Friday, March 23, 2018

McCabe's Witch Hunt Of Sessions Confirms Worst Fears About FBI/DOJ

For the people who have trouble believing that Jeff Sessions - yes, that Jeff Sessions - is a Russian agent meriting a criminal investigation by the FBI, the second storyline continues to bear fruit.

Of all the Russian conspiracy angles, the one alleging Sessions is working on behalf of the Russians is easily the most outlandish.

In January 2017, Sessions was undergoing his confirmation hearings in the midst of the initial Red Panic gripping DC. Sen. Patrick Leahy asked Sessions, "Several of the President-elect's nominees or senior advisers have Russian ties. Have you been in contact with anyone connected to any part of the Russian government about the 2016 election, either before or after election day?" Sessions responded "No.".

One of the meetings was a private conversation between Sessions and Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak that took place in September in the senator's office, at the height of what U.S. intelligence officials say was a Russian cyber campaign to upend the U.S. presidential race.

It portrays the meeting of senators with ambassadors as anything but routine, quotes multiple Democratic elected officials as calling for a special counsel, quotes Republicans such as Sen. John McCain and Sen. Lindsey Graham tut-tutting these meetings, quotes retired intelligence officials as lamenting the Russian operation to "Cultivate" Sessions, and suggests that Sessions had mysteriously changed his views on Russia during the campaign.

Nearly a year before Attorney General Jeff Sessions fired senior FBI official Andrew McCabe for what Sessions called a 'lack of candor,' McCabe oversaw a federal criminal investigation into whether Sessions lacked candor when testifying before Congress about contacts with Russian operatives, sources familiar with the matter told ABC News.

If you do not accept the rather outlandish theory that Sessions is a Russian agent who was conspiring with Moscow by not once but twice being in the same reception room as the Russian ambassador, an alternate explanation is in order.

Robert Mueller's Russia investigation is at a crossroads

Special counsel Robert S. Mueller III and his team of investigators appear to be aimless and are wandering, Democrats are grasping at straws and President Trump is lawyering up.

Going by what information has, so far, been made public, there is no collusion with Russia to be found - at least on the part of the Trump campaign.

After a few non sequitur indictments against Paul Manafort for offenses which took place years before the Trump campaign, along with a plea deal for Manafort's partner, Rick Gates; and guilty pleas from Trump campaign volunteer George Papadopoulos and former national security adviser Michael Flynn for offenses committed after the investigation began, it appears that Mueller has no clear bull's eye.

The absence of any suggestion by Trump that he would fire Mueller and specific denials that any such thing is being considered by Trump's legal team has to be frustrating for Democrats, but it doesn't keep them from creating a phony, pious talking point to give the story some life.

With the whole collusion story caving in and Mueller & Co. off on tangents, I guess the holy grail for Democrats would be for Mueller to become involved with - so to speak - Stormy Daniels.

Trump constantly does things to make himself appear guilty.

Where does this leave us? Is Mueller winding down, content to hound a few bit players and shake his fist at the Russian trolls who will never stand trial? Can the Democrats continue to flog the collusion horse even though it hasn't moved in months? Is Trump holding his fire, or is he about to unload and go on the offensive? The fact is the investigation that never should have started is prowling for a purpose. 

A grand jury already is hearing evidence on DOJ and FBI scandals

Yesterday, in a response to a subpoena from House Judiciary Committee chairman Robert Goodlatte, the DOJ confirmed that a grand jury indeed exists to investigate the issues uncovered by I.G. Horowitz, who has been referring criminal matters to the DOJ for some time.

Counsel are not permitted access to certain confidential criminal investigative information and may not be permitted access to grand jury information.

House Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte is one of the top three people throughout the entirety of congress with a comprehensive knowledge of the events surrounding the investigations of the FBI and DOJ. Chairman Goodlatte is one of only four people outside the DOJ who have read the full DOJ FISA application used for a Title-1 Surveillance warrant of Carter Page.

Oh, what's that? Yes, the DOJ has to review the demand for evidence because release of those documents might conflict with ongoing Grand Jury information.

Now we know there's already a Grand Jury seated somewhere hearing the criminal evidence he/she has carved out from the overwhelming IG evidence as collected.

My own suspicion is that the grand jury already has quietly heard testimony from cooperating witnesses who have struck deals with the prosecutor because the evidence against them is so strong that their best strategy is to minimize their criminal liability and prison time.

While there have been calls for a special counsel to investigate the DOJ and FBI scandals, and many conservatives have been outraged at the seeming passivity of "Gentleman Jeff" Sessions, it now is clear that a grand jury far outside the Beltway already is hearing evidence dug up by DOJ inspector general Michael Horowitz, whose report is now believed to be coming in April.

John Bolton Is The National Security Advisor Trump Has Been Waiting For

President Trump has appointed John Bolton to be his next national security advisor, and it is hard to imagine a better choice, certainly at this juncture of Trump's presidency.

Bolton not only shares the president's views on many foreign policy issues, he has decades of experience in government, politics, and something not enough Washington hands have: he knows who the American people are and how they respond to national leadership.

The president might not always like what Bolton says, but I think he will hear him and treat his counsel as vital for the success of his foreign policy.

Now, instead of implementing policy only on arms control or international organization policy, he'll be making sure the president has the opportunity to make the best decisions and that all White House foreign and national security policy is implemented-or someone is going to have a problem.

What are Trump and the country getting? A national security advisor who is experienced, media-savvy, and smart, who is also determined not just to present well in discussions but also to see the job through.

Bolton will be accused of being a neocon warmonger, but using that term doesn't tell us much these days, as it has come to mean for many people "He wants to go to war before I do." Bolton is uncompromising on national security and knows the value of brandishing a big stick precisely because it can prevent war.

Bolton gives the president the chance to complete his national security team with someone who appears to know the president's mind, knows the role of the United States in the world, and knows the American public. 

Republicans' Omnibus Spending Bill Is a Disgrace

The omnibus spending bill was crafted in secret and will be passed under pressure; raises discretionary spending as the national debt grows; and fails to deliver on any major GOP priorities except increased defense spending.

The massive, 13 percent increase in discretionary spending was prefigured by the agreement on budget caps that congressional leaders reached in February.

It remains remarkable that, even with control over the branches of elected government, the GOP cannot secure funding for the military without dangling such unnecessary spending for domestic programs.

The specifics of the spending aren't much better.

The bill provides funding for immigration enforcement both internally and at the border, but the devil is in the details.

We welcome the defense spending, and the funds devoted to combating the opioid epidemic might make a difference.

Instead, Republicans are poised to pass an omnibus bill that, with the exception of the defense spending, is an embarrassment and a disgrace. 

10 ways the GOP sold you out in the omnibus spending bill

Instead, nearly all of Congress is waiting to see what omnibus bill emerges from the smoke filled room.

Now that items such as the internet sales tax, official legislative amnesty for "Dreamers," and the insurance bailout have been left out of the bill, some might consider this bill a victory.

This bill is the final nail in the coffin of all the promises on health care spending and immigration they ran on in 2016.

This bill paves the road to permanently bust the budget caps forever, which will lead to trillions more in spending and cause interest payments on the debt to surge past the cost of the military or even Medicaid in just eight years.

2) Bait and switch on the wall: Since this bill increases spending for everything, one would think that at least the president would get the $15 billion or so needed for the wall.

For Congress to pass a budget bill and not defund DACA or defund the issuance of visas from countries on Trump's immigration pause list in order to fight back against the courts is tantamount to Congress directly passing amnesty.

8) More "Opioid crisis funding" without addressing the problem: The bill increases funding for "Opioid addiction prevention and treatment" by $2.8 billion relative to last year, on top of the $7 billion they already spent in February.

Congress Gives Itself a Bonus in Omnibus

The Senate increased its total salaries of officers and employees by $12.6 million in the 2,232-page bill that lawmakers had fewer than 48 hours to read and vote on.

Aside from giving their own institutions a bonus, the omnibus also gives away millions to prevent "Elderly falls," promote breastfeeding, and fight "Excessive alcohol use."

The legislation increases the Senate budget to $919.9 million, up $48.8 million from fiscal year 2017, according to the congressional summary.

Division I of the legislation breaks down the total salaries of officers and employees, which are being raised from $182 million in 2017 to $194.8 million in the final bill, an increase of $12.58 million.

The House kept its budget for salaries the same at $22.3 million and lowered expenses by $4.4 million.

Committee offices got an increase of $22.9 million in salaries, from $181.5 million in 2017 to $204.4 million in the final bill.

Another $15 million goes to study "High obesity counties" and an increase of $5 million for the CDC program that seeks to "Address obesity in counties" by leveraging "The community extension services provided by land grant universities who are mandated to translate science into practical action and promote healthy lifestyles."