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Trump Is Right: The Special Counsel Should Never Have Been Appointed


President Trump is right in saying that a special counsel should never have been appointed to investigate the so-called Russian connection. There was no evidence of any crime committed by the Trump administration. But there was plenty of evidence that Russian operatives had tried to interfere with the 2016 presidential election, and perhaps other elections, in the hope of destabilizing democracy. Yet, appointing a special counsel to look for crimes, behind the closed doors of a grand jury, was precisely the wrong way to address this ongoing challenge to our democracy.

The right way would have been (and still is) to appoint a nonpartisan investigative commission, such as the one appointed following the terrorist attacks of 9/11, to conduct a broad and open investigation of the Russian involvement in our elections. This is what other democracies, such as Great Britain and Israel, do in response to systemic problems. The virtue of such a commission is precisely the nonpartisan credibility of its objective experts, who have no political stake in the outcome.

Such a commission could have informed the American public of what Russia did and how to prevent it from doing it again. It would not seek partisan benefit from its findings, the way congressional committees invariably do. Nor would it be searching for crimes in an effort to criminalize political sins, the way special counsels do to justify their existence and budget. Its only job would be to gather information and make recommendations.

The vice of a special counsel is that he is supposed to find crimes, and if he comes up empty-handed, after spending lots of taxpayer money, then he is deemed a failure. If he can’t charge the designated target — in this case, the president — he must at least charge some of those close to the target, even if it is for crimes unrelated to the special counsel’s core mandate. By indicting these low-hanging fruits, he shows that he is trying. Maybe those lesser defendants will flip and sing against higher-ups, but the problem is that the pressure to sing may cause certain defendants to “compose,” meaning make up or enhance evidence in order to get a better deal for themselves.

In this case, the appointment of a special counsel has done more harm than good. It has politicized our justice system beyond repair. The FBI deputy director has been fired for leaking and lying. His testimony appears to be in conflict with that of the former FBI director as to whether the leaks were authorized. Messages by high-ranking FBI agents suggest strong bias against Trump. A tweet by the former CIA director reveals equally strong negative views of the president. Perhaps these revelations prove nothing more than that law enforcement and national security officials are human and hold political views like everyone else.

But these views are not supposed to influence their decisions. In our age of hyperpartisanship, the public has understandably lost confidence in the ability and willingness of our leaders to separate their political views from their law enforcement decisions. This is not all attributable to the appointment of the special counsel, but the criminalization of political differences on both sides of the aisle has certainly contributed to the atmosphere of distrust in our justice system.

The public has lost faith in the leadership of the Justice Department and the FBI. They don’t trust congressional investigative committees. They don’t know whom to believe when they hear conflicting accounts. There are leaks galore followed by denials of leaks. It’s a total mess. And what do we have to show for it? Just a handful of low-level indictments based largely on alleged crimes that are either unrelated or only marginally related to Russia’s attempt to influence our presidential election in 2016.

It’s not too late to try to repair some of the damage done. Let Congress now appoint a nonpartisan commission to conduct a transparent investigation of Russia’s efforts to influence our elections. Let the special counsel suspend his investigation until the nonpartisan commission issues its report. If the report identifies crimes and criminals, there will be time enough to indict and prosecute. Right now, we need the nonpartisan truth, because we aren’t getting it from the special counsel.

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The UK’s Hidden Hand in Julian Assange’s Detention


It now emerges that the last four years of Julian Assange’s effective imprisonment in the Ecuadorean embassy in London have been entirely unnecessary. In fact, they depended on a legal charade.

Behind the scenes, Sweden wanted to drop the extradition case against Assange back in 2013. Why was this not made public? Because Britain persuaded Sweden to pretend that they still wished to pursue the case.

In other words, for more than four years Assange has been holed up in a tiny room, policed at great cost to British taxpayers, not because of any allegations in Sweden but because the British authorities wanted him to remain there. On what possible grounds could that be, one has to wonder? Might it have something to do with his work as the head of Wikileaks, publishing information from whistleblowers that has severely embarrassed the United States and the UK.

In fact, Assange should have walked free years ago if this was really about an investigation – a sham one at that – into an alleged sexual assault in Sweden. Instead, as Assange has long warned, there is a very different agenda at work: efforts to extradite him onwards to the US, where he could be locked away for good. That was why UN experts argued two years ago that he was being “arbitrarily detained” – for political crimes – not unlike the situation of dissidents in other parts of the world that win the support of western liberals and leftists.

According to a new, limited release of emails between officials, the Swedish director of public prosecutions, Marianne Ny, wrote to Britain’s Crown Prosecution Service on 18 October 2013, warning that Swedish law would not allow the case for extradition to be continued. This was, remember, after Sweden had repeatedly failed to take up an offer from Assange to interview him in London, as had happened in 44 other extradition cases between Sweden and Britain.

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Video: Extensive Devin Nunes Interview


House Intelligence Committee Chairman Devin Nunes appears on Sunday Morning Futures with Maria Bartiromo for an extensive interview discussing the ongoing investigation into the DOJ, FBI and State Department; and their collaboration with the Hillary Clinton campaign to weaponize political opposition research in the 2016 election.

Chairman Nunes describes how the Democrats on the HPSCI put classified information into their memo intentionally in an effort to create political benefit; and now refuse to redact and release their own work product.

Chairman Devin Nunes keeps a big picture focus while also describing how corrupt officials within the DOJ and FBI continued to use the “Title-1” surveillance warrant in 2017 to monitor and track all of the communication between Carter Page and congress. In essence, the ‘small group’ within the DOJ and FBI were likely spying on the congressional investigation into their own unlawful activity. 

 

 
 
 
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Video: JUDGE NAPOLITANO: Were Justice Scalia, Senators and the Supreme Court Spied on by the Obama Administration?


Did the Obama administration spy on Republican Senators and Supreme Court Justices? Judge Napolitano just weighed in on what Justice Scalia told him. Senator Rand Paul also accused the Obama administration of spying on him and others…

“The use of intelligence data for political purposes is a felony … Unmasking is illegal if done for any reason other than national security.”

Judge Andrew Napolitano said on Fox Business Monday that the late Justice Antonin Scalia told him “that he often thought that the court was being surveilled” roughly four or five years ago.

Napolitano appeared on the program to discuss the claim made by Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., accusing the Obama administration of spying on him and another senator.

When asked about Paul’s claim, Napolitano said, “Well, they’re most likely true. Think of this as a three-step process: Surveillance, which is acquisition in a digital version of every keystroke on every computer, and every communication on every cell phone phone and landline phone; storage, which is the maintenance of the digital versions of these communications; and then unmasking, which is accessing this data and finding out the names of the people who are actually surveilled.”

 

 
 
 
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Ron Johnson Releases Interim Report on FBI Text Messages – The Nooses are Tightening


U.S. Sen. Ron Johnson (R-Wis.), chairman of the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, released a majority staff report Wednesday titled “The Clinton Email Scandal And The FBI’s Investigation Of It,” along with text messages between two agents that shed light on the investigation. The report details the congressional investigation of former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s private email server and the oversight of the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s involvement with their investigation of Secretary Clinton’s private server.

The report outlines how information available to the committee at this time raises serious questions about how the FBI applied the rule of law in its investigation. The majority staff report found that:

  • The FBI did not use a grand jury to compel testimony and obtain the vast majority of evidence, choosing instead to offer immunity deals and allow fact witnesses to join key interviews.
  • There were substantial edits to former FBI Director James Comey’s public statement that served to downplay the severity of Secretary Clinton’s actions, and that the first draft of the memo was distributed for editing two months before key witnesses were interviewed.
  • Director Comey stated that he had not consulted with the Justice Department or White House, when text messages among FBI agents involved in the investigation suggest otherwise. Two key investigators discuss an “insurance policy” against the “risk” of a Trump presidency, and “OUR task.”
  • Messages discuss “unfinished business,” “an investigation leading to impeachment,”
  • and “my gut sense and concern there’s no big .” The messages strongly underscore the need to obtain still-missing text messages and other information regarding the FBI’s actions and investigations into the Clinton email scandal and Russian involvement in the November 2016 election.there there
  • Senior FBI officials—likely including Deputy Director Andrew McCabe— knew about newly discovered emails on a laptop belonging to former U.S. Rep. Anthony Weiner for almost a month before Director Comey notified Congress.
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The full report can be found here.

The FBI text messages can be found here.

The letters Chairman Johnson has sent to various agencies and source documents can be found here.

 

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