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Two Steps to Drain the Swamp: Prosecute Aggressively, Slash Government

Rod Thomson

It’s become even clearer with the information made public as part of Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s charges and plea deals that President Trump’s campaign was infected in pre-planned fashion by those trying to entrap him and his team. Goals: ensure his election loss or cripple his presidency.

The first failed, the second is ongoing.

Between a series of set-up meetings with “Russian officials” and Trump election people, including very low-level foreign policy volunteer George Papadopoulos, who just copped a plea with Mueller to presumably provide some dirt on someone, the apparent attempts to plant little scandal timebombs were everywhere. In fact, even the recommendation of Paul Manafort to be campaign chairman, apparently from the Republican establishment in D.C., turned out to be part of the poison with Manafort’s known Russian connections. (Known to the swamp — apparently not to Trump.)

This was the swamp creature reaching out to attack a potential threat. The very thing that Trump was promising to drain to the roaring cheers of thousands of Americans who know instinctively that Washington is only out for itself, was at that very moment oozing its way into his campaign with poison.

Trump was naive. His team inexperienced. But he was an outsider. Very outside. And the swamp had set the rules for a long time. Play by them and you gain. You may lose your soul, but you gain power and money and prestige. Trump doesn’t even know the rules, let alone play by them. Sure, he’s arrogant, abrasive, self-centered and politically shoots himself in the foot too much, but he actually seems to love his country — and he’s not of the swamp. He could be the man for the hour.

The revelations through Mueller’s first prosecutorial moves reveal a lot about how things operate and were operating. First, Mueller’s case looks weak. Paul Manafort is the big fish, but none of the charges have to do with Trump, the Trump campaign or collusion. So essentially, they are not part of what Mueller was even charged with investigating. They’re mostly money-laundering and related criminal activities — most all of which were happening while Mueller was head of the FBI.

Then there’s Papadopoulos, who was a twenty-something volunteer who said he was trying to ingratiate himself and curry favor by showing his chops setting up a meeting with Russians. He was a kid easily being played as a pawn by the Russians — or someone. But he was immediately rebuffed by Trump’s team. He tried again, and was rejected outright again. So all Mueller has on him is lying about his timeline when questioned by the FBI. A basic process charge against a scared kid. Again, there’s nothing there but the chance to get him to flip.

But a weak case doesn’t mean a short-lived investigation. Mueller won’t stop. He and his 16 Democrat lawyers will keep strong-arming witnesses, digging for dirt far beyond his mandate to look into Russian interference in the election. This will go on and on, and the reason is obvious. Keep Trump crippled. The second goal of the entrappers. With a swamp that includes many members of his own party, it’s not really that hard.

So, what to do? There are two broad, strategic strokes the President could pursue that would effectively start draining Washington. They’re bold, but necessary — probably the only way to actually accomplish what Trump promised.

 

Aggressively prosecute corruption: IRS, obstruction of justice, Uranium One, leaks  

Is there any reason we shouldn’t hold Washington to high ethical standards? Why assume and allow all the dirtiness? Just the past eight years has enough corruption to keep hundreds of investigators buried in work. And these are just the ones we know about during the time the watchdog media was being a purring kitten. 

Let’s start with the most recent high-profile candidates for prosecution.

Uranium One. The Obama Administration, under then Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, approved the purchase of Uranium One by a Russian company with tight ties to the Kremlin even while the same Russian interests were actively under investigation by the FBI. It was a staggering breach of national security and swampy corruption. In return — and it seems pretty obvious this was a quid pro quo — Bill Clinton was paid a cool $500,000 for one speech by a Kremlin-tied Russian bank just a few months later. This was all part of an ongoing influence-peddling scheme by Russians in the swamp, and the easiest targets when dragging a dollar and requiring influence are the Clintons.

Congressional Republicans were trying to stop the uranium transfer — the media was still purring through all of this — so Eric Holder’s Justice Department actively concealed what it knew from Congress. Team Obama stonewalled Congress for four years and reportedly threatened a whistleblower who wanted to go public. This is truly a massive scandal and considering the entire “Russian reset” from Clinton and Obama, and the ongoing strengthening of the Russian position worldwide during Obama’s term, it screams for a criminal investigation.

Email crimes and obstructions. The controversy surrounding Hillary Clinton’s private email server is well documented. It was a blatant security breach and a violation of State Department policy. Worse, when those emails were subpoenaed by Congress, she gave Congress a tiny portion of hand-picked emails and then destroyed the rest — 33,000 emails. That was illegal, and in contempt of Congress.

This is all normal Clintonian behavior. The real swampiness comes in when there were absolutely no repercussions for her actions. Why? Because it would tank her presidential bid and implicate everyone up to and including President Obama — who it turns out was communicating with Clinton on the unsecured, private server using a synonym. As National Review points out: “If Obama himself had been e-mailing over a non-government, non-secure system, then everyone else who had been doing it had a get-out-of-jail-free card.”

Rules, laws, justice, Congress were all flaunted, and yet everyone skated. This all looks totally prosecute-able, but only with the will to do it. And Trump has not shown that. So far.

Weaponizing the IRS. The Obama administration went far beyond what Nixon ever did in actually targeting political opponents during President Obama’s run for a second term. An unknown number of Tea Party and other conservative political organizations — more than 400 — seeking tax-exempt status were blocked from forming and therefore raising money to oppose Obama.

Lois Lerner, the head of the IRS unit that violated Americans’ rights to equal protection under the law, was put on paid administrative leave indefinitely. After four years, the Obama FBI said there was no evidence to warrant criminal investigation. Naturally.

The Trump administration has agreed to a “very substantial” payout to these groups to settle a class-action lawsuit that was launched because the Obama DoJ wouldn’t do anything. But all this does is transfer some taxpayer money to these groups. Nothing happened to the actual wrongdoers. Lesson learned, and not the one Americans want.

Unfortunately, the Trump Administration has already said it is not going to investigate the IRS on criminal activity. Perhaps even they are afraid of the IRS, but this is a lynchpin now in protecting the swamp if IRS leaders can get away with what Lerner did, with nothing more than a very long, paid vacation. Expect more.

There are many more controversies that should be investigated, such as the illegal sale of arms by the federal government to Mexican drug and sex traffickers for reasons that have never been adequately explained. Those guns have been used to murder American law enforcement officers along the borders. No repercussions.

Then there is the transfer of hundreds of millions of dollars in literal cash, on a plane, to Iran — a known exporter of terrorism by our own definition. A good faith gesture? To terrorists? That’s not just bad “optics.” That should be criminally investigated. But it probably won’t be.

This needs to be as non-partisan as possible. We know there are dirty Republicans. They just have not had executive power recently. Go after them. And lobbyists, lawyers, Deep State leakers, anyone else who is breaking the law. Why were we looking the other way during those years Manafort was working with both Democrats and Republicans in shady activities. Because of the swamp. Everyone knew. And there are hundreds of Manaforts in D.C.

Investigate and prosecute to uphold the law and ethics and start the draining.

 

Slash the size of the federal government. Deeply.

The primary feeder of the swamp is the monstrous size of the federal government. Congress is currently fashioning a $3.76 trillion — trillion — budget. That’s just to run the federal government for 12 months.

Within that slushy grab-bag of spending — including another $300 billion in debt — there is room for a lot of people to skim and direct money to their pet projects, for re-election projects, for friends and benefactors and for themselves.

But the eye-boggling spending is really only part of the feeding mechanism. The regulatory state is a crushing colossus on Americans, American businesses and state and local governments. Consider just the number of major departments and what they regulate in everyday life (excluding the Department of Defense, which runs our military and does not regulate Americans.)

  • Department of Agriculture
  • Department of Commerce
  • Department of Education
  • Department of Energy
  • Department of Health and Human Services
  • Department of Homeland Security
  • Department of Housing and Urban Development
  • Department of the Interior
  • Department of Justice
  • Department of Labor
  • Department of State
  • Department of Transportation
  • Department of the Treasury
  • Department of Veterans Affairs

There are, of course, hundreds of smaller elements of the federal government fitted with their own armies of overseers. Additionally, here are some of the agencies that directly impact Americans’ lives.

  • Central Intelligence Agency
  • Consumer Financial Protection Bureau
  • Environmental Protection Agency
  • Federal Communications Commission
  • Federal Elections Commission
  • Federal Energy Regulatory Commission
  • Federal Reserve Board
  • Federal Trade Commission
  • General Services Administration
  • International Trade Commission
  • National Labor Relations Board
  • National Transportation Safety Board
  • National Science Foundation
  • Securities and Exchange Commission
  • Selective Service Commission
  • Small Business Administration
  • United States Postal Service

And, not to be forgotten, the Internal Revenue Service. Here is a daunting and depressing list of all of the federal government departments and agencies.

All told, about 2.1 million federal government civilian employees oversee the regulatory behemoth of the federal government. This number excludes about 760,000 military members. So more than 2 million bureaucrats of some sort spend their full-time days controlling Americans’ daily activities.

It’s nearly impossible to overstate the power of the swamp in this regulatory morass. The most powerful corporations in the country, from Google to Microsoft to Exxon to General Motors humbly go hat-in-hand to meet with regulators who can create havoc in their industries and their companies, or can provide protection against competitors. There are plenty of honest bureaucrats trying to do a good job in the swamp, but the inherent features of the place ensure there will be ample players who are out to maximize their own desires. And that requires protecting the means to those desires.

Looking at the list of departments and agencies, wholesale elimination of departments such as Education, Energy, and Housing and Urban Development would in all likelihood have a net benefit to Americans in freeing them up and pushing any actually necessary regulatory control to the more local levels — where it should be. Shouldn’t your local, fairly responsive School Board be in charge of education over distant bureaucratic, unaccountable overseers?

That would eliminate tens of thousands of employees and hundreds of billions of dollars and make Americans freer in the process. And it would weaken the power of the swamp creature. Weakening that feeder system makes it less attractive and could potentially start a downward spiral in swampiness.

Whether Trump would ever undertake such a degree of draining is not clear. So far, he’s been great on deregulation and adequate on government growth. But this requires a far more revolutionary degree of action.

 

So is the swamp really drainable?

Yes. But the scope of the challenge is clear.

Trump is as constitutionally capable as anyone in that he is not part of the swamp, refuses to change who he is and play by its rules and is almost fearless on the attack. That is the right temperament.

And he clearly has the mandate. “Drain the swamp!” was a rallying cry that became louder than “Build the wall!” and “Lock her up!” Because drainage would more easily lead to the other issues being accomplished.

But it’s not at all clear that Trump has a real vision for it. He recognizes the problem. But he would need to be laser-focused with a long-term strategy, and his opponents are learning how to distract him. Plus, is Congress really in any way capable of slashing the federal government? Is Jeff Sessions really going to lead the charge on aggressive prosecutions?

Long shots, to be generous. But that is the pathway to draining the swamp. And the only one. Anything else is just campaign rhetoric.

Rod Thomson is an author, TV talking head and former journalist, and is Founder of The Revolutionary Act.

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IRS Russia Scandals Truth

5 Scandals That SHOULD Have a Special Counsel

Rod Thomson

The Special Counsel law is a bad one. It essentially creates a temporary fourth branch of government that is unaccountable to anyon.

But if it is going to be used — and the Democrat/Media establishment have been howling for it for months — then there are some real, known, evidential scandals and crimes for which it should be used. Of course, those happened in the Obama Administration, and Obama could act with virtual impunity with the media curled up, purring in his lap.

First, the Trump “collusion” charge does not require a special counsel because collusion is not actually illegal. It’s unethical, but there is no law against it. So what would actually be prosecuted? It is meant to undermine, distract and provide ammo for impeachment.

Second, and more importantly, there is no evidence of collusion. At all. There is billowing dust spun up from the media doing donuts in the dirt that looks like smoke — and where there is smoke there is fire! Right?

Yes. But not where there is dust. And right now, there is zero evidence of collusion. Just media spinning up dust that everyone is choking on.

Even famed Pulitzer Prize winning Watergate reporter Bob Woodward, one of the few careful journalists left in Washington, said on Fox News Sunday: “There are, you know, a thousand questions and they should be answered, but there’s no evidence President Trump at this point was somehow involved in collusion here. That’s important,” Woodward said. “This is not yet Watergate — not a clear crime.”

But there have been many recent scandals where we know crimes were committed — and continue to be committed — and there was not only no special prosecutor, there was no serious investigation.

Here is the short list of those.

 

IRS targeting conservative groups

In 2013, the IRS inadvertently revealed that they had been targeting conservative groups trying to get non-profit designations ahead of the 2012 elections. Groups with Tea Party and Conservative in the title were among those targeted. While most groups get their designation within a few months, these took years and effectively blocked them from being a part of the election process. Truly election tampering.

Further, there were overt violations of federal law, including leaking confidential taxpayer information to partisan liberal groups.

But to no one’s surprise, the Obama Justice Department investigated the Obama Internal Revenue Service and concluded no charges should be filed. This came after a series of shifting stories from the White House first denying, then blaming a rogue office in Cincinnati and eventually finding no criminal wrongdoing.

The Obama Justice Department said former IRS official Lois Lerner and others were merely guilty of “mismanagement, poor judgment and institutional inertia.” Of course, she and others were obviously supporters of Obama and their actions materially helped his re-election campaign. It would be untoward to charge such loyalists.

Naturally, the media had no real stomach for the chase in this scandal — a recurring theme. It was their man in the White House and it was Tea Party conservatives being targeted. Just perfunctory coverage.

A classic case of an administration investigating itself. Congress found much more, but Democrats uniformly opposed anything. This really could have used a special prosecutor.

 

“More flexibility” and Obama’s gifts to Russia

In 2012, President Obama infamously — well, for those not purring on his lap — told Russian President Medvedev that after the November election, he would have more flexibility to negotiate with (cave to) the Russians on missile defense.

After asking generally if his mic was hot, Obama apparently thought it was not and spoke truthfully:

Obama: “On all these issues, but particularly missile defense, this, this can be solved but it’s important for him to give me space.”

Medvedev: “Yeah, I understand. I understand your message about space. Space for you…”

Obama: “This is my last election. After my election I have more flexibility.”

Medvedev: “I understand. I will transmit this information to Vladimir, and I stand with you.”

Turns out it was not about negotiations with the Russians. It was unilateral disarmament on Obama’s part — something Americans would never have gone for. He reduced and continued to reduce spending on research and implementation of missile defenses, thereby making us militarily weaker vis-a-vis Russia.

This was overt collusion with Russia, caught on mic, and then followed with actions.

But not only was there no special prosecutor, the whole episode and following created barely a ripple of interest among the press corps. Yes, we are all shocked. Recurring theme.

In fact it was so little covered that a recent interview by MSNBC anchor Katy Tur revealed in February Tur didn’t even know what a Congressman was referring to when he mentioned the “more flexibility” affair. Tellingly, her ignorance has since been pulled down from the Youtube channel where it was being shared.

 

Stuxnet leak endangers national security

In a scandal that also received almost no media coverage, the Obama administration leaked information about a computer virus called Stuxnet that had been developed to destroy Iranian nuclear centrifuges. And it was successful, setting back Iran’s nuclear ambitions for years.

This was a hugely damaging leak because it meant that not only could the U.S. never use it again, it may have risked the lives of operatives within Iran. The huge question is what did the U.S., or the Obama administration, have to gain from the leak?

Further however, the Obama administration later negotiated (which means giving the Iranians everything they wanted) the nuclear deal with Iran that set them on the path to creating a fully functioning nuclear weapons program. It also lifted sanctions on Iran and flushed their terrorism coffers with at least $400 million — cash.

This was a horrific scandal when taken altogether. But the Stuxnet leak alone was a felony and an overt threat to national security.

True to form, the White House rejected calls for a special counsel or special prosecutor. Retired Marine Corps General James E. Cartwright was eventually found guilty, but a pardon came from President Obama during his lame-duck period.

There is every reason to think that this set a dangerous example for those who want to leak national secrets for political gain — as we are seeing right now.

In the Stuxnet scandal, where the Obama administration again was making decisions on investigating itself, no special counsel was appointed.

 

Fast and furious gun smuggling

Early in the Obama administration, Attorney General Eric Holder (the same one who later did nothing on the IRS) ran a program to smuggle weapons across the Mexican border. The idea was to trace their path through drug cartels.

That is a thin pretext, it is still illegal even if the true motive. The Obama administration was not particularly interested in the Mexican drug cartels. Many people see the program as a pretext for pushing gun control laws as the weapons would inevitably make it into the U.S. in the hands of criminals — which some did.

If that was not enough, Obama used executive privilege to cover up related documents. Holder was held in contempt of Congress in relation to an illegal operation that killed a U.S. border agent  But it was Holder’s assistant at Justice that announced there would be no charges against his boss.

Obama covered up all details, presumably damning details, with executive privilege and the media quickly moved on in search of a real scandal — hopefully one involving a Republican.

 

Unmasking Political Opponents

Most recently, we discovered that Obama loyalist, partisan, serial liar and National Security Advisor Susan Rice was busy in 2016 requesting the unmasking of Americans, apparently fishing for Trump associates in hopes of finding enough to damage Trump’s transition — which has successfully occurred.

Unmasking is when an American is at the other end of a phone call or email from someone national intelligence is surveilling — from Russia, China, Iran, ISIS or wherever. The Americans are typically caught up in the surveillance incidentally and their names are masked because they are not a target and Americans cannot be surveilled without court warrants. Unmasking them reveals their names and often times much more personal information and is expected to be done rarely.

This is exactly the abuse of power Americans feared with domestic surveillance; that powerful politicians would use it for their advantage.

According to a chart in the National Intelligence Agency’s “Statistical Transparency Report Regarding Use of National Security Authorities” released in April, there was a 200 percent increase in unmasking of Americans last year.

The identities of 1,934 Americans were unmasked upon requests made by the Obama administration in 2016. That was nearly triple the 654 that were unmasked in 2015. Of course, 2016 was an election year.

Former FBI Assistant Director James Kallstrom said “the unmasking could be one of the biggest scandals ever in the United States.”

You’d never guess that from the utter media disinterest. No special counsel was appointed and precious little media coverage after the first round of obligatory stories.

 

And still more scandals…

There are still more scandals that could rise to the level of a special counsel to investigate:

• Holder (again) was under oath before Congress when he lied about whether he had discussed or even thought about prosecuting journalists, after he had signed the order to wiretap Fox News reporter James Rosen.

• Former Director of National Intelligence James Clapper also lied to Congress about data collection on U.S. citizens, claiming under oath it was not being done. Edward Snowden’s leaks revealed it was being done on a mammoth scale.

• The Obama administration targeted media members using the state surveillance apparatus, named Fox News reporter James Rosen a “criminal co-conspirator” under the Espionage Act of 1917 to gain access to his personal emails and phone records, and subpoened phone records from the Associated Press.

• Benghazi…

Obama’s Department of Justice declined to appoint a special counsel to investigate either of these.

 

Total lack of Washington interest

The fact that none of these were deemed important enough to warrant special prosecutors just demonstrates how justice in Washington is an actual sham, of how the law is not equally enforced — generally when it comes to Democrats and specifically when it came to Obama.

This is driven and enabled by a dishonest media. They are not dishonest for being biased. They are dishonest by claiming they are not biased. It is not hard to imagine the media coverage had Trump done any one of these — let alone all of them. But most people barely remember any of these other than perhaps Benghazi.

Democrats will always be Democrats. They are the opposition party and in a real sense are supposed to act in opposition. Understood. But not the media.

Let’s go to Woodward, the dean of the D.C. press corps, one more time. He told MSNBC that too many members of the press are “binge drinking the anti-Trump Kool-Aid,” and that they need to “dial it back.”

But instead, they are engorging themselves on Kool-Aid and now we have a special counsel investigating something which according to a mountain of evidence did not happen, and is not a crime if it did.

A swamp, indeed.