Archive for the ‘Congressional Oversight’ Category

Apparently, Adam Schiff is in panic mode now that transcripts of the House Intel Committee are about to be released. What’s supposedly getting under Schiff’s skin is that he’s about to be exposed:

Another source familiar with the transcripts told Fox News that the people interviewed by the House Intelligence Committee during its Russia probe were asked whether they had evidence that Trump, himself, or the Trump campaign conspired, colluded or coordinated with Russia during the 2016 election.

Two sources familiar with the transcripts told Fox News that not one of the 53 witnesses could provide evidence of collusion. “The transcripts show a total lack of evidence, despite Schiff personally going out saying he had more than circumstantial evidence that there was collusion,” one source involved in House Russia investigations told Fox News.

Mueller, similarly, at the conclusion of his nearly two-year-long investigation, said he and his team found no evidence of criminal conspiracy or coordination between the Trump campaign and Russia, but did not reach a conclusion on obstruction of justice, which current Attorney General Bill Barr ultimately decided not to pursue.

Then there’s this:

While law enforcement officials have long maintained that there was clear intelligence Russia meddled in the 2016 presidential election, to date, there have been no charges concerning actual conspiracy against people associated with the Trump campaign, which was at the core of the Russia investigation.

There isn’t any dispute that Russia meddled in the 2016 presidential election. The question was whether people from the Trump campaign assisted in that meddling. It isn’t that Mueller couldn’t find enough evidence to recommend impeachment of President Trump. It’s that the official Mueller Report didn’t find any evidence that anyone in the United States worked with the Russians.

This should make Schiff nervous:

This won’t help Schiff’s credibility, either:

“According to Christopher Steele, a former British intelligence officer who is reportedly held in high regard by U.S. intelligence, Russian sources tell him that Page has also had a secret meeting with Igor Sechin, CEO of Russian gas giant Rosneft,” Schiff declared at a March 20, 2017 House Intelligence Committee hearing.

“Sechin is reported to be a former KGB agent and close friend of Putin’s. According to Steele’s Russian sources, Page is offered brokerage fees by Sechin on a deal involving a 19 percent share of the company,” the California Democrat added.

Later, Schiff added this:

For instance, Schiff claimed this about the Steele dossier in a Nov. 15, 2017 interview with The Wall Street Journal: “The bigger factor is how much of it can you corroborate and how much of it is true. A lot of it has turned out to be true.”

Adam Schiff is a guttersnipe and a Democrat partisan hack. If Nancy Pelosi cared about integrity, which she doesn’t, she should’ve thrown Schiff out of the House.

Nancy Pelosi thinks that sidelining the World Health Organization isn’t wise. In fact, she thinks that it’s dangerous:

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., is criticizing President Trump’s effort to withhold funding from the World Health Organization and other steps his administration is reportedly taking to sideline the global health agency. “It’s stupid — it’s more than stupid; it’s dangerous,” Pelosi told NPR.

What’s stupid is paying hundreds of millions of dollars to a Chinese puppet. Then again, that’s normal for Democrats. Then Pelosi went off the deep end:

“Worse than [the funding], if you can believe it, worse than that is that he and the secretary of state have been deleting any reference to the World Health Organization in any of our strategies on how we can deal with the pandemic. That may be more harmful than just the money,” Pelosi said.

Pelosi apparently thinks that we should get pushed around by corrupt international actors acting on behalf of evil nations intent on replacing the United States as the world’s superpower. That’s who the W.H. O. is. Tom Cotton has been right about China since January, when Pelosi, Schiff and Nadler were trying to impeach President Trump. Here’s what Sen. Cotton told Maria Bartiromo:

As early as the second week of December, it was clear that this virus was spreading from person to person. By late December, it was spreading to doctors in Wuhan hospitals. Some doctors were trying to blow the whistle on these facts, and the secret police arrived at their doorsteps in the middle of the night. So only after China fessed up to the WHO on December 31 did the world know what was happening. Yet, still they continued to deny that it was spreading from person to person into mid-January. That allowed millions of people to leave Wuhan.

And then, finally, China continued to pressure the WHO and other countries not to stop international travel from China. That meant that hundreds of thousands of persons left China after this virus was spread far outside of Wuhan, which allowed the virus to escape China’s borders and get to the United States and get to Europe and get to essentially every country in the world.

Why hasn’t Pelosi instructed the Oversight Committee to investigate W.H.O.? Is it that Democrats know how corrupt WHO is? Is it because Democrats are comfortable with the plethora of corrupt international organizations that they fund?

Democrats have spent millions of dollars investigating President Trump but they won’t lift a finger to investigate what the linkage is between the W.H.O. and China? Democrats will investigate a US president that they disagree with but they won’t investigate a nation that wants to run the US into the dirt? That’s the definition of evil. That’s the definition of anti-patriotism.

Jake Tapper got under Pelosi’s skin in this interview:

Pelosi isn’t this great negotiator with nerves of steel. She’s aging and, based on this video, she isn’t aging that gracefully. The day that she signed the impeachment papers is the day that things started going downhill. Then there was this trip to Chinatown on February 24 where ‘Dr. Pelosi’, the world-famous epidemiologist, told everyone that travel is safe:

Let’s be clear about something. If President Trump cured cancer, Pelosi would criticize him for putting oncologists out of business. If President Trump fixed the unions’ pension funds and started running surpluses for the next decade, Pelosi would criticize President Trump for not doing it fast enough.

The truth is that she’s just a high profile political hack. Finally, she’s as tone-deaf as Hillary.

President Trump should fix the WHO, if that’s possible. If it isn’t possible, then we should just undermine what’s left of its credibility.

Kim Strassel’s latest Potomac Watch column highlights how the COVID-19 crisis has revealed the character, or the lack thereof, of the high profile politicians. In the column, she wrote “the Trump administration spent this week distributing ventilators, standing up small-business loans, dispatching hospital ships, erecting alternate care facilities, explaining virus modeling, revamping regulations to keep truckers on the road, and plastering the airwaves with information about hygiene and social distancing. Speaker Nancy Pelosi spent this week setting up a new House committee to investigate Donald Trump.”

President Trump sent the signal that he’s paying attention to the American people. Nancy Pelosi sent the signal that she’s a bitter politician who has riveted her attention on President Trump. It isn’t a flattering look on Ms. Pelosi. Bitterness never is a positive look. Leadership is always a positive look. That’s what President Trump is providing. Though the gotcha questions of the Fake News correspondents are annoying, that hasn’t stopped him from dispensing important information to the people.

Mr. Trump is at the head of this operation, and while his leadership style isn’t for everyone, he’s certainly leading. He addresses the virus in stark terms but also insists on optimism—something that’s important from leaders in tough times. While punching back at some critics, he’s also reached across the aisle.

While President Trump leads, Pelosi headed in a different direction:

Contrast this with Mrs. Pelosi, who seems to view the pandemic as one big political opportunity. She held up last week’s relief bill for days, attempting to cram into it unrelated election and climate provisions. She used a Sunday CNN appearance to accuse Mr. Trump of killing Americans. This week she announced a new special House committee that will “examine all aspects of the federal response to the coronavirus” and will have subpoena power. This is yet the latest Democratic machinery for investigating Trump and ginning up scandals.

This is the embodiment of bitterness:

She’s got chutzpah. Pelosi talks about President Trump’s delays at the beginning. What she didn’t say is that President Trump was being tried for impeachment when this started. Impeachment, we’ll recall, was Ms. Pelosi’s latest attempt to undermine the President of the United States. The articles of impeachment didn’t even specify a crime, much less a high crime. Again, Ms. Pelosi’s bitterness and partisanship shines through.

For every Mr. Cuomo there is a Gretchen Whitmer. The Michigan Democrat has spent weeks accusing the administration of failing to have a “national strategy,” and of “cuts to the CDC” that put us “behind the eight ball.” She’s insisted “we’re still not getting what we need from the federal government,” and even insinuated the administration was directing suppliers to withhold equipment to her state—a ludicrous suggestion.

Gov. Whitmer has come across as a witch, a younger version of Pelosi. Supposedly on Biden’s short list for VP, she’d be perfect for turning off suburban voters.

While President Trump hasn’t totally shined during this crisis, these Democrats have definitely whined throughout this crisis. That’s how the wheat gets separated from the chaff. Making legislation isn’t a pretty sight. It isn’t a pretty sight watching wheat separate from chaff, either.

It isn’t in the opening paragraph of this article but it’s certainly perplexing. Speaker Pelosi allegedly said “the committee will investigate how the private sector is spending its government funds and press to ensure the federal response is based on science and health experts. The committee will fight against profiteering, political favoritism and price gouging.”

Later in the article, Pelosi is quoted as saying “The committee will be empowered to examine all aspects of the federal response to coronavirus, and to assure that the taxpayers’ dollars are being wisely and efficiently spent to save lives, deliver relief and benefit our economy.” This isn’t how coherent people speak, though it’s significantly more coherent than Joe Biden has sounded in months.

What is Pelosi talking about when she says that this new committee will “ensure the federal response is based on science and health experts”, then say that this committee will be empowered to make sure that “the taxpayers’ dollars are being wisely and efficiently spent to save lives, deliver relief and benefit our economy”? What do scientists and health experts have to do with guaranteeing that the money will “benefit our economy”? That’s like insisting that Dr. Spry or Dean Banaian guarantee that the U of M’s agriculture research budget is spent wisely. They’re both intelligent men but they aren’t qualified to conduct oversight on agriculture projects. Their specialty is economics, not agriculture.

What’s happening is that Pelosi is saying the right-sounding things to make it sound like her oversight committee is legitimate. The longer she talks, though, the less authoritative she sounds. Pelosi won’t admit it but the CARES Act already has an oversight committee built into it. We need Pelosi’s oversight committee like a bank needs Bonnie and Clyde to guard the vault.

Red flag city

It was not immediately clear whom Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy of California might appoint as the GOP leader of the committee or the extent of the GOP participation of the committee that Pelosi billed as a “special bipartisan oversight panel.”

Speaking on a separate call with reporters, McCarthy voiced concern about the appointment of Clyburn to lead the group, citing reports that he had called the crisis an opportunity to “restructure” things to fit his party’s vision.

The fact that Pelosi created this oversight committee without talking with McCarthy is a huge red flag if the goal is bipartisanship. Why would you create a bipartisan committee with only partisan input? Red flag du jour? The chairman just spoke of the crisis relief bill as “an opportunity to restructure” the Democrats’ vision for the world. That’s setting off tons of red flags, especially in terms of bipartisanship. This is the opposite of bipartisanship. Does this sound like Pelosi is interested in creating bipartisanship?

Pelosi and Schumer are words that definitely fit together. They even take beautiful family pictures. Everyone remembers this beautiful family portrait:

Then again, they aren’t the trustworthy leaders that I’d trust. Ms. Pelosi impeached President Trump based on hearsay testimony and the complaint of a faux whistleblower. Pelosi recently withheld trillions of dollars of funding for a week for hospital workers, small businesses and families in Pelosi’s attempt to force President Trump to sign major parts of the Green New Deal into law.

Now Pelosi is complaining that there isn’t proper oversight of those relief funds. That’s like the fox complaining that he didn’t get the security guard’s job at the hen house. That’s like Bonnie and Clyde complaining that they didn’t get the security guard jobs at the bank.

Sen. Schumer is the other pea in that pod. When Pelosi tried instigating trouble with the Green New Deal, Sen. Schumer sat silently. To quote Sen. John Kennedy of Louisiana, Sen. Schumer “didn’t have the oranges” to stand up to Pelosi. Despite that deficit of intestinal fortitude, Sen. Schumer still issued this statement on oversight of the relief package:

This oversight position, which will be responsible for overseeing hundreds of billions of taxpayer dollars, requires complete independence from the president and any other interested party to assure the American people that all decisions are made without fear or favor. To nominate a member of the president’s own staff is exactly the wrong type of person to choose for this position.

Trusting Sen. Schumer and Ms. Pelosi to conduct oversight on trillions of dollars is the definition of foolish. Putting untrustworthy people in oversight positions is stupid. It’s like some of the examples from earlier, like the fox getting the job of guarding the hen house, etc.

Congressional Democrats were very skeptical of the giant stimulus program to help struggling businesses hard hit by the coronavirus and insisted on several measures to make sure billions doled out to businesses are spent wisely and audited. Among the provisions was $25 million to created a new Special Inspector General for Pandemic Recovery to be an independent check on the Department of the Treasury’s loan program.

That led to this:

When Trump signed the stimulus bill into law, he included a signing statement that said the inspector general could file reports to Congress only with “presidential supervision,” angering Democrats who believe Trump is trying to undo their purposeful checks on his Administration.

That’s perfectly reasonable. President Trump anticipated an ambush by Democrats. Having both sides represented eliminates the possibility of an ambush. The fact that Sen. Schumer and Pelosi complaining so vociferously is proof that they intended to ambush President Trump.

Trusting Sen. Schumer and Speaker Pelosi to conduct honest oversight is what fools put their trust in. President Trump doesn’t trust them and rightfully so. This pair has stabbed him in the back too many times.

This morning, Nancy Pelosi announced the creation of “the House Select Committee on the Coronavirus Crisis. This committee will be chaired by Majority Whip Jim Clyburn. In her statement, Pelosi said “That is why I am announcing the formation of a special bipartisan oversight panel.” That’s news to House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy. That isn’t the only thing that’s suspicious about this committee.

A huge amount of activity will theoretically happen in the next 2 weeks. According to Ed Morrissey’s post, “Pelosi won’t have the House return until April 20, almost three weeks from now.” In her statement, Pelosi quoted President Truman as saying “I knew that after the First World War there’d been a hundred and sixteen investigating committees after the fact, and I felt that one committee before the fact would prevent a lot of waste and maybe even save some lives, and that’s the way it worked out.”

If the House isn’t in session until after a huge portion of the funds have been disbursed, why is Pelosi talking about “one committee before the fact” preventing lots of waste? That’s like putting the fire department on furlough while they’re trying to prevent arsonists’ attacks. Apparently, there’s a different motive:

Pelosi has a daily briefing already, but this would certainly afford an opportunity for the House to counter-program against Trump. They’d have to stay in town to do it, though.

This week, House Republicans boycotted a public hearing of the House Intelligence Committee. They didn’t attend because Democrats refuse to investigate FISA abuse outlined in the Horowitz Report. According to Ranking Member Devin Nunes, the Committee he used to chair goes months between closed-door intelligence briefings.

That leads to this question: why won’t Adam Schiff’s Democrats do the work of oversight and investigation? Perhaps, it’s because he’s implicated in the FISA wrongdoing? We know with certainty that Schiff insisted that the FBI followed the FISA warrant process perfectly. The truth is that they didn’t. This letter identifies “17 serious shortcomings”:


The letter criticizes Schiff’s unserious oversight of the Intel Community. Nunes and the other signatories criticizes Schiff for conducting PR stunt hearings rather than substantive, private hearings and briefings. This is once-powerful committee. They literally deal with protecting Americans both at home and overseas. At least, that’s what they did with Devin Nunes chaired the committee.

Having a failed Hollywood screenwriter as chairman is a surefire way to demolish the Committee’s sterling reputation in the past. That’s what happened with Schiff as chairman. This must be reversed ASAP.

The last part of Friday night’s Almanac Roundtable focused on DFL mismanagement of multiple agencies and departments. Moderator Eric Eskola opened that portion of the segment by saying “Gregg, you were around the legislature for a long time and with candidates and so forth. I really sense that this is a bad year for big government in Minnesota, Human Services and so many problems and I wonder if it was this bad when you were working for Speaker Sviggum?” Later in the segment, Eskola interjected, saying of Legislative Auditor Jim Nobles’ testimony at this week’s hearing that “If this was a prize fight, they would’ve stopped it. He just mopped the floor with her.”

Eric Eskola has been a significant part of the Minnesota media for a generation+. That’s the most provocative thing I’ve ever heard him say. That isn’t saying that he’s wrong. In fact, I think he’s exactly right. The times I’ve watched Auditor Nobles testify about DHS’s mismanagement, Mr. Nobles didn’t pull his punches. He’s landed some hard-hitting body blows to DHS management.

The laughable part of the segment was Abou Amara saying that divided government was to blame for the mismanagement. It’s laughable because the executive branch can function perfectly whether there’s unified government or divided government. Period. Stop.

Amara is right in the sense that it’s easier to pass legislation when it’s unified DFL government. That doesn’t guarantee problems getting fixed, though. The bigger point that Amara intentionally side-stepped is that reform-minded people in the executive branch could start changing the culture without passing a single law. That doesn’t mean we don’t need reforms to fix DHS’s problems. It simply means we can start fixing the problem by hiring high quality management personnel.

Gov. Walz got criticized for the mismanagement:

Gov. Tim Walz’s administration came under fire Wednesday for violations of state contract laws. Republican senators held a hearing about the violations, which occurred when vendors working with the state started work before contracts were signed and when employees committed to spending state money without agency permission. Records from the administration show these violations happened roughly 1,300 times over the last year.

Minnesota’s bureaucracy needs a major overhaul. There’s no time to waste.

Anyone that watched this afternoon’s House Judiciary Committee hearing that featured former Trump Campaign Manager Corey Lewandowski as the Committee’s star witness saw Democrats that were frustrated. Those same Democrats were mockingly called “the Party of Impeachment” by Congressman Ratcliffe, (R-TX). By any stretch of the imagination, today’s hearing was a wretched sight.

If I was running the NRCC’s campaign, and I’m not (Tom Emmer is running things), I’d simply have candidates watch Jerry Nadler’s questioning of Mr. Lewandowski. Either that I’d have them watch the 3 Stooges, although the 3 Stooges weren’t as discombobulated as Chairman Nadler. Chairman Nadler wasn’t just bewildered during his questioning of Mr. Lewandowski. He was frustrated, too. Watch this videoclip and ask yourself if Chairman Nadler looks composed or agitated:

To me, Chairman Nadler looked extremely frustrated. He didn’t look composed whatsoever. Then compare that with how composed Rep. John Ratcliffe looks while questioning Mr. Lewandowski:

Doug Collins’ needling of Chairman Nadler might be my favorite part of the hearing:

The best part came when Collins said “I’ve never seen a majority so interested in packaging in all my life. You know why? Because they can’t sell what’s inside. They can’t sell the product so they just keep packaging it differently. You like having the press here. You like having the cameras because it makes it look like something’s happening but it’s not.”

Collins continued, saying “The American people are starting to get it. They’re starting to get it that if you’re just howling at the wind, you’re not doing anything.”

Later, Lewandowski got under Hakeem Jeffries’ skin:

Lewandowski later declined to play along with certain questions. New York Democratic Rep. Hakeem Jeffries asked Lewandowski if he was Trump’s “hitman, the bag man, the lookout, or all of the above?” “I think I’m the good looking man, actually,” Lewandowski replied.

Honestly, today’s House Judiciary Committee hearing exposed how incompetent Democrats are. If a back-bencher like Jerry Nadler is a committee chairman, that’s proof positive that Democrats aren’t worthy of holding gavels. Democrats were so bad that MSNBC and CNN criticized Committee Democrats:

NBC News correspondent Ken Dilanian suggested to MSNBC’s Ali Velshi that Democratic lawmakers were primarily focused on “getting their moment on television” than getting the facts from their witness.

Then there’s this:

Politico reporter and MSNBC analyst Jake Sherman questioned why Lewandowski’s involvement in the Mueller report “wasn’t the focus” of the hearing. “At the end of the day, Democrats are going to have to leave this hearing and say, ‘What did we accomplish today and did it bring us closer to X?’ They don’t know what ‘X’ is,” Sherman told the panel.

“They don’t know what they’re doing and at the end of this hearing, I suspect… that they feel like Trump has changed the rules so much that he’s impervious to all of this. He’s not afraid of impeachment… so they’re just kind of coasting along and doing their thing.”

Holding a gavel is a prestigious accomplishment. I didn’t see a single Democrat on the House Judiciary Committee that I thought was qualified to chair a committee. Democrats on the House Judiciary Committee got trolled. These Democrats sit on one of the most prestigious, historic committees in history. This is the committee that started the impeachment proceedings against Richard Nixon. Rather than looking the part, Corey Lewandowski trolled Eric Swalwell:

Lewandowski appeared to mock California Democratic Rep. Eric Swalwell’s unsuccessful bid for the White House earlier this year, calling him “President Swalwell” at one point during questioning.

These Democrats aren’t ready for primetime. I’m not certain that they’re up to a part on Keystone Cops. I am certain that they’re best suited to back-benchers in the minority party in the House.

Just when you thought it couldn’t get worse within Minnesota’s Department of Health and Human Services, Gov. Tim Walz makes it much worse. Gov. Walz made the situation much worse by picking Jodi Harpstead to take over as commissioner of HHS in September.

Commissioner Harpstead is currently employed as the CEO of Lutheran Social Services, aka LSS. For the past 5+ years, LSS has specialized in the Refugee Resettlement program. That means that they’ve specialized in hiding important details about who was coming into Minnesota’s communities. This isn’t speculation. It’s well-documented fact.

When former City Councilman Jeff Johnson participated in a discussion on the refugee resettlement program, he expressed frustration with LSS:

To summarize that meeting, what I saw, four things were occurring. One, we have a nonprofit religious organization, OK, taking federal dollars, and they were pocketing approximately $1,000 per refugee. The allocation’s about 3,300 (dollars), but they got to keep about $1,000 per refugee, OK? They were not being transparent with the public, and it got to the point where they actually had a deputy at the door monitoring who was coming into the meetings. And I said you need to open up these meetings because you’re using federal dollars, you’re a nonprofit organization, and to me it was becoming apparent that they were acting like a for-profit corporation.

LSS was the volag running the meetings. Now, Gov. Walz has tapped the CEO of LSS to be the commissioner of HHS. Saying that HHS is embroiled in a crisis is understatement. Part of the crisis is rampant fraud within HHS.

When HHS Commissioner Tony Lourey abruptly resigned last month, he didn’t say why he was leaving, other than saying that the Department needed new leadership that he wasn’t capable of providing. The week prior to Lourey’s resignation, his 2 deputies resigned without an explanation. They’ve since returned to their positions.

If ever there was a department that needed a massive infusion of transparency, HHS is it. Hiring a woman whose current organization specializes in hiding things from government officials isn’t a first step towards building confidence with the public.

This hiring smacks of arrogance in the worst way. This is Gov. Walz’s attempt to stiff-arm the legislature, at least the part that gives a damn about providing oversight. (At this point, the DFL House isn’t interested in providing oversight.)

This week, Senate Republicans held a 3.5 hour-long oversight hearing into why “the Leech Lake Band of Ojibwe and the White Earth Nation received $25.3 million in excess payments for medically assisted treatments covered through Medicaid over several years.” At the hearing, Committee Chair Michelle Benson said “The taxpayers didn’t make this mistake. They’re not the ones who used the judgment to cause the overpayments, why should they be held responsible?” She also said that “lawmakers shouldn’t have to allocate $25 million in additional funds to cover overpayments to two tribes.”

HHS needs a serious culture change. It’s questionable that Ms. Harpstead will provide that type of leadership. The organization she’s currently running specializes in secrecy and stiff-arming local politicians. That isn’t the reputation of a reformer. Make no mistake, either. HHS needs a reformation:

Other DHS employees or former employees shared with the committee their concerns about what they’d faced at the department. The former Medicaid program director told the panel bureaucrats in the department rejected advice from medical professionals and abruptly dismissed him in July.

And Faye Bernstein, a DHS compliance officer, said she was put on temporary leave when she raised concerns about compliance in state contracts. She was later allowed to return to her post and appeared Tuesday on a vacation day. She said she’d received notice ahead of the hearing that she could be terminated for her comments to lawmakers.

Think about that a minute. Bernstein was “put on temporary leave” because “she raised concerns about compliance” issues. If that isn’t proof that HHS needs a total reformation, then it’s hopeless.

The Senate has the constitutional responsibility of confirming commissioners. Unless Sen. Benson’s committee gets proof that Harpstead is serious about changing the culture at HHS, the Senate should reject her, then tell Gov. Walz that he needs to appoint someone who is committed to transparency and reformation.

Gov. Walz took time to visit the Vikings’ training facility. Apparently, he thinks that being the CEO of the state is a part-time responsibility. Thus far, he’s been a huge disappointment.