Sessions Says FBI’s Handling of Anti-Trump Dossier ‘Will Be Investigated’

Attorney General Jeff Sessions said the Justice Department is investigating the accuracy of information the FBI submitted before the 2016 election about a “dossier” damaging to Donald Trump to obtain a warrant to surveil a campaign adviser.

“That will be investigated and looked at,” Sessions said in an interview Sunday.

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Maria Bartiromo, host of Fox’s “Sunday Morning Futures,” had asked Sessions: “Are you, sir, investigating the fact that the FBI used the dossier to get a wiretap against Trump associates and they did not tell the FISA court that the Democrats and [the] Hillary Clinton [campaign] paid for the dossier?”

“Let me tell you, every FISA warrant based on facts submitted to that court [has] to be accurate,” Sessions replied.

“That will be investigated and looked at, and we are not going to participate as a Department of Justice in providing anything less than a proper disclosure to the court before they issue a FISA warrant. Other than that, I’m not going to talk about the details of it, but I tell you, we’re not going to let that happen.”

FISA refers to the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, which created a secret court system to oversee requests for surveillance warrants by federal law enforcement and intelligence agencies.

Sessions did not provide additional details about the investigation, which has been urged by Republican lawmakers.

In October 2016, not long before the election, the FBI and Justice Department submitted an application to the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court to obtain a spy warrant against Carter Page, a business consultant and campaign volunteer who had left the Trump team a month earlier.

The partisan dossier compiled by former British spy Christopher Steele is said to have been a significant part of the application to the court, even though the salacious document about Trump’s connections to Russia was and is largely unverified.

Republican lawmakers have asserted that law enforcement officials who submitted the application failed to note to the court that the dossier was funded by the Clinton campaign and the Democratic National Committee. The application does note that the dossier was put together by a “U.S. person” with political motivations, but Republicans have argued that the application should have been more specific.

Republicans also alleged that Steele, the opponent of Trump who authored the dossier, misled the FBI by failing to reveal that he met with reporters in September 2016 to discuss his investigation of Trump.

One of those reporters, Michael Isikoff of Yahoo! News, wrote a story based on Steele’s information.

That Sept. 23, 2016, article, which included Steele’s allegations about Page, also was used by the FBI and Justice Department to help justify the surveillance warrant. The application did not note that the Isikoff article came from the same source as the dossier.

Also Sunday, Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., offhandedly criticized former President Barack Obama for not doing enough to warn voters about the Russian government’s attempt to meddle during the presidential election.

Obama probably didn’t do enough to raise a red flag after he found out Russia interfered in the election, Sanders said on NBC’s “Meet the Press” before pivoting to criticize Trump for downplaying Russia’s role.

“Obama was in a very difficult position and didn’t want to make it appear he was favoring Hillary Clinton,” Sanders, who challenged Clinton for the Democratic nomination, said. “Maybe he should have done more.”

An indictment announced Friday alleged that 13 Russian nationals tried to help both Sanders and Trump during their respective presidential candidacies.

Special counsel Robert Mueller secured the indictment from a grand jury against the Russians, affiliated with three Russian companies suspected of interfering in the election. The goal was to create chaos inside the U.S. political process, according to the indictment.

The indicted Russians operated both pro- and anti-Trump social media accounts. The accounts also were used to provide support for Sanders, at the time considered a formidable opponent to Clinton, and to Green Party candidate Jill Stein.

Sanders’ comments Sunday came after Rep. Adam Schiff, D-Calif., the ranking member of the House intelligence committee, said Obama should have called out Russian meddling much sooner.

New protections must be enacted to prevent similar election meddling, Sanders said, referring specifically to the upcoming 2018 midterm elections.

“We have got to do everything we can to make sure that they do not undermine American democracy,” he said.

EDITORS NOTE: Content created by The Daily Caller News Foundation is available without charge to any eligible news publisher that can provide a large audience. For licensing opportunities for this original content, email licensing@dailycallernewsfoundation.org. The featured image is by Yuri Gripas/Reuters /Newscom.

The Ties That Blind: More Hypocrisy on White House Access

Stop the presses. Democrat Elijah Cummings (D-Md.) has just uncovered the scandal of the century: A conservative administration is consulting with conservative experts! Apparently, this is news to the ranking member of the House Oversight Committee, who is outraged that a president would dare to take advice from ideologically-compatible groups. (No one is quite sure where Cummings was from 2009-2016, when Barack Obama should have put half of the Left’s interest groups on the official government payroll.)

Still, Cummings is so sure that voters will be shocked that he’s filed an official complaint with the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) for soliciting input on a legal document from a conservative legal group: Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF). Insisting that a “whistleblower” inside HHS has exposed some shameful collaboration, he fired off a letter to HHS Deputy Secretary Eric Hargan warning that he may investigate. In particular, he’s worried about ADF’s advice on President’s Trump’s latest guidance that makes it easier for states to defund Planned Parenthood. As is sometimes the practice of government agencies, they sought outside counsel from a likeminded individuals and group. There’s nothing immoral, controversial or unusual about it.

Even so, Cummings, whose previous president spent eight years doing the bidding of George Soros and other far-Left lobbyists, is raising a stink about ADF’s involvement, saying it points to a sinister plot of conservatives to infiltrate the government. “The documents provided by the whistleblower raise serious concerns about whether the Trump administration is now taking orders from an extreme right-wing interest group that is trying to deny American citizens the ability to exercise their right to obtain family planning services from the provider of their choice, which is guaranteed by federal statute.”

If it weren’t so astounded, ADF might have been amused. After all, they fired back, it’s “common practice for constitutional attorneys to be consulted regarding constitutional matters.” What should be common practice, the group went on, “is refusing to award Americans’ hard-earned tax dollars to scandal-ridden Medicaid providers. HHS’s recent guidance brings the agency back into conformity with decades of federal court precedent and empowers state legislatures to allocate Medicaid funding to women’s health providers not entangled in alleged fraud and abuse.” If you’re looking for the real outrage, that’s it.

The conservative movement’s influence on a conservative administration isn’t a smoking gun – or even a Nerf one. America just emerged from eight years of liberals trading influence from the highest posts in government. Perhaps Cummings has forgotten the suspicious ties of the Obama administration that at best tested the law (and at worst broke it). Over his two terms, investigations uncovered plenty of evidence of wrongdoing from the underground networks between the White House and radical groups. There was the IRS official who leaked confidential donor information to the Human Rights Campaign to smear conservatives. (Disclosing those names, incidentally, was a felony.) Or the shady ties from Google to the Obama State Department, where Hillary Clinton’s emails “show that Jared Cohen, head of Google Jigsaw, has been acting as a secret agent for the state department, turning the world’s most powerful tech company into a private arm of the U.S. intelligence services.”

What about George Soros’s potentially criminal ties to USAID money, where it helped fund aggressive State Department tactics in places like Hungary or Macdeonia? Then there’s the question of the Southern Poverty Law Center, and its obvious collusion with the Obama Department of Justice and FBI to drive conservative organizations underground – until enough people complained about the partnership. Or the SPLC’s influence at the Defense Department, where trainings were tailor-made for the group’s “extremist hate list” until DOD was exposed and forced to sever ties?

Planned Parenthood’s power in the Obama administration was obvious from the president’s top-level hires (in – irony alert — HHS) to Cecile Richards’s regular meetings and fundraisers with the First Family. LGBT activists were so embedded in the Obama administration that their sex-ed and “anti-bullying” campaigns became part of the official White House education curriculum, despite evidence that both were doing more harm to kids than good. Where was Cummings’s indignation then?

The story here is that there is no story. This isn’t about impropriety on the part of ADF or HHS. It’s about liberals like Cummings identifying the groups that help shape the conservative agenda — and trying to silence them. The merits of Trump’s policy on Planned Parenthood and state sovereignty were obvious long before ADF’s involvement. Local legislators should have the authority to carry out the will of voters in their states – especially when it comes to taxpayer dollars. There are plenty of organizations who can provide safer and more comprehensive health care than a group currently under FBI investigation. Surely, Americans can find a better recipient of their hard-earned money than Planned Parenthood, a group more concerned with destroying innocent lives than caring for them. At the very least, they should have the freedom to try.


Tony Perkins’ Washington Update is written with the aid of FRC senior writers.


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Why the 2020 Census Needs a Citizenship Question

The request set off a firestorm of protest from Democratic lawmakers, liberal activists and left-leaning journalists despite the fact that before the Obama administration removed citizenship: in 2010 it was part of the main Census. They are concerned that asking about citizenship would discourage illegal aliens from participating in the 2020 Census, leading to undercounts in states like California and New York, which have large numbers of illegal residents. This would reduce the number of electoral votes and congressional districts in such states.

By Jay O’ Callaghan

In an action which set off a major uproar from the left, the Justice Department has requested that a single simple citizenship question be added to the full 2020 Census so they can better enforce voting-rights laws and increase confidence in election results.

“In order to assess and enforce compliance with Section 2’s protection against discrimination in voting, the Department needs to be able to obtain citizen voting-age population data,” Arthur E. Gary, general counsel at the justice management division of the Justice Department, wrote in a December 12th. letter to Census Bureau Acting Director Ron Jarmin.

Citizenship has long been a part of the census since the 1850s. The Obama administration removed it for the 2010 Census along with most other questions and shifted it to the smaller, in-depth rolling survey known as the American Community Survey (ACS) when it eliminated the old long form. The ACS is filled out by only one in every 38 households every year, compared to the long form which surveyed one in six households every 10 years.

Devin M. O’Malley, a Justice Department spokesman, points out the Census Bureau reports that such data isn’t precise enough to use in redistricting, and it’s important to have the citizenship question on the main Census form that will cover all Americans.

The Census Bureau states that it asks the citizenship question in general because: “we ask about place of birth, citizenship, and year of entry to provide statistics about citizens and the foreign-born population. These statistics are essential for agencies and policy makers setting and evaluating immigration policies and laws, understanding how different immigrant groups are assimilated, and monitoring against discrimination. These statistics are also used to tailor services to accommodate cultural differences.”

In a recent Supreme Court case (Evenwel v. Abbott 2016) the legality of districting based on the count of citizens or eligible voters is unsettled after the Supreme Court declined to address it. In the Evenwel case, the plaintiffs sought to require Texas to draw its Senate districts based on citizenship rather than the present method of total population.

In a friend-of-the-court brief, four former census directors, who served under administrations of both parties, supported Texas because “the geographic areas at which such estimates are available carry large error margins because of the small sample sizes.” They concluded the ACS is “an inappropriate source of data to support a constitutional rule requiring states to create districts with equal numbers of voting age citizens.”

Steven Camarota, director of research at the Center for Immigration Studies, is among the researchers who supports the request. He believes that “basically more information is always better from a researcher’s point of view…and when you look at things like apportioning and redistricting, which rely on Census data, those things are always a concern.”

The request set off a firestorm of protest from Democratic lawmakers, liberal activists and left-leaning journalists despite the fact that before the Obama administration removed citizenship: in 2010 it was part of the main Census. They are concerned that asking about citizenship would discourage illegal aliens from participating in the 2020 Census, leading to undercounts in states like California and New York, which have large numbers of illegal residents. This would reduce the number of electoral votes and congressional districts in such states.

Arguments against including the citizenship question “are weakened because citizenship was asked on Census forms throughout much of American history” according to Tony Quinn, the editor of the authoritative guide to California districts, the California Target Book.

He points out that “early in our history the Census began asking whether the individual being enumerated was born in the United States. After the Civil War, with the huge boom in European migration, the Census asked whether the person was a citizen eligible to vote. Beginning in 1880, the Census asked the place of birth not only of the enumerated person but of the parents as well.”

Quinn adds that “with the 1890 census the question was asked: are you a naturalized citizen or not. The year of immigration of a foreign-born person as well as the year of naturalization (if naturalized) was asked in the 1900, 1910, 1920, 1930, 1940 and 1950 censuses, in other words for the first half of the 20th Century.”

He also supports adding the citizenship question because: “the census asked about citizenship during the great migrations of the 19th and 20th Centuries because the government had a legitimate reason to want to know where people came from. We now have a large immigrant population, some of whom are legal and some of whom are not. Certainly, it is legitimate to want to determine who this population is.”

Questions in the 2020 Census must be decided by April, two years before the Census is conducted, and any Census questions must have the approval of Congress. Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross and other Census officials should endorse the Justice Department request and encourage lawmakers to add it to the 2020 Census.


ABOUT JAY O’CALLAGHAN

Jay O’Callaghan has worked extensively with issues involving the U.S. Census Bureau including serving as a professional staff member for the House Government Reform Census Subcommittee, as a senior legislative analyst for the Florida House of Representatives Redistricting Committee and for two U.S. House members. He is also a contributor to SFPPR News & Analysis, of the Conservative-Online-Journalism center at the Washington-based Selous Foundation for Public Policy Research.

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Are Our Roads and Bridges Actually Crumbling? It Depends on Where You Live!

During his State of the Union Address President Trump said:

As we rebuild our industries, it is also time to rebuild our crumbling infrastructure.

America is a nation of builders.  We built the Empire State Building in just 1 year — is it not a disgrace that it can now take 10 years just to get a permit approved for a simple road?

I am asking both parties to come together to give us the safe, fast, reliable, and modern infrastructure our economy needs and our people deserve.

Tonight, I am calling on the Congress to produce a bill that generates at least $1.5 trillion for the new infrastructure investment we need.

Every Federal dollar should be leveraged by partnering with State and local governments and, where appropriate, tapping into private sector investment — to permanently fix the infrastructure deficit.

Any bill must also streamline the permitting and approval process — getting it down to no more than two years, and perhaps even one.

Together, we can reclaim our building heritage.  We will build gleaming new roads, bridges, highways, railways, and waterways across our land.  And we will do it with American heart, American hands, and American grit. [Emphasis added]

According to data from Transportation.gov the “crumbling infrastructure” that President Trump referred to depends on where you live. The states in which over 70% of roads are in “poor/mediocre condition are Colorado (70%), Oklahoma (70%), Wisconsin (71%), Illinois (73%) and Connecticut (73%). The top two states with the highest percentage of “structurally deficient/functionally obsolete bridges are Massachusetts (52.5%) and Hawaii (43.9%). See the chart below for a state by state breakdown of the status of bridges and roads and the cost to repair them.

Why is infrastructure important?

In a Motor Trend magazine article titled “Tapping the Brakes: Autonomous-car Society is Still Decades Away” Mark Rechtin reports:

Pull out any issue of Popular Science from the past 50 years, and you’ll likely find a story predicting that we would be living in a world of self-driving cars any decade now. (You can add in recent long-form pieces by other national media that push that Jetsons-tinged future even harder.)

[ … ]

But the truth is we are still a long way from a fully self-driving society, for several very key reasons that have nothing to do with our ability to create the technology. Here is the cocktail party checklist of the interrelated barriers we face:

Infrastructure: Autonomous vehicles need roadways that are well-marked and in good shape. There are 4.12 million miles of road in America, according to the Federal Highway Administration, of which 2.68 million miles are paved. How bad are our roads? According to the FHA, 42.1 percent of Connecticut’s federal-aid highway miles are in “poor or mediocre condition.” Traffic-choked California is close behind, with 35.1 percent in terrible shape.

Read more.

Rechtin concludes, “The ability to create autonomous vehicles is not at issue. At issue is how to incorporate 21st century technology into a world that is still mired in the 20th. And that will take time.”

Why are our roads mired in the 20th century?

According to Transportation.gov:

The Highway Trust Fund is set to expire on July 31. Without action from Congress, federal funding for transportation will come to a screeching halt — and with it, so will traffic in many places. Over the last six years, Congress has passed 33 short-term measures rather than funding transportation for the long term. And our transportation system — our roads and bridges, especially — is in a dire state of disrepair because of it. The attached fact sheet shows us this.

Experts agree:  The only way to prepare our transportation system for the next generation is to stop this cycle of short-term measures and pass a long-term transportation bill. [Emphasis added]

So there you have it. Taxes are paid to Congress every-time you fill your tank but Congress can’t get its act together and pass a single year transportation bill let alone a long-term bill.

It’s the Congress stupid!

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Road and Bridge Data by State
State Structurally Deficient / Functionally Obsolete Bridges* Annual Total Extra Vehicle Repairs / Operating Costs Due to Driving on Roads in Need of Fixing** Percentage of Roads in Poor / Mediocre Condition**
ALABAMA 3,608 of the 16,078 (22.4%) $530 million ($141 per motorist) 25%
ALASKA 290 of the 1,196 (24.2%) $181 million ($359 per motorist) 49%
ARIZONA 954 of the 7,862 (12.1%) $887 million ($205 per motorist) 52%
ARKANSAS 2,894 of the 12,748 (22.7%) $634 million ($308 per motorist) 39%
CALIFORNIA 6,953 of the 24,955 (27.9%) $13.892 billion ($586 per motorist) 68%
COLORADO 1,438 of the 8,612 (16.7%) $1.034 billion ($287 per motorist) 70%
CONNECTICUT 1,472 of the 4,218 (34.9%) $847 million ($294 per motorist) 73%
DELAWARE 177 of the 864 (20.5%) $168 million ($257 per motorist. 36%
FLORIDA 2,044 of the 12,070 (16.9%) $1.792 billion ($128 per motorist) 26%
GEORGIA 2,600 of the 14,769 (17.6%) $374 million ($60 per motorist) 19%
HAWAII 494 of the 1,125 (43.9%) $456 million ($515 per motorist) 49%
IDAHO 859 of the 4,232 (20.3%) $316 million ($305 per motorist) 45%
ILLINOIS 4,246 of the 26,621 (15.9%) $2.4 billion ($292 per motorist) 73%
INDIANA 4,168 of the 18,953 (22%) $1.249 billion ($225 per motorist) 17%
IOWA 6,271 of the 24,398 (25.7%) $756 million ($381 per motorist) 46%
KANSAS 4,465 of the 25,171 (17.7%) $646 million ($319 per motorist) 62%
KENTUCKY 4,436 of the 14,116 (31.4%) $543 million ($185 per motorist) 34%
LOUISIANA 3,790 of the 13,050 (29%) $1.2 billion ($408 per motorist) 62%
MAINE 791 of the 2,402 (32.9%) $246 million ($245 per motorist) 53%
MARYLAND 1,418 of the 5,291 (26.8%) $1.598 billion ($422 per motorist) 55%
MASSACHUSETTS 2,694 of the 5,136 (52.5%) $1.461 billion ($313 per motorist) 42%
MICHIGAN 3,018 of the 11,022 (27.4%) $2.534 billion ($357 per motorist) 38%
MINNESOTA 1,513 of the 13,137 (11.5%) $797 million ($250 per motorist) 52%
MISSISSIPPI 3,636 of the 17,044 (21.3%) $811 million ($419 per motorist) 51%
MISSOURI 6,633 of the 24,350 (27.2%) $1.6 billion ($380 per motorist) 31%
MONTANA 882 of the 5,126 (17.2%) $136 million ($184 per motorist) 52%
NEBRASKA 3,765 of the 15,370 (24.5%) $380 million ($282 per motorist) 59%
NEVADA 253 of the 1,853 (13.7%) $391 million ($233 per motorist) 20%
NEW HAMPSHIRE 790 of the 2,438 (32.4%) $267 million ($259 per motorist) 54%
NEW JERSEY 2,334 of the 6,566 (35.5%) $3.476 billion ($601 per motorist) 66%
NEW MEXICO 654 of the 3,935 (16.6%) $397 million ($291 per motorist) 44%
NEW YORK 6,775 of the 17,442 (38.8%) $4.551 billion ($403 per motorist) 60%
NORTH CAROLINA 5,534 of the 18,168 (30.5%) $1.555 billion ($241 per motorist) 45%
NORTH DAKOTA 966 of the 4,439 (21.8%) $112 million ($237 per motorist) 44%
OHIO 6,647 of the 27,015 (24.6%) $1.685 billion ($212 per motorist) 42%
OKLAHOMA 5,828 of the 22,912 (25.4%) $978 million ($425 per motorist) 70%
OREGON 1,754 of the 7,656 (22.9%) $495 million ($173 per motorist) 65%
PENNSYLVANIA 9,561 of the 22,660 (42.2%) $2.947 billion ($341 per motorist) 57%
RHODE ISLAND 433 of the 766 (56.5%) $350 million ($467 per motorist) 70%
SOUTH CAROLINA 1,920 of the 9,275 (20.7%) $811 million ($255 per motorist) 40%
SOUTH DAKOTA 1,459 of the 5,875 (24.8%) $194 million ($324 per motorist) 61%
TENNESSEE 3,802 of the 20,058 (19%) $809 million ($182 per motorist) 38%
TEXAS 9,998 of the 52,561 (19%) $5.27 billion ($343 per motorist) 38%
UTAH 437 of the 2,974 (14.7%) $332 million ($197 per motorist) 25%
VERMONT 903 of the 2,731 (33.1%) $230 million ($424 per motorist) 45%
VIRGINIA 3,588 of the 13,765 (26.1%) $1.344 billion ($254 per motorist) 47%
WASHINGTON 2,066 of the 7,902 (26.1%) $1.349 billion ($272 per motorist) 67%
WEST VIRGINIA 2,514 of the 7,125 (35.3%) $372 million ($273 per motorist) 47%
WISCONSIN 1,970 of the 14,088 (14%) $1.147 billion ($281 per motorist) 71%
WYOMING 723 of the 3,099 (23.3%) $96 million ($236 per motorist) 47%

*According to 2013 data from the Federal Highway Administration
**According to the American Society of Civil Engineers 2013 Report Card for America’s Infrastructure

Updated: Thursday, October 13, 2016

EDITORS NOTE: The featured image of a highway at dusk is courtesy of The Daily Signal. Photo: MarioGuti/Getty Images.

The Plot Thickens: Grassley-Graham Letter Sheds New Light on Steele Dossier, Nunes Memo

While politicians, pundits, and the people continue to react to (and spin) the contents of the Nunes memo that was released last Friday, and await the release of the Democrats’ rebuttal, a new document has been released that contains tidbits of illuminating information.

On Jan. 4, Republican Sens. Chuck Grassley, chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, and Lindsey Graham, chairman of the Judiciary Committee’s subcommittee on crime and terrorism, submitted a letter to Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein and FBI Director Chris Wray requesting that they consider investigating Christopher Steele for lying to the FBI, which is a federal crime.

Steele is the former British spy who was hired and paid $160,000 by Fusion GPS, a research company working on behalf of the Clinton campaign and the Democratic National Committee to do opposition research on Donald Trump. Steele is also the individual who produced a dossier that was used to support an application for a warrant to engage in electronic surveillance of Carter Page, a suspected foreign agent (wittingly or unwittingly) of the Russian government who was also working as an unpaid foreign policy adviser for the Trump campaign.

And it is Steele’s credibility, as well as allegations of political bias at senior levels of the FBI, that are the center of this dispute.

Grassley-Graham Memo Informs Our Understanding of Nunes Memo

Attached to that referral letter was an eight-page classified memorandum (“Grassley/Graham memo”) setting forth the basis for the referral. Wray, very much to his credit, has declassified much (but not all) of the information in that memorandum, which has now been released.

The initial application (which was subsequently renewed three times) was filed on October 21, 2016, pursuant to the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act and was signed by a judge on the secretive Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court.

As I wrote in a previous article, Former FBI Director James Comey has testified that the information in the Steele dossier was “unverified” at the time the initial FISA application was submitted, and, according to the Nunes memo, former Deputy Director Andrew McCabe testified before the House intelligence committee that “no surveillance warrant would have been sought from the [Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court] with the Steele dossier information,” suggesting the FBI did not believe probable cause existed based on the information it gathered on its own.

Several Democrats have charged that the Nunes memo mischaracterized McCabe’s testimony and have implied that there was more than enough information in the FISA application to support issuing the warrant without information from the Steele dossier.

In their referral memorandum, Grassley and Graham, who have reviewed all four FISA applications in their entirety, “as well as numerous other FBI documents relating to Steele,” make statements which, assuming they are true, tend to support what is contained in the Nunes memo.

Specifically, the Grassley/Graham memo states that the Steele dossier “formed a significant portion of the FBI’s warrant application,” that the application “relied more heavily on Steele’s credibility than on any independent verification or corroboration for his claims,” and that the basis for the warrant “rests largely” on Steele’s credibility.

The Steele dossier contains explosive allegations that the Russian government, acting under orders from Russian President Vladimir Putin, was carrying out an operation to tilt the election in Trump’s favor and that the Russian government had compromising information of a financial and sexual nature against Trump that could be used to blackmail him at some point in the future.

Why the FBI Trusted Steele

The FBI, it seems, trusted Steele and relied on this information because of his background as a spy and because he had provided the bureau with reliable information on several occasions in the past.

According to the Grassley/Graham memo, the FBI stated in its initial FISA application that, “based on [Steele’s] previous reporting history with the FBI, whereby [Steele] provided reliable information to the FBI, the FBI believes [Steele’s] reporting to be credible.”

While that may have been so in the past, there was plenty of reason to distrust Steele in this case.

In addition to the fact that he was working on behalf of the DNC and Trump’s opponent in the presidential election, Steele detested Trump. A month before the government filed its first FISA application, Steele told Bruce Ohr, a senior Justice Department official whose wife worked for Fusion GPS, that he was “desperate” to see that Trump not win the election.

Moreover, the Steele dossier itself is replete with statement allegedly provided to Steele by various unnamed sources whom Steele claims are or were senior Russian officials or people who were close to them. In other words, the validity of the dossier depended not only on the credibility of the man preparing the dossier (whose credibility was subject to doubt in this case), but also his assessment of the credibility of other unidentified sources who were feeding him information.

Did Clinton Sources Contribute to Steele Dossier?

As disturbing as that is, another revelation in the Grassley/Graham memo is even more concerning.

The memo suggests that some of the information being fed to Steele and included in his dossier did not come from highly-placed Russian sources, but from people associated with the Clintons.

There has been some speculation that this individual may have been Sidney Blumenthal, a former senior adviser to President Bill Clinton and employee of the Clinton Foundation and a long-time close confidant of Hillary Clinton.

As the memo states, “[i]t is troubling enough that the Clinton Campaign funded Mr. Steele’s work, but that these Clinton associates were contemporaneously feeding Mr. Steele allegations raises additional concerns about his credibility.”

Steele’s Relationship With FBI

The nature of the lies that Steele may have told the FBI are also significant.

Given the fact that the information in the Steele dossier was “unverified” and was central to the FISA application, the FBI was looking for some, any, information that might be deemed corroborative. According to the Grassley/Graham memo, at the time of the initial FISA application, Steele had told the FBI that he had not disclosed the contents of his dossier to anyone other than the bureau and Fusion GPS.

Roughly one month beforehand, Yahoo News, presumably doing its own investigative work, published an article that, as the FISA application stated, “generally match[ed] the information about [Carter] Page that [Steele] discovered doing [his] own research … .”

According to the Grassley/Graham memo, the FBI affirmatively stated in the FISA application that it did not believe Steele was the source of the information that appeared in the Yahoo News article, which attributed the source of its information to “a well-placed Western intelligence source … .”

If the Yahoo News source was indeed an independent source, this would be significant, but it wasn’t. Contrary to what he told the FBI, Steele had, in fact, provided information in his dossier to others. The source of the information in the Yahoo News article was Steele himself.

Steele, no doubt anxious to get his revelations into the public domain before the election, was leaking like a sieve. In addition to speaking to Yahoo News, Steele provided background briefings to CNN, The New York Times, The Washington Post, The New Yorker, and possibly other media outlets.

Shortly after the initial FISA warrant was obtained, Mother Jones published its own article in which Steele outed himself as an FBI confidential source, which prompted the FBI to formally terminate Steele’s designation as a trusted source.

Friends of Steele’s have stated that Steele was deeply troubled by what he learned during his investigation of Trump and that he felt like he was “sitting on a nuclear weapon.” Perhaps that was so.

But given the explosive nature of charges, the relationship of the target (Page) to the Trump campaign in the heat of a close election battle, the fact that Steele was paid by (and possibly given unsourced information by) the Clinton campaign, it was incumbent on the FBI to verify as much of this information as it could or, at the very least, to reveal to the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court every bit of information it had that might cast doubt on Steele’s credibility.

In summary, the initial FISA application and, most likely, the renewal applications, relied extensively on the credibility of Steele. Yet in addition to the fact that it failed to disclose the full extent of Steele’s known or potential bias in the initial application, when the FBI learned that Steele had not been truthful during the process, it did not, it seems, tell that to the FISA court.

As Graham has stated: “You can be an FBI informant. You can be a political operative. But you can’t be both, particularly at the same time.”

All attorneys before a court have a duty of candor, which means they must disclose “all material facts known to the lawyer that will enable the tribunal to make an informed decision, whether or not the facts are adverse.” Would the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court judge have signed the warrant if this information had been disclosed? We will never know.

This is, of course, a developing story, and more information will likely be revealed once the memo from Rep. Adam Schiff, D-Calif., is disclosed, assuming that it is disclosed.

Speaking of the Schiff memo, some Democrats have expressed the fear that the president, who must approve the memo’s release, will make “political redactions” to the memo to prevent the disclosure of information that will be unfavorable to him.  And some Republican sources have expressed the fear that the Democrats may have intentionally included highly sensitive information in their memo so that, if redacted by Trump, it would enable them to argue that the president is hiding something.

Let’s hope neither of these is true.

It is, of course, vital that the president protect against the disclosure of sensitive “sources and methods” that could imperil the integrity of current or future national security investigations. That having been said, it is also important that the public get to the bottom of what happened here. As I have previously stated, this “matter should be thoroughly and dispassionately (to the extent that is possible in Washington, D.C.) investigated. The matter is too important to do otherwise.”

COMMENTARY BY

Portrait of John G. Malcolm

John G. Malcolm oversees The Heritage Foundation’s work to increase understanding of the Constitution and the rule of law as director of the think tank’s Edwin Meese III Center for Legal and Judicial Studies. Read his research. Twitter: .

RELATED ARTICLES:

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​The Death Of The Obama Wing Of The Democratic Party

The past few weeks have been devastating for the Democratic Party, its reputation, and its standing among the American people.  As a result of an endless stream of news reports and congressional actions, the American people have learned that the Democratic Party, in collusion with Hillary Clinton and Russian operatives, fabricated a dossier as a guarantee to keep an American citizen from being elected President of the United States.  They learned that the FBI and the Department of Justice, while under the leadership of President Obama, promoted those fabricated misrepresentations while simultaneously protecting Mrs. Clinton from prosecution of her gross violations of federal secrecy laws in her mishandling of classified electronic information.

And as the milieu of corruption and malfeasance revealed itself, no evidence of the collusion Democrats claimed to have taken place between Russian operatives and the Trump Campaign appeared.  On the contrary, the deeper Congress peeled into the issue, the more it appeared that the Democrats were colluding with the Russians to defeat Trump rather than the obverse.

On another front, Democrats worked to oppose a tax cut that would place millions of dollars back into the pockets of average Americans and their businesses.  More offensively they recurrently minimized the importance of those newly found cash savings.  Even as the Democrats foolishly decried the effects of the tax package as inconsequential, or painful to America’s middle class, the nation’s largest employers announced bonuses and increases in entry level wages.  In response, Democrats took to the airwaves and social media, decrying the magnitude of those bonuses as “crumbs,” while the middle class they so adamantly claimed to defend considered those crumbs hugely significant.

The Democrats did not have to take such contrarian positions on any of these issues.  In so doing, however, they positioned themselves as defenders of the Deep State and of its corruption.  Worse yet for the Democrats, they showed themselves to be the very elitist ultra-rich against whom they claim to be advocating.

The fact is that the positions recently taken by Democrats are the result of a faction that has taken control of the Party’s direction and has steered it well away from the views of mainstream America; the Obama Wing of the Democrat Party.  And what we are witnessing with every misguided Democratic argument, every attempt at stopping corruption because of its own protectionism, and every demeaning slight at the intelligence of the American people is the slow, protracted, and howling death cries of that Obama Wing.

The Obama Wing of the Democratic Party is a decidedly anti-American faction that has conflated its calls for workers’ rights and social mobility with a rabid anti-capitalistic position that disparages self reliance.  It is a Wing claiming that nothing you can do is achievable on your own, (“It takes a village.”), but rather is facilitated and made possible only by the presence of government.  It is a faction that effortlessly moves beyond the constraints of the law to suit its own self-propagation, doing so for two reasons.  First because the law ought not apply to them since they know what’s best for the rest of us, and second, because, above all, it is important that they protect themselves against attacks from their political enemies.

You say these views are antithetical to the United States Constitution and to those foundational principles giving rise to the most exceptional nation in the history of earth?  Why, yes!  But since when are those documents and principles more important than the self-righteousness of the positions espoused by Obama Democrats?

From this attitude, we get a President who believes it is within his authority to decide when the Senate is or is not in session just so he can make a recess appointment.  We get a President who shamelessly says that if Congress doesn’t solve a particular policy problem he will even though the Constitution never gave the President of the United States the authority to pass this nation’s laws.  And we get a faction believing it is okay for the federal government to force people to purchase a product, even if they don’t believe they need it.

So far, the Obama Wing of the Democratic Party merely sounds like a typical liberal faction.  But there’s more!  This faction believes the United States is the source of great evils in the world rather than its most hopeful solution.  In its Orwellian stance, it believes there is such a thing as leading from behind, and that such a thing ought not to be construed as cowardice.  And it believes it is okay to abandon America’s allies in an attempt to appease its most rabid enemies.

It is also a faction believing that every social strife ought to be properly seen through the lens of blacks versus white.  There can be no justice, says the Obama Wing of the Democratic Party, unless “white people” are struck down at the expense of “people of color,” concepts irreconcilably antithetical to human rights and civil justice.

Strangely, ever since the rise of the Obama Wing of the Democratic Party, the rank and file Democrat has felt it necessary to defend these espoused concepts.  Instead of acknowledging the misguided and inherently hateful positions of this terrible epoch in American politics, they instead continue to defend it, hastening their descent into the quicksand of their amorality.

There is only one outcome for this wing and the path it has charted.  But as long as the Democrats continue to defend it, we will continue to see its demise as a party of influence in the United States.  Oh yes, it may make some progress in a midterm election here and there, and it will continue to make noise.  But overall, its sphere of influence will continue to shrink, and its voice will become increasingly shrill.

The only question is, how painful and protracted will this stubborn and egoistic demise be.  Maybe we can ask Congressman Gutierrez.

EDITORS NOTE: The column originally appeared in The Federalist Pages.

How Democrats Used the FBI to Spy on Two Men accused of Russian Collusion: Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and Donald J. Trump

George Santayana wrote, “Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.”

With the ongoing revelations that Americans were the targets of Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) surveillance during the 2016 presidential primary process and after the presidential election, this quote deserves to be repeated. Why? Because this is the second case of an administration run by a President from the Democratic Party that has done this.

The first example happened 63 years ago when the FBI spied on Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. At that time the President was John F. Kennedy and his brother Robert was the Attorney General.

According to the Stanford University website:

The U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) began monitoring Martin Luther King, Jr., in December 1955, during his involvement with the Montgomery bus boycott, and engaged in covert operations against him throughout the 1960s. FBI director J. Edgar Hoover was personally hostile toward King, believing that the civil rights leader was influenced by Communists. This animosity increased after April 1964, when King called the FBI ‘‘completely ineffectual in resolving the continued mayhem and brutality inflicted upon the Negro in the deep South’’ (King, 23 April 1964). Under the FBI’s domestic counterintelligence program (COINTELPRO) King was subjected to various kinds of FBI surveillance that produced alleged evidence of extramarital affairs, though no evidence of Communist influence. [Emphasis added]

Fast forward to today. There are numerous reports of animosity and open hostility toward President Donald J. Trump by senior members of the FBI during the administration of former President Barack Obama. These senior members to date include: former FBI Director James Comey, former Chief of the Counterespionage Section Peter P. Strzok II, Strzok’s mistress former FBI senior council Lisa Page, former Deputy Associate Attorney General Bruce Ohr and former Deputy Director of the FBI Andrew McCabe.

The FBI spying on Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and Donald J. Trump, both Republicans and both critical of the FBI, was done for “political” reasons. Both cases involved “suspicion” of Russian collusion.

History has vindicated Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr of any Russian collusion. The investigation against President Trump is ongoing.

The Permanent House Committee on Intelligence is conducting an ongoing investigation into the possible misuse and abuse of FISA warrants and the secret FISA court system. According to RedState.com:

Despite attempts by Democrats to almost immediately declare the House Intelligence Committee memo on possible abuse by the FBI and DOJ the work of Republicans who just wanted “to demolish the separation between politics and the fair administration of justice,” Rep. Trey Gowdy (primary author of the memo) has indicated the agency is not in the crosshairs — but roughly five agents definitely are.

The Permanent House Committee on Intelligence voted unanimously to release a second memo written by Rep. Adam Bennett Schiff (D-CA District 28) the committee’s minority chairman. This second memo, like the first, is going through the process of being reviewed to insure no intelligence procedures and sources are reveled. President Trump has five days to review and release it. There are already expectations that a third memo is being prepared for release.

The more memos released the more Americans will learn about how Americans can be swept up into a system of domestic spying, legally and illegally.

It is important that once this episode is over that we do not repeat it, ever again.

RELATED ARTICLES:

Declassified Memo Shows DOJ Worked to ‘Tip the Scales of Justice,’ Lawmaker Says

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Democrats and FBI Abuses

Obama’s Bunker Festers in The Swamp

Once upon a time a seasoned political operative ran for President of the United States against a candidate who had virtually no political experience.

She––Democrat Ms. Hillary Clinton––former First Lady of Arkansas, former First Lady of the United States, former U.S. Senator from New York, former Secretary of State under the faux “president” Barack Obama, was clearly the favorite.

Her opponent––Republican Mr. Donald J. Trump––the billionaire builder who lived in the American version of the Palace of Versailles in Manhattan and in several other resplendent homes around the country and the world, who hosted two wildly successful TV shows, who owned casinos and built golf courses and was a favorite of tabloid magazines, and who had been lionized and courted by the Hollywood crowd, the media whores, and both Democrats and Republicans for his generous contributions, was the clear loser.

Ha ha ha sputtered the political experts. The idea that this neophyte, this (pardon the expression) capitalist could go up against a representative of the outgoing Big Government regime––which brought us socialized medicine (Obamacare) and socialized education (Common Core) and 94-million unemployed Americans and strangulating regulations and horrific trade deals and a foreign policy that bowed deeply to our enemies and spit in the faces of our faithful allies––well that just struck the experts as preposterous.

With the powerful Clinton Machine behind her, the endorsement of the outgoing faux “president,” the immense help of rigged-election experts like ACORN, the incalculable assistance of a bought-and-paid-for leftwing media, and with the good-old-reliable votes of feminists and blacks and Hispanics and gays and all the other groups that stupidly believe Democrats have helped them over the past 60 years, Hillary had no competition at all.

THE BEST-KEPT SECRET      

The cocky Hillary supporters believed that millions of deplorable Americans failed to notice their candidate’s frequent coughing fits, the help she needed simply to ascend three stairs, her peculiar head-bobbing spasms, the cringe-producing effect of her strident voice, and her frequent absences from the campaign trail, not to mention her promising more of the same socialist-cum-communist policies that had failed so miserably for the previous eight years..

They also failed to realize that her opponent had hired an extremely savvy pollster.

That pollster told candidate Trump, on a daily and sometimes hourly basis, how Americans throughout the country were responding to his America First message. And it was all good. And it was a secret that the entire Trump Team kept to themselves.

Or so they thought. But the information that was so damning for Hillary’s candidacy apparently reached the corrupt upper echelons of Obama’s Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and Department of Justice (DOJ), and scared them enough to hatch an illegal, seditious, unconstitutional plot to derail the Trump candidacy and, failing that, the Trump presidency.

For months on end, fake polls, as reported by fake news shills, told us that Hillary was a slam-dunk. Right up to 8 p.m. on the night of November 8, 2016, when the entire leftwing media started to wipe the avalanche of egg yolks dripping down their faces.

TRYING TO BRING DOWN A PRESIDENT

To those of us who supported Mr. Trump from the beginning––I wrote an article back in 2011 entitled “Trump is Already Running the Country”––it was clear that every now and then in American history, someone comes along to save our country from those who hate it.

FDR is in this category, bolstering America’s spirits through the worst Depression in our history and a devastating World War (although I personally revile Roosevelt for condemning six-million Jews to annihilation when he could and should have bombed the concentration camps in Germany and Poland to which Hitler condemned his defenseless victims).

Abraham Lincoln is in this category, miraculously uniting our country after the ferocious Civil War that almost tore it apart.

President Trump belongs in this category, accomplishing more that is good for America in one year in office than any chief executive in our history––all while the clinically hysterical liberals in the media and among the populace continued to beleaguer, hound, protest, vilify, insult and harass him, and when ill-intentioned actors from Obama’s DOJ and FBI put their malevolent plot into action, a plot that accused both candidate and President Trump of colluding with Russians to swing the election his way.

To this malicious end, they did the following:

  • Hired British spy Christopher Steele (who admitted in writing that he “hated” candidate Trump) to create a phony story about the Republican candidate being in a Russian hotel engaging is raunchy acts with a prostitute;
  • Hired the political opposition-research group Fusion GPS to distribute the phony info.
  • Paid for this sham scenario with multimillions of dollars from both Hillary’s campaign coffers and the Democratic National Committee’s monies;
  • Went to the judges of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court to apply for a search warrant without informing the judges about (1) the Trump-loathing spy’s bias, and (2) who paid for the warrant. By the way, who are these judges and exactly who appointed them???
  • Obtained the warrant which allowed the partisan hacks from Obama’s DOJ and FBI to conduct a more than year-long collusion investigation which produced NOTHING!
  • Oops… make that something. It produced hard, cold, concrete, irrefutable, and to my mind indictable evidence that the people who were in collusion were––ta da––the corrupt upper echelon of the DOJ and FBI who lied to the FISA judges, as well as Hillary Clinton who as Sec. of State gave 20 percent of U.S. uranium to the Russians (similar to her husband Bill giving nukes to North Korea and their ideological clone Barack Obama giving nukes to Iran!).

WHAT’S MISSING FROM THIS PICTURE?

For well over a year, we’ve had the fishy FISA memo, former FBI director James Comey being accused of covering up Hillary’s crimes, the witch hunt of President Trump by another former FBI director Robert Mueller, CA Democrat Adam Schiff’s manic attempts to impeach the president, the media’s narcotizing anti-Trump talking points, and the few lone voices––vox clamantis en deserto––in the conservative media, but what do they all have in common? What is missing?

  • Not outrage…they are all outraged.
  • Not accusations…the right blames the left and the left blames the right.
  • Not plain talk…conservative Sean Hannity has been clear as a bell, as are the leftist bought-and-paid-for shills on every leftwing news outlet, both electronic and print.

While all of them pointed fingers, cast blame, railed against the “system” they thought was crooked or biased or partisan, the elephant in the room––the subject they never raised, the person they never mentioned as the arch architect of the entire illegal corrupt plan to derail the Trump presidency––BARACK OBAMA!

Does anyone really believe that FISA warrants can be submitted or obtained by any underling in the American government? Of course not! That request has to come––or at least be approved––directly from the Oval Office.

Does anyone really believe that the anti-Trump talking points, rallies, vigils, disparaging articles, and orchestrated hatred is spontaneous? Of course not! They come directly from groups like Organizing For America, which was formed by the former community organizer Barack Obama with the express intent of dismantling traditional American institutions and converting them into the socialist and communist regimes they most admire.

According to journalist and author Paul Sperry, Obama sent a message to his “troops” saying that he “was heartened by anti-Trump protests. Yes,” says Sperry, “Obama has an army of agitators — numbering more than 30,000— who will fight his Republican successor at every turn of his historic presidency. And Obama will command them from a bunker less than two miles from the White House.”

Ah… the bitterness.

A FEW EXCEPTIONS

To their credit, a few people––so far––have cited Obama as a central player––probably the central player––in the Russian-collusion fiasco. As CanadaFreePress.com editor Judi McLeod has written, “One day after the release of the Memo, we should all be asking, `Where is Obama?’ Why is he so stonily silent…? The answer is that the scurrilous Obama, just like Steele, went into hiding. The Memo proves that the FBI is not just part of a USA intelligence apparatus that systematically spies on its own American citizenry, it paid…for filth completely made up by a foreign agent with whom they were in tight ‘Hate Donald Trump’ league.”

Daniel Greenfield, in an article entitled The Memo Reveals the Coup against America, writes that “the Democrats and the media spent a week lying to the American people about the `memo’”…claiming its release  would be damaging to America’s spying and even treasonous. But “they didn’t mean American spying methods––they meant Obama’s spying methods.”

“The memo isn’t treasonous,” Greenfield continues. “It reveals a treasonous effort by the Democrats to use our intelligence agencies to rig an election and overturn the will of the voters. Today, the media and Dems switched from claiming that the memo was full of `classified information’ that might get CIA agents killed to insisting that it was a dud and didn’t matter. Oh what tangled webs we weave when first we practice to deceive.”

And the other night the Fox News moderator Jesse Watters called out Obama for his significant role in this orgy of corruption.

But where are the other voices to identify the virulence––and jealousy––of the anti-Trump minions? And particularly Barack Obama’s role?

As I wrote in a former article, “James Comey and the Stinking Fish Factor”––“Whether it’s in industry or the military or sports or show business, if failure occurs, it’s always the top dog who is accountable. Not the assembly line worker or the buck private or the third baseman who calls the shots, but the one who occupies the ultimate seat of power. Look at what happened at the Democratic National Committee…the Chief Executive Officer, Chief Financial Officer, Chief of Communications, and Chairwoman all resigned because of the hacking that proved the DNC to be both crooked and racist.”

So it is with the putative head of the Democrat Party, Barack Obama. And it’s not just jealousy or ideology that drives his obsession––it’s fear! All the honchos under Obama––John Kerry, Hillary Clinton, James Comey, Loretta Lynch, John Podesta, Obama himself, the list is long––quake with dread that their own scandals, acts of malfeasance, controversies, and possible illegalities will be unearthed and come to light during the Trump years and they will all be frog-marched straight into Leavenworth…hence the mad quest to frame the president and get him out of office.

They should be afraid. And they should be remorseful for their shabby tactics and constitutional violations. But if Hillary Clinton is any example of the left’s craven sociopathy––and I think she is the prime example––the American public can expect no apologies and no regrets but rather the same evasions, deceptions and lies that the Obama gang raised to an art form during his ignominious eight years in office.

In fact, not only is Hillary credited with creating the Russian-collusion fakery but as writer Mark Tapscott so thoroughly documents, the Clintons have been using the FBI against their enemies for years.

It is doubtful that when candidate Trump promised to “drain the swamp,” he had even an inkling of the vast number of slithering, predatory, reptilian creatures who inhabited that toxic environment. But being the smartest guy in the room, and a quick study at that, you can bet that he will decontaminate the place as swiftly as he pushed through the biggest tax and jobs bill in history.

For that he will gain the eternal gratitude of the American people, a huge majority of the candidates he endorses in the midterms, and a thunderous reelection in 2020.

The Gun Industry’s Surprising Take on the Trump Administration

After eight years of President Barack Obama, you’d think that firearms owners—and the entire firearms industry—would be dancing with joy at the presidency of Donald Trump.

Certainly, it was great to hear the president speak up for the Second Amendment in his State of the Union address. But as I learned at this year’s SHOT—Shooting, Hunting, and Outdoor Trades—Show, which wrapped up last week in Las Vegas, it’s more complicated than that.

The SHOT Show, organized by the National Shooting Sports Foundation, the trade association for the firearms industry, is the best place to take the temperature of the world of American firearms. With 12 miles of displays and a seemingly endless crush of attendees, it’s a well-organized melee of manufacturers, importers, exporters, advocates, retailers—and, of course, firearms enthusiasts.

But this year, the enthusiasm of the enthusiasts was notably muted.

There’s little doubt that the majority of SHOT Show attendees prefer Trump, personally and professionally. Obama made it clear that he didn’t like the firearms business, or firearms owners, and it’s never pleasant to know that the man in the White House hates your passion and your livelihood.

But in practice, Obama was a gift to the firearms industry, as fear of what he would do drove gun sales to previously unimaginable heights and put millions of guns in American homes.

So the relief the industry felt at his departure—and Hillary Clinton’s defeat—was tempered by the reality that it would likely hurt sales, which in turn was coupled with the hope that Trump would back reforms that the firearms industry has been clamoring for.

As of today, the sales pain is a reality—but the industry’s hopes for reform have not been fulfilled. Indeed, in some respects, things are worse now than they were in 2016.

Gun Sales

Like almost everyone else, the firearms industry was anticipating a Clinton win, in anticipation of which a lot of the industry filled its order pipeline. Now, with lots of orders placed and with sales on the wane, the industry is shaking out.

This is an old pattern in the firearms industry, which appears to be unable to kick its addiction to the sales seesaw. Back in 1994, for instance, a bump in sales—caused by President Bill Clinton’s “assault weapon ban”—was followed by a collapse over the following years.

Today, collapse is much too strong a word, but decline certainly is not.

In 2016, according to adjusted figures from the National Shooting Sports Foundation, there were 15.7 million background checks on the National Instant Criminal Background Check System, which federally licensed firearms dealers use to determine if a prospective buyer is allowed to purchase a firearm.

By comparison, in 2017 there were only 13.96 million checks. Imports, which normally make up about a third of the market, are down almost 30 percent, year on year.

And according to a 2017 National Shooting Sports Foundation study conducted with Responsive Management, the surge of participation in shooting activities before 2014 fell back down in 2016, while hunting has continued its long-term retreat. In 1981, there were 17.5 million active hunters in the U.S., while in 2016, despite a larger population, there were only 11.5 million.

Increasingly, shooting is done on a range, by an urban, suburban, and more female constituency. Still, shooting participation overall remains higher than it was a decade ago—and those millions of new Obama gun owners are a constituency that gives the industry a higher baseline, if they can be mobilized as regular shooters and voters.

The State of Reforms

On the reforms side, the pattern is even less happy.

Like every highly regulated industry, the firearms industry has a long wish list. But none of the five items that top the list are visibly much further along now than they were a year ago.

Export control reform, of which the National Shooting Sports Foundation has been a stalwart proponent, has still not brought commercial firearms and ammunition from the purview of the State Department over to the control of the Commerce Department. And the U.S. signature is still on the Arms Trade Treaty, which remains as unworkable as it is unwise.

Legislatively, the picture is even less appealing. The Hearing Protection Act is stuck in the House. The bill would eliminate the transfer tax on firearms suppressors (which some inaccurately call “silencers”) and—in effect—remove the devices from the purview of the National Firearms Act, which is mostly for weapons such as machine guns and short-barreled shotguns. Only the U.S. places suppressors in the same class with machine guns. In most of Europe, suppressors are an off-the-shelf purchase.

The Concealed Carry Reciprocity Act, meanwhile, is stuck in the Senate. The bill would make a concealed carry license in one state effective in all the states that allow it.

Finally, there’s the Fix NICS Act, the fruit of a National Shooting Sports Foundation campaign dating back to 2013, which would make the National Instant Criminal Background Check System more reliable by including more mental health records—and which has still not received the bipartisan push over the goal line that it deserves.

On the subject of the background check system, I’m always astonished by what I learn about firearms regulation at the SHOT Show. Today, as a result of the terrible Vegas shooting, banning “bump stocks”—which give a semi-automatic weapon the firing speed of a fully-automatic one—is the latest anti-gun silver bullet.

But yet, as attendees at a National Shooting Sports Foundation seminar on the background check system were told, there are still federal departments out there that will respond to FBI queries related to the system only if the FBI writes them an old-fashioned letter.

Federal firearms dealers are allowed to go through with a sale if the National Instant Criminal Background Check System fails to respond within three business days, meaning that some system checks happen only after the fact, at which time it becomes the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives’ duty to recover the sold firearm.

Instead of panicking about bump stocks, perhaps Congress should require all federal agencies to make timely replies to National Instant Criminal Background Check System inquiries from the FBI.

What the Trump Administration Has Done

The really troubling part of the Trump administration, though, isn’t so much what it has failed to do, but what it has actively done.

In November, Attorney General Jeff Sessions released a memo forbidding the Department of Justice (in most cases) from avoiding notice and comment rule-making—a wise policy in general, but a problem for the firearms industry, which is regulated in large part by the ATF on the basis of administrative determinations.

ATF overcame that barrier—its actions are individual adjudications, and thus allowed by the Sessions memo—but not before ATF had ground to a halt for some time.

The fundamental problem, though, is the same one that has bedeviled the Trump administration throughout its tenure: a lack of appointed leadership in the federal agencies. The result has been to hand considerable power to permanent government bureaucrats, and virtually no one in the industry is happy about how that power has been used.

As Johanna Reeves, executive director of the FAIR Trade Group—the industry association of firearms importers and exporters—puts it, “Obama has more power now than when he was president.”

Throw in the fact that the most experienced and knowledgeable civil servants who once oversaw the export control process have retired or resigned, and the result is a lot of change that the industry doesn’t like.

On the ATF side, the industry is concerned that regulations to eliminate bump stocks will end up capturing all semi-automatic firearms, and they are alarmed by the prospect that ATF inspections of federal firearms licensees might start to piggy-back off the Pentagon’s much more intrusive oversight of defense contractors.

In the here and now, a series of decisions in the State Department’s Directorate of Defense Trade Controls has added to the burden of obtaining export licenses for minor parts and components and different calibers of ammunition, and—perhaps as a result—processing times have slowed. Licenses for exports to Canada used to take two to three days. They now take 10. Some licenses for exports to Europe are now taking 30 days to process.

All these changes at the State Department come at a time when, the industry hopes, the process of export control reform is crawling toward a resolution—which implies that the logical thing for State to do is to make no changes before it hands the business over to the Commerce Department.

Reportedly, the only major sticking point now between State and Commerce is State’s desire that Congress continue to be notified of all firearms exports worth more than $1 million—a sticking point that should be eminently solvable.

The advantage of export control reform for State is that it will substantially reduce the number of license applications it has to process. The advantages for the industry include the fact that quite a few foreign purchasers are unwilling to buy anything that is subject to U.S. export controls, as the compliance processes on the foreign side are as onerous as they are on the U.S. exporter.

But today, the firearms industry is in the worst of all possible worlds: State is focused on the supposed “crown jewels” (like tanks) that remain under its control, and commercial firearm exports are getting caught up in that increased scrutiny. This wasn’t how export control reform was supposed to work.

What is missing here is political and administrative leadership—leadership to finish off export control reform and to press ahead with at least a couple of the other reforms.

Hope for Action

National Instant Criminal Background Check System reform should appeal even to gun-hating liberals in Congress, and Trump can unsign the Arms Trade Treaty on his own. Concealed carry reciprocity and the Hearing Protection Act may well take longer, but as the firearms industry knows all too well, eternal vigilance is the price not just of freedom, but even of modest reform.

Right now, however, weakening sales, no public steps forward, and quite a few small administrative steps back make for an unpleasant combination. It’s all well and good knowing that the man in the White House is fundamentally on your side, yet kind wishes don’t pay the bills.

In the realm of firearms, the Trump administration isn’t endearing itself to either its opponents or its supporters. It’s certainly not too late for it to do better, and as I commented earlier, 2018 could be a great year for American gunmakers, sellers, and buyers. But if progress doesn’t arrive before next year’s SHOT Show, the outlook, both administratively and politically, could be a great deal darker.

COMMENTARY BY

Portrait of Ted Bromund

Ted R. Bromund, Ph.D., is the Margaret Thatcher senior research fellow at The Heritage Foundation. Read his research. Twitter: .

A Note for our Readers:

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All Roads….

Once upon a time a seasoned political operative ran for President of the United States against a candidate who had virtually no political experience.

She––Democrat Ms. Hillary Clinton––former First Lady of Arkansas, former First Lady of the United States, former U.S. Senator from New York, former Secretary of State under the faux “president” Barack Obama, was clearly the favorite.

Her opponent––Republican Mr. Donald J. Trump––the billionaire builder who lived in the American version of the Palace of Versailles in Manhattan and in several other resplendent homes around the country and the world, who hosted two wildly successful TV shows, who owned casinos and built golf courses and was a favorite of tabloid magazines, and who had been lionized and courted by the Hollywood crowd, the media whores, and both Democrats and Republicans for his generous contributions, was the clear loser.

Ha ha ha sputtered the political experts. The idea that this neophyte, this (pardon the expression) capitalist could go up against a representative of the outgoing Big Government regime––which brought us socialized medicine (Obamacare) and socialized education (Common Core) and 94-million unemployed Americans and strangulating regulations and horrific trade deals and a foreign policy that bowed deeply to our enemies and spit in the faces of our faithful allies––well that just struck the experts as preposterous.

With the powerful Clinton Machine behind her, the endorsement of the outgoing faux “president,” the immense help of rigged-election experts like ACORN, the incalculable assistance of a bought-and-paid-for leftwing media, and with the good-old-reliable votes of feminists and blacks and Hispanics and gays and all the other groups that stupidly believe Democrats have helped them over the past 60 years, Hillary had no competition at all.

THE BEST-KEPT SECRET      

The cocky Hillary supporters believed that millions of deplorable Americans failed to notice their candidate’s frequent coughing fits, the help she needed simply to ascend three stairs, her peculiar head-bobbing spasms, the cringe-producing effect of her strident voice, and her frequent absences from the campaign trail, not to mention her promising more of the same socialist-cum-communist policies that had failed so miserably for the previous eight years..

They also failed to realize that her opponent had hired an extremely savvy pollster.

That pollster told candidate Trump, on a daily and sometimes hourly basis, how Americans throughout the country were responding to his America First message. And it was all good. And it was a secret that the entire Trump Team kept to themselves.

Or so they thought. But the information that was so damning for Hillary’s candidacy apparently reached the corrupt upper echelons of Obama’s Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and Department of Justice (DOJ), and scared them enough to hatch an illegal, seditious, unconstitutional plot to derail the Trump candidacy and, failing that, the Trump presidency.

For months on end, fake polls, as reported by fake news shills, told us that Hillary was a slam-dunk. Right up to 8 p.m. on the night of November 8, 2016, when the entire leftwing media started to wipe the avalanche of egg yolks dripping down their faces.

Best 2016 Election Night Compilation Video:

TRYING TO BRING DOWN A PRESIDENT

To those of us who supported Mr. Trump from the beginning––I wrote an article back in 2011 entitled “Trump is Already Running the Country”––it was clear that every now and then in American history, someone comes along to save our country from those who hate it.

FDR is in this category, bolstering America’s spirits through the worst Depression in our history and a devastating World War (although I personally revile Roosevelt for condemning six-million Jews to annihilation when he could and should have bombed the concentration camps in Germany and Poland to which Hitler condemned his defenseless victims).

Abraham Lincoln is in this category, miraculously uniting our country after the ferocious Civil War that almost tore it apart.

President Trump belongs in this category, accomplishing more that is good for America in one year in office than any chief executive in our history––all while the clinically hysterical liberals in the media and among the populace continued to beleaguer, hound, protest, vilify, insult and harass him, and when ill-intentioned actors from Obama’s DOJ and FBI put their malevolent plot into action, a plot that accused both candidate and President Trump of colluding with Russians to swing the election his way.

To this malicious end, they did the following:

  • Hired British spy Christopher Steele (who admitted in writing that he “hated” candidate Trump) to create a phony story about the Republican candidate being in a Russian hotel engaging is raunchy acts with a prostitute;
  • Hired the political opposition-research group Fusion GPS to distribute the phony info.
  • Paid for this sham scenario with multimillions of dollars from both Hillary’s campaign coffers and the Democratic National Committee’s monies;
  • Went to the judges of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court to apply for a search warrant without informing the judges about (1) the Trump-loathing spy’s bias, and (2) who paid for the warrant. By the way, who are these judges and exactly who appointed them???
  • Obtained the warrant which allowed the partisan hacks from Obama’s DOJ and FBI to conduct a more than year-long collusion investigation which produced NOTHING!
  • Oops… make that something. It produced hard, cold, concrete, irrefutable, and to my mind indictable evidence that the people who were in collusion were––ta da––the corrupt upper echelon of the DOJ and FBI who lied to the FISA judges, as well as Hillary Clinton who as Sec. of State gave 20 percent of U.S. uranium to the Russians (similar to her husband Bill giving nukes to North Korea and their ideological clone Barack Obama giving nukes to Iran!).

WHAT’S MISSING FROM THIS PICTURE?

For well over a year, we’ve had the fishy FISA memo, former FBI director James Comey being accused of covering up Hillary’s crimes, the witch hunt of President Trump by another former FBI director Robert Mueller, CA Democrat Adam Schiff’s manic attempts to impeach the president, the media’s narcotizing anti-Trump talking points, and the few lone voices––vox clamantis en deserto––in the conservative media, but what do they all have in common? What is missing?

  • Not outrage…they are all outraged.
  • Not accusations…the right blames the left and the left blames the right.
  • Not plain talk…conservative Sean Hannity has been clear as a bell, as are the leftist bought-and-paid-for shills on every leftwing news outlet, both electronic and print.

While all of them pointed fingers, cast blame, railed against the “system” they thought was crooked or biased or partisan, the elephant in the room––the subject they never raised, the person they never mentioned as the arch architect of the entire illegal corrupt plan to derail the Trump presidency––BARACK OBAMA!

Does anyone really believe that FISA warrants can be submitted or obtained by any underling in the American government? Of course not! That request has to come––or at least be approved––directly from the Oval Office.

Does anyone really believe that the anti-Trump talking points, rallies, vigils, disparaging articles, and orchestrated hatred is spontaneous? Of course not! They come directly from groups like Organizing For America, which was formed by the former community organizer Barack Obama with the express intent of dismantling traditional American institutions and converting them into the socialist and communist regimes they most admire.

According to journalist and author Paul Sperry, Obama sent a message to his “troops” saying that he “was heartened by anti-Trump protests. Yes,” says Sperry, “Obama has an army of agitators — numbering more than 30,000— who will fight his Republican successor at every turn of his historic presidency. And Obama will command them from a bunker less than two miles from the White House.”

Ah… the bitterness.

A FEW EXCEPTIONS

To their credit, a few people––so far––have cited Obama as a central player––probably the central player––in the Russian-collusion fiasco. As CanadaFreePress.com editor Judi McLeod has written, “One day after the release of the Memo, we should all be asking, `Where is Obama?’ Why is he so stonily silent…? The answer is that the scurrilous Obama, just like Steele, went into hiding. The Memo proves that the FBI is not just part of a USA intelligence apparatus that systematically spies on its own American citizenry, it paid…for filth completely made up by a foreign agent with whom they were in tight ‘Hate Donald Trump’ league.”

Daniel Greenfield, in an article entitled The Memo Reveals the Coup against America, writes that “the Democrats and the media spent a week lying to the American people about the `memo’”…claiming its release  would be damaging to America’s spying and even treasonous. But “they didn’t mean American spying methods––they meant Obama’s spying methods.”

“The memo isn’t treasonous,” Greenfield continues. “It reveals a treasonous effort by the Democrats to use our intelligence agencies to rig an election and overturn the will of the voters. Today, the media and Dems switched from claiming that the memo was full of `classified information’ that might get CIA agents killed to insisting that it was a dud and didn’t matter. Oh what tangled webs we weave when first we practice to deceive.”

And the other night the Fox News moderator Jesse Watters called out Obama for his significant role in this orgy of corruption.

But where are the other voices to identify the virulence––and jealousy––of the anti-Trump minions? And particularly Barack Obama’s role?

As I wrote in a former article, “James Comey and the Stinking Fish Factor”––“Whether it’s in industry or the military or sports or show business, if failure occurs, it’s always the top dog who is accountable. Not the assembly line worker or the buck private or the third baseman who calls the shots, but the one who occupies the ultimate seat of power. Look at what happened at the Democratic National Committee…the Chief Executive Officer, Chief Financial Officer, Chief of Communications, and Chairwoman all resigned because of the hacking that proved the DNC to be both crooked and racist.”

So it is with the putative head of the Democrat Party, Barack Obama. And it’s not just jealousy or ideology that drives his obsession––it’s fear! All the honchos under Obama––John Kerry, Hillary Clinton, James Comey, Loretta Lynch, John Podesta, Obama himself, the list is long––quake with dread that their own scandals, acts of malfeasance, controversies, and possible illegalities will be unearthed and come to light during the Trump years and they will all be frog-marched straight into Leavenworth…hence the mad quest to frame the president and get him out of office.

They should be afraid. And they should be remorseful for their shabby tactics and constitutional violations. But if Hillary Clinton is any example of the left’s craven sociopathy––and I think she is the prime example––the American public can expect no apologies and no regrets but rather the same evasions, deceptions and lies that the Obama gang raised to an art form during his ignominious eight years in office.

In fact, not only is Hillary credited with creating the Russian-collusion fakery but as writer Mark Tapscott so thoroughly documents, the Clintons have been using the FBI against their enemies for years.

It is doubtful that when candidate Trump promised to “drain the swamp,” he had even an inkling of the vast number of slithering, predatory, reptilian creatures who inhabited that toxic environment. But being the smartest guy in the room, and a quick study at that, you can bet that he will decontaminate the place as swiftly as he pushed through the biggest tax and jobs bill in history.

For that he will gain the eternal gratitude of the American people, a huge majority of the candidates he endorses in the midterms, and a thunderous reelection in 2020.

END

Is Moscow ‘Deep State’ HQ? by Cliff Kincaid

Putting “America First” is a worthwhile goal. But it cannot be done without purging the Deep State operatives who protected Obama and then investigating the communist-Muslim network that spawned the Obama presidency. Soviet/Russian moles in the CIA and FBI have included Aldrich Ames, Harold Nicholson, and Robert Hanssen. We have a right to know if others exist, and if Obama was among them.

A reporter from Bloomberg called recently about complaints that television producer Jerry Kenney and I had made years ago regarding the operations of Moscow-funded Russia Today (RT) television. Kenney challenged Obama’s Department of Justice to register RT as a foreign agent of influence in the U.S. I challenged the Federal Election Commission to sanction RT for interfering in the 2012 U.S. presidential election. The Bloomberg reporter was curious about the complaints because of the brouhaha that has now transpired over Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election.

This is the first time I have ever received an inquiry from a mainstream media reporter about these matters. I told the reporter the current Russia-gate controversy involves partisan politics, since the Obama Administration could have acted on our complaints many years ago and decided not to do so. We’ll see if she follows up on that.

“Draining the Swamp” sounds good in theory. In practice, it means that heads will have to roll. And, yet, at this stage in his presidency, it looks like Trump’s head is the only one on the chopping block. The Swamp will win unless America demands a real course correction.

The evidence demonstrates that the investigation of Trump, unleashed by Obama and his operatives as he was leaving the White House, was a disinformation operation using our own intelligence agencies that came to rely in part on Russian sources in the notorious Trump Dossier. This document was passed along by Senator John McCain to then-FBI Director James Comey and written by a former British spy working for Hillary Clinton supporters. All of this is known and based on facts in the public record. There has been some limited congressional interest in the FBI’s handling of this document and who was behind it. But answers have been slow in coming.

The rationale for going after Trump as a Russian agent was a clever maneuver on the part of Obama, Hillary, and their Russian backers. The Russians did not want their influence operations in the Obama Administration exposed. You may recall that Anna Chapman, a sexy Russian spy, was accused of seducing an unnamed cabinet official in the Obama administration in an effort to obtain classified information. She was one of several Russian agents caught and quickly expelled from the U.S. in 2010.

Thanks to McCain and the Russian-fed dossier, the calculated change in focus to Trump has preoccupied official Washington, D.C. for the first year of the Trump presidency. Of course, McCain will also go down in history as the Republican presidential candidate who, in running against Obama for president in 2008, was advised by the GOP establishment not to call the first-term Senator from Illinois a socialist. McCain had also admonished a supporter who questioned Obama’s Muslim background and sympathies. His presidential campaign was a disaster, paving the way for the election of America’s first Marxist president.

As Trump finds himself under fire for his alleged Russian connections, Obama has personally benefited enormously, as the matter of his own service to the Russians (and that of his Secretary of State Hillary Clinton) has become a non-issue. The Obama/Clinton Administration worked hand-in-glove with the Russians by resetting U.S.-Russian relations, bringing the Vladimir Putin regime into the G-8 and the World Trade Organization, making a nuclear arms deal with Moscow, and the Uranium One scandal selling 20 percent of American uranium assets to a Russian company. In addition, Obama worked with the Russians to conceive the flawed Iranian nuclear arms deal. Obama had ridiculed his 2012 Republican presidential opponent, Mitt Romney, for saying Russia was still a threat.

Now, as the Russia-gate Special Counsel and former FBI director Robert S. Mueller zeroes in on Trump, the Senate is planning a hearing on two bipartisan bills to protect Mueller from being fired by Trump. One bill has been introduced by Senators Lindsey Graham (R-SC) and Cory Booker (D-NJ), while the other has been introduced by Senators Thom Tillis (R-NC) and Chris Coons (D-DE).

Meanwhile, Obama has returned to the national and global stage, speaking to Wall Street fat cats and collecting millions of dollars for his Obama Foundation from such corporations as Bill Gates’ Microsoft. Obama gave Gates and his wife Melinda a Presidential Medal of Freedom last year, before leaving office, and just appeared with them at the 2017 Goalkeepers event in New York City, which was hosted by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. It is designed to promote the “sustainable development” or global socialist goals of the United Nations, whose current Secretary-General, António Guterres, is a former head of the Socialist International.

Obama’s Russian maneuver, which depended on the cooperation of the “fake news” media, was a classic case of someone yelling “thief” when caught in thievery. Operatives like Obama CIA director John Brennan were called upon to tar and feather Trump with the same accusations that could tarnish the Obama presidency. Brennan was a typical Obama appointee He voted communist when attending college and rose through the ranks of the CIA, serving as Station Chief in Saudi Arabia and reportedly converting to Islam, before becoming director. This mixture of Marxism and Islam came to characterize the Obama presidency. It was unprecedented in American history and most conservatives to this day have still not come to grips with it.

In addition to the furor over the scurrilous Trump Dossier, which has guided the FBI investigation of Trump, you may recall that in January of this year Obama’s Director of the Office of National Intelligence, James Clapper, released a report, “Assessing Russian Activities and Intentions in Recent US Elections,” which cited the activities of RT. This report set the stage for the many months of accusations, charges, and hearings, including the on-going Special Counsel investigation of Russia-gate. The “intelligence” in the report on RT is something we had completely documented many years before. It was old news, recycled for a partisan political purpose.

The Bloomberg reporter who called me was intrigued that my group America’s Survival, Inc., and television producer Jerry Kenney had complained about the operations of RT many years ago to no avail. The Federal Election Commission (FEC) dismissed my well-documented 2012 complaint about RT’s open support for libertarian Ron Paul and his pro-Russia views. It appeared the Russians wanted to disrupt the Republican presidential primary process. We cited evidence that RT was funded by the Kremlin and prohibited under law from intervening in U.S. elections. The FEC dismissed the complaint, saying RT was a legitimate press entity and a U.S. corporation with First Amendment rights. The Department of Justice was not interested in the matter of RT acting as an unregistered foreign agent. Now, suddenly, RT is reporting that it is being advised to register as a foreign agent. Why didn’t the Obama Administration act?

In the real Russia-gate scandal, the FBI knew not only that Hillary had used a private unsecured email server but that she had communicated with Obama over that server. What’s more, Obama had used a pseudonym in these communications, to protect his own identity. Who else was he communicating with and why? Remember Obama had been caught secretly promising then-Russian President Dmitri Medvedev that he would have more “flexibility” regarding his policies toward Russia after his re-election in 2012. “I will transmit this information to Vladimir,” Medvedev responded.

As a result of Obama’s policies, toward Russia, China, and the Arab/Muslim world, President Trump inherited an America in serious global decline. Domestically and culturally, Obama’s legacy is now being felt. The FBI reports a rise in violent crime and the Centers for Disease Control has documented another record in the transmission of sexually transmitted diseases. The use of mind-altering drugs is increasing, including violence associated with it.

Putting “America First” is a worthwhile goal. But it cannot be done without purging the Deep State operatives who protected Obama and then investigating the communist-Muslim network that spawned the Obama presidency. Soviet/Russian moles in the CIA and FBI have included Aldrich Ames, Harold Nicholson, and Robert Hanssen. We have a right to know if others exist, and if Obama was among them.

Rather than protect Mueller from being fired by Trump, why can’t we have bipartisan hearings into whether we had a Marxist mole in the White House for eight years and whether Obama, Hillary, and their Russian backers are behind the anti-Trump campaign?

To learn more, join America’s Survival at our National Conference on November 10, Noon to 5:00 pm, Zenger Room, National Press Club in Washington, D.C.


ABOUT CLIFF KINCAID

Cliff Kincaid is the President of America’s Survival, a public policy organization and author of numerous books covering the United Nations and national security issues. He is also a contributor to SFPPR News & Analysis, of the conservative-online-journalism center at the Washington-based Selous Foundation for Public Policy Research.

Sadly, Another Black History Month

I am a 69 year old proud American who happens to be black. The American Left (Democrats, Hollywood and fake news media) exploit Black History Month as an opportunity to further their lie that America is eternally racist and a hellhole for blacks. BHM should feature the truth that America is the greatest land of opportunity on the planet for all who choose to go for it; regardless of race, color, creed or gender. Blacks are only 12% of the U.S. population. Therefore, black millionaires and billionaires like Oprah, Samuel L Jackson, Colin Kaepernick and countless others confirm my point; white America made these blacks extremely wealthy.

And yet, sadly, most millennial blacks believe the Left’s lie that their opportunities for success are limited. They believe white cops murder black men on sight. They believe white America is obsessed with conceiving dirty tricks to keep blacks down.

It is interesting that the American Left which includes the NAACP and Congressional Black Caucus despises and seeks to destroy successful blacks who bear witness to the greatness of America. I am talking about blacks like world renowned retired neurosurgeon Dr. Ben Carson, businessman extraordinaire Herman Cain and Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas. Without lowered standards or special concessions due to their skin-color, these blacks achieved success the old fashion way. They earned it.

Imagine driving down a dusty country road on a spring day in the 1950s. You see a dirty little black boy in a field picking cotton. Only in America could that black boy grow up to become one of the most powerful men in the world, Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas. You will never see the American Left using Justice Thomas’ remarkable American story during BHM to inspire black youths. Leftist only feature blacks whom they claim achieved success in spite of America’s rabid racism or sexism.

The American Left strives to convince all Americans that they are victims of either Christians, conservatives, Republicans, the rich or straight white men. Individuality and self-reliance are as repulsive to Leftists as crossing Dracula the cross. Leftists’ dream is for all Americans to be dependent upon and thereby controlled by big tyrannical government. Leftists want government to force their agenda items down our throats that would never be approved by voters.

A glaring example of Leftists not really giving a rat’s derriere about blacks is the Congressional Black Caucus’ response to Trump announcing in his SOTU that black unemployment is at a record low. Wouldn’t that good news be cause for applause from people who supposedly represent blacks? And yet, the CBC sat stone-faced refusing to applaud with others in the capital hall. It was stomach turning seeing Leftist operative CBC members wearing their little African clothes draped over their shoulders. These clothes are suppose to show CBC members’ super commitment to black Americans. These people (CBC members) are shameless traitors to their fellow black Americans.

Despite Trump reaching out and implementing policies helpful to blacks the evil CBC is hellbent on deceiving black Americans into believing their lie that Trump is racist. One of my brothers is an outspoken black Christian conservative Republican. In his mostly black community and church, my brother boldly challenges blacks to tell him one thing Trump has said or done to prove Trump is racist. They can not. Like Sheep-ple, blacks in my brother’s church and community believe Trump is racist solely because Democrats, Hollywood and fake news media have told them Trump is racist.

Democrats must keep blacks believing America is a hellhole for blacks; believing their lie that Trump and all conservatives/republicans are racist. Democrats must keep their lie alive that blacks’ only hope is to continue monolith voting for Democrats. The problem is blacks’ brain-dead loyalty to Democrats has reaped direr consequences. Blacks murder each other in record numbers in cities controlled by Democrats for decades. Blacks are engaged in self genocide due to disproportionate high numbers of abortions. High numbers of fatherless households births epidemic numbers of blacks joining gangs, school dropouts, black on black crime, incarcerations and poverty.

Democrats are insidious enablers; nurturing problems in black communities by lowering cultural, moral and intellectual standards for us in the name of compassion. After all, according to Leftists, we black folks ain’t too bright. Democrats relieve blacks of any accountability or responsibility for their failure or success; claiming our fate rest solely in the hands of white America. Notice how Democrats/Leftists are always advocating lowering the bar and giving us free stuff; addicting us to government freebies.

I am applauded by the Democrats’ bigotry of lowered expectations regarding my fellow black Americans. As a black man I can say this. Our problem is not whitey persecuting us. Our problems are rooted in blacks allowing their loyalty to Democrats to morally bankrupt our communities. It was amazing seeing many black clergy abandoning the Bible’s view of sex same marriage because Obama was for same sex marriage.

If Leftists were honest, they would really call BHM their “America Still Sucks for Blacks Month”. Every February, Leftists use BHM to guilt-trip a new generation of whites and convince blacks to continue sleeping with their enemies by voting for Democrats.

Blacks like me who love their country and realize the obvious blessing of being born an American are excoriated by Leftists. Leftists call us Uncle Toms suffering with Stockholm Syndrome.

But here is the truth.

American is the greatest land of opportunity on the planet for all who choose to go for it. To my fellow blacks, reject the American Lefts’ daily-you-are-a-victim excrement. Pursue your American dream via education, hard work and right choices. Pure and simple.

Documents Reveal Obama State Department Provided Classified Records to Sen. Ben Cardin to Undermine President Trump

‘The Obama administration was attempting to disseminate that material widely across the government in order to aid in future investigations’ – The Baltimore Sun 

(Washington, DC) – Judicial Watch today released 42 pages of heavily redacted State Department documents containing classified information that was provided to Senator Ben Cardin (D-MD), top Democrat on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee and outspoken critic of President Donald Trump. The documents show Russian political interference in elections and politics in countries across Europe.

According to a March 2017 report in the Baltimore Sun: 

Maryland Sen. Ben Cardin received classified information about Russia’s involvement in elections when the Obama administration was attempting to disseminate that material widely across the government in order to aid in future investigations, according to a report Wednesday … Obama officials were concerned, according to the report [in The New York Times, below], that the Trump administration would cover up intelligence once power changed hands.”

In March 2017, former Obama Deputy Asst. Secretary of Defense Evelyn Farkas admitted that there was surveillance of President’s Trump’s campaign and leaking of intelligence information. She encouraged people in the administration and on the Hill to “get as much intelligence as you can before President Obama leaves [office] … I became very worried because not enough was coming out into the open and I knew that there was more … That’s why you have the leaking.”

In a section of the documents provided to Cardin titled “Political Parties” and marked as sensitive, Russia reportedly sought to foster relationships with groups in Germany, Austria, and France, to include paying members to travel to conferences in Crimea and Donbas “where they stoutly defend Russian policy.”

The following section titled “Pro-Kremlin NGOs and Think Tanks,” also marked as sensitive, discusses the Russian government funded Caucasus Research Network, which helped to spread anti-EU and NATO reports throughout the region. Also discussed is the Human Rights Accountability Global Initiative, which was founded by Natalia Veselnitskaya. The Initiative was reportedly “working to erode support for the Magnitsky Act (which imposes sanctions on … gross human rights violations). The organization screened an anti-Magnitsky film at Washington’s Newseum in June.”

The Magnitsky Act attracted public attention earlier this year when it was reported Veselnitskaya obtained a meeting with Donald Trump Jr. with the purpose of seeking to undermine the act. It was reported that Russian President Vladimir Putin wanted to repeal the act at least in part because it targeted top Russian officials who had committed human rights violations and were the beneficiaries of a $230-million tax fraud that Magnitsky exposed.

“These documents show the Obama State Department under John Kerry gathered and sent its own dossier of classified information on Russia to Senator Ben Cardin, a political ally in the U.S. Senate, to undermine President Trump,” said Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton. “Judicial Watch will pursue information on who pulled this classified information, who authorized its release, and why was it evidently dumped just days before President Trump’s inauguration.”

Judicial Watch obtained the documents in response to a May 9, 2017, Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) lawsuit filed in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia (Judicial Watch vs U.S. Department of State (No. 1:17-cv-00852)). The suit was filed after the State Department failed to respond to a March 2, 2017, FOIA request seeking:

  • All records provided by any official, employee, or representative of the Department of State to Senator Ben Cardin, any member of his staff, the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, and/or any Senate Foreign Relations Committee staff member regarding, concerning, or related to efforts by the Russian Government to affect, manipulate, or influence any election in the United States or any foreign country from November 8, 2016 to present.

The New York Times on March 1, 2017, reported:

There also was an effort to pass reports and other sensitive material to Congress. In one instance, the State Department sent a cache of documents marked “secret” to Senator Benjamin Cardin of Maryland days before the Jan. 20 inauguration. The documents, detailing Russian efforts to intervene in elections worldwide, were sent in response to a request from Mr. Cardin, the top Democrat on the Foreign Relations Committee, and were shared with Republicans on the panel.

According to the documents, Russia’s actions in the nation of Montenegro were intended to disrupt the October 2016 nationwide elections:

On election day, countless citizens, including Embassy staff, received spam text messages from several countries, including Great Britain and China. The text messages alleged that the DPS [Democratic Party of Socialists, the ruling party in Montenegro] was conducting fraudulent activities on the polling day, such as paying for votes. … At the same time, many portals experienced massive cyber denial of service attacks, including CdM.me, a main news portal, CDT, a key CSO monitoring the elections, and the DPS website itself. … Hacker made multiple attempts to enter the administrative part of CdM’s website, disabling infrastructure, and bringing down servers …

The documents also reveal that Russia aggressively used the media to influence public opinion in the Czech Republic:

We have seen a significant increase in the number of on-line media servers that tout an alternative take on local and international developments than the mainstream media. In the Czech Republic these online media servers are almost exclusively run by Czechs who can often be described as pro-Russian. And while many informed Czech observers believe the influence of Russian disinformation is overstated, they also contend that Russia actively seeks exacerbate fissures within Czech society tapping into dissatisfaction within some segments of Czech society over the socioeconomic return of the EU experiment.

The documents note that some countries resist Russian interference.

Estonia has adopted a “zero tolerance” approach to illegal activities by Russian intelligence operatives.… Every year Kapo, the Estonian domestic intelligence service, puts out a public review of major cases, publicly naming organizations and individuals that are suspected of working with the Russians.

Do Floridians really want to grant full amnesty to 1.5 million felons by giving them a right to vote?

Under the Florida Constitution, a convicted felon cannot vote, serve on a jury, or hold public office until their civil rights have been restored. When a person is convicted of a felony in Florida, he/she loses the right to vote, sit on a jury, hold public office, and possess a firearm. Felonies in Florida are punishable by death or imprisonment in state prison and classified as capital or life felonies; or felonies of the first, second, or third degree.

Under current Florida law a convicted felon can have their full civil rights (including voting rights) restored.

This is done by the Florida Commission on Offender Review, which was established in 1941.  The Commission on Offender Review may grant a felon a full pardon, pardon with firearm authority, pardon for misdemeanor, commutation of sentence, remission of fines and forfeitures, specific authority to own, possess and use fire arms, restoration of civil rights and restoration of alien status under Florida law. The Commission’s website under the category Restoration of Civil Rights in Florida reads:

The Restoration of Civil Rights restores to an applicant all of the rights of citizenship in the State of Florida enjoyed before the felony conviction, except the specific authority to own, possess, or use firearms. Such restoration shall not relieve an applicant from the registration and notification requirements or any other obligations and restrictions imposed by law upon sexual predators or sexual offenders. [Emphasis added]

If their is already a pathway to restore the full civil rights of a convicted felon in Florida why is there a need for full amnesty?

Logic would tell Floridians that a convicted felon must prove his/her worthiness after serving their sentences before his/her civil rights (e.g. voting rights) are restored. Is the person actually worthy on a case by case basis to be granted any level of restoration without a thorough review by the Florida Commission on Offender Review?

Well Floridians will have an opportunity to decide this issue on November 6th, 2018. Value Bit News in a column titled “Florida Voters to Decide Whether 1.5 Million Felons Will Get Voting Rights Restored” notes:

The ballot initiative was started by the advocacy group Floridians for Fair Democracy, which obtained more than 799,000 signatures in a years-long petition drive to get state residents to vote on whether convicted felons should have the right to vote after serving time, the Orlando Sentinel reported.

[ … ]

If 60 percent of voters approve of the initiative, there would be an amendment to Florida’s constitution that would allow Floridians with felony convictions to vote after serving time — including probation or parole.

But not all convicted felons would be able to vote — those convicted of murder or sex crimes would not be eligible to have their voting rights restored.

According to Ballotpedia the measure would amend Section 4 of Article VI of the Florida Constitution. The following underlined text would be added:

Article VI, Section 4. Disqualifications.—

(a) No person convicted of a felony, or adjudicated in this or any other state to be mentally incompetent, shall be qualified to vote or hold office until restoration of civil rights or removal of disability. Except as provided in subsection (b) of this section, any disqualification from voting arising from a felony conviction shall terminate and voting rights shall be restored upon completion of all terms of sentence including parole or probation.

(b) No person convicted of murder or a felony sexual offense shall be qualified to vote until restoration of civil rights.

The Miami Herald reported that, “Research in a few states has shown that more felons after being released from prison register as Democrats than Republicans.”

Desmond Meade (right) meets former President Barack Obama.

Question: Who is behind this ballot initiative? Answer: Desmond Meade and Floridians for Fair Democracy.

Desmond Meade is a convicted drug offender felon. Meade plays the “victim card” when talking about restoring his “civil right” to vote as a convicted felon. His successful effort to put this amendment on the ballot was supported by groups like the Florida branch of the ACLU and Florida Coalition on Black Civic Participation.

There is no report that our researchers can find that Meade ever petitioned the Florida Commission on Offender Review to have his voting rights be restored.

It will now be up to the legal voters of Florida to decide if a system established in 1941 needs to be overturned and all convicted felons should automatically, without review, have their right to vote be granted.

Podcast: Liberals Are Boycotting the State of the Union


The sulking over the 2016 election sure isn’t over. Democrats are now abandoning President Donald Trump’s first State of the Union.

Plus: we talk about the bonuses liberal companies are giving because of tax reform, the news that Cecile Richards is stepping down from Planned Parenthood, and the powerful personal stories of the women who don’t support abortion even in cases of rape.

Portrait of Katrina Trinko

Katrina Trinko

Katrina Trinko is managing editor of The Daily Signal and a member of USA Today’s Board of Contributors. Send an email to Katrina. Twitter: @KatrinaTrinko.

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Daniel Davis

Daniel Davis is the commentary editor of The Daily Signal. Twitter: @JDaniel_Davis.

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