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Dana Milbank’s latest column doesn’t have a single bit of spin in it. It has lots of bits of spin in it.

For instance, Milbank wrote “Now, best of all, he gets to release a memo (possibly written with White House help) to exonerate Trump in the Russia probe by using cherry-picked information implying wrongdoing by the FBI — while at the same time blocking declassification of a memo from committee Democrats providing context and exculpatory information that Nunes omitted.”

Actually, Nunes favors declassification of the so-called Schiff Memo. It’s just that it hasn’t gone through the scrubbing protocol required to prepare the document for public consumption. It’s worth noting that Rep. Schiff accused Chairman Nunes of wanting to publish a memo that contained sources and methods. That accusation wasn’t accurate. It was Schiff-produced spin.

It’s worth noting that Chairman Nunes told Bret Baier that he didn’t “read the actual FISA applications.” Chairman Nunes told Baier that “this has been one of these bogus news stories that’s been put out. So the agreement that we made with the Justice Department was to create a reading room and allow one committee member and 2 investigators to go over and read the documents. I thought the best person on our committee would be the chairman of the Oversight Committee, Trey Gowdy, who has a long career as a federal prosecutor, to go and do this…”

In fact, Milbank could’ve written a much more fact-based article, if that was ever his intention, if he’d watched this interview:

Then there’s this:

And the FBI, which under its Trump-appointed director says it has “grave concerns about material omissions of fact that fundamentally impact the memo’s accuracy,” can’t defend itself because, well, the information is classified.

The FBI director can’t defend the agency’s actions because what they did is indefensible. He can’t say the FBI can’t defend itself because the information is classified because it’s been unclassified or is in the process of being prepared for declassification.

In essence, Nunes is free to allege whatever he wants, even if false, and nobody, by law, can contradict him.

That’s a wonderful bit of spin. Pretty much everything from the FISA warrant, including the application itself, is in the process of getting declassified. The applications have to get scrubbed so they don’t reveal sources and methods, which means they’ll be heavily redacted in parts.

Why didn’t Milbank admit that the FBI applied for a surveillance warrant “without telling the court the FBI itself had dismissed Christopher Steele, who generated the opposition research, for lying to the FBI and leaking his relationship with the agency to the press”? Is that because Milbank isn’t that worried about people’s civil liberties?

It’s hard to think that Jim Comey and J. Edgar Hoover aren’t the FBI’s biggest disgraces in that agency’s history. After reading this article, it isn’t difficult to call Jim Comey a disgrace. In a tweet Friday afternoon, Comey said of the Nunes memo “That’s it? Dishonest and misleading memo wrecked the House intel committee, destroyed trust with Intelligence Community, damaged relationship with FISA court, and inexcusably exposed classified investigation of an American citizen. For what? DOJ & FBI must keep doing their jobs.”

It isn’t difficult to make the case that the House Intelligence Committee did its job. Their job is to make sure that the institutions of government don’t become corrupt like FBI apparently did. Under Comey’s administration, they thought they were above the law. They thought they didn’t need to obey congressional subpoenas. The FBI leadership thought they were above the law. The Intelligence Committee proved that they weren’t above the law. They proved that the FBI leadership was just arrogant and needed to be checked.

One chilling part of the Nunes memo states “Neither the initial application in Oct., 2016, nor any of the renewals, disclose or reference the role the DNC, the 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.”

First, the FISC needs to interrogate the people applying for warrants more thoroughly. Second, the people applying for warrants must disclose everything. If they don’t, they’ve earned some sanctions from the court. As for Comey’s tweet, what was he thinking?


Why wouldn’t Congress get upset when the FBI thinks that they can use sloppy opposition research to get a warrant against a campaign’s political opponent? That’s the type of thing that Putin or Chavez would do. That isn’t what we expect from the FBI.

This should bother us, too:


Andrew McCabe didn’t stand tall. Based on Ari Fleischer’s op-ed, I’d argue that he isn’t a man of character:

In January 2017, I was invited by then-FBI Director Comey to deliver the keynote address for a major meeting of law enforcement directors from the United States, United Kingdom, Australia, Canada and New Zealand. These English-speaking countries are called the Five Eyes nations. In addition to the FBI director and his foreign counterparts, the heads of the Drug Enforcement Administration and Immigration and Customs Enforcement were to attend. The meeting was a big deal. 

As someone who is an admirer and supporter of the FBI, I looked forward to going and sharing what I learned about how to communicate in a crisis. Having been the White House press secretary on Sept. 11, 2001, there was a lot I wanted to share with the Five Eyes leaders.

One month before the event, Comey was fired and McCabe became acting FBI director. The day prior to the event, Comey testified before the Senate Intelligence Committee. He acknowledged telling President Trump he was not under investigation, and he admitted he provided FBI memos to a friend so they could be leaked to The New York Times.

That evening, I went on Fox News and was mildly critical of Comey. I said when President Trump sought a one-on-one meeting with him, he should have resisted it, a statement Comey himself made at the hearing. The next morning, about an hour before I was due at the 9/11 Museum, I was on another TV show and again was mildly critical of Comey. I questioned the ethics of his leaking FBI memos to a private citizen so they could be given to the press. I also said I saw no evidence of collusion between President Trump and Russia.

I left the show, got into an FBI car and headed downtown for the counterterrorism training event. That’s when my assistant called me to tell me that she got a call from the acting FBI director’s office telling me not to show up. No explanation was provided.

Anyone that can’t take mild criticism isn’t a man of character. Period.

Jim Comey’s tweet last night was the tweet of a bitter man. In Comey’s tweet, he said “All should appreciate the FBI speaking up. I wish more of our leaders would. But take heart: American history shows that, in the long run, weasels and liars never hold the field, so long as good people stand up. Not a lot of schools or streets named for Joe McCarthy.”

I suspect that there won’t be any schools or streets named after Jim Comey, either.

Apparently, Mr. Comey isn’t happy that President Trump has decided to release the House Intelligence Committee summarization memo written mostly by Chairman Devin Nunes. According to the article, the “memo purportedly is critical of the FBI’s use of surveillance during the 2016 presidential campaign, particularly in the initial stages of its investigation into alleged collusion between Russia and Trump’s campaign.” As usual, Fox News’s Catherine Herridge broke the story. Here’s Comey’s tweet:


The most no-nonsense member of Congress, Trey Gowdy, said that the memo will be embarrassing to Adam Schiff:

These days, Democrats are using the term border security as their new euphemism for comprehensive immigration reform. To Democrats, border security means not building the wall or ending chain migration. Democrats insist that the wall is a poison pill, that linking DACA to building the wall is a deal-breaker.

I’m upset with Republicans for not fighting that by questioning Democrats why they think that building a border wall is a poison pill. For that matter, I’d love seeing Chairman Goodlatte invite someone from the Israeli Defense Forces, aka the IDF, or Mossad, the Israeli intelligence agency, to testify in front of the House Judiciary Committee on whether their wall has protected Israel from terrorist attacks.

The Israelis are the gold standard at keeping their people safe. They’re surrounded by water and terrorists. The terrorists have a virtual unlimited supply of short- and medium-range rockets. They also have the determination to kill Israelis. During the “Second Intifada”, which started in 2000, Israelis built the border wall. From 2000 to 2003, there were 73 terrorist attacks. After the wall was built, from 2003 through 2006, terrorist attacks dropped to 12.

Let’s hear Democrats insist that a border wall doesn’t work or that it’s a poison pill after hearing that type of testimony. The Democrats insist that the wall is a poison pill because special interest organizations that fund their campaigns want to keep the stream of illegal aliens flowing. Period. That’s why it’s imperative Republicans hold onto the U.S. House. Everyone knows that there’s enough Senate Republicans who will cave on the wall. We need to keep our majority in the House to shut down any bill that doesn’t include funding for President Trump’s wall.

Let’s be exceptionally clear about this. Conservative hardliners should stop debate of any immigration bill that doesn’t end chain migration, doesn’t end the visa lottery and doesn’t fund the building of President Trump’s wall. That’s our poison pill because, without all of those things, the border isn’t secure.

No amount of happy talk will make it so. Finally, Republicans should insist that Democrats eliminate any euphemisms that make it sound like they’re serious about securing the border when they aren’t serious about securing the border. If Chuck Schumer wants to throw a hissy fit on the Senate floor after getting called out on this, that’s fine. Let him look like a jackass. After Sen. Schumer finishes his diatribe, the Republicans should then reiterate how the border wall between Israel and the West Bank has kept Israel safe for a decade.

Robert Mueller’s investigation into possible Trump-Russia collusion faces credibility difficulties thanks to Andrew Weissman and Peter Strzok.

First, Mueller’s investigation is getting criticized for Peter Strzok’s texting. According to this article, “The messages from Strzok to another FBI expert assigned to the Mueller team were discovered in the course of that internal review. The wording of the messages sent during the 2016 campaign appeared to be making fun of then-candidate Trump, and raised concerns that they could be seen as being pro-Clinton, the sources said.” Further, the article explained that “Lisa Page, an FBI lawyer who was assigned to the Mueller investigation, received the messages.”

Next, it’s important to know that Strzok “oversaw the bureau’s interviews with ousted National Security Advisor Michael Flynn” and that he “led the investigation of the Hillary Clinton email server as the No. 2 official in the FBI’s counterintelligence division”, too. It’s noteworthy, too, that Strzok “changed former FBI Director James Comey’s early draft language about Hillary Clinton’s actions regarding her private email server from ‘grossly negligent’ to ‘extremely careless.'”

It’s one thing to have opinions about political candidates. It’s quite another to change politically sensitive documents about a presidential candidate to help her avoid being indicted.

Then there’s the story about Andrew Weissman. Weissman sent an email to “outgoing acting Attorney General Sally Yates after she was fired in January by President Trump for refusing to defend his controversial travel ban.” Weissman wrote “I am so proud” in the email’s subject line before adding “And in awe. Thank you so much. All my deepest respects” in the email’s text.

This doesn’t excuse Gen. Flynn’s lying to the FBI. It does question whether Mueller’s investigation is capable of treating both parties fairly, though.

Of all the idiotic things I’ve heard Rep. Adam Schiff, (D-Calif.), say this takes the cake. According to the article, “Rep. Adam Schiff, the top Democrat in the House Intelligence Committee, floated the possibility of a new investigation in response to news that President Trump actively pursued lifting a gag order on an undercover FBI informant so he could testify to Congress about the Russian nuclear industry’s bribery and money laundering during the time of the Obama administration.”

Schiff is the worst salesman of conspiracy theories I’ve ever witnessed. This morning, Schiff tweeted “If President personally intervened with DOJ to advance case against political opponent it’s beyond disturbing; I intend to pursue in new probe.” WOW! It’s absurdity on steroids to think that insisting on transparency would create howls of partisanship.

Yes, Congressman Schiff, it’s ok to investigate a political opponent if that’s where the evidence takes you. It’s only wrong if there’s nothing pointing to a person’s political opponents. In this case, the political opponent is Hillary Clinton, the personification of political corruption. She’s a corruption magnet.

Is. Rep Schiff suggesting that people engaging in corrupt acts be spared if they’re someone’s political opponent? That’s what it appears he’s suggesting in this interview:

What’s frightening is that Congressman Schiff hasn’t hesitated in engaging in a baseless witch hunt against President Trump while trying his best to discourage the testimony of a whistleblower who can provide information on the Russians’ operations:

On Wednesday, it was revealed the FBI informant can now testify to Congress after being released from a confidentiality agreement by the Justice Department. The informant’s identity has not been publicly disclosed because he was undercover for almost five years. During that time, he provided agents information about Russia’s atomic energy business in the U.S.

A report from The Hill last week said the FBI has evidence dating as far back as 2009 that nuclear industry officials from Russia had been involved in bribery, kickbacks, extortion, and money laundering that benefited Russian President Vladimir Putin’s atomic energy project expansion with the U.S.

As long as the administration isn’t engaging in a fishing expedition, I don’t see what the problem is. The minute it becomes a fishing expedition, though, that’s a problem.

President Trump’s hands are clean on this because he’s insisting on more information and transparency rather than secrecy. If Congressman Schiff has a problem with transparency, then he’s got a problem with the American people. I can’t imagine that’s a battlefield Schiff wants to fight on because it’s all downside for him.

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Kim Strassel’s column raises lots of legitimate questions about former FBI Director Jim Comey. Early in the article, though, Ms. Strassel wrote “Mr. Comey’s actions in the Hillary Clinton email probe are concerning enough. He made himself investigator, judge and jury, breaking the Justice Department’s chain of command. He publicly confirmed the investigation, violating the department’s principles. He announced he would not recommend prosecuting Mrs. Clinton, even as he publicly excoriated her—an extraordinary abuse of his megaphone. Then he rekindled the case only 11 days before the election.”

Later, Ms. Strassel wrote “the big development this week is a new look at how Mr. Comey may have similarly juked the probe into Donald Trump’s purported ties to Russia. The House Intelligence Committee’s investigation took a sharp and notable turn on Tuesday, as news broke that it had subpoenaed the FBI and the Justice Department for information relating to the infamous Trump ‘dossier.'”

Until now, people haven’t discussed whether there was a connection between the FBI and “the opposition-research firm Fusion GPS.” This week, the House Intelligence Committee changed directions when it subpoenaed FBI Director Wray and Attorney General Sessions to testify on whether the FBI used the dossier to justify its launching of any investigations. Trey Gowdy is one of the people looking into whether the FBI, especially while Comey was their director, improperly used the dossier. Last night, Gowdy spoke to Martha McCallum about what’s troubling him:

It’s apparent that the Senate Intelligence Committee’s investigation into Russian collusion isn’t taking its probe seriously. They’re more worried about looking bipartisan than they’re worried about digging into whether the FBI manipulated anything, including commissioning the dossier.

The question is when the FBI got in on the act. The Washington Post in February reported that Mr. Steele “was familiar” to the FBI, since he’d worked for the bureau before. The newspaper said Mr. Steele had reached out to a “friend” at the FBI about his Trump work as far back as July 2016. The Post even reported that Mr. Steele “reached an agreement with the FBI a few weeks before the election for the bureau to pay him to continue his work.” Who was Mr. Steele’s friend at the FBI? Did the bureau influence the direction of the Trump dossier? Did it give Mr. Steele material support from the start?

At this point, I don’t see how Congress can’t avoid calling Mr. Comey back in to testify on this new information. Further, I can’t see how Special Counsel Mueller’s investigation isn’t delegitimized. Mueller’s star witness has been utterly tarnished. Mr. Comey’s credibility doesn’t exist anymore.

The minute he testifies in a trial, the defense attorney will grill him about his testimony in front of Congress that he leaked information to a professor in the hopes of starting a special investigation. That defense attorney will paint Comey as deceitful and manipulative. If Mueller’s star witness is painted as deceitful and manipulative, that prosecution is all but officially over.

Jim Clapper, the former DNI, aka Director of National Intelligence, has been a political hatchet man for years. Now employed by CNN, all that’s changed is that he isn’t a hatchet man for the federal government. Instead, he’s a political hatchet man for CNN. This article highlights Mr. Clappers propensity for political shenanigans.

After Don Lemon’s anti-Trump diatribe, he continued with the theme that Trump wasn’t fit to be president, this time getting Clapper to echo Lemon’s accusations. During the interview, Dir. Clapper said “I really question his ability, his fitness to be in this office and I also am beginning to wonder about his motivation for it. Maybe he is looking for a way out. I do wonder, as well about the people that attracted to this, to this rally as others. You know, what are they thinking? Or why am I so far off base? Because I don’t understand the adulation. Of course, that’s why I think he gravitated to having this rally as ill-timed as it is.”

The first obvious question that Clapper needs to be asked is why he thinks President Trump is “looking for a way out.” Since the Russia collusion investigation pretty much collapsed, Democrat operatives starting conducting a stealth campaign questioning President Trump’s stability. At this year’s Netroots Nation gathering, DNC Vice-Chair Keith Ellison didn’t mince words. He said that President Trump was less stable than Kim Jung Un. This week, the storyline from Don Lemon and James Clapper has been that President Trump is unhinged.

To fully understand this story, let’s understand who Jim Clapper is. This is the opening paragraph of Sen. Wyden’s statement after DNI Clapper resigned:

During Director Clapper’s tenure, senior intelligence officials engaged in a deception spree regarding mass surveillance. Top officials, officials who reported to Director Clapper, repeatedly misled the American people and even lied to them.

It’s worth noting that Sen. Wyden isn’t a diehard movement conservative. He’s a liberal Democrat from Oregon. There’s more from Sen. Wyden’s official statement:

After the NSA Director declined to correct these statements, I put the question to the Director of National Intelligence in March 2013.  I wouldn’t have been doing my job if I hadn’t asked that question.  My staff and I spent weeks preparing it, and I had my staff send him the question in advance so that he would be prepared to answer it.  

Director Clapper famously gave an untrue answer to that question.  So I had my intelligence staffer call his office afterward and ask them to correct the record. The Director’s office refused to correct the record. Regardless of what was going through the director’s head when he testified, failing to correct the record was a deliberate decision to lie to the American people about what their government was doing. And within a few months, of course, the truth came out.

That isn’t all that DNI Clapper did, though. Here’s more:

Former President Barack Obama’s intelligence chief issued revised procedures in 2013 that made it easier for executive branch officials to “unmask” the names of lawmakers or congressional staffers caught up in intelligence intercepts overseas, according to interviews and documents reviewed by The Hill. Procedures issued by Director of National Intelligence James Clapper in March 2013 formally supplanted a 1992 set of rules that made the dissemination of names of intercepted lawmakers or congressional aides an act of last resort.

The new standard allowed for a lawmaker’s or staffer’s name to be unmasked if  “an executive branch recipient of intelligence” believed that learning “the identity of the Member of Congress or the Congressional staff is necessary to understand and assess the associated intelligence and further a lawful activity of the recipient agency,” according to a memo released earlier this month by the DNI’s office with little public fanfare.

Unmasking these people’s identities wasn’t done for national security purposes. It was done for political purposes.

UPDATE: During Brian Kilmeade’s interview of Lt. Col. Tony Schaffer, Lt. Col. Schaffer highlighted the fact that former DNI Clapper got caught lying under oath. Democrats first tried delegitimizing President Trump’s victory by saying Trump colluded with Russia to win the election. When that investigation fell apart, Democrats switched to insinuating that President Trump wasn’t fit for office. Who knows what’s next?

Here’s the video of Schaffer’s interview with Kilmeade:

If there’s anything that comes through clear in Kim Strassel’s latest article, it’s that Democrats have returned to being national security appeasers. The Awan family is living proof that Democrats don’t take national security seriously.

One of the first points from Ms. Strassel’s article that’s disturbing comes when she wrote “Mr. Awan, 37, began working for House Democrats as an IT staffer in 2004. By the next year, he was working for future Democratic National Committee head Debbie Wasserman Schultz. Over time he would add his wife, two brothers, a brother’s wife and a friend to the payroll—and at handsome sums. One brother, Jamal, hired in 2014 reportedly at age 20, was paid $160,000. That’s in line with what a chief of staff makes—about four times the average Capitol Hill staffer. No Democrat appears to have investigated these huge numbers or been asked to account for them.”

For the Awan family to get hired by 38 Democrats is outrageous enough. That the Awan family got hired at high salaries is more outrageous. That that isn’t the worst that the Awan family did is what’s most frightening. Ms. Strassel’s article continues, saying “The family was plenty busy elsewhere. A litany of court documents accuse them of bankruptcy fraud, life-insurance fraud, tax fraud and extortion. Abid Awan, a brother, ran up more than $1 million in debts on a failed car dealership he somehow operated while supposedly working full time on the Hill. One document ties the family to a loan from a man stripped of his Maryland medical license after false billing. Capitol Police are investigating allegations of procurement fraud and theft. The brothers filed false financial-disclosure forms, with Imran Awan claiming his wife had no income, even as she worked as a fellow House IT staffer.”

What’s cute is what Debbie Wasserman-Schultz said in defending her decision to keep Imran Awan on her staff:

Ms. Wasserman-Schultz made this foolish statement:

If there’s one thing that I’m going to make sure and maintain, it’s maintain my integrity.

That’s hilarious, especially coming from the woman who rigged the Democratic primaries to guarantee that Hillary Clinton won the nomination. The thought that Ms. Wasserman-Schultz thinks she’s got an ounce of integrity left is gut-busting laughable. This isn’t laughable:

Yes, it is weird that Ms. Wasserman Schultz continued to shield Imran Awan to the end. Yes, the amounts of money, and the ties to Pakistan, are strange. Yes, it is alarming that emails show Imran Awan knew Ms. Wasserman Schultz’s iPad password, and that the family might have had wider access to the accounts of lawmakers on the House Intelligence and Foreign Affairs committees.

It’s sad that people elected to represent us chose to protect fraudsters.

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To say that Sen. Grassley gave Jim Comey and Chuck Schumer a tutorial in integrity is understatement. This article highlights Sen. Grassley’s speech on the Senate floor that should’ve been delivered months ago.

First, Sen. Grassley reported that “then-FBI Director James Comey briefed ranking member Dianne Feinstein and him on the Russia probe.” Sen. Grassley then said the briefing included “telling us who was, and who was not, under investigation.” Then Sen. Grassley opened both barrels and trained them on then-FBI Director Comey and Senate Minority Leader Schumer.

During his speech, Grassley said “After that meeting, I publicly called for Mr. Comey to tell the public what he had told us about whether President Trump was under investigation. The public had a right to know. Mr. Comey told me and other Congressional leaders that President Trump was not under investigation. He even told the President himself – repeatedly. But, Mr. Comey didn’t listen to my request for transparency. He didn’t listen to the President’s request. Only months later has the truth finally come out.”

With that, Sen. Schumer was exposed. Then Sen. Grassley added this:

So the media was wrong. So the Democrats were wrong. So the wild speculation and conspiracy theories ended up harming our country. They played right into Russia’s hands. And how did we all learn about this truth? In President Trump’s letter removing Mr. Comey from office.

At first most didn’t believe it. The media scoffed when they wrote what the president said in that letter. They insisted that Mr. Comey would never tell the president that he was not under investigation. Well we learned earlier this month from Mr. Comey himself that he had done exactly that. It wasn’t a surprise to me because Mr. Comey had told me the same thing.

Check out this video of Sen. Grassley’s speech:

Let’s be clear about something. Mr. Comey didn’t tell the American people that President Trump wasn’t being investigated. Further, Senate Minority Leader Schumer didn’t tell the whole truth about the FBI’s investigation when he knew that it wasn’t focusing on President Trump. Instead, Sen. Schumer stuck with the Democrats’ chanting points, pretending that President Trump was under investigation.

At this point, Sen. Schumer’s integrity doesn’t exist. What politician ignores that type of information for political gain? A: The most corrupt leader of Senate Democrats since Harry Reid. People hate politicians because they’re morally bankrupt. Sen. Schumer is the poster child of moral depravity in the Senate. As the Democrats’ leader in the Senate, Schumer should be a leader. Instead, he’s the chief obstructionist in a party without a message.

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