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Westlake Legal Group > Posts tagged "Ron Johnson"

Schiff: Preventing Sondland from testifying is strong evidence of obstruction

Westlake Legal Group as1-1 Schiff: Preventing Sondland from testifying is strong evidence of obstruction volker Ukraine Trump The Blog text taylor sondland schiff Ron Johnson pelosi obstruction messages Jordan

Ed is exactly right about Trump’s strategy in holding Sondland back, I think. He’s going to boycott the Democrats’ impeachment inquiry on grounds of procedural unfairness — namely, there hasn’t been a formal House vote to open the inquiry, which would have given Republican members more power over the proceedings, and there’s been way too much secrecy already in how Schiff is questioning witnesses. For cripes sake, he’s reportedly considering how to interview the whistleblower while obscuring his/her identity so that Republicans on the Intel Committee won’t find out who it is and leak the information. The White House believes, or at least wants the public to believe, that the only winning move in this wargame is not to play. The system is rigged! They won’t help Schiff run his “kangaroo court.”

But it’s noteworthy that Byron York’s Republican sources in the House are nonetheless “baffled” by Trump’s decision.

The problem right now with Trump’s approach of signaling scorn for the Democrats’ sham process is that the public doesn’t agree that it’s a sham and even seems to be growing more convinced of its necessity if you believe WaPo’s data this morning. Every poll I’ve seen over the last two weeks has found at least plurality support for House Dems opening an impeachment inquiry into Trump’s conduct towards Ukraine. Trump is hoping, I guess, that a new round of “witch hunt” attacks on the process will bring some wayward Republican voters back over onto his side. (The most alarming number in the WaPo poll was support for the inquiry rising to 29 percent even among *Republicans.*) But blocking Sondland could have the opposite effect by convincing fencesitters that Trump really does have something to hide and has now resorted to outright obstruction of the investigation in a desperate attempt to protect himself. Schiff even utters the O-word at the end of the clip below.

Sondland is no minor witness, remember. Potentially he’s the key to the whole mystery of whether Trump really did intend a quid pro quo with Ukraine involving military aid and the Bidens. Read this post for background. Sondland reportedly told Ron Johnson flat out in August that a quid pro quo was in the works, and Johnson would be a difficult witness for Republicans to discredit for obvious partisan reasons. Sondland also reportedly worked on a Trump-pleasing draft statement for Ukraine that would have committed the government to investigating “corruption,” including the Biden/Burisma matter, although the statement was never actually issued. And Sondland was the guy responsible for that strange text exchange with Bill Taylor in September in which Taylor complained about what looked to him to be a quid pro quo. Sondland went quiet for several hours after that text and reportedly spoke to Trump directly in the interim before texting back to Taylor that of course our president would never attempt to trade military aid for something of value to him like a Biden probe.

There are a lot of questions for him. The impeachment case may rest on him. If Trump won’t let him testify, how can Democrats not proceed with obstruction?

Maybe Trump’s strategy, as Ed speculated, is simply to drag this out. Yes, House Democrats would probably win a court fight to compel Sondland’s testimony but they want to wrap up impeachment ASAP, not sit around paralyzed for months while the courts mull it over. The longer it takes, the closer we get to the election, the easier it is for Republicans in Congress to say that it’s too late to impeach and we should just let voters decide the matter in November. Realizing that, Democrats may decide not to even bother with forcing Sondland to testify and proceed instead to impeach Trump for obstruction. What happens then, I assume, is that Senate Republicans acquit on grounds that Trump has some sort of insuperable executive privilege that lets him withhold evidence from Congress whenever he likes. They’re gonna acquit him no matter what; it’s a matter of finding the reason. The question is how the public reacts to all of that. With more Americans already in favor of conducting an impeachment inquiry than opposed, which side “wins” the PR war if Trump starts blocking people from testifying, gets impeached, and then is acquitted half-heartedly on grounds that he has a moral right to obstruct unfair investigations?

If today’s WaPo poll means anything, it means Democrats are increasingly unlikely to suffer a major backlash from impeachment. The higher support for investigating Trump and Ukraine goes, the more eager voters will be potentially to side with the Dem narrative that Trump’s refusal to cooperate is obstruction of a legitimate probe, not a righteous refusal to participate in a sham Star Chamber proceeding.

The question today is whether Pelosi wants to play hardball over Sondland or not. Democrats could impeach him for refusing to testify, I assume, but that would risk making the impeachment process seem more petty than it already is and Sondland certainly wouldn’t be convicted by the Senate anyway. He’s willing to testify, after all. It’s Trump who’s holding him back. What Dems could do instead is move to hold him in contempt and then request an expedited disposition in court if/when Sondland challenges them. If the courts comply and rule in their favor, that’s a big win for them. If the courts decide to take their time with the matter, Pelosi might just drop the court battle and move to impeach Trump for obstruction instead.

Here’s Schiff speaking after Sondland failed to show, followed by Jim Jordan.

The post Schiff: Preventing Sondland from testifying is strong evidence of obstruction appeared first on Hot Air.

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Ron Johnson: Sondland told me Trump wanted a quid pro quo from Ukraine — but Trump told me he didn’t

Westlake Legal Group dt Ron Johnson: Sondland told me Trump wanted a quid pro quo from Ukraine — but Trump told me he didn’t zelensky volker Ukraine Trump The Blog sondland Ron Johnson quid pro quo military aid

“Sondland” is Gordon Sondland, the U.S. ambassador to the EU. He was on that text exchange with acting U.S. ambassador to Ukraine Bill Taylor and U.S. special envoy to Ukraine Kurt Volker that I wrote about yesterday and Ed wrote about this morning. At one point in an exchange from September, Taylor said, “I think it’s crazy to withhold security assistance for help with a political campaign” — evidence that even Trump’s own diplomats feared the possibility of a secret quid pro quo.

It was Sondland who replied to him, “Bill, I believe you are incorrect about President Trump’s intentions. The President has been crystal clear no quid pro quo’s of any kind.” And who then asked that the conversation be continued offline.

Now here’s GOP Sen. Ron Johnson telling the WSJ that *Sondland* was the one who told him in August that a quid pro quo appeared to be in the works. But when Johnson raised that possibility with Trump himself, Trump denied it firmly.

Mr. Johnson, who supports aid to Ukraine and is the chairman of a Senate subcommittee with jurisdiction over the region, said Mr. Trump was adamant on the issue. “He said—expletive deleted—‘No way. I would never do that. Who told you that?” the Wisconsin senator recalled [of their August 31 phone call]. Mr. Johnson told Mr. Trump that he had learned of the arrangement from Mr. Sondland…

Mr. Johnson said he learned of the potential arrangement involving military aid through a phone call with Mr. Sondland that occurred the day before Mr. Johnson spoke to Mr. Trump. Under the arrangement, Mr. Johnson said Mr. Sondland told him, Ukraine would appoint a strong prosecutor general and move to “get to the bottom of what happened in 2016—if President Trump has that confidence, then he’ll release the military spending,” recounted Mr. Johnson.

“At that suggestion, I winced,” Mr. Johnson said. “My reaction was: Oh, God. I don’t want to see those two things combined.”

He said he doesn’t believe Mr. Biden’s name came up during his conversations with Mr. Sondland or Mr. Trump.

Trump’s denial is obviously a good fact for him. At no point during this Ukraine saga has anyone accused him of directly condoning a quid pro quo in discussions with aides or anyone else. It’s all read-between-the-line stuff, like his request for a “favor” from Zelensky during their phone call after Zelensky mentioned purchasing U.S. missiles. On the other hand, the fact that Sondland saw some sort of quid pro quo in the works with Ukraine while the military aid was on hold is … not a great fact. This makes two separate diplomats, including Taylor, who appear to have believed that an aid-for-investigation trade was happening.

And it creates a mystery around Sondland. Why was he under the impression on August 30 when chatting with Johnson that there was a quid pro quo and then, 10 days later, eager to remind Taylor via text that Trump has been clear about there being no quid pro quo? If he had his facts wrong when he spoke to Johnson, how did he come to be so badly misinformed? Note that Johnson says he named Sondland when Trump asked on August 31 who had told him about a quid pro quo. Maybe the president gave his diplomat a talking-to afterward, although whether that was to correct him on the facts or to involve him in a cover-up is unclear right now.

In fact, we know from the Times that Sondland was consulting with Trump even during the now-famous text exchange with Bill Taylor on September 9. After Taylor texted that it was crazy to withhold security assistance for help with a political campaign, five hours passed without a reply from Sondland. At some point in that period, he spoke to Trump. Then he texted Taylor back with his for-the-record “The President has been crystal clear” response. What did he and Trump talk about that morning?

Gordon Sondland is going to be a very important witness.

Maybe this is why Sondland believed in August that there was a quid pro quo:

Two of President Trump’s top envoys to Ukraine worked on a statement for the country’s new president in August that would have committed Ukraine to pursuing investigations sought by Mr. Trump into his political rivals, according to three people briefed on the effort and documents released Thursday night…

The statement was worked on by Gordon D. Sondland, the United States ambassador to the European Union, and Kurt D. Volker, then the State Department’s special envoy to Ukraine, according to the documents and the three people who have been briefed on the statement. Rudolph W. Giuliani, Mr. Trump’s personal lawyer and the de facto leader of a shadow campaign to push the Ukrainians to press ahead with investigations, provided the critical element of the language, Mr. Volker told House Democratic investigators on Thursday, a person familiar with his testimony said…

Late Thursday, House Democrats released a series of texts between Mr. Volker, Mr. Sondland and Andriy Yermak, a top aide to the Ukrainian president, Volodymyr Zelensky, that also showed that officials in both countries understood that Mr. Trump would not grant Mr. Zelensky an Oval Office meeting he was seeking until Ukraine agreed to make a public commitment to the investigations being sought by the American side.

A key line from later in the article: “The idea behind the statement was to break the Ukrainians of their habit of promising American diplomats and leaders behind closed doors that they would look into matters and never follow through, the people briefed on it said.” That makes sense in light of the strange fact that Trump and Zelensky seemed to agree during their July 25 call that it was important to investigate corruption and yet *Trump held up Ukraine’s military aid anyway*, with the Ukrainians reportedly not realizing until a month later that the aid wasn’t coming. People have pointed to that as evidence that there wasn’t a quid pro quo after all, that if the aid really had been tied to Ukraine’s cooperation then it would have been released immediately after Zelensky’s call with Trump. In reality, though, it may simply be that Trump was skeptical — understandably — that the Ukrainians would follow through on their pledge to probe Biden once they had the aid in hand. The aid may have been Trump’s leverage to make sure Zelensky actually kept his promise. “Sure, you’ll get your aid. But first let’s see some movement on that Biden investigation.”

Coincidentally, the Ukrainian government announced today that they are in fact reopening the probe into the owner of Burisma, along with several others. From their standpoint, that’s the smart play. There’s a decent chance that Trump is reelected next fall; staying on the president’s good side may be the difference between being overrun by Russia before 2024 and holding them off. They’re going to play ball with him as much as they think they can without alienating the Democrats too much.

One more point on the quid pro quo. This text is awfully hard to justify and explains why Volker, Taylor, and Sondland may have believed early on in this process that Trump was interested in a quid pro quo.

There’s no mention of military aid there but Volker claims he’s been told by someone in the White House itself that Trump is approaching relations with Zelensky transactionally, with 2016 investigations a crucial part of the transaction. If Zelensky wants an audience at the White House, he knows what he has to do. Go figure that the hold-up in military aid later would be viewed through the same prism, likely by everyone involved.

Exit question: How good of a relationship does Trump have with Senate Republicans, especially Ron Johnson? Would he feel comfortable enough to shoot straight with Johnson, in which case his denial of a quid pro quo carries more weight? Or would he have worried about Johnson exposing the quid pro quo if he admitted to it, in which case the denial matters less? Bear in mind that Senate Republicans are almost uniformly pro-Ukraine and anti-Russia and Trump knows it. He would have had reason to believe that if he acknowledged he was blocking Ukraine money to get leverage over Biden, Johnson would have reacted badly for foreign-policy reasons, if not ethical ones.

The post Ron Johnson: Sondland told me Trump wanted a quid pro quo from Ukraine — but Trump told me he didn’t appeared first on Hot Air.

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Ron Johnson’s Homeland Security Committee may investigate the Bidens and Ukraine

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There’s no indication from this WaPo story if he’s doing it at Trump’s behest or because he’s independently intent on getting to the bottom of the Burisma matter. But either way, their interests align. Here’s Trump this afternoon…

…and here’s the Post reporting on the mood among Senate Republicans today, with some reportedly “stunned” by the transcript of the call between Trump and Zelensky (it was a “huge mistake” to release it, said one) and others eager to steer the conversation towards the Bidens. None is more eager than Ron Johnson, reportedly.

One early divide among Senate Republicans is between the “Burr camp” and the “Johnson camp,” according to two senior GOP aides who were not authorized to speak publicly, referring to Sen. Richard Burr (R-N.C.), the chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee, and Sen. Ron Johnson (R-Wis.), the chairman of the Homeland Security Committee. Burr’s faction of the Senate GOP has a darker, frustrated view of Trump’s handling of Ukraine, while Johnson’s wing is more focused on probing Biden, the aides said…

Johnson, meanwhile, told colleagues he would consider investigating Biden and Ukraine and said he took those issues seriously — a position that was strongly encouraged by several allies of Trump at the lunch, according to three people familiar with the conversations. When asked for comment late Tuesday about those discussions, Johnson said in a statement, “We have and will continue to gather information and conduct oversight on alleged misconduct within government agencies.”

Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) said, “Biden is the one who threatened Ukraine’s aid, not Trump, and that has to be investigated.”

It’s a no-brainer. Investigating Biden would be “on brand” for the Trump-era GOP in that the president’s instinct whenever he’s accused of wrongdoing is to ask about the accuser’s wrongdoing. He fights, so naturally he’d want to go on offense while the Democrats momentarily have him on the defensive. Plus, Hunter Biden’s hiring by Burisma really does seem dubious from the outside, a potential case of influence peddling by bringing in the vice president’s son. And Joe Biden serving as the Obama White House’s enforcer against the Ukrainian prosecutor despite the prosecutor’s prior interest in Burisma reeks of a conflict of interest and has the appearance of impropriety. It’s not wrong to wonder if there’s evidence that Joe tried to protect Hunter.

But the catch for Johnson in investigating this is that the prosecutor in question really was corrupt according to all available reporting on the subject. And he wasn’t pursuing Burisma when Biden started twisting Ukrainian arms to drop the axe on him. Which means the likely result of the probe is … vindication for the Bidens?

From the GOP’s perspective, it probably doesn’t matter how Johnson’s investigation turns out. The point is to *have* an investigation, to crowd out some of the headlines about Trump and Ukraine and do political damage to Biden by raising suspicions about him. It’s a shrewd plan — unless, of course, it ends up ultimately benefiting progressives most of all by helping to keep the Ukraine matter in the news day after day and softening up Biden’s Democratic support to the point where he’s easy pickings for Elizabeth Warren in the primaries.

Speaking of congressional probes of Ukraine diplomacy, Pelosi reportedly wants any impeachment of Trump to focus on his approach to Zelensky about Biden rather than a kitchen-sink indictment in which Democrats bring in Russiagate obstruction, emoluments, and so on:

Inside the room, Democrats said, Pelosi (Calif.) told colleagues that keeping the inquiry narrowly focused on the Ukraine allegations could help keep the investigation out of the courts, where a slew of investigative matters have been bogged down for months — though she did not rule out ultimately including other episodes in a potential impeachment package.

The meeting included multiple members of the House Judiciary Committee, which has been probing alleged obstruction of justice, self-dealing and other matters involving Trump, though not Chairman Jerrold Nadler (D-N.Y.). It ended without a firm decision on whether to circumscribe the probe but with consensus inside the room that narrowing the investigation, if only in terms of political messaging, made sense.

I think that’s the smart way to go, not just because it keeps Democrats out of court but because the allegation in the Ukraine matter is easy for the average voter to grasp. If Dems weren’t able to get the public excited for impeachment over Russiagate in two years of trying, they’re not going to belatedly spark enthusiasm to revisit the obstruction claims from that case now. And emoluments have never been on the public’s radar; that’s something Pelosi could place on the back burner and possibly revisit later if there’s an unusually stark case of Trump being paid by a foreign government. Emoluments would be another heavy lift in terms of public opinion, though, since Americans assume all politicians are corrupt. At worst, they’ll conclude, Trump is just a bit more obvious about it. Ukraine is Pelosi’s best bet to make the public kinda sorta “comfortable” with impeachment, in the full expectation that the effort will fail dismally in the Senate.

The post Ron Johnson’s Homeland Security Committee may investigate the Bidens and Ukraine appeared first on Hot Air.

Westlake Legal Group jb-4-300x153 Ron Johnson’s Homeland Security Committee may investigate the Bidens and Ukraine Ukraine Trump The Blog Senate Ron Johnson Richard Burr republicans joe hunter homeland security Burisma biden  Real Estate, and Personal Injury Lawyers. Contact us at: https://westlakelegal.com 

Ron Johnson’s Homeland Security Committee may investigate the Bidens and Ukraine

Westlake Legal Group jb-4 Ron Johnson’s Homeland Security Committee may investigate the Bidens and Ukraine Ukraine Trump The Blog Senate Ron Johnson Richard Burr republicans joe hunter homeland security Burisma biden

There’s no indication from this WaPo story if he’s doing it at Trump’s behest or because he’s independently intent on getting to the bottom of the Burisma matter. But either way, their interests align. Here’s Trump this afternoon…

…and here’s the Post reporting on the mood among Senate Republicans today, with some reportedly “stunned” by the transcript of the call between Trump and Zelensky (it was a “huge mistake” to release it, said one) and others eager to steer the conversation towards the Bidens. None is more eager than Ron Johnson, reportedly.

One early divide among Senate Republicans is between the “Burr camp” and the “Johnson camp,” according to two senior GOP aides who were not authorized to speak publicly, referring to Sen. Richard Burr (R-N.C.), the chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee, and Sen. Ron Johnson (R-Wis.), the chairman of the Homeland Security Committee. Burr’s faction of the Senate GOP has a darker, frustrated view of Trump’s handling of Ukraine, while Johnson’s wing is more focused on probing Biden, the aides said…

Johnson, meanwhile, told colleagues he would consider investigating Biden and Ukraine and said he took those issues seriously — a position that was strongly encouraged by several allies of Trump at the lunch, according to three people familiar with the conversations. When asked for comment late Tuesday about those discussions, Johnson said in a statement, “We have and will continue to gather information and conduct oversight on alleged misconduct within government agencies.”

Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) said, “Biden is the one who threatened Ukraine’s aid, not Trump, and that has to be investigated.”

It’s a no-brainer. Investigating Biden would be “on brand” for the Trump-era GOP in that the president’s instinct whenever he’s accused of wrongdoing is to ask about the accuser’s wrongdoing. He fights, so naturally he’d want to go on offense while the Democrats momentarily have him on the defensive. Plus, Hunter Biden’s hiring by Burisma really does seem dubious from the outside, a potential case of influence peddling by bringing in the vice president’s son. And Joe Biden serving as the Obama White House’s enforcer against the Ukrainian prosecutor despite the prosecutor’s prior interest in Burisma reeks of a conflict of interest and has the appearance of impropriety. It’s not wrong to wonder if there’s evidence that Joe tried to protect Hunter.

But the catch for Johnson in investigating this is that the prosecutor in question really was corrupt according to all available reporting on the subject. And he wasn’t pursuing Burisma when Biden started twisting Ukrainian arms to drop the axe on him. Which means the likely result of the probe is … vindication for the Bidens?

From the GOP’s perspective, it probably doesn’t matter how Johnson’s investigation turns out. The point is to *have* an investigation, to crowd out some of the headlines about Trump and Ukraine and do political damage to Biden by raising suspicions about him. It’s a shrewd plan — unless, of course, it ends up ultimately benefiting progressives most of all by helping to keep the Ukraine matter in the news day after day and softening up Biden’s Democratic support to the point where he’s easy pickings for Elizabeth Warren in the primaries.

Speaking of congressional probes of Ukraine diplomacy, Pelosi reportedly wants any impeachment of Trump to focus on his approach to Zelensky about Biden rather than a kitchen-sink indictment in which Democrats bring in Russiagate obstruction, emoluments, and so on:

Inside the room, Democrats said, Pelosi (Calif.) told colleagues that keeping the inquiry narrowly focused on the Ukraine allegations could help keep the investigation out of the courts, where a slew of investigative matters have been bogged down for months — though she did not rule out ultimately including other episodes in a potential impeachment package.

The meeting included multiple members of the House Judiciary Committee, which has been probing alleged obstruction of justice, self-dealing and other matters involving Trump, though not Chairman Jerrold Nadler (D-N.Y.). It ended without a firm decision on whether to circumscribe the probe but with consensus inside the room that narrowing the investigation, if only in terms of political messaging, made sense.

I think that’s the smart way to go, not just because it keeps Democrats out of court but because the allegation in the Ukraine matter is easy for the average voter to grasp. If Dems weren’t able to get the public excited for impeachment over Russiagate in two years of trying, they’re not going to belatedly spark enthusiasm to revisit the obstruction claims from that case now. And emoluments have never been on the public’s radar; that’s something Pelosi could place on the back burner and possibly revisit later if there’s an unusually stark case of Trump being paid by a foreign government. Emoluments would be another heavy lift in terms of public opinion, though, since Americans assume all politicians are corrupt. At worst, they’ll conclude, Trump is just a bit more obvious about it. Ukraine is Pelosi’s best bet to make the public kinda sorta “comfortable” with impeachment, in the full expectation that the effort will fail dismally in the Senate.

The post Ron Johnson’s Homeland Security Committee may investigate the Bidens and Ukraine appeared first on Hot Air.

Westlake Legal Group jb-4-300x153 Ron Johnson’s Homeland Security Committee may investigate the Bidens and Ukraine Ukraine Trump The Blog Senate Ron Johnson Richard Burr republicans joe hunter homeland security Burisma biden  Real Estate, and Personal Injury Lawyers. Contact us at: https://westlakelegal.com 

Bombshell Report of Secret Dossier Meeting Has Sen. Grassley On The Warpath

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Christopher Steele, former British intelligence officer in London Tuesday March 7, 2017 where he has spoken to the media for the first time . Steele who compiled an explosive and unproven dossier on President Donald Trump’s purported activities in Russia has returned to work. Christopher Steele said Tuesday he is “really pleased” to be back at work in London after a prolonged period out of public view. He went into hiding in January. (Victoria Jones/PA via AP)

 

The Hill’s John Solomon broke the bombshell story of an October 2016 meeting between a high ranking State Department official and Christopher Steele. During this exchange, the author of the dossier told Deputy Assistant Secretary of State Kathleen Kavalec that his client was “keen” to break the story before election day. (I wrote about it here. Solomon’s article can be viewed here and here.)

Ten days before the FBI applied to the FISA Court for their first warrant to spy on Trump advisor Carter Page, Kavalec made two important discoveries. First, she realized that some of the material in the dossier Steele had prepared for the FBI and the Clinton campaign was inaccurate. After a brief meeting with Steele, Kavalec was instantly aware of Steele’s agenda and she was alarmed. She prepared a memo from her meeting notes and sent it to the appropriate officials at the FBI. The memo said that Steele had told her, “Payments to those recruited are made out of the Russian Consulate in Miami.” She then wrote, “It is important to note that there is no Russian consulate in Miami.” Kavalec also said that Steele admitted his work was political.

Citizens United recently obtained copies of Kavalec’s memo, through a FOIA request. The documents were immediately forwarded to the DOJ Inspector General Michael Horowitz who had not been aware that the document even existed.

Citizens United learned that the memo and related documents had been retroactively labeled as classified by the FBI. They were heavily redacted. Kavalec sent the email to the FBI on October 13, 2016.

It’s impossible to know who Kavalec sent the memo to because the FBI redacted the names of the recipients, the subject line and the attachments. Solomon said that only three sentences were unredacted.

As if they FBI did not know that Steele’s motivation was political, lawmakers want to know how they handled Kavalec’s memo. Dates it was received. By whom. And why they went forward with their application to the FISA Court for a warrant to spy on Page when they knew the document was just a political smear. Hmmm.

It’s been reported that Sens. Ron Johnson (R-WI) and Chuck Grassley (R-IA) have sent a letter to FBI Director Christopher Wray and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo in which they request all documents, memos, texts, emails “related to an October 2016 meeting between Christopher Steele and State Department – information that was reportedly referred to the FBI, possibly before the FISA applications.” The letter can be viewed here.

Johnson and Grassley wrote:

Based on the publicly-released version of the typed notes of the meeting, it appears Steele’s intent of the meeting with the State Department was to maximize the impact of the unverified information that he had acquired in an effort to undermine the Trump campaign.  Further, if that information was included in the material submitted to the FBI, then the FBI may have been aware of Steele’s political motivations before submitting any FISA application.

They also included a list of questions they would like written answers to by May 24th.

  1. On what date did the State Department notify the FBI that it obtained the Steele dossier?
  2. How did the State Department describe to the FBI the process by which it obtained the Steele dossier?
  3. On what date did the State Department notify the FBI about the October 2016 meeting between Kathleen Kavalec and Christopher Steele?
  4. On what date did the State Department provide the memorandum, notes, and any other material connected to Kathleen Kavalec’s October 2016 meeting with Christopher Steele to the FBI?
  5. Did any FBI employees request that Christopher Steele furnish the dossier to the State Department or seek a meeting with the State Department?  If so, who, when, and why?
  6. Did the State Department mark any material from the October 2016 meeting as classified?  If so, what was initially marked classified and at what level?

  7. Has the FBI provided all material relating to the State Department’s meeting with Steele to the Justice Department Office of the Inspector General?  If so, on what date?  If not, why not?

  8. All records, including all memoranda, notes, and other material regarding the State Department’s receipt of the Steele dossier and its referral of that information to the FBI.
  9. An explanation about the legal and factual basis for classifying any of these materials.

This information came right in the nick of time, because IG Horowitz is expected to complete his report into possible FISA abuse by the FBI within the next month.

As I wrote last week:

Former U.S. District Court Judge Joe diGenova appeared on “Lou Dobbs Tonight” Thursday evening and made an extraordinary claim. He said the DOJ Inspector General, Michael Horowitz, has “concluded that the final three FISA extensions were illegally obtained.”

He added, “The only question now is whether or not the first FISA warrant was illegally obtained…As a result of those disclosures from John Solomon today, which he was unaware of, the Bureau hid those memos from Horowitz. As a result of that, they are doing some additional work on the first FISA. It may be that all four FISAs will have been obtained illegally.”

DiGenova did not reveal his source, but he is certainly a well connected man who has spent years in Washington.

 

The post Bombshell Report of Secret Dossier Meeting Has Sen. Grassley On The Warpath appeared first on RedState.

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Newly Released Strzok Texts, Emails Suggest CIA Leaked False Information About Trump Campaign

Westlake Legal Group strzok-pointing-620x413 Newly Released Strzok Texts, Emails Suggest CIA Leaked False Information About Trump Campaign william barr Special Counsel Rush Limbaugh Ron Johnson Peter Strzok Mueller Investigation Lisa Page John Brennan Impeachment of President Trump Front Page Stories FBI and DOJ Corruption donald trump democrats Deep State corruption Chuck Grassley Allow Media Exception Abuse of Power

FBI Deputy Assistant Director Peter Strzok points down the hallway as he arrives for a House Committees on the Judiciary and Oversight and Government Reform joint hearing, Thursday, July 12, 2018, on Capitol Hill in Washington. (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin)

 

Newly released text messages between former FBI agent Peter Strzok and former FBI lawyer Lisa Page show them questioning the origin of various stories they were seeing in the news.   

Senate Homeland Security Committee Chairman Ron Johnson, R-Wis., and Finance Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, sent a letter to Intelligence Community Inspector General Michael K. Atkinson to find out if he’s launched a probe “into these apparent leaks.” They wrote:

These texts and emails raise a number of serious questions and concerns. For example, who are the ‘sisters’ and what does it mean to say that the ‘sisters have [been] leaking like mad’?  What are they worried about, and what are they kicking into ‘overdrive’?  Which ‘agency’ is he referring to and why does Strzok believe the referenced news article highlights that ‘agency as [a] source of some of the leaks’?

On December 16, 2016, Strzok sent a text to Page: “I think our sisters have begun leaking like mad. Scorned and worried and political, they’re kicking into overdrive.” “Our sisters” is a reference to the CIA, which is the sister agency to the FBI. John Brennan was the CIA Director at the time.

On April 13, 2017, Strzok sent an email to members of his counterintelligence team which said, “I’m beginning to think the agency got information a lot earlier than we thought. They haven’t shared it completely with us. They’re leaking it. Might explain all these weird seemingly incorrect leads all these media people have.”

Rush Limbaugh addressed these communications on his radio show on Tuesday. He said:

Strzok and Page are seeing stories appearing in the media about the Trump-Russia investigation and they know the information is incorrect. And they immediately think that this stuff is coming from the CIA.

Now, this is significant, because we now know that there was no evidence of Trump-Russia collusion. So it looks like — and the source for this is Strzok and Page, the FBI agents. It looks like the CIA was, in fact, leaking false Trump-Russia stories to the press to undermine Trump. These are leaks that even the FBI agents running their own version of a coup thought were wrong and incorrect.

These FBI people are looking at a bunch of stuff in the media that isn’t true, at least as far as they know it.

And they’re concluding that Brennan and the CIA are leaking and putting this stuff in the media that they, then, have to deal with themselves. And they are concluding here, these are “incorrect leads all these media folks have.” That is a solid indication that the FBI’s looking at this as it’s happening, and that the CIA is releasing a bunch of BS that even the FBI thought was BS. And the media was just swallowing it all up, not questioning any of it.

And that’s because it came from Obama’s CIA, which they revere.

On December 14, 2016, NBC News published an article entitled “U.S. Officials: Putin Personally Involved in U.S. Election Hack.”

It says:

U.S. intelligence officials now believe with ‘a high level of confidence’ that Russian President Vladimir Putin became personally involved in the covert Russian campaign to interfere in the U.S. presidential election, senior U.S. intelligence officials told NBC News…Two senior officials with direct access to the information say new intelligence shows that Putin personally directed how hacked material from Democrats was leaked and otherwise used. The intelligence came from diplomatic sources and spies working for U.S. allies, the officials said.

Strzok and Page know they didn’t leak this information and assume their “sisters” at The Agency did. And the timing of the NBC article coincides with Strzok’s December text.

Limbaugh said:

This is a flat out lie. Either somebody literally made this up, or they got scammed by some agents in Russia who are running a scam on Brennan and they knew what Brennan wanted to hear, so they told him. Who knows how it happened, where it was originally sourced? But this has to be somebody at The Agency telling this to NBC.

This is the kind of crap that was going on. I was infuriated. I was. I cannot tell you how enraged I was during these entire two years. Every day, there was stuff like that. Every day, and four times a day, because once NBC ran it then it was picked up by the New York Times and the Washington Post, and it was an echo chamber for every one of these cockamamie, lying assertions such as that.

John Brennan and James Clapper, who was the Director of National Intelligence at the time will have to account for this and much more.

DOJ Inspector General Michael Horowitz report due in about three weeks will address FBI leaks to the media, in addition to their alleged FISA abuses. Leaks by the CIA and any other intelligence agencies implicated in this conspiracy will require a separate investigation. It’s likely that Attorney General William Barr’s DOJ is already on it.

We learn new information every day, but we can be sure that Barr knows a great deal more.

The Democrats feel the walls closing in on them and as their fear increases, their narrative becomes more and more desperate. Consider how little time it took to turn William Barr into a villain. It’s as if the Deep State has a formalized “central command” which issues the orders and the talking points.

The problem is that many Americans believe the rubbish they hear from the mainstream media. Half of America probably thinks William Barr is a criminal.

The Trump/Barr camp has to start fighting back even though they may not have all the answers yet.

Something must be done to stop the madness.

The post Newly Released Strzok Texts, Emails Suggest CIA Leaked False Information About Trump Campaign appeared first on RedState.

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YOU’RE KIDDING. Peter Freakin Strzok Was Concerned That This Agency Had Political Bias

Westlake Legal Group youre-kidding-peter-freakin-strzok-was-concerned-that-this-agency-had-political-bias YOU’RE KIDDING. Peter Freakin Strzok Was Concerned That This Agency Had Political Bias Wisconsin Russia Probe Ron Johnson Politics Peter Strzok Lisa Page Iowa Government Front Page Stories Featured Story FBI elections donald trump democrats Congress cia Chuck Grassley Allow Media Exception

Westlake Legal Group strzok-pointing-620x413 YOU’RE KIDDING. Peter Freakin Strzok Was Concerned That This Agency Had Political Bias Wisconsin Russia Probe Ron Johnson Politics Peter Strzok Lisa Page Iowa Government Front Page Stories Featured Story FBI elections donald trump democrats Congress cia Chuck Grassley Allow Media Exception

FBI Deputy Assistant Director Peter Strzok points down the hallway as he arrives for a House Committees on the Judiciary and Oversight and Government Reform joint hearing, Thursday, July 12, 2018, on Capitol Hill in Washington. (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin)

 

Iowa Senator Charles Grassley and Wisconsin Senator Ron Johnson, chairmen of the Senate Finance and Homeland Security committees, respectively, turned the heat up on the Department of Justice last week, asking Attorney General Bill Barr about an apparent plan by disgraced former FBI counterintelligence guru Peter Strzok and his paramour, Lisa Page, to recruit informants inside Vice President Mike Pence’s transition team (see You’ll Never Believe Who The FBI Thought They Could Recruit As A Spy In The Trump White House). Now they’ve turned their eye upon the Intelligence Community.

There are a lot of stray factoids that indicate that the CIA, directly and by using its Five Eyes partners as cut-outs, was instrumental in creating a narrative that the Trump campaign was under Russian influence and it is a fact that disgraced former director of the CIA, John Brennan, was instrumental in pushing that narrative into the public’s consciousness. Many of the most inflammatory leaks seemed to originate from within the Intelligence Community. And now Grassley and Johnson are exploring those links.

In a letter dated today, May 6, the two senators ask the IC IG for some answers:

Westlake Legal Group grassley-johnson-ic-letter-strzok-620x403 YOU’RE KIDDING. Peter Freakin Strzok Was Concerned That This Agency Had Political Bias Wisconsin Russia Probe Ron Johnson Politics Peter Strzok Lisa Page Iowa Government Front Page Stories Featured Story FBI elections donald trump democrats Congress cia Chuck Grassley Allow Media Exception

(Read the whole letter)

There are two points to pause and consider for a moment.

Why would the CIA leak to the media information they hadn’t shared with the FBI? The answer that immediately comes to mind is that they did it for the same reason that Christopher Steele did a road tour to pitch his dossier to the media. Those media stories then became evidence used to bolster the credibility of the dossier, itself. The media are seemingly credulous and enthralled whenever a spook deigns to speak to them and fall into the stenographer role they usually reserve for interviewing progressive politicians. The public narrative emanating from the IC needs no proof beyond its source. Here you can see that Strzok immediately assumes that the IC has held back information from him rather than this is just the IC peddling unfalsifiable bullsh**. (This is the story he’s referring to.) The fact that these alleged contacts are not mentioned in the Mueller report speaks volumes for the veracity of the account.

And Strzok refers to the CIA and other IC organizations as “political.” It is no secret that the CIA has been a hotbed of Democrat activists since…well…a long, long time. If you recall, during the 2004 election, the CIA gave expedited clearance to a book called ‘Imperial Hubris’ which was written by an active CIA officer that amounted to an in-kind contribution to John Kerry’s campaign. The same agency relentlessly leaked classified “Aardwolf” report series which were hypercritical and pessimistic about the Iraq War. All in all, the CIA seemed hellbent on using its position to sandbag a sitting president. But, Peter Strzok is the insurance policy guy, he’s the guy who says Trump won’t be president on his watch. If he’s calling the CIA political, consider what that means in practical terms. That is like being the British cavalry officer who was so stupid that even the horses had started to notice.

The post YOU’RE KIDDING. Peter Freakin Strzok Was Concerned That This Agency Had Political Bias appeared first on RedState.

Westlake Legal Group strzok-pointing-300x200 YOU’RE KIDDING. Peter Freakin Strzok Was Concerned That This Agency Had Political Bias Wisconsin Russia Probe Ron Johnson Politics Peter Strzok Lisa Page Iowa Government Front Page Stories Featured Story FBI elections donald trump democrats Congress cia Chuck Grassley Allow Media Exception  Real Estate, and Personal Injury Lawyers. Contact us at: https://westlakelegal.com 

You’ll Never Believe Who the FBI Thought They Could Recruit as a Spy in the Trump White House

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FBI Deputy Assistant Director Peter Strzok points down the hallway as he arrives for a House Committees on the Judiciary and Oversight and Government Reform joint hearing, Thursday, July 12, 2018, on Capitol Hill in Washington. (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin)

A little earlier today my colleague bonchie posted on a new twist in the Strzok-Page text message drama. It seems that the adulterous love birds tried to develop a source within the Trump White House (see NEW: FBI Tried To Groom Sources In Trump Administration AFTER The 2016 Election). This, if true, is huge. I represents a shift from attempting to spy upon a political campaign to carrying out an counterintelligence operation against the President of the United States.

It seems that the target was none other than the chief of staff to Vice President Mike Pence, a guy named Joshua Pitcock.

Why Pitcock?

Because in the incestuous ways of Washington, Pitcock’s wife, Katherine “Katie” Seaman, is one of the FBI’s top counterintelligence analysts and was detailed to work for Peter Strzok on the Russia collusion investigation. The official story is that Seaman officially recused herself from the investigation after Trump became the official nominee. But, a letter from Charles Grassley (Senate Appropriations Chairman) and Ron Johnson (Senate Homeland Security Chairman) are asking Attorney General William Barr some pointed questions about what was going on with Seaman and Pitcock and Strzok and Page. This is via Sara Carter:

“The course of our oversight work we have reviewed certain text messages that may show potential attempts by the FBI to conduct surveillance of President-elect Trump’s transition team,” the letter states. “In text messages exchanged between former FBI Special Agent Peter Strzok and former FBI Attorney Lisa Page, the two discussed the possibility of developing “potential relationships” at a November 2016 FBI briefing for presidential transition team staff. Specifically, it appears they discussed sending “the CI guy” to assess an unnamed person ‘demeanor’ but were concerned because it might be unusual for him to attend.”

The Senators are investigating if any “of these communications, and the precise purpose of any attempts to ‘develop relationships’ with Trump or VP Mike Pence transition team staff are not immediately clear.”

“Were these efforts done to gain better communication between the respective parties, or were the briefings used as intelligence gathering operations? Further, did any such surveillance activities continue beyond the inauguration, and in the event they did, were those activities subject to proper predication,” the letter states. “Any improper FBI surveillance activities that were conducted before or after the 2016 election must be brought to light and properly addressed.”

Here are the annotated texts:

Strzok: Talking with Bill. Do we want Joe to go with Evanina instead of Charli for a variety of reasons?

(Strzok is referring to former FBI Assistant Director of Counterintelligence division Bill Priestap. ‘Joe is referencing FBI Special Agent Joe Pientka, who interviewed former National Security Advisor Michael Flynn in January, 2017. And Evanina is in reference to William Evanina, National Counterintelligence and Security Center.)

Page: Hmm. Not sure. Would it be unusual to have [sic] show up again? Maybe another agent from the team?

Strzok: Or, he’s “the CI guy.” Same.might [sic] make sense. He can assess if there [sic] are any news [sic] Qs, or different demeanor. If Katie’s husband is there, he can see if there are people we can develop for potential relationships

Page: Should I ask Andy about it? Or Bill (Priestap) want to reach out for Andy (McCabe)?

Strzok: I told him I’m sure we could ask you to make the swap if we thought it.

Interpreting texts is hazardous because they are essentially shorthand and knowing the context but Strzok’s text “If Katie’s husband is there, he can see if there are people we can develop for potential relationships” seems to point to using Pitcock as a “talent spotter.” Conceivably the “he” could refer to the CI agent in the previous sentence but you don’t see that kind of illiteracy in any of the other texts, so why would it be here?

Pitcock, now an executive for Oracle, issued a statement denying everything and pleading ignorance:

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I’ve become a little jaded with denials over the years. My general rule is that the more detail included in the denial the greater the chance that the denial is false. So this denial leaves me feeling a little queasy. Why just deny he had contact with Strzok and Page when there are references to as many as three other counterintelligence agents who might have been involved in recruitment? Why say no infiltration through him or his wife where his role is alleged to be one of identifying infiltrators for recruitment? Maybe I’m overly cynical but it seems to me there was an easy one sentence answer to the allegation that he pointed the FBI towards people who could be recruited.

The fact that the Washington Post collusion fluffer Phillip Bump resorts to character assassination to try do divert attention makes it all doubly suspicious.

Fox News host Sean Hannity had an interview lined up with Trump and began by asking about the new reporting.

“Mr. President, our own Catherine Herridge, investigative reporter Sara Carter — big breaking news tonight: Senate Republican chairman submitted a letter Thursday to the Department of Justice, the attorney general,” Hannity said. “We have new texts from November of 2016 from Strzok and Page showing the pair had discussed attempts to recruit sources from within your White House to spy on your administration and reveal that they have one particular contact within the White House: The vice president’s chief of staff whose wife was working as an analyst for Strzok on the FBI investigation on Hillary’s private server.”

There’s an important move right at the top: Hannity blends Fox News’s reporting with that of Sara Carter, an independent reporter and frequent guest of Hannity’s who often provides fuel for his various theories. At her site, Carter made the connection to Vice President Pence: His former chief of staff Joshua Pitcock is married to a woman named Katherine who, Carter says, is the “Katie” mentioned by Strzok. It’s not clear, however, that this is the case.

The connection is pretty elementary. We know from Pitcock’s letter that his wife worked for Strzok. Sara Carter has been much more reliable on the collusion hoax that Bump or anyone else at the Post but let’s contemplate the odds of another “Katie” of Strzok’s acquaintance who was married to a member of Mike Pence’s transition team and who was going to be at that meeting. I’m waiting…

In fact, I’d be happy to hear an alternative explanation of any of this that takes into consideration the seriousness that Grassley and Johnson put on it

Mike Pence, as might be expected, is not happy because having your office painted as the focal point of FBI infiltration doesn’t make you look particularly competent. Especially when it was your interactions with Mike Flynn that led to his firing and, ultimately, indictment. This via Axios

But Pence is taking the issue seriously, and is demanding further investigation into the possibility of attempted infiltration into the Trump administration and its 2016 transition team — which started with a letter from top Republican senators raising questions about a text message exchange between the two former FBI officials.

  • “I was deeply offended to learn that two disgraced FBI agents considered infiltrating our transition team by sending a counter intelligence agent to one of my very first intelligence briefings only 9 days after the election,” Pence said in a statement to Axios. “This is an outrage and only underscores why we need to get to the bottom of how this investigation started in the first place.”
  • “The American people have a right to what happened and if these two agents broke the law and ignored long-standing DOJ policies, they must be held accountable.”

Barr has promised a full investigation. This should be fun.

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The post You’ll Never Believe Who the FBI Thought They Could Recruit as a Spy in the Trump White House appeared first on RedState.

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