In the Trump administration’s war against the ‘deep state,’ there’s news on multiple fronts. Here’s the rundown for today…

While we’ve been looking at Manafort and the Ukraine, there have been some big developments in the ongoing Roger Stone case, as he’s scheduled to be sentenced on February 20. (Recall that his home was invaded by an FBI S.W.A.T. team in full combat gear while CNN had cameras rolling.) President Trump tweeted explosively about the recommended sentence, saying, “Who are the four prosecutors (Mueller people??) who cut and ran after being exposed for recommending a ridiculous 9 year prison sentence for a man that got caught up in an investigation that was illegal, the Mueller Scam, and shouldn’t ever even have started? 13 Angry Democrats?”

One of the prosecutors in question, Aaron Zelinsky, did indeed work on Mueller’s special counsel team. All four prosecutors resigned from the case after the DOJ asked a federal court to reduce the seven-to-nine-year prison sentence they had recommended for the 67-year-old Stone, who was found guilty of seven counts of lying to Congress and witness tampering when the feds were investigating his possible involvement with WikiLeaks and information purportedly hacked by Russia. (Nothing came of that, incidentally.) The DOJ said some prison time would be appropriate, but not such a long sentence, which they termed “extreme and excessive and grossly disproportionate to Stone’s offenses.”

These prosecutors must have really wanted to clap Stone in jail and throw away the key. One of them, Jonathan Kravis, announced his resignation as an assistant U.S. attorney, leaving his job entirely.

Trump’s critics expressed alarm –- stop the presses –- at what they theorize is his interference with what certainly would be a severe punishment, possibly even a life sentence for a man of his age. In fact, many killers and rapists get less prison time than they are recommending for Stone. (And Democrats who lie to Congress get to walk free, ha.) Trump told reporters he had not spoken with DOJ officials about the case but maintained he had the right to do that. He didn’t say whether he might commute Stone’s sentence. I would add he has the right to do that, too.

"I thought the whole prosecution was ridiculous,” Trump said. “I thought it was an insult to our country.”

As if on cue, Adam Schiff, Jerrold Nadler and Chuck Schumer had a collective fit about Trump’s comments, with Schumer calling for the DOJ inspector general to begin a formal investigation into the reduced sentencing recommendation. “This situation has all the indicia of improper political interference in a criminal prosecution,” he wrote to IG Michael Horowitz. “I therefore request that you immediately investigate this matter to determine how and why the Stone sentencing recommendations were countermanded, which Justice Department officials made this decision, and which White House officials were involved.”

Good grief. These three lowlifes have all the indicia of Trump-deranged prosecutors who failed to get their nemesis tossed out of office. If they got even a week in prison for every whopper they’ve told in the House and Senate, they’d never see the light of day again. Even better, we’d never have to see them.

On another front, Rudy Giuliani, who has said he has the goods on the DNC and Ukraine, is indeed being vetted by Attorney General Barr’s Justice Department, as Barr announced on Monday. In other words, Giuliani wasn’t just blowing smoke on Maria Bartiromo’s Sunday show. According to Barr, they have “established an intake process in the field so that any information coming in about Ukraine could be carefully scrutinized by the Department and its intelligence community partners so that we could assess its provenance and its credibility. And that is true of all information that comes to the Department relative to Ukraine, including anything Mr. Giuliani might provide.”

Giuliani claims there are three Ukrainian officials willing to testify about a meeting at the White House in January of 2016 involving a secret bid to interfere in the November election in which Donald Trump was a candidate. “The three of them will say that they were at the National Security Council and two members of the [NSC] who represented Biden asked them basically to dig up dirt on the Party of Regions and any of their consultants, and their consultant was Manafort. It was later clarified they wanted Manafort. And one of the key people at the meeting making the request is one of the people suspected of being the whistleblower.”

Giuliani doesn’t say it here, but I will: he’s talking about ERIC CIARAMELLA, the NSA official that everyone knows (unofficially) is the “whistleblower” but that hardly anyone will dare to name. I do, of course, because he's not a real whistleblower at all but part of a plot to target Trump for his phone call with Ukrainian President Zelensky, and he is not entitled to anonymity. His NSA colleagues Sean Misko and Abigail Grace went to work on Adam Schiff’s staff. Recall that two weeks after Trump was sworn in, CIARAMELLA and Misko, who had some foreign policy disagreements with the new President, were overheard in the White House proclaiming they were going to take Trump down. This is the guy; he’d been working in the White House since 2015 and was one of hundreds of Obama “holdovers.”

As Giuliani describes the witnesses’ accounts of the January 2016 meeting, “Obama’s people are asking political operatives of Ukraine to get information on the Trump campaign. It’s as simple as that.”

I've been saying that the Democrat Party and the media (sorry for the redundancy) are desperate to bring down John Solomon and Rudy Giuliani, and this is why. The Swamp is out to destroy them both. In the case of Giuliani, his effort is no longer just about protecting his client from the slings and arrows of outrageous Democrats. And it’s certainly not to take Joe Biden down as a candidate; Biden will certainly not be the Democrat nominee and Trump likely never thought he would be a political threat. J. D. Rucker of the NOQ REPORT is correct when he says this of Giuliani and The Swamp:

"They’re going after him for the sake of vengeance over what he has uncovered so far. They’re going after him out of a sense of self-preservation to stop what he might find next. They’re firing every political and media weapon they have at their disposal at him in an effort to slow him down if not dissuade him from pushing forward. They’re scared. They fear his courage and his resolution. And they should. Whatever they’re hiding, Giuliani is digging until he finds it. All of it.”

The same, of course, can be said of The Swamp's reaction to Solomon and any other reporters who have refused to be deterred. Also Devin Nunes and a few others in the House and Senate. And Barr, of course.

The Democrats’ narrative is that Giuliani is a “loose cannon,” but what that really means is that he is a patriot who isn’t held in check by congressional oversight or the bureaucracy. He’ll do what he thinks is right.

Yesterday, I presented an update on the Paul Manafort “black ledger” story, showing how the media are trying to silence John Solomon and others investigating this apparent forgery. Today, we take a look back at information Solomon gathered last year about visits to the Ukrainian embassy by DNC worker Alexandra Chalupa to try to find information that might damage Manafort and then-candidate Trump. Then, when we look at White House visitor logs unearthed by Judicial Watch, we see that Chalupa visited top-level White House officials as well.

But first, let’s look at the history of ERIC CIARAMELLA, a CIA analyst who was working at the White House starting in 2015 and who is (unofficially) known to be the “whistleblower” (really just a leaker, not entitled to anonymity) on President Trump’s appropriate call to Ukrainian President Zelensky. After obtaining and analyzing White House visitor logs, Judicial Watch revealed that on December 9, 2015, he met in the White House with Daria Kaleniuk, co-founder and executive director of the Anticorruption Action Center (AntAC) in Ukraine. AntAC is funded by George Soros. This is just one of a long line of questionable meetings; I’ll link to the entire list later on.

Another example: On January 19, 2016, CIARAMELLA met with Artem Sytnyk, director of the Ukrainian Anti-Corruption Bureau. To put this in context, on October 7, 2019, the DAILY WIRE reported that leaked tapes showed Sytnyk confirming that the Ukrainians helped the Clinton campaign.

(Wait --- I thought it was only Russia who “meddled” in the campaign, and that it was to help Trump, not Hillary!)

Another of CIARAMELLA’s meetings, on June 17, 2016 (Ted Cruz had dropped out of the race on May 3, leaving Trump the presumptive nominee), was with Victoria Nuland, then the assistant secretary of state for European and Eurasian Affairs. As we know from previous Judicial Watch requests, Nuland had extensive involvement with the Christopher Steele “dossier."

I've just scratched the surface. As for Chalupa, we also see from the White House logs that several high-level officials met with her there. These officials were closely connected to President Obama and Valerie Jarrett. One of them had been an intern at the Center for American Progress. Lots of Soros interplay here.

As we’ve just learned from Rudy Giuliani, Chalupa emailed DNC official Luis Miranda on May 4, 2016, to say she’d spoken to investigative journalists including Michael Isikoff of THE NEW YORK TIMES about then-Trump campaign director Manafort in Ukraine. She said something big on Manafort would be dropping in a few weeks. Sure enough, a few weeks later, the “black ledger” Manafort story broke in the NYT.

Judicial Watch president Tom Fitton said that their “analysis of “White House visitor logs raises additional questions about the Obama administration, Ukraine, and the related impeachment scheme targeting President Trump. Both Mr. Ciaramella and Ms. Chalupa should be questioned about the meetings documented in these visitor logs.”

Thanks to Dan Bongino for finding a timely Ukraine story by John Solomon from May of 2019. Solomon has been digging around for a long time and reported on the Alexandra Chalupa/DNC/Ukraine connection last year. (Again, this is why Democrats desperately want Solomon taken off the air and are trying to discredit him in any way possible; this is most definitely NOT a conspiracy theory, let alone a discredited one.) Chalupa apparently visited the Ukrainian Embassy in Washington, DC, with the express purpose of trying to raise interest among members of Congress about Paul Manafort’s dealings in Ukraine. Manafort, of course, was Trump’s campaign director at the time.

Solomon's report, at the link below, came several months after a Ukrainian court ruled that the country’s Anti-Corruption Bureau –- closely aligned with the U.S. embassy in Kiev –- and a member of the Ukrainian parliament named Serhiy Leshchenko wrongly interfered in the 2016 election by releasing documents relating to Manafort. Recall that Solomon’s latest report from a few days ago reveals that the “black ledger” released in 2016 was almost certainly a fake.

As I noted above, the “whistleblower,” ERIC CIARAMELLA, met with the Soros-funded Anticorruption Action Center even further back, in December of 2015. Another detail: Nellie Ohr, wife of Bruce Ohr –- who was #4 in command at the Justice Department –- has acknowledged in congressional testimony that she researched both Trump and Manafort’s ties to Russia and learned that Leshchenko was providing “dirt” to Fusion, where she was working as a researcher. These people all have ties, and to point these out is not to promote a conspiracy theory. The dots practically connect themselves.

According to Federal Election Commission records, Chalupa’s firm, Chalupa & Associates, was paid almost $72,000 during the 2016 election cycle. Apparently when she visited officials at the Ukrainian embassy, she made it very clear to them what she was looking for: information they could use to claim Trump, his organization and Manafort were Russian assets. She wanted to take it to Congress in September to make the case that Trump should be removed from the ballot.

Again, this is what Solomon wrote in 2019, but it’s stunning to see how closely he was sniffing around this scandal even then. The Democrats spent literally years trying unsuccessfully to make the case that Trump was an agent of Russia, when they themselves were “colluding” with Ukraine in order to do it. The evidence continues to grow. Excellent detail here...

By the way, President Trump isn’t waiting for all this to shake out; he’s finally getting rid of the Obama holdovers at the National Security Council. When suspected leaker Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman and his identical twin –- who happened to work in the department that vetted manuscripts such as John Bolton’s leaky one –- got the boot last week, it was what we might consider “a good start.” National Security Adviser Robert O’Brien is doing a thorough housecleaning, purging the NSC of 70 Obama-era personnel.

Minority Leader Chuck Schumer spoke out against this on the Senate Floor, and that alone tells us that it is a very positive development. Schumer said he’d “sent a letter to all 74 inspectors general in the Executive Branch, requesting that they immediately investigate any and all instances of retaliation against anyone who has made or, in the future, makes protected disclosures of presidential misconduct to Congress or to an inspector general.”

Sorry, but the President gets to choose who he does and does not want serving him in the Executive Branch. Period. And apparently there was plenty of reason to want Alexander Vindman gone; here’s what one of his peers had to say.

Victor Davis Hanson, appearing on Laura Ingraham’s Monday show, said that the NSC under Obama ballooned to hundreds of people and is plagued with leaks. He pointed out that the “whistleblower” was in the NSC and that two others from there, Sean Misko and Abigail Grace, went over to Schiff’s staff and are STILL THERE.

As we've discussed, Michael Flynn had wanted to use his new position as Trump's national security adviser to clean house at the NSC and pare it way down. This is no doubt one reason Flynn was targeted early on. So it's gratifying to be able to share this encouraging Flynn update...

Last week, investigative reporter John Solomon revealed that the mysterious “black ledger” purported to show cash payments originating in Ukraine to then-campaign director Paul Manafort, who now rots in jail, was almost certainly a forgery, as multiple sources emphatically maintain that no cash payments were ever made. On Sunday, during a wide-ranging interview with Maria Bartiromo on SUNDAY MORNING FUTURES, Trump attorney Rudy Guiliani offered evidence highly suggestive that the Democratic National Committee was involved in targeting Manafort.

He brought in a memo from Alexandra Chalupa of the DNC to her boss dated May 3, 2016, and reading in part, “I invited Michael Isikoff [of THE NEW YORK TIMES], whom I’ve been working with for the past few weeks, and connected him to the Ukrainians to talk about Paul Manafort.”

Then she says, “A big one will hit in next few weeks.”

Lo and behold, a few weeks after this was sent, the NYT broke the big story about the Manafort ledger. Think the DNC might possibly have had something to do with that?

In the aftermath of impeachment and with this sort of eyebrow-raising activity gradually coming to light, the mainstream media increasingly try to silence reporters, commentators and guests who are gaining influence and interfering with their chosen narrative. At the top of the list are Rudy Giuliani and John Solomon; there’s an ongoing campaign to silence them, just as there was with Devin Nunes. THE DAILY BEAST reports that according to an internal FOX NEWS memo they obtained, concern exists at the network that Giuliani has been “spreading disinformation.” They report that the 162-page FNC memo also singles out attorneys Joe diGenova and Victoria Toensing, and that it says of John Solomon that he “played an indispensable role in the collection and domestic publication of elements of this disinformation campaign.”

SALON picked up the story, which informs us that the memo, titled “Ukraine, Disinformation & the Trump Administration,” was authored by senior political affairs specialist Brian Murphy, who works in the network’s research division, dubbed the “Brain Room.”

All right, Journalism 101 students, acknowledging that none of us has read this huge memo, let’s take a look at how SALON magazine, in just one sentence, folds its own editorializing into its report. Here’s the sentence: “It [the memo] highlighted Solomon’s reports at THE HILL, which fueled Giuliani’s baseless conspiracy theory that Ukraine meddled in the 2016 election and assisted the ‘smear campaign’ leading to the ouster of former Ukraine ambassador Marie Yovonovich.”

That’s right, class; there’s that ubiquitous phrase “baseless conspiracy theory,” so similar to the phrase “discredited swift boaters” we used to hear so often in “news” stories when John Kerry was running for President. The swift boaters who served with Kerry were smeared but not discredited; likewise, the notion that, like Russia, Ukraine “meddled” in the 2016 election, arguably in more significant ways than Russia did, is not baseless. In fact, evidence keeps coming out that gives support to that conclusion. And, yes, much of it has come from John Solomon. I’d wager that he’s going to turn out to be right about all of this, just as Devin Nunes’ memo –- “discredited” by Adam Schiff, no less –- turned out to be right.

Opinion-shapers think that if they just keep repeating the phrase “baseless conspiracy theory” often enough, we’ll all come to agree that’s what it is. I guess they’ve convinced themselves that it’s baseless, but they are mistaken.

Anyway, FOX NEWS has told THE DAILY BEAST that the warnings they pulled from the memo were taken out of context. To give some context to the phrase “out of context,” here’s the quote from Mitch Kweit, senior vice president of the Brain Room (and wouldn’t that title look cool on a business card): “The Ukraine briefing book is nothing more than a comprehensive chronological account of what every person involved in the Ukraine controversy was doing at any identifiable point in time, including tracking media appearances of major players who appeared on FOX NEWS and in many other outlets. The 200-page document has thousands of data points and the vast majority have no relation to FOX NEWS --- instead it’s now being taken out of context and politicized to damage the network.”

Indeed. If you’d like to read SALON’s pointedly biased interpretation of this “memo” story –- probably not worth your time, but for the record, here it is –- I’ve included the link:

I won’t get into the internal deliberations at FOX NEWS, as (believe it or not, lefties) there are people at FOX of all political persuasions who are bound to have different thoughts regarding opinion hosts such as Sean Hannity and Laura Ingraham and the guests they choose to feature. The “opinions” for which they’ve provided a forum are increasingly turning out NOT to be disinformation but solid investigation, clearly on the right track, and they should be proud of that. (I can proudly say the same of our opinion reporting at But most media outlets won’t acknowledge this; they’re running with their chosen pull-quotes and sensationalist reporting in the style of CNN’s Amanda Carpenter, who tweeted, “It sounds like this memo the FOX NEWS ‘Brain Room’ wrote about a rampant, influential disinformation campaign would have been a great story to bring to air for their viewers. Why was it stuffed? Hm.”

Hm, Amanda. Maybe because this work is not disinformation, but a deep dig into what really was going on in Ukraine, in spite of all the efforts by you and your colleagues and likely even a few “concerned” employees at FOX NEWS to quell it. You would love to see John Solomon pulled off the air. But just wait and see --- he and others looking into the ‘deep state’ are going to have the last word on this. Speaking of words, I’m sure you have a couple of choice ones for him, Giuliani, Nunes, Lee Smith, Dan Bongino and all the others who continue to dig and connect the dots, but I have a couple of words to offer them myself: “THANK YOU.”

Sen. Lindsay Graham, chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, reportedly told Margaret Brennan of FACE THE NATION that he heard from Attorney General Barr that the DOJ is “receiving information coming out of Ukraine” from Giuliani. (Of course, Barr is also high on the list of those to be discredited and silenced.) Brennan said on CBS that Sen. Graham had told her they had “created a process” for Giuliani to supply information and for them to verify it. Back in September, a DOJ spokeswoman denied that the President had spoken to to the attorney general about contacting Ukraine or that the AG had discussed anything with Giuliani relating to Ukraine, the implication being that this “process” for Giuliani to supply information is a recent development.

Although the Bidens should not be getting a pass, there’s plenty to be looking into in Ukraine besides them. See references to the DNC and Paul Manafort, above.

Lindsey Graham: DOJ 'created a process' to verify Ukraine research from Giuliani

"Dear Rush"

February 10, 2020

Dear Rush,

I’ve had a couple of days now to process your news, and have decided it would be a good thing to write to you. As a writer/researcher for Gov. Mike Huckabee, I thought I’d also post it on the Huckabee website (with his blessing) and share it with many others who have listened to you and loved you for years. Certainly a lot of your fans are the Gov’s fans, and vice versa.

President Trump’s triumphant State Of The Union Address has just ended, and I was so happy to see you sitting there with Melania, as were many millions of others who had tuned in. This was the most powerful, confident and upbeat SOTU speech I’ve ever watched, and actually being there in that room amidst all that unspoken seething drama must have been an amazing experience. The news that you would be receiving the Presidential Medal Of Freedom had come out earlier in the evening, but who knew that you would be sitting there in the box tonight, that the honor would apparently be a surprise to you, and that it would be bestowed on you right then, on the spot! I guess they must have somehow kept you away from news reports for just long enough.

How appropriate that you would be presented this honor. I had the tissues out, to be sure. Your life cannot be separated from the American history of the past few decades, as they are so closely interwoven. You’ve been instrumental in shaping the radio industry and modern politics, and in touching lives. I’ve been listening to you for a long time and have seen all those changes.

When my then-boyfriend-later-husband (Pat Reeder, who also writes for Gov. Huckabee) first turned on your show for me while we out driving around, I have to admit I groaned. You were in the middle of talking about feminism, and you happened to bring up one of your Undeniable Truths Of Life: that feminism existed to give unattractive women easier access to mainstream society. To me, that seemed more like a defense of feminism, though I couldn’t tell if you meant it that way. Unattractive women SHOULD have access to mainstream society, I reasoned, and if they don’t have it without feminism, then feminism is a good thing. But if you were going to be critical of feminism, did that mean you thought unattractive women should NOT have access? You see my quandry. So my introduction to you was not altogether positive.

But I kept listening and gradually learned that you had an amazing view of the political landscape. So much insight. As for feminism, I’ve always thought of myself as a feminist in the classical sense, believing I should just move forward in the world as it is, as a man would do, and live the life I want to pursue rather than be pressured into something that’s wrong for me. But I came to understand that you were talking mostly about the feminist MOVEMENT, and the feminist movement did betray me, with its laser-beam focus on “reproductive rights” (abortion on demand) and its insistence on having a lot of things both ways. (The inconsistency is even worse today, as can be seen when you juxtapose the “principles” of the #MeToo movement with J-Lo’s sexed-up “empowering” pole dance at the Super Bowl.)

Anyway, the point is, I haven’t always agreed with you, but most of the time, certainly on politics, you were spot-on. It was obvious that critics of your show either didn’t listen at all or didn’t listen enough to understand what you meant, to know when you were being tongue-in-cheek. So often, they didn’t get the joke. Leftists hardly ever get the joke.

Since my husband and I are comedy writers, we have especially appreciated the humor in your show. Looking back, it seems there used to be more of that than there has been in recent years. Maybe that’s just a reflection of the times we’re in right now. (Humor today is not for the faint of heart!) Still, over the years, the many fall-down-funny song parodies you featured inspired me to write more of them myself. Thank you so much for that!

I’m indebted to you in another way, Rush. About 15 years ago, I lost the hearing in my left ear after surgery for Meniere’s Disease. The vertigo attacks were gone, but I was deaf on that side, with loud tinnitus. As I am a singer, this has been extremely challenging to deal with. But when you became totally deaf in BOTH ears, you still managed to continue your career in RADIO, no less! I was stunned at your determination to keep at it and find a way not to give up the work that so many of us value and count on. If you could do that with total hearing loss, then maybe I could find ways to keep going with music, recording and even live performances. You have been such an inspiration to me in that way, and I did eventually find help. Thank you so much.

I also admire you for sticking to your guns when you were savaged, not just by leftists but by some conservatives, for supporting Trump in 2016. As President, he has proved his conservative critics wrong --- wow, he truly has governed as a conservative --- but you seemed to really understand his potential as a conservative leader before many others on the right did.

I hope you’ll be able to be at the Golden EIB Microphone most of the time during this crazy political year. When you need some time away, we’ll understand, wishing the very best for you and hoping you’ll be recovered from treatment and back soon. I think this year will pretty much determine the future of America, so please be here for us when you can, Rush.

You’ve always said you were “having more fun than any human being should be allowed to have.” How wonderful to lead such a rich life, doing exactly what you want, and create an amazing legacy while you’re at it.

Well, I guess that’s about all. I just wanted to say how much you mean to me and to so many, but in the process I realized that mere words don’t quite get there. I don’t know if I’ll ever get to meet you personally and shake your hand, so I’ll just imagine I’m shaking your hand now. (Pause for imaginary hand-shaking. Sorry, my hand is sweating a little.) Thanks for everything, Rush. Much love to you and yours.


Laura Ainsworth

On Thursday, President Trump held a gathering at the White House to thank his family, supporters and legal team and celebrate his acquittal in the Senate. This ends the travesty of his phony impeachment, which started even before he was inaugurated and went on to shred the Constitution in the attempt to take him down. Of course, like sharks that have to keep swimming and eating to stay alive, his political enemies are still actively searching for some crime to “get” him on. They and their media accomplices were even criticizing him for his remarks during Thursday’s event, slamming him for “not bringing the country together,” if you can believe that.

The President was justifiably outspoken about the attempted coup that took place within the intel bureaucracy. “...If I didn’t fire James Comey, we would have never found this stuff. ‘Cause when I fired that sleazebag, all hell broke out. They were ratting on each other; they were running for the hills. Let’s see what happens...It’s in the hands of some very talented people.” a reference to Attorney General William Barr and U.S. Attorney John Durham.

When you have a little time (it runs about an hour), you should watch this. It’s Trump at his best and most reflective. Melania is glowing with happiness. Really impressive –- I was glad to see he hasn’t lost his sense of humor after such an ordeal.

As for the false narrative that was created around Trump to remove him from office, one of the Democrats’ big talking points has been that Russia --- not Ukraine --- interfered with our 2016 Presidential election. Anyone suggesting that Ukraine was involved must be saying that Russia’s hands were clean, according to this line of “reasoning.” So, the idea of Ukraine’s involvement had to be coming from some wild-eyed right-wing conspiracy theorist trying to defend President Trump from the charge of being an agent of Vladimir Putin. It followed that Rudy Giuliani couldn’t have had a legitimate reason to look into Ukrainian involvement in 2016; that was merely a pretense for him to look into Joe Biden in anticipation of 2020, they said.

You see the logical flaws in this “either/or” argument. When it’s laid out like this, it makes absolutely no sense. Besides, I thought the left was opposed to “binary” choices, ha. Certs is a candy mint! Certs is a breath mint! Wait, you’re BOTH right! (And for those who remember when SNL was really funny, New Shimmer is a floor wax AND a dessert topping!) It was Russia...AND Ukraine!

Which leads me to some new revelations concerning what happened in Ukraine to launch an investigation of Trump 2016 campaign director Paul Manafort.

Recall that in December of 2018, a Ukrainian court ruled that two government officials, a member of parliament named Sergey Leschenko and (not kidding) the head of the Anticorruption Bureau of Ukraine, Artem Sytnyk, were found guilty in a Ukrainian court of illegally interfering in the American 2016 election by publicizing the so-called “black ledger” of cash payments to Paul Manafort. That ruling was overturned on a technicality, but what they did to publicize the ledger remains true. THE NEW YORK TIMES was only too happy to break the ledger story in August 2016.

John Solomon has been investigating the origins of this mysterious ledger for a long time now, as Manfort rots in jail, and Leschenko told him in an interview last summer that although he publicized the ledger in 2016, he didn’t think it could be used as evidence in court because there was no proof beyond a reasonable doubt that it was authentic. Doubts arose because officials said Manafort was never paid in cash, and the ledger reflected cash payments. The ledger appeared to have been created after the fact.

Once the ledger was made public, though, it led to the firing of Manafort from Trump’s campaign and an investigation that revealed crimes for which he was prosecuted –- by the special counsel, who sought damaging information on Trump. But it was never introduced at his trial or significantly analyzed in Robert Mueller’s report, which found no evidence of “collusion” between Trump and Russia. Mueller never released the “302’s” that would have detailed their conclusions about the ledger.

So, was the ledger a fake, created to provide a pretense to go after Manafort while he was Trump’s campaign director? Solomon has learned there was special counsel testimony attesting to the ledger’s inauthenticity from Manafort’s former business partner Rick Gates. In a “302” (summary of witness testimony) from April of 2018, Gates said, “The black ledger was a fabrication. It was never real, and this fact has since been proven true.” This statement is consistent with what several Ukrainian officials have told Solomon in his quest for the story. But Mueller did not include it.

As Solomon reports, “If true, Gates’ account means the two key pieces of documentary evidence used by the media and FBI to drive the now-debunked Russia collusion narrative --- the Steele dossier and the black ledger --- were at best uncorroborated and at worst disinformation. His account also raises the possibility that someone fabricated the document in Ukraine in an effort to restart investigative efforts on Manafort’s consulting work or to meddle in the U.S. presidential election.”

So, with the “dossier” revealed as a highly imaginative work of fiction paid for by the Hillary campaign and the “black ledger” almost certainly manufactured as well, what happens now? Well, first of all, we need to acknowledge that there was some serious election “meddling” going on in UKRAINE that justified Rudy Giuliani’s desire to uncover it in the interest of his client. Second, our own intelligence bureaucracy needs to be overhauled to stop the use of fake “evidence” to launch investigations for political purposes.

On that score, FBI Director Chris Wray has announced that every FBI official listed in IG Michael Horowitz’s report is being reviewed for possible discipline. “Possible discipline”? That’s not good enough. Wray has kept a low profile in the aftermath of that report, which showed 17 “errors and omissions” in their phony FISA application and three renewals, and it’s difficult to know how determined he is. What’s the goal: to impart genuine reform, or to shore up the FBI’s image? Wray seems mostly interested in rehabilitating their image. Sorry, but an attempt at an “image makeover” isn’t going to cut it.

One encouraging development (hope it ‘s true): The White House is considering dismissing Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman. This is not “retaliation,” as the media will portray it, but part of a badly needed purge. Details here...

Which brings us back to Trump’s remarks on Thursday. “We’ve been going through this now for over three years,” he said. It was evil, it was corrupt, it was dirty cops. It was leakers and liars. And this should never happen to another President, ever.”

Without a complete housecleaning, including criminal prosecutions where appropriate, it most certainly will. (As I mentioned, Democrats are already trying to do it again to President Trump.) And when I say “housecleaning,” I mean the FBI, CIA, DOJ...and, very importantly, the House of Representatives.

Mitt Romney Call Your Office

February 7, 2020

Give Sen. Mitt Romney credit for one thing: he’s certainly sparked a renewed interest in politics back in his “home state” of Utah. By voting with the Democrats to convict President Trump on their first Article of Impeachment (abusing his power by using it pretty much the same way every President in history has), Romney has spurred a flurry of citizen activism. Some Trump critics have turned out to rally, declaring him a hero and the conscience of DC (I suspect they're the same people who called Romney a racist, elitist, bullying, dog-torturing, corporate raider who gave his employees cancer and kept women in binders, back when he was on the other side – and who will again, the minute he inevitably flip-flops).

Meanwhile, a bill to allow voters to recall errant Senators that has been languishing in the Utah state House since before impeachment even became an issue suddenly has half a dozen new co-sponsors. Its author, Rep. Tim Quinn, says he got over a hundred phone calls and 250 emails in just over an hour that were “100% positive.”

Romney supporters say he shouldn’t be recalled for displaying “character.” Why, exactly, it shows “character” to violate your sworn oath to “support and defend the Constitution” by ratifying the House’s unprecedented, partisan and unconstitutional impeachment process, or to find someone guilty on evidence that one week before he’d proclaimed to be insufficient to determine guilt, I cannot say. I do think the vote showed Romney’s predictable character, which I predicted here before he even announced it by referencing the fable about the scorpion that stung the friendly frog that was giving it a ride across the river. The scorpion explained, “It’s in my nature.”

Romney obviously believes he was taking the moral, Biblical high ground (aside from ignoring the “Thou shalt not bear false witness” part.) But for those in Utah who believe he should be recalled and are looking for grounds that Romney cannot argue with without looking like a hypocrite, try this:

“The great state of Utah deserves a Senator who didn’t win his election largely because of the endorsement of a President whom he himself has officially declared to be guilty of a ‘severe,’ ‘egregious’ and ‘abusive’ attack on the Constitution.”

In fact, if he really is as morally superior as he claims to be, shouldn’t he save the public the trouble of changing the law and recalling him by resigning for his own egregious sin of accepting the Senate endorsement of such a terrible, lawless President? He even unsuccessfully angled for a job as his Secretary of State. Just think, if he’d actually gotten that job, the Democrats would have subpoenaed him to reveal classified, personal conversations with the President…and when Trump cited executive privilege, imagine what his new pals would be calling Romney now!