If your blood does not boil; if your belief in the rule of law is not shaken; if your doubts about the “deep state” are not erased, then I question your vital signs.
What Sidney Powell and her team have unearthed, exposed, should shock any American alive.
I do not, I cannot endorse much of President Trump’s style or his methods, but if you are an American, please ask yourself: If the Democrat Party is in the White House and controls the US Congress, how and who will address the unbelievable corruption present in today’s Federal government? Who will be safe?
Not sure if the resistance will end first or we get a COVID vaccine. mrossol
So here’s the plan. We need to remove a U.S. Attorney because he’s investigating associates of the President. Let’s wait until four months before the election, and let’s do it on a Friday night so it looks suspicious and the guy can refuse to step down and make himself a martyr to the Resistance. Yeah, that’ll fool everybody.
That’s what the media and Democrats want everyone to believe about President Trump’s weekend dismissal of U.S. Attorney Geoffrey Berman. It’s more accurate to say this looks like a fiasco of bungled execution by the Administration and self-indulgence by Mr. Berman that is being overplayed as an abuse of power. In other words, it’s your average Trump melodrama.
Mr. Berman has been U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York for more than two years under a judicial appointment but was never nominated or confirmed by the Senate. Mr. Trump has every right to fire Mr. Berman as an inferior officer in the executive branch. Attorney General Bill Barr was negotiating with Mr. Berman over a transfer to another senior job on Friday when the Justice Department issued a statement that Mr. Berman is “stepping down,” which is standard Justice Department language in these cases.
The White House said at about the same time that the President would nominate SEC Chairman Jay Clayton to replace Mr. Berman. The highly competent Mr. Clayton, a New Yorker, had planned to leave the Administration but said he’d stay for the U.S. Attorney job.
Mr. Berman then issued a grandstanding press release late Friday saying he wouldn’t go until a successor was nominated and confirmed by the Senate. Mr. Trump finally fired him on Saturday at Mr. Barr’s recommendation, and Mr. Barr said in a letter to Mr. Berman that his deputy, Audrey Strauss, will replace him until a successor is confirmed.
That should end this as a legal matter. Mr. Berman doesn’t have squatter’s rights to the job, and there is no violation of law or abuse of power here.
The political cost is a different story. The Washington Resistance to Mr. Trump is portraying this as an attempt to protect his political allies. Mr. Berman has prosecuted Mr. Trump’s former associates, including attorney Michael Cohen, and the hush-money payments to Stormy Daniels. He’s also said to be investigating Deutsche Bank’s business dealings with the Trump Organization before Mr. Trump was President.
But our Justice sources say Mr. Berman’s active investigations don’t involve Mr. Trump’s allies, except a minor one related to Trump adviser Rudy Giuliani. Replacing Mr. Berman with Mr. Clayton or anyone else won’t make investigations go away. The minute anyone moved to shut one of them down, the news would leak and career prosecutors would resign. Mr. Barr’s Saturday letter to Mr. Berman said he tasked Justice Inspector General Michael Horowitz with examining any “improper interference” with current investigations. If this is a coverup, it’s the most inept in history.
The shame is that all of this wastes more of Mr. Barr’s political capital. The AG is trying to clean up the Justice Department after its 2016 campaign abuses, and U.S. Attorney John Durham is investigating what happened and why. But the media and the FBI and Justice officials who spied on Trump campaign officials, promoted the false Steele dossier, and lied to the FISA court are desperate to tarnish Mr. Barr before Mr. Durham reports. That’s what’s really behind all the outrage over what should be a routine replacement of a U.S. Attorney.
‘I know nothing about this.” That’s how Susan Rice, President Obama’s national security adviser, responded when asked on PBS’s NewsHour in March 2017 “whether Trump transition officials, including the President, may have been swept up in surveillance of foreigners at the end of the Obama administration?”
Now we know that denial wasn’t true. The evidence comes from her own hand. In her last minutes in government, on the day of Donald Trump’s inauguration, she sent herself an email to memorialize an Oval Office meeting two weeks earlier. Its attendees included Barack Obama, Joe Biden, FBI Director James Comey, Acting Attorney General Sally Yates and herself. A newly declassified paragraph from that email quotes Mr. Comey talking about the monitoring of Trump adviser Michael Flynn’s conversations with then Russian ambassador Sergey Kislyak.
The timing of that meeting is illuminating. The day before, Jan. 4, 2017, internal FBI documents show the bureau was planning to close its investigation into Mr. Flynn’s ties to Russia because agents had found no evidence of wrongdoing.
The day after, on Jan. 6, Mr. Comey gave his now notorious briefing to President-elect Trump. He mentioned the lurid claims from the Steele dossier. But, incredibly, Mr. Comey did not tell the incoming President the concerns he had expressed the day before to President Obama about the danger of Mr. Flynn’s passing classified information to the Russians. No doubt that is because he wanted to keep from Mr. Trump that the FBI was investigating his team.
The larger truth here is now undeniable: The Obama Administration spied on the political competition, it continued that spying even after Mr. Trump was elected, and then it tried to cover up what it had done. If Mr. Trump had done anything remotely similar, folks would be calling to bring back the guillotine.
Today U.S. Attorney John Durham is overseeing a criminal investigation of the investigators, and perhaps there will be indictments. But even after separate House and Senate inquiries, a nearly two-year investigation by Inspector General Michael Horowitz and the new evidence unearthed by Justice in its reexamination of its prosecution of Mr. Flynn, the American people still lack what they most need: a full explanation of who did what and why.
Which brings us back to Ms. Rice’s running-out-the-door email. Ms. Rice now says she wrote it at the direction of White House counsel. Certainly that would make sense if the purpose was to insulate Mr. Obama, and her email says the President wanted everything done “by the book.” Which is what you write, two weeks after the event, if you want to protect your boss from future investigators.
The Administration knew President Trump would sooner or later discover that his team had been spied on. As former federal prosecutor Andrew McCarthy has noted, the likeliest explanation for Ms. Rice’s memo was to have on the record a note that would “shift responsibility from President Obama to FBI Director Comey for the pursuit of the Trump-Russia probe.”
Ms. Rice now wants the Trump Administration to release the Flynn-Kislyak transcripts, which she says will vindicate the Obama team’s concerns about Mr. Flynn. By all means, let’s see those transcripts and more. We now know the Obama Administration used intelligence and law enforcement to go after the political opposition. We can also see that they are still now working overtime to keep the American people from getting to the full truth.
If Shiff was the CEO of a publicly traded company he would have been fired long ago. mrossol
Americans expect that politicians will lie, but sometimes the examples are so brazen that they deserve special notice. Newly released Congressional testimony shows that Adam Schiff spread falsehoods shamelessly about Russia and Donald Trump for three years even as his own committee gathered contrary evidence.
The House Intelligence Committee last week released 57 transcripts of interviews it conducted in its investigation into Russia’s meddling in the 2016 election. The committee probe started in January 2017 under then-Chair Devin Nunes and concluded in March 2018 with a report finding no evidence that the Trump campaign conspired with the Kremlin. Most of the transcripts were ready for release long ago, but Mr. Schiff oddly refused to release them after he became chairman in 2019. He only released them last week when the White House threatened to do it first.
Now we know why. From the earliest days of the collusion narrative, Mr. Schiff insisted that he had evidence proving the plot. In March 2017 on MSNBC, Mr. Schiff teased that he couldn’t “go into particulars, but there is more than circumstantial evidence now.”
In December 2017 he told CNN that collusion was a fact: “The Russians offered help, the campaign accepted help. The Russians gave help and the President made full use of that help.” In April 2018, Mr. Schiff released his response to Mr. Nunes’s report, stating that its finding of no collusion “was unsupported by the facts and the investigative record.”
None of this was true, and Mr. Schiff knew it. In July 2017, here’s what former Director of National Intelligence James Clapper told Mr. Schiff and his colleagues: “I never saw any direct empirical evidence that the Trump campaign or someone in it was plotting/conspiring with the Russians to meddle with the election.” Three months later, former Obama Attorney General Loretta Lynch agreed that while she’d seen “concerning” information, “I don’t recall anything being briefed up to me.” Former Deputy AG Sally Yates concurred several weeks later: “We were at the fact-gathering stage here, not the conclusion stage.”
The same goes for the FBI agents who started the collusion probe in 2016. Most remarkable, former FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe admitted the bureau’s reason for opening the case was nonsense. Asked in December 2017 why the FBI obtained a secret surveillance warrant on former Trump aide Carter Page, rather than on George Papadopoulos (whose casual conversation with a foreign diplomat was the catalyst for the probe), Mr. McCabe responded: “Papadopoulos’ comment didn’t particularly indicate that he was the person that had had—that was interacting with the Russians.” No one else was either.
On it went, a parade of former Obama officials who declared under oath they’d seen no evidence of collusion or conspiracy—Susan Rice, Ben Rhodes, Samantha Power. Interviews with Trump campaign or Administration officials also yielded no collusion evidence. Mr. Schiff had access to these transcripts even as he claimed he had “ample” proof of collusion and wrote his false report.
He’s still making it up. Last week he said the transcripts contain “evidence of the Trump campaign’s efforts to invite, make use of, and cover up Russia’s help in the 2016 presidential election.”
The question we’d ask our friends in the media is when are they going to stop playing the fool by putting him on the air? Mr. Schiff is a powerful figure with access to secrets that the rest of us don’t have and can’t check. He misled the country repeatedly on an issue that consumed American politics.
President Trump often spreads falsehoods and invents facts, but at least he’s paid a price for it in media criticism and public mistrust. An industry of media fact checkers is dedicated to parsing his every word. As for Mr. Schiff, no one should ever believe another word he says.