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?
‘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 they [bad political, partisan actors] can do it to an honorable Army general, they can do it to you.” I applaud this result, but my paranoia remains. There remains much house cleaning yet to be done in the FBI and Justice Department. mrossol
WSJ – 5/12/2020
The Justice Department dropped its case against Michael Flynn on Thursday, “with prejudice,” in a legal filing that should echo far beyond this tragedy of justice delayed. The latest evidence further undermines the credibility of James Comey’s FBI, special counsel Robert Mueller, and the entire “Russia collusion” investigation.
The retired Army general had initially pleaded guilty to making false statements to the FBI on Jan. 24, 2017, when two agents interviewed him at the White House shortly after he took over as Donald Trump’s national security adviser. But he later reversed his plea as new information emerged that the FBI may have tried to entrap him.
The documents filed on Thursday in federal court vindicate the general’s reversal. Justice said the FBI’s interview of Mr. Flynn was “untethered to, and unjustified by, the FBI’s counterintelligence investigation into Mr. Flynn,” and that the interview was not “conducted with a legitimate investigative basis.”
We recommend the filing for readers who think this couldn’t happen in America. The filing recounts how the FBI had concluded in late 2016 that there was no evidence that Mr. Flynn had colluded with Russia. But the FBI kept the investigation open after it received a transcript of Mr. Flynn’s conversation with the Russian ambassador to the U.S.
Mr. Comey and his loyalists then set up Mr. Flynn in an interview despite having no legal basis. The documents show that Mr. Comey told his deputies not to inform the White House general counsel of the visit and not to tell the White House about his conversation with the ambassador. They also show that Mr. Comey worked around senior Justice officials, including Acting Attorney General Sally Yates, who thought the White House should be informed. As he did with Attorney General Loretta Lynch on Hillary Clinton’s emails, Mr. Comey acted as if he was a law unto himself.
At the time the agents admitted they did not think Mr. Flynn was lying to them. But as the Justice filing notes, without a legitimate investigative purpose, whether Mr. Flynn was lying was immaterial. He should never have been prosecuted.
Yet Mr. Mueller, who knew all this soon after becoming special counsel, pursued Mr. Flynn, threatening him and his son with ruin until he got the guilty plea. The prosecutor on the case, Brandon Van Grack, was part of Mr. Mueller’s team and consistently denied there was relevant material the government had not turned over to the defense.
But surely the lack of a legal predicate for the interview was exculpatory. Mr. Van Grack told the court Thursday he is withdrawing from the case, but an investigation is warranted to see if he lied to the court. Mr. Mueller’s reputation also stands self-besmirched, and the entire Russia collusion probe looks even more illegitimate and political.
All of this came to light after Attorney General Bill Barr assigned another U.S. Attorney, Jeffrey Jensen, to look at the Flynn case anew. The partisan press will portray this as a political decision done to please Mr. Trump. But Mr. Jensen is a long-time veteran of Justice and the FBI. He is not someone who would seek to damage those institutions for political purposes.
Mr. Jensen put it this way in a statement Thursday: “Through the course of my review of General Flynn’s case, I concluded the proper and just course was to dismiss the case. I briefed Attorney General Barr on my findings, advised him on these conclusions and he agreed.”
Messrs. Jensen and Barr deserve credit for a brave decision that will not be popular with some prosecutors and certainly not with the Democratic media. But as the filing notes, the cause of justice is paramount, even after a guilty plea has been made, if the evidence demands a reversal.
There is still much we don’t know, and many Russia-related documents we still do not have, and we hope Mr. Barr will continue to make them public as he cleans up after one of the most shameful episodes in FBI and Justice Department history. For now, at least Michael Flynn can get his life and reputation back.
WSJ 5/11/2020 by Homan W Jenkins, Jr.
Sound bite purveyors will do their best to portray Gen. Mike Flynn as a hardened criminal whom the Justice Department just let go as a favor to Donald Trump. The case unraveled because there was no case, as was revealed partly by an FBI memo asking if Mr. Flynn was being targeted for political reasons. Both Mr. Flynn’s interrogator (Peter Strzok) and FBI chief James Comey never thought he lied about his conversation with the Russian ambassador. The FBI never recommended criminal charges. It was the Robert Mueller task force that ginned up a case and used threats against Mr. Flynn’s son to extort Mr. Flynn’s guilty plea. Why?
As I’ve pointed out, the massive U.S. intelligence establishment had looked and found no evidence of Russia collusion by the time Mr. Mueller was named special counsel. He knew there was nothing there (and laughable was the idea that Mr. Trump could have eluded our professionals).
The Steele dossier was known to consist of silly inventions and scrapings from the internet, likely tainted by Kremlin disinformation. Charges leveled at Trump associates would be limited to lying about noncrimes—no collusion was alleged against anybody.
Then there is the intrigue that hasn’t been aired or disclosed, which remains hidden in a classified report by the Justice Department inspector general. This concerns the alleged Russian intelligence that FBI Director Comey used to justify his unprecedented, improper and insubordinate interventions in the Hillary Clinton email case.
I cannot stress too much the dereliction of the press since the flurry of disclosures in May 2017 by the New York Times, the Washington Post and CNN that Mr. Comey’s doings were triggered by a Russian intercept that his FBI colleagues believed to be false and possibly a plant.
This intelligence appeared to reveal named Democrats and Obama officials discussing a conspiracy to bury the Clinton investigation. Either Mr. Comey ignored this evidence and implicitly became party to the conspiracy’s alleged goal of liberating Mrs. Clinton from her email travails, or he exploited fabricated Russian intelligence to facilitate the same end.
Then, when the Anthony Weiner laptop surfaced, he tried to finesse a new dilemma by reopening the Clinton case in a way that (to Mr. Comey’s later professed nausea) may well have shifted the election to Mr. Trump.
The press and the American public may continue to ignore these events, but it would not have been lost on Mr. Mueller that the FBI’s galumphing actions were likely to become the story of the decade once the Trump collusion story fell apart as Mr. Mueller knew it would.
Rate the travesties as you will: the FBI’s role in promoting Mr. Trump’s victory or its role in promoting the subsequent Russia collusion canard. It’s hard to see Mr. Mueller’s forceful pursuit of guilty pleas from Gen. Flynn and others over trivial matters as anything but an attempt to weave a distracting patina of legitimacy around the FBI’s election-year actions.
Even so, it’s hard to imagine future historians ignoring the truth. Our hugely expensive intelligence establishment made a fool out of itself and our democracy over two likely low-budget Russian intelligence pranks: the Steele dossier and the fake information that sparked Mr. Comey’s Hillary interventions.
Unlike previous disclosures of intelligence- agency skulduggery, these episodes do not emit any faint air of competence or zealousness in the national interest. They involve the FBI messing with the most sacrosanct of our democratic rituals, the selection of a national leader, and so clumsily that it produced the opposite of its intended result.
I have speculated that some patriotic desire to protect America’s faith in its government may be behind the resulting coverup, or simply a desire to protect the FBI, an agency Mr. Mueller once headed. But I doubt our press has any such higher purpose. It has become so besotted with availability bias—a social science term for the need to conform to accepted tropes—that it no longer has a nose for a real story. Instead it relies on leaks, and even whole “narratives,” dropped in its lap by manipulators who assure reporters they are on the side of the angels. This is what accomplished leakers like Mr. Comey have done for years but the William Barr Justice Department apparently won’t. It waits for a supposedly independent press to show up with intelligent questions that never come.
Source: The Wall Street Journal