Still Waiting for Full Accountability on Abuse [Video]


The horror of the sexual abuse of minors by Catholic priests, an unspeakable crime, has been compounded in many cases by the decision of Church leaders – bishops and religious superiors – to downplay grave allegations, and to refuse punishing priests found guilty of criminal behavior. The recent exposure by Christine Niles at ChurchMilitant.com of horrendous wrongdoing by priests and superiors of the Society of St. Pius X, founded by Archbishop Marcel Lefebvre, is one more chapter in the shameful history of clerical criminals being protected by negligent, and thus complicit, superiors.

VIDEO:  Spotlight—SSPX: ‘Sympathetic to Perverts’.

John Lamont reacted to these stunning revelations in an essay that merits careful attention. He spells out a sad reality that is often ignored when considering the sordid history of why church leaders too often have done little or nothing about the criminal behavior of those subject to their authority:

One should begin this analysis by acknowledging that when most people encounter evidence of sexual abuse, they don’t want to hear about it and do their best to deny or ignore it. This is one of the most shocking discoveries made by those who are themselves abused or who attempt to help victims of abuse. The reason for it is that recognizing the existence of sexual abuse leads to accepting difficult, upsetting, and threatening responsibilities. . . .In order to justify this denial, they often attack the victim, whom they resent for having placed them in an uncomfortable situation.

We’ve heard the plea from bishops who were confronted by evidence that they had shielded priests guilty of sexual molestation of minors: “I am not a policeman.” While that is true, there are policemen ready to handle the situation if summoned. Calling the police, however, requires courage and the conviction that it is the bishop’s duty to turn in one of his priests who has committed criminal acts.

It can be an “upsetting and threatening responsibility” to act against a brother priest, but when that priest has misused his authority and power to inflict grave harm upon a young person, personal considerations of comfort are irrelevant if justice is to be upheld. When a crisis lands on the episcopal desk in the form of an accusation of criminal turpitude by a priest any reluctance to act or hostility towards the accuser is simply out of order.

This is the point that Lamont is getting. When powerful men, such as the SSPX superiors, refuse to act justly in confronting and punishing a grave injustice by one of their subjects, they put their own convenience ahead of everything else. For these high ecclesiastics, it is easier to ignore the grievances of the victims of clerical sexual abuse than to remove the abuser, a clerical colleague who may even be a friend.

Victims have been treated as bothersome money-seekers who would ruin the tranquility of the diocese or religious order if their complaints became known, let alone found to be true after a serious investigation.

The revelations of SSPX shifting molester priests around from assignment to assignment show how the evasive, make-believe mindset of the superiors – “there is nothing to worry about here, so please do not bother us with further complaints about how we handle these matters” – remains a problem in the Church.

The legal order in most free countries places the investigation and punishment of crimes in the hands of a justice system that is in important ways independent of the rulers. Impartiality is better guaranteed when professional prosecutors and non-political judges handle crime and punishment.

In the Catholic Church there is no such separation of powers as is found, for example, in the American Constitution. The bishop of a diocese is the executive, legislative, and judicial authority (major superiors of religious orders enjoy a somewhat similar authority).

This concentration of episcopal power is only subject to the higher authority of the pope. That is why the faithful continue to appeal to the pope for action. This month marks the first anniversary of the promulgation of the papal legislative document Vos Estis Lux Mundi containing new norms dealing with sexual abuse and cover-ups by ecclesiastical authorities. The norms are good, but their consistent application has not been noteworthy.

Christopher Altieri at the Catholic Herald raises pertinent questions about the resignation of Auxiliary Bishop Joseph Binzer of Cincinnati, who had failed to notify his Archbishop of credible accusations of sexual abuse by a priest of the diocese, Fr. Geoff Drew. It is not clear if the procedures of Vos Estis were used in this case.

Vos Estis investigations are underway in the dioceses of Brooklyn and Crookston, but the investigation in the diocese of Buffalo, which led to the resignation of Bishop Richard Malone, surprisingly took the form of an Apostolic Visitation, not a Vos Estis investigation, even though there was sufficient cause to invoke these new norms designed to combat clerical sexual abuse and episcopal cover-ups.

June 20 is the second anniversary of the public revelation that Theodore McCarrick, the laicized former Cardinal Archbishop of Washington, had been credibly accused of the sexual abuse of a minor. We continue to await the promised publication of the results of the Holy See’s internal investigation of the McCarrick matter. Anger and dissatisfaction with the hierarchy will only be dispelled when transparency and accountability are in fact visible.

Fr. Gerald E. Murray

The Rev. Gerald E. Murray, J.C.D. is a canon lawyer and the pastor of Holy Family Church in New York City.

Related articles and videos:

Spotlight: ‘He’s a Good Liar’ 

SSPX Cone of Silence SSPX Gave Pedophile Repeated Access to Boys

SSPX Bishops Ordained Known Gay Predator SSPX Admits Abuse

SSPX, Police Protected Child Rapist

Criminal Negligence by the SSPX

SSPX Whistleblower Speaks

Church Militant’s Response to SSPX

The Vortex: Not Looking Good at All

The Vortex: Big Liar

The Vortex: Why the Silence, Trads?

The Vortex: You Call That a Response?

The Vortex: A Gold Mine of Abuse

KBI Tip Line for SSPX Clergy Abuse

Church Militant’s Action Arm for Whistleblowers, Investigators

EDITORS NOTE: This Catholic Thing column is republished with permission. All rights reserved. © 2020 The Catholic Thing. All rights reserved. For reprint rights, write to: info@frinstitute.org. The Catholic Thing is a forum for intelligent Catholic commentary. Opinions expressed by writers are solely their own.

VIDEO: Election Judge Pleads Guilty to Ballot Stuffing for Democrats

A former elected official in Philadelphia who accepted large payments from a political consultant to stuff ballot boxes for Democratic judicial candidates has pleaded guilty as part of a continuing federal investigation.

The Justice Department announced Thursday that Domenick J. DeMuro, 73, who was an election judge in South Philadelphia, pleaded guilty to conspiracy to deprive city voters of their civil rights by fraudulently stuffing ballot boxes in the 2014, 2015, and 2016 primary elections.

DeMuro, a judge for the 39th Ward, 36th Division, also pleaded guilty to violating the Travel Act, which forbids use of any facility in interstate commerce—in this case, cellphones—with the intent to promote certain illegal activity—in this case, bribery.

The Justice Department said the case is part of an ongoing investigation by the FBI and the Pennsylvania State Police.

In these trying times, we must turn to the greatest document in the history of the world to promise freedom and opportunity to its citizens for guidance. Find out more now >>

The judge of elections is an elective office and a paid position in Pennsylvania municipalities responsible for supervising the local election process.

“DeMuro fraudulently stuffed the ballot box by literally standing in a voting booth and voting over and over, as fast as he could, while he thought the coast was clear,” U.S. Attorney William McSwain of the Eastern District of Pennsylvania said.

“This is utterly reprehensible conduct,” McSwain said. “The charges announced today do not erase what he did, but they do ensure that he is held to account for those actions.”

During his guilty plea hearing, DeMuro said an unnamed political consultant gave him directions and paid him money to add votes for certain Democrats who were running for judicial office. Their campaigns had hired the consultant.DeMuro also admitted to casting illegal votes for other candidates for federal, state, and local offices at the consultant’s request.Prosecutors said the political consultant solicited monetary payments from his clients in the form of cash or checks as “consulting fees,” then used some of the money to pay election board officials, including DeMuro, to tamper with the election results. DeMuro said payments ranged between $300 to $5,000.In a press release, McSwain said:

Voting is the cornerstone of our democracy. If even one vote is fraudulently rung up, the integrity of that election is compromised. I want the public to know that this investigation is active and ongoing, and my office is taking every possible step that we can to ensure the integrity of the upcoming primary and general elections in the nine counties of the Eastern District of Pennsylvania.

Citizens of Philadelphia and Pennsylvania should be confident of election integrity, said Capt. Leo Hannon, director of the special investigations division of the Pennsylvania State Police.

“As this investigation clearly illustrates, the Pennsylvania State Police will relentlessly pursue any breach of the sacred trust bestowed upon our public officials,” Hannon said in a prepared statement. “Our agency is proud to partner with the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the United States Attorney’s Office, and the United States Department of Justice as a whole to root out corruption at any level of our government.”

The probe is a positive step forward in prosecuting voter fraud, said former Justice Department lawyer J. Christian Adams, president of the Public Interest Legal Foundation, an election integrity group.

“Right now, other federal prosecutors are aware of cases of double voting in federal elections as well as noncitizen voting,” Adams said in a written statement, adding:

Attorney General William Barr should prompt those other offices to do their duty and prosecute known election crimes. Those who are considering election crimes should take note of U.S. Attorney McSwain’s work. Now, they have something to fear before they violate federal election laws.

COLUMN BY

Fred Lucas

Fred Lucas is the White House correspondent for The Daily Signal and co-host of “The Right Side of History” podcast. Lucas is also the author of “Tainted by Suspicion: The Secret Deals and Electoral Chaos of Disputed Presidential Elections.” Send an email to Fred. Twitter: @FredLucasWH.


A Note for our Readers:

This is a critical year in the history of our country. With the country polarized and divided on a number of issues and with roughly half of the country clamoring for increased government control—over health care, socialism, increased regulations, and open borders—we must turn to America’s founding for the answers on how best to proceed into the future.

The Heritage Foundation has compiled input from more than 100 constitutional scholars and legal experts into the country’s most thorough and compelling review of the freedoms promised to us within the United States Constitution into a free digital guide called Heritage’s Guide to the Constitution.

They’re making this guide available to all readers of The Daily Signal for free today!

GET ACCESS NOW! >>


EDITORS NOTE: This Daily Signal column is republished with permission. ©All rights reserved.

VIDEO: 5 Questions for the Press

It doesn’t get much better than this.

After a 6 minute barrage of the same question pertaining to the safety of opening community Churches and houses of worship from the biased liberal media, Kayleigh McEnany stunned reporters by flipping the press conference on its ear asking if any “good journalist” had “taken it upon themselves” to pose a question about the Obama administration’s federal crime and felony offense to “unmask Gen Michael Flynn?”

WATCH:

©All rights reserved.

RELATED VIDEO: Kayleigh McEnany stuns reporters asking why no questions about the unmasking of Gen Flynn.

VIDEO: Jessie Jane Duff on Trump, China and Biden

Tom Trento, Director of The United West, interviews U.S. Marine Corps Gunnery Sargent (Ret.) Jessie Jane Duff on China, President Trump and Joe Biden.

RELATED VIDEO: Sergeant Jessie Jane Duff on Veterans Affairs Claims

©All rights reserved.

Ramadan in Texas: Shooter at Corpus Christi Naval Air Station identified as Adam Salim Alsahli

Cue up those establishment media stories on “Islamophobia”: there has been a jihad attack in Texas.

“Suspect shot at NAS-CC incident has been identified,” KRISTV.com, May 21, 2020:

The man killed in this morning’s shooting at Naval Air Station-Corpus Christi has been identified.

NBC News reports that the suspect’s name is Adam Salim Alsahli.

FBI Supervisory Senior Resident Agent Leah Greeves said the incident was “terrorism-related” and the alleged shooter is dead.

Greeves added that authorities believe a second potential suspect remains at large.

“We may have a potential second related person of interest at large in the community,” she said….

RELATED ARTICLES:

Texas: FBI says shooting at Naval Air Station Corpus Christi is “terror-related”

Shock! Pensacola Shooter Turns Out to Be Al-Qaeda Operative Who Plotted His Attack for Years

Maltese Ambassador resigns after saying that Germany’s Merkel had “fulfilled Hitler’s dream” to “control Europe”

After India helped Bangladesh gain independence from Pakistan, Muslims have repeatedly brutalized Hindus there

UK: Public outcry forces government to reverse itself, publish report on ethnicity of Muslim rape gangs

9/11 jihad plotter now claims to have renounced terrorism, al-Qaeda and the Islamic State

RELATED VIDEO: Robert Spencer ZOA webinar on “The Palestinian Delusion”

EDITORS NOTE: This Jihad Watch column is republished with permission. ©All rights reserved.

Sen. Lindsey Graham Demands ‘Unmasking’ Records on Trump, Members of His Family and Campaign

Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Lindsey Graham requested records Tuesday of Obama administration officials who made so-called unmasking requests for information on President Donald Trump, as well as members of his family and campaign.

Graham’s request, submitted to Attorney General William Barr and Richard Grenell, the acting director of national intelligence, is a follow-up to the release of a list on May 13 of 39 Obama-era officials who submitted requests that unmasked the identity of Michael Flynn in government intelligence reports.

The list showed that officials like former Vice President Joe Biden, former FBI Director James Comey, and former CIA Director John Brennan made Flynn-related requests.

Graham is seeking similar documents related to requests for information on Trump and members of his family, Donald Trump Jr., Ivanka Trump, and Jared Kushner.

He is also seeking unmasking records for documents related to Trump campaign aides Corey Lewandowski, Paul Manafort, Steve Bannon, Kellyanne Conway, Sam Clovis, Chris Christie, Carter Page, and George Papadopoulos.

“Given the extensive number of requests for the unmasking of General Flynn’s name during this short time period, it raises the question of whether these or other officials sought the unmasking of the identities of other individuals associated with the Trump campaign or transition team,” Graham wrote Barr and Grenell on Tuesday.

Graham, a South Carolina Republican closely allied with Trump, is also seeking documents that explain the reason for the individual requests.

While U.S. government officials commonly submit unmasking requests, Republicans have accused Obama administration officials of abusing the process by making politically-motivated requests for information on Trump administration officials.

Republicans have focused on the unmasking issue to figure out who leaked classified information regarding a phone call that Flynn had in late December 2016 with Sergey Kislyak, the Russian ambassador to the United States.

Details of that call were leaked to The Washington Post for a column published on Jan. 12, 2017.

The list released May 13 did not contain an unmasking record that explained a request for documents related to Flynn’s call with Kislyak.

Graham is also asking Barr and Grenell to provide an explanation for why the list released last week did not show a request for records related to the Flynn-Kislyak call.

Graham has made an aggressive push in recent weeks to declassify documents central to the FBI’s investigation of the Trump campaign. He has published transcripts of FBI informants’ conversations with Page and Papadopoulos. He also published less-declassified versions of the four Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act applications that the FBI obtained against Page.

Graham said Monday he will hold a vote on June 4 to subpoena 53 individuals involved in the investigations of the Trump campaign.

COLUMN BY

Chuck Ross

Chuck Ross is a reporter for The Daily Caller News Foundation. Twitter: @ChuckRossDC.

EDITORS NOTE: This Daily Caller column is republished with permission. ©All rights reserved. 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.

Mexico Demands Explanation for Obama-era Gun-walking Scandal

Nearly a decade has passed since the public first learned of the botched Obama-era gunwalking scandal Operation Fast and Furious. These days, Barack Obama spends his time collecting money from a lucrative Netflix contract, shuffling between lavish homes in Washington, D.C. and on Martha’s Vineyard, and occasionally offering his tepid support for presumptive democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden. Former Attorney General Eric Holder enjoys a profitable position as a “rainmaker” at high-powered D.C. law firm Covington. Meanwhile, those who lost loved ones to the Obama Department of Justice’s misguided gun trafficking scheme are still searching for answers and accountability.

On Friday May 8, Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador​shared his intent to demand that the U.S. provide Mexico with further information on Operation Fast and Furious. According to Reuters, the failed operation has once again come to the forefront of Mexican politics “amid a debate over historic U.S.-Mexico cooperation on security.” Speaking of the gunwalking scheme at a news conference, Obrador said, ​”How could this be? A government that invades in this way, that flagrantly violates sovereignty, international laws​.”

The following Monday, Mexico Foreign Minister Marcelo Ebrard announced in a video message that the country had sent a diplomatic note to the U.S. Embassy seeking information on Operation Fast and Furious. The minister made clear who he wanted information on. Reuters reported that “In the video, Foreign Minister Marcelo Ebrard cited former U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder as saying Mexican authorities knew about the 2009-2011 scheme known as ‘Fast and Furious’​” and that “It was the first time Ebrard or President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador had made direct reference by name to a key U.S. figure connected to the program since the issue resurfaced in Mexico a week ago.”

Operation Fast and Furious was largely run out of the Tucson and Phoenix ATF field offices. Agents would allow suspected illegal purchases of firearms by gun traffickers to take place and then track the guns with the purported goal of uncovering the workings of a larger criminal organization for which these individuals were purchasing firearms. In some cases, concerned FFLs were instructed by ATF to go forward with suspicious transactions. Rather than interdicting these firearms, ATF permitted the guns to flow into Mexico.

On December 14, 2010, Border Patrol Agent Brian Terry was shot to death in a gunfight with armed criminals near the Mexican border. Following the incident, firearms used by the criminals were traced to Operation Fast and Furious. Subsequently, whistleblower ATF Agent John Dodson, Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa), intrepid gun rights supporters, and CBS journalist Sharyl Attkisson helped bring the truth of what happened to the public. Illustrating the opacity of the Obama DOJ, the DOJ inspector general was forced to open an investigation into whether the government had retaliated against Dodson after he came forward with information on the botched gunwalking scheme.

Word of the failed operation struck a nerve with gun rights advocates. Around the same time as the operation was taking place, American gun rights were being blamed by the Obama Administration for Mexico’s crime problem.

In March 2009, then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton scolded Americans, stating, “Our inability to prevent weapons from being illegally smuggled across the border to arm these criminals causes the deaths of police officers, soldiers and civilians.”​In an interview with NBC’s Andrea Mitchell that same month, Clinton endorsed a ban on commonly owned semi-automatics firearms. Mitchell brought up the problem of Mexican violence and a potential “assault weapons” ban, to which Clinton responded “I think these assault weapons, these military style weapons don’t belong on any one’s street.”

By its conclusion, the failed operation involved as many as 2,000 firearms. The firearms have been found at numerous crime scenes in Mexico. As of 2016, Operation Fast and Furious firearms were linked to at least 69 killings. That same year, CBS news reported that one of the firearms was found at the hideout of notorious Mexican drug lord Joaquin “el Chapo” Guzman.

In 2012, the U.S. House of Representatives voted 255-67 to hold then-Attorney General Eric Holder in contempt of Congress for failing to hand over requested documents related to Operation Fast and Furious.

Mexico’s request for further information on Operation Fast and Furious is understandable, given the Obama administration’s extensive efforts to conceal the details of the gunwalking scheme.

RELATED ARTICLES:

Playing Pandemic Politics in New Mexico

Everytown Ignores Its Own Data to Get Attention

Father Pfleger’s Selective Reasoning

EDITORS NOTE: This NRA-ILA column is republished with permission. ©All rights reserved.

11 More Cases in Which Responsible Gun Owners Saved Lives

In recent weeks, several instances involving the reckless use of firearms dominated national headlines. In one case, a Georgia man tragically lost his life when armed civilians crossed the line between defensive necessity and vigilantism.

But such headlines tell only one side of the story. Every day, many law-abiding and responsible Americans use their firearms lawfully to defend their lives, liberty, and property.

In fact, as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention concluded in 2013, almost every major study on the issue has found that Americans use their firearms in lawful self-defense between 500,000 and 3 million times a year.

These instances of proper defensive gun use provide an important but often unreported counterbalance to the national conversation.


In these trying times, we must turn to the greatest document in the history of the world to promise freedom and opportunity to its citizens for guidance. Find out more now >>>


For this reason, The Daily Signal has been publishing a monthly series highlighting some of the news stories of defensive gun use that you may have missed—or that might not have made it to the national spotlight in the first place. (Read accounts from 2019 and 2020).

The lawful defensive uses of guns below represent only a small part of the many stories we found last month. You can explore more examples by using The Heritage Foundation’s Defensive Gun Use Database, an interactive map that allows users to find recent defensive gun uses from all over the country quickly and easily.

  • April 2, Wolf Creek, Oregon: A homeowner was forced to defend himself with his firearm after confronting a man who was firing guns on the homeowner’s property. The intruder—who previously had been convicted of attacking a family member with a samurai sword during an argument—threatened the homeowner. Police said the homeowner acted in lawful self-defense when he shot and killed the man.
  • April 4, Chicago, Illinois: A doorbell camera captured a homeowner’s incredible defense against two armed, masked men who brazenly tried to rob the residence in broad daylight. The video shows that when the homeowner answers the door, two would-be robbers force their way inside. A struggle ensues off-camera, and the homeowner is next seen chasing down and fighting with one of the intruders on his front lawn. When the homeowner returned inside, police said, he found the second intruder pointing a gun at his wife and children. The homeowner retrieved his own gun from a safe, then shot and killed the assailant in defense of his family.
  • April 8, Asheboro, North Carolina: A homeowner, leaving for work, discovered that two of his vehicles had been ransacked during the night. As he went back inside to alert others in the house, he heard noises inside the garage and grabbed his firearm to investigate, police said. The homeowner discovered an intruder sitting in the front seat of one of his cars. He held the burglar at gunpoint until police arrived.
  • April 11, Fredericksburg, Texas: A woman came to her fiancé’s defense by shooting and killing an intruder who had brutally assaulted him in the couple’s home, police said. The woman begged the intruder to stop as he beat her fiancé and put him in a chokehold, but to no avail. As her fiancé began to lose consciousness, the woman retrieved a handgun and fatally shot the intruder.
  • April 17, Gaffney, South Carolina: When a homeowner asked a man to leave his property, he became irate, pulled out a handgun, and threatened the homeowner. The homeowner retreated, grabbed a rifle from inside the house, and again told the man to leave. The intruder then opened fire on the homeowner and five others, including a small child, police said. He fled when the homeowner defended himself and his household with the rifle. Police later arrested and charged a suspect.
  • April 18, Fairfield, Connecticut: A homeowner, awakened by his barking dogs in the early morning, was confronted by a machete-wielding intruder. He fled when he realized the homeowner was armed, police said.
  • April 20, Sacramento, California: A robbery suspect led multiple law enforcement officers on a chase through two counties, at times driving the wrong way and endangering other motorists. The suspect eventually crashed the car and ran through a residential neighborhood. Police said he approached an elderly homeowner sitting on his back patio and the homeowner, fearing for his life, shot and wounded him.
  • April 22, Las Vegas, Nevada: Local prosecutors determined that a concealed-carry permit holder acted in lawful self-defense when he shot and killed a man who fired a gun at him. The permit holder and a woman were eating fast food in a parking lot when the man, apparently angry over a failed gun purchase earlier in the day, randomly chose to vent his frustrations on them. Police said the man began shooting at the permit holder, who hid behind a trash can and returned fire with at least 11 rounds.
  • April 24, Lexington, Kentucky: A man who was the subject of active arrest warrants for robbery and domestic violence broke into his ex-girlfriend’s home and opened fire on those inside, police said. An armed resident returned fire, killing the ex-boyfriend and ending the threat long before police could have arrived.
  • April 24, Des Arc, Arkansas: Two inmates at a county jail attacked their guards, stole their keys, and escaped. Authorities captured one inmate within minutes, but the other—in jail on capital murder charges—was on the run for more than eight hours, police said. When the escapee finally was captured, it wasn’t by law enforcement but by armed citizens who found him hiding in an abandoned car.
  • April 29, Yoder, Colorado: A couple relied on the Second Amendment to defend themselves from four armed attackers who police believe mistook the couple’s legal hemp farm for an illegal marijuana operation. Hundreds of rounds reportedly were fired in a shootout, and the four intruders eventually fled.

It’s true that gun owners sometimes overstep the lawful bounds of the Second Amendment, and the failure to act responsibly with firearms can have devastating consequences.

But it’s equally true that, for countless Americans, the lawful defensive use of firearms has been the only thing standing between them and the devastating consequences of crime.

Whether it’s a woman rescuing her fiancé from certain death, or armed citizens unexpectedly helping to end a cross-county manhunt, it’s clear that the right to keep and bear arms plays a vital role in promoting public safety and protecting individual rights.

COMMENTARY BY

Amy Swearer is a senior legal policy analyst at the Meese Center for Legal and Judicial Studies at The Heritage Foundation. Twitter: .


A Note for our Readers:

This is a critical year in the history of our country. With the country polarized and divided on a number of issues and with roughly half of the country clamoring for increased government control—over health care, socialism, increased regulations, and open borders—we must turn to America’s founding for the answers on how best to proceed into the future.

The Heritage Foundation has compiled input from more than 100 constitutional scholars and legal experts into the country’s most thorough and compelling review of the freedoms promised to us within the United States Constitution into a free digital guide called Heritage’s Guide to the Constitution.

They’re making this guide available to all readers of The Daily Signal for free today!

GET ACCESS NOW! >>


EDITORS NOTE: This Daily Signal column is republished with permission. ©All rights reserved.

Obamagate — How Obama administration apparently weaponized intel agencies for political attacks

There is strong evidence that President Barack Obama’s administration improperly weaponized U.S. intelligence agencies in multiple and shocking ways against Donald Trump and other political enemies.

It appears the Obama administration did this in a number of ways, including: fraudulently obtaining Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act warrants to spy on American citizens; promoting the Democratic National Committee-funded dossier assembled by former British spy Christopher Steele that was filled with lies about Trump; politicizing intelligence analysis; leaking intelligence; and spying on political opponents and journalists.

In the period when he was a presidential candidate and president-elect, Trump and his aides seemed to have been the major targets of this misuse of American intelligence for political purposes. But they were not the only targets.

It is imperative to uncover the extent of the Obama administration’s abuse of U.S. intelligence for political purposes. This must include a full list of every American unmasked from intelligence reports – Trump aides, members of Congress, and ordinary Americans – and who made these requests.

It would be irresponsible for the intelligence community and Congress to turn a blind eye to this abuse simply because it happened years ago. Wrongdoing by the Obama administration in this scandal – which President Trump has dubbed “Obamagate” – must be exposed to ensure such actions never take place again.

This week’s revelation that an astounding 39 Obama administration officials – including then-Vice President Joe Biden – made 53 requests to unmask incoming Trump National Security Adviser Michael Flynn’s name from National Security Agency phone intercepts between Election Day on Nov. 8, 2016 and Jan. 12, 2017 was a bombshell.

The stunning revelation regarding Obama administration spying on Flynn by secretly recording his conversations with the Russian ambassador to the U.S. at the time appears to confirm allegations by President Trump and his supporters of a broad effort by the Obama administration to weaponize intelligence to undermine the Trump presidency shortly before it began.

Flynn was simply carrying out his duties by making contact with Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak during the transition period after Trump was elected president. It is perfectly routine for incoming members of a new presidential administration dealing with foreign affairs to contact foreign officials to introduce themselves before taking office.

Making this worse, the 53 unmasking requests by Obama administration officials are probably the tip of the iceberg of the Obama administration’s abuse of National Security Agency intelligence to target Trump aides.

House Intelligence Committee ranking member Devin Nunes, R-Calif. confirmed this in a Fox Business interview this week on “Lou Dobbs Tonight” when he said the Flynn unmasking scandal is “even worse than this” because “a whole lot” of other Trump associates were unmasked.

With this in mind, it is frustrating to see former Obama officials, the mainstream media and some former intelligence officials brush off the Flynn unmasking requests by claiming such requests are “normal and routine” and that all relevant rules and laws were complied with.

As a former CIA officer who helped process requests to unmask the names of U.S. citizens from National Security Agency reports, I know that unmasking requests are not normal and routine. And I believe these requests raise serious civil rights and legal issues that have not yet been addressed.

From my 25 years working in U.S. government national security jobs, I know how sensitive and rare unmasking requests are.

Names of U.S. citizens mentioned in U.S. intelligence reports – often National Security Agency communications intercepts – are redacted because under U.S. law, America’s foreign intelligence services are normally not permitted to spy on U.S. citizens.

Although senior U.S. officials are permitted to ask for the identity of a redacted name in an intelligence report (an unmasking request), such requests are unusual and the requestor must have a “need to know” the identity of the U.S. person to understand the foreign intelligence information or assess its importance.

When the request is approved, the unmasked identity is released only to the person who requested it – not to everyone who might have seen the original version of the report.

For example, during my time at the State Department from 2001-2006, Deputy Secretary Richard Armitage made about 100 demasking requests. Then-Under Secretary of State John Bolton only made 10 in four years.

Ironically, Senate Democrats made Bolton’s unmasking requests an issue during his 2005 nomination to be U.S. ambassador to the United Nations by falsely claiming these requests were improper and made to intimidate people and gain political advantage.

Then-Sen. Christopher Dodd, D-Conn., said at the time that unmasking requests were “rarely requested” and made “infrequently” by “non-career political appointees such as Mr. Bolton.”

An April 14, 2005, New York Times article said this about unmasking requests in connection with the Bolton confirmation hearings: “The identities of American officials whose communications are intercepted are usually closely protected by law, and not included even in classified intelligence reports. Access to the names may be authorized by the N.S.A. only in response to special requests, and these are not common, particularly from policy makers.”

The above statements about the rarity of unmasking requests are consistent with what I witnessed during my government career. In addition, the National Security Agency tightened the rules in 2005 on unmasking because of the controversy over such requests caused by the Bolton hearing.

The Obama administration, however, appeared to weaken the unmasking rules.

The Obama administration expanded access to National Security Agency information in February 2016 and on January 12, 2017. Both changes appeared to allow larger numbers of government officials to have access to unmasked names of Americans in intelligence reporting.

Even more troubling was a major rollback by the Obama administration in rules protecting members of Congress from unmasking requests.

I know from my five years on House Intelligence Committee staff of longstanding sensitivity by lawmakers that U.S. intelligence agencies could be used by the executive branch to spy on a president’s political enemies. For this reason, until 2013 there were strict limits to keep members of Congress out of intelligence reporting and to prevent unmasking their names.

Under a policy in effect in the 1990s, unmasking requests of the names of members of Congress were extremely limited and generally had to be reported to the House and Senate Intelligence Committees.

According to the Wall Street Journal, these rules were tightened further with “a 2011 NSA directive [that] required direct communications between foreign intelligence targets and members of Congress to be destroyed, but [gave] the NSA director the authority to waive this requirement if he determines the communications contain ‘significant foreign intelligence.””

However, in 2013 the Obama administration significantly weakened rules on unmasking the names of members of Congress from intelligence reports. The requestor’s reason could now merely be “to fully understand the intelligence.”

Rules on notifying Congress also were weakened. National Security Agency officials henceforth would notify Congress when members were unmasked from intelligence reports “as appropriate” and would determine “whether and to what extent congressional notification would take place.”

The Obama administration appeared to take advantage of these rules changes in 2015 when it obtained private conversations from National Security Agency reports of U.S. lawmakers who opposed the Iran nuclear deal in meetings with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

The rule changes on unmasking the names of members of Congress have a direct bearing on the Obama administration’s unmasking of Trump aides.

Since there no longer was a prohibition on using U.S. intelligence agencies to spy on members of Congress, Obama officials probably reasoned there was nothing to prevent them from spying on members of a presidential campaign or an incoming presidential administration. This helps explain the hundreds of unmasking requests regarding Trump aides in 2016 and early 2017.

So what should happen now?

In addition to an investigation of spying on American citizens by the Obama administration, all Obama administration rule changes making it easier to unmask the names of members of Congress and ordinary Americans from intelligence reports need to be reversed immediately.

There also should be a requirement in the law restricting when U.S. officials can unmask the names of members of a presidential campaign or incoming administration from intelligence reports or otherwise spy on them. These rules should include a requirement for congressional notification if such spying is deemed necessary in the future.

Finally, I want to know why career intelligence officials cooperated with unmasking Trump campaign and transition officials at the request of the Obama administration.

Since the prohibition on spying on American citizens and keeping the names of U.S citizens out of intelligence reports are cardinal rules of the U.S. intelligence community, how could career intelligence officers agree to process hundreds of these requests? Why did none of them file complaints with their inspector general or the congressional intelligence oversight committees?

The hundreds of unmasking requests of Trump campaign and transition officials made by the Obama administration were in no way routine and necessary. I believe carrying out these unmasking requests was a huge ethical lapse by dozens – maybe hundreds – of U.S. intelligence community employees that must be addressed by the White House and the leaders of our intelligence agencies.

Originally published by Fox News

COLUMN BY

About Fred Fleitz

Fred Fleitz is President and CEO of the Center for Security Policy. He recently served as a Deputy Assistant to President Trump and Chief of Staff to National Security Adviser John Bolton. He previously worked in national security positions for 25 years with CIA, DIA, the Department of State and the House Intelligence Committee staff. Read his complete bio here. Follow Fleitz on Twitter @fredfleitz.

EDITORS NOTE: This Center for Security Policy column is republished with permission. ©All rights reserved.

VIDEO: Clinton Resists Court Order to Produce Memo on Process that Led to Her Mass Email Deletions

Perhaps Hillary Clinton thinks she can run out the clock on our efforts to get to the bottom of her scandalous email schemes. Recall that she is resisting, through an emergency appeal, a court order to us about her emails. (The appellate hearing on her testimony, btw, has been officially set for June 2.)

Now our Judicial Watch attorneys are to file a motion in federal court to compel her to produce a December 2014 after action memorandum created by her personal attorney, Heather Samuelson, that memorializes the search for and processing of Clinton emails in 2014.

It was Samuelson who reviewed Clinton’s State Department emails, and about half of them were deleted.

The filing comes in our FOIA lawsuit that seeks records concerning “talking points or updates on the Benghazi attack” (Judicial Watch v. U.S. Department of State (No. 1:14-cv-01242)). We famously uncovered in 2014 that the “talking points,” which provided the basis for false statements by then-National Security Advisor Susan Rice, were created by the Obama White House. This JW FOIA lawsuit led directly to the disclosure of the Clinton email system in 2015.

In December 2018, U.S. District Judge Royce Lamberth ordered discovery into whether Clinton’s use of a private email server was intended to stymie FOIA; whether the State Department’s intent to settle this case in late 2014 and early 2015 amounted to bad faith; and whether the State Department has adequately searched for records responsive to Judicial Watch’s request. The court also authorized discovery into whether the Benghazi controversy motivated the cover-up of Clinton’s email. The court ruled that the Clinton email system was “one of the gravest modern offenses to government transparency.”

Clinton is resisting producing even a portion of the “after-action” memo, despite an August 22, 2019, ruling by Judge Lamberth that we may ask for the memorandum in our discovery. Clinton alleges that the memo is fully exempt from disclosure under the “attorney work product doctrine.” In an earlier ruling on a similar issue in this litigation, the Court held that “any contemporaneous documents shedding light on the three narrow discovery topics – even documents evincing attorney impressions, conclusions, opinions, and theories – constitute fact work-product” and should be produced.

We explain to the court: “After repeated attempts to resolve this dispute have proven unsuccessful, [Judicial Watch] respectfully requests an order from the Court to compel Secretary Clinton to produce the document … within short order.”

We point out:

This is a rare Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) case in which the Court determined that civil discovery is appropriate. On March 29, 2016, the Court granted [Judicial Watch’s] motion for discovery, holding that “[w] here there is evidence of government wrong-doing and bad faith, as here, limited discovery is appropriate, even though it is exceedingly rare in FOIA cases.”

In our motion we refute Clinton’s claim that the memo is protected by the “attorney work product doctrine.”

Secretary Clinton claims that the after action memo is subject to the attorney work product privilege and exempt from disclosure, but she fails to explain that the memorandum was created in reasonable anticipation of litigation. … She does not assert that it was created due to the litigation here. Neither does she claim that it was created in anticipation of any other specific litigation. Simply put, she does not demonstrate that the after action memo was not created in the normal course of the search and review process …

Second, … the after action memo falls within the category of “contemporaneous documents shedding light on the three narrow discovery topics.” … According to Samuelson’s testimony, the after action memo plainly contains factual information memorializing searches and techniques for retrieving Secretary Clinton’s governmental records.

Clinton’s attorneys also do not explain why her emails were deleted despite the “reasonable anticipation of litigation,” rather than preserved.

In a June 2019 court-ordered deposition to us, Samuelson admitted under oath that she was granted immunity by the U.S. Department of Justice in June 2016. She also revealed that, contrary to what she told the FBI in 2016, she was, in fact, aware that Clinton used a private email account while secretary of state. Samuel’s admission to us that she became aware of Clinton’s non-State.gov emails during her service in the Clinton State Department White House Liaison Office contradicts the notation in the FBI’s May 24, 2016, “302” report on Samuelson’s interview with FBI agents:

Samuelson did not become aware of Clinton’s use of a private email account and server until she was serving as Clinton’s personal attorney.

In 2014, after Clinton left the State Department, Samuelson became Clinton’s personal attorney and was primarily responsible for conducting the review of Clinton emails and sorting out “personal” emails from government emails, which were provided to the State Department under the direction of Cheryl Mills and Clinton lawyer David Kendall.  After the emails were provided to State, Clinton, through her lawyers and Platte River Networks, deleted the rest of the “personal” emails from her server, wiping it clean. Samuelson conducted the review of emails on her laptop, using Clinton server files downloaded from Platte River Networks, which housed the Clinton email server.

Clinton clearly doesn’t want the Court and the American people to know the full truth about her destruction of 33,000 emails. The evidence shows that she knew exactly what she was doing when she hid her emails, took them from the State Department and deleted them. So it is no surprise she is desperate to avoid testifying and turning over what must be a smoking-gun memo on her email deletions.

This is only one facet of our pursuit of the truth about Hillary Clinton’s activities while secretary of state.

On March 2, 2020, Judge Lamberth granted us additional discovery that includes testimony under oath by Clinton and her former Chief of Staff Cheryl Mills regarding Clinton’s emails and Benghazi attack records. In April, we and the State Department, which is represented by Justice Department lawyers, filed responses opposing Clinton’s and Mills’ Writ of Mandamus request to overturn this court order requiring their testimonies.

Also, on April 10, we served a subpoena on Google LLC, which was authorized by the court, demanding that it produce all emails, including metadata, from a Google account believed to contain former Secretary of State Clinton’s emails. Google just produced data to us this week and I’ll be sure to report back to you as soon as our expert team analyzes it, so stay tuned!

Judicial Watch Sues to Stop Maryland County Giving $5 Million to Illegal Aliens

The Left is using our national health crisis to fulfill its agenda on the sly.

Last month we sued the Governor of California on behalf of two California taxpayers for overstepping his authority and violating federal law when he attempted to go around the California State Legislature by executive action and spend $78 million to provide direct case payments to illegal aliens.

Now we’re taking a similar step in Maryland. We have filed a lawsuit and asked for a temporary restraining order against Montgomery County Executive Marc Elrich and Raymond L. Crowel, director of the county’s Department of Health and Human Services, on behalf of two Montgomery County taxpayers, Sharon Bauer and Richard Jurgena.

The U.S. District Court for the District of Maryland set a hearing for Friday, May 15, on our petition.

We have asked the court to stop the county from expending $5 million of taxpayer funds to provide direct cash assistance to unlawfully present aliens (Bauer, et al, v. Elrich, et al. (No. 482061V)).

We argue that the county council overstepped its authority and violated federal law when, without affirmative state legislative approval, it created the “Emergency Assistance Relief Payment Program” (EARP) to provide cash payments to people who otherwise are ineligible for unemployment insurance due to their unlawful presence in the United States.

On April 15, 2020, County Executive Elrich referred to a soon-to-be-announced initiative to provide at least $5 million in cash payments to illegal aliens. On April 27, Montgomery County announced in a press statement that “[a]pproximately $2.5 million will be disbursed to residents [by the Montgomery County Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS)] and another $2.5 million will be targeted to individuals and families served by nonprofit organizations in the community.”

On April 30, the County Council released a press statement that the program would be paid for out of the Montgomery County General Fund, which, according the County Operating Budget, is comprised entirely of taxpayer monies. The DHHS website specifies that the payments would consist of $500 for single adults, and up to $1,450 per family.

In our complaint we argue:

Under federal law [8 U.S.C. § 1621(a)], unlawfully present aliens generally are ineligible for State or local public benefits.

***

However, a “State may provide that an alien who is not lawfully present in the United States is eligible for any State or local public benefit … only through the enactment of a State law … which affirmatively provides for such eligibility” [Emphasis added]

***

…The Maryland General Assembly has not enacted a State law affirmatively granting [Montgomery County officials] the authority to provide cash payments to unlawfully present aliens.

The program targets the payments to illegal aliens:

The Montgomery County DHHS has stated that unlawfully present aliens are ‘eligible to apply for and receive cash payments,’ [and] based on the narrow set of eligibility criteria, unlawfully present aliens will be the primary – if not exclusive – recipients of EARP’s cash payments.

In arguing for a temporary restraining order, we point out:

Based on the face of the Complaint as well as the facts identified above, it is likely [Judicial Watch’s clients] will prevail on the merits. The Maryland General Assembly has not affirmatively enacted a law authorizing Defendants [Montgomery County officials] to provide cash benefits to unlawfully present aliens as part of EARP, as required under 8 U.S.C. § 1621. Nonetheless, Defendants intend to provide such benefits to unlawfully present aliens starting in May 2020. Plaintiffs also can demonstrate that they and all Montgomery County taxpayers will suffer immediate, substantial, and irreparable pecuniary harm as soon as Defendants illegally spend the $5 million of taxpayer monies.

Montgomery County Executive Elrich and the Montgomery County Council have no legal authority on their own to spend taxpayer money for cash payments to illegal aliens. The coronavirus challenge doesn’t give politicians a pass to violate the law. If they want to give cash payments to illegal aliens, they must be accountable and transparent, and, as federal law requires, pass a state law to do so.

I attended the tele-hearing with the Court the morning.  The Court suggested he would rule on the TRO request by the middle of next week. We’ll be sure to let you know what happens next!

New Judicial Watch Court Action to Block Newsome from Providing Illegal Cash to Illegal Aliens in California

Last week I reported to you that we were seeking a restraining order to keep California Governor Gavin Newsom from handing out $75 million in cash to illegal aliens.

As I noted, that judge issued a bizarre ruling: the governor can go ahead, even though it’s likely illegal.

We’ve taken that to the appeals court in California.

We have filed a petition for Writ of Mandate that would require the trial court to issue a temporary restraining order on Newsom’s plan. Though the lower court said that Judicial Watch taxpayer clients are likely to succeed on the merits (that Governor Newsom has no authority under law to spend the money), there’s more harm to illegal aliens during the coronavirus crisis than there is to California’s 40 million taxpayers and citizens. For those of you interested in the detail, Judicial Watch filed the writ petition in the California Court of Appeal, Second Appellate District, in order to overturn a May 5, 2020 Superior Court of Los Angeles County ruling denying a temporary restraining order sought by Judicial Watch in the case (Crest et al. v. Newsom et al. (No. 20STCV16321)).

Our filing asks the Court of Appeal to command the Superior Court to issue the restraining order against California Governor Gavin Newsom and his Director of the California Department of Social Services Kim Johnson, enjoining them from making what is now an imminent, May 18, 2020 illegal expenditure of $79.8 million of taxpayers’ funds to illegal aliens pending the final determination of the taxpayer action brought by Judicial Watch in the lower court.

On April 29, we filed a lawsuit in the Superior Court of California for the County of Los Angeles on behalf of two California taxpayers, Robin Crest and Howard Myers, asking the court to stop the state from illegally expending more than $75 million of taxpayer funds as direct cash assistance to unlawfully present aliens (Crest et al. v. Newsom et al. (No. 20STCV16321)).

The lawsuit alleges California Governor Gavin Newsom overstepped his authority and violated federal law when, without affirmative state legislative approval, he took executive action to create the “Disaster Relief Assistance for Immigrants Project” and to provide cash benefits to illegal aliens who otherwise are ineligible for state or federal insurance or other benefits due to their unlawful presence in the United States. On May 5, we filed an application for a temporary restraining order in the case to prevent Newsom and Johnson from unlawfully spending any of the $75 million slated for direct cash benefits or the $4.8 million earmarked for the administrative costs of having community based organizations distribute the money to unlawfully present aliens under guarantees of privacy and state secrecy.

It is astonishing that any court would allow government officials to ignore the law and spend tax money with no legal authority. The lower court essentially acknowledged Governor Newsom has no legal authority to spend state taxpayer money for cash payments to illegal aliens. And the circumstances are very troubling. The Court of Appeal should overturn the lower court’s manifest error.

©All rights reserved.

How We Get to the Bottom of the Obama White House’s Domestic Spying

Michael Flynn did not seem to be the best choice President-elect Donald Trump could have made for his first national security adviser.

My own publication, The Daily Caller, broke the story of Flynn writing an op-ed praising Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan just before Trump’s election. The op-ed was a clear break from Flynn’s past comments criticizing Turkey for its policies toward the ISIS terrorist group.

The most troubling part was Flynn’s failure to disclose the fact that his private-sector intelligence consulting firm had just signed a lucrative contract with a company closely aligned with Erdogan before the op-ed was published. The whole thing looked a lot like a paid foreign influence campaign.

Short of some sort of crime, though, Trump could have picked anyone he wanted to be his national security adviser. Trump won the presidential election. In doing so, he won the right to put together his White House team.


In these trying times, we must turn to the greatest document in the history of the world to promise freedom and opportunity to its citizens for guidance. Find out more now >>


A peaceful transition of power and respect for the will of the voters are fundamental to our system of government. New revelations are increasingly calling into question whether the Obama team abused this basic precept in the wake of Trump’s election. It’s now clear that numerous top Obama officials were spying on Flynn.

In the intelligence world, the government has a system in place to spy on foreigners using less than the normal due process needed to spy on Americans.

The Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act authorizes the government to collect information on foreign powers and agents of foreign powers. Using this law, the Obama administration was spying on Russia’s ambassador to the United States. Good for them. That’s their job.

In monitoring the Russian ambassador, they picked up conversations he was having with Flynn, Trump’s incoming national security adviser.

Finding American communications in foreign intelligence in this way is referred to as “incidental collection.” When this happens, we have “minimization” rules, which mandate that any American communications caught up in foreign surveillance be redacted to protect the American citizens involved. These redactions can be overturned, however, through a process called “unmasking.”

We have now learned, thanks to a recent release by the Office of the Director of National Intelligence, that a stunning 39 different Obama administration officials requested the unmasking of Flynn’s communications in the time period between Trump’s election and his inauguration.

Those making the request included numerous ambassadors, Treasury Department officials, and White House political staff, including the chief of staff and, just one week before Trump’s inauguration, Vice President Joe Biden. Not surprisingly, in the wake of these unmaskings, Flynn’s communications were then leaked to the press.

Such a high number of requests for information related to a rival political party is troubling to any but the most hardened anti-Trump partisan.

As a former heavy consumer of intelligence reporting in my days as assistant to Vice President Dick Cheney for special projects, I can state categorically that top White House staff do not do this as a matter of course. Checking in with former colleagues confirmed that nobody recalls any unmasking related to rival political figures.

Regardless of how anyone on Team Obama may try to spin this, such high levels of unmasking requests from top White House officials related to political rivals is completely and totally unprecedented.

None of this means we know for sure that the Obama requests were political, or even improper. We only know they were highly unusual and highly troubling because they present the distinct possibility of using our national security apparatus for political ends.

There are a number of possibilities as to what was driving these requests. Maybe Flynn was involved with communications that, in the eyes of the Obama staff, raised such serious national security concerns that the unmasking was somehow proper, despite its political appearance.

It’s important to state here that it’s common, and even necessary, for the incoming team during a presidential transition to begin outreach to those they will be working with, including foreign government agents. It’s what’s supposed to happen, so absent something more damning, Flynn speaking with the Russian ambassador should not be alarming.

The only way to get to the bottom of this matter is to release to the public the communications and unmasking requests in question and to thoroughly question each official involved.

This transparency is not just advisable but absolutely necessary in order to restore the public’s confidence that one party’s leaders were not abusing the system for political ends.

Intelligence is declassified all the time, and it can be done in a way that doesn’t endanger our intelligence sources or their methods.

In the wake of 9/11, numerous sensitive intelligence reports were declassified to establish what the Bush administration had known ahead of time about any potential attack. A similar process is needed now.

Given what appears to be a violation of some of our most basic liberties—and to ensure that our system was not hijacked for political purposes—the information surrounding these unmaskings must be declassified so the American people can see what is really happening.

Trump has the authority to do this himself. So do numerous members of his team. They should use that authority and set this record straight.

If anyone on the Obama team misused our national security apparatus to spy on their political opponents, it would be the greatest political abuse in our country’s history.

Anyone who asked for an unmasking involving an incoming national security adviser would have known the risks going in. Hopefully, they did it for some legitimate reason. If that’s the case, they should be at the front of the line asking for all this to be made public so everyone can see that there were no abuses at hand.

COPYRIGHT 2020 CREATORS.COM

COMMENTARY BY

Neil Patel is co-founder and managing director of Bluebird Asset Management, a hedge fund investing in mortgage-backed securities. He previously served in the White House from 2005 to 2009 as the chief policy adviser to Vice President Dick Cheney.


A Note for our Readers:

This is a critical year in the history of our country. With the country polarized and divided on a number of issues and with roughly half of the country clamoring for increased government control—over health care, socialism, increased regulations, and open borders—we must turn to America’s founding for the answers on how best to proceed into the future.

The Heritage Foundation has compiled input from more than 100 constitutional scholars and legal experts into the country’s most thorough and compelling review of the freedoms promised to us within the United States Constitution into a free digital guide called Heritage’s Guide to the Constitution.

They’re making this guide available to all readers of The Daily Signal for free today!

GET ACCESS NOW! >>


EDITORS NOTE: This Daily Signal column is republished with permission. ©All rights reserved.

Videomaker Sues Planned Parenthood, Kamala Harris for Suppressing Exposé

David Daleiden, founder of the Center for Medical Progress, filed a lawsuit Tuesday against Planned Parenthood (PP), the former and current California Attorneys General Kamala Harris and Xavier Becerra (respectively), the National Abortion Federation, and others for suppressing his undercover video exposing PP’s trafficking of the body parts of aborted babies.

The complaint “seeks justice for a brazen, unprecedented, and ongoing conspiracy to selectively use California’s video recording laws as a political weapon to silence disfavored speech.”

Daleiden wrote, “The California Attorney General first admitted that they are enforcing the video recording law solely based on how they feel about the message being published, and then further admitted they are not even trying to follow the text of the law as written.”

Breitbart News reports that emails showed Harris’s office collaborated with PP to produce legislation targeting Daleiden, who was accused of 14 felonies related to his damning undercover videos.


Planned Parenthood Federation of America (PPFA)

201 Known Connections

In an undercover video that was made public on July 14, 2015, Dr. Deborah Nucatola, who had been PPFA’s senior director of medical services since February 2009, spoke to investigators posing as buyers from a human biologics company and told them that her organization was selling — for $30 to $100 per specimen — intact fetal body parts that it harvested from abortion procedures. Trafficking in human body parts, however, is a federal felony punishable by up to 10 years in prison and a fine of $500,000.

In the undercover video (filmed by the Center for Medical Progress, or CMP, an anti-abortion group), Nucatola revealed that although “a lot of people want intact hearts these days,” she also had received requests for lungs and “lower extremities.” And while emphasizing that PPFA affiliates “absolutely” wanted to offer such organs, she noted that “[t]hey just want to do it in a way that is not perceived as, ‘The clinic is selling tissue. This clinic is making money off of this.’”

To learn more about Planned Parenthood, click on the profile link here.

EDITORS NOTE: This Discover the Networks column is republished with permission. ©All rights reserved.

PODCAST: A Three-Star Conspiracy. . .

Was the Michael Flynn saga ever about him? Or was it just another way to get to the president?

Andrew McCarthy has been following the case for three years, and he says there’s no doubt. Find out what Democrats were up to — then and now — in this special sit-down with the former federal prosecutor. Hear about all of the new developments, including one judge’s decision not to drop the case.

RELATED ARTICLES:

HEROES with 12 Zeroes

Army Off Base with Chaplain Crackdown

White House Treads a Fine Guideline

EDITORS NOTE: This FRC-Action podcast is republished with permission. ©All rights reserved.

4 Big Unanswered Questions About the ‘Unmasking’ Scandal

As the “unmasking” scandal unfolds, the Senate Judiciary Committee will delve into the conduct of the Obama administration and the intelligence community in secretly investigating the incoming Trump administration.

Two Senate Republicans released previously secret information Wednesday listing top Obama administration officials who made the same request in early 2017: that the intelligence community disclose to them that retired Army Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn was the American whose phone conversation with the Russian ambassador had been intercepted by intelligence officials.

Flynn at the time had been chosen by President-elect Donald Trump as his first national security adviser. Flynn’s “unmasking” at the request of some of outgoing President Barack Obama’s closest advisers set in motion events that led to Flynn’s resignation after only 23 days in office during the new Trump administration.

Sens. Charles Grassley of Iowa and Ron Johnson of Wisconsin, both Republicans, released the names of the Obama officials requesting Flynn’s identity as part of information declassified by Richard Grenell, acting director of national intelligence.


In these trying times, we must turn to the greatest document in the history of the world to promise freedom and opportunity to its citizens for guidance. Find out more now >>


Senate Judiciary Chairman Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., announced Thursday that his committee would hold hearings in June examining issues surrounding the Flynn case and related to the initial FBI investigation of possible ties between the Trump campaign and the Russian government.

In a joint statement, Johnson, chairman of the Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, the Senate’s chief oversight panel, and Grassley, chairman of the Senate Finance Committee, said:

Our investigation of these matters has been ongoing for years, and as information finally comes to light, our focus on these issues is even more important now. The records are one step forward in an important effort to get to the bottom of what the Obama administration did during the Russia investigation and to Lt. General Flynn. We will continue to review this information and push for additional relevant disclosures until we are satisfied that the American people know the full truth.

Meanwhile, U.S. Attorney John Durham of Connecticut continues to look into the origins of the Russia investigation, and the Justice Department has said that the Flynn unmasking requests is one part of that probe.

Here are four big unanswered questions as the Senate and the Justice Department scrutinize actions taken by the Obama administration between Trump’s election on Nov. 8, 2016, and his inauguration on Jan. 20, 2017.

1. Can Obama Be Compelled to Testify?

It might well be must-see TV, but at this point it seems highly unlikely that Obama himself would be subpoenaed to testify before the Senate Judiciary Committee.

Trump made the demand in a tweet Thursday.

“If I were a Senator or Congressman, the first person I would call to testify about the biggest political crime and scandal in the history of the USA, by FAR, is former President Obama,” Trump said in the tweet. “He knew EVERYTHING. Do it @LindseyGrahamSC, just do it. No more Mr. Nice Guy. No more talk!”

The previously classified documents released this week show that in the waning days of the Obama administration, these six well-known officials each submitted an unmasking request that would reveal Flynn’s otherwise protected identity under U.S. law: FBI Director James Comey, White House chief of staff Denis McDonough, Vice President Joe Biden, United Nations Ambassador Samantha Power, CIA Director John Brennan, and Director of National Intelligence James Clapper.

The Justice Department’s case against Flynn for lying to the FBI about his conversations with the Russian ambassador largely fell apart after other documents recently surfaced. They included notes of a discussion among Comey and two other top FBI officials about whether the goal in questioning Flynn at the White House was to “get him to lie” so that he could be fired or prosecuted.

The Justice Department last week dropped the case against Flynn for misleading the FBI, but a federal judge this week called in outside authorities to dispute that action.

Graham, in a statement Thursday, appeared to be reluctant about Trump’s call for Obama to testify.

“I am greatly concerned about the precedent that would be set by calling a former president for oversight,” Graham said. “No president is above the law. However, the presidency has executive privilege claims against other branches of government.”

Graham continued:

To say we are living in unusual times is an understatement.

We have the sitting president (Trump) accusing the former president (Obama) of being part of a treasonous conspiracy to undermine his presidency. We have the former president suggesting the current president is destroying the rule of law by dismissing the General Flynn case.

All of this is occurring during a major pandemic.

As to the Judiciary Committee, both presidents are welcome to come before the committee and share their concerns about each other. If nothing else it would make for great television. However, I have great doubts about whether it would be wise for the country.

Graham is striking the correct balance, said Charles Stimson, a senior legal fellow for national security at The Heritage Foundation.

“Chairman Graham should go after the facts, and see where that leads. He’s going to hold hearings,” Stimson told The Daily Signal on Thursday. “To take the president up on that suggestion [of calling Obama to testify] would risk looking political and could delegitimize the inquiry.”

2. What Are the Legal Issues?

Graham said the first part of his committee’s comprehensive inquiry would be of the Flynn matter.

“Our first phase will deal with the government’s decision to dismiss the Flynn case as well as an in-depth analysis of the unmasking requests made by Obama Administration officials against General Flynn,” Graham said in his written statement. “We must determine if these requests were legitimate.”

If Obama administration officials engaged in improper conduct, it’s not clear whether a law was broken, or who violated the law if one was broken.

Under Section 702 of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, U.S. intelligence agencies may intercept and listen to the telephone calls of foreign citizens, including foreign officials. That would include Flynn’s call with then-Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak on Dec. 29, 2016, roughly three weeks before Trump’s inauguration.

If a foreign citizen is speaking to an American citizen on the intercepted call, the law requires the name of the American citizen to be blacked out, or masked, in documentation.

So unmasking is the process by which authorized federal officials request to see information regarding American citizens mentioned anonymously in classified transcripts of calls or other communications involving foreigners.

However, someone leaked Flynn’s communication with the Russian ambassador to the media shortly after the unmasking requests were made. Leaking classified information is a crime.

Brennan, Clapper, Comey and the others named in the documents released by Grenell were authorized to ask for the unmasking. The question is whether there was a legitimate reason to ask for the unmasking, Stimson said.

Another question is whether the unmasking was an attempt by officials of the outgoing Obama administration to undermine the incoming Trump administration.

“I’m not there yet. I want to see more facts,” Stimson told The Daily Signal.

Stimson added that congressional hearings typically seem political, but could produce further lines of inquiry.

He said he is more focused on the probe by Durham, whose career has been as a “stand-up, just-the-facts-ma’am, Joe Friday type of guy.”

3. How Did FISA System Go ‘Off the Rails’?

Graham said the next phase of the Judiciary Committee’s inquiry will revisit the apparent abuse of the process for obtaining warrants under the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, highlighted in a scathing report late last year by Justice Department Inspector General Michael Horowitz.

Horowitz testified to the committee in December about his report’s findings. Among the most startling: The FBI relied almost entirely on the so-called Steele dossier, an opposition research document financed by Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign, as the basis for a FISA warrant to surveil Trump campaign aide Carter Page.

The inspector general’s report also determined that FBI overreach wasn’t limited to Page, but included other Trump campaign aides such as Flynn, then an adviser; George Papadopoulos, a campaign volunteer; and one-time campaign chairman Paul Manafort.

“Our next area of inquiry, later this summer, will be oversight building upon the Horowitz report about FISA abuses against Carter Page,” Graham said. “My goal is to find out why and how the system got so off the rails.”

4. What Was the Point of the Mueller Probe?

After an investigation lasting nearly two years and costing taxpayers $32 million, special counsel Robert Mueller, Comey’s predecessor as FBI director, determined that the Trump campaign did not conspire with the Russian government to influence the 2016 election.

The problem, critics of the Mueller probe say, is that prior to Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein’s appointing him as special counsel, no evidence existed to suggest a Trump-Russia conspiracy.

Thus, the Judiciary Committee will look into the predicate of initiating a special counsel probe, Graham said.

“Finally, we will look at whether Robert Mueller should have ever been appointed as Special Counsel,” he said. “Was there legitimate reason to conclude the Trump campaign had colluded with the Russians?”

Mueller secured grand jury indictments against some two dozen Russian operatives—none of whom is expected ever to stand trial because they are in Russia.

The special counsel’s team also scored a conviction of Manafort for financial crimes unrelated to the presidential campaign.

COLUMN BY

Fred Lucas

Fred Lucas is the White House correspondent for The Daily Signal and co-host of “The Right Side of History” podcast. Lucas is also the author of “Tainted by Suspicion: The Secret Deals and Electoral Chaos of Disputed Presidential Elections.” Send an email to Fred. Twitter: @FredLucasWH.

RELATED ARTICLES:

Flynn Judge Disagrees With Own Rulings by Letting Outsiders Fight Dropping Charges

Biden, Comey, Brennan Submitted Flynn ‘Unmasking’ Requests

With That Revelation, There’s No Reason Why the Flynn Case Shouldn’t Be Tossed


A Note for our Readers:

This is a critical year in the history of our country. With the country polarized and divided on a number of issues and with roughly half of the country clamoring for increased government control—over health care, socialism, increased regulations, and open borders—we must turn to America’s founding for the answers on how best to proceed into the future.

The Heritage Foundation has compiled input from more than 100 constitutional scholars and legal experts into the country’s most thorough and compelling review of the freedoms promised to us within the United States Constitution into a free digital guide called Heritage’s Guide to the Constitution.

They’re making this guide available to all readers of The Daily Signal for free today!

GET ACCESS NOW! >>


EDITORS NOTE: This Daily Signal column is republished with permission. ©All rights reserved.

Deep State Judge Denies Relief to Lieutenant General Flynn

“Look at the orators in our republics; as long as they are poor, both state and people can only praise their uprightness; but once they are fattened on the public funds, they conceive a hatred for justice, plan intrigues against the people and attack the democracy.”–  Aristophanes

“Every time we turn our heads the other way when we see the law flouted, when we tolerate what we know to be wrong, when we close our eyes and ears to the corrupt because we are too busy or too frightened, when we fail to speak up and speak out, we strike a blow against freedom and decency and justice.” – Robert Kennedy

“When the righteous are in authority, the people rejoice: but when the wicked beareth rule, the people mourn.”  – Proverbs 29:2


Relief was short lived for Lt. General Michael T. Flynn.  The federal judge in his case has signaled he won’t immediately dismiss the Flynn case despite the DOJ dismissal of same.

Judge Emmet Sullivan said he’ll receive written arguments that are likely to oppose the DOJ’s bid to dismiss General Flynn’s prosecution.  The Judge’s decision to allow third parties (only those he deems worthy) to submit friend-of-the-court briefs is absolutely egregious.  Attorney Sidney Powell has argued that it should not be allowed.  She has already proven the General’s innocence with her efforts to get Brady exculpatory evidence from the FBI.

Judge Sullivan himself acknowledged that the local criminal procedure rules do not provide for third parties to file amicus briefs in criminal matters, but he claimed that the local rules governing civil cases — which do allow for amicus briefs — “govern all proceedings in the United States District Court for the District of Columbia.”

“The proposed amicus brief has no place in this Court,” Powell and other attorneys for Flynn wrote, objecting to an amicus brief that a group identifying itself as “Watergate Prosecutors” had said on May 11th that it intended to submit.

The former Watergate special prosecutors this week resurrected the Ghost of Watergate Past in a last-ditch effort to keep alive the federal court case against former National Security Advisor Michael Flynn.

Sidney Powell pointed out, “This Court has consistently, on 24 previous occasions, summarily refused to permit any third party to inject themselves or their views into this case.”

The exculpatory documents brought forth by Attorney General Barr’s appointee, U.S. Attorney Jeffrey Jensen, prove that Michael Flynn is innocent of the charges and was set-up and railroaded by Obama and his FBI minions.

Watergate Prosecutors

Sixteen of the former prosecutors in the Watergate case have told Judge Sullivan they believe he has the authority to sentence Michael Flynn to prison despite the fact that the DOJ dismissed the case.

These sixteen are part of the Democratic Deep State who wish to see Donald Trump’s associates and supporters punished for helping him in the 2016 election

They have laid out their legal documents which state that they believe Judge Sullivan has to reject the dismissal request and sentence Flynn who had pleaded guilty to lying to the FBI.  They never mention that Robert Mueller’s gang of thugs including Andrew Weissman used the same old modus operandi of threatening family members, in this case the General’s son, Michael, to elicit a guilty plea from the General.

These Watergate prosecutors compared the current situation at the DOJ to Watergate which is an atrocity in itself.

Director Wray

It was FBI Director Wray who was refusing exculpatory Brady evidence to the Flynn defense despite Judge Sullivan’s directive. Now that we have those documents, the General’s attorneys still must fight this judge for the righteous total dismissal of this case.

Christopher Wray has been the Director of the FBI for nearly three years and has defied Congress by refusing to produce documents exposing the dishonest acts of his predecessor, James Comey and the rest of his corrupt comrades.  It is Wray who held back and suppressed documents that proved General Michael T. Flynn’s innocence.

It took AG Barr’s appointed U.S. Attorney and former FBI agent, Jeffrey Jensen to successfully attain the Brady evidence.

DNI Rick Grenell

Richard Allen Grenell, acting Director of National Intelligence who replaced VP Pence’s transition-chosen Indiana friend, Dan Coates, made the decision to declassify information about Obama administration officials who were involved in the “unmasking” of former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn whose calls with the former Russian ambassador during the presidential transition were picked up in surveillance and later leaked.

The list of Obama officials doing the unmasking was declassified in recent days by Grenell and then sent to GOP Sens. Chuck Grassley and Ron Johnson, who made the documents public.

The roster features top-ranking figures including then-Vice President Joe Biden, a detail already being raised by the Trump campaign in the 2020 presidential race where Biden is now the Democrats’ presumptive nominee.

The list also includes former FBI Director James Comey, former CIA Director John Brennan, former Director of National Intelligence James Clapper, and Obama’s former chief of staff Denis McDonough.  Read the Documents.

Officials in the Obama administration have acknowledged that they moved to unmask some Americans in intelligence reports, but insisted that their reasons were legitimate.  Yeah right…their reasons were to undermine the incoming administration. Those officials include Obama National Security Advisor Susan Rice, former ambassador to the United Nations Samantha Power and former deputy national security advisor Benjamin Rhodes.

The DOJ said that after reviewing newly disclosed information and other materials, it agreed with Flynn’s lawyers that his Jan. 24, 2017, interview with the FBI should never have taken place because he had not had inappropriate contacts with Russians. The interview, the department said, was “conducted without any legitimate investigative basis.”

Exactly, this entire charade was to destroy both Lt. General Michael T. Flynn, a three-star general with 33 years of service to his country, both in combat and decades in intelligence.  And even more to destroy the General’s ability to help the duly elected President to clean out the corruption from the intelligence community within the DOJ.

Judge Sullivan

Judge Sullivan belongs to the Deep State globalist cabal.  He is doing the bidding of those who wish to destroy truth, justice, and the American way.  Yes, that’s it, I’m not making this up.  This Clinton appointee hates a man who gave his life to his country and who loves America.

There is no prosecutor in the Flynn case; Brandon Van Grack resigned the very day the DOJ dismissed the Flynn case.  Judge Sullivan looks incompetent and complicit with former prosecutors.  The more the DOJ found that Flynn was innocent, the more they went after a smear campaign.

And today we learned that Paul Manafort has been released to serve the rest of his sentence at home.  It took them long enough to release this elderly man so that he wouldn’t contract Covid-19 in prison.  Throughout the country criminals guilty of rape, murder, burglary, etc. were released weeks ago and many have committed the same crimes, including murder and rape.  It took until today to release Paul Manafort who at his age should not be imprisoned and should have had his federal charges pardoned long ago.

The rush to imprison Trump supporters, Roger Stone and Michael Flynn, shows they are targeted by the millions of Marxist-Leninists within our government.

Conclusion

Lt. General Michael T. Flynn was targeted before he even joined the White House administration.  Flynn was chosen by President Trump to restructure the entire intel community.

Fred Fleitz, former Chief of Staff and Executive Secretary of the National Security Council for Donald Trump stated in his Fox News article that the list released today is of 39 top Obama officials who made 53 requests to unmask Lt. Gen. Flynn’s name from intelligence reports between election day (Nov. 8, 2016) and Jan. 31, 2017.  While many of the requesters were Obama political appointees who resigned by Jan. 20, 2017, some were career officers at CIA, the Pentagon and other agencies.

Judge Sullivan should recuse himself from this case. It’s obvious who he is working for and it’s certainly not for true justice.

Three-star General Michael T. Flynn has endured enough at the hands of these demons of the dark state.

©All rights reserved.

RELATED ARTICLE: Flynn Judge Faces Ethics Complaints After Shock Move