Dems Claim Trump Team Not Wiretapped While Wiretapped
| PJ Media
“On January 20, the New York Timespublished a story on wiretapping of Trump insiders. In the print version, the headline was “Wiretapped Data Used in Inquiry of Trump Aides,” although you’re going to have to squint to read the acknowledgment of the print headline at the bottom of the page.
Still, if you look through the actual article, you’ll find this paragraph:
The F.B.I. is leading the investigations, aided by the National Security Agency, the C.I.A. and the Treasury Department’s financial crimes unit. The investigators have accelerated their efforts in recent weeks but have found no conclusive evidence of wrongdoing, the officials said. One official said intelligence reports based on some of the wiretapped communications had been provided to the White House.
I’ve written about this before here and here, and I won’t go through the whole argument again as I’m not paid by the word, but the really inescapable conclusion was that either the New York Times reporting was false, or Trump was justified. The real question was identifying who in the Obama administration (or in the upper-level civil service staff) had been responsible for leaking information that identified a “US Person” — and would they be prosecuted for what appear to be felonious violations of 18USC793 and 50USC1801.
This strikes me as silly and disingenuous: it’s the same old “well, it wasn’t really a wiretap and it wasn’t really a wiretap of Trump” defense.
Now, after a lot of talk during hearings on Monday that no one saw evidence that Trump had been wiretapped, today Devin Nunes announced (quoting from his press release):
As a commenter at Instapundit pointed out, this is starting to look like the old Washington tradition, the “modified limited hangout.”
The Creepy, Long-Standing Practice of Undersea Cable Tapping @ theAtlantic.com
So, this is getting even more interesting now. It appears now that a number of Trump insiders were intercepted, and no, I’m not buying the argument that Trump saying “wiretapped” was wrong, especially since that’s exactly what was reported.
And it appears now that people trying to maintain that Trump was “lying” about being wiretapped are being driven to the interesting defense that it was a lie because the U.S. wasn’t actually wiretapping Trump people when the U.S. was wiretapping Trump people.
Which is, at least, good for a laugh.
In the meantime, though, I think Colonel Mustard should lawyer up: the bobbies are closing in.”
News on this topic is being updated as I write but here’s how I see it.
There were illegally obtained intercepts of Trump communications (call them wiretaps, or intercepts, or whatever). They show Trump did nothing wrong but they can be used to continue to push the narrative ‘Trump was involved with the Russians to hack the election’ and keep the Trump administration mired in a haze of innuendos and suspicion thereby damaging his administration.
But they have a problem.
They can’t reveal their information because people will ask the obvious questions, ‘Who gave you this information? Who obtained it? How was it obtained?’
The Democrats and enemies of Trump are in a bind.
If they release what they have they will have to explain who gave them the intel and give a detailed account of how it was obtained.
That’s why you have Come[d]y saying, ‘we have information but I can’t tell you what it is’.
If they release the intel their game is up because they will have to reveal the sources and methods.
But having already admitted they have the intel but they aren’t going to release it because the investigation is ongoing only makes things worse for them.
Democrats are screaming to release the evidence and wondering why Comey isn’t releasing the intel that will take Trump down.
Which leads to this:
If they release what they have the ‘Deep State’ (Obama White House staff) players will be exposed.
It’s like witnessing a crime while you’re committing a crime.
Next Words Director Comey May Hear From President Trump? ‘You’re Fired!’
“If there’s one thing we know about President Donald Trump, it’s that he’s not afraid to yell, “you’re fired!” anytime he hears something he dislikes. 45 must be practicing his termination declarations Monday, after a day of James Comey’s testimony before Congress. Comey, the Obama-appointed FBI director testified today before the House Intelligence Committee, and that testimony boiled down to this: Obama’s wiretapping is “fake news,” and the Trump-Russia connection isn’t (or at the very least they are investigating).
If you’re thinking that it’s a little weird for the FBI to be commenting on an open investigation, you’re right. The FBI is generally pretty tight-lipped about its work. But bizarre times call for bizarre measures, and Comey explained that in “unusual circumstances where it is in the public interest,” he would share what information he could about what’s been going on with our president.
Comey began his hours of testimony with this confirmation that Trump’s campaign is being investigated, and that investigation is a criminal one:
While Donald Trump is known for his pervasive inconsistency, he is consistent about one thing: getting rid of those who threaten his authority. He has been known to fire (or, if we’re talking Hillary Clinton, threaten to “lock up”) any worthy opponent. Just last week, news broke that Trump had fired U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York Preet Bharara and dozens of other U.S. Attorneys. Although turnover of federally-appointed prosecutors is typical, Bharara’s firing was not. For starters, it opposed a public announcement last November that Bharara had been officially asked to stay on into the Trump administration. Stranger still was the timing. Right at the time he was fired, Bharara had reportedly been conducting an investigation into Tom Price, Trump’s new Health and Human Services Secretary, over some shady stock transactions.
By contrast, Comey’s calling Trump out for lying about President Obama, while simultaneously confirming that the FBI is amidst an investigation over collusion with Russia is a one-two punch that leaves the Price investigation in the dust. Trump, a compulsively reactive person when publicly embarrassed, is likely doing far more than licking his wounds right now. But could Trump really fire James Comey?
He sure can. Under federal law, the F.B.I. director is appointed to one 10-year term – a term length purposely created such that it overlaps presidential administrations. Presidents may fire the FBI director (and Congress can impeach one) – and according to a 2014 report by the Congressional Research Service, “there are no statutory conditions on the President’s authority to remove the FBI Director.” While some FBI directors have resigned prior to the end of their terms, only one – William S. Sessions (appointed by President Ronald Reagan in 1987) – was ever fired. Sessions was fired by President Bill Clinton in the wake of allegations of ethics violations, such as misuse of public funds for his private benefit.
It was impossible to listen to Comey’s testimony Monday without anticipating Trump’s cutting short his tenure as Director. And yet, such a reality was all but unthinkable just a few short months ago. James Comey’s unprecedented public statement made the week prior to the 2016 presidential election was largely considered the thing that sealed President Trump’s win. Just a few days before Election Day, Comey announced that the Hillary Clinton was being reopened. Although little came of the announcement relative to that investigation, the bell could not be un-rung, and Hillary Clinton was pronounced for evermore, “extremely careless” with the handling of classified information. Candidate Trump could not have asked for a better gift; many, though, like Senator Harry Reid, and ethics specialist Richard Painter, criticized Comey for having acted improperly and perhaps even illegally.”
Defiant FBI Chief Is Fired by President Clinton: Law enforcement – Alleged ethical abuses by Sessions are cited as reason for dismissal. He refused to resign.
| LA Times – 1993
“WASHINGTON — FBI Director William S. Sessions, who stubbornly refused to resign despite Justice Department ethics findings that he abused his office, was fired Monday by President Clinton–the first time a director of the storied agency has been dismissed.
Clinton and Atty. Gen. Janet Reno, steeling the Administration against claims that the decision was politically motivated, used unmistakably blunt language to describe Sessions’ failings. Reno “has reported to me in no uncertain terms that he can no longer effectively lead the bureau and law enforcement community,” Clinton said, adding that he fully agreed with her recommendation to replace Sessions immediately.
Clinton is expected to announce today that he plans to nominate U.S. District Court Judge Louis J. Freeh of New York, a former FBI agent and federal prosecutor, to succeed Sessions. Clinton met with Freeh for 90 minutes Friday night.
“With a change in management in the FBI, we can now give the crime fighters the leadership they deserve,” Clinton said. Administration officials said Monday that they know of no other candidate under consideration for the post.
Clinton dismissed Sessions after the director rejected Administration entreaties to resign, contending that to voluntarily step down would violate the principle of an independent FBI. The FBI director is appointed to a 10-year term but serves at the pleasure of the President.
Sessions was appointed 5 1/2 years ago by former President Ronald Reagan.
“We cannot have a leadership vacuum at an agency as important to the United States as the FBI,” Clinton said at a White House press conference. “It is time that this difficult chapter in the agency’s history is brought to a close.”
With Senate confirmation of the next FBI director not likely before fall, Clinton said that Deputy Director Floyd I. Clarke would serve as acting director. Sessions’ wife, Alice, has repeatedly accused Clarke of leading an internal cabal to force her husband from office, and Sessions has publicly questioned Clarke’s loyalty.
At his press conference, Clinton rejected the suggestion that Sessions fell victim to an internal vendetta and responded “absolutely not” when asked if the removal of Sessions would create the impression that the FBI is being subjected to political pressures.
Clinton cited the six-month-old highly critical report on Sessions’ conduct by the Justice Department’s Office of Professional Responsibility, which investigated the director in the final year of the George Bush Administration.
Clinton noted that the attorney general had studied the findings and thoroughly reviewed Sessions’ leadership.
Reno said that, when she took office last March, then acting Atty. Gen. Stuart Gerson, a Republican holdover, advised her that Sessions “had exhibited flawed judgment which had an adverse effect within the FBI.”
But Reno said she wanted to make her own independent assessment of Sessions’ ability to lead the FBI, noting that she felt very strongly that the FBI director “should be above politics and not automatically subject to replacement with a change of administrations.”
The Justice Department report found, among other things, that Sessions had engaged in a sham transaction to avoid paying taxes on his use of an FBI limousine to take him to and from work, that he had billed the government for a security fence around his home that provided no security and that he had arranged business trips to places where he could meet with relatives.
Sessions dismissed the findings as biased and said that they resulted from “animus” toward him by former Atty. Gen. William P. Barr, who–on his last day in office last January–presented the report to Sessions with orders to take remedial actions.
In addition to the sections of the report that have been released, the investigation looked into whether Sessions had accepted a “sweetheart” deal on his home loan from a Washington bank and into other matters that have not been made public, sources familiar with it said.”
Trey Gowdy Finds Out FBI Director James Comey Won’t Obey The Law & He’s Pissed
“It certainly wasn’t done to help an ongoing criminal investigation because you already had the information didn’t you? Is there something a newspaper reporter would have access to that the FBI would not?” – Congressman Trey Gowdy
“I would hope not.” – James Comey
“We the American people give certain powers to government in order to keep us safe, and when those powers are misused, and the motive is not a criminal investigation or national security, then my fellow citizens are re-thinking their side of the equation, because that U.S. citizen could be them next time. It could be you, it could be me, it could be anyone.”
Rep Trey Gowdy grills FBI’s Comey on wiretapping, Russia
The House Intelligence Committee heard Comey’s testimony in regard to allegations made by President Donald Trump that President Obama wiretapped him and the extent of Russian influence in the 2016 presidential election.
Trey Gowdy Presses FBI Director On Intelligence Leaks
“During Monday’s House Intelligence Committee hearing, Rep. Trey Gowdy, R-S.C., questioned FBI Director James Comey, demanding answers regarding various intelligence leaks that have affected the Trump administration.
Gowdy pressed Comey concerning the leak that led to national security adviser Michael Flynn’s resignation, asking the director if an investigation of those leaks was imminent.
The South Carolina representative pointed to the potential danger of these intelligence leaks, saying that citizens entrust the government with specified authority in exchange for safety.
“We the American people give certain powers to government to keep us safe,” Gowdy said. “When those powers are misused...I’ll bet you my fellow citizens are rethinking their side of the equation.”
“That US citizen could be them next time. It could be you. It could be me. It could be anyone,” he added.
Gowdy also doggedly pushed Comey to disclose a shortlist of government officials who would have had access to the Flynn intelligence, naming a few officials to see if Comey would respond.
He asked whether former Director of National Intelligence James Clapper, former CIA Director John Brennan, Obama Attorney General Loretta Lynch and ex-White House adviser Ben Rhodes could have known Flynn was caught on tape conferring with the Russian ambassador.
Comey acknowledged all but Rhodes were privy to the information, the disclosing of which is a felony punishable by up to 10 years in prison. He also said the FBI will take the disclosure “very seriously.”
Earlier in the hearing, Comey said the Justice Department had authorized him to confirm the ongoing investigation into possible “coordination” between President Donald Trump’s campaign and Russia.
Comey further stated that he had “no information” to support President Trump’s claims that former President Barack Obama ordered surveillance of Trump Tower during the election campaign.
“I have no information that supports those tweets,’’ he said. “We have looked carefully inside the FBI, and agents found nothing to support those claims.”
When asked by Gowdy to confirm if the FBI would investigate leaks regarding Flynn, Comey stated he could not for fear of validating leaked classified intelligence.
“I can’t,” he said. “But I hope people watching know how seriously we take leaks of classified information. But I don’t want to confirm it by saying we’re investigating it. I’m sorry I have to draw that line, I just think that’s the right way to be.”
The reply left Gowdy speechless and unsatisfied, prompting the congressman to ask Comey to seek authority “from whomever [he needs] to seek authority from” to seriously investigate and prosecute “what Congress thought was serious enough to attach a 10-year felony to.”
“Immigration: A center-left think tank has hailed new findings showing that illegal immigrants contribute $11.6 billion in state and local taxes nationwide. But that report really shows how little they pay compared to the rest of us.
If there’s any doubt America is importing poverty, take a look at a new study this week from the Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy, which touts the $11.6 billion illegals pay in taxes to state and local coffers. This isn’t federal or payroll taxes, just cash paid through sales taxes, property taxes and city and state fees.
“Data show undocumented immigrants greatly contribute to our nation’s economy, not just in labor but also with tax dollars,” ITEP state tax policy director Meg Wiehe said in a statement. “With immigration policy playing a key role in state and national debates, accurate information about the tax contributions of undocumented immigrants is needed now more than ever.”
We couldn’t agree more. So let’s take a look at some actual accurate information:
With an estimated 11 million illegal immigrants in the U.S., that $11.6 billion comes to about $1,050 per person, which The Latin Post hails as “lots of taxes.” In fact, it’s less than the average paid by citizens in even the lowest-tax states, such as Tennessee, where the average per capita state and local tax burden is $2,805, not to mention high tax areas, like Washington, D.C., where the figure is $7,540, according to data from the Tax Foundation. Media reports point out that illegals pay about 8% of their incomes in state and local taxes, compared with 5.4% for “the 1%,” but ignore that average taxpayers, based on the Tax Foundation data, pay an average of 9.48%.
Well, sure, you might say, but once illegals get amnesty, they will contribute similar amounts as the rest of us, right? Actually, no.
Illegals have far less education than average Americans and correspondingly lower base incomes. Based on another study reported this week from two other center-left think tanks, if the U.S. handed out work permits, through a program such as Deferred Action For Parents Of Americans and Lawful Permanent Residents (DAPA), it would add only 10% to illegals’ incomes — meaning, an additional $3,000 per capita, which would then see a small slice taken as state and local taxes, for a grand total of just $805 million to the government. It still wouldn’t approach the average Tennessee local tax rates, cited above.
Illegal immigrants in fact absorb far more in benefits than they contribute. The Heritage Foundation in 2013 found that illegals contribute an average of $10,000 in total taxes (federal and payroll as well as local taxes) but use almost $24,000 in welfare and services, creating a net $14,000 per capita gain per illegal worker.
With benefits like that — and a president determined to shower even more on them — it’s little wonder the world’s impoverished feel the red carpet is out for them to come here illegally.
Steven A. Camarota, director of research at the Center for Immigration Studies, said Heritage understates actual welfare use by illegals by its use of the federal government’s Current Population Survey. “In a more recent study where I looked at welfare use only (not taxes or other expense) using the much more accurate Survey of Income and Program Participation, I found that 62% of households headed by illegal immigrants used at least one major welfare program,” Camarota told IBD via email.
“Bottom line, illegal immigrants have a 10th grade education on average,” he said. “In the modern American economy people with that level of education tend to make modest wages and as result pay relatively little in taxes, at the same time they tend to use a lot in public services, regardless of legal status. In the case of illegals, they often receive benefits on behalf of their U.S.-born children. If you had to put it in a bumper sticker it would be: ‘there is a high cost to cheap labor.'”
FBI Director Comey Proclaims Americans Deserve NO Privacy; The Government Owns Even Your Thoughts, Memories
| TruePundit |
“FBI Director James Comey took the liberty of rewriting the United States Constitution and completely dismantling the Fourth and Fifth Amendments during a speech Wednesday at Boston College on cyber security.
Comey’s incredulous claims that even the US government owns the thoughts and memories of its citizens were absolutely disgraceful and proves he is unfit for any office in a free society. Comey fabricated a tale that the founding fathers “struck a bargain” and in return for freedom, law enforcement is allowed to invade privacy at will. Really? The founding fathers of Russia?
Special note to Comey and his wall of academic degrees: The Fifth Amendment affords every American the right to say nothing to you or the Justice Department. Ever. By law, you can’t compel squat. Ask Lois Lerner. Ask Bryan Pagliano.
Comey’s third-worldesque comments are beyond chilling and should shine a brighter light on his Anti-American, Orwellian philosophies that steer what used to be considered the country’s premier law enforcement agency. But no more. His words not only undermine this country’s constitutional fabric but also prove that he is not fit to serve at the helm any government agency. His rhetoric is dictatorial, dangerous and have no place in a free society.
The sycophants and collegiate stooges at Boston College gave Comey a rousing ovation after his comments. College kids all jacked up on caffeine and student debt. They’re dumb enough to believe a globalist like Comey who would kick your door down for downloading a mp3 file.
“It is “our job,” not Trump’s, to “control exactly what people think,” gasped MSNBC’s Mika Brzezinski last month. This week’s gasp from the media assumes a slightly different form and can be translated as: It is our job, not Trump’s, to push stories about the government investigation of Trumpworld.
For months, the media, drawing upon criminal leaks from Obama holdovers, has been saying in effect: Trumpworld is under investigation for ties to Russia! Then Trump says essentially the same thing on Twitter and the media freaks out. Why does the latter merit condemnation but not the former?
Notice what is happening here: The Obama holdovers are denying the import of the very stories that they planted. Where did the liberal BBC’s story (building on a story first reported by Heat Street) on intelligence agencies receiving a FISA court warrant to investigate Russian-Trumpworld ties come from? It came from a “senior member of the US intelligence community”:
On 15 October, the US secret intelligence court issued a warrant to investigate two Russian banks. This news was given to me by several sources and corroborated by someone I will identify only as a senior member of the US intelligence community. He would never volunteer anything – giving up classified information would be illegal – but he would confirm or deny what I had heard from other sources.
Notice on the Sunday talk shows that Obama’s CIA director John Brennan did not appear. Yet he served as the genesis of this investigation, according to the BBC story:
Last April, the CIA director was shown intelligence that worried him. It was – allegedly – a tape recording of a conversation about money from the Kremlin going into the US presidential campaign.
It was passed to the US by an intelligence agency of one of the Baltic States. The CIA cannot act domestically against American citizens so a joint counter-intelligence taskforce was created.
The taskforce included six agencies or departments of government. Dealing with the domestic, US, side of the inquiry, were the FBI, the Department of the Treasury, and the Department of Justice. For the foreign and intelligence aspects of the investigation, there were another three agencies: the CIA, the Office of the Director of National Intelligence and the National Security Agency, responsible for electronic spying.
Lawyers from the National Security Division in the Department of Justice then drew up an application. They took it to the secret US court that deals with intelligence, the Fisa court, named after the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act. They wanted permission to intercept the electronic records from two Russian banks.
Their first application, in June, was rejected outright by the judge. They returned with a more narrowly drawn order in July and were rejected again. Finally, before a new judge, the order was granted, on 15 October, three weeks before election day.
Why did this article appear? Because John Brennan wanted it to. He just didn’t expect Trump to call him on it. Now the Obama embeds who used the press to smear Trump now demand it disclaim the storyline they stoked. How dare anyone suggest we were investigating the Trump campaign!
Forget about all the endless parsing of claims and lawyerly denials from the Jim Clappers. The bottom line is that John Brennan and his band of anti-Trump saboteurs sought to investigate the Trump campaign. That is the story. The Chuck Todds want people to miss the forest for the trees. That’s why Todd didn’t press Clapper on his as-far-as-I-know style denial. A serious questioner would have asked Jim Clapper to respond directly to the BBC paragraphs quoted above. A serious questioner would have also asked: Why are you here and not John Brennan? Why are you here and not Loretta Lynch?
Notice as well that FBI director Jim Comey’s quasi-denial on Sunday didn’t come from an appearance or even a press release but from a leaked news story, which was designed not to eliminate confusion but to increase it. We’re told that he wants the Justice Department to issue a denial. But to deny what? That the U.S. government ever sought to investigate the Trump campaign? To deny the Heat Street and BBC stories (which Trump was in effect repeating) that Comey didn’t ask the Justice Department to deny after they actually appeared?”
FBI’s Comey At Boston College: ‘You’re Stuck With Me For Another 6 1/2 Years’
| Boston.CBSlocal.com |
BOSTON (AP) — FBI Director James Comey says he plans to serve his entire 10-year term, even as controversy swirls over his attempt to rebut President Donald Trump’s claim that the Obama administration tapped his phones during the election.
Comey said Wednesday during a cybersecurity conference at Boston College: “You’re stuck with me for another 6½ years.” He was appointed 3½ years ago by then-President Barack Obama.
After Trump recently claimed that Obama tapped his phones during last year’s election, Comey privately asked the Justice Department to dispute the allegation.
During his speech to law enforcement officials and private-sector business leaders, Comey said the FBI is renewing a focus on the challenges posed by encryption. He said there should be a balance between privacy and the FBI’s ability to lawfully access information.”
WikiLeaks Exposes CIA’s Covert Global Hacking Program
| Daily Caller
“WikiLeaks has released nearly 9,000 pages of files it says exposes a covert global hacking program operated by the CIA.
The document dump, which WikiLeaks is calling “Vault 7,” is the largest publication of documents stolen from the CIA, says the group, which was founded by Julian Assange.
The veracity of the documents has not been verified and it is not yet clear whether the release marks a major breach of the CIA.
According to an explainer released by WikiLeaks, the 8,761 documents had been maintained in a high-security network at CIA’s Center for Cyber Intelligence in Langley, Va. But the group says that the CIA “lost control” of the documents after they began circulating among a 5,000-person network of former U.S. government hackers and contractors. One of those individuals is WikiLeaks’ source, the group claims.
The documents, which include more than 70,000 redactions, show how CIA hackers use malware, trojan viruses and other tools to convert electronics, including phones and smart TVs, into covert microphones used for spying. The group also says there are documents showing that the CIA uses the U.S. consulate in Frankfurt as a covert hacker base for its European operations.
Among the most salacious revelations in the WikiLeaks release come from documents showing how CIA developed techniques to hack Samsung smart TVs with British intelligence services. The malware, called Weeping Angel, records audio while the target of the hack believes the TV is turned off.
One of the documents released on Tuesday purportedly shows that the CIA was working on a program as of Oct. 2014 that would infect the vehicle control systems of certain cars and trucks.
“The purpose of such control is not specified, but it would permit the CIA to engage in nearly undetectable assassinations,” WikiLeaks asserts.”
Wikileaks: Want a look inside the CIA’s cyberespionage efforts?
“First it was the NSA’s turn, and now the CIA gets its Wikileaks moment. Claiming it to be the “largest intelligence publication in history,” Wikileaks has released its first installment of documents that expose the CIA’s cyberespionage efforts. If genuine, the documents unveil operations, locations, and methods that could cripple US efforts on cyberwarfare:
“Year Zero” introduces the scope and direction of the CIA’s global covert hacking program, its malware arsenal and dozens of “zero day” weaponized exploits against a wide range of U.S. and European company products, include Apple’s iPhone, Google’s Android and Microsoft’s Windows and even Samsung TVs, which are turned into covert microphones.”