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How An Honest Media Would Have Covered Mueller’s Press Conference

Rod Thomson

As a former long-time journalist, I like to sometimes write a straight news story based on the actual news and not leftist agitprop. If straightforward, honest, non-pack journalists were covering last week’s surprise press conference by Robert Mueller, this is how a news story might read.

Surprise Mueller Statement Questions Universal Presumption Of Innocence

(WASHINGTON, D.C.) Special Counsel Robert S. Mueller III broke from long-standing judicial tradition in the United States Wednesday when he laid out two tiers of jurisprudence when it comes to a basic presumption of innocence.

In a hastily called press conference announced just 90 minutes before it began, Mueller read an eight-minute prepared statement, in which he reiterated what was in his 448-page report he delivered to Attorney General William Barr earlier this month. He decline to answer any questions from the media and announced he would close the Special Counsel’s office and return to the private sector.

In the statement, Mueller reiterated his final report that a grand jury indicted Russian intelligence officers for using cyber techniques to interfere with the 2016 U.S. election, and that a private Russian entity ran a social media operation to further interfere with the election.

“These indictments contain allegations, and we are not commenting on the guilt or the innocence of any specific defendant. Every defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty,” Mueller said, which aligns with long-standing American jurisprudence.

He also reiterated that his two-year investigation did not find that either President Trump or the Trump campaign conspired or colluded with Russia in these attempts, essentially clearing the President again on the point for which he was appointed Special Counsel.

The second part of the press conference, which restated the second part of his report, covered the obstruction of justice investigation that was launched during the Russian investigation. In this portion, Mueller appeared to apply a different standard in referring to President Trump, than when discussing the Russian operatives.

Mueller said: “…after that investigation, if we had had confidence that the president clearly did not commit a crime, we would have said so. We did not, however, make a determination as to whether the president did commit a crime.”

This statement was seen by some to be a break from the presumption of innocence standard and the general practices of prosecutors who do not share negative information from an investigation if there are no charges.

Alan Dershowitz, former Harvard Law School professor and constitutional scholar, said he was deeply disturbed by Mueller’s statement and his apparent dismissiveness of the presumption of innocence standard.

“That was absolutely inappropriate for him to say. It was worse than anything that (former FBI Director James) Comey said when he exonerated Hillary Clinton and then said, but she engaged in extremely careless conduct,” Dershowitz said.

Comey was widely condemned by both Democrats and Republicans for laying out a criminal case publicly, but then not charging Clinton. That also seemed to be a step away from legal norms in the United States, but was not impacting the presumption of innocence standard.

“Everybody condemned that. This is much, much worse,” Dershowitz said.

Everything in this story is factually true, including Dershowitz’s quotes. There is, of course, much more that could be written on it. But you get the gist. There are so many news stories which could be written and covered entirely differently, without the leftist bias.

But the mainstream media would not even recognize this as a news story because their own biases are so ingrained in journalism itself that they are institutionally blind to them.

Rod Thomson is an author, past Salem radio host, ABC TV commentator, former journalist and is Founder of The Revolutionary Act.


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Judges Justice Russia Truth

Today’s Chaos Over Flynn Sentencing Is Result Of FBI Entrapment

by Julio Gonzalez, M.D., J.D., and Rod Thomson

Every once in a while, you come across a set of circumstances that brings you great sadness about our country’s state of affairs. (Yes, it may be happening more frequently.)  The events surrounding the prosecution of General Michael Flynn and his treatment by the FBI and Special Counselor Robert Mueller is such a situation — and the reason that Judge Emmet Sullivan has been having a difficult time with the plea and sentencing that was scheduled for today and has now been delayed.

By now, most of you are aware of the circumstances of clear entrapment behind the charges against Flynn, but they nevertheless require elucidation, because they loom large beyond Flynn’s case. First, General Michael Flynn is a 33-year veteran of the United States Army with an impeccable history of patriotic service to his country. His service specialized on counter-intelligence, and he is likely responsible for the identification, capture, and destruction of more anti-American terrorists than anyone in the history of the United States. In other words, a true hero.

On Jan. 20, 2017, Flynn assumed the office of National Security Advisor to the President Trump. Just prior to taking on that role, on Dec. 29, 2016, Flynn had contact with Russian Ambassador to the United States, Sergei Kislyak. The details of this contact are somewhat sketchy, but suffice it to say that the contact took place.

During this time, the Obama Administration, still reeling from the Democrats’ unexpected loss to Donald Trump in the presidential elections, was bent on blaming Russian interference for the defeat of the anointed Democrat darling, Hillary Clinton. The shock associated with the defeat led to a zealous effort to identify and understand the extent and machinations of this interference and to discover whether the Trump campaign was in any way involved.

The agency tasked with the investigation of potential Russian meddling was the Federal Bureau of Investigation headed at the time by James Comey. The FBI was very interested in the specifics behind the interactions between Flynn and the Russian Ambassador because it wanted to know whether there was any evidence of promised benefits to the Russians under the new administration in exchange for Russian assistance in tilting the election in Trump’s favor. To be clear, the mere fact that the Russian Ambassador had made contact with Flynn was not illegal, or even unusual during a transition.

For the sake of our discussion, I am going to assume that the Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s version of the details regarding the contact between these two men is correct. I am going to grant the Mueller team’s assertion that Flynn had not forgotten about the contact he had with the Kislyak (even though both FBI agents who conducted the interview did not believe Flynn was lying.)  I am going to assume, as Mueller reports, that by the time the FBI agents contacted him, Flynn was already relating a false narrative regarding his conversation with the Ambassador. I am also going to assume that, as Mueller says, Flynn was given more than ample opportunities to correct the falsehoods he delivered to the inquiring agents on Jan. 24, 2017. I am also going to acknowledge, for the sake of argument, that Flynn was not coerced into admitting that he had lied when he struck a plea deal with the FBI and that he was actually being accurate when he admitted his illegality to them.

But even if those assertions are true, Judge Emmet Sullivan, the judge responsible for sentencing Flynn on Tuesday and the one who has asked to review any exculpatory evidence in the case, must still throw out the case against Flynn.

The principal question is whether the FBI induced Flynn into lying during its interview of Jan. 24, 2017. More directly, did the FBI conduct its interview in such a manner as to induce the general to lie. After reviewing the Mueller memo to the court, my conclusion is that it absolutely, positively did.

In arriving at this conclusion, I first take note that prosecutorial entrapment is clearly illegal and fatal to the prosecution of a suspect. Entrapment, the act of government agents or officials that induces a person to commit a crime he or she is not previously disposed to commit, is a vile and vicious technique that if allowed to run unabated represents a fundamental threat to our liberties and to our abilities to live our lives in peace and free of government persecution.

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Entrapment cannot be tolerated.

Consequently, if the FBI induced the general into committing the crime of lying to the FBI, it would nullify its prosecution of him and force the case to be dismissed.

According to the memo produced by Robert Mueller in defense of his prosecution of Flynn, Mueller admits that the FBI knew prior to its interview that Flynn had made contact with Ambassador Kislyak on Dec. 29, 2016, “the same day the US announced sanctions against Russia for its interference with the 2016 elections. ” Moreover, Deputy Director of the FBI Andrew McCabe, the man who contacted Flynn about a potential meeting with FBI investigators, believed Flynn had already lied to others regarding his contacts with the ambassador and that he was already “committed to that false story.” Even so, those deceitful acts of delivering a false narrative on the part of Flynn, whether excusable or not, were not illegal. Despite this, McCabe, in coordination with James Comey, made the decision to bypass protocol in seeking the interview with Flynn in the hopes that he would repeat those lies to investigators. In other words, McCabe and Comey built a trap for Flynn.

Additionally, we know from comments made by Comey that when McCabe set up the interview with Flynn, he knowingly bypassed protocol. We also know that Flynn inquired as to whether he should have his attorney present and was dissuaded from doing so by McCabe.

More egregiously, McCabe and Comey purposely decided not to warn Flynn that it was illegal to lie to the FBI. This is an important detail because it is distinguishable from the mere omission of the information, which is how the media generally reports this fact. Instead, according to Mueller’s memo to the court, McCabe and Comey made the purposeful decision to conceal the subject’s legal peril. The reason for this purposeful omission was to fool Flynn into being “relaxed,” and because “they were concerned that giving the warnings might adversely affect the report.” The implications of this admission are fatal to Flynn’s successful prosecution since they acknowledge that if the FBI had properly performed its job, Mueller would not have committed the crime of lying to them. Once again, the FBI investigators admit to the entrapment of Flynn.

Judge Sullivan is clearly aware of all of these facts as he tries to decide how to rule on the Flynn plea and sentencing.

As the Mueller memo states, the overall effect of the FBI’s efforts was to make Flynn believe that he was dealing with allies in an investigation, not that he was the subject of one.

With these admissions, Mueller has essentially painted a picture whereby the FBI created an environment by which Flynn would be induced into committing a crime he would not otherwise have committed; the very definition of entrapment.

With this information, it is very likely that, should this have gone to trial, it would have been thrown out because of entrapment of the defendant and due to the FBI’s advice to Flynn against obtaining legal counsel. Instead, the case was pleaded out by a defendant who was on the verge of bankruptcy from the mammoth legal defense bills he had incurred and whose son was being threatened with prosecution should he not submit to the FBI’s demands.

This story reveals one of the grossest displays of reckless disregard for prosecutorial restraint and for the rights of the defendant imaginable. With any luck, Judge Sullivan will see the brazen unprofessionalism displayed by McCabe, Comey and Mueller and bring some semblance of justice to the negatively impacted life of a man who is nothing short of a great American hero.

Dr. Julio Gonzalez is an orthopaedic surgeon and lawyer living in Venice, Florida. He is the author of The Federalist Pages and cohost of Right Talk America With Julio and Rod. Dr. Gonzalez is presently serving in the Florida House of Representatives. He can be reached through www.thefederalistpages.com to arrange a lecture or book signing.


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Iran Journalism Korea Media Russia Trump Truth

Washington Post Blunders On Trump Foreign Policy

Rod Thomson

Washington Post Senior Political Reporter Aaron Blake recently wrote an article that was run in newspapers around the nation under, Trump’s Foreign Policy Chaos. In related news, a recent CNN Poll reported Trump’s approval rating at 42 percent while his disapproval stands at 54 percent.

These are related because one leads directly to the other, but both are wrong. Relentlessly negative reporting by the media leads its consumers by the nose into disapproving of the President. Partisan focus on Stormy Daniels and Russian collusion and other nonsense obfuscates the enormous successes of the presidency so far. Sure, his approvals are up a few points, but based on actual performance, they should be much higher.

However, just scoffing at this dynamic is a mistake. This drives elections. Conservative media must be just as relentless in getting out the truth about Trump successes, about conservative successes, about the traditional American successes. Because the other side, which definitively includes the traditional media, will push out the failures and misrepresent the successes.

The gist of Blake’s criticism (remember, he is labeled as reporter, not columnist or opinionist) is that Trump “can’t stick to a foreign policy script or even general guidelines.” This, of course, is a terrible breach of “the way things are done” for folks inside the Beltway. But Trump was elected to do things differently than the way they have been done.

Contrary to the impression given by Blake and the rest to those who imbibe oldstream reporting, the world is actually becoming a significantly better place since Donald Trump was elected and took foreign policy in a different direction.

This is just objectively true. It’s not blind Trump or Republican loyalty. The world is demonstrably better off in most every respect than when Obama left office — something Aaron Blake and his kin are simply unwilling or unable to see.

But we are.

So here are seven areas that have objectively improved since President Trump was elected in November 2016 and inaugurated in January 2017 — regardless of whether he followed script or not:

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✓ ISIS is decapitated. This bloody stain on the world arose in the vacuum left by President Obama’s foolish decision to abruptly withdraw American troops from Iraq before that country was able to stand on its own. His decision resulted in the rapid collapse of the infant democratic government in Iraq and the sweeping successes of ISIS.

ISIS’ sadistic methods for torturing and murdering anyone not pure enough in their version of Islam was spreading around the world, and the so-called caliphate was occupying large parts of two countries under Obama. It was the first and so far only actual terrorist nation — as opposed to those such as Iran, which is an existing nation that is considered a sponsor of terrorism.

Within a year of Trump’s inauguration, the caliphate was gone, and ISIS has almost no land holdings anymore. They have been relegated to the status of a terrorist organization, such as Al-Quaeda and dozens of others.

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✓ Russia is contained. During the Obama Administration, Russia greatly expanded its geographic reach and influence. It invaded and annexed Crimea and Obama did nothing. It’s proxies invaded Eastern Ukraine and Obama did nothing. It threatened the Baltic nations and Obama did nothing. It jumped into the breach left in the Middle East and re-established itself with its ally Syria in the midst of the nation’s terrible civil war, and Obama did nothing. Finally, Obama was aware of Russian attempts to influence the 2016 election, and he did nothing.

All of this came after Obama was infamously caught on a hot mic openly colluding with Russia against American interests by telling then-President Medvedev that Obama would have “more flexibility” after the 2012 elections.

Trump has twice now attacked Syrian government military installations after the use of banned chemical weapons, over the protests and threats of Russia and President Putin. He’s placed sanctions on Russian individuals and then on Russia as a whole after the blatant attempted chemical assassination in England. Putin has been much more restrained in his expansionist goals.

 

✓ North Korea is talking. This dangerous mess had been kicked down the road by several presidents, including Clinton, Bush and Obama. It always seemed a nasty bit of business with all sorts of dangers even before the North got nukes — specifically because China was an ally. So the world kept buying off the North with supplies for its starving population and resources for its nuclear program. They would have been easier to stop earlier, but none did. Now the North has larger nukes and much more advanced missile delivery systems and is more bellicose than ever.

However, that belligerence eased when Trump responded forcefully by telling the North that no aggression against America or her allies would be tolerated, and backed it up by sending two aircraft carrier groups to the region. Further, the North saw that this president did not make empty threats or draw red lines he would not back up. He’d already attacked Russian allies once, killing Russians in the process, and was reinforcing our allies in Eastern Europe.

The result is that for the first time, it appears the North is willing to have actual talks, not just blackmail sessions. Kim Jong Un crossed into South Korea for brief talks and requested to talk to Trump, who has agreed and already sent CIA Director Mike Pompeo to meet with the North. This is potentially huge.

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✓ China is re-negotiating. Part of the reason the North is willing to budge is also that Trump has been applying the screws to China on trade issues and this emerging power apparently does not want to get into a sanctions war and a military confrontation at the same time with the United States. China has long been violating our trade agreements — costing American jobs far beyond simply losing out to cheap labor — and shaking down American businesses as the price of entry.

Trump had enough. He immediately scrapped the trade deal that Obama had negotiated — which almost assuredly would have given away the store. And now he has instituted a round of tariffs on China for their trade practices. Think of this what you will, but despite their response of trade tariffs on the U.S., they are far more reliant on our market than we are on theirs and they know it. It sounds like they are willing to make some of the trade changes Trump wanted that are in America’s interest.

This foreign policy strategy bypasses the stuffed shirt, worthless trade organizations that were supposed to be policing these agreements but essentially let China do whatever it wanted. Obama would never even have thought to do what Trump has done.

 

✓ Allies are ponying up. Obama, as did Bush and Clinton before him, talked about making our allies pay more of their fair share of the military burden of protecting Europe and the Pacific Rim. But as usual, particularly with Obama, it was all fine-sounding hot air. He did nothing.

Trump campaigned on this issue, as he did trade, and he jumped right in suggesting that if France, England, Germany and others cannot contribute the share they are contractually obligated to contribute for their own defense, then perhaps the United States would not continue to be a part of NATO. This was considered outlandishly irresponsible and proof of the Russian collusion, which we dispelled above, or just Trump idiocy. The intelligentsia have been remarkably consistent in judging Trump wrongly.

Sure enough, a strong hand that is backed by strong actions appear to have prevailed. Our NATO allies, and even Japan, are already beginning to spend more on their own military. This is not only fair, it makes the free nations stronger in that they are not as totally reliant on the U.S. military.

 

✓ Iran is confronted. Obama made what will go down in history as one of the worst agreements ever (still unsigned by both nations) by giving Iran everything from a pathway to sanctioned nuclear weapons in 10 years to literally a planeload of cash and unfrozen assets that were quickly put to use funding its proxy terrorists in Hezbollah. Just incredibly irresponsible and a direct threat to Israel and America.

Trump has not ripped it up yet, but he gave our allies deadlines of May 12 to toughen up the agreement with Iran or we will let American sanctions “snap back” in. Further, recent personnel changes in the administration will put back on the table the entire elimination of the agreement.

Iran is the most destabilizing power in the fiery region and an official state sponsor of terrorism. The deal was a huge setback to peace and fighting terrorism and Trump is pushing back hard on it. Considering his actions in regard to Syria, Russia and North Korea, the Iranian Mullahs will be weighing carefully how confrontative they want to be with this president.

 

✓ Iraq and Afghanistan stabilizing. This is huge for the region, and for Americans who have fought and bled for so long under substandard White House leadership. The defeat of ISIS and the pushback on the Taliban has allowed two long-time problem countries to stabilize, at least temporarily. Plenty of problems remain, but neither are as capable of training and sending out terrorists as they were and this is good for everyone.

Trump’s list of successes domestically is also more impressive than generally credited — unless of course you don’t like tax cuts that help all Americans and goose the economy; or judges who rule on the Constitution rather than political whims; or a return of manufacturing jobs; or fewer strangling, bureaucratic regulations. But that is another article.

Suffice to say that the critics who claimed — and in the face of all this evidence, continue to claim — that Trump is a stupid bungler unqualified to deal with foreign policy…are dead wrong. Reality is showing that style aside, Obama actually fits that description far better than Trump.

Rod Thomson is an author, TV talking head and former journalist, and is Founder of The Revolutionary Act. Rod is co-host of Right Talk America With Julio and Rod on the Salem Radio Network.


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Categories
Appeasement Foreign affairs Immigration Korea Russia Trump Truth

6 Crises Where Trump’s Blunt Pro Americanism Is Working

Rod Thomson

Diplomacy is often considered the most Genteel and cultured of governmental pursuits. And that can work many times, when done right. But it can also fail miserably, as Winston Churchill clearly understood watching the ever-so-Genteel Neville Chamberlain botch what could have preempted World War II. And it has been failing America over multiple presidential administrations.

Donald Trump is no Winston Churchill in eloquence or knowledge of history or philosophies or alcohol intake, but he has Churchill’s fiery love of country and willingness to speak bluntly outside the nicety circles while carrying a big stick to defend that beloved country. Refreshing and effective.

At the time of his inauguration, Trump inherited at least half a dozen perennial crises that had been allowed to fester through ignorance, incompetence or indifference. He did not have Henry Kissinger skills, but he also was not a John Kerry bungler. He wasn’t a new world order Bushian and he wasn’t an America-meh-whatever Obamaian. In fact, he was a wholly different kind of modern American president, a throwback to Reagan but perhaps much further. And let’s be frank, his developer-TV reality star skill set was unknown in the history of the White House.

But it appears that his blunt pro-Americanism is just what was needed by January 2017. Here are five international crises where it appears that after 14 months with Trump in office, are either promising or measurably better — from America’s point of view.

In January 2017, the deranged North Korean regime had apparently developed not only newer and more powerful nuclear weapons, but the ability to install those on the tips of missiles that could reach the U.S. West Coast. They were belligerent towards South Korea, Japan and the United States and multiple administrations had failed to move China to reign in their crazy step-child. Genteel diplomacy was an utter failure. No more appeasement. Trump sent aircraft carriers to the seas surrounding the Korean Peninsula, tightened down sanctions and ridiculed Kim Jong Un. He gave the appearance and talk of being willing to use force, something North Korea’s leaders knew previous presidents would not do. And now, North Korea is talking to South Korea in a more conciliatory tone with Kim Jong Un actually crossing into the South for talks while asking to meet with President Trump. Plus, China seems to be actually applying pressure on the North Korean dictatorship. The jury is definitely out still on this nutso regime, but these may be the most promising steps in decades as the leadership recognize they are dealing with a President willing to do more than talk.

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In January 2017, Russia had invaded and occupied the Crimea, invaded and occupied through proxies eastern Ukraine, threatened its tiny Baltic neighbors and re-established itself in Syria and so the Middle East. Genteel diplomacy was not working. (Perhaps actual Obama-Russian collusion was?) The breadth of Russian expansionism during the Obama years was breathtaking. Trump stated a willingness to work with Russia and stroked Putin’s ego. But he also immediately fired on a Syrian government air base that had launched a chemical attack — the Syrian government being allied with Russia — destroying the base. He is strengthening ties with the Ukraine and just met with the Baltic leaders to do the same. He has slapped economic sanctions on Russia and expelled diplomats over poisonings in England, our ally. (Worst Russian puppet ever.) Putin, for the first time perhaps as president, seems a little on his heels and his expansionism has been blunted, at least for the moment.

In January 2017, speaking of Russian expansionism, NATO countries in Europe had continued to flaunt their promised military defense expenditures. Remember, NATO was formed for the defense of our European allies against Russian aggression in the form of the Soviet Union. For decades, however, they had not been keeping to the agreements on military levels, but instead giving empty lip service to spending more while intending to continue being shielded largely by the American military. Genteel diplomacy was not working. Trump said time was up, pay up or we will rethink the American role in NATO. Given Putin’s ambitions and Trump’s tendency to follow through with threats, Germany, France and others are now actually budgeting more spending on their military.

In January 2017, China had been feasting on violating trade agreements and stealing American technology. They were forcing American companies to share technology for entry into their market and they were using endless protectionist mechanisms to benefit their manufacturers at the expense of American companies. Previous presidents either did not see this anti Americanism as an issue or just ignored it. Genteel diplomacy had failed. Trump came in with Americanism promises to change it and immediately dumped Pacific Free Trade Agreement (TPP) that seemed very favorable to China and others. He’s now thrown on tariffs and China has responded. However, he knows he has the stronger hand in that China is far more reliant on our imports than we are on theirs — in part because of all their cheating. Jury’s out, because a full trade war is bad for everyone. But that seems unlikely for the pragmatic Chinese leadership.

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In January 2017, Mexico was continuing its decades long policy of urging its least desirable citizens northward across the porous American border. They fought against any tightening on the border and howled about Trump’s “stupid” and “f**king” wall — to quote two former Mexican presidents. Genteel diplomacy had failed, if it had even been tried. But Trump saw in this situation what Americans saw and the genteel diplomats did not: Anti Americanism. Despite a fairly open border, ridiculously generous benefits to all those who snuck in illegally, constraining income growth at the low end for Americans and $30 billion exiting our economy annually to head back to Mexico through remittances, both the Mexican government and many illegal aliens and those speaking for them continued to criticize the United States’ policy and people with charges of racism, xenophobia and so on. Americans had had enough. Trump had had enough. So now the military is headed to the border until the wall is built. Mexico is not happy about this, but a lot of Americans are, because a lot support pro Americanism.

In January 2017, the radical Islamist organization ISIS held large swaths of Syria and Iraq, had declared a caliphate and was spreading terrorism on multiple continents while committing ongoing atrocities against its own population in the vein of Chinese communists, Soviet communists and German Nazis, just a smaller scale. No kind of diplomacy was available with ISIS, but brute force was and the U.S. under Obama had been reluctant to use it. By the end of 2017, they had lost their capital and virtually all of the caliphate. Their holdings in both Iraq and Syria were liberated. This had been very slowly starting to happen in the final years of Obama. But Trump promised to pound ISIS out of existence and followed through by loosening the restraints on the U.S. military, which effectively helped wipe out most of the wicked nest of evil so far in the 21st century.

International relations and events are always fluid. It’s difficult to predict the future with any certainty. But it’s clear that Trump’s blunt, pro-Americanism style of diplomacy is having a positive impact on the world and certainly on American prospects. It may not be what will always be needed. But it is what has been needed at least in these six areas.

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Rod Thomson is an author, TV talking head and former journalist, and is Founder of The Revolutionary Act. Rod is co-host of Right Talk America With Julio and Rod on the Salem Radio Network.


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Categories
Democrats FBI Media Republicans Russia Scandals Trump

Media Spins Damning House Memo to Partisanship, Not Content

Rod Thomson

The media is framing the damning House intelligence memo on FBI and Department of Justice actions to undermine candidate and then President Trump on the familiar look-the-other-way grounds of just so much more partisanship. It’s all Republican partisanship to the media.

The story leads were universally along the lines of “Disputed Gop-Nunes memo released with Trump’s approval” and “Partisan fury as GOP releases Nunes memo over FBI objections” and “House Republicans Release Secret Memo Accusing Russia Investigators of Bias.”

This is a familiar playbook to someone such as myself who was in the mainstream media for 25 year. And it is something that Democrats can so confidently rely on the media doing that they use it to cover every scandal in their party. Just start throwing up alternative storylines and focus on Republican partisanship. Since the media is almost entirely Democrats, the bait is easily taken.

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This is precisely how the media turned President Bill Clinton’s sexual predatory behavior and perjury under oath in 1998 into nothing more than partisanship. Rather than consistently saying what the accusations were against Clinton, story after story helpfully avoided what Clinton did in favor of framing it as a bunch of Republican partisan attacks.

This is also what the media did with the weaponization of the Obama IRS against conservative and Tea Party groups in the year leading up to his 2012 re-election. Rather than straight reporting based on the obvious evidence, the media cast it as Republicans making accusations. The media sat on their hands on the truly scandalous actions of IRS leaders — none of whom ever saw justice.

The same coverage came about on the Fast and Furious gun-running operation to Mexican gangs by the Obama administration. It is a constant pattern.

Compare the media’s handling of those scandals and any number of others with how they breathlessly report every anonymous — and obviously partisan — attack on President Trump, seldom deviating into the concept of partisan politics despite the clear and present agenda of Democrats and liberals.

So here is a taste of the major mainstream media coverage. Your local newspaper and television station will likely be in a similar vein. (Here is the full memo. If you want to read what the media should be covering, here’s a great, short take on the memo by John Hinderaker’s at Powerline.)

 

CNN

HEADLINE: Disputed GOP-Nunes memo released with Trump’s approval

House Republicans, with the approval of President Donald Trump, on Friday released a disputed GOP intelligence memo that alleges FBI abuses of its surveillance authority.

The highly controversial memo from the GOP and House Intelligence Committee Chairman Devin Nunes alleges that then-Deputy FBI Director Andrew McCabe told the committee that no surveillance warrant would have been sought for a Trump campaign aide without a disputed opposition research dossier on Trump and Russia.

The memo is the most explicit Republican effort yet to discredit the FBI’s investigation into Trump and Russia, alleging that the investigation was infused with an anti-Trump bias under the Obama administration and supported with political opposition research.

 

CBS

HEADLINE: GOP memo released, after Trump declassifies it

The controversial four-page memo created by Republican staffers on the House Intelligence Committee alleging abuse of surveillance authority by the Justice Department and FBI has been released Friday after being declassified by the president. The memo is unredacted.

 

Politico

HEADLINE: Partisan fury as GOP releases Nunes memo over FBI objections

Republicans on Capitol Hill, backed by an angry President Donald Trump, defied pleas from the FBI and Democrats Friday and released a previously classified memo alleging misconduct by senior FBI officials investigating Trump’s presidential campaign.

The memo’s emergence marks a dramatic new stage in the political war around the federal investigations into Kremlin interference in the 2016 election. Republicans say the memo exposes anti-Trump bias among top law enforcement officials who helped launch a federal probe into whether the Kremlin infiltrated Trump’s campaign team. Democrats and former law enforcement and intelligence officials counter that the GOP is playing partisan politics with secret intelligence and distorting facts of the Trump-Russia investigation.

 

Washington Post

HEADLINE: Release of disputed GOP memo on FBI surveillance unleashes waves of recrimination

A GOP memo declassified on Friday charges senior law enforcement officials with manipulating a foreign intelligence court in order to surveil a former Trump campaign adviser — contested accusations that intensified an ongoing battle between the White House and Republican lawmakers on one side, and the FBI and the Justice Department on the other.

Democrats warned President Trump not to try to use the memo’s contents as a justification for firing Deputy Attorney General Rod J. Rosenstein or other officials overseeing an ongoing probe into possible coordination between Trump associates and agents of the Russian government during the 2016 campaign.

 

New York Times

HEADLINE: House Republicans Release Secret Memo Accusing Russia Investigators of Bias

House Republicans released a disputed memo on Friday compiled by congressional aides that accused the F.B.I. and Justice Department of abusing their surveillance powers to spy on a former Trump campaign adviser, Carter Page.

The memo, which has prompted a political firestorm, also criticizes information used by law enforcement officials in their application for a warrant to wiretap Mr. Page, and names the senior F.B.I. and Justice Department officials who approved the highly classified warrant.

But the memo falls well short of providing the material promised by some Republicans: namely, that the evidence it contained would cast doubt on the origins of the Russia investigation and possibly undermine the inquiry, which has been taken over by the special counsel, Robert S. Mueller III.

 

ABC

HEADLINE: GOP memo alleges the FBI and DOJ abused government surveillance powers in its Russia investigation

Over strong objections from the intelligence community and law enforcement, President Donald Trump has declassified a controversial GOP memo alleging political bias and abuses of government surveillance powers at the FBI and Justice Department.

 

NBC News

(Probably the most fair among the mainstream media. Granted, a low bar.)

HEADLINE: GOP-Nunes memo released alleging FBI cover-up

The House Intelligence Committee on Friday made public a Republican memo that raises questions about the FBI surveillance of one of Donald Trump’s campaign aides, acting after the president declassified the entire document, which he says shows the law enforcement agency was biased against him.

The disclosure came despite the opposition of the FBI, which feared it would reveal investigative methods, and the Justice Department.

The three-and-a-half-page memo was prepared by the intelligence committee’s chairman, Rep. Devin Nunes, R-Calif., and is a critique of the FBI’s application for surveillance authority that was presented to the Federal Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) Court.


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

Today’s news moves at a faster pace than ever, and a lot of sources are not trustworthy. Whatfinger.com  is my go-to source for keeping up with all the latest events in real time from good sources.


 

Categories
FBI Russia Scandals Trump Truth

A Special Counsel Must Now be Appointed to Investigate the FBI

Rod Thomson

This is getting dicey. It is no longer clear that Americans can trust the FBI to conduct a professional, non-partisan, fair investigation — particularly as it concerns Washington politicians. In fact, it is becoming clear that when it comes to high federal officials, they can not or will not do so and may actually be undermining American democracy.

Those are strong words. But this actually is a crisis — not the fake crisis the news comes up with daily, like snowstorms in January or a Trump tweet — but a crisis that affects the fundamental operations and nature of our Republic.

Special Counsels are an ugly and dangerous business and have shown their threat at every opportunity. They are exta-constitutional and answerable to no one, including the American public. But frankly, it’s not clear there are enough Congressional committees to even begin to unwind all of the corruption of the Obama Administration — even if there were the will. And there is not.

That’s why, despite the dangers inherent — and our personal opposition to even the idea of a special counsel that is answerable to no one — multiple special counsels may now be needed to seriously look into the mischief that apparently has been ripe through the federal government under Obama and before that.

But for now, the real and immediate crisis is with the FBI, and that is beginning to look like it requires urgent attention.

 

The FBI’s credibility storm

Multiple FBI agents and Department of Justice officials appear complicit in using the now largely debunked Fusion GPS Steele dossier to get an investigation rolling on Trump-Russia collusion. This salacious piece of fiction may even have been used to get wire-taps on Trump campaign officials, picking up the president himself at times. And it apparently has formed the basis for the media’s partisanship-driven hysteria over Trump-Russia collusion — about which nothing we know of has been found by the grinding Mueller investigation. There may be nothing to the entire Trump-Russia collusion frenzy.

But there may be very real collusion elsewhere.

The Steele dossier, paid for by the Democratic National Committee and the Hillary Clinton campaign to dig up or make up dirt on Trump, made its way to the FBI by means unknown and agents jumped on it, traveling to Rome to interview former British spy Christopher Steele in the weeks before the election. The FBI was so keen on this discredited and partisan dossier that the Washington Post reports they went as far as to plan a few weeks before the 2016 election to pay Steele to continue his work.

And now we have ongoing obstruction by the FBI in refusing to turn over documents relating to this whole affair after — no other way to put it — lying to Congress that they did not have them.

The Justice Department has proffered a litany of excuses for not producing the documents, but Rep. Devin Nunes, chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, is having none of it. He sent a letter Thursday to the Justice Department demanding it comply with Congressional subpoenas issued for information on how the department and the FBI handled the Russia investigation: “As it turns out, not only did documents exist that were directly responsive to the committee’s subpoenas, but they involved senior DOJ and FBI officials who were swiftly reassigned when their roles in matters under the committee’s investigation were brought to light.”

That smells like a coverup in process.

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Those Justice officials implicated include former Associate Deputy Attorney General Bruce Ohr, who was recently demoted because of his unauthorized contacts with DNC-paid Fusion GPS. Ohr’s wife worked at Fusion GPS at the time. The implicated FBI officials include James Baker, the bureau’s general counsel in 2016, and Peter Strzok, the number two counterintelligence official.

Strzok was the energy driving the FBI’s investigation into the Trump campaign, and was also part of the team that found no criminal wrongdoing on Hillary Clinton’s deletion of 33,000 emails that Congress had subpeoned. And he was assigned to Mueller’s special counsel staff investigating Trump. However, it turns out that Strzok is not just a virulent anti-Trumper, he is a careless one as he exchanged 375 nasty anti-Trump text messages with fellow FBI agent and girlfriend Lisa Page — another member of Mueller’s increasingly compromised team.

Strzok was reportedly at meetings in the office of FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe strategizing how to stop Trump and discussing having an “insurance policy” in the unlikely event Trump won. For his part, McCabe’s wife was paid $700,000 from close Clinton allies when she ran for the Virginia state legislature in 2015, creating a clear conflict of interest.

Now, with the others being re-assigned, it was announced that McCabe will soon be retiring to his generous government pension.

 

Nunes and Graham lead the charge

With all of this that has been going on — and this is only what we know so far — Congress’ requests seem more than reasonable. They are necessary. Yet the FBI refuses to comply.

Nunes outlines a ream of evasive maneuvers and obfuscations by the Justice Department to avoid handing over the documents Congress demanded and with which the department is legally required to comply. Most of these documents relate to the dossier.

If this stonewalling continues, the House can and maybe will proceed with contempt charges. But so what? Obama Attorney General Eric Holder was found in contempt of Congress for refusing to turn over documents and exactly nothing happened to him. He just ignored it and continued on.

Nunes said, “at this point it seems the DOJ and FBI need to be investigating themselves.”

But that is a non-starter as no one will trust such an investigation with the FBI under such a credibility cloud.

Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham was a bitter critic of Trump as a candidate and remains one as president. But Graham understands what’s at stake. He told Fox News that a special counsel should be appointed to investigate the entire Steele dossier issue.

“I’ve spent some time in the last couple of days, after a lot of fighting with the Department of Justice, to get the background on the dossier, and here’s what I can tell your viewers,” Graham said. “I’m very disturbed about what the Department of Justice did with this dossier, and we need a special counsel to look into that, because that’s not in Mueller’s charter.”

Further: “What I’ve gathered in the last couple of days bothers me a lot, and I’d like somebody outside DOJ to look into how this dossier was handled and what they did with it…After having looked at the history of the dossier, and how it was used by the Department of Justice, I’m really very concerned, and this cannot be the new normal.”

“New normal” is to be highlighted. What he’s saying is that our highest and most powerful investigative agency cannot be be allowed to be actively working to undermine a duly elected American president. Ever. Regardless of the president. That is one mere step from an actual coup and it cannot stand. Graham is exactly right.

 

Congress should appoint the Special Counsel

While traditionally these Special Counsels or Special Prosecutors have been appointed by the President or Attorney General, the politics of Trump doing it are awesomely bad while the likelihood of Sessions doing it is remote as he is part of the stonewalling now.

There is, however, precedent for Congress to appoint a Special Prosecutor. A joint resolution of the House and Senate resulted in the appointment of one to investigate the Teapot Dome scandal in 1923 — called the “greatest and most sensational scandal in the history of American politics” before Watergate.

The only way to get to the bottom of this scandal and root out the rot that is infesting the FBI, is through a Special Counsel, using non FBI and Department of Justice investigators. It’s a mess. But it cannot remain. If it is as it appears, it could be worse than Watergate. Either President Trump or Congress must step up.

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

Categories
America Iran Israel Russia Truth United Nations

America: The World’s Only Entity That Is Truly Too Big to Fail

by Rep. Julio Gonzalez, M.D., J.D.

It has been less than two weeks since Ambassador Nikki Haley’s historic posture at the United Nations. The moment her hand raised in opposition to the tide of anti-Semitism flooding the General Assembly, Haley became a symbol for American resoluteness and the resumption of bold and principled leadership on the part of the United States of America.

Indeed, the experiment on American meekness in the global stage had played out for far longer than it should have. Despite the praise being showered upon the Obama Administration’s foreign policy approach of withdrawal from the world stage and abandonment of its most loyal allies, the result was undeniable. The United States was seen as unreliable, uncommitted, and unpredictable, and its foes scurried to fill the void created by its retreat.

In North Korea, the effort to develop and deploy a nuclear arsenal progressed as its leaders sensed the weakness in American resolve. In Europe, Russia was emboldened to invade Crimea and eastern Ukraine, and still occupies those territories for the first time since the fall of the Soviet Union. In the Middle East, Iran, Hezbollah, and ISIS strengthened their foothold on the region by actually engaging in territorial conquest and fomenting terrorism throughout the world. In Syria, a callus dictator crossed Obama’s crayoned red line with impunity, delivering chemical attacks on his own people while Israel felt the increasing strain of not being backed by its staunchest and mightiest ally. Even in Latin America, the boldness of anti-American sentiment grew as Venezuela repeatedly ridiculed the President and the American people he misrepresented.

And despite the undeniable signs of the destructive consequences of a nation stubbornly selling a “lead from behind” foreign policy approach, the leftist press continued to sell its virtues to a largely dormant public.

 

America’s U.N. moment

But all that ended on December 21, 2017, when a slender, feminine, American hand somberly and defiantly reached towards the sky, announcing an end to the political nonsense.  

Anarchy, once well embedded, is difficult to dispel, and the American plight to rectify the evils lurking within the United Nations is no exception. Nevertheless, the United States is following up on its position, demonstrating that its new approach to the world’s problems will not be fleeting. Ambassador Haley already announced that the United States will be withdrawing more than $285 million dollars of American support to the United Nations. And there is no reason to believe those cuts won’t be more drastic as the United Nations continues its anti-American stance.  

Already, 10 other countries have announced their intention to move their embassies to Jerusalem, joining what can now be rightfully considered a movement to rectify the injustices that have plagued the United Nations for way too long.  

The fact is, the failure of Obama’s approach to global interaction was predictable, as we have already seen the effects of even a perception of an America seemingly unmotivated in the international arena. Recall Secretary of State Dean Acheson’s “defense perimeter” speech delivered on January 12, 1950, where he failed to include South Korea in the zone of American military interests, which was erroneously perceived by North Korea as lack of interest by the United States to South Korea’s integrity. What resulted was the first international hostility by Communism in the post-World War II era at the expense of thousands of lives and continued regional instability to this day.  

Interestingly, throughout the waning months of the Bush years and into the Obama Administration, we heard the seemingly endless narrative about the existence of organizations that were too big to fail.  In the end, and with strong showings by Trump Administration, we are relearning that in fact, there is only one entity in the global stage that is truly too big, too important, and too righteous to fail.

The United States of America.  

Dr. Julio Gonzalez is an orthopaedic surgeon and lawyer living in Venice, Florida. He is the author of The Federalist Pages and serves in the Florida House of Representatives. He can be reached through www.thefederalistpages.com to arrange a lecture or book signing.

 

Categories
Iran IRS Politics Russia Scandals Truth

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.

Categories
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.

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Politics Russia Truth

EXPLAINED: Why There Is No Trump-Russia ‘Scandal,’ but maybe Obama-Russia…

By Rod Thomson

We’re going to get into the full context, but to jump straight to the point: There is absolutely nothing to the Russian scandal narrative pushed by Democrats and the media — which are largely the same. Nothing.

Liberals have suddenly discovered that the Russian reset failed and the country remains an enemy or opponent. This occurred not during Russia’s aggressions around the world or hacking U.S. companies, but when they may have hacked into the Democratic National Committee. So now no one in the Trump campaign, or connected to Trump, should ever have talked to the Russians before the 2016 election.

Of course this is nonsense, but to see just how nonsensical we’ll completely dismantle the narrative step by step to show that there is, truly, no “there” there.

  • The Russians did not hack the election.
  • The Russians did not unduly attempt to influence the election.
  • Vladimir Putin does not have a bromance with Donald Trump.
  • Sen. Jeff Sessions did nothing wrong in meeting with the Russian Ambassador.
  • There was no secret collusion between the Trump Campaign and the Russians.
  • There are, however, some serious questions about connections and actions between President Obama and Russia.

All of the above statements can be made definitively based on all the information we have at this point, and all we know about our history to provide the context that the media will not provide.

There actually is almost no story here. A sidebar of mild interest. But there is a reason the Democrats have latched onto it and the media is lashing it forward.

First, we debunk the whole thing.

 

The Russians did not hack the election

There is no evidence that the Russians hacked into the actual election in any way. No polling places were compromised by Russians. No ballots tampered with (by Russians.) The votes of Americans were duly counted, along with some unknown number of illegal immigrants.

There is evidence that the Russians hacked into the computers of the Democratic National Committee. There is a decent case for this, although it is not enough to call it a fact. Also, seldom mentioned, is that the Russians tried to hack into the computers of the Republican National Committee. They were unable to break into those computers.

However, hacking into party computers is not “hacking the election.” Hacking the election is meant to convey the idea that the Russians changed the results, that they stole the election from Hillary Clinton to give it to Donald Trump. For that, as we will see, there is no actual evidence.

Using the phrase “hacked the election,” however, is a conflation of items to reach a desired conclusion. We will see this methodological spin throughout the attempts to indict the Trump administration.

 

The Russians did not *unduly* attempt to influence the election

The key here is “unduly.” Because historical and global context is huge. Reporting makes it sound like all this started last year. That’s just journalistic malpractice.

The reason for “unduly” is that by any criterion, this is standard practice among nations, and most definitely with Russia toward the United States.

The French government sought to influence the election of our first presidents to enlist U.S. aid in their long-running war with Great Britain. They favored Thomas Jefferson’s position and opposed George Washington. The British attempted to influence several U.S. elections in the 1800s, usually due to European intrigues.

In 1941, Britain used several methods to get a pro-interventionist Republican nominated against FDR in his third presidential bid. Later in the general election, the British used a fictional map falsely attributed to Hitler to force both candidates into a stronger interventionist position.

In 1960, the Soviets held captured U-2 pilot Gary Powers after his spy plane crashed in Russia, purposely delaying his release until after the presidential elections to benefit John F. Kennedy. Soviet Premier Khrushchev wrote in his memoirs that it worked: “We kept Nixon from being able to claim that he could deal with the Russians; our ploy made a difference of at least half a million votes, which gave Kennedy the edge he needed.”

During the Cold War years, the Soviets sought to influence U.S. public opinion on a range of issues, including elections. Maybe most interesting, however, is the collusion Sen. Ted Kennedy sought with Russia to undermine the reelection of President Ronald Reagan in 1984.

Kennedy initiated this. He offered to travel to Moscow to meet with then-Soviet leader Andrei Andropov — who hated and feared Reagan — and promised to arrange several TV interviews for Andropov. Kennedy assured Andropov he could get the Russian dictator media sit-downs and that they would look like honest journalism. We don’t know for sure whether the Russians acted on any of it, or if some other deal was struck.

Tellingly, when this was discovered in the opened KGB archives in 1991, the London Times did an extensive story on it. The U.S. media — aligned with the Democratic Party — ignored the story, even as Kennedy sat as a leading Senator and was reverently referred to as the “lion of the Senate.”

And by the way, the U.S. has attempted to influence elections in other countries for years. In fact, this is a common practice among nations. There is a whole database detailing it. Hysteria over Russia trying to influence the U.S. election is barely even news if honest news judgment is exercised — except when it is useful.

So any Russian interference there may have been in the recent U.S. elections is, in itself, not huge news when we realize how common this practice is. You just won’t learn that from the media.

 

There is no Putin-Trump bromance

Here lies another canard in the narrative. It goes like this: Putin complemented Trump. Trump likes complements. Trump replied in fashion. In another president, this would be called basic diplomacy.

But because Democrats and the media are whigged out over Russia, and over Trump, this rather boring exchange has become a basis for there being a bromance — current linguistic currency for a close male bond. It’s as silly as it sounds, at every level.

In fact, no less publications than USA Today and Newsweek used the term in their headlines. Yes, journalism has really declined.

But there are clear and stated flash points. Putin has long wanted to rebuild the Russian Empire, and made some headway during Obama’s feckless years. Trump ran on making America great again both domestically and around the world and is determined to rebuild the American military. No friend of Putin would be rebuilding our military. In fact, that and a strong economy — the other arm of Trump’s campaign — would be the two areas Putin would least like to see. That’s some bad bromancing.

There are potential places of cooperation with Russia, particularly against Islamic jihadism. Putin’s southern border and provinces are crawling with jihadists and there have been terrorist attacks in Moscow and elsewhere. As in Nazism, there is a common enemy. That is usually called Realpolitik, a la Henry Kissinger.

The way in which Obama worked with Russia was the unilateral withdrawal of America’s deterrent umbrella in Eastern Europe. Yes, as in Crimea and Ukraine and even Syria, it was just basically a give away to weaken the American position. And remember, the Iran deal greatly benefitted both an Islamic terrorist-exporting regime and an ally of Russia.

 

There was no secret collusion, no Sessions problems

United States Senators meet with foreign leaders routinely, particularly those that sit on Senate committees that are involved with international interests, such as the Senate Armed Services Committee. Jeff Sessions was a U.S. Senator during the 2016 election campaign. He served on the Armed Services Committee. He met with the Russian Ambassador.

Yup. That’s pretty much it. That is the basis for the entire fabricated controversy.

The only potential additional issue is that during his confirmation hearings to become U.S. Attorney General, Sessions said he did not have any contacts with the Russians during the campaign. This is muddy because the context is that the question was part of a series from Sen. Al Franken, D-Minn., that was focused on Session’s actions as a surrogate for the Trump campaign. In that sense, he had no contacts with the Russians. But as a Senator, he did.

Watching video of the hearings, it seems likely Sessions was answering Franken as part of the Trump team, not as a Senator. However, ideally he should have clarified. And when it came out, he could have clarified. But that is a messaging issue, not a scandal.

To that point, Sen. Claire McCaskill, D-Mo., tweeted out in a huff that Sessions was compromised as the Trump Administration’s Attorney General because he met with the Ambassador. She claimed that she had never met with the man, suggesting how rare such an event would be. But then it turns out that McCaskill had met with the Russian Ambassador in 2013. And tweeted about it.

Did she lie in her tweet or did she forget the four-year-old meeting? Who knows. Either way, it’s hardly a scandal. Except when a Republican does it. And such meetings with foreign leaders are common. In fact, Sessions met with at least 10 foreign ambassadors in 2016.

So was there any other collusion, any evidence at all?

No, according to no less than James Clapper, Obama’s Director of National Intelligence. On Meet the Press recently, Clapper and host Chuck Todd had this exchange:

James Clapper: We did not include any evidence in our report, and I say, “our,” that’s N.S.A., F.B.I. and C.I.A., with my office, the Director of National Intelligence, that had anything, that had any reflection of collusion between members of the Trump campaign and the Russians. There was no evidence of that included in our report.

Chuck Todd: I understand that. But does it exist?

James Clapper: Not to my knowledge.

So even Obama intelligence officials say there is no evidence of Russian collusion. And yet, we are dealing with a full-fledged scandal with Democrats calling for Sessions to resign.

 

Now Obama-Russia, on the other hand…

Here’s the real kicker in this whole story. While there is no Russian scandal regarding the Trump campaign, there is a very real one regarding the Obama presidency — one that has been out there like an elephant plopped in the living room. And like the metaphorical elephant, just as ignored.

First, let’s go back to 2012, when Obama told Putin’s most trusted confidant, then-Russian President Dmitry Medvedev, in a meeting in Seoul that after the election he would have more flexibility. Their meeting was about nuclear arms negotiations, but the context of this could be broader. Here is the exchange as Obama leaned close to the Russian President:

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

Medvedev: “I will transmit this information to Vladimir.”

Obama then leaned over and patted Medvedev on the arm in a friendly gesture. That’s a lot of bromancing considering the hysteria we are seeing now as Russia has apparently returned to Evil Empire status after the DNC hack. Only media darling Barack Obama could do that with virtually no blowback.

But let’s now look forward from that overtly damning meeting.

Obama won reelection, and in the course of his second term, Russian military forces invaded Crimea. The United States response under Obama was nothing. Then Russia and her surrogates moved into eastern Ukraine. The Ukrainian government begged for help, just arms and supplies, no soldiers or direct involvement. The United States response under Obama was nothing.

Then, after U.S. dithering while the Syrian civil war devolved into genocide, Russia intervened on behalf of the Syrian Assad regime — which Obama said had to go. Syria was a Cold War ally of the Soviet Union. And still, the United States response under Obama was nothing

Lastly in major actions, Obama’s State Department under Hillary Clinton sold Putin 20 percent of the United States uranium production — a necessary product in the development of nuclear weapons. Of course, money was rushing into the Clinton Foundation at this same time.

This does not include the unilateral defensive shield giveaways of Obama to Russia in his first term. This all came after Obama’s flexibility whisper to Medvedev.

Trump’s call for an investigation of Obama and Russian connections and dealings has been roundly ridiculed. But as we can see, it’s actually not unreasonable. The challenge for any investigation is that team Obama is generally too savvy to leave any footprints leading back to the former president.

 

What it’s all about

Given there appears at this point to be little evidence of any collusion between the Trump campaign and the Russians, and that there is considerable evidence of wink-and-nod collusion between Obama and the Russians, why is this such a huge controversy?

Raw political math.

Republicans control the House, the Senate and the White House. Eventually, Republican appointees will be running all of the arms of government. The Democrats have no power. Unless Senate Republicans defect — always a possibility — the Democrats can stop none of Trump’s policies and actions.

That is why they took to the streets so virulently. That’s why they are challenging every jot and tittle in court. And most of all, that is why they are trying to turn the Russian story into a full-blown scandal in hopes of weakening Trump and thereby his presidency.

Their ultimate goal is impeachment — something Democrat leaders have been talking about since before Trump’s inauguration.

Their problem is that barring some new huge revelation — real evidence, not the fake evidence that we’ve seen so far — the Russian “scandal” will fade in all but the most fevered partisan minds.

But the national divide will remain deep.