and leftist historians. Laws have been broken, and there must be accountability if we’re ever going to fix this.

Speaking specifically on the Flynn prosecution, Ray said he trusted Durham to get to the bottom of the mishandling of his case. Ray showed his mastery for understatement when he said, “I imagine there are people in the know who may well have knowingly withheld information from the court and from defense counsel in connection with the Michael Flynn prosecution.” Mr. Ray, we KNOW they did that. “Knowingly” is tough to prove, but we know they knew. They know we know they knew.

"If it turns out that that can be proved,” he continued, “then there are going to be referrals and potential false statements and/or perjury prosecutions to hold those, particularly those in positions of authority, accountable.”

Speaking of Flynn, a new article dropped over the weekend that shines the harsh light of truth on what was done to him. Eli Lake’s comprehensive piece in COMMENTARY magazine fleshes out the story so thoroughly that I’d say “THE RAILROADING OF MICHAEL FLYNN, How It Happened And Why It Matters” is an absolute must-read.

Still, there’s something Lake says upfront that I disagree with: that “they suspected he [Flynn] was a Russian agent.” Based on the attempts to set him up starting in 2014, I don’t think they EVER really believed it. I think it was a story they created. Anyway…

Lake writes, “According to both Rice’s memoir and a memo memorializing the meeting (dated January 20, 2017), the President stressed that everything the FBI did in this sensitive matter should be “by the book.” In fact, nothing was done by the book –- not by Obama’s deputies and not by Obama.”

We see from this article how furiously Strzok and Comey worked to keep the investigation alive through the only means they had: the ridiculously antiquated Logan Act. Rosenstein’s recently declassified scope memo authorized Mueller to investigate whether Flynn had “committed a crime or crimes by engaging in conversations with Russian officials during the period of the Trump transition.” The only crimes that could possibly have been found would’ve been either outright espionage (for which the FBI had found no evidence) or a Logan Act violation.

Lake points out what we’ve been said all along, that Flynn was not a private citizen conducting foreign policy, as is prohibited by the Logan Act, but rather acting in his official capacity as the incoming national security adviser. “The idea that Flynn was behaving illegally, let alone unethically or immorally or unconventionally, in discussing U.S. foreign policy with the Russians during the transition is beyond absurd,” he writes.

Joe Pientka had written a memo to close the original Flynn investigation but had slipped up and not actually filed it. Strzok, obviously delighted, was able to keep the case open. The only reason Pientka's memo has emerged now is that U.S. Attorney Jeff Jensen completed the review Barr had ordered and declassified documents in the case. We get to read about Stefan Halper being paid as a “confidential human source” (SPY) and the concocted story of Flynn’s affair (not) with Russian-born Svetlana Lokhova, described by Lake as a “smear.” Pientka’s memo says the investigation yielded so little that senior management had recommended closing the case before even interviewing Flynn.

The whole shameful process of determining how they would set Flynn up in his White House interview is discussed in detail. Lake also explains why Flynn was NOT LYING when he said sanctions weren’t discussed. As Flynn told the DAILY CALLER, “It wasn’t about sanctions. It was about the 35 guys [Russian diplomats] who were thrown out.”

The memo said Fynn’s “false statements and omissions impeded...the FBI’s ongoing investigation.” Lake shows that “Given what we know now, those words are more of a lie than anything Flynn said to the FBI agents who interviewed him.”

This was not only injustice against Flynn but also an assault on the peaceful transition of presidential power. Shameful, and dangerous.

……………………

Postscript: Lake bookends his commentary with the story about Flynn joining in the “Lock her up! Lock her up!” chant at a Trump rally, attempting to show irony. This falls flat to me. The cases are not equivalent; we know beyond any doubt that Hillary actually did the things she was NOT prosecuted for.

After the long Memorial Day weekend, there’s so much news about the Michael Flynn case that we needed a second commentary for the overflow.

First of all, you must be aware by now that Flynn’s name in the conversation with Russian ambassador Sergey Kislyak wasn't masked in the first place --- we’ve talked about the fact that it couldn’t have been because there was no unmasking request for the day of that call --- but there’s more:

President Obama himself ordered the surveillance.

He must have. As Dan Bongino has pointed out, we know this because (here's the new part) Andrew McCabe, right in his own book, says he was ordered by the Presidential Daily Brief staff to find that phone call. Flynn’s call with Kislyak didn’t just happen to be caught in the routine surveillance on the ambassador. It wasn’t just “incidental.” In Bongino’s words, “Flynn was hunted down and targeted by the Obama administration, period.”

That's why Flynn's name wasn't masked in that particular phone call. So, does that mean it was legal to leak Flynn’s name? Heck, no. Andrew McCarthy has pointed out that, oh, by the way, the leak to the media is STILL A FELONY, as the surveilled conversation was classified. It doesn’t matter if Flynn’s name was intended to be hidden or not.

In other news, Flynn’s attorney Sidney Powell is no doubt heartened by the action taken by the D.C. Court of Appeals. In what Margot Cleveland calls “a rare move,” a three-judge panel has ordered Judge (“Judge”) Emmet Sullivan to respond to Powell’s petition for a writ of mandamus.

This is an appeal to the appellate court to order Judge Sullivan to dismiss the criminal charge against Flynn. A writ of mandamus is rarely granted, so Cleveland says that for the panel to order the judge to respond, rather than just denying the petition as is usually done, is a good sign. And they issued the order expeditiously, in just two days. Likewise, they're expecting Sullivan to answer promptly, giving him just 10 days to respond. So Powell’s petition isn’t just languishing on somebody’s desk.

There’s legal precedent to dismiss the case against Flynn: the Fokker case, in which the court held that “decisions to dismiss pending criminal charges --- no less than decisions to initiate charges and to identify which charges to bring –- lie squarely within the ken of prosecutorial discretion.” In this case, that would be the attorney general’s office.

Another good sign: the panel did not order the government to respond, simply allowing the DOJ to respond at its own discretion, or not at all. Apparently, these judges don’t see the necessity of hearing additional arguments from the government.

The fine source “Undercover Huber” has identified the three judges on the panel: Karen Henderson, a Reagan-Bush appointee; Robert Wilkins, an Obama appointee; and Neomi Rao, nominated by Trump to take Brett Kavanaugh’s place on the D.C. Circuit Court when Kavanaugh went to the Supreme Court. Powell does not see politics playing into this decision too much, as Sullivan’s refusal to dismiss the charge is “in violation of clear precedent from the circuit and Supreme Court.”

Cleveland agrees with Powell that “The Department of Justice should weigh in and soon because this case is no longer just about Flynn. It is about separation of powers and the executive branch. Unfortunately, it is also now about Judge Sullivan.”

Funny she should say that. The latest weirdness from Judge Sullivan is that he has gone out and hired himself a lawyer.

In a highly unusual step, Judge Sullivan has lawyered up, with Beth Wilkinson, reportedly “a go-to for high-profile officials in difficult situations.” It’s hard to know what role politics might play; Wilkinson represented Brett Kavanaugh while he was fighting sexual misconduct allegations on his way to Supreme Court confirmation. On the other hand, she’s also a close friend of Obama “fixer” Kathryn Ruemmler.

Flynn’s attorneys are arguing that Judge Sullivan “has no authority to adopt the role of prosecutor or change the issues in the case.” As they observe, “This is an umpire who has decided to steal public attention from the players and focus it on himself. He wants to pitch, bat, run bases and play shortstop. In truth, he is way out in left field.”

I think with that metaphor, Flynn’s lawyers hit it out of the park. It’s hard to know why Sullivan is SO bent on prosecuting Flynn. Maybe he’s just a political hack, but at this point his behavior is downright pathological. Why is he so “dug in,” and what does he need an attorney for? Once again, when something doesn’t seem to make sense, it’s because there’s a piece we don’t have. There’s something going on with Judge Sullivan that we...just don’t know.

JOE BIDEN'S RACIAL FEARMONGERING

Joe Biden is once again backpedaling from another old-school-style racist comment. This time, he told the radio show “The Breakfast Club,” “If you have a problem figuring out whether you’re for me or Trump, then you ain’t black.”

This is nothing new: Joe has quite a record of these kinds of Grandpa Simpson statements that embarrass the whole family. Like saying that Obama was the first black candidate to be clean and articulate, or that you can’t go into a 7-11 unless you have a slight Indian accent. Just as with all the #MeToo activists jettisoning their principles to rally around Biden, black liberals are expected to come rushing to the rescue and explain why they still support Joe and it’s really Trump’s fault, anyway. The L.A. Times did it, as did Atlantic magazine writer Jemele Hill, who claimed it was “clearly a joke” (racist jokes are okay now?), plus “it was accurate” (so blacks really are allowed to hold only liberal views?), and of course the real story is "TRUMP BAD!"

I’m sure this will be spun like a top until everyone is so dizzy, at least a few people actually believe that rubbish. It’s happened before. I recently had to do a Google search for Biden’s notorious 2012 election comment to a predominately black audience that the Republicans “want to put y’all back in chains.” (Historical fact: The Democrats were the party of slavery, and the Republican Party was founded to end slavery – and did. Yes, Lincoln was a Republican, no matter what the media tell you. Also, George Wallace was a Democrat.)

But I digress…

I found that the historical revisionists had been working away like magic shoemaker elves and had somehow rewritten that story so that Biden wasn’t indulging in racial fearmongering. Heavens, no! He was actually talking to a “diverse crowd” and referring to the Republicans wanting to metaphorically put people back into the shackles of Wall Street bankers. Because when a guy from Delaware talks about Wall Street, he always uses the word “y’all.” That’s some real Ice Capades-level spinning!

Of all of Joe’s foot-in-mouth racial moments, that one and this most recent one are probably the most disturbing because they don’t just repeat racist stereotypes. They also drag in false political tropes, all in an effort to intimidate black people into giving up their rights to speak freely or think for themselves. They send a message, reinforced by the media, that of course, Republicans are racist, and if you don’t vote for the same awful leftist policies that have been harming African-Americans for generations – from lousy inner-city public schools you’re not allowed to leave to economic policies that depress job creation and wages – then you’re an Uncle Tom and a traitor to your face.

Fortunately, I think the effectiveness of that kind of intellectual terrorism is finally starting to crumble. You can see it all around, from the #WalkAway movement to the rising black support for Trump in polls to the recent story of black Democratic Georgia State Rep. Vernon Jones. He nearly resigned after being hit with a torrent of threats and hate messages for saying he endorsed Trump’s reelection because of his success at creating jobs and his backing of criminal sentencing reform. But he decided to fight back against liberal intimidation tactics. I interviewed him on “Huckabee” on TBN. You can watch that here.

African-American Republican Sen. Tim Scott also had some choice words for Biden and his defenders.

Comments such as Biden’s are insulting both to African-Americans and to Republicans because they perpetuate slanderous falsehoods about both groups. I grew up in the South in the ‘60s, I saw real racism, and I was repulsed by it. I was inspired by the Rev. Martin Luther King to stand up against it. As a pastor, I refused to allow segregationists to have sway over my church, and as a Governor, I reached out to the black communities of Arkansas. They were skeptical at first (imagine what they’d heard!), but they eventually realized I meant it. When I ran for reelection, I was proud to receive the highest share of the black vote that any Republican had received since Reconstruction days. I don’t relate any of this to brag, just to show that being a Republican does not mean being a racist.

For the record, as a conservative, Christian Republican, here are a few things I believe:

That we are all children of God, created in His image, which means that racism is a repugnant sin against God because it means calling some people inferior simply because of the way the Lord created them…

That all babies of all races are precious from the moment of their creation and their lives deserve protection from the abortion lobby, which has targeted and been especially deadly for African-American babies…

That every person deserves a shot at earning the American Dream through their own study, hard work, and initiative, not through those in authority picking winners and losers…

That the goal of school policy should be providing every child with the best possible education, and that parents should be allowed to decide whether that means public, private, church, or home school. There is nothing sacred about teachers’ unions or the public school “system.” The only sacred priority should be the children…

That the Bill of Rights and the legal due process rights that flow from it must be protected for every person of every race -- particularly the Second Amendment, which allowed black people to protect themselves from racist threats at a time when official authorities refused to do so…

That every individual has a right to think freely, express their thoughts freely, and debate those ideas openly, without fear of retribution, intimidation, or slander.

If you are black and agree with those things, then you don’t owe your vote to anyone just because they threaten to call you a traitor to your race if you refuse to support people who oppose your own principles.

CRICKETS

If you wonder why the media fixated so much on something so dumb as whether President Trump wore a facemask when touring the Ford plant in Michigan, maybe it’s because it gave them something to talk about other than what he actually said there. And what he said was that churches are essential, he wants them to reopen and has talked to the CDC about that, and that blue state Governors who target churches and keep them closed will risk him overriding their rules.

Liberal reporters blasted him for leaving decisions up to Governors and not exercising more federal authority, so I assume they’ll be applauding him for this, right? Right?...Is that crickets I hear?...

IMPORTANT BULLETIN

If you’re not burned out on hearing about the railroading of Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn, here’s an important bulletin: the US Court of Appeals for DC has given Flynn’s judge, Emmet Sullivan, 10 days to respond to attorney Sidney Powell’s emergency request for a writ of mandamus, ordering Sullivan to dismiss the case, since the DOJ has already withdrawn the charges.

This gives Sullivan just 10 days to think up some solid legal grounds for why he should be allowed to continue acting as both Flynn’s judge and prosecutor, and calling for illegal amicus briefs to help him think up new things to charge Flynn with. Sorry, “I was appointed by Bill Clinton” doesn’t count.

In a related story, former Trump attorney Michael Cohen and campaign manager Paul Manafort, 70, have been released from prison to home confinement to protect them from contracting the coronavirus. I’m surprised Democrats didn’t suggest putting Manafort in solitary confinement.

INTERESTING HISTORY

This article gives a lengthy and interesting history of the efforts to insure that the UN protects the right to life of unborn children around the world.

What sparked its writing was the news that the US is calling on the UN to remove abortion provisions from its global coronavirus emergency plan. Why that should ever have been included is as much a mystery as why a blue state governor would keep abortion clinics open while telling people that vaccinations, tooth fillings, chemotherapy or biopsies are “non-essential” medical services. If you’re trying to convince us that you’re only exercising extra-constitutional powers because it’s necessary to save human lives, then don’t use them to kill pre-born babies.

DAILY BIBLE VERSE

Memorial Day Weekend

May 23, 2020

From me and everyone at my newsletter, website and TV show, have a happy and safe Memorial Day weekend! I know that many large gatherings that usually happen at this time have been canceled, but there are still things you can do to commemorate this important day. The easiest is to remember to fly your flag on Monday. You can also donate to organizations that aid veterans. We’ll talk about all this more on Monday in a special Memorial Day edition of the newsletter, then return with our regular news analysis on Tuesday.

Be sure to tune in tonight for a new, Memorial Day edition of “Huckabee” on TBN. Country-rock legend Charlie Daniels will talk about his new project to help veterans through the pandemic. Texas Gov. Greg Abbott will tell us how to reopen a state safely (I hope certain other Governors will be watching!) Pastor Brian Gibson will discuss his nationwide movement for churches to stand up against violations of their First Amendment rights. Former Acting Attorney General Matt Whitaker will talk about his new book on the Obama-era corruption of the DOJ. I'll discuss the parallels between President Trump and Winston Churchill with author Nick Adams. Nancy Jones will reminisce about her late husband, country icon George Jones, and she and producer/author Mark Koch have a free gift for every “Huckabee” viewer. We’ll cap it off with a musical Memorial Day salute from Jimmy Fortune of the Statler Brothers.

It’s a show jam-packed with news and entertainment, and it’s coming your way tonight at 8 and 11 EST, 7 and 10 CST, and the same times on Sunday, only on TBN. To find where you can watch TBN, from local cable and broadcast channels to streaming, visit https://www.tbn.org/huckabee and click on the “WATCH” menu at the top. You can also stream previous episodes, highlights and Internet-only “Digital Exclusives,” like extended interviews and extra performances by our musical and comedy guests. It’s all at https://www.tbn.org/huckabee