May 30, 2018

The Trump Investigation: Origins and Motives

The genesis of the Trump/Putin collusion investigation from the perspective of a seasoned federal prosecutor.

“We should be unfaithful to ourselves if we should ever lose sight of the danger to our liberties if anything partial or extraneous should infect the purity of our free, fair, virtuous, and independent elections.” —John Adams (1797)

Among the many resources we use to complement our analysis of news, policy and opinion is National Review, founded by William F. Buckley in 1955. NR has always been the intellectual standard for the conservative movement, though its editors sometimes get it wrong, as in the case of the candidacy of Donald Trump.

As with many “old guard” conservative publications, NR was befuddled both by Trump’s appeal and his ultimate election on November 8, 2016, and its editors still demonstrate some confusion about Trump’s populist support. That perplexity is rooted in the fact that many conservative intellectuals, most of whom reside inside the DC Beltway or in other equally high-brow protectorates like New York City, are disconnected from both the grassroots American Patriots who elected Donald Trump and those who didn’t initially support Trump but have since boarded the Trump Train to Make American Great Again.

Its grassroots disconnect notwithstanding, National Review still has, in my considered opinion, the best stable of political writers on the planet, far superior to those at The Atlantic, The New Republic and the rest of the Leftmedia propaganda machine.

There are a few NR writers whom I follow closely. One of those is Andrew McCarthy, a former assistant U.S. attorney for the Southern District of New York. A few of his more notable prosecutions include the 1995 conviction of Sheikh Omar Abdel Rahman and 11 others responsible for the 1993 World Trade Center bombing (and who planned additional attacks against other New York City landmarks). McCarthy was also key to the prosecutions of the terrorists who bombed our U.S. embassies in Kenya and Tanzania.

For the last 15 years, McCarthy has been a senior fellow at the National Review Institute.

He’s also my go-to guy for legal insights and analysis on the collusion to entrap Trump by Barack Obama’s CIA director, John Brennan; Obama’s FBI director, James Comey (and his high-ranking co-conspirators); and their candidate, Hillary Clinton, and her corrupt campaign. This cadre of Obama’s deep-state operatives has endeavored to frame Mr. Trump for “colluding with Russia” to throw the 2016 election, or to at least create the false impression that his election was illegitimate.

The fate of that investigation, and possibly Trump’s presidency, has, for a year, been in the hands of Comey’s FBI predecessor, special prosecutor Robert Mueller, and his team of “hard-core Democrats.”

The integrity of Mueller’s evidence was undermined again last week with revelations that the Obama administration, ostensibly to protect Trump’s candidacy from Russian meddling, planted at least one “spy” within his campaign. In fact, this was just the latest chapter of the Obama/Clinton Trump/Putin collusion charade to be exposed.

I profiled that last week in my column, “From ‘Crossfire Hurricane’ to ‘Backfire Tornado’.”

This week, I’m providing you with some of Andy McCarthy’s more erudite observations about the investigation of Trump.

His analysis, “In Politicized Justice, Desperate Times Call for Disparate Measures,” focused on the Justice Department’s double standard in handling the Clinton email subterfuge and Trump/Russia investigations:

The 2016 presidential election, we’re to believe, was stolen from Hillary Clinton by disparate treatment. As Democrats tell it, the FBI scandalized their candidate while protecting Donald Trump. You might think peddling that story with a straight face would be a major challenge. But they figure it may work because it was test-driven by the FBI’s then-director, James Comey, in his now infamous press conference on July 5, 2016 — back when the law-enforcement and intelligence apparatus on which we rely to read the security tea leaves was simply certain that Mrs. Clinton would win.

If you or I had set up an unauthorized private communications system for official business for the patent purpose of defeating federal record-keeping and disclosure laws; if we had retained and transmitted thousands of classified emails on this non-secure system; if we had destroyed tens of thousands of government records; if we had carried out that destruction while those records were under subpoena; if we had lied to the FBI in our interview — well, we’d be writing this column from the federal penitentiary in Leavenworth. Yet, in a feat of dizzying ratiocination, Director Comey explained that to prosecute Mrs. Clinton would be to hold her to a nitpicking, selective standard of justice not imposed on other Americans.

Regarding the fact that the Trump/Russia investigation did not originate with Carter Page or George Papadopoulos but with the Obama administration, McCarthy notes:

With the revelation last week that the Obama administration had insinuated a spy into the Trump campaign, it appeared that we were back to the original, Page-centric origination story. But now there was a twist: The informant, longtime CIA source Stefan Halper, was run at Page by the FBI, in Britain. Because this happened just days after Page’s Moscow trip, the implication was that it was the Moscow trip itself, not the dossier claims about it, that provided momentum toward opening the investigation. Then, just a couple of weeks later, WikiLeaks began publicizing the DNC emails; this, we’re to understand, shook loose the Australian information about Papadopoulos. When that information made its way to the FBI — how, we’re not told — the “Crossfire Hurricane” investigation was formally opened on July 31. Within days, Agent Peter Strzok was in London interviewing [Australian Ambassador Alexander] Downer, and soon the FBI tasked Halper to take a run at Papadopoulos.

I’m not buying it. The real origination story begins in the early spring of 2016 — long before Page went to Russia and long before the U.S. government was notified about Papadopoulos’s boozy conversation with Downer. … From the “late spring” on, every report of Trump-Russia ties, no matter how unlikely and uncorroborated, was presumed to be proof of a traitorous arrangement. And every detail that could be spun into Trump-campaign awareness of Russian hacking, no matter how tenuous, was viewed in the worst possible light.

McCarthy concludes that Obama’s DOJ and its political hacks within the FBI merged the Clinton email case with the Trump/Russia probe:

The mistake is often made — I’ve made it myself — of analyzing the tanking of the Clinton emails case in a vacuum. There are, after all, reasons unrelated to Donald Trump that explain the outcome: Obama was implicated in Clinton’s use of a non-secure email system; Obama had endorsed Clinton; many high-ranking Obama Justice Department officials stood to keep their coveted positions, and even advance, in a Hillary Clinton administration; the Obama Justice Department was hyper-political and Clinton was the Democratic nominee.

But the Clinton investigation did not happen in a vacuum. It happened in the context of Donald Trump’s gallop through the Republican primaries and, just as important, of the Obama administration’s determination to regard the Trump campaign as a Kremlin satellite.

With the pressure to finish MYE [Mid-Year Exam, the FBI’s codename for the Clinton email probe] in the rearview mirror, Hillary Clinton looked like a shoo-in to beat Donald Trump. By mid September, [FBI lawyer and Peter Strzok paramour] Lisa Page was saying as much at a meeting in Deputy Director McCabe’s office. But Strzok was hedging his bets: Maybe “there’s no way [Trump] gets elected — but I’m afraid we can’t take that risk. It’s like an insurance policy in the unlikely event you die before you’re 40.”

Soon, as the campaign wound down, the FBI and the Obama Justice Department were on the doormat of the FISA court, obtaining a surveillance warrant on Carter Page, substantially based on allegations in the Steele dossier — an uncorroborated Clinton-campaign opposition-research screed. Meanwhile, the FBI/CIA spy was being run at George Papadopoulos, and even seeking a role in the Trump campaign from its co-chairman, Sam Clovis.

On the Obama administration’s effort to spy on the Trump campaign, and its absurd pretext for authorizing operation Crossfire Hurricane in order to bolster its effort to frame Trump for the fake collusion delusion, McCarthy observes:

The Obama administration decided to use its counterintelligence powers to spy on the Trump campaign, using at least one covert informant, electronic monitoring of communications, and other intelligence-gathering tactics. It ignored the norm against deploying such tactics against political opponents, not based on evidence of a Trump-Russia criminal conspiracy, but on speculation about the Trump campaign’s Russia contacts and Russia sympathies. Speculation by a government, an administration, and a Democratic-party nominee with their own abysmal histories of Russia contacts and Russia sympathies.

He concludes:

In the end, it is not about who the spies are. It is about why they were spying. In our democratic republic, there is an important norm against an incumbent administration’s use of government’s enormous intelligence-gathering capabilities to — if we may borrow a phrase — interfere in an election. To justify disregarding that norm would require strong evidence of egregious wrongdoing. Enough bobbing and weaving, and enough dueling tweets. Let’s see the evidence.

So, when will we see the evidence or more tangential diversionary charges?

Nelson Cunningham, a decidedly left-of-center former federal prosecutor also from New York who worked for Bill Clinton and the 2004 presidential campaign of John Kerry, insists, “Mueller will want to avoid interfering with the November midterms, and so will try to conclude by July or August.”

Recall that Rudy Giuliani, as Trump’s lawyer, recently predicted Mueller would release his findings by 01 September.

Cunningham believes “Mueller will not indict the president, but will issue a comprehensive and detailed report. … [Deputy Attorney General] Rod Rosenstein will decide to release the report to Congress and the public. … Rosenstein’s move to release the Mueller report will lead to his firing. … And this is when the Senate and the Congress might finally engage.”

Well, that’s precisely what I’d expect from a Clintonista — and if that’s the team Mueller is pitching for, Cunningham just might be right.

Frankly, I am still holding out some hope that Mueller holds to a higher standard than that of James Comey, the latter being a case study of what happens to once-right-minded government administrators who don’t properly maintain their political immunity against Potomac swamp fever, transforming as through metamorphosis into bureaucratic political hacks.

Semper Vigilans Fortis Paratus et Fidelis Pro Deo et Libertate — 1776

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