IN TODAY’S EDITION
- Mark Alexander takes a comprehensive look at the FISA memo’s implications.
- Some political observations from last night’s Super Bowl.
- Democrats hate Trump more than they love America.
- Evaluating the pros and cons of paid family leave.
- Plus our Daily Features: Top Headlines, Memes, Cartoons, Columnists and Short Cuts.
“States, like individuals, who observe their engagements, are respected and trusted: while the reverse is the fate of those who pursue an opposite conduct.” —Alexander Hamilton (1790)
Editor’s Note: What follows is a special report from Mark Alexander on the House Intelligence Committee’s long-awaited FISA memo, and the implications for the broader Russia collusion narrative.
By Mark Alexander
After weeks of hyperbolic political and media speculation, President Donald Trump authorized the declassification and release of the House Intelligence Committee memo regarding abuse of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) by a handful of Barack Obama’s deep-state activists in key positions within the Department of Justice. Recall that the FISA court was set up in order to track foreign terrorists who are suspected of targeting the U.S.
The memo’s conclusions, though at risk of being lost in all the Demo/MSM hyperbole and the clashing titan political egos, are serious and troubling. They expose a corrupt and conspiratorial assault on Liberty and Rule of Law.
House Intelligence Committee Chairman Devin Nunes (R-CA), whose committee generated the memo with House Oversight Committee Chairman and former federal prosecutor Trey Gowdy (R-SC), its principal author, explained the memo’s significance: “I have an obligation to the American people when we see FISA abuse. The American citizens who come before this court have to be protected, and the only place that can protect them is the U.S. Congress when abuses do occur. … The committee has discovered serious violations of the public trust, and the American people have a right to know when officials in crucial institutions are abusing their authority for political purposes. Our intelligence and law enforcement agencies exist to defend the American people, not to be exploited to target one group on behalf of another.”
Before detailing key findings in the FISA memo — and there are plenty — allow me to dispose of two Democrat objections to its release. Both of these objections will be invoked every time the memo is mentioned in order to sustain one of their 2018 midterm election strategy pillars — the Trump/Putin collusion delusion.
First, since the existence of the House memo became public knowledge, Democrats have railed against its declassification and release because, they say, it would expose critical intelligence “methods and sources.” Their argument has been that those advocating for its release are traitorous, and yet since its release on Friday, Democrats and media talkingheads have uniformly declared the memo to be a “nothing burger.” Well, which is it?
As distinguished Georgetown Law Professor Jonathan Turley (a Democrat) noted, the memo exposed no methods or sources, and it calls into question the Democrats’ objections:
You have this disconnect [regarding] what Democrat members said about the release of this memo. Those of us who have been working on national security cases for a long time expected there would be some type of footprint of sources and methods. There wasn’t. This [memo] was not even remotely classified. That really concerns a lot of us because [Democrats and some FBI officials attempted] to use classification laws for tactical purposes. … There is nothing remotely in this memo that justifies the rhetoric by Minority Leader Pelosi or ranking [House Intelligence minority member Adam] Schiff — they all said there would be dire consequences. The FBI director said there would be grave problems that would arise with the release. And then you look at the memo [which clearly] was written to avoid sources and methods. Anyone looking at this memo can see that it was written to avoid sources and methods, it’s basically what we had already heard. … It was confirming that the dossier was a critical part, if not the determining part, in securing that FISA order.
Turley added, “So why did all these members say this would jeopardize national security? … That’s lying to the American people.”
Likewise, Harvard Law professor Alan Dershowitz also debunked the Demos’ claim: “People were saying this memo — the country would crumble and fall if this memo was released, that has all kinds of important national security content. I don’t see it… The American public is entitled to see the entire thing.”
Former U.S. Attorney for the District of Columbia, Joe diGenova concluded: “What is clear now [is that] the FBI and the DOJ basically conspired with the Democratic Party, the DNC and the Hillary Clinton campaign to exonerate her of violations of the Espionage Act and, in the course of trying to prevent Donald Trump from becoming president, to frame him for a nonexistent crime of collusion.”
For the record, those who seek accountability for key Department of Justice and FBI officials in regard to their apparent and treasonous collusion with one political party to spy on the other political party’s presidential campaign are anything but traitors. We are Patriots.
Second, Democrats and their Leftmedia outlets are advancing the narrative that the memo is a “broad assault on the Department of Justice and FBI” by President Trump and Republicans. According to Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA), “This wasn’t about oversight. This is about … attacking the DoJ and FBI, a transparent attempt to discredit these institutions.”
In fact, it is nothing of the sort.
The memo names a handful of corrupt Democrat deep-state operatives in the DoJ and FBI, who colluded to help Hillary Clinton defeat Donald Trump and who, after his stunning upset, sought to undermine the legitimacy of Trump’s presidency.
As The Patriot Post has made clear previously, the vast majority of the 12,484 special agents and 2,950 intelligence analysts in the FBI steadfastly abide by their oaths to “to Support and Defend” our Constitution. They also strive to live up to the FBI motto: Fidelity, Bravery, Integrity. Indeed, most FBI agents, whose reputations are being sullied by the corrupt actions of a few high-ranking officials, are both personally and professionally offended by that corruption.
That notwithstanding, The Washington Post’s lead national security story over the weekend contained this: “In the 109 years of the FBI’s existence, it has repeatedly come under fire for abuses of power, privacy or civil rights. From Red Scares to recording and threatening to expose the private conduct of Martin Luther King Jr. to benefiting from bulk surveillance in the digital age, the FBI is accustomed to intense criticism. What is so unusual about the current moment … is the source of the attacks. The bureau is under fire not from those on the left but rather conservatives who have long been the agency’s biggest supporters, as well as the president…”
Ironically, while WaPo has railed against the release of the FISA memo, there is a big screen production currently in theaters, “The Post,” about some WaPo journalists who attempted to publish the Pentagon Papers. As you recall, that was a classified DoD study stolen by one of its authors, Daniel Ellsberg, regarding U.S. political and military involvement in Vietnam from 1945 to 1967.
Of course, it was actually The New York Times, which also railed against the FISA release, which broke the Pentagon Papers story in 1971, and began publishing excerpts. In a summary, The Times noted that the Kennedy and Johnson administrations had “systematically lied, not only to the public but also to Congress.”
So why would the Post and Times not want the FISA memo published? (Rhetorical question…)
In fact, the memo shines sunlight on the nefarious circumstances under which a FISA warrant was issued on evidence that was 10% substance and 90% fragrance, in order to spy on a Trump campaign volunteer, Carter Page, and by extension, everyone with whom Page had communication. In other words, the FBI could extend its powerful surveillance tentacles deep into the Trump campaign, and the information gleaned by that surveillance could then be used by Obama’s operatives to assist Clinton.
Page, a Distinguished Graduate of the U.S. Naval Academy (top 10% of his class) and a naval intelligence officer, also earned a master’s degree in National Security Studies from Georgetown University, an MBA from New York University, and a Ph.D. from the University of London. He was also a fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations before starting his own business specializing in energy development. In 2013, because of his connections with Russian oil interests, he was advised by the FBI that Russian intelligence operatives were attempting to recruit him. This is why he was on the FBI’s radar as a person of interest — and this status would help justify, four years later, the FISA warrant against him.
After analyzing the FISA memo’s contents, it’s clear why Democrat Party leaders and some DoJ officials were adamantly opposed to its public release: It provided incontrovertible evidence that Obama operatives within DoJ and FBI used a phony Trump dossier, which was created by a Trump-hating ex-British spy and paid for by the DNC and the Hillary Clinton campaign, to spy on the Trump presidential campaign.
It references former FBI Director James Comey, former Deputy Attorney General Sally Yates and Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, who was the subject of Rep. Trey Gowdy’s epic House Oversight Committee inquiry, which asked, “What the hell is going on with the Department of Justice and the FBI?”
The memo notes correctly that the investigation of former Trump campaign adviser George Papadopoulos’ drunken remarks in a bar about Russians and Clinton’s insecure email server “triggered the opening of an FBI counterintelligence investigation in late July 2016 by FBI agent Peter Strzok.” That’s right, Strzok, Comey’s chief lieutenant, the dirty cop who held a top post on Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigative team until his conspiratorial anti-Trump communications with FBI lawyer Lisa Page, with whom he was having an illicit affair, were discovered.
According to now public information, the memo concludes, “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.”
Once underway, that investigation would lead to the FISA court warrant request, using the fraudulent Clinton/DNC dossier on Trump. And that leads us to the memo’s reference to the critical testimony before the House Intelligence Committee by McCabe in December 2017, in which he told the committee that “no surveillance warrant would have been sought from the FISC without the [Christopher] Steele dossier information.”
The memo makes clear that the FBI knew the DNC and Clinton campaign were behind the fake dossier (having paid Steele $160,000 through the law firm of Perkins Coie and the opposition research firm Fusion GPS) but did not disclose that to the FISA court when seeking the warrant on Carter Page: “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 and FBI officials. The initial FISA application notes Steele was working for a named US person, but does not name Fusion GPS and principal Glenn Simpson, who was paid by a US law firm (Perkins Coie) representing the DNC. 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.”
Attempting to defuse the issue, Schiff and other Democrats are arguing that the FISA court did received some indication that the evidence being presented for the warrant against Page was politically motivated. If true, that confirms what the FBI principles knew, and indicates that the court was open to the use of such evidence to issue a warrant — not good on either count.
Rep. Gowdy is countering that claim, however, saying, “Adam Schiff and others [should be] equally concerned about what’s not in the FISA application, which is a lot of really important information about the source, and its sub-sources, and the fact that he was hired by the DNC and the Clinton campaign, and the fact that he was biased against President Trump. That is all information that the finder of fact is entitled to.”
Regarding the political motivations of Steele, who authored and brought the fake dossier to the FBI, and who was paid for his “services” before being terminated as an unreliable informant, the memo notes: “[Steele] maintained contact with DOJ via then-Associate Deputy Attorney General Bruce Ohr. … 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.”
(Recall that, like Steele, Ohr’s wife also worked for Fusion GPS doing opposition research against Trump for the Clinton campaign.)
After the FBI terminated Steele as an FBI source “for what the FBI defines as the most serious of violations,” for his “unauthorized disclosure to the media of his relationship with the FBI,” an internal FBI report concluded that his dossier was at best “only minimally corroborated.” Recall that in January of last year, then-FBI Director Comey declared that at least part of the dossier was “salacious and unverified.”
For his part, Comey, now an aspiring MSNBC hack, tweeted of the released memo, “That’s it? Dishonest and misleading memo wrecked the House intel committee, destroyed trust with Intelligence Community, damaged relationship with FISA court, and inexcusably exposed classified investigation of an American citizen.”
Of course as you recall, it was Comey who exonerated Hillary Clinton for her secret communications subterfuge, and who signed the FISA court documents against Page on three occasions. He now falls squarely into the Democrat camp of those who doth protest too much.
And it was Comey who then leaked memos of his private conversations with Trump to Daniel Richman so he could provide them to the media — and by Comey’s admission, set up grounds for appointment of a special prosecutor.
Rep. Nunes responded: “Comey had [six months] to come clean on who paid for the dossier. He was asked about it in January, and he said very clearly that he knew that Republicans had started the dossier — which was a lie. And when asked who finished the dossier, he said he didn’t know. Maybe he was lying, maybe he didn’t know, but either way that’s a problem. … Comey is welcome to come back and tell us when exactly he learned the Democratic Party and the Clinton campaign paid for the dossier.”
Nunes added, “The American people understand that the FBI should not go to secret courts, using information that was paid for by the Democrats to open up investigations with warrants of people of the other political party. There is clear evidence of collusion with the Russians, it just happens to be with the Hillary Clinton campaign and the Democrat National Committee [with a complicit mainstream media].”
The Democrats’ point man on the memo release appears to be Eric Swalwell (D-CA). Expect to hear his mantra repeatedly this week: “The rule of law has been run over.” (It’s always humorous to hear a liberal refer to “rule of law.”)
But they should be a little concerned when even CNN’s leftist s—thole promoter Jake Tapper asks Swalwell this question: “Is there anything inappropriate, do you think, about a partisan political document, the Steele dossier being used in an application to surveil an associate of a presidential candidate, in this case Carter Page — especially if that fact is not disclosed in the application? Is that inherently wrong do you think?”
To which Swalwell repLIED: “Jake, that fact was disclosed — it was disclosed to the FISA court, that part of the evidence was from a politically motivated source.”
And as of this date, that is where the FISA memo, and the Democrats’ deep-state operatives who solicited it, stand.
Here are a few additional observations at this juncture…
The memo release puts the remaining Obama operatives on notice that Congress is on their trail.
In the wake of Donald Trump’s well-received State of the Union Address, which highlighted his administration’s very successful first year, and the fact that he now has Democrats boxed in on their prized immigration platform, expect them to go into full hysteria mode over the FISA memo this week.
Regarding Russian interference in U.S. elections, let me reiterate that Russia has and will always be interested in undermining American confidence in its political system and government.
However, Democrats made sure Vladimir Putin is still accomplishing that interference, ad nauseam, by using the fake Russian dossier to question the legitimacy of Trump’s election.
As for the collusion claims, former prosecutor Joe DiGenova concludes, “There is no Russia collusion story without the dossier and we now know and have confirmed six ways to Sunday there was nothing behind it so, therefore, why is there a special counsel investigation?”
Even so, we will exercise caution with the memo conclusions. But I believe the reason Republicans waited so long to release it was to give Democrats and their Leftmedia advocates time to dig themselves ever deeper into a hole of lies.
A question that needs to be asked about Barack Obama’s operatives in the FBI and DoJ, those who colluded in an attempt to swing the 2016 election to Clinton: What did Obama know and when did he know it? (Let’s not forget that Obama has his own red-handed history of colluding with the Russians.)
Finally, I think the big winner in the FISA controversy is former President Richard M. Nixon. The 1972 Watergate DNC headquarters break-in by some Cuban burglars was amateur play compared to the creation and use of the fake Clinton/DNC funded Russia collusion dossier, to achieve surveillance access to the Trump campaign.
Footnote: When I say “Comey” in voice dictation, I have to correct the voice-to-text transcription, which interprets it as “commie.” Must be the Russians…
No players kneel during national anthem at Super Bowl (The Hill)
Black Lives Matter protesters arrested after blocking light rail to Super Bowl (The Washington Times)
Mexican immigrant without license accused in DUI death of Indianapolis Colts linebacker Edwin Jackson (The Washington Times)
“Dreamer” talks aim to end budget impasse (The Wall Street Journal)
Pentagon unveils new nuclear weapons strategy, ending Obama-era push to reduce U.S. arsenal (The Washington Post)
U.S. Episcopal diocese refuses to use God’s preferred gender pronoun (The Daily Wire)
Ban on guns near parks violates the Second Amendment, Illinois Supreme Court says (Reason)
Good Samaritan with a gun comes to the aid of Utah police officer under attack (Hot Air)
The parents of this dead robber are really mad his victim had a gun (The Truth About Guns)
Humor: Nation fondly remembers time when liberals advocated for government transparency (The Babylon Bee)
Policy: What to expect from the Jerome Powell era at the Fed (Washington Examiner)
Policy: Settled nutritional science just got blown up (Investor’s Business Daily)
For more of today’s news, visit Patriot Headline Report.
For more of today’s memes, visit the Memesters Union.
For more of today’s top cartoons, visit the Cartoons archive.
MORE ANALYSIS FROM THE PATRIOT POST
- Eagles Win, Capping Off Another Politically Plagued NFL Season — No anthem kneeling, but Philly fans celebrate a Super Bowl victory by tearing up their city.
- Democrats Hate Trump More Than They Love America — Last Tuesday’s State of the Union response may have been a tipping point for the American Left.
- Pros and Cons of Paid Family Leave — How do we balance taking care of workers with heavy regulation or spending future money?
- President Trump Releases the House FISA Memo — Now begins the investigation into the DOJ and FBI and their handling of the infamous anti-Trump dossier.
- Video: Leftist Students Busted Hating on Obama Speech — It’s John Jay College students’ turn to share in the embarrassing State of the Union spotlight.
BEST OF RIGHT OPINION
- Hans von Spakovsky: GOP Memo Raises Serious Questions About FBI, DOJ
- Caleb Verbois: Memos, Trump, and Trust
- Marc A. Thiessen: Trump’s New Immigration Proposal Is Quintessentially Presidential
- Kathryn Jean Lopez: Moral Cowardice in the Senate
- Rebecca Hagelin: Rot, or Revival?
For more of today’s columns, visit Right Opinion.
OPINION IN BRIEF
Hans von Spakovsky: “One would think that senior law enforcement officials would have realized they had a professional duty to tell the court about the origins of the dossier and about Steele himself, since that information was relevant to the credibility of the information drawn from the dossier. Yet, according to the Republican memo, the senior FBI and Justice Department officials involved in the application and re-application process failed in that duty. The staff memo says nothing regarding what Page is alleged to have done. Thus, the reader is not able to assess whether or not a FISA warrant targeting him was a valid government objective. Nor do we know what information — from the dossier or elsewhere — led the government to reasonably believe that Page was ‘an agent of a foreign power.’ Clearly, the FISA memo released is but a portion of a much larger story. If Washington works the way it typically works, the fuller story will come out eventually. It should, because the public has a right to know what happened. But if the main elements of this staff memo prove to be true — that key government officials failed to disclose the tawdry facts about the unverified Steele dossier, its origin, and who paid for it, in the middle of a presidential election — there could and should be serious ramifications for all of those involved.”
For the record: “It is important for the American public to know if the dossier was paid for by another candidate, used in court pleadings, vetted before it was used, vetted after it was used, and whether all relevant facts were shared with the tribunal approving of the FISA application.” —Rep. Trey Gowdy
Self-righteous indignation: “That’s it? Dishonest and misleading memo wrecked the House intel committee, destroyed trust with Intelligence Community, damaged relationship with FISA court, and inexcusably exposed classified investigation of an American citizen. For what? DOJ & FBI must keep doing their jobs.” —James Comey
Non Compos Mentis: “Trump has surrendered his constitutional responsibility as Commander-in-Chief by releasing highly classified and distorted intelligence. By not protecting intelligence sources and methods, he just sent his friend Putin a bouquet.” —Nancy Pelosi
Oh for crying out loud: “I think there is probably a credible case [of obstruction] involving [Devin] Nunes as well.” —Sen. Richard Blumenthal
“I’m with [fill in the blank]”: “There’s a definite yearning for ‘Who’s my next great love?’ And the problem is we’re not really loving anyone we see. So we’re looking for someone we’re not expecting.” —Democrat strategist Patti Solis Doyle
Dumb and dumber: “[Trump] makes it sound like the biggest issue in the United States … is MS-13, a gang nobody that doesn’t watch Fox News has ever heard of.” —MSNBC’s Joy Reid, who thinks a transnational crime syndicate is no big deal
Braying Jackass: “You should not come to my state, saying that you know what is best for my state when you would do everything you could to harm my state.” —Sen. Joe Manchin on Mike Pence’s recent visit
Alpha Jackass: “It just so happens that almost every talk show host is a liberal and that’s because it requires a level of intelligence.” —Jimmy Kimmel
And last… “We got hit with these corporations giving tremendous bonuses to everybody that Nancy Pelosi called crumbs. That was a bad — that could be like [Clinton’s use of the word] deplorable. Does that make sense? Deplorable and crumbs — those two words, they seem to have a resemblance.” —Donald Trump
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Semper Vigilans Fortis Paratus et Fidelis
Nate Jackson, Managing Editor
Mark Alexander, Publisher