Wednesday, February 21, 2018

"Chain Migration Cannot Be Allowed Any Part of Legislation on Immigration" — DJT

Melania Trump's parents arrive in the U.S. via AF-1 
(Morristown, NJ - June 30, 2017)

Melania's parents have reportedly become legal permanent residents of the United States (now with green card), but their lawyer won’t comment on whether it was or was not through the so-called “chain migration immigration system which Trump has vowed to end.

The story from Snopes – the fact chasers: “Unproven and unknown” but boy what an interesting story on this critical subject. Reminder: “CHAIN MIGRATION” is a valid legal program and long-standing practice that Trump now hates and wants to do away with. Why does Trump hate the program so much? White House statement: 

But their immigration status remains unclear: not only has the White House refused to comment, but immigration status is not a matter of public record. 

However, the Trump administration has continually referred to the practice of issuing family reunification visas for parents, spouses or children as “chain migration” as a threat to national security despite the strict guidelines on which relatives are eligible, as well as annual caps on the amount of immigrants allowed to enter the country in this manner.

My 2 cents: In this case, the public does without any doubt have a right to know – in fact a compelling right to know.

If anything is true, but as stated this case is “unproven and unknown” one thing however, does stand out if true and that is: Donald J. Trump is a hypocrite and if this case re: his wife’s mother and father is true, then, it stinks even more than ever.

Stay tuned – maybe the truth will come out.

Thanks for stopping by.

Sunday, February 18, 2018

Trump Tweet Hits Keep on Coming ♫ He Believes Putin Really He Does Really

Vlad, stop it, your laughter is killing me
(It will "save your ass" from falling off, too)

Donald J. Trump @realDonaldTrump        

If it was the GOAL of Russia to create discord, disruption and chaos within the U.S. then, with all of the Committee Hearings, Investigations and Party hatred, they have succeeded beyond their wildest dreams. They are laughing their asses off in Moscow. Get smart America!

5:11 AM - 18 Feb 2018

Details behind his story and his tweet above set the tone:

Trump fumed on Twitter on Saturday night (February 17) and Sunday morning (February 18) after 13 Russians and three Russian entities were indicted by S/C Robert Mueller for allegedly interfering in the 2016 U.S. election.

Trump pointed to the various committee hearings and investigations as evidence that Russia succeeded in its goal of stirring up chaos, and right on cue as so many times in the past, he would not blame the Russians directly, plus they again were curiously absent from his list of enemies and tweet storming.

Trump’s way out – he apparently believes is this: Even though Trump said Sunday that he never denied there was Russian election meddling (or a 400-lb. guy or even the Chinese) he again emphasized Russian President Vladimir Putin’s denial saying:

“Every time he sees me, he said: ‘I didn’t do that.’ And I believe — I really believe — that when he tells me that, he means it,” (Trump first said in November 2017).

Trump then went on to blame former President Barack Obama for Russian interference, mocked a U.S. congressman, and gloated over Democrat Hillary Clinton’s loss. 

He started off by re-litigating the money exchanged during the controversial Iran nuclear deal that focused on reducing the country’s nuclear stockpile saying the Obama administration said the settlement was to resolve a dispute between the countries that was decades old.

(I note: It was and the international court gave the go ahead on the deal and thus release of Iranian money that was being held by sanctions in several banks around the globe - not just in the U.S. – but it was NOT a payoff in American money – not on bit that Trump and most of the GOP right wing implies 24/7). More on that “deal” below.)

The Iran “nuclear deal” was signed by an international accord in 2015 with six world powers (US, UK, France, German, China, and Russia) all agreeing that if they saw and had verifiable proof that Iran was curbing its nuclear program, they would in exchange lift many of the international sanctions against Iran – including releasing a lot of their money held in various banks – if the money did not go to more nuclear weapons production, etc. (the proof part). Trump continues to call the nuclear deal “terrible and the worst deal ever negotiated.” 

However, facts don’t match Trump’s hype – a few examples:

1.  Secretary of Defense James Mattis has testified before Congress that the deal is in America's best national security interest to remain in it.

2.  The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) keeps repeatedly finding that Iran is complying with the deal as stipulated and agreed upon.

3.  Plus, the other signers: The UK, France, Germany, China, and Russia all say Iran is complying and that it should not be discarded in any way

Trump also tweeted a thank you to Rep. Adam “Little” Schiff (D-CA) for saying the Obama administration shared part of the blame for Russian interference (as if that excused the false blowback from Trump and others).

Schiff had earlier said on NBC News that Obama should have established a “more forceful deterrent” against potential cyberattacks after North Korea went after Sony in 2014.

Trump’s tweetstorm came following Mueller’s indictment announcement that carefully outlined the trail of those 13 Russians and Russian companies, including the Internet Research Agency (IRA), basedin Saint Petersburg, and known for its online trolling. 

The indictment said the Russian propagandists conspired to sow discord in the U.S. political system by adopting fake online personas to push disruptive messages and staging political rallies posing as Americans, among other tactics.

According to Mueller’s office, which has not finished its investigation, this Russian propaganda was intended to discredit Clinton and bolster support for Trump. Related of course are that two Trump campaign officials, including former NSC Adviser Michael Flynn and have pleaded guilty to lying to the FBI.

Those Flynn and other lies were about not having contacts with Russia – but Flynn is now cooperating with Mueller’s probe along with the other being Paul Manafort, dealing or not – we do not know for sure. Then add in George Papadopoulos (or just a “water boy” Trump now calls him – who is singing like a canary we suppose), and Manafort's pal Rick Gates and well... plenty a smoke leading to lots of fire. 

Then Trump tweeted that FBI officials were spending “too much time” on the Russia investigation while weakly linking the issue to last week’s school shooting in Parkland, FL. 

(I note: BTW those two things are not in any way linked. The FBI admitted they missed following up on a tip about the shooter – but still Trump and others paint the entire FBI (over 30,000 agents and staff, et al) as to blame – which is totally absurd).

My 2 cents: When will the country wake up to this man in the White House as being the worst President ever and the #1 cause for the turmoil and chaos he now blames on others

And, all the while Trump keeps praising Putin – which I guess in the end he plans on that benefiting himself and Putin when they share a Nobel for what being “Great Deal Makers” – a strong possibility – keep that part in mind.

His tactics - Art of the Con not deal: Cause turmoil, chaos, and as much structural damage as possible and then settle back with some sort of monetary of TV show deal and say:

“See that is what I always call ‘The Art of the Deal’ and it is what I have always advocated – believe me – and now you see it again in action.” /s/ Donald J. Trump.

As least that’s how I see things based a lot of years of assessing people. But we must stay vigilant, too. It ain’t over yet.

Thanks for stopping by. 

Friday, February 16, 2018

Trump to His Base (33%): Hold the Line, No Collusion, I'm Vindicated Believe Me

Red Meat Toss Contest: More where this came from 

How Trump sees anything about Russia
(Other than his business deals)

Updated (February 16, 2018):

WASHINGTON — The office of Special Counsel Robert Mueller says a grand jury has charged 13 Russian nationals and three Russian entities. The defendants are accused of violating U.S. criminal laws to interfere with American elections and the political process. Charges include conspiracy, wire fraud, bank fraud, and aggravated identity theft.

Key specific details:

WASHINGTON (AP) — Thirteen Russians, including a businessman close to Vladimir Putin, were charged Friday in an elaborate plot to interfere in the 2016 presidential election through social media propaganda, aimed in part at helping Republican Donald Trump and harming the prospects of his Democratic opponent, Hillary Clinton.

The federal indictment, brought by the office of special counsel Robert Mueller, represents the most direct allegation to date of illegal Russian meddling during the campaign that sent Trump to the White House. It also marks the first criminal charges against Russians believed to have secretly worked to influence the outcome.

Trump claimed vindication, noting in a tweet that Russian interference efforts alleged in the indictment began in 2014 — long before I announced that I would run for President he said, and then tweeted: “The results of the election were not impacted. The Trump campaign did nothing wrong — no collusion!" he tweeted. However, the Mueller investigation continues.”

The collusion question, still unresolved, has been at the heart of the probe, which before Friday had produced charges against four Trump associates. The U.S. intelligence community has said the Russian government interfered to benefit Trump, including by orchestrating the hack of Democratic emails, and Mueller and his prosecutors have been assessing whether the campaign coordinated with Russia in any meddling. 

Note: The latest indictment does not focus on the hacking but instead centers on a social media effort that began in 2014 and continued past the election, with the goal of producing confusion and discontent in the American political process. Trump himself has been reluctant to acknowledge the interference.

Though the indictment lays out a vast and wide-ranging effort to sway political opinion during the presidential primaries and the bitterly contested general election, it does not allege that any American or Trump campaign associate knowingly participated but that Trump campaign associates had only “unwitting contact with Russians who posed as Americans during election season.”

It alleges that Russians working in concert with the Internet Research Agency (IRA), a St. Petersburg-based troll farm, purchased internet advertisements in the names of Americans whose identities they had stolen, staged political rallies while posing as American political activists and paid people in the U.S. to promote or disparage candidates. 

The indictment says the IRA was funded by Yevgeny Prigozhin, a St. Petersburg businessman dubbed “Putin's chef” because his restaurants and catering businesses once hosted the Kremlin leader's dinners with foreign dignitaries. The company was also funded by companies Prigozhin controlled, according to the indictment. 

Note: The intent of the meddling, the indictment says, was to “sow discord in the U.S. political system, including the 2016 presidential election.”

By early-to-mid 2016, the indictment alleges, Russian efforts included supporting Trump's campaign and disparaging Democrat Clinton. The charges say that Russians also communicated with “unwitting individuals” associated with the Trump campaign and other political activists to coordinate activities.

According to the indictment, the IRA started interfering as early as 2014 in U.S. politics, extending to the 2016 presidential election. 

The defendants, “posing as U.S. persons and creating false U.S. personas, operated social media groups designed to attract U.S. audiences by stealing U.S. identities and falsely claiming to be U.S. activists.” It continued: “Over time, these social media accounts became defendants' means to reach significant numbers of Americans for purposes of interfering with the U.S. political system,” the indictment reads.

The defendants are charged with conspiring “to obstruct the lawful functions of the United States government through fraud and deceit,” including by making expenditures in connection with the 2016 election, failing to register as foreign agents carrying out political activities and obtaining visas through false and fraudulent statements. Some of the Russians traveled to the U.S. “under false pretenses” to collect intelligence. They also used computer infrastructure based partly in the U.S. to hide the Russian origins of their work. 

In all honestly Trump and those around him had no idea he would win ...all they knew was that a big payoff would bless them after the campaign ... i.e, ExxonMobil gas project with Russia worth $500 billion and change, etc. Kushner saw it all as a way to get out of his tons of debt, too. Etc. etc. etc. But, that does not excuse their methods vis-à-vis Russian connections and such - they saw it as some sort of “just another normal and typical Trump business deal.” And if he won, so much the better.

My assessment is simple: It ain’t over tell Mueller says it’s over. Specifically:

Looking at the Mueller investigation as a whole, it’s grown to be quite complex:

1. Trump former adviser, George Papadopoulos, pleaded guilty to lying about his contacts with Russians during the election.

2.  Former NSC adviser, Michael Flynn, pleaded guilty to lying about his contacts with Russians after the election.

3.  Two other ex-Trump aides, Paul Manafort and Rick Gates, were indicted for alleged money laundering unrelated to the campaign.

And Mueller’s team has been looking into potential obstruction of justice from the Trump administration too. The new indictments, then, are a piece in this larger puzzle — a puzzle that still isn’t yet solved.

Now, keep in mind, all this runs counter to the garbage all over what Fox via the Hannity-types, and via other right wing ranting outlets, too. 

Plus, how the general GOP sees all this is simple:

They are premature in their ranting and those who know Mueller know how he works… so, stay tuned. 

Thanks for stopping by.

Tuesday, February 13, 2018

Russia Still in Our Election Processes: Will Trump Now Acknowledge That Reality

So, Vlad, tell me again: Are you disrupting our elections?
(Vlad said no, just like Moore and Porter said innocent)

Very serious report from various news coverage here and here – same subject: Russian hacking - the highlights:

The heads of our six top intelligence agencies now say that Russian interference in American democracy has not diminished since the 2016 presidential race and is continuing in advance of this year’s midterms.

This report: During a Senate Intelligence Committee hearing the Directors of CIA, FBI, National Intelligence, NSA, DIA, and National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency were asked to reaffirm their view that Moscow’s election meddling has continued since the election of President Trump. 

They did so unanimously.

Chilling assessment from former Indiana U.S. Senator and now the Director of National Intelligence, Dan Coats, who said at the start of hearing in very stark terms:

Frankly, the United States is under attack. Under attack by entities that are using cyber to penetrate virtually every major action that takes place in the United States. Influence operations, especially through cyber means, will remain a significant threat to U. S. interests. Russia probably will be the most capable and aggressive source of this threat in 2018.” Coats then went on to warn that the Kremlin will continue to use “sympathetic spokesmen to advance its disinformation agenda, pushing propaganda, social media, false-flag personas, and other means of influence to try to exacerbate social and political fissures in the United States,” then adding: “There should be no doubt that Russia perceives its past operations as successful.” 

My conclusion: How will Trump react – that is will he sign off on this unanimous report and say publicly for the first time and definitively that Vladimir Putin is up to no good in our democratic process?  A simple yes or no will suffice, Mr. President and the sooner the better. So, I suspect the W/H PR spin machine gets fresh oil a new spin belt right, Ms. Huckabee-Sanders and Ms. Hope Hicks?

Finally, who can ever forget this encounter between Trump and Putin at a summit in Vietnam in 2017 – most-stunning is Trump remarks at about the 1:30 mark about Putin and our election shenanigans: 

BTW: I won’t hold my breath about that Trump statement – you might turn blue. 

Also, I have had people contact me and ask why I print things from the news like I do – answer is simple: To help enlighten those who read this blog and may not have seen the stories I blog about.  The more we know the more we know – no substitute for knowledge, right. I think so just like Thomas Jefferson once said in this quote:

Stay tuned nevertheless, and as always thanks for stopping by.

Sunday, February 11, 2018

Great Read With Caveat: For Open-Minded Who Trust Facts Not GOP — FOX Spin

The limelight where he seeks and thrives on attention, 
chaos, and turmoil

Ezra Klein’s article with this headline is stunningly great:

“Donald Trump, Fox News, and the logic of alternative facts”

Sub title: “The Nunes’ memo and the FBI texts gave Trump the alternative story he needed.”

My Introduction: This Vox article to date is probably the best analysis about the current domestic political shenanigans in the Trump administration that I have ever seen or read. I would would consider it “a must read.” 

It gives a clear and coherent understanding in a fact-proven format that is easy to follow. It lays out all the wrong we see today in this White House and with this president and those like FOX who pad and prod and prop him up (even proven by Trump’s own words about how Great Fox and Friends is) and of course from the actors around Mr. Trump who fluff him daily to keep him content – all in the end undermine of our values, rights, freedoms, and trust we hold dearly about our government and our time-proven system even with all the warts and scars.

This administration is by far the worse I have ever seen in my lifetime – and I have seen plenty. I'm also pretty certain that millions like me hold that same view.

Here a few highlights from the article (boxed with my emphasis) that I favor and cherry picked that are excellent, but you will have to read the whole article, top to bottom, to get the full whole flavor, and believe me, you’ll enjoy every drop of it.

First there was the memo from Rep. Devin Nunes, which Sean Hannity hyped would reveal a scandal “worse than Watergate” but proved a dud upon release.

Instead of corroborating a conservative line that the case against President Donald Trump was politically motivated, it instead confirmed the New York Times’s reporting that the FBI’s inquiry began with Trump adviser George Papadopoulos’s loose talk.

Then there were new text messages between FBI lawyer Lisa Page and her lover Peter Strzok, an FBI agent who later served on, and was then fired from, Robert Mueller’s probe. Page and Strzok’s past personal texts showed they hoped Trump would lose the election. The new set included a provocative line: Then-President Obama wants “to know everything we’re doing,” Page said.

Conservative reaction was instantaneous. Sen. Ron Johnson (R-WI) said the texts revealed “Obama’s personal involvement in the Clinton email scandal and the FBI investigation of it.”

House Judiciary Committee member Rep. Louie Gohmert (R-TX) said  “It means the president [Obama] wants to know what they’re doing to stop Trump.”

Trump himself tweeted: “NEW FBI TEXTS ARE BOMBSHELLS!”

All of this proved wrong.


Think Progress’s Judd Legum noted, the date of the texts — September 2, 2016 was after the initial investigation into Clinton’s emails was closed and before the discovery of emails on Anthony Weiner’s laptop (which happened on September 28, 2016, and briefly led to the Clinton investigation being reopened).

The Wall Street Journal then reported that the texts referred “to preparation to brief Mr. Obama about Russian interference in that year’s election.” That aligns with the public timeline: We know Obama confronted Vladimir Putin about Russia’s election meddling on September 4, during the September 2016 G20 meeting, so it makes sense that he was being briefed a few days before that.

Then Fox News dropped a report on February 8 showing that in March 2017, Sen. Mark Warner, the Virginia Democrat who has been helping lead the Intelligence Committee’s Russia investigation, texted with a Russian oligarch in order to get information on, and potentially meet with, Christopher Steele, the author of the infamous Russia dossier. It isn’t clear what wrongdoing this is supposed to show it’s reasonable enough that a Democrat on the Senate Intelligence Committee would have wanted to interview Steele, given that his work was influential — but it elicited a predictable Trump tweet:

Wow! - Senator Mark Warner got caught having extensive contact with a lobbyist for a Russian oligarch. Warner did not want a “paper trail” on a “private” meeting (in London) he requested with Steele of fraudulent Dossier fame. All tied into Crooked Hillary.”  — Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) February 9, 2018

But, less predictable was Sen. Marco Rubio’s sharp response, accusing both Trump and Fox News of trying to spin a scandal out of nothing, and noting that Warner didn’t “get caught.” 

He’d told the Intelligence Committee exactly what he was doing. Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) tweet: “Sen. Warner fully disclosed this to the committee four months ago. Has had zero impact on our work.”

Fox News knew that Warner had disclosed the texts to the committee but didn’t mention it until the seventh paragraph of the story, and didn’t explain that Sen. Richard Burr, the Republican chair of the Intelligence Committee, was aware of Warner’s efforts until the very end of the story.

One way of looking at this past week is as a failure for the conservative spin machine. All three stories crumbled upon contact with the barest scrutiny, embarrassing the outlets and politicians that credulously or cynically promoted them.  The other way of looking at it is as a stunning success, one that gave Trump and his defenders exactly what they wanted.

Their logic of alternative facts.

And, we all know who the Queen of Alternative Facts is, right? (Recall this clip when Conway introduced that phrasea moment in history for sure):

Finally, as I said this is a super article from Vox – please continue from top to bottom to get the full flavor and thanks for stopping by.

Wednesday, February 7, 2018

Plea to Congress: Stop Feeding Trump's Ego, Lust for Power, and Total Control

Trump watches French Bastille Day Parade with Macon (2017)
(Trump giddy and gets brain storm for bigger one)
North Korean typical military parade (2017)
(To Kim Jung-Un: I have a bigger one)

Moscow Red Square Military Parade (2010)
(To Putin: I can top yours too)

Seems that Trump has ordered DOD to plan for the biggest military parade ever - and in his honor we surmise is the purpose.

Note: The military parade that Trump now envisions and tells DOD to plan for was more common in another era like at the end of WWI and II (VE and VJ Day parades), or the toppling of Saddam Hussein in Iraq in 1991 (the last big military parade BTW).

There is also virtually no chance Trump will skimp on this parade. Trump said while the guest of French President Emmanuel Macron at the French Bastille Day parade: We're going to have to try and top it.

Note: That is the French National Day – the anniversary of the storming of the Bastille on July 14, 1789, that marked the turning point of the French Revolution that led to the present day French government and national structure not to please or to honor one man.

Trump has spent the lion's share of his 71 years on this planet attempting to attach the words “biggest” and “best” to his brand. This one could cost $100 million and now with tight budgets and such that could be a hard sell.

But, if he gets his way his grant plan goes through, then Trump won't cut any corners because he would view that as a rebuke and reflection on him personally.

Plus, he’s see that as a rebuke of his presidency and the military and of that promise he make that he would make our military bigger and stronger than ever before. It’s not 100 percent clear it will happen, but it “is being worked at the highest levels of the military.”

This would be an American first since the likely dates are Memorial Day on May 28, Independence Day on July 4, or Veterans Day on November 11. 

BTW: Originally called “Armistice Day” – which at the 11th hour on the 11th day of the 11th month in 1918 the Great War ended.

Our last big military parade was in 1991 when we toppled Saddam Hussein in Iraq. But, today we are still at war ever since 2003 and so now may not be the best or right time to celebrate and be as giddy as he was when he watched that Bastille Day parade.

Also, it seems he wants to not only top that one but to out-do Kim, Jung-un in North Korea with his famous parades covering most of Pyongyang in Kim, Il-sung (founder) square.

But Trump's hand in making this a reality, in a way, can't help but make it about him. In fact, this might be the most thoroughly Trump idea of his presidency.

Not only are we talking about a huge show of pageantry and strength that could test the bounds of practicality (not to mention the federal budget this could cost $100 million (FYI: The 1991 cost was $12 million = $25 million today’s dollars).

Many see Trump upending decades of American political tradition to do so — thus drawing the ire of opponents who may allege he's acting like an authoritarian  by making the parade just for him and say not for victory or historical celebration.

The United States has had military parades before, and its presidents have been spectators at other countries' military parades — including Trump going to that Bastille Day celebration last year, which seems to have cemented his desire to have a parade of his own and bigger. BTW: President George W. Bush appeared at a military parade in Russia in 2005 and that was to commemorate the 60th anniversary of the end of World War II.

The most recent American military parades, though, have more often than not been associated with wartime. Presidents Truman and Kennedy had military equipment in their inaugural parades when the Cold War flared up. Military parades since then have generally been on a smaller scale and not held in Washington.

My 2 cents: I don’t mean to rain on Trump’s parade, but this is a crazy idea – one of this craziest to date with a simple question: Why do we keep feeding this man’s maniacal hair brain ideas like this?” Really.

Trump wants to overshadow all previous parades combined with his “biggest and best ever in the entire world parade.” Bet on it … what sick, sick man we have “leading our country, yes, but leading us where?” 

With all our budget woes becoming more critical every single day and the nation as a whole needing lots of domestic attention and funding and fixing, I hope this congress will “just say no” to any funds for this latest outrageous Trump foolish and totally crazy idea. 

I say, stand up to him and do it now. Stop feeding his ego and lust for power and lowering the country to his standard which BTW is pretty darn low right now. 

Thanks for stopping by. 

Sunday, February 4, 2018

Pop Quiz the Biggest Liar: Donald J. Trump or Devin G. Nunes Probably Equal

Textbook description of Trump – Unprecedented in 
American History

Confidant and Crony for Trump but Not the Public

Introduction to Trump’s documented trail of 2,000 lies in his first year in office: Two biggies are here as prime examples of two of the biggest broken promises:

1. He told people he’d cut our taxes and that the super-rich like him would pay more. People bought it. 
But his new tax law does the opposite. By 2027, according to the nonpartisan Tax Policy Center, the richest 1 percent will have got 83 percent of the tax cut and the richest 0.1 percent, 60 percent of it. But more than half of all Americans — 53 percent — will pay more in taxes. As Trump told his wealthy friends at Mar-a-Lago just days after the tax bill became law: “You all just got a lot richer.”

2. He promised to close special interest loopholes. 
Those loopholes he said “have been so good for Wall Street investors but unfair to American workers, and especially the notorious carried interest” loophole for private-equity, hedge fund, and real estate partners. People bought that line, too, but the new tax law keeps the “carried interest” loophole. 

Here are the other 18 of biggest 20 broken promises from a very smart man (Robert Reich) >>> 20 of Trump's Biggest Broken Promises.

Those 2,000 lies that are related to Trump are very detailed from the Washington Post here >>> Analysis | President Trump has made more than 2,000 false or misleading claims over 355 days

And his last documented lie: #2,000 here from Esquire magazine >>> Here's Trump's 2,000th Lie in Office.

My 2 cents: How low have we sunk as a nation to tolerate this – if it were anyone else other than Trump at this same point in time, the public would be bonkers demanding he resign or be impeached. 

But, Trump loyalists still hate Hilary Clinton and the DEMS so much that they are willing to overlook Trump lies on a daily – sometimes many each day. 

As I said, this is unprecedented in American history by any standard, and worse is the GOP and their hypocrisy about it. 

Thanks for stopping by.

Friday, February 2, 2018

The Nunes FISA Memo: Does Not Prove FBI Misconduct in Shape, Form, or Fashion

Four Pages of Misleading, Distorted, Incomplete Information 
(Working hard to disguised the truth)

Pop Quiz: Pick out Devin Nunes 
(In this GOP mob)

Declassified Nunes FISA Memo (RED highlights the major blatant discrepancies and gross errors as well as major gaps and gaffs in the Nunes' memo).

Declassified by order of the President February 2, 2018.

Subject: Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act Abuses at the Department of Justice and the Federal Bureau of Investigation
Purpose: This memorandum provides Members an update on significant facts relating to the Committee's ongoing investigation into the Department of Justice (DOJ) and Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and their use of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) during the 2016 presidential election cycle. The findings, which are detailed below, (1) raise concerns with the legitimacy and legality of certain DOJ and FBI interactions with the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court (FISC), and (2) represent a troubling breakdown of legal processes established to protect the American people from abuses related to the FISA process.
Investigation Update: 
On October 21, 2016, DOJ and FBI sought and received a FISA probable cause order (not under Title VII) authorizing electronic surveillance on Carter Page from the FISC. Page is a U.S. citizen who served as a volunteer advisor to the Trump presidential campaign. 

IAW FISA, the application had to be first certified by the FBI Director or Dep Director. It then required the approval of the AG, Dep AG, or the Senate-confirmed Assist AG for the National Security Division.

The complicated history of Carter Page - where to start?

Trump touted Page early in his campaign as one of his foreign policy advisers at a time when critics were questioning his policy credentials. But Page been at the center of the Russia probe since well before Mueller arrived on the scene, including for a controversial July 2016 trip he made to Moscow with then-campaign manager Corey Lewandowski’s permission -- on the condition he not be an official representative of the Trump campaign. 

In September 2016, Page even wrote then-FBI Director James Comey asking for him to put a “prompt end” to any inquiry looking at his ties to Russia.

The FBI and DOJ obtained one initial FISA warrant targeting Carter Page and three FISA renewals from the FISC. As required by statute (50 U.S.C. §1805(d) (1)), a FISA order on an American citizen must be renewed by the FISC every 90 days and each renewal requires a separate finding of probable cause. 

Then-Director James Comey signed three FISA applications in question on behalf of the FBI, and Deputy Director Andrew McCabe signed one. Then-Dep AG Sally Yates, then-Acting DAG Dana Boente, and Dep AG Rod Rosenstein each signed one or more FISA applications on behalf of DOJ.

The GOP's Russia boogeymen:

Republicans made a point here of lumping together in one paragraph pretty much all the DOJ leaders who have had central roles in different parts of the Russia probe. 

There’s Yates, the former acting attorney general who warned White House counsel Don McGahn in Jan. 2017 about Michael Flynn’s susceptibility to Russian blackmail; Comey, the former FBI director whose firing launched the whole special counsel probe in the first place; McCabe, who just stepped down as the No. 2 at the FBI; and Rosenstein, who as the deputy attorney general is overseeing the Mueller probe following Attorney General Jeff Session’s recusal.

Due to the sensitive nature of foreign intelligence activity, FISA submissions (including renewals) before the FISC are classified. As such, the public's confidence in the integrity of the FISA process depends on the court's ability to hold the government to the highest standard — particularly as it relates to surveillance of American citizens.

However, the FISC rigor in protecting the rights of Americans, which is reinforced by 90-day renewals of surveillance orders, is necessarily dependent on the government's production to the court of all material and relevant facts. This should include information potentially favorable to the target of the FISA application that is known by the government.

In the case of Carter Page, the government had at least four independent opportunities before the FISC to accurately provide an accounting of the relevant facts. However, our findings indicate that, as described below, material and relevant information was omitted.

1. The “Steele Dossier” compiled by Christopher Steele on behalf of the DNC and the Hillary Clinton campaign formed an essential part of the Carter Page FISA application. 

Steele was a longtime FBI source who was paid over $160,000 by the DNC and Clinton campaign, via the law firm Perkins Coie and research firm Fusion GPS, to obtain derogatory information on Donald Trump's ties to Russia.

Republicans paid Fusion GPS first:

Republicans originally funded the research firm that created the controversial Steele dossier before the Democrats did. That’s overlooked here, but the conservative online news site Washington Free Beacon last fall acknowledged to congressional investigators that it had funded Fusion GPS’s work during the Republican primaries when Republicans were desperate to knock Donald Trump out of the presidential campaign.

a. Neither the initial application in October 2016, nor any of the renewals, disclose or reference the role of the DNC, Clinton campaign, or any party/campaign in funding Steele's efforts, even though the political origins of the Steele dossier were then known to senior DOJ and FBI officials.

b. The initial FISA application notes Steele was working for a named U.S. person, but does not name Fusion GPS and principal Glenn Simpson, who was paid by a U.S. law firm (Perkins Coie) representing the DNC (even though it was known by DOJ at the time that political actors were involved with the Steele dossier). The application does not mention Steele was ultimately working on behalf of — and paid by — the DNC and Clinton campaign, or that the FBI had separately authorized payment to Steele for the same information.

2. The Carter Page FISA application also cited extensively a September 23, 2016, Yahoo News article by Michael Isikoff, which focuses on Page's July 2016 trip to Moscow. 

This article does not corroborate the Steele dossier because it is derived from information leaked by Steele himself to Yahoo News. The Page FISA incorrectly assesses that Steele did not directly provide information to Yahoo News. Steele has admitted in British court filings that he met with Yahoo News — and several other outlets — in September 2016 at the direction of Fusion GPS. Perkins Coie was aware of Steele's initial media contacts and even hosted a meeting in Washington D.C. in 2016 with Steele and Fusion GPS where the matter was discussed.

The scandal reporter who's everywhere: 

Journalist Michael Isikoff has been in the middle of presidential controversies before. He was poised to break the Bill Clinton-Monica Lewinsky story, but was famously scooped by the upstart Drudge Report in 1998 after Newsweek held his article. 

While CNN gets credit for reporting in August 2016 that the FBI and DOJ were looking at ties between Trump campaign manager Paul Manafort and corruption in Ukraine, it was Isikoff’s story a month later that was among the first pieces to highlight more of the questionable ties between Trump world — including Carter Page— and Russia.

a. Steele was suspended and then terminated as an FBI source for what the FBI defines as the most serious of violations —  an unauthorized disclosure to the media of his relationship with the FBI in an October 30, 2016, Mother Jones article by David Corn. Steele should have been terminated for his previous undisclosed contacts with Yahoo and other outlets in September—before the Page application was submitted to the FISC in October — but Steele improperly concealed from and lied to the FBI about those contacts.

b. Steele's numerous encounters with the media violated the cardinal rule of source handling — maintaining confidentiality — and demonstrated that Steele had become a less than reliable source for the FBI.

3. Before and after Steele was terminated as a source, he maintained contact with DOJ via then-Associate Dep AG Bruce Ohr, a senior DOJ official who worked closely with Dep AG Yates and later with Rosenstein. Shortly after the election, the FBI began interviewing Ohr, documenting his communications with Steele. For example, in September 2016: 

Steele admitted to Ohr his feelings against then-candidate Trump when Steele said he ...was desperate that Donald Trump not get elected and was passionate about him not being president. 

This clear evidence of Steele's bias was recorded by Ohr at the time and subsequently in official FBI files — but not reflected in any of the Page FISA applications.

The curious role of Bruce Ohr:

Republicans have expressed deep suspicion about Bruce Ohr, a senior Justice Department official who oversees an organized crime task force. The memo reflects those concerns by noting that he worked closely with Obama appointee Sally Yates and current Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, and that Ohr’s wife worked for Fusion GPS, the firm that commissioned the Steele dossier. 

But the fact that Ohr reported Steele’s comments — that he was intent on preventing Trump from becoming president — to the FBI undercuts the notion that Ohr was a raging partisan.

a. During this same time period, Ohr's wife was employed by Fusion GPS to assist in the cultivation of opposition research on Trump. Ohr later provided the FBI with all of his wife's opposition research, paid for by the DNC and Clinton campaign via Fusion GPS. The Ohrs' relationship with Steele and Fusion GPS was inexplicably concealed from the FISC.

4. According to the head of the FBI's counterintelligence division, Assistant Director Bill Priestap, corroboration of the Steele dossier was in its "infancy" at the time of the initial Page FISA application. After Steele was terminated, a source validation report conducted by an independent unit within FBI assessed Steele's reporting as only minimally corroborated. Yet, in early January 2017, Director Comey briefed President-elect Trump on a summary of the Steele dossier, even though it was according to his June 2017 testimony — “salacious and unverified.” While the FISA application relied on Steele's past record of credible reporting on other unrelated matters, it ignored or concealed his anti-Trump financial and ideological motivations. 

Furthermore, Deputy Director McCabe testified before the Committee in December 2017 that no surveillance warrant would have been sought from the FISC without the Steele dossier information.

Did McCabe admit the dossier drove the Page surveillance?

A key dispute in the fight over the dossier has been the question of how large a role it played in obtaining the warrants to surveil Carter Page. One surprise in the memo is that Republicans claim former FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe told the House Intelligence Committee that the FBI wouldn’t have sought to put Page under surveillance without the information from Steele and his dossier. 

McCabe’s statement is notable because the FBI’s defenders have argued in recent days that there was no way the dossier could have provided the bulk of the FBI’s rationale for seeking the warrants.

5. The Page FISA application also mentions information regarding fellow Trump campaign advisor George Papadopoulos, but there is no evidence of any cooperation of conspiracy between Page and Papadopoulos. 

The Papadopoulos information triggered the opening of an FBI counterintelligence investigation in late July 2016 by FBI agent Pete Strzok. 

Strzok was reassigned by the Special Counsel’s Office to FBI Human Resources for improper text messages with his mistress, FBI Attorney Lisa Page (no known relation to Carter Page), where they both demonstrated a clear bias against Trump and in favor of Clinton, whom Strzok had also investigated. The Strzok/Lisa Page texts also reflect extensive discussions about the investigation, orchestrating leaks to the media, and include a meeting with Deputy Director McCabe to discuss an “insurance” policy against President Trump’s election.

Info on Papadopoulos, not the dossier, launched FBI's Trump-Russia probe:

The memo confirms reports that the FBI formally opened their investigation into Russian efforts to compromise the Trump campaign back in July 2016 based on suspicions about Trump foreign policy adviser George Papadopoulos. 

So, while the dossier may have played a critical role in putting Page under surveillance in October, the document — containing some salacious claims about Trump — was not the driving force behind the FBI’s scrutiny of the Trump team. The timing suggests Papadopoulos came under scrutiny because of a reported episode in London in May 2016 where he told an Australian diplomat that Russia was offering the campaign “dirt” on Hillary Clinton. 

About a year after opening the investigation, the FBI arrested Papadopoulos on charges he lied to them. He pleaded guilty in that case last October and is cooperating with prosecutors.

My last point after reading this analysis: GOP rightwing mission is to tear down the institution of government and the news organizations that report so that neither can or will be believed or trusted. 

Also related story here from Business Insider.

Who would love to see all that go down: Putin naturally. 

Many GOPers (e.g., Ryan) say “the public is clamoring for the memo’s release to see the truth” – well, yes, but slow down a bit – if the GOP is putting out what they know to be false, misleading, and untrue information in the Nunes Memo then whose trust are they seeking? Seems to be: “Fake News” and Alex Jones conspiracy types. 

That must never be our national standard never above the law in any case – never…!!!

Thanks for stopping and stay tuned for sure.