Codswallop 201

Number 3 in a series

Apparently I am not finished with Hillsdale College. It’s been so long since I started following this topic that I now forget what first caught my attention. Anyhow, they offered for free a very short on-line course, and the topic was the United States Constitution. As mentioned previously, I took the course, and I came away with the impression that what is advertised as a small institution of higher learning is, in fact, a propaganda mill for conservative causes. That impression has been reinforced.

I get regular emails from Larry P. Arnn, twelfth and current president of Hillsdale College. The Wikipedia entry contains a defining point:

In 2013, Arnn was criticized for his remarks about ethnic minorities when he testified before the Michigan State Legislature. In testimony against the Common Core curriculum standards, in which Arnn expressed concern about government interference with educational institutions, he recalled that shortly after he assumed the presidency at Hillsdale he received a letter from the state Department of Education that said his college “violated the standards for diversity,” adding, “because we didn’t have enough dark ones, I guess, is what they meant.” After being criticized for calling minorities “dark ones”, he explained that he was referring to “dark faces”, saying: “The State of Michigan sent a group of people down to my campus, with clipboards … to look at the colors of people’s faces and write down what they saw. We don’t keep records of that information. What were they looking for besides dark ones?”[11] Michigan House Democratic Leader Tim Greimel condemned Arnn for his comments, which he called “offensive” and “inflammatory and bigoted”, and asked for an apology.[12] The College issued a statement apologizing for Arnn’s remark, while reiterating Arnn’s concern about “state sponsored racism” in the form of affirmative action policies.

I also receive by postal mail regular copies of Imprimis, which seems to be a monthly Hillsdale newsletter, the title translating to “in the first place.” Most recent was the February 2018 issue, Volume 47, Number 2. There is an indication this operation has been around for nearly half a century.

The headline on the very front, that caught my attention, reads:

The Politicization of the FBI

Jesus help me, but I immediately recognized what this was all about. The issue is on-line, but to save you the bother of following the link, I am posting the text of the article by Joseph E. diGenova:

Joseph E. diGenova
Former U.S. Attorney

Joseph E. diGenova is a founding partner of diGenova & Toensing, LLP. He received his B.A. from the University of Cincinnati and his J.D. from Georgetown University. He has served as United States Attorney for the District of Columbia, Independent Counsel of the United States, Special Counsel to the U.S. House of Representatives, Chief Counsel to the U.S. Senate Committee on Rules and Administration, and Counsel to the U.S. Senate Select Committee on Intelligence (the Church Committee).

The following is adapted from a speech delivered on January 25, 2018, at Hillsdale College’s Allan P. Kirby, Jr. Center for Constitutional Studies and Citizenship in Washington, D.C., as part of the AWC Family Foundation Lecture Series. 

Over the past year, facts have emerged that suggest there was a plot by high-ranking FBI and Department of Justice (DOJ) officials in the Obama administration, acting under color of law, to exonerate Hillary Clinton of federal crimes and then, if she lost the election, to frame Donald Trump and his campaign for colluding with Russia to steal the presidency. This conduct was not based on mere bias, as has been widely claimed, but rather on deeply felt animus toward Trump and his agenda.

In the course of this plot, FBI Director James Comey, U.S. Attorney General Loretta Lynch, FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe, FBI Deputy Director of Counterintelligence Peter Strzok, Strzok’s paramour and FBI lawyer Lisa Page, FBI General Counsel James Baker, and DOJ senior official Bruce Ohr—perhaps among others—compromised federal law enforcement to such an extent that the American public is losing trust. A recent CBS News poll finds 48 percent of Americans believe that Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s Trump-Russia collusion probe is “politically motivated,” a stunning conclusion. And 63 percent of polled voters in a Harvard CAPS-Harris Poll believe that the FBI withheld vital information from Congress about the Clinton and Russia collusion investigations.

I spent my early legal career as a federal prosecutor. I later supervised hundreds of prosecutors and prosecutions as a U.S. Attorney and as an Independent Counsel. I have never witnessed investigations so fraught with failure to fulfill the basic elements of a criminal probe as those conducted under James Comey. Not since former Acting FBI Director L. Patrick Gray deep-sixed evidence during Watergate has the head of the FBI been so discredited as Comey is now.

The Case of the Clinton Emails

The Hillary Clinton email scandal began in 2013 with the U.S. House of Representatives investigation into the attack on the American embassy in Benghazi, Libya, on September 11, 2012. It was during that investigation that accessing Secretary of State Clinton’s emails became an issue. But it wasn’t until The New York Times broke the story on March 2, 2015, that Clinton had a secret, personal server that things really took off.

Thousands of emails that the House at first requested, then subpoenaed, conveniently disappeared—remember those reports about BleachBit and the smashing of Clinton’s numerous phones with hammers? Clinton and her aides were, to say the least, not forthcoming. It was clearly time for the FBI and DOJ to act, using the legal tools at their disposal to secure the emails and other materials the House had subpoenaed. But that didn’t happen.

One tool at their disposal was the grand jury—the sine qua non of a criminal investigation. Grand juries are comprised of 16 to 23 citizens who hear a prosecutor’s case against an alleged criminal. The subject of the investigation is not present during the entire proceeding, which can last up to a year. A grand jury provides investigators with the authority to collect evidence by issuing subpoenas for documents and witnesses. FBI agents and prosecutors cannot themselves demand evidence. Only a grand jury can—or a court, in cases where a subpoena recipient refuses a grand jury’s command to provide documents or to testify.

Incredibly, FBI Director Comey and Attorney General Lynch refused to convene a grand jury during the Clinton investigation. Thus investigators had no authority to subpoena evidence or witnesses. Lacking leverage, Comey then injudiciously granted immunity to five Clinton aides in return for evidence that could have been obtained with a subpoena. Even when Clinton claimed 39 times during a July 2, 2016, interview—an interview led by disgraced FBI agent Peter Strzok—that she could not recall certain facts because of a head injury, Comey refused the case agents’ request to subpoena her medical records.

Comey claims he negotiated the immunity deals because of his concern about time. Yet the investigation was opened in the summer of 2015, nearly a year before he cut these deals. Compare this to the DOJ’s handling of four-star Marine General James E. Cartwright, who pleaded guilty in October 2016 to a false statement about leaking classified information to The New York Times. In that case, the DOJ bragged about its use of subpoenas and search warrants.

Not only was there no grand jury, the FBI never issued a search warrant—something it does when there is concern a person will destroy evidence. Clinton deleted half her emails and then claimed, under penalty of perjury, that she had turned over to the government all emails that “were or potentially were” work-related. The FBI later found email chains classified as “secret” or “confidential” that she had not turned over. Still no search warrant was issued.

Comey’s dereliction did not stop at the failure to utilize essential prosecutorial tools. He violated several rules that prosecutors consider sacrosanct:

  • Comey allowed one lawyer to represent four material witnesses, an arrangement ripe for the four to coordinate testimony.
  • After needlessly giving immunity to two lawyers representing Clinton, Comey permitted both to sit in on her July 2, 2016, FBI interview—a patent conflict. He claimed he could not control who sat in on the “voluntary” interview. That’s nonsense. He could have convened a grand jury, subpoenaed Clinton, and compelled her to appear and be questioned without a lawyer or else plead the Fifth Amendment.
  • Comey authorized the destruction of laptop computers that belonged to Clinton’s aides and were under congressional subpoena.
  • Comey ignored blatant evidence of culpability. It is ridiculous to the general public and risible to those who have security clearances for Clinton to claim she thought that “(c)” placed after paragraphs in her emails meant the material was in alphabetical order rather than meaning it was classified. If she thought (c) indicated alphabetical order, where were (a) and (b) on the documents? Clinton and her supporters touted her vast experience as a U.S. Senator and Secretary of State, positions requiring frequent use of classified information and presumably common sense. Yet neither experience nor common sense informed her decisions when handling classified materials.
  • Comey and the FBI never questioned Clinton about her public statements, which changed over time and were blatantly false. “I did not email classified information to anyone” morphed into “I did not email anything marked ‘classified,’” which morphed into the claim that (c) did not mean what it clearly meant. False and changing statements are presented to juries routinely by prosecutors as evidence of guilt.
  • Breaking DOJ protocols, violating the chain of command, and assuming an authority he never had, Comey usurped the role of the U.S. attorney general on July 5, 2016, when he announced that the case against Clinton was closed. He justified his actions saying that he no longer trusted Attorney General Lynch after her June 27, 2016, meeting with Bill Clinton on the tarmac at the Phoenix airport. This meeting took place at the height of the so-called investigation—just days before Peter Strzok interviewed Clinton on July 2. Thanks to the efforts of Judicial Watch to secure documents through the Freedom of Information Act, we now know that Comey was already drafting a letter exonerating Clinton in May 2016—prior to interviewing more than a dozen major witnesses. We also know that the FBI’s reaction to the impropriety of the tarmac meeting was not disgust, but rather anger at the person who leaked the fact of the meeting. “We need to find that guy” and bring him before a supervisor, stated one (name redacted) FBI agent. Another argued that the source should be banned from working security details. Not one email expressed concern over the meeting. An FBI director who truly had his trust shaken would have questioned the members of Lynch’s FBI security detail for the Arizona trip about how the meeting came to be. Comey didn’t bother.

Comey described Clinton’s handling of classified information as “extremely careless,” a clumsy attempt to avoid the legal language of “gross negligence” for criminal mishandling of classified information—and we later learned that Peter Strzok, again, was responsible for editing this language in Comey’s statement. But practically speaking, the terms are synonymous. Any judge would instruct a jury to consider “gross negligence” as “extremely careless” conduct.

Comey claimed that “no reasonable prosecutor” would bring the case against Clinton. I have spent many years investigating federal crimes, and I can tell you that a reasonable prosecutor would have utilized a grand jury, issued subpoenas and search warrants, and followed standard DOJ procedures for federal prosecutions. In short, Comey threw the case. He should have been fired long before he was.

In late spring 2016, just weeks prior to Comey’s July 5 press conference clearing Clinton of any crime, FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe ordered FBI agents in New York to shut down their investigation into the Clinton Foundation. Their objections were overruled. Sources have told me that McCabe also shut down an additional Clinton investigation. This is the McCabe who, while he was overseeing the Clinton email investigation, had a wife running for the Virginia State Senate and receiving more than $460,000 in campaign contributions from a longtime Clinton loyalist, Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffe. Moreover, it was only after the news of Clinton’s private server became public in The New York Times that McAuliffe recruited McCabe’s wife to run for office. McCabe eventually recused himself from the Clinton probe, but that was one week before the 2016 election, after the decisions to clear Clinton and to pursue the Trump-Russia collusion investigation had already been made. So his recusal was meaningless.

In clearing legal impediments from Clinton’s path to the Democratic nomination, Comey and his senior staff thought they had helped Clinton clinch the presidency. Their actions put an end to a decades-long tradition of non-political federal law enforcement.

The Case of Trump-Russia Collusion

Rumors of collusion with Russia by Trump or the Trump campaign surfaced during the primaries in 2015, but gained in strength soon after Trump secured the Republican nomination in July 2016. Thanks to DOJ Inspector General Michael Horowitz, we now know that high-level FBI officials were involved in promoting these rumors. Among Horowitz’s discoveries were text messages between FBI Deputy Director of Counterintelligence Peter Strzok and FBI lawyer Lisa Page that suggest an illegal plan to utilize law enforcement to frame Trump. The most revealing exchange we know of took place on August 15, 2016. Concerned about the outcome of the election, Strzok wrote:

I want to believe the path you threw out for consideration in [Andrew McCabe’s] office—that there’s no way [Trump] gets elected—but I’m afraid we can’t take that risk. It’s like an insurance policy in the unlikely event you die before you’re 40.

No amount of sugar coating or post hoc explanation of this and other texts can conceal the couple’s animus against Trump and support for Clinton. Strzok’s messages illustrate his commitment to Clinton’s victory and Trump’s defeat or, if Trump won, to an “insurance policy.”

The term “insurance policy” obviously refers to the Trump-Russia collusion investigation, which to this day remains a probe with no underlying crime. This is not the talk of professional investigators, but of corrupt agents who have created two standards of justice based on their political leanings. It looks like a reprise of the schemes undertaken during an earlier era, under FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover, that led to the creation of the Church Committee—a committee on which I served, and which tried to reform the FBI to prevent it from meddling in domestic politics.

At the heart of the Russia collusion scheme is the FBI’s utilization of a document paid for by the Clinton campaign and the Democratic National Committee. Called the Steele Dossier because it was written by former British MI6 officer Christopher Steele, this document contains unsubstantiated information designed to taint Trump and his presidency. While Clinton partisans point out that candidate Clinton never referred to the Steele Dossier in her speeches, the fact is that she did not have to—the FBI hierarchy was doing it for her! Indeed, FBI General Counsel James Baker was recently reassigned because of his having leaked information about the Steele Dossier to the magazine Mother Jones.

Not one claim concerning Trump in the Steele Dossier has ever been verified by the FBI, according to Andrew McCabe himself in recent testimony to the House Intelligence Committee. The only confirmed fact is unsurprising: former Trump campaign adviser Carter Page traveled to Moscow on his own dime and met with various Russians—all perfectly legal.

Comey and then-CIA Director John Brennan laundered the Steele Dossier through the U.S. intelligence community to give it an aura of credibility and get it to the press. It was also used by the FBI and senior DOJ officials to secure wiretap warrants from a secret Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) court. Then its contents, via court-authorized FISA warrants, were used to justify the illegal unmasking of the identities of wiretapped Trump officials. The contents of these National Security Agency intercepts were put on spreadsheets and presented to members of President Obama’s National Security Council (NSC)—specifically Susan Rice and Ben Rhodes—and subsequently leaked to the press. According to former NSC staff, President Obama himself read the FISA intercepts of Trump campaign personnel. Unsurprisingly, there was no request for a leak investigation from either the FBI or the DOJ.

In sum, the FBI and DOJ employed unverified salacious allegations contained in a political opposition research document to obtain court-sanctioned wiretaps, and then leaked the contents of the wiretaps and the identities of political opponents. This was a complex criminal plot worthy of Jason Bourne.

The Pall Over the Special Counsel and the FBI

Layered over this debacle is a special counsel investigation unfettered by rules or law. Not surprisingly, James Comey triggered the special counsel’s appointment—and he did so by design. According to Comey’s testimony to the Senate Intelligence Committee, having been fired on May 9, 2017, he leaked official documents to his friend, Columbia Law School professor Daniel Richman, with the specific intent that Richman would leak them to the press. Reportage on that leak is what led Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein to appoint Robert Mueller—a former FBI director and Comey’s good friend—as special counsel to investigate allegations of Trump-Russia collusion.

Mueller’s reputation has been damaged by a series of decisions that violate the ethical rules of appearances. For instance, he hired Democratic partisans as lawyers for the probe: Andrew Weissmann, who donated to Clinton and praised Acting Attorney General Sally Yates for disobeying Trump’s lawful Presidential Order regarding a travel ban for residents of certain nations that harbor terrorists; Jeannie Rhee, who donated to Clinton and represented Ben Rhodes in the email probe and the Clinton Foundation investigation; and Aaron Zebley, who represented Clinton IT staffer Justin Cooper in the email server probe.

Mueller also staged a pre-dawn raid with weapons drawn on the home of Paul Manafort, rousing Manafort and his wife from their bed—a tactic customarily reserved for terrorists and drug dealers. Manafort has subsequently been indicted for financial crimes that antedate his campaign work for Trump and that have nothing to do with Russia collusion.

Then there’s the fact that when Mueller removed Strzok from the investigation in July 2017, he didn’t tell anyone. The removal and its causes were uncovered by DOJ Inspector General Michael Horowitz. Why was such vital information concealed from the public? It is not, as is often claimed now, that Strzok was a minor figure. All the major decisions regarding both the Clinton and the Trump-Russia collusion investigations had been made under Strzok.

Significantly, Strzok also led the interview of General Michael Flynn that ended in Flynn pleading guilty to making false statements to the FBI. It is important to recall that Flynn’s FBI interview was not conducted under the authority of the special counsel, but under that of Comey and McCabe. It took place during Inauguration week in January 2017. Flynn had met with the same agents the day before regarding security clearances. McCabe called Flynn and asked if agents could come to the White House. Flynn agreed, assuming it was about personnel. It was not.

Flynn had been overheard on a FISA wiretap talking to Russia’s Ambassador to the United States, Sergey Kislyak. There was nothing criminal or even unusual about the fact of such discussion. Flynn was on the Trump transition team and was a federal employee as the President-Elect’s national security advisor. It was his job to be talking to foreign leaders. Flynn was not charged with regard to anything said during his conversation with Kislyak. So why was the FBI interrogating Flynn about legal conduct? What more did the FBI need to know? I am told by sources that when Flynn’s indictment was announced, McCabe was on a video conference call—cheering!

Compare the FBI’s treatment of Flynn to its treatment of Paul Combetta, the technician who used a program called BleachBit to destroy thousands of emails on Hillary Clinton’s computer. This destruction of evidence took place after a committee of the U.S. House of Representatives issued letters directing that all emails be preserved and subpoenaing them. Combetta first lied to the FBI, claiming he did not recall deleting anything. After being rewarded with immunity, Combetta recalled destroying the emails—but he could not recall anyone directing him to do so.

The word in Washington is that Flynn pleaded guilty to take pressure off his son, who was also a subject of Mueller’s investigation. Always the soldier. But those who questioned Flynn that day did not cover themselves with law enforcement glory. Led by Strzok, they grilled Flynn about facts that they already knew and that they knew did not constitute a crime. They besmirched the reputation of federal law enforcement by their role in a scheme to destroy a duly elected president and his appointees.

A pall hangs over Mueller, and a pall hangs over the DOJ. But the darkest pall hangs over the FBI, America’s premier federal law enforcement agency, which since the demise of J. Edgar Hoover has been steadfast in steering clear of politics. Even during L. Patrick Gray’s brief tenure as acting director during Watergate, it was not the FBI but Gray personally who was implicated. The current scandal pervades the Bureau. It spans from Director Comey to Deputy Director McCabe to General Counsel Baker. It spread to counterintelligence via Peter Strzok. When line agents complained about the misconduct, McCabe retaliated by placing them under investigation for leaking information.

From the outset of this scandal, I have considered Comey a dirty cop. His unfailing commitment to himself above all else is of a pattern. Throughout his career, Comey has continually portrayed himself as Thomas Becket, fighting against institutional corruption—even where none exists. Stories abound of his routine retort to anyone who disagreed with him (not an unusual happening when lawyers gather) during his tenure as deputy attorney general under President George W. Bush. “Your moral compass is askew,” he would say. This self-righteousness led agents to refer to him as “The Cardinal.” Comey is no Thomas Becket—he is Henry II.

A great disservice has been done to the dedicated men and women of the FBI by Comey and his seventh floor henchmen. A grand jury probe is long overdue. Inspector General Horowitz is an honest man, but he cannot convene a grand jury. We need one now. We need our FBI back.

And that is a load. I hope by now you have read through the foregoing, because some Skeptical Analysis is in order. There is a bunch, and life is short. I will hit some high points, but the conclusion is that this is a shining example of political propaganda. Here are a few items.

Massive Irony

The headline writer’s sense of irony seems to have gone AWOL. Recent events demonstrate attempts by the Trump administration to work against the FBI for political gain. Since that time the FBI (and other government intelligence services) started looking into Russian government interference with the 2016 elections and Donald Trump’s connections with the Russian government, Mr. Trump and his allies have, with little success at concealing, been putting pressure on the FBI to cease and desist all such inquiries. First FBI Director James Comey was fired on 8 May, and, more recently, Acting Director of the FBI Andrew McCabe was also fired, this time by Attorney General Jeff Sessions, transparently at the direction of President Trump. Please let not Hillsdale College speak of politicization.

The Clinton Emails

DiGenova wants to use the matter of Hillary Clinton’s emails to make a case that James Comey was corrupt in the execution of his duties. He asserts that Comey should have convened a grand jury, as he (diGenova) would have done as a prosecutor. Really? An examination of all the evidence—and there is a boat load—that has been publicized indicates that, while Clinton was derelict in her use of a private server, there was no intent to break the law, and there is in fact no evidence laws were broken. Yes, any responsible prosecutor would have kicked this case and freed up FBI resources for serious matters. From the viewpoint of any thinking person, if Clinton had been a low-level clerk and not somebody with the last name Clinton running for public office, this matter would have been cause for a letter of reprimand and possible dismissal from employment. At most. Mr. Trump has been President and in control of the Department of Justice, and to date no charges against Mrs. Clinton have been forthcoming from the DOJ.

Trump-Russia Collusion

The most interesting quote from this section is, “Thanks to DOJ Inspector General Michael Horowitz, we now know that high-level FBI officials were involved in promoting these rumors. Among Horowitz’s discoveries were text messages between FBI Deputy Director of Counterintelligence Peter Strzok and FBI lawyer Lisa Page that suggest an illegal plan to utilize law enforcement to frame Trump.” Then diGenova proceeds to quote a passage from an email between two intimate friends making a joke. He wants to take this seriously, and he hopes his readers do, ignoring the context. Hint: the context makes it clear the remarks were in jest.

DiGenova also notes the two held Mr. Trump in low regard, going so far as disparaging him. DiGenova fails to note this is not from an official government correspondence, but it is simply two friends expressing rightly-held and possibly private views, said views being held by a majority of American citizens. I need to emphasize the term rightly-held, because there is no measure by which Donald Trump comes off as a worthy person. And I do not make that remark in jest.

The second interesting quote from this section is, “At the heart of the Russia collusion scheme is the FBI’s utilization of a document paid for by the Clinton campaign and the Democratic National Committee.” Most interesting  is that diGenova points out the Clinton campaign paid for Steele’s research. He overlooks the reason the Clinton campaign paid for it. That’s because I failed to step forward and pay for it, myself. Dude, any right-thinking person would have paid to find out what The Donald was up to in that Moscow hotel and elsewhere:

However, there were other aspects to TRUMP’s engagement with the Russian authorities. One which had borne fruit for them was to exploit TRUMP’s person  obsessions and sexual perversion in order to  obtain suitable ‘kompromat’ (compromising material) on him. According to Source D, where s/he had been present, TRUMP’s perverted) conduct in Moscow included hiring the presidential suite of the Ritz Carlton Hotel, where he knew president and Mrs OBAMA (whom he hated) had stayed on  one of their official trips to Russia, and defiling the bed where they had slept by employing a number of prostitutes to perform a ‘golden showers’ (urination) show in front of him. the hotel was known to be under FSB control  with microphones and concealed cameras in all the main rooms to record anything they wanted to.

More important, diGenova ignores that the Steele dossier was not, in fact, critical to launching the investigation. The investigation was already in the works when the FBI received this information. DiGenova’s warping of the truth at this level amounts to fabrication of facts, otherwise known as lying.

The Pall Over the Special Counsel and the FBI

Finally, this quote is worthy: “Mueller also staged a pre-dawn raid with weapons drawn on the home of Paul Manafort, rousing Manafort and his wife from their bed—a tactic customarily reserved for terrorists and drug dealers. Manafort has subsequently been indicted for financial crimes that antedate his campaign work for Trump and that have nothing to do with Russia collusion.” I can’t vouch for the “weapons drawn” part but there is nothing remarkable about the pre-dawn raid part. Paul Manafort, by all indications, is an international criminal. He is being charged with money laundering, failing to pay taxes owed to the government, and conspiracy against the United States. He stands to spend the remainder of his life in prison if found guilty of these charges. This is not a case of unpaid traffic tickets, and diGenova is being disingenuous, even highly deceptive. He is a liar.

This article, appearing in the February issue of Imprimis, derives from a talk diGenova presented for the Allan P. Kirby, Jr. Center for Constitutional Studies, as it says up front. This was apparently in conjunction with the AWC Family Foundation Lecture Series. The apparent theme of diGenova’s talk bears scant semblance to the Andrea Waitt Carlton Family Foundation’s stated goals:

Giving primarily in four major areas: 1) environmental concerns, with emphasis on programs that strive to preserve the land and educate our children on the importance of protecting and caring for our natural heritage; 2) animal welfare, with emphasis on the protection and humane treatment of both wild and domestic animals; 3) social concerns, with emphasis on helping Native Americans help themselves; and 4) the fine arts, with emphasis on renovation or the visual and performing arts. The foundation may also fund other charitable organizations or programs as deemed appropriate by the board of directors.

This has all the marks of a political smear laid on those currently making trouble for President Donald Trump. Would that it be more effective, because, as matters unravel daily, the President is going to be needing some backup, fabricated or otherwise.

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This is your President speaking.

Number 51 in a long series

And now a few words from the President of the United States:

Great jobs numbers and finally, after many years, rising wages- and nobody even talks about them. Only Russia, Russia, Russia, despite the fact that, after a year of looking, there is No Collusion!

I’m beginning  to think the big guy has something on his mind.

This is your President speaking.

Number 50 in a long series

And now a few words from the President of the United States:

The top Leadership and Investigators of the FBI and the Justice Department have politicized the sacred investigative process in favor of Democrats and against Republicans – something which would have been unthinkable just a short time ago. Rank & File are great people!

Love the way he works to unify the country.

The Golden Shower

Number 29

Not so much this week are there updates on the supposed encounter between Donald Trump and some Russian prostitutes in Moscow:

However, there were other aspects to TRUMP’s engagement with the Russian authorities. One which had borne fruit for them was to exploit TRUMP’s person  obsessions and sexual perversion in order to  obtain suitable ‘kompromat’ (compromising material) on him. According to Source D, where s/he had been present, TRUMP’s perverted) conduct in Moscow included hiring the presidential suite of the Ritz Carlton Hotel, where he knew president and Mrs OBAMA (whom he hated) had stayed on  one of their official trips to Russia, and defiling the bed where they had slept by employing a number of prostitutes to perform a ‘golden showers’ (urination) show in front of him. the hotel was known to be under FSB control  with microphones and concealed cameras in all the main rooms to record anything they wanted to.

Possibly because, who needs it?

Bannon Is Subpoenaed in Mueller’s Russia Investigation

There is a temptation to jump all over this and conclude the President has been playing too footsie with a hostile foreign power. I say, “Not so fast.” The President denies emphatically there was no collusion with the Russian government. He also said:

But who am I to quibble?

There’s going to be a lot more of this. Keep reading.

The Golden Shower

Number 28

Sorry, this is a story that will not go away. I mean, once word came, albeit unconfirmed, that Donald Trump paid prostitutes to pee on a bed in a Moscow hotel room, then that should have been the end of the story. As a reminder:

However, there were other aspects to TRUMP’s engagement with the Russian authorities. One which had borne fruit for them was to exploit TRUMP’s person  obsessions and sexual perversion in order to  obtain suitable ‘kompromat’ (compromising material) on him. According to Source D, where s/he had been present, TRUMP’s perverted) conduct in Moscow included hiring the presidential suite of the Ritz Carlton Hotel, where he knew president and Mrs OBAMA (whom he hated) had stayed on  one of their official trips to Russia, and defiling the bed where they had slept by employing a number of prostitutes to perform a ‘golden showers’ (urination) show in front of him. the hotel was known to be under FSB control  with microphones and concealed cameras in all the main rooms to record anything they wanted to.

Anyhow, that’s what supposedly happened. Apparently the story was not enough for the FBI. These guys get paid to dig, so they elected to dig further:

FBI knew of possible Trump-Russia collusion, according to Glenn Simpson’s Senate testimony

Glenn Simpson, a former newspaper reporter and the founder of a research firm called Fusion GPS, spoke to the Senate Judiciary Committee for more than 10 hours in August about his research into Trump, and on Tuesday more than 300 pages of his testimony were released by the committee’s ranking Democrat, Dianne Feinstein of California.

To be sure, the FBI received ample encouragement and able assistance from Democrats, all eager to dig some dirt on Mr. Trump. And that is true if you decide to call George Papadopoulos a Democrat:

How the Russia Inquiry Began: A Campaign Aide, Drinks and Talk of Political Dirt

Of course, this has nothing to do with the aforementioned Steele dossier. Except the Republicans don’t seem to think so:

Republican Senators Raise Possible Charges Against Author of Trump Dossier

Yes, there is a lot more to this story than I’m putting out today. It’s the kind of thing we like to savor. What would really be swell if this business were to drag out into 2019 and beyond. Joy, be unbounded.

The Golden Shower

Number 27

I am telling you, this bunny has a life of its own. They should start using it in ads for Energizer Batteries. The story goes back a bit. In 2015 The Washington Free Beacon hired private research concern GPS Fusion to conduct opposition research on presidential candidate Donald Trump. The Free Beacon ceased its interest in the research when Trump became the presumptive Republican candidate. At that point the Clinton campaign, no friend of Donald Trump, started picking up the tab for the research. GPS Fusion hired former MI-6 operative Christopher Steele to continue the work, but they lost interest once Trump won the election on 8 November 2016.  Glenn R. Simpson of Fusion GPS continued supporting the research, eventually handing off the results to British and American intelligence services. Sources for this are the Wikipedia entries for the Donald Trump–Russia dossier and GPS Fusion.

Parts of the Steele Dossier have been independently corroborated, but essential sections have not. One that possibly has not been verified is among the most salacious. A paragraph labeled 3 relates the following:

However, there were other aspects to TRUMP’s engagement with the Russian authorities. One which had borne fruit for them was to exploit TRUMP’s person  obsessions and sexual perversion in order to  obtain suitable ‘kompromat’ (compromising material) on him. According to Source D, where s/he had been present, TRUMP’s perverted) conduct in Moscow included hiring the presidential suite of the Ritz Carlton Hotel, where he knew president and Mrs OBAMA (whom he hated) had stayed on  one of their official trips to Russia, and defiling the bed where they had slept by employing a number of prostitutes to perform a ‘golden showers’ (urination) show in front of him. the hotel was known to be under FSB control  with microphones and concealed cameras in all the main rooms to record anything they wanted to.

Anyhow, President Trump is vigorously pushing back against the FBI investigation of possible collusion between the Trump presidential campaign and the Russian government. The implication of such collusion is that a foreign government, particularly one unfriendly to the United States, has assisted in the election of a preferred candidate. The drama has been playing out on the President’s Twitter account and also on television news. President Trump spent the Christmas holiday weekend at his Mar-a-Lago resort, and ABC News followed the story from there. Trump is denying any collusion with the Russian government,  and he is particularly bearing down on the Steele dossier.

This ignores, of course, that the Steele dossier is not the main concern of the FBI investigation. The feds are really going after a meeting Trump campaign operatives had with representatives of the Russian government at Trump Tower in New York City on 9 June 2016. From all appearances, Donald Trump and his supporters are attacking the Steele dossier as a distraction.

“WOW, [Fox and Friend] ‘Dossier is bogus,'” Trump tweeted. “‘Clinton Campaign, DNC funded Dossier. FBI CANNOT (after all of this time) VERIFY CLAIMS IN DOSSIER OF RUSSIA/TRUMP COLLUSION. FBI Tainted.'”

The president added, “And they used this Crooked Hillary pile of garbage as the basis for going after the Trump Campaign!”

Trump appeared to reference an interview between the “Fox & Friends” panel and former Republican Rep. Jason Chaffetz of Utah, who is now a political pundit for the channel.

Chaffetz stated: “The dossier we have long known is bogus. The question is, how was it funded?”

Fueled by his cheering section at Fox News, this is a strident refrain on Trump’s Twitter feed.

WOW, “Dossier is bogus. Clinton Campaign, DNC funded Dossier. FBI CANNOT (after all of this time) VERIFY CLAIMS IN DOSSIER OF RUSSIA/TRUMP COLLUSION. FBI TAINTED.” And they used this Crooked Hillary pile of garbage as the basis for going after the Trump Campaign!

President Trump’s war with his own intelligence services, particularly the FBI, has been unrelenting of late. Currently bearing the brunt of the President’s assault is FBI acting director Andrew McCabe, who’s wife’s political campaign last year obtained funding from Hillary Clinton associates. McCabe obtained advice from the Bureau ethics arm prior to continuing his work investigating Clinton’s use of a private email server.

Meanwhile, President Trump announced he would return to work the day following Christmas, but 26 December found him still playing golf at one of his Florida properties. Say what you will about President Trump, but he continues to set records.

If the FBI needs to learn one thing, it is to not mess around with a guy swinging a golf club.

The Golden Shower

Number 23

It’s a story that will not go away, possibly because I love it so much, and I want to keep coming back to it. It’s long past wondering whether Donald Trump paid prostitutes to pee on a bed in a Moscow hotel. It’s to the point we have Justice Department lawyers in a full-court press trying to unravel just how much involvement the Trump campaign had with Russian operatives bent on impacting the 2016 election. Almost every day there is a new headline. Here are two, starting with The New York Times yesterday:

Trevor Noah Thinks Paul Manafort Got Mixed Up With the Wrong Crowd

Guilty Associations?

As the special investigator Robert Mueller presses on with his investigation into Russian meddling in the 2016 campaign, reports have surfaced that Paul Manafort, then the Trump campaign chairman, offered to privately brief a Russian billionaire on the status of his primary campaign. Trevor Noah doesn’t think there’s any way to put a positive spin on that one.

“Manafort offered to brief a Russian oligarch on the campaign that he was running for Trump. Now, does that prove he did anything wrong? No, but ask yourself this: When has the phrase ‘Russian oligarch’ ever been a good thing? It’s like the phrase ‘a cappella concert,’ or ‘unmarked van,’ or ‘homemade condom.’” — TREVOR NOAH

Trevor Noah, of course, is not a news reporter. He’s a comedian pulling to his radio and TV audience. But this is an indicator as to how far this story has seeped into the daily conversation. Of more immediate interest is the infamous Steel dossier, the tale of which continues to surface. From The New York Times last Tuesday

WASHINGTON — A U.S. Senate panel probing alleged Russian interference in the 2016 election abruptly canceled an interview with President Donald Trump’s lawyer Michael Cohen on Tuesday after he issued a statement about his testimony in violation of committee policy.

The relevance crops up a few paragraphs in:

Cohen’s name surfaced in a dossier compiled by former British intelligence officer Christopher Steele that reported Cohen played an important role in liaison with the Russian government and secretly met with Kremlin officials in Prague in August 2016.

The Steele dossier, Cohen said in his statement, was “riddled with falsehoods and intentionally salacious allegations.”

“I have never in my life been to Prague or to anywhere in the Czech Republic,” he said.

Current and former U.S. intelligence officials have said that while they cannot verify all the details in the Steele dossier, neither have they debunked it entirely.

To be sure, it is not what Michael Cohen did or did not do that is of much interest. What is of interest is whether this part of the Steele dossier has merit:

However, there were other aspects to TRUMP’s engagement with the Russian authorities. One which had borne fruit for them was to exploit TRUMP’s person  obsessions and sexual perversion in order to  obtain suitable ‘kompromat’ (compromising material) on him. According to Source D, where s/he had been present, TRUMP’s perverted) conduct in Moscow included hiring the presidential suite of the Ritz Carlton Hotel, where he knew president and Mrs OBAMA (whom he hated) had stayed on  one of their official trips to Russia, and defiling the bed where they had slept by employing a number of prostitutes to perform a ‘golden showers’ (urination) show in front of him. the hotel was known to be under FSB control  with microphones and concealed cameras in all the main rooms to record anything they wanted to.

Americans should rightly cast doubt on allegations that a candidate for our highest office would engage in such activities. Then too, it could have been a ploy by Donald Trump to make President James Buchanan look good.

The truth is out there, somewhere, but it may turn out to be not very interesting. It’s the search for truth that is the thing. And it’s a gas.

There will be more. Keep reading.

The Golden Shower

Something interesting—this is number 22.

 

Friday was looking to be a very dull day. So-called President Trump was out of town, out of the country really. Making nice with the French. Found time to compliment Mme. Macron on maintaining her shape after all these years. Washington was really quiet. Nothing much going on. I figured I was going to have to make something up about the Trump administration.

Just kidding.

At one point yesterday I recalled the image above. It shows Donald Trump Jr., oldest son of the current President. It’s from an interview with Trump Jr. on 24 July of last year, and it came the month following when he got wind of an offer from a Russian lawyer. The offer was that the Russian government had embarrassing information on presidential candidate Hillary Clinton, and that person was willing to share it with the Trump campaign. The word was that the Russian government, under president for life Vladimir Putin, favored Donald Trump in the 2016 elections and definitely did not want Mrs. Clinton in charge. It was in June that Mr. Trump Jr. jumped at the chance to meet and obtain this invitation, and he invited Trump campaign manager Paul Manafort and Trump Jr.’s brother-in-law Jared Kushner to come along.

The following month following the meeting Trump Jr. was on television with choice words about the political opposition. He was asked about any involvement the Trump campaign might have had with the Russians, perhaps even the Russian government, and he had this to say. See the image above:

… CNN anchor Jake Tapper asks Trump Jr. about Mook’s allegations that Russian state actors were behind the leaked DNC emails. Trump Jr.’s response is staggering, considering what we know now:

Tapper: [Mook] seemed to be suggesting that this is part of a plot to help Donald Trump and hurt Hillary Clinton. Your response?

Trump Jr: Well, just goes to show you their exact moral compass. They’ll say anything to be able to win this. This is time and time again, lie after lie. You notice he won’t say, “Well, I say this,” he’ll say, “Here are experts, here’s house cat at home who once said this is what’s happening with the Russians.” It’s disgusting; it’s so phony.

Trump Jr. also went on to say that Mook ought to be “ashamed of himself” for spreading the idea that Russia was working in support of the Trump campaign. But just weeks earlier, in early June, British publicist Rob Goldstone had informed Trump Jr. about “Russia and its government’s support for Mr. Trump.”

I have observed that moral compasses come, and moral  compasses go, but the truth just seems to hang around like the odor of dead fish.

As already noted, a week ago Trump Jr. got wind that The New York Times was preparing to publish contents of an email exchange. The email exchange demonstrates that it is Trump Jr.’s moral compass that needs some adjusting. The rising political star of Donald Trump Jr. seems to have lost its sheen and may be going the way of his father’s. Once it  was apparent The Times was going to publish the damning correspondence, Trump Jr. eagerly jumped in front of cameras and laid the entire episode bare. He acknowledged the emails were factual and that he and Manafort and Kushner had, indeed, taken the meeting in Trump Tower on the 25th floor. He noted that Rob Goldstone, an associate of Trump Sr., was also there. And that was the sum of it.

In a Fox News interview with Sean Hannity, Donald Trump Jr. set the record straight:

Hannity: Did you ever meet with any other persons from Russia, that you know [of]?

Trump Jr.: No. I don’t even know. … Not in the context of a formalized meeting, or anything like, because, why would I?

And that was that, and that was what was making Friday to begin to look like a day without sunshine. But what an idiot I was. I should have known. That was definitely not all of it.

Yes, there were more people in the room. There was interpreter Anatol Samochomov and also sometimes-lobbyist for the Russian government Rinat Akhmetshin.

And that was all.

That was definitely all. There were no more people attending the meeting in June of last year on the 25th floor of Trump Tower in New York City. Absolutely no more people. That is the final count.

I apologize. This story is expanding faster than I can keep up with it. In order to keep readers informed I am going to need to get ahead of the wave on this. I’m going to have to extrapolate and fill in the blanks before they open up. Here is more of the story as it will continue to  develop.

Yes, there were more people in the room that day. In fact, information has come to light that Brown and Root was contracted by Donald Trump Sr. to implement serious reconstruction of Trump Tower to expand the meeting room. Observers at the time now report having seen lines of buses parked at 725 5th Avenue to unload those attending the meeting. Seen entering were Dennis Rodman, Kim Jong-un, Ross Perot, Patrick Stewart, Stephen Hawking, Lawrence of Arabia, and Judge Crater.

And I promise you, there were no others in attendance I have not already listed.

All right. Full disclosure. I was there, as well. Russian lawyer Natalia Veselnitskaya had some questions about the Russian language, and I was called in to consult.

And that is the final count. End of story.

Except, you may ask, what does all this have to do with the possibly fake dossier compiled by former British spy Christopher Steele? Good question. Parts of the dossier are obviously bogus, including references to an episode in a Moscow hotel:

However, there were other aspects to TRUMP’s engagement with the Russian authorities. One which had borne fruit for them was to exploit TRUMP’s person  obsessions and sexual perversion in order to  obtain suitable ‘kompromat’ (compromising material) on him. According to Source D, where s/he had been present, TRUMP’s perverted) conduct in Moscow included hiring the presidential suite of the Ritz Carlton Hotel, where he knew president and Mrs OBAMA (whom he hated) had stayed on  one of their official trips to Russia, and defiling the bed where they had slept by employing a number of prostitutes to perform a ‘golden showers’ (urination) show in front of him. the hotel was known to be under FSB control  with microphones and concealed cameras in all the main rooms to record anything they wanted to.

There is likely no connection, but I need to make sure I don’t leave anything out.

There is going to be more. Keep reading.

And may Jesus have mercy on our souls.