TriggerFinger


The deep state will try to defend Ohr

They didn't put up much of a fight over firing Strzok, Page, and so on. But there's a very odd op-ed over at the Washington Examiner...

Washington Examiner
National security attorney Mark Zaid once represented a client who was at risk of losing his security clearance "because he stole pens from an embassy when he was 14 years old," or so the agency he was at odds with claimed. The "ludicrous" example, as Zaid described it, was used to block his client from accessing sensitive information, thus precluding him from performing the duties of his job after he fell "out of favor" with his boss.

It's that sort of thing — the stealing of pens as an adolescent or the failure to report meetings with foreign officials as set forth by guidelines — that President Trump could rely on to strip Justice Department official Bruce Ohr of his security clearance.

Yes, he's seriously going to compare what Bruce Ohr did to stealing pens from am embassy at 14.

(Read More...)

Fri Aug 17 13:45:25 CDT 2018 by TriggerFinger. Comments [Tweet]

Who assigned Ohr to work on Spygate?

Rosenstein said it wasn't him. The Federalist makes a good case it was Sally Yates, who resigned rather than defend Trump's travel ban in court. That decision may have made headlines at the time, but it may also have removed her from a position where she could influence ongoing events in the Spygate matter. Oops.

Categories Spygate

Thu Aug 16 15:28:03 CDT 2018 by TriggerFinger. Comments [Tweet]

Well, isn't this interesting?

The Obama admin stripped a Trump-supporting Pentagon analyst of his security clearance after the analyst complained about contracts with one Stefan Halper.

Washington Times“Nobody in the office seemed to know what Halper was doing for his money,” Mr. Bigley said. “Adam said Jim Baker, the director, kept Halper’s contracts very close to the vest. And nobody seemed to have any idea what he was doing at the time. He subcontracted out a good chunk of it to other academics. He would compile them all and then collect the balance as his fee as a middleman. That was very unusual.”

We are now pretty sure what Halper was doing for the money. He was trying to rig the election. And the White House stripped his clearances to shut him up -- both in general, and to prevent him accessing anything Halper was doing with his clearances.

Never mind that the other person he complained about was Chelsea Clinton.

Thu Aug 16 09:28:10 CDT 2018 by TriggerFinger. Comments [Tweet]

White House revokes ex-CIA director Brennan's security clearance

PJMediaThis just in: The White House has revoked the security clearance of John Brennan, former director of the CIA, who has been a vocal critic of President Trump:

I hope they ran a few canary traps across his desk before they cut off access.

UPDATE: This part reads like the velvet glove over the iron fist.

Politico "More broadly, the issue of Mr. Brennan's security clearance raises larger questions about the practice of former officials maintaining access to our nation's most sensitive secrets long after their time in government has ended," Sanders said.

If that isn't a veiled threat to Obama and Clinton, who are both "former officials" who presumably maintain their prior security clearances, I'll eat a MAGA hat.

Categories Spygate

Wed Aug 15 15:52:04 CDT 2018 by TriggerFinger. Comments [Tweet]

FBI paid Steele for dossier

One of the other big revelations from this Friday's document dump was the fact that the FBI did in fact pay Steele for his dossier work. This was rumored before, but now we know. This raises some interesting questions (like, was he getting paid twice for the same work?), but the main impact of this fact is that the FBI was funding Clinton's opposition research and smear campaign. Almost certainly knowing about his political motives and source of other funding.

It's one thing to take in information passively about a political figure, and investigate it if there is some merit and the information can be confirmed. It's quite another to pay the opposition research out of FBI coffers while he is no doubt continuing to dig up dirt. By nature of his employment, you can't trust the oppo guy to give you good information, and you certainly can't fund his efforts to get (or make up) more for political purposes.

Categories Spygate

Sun Aug 05 09:57:54 CDT 2018 by TriggerFinger. Comments [Tweet]

IG Horowitz is a coverup artist

Daily SignalGohmert asked Strzok about his meeting in 2016 with Frank Rucker and Janette
McMillan, an investigator and lawyer, respectively, for then-Intelligence Community Inspector General Chuck McCullough (an Obama appointee).

McCullough sent them to see Strzok, who was the FBI’s deputy assistant director for the Counterintelligence Division, to brief him and three other FBI personnel about an “anomaly” that their forensic analysis had found in Clinton’s server.

According to Gohmert, the inspector general discovered that, with four exceptions, “every single one” of Clinton’s emails—more than 30,000—“were going to an address that was not on the distribution list.”

In other words, according to the information Gohmert received from the intelligence inspector general, something was causing Clinton’s server to send copies of all of her email communications outside of the country “to an unauthorized source that was a foreign entity unrelated to Russia.”

One of the other disturbing bits of information that came out of this exchange was that, according to Gohmert, the Office of the Intelligence Community Inspector General called Michael Horowitz, the inspector general of the Department of Justice, “four times” because it wanted to brief Horowitz about this forensic analysis and this security breach. But, according to Gohmert, Horowitz “never returned the call.”

The fact that Horowitz refused to take calls on this casts his entire report into doubt. His job wasn't to fix the problems, it was yet another modified limited hangout. Drop the information already known, but keep the remedies in-house and out of course by refusing to admit to bias actually influencing anything even in the face of overwhelming evidence.

Sat Jul 28 10:45:03 CDT 2018 by TriggerFinger. Comments [Tweet]

Mueller now scrutinizing Trump's tweets

American SpectatorThe New York Times reports that special counsel Robert Mueller “is scrutinizing tweets and negative statements from the president about Attorney General Jeff Sessions and the former FBI director James B. Comey.” “Mr. Mueller wants to question the president about the tweets,” a line in the New York Times reads.

This is just getting absurd.

Categories Spygate

Fri Jul 27 13:04:59 CDT 2018 by TriggerFinger. Comments [Tweet]

Articles of Impeachment introduced against... Rosenstein?

The only problem with the idea of impeaching Rosenstein is that the Senate will never vote to convict. That said, a vote to impeach in the House would give Trump political cover to remove Rosenstein without being credibly accused of obstruction of justice. ("I don't want anyone in my administration who has been impeached by the House" is an entirely justifiable reason for firing Rosenstein). Similar rules can be applied to lower level officials with a simple majority in the House; the Senate might need some fiddling but putting the rule in a reconciliation bill should let it through with a simple majority. And the principle would be a significant step towards accountability when the President is, unfortunately, politically hamstrung by a conspiracy against him among his own officials.

Fri Jul 27 11:05:05 CDT 2018 by TriggerFinger. Comments [Tweet]

More Cohen data leaked in violation of attorney-client privilege

Details here. Fox says the tape came from Lanny Davis, Cohen's attorney, rather than the police who raided Cohen. Whether this represents Cohen being cooperative, or Cohen making a desperate cry for help from Trump (financial or otherwise), is unknown. As far as I am concerned, the contents of the tape are a nothingburger; it's Trump discussing whether and/or how to pay off a playboy playmate to keep quiet about an alleged affair from over 10 years ago. If there's a crime here, it's blackmail, and Trump is the victim, and then doubly so for Cohen, his attorney, violating attorney-client privilege to release the tape, never mind taping his client in the first place. I don't give a shit about an alleged consensual affair while Trump was a private citizen.

Categories Spygate

Wed Jul 25 12:40:02 CDT 2018 by TriggerFinger. Comments [Tweet]

The Buck Stops at the Obama White House

Investor's Business DailyHere's what Obama's Director of National Intelligence, the nation's former spy master, James Clapper, told CNN's Anderson Cooper:

"If it weren't for President Obama we might not have done the intelligence community assessment that we did that set up a whole sequence of event which are still unfolding today, including Special Counsel (Robert) Mueller's investigation. President Obama is responsible for that. It was he who tasked us to do that intelligence community assessment in the first place."

Remember Strzok's text: "The White House is running this."

Tue Jul 24 16:52:25 CDT 2018 by TriggerFinger. Comments [Tweet]

House Intel committee asks POTUS to declassify part of FISA app

Sara CarterIn a letter released Sunday night, the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence is requesting that President Donald Trump declassify roughly 19 pages of the fourth application of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) warrant on Carter Page. The committee claims this effort is necessary to expose the irregularities in how the FBI and Department of Justice obtained the renewal warrants that lasted for nearly a year.

I sure would like to know what the House Intel committee thinks is under the redactions on those pages. You may also be interested in the broader summary of issues with the application. And they are serious issues. Andrew McCarthy, who spent some time defending the FISA application before he actually saw it, said this:

Andrew McCarthy at National ReviewIn my public comments Sunday morning, I observed that the newly disclosed FISA applications are so shoddy that the judges who approved them ought to be asked some hard questions.
[...]
It turns out, however, that the crazies were right and I was wrong. The FBI (and, I’m even more sad to say, my Justice Department) brought the FISA court the Steele-dossier allegations, relying on Steele’s credibility without verifying his information.
[...]
I am embarrassed by this not just because I assured people it could not have happened, and not just because it is so beneath the bureau — especially in a politically fraught case in which the brass green-lighted the investigation of a presidential campaign. I am embarrassed because what happened here flouts rudimentary investigative standards.

One of the questions that needs to be asked is "Is this the usual evidentiary standard for FISA cases?"

If so, the court needs to be shut down as a rubber stamp and the entire process redesigned and reformed.

If not, the judges who approved this application need to be examined for evidence of bias along with the FBI, DOJ, and intelligence community.

Categories Spygate

Tue Jul 24 09:52:25 CDT 2018 by TriggerFinger. Comments [Tweet]

Trump considering revoking clearances of some Obama officials

TwitterPress Sec. Sanders: "Not only is the president looking to take away Brennan's security clearance, he's also looking into the security clearances of Comey, Clapper, Hayden, Rice, and McCabe...because they've politicized and in some cases monetized their public service."

With the exception of Hayden, whose name I don't recognize offhand, all of these people deserve to lose their clearances.

Comey: leaking to the press in an effort to impeach the president, lying to the president, being a weasel and doing weasel things.

Clapper: Involvement in the FISA abuse against the Trump campaign and administration, and leaking.

Brennan: Involvement in the FISA abuse against the Trump campaign and administration, and leaking. Plus voting for a communist party candidate.

Hayden: Unknown?

Rice: Unmasking and lying about it.

McCabe: Already fired for lying and leaking, participated in the FISA abuse, and his wife took political contributions from Clinton while he was running the investigation into her emails.

UPDATE: Hayden was a CIA director for Bush and has been outspokenly anti-Trump. I'm not sure if frothing at the mouth while calling the current president Hitler is outside the bounds people holding a security clearance, but this one still seems a little questionable to me. Given their involvement in abusing the intelligence agencies against Trump, however, the rest should lose their clearances immediately.

Categories Spygate

Mon Jul 23 15:11:40 CDT 2018 by TriggerFinger. Comments [Tweet]

House Judiciary Committee passes resolution demanding docs

Sara CarterThe House Judiciary Committee approved for the first time a resolution Tuesday demanding that Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein turn over all requested documents regarding the FBI’s handling of the Russia investigation during the presidential election after seven days or face possible impeachment or contempt.

The decision to move forward with the resolution came after a year of battles with the Justice Department and FBI to turn over requested documents. The committee voted on party lines 15-11 to pass the resolution directing Rosenstein to comply within the next seven days or face the consequences.

Rep. Jim Jordan, R-Ohio, who has been one of the lawmakers at the frontlines of the committee’s investigation, said the resolution is the result of the frustration felt among lawmakers conducting oversight. He noted that it will be up to House Republican leaders to decide whether or not to take it to the full House for a vote...

House Speaker Paul Ryan, R-Wis., said last week they are not taking contempt charges off the table. He told reporters on Tuesday “we do expect full compliance very, very soon, and if we do not get that then we will keep every single option available to us.”

Speaker Ryan has been generally squishier than I would like on this, but he appears to be on board for the moment. Presumably the testimony from Wray and Rosenstein Thursday will be their last chance to make excuses.

Categories Spygate

Tue Jun 26 16:18:38 CDT 2018 by TriggerFinger. Comments [Tweet]

Trump tower meeting a nothingburger, says translator for Veselnitskaya

Washington ExaminerOne person who was listening closely in the meeting and is thought to have an unbiased view of events was a man named Anatoli Samochornov, who was there as a translator for Veselnitskaya, who knew very little English.

Samochornov was in the room for the entire meeting and did not remember anyone bringing up Goldstone's original email promising dirt on Clinton. He did not remember Trump Jr., Manafort, or Kushner asking any of the Russians any questions. He did not remember anyone mentioning that any sort of information might be provided in the future. He did not remember anyone mentioning Hillary Clinton, or negative information on Hillary Clinton. He did not remember anyone discussing a future meeting. (Samochornov also testified about a lunch the Russian participants had before the Trump Tower meeting. He did not remember anyone mentioning providing negative information about Clinton, or anyone mentioning Clinton at all.)

Samochornov did remember one thing that Donald Trump Jr. said during the meeting. At the end, he testified, Trump Jr. said that "if or when my father becomes president, we will revisit this issue."

Investigators asked what Samochornov thought Trump Jr. meant by that. "Frankly, if you are asking for my reaction, it was a very polite way of saying, 'Thank you very much. It's time for you to go. The meeting's over.'"

We don't have to take just his word for it. Remember, Fusion GPS was taking money from Russians to lobby Trump about the Magnitsky Act even as they were taking money from Hillary to "investigate" Trump. They could kill two birds with one stone by setting up a meeting with Trump Jr under false pretenses of providing dirt on Hillary and using it to try to sell Trump Jr on the Magnitsky act changes they wanted.

Fri Jun 22 15:52:55 CDT 2018 by TriggerFinger. Comments [Tweet]

Reading between the lines

PJmediaSenate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) said there was "nothing particularly surprising" revealed in a classified briefing Thursday about oversight of the FBI's campaign-season investigation into Russia's influence operation and possible Trump campaign contacts...

Nunes did not comment after the meeting. CNN reported that he and Gowdy didn't get to see all of the documents they were wanting to view.

McConnell is one of the "gang of eight" Brennan briefed about the operation. Of course he wasn't surprised; he's heard it all before, at least assuming Brennan's individual briefings to each Gang of 8 member actually contained the same information. (I'm skeptical about that; why brief them individually then?)

So I'm not surprised that McConnell isn't surprised. McConnell is a swamp creature. The sooner he circles the drain, the better.

Despite the White House chief of staff showing up before the meeting to state the President's position that all possible information should be shared, the FBI and DOJ are still covering things up.

Mon Jun 18 10:28:45 CDT 2018 by TriggerFinger. Comments [Tweet]

The special counsel as political tool

LifezetteTo media critics of President Donald Trump, suggestions that independent counsel Robert Mueller may “meddle’ in this year’s midterm elections were beyond the pale. But a trip through the history pages reveals just how impactful a special counsel can be on voting.

In 1992, special prosecutor Lawrence Walsh got a grand jury to return a high-profile indictment in the Iran-Contra affair days before the election. Many outside observers believe the timing was no coincidence.

“It may have cost George Bush the election, because he was making up a point a day (in the polls) … Those indictments just ruined Bush’s momentum,” presidential history Craig Shirley said.

Of course this is what Mueller is going to do. There was never any doubt. Right before the election, he delivers his big indictments (or his report, if he can't actually get anything solid enough to indict), setting up a "blue wave" in the House followed immediately by impeachment hearings that last two more years and culminate in an impeachment vote immediately before the 2020 presidential election.

Derailing that won't be easy, but throwing Clinton and Obama and their minions in jail for abusing the national security infrastructure to steal a national election might just do it.

Sun Jun 17 15:27:46 CDT 2018 by TriggerFinger. Comments [Tweet]

Rosenstein should recuse himself from Mueller investigation

Ace of SpadesWe have here an allegation by the former Deputy Director of the FBI that Rosenstein participated in a cover-up of Trump's alleged obstruction of justice (consisting of the firing of Comey). In McCabe's view, Rosenstein's memo was written just to justify an illegal act.

And Rosenstein went along with it.

And McCabe has passed this memo along to Mueller -- who is, technically, Rosenstein's subordinate.

That puts Rosenstein in the same position that Sessions was in when he recused himself -- overseeing an investigation in which he himself might become a subject, and whose presence in the chain of command would be read as a "back off' signal to any subordinate digging into his role.

Sessions recused himself.

Why hasn't Rosenstein?

Where is the call for Rosenstein's recusal?

I've got your call for Rosenstein's recusal right here.

Sun Jun 17 15:27:40 CDT 2018 by TriggerFinger. Comments [Tweet]

The cover story changes once again

National ReviewWell, well, well. The bipartisan Beltway establishment has apparently had its fill of this “Trump colluded with Russia” narrative — the same narrative the same establishment has lustily peddled for nearly two years. The Obama administration recklessly chose to deploy the government’s awesome counterintelligence powers to investigate — and, more to the point, to smear — its political opposition as a Kremlin confederate. Now that this ploy has blown up on the Justice Department and the FBI, these agencies — the ones that went out of their way, and outside their guidelines, to announce to the world that the Trump campaign was under investigation — want you to know the president and his campaign were not investigated at all, no siree.

They are backpedaling frantically because they know they found nothing, and because their found nothing, their actions in Spygate open them to criminal prosecution. So, suddenly, they weren't investigating the Trump campaign at all, they were just trying to protect it from the Russians.

Bullshit.

Categories Spygate

Sun Jun 17 13:27:40 CDT 2018 by TriggerFinger. Comments [Tweet]

Brennan was after Trump as early as 2015

The Daily CallerIt is now coming to light that the FBI was setting up Trump ever since he became a likely presidential nominee. In late 2015, Brennan embraced a false tip from Estonia that Putin was seeking to support Trump financially, and brought Comey into an ‘intra-agency” group targeting Trump. On March 21, 2016, candidate Trump met with The Washington Post editorial board, which asked about his foreign policy credentials. To bolster his team’s strength, perhaps inflationarily, he named lowly, clueless hangers-on George Papadopoulos and Carter Page as part of his team with Russian experience — literally true, but nonetheless a strenuous stretch. It was then that the entrapping forces of Comey, Clapper, and Brennan, partisans all, went to work.

Remember all the news stories about how Trump didn't have a foreign policy team and asking who his foreign policy advisers were? The questions from the media that prompted Trump to prepare a list of advisers hastily and get it out there?

I wonder how many of those news stories could be traced back to Hillary and her campaign?

Sat Jun 16 15:50:25 CDT 2018 by TriggerFinger. Comments [Tweet]

James Comey colluded with DOJ, FBI, Mueller prior to testimony before Congress

Victory Girls“I can’t rely on anything I see in the media because there are no leaks coming out of Robert Mueller’s operation, so I don’t know what he knows,” Comey said. “I really don’t know what he has. What I do know is that he and his team are an all-star team of pros.”

My god, the man ran the FBI for years and he is still that naive?

Victory GirlsDirector:

In response to your emails below we have consulted with executive management here, including the General Counsel, and recommend the following:

That your counsel convey any acceptance or declinations to invitations to testify directly to the Committees.

That your counsel consult with Special Counsel Mueller to determine the timing of any such testimony and,

The Office of General Counsel stands ready to discuss with you in consultation with the Department of Justice and the Special Counsel, institutional privileges or prerogatives that may be presented by any such testimony.


Victory GirlsComey was in charge of the FBI when the entire Steele dossier thing started. He was the one who presented to Trump info regarding the dossier even while knowing a significant portion of it was completely fabricated. He was the one in charge of that investigation that used a top-secret source, and as Kimberly Strassel reports, that that critical information was kept hidden from a major Congressional investigation.

I'll just point out here that when Comey presented the dossier to Trump, he mentioned the most salacious parts, and left out the parts about, you know, collusion with the Russians.

Sat Jun 16 15:50:18 CDT 2018 by TriggerFinger. Comments [Tweet]

Did FBI embed spies in Trump campaign in December 2015?

Judicial Watch's Chris Farrel lays out the case. There's not much new here, but sometimes you have to say things over and over again until they start to sink in.

Sat Jun 16 13:50:18 CDT 2018 by TriggerFinger. Comments [Tweet]

Spygate winning in the polls

BreitbartA majority of 51 percent of voters now believe “senior law enforcement officials are likely to have broken the law in an effort to prevent Trump from winning the presidency,” according to a poll from Rasmussen Reports.

The media can choose what to report, but they can't choose what people think about it.

Fri Jun 15 16:31:28 CDT 2018 by TriggerFinger. Comments [Tweet]

What about Avenatti's bank records?

The HillHe wants to make the discussion all about where Michael Cohen, President Trump’s personal attorney, got his money but, to have clean hands, Avenatti needs to come forward with exactly who is financing his operation, who his sources were for detailed banking information, and whether he really is an attorney solely representing Stormy Daniels or just using her as cover to wage a political operation.

Of course he's using her as cover to wage a political operation. That's been obvious since day one.

Avenatti needs to come forward with his sources for the banking information because it was almost certainly obtained illegally and certainly was leaked illegally.

The HillThis week, Avenatti released to the media a report detailing consulting payments to Cohen, and much of it, despite a few errors, has been verified. AT&T, Novartis and a real estate firm acknowledge having hired the president’s personal attorney for insights on the incoming administration. Mueller appears to have investigated all of this months ago, and it is highly unlikely that the theory Avenatti is pounding away at — that Russians paid for Daniels — holds any water or Robert Mueller would not have passed the investigation on to U.S. attorneys in New York. Russia, actually, is the special counsel’s bailiwick.

I'm not sure on the ethics of anyone hiring Trump's personal lawyer for advice on the incoming administration. That seems an ethical minefield. But it seems like that's on Cohen's ledger, not Trump's, even if it's true. The payments may be true, though some involve the wrong Michael Cohen, but why should we believe the alleged reason for them without proof? Avenatti is just as much a paid Democrat operative as Fusion GPS.

And I doubt Avenatti or other Democrat operatives could stand to have their financial records subjected to similar scrutiny. They won't like the new rules when Trump's DOJ and FBI find excuses to raid their lawyers' offices.

Categories Spygate

Fri Jun 15 15:31:22 CDT 2018 by TriggerFinger. Comments [Tweet]

A gate of water by any other name would smell as foul

Conservative TreehouseLast week, in an effort to target President Trump lawyer Michael Cohen, sketchy porn-lawyer Michael Avenatti received and released stolen financial records for a group of people who held the name Michael Cohen. At least two of the people who had their records released were the wrong Michael Cohen.

In a New Yorker article today, far-left playtime ‘journalist’ Ronan Farrow writes about his contact with the law-enforcement official who stole the Cohen financial records and gave them to the sketchy porn lawyer.

Fire them, reveal their name and crimes publicly, and prosecute them to the fullest extent of the law. The raid on Cohen's offices -- the personal lawyer of the President of the United States -- is quite literally worse than Watergate, because it was done under color of law.

Categories Spygate

Fri Jun 15 13:31:22 CDT 2018 by TriggerFinger. Comments [Tweet]

The discovery trap Mueller fell into

SpectatorAgainst all expectations, in April, lawyers for one of the Russian corporate defendants, Concord Management and Consulting, LLC, entered their appearances in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia. They followed up by serving extensive discovery requests on Team Mueller seeking full disclosure of the government’s case and investigation including sensitive national security and intelligence information.

This type of discovery is called “graymail” (as distinguished from blackmail) in which the government is faced with having to disclose closely guarded state secrets in order to proceed with the prosecution. The alternative is to drop the charges.

Given that the maximum penalty against Concord is an uncollectable $500,000 fine or equally uncollectable compensation to anyone damaged by the alleged conspiracy, the choice is all the more bitter for Team Mueller. Should they litigate the discovery requests? If they lose and are faced with having to disclose sensitive intelligence information about the case and their investigation, should they withdraw the indictment against Concord? And, if they drop the charges, are they prepared for the resulting public mockery and howls of derision?

Technically, Mueller doesn't have to care about public mockery and derision. But being taken seriously is the only defense he has against Trump simply choosing to fire him. It seems likely being forced to drop the charges against the Russians would effectively end Mueller's probe, being an admission that he doesn't have anything related to his mandate. If he failed to do so, Trump would easily be able to afford the political cost of firing him.

Fri Jun 15 10:31:22 CDT 2018 by TriggerFinger. Comments [Tweet]

Fake, but accurate

Page: "Please, my love, caress me and reassure me that Trump will never be my president."

Strzok: "Don't worry, my petunia. We'll stop him."

IG: "Because Strzok did not write down how, exactly, he would stop Trump becoming president, we cannot link this clear and obvious evidence of bias to any specific investigative act, therefore, no harm, no foul. However, we recommend a banner on all FBI-owned mobile devices reminding users they have no expectation of privacy while using them, to ensure such an embarrassing incident is never again revealed to the public."

Thu Jun 14 14:55:25 CDT 2018 by TriggerFinger. Comments [Tweet]

FBI agent who interviewed Michael Flynn found him honest and forthcoming

Sara CarterFBI Special Agent Joe Pientka, if subpoenaed, will provide testimony regarding the circumstances surrounding his interview with former National Security Advisor Army Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn, sources with knowledge have been telling this reporter for more than a year.

So why won't Congress get off their collective ass and issue those subpoenas?

Wed Jun 13 14:57:11 CDT 2018 by TriggerFinger. Comments [Tweet]

Andrew McCabe was writing memos too

His memo was about Comey's firing and what Rosenstein claimed Trump asked him to include in the memo. He gave the memo to Mueller. This appears to be part of a consistent pattern among the Obama administration holdovers and specifically the scheme team implicated in Spygate.

Wed Jun 13 14:57:05 CDT 2018 by TriggerFinger. Comments [Tweet]

Who was spied on? (that we know of)

The HillSecret surveillance was conducted on no fewer than seven Trump associates: chief strategist Stephen Bannon; lawyer Michael Cohen; national security adviser Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn; adviser and son-in-law Jared Kushner; campaign chairman Paul Manafort; and campaign foreign policy advisers Carter Page and George Papadopoulos.

The FBI reportedly applied for a secret warrant in June 2016 to monitor Manafort, Page, Papadopoulos and Flynn. If true, it means the FBI targeted Flynn six months before his much-debated conversation with Russia’s ambassador, Sergey Kislyak.

The FBI applied four times to wiretap Page after he became a Trump campaign adviser starting in July 2016. Page’s office is connected to Trump Tower and he reports having spent “many hours in Trump Tower.”

CNN reported that Manafort was wiretapped before and after the election “including during a period when Manafort was known to talk to President Trump.” Manafort reportedly has a residence in Trump Tower.

Most of the discussion of spying has been about Carter Page, because the FBI filed for a FISA warrant to spy on him based mostly on the Clinton-funded opposition research Steele dossier. But he's not the only direct individual victim. He's just the one we have the (obviously fraudulent and deficient) paperwork for. The others we know have been spied on via leaks, but not what legal justification was used.

Michael Flynn may have been intercepted talking to the Russian ambassador. It would be legal to wiretap the Russian ambassador pretty much constantly. But they waved BS Logan act violations around when he was the issue, which makes me think they got a warrant based on those allegations.

The rest we just don't know.

And don't forget the hundreds of "unmaskings" which are technically within the powers of some officials, but which were likely done in service of political motives.

Wed Jun 13 13:57:05 CDT 2018 by TriggerFinger. Comments [Tweet]

McCabe sues DOJ over his firing

The Conservative TreehouseIn what can only be seen as a dubious political stunt, Andrew McCabe, through his attorney Michael Bromwich, is suing the DOJ and Inspector General for documents relating to his firing. Apparently the 39-page IG report, documenting the reasoning, along with the Office of Professional Responsibility (OPR) isn’t enough for McCabe.

I'm sure McCabe just hopes he can get a friendly lawyer to settle with.

Wed Jun 13 12:57:11 CDT 2018 by TriggerFinger. Comments [Tweet]

Mueller tries to delay collusion trial and hide evidence

The Conservative TreehouseMueller asked a federal judge in Washington for an order that would protect the handover of voluminous evidence to lawyers for Concord Management and Consulting LLC, one of three companies and 13 Russian nationals charged in a February indictment. They are accused of producing propaganda, posing as U.S. activists and posting political content on social media as so-called trolls to encourage strife in the U.S.

When you charge people in the US system, they have a right to see the evidence. Apparently Mueller doesn't want the evidence to come out. Oops.

Wed Jun 13 12:57:05 CDT 2018 by TriggerFinger. Comments [Tweet]

Sessions defends Rosenstein's subpoena threat

LifezetteAttorney General Jeff Sessions, who recused himself early on from the Russia probe, appeared on Fox News' "Tucker Carlson Tonight," also on Tuesday evening. Sessions defended Rosenstein, reiterating the DOJ's contention that the nature of the staffers' emails had been mischaracterized.

"I am confident that Deputy Rosenstein, 28 years in the Department of Justice, did not improperly threaten anyone on that occasion," said Sessions on the show, referring to the alleged threat detailed in emails from House Intelligence Committee staffers.

I'm starting to think Sessions may be a little soggy.

Categories Spygate

Wed Jun 13 09:30:58 CDT 2018 by TriggerFinger. Comments [Tweet]

House resolution to compel Rosenstein to release SpyGate documents

LifezetteReps. Mark Meadows (R-N.C.) and Jim Jordan (R-Ohio) announced their intention Tuesday night to submit a resolution for a House vote compelling Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein to produce requested documents — ones relating to special counsel Robert Mueller’s probe into allegations of collusion between President Donald Trump’s campaign and Russian interests.

Gowdy and Ryan have previously expressed support for the FBI's position here, but Ryan is part of the Gang of 8 who would see them anyway (and who was probably briefed on at least some of the investigation earlier than the rest of Congress, so is somewhat tainted by it). Gowdy is probably just a blowhard who is easily talked into supporting law enforcement.

But the article says Jordan and Meadows spoke with Ryan and Gowdy before this announcement, so I assume they are behind it.

If so, let's hold the vote ASAP and force the FBI to start submitting to oversight. They have slow-walked long enough.

Wed Jun 13 09:26:21 CDT 2018 by TriggerFinger. Comments [Tweet]

Rosenstein threatened to subpoena emails of Congressmen investigating Spygate

This explains Gowdy and Ryan's weak knees. Rod Rosenstein allegedly threatened to subpoena emails and phone records of Congressmen and staffers investigating origins of Russia probe. If Congress had the power to bring criminal charges, this would be obstruction of justice. As it is, I think it's actually simple blackmail, coated in chutzpah, with a cherry of contempt on top.

As for Ryan and Gowdy, both, apparently, have closets with flesh-challenged bones in them. Not really a surprise.

Fox News“The DAG [Deputy Attorney General Rosenstein] criticized the Committee for sending our requests in writing and was further critical of the Committee’s request to have DOJ/FBI do the same when responding,” the committee's then-senior counsel for counterterrorism Kash Patel wrote to the House Office of General Counsel. “Going so far as to say that if the Committee likes being litigators, then ‘we [DOJ] too [are] litigators, and we will subpoena your records and your emails,’ referring to HPSCI [House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence] and Congress overall.”

A second House committee staffer at the meeting backed up Patel’s account, writing: “Let me just add that watching the Deputy Attorney General launch a sustained personal attack against a congressional staffer in retaliation for vigorous oversight was astonishing and disheartening. ... Also, having the nation’s #1 (for these matters) law enforcement officer threaten to 'subpoena your calls and emails' was downright chilling.”

The committee staffer noted that Rosenstein’s comment could be interpreted as meaning the department would “vigorously defend a contempt action" -- which might be expected. But the staffer continued, "I also read it as a not-so-veiled threat to unleash the full prosecutorial power of the state against us.”

Note to Congress: start playing hardball. Appealing to Trump won't do much; he cant really interfere much while Mueller is active. It's up to Congress and oversight to get the information out there to help Huber.

Note to the DOJ: When you are denying that your official threatened Congressmen conducting legitimate oversight, it is not wise to repeat the threat:

Fox News“The Deputy Attorney General was making the point—after being threatened with contempt — that as an American citizen charged with the offense of contempt of Congress, he would have the right to defend himself, including requesting production of relevant emails and text messages and calling them as witnesses to demonstrate that their allegations are false,” the official said. “That is why he put them on notice to retain relevant emails and text messages, and he hopes they did so. (We have no process to obtain such records without congressional approval.)”

Further, the official said that when Rosenstein returns to the United States from a work trip, “he will request that the House General counsel conduct an internal investigation of these Congressional staffers’ conduct.”

As far as I am concerned, this is clear and unambiguous grounds for Trump to fire Rosenstein, and I wouldn't be surprised if that is exactly why it leaked.

Tue Jun 12 17:23:02 CDT 2018 by TriggerFinger. Comments [Tweet]

The truth that scares them

Washington ExaminerFox News contributor Katie Pavlich claimed Monday that Hillary Clinton "gave" money to Russians during the 2016 presidential election.

“We have seen the result of all of this boomerang on the other side, on the Clinton campaign, which was more directly connected to the Russians than we’ve seen any evidence of with the Trump campaign," Pavlich said Monday.

The remarks caused former Clinton communications director Adrienne Elrod, who was also a guest during the segment, to burst out laughing.

“They gave them money,” Pavlich exclaimed.

“I don’t even know where to start here,” Elrod said. “The Clinton campaign did not have any collusion with Russia, let’s just put that forward.”

“They paid someone working with Russians money for opposition research on Donald Trump,” Pavlich cut in.

Not said: the "someone working with Russians" is Christopher Steele, and he admitted paying Russians for the information compiled in the dossier. So, yes, Hillary (through several layers of cutouts) paid Russians to (probably) lie about Trump to produce opposition research. Probably the Hillary campaign, through Steele and Fusion GPS, were paying the Russians to cooperate in setting up the Trump campaign -- specifically the meeting with Veselnitskya.

The fact that Mueller, whose theoretical remit includes Russian interference in the US election, is not investigating this publicly known Russian collusion with the Hillary campaign is enough by itself to discredit his investigation.

Tue Jun 12 16:34:10 CDT 2018 by TriggerFinger. Comments [Tweet]

FBI agents afraid to testify?

Daily CallerEven as a new Rasmussen poll shows a majority of voters believe senior law enforcement officials broke the law to stop Donald Trump from beating Hillary Clinton in the 2016 election, rank-and-file FBI agents who want to testify against their superiors to Congress feel they can’t due to an ineffective whistleblower protection law.

These agents believe the sluggishness of the law exposes them to an inordinate risk of reprisal, so they have remained in hiding and afraid to speak the truth...

He continued, “You still have a ton of bad people in place. Unless that changes, and I haven’t seen any degree of seriousness on the part of ranking members nor staffers, I’m not meeting with anyone nor willing to be subpoenaed. I’m not coming forward until they get their act together. Right now, it’d be sacrificing a career for cheap political points.”

TheDC has learned that the bureau has already warned agents that the agency will come back viciously against all those “behind destroying their narrative, and will go after their families and friends, too.”

The Democrats are hoping they can keep a lid on this until November, then win the House and shut down the investigations. Agents are probably right to fear massive retaliation, both political and personal.

Tue Jun 12 15:34:16 CDT 2018 by TriggerFinger. Comments [Tweet]

Mueller and Rosenstein -- an unwritten agreement

Washington ExaminerSpecial counsel Robert Mueller's recent admission that the May 17, 2017, Justice Department order defining the scope of his investigation was just for show, and that the real extent of his probe is a secret, is reverberating on Capitol Hill.

In court before Ellis, Mueller lawyer Michael Dreeben revealed that the May 17 appointment order is not a "factual statement" of Mueller's assignment. "The regulations nowhere say that a specific factual statement needs to be provided publicly," Dreeben added. "The specific factual statement … was conveyed to the special counsel upon his appointment in ongoing discussions [between Rosenstein and Mueller] that defined the parameters of the investigation."

Dreeben explained that those discussions between Rosenstein and Mueller, incorporated in the Aug. 2 memo, established that Mueller had the authority to investigate Paul Manafort's financial dealings that Manafort contends are beyond the scope of Mueller's investigation into allegations of Trump-Russia collusion in the 2016 election.

What Mueller appears to be claiming is that he received his full mandate as special counsel from Rosenstein exclusively in verbal communications, meaning that only Rosenstein and Mueller together could agree on what was within or without the scope of the investigation.

I do not see how such a claim could possibly be valid or stand up to legal challenge.

Mueller is essentially claiming that, due to the lack of a written mandate, his authority derives from Rosenstein the man rather than the lawfully appointed (Acting) Attorney General. His unwritten mandate is fluid, and can change to meet the needs of the moment he finds himself in.

This is not consistent with the rule of law.

But of course, Rosenstein couldn't risk giving Mueller a well-defined mandate, because Mueller was going on a fishing expedition; he didn't know what he would find, but to be politically useful, he had to pursue whatever he found.

Tue Jun 12 12:34:10 CDT 2018 by TriggerFinger. Comments [Tweet]

Review of Cohen's seized files not going well for prosecution

Legal InsurrectionBased on the wording of the recommendation, it appears that the Special Master upheld the challenges in all but three cases. So Cohen and/or Trump’s claims of privilege were upheld in 162 of 165 challenges.

These recommendations now go to the Judge.

There is a lot we don’t know about the challenges and recommendations. For example, of the 12,543 pages in the eight boxes, we don’t know how many of those pages were consumed by the 14 privileged documents; a document obviously could be a page, or hundreds of pages. As to the two phones and iPad, how many of the 291,770 “items” were system and other non-substantive files, and how many were substantive files; so we don’t know what percentage of the substantive items were privileged.

162 privileged and 10 “Highly Personal” files is very substantial, particularly keeping in mind this is just the first batch of documents reviewed from a much larger group of electronic records.

That means the federal government, but for Cohen’s lawsuit, would have been able to review and potentially use a total of 172 documents that the federal government never should have seen.

Remember, if it's privileged, the government should never have been able to see it at all. A warrant doesn't get around attorney-client privilege, the bar is much higher than that. And if it's not privileged, that doesn't mean it is in any way criminal. It just means the government got a warrant and can legally look at it and use the material.

Tue Jun 12 10:34:10 CDT 2018 by TriggerFinger. Comments [Tweet]

FBI to share more details of informant with Congress?

Politico"The Department and FBI are prepared to brief members on certain questions specifically raised by the Speaker and other members," the DOJ official said. "The Department will also provide the documents that were available for review but not inspected by the members at the previous briefing along with some additional material."

I'll believe it when the members of Congress release the information publicly.

PoliticoRyan said Wednesday morning that he's seen "no evidence" to back up Trump's claim and endorsed the "initial assessment" of another senior GOP lawmaker — Rep. Trey Gowdy (R-S.C.) — who said the FBI appropriately used an informant to follow leads about suspect contact between Trump campaign associates and Russia.

If you want to see the evidence, Ryan, you have to actually look at it.

PJMediaThe source has been identified as a professor living in London who had been providing the FBI with information on a variety of cases for many years and did not work on the campaign.

President Trump has interpreted the existence of the source as the FBI planting a spy in his campaign, according to his many recent tweets on the subject.

So here's the catch: Halper didn't work on the Trump campaign. He only met with at least three members of the campaign, pumped them for information, and applied for a job with the campaign that he did not get.

So Halper -- who probably works for the CIA, not the FBI -- was certainly engaged in intelligence gathering from the Trump campaign. He was certainly spying on the campaign. If he was not "an informant within the campaign", it wasn't for lack of trying.

Mon Jun 11 16:47:28 CDT 2018 by TriggerFinger. Comments [Tweet]

Report: Comey defied authority, Lynch rebuked in IG report

ABC NewsThe Justice Department's internal watchdog has concluded that James Comey defied authority at times during his tenure as FBI director, according to sources familiar with a draft report on the matter.

One source told ABC News that the draft report explicitly used the word "insubordinate" to describe Comey's behavior. Another source agreed with that characterization but could not confirm the use of the term.

Given the timing and the subject matter covered, that means insubordinate to Obama's officials. I'm not sure exactly what that means, but the examples given by the leaker seem to be pointing towards Comey's decision to personally announce he would not recommend charges and to inform Congress that he was reopening the investigation shortly before the election.

Frankly, that sounds like a pro-Comey spin calculated to appeal to both sides. On the right, it reads as, "Gosh, look at this upright moral figure defying Obama's DOJ to do what he thought was right!" On the left, it reads as, "It's all Comey's fault Hillary lost! He should never have defied authority!"

Supposedly the report cites Comey for failing to consult with Lynch before his announcement. I don't know if he consulted her or not. I know that Lynch had publicly said she would take his recommendation while privately refusing to recuse herself after the tarmac summit, and I also know (from Page-Strzok texts) that Lynch knew damn well Hillary would be exonerated. So I'm not sure I buy this part.

In fact, the whole article reads like spin doctoring. I don't trust it. I want the real report.

ABC NewsIn the draft report, Inspector General Michael Horowitz also rebuked former Attorney General Loretta Lynch for her handling of the federal investigation into Hillary Clinton's personal email server, the sources said.

No details on exactly what she was rebuked for, aside from (obviously) the tarmac meeting, but we've heard enough hints that there are more things she did that deserve rebuking.

Remember as you read that the article is based on leaks, and the leaks are likely coming from people with a personal stake in softening the report or directing the attention it gets in one direction or another.

Categories Spygate

Thu Jun 07 10:47:17 CDT 2018 by TriggerFinger. Comments [Tweet]

Caputo claims government contractor tried to pass him Hillary emails

This is at least one more informant, possibly two more, and this one involved someone in the US government trying to pass Hillary emails to the Trump campaign. It's a big deal, because it makes it very obvious that there was a setup attempt. If Caputo had accepted those emails, it would have been used to falsely link the Trump campaign to being involved in illegally hacking them.

And Caputo claims he raised the issue with Mueller's team, and they did not bother to reach out to the person who was offering Hillary's emails to Caputo.

Wed Jun 06 11:43:11 CDT 2018 by TriggerFinger. Comments [Tweet]

McCabe requests criminal immunity in return for testimony

The Conservative TreehouseWait, what? We’ve obviously come a full 180° from the place where Democrats were proclaiming McCabe’s innocence; and we’ve entered the phase where McCabe is requesting criminal immunity in exchange for testimony about what he knows of the corrupt FBI operations in 2016 and 2017.

Should he get it? I will answer in six words. "The White House is running this." Except that McCabe has already been fired for lying to the FBI, so whether his testimony can be trusted is open to question.

I'd like to know what McCabe knows and who he can implicate, but this should be a plea bargain, not an immunity deal.

Wed Jun 06 09:13:28 CDT 2018 by TriggerFinger. Comments [Tweet]

Papadopoulos was colluding with ... Israel?

Daily CallerGeorge Papadopoulos’ wife, Simona Mangiante, said her husband was not involved in collusion between the Trump campaign and the Russian government and that he pleaded guilty in the special counsel’s investigation to avoid facing charges that he was an agent of the Israeli government.

Even assuming he actually was colluding with Israel -- which I don't actually assume, other than hypothetically -- this is a long ways away from colluding with Russia. And Mueller's brief only covers colluding with Russia.

At some point, you have to stop Mueller from charging people with made-up crimes unrelated to his limited special counsel mandate just to get leverage.

And before saying Trump should just start pardoning people, there's an argument that's what Mueller wants. While there's an active investigation Mueller can claim was being "obstructed", Trump would be wise to avoid any directly connected pardons. Not because use of the pardon power could be criminal obstruction of justice, but because Mueller would certainly describe it that way to Congress in an impeachment report.

I don't know if Papadopoulos was colluding with Israel, or Russia, or anyone at all. I do know that Dan Bongino's show from June 5th, 2018, floated the interesting idea that Papadopoulos was arrested in a hurry -- without even getting a warrant ahead of time -- on the same day the IG notified Mueller's team of the text messages from Peter Strzok and Lisa Page, and also that Papadopoulos mentioned the "Maltese Professor" Mifsud before being very vigorously told to shut up. Bongino speculates that Mifsud was the push component, trying to put information about Hillary's emails from Russians into the Trump campaign, so that Halper and others could try to pull the information out and use it against Trump.

If that read is accurate, Papadopoulos was arrested to shut him up so that the information about Mifsud and the entrapment side of the operation would stay quiet.

I don't think it's going to stay quiet. I think it's out there now, and the effort to shut Papadopoulos up was too little too late.

Wed Jun 06 09:11:48 CDT 2018 by TriggerFinger. Comments [Tweet]

Comey, McCabe, Rybicki, others discussed CNN story about dossier

The FederalistHours before Comey briefed Trump, FBI chief of staff James Rybicki e-mailed staff that Comey “is coming into HQ briefly now for an update from the sensitive matter team.” Just as the same officials dubbed the Clinton e-mail investigation the “mid-year exam” and the anti-Trump counterintelligence investigation “Crossfire Hurricane,” they also used various phrases using “sensitive” to refer obliquely to the dossier.

Two days after the briefing, on January 8, 2017, former FBI deputy director Andrew McCabe, who earlier this year was fired and then referred for criminal prosecution by the DOJ inspector general for repeatedly lying about media leaks, wrote an e-mail to top FBI officials with the subject, “Flood is coming.”

“CNN is close to going forward with the sensitive story,” McCabe wrote to Comey, Rybicki, and two others. “The trigger for them is they know the material was discussed in the brief and presented in an attachment.” He did not detail how he came to know what CNN’s “trigger” was for publishing the dossier briefing story.

McCabe was likely the leaker, or possibly others, but this ties Comey pretty closely to knowledge of the leaking.

Fri Jun 01 11:35:04 CDT 2018 by TriggerFinger. Comments [Tweet]

When leaks are propaganda...

John Solomon, of The Hill, has two pieces of supposedly breaking news about Spygate. The only thing actually new in his breaking news is the justifications and excuses his sources are offering to try to spin the story.

The first is that the FBI began spying on the Trump campaign before the investigation had an official predicate:

PJMedia[T]he FBI began spying on members of the Trump campaign to gather the intelligence that ultimately justified the collusion investigation, weeks or even months before the FBI had a formal predicate.

"That's very important. The rules say you can't use sources until you have a predicated investigation. The predication is July 31, 2016," Solomon told Fox host Sean Hannity. The investigative reporter said he had sources and documents backing up his claim that he would be making public in his report in The Hill on Friday.

He stressed that informants were making contacts with the Trump officials and providing information to the FBI "much, much earlier than July 31."

That's not so much a scoop as an admission. We've known that the investigation, including the actions by the spy Halper, took place earlier than July, and that the investigation supposedly started in July. There have been efforts to try to push the date backwards, but those have now failed; Solomon's sources appear to be admitting the approaches by Halper started before the official investigation was opened, and that that was a violation of the the rules.

But it's also there to conceal the big admission: the Obama White House was involved.

PJMediaThe second part of his bombshell report, Solomon explained, deals with internal FBI communications between former counterintelligence agent Peter Strzok, his mistress Lisa Page, and others discussing how the Obama White House was trying to take over the investigation.

"The words 'the White House is running this' are clear in the text message," Solomon told Hannity, adding that "the FBI agents who opened this case feared that Barack Obama was weak on national security and wouldn't do what they needed for Russia."

He said, "The political elements of the administration were trying to intrude on the FBI investigation."

Those words (bolded above) were redacted in the original release, if I remember correctly. And the spin is where Solomon says the White House was trying to take over the investigation. That's not what the message says. The White House is running this. Not trying to, and being rebuffed by loyal nonpartisan FBI agents. Is Running.

And it's not just two FBI agents speculating. We have Rice's self-justifying "by the book" memo to herself.

In other words, we have documentary evidence (and likely testimony from Page and Strzok as cooperating witnesses, at a minimum) that the political spying on Trump was run from the White House, and Rice's email to herself demonstrates that it was run right from the top -- Obama himself. Mind you, Rice was trying to cover for him by saying Obama told them to do it all "by the book". But the evidence is that the FBI, CIA, NSA, and others did not do it "by the book". The evidence makes Rice's email a transparently self-serving cover story. It also exposes as a lie Ben Rhodes' claim in his book that Obama did not know about the investigation until he left office. Oops; in their hurry to cover their own ass they forget to coordinate their stories.

Unless Obama left a paper trail of secret pardons on his way out the door, people will be going to jail for this.

Fri Jun 01 10:43:32 CDT 2018 by TriggerFinger. Comments [Tweet]

Why hasn't Mueller indicted the hackers?

The HillIn the year since the start of special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation, one thing has been notably absent: a public indictment of any Russians for the hacking of the Democratic National Committee (DNC).

My take is that the DNC was not "hacked." The emails were leaked by an insider, via USB device, to Wikileaks directly. The leaker may have been Seth Rich, who was found murdered in an alley, although the Awan brothers from Pakistan who were running IT for Debbie Wasserman Schultz are also good candidates.

But Mueller can't admit that (if he even knows) because it would destroy the Russian collusion narrative. The DNC email "hack" is the black hole that the whole scandal revolves around without ever shedding any light.

Fri Jun 01 09:35:04 CDT 2018 by TriggerFinger. Comments [Tweet]

Fusion GOS founder Glenn Simpson lied to Congress

When, exactly, will he be indicted for claiming he had no Trump-Russia client to continue his "investigation"?

This is the Mike Flynn standard, folks. Logan Act violations. Little white lies... or you know, $50 million dollar lies, especially to Congress.

Thu May 31 10:40:30 CDT 2018 by TriggerFinger. Comments [Tweet]

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