by Diane Rufino, July 27, 2018
Republican and Democratic Senators questioned Secretary of State, Mike Pompeo, on Wednesday regarding President Trump’s foreign policy. On its face, it appears that our legislators are concerned as to what exactly is Trump’s policy – particularly with Russia. But the more likely explanation is that they just want to embarrass and frustrate him in his role as president of the United States, and to plant the seed in the minds of the American people and maybe even the world audience that he doesn’t know what he is doing.
Secretary Pompeo testified before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, where lawmakers eager and hungry to learn more about what Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin talked about in their two-hour private meeting last week in Helsinki, grilled him. It’s killing them that they don’t know exactly how Donald Trump’s brain works and how he continues to find success after success in his agenda and diplomacy.
As the Hill reported a day earlier: “Members of the Foreign Relations panel will ask whether Trump agreed to make any changes to international security agreements or if he gave any commitments about the future of the U.S. military presence in Syria. They will ask whether Trump pressed Putin on Russian violations of the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty or on easing its nuclear posture toward U.S. allies in Europe. [And they will also ask] whether the president discussed relaxing sanctions approved by Congress last year that Trump reluctantly signed into law. (Although the Foreign Relations and Banking committees are considering additional penalties on Russia).”
Some Senators commented that the hearing would not only focus on the Helsinki summit, but also on North Korea (what is the status of diplomatic talks?), Trump’s decision in May to pull out of the Iran nuclear deal (and what will his next moves be), Trump’s trade deals (the scope of those trade deals; will American farming be harmed?; will there likely be a trade war?), and his boldness in criticizing our European allies (which they fear will erode trust within NATO).
But most believe the true target of the hearing was Trump’s private meeting with Putin. They are still angry: (1) first, that Trump chose to go ahead and meet with Putin even though Congress warned him not to go, and (2) second, that he was unable to profess complete confidence and trust, while the country and the world watched, in the American Intelligence Community as it relates to Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election.
Let us go back and look at the reason President Trump met with Russian President Vladimir Putin. It was not to scold him for meddling in our election, it was not to capitalize on an opportunity to threaten Russia about future attempts at meddling, and it was not to establish a relationship between the two administrations based on mistrust, disrespect, or skepticism. It was not a pissing contest, a chance to beat their chests, or a game of showmanship. The meeting was about establishing a relationship between the two world leaders and opening a respectable and productive dialogue between the two administrations for the sake of world peace and stability. It was about re-establishing a relationship that had chilled and drifted for many years. Some believe the relationship between the US and Russia was at an all-time low. President Trump was not about to accept that. In his mind and in his judgement, the meeting would concentrate on the positive and on achieving mutual benefits. “Constructive dialog between the United States and Russia affords us the opportunity to open pathways towards peace and stability in our world….” These were the words he used in Helsinki.
He also made very clear his diplomatic mission when he told reporters, with Putin at his side: “I would rather take a political risk in pursuit of peace than to risk peace in pursuit of politics. As president, I will always put first what is best for American and what is best for the American people.”
And so, at the press conference in Helsinki, President Trump chose not to make Russian meddling in our election (which, by every single account was minor – misleading political ads on Facebook and other social media – and which had absolutely no impact on the outcome of the election) a source of major contention or even a sore spot in what he hoped would be a new start for bilateral relations between the two great superpowers – the two countries that together, control over 90% of all the world’s nuclear weapons.
As Liz Peeks of FOX News commented: “Did anyone really expect him [Trump] to declare the Russian leader a liar on global TV? What would have been the point of traveling to Helsinki and arranging a summit between the world’s two biggest nuclear powers, only to scuttle the chance at a new and improved relationship? It wasn’t going to happen, and in fact Trump hinted at that beforehand, when he told reporters not to expect “a Perry Mason” moment.
He was also not going to give the duplicitous and scheming Democrats the “bone” that they wanted – a statement of confidence in the handling of the Russian interference investigation by the US Intelligence agencies. He knows how Democrats weasel around the truth; he knows that they would someone bring it up, purportedly as fact, that “Trump admitted that he has confidence in the findings of the FBI and DOJ that there was collusion between the Russians and his campaign during the 2016 election.” The truth is that he has absolutely no reason to be confident in that investigation or in the affairs nefariously initiated within the intelligence agencies against him and his campaign.
That is why, at that moment in Helsinki, when asked by a reporter whether he holds Putin liable for any complicity in the 2016 US presidential election, President Trump was unable to make the statement that those at home hoped he would. He chose not to be confrontational. He chose not to be adversarial.
Jeff Mason, of Reuters asked President Trump: “Mr. President, you tweeted this morning that it’s US Foolishness, stupidity and the Mueller probe that is responsible for the decline in US Relations with Russia. Do you hold Russia at all accountable for anything in particular? If so, what would you consider them that they are responsible for?”
Yes, I do. I hold both countries responsibility. I think the United States has been foolish. I think we have all been foolish. We should have had this dialogue a long time ago, a long time frankly before I got to office. I think we’re all to blame. I think that the United States now has stepped forward along with Russia. We’re getting together and we have a chance to do some great things, whether it’s nuclear proliferation in terms of stopping, we have to do it — ultimately, that’s probably the most important thing that we can be working on.
I do feel that we have both made some mistakes. I think that the probe is a disaster for our country. I think it’s kept us apart. It’s kept us separated. There was no collusion at all. Everybody knows it. People are being brought out to the fore. So far that I know, virtually, none of it related to the campaign. They will have to try really hard to find something that did relate to the campaign. That was a clean campaign. I beat Hillary Clinton easily and, frankly, we beat her. And I’m not even saying from the standpoint – we won that race. It’s a shame there could be a cloud over it. People know that. People understand it. The main thing — and we discussed this also — is zero collusion. It has had a negative impact upon the relationship of the two largest nuclear powers in the world. We have 90 percent of nuclear power between our two countries. It’s ridiculous what’s going on with the probe. It’s ridiculous.
The line “I think we’re all to blame” is the statement that immediately stood out to everyone during the press conference. According to CNN, of course, Trump’s statements amounted to an unprecedented refusal by a US president to believe his own intelligence agencies over the word of a foreign adversary and drew swift condemnation from across the partisan divide. Disgraced former FBI head, John Brennan, moronically characterized Trump’s comments as “high crimes and misdemeanors” and accused Trump of treason. And Congressional Democrats, as well as some Congressional Republicans, and advisers and commentators from both sides, have accused Trump of making a colossal diplomatic blunder by not using the opportunity at Helsinki to scold Putin.
Jonathan Lemire, a reporter with AP, asked Trump: “Just now President Putin denied having anything to do with the election interference in 2016. Every US intelligence agency has concluded that Russia did. My first question for you, sir, is who do you believe? My second question is would you now with the whole world watching tell President Putin — Would you denounce what happened in 2016 and would you warn him to never do it again?’
Trump answered in these words:
So let me just say that we have two thoughts. You have groups that are wondering why the FBI never took the server. Why haven’t they taken the server? Why was the FBI told to leave the office of the democratic national committee? I’ve been wondering that. I’ve been asking that for months and months and I’ve been tweeting it out and calling it out on social media. Where is the server? I want to know, where is the server and what is the server saying? With that being said, all I can do is ask the question. My people came to me, Dan Coats came to me and some others and said they think it’s Russia.
I have President Putin. He just said it’s not Russia. I will say this. I don’t see any reason why it would be, but I really do want to see the server. But I have confidence in both parties. I really believe that this will probably go on for a while, but I don’t think it can go on without finding out what happened to the server. What happened to the servers of the Pakistani gentleman that worked on the DNC? Where are those servers? They’re missing. Where are they? What happened to Hillary Clinton’s emails? 33,000 emails gone — just gone. I think in Russia they wouldn’t be gone so easily. I think it’s a disgrace that we can’t get Hillary Clinton’s 33,000 emails. So I have great confidence in my intelligence people, but I will tell you that president Putin was extremely strong and powerful in his denial today. And what he did is an incredible offer. He offered to have the people working on the case come and work with their investigators, with respect to the 12 people. That’s an incredible offer. Thank you.
Putin asked to comment:
I’d like to add something to this. After all, I was an intelligence officer myself. And I do know how dossiers are made up. Just a second. That’s the first thing. Not the second thing. I believe that Russia is a democratic state and I hope you’re not denying this right to your own country, you’re not denying that United States is democracy. Do you believe the United States is a democracy? And if so, if it is a democratic state, then the final conclusion in this kind of dispute can only be delivered by a trial, by the court. Not by the executive, by the law enforcement.
For instance, the concord company that is brought up is being accused, it’s being accused of interference, but this company does not constitute the Russian state. It does not represent the Russian state. And I brought several examples before.
Well, you have a lot of individuals in the United States — take George Soros, for instance, with multibillion capitals, but it doesn’t make him — his position, his posture the posture of the United States. No, it does not. It’s the same case. There is the issue of trying a case in the court and the final say is for the court to deliver.
We are now talking about the individuals and not about particular states. And as far as the most recent allegations is concerned about the Russian intelligence officers, we do have an intergovernmental treaty. Please do send us the request. We will analyze it properly and we’ll send a formal response. As I said, we can extend this cooperation, but we should do it on a reciprocal basis. Because we would wait our Russian counterparts to provide us access to the persons of interests for us who we believe can have something to do with intelligence service.
Let’s discuss the specific issues and not use the Russia and US Relationship as a loose change for this internal political struggle.
Given what Trump has been subjected to since he has been a candidate for president, and especially being told that the FBI has a file on him colluding with Russia in the days leading up to his inaugural, the never-ending witch-hunt by Special Counsel Mueller, the raiding of offices and prosecutorial coercion of anyone related to him, and his own experience of being set up, framed, and relentlessly persecuted by the fatally-flawed entirely politically-biased American “intelligence community,” is it any wonder that given the choice, at the press conference, of which side to have greater trust and confidence in – a choice between ex-KGB agent Vladimir Putin and the rogue American intelligence agencies – that he preferred a more diplomatic answer? As Sidney Powell of The Daily Caller wrote: “At that moment in Helsinki, Trump must have felt like the choice between Scylla and Charybdis. Either would destroy him, and no matter what he said, the Left would shriek the sky is falling yet again.”
Anyway, on board Air Force One, returning to Washington, President Trump sought to clarify his position at the summit, which he understood was not well-presented. He tweeted: “As I said today and many times before, “I have GREAT confidence in MY intelligence people.” However, I also recognize that in order to build a brighter future, we cannot exclusively focus on the past — as the world’s two largest nuclear powers, we must get along!”
In assessing the success or lack of success of the summit, from a diplomatic point of view, taking into consideration the overall goal Trump sought to achieve, we would have to conclude that it indeed was a success. Paraphrasing what Ms. Connie Hanna wrote in her July 24 article, “Trump Report Card,” ….. What we saw from President Trump at the Helsinki summit was a successful example of American diplomacy, by a skilled and gracious national leader. The thawing of relations, as we were fortunate to witness, is certainly preferable to tension and conflict any day of the week!!
Nevertheless, with yesterday’s hearing, the Senate was clearly letting the American know that it has little confidence in Trump’s ability to conduct foreign policy, while at the same time throwing a collective hissy fit that he isn’t sharing details with them.
So, what ended up happening at Wednesday’s hearing?
Basically, Secretary clashed with Senators, from both sides, who really wanted to accuse President Trump of not knowing what he is doing and in particular, as they believe the Helsinki summit proved, of being soft on Putin. Luckily, the man who actually knows and who is privy to Trump’s policy agenda, firmly and strongly stood up for the president.
For example, Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Bob Corker (R-Tenn), characterized Trump’s approach to diplomacy as a “ready, fire, aim” approach – as if he “wakes up every morning and makes it up as he goes.” Pompeo responded that “this administration has been tougher than previous administrations” on Putin and that Trump plays a direct role in taking aggressive actions against Russia.
At one point he wanted to know why President Obama was never interrogated over his whispered message to Putin: “I’ll have more flexibility after the election.” [Of course, comparison to Obama only enraged the Committee].
In giving examples of how Trump and the White House are tough on Russia, Pompeo outlined a variety of measures taken by the Trump administration against Russia, including making lethal defensive weapons available to Ukraine (a move, by the way, that was resisted by the Obama administration), and the expulsion of dozens of Russian operatives from the US following the poisoning of a former agent. He also explained that the US condemns Russia’s annexation of Crimea and will never recognize the legitimacy of that annexation. In fact, as he said, there will be no relief of Crimea-related sanctions by the Trump administration until Russia returns control of the Crimean peninsula to the Ukraine.
Pompeo told the Committee that Trump threatened “severe consequences” for any future Russian meddling in America’s elections, even though his posture and words at Helsinki may not have reflected that position. And he reminded its members of President Trump’s very public opposition during the NATO talks to the planned Nord Stream 2 pipeline from Russia to Germany, which he says poses national security risks to European countries by increasing their dependence on Russia.
Secretary Pompeo wasn’t going to be bullied by Sen. Corker, or the Committee: “Senator, I just disagree with most of what you have said. Somehow there is this idea that this administration is free-floating. This is President Trump’s administration. Make no mistake who’s fully in charge of this, and directing each of these activities that is causing Vladimir Putin to be in a very difficult place today.”
Pompeo was also asked a few questions regarding the status of negotiations with North Korea and the status of plans for denuclearization of the North Korean peninsula. He answered: “We are engaged in patient diplomacy, but we will not let this drag out.” And he also admitted, or confirmed, that North Korea continues to produce “fissile material” (needed for nuclear weapons) but would not confirm publicly whether or not Kim Jong Un has decided to continue to advance his country’s nuclear program.
All in all, Secretary Mike Pompeo stood his ground, took on the Senators, strongly defended President Trump and his administration’s policies abroad, and emphasized that Trump knows exactly what he is doing and that his approaches have been and continue to be successful for the good of the United States and for the world.
Now, the question that many are asking is this: Where was that same concern when President Obama was caught, luckily for the American people. on an open microphone, delivering a secret message to Putin – that he would have “more flexibility after the (2012) election” to negotiate with Russia? Where was the grilling on Capitol Hill? Where were the accusations of being soft on Russia?
We all remember this incident.
On March 27, 2012, while President Obama was taking part in a global nuclear security summit in South Korea, and he was caught on tape (open mic) asking Russian President (at the time) Dmitry Medvedev for “space.” He was leaning over to Medvedev, and appearing to speak more secretly to him, said: “This is my last election. After my election I have more flexibility.” He wanted this message to be conveyed to Vladimir Putin, which Medvedev assured he would do. His response was: “I understand. I will transmit this information to Vladimir.”
Last year, Rep. Francis Rooney (R-FL) was asked by Katy Tur of MSNBC if he thought Trump would be strong enough to stand up to Russia. He said he was and then attempted to remind her of the “open mic” incident. She said she had no idea what he was talking about. He brought her up to speed. As he said to Tur, in his opinion, the message President Obama was conveying was this: “Tell Putin I’ll have more flexibility to give him what he wants after the re-election.” Roomey further commented: “No one really ever pushed the president on what he meant like that, but I can only imagine for a thug like Putin, that it would embolden him.”
What did President Obama mean when he said “more flexibility”? Was he referring to his ability to deal with missile defense issues? Did he intend to hint that he could negotiate more leniently or favorably to Russia without having to worry about the consequences at election time??
The language “more flexibility (when election consequences aren’t a concern)” should have peaked intense interest with our lawmakers. More than anything Trump said, these words by Obama, to any reasonable person, would imply that he was willing to ignore or surrender US interests.
Here is a video of President Obama whispering to Medvedev over an open mic:
Where was the concern when President Obama broke with protocol and bowed to King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia in 2009 at the G2 Summit? Diplomatic protocol indeed decrees that presidents bow to no one, as it is a sign of weakness. Bowing is forbidden. In fact, there was great concern at the time of this outrageous “break in protocol,” particularly as rumors circled of his leanings toward Islam and his including Islamic groups as advisers in his administration. Even The Washington Times wrote that Obama’s greeting “belittled the power and independence of the United States” because he was “bending over to show greater respect to Islam.”
President Obama also bowed later that year to Japanese Emperor Akhito and his wife. Dick Cheney, then the recently ex-Vice President, weighed in, in an interview with Politico: “There is no reason for an American president to bow to anyone. Our friends and allies don’t expect it, and our enemies see it as a sign of weakness.”
If there was such a significant and noteworthy break in diplomatic protocol, particularly to the leader of a Muslim country and to the leader of a country that once waged relentless and inhumane war against the United States, why didn’t the Senate Foreign Relations Committee follow up with questioning?
And where was the concern when President Obama had his private meetings with foreign leaders? The details of those meetings were kept private and were never disclosed. Why wasn’t the Senate Foreign Relations Committee even curious as to what this president, with absolutely no proper background for the job, talked about with foreign leaders?
Also, where is the concern over the revelation, by Putin himself, that an operative (one Putin believes was arranged by the US) was sent to Russia to secretly donate to Hillary Clinton’s campaign.
Putin revealed this information in response to a question by Jeff Mason, a Reuters reporter. Mason asked: “Why should Americans and why should President Trump believe your statement that Russia did not intervene in the 2016 election given the evidence that US Intelligence agencies have provided? Will you consider extraditing the 12 Russian officials that were indicted last week by a US Grand jury?”
This was Putin’s response:
As to who is to be believed, who is not to be believed: you can trust no one. Where did you get this idea that President Trump trusts me or I trust him? He defends the interests of the United States of America and I do defend the interests of the Russian Federation. We do have interests that are common. We are looking for points of contact.
There are issues where our postures diverge and we are looking for ways to reconcile our differences, how to make our effort more meaningful. We should not proceed from the immediate political interests that guide certain political powers in our countries. We should be guided by facts. Could you name a single fact that would definitively prove the collusion? This is utter nonsense — just like the president recently mentioned. Yes, the public at large in the United States had a certain perceived opinion of the candidates during the campaign. But there’s nothing particularly extraordinary about it. That’s usual thing.
President Trump, when he was a candidate, he mentioned the need to restore the Russia/US relationship and it’s clear that certain parts of American society felt sympathetic about it and different people could express their sympathy in different ways. Isn’t that natural? Isn’t it natural to be sympathetic towards a person who is willing to restore the relationship with our country, who wants to work with us?
We heard the accusations about it. As far as I know, this company hired American lawyers and the accusations doesn’t have a fighting chance in the American courts. There’s no evidence when it comes to the actual facts. So we have to be guided by facts, not by rumors.
Now, let’s get back to the issue of this 12 alleged intelligence officers of Russia. I don’t know the full extent of the situation. But President Trump mentioned this issue. I will look into it.
So far, I can say the following. Things that are off the top of my head. We have an existing agreement between the United States of America and the Russian Federation, an existing treaty that dates back to 1999. The mutual assistance on criminal cases. This treaty is in full effect. It works quite efficiently. On average, we initiate about 100, 150 criminal cases upon request from foreign states.
For instance, the last year, there was one extradition case upon the request sent by the United States. This treaty has specific legal procedures we can offer. The appropriate commission headed by Special Attorney Mueller, he can use this treaty as a solid foundation and send a formal, official request to us so that we could interrogate, hold questioning of these individuals who he believes are privy to some crimes. Our enforcement are perfectly able to do this questioning and send the appropriate materials to the United States. Moreover, we can meet you halfway. We can make another step. We can actually permit representatives of the United States, including the members of this very commission headed by Mr. Mueller, we can let them into the country. They can be present at the questioning.
In this case, there’s another condition. This kind of effort should be mutual one. Then we would expect that the Americans would reciprocate. They would question officials, including the officers of law enforcement and intelligence services of the United States whom we believe have something to do with illegal actions on the territory of Russia. And we have to request the presence of our law enforcement.
For instance, we can bring up Mr. Browder in this particular case. Business associates of Mr. Browder have earned over $1.5 billion in Russia. They never paid any taxes. Neither in Russia nor in the United States. Yet, the money escapes the country. They were transferred to the United States. They sent huge amount of money, $400 million as a contribution to the campaign of Hillary Clinton. Well, that’s their personal case. It might have been legal, the contribution itself. But the way the money was earned was illegal. We have solid reason to believe that some intelligence officers, guided these transactions. So we have an interest of questioning them. That could be a first step. We can extend also it. Options abound. They all can be found in an appropriate legal framework.
Donald Trump, in everything he has done, with every act as president, with every one of his campaign promises and initiatives, and with every word he speaks as president, seeks to put American first as well as its businesses, its people, and its safety and to Make America Great Again. Obama, clearly was a different president. He often apologized for America, apologized for its people, apologized for our history, undermined our interests, and made enemies out of ordinary American citizens over radical Islamists and other terrorist organizations.
Yet Congressional leaders refuse to accept his sincerity of purpose and his mastery in getting the job done. Always seeing the glass half empty, they continue to treat him like a school child, a bumbling buffoon.
Oh, the double standard.
Trump needs to fail before he earns their approval. He needs to fail before members of Congress will be willing to work with him rather than spend every waking moment resisting him.
To be fair to this story and to President Trump (after all, no one else is), and for the record, here is a refresher on some of the abuses of the Intelligence agencies under President Obama, Trump’s history with the American Intelligence Community and the Deep State entrenched there, and his experience of being set up, framed, and relentlessly persecuted by those who refuse to acknowledge his rightful election to the presidency: [The following is taken from The Daily Caller article written by Sidney Powell, “Trump Has Been Set Up-Framed and Relentlessly Persecuted by the American Intelligence Community,” dated July 19, 2018]
- Former CIA Director John Brennan, appointed by President Obama in 2013, had the CIA spying on members of Congress, and indeed, the entire Senate Intelligence Committee. One wonders if the mentality of J. Edgar Hoover has become firmly entrenched in the FBI, where American Intelligence gathers “information” on members of Congress and even the president and his family, to use as a means of coercion to get those members to conform to what the government expects. Chuck Schumer once described our intelligence community this way: “Cross our intelligence community and they have six ways from Sunday to pay you back.” That’s not an endorsement of trust, but rather of fear. (Perhaps Schumer knows more about that than he lets on). Brennan, by the way, is – and has been – an intense Trump-hater.
- Then there’s Director of National Intelligence (DNI), James Clapper, the second Trump-hater, who recently departed from his position at the top of our national intelligence community. Clapper is the guy who had the NSA collecting all possible data on all Americans and then lied to Congress about it. Spying on Americans, and collecting their personal and private information is the most egregious use of our intelligence agencies. Mr. Powell refers to these agents as “petty men” who “peep about to find [themselves] dishonorable graves.”
- Even more important, according to Mr. Comey’s own memos, which were leaked to the New York Times, combined with Obama National Security Advisor Susan Rice’s “note to self” within minutes of Trump’s inauguration, we know that Brennan, Clapper, Obama, Comey, Rice, counter-terrorism advisor Lisa Monaco, Deputy Attorney General Sally Yates and Vice President Biden, met in the Oval Office just before Comey went to brief the president-elect. Not only did they decide to limit information about Russia to be shared with the incoming team, they dispatched Comey to set up Mr. Trump for the media explosion of the entire false narrative and Steele dossier.
- On January 6, 2017, on instructions from Clapper, Comey met one-on-one with Mr. Trump in Trump Tower. Comey “executed the session just as [he] had planned.” He dropped the bombshell of only the “salacious” details of the Steele dossier. He ran to his car to write down the details of the conversation, then he reported to Clapper and possibly Brennan, one of whom leaked it to CNN. Comey’s briefing provided the very “news hook” they all knew the media wanted to run with the existence of the unverified, Clinton-bought-and-paid-for dossier.
- That remarkable setup, by the highest members of our “intelligence community” and Obama himself, sparked the media firestorm of the Trump-Russia-collusion lie that has besieged the Trump presidency to this day. Indeed, that was its purpose, if not to trap Trump into action that Democrats could label as “obstruction of justice” and then use that as grounds for impeachment.
- Don’t forget Peter Strzok — the FBI’s lead investigator for the “intelligence community”— hardly the epitome of trustworthiness. Strzok is the self-avowed despiser of Trump and any possible Trump supporter. Strzok is the epicenter of the Clinton email “investigation,” the Russia narrative, and the Mueller team until last July. Discoveries of his innumerable venomous expressions of hatred for the president “clouded” the Clinton email investigation and compelled his removal from the Special counsel team. Even more egregious conduct compelled his physical removal from the FBI.
- And then there is this: James Comey, Andrew McCabe, Peter Strzok, and Sally Yates, aided by others in the “intelligence community” more recently including Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, obtained multiple FISA warrants to spy on members of the Trump team. All those applications were based primarily on the Clinton-bought-and-paid-for Steele dossier of lies.
- We can’t forget Susan Rice. Susan Rice, Obama’s national security advisor, who tripled the unmaskings of Americans during 2016 — grossly abusing the government’s surveillance apparatus to target the political opposition.
- Sally Yates, of course, used those unmaskings to set up General Michael Flynn who was simply doing his job. She got him fired from his new position as President Trump’s national security advisor, had FBI Agent Strzok ambush Flynn in an interview, and McCabe may have helped tee him up with false allegations for Special Counsel Robert Mueller.
- And there’s more. As the chief judge of the super-secret Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court found in an opinion heavily redacted but unclassified last year, the Obama/Comey/FBI’s rank abuses of raw surveillance data of Americans extend back to 2015 (when Trump announced—if not further). The court found egregious Fourth Amendment violations by the FBI and that it had given private contractors (probably Fusion GPS—Steele dossier creators—and Clinton-connected CrowdStrike) wrongful unlimited and unsupervised access to that data. The court so distrusted the FBI itself that it took access away from it, and NSA Director Admiral Rogers proceeded to eliminate the use of “about queries” completely.
Again, consider the position President Trump found himself, when asked by journalists whether he has complete confidence in our intelligence agencies. And in that reflection, ask yourselves if his response was worthy of the rebuke he got from Congress and worthy of the treacherous comments from potentially true traitors like John Brennan.
Alexander Bolton, “Pompeo Faces GOP Grilling on Russia, North Korea ,” The Hill, July 24, 2018. Referenced at: http://thehill.com/homenews/senate/398703-pompeo-faces-gop-grilling-on-russia-north-korea
VIDEO: Obama open mic slip: “After my election I have more flexibility.” Referenced at: https://youtu.be/XsFR8DbSRQE
Tim Harris, “MSNBC Host Can’t Remember When Obama Promised Putin Flexibility,” Real Clear Politics, February 20, 2017. Referenced at: https://www.realclearpolitics.com/video/2017/02/20/msnbc_host_cant_remember_when_obama_promised_putin_flexibility.html
Greg Re, “Pompeo Fights Back After GOP Sen. Corker Hits Trump for ‘Purposeful’ sowing of ‘Doubt and Distrust’,” FOX News, July 25, 2018. Referenced at: http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2018/07/25/pompeo-says-us-wont-recognize-russias-crimea-annexation.html
Sidney Powell, ”Trump Has Been Set Up-Framed and Relentlessly Persecuted by the American Intelligence Community,” The Daily Caller, July 19, 2018. Referenced at: http://dailycaller.com/2018/07/19/trump-has-been-set-up-framed-and-relentlessly-persecuted-by-the-american-intelligence-community/ [Sidney Powell is a former federal prosecutor]
Liz Peeks, “Outrage over Trump, Putin Helsinki meeting – Did We Expect President to Call Putin a Liar on Global TV?,” FOX News, July 17, 2018. Referenced at: http://www.foxnews.com/opinion/2018/07/17/liz-peek-trump-critics-predictably-melt-down-over-helsinki-summit.html
Staff, “What Trump and Putin Actually Said in Helsinki (TRANSCRIPT),” Foreign Policy News (FP News), July 16, 2018. Referenced at: https://foreignpolicy.com/2018/07/18/heres-what-trump-and-putin-actually-said-in-helsinki/
Jennie Neufeld, “Read the Full Transcript of the Helsinki Press Conference,” Vox, July 17, 2018. Referenced at: https://www.vox.com/2018/7/16/17576956/transcript-putin-trump-russia-helsinki-press-conference
Kenneth Rapoza, “What Reporters in Helsinki Asked Trump and Putin,” Forbes, July 16, 2018. Referenced at: https://www.forbes.com/sites/kenrapoza/2018/07/16/what-reporters-in-helsinki-asked-trump-and-putin/#65ce0d093e25
Jeremey Diamond, “Trump Sides with Putin Over US Intelligence,” CNN, July 16, 2018. Referenced at: https://www.cnn.com/2018/07/16/politics/donald-trump-putin-helsinki-summit/index.html
Constance Hanna, “Trump Report Card,” The Daily Compass, July 24, 2018. [Connie Hanna does a weekly update on President Trump in The Daily Compass]