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It always defied logic to think President Obama wasn’t in the loop when it came to the “Trump/Russia” investigation and the targeting of Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn. And now, a just-released document confirms that he was. This knowledge comes from an unexpected source, then-deputy Attorney General Sally Yates, in the “302” notes from her interview with the FBI during the special counsel investigation. These notes were filed by the Justice Department on Wednesday with Sidney Powell’s motion to dismiss charges against Flynn.

The plot turns on that now-infamous January 5, 2017, meeting in the Oval Office. President-elect Donald Trump would be taking office on January 20, and Flynn would be “ambushed” at his new White House digs on January 24. On January 4, the day before the White House meeting, FBI investigators had notified top FBI officials that they were dropping the Flynn investigation, as nothing incriminating (“derogatory”) had been found. Having the target turn up clean seems like an excellent reason for closing a case, but FBI official Peter Strzok had immediately notified them to keep it open, as the “7th Floor” –- Director Comey and other top-tier officials –- was involved.

The only reason Strzok would’ve had to keep the case open was so they could connive their way into a surprise interview with Flynn, challenge his memory of something they already knew, and get him to “lie” about something that was absolutely in his purview to do, Logan Act or no Logan Act. The whole idea of him “lying” to them was a joke, as he knew from his experience in intel that any phone conversation with a foreign ambassador would’ve been recorded.

Anyway, according to Sally Yates’ “302,” Obama called her and Comey over during the January Oval Office meeting to discuss Flynn’s phone conversation with Russian ambassador Sergey Kislyak. OBAMA brought it up. Obviously, he already knew something about this; Yates was surprised by the turn of the conversation. “Obama started by saying he had ‘learned of the information about Flynn’ and his conversation with Kislyak about sanctions,” the “302” read. “Obama specified he did not want any additional information on the matter (plausible deniability?), but was seeking information on whether the White House should be treating Flynn any differently, given the information.”

Keep in mind that Obama detests Flynn, who as head of the Defense Intelligence Agency had been a vocal opponent of his Iran policy and, in particular, of his “baby,” the misguided Iran nuclear deal. Obama advised President-elect Trump to be on guard against two things: North Korea and Michael Flynn (!). Here's the story from May of 2017.

According to Yates, it was Comey who told Obama about the Logan Act, an anachronistic law from 1799 (before telephones) that prohibits American private citizens from opposing current foreign affairs policies. It’s been on the books all this time but has NEVER been used to successfully prosecute. And Flynn wasn’t a private citizen --- he was the incoming national security adviser, for gosh sake, and this was the transition for President-elect Trump. I doubt these points came up in the conversation, though.

It’s already been established through the handwritten notes of Bill Priestap that the FBI was talking about getting Flynn to admit to violating that law.

Yates told the FBI that she wasn’t aware of the Kislyak call or the Logan Act discussions that had taken place within the FBI. She said she thought it might be a “technical violation” of the Logan Act (translation: a ridiculous stretch) during the presidential transition, but that the FBI “was more eager to pursue prosecution initially.”

Yates said Comey agreed that if the Kislyak call fell during the Obama administration --- and, technically, it did --- he would notify the White House chief of staff. But it says in her “302” that “the FBI said at some point that notification would mess up an ongoing investigation, but Yates said it was not always clear what exactly the FBI was doing to investigate Flynn.” Comey kept his plan close to the vest.

In fact, it was only AFTER the two agents Strzok and Pientka went to Flynn’s West Wing office to question him that Comey called Yates to tell her about it. According to her “302,” she was very “frustrated” about this. “She felt a decision to conduct an interview with Flynn should have been coordinated with [the Department of Justice].” She said the Flynn interview was “problematic” because White House counsel should have been notified. Indeed. But we’ve known for a long time that Comey went around them anyway; he bragged about it later and said he thought he could get away with doing that. It was a gross abuse of power.

But the Obama White House has been touched by this now.

By the way, Biden was in the Oval Office meeting, too. It would be good to question him, but he can probably be counted on to forget there even was a meeting. I don't mean saying “I don’t recall” while under oath, but literally NOT REMEMBERING it happened.

We can already see the frantic spinning on the left. Thursday, Jerrold Nadler, impeachment-mad chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, tweeted, “This is outrageous! Flynn PLEADED GUILTY to lying to investigators. The evidence against him is overwhelming. Now, a politicized DOJ is dropping the case. The decision to overrule the special counsel is without precedent and warrants an immediate explanation.” In Nadler World, the evidence that Flynn was set up and coerced to plead guilty simply doesn't exist. With few exceptions, that evidence won’t exist in Media World, either.

But there's much more to come, and only so much spinning even the most vicious Trump-hater can do. (What’s coming today and next week is said to be even more conclusive.) Thursday, there were additional “Spygate” revelations, these about Adam Schiff’s House Impeachment Committee –- I mean, House Intelligence Committee –- with transcripts that undercut the Democrats’ narrative of a legitimate “Russia” investigation. Thanks to acting Director of National Intelligence Ric Grenell, Schiff had to release thousands of declassified transcripts from the “Russia” investigation showing that, more than a year into it, FBI and intel officials could offer nothing in the way of specific proof of “collusion” with Moscow. All they offered were rambling explanations.

Sen. Chuck Grassley believes there will be prosecutions.

Here’s one huge revelation from Thursday: Hillary/DNC attorney Michael Sussman of Perkins Coie acknowledged under questioning by Republican staff (of course) that in February of 2017, he shared “dirt” he had gotten on the Trump organization’s possible ties to Russia WITH THE CIA. So the CIA was getting its anti-Trump rumors directly from a Clinton lawyer. SEE, IT ALWAYS GOES BACK TO HILLARY. Sussman wouldn’t say where he got the dirt, just that it came “from a client.” Probably Glenn Simpson and/or Chris Steele.

Schiff wrote a laughable preface to the material, saying, “The transcripts released today richly detail evidence of the Trump campaign’s efforts to invite, make use of, and cover up Russia’s help in the 2016 presidential election.” Actually, they do just the opposite.

Here’s John Solomon with all the details. This is great.

And here’s some great weekend reading, from Gregg Jarrett.

Reap the whirlwind

May 8, 2020

“If You Strike Me Down, I Shall Become More Powerful Than You Can Possibly Imagine” Dept: Yesterday, I told you about Dallas hair salon owner Shelley Luther, who refused to lose her business and her employees’ jobs by continuing to comply with unreasonable and unconstitutional lockdown orders. She was fined $7000 and ordered to jail for a week by Judge Eric Moye. Moye, incredibly, made it clear that she might escape jail by apologizing and admitting she was being selfish. Luther replied that it was not selfish to want to feed her kids and save her business, and she took the jail sentence rather than grovel.

I made it this local story a lead story because it didn’t take psychic powers to predict what’s happened since. Luther overnight became the national symbol of a rising American revolt against high-handed elitists with secure paychecks who mock, lecture and scold people who desperately need to get back to work to save their businesses and homes and feed their families. Judge Moye is facing a blizzard of criticism for his obliviousness in jailing a mom for going to work while Dallas County has released about 1,000 actual criminals for fear they might contract the coronavirus in jail. (Although she's reportedly being kept in isolation for protection.)

It’s no surprise that Moye has no sympathy for Ms. Luther and her employees, since he has continued to draw his six-figure salary at taxpayer expense throughout this entire lockdown. As have Nancy Pelosi and all the House Democrats who refuse to come back to work in Washington and help President Trump deal with the crisis. My modest suggestion: every official who insists that people stay home should have to go without pay until they allow Americans to work again. That might instill a sense of urgency in them.

Unfortunately, state-level officials don’t have direct power over Moye, but they’ve made it abundantly clear what they think of his appalling ruling and how it has brought so much negative attention to Texas – a state where standing up to tyranny is built into the natives’ genetic code. Both Gov. Greg Abbott and Attorney General Ken Paxton blasted Moye for his judicial overreach, and Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick even volunteered to pay her fine and take her place in jail.

As of Thursday night, Luther was reportedly still in jail (she was taken directly to jail without even being released on appeal!), but her attorneys have filed for an intervention with the State Supreme Court. In the meantime, Luther is now a national heroine for millions of Americans who are fed up with elitist liberal officials lecturing them about being selfish for wanting to feed their families and not lose the businesses they’ve spent a lifetime building.

They see these bans being applied unequally, unfairly and with little regard for whether they actually prevent the spread of the virus. They understand the risks, but they aren’t children of a nanny state, they are adult American citizens who are responsible enough to make their own decisions about assuming risk and making smart choices to mitigate them, just as we try to avoid highway deaths by driving carefully, installing airbags and wearing seatbelts, not by cowering in our rooms for our entire lives.

To show how Luther’s stand has galvanized supporters the way the heroes of the Alamo inspired earlier generations of Texans, a GoFundMe page set up to pay her expenses and legal fees disabled donations after they leaped from $170,000 to over $500,000 in less than 24 hours. And her defiance of capricious authoritarianism is already spreading across the nation.

Officials like Texas Judges Moye and Clay Jenkins, Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer and others might think this crisis has greatly expanded their powers, but all it’s really done is give Americans a taste of the tyranny of petty tyrants and how quickly they'll exercise it if given half a chance, and they don’t like it at all. I suspect that Democrats who think this crisis will be a boon to them in November had better brace for another shocking Election Night'

To quote Hosea 8:7, “They have sown the wind, and they shall reap the whirlwind.”

Last week, I reminded you of the old term that communist regimes like China and the USSR used to describe wealthy leftists who parroted their propaganda in the West. That term was “useful idiots.” Now, in turn, this story has reminded me of it.

On the other hand, kudos to Miley Cyrus, who admitted she has no clue what the pandemic is like for people who are really suffering from the lockdown. She said the privileged lives of celebrities may be on pause, but "I am comfortable in my space and able to put food on my table and financially stable, and that's just not the story for a lot of people." She said some of her famous friends are hesitant to come on her Instagram talk show because “it almost doesn't feel right for celebrities to share our experience. Because it just doesn't compare."

Good for her for recognizing that. It’s funny how well-heeled liberals who love to accuse other people of exercising too much “privilege” are so blind to their own in this instance. Despite her claim of being clueless, I suspect that Miley Cyrus actually is a lot wiser on this particular issue than many mayors, judges and even Governors I could name.

Stunned in New York

May 8, 2020

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo admitted that he was stunned to learn from new research that 66% of the state’s new hospitalized coronavirus patients had been “sheltering in place” before getting sick.

Some cynics pointed out that it shouldn’t be shocking that if almost everyone is being forced to “shelter in place,” that a majority of any group will be people who were sheltering in place. But it also shows that, as I’ve mentioned before, Edgar Allen Poe was right in “The Masque of the Red Death,” that you can’t hide away from disease by locking yourself up in the house forever. Viruses will circulate, some people will be more susceptible than others and will get sick, and when they do, the worst cases will need to go to the hospital. It should serve as a reminder to the “keep the lockdown going for years” crowd that this was supposed to be a temporary measure to “flatten the curve” – that is, to stretch out the infection rate and keep a massive wave of cases from overwhelming the health care system early on, before we had treatments, ventilators or hospital beds.

We now have all those things, and surpluses of the latter two. It’s time to face the fact that some people will get sick and we’ll have to deal with it, but we’re much better prepared to do so. Most others won’t get sick, and that will create herd immunity, which will help defeat this virus, just as it does all viruses eventually. We don’t want the cure to be worse than the disease, but we may be nearing the point where hiding out and doing nothing while waiting for a cure is becoming worse than the disease.

By the way, something to bear in mind: as we do more and more testing, many more people who are carrying the virus will be identified. This is completely predictable, since we now know that it was much more widespread than we thought, so of course many more tests will identify many more people carrying it. This will be used by the left to claim that in states that are relaxing the lockdown, there's a massive second wave of cases, which is not necessary true. Particularly when the tests were conducted even before the lockdown was relaxed and we’re only now seeing the test results.

A MUST-READ UPDATE: After the following commentary appeared in yesterday’s Evening Edition, a magnificent op-ed by James A. Gagliano was posted at the WASHINGTON EXAMINER. The headline says it all: “Michael Flynn was railroaded by Comey’s FBI.” Gagliano concludes that Flynn definitely was set up –- as opposed to Hillary, who got special treatment –- and that this absolutely was driven by politics. His piece sums up just about everything we’ve discussed here and notes other serious problems with the FBI’s activities as well, such as Lisa Page’s involvement in re-writing Flynn’s 302 (interview notes) when she wasn’t even present at the interview.

"Careful examination of fresh facts,” he says, “related to Flynn pleading guilty to Title 18 U.S. Code 1001 (lying to a federal agent) provides an eye-popping and clear-cut case of investigative inconsistencies and partisan political bias.”

Oh, and who is James A. Gagliano? He’s someone who knows all about how things are supposed to be done at the FBI, having worked there for 25 years. He’s now an adjunct assistant professor in homeland security and criminal justice at St. John’s University and a member of the board of directors of the Law Enforcement Legal Defense Fund. In addition, he’s a law enforcement analyst for the folks at CNN, who probably won’t be inviting him to any cocktail parties after they’ve read this.

And now, since he's a law enforcement analyst, I just hope he'll tell us what has to happen to put some people behind bars for what they did to an innocent American who served his country for over 30 years.

ORIGINAL COMMENTARY: Recent developments in the Michael Flynn case have led to the release, in just over a week, of a massive amount of “Brady” material that had been withheld literally for years. Flynn attorney Sidney Powell says there's more to come. Believe it or not, there are so many exculpatory documents that, if laid end-to-end, they would reach all the way to...the door of the White House Oval Office.

Figuratively speaking, of course, but I am not kidding. You won’t read about this in very many places, but when we put two and two together, it’s obvious that President Obama HAD to know all about “Crossfire Razor,” as well as the umbrella investigation “Crossfire Hurricane,” and was, in fact, quite aware of the Flynn take-down. It's ridiculous to conclude otherwise.

We already knew he had some pretty strong reasons for wanting Flynn out. We knew he didn’t appreciate Flynn’s vocal opposition to his Iran nuclear agreement and hated the thought that Flynn would help Trump dismantle it. Flynn thought it was a terrible deal and had not kept his opinion to himself. The Iran deal and Obamacare were supposed to be the twin stars in Obama’s Legacy Crown. Obama saw Flynn as a major threat.

We also knew that the intelligence community didn’t appreciate Flynn’s plan to streamline the bureaucracy and give the military greater independence in the field, without relying on the CIA, which he thought just slowed them down on the battlefield.

And we knew that military officials didn’t appreciate Flynn’s desire to get their administration “leaner and meaner.” He was a foe of duplication and waste. He was advocating --- horror of horrors --- audits of the Department of Defense and the Pentagon. (Why, we might have found out what Stefan Halper was really being paid to do and what kind of expense account he had.)

These reasons already seemed like enough for “the swamp” to want to take Flynn down. But Andrew C. McCarthy has just offered another reason, the biggest one yet, a reason so obvious to me now that if it were a snake, it would’ve bitten me. Come to think of it, the scenario he describes is full of snakes.

As a preface, let me say that McCarthy is convinced the sneaky “ambush” interview of Flynn had not been long in the works. Emails from January 21 and 22 (Trump was sworn in on January 20) show that they didn’t start out with the surprise perjury trap plan. They needed a way to set Flynn up without giving the White House any notice about the meeting, and this was really the only alternative they had. As Bill Priestap said in his notes, get him to admit to a violation (of the Logan Act??), or get him to lie, so they can prosecute or see him fired. But the interview appears to have been sort of a last-ditch idea, because with Trump about to take office, THEY HAD TO GET RID OF FLYNN RIGHT AWAY.

And the interview had to just come out of nowhere. If they had approached the White House with a request to interview Flynn, the way they were supposed to, the White House could have turned them down. That’s why Comey was so stealthy about it –- he didn’t even officially inform acting Attorney General Sally Yates, because then she would have been obligated to alert White House attorney Don McGahn. This interview was their silver bullet against Flynn, and they HAD to make it count.

So, to the point: why was it so critical that they get Flynn out immediately? It goes much further than the reasons stated above. Simple: it was so the phony “Trump/Russia” investigation would be able to continue into Trump’s presidency. (There are varying opinions regarding what constitutes “treason,” but this sure fits mine.) Flynn was one of Trump’s few allies in his new administration, and, being an experienced member of the intel community himself, he would have found out about the bogus investigation quickly and put a stop to it.

When Comey gave that self-satisfied interview about sending “a couple of guys over,” he made it sound as if, hey, he just did it because of the chaos in the new administration and because he could get away with it. That's not the truth. He did it because they HAD to get this session with Flynn to trap him right away, and they couldn’t risk the Trump White House saying no, or saying maybe in a few weeks, or saying okay but they’d send a lawyer or two to sit in.

As McCarthy says, “Michael Flynn was not the objective. He was the obstacle.” The FBI’s real objective was, he says, “first formed in collaboration with Obama administration officials. Recall the January 5 Oval Office meeting to brief President Obama on Russian “meddling” in the 2016 election. Comey, Brennan, Clapper and Mike Rogers were there to brief the group. The guest list included President Obama, Vice President Biden, national security adviser (and Flynn’s predecessor) Susan Rice, and acting Attorney General Sally Yates.

To put this meeting into perspective, here’s what McCarthy wrote about it in February of 2018.

Importantly, the Trump Tower meeting that ended with a briefing for Trump from Comey about salacious stories in the Steele “dossier” would take place the following day. By that time, the original FISA warrant to spy on the Trump campaign was set to expire in a couple of weeks, just as Trump was taking office. So the Obama administration would have to figure out how to renew that while Obama was still in. The officials at the January Oval Office meeting needed to keep an investigation going on someone who was about to be sworn in as President.

We all know the January 20 Susan Rice email to herself that says Obama wanted everything done “by the book.” But there’s more of even greater significance that isn’t as widely quoted, and it speaks to their need to keep a GREAT BIG SECRET from the incoming President: “President Obama says he wants to be sure that, as we engage with the incoming team, we are mindful to ascertain if there is any reason that we cannot share information fully as it relates to Russia.” And she closes with Obama’s instruction to Comey to inform him “if anything changes in the next few weeks that should affect how we share classified information with the incoming team.”

Such as, perhaps, an incoming national security adviser who was caught lying about conversations with Russian officials? There you go, the perfect excuse not to share classified information! In one move, they’d get rid of Flynn before he could find out anything AND justify keeping the new President in the dark about the ongoing investigation. At Obama’s direction.

Anyway, the picture is clear now. If you don’t know what a “soft coup” looks like, I’d say it looks exactly like the picture painted by McCarthy after he’s connected all the dots.