• The big point everybody is missing about the FBI/CIA spy from Cambridge University

    It is a sad sign of decline at Cambridge University that their latest spy is working for United States.

    What is this poor world coming to?

    Cambridge spies are supposed to work for the Russians.

    There is tradition to uphold here, folks.

    Can Putin and his minions no longer recruit idealistic socialists who hate their country?

    Must they give up on entirely British universities and rely on Berkeley, Oberlin, and Evergreen State?

    There is a small glimmer of continuity. At least the recruiting agencies were up to no good.

    They were doing their best to infiltrate an American political campaign.

    The story is here, complete with the spy’s name and picture. We know those details thanks entirely to CYA leaks from the DOJ or FBI, trying desperately to get ahead of Congressional investigations and the Horowitz report (the DOJ Inspector General).

    Those details were supposed to be top secret. That the officials charged with keeping the secrets released them to protect themselves is a scandal in its own right.

    On a more serious note: the house that Comey, Clapper, Brennan, and their aides built now looks increasingly like a game of jenga. The wooden blocks are being removed, though the process is moving very, very slowly because of  DOJ and FBI self-protection.

    Did these guys previously work on transparency and document security for Joe Paterno’s athletic department?

    But with each new block removed, the whole structure looks more and more likely to collapse.

     

  • Federal Judge Sharply Rebukes Mueller Team over Manafort Investigation, saying it looks like they are on a fishing expedition to get Trump and have overstepped their authority

    Judge T. S. Ellis III wasn’t buying the Mueller team’s argument and accused them flatly of lying. According to the Reuters report of pre-trial proceedings (link here):

    A judge sharply questioned whether Special Counsel Robert Mueller overstepped his authority by charging Paul Manafort with crimes unrelated to Russian election interference while also suggesting that the onetime Trump campaign chairman was indicted to coerce his cooperation against the president.

    U.S. District Judge T. S. Ellis III expressed deep skepticism Friday about whether Mueller went too far in signing a bank- and tax-fraud indictment against Manafort. Ellis questioned how Mueller could prosecute financial crimes dating back a decade without charging Manafort for his election activities.

    “I don’t see how this indictment has anything to do with anything the special prosecutor is authorized to investigate,” Ellis said at a hearing on a motion by Manafort to dismiss the case.  –Reuters

    Judge Ellis explicitly said that he thought

    1. The only interest Mueller had in Manafort was to get him to testify about Trump;
    2. An investigation of alleged bank fraud more than a decade old had zero to do with a legitimate investigation into Russian collusion in the 2016;
    3. Mueller’s team had overstepped its legitimate authority and would not tell him the truth about it, so he demanded to read the memo giving them authority in unredacted form (which Mueller’s team does not want to do)

    Ellis ordered that prosecutors give him the full memo within two weeks, saying he’ll determine whether the explanation of why Manafort was under investigation is adequate.

    Mueller’s office took over an investigation of Manafort that had been conducted by prosecutors in the Eastern District of Virginia, where Ellis sits. The judge appeared impatient with Dreeben, who has argued more than 100 cases before the U.S. Supreme Court. Ellis repeatedly interrupted [Justice Department attorney Michael] Dreeben as he pressed for an explanation of Mueller’s authority.

    “It covers bank fraud in 2005 and 2007?” Ellis said. “Tell me how. How does that have to do with links or coordination with Russia and Trump?”

    “This indictment didn’t arise from your investigation,” Ellis said. “It arose from the pre-existing investigation.” –Reuters

    The judge ended his statement to the prosecutors: “I understand your argument, but it kind of invites, ‘C’mon man.’”

  • Ratings are up: Media companies benefit from Trump’s fight with them. But this fight is NOT good for democracy

    Drudge features this article from CNBC:

    Trump’s ‘fake news’ fight has helped media ratings and readership

    President Donald Trump’s fight against the media has led to higher than usual ratings even after the election.

    Surprise firings, criminal investigations and vague statements that have world leaders scratching their heads has turned President Donald Trump’s administration into political theater.

    And the media – one of Trump’s favorite go-to targets- is reaping the benefits. Experts expected media ratings to normalize after the election when the NFL and other popular TV shows started to air. That’s clearly not the case.

    –CNBC

    The article goes on to cite major increases in readership in some of Trump’s frequent targets, such as the New York Times and Washington Post.

    The readership and viewership may be up, but the damage to our trust in an unbiased media is down.

    That’s a terrible thing for democracy.

    Whether you think the responsibility for that is the media’s bias, Trump’s unfair attacks, or some mix of the two, the damage itself is serious.

  • Judge reopening Flynn plea deal. He wants to know if Mueller’s team withheld evidence

    Here’s the headline (link here)

    How A Plea Reversal From Michael Flynn Could Uncover More Federal Corruption

    Did Robert Mueller’s office withhold other evidence in Michael Flynn’s prosecution, either from the FISA court or from Flynn’s attorneys

    There is reason to believe so.

    It’s from a conservative site, The Federalist, but it is not really an editorial story. It’s news, possibly quite important news, and it has been completely overlooked.

    On Friday, Judge Emmet Sullivan issued an order in United States v. Flynn that, while widely unnoticed, reveals something fascinating: A motion by Michael Flynn to withdraw his guilty plea based on government misconduct is likely in the works.

    Just a week ago, and thus before Sullivan quietly directed Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s team to provide Flynn’s attorneys “any exculpatory evidence. ….

    On November 30, 2017, prosecutors working for Mueller charged former Trump national security advisor Flynn with lying to FBI agents. The following day, Flynn pled guilty before federal judge Rudolph Contreras. Less than a week later — and without explanation — Flynn’s case was reassigned to Judge Emmet G. Sullivan.

    With [the judge’s new] protective order in place, Flynn’s attorneys should start receiving the required disclosures from the special counsel’s office. There is reason to believe these will include some bombshells. –The Federalist

    We now know that the FBI agents who interviewed Flynn believed he told the truth and were overridden by Mueller’s team. We do not know if that information or other exculpatory evidence was revealed to Flynn. We do know that the Mueller prosecution was bankrupting him and involved legal threats to Flynn’s son, which seemed to disappear after the father’s plea. We also know that Flynn failed to register as a foreign agent, as he was legally required to do.

    We also know that the #2 guy on Mueller’s team has been reprimanded previously by a judge for withholding evidence and, separately, was overruled 9-0 by the Supreme Court for his prosecution of the Arthur Andersen accounting company, a prosecution that destroyed the company and cost over 10k jobs.

    FYI: Judge Sullivan is the one who absolutely lacerated the US Attorneys who systematically concealed evidence in their corrupt prosecution of Alaskan Republican Sen. Ted Stevens, causing him to lose the election and swing the US senate. Do not mess with Judge Emmet Sullivan.

  • House Intelligence Committee now looking at targeting of Trump Campaign by Obama intel agencies, also raisng perjury questions

    Exclusive at Real Clear Investigations: CIA Ex-Director Brennan’s Perjury Peril (link here)

    Here is the heart of Paul Sperry’s report:

    House Intelligence Committee Chairman Devin Nunes next plans to investigate the role former CIA Director John Brennan and other Obama intelligence officials played in promoting the salacious and unverified Steele dossier on Donald Trump — including whether Brennan perjured himself in public testimony about it.

    In his May 2017 testimony before the intelligence panel, Brennan emphatically denied the dossier factored into the intelligence community’s publicly released conclusion last year that Russia meddled in the 2016 election “to help Trump’s chances of victory.”

    Brennan also swore that he did not know who commissioned the anti-Trump research document, even though senior national security and counterintelligence officials at the Justice Department and FBI knew the previous year that the dossier was funded by the Hillary Clinton campaign.

    Last week, Nunes (R-Calif.) released a declassified memo exposing surveillance “abuses” by the Obama DOJ and FBI in their investigation of Trump’s ties to Russia. It said the agencies relied heavily on the uncorroborated dossier to take out a warrant to secretly surveil a Trump adviser in the heat of the 2016 presidential election, even though they were aware the underlying “intelligence” supporting the wiretap order was political opposition research funded by Clinton allies — a material fact they concealed from FISA court judges in four separate applications. –Paul Sperry at Real Clear Investigations

     

  • The Stench at Obama’s DOJ and FBI. My latest at Real Clear Politics.

    My latest at Real Clear Politics (link here)
    Here’s a synopsis:

    The Stench at Obama’s DOJ and FBI

    January 24, 2018

    The investigation by Special Counsel Robert Mueller is not the only major investigation in progress.

    There are now three major Congressional probes of the Obama-era FBI, Department of Justice, and intelligence agencies. They are slowly peeling away layers of political bias, unequal application of the law, and, perhaps even felonies by senior officials who may have leaked classified documents, obstructed justice, and violated Fourth Amendment guarantees against unreasonable search and seizure.

    These Congressional probes are not mere diversions, as Democrats charge. They have serious, legitimate intentions and raise troubling questions.

    • Why did former FBI Director James Comey and his team pre-judge and soft-soap the investigation into Hillary Clinton’s unsecured private server and her classified emails?
    • Why did they decide to clear her before completing key interviews with Mrs. Clinton and her aides?
    • Why did DOJ grant immunity so freely to obtain evidence that could have been easily subpoenaed by a grand jury?
    • Why did the government itself then destroy that evidence, so no one could do a real investigation later?
    • For that matter, why didn’t they convene a grand jury in the first place, as Mueller did almost immediately?
    • What involvement did the FBI counter-intelligence division have with the FusionGPS, Christopher Steele “Russian dossier,” financed by the Clinton campaign?
    • Was the dossier used, in part, to obtain a warrant to spy on Trump associates and, if so, was the FISA court completely informed about the dossier’s financing, provenance, and lack of verification?
    • And what the hell happened to months of text messages among key anti-Trump investigators at the FBI and DOJ?

    VERY important questions. The public deserves answers.

    That’s why these investigations are at least as important as Mueller’s, and for the same reason. They are both about honest elections and the rule of law, applied equally to insiders and outsiders, Democrats, Republicans, and Independents.

    It’s about whether our most powerful government agencies are worthy of our trust. If we have lost sight of those values, we’ve lost our Constitutional bearings.

    The complete op-ed is here (link)

     

     

  • Latest on FusionGPS’s crucial role in sparking the Russiagate Scandal

    Mary Jacoby, wife of FusionGPS founder, Glenn Simpson, posted items on Facebook (now removed) bragging that her husband’s work really launched the federal investigation. It was already know that Simpson and FusionGPS were central players. What’s new is an investigative report that says Simpson’s involvement goes back several years.

    A detailed article by Lee Smith in The Tablet, reports

    In a Facebook post from June 24, 2017, that Tablet has seen in screenshots, Jacoby claimed that her husband deserves the lion’s share of credit for Russiagate. (She has not replied to repeated requests for comment.) “It’s come to my attention that some people still don’t realize what Glenn’s role was in exposing Putin’s control of Donald Trump,” Jacoby wrote. “Let’s be clear. Glenn conducted the investigation. Glenn hired Chris Steele. Chris Steele worked for Glenn.” This assertion is hardly a simple assertion of family pride; it goes directly to the nature of what became known as the “Steele dossier,” on which the Russiagate narrative is founded. The fact that Jacoby is a reporter who often shared bylines with her husband at The Wall Street Journal is another reason to take her Facebook post seriously.

    Last week’s revelation that Simpson hired Nellie Ohr, the wife of ranking Justice Department official Bruce Ohr, to work on the dossier certainly supports Jacoby’s implicit contention that Steele’s role in compiling the dossier has been exaggerated. –Lee Smith, in The Tablet

    Smith’s most striking point is not that Simpson played a key role–that was already know–but that he generated the material earlier and did not rely on Russian sources. (I have no idea if that claim is accurate, but it is surely worth consideration in the Congressional investigations.) To quote Smith:

    A Tablet investigation using public sources to trace the evolution of the now-famous dossier suggests that central elements of the Russiagate scandal emerged not from the British ex-spy Christopher Steele’s top-secret “sources” in the Russian government—which are unlikely to exist separate from Russian government control—but from a series of stories that Fusion GPS co-founder Glenn Simpson and his wife Mary Jacoby co-wrote for The Wall Street Journal well before Fusion GPS existed. –Smith, in The Tablet

    Separately, another aspect of the dossier is being exposed. Writing in The Daily Caller, Chuck Ross reports on the London trial where a Russian tech businessman, Aleksej Gubarev, alleges he was defamed in the dossier, which says that he and his tech companies hacked the Democratic National Committee servers. (The DNC has refused to allow the FBI or independent investigators to access their server to find out.) Gubarev is suing the US website, BuzzFeed, for publishing the document and thus publicizing the allegation.

    A key question is “who leaked the dossier to BuzzFeed?” The website won’t say, claiming journalistic privilege, and a US judge recently agreed.

    But now Gubarev’s lawyer says they have discovered the answer independently and are close to revealing it.

    The article implies it is a former senior aide to Sen. John McCain. The Senator was given the dossier, turned it over to the FBI, and has stated he did not leak it. FusionGPS has said, in court documents, that it did not leak it. But McCain’s aide, David Kramer, a former State Department official, has refused to make such a public declaration and spent months dodging a subpoena. He was finally served and deposed, as well as interviewed by the House Intel Committee.

  • FBI Search Dog On the Prowl and Pointing Toward . . .

    The Chicago Tribune‘s wonderful editorial cartoonist, Scott Stantis, has often penned negative drawings about Pres. Trump.

    He has not been especially critical of the Trump investigations… until now.

    His balanced stance makes his devastating take on the FBI’s unraveling mess all the more meaningful.

    http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/opinion/stantis/