Fake Whistleblower: no quid pro quo on Ukraine call

Turns out the "whistleblower" story is a dud, just as suspected. Presidents can conduct foreign policy pretty much how they please, and Trump wasn't linking financial or military aid to the investigation of Biden. Rather, he was pressuring Ukraine to investigate a former Vice President who allegedly (and to some extent admittedly!) engaged in corrupt acts with US funds in an attempt to interfere with the US elections. Bear in mind here that conditioning US funds on conducting an investigation is not necessarily illegal; the problems come when the investigations are themselves fake or corrupt (Manafort and the black ledger; and Biden pressuring them to drop an investigation of his son). Certainly conditioning US aid packages on investigating political opponents would be questionable. Allowing investigations of the same conduct less so.

Not being mentioned: whoever leaked this to the press is likely to be in serious trouble. There are procedures for whistleblowing, but they don't involve going to the press.

I think Trump should appoint a special prosecutor to investigate the matter. Just to ensure there's no political bias involved, you understand. It's not only justice, it's poetic justice.

Mon Sep 23 17:42:23 CDT 2019 by TriggerFinger. Comments [Tweet]

White House shopping gun control legislation to Congress

The Daily Caller has a fact sheet. I have a couple points to make here.

First, I don't trust Barr or Trump on guns. Barr has history on the issue, and it's not favorable. Trump is a rich guy from New York City; New York City has unfavorable attitudes on guns. Trump has relied on gun owners for political support to some degree, but he's not a gun rights advocate in the sense that many of us are.

Second, I have a policy that the antis get nothing for free. This fact sheet has nothing for us, only things against us. It's a non-starter like that, if you want support from us.

Three, this is a major step towards implementing a firearms registry.

The fact sheet focuses on "advertised commercial sales", which is not well defined, but which I suspect is intended to cover sales at gun shows and sales via internet sites like gunbroker which are currently considered private sales between individuals. It creates a new class of FFLs who do not hold inventory but can conduct background checks. It imposes recordkeeping requirements on sellers and/or the FFL who conducts the background check. It produces a criminal referral for every failed background check (which seems OK, but is hugely problematic when you realize that many background checks come back failed for non-criminal reasons that are eventually cleared up.

And it purports to target "gun smugglers" which was the exact excuse used by the BATFE under Obama to justify Fast and Furious.

If Trump knows what's good for him politically, he'll back off this proposal. If he insists on presenting it, it had better come with national CCW reciprocity or some other positive.

Mon Sep 23 17:41:47 CDT 2019 by TriggerFinger. Comments [Tweet]

McCabe begs for help, denies plea deal

Ex-DOJ and SpyGate figure Andrew McCabe is clearly feeling the walls closing in, to turn a phrase. Last week, he was claiming practically the whole Obama administration would show up at his trial as character witnesses... until they denied it. This week, he's preemptively announcing -- before any indictment is announced -- that he will never take a plea deal. The combination says very interesting things about his state of mind, and I think we are seeing negotiations play out in public view here.

Mccabe's first big public splash was probably a call out to people he thinks are his allies, along with a bit of a veiled threat: "Help me! We must hang together, or we will surely all hang separately!" But.. the answer he got to that was a big, fat nope. People said no. Clearly he was the sacrifice that was being offered.

So, denied the help he expected from his friends, he realized that he really is being offered up. And he panics, in a sophisticated sort of way. He says -- publicly and with emphasis -- that he will never cut a deal. He's clearly afraid of being Epsteined. (Something that appears to be common recently).

There's another level to this too. The Clinton/Obama team are offering up McCabe for reasons besides the obvious. McCabe's sins, at least that he is in danger of indictment at the moment for, are basically leaking about the Clinton email investigation. Clinton and Obama can spin that as McCabe betraying the inner circle. He turned and so he gets hung out to dry. They might close ranks if Trump and Barr try for more.

I have to say, I feel a lot better about the possibility of McCabe getting indicted now, watching him squirm, than I did last week.

Mon Sep 23 17:41:26 CDT 2019 by TriggerFinger. Comments [Tweet]

Richard Stallman forced to resign from MIT over a simple opinion

Despite literally a lifetime of contributions to computer science in general and the free software movement specifically, a media firestorm over a few misconstrued remarks are going to force him out of his position.

This is insane.

Mon Sep 23 06:47:33 CDT 2019 by TriggerFinger. Comments [Tweet]

About that unbiased media...

Two reporters propagandists wrote articles alleging sexual assault by Justice Kavanaugh (of course, long before he was nominated to the bench). They left out of the article the fact that their alleged victim refused to speak to them and her friends said she had no memory of the alleged incident. They were aware of that -- it's in their book -- but left it out of their articles and book promotions.

This is not how journalism works.

Sun Sep 22 06:47:34 CDT 2019 by TriggerFinger. Comments [Tweet]

Revisiting US v Miller

McThag thinks we should be using that ruling to push for court progress on the NFA front. I've made similar points before; I mostly agree. The Miller case does not say what the next 70 years of jurisprudence claims it said. It says some things indirectly which are not helpful, it says some things directly which are, and technically, it's unresolved.

It hasn't been used in the positive ways people think it should be because it's hard to overcome judicial inertia, I think... and also because no one with money wants to litigate the NFA on those grounds. It's trickier than it looks to put together a winning case that doesn't also lose us something. And, if we're being honest, at the Supreme Court level the justices aren't really ruling on the merits of the case in something like this. For something this foundational, they're going to end up ruling on politics. The benefit of a long campaign of minor victories in a legal campaign is that it makes the politics embarrassing to the losing side.

Sat Sep 21 06:47:22 CDT 2019 by TriggerFinger. Comments [Tweet]

What if?

Instapundit quotes Jonathan ChaitWhat if all [Biden’s] major competition raced to the left, succumbing to the fashionable delusion that the party rank and file demanded a Bernie-like nominee? And what if the only self-styled moderates in the race (Michael Bennet, Amy Klobuchar, John Hickenlooper, and so on) lacked the name recognition to mount a credible challenge?

What if Hickenlooper has already been exposed as a two-faced Janus to the gun rights community due to his actions as governor of Colorado? The Democrats are unlikely to care much, but the Republican centrists and independents with a gun rights flavor are unlikely to accept Hickenlooper as any kind of moderate candidate.

Fri Sep 20 06:47:22 CDT 2019 by TriggerFinger. Comments [Tweet]

Twitter is up to political games

They suspended the account of the Second Amendment Foundation the day before a major policy conference. No word on what their excuse is yet.

And they are also suspending the accounts of anyone who posts a photo (a real photo, mind you) of the very liberal pretty boy Prime Minister of Canada Justin Trudeau in blackface.

UPDATE: They also suspended the account of the Crime Prevention Research Center around the same time.

Thu Sep 19 23:25:37 CDT 2019 by TriggerFinger. Comments [Tweet]


Both the crime the man is alleged to have committed and the reaction of the police, who shot him in the back to prevent him from committing suicide, or perhaps from escaping.

Thu Sep 19 06:47:22 CDT 2019 by TriggerFinger. Comments [Tweet]

Mechanic who sabotaged plane has alleged ISIS ties

Wed Sep 18 17:29:10 CDT 2019 by TriggerFinger. Comments [Tweet]

More evidence for the entrapment angle to SpyGate

It's now generally accepted, if not 100% proven, that the Trump Tower meeting between Trump campaign officials and a mysterious Russian woman was set up by Fusion GPS. Among other evidence, the woman met with Fusion GPS both before and after the meeting. And, of course, Fusion GPS was working with the Hillary campaign and Christopher Steele to convince the FBI to investigate the Trump campaign for Russian collusion that did not exist.

But Judicial Watch appears to have identified another element to the setup operation. They are suing DOJ for documentation about Felix Sater, an informant for the FBI and/or CIA, who was pushing Trump to engage in Russian real estate projects.

Beginning in late 2015, Sater repeatedly tried to arrange for [Trump attorney Michael] Cohen and candidate Trump, as representatives of the Trump Organization, to travel to Russia to meet with Russian government officials and possible financing partners.

Though his proposal appears to have been rejected by the Trump campaign, Sater persisted. “Into the spring of 2016,” the Mueller Report notes, “Sater and Cohen continued to discuss a trip to Moscow.” Sater emails Cohen that he is trying to arrange a meeting between “the 2 big guys,” Putin and Trump.

Sater’s re-emergence “suggests the possibility of a more sinister counter-narrative: that someone may have been trying to lure Trump into a trap—a politically damaging entanglement with Moscow money,” Morrison wrote.

As far as I know, this is new information, and it would be devastating to the FBI's narrative if they were directing Sater to encourage deals with the Russians while they were trying to investigate the Trump campaign for Russian connections. And, yes, the Russian building angle has been used in various Democrat attempts to smear Trump, most particularly with respect to Cohen's congressional testimony.

And, conveniently, Sater was mentioned in the Mueller report several times but not his status as an informant. That's not necessarily surprising (it's reasonable to put a high priority on protecting the names of sources) but when those sources are being used to entrap innocent people and conduct a political coup, the public interest outweighs the secrecy.

I'm not the only one thinking along these lines.

Wed Sep 18 13:24:10 CDT 2019 by TriggerFinger. Comments [Tweet]

FBI cites Russian penetration

YahooBoth compounds, and at least some of the expelled diplomats, played key roles in a brazen Russian counterintelligence operation that stretched from the Bay Area to the heart of the nation’s capital, according to former U.S. officials. The operation, which targeted FBI communications, hampered the bureau’s ability to track Russian spies on U.S. soil at a time of increasing tension with Moscow, forced the FBI and CIA to cease contact with some of their Russian assets, and prompted tighter security procedures at key U.S. national security facilities in the Washington area and elsewhere, according to former U.S. officials. It even raised concerns among some U.S. officials about a Russian mole within the U.S. intelligence community.

I'm filing this story under "Excuses for SpyGate" and discounting it. Bongino and others seem to think there's either something specific being covered up, or simply a narrative shift.

It's worth pointing out that the compromises being described here date back to 2012. So, why was nothing done about it for 4 years in that case? And... what else happened in 2012? The FBI and CIA signed a memorandum of understanding that enabled warrantless FBI spying on political targets.

So, is the intended narrative shift that the FBI political surveillance operation dating all the way back to 2012 (and Obama's re-election campaign against Romney, shortly before the Tea Party IRS spying operation began to be exposed in 2013) was necessary to engage in counterintelligence against this Russian threat?

Scandal-free presidency my ass. Obama's been out of office for years and we're still uncovering what he did.

Wed Sep 18 06:47:22 CDT 2019 by TriggerFinger. Comments [Tweet]

Kavanaugh, again

It seems the left is trying to propagandize Justice Kavanaugh by recycling the same allegations that failed to derail his confirmation. This seems, at first glance, insane. They can't block his confirmation since he has already been confirmed. The chances of working up a 67-vote supermajority in the Senate to remove him seem even worse.

So why recycle this when they lost the first time?

I suspect it's a combination of three things:

1) They know SpyGate revelations are coming and need to get their base distracted and fired up to keep the news cycle focused somewhere else;

2) They know Ruth Bader Ginsburg, recently diagnosed with pancreatic cancer, has a very small chance of surviving a second Trump term;

3) If Trump gets another seat, no matter from who, the Left will have lost their control of the court until at least 2025, if not longer.

So the attacks on Kavanaugh serve as battlespace prep for the likely Supreme Court nomination to come, a form of intimidation against anyone Trump might nominate, as well as a useful distraction from the possible SpyGate news. Possibly, also, a shiny impeachment object to throw at their base instead of trying to impeach Trump.

Tue Sep 17 06:47:22 CDT 2019 by TriggerFinger. Comments [Tweet]

Drone strikes on Saudi Arabian oilfields

Drone strikes shut down oil fields, blocking 5% of global oil production. This is the sort of thing that could set the whole region aflame.

Mon Sep 16 13:22:36 CDT 2019 by TriggerFinger. Comments [Tweet]

Lies and Misrepresentations in the Mueller report

The full transcript of a call between Trump lawyers and Flynn lawyers has been released by the judge overseeing Flynn's sentencing. A partial transcript of the conversation was included in the Mueller report as one of the claimed instances where Trump might have obstructed justice. The basic claim is that Trump was dangling a potential pardon for Flynn in return for a "heads up" about information that "implicates the President". Transcript here.

Problems with this:
No pardon was dangled. Trump's lawyer basically said Trump still likes Flynn. This is entirely reliant on implication.

No confidential information was requested. The Executive branch has legal privileges that it may need to assert with respect to anything Flynn tells the special counsel. And as national security advisor (even briefly) Flynn would also have information relevant to national security generally.

The conversation was between two lawyers and thus subject to attorney-client privilege.

The way I read this is Trump's counsel basically saying that Flynn's counsel should pass on a heads-up on any information that might be subject to presidential privileges so the White House counsel can protect that privilege. This is both entirely proper and obligatory for any competent attorney.

In the same story, we find out that Mueller's legal team refused to provide the judge with full transcripts of other recordings they have of Flynn, or make public any additional information they have. That's suggestive that the full transcripts support Flynn's story rather than the FBI's story, and likely that the FBI has many more transcripts of Flynn's conversations than they have admitted (indicating he was personally under surveillance). We'll see how well the judge takes that refusal.

Sun Sep 15 07:47:21 CDT 2019 by TriggerFinger. Comments [Tweet]

Trey Gowdy lowers expectations...

Conservative TreehouseTherefore if Carter Page was not a victim; meaning if Carter Page was an active participant (mole) in the FBI operation – willing to be the vehicle by which the Steele Dossier could be injected into the investigation; then there will likely be no criminal conduct outlined by Horowitz. The head of the tick-tock club was not happy with this possibility.

I speculated about the possibility that Carter Page was a cooperating target some time ago. It was just speculation, and it's still just speculation. While that would make the FBI's life easier in some ways, it would still be a fraud on the court. I don't think that would be a get out of jail free card for anyone, especially as there are likely other FISA targets.

Andrew McCarthy thinks it is unlikely the grand jury voted against indictment, suggesting that sealed charges, a more complicated case (ie, prosecutors want more time), or just jurors wanting more information is a more likely explanation. Those are all reasonable possibilities, but they mostly rely on the idea that it's easy to get a grand jury indictment (the classic "ham sandwich" case).

What bothers me is that that only applies if the prosecutor actually wants an indictment. If they want a no-bill they can blame on the jury, that seems like something they could easily arrange.

Sun Sep 15 06:47:23 CDT 2019 by TriggerFinger. Comments [Tweet]

Clinton judge dismisses DNC email lawsuit against Trump

Sat Sep 14 08:47:21 CDT 2019 by TriggerFinger. Comments [Tweet]

Is Wray next on Trump's list?

The HillThe FBI is going to court to fight the public release of a small number of documents the State Department sent to agents from Christopher Steele, the British intelligence operative and Hillary Clinton-paid political muckraker, during the 2016 election.

The FBI’s July 10 court filing speaks volumes about Director Christopher Wray’s efforts to thwart the public understanding of what really happened in the FBI’s now-debunked Russia collusion probe.

Steele’s contacts at State can’t possibly be equated to the nation’s most sensitive secrets. The same research he provided to State and the FBI in fall 2016 was being provided to Clinton and the Democratic National Committee, and to the media.

The FBI under Wray is trying to keep secret information that would likely (according to Solomon's sources) cast doubt on the veracity and credibility of Steele's information, which was used days later to apply for a surveilance warrant from the FISC. While we have only seen redacted versions of that document publicly, the FISA does state that no negative information about Steele as known. We've already seen other messages from Kavalec (at State) to the FBI about Steele and his information -- messages that noted major flaws such as the reference to a non-existent Russian consulate in Miami.

Wray is abusing the classification system to try to protect bad actors at the FBI from the consequences of their actions, along with, perhaps, the reputation of his agency. But neither deserves that protection.

The way to protect the reputation of the FBI is to root out the bad actors and subject them to the full force of the law for their transgressions, and then reform the policies and procedures as necessary to prevent any repeat offenses.

That should start with Wray. Obstruction of justice seems appropriate.

Sat Sep 14 07:47:21 CDT 2019 by TriggerFinger. Comments [Tweet]

Beto wants credit card companies to impose gun control

The Left have been nibbling around the edges of this idea for a while, but this is the first time I've noticed one of their candidates pushing it openly instead of trying to sneak it in through the back door with pressure from regulators quietly. They think that with the NRA distracted they can run on this and break the ability of gun owners to stop their gun confiscation laws. That's pretty bad. Worse, though, is that they can try to apply this sort of pressure outside of traditional political channels. They don't even have to win elections or appoint biddable judges. They think they can do it with public relations pressure on a few key gatekeepers. Let's make sure they are wrong.

And there are a lot of companies willing to virtue signal that they hate their customers. Bill Quick names them enemies, and that's about the shape of it.

Sat Sep 14 06:47:21 CDT 2019 by TriggerFinger. Comments [Tweet]

IG turns in FISA abuse report to DOJ

Daily CallerThe Justice Department’s inspector general told Congress on Friday that he completed his investigation into possible FBI abuse of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act during the Trump-Russia probe, and has sent a draft version of his report to the Justice Department and FBI for review.

“We have now begun the process of finalizing our report by providing a draft of our factual findings to the Department and the FBI for classification determination and marking,” Michael Horowitz, the inspector general, said in a letter to several congressional committees.

This is supposed to be the big kahuna, the report that breaks the scandal wide open and puts people in jail. While we may see a lot of information become public, I've grown skeptical on Barr's ability and desire to bring actual prosecutions. Notably, we got this news on Friday the 13th, the week of 9-11, in the late afternoon. That's where stories go to die. And the IG is an Obama appointee who has already whitewashed the Clinton investigation.

There are still review steps that need to take place before any actual release, so if the usual pattern holds, we'll see leaks from the report designed to spin it as much as possible before it is actually released. Any big SpyGate news breaks in the next few weeks, figure that's what it is doing, and read it closely.

Fri Sep 13 18:25:11 CDT 2019 by TriggerFinger. Comments [Tweet]

The Side-Takers

Read the whole thing. I'm not 100% sure I agree with the premise -- that the generation usually known as the Millennials is really made up of two extremely polarized groups driving the current political conflict -- but I'm not 100% sure I reject it either. The left-ward side fits: Antifa, gender and pronoun police, and so on. I'm just not seeing so much of the other side of that coin. Some, to be sure.

Fri Sep 13 08:47:21 CDT 2019 by TriggerFinger. Comments [Tweet]

Investigating political opponents

Life Site NewsObama Attorney General Loretta Lynch requested the investigation of pro-life undercover journalists who exposed Planned Parenthood’s trafficking in baby body parts, a California Department of Justice agent testified Tuesday.

Special agent Brian Cardwell said Lynch sent a letter to California Attorney General Kamala Harris asking that David Daleiden and Sandra Merritt of the Center for Medical Progress be investigated.

Investigated for what crime? No federal crime, so Lynch's only interest in the incident would be political.

Fri Sep 13 07:47:21 CDT 2019 by TriggerFinger. Comments [Tweet]

The thing about Barr that bugs me...

is his connection to Ruby Ridge. If he was willing to cover up what happened there, where 3 innocent people died, why would he be unwilling to cover up FISA abuse and political spying? And even if Barr is honest and trying to expose the abuse -- still an open question -- then wouldn't his involvement in Ruby Ridge serve as leverage to the people at the FBI and DOJ desperately trying to cover their asses in the present?

I guess we'll find out.

Fri Sep 13 06:47:21 CDT 2019 by TriggerFinger. Comments [Tweet]

Prosecutors recommend charges for McCabe

USA TodayFederal prosecutors recommended seeking criminal charges against Andrew McCabe, the former deputy director of the FBI and a frequent target of criticism by President Donald Trump, according to people familiar with the decision Thursday.

The U.S. attorney in Washington, Jessie Liu, recommended moving forward with unspecified charges against McCabe, according to people familiar with the situation who were not authorized to comment publicly. McCabe's lawyers appealed that decision to Deputy Attorney General Jeffrey Rosen, who rejected their request, one of the people said. McCabe's lawyers were informed of that decision Thursday.

The decision clears the way for prosecutors to ask a grand jury to indict McCabe, though it was unclear Thursday whether that would happen. Whether McCabe is indicted will be up to a federal grand jury in Washington.

McCabe is merely the first of many scapegoats and fall guys to be offered up to assuage the public fury. But notice how "it was unclear... whether that would happen". Jessie Liu, who has already made decisions not to prosecute other SpyGate figures, doesn't want to go out on a limb publicly and recommend against for McCabe. But there are other people who can say no, and the grand jury itself (convened in DC) might decline. A prosecutor who doesn't really want to indict can easily convince a grand jury to make that decision for her.

And still not even a hint of charges for Comey, Brennan, Clapper, Nellie, Strzok... never mind the real decision-makers, Clinton and Obama.

UPDATE: According to reports the grand jury went home without indicting McCabe.

Fri Sep 13 01:47:27 CDT 2019 by TriggerFinger. Comments [Tweet]

FBI caught withholding evidence in Flynn case

They claimed they lost their own notes and are still refusing to produce evidence Flynn's new lawyer can describe with specificity. Note that they aren't denying it exists; they just won't give it to the defense. There are also allegations that additional Page/Strzok messages were withheld, along with evidence Mifsud was working for the FBI.

Lots more details from the unsealed motion.

Thu Sep 12 08:47:21 CDT 2019 by TriggerFinger. Comments [Tweet]

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