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[Politics] TV Show on Trump-Comey Clash Now Likely to Air Before Election A television show about the clash between former FBI director James Comey and U.S. President Donald Trump over Russian interference in the 2016 election is now likely to air before Americans vote again in November, cable channel Showtime said on Tuesday. "The Comey Rule,"... Published:6/23/2020 8:38:44 PM
[Entertainment] FBI Releases Its Findings After Investigating Noose Found in Bubba Wallace's NASCAR Stall Bubba WallaceThe FBI has concluded its investigation into Bubba Wallace's claim that there was a noose left in his car stall at the Talladega Superspeedway. In a statement released by NASCAR on...
Published:6/23/2020 7:06:10 PM
[2020 News] DOJ and FBI release a statement saying that the noose found in NASCAR driver Bubba Wallace’s garage was not planted and had been there since 2019.

DOJ and FBI release a statement saying that the noose found in NASCAR driver Bubba Wallace’s garage was not planted and had been there since 2019. So what does NASCAR have to say about this and their shit-show parade yesterday? Probably not much. Bubba? Bubba? BREAKING: DOJ and FBI release a statement saying that the […]

The post DOJ and FBI release a statement saying that the noose found in NASCAR driver Bubba Wallace’s garage was not planted and had been there since 2019. appeared first on IHTM.

Published:6/23/2020 5:06:06 PM
[Markets] Fired NY Prosecutor Was Given Biden-Ukraine Allegations In 2018, Didn't Follow Up Fired NY Prosecutor Was Given Biden-Ukraine Allegations In 2018, Didn't Follow Up Tyler Durden Tue, 06/23/2020 - 18:05

Authored by John Solomon via,

Could the impeachment scandal have been prevented if the now-fired U.S. Attorney Geoffrey Berman had followed up on Ukrainian allegations about Joe Biden and his family in 2018?

That’s the tantalizing question raised by emails from fall 2018 between an American lawyer and the chief federal prosecutor in Manhattan that were obtained by Just the News.

The memos show that well before Ukrainian prosecutors reached out to Rudy Giuliani, President Trump’s lawyer, in 2019 to talk about the Bidens and alleged 2016 election interference they first approached Berman’s office in New York in October 2018 via another American lawyer.

The memos show Little Rock, Ark., lawyer Bud Cummins, a former U.S. attorney himself, reached out at least five times in October 2018 to Berman seeking to arrange a meeting with then-Ukrainian Prosecutor General Yuriy Lutsenko.

Lutsenko, who emerged as a key figure in the impeachment scandal, wanted to confidentially share with federal prosecutors in New York evidence he claimed to possess that raised concerns about the Bidens’ behavior as well as alleged wrongdoing in the Paul Manafort corruption case.

“Prosecutor General Yuriy Lutsenko is offering to come to U.S. meet with high-level law enforcement to share the fruits of investigations within Ukraine which have produced evidence of two basic alleged crimes,” Cummins wrote Berman on Oct. 4, 2018, one day after the two had talked on the phone about the allegations.

The allegations included that Joe Biden had “exercised influence to protect Burisma Holdings” after his son Hunter and his son’s business partner Devon Archer had joined the Ukrainian gas company’s board of directors and “substantial sums of money were paid to them,” Cummins wrote.

At the time Hunter Biden and Archer joined Burisma in 2014, the company was under criminal investigation in both England and Ukraine for alleged corruption. The British case was dropped in 2015, and the Ukraine cases were eventually settled in the final days of the Obama administration.

Joe Biden boasted during a 2018 public appearance that he forced the firing on Lutsenko's predecessor, Viktor Shokin, back in 2016by threatening to withhold $1 billion in U.S. aid to Ukraine. At the time, Shokin was leading the investigation into Burisma. Biden denies the investigation factored into his decision.

Biden’s and Archer’s firm received more than $3 million in payments from Burisma between 2014 and 2016, bank records obtained by the FBI show.

Records recently released by the State Department also show Hunter Biden and Archer had contacts in 2015 and 2016 with senior State officials, including Secretary of State John Kerry and Deputy Secretary of State Tony Blinken.

In addition, Burisma’s U.S. representatives were lobbying the State Department in Washington and the U.S. embassy in Kiev seeking to make the corruption allegations go away, the State memos released under FOIA show.

“The allegation by Prosecutor General Lutsenko et al is that the US ambassador, Marie L. Yovanovitch, Biden and Kerry made conclusions about who were the good guys and the bad guys in local government. They believe Biden and Kerry were influenced by payments to Hunter Biden and Devon Archer to influence certain decisions, particularly those benefitting Burisma,” Cummins wrote, relaying the allegations from the Ukrainian officials.

In addition, Cummins told Berman that Lutsenko had evidence that a ledger found in Ukraine in 2016 alleging to show payments to Manafort from a Russian-backed political party in Ukraine was doctored and the U.S. knew the evidence was corrupted. The emergence of the ledger caused Manafort to resign as Trump’s campaign chairman in August 2016, and eventually led to his conviction on money laundering and tax charges.

“The second allegation above is that the Embassy and FBI willfully pressured Ukrainian officials to falsify evidence to be leaked to the media about Manafort to affect the outcome of the 2016 election,” Cummins wrote Berman.

Cummins said in an interview he had one phone call and four email contacts with Berman in October 2018 about the Ukrainian matter, but the prosecutor’s office never took Lutsenko up on his offer to come to Washington and lay out his evidence.

“I never heard from them again,” Cummins said of Berman’s office. “It was an opportunity for the Justice Department to address these concerns privately, and who knows how history would have turned out had the SDNY simply followed up.”

Berman, instead, would eventually indict two associates of Giuliani on campaign finance and other charges after they tried to help the former New York City mayor and Trump lawyer publicize the Ukraine prosecutors' concerns. (One of the indicted associates, Lev Parnas, worked as a translator and interview facilitator for this reporter on a handful of Ukraine interviews in 2019, but prosecutors do not allege he did anything wrong in that work.)

James Margolin, a spokesman for the U.S. attorney's office in New York, declined comment Monday when asked about the Cummins overture in 2018.

Cummins said he was not representing Lutsenko as his client, but rather a Ukrainian-American citizen who was trying to help the prosecutor general get information into U.S. authorities' hands.

Cummins’ email states that Lutsenko wanted to meet with Berman because the U.S. attorney’s office in New York had successfully prosecuted Archer on unrelated charges earlier in 2018. Archer’s conviction, however, was overturned by a judge, and Berman’s office never retried the case.

Cummins' efforts to help arrange the meeting were confirmed by one of Lutsenko's deputies, Konstantin Kulyk, who said last year that Ukrainian authorities repeatedly tried to convey evidence about possible wrongdoing by Americans to the U.S. Justice Department but were thwarted.

Lutsenko said in an interview last year that when Cummins’ efforts failed to get an audience with the Justice Department he reached out to Giuliani, hoping to find a different channel to get information investigated.

It was those contacts that eventually spurred the entire impeachment inquiry, which ended in January in the Senate’s acquittal of Trump.

Democrats have tried to portray Giuliani’s activities as an effort to dig up dirt on Trump’s 2020 rival, and to get Ukrainian officials to launch a probe of Biden.

But Cummins’ emails make clear Ukrainian authorities weren’t interested in investigating the Bidens on Ukrainian law violations. Rather, they wanted to confidentially provide evidence of possible violations of U.S. law so American authorities could investigate. And they had no interest initially in involving the Trump White House. Rather, they simply wanted to share evidence with U.S. authorities at the prosecutor-to-prosecutor level.

Cummins’ emails to Berman make clear that Lutsenko did not trust the U.S. embassy in Kiev or the FBI to review the materials, fearing they were too political.

“Lutsenko faces political hurdles in getting a visa to come here. It is believed that the embassy in Kiev has blocked his obtaining a visa in the past. He believes it is because the US ambassador knows the nature of his investigation and wants to obstruct him from coming and sharing it,” Cummins wrote Berman on Oct. 4, 2018.

Five days later, Cummins wrote that Lutsenko was prepared to deliver serious evidence, including copies of two ledgers in the Manafort case that Ukrainian prosecutors believed were faked

“Presumably he will be prepared to discuss eyewitness testimony he believes will corroborate both this story and also the separate bribery allegations,” Cummins wrote.

When Berman stopped responding, Cummins offered to have Lutsenko meet with a lower-ranking federal prosecutor simply to transfer the evidence.

“Perhaps you can provide at least one trusted prosecutor and trusted agent to meet with a couple of the actual investigators and just let them take down the information like they would if any citizen walked in the door with some information to share,” Cummins wrote on Oct. 18, 2018.

There was never any further response, Cummins said.

Ukrainian officials have said they did not believe the Bidens broke Ukrainian law but may have engaged in conflicts of interest prohibited by U.S. law. The concerns about the Bidens engaging in conflicts of interest were confirmed by U.S. officials as well.

During impeachment testimony last fall, both Yovanovitch and her top deputy in the Kiev embassy, George Kent, testified that Hunter Biden’s role at Burisma while his father oversaw U.S.-Ukraine policy created the “appearance of a conflict of interest.” Kent said he even tried to raise his concerns with Biden’s VP office but was rebuffed.

All federal officials are required by federal ethics laws to avoid taking actions that create the appearance of a conflict of interest.

Published:6/23/2020 5:06:05 PM
[] The NooseCAR Debacle Ends Exactly As It Was Fated You can't take away my smile. Another hallucinated noose. Another hallnoosination. The Racial Viral Panic League has successfully detected twenty of the last zero nooses. #BREAKING: DOJ and FBI announce that there was NOT a noose planted Sunday in Bubba... Published:6/23/2020 5:06:05 PM
[Markets] DOJ Releases "Totally Exculpatory" Strzok Notes To Michael Flynn's Lawyers DOJ Releases "Totally Exculpatory" Strzok Notes To Michael Flynn's Lawyers Tyler Durden Tue, 06/23/2020 - 17:05

The Department of Justice on Tuesday released handwritten notes from the Michael Flynn case taken by former FBI official Peter Strzok, which the Daily Caller's Chuck Ross reports to be "totally exculpatory" for the former national security adviser.

The notes, likely taken between January 3-5 of 2017, were released to Flynn's lawyers under seal by Michael R. Sherwin - acting US Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia - and are "very significant," according to the Caller's source. They were discovered by a federal prosecutor appointed to review the Flynn case.

On May 7, the DOJ moved to drop charges against Flynn despite the former Trump adviser pleading guilty to making false statements to the FBI on December 1, 2007 regarding his conversations with the former Russian ambassador during the presidential transition. It has since emerged that Flynn may have done so under duress - with prosecutors threatening an expensive litigation that would involve his son, Michael Flynn Jr.

Flynn retracted his guilty plea in a January 29 statement filed by his new attorney, Sidney Powell, who accused prosecutors of withholding exculpatory information according to the report.

Attorney General William Barr appointed Jeffrey Jensen, the U.S. attorney for the Eastern District of Missouri, to review Flynn’s case after his lawyers accused prosecutors of withholding exculpatory information.

Jensen has since discovered and turned over several documents to Flynn’s lawyers. -Daily Caller

Meanwhile, the FBI tried to close the Flynn investigation on January 4, when agent Peter Strzok insisted it continue. Handwritten notes from an FBI agent tasked with investigating Flynn reveal that they were targeting Flynn in early 2017 with the intent of prosecuting him or getting him fired.

One document is a Jan. 4, 2017, memo from the FBI’s Washington Field Office recommending that the counterintelligence investigation against Flynn be shut down due to a lack of evidence that he was conspiring with Russia.

Strzok intervened to keep the case open, writing to others at the FBI that the “7th floor” — the FBI’s leadership — wanted to continue its investigation of Flynn. -Daily Caller

“What is especially terrifying is that without the integrity of Attorney General Bill Barr and U.S. Attorney Jensen, we still would not have this clear exculpatory information as Mr. Van Grack and the prosecutors have opposed every request we have made,” said Powell.

It appears, based on the notes and emails that the Department of Justice was determined at the time to prosecute Flynn, regardless of what they found, Powell said.

Published:6/23/2020 4:05:13 PM
[afcf57d5-7bf1-554d-b1c0-a5d2ec581de7] Daniel Hoffman: China's assault on Texas – this project threatens US national security During Senate testimony in July 2019, FBI Director Christopher Wray emphasized: “there is no country that poses a more severe counterintelligence threat right now than China.”     Published:6/23/2020 6:35:06 AM
[Markets] Bond Report: Treasury yields strain for direction as coronavirus worries hang over investors U.S. Treasury yields hold their ground on Monday as investors closely watch developments on the COVID-19 pandemic, amid signs the number of infections across the U.S. is picking up.
Published:6/22/2020 3:29:56 PM
[IJR] FBI to Investigate After a Noose Found in NASCAR’s Bubba Wallace Garage FBI and DOJ to investigate the incident. Published:6/22/2020 1:27:09 PM
[Markets] AG Barr Says "Developments" In Durham's FBI Probe May Arrive Before End Of Summer AG Barr Says "Developments" In Durham's FBI Probe May Arrive Before End Of Summer Tyler Durden Sun, 06/21/2020 - 19:50

Authored by Alex Nitzberg via,

Attorney General Bill Barr during a Fox News interview with Maria Bartiromo said that there soon may be "developments" in Connecticut U.S. Attorney John Durham's investigation into the origins of the Russia probe.

"In terms of the future of Durham's investigation, you know he's pressing ahead as hard as he can and I expect that you know we will have some developments hopefully before the end of the summer," Barr said in the interview today.

Durham's investigation has slowed as a consequence of the coronavirus crisis, the attorney general said. When Bartiromo asked about a grand jury, Barr declined to divulge whether one has been impaneled.

"I don't want to suggest there has been or is a grand jury but it is a fact that there have not been grand juries in virtually all districts for a long period of time and also people have been reluctant to travel for interviews and things like that," Barr said.

Durham has "been working where he can on other matters that aren't affected by the pandemic. But there has been an affect," Barr noted.

During the interview Barr expressed concern that mail-in voting is ripe for fraud and could harm public confidence in election integrity.

"It absolutely opens the floodgates to fraud. Those things are delivered into mailboxes, they can be taken out," he said. 

"Right now a foreign country could print up tens of thousands of counterfeit ballots and be very hard for us to detect which was the right and which was the wrong ballot," he said.

The attorney general said that "it can upset and undercut the confidence in the integrity of our elections. If anything we should tighten them up right now."

Published:6/21/2020 6:52:59 PM
[Markets] Leaked Documents Reveal Right-Wing Oligarch Plot To Overthrow Mexico's AMLO Leaked Documents Reveal Right-Wing Oligarch Plot To Overthrow Mexico's AMLO Tyler Durden Sat, 06/20/2020 - 21:30

Authored by Ben Norton via,

Mexico’s oligarchs and establishment political parties have united in a secret alliance to try to remove left-wing President López Obrador from power, with help from the media, Washington, and Wall Street. Leaked documents lay out their devious strategy.

Some of the most powerful forces in Mexico are uniting in a campaign to try to topple the country’s first left-wing president in decades, Andrés Manuel López Obrador. And they apparently have support in Washington and on Wall Street.

Known popularly as AMLO, the Mexican leader is a progressive nationalist who campaigned on the promise to “end the dark night of neoliberalism.” He has since implemented a revolutionary vision he calls the “Fourth Transformation,” vowing to fight poverty, corruption, and drug violence — and has increasingly butted heads with his nation’s wealthy elites.

López Obrador has also posed a challenge to the US foreign-policy consensus. His government provided refuge to Bolivia’s elected socialist President Evo Morales and to members of Evo’s political party who were exiled after a Trump administration-backed military coup.

AMLO also held a historic meeting with Cuba’s President Miguel Díaz-Canel, and even stated Mexico would be willing to break the unilateral US blockade of Venezuela and sell the besieged Chavista government gasoline.

These policies have earned AMLO the wrath of oligarchs both inside and outside of his country. On June 18, the US government ratcheted up its pressure on Mexico, targeting companies and individuals with sanctions for allegedly providing water to Venezuela, as part of an oil-for-food humanitarian agreement.

The value of the Mexican peso immediately dropped by 2 percent following the Trump administration’s imposition of sanctions.

These opening salvos of Washington’s economic war on its southern neighbor came just days after López Obrador delivered a bombshell press conference, in which he revealed that the political parties that had dominated Mexican politics for the decades before him have secretly unified in a plot to try to oust the president, years before his democratic mandate ends in 2024.

The forces trying to remove AMLO from power include major media networks, massive corporations, sitting governors and mayors, former presidents, and influential business leaders. According to a leaked document, they call themselves the Broad Opposition Block (Bloque Opositor Amplio, or BOA).

And they say they have lobbyists in Washington, financial investors on Wall Street, and major news publications and journalists from both domestic and foreign media outlets on their team.

‘Broad Opposition Block’ BOA plot to demonize AMLO with media propaganda

In a press conference on June 9, the Mexican government published a leaked strategy document purportedly drafted by the Broad Opposition Block, titled “Let’s Rescue Mexico” (Rescatemos a México). The AMLO administration said it did not know the origin of the leak.

These pages consist of an executive summary of “Project BOA,” outlining what it calls a “plan of action” – a blueprint of concrete steps the opposition alliance will take to unseat AMLO.

The cover of the leaked document, the executive summary of the Project BOA plan, “Let’s Save Mexico”

One of the key points in the plan is the following: “Lobbying by the BOA in Washington (White House and Capital Hill) to stress the damage that the government of the [Fourth Transformation] is doing to North American investors.”

The lobbying strategy depends heavily on turning the US against AMLO: “More than comparing it with Venezuela,” the document reads, “BOA should highlight the very high mass migration of Mexicans toward the United States if the crisis of unemployment and insecurity gets worse.”

Then the BOA adds: “Repeat this narrative in the US and European media.”

The section of the BOA plan on lobbying in Washington and using the media to push anti-AMLO messaging

The leaked pages say that BOA has the “international press (USA and Europe)” on its side, along with “foreign correspondents in Mexico.”

The document even names specific media outlets, along with individual journalists and social media influencers, who could help spread their anti-AMLO propaganda. On the list are some of the top news publications in Mexico: Nexos, Proceso, Reforma, El Universal, Milenio, El Financiero, and El Economista.

The list of sympathetic anti-AMLO media outlets and journalists in the BOA document

The “plan of action” makes it clear that this powerful opposition alliance seeks to use its extensive control over the media to obsessively blame AMLO for “unemployment, poverty, insecurity, and corruption” in Mexico.

BOA even states unambiguously in its plan that it will use “groups of social media networks, influencers, and analysts to insist on the destruction of the economy, of the democratic institutions, and the political authoritarianism of the government of the 4T” (using an acronym for the Fourth Transformation process).

This makes it especially ironic that the BOA document reluctantly acknowledges that the López Obrador “government has managed to mitigate the economic impact of the health crisis of coronavirus by giving large amounts of public money to the affected, through social programs.”

The leaked pages likewise admit that AMLO has an approval rating of more than 50 percent — lower than his peak at 86 percent support in the beginning of 2019 or his 72 percent at the end of the year, but still impressive for a region where US-backed leaders like Chile’s Sebastián Piñera or Colombia’s Iván Duque have routinely enjoyed approval ratings of 6 percent and 24 percent, respectively.

Mexico’s establishment political parties and former presidents unite to oust AMLO

With backing from the US government and utter dominance of media narratives, the Broad Opposition Block plan is to unite all of Mexico’s establishment political parties.

Together, these parties could potentially run candidates under the BOA umbrella, according to the document. Their goal would be, in the 2021 legislative elections, to end the majority that AMLO’s left-wing party Morena won in Mexico’s Chamber of Deputies.

After that, BOA states clearly that it plans to block reforms in the Mexican legislature, and ultimately impeach President López Obrador by 2022 — at least two years before his term ends.

Quite revealing is that the “Let’s Rescue Mexico” document does not mention anything about average working-class Mexicans and their participation in the political process. Nor does it acknowledge the existence of labor unions or grassroots activist organizations, which make up the base of AMLO’s movement and his Morena party.

This is not surprising, considering the BOA alliance lists some of the most powerful figures in the Mexican ruling class.

All the major political parties are included: the right-wing National Action Party (Partido Acción Nacional, or PAN), the center-right Institutional Revolutionary Party (Partido Revolucionario Institucional, or PRI), the centrist Citizens’ Movement (Movimiento Ciudadano, or MC), and even AMLO’s former Party of the Democratic Revolution (Partido de la Revolución Democrática, or PRD).

The list of political parties included in the BOA document

BOA also includes the new political party México Libre, a vehicle for former right-wing President Felipe Calderón, a major ally of George W. Bush who declared a catastrophic “war on drugs” in Mexico, leading to tens of thousands of deaths.

Along with Calderón, BOA lists former President Vicente Fox, another right-wing US ally, as a coalition ally. Fox worked closely with the Bush administration during his term as president to isolate the leftist governments in Latin America, and even tried to undemocratically remove AMLO as mayor of Mexico City and ban him from running for president.

BOA also says it has support from the governors of 14 states in Mexico, along with opposition lawmakers in both the Senate and Chamber of Deputies, judges from the Electoral Tribunal of the Federal Judiciary (TEPJF), and officials from the National Electoral Institute (INE).

Wall Street investors and Mexican oligarchs back anti-AMLO alliance

Joining the entire Mexican political establishment in the Broad Opposition Block is a powerful financial oligarchy, both domestic and foreign.

Along with its “anti-4T lobbyists in Washington,” the leaked document says BOA has “Wall Street investment funds” behind it.

BOA adds that it is supported by “corporations linked to T-MEC,” using the Spanish acronym for the new “United States–Mexico–Canada Agreement” free-trade deal, known popularly as NAFTA 2.0.

The powerful business groups and corporations listed in the BOA document

Some of the richest capitalists in Mexico are associated with BOA. Named in the leaked document is the Mexican corporate behemoth FEMSA and oligarchs from its associated Monterrey Group, which the New York Times once described as a “a tightly knit family of wealthy and conservative businessmen.”

The BOA pages also point to Mexico’s powerful Business Coordinating Council (Consejo Coordinador Empresarial) and Employers Confederation of the Mexican Republic (Coparmex) as allies.

Opposition denies involvement in BOA, while turning up heat on AMLO

In the days after López Obrador’s press conference exposing the Broad Opposition Block, some of the prominent figures implicated in the alliance, such Felipe Calderón, denied involvement.

Some of these political and economic elites even claimed BOA doesn’t exist, seeking to cast doubt on the president’s scandalous revelation and accusing him of fabricating the scandal.

But their efforts are clearly part of a larger campaign by Mexican opposition groups to remove President Andrés Manuel López Obrador from power. As AMLO’s Fourth Transformation moves forward, their destabilization tactics have grown increasingly extreme.

López Obrador himself has warned of the radicalization of the right-wing opposition. As The Grayzone previously reported, the president made an ominous reference to the threat of a potential coup in November 2019.

Referencing Mexico’s former President Francisco Madero, a leader of the Mexican Revolution and fellow left-winger who was assassinated in 1913, AMLO tweeted, “How wrong the conservatives and their hawks are… Now is different… Another coup d’état won’t be allowed.”

The next part in this investigative series by The Grayzone will show how far-right forces in Mexico are pushing for a coup against AMLO.

Published:6/20/2020 8:46:25 PM
[Markets] Another 'Friday Night Massacre?' DoJ Abruptly Axes Prosecutor Who Targeted Giuliani, Trump Campaign Another 'Friday Night Massacre?' DoJ Abruptly Axes Prosecutor Who Targeted Giuliani, Trump Campaign Tyler Durden Fri, 06/19/2020 - 23:20

In a surprising move that inevitably will be denounced by President Trump's political opponents as another "Friday Night Massacre", the DoJ just announced that Geoffrey Berman, the US attorney for the southern district of New York, will soon depart.

Regular readers who followed our coverage of the Mueller probe and the various and sundry investigations handed off to federal prosecutors in New York, Virginia and elsewhere. Most memorably, perhaps, have been the cases brought by Berman and his office against Michael Cohen and Paul Manafort. Berman's office once subpoenaed Trump's inaugural committee, infuriating the president, and more recently has been running an investigation into Rudy Giuliani, according to leaked media reports.

Geoffrey Berman

A Republican who contributed to Trump's campaign, Berman was considered a highly qualified pick to succeed Preet Bharara, the previous occupant of his Berman's soon-to-be-former office, which also features heavily in the TV show "Billions" (it's the position held by the show's antagonist, a corrupt federal prosecutor).

AG Barr didn't offer much in the way of an explanation, and Berman hasn't said much either. Then again, we're only just finding out about this, and it's 10pmET on a holiday Friday.

But even more surprising than the news of Berman's sudden departure is the news of who will take his place. Following a brief interlude, SEC Chairman Jay Clayton will become the next US Attorney for the Southern District of New York.

For those who aren't familiar, Clayton is the same man who almost allowed Hertz and its creditors to sell hundreds of millions of dollars of stock to unsuspecting Robinhood day traders trying to flip their stimulus checks for quick cash with nary a word from the SEC.

But even more extraordinary than his handling of the Hertz situation is Clayton's decision to allow Tesla CEO Elon Musk walk away from a dispute with the SEC in which the CEO flagrantly and blithely violated basic securities regulations involving disclosures of material information to the public (remember "funding secured?" and the tedious legal melodrama that ensued in which Musk, in full blown tantrum mode, was repeatedly appeased by government regulators seemingly robbed of all willingness to hold him accountable).

Indeed, the news elicited some late-breaking chuckles on twitter.

We imagine we'll be hearing more about this tomorrow.

Published:6/19/2020 10:41:09 PM
[Markets] Flynn Lawyer Files Stunning Motion Against Judge Gleeson: "It's A Wrap-Up Smear" Flynn Lawyer Files Stunning Motion Against Judge Gleeson: "It's A Wrap-Up Smear" Tyler Durden Wed, 06/17/2020 - 15:40

Authored by Sara Carter via,

Sidney Powell, the defense attorney for Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn, filed a scathing response in the court Wednesday against federal Judge John Gleeson’s amicus brief, which asked the court to reject the Justice Department’s request to drop all charges against Flynn. Powell’s motion is powerful and contains a lengthy time-line revealing the stunning evidence discovered by DOJ Inspector General Michael Horowitz, as well as, the litany of new evidence uncovered by U.S. Attorney Jeffery Jensen, who was appointed by the Justice Department to conduct an independent review of Flynn’s case.

Powell argues in her brief that the “irony and sheer duplicity” of Gleeson’s accusations “against the Justice Department now—which is finally exposing the truth - is stunning.”

Gleeson submitted his lengthy brief on July 10, on behalf of D.C. Federal Court Judge Emmet G. Sullivan, who appointed him as the amicus and is refusing to drop the case against Flynn. He is doing all this despite the fact that both the Justice Department and defense agree the charges should be dropped against President Donald Trump’s former National Security Advisor.

Powell also pointed out in her motion of opposition Wednesday that Gleeson’s amicus filing on behalf of Sullivan is a “wrap-up smear” against Flynn.

“It demonstrates the difference between a Department of Prosecutions and a Department of Justice,” Powell argues in her conclusion regarding Gleeson’s amicus. “It shows how the Department of Justice, as the government’s representative in every federal criminal case, has the power to walk into courtrooms and ask judges to remedy injustices. For these reasons and those stated in our other briefs, the only lawful action this court can take is to dismiss the case with prejudice on the Government’s motion and vacate the plea.”

Further Powell states in her motion, that Gleeson’s “Amicus elides the reality of the egregious government misconduct of the FBI Agents—particularly that of [former FBI Director James] Comey, {Former FBI Deputy Director Andrew] McCabe, [former Special Agent Peter] Strzok, [Former FBI Attorney Lisa] Page, [FBI Special Agent] Joe Pientka, [former FBI Assistant of Counterintelligence Bill] Priestap and others who met repeatedly to pursue the targeted “take-out” of General Flynn for their political reasons and those of the “entirety lame duck usic.” Much of this has been revealed in the December 19, 2019, IG Report, the 86 pages of newly produced exonerating material produced by U.S. Attorney Jensen, filed in the Government’s Motion to Dismiss (ECF No. 198), and hundreds of the texts between Strzok and Page demonstrating abject bias.”

“Amicus is lost down the rabbit hole on the other side of the looking glass— where “nothing would be what it is, because everything would be what it isn’t. And contrary wise, what is, it wouldn’t be. And what it wouldn’t be, it would,” argues Powell.

Last week, Powell argued before the U.S. District Court of Appeals D.C. Circuit against Sullivan’s decision to appoint Gleeson. She noted that the government submitted an extensive and thoroughly documented motion to dismiss this prosecution based on the discovery of “extraordinary exculpatory evidence that came to light from an independent review… It can not go on any longer.”

Powell referred to Jensen, who was personally appointed by Attorney General William Barr, when evidence of FBI malfeasance surfaced in Flynn’s case. Jensen discovered through his investigation exculpatory evidence revealing that senior FBI and Justice Department officials withheld significant information from Flynn’s defense that would have played a crucial role in his case. One piece of evidence, was a January 4, FBI memo that stated that the investigation into Flynn should be dropped because no derogatory information had been found on the three star general. That memo was issued a day before a meeting with President Obama at the White House, along with other senior officials from the administration about Flynn. Shortly after, former Special Agent Peter Strzok, who led the probe against the Trump campaign, decided not to drop the investigation against Flynn. Strzok, along with FBI Special Agent Joe Pientka (which is discussed in detail further in this article), were sent to the White House on January 24, 2017 to conduct the infamous ‘perjury trap’ interview with Flynn.

In fact, Comey has previously joked that they sprung the interview on Flynn, who had no counsel present, and was set up by the FBI, despite the fact that the agents who interviewed him did not believe he was lying to them during the interview.


Gleeson’s amicus against Flynn “is an affront to the Rule of Law and a raging insult to the citizens of this country who see the abject corruption in this political assassination by prosecution. This court exuviated any appearance of neutrality when it unlawfully appointed Amicus as its own adversary to make these specious arguments,” Powell argued in her filing.

Last week, Gleeson submitted his lengthy amicus on behalf Sullivan, saying the Justice Departments decision to drop the charges against Flynn is a “gross abuse of prosecutorial power” and urged a court to reject its attempt to drop the criminal case in his 73-page brief.

Recently reported on Gleeson’s connections to former Special Counsel prosecutor Andrew Weissmann, who was the top prosecutor for Robert Mueller in targeting Flynn and other Trump officials.

Gleeson’s past connections to Weissmann have been a topic of scrutiny, as I previously reported.

Gleeson argued that Flynn pleaded guilty to lying to the FBI during a 2017 interview and that there is no real recourse for change – in fact, he stated in his argument that the court should also factor into its sentencing Flynn his withdrawal of that guilty plea, saying to withdraw is perjury.

“It really is truly unbelievable,” said David Schoen, a civil rights and defense attorney. 

“I’m going to say to you that John Gleeson is one of the last people whoever should have been put in this position. If we’re concerned about the integrity of the system, John Gleeson goes back side by side colleagues for many years, with none other than Andrew Weissmann.”

In fact, Schoen said based on the relationship with Weissmann, Gleeson has a major conflict of interest and would almost likely argue on behalf of his former colleague. Schoen, who has represented the Democratic Party in the past, said there is significant evidence that has been discovered that exonerates Flynn and exposes the FBI’s malfeasance.

The timeline established in Powell’s motion is truly powerful and reveals that evidence.

Powell also argues Flynn never withheld any information from the United States government and always briefed the Defense Intelligence Agency of any travels or foreign contacts. Flynn previously served as director of the Defense Intelligence Agency under President Obama.

“Moreover, in evidence still withheld are General Flynn’s briefings to the DIA on all foreign contacts,” she stated in her motion.

“In addition, it is only the Government’s alleged false statements that were false. Flynn Intel Group did nothing in secret. Former CIA Director James Woolsey and former FBI executive Brian McCauley were at the only meeting that involved a “Turkish official.” General Flynn fully briefed DIA on that meeting, and on advice of counsel, Flynn Intel Group had timely filed a Lobbying Disclosure Act form. Multiple lawyers and firms deemed no FARA registration was required at all.”

But the timeline is stunning and for those who have been following the case of Flynn closely since I began reporting on it more than four years ago it exposes the actions of former FBI Director James Comey’s team in targeting Flynn and the Trump campaign.

[On December 15, 2019, the Government produced 637 pages of long- promised FD-302s and handwritten notes of the FBI Agents. These included 113 pages of 16 FD-302s; 206 pages of FBI handwritten notes.]

Below is Part of Powell’s Detailed Timeline And What Transpired:

  • August 15, 2016: Strzok and Page text about the “insurance policy” they discussed in McCabe’s office.

  • August 16, 2016: FBI opens the case against Flynn. IG Report at 2.

  • August 17, 2016: The first interview of General Flynn was conducted surreptitiously by slipping (Special) Agent (Joe) Pientka into a presidential briefing to nominee Trump and General Flynn. IG Report at 340-341. This was unprecedented and a clear policy was added to prevent its reoccurrence.

  • FBI Special Agent Joe Pientka’s stated purpose of this interview was “to provide the recipients ‘a baseline on the presence and threat posed by foreign intelligence services to the National Security of the U.S.” IG Report at xviii. In actuality, the Trump campaign was never given any defensive briefing about the alleged national security threats. IG Report at 55.

  • “the FBI viewed that briefing as a possible opportunity to collect information potentially relevant to the Crossfire Hurricane and Flynn investigations.” IG Report at 340.

  • “One of the reasons for [Pientka’s] selection was that ODNI had informed the FBI” that Flynn would be one of the three in attendance on behalf of the Trump campaign. IG Report at 341.

  • Pientka told the IG: “[T]he briefing provided him ‘the opportunity to gain assessment and possibly have some level of familiarity with [Flynn]. So, should we get to the point where we need to do a subject interview…I would have that to fall back on.’” IG Report at 341.

  • Agent Pientka said that his “assessment” meant: “[Flynn’s] ‘overall mannerisms. That overall mannerisms and then also if there was anything specific to Russia, or anything specific to our investigation, That was mentioned by him, or quite frankly we had an . . . investigation, right. And any of the other two individuals in the room, if they, any kind of admission, or overhear, whatever it was there to record that.

  • Agent Pientka was the Supervisor of Crossfire Hurricane. IG Report at 305.

  • Agent Pientka helped pick the team of investigators for General Flynn. IG Report at 65.

  • The agents interviewing General Flynn reported to Agent Pientka, and then Agent Pientka reported operational activities to Strzok. IG Report at 65.

  • Bruce Ohr provided information collected by Christopher Steele, through his contract with Fusion GPS, to the FBI “out of the blue.” IG Report at 99. Agent Pientka reviewed this information. IG Report at 100.

  • Agent Pientka was responsible for making sure the FISA applications were verified by providing a “factual accuracy review,” IG Report at 151, yet he included false and incomplete information for the court, and he failed to inform the court of significant exculpatory information.

  • Agent Pientka even “speculated” that Steele’s information was corroborated—when it was not—and he was responsible for numerous “inaccuracies,” “omissions,” and “unsupported statements” in the FISA applications. See generally IG Report at Chs. 5, 9.

  • One of the FBI lawyers falsified a document in support of one of the FISA applications. IG Report at 160.

  • Agent Pientka supervised Case Agent 1 (IG Report at 81) and withheld exculpatory information from the court that was material to determining warrants. IG Report at 232- 233.

  • Unverified information from Source 2 (Halper) was used to obtain FISA warrants to wiretap Carter Page, and thus reach General Flynn. IG Report at 313-33. Halper was closed by the FBI in 2011 but reopened by Case Agent 1. Case Agent 1 reported to Agent Pientka during Crossfire Hurricane.

  • “Agent Pientka told the OIG that he did not know about Source 2, or know that Case Agent 1 was Source 2’s handler, prior to Case Agent 1 proposing the meeting [on August 11, 2016], which Agent Pientka approved.” IG Report at 313.

  • There was “no supporting documentation” to support that “Source 2 has routinely provided reliable information that has been corroborated by the FBI.” IG Report at 418.

  • Despite the lack of information, this was relied upon in the first FISA application, and the Steele dossier which included two references to General Flynn.

  • “…during the presidential election campaign, the FBI was invited by ODNI to provide a baseline counterintelligence and security briefing (security briefing) as part of ODNI’s strategic intelligence briefing given to members of both the Trump campaign and the Clinton campaign… We also learned that, because Flynn was expected to attend the first such briefing for members of the Trump campaign on August 17, 2016, the FBI viewed that briefing as a possible opportunity to collect information potentially relevant to the Crossfire Hurricane and Flynn investigations. We found no evidence that the FBI consulted with the Department leadership or ODNI officials about this plan.” IG Report at 340.

  • Strzok was primarily responsible for preparing Agent Pientka and “providing him with instruction on how to handle the FBI’s portion of the ODNI strategic intelligence briefings, but others also assisted, including the Intel Section Chief and possibly Lisa Page.” Id. at 342. “[H]e and Strzok created the briefing outline together, and he prepared himself through mock briefings attended by Strzok, Lisa Page, the Intel Section Chief, and possibly the OGC Unit Chief.” IG Report at 340.

  • Inspector General found “members of the Crossfire Hurricane team repeatedly failed to provide OI [Office of Intelligence] with all relevant information.” IG Report at 362.

Published:6/17/2020 2:53:16 PM
[Markets] CIA Was So Focused On Developing Cyber Weapons That "Woefully Lax" Security Led To Vault 7 Leak CIA Was So Focused On Developing Cyber Weapons That "Woefully Lax" Security Led To Vault 7 Leak Tyler Durden Tue, 06/16/2020 - 15:35

The CIA's Center for Cyber Intelligence (CCI) was so busy making cyber weapons - including tools to crack into smartphones, hijack smart TVs, or make it look like a foreign adversary hacked someone - that they internal security become "woefully lax," allowing a CIA employee to steal up to 34 terabytes of information later published by WikiLeaks in the spring of 2017.

According to a report created by the CIA's WikiLeaks Task Force in 2017 and released Tuesday by Sen. Ron Wyden (D-OR) on Tuesday, there were major security lapses at CCI.

"In a press to meet growing and critical mission needs, CCI had prioritized building cyber weapons at the expense of securing their own systems," reads the report. "Day-to-day security practices had become woefully lax."

"CCI focused on building cyber weapons and neglected to also prepare mitigation packages if those tools were exposed. These shortcomings were emblematic of a culture that evolved over years that too often prioritized creativity and collaboration at the expense of security," the report continues.

The leak marked the largest data breach in the CIA’s history and included information on hacking tools used by the agency to break into smartphones and other internet-connected devices. 

The task force noted that due to failures to address vulnerabilities in IT systems, if WikiLeaks had not published the stolen information, the CIA “might still be unaware of the loss — as would be true for the vast majority of data on Agency mission systems.”

In a letter to Director of National Intelligence John Ratcliffe on Tuesday, Wyden criticized the intelligence community for its “widespread cybersecurity problems.” -The Hill

The Vault 7 release - a series of 24 documents which began to publish on March 7, 2017 - reveal that the CIA has a giant arsenal of tools to use against adversaries, including the ability to "spoof" its malware to appear as though it was created by a foreign intelligence agency, as well as the ability to take control of Samsung Smart TV's and surveil a target using a "Fake Off" mode in which they appear to be powered down while eavesdropping. 

The CIA's toy chest also includes:

  • Tools code named "Marble" - which can misdirect forensic investigators from attributing viruses, trojans and hacking attacks to their agency by inserted code fragments in foreign languages.  The tool was in use as recently as 2016.  Per the WikiLeaks release:

"The source code shows that Marble has test examples not just in English but also in Chinese, Russian, Korean, Arabic and Farsi. This would permit a forensic attribution double game, for example by pretending that the spoken language of the malware creator was not American English, but Chinese, but then showing attempts to conceal the use of Chinese, drawing forensic investigators even more strongly to the wrong conclusion, --- but there are other possibilities, such as hiding fake error messages."

  • iPads / iPhones / Android devices and Smart TV’s are all susceptible to hacks and malware. The agency's "Dark Matter" project reveals that the CIA has been bugging “factory fresh” iPhones since at least 2008 through suppliers. Another, "Sonic Screwdriver" allows the CIA to execute code on a Mac laptop or desktop while it's booting up.
  • The increasing sophistication of surveillance techniques has drawn comparisons with George Orwell’s 1984, but “Weeping Angel”, developed by the CIA’s Embedded Devices Branch (EDB), which infests smart TVs, transforming them into covert microphones, is surely its most emblematic realization.
  • The Obama administration promised to disclose all serious vulnerabilities they found to Apple, Google, Microsoft, and other US-based manufacturers. The US Government broke that commitment.

"Year Zero" documents show that the CIA breached the Obama administration's commitments. Many of the vulnerabilities used in the CIA's cyber arsenal are pervasive and some may already have been found by rival intelligence agencies or cyber criminals.

In addition to its operations in Langley, Virginia the CIA also uses the U.S. consulate in Frankfurt as a covert base for its hackers covering Europe, the Middle East and Africa.

CIA hackers operating out of the Frankfurt consulate ( "Center for Cyber Intelligence Europe" or CCIE) are given diplomatic ("black") passports and State Department cover.

  • The CIA laughs at Anti-Virus / Anti-Malware programs.

CIA hackers developed successful attacks against most well known anti-virus programs. These are documented in AV defeatsPersonal Security ProductsDetecting and defeating PSPs and PSP/Debugger/RE Avoidance. For example, Comodo was defeated by CIA malware placing itself in the Window's "Recycle Bin". While Comodo 6.x has a "Gaping Hole of DOOM".

In March, the trial of former CIA computer engineer Joshua Schulte ended in a hung jury on eight counts, including illegal gathering and transmission of national defense information, according to the New York Times.

Schulte was convicted on two other counts; contempt of court and making false statements to the FBI. He awaits trial on unrelated charges of possessing, receiving and transporting child pornography.

Published:6/16/2020 2:47:00 PM
[Markets] Removing A US President Without An Election Removing A US President Without An Election Tyler Durden Fri, 06/12/2020 - 23:45

Authored by Paul Ryder via,

Five times in the last ninety years, elements of the U.S. power structure have tried to oust a sitting president without an election.

The efforts were aimed at Franklin Roosevelt, John Kennedy, Richard Nixon, Bill Clinton, and Donald Trump.

Two attempts succeeded and three failed... so far.

Franklin Roosevelt

President Franklin Roosevelt took office in 1933 as the Great Depression was battering much of the world. Workers were striking, organizing unions, and escalating their demands. Fascists had taken power in Italy and Germany and were threatening to do so elsewhere.

Prominent Wall Street bankers and industrialists said the only way to keep communism at bay was to adopt fascism and align with Italy and Germany. Roosevelt rejected that view, and the plotting began.

The plan was to have 500,000 World War I veterans march on Washington, D.C. They would overwhelm the city, reduce Roosevelt to a figurehead, and transfer power to the Wall Street plotters.

They decided Marine Corps Major General Smedley Butler, then the most decorated Marine in U.S. history, should lead the coup. This was a mistake. When their emissary told Butler what they had in mind, and said they could raise $300 million for it, he said, “If you get 500,000 soldiers advocating anything smelling of Fascism, I am going to get 500,000 more and lick the hell out of you and we will have a real war right at home.”

After Butler chewed them out, he reported everything to the U.S. House Un-American Activities Committee, including the plotters’ names he knew, officials with J.P. Morgan & Company, Guaranty Trust Company, Dupont Chemical, Singer Sewing Machine Company, and the Remington Arms Company. They all denied it, but Butler had convinced the Committee it was true.

Roosevelt did not want a public confrontation, so the House Committee quietly wrapped up its work. FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover dispatched agents to tell each plotter they would be under surveillance for treasonous activities. The plot was shelved.

The lesson of this fiasco was money isn’t everything. The Wall Street titans had no experience with overthrowing a U.S. president. They had no operational arm. They did not know where to start.

John Kennedy

By the time President Kennedy took office in 1961, the military budget had grown twenty times larger in real dollars than in 1933. The money was paying for a military-industrial complex, including the Pentagon, weapons manufacturers, State Department, CIA, FBI, NSA, Atomic Energy Commission, NASA, Members of Congress, think tanks, universities, and a battalion of friendly reporters. The sprawling power system had become strong enough to perpetuate itself and to remove a president if necessary.

What the Pentagon and CIA wanted first from President Kennedy was the overthrow of the new socialist Cuban leader, Fidel Castro. They organized an assault by Cuban exiles, assuring Kennedy it would spark a successful anti-Castro uprising in Cuba. When it did not, they demanded Kennedy send in U.S. combat forces. He refused, and the Cuban army captured 1,110 Cuban exiles and killed another 114. The Bay of Pigs invasion became known as the “Bay of Pigs fiasco.” Kennedy realized the Pentagon and CIA had known all along the exiles could not succeed on their own. They had tried to trick him into a direct U.S. invasion.

Kennedy fired both CIA Director Allen Dulles and his chief Bay of Pigs planner, Richard Bissell, and threatened to “shatter the CIA into a thousand pieces and scatter it to the winds.”

CIA leaders and the Joint Chiefs of Staff at the Defense Department were livid and continued to press him to authorize a U.S. invasion of Cuba. With the Cuban missile crisis in 1962, they saw a perfect opportunity for it. Again, Kennedy refused.

The next year, 1963, a fusillade of bullets removed Kennedy from office. His successor, Lyndon Johnson, promptly appointed the blue-ribbon Warren Commission to figure out who did it. The Commission’s day-to-day work was led by Allen Dulles, the former CIA Director JFK had fired. In the end, the Commission report declared the assassination to be the work of a deranged loner, Lee Harvey Oswald.

Most Americans were not convinced. In every one of nine Gallup polls taken since 1963, a majority of respondents have said they thought others had been involved in a conspiracy. Of the four people who knew the most about what happened — Lyndon Johnson, Robert Kennedy, Richard Nixon, and Fidel Castro – none agreed with the Warren Commission report.

If it was not just one loner, who was in on the conspiracy? We may never know all the details of this very cold case, such as the name of the person who fired the fatal bullet. We have learned some things, however. The easiest of these is that the CIA was involved in the Kennedy assassination at every juncture, from preparation to execution to the cover-up.

Not only was the CIA everywhere, they had ample motive, namely Kennedy’s refusal to invade Cuba. And, unlike the Wall Street plotters of the 1930s, they had experience with covert operations, overthrowing governments, and assassinating leaders. That is what the CIA was created to do.

It is not necessary to prove the triggerman was employed by the CIA, or CIA leaders made a formal decision to kill the president, or everyone in the CIA even knew what was happening, or no one else was involved, to realize the CIA was heavily involved.

Richard Nixon

The Watergate story is familiar. President Richard Nixon ordered his staff to commit crimes and cover them up. Two budding Washington Post reporters, Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein, exposed him. Nixon resigned and left town in disgrace before Congress could impeach and remove him.

The story came from Woodward and Bernstein’s articles and their book, All the President’s Men (1974). Actor Robert Redford then turned it into a popular movie with the same name (1976).

In the following decades, however, this satisfying morality play has been undermined by 2,000 pages of investigative books by Jim Hougan (Secret Agenda, 1984), Len Colodny and Robert Gettlin (Silent Coup, 1991), James Rosen (The Strong Man, 2008), Russ Baker (Family of Secrets, 2009), Phil Stanford (White House Call Girl, 2013), Tim Weiner (One Man Against the World, 2015) and Ray Locker (Nixon’s Gamble, 2016; Haig’s Coup, 2019).

Each examined Watergate from a different angle and found new clues to what happened. Adding all these clues creates a quite different story, showing how thoroughly the military industrial complex dominates Washington.

If you made a chart of the newly discovered CIA and Pentagon links to Watergate, it would fill a large wall. To put it another way, if you remove the CIA and the Pentagon from the story, Nixon would have completed his second term and retired with dignity.

Watergate really started in 1969, on Nixon’s first day in office. The President and his National Security Adviser, Henry Kissinger, cut the Department of Defense, State Department, and the CIA out of foreign policy decision-making. The two men brought all policymaking into the National Security Council in the White House. They would often not inform the three main foreign policy agencies about policy changes until the last minute, fearing leaks or sabotage.

Predictably, this created chronic bureaucratic warfare between the three agencies and the White House. When there were disagreements about policy, there was no way to resolve them. Spying and leaking inevitably followed. In turn, Nixon and Kissinger told the agencies even less.

Left out in the cold, the Pentagon and the CIA moved against Nixon.

To see how this wasn’t apparent from the Woodward and Bernstein story, consider the man who was the reporters’ pipeline to the truth, a secret source called Deep Throat. Finally, in 2005, Woodward said it was former FBI Associate Director Mark Felt. Nixon had rejected Felt for the top FBI spot when long time Director J. Edgar Hoover died, so he had a plausible motive.

The mystery seemed solved, except the revisionist histories had already shown Felt was only one of many sources giving the two reporters damaging information on Nixon. Deep Throat was actually a composite character, and the bombshell stories mostly originated in two places, the Department of Defense and the CIA. These were the very agencies with which Nixon and Kissinger had been at war.

By 1974, with his trusted advisors gone, Nixon found himself relying on two Pentagon officials to help him avoid removal from office. They were Chief of Staff General Alexander Haig, most recently Vice Chief of Staff of the Army, and J. Fred Buzhardt, who was both Special White House Counsel for Watergate Matters and General Counsel for the Department of Defense.

Not surprisingly, these two military men spent months maneuvering Nixon into deeper trouble. After the House Judiciary Committee sent impeachment articles to the House floor, Nixon knew the House would impeach him and the Senate would convict and remove him. Nixon resigned.

Bill Clinton

In 1998, the Republican-controlled U.S. House of Representatives impeached President Bill Clinton for perjury and obstruction of justice concerning his sexual exploitation of a 22-year-old White House intern. The case then went to the U.S. Senate, where the Constitution required a two-thirds vote of the Senators present to convict and remove Clinton. The two impeachment articles failed, and Clinton completed his second term.

Why did the Republicans fail? In the Senate, the Republican advantage was only 55-45, well short of the 67-vote supermajority needed to convict and remove Clinton.

Since Bill Clinton was not at odds with the military-industrial complex, Wall Street, or any other power center, the GOP couldn’t count on help persuading Democratic Senators to vote for removal. In fact, the core of Clinton’s agenda matched the 1992 Republican platform, favoring NAFTA, tough criminal sentencing, ending welfare, NATO expansion, a hard line on Cuba, and so on. The GOP knew the prospects in the Senate were hopeless.

The impeachment of Clinton, then, was not a genuine attempt to remove him. It was merely a partisan exercise in muddying up the Democrats as the 2000 election approached.

Donald Trump

The attempt to remove Donald Trump, called Russiagate, began as a 2016 campaign attack by Hillary Clinton. The charges against him continued in the press after Election Day, and ever since. In 2019, Democrats took a variation on Russiagate, called Ukrainegate, and used it to impeach Trump in the House of Representatives. The GOP-controlled Senate inevitably did not convict him. It ended up as a replay of the Clinton impeachment. Trump stayed in the Oval Office.

What exactly was the Democrats’ plan? A successful Senate vote was never possible, so why would the Democrats devote three and a half years just to get an impeachment without removal?

From their actions, it appears the Democrats were fixed on Watergate as the model for ousting a president without an election.

That would be understandable. All but one of the top Democratic politicians in 2016 had been young adults during Watergate. In 1974, Bill Clinton was 28, Hillary Clinton was 27, Nancy Pelosi was 34, Harry Reid was 35, Chuck Schumer was 24, Joe Biden was 31, John Podesta was 25, and David Axelrod was 19. They were absorbing the Watergate story every day. The exception, Barack Obama, was only 13 at the time. Watergate would be their frame of reference.

Accordingly, the Democrats staged a Watergate-style morality play, with Donald Trump playing the role of Richard Nixon. It was complete with a flow of shocking revelations, dramatic Congressional hearings, a Special Counsel, indictment of underlings who could be squeezed for evidence against higher-ups, watching the president’s poll ratings skid, disapproving newspaper editorials, and peeling off votes of Republican Senators. All this was supposed to result in the president’s resignation or impeachment and removal.

It did not work.

One problem was the series of bombshell news stories coming from unnamed intelligence sources. These included the DNC hack, local election board tampering, the Christopher Steele Dossier, St. Petersburg click-bait factory, sabotaging the Vermont utility grid, and so on. One after another the stories collapsed, usually for lack of evidence.

In addition, the president’s favorability ratings did not plummet as they had during Watergate. Richard Nixon’s approval rating fell from 67% in January 1973 to 24% by the time he resigned. By contrast, Donald Trump’s approval rating, 45% in January 2017, had only fallen to 44% by the time of his impeachment.

The underlying problem was the Democrats did not understand Watergate. They thought Nixon was foiled by tenacious crusading reporters and their savvy editor. In fact, Nixon ran afoul of the military industrial complex, which guided the press to the outcome it wanted.

In the case of Trump, the Pentagon, CIA, and the rest understood how to manage the new president. They would tolerate his rally outbursts, NATO tantrums, and raving midnight tweets because they knew they could get what they wanted from him when it mattered.

While the Democrats labored to portray Trump as soft on Russia, his actual policies have been in line with the bi-partisan foreign policy consensus to give the Pentagon and weapons manufacturers what they want. This includes sharp increases in overall military spending, a trillion dollars in new nuclear weapons, new types of nuclear weapons, destroying a series of U.S.-Russian arms control treaties, advancing NATO to the Russian border, tough economic sanctions on Russia, providing weapons to Ukraine and Poland to use against Russia, killing Russians in Syria, ejecting Russian diplomats from the United States, conducting war exercises on Russia’s border, and trying to stop Russian energy exports to Europe.

If the Democrats had understood Watergate, they would have noticed a key condition was missing: aggravated conflict between the president and the military-industrial complex. That is why the Democrats failed.

Of course, as 2020 election day approaches, President Trump has managed to create a triple crisis — his bungled COVID-19 response, the resulting economic paralysis, and his inciting a coast-to-coast police rampage — which may doom him with no effort by the Democrats. No one knows at this point.

It is fair to say, however, that if Trump can’t regain his composure and resolve his current clash with the Pentagon, he will be taught a cold lesson about power.

Published:6/12/2020 10:51:47 PM
[Quick Takes] Vandal Behind Anti-Black Racist Graffiti at Salisbury University is Black "Four law enforcement agencies, including the FBI, had participated in the investigation." Published:6/12/2020 9:20:38 AM
[Markets] Kerik: If Black Lives Really Mattered, BLM, Antifa Would Be Marching All Over Chicago Kerik: If Black Lives Really Mattered, BLM, Antifa Would Be Marching All Over Chicago Tyler Durden Tue, 06/09/2020 - 22:45

Authored by Jennie Taer via,

Former New York Police Department Commissioner Bernard Kerik told “The Sara Carter Show” Monday that if the Black Lives Matter organization and left-wing anarchist group Antifa really believed that black lives matter, ‘they would be marching all over Chicago.’

Moreover, Kerik denied a ‘systematic’ police brutality problem, saying, however, that there is a ‘systematic’ problem in Chicago, where there’s ceaseless violence on the streets.

“But that [police brutality] is not systematic what is systematic is last week last weekend in Chicago you at 23 people killed in 48 hours,” Kerik told Carter.

And this week in Chicago over the weekend in twelve hours in 24 hours. Yes, 19 dead. That is systematic because it happens every single weekend. And if black lives really mattered to the Black Lives Matter group in Antifa they’d be marching all over Chicago. Right."

Chicago saw its deadliest day in decades during the last weekend of May, with 18 murders, the Chicago Sun-Times reported. And the violence hasn’t stopped.

Concluding with a message to President Donald Trump, Kerik explained that there must “be a significant messaging program to get people to understand every one of these cities we’re talking about every single one. Run by Democrats. They’ve been run by Democrats for decades and they get up there and they took all this garbage and all this junk about racism and systematic and all this stuff.”

He added, “The reality is they’ve been in charge of what’s happened in those communities. The highest violence the highest the murder the highest poverty the lowest economic income the lowest real estate values they’ve been in charge. Eventually, I think communities like this the people have to realize if you want change, if you want real change then you’ve got to get different leadership in those positions. That’s going to create safety and security in those communities and let people grow let them flourish.”

“Nobody’s going to put a flagship Apple store in the South Side of Chicago. It’s not happening. You’re not going to have great schools in the South Side of Chicago. It’s Not happening. Teachers are afraid to go to work there.”

The political talk, Kerik says, needs to end. “I think the president if he does anything he’s going to get the message to the American people especially this president because he’s one guy that whatever he says he’s going to do it does it sometimes overly transparent ever he says he’s going to do.”

“I’ve known him for a long time. I’ve known him since 1996 and I could tell you before he was president since he’s president nobody can say that he doesn’t do what he says he’s going to do. And he can help this country if the Democrats would get out of the way stop impeding what he’s trying to do and try to help themselves.”

Published:6/9/2020 9:58:17 PM
[Markets] FBI Combing Through Social Media After People Openly Brag About Looting On Facebook  FBI Combing Through Social Media After People Openly Brag About Looting On Facebook  Tyler Durden Tue, 06/09/2020 - 20:25

Anyone logging into social media lately has likely noticed a seeming deluge of virtue signaling related to the ongoing Black Lives Matter and George Floyd protests. Often the same people who a mere days before were lecturing others to "stay home, save lives" amid the pandemic, have made a seamless switch to urging others to take to the streets in protest.

But a CBS Chicago affiliate has uncovered something truly new: people are now openly bragging about what they've looted from ravaged stores on Facebook over the past two weeks of BLM protests and riots. Apparently they're even trying to sell the stolen goods.

"Selling looted goods on Facebook – CBS 2 found it’s happening right now, with several videos and photos sent our way," the CBS 2 report begins. "We sent the evidence to Chicago Police, and on Monday night, CBS 2’s Tara Molina looked into what will happen next – with the CPD and the FBI investigating."

Livestreams & social media images showing looting in action flooded the internet over the past couples weeks. Getty Images

Apparently the FBI is now involved, seeking to identify individuals involved in the mass looting.

And judging by the fact that many are outright boasting about it under their names on social media accounts, federal agents and local police may have an easy time of rounding them up and making arrests.

The report goes on to describe that in some cases, individuals in Chicago have had their 'looting posts' go viral

One woman posted a Facebook Live video publicly on Sunday, May 31, and it got about 6,600 views and 41 shares. It showed looting at a strip mall and a van filled to the brim.

In a second public Facebook Live video, posted days later, a woman stands behind the videos and photos posted on her page – admitting out loud that she had looted.

She called out the people tagging police in the video, and defended her selling of the looted clothing and liquor – referring to it as stolen and saying it wasn’t the first time.

“I don’t give no (expletive) about this s**t. I upload stolen (expletive) 365 a year,” she is heard saying. “This ain’t (expletive) first time I did this.”

Likely the above person has already had a knock on the door, and may regret going viral with their post in the first place.

CBS 2 actually aired some of the incriminating Facebook Livestream images this week, seeking public help in the investigation.

The FBI has set up an anonymous "tips" form seeking information on individuals involved in rioting, violence, and mass theft nationwide:

The FBI and local law enforcement are now actively requesting photos and information from the public as they comb through posts and evidence of theft. 

Shocking footage of brazen acts of mass theft flooded social media:

CBS 2 Chicago also noted that during its research into social media posts, people began blocking its staff over inquiries into crimes being committed. 

With the FBI also now combing through thousands of posts, also seeking perpetrators of violence and rioting, there's likely a lot of worried criminals now deleting posts as well.

But how long before the FBI is accused of "racism" for seeking to punish such glaring examples of crime in action? 

Published:6/9/2020 7:30:30 PM
[Politics] FBI Seeks Audit on FISA Wiretap Procedures The FBI is looking for a firm to conduct an audit of the agency’s procedures for making foreign intelligence surveillance requests, The Wall Street Journal reports. Published:6/9/2020 10:32:26 AM
[Markets] A Conspiracy Theorist Confesses A Conspiracy Theorist Confesses Tyler Durden Sat, 06/06/2020 - 00:00

Authored by Iain Davis via,

I am what the general population, politicians and the mainstream media (MSM) would call a conspiracy theorist. While I don’t agree with their definition of the term, there’s not much point in me denying it. It is applied to me, and millions like me, whether we like it or not.

For those who deem conspiracy theorists to be some sort of threat to society, we are the social and political malcontents who lack reason and hate our democratic way of life. We are trolls, bots and disinformation agents on social media, probably employed by the Russians, the Chinese or Iranians.

We are supposedly hellbent on sewing the seeds of discontent and can be found protesting against every government policy and decision. Alternatively, we are arrogant fools, both anti-science and evidence averse, who trot out crazy theories based upon little knowledge and no evidence. Apparently this is a very dangerous thing.

Thus we come to the glaring contradiction at the heart of the concept of the loony conspiracy theorist. Conspiracy theorists are both imbeciles, who don’t have any proof to back up anything they say, while simultaneously being dangerous subversives who threaten to destabilise democracy and foment chaos.

Which is it? It can’t be both. Unless society is so fragile it cannot withstand the opinions of idiots.

So where does the idea that fools present a threat to “our way of life,” come from? What is it that the conspiracy theorists say that is so dangerous? Why do their opinions seemingly need to be censored? What are governments so worried about?


Some definitions are required here. From the Cambridge online English dictionary we have:

Misinformation: [noun] wrong information, or the fact that people are misinformed.

Disinformation: [noun] false information spread in order to deceive people.

Fake News: [noun] false stories that appear to be news, spread on the internet or using other media, usually created to influence political views or as a joke.

Conspiracy: [noun’] the activity of secretly planning with other people to do something bad or illegal.

Theory: [noun] a formal statement of the rules on which a subject of study is based or of ideas that are suggested to explain a fact or event.

Conspiracy Theory: [noun] a belief that an event or situation is the result of a secret plan made by powerful people

It is notable that Cambridge University Press have introduced the concept of “secret” into their definition. By describing something as secret you are suggesting that it is impossible to know what it is. This added notion of secrecy is not commonly found in other dictionaries.

Nor is it present in the legal definition of conspiracy. Blacks Law Dictionary defines conspiracy as:

Conspiracy: In criminal law. A combination or confederacy between two or more persons formed for the purpose of committing, by their joint efforts, some unlawful or criminal act.

Obviously conspirators would like to keep their plans hidden. But that doesn’t mean they always remain so. If all conspiracies were “secrets” nobody would ever discover any of them.

Known conspiracies, such as Operation Gladio, Iran Contra, the Lavon Affair, the 2001 anthrax letter hoax and so on, would not have been exposed had people not highlighted the evidence which proved their existence.

The notion of the “secret conspiracy” is not one most people called conspiracy theorists would recognise. Often the whole point of our argument is that the conspiracies can be quite plainly evidenced. Most of that evidence is in the public domain and freely available.

More often conspiracy theorists are concerned with the denial or obfuscation of the evidence. It is not that the evidence doesn’t exist, rather that it either isn’t reported at all or is hidden by labelling those who do report it conspiracy theorists.

We can define “conspiracy theory” simply to mean: the reporting of evidence indicating a plan between two or more people to commit an illegal or nefarious act.

We can add that a conspiracy theory is an opinion or an argument. The merit of which is solely defined by the strength or weakness of the evidence.

However, if you read Wikipedia a very different definition is suggested. Suddenly conspiracy theory means an attempt to ignore other more plausible explanations. It is a theory based upon prejudice or insufficient evidence, it resists falsification and suffers from circular reasoning. It has left the realms of logical deduction and become a matter of faith.

This rationale is some distance away from the dictionary and legal definitions. It relies heavily upon opinion and is highly subjective. It is a pejorative definition which claims to be based in science, though the scientific evidence is feeble to non existent.

This depiction of the delusional conspiracy theorist, as described by Wikipedia, is the popularly accepted meaning. Perhaps we can agree, the narrative we are given about alleged conspiracy theorists broadly runs like this:

Conspiracy theorists forward arguments that are unfounded. These are based upon limited knowledge and lack substantiating evidence. Most conspiracy theorists are simply wrong and unwittingly spread misinformation. However, prominent conspiracy theorists spread disinformation and have used their large followings on the Internet to create a dangerous phenomenon called ‘fake news.’

Many of those with the largest followings are agents for foreign powers. They use a global network of trolls and bots to advance their dangerous political agenda. This is designed to undermine our democratic way of life and valued political institutions. Therefore all conspiracy theory is anti-democratic and must be stopped.

It is difficult to understand how democracies, which supposedly value freedom of thought, speech and expression, can be threatened by diversity of opinion. Yet it appears many people are willing to ignore this contradiction and support government attempts to censor information and silence the voices of those it labels conspiracy theorist. Which is genuinely anti-democratic.

Consequently it has become relatively straightforward for politicians and the media to refute evidence and undermine arguments. As long as they can get the label of conspiracy theory or theorist to stick, most people will discount their arguments without ever looking at the evidence.

The label of conspiracy theorist is an umbrella term for a huge array of ideas and beliefs. Some are more plausible than others. However, by calling everyone who challenges accepted norms a “conspiracy theorist” it is possible to avoid addressing the evidence some offer by exploiting guilt by association.

For example, many people labelled as conspiracy theorists, myself included, believe even the most senior elected politicians are relatively low down the pecking order when it comes to decision making. We suggest powerful global corporations, globalist think tanks and international financial institutions often have far more control over policy development than politicians. We can cite academic research to back up this identification of “Biased Pluralism.”

We do not believe the Earth is flat or the Queen is a lizard. However, because we believe the former, politicians, mainstream academia and the media insist that we must also believe the latter.

Psychology is often cited as evidence to prove conspiracy theorists are deranged, or at least emotionally disturbed in some way. Having looked at some of this claimed science I found it to be rather silly and anti-scientific. But that is just my opinion.

However, unlike many of the psychologists who earn a living by writing junk science, I do not think they should be censored nor stopped from expressing their unscientific opinions. However, governments across the world are seemingly desperate to exploit the psychologist’s ‘work’ to justify the silencing of the conspiracy theorists.

This desire to silence people who ask the wrong questions, by labelling all as conspiracy theorists, has been a common theme from our elected political leaders during the first two decades of the 21st century. But where did this idea come from?


Conspiracy theory is nothing new. Nearly every single significant world event had at least one contemporary conspiracy theory attached to it. These alternative interpretations of events, which lie outside the accepted or official narratives, are found throughout history.

In 117 CE, the Roman Emperor Trajan died only two days after adopting his successor Hadrian. All his symptoms indicated a stroke brought on by cardio vascular disease.

Yet by the 4th century, in the questionable historical text Historia Augusta, a number of conspiracy theories surrounding Trajan’s death had emerged. These included claims that Trajan had been poisoned by Hadrian, the praetorian prefect Attianus and Trajan’s wife, Plotina.

While we would call this a conspiracy theory today, the term was not commonly used until the late 1960’s. The earliest written reference to something approaching the modern concept of conspiracy theory appeared in the 1870’s in the Journal of Mental Science vol 16.

“The theory of Dr Sankey as to the manner in which these injuries to the chest occurred in asylums deserved our careful attention. It was at least more plausible that the conspiracy theory of Mr Charles Beade”

This is the first time we see an association made between “conspiracy theory” and implausibility. Throughout most of the 19th and 20th century, if used at all, it usually denoted little more than a rationale to expose a criminal plot or malevolent act by a group.

After the Second World War colloquial use of “conspiracy theory” was rare. However, academics were beginning to lay the foundations for the interpretation which has produced the label we are familiar with today.

The burgeoning idea was that the large numbers of people who questioned official accounts of events, or orthodox historical interpretations, were all delusional to some degree. Questioning authority, and certainly alleging that authority was responsible for criminal acts, was deemed to be an aberration of the mind.

Karl Popper

In 1945 The philosopher Karl Popper alluded to this in his political work The Open Society and Its Enemies. Popper was essentially criticising historicism. He stated that historical events were vulnerable to misinterpretation by those who were predisposed to see a conspiracy behind them.

He argued this was because historians suffered from cognitive dissonance (the uncomfortable psychological sensation of holding two opposing views simultaneously.) They could not accept that tumultuous events could just happen through the combination of error and unrelated circumstances.

In Popper’s view, these historians were too quick to reject the possibility of random, chaotic events influencing history, preferring unsubstantiated conspiratorial explanations. Usually because they made better stories, thereby garnering more attention for their work.

Popper identified what he called the conspiracy theory of society. This reflected Popper’s belief that social sciences should concern themselves with the study of the unintended consequences of intentional human behaviour. Speaking of the conspiracy theory perspective, he wrote:

It is the view that an explanation of a social phenomenon consists in the discovery of the men or groups who are interested in the occurrence of this phenomenon (sometimes it is a hidden interest which has first to be revealed), and who have planned and conspired to bring it about.”

Popper also believed that increasing secularism had led people to ascribe power to secretive groups rather than the gods:

The gods are abandoned. But their place is filled by powerful men or groups – sinister pressure groups whose wickedness is responsible for all the evils we suffer from – such as the Learned Elders of Zion, or the monopolists, or the capitalists, or the imperialists.”

Popper’s theory illustrates the fundamental difference between those labelled conspiracy theorists and those who, on the whole, defend the official narrative and the establishment. For conspiracy theorists the evidence shows that powerful forces have frequently conspired to shape events, control the flow of information and manipulate society. The deliberate engineering of society, suggested by the conspiracy theorists, is rejected by their opponents and critics.

For them the conspiratorial view has some minor, limited merit, but the suggested scale and prevalence of these plots is grossly exaggerated. They see nearly all world events as the result of the unintentional collision between disparate forces and the random influence of fate.

In general, they consider the powerful incapable of malice. Where disastrous national and global events have clearly been caused by the decisions of governments, influential groups and immensely wealthy individuals, these are invariably seen as mistakes.

Any suggestion that the power hierarchy’s destructive decisions may have achieved their intended objectives receives blanket rejection. Even asking the question is considered “unthinkable.”

For many people called conspiracy theorists this is a hopelessly naive world view. History is full of examples of the powerful using their influence to further their own interests at others expense. Often costing people their lives.

For their opponents, like Popper, to reject this possibility outright, demonstrates their cognitive dissonance. They seem unable even to contemplate the possibility that the political and economic power structures they believe in could ever deliberately harm anyone. They have faith in authority and it is not shared by people they label conspiracy theorists.

Following the assassination of President Kennedy in 1963 alternative explanations proliferated, not least of all due to the apparent implausibility of the official account. Many U.S. citizens were concerned that elements within their own government had effectively staged a coup. Others, such as the prominent American historian Richard Hoftsadter, were more concerned that people doubted their government.

Richard Hofstadter

Building on the work of Popper, partly as a critique of McCarthyism but also in response to the Republican nomination loss of Nelson A. Rockefeller, American historian Richard Hofstadter suggested that people’s inability to believe what they are told by government was not based upon their grasp of the evidence. Rather it was rooted in psychological need.

He claimed much of this stemmed from their lack of education (knowledge), political disenfranchisement and an unjustified sense of self importance. He also suggested these dangerous opinions threatened to pollute the body politic.

Like Popper, Hofstadter did not identify conspiracy theorists directly. But he did formulate the narrative underpinning the modern, widely accepted, definition. He wrote:

I call it the paranoid style simply because no other word adequately evokes the sense of heated exaggeration, suspiciousness, and conspiratorial fantasy that I have in mind…It is the use of paranoid modes of expression by more or less normal people that makes the phenomenon significant


Of course, there are highbrow, lowbrow, and middlebrow paranoids, as there are likely to be in any political tendency. But respectable paranoid literature not only starts from certain moral commitments that can indeed be justified but also carefully and all but obsessively accumulates “evidence.”….he can accumulate evidence in order to protect his cherished convictions.

Going to great lengths to focus on the “paranoid’s” tendency to highlight the evidence, as if that were a failing, like most critics of so-called conspiracy theorists, Hofstadter chose neither to address nor even mention what that evidence was. He merely asserted that it was unbelievable. The reader just had to take his word for it.

The Warren Commission Report into the JFK assassination drew considerable criticism. The finding that Oswald acted alone contradicted numerous eye witness accounts, film, autopsy and ballistic evidence.

Four of the seven commissioners harshly criticised the report issued in their name. Widely seen as quite ridiculous, in the absence of any sensible official account of the assassination, numerous explanatory theories inevitably sprang up.

In response to the mounting criticism, in 1967 the CIA sent an internal dispatch to all field offices called Document 1035-960: Concerning Criticism of the Warren Report.

Revealed by a New York Times Freedom of Information Request in 1976, the dispatch is the first written record we have of the combination of Popper’s “conspiracy theory of society” with Hofstadter’s “paranoid style” militant. It defined the modern concept of the conspiracy theorist.

The document states:

Conspiracy theories have frequently thrown suspicion on our organization, for example by falsely alleging that Lee Harvey Oswald worked for us. The aim of this dispatch is to provide material countering and discrediting the claims of the conspiracy theorists.”

It can be considered as the origin of the weaponised term “conspiracy theory.” It recommends a set of techniques to be used to discredit all critics of the Warren Commission Report. Once you are familiar with them, it is obvious that these strategies are commonly deployed today to dismiss all who question official statements as “conspiracy theorists.” We can paraphrase these as follows:

  1. Deny any new evidence offered and cite only official reports stating ‘no new evidence has emerged.’

  2. Dismiss contradictory eyewitness statements and focus upon the existing, primary, official evidence such as ballistics, autopsy, and photographic evidence.

  3. Do not initiate any discussion of the evidence and suggest that large scale conspiracies are impossible to cover up in an open and free democracy.

  4. Accuse the conspiracy theorists of having an intellectual superiority complex.

  5. Suggest that theorists refuse to acknowledge their own errors.

  6. Refute any suggestion of witness assassinations by pointing out they were all deaths by natural causes.

  7. Question the quality of conspiracy research and point out that official sources are better.

The report recommended making good use of “friendly elite contacts (especially politicians and editors)” and to “employ propaganda assets to [negate] and refute the attacks of the critics.”

The CIA advocated using mainstream media feature articles to discredit people labelled conspiracy theorists.

While the use of these methods has been refined over the years, the essential process of labelling someone a conspiracy theorist, while studiously avoiding any discussion of the evidence they highlight, is extremely common in the mainstream media today. We only need look at the reports about academics who questioned the government’s narrative about COVID19 to see the techniques in operation.

The drive to convince the public to use only “official sources” for information has seen the rise of the fact checker.

These organisations, invariably with the support of government and corporate funding, are offered as the reliable sources which provide real facts. The facts they provide are frequently wrong and the fact checking industry has settled legal claims from those who challenged their disinformation.

People have been directed by the mainstream media to abandon all critical thinking. They just need to go to their government-approved fact-checker in order be told the truth.

Providing the public believe the people labelled conspiracy theorists are crazy, ill informed or agents for a foreign powers, the mainstream media, politicians and other commentators can undermine any and all evidence they present. In keeping with the CIA’s initial recommendations, it is extremely unlikely that the evidence will ever be openly discussed but, if it is, it can be written off as “conspiracy theory.”

However, it isn’t just the mainstream media who use the conspiracy theorist label to avoid discussing evidence. Politicians, speaking on the worlds biggest political stage, have seized the opportunity to deploy the CIA’s strategy.


Even for Prime Ministers and Presidents, addressing the General Assembly of the United Nations is a big deal. These tend to be big thematic speeches as the leader impresses their vision upon the gathered dignitaries and global media.

Yet, despite the fact that conspiracy theorists are supposed to be idiots who don’t know the time of day, global “leaders” have repeatedly used this auspicious occasion to single them out as one of the greatest threats to global security.

In November 2001 George W. Bush addressed the United Nations General Assembly with the following words:

We must speak the truth about terror. Let us never tolerate outrageous conspiracy theories concerning the attacks of September the 11th; malicious lies that attempt to shift the blame away from the terrorists, themselves, away from the guilty. To inflame ethnic hatred is to advance the cause of terror.”

Even if you accept the official account of 9/11, and there are numerous reasons why you wouldn’t, how does questioning it suggest that you support terrorism or mark you out as a racist?

The suggestion appears absurd but it does illustrate that the U.S. president wanted both to silence all criticism of the government account and link those questioning it to extremism and even terrorism.

This theme was reiterated by the UK Prime Minister David Cameron in his 2014 address. He said:

To defeat ISIL – and organisations like it we must defeat this ideology in all its forms… is clear that many of them were initially influenced by preachers who claim not to encourage violence, but whose world view can be used as a justification for it. We know this world view. The peddling of lies: that 9/11 was a Jewish plot or that the 7/7 London attacks were staged […] We must be clear: to defeat the ideology of extremism we need to deal with all forms of extremism – not just violent extremism. We must work together to take down illegal online material […] we must stop the so called non-violent extremists from inciting hatred and intolerance.

This season we will mostly be wearing anti-fear glasses

Like Bush before him, Cameron was at pains to identify what he called non violent extremists (commonly called conspiracy theorists). According to him, all who question government accounts of major geopolitical events are, once again, tantamount to terrorists.

Calling for online censorship to stop any questions ever being asked, it is this authoritarian need to avoid addressing evidence that led his successor, Prime Minister Theresa May, to propose wide-sweeping censorship of the Internet.

At the time of writing, the UK is among the many nations still in so called “lockdown” following the outbreak of COVID19. When UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson addressed the U.N General Assembly in September 2019 he delivered a speech which seemed weirdly out of context. With Brexit and possible conflict with Iran high on the agenda his address, which barely touched on those issues, was received with considerable bewilderment.

Six months later his predictive powers appear to be remarkable. It transpires that Johnson’s comments were extremely relevant. Just six months too early.

There are today people today who are actually still anti-science […] A whole movement called the anti-Vaxxers, who refuse to acknowledge the evidence that vaccinations have eradicated smallpox […] And who by their prejudices are actually endangering the very children they want to protect […] I am profoundly optimistic about the ability of new technology to serve as a liberator and remake the world wondrously and benignly […] Together, we can vanquish killer diseases.”

Despite the wealth of scientific evidence which justifies scepticism about some vaccinesanti-vaxxer (a variant of conspiracy theorist), is another label used to convince people not to consider evidence. The assertion is that those who question vaccines all fundamentally reject the concept of artificially inducing an immune response against a disease.

This isn’t true but how would you know? The anti-vaxxer label alone is sufficient to convince most to turn away.

Johnson’s speech rambled across so many seemingly irrelevant subjects there is little reason to suspect any COVID 19 foreknowledge. But given the global pandemic that would occur just a few months later, it was certainly prescient. Johnson was sufficiently concerned about the supposedly baseless questions of so called conspiracy theorists (or anti-vaxxers) to allege they killed children. A ludicrous suggestion the mainstream media strongly promoted.

It doesn’t matter that academic research has proven that the official account of 9/11 cannot possibly be true; it makes no difference that Mossad agents admitted that they had gone to New York on the morning of 9/11 to “document the event;” studies showing that approximately 90% of the total 20th Century disease reduction in the U.S. occurred prior to the widespread use of vaccines are irrelevant.

None of these facts need to be known by anyone and governments are going to censor all who try to tell others about them. All questions that reference them are crazy conspiracy theories. They are both stupid questions and a huge threat to both national security and the safety of the little children.

One of the recurring themes the people labelled conspiracy theorists discuss is that policy is made behind the closed doors of corporate boardrooms and policy think tanks. It doesn’t matter who you elect or what party you choose to rule over you, they are only capable of tinkering at the edges of the policy platform.

The policy agenda is set at a globalist level. So the fact that, over two decades, one U.S president and two British Prime Minsters were delivering essentially the same message doesn’t surprise the conspiracy theorists.

As we move toward a world where certain ideas are forbidden and only officially approved questions can be asked, where governments and corporations have a monopoly on the truth and everything else is a conspiracy theory, only one thing really matters. The evidence.

Hofstadter’s believed that his paranoid style militants constant citation of evidence was merely an attempt to “protect his cherished convictions.” This could be true, but the only way to find out is to look at that evidence. The label of the conspiracy theorist has been deliberately created in order to convince you not to look at it.

Regardless of whether or not you think someone’s opinion is a conspiracy theory, you owe it to yourself and your children to consider the evidence they cite. Perhaps you will reject it. There’s nothing wrong with that.

But to reject it, without knowing what it is, really is crazy. Your only other option is to unquestioningly accept whatever you are told by the government, globalist think tanks, multinational corporations and their mainstream media partners.

If you choose to believe that everyone who claims to have identified the malfeasance of officials, the crimes of government or the corruption of powerful global institutions, are all conspiracy theorists, then you have accepted that the establishment is beyond reproach.

If you also agree the same established hierarchy can not only determine what you can or cannot know, but can also set all the policies and legislation which dictates your behaviour and defines the limits of your freedom, you have elected to be a slave and don’t value democracy in the slightest.

Published:6/5/2020 11:32:48 PM
[] Attorney General Barr Provides Clarity on Handling of Riots Published:6/5/2020 2:01:40 PM
[Markets] Escobar: Why America's Revolution Won't Be Televised Escobar: Why America's Revolution Won't Be Televised Tyler Durden Fri, 06/05/2020 - 00:05

Authored by Peper Escobar via The Asia Times,

The Revolution Won’t Be Televised because this is not a revolution. At least not yet.

Burning and/or looting Target or Macy’s is a minor diversion. No one is aiming at the Pentagon (or even the shops at the Pentagon Mall). The FBI. The NY Federal Reserve. The Treasury Department. The CIA in Langley. Wall Street houses.

The real looters – the ruling class – are comfortably surveying the show on their massive 4K Bravias, sipping single malt.

This is a class war much more than a race war and should be approached as such. Yet it was hijacked from the start to unfold as a mere color revolution.

US corporate media dropped their breathless Planet Lockdown coverage like a ton of – pre-arranged? – bricks to breathlessly cover en masse the new American “revolution.” Social distancing is not exactly conducive to a revolutionary spirit.

There’s no question the US is mired in a convoluted civil war in progress, as serious as what happened after the assassination of Dr Martin Luther King in Memphis in April 1968.

Yet massive cognitive dissonance is the norm across the full “strategy of tension” spectrum. Powerful factions pull no punches to control the narrative. No one is able to fully identify all the shadowplay intricacies and inconsistencies.

Hardcore agendas mingle: an attempt at color revolution/regime change (blowback is a bitch) interacts with the Boogaloo Bois – arguably tactical allies of Black Lives Matter – while white supremacist “accelerationists” attempt to provoke a race war.

To quote the Temptations: it’s a ball of confusion.

Antifa is criminalized but the Boogaloo Bois get a pass (here is how Antifa’s main conceptualizer defends his ideas). Yet another tribal war, yet another – now domestic – color revolution under the sign of divide and rule, pitting Antifa anti-fascists vs. fascist white supremacists.

Meanwhile, the policy infrastructure necessary for enacting martial law has evolved as a bipartisan project.

Protesters jump on a street sign near a burning barricade near the White House during a demonstration against the death of George Floyd on May 31, 2020 in Washington, DC. Photo: AFP

We are in the middle of the proverbial, total fog of war. Those defending the US Army crushing “insurrectionists” in the streets advocate at the same time a swift ending to the American empire.

Amidst so much sound and fury signifying perplexity and paralysis, we may be reaching a supreme moment of historical irony, where US homeland (in)security is being boomerang-hit not only by one of the key artifacts of its own Deep State making – a color revolution – but by combined elements of a perfect blowback trifecta:Operation PhoenixOperation Jakarta; and Operation Gladio.

But the targets this time won’t be millions across the Global South. They will be American citizens.

Empire come home

Quite a few progressives contend this is a spontaneous mass uprising against police repression and system oppression – and that would necessarily lead to a revolution, like the February 1917 revolution in Russia sprouting out of the scarcity of bread in Petrograd.

So the protests against endemic police brutality would be a prelude to a Levitate the Pentagon remix – with the interregnum soon entailing a possible face-off with the US military in the streets.

But we got a problem. The insurrection, so far purely emotional, has yielded no political structure and no credible leader to articulate myriad, complex grievances. As it stands, it amounts to an inchoate insurrection, under the sign of impoverishment and perpetual debt.

Adding to the perplexity, Americans are now confronted with what it feels like to be in Vietnam, El Salvador, the Pakistani tribal areas or Sadr City in Baghdad.

Iraq came to Washington DC in full regalia, with Pentagon Blackhawks doing “show of force” passes over protestors, the tried and tested dispersal technique applied in countless counter-insurgency ops across the Global South.

And then, the Elvis moment: General Mark Milley, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, patrolling the streets of DC. The Raytheon lobbyist now heading the Pentagon, Mark Esper, called it “dominating the battlespace.”

Well, after they got their butts kicked in Afghanistan and Iraq, and indirectly in Syria, full spectrum dominance must dominate somewhere. So why not back home?

Troops gather during a demonstration on June 1, 2020 in Washington, DC. Photo: Joshua Roberts/Getty Images/AFP

Troops from the 82nd Airborne Division, the 10th Mountain Division and the 1stInfantry Division – who lost wars in Vietnam, Afghanistan, Iraq and, yes, Somalia – have been deployed to Andrews Airbase near Washington.

Super-hawk Tom Cotton even called, in a tweet, for the 82nd Airborne to do “whatever it takes to restore order. No quarter for insurrectionists, anarchists, rioters and looters.” These are certainly more amenable targets than the Russian, Chinese and Iranian militaries.

Milley’s performance reminds me of John McCain walking around in Baghdad in 2007, macho man-style, no helmet, to prove everything was OK. Of course: he had a small army weaponized to the teeth watching his back.

And complementing the racism angle, it’s never enough to remember that both a white president and a black president signed off on drone attacks on wedding parties in the Pakistani tribal areas.

Esper spelled it out: an occupying army may soon be “dominating the battlespace” in the nation’s capital, and possibly elsewhere. What next? A Coalition Provisional Authority?

Compared to similar ops across the Global South, this will not only prevent regime change but also produce the desired effect for the ruling oligarchy: a neo-fascist turning of the screws. Proving once again that when you don’t have a Martin Luther King or a Malcolm X to fight the power, then power crushes you whatever you do.

Inverted Totalitarianism

The late, great political theorist Sheldon Wolin had already nailed it in a book first published in 2008: this is all about Inverted Totalitarianism.

Wolin showed how “the cruder forms of control – from militarized police to wholesale surveillance, as well as police serving as judge, jury and executioner, now a reality for the underclass – will become a reality for all of us should we begin to resist the continued funneling of power and wealth upward.

“We are tolerated as citizens only as long as we participate in the illusion of a participatory democracy. The moment we rebel and refuse to take part in the illusion, the face of inverted totalitarianism will look like the face of past systems of totalitarianism,” he wrote.

Sinclair Lewis (who did not say that, “when fascism comes to America, it will come wrapped in the flag and waving the cross”) actually wrote, in It Can’t Happen Here (1935), that American fascists would be those “who disowned the word ‘fascism’ and preached enslavement to capitalism under the style of constitutional and traditional native American liberty.”

So American fascism, when it happens, will walk and talk American.

George Floyd was the spark. In a Freudian twist, the return of the repressed came out swinging, laying bare multiple wounds: how the US political economy shattered the working classes; failed miserably on Covid-19; failed to provide affordable healthcare; profits a plutocracy; and thrives on a racialized labor market, a militarized police, multi-trillion-dollar imperial wars and serial bailouts of the too big to fail.

Instinctively at least, although in an inchoate manner, millions of Americans clearly see how, since Reaganism, the whole game is about an oligarchy/plutocracy weaponizing white supremacism for political power goals, with the extra bonus of a steady, massive, upwards transfer of wealth.

US President Donald Trump walks back to the White House escorted by the Secret Service after appearing outside of St John’s Episcopal church across Lafayette Park in Washington, DC, June 1, 2020. Photo: AFP/ Brendan Smialowski

Slightly before the first, peaceful Minneapolis protests, I argued that the realpolitik perspectives post-lockdown were grim, privileging both restored neoliberalism – already in effect – and hybrid neofascism.

President Trump’s by now iconic Bible photo op in front of St John’s church – including a citizen tear-gassing preview – took it to a whole new level. Trump wanted to send a carefully choreographed signal to his evangelical base. Mission accomplished.

But arguably the most important (invisible) signal was the fourth man in one of the photos.

Giorgio Agamben has already proved beyond reasonable doubt that the state of siege is now totally normalized in the West. Attorney General William Barr now is aiming to institutionalize it in the US: he’s the man with the leeway to go all out for a permanent state of emergency, a Patriot Act on steroids, complete with “show of force” Blackhawk support.

Published:6/4/2020 11:34:30 PM
[In The News] Antifa Marked Richmond Federal Courthouse For Potential Arson, FBI Document Warns

By Andrew Kerr -

A federal courthouse in Richmond, Virginia, was vandalized with a mark indicating it was designated as a target for potential arson by antifa, according to an FBI report obtained by the Daily Caller News Foundation. The FBI report, issued Tuesday, said the graffiti was spotted one day after unidentified individuals ...

Antifa Marked Richmond Federal Courthouse For Potential Arson, FBI Document Warns is original content from Conservative Daily News - Where Americans go for news, current events and commentary they can trust - Conservative News Website for U.S. News, Political Cartoons and more.

Published:6/4/2020 5:53:23 PM
[Politics] Rep. Jordan: Not Surprising McCabe, Rosenstein Disagree It's not surprising that former FBI Director Andrew McCabe and ex-Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein disagree about the events surrounding the Russia probe, Rep. Jim Jordan said Thursday. "Somebody is not telling the truth because former FBI counsel Jim Baker told us... Published:6/4/2020 8:21:12 AM
[Markets] Johnstone: We Are Watching The Story Of America Crash Headlong Into The Reality Of America Johnstone: We Are Watching The Story Of America Crash Headlong Into The Reality Of America Tyler Durden Wed, 06/03/2020 - 19:00

Authored by Caitlin Johnstone via,

I have a bedtime story for you.

Once upon a time a brave nation liberated itself from the tyranny of the British empire and birthed freedom and democracy into the world. With the help of heroes like the abolitionists, Abraham Lincoln, Martin Luther King Jr and Malcolm X it overcame systemic racial inequality, and now it is a shining exemplar of human rights, the respected friend of free democracies around the world and the hated foe of all tyrannical regimes. It is not without its faults and its past mistakes, but it is the best leader and protector of the liberal world order that we could possibly hope to have.

I also have a waking up story for you.

Once upon a time a nation rose to prominence after emerging unscathed from two world wars which damaged the infrastructure of its competitors. The world’s major power players quickly coalesced around this new superpower and began maneuvering other nations into a tight empire-like alliance with it. After a long and gruelling cold war, this empire succeeded in toppling the world’s only other superpower and began working to absorb all other nations into alliance with it. If nations resisted, they were subverted, sabotaged and attacked until they either collapsed or allowed themselves to be absorbed into the imperial blob.

World-spanning power structures are now centralized around this nation, which is home to the largest population of billionaires on the planet and the mightiest military force in the history of civilization. An unfathomable amount of power revolves around this nation, so mechanisms have been put in place to ensure the stability of its status quo. These mechanisms include the most sophisticated system of propaganda ever devised, an Orwellian network of domestic espionage, increasing internet censorship, and, above all, a highly militarized police force.

The operators of this globe-spanning empire have always been acutely aware that the weakest point in their machine is the possibility that the hundreds of millions of people who live in this nation may one day decide that the imperial status quo is not serving them, and that they do not want to be ruled anymore. They know that the last line of defense against this happening is their ability to use extreme violence upon the population until they stop revolting, so they have no intention of ever giving up this ability. An entire planetary empire depends on it.

Now, if you’d been hearing the bedtime story your whole life but not the waking up story, you would naturally assume that demanding an end to police brutality was the most reasonable thing in the world.

You would naturally expect that if a police officer was caught on video deliberately strangling a man to death and then was not immediately arrested and prosecuted for murder, people would be understandably outraged and drastic systemic changes would be swiftly implemented to appease their anger. You would naturally expect the shining city on the hill to side with the people over a police force’s murderous tendencies.

If you’ve heard the waking up story, you would expect no such thing.

You would understand that racial disparities never left the nation in question, and that the establishment which still keeps J Edgar Hoover’s name on the FBI building has no intention of doing anything about the police force’s role in it. You would understand that the role of the police is not to protect and serve the people but to protect and serve the empire, in the exact same way that this is the role of the military. You would understand that the empire is no more likely to voluntarily dispense with the violent tactics of its increasingly militarized police force than it is to dispense with its air force or nuclear warheads.

They’ll supply all the empty words and take-a-knee photo ops you like, but actually voluntarily disarming themselves against their subjects is not something they’re planning on doing.

This does not mean that those demanding these changes are being silly or unreasonable; demanding that the police not murder you is the most sane and reasonable thing in the world, per what the police force purports to be and per what America purports to be. It’s just that neither the police force nor America are what they purport to be. The bedtime story and the waking up story could not possibly be more different.

That is what we are witnessing here. We are witnessing the head-on collision between the story America’s political, media and educational institutions tell Americans about what their country is, and the reality of what their country actually is. The disparity between the bedtime story and the waking up story has finally been stretched to a breaking point, and now the mask of free liberal democracy is coming off in front of everyone.

We are watching a population besieged by institutional racism, economic hardship and a pandemic virus finally pushed past the breaking point, and finding themselves crashing headlong into the most unyielding part of a planet-sprawling empire. The stories are slowly clearing from the air like tear gas, and the cold, hard reality is becoming exposed to a greater and greater segment of mainstream America.

And now the leader of this nation is openly threatening martial law and trying to designate black bloc protesters as “terrorists”. Video footage of police brutality is saturating social media faster than people can watch it, First Amendment violations are sweeping from coast to coast as police chiefs, mayors and governors try to see how far they down can squeeze freedom of assembly laws, and mysterious armed men in fatigues who refuse to say who they’re with are patrolling the nation’s capital. Prison riot specialists are being recruited as expert consultants because, in the eyes of the empire, the prisoners are rioting.

We are all watching from around the world as the citizens of the hub of the empire confront their oppressors in an increasingly violent battle of wills. The violence rips apart the thin veneer of narrative that was keeping the bedtime story intact all this time. We all watch as the tattered ribbons slowly fall to the floor.

Whoever controls the narrative controls the world. The empire is losing control of the narrative. In the long run, this can only be a good thing. Sunlight is the best disinfectant, and truth is always superior to fiction.

*  *  *

Thanks for reading! The best way to get around the internet censors and make sure you see the stuff I publish is to subscribe to the mailing list for my website, which will get you an email notification for everything I publish. My work is entirely reader-supported, so if you enjoyed this piece please consider sharing it around, liking me on Facebook, following my antics onTwitter, checking out my podcast on either YoutubesoundcloudApple podcasts or Spotify, following me on Steemit, throwing some money into my tip jar on Patreon or Paypal, purchasing some of my sweet merchandise, buying my books Rogue Nation: Psychonautical Adventures With Caitlin Johnstone and Woke: A Field Guide for Utopia Preppers. For more info on who I am, where I stand, and what I’m trying to do with this platform, click here. Everyone, racist platforms excluded, has my permission to republish, use or translate any part of this work (or anything else I’ve written) in any way they like free of charge.

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Published:6/3/2020 6:19:17 PM
[] When your school dean quotes a domestic terrorist Published:6/3/2020 3:49:32 PM
[Markets] Rosenstein Admits He Would Not Have Signed FISA Warrant If He Knew Of Exculpatory Evidence Rosenstein Admits He Would Not Have Signed FISA Warrant If He Knew Of Exculpatory Evidence Tyler Durden Wed, 06/03/2020 - 11:10

Authored by Daniel Payne via,

Former Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein told the Senate Judiciary Committee on Wednesday that he would not have signed the renewal of the FISA warrant for Trump associate Carter Page if he had been aware of exculpatory information withheld from the FISA court. 

Rosenstein was responding to a question from Sen. Lindsey Graham, who asked him:

"If you knew then what you knew now, would you have signed the warrant application?"

"No, I would not," Rosenstein said. 

"And the reason you wouldn't have is because ... exculpatory information was withheld from the court?" Graham asked, to which Rosenstein responded:

"Among other reasons, yes." 

Appearing before the committee on Wednesday for a hearing concerning the FBI's Crossfire Hurricane investigation, Rosenstein told senators that the Justice Department "must take remedial action" against any misconduct it uncovers within its ranks, a bracing statement made in reference to investigative reviews that found "significant errors" in official procedures related to the FBI's Crossfire Hurricane investigation. 

Rosenstein in prepared remarks noted that internal investigations had revealed that the FBI "was not following the written protocols" in its execution of Crossfire Hurricane. 

"Senators, whenever agents or prosecutors make serious mistakes or engage in misconduct, the Department of Justice must take remedial action. And if existing policies fall short, those policies need to be changed. Ensuring the integrity of governmental processes is essential to public confidence in the rule of law," he said.

Published:6/3/2020 10:15:26 AM
[Markets] The 10 Most Important Questions For Rod Rosenstein This Morning The 10 Most Important Questions For Rod Rosenstein This Morning Tyler Durden Wed, 06/03/2020 - 09:10

Authored by John Solomon via,

Two years ago, then-Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein chafed when asked whether congressional Republicans might have legitimate reason to suspect the factual underpinnings of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act warrants that targeted Trump campaign adviser Carter Page in the Russia probe.

Seeming a bit perturbed, Rosenstein launched into a mini-lecture on how much care and work went into FISA applications at the FBI and Justice Department. 

"There's a lot of talk about FISA applications. Many people I've seen talk about it seem not to recognize that a FISA application is actually a warrant, just like a search warrant. In order to get a FISA warrant, you need an affidavit signed by a career law enforcement officer who swears the information is true ... And if it is wrong, that person is going to face consequences," Rosenstein asserted.

"If we're going to accuse someone of wrongdoing, we have to have admissible evidence, credible witnesses, we have to prove our case in court. We have to affix our signature to the charging document," he added.

Rosenstein did affix his signature to the fourth and last FISA warrant against Page in 2017. And now in 2020, newly declassified evidence shows the FBI did not have the verified evidence or a credible witness in the form of Christopher Steele and his dossier to support the claims submitted to the FISA court as verified.

In fact, DOJ has withdrawn the very FISA application Rosenstein approved and signed after the department's internal watchdog found it included inaccurate, undocumented, and falsified evidence.

This morning (at 10amET), when he appears before the Senate Judiciary Committee, Rosenstein is likely to strike a humbler tone in the face of overwhelming evidence that the FBI-executed FISAs have been chronically flawed, including in the Russia case he supervised.

"Even the best law enforcement officers make mistakes, and some engage in willful misconduct," Rosenstein said in a statement issued ahead of his appearance. “Independent law enforcement investigations, judicial review and congressional oversight are important checks on the discretion of agents and prosecutors."

Republicans led by Chairman Lindsey Graham of South Carolina are likely to interrogate Rosenstein extensively as they try to determine whether the glaring FISA failures and the FBI's representations in the Russia probe were a case of misplaced trust or a deeper plot by unelected bureaucrats to unseat and/or thwart President Trump.

Here are the 10 most important questions those senators are likely to set out to answer:

  1. Did Rosenstein read the FISA warrant renewal he signed in summer 2017 against Page, review any evidence supporting it, or ask the FBI any questions about the case before affixing his signature?

  2. Does the former No. 2 DOJ official now believe the FISA was so flawed that it should never have been submitted to the court? Does he regret signing it?

  3. Given what he now knows about flaws with the Steele dossier and FBI probe, would Rosenstein have appointed Robert Mueller as the Russia Special Counsel if given a do-over?

  4. Did Rosenstein engage in a conversation with FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe in 2017 about wearing a wire on President Trump as part of a plot to remove the 45th president from office under the 25th Amendment?

  5. Who drafted and provided the supporting materials that Rosenstein used to create the scope of investigation memos that guided Mueller's probe?

  6. Does Rosenstein have any concerns about the conduct of fired FBI Director James Comey and Deputy Director Andrew McCabe as he looks back on their tenure and in light of the new evidence that has surfaced?

  7. When did Rosenstein learn that the CIA had identified Page as one of its assets — ruling out he was a Russian spy — and that information in Steele's dossier used in the FISA warrant had been debunked or linked to Russian disinformation?

  8. Does Rosenstein believe the FISA court was intentionally misled, or can the glaring missteps be explained by bureaucratic bungling?

  9. What culpability does Rosenstein assign to himself for the failures in the Russia case he supervised, and what other people does he blame?

  10. Does the former deputy attorney general believe anyone in the Russia case should face criminal charges?

You can watch Rosenstein's 2018 statement here.

Published:6/3/2020 8:13:30 AM
[Markets] Gordon Chang On China: What We Must Do, & What We Must Not Do Gordon Chang On China: What We Must Do, & What We Must Not Do Tyler Durden Wed, 06/03/2020 - 00:05

Authored by Gordon Chang via The Gatestone Institute,

China has attacked America with coronavirus. At this moment, more than 100,000 Americans have been killed. We brace ourselves for the deaths to come.

Today, I'll do two things. First, I'll talk about the nature of that attack. The second thing, what we must do to protect ourselves.

First of all, China is not, as many people will tell you, just a competitor. It is an enemy. China is trying to overthrow the international system, and in that process, it is trying to make you subject to modern-day Chinese emperors.

I know this sounds as if it cannot be true, but we must listen to what Chinese leaders say. When we do that, we realize that to defend the American republic and defend our way of life, we are going to have to decouple from China.

On May 6, President Donald J. Trump said that China's attack was worse than Pearl Harbor, worse than the World Trade Center. "There's never been an attack like this," he said, and he is right.

Most critically, Chinese leaders publicly admitted that the novel coronavirus, the pathogen causing COVID-19, could be transmitted from one human to another on January 20.

Yet doctors in Wuhan, the epicenter, were noticing the contagiousness of this virus no later than the second week in December. Beijing knew a few days after that. If Chinese leaders had said nothing during that five-week period, that would have been grossly irresponsible.

What they tried to do, however, was deceive the world into believing that this was not transmissible human-to-human. As a result of that campaign, the World Health Organization (WHO) propagated China's false narrative, especially with that infamous January 14 tweet:

"Preliminary investigations conducted by the Chinese authorities have found no clear evidence of human-to-human transmission of the novel #coronavirus (2019-nCoV) identified in #Wuhan, #China."

At the same time, Xi Jinping, general secretary of the Communist Party of China since 2012, pressured countries not to impose travel restrictions or quarantines on arrivals from China. Again, WHO helped China, this time with its January 10 statement opposing these restrictions.

What happened was arrivals from China -- when Chinese officials knew this virus was human-to human-transmissible -- turned what should have been an epidemic contained to China into a global pandemic.

I don't know what Xi Jinping, the Chinese ruler, was thinking, but if after having seen what the coronavirus did to cripple China, he decided to cripple other societies to get even, he would have done exactly what in fact he did do.

That means there is only one inescapable conclusion. This conclusion is that China maliciously spread this virus around the world, sickening people, killing others.

This is the first time in history that one nation has attacked all the others.

That is not all. After admitting the human-to-human contagiousness of this disease, Beijing then downplayed it.

On January 21, the day after formally admitting the disease's human-to-human transmissibility, Beijing got its propaganda machine in full gear to tell the world that this was less dangerous than SARS.

SARS is the 2002-2003 epidemic that according to the World Health Organization infected 8,096 people across the world, killing 744. By then, on January 21, Chinese officials knew it was much worse than SARS.

According to Der Spiegel, Germany's intelligence agency, the BND, believes that on January 21 -- this is the day after China formally admitted human-to-human transmissibility of the disease -- Xi Jinping spoke to Dr. Tedros, the director-general of WHO, and tried to get the organization to hold back information on human-to-human transmissibility, as well as to delay declaring a pandemic.

Now, WHO denies that this phone conversation between Xi and Tedros took place, but it fits known facts. It also fits what the US intelligence community has been saying, according to various reports.

China's actions had consequences. Beijing lulled public health officials around the world, including those in the United States, into not taking actions that they otherwise would have adopted.

Democrats and Chinese communists have criticized President Trump for acting too slowly after he imposed the travel restrictions on China on January 31. If that is true, it is only because people on his coronavirus task force were actually listening to what Beijing was saying and making judgments on what they had heard.

For instance, Dr. Deborah Birx, the White House coronavirus task force coordinator, in her March 31 press briefing said she had seen the data from China and decided that this was no more dangerous than SARS, but realized, after the infections ripped through both Italy and Spain, that she had been deceived by the Chinese. She is not the only one. Dr. Anthony Fauci has also talked in public about how the Chinese misled him.

We must impose costs on China. We must impose costs because, first of all, what China did was a crime against all of humanity. We must also impose costs because we need to deter China. This is not going to be the last pathogen generated on Chinese soil. We got to make sure the Chinese leaders do not believe that they can maliciously spread another disease.

This means there is going to be friction between China and the United States as we Americans take steps to protect ourselves in the future. Those steps are going to cause arrogant and belligerent Chinese to move against us.

We should take a look about how the arrogant and belligerent Chinese indeed view the international system, how they view the world order. You will hear many analysts say that the friction between the United States and China is just another one of these boys-will-be-boys contests in history.

The notion is that the United States is jealously protecting its position in the international system fits in with Beijing's narrative that their rise is inevitable and that we are in terminal decline.

The truth is that the United States is defending more than just its position in the international system. We are defending the international system itself, the system of treaties, conventions, rules, and norms.

Unfortunately, Xi Jinping, the Chinese ruler, does not believe in that system. He is trying to impose China's imperial-era notions of the world. In other words, he believes that everyone around the world must acknowledge Chinese rule.

In short, Chinese rulers believed that they had the mandate of heaven over tianxia, meaning "all under heaven." Xi Jinping has used tianxia-like language for more than a decade. Recently, his pronouncements have become unmistakable.

For instance, in his 2017 New Year's message he said, and I quote, "The Chinese have always held that the world is united and all under heaven" -- all under heaven -- "are one family."

If this were not enough, his foreign minister, Wang Yi, in September of 2017 wrote an article in Study Times, the Central Party School's influential newspaper. Wang Yi wrote that "Xi Jinping thought" -- "thought" in Communist Party lingo is an important body of ideological work -- "made innovations on and transcended the traditional Western theories of international relations for the past 300 years."

If you take 2017 and subtract 300 years, you almost get to 1648. Wang, with his time reference of 300 years, was almost certainly pointing to the Treaty of Westphalia of 1648, which established the current international system. That system recognizes the sovereignty of different states.

Also, when Wang Yi used the word "transcended," he was saying that Xi Jinping does not believe that there should be sovereign states, or at least no more sovereign states than China itself. The trend of Xi Jinping's recent comments is that he doesn't want to live within the international system. He does not even want to adjust it. He wants to overthrow it altogether.

This means China once again is a revolutionary state. Now, Xi Jinping, of course, has not had the power to compel others to accept this audacious vision of worldwide Chinese rule.

Nonetheless, in the last few months, he has seen an historic opportunity because the United States has been stricken by the disease that China itself has pushed out beyond its borders.

What must we do? First, let us talk about what we must not do.

We must not save Chinese communism again. In the past, American presidents, when China had been stressed, have ridden to the rescue of the Chinese state. In 1972, for instance, Richard Nixon went to a Beijing that had been weakened by more than a half decade of the Cultural Revolution, signaling America's support for China's communism. That is how people in China took that visit.

The second time, 1989, George H. W. Bush sent Brent Scowcroft, his secret emissary, to Deng Xiaoping in the wake of the Tiananmen massacre. Again, America was telling the Chinese, "Don't worry about American sanctions, don't worry about what we say in public, we have your back."

The third time, 1999, President William Jefferson Clinton signed a trade deal with China – at a time when the Chinese economy, in reality, was contracting. Certainly, China was suffering geopolitical setbacks. That deal was the basis of China's entry into the World Trade Organization.

Despite all these saves of Chinese communism, China's communist leaders have remained hostile. We have seen this hostility, especially since the first week of February of this year when the Global Times, which is a Communist Party newspaper, and the Chinese foreign ministry have engaged in an inflammatory disinformation campaign against the United States in an attempt to tar the US with all sorts of disease-related sins.

This campaign culminated, reached a high point -- although this campaign is still continuing today -- on March 12th when the foreign ministry went on a Twitter storm. As a part of that Twitter storm, foreign ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian said that coronavirus patient zero was in the United States.

In other words, the disease started here. He also suggested that the US Army carried the disease to Wuhan. We were seeing daily stories about how the United States had been spreading the disease around the world.

Now, Americans, of course, were taken by surprise by this Twitter storm, but we really should not be -- because on May 13 of last year Beijing declared a "people's war" on the United States. This means the contest with China is existential. There is going to be one survivor. It is going to be either the Peoples' Republic of China or the United States of America, not both.

We have just heard about what we should not be doing. We should not be rescuing Chinese communism.

What should we do? In my call for action, there are eight items.

First, we need to cut off trade with China. Now, I know a lot of people think we should not do this, or this would be unfortunate.

Yes, this is unfortunate, but the point is that China's communism cannot be reformed, so the only way we can protect American society and Americans is to reduce our exposure to China and our great exposure, of course, is trade. In any event, we should not be enriching a hostile state with the proceeds of commerce with the United States.

This means, of course, that we need to get our factories off Chinese soil, but especially our pharmaceutical factories. China has been threatening to throw the United States into what it calls "a mighty sea of coronavirus," and it has not been kidding.

For instance, we know the Chinese have turned around at least one ship carrying personal protective equipment -- masks, gowns, gloves -- that were on their way to New York hospitals. Moreover, Peter Navarro has said China has even nationalized one American factory in China producing those N-95 masks.

China's leadership always talks about how it is not possible for the US and China to "decouple." Now, it is possible. Our job is to make it inevitable.

Second thing that we need to do: The administration is well on the way to making sure federal pension money is not invested in China's markets. We also need to make sure that state pension money, and money from individuals, is not put into China's markets. We should not be enriching China with our investments into its equity markets.

Third thing, we need to make China pay. Now, many people have sued the Chinese central government. There are class-action suits in the federal district courts in Florida, Texas, and Nevada. Of course, the Chinese Central Government has sovereign immunity, but there are a number of bills in Congress, including one sponsored by Senator Blackburn and Representative Lance Gooden.

There is also another bill sponsored by Tom Cotton and Dan Crenshaw, and these would strip China of sovereign immunity. I believe Josh Hawley, the Senator from Missouri, also has a bill.

The State of Missouri, by the way, has sued the Communist Party of China, which is far more important and far richer than the Chinese central government. Guess what? China's Communist Party does not have sovereign immunity.

People have also been talking about seizing China's holdings of US Treasury obligations. According to official records, it holds more than a trillion dollars. In reality, it is probably a bit higher than that because China holds US Treasuries through nominees.

Of course, China would engage in a vociferous propaganda campaign if we did that. Beijing would say we are repudiating our debt. They would also say we are not responsible members and stewards of the global financial system. They would be wrong, they would be incorrect, but the US might suffer reputational damage.

That is why I think we should seize Treasuries, but we should be doing this in connection with the holders and issuers of other major currencies. For instance, the Canadian dollar, the British pound, the European Union's euro, the Swiss franc, the Japanese yen, maybe the Singapore dollar

When we act with others, this becomes not a China-versus-US issue but an issue of China versus the world. No one country is going to suffer reputational damage.

Of course, Beijing could nationalize American factories in China, but I'm not so sure they're going to do that because China would be hurt far more than we would by that.

Remember that China's economy is still in a contraction phase and it is still export-dominated, which means it needs those factories on its soil.

Fourth, with the possibility of the coronavirus escaping from the Wuhan Institute of Virology, we are now thinking about whether China has a biological weapons program in contravention of its obligations under the Biological Weapons Convention.

Right now, we have seen all sorts of circumstantial evidence suggesting lab leak, and we have seen all sorts of circumstantial evidence that the Chinese military has been involved in the cleanup.

The Biological Weapons Convention does not have an inspections regime.

The item on my action list is that the United States should insist on inspections of China's labs, and if we cannot get inspections we should withdraw from the Convention. I am not saying that the novel coronavirus was a biological weapon. We really do not know.

The one thing we do know is that in China's labs, they have been engineering coronaviruses in the past. They have issued scientific papers on this, and what they are doing is extremely risky.

Fifth, we should make sure that China does not mess in our elections. China was extremely active in the 2018 midterms. They were concerned about President Trump's tariffs, and they actually did have an effect in electing Democrats to the House of Representatives.

We know they are going to do that, or something like that, this time. The New York Times a few weeks ago said they are trying to sow chaos in the American public square by disseminating false rumors.

Sixth, we need to stop China from using its nationals to systematically gather information on our soil. Unfortunately, we have had a series of American presidents who have, for various reasons, either done nothing about China's intelligence operations here, or the actions they took were deliberately ineffective.

We know that China's diplomats operate on our soil, sometimes spying, other times in a manner inconsistent with the diplomatic status they have. Also, China's Ministry of State Security agents operate here, freely.

We need to "rip and replace" all the equipment in our telecom backbone that has been supplied by Huawei Technologies, China's telecom equipment manufacturer. China has been using that company's equipment to spy on others. We should have no Huawei equipment in our backbone.

Also, we should be turfing out even more Chinese journalists. Those "journalists," we know, work for China's intelligence services. We have allowed them to stay on our soil for far too long. Secretary of State Pompeo has expelled many of them, and we need to complete the job.

We have to remember that China's 2017 National Intelligence Law requires every Chinese citizen and every Chinese entity to spy if demanded, which means that Chinese nationals on our soil can be under a compulsion to engage in intelligence collection.

Seventh, let's remove China from our cable networks and our newsstands. We should not be allowing China to exploit the openness of our system to try to end it.

Eighth, and the last, we have to deter China, which right now is engaging in what people in Beijing call "wolf warrior" diplomacy. For instance, we see Xi Jinping, with these threats to invade Taiwan.

Since the middle of February, there have been these boat-bumping and other provocative engagements in the South China and East China Seas against almost all of China's sea neighbors. A Chinese diplomat laid the groundwork for taking over Kazakhstan, in Central Asia, and also China has moved to end the autonomy in Hong Kong.

China is lashing out, challenging everybody at the same time. This is a Maoist tactic, and it suggests problems inside the Chinese political system. In any event, we know that this is an incredibly dangerous moment for everyone.

One final note. Pushed by China, the Trump Administration is moving to an historic rupture with the People's Republic of China. Because of this, we are seeing changes in the five-decade-old engagement policy.

Those changes are absolutely essential for us because, without them, we cannot be self-reliant.

*  *  *

Q: As an attorney, do you feel there is any way to hold China accountable, liable for financial compensation to devastated nations ravaged by their actions?

If so, as a practical matter, exactly how? Are there US companies that were collaborating with Wuhan labs via research responsible for this corona strain?

Chang: Great. I should say I haven't practiced law for two decades, and I've given up my bar memberships. I'm more than happy to answer that question, however. First of all, as I mentioned, China does have sovereign immunity.

Now, a lot of people will tell you, and this is not an unreasonable argument, that sovereign immunity benefits the US more than any other nation. I do believe the fight with China is existential. To me, it's important that we make China pay.

As I said, we can avoid this sovereign immunity issue -- and which would have some blowback for the US -- if the plaintiffs sue the Communist Party. Because the Communist Party is not sovereign.

In China, there's a clear distinction between the party and the state. The state has sovereign immunity like other countries and other states have, but the party does not. We can go after the party.

By the way, the party actually has more control over China's enterprises, which means it should be considered to be the owner of those enterprises. So, it has assets to seize.

We talk about China's military. Actually, it is not a state army. It is an army of the Communist Party, which means that if we can find a Chinese plane, or a ship, or whatever, that would be subject to a successful suit in US Court because there's no sovereign immunity and it's a party army.

Having said all that, I think where we are going to seize assets will be the Treasuries. We should be working, as mentioned, with our allies and friends so that all countries in the world seize China's assets. That, I think, will work.

Q. Are there US companies that were collaborating with Wuhan labs via research responsible for this corona strain?

Chang: I don't think so. The Wuhan Institute of Virology was built with French companies, not American, as far as I know. Of course, the issue here is not corporate support but is US government support.

The US has chipped in, most famously, $3.7 million to the Wuhan Institute of Virology for research on bats. Many people think that the novel coronavirus is derived from a bat. I think part of the reason for the contribution is that the United States thought that experimenting on bat viruses was really too risky to be done in the US, so it decided to let the Chinese do it.

That is crazy. If it is too dangerous for us to do it, it's too dangerous for the Chinese to do it, especially because we know that in China's labs -- although the Wuhan Institute of Virology has a P4 biosafety lab, that is the highest level of safety standards -- we know that the Chinese do not adhere to those standards.

In 2018, State Department teams that visited the Wuhan Institute of Virology came away appalled -- actually I should say alarmed -- because they saw that Chinese technicians were not adhering to safety standards and protocols.

Also, we had those China Daily pictures. China Daily is an official state media publication. They tried to convince the world how safe the Wuhan Institute was so they posted these pictures, and those pictures actually documented broken or bent seals on refrigerators, a real safety problem.

We know that that lab was a walking disaster and something was going to happen. Unfortunately, it looks as if it did. Probably the coronavirus was an accidental lab release.

Q: How would you advise key US allies?

Chang: I advise every country to cut their trade relations with China because of the danger China poses.

The general view I have is that the world just needs to cut relations with China. If it were possible to reform Chinese communism, maybe that would be a worthwhile experiment, but we Americans have tried that for almost a half-century and it has not worked.

As a matter of fact, our engagement of China has produced the opposite of what we wanted. We now have a richer and stronger China, more belligerent, more provocative, more aggressive, and much more dangerous. We have got to reverse what was clearly then, and is certainly clearly now, a misguided policy.

Q: What can we do now to try and protect us from more of these viral attacks?

Chang: The less trade and travel we have with China, then the better we are going to be. If there is no Chinese traveler, there would be no global pandemic. There would be no infections outside China. What we are going to have to do is to severely restrict travel from China.

We have to do this at least until we get our hands around this issue. Clearly, we have not been able to manage this. We have this notion, and everybody accepts it, at least implicitly, about globalization, comparative advantage, all of these things that have underpinned our modern world.

Unfortunately, China does not believe in comparative advantage, it does not believe in being a responsible member of the international community. Unfortunately, the only thing we can do is what many people think is unthinkable, and that is to cut our ties with China.

We cut our ties until we feel comfortable dealing with China, which in my mind means that the Communist Party no longer rules, that the Chinese people govern themselves, and then we can get along with them. I believe the Chinese people eventually will get this right.

At least at the moment, until they get it right, we have an obligation to our own citizens to cut those links. Because without those links, we are not going to have the next disease. Remember, China produces, especially in southern China, a lot of disease. Most of the world's diseases do come from southern China.

This is not some academic question. Unfortunately, the remedy is severe, but I do not know how else we do this because you just cannot cooperate with China. You have got to cut your links.

Q: What might be possible in the way of the US government exposing details on high-ranking members of the CCP's overseas bank accounts, family dealings, and for instance, how Xi, on a government salary, paid for his daughter's attendance at Harvard.

The press has covered some of these things, but that is different from official confirmation and surely greater access to such things as bank records.

Chang: I think we should just publicize it, and seize the assets of Chinese leaders in the United States. We have the Global Magnitsky Act.

These guys, even before the coronavirus episode, were engaging in a crime against humanity with the detention of somewhere between 1.3 and 3 million Uyghurs, Kazakhs, and other peoples of Turkic backgrounds in what China calls Xinjiang, the northwestern part of China.

We know that people were dying in those camps because China has been building crematoria. We know that this is an attempt to eliminate a religion, to eliminate ethnic identity. This is very close to genocide. If it is not genocide, it is as bad as what the Third Reich did before the mass extermination of what, 1941?

That alone should give us justification for applying the Global Magnitsky Act and just seizing all their assets in this country. As I mentioned, I believe this was a deliberate spread of the coronavirus. More than 100,000 Americans have died. We have the right to do everything we can within our power to protect ourselves and to punish wrongdoers.

We may not be able to bring Xi Jinping to The Hague. We may not be able to put him in that prison we have in Florence, Colorado, otherwise known as the Supermax. We may not be able to put him in Guantanamo, but we sure can seize his assets.

Q: Please discuss what we need to do to regain the technology commanding heights, national industrial plan, whole of government, whole of economy, society, Sputnik-like program.

Chang: It is a whole-of-society approach. You go back maybe 10 years, China was not considered to be a tech competitor. Right now, it is ahead in crucial technologies such as, for instance, 5G, the fifth generation of wireless communications, and in quantum communications it has at least a half-decade lead on us.

This is really stunning because this whole theoretical notion of quantum communications was developed by an American, Albert Einstein. For us, this is just Americans not paying attention.

It is also, of course, China's stealing. China steals somewhere between $150 to $600 billion of US intellectual property each year, and now, the FBI is warning that it is trying to steal vaccines and medical-related information.

What China has been able to do, and it is more than just that, it has had determined programs to develop technology. For instance, China has its 13th Five-Year Plan, which is just about finished. It has the Made in China 2025 Initiative, where medicines and medical equipment comprise one of the 10 sectors that China wants to dominate by the year 2025.

These are, for China, a whole-of-society approach toward developing technology. We really need to do the same thing, and we can do it. President John F. Kennedy went to Rice University and said, "We are going to go to the moon." That was a time when the Soviets were well ahead of us.

Through federal programs, through cooperation with business, just through everything, we were able to put the first man on the moon. By the way, no other country has left earth orbit, but the Chinese probably are ahead of us in the race to get back to the moon.

For us, I think what we are going to have to adopt the whole-of-society approach. The one thing that we should focus on is our universities. We have Chinese students and others taking in ways which are sometimes violative of federal law, sometimes just inconsistent with their status on campus.

They have been stealing, downloading entire databases, doing all the rest of this. We need to stop that. I know Chinese students, Chinese professors play a large role in our campuses, but they have also been taking US technology. We need to end that.

For me, it means a renewed approach. One of the ways we can stop this is, we have allowed Chinese diplomats and Ministry of State Security agents to surveil Chinese students on campus. That means Chinese students feel really under a compulsion to do what Beijing wants.

We are Americans. This is our country. We can get those diplomats out of those campuses, get the Chinese agents off our soil. That is up to us. To me, this is important of course. I'm here because my dad came here as a student in 1945, just before the end of the war.

I think we have got a long way to go, to solving what I think is actually the most complex issue we face: what do you do with Chinese students on American campuses? There are no easy solutions, but we need to address this in a much more rigorous way than we have been. We must do all of those things, that means we have a whole-of-society approach.

Q: Pharmaceuticals, how can we best replace the Chinese market? And rare earth strategic elements. Does the US have adequate resources to produce our own? How can we best disconnect from the dependence on the Chinese market?

Chang: On rare earths, we have rare earths in our country and our allies' -- most notably, Canada and Australia -- have a lot of rare earths. What we do not have is the refining capacity. Stuff mined in countries other than China is actually shipped to China to be refined.

That has occurred because we do not want to suffer the environmental damage caused by refining rare earths, which in the past has really been awful. New technologies, and those that are coming on-stream now, mitigate much of the environmental impact. I think we need to start refining rare earths in North America.

If not here, then in Canada, which has huge deposits of many of the rare earths. It is a political decision for us to make, that we decide not to be dependent on China.

With regard to pharmaceuticals, Peter Navarro, President Trump's trade adviser, has been talking for weeks about an executive order that would require the federal government to not buy pharmaceuticals from China. That EO has yet to be signed.

I think there is intense fighting at the top of the administration: trade groups and pharmaceutical companies have been fighting that executive order. This is something the President needs to do. It is in his power.

He can wake up one morning and say to the pharmaceutical companies, "I don't care what you think. This is a national security issue." You remember that on July 21, 2017, President Trump signed that executive order on supply chain robustness.

We know on March 24 of this year he talked about what is now called his American independence agenda, which is Americans making things for Americans.

Remember, he has the power under the International Emergency Economic Powers Act of 1977 to do a lot of stuff, including getting pharmaceutical companies out of China. It's up to him. We should be, I hope, putting pressure on the White House to do what should be done because he is getting a lot of pressure on the other side. President Trump can do this.

Now, one other note. I do not do domestic politics, but I have noticed that there is an election this year. That is probably going to slow down the reaction of the president to many of the initiatives I think should be taken, but nonetheless, this is a really critical one. We cannot allow China to make our pharmaceuticals.

We should not be relying on any single country to the extent that we are relying on China, but certainly not a hostile regime that threatens to cut off products. Again, this is a question of American political will.

Q: How do we get other countries to join us in this effort? They are already getting blackmailed by China. If they criticize China, it punishes them over trade. Australia dared to join 100 countries asking for an investigation into coronavirus origin.

China responded by imposing 80% tariffs on Australian agricultural imports. How can we help other countries to stand up to China?

Chang: At the World Health Assembly, which just concluded, the resolution for an independent investigation of the origins of the coronavirus actually was sponsored by 144 countries. It passed without objection.

This is an investigation which China does not want, although China eventually saw the handwriting on the wall and decided not to oppose it. I think we get to this is a couple of ways. One of them is, the intelligence community, our intelligence community, has a lot of information which is going to throw a light on what China actually did, in terms of spreading the coronavirus.

I know that the intelligence community does not like disclosing a lot of this stuff because it compromises sources and methods. Every once in a while, you get an intelligence issue which is so critical to the future of our country.

I think that this is one of those where disclosure of information really is important. Once countries know what China did in terms of deliberately spreading this coronavirus, I think it is over for China.

With regard to Australia, because Australia was the second country to propose this investigation after we did, China has decided to punish Australia more than any other country, especially with those tariffs on barley.

This is one of those cases where we Americans should start buying Australian barley. We have got to show Beijing that we can out-muscle them. Remember, China looks fearsome because it has had economic growth.

China right now is in a contraction phase, and it has also got one other huge problem, and that is a lot of its Belt and Road loans to other countries are coming due this year. These countries cannot pay China back, which means China's debt-trap diplomacy is trapping not just the debtors, but it's trapping China itself.

What we should be doing is making sure these countries do not pay back, because this is one way to starve the beast. There are many different ways to do it, cutting off trade, cutting off investments.

Those are things we can do, and we can be working with our allies, our friends, and countries that normally are not our friends. They now have an interest in opposing China, so we should be working with them.

Q: To what extent do you consider Xi's position as head of the CCP to be precarious? Might concerns about his own vulnerability have anything to do with his renewed aggressiveness?

Chang: That's the question I wish I knew the answer to. There are a number of things that can be said. Of course, China's political system is not transparent. Especially at moments like this, it can be very opaque. I think this is one of those do-or-die moments for Xi Jinping. I mean that literally.

You have got to remember, Xi has changed the nature of the Chinese political system. Under Hu Jintao, his predecessor, it was collective, which means a Chinese leader really did not get blamed for things that went wrong.

Also, he did not get that much credit: all decisions were essentially made by consensus, especially at the Politburo Standing Committee, but even in the wider Politburo. The Chinese leader did not worry too much about things going bad.

Xi Jinping, of course, has taken that consensus system that he inherited at the end of 2012, and he has made it more or less into a one-person system where he is the one person. Which means, of course, he has the greater accountability that goes along with that great power.

Xi Jinping, even before the coronavirus, was having a pretty bad year, in 2019, because he had a stumbling economy. He had problems in Hong Kong. He had some pretty unhappy people in China.

What Xi has done is run roughshod over everybody. As long as he can do that, he is safe. You have got to remember, though: people have not forgotten what Xi Jinping has done to them in terms of taking away their power, putting their family members in jail, all the rest of this.

They are sort of waiting on the sidelines for an opportunity to strike back. When Xi Jinping stumbles, they will strike back. This is a particularly important time for Xi because what he is trying to do is intimidate the world with this "wolf warrior" diplomacy.

If he succeeds, he is golden. If he does not succeed, if the world starts to contain China, starts to reduce relations with Beijing, all the rest of it, he is gone. By gone, I mean, he not only loses his position, he also loses perhaps his freedom, his assets, and maybe even his life.

He has taken what was a consensus-driven system and made it like the Maoist political system of the first years of the People's Republic. When people lost political struggles, they not only lost power, they sometimes were executed.

Xi Jinping knows what is at stake right now. There are rumors -- I don't know how much weight to give them -- that he is not going to get a third term as general secretary at the next Communist Party Congress in 2022. I tend to believe them, but I think that has not yet been determined.

What is interesting is that people in Beijing are talking about that. Which means that it probably is an option for the party to ditch Xi Jinping at the next opportunity. We shall see.

Q: Can we analyze some of the pharmaceuticals or even vitamins that come in that possibly show pathogens because of their poor oversight and loose regulations?

Chang: The answer is yes. We have had in the past medicines coming from China that have been adulterated. For instance, in the middle of this decade, maybe even earlier, Heparin, the blood thinner, was adulterated.

I do not think China would intentionally try to adulterate their vaccines and stuff. Nonetheless, they have had these fake vaccines scandals periodically in China. One not too long ago. We have got to be very concerned.

China can actually get to a vaccine before anybody else does if for no other reason that they are willing to cut corners. It is important for us to make sure that whatever China comes up with is not only effective but also safe.

Xi Jinping at the World Health Assembly address that he gave a couple of days ago, said he was going to share the vaccine with the world. I am happy if that is the case, but we have to be concerned that what they come up with is probably going to be ineffective or dangerous.

The Chinese are not going to test. They are not going to adhere to the same safety protocols that the rest of the world will. We need to be really concerned about what comes out of China in terms of a vaccine.

Published:6/2/2020 11:12:16 PM
[Markets] Taibbi: Where Did Policing Go Wrong? Taibbi: Where Did Policing Go Wrong? Tyler Durden Tue, 06/02/2020 - 20:05

Authored by Matt Taibbi,

Crime has been down for decades, but incarceration is still sky-high and brutality cases keep tearing the country apart. Does policing in America need a fundamental re-think?

Watching all the terrible news in the wake of the police killing of George Floyd, it’s been hard not to think about Eric Garner. The cases have so many similarities. Once again, an unarmed African-American man in his forties has been asphyxiated in broad daylight by a police officer with a history of abuse complaints. He and his fellow officers ignore cries of “I can’t breathe,” and keep subduing their target even after he stops moving, unconcerned that he’s being filmed.

Five years ago, while sketching the outline for a book about the Garner case called I Can’t Breathe, my editor suggested I take on a larger question.

Why, he asked, do we even have police? After all, the history of policing in our country, especially as it pertains to minority neighborhoods, has always rested upon dubious justifications. The early American police forces evolved out of slave patrols in the South, and “progressed” to enforce the Black Codes from the Civil War period and beyond, on to Jim Crow through the late sixties if not longer.

In an explicit way, American policing has almost always been concerned on some level with enforcing racial separatism. Because Jim Crow police were upholding a way of life, the actual laws they were given to enforce were deliberately vague, designed to be easily used as pretexts for controlling the movements of black people. They were charged with punishing “idleness” or “impudence,” and encouraged to enforce a range of vagrancy laws, including such offenses as “rambling without a job” and “leading an idle, profligate, or immoral course of life.”

I ended up not taking on that questionfocusing on the hard-enough question of what had led two young, amped-up policemen to choke the life out of a harmless father and street character like Garner. I was more interested in those police than all police, and part of me – the white part, probably – thought the answer to the question of why we need police at all was at least somewhat self-evident.

But the Garner story ended up graphically revealing the way modern “Broken Windows” policing had evolved to fit the tactics of those centuries of racial enforcement. I learned that “vagrancy” laws had been replaced in cities like New York with essentially identical offenses like “obstructing pedestrian traffic” and “obstructing government administration.”

In Staten Island, a borough that to this day remains very segregated – white and black residents alike refer to the Staten Island Expressway that bisects black neighborhoods to the north and white neighborhoods to the south as the “Mason-Dixon line” – the young black men who lived in and around the Tompkinsville area where Garner was killed told stories of being stopped and ticketed whenever they crossed into the wrong neighborhoods.

The new strategies rely upon extremely high numbers of contacts between police and subject populations, who are stopped for every conceivable minor offense – public intoxication, public urination, riding bicycles the wrong way down a sidewalk, refusing to obey police orders, jumping subway turnstiles, and, in Garner’s case, selling loose cigarettes.

This idea of high-engagement policing was born in the mind of a Midwestern academic/corrections official named George Kelling. Kelling conducted a number of studies for think tanks like the Police Foundation and eventually co-authored a hugely influential 1982 article in the Atlantic called Broken Windows.

Kelling in his research found that while people may not actually be safer, they feel safer when there is less visible “disorder” in their neighborhoods, e.g. panhandling, litter, graffiti, etc. Also, research suggested such disorder was incentive to further disorder: as Stanford researcher Philip Zimbardo put it, “If a window in a building is broken and left unrepaired, all of the rest of the windows will soon be broken.”

“Broken Windows” revolutionized policing, changing it from a business of fighting crime to doing what Kelling described as “order maintenance.” If earlier police theorists like Orlando “O.W.” Wilson hoped to defeat crime by putting officers in squad cars and giving them advanced tools to react more quickly to offenses, the new strategy stressed stopping crime before it got started, by building and maintaining something not defined in law books – “order.”

Once again, police were charged with enforcing not rules but a way of life, and were asked again to view the law as more of a tool than an end in itself. The famous “Broken Windows” article spoke approvingly of officers in Chicago who read between the lines of the law to chase gang members out of a project: “In the words of one officer, ‘We kick ass.’”

The Kelling revolution was credited with early successes, like the cleaning up of the New York City subway. Soon the “Broken Windows” strategy (sometimes euphemistically called “community policing”) was the norm in big cities. Mass stops and arrests led to amazing numbers, like Baltimore under Mayor Martin O’Malley arresting 100,000 people in 2004 alone, or the city of Chicago stopping 250,000 people in 2014, a stop rate four times higher than New York in the peak years of “stop-and-frisk.”

When such policing became hot in the nineties, as advocates like Bill Bratton became national celebrities (here he is on the cover of Time in 1996 under the headline, “Finally, we’re winning the war against crime. Here’s why”), police departments became infected by a corporate-like mania for “goal-setting” and “deliverables.” There was no numerical way to impress politicians if police just worked cases as they came: to show progress, Bratton believed, one had to order police to produce concrete quantities of stops, searches, arrests.

Commissioners demanded captains deliver numbers and captains began browbeating lesser officers, who in turn pushed quotas on patrol cops, for reasons that often had nothing to do with crime. As depicted in the The Wire, in the stats revolution, “shit always rolls downhill.” The point was to get lieutenants promoted to captain, to get mayors re-elected, and help provide the rationale for the prison jobs state legislators were bringing home to suburban districts. All of this was greased by the lobbying money of construction firms, prison vendors, even private prison corporations – a great business for all, and all that was needed to keep it going was an endless stream of jailable people.

This is why, even as rates of both violent crime and property crime have been decreasing steadily since the early nineties, rates of incarceration have been exploding in the other direction. For most of the 20th century the rate of incarceration in America was roughly 110 per 100,000 people. As of last year, the number was 655 per 100,000. Although the numbers have dipped slightly in recent years, down from a high of about 760 per 100,000 in 2013, the quantity of prisoners in America remains absurdly high.

Such aggressive, military-style policing would be not be tolerated by voters if it were taking place everywhere. It’s popular, and continues to be embraced by politicians in both parties, because it’s only happening in “those” neighborhoods (or, as Mike Bloomberg once put it, “where the crime is”). Even during the Covid-19 crisis, 80% of the summonses for social distancing violations are given out to blacks and Hispanics. Does anyone really think that minorities account for that massive a percentage of those violations? Do they think black people really commit 3.73 times as many marijuana offenses as white people?

Basically we have two systems of enforcement in America, a minimalist one for people with political clout, and an intrusive one for everyone else. In the same way our army in Vietnam got in trouble when it started searching for ways to quantify the success of its occupation, choosing sociopathic metrics like “body counts” and “truck kills,” modern big-city policing has been corrupted by its lust for summonses, stops, and arrests. It’s made monsters where none needed to exist.

Because they’re constantly throwing those people against walls, writing them nuisance tickets, and violating their space with humiliating searches (New York in 2010 paid $33 million to a staggering 100,000 people strip-searched after misdemeanor charges), modern cops correctly perceive that they’re hated. As a result, many embrace a “warrior” ethos that teaches them to view themselves as under constant threat.  

This is why you see so many knees on heads and necks, guns drawn on unarmed motorists, chokeholds by the thousand, and patterns of massive overkill everywhere – 41 shots fired at Amadou Diallo, 50 at Sean Bell, 137 at Timothy Russell and Malissa Williams in Cleveland, and homicides over twenty bucks or a loose cigarette.

Police are trained to behave like occupiers, which is why they increasingly dress like they’ve been sent to clear houses in Mosul and treat random motorists like potential car-bombers – think of poor Philando Castile, shot seven times by a police officer who leaped back firing in panic like he was being attacked by Freddy Krueger, instead of a calm, compliant, educated young man. Officers with histories of abuse complaints like Daniel Pantaleo and Derek Chauvin are kept on the force because senior officers value police who make numbers more than they fear outrage from residents in their districts. The incentives in this system are wrong in every direction.

The current protests are likely to inspire politicians to think the other way, but it’s probably time to reconsider what we’re trying to accomplish with this kind of policing. In upscale white America drug use is effectively decriminalized, and Terry stops, strip searches, and “quality of life” arrests are unknowns. The country isn’t going to heal as long as everyone else gets a knee in the neck.

Published:6/2/2020 7:10:40 PM
[Markets] Truth Is What We Hide, Cover Stories Are What We Sell Truth Is What We Hide, Cover Stories Are What We Sell Tyler Durden Tue, 06/02/2020 - 16:25

Authored by Charles Hugh Smith via OfTwoMinds blog,

The fact that self-serving cover stories are now the norm is making it difficult to love our servitude with the slavish devotion demanded of us.

The need to suppress the truth and competing narratives arose with the emergence of urban elites whose power and wealth were threatened by any exposure of the self-serving nature of their rule.

Though suppression of the truth has a long history, it accelerated in the 20th century as totalitarian regimes embraced the technologies of mass communication and the marketing techniques of propaganda.

With the decay of the social contract and the emergence of monopolistic search and social media platforms, the suppression of competing narratives has accelerated as ruling elites tighten their grip in response to the unraveling of the social order.

Thus we get Federal Reserve Comedian Jay Powell claiming the Fed doesn't create wealth inequality, when it's pathetically obvious the Fed is the primary engine of wealth inequality. (Give me $10 billion at near-zero interest rates and I'll get rich, too.)

We can summarize the current era in one sentence: truth is what we hide, cover stories are what we sell. Jean-Claude Juncker's famous quote captures the essence of the era: "When it becomes serious, you have to lie."

And when does it become serious? When the hidden facts of the matter might be revealed to the general public. Given the regularity of vast troves of well-hidden data being made public by whistleblowers and white-hat hackers, it's basically serious all the time now, and hence the official default everywhere is: truth is what we hide, self-serving cover stories are what we sell.

The self-serving cover stories always tout the nobility of the elite issuing the PR: we in the Federal Reserve saved civilization by saving the Too Big To Fail Banks (barf); we in the corporate media do investigative reporting without bias (barf); we in central government only lie to protect you from unpleasant realities--it's for your own good (barf); we in the NSA, CIA and FBI only lie because it's our job to lie, and so on.

Three essays published long before the pandemic speak to the degradation of data and factual records in favor of self-serving cover stories and totalitarian political correctness.

Why we stopped trusting elites (The Guardian)

"It's not just that isolated individuals are unmasked as corrupt or self-interested (something that is as old as politics), but that the establishment itself starts to appear deceitful and dubious. The distinctive scandals of the 21st century are a combination of some very basic and timeless moral failings (greed and dishonesty) with technologies of exposure that expose malpractice on an unprecedented scale, and with far more dramatic results.

Perhaps the most important feature of all these revelations was that they were definitely scandals, and not merely failures: they involved deliberate efforts to defraud or mislead. Several involved sustained cover-ups, delaying the moment of truth for as long as possible.

(The selective coverage) "generated a sense of a media class who were adept at exposing others, but equally expert at concealing the truth of their own behaviours.

Several of the defining scandals of the past decade have been on a scale so vast that they exceed any individual's responsibility. The Edward Snowden revelations of 2013, the Panama Papers leak of 2015 and the HSBC files (revealing organised tax evasion) all involved the release of tens of thousands or even millions of documents. Paper-based bureaucracies never faced threats to their legitimacy on this scale."

From the Late Founder and Editor Robert Parry of the Consortium for Independent Journalism (via John S.P.)

When I was a young reporter, I was taught that there were almost always two sides to a story and often more. I was expected to seek out those alternative views, not dismiss them or pretend they didn't exist. I also realized that finding the truth often required digging beneath the surface and not just picking up the convenient explanation sitting out in the open.

But the major Western news outlets began to see journalism differently. It became their strange duty to shut down questioning of the Official Story, even when the Official Story had major holes and made little sense, even when the evidence went in a different direction and serious analysts were disputing the groupthink.

Looking back over the past two decades, I wish I could say that the media trend that we detected in the mid-1990s had been reversed. But, if anything, it's grown worse. The major Western news outlets now conflate the discrete difficulties from made-up 'fake news' and baseless 'conspiracy theories' with responsible dissenting analyses. All get thrown into the same pot and subjected to disdain and ridicule.

In academia, censorship and conformity have become the norm (Globe and Mail)

In truth, facts today are deemed controversial if they deviate from accepted narratives, and professors must self-censor out of fear of being condemned and losing their jobs.

Based on conversations I've had with colleagues still working in academia and from what I can tell about recent cases of censorship, the antagonism is primarily from left-leaning colleagues attacking other liberals.

These instances are indicative of a larger, worrisome trend -- instead of debating contentious ideas, those in opposition to them throw words ending in '-phobic' around, shutting the conversation down and pretending they don't exist.

For those who say ideas that denigrate members of society shouldn't be entertained, silencing the debate doesn't make hateful beliefs go away. In many cases, it isn't controversial findings that pose a threat; the threat comes from the possibility that others will use these facts to justify discrimination. But it's important that we distinguish between an idea and the researcher putting forth that idea, and the potential for bad behaviour.

With academics avoiding entire areas of research as a result, knowledge currently being produced is constrained, replaced by beliefs that are pleasant-sounding but biased, or downright nonsensical. The recent 'grievance studies' investigation, led by academics Peter Boghossian, James Lindsay and Helen Pluckrose, laid bare how bad the problem has become. The trio managed to get seven fake papers (but oh-so politically correct and hence "good to go"--CHS) accepted in high-ranking humanities journals.

In a consumerist-based culture accustomed to 24/7 selling of one self-serving story or another, the fact that self-serving cover stories are now the norm is making it difficult to love our servitude with the slavish devotion demanded of us. I've noticed a new twist on self-serving propaganda: an alternative opinion isn't debated, it's debunked, as if questioning the authorized narrative is by definition a "conspiracy theory" that can be "debunked" by repeating the authorized cover story enough times.

*  *  *

Of related interest:

Global Crisis: the Convergence of Marx, Orwell and Kafka (July 25, 2012)

Are You Loving Your Servitude Yet? (July 25, 2012)

Orwell and Kafka Do America (March 24, 2015)

The Ghosts of 1968 (February 14, 2018)

Recent Podcasts:

Meeting the Challenges of the "New Normal" World -- FRA podcast (44:21)

AxisOfEasy Salon #6: The Hanseatic League of Decentralized Crypto-States (55:44)

The Pandemic Has Revealed The Structural Fragilities Of America -- X22 Spotlight (31:55)

*  *  *

My recent books:

Will You Be Richer or Poorer?: Profit, Power, and AI in a Traumatized World ($13)
(Kindle $6.95, print $11.95) Read the first section for free (PDF).

Pathfinding our Destiny: Preventing the Final Fall of Our Democratic Republic ($6.95 (Kindle), $12 (print), $13.08 ( audiobook): Read the first section for free (PDF).

The Adventures of the Consulting Philosopher: The Disappearance of Drake $1.29 (Kindle), $8.95 (print); read the first chapters for free (PDF)

Money and Work Unchained $6.95 (Kindle), $15 (print) Read the first section for free (PDF).

*  *  *

If you found value in this content, please join me in seeking solutions by becoming a $1/month patron of my work via

Published:6/2/2020 3:40:10 PM
[] The video everyone is sharing of a black 'FBI agent' getting arrested is reportedly a year old and he's not an FBI agent Published:6/2/2020 1:44:38 PM
[2020 News] FBI seeks information/digital media of people inciting riots

FBI seeks information/digital media of people inciting riots. Hang ’em high time. The FBI is seeking information and digital media depicting individuals inciting violence during First Amendment protected peaceful demonstrations: — FBI (@FBI) June 1, 2020

The post FBI seeks information/digital media of people inciting riots appeared first on IHTM.

Published:6/2/2020 1:05:01 AM
[Markets] Gun Stocks Shoot Higher After Weekend Of Chaos Gun Stocks Shoot Higher After Weekend Of Chaos Tyler Durden Mon, 06/01/2020 - 12:30

Stocks of gunmakers and law-enforcement related equipment jumped on Monday after this weekend's violent nationwide protests following the death of George Floyd, a black Minneapolis man who died after a white police officer pinned him on the ground by his neck for over eight minutes.

Sturm Ruger and Smith & Wesson were both up over 10% in early trading, with the latter spiking nearly 30% at first print vs. Friday's close.

The spike comes as armed residents of upscale Bellevue, WA were seen defending their neighborhood.

Related industries shot higher as well on Monday, including law-enforcement providers ShotSpotter, Vista Outdoor, Sportsman's Warehouse Holdings, body-cam maker Digital Ally, Inc., and nonlethal restraint company Wrap Technologies, Inc.

And with word that Antifa is planning to invade the suburbs next (the last tweet before one of their primary accounts was suspended), ADT home security stock is spiking as well - up more than 12% as of this writing.

Meanwhile, here's a chart of the latest FBI background check information, which will be updated later today. Anyone care to guess what the next leg will look like?

Published:6/1/2020 11:32:02 AM
[Markets] Where Is Ghislane Maxwell Now? Where Is Ghislane Maxwell Now? Tyler Durden Sun, 05/31/2020 - 21:00

Authored by Gabrielle Bruney via,

Jeffrey Epstein is dead, but the accused pedophile financier is still surrounded by multiple mysteries. The source of his vast wealth still isn’t entirely known, nor have rumors that he may have trafficked women and girls to some of the world’s most powerful men been resolved. But one of the biggest lingering unknowns in the story is the status of Ghislaine Maxwell, Epstein’s longtime companion, who’s been alleged by Epstein survivors to have recruited young women and girls into the multimillionaire’s circle and participated in their abuse.

Maxwell has denied all accusations of being involved in abuse, and she’s never faced criminal charges. But it’s hard to know much more than that when it comes to her recent years, because no one knows exactly where she is.

“I've heard she's in Brazil, I've heard she's in France, I've heard she's in California,” Lisa Bryant, director of the Netflix docuseries Jeffrey Epstein: Filthy Rich, told Esquire.

“Who knows where she is, really?”

Who is Ghislaine Maxwell?

Maxwell is the youngest of Elisabeth and Robert Maxwell’s nine children, and was born in France in 1961. The family lived in an English mansion, and her father was the founder of a media empire and served in Parliament. Maxwell attended one of the UK’s most exclusive boarding schools and then Oxford University. As members of British high society, Maxwell mingled with some of the nation’s most celebrated families, and became friends with Prince Andrew.

Her father died in 1991, after falling off his yacht and drowning. It’s been speculated that his death may have been a suicide, as on the day he died he was due to meet with the Bank of England over the matter of his being in default on millions in loans. After his death, the British media dubbed him the “crook of the century,” when it was revealed that he’d taken hundreds of millions of pounds from his employees pension funds. Maxwell told one news outlet after her father’s death that she felt he was murdered.

She moved to the United States the year of her father’s death, and soon met Jeffrey Epstein. The relationship marked a second reversal of fortunes for Maxwell, whose family lost much of its wealth after her father’s death. In 2000, she moved into a $4.95 million Manhattan townhouse purchased "by an anonymous limited liability company, with an address that matches the office of J. Epstein & Co. Representing the buyer was Darren Indyke, Mr. Epstein’s longtime lawyer." She was his companion for years, managing his households and introducing him to her society friends

Maxwell and her father in 1984.

According to a lawsuit she filed this year in hopes of winning funds from the late financier’s estate, “While under Epstein’s employ, Maxwell was responsible for managing Epstein’s properties located in New York, Paris, Florida, New Mexico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands.”

“During the course of their relationship, including while Maxwell was in Epstein’s employ,” the lawsuit reads, “Epstein promised Maxwell that he would support her financially. Epstein made these promises to Maxwell repeatedly, both in writing and in conversation.”

However, a 2003 Vanity Fair profile of Epstein denied that Maxwell was an employee.

After Epstein’s 2008 conviction for soliciting prostitution from an underage girl, the two appeared to end their public association. In 2009, accuser Virginia Roberts Giuffre filed a civil suit against Epstein accusing him and Maxwell of grooming her into their alleged sex trafficking ring. However, Maxwell remained a fixture in New York society until around 2015. In 2012, she founded an environmental nonprofit called The TerraMar project, which folded in late 2019.

Epstein with Maxwell in 1995

Has she been charged with any crimes?

Though multiple survivors have alleged that Maxwell participated in Epstein’s alleged crimes, she’s never been criminally charged. One thing that could stymie potential efforts to level charges against Maxwell is the infamous 2008 plea deal that Epstein struck with the US Attorney for Miami, Alexander Acosta, which found him serving just 13 months in prison after initially facing charges that could have garnered him a life sentence. Jeffrey Epstein: Filthy Rich producer Joe Berlinger described the deal to Esquire as “unprecedented, unheard of sweetheart deal” that “included a non-prosecution agreement for named and unnamed co-conspirators.”

In April, an appeals court upheld the 2007 deal, writing in its opinion that the decision was “not a result we like, but it’s the result we think the law requires.”

Maxwell is currently suing Epstein’s estate for money for her legal fees, and for the price of private security, alleging that her “prior employment relationship” with Epstein has caused to her be subjected to death threats.

Maxwell at a 2016 event.

Where is Ghislaine Maxwell now?

Though once a fixture of the global high-society, Maxwell has been spotted rarely in recent years. Last summer, she was photographed at a Los Angeles In-N-Out Burger, though the authenticity of the photo has been disputed. Her New York townhouse was sold in 2016.

This month, it was reported that lawyers for accusers seeking to file a civil suit against Maxwell have been unable to locate her. According to ABC news, one alleged victim’s “legal team dispatched process servers to five addresses previously connected to Maxwell, including a multi-million dollar brownstone on Manhattan's Upper East Side, an apartment building in Miami Beach and Epstein's mansion on Palm Beach Island.”

Maxwell is also contending with other civil lawsuits filed by alleged survivors. Just this month, she won the right to delay her questioning in a suit filed by Annie Farmer, the sister of fellow Epstein accuser Maria Farmer, on the grounds that her testimony could be used against her in a current criminal investigation. But with the FBI allegedly investigating Maxwell, her story could be far from over.

Published:5/31/2020 8:26:21 PM
[2020 News] AG Barr orders 56 Regional FBI Joint Terrorism Task Forces to go after ANTIFA leaders.

AG Barr orders 56 Regional FBI Joint Terrorism Task Forces to go after ANTIFA leaders. They should have plenty of information to track these domestic terrorists down now. They’ve exposed themselves. Below is AG Barr’s statement.

The post AG Barr orders 56 Regional FBI Joint Terrorism Task Forces to go after ANTIFA leaders. appeared first on IHTM.

Published:5/31/2020 3:55:21 PM
[Markets] Trump Designates Antifa "A Terrorist Organization" Trump Designates Antifa "A Terrorist Organization" Tyler Durden Sun, 05/31/2020 - 12:45

In what should not come as a surprise to many (especially those with open minds and open eyes), President Trump has tweeted that he is designating Antifa a terrorist organization.

This decision comes almost a year after he first tweeted that he was considering labeling the militant, black-clad, mask-wearing 'anti-fascist' group as a terrorist organization.

"Consideration is being given to declaring ANTIFA, the gutless Radical Left Wack Jobs who go around hitting (only non-fighters) people over the heads with baseball bats, a major Organization of Terror (along with MS-13 & others)," tweeted Trump, adding "Would make it easier for police to do their job!"

And As Politico pointed out in September 2017, previously unreported FBI and Department of Homeland Security studies found that "anarchist extremist" group like Antifa have been the "primary instigators of violence at public rallies" going back to at least April 2016 when the reports were first published.

The question is what does this mean in terms of response. Deadly force allowed?

One thing is certain:

Somehow, we suspect this will not ease the tensions.

*  *  *

By way of background, we remind readers that Antifa has gained notoriety since the 2016 election for instigating violent confrontations with conservatives - most recently journalist Andy Ngo, who was beaten and robbed by members of Portland's Antifa cell, sending him to the hospital. 

In July, 2018, the same Portland groupl, Rose City Antifa, planned a "direct confontation" with participants at a pro-Trump rally - "calling for militant antifascist resistance against Patriot Prayer," according to a call to action on the leftist website, "It's Going Down."

The previous month, a clash between the groups ended up in a viral video of an Antifa member using an object to assault conservative Ethan Michael Nordean, also known as Rufio - who subsequently knocked out the 'terrorist' (or so he would be classified under the new declaration). 

Last week, GOP Sens. Ted Cruz (R-TX) and Bill Cassidy (R-LA) introduced a bill to classify Antifa as domestic terrorists - defining it as "a movement that intentionally combines violence with the group's alt-left positions," and "represents opposition to the democratic ideals of peaceful assembly and free speech for all." 

As noted by The Blaze, however, labeling Antifa as "Domestic Terrorists" may also require an entirely new law. 

federal law does not have the same clear-cut designation for domestic terrorism organizations that it does for foreign terror organizations (FTOs), explained Andy McCarthy in a 2017 column at National Review. 

"There are federal-law processes for designating foreign and international terrorism because defending against foreign threats to national security is primarily a federal responsibility," McCarthy explained, because foreign operatives have fewer civil rights protections than American citizens and that the best weapon against domestic terror is local law enforcement, not federal. -The Blaze

Why is the left so violent?



Published:5/31/2020 11:54:03 AM
[Politics] FBI's Top Lawyer Resigns as Agency Faces Pressure from Trump The FBI said on Saturday that its top lawyer, Dana Boente, had announced his resignation as the agency faces scrutiny over its investigations of former staffers and supporters of President Donald Trump.As a senior Justice Department official, Boente was involved in the... Published:5/30/2020 5:19:17 PM
[2020 News] JUSTICE DEPARTMENT FBI’s top lawyer, Dana Boente, ousted

FBI’s top lawyer, Dana Boente, ousted. Who’s up next? FBI Director Christopher Wray? After a 38-year career with the Justice Department, the FBI’s top lawyer Dana Boente was asked to resign on Friday. Two sources familiar with the decision to dismiss Boente said it came from high levels of the Justice Department rather than directly […]

The post JUSTICE DEPARTMENT FBI’s top lawyer, Dana Boente, ousted appeared first on IHTM.

Published:5/30/2020 4:49:18 PM
[America] What the Flynn-Kislyak Transcripts Tell Us

The Flynn-Kislyak Transcripts have been released.  They exonerate Michael Flynn and indict everyone else in the Obama Administration. perhaps even Obama himself, who conspired against Flynn. On January 4, 2017, the FBI agent overseeing the Crossfire Razor investigation of Michael Flynn drafted, but did not file, a memorandum.  In it,

The post What the Flynn-Kislyak Transcripts Tell Us appeared first on Bookworm Room.

Published:5/30/2020 12:45:32 AM
[Politics] Flynn Lawyer Powell To Newsmax TV: 'No Reason Whatsoever' For FBI, DOJ To Investigate Michael Flynn's lawyer said transcript summaries released Friday of his 2016 conversations with the Russian ambassador prove the FBI and Department of Justice had "no reason whatsoever" to investigate him. Published:5/29/2020 9:14:33 PM
[Markets] 'Nothing Improper, And FBI Knew It': Flynn Transcripts Released 'Nothing Improper, And FBI Knew It': Flynn Transcripts Released Tyler Durden Fri, 05/29/2020 - 19:30

Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-IA) released the transcripts between then-incoming National Security Adviser Michael Flynn and Russian Ambassador Sergei Kisliak, which revealed that Flynn asked Russia to take "reciprocal" against sanctions levied by the Obama administration over interference in the 2016 US election.

"I ask Russia to do is to not, if anything, I know you have to have some sort of action, to only make it reciprocal; don’t go any further than you have to because I don’t want us to get into something that have to escalate tit-for-tat," Flynn told Kisyak.

Despite clear evidence to the contrary, Former FBI agent Peter Strzok used that conversation as a basis to continue his investigation into whether Flynn was a potential Russian agent, according to recently unsealed court documents. The agency used the call as leverage to try to get the retired general to admit to a violation of the Logan Act - an obscure old law nearly a quarter-century old which prohibits private citizens from interfering in diplomacy (which, as it turns out, is standard practice among members of transitioning administrations).

FBI agent Joe Pientka, who interviewed Flynn with agent Strzok, wrote in his interview notes that he did not believe Flynn was lying to them during the interview - while other recently unsealed notes revealed that the FBI considered a perjury trap against Flynn to "get him fired."

After the FBI's malfeasance came to light, the DOJ moved to drop the case against Flynn - which US District Judge Emmet Sullivan has refused to do - instead asking a retired federal judge, John Gleeson, to provide legal arguments as to whether Sullivan should hold Flynn in criminal contempt for pleading guilty to FBI agents - which he now says he did not do.

Following the release of the transcripts, Sen. Grassley said in a statement: "Lt. General Flynn, his legal team, the judge and the American people can now see with their own eyes – for the first time – that all of the innuendo about Lt. General Flynn this whole time was totally bunk. There was nothing improper about his call, and the FBI knew it."

Earlier Friday, DNI John Ratcliffe declassified the transcripts and released them to Congress. See below:

Published:5/29/2020 6:45:34 PM
[106a32d6-26c7-5ed5-b521-55f8d584f9ad] Ian Prior: Trump right to order fed investigation of Floyd death in Minneapolis – here’s what could happen now President Trump was absolutely right to direct the Justice Department and FBI Thursday to conduct an expedited investigation of the death of George Floyd, an African-American man who died in the custody of Minneapolis police Monday. Published:5/29/2020 4:10:31 AM
[Politics] Former FBI intel director explains just how ABYSMAL Peter Strzok’s official justification was for Crossfire Hurricane A former intelligence director for the FBI, Kevin R. Brock, said a newly declassified document came out last week in which there’s been very little reporting. It was the origin document for . . . Published:5/28/2020 7:07:04 PM
[Politics] Former FBI intel director explains just how ABYSMAL Peter Strzok’s official justification was for Crossfire Hurricane A former intelligence director for the FBI, Kevin R. Brock, said a newly declassified document came out last week in which there’s been very little reporting. It was the origin document for . . . Published:5/28/2020 7:07:04 PM
[Markets] US Lawmakers Propose Total Ban On STEM Visas For Chinese Students US Lawmakers Propose Total Ban On STEM Visas For Chinese Students Tyler Durden Thu, 05/28/2020 - 10:45

As the White House prepares to eject Chinese graduate students with ties to the PLA, three US lawmakers are taking things a step further - proposing a bill which would ban mainland Chinese students from studying STEM subjects in the United States.

Chinese and other international students wave flags at 2018 Columbia University commencement ceremony.

Two senators and one House member said on Wednesday that the Secure Campus Act would bar Chinese nationals from obtaining visas for graduate or postgraduate studies in science, technology, engineering and mathematics. Students from Taiwan and Hong Kong would be exempt, according to SCMP.

"The Chinese Communist Party has long used American universities to conduct espionage on the United States," said Sen. Tom Cotton (R-AK), one of the bill's sponsors, adding "What’s worse is that their efforts exploit gaps in current law. It’s time for that to end."

"The Secure Campus Act will protect our national security and maintain the integrity of the American research enterprise."

The proposed legislation comes as diplomatic relations have fractured between the world’s two largest economies. The fissures started to show during a trade war that has been rumbling on for almost two years and have only widened amid accusations about the handling of the Covid-19 disease outbreak , and the treatment of ethnic minority groups in China.

Hong Kong is the latest flashpoint after Beijing drew up a national security law that Washington says tramples on the city’s mini-constitution. The US threatened retaliation over the move. -SCMP

The bill will also tackle China's efforts to recruit talent overseas through their Thousand Talents Program, an operation launched in 2008 by the CCP which seeks out international experts in scientific research, innovation and entrepreneurship. It proposes that participants in China's recruitment of foreigners be made to register under the Foreign Agents Registration Act (FARA), and would prohibit Chinese nationals and those participating in China-sponsored programs from receiving federal grants or working on federally funded R&D in STEM fields.

Any university, research institute or laboratory receiving federal funding would be required to attest that they are not knowingly employing participants in China's recruitment programs - a list of which the US Secretary of State would publish.

US law enforcement and educational agencies have raised red flags about undisclosed ties between federally funded researchers and foreign governments. A crackdown has included indictments and dismissals.

In January, Charles Lieber, 60, chairman of the chemistry and chemical biology department at Harvard University, was arrested and charged for lying about his involvement in the Thousand Talents Programme. -SCMP

Meanwhile, earlier this month a professor at the University of Arkansas who received millions of dollars in research grants, including $500,000 from NASA, was arrested and charged with one count of wire fraud.

According to the FBI, Ang failed to disclose that he was getting paid by a Chinese university and Chinese companies in violation of university policy. He is accused of making false statements while failing to disclose his extensive ties to China as a member of the "Thousand Talents Scholars" program.

63-year-old Simon Saw-Teong Ang is the director of the school's High Density Electronics Center, which received funding from the National Science Foundation (NSF), Department of Energy (DOE), Department of Defense (DOD) and NASA. Since 2013, Ang has been the primary investigator or co-investigator on US government-funded grants totaling over $5 million, according to the Washington Examiner.

In November, the Senate Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations chaired by Sen. Rob Portman (R-OH) released a 109-page bipartisan report which concluded that foreign nations "seek to exploit America’s openness to advance their own national interests," the most ambitious of which "has been China," according to the Examiner. According to the report, Chinese academics involved in their so-called 'Thousand Talents' program have been exploiting access to US research labs.


According to SCMP, members of the US scientific community see the US as unfairly targeting Chinese colleagues, and that the campaigns will discourage talented individuals from pursuing studies at US universities.

"While we must be vigilant to safeguard research, we must also ensure that the US remains a desirable and welcoming destination for researchers from around the world," wrote members of 60 groups - including the American Association for the Advancement of Science and the Federation of American Scientists, in a 2019 letter to science policy officials.

The US lawmakers' proposal follows China's March decision to revoke the press credentials for US journalists from three major US newspapers - declaring five US media outlets to be foreign government proxies. In February, the Trump administration labeled five Chinese state media groups as "foreign missions" (via SCMP).

Published:5/28/2020 10:04:34 AM
[Markets] These FBI Docs Put Barack Obama In The Middle Of The 'Obamagate' Narrative These FBI Docs Put Barack Obama In The Middle Of The 'Obamagate' Narrative Tyler Durden Wed, 05/27/2020 - 22:45

Authored by John Solomon via,

Agents fretted sharing Flynn intel with departing Obama White House would become fodder for ‘partisan axes to grind.’

Just 17 days before President Trump took office in January 2017, then-FBI counterintelligence agent Peter Strzok texted bureau lawyer Lisa Page, his mistress, to express concern about sharing sensitive Russia probe evidence with the departing Obama White House.

Strzok had just engaged in a conversation with his boss, then-FBI Assistant Director William Priestap, about evidence from the investigation of incoming National Security Adviser Michael Flynn, codenamed Crossfire Razor, or “CR” for short.

The evidence in question were so-called "tech cuts" from intercepted conversations between Flynn and Russian ambassador Sergey Kislyak, according to the texts and interviews with officials familiar with the conversations.

Strzok related Priestap’s concerns about the potential the evidence would be politically weaponized if outgoing Director of National Intelligence James Clapper shared the intercept cuts with the White House and President Obama, a well-known Flynn critic.

“He, like us, is concerned with over sharing,” Strzok texted Page on Jan. 3, 2017, relating his conversation with Priestap.

“Doesn’t want Clapper giving CR cuts to WH. All political, just shows our hand and potentially makes enemies.”

Page seemed less concerned, knowing that the FBI was set in three days to release its initial assessment of Russian interference in the U.S. election.

“Yeah, but keep in mind we were going to put that in the doc on Friday, with potentially larger distribution than just the DNI,” Page texted back.

Strzok responded, “The question is should we, particularly to the entirety of the lame duck usic [U.S Intelligence Community] with partisan axes to grind.”

That same day Strzok and Page also discussed in text messages a drama involving one of the Presidential Daily Briefings for Obama.

“Did you follow the drama of the PDB last week?” Strzok asked.

"Yup. Don’t know how it ended though,” Page responded.

“They didn’t include any of it, and Bill [Priestap] didn’t want to dissent,” Strzok added.

“Wow, Bill should make sure [Deputy Director] Andy [McCabe] knows about that since he was consulted numerous times about whether to include the reporting,” Page suggested.

You can see the text messages recovered from Strzok's phone here.

The text messages, which were never released to the public by the FBI but were provided to this reporter in September 2018, have taken on much more significance to both federal and congressional investigators in recent weeks as the Justice Department has requested that Flynn’s conviction be thrown out and his charges of lying to the FBI about Kislyak dismissed.

U.S. Attorney Jeff Jensen of Missouri (special prosecutor for DOJ), the FBI inspection division, three Senate committees and House Republicans are all investigating the handling of Flynn's case and whether any crimes were committed or political influence exerted.

The investigators are trying to determine whether Obama’s well-known disdain for Flynn, a career military intelligence officer, influenced the decision by the FBI leadership to reject its own agent’s recommendation to shut down a probe of Flynn in January 2017 and instead pursue an interview where agents might catch him in a lie.

They also want to know whether the conversation about the PDB involved Flynn and "reporting" the FBI had gathered by early January 2017 showing the incoming national security adviser was neither a counterintelligence nor a criminal threat.

“The evidence connecting President Obama to the Flynn operation is getting stronger,” one investigator with direct knowledge told me.

“The bureau knew it did not have evidence to justify that Flynn was either a criminal or counterintelligence threat and should have shut the case down. But the perception that Obama and his team would not be happy with that outcome may have driven the FBI to keep the probe open without justification and to pivot to an interview that left some agents worried involved entrapment or a perjury trap.”

The investigator said more interviews will need to be done to determine exactly what role Obama’s perception of Flynn played in the FBI’s decision making.

Recently declassified evidence show a total of 39 outgoing Obama administration officials sought to unmask Flynn's name in intelligence interviews between Election Day 2016 and Inauguration Day 2017, signaling a keen interest in Flynn's overseas calls.

Former Whitewater Independent Counsel Robert Ray said Friday that the Flynn matter was at the very least a "political scandal of the highest order" and could involve criminal charges if evidence emerges that officials lied or withheld documents to cover up what happened.

"I imagine there are people who are in the know who may well have knowingly withheld information from the court and from defense counsel in connection with the Michael Flynn prosecution," Ray told Fox News.

"If it turns out that that can be proved, then there are going to be referrals and potential false statements, and/or perjury prosecutions to hold those, particularly those in positions of authority, accountable," he added.

Investigators have created the following timeline of key events through documents produced piecemeal by the FBI over two years:

  • April 2014: Flynn is forced out as the chief of DIA by Obama after clashing with the administration over the Syrian civil war, the rise of ISIS, and other policies. The Obama administration blames his management style for the departure.

  • July 31, 2016: FBI opens Crossfire Hurricane probe into possible ties between Trump campaign and Russia, focused on Trump campaign adviser George Papadopoulos. Flynn is not an initial target of that probe.

  • Aug. 15, 2016: Strzok and Page engage in their infamous text exchange about having an insurance policy just in case Trump should be elected. “I want to believe the path you threw out for consideration in Andy's office — that there's no way he gets elected — but I'm afraid we can't take that risk. It's like an insurance policy in the unlikely event you die before you're 40,” one text reads.

  • Aug. 16, 2016: FBI opens a sub-case under the Crossfire Hurricane umbrella codenamed Crossfire Razor focused on whether Flynn was wittingly or unwittingly engaged in inappropriate Russian contact.

  • Aug. 17, 2016: FBI and DNI provide Trump and Flynn first briefing after winning the nomination, including on Russia. FBI slips in an agent posing as an assistant for the briefing to secretly get a read on Flynn for the new investigation, according to the Justice Department inspector general report on Russia case. “SSA 1 told us that the briefing provided him ‘the opportunity to gain assessment and possibly some level of familiarity with [Flynn]. So, should we get to the point where we need to do a subject interview ... would have that to fall back on,’” the IG report said.

  • Sept, 2, 2016: While preparing a talking points memo for Obama ahead of a conversation with Russian leader Vladimir Putin involving Russian election interference, Page texts Strzok that Obama wants to be read-in on everything the FBI is doing on the Russia collusion case. “POTUS wants to know everything we’re doing,” Page texted.

  • Sept. 5, 2016: During an international summit in China, Obama meets face-to-face with Putin and tells him to “cut it out” with election meddling.

  • Nov. 10, 2016: Two days after Trump won the election, the president-elect meets with Obama at the White House and the outgoing president encourages the incoming president not to hire Flynn as an adviser.

  • Jan. 3, 2017: Strzok and Page engage in the text messages about Obama’s daily briefing and the concerns about giving the Flynn intercept cuts to the White House.

  • Jan. 4, 2017: Lead agent in Flynn Crossfire Razor probe prepares closing memo recommending the case be shut down for lack of derogatory evidence. Strzok texts agent asking him to stop the closing memo because the “7th floor” leadership of the FBI is now involved.

  • Jan. 5, 2017: Deputy Attorney General Sally Yates attends Russia briefing with Obama at the White House and is stunned to learn Obama already knows about the Flynn-Kislyak intercept. Then-FBI Director James Comey claims Clapper told the president, but Clapper has denied telling Obama.

  • Jan. 5–23, 2017: FBI prepares to conduct an interview of Flynn. The discussions lead Priestap, the assistant director, to openly question in his handwritten notes whether the bureau was “playing games” and trying to get Flynn to lie so “we can prosecute him or get him fired.”

  • Jan. 24, 2017: FBI conducts interview with Flynn.

Investigators are trying to determine whether Obama asked for the Flynn intercept or it was offered to him and by whom. They also want to know how many times Comey and Obama talked about Flynn in December 2016 and January 2017.

“We need to determine what motivated the FBI on Jan. 4, 2017 to overrule its own agent who believed Flynn was innocent and the probe should be closed,” one investigator said.

Published:5/27/2020 9:46:23 PM
[] Minneapolis citizens protest the police killing of George Floyd by looting Target Published:5/27/2020 7:47:48 PM
[Markets] Rickards: The Coin-Toss Election Rickards: The Coin-Toss Election Tyler Durden Wed, 05/27/2020 - 20:45

Authored by James Rickards via The Daily Reckoning,

The political climate is fragile and feverish, with the nation amid a crisis that is both fast-changing and unparalleled in living memory.

The biggest change in my election forecast is that Trump’s chances of reelection in November have plunged from 74% (the pre-COVID forecast) to 50% as of today.

This does not mean Trump will lose; he could very well win. But it will be a very close election.

Deciding the outcome between Trump and Biden as of now is basically a coin toss. Many factors, some foreseeable and some unforeseen, could tip the balance.

Trump’s strengths are that he is an excellent campaigner, has enormous amounts of mo?ney for the campaign and seems to have unlimited stores of energy. He also has the power of incumbency, which usually propels a sitting president to a second term.

Trump’s weaknesses are the depth of the New Depression and his handling of the COVID-19 pandemic. Amost no one blames Trump for the outbreak, but many found his response belated and overly optimistic in the initial stages. He did some things right (the China travel ban), but many responses were bungled (defective testing kits, shortages of masks and protective clothing, shortages of ventilators).

In stages, these mistakes were overcome. Masks and protective clothing were mass-produced. Ventilators were surged to those locations that most needed them. New hospital beds were made available through Navy hospital ships and temporary hospitals built by the Army Corps of Engineers. Testing kits gradually became available, although there is still a severe shortage.

Instead of taking credit in a measured way for these positive developments, Trump wasted time in petty disputes with corrupt journalists. Those fights might be OK in the normal political arena, but there’s nothing normal about a pandemic. Trump didn’t seem to know the difference and alienated even his supporters in the process with his pontificating and sideshow antics.

These Trump deficiencies (despite many positive accomplishments) began to show up in the polls.

Large employment losses in states that Trump must carry, especially Pennsylvania, will not help Trump’s chances in November. On the other hand, if Trump can reopen the economy and recover some of these losses, he may benefit from a positive trend even if net losses remain.

What about Joe Biden?

Biden may have pulled even with Trump in the election horse race, but he’s not a sure thing by any means. Before Biden can even turn to the campaign against Trump, he must still try to obtain unity in his own party.

Bernie Sanders withdrew from the race, which essentially guaranteed the nomination for Biden. But will the “Bernie Bros” actually turn out on Election Day? Key components of the Democratic base might not be motivated to vote.

The left wants a Biden administration ban on anyone who has worked on or near Wall Street, the fossil fuel industry, the health insurance sector and the lobbying world, to name a few.

In short, the price that Bernie Sanders’ supporters are demanding from Biden may well make Biden unelectable in key swing states like Florida, Pennsylvania, Michigan and Wisconsin.

If Biden does not embrace the socialist agenda, his lost support from the Sanders movement may make him unelectable for other reasons. Biden is between a rock and a hard place, and the Bernie Bros intend to keep him there in order to pursue their goals.

One way for Biden to appease the Bernie Sanders movement without going all-in on the progressive agenda is to choose a progressive running mate. In the eyes of progressives, the right running mate will be able to “keep an eye” on Biden and pursue the Bernie agenda inside the White House even if the specifics are not shouted from the rooftops.

Here’s a summary of the struggle going on inside the Biden camp regarding a VP choice as reported by Tal Axelrod for The Hill on April 19, in an article titled “Progressives Look for Concession From Biden With Running Mate”:

“Joe Biden absolutely has to pick a progressive champion as his VP pick. He has to unify the party, and that’s the key,” Charles Chamberlain, head of Democracy for America, told The Hill. “What we saw during the primary is… that we have two major factions of this party, the corporate wing, more establishment Democrats, and there is [the] progressive, ascendant left. And he absolutely has to choose from that progressive left to unify the party.”

Biden could pick from a number of progressive women to serve as his VP. Among the most prominent contenders who have been floated are [Elizabeth] Warren and Stacey Abrams, the former Georgia gubernatorial candidate and state House minority leader.

Both have openly expressed interest in the role, with Abrams saying she would be an “excellent” running mate for Biden and Warren confirming that she would accept an offer to be his No. 2.

Amy Klobuchar, the Minnesota senator, has also been mentioned as a leading candidate.

There are others, but these three have gotten the most attention.

But there’s no free lunch for Biden. The choice of Stacey Abrams for vice president would undoubtedly rally progressive and minority voters to turn out for Biden. That’s critical. But it helps Biden in places he is highly likely to win anyway such as California and New York.

Abrams’ ultra-leftist views and strident persona would drive away many moderates in critical swing states such as Michigan and Pennsylvania and possibly tip those states to Trump.

What we have today is a too-close-to-call election and six long months to go before Election Day.

Trump is aided by a solid base and a well-organized campaign strategy. Biden is aided by an electoral vote head start in big states like California and New York and a friendly media that will not criticize his many shortcomings.

The Democrats may hold a “digital” convention and keep Biden under wraps as much as possible until the October debates (where his cognitive decline may be difficult to disguise).

Republicans want to get the economy open for business and show some growth in the aftermath of a second-quarter collapse.

But there is one potential development that could move the odds in Trump’s favor…

Remember the “Russia collusion” accusations against Trump? The accusation was that he colluded with Russians to interfere in the 2016 presidential election. Trump campaign aides and early appointees such as Gen. Michael Flynn, Carter Page, George Papadopoulos and others were all said to be in on the conspiracy to “steal the election.”

There was only one problem with these claims. None of them were true. Multiple congressional investigations all reached the conclusion that there was no merit to the claims. The two-year, $30 million Mueller investigation found no evidence of Russian collusion by Trump or his team.

Multiple internal reviews and inspector general reports not only found no collusion, but also revealed extensive wrongdoing by the FBI and the U.S. intelligence community when it came to false representations, doctored reports, illegal surveillance of American citizens and other egregious abuse of constitutional rights.

Well, a day of reckoning may be coming soon. U.S. attorney John Durham has been conducting a multiyear investigation of his own at the request of the U.S. attorney general, William Barr. This investigation targets the wrongdoers in the Obama administration Justice Department, intelligence community and diplomatic corps.

High-profile subjects of inquiry include former FBI head James Comey, former National Security Adviser Susan Rice, former U.N. Ambassador Samantha Power and many other former high-ranking officials.

Guess what? Joe Biden has been listed as someone who requested and was privy to these reports, which raises serious questions.

The Durham investigation is criminal, so a wave of indictments and prosecutions may be coming soon. The exact timing is uncertain, but mid-July seems a likely date for announcement of the results of the investigation and any indictments.

Attorney General William Barr said Monday that he doesn’t expect criminal charges to be filed against Biden (or Obama). But Biden’s involvement in the Russiagate scandal could have implications for the election. We’ll see.

Investors have their hands full today dealing with the Wuhan virus, the new depression and an unsteady stock market. Now you can add legal fireworks to the list of things that may disrupt markets.

Published:5/27/2020 7:47:47 PM
[Politics] Jim Jordan to Newsmax TV: I Hope Comey Held Accountable The ranking Republican on the House judiciary and oversight committees, Jim Jordan, told Newsmax TV on Wednesday that he believed former FBI Director Jim Comey was the "central player" in abuses of federal power... Published:5/27/2020 7:16:47 PM
[Markets] NSA's Social Network Mapping is More Vast, Omnipresent, & Horrifying Than Snowden Revealed NSA's Social Network Mapping is More Vast, Omnipresent, & Horrifying Than Snowden Revealed Tyler Durden Wed, 05/27/2020 - 20:05

Authored by Jake Anderson via,

Most people know by now about the surveillance abuses perpetrated by the NSA earlier this century, but a new book about Edward Snowden suggests that the metadata collection programs introduced to us through previous whistleblowers and disclosures are part of a “live, ever-updating social graph of the US” that is ongoing and far vaster than we previously imagined.

The revelations come from journalist Barton Gellman, who described the content of his new book Dark Mirror: Edward Snowden and the American Surveillance State for Wired. The article, entitled “Inside the NSA’s Secret Tool for Mapping Your Social Network,” catalogs Gellman’s attempts to reveal more details about the programs Snowden first disclosed to the world.

What he found shocked him and, he says, represents an ongoing existential threat to American citizens.

Gellman says that originally he wanted to understand more about the logistics of the NSA phone records. The Snowden archive hints at but does not explain the details of the agency’s project pipelines.

The main thoroughfare of data collection, Stellarwind, was a domestic surveillance program launched by Vice President Dick Cheney only weeks after 9/11. He mandated that all operatives and subordinates conceal the program from FISA Court judges and Congress, stamping it with the most covert of government classifications, ECI, “exceptionally controlled information.”

Stellarwind facilitated Mainway, the NSA’s prized social network mapping tool which conscripted telephone data companies like AT&T and Verizon into secretive–and financially lucrative–data collection contracts negotiated by Special Source Operations.

But even this was just the tip of the iceberg.

The Mainway program codified two important but (until now) obfuscated surveillance and data mining objectives: contact chaining and precomputation.

Contact Chaining

While the NSA long maintained that their surveillance programs merely stored untraced metadata that could help investigate the activities of known terrorist operatives, we now know that the agency was actively leveraging and exploiting the data to build an almost mind-bogglingly complex, next-generation social graph. As described by Gellman, this tool combined the concepts of “six degrees of separation” (or six degrees of Kevin Bacon, if you prefer) and a pre-COVID19 model of contact tracing.

Termed contact chaining and first deployed during the manhunt and investigation of Boston bomber Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, a new suite of software tools used the NSA’s intercepted communications (read, our personal information), including voice, video, email and chat text, attachments, pager messages, etc. to build a cutting-edge form of data analysis that can algorithmically parse data records to illustrate indirect relationships between any and all intelligence assets (read, us).

According to Gellman, Mainway turned into “the queen of metadata, foreign and domestic, designed to find patterns that content did not reveal…[and] identify, track, store, manipulate and update relationships” to create a global graph, an integrated graphical map, representing the “movements and communications” of virtually everyone on Earth.

Named “the Big Awesome Graph,” or “the BAG” for short, this tool was the principal data harvesting tool in the umbrella directive of “Large Access Exploitation.” It “mapped the call records as “nodes” and “edges” on a grid so large that the human mind, unaided, could not encompass it.”


The NSA’s Mainway program sought to use its newly and somewhat hastily assembled software to continuously contact chain profiles on all global citizens. The FBI commandeered over a billion new records each day from the telephone companies and the NSA ingested that info to “get a head start on everyone.”

Termed precomputation, the idea was and is to create a “constant, complex…7×24…live, ever-updating social graph,” called Graph-in-Memory, of every US citizen and a large number of non-citizens and international citizens.

Gellerman writes:

“All kinds of secrets - social, medical, political, professional - were precomputed, 24/7…a database that was preconfigured to map anyone’s life at the touch of a button.”

He maintains that only 22 top officials had the authority to order a so-called contact chain. However, the dangers of such power abound.

In its post-911 sprint to to dominate the global communications infrastructure,” the NSA opened a veritable Pandora’s box, whereby “governments at all levels [may use] the power of the state most heavy-handedly, sometimes illegally, to monitor communities disadvantaged by poverty, race, religion, ethnicity, and immigration status.”

Gellman observes that “nearly anyone in the developed world can be linked to at least one fact in a computer database that an adversary could use for blackmail, discrimination, harassment, or financial or identity theft.”

“The latent power of new inventions,” Gellman writes, “no matter how repellent at first, does not lie forever dormant in government armories.”

In other words, if you’re worried about contact tracing in the age of Covid-19, worry no more: that ship has long sailed.

Published:5/27/2020 7:16:47 PM
[Markets] Trump's "Keyboard Warriors" Get The Story While The Legacy Media Ignores #Obamagate Trump's "Keyboard Warriors" Get The Story While The Legacy Media Ignores #Obamagate Tyler Durden Tue, 05/26/2020 - 23:25

Submitted by Thomas Farnan

CrowdStrike – the forensic investigation firm hired by the Democratic National Committee (DNC) to inspect its computer servers in 2016 – admitted to Congressional investigators as early as 2017 that it had no direct evidence of Russian hacking, recently declassified documents show.

CrowdStrike’s president Shawn Henry testified, “There’s not evidence that [documents and emails] were actually exfiltrated [from the DNC servers]. There’s circumstantial evidence but no evidence that they were actually exfiltrated.”

This was a crucial revelation because the thousand ships of Russiagate launched upon the positive assertion that CrowdStrike had definitely proven a Russian hack.

This sworn admission has been hidden from the public for over two years, and subsequent commentary has focused on that singular outrage.

The next deductive step, though, leads to an equally crucial point: Circumstantial evidence of Russian hacking is itself flimsy and collapses when not propped up by a claim of conclusive forensic testing.


On March 19, 2016, Hillary Clinton’s campaign chairman, John Podesta, surrendered his emails to an unknown entity in a “spear phishing” scam. This has been called a “hack,” but it was not.  Instead, it is was the sort of flim-flam hustle that happens to gullible dupes on the internet.

The content of the emails was beyond embarrassing. They showed election fraud and coordination with the media against the candidacy of Bernie Sanders. The DNC and the Clinton campaign needed a cover story.

There already existed in Washington brooding suspicion that Vladimir Putin was working to influence elections in the West. The DNC and the Clinton campaign set out to retrofit that supposition to explain the emails.

On January 16, 2016, a silk-stocking Washington D.C. think tank, The Atlantic Council (remember that name), had issued a dispatch under the banner headline: “US Intelligence Agencies to Investigate Russia’s Infiltration of European Political Parties.”

The lede was concise: “American intelligence agencies are to conduct a major investigation into how the Kremlin is infiltrating political parties in Europe, it can be revealed.”

There followed a series of pull quotes from an article that appeared in the The Telegraph, including that “James Clapper, the US Director of National Intelligence” was investigating whether right wing political movements in Europe were sourced in “Russian meddling.”

The dispatch spoke of “A dossier” that revealed “Russian influence operations” in Europe. This was the first time trippy words like “Russian meddling” and “dossier” would appear together in the American lexicon.

Most importantly, the piece revealed the Obama administration was spying on conservative European political parties. This means, almost necessarily under the Five Eyes Agreement, foreign agents were returning the favor and spying on the Trump campaign.

Blaming Russia would be a handy way to deal with the Podesta emails. The problem was the technologically impossibility of identifying the perpetrator in a phishing scheme. The only way to associate Putin with the emails was circumstantially. The DNC retained CrowdStrike to provide assistance.

On June 12, 2016, WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange announced: “We have upcoming leaks in relation to Hillary Clinton . . . We have emails pending publication.”

Two days later, CrowdStrike fed the Washington Post a story, headlined, “Russian government hackers penetrated DNC, stole opposition research on Trump.”

The improbable tale was that the Russians had hacked the DNC computer servers and got away with some opposition research on Trump. The article quoted CrowdStrike’s chief technology officer and co-founder, Dmitri Alperovitch, who also happens to be a senior fellow at the Atlantic Council.

The next day, a new blog – Guccifer 2.0 – appeared on the internet and announced:

Worldwide known cyber security company CrowdStrike announced that the Democratic National Committee (DNC) servers had been hacked by “sophisticated” hacker groups.

I’m very pleased the company appreciated my skills so highly))) But in fact, it was easy, very easy.

Guccifer may have been the first one who penetrated Hillary Clinton’s and other Democrats’ mail servers. But he certainly wasn’t the last. No wonder any other hacker could easily get access to the DNC’s servers.

Shame on CrowdStrike: Do you think I’ve been in the DNC’s networks for almost a year and saved only 2 documents? Do you really believe it?

Here are just a few docs from many thousands I extracted when hacking into DNC’s network.

Guccifer 2.0 posted hundreds of pages of Trump opposition research allegedly hacked from the DNC and emailed copies to Gawker and The Smoking Gun. In raw form, the opposition research was one of the documents obtained in the Podesta emails, with a notable difference: It was widely reported the document now contained “Russian fingerprints.”

The document had been cut and pasted into a separate Russian Word template that yielded an abundance of Russian “error “messages. In the document’s metadata was the name of the Russian secret police founder, Felix Dzerzhinsky, written in the Russian language. The three-parenthesis formulation from the original post “)))” is the Russian version of a smiley face used commonly on social media. In addition, the blog’s author deliberately used a Russian VPN service visible in its emails even though there would have been many options to hide national affiliation.

CrowdStrike would later test the computers and declare this to be the work of sophisticated Russian spies. Alperovitch described it as, “skilled operational tradecraft.”

There is nothing skilled, though, in ham-handedly disclosing a Russian identity on the internet when trying to hide it. The more reasonable inference is that this was a set-up. It certainly looks like Guccifer 2.0 suddenly appeared in coordination with the Washington Post’s article that appeared the previous day.


Knowing as we now do that CrowdStrike never corroborated a hack by forensic analysis, the reasonable inference is that somebody was trying to frame Russia. Most likely, the entities that spent three years falsely leading the world to believe that direct evidence of a hack existed – CrowdStrike and the DNC – were the ones involved in the frame-up.

Lending weight to this theory: at the same moment CrowdStrike was raising a false Russian flag, a different entity, Fusion GPS – also paid by the DNC – was inventing a phony dossier that ridiculously connected Trump to Russia.

Somehow, the ruse worked.

Rather than report the content of the incriminating emails, the watchdog press instead reported CrowdStrike’s bad explanation: that Putin-did-it.

Incredibly, Trump was placed on the defensive for email leaks that showed his opponent fixing the primaries.  His campaign chairman, Paul Manafort, was forced to resign because a fake ledger suddenly appeared out of Ukraine connecting him to Russia.

Trump protested by stating the obvious: the federal government has “no idea” who was behind the hacks. The FBI and CIA called him a liar, issuing a “Joint Statement” that cited Guccifer 2.0, suggesting 17 intelligence agencies agree that it was the Russians. 

Hillary Clinton took advantage of this “intelligence assessment” in the October debate to portray Trump as Putin’s stooge”

“We have 17, 17 intelligence agencies, civilian and military who have all concluded that these espionage attacks, these cyber-attacks, come from the highest levels of the Kremlin.  And they are designed to influence our election. I find that deeply disturbing,” said Clinton.

The media’s fact checkers excoriated Trump for lying. This was the ultimate campaign dirty trick: a joint operation by the intelligence agencies and the media against a political candidate. It has since been learned that the “17 intelligence agencies” claptrap was always false.  Those responsible for the exaggeration were James Clapper, James Comey and John Brennan.

Somehow, Trump won anyway.

Those who assert that it is a “conspiracy theory” to say that CrowdStrike would fabricate the results of computer forensic testing to create a false Russian flag should know that it was caught doing exactly that around the time it was inspecting the DNC computers.

On Dec. 22, 2016, CrowdStrike caused an international stir when it claimed to have uncovered evidence that Russians hacked into a Ukrainian artillery computer app to help pro-Russian separatists.

Voice of America later determined the claim was false, and CrowdStrike retracted its finding.

Ukraine’s Ministry of Defense was forced to eat crow and admit that the hacking never happened. If you wanted a computer testing firm to fabricate a Russian hack for political reasons in 2016, CrowdStrike was who you went out and hired.

Perhaps most insidiously, the Obama administration played the phony Russian interference card during the transition to try to end Trump’s presidency before it started. As I wrote in December 2017:

Michael Flynn was indicted for a conversation he had with the Russian ambassador on December 28, 2016, seven weeks after the election.

That was the day after the outgoing president expelled 35 Russian diplomats—including gardeners and chauffeurs—for interfering in the election. Yes, that really happened.

The Obama administration had wiretapped Flynn’s conversation with the ambassador, hoping to find him saying something they could use to support their wild story about collusion.

The outrage, for some reason, is not that an outgoing administration was using wiretaps to listen in on a successor’s transition. It is that Flynn might have signaled to the Russians that the Trump administration would have a different approach to foreign policy.

How dare Trump presume to tell an armed nuclear state to stand down because everyone in Washington was in a state of psychological denial that he was elected?

Let’s establish one thing early here: It is okay for an incoming administration to communicate its foreign policy preferences during a transition even if they differ from the lame duck administration….

….If anything, Flynn was too reserved in his conversation with the Russian ambassador. He should have said, “President-elect Trump believes this Russian collusion thing is a fantasy and these sanctions will be lifted on his first day in office.”

That would have been perfectly legal. It also happens to be what FBI Director Comey and the rest were hoping Flynn would do. They wanted to get a Trump official on tape making an accommodation to the Russians.

The accommodation would then be cited to suggest a quid pro quo that proved the nonexistent collusion. Instead, Flynn was uncharacteristically noncommittal in his conversation with the ambassador. Drat!

They did have a transcript of what he said, though. This is where the tin-pot dictator behavior of Comey is fully displayed. He invited Flynn to be interviewed by the FBI, supposedly about Russian collusion to steal the election.

If you’re Flynn, you say, “Sure, I want to tell you 15 different ways that there was no collusion and when do you want to meet.”

What Flynn did not know was that the purpose of the interview had nothing to do with the election. It would be a test pitting Flynn’s memory against the transcript.

Think about that for a moment. Comey did not need to ask Flynn what was said in the conversation with the ambassador—he had a transcript. The only reason to ask Flynn about it was to cross him up.

That is the politicization of the FBI. It is everything Trump supporters rail against when they implore him to drain the swamp. The inescapable conclusion is that the FBI set a trap for the incoming national security advisor to affect the foreign policy of the newly elected president.

Flynn made the mistake of not being altogether clear about what he had discussed with the ambassador. In his defense, he did not believe he was sitting there to tell the FBI how the Trump administration was dealing with Russia going forward. The conversation was supposed to be about the election.

He certainly did not think the FBI would unmask his comments in a FISA wiretap and compare them to his answers. That would be illegal.

Exhibit 5 to the DOJ’s recent Motion to Dismiss the Flynn indictment confirms the Obama administration’s bad faith in listening in on his conversation with the ambassador. The plotters admit, essentially, that they looked at the transcript to see whether Flynn said anything that caused Russia to stand-down. Had General Flynn promised to lift the sanctions, the Obama administration would have claimed it was the pro quo that went with the quid of Putin’s interference.

After Trump’s inauguration, the FBI and Justice Department launched a special counsel investigation that accepted, as a given, CrowdStrike’s dubious conclusion that Russia had interfered in the election. The only remaining question was whether Trump himself colluded in the interference. There followed a two-year inquiry that did massive political damage to Trump and the movement that put him in office.

Tucker Carlson rightly made Trey Gowdy squirm recently for Republican acquiescence in the shoddy underpinnings of the Russia hoax. It was not only Gowdy, though. Establishment politicians and pundits have been all too willing for years to wallow in fabricated Russian intrigue, at the expense of the Trump presidency.

This perfectly illustrates Republican perfidy: Gifted with undeserved victory in a generational realignment that they were dragged to kicking and screaming, they proceed to question its source and validity. Because if Trump was a product of KGB-esque intrigue, then Hillary was a victim of meddling. Trump was a hapless beneficiary. The deplorables were not only racist losers, they were also Putin’s unwitting stooges.

As I first noted in December 2016, the Washington establishment deliberately set out to fan Russian anxiety to conduct war against the Trump administration. Perhaps it is time to admit that those of us chided as “crazies” who doubted Russian interference – including Trump himself – were right all along.

In the after-action assessment of what went wrong, it should be noted that non-insiders are the ones who have called this from the beginning, in places like here, here, here, here, and here. That is partly what the president means when he Tweets support for his “keyboard warriors.” As Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany pointed out on Friday, the White House press corps has completely missed the story.

This scandal is huge, much bigger than Watergate, and compromising in its resolution is destructive.

If Republicans continue to stupidly concede phony Russian intrigue, the plotters will say they were justified to investigate it.

The recent CrowdStrike testimony drop ended any chance at middle ground. This was a rank political operation and indicting a few FBI agents is not going to resolve anything.

CrowdStrike’s circumstantial evidence that launched this probe is ridiculous. We’ll soon know if the Durham investigation has the will to defy powerful insiders of both parties and say so.

Published:5/26/2020 10:42:11 PM
[Markets] Grenell Declassifies Flynn-Kislyak Calls On Last Day As Acting DNI Grenell Declassifies Flynn-Kislyak Calls On Last Day As Acting DNI Tyler Durden Tue, 05/26/2020 - 23:05

In his last act as Acting Director of National Intelligence, Richard Grenell declassified the transcripts of intercepted phone calls between former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn and former Russian Ambassador to the US, Sergey Kislyak.

The now-declassified transcripts are in the hands of his successor, former Rep. John Ratcliffe (R-TX), who was sworn in on Tuesday after the Senate confirmed him last Thursday by a vote of 49-44. Ratcliffe will decide whether they are released to the public, according to the New York Post.

Grenell said last week that he was in the process of declassifying the transcripts after House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff (D-CA) made a written request for Grenell to do so, who was joined by Rep. Eric Swalwell (D-CA) - to which Grenell replied "Those are coming. It's very important for the public to see ALL of them," adding "For too long the public has been misled. Just compare your committee's transcripts to your public statements!"

The move follows a scorching Monday letter Grenell wrote to Sen. Mark Warner, who requested on May 20 that Grenell declassify intelligence reports in which Obama administration officials had unmasked Flynn's identity after Grenell revealed a list of 'unmaskers.'

In response, Grenell said on Monday that he found it "puzzling" that Warner's letter conveyed concerns over the declassification of Obama officials who unmasked Flynn - while in the next breath requesting the declassification and release of intelligence reports.

"Cherry-picking certain documents for release, while attacking the release of others that don’t fit your political narrative, is part of the problem the American people have with Washington D.C. politicians," wrote Grenell, who then asked Warner to explain his "philosophy on transparency," suggesting that "it appears to be solely on political advantage."

Flynn was fired weeks after the Kislyak calls for lying to Vice President Mike Pence about the substance of the conversations, in which Flynn asked Russia not to escalate tension after the outgoing Obama administration slapped sanctions on the Kremlin in response to claims of election meddling in the 2016 election. Flynn later pleaded guilty in 2017 for lying to the FBI about the calls, however evidence emerged in his trial that the FBI was trying to ensnare him in a 'perjury trap' in which one option was to 'try to get him to lie.'

"What's our goal? Truth/Admission or to get him to lie, so we can prosecute him or get him fired?" reads one handwritten note by the FBI's then-director of counterintelligence.

Last week, Flynn’s lawyer Sidney Powell joined former National Security Adviser Susan Rice in calling for the transcripts to be released.

Powell said last Wednesday on SiriusXM’s “The Dan Abrams Show” that she “would love” to see those conversations become public, arguing that she believes the transcript would help exonerate her client.

“I think the reason we haven’t seen [the transcripts] is because the word ‘sanctions’ doesn’t even appear in them,” she said at the time. -New York Post

After the FBI's plot to target Flynn emerged, the Department of Justice moved to drop the case - which is currently being stonewalled by activist Judge Emmet Sullivan.

Published:5/26/2020 10:09:29 PM
[Markets] DOJ Closes Insider Trading Investigations Into Three Senators, Keeps Burr Probe Going DOJ Closes Insider Trading Investigations Into Three Senators, Keeps Burr Probe Going Tyler Durden Tue, 05/26/2020 - 16:25

The Department of Justice is closing investigations into three US senators accused of trading stocks based on privileged coronavirus briefings right before the market tanked due to pandemic, however a fourth investigation into Sen. Richard Burr will continue, according to the Journal, citing people familiar with the matter.

Defense attorneys for Republican Senators James Inhofe (OK) and Kelly Loeffler (GA), as well as Democrat Dianne Feinstein (CA) were notified by prosecutors on Tuesday that they are closing investigations into their trades.

All of the lawmakers denied wrongdoing - with Inhofe and Loeffler saying their financial advisers made the trades which they had no knowledge of until after the fact.

The FBI began investigating the trades two months ago after lawmakers learned of the threat of coronavirus during closed-door briefings. In some cases, the trades saved lawmakers up to hundreds of thousands of dollars in losses as stocks tanked into mid-March.

Burr, meanwhile, has temporarily stepped down as Chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee. The FBI seized the cell phone of the North Carolina Republican, who had more of a direct involvement in his trades.

Published:5/26/2020 3:36:54 PM
[Markets] Who Deserves Impeachment More - Trump Or Schiff? Who Deserves Impeachment More - Trump Or Schiff? Tyler Durden Mon, 05/25/2020 - 19:30

Authored by Daniel Lazare via The Strategic Culture Foundation,

Donald Trump was impeached last winter for one technical violation of the law and a host of made-up ones. The technical violation was his move to block $391 million in Ukrainian military aid.

It was a violation because it because it interfered with Congress’s exclusive spending powers. But it was purely technical because presidents traditionally have wide latitude in determining how expenditures are made. Back in 1801, Thomas Jefferson’s treasury secretary, Albert Gallatin, argued that the executive branch should be allowed “a reasonable discretion” while, 160 years later, John F. Kennedy had no scruples about unilaterally moving more than $1 million – a lot of money in those days – from one budget account to another to pay for a pet project known as the Peace Corps. No one thought much of it at the time, so Trump’s decision to hold up an appropriation in 2019 doesn’t seem like a big deal.

And it wasn’t, as the December 18 articles of impeachment made clear. Rather than dwelling on the blockage itself, they quickly moved on to the real question at hand, which is why it occurred. The answer, of course, was to pressure newly-elected Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky to launch an investigation into why a notorious oligarch named Mykola Zlochevsky had given Joe Biden’s son Hunter a lucrative no-show job and why the then-vice president had then pushed for the firing of a prosecutor looking into Zlochevsky’s company, Burisma Holdings.

Since any such investigation would have reflected poorly on Biden, the presumptive Democratic nominee, Democrats charged that Trump was seeking to “obtain an improper personal political benefit” by “enlist[ing] a foreign power in corrupting democratic elections.” After welcoming Russian interference in 2016, he was now angling for Ukrainian interference in 2020 – or so they maintained. But the charge never made sense for one all-important reason: however much Trump might benefit, the public had a legitimate interest in learning why Biden had allowed his son to enter into an obviously corrupt relationship at a time when he was supposedly serving as Obama’s point man in rooting out Ukrainian corruption.

It’s as if 1920s Chicago crime buster Eliot Ness had looked the other way while a close relative took a job with Al Capone. So while Democrats made a big show of moral indignation, Senate Republicans were unmoved with the partial exception of notorious featherbrain Mitt Romney, and Trump was acquitted.

But now let’s take a look at Schiff’s sins and see how they compare. Back in 2017, he was the ranking Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee and therefore the man Democrats counted on to lead the charge that Trump had colluded with the Kremlin in order to steal the election. He did so with gusto. Quoting from a dossier prepared by ex-British MI6 agent Christopher Steele, he regaled a March 2017 committee hearing with tales of how Russia bribed Trump adviser Carter Page by offering him a hefty slice of a Russian natural-gas company known as Rosneft and of how Russian agents boosted Trump’s political fortunes by hacking Hillary Clinton’s emails and passing them on to WikiLeaks. Conceivably, such acts could have been purely coincidental, Schiff acknowledged.

“But it is also possible,” he went on, “maybe more than possible, that they are not coincidental, not disconnected, and not unrelated, and that the Russians used the same techniques to corrupt U.S. persons that they have employed in Europe and elsewhere. We simply don’t know, not yet, and we owe it to the country to find out.”

Hours later, he assured MSNBC that the evidence of collusion was “more than circumstantial.” Nine months after that, he informed CNN’s Jake Tapper that the case was no longer in doubt: “The Russians offered help, the campaign accepted help, the Russians gave help, and the president made full use of that help.” In February 2018, he told reporters: “There is certainly an abundance of non-public information that we’ve gathered in the investigation. And I think some of that non-public evidence is evidence on the issue of collusion and some … on the issue of obstruction.”

The press lapped it up.

But now, thanks to the May 7 release of 57 transcripts of secret testimony – transcripts, by the way, that Schiff bottled up for months – we have a better idea of what such “non-public information” amounts to.

The answer: nothing.

A parade of high-level witnesses told the intelligence committee that either they didn’t know about collusion or lacked evidence even to venture an opinion. Not one offered the contrary view that collusion was true.

“I never saw any direct empirical evidence that the Trump campaign or someone in it was plotting [or] conspiring with the Russians to meddle with the election,” testified ex-Director of National Intelligence James Clapper. Obama Attorney General Loretta Lynch told the committee that no one in the FBI or CIA had informed her that collusion had taken place. Sally Yates, acting attorney general during the Obama-Trump transition, was similarly noncommittal. So were Obama speechwriter Ben Rhodes and former acting FBI Director Andrew McCabe. David Kramer, a prominent neocon who helped spread word of the Steele dossier in top intelligence circles, was downright apologetic: “I’m not in a position to really say one way or the other, sir. I’m sorry.”

But rather than admit that the investigation had turned up nothing, Schiff lied that it had – not once but repeatedly.

Let that sink in for a moment. Collusion dominated the headlines from the moment Buzzfeed published the Steele dossier on Jan. 10, 2017, to the release of the Muller report on Apr. 18, 2019. That’s more than two years, a period in which newspapers and TV were filled with Russia, Russia, Russia and little else. Thanks to the uproar, acting FBI Director Andrew McCabe and Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein secretly discussed using the Twenty-fifth Amendment to force Trump out of office, while an endless parade of newscasters and commentators assured viewers that the president’s days were numbered because “the walls are closing in.”

Schiff’s only response was to egg it on to greater and greater heights. Even when Special Prosecutor Robert Mueller issued his no-collusion verdict – “the investigation did not establish that members of the Trump Campaign conspired or coordinated with the Russian government in its election interference activities,” his report said – Schiff insisted that there was still “ample evidence of collusion in plain sight.”

“I use that word very carefully,” he said, “because I also distinguish time and time again between collusion, that is acts of corruption that may or may not be criminal, and proof of a criminal conspiracy. And that is a distinction that Bob Mueller made within the first few pages of his report. In fact, every act that I’ve pointed to as evidence of collusion has now been borne out by the report.

So Trump colluded with the Kremlin, but in a non-criminal way? Even if Mueller got Schiff in a headlock and screamed in his ear, “No collusion, no collusion,” the committee chairman would presumably reply: “See? He said it – collusion.”

The man is an unscrupulous liar, in other words, someone who will say anything to gain attention and fatten his war chest, which is why contributions flowing to his re-election campaign have risen from under $1 million a year to $10.5 million since the Russia furor began. The man talks endlessly about the Constitution, patriotism, his father’s heroic service in the military, and so on. But the only thing Adam Schiff really cares about is himself.

Trump’s sins are manifold. But with unerring accuracy, Schiff managed to zero in on the one sin that didn’t take place. Considering that the $391 million was destined for ultra-right military units whose members sport neo-Nazi regalia and SS symbols as they battle pro-Russian separatists in the eastern Ukraine, Schiff’s crimes are just as bad, if not worse. Ladies and gentlemen, we give you the next candidate for impeachment, the congressman from Hollywood – Adam Schiff!

Published:5/25/2020 6:32:37 PM
[Politics] Giuliani Says Flynn Unmasking Was Criminal Rudy Giuliani, President Donald Trump's personal lawyer, claims there was a deliberate and criminal effort within the Obama administration to expose the FBI's investigation of former national security adviser Michael Flynn.In an interview aired on Sinclair Broadcasting's... Published:5/24/2020 12:52:55 PM
[Politics] Sen. Paul: 'It's Wrong' What FBI Did To 2016 Trump Campaign Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., argues the FBI's investigation of former national security adviser Michael Flynn based on his communications with the Russian ambassador violated the Constitution.In an interview on Sinclair Broadcasting's "America This Week,"... Published:5/24/2020 8:27:20 AM
[Markets] Guccifer 2.0's Hidden Agenda Guccifer 2.0's Hidden Agenda Tyler Durden Sun, 05/24/2020 - 08:10

Authored by Tim Leonard via,

Why would an alleged GRU officer - supposedly part of an operation to deflect Russian culpability - suggest that Assange “may be connected with Russians?”

In December, I reported on digital forensics evidence relating to Guccifer 2.0 and highlighted several key points about the mysterious persona that Special Counsel Robert Mueller claims was a front for Russian intelligence to leak Democratic Party emails to WikiLeaks:

On the same day that Guccifer 2.0 was plastering Russian breadcrumbs on documents through a deliberate process, choosing to use Russian-themed end-points and fabricating evidence to claim credit for hacking the DNC, the operation attributed itself to WikiLeaks.

This article questions what Guccifer 2.0’s intentions were in relation to WikiLeaks in the context of what has been discovered by independent researchers during the past three years.


On June 12, 2016, in an interview with ITV’s Robert Peston, Julian Assange confirmed that WikiLeaks had emails relating to Hillary Clinton that the organization intended to publish. This announcement was prior to any reported contact with Guccifer 2.0 (or with DCLeaks).

On June 14, 2016, an article was published in The Washington Post citing statements from two CrowdStrike executives alleging that Russian intelligence hacked the DNC and stole opposition research on Trump. It was apparent that the statements had been made in the 48 hours prior to publication as they referenced claims of kicking hackers off the DNC network on the weekend just passed (June 11-12, 2016). 

On that same date, June 14, DCLeaks contacted WikiLeaks via Twitter DM and for some reason suggested that both parties coordinate their releases of leaks. (It doesn’t appear that WikiLeaks responded until September 2016).

On June 15, 2016, Guccifer 2.0 appeared for the first time. He fabricated evidence to claim credit for hacking the DNC (using material that wasn’t from the DNC), used a proxy in Moscow to carry out searches (for mostly English language terms including a grammatically incorrect and uncommon phrase that the persona would use in its first blog post) and used a Russian VPN service to share the fabricated evidence with reporters. All of this combined conveniently to provide false corroboration for several claims made by CrowdStrike executives that were published just one day earlier in The Washington Post.

[CrowdStrike President Shawn Henry testified under oath behind closed doors on Dec. 5, 2017 to the U.S. House intelligence committee that his company had no evidence that Russian actors removed anything from the DNC servers. This testimony was only released earlier this month.]

First Claim Versus First Contact

On the day it emerged, the Guccifer 2.0 operation stated that it had given material to WikiLeaks and asserted that the organization would publish that material soon:

By stating that WikiLeaks would “publish them soon” the Guccifer 2.0 operation implied that it had received confirmation of intent to publish.

However, the earliest recorded communication between Guccifer 2.0 and WikiLeaks didn’t occur until a week later (June 22, 2016) when WikiLeaks reached out to Guccifer 2.0 and suggested that the persona send any new material to them rather than doing what it was doing:

[Excerpt from Special Counsel Mueller’s report. Note: “stolen from the DNC” is an editorial insert by the special counsel.]

If WikiLeaks had already received material and confirmed intent to publish prior to this direct message, why would they then suggest what they did when they did? WikiLeaks says it had no prior contact with Guccifer 2.0 despite what Guccifer 2.0 had claimed.

Needing To Know What WikiLeaks Had

Fortunately, information that gives more insight into communications on June 22, 2016 was made available on April 29, 2020 via a release of the Roger Stone arrest warrant application.

Here is the full conversation on that date (according to the application):

@WikiLeaks: Do you have secure communications?

@WikiLeaks: Send any new material here for us to review and it will have a much higher impact than what you are doing. No other media will release the full material.

@GUCCIFER_2: what can u suggest for a secure connection? Soft, keys, etc? I’m ready to cooperate with you, but I need to know what’s in your archive 80gb? Are there only HRC emails? Or some other docs? Are there any DNC docs? If it’s not secret when you are going to release it?

@WikiLeaks: You can send us a message in a .txt file here [link redacted]

@GUCCIFER_2: do you have GPG?

Why would Guccifer 2.0 need to know what material WikiLeaks already had? Certainly, if it were anything Guccifer 2.0 had sent (or the GRU had sent) he wouldn’t have had reason to inquire.

The more complete DM details provided here also suggest that both parties had not yet established secure communications.

Further communications were reported to have taken place on June 24, 2016:

@GUCCIFER_2: How can we chat? Do u have jabber or something like that?

@WikiLeaks: Yes, we have everything. We’ve been busy celebrating Brexit. You can also email an encrypted message to They key is here.

and June 27, 2016:

@GUCCIFER_2: Hi, i’ve just sent you an email with a text message encrypted and an open key.

@WikiLeaks: Thanks.

@GUCCIFER_2: waiting for ur response. I send u some interesting piece.

Guccifer 2.0 said he needed to know what was in the 88GB ‘insurance’ archive that WikiLeaks had posted on June 16, 2016 and it’s clear that, at this stage, secure communications had not been established between both parties (which would seem to rule out the possibility of encrypted communications prior to June 15, 2016, making Guccifer 2.0’s initial claims about WikiLeaks even more doubtful).

Claims DCLeaks Is A Sub-Project Of WikiLeaks

On June 27, 2016, in an email chain to the Smoking Gun (exposing Guccifer 2.0 apparently being in the Central US timezone), Guccifer 2.0 claimed that DCLeaks was a “sub-project” of WikiLeaks.

There’s no evidence to support this. “Envoy le” is also a mistake as standard French emails read: “Envoye le.” Claims allegedly made by Guccifer 2.0 in a Twitter DM to DCLeaks on September 15, 2016 suggest that he knew this was nonsense:

There was no evidence of WikiLeaks mentioning this to Guccifer 2.0 nor any reason for why WikiLeaks couldn’t just send a DM to DCLeaks themselves if they had wanted to.

(It should also be noted that this Twitter DM activity between DCLeaks and Guccifer 2.0 is alleged by Mueller to be communications between officers within the same unit of the GRU, who, for some unknown reason, decided to use Twitter DMs to relay such information rather than just communicate face to face or securely via their own local network.)

Guccifer 2.0 lied about DCLeaks being a sub-project of WikiLeaks and then, over two months later, was seen trying to encourage DCLeaks to communicate with WikiLeaks by relaying an alleged request from WikiLeaks that there is no record of WikiLeaks ever making (and which WikiLeaks could have done themselves, directly, if they had wanted to).

The ‘About 1GB’ / ‘1Gb or So’ Archive

On July 4, 2016, Guccifer 2.0 contacted WikiLeaks:

@GUCCIFER_2: hi there, check up r email, waiting for reply.

This was followed up on July 6, 2016 with the following conversation:

@GUCCIFER_2: have you received my parcel?

@WikiLeaks: Not unless it was very recent. [we haven’ t checked in 24h].

@GUCCIFER_2: I sent it yesterday, an archive of about 1 gb. via [website link]. and check your email.

@WikiLeaks: Wil[l] check, thanks.

@GUCCIFER_2: let me know the results.

@WikiLeaks: Please don’t make anything you send to us public. It’s a lot of work to go through it and the impact is severely reduced if we are not the first to publish.

@GUCCIFER_2: agreed. How much time will it take?

@WikiLeaks: likely sometime today.

@GUCCIFER_2: will u announce a publication? and what about 3 docs sent u earlier?

@WikiLeaks: I don’t believe we received them. Nothing on ‘Brexit’ for example.

@GUCCIFER_2: wow. have you checked ur mail?

@WikiLeaks: At least not as of 4 days ago . . . . For security reasons mail cannot be checked for some hours.

@GUCCIFER_2: fuck, sent 4 docs on brexit on jun 29, an archive in gpg ur submission form is too fucking slow, spent the whole day uploading 1 gb.

@WikiLeaks: We can arrange servers 100x as fast. The speed restrictions are to anonymise the path. Just ask for custom fast upload point in an email.

@GUCCIFER_2: will u be able to check ur email?

@WikiLeaks: We’re best with very large data sets. e.g. 200gb. these prove themselves since they’re too big to fake.

@GUCCIFER_2: or shall I send brexit docs via submission once again?

@WikiLeaks: to be safe, send via [web link]

@GUCCIFER_2: can u confirm u received dnc emails?

@WikiLeaks: for security reasons we can’ t confirm what we’ve received here. e.g., in case your account has been taken over by us intelligence and is probing to see what we have.

@GUCCIFER_2: then send me an encrypted email.

@WikiLeaks: we can do that. but the security people are in another time zone so it will need to wait some hours.

@WikiLeaks: what do you think about the FBl’ s failure to charge? To our mind the clinton foundation investigation has always been the more serious. we would be very interested in all the emails/docs from there. She set up quite a lot of front companies. e.g in sweden.

@GUCCIFER_2: ok, i’ll be waiting for confirmation. as for investigation, they have everything settled, or else I don’t know how to explain that they found a hundred classified docs but fail to charge her.

@WikiLeaks: She’s too powerful to charge at least without something stronger. s far as we know, the investigation into the clinton foundation remains open e hear the FBI are unhappy with Loretta Lynch over meeting Bill, because he’s a target in that investigation.

@GUCCIFER_2: do you have any info about marcel lazar? There’ve been a lot of rumors of late.

@WikiLeaks: the death? [A] fake story.

@WikiLeaks: His 2013 screen shots of Max Blumenthal’s inbox prove that Hillary secretly deleted at least one email about Libya that was meant to be handed over to Congress. So we were very interested in his co-operation with the FBI.

@GUCCIFER_2: some dirty games behind the scenes believe Can you send me an email now?

@WikiLeaks: No; we have not been able to activate the people who handle it. Still trying.

@GUCCIFER_2: what about tor submission? [W]ill u receive a doc now?

@WikiLeaks: We will get everything sent on [weblink].” [A]s long as you see \”upload succseful\” at the end. [I]f you have anything hillary related we want it in the next tweo [sic] days prefable [sic] because the DNC is approaching and she will solidify bernie supporters behind her after.

@GUCCIFER_2: ok. I see.

@WikiLeaks: [W]e think the public interest is greatest now and in early october.

@GUCCIFER_2: do u think a lot of people will attend bernie fans rally in philly? Will it affect the dnc anyhow?

@WikiLeaks: bernie is trying to make his own faction leading up to the DNC. [S]o he can push for concessions (positions/policies) or, at the outside, if hillary has a stroke, is arrested etc, he can take over the nomination. [T]he question is this: can bemies supporters+staff keep their coherency until then (and after). [O]r will they dis[s]olve into hillary’ s camp? [P]resently many of them are looking to damage hilary [sic] inorder [sic] to increase their unity and bargaining power at the DNC. Doubt one rally is going to be that significant in the bigger scheme. [I]t seems many of them will vote for hillary just to prevent trump from winning.

@GUCCIFER_2: sent brexit docs successfully.

@WikiLeaks: :))).

@WikiLeaks: we think trump has only about a 25% chance of winning against hillary so conflict between bernie and hillary is interesting.

@GUCCIFER_2: so it is.

@WikiLeaks: also, it’ s important to consider what type of president hillary might be. If bernie and trump retain their groups past 2016 in significant number, then they are a restraining force on hillary.

[Note: This was over a week after the Brexit referendum had taken place, so this will not have had any impact on the results of that. It also doesn’t appear that WikiLeaks released any Brexit content around this time.]

On July 14, 2016, Guccifer 2.0 sent an email to WikiLeaks, this was covered in the Mueller report:

It should be noted that while the attachment sent was encrypted, the email wasn’t and both the email contents and name of the file were readable.

The persona then opted, once again, for insecure communications via Twitter DMs:

@GUCCIFER_2: ping. Check ur email. sent u a link to a big archive and a pass.

@WikiLeaks: great, thanks; can’t check until tomorrow though.

On July 17, 2016, the persona contacted WikiLeaks again:

@GUCCIFER_2: what bout now?

On July 18, 2016, WikiLeaks responded and more was discussed:

@WikiLeaks: have the 1 Gb or so archive.

@GUCCIFER_2: have u managed to extract the files?

@WikiLeaks: yes. turkey coup has delayed us a couple of days. [O]therwise all ready[.]

@GUCCIFER_2: so when r u about to make a release?

@WikiLeaks: this week. [D]o you have any bigger datasets? [D]id you get our fast transfer details?

@GUCCIFER_2: i’ll check it. did u send it via email?

@WikiLeaks: yes.

@GUCCIFER_2: to [web link]. [I] got nothing.

@WikiLeaks: check your other mail? this was over a week ago.

@GUCCIFER_2:oh, that one, yeah, [I] got it.

@WikiLeaks: great. [D]id it work?

@GUCCIFER_2:[I] haven’ t tried yet.

@WikiLeaks: Oh. We arranged that server just for that purpose. Nothing bigger?

@GUCCIFER_2: let’s move step by step, u have released nothing of what [I] sent u yet.

@WikiLeaks: How about you transfer it all to us encrypted. [T]hen when you are happy, you give us the decrypt key. [T]his way we can move much faster. (A]lso it is protective for you if we already have everything because then there is no point in trying to shut you up.

@GUCCIFER_2: ok, i’ll ponder it

Again, we see a reference to the file being approximately one gigabyte in size.

Guccifer 2.0’s “so when r u about to make a release?” seems to be a question about his files. However, it could have been inferred as generally relating to what WikiLeaks had or even material relating to the “Turkey Coup” that WikiLeaks had mentioned in the previous sentence and that were published by the following day (July 19, 2016).

The way this is reported in the Mueller report, though, prevented this potential ambiguity being known (by not citing the exact question that Guccifer 2.0 had asked and the context immediately preceding it).

Four days later, WikiLeaks published the DNC emails.

Later that same day, Guccifer 2.0 tweeted: “@wikileaks published #DNCHack docs I’d given them!!!”.

Guccifer 2.0 chose to use insecure communications to ask WikiLeaks to confirm receipt of “DNC emails” on July 6, 2016. Confirmation of this was not provided at that time but WikiLeaks did confirm receipt of a “1gb or so” archive on July 18, 2016.

Guccifer 2.0’s emails to WikiLeaks were also sent insecurely.

We cannot be certain that WikiLeaks statement about making a release was in relation to Guccifer 2.0’s material and there is even a possibility that this could have been in reference to the Erdogan leaks published by WikiLeaks on July 19, 2016.

Ulterior Motives?

While the above seems troubling there are a few points worth considering:

  • There is a considerable volume of evidence that contradicts the premise of Guccifer 2.0 being a GRU operation.

  • The persona lied about WikiLeaks and even stated that Assange “may be connected with Russians”.

  • Guccifer 2.0’s initial claim about sending WikiLeaks material (and that they would publish it soon) appears to have been made without justification and seems to be contradicted by subsequent communications from WikiLeaks.

  • If the archive was “about 1GB” (as Guccifer 2.0 describes it) then it would be too small to have been all of the DNC’s emails (as these, compressed, came to 1.8GB-2GB depending on compression method used, which, regardless, would be “about 2GB” not “about 1GB”). If we assume that these were DNC emails, where did the rest of them come from?

  • Assange has maintained that WikiLeaks didn’t publish the material that Guccifer 2.0 had sent to them. Of course, Assange could just be lying about that but there are some other possibilities to consider. If true, there is always a possibility that Guccifer 2.0 could have sent them material they had already received from another source or other emails from the DNC that they didn’t release (Guccifer 2.0 had access to a lot of content relating to the DNC and Democratic party and the persona also offered emails of Democratic staffers to Emma Best, a self-described journalist, activist and ex-hacker, the month after WikiLeaks published the DNC emails, which, logically, must have been different emails to still have any value at that point in time).

  • On July 6, 2016, the same day that Guccifer 2.0 was trying to get WikiLeaks to confirm receipt of DNC emails (and on which Guccifer 2.0 agreed not to publish material he had sent them), the persona posted a series of files to his blog that were exclusively DNC email attachments.

  • It doesn’t appear any further communications were reported between the parties following the July 18, 2016 communications despite Guccifer 2.0 tweeting on August 12, 2016: “I’ll send the major trove of the #DCCC materials and emails to #wikileaks keep following…” and, apparently, stating this to The Hill too.

  • As there are no further communications reported beyond this point it’s fair to question whether getting confirmation of receipt of the archive was the primary objective for Guccifer 2.0 here.

  • Even though WikiLeaks offered Guccifer 2.0 a fast server for large uploads, the persona later suggested he needed to find a resource for publishing a large amount of data.

  • Despite later claiming he would send (or had sent) DCCC content to WikiLeaks, WikiLeaks never published such content and there doesn’t appear to be any record of any attempt to send this material to WikiLeaks.

  • Digital forensics evidence places Guccifer 2.0 in the Eastern (US) timezone on July 6, 2016, the day on which he was trying to get WikiLeaks to confirm receipt of DNC emails.

Considering all of this and the fact Guccifer 2.0 effectively covered itself in “Made In Russia” labels (by plastering files in Russian metadata and choosing to use a Russian VPN service and a proxy in Moscow for it’s activities) on the same day it first attributed itself to WikiLeaks, it’s fair to suspect that Guccifer 2.0 had malicious intent towards WikiLeaks from the outset.

If this was the case, Guccifer 2.0 may have known about the DNC emails by June 30, 2016 as this is when the persona first started publishing attachments from those emails.


Seth Rich Mentioned By Both Parties

WikiLeaks Offers Reward

On August 9, 2016, WikiLeaks tweeted:

In an interview with Nieuwsuur that was posted the same day, Julian Assange explained that the reward was for a DNC staffer who he said had been “shot in the back, murdered”. When the interviewer suggested it was a robbery Assange disputed it and stated that there were no findings.

When the interviewer asked if Seth Rich was a source, Assange stated, “We don’t comment on who our sources are”.

When pressed to explain WikiLeaks actions, Assange stated that the reward was being offered because WikiLeaks‘ sources were concerned by the incident. He also stated that WikiLeaks were investigating.

Speculation and theories about Seth Rich being a source for WikiLeaks soon propagated to several sites and across social media.

Guccifer 2.0 Claims Seth Rich As His Source

On August 25, 2016, approximately three weeks after the reward was offered, Julian Assange was due to be interviewed on Fox News on the topic of Seth Rich.

On that same day, in a DM conversation with the actress Robbin Young, Guccifer 2.0 claimed that Seth was his source (despite previously claiming he obtained his material by hacking the DNC).

Why did Guccifer 2.0 feel the need to attribute itself to Seth at this time?

[Note: I am not advocating for any theory and am simply reporting on Guccifer 2.0’s effort to attribute itself to Seth Rich following the propagation of Rich-WikiLeaks association theories online.]

Special Counsel Claims

In Spring, 2019, Special Counsel Robert Mueller, who was named to investigate Russian interference in the 2016 U.S. general election, delivered his final report.

It claimed:

Guccifer 2.0 contradicted his own hacking claims to allege that Seth Rich was his source and did so on the same day that Julian Assange was due to be interviewed by Fox News (in relation to Seth Rich).

No communications between Guccifer 2.0 and Seth Rich have ever been reported.

Suggesting Assange Connected To Russians

In the same conversation Guccifer 2.0 had with Robbin Young where Rich’s name is mentioned (on August 25, 2016), the persona also provided a very interesting response to Young mentioning “Julian” (in reference to Julian Assange):

The alleged GRU officer we are told was part of an operation to deflect from Russian culpability suggested that Assange “may be connected with Russians”.

Guccifer 2.0’s Mentions of WikiLeaks and Assange

Guccifer 2.0 mentioned WikiLeaks or associated himself with their output on several occasions:

  1. June 15, 2016: claiming to have sent WikiLeaks material on his blog.

  2. June 27, 2016: when he claimed DCLeaks was a sub-project of WikiLeaks.

  3. July 13, 2016: Joe Uchill of The Hill reported that Guccifer 2.0 had contacted the publication and stated: “The press gradually forget about me, [W]ikileaks is playing for time and have some more docs.”

  4. July 22nd, 2016: claimed credit when WikiLeaks published the DNC leaks.

  5. August 12, 2016: It was reported in The Hill that Guccifer 2.0 had released material to the publication. They reported“The documents released to The Hill are only the first section of a much larger cache. The bulk, the hacker said, will be released on WikiLeaks.”

  6. August 12, 2016: Tweeted that he would “send the major trove of the #DCCC materials and emails to #wikileaks“.

  7. September 15, 2016: telling DCLeaks that WikiLeaks wanted to get in contact with them.

  8. October 4, 2016: Congratulating WikiLeaks on their 10th anniversary via its blog. Also states: “Julian, you are really cool! Stay safe and sound!”. (This was the same day on which Guccifer 2.0 published his “Clinton Foundation” files that were clearly not from the Clinton Foundation.)

  9. October 17, 2016: via Twitter, stating “i’m here and ready for new releases. already changed my location thanks @wikileaks for a good job!”

Guccifer 2.0 also made some statements in response to WikiLeaks or Assange being mentioned:

  1. June 17, 2016: in response to The Smoking Gun asking if Assange would publish the same material it was publishing, Guccifer 2.0 stated: “I gave WikiLeaks the greater part of the files, but saved some for myself,”

  2. August 22, 2016: in response to Raphael Satter suggesting that Guccifer 2.0 send leaks to WikiLeaks, the persona stated: “I gave wikileaks a greater part of docs”.

  3. August 25, 2016: in response to Julian Assange’s name being mentioned in a conversation with Robbin Young, Guccifer 2.0 stated: “he may be connected with Russians”.

  4. October 18, 2016: a BBC reported asked Guccifer 2.0 if he was upset that WikiLeaks had “stole his thunder” and “do you still support Assange?”. Guccifer 2.0 responded: “i’m glad, together we’ll make America great again.”.

Guccifer 2.0 fabricated evidence to claim credit for hacking the DNC, covered itself (and its files) in what were essentially a collection of “Made In Russia” labels through deliberate processes and decisions made by the persona, and, then, it attributed itself to WikiLeaks with a claim that was contradicted by subsequent communications between both parties.

Guccifer 2.0 then went on to lie about WikiLeaks, contradicted its own hacking claims to attribute itself to Seth Rich and even alleged that Julian Assange “may be connected with Russians”.

While we are expected to accept that Guccifer 2.0’s efforts between July 6 and July 18 were a sincere effort to get leaks to WikiLeaks, considering everything we now know about the persona, it seems fair to question whether Guccifer 2.0’s intentions towards WikiLeaks may have instead been malicious.

Published:5/24/2020 7:20:42 AM
[Markets] Flynn Judge Outsources High-Profile Lawyer To Explain Why He Won't Dismiss Case Flynn Judge Outsources High-Profile Lawyer To Explain Why He Won't Dismiss Case Tyler Durden Sat, 05/23/2020 - 21:00

The Obama-appointed activist judge holding up the dismissal of the Michael Flynn case can't be bothered - or simply doesn't have the skillset required, to defend his decision not to grant the Justice Department's request to drop the case, according to the Washington Post.

In a reminder that the 'swamp' has many tentacles, the Post (tentacle-ception) reports that District Judge Emmet G. Sullivan has retained Beth Wilkinson to represent him after the U.S. District Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia ordered him to explain what on God's green earth he's up to, after refusing to grant the DOJ's request to drop the Flynn case in light of evidence revealing that the FBI obtained a guilty plea as part of a scheme to entrap the former Trump Director of National Intelligence.

According to the report, "The U.S. District Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit is now examining the judge’s actions and the larger case against Flynn after lawyers for President Trump’s former national security adviser asked the court to force Sullivan to toss Flynn’s guilty plea."

Wilkinson, known for her top-notch legal skills and get-results style, is expected to file a notice with the court in the coming week about representing the judge. She declined to comment when reached Friday evening. Sullivan also declined to comment through his office.

A federal judge doesn’t typically hire private counsel to respond to an appeals court, and yet so much about Flynn’s case has been a departure from the norm. A defendant doesn’t normally plead guilty under oath and then try to withdraw that admission, as Flynn did. The Justice Department almost never drops a case once it has essentially won a conviction, a signed guilty plea, as Attorney General William P. Barr ordered earlier this month. -Washington Post

Wilkinson notably represented Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh amid accusations of sexual assault during his nomination, as well as a Clinton lawyer during the investigation into whether she mishandled classified information by using a home-brew server.

Apparently, Sullivan needs Wiklinson's help to explain what he's up to - and why he isn't simply the deep state's bitch.

Published:5/23/2020 8:17:25 PM
[Markets] Did Jack Dorsey Just Issue A 'Mea Culpa' To All Twitter-Banned "Conspiracy"-Peddlers? Did Jack Dorsey Just Issue A 'Mea Culpa' To All Twitter-Banned "Conspiracy"-Peddlers? Tyler Durden Sat, 05/23/2020 - 20:00

Did Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey just, sheepishly, issue a 'mea culpa' to all those innocent (mostly conservative) voices he has silenced in the last few years who dared to question the "Russia, Russia, Russia" narrative, the "Biden did nothing wrong" stories, the "Comey is an American hero" facts, and, of course, the "COVID started in a wet market" orgy of lies.

In a tweet, the outspoken provider of safe-spaces, retweeted an essay by Charles Eisenstein entitled "The Conspiracy Myth" which appears to go against everything Twitter has done.

So, we ask in all seriousness, why did Dorsey - who has shown himself, via his actions, to be an enemy of any non-establishment-sanctioned narrative with his suspension and banning of any tweets or twitter-ers that dare to offer alternate views - retweet an essay that raises doubts about the over-arching threat of "conspiracy theories" to snowflakes, promotes the idea of exploring all sides of an argument before dismissing it, and most ironically, rails against "information suppression" and centralized decisions based on someone's "trustworthiness"?

Read the essay for yourself (emphasis ours):

The Conspiracy Myth

The other day I was amused to read a critique of The Coronation in which the author was absolutely certain that I am a closet conspiracy theorist. He was so persuasive that I myself almost believed it.

What is a conspiracy theory anyway? Sometimes the term is deployed against anyone who questions authority, dissents from dominant paradigms, or thinks that hidden interests influence our leading institutions. As such, it is a way to quash dissent and bully those trying to stand up to abuses of power. One needn’t abandon critical thinking to believe that powerful institutions sometimes collude, conspire, cover up, and are corrupt. If that is what is meant by a conspiracy theory, obviously some of those theories are true. Does anyone remember Enron? Iran-Contra? COINTELPRO? Vioxx? Iraqi weapons of mass destruction?

During the time of Covid-19, another level of conspiracy theory has risen to prominence that goes way beyond specific stories of collusion and corruption to posit conspiracy as a core explanatory principle for how the world works. Fuelled by the authoritarian response to the pandemic (justifiable or not, lockdown, quarantine, surveillance and tracking, censorship of misinformation, suspension of freedom of assembly and other civil liberties, and so on are indeed authoritarian), this arch-conspiracy theory holds that an evil, power-hungry cabal of insiders deliberately created the pandemic or is at least ruthlessly exploiting it to frighten the public into accepting a totalitarian world government under permanent medical martial law, a New World Order (NWO). Furthermore, this evil group, this illuminati, pulls the strings of all major governments, corporations, the United Nations, the WHO, the CDC, the media, the intelligence services, the banks, and the NGOs. In other words, they say, everything we are told is a lie, and the world is in the grip of evil.

So what do I think about that theory? I think it is a myth. And what is a myth? A myth is not the same thing as a fantasy or a delusion. Myths are vehicles of truth, and that truth needn’t be literal. The classical Greek myths, for example, seem like mere amusements until one decodes them by associating each god with psychosocial forces. In this way, myths bring light to the shadows and reveal what has been repressed. They take a truth about the psyche or society and form it into a story. The truth of a myth does not depend on whether it is objectively verifiable. That is one reason why, in The Coronation, I said my purpose is neither to advocate nor to debunk the conspiracy narrative, but rather to look at what it illuminates. It is, after all, neither provable nor falsifiable.

What is true about the conspiracy myth? Underneath its literalism, it conveys important information that we ignore at great peril. 

First, it demonstrates the shocking extent of public alienation from institutions of authority. For all the political battles of the post-WWII era, there was at least a broad consensus on basic facts and on where facts could be found. The key institutions of knowledge production -- science and journalism -- enjoyed broad public trust. If the New York Times and CBS Evening News said that North Vietnam attacked the United States in the Gulf of Tonkin, most people believed it. If science said nuclear power and DDT were safe, most people believed that too. To some extent, that trust was well earned. Journalists sometimes defied the interests of the powerful, as with Seymour Hersh’s expose of the My Lai massacre, or Woodward & Bernstein’s reporting on Watergate. Science, in the vanguard of civilization’s onward march, had a reputation for the objective pursuit of knowledge in defiance of traditional religious authorities, as well as a reputation for lofty disdain for political and financial motives. 

Today, the broad consensus trust in science and journalism is in tatters. I know several highly educated people who believe the earth is flat. By dismissing flat-earthers and the tens of millions of adherents to less extreme alternative narratives (historical, medical, political, and scientific) as ignorant, we are mistaking symptom for cause. Their loss of trust is a clear symptom of a loss of trustworthiness. Our institutions of knowledge production have betrayed public trust repeatedly, as have our political institutions. Now, many people won’t believe them even when they tell the truth. This must be frustrating to the scrupulous doctor, scientist, or public official. To them, the problem looks like a public gone mad, a rising tide of anti-scientific irrationality that is endangering public health. The solution, from that perspective, would be to combat ignorance. It is almost as if ignorance is a virus (in fact, I have heard that phrase before) that must be controlled through the same kind of quarantine (for example, censorship) that we apply to the coronavirus. 

Ironically, another kind of ignorance pervades both these efforts: the ignorance of the terrain. What is the diseased tissue upon which the virus of ignorance gains purchase? The loss of trust in science, journalism, and government reflects their long corruption: their arrogance and elitism, their alliance with corporate interests, and their institutionalized suppression of dissent. The conspiracy myth embodies the realization of a profound disconnect between the public postures of our leaders and their true motivations and plans. It bespeaks a political culture that is opaque to the ordinary citizen, a world of secrecy, image, PR,  spin, optics, talking points, perception management, narrative management, and information warfare. No wonder people suspect that there is another reality operating behind the curtains. 

Second, the conspiracy myth gives narrative form to an authentic intuition that an inhuman power governs the world. What could that power be? The conspiracy myth locates that power in a group of malevolent human beings (who take commands, in some versions, from extraterrestrial or demonic entities). Therein lies a certain psychological comfort, because now there is someone to blame in a familiar us-versus-them narrative and victim-perpetrator-rescuer psychology. Alternatively, we could locate the “inhuman power” in systems or ideologies, not a group of conspirators. That is less psychologically rewarding, because we can no longer easily identify as good fighting evil; after all, we ourselves participate in these systems, which pervade our entire society. Systems like the debt-based money system, patriarchy, white supremacy, or capitalism cannot be removed by fighting their administrators. They create roles for evildoers to fill, but the evildoers are functionaries; puppets, not puppet masters. The basic intuition of conspiracy theories then is true: that those we think hold power are but puppets of the real power in the world. 

A couple weeks ago I was on a call with a person who had a high position in the Obama administration and who still runs in elite circles. He said, “There is no one driving the bus.” I was a little disappointed actually, because there is indeed part of me that wishes the problem were a bunch of dastardly conspirators. Why? Because then our world’s problems would be quite easy to solve, at least in principle. Just expose and eliminate those bad guys. That is the prevailing Hollywood formula for righting the world’s wrongs: a heroic champion confronts and defeats the bad guy, and everyone lives happily ever after. Hmm, that is the same basic formula as blaming ill health on germs and killing them with the arsenal of medicine, so that we can live safe healthy lives ever after, or killing the terrorists and walling out the immigrants and locking up the criminals, all again so that we can live safe healthy lives ever after. Stamped from the same template, conspiracy theories tap into an unconscious orthodoxy. They emanate from the same mythic pantheon as the social ills they protest. We might call that pantheon Separation, and one of its chief motifs is the war against the Other.

That is not to say there is no such thing as a germ -- or a conspiracy. Watergate, COINTELPRO, Iran-Contra, Merck’s drug Vioxx, Ford’s exploding Pinto coverup, Lockheed-Martin’s bribery campaign, Bayer’s knowing sale of HIV-contaminated blood, and the Enron scandal demonstrate that conspiracies involving powerful elites do happen. None of the above are myths though: a myth is something that explains the world; it is, mysteriously, bigger than itself. Thus, the Kennedy assassination conspiracy theory (which I will confess, doubtless at cost to my credibility, to accepting as literally true) is a portal to the mythic realm. 

The conspiracy myth I’m addressing here, though, is much larger than any of these specific examples: It is that the world as we know it is the result of a conspiracy, with the Illuminati or controllers as its evil gods. For believers, it becomes a totalizing discourse that casts every event into its terms. 

It is a myth with an illustrious pedigree, going back at least to the time of the first century Gnostics. Gnostics believe that an evil demiurge created the material world out of a preexisting divine essence. Creating the world in the image of his own distortion, he imagines himself to be its true god and ruler.

One needn’t believe in this literally, nor believe literally in a world-controlling evil cabal, to derive insight from this myth -- insight into the arrogance of the powerful, for example, or into the nature of the distortion that colors the world of our experience. 

What is it that makes the vast majority of humanity comply with a system that drives Earth and humankind to ruin? What power has us in its grip? It isn’t just the conspiracy theorists who are captive to a mythology. Society at large is too. I call it the mythology of Separation: me separate from you, matter separate from spirit, human separate from nature. It holds us as discrete and separate selves in an objective universe of force and mass, atoms and void. Because we are (in this myth) separate from other people and from nature, we must dominate our competitors and master nature. Progress, therefore, consists in increasing our capacity to control the Other. The myth recounts human history as an ascent from one triumph to the next, from fire to domestication to industry to information technology, genetic engineering, and social science, promising a coming paradise of control. That same myth motivates the conquest and ruin of nature, organizing society to turn the entire planet into money -- no conspiracy necessary.

The mythology of Separation is what generates what I named in The Coronation as a “civilizational tilt” toward control. The solution template is, facing any problem, to find something to control -- to quarantine, to track, to imprison, to wall out, to dominate, or to kill. If control fails, more control will fix it. To achieve social and material paradise, control everything, track every movement, monitor every word, record every transaction. Then there can be no more crime, no more infection, no more disinformation. When the entire ruling class accepts this formula and this vision, they will act in natural concert to increase their control. It is all for the greater good. When the public accepts it too, they will not resist it. This is not a conspiracy, though it can certainly look like one. This is a third truth within the conspiracy myth. Events are indeed orchestrated in the direction of more and more control, only the orchestrating power is itself a zeitgeist, an ideology… a myth.

A Conspiracy with No Conspirators

Let us not dismiss the conspiracy myth as just a myth. Not only is it an important psychosocial diagnostic, but it reveals what is otherwise hard to see from the official mythology in which society’s main institutions, while flawed, are shepherding us ever-closer to a high tech paradise. That dominant myth blinds us to the data points the conspiracy theorists recruit for their narratives. These might include things like regulatory capture in the pharmaceutical industry, conflicts of interest within public health organizations, the dubious efficacy of masks, the far-lower-than-hyped death rates, totalitarian overreach, the questionable utility of lockdown, concerns about non-ionizing frequencies of electromagnetic radiation, the benefits of natural and holistic approaches to boosting immunity, bioterrain theory, the dangers of censorship in the name of “combatting disinformation,” and so forth. It would be nice if one could raise the numerous valid points and legitimate questions that alternative Covid narratives bring to light without being classed as a right-wing conspiracy theorist. 

The whole phrase “right-wing conspiracy theorist” is a bit odd, since traditionally it is the Left that has been most alert to the proclivity of the powerful to abuse their power. Traditionally, it is the Left that is suspicious of corporate interests, that urges us to “question authority,” and that has in fact been the main victim of government infiltration and surveillance.

Fifty years ago, if anyone said, “There is a secret program called COINTELPRO that is spying on civil rights groups and sowing division within them with poison pen letters and fabricated rumors,” that would have been a conspiracy theory by today’s standards.

The same, 25 years ago, with, “There is a secret program in which the CIA facilitates narcotics sales into American inner cities and uses the money to fund right-wing paramilitaries in Central America.”

The same with government infiltration of environmental groups and peace activists starting in the 1980s.

Or more recently, the infiltration of the Standing Rock movement.

Or the real estate industry’s decades-long conspiracy to redline neighborhoods to keep black people out.

Given this history, why all of a sudden is it the Left urging everyone to trust “the Man” -- to trust the pronouncements of the pharmaceutical companies and pharma-funded organizations like the CDC and WHO? Why is skepticism towards these institutions labeled “right wing”? It isn’t as if only the privileged are “inconvenienced” by lockdown. It is devastating the lives of tens or hundreds of millions of the global precariat. The UN World Food Program is warning that by the end of the year, 260 million people will face starvation. Most are black and brown people in Africa and South Asia. One might argue that to restrict the debate to epidemiological questions of mortality is itself a privileged stance that erases the suffering of those who are most marginalized to begin with.

“Conspiracy theory” has become a term of political invective, used to disparage any view that diverges from mainstream beliefs. Basically, any critique of dominant institutions can be smeared as conspiracy theory. There is actually a perverse truth in this smear. For example, if you believe that glyphosate is actually dangerous to human and ecological health, then you also must, if you are logical, believe that Bayer/Monsanto is suppressing or ignoring that information, and you must also believe that the government, media, and scientific establishment are to some extent complicit in that suppression. Otherwise, why are we not seeing NYT headlines like, “Monsanto whistleblower reveals dangers of glyphosate”? 

Information suppression can happen without deliberate orchestration. Throughout history, hysterias, intellectual fads, and mass delusions have come and gone spontaneously. This is more mysterious than the easy conspiracy explanation admits. An unconscious coordination of action can look very much like a conspiracy, and the boundary between the two is blurry. Consider the weapons of mass destruction (WMD) fraud that served as a pretext for the invasion of Iraq. Maybe there were people in the Bush administration who knowingly used the phony “yellowcake” document to call for war; maybe they just wanted very much to believe the documents were genuine, or maybe they thought, “Well, this is questionable but Saddam must have WMD, and even if he doesn’t, he wants them, so the document is basically true…” People easily believe what serves their interests or fits their existing worldview. 

In a similar vein, the media needed little encouragement to start beating the war drums. They knew what to do already, without having to receive instructions. I don’t think very many journalists actually believed the WMD lie. They pretended to believe, because subconsciously, they knew that was the establishment narrative. That was what would get them recognized as serious journalists. That’s what would give them access to power. That is what would allow them to keep their jobs and advance their careers. But most of all, they pretended to believe because everyone else was pretending to believe. It is hard to go against the zeitgeist. 

The British scientist Rupert Sheldrake told me about a talk he gave to a group of scientists who were working on animal behaviour at a prestigious British University. He was talking about his research on dogs that know when their owners are coming home, and other telepathic phenomena in domestic animals. The talk was received with a kind of polite silence. But in the following tea break all six of the senior scientists who were present at the seminar came to him one by one, and when they were sure that no one else was listening told him they had had experiences of this kind with their own animals, or that they were convinced that telepathy is a real phenomenon, but that they could not talk to their colleagues about this because they were all so straight. When Sheldrake realised that all six had told him much the same thing, he said to them, “Why don’t you guys come out? You’d all have so much more fun!” He says that when he gives a talk at a scientific institution there are nearly always scientists who approach him afterwards telling him they’ve had personal experiences that convince them of the reality of psychic or spiritual phenomena but that they can’t discuss them with their colleagues for fear of being thought weird.

This is not a deliberate conspiracy to suppress psychic phenomena. Those six scientists didn’t convene beforehand and decide to suppress information they knew was real. They keep their opinions to themselves because of the norms of their subculture, the basic paradigms that delimit science, and the very real threat of damage to their careers. The persecution and calumny directed at Sheldrake himself demonstrates what happens to a scientist who is outspoken in his dissent from official scientific reality. So, we might still say that a conspiracy is afoot, but its perpetrator is a culture, a system, and a story. 

Is this, or a deliberate conspiratorial agenda, a more satisfying explanation for the seemingly inexorable trends (which by no means began with Covid) toward surveillance, tracking, distancing, germ phobia, obsession with safety, and the digitization and indoor-ization of entertainment, recreation, and sociality? If the perpetrator is indeed a cultural mythology and system, then conspiracy theories offer us a false target, a distraction. The remedy cannot be to expose and take down those who have foisted these trends upon us. Of course, there are many bad actors in our world, remorseless people committing heinous acts. But have they created the system and the mythology of Separation, or do they merely take advantage of it? Certainly such people should be stopped, but if that is all we do, and leave unchanged the conditions that breed them, we will fight an endless war. Just as in bioterrain theory germs are symptoms and exploiters of diseased tissue, so also are conspiratorial cabals symptoms and exploiters of a diseased society: a society poisoned by the mentality of war, fear, separation, and control. This deep ideology, the myth of separation, is beyond anyone’s power to invent. The Illuminati, if they exist, are not its authors; it is more true to say that the mythology is their author. We do not create our myths; they create us.

Which side are you on?

In the end, I still haven’t said whether I think the New World Order conspiracy myth is true or not. Well actually yes I have. I have said it is true as a myth, regardless of its correspondence to verifiable facts. But what about the facts? Come on, Charles, tell us, is there actually a conspiracy behind the Covid thing, or isn’t there? There must be an objective fact of the matter. Are chemtrails a thing? Was SARS-COV2 genetically engineered? Is microwave radiation from cellphone towers a factor? Are vaccines introducing viruses from animal cell cultures into people? Is Bill Gates masterminding a power grab in the form of medical martial law? Does a Luciferian elite rule the world? True or false? Yes or no? 

To this question I would respond with another: Given that I am not an expert on any of these matters, why do you want to know what I think? Could it be to place me on one side or another of an information war? Then you will know whether it is OK to enjoy this essay, share it, or have me on your podcast.  In an us-versus-them war mentality, the most important thing is to know which side someone is on, lest you render aid and comfort to the enemy. 

Aha -- Charles must be on the other side. Because he has created a false equivalency between peer-reviewed, evidence-based, respectable scientific knowledge on the one hand, and unhinged conspiracy theories on the other. 

Aha -- Charles must be on the other side. Because he has created a false equivalency between corporate-government-NWO propaganda on the one hand, and brave whistle-blowers and dissidents risking their careers for the truth on the other. 

Can you see how totalizing war mentality can be?

War mentality saturates our polarized society, which envisions progress as a consequence of victory -- victory over a virus, over the ignorant, over the left, over the right, over the psychopathic elites, over Donald Trump, over white supremacy, over the liberal elites.... Each side uses the same formula, and that formula requires an enemy. So, obligingly, we divide ourselves up into us and them, exhausting 99% of our energies in a fruitless tug-of-war, never once suspecting that the true evil power might be the formula itself. 

This is not to propose that we somehow banish conflict from human affairs. It is to question a mythology -- embraced by both sides -- that conceives every problem in conflict’s terms. Struggle and conflict have their place, but other plotlines are possible. There are other pathways to healing and to justice. 

A Call for Humility

Have you ever noticed that events seem to organize themselves to validate the story you hold about the world? Selection bias and confirmation bias explain some of that, but I think something weirder is at work as well. When we enter into deep faith or deep paranoia, it seems as if that state attracts confirmatory events to it. Reality organizes itself to match our stories. In a sense, this IS a conspiracy, just not one perpetrated by humankind. That might be a third truth that the conspiracy myth harbors: the presence of an organizing intelligence behind the events of our lives. 

In no way does this imply the New Age nostrum that beliefs create reality. Rather, it is that reality and belief construct each other, coevolving as a coherent whole. The intimate, mysterious connection between myth and reality means that belief is never actually a slave to fact. We are facts’ sovereign -- which is not to say their creator. To be their sovereign doesn’t mean to be their tyrant, disrespecting and over-ruling them. The wise monarch pays attention to an unruly subject, such as a fact that defies the narrative. Maybe it is simply a disturbed trouble-maker, like a simple lie, but maybe it signals disharmony in the kingdom. Maybe the kingdom is no longer legitimate. Maybe the myth is no longer true. It could well be that the vociferous attacks on Covid dissent, using the “conspiracy theory” smear, signal the infirmity of the orthodox paradigms they seek to uphold.

If so, that doesn’t mean the orthodox paradigms are all wrong either. To leap from one certainty to another skips the holy ground of uncertainty, of not knowing, of humility, into which genuinely new information can come. What unites the pundits of all persuasions is their certainty. Who is trustworthy? In the end, it is the person with the humility to recognize when he or she has been wrong. 

To those who categorically dismiss any information that seriously challenges conventional medicine, lockdown policies, vaccines, etc., I would ask, Do you need such high walls around your kingdom? Instead of banishing these unruly subjects, would it hurt to give them an audience?

Would it be so dangerous to perhaps tour another kingdom, guided not by your own loyal minister but by the most intelligent, welcoming partisans of the other side?

If you have no interest in spending the several hours it will take to absorb the following dissenting opinions, fine. I’d rather be in my garden too.

But if you are a partisan in these issues, what harm will it do to visit enemy territory? Normally partisans don’t do that. They rely on the reports of their own leaders about the enemy. If they know anything of Robert F. Kennedy Jr.’s or Judy Mikovitz’s views, it is through the lens of someone debunking them. So give a listen to Kennedy, or if you prefer MD’s only, to David KatzZach Bush, or Christiane Northrup...

I would like to offer the same invitation to those who reject the conventional view.

Find the most scrupulous mainstream doctors and scientists you can, and dive into their world. Take the attitude of a respectful guest, not a hostile spy. If you do that, I guarantee you will encounter data points that challenge any narrative you came in with. The splendor of conventional virology, the wonders of chemistry that generations of scientists have discovered, the intelligence and sincerity of most of these scientists, and the genuine altruism of health care workers on the front line who have no political or financial conflict of interest in the face of grave risk to themselves, must be part of any satisfactory narrative.

After two months of obsessively searching for one, I have not yet found a satisfactory narrative that can account for every data point. That doesn’t mean to take no action because after all, knowledge is never certain. But in the whirlwind of competing narratives and the disjoint mythologies beneath them, we can look for action that makes sense no matter which side is right. We can look for truths that the smoke and clamor of the battle obscures. We can question assumptions both sides take for granted, and ask questions neither side is asking. Not identified with either side, we can gather knowledge from both.

Generalizing to society, by bringing in all the voices, including the marginalized ones, we can build a broader social consensus and begin to heal the polarization that is rending and paralyzing our society.

*  *  *

Is this a new mission statement for Twitter 2.0 - allow adults to be adults, erase the nanny-statism, and offer the world a platform to exchange ideas freely?

Published:5/23/2020 7:20:30 PM
[Russia investigation] Origin of Crossfire Hurricane Discovered? (John Hinderaker) Judicial Watch has uncovered a document that on its face purports to be the origin of the Crossfire Hurricane “investigation.” It was authored by Peter Strzok, is heavily redacted and requires some knowledge of FBI protocols to understand fully. Nevertheless, the general import seems clear: FEDERAL BUREAU OF INVESTIGATION Electronic Communication Title: Crossfire Hurricane Date: 07/31/2016 Cc: [Redacted] Strzok Peter P II From: COUNTERINTELLIGENCE [Redacted] Contact: Strzok Peter P II, Published:5/23/2020 7:20:30 PM
[Markets] Trump: "I Have A Chance To Break The Deep State" Trump: "I Have A Chance To Break The Deep State" Tyler Durden Sat, 05/23/2020 - 16:10

In an exclusive interview set to air Sunday, President Trump tells Sharyl Attkisson that he believes he is making inroads in draining the Washington swamp.

"If it keeps going the way it's going, I have a chance to break the deep state. It's a vicious group of people."

- President Trump on "Full Measure with Sharyl Attkisson"

Also in the interview:

  • The president calls churches, synagogues, mosques and other religious institutions "essential services" and says they must be allowed to open

  • Sharyl asks if someone review his tweets before he sends them out

  • Trump weighs in on the biggest strength and weakness of Joe Biden

  • He talks about the latest allegations about FBI misconduct and spying on his campaign

  • Sharyl ask about mixed messages the government is sending on the anti-malaria drug, hydroxychloroquine

  • She also asks President Trump how he can press to investigate allegation about Biden and Ukraine-- without appearing to be doing the same thing Democrats did to him in 2016.

Here's how to watch...

Published:5/23/2020 3:19:53 PM
[World] FBI Says Shooting at Texas Air Base 'Terrorism-Related' Published:5/23/2020 1:16:31 PM
[Markets] Adam Schiff Asks DNI To Declassify Flynn's Phone Calls With Russians Adam Schiff Asks DNI To Declassify Flynn's Phone Calls With Russians Tyler Durden Sat, 05/23/2020 - 12:00


Rep. Adam Schiff (D-Cal), the House Intelligence Committee chairman sent a letter to Acting Director of National Intelligence Richard Grenell asking him to declassify transcripts of Michael Flynn’s phone calls with Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak and any reports summarizing their calls.

Schiff tweeted:

"It’s clear the Administration is selectively declassifying information for purely political purposes, an abuse of the classification system. We need to ensure a transparent and complete public record free of political manipulation. It’s time to declassify any Flynn transcripts."

Full text of Adam Schiff letter to Acting DNI Grenell:

The Intelligence Community (“IC”) protects the identities of Americans who are referenced in intelligence obtained from lawful collection against authorized foreign targets that it disseminates to its customers through intelligence reports. IC elements do so by “masking” the U.S. person information in the intelligence report in a manner that protects those U.S. persons’ privacy. U.S. officials who are authorized recipients of these intelligence reports and who are charged with protecting national security may request, through a standardized process and with an appropriate and validated justification, the underlying U.S. person information that has been replaced by a generic descriptor (such as “U.S. person 1 “). The IC elements review those requests to validate the requester’s need to know this sensitive information before releasing that U.S. person information to the requester.

As you must now be aware, authorized U.S. officials make these requests so they can better understand specific intelligence reports and properly evaluate threats to our national security. The established procedures for doing so safeguard the privacy of Americans, while at the same time enabling U.S. officials to protect national security by requesting the U.S. person information that reveals who may be in harm’s way, who may be engaged in acts that threaten the country, or who, wittingly or unwittingly, may be acting to further the interests of foreign adversaries and, therefore, pose a counterintelligence risk or threat.

In late 2016 and early 2017, as the scope of Russia’s sweeping and systemic interference in our election was coming into focus, dozens of officials from across the U.S. government were briefed on intelligence reports on foreign actors that contained masked U.S. person information. As the list you declassified shows, these officials, either directly or through their IC briefers, submitted requests to understand who the U.S. person or persons were who were referenced in these reports on foreign targets. The masked U.S. persons referenced in these reports were revealed to be Lt. Gen. (Ret.) Michael Flynn, who served as an advisor to candidate and then President-elect Donald Trump–even as Lt. Gen. Flynn was working as an unregistered agent of a foreign government seeking to influence U.S. policy through at least mid-November 2016. National Security Agency (“NSA”) Director General Paul Nakasone’s May 4, 2020 response to your request, which you declassified, confirmed that each of the U.S. officials who requested the masked U.S. person information was “an authorized recipient of the original report” and the requests to reveal the masked U.S. person information were “approved through NSA’s standard process, which includes a review of the justification for the request.”

As detailed in charging documents and Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s Report on the Investigation into Russian Interference in the 2016 Presidential Election, during this timeframe, the IC also became aware of Lt. Gen. Flynn’s communications with Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak regarding, among other things, sanctions that the United States had recently imposed on Russia as a penalty for its interference in the 2016 presidential election. Lt. Gen. Flynn did not disclose these communications with the Russian Ambassador to the outgoing administration, despite the long-established principle that the United States has only one government at a time.

In January 2017, Lt. Gen. Flynn lied about the content of these communications to Vice President-elect Mike Pence and-after he began serving as President Trump’s National Security Advisor-to the Federal Bureau of Investigation (“FBI”). This created a clear and untenable counterintelligence and national security risk for the United States. As witnesses testified to the Committee, the Senate, and to Special Counsel Mueller, Lt. Gen. Flynn’s readily provable lies provided the Russians leverage over the new National Security Advisor because they knew he was lying about the substance of his conversations with Ambassador Kislyak. Lt. Gen. Flynn, himself, later pleaded guilty under oath-twice-to lying to the FBI about these communications. Even President Trump publicly explained at the time, “I had to fire General Flynn because he lied to the vice president and the FBI.”

Your decision to declassify the list of executive branch officials that you requested NSA compile, and then asked that NSA revise to your specification, is without precedent. It was a transparent political act-in an election year and during a pandemic, no less-in which you used the authorities of your position to insinuate wrongdoing by officials who acted appropriately in requesting the identity of masked U.S. persons to better understand foreign intelligence reports. This is inconsistent with the oath and obligations of an acting Director of National Intelligence. Selective declassification for political purposes is inappropriate, corrupt, and undermines public confidence in the IC as an apolitical pillar protecting the country regardless of the political affiliation of its Executive Branch customers.

To ensure a transparent and complete public record free of political manipulation, the Committee therefore requests that you or your successor:

  1. Declassify and make publicly available any intelligence report or transcript concerning conversations between Lt. Gen. Flynn and former Russian Ambassador Kislyak. These communications have been the subject of thorough law enforcement investigation and criminal proceedings, and no national security rationale remains to suppress these records on classification grounds.

  2. Produce to the Committee in full, consistent with 50 USC §3092(a)(2),9 the underlying intelligence reports that were the subject of U.S. person identity requests revealed in General Nakasone’s May 4, 2020 memorandum to you, as well as the rationale for your decision to request and then declassify the list of officials.

  3. Declassify and make publicly available, with appropriate redactions to protect sensitive sources and methods, these same underlying intelligence reports, so that the public can understand why so many U.S. officials from across the government independently sought to learn the identity of a masked American, who would tum out to be Lt. Gen. Flynn, who was communicating with or referenced by lawful targets of foreign intelligence collection.

In a timely response, Acting Director of National Intelligence Richard Grenell on Friday implied that he plans to release the transcripts of December 2016 phone calls between former Trump national security adviser Michael Flynn and Russian ambassador Sergey Kislyak.

“Those are coming. It’s very important for the public to see ALL of them. For too long the public has been misled,” Grenell tweeted at Representative Eric Swalwell (D., Calif.), who challenged him to release the transcripts.

Grenell, who took over as acting DNI in February and will be replaced by Representative John Ratcliffe (R., Texas) - whom the Senate voted Thursday to confirm - has declassified and released a number of documents related to the Russia probe during his time in the role.

Published:5/23/2020 11:15:39 AM
[News] FBI Chief Orders Internal Review Into Probe of Trump Ex-Aide Flynn The probe ordered by FBI Director Christopher Wray will "determine whether any current employees engaged in misconduct" in the investigation of Flynn. Published:5/23/2020 6:44:37 AM
[Markets] Wray's Review Of FBI's Flynn Probe "Is The Fox Guarding The Hen House" Wray's Review Of FBI's Flynn Probe "Is The Fox Guarding The Hen House" Tyler Durden Fri, 05/22/2020 - 20:05

Authored by Sara Carter,

FBI Director Christopher Wray announced Friday that he has ordered the bureau to conduct an internal review of its handling of the probe into former national security adviser Michael Flynn, which has led to his years long battle in federal court.

It’s like the fox guarding the hen house.

Wray’s decision to investigate also comes late. The bureau’s probe only comes after numerous revelations that former senior FBI officials and agents involved in Flynn’s case allegedly engaged in misconduct to target the three star general, who became President Donald Trump’s most trusted campaign advisor.

Despite all these revelations, Wray has promised that the bureau will examine whether any employees engaged in misconduct during the court of the investigation and “evaluate whether any improvements in FBI policies and procedures need to be made.” Based on what we know, how can we trust an unbiased investigation from the very bureau that targeted Flynn.

Let me put it to you this way, over the past year Wray has failed to cooperate with congressional investigations. In fact, many Republican lawmakers have called him out publicly on the lack of cooperation saying, he cares more about protecting the bureaucracy than exposing and resolving the culture of corruption within the bureau.

Wray’s Friday announcement, is in my opinion, a ruse to get lawmakers off his back.

How can we trust that Wray’s internal investigation will expose what actually happened in the case of Flynn, or any of the other Trump campaign officials that were targeted by the former Obama administration’s intelligence and law enforcement apparatus.

It’s Wray’s FBI that continues to battle all the Judicial Watch Freedom of Information Act requests regarding the investigation into Flynn, along with any requests that would expose  information on the Russia hoax investigation. One in particular, is the request to obtain all the text messages and emails sent and received by former Deputy Director Andrew McCabe.

The FBI defended itself in its Friday announcement saying that in addition to its own internal review, it has already cooperated with other inquiries assigned by Attorney General William Barr. But still Wray has not approved subpoena’s for employees and others that lawmakers want to interview behind closed doors in Congress.

The recent documented discoveries by the Department of Justice make it all the more imperative that an outside review of the FBI’s handling of Flynn’s case is required. Those documents, which shed light on the actions by the bureau against Flynn, led to the DOJ’s decision to drop all charges against him. It was, after all, DOJ Attorney Jeffery Jensen who discovered the FBI documents regarding Flynn that have aided his defense attorney Sidney Powell in getting the truth out to they American people.

Powell, like me, doesn’t believe an internal review is appropriate.

“Wow? And how is he going to investigate himself,” she questioned in a Tweet. “And how could anyone trust it? FBI Director Wray opens internal review into how bureau handled Michael Flynn case.”

Last week, this reporter published the growing divide between Congressional Republicans on the House Judiciary Committee and Wray. The lawmakers have accused Wray of failing to respond to numerous requests to speak with FBI Special Agent Joe Pientka, who along with former FBI Special Agent Peter Strzok, conducted the now infamous White House interview with Flynn on Jan. 24, 2017.

Further, the lawmakers have also requested to speak with the FBI’s former head of the Counterintelligence Division, Bill Priestap, whose unsealed handwritten notes revealed the possible ‘nefarious’ motivations behind the FBI’s investigation of Flynn.

“Michael Flynn was wronged by the FBI,” said a senior Republican official last week, with direct knowledge of the Flynn investigation.

“Sadly Director Wray has shown little interest in getting to the bottom of what actually happened with the Flynn case. Wray’s lackadaisical attitude is an embarrassment to the rank and file agents at the bureau, whose names have been dragged through the mud time and time again throughout the Russia-gate investigation. Wray needs to wake up and work with Congress. If he doesn’t maybe it’s time for him to go.

Powell argued that Flynn had pleaded guilty because his former Special Counsel Robert Mueller, along with his prosecutors, threatened to target his son. Those prosecutors also coerced Flynn, whose finances were depleted by his previous defense team. Mueller’s team got Flynn to plead guilty to lying to the FBI about a phone conversation he had with the former Russian ambassador Sergey Kislyak during the presidential transition period. However, the agents who interviewed him did not believe he was lying.

Currently the DOJ’s request to dismiss the case is now pending before federal Judge Emmet Sullivan. Sullivan has failed to grant the DOJ’s request to dismiss the case and because of that Powell has filed a writ of mandamus to the U.S. D.C. Court of Appeals seeking the immediate removal of Sullivan, or to dismiss the prosecution as requested by the DOJ.

Published:5/22/2020 7:10:43 PM
[FBI] FBI Opens Investigation Into Flynn Case (John Hinderaker) FBI Director Christopher Wray has been a severe disappointment. He has shown no inclination to reform that troubled agency, and seems to have, if anything, abetted the longstanding coverup of FBI misdeeds. Today he belatedly announced that the FBI is launching an investigation into its conduct in the Flynn case: BREAKING: @FBI Director Christopher Wray just opened an internal review into the Michael #Flynn 2017 interview and subsequent investigation. See Published:5/22/2020 6:40:37 PM
[Politics] Breaking! FBI Director Wray opens investigation into how FBI railroaded Mike Flynn Trump’s FBI Director Wray has responded to all the outrage over recent revelations in the prosecution of Mike Flynn and he is opening up an investigation: #FLYNN FBI launches after action review . . . Published:5/22/2020 5:10:00 PM
[Politics] Breaking! FBI Director Wray opens investigation into how FBI railroaded Mike Flynn Trump’s FBI Director Wray has responded to all the outrage over recent revelations in the prosecution of Mike Flynn and he is opening up an investigation: #FLYNN FBI launches after action review . . . Published:5/22/2020 5:10:00 PM
[In The News] FBI Director Christopher Wray Orders Internal Investigation Of Michael Flynn Probe

By Chuck Ross -

Christopher Wray

FBI Director Christopher Wray on Friday ordered an internal investigation into whether any bureau employees engaged in misconduct in the probe of Michael Flynn, the former national security adviser. In a statement, the FBI said that Wray ordered the bureau’s inspection division “to conduct an after-action review of the Michael ...

FBI Director Christopher Wray Orders Internal Investigation Of Michael Flynn Probe is original content from Conservative Daily News - Where Americans go for news, current events and commentary they can trust - Conservative News Website for U.S. News, Political Cartoons and more.

Published:5/22/2020 4:39:50 PM
[] FBI director orders after-action review of Flynn investigation Published:5/22/2020 4:09:49 PM
[Politics] FBI Director Orders Internal Review of Flynn Investigation FBI Director Christopher Wray has ordered an internal review into possible misconduct in the investigation of former Trump administration national security adviser Michael Flynn, the bureau said Friday.The after-action review will examine whether any employees engaged in... Published:5/22/2020 4:09:49 PM
[Markets] White House Press Secretary Stuns Journos With Interactive 'Obamagate' Presentation On How To Do Their Jobs White House Press Secretary Stuns Journos With Interactive 'Obamagate' Presentation On How To Do Their Jobs Tyler Durden Fri, 05/22/2020 - 15:25

Shortly before wrapping up an impromptu press conference in which President Trump declared places of worship essential during the pandemic, White House Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany delivered a scorching presentation to the White House Press Corps on Friday - after accusing them of failing to do their jobs regarding 'Obamagate.'

"Did anyone take it upon themselves to pose any questions about Michael Flynn and unmasking to President Obama's spokesperson?" she asked.

One journalist stammers, "but buh but Flynn's name wasn't mas--"

To which McEnany cut back in, continuing "So I would like to lay out a series of questions and perhaps, if I write them out in a slide format - maybe we're visual learners and you guys will follow up with journalistic curiosity."

She then played four slides with questions to ask:

  • "Why did the Obama Admin use opposition research, funded by a political organization and filled with foreign dirt to SPY ON MEMBERS OF THE TRUMP CAMPAIGN?"
  • "Why was Lt. Gen. Micahel Flynn UNMASKED by Obama's Chief of Staff, Joe Biden, Susan Rice, and others?"
  • "Why was Flynn's identity leaked - A CRIMINAL ACT - to the press?"
  • "Why did the DOJ learn about the FBI's interest in Flynn's conversations with the Russian Amb. from a CONVERSATION WITH OBAMA in the Oval Office?"


Published:5/22/2020 2:40:56 PM
[Politics] FBI investigating shooting at Naval air station as terrorism A shooting at a Naval Air station in Corpus Christi yesterday is now being said by the FBI to be terrorism-related: CBS NEWS – A shooting at a Texas naval air station . . . Published:5/22/2020 10:08:31 AM
[Politics] FBI investigating shooting at Naval air station as terrorism A shooting at a Naval Air station in Corpus Christi yesterday is now being said by the FBI to be terrorism-related: CBS NEWS – A shooting at a Texas naval air station . . . Published:5/22/2020 10:08:31 AM
[Markets] The Slippery Slope To Despotism: Paved With Lockdowns, Raids, & Forced Vaccinations The Slippery Slope To Despotism: Paved With Lockdowns, Raids, & Forced Vaccinations Tyler Durden Fri, 05/22/2020 - 00:05

Authored by John Whitehead via The Rutherford Institute,

“You have no right not to be vaccinated, you have no right not to wear a mask, you have no right to open up your business… And if you refuse to be vaccinated, the state has the power to literally take you to a doctor's office and plunge a needle into your arm.”

- Alan Dershowitz, Harvard law professor

You have no rights.

That’s the lesson the government wants us to learn from this COVID-19 business.

Well, the government is wrong.

For years now, the powers-that-be—those politicians and bureaucrats who think like tyrants and act like petty dictators regardless of what party they belong to—have attempted to brainwash us into believing that we have no right to think for ourselves, make decisions about our health, protect our homes and families and businesses, act in our best interests, demand accountability and transparency from government, or generally operate as if we are in control of our own lives.

We have every right, and you know why? Because we were born free.

As the Declaration of Independence states, we are endowed by our Creator with certain inalienable rights—to life, liberty, property and the pursuit of happiness—that no government can take away from us.

Unfortunately, that hasn’t stopped the government from constantly trying to usurp our freedoms at every turn. Indeed, the nature of government is such that it invariably oversteps its limits, abuses its authority, and flexes its totalitarian muscles.

Take this COVID-19 crisis, for example.

What started out as an apparent effort to prevent a novel coronavirus from sickening the nation (and the world) has become yet another means by which world governments (including our own) can expand their powers, abuse their authority, and further oppress their constituents.

Until now, the police state has been more circumspect in its power grabs, but this latest state of emergency has brought the beast out of the shadows.

We are on a slippery slope to outright despotism.

This road we are traveling is paved with lockdowns, SWAT team raids, mass surveillance and forced vaccinations. It is littered with the debris of our First and Fourth Amendment freedoms.

This is what we have to look forward to in the months and years to come unless we can find some way to regain control over our runaway government.

The government has made no secret of its plans.

Just follow the money trail, and you’ll get a sense of what’s in store: more militarized police, more SWAT team raids, more surveillance, more lockdowns, more strong-armed tactics aimed at suppressing dissent and forcing us to comply with the government’s dictates.

It’s chilling to think about, but it’s not surprising.

We’ve been warned.

Remember that Pentagon training video created by the Army for U.S. Special Operations Command? The one that anticipates the future domestic political and social problems the government is grooming its armed forces to solve through the use of martial law?

The chilling five-minute training video, obtained by The Intercept through a FOIA request and made available online, paints a dystopian picture of the future bedeviled by “criminal networks,” “substandard infrastructure,” “religious and ethnic tensions,” “impoverishment, slums,” “open landfills, over-burdened sewers,” a “growing mass of unemployed,” and an urban landscape in which the prosperous economic elite must be protected from the impoverishment of the have nots.

But here’s the kicker: what they’re really talking about is martial law, packaged as a well-meaning and overriding concern for the nation’s security.

This COVID-19 crisis is pushing us that much closer to that dystopian vision becoming a present-day reality.

For starters, let’s talk about the COVID-19 stormtroopers, SWAT team raids and ongoing flare-ups of police brutality.

With millions of dollars in stimulus funds being directed towards policing agencies across the country, the federal government plans to fight this COVID-19 virus with riot gear, gas masks, ballistic helmets, drones, and hi-tech surveillance technology.

Indeed, although crime rates have fallen dramatically in the midst of this global COVID-19 lockdown, there’s been no relief from the brutality and violence of the American police state.

While the majority of the country has been social distancing under varying degrees of lockdowns, it’s been business as usual for the nation’s SWAT teams and police trained to shoot first and ask questions later.

In Kentucky, plain-clothed cops in unmarked cars used a battering ram to break down Breonna Taylor’s door and carry out a no-knock raid on her home after midnight. Fearing a home invasion, the 26-year-old emergency medical technician and her boyfriend—who had been in bed at the time of the invasion—called 911 and prepared to defend themselves. Taylor’s boyfriend shot one of the intruders—later identified as police—in the leg. Police fired at least 20 shots into the apartment and a neighboring home, killing Taylor. The drug dealer who was the target of the late-night raid lived 10 miles away and had already been arrested prior to the raid on Taylor’s home.

In Illinoispolice opened fire in a subway station, shooting a 33-year-old man who allegedly resisted their attempts to tackle and arrest him for violating a city ordinance by passing between two cars of a moving train. Ariel Roman, a short-order cook, claimed he was suffering from an anxiety attack when he was “harassed, chased, tackled, pepper-sprayed, tasered and shot twice” by police.

In Maryland, police dispatched on a nuisance call to break up a crowd of neighborhood kids( half of them teenagers, and the other half youngsters around 4 and 5 years old) gathered in an apartment complex parking lot opened fire on a 29-year-old man seen exiting his car with a gun. An eyewitness claimed “the officer pointed a flashlight and his gun at the group immediately and began chasing and shooting a minute or two after getting out of the patrol car.” Police reportedly shot the man after he threw down his gun and ran in the opposite direction.

In Virginiamore than 80 local, state, and federal police agents risked spreading COVID-19 to “a highly vulnerable population” when they raided a low income, public housing community in an effort to crack down on six individuals suspected of selling, on average, $20 to $100 worth of drugs.

In Texasa SWAT team backed up with a military tank Armored Personnel Carrier raided Big Daddy Zane’s Bar whose owner and patrons were staging a peaceful First and Second Amendment protest of the governor’s shutdown orders.

Police have even been called out to shut down churches, schools and public parks and beaches that have been found “in violation” of various lockdown orders.

Now there’s talk of mobilizing the military to deliver forced vaccinations, mass surveillance in order to carry out contact tracing, and heavy fines and jail time for those who dare to venture out without a mask, congregate in worship without the government’s blessing, or re-open their  businesses without the government’s say-so.

There are rumblings that the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) will start thermal screenings to monitor passengers’ temperatures in coming weeks. This is in addition to the virtual strip searches that have become routine aspects of airport security.  

Restaurants in parts of the country are being tasked with keeping daily logs of phone numbers, emails, and arrival times for everybody who participates in dine-services, with no mention of how long such records will be kept on file, with whom they will be shared, and under what circumstances.

With the help of Google and Nest cameras, hospitals are morphing into real-time surveillance centers with round-the-clock surveillance cameras monitoring traffic in patients’ rooms. Forget patient privacy, however. Google has a track record of sharing surveillance footage with police.

And then rounding out the power-grabs, the Senate just voted to give police access to web browsing data without a warrant, which would dramatically expand the government’s Patriot Act surveillance powers. The Senate also voted to give Attorney General William Barr the ability to look through the web browsing history of any American — including journalists, politicians, and political rivals — without a warrant, just by saying it is relevant to an investigation. If enacted, privacy experts warn  that the new provisions threaten to undermine the free press by potentially preventing the media from exposing abuses of power or acting as a watchdog against political leaders.

If we haven’t already crossed over, we’re skating dangerously close to that line that keeps us on the functioning side of a constitutional republic. It won’t take much to push us over that edge into a full-blown banana republic.

In many ways, this is just more of the same heavy-handed tactics we’ve been seeing in recent years but with one major difference: this COVID-19 state of emergency has invested government officials (and those who view their lives as more valuable than ours) with a sanctimonious, self-righteous, arrogant, Big Brother Knows Best approach to top-down governing, and the fall-out can be seen far and wide.

It’s an ugly, self-serving mindset that views the needs, lives and rights of “we the people” as insignificant when compared to those in power.

That’s how someone who should know better such as Alan Dershowitz, a former Harvard law professor, can suggest that a free people—born in freedom, endowed by their Creator with inalienable rights, and living in a country birthed out of a revolutionary struggle for individual liberty—have no rights to economic freedom, to bodily integrity, or to refuse to comply with a government order with which they disagree.

According to Dershowitz, who has become little more than a legal apologist for the power elite, “You have no right not to be vaccinated, you have no right not to wear a mask, you have no right to open up your business… And if you refuse to be vaccinated, the state has the power to literally take you to a doctor's office and plunge a needle into your arm.”

Dershowitz is wrong: while the courts may increasingly defer to the government’s brand of Nanny State authoritarianism, we still have rights.

The government may try to abridge those rights, it may refuse to recognize them, it may even attempt to declare martial law and nullify them, but it cannot litigate, legislate or forcefully eradicate them out of existence.

Up to now, we’ve been largely passive participants in this experiment in self-governance. Our inaction and inattention has left us at the mercy of power-hungry politicians, corrupt corporations and brutal, government-funded militias.

Wake up, America.

As I  make clear in my book Battlefield America: The War on the American People, these ongoing violations of our rights—this attitude by the government that we have no rights—this tyrannical movement that is overtaking our constitutional republic and  gaining in momentum and power by the minute—this incessant auction block in which government officials appointed to represent our best interests keep selling us out to the highest bidder—all of these betrayals scream for a response.

To quote the great Rod Serling: “If we don't listen to that scream—and if we don't respond to it—we may well wind up sitting amidst our own rubble, looking for the truck that hit us—or the bomb that pulverized us. Get the license number of whatever it was that destroyed the dream. And I think we will find that the vehicle was registered in our own name.”

Published:5/21/2020 11:05:37 PM
[Markets] Watch: China Expert Warns Communist Regime Unlike Anything "Since The Third Reich" Watch: China Expert Warns Communist Regime Unlike Anything "Since The Third Reich" Tyler Durden Thu, 05/21/2020 - 21:25

Authored by Cabot Phillips via Campus Reform,

The FBI issued a PSA warning of the Chinese government’s intention to steal American medical research in its quest to find a cure for COVID-19.

The May 13 announcement came as mounting evidence continues to expose Chinese efforts to infiltrate America's college campuses with the goal of stealing research and spreading propaganda.

Gordon Chang, an expert on United States-China relations, and author of The Coming China Collapse, spoke with Campus Reform Editor-in-Chief Cabot Phillips to break down what it all means and what must be done in response.


Pointing first to China’s response to COVID-19, Chang called out the attempt to place blame on other nations, saying “What we are seeing with the coronavirus is an attempt by the Chinese Communist Party to change the narrative around the entire world… the virus has an origin in Wuhan. Beijing has tried to change that, at times suggesting it came from the United States.”

“But also China has been trying to say they’ve had a near perfect response to the coronavirus and western countries have been failing… there’s an attempt to exert Chinese influence. One thing we’ve got to remember is Xi believes China is the world’s only sovereign state."

Chang went on to point out how China has an extensive operation in place to steal American research, noting that “estimates put the annual theft of American intellectual property at somewhere between $150-600 billion a year.”

“Some of that actually takes place on American college campuses. China has bought a number of college professors, a number of them have been fingered by the FBI and they’re pending investigations, and Chinese students have been engaged in activities...for instance, downloading entire databases for China.” 

Pointing out the danger in allowing the Chinese government a foothold on our campuses, Chang detailed how their Confucius Institutes “report in reality to the Communist Party’s United Front Work Department. That means these are attempts to subvert other countries. Why would China spend so much money on U.S. campuses? It’s not just because they want to teach the Chinese language. They want to put forth narratives and restrict what is said about China on American campuses.”

Pointing out the lack of reciprocity, he noted, “The U.S. is not permitted to have institutes like this in China. You don’t have a Lincoln Center or Roosevelt Institute… we know that propaganda is absolutely critical to totalitarian regimes.” In closing, Chang noted the impact political correctness has had on the failure of American colleges and universities to call out China’s infiltration efforts.

“What we’ve seen in the U.S. is political correctness gone wild in connection with coronavirus.. where any criticism of China is deemed to be xenophobic or creating racism against Chinese Americans. That’s absolutely wrong. You’ve got to remember that the Chinese regime is deeply racist with its Han nationalist ideology. This is something we haven’t quite seen since The Third Reich.

To say criticism of a racist regime is racist is absolutely wrong. People have serious concerns about China and we have to have the right to have open discussions about it without the name calling.”

Published:5/21/2020 8:40:22 PM
[Markets] Why California Is In Trouble: 340,000 Public Employees With $100,000+ Paychecks Cost Taxpayers $45 Billion Why California Is In Trouble: 340,000 Public Employees With $100,000+ Paychecks Cost Taxpayers $45 Billion Tyler Durden Thu, 05/21/2020 - 18:45

Submitted by Adam Andrzejewski,

Despite California’s $54 billion budget deficit and $1 trillion unfunded pension liability, there are 340,390 government employees bringing home six-figure salary and pension checks. Recently, though, Gov. Gavin Newsom asked U.S. taxpayers for a bailout.

The governor wrote a letter to Congress requesting $1 trillion in coronavirus 50-state aid. Then, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi obliged by adding $500 billion for the states into the HEROES Act – the bill passed and now awaits action in the Senate.

Here, in part, is why California is asking for taxpayers help.

Our auditors at found truck drivers in San Francisco making $159,000 per year; lifeguards in LA County costing taxpayers $365,000; nurses at UCSF making up to $501,000; the UCLA athletic director earning $1.8 million; and 1,420 city employees out-earning all 50 state governors ($202,000).

Using our new interactive mapping tool, quickly review (by ZIP code) the 340,390 California public employees and retirees who earn more than $100,000 and cost taxpayers $45 billion (FY2018-9). Just click a pin and scroll down to see the results rendered in the chart beneath the map.

Here are a few examples of what you’ll uncover:

  • 109,627 teachers and school administrators – including the CEO of Summit Everest charter schools Diane Tavenner ($450,115); and superintendents Michael Lin ($443,875) at Corona-Norco Unified; Polly Bove ($395,257) at Fremont Union High; Christopher Hoffman ($351,885) at Elk Grove Unified; and Al Mijares ($348,276) at the Orange County Dept. of Education.

  • 66,403 college and university employees – including the athletic director at UCLA, Daniel Guerrero ($1.8 million), who is retiring amid criticisms that his teams lost too frequently. The school’s football coach, Charles (Chip) Kelly ($3.3 million), compiled a 7-17 record during his first two years and is the most highly compensated public employee in the state. Furthermore, there are 11,310 college and university employees making more than $200,000.

  • 62,204 State of California employees – including a nurse, Ito Chikako, at the University of California, who made $501,391 – paid through the state system. David Winsor Sirkin, Sr. Psychiatrist at Correctional & Rehabilitative Services, made $409,399. Corrections paid two dentists $385,596 last year. The chief regulator at barbering & cosmetology made $124,296.

  • 45,718 city and town employees – including 1,420 municipal administrators and employees who out-earned the California governor – the highest paid state governor ($202,000). Highly compensated city managers included Deanna Santana (Santa Clara – $396,158); Paul Arevalo (West Hollywood — $353,603); Fredrick Cole (Santa Monica – $342,780); David Ready (Palm Springs – $340,149); Edward Shikada (Palo Alto – $329,080); and Scott Ochoa (Ontario – $328,500).

Reaching out to all governments mentioned, Santa Clara responded saying that their city is complex and they compete for talent in Silicon Valley. Palm Springs responded by saying the city manager is cutting his pay by 20-percent to $288,579.

In 2017, we found that 44 lifeguards in Los Angeles County cost taxpayers between $200,000 and $365,000. Today, it’s worse with salaries comprising only about half the total cost when including overtime, extra pay and benefits.

In total, $45 billion in cash compensation flows to local and state government workers across California earning six figures. Our auditors did not include the cost of benefits.

We also haven’t included the payroll costs of at least 28,000 federal employees making $100,000+ within the executive agencies based in California.

Corruption In San Francisco

San Francisco’s self-titled “Mr. Clean,” Mohammed Nuru, Public Works Director, is best known for failed efforts to keep feces and hypodermic needles out of the public way. Cases of human waste on city streets spiked to 31,000 in 2019 – an all-time high.

Nuru earned a $269,500 annual salary in 2018 (up $55,000 over a seven-year period). Allegedly, that wasn’t enough. In February, Nuru was arrested for charges that included bribery.

Only in San Francisco can team members on the “poop patrol” cost taxpayers up to $184,000 each.

Mapping the San Francisco human waste challenge – 141,000 cases of human waste in the public way

Taxpayer-Expensive Educators

In the community college system, 10,807 employees made six figures and 247 made more than $200,000 last year.

Edward Hernandez, Jr. (Rancho Santiago – $325,799) and Francis Gorrick (West Hills – $316,034) have the highest pensions. In 2015, stakeholders criticized then-president of El Camino College Thomas Fallo for his $345,000 “supersized” salary. Fallo retired and receives a $314,021 pension.

K-12 payrolls show 109,627 teachers and administrators earned over $100,000 per year. Nearly 94,000 of those highly compensated educators are currently employed, and the other 15,735 are retired with six-figure pensions.

Ten educators hit the pension jackpot and retired on $300,000+. These include: William Habermehl (Orange County Dept. of Education – $380,096); Richard Bray (Tustin Unified School District – $329,826); Virginia Shattuck, (Norwalk–La Mirada Unified School District – $327,139); James Smith (Evergreen Elementary – $309,725); and Richard Miller (Santa Anna Unified— $305,066).

Private associations, nonprofits, and lawmakers

All kinds of entities are jumping on the gravy train. Private associations, nonprofit organizations, and former lawmakers have gamed the system for personal gain.

  • Assemblyman Jim Cooper (D-Elk Grove) is double dipping the pay and pension systems. Retired at age 50 from the Sacramento County Sheriff, Cooper earned a $173,820 pension. He makes $107,242 as an elected member of the general assembly – although he refused the non-taxable per diem that’s estimated at $39,000 a year. Total benefit: $281,162
  • Who knew that the “student unions” on college campuses pay their administrators up to $206,000 and their pensions are guaranteed by taxpayers? The union at UCLA – Associated Students, Inc. – paid four administrators between $191,000 and $206,000 last year. There are 52 student union administrators across the state who made six figures last year. Retirees received pensions up to $136,000.
  • Government “associations” of all types are dialed into the public pension system. These associations are organized as “non-profits” and include associations of governments, school boards, water districts, utilities, special districts, and even flood control associations.

We found 314 six-figure administrators who run these government associations, which are funded by taxpayers for $44 million a year. The most highly compensated was Darin Chidsey {Southern California Association of Governments (SCAG) – $289,109}.

SCAG responded to our request for comment saying they are “the nation’s largest metropolitan planning organization” and located in “a very competitive job market.”

Highly Compensated Locals

In the City of Fremont, nearly 700 six-figure employees made $91 million last year. The city attorney, Harvey Levine, was the highest earner at $291,031. Even the animal services manager cost taxpayers up to $130,000 with over four weeks of PTO, pension, and additional retirement annuity benefits – in the first year of employment.

The Sanitation District of Los Angeles has a history of spiking salaries to pad pensions. In fact, four of the top five all-time sanitation high earners are either currently employed or retired from this district: Stephen Maguin ($366,387 – pension); Grace Robinson Hyde ($329,131 – salary); James Stahl ($321,838 – pension); and Robert Ferrante ($306,552 – salary).

The sanitation district responded to our request for comment saying that all laws with respect to compensation were followed and “pension spiking” is not allowed. However, we noticed that some of those retirement pensions exceed current salaries.

Before the COVID-19 crisis, state and local governments in California were plausibly operating. Now, with tax revenues dropping, underlying financial weaknesses are being exposed.

In a move praised by fiscal reformers, Gov. Newsom proposed a 10-percent across-the-board reduction in state employee salaries along with state agency budget cuts of five percent.

However, the governor admitted that if the federal government sends states more aid, then the salary reductions will be restored.

California, in other words, like many states with excessive pay and pension costs, is relying on the U.S. taxpayer to see them through crisis.

Published:5/21/2020 6:04:45 PM
[Markets] A Brave New Normal, Part 2 - A "Cranky" CJ Hopkins Has A Theory A Brave New Normal, Part 2 - A "Cranky" CJ Hopkins Has A Theory Tyler Durden Thu, 05/21/2020 - 17:25

Authored by CJ Hopkins via,

Read Part 1 here...

My columns haven’t been very funny recently. This one isn’t going to be any funnier. Sorry. Fascism makes me cranky.

I don’t mean the kind of fascism the corporate media and the fake Resistance have been desperately hyping for the last four years. God help me, but I’m not terribly worried about a few hundred white-supremacist morons marching around with tiki torches hollering Nazi slogans at each other, or Jewish-Mexican-American law clerks flashing “OK” signs on TV, or smirking schoolkids in MAGA hats.

I’m talking about actual, bona fide fascism, or totalitarianism, if you want to get technical. The kind where governments declare a global “state of emergency” on account of a virus with a 0.2% to 1% lethality (and that causes mild, flu-like symptoms, or absolutely no symptoms whatsoever, in over 97% of those infected), locks everyone down inside their homes, suspends their constitutional rights, terrorizes them with propaganda, and unleashes uniformed goon squads on anyone who doesn’t comply with their despotic decrees.

I’m talking about the kind of totalitarianism where the police track you down with your smartphone data and then come to your house to personally harass you for attending a political protest, or attack you for challenging their illegitimate authority, and then charge you with “assault” for fighting back, and then get the media to publish a story accusing you of having “set up” the cops.

I’m talking about the kind of totalitarianism where the secret police are given carte blanche to monitor everyone’s Internet activity, and to scan you with their “surveillance helmets,” and dictate how close you can sit to your friends, and menace you with drones and robot dogs, and violently pry your kids out of your arms and arrest you if you dare to protest.

I’m talking about the kind of totalitarianism that psychologically tortures children with authoritarian loyalty rituals designed to condition them to live in fear, and respond to absurd Pavlovian stimuli, and that encourages the masses to turn off their brains and mechanically repeat propaganda slogans, like “wear a mask” and “flatten the curve,” and to report their neighbors to the police for having an “illegal” private party … and to otherwise reify the manufactured mass hysteria the authorities need to “justify” their totalitarianism.

Yeah, that kind of stuff makes me cranky.

And you know what makes me really cranky?

I’ll tell you what makes me really cranky.

It is people who publicly project themselves as “anti-authoritarians” and “anti-fascists,” or who have established their “anti-establishment” brands and “dissident” personas on social media, or even in the corporate media, either zealously cheerleading this totalitarianism or looking away and saying nothing as it is rolled out by the very authorities and media propagandists they pretend to oppose. I don’t know exactly why, but that stuff makes me particularly cranky.

I’ll provide you with a few examples...

The militant “Portland anti-fascists” who the corporate media fell in love with and made famous for bravely fighting off the Trump-loving Putin-Nazi Menace over the course of the last four years, as soon as the Corona-Totalitarianism began, did what all true anti-fascists do when the state goes full-blown fascist … no, they did not “smash the state,” or “occupy the streets,” or anything like that. They masked-up and started making vegan hand sanitizer.

Popular Internet “anti-imperialists” started accusing everyone opposing the lockdown of being part of some far-right Republican plot to “promote mass death under the banner of freedom” or to “normalize death” to benefit rich people, or being members of a “death cult,” or something. Celebrity socialists took to Twitter to warn that we would “shortly have the blood of thousands of people on our hands,” and call us “anti-vaxxers” and “flat earth fucks.”

Indie political and military analysts patiently explained why governments needed to be able to pull people out of their homes against their will and quarantine them.

Anarchist anthropologists averred that the lockdown wasn’t damaging the productive economy; it was only damaging the “bullshit economy,” and those complaining about being out of work were people whose work is “largely useless.”

Others simply looked away or sat there in silence as we were confined to our homes, and made to carry “permission papers” to walk to work or the corner grocery store, and were beaten and arrested for not “social-distancing,” and were otherwise bullied and humiliated for no justifiable reason whatsoever.

(We are talking about a virus, after all, that even the official medical experts, e.g., the U.K.’s Chief Medic, admit is more or less harmless to the vast majority of us, not the Bubonic Fucking Plague or some sort of Alien-Terrorist-Death-Flu … so spare me the “we-had-no-choice-but-to-go-totalitarian” rationalization.)

My intent is not merely to mock these people (i.e., these “radical,” “anti-establishment” types who fell into formation and started goose-stepping because the media told them we were all going to die), but also to use them as a clear example of how official narratives are born and take hold.

That’s somewhat pertinent at the moment, because the “Brave New Normal” official narrative has been born, but it has not yet taken hold. What happens next will determine whether it does.

In order to understand how this works, imagine for a moment that you’re one of these people who are normally skeptical of the government and the media, and that you consider yourself an anti-authoritarian, or at least a friend of the working classes, and now you are beginning to realize that there is no Alien-Terrorist-Death-Flu (just as there were no “WMDs,” no “Russian hackers,” no “pee-tape,” etc.), and so it dawns on you that you’ve been behaving like a hysterical, brainwashed, fascist minion of the very establishment you supposedly oppose … or at the very least like an abject coward.

Imagine how you might feel right now.

You would probably feel pretty foolish, right? And more than a little ashamed of yourself. So … OK, what would do about that? Well, you would have a couple of options.

Option Number One would be admit what you did, apologize to whomever you have to, and try like hell not to do it again.

Not many people are going to choose this option.

Most people are going to choose Option Number Two, which is to desperately try to deny what they did, or to desperately rationalize what they did (and in many cases are still actively doing).

Now, this is not as easy at it sounds, because doing that means they will have to continue to believe (or at least pretend to believe) that there is an Alien-Terrorist-Death-Flu which is going to kill hundreds of millions of people the moment we stop locking everyone down, and forcing them to “social distance,” and so on. They will have to continue to pretend to believe that this Alien-Terrorist-Death-Flu exists, even though they know it doesn’t.

And this is where that Orwellian “doublethink” comes in. People (i.e., these “anti-authoritarians,” not to mention the majority of the “normal” public) are not going to want to face the fact that they’ve been behaving like a bunch of fascists (or cowards) for no justifiable reason whatsoever. So, what they are going to do instead is desperately pretend that their behavior was justified and that the propaganda they have been swallowing, and regurgitating, was not propaganda, but rather, “the Truth.”

In other words, in order to avoid their shame, they are going to do everything in their power to reify the official narrative and delegitimize anyone attempting to expose it as the fiction that it is. They are going to join in with the corporate media that are calling us “extremists,” “conspiracy theorists,” “anti-vaxxers,” and other such epithets. They’re going to accuse those of us on the Left of aligning with “far-Right Republican militias,” and “Boogaloo accelerationists,” and of being members of the Russian-backed “Querfront,” and assorted other horrible things meant to scare errant leftists into line.

Above all, they are going to continue to insist, despite all the evidence to the contrary, that we are “under attack” by a “killer virus” which could “strike again at any time,” and so we have to maintain at least some level of totalitarianism and paranoia, or else … well, you know, the terrorists win.

It is this reification of the official narrative by those too ashamed to admit what they did (and try to determine why they did it), and not the narrative or the propaganda itself, that will eventually establish the “Brave New Normal” as “reality” (assuming the process works as smoothly as it did with the “War on Terror,” the “War on Populism,” and the “Cold War” narratives). The facts, the data, the “science” won’t matter. Reality is consensus reality … and a new consensus is being formed at the moment.

There is still a chance (right now, not months from now) for these people (some of whom are rather influential) to stand up and say, “Whoops! I screwed up and went all Nazi there for a bit.” But I seriously doubt that is going to happen.

It’s much more likely that the Brave New Normal (or some intermittent, scaled-down version of it) will gradually become our new reality. People will get used to being occasionally “locked down,” and being ordered to wear masks, and not to touch each other, and to standing in designated circles and boxes, like they got used to the “anti-Terrorism measures,” and believing that Trump is a “Russian asset.” The coming economic depression will be blamed on the Alien-Terrorist-Death-Flu, rather than on the lockdown that caused it. Millions of people will be condemned to extreme poverty, or debt-enslaved for the rest of their lives, but they’ll be too busy trying to survive to mount any kind of broad resistance.

The children, of course, won’t know any better. They will grow up with their “isolation boxes,” and “protective barriers,” and “contact tracing,” and they will live in constant low-grade fear of another killer virus, or terrorist attack, or Russian-backed white supremacist uprising, or whatever boogeyman might next appear to menace the global capitalist empire, which, it goes without saying, will be just fine.

Me, I’ll probably remain kind of cranky, but I will try to find the humor in it all.

Bear with me … that might take a while.

Published:5/21/2020 4:35:15 PM
[Markets] Early Morning Naval Base Shooting In Texas "Terrorism-Related"; FBI Hunting 2nd Suspect Early Morning Naval Base Shooting In Texas "Terrorism-Related"; FBI Hunting 2nd Suspect Tyler Durden Thu, 05/21/2020 - 17:01

Early this morning an as yet unknown attacker stormed the gate at Naval Air Station Corpus Christi in Texas. Local reports said the suspect was quickly "neutralized" after wounding one security officer. 

The FBI announced later in the day Thursday the attack was “terrorism-related” and that the shooter is dead; but crucially an official FBI statement said they are still pursuing another “person of interest” believed to be at large. No details have yet been given as to the deceased attacker's identity.

Entrance to the Naval Air Station-Corpus Christi following an active shooter threat on May 21, 2020, via Corpus Christi Caller-Times.

The Navy Security Forces officer that was shot in the attack is expected to survive. The incident placed the whole base on lockdown with an emergency shelter-in-place order for military and civilian personnel in and around the base.

"We have determined that the incident this morning at the Naval Air Station in Corpus Christi is terrorism related," FBI Senior Supervisory Special Agent Leah Greeves said.

"We may have a potential second related person of interest at large in the community,” she added, without offering additional details.  

The attack happened at about 6:15am and quickly grabbed international headlines, but initially appeared a brief and possibly minor incident, with few details given.

"If you are in or near the North Gate get out and away to safety," a NAS Corpus Christi Facebook post read early Thursday. "Execute lockdown procedures — remain indoors and away from windows."

One report cited a US official soon after the incident to say it was an “Arab male” shooter who “stormed a gate at the base.”

Though unconfirmed by the FBI, the report in USNI News said:

Earlier on Thursday, a U.S. official confirmed to USNI News the authorities believed a Navy security team killed an “Arab male” in a gun battle gate at the base.

The official did not have any additional details on the identity of the shooter beyond apparent ethnicity. An FBI spokeswoman did not provide additional details when contacted by USNI News earlier on Thursday.

An anonymous US official reportedly  USNI cited news the shooter was though those details have not been officially confirmed.

It could mark the first significant foreign terror attack on US soil since most of the nation went into broad state-ordered lockdowns and 'stay at home' policies as a result of the coronavirus pandemic two months ago.

Published:5/21/2020 4:05:04 PM
[Law] Why Didn’t the FBI Record the Flynn Interview?

There are so many angles to the FBI-Michael Flynn imbroglio, and most have been covered in great depth across a divergent set of viewpoints. But... Read More

The post Why Didn’t the FBI Record the Flynn Interview? appeared first on The Daily Signal.

Published:5/21/2020 2:04:47 PM
[] "Arab Male" Storms the Gate at Corpus Christi Naval Air Station;Stopped by His Conscience and a Hail of Bullets, But Mostly the Hail of Bullets All I see here is more proof that we have to increase immigration up to fifty million per year. The FBI is investigating a Thursday shooting at a Texas naval air station, after a Navy security team there killed an... Published:5/21/2020 2:04:47 PM
[Markets] Flynn Targeted By Christopher Steele After FBI Offered To Pay Ex-Spook 'Significantly' Flynn Targeted By Christopher Steele After FBI Offered To Pay Ex-Spook 'Significantly' Tyler Durden Thu, 05/21/2020 - 13:15

In the weeks leading up to the 2016 election, the FBI offered to pay former British spy Christopher Steele "significantly" for collecting intelligence on Michael Flynn, according to the Daily Caller's Chuck Ross.

The FBI's proposal - made during an October 3, 2016 meeting in an unidentified European city, and virtually ignored by the press - has taken on new significance in light of recent documents exposing how the Obama administration targeted Flynn before and after president Trump's upset victory over Hillary Clinton in 2016.

The inspector general’s report, released on Dec. 9, 2019, said that FBI agents offered to pay Steele “significantly” to collect intelligence from three separate “buckets” that the bureau was pursuing as part of Crossfire Hurricane, its counterintelligence probe of four Trump campaign associates.

One bucket was “Additional intelligence/reporting on specific, named individuals (such as [Carter Page] or [Flynn]) involved in facilitating the Trump campaign-Russian relationship,” the IG report stated.

FBI agents also sought contact with “any individuals or sub sources” who Steele could provide to “serve as cooperating witnesses to assist in identifying persons involved in the Trump campaign-Russian relationship.”

Steele at the time had provided the FBI with reports he compiled alleging that members of the Trump campaign had conspired with the Kremlin to influence the 2016 election. -Daily Caller

Of note, Steele was promoting a discredited rumor that Flynn had an extramarital affair with Svetlana Lokhova, a Russian-British academic who studied at the University of Cambridge. This rumor was amplified by the Wall Street Journal and The Guardian in March, 2017.

According to the Inspector General's report, the FBI gave Steele a "general overview" of their Crossfire Hurricane probe - including their efforts to surveil Trump campaign aides George Papadopoulos and Carter Page, along with Paul Manafort and Flynn. In fact - some FBI agents questioned whether the lead agent told Steel too much about the operation, according to the IG report.

Via the Daily Caller

In recent weeks, the release of two documents raise questions about potential links between the FBI's request of Steele and the Lokhova rumor.

One of the documents is a transcript of longtime John McCain associate David Kramer’s interview with the House Intelligence Committee. Kramer testified on Dec. 17, 2017, that Steele told him in December 2016 that he suspected that Flynn had an extramarital affair with a Russian woman.

“There was one thing he mentioned to me that is not included here, and that is he believed that Mr. Flynn had an extramarital affair with a Russian woman in the U.K.,” Kramer told lawmakers.

Kramer said that Steele conveyed that Flynn’s alleged mistress was a “Russian woman” who “may have been a dual citizen.”

An FBI memo dated Jan. 4, 2017, contained another allegation regarding Flynn and a mysterious Russian woman.

The memo, which was provided to Flynn’s lawyers on April 30, said that an FBI confidential human source (CHS) told the bureau that they were present at an event that Flynn attended while he was still working in the U.S. intelligence community. -Daily Caller

Lokhova and Flynn have denied the rumors - with Lokhova's husband telling the Daily Caller News Foundation that he picked his wife up after the Cambridge dinner where an FBI informant said they 'left together in a cab.'

Meanwhile, a DIA official who was at the Cambridge event with Flynn also told the WSJ in March 2017 that there was nothing inappropriate going on between Flynn and Lokhova.

Read the rest of the report here.

Published:5/21/2020 12:32:03 PM
[] Obama's FBI Offered To Pay Christopher Steele To Dig Up Dirt on Mike Flynn Published:5/21/2020 11:31:46 AM
[Science] Stop Training Saudi Arabia's Jihad Pilots, by Michelle Malkin I'm glad the FBI was able to crack the iPhones of the Pensacola naval air base shooter, which confirmed that radicalized Royal Saudi Air Force second lieutenant Mohammed Saeed Alshamrani had communicated with al-Qaida to carry out a "special operation." Three young American patriots died in Alshamrani's December 2019 attack. The more information we have... Published:5/20/2020 10:56:32 AM
[In The News] FBI Arrests Couple Allegedly Involved In Cross-Border Kidnappings, Murder

By Jason Hopkins -

An American woman and her boyfriend were arrested and charged for allegedly collecting ransom money as part of their involvement in a deadly kidnapping conspiracy of U.S. residents in Tijuana, Mexico. Leslie Briana Matla, a 20-year-old U.S. citizen who lived in Mexico, and her boyfriend, Juan Carlos Montoya Sanchez, a ...

FBI Arrests Couple Allegedly Involved In Cross-Border Kidnappings, Murder is original content from Conservative Daily News - Where Americans go for news, current events and commentary they can trust - Conservative News Website for U.S. News, Political Cartoons and more.

Published:5/20/2020 8:25:32 AM
[Politics] Stop Training Saudi Arabia's Jihad Pilots By Michelle Malkin

I'm glad the FBI was able to crack the iPhones of the Pensacola naval air base shooter, which confirmed that radicalized Royal Saudi Air Force second lieutenant Mohammed Saeed Alshamrani had communicated with al-Qaida to carry out a "special operation." Three young American patriots died in Alshamrani's December 2019 attack. The more information we have to prevent the needless slaughter of U.S. military members on U.S. soil the better.

Published:5/20/2020 7:25:49 AM
[Markets] Meanwhile, In Puerto Rico... Meanwhile, In Puerto Rico... Tyler Durden Wed, 05/20/2020 - 06:00

Authored by Simon Black via,

One of the more flummoxing aspects about living in Puerto Rico is that the political leadership is never-ending parade of highly corrupted, certifiable idiots.

The latest Governoramus of Puerto Rico seems hellbent on destroying every remaining scrap of prosperity on this island, all in an effort to indulge her ego-maniacal God complex.

Puerto Rico was the first places in the US to order a full lockdown, and it may very well be the last place to open up; the governoramus ordered everyone to shelter in place starting March 15th, and the order is still in effect.

The rules have been completely ridiculous, too. Going to the beach was outlawed. But it’s perfectly acceptable to stand in a crowded line at the grocery store.

One of the great things about Puerto Rico, though, is that nobody cares.  People here happily ignore their idiot politicians.

Puerto Ricans naturally distrust their government– local politicians and bureaucrats have been robbing and stealing longer than anyone can remember.

For example, the FBI recently came down here and arrested a number of top government officials for stealing federal aid that was supposed to have gone to Hurricane Maria recovery efforts.

Earlier this year when the island suffered a series of earthquakes, the US government sent emergency supplies. But as soon as those relief supplies ended up in the Puerto Rican government’s hands, they mysteriously disappeared.

Just last month, Puerto Rico’s government entered into a contract to buy faulty, overpriced Covid test kits from two companies that have personal and financial ties to the current administration.

Basically it was tens of millions of dollars (which is a lot of money for this place) of BS contracts that went into the pockets of friends of the ruling party.

The list is really never-ending. And people here know it. Puerto Ricans have no illusions that the government is on their side. They know that many of the people in charge are either incompetent, or criminals, or both.

And that’s why nobody here cares what the government says.

A friend of mine sent me a video from a local beach on Sunday showing thousands of people out enjoying the sun and sea in open defiance of the lockdown rules.

I really hope this attitude spreads worldwide.

And to me, that’s one of the many silver linings of this pandemic: more people may finally wake up.

At this point there are realistically two groups– the human beings, and the house cats.

The human beings are sick and tired of these lockdowns. They understand that the world is a scary place, that there are risks.

But they’re still willing to live their lives.

It’s not about taking unnecessary risks or being reckless; they just want to be treated like human beings who are free to make their own decisions without insane government overreach.

The other group just wants to be house cats.

House Cats love being locked down and want more of it. They like government intervention. They love endless money printing and free benefits. They love being taken care of and suckling from the maternal teet of government.

They love cowering in fear in their homes and being told what they can/cannot do.

The biggest difference, though, is that Team House Cat thinks everyone else should live by their rules… and their hysteria.

Team Human thinks that everyone should be free to make their own decisions. Anyone who wants to stay home can stay home, nothing wrong with that. Anyone who wants to go out and take a risk should be able to go out and take a risk.

But most governments are on the side of Team House Cat. And it’s probably going to stay that way for the foreseeable future.

China is experiencing a second wave of outbreaks and has reacted aggressively to lock down more than 100 million people already.

Sadly, nearly the rest of the world seems to want to copy the Chinese government.

(The Chinese central government has also told local housing officials that they will be ‘removed’ if there are Covid outbreaks in their sectors, though it’s unclear whether ‘removed’ means ‘fired’, or ‘disappeared.’)

But the silver lining here is that Team Human is growing by the day; tens of millions of people are starting to see first hand just how disgusting government overreach can be.

So by the time the dust from this pandemic settles, there might just be enough human beings to restore a sense of sanity in this bizarre world of ours.

And to continue learning how to ensure you thrive no matter what happens next in the world, I encourage you to download our free Perfect Plan B Guide.

Published:5/20/2020 5:24:03 AM
[Markets] India: Standing Up To China In The Post-COVID World India: Standing Up To China In The Post-COVID World Tyler Durden Wed, 05/20/2020 - 02:00

Authored by Vijeta Uniyal via The Gatestone Institute,

As coronavirus leaves behind a trail of human suffering and economic devastation, nations across the world have begun asking critical questions about the global pandemic. Countries are enquiring into Communist China's handling of the pandemic, which first appeared late last year in the central Chinese city of Wuhan.

As early as January 14, China had used the World Health Organization (WHO), a United Nations agency, to spread disinformation about the human-to-human transmissibility of Covid-19, a remark that led US National Security Advisor Robert O'Brien later to call the WHO a "tool of Chinese propaganda."

While U.S. President Donald J. Trump faced mostly undeserved, politicized criticism for questioning China's culpability in the spread of the worldwide pandemic and his calls for an international probe into it, more and more capitals across the Western world are making similar demands.

On March 20, The Washington Post attacked President Trump for even mentioning China in context of the pandemic. "Trump has no qualms about calling coronavirus the 'Chinese Virus.' That's a dangerous attitude, experts say."

As late as the end of March, CNN was still claiming that President Trump was targeting China for "political reasons... using entrenched stereotypes and fear of the other to cast off any blame that might fall on him from this crisis."

On May 1, however, the New York Post reported that "[m]ore US allies and other countries are joining the Trump administration's call for an investigation into China, the World Health Organization and the origins of the deadly coronavirus pandemic."

In the Asia-Pacific region, Australia has taken lead in asking for an international investigation into Beijing's culpability in the spread of the pandemic. "Now, it would seem entirely reasonable and sensible that the world would want to have an independent assessment of how this all occurred, so we can learn the lessons and prevent it from happening again," Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison said on April 29. Australia's demand was supported by New Zealand.

By way of response, China's Ambassador to Australia, Cheng Jingye, threatened a boycott of Australian goods if Prime Minister Morrison's government continued to insist on an independent investigation into the outbreak.

In Europe, Sweden took a similar stance, asking the European Union to start a probe into "the origin and spread" of the coronavirus. "When the global situation of Covid-19 is under control, it is both reasonable and important that an international, independent investigation be conducted to gain knowledge about the origin and spread of the coronavirus," Sweden's health minister Lena Hallengren told the nation's parliament in a written statement on April 20.

Under threats of cutting Europe's medical supplies, China forced the EU to water down a report exposing Beijing's global disinformation campaign. "The European Union toned down part of a report about Chinese state-backed disinformation because it feared Beijing would retaliate by withholding medical supplies," the Hong Kong-based newspaper South China Morning Post, citing diplomatic sources, disclosed on April 25.

China, which first covered up the outbreak of the contagion in city of Wuhan, is now running a global disinformation and intimidation campaign, trying to blame the United States or Italy for the coronavirus. So far, apparently too many countries are now aware of China's intentions. As Mathias Döpfner, CEO of Germany's largest publishing house, Axel Springer, argued recently in Die Welt:

"Economic relations with China might seem harmless to many Europeans today, but they could soon lead to political dependence and ultimately to the end of a free and liberal Europe... Should we make a pact with an authoritarian regime or should we work to strengthen a community of free, constitutionally governed market economies with liberal societies?... If current European and, above all, German policy on China continues, this will lead to a gradual decoupling from America and a step-by-step infiltration and subjugation by China. Economic dependence will only be the first step. Political influence will follow."

At the moment, it is unclear if China's charm offensive, if one could call it that, is working.

Most recently, on May 4, Sharri Markson reported on a leaked 15-page research document, obtained by Australia's Saturday Telegraph, written by the "Five Eyes" -- the intelligence services of the US, the UK, Canada Australia and New Zealand.

"It states that to the 'endangerment of other countries' the Chinese government covered-up news of the virus by silencing or "disappearing" doctors who spoke out, destroying evidence of it in laboratories and refusing to provide live samples to international scientists who were working on a vaccine."

In true Orwellian fashion, top Chinese diplomats are still demanding that foreign governments rewrite the history of the coronavirus outbreak. Under President Xi Jinping's instructions, Chinese diplomats are running a global campaign of intimidation to divert world's attention from Beijing's culpability in the spread of the coronavirus. Dubbed "Wolf Warrior" diplomacy, referring to a popular Chinese movie series of the same name, the strategy aims at silencing and intimidate Western governments, critical media outlets, and think tanks. The good news is that the world is finally getting a good look at the true face of China.

Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi telephoned his Indian counterpart, S. Jaishankar, on March 24, and suggested that India not use "China virus" to describe the Covid-19 contagion

"It's not acceptable and detrimental to international cooperation to label the virus and stigmatise China," Beijing's envoy to New Delhi, Sun Weidong, said following the call.

Apparently unwilling to risk creating a problem, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi's government has so far refrained from confronting China for its handling of the outbreak. To India's credit, it did play a constructive role in combatting the global pandemic. India came to the aid of its allies by shipping large consignments of the drug hydroxychloroquine and other medical supplies to 55 countries, including the U.S., Britain, France and Israel.

While India had shown restraint, Communist China has shown little. The Chinese air force has continued its incursions into Taiwanese air space. China has also tightened its grip on artificial islands it created in the South China Sea by setting up fictitious local governments on them. These weaponized islands, fielding military facilities such as naval ports and military airfields, trample on the sovereignty of many of its maritime neighbors, including the Philippines, Vietnam, Malaysia, Brunei, and Taiwan.

The United States and rest of the Western world would do well to see the pandemic as a wake-up call and decouple their crucial and strategic sectors from dependence on China in any way. As US General Jack Keane has repeatedly warned the US, China a not a friend; "it is a predator economically, geopolitically and militarily."

Beijing has used its status as world's biggest manufacturer, intellectual property thief, and debt-trap lender to force governments across the world into silence over its culpability for the deadly and devastating pandemic.

In the coming post-coronavirus world order, India is well placed to challenge China's stranglehold over global and regional supply chains. Prime Minister Modi's "Make in India" initiative, originally envisaged to create jobs in manufacturing sector, could also position the country as an alternative destination for rerouting global supply chain needs, especially in critical sectors such pharmaceuticals, industrial manufacturing, telecommunications and information technology.

To take advantage of a post-coronavirus realignment, India would do well to upgrade its infrastructure and seriously cut its bureaucratic red tape.

Modi came to power in 2014 on promises of streamlining the bureaucracy to foster a free economy. Since he took office, India has eased the government's red tape and opened up the country to foreign companies and investment. During his tenure, the country advanced 79 places on the global "Ease of Doing Business" survey released by the World Bank annually, from 142nd to 63rd place. The country still trails China, which, until its pandemic, ranked 31. India, however, plans to invest $1.39 trillion on a series of critical infrastructure projects, including roads, railways, digital connectivity and power sectors.

The world is eagerly looking to India and its Asia-Pacific allies, in a strong alliance with the West, to take a stand, face China's increasing military, geopolitical and economic intimidation, and take up its historic mantle of leadership.

Published:5/20/2020 1:23:24 AM
[Politics] Rice Email Out: Comey Talked Keeping Info From Flynn Fired FBI Director James Comey told then-President Barack Obama the National Security Council might need to withhold information from incoming National Security Adviser Michael Flynn before he assumed his post.... Published:5/19/2020 6:21:31 PM
[Markets] Declassified Rice Email Confirms Obama, Biden And Comey Targeted Flynn Declassified Rice Email Confirms Obama, Biden And Comey Targeted Flynn Tyler Durden Tue, 05/19/2020 - 17:05

A newly declassified version of an email that former National Security Adviser Susan Rice sent to herself confirms that President Obama, VP Joe Biden and former FBI Director James Comey were actively targeting Michael Flynn over his discussions with former Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak.

According to The Federalist, "In the email, portions of which were not declassified until recently, Rice recorded that Flynn, who at the time was the incoming national security adviser for Trump, was personally discussed and targeted during the meeting with Obama."

"Comey said he does have some concerns that incoming NSA Flynn is speaking frequently with Russian Ambassador Kislyak," Rice wrote too herself in a now-declassified portion of the letter, adding "Comey said that could be an issue as it relates to sharing sensitive information."

"President Obama asked if Comey was saying the NSC should not pass sensitive information related to Russia to Flynn," the email continues. "Comey replied ‘potentially.'"

"[Comey] added that he has no indication thus far that Flynn has passed classified information to Kislyak, but he noted that 'the level of communication is unusual,'" Rice wrote - which The Federalist points out does not explain how it would be "unusual" for an incoming national security adviser to hold discussions with foreign leaders prior to the inauguration.

Many observers believe the calls between Flynn and Kislyak were little more than pretext to hide the Obama administration’s spy campaign against Trump from the newly elected president’s team and to justify a continued inquisition against Flynn.

The newly declassified portions of the Jan. 5 Rice email confirm that the targeting of Flynn was coordinated within the inner sanctum of the White House and that both Obama and Biden were deeply involved in the campaign to take down Flynn. -The Federalist

Meanwhile, the FBI tried to close the Flynn investigation on January 4, when agent Peter Strzok insisted it continue. Handwritten notes from an FBI agent tasked with investigating Flynn reveal that they were targeting Flynn in early 2017 with the intent of prosecuting him or getting him fired.

The DOJ recently filed to dismiss all charges against Flynn in light of the recently revealed FBI abuse, however the judge in the case has stonewalled the request - and is now allowing third parties to weigh in on Flynn's case.

Read the declassified letter below:

Published:5/19/2020 4:25:01 PM
[Markets] In Flynn Case, Judge Sullivan's Gross Overreach Turns Justice Into Mob-Rule In Flynn Case, Judge Sullivan's Gross Overreach Turns Justice Into Mob-Rule Tyler Durden Tue, 05/19/2020 - 16:45

Authored by Jonathan Turley, op-ed via USA Today,

The case of former national security adviser Michael Flynn is rapidly moving from the dubious to the preposterous. U.S. District Judge Emmet Sullivan is being widely applauded for resisting the dismissal of a case that the Department of Justice insists cannot be ethically maintained. 

Faced with no dispute between the parties, Sullivan decided to create a contested case by inviting in third parties to create a conflict and now is suggesting that he may substitute his own criminal charge rather than let Flynn walk free. In the past, I have publicly praised Sullivan. However, this is fast becoming a case of gross judicial overreach as the court appears to assume both judicial and executive powers. Sullivan can disagree with the exercise of prosecutorial discretion, but he cannot substitute his own judgment for it.

“At the appropriate time, the court will enter a scheduling order governing the submission of any amicus curiae briefs,” Sullivan wrote. Never has a more innocuous line left a more ominous meaning. After that order, the judge proceeded to appoint retired Judge John Gleeson to argue against dismissal in the absence of a dispute between the parties. He is effectively outsourcing the argument to introduce a dispute. This move is nothing to celebrate.

A punishment by plebiscite

Amicus briefs are allowed by courts when outside parties want to be heard on some contested issue facing a court. Such filings are common in civil cases. This, however, is a criminal case. There are serious questions about the propriety of such third parties being asked to brief uncontested motions in a criminal case. The lives and liberty of individuals generally are protected from public demands for punishment. We do not do punishment by plebiscite in this country.

While courts have discretion to grant amicus or third-party arguments in civil cases, there is no counterpart under the Federal Rules of Criminal Procedure. In fact, Judge Sullivan rejected such a request on Dec. 20, 2017, stating that “the Federal Rules of Criminal Procedure do not provide for intervention by third parties in criminal cases. ... Options exist for a private citizen to express his views about matters of public interest, but the court's docket is not an available option.”

Sullivan’s earlier order was the correct one. It is dangerous to open up criminal cases for citizens to argue for convictions or enhanced punishments, particularly when prosecutors seek dismissal in light of prosecutorial error or abuse.

Indeed, former President Bill Clinton’s attorney general, Janet Reno, warned Congress against courts intruding on Justice Department decisions, stressing that “our Founders believed that the enormity of the prosecutorial power — and all the decisions about who, what, and whether to prosecute — should be vested in one who is responsible to the people.”

That is particularly the case where the motion benefits a criminal defendant. Indeed, it is difficult to imagine any basis that Sullivan could deny this motion without facing a rapid reversal.

However, the Flynn case has proved to be the defining temptation for many in discarding constitutional protections and values in their crusade against President Donald Trump. Experts are asking a court to consider sending a man to prison after the Justice Department concluded it can no longer stand behind his prosecution. Under this same logic, any defendant could face public outrage over an unopposed motion to dismiss, and a court could invite third parties to make arguments against him. Rather than protecting an unpopular criminal defendant from those outside clamoring for his head, the court is inviting them inside to replace the prosecutors.

Judges are not prosecutors

If Sullivan’s invitation for third parties to argue in a criminal case is unnerving, his suggestion that he might substitute a perjury charge is positively terrifying. Sullivan has compounded this judicial overreach by asking Gleeson to explore the issue, despite his public criticism of the administration's handling of the Flynn case. 

Under Sullivan’s theory, any time a defendant seeks such a dismissal (even with the support of the prosecutors) he could face a judicially mandated perjury charge. Faced with evidence of prosecutorial wrongdoing (which often arises after a trial), defense counsel (like myself) would have to warn clients that the court might just swap one crime for another.

The chilling implications of such a theory are being brushed aside by those eager to see Sullivan mete out his own form of justice. However, such an unsustainable decision would quickly careen out of control. 

Consider the scenario. Sullivan knows that such a charge would not be prosecuted by the Justice Department. However, Criminal Procedure Rule 42 states that such cases are to be prosecuted by the government, but “if the government declines the request, the court must appoint another attorney to prosecute the contempt.” 

So what is Sullivan going to do? He cannot force the Justice Department to prosecute a case that it considers to be unethical. He would have to enlist his own outside prosecutor after creating his own dispute with outside parties. If Flynn is convicted, Sullivan will have to order the Bureau of Prisons to incarcerate someone who was convicted by judicial design.

Sullivan made a mess of Flynn's case 

Ironically, Sullivan is largely responsible for the current posture of the case. Flynn was supposed to be sentenced in December 2018 before the hearing took a bizarre turn. Using the flag in the courtroom as a prop, Sullivan incorrectly accused Flynn of being “an unregistered agent of a foreign country while serving as the national security adviser to the president of the United States. Arguably, that undermines everything this flag over here stands for. Arguably, you sold your country out.” He then questioned whether Flynn should have been charged with treason.

Flynn faced a relatively minor single count of false statements with the likelihood of no jail time — but Sullivan was suggesting that he could have been charged with treason, subject to the death penalty.

Sullivan then gave Flynn a menacing choice: “I cannot assure you that if you proceed today, you will not receive a sentence of incarceration. ... I’m not hiding my disgust, my disdain.”

Flynn, unsurprisingly, opted to wait. Had Sullivan simply sentenced him, Flynn would have been formally convicted and sentenced — making any later motion more difficult while the case was on appeal.

Fortunately, while H. L. Mencken once described a judge as “a law student who marks his own examination papers,” our system allows for appellate review, and few judges would give such decisions a passing grade. The fact is, such a judicially constructed case would be effectively dead before it could be properly captioned for docketing. The problem is that Flynn would be left twisting in the wind as others use his case to make extraneous points.

Michael Flynn has the curse of being useful. He was useful to investigate for officials like FBI special agent Peter Strzok, former FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe and former FBI Director James Comey, though investigators found no underlying criminal conduct. He was useful to special counsel Robert Mueller, even though the same investigators apparently did not believe he intentionally lied to them. He now is useful to a court that seems intent on staging a criminal case of its own making.

Of course, at some point, when Flynn stops being so useful, justice might be served with the dismissal of this abusive case.

Published:5/19/2020 3:49:32 PM
[Law] Sen. Graham Sets Vote to Subpoena Comey, Brennan, Others Involved in FBI Surveillance

The Senate Judiciary Committee will vote on June 4 whether to authorize subpoenas for documents and testimony from more than 50 current or former government... Read More

The post Sen. Graham Sets Vote to Subpoena Comey, Brennan, Others Involved in FBI Surveillance appeared first on The Daily Signal.

Published:5/19/2020 1:50:49 PM
[Politics] Sen. Lankford: Apple Hampered Investigation of al-Qaida-Linked Shooter Apple's refusal to work with the FBI to unlock the Pensacola Naval Air Station shooter's phone caused delays in revealing that the attack was linked to al-Qaida, Sen. James Lankford said Tuesday. "If you have al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula, a group which is working with... Published:5/19/2020 12:54:48 PM
[Markets] Senate GOP Compile Massive Subpoena List For FBI Abuse Probe; Demand Unredacted Susan Rice Letter Senate GOP Compile Massive Subpoena List For FBI Abuse Probe; Demand Unredacted Susan Rice Letter Tyler Durden Tue, 05/19/2020 - 11:05

In the wake of bombshell evidence that shows the Obama DOJ inappropriately targeted the 2016 Trump campaign, Senate Republicans have compiled a list of 53 individuals they want to interview as part of their own comprehensive probe into the matter, separate of the Trump DOJ's separate criminal investigation headed up by US Attorney John Durham.

That said, as Fox News reports, the effort is being led by Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Lindsey Graham (R-SC), so we expect weekly cable news appearances in which Graham wags his finger and issues the sternest of empty threats to investigate the swamp.

Graham has previously come under fire for failing to follow through on promises to seek testimony from current and former DOJ and FBI officials - telling Fox News' Maria Bartiromo that he doesn't want to interfere with Durham's probe.

But - in the unlikely event Graham isn't going to simply run cover for the swamp in a sham investigation designed to placate those who seek justice, here are the names of those on the subpoena list, via Fox News:

The majors:

[former FBI Director] James Comey, [former FBI Deputy Director] Andrew McCabe, [former Director of National Intelligence] James Clapper, [former CIA Director] John Brennan, [former Deputy Attorney General] Sally Yates.

We note that the names of both President Obama and his VP Joe Biden are conspicuously absent, despite the fact that both of them were in a January 5, 2017 meeting in which Obama gave Comey the nod to conceal information from the incoming Trump administration.

Graham, in response, said that asking for testimony from a former president would set a 'dangerous precedent.'

Everyone else:

"Trisha Anderson, Brian Auten, James Baker, William Barr, Dana Boente, Jennifer Boone, Kevin Clinesmith [the FBI lawyer who allegedly falsified a CIA email to secure the Carter Page FISA warrant], Patrick Conlon, Michael Dempsey, Stuart Evans, Tashina Gauhar [a top DOJ deputy when classified details of Flynn's calls with the Russian ambassador were illegally leaked to The Washington Post], Carl Ghattas, Curtis Heide, Kathleen Kavalec, David Laufman [who arranged a key meeting with a Steele dossier source], Stephen Laycock, Jacob Lew, Loretta Lynch, Mary McCord, Denis McDonough, Arthur McGlynn, Jonathan Moffa, Sally Moyer, Mike Neufield, Sean Newell, Victoria Nuland, Bruce Ohr, Nellie Ohr, Stephanie L. O’Sullivan, Lisa Page, Joseph Pientka [who interviewed Flynn at the White House while also playing a key role in the Carter Page probe, and whom the FBI has hidden from scrutiny], John Podesta, Samantha Power, E.W. “Bill” Priestap [who authored the memo debating whether the bureau simply wanted Flynn "fired"], Sarah Raskin, Steve Ricchetti, Susan Rice, Rod Rosenstein, Gabriel Sanz-Rexach, Nathan Sheets, Elizabeth Sherwood-Randall, Glenn Simpson, Steve Somma [an FBI case agent who apparently was involved in several key FISA omissions], Peter Strzok, Michael Sussman, Adam Szubin, Jonathan Winer, and Christopher Wray."

Priestap authored a handwritten memo that openly questioned if the FBI's "goal" in interviewing Flynn was "to get him to lie, so we can prosecute him or get him fired" -- a document that the feds turned over earlier this month, even though the DOJ had been under an obligation to turn over potentially exculpatory materials to Flynn for more than two years.

Documents also revealed  that Strzok, the anti-Trump FBI agent who also participated in the Flynn interview, pushed to keep the Flynn probe alive even though the FBI's Washington field office wanted to close the case.

The DOJ revealed late Monday that it has produced the bureau's May 5 interview of Preistap, although the interview notes have remained under seal for now. -Fox News

Fox points out that Pientka - who interviewed Flynn and was involved in the Carter Page investigation, was removed from the FBI's website after the news outlet contacted the agency about his extensive role in the Crossfire Hurricane probe.

Graham's subpoena list is set for debate starting May 21, while a vote is expected June 24. In order to move forward, Judiciary Committee subpoenas would require the consent of a ranking Democrat, or a full vote of the committee.

Meanwhile, Senate Homeland Security Chairman Ron Johnson (R-WI) requested on Monday that the DOJ turn over an unredacted copy of an email that former National Security Adviser Susan Rice sent to herself on inauguration day documenting that secretive January 5, 2017 Oval Office meeting in which Obama "shocked a top DOJ official with his knowledge of the FBI's Flynn probe."

"I understand your office is currently reviewing a January 20, 2017, email from former National Security Adviser Susan Rice," Johnson wrote to Attorney General Bill Barr. "In that email, Ambassador Rice summarized an Oval Office meeting with President Obama and other administration officials that occurred on January 5, 2017." (via Fox News)

"A majority of Ambassador Rice's email was declassified but a portion of the email remains classified. The significance of that meeting is becoming increasingly apparent as more and more information is declassified. For these reasons, it is essential that Congress and the American people understand what occurred during that January 5, 2017, meeting and how it was later characterized by administration officials. The declassification of Ambassador Rice's email, in whole, will assist these efforts."

Obama was aware of the details of Flynn's intercepted December 2016 phone calls with Russia's then-Ambassador Sergey Kislyak, apparently surprising Sally Yates in the Oval Office meeting, according to documents released this month as exhibits to the government's motion to dismiss the Flynn case. -Fox News

According to documents released earlier this month, Obama's knowledge of the Flynn surveillance apparently surprised Sally Yates during the January 5 meeting.

Obama personally had warned the Trump administration against hiring Flynn, and made clear he was "not a fan," according to multiple officials. Obama had fired Flynn as head of the Defense Intelligence Agency in 2014; Obama cited insubordination, while Flynn asserted he was pushed out for his aggressive stance on combating Islamic extremism.

On January 5, 2017, Yates attended an Oval Office meeting with Comey, then-Vice President Joe Biden, Brennan and Clapper, according to the newly declassified documents, including an FD-302 FBI witness report. They were discussing Russian election interference, along with Rice and other members of the national security council.

After the briefing, Obama asked Yates and Comey to "stay behind," and said he had "learned of the information about Flynn" and his conversation with Russia's ambassador about sanctions. Obama "specified that he did not want any additional information on the matter, but was seeking information on whether the White House should be treating Flynn any differently, given the information." -Fox News

Obama and Biden, meanwhile, get a pass.

Published:5/19/2020 10:18:19 AM
[In The News] How The FBI Used ‘News Hooks’ To Advance The Trump-Russia Probe

By Chuck Ross -

The FBI relied heavily on media reporting, often based on leaks, to justify taking additional steps in Crossfire Hurricane, according to a Daily Caller News Foundation analysis of public records. FBI officials relied on the so-called news hooks to conduct interviews with Michael Flynn. A series of news hooks also ...

How The FBI Used ‘News Hooks’ To Advance The Trump-Russia Probe is original content from Conservative Daily News - Where Americans go for news, current events and commentary they can trust - Conservative News Website for U.S. News, Political Cartoons and more.

Published:5/19/2020 5:47:44 AM
[] Lawless Judge Emmit Sullivan Defended the FBI's Vanishing 302 Trick: Shit Happens, Man Shockingly cavalier take by Judge Sullivan to defense counsel @SidneyPowell1 on 9/10/19 re: FBI?s *lost* original Flynn interview 302:?[T]hings happen and documents are lost. I mean, it just happens.?Excused *misplacement* of seminal interview document? 🤔h/t: @HansMahncke— James A. Gagliano... Published:5/18/2020 6:12:49 PM
[Markets] Saudi Pilots Already Back In Flight Training After Pensacola Gunman's Terror Ties Confirmed Saudi Pilots Already Back In Flight Training After Pensacola Gunman's Terror Ties Confirmed Tyler Durden Mon, 05/18/2020 - 17:05

On Monday, Attorney General William Barr acknowledged that the FBI was successful in accessing the Pensacola terror attacker's iPhone, saying that the information obtained establishes "significant ties" to Al-Qaeda "in the Arabian Peninsula, not only before the attack, but before he arrived in the U.S."

But let's not forget the Saudi national was there in the first place as part of joint program allowing Riyadh to send military personnel to train alongside American troops on US bases.

Now that Mohammed Alshamrani's al-Qaeda ties are definitively proven, it's time to address the real elephant in the room that the mainstream refuses to touch: nearly two decades after 9/11 (where 15 out of 19 hijackers were Saudi citizens), and further after it's been firmly established that the Saudi embassy in D.C. actually oversaw at least some among the hijackers, the question must be asked: Why in the hell did we still have Saudi pilots being sent by Riyadh to train at US facilities as part of a Pentagon security cooperation program in the first place?!?!?

Three US Navy sailors—Ensign Joshua Kaleb Watson (left), Airman Mohammed Sameh Haitham (center), and Airman Apprentice Cameron Scott Walters, Student (right)—were killed in the Dec. 6, 2019, shooting at NAS Pensacola, Fla. US Navy photos.

It's as if September 11, 2001 never happened.

Realizing the absurdity of it all, the administration and DoD halted the joint US-Saudi training program on Dec. 10 — four days after the attack last year.

But guess who's already back?...

According to a prior Military Times report, the Navy resumed flight training for Saudi nationals as early as late February:

Service members from Saudi Arabia are back to conducting flight training in the U.S. nearly three months after it was halted following a fatal terror attack on a Florida military base.

Saudi international military students resumed flight training Tuesday, Navy officials announced. The move follows a host of new restrictions placed on foreign troops, limiting their access to Navy and Marine Corps bases and banning them from having personal firearms while they're in the U.S.

Amid all of the self-congratulatory press briefings out of the FBI and DOJ today, this is actually this most pressing 'national security concern' sure to be buried and completely unacknowledged, obviously with echos of 9/11 buried behind the headlines.

NAS Pensacola terror gunman Mohammed Alshamrani

The prior report continued to detail that there are many hundreds of Saudi national troops undergoing 'operational training' at US bases:

The Pentagon announced it would pause all operational training for 850 Saudi troops on Dec. 10, four days after the attack. Since then, Saudi troops have participated only in classroom training.

The FBI determined the December shooting was an act of terrorism after finding evidence the Saudi officer, who was killed by law enforcement agents, had been inspired by foreign jihadist ideology. The investigation led to 21 other Saudi students being booted out of the U.S. after federal agents found anti-American materials or child pornography images on their computers.

Navy officials did not immediately respond to questions about how many Saudi troops are still training on U.S. bases and how many of them are assigned to Pensacola. 

And again, to no one's surprise the shooter was taking directives straight from al-Qaeda to boot.

To review, a Saudi pilot on al-Qaeda directives shot up American troops at a Pensacola air base. He was there at Pentagon invitation to train under Americans. And now Saudi pilots are back in training at the same location and others a mere months later.

Published:5/18/2020 4:12:01 PM
[] "Years of planning and preparation": FBI links al-Qaeda to Saudi shooting in Pensacola -- and targeted his contact in Yemen Published:5/18/2020 11:41:38 AM
[Politics] AG Barr: Obama, Biden Not Targets of Criminal Investigation in Review of Russia Probe U.S. Attorney General William Barr said on Monday he does not expect a Justice Department review of the FBI's handling of 2016 election interference to lead to criminal investigation for former President Barack Obama or former Vice President Joe Biden. Published:5/18/2020 11:41:38 AM
[Markets] FBI Cracks Into Pensacola Shooter's iPhone, Find "Significant Ties" To Al Qaeda FBI Cracks Into Pensacola Shooter's iPhone, Find "Significant Ties" To Al Qaeda Tyler Durden Mon, 05/18/2020 - 12:00

After months of trying to break into the encrypted iPhone of the Pensacola, Florida naval base shooter - Saudi Arabian national Mohammed Saeed Alshamrani, the FBI was able to access information on the device and discovered a contact with a suspected al-Qaeda operative, according to Bloomberg.

Access to the data was obtained via alternate methods after Apple, Inc. refused to help the DOJ.

Mohammed Saeed Alshamrani

The alleged link to al-Qaeda is also significant because it suggests the terrorist organization is still able to encourage, and possibly direct, operations in the U.S. almost two decades after the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks.

The Trump administration asked Apple in January for help unlocking a pair of iPhones belonging to the shooter, Mohammed Alshamrani, a 21-year-old 2nd Lieutenant in the Royal Saudi Air Force. Alshamrani was killed by law enforcement responding to the attack. -Bloomberg

Alshamrani, a Saudi Air Force lieutenant who shot and killed three people at Naval station Pensacola the day after hanging out with friends - also Saudi military trainees - who were watching mass shooting videos the night before and filmed the attack the next day, was killed in the attack after law enforcement responded to the incident.

Alshamrani and the three friends visited New York City in the days leading up to the shooting - visiting several museums and Rockefeller Center, according to the New York Times

On Monday, Attorney General William Barr acknowledged that the FBI was successful in accessing Alshamrani's iPhone, saying that the information obtained establishes "significant ties" to Al-Qaeda "in the Arabian Peninsula, not only before the attack, but be fore he arrived in the U.S."

Published:5/18/2020 11:12:03 AM
[] FBI “Mistakenly” Reveals Identity of Saudi Diplomat Suspected of Aiding 9/11 Jihadis Published:5/18/2020 10:43:14 AM
[Politics] Voters Break Even Over Justice’s Decision To Toss Flynn Case

Voters are evenly divided over whether the U.S. Justice Department should have dropped its crumbling case against former Trump adviser Michael Flynn, even though they tend to think his conviction was valid. But once again there’s a sharp partisan difference of opinion.

The latest Rasmussen Reports national telephone and online survey finds that 49% of Likely U.S. Voters believe Flynn was correctly convicted of the charges against him. Thirty-four percent (34%) disagree and say the former national security adviser to President Trump was a victim of illegal FBI entrapment. Seventeen percent (17%) are undecided. (To see survey question wording, click here.)

(Want a free daily e-mail update? If it's in the news, it's in our polls). Rasmussen Reports updates are also available on Twitter or Facebook.

The survey of 1,000 Likely Voters was conducted May 14 and 17, 2020 by Rasmussen Reports. The margin of sampling error is +/- 3 percentage points with a 95% level of confidence. Field work for all Rasmussen Reports surveys is conducted by Pulse Opinion Research, LLC. See methodology.

Published:5/18/2020 9:42:12 AM
[Markets] Turley: The 'Unmasking' Of Joe Biden Turley: The 'Unmasking' Of Joe Biden Tyler Durden Mon, 05/18/2020 - 10:00

Authored by Jonathan Turley,

The contradictions revealed in recent disclosures, including the list of officials seeking to “unmask” the identity of former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn, are shocking.  There seems a virtual news blackout on these disclosures, including the fact that both former President Barack Obama and former Vice President Joe Biden followed the investigation.  Indeed, Biden’s name is on the unmasking list.

The declassification of material from the Michael Flynn case has exposed more chilling details of an effort by prosecutors to come up with a crime to use against the former national security adviser. This week, however, a letter revealed another unsettling detail. Among over three dozen Obama administration officials seeking to “unmask” Flynn in the investigation was former Vice President Joe Biden. This revelation came less than a day after Biden denied any involvement in the investigation of Flynn. It also follows a disclosure that President Obama was aware of that investigation.

For three years, many in the media have expressed horror at the notion of the Trump campaign colluding with Russia to influence the 2016 election. We know there was never credible evidence of such collusion. In recently released transcripts, a long list of Obama administration officials admitted they never saw any evidence of such Russian collusion. That included the testimony of Evelyn Farkas, a former White House adviser who was widely quoted by the media with her public plea for Congress to gather all of the evidence that she learned of as part of the Obama administration.

The media covered her concern that this evidence would be lost “if they found out how we knew what we knew” about Trump campaign officials “dealing with Russians.” Yet in her classified testimony under oath, she said she did not know anything. Farkas is now running for Congress in New York and highlighting her role in raising “alarm” over collusion. As much of the media blindly pushed this story, a worrying story unfolded over the use of federal power to investigate political opponents.

There is very little question that the response by the media to such a story would have been overwhelming if George Bush and his administration had targeted the Obama campaign figures with secret surveillance.

That story would have been encompassing if it was learned that there was no direct evidence to justify the investigation and that the underlying allegation of Russian collusion was ultimately found to lack a credible basis.

But the motives of Obama administration officials are apparently not to be questioned. Indeed, back when candidate Donald Trump said the Obama administration placed his campaign officials under surveillance, the media universally mocked him. That statement was later proven to be true. The Obama administration used the secret Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act court to conduct surveillance of Trump campaign officials.

Yet none of this matters as the media remains fully invested in the original false allegations of collusion. If Obama administration officials were to be questioned now, the coverage and judgment of the media may be placed into question, as even this latest disclosure from the investigation of the unmasking request of Biden will not alter the media narrative.

Unmasking occurs when an official asks an intelligence agency to remove anonymous designations hiding the identity of an individual. This masking is a very important protection of the privacy of American citizens who are caught up in national security surveillance. The importance of this privacy protection is being dismissed by media figures, like Andrea Mitchell, who declared the Biden story to be nothing more than gaslighting.

While unmasking is more routinely requested by intelligence officials, with a reported 10,000 such requests by the National Security Agency last year alone, it is presumably less common for figures like Biden or White House chief of staff Denis McDonough. Seeking unmasking information that was likely to reveal the name of a political opponent and possibly damage the Trump administration raises a concern. More importantly, it adds a detail of the scope of interest and involvement in an investigation that targeted Flynn without any compelling evidence of a crime or collusion.

The media portrayed both Obama and Biden as uninvolved. But now we know they both actively followed the investigation.

According to former acting attorney general Sally Yates, she was surprised that Obama knew about the investigation and knew more than she did at the time. Obama called upon former FBI director James Comey to stay after a meeting to discuss the investigation. Comey had mentioned using the Logan Act to charge Flynn, even though the unconstitutional law has never been used successfully in a prosecution since the country was founded.

Biden has repeatedly denied knowledge of the investigation. Just a day before the latest disclosure, George Stephanopoulos asked Biden in an interview what he knew of the Flynn investigation. Biden was adamant that he knew nothing about “those moves” and he called it a diversion. But that is not true if he took the relatively uncommon action for a vice president of demanding the unmasking of Flynn information.

Yet none of this matters. A Democratic administration using a secret court to investigate the opposing political campaign does not matter to many in Congress or in the media anyway. An investigation continuing despite the lack of credible information supporting collusion does not matter to them either. A president and a vice president who take personal interest in the surveillance of their political opponents also does not matter.

There was a time, however, when all of this did matter. There was once a time when this would be viewed as the story of the century, including the unmasking of Biden himself in this investigation. But these are not those times, and this cannot be the story. Russian collusion is the story and, as Biden stressed, the rest is just a diversion. It is up to the public to decide who has been ultimately unmasked by the Flynn investigation.

Published:5/18/2020 9:09:45 AM
[Markets] The Complete "Collusion Against Trump" Timeline The Complete "Collusion Against Trump" Timeline Tyler Durden Fri, 05/15/2020 - 22:50


It's easy to find timelines that detail Trump-Russia collusion developments. Here are links to two of them I recommend:

On the other side, evidence has emerged that makes it clear there were organized efforts to collude against candidate Donald Trump - and then President Trump. For example:

  • Anti-Russian Ukrainians allegedly helped coordinate and execute a campaign against Trump in partnership with the Democratic National Committee and news reporters.

  • A Yemen-born ex-British spy reportedly delivered political opposition research against Trump to reporters, Sen. John McCain, and the FBI; the latter of which used the material--in part--to obtain wiretaps against one or more Trump-related associates.

  • There were orchestrated leaks of anti-Trump information and allegations to the press, including by ex-FBI Director James Comey.

  • The U.S. intel community allegedly engaged in questionable surveillance practices and politially-motivated "unmaskings" of U.S. citizens, including Trump officials.

  • Alleged conflicts of interests have surfaced regarding FBI officials who cleared Hillary Clinton for mishandling classified information and who investigated Trump's alleged Russia ties.

But it's not so easy to find a timeline pertinent to the investigations into these events.

Related: Obama Era Surveillance Timeline

Here's a work in progress...

(Please note that nobody cited has been charged with wrongdoing or crimes, unless the charge is specifically referenced. Temporal relationships are not necessarily evidence of a correlation.)

"Collusion against Trump" Timeline


U.S. intel community vastly expands its surveillance authority, giving itself permission to spy on Americans who do nothing more than "mention a foreign target in a single, discrete communication." Intel officials also begin storing and entering into a searchable database sensitive intelligence on U.S. citizens whose communications are accidentally or "incidentally" captured during surveillance of foreign targets. Prior to this point, such intelligence was supposed to be destroyed to protect the constitutional privacy rights the U.S. citizens. However, it's required that names U.S. citizens be hidden or "masked" --even inside U.S. intel agencies --to prevent abuse.

Click here to read "Timeline of alleged sabotage of Trump in 2016 by Democrats and Ukraine."


July 1, 2012: Secretary of State Hillary Clinton improperly uses unsecured, personal email domain to email President Obama from Russia.


June 2013: FBI interviews U.S. businessman Carter Page, who's lived and worked in Russia, regarding his ongoing contacts with Russians. Page reportedly tells FBI agents their time would be better spent investigating Boston Marathon bombing (which the FBI's Andrew McCabe helped lead). Page later claims his remark prompts FBI retaliatory campaign against him. The FBI, under McCabe, will later wiretap Page after Page becomes a Donald Trump campaign adviser.

FBI secretly records suspected Russian industrial spy Evgeny Buryakov. It's later reported that Page helped FBI build the case.

Sept. 4, 2013: James Comey becomes FBI Director, succeeding Robert Mueller.


Russia invades Ukraine. Ukraine steps up hiring of U.S. lobbyists to make its case against Russia and obtain U.S. aid. Russia also continues its practice of using U.S. lobbyists.

Ukraine forms National Anti-Corruption Bureau as a condition to receive U.S. aid. The National Anti-Corruption Bureau later signs evidence-sharing agreement with FBI related to Trump-Russia probe.

Ukrainian-American Alexandra Chalupa, a paid consultant for the Democratic National Committee (DNC), begins researching lobbyist Paul Manafort's Russia ties.

FBI investigates, and then wiretaps, Paul Manafort for allegedly not properly disclosing Russia-related work. FBI fails to make a case, according to CNN, and discontinues wiretap.

August 2014: State Dept. turns over 15,000 pages of documents to Congressional Benghazi committee, revealing former secretary of state Hillary Clinton used private server for government email. Her mishandling of classified info on this private system becomes subject of FBI probe.


FBI opens investigation into Virginia governor Terry McAuliffe, including for donations from a Chinese businessman and Clinton Foundation donor.

FBI official Andrew McCabe meets with Gov. McAuliffe, a close Clinton ally. Afterwards, "McAuliffe-aligned political groups donated about $700,000 to Mr. McCabe's wife for her campaign to become a Democrat state Senator in Virginia." The fact of the McAuliffe-related donations to wife of FBI's McCabe, while FBI was investigating McAuliffe and Clinton later becomes the subject of conflict of interest inquiry by Inspector General.

Feb. 9, 2015: U.S. Senate forms Ukrainian caucus to further Ukrainian interests. Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) is a member.

March 4, 2015: New York Times breaks news about Clinton's improper handling of classified email as secretary of state.

In internal emails, Clinton campaign chairman (and former Obama adviser) John Podesta suggests Obama withhold Clinton's emails from Congressional Benghazi committee under executive privilege.

March 2015: Attorney General Loretta Lynch privately directs FBI Director James Comey to call FBI Clinton probe a "matter" rather than an "investigation." Comey follows the instruction, though he later testifies that it made him "queasy."

March 7, 2015: President Obama says he first learned of Clinton's improper email practices "through news reports." Clinton campaign staffers privately contradict that claim emailing: "it looks like [President Obama] just said he found out [Hillary Clinton] was using her personal email when he saw it on the news." Clinton aide Cheryl Mills responds, "We need to clean this up, [President Obama] has emails from" Clinton's personal account.

May 19, 2015: Justice Dept. Assistant Attorney General for Legislative Affairs Peter Kadzik emails Clinton campaign chairman John Podesta from a private Gmail account to give him a "heads ups" involving Congressional questions about Clinton email.

Summer 2015: Democratic National Committee computers are hacked.

Sept. 2015: Glenn Simpson, co-founder of political opposition research firm Fusion GPS, is hired by conservative website Washington Free Beacon to compile negative research on presidential candidate Donald Trump and other Republicans.

Oct. 2015: President Obama uses a "confidentiality tradition" to keep his Benghazi emails with Hillary Clinton secret.

Oct. 12, 2015: FBI Director Comey replaces head of FBI Counterintelligence Division at New York Field Office with Louis Bladel.

Oct. 22, 2015: Rep. Adam Schiff (D-Calif.) publicly states that Clinton is "not under criminal investigation."

Clinton testifies to House Benghazi committee.

Oct. 23, 2015: Clinton campaign chair John Podesta meets for dinner with small group of friends including a top Justice Dept. official Peter Kadzik.

Late 2015: Democratic operative Chalupa expands her political opposition research about Paul Manafort to include Trump's ties to Russia. She "occasionally shares her findings with officials from the Democratic National Committee and the Clinton campaign."

Dec. 4, 2015: Donald Trump is beating his nearest Republican presidential competitor by 20 points in latest CNN poll.

Dec. 9, 2015: FBI Director Comey replaces head of FBI Counterintelligence Division at Washington Field Office with Charles Kable.

Dec. 23, 2015: FBI Director Comey names Bill Priestap as assistant director of Counterintelligence Division.


Obama officials vastly expand their searches through NSA database for Americans and the content of their communications. In 2013, there were 9,600 searches involving 195 Americans. But in 2016, there are 30,355 searches of 5,288 Americans.

Justice Dept. associate deputy attorney general Bruce Ohr meets with Fusion GPS' Christopher Steele, the Yemen-born ex-British spy leading anti-Trump political opposition research project.

January 2016: Democratic operative Ukrainian-American Chalupa tells a senior Democratic National Committee official that she feels there's a Russia connection with Trump.

Jan. 29, 2016: FBI Director Comey promotes Andrew McCabe to FBI Deputy Director.

McCabe takes lead on Clinton probe even though his wife received nearly $700,000 in campaign donations through Clinton ally Terry McAuliffe, who's also under FBI investigation.

March 2016: Clinton campaign chair John Podesta's email gets hacked.

FBI interviews Carter Page again.

Carter Page is named as one of the Trump campaign's foreign policy advisers.

March 2, 2016: FBI Director Comey replaces head of Intelligence Division of Washington Field Office with Gerald Roberts, Jr.

March 11, 2016: Russian Evgeny Buryakovwhich pleads guilty to spying in FBI case that Carter Page reportedly assisted with.

March 25, 2016: Ukrainian-American operative for Democratic National Committee (DNC) Chalupa meets with top Ukrainian officials at Ukrainian Embassy in Washington D.C. to "expose ties between Trump, top campaign aide Paul Manafort and Russia," according to Politico. Chalupa previously worked for the Clinton administration.

Ukrainian embassy proceeds to work "directly with reporters researching Trump, Manafort and Russia to point them in the right directions," according to an embassy official (though other officials later deny engaging in election-related activities.)

March 29, 2016: Trump campaign hires Paul Manafort as manager of July Republican convention.

March 30, 2016: Ukrainian-American Democratic operative Alexandra Chalupa briefs Democratic National Committee (DNC) staff on Russia ties to Paul Manafort and Trump.

With "DNC's encouragement," Chalupa asks Ukrainian embassy to arrange meeting with Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko to discuss Manafort's lobbying for Ukraine's former president Viktor Yanukovych. The embassy declines to arrange meeting but becomes "helpful" in trading info and leads.

Ukrainian embassy officials and Democratic operative Chalupa "coordinat[e] an investigation with the Hillary team" into Paul Manafort, according to a source in Politico. This effort reportedly includes working with U.S. media.

April 2016: There's a second breach of Democratic National Committee computers.

Washington Free Beacon breaks off deal with Glenn Simpson's Fusion GPS for political opposition research against Trump.

Clinton campaign and Democratic National Committee lawyer Mark Elias and his law firm, Perkins Coie, hire Fusion GPS for anti-Trump political research project.

Ukrainian member of parliament Olga Bielkova reportedly seeks meetings with five dozen members of U.S. Congress and reporters including former New York Times reporter Judy Miller, David Sanger of New York Times, David Ignatius of Washington Post, and Washington Post editorial page editor Fred Hiatt.

April 5, 2016: Convicted spy Buryakov is turned over to Russia.

Week of April 6, 2016: Ukrainian-American Democratic operative Chalupa and office of Rep. Mary Kaptur (D-Ohio), co-chair of Congressional Ukrainian Caucus, discuss possible congressional investigation or hearing on Paul Manafort-Russia "by September."

Chalupa begins working with investigative reporter Michael Isikoff, according to her later account.

April 10, 2016: In national TV interview, President Obama states that Clinton did not intend to harm national security when she mishandled classified emails. FBI Director James Comey later concludes that Clinton should not face charges because she did not intend to harm national security.

Around this time, the FBI begins drafting Comey's remarks closing Clinton email investigation, though Clinton had not yet been interviewed.

April 12, 2016:"Ukrainian parliament member Olga Bielkova and a colleague meet" with Sen. John McCain associate David Kramer with the McCain Institute. Bielkova also meets with Liz Zentos of Obama's National Security Council, and State Department official Michael Kimmage.

April 26, 2016: Investigative reporter Michael Isikoff publishes story on Yahoo News about Paul Manafort's business dealings with a Russian oligarch.

April 27, 2016: The BBC publishes an article titled, “Why Russians Love Donald Trump.”

April 28, 2016: Ukrainian-American Democratic operative Chalupa is invited to discuss her research about Paul Manafort with 68 investigative journalists from Ukraine at Library of Congress for Open World Leadership Center, a U.S. congressional agency. Chalupa invites investigative reporter Michael Isikoff to "connect(s) him to the Ukrainians."

After the event, reporter Isikoff accompanies Chalupa to Ukrainian embassy reception.

May 3, 2016: Ukrainian-American Democratic operative Chalupa emails Democratic National Committee (DNC) that she'll share sensitive info about Paul Manafort "offline" including "a big Trump component that will hit in next few weeks."

May 4, 2016: Trump locks up Republican nomination.

May 19, 2016: Paul Manafort is named Trump campaign chair.

May 23, 2016: FBI probe into Virginia governor and Clinton ally Terry McAuliffe becomes public. (McAuliffe is ultimately not charged with a crime.)

Justice Department Inspector General confirms it's looking into FBI's Andrew McCabe for alleged conflicts of interest in handling of Clinton and Gov. McAuliffe probes in light of McAuliffe directing campaign donations to McCabe's wife.

FBI officials Lisa Page and Peter Strzok, who are reportedly having an illicit affair, text each other that Trump's ascension in the campaign will bring "pressure to finish" Clinton probe.

Nellie Ohr, wife of Justice Dept. associate deputy attorney general Bruce Ohr and former CIA worker, goes on the payroll of Fusion GPS and assists with anti-Trump political opposition research. Her husband, Bruce, reportedly fails to disclose her specific employer and work in his Justice Dept. conflict of interest disclosures.

Nellie Ohr applies for a ham radio license.

June 2016: Fusion GPS' Glenn Simpson "hires Yemen-born ex-British spy Christopher Steele for anti-Trump political opposition research project."Steele uses info from Russian sources "close to Putin" to compile unverified "dossier" later provided to reporters and FBI, which the FBI uses to obtain secret wiretap.

The Guardian and Heat Street report that the FBI applied for a FISA warrant in June 2016 to "monitor four members of the Trump team suspected of irregular contacts with Russian officials" but that the "initial request was denied."

June 7, 2016: Hillary Clinton locks up the Democrat nomination.

June 9, 2016: Meeting in Trump Tower includes Donald Trump Jr., Trump campaign chair Paul Manafort and Trump son-in-law Jared Kushner with Russian lawyer who said he has political opposition research on Clinton. (No research was ultimately provided.) According to CNN, the FBI has not yet restarted a wiretap against Manafort but will soon do so.

June 10, 2016: Democratic National Committee (DNC) tells employees that its computer system has been hacked. DNC blames Russia but refuses to let FBI examine its systems.

June 15, 2016: "Guccifer 2.0" publishes first hacked document from Clinton campaign chair John Podesta.

June 17, 2016: Washington Post publishes front page story linking Trump to Russia: "Inside Trump's Financial Ties to Russia and His Unusual Flattery of Vladimir Putin."

June 20, 2016: Christopher Steele proposes taking some of Fusion GPS' research about Trump to FBI.

June 22, 2016: WikiLeaks begins publishing embarrassing, hacked emails from Clinton campaign and Democratic National Committee.

June 27, 2016: Attorney General Loretta Lynch meets privately with former President Bill Clinton on an airport tarmac in Phoenix, Arizona.

Late June 2016: DCLeaks website begins publishing Democratic National Committee emails.

The National Anti-Corruption Bureau of Ukraine signs evidence-sharing agreement with FBI and will later publicly release a "ledger" implicating Paul Manafort in allegedly improper payments.

June 30, 2016: FBI circulates internal draft of public remarks for FBI Director Comey to announce closing of Clinton investigation. It refers to Mrs. Clinton's "extensive" use of her personal email, including "from the territory of sophisticated adversaries," and a July 1, 2012 email to President Obama from Russia. The draft concludes it's possible that hostile actors gained access to Clinton's email account.

Comey's remarks are revised to replace reference to "the President" with the phrase: "another senior government official." (That reference, too, is removed from the final draft.)

Attorney General Lynch tells FBI she plans to publicly announce that she'll accept whatever recommendation FBI Director Comey makes regarding charges against Clinton.

July 2016: Ukraine minister of internal affairs Arsen Avakov attacks Trump and Trump campaign adviser Paul Manafort on Twitter and Facebook, calling Trump "an even bigger danger to the US than terrorism."

Former Ukrainian Prime Minister Arseny Yatseniuk writes on Facebook that Trump has "challenged the very values of the free world."

Carter Page travels to Russia to give a university commencement address. (Fusion GPS political opposition research would later quote Russian sources as saying Page met with Russian officials, which Page denies under oath and is not proven.)

One-time CIA operative Stefan Halper reportedly begins meetings with Trump advisers Carter Page and George Papadopoulos, secretly gathering information for the FBI. These contacts begin "prior to the date FBI Director Comey later claimed the Russian investigation began."

July 1, 2016: Under fire for meeting with former President Clinton amid the probe into his wife, Attorney General Lynch publicly states she'll "accept whatever FBI Director Comey recommends" without interfering.

FBI official Lisa Page texts her boyfriend, FBI official Peter Strzok, sarcastically commenting that Lynch's proclamation is "a real profile in courage, since she knows no charges will be brought."

Ex-British spy Christopher Steele writes Justice Department official Bruce Ohr that he wants to discuss "our favourite business tycoon!" (apparently referencing Trump.)

July 2, 2016: FBI official Peter Strzok and other agents interview Clinton. They don't record the interview. Two potential subjects of the investigation, Cheryl Mills and Heather Samuelson, are allowed to attend as Clinton's lawyers.

July 5, 2016: FBI Director Comey recommends no charges against Clinton, though he concludes she's been extremely careless in mishandling of classified information. Comey claims he hasn't coordinated or reviewed his statement in any way with Attorney General Lynch's Justice Department or other government branches. "They do not know what I am about to say," says Comey.

Fusion GPS' Steele, an ex-British spy, approaches FBI at an office in Rome with allegations against Trump, according to Congressional investigators. Justice Dept. official Bruce Ohr schedules a Skype conference call with Steele.

Days after closing Clinton case, FBI official Peter Strzok signs document opening FBI probe into Trump-Russia collusion.

July 10, 2016: Democratic National Committee (DNC) aide Seth Rich, reportedly a Bernie Sanders supporter, is shot twice in the back and killed. Police suspect a bungled robbery attempt, though nothing was apparently stolen. Conspiracy theorists speculate that Rich "not the Russians" had stolen DNC emails after he learned the DNC was unfairly favoring Clinton. The murder remains unsolved.

July 2016: Trump adviser Carter Page makes a business trip to Russia.

FISC (Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court) rejects FBI request to wiretap Page.

Obama national security adviser Susan Rice begins to show increased interest in National Security Agency (NSA) intelligence material including "unmasked Americans" identities, according to news reports referring to White House logs.

July 18-21, 2016: Republican National Convention

Late July 2016: FBI agent Peter Strzok opens counterintelligence investigation based on Trump campaign adviser George Papadopoulos.

Democratic operative and Ukrainian-American Chalupa leaves the Democratic National Committee (DNC) to work full-time on her research into Manafort, Trump and Russia; and provides off-the-record guidance to "a lot of journalists."

July 22, 2016: WikiLeaks begins publishing hacked Democratic National Committee emails. WikiLeaks' Julian Assange denies the email source is Russian.

July 25-28, 2016: Democratic National Convention

July 30, 2016Justice Dept. official Bruce Ohr meets with ex-British spy Christopher Steele at the Mayflower Hotel in Washington. Ohr brings his wife, Nellie, who -- like Steele -- works at Fusion GPS on the Trump-Russia oppo research project. Ohr calls FBI Deputy Director McCabe.

July 31, 2016: FBI's Peter Strzok formally begins counterintelligence investigation regarding Russia and Trump. It's dubbed "Crossfire Hurricane."

Aug. 3, 2016: Ohr reportedly meets with McCabe and FBI lawyer Lisa Page to discuss Russia-Trump collusion allegations relayed by ex-British spy Steele. Ohr will later testify to Congress that he considered Steele's information uncorroborated hearsay and that he told FBI agents Steele appeared motivated by a "desperate" desire to keep Trump from becoming president.

Aug. 4, 2016: Ukrainian ambassador to U.S. writes op-ed against Trump.

Aug. 8, 2016: FBI attorney Lisa Page texts her lover, FBI's head of Counterespionage Peter Strzok,"[Trump is] not ever going to become president, right? Right?!" Strzok replies,"No. No he won't. We'll stop it."

Aug. 14, 2016: New York Times breaks story about cash payments made a decade ago to Paul Manafort by pro-Russia interests in Ukraine. The ledger was released and publicized by the National Anti-Corruption Bureau of Ukraine.

Aug. 15, 2016: CNN reports the FBI is conducting an inquiry into Trump campaign chair Paul Manafort's payments from pro-Russia interests in Ukraine in 2007 and 2009.

After a meeting discussing the election in FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe's office, FBI's Counterespionage Chief Peter Strzok texts FBI attorney Lisa Page referring to the possibility of Trump getting elected. "We can't take that risk," he writes. And they speak of needing an "insurance policy."

Aug. 19, 2016: Paul Manafort resigns as Trump campaign chairman.

Ukrainian parliament member Sergii Leshchenko holds news conference to draw attention to Paul Manafort and Trump's "pro-Russia" ties.

Aug. 22, 2016Justice Dept. official Bruce Ohr meets with Fusion GPS' Glenn Simpson who identifies several "possible intermediaries" between the Trump campaign and Russia.

Late August 2016:

Reportedly working for the FBI, one-time CIA operative Professor Halper meets with Trump campaign co-chair Sam Clovis offering his services as a foreign-policy adviser, according to The Washington Post. Halper would later offer to hire Carter Page.

Approx. Aug. 2016: FBI initiates a new wiretap against ex-Trump campaign chair Paul Manafort, according to CNN, which extends at least through early 2017.

Sept. 2016: Fusion GPS's Steele becomes FBI source and uses associate deputy attorney general Bruce Ohr as point of contact. Steele tells Ohr that he's "desperate that Donald Trump not get elected."

President Obama warns Russia not to interfere in the U.S. election

Sept. 2, 2016: FBI officials Lisa Page and Peter Strzok text that "[President Obama] wants to know everything we're doing."

Sept. 13, 2016: The nonprofit First Draft, funded by Google, whose parent company is run by major Hillary Clinton supporter and donor Eric Schmidt, announces initiative to tackle "fake news." It appears to be the first use of the phrase in its modern context.

Sept. 15, 2016: Clinton computer manager Paul Combetta appears before House Oversight Committee but refuses to answer questions, invoking his Fifth Amendment rights.

Sept. 19, 2016: At UN General Assembly meeting, Ukrainian President Poroshenko meets with Hillary Clinton.

Mid-to-late Sept. 2016: Fusion GPS's Christopher Steele's FBI contact tells him the agency wants to see his opposition research "right away" and offers to pay him $50,000, according to the New York Times, for solid corroboration of his salacious, unverified claims. Steele flies to Rome, Italy to meet with FBI and provide a "full briefing."

Sept. 22, 2016: Clinton computer aide Brian Pagliano is held in contempt of Congress for refusing to comply with subpoena.

Sept. 23, 2016: It's revealed that Justice Department has granted five Clinton officials immunity from prosecution: former chief of staff Cheryl Mills, State Department staffers John Bentel and Heather Samuelson, and Clinton computer workers Paul Combetta and Brian Pagliano.

Yahoo News publishes report by Michael Isikoff about Carter Page's July 2016 trip to Moscow. (The article is apparently based on leaked info from Fusion GPS Steele anti-Trump "dossier" political opposition research.)

Sept. 25, 2016: Trump associate Carter Page writes letter to FBI Comey objecting to the so-called "witch hunt" involving him.

Sept. 26, 2016: Obama administration asks secretive Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court (FISC) court to allow National Counter Terrorism Center to access sensitive, "unmasked" intel on Americans acquired by FBI and NSA. (The Court later approves the request.)

FBI head of counterespionage Peter Strzok emails his mistress FBI attorney Lisa Page that Carter Page's letter (dated the day before) "...provides us a pretext to interview."

Sept. 27, 2016: Justice Department Assistant Attorney General of National Security Division John Carlin announces he's stepping down. He was former chief of staff and senior counsel to former FBI director Robert Mueller.

End of Sept. 2016: Fusion GPS' Glenn Simpson and Christopher Steele meet with reporters, including New York Times, Washington Post, Yahoo News, the New Yorker and CNN or ABC. One meeting is at office of Democratic National Committee general counsel.

Early October 2016: Fusion GPS' Christopher Steele, the Yemen-born author of anti-Trump "dossier," meets in New York with David Corn, Washington-bureau chief of Mother Jones.

According to The Guardian, the FBI submits a more narrowly focused FISA wiretap request to replace one turned down in June to monitor four Trump associates.

Oct. 3, 2016: FBI seizes computers belonging to Anthony Weiner, who is accused of sexually texting an underage girl. Weiner is married to top Hillary Clinton aide Huma Abedin. FBI learns there are Clinton emails on Weiner's laptop but waits several weeks before notifying Congress and reopening investigation.

Oct. 4, 2016: FBI Director Comey replaces head of Counterintelligence Division, New York Field Office with Charles McGonigal.

Oct. 7, 2016: Director of National Intelligence James Clapper and Department of Homeland Security issue statement saying Russian government is responsible for hacking Democrat emails to disrupt 2016 election.

Oct. 13, 2016: President Obama gives a speech in support of the crackdown on "fake news" by stating that somebody needs to step in and "curate" information in the "wild, wild West media environment."

Oct. 14, 2016: FBI head of counterespionage Peter Strzok emails his mistress FBI attorney Lisa Page discussing talking points to convince FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe to persuade a high-ranking Dept. of Justice official to sign a warrant to wiretap Trump associate Carter Page. The email subject line is "Crossfire FISA." "Crossfire Hurricane" was one of the code names for four separate investigations the FBI conducted related to Russia matters in the 2016 election.

"At a minimum, that keeps the hurry the F up pressure on him," Strzok emailed Lisa Page less than four weeks before Election Day.

Mid-Oct. 2016:  Fusion GPS' Steele again briefs reporters about Trump political opposition research. The reporters are from the New York Times, the Washington Post, and Yahoo News.

Oct. 16, 2016: Mary McCord is named Assistant Attorney General for Justice Department National Security Division.

Oct. 18, 2016: President Obama advises Trump to "stop whining" after Trump tweeted the election could be rigged. "There is no serious person out there who would suggest somehow that you could even you could even rig America's elections," said Obama. He also calls Trump's "flattery" of Russian president Putin "unprecedented."

In FBI emails, head of counterespionage Peter Strzok and his mistress FBI lawyer Lisa Page discuss rushing approval for a FISA warrant for a Russia-related investigation code-named "Dragon."

Oct. 19, 2016: Ex-British spy Christopher Steele writes his last memo for anti-Trump "dossier" political opposition research provided to FBI. The FBI reportedly authorizes payment to Steele. Fusion GPS has reportedly paid him $160,000.

Approx. Oct. 21, 2016: For the second time in several months, Justice Department and FBI apply to wiretap former Trump campaign adviser Carter Page. FBI Director James Comey and Deputy Attorney General Sally Yates sign the application. This time, the request is approved based on new FBI "evidence"  including parts of Fusion GPS' "Steele dossier" and Michael Isikoff Yahoo article. The FBI doesn't tell the court that Trump's political opponent, the Clinton campaign and the Democratic National Committee, funded the "evidence."

Oct. 24, 2016: Benjamin Wittes, confidant of FBI Director James Comey and editor-in-chief of the blog Lawfare, writes of the need for an "insurance policy" in case Trump wins. It's the same phrase FBI officials Lisa Page and Peter Strzok had used when discussing the possibility of a Trump win.

Obama intel officials orally inform Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court of an earlier Inspector General review uncovering their "significant noncompliance" in following proper "702" procedures safeguarding the National Security Agency (NSA) intelligence database with sensitive info on US citizens.

Late Oct. 2016: Fusion GPS' Steele again briefs reporter from Mother Jones by Skype about Trump political opposition research.

Oct. 26, 2016: Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court holds hearing with Obama intel officials over their "702" surveillance violations. The judge criticizes NSA for "institutional lack of candor" and states "this is a very serious Fourth Amendment issue."

Oct. 28, 2016: FBI Director Comey notifies Congress that he's reopening Clinton probe due to Clinton emails found on Anthony Wiener laptop several weeks earlier.

Oct. 30, 2016: Mother Jones writer David Corn is first to report on the anti-Trump "dossier," quoting unidentified former spy, presumed to be Christopher Steele. FBI general counsel James Baker had reportedly been in touch with Corn but Corn later denies Baker was the leaker.

FBI terminates its relationship with Steele because Steele had leaked his FBI involvement in Mother Jones article.

Steele reportedly maintains backchannel contact with Justice Dept. through Deputy Associate Attorney General Bruce Ohr.

Oct. 31, 2016: New York Times reports FBI is investigating Trump and found no illicit connections to Russia.

Nov. 1, 2016: FBI concludes ex-British spy Christopher Steele, who compiled anti-Trump "dossier" using Russian sources, leaked to press and is not suitable for use as a confidential source. However, Steele continues to "help," according to Jan. 31, 2017 texts to Justice Dept. official Bruce Ohr.

Nov. 3, 2016: FBI Attorney Lisa Page texts FBI's Peter Strzok about her concerns that Clinton might lose and Trump would become president: "The [New York Times] probability numbers are dropping every day. I'm scared for our organization."

Nov. 6, 2016: FBI Director Comey tells Congress that Clinton emails on Anthony Weiner computer do not change earlier conclusion: she should not be charged.

Nov. 8, 2016: Trump is elected president.

Obama National Security Adviser Susan Rice's interest in NSA materials accelerates, according to later news reports.

Associate Deputy Attorney General Bruce Ohr meets with Fusion GPS co-founder Glenn Simpson shortly after election.

The FBI interviews Ohr about his ongoing contacts with Fusion GPS.

Nov. 9, 2016: An unnamed FBI attorney (later quoted in Dept. of Justice Inspector General probe) texts another FBI employee, "I'm just devastated...I just can't imagine the systematic disassembly of the progress we made over the last 8 years. ACA is gone. Who knows if the rhetoric about deporting people, walls, and crap is true. I honestly feel like there is going to be a lot more gun issues, too, the crazies won finally. This is the tea party on steroids. And the GOP is going to be lost, they have to deal with an incumbent in 4 years. We have to fight this again. Also Pence is stupid....Plus, my god damned name is all over the legal documents investigating [Trump's] staff."

Nov. 10, 2016: Emails imply top FBI officials, including Peter Strzok, Andrew McCabe and Bill Priestap engaged in a new mission to "scrub" or research lists of associates of President-elect Trump, looking for potential "derogatory" information. 

President Obama meets with President-elect Trump in the White House and reportedly advises Trump not to hire Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn.

Nov. 2016: National Security Agency Mike Rogers meets with president-elect Trump and is criticized for "not telling the Obama administration."

Nov. 17, 2016: Trump moves his Friday presidential team meetings out of Trump Tower.

Nov. 18, 2016: Trump names Flynn his national security adviser. Over the next few weeks, Flynn communicates with numerous international leaders.

Nov. 18-20, 2016: Sen. John McCain and his longtime adviser, David Kramer--an ex-U.S. State Dept. official--attend a security conference in Halifax, Nova Scotia where former UK ambassador to Russia Sir Andrew Wood tells them about the Fusion GPS anti-Trump dossier. (Kramer is affiliated with the anti-Russia "Ukraine Today" media organization). They discuss confirming the info has reached top levels of FBI for action.

Nov. 21, 2016Justice Dept. official Bruce Ohr, works for Deputy Attorney General Sally Yates, meets with FBI officials including Peter Strzok, Strzok's girlfriend--FBI attorney Lisa Page, and another agent. Ohr's notes indicate the FBI "may go back to [ex-British spy] Chris Steele" of Fusion GPS just 20 days after dismissing him.

Nov. 28, 2016: Sen. McCain associate David Kramer flies to London to meet Christopher Steele for a briefing on the anti-Trump research. Afterward, Fusion GPS' Glenn Simpson gives Sen. McCain a copy of the "dossier." Steele also passes anti-Trump info to top UK government official in charge of national security. Sen. McCain soon arranges a meeting with FBI Director Comey.

Late Nov. 2016: Justice Dept. official Bruce Ohr officially tells FBI about his contacts with Fusion GPS' Christopher Steele and about Ohr's wife's contract work for Fusion GPS.

Nov. 30, 2016: UN Ambassador Samantha Power makes request to unmask the name of Trump National Security Adviser Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn, who was "incidentally" captured by intel surveillance.

Dec. 2016: Text messages between FBI officials Strzok and Page are later said to be "lost" due to a technical glitch beginning at this point.

Dec. 2, 2016: UN Ambassador Samantha Power and Director of National Intelligence James Clapper request to unmask the name of Trump National Security Adviser Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn, who was "incidentally" captured by intel surveillance.

Dec. 6, 2016: Two more Obama administration officials request to unmask the name of  Flynn.

Dec. 7, 2016: Power makes another Flynn unmasking request.

Dec. 8 or 9, 2016: Sen. John McCain meets with FBI Director Comey at FBI headquarters and hands over Fusion GPS anti-Trump research, elevating the FBI's investigation into the matter. The FBI compiles a classified two-page summary and attaches it to intel briefing note on Russian cyber-interference in election for President Obama.

Hillary Clinton makes a public appearance denouncing "fake news."

Hillary Clinton and Democratic operative David Brock of Media Matters announces he's leaving board of Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW), one of his many propaganda and liberal advocacy groups, to focus on "fake news" effort.

Brock later claims credit, privately to donors, for convincing Facebook to crack down on conservative fake news.

Dec. 14, 2017: There are 10 more requests to unmask Flynn's name in intelligence, including two by Power, CIA Director Brennan, and six officials from the Treasury Dept.

Dec. 15, 2016: Obama intel officials "incidentally" spy on Trump officials meeting with the United Arab Emirates crown prince in Trump Tower. This is taken to mean the government was wiretapping the prince and "happened to capture" Trump officials communicating with him at Trump Tower. Identities of Americans accidentally captured in such surveillance are strictly protected or "masked" inside intel agencies for constitutional privacy reasons.

Obama National Security Adviser Susan Rice secretly "unmasks" names of the Trump officials, officially revealing their identities. They reportedly include: Steve Bannon, Jared Kushner and Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn.

Director of National Intelligence Clapper expands rules to allow the National Security Agency (NSA) to widely disseminate classified surveillance material within the government. The same day, 17 Obama officials request the unmasking of Lt. Gen. Flynn in intelligence.

Dec. 16, 2016: Five more Obama officials request unmasking of intelligence materials regarding Lt. Gen. Flynn.

Dec. 23, 2016: Power request another Flynn unmasking.

Dec. 28, 2016:

Lt. Gen. Flynn speaks with Russia ambassador.

Clapper and the U.S. Ambassador to Turkey request Flynn unmasking.

Dec. 29, 2016: President Obama imposes sanctions against Russia for its alleged election interference.

President-elect Trump national security adviser Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn speaks with Russian Ambassador to U.S. Sergey Kislyak. The calls are wiretapped by U.S. intelligence and later leaked to the press.

State Department releases 2,800 work-related emails from Huma Abedin, a top aide to Hillary Clinton, found by FBI on laptop computer of Abedin's husband, former Rep. Anthony Weiner.


Jan. 2017: According to CNN: a wiretap reportedly continues against former Trump campaign chair Paul Manafort, including times he speaks to Trump, meaning U.S. intel officials could have "accidentally" captured Trump's communications.

Justice Dept. Inspector General confirms it's investigating several aspects of FBI and Justice Department actions during Clinton probe.

Director of National Intelligence James Clapper testifies to Congress that Russia interfered in U.S. elections by spreading fake news on social media.

Justice Dept. official Peter Kadzik, who "tipped off" Hillary Clinton campaign regarding Congressional questions about Clinton's email, leaves government work for private practice.

The FBI interviews a main source of Christopher Steele's "dossier" and learns the information was merely bar room gossip and rumor never meant to be taken as fact or submitted to the FBI and the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court to wiretap Carter Page. (The FBI does not notify the court and applies for, and receives, another wiretap against Page).

Early Jan. 2017: FBI renews wiretap against Carter Page. FBI Director James Comey and Deputy Attorney General Sally Yates again sign the application.

Jan. 3, 2017: Obama Attorney General Lynch signs rules Director of National Intelligence Clapper expanded Dec. 15 allowing the National Security Agency (NSA) to widely disseminate surveillance within the government.

Jan. 5, 2017: Intelligence Community leadership including FBI Director Comey, Yates, CIA Director John Brennan and Director of National Intelligence James Clapper, provides classified briefing to President Obama, Vice President Biden and National Security Adviser Susan Rice on alleged Russia hacking during 2016 campaign, according to notes later written by national security adviser Susan Rice.

After briefing, according notes made later by Rice, President Obama convenes Oval Office meeting with her, FBI Director Comey, Vice President Biden and Deputy Attorney General Sally Yates. The "Steele dossier" is reportedly discussed. Also reportedly discussed: Trump National Security Adviser Flynn's talks with Russia's ambassador. 

Jan. 6, 2017: FBI Director Comey and other Intel leaders meet with President-Elect Trump and his national security team at Trump Tower in New York to brief them on alleged Russian efforts to interfere in the election.

Later, Obama national security adviser Susan Rice would write herself an email stating that President Obama suggested they hold back on providing Trump officials with certain info for national security reasons.

After Trump team briefing, FBI Director Comey meets alone with Trump to "brief him" on Fusion GPS Steele allegations "to alert the incoming President to the existence of this material," even though it was salacious and unverified. Comey later says Director of National Intelligence Clapper asked him (Comey) to do the briefing personally.

Jan. 7, 2017: Clapper and two other Obama administration officials request Flynn unmasking.

Jan. 10, 2017: The 35-page Fusion GPS anti-Trump "dossier" is leaked to the media and published. It reveals that sources of the unverified info are Russians close to President Putin.

Email written by FBI head of counterespionage Peter Strzok indicates the FBI has been given the anti-Trump "dossier" by at least 3 different anti-Trump sources.

A CIA official makes a Flynn unmasking request.

Jan. 11, 2017: Power makes another Flynn unmasking request.

Jan. 12, 2017: Obama administration finalizes new rules allowing NSA to spread "certain intel to" other U.S. intel agencies without normal privacy protections.

Justice Dept. inspector general announces review of alleged misconduct by FBI Director Comey and other matters related to FBI's Clinton probe as well as FBI leaks.

Vice President Joe Biden and the Treasury Secretary request the unmasking of Flynn in intelligence communications.

Someone leaks to to David Ignatius of the Washington Post that Trump National Security Adviser Flynn had called Russia's ambassador. “What did Flynn say, and did it undercut the US sanctions?” asked Ignatius in the article.

Jan. 13, 2017: Senate Intelligence Committee opens investigation into Russia and U.S. political campaign officials.

Jan. 15, 2017: After leaks about Flynn’s call with Russia's ambassador, Vice President-elect Mike Pence tells the press that Flynn did not discuss U.S. sanctions on the call.

Jan. 20, 2017: Trump becomes president.

Fifteen minutes after Trump becomes president, former National Security Adviser Susan Rice emails memo to herself purporting to summarize the Jan. 5 Oval Office meeting with President Obama and other top officials. She states that Obama instructed the group to investigate "by the book" and asked them to be mindful whether there were certain things that "could not be fully shared with the incoming administration."

Jan. 22, 2017: Intel info leaks to Wall Street Journal which reports "US counterintelligence agents have investigated communications" between Trump aide Gen. Michael Flynn and Russia ambassador to the U.S. Kislyak to determine if any laws were violated.

Jan. 23, 2017: Leak to Washington Post falsely claims Trump National Security Adviser Flynn is not the subject of an investigation.

Jan. 24, 2017: Acting Attorney General Sally Yates sends two FBI agents, including Peter Strzok, to the White House to question Gen. Flynn. FBI Director Comey later takes credit for "sending a couple of guys" to interview Flynn, circumventing normal processes.

Notes kept hidden until May 2020 show FBI officials discussing whether the goal of the meeting with Flynn was to "get him to lie" so that he would be fired or prosecuted.

Jan. 26, 2017: Acting Attorney General Sally Yates and a high-ranking colleague go to White House to tell counsel Don McGahn that Flynn had lied to Pence about the content of his talks with Russian ambassador and "the underlying conduct that Gen. Flynn had engaged in was problematic in and of itself."

Jan. 27, 2017: Acting Attorney General Sally Yates again visits the White House.

Jan. 31, 2017: President Trump fires Acting Attorney General Sally Yates after she refuses to enforce his temporary travel ban on Muslims coming into U.S. from certain countries.

Ex-British spy Christopher Steele texts Deputy Attorney General Bruce Ohr who worked for Yates: "B, doubtless a sad and crazy day for you re- SY."

Dana Boente becomes Acting Attorney General. (It's later revealed that Boente signed at least one wiretap application against former Trump adviser Carter Page.)

Feb. 2, 2017: It's reported that five men employed by House of Representatives Democrats, including leader Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-Florida), are under criminal investigation for allegedly "accessing House IT systems without lawmakers' knowledge." Suspects include three Awan brothers "who managed office information technology for members of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence and other lawmakers."

Feb. 3, 2017: A Russian tech mogul named in the Steele "dossier" files defamation lawsuits against BuzzFeed in the U.S. and Christopher Steele in the U.K. over the dossier's claims he interfered in U.S. elections.

Feb. 8, 2017: Jeff Sessions becomes Attorney General and Dana Boente moves to Deputy Attorney General.

Feb. 9, 2017: News of FBI wiretaps capturing Trump national security adviser Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn speaking with Russia's ambassador is leaked to the press. New York Times and Washington Post report Flynn discussed U.S. sanctions, despite his earlier denials. The Post also reports the FBI "found nothing illicit" in the talks. The Post headline in an article by Greg Miller, Adam Entous and Ellen Nakashima reads, “National Security Adviser Flynn Discussed Sanctions with Russian Ambassador, Despite Denials, Officials Say.” 

Feb. 13, 2017: Washington Post reports Justice Dept. has opened a "Logan Act" violation investigation against Trump national security adviser Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn.

Feb. 14, 2017: New York Times reports that FBI had told Obama officials there was no "quid pro quo" (promise of a deal in exchange for some action) discussed between Gen. Flynn and Russian ambassador Kislyak.

Gen. Flynn resigns, allegedly acknowledging he misled vice president Mike Pence about the content of his discussions with Russia.

Comey says that, in a meeting, Trump states, “I hope you can see your way clear to letting this go, to letting Flynn go. He is a good guy. I hope you can let this go.” Comey says he replies “he is a good guy.” Trump later takes issue with Comey’s characterization of the meeting.

Feb. 15, 2017: NPR reports on "official transcripts of Flynn's calls" (saying they show no wrongdoing but that doesn't rule out illegal activity).

Feb. 17, 2017: Washington Post reports that "Flynn told FBI he did not discuss sanctions" with Russia ambassador and that "Lying to the FBI is a felony offense."

Feb. 24, 2017: FBI interviews Flynn, according to later testimony from Deputy Attorney General Sally Yates.

March 1, 2017: Washington Post reports Attorney General Jeff Sessions has met with Russian ambassador twice in the recent past (as did many Democrat and Republican officials). His critics say that contradicts his earlier testimony to Congress. The article by Adam Entous, Ellen Nakashima and Greg Miller raises the idea of a special counsel to investigate. 

March 2017: FBI Director James Comey gives private briefings to members of Congress and reportedly says he does not believe Gen. Flynn lied to FBI.

House Intelligence Committee requests list of unmasking requests Obama officials made. The intel agencies do not provide the information, prompting a June 1 subpoena.

March 2, 2017: Attorney General Jeff Sessions recuses himself from Russia-linked investigations.

Rod Rosenstein, the Deputy Attorney General, becomes Acting Attorney General for Russia Probe. It's later revealed that Rosenstein singed at least one wiretap application against former Trump adviser Carter Page.

March 4, 2017: President Trump tweets: "Is it legal for a sitting President to be 'wire tapping' a race for president prior to an election? Turned down by court earlier. A NEW LOW!" and "How low has President Obama gone to tapp my phones during the very sacred election process. This is Nixon/Watergate. Bad (or sick) guy!"

March 10, 2017: Former Congressman Dennis Kucinich, a Democrat, steps forward to support Trump's wiretapping claim, revealing that the Obama administration intel officials recorded his own communications with a Libyan official in Spring 2011.

March 14, 2017: FBI Attorney Lisa Page texts FBI official Peter Strzok: "Finally two pages away from finishing [All the President's Men]. Did you know the president resigns in the end?!" Strzok replies, "What?!?! God, that we should be so lucky. [smiley face emoji]"

March 20, 2017: FBI Director Comey tells House Intelligence Committee he has "no information that supports" the President's tweets about alleged wiretapping directed at him by the prior administration. "We have looked carefully inside the FBI," Comey says. "(T)he answer is the same for the Department of Justice and all its components."

FBI Director Comey tells Congress there is "salacious and unverified" material in the Fusion GPS dossier used by FBI, in part, to obtain Carter Page wiretap. (Under FBI "Woods Procedures," only facts carefully verified by the FBI are allowed to be presented to court to obtain wiretaps.)

March 22, 2017: Chairman of House Intelligence Committee Devin Nunes (R-Calif.) publicly announces he's seen evidence of Trump associates being "incidentally" surveilled by Obama intel officials; and their names being "unmasked" and illegally leaked. Nunes briefs President Trump and holds a news conference. He's criticized for doing so. An ethics investigation is opened into his actions but later clears him of wrongdoing.

In an interview on PBS, former Obama National Security Adviser Susan Rice responds to Nunes allegations by stating: "I know nothing about this, I really don't know to what Chairman Nunes was referring." (She later acknowledges unmasking names of Trump associates.)

March 2017: Sen. Charles Grassley (R-Iowa) writes Justice Dept. accusing Fusion GPS of acting as an agent for Russia "without properly registering" due to its pro-Russia effort to kill a law allowing sanctions against foreign human rights violators. Fusion GPS denies the allegations.

March 24, 2017: Fusion GPS declines to answer Sen. Grassley's questions or document requests.

March 27, 2017: Former Deputy Asst. Secretary of Defense Evelyn Farkas admits she encouraged Obama and Congressional officials to "get as much information as they can" about Russia and Trump officials before inauguration. "That's why you have the leaking," she told MSNBC.

Early April, 2017: A third FBI wiretap on former Trump campaign aide Carter Page is approved. Again, FBI Director James Comey, and acting attorney general Dana Boente sign the application. Trump officials including Mike Pompeo at the CIA are now leading the intel agencies during the wiretap.

April 3, 2017: Multiple news reports state that Obama National Security Adviser Susan Rice had requested and reviewed "unmasked" intelligence on Trump associates whose information was "incidentally"  collected by intel agencies.

April 4, 2017: Obama former National Security Adviser Rice admits, in an interview, that she asked to reveal names of U.S. citizens previously masked in intel reports. She says her motivations were not political. When asked if she leaked names, Rice states, "I leaked nothing to nobody."

April 6, 2017: House Intelligence Committee Chairman Devin Nunes recuses himself from Russia part of his committee's investigation.

April 11, 2017: FBI Director Comey appoints Stephen Laycock as special agent in charge of Counterintelligence Division for Washington Field Office.

Washington Post reports FBI secretly obtained wiretap against Trump campaign associate Carter Page last summer. (Later, it's revealed the summer wiretap had been turned down, but a subsequent application was approved in October.)

April 20, 2017: Acting Assistant Attorney General Mary McCord resigns as acting head of Justice Dept. National Security Division. She'd led probes of Russia interference in election and Trump-Russia ties.

April 28, 2017: Dana Boente is appointed acting assistant attorney general for national security division to replace Mary McCord. (Boente has signed one of the questioned wiretap applications for Carter Page.)

National Security Agency (NSA) submits remedies for its egregious surveillance violations (revealed last October) to Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court promising to "no longer collect certain internet communications that merely mention a foreign intelligence target." The NSA also begins deleting collected data on U.S. citizens it had been storing.

May 3, 2017: FBI Director Comey testifies he's "mildly nauseous" at the idea he might have affected election with the 11th hour Clinton email notifications to Congress.

Comey also testifies he's "never" been an anonymous news source on "matters relating to" investigating the Trump campaign.

Obama's former national security adviser Susan Rice declines Republican Congressional request to testify at a hearing about unmaskings and surveillance.

May 8, 2017: Former acting Attorney General Sally Yates and former Director of National Intelligence James Clapper testify to Congress. They admit having reviewed "classified documents in which Mr. Trump, his associates or members of Congress had been unmasked," and possibly discussing it with others under the Obama administration.

May 9, 2017: President Trump fires FBI Director James Comey. Andrew McCabe becomes acting FBI Director.

May 12, 2017: Benjamin Wittes, confidant of ex-FBI Director James Comey and editor in chief of Lawfare, contacts New York Times reporter Mike Schmidt to leak conversations he'd had with Comey as FBI Director that are critical of President Trump.

May 16, 2017: New York Times publishes leaked account of FBI memoranda recorded by former FBI Director James Comey. Comey later acknowledges engineering the leak of the FBI material through his friend, Columbia Law School professor Daniel Richman, to spur appointment of special counsel to investigate President Trump.

Trump reportedly interviews, but passes over, former FBI Director Robert Mueller for position of FBI Director.

May 17, 2017: Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein appoints Robert Mueller as Special Counsel, Russia-Trump probe. Mueller and former FBI Director Comey are friends and worked closely together in previous Justice Dept. and FBI positions.

The gap of missing text messages between FBI officials Peter Strzok and Lisa Page ends. The couple is soon assigned to the Mueller team investigating Trump.

May 19, 2017: Anthony Wiener, former Congressman and husband of Hillary Clinton confidant Huma Abedin, turns himself in to FBI in case of underage sexting; his third major kerfuffle over sexting in six years.

May 22, 2017FBI Counterespionage Chief Peter Strzok texts FBI Attorney Lisa Page about whether Strzok should join Special Counsel Mueller's investigation of Trump-Russia collusion. Strzok spoke of "unfinished business" that he "unleashed" with the Clinton classified email probe and stated: "Now I need to fix it and finish it." He also referred to the Special Counsel probe, which hadn't yet begun in earnest, as an "investigation leading to impeachment." But he also stated he had a "gut sense and concern there's no big there there."

June 1, 2017: House Intelligence Committee issues 7 subpoenas, including for information related to unmaskings requested by ex-Obama officials national security adviser Susan Rice, former CIA Director John Brennan, and former U.S. ambassador to the U.N. Samantha Power.

June 8, 2017: Former FBI Director James Comey admits having engineered leak of his own memo to New York Times to spur appointment of a special counsel to investigate President Trump.

June 20, 2017: Acting FBI Director Andrew McCabe names Philip Celestini as Special Agent in Charge of the Intelligence Division, Washington Field Office.

Late June, 2017: FBI renews wiretap against Carter Page for the fourth and final time that we know of. It lasts through late Sept. 2017. (Page is never ultimately charged with a crime.) FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe and Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein sign the renewal application.

Late July, 2017: FBI reportedly searches Paul Manafort's Alexandria, Virginia home.

Summer 2017: FBI lawyer Lisa Page is reassigned from Mueller investigation. Her boyfriend, FBI official Peter Strzok is removed from Mueller investigation after the Inspector General discovers compromising texts between Strzok and Page. Congress is not notified of the developments.

Aug. 2, 2017: Christopher Wray is named FBI Director.

August 2017: Ex-FBI Director Comey signs a book deal for a reported $2 million.

Sept. 13, 2017: Under questioning from Congress, Obama's former National Security Adviser Susan Rice reportedly admits having requested to see the protected identities of Trump transition officials "incidentally" captured by government surveillance.

Approx. Oct. 10, 2017: Former Trump campaign adviser George Papadopoulos pleads guilty to lying to FBI about his unsuccessful efforts during the campaign to facilitate meetings between Trump officials and Russian officials.

Oct. 17, 2017: Obama's former U.N. Ambassador Samantha Power reportedly tells Congressional investigators that many of the hundreds of "unmasking" requests in her name during the election year were not made by her.

Oct. 24, 2017: Congressional Republicans announce new investigations into a 2010 acquisition that gave Russia control of 20% of U.S. uranium supply while Clinton was secretary of state; and FBI decision not to charge Clinton in classified info probe.

Oct. 30, 2017: Special Counsel Mueller charges ex-Trump campaign manager Paul Manafort and business associate Rick Gates with tax and money laundering crimes related to their foreign work. The charges do not appear related to Trump.

Nov. 2, 2017: Carter Page testifies to House Intelligence committee under oath without an attorney and asks to have the testimony published. He denies ever meeting the Russian official that Fusion GPS claimed he'd met with in July 2016.

Nov. 5, 2017: Special Counsel Robert Mueller files charges against ex-Trump national security adviser Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn for allegedly lying to FBI official Peter Strzok about contacts with Russian ambassador during presidential transition.

Dec. 1, 2017: Former national security adviser Gen. Flynn pleads guilty of lying to the FBI. Prosecutors recommend no prison time (but later reverse their recommendation).

James Rybicki steps down as chief of staff to FBI Director.

Dec. 6, 2017: Associate Deputy Attorney General Bruce Ohr is reportedly stripped of one of his positions at Justice Dept. amid controversy over his and his wife's role in anti-Trump political opposition research.

Dec. 7, 2017: FBI Director Wray incorrectly testifies that there have been no "702" surveillance abuses by the government.

Dec. 19, 2017: FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe repeatedly testifies that the wiretap against Trump campaign official Carter Page would not have been approved without the Fusion GPS info. FBI general counsel James Baker, who is himself subject of an Inspector General probe over his alleged leaks to the press, attends as McCabe's attorney. McCabe acknowledges that if Baker had met with Mother Jones reporter David Corn, it would have been inappropriate.

FBI general counsel James Baker is reassigned amid investigation into his alleged anti-Trump related contacts with media.


Jan. 4, 2018: Sen. Charles Grassley (R-Iowa) and Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) refer criminal charges against Christopher Steele to the FBI for investigation. There's an apparent conflict of interest with the FBI being asked to investigate Steele since the FBI has used Steele's controversial political opposition research to obtain wiretaps.

Jan. 8, 2018: Justice Dept. official Bruce Ohr loses his second title at the agency.

Jan. 10, 2018: Donald Trump lawyer Michael Cohen files defamation suits against Fusion GPS and BuzzFeed News for publishing the "Steele dossier," which he says falsely claimed he met Russian government officials in Prague, Czech Republic, in August of 2016.

Jan. 11, 2018: House of Representatives approves government's controversial "702" wireless surveillance authority. The Senate follows suit.

Jan. 19, 2018: Justice Dept. produces to Congress some text messages between FBI officials Lisa Page and Peter Strzok but states that FBI lost texts between December 14, 2016 and May 17, 2017 due to a technical glitch.

President Trump signs six-year extension of "702" wireless surveillance authority.

Jan. 23, 2018: Former FBI Director Comey friend who leaked on behalf of Comey to New York Times to spur appointment of special counsel is now Comey's attorney.

Jan. 25, 2018: Justice Dept. Inspector General notifies Congress it has recovered missing text messages between FBI officials Lisa Page and Peter Strzok.

Jan. 27, 2018: Edward O'Callaghan is named Acting Assistant Attorney General, National Security Division.

Jan. 29, 2018: Andrew McCabe steps down as Deputy FBI Director ahead of his March retirement.

Jan. 30, 2018: News reports allege that Justice Department Inspector General is looking into why FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe appeared to wait three weeks before acting on new Clinton emails found right before the election.

Feb. 2, 2018: House Intelligence Committee (Nunes) Republican memo is released. It summarizes classified documents revealing for the first time that Fusion GPS political opposition research was used, in part, to justify Carter Page wiretap; along with Michael Isikoff Yahoo News article based on the same opposition research.

Memo also states that Fusion GPS set up back channel to FBI through Nellie Ohr, who conducted opposition research on Trump and passed it to her husband, associate deputy attorney general Bruce Ohr.

Feb. 7, 2018: Justice Department official David Laufman, who helped oversee the Clinton and Russia probes, steps down as chief of National Security Division's Counterintelligence and Export Control Section.

Feb. 9, 2018: Former FBI Director Comey assistant Josh Campbell leaves FBI for job at CNN.

Justice Department Associate Attorney General, Office of Legal Policy, Rachel Brand, resigns.

Feb. 16, 2018: Special counsel Mueller obtains guilty plea from a Dutch attorney for lying to federal investigators about the last time he spoke to Rick Gates regarding a 2012 project related to Ukraine. The plea does not appear to relate to 2016 campaign or Trump. The Dutch attorney is married to the daughter of a Russian oligarch who's suing Buzzfeed and Christopher Steele for alleged defamation in the "dossier."

Feb. 22, 2018: Former State Dept. official and Sen. John McCain associate David Kramer invokes his Fifth Amendment right not to testify before House Intelligence Committee. Kramer reportedly picked up the anti-Trump political opposition research in London and delivered it to Sen. McCain who delivered it to the FBI.

Special counsel Mueller files new charges against former Trump campaign manager Paul Manafort and former campaign aide Rick Gates, accusing them of additional tax and bank fraud crimes. The allegations appear to be unrelated to Trump.

Fri. Feb. 23, 2018: Former Trump campaign aide Rick Gates, pleads guilty to conspiracy and lying to investigators (though he issues a statement saying he's innocent of the indictment charges). The allegations and plea have no apparent link to Trump-Russia campaign collusion.

Sat. Feb. 24, 2018: Democrats on House Intel Committee release their rebuttal memo to the Republican version that summarized alleged FBI misconduct re: using the GPS Fusion opposition research to get wiretap against Carter Page.

March 12, 2018House Intelligence Committee closes Russia-Trump investigation with no evidence of collusion.

Fri. March 16, 2018: Attorney General Jeff Sessions fires Deputy FBI Director Andrew McCabe, based on recommendation from FBI ethics investigators.

Thurs. March 22, 2018President Trump announces plans to replace National Security Adviser H.R. McMaster with former U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. John Bolton.

House Judiciary Committee issues subpoenas to Department of Justice after Department failed to produce documents.

May 4, 2018: Amid allegations that he was responsible for improper leaks, FBI attorney James Baker resigns and joins the Brookings Institution, writing for the anti-Trump blog "Lawfare" that first discussed the need for an "insurance policy" in case Trump got elected.


March 2019: Special Counsel Robert Mueller signs off on his final report stating that there was no collusion or coordination between Trump -- or any American -- and Russia. He leaves as an open question the issue of whether Trump took any actions that could be considered obstruction. No new charges are recommended or filed with the issuance of the report.

June 2019: Former Trump National Security Adviser Flynn fire his defense attorneys and hires Sidney Powell.

Oct. 25, 2019: Flynn files a motion to dismiss the case against him due to prosecutorial misconduct. Among other claims, Flynn says prosecutors failed to turn over exculpatory material tending to show his innocence. Prosecutors claim they were not required to turn over the information.

Dec. 19, 2019: An investigation by Inspector General Michael Horowitz finds egregious abuses by FBI and Justice Department officials in obtaining wiretaps of former Trump campaign volunteer Carter Page. The report also says an FBI attorney doctored a document, providing false information to the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court, to get the wiretaps.


Jan. 7, 2020: Prosecutors reverse their earlier recommendation for no prison time, and ask for up to six months in prison for Flynn.

Jan. 16, 2020: Flynn files a motion to withdraw his guilty plea.

Jan. 23, 2020: The Dept. of Justice finds that two of its wiretaps against former Trump campaign volunteer Carter Page were improperly obtained and are therefore invalid.

Feb. 10, 2020: The Dept. of Justice asks a judge to sentence Trump associate Roger Stone to 7 to 9 years in prison for lying about his communications with WikiLeaks.

Feb. 11, 2020: The Dept. of Justice reduces its recommendation for prison time for Stone after President Trump and others criticized the initial representation as excessive. Stone receives three years and four months in prison.

Feb. 20, 2020: President Trump appoints Richard Grenell as acting Director of National Intelligence. Grenell begins facilitating the release of long withheld documents regarding FBI actions against Trump campaign associates.

March 31, 2020: A Justice Dept. Inspector General's analysis of more than two dozen wiretap applications from eight FBI field offices over two months finds  "we do not have confidence" that the bureau followed standards to ensure the accuracy of the wiretap requests.

April 3, 2020: Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court asks FBI to review whether it wiretaps are valid in light of information about problems and abuses.

April 29, 2020: Newly-released documents show FBI officials, prior to their original interview with Flynn, discussing whether the goal was to try to get him to lie to get him fired or so that he could be prosecuted.

May 7, 2020: The Department of Justice announces a decision to drop the case against Flynn.

*  *  *

Order "Slanted: How the News Media Taught Us to Love Censorship and Hate Journalism" by Sharyl Attkisson at Harper CollinsAmazonBarnes & NobleBooks a MillionIndieBoundBookshop!

Published:5/15/2020 9:52:04 PM
[Markets] Understanding The Mueller Lies About Michael Flynn Understanding The Mueller Lies About Michael Flynn Tyler Durden Fri, 05/15/2020 - 20:10

Authored by Larry Johnson via Sic Semper Tyrannis blog,

I want to help the average citizen understand how egregious and dishonest the Mueller team was in bringing charges against Michael Flynn for lying to FBI agents about what he said to Russia's Ambassador in a telephone conversation, which was likely intercepted by the CIA.

Michael Flynn did not do a damn thing wrong in that conversation and the notes from FBI agents Strzok and Pientka, which Sidney Powell finally pried loose after more than two years of the prosecutors hiding exculpatory evidence, do not support the Statement of Offense.

I suspect most of you reading this have never read the Statement of Offense. I am going to let you read for yourself the salient portions:


b. On or about December 28, 2016, the Russian Ambassador contacted FLYNN.

c. On or about December 29, 2016, FLYNN called a senior official of the Presidential Transition Team ("PTT official"), who was with other senior members of the Presidential Transition Team at the Mar-a-Lago resort in Palm Beach, Florida, to discuss what, if anything, to communicate to the Russian Ambassador about the U.S. Sanctions. On that call, FLYNN and the PTT official discussed the U.S. Sanctions, including the potential impact of those sanctions on the incoming administration's foreign policy goals. The PIT official and FLYNN also discussed that the members of the Presidential Transition Team at Mar-a-Lago did not want Russia to escalate the situation.

d. Immediately after his phone call with the PIT official, FLYNN called the Russian Ambassador and requested that Russia not escalate the situation and only respond to the U.S. Sanctions in a reciprocal manner.

e. Shortly after his phone call with the Russian Ambassador, FLYNN spoke with the PTT official to report on the substance of his call with the Russian Ambassador, including their discussion of the U.S. Sanctions.


Got that?

Michael Flynn acted professionally and followed protocol. The Russian Ambassador called him. General Flynn called K. T. McFarlane, who was at Mar a Lago with the Trump Transition Team and asked for guidance on whether or not to respond and, if he was going to respond, what to say.

Michael Flynn's communication with Ambassador Kislyak was appropriate and wise--he asked the Russian Ambassador not escalate the situation and only respond to the U.S. Sanctions in a reciprocal manner. Please tell me what the hell is wrong, nefarious or stupid about that? NOTHING. Michael Flynn could have told the Russian that Obama was a moron and could have promised, "we will eliminate those sanctions on day one." He did not do either. Mike Flynn conducted himself with discretion and with professionalism.

But there is one other important piece of news in this Statement of Offense. Someone in the Obama Administration INTERCEPTED Mike Flynn's phone call to the Presidential Transition Team (aka PTT). Who did that? The NSA? The CIA? The FBI? That question needs to be answered because there was no legal basis to intercept this conversation.

As I noted in my previous article (see here), this was the conversation that Jim Comey and Andrew McCabe wanted to use as the pretext and predicate for keeping the investigation of Michael Flynn open.

Here is what Agents Strzok and Pientka wrote in one of their initial drafts of the 302 (i.e., the FBI record of their interview with Michael Flynn). Note--the original draft is still missing in action. The FBI is either incompetent or hiding it.

Michael Flynn said, according to Agents Strzok and Pientka, "I DON"T REMEMBER."

At no point did the Agents give him the chance to review the transcript, which they had in their hot little hands.

And Peter Strzok, in a subsequent interview with FBI Agents working for the DOJ Inspector General, said this on July 19, 2017:

The FBI Agents interviewing Strzok make it clear--"Strzok and Pientka both had the impression at the time that Flynn was not lying or did not think he was lying."

The record is very clear and you should now be able to understand why Michael Flynn's attorney was so outraged and why the Department of Justice is dismissing charges against Michael Flynn.

Robert Mueller and his prosecutors lied. Michael Flynn did not. It is that simple.

Published:5/15/2020 7:22:56 PM
[01aea364-8399-546c-bd26-c543c368f7d4] Adriana Cohen: Apparent seditious anti-Trump conspiracy by Obama officials must be investigated Our democracy is under fire, thanks to corrupt officials at the highest echelons of our government – including members of the Obama administration – who we're now learning conspired with former FBI Director James Comey and other "deep state" operatives to try to stop Donald Trump from getting elected. Published:5/15/2020 3:24:18 PM
[Markets] No Proof That Russia Hacked DNC - Democrats Hid Sworn CrowdStrike Testimony For Over 2 Years No Proof That Russia Hacked DNC - Democrats Hid Sworn CrowdStrike Testimony For Over 2 Years Tyler Durden Fri, 05/15/2020 - 14:10

Authored by Aaron Maté via,

CrowdStrike, the private cyber-security firm that first accused Russia of hacking Democratic Party emails and served as a critical source for U.S. intelligence officials in the years-long Trump-Russia probe, acknowledged to Congress more than two years ago that it had no concrete evidence that Russian hackers stole emails from the Democratic National Committee’s server.

Crowdstrike President Shawn Henry: "We just don’t have the evidence..."

CrowdStrike President Shawn Henry's admission under oath,  in a recently declassified December 2017 interview before the House Intelligence Committee, raises new questions about whether Special Counsel Robert Mueller, intelligence officials and Democrats misled the public. The allegation that Russia stole Democratic Party emails from Hillary Clinton, John Podesta and others and then passed them to WikiLeaks helped trigger the FBI's probe into now debunked claims of a conspiracy between the Trump campaign and Russia to steal the 2016 election. The CrowdStrike admissions were released just two months after the Justice Department retreated from its its other central claim that Russia meddled in the 2016 election when it dropped charges against Russian troll farms it said had been trying to get Trump elected.

Henry personally led the remediation and forensics analysis of the DNC server after being warned of a breach in late April 2016; his work was paid for by the DNC, which refused to turn over its server to the FBI. Asked for the date when alleged Russian hackers stole data from the DNC server, Henry testified that CrowdStrike did not in fact know if such a theft occurred at all: "We did not have concrete evidence that the data was exfiltrated [moved electronically] from the DNC, but we have indicators that it was exfiltrated," Henry said.

Henry reiterated his claim on multiple occasions: 

  • "There are times when we can see data exfiltrated, and we can say conclusively. But in this case it appears it was set up to be exfiltrated, but we just don’t have the evidence that says it actually left."

  • "There’s not evidence that they were actually exfiltrated. There's circumstantial evidence but no evidence that they were actually exfiltrated."

  • "There is circumstantial evidence that that data was exfiltrated off the network... We didn't have a sensor in place that saw data leave. We said that the data left based on the circumstantial evidence. That was the conclusion that we made."

  • "Sir, I was just trying to be factually accurate, that we didn't see the data leave, but we believe it left, based on what we saw."

  • Asked directly if he could "unequivocally say" whether "it was or was not exfiltrated out of DNC," Henry told the committee: "I can't say based on that." 

Rep. Adam Schiff: Democrat held up interview transcripts, but finally relented after acting intel director Richard Grenell suggested he would release them himself. (Senate Television via AP)

In a later exchange with Republican Rep. Chris Stewart of Utah, Henry offered an explanation of how Russian agents could have obtained the emails without any digital trace of them leaving the server. The CrowdStrike president speculated that Russian agents might have taken "screenshots" in real time. "[If] somebody was monitoring an email server, they could read all the email," Henry said. "And there might not be evidence of it being exfiltrated, but they would have knowledge of what was in the email. … There would be ways to copy it. You could take screenshots." 

Henry’s 2017 testimony that there was no “concrete evidence” that the emails were stolen electronically suggests that Mueller was at best misleading in his 2019 final report, in which he stated that Russian intelligence “appears to have compressed and exfiltrated over 70 gigabytes of data from the file server.”

It is unlikely that Mueller had another source to make his more confident claim about Russian hacking. 

The stolen emails, which were published by Wikileaks – whose founder, Julian Assange has long denied they came from Russia – were embarrassing to the party because, among other things, they showed the DNC had favored Clinton during her 2016 primary battles against Sen. Bernie Sanders for the presidential nomination. The DNC eventually issued an apology to Sanders and his supporters "for the inexcusable remarks made over email." The DNC hack was separate from the FBI’s investigation of Clinton’s use of a private server while serving as President Obama’s Secretary of State. 

The disclosure that CrowdStrike found no evidence that alleged Russian hackers exfiltrated any data from the DNC server raises a critical question: On what basis, then, did it accuse them of stealing the emails? Further, on what basis did Obama administration officials make far more forceful claims about Russian hacking?

Michael Sussmann: This lawyer at Perkins Coie hired CrowdStrike to investigate the DNC breach. He was also involved with  Fusion GPS and Christopher Steele in producing the discredited Steele dossier.

The January 2017 Intelligence Community Assessment (ICA), which formally accused Russia of a sweeping influence campaign involving the theft of Democratic emails, claimed the Russian intelligence service GRU "exfiltrated large volumes of data from the DNC." A July 2018 indictment claimed that GRU officers "stole thousands of emails from the work accounts of DNC employees."

According to everyone concerned, the cyber-firm played a critical role in the FBI's investigation of the DNC data theft. Henry told the panel that CrowdStrike "shared intelligence with the FBI" on a regular basis, making "contact with them over a hundred times in the course of many months." In congressional testimony that same year, former FBI Director James Comey acknowledged that the FBI "never got direct access to the machines themselves," and instead relied on CrowdStrike, which "shared with us their forensics from their review of the system." According to Comey, the FBI would have preferred direct access to the server, and made "multiple requests at different levels," to obtain it. But after being rebuffed, "ultimately it was agreed to… [CrowdStrike] would share with us what they saw."

Henry’s testimony seems at variance with Comey’s suggestion of complete information sharing. He told Congress that CrowdStrike provided "a couple of actual digital images" of DNC hard drives, out of a total number of "in excess of 10, I think." In other cases, Henry said, CrowdStrike provided its own assessment of them. The firm, he said, provided "the results of our analysis based on what our technology went out and collected." This disclosure follows revelations from the case of Trump operative Roger Stone that CrowdStrike provided three reports to the FBI in redacted and draft form. According to federal prosecutors, the government never obtained CrowdStrike's unredacted reports.

CrowdStrike's newy disclosed admissions raise new questions about whether Special Counsel Robert Mueller (above), intelligence officials and Democrats misled the public.

There are no indications that the Mueller team accessed any additional information beyond what CrowdStrike provided. According to the Mueller report, "the FBI later received images of DNC servers and copies of relevant traffic logs." But if the FBI obtained only "copies" of data traffic – and not any new evidence -- those copies would have shown the same absence of "concrete evidence" that Henry admitted to.

Adding to the tenuous evidence is CrowdStrike's own lack of certainty that the hackers it identified inside the DNC server were indeed Russian government actors. Henry's explanation for his firm's attribution of the DNC hack to Russia is replete with inferences and assumptions that lead to "beliefs," not unequivocal conclusions.  "There are other nation-states that collect this type of intelligence for sure," Henry said, "but what we would call the tactics and techniques were consistent with what we'd seen associated with the Russian state." In its investigation, Henry said, CrowdStrike "saw activity that we believed was consistent with activity we'd seen previously and had associated with the Russian Government. …  We said that we had a high degree of confidence it was the Russian Government."

But CrowdStrike was forced to retract a similar accusation months after it accused Russia in December 2016 of hacking the Ukrainian military, with the same software that the firm had claimed to identify inside the DNC server. 

The firm's work with the DNC and FBI is also colored by partisan affiliations. Before joining CrowdStrike, Henry served as executive assistant director at the FBI under Mueller. Co-founder Dmitri Alperovitch is a vocal critic of Vladimir Putin and a senior fellow at the Atlantic Council, the pro-NATO think tank that has consistently promoted an aggressive policy toward Russia. And the newly released testimony confirms that CrowdStrike was hired to investigate the DNC breach by Michael Sussmann of Perkins Coie – the same Democratic-tied law firm that hired Fusion GPS to produce the discredited Steele dossier, which was also treated as central evidence in the investigation. Sussmann played a critical role in generating the Trump-Russia collusion allegation. Ex-British spy and dossier compiler Christopher Steele has testified in British court that Sussmann shared with him the now-debunked Alfa Bank server theory, alleging a clandestine communication channel between the bank and the Trump Organization.

Henry’s recently released testimony does not mean that Russia did not hack the DNC. What it does make clear is that Obama administration officials, the DNC and others have misled the public by presenting as fact information that they knew was uncertain.  The fact that the Democratic Party employed the two private firms that generated the core allegations at the heart of Russiagate -- Russian email hacking and Trump-Russia collusion – suggests that the federal investigation was compromised from the start.

The 2017 Henry transcript was one of dozens just released after a lengthy dispute. In September 2018, the Republican-controlled House Intelligence Committee unanimously voted to release witness interview transcripts and sent them to the U.S. intelligence community for declassification review. In March 2019, months after Democrats won House control, Rep. Adam Schiff ordered the Office of the Director of National Intelligence (ODNI) to withhold the transcripts from White House lawyers seeking to review them for executive privilege. Schiff also refused to release vetted transcripts, but finally relented after acting ODNI Director Richard Grenell suggested this month that he would release them himself.

Several transcripts, including the interviews of former CIA Director John Brennan and Comey, remain unreleased. And in light of the newly disclosed Crowdstrike testimony, another secret document from the House proceedings takes on urgency for public viewing. According to Henry, Crowdstrike also provided the House Intelligence Committee with a copy of its report on the DNC email theft. 

Published:5/15/2020 1:20:14 PM
[Politics] Trump Demands FBI's '302' Report on Flynn Case President Donald Trump wants to know the whereabouts of an FBI "302" report on the Michael Flynn case that officials allege vanished after the national security adviser met with federal agents in January 2017. A 302 document typically summarizes witness interviews with... Published:5/15/2020 6:19:15 AM
[Markets] E-Democracy: The 2020 Presidential Election Gets More Bizarre E-Democracy: The 2020 Presidential Election Gets More Bizarre Tyler Durden Fri, 05/15/2020 - 00:05

Authored by Tim Kirby via The Strategic Culture Foundation,

The Covid-19 pandemic continues to dominate the news and life of the American Republic. With currently no end in sight it is not paranoid to wonder if and how the pandemic will affect the presidential elections coming up in November. Two World Wars, The Civil War, The Great Depression and the Spanish Flu were not enough to stop voting for some congressmen and the top executive of the United States as planned. Now for the first time there are rumors moving about that there could be a major delay for voting nationwide.

On a state level delays have happened a few times in history but there is no precedent for this happening on a national scale. This lack of precedent in dealing with this sort of situation could create room for certain “opportunities” that will be mostly detrimental to the future of America.

Manchurian vs. Muscovite Candidates in 2020

Even without the Covid-19 issue, Trump was, and could be again, bogged down by accusations of ties to Russia or working in Russian interests in the run up to election night. This naive “the Russians are coming” narrative was very effectively sold onto the Democrats so much so that they all started to actually believe their own absurdity. In fact the Department of Homeland Security and Trump’s eternal antagonists in the FBI have put together a document titled “Possible Russian Tactics Ahead of 2020 US Election”. And when big government agencies write “possible” they mean “confirmed” especially when that is the desired reality that they want. The stage is being set for Russiagate 2.0. It sort of worked to a degree the first time so why not try it again?

Now that Trump has experienced a delegitimization campaign via accusations from the Democrats the simplest defense would be to in turn accuse his opponent Biden and every other Democrat he has ever spoken to of being servants of China. Reason cannot triumph over madness, only more madness will do the trick.

Mainstream News Media loves to draw charts and connections between politicians and Russia based on the fact that some people, at some time have spoken to each other and gone to the same cocktail parties – guilt by association. Furthermore for the racist MSM, all Russians count as being agents of Putin/The Kremlin. No Russian businessman every works in his own interests, somehow they are all hive minded agents. This means that Trump is very free to throw the same guilt by association tactics at the Democrats for their contact with any person even remotely connected to China. If you draw enough red lines on pretty graphics connecting people, that is good enough to get a conviction nowadays. Trump is very likely to use any connections between the Democrats and China benign or validly suspicious to his advantage. Fighting fire with fire actually works when running for office.

In fact, this election cycle could very well cement a new wedge issue for American politics – whom our traitors serve, Russia or China? Or maybe more simply who is the big enemy, Russia or China? It will be very refreshing to finally get a new wedge issue, guns and abortion have gotten very repetitive.

There is a certain danger in going into an election with both sides accusing the other of being traitors – it utterly delegitimizes the elections and could delegitimize the American establishment, killing the Golden Goose of Stability that continues to lay eggs. Will lobbing accusations of treason in Washington definitely cause a collapse of the system – probably not, but it does knock on the door of that possibility which is unacceptably dangerous. If we convince the American people and establishment that the elections are completely controlled by foreign powers that is bound to have an impact.

Trump Must Go!?

The presidential inauguration happening in January, 72-78 days after election night, seems like a very good amount of padding, even for “Democracy” in a pre-internet world, but the Coronavirus is holding put. In theory Trump would have to step down if his time runs out during an electoral delay and the Presidency would go down the line of succession until it hits a viable candidate. But what if Trump feels that something is afoot and maybe leaving without an election is not in his or America’s best interests?

Of the U.S. presidents there is some debate as to whom among them is the most hated during their time in office by the other side. Lincoln made just a few enemies down south, Hoover got blamed for the economy collapsing, but the hatred for Trump is also top tier. If a delay happened during Reagan’s rule there would be no ramifications. The old actor staying in power two more months or so would be quickly forgotten, but Trump’s enemies despise him and will use any excuse to make sure he goes away forever.

The elections being put off for months opens the door to the very worst of dynamics, one half of the population chanting “he must go” while the other half chants “he must stay”. These situations are what lead to Color Revolutions succeeding in poor weak nations. The elections must happen on time to completely eliminate any possibility of this situation arising.

E-Democracy is the Worst Answer to the Problem

The American electoral system with its Gerrymandering, Hanging Chads, Buttigieg’s “Shadow” over the Iowa Caucus, and Sanders’ mysteriously candidacy denial in 2016 has problems to say the least. The voting system we Americans “enjoy” is far from perfect, but the scary possible answer to America being locked down on election night is a form of “Electronic Democracy”, which due to its intangible and vulnerable nature would be manipulable on a scale not even Boss Hogg could dream of.

The answer to 1776 is not 1984 and if anything needs to be protested it would be any efforts by the government to make elections “go digital”. Ironically such a move would actually be the way that the Chinese and Russians could actually get the guy they want in the Oval Office.

The American electoral system could benefit from standardization, or at least fixing many of the problems on a state level, but any electronic “solution” will be a massive step in the wrong direction.

Vote Now Do Not Delay

Although it technically risks lives, it is critical for real American security to get the election done on time. Any delay will open up lots of opportunities for something to ruin America’s long-term stability which is worth the cost of a potential handful of Covid casualties. The rhetoric between the Democrats and Republicans is dangerous with its growing narrative that America is being taken over foreign influence. Trump needs to either be re-elected or leave on time as to not spark some sort of need to overthrow him, or just revolt against him “holding onto power by delaying”. Furthermore, Electronic Democracy is a nightmarish farce that should not come to pass as it would actually make the quality of American elections go from problem ridden to worthless.

The potential human losses that could be inflicted by voting on time are worth it.

Published:5/14/2020 11:16:04 PM
[Markets] Flynn's Lawyer Excoriates Obama In Open Letter Flynn's Lawyer Excoriates Obama In Open Letter Tyler Durden Thu, 05/14/2020 - 19:05

Last week, former President Barack Obama reacted to the DOJ's move to end its case against Michael Flynn by declaring in a leaked private phone call that the "rule of law is at risk," and that "there is no precedent that anybody can find for someone who has been charged with perjury just getting off scot-free."

"That’s the kind of stuff where you begin to get worried that basic — not just institutional norms — but our basic understanding of rule of law is at risk. And when you start moving in those directions, it can accelerate pretty quickly as we’ve seen in other places," said the former President.

On Wednesday, Flynn's lawyer Sidney Powell punched back - correcting Obama's inaccurate diatribe, while managing to drop MOABs on his "wingman" - former Attorney General Eric Holder, Andrew McCabe, Loretta Lynch and others. It's quite the read.

Authored by Sidney Powell via  (emphasis ours)

To: Barack Hussein Obama
From: Sidney Powell

Date: May 13, 2020

Re: Your Failure to Find Precedent for Flynn Dismissal

Regarding the decision of the Department of Justice to dismiss charges against General Flynn, in your recent call with your alumni, you expressed great concern: “there is no precedent that anybody can find for someone who has been charged with perjury just getting off scot-free. That’s the kind of stuff where you begin to get worried that basic — not just institutional norms — but our basic understanding of rule of law is at risk.”

Here is some help—if truth and precedent represent your true concern. Your statement is entirely false. However, it does explain the damage to the Rule of Law throughout your administration.

First, General Flynn was not charged with perjurywhich requires a material false statement made under oath with intent to deceive.1A perjury prosecution would have been appropriate and the Rule of Law applied if the Justice Department prosecuted your former FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe for his multiple lies under oath in an investigation of a leak only he knew he caused.

McCabe lied under oath in fully recorded and transcribed interviews with the Inspector General for the DOJ. He was informed of the purpose of the interview, and he had had the benefit of counsel. He knew he was the leaker. McCabe even lied about lying. He lied to his own agents—which sent them on a “wild-goose-chase”—thereby making his lies “material” and an obstruction of justice. Yet, remarkably, Attorney General Barr declined to prosecute McCabe for these offenses.

Applying the Rule of Law, after declining McCabe’s perjury prosecution, required the Justice Department to dismiss the prosecution of General Flynn who was not warned, not under oath, had no counsel, and whose statements were not only not recorded, but were created as false by FBI agents who falsified the 302.

Second, it would seem your “wingman” Eric Holder is missing a step these days at Covington & Burling LLP. Indelibly marked in his memory (and one might think, yours) should be his Motion to Dismiss the multi-count jury verdict of guilty and the entire case against former United States Senator Ted Stevens. Within weeks of Mr. Holder becoming Attorney General, he moved to dismiss the Stevens prosecution in the interest of justice for the same reasons the Justice Department did against General Flynn—egregious misconduct by prosecutors who hid exculpatory evidence and concocted purported crimes.

As horrifying as the facts of the Stevens case were, they pale in comparison to the targeted setup, framing, and prosecution of a newly elected President’s National Security Advisor and the shocking facts that surround it. This case was an assault on the heart of liberty— our cherished system of self-government, the right of citizens to choose their President, and the hallowed peaceful transition of power.

Third, the inability of anyone in your alumni association to find “anybody who has been charged [with anything] just getting off scot-free” would be laughable were it not so pathetic.

Many of your alum feature prominently in the non-fiction legal thriller published in 2014: Licensed to Lie: Exposing Corruption in the Department of Justice. A national best- seller, it focusses on the egregious prosecutorial misconduct of your longest serving White House Counsel, Kathryn Ruemmler; your counter-terrorism advisor Lisa Monaco; Loretta Lynch’s DAG for the Criminal Division Leslie Caldwell; and Mueller protégé Andrew Weissmann. While they worked as federal prosecutors on the Enron Task Force—under the purported supervision of Christopher Wray—they destroyed Arthur Andersen LLP and its 85,000 jobs; sent four Merrill Lynch executives to prison on an indictment that criminalized an innocent business transaction while they hid the evidence that showed those defendants were innocent for six years. Both cases were reversed on appeal for their over-criminalization and misconduct. Indeed, Andersen was reversed by a unanimous Supreme Court.

Fourth, even if your many alumni don’t remember multiple cases that had to be reversed or dismissed for their own misconduct, Judge Emmet Sullivan should remember dismissing the corrupted case against Ted Stevens. Judge Sullivan is the judicial hero of Licensed to Lie. It is that case that caused Judge Sullivan to enter the strong Brady order the Mueller and D.C. career prosecutors violated repeatedly in the Flynn prosecution.

Fifth, there is precedent for guilty pleas being vacated. Your alumni Weissmann and Ruemmler are no strangers to such reversals. At least two guilty pleas they coerced by threats against defendants in Houston had to be thrown out—again for reasons like those here. The defendants “got off scot-free” because—like General Flynn—your alumni had concocted the charges and terrorized the defendants into pleading guilty to “offenses” that were not crimes. Andersen partner David Duncan even testified for the government against Andersen in its trial, but his plea had to be vacated. Enron Broadband defendant Christopher Calger had his plea vacated. There are many others across the country.

Sixth, should further edification be necessary, see Why Innocent People Plead Guilty, written in 2014 by federal Judge Jed Rakoff (a Clinton appointee). Abusive prosecutors force innocent people to plead guilty with painful frequency. The Mueller special counsel operation led by Andrew Weissmann and Weissmann “wannabes” specializes in prosecutorial terrorist tactics repulsive to everything “justice” is supposed to mean. These tactics are designed to intimidate their targets into pleading guilty—while punishing them and their families with the process itself and financial ruin.

Most important, General Flynn was honest with the FBI agents. They knew he was—and briefed that to McCabe and others three different times. At McCabe’s directions, Agent Strzok and McCabe’s “Special Counsel” Lisa Page, altered the 302 to create statements Weissmann, Mueller, Van Grack, and Zainab Ahmad could assert were false. Only the FBI agents lied—and falsified documents. The crimes are theirs alone.

Seventh, the D.C. circuit in which you reside vacated a Section 1001 case for a legal failure much less egregious than those in General Flynn’s case. United States v. Safavian, 528 F.3d 957 (D.C. Cir. 2008). Safavian sought advice from his agency’s ethics board and did not give them all the relevant info. The jury convicted him on the theory it was a 1001 violation to conceal the information from the government ethics board. The court disagreed: “As Safavian argues and as the government agrees, there must be a legal duty to disclose in order for there to be a concealment offense in violation of § 1001(a)(1), yet the government failed to identify a legal disclosure duty except by reference to vague standards of conduct for government employees.” General Flynn did not even know he was the subject of an investigation—and in truth, he was not. The only crimes here were by your alumni in the FBI, White House, intelligence community, and Justice Department.

These are just a few obvious and well-known examples to those paying any attention to criminal justice issues.

Finally, the “leaked” comments from your alumni call further evinces your obsession with destroying a distinguished veteran of the United States Army who has defended the Constitution and this country “from all enemies, foreign and domestic,” with the highest honor for thirty-three years. He and many others will continue to do so.

1As a “constitutional lawyer,” surely you recall that perjury (or false statements) also requires intent to deceive. In Bronston v. United States, 409 U.S. 352 (1973), the Supreme Court reversed a conviction of perjury. In Bronston, the defendant’s answer was a truthful statement, but not directly responsive to the question and ultimately misled federal authorities. The Court determined: “A jury should not be permitted to engage in conjecture whether an unresponsive answer, true and complete on its face, was intended to mislead or divert the examiner; the state of mind of the witness is relevant only to the extent that it bears on whether “he does not believe [his answer] to be true.” To hold otherwise would be to inject a new and confusing element into the adversary testimonial system we know.” Id. at 359. The FBI agents who interviewed General Flynn specifically noted that his answers were true or he believed his answers to be true—completely defeating criminal intent. Furthermore, General Flynn knew and remarked they had transcripts of his conversations.

Click here to read a PDF version of Sidney’s Open Memorandum to Obama

Published:5/14/2020 6:14:15 PM
[Politics] Feinstein Spoke to FBI About Husband's Stock Trades Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., answered questions from FBI officials and turned over documents related to her husband's recent stock trades, which have come under scrutiny, Politico reported. Published:5/14/2020 5:14:20 PM
[Congressional Hall Monitor] Senate Judiciary To Begin Hearings On Flynn Unmasking, Russia Probe

By Chuck Ross -

The Senate Judiciary Committee will begin holding hearings in early June to review the FBI’s Crossfire Hurricane investigation and issues related to Michael Flynn, Sen. Lindsey Graham announced Thursday. “The Judiciary Committee will begin holding multiple, in-depth congressional hearings regarding all things related to Crossfire Hurricane starting in early June,” ...

Senate Judiciary To Begin Hearings On Flynn Unmasking, Russia Probe is original content from Conservative Daily News - Where Americans go for news, current events and commentary they can trust - Conservative News Website for U.S. News, Political Cartoons and more.

Published:5/14/2020 3:46:56 PM
[Law] Flynn Judge Disagrees With Own Rulings by Letting Outsiders Fight Dropping Charges

U.S. District Judge Emmet Sullivan’s order soliciting comments from outsiders opposed to the Justice Department’s motion to throw out charges of lying to FBI agents against former... Read More

The post Flynn Judge Disagrees With Own Rulings by Letting Outsiders Fight Dropping Charges appeared first on The Daily Signal.

Published:5/14/2020 1:13:44 PM
[World] Sen. Richard Burr Steps Down From Intel Committee After FBI Probe Into Stock Trades Published:5/14/2020 12:13:45 PM
[Politics] BREAKING: Senator Burr steps down as Intel committee chair; Rubio could be his replacement… Earlier this morning we reported to you that the FBI just served a search warrant on Senator Burr over alleged insider trading earlier this year right before the economy collapsed. Now Burr . . . Published:5/14/2020 12:13:45 PM
[Politics] BREAKING: Senator Burr steps down as Intel committee chair; Rubio could be his replacement… Earlier this morning we reported to you that the FBI just served a search warrant on Senator Burr over alleged insider trading earlier this year right before the economy collapsed. Now Burr . . . Published:5/14/2020 12:13:45 PM
[] Richard Burr Stepping Down From Position of Being Mark Warner's Little Fucking Bitch on the Intelligence Committee;Plans to Spend More Time With His Lawyers Following the FBI's search of his home in connection with the insider trading scandal. Sen. Richard Burr will step down as Senate Intelligence Committee chairman amid a federal probe into the lawmaker?s controversial stock sales ahead of the market crash... Published:5/14/2020 12:13:45 PM