Sunday, December 31, 2017
As I leave D.C. for a weekend in frosty New York City, thousands of people are taking to the streets of Iran to protest the corruption and mismanagement of the ruling mullahs.
The White House is not following the last president's "bearing witness" to the pleas of the oppressed. It has, instead, issued through the Department of State a release strongly supporting the protesters and asking "all nations to publicly support the Iranian people and their demands for basic rights and an end to corruption."
I have to believe that the protesters are heartened by President Trump's new view of the Middle East and our role in it and the change of rulers and outlook in Saudi Arabia. While the prior U.S. administration sent pallets of cash to their oppressors, this president has stood firm. And where once they might have feared Saudi intentions on their homeland, I think they see a new Saudi Arabia – desirous of bringing the region into the modern world, stamping out corruption and terrorism, and encouraging capital formation and investment as the collapse in oil revenue ends the days of easy living. Lavish living based on little more than exploitation of oil, which the rise in U.S. production based on new energy policies makes the old Saudi way certain of diminishing returns.
Here, the special counsel and speculation about his operations continue. For an up-to-date review of the publicly available information about Robert Mueller's work, see Conservative Treehouse's long, detailed account this week.
As the role of the wives and mistresses of the key players becomes more obvious in the production, dissemination, and use (certainly to get a FISA warrant to spy on Trump and his associates) reveals, a subheading could well be "The Merry Wives of Dossier." As a reminder, the FBI has stated it was unable to find – despite over a year of searching – any evidence to support the dossier, an unverified political opposition research paper, contrived by Christopher Steele and paid for by Hillary Clinton, the DNC, and probably the lawyers hired by Obama and even the FBI itself.
In the meantime, no reporter seems to have bothered to check whether the wife of Andrew McCabe, deputy director of the FBI, who received a $700,000 campaign contribution for a state senatorial election (which she lost) from Clinton ally Terry McAuliffe, used all that money in her campaign. As I understand it, campaign contributions not used by a candidate in Virginia may be kept by the candidate. McCabe reportedly will retire in mid-March, when his pension kicks in.
The FBI general counsel has been reassigned, along with FBI agent Peter Strzok, an anti-Trump operative in the agency who actively sought to acquire and pay for the dossier. In mid-January, the Department of Justice's inspector general is expected to issue the first tranche of his two-part report on his investigation.
Here is the key charge to his office overlapping the work of the special counsel:
Review of Allegations Regarding Various Actions by the Department of Justice and the FBI in Advance of the 2016 Election
The OIG, in response to Congressional and other requests, is reviewing allegations regarding various actions by the Department and the FBI in advance of the 2016 election. The review will examine whether the Department and the FBI followed policies or procedures in connection with, or in actions leading up to or related to, the FBI Director's public announcement on July 5, 2016, and the Director's letters to Congress on October 28 and November 6, 2016, and whether certain underlying investigative decisions were based on improper considerations. The review also will examine allegations that the FBI Deputy Director should have been recused from participating in certain investigative matters, that the Department's Assistant Attorney General for Legislative Affairs improperly disclosed non-public information and/or should have been recused from participating in certain matters, that other Department and FBI employees improperly disclosed non-public information, and that decisions regarding the timing of the FBI's release of certain Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) documents on October 30 and November 1, 2016, and the use of a Twitter account to publicize this release, were influenced by improper considerations. The review will not substitute the OIG's judgment for the judgments made by the FBI or the Department regarding the substantive merits of investigative or prosecutive decisions. If circumstances warrant, the OIG will consider including other issues that may arise during the course of the review.
My online friend "Rattler Gator" expects that the key figures described in the summary at Conservative Treehouse will all be tagged with wrongdoing and explains why:
[I]t doesn't really matter if Mueller is directly working for Trump. Either way, he's essentially working for Trump. So are Peter Strzok & Lisa Page (because of powers and capabilities available to [NSA head] Admiral Rogers; this means… they don't need to remember – it has been digitized for them).
A reminder: Peter Strzok led the charge to acquire and pay for the Steele dossier. James Baker, Sally Yates, Bill Preistap & Strzok used the dossier in their illegal spying on Trump, their coup attempt, and their targeting of General Flynn. Remember, also, the OIG investigation – encompassing a VERY BROAD review of allegations – dates back to January 12, 2017 and includes the following:
 Review of allegations that Department or FBI policies or procedures were not followed in connection with, or in actions leading up to or related to, the FBI Director's public announcement on July 5, 2016 – implicating Comey, Lynch, Bill Clinton, McCabe, among others, involved in the fraudulent clearance of Hillary Clinton by Comey's FBI in July, as well as the crazy shut down / cover up of the Huma Abedin email investigation
 Review of Comey's letters to Congress on October 28 and November 6, 2016, and that certain underlying investigative decisions were based on improper considerations
– implicating Comey, Lynch, Bill Clinton, McCabe, among others, involved in the fraudulent clearance of Hillary Clinton by Comey's FBI in July, as well as the crazy shut down / cover up of the Human Abedin email investigation
 Review of allegations that Comey should have been recused from participating in certain investigative matters
– implicating Comey and Andrew McCabe
 Review of allegations that the Department's Assistant Attorney General for Legislative Affairs improperly disclosed non-public information to the Clinton campaign and/or should have been recused from participating in certain matters
– implicating Assistant Attorney General for Legislative Affairs Peter Kadzik's role investigating & working with Comey / McCabe to shut down the Huma Abedin investigation along with Kadzik's collusion with the Clinton Foundation and John Podesta, etc.
 Review of allegations that Department and FBI employees improperly disclosed non-public information
– implicating the plethora of organized leakers along with the strategy employed by the Trump Administration (the leaks are real, the news is fake) to deal with these criminal violations ... and who solicited said leaks.
 Review of allegations that decisions regarding the timing of the FBI's release of certain FOIA documents on October 30 and November 1, 2016, and the use of a Twitter account to publicize same, were influenced by improper considerations
– this appears to implicate both Bill and Hillary Clinton but info was also released on Donald Trump's father; however, the bulk of these records come from a 2001 FBI investigation into the pardon of Marc Rich (1934-2013), aka Marcell David Reich, by President Clinton in 2001; this specifically implicates Bill Clinton, Eric Holder, and Clinton's then Chief of Staff John Podesta[.] ...
Here's the last sentence from that January announcement: Finally, if circumstances warrant, the OIG will consider including other issues that may arise during the course of the review. ...
So… EVERYTHING is in play, including the revolving door between Google, the law firm of Perkins Coie, CrowdStrike, Fusion GPS, the Clintons, Soros and many other players.
Rattler Gator reminds us: "Admiral Rogers has access to most everything incriminating; he has shared that with the OIG, who will now share with Congress; Sessions and the Department of Justice will prosecute from there. General Flynn placed an Army of spooks into the system during his very-planned-to-be-brief tenure as National Security Adviser. They have identified, documented and flushed most of the leakers; others have been left in place to aid continuing investigations. Flynn was the honeypot drawing out the bad actors while the Trump Administration, via Admiral Rogers, was able to identify, track and investigate them."
I would like to believe this is true, and even if only a great deal of it is, I'd be satisfied that our move toward a banana republic has been scotched, but I'm not sure I'm that optimistic. In any event, the inspector general can only lay out his findings, and then Congress and the attorney general will have to carry through to prosecute wrongdoing.
Many have been suspicious of Mueller. His staffing and his public silence – along with the recent memory of the Ted Stevens and Lewis Libby political warfare – fuel these suspicions. On the other hand, F.H. Buckley, whose judgment I value, offers up a more sympathetic view of Mueller and thinks he will wind down this operation well before November.
All of this is under investigation by Congress and the Justice Department's inspector general, and a year later, we seem to be left with two possibilities: Either the Trump campaign colluded with the Russians, or the Democrats had connived (and perhaps colluded) with the Russians and used all the tools at the Obama administration's command to spy on a Republican challenger in the midst of a presidential campaign – and thus far, we've seen no evidence of Republican collusion.
Mueller now starts to look less like a flint-eyed Inspector Javert and more like a bumbling Inspector Clouseau, shining his flashlight into empty caverns when the real skullduggery lies in the sunlight behind him.
He's no fool, however. He has to know this. And he'll also know that the 2018 midterms look like a match-up between jobs and 3 percent GDP growth for the Republicans versus impeachment for the Democrats. And what's the evidence to justify an impeachment? Just the ongoing Mueller investigation.
The special prosecutor is supposed to keep politics out of his mission, but it's too late to do so when the investigation will be the chief campaign issue for one of the parties.
Were Mueller a liberal partisan, that's just what he'd want. Except I don't think he's a partisan. I think he's honorable. That's why the White House is confident that he'll wrap up the investigation shortly, well before next November.
Well, we'll see soon enough which view proves correct. In the meantime, asScott Adams notes, the president has demolished the GOP and reconstituted it; the DNC lacks a leader and funds; the Clinton and Bush dynasties are over; the public has learned to distrust the media; the NFL ratings are down; the FBI leadership has lost all credibility, as have the pundits, nearly all of whom "were wrong about Trump's nomination, election, and successful (by Republican standards) first year"; federal government regulations are far fewer; Hollywood has alienated almost half its audience; North Korea's economy has gone from pathetic to even worse; ISIS has been largely defeated; and we bade adieu to the Paris Accord and the TPP.
As for the economy, the stock market is up, employment is up, and the upper Midwest economy is growing its fastest in three years.
I don't think any president in my memory has had such a consequential first year, and certainly none had the pathetic dossier and corrupt FBI and DOJ officials to contend with at the same time.
Of course, not everyone's happy. Newsweek's Kurt Eichenwald announced he is selling all of his stocks in his children's education accounts in anticipation of the stock market tanking.
In preparation for a completely unpredictable Trump presidency, I sold all stocks in my kids' education accounts today. I urge u to do same.
1:46 PM - Sep 26, 2016
He missed out on the Dow's longest winning streak in 60 years and the S&P's in more than 34 years.
Happy new year to you and your families.
Saturday, December 30, 2017
Photo by: Ebrahim Noroozi
Iranian protesters chant slogans at a rally in Tehran, Iran, Saturday, Dec. 30, 2017. Iranian hard-liners rallied Saturday to support the country's supreme leader and clerically overseen government as spontaneous protests sparked by anger over the country's ailing economy roiled major cities in the Islamic Republic.
Amir Vahdat and Jon Gambrell
The problem is, no court has ever adopted such a broad definition and, if it did, it would raise serious constitutional problems in criminalizing interactions with foreign academics, public interest groups, nongovernment organizations and journalists supplying information to a campaign.
Friday, December 29, 2017
Huma Abedin and Anthony WeinerAP
The State Department Friday released a trove of emails from Huma Abedin that the feds discovered on her husband Anthony Weiner’s laptop — including at least five that were marked as “classified.”
Most of the emails were heavily redacted because they contained classified material — but one that was sent on Nov. 25 2010 was addressed to “Anthony Campaign,” an apparent address belonging to Weiner.
The message contained a list of talking points for then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, who was prepping to make a call to Prince Saud of Saudi Arabia to warn him about sensitive documents that had been given to WikiLeaks by then-Army intelligence officer Bradley Manning.
“I deeply regret the likely upcoming WikiLeaks disclosure,” read one of the talking points.
“This appears to be the result of an illegal act in which a fully cleared intelligence officer stole information and gave it to a website. The person responsible will be prosecuted to the full extent of the law” the message continued.
“This is the kind of information we fear may be released: details of private conversations with your government on Iraq, Iran and Afghanistan.”
State was expected to dump roughly 2,800 emails as a result of a court case won by the conservative watchdog group Judicial Watch.
This is a major victory,” Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton, said in a statement.
“After years of hard work in federal court, Judicial Watch has forced the State Department to finally allow Americans to see these public documents.”
He said the discovery of the emails underscores the need for the Justice Department to investigate Clinton and Abedin’s use of a private email server to conduct classified government business.
“That these government docs were on Anthony Weiner’s laptop dramatically illustrates the need for the Justice Department to finally do a serious investigation of Hillary Clinton’s and Huma Abedin’s obvious violations of law.”
Abedin was an aide and confidant of Hillary Clinton who has been described as a second daughter to the former first lady.
Weiner, a former Democratic congressman and Big Apple mayoral candidate, began a 21-month prison sentence last month after being convicted of sexting a 15-year-old girl.