Mid-Day Digest

Feb. 17, 2020


“Neither the wisest constitution nor the wisest laws will secure the liberty and happiness of a people whose manners are universally corrupt.” —Samuel Adams (1749)

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FBI Unlawfully Passed Classified Intel to Steele

Nate Jackson

Christopher Steele, the former British intelligence officer hired by Hillary Clinton and the DNC through GPS Fusion to dig make up dirt on Donald Trump during the 2016 campaign, is back in the news, along with Justice Department Inspector General Michael Horowitz’s report on the FBI. And the circular corruption just gets crazier.

“A month before the 2016 presidential election, the FBI met Christopher Steele in Rome and apparently unlawfully shared with the foreign opposition researcher some of the bureau’s most closely held secrets, according to unpublicized disclosures in the recent Justice Department Inspector General report on abuses of federal surveillance powers.” So begins the latest revelation of deep-state corruption, courtesy of Eric Felten and RealClearInvestigations.

Felten continues, “Much of the public reporting regarding this meeting has focused on the information Steele shared with the FBI — and the many reasons agents should have doubted its credibility. But largely neglected has been the opposite side of the equation — what the FBI told Steele. The Inspector General reports that the bureau revealed to him much of the highly classified information that it had gathered regarding alleged Trump-Russia links.” That included information on Trump campaign staffers Carter Page, George Papadopoulos, Paul Manafort, and Michael Flynn — information known only by a select few FBI officials.

“The FBI had every reason to expect Steele to share information with Glenn Simpson, whose client was the Clinton campaign,” Felten adds. And, indeed, “Shortly after the Rome meeting, Steele briefed Simpson on what the FBI had disclosed to him.”

Oh, and the FBI paid Steele $15,000 to attend the three-hour meeting.

Remember, it was Steele who leaked his dossier to Yahoo News’s Michael Isikoff. While the FBI soon cut ties with Steele for that leak, it still used the dossier to obtain surveillance warrants against Page. Clinton likewise used Isikoff’s report to hit Trump on the campaign trail.

It’s like a playground game of telephone, only these are big players using each other to confirm bogus intelligence against a candidate for president. Clinton hired Steele, who made up dirt on Trump. Steele leaked it to the press, where Clinton could pick it up and use it. Steele also gave it to the FBI, which used it to surveil Trump’s campaign. The FBI gave Steele classified information regarding the investigations prompted by his dossier — and paid him to receive it.

This sordid tale is easily, in our view, the biggest corrupt endeavor in the history of presidential campaigns. And we continue learning more as time goes on.

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DOJ Drops Unwinnable Case Against McCabe

Thomas Gallatin

The Justice Department announced Friday that it was declining to prosecute former FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe for lying to inspector general investigators over his unauthorized leak to the press regarding the FBI’s Hillary Clinton email investigation back in 2016. In light of the DOJ’s aggressive prosecution and subsequent conviction of both former National Security Advisor Michael Flynn and former Trump campaign member George Papadopoulos for lying, the decision wafts the pungent odor of a politically based double standard.

As National Review’s Andrew McCarthy observes, “The FBI’s former deputy director, though he undeniably misled investigators, remains a commentator at CNN. In the meantime, Papadopoulos is a felon convicted and briefly imprisoned for misleading investigators, while Flynn and Stone are awaiting sentencing on their false-statements charges. That covers both tiers of our justice system.”

So, why did the DOJ make this decision? Well, it appears to have boiled down to a question of winnability. As unsatisfying as that answer may be, the most unsatisfying answer of all may be that we may never fully know why. That said, there are some indications as to why the DOJ made this decision, and it wasn’t necessarily because of some deep-state cover-up.

First, as former GOP Rep. Trey Gowdy noted, this decision was made regarding a narrow specific incident — McCabe’s lying about a press leak. Furthermore, the DOJ’s announcement does not signal that McCabe is completely out of the woods — not by a long shot. It may be that McCabe factors into prosecutor John Durham’s ongoing criminal investigation into the origins of the FBI’s Trump-Russia investigation. That investigation could reveal much more serious criminal actions than lying about an unauthorized press leak.

A second reason that may have factored into this decision was the DOJ’s recognition that winning a conviction against McCabe was far from a forgone conclusion. The likelihood of getting a conviction with a Washington jury pool in the current highly partisan environment is slim. And adding to this is Trump’s careless penchant for publicly calling for the prosecution of those he believes wronged him. Even if his assessment is accurate, it only serves to bolster any claims from McCabe’s defense that the case is a politically motivated prosecution. As McCarthy states, “If you want people held accountable for their crimes, you have to ensure their fundamental right to due process. When the government poisons the well, the bad guys reap the benefits.”

On a positive note, Attorney General William Barr has installed an outside prosecutor to review Flynn’s case. This is part of a larger effort by Barr; The New York Times reports that he recently “installed a handful of outside prosecutors to broadly review the handling of other politically sensitive national-security cases.” Like a cat tasked with clearing the barn of rats, Barr has set about his work with the utmost seriousness. Trump needs to trust him, let him do his work, and avoid throwing out ammunition for Democrats to use against him.

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Roger Stone, ‘Justice,’ and the Deep State

Arnold Ahlert

Our nation has a two-tiered justice system.

Roger Stone was convicted of lying to Congress, witness tampering, and obstructing the House’s investigation into the Trump campaign’s connections to Russia. Federal prosecutors initially recommended that he serve seven to nine years. Former National Intelligence Director James Clapper lied to Congress. So did former CIA Director John Brennan. Neither man was even indicted, much less prosecuted.

The media are in a frenzy over the fact that the Justice Department submitted a revised filing stating that the prosecutors’ recommended sentence “could be considered excessive and unwarranted,” even though it’s a recommendation U.S. District Judge Amy Berman Jackson, a Barack Obama appointee, can completely ignore. They are equally incensed that President Donald Trump tweeted about the unfairness of the sentence, and they and Democrat politicians insisted Barr should “resign or face impeachment” as a result — even though the decision to change the sentencing recommendation was made before the tweet, and even though the president has the power to pardon Stone should he so desire.

Unless he does, Stone is going to jail. By contrast, Brennan works for MSNBC. Clapper works for CNN, which also hired former FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe, despite the fact that the Office of the Inspector General report stated that he repeatedly leaked information to the press and lied about it. Brennan called Trump a traitor and pushed the now-debunked Russia-collusion hoax for more than two years. Following Trump’s Helsinki meeting with Vladimir Putin, Clapper also insisted Russia must have something on Trump.

Despite being documented liars, all three remain employed by their respective networks. Networks that often insist their coverage is unbiased.

In the American justice system, a defendant facing a trial by jury is entitled to the presumption of innocence — and adjudication by an impartial jury. Last Wednesday, former Memphis City Schools Board President Tomeka Hart revealed she was the foreperson of Stone’s jury. She did so during an effort to support the four DOJ prosecutors, two of whom worked on Robert Mueller’s investigation, who resigned to protest the revised sentencing recommendation.

Hart also revealed she was a left-wing Trump hater with a string of social-media posts demonstrating exactly that. She also tweeted specifically about Stone before voting to convict him, mocking those who thought Stone’s arrest constituted a display of excessive force.

That arrest? Despite no charges of violence, the FBI sent 29 heavily armed agents dressed in riot gear, 17 armored vehicles, a K-9 unit, a helicopter, and two amphibious units stationed on the canal behind Stone’s home to conduct their pre-dawn raid. Former federal prosecutor Kenneth White surmised the show of force indicated Mueller’s office might have thought “there was a danger he would destroy evidence” — despite Stone himself saying five months earlier that he expected to be charged by Mueller, giving him ample time to destroy any evidence. Moreover, the FBI sealed off the street where CNN was “coincidentally” there to film the whole spectacle. And the FBI has denied a FOIA request for all emails between the agency and CNN in the days prior to the raid.

How did Hart pass muster with Judge Jackson? Fox News offers some perspective: “Meanwhile, it emerged that U.S. District Judge Amy Berman Jackson had denied a defense request to strike a potential juror who was an Obama-era press official with admitted anti-Trump views — and whose husband worked at the same Justice Department division that handled the probe leading to Stone’s arrest.”

Stone and his legal team also countenanced three jurors with ties to the FBI, three others tied to the DOJ, and two tied to the CIA.

Even dedicated Never-Trumper Judge Andrew Napolitano knows the score. “It is the duty of the judge to ensure that both the government and defendant get a fair trial,” he explained. “And if the judge discovers afterward that there was a built-in inherent bias on the part of a member of a jury against the defendant, that is an automatic trigger for a new trial.”

Last Wednesday, a ruling by Jackson was unsealed, rejecting Stone’s request for a new trial based on what his defense team characterized as allegations of “bias” regarding one of the jurors who remained unnamed. Yet those allegations asserted that the unnamed juror is employed at a division of the IRS — meaning it was not Hart to whom the defense team was referring.

How did Hart get on the jury in the first place? According to a court transcript obtained by the Daily Caller News Foundation, Hart stated she was generally aware of the Russia investigation, but that she didn’t “pay that close attention” to it. She also insisted Stone’s affiliation with the president would “absolutely not” color her views of the defendant.

That transcript is dated November 5, 2019. In a tweet dated August 19, 2017, Hart referred to Trump as the “#KlanPresident.” Several other tweets that predate her jury-selection testimony also indicate an intense dislike of the president, and a March 24, 2019, tweet indicated she was far more than “generally aware” of the Russian investigation.

Remarkably, in addition to her social-media posts, Hart ran for Congress as a Democrat in 2012.

Will Judge Jackson order a new trial based on these revelations? Stone wants to find out. On Friday, he demanded a retrial based on these revelations. The DOJ has until tomorrow to respond.

Yet one suspects a judge who barred Stone’s attorneys from asking questions about misconduct committed by Mueller’s team, the DOJ, and the FBI, and prevented forensic witnesses from challenging the FBI’s assertion that Russians hacked the DNC and provided that data to WikiLeaks — despite the reality that everything Stone lied about relates to this action — will not be persuaded to pursue genuine justice.

For the last three years, Americans were inundated with lies about Russian collusion and what a serious threat it was to our republic. Now the public knows otherwise: The most serious threat to our republic is the people who are supposed to safeguard it.

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Americans’ Record Household Debt Is a National Problem

Thomas Gallatin

There may be a simple reason why a majority of Americans appear unconcerned about the massive debt the federal government accumulates year after year — most folks live with significant debt themselves. With pretty consistent economic growth over the last decade — and especially the last three years — Americans have little excuse for the record amount of personal household debt they hold. But on Thursday, Americans’ average debt numbers were released and the figures should scare everyone.

“Total household debt now stands at a massive $14.15 trillion, which is $1.5 trillion above the prior record from 2008 as the financial crisis was hitting,” the Washington Examiner’s Quin Hillyer reports. “Credit card debt, at $930 billion, is likewise at an all-time high. Worse, in the fourth quarter of 2019, the proportion of credit card debt late by at least 90 days rose to 5.32%, an eight-year peak. For people aged 18-29, that rate of serious delinquency stood at a 10-year high of 9.36%. Of those with credit card debt in this age cohort, a whopping 67% of them report feeling serious stress about it.”

Is it any wonder Millennials in particular have responded positively to Bernie Sanders’s socialist siren song of “free college” and Medicare for All? It’s a shame that with all the bountiful opportunities to get a job and grow one’s wealth, the desire for immediate gratification and keeping up with the Joneses has trapped a growing number of Americans in a hamster’s debt wheel.

“If someone has seriously delinquent credit card debt but owns the American average of 2.5 televisions (per household), then the $600 for the extra 1.5 TV was a choice, not a necessity,” Hillyer cogently observes. “If someone eats outside the home (or bagged lunch) just one fewer time per week, he saves another $468 per year. If he disposes of a perfectly good smartphone just to get the latest bells, whistles, or nanoseconds of speed, that’s a voluntary decision.”

If we as Americans can’t get our own personal spending under control, why would anyone expect lawmakers in Washington to quit running up the national debt?

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The Infiltration of Indecency

Grassroots perspective by Patrick Hampton

To vote Democrat and claim being a Christian is a hypocrisy, especially in light of the presidential candidates’ widespread endorsement of the LGBT movement.

So-called trangenderism has widespread support in the DNC but also targets the black community. Read the very platform endorsing it.

To the wise among us, this intersectionality is not by happenstance. No wonder leftist, politically involved celebrities boast about such personal and sensitive details about their families, such as with Dwayne Wade’s family. Wade recently announced his son’s “transition” to being female, which garnered much attention in the black community (as it is purposefully designed to do). Some people expressed their heartfelt endorsement of this lifestyle. Others rebuked it, sticking close to the traditional Christian values common among black Americans.

To this day, many black families reject these notions, yet eagerly and consistently vote for a party that is committed to values contrary to what we believe in.

My question to these Americans is this: why vote? Why vote for a party that constantly rebukes your freedom of religion? Why vote for a party that acts to redefine what sanity is for our sons and daughters. Why endorse anything you’d disagree with?

Sadly, the leftist black community has become obsessed with attention and fame, to be well-liked among the world by sacrificing religious values taught to us by our grandparents and great-grandparents. The famous among us see this insecurity as a target, allowing them to infiltrate cultural notions that exist to do the unthinkable — to keep us under control.

Why else are black celebrities so open about abortions and promiscuity, to specifically share those details with the masses? Why do famous black families constantly remind us of sexual preferences and behaviors that shouldn’t be open to the public. It’s as if Leftmedia pundits know our frequency and have tuned into it. They know just where we are (emotionally) and how exactly to exploit the very things we lack as a demographic.

Compare and you’ll find no such things endorsed in the GOP platform. No transgenderism, no abortion. No champions of classlessness are among the conservatives. In fact, many of my liberal black friends are relieved when I share that their views are actually in line with conservative views. It’s sad to agree on so much yet be so far away in terms of a better black society. If only black Americans could vote in a way that reflects what’s in their hearts, in a way that reflects what God wants dearly for them — to thrive.

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Washington’s Birthday vs. Presidents’ Day

In some circles, today is observed as “Presidents’ Day,” jointly honoring Presidents George Washington and Abraham Lincoln (some even extend the commemoration to all presidents), but it is still officially recognized as the anniversary of Washington’s birth. That is how we mark the date in our humble shop. (Washington’s actual birthday is Feb. 22.)

Read more.


Jordan Candler

“ARBITRARY AND CAPRICIOUS”? Federal court strikes down Trump administration’s commonsense Medicaid work requirements (NBC News)

HUSH MONEY: New details emerge in Rep. Ilhan Omar’s marriage scandal (The Daily Wire)

DEMS’ CREEPY PORN LAWYER AND PRESIDENTIAL PROSPECT GUILTY: Disgraced lawyer Michael Avenatti found guilty in Nike extortion trial (CNBC)

SNUBBING BLOOMBERG, THE $400 MILLION AD SPENDER: New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio endorses Bernie Sanders for president (AP)

SPEAKING OF SANDERS: Socialist proposes $4.35 trillion tax increase on “wealth” (CNSNews.com)

TIP OF THE ICEBERG: Joe and Hunter Biden’s China connections under even closer scrutiny (Hot Air)

AND 1,700 DEATHS: China cases pass 70,000 as WHO mission gets underway (Deutsche Welle)

“THIS IS UNPRECEDENTED”: Xi Jinping shifts blame as Beijing boasts of coronavirus crackdown (Washington Examiner)

DOMESTIC THREAT: Top health official warns of “global pandemic” as 40 Americans test positive on cruise ship (Washington Examiner)

(See Mark Alexander’s analysis, “COVID-19 Perspective and Preparedness.”)

GOOD NEWS: Virginia lawmakers reject “assault weapon” ban (AP)

INADEQUATE RESOURCES & LEGAL ROADBLOCKS: Feds released 375,000 illegal immigrants who entered with family members in FY2019 (Washington Examiner)

TONE DEAF: Justin Trudeau faces backlash after shaking hands with and bowing to Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif, whose country downed plane with 57 Canadians aboard (The Daily Wire)

WHAT COULD POSSIBLE GO WRONG? Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg requests government rules on “what discourse should be allowed” (Washington Examiner)

THE SAGA CONTINUES: Kate Steinle’s killer found incompetent to stand trial on gun charges (Hot Air)

POLICY: Why we should celebrate Washington’s birthday, not Presidents’ Day (The Heritage Foundation)

POLICY: Pakistan will threaten any Afghan peace deal (Washington Examiner)

HUMOR: Struggling Biden campaign now offering one month of free AOL for rally attendance (The Babylon Bee)

For more of today’s editors’ choice headlines, visit In Our Sights.

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For more of today’s columns, visit Right Opinion.


Insight: “We who live in free market societies believe that growth, prosperity and ultimately human fulfillment, are created from the bottom up, not the government down. Only when the human spirit is allowed to invent and create, only when individuals are given a personal stake in deciding economic policies and benefitting from their success — only then can societies remain economically alive, dynamic, progressive, and free. Trust the people. This is the one irrefutable lesson of the entire postwar period contradicting the notion that rigid government controls are essential to economic development.” —Ronald Reagan

Observations: “I guess the logic of running Bloomberg against Bernie is that even the absolute worst person in the country who isn’t a socialist is still better than a socialist.” —Frank J. Fleming

Friendly fire: “Bloomberg must be the front-runner because liberals are calling him a racist. Keep booing. That’s how you lost the last election.” —HBO’s Bill Maher

The BIG Lie: “I had no intention of [tearing up Trump’s speech] when we went to the State of the Union. … I made a niche on a couple of pages thinking, ‘You ought to remember what was on this page, this page,’ then I realized most every page had something in it that was objectionable. So it wasn’t a planned thing. … It seems that if you want to [entice the] press you have to get attention. So I thought, ‘Well, let’s get attention on the fact that what he said here today was not true.’” —House Speaker Nancy Pelosi

Grand delusions: “Trump is so scared of facing Biden in a general election that the president got himself impeached for trying to get a foreign leader to damage Biden’s campaign.” —political analyst Juan Williams

Dangerous territory: “There should be more guidance and regulation from the states on basically — take political advertising as an example — what discourse should be allowed. Or, on the balance of free expression and some things that people call harmful expression, where do you draw the line?” —Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg

Non compos mentis, part I: “It’s one thing to deplore eugenics on ideological, political, moral grounds. It’s quite another to conclude that it wouldn’t work in practice. Of course it would. It works for cows, horses, pigs, dogs & roses. Why on earth wouldn’t it work for humans? Facts ignore ideology.” —atheist Richard Dawkins

Non compos mentis, part II: “Trans women are women. Trans men are men. Non-binary people are non-binary. All gender identities are valid.” —London Mayor Sadiq Khan

And last… “The strongest argument for socialism is that it sounds good. The strongest argument against socialism is that it doesn’t work. But those who live by words will always have a soft spot in their hearts for socialism because it sounds so good.” —Thomas Sowell

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For more of today’s memes, visit the Memesters Union.



For more of today’s cartoons, visit the Cartoons archive.

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