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Sen. Lindsey Graham: Abandoning Afghanistan would pave way for another 9/11

Westlake Legal Group US-Afghanistan Sen. Lindsey Graham: Abandoning Afghanistan would pave way for another 9/11 Lindsey Graham fox-news/world/terrorism fox-news/world/conflicts/afghanistan fox-news/world fox-news/us/terror/september-11 fox-news/us/terror/al-qaeda fox-news/opinion fox news fnc/opinion fnc eb4972d0-3f46-5979-8eed-ea50f5258316 article

As we mark the 18th anniversary of the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks Wednesday, we must never forget Afghanistan is where the attacks were planned – and still remains a source of much concern when it comes to America’s national security.

Eighteen years later, here is where we stand:

 Good News

The Taliban have been overthrown in Afghanistan, music is no longer outlawed, cars have returned to the streets, and citizens are participating in the great experiment called democracy.

GRAHAM WARNS WITHDRAWING FROM AFGHANISTAN WILL LEAD TO ‘ANOTHER 9/11’

Millions of young people – including girls and women – are attending schools and universities with hope for their future and a desire to take Afghanistan forward, not backward. They are our best partners over time and their success is our success.

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Eighteen years ago, there was no Afghan army. Today, over 270,000 Afghans are serving in their nation’s armed forces.

We have reduced American forces in the country by nearly 90 percent – to around 14,000. The Afghan Security Forces are taking the brunt of battle. In 2018, we lost 13 brave Americans killed in action, while the Afghan Security Forces lost thousands of people combatting radical Islam. They truly are in the lead.

Bad News

The Taliban still attack innocent Afghans and coalition forces to undermine democratic institutions. Corruption remains a problem, and the Afghan Security Forces still need our assistance.

If America completely pulls out of Afghanistan, I fear the Security Forces will fracture along regional lines, creating growth opportunities for Al Qaeda and ISIS.

Most problematic of all is that Al Qaeda is still present in Afghanistan and the relationship between Al Qaeda and the Taliban is alive and well. In addition, a new foe –ISIS – has emerged in Afghanistan.

Both Al Qaeda and ISIS have the desire to attack American interests, including our homeland. The only question is their capabilities. That is why any U.S. withdrawal from Afghanistan must be conditions-based.

Path Forward in Afghanistan

President’s Trump’s recent decision to withdraw from peace talks with the Taliban because of their barbaric attacks on innocent Afghans and the killing of an American soldier was spot-on. He is sending a signal to the Taliban that we will not be intimidated into a peace deal and he is committed to negotiating through strength. We must end the war on our terms, not the Taliban’s.

Any Afghan peace agreement must allow a continued U.S. presence to protect our homeland, honor the rights of Afghan women, and uphold the current Afghan constitution.  

With the breakdown of peace talks we have an opportunity to reset the table to our advantage. I would urge the administration to support the upcoming Afghan elections. The winner should be part of any future negotiations with the Taliban.

Allowing these elections to go forward further legitimizes the democratic process and will be a signal to the Taliban that the Afghan people are in charge.

Equally important, we have an opportunity to start a new dialogue with Pakistan regarding ending the war in Afghanistan. For decades, the Taliban have had sanctuary in Pakistan as they fight in Afghanistan. But with the change in the Pakistani government and military leadership, there is an opening to negotiate a new relationship with Pakistan.

President Trump has met with Prime Minister Imran Khan and the head of the Pakistani military, and they have formed a strong working relationship. It would be a mighty blow to the Taliban if the United States opened trade negotiations with the Pakistani government tying any future trade agreements to security performance by the Pakistani government along the Afghanistan-Pakistan border.

The combination of a newly elected Afghan government participating in talks and a new relationship with Pakistan would give the Trump administration leverage regarding any future peace negotiations.

Any Afghan peace agreement must allow a continued U.S. presence to protect our homeland, honor the rights of Afghan women, and uphold the current Afghan constitution.

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Whether the Taliban will ever agree to such conditions remains uncertain, but it is worth our effort to try to achieve an honorable peace. But we must always be aware that when it comes to Al Qaeda and ISIS, they will never be at the peace table.

What’s ahead?

After 18 years, Al Qaeda is still present in Afghanistan and ISIS is growing within the country. The Afghan Security Forces are much larger and more capable, and our military presence has been reduced substantially.

President Trump should insist that the cost to the United States in Afghanistan be dramatically reduced, and he should continue to pursue a peaceful end to the conflict, but only after the Taliban have changed their behavior.

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If we abandon Afghanistan out of frustration and weariness, we pave the way for another 9/11. If we continue to engage in Afghanistan smartly we can achieve our goal of making sure Afghanistan is never used as a launching pad to attack the American homeland. And we can assume the Afghan people will continue to move away from the darkness of the past.

We owe it to those who lost their lives on 9/11 and the enduring War on Terror to continue to protect our homeland and achieve an honorable and sustainable peace in Afghanistan.

CLICK HERE FOR MORE FROM SEN. LINDSEY GRAHAM

Westlake Legal Group US-Afghanistan Sen. Lindsey Graham: Abandoning Afghanistan would pave way for another 9/11 Lindsey Graham fox-news/world/terrorism fox-news/world/conflicts/afghanistan fox-news/world fox-news/us/terror/september-11 fox-news/us/terror/al-qaeda fox-news/opinion fox news fnc/opinion fnc eb4972d0-3f46-5979-8eed-ea50f5258316 article   Westlake Legal Group US-Afghanistan Sen. Lindsey Graham: Abandoning Afghanistan would pave way for another 9/11 Lindsey Graham fox-news/world/terrorism fox-news/world/conflicts/afghanistan fox-news/world fox-news/us/terror/september-11 fox-news/us/terror/al-qaeda fox-news/opinion fox news fnc/opinion fnc eb4972d0-3f46-5979-8eed-ea50f5258316 article

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The War in Afghanistan (probably) will never end

There is no end in sight for the long U.S. military slog in Afghanistan. Things appeared on the rocks before President Donald Trump announced secret talks between the Taliban, U.S., and Afghanistan government were scuttled over a bombing in Kabul. The Afghani government was already irked about the deal in principle reached between the U.S. and Taliban last week. America is still hoping for some kind of peace deal even if the violence has escalated this year.

It’s not just Afghanistan politicians who are angry about any sort of ceasefire. South Carolina U.S. Senator Lindsey Graham has long decried any notion of a peace deal which doesn’t put “America First.”

“Any deal that calls for withdrawing our forces completely from Afghanistan is a bad deal for the United States.,” Graham and retired Army General Jack Keane wrote in The Washington Post last month. “We must be clear: The United States should never outsource its national security to anyone, especially the Taliban. That is a possible outcome, however, as the United States and the Taliban continue talks in Doha, Qatar. We cannot rely on the Taliban for security; we have lost too many soldiers at Taliban hands for that. The Afghan war must end on our terms, not the Taliban’s.”

There is a danger to Graham’s thinking, especially when using the phrase “our terms” because of its elasticity.

Trump’s foreign policy tends to run the gamut between attempted disengagement to possible escalation to keeping the status quo (see Syria). His Afghanistan policy has followed a similar arc with Trump saying in 2017 his instincts were to get out but he wanted to “fight to win” to ordering the removal of 7K troops in 2018 to reports he wanted all troops out by 2020 to deciding America will “always have troops” in Afghanistan last month. The whiplash is understandable!

The other elasticity is the fact Trump is not guaranteed victory in next year’s presidential election. A different administration might try another surge or something else entirely. They might scuttle the peace process Trump’s Administration is attempting despite the emotional pendulum from the Oval Office.

Mayhaps it’s best for Trump to turn his rhetorical, “How many more decades are they willing to fight?” question inward and ask how long America wants to stay in Afghanistan. We’ve been there almost two decades and a countless number of American soldiers and civilians are dead. Graham should also consider this rhetorical question in earnest before writing another piece advocating for ending war “the right way,” whatever that means. The idea of the victory sought by former President George W. Bush for the September 11th attacks appears to have long disappeared or abandoned in exchange for saving face. There’s no chance to get it back either. Too many people are dead both at home and on the battlefield. Too many lives are ruined.

Was it wise for Trump to invite, then uninvite the Taliban and Afghanistan politicians to Camp David? Let’s go with the idea Trump is telling the truth about the negotiations, first. The notion of talks inside a vacuum isn’t a bad idea because it gives negotiators the chance to sit down and get to know each other. Camp David has been used as a diplomatic site before particularly by Jimmy Carter and Bill Clinton. Some people are mad the U.S. even considered talks with the Taliban but the negotiations have been going on for months. Publicly canceling them may be a mistake, even if it feeds into Trump’s belief he’s some sort of master negotiator. Of course, negotiating real estate deals is a lot different than foreign affairs negotiations (see China).

What’s going on with America and Afghanistan is not unlike the situation in Syria with Russia. Both countries are propping up an established government against insurgents although Afghanistan President Ashraf Ghani appears to be a better person than Bashar al-Assad. The Syrian Army and Afghan security forces have sullied reputations due to accusations of human rights violations. The established governments are fighting insurgent groups which have connections with terrorism: Afghanistan is dealing with the Taliban while Syria is battling Hayat Tahrir al-Sham and the Free Syrian Army. The peace process is dragging on in both countries. ISIS presents a problem.

The War in Afghanistan needs to end and end quickly. Trump’s desire for a troop pullout is laudable and a goal worth achieving. The decision to end the peace process is disappointing, and will hopefully only be temporary. The alternative is more war and more dead Americans.

The post The War in Afghanistan (probably) will never end appeared first on Hot Air.

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Lindsey Graham To Advise AG Barr On Planned Public Rollout Of SpyGate Documents

Westlake Legal Group AP_18271551574033-1-620x435 Lindsey Graham To Advise AG Barr On Planned Public Rollout Of SpyGate Documents william barr Special Counsel President Trump Mueller Investigation Lindsey Graham joseph mifsud george papadopoulos Front Page Stories FISA FBI and DOJ Corruption donald trump democrats Carter Page Campaigns Allow Media Exception

Senate Judiciary Committee member Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., pauses as he speaks to media about the Senate Judiciary Committee hearing on Supreme Court nominee Judge Brett Kavanaugh, Friday, Sept. 28, 2018 on Capitol Hill in Washington. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)

 

In a Tuesday night appearance on “Hannity,” Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) said he will be meeting with Attorney General William Barr this week to advise him on the long-awaited rollout of Russia investigation and FISA documents to the American people.

Graham, the chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, told Hannity, “I’m going to meet the attorney general this week to talk to him about how best to tell the story. I don’t want people to conjecture as to what happened. I want you to read it.”

Graham predicted, “You’ll only find it on Fox. You may find it a little bit in the paper…It will get ten percent of what the Mueller report got.”

He continued, “Here’s the question. It’s not what did Obama know and when did he know it? Who told him? And what did he do when he was told? I want to know who briefed the president about their counterintelligence investigation against the Trump campaign. When you find that person, you’re going to unravel the riddle here.”

He wants the American people to see the 302s (FBI interview reports) and the FBI’s unredacted FISA Court application for the warrant to spy on Trump campaign advisor Carter Page.

Graham wants the public to read the transcripts of the meetings which occurred between FBI informant Joseph Mifsud and Trump campaign advisor George Papadopoulos. The senator said, “I want you to hear in real time that the guy said ‘I’m not working with the Russians. If I were, it would be a crime of treason.’” The FBI conveniently left this exculpatory evidence out of their FISA application.

“I bet you Donald Trump did not spend ten minutes with both of them,” he added.

I’m sure he is right about that.

Finally, Graham asked a rhetorical question which I think we all know the answer to. “Did they open up a counterintelligence investigation not to protect the country — but to get Trump?”

It sure looks that way.

The DOJ Inspector General Michael Horowitz’s report is expected to be released after Labor Day. Once it’s out, he will begin to call witnesses to testify before his Committee, “so you can hear from them what happened.”

I’ll look forward to it.

Watch the video.

The post Lindsey Graham To Advise AG Barr On Planned Public Rollout Of SpyGate Documents appeared first on RedState.

Westlake Legal Group AP_18271551574033-1-300x211 Lindsey Graham To Advise AG Barr On Planned Public Rollout Of SpyGate Documents william barr Special Counsel President Trump Mueller Investigation Lindsey Graham joseph mifsud george papadopoulos Front Page Stories FISA FBI and DOJ Corruption donald trump democrats Carter Page Campaigns Allow Media Exception   Real Estate, and Personal Injury Lawyers. Contact us at: https://westlakelegal.com 

Lindsey Graham to Omar and Tlaib: Yes, We Should Reconsider Aid to Israel – by Giving Them More

Westlake Legal Group lindsey-graham-pointing-620x413 Lindsey Graham to Omar and Tlaib: Yes, We Should Reconsider Aid to Israel – by Giving Them More washington D.C. The Squad south carolina Social Media republicans rashida tlaib Politics North Carolina Minnesota Michigan Media Lindsey Graham Israel Ilhan Omar Front Page Stories Front Page Foreign Policy Featured Story Featured Post democrats Culture Congress bds anti-semitism Allow Media Exception

Lindsey Graham by Gage Skidmore, licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0/Original

In a move that was entirely predictable from the outset, Democratic Reps. Rashida Tlaib (MI) and Ilhan Omar (MN) on Monday brought up the idea during their press conference that the U.S. should reconsider giving aid to Israel after the country barred them from entry last Thursday on security grounds.

Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) pushed back on them on Twitter Tuesday, which we’ll get to in a minute. But first, a recap of what Omar said Monday about funding.

During the presser, where Tlaib broke down in tears describing how as a child she had to watch her mother go through “dehumanizing checkpoints” in order to visit relatives, Omar floated the idea of the U.S. cutting off aid to Israel:

Omar said U.S. aid to Israel should be tied to how Palestinians are treated.

“Fortunately, we the United States have a constructive role to play. We give Israel more than $3 million in aid every year. This is predicated on their being an important ally in the region and the only democracy in the Middle East, but denying a visit to duly elected members of Congress is not consistent with being an ally, and denying millions of people freedom of movement or expression or self-determination is not consistent with being a democracy,” she said.

“We must be asking, as Israel’s ally, the Netanyahu government stop the expansion of settlements on Palestinian land, and ensure full rights for Palestinians if we are to give them aid. These are not just my views. These are the views held by the range of experts, peace advocates on this issue. We know Donald Trump would love nothing more than to use this issue to pit Muslims and Jewish Americans against each other,” she added.

Whatever anyone wants to say about Omar and Tlaib (and The Squad in general), they have turned deceiving gullible people (their supporters and the media) by operating on the pretense of wanting peace and harmony between the Jews and Palestinians into almost an art form.

When Omar first announced several weeks ago that she and Tlaib were planning this trip, you better believe they both knew in advance about Israel’s anti-BDS law that forbids anyone promoting the anti-Semitic BDS movement entry into their country.

That their request to visit Israel was denied wasn’t a surprise to anyone. It certainly wasn’t to the two Congresswomen who pretend that supporting a hate group that doesn’t believe Israel has the right to exist, and accusing Jews of dual loyalty and buying off lawmakers can’t possibly be anti-Semitism.

Clearly both Omar and Tlaib manipulated the situation to their advantage, but not everyone is falling for it.

One person most definitely not falling for it is Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC), who has been a vocal critic of The Squad’s tactics in the past. He responded to their push to cut off funding for Israel by saying we should actually give them more:

In two more tweets, he explained why:

Graham has taken several trips to Israel this year. One was in March to discuss the Golan Heights issue. Another was in July, where he stated he wanted “to see the lay of the land, how’s their inventory of missiles holding up, and I think we need more missile funding not less.”

——-
— Based in North Carolina, Sister Toldjah is a former liberal and a 15+ year veteran of blogging with an emphasis on media bias, social issues, and the culture wars. Read her Red State archives here. Connect with her on Twitter. –

The post Lindsey Graham to Omar and Tlaib: Yes, We Should Reconsider Aid to Israel – by Giving Them More appeared first on RedState.

Westlake Legal Group lindsey-graham-pointing-300x200 Lindsey Graham to Omar and Tlaib: Yes, We Should Reconsider Aid to Israel – by Giving Them More washington D.C. The Squad south carolina Social Media republicans rashida tlaib Politics North Carolina Minnesota Michigan Media Lindsey Graham Israel Ilhan Omar Front Page Stories Front Page Foreign Policy Featured Story Featured Post democrats Culture Congress bds anti-semitism Allow Media Exception   Real Estate, and Personal Injury Lawyers. Contact us at: https://westlakelegal.com 

Lindsey Graham Previews a “Damning” Upcoming IG Report But Skepticism Is Warranted

Westlake Legal Group comey-mueller-620x433 Lindsey Graham Previews a “Damning” Upcoming IG Report But Skepticism Is Warranted Steven Halper Politics Lindsey Graham joseph mifsud IG Horowitz george papadopoulos Front Page Stories Front Page fox news FISA Abuse Featured Story FBI donald trump doj democrats corruption cia Carter Page azra turk

FILE – In this Sept. 4, 2013, file photo, then-incoming FBI Director James Comey talks with outgoing FBI Director Robert Mueller before Comey was officially sworn in at the Justice Department in Washington. On May 17, 2017, the Justice Department said it is appointing Mueller as special counsel to oversee investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh, File)

We’ve been hearing for the better part of a year now that the DOJ’s Inspector General is on the verge of releasing a damning report detailing corruption in the Trump-Russia investigation. This supposedly centers on abuse of the FISA system, where the FBI and DOJ presented documents they knew weren’t verified or credible as evidence. The biggest example of that is of course the Steele dossier, which we know formed the majority of the basis for the warrant despite the FBI already being made aware it’s chief source was a liar.

There were also other questions, specifically involving why the FBI targeted Trump associates in what now appears to be a pretty clear case of entrapment. George Papadopoulos was famously approached by Joseph Mifsud and told the Russians had dirt on Hillary Clinton. Despite lying to the FBI three times in the years following, Mifsud has escaped all persecution, which strongly points to him being some kind of intel asset that requires protection. Steven Halper, a known government agent, and “Azra Turk” (we know that was an alias) also played starring roles in the drama.

To say the web is tangled is an understatement. The depth of whatever operation was being run against the Trump campaign went all the way to the top, with political appointees like James Comey, James Clapper, John Brennan, and Loretta Lynch being aware and involved.

Heading into the fall, we are once again being assured that IG Horowitz’s report is right around the corner and that it’s going to be devastating. Sen. Lindsey Graham echoed this promise on Sunday.

Hotair.com provides a transcript.

SEN. LINDSEY GRAHAM: Well, you’ve got three lanes here. You have what the committee will do, my committee, you’ve got Mr. Durham who’s looking at criminality — he’s the U.S. Attorney in Connecticut — And you’ve got the DOJ Inspector General report. I think it will be coming out in weeks, not days, not months. The Horowitz report will probably be ugly and damning regarding the Department of Justice handling of the Russia probe.

MARIA BARTIROMO: Tell me about that, we know that the DOJ is not prosecuting James Comey. Learned that about a month ago. We know we just got the so-called 302 out of Bruce Ohr, that’s the investigation and interviews of Ohr with the FBI. And the IG report, we were supposed to get it months ago. How come it is so late?

GRAHAM: Every time you turn around you find something new. Mr. Horowitz is doing a very in-depth dive about the FISA warrant application. The behavior regarding the counterintelligence operation. He will send his report over to the Department of Justice, they will look at for classified information. I am going to meet with the Attorney General next week, I want to declassify as much as possible. On the American public to hear the story, I want all of this information to come out, I didn’t want people to believe what I said I want them to read for themselves how bad it was.

The warrant application to the FISA court, I think quite frankly was a fraud. I want all the committee cases out, where they will notice Christopher Steele hated Trump and that he was an unreliable informant. I want this information coming out that the Steele dossier with information coming from Russia is unverified information, I want the transcripts surrounding interviews with Papadopoulos to be released where it was clear he was not working with the Russians.

I want it all out. I want people to see how this investigation got so off the rails and I want people to be held accountable and I am patient, and not in a hurry, I want to do it right.

Color me skeptical.

Perhaps it’s the past three years of seeing absolutely no one held accountable for anything regarding corruption at our major institutions, but the idea that any of this will matter seems far less than a certainty at this point. We’ve known for a very long time that the FISA application was largely fraudulent and broke protocol. You’d be hard pressed to find any mainstream media reporting at all on the subject. They can’t even bring themselves to admit the Steele dossier was mostly garbage. We’ve already seen figures like James Comey, Peter Strzok, and Andrew McCabe be referred for prosecution, only to have the DOJ decline to move forward. Even in the case of Papadopoulos, information essentially proving he was setup has exclusively become the domain of right-wing media.

In other words, there are two major questions at play here. One, will the report actually be “damning” and two, if it is, will it be broadcast any further than conservative media? My suspicion, knowing what we know, is that the report will include information that is embarrassing to the Obama administration at large. But I also know it’s going to be quickly buried and spun otherwise no matter what it actually says. The ground work for the excuses has already been laid, with numerous editorials making the case that they were just trying to protect the country. That narrative isn’t going to change.

Lastly, let’s say the IG does uncover criminal activity and recommends yet more prosecutions. Will the DOJ act? Or will they ultimately decide protecting themselves is more important,? That has clearly been the path FBI Director Wray has chosen as he’s stonewalled investigations the past few years.

I sincerely hope that everything before this point has simply been leading up to the hammer dropping. That the DOJ is finally going to grow a spine and start prosecuting people. That letting James Comey off the hook was just a prologue to going after him on more serious charges. If our institutions ever want to start earning back trust, those things would be prudent.

Will any of this end up mattering though? I’ll believe it when I see it.

————————————————-

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The post Lindsey Graham Previews a “Damning” Upcoming IG Report But Skepticism Is Warranted appeared first on RedState.

Westlake Legal Group lindsey-graham-pointing-300x200 Lindsey Graham Previews a “Damning” Upcoming IG Report But Skepticism Is Warranted Steven Halper Politics Lindsey Graham joseph mifsud IG Horowitz george papadopoulos Front Page Stories Front Page fox news FISA Abuse Featured Story FBI donald trump doj democrats corruption cia Carter Page azra turk   Real Estate, and Personal Injury Lawyers. Contact us at: https://westlakelegal.com 

Graham: IG report on Russiagate will be “ugly and damning”

Westlake Legal Group graham-fox Graham: IG report on Russiagate will be “ugly and damning” The Blog Mueller report Michael Horowitz Lindsey Graham

Will it, or will it be the GOP’s equivalent of Mueller-mas? Lindsey Graham is in position to take an educated guess and do some strategic expectations-setting ahead of the inspector general’s report release next month. Instead, Graham told viewers and Fox News Channel’s Maria Bartiromo yesterday to buckle up because Michael Horowitz will issue an “ugly and damning” report about the FBI, the Department of Justice, and the entire Russiagate affair.

At least, that’s what will happen eventually, Graham promises (via RCP):

SEN. LINDSEY GRAHAM: Well, you’ve got three lanes here. You have what the committee will do, my committee, you’ve got Mr. Durham who’s looking at criminality — he’s the U.S. Attorney in Connecticut — And you’ve got the DOJ Inspector General report. I think it will be coming out in weeks, not days, not months. The Horowitz report will probably be ugly and damning regarding the Department of Justice handling of the Russia probe.

MARIA BARTIROMO: Tell me about that, we know that the DOJ is not prosecuting James Comey. Learned that about a month ago. We know we just got the so-called 302 out of Bruce Ohr, that’s the investigation and interviews of Ohr with the FBI. And the IG report, we were supposed to get it months ago. How come it is so late?

GRAHAM: Every time you turn around you find something new. Mr. Horowitz is doing a very in-depth dive about the FISA warrant application. The behavior regarding the counterintelligence operation. He will send his report over to the Department of Justice, they will look at for classified information. I am going to meet with the Attorney General next week, I want to declassify as much as possible. On the American public to hear the story, I want all of this information to come out, I didn’t want people to believe what I said I want them to read for themselves how bad it was.

The warrant application to the FISA court, I think quite frankly was a fraud. I want all the committee cases out, where they will notice Christopher Steele hated Trump and that he was an unreliable informant. I want this information coming out that the Steele dossier with information coming from Russia is unverified information, I want the transcripts surrounding interviews with Papadopoulos to be released where it was clear he was not working with the Russians.

I want it all out. I want people to see how this investigation got so off the rails and I want people to be held accountable and I am patient, and not in a hurry, I want to do it right.

He’s meeting with Barr next week on this subject? If Horowitz isn’t done yet, that might be premature. After all, they can’t start making disclosure decisions until they know specifically what the report contains. Horowitz is likely to write the report with public release in mind, just as Robert Mueller and his team did with their special-counsel report. Barr has already been given presidential carte blanche for declassification on these investigations in order to achieve maximum possible transparency, and it’s a cinch that Trump will want as much of Horowitz’ report to be out in the open as possible.

With that said, though, Republicans run the risk of setting expectations too high. Thus far no one’s really sure what the IG will find, not even Graham. Could this have been a political hit from the start by a corrupt Obama administration, FBI, and intelligence community? Sure, but it might be a lot less than that; it might be that a few people let their political biases cloud their judgment and then everything else rolled downhill into a disaster of incompetence more than malice. Furthermore, an IG at the DoJ may not have the scope or jurisdiction to determine much more past that possibility, not unless people suddenly decided to get very loquacious about any potential conspiracy all of a sudden after years of guarded tongues.

Democrats just experienced the impact of promising an outcome at length only to have the official findings yank the rug out from under their conspiracy theories. Republicans might want to start thinking about shaping public perception early to keep from having to explain away any potential letdown on the Right when Horowitz finally speaks.

The post Graham: IG report on Russiagate will be “ugly and damning” appeared first on Hot Air.

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Graham: IG Report Will Be ‘Ugly and Damning’; Wants Americans ‘To Read For Themselves How Bad It Was’

Westlake Legal Group AP_18271551574033-1-620x435 Graham: IG Report Will Be ‘Ugly and Damning’; Wants Americans ‘To Read For Themselves How Bad It Was’ maria bartiromo Lindsey Graham Front Page Stories Featured Story DOJ IG Michael Horowitz' report corruption Allow Media Exception Abuse of Power 2020

Senate Judiciary Committee member Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., pauses as he speaks to media about the Senate Judiciary Committee hearing on Supreme Court nominee Judge Brett Kavanaugh, Friday, Sept. 28, 2018 on Capitol Hill in Washington. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)

 

Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC), the current chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, appeared on “Sunday Morning Futures” with Maria Bartiromo to discuss the state of the ongoing “investigations of the investigators.”

The first report to be released, DOJ IG Michael Horowitz’, is expected in September. Originally expected in May or June, reluctant witnesses including State Department official Kathleen Kavalec, came forward at the last minute and the additional information provided required additional work by Horowitz’s team.

Graham told Bartiromo, “I believe the Horowitz report will be ugly and damning, That report has been anticipated for months, but it has faced delays in recent months…Every time you turn around you find something new. Mr. Horowitz is doing a very in-depth dive.”

His committee is waiting for the IG report to come out before calling their own list of witnesses. For starters, he will call one-time Trump campaign advisor George Papadopoulos to testify before his committee.

Graham said, “I want to declassify as much as possible … I don’t want people to believe what I said, I want them to read for themselves how bad it was. I want it all out, I want people to see how off the rails this investigation got, and I want people to be held accountable, and I am patient. I’m not in a hurry to do it, I want to do it right.”

Obviously, Graham is privy to far more information than we are, but even so, he still has many questions himself. He told Bartiromo he is “curious about the role the CIA played here…Who knew about this in the White House? Was President Obama briefed … I’d like to know that.”

Asked about the recently released Fox News poll which showed the top four Democratic presidential candidates ahead of Trump, he answered, “Well, I’m not buying it…Unless the President has a serious blunder in Afghanistan, he is going to clean their clock on the stage.” He believes that the Democrats’ sharp turn to the left “will lead to a Trump victory in 2020.”

He defended Israel’s decision to barr entry to Reps. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) and Rashida Tlaib (D-MN) over their support for the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement aimed at economically crippling Israel.

It’s been bipartisan up to now about Israel…Israel’s enemies are enemies of the U.S. as well.

Those who want to destroy Israel want to destroy us. Name one radical Islamic group that wants to destroy the State Israel that doesn’t want to destroy America.

The policies coming out of the Democratic Party toward Israel are dangerous. Tlaib and Omar openly calling for an economic boycott of the State of Israel which will destroy the State of Israel.

The bottom line here is they are radical when it comes to Israel, they’re radical on the economy, they’re weak when it comes to fighting terrorism. Donald Trump is going to win this election because he’s been a damn good president and what they are trying to do is make America a socialist country, and that’s not going to work.

Needless to say, Graham was vehemently opposed to calls from the Democrats last week to “expand” the Supreme Court. “When you hear expanding the court, that’s code for liberals packing the court. Over my dead body, it’s not going to happen.”

The full interview can be viewed here.

A little something to look forward to after the Labor Day holiday.

 

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Trump sabotages push for red-flag laws, says Chris Cuomo is too angry to trust with a gun

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Torn between two theories to explain his latest tweet.

1. He’s a loudmouthed imbecile who fundamentally doesn’t understand why stuff like this will steel opposition on the right to the sort of red-flag bill he’s endorsed.

2. He’s playing eight-dimensional chess, deliberately sabotaging the push for a new red-flag bill to please his base by showing immediately how it would be abused by the government once it’s law.

Guess which theory I’m leaning towards.

“This is like a parody of what opponents of red flag laws say they’re worried about,” said lefty Benjy Sarlin of that tweet, correctly.

The argument against red-flag laws is that they’ll be abused to justify confiscating weapons on flimsy pretexts from people who aren’t dangerous to others. Now here’s the president validating that concern before Lindsey Graham’s bill has even received a vote in Congress. Are you worried that the government might exploit the new legal regime to punish its political and media enemies who own guns? Well, per Trump, apparently you should be.

In fact, now that I think about it, Trump killing off a gun-control push by showing that he himself couldn’t be trusted to execute the new law responsibly is more like 12-dimensional chess. “I’m too tyrannically inclined to trust with a weapons ban” is an efficient way to give both the right and the left cold feet about new gun-control initiatives.

Not the first time he’s thought-farted his way into an uncomfortable moment while trying to sell gun control to the right, though, notes Sarlin. Remember this?

President Trump said Wednesday he favors taking guns away from people who might commit violence before going through legal due process in the courts, one of many startling comments he made in a rambling White House meeting designed to hash out school safety legislation with a bipartisan group of lawmakers.

“I like taking guns away early,” Trump said. “Take the guns first, go through due process second.”

That’s the sort of thing you say when you haven’t spent five minutes of your life thinking about due process. Last year’s push for new gun laws, after the Parkland massacre, ended in failure as the public gradually moved on to other topics and righty advocacy groups like the NRA leaned more heavily on Trump in private not to follow through. This one will probably end the same way — although, ironically, Trump has such enormous sway over the righty base that Senate Republicans might be willing to vote for a red-flag bill he’s supporting even though a tweet like the one he just published coming from a Democratic president would be Exhibit A in why the feds can never, ever be trusted with such power.

Two people who’ve spoken to the president in recent days say that he has referenced, during conversations about how he could possibly bend the NRA to his will in this case, his annoyance at media coverage of his post-Parkland about-face that suggested he was all talk and no action on the issue, and easily controlled by the NRA. One of the sources noted that Trump’s aversion to being seen as “controlled” by anyone or any organization makes it much more likely that the president will dwell on the issue for longer than he did last year.

Trump’s influence could well make or break legislation, since Republicans are unlikely to support anything without his blessing but will be just as hesitant to immediately reject a bill he puts his full support behind.

“Many Hill Republicans are waiting to see what Trump will get behind,” said a Senate GOP aide. “He gives them political cover. I don’t think you’re going to see any one bill or one proposal get any momentum until the President publicly endorses it.”

Further evidence that Trump might be serious is the fact that Ivanka is reportedly calling around to swing votes like Joe Manchin to sound them out. Gun-control fans might also be helped here by the recent panic within the GOP after several House Republicans retired that Texas is turning purple as suburbs there drift towards the Democrats. If, say, John Cornyn has cover from Trump on supporting a red-flag bill, would he vote for it in order to mollify Texas’s suburban voters? If not, what about a Thom Tillis or Richard Burr?

Via the Examiner, here’s Graham on Fox this morning touting his red-flag bill. A key element is the fact that confiscation in “red flag” cases wouldn’t happen at the federal level: Graham’s calling for grants to state PDs so that they can hire mental health experts to advise them in state “red flag” proceedings. That federalist approach will make it marginally more palatable to righties.

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Why Does It Matter So Much That Ohr Maintained Contact With Steele After He Was Fired?

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Bruce Ohr’s FBI 302 reports show us that the State Department, the FBI, Fusion GPS, Christopher Steele, the Hillary Clinton campaign and Bruce and Nellie Ohr were “all involved in a triangulated relationship to get Trump with dirty intelligence.” That is the assessment of investigative reporter John Solomon who has followed this story from the very beginning.

All of these entities played a role in the deception and worked together, both before and after the 2016 election to undermine Donald Trump. None of them worried if they had to bend, or even break, the rules to do their part. I posted about the newly released documents here.

Dan Bongino published a book entitled “Spygate: The Attempted Sabotage of Donald J. Trump” in October 2018 in which he laid out the entire story. As information about this conspiracy comes out, he has been proven correct over and over again.

He appeared on “Fox & Friends” this morning to discuss Ohr’s 302s. Interestingly, much of the communication between Ohr and Steele occurred after Steele had been fired by the FBI? Co-host Brian Kilmeade asked Bongino why does it matter so much that the two remained in contact after the firing?

In order to gain a better understanding, Bongino said, “you have to look at this as an information laundering system from the start.”

There was an operation to target the Trump team with information that was factually inaccurate, that he was colluding with the Russians. So, if I was going to target Brian Kilmeade for a robbery he didn’t do and fabricate a story, you have to ask yourself, how would I give that story credibility and teeth?

I would do it by having multiple people talk about the robbery you committed even though you didn’t do it. This is what happened here. You have Christopher Steele as the front…Why was Steele used as a front for the false dossier? Because Steele had been a credible source in the past…in other words, they could present Steele in front of a judge as a legitimate source for false information which made the Brian Kilmeade story sound legit, even though it was made up.

It’s simple, but at it’s most basic level, that’s precisely what happened.

Next, Bongino said something surprising:

Steele may not even have written the dossier. Now we know [from the 302s] that Nellie Ohr may have written part of it. We know that Nellie Ohr wrote a dossier – on Manafort. Which begs the question, if Steele’s name is on the dossier because he’d worked with the FBI in the past and was found credible, did he even write it? If he didn’t, is the lie that much worse that you slapped his name on political information to make it seem legitimate?

Kilmeade points out that Ohr and Steele were communicating through “WhatsApp” (an application which encrypts messages). He brings up a story from last month about Steele had wanted to talk to the FBI. It was reported he was afraid they were planning to throw him under the bus. He asked Bongino to comment.

Bongino brought up his “movie script” theory. Christopher Steele’s name was used on this. And this is what I think he means by being thrown under the bus. On this dossier, information he did not create, Christopher Steele acknowledged on sworn depositions he hadn’t been to Russia during this time period.

What I mean by the “movie script” theory, if you go back to 2007, not 2017, but 2007, there is a Wall Street Journal article written by Glenn Simpson. I encourage you to read that article today and compare it to the dossier. It IS the dossier. It’s the same thing.

(Note: The article is “How Lobbyists Help Ex-Soviets Woo Washington.” It was written by Simpson and his wife, Mary Jacoby, on April 17, 2007.)

They took a movie script from 12 years ago, slapped Christopher Steele’s name on it, changed a few of the names to Donald Trump. The cast of characters, Paul Manafort, Dimytro Firtash, they are all in that article Glenn Simpson wrote, it’s devastating.

Brian Kilmeade didn’t rob a bank. Donald Trump didn’t collude with Russia. The only source is Steele.

That’s interesting Dan, but what does that have to do with Ohr and Steele maintaining contact after Steele was fired?

We knew previously that Steele had leaked to the media as well and that he was the source for Yahoo!News’ Michael Isikoff’s article, published on September 23, 2016, which broke the news of the dossier. (By the way, the FBI used this article to corroborate the dossier in their FISA application. This is called circular reporting.)

At any rate, Steele lied to the FBI about leaking and once the FBI had submitted their application to the FISA Court which was based on the information contained in the dossier, he was fired. Steele’s FBI file indicates he is “not suitable for use.”

Yet, Bruce Ohr is encouraged by the FBI to remain in touch with Steele. Why?

Because there, in footnote 5 at the bottom of page fifteen of the FISA application, signed off on by James Comey, on October 21, 2016, it says Steele’s “reporting has been corroborated and used in criminal proceedings” and the FBI has determined him to be “reliable” and was “unaware of any derogatory information pertaining” to their informant.

And Steele knows where all the bones are buried.

Have we reached the point where they all start turning on each other? Christopher Steele was questioned for hours by Durham’s team.

There is so much more information that is known by insiders, lawmakers and other government officials that has not yet been made public. Before closing, I wanted to mention what I heard from two insiders on Thursday night.

Trump attorney Rudy Giuliani called into the Hannity Show. Giuliani ended his remarks by telling Hannity that no one will believe what’s coming.

Lindsey Graham, whose committee is privy to a great deal of classified information said, “This is the tip of the iceberg. I know personally there’s a lot more out there.”

I take both of those statements to mean that Attorney General William Barr, prosecutor John Durham and DOJ Inspector General Michael Horowitz are on it.

Watch the clip which starts at 11:00.

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Ohr interviews: Steele agenda was to stop Trump presidency

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Just how much trouble will Bruce Ohr’s interview notes cause the FBI? As described by the Washington Post and Politico, it might create no small amount of embarrassment in the short term — and maybe worse down the road. According to Ohr, the FBI knew full well that Steele had an anti-Trump agenda months before the bureau relied on his dossier to get a FISA warrant on Carter Page, but never disclosed it to the FISA judge. Ohr expressed skepticism about the veracity of Steele’s claims well before that too:

Heavily redacted FBI memos released Thursday show that while the FBI formally cut ties with a former British intelligence officer who supplied some early information in the investigation of Russian election interference, agents quietly sought to reestablish contact as the case heated up.

The released documents are formal FBI interview memos of agents’ conversations with Bruce Ohr, a senior Justice Department official who has drawn the ire of President Trump for his connections to Christopher Steele, a former British spy with an expertise in Russia who wrote a dossier of allegations against Trump in 2016. The general thrust of Steele’s allegations was that then-candidate Trump was secretly aligned with Russian officials and could be manipulated by them.

That was the “general thrust,” but was it the truth? As Ohr’s 302s indicate, not even Ohr was convinced despite his wife Nellie’s connections to Steele. It became clear that Steele had an agenda, and it might have been connected to who was paying for his work. And if that was clear, why were FBI agents so keen on getting Steele back in the fold after he leaked information to Mother Jones? Especially when they didn’t really believe his information?

One of the FBI documents released Thursday night suggested Ohr told agents he didn’t assume what Steele was telling him was true. “There are always Russian conspiracy theories that come from the Kremlin,” the memo said Ohr told agents. “Ohr honestly believes (redacted) reported what he heard from (redacted) but that doesn’t make the story true,” the memo said, in apparent reference to Steele.

Josh Gerstein notes that Trump supporters “are seizing” on the newly released material, for that reason and others:

Supporters of President Donald Trump are seizing on newly released FBI reportsto argue that the law enforcement agency had clear warnings within weeks after the election that the former British intelligence officer who authored a disputed dossier about Trump’s alleged ties to Russia was intent on preventing the real estate mogul from becoming president. …

A codename for Steele appears to have been redacted from the earliest reports on Bruce Ohr’s meetings with FBI agents, but one from a November 22, 2016 interview says the unnamed source whose information Ohr was passing on “was desperate that Donald Trump not get elected and was passionate about him not becoming the U.S. president.”

Ohr said in the same interview that the source of the dossier was hired by “a lawyer who does opposition research” and that the information about Trump and Russia was being relayed to Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign, a close aide to Secretary of State John Kerry and the FBI.

While many of Trump’s backers have expressed deep suspicion of Ohr and suggested he acted improperly by relaying his wife’s research to the FBI, after the 21 pages of new reports emerged Thursday, the president’s supporters said they show that Ohr’s candor about Steele’s motivations wasn’t adequately considered by the FBI or disclosed to judges who approved secret Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act warrant for communications of a former Trump foreign policy adviser, Carter Page.

This lack of disclosure is especially curious, given Ohr’s clear understanding of Steele’s provenance and agenda. Ohr’s meeting took place in “late July 2016,” by which time both Ohr and his wife Nellie knew very well who was paying Steele and why. “OHR knew [redacted, Steele’s] reporting on Trump’s ties to Russia were going to the Clinton Campaign” at that time, the FBI’s interview notes show. And yet when the FBI applied for a FISA surveillance warrant in October, the FBI managed to avoid telling the judges about Steele’s agenda in assembling the dossier.

The warrant was approved by James Comey, then FBI director. According to Ohr, that made Steele nervous about what Comey might later tell Congress:

“Steele had been worried about Director Comey’s upcoming testimony to Congress, especially his response to questions that would be raised by (Sen.) Grassley,” according to the FBI’s notes from a May 10, 2017 interview with Ohr, who had spoken to Steele the day of the hearing.

Just what Steele was concerned about is redacted, but the notes said ultimately Steele was “happy with Director Comey’s response.”

Steele’s relief was likely only temporary. The real test will be how Inspector General Michael Horowitz views his dossier and the Ohr interviews in his investigations into Operation Crossfire Hurricane. The 302s indicate that the FBI had recognized several red flags about Steele’s work and his motives, and yet treated him like a reliable source in order to spy on Page and the Trump campaign.

That certainly suggests bias as the motive for the FBI’s actions, Lindsey Graham told Sean Hannity last night, and warned that this was “just the tip of the iceberg” on the question of bias:

“Here’s what we’re looking at: Systematic corruption at the highest level of the Department of Justice and the FBI against President Trump and in favor of Hillary Clinton,” Graham said.

Host Sean Hannity then asked Graham whether officials “lied purposefully” on a Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) warrant application to surveil former Trump campaign aide Carter Page.

“The best you could say is that they were incompetent,” Graham responded. “The most likely outcome is that they wanted a result.”

“I think the insurance policy is what we’re seeing here, getting into the Trump campaign,” Graham continued. “The FISA warrant against Carter Page was a fraud, I believe. The counter-intelligence investigation is something we have to look at very closely.”

Graham has discussed this many times in television interviews, but he has yet to hold any hearings on the subject at the Senate Judiciary Committee. The Horowitz report will give him a clear entrée for such an investigation, which might well derail any momentum left in Jerrold Nadler’s impeachment efforts in the House counterpart.

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