Failure of the rule of law? 1

Is it not obvious that crimes have been committed by former Attorney General Loretta Lynch, former FBI Director James Comey, and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton?

And that they are getting away with them?

Deroy Murdock writes at Townhall:

James Comey, Loretta Lynch, and the Clintons should do time for their crimes. So should the unnamed leakers who give away state secrets as if they were handing out leaflets at a busy street corner.

While the relentless Russiagate probe continues its futile search for lawbreaking among Team Trump, actual crimes already have occurred at the highest levels of the Deep State and among former Democratic officials. These perpetrators should be prosecuted. 

Someone violated federal law by unmasking former national security adviser Michael Flynn’s name from National Security Agency transcripts or other surveillance records of his conversations with Russian ambassador to Washington Sergey Kislyak. As part of the presidential transition, it was perfectly normal for Flynn to speak with Kislyak and other foreign emissaries. It also is no surprise that the NSA and other American intelligence agencies cup their ears when Kislyak speaks.

However, the identities of Americans in such conversations are supposed to remain confidential. Whoever unmasked Flynn in such documents violated the federal Espionage Act of 1917, 18 U.S. Code § 793. It prohibits the improper handling and transmission of “information respecting the national defense”.

The anti-Flynn leaks also appear to breach 18 U.S. Code § 798, which forbids disclosure of classified data “concerning the communication intelligence activities of the United States or any foreign government.”  …

Leaking seems to be Washingtonians’ favorite indoor activity. And Comey got in on the fun, too. Referring to his memo-to-file about a private Oval Office meeting with Trump, Comey said, “I need to get that out into the public square,” as if that were his job.

… and as if there was something so incriminating in what the president said that it simply had to be broadcast to the nation.

But surely if there had been something of that sort, it would have been the right procedure for the FBI to bring to the attention of the Justice Department?

It is not normal FBI procedure to leak details of an investigation to the press rather than use it to build a criminal case.

A president cannot be charged with a criminal offense, but if there is proof that he has committed crimes, or has said something that could be interpreted as criminal, he could be impeached. But only by Congress, not by the readers of a  Communist Youth organ such as the New York Times.

Yet the Dirctor of the FBI wanted it to reach the NYT at all costs. So he leaked it through the conduit of a leftist academic.

Comey told the Senate Intelligence Committee on June 8: “I asked a friend of mine to share the content of the memo with a reporter.” This “close friend who is a professor at Columbia law school,” is named Daniel C. Richman. …

“I asked him to because I thought that might prompt the appointment of a special counsel,” Comey explained.

Shazzam!

Comey’s leaked memo hit the front pages, and Assistant Attorney General Rod Rosenstein named a special counsel: Comey’s mentor and one-time boss, former FBI chief Robert Mueller.

Comey and Mueller’s toasty relationship raises legitimate worries about Mueller’s capacity for disinterest in a case that involves the dismissal and public ostracism of his protégé of at least 14 years. …

How can Mueller be objective about his bosom buddy, who now is at the epicenter of this entire probe?

Also troublesome: Mueller’s team includes attorneys who maxed out in donations to Hillary and Obama, defended Hillary against Freedom of Information Act requests, and even represented a Clinton staffer at the heart of E-mailgate. …

According to Political Insider, “In total, Mueller’s team has made $52,650 in political donations since 1997, 95 percent of which ($49,900) went to Democrats.”

Among some 100,000 attorneys in the Washington, D.C. Bar, was Mueller really unable to employ lawyers who neither have worked for the Clintons nor underwritten their campaigns? Could he not have hired professionals unconnected to either the Clintons or the Trumps? Was that really so hard?

Or maybe Mueller deliberately assembled a kennel full of Hillary-loving legal Rottweilers.

Whatever Mueller’s objectives, he has crafted at a minimum — a major appearance of impropriety. If Team Mueller fairly, honestly, and properly discovers wrongdoing among Team Trump, Republicans may dismiss his findings as the crooked output of a rigged system. But if Mueller correctly exonerates Trump & Co., Democrats may scream that the special counsel chickened out, to avoid being accused of running a politically tainted probe. Either way, such second-guessing would erode confidence in American justice.

For his part, Comey’s leak to Professor Richman looks like a violation of, at least, 18 U.S. Code § 641, which bars the unauthorized conveyance of “any record” belonging to the U.S. government. Comey should be brought back before Congress and forced to spell out any and every such leak he ever made, describe the documents he spilled, the dates he did so, etc. Each one of those instances should constitute an individual count in an indictment for breaking the Espionage Act.

According to Comey, former Attorney General Loretta Lynch instructed him to refer benignly to E-mailgate as a “matter” rather than an “investigation”. While that latter word was more politically volatile, it also was accurate. After all, Comey ran the Federal Bureau of Investigation, not the Federal Bureau of Matter.

According to Circa.com’s John Solomon and Sara A. Carter, Comey told senators behind closed doors about “a communication between two political figures that suggested Lynch had agreed to put the kibosh on any prosecution of Clinton”, never mind evidence of Hillary’s crimes.

Comey reportedly showed Lynch that do-not-prosecute record. As one source familiar with Comey’s comments told Solomon and Carter, “the attorney general looked at the document then looked up with a steely silence that lasted for some time, then asked him if he had any other business with her and if not that he should leave her office”. …

Coupled with Lynch’s notorious “golf clubs and grandkids” pow-wow with Bill Clinton on her official plane at Phoenix Airport last June 27, just five days before the FBI questioned Hillary (inexplicably, not under oath), Lynch’s behavior reeks of obstruction of justice.

Comey stated last July 5 that “no reasonable prosecutor” would bring charges against Hillary Clinton in E-mailgate. This claim instantly was refuted by reasonable former federal prosecutors including Sidney Powell, Andrew McCarthy, Rudolph W. Giuliani, and Michael Mukasey. They all stated why Hillary deserved indictment.

Comey said that Hillary should have stayed free because she had no criminal intent to violate the Espionage Act. However, to be convicted under this statute, one need not possess criminal intent. …

Hillary could be convicted merely for handling classified documents in a “grossly negligent” fashion. She certainly did this. …

Beyond E-mailgate, the Clinton Foundation’s bribes-for-favors scandal has gone entirely unpunished. Hillary approved the Kremlin’s purchase of 20 percent of U.S. uranium supplies. She permitted Russia’s Rosatom State Atomic Energy Corporation to acquire Uranium One Inc. This is the sort of cloak-and-dagger Russian collusion about which Democratic mouths have foamed since last fall. The $145 million that Uranium One’s investors pumped into the Clinton Foundation before, during, and after this grotesque deal epitomizes the pay-to-play bonanza for which Hillary should be tossed in the clink. Ditto the $500,000 fee that Kremlin-controlled Renaissance Capital handed Bill Clinton for a one-hour speech while Hillary decided to green-light this transaction. Remember: the Clintons literally gave Vladimir Putin access to the active ingredient in hydrogen bombs — extracted from American soil. …

And “giving aid and comfort” to the enemy is treason according to the Constitution.

The House Government Oversight Committee should hold public hearings and subpoena Comey, Lynch, and the Clintons and make them testify publicly about these crimes, under penalty of perjury.

After that, President Trump should keep a promise that he made in the October 9 debate against Hillary: “If I win, I am going to instruct my attorney general to get a special prosecutor to look into your situation.”

Prosecuting Comey for leaking government papers, Lynch for sandbagging the E-mailgate probe, and the Clintons and Clintonites for running their bribes-for-favors scams would not signal American devolution into a banana republic. Rather, this would reinvigorate a core principle of American constitutional republicanism: Equal Justice Under Law.

On all that is wrong with James Comey’s buddy Robert Mueller being appointed to sniff out an unknown crime in the Trump administration, Andrew McCarthy writes:

So I’ve been wondering: Why on earth does a prosecutor, brought in to investigate a case in which there is no apparent crime, need a staff of 14 lawyers?

Or, I should say, “14 lawyers and counting.” According to the press spokesman for special counsel Robert Mueller — yeah, he’s got a press spokesman, too — there are “several more in the pipeline.”

Concededly, none of Mueller’s recruits requires Senate confirmation, as do Justice Department officials — notwithstanding that the former may end up playing a far more consequential role in the fate of the Trump administration. But does it seem strange to anyone else that, by comparison, the president of the United States has managed to get — count ’em — three appointees confirmed to Justice Department positions in five months?

A special counsel, the need for whom is far from obvious, has in just a few days staffed up with four times the number of lawyers. And all for a single investigation that the FBI has described as a counterintelligence probe — i.e., not a criminal investigation, the kind for which you actually need lawyers.  

Oh, and about those three Justice Department appointees: One of them, Attorney General Jeff Sessions, has already recused himself from the investigation in question — the department’s most high profile undertaking. Another, Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, is reportedly weighing whether he, too, should bow out. Perhaps he figures he has already done quite enough, having sicced a special-counsel investigation on the Trump Administration by flouting both the regulation that requires a basis for a criminal investigation before a special counsel is appointed, and the regulation that requires limiting the special counsel’s jurisdiction to the specific factual matter that triggers this criminal investigation.

The way this is supposed to work is: the Justice Department first identifies a likely crime, and then assigns a prosecutor to investigate it. Here, by contrast, there are no parameters imposed on the special counsel’s jurisdiction. Mueller is loosed—with 14 lawyers and more coming—to conduct what I’ve called a “fishing expedition”.

But it is actually worse than that … Mueller’s probe is the functional equivalent of a general warrant: a boundless writ to search for incriminating evidence. It is the very evil the Fourth Amendment was adopted to forbid: a scorch-the-earth investigation in the absence of probable cause that a crime has been committed.

For now, Mueller appears utterly without limits, in his writ and in his resources. As the ease with which he has staffed up shows, it is not hard to recruit lawyers. All you need is money. Mueller has a bottomless budget, thanks to a bit of Treasury Department chicanery known as “permanent, indefinite appropriations”. 

Under the Constitution’s Appropriations Clause, no funding is supposed to be paid out of the treasury unless Congress has approved it in advance. Under the Framers’ design, with an eye toward limited, accountable government, every spending initiative must compete with every other one when Congress enacts a budget. Lawmakers must decide what we can and can’t afford when they draw on what is supposed to be the finite pot of money confiscated from taxpayers. We are supposed to know what we are underwriting and what it will cost.

The Swamp, ever resistant to such restraints, has developed a scheme known as “indefinite appropriations”. These are slush funds for future contingencies. A good example is the “Judgment Fund” which President Obama raided to underwrite nearly $2 billion in ransom payments demanded by Iran, the sweetener he needed to close the infamous nuclear deal.

And that sounds like treason too.

It is an Orwellian game. What makes an appropriation an appropriation is that Congress provides a definite amount of funding suitable to the task it has approved. If it turns out more is needed, the executive branch is supposed to come back to Congress — ask for it and justify why it should be prioritized over other needs.

Mueller’s special counsel investigation is somehow under no such restrictions, according to the Justice Department. He unilaterally decides how much staffing he needs. And unlike a normal prosecutor’s office, the special counsel does not have to apportion his resources over hundreds of cases. He can direct all of them at one investigative target.

In this instance, the target is Trump, and the resources — apart from what will be scores of FBI agents — include 14 lawyers (going on 15 … going on 16…).

These lawyers, overwhelmingly, are Democrats. … Mueller’s staffers contribute to Trump’s political opponents, some heavily. The latest Democratic talking-point about this unseemly appearance is that hiring regulations forbid an inquiry into an applicant’s political affiliation. That’s laughable. These are lawyers Mueller has recruited. They are not “applicants”. We’re talking about top-shelf legal talent, accomplished professionals who have jumped at the chance of a gig they do not need but, clearly, want. …

Notice that, consistent with the familiar ethical canon that lawyers must avoid even the appearance of impropriety, the standard here is based not on the lawyer’s personal rectitude or his subjective belief that he can administer the law impartially. The issue is: What would this look like to fair-minded observers?

Consequently, if this boundless investigation careens into a criminal prosecution, Mueller could have some major soul-searching to do. I thus confess to being taken aback that he has exacerbated the problem, rather than trying to mitigate it, with his staffing decisions. Into an investigation that was already fraught with political tension, the special counsel has recruited partisans — to politicians who describe themselves not as a loyal opposition but as the Trump “Resistance”. What are fair-minded people to make of that?

Not just one or two recruits, but 14 lawyers, with more to come. …

Why does special counsel Mueller need 14 lawyers (and more coming) for a counterintelligence investigation, as to which the intelligence professionals — agents, not lawyers — have found no “collusion with Russia” evidence after over a year of hard work? What will those lawyers be doing with no limits on their jurisdiction, with nothing but all the time and funding they need to examine one target, Donald Trump?

The Mueller investigation itself has the smell of corruption about it.

The law is the house in which we live. If its timbers are rotten, what will become of us? 

The president, the scandal, the crimes 1

A criminal president? Is there evidence of his crimes?

Oh, yes.

From PowerLine, by John Hinderaker:

There is a deep irony in the fact that Democrats are hysterically demanding investigations of President Trump and his campaign team, and in fact multiple investigations are now in progress, even though there is zero evidence that [he or] anyone associated with [him] has done anything wrong. On the other hand, we now know for certain that the Obama administration weaponized the intelligence agencies in order to use them against political opponents, in a manner that is unprecedented, highly dangerous to our democracy, and criminal.

This scandal, which dwarfs anything of which the Trump team is even suspected, has been exposed and lies largely in plain sight for all to see. Yet it has generally been greeted with yawns, if acknowledged at all, by politicians and commentators.

The writer recalls the “single bugging of the political opposition” that brought down the presidency of President Nixon.

In the light of that, Obama should surely be held accountable for his  “program of massively spying on political opponents” in clear violation of the law.   

Not only did Obama’s administration commit these crimes, but it “then lied about its actions“.

A respected federal judge, serving on the FISA court, has leveled a very serious charge against Barack Obama and his administration – more serious than any charge that was made, let alone proved, against Richard Nixon. The Obama administration was guilty of an “institutional lack of candor,” which is a polite way of saying that it lied to the court about what it was doing. And what it was doing, was violating the constitutional rights of Americans. Donald Trump and his associates have been accused of nothing even remotely as serious.

John Solomon’s and Sara Carter’s report that revealed these facts is quoted:

The admitted violations undercut one of the primary defenses that the intelligence community and Obama officials have used in recent weeks to justify their snooping into incidental NSA intercepts about Americans. … The American Civil Liberties Union said the newly disclosed violations are some of the most serious to ever be documented and strongly call into question the U.S. intelligence community’s ability to police itself and safeguard Americans’ privacy as guaranteed by the Constitution’s Fourth Amendment protections against unlawful search and seizure.

The Department of Justice needs to get to the bottom of Obama’s abuse of the intelligence agencies and the FBI.

That abuse was criminally compounded when Obama administration officials leaked classified information to the Washington Post and the New York Times in order to damage political opponents. We know for certain that felonies have been committed, so someone should go to jail.

Attorney General Jeff Sessions needs to ask: What did President Obama know, and when did he know it? Who else in his administration was responsible for the scandal? Where criminal prosecution is warranted, it is up to Justice to bring the cases. …

It is. So what is Attorney General Jeff Sessions doing about this?

Congress [too] should set investigations in motion. The public needs to know not only who committed crimes, but how deep the corruption went inside the Obama administration. And Congress needs to address, seriously, the question whether our politicized intelligence agencies can continue to exist in their present form. 

As for President Trump, firing James Comey didn’t go anywhere near far enough. Heads should roll at the CIA, the NSA and the FBI. Those who are tainted with the abuses that took place during the Obama administration should be shown the door and, where crimes have been committed, prosecuted.

Justice would be most satisfactorily served if those heads rolled. After fair trial, of course, of course. Always “innocent until proved guilty”. All the safeguards scrupulously observed  … yes, yes. And then –

Oh to hear the slamming of the cell doors!

Posted under corruption, Crime, Law, United States by Jillian Becker on Wednesday, May 31, 2017

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The illegal activities of Obama’s NSA and FBI 1

In a video released yesterday (May 25, 2017), Chris Farrell of Judicial Watch tells how Obama used the NSA against his political opponents. Illegally, in defiance of the Constitution, the intelligence service collected information on Americans and “unmasked” them – ie. revealed their identities – for nefarious political purposes:

And this is from Circa, by John Solomon and Sara Carter, on how James Comey’s FBI illegally collected spy data on Americans, and deliberately leaked the information to serve Obama’s political ends:

The FBI has illegally shared raw intelligence about Americans with unauthorized third parties and violated other constitutional privacy protections, according to newly declassified government documents that undercut the bureau’s public assurances about how carefully it handles warrantless spy data to avoid abuses or leaks.

In his final congressional testimony before he was fired by President Trump this month, then-FBI Director James Comey unequivocally told lawmakers his agency used sensitive espionage data gathered about Americans without a warrant only when it was “lawfully collected, carefully overseen and checked”.

Once-top secret U.S. intelligence community memos reviewed by Circa tell a different story, citing instances of “disregard” for rules, inadequate training and “deficient” oversight and even one case of deliberately sharing spy data with a forbidden party.

For instance, a ruling declassified this month by the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court (FISA) chronicles nearly 10 pages listing hundreds of violations of the FBI’s privacy-protecting minimization rules that occurred on Comey’s watch.

The behavior the FBI admitted to a FISA judge just last month ranged from illegally sharing raw intelligence with unauthorized third parties to accessing intercepted attorney-client privileged communications without proper oversight the bureau promised was in place years ago.

The court also opined aloud that it fears the violations are more extensive than already disclosed.

“The Court is nonetheless concerned about the FBI’s apparent disregard of minimization rules and whether the FBI is engaging in similar disclosures of raw Section 702 information that have not been reported,” the April 2017 ruling declared.

The court isn’t the only oversight body to disclose recent concerns that the FBI’s voluntary system for policing its behavior and self-disclosing mistakes hasn’t been working.

The Justice Department inspector general’s office declassified a report in 2015 that reveals the internal watchdog had concerns as early as 2012 that the FBI was submitting “deficient” reports indicating it had a clean record complying with spy data gathered on Americans without a warrant.

To put it bluntly, the FBI was lying.

FBI officials acknowledged there have been violations but insist they are a small percentage of the total counterterrorism and counterintelligence work its agents perform.

Just some lies, they pleaded. They did a lot of honest work too. Ignore the mud in the milk.

Almost all are unintentional human errors by good-intentioned agents and analysts under enormous pressure to stop the next major terror attack, the officials said.

And besides, they lied with the very best of intentions.  

Others fear these blunders call into the question the bureau’s rosy assessment that it can still police itself when it comes to protecting Americans’ privacy 17 years after the war on terror began. …

One of the biggest concerns involves so-called backdoor searches in which the FBI can mine NSA intercept data for information that may have been incidentally collected about an American. No warrant or court approval is required, and the FBI insists these searches are one of the most essential tools in combating terrorist plots.

But a respected former Justice Department national security prosecutor questions if the searching has gotten too cavalier. Amy Jeffress, the former top security adviser to former Attorney General Eric Holder, was appointed by the intelligence court in 2015 to give an independent  assessment.

Security adviser to Eric Holder? And we should expect her findings to be impartial?

Turns out they may be. She is gently critical of the violations which her report does confirm.

Jeffress concluded agents’ searches of NSA data now extend far beyond national security issues and thus were “overstepping” the constitutional protections designed to ensure the bureau isn’t violating Americans’ 4th Amendment protections against unlawful search and seizure.

By  early 2017, the court became more concerned after the Obama administration disclosed significant violations of privacy protections at two separate intelligence agencies involved in the Section 702 program.

The most serious involved the NSA searching for American data it was forbidden to search. But the FBI also was forced to admit its agents and analysts shared espionage data with prohibited third parties, ranging from a federal contractor to a private entity that did not have the legal right to see the intelligence.

Such third-party sharing is a huge political concern now as Congress and intelligence community leaders try to stop the flow of classified information to parties that could illegally disclose or misuse it, such as the recent leak that disclosed intercepted communications between the Russian ambassador and Trump’s first national security adviser, Michael Flynn.

“Improper access” to NSA spy data for FBI contractors “seems to have been the result of deliberate decision-making”, the court noted.

The recently unsealed ruling also revealed the FBI is investigating more cases of possible improper sharing with private parties that recently have come to light.

The government “is investigating whether there have been similar cases in which the FBI improperly afforded non-FBI personnel access to raw FISA-acquired information on FBI systems,” the court warned.

The ruling cited other FBI failures in handling Section 702 intel, including retaining data on computer storage systems “in violation of applicable minimization requirements”.

Among the most serious additional concerns was the FBI’s failure for more than two years to establish review teams to ensure intercepts between targets and their lawyers aren’t violating the attorney-client privilege.

“Failures of the FBI to comply with this ‘review team’ requirement for particular targets have been focus of FISA’s concerns since 2014,” the court noted.

The FBI said it is trying to resolve the deficiencies with aggressive training of agents.

Oh, “aggressive”. To make the training sound very fierce and merciless. So in future they will not be as lax as they have been in the recent past. You see?

That admission of inadequate training directly undercut Comey’s testimony earlier this month when questioned by Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif.

“Nobody gets to see FISA information of any kind unless they’ve had the appropriate training and have the appropriate oversight,” the soon-to-be-fired FBI director assured lawmakers. 

Another lie. In this case perjury? Didn’t he swear an oath to tell the truth to the Congressional inquiry?

Now that there is a Republican Attorney General, Jeff Sessions, in place of Obama’s puppet, Loretta Lynch, will the law be applied to all who break the law, even to corrupt, felonious law-enforcement officials? Even to Barack Obama?

Posted under Espionage, Videos by Jillian Becker on Friday, May 26, 2017

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