Archive

Archive for the ‘Russia Collusion Lie’ Category

“Zero Evidence”: Former Prosecutor Confirms Mueller Investigation Is A Witch Hunt With No Actual Evidence Of Trump-Russia Collusion

December 8, 2017 Leave a comment

|

There is no discernible evidence of any conspiracy between Russia and Donald Trump so Robert Mueller is conducting a “fishing expedition” in a desperate attempt at finding any kind of criminal behavior, according to former federal prosecutor Andrew C. McCarthy.

While there is already ample evidence that Mueller is nothing more than a deep state operative with the goal of taking out the elected president by any means necessary, the fact that yet another high-profile former prosecutor has publicly come out against his witch hunt just goes to show how bad it has actually gotten.

McCarthy made clear that the way that Mueller’s team is operating is not even remotely close to how normal prosecutions usually work. This is even more shocking when you consider that this is being done to the rightfully elected President of the United States.

“The usual thing in the United States is that there’s a crime, so we assign a prosecutor,” he explained in an interview with WND and Radio America. “Here, there’s no crime. We assign a prosecutor. We tell him to go find a crime.”

McCarthy continued by noting that so far Mueller has been completely unable to find any evidence, much less an actual crime, between Trump and Russia.

“He’s gone about his investigation as a kind of broad fishing expedition within those very broad parameters,” McCarthy said. “If they had a crime that was the predicate for this investigation, it would have been conducted a different way. But he wasn’t directed to investigate a crime. He was given this very broad mandate.”

That’s right, this is nothing more than a fishing expedition, cheered on by the establishment press and run by documented pro-Clinton forces who are specifically targeting the man who beat their preferred candidate in the 2016 election.

McCarthy also made clear that despite charges being filed against three different Trump associates, the fact remains that this all has nothing to do with the president working with Russia.

“Collusion is kind of a loaded word. All it means is concerted activity. What prosecutors care about is conspiracy, not collusion. Conspiracy is an agreement to violate a particular federal law. In this case, the law that they’re most likely talking about is some form of espionage by the Russians targeting the 2016 election,” McCarthy continued.

“I never thought they had a case on that. I haven’t seen anything to suggest it. What we’ve seen with the three sets of charges is quite the opposite.”

The entire interview is a must hear and has provided even more evidence that were are witnessing a sort of soft coup in America where liberal leaning deep state forces are openly using the power of the FBI to target a man who the American people voted to put in office.

This truly is hardcore level corruption in its most obvious form.

The Only News on Michael Flynn Is That There Is No News

December 7, 2017 Leave a comment

 

What Michael Flynn pleaded guilty to last week was exactly what President Trump revealed and fired him for in the early days of his administration.

If being brash, vulgar, uninformed, undisciplined, uncouth, occasionally silly and sometimes crazy like a fox were impeachable offenses, Donald Trump would have been presidential toast a long time ago. None of them are, so he is still with us.

This drives many members of the liberal media—most of whom had heavily invested in a Hillary Clinton election victory, and were taken completely by surprise when Trump scored his upset victory—absolutely bonkers.

Indeed, as I have observed in print more than once, one of the best things Trump has going for him is the fact that his own antics, goofy as they sometimes seem, have a way of rendering his opponents even goofier. There are moments when he literally drives them nuts.

Such a moment came last week with the announcement that Michael Flynn, the retired Marine Corps general, early Trump supporter and fired national security advisor, had pled guilty to lying to the FBI about two conversations he had with Russia’s then ambassador Sergey Kislyak in the period between the election and the inauguration. In return for his guilty plea, Flynn hopes to avoid jail time and has agreed to cooperate with the Mueller investigation. What, if anything, he has to say that could incriminate President Trump in any way is a matter of conjecture and, in the case of some compulsive Trump haters, morbid wishful thinking.

Nevertheless, the instant result was a media feeding frenzy, in some cases so hysterical that at least one major outlet (ABC News) ran with an unsubstantiated report so over the top that even MSNBC singled it out as discredited—some might call it “fake news”—and ABC eventually had to issue a retraction.

Meanwhile the Gray Lady, while not yet singing, had gone into her gloating mode. In its lead Saturday (December 2) editorial, entitled “Flynn Flipped. Who’s Next?” the New York Times could scarcely contain its glee: “Well, well, well,” it began. “We now have a better idea of why President Trump went to such great lengths to shield Michael Flynn, his former national security advisor, from the prying eyes of the F.B.I. and various congressional committees over the past year. Unfortunately for Mr. Trump, it didn’t work out as he had planned.”

After a droning recitation of stale facts and factoids that have been on the public record for months—and while revealing nothing new—the Times concluded, “Mr. Trump built and sustained his long, gaudy career by demanding loyalty from people to whom he gave nothing in return. He is not used to being on the short end of that deal.”

If you were to substitute “Bill and Hillary” for “Mr. Trump” in that sentence, you would have a spot-on description of the seamy couple the Times defended, excused and enabled throughout long, scandal-tainted careers, ending when Hillary—despite the Times’ endorsement and unabashedly biased reporting against the Trump candidacy, went down in defeat last November.

So what have we here? Nothing more, I would suggest, than a case of old wine in new bottles. What Michael Flynn pleaded guilty to last week—concealing or lying about contacts with Ambassador Kislyak after the election and before the inauguration—was exactly what President Trump revealed and fired him for in the early days of his administration. Nothing new here. Period.

Indeed, the only new information to come out about the investigation of real or imagined—and as yet totally unproven—“collusion” between the Trump campaign and the Russian government during the election campaign was a tantalizing tidbit that even managed to make the front page of the Sunday (December 3) Washington Post. The headline tells the story: “Russia investigator axed over Trump text: Agent moved off probe in summer for privately criticizing president.”

According to the Post, “The former top FBI official [one Peter Strzok, deputy head of counterintelligence at the Bureau] assigned to special counsel Robert S. Mueller III’s probe of Russian interference in the 2016 election was taken off that job this summer after his bosses discovered he and another member of Mueller’s team had exchanged politically charged texts disparaging President Trump and supporting Hillary Clinton.”

To borrow a phrase from the New York Times editorial cited above, “Well, well, well.”

Aram Bakshian Jr. served as an aide to presidents Nixon, Ford and Reagan. His writing on politics, history, gastronomy and the arts has been widely published in the United States and overseas.

Image: Reuters

Byron York: In Trump-Russia probe, was it all about the Logan Act?

December 5, 2017 Leave a comment

Byron York

The documents outlining Michael Flynn’s guilty plea in the Trump-Russia investigation do not allege collusion or conspiracy between the Trump campaign and Russia to influence the 2016 election. They do, however, suggest that the Obama Justice Department was intensely interested in Flynn’s discussions with Russian ambassador Sergey Kislyak about policy issues — sanctions against Russia, a United Nations resolution on Israel — during the presidential transition, when Barack Obama was still in the White House and Donald Trump was preparing to take office.

At the time, top Justice officials suspected Flynn of violating the Logan Act, the 218-year-old law under which no one has ever been prosecuted, that prohibits private citizens from acting on behalf of the United States in disputes with foreign governments. Starting in the summer of 2016 and intensifying in the transition period, the Logan Act, while mostly unknown to the general public, became a hot topic of conversation among some Democrats. A number of lawmakers, former officials, and commentators called on the Obama administration to investigate the Trump team for a possible Logan Act violations — and to do it while Democrats still controlled the executive branch.

At the same time, inside the Obama Justice Department, it appears the Logan Act became a paramount concern among some key officials in the critical weeks of December 2016 and January 2017. Former Deputy Attorney General Sally Yates has told Congress that the Logan Act was the first reason she intervened in the Flynn case — the reason FBI agents were sent to the White House to interview Flynn in the Trump administration’s early days. It was that interview, held on Jan. 24, 2017, that ultimately led to Flynn’s guilty plea.

In short, there’s no doubt the Logan Act, a law dismissed as a joke or an archaic irrelevancy or simply unconstitutional by many legal experts, played a central role in the Obama administration’s aggressive and enormously consequential investigation of its successor.

Democrats began accusing Trump of Logan Act violations in the summer of 2016, immediately after the Republican convention, when Trump sarcastically invited Russia to produce the 30,000-plus emails that Hillary Clinton deleted rather than turn over to investigators. “Russia, if you’re listening, I hope you’re able to find the 30,000 emails that are missing,” Trump said during a July 27 news conference. “I think that you will probably be rewarded mightily by our press — let’s see if that happens, that’ll be nice.”

The next day, Tom Vilsack, Obama’s secretary of agriculture and on Hillary Clinton’s vice presidential short list, accused Trump of violating the Logan Act. “That’s a no-no, you can’t do that,” Vilsack said. “That’s not legal.”

Following Vilsack was Democratic Sen. Claire McCaskill. “I believe it violates the Logan Act,” McCaskill said, “and I think he should be investigated for that.”

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi called Trump’s statement “a treasonous act.” Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid said it “borders on treason.”

Harvard Law professor Laurence Tribe weighed in the next day. “The Logan Act, which was enacted back in 1799 and fundamentally says that you cannot engage in negotiations with a foreign power,” Tribe told MSNBC’s Lawrence O’Donnell. “It hasn’t been used, but that’s because we haven’t had very many Donald Trumps, thank God, in our history. I think he’s violated that act.”

On Aug. 3, two more Democratic senators, Chris Coons and Sheldon Whitehouse, called for a hearing on Trump and the Logan Act. “Mr. Trump’s comments implicate U.S. criminal laws prohibiting engagement with foreign governments that threaten the country’s interests, including the Logan Act and the Espionage Act,” they wrote.

On Aug. 9, Democratic Reps. Patrick Murphy, Andre Carson, and Eric Swalwell called for a House hearing to examine whether Trump violated the Logan Act, among other statutes.

In September, Rep. John Conyers, the top Democrat on the House Judiciary Committee, asked the FBI’s then-director, James Comey, whether the bureau was investigating Trump for a possible violation of the Logan Act. Comey declined to answer.

At that same hearing, another Democrat, Rep. Ted Deutch, asked Comey about reports that sometime Trump foreign policy advisory board member Carter Page traveled to Moscow in July 2016. “If an American citizen, Director Comey, conducted meetings with a Russian individual who has been sanctioned by the United States about potential weakening of U.S. sanctions policy, in violation of the Logan Act, would the FBI investigate?” Deutch asked.

“I don’t think it’s appropriate to answer that,” Comey responded.

There wasn’t much public discussion of the Logan Act in October and November, as the campaign reached its final weeks and the political world dealt with the shock of Trump’s victory. The subject re-emerged in December as Democrats, stunned and angry, watched Trump prepare for the presidency — and prepare to undo many of Obama’s policies.

On Dec. 8, Democratic Rep. Jared Huffman introduced the “One President at a Time Act of 2016.” The bill would have amended the Logan Act to specify that a president-elect, or anyone acting on a president-elect’s behalf, was specifically subject to its restrictions. The bill “just makes it explicitly clear that the president-elect is just like every other private citizen during the transition period,” Huffmann told MSNBC’s O’Donnell. “They can’t go around purporting to conduct U.S. foreign policy.”

On Dec. 20, Reps. Conyers and Sheila Jackson Lee asked the Justice Department to investigate Trump for a possible violation of the Logan Act.

On Dec. 22, former Obama State Department official Wendy Sherman told MSNBC that Trump’s actions on a UN resolution concerning Israeli settlements implicated the Logan Act. “People have said to me today it crosses the line of the Logan Act,” Sherman said. “We have one president at a time. And Donald Trump is really playing with fire.”

On the day Sherman appeared, Flynn spoke on the phone with Kislyak about that pending U.N. resolution concerning Israeli settlements. “Flynn informed the Russian ambassador about the incoming administration’s opposition to the resolution, and requested that Russia vote against or delay the resolution,” said the “Statement of the Offense,” the Mueller document released with Flynn’s guilty plea. The next day, Dec. 23, the two men spoke again and Kislyak informed Flynn that Russia would not do as the Trump team requested.

A few days later, on Dec. 29, Flynn and Kislyak spoke again, according to the Mueller statement. This time the subject was the new sanctions Obama imposed on Russia in retaliation for election meddling. Flynn “requested that Russia not escalate the situation and only respond to the U.S. sanctions in a reciprocal manner.”

Two days later, on Dec. 31, Kislyak called Flynn to say that “Russia had chosen not to retaliate in response to Flynn’s request.”

U.S. intelligence agencies recorded the calls; Kislyak was the subject of American monitoring, so a wiretap on him on these occasions picked up Flynn, too. It appears Obama administration officials immediately saw the Flynn-Kislyak conversations as a possible Logan Act violation. They knew, of course, that given the history of the law, a Logan Act prosecution was a virtual impossibility. They knew that many foreign policy experts would see such contacts between an incoming administration and a foreign power as an acceptable and normal course of business in a presidential transition. Nevertheless, approaching the Flynn-Kislyak talks in the context of a criminal violation — the Logan Act — gave the Obama team a pretense to target Flynn, and thus the new Trump administration.

A critical moment came two weeks later, on Jan. 12, 2017, when the Washington Post’s David Ignatius reported the Flynn-Kislyak calls. Ignatius said his source was a “senior U.S. government official.” “What did Flynn say, and did it undercut the U.S. sanctions?” Ignatius asked. “The Logan Act (though never enforced) bars U.S. citizens from correspondence intending to influence a foreign government about ‘disputes’ with the United States.”

It was a stunning leak; the existence and content of U.S. spy intercepts are highly, highly classified. But the Obama administration let the information out.

Ignatius’ report set off a new round of media discussion about the Logan Act. That led to more action on Capitol Hill. On the same day Ignatius’ column appeared, Rep. Huffman, author of the “One President at a Time Act of 2016,” joined 34 other House Democrats to urge Attorney General Loretta Lynch to appoint a special counsel to investigate whether Flynn violated the Logan Act. “Our national interests require that the Logan Act be enforced, especially during the delicate and potentially vulnerable period of a presidential transition,” Huffman and his colleagues wrote.

The conversation only intensified in the following days. The Logan Act was central to that conversation — in the media, and inside the Obama Justice Department.

On Jan. 24, with the new administration in office just four days, FBI agents interviewed Flynn in the White House. They questioned him about the Kislyak calls, about sanctions, about the U.N. resolution. FBI officials had a transcript of the original conversations to check Flynn’s answers against, and the criminal charge against him today stems from the discrepancy between his answers and the transcript. (One of the mysteries of the whole affair is why Flynn would lie about a conversation that he, as a former top intelligence official, should have known was being recorded.)

But why did the Justice Department, run by Obama holdover Sally Yates, decide to interrogate Flynn in the first place? The answer is the Logan Act.

“Yates, then the deputy attorney general, considered Flynn’s comments in the intercepted call to be ‘highly significant’ and ‘potentially illegal,’ according to an official familiar with her thinking,” the Washington Post reported on Feb. 13. “Yates and other intelligence officials suspected that Flynn could be in violation of an obscure U.S. statute known as the Logan Act, which bars U.S. citizens from interfering in diplomatic disputes with another country.”

In its version of the story, the New York Times reported that “Obama advisers” were concerned about the Flynn-Kislyak calls. “The Obama advisers grew suspicious that there had been a secret deal between the incoming [Trump] team and Moscow, which could violate the rarely enforced, two-century-old Logan Act barring private citizens from negotiating with foreign powers in disputes with the Unites States,” the paper reported. The paper added that the Obama advisers asked the FBI if Flynn and Kislyak had discussed a quid pro quo, only to learn the answer was no.

So even though there was no discussion of a quid pro quo, and even though, as reported in the Post account, Yates knew there was “little chance” of actually bringing a Logan Act prosecution against Flynn — despite all that, Yates went ahead with the questioning of Flynn. And two days after that, Yates, along with an aide, went to the White House to tell counsel Don McGahn that there was a legal problem with the national security adviser.

Yates described the events in testimony before a Senate Judiciary Committee subcommittee on May 8, 2017. She told lawmakers that the Logan Act was the first concern she mentioned to McGahn.

“The first thing we did was to explain to Mr. McGahn that the underlying conduct that Gen. Flynn had engaged in was problematic in and of itself,” Yates said. That seems a clear reference to the Logan Act, although no one uttered the words “Logan Act” in the hearing at which Yates testified. “We took him [McGahn] through in a fair amount of detail of the underlying conduct, what Gen. Flynn had done.”

Yates and the aide returned to the White House the next day, Jan. 27, for another talk with McGahn. McGahn asked Yates “about the applicability of certain statutes, certain criminal statutes,” Yates testified. That led Sen. Chris Coons, who had called for an investigation of the Trump team for Logan Act violations months before, to ask Yates what the applicable statutes would be.

“If I identified the statute, then that would be insight into what the conduct was,” Yates answered. “And look, I’m not trying to be hyper-technical here. I’m trying to be really careful that I observe my responsibilities to protect classified information. And so I can’t identify the statute.”

While Yates became reticent in the witness chair, the public nevertheless knows from that “official familiar with her thinking” that Yates believed Flynn might have violated the Logan Act, a suspicion she shared with other Obama administration officials.

As for another concern that Yates said she had over the Flynn-Kislyak conversations — the worry that Flynn’s lie to Vice President Mike Pence (that sanctions were not discussed on the call) would open Flynn up to possible blackmail — perhaps that is a legitimate concern, but why did it warrant FBI questioning of Flynn under the penalty of prosecution for making false statements? Certainly Yates could have warned the White House about that without interrogating Flynn at all.

Instead, it was the prospect of a Logan Act prosecution that led to the FBI interview, which then, when Flynn lied to investigators, led to his guilty plea on a false statements charge.

From today’s perspective, nearly a year later, it has become apparent that, farfetched as it might seem, the Logan Act made it possible for the Obama administration to go after Trump. The ancient law that no one has ever been prosecuted for violating was the Obama administration’s flimsy pretense for a criminal prosecution of the incoming Trump team.

And by the way, when it finally came time to charge Flynn with a crime, did prosecutors, armed with the transcripts of those Flynn-Kislyak conversations, choose to charge him with violating the Logan Act? Of course not. But for the Obama team, the law had already served its purpose, months earlier, to entangle the new administration in a criminal investigation as soon as it walked in the door of the White House.

Deutsche Bank Received Subpoena on Client Trump

December 5, 2017 Leave a comment
Steven Arons

Special prosecutor Robert Mueller zeroed in on President Donald Trump’s business dealings with Deutsche Bank AG as his investigation into alleged Russian meddling in U.S. elections widens.

Mueller issued a subpoena to Germany’s largest lender several weeks ago, forcing the bank to submit documents on its relationship with Trump and his family, according to a person briefed on the matter, who asked not to be identified because the action has not been announced.

“Deutsche Bank always cooperates with investigating authorities in all countries,” the lender said in a statement to Bloomberg Tuesday, declining to provide additional information.

Deutsche Bank for months has rebuffed calls by Democratic lawmakers to provide more transparency over the roughly $300 million Trump owed to the bank for his real estate dealings prior to becoming president. Representative Maxine Waters of California and other Democrats have asked whether the bank’s loans to Trump, made years before he ran for president, were in any way connected to Russia. The bank previously rejected those demands, saying sharing client data would be illegal unless it received a formal request to do so. Trump has denied any wrongdoing.

Calls and emails to the White House weren’t immediately returned before U.S. office hours. Handelsblatt reported the subpoena earlier Tuesday.

Flynn Plea

Mueller’s investigation — which is looking into alleged Russian interference into last year’s U.S. election and whether Trump’s winning campaign assisted in those efforts — appears to be entering a new phase. Trump’s former national security adviser, Michael Flynn, pleaded guilty Friday to lying to FBI agents, becoming the fourth associate of the president ensnared by Mueller’s probe. More significantly, he also is providing details to Mueller about the Trump campaign’s approach to Flynn’s controversial meeting with a Russian envoy during the presidential transition.

Trump’s relationship with Deutsche Bank stretches back some two decades and the roughly $300 million he owed to the bank represented nearly half of his outstanding debt, according to a July 2016 analysis by Bloomberg. That figure includes a $170-million loan Trump took out to finish a hotel in Washington. He also has two mortgages against his Trump National Doral Miami resort and a loan against his tower in Chicago.

Your Guide to Understanding the Trump-Russia Saga: QuickTake Q&A

Deutsche Bank management is ready to share information about the lender’s dealings with Trump and is hopeful that doing so will help end the series of inquiries from Democrats, an executive at the bank, who asked not to be identified discussing private deliberations, has previously told Bloomberg News.

News of the Deutsche Bank subpoena may escalate Trump’s vitriol toward investigators, which over the past week has included publicly attacking the Justice Department and the Federal Bureau of Investigation, whose reputation he declared to be “in tatters.”

In July, Trump said in an interview with the New York Times that if Mueller examined his family’s finances beyond any relationship with Russia he’d consider it “a violation.” Mueller’s investigation had expanded to examine a broad range of transactions involving the president’s businesses, including dealings by his son-in-law, Jared Kushner, and Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross, a person familiar with the probe told Bloomberg News after the publication of the Times interview.

Democratic senators, including Dianne Feinstein, suggested after the Flynn plea that Mueller might be building an obstruction of justice case against Trump. But the Deutsche Bank subpoena may indicate that the special prosecutor is still looking at a wide range of data, including the president’s financial dealings.

Priebus, Kellogg

Mueller’s team has also been interviewing White House aides in recent weeks, including former Chief of Staff Reince Priebus, former spokesman Sean Spicer and National Security Council chief of staff Keith Kellogg, according to people familiar with the investigation.

As Mueller’s investigation unfolds, Trump has gone on the offensive. Over the weekend on Twitter, he attacked the FBI and Mueller’s team and defended some of Flynn’s actions. In particular, Trump hailed the news that one of Mueller’s aides had been removed from his job over the summer for some anti-Trump text messages.

On Monday, as he left the White House for a trip to Utah, Trump restated his sympathy for Flynn and his assertion that prosecutors should have pursued action against his general election rival, Hillary Clinton.

— With assistance by Billy House, Chris Strohm, Ross Larsen, Kathleen Hunter, and Alan Katz

Mueller aide fired for anti-Trump texts now facing review for role in Clinton email probe

December 4, 2017 Leave a comment

House Intelligence Committee Chairman Devin Nunes, R-Calif., speaks to reporters on Capitol Hill in Washington, Friday, March 24, 2017. Nunes said Friday that Paul Manafort, the former campaign chairman for President Donald Trump, volunteered to be interviewed by committee members. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)

James Rosen, Jake Gibson | Fox News

Two senior Justice Department officials have confirmed to Fox News that the department’s Office of Inspector General is reviewing the role played in the Hillary Clinton email investigation by Peter Strzok, a former deputy director for counterintelligence at the FBI who was removed from the staff of Special Counsel Robert S. Mueller III earlier this year, after Mueller learned that Strzok had exchanged anti-Trump texts with a colleague.

A source close to the matter said the OIG probe, which will examine Strzok’s roles in a number of other politically sensitive cases, should be completed by “very early next year.”

The task will be exceedingly complex, given Strzok’s consequential portfolio. He participated in the FBI’s fateful interview with Hillary Clinton on July 2, 2016 – just days before then-FBI Director James Comey announced he was declining to recommend prosecution of Mrs. Clinton in connection with her use, as secretary of state, of a private email server.

As deputy FBI director for counterintelligence, Strzok also enjoyed liaison with various agencies in the intelligence community, including the CIA, then led by Director John Brennan.

Key figure

House investigators told Fox News they have long regarded Strzok as a key figure in the chain of events when the bureau, in 2016, received the infamous anti-Trump “dossier” and launched a counterintelligence investigation into Russian meddling in the election that ultimately came to encompass FISA surveillance of a Trump campaign associate.

The “dossier” was a compendium of salacious and largely unverified allegations about then-candidate Trump and others around him that was compiled by the opposition research firm Fusion GPS. The firm’s bank records, obtained by House investigators, revealed that the project was funded by the Clinton campaign and the Democratic National Committee.

House Intelligence Committee Chairman Devin Nunes, R-Calif., has sought documents and witnesses from the Department of Justice and FBI to determine what role, if any, the dossier played in the move to place a Trump campaign associate under foreign surveillance.

Strzok himself briefed the committee on Dec. 5, 2016, the sources said, but within months of that session House Intelligence Committee investigators were contacted by an informant suggesting that there was “documentary evidence” that Strzok was purportedly obstructing the House probe into the dossier.

In early October, Nunes personally asked Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein – who has overseen the Trump-Russia probe since the recusal of Attorney General Jeff Sessions – to make Strzok available to the committee for questioning, sources said.

While Strzok’s removal from the Mueller team had been publicly reported in August, the Justice Department never disclosed the anti-Trump texts to the House investigators. The denial of access to Strzok was instead predicated, sources said, on broad “personnel” grounds.

When a month had elapsed, House investigators – having issued three subpoenas for various witnesses and documents – formally recommended to Nunes that DOJ and FBI be held in contempt of Congress. Nunes continued pressing DOJ, including a conversation with Rosenstein as recently as last Wednesday.

That turned out to be 12 days after DOJ and FBI had made Strzok available to the Senate Intelligence Committee, which is conducting its own parallel investigation into the allegations of collusion between the Trump campaign and the Kremlin.

Contempt citations?

Responding to the revelations about Strzok’s texts on Saturday, Nunes said he has now directed his staff to draft contempt-of-Congress citations against Rosenstein and the new FBI director, Christopher Wray. Unless DOJ and FBI comply with all of his outstanding requests for documents and witnesses by the close of business on Monday, Nunes said, he would seek a resolution on the contempt citations before year’s end.

“We now know why Strzok was dismissed, why the FBI and DOJ refused to provide us this explanation, and at least one reason why they previously refused to make [FBI] Deputy Director [Andrew] McCabe available to the Committee for an interview,” Nunes said in a statement.

“We now know why Strzok was dismissed, why the FBI and DOJ refused to provide us this explanation, and at least one reason why they previously refused to make [FBI] Deputy Director [Andrew] McCabe available to the Committee for an interview.”

– House Intelligence Committee Chairman Devin Nunes, R-Calif.

Early Saturday afternoon, after Strzok’s texts were cited in published reports by the New York Times and the Washington Post – and Fox News had followed up with inquiries about the department’s refusal to make Strzok available to House investigators – the Justice Department contacted the office of House Speaker Paul Ryan to establish a date for Strzok’s appearance before House Intelligence Committee staff, along with two other witnesses long sought by the Nunes team.

Those witnesses are FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe and the FBI officer said to have handled Christopher Steele, the British spy who used Russian sources to compile the dossier for Fusion GPS. The official said to be Steele’s FBI handler has also appeared already before the Senate panel.

The Justice Department maintained that the decision to clear Strzok for House interrogation had occurred a few hours prior to the appearance of the Times and Post stories.

In addition, Rosenstein is set to testify before the House Judiciary Committee on Dec. 13.

The Justice Department maintains that it has been very responsive to the House intel panel’s demands, including private briefings for panel staff by senior DOJ and FBI personnel and the production of several hundred pages of classified materials available in a secure reading room at DOJ headquarters on Oct. 31.

Behind the scenes

Sources said Speaker Ryan has worked quietly behind the scenes to try to resolve the clash over dossier-related evidence and witnesses between the House intel panel on the one hand and DOJ and FBI on the other. In October, however, the speaker took the unusual step of saying publicly that the two agencies were “stonewalling” Congress.

All parties agree that some records being sought by the Nunes team belong to categories of documents that have historically never been shared with the committees that conduct oversight of the intelligence community.

Speaker of the House Paul Ryan (R-WI) speaks during a press briefing on Capitol Hill in Washington, U.S., September 6, 2017. REUTERS/Joshua Roberts - RC136EFF4EB0

House Speaker Paul Ryan, R-Wis.

Federal officials told Fox News the requested records include “highly sensitive raw intelligence,” so sensitive that officials from foreign governments have emphasized to the U.S. the “potential danger and chilling effect” it could place on foreign intelligence sources.

Justice Department officials noted that Nunes did not appear for a document-review session that his committee’s ranking Democrat, U.S. Rep. Adam Schiff, D-Calif., attended, and once rejected a briefing by an FBI official if the panel’s Democratic members were permitted to attend.

Sources close to the various investigations agreed the discovery of Strzok’s texts raised important questions about his work on the Clinton email case, the Trump-Russia probe, and the dossier matter.

“That’s why the IG is looking into all of those things,” a Justice Department official told Fox News on Saturday.

A top House investigator asked: “If Mueller knew about the texts, what did he know about the dossier?”

Peter Carr, a spokesman for the special counsel, said: “Immediately upon learning of the allegations, the Special Counsel’s Office removed Peter Strzok from the investigation.”

Carr declined to comment on the extent to which Mueller has examined the dossier and its relationship, if any, to the counterintelligence investigation that Strzok launched during the height of the campaign season.

Why Flynn’s plea is a dead end for ‘Russiagate’ conspiracy

December 3, 2017 Leave a comment

Most US media jumped on the plea as proof of Trump’s collusion with Russia. Actual documents, however, tell a different story

Why Flynn’s plea is a dead end for ‘Russiagate’ conspiracy

RT News

 

 

President Donald Trump’s short-lived national security adviser, Michael Flynn, pleaded guilty to lying to the FBI. Most US media jumped on the plea as proof of Trump’s collusion with Russia. Actual documents, however, tell a different story.

A court document signed by special counsel Robert Mueller, dated Thursday, specifies two instances of Flynn telling FBI investigators things that were not true. They relate to two conversations he had with Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak, in December 2016.

In the Statement of Offense signed by Flynn at his court appearance on Friday, he admitted to acting on instructions from a senior “Presidential Transition Team” (PTT) official, prompting breathless speculation if that was Trump himself, his son-in-law Jared Kushner, or someone else altogether. The one question nobody seems to be asking is, “So what?”

It is intuitively obvious to even the most casual observer that Flynn’s “crime” is a procedural one: he told FBI investigators he hadn’t done a thing that he actually did. But was the thing he did – namely, speak with the Russian ambassador to the US – against the law? Not really.

Under the 1799 Logan Act, it is technically against the law for a private US citizen to engage in diplomacy. However, only two people have ever been indicted under that law, and no one has ever been prosecuted. Flynn was a member of the presidential transition team whose duties involved contacts with foreign diplomats. So why would the FBI even ask him about his contacts with Ambassador Kislyak?

“There was nothing wrong with the incoming national security adviser’s having meetings with foreign counterparts or discussing such matters as the sanctions in those meetings,” Andrew McCarthy of National Review wrote on Friday.

Because Flynn was “generally despised by Obama administration officials,” McCarthy added, “there has always been cynical suspicion that the decision to interview him was driven by the expectation that he would provide the FBI with an account inconsistent with the recorded conversation – i.e., that Flynn was being set up for prosecution on a process crime.”

Back in May, former deputy Attorney General Sally Yates testified before the Senate Judiciary subcommittee that she came to the White House on January 26 – two days after Flynn’s FBI interview – to say that he had lied about his conversations with Kislyak. How did she know? That, she said, was “based on classified information.”

Clearly, Yates knew Flynn was lying about the conversations because US intelligence had been listening in on them. An Obama administration official leaked that information to the Washington Post’s David Ignatius, who reported on the Flynn-Kislyak conversation on January 12, eight days before Trump’s inauguration.

Responding to that report, Vice President Pence said that Flynn’s conversation with Kislyak “had nothing whatsoever to do” with the Obama administration’s expulsion of Russian diplomats and closure of two diplomatic properties, enacted on December 29, 2016.

After the Post reported that the two did in fact discuss Obama’s sanctions, citing anonymous sources again, Flynn submitted his resignation.

The dark undertone of the Post’s reporting was that Flynn was somehow “subverting” Obama’s sanctions, intended as punishment for – alleged, and to this day unproven – Russian “meddling” in US elections. What Flynn actually did, as documented by the special counsel, was to ask Russia not to escalate in response to Obama’s actions.

It worked, too: Russian President Vladimir Putin announced that Moscow would not expel any US diplomats, but rather invite them to the Kremlin for holiday celebrations. It wasn’t until July, after the passage of an anti-Russian bill in Congress, that Putin ordered the US to downsize its diplomatic staff in Russia by 755.

So what about the frantic insistence of “Russiagate” partisans that Flynn’s plea practically portends the downfall of the president they refuse to accept as legitimate? Their elation is unwarranted and premature, warns McCarthy. If a prosecutor has a cooperating witness who is an accomplice in a criminal scheme, the plea is structured so it proves the existence of the scheme.

“That is not happening in Flynn’s situation. Instead, like Papadopoulos, he is being permitted to plead guilty to a mere process crime,” he wrote, referring to a volunteer Trump campaign adviser who likewise pleaded guilty to lying to the FBI about seeking contacts with (a nonexistent) “Putin’s niece.”

Flynn’s plea did include an admission he failed to report activities undertaken on behalf of a foreign government: Turkey, a key NATO ally of the US.

WH: ‘If There Was Any Collusion With Russia, It Was Between the DNC and the Clintons’

October 29, 2017 Leave a comment

(CNSNews.com) – The White House on Friday said the media has spent a great deal of money reporting on the Russian collusion investigation, which the White House considers “a pretty big waste,” especially when if there was any collusion with Russia, it was with the Democratic National Committee and Clinton campaign – not the Trump campaign.

President Donald Trump tweeted Friday: “It is now commonly agreed, after many months of COSTLY looking, that there was NO collusion between Russia and Trump. Was collusion with HC!”

As CNSNews.com previously reported, according to the Washington Post, the DNC and the Clinton campaign “helped fund research that resulted in a now-famous dossier containing allegations about Donald Trump’s connections to Russia and possible coordination between his campaign and the Kremlin.”

When asked whether the president was suggesting that more special investigation is a waste of money, the press secretary said, “I think that the president has been pretty clear what his position throughout this process. That’s not the only investigation that’s taking place. Congress has spent a great deal of time on this — a better part of a year.

“All of your news organizations have actually spent probably a lot of money on this as well, which we would consider probably a pretty big waste,” Sanders said. “I think that our position hasn’t changed since day one, and I think we are seeing now that if there was any collusion with Russia, it was between the DNC and the Clintons, and certainly not our campaign.”

When asked whether Trump shares the same view as some who think special counsel Robert Mueller should step aside in the investigation of collusion between Russia and the Trump campaign, Sanders said, “The president wants to see this completed.

“We think that we are continuing to see day in, day out, as this investigation moves to completion, that, as the same as it started, there’s still no evidence of collusion between the president and anyone,” she said.

“If any collusion took place, it would be between the DNC and the Clintons, and I think we’re starting to now see that all of the things that the Democrats had accused this president of doing, they were actually guilty of themselves. And I think that’s a really big problem that should be certainly looked at,” Sanders added.

%d bloggers like this: