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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.

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?

Antifa’s spinners have been trying to convince people that they aren’t a domestic terrorist organization, that they’re just misunderstood and that they come out to protect people from evil right-wingers and the police. This article demolishes that myth.

The article starts by saying “Well before the deadly Aug. 12 rally in Charlottesville and the ongoing violent clashes with white supremacists and other groups, federal authorities warned local officials the actions of left-wing extremists were becoming increasingly confrontational and dangerous.” Later in the article, it says “In previously unreported documents dating back to April 2016 and viewed by Fox News, the FBI and Department of Homeland Security wrote that ‘anarchist extremists’ and Antifa groups were the primary instigators of violence at public rallies. They blamed these groups for attacks on police, government and political institutions, racists, fascists and ‘symbols of capitalism.'”

Still later, it quotes “Brian Levin, a former New York City police officer who monitors domestic militants at the Center for Study of Hate and Extremism at California State University, San Bernardino” as saying “People in this movement allow for confronting, jostling, committing low-level types of offenses, but there has been for some time a core that have tipped the movement to confrontational violence,” he told Fox News on Friday. “The hardest edge in the Antifa spectrum comes under that category…not all Antifa are busting heads.”

That’s right. Not all Antifa thugs are into violence. Those that aren’t committing acts of violence are enabling acts of violence. This video shows what some Antifa are willing to do:

The main thing to take from the article is that the Obama administration knew about Antifa in April, 2016, then did nothing. (Perhaps, this is proof that strategic patience wasn’t just limited to causing crises around the world?)

This isn’t surprising in that President Obama didn’t hesitate in punishing his enemies. (See Lois Lerner, IRS vs. TEA Party groups.) This isn’t surprising. It’s just disgusting.

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Apparently, former FBI Director Jim Comey needs a refresher course in conducting investigations. It’s apparent because documentation has surfaced that proves Director Comey started drafting a letter recommending that Hillary Clinton not be prosecuted before the investigation had really gotten started.

According to the article, “In a news release Thursday, the senators [Chuck Grassley and Lindsey Graham] said Comey began drafting the exoneration statement in April or May 2016, which was before the FBI interviewed 17 key witnesses, including Clinton herself and other top aides.” Later, the article quoted from Grassley’s and Graham’s letter. Specifically, the letter said “Conclusion first, fact-gathering second—that’s no way to run an investigation. The FBI should be held to a higher standard than that, especially in a matter of such great public interest and controversy.”

If the Grassley-Graham letter is right, and I’m 99% certain it is, then Comey’s reputation should be in tatters. President Trump is right in saying “Wow, looks like James Comey exonerated Hillary Clinton long before the investigation was over…and so much more. A rigged system!”

Then there’s this:

Grassley and Graham said they learned about the draft after reviewing transcripts of interviews with top Comey aides.

“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,” the senators said. They added, “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.”

This interview is, at minimum, disheartening:

According to this article, Sen. Grassley and Sen. Graham wrote “a letter to FBI Director Christopher Wray seeking more information, including all drafts of Comey’s final statement on Clinton’s emails by September 13.” Later in the article, it states none “of the committee’s Democrats signed onto the request.”

That’s proof of 2 things — that the FBI didn’t conduct a serious investigation and that Democrats aren’t interested in the truth, especially when it comes to Hillary Clinton. Far from being the straight shooter that people said he was, it’s looking like Director Comey is just another DC insider whose first instinct is to protect the Swamp.

If this is proven true, then Mueller should shut down his investigation, too. I’m not the first person to write about the belief that Mueller hopes Comey will be his star witness against Trump. Once this information comes out, it won’t take much for a skilled defense attorney to impeach Comey’s testimony.

This article certainly will help raise Keith Ellison’s profile in DC. That’s the good news for Ellison. The bad news is that it’s shining a spotlight on the idiotic things that Ellison’s saying these days.

When Ellison sat down with the Fix, he said “I think you have to put it in context. You know, it happens within the context of a president that is knocking down every check and balance on the presidency. He’s attacking the press, which is one of the elements of our democracy that shines a light on government to hold him accountable. He’s pushing through members of the judiciary based on them promising to support certain things, and by escaping the normal rules Supreme Court justices have to follow.”

I didn’t hear Ellison criticize President Obama spied on the AP and FNC’s James Rosen. If Ellison is the civil rights warrior he claims to be, then a president investigating journalists should be something to speak out about. It isn’t surprising, though, that he didn’t speak out.

As for Ellison saying that President Trump is “pushing through members of the judiciary based on them promising to support certain things”, what proof does Rep. Ellison have of that? Is it possible that Rep. Ellison doesn’t have proof but is trying to gin up hatred against President Trump for purely partisan political reasons?

Here’s a perfect example of the media’s bias:

FIX: White supremacists used to hide behind hoods — now they’re showing their faces and giving interviews. Why do you think they feel so emboldened?

In baseball terms, that’s what’s known as a belt-high hanging slider. Here’s Rep. Ellison’s reply:

I think the white supremacists are feeling emboldened because they received the signal from the president of the United States that it’s all right for them to be active, to be aggressive, to be threatening. They feel greenlighted.

Rep. Ellison thinks that President Trump “greenlighted” racists. I don’t have to guess about this Ellison statement:

At the event, Ellison told the Pioneer Press he believed the prosecution of Olson was political. In his speech, Ellison noted he didn’t know much about the SLA and he thought Olson was being prosecuted in the court of public opinion because of some of her political beliefs.

“I’m a supporter of anybody who’s subject to political prosecution based on their being in a vilified group,” he told the Pioneer Press. “Your chances of getting a fair trial are low. I’ve been waiting for the evidence against her. I don’t think they would not cheat to prosecute this woman.”

I don’t have to guess what Rep. Ellison meant about this statement, either:

Ellison also spoke favorably of convicted cop killer Assata Shakur and expressed his opposition to any attempt to extradite her to the United States from Cuba, where she had fled after escaping prison.

“I am praying that Castro does not get to the point where he has to really barter with these guys over here because they’re going to get Assata Shakur, they’re going to get a whole lot of other people,” Ellison said at the event, which also included a silent auction and speech by former Weather Underground leader Bernardine Dohrn. “I hope the Cuban people can stick to it, because the freedom of some good decent people depends on it.”

It’s fair to say that, in those speeches, Rep. Ellison greenlighted the killing of police officers. Ellison’s statements weren’t veiled threats against police. Ellison’s statements were quite explicit. How dare he call our president a racist after exhorting crowds to kill police officers.

Here’s Assata Shakur, aka Joanne Chesimard, in her own words:

That’s who Rep. Ellison has fought for.

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Bre Payton’s Federalist article highlights that, when it came to covering the Hillary Clinton email scandal, there wasn’t just a flood of fake news. There was a flood of fake justice, too.

According to Ms. Payton’s reporting, “Former President Obama’s attorney general, Loretta Lynch, used a fake name to cover up an investigation into Hillary Clinton’s email server, indicates an admission from Lynch’s attorney.” Though this isn’t surprising practice, this isn’t the first time “the most transparent administration in history” was caught using fake email names and fake email addresses.

Ms. Payton reported “Using an email account under a fake name, Lynch (a.k.a. ‘Elizabeth Carlisle’) coordinated with DOJ officials to respond to queries about the secretive meeting with the former president. Lynch’s attorney, Robert Raben, confirmed her use of an alias on Monday and said she used an email account under a fake identity to prevent ‘inundation of mailboxes.'”

Ms. Payton continued, saying:

Using fake names was a common tactic among Obama administration officials to evade accountability. AG Eric Holder, Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius, and EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson all did so when serving in public offices during Obama’s tenure. Lois Lerner, an IRS official who has been suspected of using the tax-collecting agency to target conservative nonprofit organizations, is also thought to have used an email address registered to a pseudonym to conduct official business.

With law enforcement officials like these, it isn’t surprising to think that people would start believing there’s a two-tiered legal system in this nation:

It’s pretty apparent that Attorney General Lynch isn’t an ethical public servant. It’s pretty evident that Jim Comey isn’t the upstanding man that people claimed he was. With them at the top of the federal law enforcement list during the Obama administration, it’s pretty obvious that justice wasn’t a high priority for the Obama administration. Protecting President Obama’s political appointees and would-be political successors had a higher priority with Lynch and Comey.