Donald Trump's Very, Very Good Week
by Jonathan Rosenblum
December 25, 2019
Both reports were based on the same exact evidence. Nunes told the truth; Schiff did not
ronically, a week that included the introduction of two articles of impeachment turned out to be one of the best of Donald Trump's presidency.
First, there was Justice Department Inspector General Michael Horowitz's long-awaited report on the FBI's Crossfire Hurricane investigation of Russian influence on the 2016 election. Horowitz declared himself unable to state conclusively that the initial investigation of the 2016 Trump campaign via electronic surveillance of low-level campaign advisor Carter Page was motivated by political bias against Trump.
But Horowitz didn't deny the possibility, and he provided ample circumstantial evidence of bias against Trump from the very start. He identified no less than 17 egregious errors in the preparation of affidavits in support of four applications under the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) to eavesdrop on Page. Worst of all, the FBI knew that far from being a Russian plant, Page was actually working for the CIA. FBI lawyer Kevin Clinesmith, who worked for a period of time on Special Prosecutor Robert Mueller's team, changed a CIA statement that Page was a CIA source to read that he was not a CIA source, and the altered statement was included in one of the FISA applications.
The IG's report found that the so-called Steele dossier had played a central role in the granting of permission to eavesdrop on Carter Page, and that the FBI failed to inform the FISA court that the dossier was paid for by the Democratic National Committee and the Clinton campaign. Nor did the FBI inform the FISA court that the main source upon whom the dossier was based had repudiated much of what Steele had allegedly quoted from him and had characterized what he did actually say as little more than "bar talk," meaning hearsay based on hearsay.
The failures of the FBI detailed in the Horowitz report were so numerous, of such magnitude, and so lacking in any credible justification that they could only bolster President Trump's claim that he had been targeted by the Obama administration's FBI, and that the current charges against him are nothing but a continuation by other means of the three years of hyped-up charges of collusion with Russia, for which special prosecutor Robert Mueller failed to turn up any credible evidence. Life-long Democrat Professor Alan Dershowitz described the Democrats as acting in accord with the dictum of the brutal head of the NKVD under Stalin, Lavrenty Beria: "Show me the man and I'll show you the crime."
The IG's report also established that Rep. Adam Schiff, who as chairman of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence was the chief architect of impeachment hearings against Trump, is a shameless liar. In early 2018, ranking House Intelligence Committee Republican member Devin Nunes and Schiff filed duelling findings on the hearings conducted about the origins of Operation Crossfire Hurricane. In the snarky description of the Washington Post, Nunes's memo was a "joke and a sham. . . as [he strained] every which way to suggest that the basis for the warrant [to spy on] Carter Page was the so-called 'Steele Dossier,' which contained Democratic-funded research by former British spy Christopher Steele."
Schiff's rebuttal asserted that the Steele dossier was only one of many sources relied upon in obtaining the FISA warrant and that it had been corroborated by the FBI in a "rigorous process." He further stated that the application for a warrant had informed the FISA court of Steele's potential bias, and that the eavesdropping on Page had yielded valuable information.
But Horowitz's report confirmed every assertion of Nunes's report and thoroughly trashed every word of Schiff's. The Steele dossier played "a central and essential role" in the warrant application, which would otherwise have been dropped, wrote Horowitz. Not only was the dossier uncorroborated, the FBI attempts to do so only resulted in undercutting its credibility. Furthermore, the investigation of Page resulted in no valuable information. And contra Schiff, Steele's prior reporting had never been used by the FBI in criminal proceedings.
Both the Nunes and Schiff reports were based on the same exact evidence before the committee. Nunes told the truth; Schiff did not.
The IG's report also constituted a black day for Trump's perpetual nemesis, the prestige media, which has long served as a Democratic Party "echo chamber," in the words of President Obama's former senior advisor, Ben Rhodes. Left-wing journalist Glenn Greenwald wrote that Horowitz had unearthed "a scandal of historic magnitude, not only for the FBI but also the US media."
Related Topics: American Government & Politics
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