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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.

This morning, Rep. Adam Schiff, (D-Calif.), said that the Flynn plea deal is a big deal. He told George Stephanopoulos “I think this is very significant. I think the fact that in his factual basis for the plea he sets out that he wasn’t acting as a rogue agent. And I think it indicates to me at least, that this is not the end of it by any means.” Later, Schiff said “he believes Flynn will incriminate other members of the administration, but said he does not know if the probe will move all the way up to Trump.”

Famed criminal defense attorney and former Harvard law Professor Emeritus Alan Dershowitz offered a different opinion. Dershowitz wrote that “The first question is, why did Flynn lie? People who lie to the FBI generally do so because, if they told the truth, they would be admitting to a crime. But the two conversations that Flynn falsely denied having were not criminal. He may have believed they were criminal but, if he did, he was wrong.”

Dershowitz added “Consider his request to Sergey I. Kislyak, Russian ambassador to the U.S., to delay or oppose a United Nations Security Council vote on an anti-Israel resolution that the outgoing Obama administration refused to veto. Not only was that request not criminal, it was the right thing to do. President Obama’s unilateral decision to change decades-long American policy by not vetoing a perniciously one-sided anti-Israel resolution was opposed by Congress and by most Americans. It was not good for America, for Israel or for peace. It was done out of Obama’s personal pique against Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu rather than on principle.”

Next, Dershowitz added this:

As the president-elect, Donald Trump was constitutionally and politically entitled to try to protect his ability to broker a fair peace between the Israelis and Palestinians by urging all members of the Security Council to vote against or delay the enactment of the resolution.

Finally, Dershowitz said this:

So, despite the banner headlines calling the Flynn guilty plea a “thunderclap,” I think it may be a show of weakness on the part of the special counsel rather than a sign of strength. So far he has had to charge potential witnesses with crimes that bear little or no relationship to any possible crimes committed by current White House incumbents. Mueller would have much preferred to indict Flynn for conspiracy or some other crime directly involving other people, but he apparently lacks the evidence to do so.

I do not believe he will indict anyone under the Logan Act. If he were to do so, that would be unethical and irresponsible. Nor do I think he will charge President Trump with any crimes growing out of the president’s exercise of his constitutional authority to fire the director of the FBI or to ask him not to prosecute Flynn.

Mr. Schiff has a history of overhyping what’s happening. This investigation is about the Democrats’ attempt to criminalize political policy differences. Dershowitz finished his op-ed by saying “The investigation will probably not end quickly, but it may end with, not a thunderclap, but several whimpers.”

Sen. Dave Senjem isn’t happy with the Minnesota Supreme Court’s ruling that Gov. Dayton was within his rights to veto the Legislature’s funding. That’s why he’s proposing putting a constitutional amendment on the 2018 ballot.

Because the legislature decides whether constitutional amendments are allowed on the ballot, Gov. Dayton doesn’t have a say in the matter. Further, this should frighten rural DFL legislators. Republicans should highlight the fact that this constitutional amendment is required because a) Gov. Dayton vetoed the funding and b)the Supreme Court got their ruling badly wrong. The first vote taken by the House will be to override Gov. Dayton’s line-item veto of the Legislature’s funding. If DFL legislators vote to sustain Gov. Dayton’s veto, they’ll be tarred and feathered and it’ll be deserved.

Sen. Senjem made a good point when he said “We’re not co-equal anymore because I believe the precedent has been set that yes, it’s OK for a governor to veto legislative appropriations, and there are no consequences, and I think that puts the Legislature in almost a subservient position.”

The Supreme Court got this wrong. Thanks to that ruling, the legislature has 2 terrible choices. Either they can cave to the governor’s demands or they can stop representing their constituents. Actually, there’s a third option. That third option is to spend down the money appropriated for the operation of the Legislative Auditor’s Office and the Revisor of Statutes’ office.

Spending down the money that’s supposed to run the OLA is terrible because they’re the state equivalent of the IG at the federal level. Should we shut down the office that caught April Todd-Malmlov mismanaging MNsure? Should we shut down the office that caught Ted Mondale and Michelle Kelm-Helgen using luxury suites at U.S. Bank Stadium to entertain friends, political allies and family?

It’s time to put this constitutional amendment on the ballot. It’s time to shame these Supreme Court justices for getting the decision wrong.

When the indictments of Paul Manafort and Rick Gates were unsealed, people started asking questions about the Podesta Group and Mercury LLC. The Podesta Group is owned by Tony and John Podesta. Mercury LLC is run by former Minnesota Congressman Vin Weber. This AP article raises a number of questions about these men’s lobbying activities, saying “At the center of the widening probe are Tony Podesta, a longtime Democratic operative, and Vin Weber, a former GOP congressman and leader of his own high-powered lobbying firm, Mercury LLC. The two men were hired as part of a multimillion-dollar lobbying effort directed by Manafort and longtime associate Rick Gates.”

Later in the article, it continues, saying “Representatives for Weber’s firm and Podesta said they are cooperating with the special counsel’s investigation. Podesta, whose brother was the chairman of Hillary Clinton’s campaign, has resigned from his firm.” This can’t be good news for Weber or Tony Podesta, especially if the AP article is right in saying “With the emphasis on the Ukrainian lobbying efforts, Mueller’s criminal probe is moving beyond investigating ties between the Trump campaign and Russia and is aggressively pursuing people who worked as foreign agents without registering with the Justice Department. More witnesses are expected before the grand jury in coming weeks.”

This article indicates that K Street isn’t taking a business-as-usual attitude these days:

Washington lobbyists who represent foreign powers have taken comfort for decades in the fact that the Justice Department rarely goes after them for potentially breaking the law. That all changed on Monday. The news of Tony Podesta’s resignation from his namesake firm and indictment of Paul Manafort and Rick Gates sent K Street scrambling, as lobbyists rushed to make sure they’re in compliance with the rules. The developments also renewed calls for Congress to pass legislation beefing up the Justice Department’s enforcement of the law, which lawmakers in both parties have derided for lacking teeth.

If Director Mueller’s focus has shifted to “pursuing people who worked as foreign agents without registering with the Justice Department”, then Weber’s firm might be in trouble. I can’t picture Mueller opening an investigation into Weber’s firm if he hadn’t gotten a tip that something was, at minimum, suspicious. This video suggests that something else has caught Mueller’s attention:

According to Manafort’s indictment, he and Gates “engaged in weekly and at times daily calls and emails with (company 1 and company 2) to provide them directions as to specific lobbying steps that should be taken and to receive reports back as to the results of such lobbying.” The two firms were the Podesta Group and Mercury.

Being connected with guys who’ve been indicted doesn’t mean you’re automatically guilty. It doesn’t mean you’re squeaky clean, either.

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It isn’t surprising that Nancy Pelosi is calling for an independent investigation to prevent Russian meddling in US elections.

In her statement, Ms. Pelosi said “Even with an accelerating Special Counsel investigation inside the Justice Department, and investigations inside the Republican Congress, we still need an outside, fully independent investigation to expose Russia’s meddling in our election and the involvement of Trump officials,” Pelosi, D-Calif., said in a statement Monday. “Defending the integrity of our democracy demands that Congress look forward to counter Russian aggression and prevent future meddling with our elections.”

This seems like stupid messaging. This morning, it was announced that Paul Manafort and his associate Rick Gates had been indicted. According to the indictment, some of the alleged illegal activity happened before Barack announced his candidacy for president.

Ms. Pelosi decision to call for this independent investigation steps all over the message that Manafort has been indicted. When there’s bad news coming out about your political adversary, exit the stage and let them endure the spotlight. Ms. Pelosi apparently didn’t figure it out that she should leave the stage.

Erick Erickson’s op-ed on the Manafort indictment is worth reading. In his op-ed, Erickson wrote “The Mueller team looked into the campaign, went down various rabbit holes, and wound up in Manafort’s tax returns circa 2012, well before Trump considered running for office. Therefore, they can claim, there is nothing there with the campaign.”

Judge Napolitano’s explanation might help shed light on the importance of the Manafort indictment:

At this point, there’s nothing found thus far that hints the Trump campaign worked with Putin’s administration to win the election. The thought that Putin tried meddling with the election is something that the overwhelming majority of Americans have already accepted. In terms of momentum, this isn’t a game-changer.

This isn’t surprising from the standpoint of people didn’t see this indictment coming. It’s now official. Paul Manafort has been indicted by a grand jury. (To read the indictment, follow this link). Following this summer’s early morning raid of Manafort’s home, this was expected to be the first indictment. That early morning raid told everyone that Manafort was in Special Counsel Mueller’s crosshairs.

Several things are noteworthy. On the first page of the indictment, it says “Defendants Paul J. Manafort, Jr. and Richard W. Gates III served for years as political consultants and lobbyists. Between at least 2006 and 2015, Manafort and Gates acted as unregistered agents of the government of the Ukraine… Manafort and Gates generated millions of dollars of income as a result of their Ukraine work. In order to hide Ukraine payments from United States authorities, from approximately 2006 through at least 2016, Manafort and Gates laundered the money through scores of United States and foreign corporations, partnerships and bank accounts.”

This article says “Manafort laundered more than $18 million, which the indictment says he concealed from the federal government. From 2008 to 2014, Manafort wired $12 million to be sent to vendors for personal items, including $5.4 million on home improvements in the Hamptons, $934,350 to an antique rug store in Virginia, $520,440 to a clothing store in Beverley Hills and $655,500 for landscaping in New York, according to the indictment.”

The long and short of it is that this doesn’t connect Manafort’s dealings with the Ukraine to the Trump-Russia collusion story. Ed Morrissey highlights the fact that “Manafort only served as the Trump campaign chair for two months (and for three months prior ran his delegate liaison effort), and that his scope of knowledge on the 2016 election is likely to be less than comprehensive. Two days after a security briefing to Trump in August 2016, Manafort left the campaign, leaving Kellyanne Conway and Steve Bannon in charge. Manafort might have some knowledge, but if so, Mueller should have been able to get it from other people without having to cut a deal with Manafort.”

Then there’s this:

Based on this indictment, there’s no question that Manafort and Gates are accused of committing some serious crimes. That being said, I predict that the word leverage will quickly become the hyperventilating media’s favorite new word by week’s end.

Based on this indictment, Mueller is no closer to proving Trump-Russia collusion than he was the day he was named special counsel. That being said, the hyperventilating media will do their best to make it sound like Mueller is closing in on President Trump. The other thing that liberal blowhards have already started doing is speculating on whether President Trump will fire Mueller. (He won’t.)

Finally, it’s important to note that an indictment is just the prosecution’s side of the story. It doesn’t include the defense’s cross-examination of the prosecution’s witnesses or the presenting of their case.

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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If I were king for a day, one of the things high on my to-do list would be to officially end the fishing expeditions investigations into Russian collusion. I’d finish them because they’re a waste of time. I’d finish them because senators of both parties have admitted that, after a 9-month-long fishing expeditions investigation, they still haven’t found a single piece of evidence that shows President Trump colluded with Russian President Vladimir Putin.

Greg Jarrett’s article highlights the fact that “Senators Diane Feinstein (D-CA) and Joe Manchin (D-WV), have said they have seen no evidence of Trump- Russian collaboration. Both sit on the Senate Intelligence Committee.” Jarrett then adds that “even more compelling are the statements of senior Obama administration intelligence officials who were privy to all the information gathered by both the FBI and the alphabet soup of intel agencies which began investigating the matter more than a year ago. Take a gander at what they have said. James Clapper, the former Director of National Intelligence, has twice confirmed that he has seen no evidence of collusion. As the basis for his conclusion, he cited reports from the NSA, FBI and CIA. John Brennan, the former Director of the Central Intelligence Agency, has said the same thing –no sign of ‘collusion.’ And then there is James Comey. When asked if Clapper’s assessment was correct, the fired FBI Director testified that Clapper was ‘right,’ there is no known evidence of a conspiracy between the Trump campaign and the Russians.”

At this point, it’s pretty clear that Mueller won’t find anything. He won’t because there’s nothing to find on the Trump-Russian collusion topic. It’s time to wrap that up rather than continue to waste taxpayers’ money on a fishing expedition.

Let’s be honest, too. If nobody has proof that Trump and Putin colluded to steal the election from Hillary after 9 months of looking, it doesn’t exist. Let’s remember that the NSA, the FBI and the CIA haven’t found proof of Trump-Putin collusion. If that trio can’t find proof of it, then it doesn’t exist. There’s a better chance that I’ll see the Northern Lights on a foggy night than finding proof of collusion.

This was underscored by the Senate Intelligence Committee when it disclosed that it had conducted in excess of 100 interviews over 250 hours, held 11 open hearings, produced more than 4,000 pages of transcripts, and reviewed some 100,000 documents. Every intel official who drafted the report on Russian election meddling was interviewed, as were all relevant Obama administration officials.

That sounds pretty thorough. If these professional investigators didn’t find anything, it doesn’t exist.

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.

Steve Cortes’ article doesn’t pull punches. It should be seen for what it is: an in-your-face put-down of former FBI Director Comey and Washington, DC’s rigged system.

Cortes lays out the evidence immediately, saying “As evidence of the rigged system, voters sided with Trump during the campaign in often citing Clinton’s apparent immunity from consequences regarding her unsavory acts as secretary of state, especially her hidden emails on a private server, as well as corrupt Clinton Foundation dealings.”

Cortes cites Comey’s letter, written in late April or early May, that essentially said the FBI’s investigation was rigged. Cortes highlights the fact that Sen. Grassley and Sen. Graham sent this letter to FBI Director Robert Wray. One of the key parts of that letter is when Grassley and Graham write “According to the unredacted portions of the transcripts, it appears that in April or early May of 2016, Mr. Comey had already decided he would issue a statement exonerating Secretary Clinton. That was long before FBI agents finished their work. Mr. Comey even circulated an early draft statement to select members of senior FBI leadership. The outcome of an investigation should not be prejudged while FBI agents are still hard at work trying to gather the facts.”

In fact, after Comey wrote his “nothing to see here” draft absolving Clinton of wrongdoing, the FBI still interviewed a total of 17 key officials.

It’s impossible to find what you refuse to look for. Let’s be clear about something. What Comey did in predetermining the outcome of his investigation is every bit as corrupt as Loretta Lynch meeting with Bill Clinton on a Phoenix tarmac. Then there’s this:

How is it possible that Comey had ascertained, at such an early date, that the evidence would not incriminate Hillary Clinton?

There’s a simple answer to that question. Comey wasn’t interested in finding out the truth. Apparently, he had picked a destination long before his agents had done the heavy lifting.

Finally, what isn’t being discussed is the Democratic Party’s depravity in nominating a woman who was exceptionally corrupt. What type of political party nominates someone who should’ve gotten indicted and prosecuted?