Saturday, March 31, 2018

First Investigate, then Dismantle, the FBI

Some on the right were disappointed that Attorney General Jeff Sessions wrote Senate Judiciary Chairman Chuck Grassley, House Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte, and House Oversight Committee Chairman Trey Gowdy there would be no special counsel for now in the Hillary Clinton matters (email and Uranium One, one assumes) and the FISA/dossier/surveillance affair.

Not so fast.  Hiding in plain sight in Sessions' letter was information considerably more important than a special counsel, pro or con.


As he mentioned a week ago on Shannon Bream's show but now has made public officially, the attorney general has assigned a senior U.S. attorney to the investigation -- John Huber.

Importantly, working in concert with the inspector general, Mr. Huber can actually indict people.  This is a criminal investigation. And it's happening now!

It's unclear how long they have been working together but indications are that it has been for some time and they have been doing their job quietly (the best way). 

Indictments could come sooner than one might think, a lot sooner than from any special counsel investigation that would almost certainly go on for quite some time.  Andrew McCabe seems concerned enough to have set up a #gofundme site for his legal defense. Undoubtedly, he's not the only one thinking that way.

That Huber was initially nominated for the DOJ by Obama and that the US attorney is working from Utah should also be promising to those who want to see justice done.  

Huber's Obama nomination (Trump later also nominated him) will give cover to an investigation whose conclusions are apt to create incredible dissension, even explosion, in our highly divided country.  

The Utah location obviously keeps Mr. Huber at least somewhat away from the Swamp. (This man may shortly be at odds with his boss, Rod Rosenstein.)

So, on the hoary principle of the clock that's right once every twelve hours, Time magazine, despite its creepy photo and undergraduate opinions, may be correct -- Jeff Sessions could be turning out to be Donald Trump's best friend.  But not just that -- all of our best friend.

And this is a good thing because the truth about the FBI will come out sooner that way.  And since that truth is ugly and pernicious, as someone once said, faster, please.

The FBI, bluntly, is a mess. The level of incompetence mixed with bias is stunning. If the FBI were a private corporation, it would either be in Chapter 11 or fighting off stockholder rebellion or both. Unfortunately, however, it's our most important law enforcement agency.

Its litany of incompetence is extraordinary -- completely missing the Boston Marathon and Pulse night club terror murderers when they were staring them in the face and overlooking the Parkland schools mass killer when his violent psychosis should have been apparent to anyone with an IQ in triple digits are but three recent catastrophes on their watch.

As for the bias part, well, that is what is being uncovered.  The extent of it, it is easy to predict, will be great.  It already is. We have already seen how dishonest the organization is, how desperately they are hiding facts from the public. Documents have to be pried out with a crowbar. The stonewalling is endless, the numbers of self-serving redactions myriad and seemingly rote.  It is anti-democratic in the extreme.

The FBI, in sum, no longer looks out for the American citizen.  It looks out for itself or the leaders it chooses.  

It deserves to be dismantled and a new FBI built from the ground up.  An entirely new system must be devised.  As perspicacious as the Senate and House committees have been, they are not enough.  Congresspeople alone cannot oversee this, nor should they have to.

After the IG reports have all been published, as suggested by Alan Dershowitz, an independent commission should be convened to review what has happened, devise these systems, and reconstitute a new FBI that  is organized differently and directly responsible to the citizenry.  

This will not be easy.  

Bureaucracies abhor transparency.

Further, as most know, such commissions are far from a panacea.  The process depends on us.  An informed citizenry is the most important defense against government tyranny.  

If I am wrong about Sessions and he drops the ball, call me on it, but, more importantly, call him on it.  Don't let him return things to the status quo with a few wrists slapped.

What has happened with the suborning of the FBI and our intelligence agencies is the most perilous threat in decades to our republic.  

We have barely escaped having an American-style KGB running our lives -- for now.  Keep it that way.

Roger L. Simon is an award-winning novelist, Academy Award-nominated screenwriter and co-founder of PJ Media.  His latest book is I Know Best:  How Moral Narcissism Is Destroying Our Republic, If  It Hasn't Already.

Friday, March 30, 2018

Washington’s Fantasies Are Not People’s Reality

By Victor Davis Hanson| American Greatness

The Beltway’s sober and judicious foreign-policy establishment laments Donald Trump’s purported dismantling of the postwar order. They apparently take the president’s words as deeds and their own innate dislike of him as disinterested analysis.

But is the world really imploding after 70 years of supposed “calm”? 

Disregarding: the Korean and Vietnam wars; Chinese, Cambodian, Rwandan, and Balkan genocides; at least six Middle East conflicts; 9/11; a dozen U.S. interventions; a nuclear Pakistan and North Korea; the Cuban and Berlin nuclear standoffs; 20 years of Palestinian terrorism followed by 20 years of radical Islamic successors; a European Union financial and border meltdown; the Russian absorption of eastern Ukraine and Crimea, to name just a few “hot spots.”

In other words, Trump did not inherit an especially stable world. So has any elite expert over the past two years attempted to make sense of how some positive and much-needed change abroad was guided by Trump, someone without political and military experience and with a flawed character—and how and why that sometimes happens in history?

Correction, Not Chaos

In truth, after 2016, the United States is increasing its financial commitments to NATO. Several European members of the alliances may finally be addressing their prior unmet obligations and increasing defense spending.

The United Nations at least understands from Ambassador Nikki Haley that the United States will call out, rather than aid and abet, its occasional anti-Semitic lunacy. 

The president did not arbitrarily cancel the North American Free Trade Agreement. Instead, the agreement is up for renegotiation on terms other than the expectation that the United States will always accept asymmetrical deals as part of its required role as the continent’s superpower.

The world itself is not in chaos as alleged. It seems a far safer place than it was between 2009 and 2016. ISIS is no longer a viable threat, promising to establish a new caliphate, in between beheading, burning alive, and drowning the innocent on video.

Israel is once again a strong U.S. ally. Saudi Arabia for the first time in its history is considering real reform. The Palestinians are beginning to understand that they can still damn, even threaten the United States, but not necessarily with U.S. aid money.

Iran is no longer harassing or hijacking U.S. ships. It is not so frequently boasting about what it will do to the Great Satan and Israel, much less sending missiles near U.S. carriers. 

The world did not fall apart when the U.S. moved its embassy to Jerusalem or withdrew from the Paris Climate Accord. That fact instead exposed so-called elite predictions of Armageddon as the hysteria.

Syria expects to be bombed each time it uses chemical weapons that were declared “nonexistent” by an outgoing Obama Administration. 

North Korea is not boasting any longer of incinerating American West Coast cities, but at least feigning consultation with China about denuclearizing the peninsula.

China understands that for two decades a naïve West has let it cheat at will on trade agreements, on the spurious idea it would become more pro-Western and democratic, the more that the West subsidized its breakneck modernization. Now it is at least talking about discussing its asymmetrical relationships with all its trading partners.

America Remains the Best and Only Option

Europe offers no alternative paradigm to a supposedly renegade United States. The German model of open borders and economic mercantilism no longer works all that well for Germany. The EU is more fearful of dissolution than preening of expansion.

Mexico understands that the era of exporting its human capital to avoid social justice reform at home is coming to a close. So, too, is the ruse of championing its poor only when they are long gone. America is tiring of the strange gymnastics of illegal immigration. 

Millions are subsidized by the U.S. social services safety net to send back to Mexico $30 billion in annual remittances, as their home government gratuitously tars their benefactor as racist and imperialist.

The U.S. economy did not implode in early 2017 and take down the world with it. The stock market did not crash. Our labor non-participation rate did not spiral. 

Instead, the country may be on its way to achieving its first 12-month period of 3 percent growth in 12 years. The stock market is at record highs, despite a few bumps, and unemployment at near-record peacetime lows.

There is also not so much talk of always increasing electricity rates, destroying the coal industry, banning more fracking, and subsidizing more Solyndra-like crony “green” companies. 

Instead, the United States is now the world’s largest energy producer. Soon we may be our own largest petroleum producer. 

U.S. natural gas production will likely reduce world carbon emissions more than will European windmills and American solar panels. 

American companies are more likely to come home than to keep pulling up and moving abroad. 

Silicon Valley tech companies have never done so well under a president they hate so much.

Leading from the Front—Again

The U.S. military for the first time in eight years is recovering its former strength. 

One way or another, there will likely be no more Bowe Bergdahl deals, decreased security at U.S. embassies and consulates in the Middle East, Iran Deals, or “strategic patience” and “lead from behind” doctrines. 

When outnumbered Americans are trapped in a shootout abroad, it is more likely help will be on the way than the requests of the beleaguered would be put on hold.

The Obama “reset” doctrine has long been humiliated and buried. 

Likewise, the Obama finger shaking of “cut it out” to Putin seems to be recalibrated by expelling Russian diplomats, hitting back at Russian mercenary attackers in the Middle East, and arming Ukrainian defense forces, as the U.S. tries to improve its missile defenses and upgrade its nuclear forces. 

No one is talking any more about bargaining with Vladimir Putin to slash the American nuclear umbrella. 

I don’t think new Secretary of State Mike Pompeo is aiming for a Nobel Prize. James Mattis and John Bolton likely disagree on a lot, but probably not on unchanging human nature and how to react to it.

Japan and South Korea certainly do not think America has abandoned them. They seem so far more eager to show the United States that they are strategic partners. They may well believe that the Trump Administration is more likely to come to their aid in extremis than were its mellifluous but otherwise inert Obama predecessors.

The Establishment is Still Willfully Blind

The above is the reality. To the degree it has been achieved in 16 months by a president who shouts, pouts, cajoles, threatens, exaggerates, and proves unpredictable and mercurial is a commentary on the establishmentarians and their own grasp of human nature

Donald Trump’s postwar order did not give us alienated allies in the Middle East, a rubbery NATO, North Korean intercontinental missiles, Iran on an ascendant arc in the Middle East, China’s new Greater East Asia Co-Prosperity Sphere, Putin unbound, and bewildered enemies like Cuba and Iran wondering why they were courted as friends.

This same strange Washington disconnect between fantasy and reality reigns at home. 

After nearly two years of hysteria, there has never been proof adduced of Trump-Russian collusion. Robert Mueller’s legal team—the party affiliations of its lawyers, their past involvements with players in contemporary scandals, and their leaking and scurrilous behaviors and communications—is a textbook example of how to create conflicts of interest and ensure an absence of public support.

The more Washington journalists scream of collusion, the more they are willfully blind to one of the most disturbing scandals in American history brewing right under their noses. 

Many in the hierarchy of the Obama FBI, Justice Department, and national security team likely were involved in illegally spying on U.S. citizens

They were massaging and warping the FISA courts to issue their warrants, unmasking many of the names of those surveilled, and then leaking them improperly and illegally to the media. 

Nearly a dozen top Justice Department and FBI officials already have been fired, reassigned, or retired. None, except James Comey, are now gone because of what Donald Trump did to them. They’re out as a result of their misguided zeal and careerist miscalculations, for what they tried to do to the duly elected president of the United States.

The resistance to getting to the bottom of the Uranium One scandals, the Hillary Clinton illegal private email server, the trafficking in classified documents, the Clinton Foundation façade, and the politicization and weaponization of Obama-era U.S. intelligence services is not because there was no wrongdoing.

Rather, the silent fear is more that a disinterested investigation would lead to discoveries of such a magnitude of wrongdoing by some of the most influential Americans of the present age, that to seek their indictments would undermine the structures of the Washington establishment.

How, after all, could the U.S. Department of Justice indict now-retired Hillary Clinton for these crimes:  For giving false testimony, for illegally using a private email server, for unleashing her husband to do quid pro quo Clinton Foundation deals—or for hiring a foreign national to compile a hit dossier of gossip and rumor, much of its gleaned through the active and bought collusion of Russian operatives, and empowered by the Obama FBI and Justice Department to undermine the credibility of the Trump 2016 campaign, and later his transition and presidency?

Life in Two Worlds

It is one thing for several in the FBI and the Justice Department to be relieved of their jobs. 

But it is quite another to investigate why the likes of John Brennan, James Clapper, Ben Rhodes, Susan Rice, and others were apparently trafficking in the surveillance of American citizens. 

Or reexamine whether Huma Abedin, Cheryl Mills, James Comey, or Andrew McCabe misled investigators or perjured themselves or made up things to Congress. 

Or reexamine what exactly ex-President Bill Clinton was doing with Russian interests to prompts such huge gifts to the Clinton Foundation and such generous largess to himself—lucre that mysteriously has ceased to flow since November 2016.

The media likewise for the last year has joined the stampede.

It is apparently unaware that its shock at Donald Trump’s rhetoric, behavior, and comportment had nothing to do with the reality of his governance. 

In all its self-righteous exclamation that the new journalism meant reporters had to be advocates of social justice and opponents of the likes of Donald Trump, the American media almost turned into a propaganda ministry of 90 percent negative coverage of the president. 

Yet by any fair standard, he had not as president done things 90 percent wrong.

The longer, like Captain Ahab, they hunt down the mythical white Trump whale, the more they are ruining the very reputation of journalism as they once inherited it.

So, we live in two worlds. One is the material cosmos of concrete action and deeds. 

The other reality is little more than the unfiltered fears, anxieties and fantasies of ill-informed television talking heads, groupthink opinion journalists, and progressive zealots who have conflated a sometimes-uncouth president with all their own apprehensions, and called the result Nazism and fascism.

When this depressing period in American news and commentary is over, the liberal order will not like the verdict.

Thursday, March 29, 2018

North Korea’s Kim Jong Un Blinks, But Corrupt Liberal Media Obsesses Over--Stormy!!

2018: Top Dem Strategists Want Party to Double Down on Stormy Daniels
 60 Minutes / YouTube

Top Democratic strategists reportedly want the party to double down on President Donald Trump’s alleged affairs with Stormy Daniels and Karen McDougal going into the 2018 midterms.
One top Democratic strategist told The Hill that playing up Trump’s affairs “will help rev up our base.” Jim Manley, who was former Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid’s top strategist, told the outlet that Democrats “shouldn’t shy away from raising this issue to the extent they’re comfortable because it comes down to a question of credibility.”

“This is consuming the cable networks right now. It’s all people are talking about. Why shouldn’t we add this to the arsenal and make voters realize you can’t trust someone who is involved in any of these matters?” he reportedly said.
Another top Democratic strategist told The Hill that Democrats should play up Karen McDougal’s and Stormy Daniels’s interviews in which they said they had affairs with Trump because “even a small drop in evangelical support for Republicans would be devastating.”
“You want to dampen Republican enthusiasm. We should take a lesson from the Republican playbook and let an ‘all of the above’ strategy take hold from different messengers across different targeted platforms,” the strategist reportedly added.
Trump’s approval ratings have actually risen since Daniels and McDougal started going public and cable networks like CNN started their wall-to-wall coverage of all things Stormy and Karen.

And a Morning Consult report found that Trump has not really lost support from evangelical voters, 80 percent of whom voted for Trump in 2016.

In addition, a 2016 Public Religion Research Institute poll taken after the Access Hollywood tape was released found 72% of white evangelicals believe that  “an elected official who commits an immoral act in their personal life can still behave ethically in their professional life, a stunning 42-point jump in their opinion on this issue since 2011.”

Another Morning Consult poll this week found that nearly half of those surveyed said Trump’s affair with Daniels “doesn’t change how they view Trump,” up from nearly 40 percent who thought the same a month ago.

“The Stormy Daniels scandal has had little discernible impact on voter opinions of President Trump this month,” Morning Consult Co-Founder and Chief Research Officer Kyle Dropp told Politico.

Legacy media reporters and Democrats have been gushing over the record ratings that 60 Minutes got for its Stormy Daniels interview in which she described spanking Trump with a Forbes magazine that had him on the cover and alleged that someone threatened her in a parking lot to keep silent about her affair.

But they have conveniently left out the fact that60 Minutes also lucked out by getting a phenomenal lead-in.

60 Minutes aired after much of the nation was transfixed by two of college basketball’s most blue-blooded teams (Duke and Kansas) who played an epic overtime thriller that determined the last Final Four spot in this year’s college basketball tournament.

CBS could not have orchestrated a better lead-in, as many viewers, including plenty of sports fans on the east coast who may not normally watch the news program, just left their televisions on for the Daniels interview after Kansas defeated Duke, arguably the most polarizing team in the sport that draws plenty of eyeballs.

Though top Democratic strategists want the party to play up Trump’s alleged affairs, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA), who most likely has the most to gain from this year’s midterm elections, is reportedly not too enthusiastic about making 2018 all about Stormy and Karen.
“I don’t know that we necessarily have to get involved in any of that,” Pelosi reportedly told reporters last week.
North Korea’s Kim Jong Un to meet with South Korean president at border
North Korea's Kim Jung Un will meet next month with South Korean President Moon Jae-in at a border village in a high-profile meeting that could prove significant in global efforts to resolve a decades-long standoff over Pyongyang's nuclear program.
The announcement was made after officials met at the border village of Panmunjom. The Koreas plan to hold another preparatory meeting on April 4 to discuss protocol, security and media coverage issues during the April 27 meeting, according to a joint statement released by the countries.
Few other details were released. 

March 29: South Korean Unification Minister Cho Myoung-gyon, left, shakes hands with North Korean delegation head Ri Son Gwon before their meeting at the northern side of the Panmunjom, North Korea.  (Korea Pool via AP)
The leaders of the two Koreas have held talks only twice since the 1950-53 Korean War, in 2000 and 2007, under previous liberal governments in Seoul.
A top South Korean official told reporters that setting up dialogue to eliminate Kim's nuclear weapons program would be a critical point of the meeting.
Ri Son Gwon, chairman of a state agency that deals with inter-Korean affairs, led the North’s three delegates, saying the past 80 days have been filled with "unprecedented historic events between the rivals,” referring to the Korea’s renewed talks before the Winter Olympics and the agreement on the summit.
He also expressed hopes for an outcome that would meet the "hope and desire of the nation."
Thursday’s announcement comes after a surprise meeting between Kim Jong Un and Chinese President Xi Jinping this week, which goal appeared to seek improving relations ahead of the North’s planned talks with Moon and President Donald Trump.
In setting up separate talks with Beijing, Seoul, Washington, and potentially with Moscow and Tokyo, North Korea may be moving to disrupt any united front among its negotiating counterparts. By reintroducing China, which is the North's only major ally, as a major player, North Korea also gains leverage against South Korea and the United States, analysts say.
Washington and Seoul have said Kim previously told South Korean envoys that he was willing to put his nukes up for negotiation in his talks with President Donald Trump. However, the North has yet to officially confirm its interest in a summit between Kim and Trump.
The Associated Press contributed to this report. 

Wednesday, March 28, 2018

BREAKING: DOJ Inspector General reviews alleged FISA abuses by DOJ, FBI

 Photo: Justice Department Inspector General Michael Horowitz

Justice Department Inspector General Michael Horowitz announced Wednesday he will review potential Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) abuses by both the Justice Department and the FBI, following requests from Congress and Attorney General Jeff Sessions.

The Office of the Inspector General released a statement Wednesday outlining the start of the review.

“The OIG will initiate a review that will examine the Justice Department’s and the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s compliance with legal requirements, and with applicable DOJ and FBI policies and procedures, in applications filed with the U.S. Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court (FISC) relating to a certain U.S. person,” the statement obtained by Fox News read.

“As part of this examination, the OIG also will review information that was known to the DOJ and the FBI at the time the applications were filed from or about an alleged FBI confidential source.”

The OIG statement added that Horowitz also would “review the DOJ’s and FBI’s relationship and communications with the alleged source as they relate to the FISC applications.”

The statement continued, “If circumstances warrant, the OIG will consider including other issues that may arise during the course of the review.”

Last month, Sessions directed Horowitz to probe the allegations of government surveillance abuse, in light of memos released on Capitol Hill by the House Intelligence Committee about FBI and DOJ efforts to obtain FISA warrants to surveil Trump campaign adviser Carter Page. 

“We believe the Department of Justice must adhere to the high standards in the FISA court,” Sessions said in February at a news conference. “Yes it will be investigated. And I think that’s just the appropriate thing the inspector general will take that as one of the matters he’ll deal with.” 

House Intel Republicans released a memo in late February detailing the DOJ's and FBI’s surveillance of Page, saying the infamous anti-Trump dossier funded by Democrats “formed an essential part” of the application to spy on him.

The dossier, authored by former British spy Christopher Steele and commissioned by Fusion GPS, was funded in part by the Democratic National Committee and Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign through the law firm Perkins Coie. It included salacious and unverified allegations about President Trump’s connections to Russia. 

The Republican memo stated that former FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe testified that “no surveillance warrant would have been sought” from the FISA court “without the Steele dossier information.” 

The memo also said Steele, who worked as an FBI informant, eventually was cut off from the bureau for what the FBI described as the most serious of violations, “an unauthorized disclosure to the media of his relationship with the FBI.” 

The memo noted that the FBI and DOJ obtained “one initial FISA warrant” targeting Page and three FISA renewals from the FISC. The statute required that every 90 days, a FISA order on an American citizen “must be reviewed.” 

Former FBI Director James Comey signed three FISA applications for Page, while McCabe, current Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein who leads the Russia probe, former Deputy Attorney General Sally Yates and former Acting Deputy Attorney General Dana Boente signed at least one, according the Republican memo. 

Democrats, then, released a rebuttal memo. 

The White House said the GOP memo raised “serious concerns about the integrity of decisions made at the highest levels of the Department of Justice and the FBI to use the government’s most intrusive surveillance tools against American citizens.” 

Republican lawmakers and Sessions had been pressing Horowitz to probe the alleged FISA abuses. 

Just this week, FBI Director Wray announced plans to “double the number” of agents handing records for the House Judiciary Committee after it subpoenaed the Justice Department for documents on FISA, the Clinton email investigation and the firing of McCabe. 

Over the last year, Horowitz has been conducting a review of the FBI's and DOJ’s actions related to the investigation into Clinton’s use of a private email server while she was secretary of state. A final report on the investigation is expected in several months. 

Brooke Singman is a Politics Reporter for Fox News. Follow her on Twitter at @brookefoxnews.