(Bias within the FBI by Peter Strzok & Lisa Page) – There are just a few problems with the theory: There’s no evidence that the investigation was launched because of anti-Trump bias and, in fact, plenty of justification for it to have been launched. In May 2016, a Trump campaign adviser named George Papadopoulos got a drink in London with an Australian diplomat. Papadopoulos had been in contact with a professor linked to the Kremlin, who’d informed him that the Russians had emails incriminating Clinton. Papadopoulos referred to that information in his conversation with the Australian. In late July, when WikiLeaks began releasing material that federal investigators believe had been stolen from the Democratic National Committee by Russian hackers, the Australian diplomat realized that Papadopoulos’s comment might be significant. The FBI was informed about Papadopoulos’s conversation in late July and the counterintelligence probe launched shortly thereafter. Put another way: There was a reason for the probe to get underway.
What’s more, the two key text messages from Strzok have been explained in congressional testimony. While Strzok claims not to remember the “we’ll stop it” message, he and Page both argued that the fact that the probe of the Trump campaign and Russia wasn’t leaked by them prior to the election suggests that they didn’t act to stop Trump’s election. As for the “insurance policy” text, the rationale is straightforward. There was an internal debate over how hard to push on the Russia probe, with a more forceful investigation potentially tipping off the Russians about FBI assets and information. Page and others suggested that a slower approach could work, given how unlikely it was that Trump would win. Strzok argued that they should move more forcefully just in case Trump did win and, potentially, tried to appoint compromised individuals to government positions. The “insurance policy” was an analogy: Most 40-year-olds aren’t worried about dying, but many responsible ones with dependents get life insurance anyway. There’s a subtext there that’s important. Strzok was arguing that Trump still might win, but they still didn’t leverage the information they had in order to damage Trump’s candidacy. In fact, Strzok helped then-FBI Director James B. Comey draft the letter that he released in late October, which Clinton has blamed for contributing to her defeat. After the Russia probe launched, Strzok sent Page a text message that has received less attention. “I cannot believe we are seriously looking at these allegations and the pervasive connections,” he wrote.
(Illegitimate FISA warrant) – There are just a few problems with the theory: There was certainly reason for the FBI to be tracking Page over the course of 2016. He’d been identified by name in a recording of a suspected Russian agent in 2013, described as a potential target for recruitment by Russia. In March 2016, the month he was named as an adviser to the Trump campaign, Page was interviewed by the FBI about contacts with Russian intelligence, according to a memo released by House Democrats in response to Nunes. In July 2016, Page traveled to Moscow where he spoke to then-Deputy Prime Minister Arkady Dvorkovich, a contact revealed only later. The Steele dossier alleged that Page had spoken with another senior Kremlin official on that trip. While the Steele dossier does make up a significant portion of the initial FISA warrant application, it’s not the only evidence included in the application (a redacted copy of which was released publicly last year). The extent to which the FBI trusted the information in the dossier isn’t clear, though Steele had served as a source for the bureau in the past.
In an interview earlier this month, the FBI’s former general counsel, James Baker, described how the FBI approached Steele’s information. “The bureau began an effort after we got the Steele dossier to try and see how much of it we could replicate,” Baker said. “That work was ongoing when I was fired. Some of it was consistent with our other intelligence, the most important part. “My recollection, at the time, is that when I read it, I asked questions about it, but nevertheless, I was comfortable that the application that we were submitting to the FISA Court was consistent with the Constitution and laws of the United States, and was consistent with the requirements of the FISA statute and lawful,” he added later in the conversation. “And it was. There was probable cause that was, in my mind, sufficient to pass muster and to pass review and that would be approved by the FISA Court.” As for the failure to mention Fusion GPS’s financial sponsors by name? Baker said that the included footnote about the motivations of the information was “sufficient to put the court on notice.” The most important point here, though, is that, by the time that the Page warrant was obtained, he was no longer working for the campaign. Page had resigned in September, after Yahoo News reported on his contacts in Russia (apparently based on information provided by Steele). The FISA warrant may have meant some communications between Page and Trump campaign staffers was collected, but by that point his interactions with the campaign were limited. In fact, the warrant application wasn’t submitted until Oct. 21, less than three weeks before the campaign ended.
(Unfair spying on the Trump campaign) – There are just a few problems with the theory: There’s no evidence that the FBI targeted anyone prior to the launch of the probe in late July. The Post’s fact-checking team walked through the evidence about purported “spying.” That report documents a number of flaws in the above theory, including that the Halper-Page interaction in mid-July was even dismissed by Page as inconsequential. So why was Halper at Cambridge with Page? He works at the university. The other contacts Halper had with the campaign came after the probe was launched. That includes the meeting that Turk attended. As for the OCONUS lures, there’s no suggestion at all that this was related to Trump. Strzok’s job was counterintelligence; he’d have had plenty of reason to need to use overseas intelligence assets for reasons that weren’t related to Trump. Especially since Trump wasn’t, at the time, anything more than the Republican front-runner. There’s a broader problem with all of these theories. They’re cherry-picked, isolated incidents that have been used to paint a broad picture of untoward activity by the FBI. This grand theory of impropriety has, to some extent, been created after the fact based on things that look bad.
One can instead ask why, if the FBI wanted to investigate the Trump campaign and Trump in order to take him down or create an “insurance policy,” it didn’t simply do so directly. Why investigate only members of the campaign with demonstrated links to Russian actors? Why, if you’re cobbling together a faulty FISA warrant in order to take Trump down, wouldn’t you use the information in the Steele dossier to target Trump himself — or a higher-profile person mentioned in the document like Trump’s personal attorney Michael Cohen or his former campaign chairman Paul Manafort? Why target a tangential player like Page — only after he left the campaign? This, at its heart, is the challenge with having an investigation led by a political appointee with a demonstrated history of loyalty to Trump. Having Barr focus specifically on evaluating existing theories instead of taking a more holistic approach (as, presumably, the inspector general is), the administration risks simply reinforcing its own incomplete narrative. Which may not be an accident. As Trump demonstrates every time he casually drops “insurance policy” in a speech, he seems more interested in the politically useful shorthand than the reality.
We’ve Seen These Asinine Conspiracies Before
And every time they’ve been disproven. But it should provide ample warning there’s no limits to the levels of corruption & criminality our president is willing to go to cover up his own illegal behavior, while unjustifiably trying to pin the blame on innocent investigators. It’s very difficult to adequately describe how truly despicable Trump & his actions are, but it stinks to high heaven. As for his GOP sycophants, media echo & Trumpeter base, we can rightly have similar opinions of them, as they’re all complicit in these inexcusable attacks on our constitutional democracy. Please read the posts here from msn.com/en-us/news/opinion/
Republicans remain supportive rather than censorious of Trump’s obstruction of justice, so it is hardly surprising, if nevertheless dismaying, that the president just delegated to Attorney General William P. Barr the authority to access and declassify the intelligence community’s most closely held secrets as Barr investigates the investigators who tried to stop Russian penetration of the Trump campaign. So Trump’s position is that his tax returns should remain private but the CIA’s “sources and methods” should become public. This gives Barr a license to selectively declassify documents, just as Trump did last year to help Rep. Devin Nunes (R-Calif.) issue his own memo on the same subject. Nunes’s contention — that the FBI probe was triggered by the “Steele dossier” paid for by the Democrats — turned out to be false. But Barr is undeterred by Nunes’s failure to prove a deep-state conspiracy against Trump. He appears determined to find something, anything, in the secret files to feed Trump’s victimhood fantasies, even if the cost is to blow the cover of sources who have risked their lives to help the CIA.
Barr is proving to be Trump’s faithful lackey in launching investigations designed to discredit and possibly even prosecute his accusers. When Trump said Hillary Clinton should be locked up, he meant it; the Mueller report documents Trump’s repeated demands that the Justice Department investigate his 2016 opponent. Having paid no price for what should be an impeachable offense, Trump let it be known this week that former FBI director James B. Comey and Deputy Director Andrew McCabe — along with “people probably higher than that” — deserved to be executed for treason. Is Trump insinuating that President Barack Obama and Attorney General Loretta E. Lynch, to whom the FBI reported in 2016, were guilty of treason? Sure sounds like it.
Trump also continues to show contempt for any congressional oversight. His attempts to stonewall Congress suffered major setbacks last week when two federal judges ruled against his attempts to block subpoenas to his accountants and financial institutions. This seemed to send Trump off his rocker — not that he was ever really on said rocker to begin with. I refrain from saying that Trump has hit a “new low” because the phrase is meaningless; next week he is practically guaranteed to bore even deeper into substrata of immorality and vileness that no previous president has ever penetrated. The only thing that can stop him before November 2020 is impeachment. But Pelosi’s caution is understandable: The House can impeach, but the Senate will never convict, allowing Trump to claim unearned exoneration. The result is that Trump’s abuses of power are practically guaranteed to get worse as he fights for his political survival.
More Valuable Insights are here Inside these Articles from the Recent Newsfeeds
It is tempting for normal people to ignore our president when he starts ranting about treason and corruption at the FBI. I understand the temptation. I’m the object of many of his rants, and even I try to ignore him. But we shouldn’t, because millions of good people believe what a president of the United States says. In normal times, that’s healthy. But not now, when the president is a liar who doesn’t care what damage he does to vital institutions. We must call out his lies that the FBI was corrupt and committed treason, that we spied on the Trump campaign, and tried to defeat Donald Trump. We must constantly return to the stubborn facts. Russia engaged in a massive effort to interfere in the 2016 presidential election. Near as I can tell, there is only one U.S. leader who still denies that fact. The FBI saw the attack starting in mid-June 2016, with the first dumping of stolen emails. In late July, when we were hard at work trying to understand the scope of the effort, we learned that one of Trump’s foreign policy advisers knew about the Russian effort seven weeks before we did. In April 2016, that adviser talked to a Russian agent in London, learned that the Russians had obtained “dirt” on Hillary Clinton in the form of thousands of emails, and that the Russians could assist the Trump campaign through the anonymous release of information damaging to Clinton. Of course, nobody from the Trump campaign told us this (or about later Russian approaches); we had to learn it, months after the fact, from an allied ambassador.
But when we finally learned of it in late July, what should the FBI have done? Let it go? Go tell the Trump campaign? Tell the press? No. Investigate, to see what the facts were. We didn’t know what was true. Maybe there was nothing to it, or maybe Americans were actively conspiring with the Russians. To find out, the FBI would live up to its name and investigate. As director, I was determined that the work would be done carefully, professionally and discretely. We were just starting. If there was nothing to it, we didn’t want to smear Americans. If there was something to it, we didn’t want to let corrupt Americans know we were on to them. So, we kept it secret. That’s how the FBI approaches all counterintelligence cases. And there’s the first problem with Trump’s whole “treason” narrative. If we were “deep state” Clinton loyalists bent on stopping him, why would we keep it secret? Why wouldn’t the much-maligned FBI supervisor Peter Strzok — the alleged kingpin of the “treasonous” plot to stop Trump — tell anyone? He was one of the very few people who knew what we were investigating.
We investigated. We didn’t gather information about the campaign’s strategy. We didn’t “spy” on anyone’s campaign. We investigated to see whether it was true that Americans associated with the campaign had taken the Russians up on any offer of help. By late October, the investigators thought they had probable cause to get a federal court order to conduct electronic surveillance of a former Trump campaign adviser named Carter Page. Page was no longer with the campaign, but there was reason to believe he was acting as an agent of the Russian government. We asked a federal judge for permission to surveil him and then we did it, all without revealing our work, despite the fact that it was late October and a leak would have been very harmful to candidate Trump. Worst deep-state conspiracy ever. But wait, the conspiracy idea gets dumber. On Oct. 28, after agonizing deliberation over two terrible options, I concluded I had no choice but to inform Congress that we had reopened the Clinton email investigation. I judged that hiding that fact — after having told Congress repeatedly and under oath that the case was finished — would be worse than telling Congress the truth. It was a decision William Barr praised and Hillary Clinton blamed for her loss 11 days later. Strzok, alleged architect of the treasonous plot to stop Trump, drafted the letter I sent Congress.
And there’s still more to the dumbness of the conspiracy allegation. At the center of the alleged FBI “corruption” we hear so much about was the conclusion that Deputy Director Andrew McCabe lied to internal investigators about a disclosure to the press in late October 2016. McCabe was fired over it. And what was that disclosure? Some stop-Trump election-eve screed? No. McCabe authorized a disclosure that revealed the FBI was actively investigating the Clinton Foundation, a disclosure that was harmful to Clinton. There is a reason the non-fringe media doesn’t spend much time on this “treason” and “corruption” business. The conspiracy theory makes no sense. The FBI wasn’t out to get Donald Trump. It also wasn’t out to get Hillary Clinton. It was out to do its best to investigate serious matters while walking through a vicious political minefield. But go ahead, investigate the investigators, if you must. When those investigations are over, they will find the work was done appropriately and focused only on discerning the truth of very serious allegations. There was no corruption. There was no treason. There was no attempted coup. Those are lies, and dumb lies at that. There were just good people trying to figure out what was true, under unprecedented circumstances.
U.S. President Donald Trump on Monday publicly endorsed North Korea’s scathing personal attack on former U.S. Vice President Joe Biden, dismissing criticism that he was siding with a foreign dictator over a fellow American. ‘DISGRACEFUL’ “We’re going to have to retire the word ‘unprecedented’ during Trump’s presidency,” said Larry Sabato, presidential historian and director of the University of Virginia’s Center for Politics. “It’s becoming the new normal. And disgraceful, of course,” he wrote on Twitter. One of Trump’s fellow Republicans, U.S. Representative Adam Kinzinger, called out the president on Sunday for “praising a dictator” and attacking Biden over the Memorial Day weekend. “It’s just plain wrong,” Kinzinger, a military veteran, said on Twitter.