Sunday, May 20, 2018
Trump Ready to Fight Back against the Destruction of His Presidency
THE REAL NEWS AS WE START A NEW WEEK IS THAT TRUMP IS FIGHTING BACK. The President is in a fighting mood, challenging the DOJ, FBI, and Mueller on several fronts. • • • TRUMP FED UP WITH MUELLER 'SCAM.' That's how the Daily Caller put it on Sunday, writing that : "President Donald Trump railed against special counsel Robert Mueller’s ongoing investigation and the FBI for not investigating alleged crimes by his former opponent Hillary Clinton in a series of Sunday morning tweets." The President tweeted in a string on Sunday : "Things are really getting ridiculous. The Failing and Crooked (but not as Crooked as Hillary Clinton) @nytimes has done a long & boring story indicating that the World’s most expensive Witch Hunt has found nothing on Russia & me so now they are looking at the rest of the World!....At what point does this soon to be $20,000,000 Witch Hunt, composed of 13 Angry and Heavily Conflicted Democrats and two people who have worked for Obama for 8 years, STOP! They have found no Collussion with Russia, No Obstruction, but they aren’t looking at the corruption...in the Hillary Clinton Campaign where she deleted 33,000 Emails, got $145,000,000 while Secretary of State, paid McCabes wife $700,000 (and got off the FBI hook along with Terry M) and so much more. Republicans and real Americans should start getting tough on this Scam....Now that the Witch Hunt has given up on Russia and is looking at the rest of the World, they should easily be able to take it into the Mid-Term Elections where they can put some hurt on the Republican Party. Don’t worry about Dems FISA Abuse, missing Emails or Fraudulent Dossier!" President Trump has been incensed lately, and the Daily Caller said he seemed to be reacting to a recent story from the New York Times detailing alleged attempts by other foreign governments to influence the 2016 presidential election. The NYT story detailed a meeting between Donald Trump Jr. and a group of emissaries from the Middle East eager to help Trump win the presidential election." • • • TRUMP GOING AFTER OBAMA POLITICAL SPYING CHARGES. Fox News reported on Sunday that President Trump will "demand" Justice probe whether feds spied on his campaign for political purposes. Trump said in another Sunday tweet : "I hereby demand, and will do so officially tomorrow, that the Department of Justice look into whether or not the FBI/DOJ infiltrated or surveilled the Trump Campaign for Political Purposes -- and if any such demands or requests were made by people within the Obama Administration!" • That's pretty clear. And it is about time. Fox News noted that : "Trump, late last week, began accusing the Justice Department of trying to frame him by planting a spy in his campaign." • But, Rudy Giuliani, now one of the President's lawyers, said the allegation is still unproven. Giuliani told CNN : "I don't know for sure, nor does the President, if there really was one," although Giuliani said they have long been told there was "some kind of infiltration." • Trump was quoting Fox Business anchor David Asman when he tweeted Friday : "Apparently the DOJ put a Spy in the Trump Campaign. This has never been done before and by any means necessary, they are out to frame Donald Trump for crimes he didn't commit." • Earlier in May, the National Review raised the possibility of an FBI spy in Trump's campaign, citing work by California Republican Representative Devin Nunes, chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, who has demanded information on an FBI source in the Russia investigation. • Virginia Senator Mark Warner, the ranking Democrat on the Senate Intelligence Committee as its vice chairman, objected Friday to the Nunes demands, emphasizing "the critical importance of protecting sources and methods. It would be at best irresponsible, and at worst potentially illegal, for members of Congress to use their positions to learn the identity of an FBI source for the purpose of undermining the ongoing investigation into Russian interference in our election," according to a statement he released. "Anyone who is entrusted with our nation's highest secrets should act with the gravity and seriousness of purpose that knowledge deserves." • As always, the New York Times figured in the story, reporting last week that at least one government informant met several times with Carter Page and George Papadopoulos, both former foreign policy advisors for Trump's Republican campaign. The NYT reported Friday that the informant talked to Page and Papadopoulos because they had suspicious contacts linked to Russia. The newspaper attributed the information to current and former FBI officials. BUT, other reports about the infromant(s) who met with Page and Papadopoulos insistthat the two were set up and pumped for information before they realized what was happening. When they caught on, they talked to others about the conversations, pointing out their concern. These numerous reports of a spy monitoring the Trump campaign in 2016, occurring before the FBI opened an official investigation, prompted the Daily Caller’s Chuck Ross to report that the description of the spy matches with Stefan Halper, a Cambridge professor and former CIA spy. [NOTE : We discussed Halper in our May 14 blog.] Nunes said on Fox News Sunday that a spy in the Trump campaign would be an : “absolute red line. There is no possible way, that we should be allowing, even if it was legal, we should never allow this in this country. Congress should not allow for anything like this to ever occur again to any political campaign, if it in fact happened.” • As early as March, Justice Department Inspector General Michael Horowitz said he would explore a series of controversial applications to surveil former Trump campaign advisor Carter Page -- meaning at least part of the President’s request already is covered. But, what President Trump is now asking for is a stand-alone investigation by the DOJ that will focus only on these Obama administration political spying allegations. Several Republican lawmakers are also calling for a further investigation of any role played by Stefan Halper, the University of Cambridge professor who was connected to both British and American intelligence agencies. • • • TRUMP AND NUNES DEMAND DOJ TO RELEASE DOCUMENTS RELATED TO POLITICAL SPYING ALLEGATIONS AND THE RUSSIA PROBE. President Trump on Saturday tweeted a call for the release of documents regarding the FBI or DOJ “infiltrating” his campaign after continued reports identified an intelligence source within the Trump campaign : "If the FBI or DOJ was infiltrating a campaign for the benefit of another campaign, that is a really big deal. Only the release or review of documents that the House Intelligence Committee (also, Senate Judiciary) is asking for can give the conclusive answers. Drain the Swamp!" • The Washington Examiner wrote on Firday, with an update on Sunday, that : "House Intelligence Committee Chairman Devin Nunes did not seize an opportunity to continue talks Friday with government officials about documents he seeks related to the Russia investigation. A Justice Department official confirmed to the Washington Examiner that they never heard back after sending an invitation to Nunes on Tuesday to 'answer the questions he posed last week.' Nunes' office replied to a request for comment. A spokesperson for [Repesentative Trey] Gowdy told the Washington Examiner that while the South Carolina congressman has been invited to certain meetings with Nunes, Nunes and House Intelligence Committee staff have handled all of negotiations with the DOJ and Gowdy has not been involved in those talks. Earlier this month, the California Republican subpoenaed the Justice Department after the agency did not respond to a classified letter he sent with his request regarding special counsel Robert Mueller’s Russia investigation. The subpoena reportedly demanded documents related to a US citizen who contributed to the probe as a confidential intelligence source. However, the Justice Department -- backed by the White House -- withheld the documents and told Nunes in a follow-up letter that turning over the requested information would be a risk to national security and specifically put at risk the lives of the informant and the informant's sources." • White House "backing" of the DOJ seems now to have collapsed in part, as the President is demanding that documents related to the allegations of political spying on his campaign be released. • And, Nunes and the DOJ appear to be locked in a document battle -- after a classified briefing last week that included Nunes, House Oversight Committee Chairman Gowdy, and officials from the Office of the Director of National Intelligence, DOJ, and FBI. The Washington Examiner reported : "Noting they had a 'productive discussion,' Nunes and Gowdy wrote, 'The officials committed to holding further discussions of these matters, and we look forward to continuing our dialogue next week to satisfy the Committee’s request.' ” • The Examiner says that the souring of the relationship between Nunes and the DOJ/FBI took "a tumultuous turn this week as conservative lawmakers and media have pushed the unsubstantiated reports that the source may have been a plant to spy on the Trump campaign for investigators." However, says the Examiner : "US officials told CNN that this was not the case and the New York Times, which claims to have identified the informant but has not disclosed an identity, reported Friday that the FBI source was used to look into the Trump campaign's ties to Russia. Still, the matter has escalated to the point where President Trump has tweeted about a spy scandal that could be 'bigger than Watergate!' " • Of course, Democrats are fighting back against what they fear might be a political ploy by Republicans to undermine Mueller's investigation, which not only is looking into Russian interference in the 2016 election, but also possible collusion between the Trump camp and the Kremlin. Democrat Senator Mark Warner says : "It would be at best irresponsible, and at worst potentially illegal, for members of Congress to use their positions to learn the identity of an FBI source for the purpose of undermining the ongoing investigation into Russian interference in our election." IT WOULD ALSO BE ILLEGAL for the Obama DOJ/FBI to spy on the Trump campaign for political raesons -- but Seantor Warner and other Democrats like ot avoid that part of the equation. • The Washington Examiner also reported that Representative Mark Meadows, the chairman of the House Freedom Caucus, told CNN that a DOJ official told him the agency had "no intention" of complying with Nunes' subpoena. Meadows added that he is not "optimistic that the Department of Justice will voluntarily comply with the two outstanding subpoenas that are there." • The Exwaminer sees more leverage on Nunes' side because Rudy Giuliani, Trump's lawyer, told the Washington Post on Thursday that he now believes Congress should secure the release of classified information regarding Mueller’s Russia investigation. Giuliani said : "It’s ridiculous. You guys in the press should have them. I don’t know why the current attorney general and the current director of the FBI want to protect a bunch of renegades that might amount to 20 people at most within the FBI.” • Recently, Nunes threatened to hold Attorney General Jeff Sessions in contempt of Congress over the Justice Department refusal ot comply with requests for information related to the Russia investigation. But, on Thursday, Nunes told Sinclair Broadcasting Group that he has shifted his attention to Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, who is overseeing Mueller's operation, saying he should be the one held in contempt of Congress. • • • TALK OF A TRUMP Q&A WITH MUELLER CONTINUES. The Daily Caller also reported on Friday that Giuliani said special counsel Robert Mueller has narrowed his possible interview subject areas from five to two as negotiations continue over whether the president will sit down and answer questions in the Russia investigation. BUT, on Sunday, Giuliani said Trump could be ‘walking into a trap’ by interviewing with special counsel Robert Mueller if he’s not given more details about a FBI informant who reportedly met with Trump campaign aides. Giuliani told the Wall Street Journal in an interview published Sunday that the Trump team would need more information about the informant and whether the individual had any “incriminating information” on Trump associates. Giuliani said : "What we intend to do is premise it on, ‘If you want an interview, we need an answer to this.’ " • The Washington Post reported Friday that an FBI informant also met with Trump campaign co-chair Sam Clovis, in addition to advisors George Papadopoulos and Carter Page. The alleged informant, the retired Cambridge professor and longtime US intelligence source Stefan Halper, met with Clovis in 2016 and reportedly offered to provide foreign policy advice to the campaign. • • • IMPEACHMENT TALK GOES ON. Despite the fact that no basis for impeachment has been found either by special counsel Mueller or the FBI or Democrats in Congress, Harvard Law School professor and constitutional law expert Laurence Tribe warned against impeaching President Trump on Sunday, implying the process could worsen political dysfunction and polarization. Tribe told CNN : "It's important that we not exacerbate the dysfunction and the polarization in the society that helped Donald Trump rise to power in the first place. If we were to use the impeachment power simply as a substitute for buyer's remorse, saying 'We thought this guy was terrible, but he's even worse,' if we were going to use it against ambient badness, rather than clear abuse of power -- we would really use the impeachment power to undermine, rather than save, our democracy." WHAT THAT BOILS DOWN TO is that there is NO EVIDENCE on which to raise impeachment agaisnt President Trump. • Democrats are goring Trump in the effort to make him react by firing either Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein or special counsel Robert Mueller, who is investigating alleged ties between the Trump campaign and Russian meddling in the 2016 presidential election. Rosenstein oversees Mueller's probe. Representative Brendan Boyle, a Pennsylvania Democrat , said in April that he would introduce articles of impeachment against Trump if he fired Rosenstein. Senator Kamala Harris, a California Democrat, said firing the special counsel would be an impeachable offense. • • • DEAR READERS, Senator Bernie Sanders and other Democrats are trying to use the impeachment issue as a running point in the 2018 midterm elections. Senator Sanders cautions that : "You can't jump the gun and determine that somebody should be impeached when you're going to be voting on the impeachment issue. So, I think you allow the Mueller investigation to do its course. You fight against anybody who wants to impede that investigation. But I think it is too early to talk about impeachment." • It is clear that while we were focused last week on the exploding Gaza / Hamas / Iran situation and their efforts to destroy Israel, it was business as usual in Washington. If President Trump stays the course and forces his DOJ to investigate the Obama political surveillance allegations, and if he orders -- as he has the constitutional right to do -- the DOJ to release all documents related to the Russia probe, we will see the beginning of a real fight against the Obama / Deep State plot to get rid of Trump. Add to this the imperative, I believe, to keep President Trump from talking to special counsel Mueller, no matter how much Mueller sweet talks to Rudy Giuliani about his decision that he cannot indict a sitting President under DOJ rules. We all know that if Mueller had any evidence that could be used to indict, he would already have done it -- being content to let the Supreme Court make the final decision against his indictment LONG AFTER the Trump presidency had already been destroyed for all practical purposes. Let us not kid ourselves. Mueller has only one goal -- Get Trump.