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theodore M I R A L D I mpa ... editor, publisher, writer
Former FBI director James Comey is sworn in during a Senate Intelligence Committee hearing on Capitol Hill, Thursday, June 8, 2017, in Washington. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon) **FILE**
Fired FBI Director James Comey told agents he appeared to have lost track of two memos he kept detailing conversations with President Trump, according to new documents revealed Wednesday by Judicial Watch.
The FBI sent agents to visit Mr. Comey at home in 2017, after his firing, to speak with him about the memos, which the former director had leaked in order to embarrass Mr. Trump.
Agents collected four memos from Mr. Comey ranging in dates from February to June. But Mr. Comeytold the agents two memos he believed he wrote “were missing.”
Agents recounted: “In the first occurrence, Comey said at an unknown date and time, between January 7, 2017, which Comey believed was the date of his briefing at Trump Tower, and Trump’s inauguration on January 20th, 2017, Comey received a phone call from President Elect Donald J. Trump. The originating telephone number may have had a New York area code. Following the telephone conversation, Comeydrafted and e-mailed a memo to James Rybicki and FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe.”
“In the second instance, Comey was on his way to a FBI leadership conference in Leesburg, Virginia (March 9, 2017) when he was diverted to Liberty Crossing to respond to a request from Trump to contact him. Comey contacted Trump from Liberty Crossing on a Top Secret telephone line. The conversation was “all business” and related to [redacted]. Comey is less sure he drafted a memo for his conversation but if he did, he may have sent it on the FBI’s Top Secret network.”
The agents’ account was contained in an FBI log detailing evidence collection.
Judicial Watch obtained the log after filing a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit demanding the Justice Department’s records pertaining to Mr. Comey’s memos and his sharing them with the special counsel’s office. Special counsel Robert Mueller has said Mr. Trump’s behavior surrounding Mr. Comey’s firing raised questions of attempted obstruction of justice.
The memos themselves, though, have also drawn scrutiny, with suggestions that Mr. Comey acted improperly and mishandled classified information.
President Tom Fitton said the newly revealed log entry shows Mr. Comey never should have had the memos at his home, and the FBI itself bungled by failing to secure the files.
“Mr. Comey’s illegal leaking these FBI files as part of his vendetta against President Trump (directly resulting in the corrupt appointment of Robert Mueller) ought to be the subject of a criminal investigation,” Mr. Fitton said in a statement.
TOP: The Rev. Al Sharpton speaks at a news conference in 1989 with Tawana Brawley, who claimed to have been raped and tortured by six men — allegations that were eventually proven false. BOTTOM, FROM LEFT: Sharpton in 1983, 1995, 2006 and 2012. Tucker Carlson
What does the Democratic Party stand for? That used to be an easy question to answer. For a hundred years, the answer was higher wages and better benefits. That was back when the Democratic Party was run by people who worked for a living. They cared about how much voters got paid at the end of the week.
But that's not a subject that interests the decadent rich very much. The private equity billionaires who fund today's Democratic Party couldn't care less about other people's wages. What they care about most, other than making themselves even richer, is feeling virtuous, feeling like a deeply good people -- much better than you are. And that's why they're so committed to something called diversity, a concept that nobody is willing to explain, but that nonetheless, we must celebrate enthusiastically and perpetually. Listen to how Nancy Pelosi has explained it over the years:
Our diversity is our strength.
Diversity is our strength.
Our diversity is our strength.
I always say that diversity is our strength.
And I say to the caucus, our diversity is our strength.
And the fact is, is that our diversity is our strength.
Okay, got it? "Diversity is our strength." They made that part crystal clear. What is still unclear is what, exactly, "diversity" is. What is it?
What did Jaslow do wrong? Well, nothing actually. She didn't hurt anyone. She didn't say anything awful. She didn't mismanage the office. Nobody claimed she did. Jaslow's only sin was having the wrong skin color.
On Sunday, two congressional Democrats, Vicente Gonzalez and Filemon Vela, demanded that Jaslow be fired from her job and replaced by a person of a different hue. Not a more competent person, they didn't mention that. That was irrelevant. Just a different colored person. That's all that mattered to them. So, they forced a person out of her job for having the wrong genes.
Apparently, none of this set off any alarm bells over at the Democratic Party HQ. Apparently, nobody could think of any other time in history where something like this had happened. It didn't seem ominous to them or creepy or racist; t just seemed like diversity, which we must celebrate because it's our strength. That actually happened.
The modern Democratic Party is so distorted by race guilt that Al Sharpton seems like a moral leader. This is nuts. It's also a recipe for an electoral wipeout.
The Democratic Party has gone insane. Now, you may think you already knew that. But even if you think you knew it, it's hard to appreciate just how real it is, just how crazy the party has become. The party of ordinary Americans has become a poisonous identity cult obsessed with questions of racial purity. It's terrifying, but it's entirely real.
How real is it? Well, Al Sharpton is now a hero on the left. That kind of sums it up. For 40 years, Sharpton chased one hustle after another -- race pimp, FBI informant, corporate shakedown artist, tax cheat. If you told Al Sharpton in 1995 that someday he'd be the moral conscience of the Democratic Party, he would have laughed in your face. And yet here we are. And here he is sermonizing on MSNBC.
Al Sharpton: This is race-baiting at its best. This is Donald Trump playing the race card, and it is a shame and it is a sham.
He is playing a race-baiting card.
But he's playing a race divisive card.
He should not continue to try and sell this racist behavior to try and make the country more divided for his own political gain.
There you have it. Al Sharpton, the man who wants to attack Jews and "crackers" as "parasites," bemoaning our divided nation. Hilarious.
But leading Democrats don't appear to get the joke. On Tuesday, poor old Joe Biden tweeted this: "The Reverend Al is a champion in the fight for civil rights."
Sure, if the fight for civil rights is a euphemism for buying more $10,000.00 suits, in which case, Al Sharpton is a legitimate hero in that fight.
The Democratic candidates seem to think he really is. One-by-one, they kissed his ring at an event this past spring. The modern Democratic Party is so distorted by race guilt that Al Sharpton seems like a moral leader. This is nuts. It's also a recipe for an electoral wipeout.
There's a lot about the Democratic Party's economic platform that ordinary voters might like. But this kind of garbage, it's a deal killer, and not just for conservative white voters. No normal person of any color will vote for stuff like this.
Whatever his many faults, former Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel does understand that. This week, Emanuel published a memo aimed at the party's presidential candidates. He begged them to return to reality immediately.
Here's part of it: "Before our party promises health care coverage to undocumented immigrants -- a position not even Ted Kennedy took -- let's help the more than 30 million Americans who are a single illness away from financial ruin. Before we start worrying about whether the Boston Marathon bomber can vote, let's stop states that are actively trying to curtail voting rights of citizens. And before we promise a guaranteed minimum income to healthy adults who prefer to stay home and play video games, let's increase the minimum wage and the earned income tax credit to the benefit of the millions of people who still work hard and live near poverty."
There were times in the memo that Emanuel sounded like Donald Trump in 2016. For example: "American taxpayers have spent the last 20 years both in blood and treasure building roads, schools and hospitals in Iraq and Afghanistan, all the while American wages continued to stagnate. People are tired of being treated as chumps. It's time to invest in America again."
It goes on like this. Emanuel's memo is full of good advice, and not just good advice for Democrats. The man wasn't right about everything, obviously. But at least he focuses on the right things.
Most Americans actually aren't obsessed with race. They don't want to memorize 60 new genders; there aren't 60 new genders. There are two genders, and everyone knows it.
They don't think it's their duty to give American citizenship to everyone on the planet, along with health care. Instead, they have a more basic hope, and it's the hope of people everywhere. They want to feel that the country they were born in is their home. They want leaders who put their interests first, leaders who actually care about their well-being.
And yet weirdly, for decades, Washington has refused to supply leaders like that. That's why Donald Trump won in 2016. It's why he could very easily win again in 2020. Because in the end, Americans will always pick a flawed leader over a leader who openly hates them -- every single time.
Adapted from Tucker Carlson's monologue on "Tucker Carlson Tonight" on July 30, 2019.
Border wall opponents asked a federal appeals court Tuesday to speed up the case involving their challenge to President Trump’s plans, saying the longer the judges wait, the more wall he’ll be able to build.
The American Civil Liberties Union led the request, which was joined by the Sierra Club and the states of California and New Mexico, who all sued to halt the president’s emergency border wall declaration issued earlier this year.
The ACLU asked for the usual time for filing briefs to be cut by a month, and for the court to hear oral argument on the case in October.
The Trump administration said it didn’t oppose the speedy schedule, increasing the chances that the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals will comply.
Under the president’s emergency declaration he claimed powers to move money within the Pentagon’s budget, taking it from base construction and other funds and using it for border wall building.
Opponents said he was stepping on Congress’s powers of the purse.
Administration lawyers countered that Congress had passed laws giving the president some flexibility to move money around and since it didn’t specifically forbid him shifting this money, he is free to do it.
A district court sided with the Trump opponents and ordered a halt to construction on some $2.5 billion in money Mr. Trump funneled into wall building.
The 9th Circuit is hearing that appeal, but had ordered that no building be done while the case was pending.
The Supreme Court, in a 5-4 ruling last week, overturned that blockade and said the spending could proceed as the case is pending.
It was that ruling that spurred the ACLU to ask to speedup the case, arguing that the longer Mr. Trump has, the more wall he can build.
Newly Released Transcript of Comey Official's Private Testimony
James Rybicki, who served as chief of staff to former FBI Director James Comey, suggested in sworn testimony that the Trump-Russia collusion investigation was orchestrated by Obama’s White House in October 2016, according to newly released bureau documents.
A heavily redacted transcript of Rybicki’s interview with the U.S. Office of Special Counsel includes an unidentified prosecutor’s summary of the former FBI official’s testimony.
“So we understand,” the prosecutor says, “that at some point in October of 2016, there was, I guess, a desire by the White House to make some kind of statement about Russia’s. … ”
The next page is omitted.
The United States Office of Special Counsel, not to be confused with Robert Mueller’s special counsel, is a permanent independent federal investigative and prosecutorial agency designed to protect federal employees from reprisal for “whistleblowing.”
Lawyer Ty Clevenger obtained the documents as part of a lawsuit on behalf of businessman Ed Butowsky, who claims columnist Ellen Ratner told him murdered Democratic National Committee worker Seth Rich and his brother provided WikiLeaks the DNC emails before the 2016 election, not Russia.
Clevenger explained that the OSC prosecutors were noting that the FBI publicized its reactivation of the Clinton email investigation shortly before the 2016 election. So, why, the prosecutors wondered, did the FBI not counterbalance that disclosure by publicizing the “Russian collusion” investigation into Donald Trump?
It was in that context that one of the prosecutors commented that the White House wanted some kind of statement made about Russia.
Clevenger said that almost certainly refers to the Oct. 7, 2016, joint statement of the Department of Homeland Security and the Directorate of National Intelligence. The agencies said the “U.S. Intelligence Community (USIC) is confident that the Russian Government directed the recent compromises of e-mails from US persons and institutions, including from US political organizations.”
“In other words,” Clevenger said, “it looks like the Obama White House put its thumb on the scale, pressuring intelligence agencies to adopt the Democratic National Committee’s talking points, i.e., to blame the stolen emails on Russian hackers rather than an internal source (like Seth Rich).”
The lawyer noted that no federal agency has examined the DNC servers, relying only on a redacted report from a private security company, CrowdStrike, that has strong Democratic affiliations.
Crowdstrike was hired by Perkins Coie, the law firm retained by the Hillary Clinton Campaign and the DNC that hired Christopher Steele and Fusion GPS to produce the infamous anti-Trump “dossier.” The dossier of unverified claims by unidentified senior Russian officials was used by the Obama Justice Department and DOJ to obtain warrants to spy on the Trump campaign.
Clevenger said CrowdStrike and the DNC are fighting subpoenas he issued on behalf of Butowsky for information about the servers and the purported Russian hacking.
Why the faddish must not be held higher than the factual Illustration on the questions of life by Alexander Hunter Everett Piper
“Once you knew what inquiry was for. There was a time when you asked questions because you wanted answers, and were glad when you had found them …” — C.S. Lewis
More than 60 years ago, in “The Abolition of Man,” C.S. Lewis challenged his readers to wrestle with the key questions of his time with God’s natural law as the foundational premise; as the “measuring rod outside of those things being measured.”
He argued that in failing to do so, Western civilization would become a society of men without chests; a culture of heartless people divorced from any common agreement of what is right and wrong; a nation of disconnected individuals who care little for what is accurate or true.
The prophetic voice of the author of “The Chronicles of Narnia” and “Mere Christianity” warned of a time to come when questions would become meaningless because there would be little interest in any answers.
Few would dispute that ours is a time of big questions:
Life — When does it begin and when does it end, and who has the right to define it and take it?
Climate — Is anthropomorphic warming a scientific fact, a principled hypothesis, or political propaganda?
Sexuality — What is healthy and best for body, soul, family and society?
Tolerance — If all worldviews are equal why do those who champion tolerance most seem to be the most intolerant of those they find intolerable?
Justice — If morality is nothing but a cultural construct, then the concept of justice is rather arbitrary and meaningless, isn’t it? In fact, if justice is really nothing more than the subjective imposition of bourgeois rules upon the masses, who is to decide what is just and unjust? The masses? Or the bourgeois?
There are so many important questions. But the biggest one is this — Do we really want answers or are we more interested in simply silencing our opponents and protecting political agendas?
In “The Great Divorce,” Lewis challenged the subjective confidence of his peers. “Our opinions were not honestly come by” he said. “We simply found ourselves in contact with a certain current of ideas and plunged into it because it seemed modern and successful … You know, we just started automatically writing the kind of essays that got good marks and saying the kind of things that won applause.”
He goes on: “You and I were playing with loaded dice. We didn’t want ‘the other’ to be true. We were afraid … of a breach with the spirit of the age, afraid of ridicule …
“Having allowed [ourselves] to drift, unresisting … accepting every half-conscious solicitation from our desires, we reached a point where we no longer believed the [truth]. Just in the same way, a jealous man, drifting and unresisting, reaches a point at which he believes lies about his best friend.”
Lewis concludes: “Once you were a child. Once you knew what inquiry was for. There was a time when you asked questions because you wanted answers, and were glad when you had found them. Become that child again … You have gone far wrong. Thirst was made for water; inquiry for truth.”
As you read the news and watch the “smart folks” in Washington, D.C., banter back and forth on Twitter, Facebook and CNN, ask yourself, do they really want answers or are they just trying to appear “modern and successful; in [seeking] good marks and saying the kind of things that will win applause?”
Do any of them embody the childlike sincerity admonished by Lewis or do they look more like manipulative teen-agers, hungry for popularity? Do they even care if their arguments are right and true or are they simply interested in being “fashionable?”
Os Guinness, in his book “Time for Truth,” challenges those prone to such an adolescent infatuation with the faddish over the factual: “Truth does not yield to opinion or fashion” he says. “It is simply true and that is the end of it. It is one of the Permanent Things. Truth is true even if nobody believes it and falsehood is false even if everybody believes it.”
Both C.S. Lewis and Os Guinness make it clear that confidence in popular ideas and accepted trends has very little, if anything, to do with ideological veracity. Truth is not determined by vim, vigor or Vogue. “Truth is not determined by your feelings, but rather by the Eternal fact, the Father of all other facthood.” (Lewis)
If we really want answers — if we really want our ideas to be confirmed whether they are right and corrected when they are wrong — then perhaps it’s time to set aside our adolescent desire for “good marks” and instead seek what is true, even if it is dreadfully unpopular, and give up what is false, even if it is a dearly loved passion. The integrity of real questions and serious answers demands nothing less.
Radio host Rush Limbaugh says new claims of racism against President Trump over his comments about Baltimore and Rep. Elijah E. Cummings are red herrings to distract from the “absolute truth” about Democrat-run cities.
The conservative icon told “Fox & Friends” Monday morning that the latest round of media outrage over Mr. Trump’s weekend tweets is predictable for a simple reason: “You’re not supposed to criticize anything the Democrats run.”
“Wherever you find this decadent decay, you’re going to find Democrats having run the operation,” Mr. Limbaughsaid. “The city, the state, whatever it is, the county — for decades.”
The president is under fire from critics for saying Mr. Cummings’ district is “considered the worst run and most dangerous anywhere in the United States. No human being would want to live there. Where is all this money going? How much is stolen? Investigate this corrupt mess immediately!”
“Rep, Elijah Cummings has been a brutal bully, shouting and screaming at the great men & women of Border Patrol about conditions at the Southern Border, when actually his Baltimore district is FAR WORSE and more dangerous,” Mr. Trump tweeted Saturday. “His district is considered the Worst in the USA.”
Mr. Limbaugh said angry reactions by pundits and politicians are a response to “absolute truth” instead of real instances of racism.
“What [Trump‘s] saying here is the absolute truth, but it’s not supposed to be said about any place where the Democrats are in charge,” the radio host continued.
Mr. Trumprejected accusations of racism on Sunday by saying Democrats “always play the race card when they are unable to win with facts.”
President Trump announced Friday that Guatemala would be signing an agreement to restrict asylum applications to the U.S. from Central America. (Associated Press) Stephen Dinan
President Trump is suddenly on a surprising winning streak when it comes to immigration.
With his border wall, where the Supreme Court has cleared the way to begin construction under his emergency declaration, and negotiations with Latin American neighbors, Mr. Trump in the past weeks has finally begun to make headway on a number of major items on his immigration checklist.
The court and foreign policy victories were coupled with some policy moves within the administration that could further constrain the surge of migrants, including guidance issued Friday telling asylum officers to make sure migrants are fleeing state-sanctioned violence before they are granted asylum.
The big moves last week included an agreement signed with Guatemala that will allow the U.S. to send any asylum-seekers who cross that country’s territory en route to the U.S. back to Guatemala to ask for asylum there instead.
Given Guatemala’s strategic geographic location — it lies on Mexico’s southern border, and land travelers must cross it during their journey north — the agreement could allow the U.S. to deny tens of thousands of asylum-seekers the chance to ask for status before they reach the border.
“We’ve long been working with Guatemala, and now we can do it the right way,” Mr. Trump said in the Oval Office after signing the deal with Guatemalan Interior Minister Enrique Degenhart.
Hours later, the president received news of another win: The Supreme Court, in a 5-4 ruling, had cleared the way for him to use his emergency border declaration to use Pentagon money to build more of his wall.
The Republican-appointed justices ended a lower-court blockade of his budgeting moves, limits that a federal district judge in California and later an appeals court had imposed while the case was being argued on the merits.
The high court didn’t reveal its reasoning, but the ruling is a major victory at a crucial time.
Mr. Trump’s attorneys told the justices they were racing a Sept. 30 deadline. If they didn’t obligate the money by then, they would lose the chance to spend it on the wall.
The immediate effect of the ruling is to let the administration tap several billion dollars within the Pentagon’s budget and direct it toward building the wall, which was Mr. Trump’s most visible 2016 campaign promise.
Opponents said they will continue to fight, including pressing lower courts to speed up the arguments on their broader challenge to the emergency declaration’s constitutionality.
“This is not over,” said Dror Ladin, an attorney for the American Civil Liberties Union.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, California Democrat, said the Supreme Court ruling “undermines the Constitution.”
Mr. Trump expressed his enthusiasm in his unique system of uppercase letters on Twitter: “Big WIN for Border Security and the Rule of Law!”
The two victories for Mr. Trump last week follow on his success in June, when he used the threat of tariffs to force Mexico to the bargaining table. Mexico agreed to do more to head off migrants crossing its territory and to take back more Central American asylum-seekers, making them wait in Mexico while their cases proceed through the U.S. immigration courts.
The effects of the Mexico deal were already having some effect.
Acting Homeland Security Secretary Kevin McAleenan told “Fox Business Sunday” that the number of illegal immigrants nabbed at the U.S.-Mexico border fell 28% in June and is down another 20% in July.
In May, Customs and Border Protection encountered 4,650 unauthorized migrants a day. The number now is 2,600, he said.
The emergency border spending bill that Mr. Trump won from Congress a month ago has also helped ease overcrowding at border facilities.
At its peak in early June, CBP had 19,000 people in custody. That number is now 7,200, Mr. McAleenan said.
One of Mr. McAleenan’s top lieutenants took yet another step Friday to try to reduce the flow of migrants by ordering asylum officers to cast a dim eye on some asylum claims.
“Private violence” doesn’t cut it, said Ken Cuccinelli, acting director of U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services. While conditions may be rough, he said, there just isn’t enough “pervasive” violence in El Salvador, Honduras and Guatemala to automatically grant asylum to people fleeing those countries.
Mr. Trump started winning immigration fights after he revamped his team, shuffling the leaders of the Homeland Security Department and each of the three agencies that handles immigration. The department and all three agencies are now headed by temporary officers.
The administration’s moves will continue to face scrutiny in the courts.
Several activist groups have vowed to challenge the Guatemala asylum agreement. Critics said that country isn’t safe enough nor capable enough to provide asylum to others crossing its territory.
“Such an arrangement would make a mockery of the notion that those fleeing persecution in Central America have any recourse,” said Eric Schwartz, president of Refugees International.
Ms. Vaughan, though, said the Guatemala agreement was proof that the U.S. does have leverage with foreign countries that previous administrations hadn’t used.
“What remains to be seen is which message comes through stronger in Central America (and around the world now) — do they hear that the risk of failure is much higher now because Trump and the other governments are cracking down, or do they hear that American judges are blocking his efforts?” she said.
“Now that Trump has come to realize that Congress isn’t going to be much help, and that he needs to go at this problem from all angles, with every immigration agency involved, it looks like we are finally starting to see results,” she said.