Archive for the ‘Kim Strassel’ Category

Adam Schiff thought that he had another impeachment scandal within his grasp. Unfortunately for him, Nancy Pelosi won’t get rolled by AOC this time. Kim Strassel’s article highlights the silliness of the latest fiasco. Democrats of all persuasions criticized Bill Barr for politicizing the Roger Stone case. Virtually immediately, Pelosi and Schumer insisted that Barr resign and that an investigation be started. Richard Blumenthal demanded Barr’s resignation. From the campaign trail, Elizabeth Warren said that Barr should be impeached if Barr doesn’t resign.

Well.

Let’s get to the bottom of the situation. Thanks to Ms. Strassel, we know that she acted like the adult in charge rather than the infants whining for attention. (The infants are Schiff, Schumer, Pelosi, Warren and Blumenthal.) Rather than whining, Ms. Strassel called one of her contacts within the DOJ and asked some basic questions. Here’s what Ms. Strassel found out:

Justice sources tell me that interim U.S. Attorney Tim Shea had told the department’s leadership he and other career officials in the office felt the proposed sentence was excessive. As the deadline for the filing neared, the prosecutors on the case nonetheless threatened to withdraw from the case unless they got their demands for these stiffest of penalties. Mr. Shea—new to the job—suffered a moment of cowardice and submitted to this ultimatum. The filing took Justice Department leaders by surprise, and the decision to reverse was made well before Mr. Trump tweeted, and with no communication with the White House. The revised filing, meanwhile, had the signature of the acting supervisor of the office’s criminal division, who is a career civil servant, not a political appointee.

My first reaction is this: that’s it? My next reaction is similar. Democrats must really hate President Trump if they’re going to make this molehill into a mountain. Either that or they’re too stupid to run anything beyond a kid’s lemonade stand.

Ms. Strassel didn’t act like an infant. Instead, she asked some questions before insisting that Barr resign or be impeached. That’s what rational people do. They find out the facts first. Democrats (like Schiff, Pelosi and Schumer) insist that Barr resign. That’s immaturity personified.

Next, let’s factor in Andy McCarthy’s opinions on the Stone sentence:

The fact is, it was well within the legitimate power of the attorney general to countermand the Stone prosecutors’ submission to the court — i.e., to substitute a recommendation that the court impose a stiff but reasonable prison sentence on Stone, in place of the prosecutors’ suggestion of an excessive term.

More to the point, what we are witnessing in the media-Democrat commentariat is a manufactured controversy, reminiscent of their mau-mauing the president’s Ukraine indiscretion into an impeachable offense. Hence, the unhinged calls for Barr’s impeachment. The judge, not the Department of Justice (DOJ), will determine Stone’s sentence. The shrieking over DOJ’s Stone sentencing memos, topped by the theatrical resignation of the four prosecutors (who now want to be seen as stalwarts against politicized law enforcement after they conducted a patently politicized prosecution), is much ado about nothing.

This might’ve been a bigger deal if President Trump had interfered with an investigation, instead of with a sentencing. It isn’t like President Trump has the authority to overrule the jury without pardoning Stone. That’s something that’s done for all the world to see. The people would get to consider that when voting. That’s the ultimate check and balance.

It’s time for Adam Schiff to put his impeachment gavel down, take a deep breath, then go back to doing intelligence oversight like he’s supposed to do.

Salena Zito’s latest reporting from the “middle of somewhere” is the best understanding of what’s actually happening in battleground states. The subject of Ms. Zito’s article is West Virginia as it relates to other battleground states. If you aren’t getting Ms. Zito’s e-updates, it’s time you started. They’re as essential of reading as Kim Strassel’s articles. But I digress.

The key part of the article comes where Ms. Zito writes “No one would argue seriously that West Virginia, where Trump got more than two-thirds of the vote, would ever be in play for the Democrats in 2020. But the story of its sentiments and the evolution of these voters aren’t just limited to within the state’s boundaries. In many ways, especially in their connection to place and their distrust of large government, political, and entertainment institutions, these voters are very similar to voters in rural, suburban, and exurban voters in the swing states of Michigan, Pennsylvania, Ohio, and Wisconsin.”

Then it goes into extended detail:

Tom Maraffa, geography professor emeritus at Youngstown State University, explained that the similarities of the voters in slow-growth metropolitan regions are striking and important to consider when trying to understand trends. He said West Virginians “share that sense of rootedness” with voters “in places like suburban Youngstown, Akron, or Ashtabula, Ohio, or suburban Erie, Pennsylvania, or Macomb County, Michigan, or Kenosha, Wisconsin.”

If Democrats don’t win back these blue collar cities and counties in Michigan, Ohio, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin, they’ll lose this election. Period. In 2016, President Trump turned Michigan, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin from Hillary’s “blue firewall” into red states. Based on what’s happening in West Virginia, that trend is strengthening.

The premise I’m operating from is that this isn’t as much about Democrats vs. Republicans as it is about ultra-liberal nutjobs vs. sane people. Imagine the reaction of people in the audience when Vice President Biden said that coal miners should learn how to program computers:

That video says it all. Those coal miners wouldn’t walk across the street on a sunny day to vote for Biden but they’d sprint across a busy highway in a snowstorm to vote for President Trump. If Vice President Biden thinks that his reputation as a blue collar guy is enough to defeat President Trump, he’s kidding himself. A man whose job is on the verge of disappearing and whose community is falling apart doesn’t care about a politician’s reputation. That miner wants to know, first and foremost, whether that politician will be with them in their foxhole. Those miners and manufacturers know that President Trump will be with them in their foxhole.

That’s the biggest reason why President Trump will win re-election. President Trump told the people of western Pennsylvania, West Virginia, Ohio and Michigan that he’d be their president and that they wouldn’t be forgotten again. That’s powerful stuff to a man who’s worrying about his community, his church and his industry.

It’s understatement to say that Devin Nunes has taken more ill-deserved grief than any other congressman in recent history. In her latest article, Kim Strassel highlights then-Chairman Nunes’ efforts to root out FISC corruption and Judge Rosemary Collyer’s inaction.

It all started with a letter from then-Chairman Nunes to Judge Collyer. In that letter, Nunes wrote “‘the Committee found that the FBI and DOJ failed to disclose the specific political actors paying for uncorroborated information’ that went to the court, “misled the FISC regarding dissemination of this information,” and ‘failed to correct these errors in the subsequent renewals.'” That letter was dated Feb. 7, 2018.

According to the article, “Mr. Nunes asked the court whether any transcripts of FISC hearings about this application existed, and if so, to provide them to the committee.” What he got for his troubles is “a dismissive letter [from Judge Collyer] that addressed only the last request. The judge observed that any such transcripts would be classified, that the court doesn’t maintain a ‘systematic record’ of proceedings and that, given ‘separation of power considerations,’ Mr. Nunes would be better off asking the Justice Department. The letter makes no reference to the Intelligence Committee findings.”

Being the persistent fact-finder that he is, Nunes “tried again in a June 13, 2018, follow-up letter.” In that letter, Nunes wrote that Congress “uncovered evidence that DOJ and FBI provided incomplete and potentially incorrect information to the Court” and that “significant relevant information was not disclosed to the Court.”

It’s worth remembering that then-Ranking Member Schiff published a competing ‘everything-is-fine’ memo. That memo has now been discredited. Here are some of the main claims from the Schiff Memo:

FBI and DOJ officials did not “abuse” the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) process, omit material information or subvert this vital tool to spy on the Trump campaign.

In fact, the DOJ and FBI would have been remiss in their duty to protect the country had they not sought a FISA warrant and repeated renewals to conduct temporary surveillance of Carter Page, someone the FBI assessed to be an agent of the Russian government. DOJ met the rigor, transparency and evidentiary basis needed to meet FISA’s probable cause requirements.

Thanks to the DOJ IG report, we now know that FBI lawyer Kevin Clinesmith altered the initial email from the CIA that said Carter Page was one of their sources to say that Page wasn’t a CIA source. IG Horowitz made a criminal referral on Clinesmith. Back to Ms. Strassel’s article:

Mr. Nunes asked Judge Collyer to “initiate a thorough investigation.” To assist her, the same month he separately sent FISC “a classified summary of Congress’s findings and facts” to that point. The letter was signed by all 13 Republican members of the Intelligence Committee.

Judge Collyer blew him off. Her letter on June 15, 2018, is four lines long. She informs Mr. Nunes she’s received his letter. She says she’s also received his classified information. She says she’s instructing staff to provide his info to “the judges who ruled on the referenced matters.” She thanks him for his “interest” in the court.

With Judge Collyer throwing the FBI under the bus and with the FBI feeling like it’s getting the short end of the stick from rubberstamp FISC judges, the odds of a major fight between the FISC and the FBI seems likely.

Frankly, the FISC judges seem disinterested. In fact, they don’t seem terribly interested in the details of their cases. That type of attitude is frightening to anyone who appreciates civil liberties. These FISC judges seem indifferent at best.

Finally, it’s apparent that the reputation that the Agenda Media attempted to give Devin Nunes is undeserved. Nunes, unlike Jim Comey and Adam Schiff, was vindicated.

While Jim Comey takes a victory lap of sorts, the truth isn’t on Mr. Comey’s side. In his op-ed, Comey said “For two years, the president of the United States and his followers have loudly declared that the FBI acted unlawfully in conducting a counterintelligence investigation of Russia’s interference in the 2016 presidential campaign. They repeatedly told the American people that the FBI had done all sorts of bad things, such as tapping Donald Trump’s wires during the campaign, opening an investigation without adequate cause, with the intent to damage Trump, and inserting secret informants into the Trump campaign.”

Kim Strassel, though, sticks with the facts in a series of tweets that are best titled “Horowitz findings of facts.” In the first tweet, she wrote “Yup, IG said FBI hit threshold for opening an investigation. But also goes out of its way to note what a “low threshold” this is. Durham’s statement made clear he will provide more info for Americans to make a judgment on reasonableness.”


Ms. Strassel’s third tweet is especially sweet:

4)In fact, IG report says dossier played “central and essential role” in getting FISA warrants. Schiff had access to same documents as Nunes, yet chose to misinform the public. This is the guy who just ran impeachment proceedings.

In other words, Schiff lied while Devin Nunes got it right. That’s the inescapable truth.

Yes, Mr. Holier-Than-Thou (Mr. Comey, not Schiff), President Trump’s well-informed followers have said “that the FBI acted unlawfully in conducting a counterintelligence investigation of Russia’s interference in the 2016 presidential campaign.” Let’s talk about that a little. The Horowitz Report emphatically stated that “6)IG finds 17 separate problems with FISA court submissions, including FBI’s overstatement of Steele’s credentials. Also the failure to provide court with exculpatory evidence and issues with Steele’s sources and additional info it got about Steele’s credibility.”

Mr. Comey, if you think that vindicates the FBI, then you’re as delusional as Adam Schiff. In fact, it’s difficult determining who looks worse after reading the report’s findings. Let’s just call it a tie — for last place in the gutter.

10)Overall, IG was so concerned by these “extensive compliance failures” that is has now initiated additional “oversight” to assess how FBI in general complies with “policies that seek to protect the civil liberties of U.S. persons.”

Does Mr. Comey think that the inspector general adding additional oversight “to assess how FBI in general complies with ‘policies that seek to protect the civil liberties of U.S. persons'” is vindication for the FBI?

When the dust finally settles, the FISA warrant application process will be significantly changed to protect against the FBI’s abuses of the system. Those abuses started happening on Mr. Comey’s watch. Whether Mr. Comey or others in the upper echelons of the FBI committed crimes hasn’t been determined. That’s for Mr. Durham to determine. What’s been determined, though, is that Mr. Comey’s FBI made a series of mistakes (is it a mistake if it’s intentional?) that kept the surveillance on Carter Page intact.

What’s been determined is that the Horowitz Report vindicates Devin Nunes, the man that Democrats and Mr. Comey criticized from pillar to post. Unlike Mr. Schiff, Mr. Nunes didn’t just see what he wanted to see. Mr. Nunes saw what was actually there.