No collusion!

This is purely a semantics problem.  The verb “to collude” is not a standard legal term.   The lawyers understand this,  and know what Mueller is looking at the criminal act of conspiring with foreign entities, obviously Russian agents. So, if one simply substitutes conspiracy for collusion, then yes, we are likely getting close to charges of  conspiracy with those close to Trump’s campaign.

I believe there are more criminal  indictments to come.  It is both ill advised, and premature to begin impeachment proceedings against President Trump.

There is more legal  hairsplitting between a “target” of an investigation and a “subject” of one.   Neither one is pretty as follows:

  • A “target” is a person as to whom the prosecutor or the grand jury has substantial evidence linking him or her to the commission of a crime and who, in the judgment of the prosecutor, is a putative defendant.
  • A “subject” of an investigation is a person whose conduct is within the scope of the grand jury’s investigation.

Donald Trump is the subject of the investigation and not the target of one.  He may be getting closer every day to being a target.

The White House continues to slam the news media,  FBI agents and the Department of Justice.   Exactly how far President Trump is willing to go to defend himself, and close family members is still hard to say.   It has been well established that Donald Trump, Jr.,  Jared Kushner and Paul Manafort attended a meeting with Russian agents in the Trump tower on June 9, 2016.

I believe Attorney General Jeff Sessions made an outstanding decision to recuse himself from the Mueller investigation.   I believe Deputy AG Rod Rosenstein’s selection of Robert Mueller to head the Russian investigation was excellent.  I am very impressed with FBI Director,  Christopher Wray (Trump’s nominated director) and hope that he is able to rise above partisan attacks from Congress.

The investigation is getting complicated.   Mueller has assembled what many consider, the most experienced career  attorneys and FBI agents, to complete the investigation.   White collar crimes, take a long time to litigate because there are teams of attorneys available for those charged with crimes.

The news media is doing a good job of getting the facts as they evolve.  I continue to rely on Wikipedia’s summary, which has assembled one of the best summary of the investigation and its results.   One has to distinguish between the real news reporting,  which recently is the  Manafort trial,  and the commentary which surround it.

There is definitely more to come.

Stay tuned,

Dave

Links:

Normally,  criminal investigations do not list every lawyer and FBI agent assigned to the case.  However, congressional leaders,  particularly Republicans in the House, have relentlessly subpoenaed thousands of documents in their attack on the Mueller investigation, to help the president and related campaign officials.

Wikipedia link 

 

 

 

Inspector General’s Report

The link below is the full 500+ report, which as I predicted, is being reported very differently by Republicans and Democrats.    Fox News headline is:  “Disaster for Comey”  with the implication that whatever is bad for Comey,  makes the FBI investigation of Hillary Clinton look bad.   They further go on to say “Trump breaks silence with damning IG report, say it vindicates move to fire FBI boss.”

The New York Times headline avoided the same adjectives, such as bombshell (seen on Fox News)  but reported “FBI Faulted in Clinton Case.”   They mention the  part of the report that Democrats like –  the conclusion that political opinions of some at  FBI involved in the Clinton email investigation  did not influence the outcome.

So, both Republicans and Democrats can reach different conclusions.   And, finally the reason most Americans will not bother to read it (beyond laziness), is best summed up by one blogger:, “The IG is just as crooked as the rest of the FBI and DOJ.”   So,  paranoid conspiracy bloggers don’t need to read and can just troll the internet for big conspiracy advocates.

The IG’s conclusions are based on the information as given in the 500 pages of documentation.   I think that’s pretty good.

2016_election_final_report_06-14-18_0

Stay tuned,

Dave

 

 

House Intelligence Committee

This is a committee with a majority of Republicans who will do anything they can to avoid a real investigation of the Russian inference in the 2016 election.   Instead, they will pursue construction of a false narrative based on carefully chosen information,     arranged creatively  to disparage the  Democratic Party and Hillary Clinton.

This is the Republican counter attack on the real events which took place during our national elections, in which the Russian government and operatives in the US,  secretly tried to influence the election in favor of Donald Trump.   There are many reasons the Russians  did not want Hillary Clinton to win, but in general it was her hard stance against Russian expansion.   It was clear she would work through the UN and other organizations to sanction Russia.

This committee serves a second purpose, which at the moment is vital to President Trump.    With the false narrative,  the committee has constructed an excuse to fire Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein.   Trump needs to do this in order to fire Robert Mueller.   This is the plan to avoid an obstruction of justice charge against the President.  Trump doesn’t know what Mueller has, but he doesn’t want to take chances.   Trump has said repeatedly he plays to win.

The cleverly constructed narrative  falls perfectly into Trump’s defense, which he has said often, that whatever the Republicans did wrong in the elections was nothing compared to the Democrats.  Representatives Devin Nunes and Trey Gowdy excel at creative writing but fail in the honesty department.

The “path of least resistance” is a law of physics that applies to inanimate objects.  This path for Sessions,  Rosenstein and Wray is out the door, but I am real glad they are staying put.

This blog is a separate page and I will link it to a series of commentaries in the future.  The story was too big to keep it as one of my posts.

Stay tuned,

Dave

Nunes Memo

The Honorable Adam Schiff
Ranking Member, House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence

Declassified by order of the President
February 2, 2018

January 18, 2018

To: HPSCI Majority Members
From: HPSCI Majority Staff
Subject: Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act Abuses at the Department of Justice and the Federal Bureau of Investigation

 

Purpose

This memorandum provides Members an update on significant facts relating to the Committee’s ongoing investigation into the Department of Justice (DOJ) and Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and their use of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) during the 2016 presidential election cycle. Our findings, which are detailed below, 1) raise concerns with the legitimacy and legality of certain DOJ and FBI interactions with the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court (FISC), and 2) represent a troubling breakdown of legal processes established to protect the American people from abuses related to the FISA process.

Investigation Update

On October 21, 2016, DOJ and FBI sought and received a FISA probable cause order (not under Title VII) authorizing electronic surveillance on Carter Page from the FISC. Page is a US citizen who served as a volunteer advisor to the Trump presidential campaign. Consistent with requirements under FISA, the application had to be first certified by the Director or Deputy Director of the FBI. It then required the approval of the Attorney General, Deputy Attorney General (DAG), or the Senate-confirmed Assistant Attorney General for the National Security Division.

The FBI and DOJ obtained one initial FISA warrant targeting Carter Page and three FISA renewals from the FISC. As required by statute (50 U.S.C. 1805(d)(1)), a FISA order on an American citizen must be renewed by the ISC every 90 days and each renewal requires a separate finding of probable cause. Then-Director James Comey signed three FISA applications in question on behalf of the FBI, and Deputy Director Andrew McCabe signed one. Sally Yates, then-Acting DAG Dana Boente, and DAG Rod Rosenstein each signed one or more FISA applications on behalf of DOJ.

Due to the sensitive nature of foreign intelligence activity, FISA submissions (including renewals) before the ISC are classified. As such, the public’s confidence in the integrity of the FISA process depends on the court’s ability to hold the government to the highest standard — particularly as it relates to surveillance of American citizens. However, the rigor in protecting the rights of Americans, which is reinforced by 90-day renewals of surveillance orders, is necessarily dependent on the government’s production to the court of all material and relevant facts. This should include information potentially favorable to the target of the FISA application that is known by the government. In the case of Carter Page, the government had at least four independent opportunities before the FISC to accurately provide an accounting of the relevant facts. However, our findings indicate that, as described below, material and relevant information was omitted.

1) The “dossier” compiled by Christopher Steele (Steele dossier) on behalf of the Democratic National Committee (DNC) and the Hillary Clinton campaign formed an essential part of the Carter Page FISA application. Steele was a longtime FBI source who was paid over $160,000 by the DNC and Clinton campaign, via the law firm Perkins Coie and research firm Fusion GPS, to obtain derogatory information on Donald Trump’s ties to Russia.

a) Neither the initial application in October 2016, nor any of the renewals, disclose or reference the role of the DNC, Clinton campaign, or any party/campaign in funding Steele’s efforts, even though the political origins of the Steele dossier were then known to senior and FBI officials.

b) The initial FISA application notes Steele was working for a named U.S. person, but does not name Fusion GPS and principal Glenn Simpson, who was paid by a U.S. Law firm (Perkins Coie) representing the DNC (even though it was known by DOJ at the time that political actors were involved with the Steele dossier). The application does not mention Steele was ultimately working on behalf of — and paid by — the DNC and Clinton campaign, or that the FBI had separately authorized payment to Steele for the same information.

2) The Carter Page FISA application also cited extensively a September 23, 2016, Yahoo News article by Michael Isikoff, which focuses on Page’s July 2016 trip to Moscow. This article does not corroborate the Steele dossier because it is derived from information leaked by Steele himself to Yahoo News. The Page FISA application incorrectly assesses that Steele did not directly provide information to Yahoo News. Steele has admitted in British court filings that he met with Yahoo News — and several other outlets – in September 2016 at the direction of Fusion GPS. Perkins Coie was aware of Steele’s initial media contacts because they hosted at least one meeting in Washington DC. in 2016 with Steele and Fusion GPS where this matter was discussed.”

a) Steele was suspended and then terminated as an FBI source for what the FBI defines as the most serious of violations — an unauthorized disclosure to the media of his relationship with the FBI in an October 30, 2016, Mother Jones article by David Corn. Steele should have been terminated for his previous undisclosed contacts with Yahoo and other outlets in September — before the Page application was submitted to the FISC in October — but Steele improperly concealed from and lied to the FBI about those contacts.

b) Steele’s numerous encounters with the media violated the cardinal rule of source handling — maintaining confidentiality — and demonstrated that Steele had become a less than reliable source for the FBI.

3) Before and after Steele was terminated as a source, he maintained contact with DOJ via then-Associate Deputy Attorney General Bruce Ohr, a senior DOJ official who worked closely with Deputy Attorneys General Yates and later Rosenstein. Shortly after the election, the FBI began interviewing Ohr, documenting his communications with Steele. For example, in September 2016, Steele admitted to Ohr his feelings against then-candidate Trump when Steele said he “was desperate that Donald Trump not get elected and was passionate about him not being president.” This clear evidence of Steele’s bias was recorded by Ohr at the time and subsequently in official FBI files – but not reflected in any of the Page FISA applications.

a) During this same time period, Ohr’s wife was employed by Fusion GPS to assist in the cultivation of opposition research on Trump. Ohr later provided the FBI with all of his wife’s opposition research, paid for by the DNC and Clinton campaign via Fusion GPS. The Ohrs’ relationship with Steele and Fusion GPS was inexplicably concealed from the FISC.

4) According to the head of the counterintelligence division, Assistant Director Bill Priestap, corroboration of the Steele dossier was in its “infancy” at the time of the initial Page FISA application. After Steele was terminated, a source validation report conducted by an independent unit within FBI assessed Steele’s reporting as only minimally corroborated. Yet, in early January 2017, Director Comey briefed President-elect Trump on a summary of the Steele dossier, even though it was — according to his June 2017 testimony – “salacious and unverified.” While the FISA application relied on Steele’s past record of credible reporting on other unrelated matters, it ignored or concealed his anti-Trump financial and ideological motivations. Furthermore, Deputy Director McCabe testified before the Committee in December 2017 that no surveillance warrant would have been sought from the FISC without the Steele dossier information.

5) The Page FISA application also mentions information regarding fellow Trump campaign advisor George Papadopoulos, but there is no evidence of any cooperation or conspiracy between Page and Papadopoulos. The Papadopoulos information triggered the opening of an FBI counterintelligence investigation in late July 2016 by FBI agent Pete Strzok. Strzok was reassigned by the Special Counsel’s Office to FBI Human Resources for improper text messages with his mistress, FBI Attorney Lisa Page (no known relation to Carter Page), where they both demonstrated a clear bias against Trump and in favor of Clinton, Whom Strzok had also investigated. The Strzok/Lisa Page texts also reflect extensive discussions about the investigation, orchestrating leaks to the media, and include a meeting with Deputy Director McCabe to discuss an “insurance” policy against President Trump’s election.

 

 

Dear Mr. President, We are not that stupid!

Building a pretext to fire Christopher Wray, Jeff Sessions and Rod Rosenstein, to stop the Mueller Investigation, Trump tweeted this at 3:33 am today:

The top leadership and investigators of the FBI and the Justice Department have politicized the sacred investigative process in favor of the Democrats and against Republicans – something which should have been unthinkable just a short time ago,.   Rank and file are great people!

Mueller’s team were getting too close to an obstruction of justice charge against Donald Trump.  Bottom Line.

Christopher Wray:    Director of the FBI. Nominated by President Trump.  Assumed office August 2, 2017.  Trump did not go to the swearing in ceremony.   Registered Republican. Graduate of Yale University.  Confirmation was easy, the Judiciary Committee unanimously voted to recommend Wray, and the Senate voted 92 to 5 to confirm.

Since Andrew McCabe resigned,  a new Deputy Directed may be appointed by Director Wray,

Jeff Sessions: Attorney General of the US.    Nominated by President Trump.  An early supporter of Donald Trump’s 2016 presidential campaign, Sessions was nominated by Trump for the post of U.S. Attorney General. He was confirmed on February 8, 2017, with a 52–47 vote in the Senate, and was sworn in on February 9, 2017. From 1981 to 1993, he served as U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Alabama. Sessions was nominated in 1986 to be a judge of the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Alabama, but was not confirmed. Sessions was elected Attorney General of Alabama in 1994, and to the U.S. Senate in 1996, being re-elected in 2002, 2008, and 2014. During his time in Congress, Sessions was considered one of the most conservative members of the U.S. Senate. (Wikipedia)

Rod Rosenstein: Deputy AG.  He graduated from the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania, with a B.S. in economics, summa cum laude in 1986. He earned his J.D. degree cum laude in 1989 from Harvard Law School, where he was an editor of the Harvard Law Review. He then served as a law clerk to Judge Douglas H. Ginsburg of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit. He was a Wasserstein Fellow at Harvard Law School in 1997-98.

In 2007, President George W. Bush nominated Rosenstein to a seat on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit. Rosenstein was a Maryland resident at the time. Barbara Mikulski and new Democratic Maryland senator, Ben Cardin, blocked Rosenstein’s confirmation, stating that he did not have strong enough Maryland legal ties, and due to this Senate Judiciary Committee chairman Patrick Leahy did not schedule a hearing on Rosenstein during the 110th Congress and the nomination lapsed. Andre M. Davis later was renominated to the same seat and confirmed by the Senate in 2009. Rob Rosenstein is  registered as a Republican.  He has served under both Republican and Democrat administrations.

Stephen Colbert:

Friends of Trump say the president sees the memo as a way to discredit Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s Russia investigation. “Yes, it’s like when you’re losing at basketball, so you shoot the ref,” he said, slipping into Trump voice. “I guess I win — there’s nobody to tell me I didn’t. Now, who wants to be the new referee?”

James Comey:

Recent tweets:

All should appreciate the FBI speaking up. I wish more of our leaders would. But take heart: American history shows that, in the long run, weasels and liars never hold the field, so long as good people stand up. Not a lot of schools or streets named for Joe McCarthy.

Special Agent Andrew McCabe stood tall over the last 8 months, when small people were trying to tear down an institution we all depend on. He served with distinction for two decades. I wish Andy well. I also wish continued strength for the rest of the FBI. America needs you.

I believe Donald Trump has underestimated the intelligence of the United States and its people, in his recent tweets.   This is not the way to make America greater, just Donald Trump greater.

Stay tuned,

Dave

PS.  I have not included the usual links.  The profiles of James Comey, Devin Nunes, Christopher Wray, Jeff Sessions and Rob Rosenstein are easily found on Wikipedia.   I did not include anything on Devin Nunes, but a summary can be found on Wikipedia.   He is a graduate of CalPoly with a masters in agriculture.  The news on the Nunes memo can be found by doing a Google search on “Nunes Memo.”

Finally, I note that James Comey’s book, A Higher Loyalty: Truth, Lies and Leadership will begin shipment on May 1, 2018.  Amazon is accepting pre-orders now.

 

 

Evidence of the Secret Society – alive and well on Varney and Company

I don’t normally get this emotional.   But what I just heard on Varney and C0mpany is nonsense.   But it is Trump’s nonsense.   Granted, I don’t listen to Fox News on a regular basis.  It does seem to be going all out for Trump’s twisted narrative about an FBI and Justice Department  without integrity or scruples.

Stuart Varney has reported on financial and stock market news for CNN.  He graduated from the London School of Economics.  He became a US Citizen in 2015.

He said by releasing the Nune’s memo, we will know whether there were a group of anti-Trump conspirators within the FBI and Department of Justice.  This is a sham and it is sad to see Fox News sinking this low.  There is no loyalty test for the FBI or the Attorney General.  Their loyalty is to enforcement of the law.

The reason both the FBI and the Attorney General have advised against release of this memo, is because (a) it makes false statements,  (b) it is put together by a partisan group whose only interest is in protecting Trump and his close associates, who might face criminal charges, and (c) the ongoing Russian investigation makes it impossible for the Democrats,  the FBI and the Department of Justice to respond.

Secrecy in law enforcement and criminal investigation is essential.   Further, whether the FISA warrants might have included some erroneous information, is an issue the President can task the Department of Justice to investigate in private.   To release this memo is to play politics and discredit the FBI, the Attorney General and the Department of Justice.   It play right into the hands of conspiracy radicals.

Stay tuned,

Dave

The Nunes Memo: Basic documents

The likely release of the House Committee on Intelligence memo, as prepared by the Republican majority on the committee is absolutely wrong.   What is astoundingly wrong, is that neither the Justice Department nor the FBI were given adequate time to review the memo, prior to a vote of the committee to make it public.

The Deputy Attorney General met with White House officials to explain why release of the memo would be “extremely reckless” according to the New York Times.  The Department of Justice can not respond openly as the Russian investigation is proceeding.   Everyone who works in law enforcement know the importance of keeping information secret.  Until actual criminal charges are presented in court,  those individuals, be they Americans or foreign nationals, do not have the right to know what the bits and pieces of the  FBI or Department of Justice’s  “raw intelligence.”     The House Committee is undercutting the FBI and Department of Justice abilities to do their job – which is to catch individuals involved in criminal acts and present the case in court.

Trump has previously made wild  allegations on wiretapping:

@realDonaldTrump (March 4, 2017). “Terrible! Just found out that Obama had my “wires tapped” in Trump Tower just before the victory. Nothing fois a und. This is McCarthyism!” (Tweet). Retrieved March 21, 2017 – via Twitter.
@realDonaldTrump (March 4, 2017). “Is it legal for a sitting President to be “wire tapping” a race for president prior to an election? Turned down by court earlier. A NEW LOW!” (Tweet). Retrieved March 21, 2017 – via Twitter.
@realDonaldTrump (March 4, 2017). “I’d bet a good lawyer could make a great case out of the fact that President Obama was tapping my phones in October, just prior to Election!” (Tweet). Retrieved March 21, 2017 – via Twitter.
@realDonaldTrump (March 4, 2017). “How low has President Obama gone to tapp my phones during the very sacred election process. This is Nixon/Watergate. Bad (or sick) guy!”” (Tweet). Retrieved March 21, 2017 – via Twitter.

Since this came from the White House,  the FBI investigated the alleged wiretapping as claimed by Donald Trump and found zero evidence to support his accusations as per Wikipedia.

Representative Devin Nunes, who chairs the House Intelligence Committee, vowed to investigate the [wiretap]  claim, later stating that the committee had found no evidence for Trump’s statement. At a House Intelligence Committee open hearing on March 20, 2017, Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) Director James Comey stated that neither the FBI nor the Department of Justice (DOJ) possessed any information to support Donald Trump’s wiretapping allegations. Nunes stated on March 23 that the Trump administration’s communications might have been legally monitored during the transition period as part of an “incidental collection”.[1]

In a September 1, 2017 court filing, the DOJ declared that “both the FBI and NSD confirm that they have no records related to wiretaps as described by the March 4, 2017 tweets.”[2][3] Later in the same month, CNN reported that the FBI wiretapped Paul Manafort in 2016–17, either during or after his tenure with the Trump campaign. Some commentators cited this report as vindication for Trump’s claims, while others noted that it did not confirm the accuracy of Trump’s original tweets, and that it is still unknown whether any surveillance of Manafort took place at Trump Tower.[4][5][6]

 

Washington, D.C.
FBI National Press Office
(202) 324-3691
January 31, 2018
FBI Statement on HPSCI Memo

The FBI takes seriously its obligations to the FISA Court and its compliance with procedures overseen by career professionals in the Department of Justice and the FBI. We are committed to working with the appropriate oversight entities to ensure the continuing integrity of the FISA process.

With regard to the House Intelligence Committee’s memorandum, the FBI was provided a limited opportunity to review this memo the day before the committee voted to release it. As expressed during our initial review, we have grave concerns about material omissions of fact that fundamentally impact the memo’s accuracy.

=======

House Representative Devin Nunes heads the House Intelligence Committee, investigating the Russian interference with the 2016 election.  While the memo itself is very brief,  documents that it relied on, particularly the application of a search warrant to the FISA for Carter Page were long (some applications go over 100 pages) and are based on many other classified documents.

The appropriate course of action would be not to release either the Republican or Democrat memos to the public.   If there were allegations of misconduct within  the Department of Justice,  this would be handled best by submitting these allegations to the White House and the Attorney General Jeff Sessions.

This is a mishandling of classified materials on US intelligence by an obviously partisan legislative group, and is shameful.

Stay tuned,

Dave

Links:

A Google search on the Nunes memo.    I like this one because it is simply stating the facts.  Adam Schiff  said yesterday that the memo sent to the President had been changed after it was voted on in committee.  Wow.

https://www.cnn.com/2018/01/30/politics/cordero-nunes-memo/index.html

Republican Posturing on the Mueller Investigation

You are witnessing the single greatest WITCH HUNT in American political history – led by some very bad and conflicted people! #MAGA,” Trump tweeted last Thursday.

I don’t subscribe to Twitter.   I hope this is the last time I have to refer to anyone’s tweets.

Republican’s are posturing on questions about  Robert Mueller’s investigation.  Is it going to be impartial?  Is Trump going to be vindicated?

I believe the responses from Republicans follow  these approaches:  (1) Duck the question entirely,  (2) Call it a witch hunt or rigged investigation,  as if Democrats had wormed their way into Jeff Session’s Justice Department  or (3) State that the process must continue, it will be thorough and fair, and will vindicate  Trump.

First, how to duck the question. It is easy to  state,   “I’m not going there”, or “It’s far too early.”  Then add how special counsel in the past, such as Ken Starr’s investigation of Bill Clinton, seemed to never end.

A variation on the first approach is to bring in a boat load of accusations made against Hillary Clinton,  and state that if an investigation is needed, it is of all the wrong doing by her.    Of course, Jeff Sessions can investigate Hillary Clinton or anyone he wants to.

The second way, the full frontal assault (Newt Gingrich approach) and  slam Mueller for hiring biased staff.

Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich believes special counsel Robert Mueller’s Russia investigation is a “rigged game” because most of Mueller’s lawyers have donated to Democrats. On Tuesday, Gingrich criticized Mueller for not having pro-Trump attorneys on his team and addressed reports that three members of Mueller’s team have donated to Democrats. One lawyer even defended the Clinton Foundation. “He apparently couldn’t find a single pro-Trump attorney to hire, and I just think that’s a rigged game, and I think that it’s a mistake to pretend this is going to be some neutral investigation,” Gingrich said on CBS This Morning. “I don’t give the benefit of the doubt to somebody who could only hire Democrats but claims we ought to trust him.”

This claim of bias is obviously weak as observers say that Mueller is staffing up with an all star group of lawyers.     He knows Washington, and this is a super high stakes investigation.

The final approach is championed by Marco Rubio,  who I believe still has presidential aspirations.   Marco stated the following,  just after the Trump Cuban-American love fest for Fidel haters:

Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) on Sunday defended special counsel Robert Mueller’s “stellar” reputation and ability to “conduct a full and fair and thorough investigation” on possible collusion between Russia and the Trump campaign.

“I believe he is going to conduct a full and fair and thorough investigation that we should have confidence in,” Rubio told CNN’s “State of the Union.”

“I’ll continue to believe that based on his reputation and years of service to our country unless there’s any evidence to the contrary,” Rubio said.

Rubio’s comments contradict recent efforts by President Trump’s legal team to attack Mueller’s integrity as special counsel. The team is raising concerns that Mueller’s prior relationship with former FBI Director James Comey is a conflict in his ability to lead the investigation.

Trump’s legal team has left open the possibility Trump will fire Mueller as well.

Rubio also stated that he felt in the end, Trump would be cleared of any wrong doing.

Republicans can decide whether to go with Newt’s attack on Robert Mueller’s staff, or Rubio’s faith in the system.

During all this, the Democrats are probably best to say as little as possible.  They wanted an independent investigation, and they got one.  Beyond this, they should just keep their mouth shut about the ultimate outcome.  They should not respond to Trump’s persistent tweets.   If you are winning, don’t gloat.

It is exactly in line with Rubio, to just let the facts speak for themselves.

Stay tuned,

Dave

 

Thank you horrible, horrible people

All governments and businesses are inherently closed and dishonest organizations. This is not being negative, because  I’m not saying they are closed and dishonest all the time, in every aspect.  Just occasionally when something goes very wrong.   The public wants to know why VW manipulated their emission tests and how stupid the EPA could have been to accept these tests. Or how could  Wells Fargo opened up millions of fake accounts.   We want to know  the details of how VA  military  hospitals were able to cheated the system in reporting the time veterans had to wait for their urgent medical needs.  Or the IRS scandal where non=profit organizations  were systematically targeted if their  applications contained certain keywords, almost always related to conservative causes.  We want to know what was hit when the bombs dropped in Yemen missed their target under Trump.  Or when a Children’s hospital was bombed under Obama.    And we want to know how many times, Obama took vacations to go golfing.  Same with Trump.   And the same with the next president.

Another words, we want dirt.  It is our right.   Freedom of the press is how we keep our government and businesses honest.

Trump has been blasting  unfavorable media commentary to a new level.    Much of his problems stem from the way he portrays events.   The dishonesty of reasons behind Comey’s firing is a case in point, which I and others have covered enough. Commentary which blends the news with insight  is  either incredible, amazing, terrific or despicable, horrible, dishonest  or totally fake.   When the mother of all bombs was dropped on Afghanistan, CNN brought in a group of  military experts and  all were in full support of Trump’s action.  No problem with CNN.  But after Trump  said more had been done to defeat ISIS in Afghanistan in 8 weeks of his administration  than 8 years under Obama, one former military expert described that as a highly derogatory statement  to those serving in  armed forces.

He can’t be satisfied with his own accomplishments; he has to show he is better than Obama and Democrats.    His wild exaggerations are quickly picked up by dedicated  reporters.    Case in point, the Obama administration wiretapped the Trump towers.  Director Comey replied there is no evidence of this.   Should Comey have said, “No comment, it is under investigation” ? Would he have score some loyalty points?

Trump  stated in his latest interview with Judge Jeanine Pirro, that she is a fair and balanced reporter as she tossed a number of  softball questions at Trump.    I turned the channel at this point.  She is known for her non-stop rants against Hillary Clinton:

 Hillary, snap out of it,” Pirro said. “I’m tired of going through this with you. You’re a two-time loser who lost because you were a lousy candidate, you didn’t have a message, you lied every time you opened your mouth; you didn’t know what states to campaign in, you put our national security at risk with your amateur email setup, you were in a foundation that was nothing more than an organized criminal enterprise parading as a charity, four men died under your watch as you lied about a video, and there [were] a billion dollars missing from the State Department when you left. And I could go on and on, but I just don’t have the time. So, stop with the poor me nonsense. We’ve had it with you Clintons always claiming victimhood. The two of you haven’t followed the rules since the day you both showed up in your bell bottoms in Arkansas.”

Imagine if she said the same words to Trump, “You lied every time you opened your mouth,” Wow, end of interview, I sure. I watch Fox News for the news segments, not the commentary. I would not watch her show as too much tabloid gossip (Hillary steals a billion from the State Department).   Gee,  wouldn’t you think there would be an investigation?

Reporters are not going to get the straight story from government and inside information is fundamental to full reporting.    Piecing together the truth requires getting facts from people on the inside.   Leaking was given high praise by candidate Trump, and now widely condemned by President Trump.  Every person he fires from government can talk freely about their experiences.

Keep up the good work you horrible, horrible reporters from the mainstream media.    America needs you, for this president and all future presidents.

Stay tuned,

Dave

 

Telling it like it isn’t

90-million

How do we get 90 million jobs back?   Labor Participation statistics were dropping during Bush Administration too- but Fox doesn’t mention this.   Labor participation is more a measure of the aging of our population and does  not  correlate with unemployment and  other common measures of our economy.   If more young people are enroll in higher education, the  Labor Participation go down.  They don’t tell you this!.

While housing starts went up during Obama term,  home ownership has declined.   The National Review is a magazine dedicated to conservative and generally conservative  Republican idealogy.   But,  one of their articles takes on Sean Hannity from Fox News on the home ownership statistics, as being meaningful measures because he comparing the situation now to yer 2008, just when the housing bubble burst causing worldwide recession:

http://www.nationalreview.com/article/443010/sean-hannity-barack-obamas-economic-record-what-his-criticism-gets-wrong

The author makes a real good point- the last thing we need is a return to  2008 and lower lending standards which encourages people to buy houses they can ill afford.  This may not be shared with Donald Trump, as housing busts are  terrific opportunities for people with cash to profit from foreclosures.   Way too early to know Trump’s economic program includes relaxed lending regulations.

My advice to anyone who is struggling to make car,  credit card and student loan payments is to rent.   For those who believe they have extra money, my advice if they are young to invest it in education.

I try not to watch Fox News, as there are much better sources of  solid news reporting.

Stay tuned,

Dave

US and Russia

Putin wanted Trump over Clinton.  It should have been Clinton’s greatest non-endorsement.  Putin feels the breakup of the Soviet Union was a mistake, and some of the  Baltic states should be part of Russia.  Putin has expansionary ambitions.

Sanctioning Russia for the hacking efforts was a tough call for Obama.   It was an executive order, but this time Republicans did not fight him.   Trump has the authority to reverse these orders- and I think he will.    Trump’s response was weird at best, praising Putin for not responding in kind, with expulsion of US diplomats.

Trump is very used to project management.  In fact, he is a master at it.  His team will come up with a 100 day plan, mainly dealing with domestic issues, including the repatriation of overseas funds.   He has repeated attacked the NATO alliance and the UN.  Now, he will need these organizations more than ever,  and a lot of diplomacy to curb the ambitious Putin.

With the transition underway, and resistance from Democrats on every level,  I believe this will be the opportune time for Putin to make his move.  I’m not certain where, but the western side of the Ukraine or one of the Baltic states would be obvious targets.

The Trump test is coming.  I wish he makes the right decisions as what happens in Europe affects everyone.  Lesson to Trump – globalization is not a choice, it is a reality.

Stay tuned,

Dave

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Clean Power Plan

I’m afraid under Gov Rick Perry as head of Department of Energy and Scott Pruitt as head of EPA, the Clean Power Plan will soon to become history.    It is a real shame.  The Clean water and Air Acts were signed into law by Richard Nixon, and stood strong through Reagan, Bush (H.W.),  Bush (W), and 16 years of democratic party  presidents.

Scott Pruitt is a horrible choice.   The mantra of Republicans is regulation is bad for business and business will make America great again.  However, it is  a giant step backwards for international cooperation for environmental needs.

We can not expect other countries around the world to work with us in curbing carbon emissions, if we are not doing our part.

China and the US produce the most CO2, accounting for 45% of emissions:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_countries_by_carbon_dioxide_emissions

The top ten producers, include India and the EU, and account for 68% of carbon emissions.

Carbon emissions cause global warming, and serious breathing problems, particularly with those suffering from asthma.

The Republicans don’t have a plan- except if you consider downplaying the problem and delaying any real solutions as a plan.  Energy generated by coal typically generates twice the carbon emissions than natural gas.  Cleaning  up of CO2 emissions from coal fired plants increases costs.  The decline in coal usage has occurred as more operators prefer natural gas (also a polluter).

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Clean_Power_Plan

The Clean Power Plan isn’t perfect.  Critics abound who can tell you the flaws in the program in an instant.  However,  the alternative (see Republican Plan) is horrible, so going from a horrible situation to a flawed one, is a step in the right direction.

Without a real US plan,  we likely lose support from China, India, EU countries, Japan and Russia.

Stay tuned,

Dave

 

 

 

 

 

Hillary Clinton- Best Choice for President

As President, she will have a lot to deal with.  The most critical will be international policy, with the crises in Syria, being number 1.   Syria is a complex mess, and can only be put back together by cooperation from many countries, including Turkey, Iran and Russia.  Her slogan,  “Stronger Together”,  is the right path forward.

Obama and Bush have never found a way to persuade North Korea’s leader Kim Jung-un to halt his quest for nuclear weapons.   He is truly a scary leader.  Libya is battling ISIS, yet the country still in broken into various factions.

Donald Trump has demonstrated his ineptness with his insulting comments to Mexico.  It doesn’t take much to be friends with Mexico- but he blew it big time.  He seems to start little wars at the drop of a hat.  Even insulting Marco Rubio, Jeb Bush, Ted Cruz’s father  and many other Republicans.

It is not the time to elect a president who has zero knowledge of diplomacy.  This is not the job who calls our elections rigged when he’s behind in the polls. There is no on-the-job training program.

Vote for Hillary to keep our nation great by working with others to find solutions.

Stay tuned,

Dave

 

 

Losing the right way

Obama Tells Trump: Stop ‘Whining’ and Trying to Discredit the Election

New York Times Article

Trump’s comments were over the top for Marco Rubio,  Senator from Florida, seeking re-election, who has been trying to put some distance between himself and Trump:

This election is not being rigged,” Mr. Rubio said, adding that Mr. Trump “should stop saying that.” “We have 67 counties in this state, each of which conduct their own elections,” Mr. Rubio said. “I promise you there is not a 67-county conspiracy to rig this election.”

There was no backing down from Trump, which is scary.   He is laying the foundation for a speech when he loses the election.  He might not give a nasty “concession” speech- but leave enough bits of accusations of a rig system- media bias,  election fraud and big money influences,  so others can accuse the government of “ripping off the election.”

Trump’s campaign manager claims this is exactly what Al Gore did in year 2000.  It’s not true- not by a long shot.  In year 2000,  Florida vote count was extremely close and a re-counting began in certain counties where a few ballots could make a difference.  But, there are laws governing the timing of announcing election results, and the Supreme Court decided to limit the recounting.   Al Gore conceded to George Bush and never discredited the election system.

Trump doesn’t retract statements, he doesn’t apologize,  but he threatens his accusers with lawsuits.   He said he’ll  sue Jessica Drake, a pornstar, who said Trump was offering her $10,000 for sex.   No- this isn’t going to happen. Not to a single accuser.  He is suing the New York Times, and his wife is suing People magazine.

One last thing. Ultimately, the Secretary of State from each state declares the winner in the election.  If you take a look at all the toss up states, their governors are Republican.   Look at OH, FL, NC, IA, AZ, NV and even GA- all Republican!

This stuff gets Trump headlines, but nothing else.  Poor Marco Rubio- trying to distance himself from Trump, yet telling people to vote for Trump anyway because he can’t be as bad as Hillary.   It’s a tough act.

Stay tuned,

Dave

 

 

 

 

So, who is going to win?

Right now, Hillary is in front. But,  everything depends on FIONNA   – Florida, Iowa, Ohio, North Carolina, Nevada and Arizona.  Trump has to win Florida.  Hillary doesn’t.  Not all forecasters have the same list of toss up states.  Some consider Arizona goes to Trump, and Nevada to Clinton, so  this leaves just FION.  Or we can call it NIFO, which sounds dirty.   Florida is still the biggy in all of this.

The New York Times, upshot webpage is still the best, as it provides other forecasts;

Stay tuned,

Dave