Government Corruption

Editorial: Yes, There Was FBI Bias

There is much to admire in Justice Department inspector general Michael Horowitz’s highly anticipated report on the FBI’s Clinton-emails investigation. Horowitz’s 568-page analysis is comprehensive, fact-intensive, and cautious to a fault. It is also, nonetheless, an incomplete exercise — it omits half the story, the Russia investigation — and it flinches from following the facts to their logical conclusion. The media and the Left are spinning the report as a vindication of the FBI from the charge of bias, when the opposite is the truth. The IG extensively takes on numerous issues related to the decision not to charge former secretary of state Hillary Clinton for, primarily, causing the retention and transmission of classified information on the non-secure “homebrew” server system through which she improperly and systematically conducted government business. If there is a single theme that ties the sprawling report together, however, it is bias. Or, as the report put it, “the question of bias.” It should not really be a question, because the evidence of anti-Trump bias on the part of the agents who steered the Clinton probe — which was run out of headquarters, highly unusual for a criminal investigation — is immense. In fact, the most hair-raising section of the report, an entire chapter, is devoted to communications among several FBI officials (not just the infamous duo of Peter Strzok and Lisa Page), which overflow with abhorrence for Trump (“loathsome,” “an idiot,” “awful,” “an enormous d**che,” “f**k Trump”) and his core supporters (“retarded,” “the crazies,” one could “smell” them). More alarmingly, the agents express a determination to stop Trump from becoming president (e.g., Strzok, on being asked if Trump would become president, says “No. No he’s not. We’ll stop it”; and on being assured that his election is highly unlikely, opines that “we can’t take that risk” and that the bureau needs “an insurance policy” against him). Yet despite marshaling this damning proof of bias, Horowitz spends much of his report discounting it with respect to individual investigative decisions. His approach obscures more than it illuminates. The IG says it is not his burden to second-guess “discretionary” investigative decisions unless they were irrational. Thus, even if agents exhibited bias, he presumes that such decisions as granting immunity, declining to seek relevant evidence, or forgoing subpoenas are defensible as long as some government policy arguably supports them — even if other, better options were available. FBI director Christopher Wray has pounced on this, disingenuously arguing that the IG “did not find any evidence of political bias or improper considerations impacting the investigation.” It is a misleading comment: The IG found overwhelming evidence of bias and merely withheld judgment on whether it affected the investigation at key points. Of course, what principally drove decisions in the Clinton-emails investigation (or “matter,” as Obama attorney general Loretta Lynch, like the Clinton campaign, insisted it be called) was the certainty that President Obama and his Justice Department were never going to permit Secretary Clinton to be charged with a crime, notwithstanding the abundant evidence. (Without a hint of irony, the report’s executive summary speaks of the supposed difficulty of proving Clinton’s knowledge of the hundreds of classified emails inevitably on her system, and then explains that the FBI abjured use of the grand jury because it would have required exposing prodigious amounts of classified information.) That is, regardless of whether individual decisions were driven by pro-Clinton bias, the predetermined outcome surely was. That’s why then-director James Comey was drafting his exoneration remarks months before critical evidence was obtained, and before Clinton and other key witnesses were interviewed. A comparison between the handling of the Clinton emails and that of the Trump-Russia probes would almost certainly illustrate the influence of this bias, but that is exactly what the IG report lacks. The report’s fans will say this is strictly a matter of timing: The IG’s Clinton-emails report has been 18 months in the making; it may take the IG even longer to complete the Trump-Russia review, and it would be unreasonable to delay any reckoning that long. But the fact that the IG’s inquiries into the two probes are on different tracks does not alter the more essential fact that the two are inextricably linked. They were conducted at the same time, by the same sets of top FBI agents and Justice Department officials, in the operating environment of the same event — the 2016 election. They were, moreover, perceived as interrelated by the agents themselves. Strzok’s first reaction, upon hearing that Ted Cruz had withdrawn from the GOP race, leaving Trump as the de facto nominee, was that this meant the Clinton-emails probe had to be wrapped up (i.e., formally closed without charges). When the Trump-Russia investigation got rolling, Strzok commented that, compared to the Clinton-emails probe, this was the investigation that really “MATTERS” (emphasis in original). And here is Strzok the day after Robert Mueller was appointed special counsel, on the opportunity to join his investigation of now-president Trump: ” For me, and this case, I personally have a sense of unfinished business. I unleashed it with MYE [Mid Year Exam — the FBI’s codeword for the Clinton Emails investigation]. Now I need to fix it and finish it.” Later in the same exchange he adds that this is a choice of whether he wants to be just another FBI assistant director or participate in an “investigation leading to impeachment.” It’s only Horowitz’s extremely forgiving standard for judging investigative decisions that allows him to say that the impact of bias on the Clinton investigation is inconclusive. This is not to dismiss the usefulness of the IG’s report. It reaffirms that the president had ample legitimate grounds to dismiss Director Comey, who is shown to be insubordinate and deceptive, a self-absorbed law unto himself. Furthermore, the IG’s equivocation about the role of bias does not detract from his powerful condemnation of the disrepute rogue agents have brought on the bureau. Still, there is important work left to be done in fully accounting for the decisions of an FBI whose reputation won’t soon recover from its performance in 2016.

Indeed..  Thanks to the editors of National Review for this excellent analysis.  It’s important to note that National Review is NOT part of the “Trump Train.”  In fact, they are just the opposite and even went so far as to put out a special edition critical of the very idea of a Trump presidency after the election had already been decided, but before he took office.  So, what you just read was from a bunch of inside-the-beltway, swamp, “never Trumpers.”

Report: Rank-and-File FBI Agents Eager to Blow Whistle on Comey, Holder, Lynch

A new report claims that a significant number of rank-and-file FBI agents are chomping at the bit to expose Obama-era leaders, alleging corruption and even criminal violations of the law. These agents are signaling that the only way they can safely and legally blow the whistle is if Congress subpoenas them individually to provide information about their former bosses. “There are agents all over this country who love the bureau and are sickened by [James] Comey’s behavior and [Andrew] McCabe and [Eric] Holder and [Loretta] Lynch and the thugs like [John] Brennan–who despise the fact that the bureau was used as a tool of political intelligence by the Obama administration thugs,” Joe DiGenova, a former United States Attorney for the District of Columbia, told the Daily Caller. “They are just waiting for a chance to come forward and testify.” In a statement to the Daily Caller, an unnamed FBI agent claimed, “Every special agent I have spoken to in the Washington Field Office wants to see McCabe prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law. They feel the same way about Comey.” “All Congress needs to do is subpoena involved personnel and they will tell you what they know. These are honest people. Leadership cannot stop anyone from responding to a subpoena. Those subpoenaed also get legal counsel provided by the government to represent them,” the agent added. Former FBI Assistant Director James Kallstrom made similar statements when asked last December about morale at the bureau. “Well, I think there’s a lot of patriots that have had it up to here with what’s going on, and they’re going to step forward and tell people what the shenanigans have been,” Kallstrom told Fox News’ Stuart Varney. “How they shut down the Clinton Foundation investigation, how other things were done that are so anti-what the FBI and the United States and this country is about.” Paul Sperry of RealClearInvestigations reported last Thursday that Justice Department Inspector General Michael Horowitz has “found ‘reasonable grounds’ for believing there has been a violation of federal criminal law in the FBI/DOJ’s handling of the Clinton investigation/s,” adding that the top watchdog official has “referred his findings of potential criminal misconduct to Huber for possible criminal prosecution.”

Mueller’s investigation of Trump ‘needs to conclude,’ Sessions says

Attorney General Jeff Sessions said Thursday that an ongoing probe into President Trump “needs to conclude” in order to let him focus on North Korea, the U.S.-Mexico border and other world negotiations. Mr. Sessions also said he expects the Justice Department inspector general to finish his investigation into the department’s and FBI’s handling of investigations into Hillary Clinton during the 2016 election in a “few weeks,” saying that will provide more information for decisions on whether there was wrongdoing. Testifying to the House on Thursday, Mr. Sessions was pressed by a lawmaker who said he saw a “double standard” in comparing the ongoing special counsel probe into Mr. Trump, while Mr. Sessions has declined to name a second special counsel to review the way the department and the FBI handled Mrs. Clinton. “At the very root of this, I think my constituents are frustrated, are angry, they see a double standard historically. They want justice,” said Rep. Evan Jenkins, West Virginia Republican, ticking off a number of red flags he said deserved the heightened powers a special counsel should look at. Mr. Sessions said he didn’t want to appoint special counsels “willy-nilly” but said his department is taking deliberate steps. He’s named a U.S. attorney to oversee an investigation and coordinate with the inspector general whose probe has been ongoing for months. He also said they’re sharing an unprecedented amount of information with GOP-led congressional committees who are probing the same matters. “If there’s wrongdoing we’re going to take action about it,” he said. He said he knows the president is “concerned” about the ongoing special counsel investigation into figures surrounding Mr. Trump, and Mr. Sessions said it needs to end so the president can deal with the job of running the executive branch. “He’s dealing with France and North Korea and Syria and taxes and regulations and border and crime every day,” Mr. Sessions said. “This thing needs to conclude. So I understand his frustrations and I understand the American people’s frustrations.”

Lawmakers Recommend Clinton, Comey, Lynch, McCabe for Criminal Referrals

Republican lawmakers on Wednesday sent a slew of criminal referrals to Attorney General Jeff Sessions for a number of Obama administration officials and senior FBI employees for violations of the law in connection to the Clinton email and Trump-Russia investigations. Specifically, they sent criminal referrals to Sessions for: former FBI Director James Comey, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, former Attorney General Loretta Lynch, former FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe, as well as FBI Special Agent Peter Strzok and his lover, FBI lawyer Lisa Page, for separate violations. The criminal referrals, first reported by investigative journalist Sara Carter, were made by Rep. Ron Desantis (R-FL), a senior member of the House Judiciary and Oversight and Government Reform Committees who is leaving the House to run for Florida governor, and nine other colleagues. Signatories included: GOP Reps. Andy Biggs (AZ), Dave Brat (VA), Jeff Duncan (SC), Matt Gaetz (FL), Paul A. Gosar (AZ), Andy Harris (MD), Jody Hice (GA), Todd Rokita (IN), Claudia Tenney (NY), and Ted Yoho (FL). “Because we believe that those in positions of high authority should be treated the same as every other American, we want to be sure that the potential violations of law outlined below are vetted appropriately,” said the letter. They said Comey potentially broke the law when he chose not to seek charges against Clinton, for leaking classified memos of his conversations to President Trump to his friend Daniel Richman to give to the press, and for lying to lawmakers. They said Clinton potentially broke the law when disguising payments to Fusion GPS, the firm that produced the Trump dossier, despite mandatory disclosures to the Federal Election Commission. Lynch, they said, potentially broke the law when she threatened a former FBI informant, William Douglas Campbell, who had tried to come forward in 2016 with information related to the Uranium One deal that was approved in 2010. McCabe potentially broke the law when he lied to investigators four times when questioned about a leak that he had arranged, they said. Strzok and Page potentially violated the law by interfering in the investigation of Clinton’s private email server, they said. The letter cites a Wall Street Journal report that said their text messages to one another revealed FBI officials tried to eliminate evidence that Clinton had compromised high-level communications with then-President Obama. “The report provides the following alarming specifics, among others: ‘Mr. Strzok texts Ms. Page to tell her that, in fact, senior officials had decided to water down the reference to President Obama to ‘another senior government official,” the criminal referral said. Finally, the lawmakers referred all Justice Department and FBI personnel, including Comey, McCabe, former Acting Attorney General Sally Yates, and former Acting Deputy Attorney General Dana Boente, for potentially breaking the law by using unverified and/or false information to obtain a surveillance warrant on former Trump campaign volunteer Carter Page. Carter also reported that other recent documents obtained by congressional investigators suggest possible coordination by the Obama White House, the CIA, and the FBI in investigating the Trump campaign. “According to those documents, the senior Obama officials used unsubstantiated evidence to launch allegations in the media that the Trump campaign was colluding with Russia during the run-up to the 2016 presidential election,” Carter reported. CIA Director John Brennan had briefed Sen. Harry Reid (D-NV) in August 2016, prompting Reid to send a letter to then-FBI Director James Comey asking him to investigate allegations of collusion. Reid then reportedly stayed in close touch with Comey.

Wow!  This is huge!!

Democratic Sen. Mark Warner texted with Russian oligarch lobbyist in effort to contact dossier author Christopher Steele

Sen. Mark Warner, the top Democrat on the Senate Intelligence Committee who has been leading a congressional investigation into President Trump’s alleged ties to Russia, had extensive contact last year with a lobbyist for a Russian oligarch who was offering Warner access to former British spy and dossier author Christopher Steele, according to text messages obtained exclusively by Fox News. “We have so much to discuss u need to be careful but we can help our country,” Warner texted the lobbyist, Adam Waldman, on March 22, 2017. “I’m in,” Waldman, whose firm has ties to Hillary Clinton, texted back to Warner. Steele famously put together the anti-Trump dossier of unverified information that was used by FBI and Justice Department officials in October 2016 to get a warrant to conduct surveillance of former Trump adviser Carter Page. Despite the efforts, Steele has not agreed to an interview with the committee. Secrecy seemed very important to Warner as the conversation with Waldman heated up March 29, when the lobbyist revealed that Steele wanted a bipartisan letter from Warner and the committee’s chairman, North Carolina Republican Sen. Richard Burr, inviting him to talk to the Senate intelligence panel. Throughout the text exchanges, Warner seemed particularly intent on connecting directly with Steele without anyone else on the Senate Intelligence Committee being in the loop — at least initially. In one text to the lobbyist, Warner wrote that he would “rather not have a paper trail” of his messages. An aide to Warner confirmed to Fox News that the text messages are authentic. The messages, which were obtained from a Republican source, are all marked “CONFIDENTIAL” and are not classified. They were turned over to the Senate panel by Waldman last September. Waldman, who did not return calls seeking comments, runs the Endeavor Group in Washington. Waldman is best known for signing a $40,000 monthly retainer in 2009 and 2010 to lobby the U.S. government on behalf of controversial Russian billionaire Oleg V. Deripaska. Deripraska had his visa revoked by the State Department in 2006 because of charges, which he has denied, that he has organized crime ties.

With each new day, the whole Russia collusion narrative being pushed by the Dems, and the dominantly liberal mainstream media, continues to unravel.  And, ironically, the tables have turned.  We’re finding out that the whole thing was a sham and driven by the DNC, Hillary, and Dems like Sen. Mark Warner (D-VA) who really have been “colluding” with Russians all along to undermine our democratic processes and the last election.  For more on this developing story, click on the text above.

Obama-era Russian Uranium One deal: What to know

As federal investigators continue to look into Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election, prosecutors are also probing an Obama-era sale of a uranium mining company. Attorney General Jeff Sessions last year directed federal prosecutors to look into the sale of Uranium One to a Russian company – a transaction that President Trump has called the “real Russia story.” The Hill reported that Russian officials engaged in a “racketeering scheme” to further its energy goals in the U.S. And an FBI informant recently told congressional committees that Russia paid millions to a U.S. lobbying firm in an effort to influence then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton to make sure the deal was successful. In 2013, Rosatom, backed by the Russian state, acquired a Canadian uranium mining company, now called Uranium One, which has assets in the U.S. Uranium is a key material for making nuclear weapons. Through the deal, Russia is able to own about 20 percent of U.S. uranium production capacity. However, Colin Chilcoat, an energy affairs specialist who has written extensively about Russia’s energy deals, said that the company only extracts about 11 percent of uranium in the U.S. The deal also “doesn’t allow for that uranium to be exported at all,” Chilcoat told Fox News. “It’s not like it’s leaving the U.S. or somehow finding its way to more insidious players.” The agreement was approved by nine government agencies with the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS), an inter-agency group that reviews how certain foreign investments can impact national security. The State Department under Clinton was one of those agencies, though Clinton told WMUR-TV in 2015 that she was not “personally involved” in the agreement. Some investors reportedly donated millions of dollars to the Clinton Foundation. Former President Bill Clinton also received a $500,000 speaking fee in Russia and reportedly met with Vladimir Putin around the time of the deal, Republicans, who are largely critical of the deal, have said. The FBI had looked into the agreement and uncovered that some Russian nuclear industry officials were engaged in nefarious dealings, which included extortion, bribery and kickbacks, The Hill reported. Evidence of wrongdoing by Vadim Mikerin, the Russian official overseeing Putin’s nuclear expansion in the U.S. who was eventually sentenced to prison, was discovered by the FBI before the deal was approved, according to The Hill. Author Peter Schweizer – who wrote about the deal in his 2015 book “Clinton Cash” – told Fox News that there is no evidence that the people involved with approving the agreement knew that the FBI had an ongoing investigation into it. But White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders told Fox News “if anyone colluded for a foreign government in [the 2016] election, it was the Clinton campaign [and] the Democrats.” Douglas Campbell, the FBI informant, alleged that Moscow paid millions of dollars to a lobbying firm to help Bill Clinton’s charities in order to influence Hillary Clinton, who was then former President Barack Obama’s secretary of state. Campbell made the claims in a 10-page statement given to the Senate Judiciary Committee, House Intelligence Committee and House Oversight and Government Reform Committee. Campbell said Russian nuclear officials “told me at various times that they expected APCO to apply a portion of the $3 million annual lobbying fee it was receiving from the Russians to provide in-kind support for the Clinton’s Global Initiative.” “The contract called for four payments of $750,000 over twelve months,” Campbell said in the statement. “APCO was expected to give assistance free of charge to the Clinton Global Initiative as part of their effort to create a favorable environment to ensure the Obama administration made affirmative decisions on everything from Uranium One to the US-Russia Civilian Nuclear Cooperation agreement.” APCO Worldwide is a global public affairs consulting agency.

Pres. Trump is correct in saying that THIS is the “real Russia story.”  To read the rest of this outstanding analysis, click on the text above.

Opinion: Trump is right — He and his campaign were victims of a political attack by the Justice Department and FBI

Whatever the media and Democratic detractors say, the memo released by Republicans on the House Intelligence Committee Friday that revealed how the FBI and Justice Departments abused their powers to spy on the Trump presidential campaign is breathtaking. This kind of thing should not happen in America. Average Americans have not heard the last of this. They were betrayed. In sum, President Trump was right. As he said in tweet Saturday morning: “This memo totally vindicates ‘Trump’ in probe. But the Russian Witch Hunt goes on and on.” It turns out the much-maligned chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, Rep. Devin Nunes, R-Calif., is one of the most daring whistleblowers in modern American history. Nunes was right to be distressed at what he discovered. All Americans should be. Why Democrats on the Intelligence Committee do not share this distress is beyond understanding, except because of shortsighted maneuvering for political advantage. The memo by Republicans on the committee summarizes raw intelligence confirming that formerly steady and professional staff of the Justice Department and FBI were motivated to act against candidate Trump by personal antipathy toward him, media-stoked fear of him, and perhaps personal loyalties to Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton. As a result, they traded their integrity for betrayal of democratic principles and our Constitution. Ironically, I have interacted with some of these professionals during the past two decades, and never perceived them as political. But something overcame them, grabbed them and turned them into something else during the 2016 election campaign. They devolved into political animals. The four-page memo confirms that Justice Department and FBI leadership were directly and personally intertwined with a company hired by the Clinton presidential campaign and the Democratic National Committee to conduct opposition research on Trump. The research produced a series of false allegations tying Trump and his campaign to Russia. The allegations were compiled by former British spy Christopher Steele and have collectively become known as the Steele dossier. Though unsubstantiated, Steele’s allegations were hard to counter, because it is always hard to prove a negative. Steele was clearly politically motivated. As the Republican memo released Friday states: “Steele admitted to (Associate Deputy Attorney General Bruce) Ohr his feelings against then-candidate Trump when Steele said he ‘was desperate that Donald Trump not get elected and was passionate about him not being president.’” Steele’s false claims were attached to a sworn affidavit, presented as “fact” to the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court, which then authorized unprecedented electronic surveillance – that is, overt and invasive open-ended spying on a private citizen, Carter Page – ostensibly due to his ties to the Trump campaign. The sweater was unraveled by that thread; through one false assertion, others could be made, and a narrative could be pushed to the media with vigor. An anti-Trump cabal grew within Justice Department and FBI, animated by the cry to save America from itself by preventing Donald Trump from being elected president. Perhaps the innumerable “unmasking” events tie also to this. The power of the federal government is enormous, can smash a private citizen and could crush most political campaigns. Amazingly, Trump and the American preference for him survived. That is remarkable and sobering. Like the Sept.11, 2001 terrorist attacks and even more than the Watergate scandal, Friday’s revelations should shake us. They change our assessment of the ostensibly non-political Justice Department and FBI, giving us pause. We are living in a time when senior Justice Department and FBI officials felt justified, for political reasons, to deceive the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court and all Americans. The court grants surveillance warrants under the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA), which authorizes surveillance of individuals believed to be agents of foreign powers. The House Intelligence Committee memo shows that federal officials appear to have violated the public trust and their oaths of office, subverting laws for political outcomes. This should never happen.

Agreed!!  This excellent analysis was written by former Assistant Secretary of State, litigator, and naval intelligence officer Robert Charles.  For more, click on the text above.