Steele's primary source believed to be Russian spy; FBI knew
The investigation into Steele's source dates back to 2011, and had probable cause the man was a Russian agent (FBI planned to get a FISA before the source left the country). When the FBI interviewed the source in 2017, they did not ask about any connections to Russian intelligence despite the previous investigation, and they did not mention that previous investigation in any of the FISAs filed on Carter Page. That seems to tilt the scales heavily towards deliberate deception of the FISC.
It's worth noting that "It was all Russian disinformation" appears to be the FBI's line of defense on this topic, perhaps on the theory that incompetence is rarely criminal. Given the previous investigation into this man, the three FISA renewals that followed his interview, and the avoidance of the topic when interviewing him in 2017, it's hard to spin that as simple incompetence.
To borrow a phrase... they knew or should have known.
Also worth noting: It doesn't matter whether Steele's source and his information was actually a Russian disinformation campaign or not. Failing to disclose the possibility and the evidence for it in the FISA itself is a breach of the FBI's duty of candor to that court. The FBi is not entitled to think it over and make a judgement call about whether to include the information or not. They are required to disclose so that the FISC can make its own judgement call.
Anti-Trump FBI and CIA agents purchased liability insurance?!
Federal law enforcement officials do not need professional liability insurance when they are doing their jobs within the law. They are covered by a judicial doctrine called qualified immunity when they are following the law, the same doctrine that protests local police, prosecutors, and judges. Buying additional liability insurance on top of that should be viewed as an admission that their investigation into Trump was likely improper and lawless.
Read the article; it has newly released FBI text messages. These come from a new court filing by Sidney Powell, and includes the new information that FBI investigators abused the Patriot Act in their surveillance of Flynn by filing "National Security Letters" to obtain information about him. Those letters are never reviewed by courts, and at least one FBI agent admitted they were used as a pretext to find dirt on Flynn.
It's worth noting these messages come from agents who were expressing doubts and concerns about the legality of what they were doing. Some of them may be good folks who didn't ask to be caught up in a political investigation. Just following orders is never a good excuse, but these guys may already be cooperating with Durham or one of the other investigations.
Assuming the Senate actually goes into recess, this seems like a good idea. We really do not want a Supreme Court tied 4-4 during election season. It does open things up to some legal risks; recess appointments have been challenged on various grounds and Congress has been less than willing to admit it is in recess in recent years, precisely to block such appointments. It would also risk reducing the urgency of a permanent confirmation vote.
But the payoff of a full court that can resolve election issues decisively may spare us from a terrible drawn-out election season of rioting and endlessly "discovered" ballots.
If the Senate does not promptly confirm Trump's nominee permanently, Trump should make the recess appointment so the court can function in the meantime.
Some developments in Durham's investigative course
There is now an admission by DOJ that all four Carter Page FISAs were deficient, previously only one or two of the applications were considered improper. Durham is requesting permission from the FISC to access the improperly collected information (from the Carter Page FISA) to conduct his investigation and potential prosecution. Read the whole article.
This is a generally positive sign. I'd worry that it could lead to delay, but the decision appears to be dated from June 25th, so Durham has had this information for a while.
This would be a heavy application of federal power to shut down riots, but given that the riots are being instigated, organized, and funded in a manner that seems deliberately designed to overthrow the government... go for it. We cannot allow ourselves to be paralyzed by riots indefinitely.
More details about Brennan's anti-Trump task force
One member was alleged to be Andrea Kendall-Taylor, a Hillary Clinton donor and colleague of "whistleblower" Eric Ciaramella who was later an important figure in the failed plot to impeach Trump.
Brennan allegedly ignored evidence Putin actually favored Clinton. Analysts reported feeling political pressure to back Brennan despite weak underlying intelligence.
Durham is allegedly using a 50 page report produced by the House Intel Committee (before Schiff took over; Schiff promptly buried it) as a roadmap. This should make Brennan nervous despite his lawyer nervously interjecting that Durham promised he wasn't actually a suspect yet.
Worth noting: generally, Durham's team has not leaked. When we see leaks like this mentioning Durham, it's usually from the other side trying to control the narrative or slow-drip damaging revelations.
As self-admitted "trained Marxists" BLM leadership would certainly be amenable to such a deal, and it seems that at least some funding exists. Combine that with BLM's rioting, and Barr should have all the evidence he needs to designate them as a foreign influence group.
I fully agree here. I think the mass phone wipe constitutes destruction of evidence and obstruction of justice at worst, and at the least can be charged as destruction of federal records. In my opinion (I'm not a lawyer) the Mueller team committed a grave error that exposes everyone who participated in wiping their phones to criminal prosecution, which should prove very handy as leverage in convincing them to turn on each other chasing a plea deal.
It's also possible this was set up as a kind of mutual defense exercise. If they all wipe their phones and refuse to testify, then it becomes that much harder to prosecute anyone for crimes more serious than deleting government records.
But there's a lot of leverage in even low-level felony charges, especially if you throw in conspiracy against the whole group, and there may well be chargeable crimes within the special counsel's official actions that can be brought to bear as encouragement. And the wipe will certainly count as evidence of consciousness of guilt.
Two Virginia residents arrested near Trump in Ohio with concealed firearm
They had a Glock handgun, 200 rounds of ammunition in a backpack, four tourniquets, two shovels, and a pitchfork. That's a really weird combination of gear. And they were charged with "making terroristic threats" along with trespassing and the concealed weapon charges, which makes me think they are alleged to have said something threatening rather than cooperating.
We cannot risk a tied Supreme Court on election day
Cruz is right. A 4-4 tie at the Supreme Court would prevent the court from deciding the probably inevitably election cases decisively. We need a court that is capable of making solid rulings about election cases rather than risking 4-4 decisions that result in circuit splits along political lines.