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In the months leading up to the 2020 elections, stories about COVID-19 and escalating civil unrest from the far left –- with race as the catalyst –- will continue to dominate the news. To be sure, the way we address these issues will determine the direction America takes in the next generation and beyond. But as important as these stories are, there is one more big reason for the intensity of the coverage: by focusing exclusively on these issues, the media will not have to give any coverage at all to what would otherwise be the story of the decade: the ongoing declassification of documents that shows we were right all along about the “soft coup” against President Trump in 2016 and afterwards.

Yes, it really did happen. And it is treachery.

At any other time –- especially if it had been the Republicans pulling this against, say, candidate and later President Obama –- the screaming would be heard in a galaxy far, far away, and many people would rightly be arrested and charged and end up under the prison. It took then-acting Director of National Intelligence Ric Grenell and the newly appointed DNI John Ratcliffe to finally get the evidence out after years of stonewalling and CYA by the intel community. The latest revelation concerns the Intelligence Community Assessment (ICA) that concluded the Russians had helped Trump win.

Remember how Democrats and the media (but I repeat myself) pushed the line that “the 17 intel agencies” in our federal government concluded that the Russians had interfered in the 2016 election, specifically to damage Hillary and to help Trump win? (How releasing “Russian disinformation” about Trump cavorting with prostitutes in Moscow was supposed to HELP Trump is never addressed. Seems as though that would help Hillary, but hey, nobody said this had to make sense.) This line has been trumpeted since the ICA was first released, in redacted form, in January of 2017 –- as it happens, right before Trump’s inauguration.

We’ve learned through investigative reporters such as John Solomon, with their spot-on sources, that then-FBI Director James Comey, then-deputy Director Andrew McCabe, and then-CIA Director John Brennan –- perhaps the biggest proponent of the Steele “dossier” –- were insistent that this work of fiction be included in the ICA and that a summary of it was included as “Annex A.” You and I haven’t been able to see much of “Annex A” until now, but new DIR Ratcliffe has just declassified it. As reported on RedState.com, we can see now that this document “goes along with what we already know about the underlying information for the Russia Hoax investigation being a fraud from the start.”

As Catherine Herridge reports, the allegations that Brennan and his cohorts were making about Trump’s campaign associates knowingly working with Russian officials and even offering financial compensation had not been substantiated and therefore were not used in the body of the report, only in the “annex.” (I would add that today, the only person known to have paid Russians for campaign assistance is Hillary.) Later, when Robert Mueller investigated, he couldn’t substantiate them, either, but that didn’t stop the FBI from using them three more times to renew the warrant to spy on Carter Page.

What I find most interesting about “Annex A” is not so much what’s in it as what is NOT in it. It does not bother to name Christopher Steele. Neither does it identify Fusion GPS as the company that hired him or the Clinton campaign and DNC (same thing) as the clients who were funding him, even though the FBI knew. It merely says “the source collected this information on behalf of private clients.” This is consistent with the wording of that convoluted footnote in the FISA warrant that obscured who the “dossier” clients were.

The date on it –- January 6, 2017 –- is also revealing. This is two days after FBI investigators had recommended that the case against Michael Flynn, one of those purportedly suspected of “colluding” with Russians, be closed for lack of evidence, adding that IT COULD BE RE-OPENED IF EVIDENCE WAS FOUND. (Get the significance?) Interestingly, it’s also one day after the big Oval Office meeting with Obama, Biden, Comey, Brennan and the rest.

With our current knowledge of the FBI’s awareness that the Steele “dossier” was created for Hillary’s campaign, we can see that “Annex A” was their way to maintain that lie as the real deal. It was meant to help accomplish what the RedState article calls “a bureaucratic mafia hit on President Trump.” Quoting the article further: “Obviously, the Steele allegations had significant play in developing the FBI’s position on the IC assessment, as they had used it to obtain a FISA warrant on Carter Page which was a part of the IC assessment, but their first paragraph denies that to be the case. So now that they’ve said they haven’t verified or used it [the “dossier”], they attach all the allegations, which we now know to be utter [expletive], to the assessment and push for this annex to be made public knowing that the Trump administration would never stand the uproar.”

And that’s what they did. The IC assessment is what gave ammunition to CNN, MSNBC, THE NEW YORK TIMES and virtually every other major media outlet except FOX NEWS to scream “Russia, Russia, Russia!” nonstop for the next three years. The timing of the report ensured this would start before Trump was even inaugurated.

Jerry Dunleavy at the WASHINGTON EXAMINER has another excellent piece on this document.

Dunleavy clarifies that part of the annex was declassified in 2018, but the parts having to do with the source’s veracity –- the fact that there was only “limited corroboration” –- are only now being seen. (“Limited corroboration?” How about “no corroboration”?) Running only two pages, it makes out that this Russia “collusion” was serious stuff indeed: “An FBI source using both identified and unidentified sub-sources volunteered highly politically sensitive information from the summer to the fall of 2016 on Russian influence efforts aimed at the U.S. presidential election.” Wow. Basic physics tells us you can’t make something out of nothing, but these people somehow managed to do it with Steele’s report.

Steele is described mysteriously as a “source” who “maintains and collects information from a layered network of identified and unidentified sub-sources.”

Oh, and to lend more credibility to the unnamed Steele, “Annex A” also reports that “the source’s reporting appears to have been acquired by multiple Western press organizations starting in October [2016].” Wow, how could THAT have happened? We know that Steele himself was shopping the “dossier” around and that intel officials were leaking, too. Not to mention some in our own Congress and Senate. Political hacks all.

Read the full story for all the details. One person who increasingly stands out as vindicated is California Rep. Devin Nunes, who put a report together that was at odds with all those who accepted the Intelligence Community Assessment at face value. At the time, his report was shoved under the rug while anti-Trump reporters “trump”-eted the story about the ICA. No doubt they thought that after a few months more of this, they’d be able to take Trump down.

CELEBRATING FLAG DAY

Sunday, June 14th, was Flag Day, which commemorates the date in 1777 when the Second Continental Congress adopted the US flag, with 13 alternating red and white stripes and 13 white stars on a blue background. But if you missed Flag Day, don’t worry: it’s the first day of National Flag Week, so you can feel free to fly your flag all week. In fact, feel free to fly it every day of the year, and don’t let anyone tell you that doing so makes you a racist, fascist, xenophobe or any other word that certain college graduates who can’t even spell those words like to call people.

Mostly, feel free to fly the American flag because it is the symbol of everything that makes you feel free. Although, sadly, these days, simply flying the American flag may be seen as a brave act that will require vigilance.

But then, keeping the American flag flying has always required vigilance against America’s enemies, which is why it’s so appropriate that Flag Day and the birthday of the US Army fall on the same date. June 14th, 1775, was the date when the Continental Congress officially adopted “the American Continental Army.”

And by coincidence (or maybe not), it was also President Donald Trump’s 74th birthday. Trump issued his Flag Day Proclamation, which this year honored the flag, the military and also health care workers for their sacrifices in fighting the coronavirus. Trump said that the flag represents the unity of our country and its people, and the sacrifices made by patriots from generation to generation to preserve our freedoms, and that “today, and every day, I am proud to join my fellow Americans in standing tall and saluting our great American flag.”

Did you ever think a day would come when it would be considered by some to be “controversial” to talk about American unity, honoring previous generations who fought for America, and standing and saluting the flag?

NEW ATLANTA PROTESTS

A new round of violent protests broke out in Atlanta over the weekend, following the police shooting of Rayshard Brooks, a black man who was asleep in his car in a Wendy’s parking lot when police were called to investigate. Body cam video shows that the questioning of Brooks was polite and professional. But after he failed a breathalyzer test (his BAC was nearly .11%, and he didn’t even know what county he was in), they attempted to cuff him and he suddenly began fighting them.

Police say that Brooks grabbed a stun gun from one of the officers and ran, and while chasing him, he turned and pointed something at them, and they fired and killed him. He had reportedly been pointing the stun gun, but the officers say they couldn’t tell that in the dark. In such a situation, police have a split second to decide whether to fire or risk death by hesitating. (Warning: the police video at this link is very disturbing and contains foul language.)

The police chief has already resigned, and an investigation is underway, but that didn’t prevent both peaceful protests and violent rioting. Someone even burned down the Wendy’s, which had nothing to do with it. There’s a $10,000 reward for the arson suspect, who is reportedly a white female, most likely part of the radical left agitators who claim to be seeking justice for black people. Except now the black neighborhood has lost both a business and eating place, and the employees have lost their jobs.

It’s terrible that such a thing happened, and at such a sensitive time. Our prayers for Mr. Brooks and his family (he mentioned having young daughters in the police video, which is heartbreaking) and for justice to prevail. But this is what I warned about recently when I said that the rush to indict the cops in Minnesota due to mob violence was a worrisome trend since a similar situation was bound to arise, but not so clear-cut. Now the mob will demand instant retribution. But a careful, thorough investigation doesn’t just protect the cops’ due process rights. It also protects the integrity of the system and prevents acquittal by sloppy prosecutorial work.

Burning down a Wendy’s is bad enough. Let’s not burn down the entire justice system while we’re at it.

MONOLOGUE FROM SATURDAY'S "HUCKABEE" ON TBN 

(I think this is a very important message, so I want to share it with you in every way that I can, and I hope you will share it, too.)

Maybe the only news you’ve heard this week is bad news about armed Antifa terrorists taking over six blocks of Seattle with the local government standing around with their hands in their pockets. Or the disgusting video of some classless hooligans re-enacting the death of George Floyd by having a guy standing on the neck of another as the funeral procession passed by. Or the sheer stupid stuff such as HBO not airing “Gone With the Wind” anymore because it depicted a dark time in our history when the scourge of slavery still existed. Or taking the children’s TV show “Paw Patrol” off because one of the dogs was a police dog.

But getting less attention is the powerful story of a young white man in of all places, Selma, Alabama, who was randomly targeted as he was out for a run and was shot by a black man who had announced earlier that he was going out to kill some white people. As the young white man was taken into the Emergency Room, he told the medical staff that he hoped that his being shot would not lead to more violence or hate and that he was praying for the person who shot him to find forgiveness and God’s grace. That young man, who I talked to on the phone Wednesday night as he recovered in a Birmingham hospital awaiting another surgery to heal his wounds, showed that the battle in America right now is not political, economic, or racial. It’s spiritual.

There’s even more to the story to reveal that God was working in the midst of an evil, Satanic attack. Two men who happened to be nearby in a pickup truck witnessed the shooting and hurried to assist the victim. One had been given a tourniquet three days before, from a friend who told him he ought to keep it in his truck in case he ever needed it. At the time, he just thought it a strange gift. Three days later, his having it saved a man’s life - a man who would be more concerned about the soul of the one who tried to murder him than for his own life.

Selma didn’t erupt in violence or riots as it had in the 60’s. It erupted in prayer and forgiveness. It was not led by a politician or an activist, but by a man in his 20’s who ironically is adopting a non-white child.

It reminds me of what happened in Charleston, South Carolina, when a crazed white man went to the historic Emmanuel AME church on prayer meeting night and, after being asked to be part of the gathering, took out a gun and murdered nine black people in cold blood as they were in the act of praying for him. Yet riots, mobs or mass violent demonstrations didn’t materialize in Charleston because the people of the church and even the families of those slain said they didn’t want violence but forgiveness and reconciliation. Senator Tim Scott of South Carolina, who lives in Charleston, was on our show to discuss how God intervened to help heal the community. And a daughter of one of the black murder victims was also on our show and described how she came to forgive the evil white man who shot and killed her father. I sat in awe of her as she spoke of God’s grace in her life.

Neither of those stories from Charleston or Selma led to hate-filled mobs burning businesses, looting stores or increased violence. They led to Godly people leading their communities to ask God to intervene with grace and forgiveness. The solution wasn’t a racial re-alignment or “social justice” or economic intervention or political change. It was divine intervention in which healing came from hurt.

I’ve not shared the young man’s name from Selma out of respect for his family and his privacy, but I have his permission to tell his story and to urge people to not be angry or bitter, but to love, forgive, and exemplify the love of Christ.

So if America survives these difficult days, it likely won’t be because of the familiar faces of famous people who lead, but rather because loving, Godly people whose names and faces are not familiar to most of us led us by example. And we should all surrender to being THAT kind of Christian.

TODAY'S MUST-READ

In the past couple of weeks, we’ve seen the results of giving in to the rabid, Twitter-bred “social justice warrior” cancel culture. They have people so terrified of being branded as racist and cast out of society that it’s emboldened them to the fever pitch of medieval witch burners. Sometimes, it seems as if they’re just closing their eyes, throwing a dart, and whatever it hits gets mauled. They’ve attacked everything from statues of prominent abolitionists to the 33-year-old TV show “Cops” and the British sitcom “Fawlty Towers” to “Gone With The Wind” to Hawaiian shirts (yes, Hawaiian shirts.) And as I wrote last week, one of the top SJWs recently targeted Cracker Barrel restaurants, saying that something about the name just “feels racist.”

Well, here’s a story that happened in a Cracker Barrel restaurant. I’m sure that the SJWs won’t like it because it upends every divisive narrative that they’re trying to promote.

I suppose I should point out that this moving story of racial harmony and mutual respect between the police and the citizens did not take place in a big city run for decades by “progressive” Democrats. It took place in Moody, Alabama, so that makes it a lot less surprising to me.

If you’d like to see the fundraising page for the family of the slain police officer whose sacrifice prompted the act of generosity by the black citizen (and maybe to donate), it’s right here:

I have to warn you, though, before you read his obituary, to watch out for shattered pieces of liberal media narratives about evil cops.

THE WORLD ACCORDING TO LEFT-WING NUTJOBS

There’s one thing you can always count on with the left, and that is that when they have a political advantage, they will grab it and run so far with it that they quickly alienate the rest of society, resulting in the pendulum swinging back harder than a wrecking ball. I think we’re already beginning to see signs of that after legitimate protests of the shocking murder of George Floyd (which EVERYONE across the political spectrum condemned) quickly spiraled into lunatic fringe madness: from rioting, looting and assaulting and murdering police officers and demanding that police departments be defunded and dismantled, to “canceling,” shaming and firing anyone who even suggested that not all cops are racist monsters; to panicked corporations showering hundreds of millions of dollars onto far-left organizations, some of which are openly anti-capitalist (so I assume they’ll return the money? No?...)

…and finally degenerating into the ridiculous, like letting communist nutjobs with automatic weapons take over six blocks of Seattle, canceling “Cops” after 32 years on TV (and attacking all other cop shows, even shows as benign as “Paw Patrol”), yanking “Gone With The Wind" from HBO Max, and finally, and possibly the dumbest yet (although I have faith that this can get dumber), the insinuation that Cracker Barrel restaurants are racist and are a throwback to the Jim Crow era.

Not that anyone cares about facts anymore, but: the chain is named after the barrel of crackers that used to be in every general store, which symbolized the place where people would gather to talk and socialize. They existed everywhere, not just in the South (the general store cracker barrel is mentioned in “The Music Man,” which was set in Iowa.)

Finally, and I can’t remind you of this enough, Jim Crow laws were inventions of the Democrats. They started to arise in the 1870s, when Reconstruction ended and Democrats started replacing Republicans in Southern offices. From Wikipedia: “In the 1870s, Democrats gradually regained power in the Southern legislatures, after having used insurgent paramilitary groups, such as the White League and the Red Shirts, to disrupt Republican organizing, run Republican officeholders out of town, and intimidate blacks to suppress their voting. Extensive voter fraud was also used.” No wonder Democrats don’t want your kids to be taught accurate American history!

We all agree that Floyd’s murderers should face justice and that racism cannot be tolerated in any institution, especially policing, where one side has the right to use force against citizens. But hysteria can run rampant only so long before the inevitable backlash arrives, and Americans of all races know crazy when they hear it. They are starting to rouse themselves and say, “Enough is enough,” in a variety of ways. They don’t want free speech limited only to what the most far-left radicals agree with. They don’t want their cities taken over by lawless anarchists. And they know it’s entirely possible to disagree with the political agenda of Black Lives Matter without thinking that black lives don’t matter.

Surveys show that at least 85% of Americans oppose defunding the police (a 2015 Roper poll showed that blacks were twice as likely as whites to want more police in their neighborhoods.) 58 percent support using the military if necessary to stop violent riots and looting (an opinion that the New York Times will not allow into their formerly respectable parrot cage liner.)

An NYPD cop who took a knee at the mob’s demand to try to deescalate the situation now realizes that giving in to the mob only encouraged more violence and lawlessness. He’s written a letter renouncing his “wrong” decision and saying he will be shamed and humiliated about it for the rest of his life. Someone please force the mayor of Seattle to read that letter.

Prof. Walter Jacobson of the Legal Insurrection blog was targeted for “canceling” by Cornell University for criticizing the BLM organization. But instead of donning sackcloth and ashes, he’s forcing them to back down by challenging them to prove in open debate that his posts were in any way racist or inaccurate.

A rising number of commentators are starting to see the danger to their profession of allowing all speech to be censored by the most hysterical partisans around and are beginning to say “no.” As usual, Kurt Schichter was among the first.

NASCAR driver and team owner Ray Ciccarelli says he’s leaving over NASCAR’s decision to ban the Confederate flag. Ciccarelli says he couldn’t care less about the flag himself, but NASCAR shouldn’t be getting political and telling people what flag they’re allowed to wave and “(bleeping) one group to cater to another.”

And as Americans vote with their wallets, not only are gun sales through the roof, but so are DVD sales of “Gone With The Wind.”

As physicist Sir Isaac Newton taught us, for every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction. The left didn’t learn its lesson when it went full-on radical/riot in 1968 and helped elect “law and order” candidate Richard Nixon in a landslide. Now, they’re surprised that an equal and opposite reaction to their national fit of public insanity is already starting to form? They should’ve taken Physics instead of all those useless courses that their overly indulgent parents wasted their money on.

FAKE NEWS FRIDAY

Here’s a Journalism 101 tip for CNN’s Chris Cuomo. If you’re going to try to slam President Trump for “systemic racism” under his economy, don’t use statistics from when Obama was President.

CLEANING OUT THE CAPITOL

Nancy Pelosi is demanding that all Confederate statues be removed from the Capitol and all military bases named after Confederate officers be renamed because they glorify white supremacy. The Republican-led Senate Armed Services Committee voted to rename the bases as well, but President Trump says absolutely not: those bases have become part of a great American military tradition where soldiers were trained who won two World Wars.

I don’t know what the eventual resolution of this will be, but it seems that if they’re determined to scrub away the names of anyone ever associated with the Southern White supremacist movement from taxpayer-paid structures, they might start with all lthe things named after the late Sen. Robert Byrd, a one-time KKK “Exalted Cyclops.”

I know, you’ll say I’m only saying that to stir up trouble because Robert Byrd was a Democrat. News flash: so were all those Confederate generals.

As a reminder that despite what we’re being told by the media gatekeepers, not all black Americans agree with the racially-divisive identity politics of the far left, here are five books by conservative African-American authors that take a very different approach to solving racial inequality in the US.

Part II: JUDGE GLEESON'S ATROCITY OF AN "AMICUS" BRIEF

Yesterday, I critiqued Judge John Gleeson’s “friend of the court” brief in support of Judge Emmet Sullivan’s bizarre refusal to allow Attorney General Bill Barr to drop the case against Michael Flynn.

Now, I am not a lawyer, but since yesterday, other articles have appeared that agree with what I had to say and go on to explain with much more specificity the ridiculousness contained in Gleeson’s brief. One very fine article by Andrea Widburg, an attorney in addition to being an editor at AMERICAN THINKER, goes into great, lawyerly detail, but I can boil down the basic arguments.

Widburg titles her piece “From the First Page, Judge Gleeson’s Brief Against Flynn Is A Travesty” and then goes on to tell exactly why.

Widburg accuses Judge Gleeson of LYING, in part by using “fake citations,” cases that don’t really stand for the principles asserted. This is typical of dishonest attorneys, she says, as they think they can get away with it because it’s not likely anyone will check. She checked. And, wouldn't you know, he lies right out of the gate: “Every one of his 14 citations in footnote 2 is a lie,” she says. “That’s all you need to know about his brief.”

She goes through all the case citations included by Gleeson as he tries lamely to argue that it was normal behavior for a judge to call in a third-party (him) to attack the defendant (Flynn) at the trial court level in a criminal case. The examples he cites deal with appellate courts, not trial-level courts like his. Inviting an “amicus” brief, she says, is “standard practice” at the appellate level, but this case is still at trial, where Sullivan is currently presiding. Also, he cites rules and cases that apply to civil litigation; this is a criminal trial.

Gleeson has also been dishonest about the evidence in the case. Widburg quotes someone on Twitter who found that Gleeson had said of Papadopoulos that he “divulged that Russia contacted the campaign.” Really? This judge hasn’t been keeping up very well with the exculpatory evidence that has emerged in the “Russia” probe.

If you’d like to know more about Judge Gleeson and how he came to be involved in this bizarre case, Paul Mirengoff has a piece in the PowerLine blog that tells all, and in more layman’s terms than Widburg uses.

To understand Judge Gleeson, Mirengoff says, you have to know that he sees himself as more of an advocate than a judge. He is by no means neutral. If he wants a particular outcome, he will wage a personal campaign to make that happen. The Flynn case isn’t the first time he's done it. This piece on him is a very interesting read.

While the Flynn case continues, the Senate Homeland Security Committee, chaired by Ron Johnson, and now the Judiciary Committee, chaired by Lindsay Graham, are now both using subpoena power to call a large number of witnesses involved in “Crossfire Hurricane” and find out what those people knew about the sham “evidence” in the case. Former deputy attorney general Rod Rosenstein has already covered himself with shame by not-so-artfully dodging questions about how much he knew about the problems with the Steele “dossier” when he signed the warrant renewal application to keep spying.

Don't expect much media coverage of this as it's going on, as journalists are feasting on public unrest, left-wing craziness and disgusting racial politics that will intensify as we near the election (and likely afterwards). Lindsay Graham, on HANNITY Thursday night, pointed out that the Mueller investigation received round-the-clock coverage for two-and-a-half years. (I would add that this was followed by the media frenzy over the impeachment hearings.) But I'm telling you, have confidence --- just know that the stunning truth is going to come out anyway.

As Graham tells it, there were a couple of FBI agents who were skeptical of the “dossier” and its origins, and they apparently took the initiative to track down Steele’s Russian sub-source. These two agents were the ones who said it came across to them as not real, more like Russian disinformation. There’s a January memo documenting an interview with this sub-source, “basically shredding the reliability of the ‘dossier.’” Surely one or both of these agents went to Comey, McCabe or some other supervisor to advise them the “dossier” was not verified.

"I find it hard to believe that nobody at the top was told by the professionals in the organization, ‘Our case fell apart,” Graham says. “….I don’t believe McCabe and Comey could have possibly not known that the “dossier” had been rejected by the sub-source. I can’t believe the FBI is that poorly run –- that [in] the most important investigation in 30 years of a sitting President, that NOBODY told the top of the FBI, ‘Oh, by the way, our case fell apart.’”

Graham also vows not to let the lower-level agents who interviewed the sub-source take the blame. We shall see; the reluctance expressed by investigators to look at the actions of those at the VERY top is disheartening, to say the least. After all, this is serious criminal misconduct; by August of 2017, right after Rosenstein signed the final FISA renewal application and was writing Mueller's "scope" memo, there was apparently no evidence against anyone named in that memo --- not one bit.

I’ll leave you with a good suggestion for additional reading: Margot Cleveland’s excellent in-depth analysis of Sullivan’s behavior in the Flynn case and Gleeson’s outrageous “friend of the court” brief. As she puts it, “Gleeson more than gave the longtime federal judge exactly what he wanted: a hit job on Donald Trump that the press could parlay into a new faux scandal.” Highly recommended for when you have some time. This looks like a great weekend to turn off the TV.

DAILY BIBLE VERSE

Behind Closed Doors

June 11, 2020

With so many political leaders rushing to virtue-signal and genuflect to the most radical mobs in ever-more-embarrassing ways (the Minnesota city council voting to defund the police because wanting burglars kept out of your house is an example of "privilege," or Nancy Pelosi and her wealthy white colleagues all dressing in African garb like a Beverly Hills community theater Kwanzaa pageant), Americans might be forgiven for thinking that the leadership class of one of the major parties has gone stark raving nuts. But I’d like to assure you that, at least in some instances, that’s not true. They aren’t all insane. Some of them are just insanely cynical hypocrites who know that what they’re saying in public is nuts, but they’re just afraid to admit it publicly.

To quote Charlie Rich, “But when they get behind closed doors…” (Warning: Bad language at the link.)

Audio has leaked of a private conference call between Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot and all the city’s Alderman in which she and Ald. Raymond Lopez went at each other in a profane exchange over Lightfoot’s dangerously weak response to rioting and looting. Lopez was concerned that the violence and lawlessness would spread from urban into residential areas.

Lopez said, “I’ve got gang bangers with AK-47s walking around right now, just waiting to settle some scores. What are we going to do and what do we tell our residents other than ‘good faith people stand up’? It’s not going to be enough.”

Lightfoot tried to ignore Lopez’s question, then attacked him personally for asking it, but it’s obvious from the results in the streets that he was right, and I assume she knew it. May 31 was later revealed to be the deadliest day in Chicago in 60 years, with 18 people killed in 24 hours (by comparison, in Chicago’s notorious St. Valentine’s Day Massacre of 1929, only seven men were murdered.) The 18 black lives that were lost, including dads, college students and a high school girl, mattered a great deal to their loved ones, and they should matter to civic leaders whose #1 priority is to ensure public safety.

In the interest of full disclosure, I will note that the St. Valentine’s Day Massacre did take place under a Republican Mayor. He was, in fact, the last Republican Mayor of Chicago. He left office in 1931, and the city has been run entirely by Democrats ever since. But Chicago's violence, corruption and racism are, of course, all Trump’s fault.

Speaking of Chicago, did you really think that Jussie Smollett wouldn’t try to use the current war on cops to wiggle out of his six felony charges for lying to authorities and faking a hate crime?

We’ve all been waiting for Judge John Gleeson’s amicus brief on the Michael Flynn case, and it finally dropped on Wednesday. Sure enough, this “friend of the court” is no friend of Flynn, or apparently of justice being served in this case.

Recall that Judge Emmet Sullivan personally asked Gleeson to write it; this was just a couple of days after the op-ed Gleeson had co-authored on the subject that happened to appear in the WASHINGTON POST. Entitled “The Flynn case is over when the judge says it’s over,” this commentary told us all we needed to know about where Gleeson was going to stand and why the judge chose him to write the brief.

"The record reeks of improper political influence,” Gleeson stated on May 11, without even bothering to make that case. In fact, as I said weeks ago after reading the piece, he might as well have just made a copy of that and filed it as his amicus brief. That’s pretty much what he did, except the brief is a LOT more of the same.

If you have the time and inclination to read this 80-page pile of nonsense, here’s a pdf of the brief filed by Judge Gleeson.

Gleeson asserts in his brief that the DOJ’s decision to drop the Flynn case is “a gross abuse of prosecutorial power’ and, unbelievably, accuses them of “attempting to provide special treatment to a favored friend and political ally of the President of the United States.” This is such a politicized and wrongheaded piece of bilge, it’s hard to even know where to start.

Byron York, speaking with Martha MacCallum Wednesday evening, pointed out that it’s the “sole responsibility” of the Department of Justice to withdraw charges if it so chooses. It is NOT within the judge’s authority to deny that.

I'll add this: We've seen before that judges who don’t like the President can’t seem to help attributing the worst motives to everything he or his administration does, and this case is one more example. They just make it up and go with that. Where does Judge Gleeson get off with this “special treatment” garbage? President Trump has stood back and let the wheels of so-called justice turn ever-so-slowly while his “favored friend and political ally” was financially and professionally ruined. If that’s “special treatment,” I sure wouldn’t want it. The attorney general has solid motives for wanting to drop this case, ample reason to be troubled by what he has seen in the prosecution –- and persecution –- of General Flynn. Gleeson’s brief does not speculate about these, even though he has no trouble speculating about the President’s motives.

Gleeson makes three arguments: 1) that Sullivan’s court has the authority to deny the AG’s motion to dismiss, 2) that it SHOULD deny the AG’s motion to dismiss, and 3) that in sentencing Flynn, the court should “consider the defendant’s perjury,” a reference to his earlier guilty plea. Unbelievable.

To make this argument, Gleeson must maintain that the predicate for investigating Flynn was sound. As explained well in a piece at TheConservativeTreehouse.com, he has to defend not only the origins of “Spygate” but also everything else that stemmed from that. How does he do that when so much that has presumably been learned about it by U.S. Attorney John Durham is still under wraps?

"When you read the brief,” this article says, “if does make you wonder if Gleeson might be attempting to frame the current Flynn argument from the perspective of justifying the total Spygate operation. This approach would be of benefit to the corrupt DOJ and FBI small group who are viewed to have purposefully weaponized their agencies for political intents.”

To counter this, the DOJ might have to open up about why the predicate for the investigation of Flynn is invalid. After all, that’s what the DOJ is claiming in its decision to drop the case. If the investigation was corrupt, then the questioning of Flynn on January 24, 2017, was “materially and fundamentally flawed.” I would add that this is especially true considering FBI investigators recommended closing the case on January 4.

In suggesting that Flynn perjured himself by reversing his guilty plea, Judge Gleeson conveniently avoids the claim that Flynn's plea was coerced. He’s saying Flynn should be punished for lying about a crime he was coerced to plead guilty to. “Flynn has indeed committed perjury in these proceedings,” Judge Gleeson says, “for which he deserves punishment, and the Court has the authority to initiate a prosecution for that crime.”

Oh, but Judge Gleeson doesn’t say that Judge Sullivan should go THAT far, even though he could. Gleeson magnanimously recommends that Sullivan merely “take Flynn’s perjury into account in sentencing him on the offense to which he has already admitted guilt.” Perhaps the thinking is that this is a good way to justify prison for Flynn, which goads President Trump into pardoning him. Flynn, once again, is collateral damage in the effort to hurt Trump politically.

An article at RedState makes some strong additional points.

For one thing, it points out that Gleeson’s brief cites media reports --- which “are sourced to anonymous government officials, which we now know were former Obama administration officials who fed the entire false fantasy “Trump-Russian” collusion argument to gullible and willing anti-Trump media for the past nearly four years.”

Also, it notes that the IG report Gleeson used in his brief was necessarily limited, as “there is NO DOUBT that DOJ has more information available to it than the information reported in the IG report that Gleeson relies on.” In other words, Barr knows a lot more about this case than Gleeson does.

Gleeson also relies on that Intelligence Community Assessment from January 2017, which, as the RedState article says, “reached certain ‘conclusions’ that have been determined to not have been factually accurate.” As an example I would add that John Brennan argued strongly in favor of including the fictitious Steele “dossier” in that report and was able to get a summary in.

The RedState article goes into legal precedent as well, noting language from the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals that Judge Gleeson conveniently left out when he cited the case the U.S. v. Hamm: “As the district judge acknowledged, the prosecutor is the first and presumptively the best judge of where the public interest lies. The trial judge cannot simply substitute his judgment for that of the prosecutor.”

And this, from the same ruling: “...[T]his is a case in which the Government...decided that it would best serve the public interest to dismiss the indictments against the appellants. Neither this court on appeal nor the trial court may properly reassess the prosecutor’s evaluation of the public interest.” In other words, it’s Barr’s call.

Perhaps Gleeson’s insane, politically-charged argument won’t matter except to show the world even more of what is going on in Judge Sullivan’s kangaroo court. The case now goes to the D.C. Court of Appeals, and oral arguments are set for this Friday.

NFL Guilt

June 11, 2020

Last week, NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell joined in the rush to take a knee by declaring that "we were wrong for not listening to NFL players earlier” when they enraged many fans by kneeling during the National Anthem. He said he would be "reaching out" to players who have "raised their voices," and the NFL will "encourage all to speak out and peacefully protest...Without black players, there would be no National Football League and the protests around the country are emblematic of the centuries of silence, inequality, and oppression of black players, coaches, fans, and staff."

Predictably, that was not good enough for the Rev. Al Sharpton, who is turning his funeral eulogies for George Floyd into political attacks on President Trump, and in Houston, into a demand that the NFL rehire quarterback Colin Kaepernick. This conveniently overlooks the fact that Kaepernick has had multiple opportunities to play and blown them with his own behavior. Last year, he was given an unprecedented private tryout for all 32 NFL teams, on a Saturday when the teams are normally busy preparing for games. But after the scouts showed up, Kaepernick moved it to another venue on 30 minutes’ notice. He also spoke to the XFL and AAF, but demanded a guaranteed paycheck 80 times larger than their normal salaries.

I’d be interested to hear if Goodell is equally apologetic about the league’s oppression of players who wanted to express their deep feelings about other issues, like the ban on the Cowboys wearing stickers honoring five Dallas Police officers who were murdered by a sniper during a protest of the treatment of blacks by police in Louisiana and (again) Minneapolis. Five Dallas cops died and nine others were injured as they heroically tried to protect the lives of the people who came to denounce them. But that doesn’t fit the current media narrative, so I’ll note that the NFL has also banned expressions of support for a number of other causes, including religion, mental health, and fighting domestic violence and breast cancer. That’s because they all violate the league’s ban on using uniforms to convey any unapproved messages on game day:

This stems from the original concept that’s gotten lost in all the fury and finger-pointing: when players are in the stadium, they’re in their workplace, representing their employers. Contrary to claims, Kaepernick never had his First Amendment rights taken away. That only prevents the government from censoring you. He was free to speak out on any subject on his own time, on radio, TV or a soapbox in the park. But he wasn’t allowed to stage divisive political protests that alienated customers while he was at work.

If the NFL is forced to take back Kaepernick, then does that rule apply everywhere now? Say you work at a car dealership, and you have some controversial opinions on social issues that you’re so passionate about, you feel you must force customers to listen to them before they can test drive a car, or make your colleagues sit through them every time they come into work. So now, you no longer have to worry about being sent to HR or fired with cause, you can just keep on doing it? How long do you think that dealership will remain in business?

Allowing these divisive protests in a place where fans traditionally came to escape from politics, put aside differences and root for their teams cratered NFL TV ratings. In the past few seasons, ratings have crept up again, largely because of the divisive politics finally receding. Goodell now wants to bring it all back with a vengeance.

This brings up another question, asked countless times by former NFL fans: How has Roger Goodell kept his job? He normally makes about $40 million a year; although during the pandemic shutdown, he agreed to reduce his salary to zero, and many of us think he’s finally being paid what he’s worth. His admitted wrong decisions (which he’s now been on both sides of) have cost the league billions, driven away fans and seriously harmed its reputation. He even admits he was in charge during years of “oppression of black players, coaches, fans and staff." If you did that to your employer’s business, would you still be employed?

Several prominent business leaders, such as the CEO of the Second City comedy troupe, have found themselves so wracked with white guilt that they’ve resigned their own jobs so they can be replaced by a black applicant. In that spirit, Goodell should step down to be replaced by a black former NFL player.

I nominate Burgess Owens.

The America I Love

June 11, 2020

Right now, the media are dominated by voices claiming that America is a land of racism and hatred, built on oppression and slavery and white supremacy. Well, pardon my language, but they are full of bull flop. There are a handful of bad apples, but it’s a very big barrel, and if we really were to do as the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. dreamed and judge each other by the content of our characters rather than the color of our skin, I bet we’d mostly find a lot of good, caring people of every shade. If you don’t believe me, turn off all the hyperventilating hate merchants for a moment and look at this story:

Last Thursday, there was a car crash in Indianapolis, and a woman was trapped under an overturned van. Nearby resident Laurie Collins reported on Facebook that she heard the crash and ran to the scene. She said that suddenly, many people “came out of nowhere” to help. Some comforted and reassured the woman and tried to assess her condition while the others determined to lift the van off her somehow. They gathered around, called out, “1...2…3!” But they couldn’t move it. So more guys joined in, and the second time, they did the seemingly impossible: they lifted the van and pushed it off of her.

As you can tell from the photo, and from Collins’ description, there were “all kinds of different people and they were all trying to help together.” Please note that the people who rushed to help were men and women, and all different races. I’m sure many of them didn’t know the race of the victim, and couldn’t care less. When they heard someone was in need, and rushed in, joined together, and all lifted in the same direction to help.

That is the America I love and the American people I know. No matter how many buildings are set on fire or statues are vandalized or phony history books are forced onto students, you will never convince me otherwise.

Digital Biden

June 11, 2020

I joked recently that the Democrats’ best strategy for getting Joe Biden to November without him ever having to come out of his basement to answer questions live in front of a crowd or (shudder!) debate Trump would be to take a cue from the old TV show, “Max Headroom.” Just create a “virtual candidate” who only appears on TV screens and let political consultants feed him things to say. Well, I’ve got to stop giving them ideas because that seems to be exactly what they’re planning to do.

Fox News obtained a leaked video conference of top Biden surrogate Terry McAuliffe telling Virginia Democrats, "People say all the time, 'Oh, we got to get the vice president out of the basement. He's fine in the basement. Two people see him a day: his two body people. That's it. Let Trump keep doing what Trump's doing."

(If he does have to come out of the basement to debate Trump, I predict he’ll wear a face mask so we can’t tell that his lips don’t match the words being dubbed in long-distance by a Joe Biden impersonator at the DNC.)

McAuliffe went on to say that they’re concentrating on “building the digital,” i.e., building up social media messaging and online ads. I assume they’re also relying on traditional news media to keep attacking everything Trump says and does while promoting Biden and ignoring his Max Headroom-like brain gl-gl-gl-glitches, to provide the Democrats with billions of dollars’ worth of free in-kind campaign contributions.

Question: If Biden does win, will he also make his inaugural speech from a TV monitor, or will they have developed a hologram of him by then? Oops, sorry! Didn’t mean to give them any more ideas!

While Americans around the nation, including in Chicago, were protesting the death of George Floyd and demanding the recognition of Black Lives Matter, it has been barely remarked upon for a week that Sunday, May 31st, was the most violent day in Chicago in 60 years. In that 24-hour period, 18 people were killed, including a high school student, college students with big dreams for the future, a hardworking father of two shot from a car driving by, and a father of three who was on his way to pay his phone bill when he was fatally shot.

From Friday evening through Sunday at 11 p.m., 25 people were killed and 85 wounded by gunfire. Most of the victims were black. This article tells more about them, and the heartbreaking loss of their lives for no reason whatsoever. They weren’t victims of cops but of an entrenched system that’s allowed poverty and violence to fester for decades as the violent death toll continues to mount. Don’t their lives matter, too? If there must be systemic change so their loss won’t be in vain, then stop the blame-shifting and political games, and change the system that actually led to their deaths.

In a wide-ranging interview with FOX NEWS’ Bret Baier, Attorney General Bill Barr offered an update on the criminal investigation into allegations of FISA fraud and other abuses of power on the part of the FBI. I joined Judge Jeanine Pirro on Sean Hannity’s TV show Tuesday night to discuss it, as well as the escalating anti-police rhetoric that dominated Tuesday’s news.

The portion of Barr’s interview dealing with the Durham investigation is in this segment.

Incidentally, the Barr interview comes on the heels of a huge uptick in Senate inquiries on the subject of FBI misconduct, by both the Judiciary and Homeland Security Committees, as I reported in this previous commentary, in case you didn’t see it. Sen. Lindsay Graham and Sen. Ron Johnson, who chair these two committees, will finally be using subpoena power; Johnson has a long list of documents to examine and witnesses he intends to call. As I reported, Graham has been hitting some resistance from the FBI to his request to interview “Case Agent 1,” identified as Stephen Somma. Somma played a pivotal role in the set-up to spy on Trump campaign associate Carter Page.

Anyway, in his interview with Baier, AG Barr made it clear –- in his calm, understated manner –- that he sees the investigation into the Trump campaign as “very aggressive” considering the “very thin, slender reed” that was the basis for undertaking it.

"It seemed that the Bureau was sort of spring-loaded at the end of July to drive in there and investigate a campaign,” he said, “and there really wasn’t much there to do that on. And that became more and more evident as they went by but they seem to have ignored all the exculpatory evidence that was building up and continue pell-mell to push it forward.”

I would add that “Case Agent 1” appears to be the lower-level person who was making that happen in the beginning by choosing the information that would --- or wouldn't --- go into the FISA warrant application against Page. Was he taking this initiative on his own, or was he given direction from higher-ups on the “7th Floor”?

Barr was also concerned that after the election, they went “right back at it,” even though the Steele dossier, the main evidence being used, “was falling apart.” They were even making it public that they were investigating Trump when it was “painfully obvious” that “there was nothing there.” He said in the interview that he was “very troubled” by what had been called to his attention, though he wouldn’t characterize it further than that. Getting into specifics would obviously be premature. But in general, he was blunt.

"Here’s the thing," he told Baier. "For the first time in American history, police organizations and the national security organizations were used to spy on a campaign, and there was no basis for it. The media largely drove that, and there were all kinds of sensational claims...being made about the President that could have affected the election. Later on, in his administration, there were actions taken that really appear to be efforts to sabotage...” He said if people wanted to accuse of him of being politicized for looking at this, then “so be it,” because “that’s the job of the attorney general.”

Judge Jeanine highlighted one particular comment made by Barr that might not get the attention it deserves, given all the necessary focus right now on our suffering cities and the attacks on police departments. But it should offer at least some reassurance to my more pessimistic readers who don’t expect anything to ever come of all this investigating in terms of criminal referrals. Barr said (paraphrasing) that the wheels of justice have been described as turning very slowly, and they do, but don’t think that means people are going to get away with it.

"This isn’t being driven by producing a report,” Barr said in the interview. “We’re trying to get to a point where we can hold accountable anyone who crossed the line and committed a criminal violation.” He said there will also be some form of report, though, to provide “public disclosure” of what happened. If certain people were involved whose prosecution might be seen as too political for him to touch --- you know who I mean --- I would hope the report will tell the world the COMPLETE narrative, citing every last bit of evidence against every last person implicated.

In my own comment to Sean, I went back to something said in a previous segment of his show to make a point about the FBI. The implication had been made that a person in poverty is more likely to be engaged in crime. As someone who grew up poor, I have to take exception with that. I made the point that all these officials at the FBI that Barr is looking at now are NOT poor and NOT poorly educated. It’s not a “money problem”; it’s a moral problem. Poor people are not predisposed towards crime just because they’re poor. I saw that comment as a slam on poor people, many of whom are scrupulously honest. I will add here that I’d put such people up against the likes of Comey, Rosenstein and McCabe any day.

Moving on...Most of the media failed to cover the "FBI" portion of Barr’s interview, choosing instead to focus on, say, discrepancies between his account of what happened in clearing Lafayette Square and what some reporters have said took place. (I’d link to some of these, but your head might explode.) That way, they didn’t have to cover what he said about the FBI at all.

Is it any wonder that MSNBC hired Lisa Page as an on-camera legal analyst?

A More Perfect Union

June 10, 2020

The radical elements that have hijacked the recent protests, and those in power who are supporting/trying to placate them, are no longer even pretending that this is about the killing of George Floyd or reforming police procedures. They hate America and want to go back to our very beginnings, destroy everything that was ever revered, and rewrite our history, “1619 Project” style, into a litany of evils with no positives, progress or heroes allowed to be mentioned.

What better illustrations of that could there be than protesters targeting California homeowners for arson simply for flying American flags…

Or vandalizing, setting on fire, then tearing down a statue of Christopher Columbus in Richmond, Virginia, and throwing it into a lake, while carrying signs reading, “This land is Powhatan land” and “Columbus represents genocide”? I wonder how many of them have signed over the deeds to their homes to the Powhatan tribe?

The greatness of America has never been that it was perfect from the start, but that the Founders created an unprecedented system in which power derived from the consent of the governed, and every citizen has God-given rights that cannot be taken away by government. They created a Constitution designed to “form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity.”

Note that it doesn’t say everything is perfect, but that we are trying to “form a more perfect union.” They knew that human nature being what it was, there would always be problems and injustices, but they bequeathed to us the tools to keep making things better. We even fought a bloody Civil War to end one of those injustices. But racism remained, so we fought on to desegregation and the Civil Rights Act and other efforts to “form a more perfect union.” We didn’t always take the right steps, but Americans of good faith have worked together to keep us heading in the right direction, and we have come a long, long way.

Now, we’re under assault by a small, hateful minority who want us to throw away centuries of progress. To do that, they have to convince us that there has been no progress, that America has always been totally evil and still is. That we were born in sin, and there has been no attempt at atonement and no redemption possible. Don’t listen to that, and don’t be afraid to call it what it is: a poisonous lie.

We may never have a “perfect union,” because perfection doesn’t exist on this Earth. We must always keep working to “form a more perfect union,” that is, one that moves ever closer to the goal. But we will never get closer to perfection by attacking each other and tearing down our own history. What the proponents of that path want is anarchy, and they make no secret of it.

If there are injustices that need to be remedied, then Americans must do what we have always done: we’ll listen, we’ll debate, we’ll compromise, and we will work to fix the problems TOGETHER. But we’ll never get closer to the goal if we let our enemies panic us into running in the opposite direction.

In the latest attempts to scrub our cultural history of anything that upsets current PC sensitivities, it was announced that in a reboot of “Looney Tunes” (perfect timing for that!), famed hunter Elmer Fudd will no longer carry a shotgun.

Will he use a bow and arrow, like Ted Nugent? He’ll have to be quite an archer to hunt ducks and rabbits that way. I’d strongly advise him not to order any duck or rabbit traps from the Acme Company. Oh wait: Warner Brothers released a preview clip showing him running after Bugs Bunny with a scythe. A scythe?! How is that less violent than a shotgun? Besides, what kind of message is it for kids to show someone running while carrying a sharp instrument? It’s not safe!

Also, the HBO Max streaming service has yanked “Gone With The Wind” until they can add “a discussion of its historical context and a denouncement” of its sympathetic depiction of the Old South. I guess this is for viewers who need a reminder that (A.) the movie was made in 1939 and based on a book by a Southerner, Margaret Mitchell; (B.) Scarlett O’Hara was personally biased toward the South; or (C.) slavery was bad.

In its nearly four-hour length, “GWTW” covers a lot of territory, and it’s not all sympathetic to the Old South (its hero, Rhett Butler, is shunned for telling the Southerners that they’re suffering from “dreams of victory” and have nothing but “cotton, slaves and arrogance;” and it doesn’t spare us the carnage, waste and suffering caused by that ill-founded decision.) It also makes a number of points about all sorts of human dilemmas unrelated to its specific era, from personal relationships to moral decisions and their consequences.

One scene particularly resonates now: As Sherman is starting to burn Atlanta, Scarlett mocks the retreating Confederate army. Rhett replies, “I wouldn't be in such a hurry to see them go, if I were you, my dear. With them goes the last semblance of law and order.” Immediately thereafter, criminals start rampaging through the streets.

All the liberals demanding that we defund the police should have to watch that scene a few hundred times.

What A Spectacle

June 9, 2020

Monday, the US House was the site of one of Washington’s rare instances of the fabled “shameless pander/blatant blame shift/embarrassing cultural appropriation,” the political equivalent of pulling off Rodney Dangerfield’s Triple Lindy high dive from “Back To School.” Nancy Pelosi and her Democratic colleagues donned African-inspired kente cloths, kneeled for nine minutes in memory of George Floyd, then introduced a hastily-written bill called the “Justice in Policing Act,” which they claim will “hold law enforcement accountable in court, improve transparency through data collection, and reform police training and policies.”

That’s all well and good, and I’d certainly be willing to hear any suggestions for improving police practices and efficiency, and reducing racism, conflict, and distrust. But pardon me if I can't quite keep a straight face while sniffing so much election-year pandering and insincere opportunism in the air.

The subtext of all this is to signal to black voters that they must once again turn out and line up to put Democrats in charge because only they will take action to correct all this perceived police racism and corruption. But as the linked story points out, all the worst such problems are in blue-state cities – Minneapolis, Baltimore, New York City, etc. - that have been run entirely by Democrats for decades. If these places are hotbeds of systemic racism, then guess who built the systems.

Also worth mentioning: while they try to blame President Trump as if racism were invented during the three years he’s been in office, we had violent race riots stemming from the deaths of black people during police confrontations in Ferguson and Baltimore while Obama and Biden were in office. Biden now joins in with the critics of police in denouncing a 1994 tough-on-crime bill that until recently, he was bragging about having co-authored. So his campaign pitch is that we must elect Democrats to fix the terrible problems that arose and festered for years under Democratic rule, including his own.

And what if we did give them that much power? From 2009 to 2011, we had a black Democrat President, a Vice-President who’s now running for President on the urgent need for police reform, and solid Democratic majorities in both Houses of Congress. What did they do about any issues related to police reform or race relations? Nothing whatsoever. It took Donald Trump to finally press for and sign the prison sentencing reform bill, the First Step Act.

Monday’s spectacle was an entertaining piece of political theater at a time when real theaters were shut down, so we couldn’t see “The Lion King,” that other example of African culture being appropriated for a cartoonish spectacle. And it didn’t go unnoticed by some African-Americans…

But if black voters really think that these are the people they can trust to keep their neighborhoods safe and clean up corruption in the very places where they’ve already been in charge longer than the Millennial protesters have been alive, then another cartoon analogy is more appropriate:

Lucy making big promises that this time will be different, then yanking away the football and leaving Charlie Brown flat on his back for the umpteenth time.

The idea of defunding and dismantling police departments, as approved by Minneapolis’s far-left city council, is so “stand-on-you-head-in-a-toilet” crazy that not even Joe Biden, who endorsed the Green New Deal and chose AOC as a “campaign adviser,” will get behind it. His spokesman said Biden does not support defunding the police, but he “supports the urgent need for reform,” which includes “funding for public schools, summer programs, and mental health and substance abuse treatment separate from funding for policing — so that officers can focus on the job of policing.” So funding for police and for everything else. That’s a pretty standard Democratic position.

And since Nancy Pelosi, Chuck Schumer, Kamala Harris, and other Congressional Democrats are dodging the question like mad, I think we can safely assume they won’t back it, either, they’re just terrified to say so.

Not surprisingly, President Trump gives a firm “no” to the idea of defunding the police. In a meeting Monday with law enforcement leaders to discuss reforms, Trump said he believes there have been instances of racism, but that most cops are “good people.” He said what happened with George Floyd and other such incidents “should never have happened,” and we need to “talk about ideas, how we can do it better and how we can do (policing), if possible, in a much more gentle fashion” (that might require a summit meeting with America’s criminals to get their cooperation.) But he said there will be no defunding of the police on his watch.

And memo to the Minneapolis city council: your attempt to pander went so far overboard that even the president of the NAACP is signaling you to reel it back since he also won’t support defunding the police.

I’d point out this article contains an assertion (“the ‘defund the police’ movement that has gained momentum in recent days”) that I refute. It’s gained publicity, but not momentum. This has been a goal of the radical Antifa crowd for years. They’d love to be able to set fires, smash property and assault, threaten and intimidate people with no consequences, so of course, their goal is to demonize and eliminate the police. They don’t care about George Floyd or racism any more than they care about the black people harmed by their rioting and looting; they just saw this as a convenient trigger to launch their long-planned revolution. But most Americans are smart enough to know “crazy” when they hear it.

I’ll bet if you asked most of the people in the neighborhoods where the rioting took place, they wouldn’t want to do away with the police, either. Who would protect them the next time the rioters turn out to “help” them?

Minnesota Morons

June 9, 2020

A 75% majority of the Minneapolis City Council wants to dismantle the city’s police department - not "reform," but dismantle -- a move so insane that even the far-left mayor opposes it. But the council has the votes to override his veto.

Seems like a better solution would be for all the far-left city officials who’ve had a one-party lock on power for over half a century, and created what they admit is a corrupt, racist system, to resign en masse and let someone competent take over. But instead, they want to dismantle the police department amid widespread rioting, vandalism and looting, which is like dealing with wildfires by dismantling the fire department. It's official: Rose Nyland of "The Golden Girls" is no longer the dumbest person ever to come out of Minnesota. At least Rose was smart enough to move to Florida, and I bet a lot of Minneapolis residents will follow her lead.

If you live in Minneapolis, you might want to consider getting out while the getting is good, before you have burglars breaking down your door, and you call the city for help and get a lecture about your “privilege” – I guess in owning something the poor burglar doesn’t own. But with these morons in charge, he soon will. Does that "privilege" claim also apply to black homeowners who are burglarized by white criminals?

Please note, that comment about the desire for the cops to remove burglars from your house coming from a place of "privilege" is not a joke. It's an actual quote from the city council president. But at least she admits it will take years before the utopian "police-free future" arrives and police are no longer necessary. Liberals just have to find a way to perfect human nature and rid it of sin by throwing enough tax money at it.

It’s understandable, considering the level of threats, slander and vitriol being hurled, but still disappointing to see so many people folding and groveling for saying things that we should all agree with, but that far-left radical activists have declared to be double-plus ungood wrongthink. It is entirely possible to condemn racism and want reform of police corruption (particularly in long-time one-party Democratic cities/states, where the racism and corruption have been deeply entrenched for up to half a century, even though they blame it on Donald Trump) and still oppose rioting, looting, vandalism, violence and threatening, racially-divisive, anti-American rhetoric. This is the time for the silent majority to stop being silent and speak up for racial unity, not race war. Don’t wait until November to make yourselves heard, although I expect there will be quite a roar unleashed at the ballot box

There were a number of sobering opinion pieces this weekend, warning that the attempted purges we’re seeing now, including the push to do away with police, aided and abetted by powerful political and media/social media forces, are not an honest reaction to the murder of George Floyd but long-planned actions of radical elements exploiting Floyd’s killing as a fuse for the bomb they’ve spent years building.

Here’s Roger L. Simon on the Mao-ing of America

The difference between the ‘60s radical rioters and today’s

And a timely message to celebrities who are knuckling under to criticism of comments that were not really offensive…

Here’s a quote from the third article

“The left has graduated to literal struggle sessions. They are intent on forcing us all, through shame and abuse, to bow to an ideology that is demonstrably toxic and divisive instead of allowing us to pursue, of our own free will, a common-humanity politics that will actually lead to a more just society. If you are a creative, don't bend. Don't apologize to these people -- ever. Because they will never be satisfied. As soon as you show your belly, they will continue to harass you for every tiny imperfection they can perceive. And you don't deserve that. Hardly anyone does.”

They Hurt Themselves

June 9, 2020

As always happens after a bender, the leaders of blue cities who allowed rioters and looters to “vent” are waking up with a big headache and realizing just how much longterm damage has been inflicted – in this case, on the very people the protesters claimed to be championing.

After previous riots in cities like Watts and Detroit, the damage to the economy and quality of life lingered on for years, even decades. Once again, the victims taking the brunt of it are the law-abiding black residents of the neighborhoods that were trashed, burned and looted. They lost friends and family members killed and injured while trying to defend the businesses they’d spent their lives building, lost their homes, and lost jobs they needed in order to take care of their families.

And now comes the secondary pain: the stores that were burned and looted closed, many, possibly for good. The residents depended on those stores for food, medicine, clothing, and other necessities. Now, they’ll have to travel long distances for basic needs. Liberals used to decry what they called “food deserts.” President Trump promoted tax breaks and other incentives to get businesses into these neighborhoods to provide goods, jobs, and services. Now, liberals, in the name of “helping” those communities, are driving the businesses out, leaving the mayors to plead with them not to leave for good.

It’s going to take a lot of convincing to get businesses to stay after this. It will require a leader who knows how to talk to business people, who understands their needs and has experience negotiating deals that will entice reluctant investors to sign. If only someone like that were running for President in 2020!

Yesterday, I observed that FBI Director Christopher Wray appears to be stonewalling Lindsay Graham, chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, because Graham has said he was being “denied access” to a couple of key lower-level witnesses at the FBI.
Today, the WASHINGTON EXAMINER has a story about an individual who is almost certainly one of the officials Graham wants to talk to, the one identified by THE NEW YORK TIMES as “Case Agent 1” in Inspector General Michael Horowitz’s report.
Stephen Somma, a counterintelligence investigator in the FBI's New York field office, was cited by Inspector General Michael Horowitz in his report on the investigation into alleged FISA abuses.
We already knew Horowitz had found “17 significant inaccuracies and omissions” in the FISA application to spy on Carter Page. According to Horowitz, Somma was the person “primarily responsible” for some of the most significant of these problems. Horowitz wrote that Somma and “an unnamed staff operations specialist” were the original members of the FBI team who had responsibility for investigating Carter Page.  (This is likely the other person Graham is being prevented from talking to.)
Recall that before the “dossier” was used as evidence (“evidence”), there was a previous attempt to get a FISA warrant to spy on Page that was turned down by the judges. Somma was apparently involved in that first unsuccessful try; he was told in August of 2016 that he “had not yet presented enough information to support a FISA application targeting Carter Page.”
So, what to do? It was Somma’s use of the fictional “dossier” that made all the difference. As the WASHINGTON EXAMINER reports, Somma told investigators for Horowitz “that the team’s receipt of the reporting from Steele [in September] supplied missing information in terms of what Page may have been doing during his July 2016 visit to Moscow and provided enough information on Page’s recent activities that [Somma] thought would satisfy the Office of Intelligence.”
In order to establish probable cause to believe that Page was the agent of a foreign power, Somma “drew almost entirely from Steele’s reporting,” wrote Horowitz. (In other words, former FBI Director James Comey was lying when he said the “dossier” was just a part of the total “mosaic” of information they had. That piece of unverified garbage was pretty much it.) The summary that Somma put together also left out exculpatory information on Page. He later explained to the IG that Page’s work with the CIA in Moscow, between 2004 and 2007, were “outside scope” (!) so he did not include them in the FISA application. But Page had actually supplied the CIA with information as recently as 2013, and this fact wasn’t included, either.
Somma also left out the part about Stefan Halper, the confidential human source who recorded Page in October 2016 --- BEFORE the application for a warrant to spy on Page was filed, let alone granted. Exculpatory material from that recording that was left out included Page’s denial of meeting with the Russians mentioned in Steele’s “dossier,” denying any knowledge of WikiLeaks as pertaining to the hacked/leaked DNC emails, and also denying any role in the GOP platform that might have related to Russia. NONE of this made it into the FISA application. And after all the trouble they’d gone to, spying on Page, recording him and all that.
I guess Halper didn’t need any warrant to record Page, because their meeting was set up in a foreign country to enable this. How conveeeenient.
Unbelievably, Horowitz said in his report that he didn’t have enough information to determine if the problems were due to “sheer gross incompetence,” “intentional misconduct,” or “anything in between.” Even though he found Somma’s explanations for “so many significant and repeated failures” to be unsatisfactory, he didn’t find that Somma or his immediate supervisors were politically biased.
Wow, what does it take to show political bias at the FBI?  Walking around the office wearing an "I'M WITH HER" button?
There’s an intriguing connection between Somma and Halper that involves Cambridge Intelligence Seminars, gatherings arranged by Halper and Sir Richard Dearlove, a former director of MI6. (As it happens, Michael Flynn was also invited to one of these events, where he was introduced to Svetlana Lokhova, the woman with whom he was later incorrectly rumored to be having an affair; you can read all about this in Lee Smith’s book, THE PLOT AGAINST THE PRESIDENT.)  Somma was a speaker at one of these events, in November 2011, where he gave a talk on “The FBI and Russia Illegals 2010.”
Halper was a contract employee with the Pentagon’s Department of Net Assessment, supposedly writing some reports for them, but his scope of activities has been hard to nail down. Sen. Chuck Grassley, chairman of the Senate Finance Committee, has been trying to find out if any of the Pentagon’s funds used to pay Halper were actually used for his spying on Trump associates. If so, there’s your tax money at work!
Of course, there’s also former FBI lawyer Kevin Clinesmith, who is the one person known at this time to be under criminal investigation for his work in Crossfire Hurricane. He’s alleged to have altered a document to make it look as though Carter Page did NOT serve as an informant for our government, when he actually DID. Clinesmith and Somma appear to have both worked in different ways to keep that information under wraps. Sen. Graham would no doubt love to ask Somma whether or not there was any coordination with Clinesmith.
In early February, Sen. Graham sent a letter requesting interviews with 17 FBI and DOJ officials as part of his investigation into FISA abuse.
I assume the brick wall Graham hit regarding “Case Agent 1” is in response to this request four months ago. In fact, “Case Agent 1” (Somma) is on the request list for witnesses. The letter was sent to Attorney General Barr. So, did Barr just pass the letter on to Wray, or is Barr himself playing a part in the stonewalling? And if Barr is doing this, is it perhaps because of Durham's ongoing criminal investigation?
We’ll be getting answers soon. Sen. Ron Johnson, chairman of the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, has just obtained subpoena power and has an extremely extensive list of documents and witnesses. Sen. Graham anticipates receiving subpoena power this week as well, which should finally put an end to the FBI’s stonewalling.
So get ready for what will likely be some eye-opening (or transparently perjured) testimony. Either that or some serious Fifth Amendment-taking; reports are that some on this list have lawyered-up big-time. John Solomon lays it all out.

THIS IS SATIRE

Most Unsurprising News Of The Day: Former FBI deputy counsel Lisa Page has been hired as a “national security and legal analyst” by MSNBC.

Best known for her anti-Trump texting in late summer 2016 with then-lover Peter Strzok while he was leading the “Crossfire Hurricane” investigation of Trump and for helping him rewrite Michael Flynn's "302" interview notes, she ended up resigning from the FBI. She filed a lawsuit against the DOJ and FBI in December of last year for violating her right to privacy by illegally leaking the text messages.

What Ms. Page doesn’t know is that something else leaked: her job interview with the HR department at MSNBC. Don’t ask us how, but we managed to get the transcript…

HR: Well, Ms. Page, have a seat. We’ve been over your resume, and your work at the FBI is quite impressive.

PAGE: Thank you. As you can see, I REALLY loathe President Trump and will do anything I can to damage him politically. It’s there in my mission statement.

HR: Yes, yes, that is what particularly stood out here. Most impressive. In fact, I’d say it’s the Number One prerequisite for working here.

PAGE: Well, I really, really do. Really.

HR: I see here that you were Andy McCabe’s top legal counsel at the FBI.

PAGE: That’s right. Andy’s a great guy! He really can’t stand Trump, either. Oh, man.

HR: Right. McCabe's over at CNN now. We tried to get him, because he hates Trump SO MUCH, but I guess there was a lot of competition for him and we missed out.

PAGE: They love him over there.

HR: Understandably.

PAGE: They’ve hired ten of my old colleagues over there at CNN, can you believe it? There’s Andy, of course...Mr. Clapper; he was our Director of National Intelligence...James Baker; he was our general counsel and I knew him very well…one of Director Comey’s aides, I believe, Josh Campbell…and some others I know who really hate Trump, too. It’s like the glue that holds them all together.

But you’ve recently hired several people I know here at MSNBC, too. Wow, you’ve got Director Brennan; NOBODY hates Trump more than he does. Head of the CIA, what a catch! And I understand our assistant director for counterintelligence, Frank Figliuzzi, works here now; he used numerology to tie President Trump to the white supremacy movement while we were at the FBI. Fun times. It would also be really nice to work with my old colleague Chuck Rosenberg, Mr. Comey’s chief of staff; he really supported the Steele dossier when we were having trouble passing that off. Oh, and there are others I know who are working here, and they all hate Trump with every fiber of their being. I would feel right at home here.

HR: You’d fit in very nicely. And you’re certainly very qualified, although I see you’ve never worked as a journalist. Fortunately, that doesn’t matter! Even our journalists don’t work as journalists. There’s just one rather sensitive issue…

PAGE: Yes?

HR: We understand that at your previous job, you had an affair with a married co-worker. Is that correct?

PAGE: Well, yes.

HR: We just wanted to make it clear to you that this is not a problem at all. In fact, I think you’ll find that here in the media, people are still having affairs all the time, just like at the FBI. Have as many as you like. The #MeToo Movement applies only to nonconsensual sex involving conservatives.

PAGE: That’s a relief.

HR: So, that said, what do you think is your greatest attribute?

PAGE (smiling brightly): That I hate President Trump?

UPDATE:

LETTER FROM READER ON “LISA PAGE GETS A NEW JOB”

From reader John H:

This is a joke, right? How could this be real?

From Laura:

Hi, John. The “transcript” of Lisa Page’s job interview is indeed a joke --- but I assure you that the underlying news story, Page’s new job at MSNBC, is very real. (The story is at the link I included.)

I imagine that she, as their new legal analyst, might even be reporting on developments regarding the investigation of the FBI. We shall see if they have her cover those stories or pass them to someone else who is just as biased but perhaps not directly involved! She might be "recused" from talking about those on-air, not because of her bias but to shield her from getting into even more legal hot water than she's already in. Unbelievable but true.

All the mentions in the "transcript" of others who have been hired by CNN (such as Andrew McCabe) and MSNBC (such as John Brennan) are real as well. I’m a big believer in the principle that comedy should be based on truth, even if it makes you laugh until you cry.

IF YOU MISSED LAURA'S STORY CLICK HERE>>>

Correction And An Apology: Over the weekend, I was asked to comment on a report that three prominent Republicans announced they would vote for Joe Biden. They were Colin Powell (who reportedly hasn’t voted Republican in over a decade), Mitt Romney (what a surprise!) and former President George W. Bush. I said they should all “Get over it.” If they don’t like Trump’s personal style, fine; sometimes I don’t either. But he’s been great at cutting taxes and regulations, strengthening the military, putting America first, fixing the economy, creating jobs for all Americans, enforcing immigration laws, renegotiating trade deals in our favor for a change, appointing conservative judges, defending Israel and religious freedom, and standing up for the sanctity of life. Any vote for any modern Democrat is a vote for the exact opposite of all of that.

However, since this story was all over every media outlet (of course it was; it’s catnip to the anti-Trump crowd), I didn’t think to question whether it was entirely true. Turns out, part of it is fake news:

President Bush’s spokesman says that as a former President, he never reveals who he is voting for, and the claim that he’s not supporting Trump was “completely made up.” Had I known that it originated with the New York Times, I would have been far more skeptical. As I noted yesterday, the Times’ credibility as a news source is now on a par with that of old issues of High Times magazine, whose reporters at least had the excuse of being stoned out of their minds.

My apologies to ex-President Bush for not asking, “Wait a minute, did this come from the New York Times?” before believing it.

I’ve already written about the attempts by so-called “health professionals” to explain why it’s fine for masses of people to gather for anti-racism protests, but it’s a deadly coronavirus superspreader event when people protest endless lockdowns.

That Mt. Everest of hypocrisy is getting so much furious blowback that some of them are trying to rationalize it by claiming that the racism protests have aspects that mitigate the spread, such as being outdoors with more space between people.

Like this protest in London, supported by the mayor and hilariously juxtaposed with his warnings to stay home and keep two meters apart from others if you go out. I’ve seen canned sardines that weren’t packed as tight as the people in that protest photo.

But here’s the stunning quote that really gave away the game, and no, it’s not from the Babylon Bee. It’s real:

Apparently, “health professionals” have decided that if they strongly approve of an issue, it’s okay to rally for it, but if they disapprove, then it’s too dangerous to allow because it might spread the coronavirus. Did the virus post a “Black Lives Matter” logo on its Facebook page and agree not to infect anyone at an anti-racism rally?

Or is this just, as I’ve written previously, irrefutable proof that the only “science” the alleged “party of science” really cares about is political science? Since they believe that life begins when the mother and the abortionist decide to let a baby live that’s already been born, or that climate science is “settled” no matter how many times the computer models are wrong, then I’d say they have no more inkling of what “science” is than they do of what common sense is.

Congratulations to Larry Elder for joining the elite club of conservatives who get branded by Politifact as saying something that’s “Mostly False,” even though it’s 100% accurate.

I had that honor once. It’s been so long, I don’t even remember that the story was, but I do seem to recall that the facts I quoted were not only accurate, they also came out of the Washington Post. I don’t remember Politifact’s reasoning, but I recall thinking at the time that it amounted to, “What he said is true, but if the facts were different, it would be false.” I think my missing “context” was that I failed to include hypothetical situations in which things were different from what they actually were.

More recently (like in the past three days), we’ve had several web pages at mikehuckabee.com be flagged and blocked by Google. These pages contained no commentary whatsoever: they were just reposts of news videos of comments by people such as the White House press secretary and the Minnesota attorney general. We had to appeal to get them reinstated. Is posting video of prominent people’s own words a thought crime now?

Anyway, when I put quotation marks around the phrase “fact-checker,” these are just a few of the many, many reasons why.

NY Times Grief

June 9, 2020

In the obituaries today, let’s all bid a sad farewell to the New York Times. It has been very sick for a long time, barely surviving on the tattered remnants of its long-decayed reputation. But this weekend will be carved into granite as the date when it finally expired. Not that it won’t continue staggering on, a zombie-like shell of its former self, but it’s now just a dead paper walking and anyone who isn't also braindead should know it.

This weekend, the Times tossed its last remaining shard of journalistic integrity onto the Antifa-lit bonfire by announcing that James Bennet, its editorial page editor, would resign, and Jim Dao, his deputy, would be reassigned. Why? Because they had the temerity to print Arkansas Sen. Tom Cotton’s op-ed, endorsing the use of US troops to quell the violent riots destroying American cities.

That’s an opinion shared by 58% of Americans, according to recent polls. But not by the young snowflake staffers of the Times, the generation taught that words they disagree with are violence and must be silenced. And the paper’s upper management, who used to claim to be liberals who believe in free speech, capitulated to their own internal mob. It’s now official: there is no place for any dissenting opinion on the New York Times’ opinion page. And you certainly won’t find any in the opinion pieces they run as news articles.

(If I linked to the Fox News write-up of this, you might think I was being biased, so I’ll let this former Times reporter who disagreed with Sen. Cotton’s op-ed tell you how awful this is).

And I’ll let John Lennon’s son Sean, who’s surprisingly become a rare voice of reason in the music industry, also provide an appropriate eulogy for the Times…

And lest you think I’m overstating the depths of rabid partisanship to which the Times has sunk, New York Times writer Nikole Hannah-Jones (who recently won a Pulitzer Prize for “the 1619 Project,” a widely-debunked slice of historical propaganda claiming America was founded on nothing but slavery) told CNN that the Republican Party is a “rogue” organization, and the media should not treat it fairly by letting its opinions be heard because that would be “picking sides.” So it must pick one side and silence any dissent to avoid picking sides? So much for the value of a Pulitzer Prize.

And what does the New York Times think is “fit to print”? How about an op-ed telling people to stop talking to their relatives unless they publicly support Black Lives Matter? They say “love requires sacrifice.” As Ed Driscoll at Instapundit notes, this demand that you cut your friends or parents out of your life if they don’t accept your extreme beliefs is the standard operating procedure of cults.

The Times has ceased even to pretend being a legitimate newspaper. It’s now an oversized propaganda leaflet, and you should expect no more journalist integrity, objectivity or fairness from it than you would from a Xeroxed manifesto handed out on a street corner by some hairy guy who smells like a cat litter box.

Feel-good story

June 9, 2020

We need a feel-good story right now, and here’s a great one. In Buffalo, New York, 18-year-old Antonio Gwynn Jr. was so upset by the trashing of his neighborhood by protesters that he grabbed a broom and some trash bags and went to work at 2 a.m., cleaning it up. He worked for 10 straight hours. By the time volunteers arrived to clean up, they found that Antonio had just about finished the job all by himself.

When word spread of what Antonio had done, local businessman Matt Block was so impressed, he saw that Antonio was looking for car-buying advice on his Facebook page, so Block gave him his prized 2004 red Mustang convertible. He didn’t realize how it would affect Antonio, who was stunned into silence because his late mother used to drive a red Mustang.

As word spread, another local businessman kicked in a year of free auto insurance, saying, “I just felt compelled to help him out. We just need to get together our whole city and show people how there’s so many good people here." And Medaille College in Buffalo offered Antonio a scholarship to study business.

Finally, I guess I should mention this: Antonio is black, and Matt is white. But that really should be the least important part of this story.

76 years later: D-Day

June 9, 2020

Saturday, June 6, was the 76th anniversary of the D-Day invasion, the mass invasion of France that spelled the beginning of the end of Hitler’s reign of terror in Europe in World War II. More than 5,000 ships and 13,000 aircraft joined in support against entrenched Nazi positions on the coastal cliffs. More than 160,000 Allied soldiers stormed the beaches of Normandy. 9,000 were killed or wounded that day, but their courage and sacrifice enabled over 100,000 more troops to start the long, bloody pushback of the Nazis and liberate Europe. It was the biggest military operation in history, and amazingly, it was all pulled together in secret without anyone leaking the plans and warning the enemy, something it’s virtually impossible to imagine these days.

As the architect of D-Day, Gen. Dwight David Eisenhower, said, "I have full confidence in your courage, devotion to duty and skill in battle. We will accept nothing less than full victory!" And that they achieved, no matter the cost.

I held off writing about D-Day until today because I wanted to see whether the commemorations would be able to go forward, with France ravaged and shut down by the pandemic and so few surviving elderly veterans able to leave their homes. I’m glad to be able to say that while there couldn’t be the huge memorials that marked last year’s 75th anniversary, the grateful people of France made it clear that they have not forgotten that sacrifice for their freedom.

95-year-old US Army veteran Charles Shay, who stormed Omaha Beach as a 19-year-old medic, now lives near the beach and was the only veteran able to be standing there at dawn. But he wasn’t alone. A few dozen locals and tourists, some in period attire, gathered to honor and remember those heroes. The theme from “Saving Private Ryan” was played. Later in the day, French fighter jets staged a flyover. And even before dawn, local fisherman Ivan Thierry was standing on the beach, holding up an American flag.

He said, “There is not nobody here. Even if we are only a dozen, we are here to commemorate.”

But even if the elderly heroes of D-Day couldn’t make it back to France, they were not forgotten at home. Around America, they were honored by their neighbors. For instance, in Niles, Michigan, the local VFW presented them with certificates of honor and Michigan challenge coins, and the Western Michigan Gold Star Mothers gave them American flag quilts.

And in Billerica, Massachusetts, the family of John DiClemente, a veteran of both D-Day and the Battle of the Bulge, told him they were taking him to a veterans’ event. It was actually a vehicle parade in his honor by local police and firefighters.

There were many such commemorations around the nation, small but heartfelt. Whether we hold giant commemorations or just local observances, the important thing is that we never lose our gratitude for the sacrifice of these true American heroes, and that as that Greatest Generation passes into history, that we teach future generations what they did and to be thankful for them. We’re currently getting a very harsh lesson in what happens when we entrust that important job to people who hate and blame America for all the world’s ills, and who refuse to teach its real history. It’s time for parents to take that job back.

Sadly, this D-Day anniversary weekend was also marred by continuing violent protests, including protesters who scrawled profane graffiti on a statue of Winston Churchill in England and on the World War II memorial in Washington, DC, as well as the Lincoln Memorial (a strange way to protest racism, to desecrate the memorial to the man who led a war to free the slaves.)

I wonder how many of these protesters who hide behind the First Amendment to justify their vandalism and disrespect for these heroes realize that if it weren’t for them and their comrades, they would have no First Amendment rights? I wonder if the protesters in England think they’d be better off today if there had been no Winston Churchill to rally the nation and help plan D-Day and destroy Nazism? Do they even understand what fascism is?

I seriously doubt it. Possibly the most disrespectful desecration, far beyond that of any spray paint can, came from Bernie Sanders’ “foreign policy adviser” Matt Duss, who declared D-Day to be the “largest Antifa operation in history.”

No, it was the largest genuine anti-fascist operation in history. The soldiers of D-Day were real warriors facing heavy, deadly fire; not make-believe “social justice warriors” who expect to be allowed to attack anyone they please with no consequences. The soldiers of D-Day were fighting real fascism, not using fascist tactics to terrorize anyone who disagrees with them (Antifa's definition of “fascists.”) The soldiers of D-Day were greeted with cheers because they were there to bring freedom and liberation, and drive out the people who burned, threatened and looted the neighborhoods. They weren't there to burn, threaten and loot them.

And the soldiers of D-Day, as John DiClemente recalled, were greeted by “good people” in “France, Belgium, Germany and Russia. They didn’t want to fight us. Every time we went into a city, they fed us wine, (gave us) flowers, hugs, kisses and what have you. They were glad to see us.”

Is anyone glad when Antifa shows up? I think many of us will be glad when they finally start showing up in federal prisons.

Sen. Lindsay Graham didn’t specifically mention Christopher Wray in his Sunday interview with FOX NEWS’ Maria Bartiromo, but I couldn’t help thinking about Wray while listening to what Graham had to say.

To set the scene, Graham was on the show to talk about the questioning of Rod Rosenstein last week by the Senate Judiciary Committee, in which Rosenstein claimed not to have been aware that the Steele “dossier” was discredited by Steele’s own sub-source. Rosenstein said that McCabe had not been “fully candid” with him. (McCabe fired back a statement refuting the notion that he had “misled” Rosenstein, going so far as to say that “Mr. Rosenstein approved of and suggested ways to enhance our investigation of the President.” Perhaps this is a veiled reference to the story about Rosenstein talking about wearing a wire.)

Anyway, as you know, Rosenstein said he didn’t know the underlying documentation had been altered to hide the fact that Carter Page had worked for the FBI; that, of course, is a criminal act. He also claimed not to have known that the “dossier” was repeatedly disavowed, over a three-day interrogation in January 2017, by Steele’s Russian sub-source.

This appears to be some serious CYA on the part of Rosenstein, who signed the final renewal of the Carter Page FISA warrant in August of 2017. As the senator rightly pointed out, “...If anyone signs this warrant application knowing that the Russian sub-source disavowed the reliability of the Steele ‘dossier’ and that the Department of State lawyer altered email –- if they knew that, they would be going to jail themselves.”

Graham vowed that both McCabe and Comey will “eventually” be called before the Judiciary Committee, as he finds it “hard to believe” that neither of them knew about what the Russian sub-source had said about the “dossier” in January. (Try “impossible to believe.”)

The FISA renewal that Rosenstein signed said that the Russian sub-source was “truthful and cooperative.” It was Inspector General Michael Horowitz who found the memo on the interview with the sub-source that said this person had disavowed the “dossier,” saying it wasn’t reliable, nothing more than hearsay and casual “bar talk.” Graham said he plans to call “every person who signed that warrant” and have them testify as to what they knew about the “dossier.”

Importantly, he said they wouldn’t let some “low-level intel analyst or case agent” take the blame for defrauding the court. If it can be proved that higher-ups were warned and kept going forward anyway, then they’re in big trouble, and we’re talking prison. “I believe it goes up to the very top,” he said. “They’re ALL gonna come before the committee...”

Note that he did not specifically mention President Obama; he has said previously that this would not be happening. In other words, if by “the very top” Graham means Obama, it’s going to have to come out through some form of documentation (unlikely) or testimony from somebody else. If it can’t be proved in a court of law, we’ll all just have to come to our own conclusions about his guilt.

Now, here’s the part that made me wonder yet again what is going on with Wray: Sen. Graham wants to interview those case agents who spoke directly with Steele’s sub-source, and he has “asked” to do so. “I made a request to interview the case agent and the intel analyst, two other people who interviewed the sub-source for three days in January [2017], again in March, again in May, and THEY’RE DENYING ME THE ABILITY TO DO THAT. [Emphasis mine.] I’m gonna keep working the system. Attorney General Barr has been the most transparent attorney general in my lifetime. [Then-acting Director of National Intelligence Ric] Grenell released a lot of information. But why did they run all these stop signs?”

The big question is –- and I think we all know the answer –- did this begin and end with some decisions made by “two or three people” who failed to pass along exculpatory information, or was it “a system out of control”? It certainly appears that the people at the top wanted to keep the “Trump/Russia” investigation going no matter what; in fact, we KNOW this is true in the prosecution of Lt. Gen. Flynn.

The reason why Sen. Graham was being DENIED ACCESS to those lower-level agents was not addressed on the show; maybe it was because of time constraints. But this was an internal FBI matter; FBI Director Wray should be able to snap his fingers and give the Senate Judiciary Committee, in their oversight capacity, access to those officials to determine their roles in this and find out who they told about any problems with the evidence. Graham shouldn’t have to go higher to get the go-ahead to talk to those agents, but he does, apparently to Attorney General Barr. This looks like one more big black mark for Wray, one more reason why he is absolutely the wrong person for that job.

The “get-Trump” investigation may not have had any roadblocks, but the attempt to get to the bottom of it certainly still does.

Kimberly Strassel had a great a piece in the WALL STREET JOURNAL, “Rod Rosenstein Knew Nothing,” on Rosenstein and his total lack of curiosity (ha) about the evidence in one of the most significant cases in FBI history. “In three hours of testimony,” Strassel wrote, “the country got a glimpse at the depths of the FBI’s underhandedness and the failure of leadership that enabled it.”

It’s behind a paywall (Strassel’s columns are well worth it), but Ohio Rep. Jim Jordan talked about it over the weekend with Judge Jeanine Pirro.

Jordan reminded us of the constant pressure in the spring of 2017 from Democrats and the media (but I repeat myself) to appoint a special counsel. “Remember, every Democrat wanted to do it,” he said to Judge Pirro, “wanted to keep going after the President. Everyone in the media wanted to do it. And there were a bunch of Republicans who wanted to do it.”

But at the time FBI Director James Comey was fired, May 9, Comey was asked if there was anything “there.” He said they didn’t know. Rosenstein appointed Mueller on May 17. What, pray tell, was discovered in those few days in the way of evidence that Trump conspired with Russia? Answer: NOTHING. Rosenstein appointed a special counsel and gave it carte blanche for almost two years not because of any evidence but because of political pressure. This was ALL political.

As for the story about Rosenstein talking about wearing a wire, which he now denies doing, we now have conflicting accounts to sort out. Just don’t tell me that someone who would open a purely political investigation on the President of the United States is above doing something like that.

In breaking news, the Senate Homeland Security Committee has voted to authorize subpoenas for what looks to be all the major Obama-era officials who played roles in the “Russia hoax.” (I take that back; didn’t see Obama or Biden on the list. But Sidney Blumenthal is there.) The time really has come to bring this incredible abuse of investigative power to the forefront.

For now, it’s been interesting to look at a few takes on Wednesday’s Rod Rosenstein testimony. Dan Bongino, in his Thursday podcast, agreed with me that it was a total debacle, that the former deputy attorney general “humiliated himself.”

Like me, Bongino knew he was watching a “slithering snake” try to slip out of taking real responsibility for signing a warrant application full of false information. In fact, he highlighted the same piece of testimony that I did yesterday. Rosenstein: “I approved the submission of it, and four federal judges signed off on it too, Senator [Josh Hawley of Missouri], because, like me, they believed the information had been verified and was accurate.” [NOTE: The FISA judges HAD no personal responsibility for verifying the information contained in the application; they were working with what was given to them by HIM.] It’s fun to see how this plays out in print:

Hawley: “Did they have a duty to verify the information?”

Rosensnake--I mean, "stein": “No, the agents had a duty to verify the information.”

Hawley: “So you did NOT have a duty to verify the information? It was your name on the application.”

Rosenstein: “Well, I had a duty to make sure it had been verified.”

Hawley: “Did you rubber-stamp it?”

Rosenstein: “Senator, the attorney general or the deputy general---”

Hawley: “Just answer my question---”

Rosenstein: “---hubbada-hubbada-hubbada---”

Hawley: “You said to Sen. Cruz that you didn’t rubber-stamp it. You also testified today that you didn’t read it---”

Rosenstein: “No, I didn’t say---”

Hawley: “So, I’m curious, would you like us to have your testimony read back to you? You said I can’t say that I read it, I don’t think I read every page. I mean---”

Rosenstein: “Yes, I did say that. Yes.”

Hawley: “Okay, so you didn’t rubber-stamp it but you didn’t read it.”

Rosenstein: (smiling) “Senator, I have to explain the process.”

Hawley: “Oh, I think we’re familiar with the process; the OIG gave us the process. By the time it got to you, you had 17 critical errors, falsehoods, omissions, leading a federal court to say they’d never seen anything like this and they can’t trust anything else the FBI says, and you sign off on it...Let me ask you this: Who are we to hold responsible? You’re saying it’s not you---”

Rosenstein: “No, no, I’m saying, Senator, I am accountable for it. The question is, why did it happen? [NOTE: Wrong; the question is, who do we hold responsible?] Now, I’m no longer in the Department, but there are people who are there that I expect will figure out why it happened and fix the problem...” [NOTE: he knows good and well why it happened.]

Hawley: “Do you have any theories about what the problem might be?”

Rosenstein: “I only know what the Inspector General’s report reflects...”

So there you are. The top official at the Department of Justice (after Jeff Sessions’ recusal) is making lame excuses for failing to use his authority to oversee what Bongino rightly calls “the most consequential counterintelligence investigation in modern U.S. history.” Rosenstein’s signature on that document was supposed to MEAN SOMETHING; otherwise, the FBI agents assigned to the case would’ve just sent it on to the FISA Court.

Then there’s this:

Hawley: “Wouldn’t you agree with me that a process that is so corrupted that it resulted in abuse of a federal court in an ex parte proceeding [one in which the target has no legal counsel] during a presidential campaign is a threat to American democracy –- is a threat to the integrity of our elections? Would you agree with that?”

Rosenstein: “It’s certainly a threat to the judicial system and the FISA process, but, uh, I need to explain to you, Senator, that when you’re running an organization of 115,000 people, you’re not gonna be able to personally verify the information---”

Hawley: “I know, and that’s why you can’t be held responsible---”

Rosenstein: “---No, no, I AM responsible---”

Hawley: “So at the end of the day, it’s nobody’s fault. The FISA Court has been misled...but nobody’s to blame for it.”

Rosenstein is trying to have it both ways: he didn’t read the document, at least not all of it, but he didn’t rubber-stamp it, either. It can’t be both. He says he’s accountable while trying to make it seem as if he weren’t because his job is just too big. Bongino came away with the same impression I did: that this is not a stupid man, but someone smart enough to know that looking stupid and naive can help keep him out of jail.

Not surprisingly, John Solomon had some good commentary, too.

While I highlighted the questioning by Ted Cruz that forced Rosenstein to admit he wouldn’t sign the FISA warrant given what we know today, Solomon focuses on a key question from committee chairman Lindsay Graham that also forced him to admit there was nothing to the “Trump/Russia” investigation:

Sen. Graham: “So the whole concept, that the campaign was colluding with the Russians, there was no ‘there’ there in August of 2017, do you agree or not?”

Rosenstein: “I agree with the general statement.”

In less weaselly terms, that means YES. Recall that Peter Strzok had expressed concern to Lisa Page many months earlier that there was no ‘there’ there when he was debating whether or not to be on the special counsel team. But now, there’s no debate about the lack of evidence.

On the other hand, Rush Limbaugh pointed out on Thursday that in the wake of this fiasco, the left is doubling down and intensifying its efforts. He says even with strong evidence that the Obama administration ran a coup against the Trump campaign/transition/presidency, “do not think that it’s over.

“The coup to oust Donald Trump is ongoing.”

He noted that most of America is not nearly as up to speed on this as they should be, and they’re still getting all their news and information from anti-Trump liars. “As more and more evidence is forthcoming and...the more persuasive it is to more and more people, the greater the Democrat media freak-out is.” And all the other craziness going on now is a reflection of the get-Trump insanity.

Rush included Gen. Mattis’s vicious, nonsensical anti-Trump op-ed in THE ATLANTIC as well, as an example of the derangement, saying that even though there’s no evidence Mattis was part of the coup, he “represents the opposition to Donald Trump.”

The objective we must have now, Rush concludes, is to defeat all these forces arrayed against the Trump administration. “We are in a battle for the future of America, as founded.” I can’t say it better than Rush did in this monologue, so I hope you’ll read the transcript in full.

No safe spaces

June 5, 2020

Comic/podcaster Adam Carolla is blasting Walmart for its decision not to carry the DVD of “No Safe Spaces,” the excellent and chilling documentary that he and Dennis Prager created about the efforts to silence free speech, particularly by the left on college campuses. Carolla pointed out the irony that Walmart won’t carry a movie "about the importance of allowing Americans to share ideas freely.” He said, “You can't make this stuff up. It's a free country, and Walmart is free to ban our movie, but our fans are also free to let Walmart know how they feel about that."

In its defense, Walmart says they’re carrying the book based on the film, but DVD space is based off “data-driven customer insights” and its $1.3 million box office shows it doesn’t have enough commercial appeal. However, most documentaries don’t make nearly that much (“No Safe Spaces” was the top-earning political documentary of last year), and since it’s hard for them to find theater screens, they depend on DVDs and streaming to reach an audience.

I hope Walmart will reconsider this decision. In light of what we are seeing now across the country – the burning and looting instigated by some of the same radical elements discussed in the film, who are expanding from campuses to entire cities, and, yes, looting big box stores – it’s imperative that everyone in America see this documentary to learn who and what we’re dealing with, how we allowed it to get to this point, and why it must be stopped before free speech is silenced permanently.

To learn more about the film, stream it now or order the DVD online, go to https://nosafespaces.com

Former Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, who signed off on the last renewal of the FISA warrant application to spy on Carter Page, appointed Robert Mueller, determined the “scope” of the special counsel investigation of Trump and his colleagues, and supposedly supervised Mueller and his team, tried hard in testimony Wednesday to distance himself from all that happened in what has been dubbed “Spygate.”

He was smiling broadly at times, perhaps because he thought he was succeeding in his aim. And maybe he was, at least partially. But with his effort to save his own skin, this slippery attorney actually succeeded in showing us that there WAS a coup against the President. Nothing else makes sense.

If we weren’t living in “these uncertain times” --- a phrase I can’t wait to see retired --- Rosenstein’s testimony would be "the" story right now. Even the mainstream media might have to cover it a little. At the moment, it’s easy for them to bury it. But this was just the first of many hearings, and John Durham continues to investigate. Step by step, the revelations continue to prove we were right.

In his long-awaited testimony before the Senate Judiciary Committee, Rosenstein’s strategy was to present himself as someone who trusted his colleagues to give him correct information, so much so that he didn’t bother to read “every word” of the FISA application before signing it, even though in this case his signature was his personal stamp of verification of "every word" to the FISA court.

Sen. Lindsay Graham, chairman of the committee, was having none of it. Neither was Sen. Ted Cruz, who skewered Rosenstein for including Flynn in the “scope” memo in August of 2017 after the FBI had concluded on January 4 that there was no evidence against Flynn and that the case should be closed. He went on to bring up that infamous meeting held the very next day, January 5, in the Oval Office. Going through the timeline, he told Rosenstein that there were only two possible conclusions: “either that you were complicit in the wrongdoing, which I don’t believe was the case, or that your performance of your duties was grossly negligent.” Much more; this is a must-watch video if you’ve not already seen it.

You’ll notice in the video that Rosenstein isn’t smiling anymore. It was really Cruz, by giving Rosenstein the benefit of the doubt as he did, who showed point-by-point what had been going on deep within the FBI. (Were you aware of THIS? Were you aware of...THIS?) Rosenstein comes across as a naive fool, but that's likely a choice he has made, finding it preferable to coming across as someone who should be wearing an orange jumpsuit.

"Why did you let this pile of partisan lies consume the country for two years?” Cruz asks. Rosenstein tries in vain to change direction, saying that “there was a lot going on at the Department of Justice” during those years, that he and Jeff Sessions were making “significant changes” that weren’t “just about the Russia investigation," as if that had any bearing here.

David Marcus at the NEW YORK POST has a magnificent write-up of the day’s testimony and its significance.

Sen. Graham asked Rosenstein the big takeaway question of the day: “If you knew then what you know now, would you have signed the warrant application?”

Rosenstein was ready: “No, I would not.”

No, he would not. If it was wrong for Rosenstein to sign the renewal based on the facts they had, then it was wrong to apply for the warrant in the first place. From the start, there was never any evidence on Carter Page. They used that first warrant as a pretext for all the spying to come.

So that’s it. It was all a fraud, started with a piece of partisan, fictional oppo “research” paid for by (who else?) the Hillary Clinton campaign. It was perpetrated against Donald Trump, his associates, and the country at large. We went through years of needless torture over NOTHING. Think of all the histrionics, the obsession, the endless “Russia, Russia Russia!” paranoia, leaping from the front page of THE NEW YORK TIMES, and consuming almost all major media, day after day after day. The many millions of dollars wasted. The enormous waste of time –- Congress’s time, everybody’s time. Trump’s presidency was practically stalled. That was the idea, of course.

Think of the lives and careers that were ruined, particularly that of Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn, a man who served his country for 33 years. As it turns out, he didn't lie after all, and the FBI didn't even ask him the question (concerning sanctions on Russia) they later accused him of lying about! Then there's Carter Page, who had actually helped the FBI in the past yet was accused by them of being a Russian agent. The President himself was being investigated for conspiracy with Russia --- which would be treason --- when there was no evidence of that at all. Of course, if Hillary had (shudder) been elected, all evidence would have been swept away, shredded, hit with hammers and Bleach-bitted, and the spying on political enemies would have metastasized.

Think of the lack of focus we had on really important things --- particularly China, which was hiding the spread of a deadly contagion from its own virology lab while Congress was busy with its kangaroo-court impeachment fiasco.

The irony of this is that Vladimir Putin must have had a really good laugh about it, every day. He did want to see chaos over here, and in their zeal to get rid of Trump, our own Justice Department and the American media gave it to him.

Mr. Marcus is clearly as angry about this as I am. “What is becoming clear,” he says, is that the Department of Justice wanted to prevent, then destroy, a Trump presidency. These were not open-minded officials being led by the facts; they were manipulating the facts and hiding exculpatory evidence to bring down Trump and his associates.”

I would add that this is what Rosenstein was trying to distance himself from today. He has to appear ignorant of all of it or be part of the conspiracy. If he does know more than he’s letting on –- which seems likely; Cruz gave him more benefit of the doubt than I would –- it’ll be up to John Durham and his team of investigators to prove he does, through the testimony of others or some revealing text or email. Also, U.S. Attorney John Bash is now looking more closely at the unmasking process, particularly as it was used against Michael Flynn.

More subpoenas are set to be issued this week. Clapper, Brennan, Comey, and McCabe are expected to be among those subpoenaed by the Senate.

Democrats tried to say on Wednesday that these hearings are being held to weaken Biden’s run for president. Trust me, if this were about Biden, we’d have plenty to investigate HIM for, and that wouldn’t be pretty, either.

UPDATE: On Wednesday, Andrew McCabe issued a statement essentially calling Rosenstein a liar for suggesting that FBI officials misled him. Details here.

Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Lindsay Graham read it aloud near the close of the hearing and allowed Rosenstein a chance to respond. Rosenstein said he hadn’t actually said “misled.” He’d said McCabe hadn’t been “fully forthcoming.”

Personally, I doubt either one of them has been “fully forthcoming.”

Apparently, there’s a longstanding feud between McCabe and Rosenstein, starting around the time President Trump fired then-FBI Director James Comey. The WASHINGTON POST wrote about this two years ago, and it adds a fascinating dimension to the story.

McCabe is the one who said in a memo that Rosenstein had talked in a meeting about wearing a wire and using the 25th Amendment to get rid of Trump. Rosenstein reportedly responded later that he had been joking. Then-FBI general counsel James Baker was not present but heard about the comments after the meeting and thought Rosenstein was serious.

At that time, each man had his own reasons for wanting the other to step away from the “Trump/Russia” case. And today, they’re telling different stories about what went on. A prosecutor’s dream. I have a feeling this is going to get good.

In case you missed the Senate Judiciary Committee hearing Wednesday morning, in which former deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein was questioned, here’s Jonathan Turley’s real-time account. It’s necessarily brief, as he had to keep up with the proceedings, but you’ll get the idea of how this went down.

You’ll see that I was mostly on-target in my tongue-in-cheek forecast of what he would say to try to wriggle out of legal consequences. For example, he said he wouldn’t have signed the FISA warrant renewal if he had known about the false statements and underlying misconduct, implying he was misguided by his trust in the people responsible.

He said he didn’t know about the discrediting of the Steele “dossier” and that it had come from the Clinton campaign and Democratic National Committee. Well, of course, he didn't!

He said that four judges had already signed off on this material as if that were a defense. By the time it GETS to the judges, it’s supposed to be signed off as verified information. One of those times, the last one, that was supposed to be done by HIM. It's the judges who get to take this for granted, not him.

He also said he couldn’t recall if he read “every page” of the document he signed. Just what we thought he would say.

If he threw anyone under the bus, even a little, it appears to have been Andrew McCabe, for not being “forthcoming” and instead withholding important information, “for whatever reason." ("Whatever reason"??) Not that he’s accusing McCabe of “misrepresentations.” Huh?

We’ll have much more detail on this tomorrow morning.

Tired of it

June 3, 2020

I’m getting tired of people claiming that if you criticize the violent rioters and looters, you’re denigrating the value of black lives, the civil rights movement or the legitimate protests over the death of George Floyd. I’m seeing a lot of misplaced sympathy expressed for violent agitators who have hijacked the protests to stir up violence and racial hatred, and who are actually destroying black neighborhoods, homes and businesses, setting the protesters’ cause back, and harming the very people they falsely claim to be helping.

But since nobody wants to hear that message from a white male Republican, maybe it will make more of an impact coming from this lady. She’s an elderly African-American woman in New York City whose small shop is something she’s worked for years to build, only to come in and find the windows smashed, the stock looted and the fixtures demolished, leaving it to her to clean up their mess.

In the great tradition of no-nonsense grandmothers, she very appropriately reads these rioters the Riot Act:

“Tell me Black Lives Matter. You lied. You wanted to loot the store. You needed money? Get a job -- like I do. Stop stealing. This is a neighborhood. We’re trying to build it up, and you’re tearing it down.”

God bless this lady. Click the link to see the rest, and it’s a must-see. Rudy Giuliani is calling for Bill DeBlasio to be removed immediately as Mayor of New York. Can this lady take his place?

Tuesday evening, I posted my promised “20 ‘Just for Fun’ Questions for Rod Rosenstein” in anticipation of his appearance before the Senate Judiciary Committee, scheduled for Wednesday at 10AM Eastern Time.

John Solomon had a similar idea for a list of questions, though his list is the FOR REAL "Ten Most Important Questions for Rod Rosenstein." Let’s see how much overlap we have.

Solomon includes the full quote I referenced in one of my "fun" questions (asking RR if he was joking): “There’s a lot of talk about FISA applications. Many people I’ve seen talk about it seem not to recognize that a FISA application is actually a warrant, just like a search warrant. In order to get a FISA warrant, you need an affidavit signed by a career law enforcement officer who swears the information is true...And if it is wrong, that person is going to face consequences. If we’re going to accuse someone of wrongdoing, we have to have admissible evidence, credible witnesses; we have to prove our case in court. We have to affix our signature to the charging document.”

This little lecture, highly amusing today in light of what we know, is from two years ago. You can see why I would have loved to ask him if he was joking (as he reportedly said he was about wearing a wire to secretly record the President). Rosenstein did affix his own personal signature to the final renewal of the FISA application to spy on Carter Page, in 2017. Nothing incriminating was ever found on Page, nothing to charge him with and nothing on which to base a renewal of the original application. Not even the original warrant application was based on verified evidence or a credible witness.

The Justice Department had to withdraw the very FISA warrant renewal that Rosenstein supposedly reviewed and personally signed after it was determined to be “inaccurate, undocumented, and FALSIFIED [emphasis mine] evidence.”

Rosenstein is (or should be) in a heap of trouble. He has asserted that even “the best” law enforcement officials make mistakes and that some of them are even involved in “willful misconduct.” If this is the sort of thing done by “the best” of them, then our whole justice system is in a heap of trouble.

Here, briefly paraphrased, are Solomon’s suggested questions, along with the gist of what I predict Rosenstein’s slippery answers will be...

1. Did you read the warrant against Page, review any evidence or ask questions before you signed the renewal?

RR: “THIS WARRANT HAD ALREADY BEEN INITIALLY APPROVED AND RENEWED TWO MORE TIMES AFTER THAT. BY THE FOURTH TIME, I NATURALLY ASSUMED ALL THE EVIDENCE AGAINST MR. PAGE HAD BEEN VERY WELL ESTABLISHED, SO I JUST WENT AHEAD AND SIGNED IT. HAVING TO TAKE OVER SO MANY OF MR. SESSIONS’ DUTIES AS ATTORNEY GENERAL, I WAS A VERY BUSY MAN AND SIMPLY DIDN’T HAVE TIME TO READ THE PAPERWORK OR REVIEW EVIDENCE THAT I TRUSTED.”

2. Do you now realize the application was flawed and regret signing it?

RR: “WELL, OF COURSE, I WOULDN’T HAVE SIGNED IT HAD I BEEN AWARE OF ANY PROBLEMS, BUT I HONESTLY SAW NOTHING WRONG AT THE TIME. I STRONGLY FELT IT WAS MY PATRIOTIC DUTY TO INVESTIGATE WHAT I SAW AS RUSSIA’S ATTEMPT TO HELP TRUMP BECOME PRESIDENT IN 2016, WHICH, OF COURSE, THEY DID.”

3. Given what we now know, would you still appoint Mueller as a special counsel if you had a do-over?

RR: “I REALLY FELT AT THE TIME THAT MR. MUELLER WAS THE MOST QUALIFIED PERSON FOR THE JOB. ROBERT MUELLER IS THE KINDEST, BRAVEST, WARMEST, MOST WONDERFUL HUMAN BEING I'VE EVER KNOWN IN MY LIFE. I WAS NOT ALONE IN THAT ASSESSMENT; THERE WAS AGREEMENT ACROSS THE BOARD AT THE TIME, AMONG BOTH DEMOCRATS AND REPUBLICANS, INCLUDING SOME OF THE REPUBLICANS ON THIS COMMITTEE, SEN. GRAHAM. AS FOR WHETHER I’D DO IT AGAIN, I’D RATHER NOT ANSWER A HYPOTHETICAL QUESTION.”

4. Did you talk with Andy McCabe in 2017 about wearing a wire on President Trump as part of a plot to remove him under the 25th Amendment?

RR: “WE REALLY WERE JUST KIDDING AROUND. THERE WAS NOTHING TO THAT AT ALL. NEXT QUESTION, PLEASE.”

5. Who drafted and provided the supporting materials you used to put together the “scope” memo for Mueller’s team?

RR: “OH, ALL THAT STUFF CAME FROM PETER STRZOK, SOMEONE I TRUSTED AS A FINE CAREER BUREAU OFFICIAL. PETER STRZOK IS THE KINDEST, BRAVEST, WARMEST, MOST WONDERFUL HUMAN BEING I’VE EVER KNOWN IN MY LIFE. YOU SHOULD PROBABLY TALK TO HIM.”

6. In light of new evidence, do you have any concerns about the conduct of James Comey and Andy McCabe?

RR: “I HAVE ALWAYS THOUGHT THESE MEN WERE FINE CAREER BUREAU OFFICIALS. JAMES COMEY AND ANDREW McCABE ARE THE KINDEST, BRAVEST, WARMEST, MOST WONDERFUL HUMAN BEINGS I’VE EVER KNOWN IN MY LIFE. THAT’S WHY I ALWAYS RELIED ON THEIR JUDGEMENT. I TRUSTED EVERYTHING THEY BROUGHT ME.”

7. When did you learn that Carter Page had actually been an asset for the CIA (not a Russian spy), and that the Steele “dossier” had been debunked or linked to Russian disinformation?

RR: (after leaning over and huddling with lawyers) “I DON’T RECALL.”

8. Do you think the FISA court was intentionally misled, or that it was just a case of bureaucratic bungling?

RR: “IT WAS DEFINITELY THAT LAST THING YOU SAID, ‘BUREAUCRATIC BUNGLING.’”

9. What blame do you place on yourself for the failures in the case you supervised? Who else do you blame?

RR: “I BLAME MYSELF FOR CARING SO MUCH ABOUT MY COUNTRY AND OUR SYSTEM OF JUSTICE AND LAW ENFORCEMENT, AND FOR TRUSTING MY TOP OFFICIALS TO CARRY OUT A FAIR INVESTIGATION. WHO ELSE DO I BLAME? WHY, TRUMP, OF COURSE.”

10. Do you think anyone in the Russia investigation should face criminal charges?

RR: “IT’S MY OPINION THAT NO REASONABLE PROSECUTOR WOULD TAKE SUCH A CASE.”

That’s pretty much how I think it will go. To round out the discussion, here’s a link to an excellent piece from last October that appeared in THE AMERICAN THINKER. It’s about all the information we’d amassed on the whole “Russia hoax” that was still being ignored by most in the media. Half a year later, we know even more and have much more evidence, and it’s still being ignored. Rosenstein’s testimony on Wednesday will be ignored, too. But John Durham isn’t ignoring it, and is putting his criminal case together.

The Russia hoax: The Left's willful ignorance and denial

Having given the “leaders” of blue states and cities ample time to stop the rioting, arson and looting that’s being ginned up to exploit and dishonor the death of George Floyd, President Trump ordered riot teams from the Federal Bureau of Prisons to Washington, DC, and Miami, and more could be forthcoming if Governors don’t take action. That could include mobilizing thousands of soldiers, which the President has the power to do under the Insurrection Act of 1807.

Naturally, the media are hysterically painting this as an unprecedented abuse of tyrannical power and a declaration of war on the First Amendment (we have a right to riot, burn and loot?) But in fact, the Insurrection Act has been invoked over a dozen times, most recently in 1992 by President George H.W. Bush to stop the Rodney King riots in Los Angeles.

Sadly, that may be necessary because so many Democratic officials are refusing to do their #1 job of protecting public safety. Oregon Gov. Kate Brown is so addlepated with Trump Derangement Syndrome, she actually admitted she refuses to do what’s necessary because “TRUUUUMP!!” She said at a press conference, “Having soldiers on the streets across America is exactly what President Trump wants...Trump wants Governors to deploy the National Guard as a show of force to intimidate the public.”

Monday night, Trump said, “I swore an oath to uphold the laws of our nation and that is exactly what I will do. I am your president of law and order and an ally of all peaceful protesters.” He said we cannot allow their righteous cries to be drowned out by an angry mob. But, “a number of state and local governments have failed to take necessary action to safeguard their residents. I am taking immediate presidential action to stop the violence and restore security and safety in America. I am mobilizing all available federal resources, civilian and military, to stop the rioting and looting, to end the destruction and arson and to protect the rights of law-abiding Americans, including your Second Amendment rights.”

Speaking of Second Amendment rights, a lot of people, especially in blue states, are waking up to the scary reality that their leaders will do very little to protect them, so they have to protect themselves. Gun sales are exploding, and the price of gun stocks is booming. Former CIA officer Bryan Dean Wright (@BryanDeanWright) tweeted that he talked to a major “Progressive” Democratic fundraiser in Colorado who was spooked by rioters getting near his house, and nobody he knew owned a gun, so he was buying one today (hope there’s not a 10-day waiting period!) Wright said, “The left is losing their base, folks. People prefer order over anarchy.”

I’m sure that many of the people buying guns to protect their homes, families and businesses are African-American, and contrary to the false media stereotype, conservatives are perfectly fine with that, it’s the liberals who are expressing alarm. That’s no surprise: many years ago, when the KKK was terrorizing blacks in the South by burning down their neighborhoods, the NRA was the only constitutional rights organization that defended their right to buy guns to protect themselves. History is merely repeating itself.

Meanwhile, word on social media is that Antifa, having helped torch blue cities, now thinks they’ll move into the suburbs and terrorize people there. That would be the dumbest idea they’ve come up with yet, and that covers a lot of territory. Many people live in the suburbs after fleeing cities because they were sick of depending on noodle-spined leftist mayors who order the police to stand down and who sympathize with criminals over victims. Instead, for protection, they have guns.

Polk County, Florida, Sheriff Grady Judd put it succinctly, when he warned, "The people in Polk County like guns, they have guns, I encourage them to own guns. If you try to break into their homes to steal, to set fires, I'm highly recommending they blow you back out of the house with their guns."

Here’s an example of the kind of “peaceful protester” that Hollywood celebrities are giving millions of dollars to bail out of jail. Note that he is an outsider who traveled to Minneapolis purely to riot, burn and loot and has no noble motives whatsoever, not even a pretense of any.

The media are trying desperately to push the narrative that the rioting and violence are not being instigated by leftwing agitators, but by rightwing white supremacist groups. This claim is as evidence-free as “Russian collusion.”

Officials in Minneapolis have reported that they have seen no substantial presence of any right-wing groups, but they have arrested plenty of white, leftwing outsiders who push to the front of protests and try to stir up violence. Peaceful protesters are starting to realize how they’re being used, and there have been several reports of protesters stopping agitators who began acting violently and handing them over to police.

I hope those who are legitimately concerned and protesting peacefully for change are now seeing how the violence and vandalism of groups like Antifa is setting back their own cause and harming the people they claim to want to help. If that’s not clear yet, then read this article. The title should tell you why it’s a must-read:

A Plea from an Inner-City African-American to Stop the Madness, Looting and Rioting.

In an extraordinary moment following his speech Monday night, President Trump, accompanied by his daughter Ivanka and several top officials, left the White House and walked across Lafayette Square to historic St. John’s Church, which had been damaged by rioters, and held up a Bible.

He was assailed from all sides, by media people claiming he was blaspheming (I have a feeling many of them were fine with that concept until just that moment), and by Pelosi, Schumer, Biden, Hillary, and the usual gang, claiming that peaceful protesters had been driven from the park so that he could do a “photo op” (Fact-check: It was long past the 7 p.m. curfew, and they would have been removed from the park anyway.)

So when a story went around that he was locked down in the White House by the Secret Service when the rioters got too close, his critics said he was a coward who wouldn’t come out of the White House. When he walked right out into the park, he was accused of being confrontational and escalating the violence. It’s nice to see that despite all the turmoil and upheaval, one thing never changes: to these people, no matter what Trump does, it’s always wrong.

The hypocrisy of some

June 2, 2020

There’s no shortage of wealthy celebrities hiding out in their mansions inside walled and gated communities while cheering on and financially supporting violent rioters who are burning down and looting other people’s neighborhoods. But if you had to pick a poster child for liberal hypocrisy, former NBA and ESPN star Chris Palmer might have just taken the prize. (Warning: link includes foul language.)

Palmer started off by cheering on the burning of an affordable housing unit in Minneapolis (he later claimed he didn’t know what it was, but considering he tweeted, “Burn it all down,” it apparently didn’t matter that much to him what it was.) Just 24 hours later, the mobs were trying to breach the walls of his gated community in Los Angeles, and it was a very different story. Palmer was frantically tweeting, “Get these animals tha (bleep) out of my neighborhood. Go back to where you live.”

Later, he reported with relief that the hated police showed up and chased them away, and the only loss was a Starbucks (possibly some small business owner’s franchise, maybe even a black small business owner, but if you just want to “burn it all down,” then what difference does that make? But I digress.) Palmer tweet-ranted about the protesters who’d dared to threaten his property, “Tear up your own (bleep). Don’t come to where we live at and tear our neighborhood up. We care about our community. If you don’t care about yours I don’t give a (bleep.)”

I wonder if it occurred to him that some of the “protesters” in Minneapolis, the ones smashing property and setting fires, were also attacking someone else’s neighborhood, and the people who actually lived there didn’t want their homes and businesses burned down and looted any more than he did?

This is a developing story that could have major implications; we’ll have more soon. On Friday, FBI general counsel Dana Boente, a career FBI/DOJ official who as acting deputy attorney general signed at least one of the FISA warrant renewals on former Trump campaign associate Carter Page, turned in his resignation letter to FBI Director Christopher Wray.

This occurs just as Lindsey Graham is getting ready to start Senate Judiciary Committee hearings on the “Trump/Russia” investigation. (Opening salvo: Wednesday, with Rod Rosenstein.) And in May, FBI Director Christopher Wray announced that there would be an internal “after-action” review of the FBI’s handling of the Michael Flynn case to determine whether current FBI employees “engaged in misconduct.”

Boente remains on the job for now; June 30 is the date being given for his departure. That seems odd; if he sees the last-minute need to delete/shred/eat any evidence of wrongdoing before heading out the door, it would seem this is his chance. So, until he leaves, will he still be considered a current employee and therefore subject to Wray’s internal review? Not that we'd have confidence in Wray to DO a thorough internal review...

Before his stint as FBI general counsel, Boente served as acting attorney general, acting deputy attorney general, acting assistant attorney general of the National Security Division at the Justice Department (try fitting that on a business card), and the U.S. attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia.

Director Wray offered a heartfelt if not downright flowery going-away statement.

Mainstream news outlets are spinning this with phrases such as “FOX NEWS criticism” and “pressure from Trump.” But TheConservativeTreehouse.com has a different take in their extremely comprehensive report, saying, “Finally, the DOJ has moved to remove one of the biggest background corrupt officials within the FBI...finally sunlight has removed a very corrupt player.”

We have yet to wade through the whole thing, but Boente, according to this report, was “at the epicenter of corrupt intent and malign activity toward the Trump administration.” The piece offers several instances of Boente’s questionable actions, including his coordination with Wray to block release of documents on the Flynn case until Attorney General Bill Barr intervened. This implies nothing but the worst about Wray as well. AG Barr, not Wray, reportedly was the one who wanted Boente “retired.”

As infrequently as we’ve heard his name, Boente reportedly was the official to whom all the corrupt players on Robert Mueller’s team reported. And according to this report, “Boente’s role as a manipulative fixer to protect the ongoing corrupt action of the Mueller probe was exactly why FBI Director Chris Wray hired him.”

Boente is apparently the one who kept State Department official Kathleen Kavelec’s notes expressing concerns about Christopher Steele and the “dossier” hidden from both the FISA court and Congress. His job seems to have been to bury information and protect the team while they went about their nefarious business. As another example of protection, recall all those redactions that turned out to have nothing to do with national security, simply to cover up what would otherwise reveal what certain FBI officials were up to.

What we learn here about Boente’s apparent behind-the-scenes role as an “embed” covering for his colleagues might answer a lot of nagging questions, such as how certain anti-Trump people got their jobs in the first place. This piece even offers, perhaps unwittingly, what is to me, the perfect formal definition of “the D.C. swamp” in recent years: “a matrix of broad interests positioned only to benefit and sustain the status quo of the administrative state and protect the larger D.C. community from the Trump disruption.”

There’s also a story here about Wikileaks, Julian Assange, and the so-called "Russian hack” of the DNC servers. Much more to come. It looks as though Durham is getting close on a lot of this.

In cities across the nation this weekend, protests continued over the death of George Floyd at the hands of a Minneapolis police officer. And tragically, many of those protests turned violent, with assaults, rioting, burning and looting; from New York City, where two Brooklyn attorneys were arrested over the throwing of a Molotov cocktail into an empty police car

…to Dallas, where a man carrying a machete and allegedly trying to protect his neighborhood was brutally beaten, stoned and left bleeding on the sidewalk.

Federal authorities believe that the radical leftist organization Antifa, which has been staging violent political demonstrations for several years, is behind much of the rioting. Democrats and liberals in the media deny that and are blaming the riots on outside “white supremacists” (Prof. Glenn Reynolds wryly commented, “These riots are entirely justified responses to systemic racism, and the only possible way to force social change, and they’re being instigated by white supremacists”), or on their favorite scapegoat for every story that makes the left look bad, Russian agents.

No, seriously. I wouldn’t joke about this subject, although blaming the current riots and looting on Russia is the most laughable excuse I’ve heard since Hunter Biden claimed that Russian hackers must’ve set up his account at the cheaters’ website, Ashley Madison.

In fact, jail records show most of the arrestees have Minnesota addresses (the looting is largely done by locals), and officials say the hardcore riot-instigating outsiders who were arrested were mostly white, far-left agitators and that “far-right groups have not yet made a significant appearance.”

In a (in my opinion) long-overdue move, President Trump officially declared Antifa to be a domestic terrorist organization, which will help unleash the FBI to investigate and prosecute them for organizing criminal and terrorist activities across state lines (don’t forget the RICO Act, too.) This will also help unveil communications between this group and its secret supporters, which will undoubtedly result in a lot of outraged howling from certain moneyed circles.

Attorney General Bill Barr released a statement explaining the move, which makes the very important point that this is not aimed at prosecuting peaceful protesters but at people who are hijacking the protest movement and ginning up violence and looting that is destroying minority neighborhoods, homes and businesses. Their mindless violence harms the cause of people seeking legitimate reform as much as it harms the quality of life in our cities.

For too long, this group has been indulged like spoiled children throwing a tantrum in the Walmart candy aisle. It’s time that they learned there are serious consequences for serious crimes. Kurt Schlichter put it succinctly when he said that the minute these trust fund babies realize that they’re looking at five years in Leavenworth instead of a small fine and a slap on the wrist, they will start squealing about who’s behind it all. He said, “The $600-an-hour lawyer that daddy hired will tell authorities, ‘Kayden is going to cooperate.’”

(Incidentally, if you think that’s an unfounded stereotype, here’s what a study in Germany revealed about the makeup of radical leftists arrested for violent protests

Apparently, the message about what Antifa is and what it’s really doing, to the detriment of every side of this issue, is lost on the offspring of some blue-state officials where the rioting and looting is at its worst. Jeremiah Ellison is the son of Minnesota Attorney General Keith Ellison. He’s also a Minneapolis City Councilman, so he should be old enough to know better than to take to Twitter and officially declare his support for Antifa.

Then again, his dad, who will be expected to oversee the administration of justice against organizers of mob violence, should also be mature enough to know that, but isn’t.

If these are the blue state officials that local residents have to rely on to keep violent radicals from burning down their homes and looting their businesses, then it’s no wonder the feds have to step in. The protesters chant, “No justice, no peace,” but they should realize that peaceful protests will not be heard as long as there’s no justice applied to the violent radicals who are hijacking their movement, harming the very people they claim to want to help, and turning the public against them.

If you’ve seen movies or TV shows about the FBI and CIA, you’re familiar with the expression, “That’s on a need-to-know basis.” Traditionally, even members of the intelligence community weren’t necessarily entitled to a given piece of information. That changed on January 12, 2017, through modifications in Executive Order #12333, just as President Obama was on his way out the door. (Goodness, those first three weeks in January were a flurry of behind-the-scenes activity.)

Even at the time, there was interest in Obama’s rationale for doing this. THE ATLANTIC ran a piece by Kavey Waddell called “Why Is Obama Expanding Surveillance Powers Right Before He Leaves Office,” which suggested, perversely, that it was somehow to keep incoming President Trump from “encroaching even further on civil liberties.” What a joke; little did leftists know then that it was not Trump but the ‘deep state’ bureaucracy left in place under Obama that would be encroaching on civil liberties big-time in the months to come.

https://www.theatlantic.com/technology/archive/2017/01/obama-expanding-nsa-powers/513041/

Thanks to Dan Bongino for citing this piece and taking us all down memory lane. Certainly there were questions at the time on both sides of the aisle about why Obama would do this just as he was leaving the White House. But recent revelations about the phony “Trump-Russia” investigation and the runaway unmasking of names connected with Trump are shedding light on this in a way never dreamed of in January of 2017.

What Obama did with Executive Order #12333 was to finalize new rules that allowed the National Security Agency to share information combed from its vast international surveillance capability with the 16 other intelligence agencies. These agencies would be able to apply for access to raw NSA intelligence, and their analysts would then be able to sift through this information unencumbered, BEFORE IMPLEMENTING REQUIRED PRIVACY PROTECTIONS. Before this, the NSA was required to apply those protections BEFORE sending information to other agencies.

The piece in THE ATLANTIC is an interview between Waddell and Susan Hennessey, managing editor of LAWFARE and previously an attorney in the NSA general counsel’s office, a person who actually believed --- I kid you not --- that this rule change was put in place to help discourage TRUMP from violating civil liberties. She said the regulations, coming at that time, might serve as “a huge source of comfort.” Waddell agreed:  “...While the changes may subject more Americans to warrantless surveillance, the last-minute timing of the announcement actually might have been designed to cut future privacy losses.” Huh?

Read the article and note the way Hennessey "minimized" (ha) the effect that these rule changes would have on privacy. She reassured us that other agencies would have to “provide justification” for why they needed access to the data. (Yes, we’ve seen since then how that requirement has held them in check.)

Hennessey said she wasn't concerned that Americans could be caught up in warrantless searches from being caught up in the raw intelligence that was shared. “Look, she told the interviewer, “I think it’s important to understand that these minimizing procedures are taken very seriously, and all other agencies that are handling raw signals intelligence are essentially going to have to import these very complex oversight and compliance mechanisms that currently exist at the NSA.”

I’ll pause while you fall to the floor helpless with laughter.

Recovered? Well, here’s more: “Within the NSA, those are extremely strong and protective mechanisms. I think people should feel reassured that the rules cannot be violated --- certainly not without it coming to the attention of oversight and compliance bodies. I am confident that all of the agencies in the U.S. intelligence community will discharge those very same obligations with the same level of diligence and rigor, adhering to both the spirit and letter of the law.”

Makes you want to laugh till you cry. I wonder if Bill Barr is laughing...or crying.

Oh, gosh, here’s even more amusement: “...I think the bottom line is that it’s comforting to a large national security community that these are procedures that are signed off by Director of National Intelligence James Clapper and Attorney General Loretta Lynch, and not by the DNI and attorney general that will ultimately be confirmed under the Trump administration.”

Well, THAT’S a relief!  Why, Trump might try to defy Americans’ constitutional rights, and the Obama people would NEVER have done that.

Hennessey concludes, “If there’s a silver lining to some of the ANXIETIES THAT THE INCOMING ADMINISTRATION HAS PRODUCED [emphasis mine], I think it’s the potential to move the conversation into a much more productive place.” Funny, I think it's the abuses of Obama’s administration, not Trump’s, that have brought us to the “productive” conversation we need to have about the intelligence community.

In his Thursday podcast, Bongino took a look at Obama’s order #12333 and noted that the day it was signed, January 12, coincides with the final unmasking request on Michael Flynn, made by Joe Biden. He postulates that after the rule changes on intelligence sharing, formal unmasking requests were no longer needed. By then, they had what they needed on Flynn, and #12333 made it possible for them to use “evidence” of a crime that was seized “incidentally” (while they were recording Ambassador Kislyak’s calls). That’s how they were able to criminally investigate Flynn, send the two agents 12 days later to interview the unsuspecting Flynn, and all the rest.

Remember that this particular call with Kislyak, the one on December 29, 2016, was NEVER unmasked, because Obama’s Presidential Briefing staff had told the FBI to get it. The narrative was that Flynn was picked up “incidentally,” but he really wasn’t. They were listening very intentionally. As Bongino explained, this executive order provided cover and allowed them to use the call. (Even though he never said anything inappropriate during the call, they absurdly tried to stretch the Logan Act to cover it.)

The media --- Exhibit A: that piece in THE ATLANTIC --- ran with their idiotic cover story: that Obama changed these rules because of anxiety that TRUMP would tread on Americans’ civil liberties. They really did it to stomp all over Mike Flynn’s civil liberties and to give themselves cover to do it.

By the way, I mentioned yesterday that we should mark our calendars for former acting Attorney General Rod Rosenstein’s testimony before the Senate Judiciary Committee on June 3, and now, Elizabeth Vaughn at RedState.com has just posted a great piece expressing the same enthusiasm.

https://www.redstate.com/elizabeth-vaughn/2020/05/27/844759/

Vaughn explains that it’s no accident Rosenstein is first up. The FBI’s own documentation shows that by the time Rosenstein appointed Mueller to be special counsel, he’d already been briefed that President Trump was not a suspect, as they had no evidence he personally had been involved in Russian “collusion.” The sources (Christopher Steele and his sub-sources) hadn’t held up. This must be why Rosenstein expanded the scope to include Flynn’s “criminal” violation of the Logan Act.

As I said, mark your calendars.

There are a few celebrities in the news these days for making profane, threatening tweets against the President. I usually ignore these stories because I have enough kids and grandkids to know that if you reward bad behavior, you get more of it; and these spoiled children are desperately seeking attention. The worst punishment you can mete out to them isn’t criticism, it’s ignoring them. So instead of rewarding them with undeserved attention, I thought I’d shine a spotlight on a few celebrities who are using their fame to make a positive difference.

First, how about a hand for Matthew McConaughey? He’s the spokesman for Lincoln Motors, and he convinced them to donate 110,000 face masks to rural hospitals and first responders in his home state of Texas. Then he loaded up his pickup, and he and his wife Camilla Alves hit the road to deliver them personally. Allright, allright, allright!...

Celebrity chef Guy Fieri is part of an effort to provide free meals for front line health care workers and first responders at Santa Clara, California, hospitals. One day, he not only helped make and hand out 1200 boxed lunches, he put a personal thank-you note inside each one.

Last month, country superstar Brad Paisley opened a grocery store in Nashville for people struggling to feed their families. It’s just like a regular grocery, except the food is free. It even delivers to the elderly. Brad has also launched an online song series with music stars performing to thank health care workers, and he recently recorded a personal thank-you for the nurses of Nashville’s Vanderbilt University Medical Center.

Finally, a big Huck’s Hero salute to a celebrity who does more for veterans than just about anyone I know, Gary Sinese. His foundation is donating 20,000 meals to health care workers at VA medical centers around the nation.

I’m happy to give these celebrities some recognition because what they did was meant to help others, not to get themselves publicity. Social media might be a lot more civil if all media outlets would simply adopt the same policy of not giving attention to people who only do things to get attention.

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.

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.

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.

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?

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.”

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.

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.

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.

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.

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

On the day John Ratcliffe was finally approved as Director of National Intelligence –- by a completely partisan vote –- the Michael Flynn story got even crazier.

First --- and this has received no press till now --- British ex-spy Christopher Steele, author of the fictional anti-Trump “dossier” paid for by Hillary’s campaign and the DNC, was offered money by the FBI to collect intelligence on Flynn. (Who needs Fusion GPS to pay a spy when you have the Federal Bureau of Intrusion to do it?) This happened in a meeting on October 3, 2016, in “an unnamed European city,” according to Chuck Ross at the DAILY CALLER. In addition to “significant” compensation for his spying, Steele was paid $15,000 in expenses for his trip to this city. Nice work if you can get it, especially if your "intelligence” is garbage.

That’s right, Steele was getting paid by EVERYONE. I wish I knew his secret.

This new information seems significant in light of a fake story that was being peddled about an affair between Flynn and a Russian woman. This rumor was completely unfounded, and, as described in Lee Smith’s great book THE PLOT AGAINST THE PRESIDENT, was originally set up at an event near Cambridge University much earlier, in 2014. Obama and his team had had it in for Flynn from the start, mostly due to his intense disapproval of Obama’s Iran nuclear deal and also his intention to audit and streamline the intel bureaucracy. For one thing, Flynn was planning to audit the Office of Net Assessment, which was paying “confidential human source” (SPY) Stefan Halper to do...well, whatever it was they were really paying him to do.

Ross reports, “It is not clear how and when Steele came across the rumor, or if it was the result of the FBI asking him to look into Flynn.” But actually, we do know this rumor predates Steele’s October 3 meeting. It had already been planted and was ripe for the picking.

This “new” story comes right out of Inspector General Horowitz’s report, released last December. We learn from the IG that the FBI offered to pay Steele “significantly” to collect information in three separate “buckets” that were part of Crossfire Hurricane, all to establish a relationship between the Trump campaign and Russia. According to the IG report, an FBI agent provided Steele with a “general overview” of Crossfire Hurricane, which was still ongoing, including information on the “small analytical effort” (!) they had undertaken on Paul Manafort, George Papadopoulos and Carter Page.

In fact, according to the IG report, some FBI agents thought Steele had been told too much about Crossfire Hurricane.

As Ross reports, we didn’t really know until now about Steele’s investigation of Flynn; we knew about 17 memos that covered Trump (oh yes), Page, Manafort and Michael Cohen. But in just the last few weeks, a couple of documents on Flynn have surfaced:

First, a House Intelligence Committee transcript of the testimony of John McCain associate David Kramer refers to his belief that Flynn had had an affair with a Russian woman in the U.K.

Second, an FBI memo from January 4, 2017, says a “confidential human source” told the Bureau the woman had been present at an event Flynn attended in 2014 while he was head of the Defense Intelligence Agency. This has to be the event described in THE PLOT AGAINST THE PRESIDENT; if you’ve read the book, you know the woman is Svetlana Lokhova, who, as Ross relates, became the target of a “whisper campaign” about an affair with Flynn. The gossip was that she had left the event with Flynn, but Lokhova’s husband says he personally picked her up that night. Anyway, this is how long the Obama administration and FBI have been trying to compromise Flynn.

Something else that just emerged about the Flynn case makes me think it might blow wide open. With thanks to Dan Bongino for pointing this out, President Obama’s “fixer,” former White House counsel Kathryn Ruemmler, is now attorney for...(drum roll please)...Susan Rice. Rice is under scrutiny now for her January 20, 2016, email “note to self” on her way out the White House door, the one that described an Oval Office meeting attended by Obama, Yates, Clapper, Comey, Brennan and (yes) Biden.

Ruemmler wrote in a just-released February 23, 2018, letter to Sens. Grassley, Feinstein, Graham and Whitehouse that Rice had written that memo to herself on advice of White House counsel, "given the importance and sensitivity of the subject matter.” She told them Rice hadn’t done it sooner because “that was the first opportunity she had to do so.” (Ah, of course it was.) How is it even possible to accurately memorialize a meeting that took place almost three weeks earlier? Unless, of course, your goal isn’t to accurately memorialize it, but to CYA, or C somebody’s A.

Curiously, when Rice was asked during a 2018 congressional inquiry whether she was aware of Comey’s investigation of Flynn, she said no, not until Comey testified. Given the nature of the January 2017 meeting as related by Sally Yates, it’s impossible to believe Rice. It’s hard to believe this serial liar about anything.

Bongino recommended this WASHINGTON EXAMINER story as a good example of the kind of thing Kathryn Ruemmler, as former Obama White House counsel, has been involved in as a “fixer.” Here we see her working in tandem with DNC attorneys to defend against a lawsuit by Carter Page, saying, unbelievably, that “the allegedly defamatory statements” against Page in the dossier “were substantially true” and “are capable of an innocent construction.” On what planet?

Flynn’s deputy national security adviser K. T. McFarland (whom I would guess has the best inside story of anyone), says that nothing about Rice’s email makes sense.

She told Shannon Bream at FOX NEWS that “it was an odd thing to do.” Why would you do this, she reasoned, unless you thought “somebody was potentially going to come after the fact and see that they’ve done something wrong.” Rice was making it look as though whatever they were doing was done “by the book.” What book is that, ESPIONAGE FOR DUMMIES?

McFarland said something else really interesting in light of Obama’s team debating whether they should include Flynn on classified “Russia” briefings. During a briefing three weeks prior, she said, “every other topic was mentioned,” including North Korea, China and ISIS, “but they didn’t mention anything about Russia and yet they knew, at that point, that they were about to sanction Russia for election interference.”

In other words, they had already been keeping Flynn out of the loop.

Stay tuned; much more to come. According to Sara Carter and John Solomon, Friday will bring more about the unmasking of Americans by the Obama regime, particularly John Brennan’s CIA.