Keep the pressure on

President Trump’s re-election campaign communications director throws the gauntlet down to the misleading mainstream press (click to enlarge):

I find the use of the phrase “reckless statements” to be interesting.  I don’t know that it’s the intent, but the phrase immediately brought libel law to mind.  Generally speaking, public figures have a harder time bringing libel suits than average citizens.  But libel has a very specific definition: “…making of defamatory statements (false and reckless) in a printed or fixed medium, such as a magazine, newspaper or online such as a website or a social media site like Twitter.”

The memorandum cites specific examples of various Deep State critters repeating the “collusion” and “treason” mantra, having claimed before the release of the Mueller Report that there was “clear evidence” of such.  Now that the report is out, the false and reckless nature of these claims would seem apparent.  Could it be Trump’s team is putting the Mainstream Media on notice that continuing to facilitate these fevered conspiracy dreams might result in expensive legal action taken against them?  If that’s the case, I say it’s long overdue.  Having a free press means it’s free to follow the facts wherever they lead, and to express opinions that are presented as such.  It should not mean freedom to build a public echo chamber of propaganda that lacks any semblance of evidence to support it.

The Left has had it rough the past few days: the Mueller Report, the arrest of Michael Avenatti, the Justice Department concurring with a Federal Judge that Obamacare is unconstitutional…  I pray it’s only the smallest beginning of a much needed reckoning.  And if it seems like I’m merciless in my current calls for vengeance, it’s only because the other side has clearly shown they will give no quarter in their pursuit of power.  All well and good, then: let’s hoist the black flag and get to work.  The Left must be destroyed.

Are answers finally forthcoming?

The Department of Justice Inspector General Michael Horowitz will release today his long-anticipated review of the FBI’s investigation of Hillary Clinton’s unauthorized use of personal email and likely mishandling of classified information.  Some observers are concerned the original report, which has been under internal review for some time now, has been modified, watered down and redacted so as to protect some of the partisans thought to be involved.  Which makes this post from Q interesting:

Q on IG report

[RR] refers to Rod Rosenstein, the number 2 at the Department of Justice.  This is not the first time Q has hinted the plan is to allow the Swamp to try another coverup, only to have the President declassify the whole sordid affair.  As someone who used to deal with media relations, I have found Q’s occasional reference to “optics” interesting.  He/she/they seem to indicate much thought has gone into how to reveal the results of what seems an extensive investigation.  Appearances are, indeed, important, and if the Swamp can be completely discredited even as their crimes are brought to light, so much the better.

The post above is one of Q’s less cryptic missives, so it will serve as a good benchmark of the source’s credibility.  This isn’t the first time those who are paying attention to Q have had reason to believe “the trigger’s about to be pulled,” but previous signals have been much more mixed.  There is no doubt about the report’s release today — it’s release has been confirmed by DOJ in recent days.  The question now is “to what effect,” and whether it will withstand withering partisan scrutiny.  So it will be interesting to see just how much is redacted and left to interpretation, and how much is later declassified as a result of the Swamp’s yapping.

So I’ll say what I said a few weeks ago when referencing this source:

The only proper response to Q’s Bible quote is to pray. Pray hard for our nation. Pray for those in authority. Pray for those patriots working to restore good governance. And pray our people have discernment, to tell truth from falsehood.

Remember, any attempt to “Drain the Swamp” is at its heart a spiritual battle.  Evil does not yield ground willingly or easily, and there is much evil at the center of our nation today.

Pray hard, patriots!

Is this the week?

There are loud whisperings from various quarters that this is the week the Department of Justice’s Inspector General releases his report on various alleged shenanigans within our government during the last election cycle.  If so, it’s been a long time coming, and without much fanfare until recent weeks.  I hope that’s an indication of a professionally run, thorough investigation that produces airtight evidence and leads to justice and accountability — not just for small-fry scapegoats, but also for heavy hitters who knowingly put their thumbs on the scales.

While I’ve not discussed Q much on this site (only mentioning the source recently for the first time), it will be interesting to see where this week goes.  You see, Q (which appears to be a group working together) put down a marker for Wednesday, May 23, as being a good day to watch the news.  Q has hinted quite strongly that recent statements by the administration were preparatory to the report coming out… and that many of the targets of that report are already spinning madly to try to get in front of it.  I did not realize until recently that the draft IG report was circulated not just within the department but also to those it targets.  If so, it would explain a lot of the heated rhetoric over the weekend from people like John Brennan.

Something else about Q’s recent posts drew my interest.  Here are a couple from Thursday, May 17th:

Q recent

As someone who has professional experience in media relations, I can say that driving news cycles is a key part of controlling the national discussion.  If something bad is about to break, industry practice is to time it for a Friday afternoon, so that if anyone bothers pays attention after the weekend it’s dismissed as “old news.”  Another is to time the release so a more prominent event draws off the focus.  Such is the sad commentary on our short-attention-span society.  There were hints the past couple weeks the Trump administration was ready to let some shoes drop.  So what happened the next day after the posts above (Friday the 18th)?

Santa Fe high school

This is not the first time Q has implied some of these events are deliberately designed, either to further an agenda or to suck the media oxygen out of the room and suffocate potentially damaging news about the shadow government (or Deep State as some refer to it).  One of Q’s constant remarks is “this is not a game.”  Sadly, as I’ve already confessed, such an accusation seems increasingly plausible to me.  Here’s were it gets more interesting (note the dates):

Thought wrong

“Follow the pen” refers to a posted photo that seemed to show a signed Executive Order about to drop.  The implication was that Trump was about to order up some answers.  Notably, Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein on Sunday ordered the DOJ to look into the allegations highlighted by Trump.  The “NowC@mesTheP@ain—23!!!” line was an exposure of Q’s password before changing it and the passcode ID that verifies who’s posting.  Q claimed this to be a deliberate move.  It had been some time since Q’s last passcode change, so the implication is Q knew/knows something about May 23rd.  By Wednesday, not only will the initial furor over the school shooting be (sadly) past, so will the hoopla over the weekend’s royal wedding.

In other words, no distractions for dropping shoes.  Finally, Q did something unusual Sunday, worth noting here:

Q Armor of God

Q posts have alluded in the past to a spiritual battle going on, but this is the first direct Bible quote I’ve seen.  Such a post seems to indicate whatever maneuvering has been going on behind the scenes is about to break into the spotlight.  As frustrating as it’s been to see people like Her Hillariness seem to avoid consequences, there’s reason to believe justice has only been delayed, not denied.

The only proper response to Q’s Bible quote is to pray.  Pray hard for our nation.  Pray for those in authority.  Pray for those patriots working to restore good governance.  And pray our people have discernment, to tell truth from falsehood.

With that accomplished, let justice be served.  May this be a week for the history books.

A spineless Congress

It’s no wonder Americans have such a low regard for Congress, when government officials are allowed to thumb their noses at it with impunity.  In recent memory the worst sanction the legislature has given to a recalcitrant official has been to hold Eric Holder in “contempt of Congress” — the first sitting Attorney General ever to be so designated.  That only has effect if the target has any sense of shame, which few in D.C. Mordor do anymore.  Official designation or not, it’s clear much of official Washington shares that contempt.

But it doesn’t have to be this way.

It’s no coincidence that defiance from Holder, Lerner, Rosenstein and Wray parallels the public’s near-record low approval of Congress, which, according to the RealClearPolitics average, hit a meager 14.2 percent earlier this week.

But Congress has only itself to blame because the Constitution gives the first branch it created “all of the ultimate weapons in any showdown with either of the other two branches,” in the memorable phrasing of professors Willmoore Kendall and George Carey in their classic “The Basic Symbols of the American Political Tradition.”

Here are five of those “ultimate weapons,” whose deployment ultimately depends on the will of Speaker of the House Paul Ryan and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell to defend the right of Congress to be the people’s representatives…

Put somebody in jail.

Impose a big fine.

Invoke the power of the purse

Cut the workforce.

More political appointees.

It’s worth reading the description of these five options at the link.  Despite the frequency of choreographed televised hearings, Congress has largely abdicated its oversight role with regard to the Federal bureaucracy.  This was apparent at least by the time of the “Fast and Furious” gunwalking scandal and the IRS investigations, during which the agencies slow-rolled Congress’ requests for information with impunity.  True oversight involves exercising the power to compel compliance.  The Founders intended the legislature to be “first among equals” within the branches of government.  They, not unelected paper-pushers, represent the people.

The president has less power than people imagine over employees in the Executive Branch.  While he can fire political appointees, career bureaucrats have created a byzantine disciplinary process that, in effect, prevents nearly anyone from losing their job.  I encountered this while supervising relatively low-level “civil servants” — I can only imagine how much more difficult things are in the executive suites.

With a majority in Congress, however, it should be a simple thing to put entire departments like the FBI on notice: comply with legislative directives and requests, or perish as an agency.  Congress can defund any activity of the government with a simple vote.  Unfortunately, Paul Ryan and Mitch McConnell have shown zero interest in actually asserting Congress’ prerogatives.  They are as much a part of the swamp as the agencies running amok, as the recent omnibus bill debacle shows.  That should be a key issue during these midterms — voters need to seek candidates who will support Trump’s “swamp draining,” and that includes pledging to vote in new Congressional leadership.

But for any of this to happen, We the People will need to be more focused than ever this election cycle.  The election of Trump will accomplish little if voters allow the legislature to defend the status quo by resolute inaction.

Laying out the timeline

UPDATE: (Feb 8, 2018) – It seems Forbes took down the timeline after a couple of days.  No explanation I’m aware of as to why.  Nevertheless, the Internet is forever, and a copy of it remains available here.

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ORIGINAL POST:  One of the challenges for the American public right now is keeping up with the drip, drip, drip of scandalous information coming out of Washington.  The pieces of the puzzles are being slowly dribbled out, and thus it’s difficult for the average citizen to piece together a picture of just how bad the malfeasance of the Department of Justice and Federal Bureau of Investigation is.

So Forbes has done the nation a great service by assembling the known pieces at this point.  The Epoch Times produced a visual summary in January, but Forbes’ product brings the chronology up to date and provides disturbing clarity.  Keep in mind while reading it there is considerable information that remains redacted or unreleased, and the parties involved will clearly go to great lengths to keep it that way.  The magazine rightly concludes (emphasis added):

It is right to say that this episode is the worst abuse of political power in American history related to elections. Watergate is nothing by comparison. That involved people not employed by the government.  Later it involved a cover-up in which Nixon participated.

Watergate did not involve the DOJ and the FBI – two institutions which must be non-partisans for this Republic of ours.

This case does involve the FBI and DOJ.  It also is foolish not to assume that Loretta Lynch and President Obama were ignorant of the goings on – if not involved in them.

Finally, the dishonest investigation of Hillary who committed actual crimes should not be acceptable. Nor should FBI or DOJ officials be allowed to alter events and Court proceedings for political purposes.

If we let this go, and people are not brought to justice, we will have forever damaged our Republic and the World’s view of us as a nation of laws.

Not to mention that in the eyes of those of us paying close attention, the credibility of our government has taken a body blow from which it may never recover.  Only seeing the key figures in this melodrama in handcuffs and behind bars will suffice to start the process of restoration.  Nothing short of that will matter.

The Nunes memo

President Trump agreed to the declassification of the House Intelligence Committee memo.  What follows is the text, with certain information and names highlighted in red:

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January 18, 2018

To: HPSCI Majority Members
From: HPSCI Majority Staff
Subject: Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act Abuses at the Department of Justice and the Federal Bureau of Investigation

Purpose

This memorandum provides Members an update on significant facts relating to the Committee’s ongoing investigation into the Department of Justice (DOJ) and Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and their use of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) during the 2016 presidential election cycle. Our findings, which are detailed below, 1) raise concerns with the legitimacy and legality of certain DOJ and FBI interactions with the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court (FISC), and 2) represent a troubling breakdown of legal processes established to protect the American people from abuses related to the FISA process.

Investigation Update
On October 21, 2016, DOJ and FBI sought and received a FISA probable cause order (not under Title VII) authorizing electronic surveillance on Carter Page from the FISC. Page is a U.S. citizen who served as a volunteer advisor to the Trump presidential campaign. Consistent with requirements under FISA, the application had to be first certified by the Director or Deputy Director of the FBI. It then required the approval of the Attorney General, Deputy Attorney General (DAG), or the Senate-confirmed Assistant Attorney General for the National Security Division.The FBI and DOJ obtained one initial FISA warrant targeting Carter Page and three FISA renewals from the FISC. As required by statute (50 U.S.C. §,1805(d)(l)), a FISA order on an American citizen must be renewed by the FISC every 90 days and each renewal requires a separate finding of probable cause. Then-Director James Comey signed three FISA applications in question on behalf of the FBI, and Deputy Director Andrew McCabe signed one. Then-DAG Sally Yates, then-Acting DAG Dana Boente, and DAG Rod Rosenstein each signed one or more FISA applications on behalf of DOJ.

Due to the sensitive nature of foreign intelligence activity, FISA submissions (including renewals) before the FISC are classified. As such, the public’s confidence in the integrity of the FISA process depends on the court’s ability to hold the government to the highest standard—particularly as it relates to surveillance of American citizens. However, the FISC’s rigor in protecting the rights of Americans, which is reinforced by 90-day renewals of surveillance orders, is necessarily dependent on the government’s production to the court of all material and relevant facts. This should include information potentially favorable to the target of the FISA application that is known by the government. In the case of Carter Page, the government had at least four independent opportunities before the FISC to accurately provide an accounting of the relevant facts. However, our findings indicate that, as described below, material and relevant information was omitted.

1) The “dossier” compiled by Christopher Steele (Steele dossier) on behalf of the Democratic National Committee (DNC) and the Hillary Clinton campaign formed an essential part of the Carter Page FISA application. Steele was a longtime FBI source who was paid over $160,000 by the DNC and Clinton campaign, via the law firm Perkins Coie and research firm Fusion GPS, to obtain derogatory information on Donald Trump’s ties to Russia.

a) Neither the initial application in October 2016, nor any of the renewals, disclose or reference the role of the DNC, Clinton campaign, or any party/campaign in funding Steele’s efforts, even though the political origins of the Steele dossier were then known to senior DOJ and FBI officials.

b) The initial FISA application notes Steele was working for a named U.S. person, but does not name Fusion GPS and principal Glenn Simpson, who was paid by a U.S. law firm (Perkins Coie) representing the DNC (even though it was known by DOJ at the time that political actors were involved with the Steele dossier). The application does not mention Steele was ultimately working on behalf of—and paid by—the DNC and Clinton campaign, or that the FBI had separately authorized payment to Steele for the same information.

2) The Carter Page FISA application also cited extensively a September 23, 2016, Yahoo News article by Michael Isikoff, which focuses on Page’s July 2016 trip to Moscow. This article does not corroborate the Steele dossier because it is derived from information leaked by Steele himself to Yahoo News. The Page FISA application incorrectly assesses that Steele did not directly provide information to Yahoo News. Steele has admitted in British court filings that he met with Yahoo News—and several other outlets—in September 2016 at the direction of Fusion GPS. Perkins Coie was aware of Steele’s initial media contacts because they hosted at least one meeting in Washington D.C. in 2016 with Steele and Fusion GPS where this matter was discussed.

a) Steele was suspended and then terminated as an FBI source for what the FBI defines as the most serious of violations—an unauthorized disclosure to the media of his relationship with the FBI in an October 30, 2016, Mother Jones article by David Corn. Steele should have been terminated for his previous undisclosed contacts with Yahoo and other outlets in September—before the Page application was submitted to the FISC in October—but Steele improperly concealed from and lied to the FBI about those contacts.

b) Steele’s numerous encounters with the media violated the cardinal rule of source handling—maintaining confidentiality—and demonstrated that Steele had become a less than reliable source for the FBI.

3) Before and after Steele was terminated as a source, he maintained contact with DOJ via then-Associate Deputy Attorney General Bruce Ohr, a senior DOJ official who worked closely with Deputy Attorneys General Yates and later Rosenstein. Shortly after the election, the FBI began interviewing Ohr, documenting his communications with Steele. For example, in September 2016, Steele admitted to 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.” This clear evidence of Steele’s bias was recorded by Ohr at the time and subsequently in official FBI files—but not reflected in any of the Page FISA applications.