Escape from Paradise, – Now being made into a movie!


Click!

The book’s sensational reviews!

It took me two and a half evenings to complete your un-put-downable book…it is a unique contribution to the appreciation of a life in Singapore. Thank you for having written it. C. V. Devan Nair, former President of Singapore.

Bought the book from Select this weekend and can’t put it down! It’s a great read! And so nostalgic for me—the good old days! Glen Goei, writer and director of the Miramax film That’s the Way I Like It and who played the title role opposite Anthony Hopkins in the London production of M. Butterfly. Mr. Goei’s latest film is The Blue Mansion – Click for the trailer!

It is a remarkable story and so full of intrigue that it reads at times like fiction.Jonathan Burnham, Editor in Chief & President, Talk Miramax Books.

“It’s quite a story The legendary Alice Mayhew, Vice-President & Editorial Director, Simon & Schuster.

This book out-Dallas, Dallas. No one has written so well of the other side of paradise,Francis T. Seow, former Solicitor General of Singapore

ThunderBall Films is successfully putting together the movie production of Escape from Paradise and has received a new LOI (Letter of Intent) from actress Bai Ling who starred with Richard Gere in the film Red Cross.

This includes a commitment from a CPA firm who does tax credit financing in Ireland, a possible location to film, as part of the package needed for investors – along with the CPA firm’s commitment to apply for and finance the tax credits if ThunderBall does shoot in Ireland and what portion of the budget they would provide.
For inquiries, please contact John Harding at jbharding@gmail.com.

Escape from Paradise – the Promotional Trailer

The best! We use Siteground – it has everything!

https://www.siteground.com/?referrer_id=7856867

Copyright

Copyright © 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018, 2019 John Harding

Elizabeth Warren’s Lover?

Elizabeth Warren and the ex-U.S. Marine

An ex-U.S. Marine infantryman, Kelvin Ty Whelly, claims of having a long-term sexual affair with the 2020 presidential hopeful, Senator Elizabeth Warren.

In a bizarre press conference held on the porch footsteps of a residential neighborhood, Whelly said he was with 1st Battalion, 3rd Marine Regiment, an infantry unit out of Kaneohe Bay, Hawaii. The U.S. Marine Corps confirmed to Newsweek on Friday that Whelly is a ex-Marine and served with the infantry unit in Hawaii as a machine gunner; However, the former lance corporal does not have any overseas deployments as, apparently, had been claimed.

Whelly claimed that last year, Warren had hired him via the male escort agency Cowboys4Angels and engaged in a steamy extramarital affair with him.

There was, however, one verifiable fact Cowboys4Angels is, in fact, a real “elite male companion” agency, which is best known for being featured on the Showtime series Gigolos.

“My service in Afghanistan, it was very….early in my Marine Corps time [when I was] just getting to my unit,” said Whelly. “I was stationed in Hawaii. 1/3 [1st Battalion, 3rd Marine Regiment]. It’s on Wikipedia but in 2012 we were stationed in Afghanistan…deployed to Afghanistan.”

However, Whelly could not have served in Afghanistan in 2012, according to his releasable biographical data provided to Newsweek from Manpower and Reserve Affairs, the Marine Corps’ division which manages the personnel files for both active duty and reserve forces. The dates of service listed for Whelly begin on Aug. 25, 2014 and end on May 11, 2016.

Defense Department awards commonly seen among U.S. Marines with service in Afghanistan include the Afghanistan Campaign Medal and the Non-Article 5 North Atlantic Treaty Organization, International Security Assistance Force Medal, known as the NATO ISAF Medal.

However, the only awards listed for the ex-Marine is the National Defense Service Medal and the Global War on Terrorism Service Medal.

During the press conference when asked about receiving the Purple Heart amid shouts of “stolen valor,” Whelly said, “I do not have a Purple Heart, even if you’re wounded you have to put in for a Purple Heart.”

Contacted by Newsweek on Friday, Wohl said he could not comment on Whelly’s military record without speaking to him first. Attempts to reach Whelly were unsuccessful on Friday.

Newsweek reached out to Warren’s campaign for comment on Friday but no reply was returned before publication.

And what about Warren’s husband, Bruce Mann?

Warren had recently separated from her first husband Jim Warren with whom she was married for ten years, but fell fast for Mann.

It’s hardly surprising that they first crossed paths in a professional setting, given that they’re both law professors. After working at several different universities, Mann ended up alongside Warren at Harvard Law School, where he teaches.

She proposed to him.In a 2016 post on Facebook, Warren told the story of their engagement. “I proposed to Bruce in a classroom,” she wrote. “It was the first time I’d seen him teach, and I was already in love with him, but watching him teach let me see one more thing about him—and that was it.”

When he asked her what she thought about the class, she quickly replied, “What can I say? Will you marry me?”

Wow!

And there is more – more from Warren and fellow liars!

Elizabeth Warren has a moving sob-story about being fired from a teaching job because she was pregnant, a story that perfectly complements her political narrative that she is the tribune and champion of those who have been treated unfairly by the powerful.

Joe Biden has a moving — and horrifying — story about his wife and daughter being killed by a drunk driver, a story that similarly could not have been designed more perfectly to bolster his political image as a man who can be counted on to soldier on in the face of adversity.

Both stories are lies.

Elizabeth Warren has long pretended to be a person of color — a “woman of color,” the Harvard law faculty called her.

Fiction, yes. Deployed, as we are always told when these lies are exposed as lies, in the service of a larger truth, a truth of which such habitual and irredeemable liars as Warren, Biden, Smollett and Lena Dunham, and the so-called journalists of Rolling Stone, and the perpetrators of a thousand phony campus hate-crime hoaxes — are the appointed apostles.

“Does anybody seriously believe it was not as everyday as sunrise that employers made pregnant women leave their jobs 50 years ago?” CNBC’s John Harwood demanded in defense of Warren.

The minutes of the local school-board meeting quite clearly document that Warren was offered a contract for further employment, which she declined. She was forthright in her account of the episode at earlier points in her life. She seems to have suddenly remembered the discrimination sometime between when she began advertising herself to the Ivy League as a Cherokee and the day when the Cherokee finally shamed her into knocking it off.

And Joe Biden? Similarly, people are killed by drunk drivers every day in this country. Joe Biden’s wife and daughter were not among them, in spite of his libelous claims that they lost their lives in an accident involving an irresponsible truck driver who, as Biden put it, “drank his lunch.” The man who oversaw that investigation, Delaware Superior Court judge Jerome O. Herlihy, repeatedly has confirmed that there is no evidence alcohol was involved. The survivors of the driver, who has since passed away, have publicly asked Biden to stop telling this lie and besmirching the memory of their father. Investigators at the time determined that the accident was not even the other driver’s fault — Mrs. Biden seems to have driven accidentally into the path of the truck.

Warren’s and Biden’s fictions have in common that they are lies that have been put into the service of the campaign against Donald Trump in 2020.

Seems like the truth no longer matters.

Unclassified Transcript of President Trump’s Telephone Conversation with Ukraine

 

UNCLASSIFIED    [PkgNumberShort]

Declassified by order of the President September 24, 2019

 

EYBS  etff:.Y

DO MUI COPl

 

 

 

 

MEMORANDUM OF TELEPHONE CONVERSATION

 

 

SUBJECT: PARTICIPANTS:

 

DATE, TIME

AND PLACE:

(C) Telephone Conversation with President Zelenskyy of Ukraine

 

President Zelenskyy of Ukraine

Notetakers:  The White House Situation·Room July 25, 2019, 9:03 – 9:33 a.m. EDT

Residence

 

 

 

(S/NF) The President: Congratulations on a great victory. We all watched from the United States and you did a terrific job. The way you came from behind, somebody who wasn’t given much of a chance, and you ended up winning easily. It’s a fantastic achievement. Congratulations.

 

( J;’HP’ President Zelenskyy: You are absolutely right Mr. President. We did win big and we worked hard for this. We worked a lot but I would like to confess to you      hat I had                     n opportunity to learn from you. We used quite a few of your skills and knowledge and were able to use it as an example for our elections and- yes         it is true that these were unique elections. We were in a unique situation that we were able to

CAUTION: A Memorandum of a Telephone Conversation (TELCON) is not a verbatim transcript of a discussion.  The text in this document. records the notes and recollections of Situation Room Duty Officers and NSC policy staff assigned to listen and memorialize the conversation in written form as the conversation takes place. A number of factors can affect the accuracy of the record, including poor telecommunications connections and variations in accent and/or interpretation.

The word “inaudible” is used to ind cate portions of a cbnversation that the notetaker was unable to hear.

 

Classified By: 2354726

. Derived From: NSC SCG

Declassify On: 20441231            UNCLASSIFIED

 

SECR£T/i’ORCOtMvOFOR1.Ji

2            UNCLASSIFIED

achieve a unique success. I’m able to tell you the following; the first time, you called me to congratulate me when I won my presidential election, and the second time you are now calling me when my party won the parliamentary election. I think I should run more often so you can call me more often and we can talk over the phone more often.

 

{-‘/Mfi’) The President: (laughter] That’s a very good idea. I think your country is very happy about that.

 

(S/MF) P.cesident Zelenskyy: Well yes, to tell you the truth, we are trying to work hard because we wanted to drain the swamp here in our country. We brought in many many new people. Not the old politicians, not the typical politicians, because we want to have a new format and a new type of government. You are a great teacher for us and in that.

 

(-‘;’HF’ The President: Well it’s very nice of you to say that. I will say that we do a lot for Ukraine. We spend a lot of effort and a lot of time. Much more than the European countries are doing and they should be helping you more than they are. Germany does almost nothing for you. All they do is talk and I think it’s something that you should really ask them about. When I was speaking to Angela Merkel she talks Ukraine, but she doesn’t do anything. A lot of the European countries are the same way so I think it’s something you want to look at but the United States has been very very good to Ukraine. I wouldn’t say that it’s reciprocal necessarily because things are happening that are not good but the United States has been very very good to Ukraine.

 

(:3/Hfil)    President Zelenskyy: Yes you are absolutely right. Not_ only 100%, but actually 1000% and I can tell you the following; I did talk to Angela Merkel and I did meet with her. I also met and talked with Macron and I told them that they are not doing quite as much as they need to be doing on the issues with the sanctions. They are not enforcing the sanctions. They are not working as much as they should work for Ukraine. It turns out that even though logically, the European Union should be our biggest· partner but technically the United States is a much bigger partner than the European Union and I’m very grateful to you for that because the United States is doing quite a lot for Ukraine. Much more than the European Union especially when we are talking about sanctions against the Russian Federation. I would also like to thank you for your great support in the area of defense. We are ready to continue to cooperate for the next steps specifically we are almost ready to buy more Javelins from the United States for defense purposes.

 

BEOOC»tWOftOOtJii’t#OFORH

 

3                UNCLASSIFIED

  • to/HF’ The President: I would like you to do us a favor though because our cou try has been through a lot and Ukraine knows a lot about it. I would like you to find out what happened with this whole situation with Ukraine, they say Crowdstrike… I guess you have one of your wealthy people… The server, they say Ukraine has it. There are a lot of things that went on, the whole situation. I think you’re surrounding yourself with some of the same people. I would like to have the Attorney General call you or your people and I would like you to get to the bottom of it. As you saw yesterday, that whole nonsense ended with a very poor performance by a man named Robert Mueller, an incompetent performance, but they say a lot of it started with Ukraine. Whatever you can do, it’s very important that you do it if that’s possible.

 

( 2!l; 1HP’  President Zelenskyy: Yes it is very important for me and everything that you just mentioned earlier. For me as a President, it is very important and we are open for any future cooperation. We are ready to open a new page on cooperation in relations between the United States and Ukraine. For that purpose, I just recalled our ambassador from United States and he will be replaced by a very competent and very experienced ambassador who will work hard on making sure that our two nations are getting closer. I would also like and hope to see him having your trust and your confidence and have personal relations with you so we can cooperate even more so. I will personally tell you that one of my assistants spoke with Mr.

Giuliani just recently and we are hoping very much that Mr. G1uliani will be able to travel to Ukraine and we will meet once he comes to Ukraine. I just wanted to assure you once again that you have nobody but fr ends around us. I will make sure that I surround myself with the best and most experienced people. I also wanted to tell you that we are friends. We are great friends and you Mr. President have. friends in our country so we can continue our strategic partnership. I also plan to surround myself with great people and in addition· to that investigation, I guarantee as the President of Ukraine that all the investigations will be done openly and candidly. That I can assure you.

 

{:’. /HF) The President: Good because I heard you had a prosecutor who was very good and he was shut down and that’s really unfair. A lot of people are talking about that, the way they shut your very good prosecutor down and you had some very bad people involved. Mr. Giuliani is a highly respected man. He was the mayor of New York Ci.ty, a great mayor, and I would like him to

UNCLASSIF-

 !!e ‘f)’>’ottcorq:;’HoroRu

 

.”

   Cft:E’f’/i’O CO ,YNOFOR!’.J

call you. I will ask him to call you along with the Attorney· General. Rudy very much knows what’s happening and he is a very capable guy. If you could speak to him that would be great. The former ambassador from the United States, the woman, was bad news and the people she was dealing with in the Ukraine were bad news so I just want to let you know thal. The ot er thing, There’s a lot of talk about Biden’s son, that Eiden stopped the prosecution and a lot of people want to find out about that so whatever you can do with the Attorney General would be great.

Eiden went around bragging that he stopped the prosecution so if you can look into it… It sounds· horrible to me.

 

(S/HF) President Zelenskyy: I wanted to tell you about the prosecutor. First of all I understand and I’m knowledgeable about the situation. Since we have won the absolute majority in our Parliament, the next prosecutor general will be 100% my person, my candidate, who will be approved by the parliament and will start as a new prosecutor in September. He or she will look into the situation., specifically to the company that you mentioned in this issue. The issue of the investigation of the case is actually the issue of making sure to restore the honesty so we will take care of that and will work on the investigation of the case. On top of that, I would kindly ask you if you have any additional information that you can. provide to us, it would be vet:y helpful for the investigation to make sure that we administer justice in our country with regard to the Ambassador to the United States from Ukraine as far as I recall her name was Ivanovich. It was great that you were the first one who told me that she was a bad ambassador because I agree with you 100%. Her attitude towards me was far from the best as she admired the previous President and she was on his side. She would not accept me as a new President well enough.

 

(:3/HF! The President: Well, she’s going to go through some things. I will have Mr. Giuliani give you a call and I am also going to have Attorney General Barr call and we will get to the bottom of it. I’m sure you will figure it out. I heard the prosecutor was treated very badly and he was a very fair prosecutor so good luck with everything. Your eco omy .is going to get better and better I predict. You have a lot of assets.

It’s a great country. I have many Ukrainian friends, their incredible people.

 

 s ,,.”‘”  ·

(!!/HF) President Zelenskyy: I would like to tell you that I also have quite a few Ukrainian friends that live in the United States. Actually last time I traveled to the United States, I stayed in New York near Central Park and I stayed at the Trump

UNC .l

5:r!CREI 110ltCO!’l1t<IOPOM

 

 

s      UNCLASSIFIED

Tower. I will talk to them and I hope to see them again in the future. I also wanted to thank you for your invitation to visit the United States, specifically Washington DC. On the.other hand, I also want to ensure you that we will be very serious about the case and will work on the investigation. As to the economy, there is much potential for our two countries and one of the issues that is very important for Ukraine is energy independence. I believe we can be very successful and cooperating on energy independence with United States. We are

already working on cooperation. We are buying American oil but I am very hopeful for a future meeting. We will have more time and more opportunities to discuss these opportunities and get to know each other better. I would like to thank you very much for your support

 

W,’NP     The President: Good.   Well, thank you very much and I appreciate that. I will tell Rudy and Attorney General Barr to call. Thank you. Whenever you would like ·tQ come to the White House, feel free to call. Give us a date and we’ll work that out. I look forward to seeing you.

.w,,nm · President Zelenskyy: Thank you very much. I would be·very happy to come and would be happy to meet with you pers·onally and get to know you better. I am looking forward to our meeting and I also would like to invite you to visit Ukraine and come to the city of Kyiv which is a beautiful city. We have a·beautiful country which would welcome you. On the other hand, I believe that on September 1 we will be in Poland and we can meet in Poland hopefully. After that, it might be a very good idea for you to travel to Ukraine. We can either take my plane and go to Ukraine or we can take your _ plane,    which is probably much better than mine.

 

( /MF)‘The President: Okay, we can work that out. I look forward to seeing you in Washington and maybe in Poland because I think we are going to be there at that time.

 

(a;’MF) President Zelenskyy: Thank you very much Mr. President.

 

(B;’HP) The President: Congratulations on a fantastic job you’ve done. The whole world was watching. I’m not sure it was so much of an upset but congratulations.-

 

(B;’HFj President Zelenskyy: Thank you Mr. President bye-bye.

 

 

End of Conversation

Steve Bannon’s School Crushed by Italy

Bannon with “friend” Salvini

President Trump’s former strategist vows to fight the Italian government’s decision to evict his academy from the Monastery of Trisulti.

Former White House chief strategist Steve Bannon’s quest to build a school for the far right in Italy has hit a snag thanks to the country’s culture ministry, kinda. On Friday, the ministry said it would summarily Bannon and his academy from the 800-year-old mountaintop monastery where he had foolishly (for Italy) planned to hold masterclasses for leaders and activists.

Christened by Bannon as the high-sounding Academy for the Judeo-Christian West, the institute was designed to accommodate 250 to 300 students at a time. The curriculum, which Bannon was developing himself, would be focused on defending the “Judeo-Christian tradition” in politics and the media against what he claims is growing “secularist intolerance.” Eleven, count’em, cardinals are listed on its board of advisors.

“Political opinions have nothing to do with [this],” a representative for the ministry of culture, Gianluca Vacca, said in a questionable statement. “We are interested in respecting the law and protecting the national cultural heritage.” Yeah, sure, but behind the decision, however, is alleged to be ultra rightest Deputy Premier Matteo Salvini who is (allegedly again) insanely jealous of Bannon.

In 2017, Bannon joined forces with Benjamin Harnwell, the enigmatic British-born director of the Catholic conservative Dignitatis Humanae Institute (another  high-sounding name). They won a bid to lease part of the Monastery of Trisulti, which dates back to the early 13th century. The lease, which was finalized in January, granted the building to the duo for 19 years in exchange for annual rent of $112,000.

In April, the head of Italy’s European Union ally, leftist Democratic Party, Nicola Zingaretti, wrote to the culture minister that “Trisulti has been a place of peace, prayer, and meditation for eight centuries” and that it “is not compatible with the training activities of nationalist groups who often have openly xenophobic positions.”

Now, Italian officials are evicting Bannon from the former monastery, claiming that the he has not met the contractual obligations of the lease, including protecting and maintaining the historic property. A spokesperson for the ministry expressed doubts that the lease was legitimate in the first place, explaining that because the monastery is listed as a national monument, any lease-holder must have demonstrated five years of experience caring for a landmark of cultural significance.

Bannon, in Italy – a country of losers rather than winners, is also foolishly deciding to become one of them and in no mood to leave. “The fight for Trisulti is a microcosm of the fight for the Judeo-Christian West,” he declared in, once again, an “high-sounding,” statement.

Lots of luck on that one, Steve. You would do better by walking around with the mass of tourists in Rome seeking over-priced brand-name products.

As the Italians say, Steve baby – sei stato fregato! (you’ve been had).

Tariffs Made America Great

Tariffs on foreign goods by our founding fathers made America great!

A tariff may be described as a sales or consumption tax the consumer pays, but tariffs are also a discretionary and an optional tax.

If an American chooses not to purchase Chinese goods and instead buy comparable goods in the USA, then that person does not pay the tariff.

In the case of China, China loses the sale. This is why Beijing, which runs $350 billion to $400 billion in annual trade surpluses at our expense is howling loudest. Should Donald Trump impose that 25% tariff on all $500 billion in Chinese exports to the USA, it would cripple China’s economy. Factories seeking assured access to the U.S. market would be devastated.

This is why tariffs were the taxes that made America great and they will make America even greater now. They were the taxes relied upon by the first and greatest of our early statesmen, before the coming of the globalists like Woodrow Wilson and FDR.

Tariffs, to protect manufacturers and jobs, were the Republican Party’s path to power and prosperity in the 19th and 20th centuries, before the rise of the Rockefeller Eastern liberal establishment and its embrace of the British-bred heresy of unfettered free trade.

The Tariff Act of 1789 was enacted with the declared purpose, “the encouragement and protection of manufactures.” It was the second act passed by the first Congress led by Speaker James Madison. It was crafted by Alexander Hamilton and signed by President Washington.

After the War of 1812, President Madison, backed by Henry Clay and John Calhoun and ex-Presidents Jefferson and Adams, enacted the Tariff of 1816 to price British textiles out of competition, so Americans would build the new factories and capture the booming U.S. market. It worked.

Tariffs financed Mr. Lincoln’s War. The Tariff of 1890 bears the name of Ohio Congressman and future President William McKinley, who said that a foreign manufacturer “has no right or claim to equality with our own. … He pays no taxes. He performs no civil duties.”

That is economic patriotism, putting America and Americans first.

El Paso and Beto O’Rourke’s Dangerous Lies

On March 30, 2019 (UPI), at a crowded downtown intersection less than a mile from the U.S.-Mexico border, Democrat Beto O’Rourke brought his presidential campaign to his native El Paso, Texas, for the first time.

“Welcome to the beautiful, magical, safe and secure U.S.-Mexico border,” U.S. Rep. Veronica Escobar, D-Texas, said as she introduced candidate O’Rourke. “El Paso is the Ellis Island of the border and in Beto O’Rourke we are sending the nation our best.”

“We are safe because we are a city of immigrants and asylum seekers,” O’Rourke said in a stump speech that lasted 30 minutes. “El Paso represents America at its best.” President Donald Trump’s El Paso visit is a great opportunity to point out that the west Texas city is a rats’ nest of law enforcement corruption, a major smuggling route into the U.S. for Mexican drugs, illegal immigrants, and Islamic terrorists and the headquarters of a sophisticated narco-terror ring operated by two of the FBI’s most wanted. While local officials promote it as one of America’s safest cities, Judicial Watch has exposed in a years-long investigation the disturbing reality gripping the municipality that sits along the Rio Grande across famously violent Ciudad Juárez, Mexico.

Beto O’Rourke was dead wrong about El Paso – either he is ignorant or just lying to get votes. Even worse, his statements put the residents of El Paso, and the United States, in danger.

Contrary to the dangerous misinformation of T Beto O’Rourke, the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) says El Paso is a major hub for Mexican opioids and methamphetamine enroute to the rest of the United States. Recently, U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) released figures showing that the El Paso sector had an astounding 1,588% increase in illegal immigrant apprehensions during the first month of 2019 compared to the first month of 2018.

Drugs and Central Americans aren’t the only things being smuggled in through El Paso. Islamic terrorists are also making it into the U.S. with the help of Mexican drug cartels. Judicial Watch exposed an operation in which Mexican drug cartels smuggle foreigners from countries with terrorist links into a small rural town near El Paso by using remote farm roads—rather than interstates—to elude the Border Patrol and other law enforcement barriers. The foreigners are classified as Special Interest Aliens (SIA) and are transported to stash areas in Acala, a rural crossroads located around 54 miles from El Paso on a state road – Highway 20. Once in the U.S., the SIAs wait for pick-up in the area’s sand hills just across Highway 20.

Judicial Watch also broke a story about an ISIS training cell just a few miles from El Paso in an area known as “Anapra” situated just west of Ciudad Juárez in the Mexican state of Chihuahua. Law enforcement and intelligence sources on both sides of the border confirm that cartel-backed “coyotes” help smuggle ISIS terrorists through the desert and into the U.S. between Acala and Fort Hancock, Texas. The areas are targeted for exploitation by ISIS because of their understaffed municipal and county police forces and the relative safe-havens the terrain provides for the unchecked large-scale drug smuggling. In the aftermath of Judicial Watch’s story about Islamic terrorists operating in Juárez, Beto O’Rourke, the former congressman that’s holding an anti-Trump rally during the president’s event at the El Paso County Coliseum, tried to silence federal law enforcement sources. O’Rourke, who represented El Paso in the House before a failed Senate bid, has long declared that Juárez is safe even as the notoriously violent region adjacent to his district is renowned for beheadings, gunfights, kidnappings and drug trafficking. Juárez is among the world’s most dangerous cities and the most dangerous place in the western hemisphere.

Beto O’Rourke is OK with spreading false information to get votes even if it gets someone killed.

The full transcript of Sen. Collins’s speech re Brett Kavanaugh

The full transcript of Sen. Collins’s great speech re Brett Kavanaugh

Mr. President, the five previous times that I’ve come to the floor to explain my vote on the nomination of a justice to the United States Supreme Court, I have begun my floor remarks explaining my decision with a recognition of the solemn nature and the importance of the occasion. But today we have come to the conclusion of a confirmation process that has become so dysfunctional, it looks more like a caricature of a gutter-level political campaign than a solemn occasion.

The president nominated Brett Kavanaugh on July 9. Within moments of that announcement, special interest groups raced to be the first to oppose him, including one organization that didn’t even bother to fill in the judge’s name on its pre-written press release. They simply wrote that they opposed Donald Trump’s nomination of “XX” to the Supreme Court of the United States. A number of senators joined the race to announce their opposition, but they were beaten to the punch by one of our colleagues who actually announced opposition before the nominee’s identity was even known.

Since that time, we have seen special interest groups whip their followers into a frenzy by spreading misrepresentations and outright falsehoods about Judge Kavanaugh’s judicial record. Over-the-top rhetoric and distortions of his record and testimony at his first hearing produced short-lived headlines, which although debunked hours later, continued to live on and be spread through social media. Interest groups have also spent an unprecedented amount of dark money opposing this nomination. Our Supreme Court confirmation process has been in steady decline for more than 30 years.

One can only hope that the Kavanaugh nomination is where the process has finally hit rock bottom. Against this backdrop, it is up to each individual senator to decide what the Constitution’s advice and consent duty means. Informed by Alexander Hamilton’s Federalist 76, I have interpreted this to mean that the president has broad discretion to consider a nominee’s philosophy, whereas my duty as a senator is to focus on the nominee’s qualifications as long as that nominee’s philosophy is within the mainstream of judicial thought.

I have always opposed litmus tests for judicial nominees with respect to their personal views or politics, but I fully expect them to be able to put aside any and all personal preferences in deciding the cases that come before them. I’ve never considered the president’s identity or party when evaluating Supreme Court nominations. As a result, I voted in favor of Justices Roberts and Alito, who were nominated by President Bush. Justices Sotomayor and Kagan, who were nominated by President Obama. And Justice Gorsuch, who was nominated by President Trump.

So I began my evaluation of Judge Kavanaugh’s nomination by reviewing his 12-year record on the DC Circuit Court of Appeals, including his more than 300 opinions and his many speeches and law review articles. Nineteen attorneys, including lawyers from the nonpartisan congressional research service, briefed me many times each week and assisted me in evaluating the Judge’s extensive record. I met with Judge Kavanaugh for more than two hours in my office. I listened carefully to the testimony at the committee hearings. I spoke with people who knew him personally, such as Condoleezza Rice and many others. And I talked with Judge Kavanaugh a second time by phone for another hour to ask him very specific additional questions. I also have met with thousands of my constituents, both advocates and many opponents, regarding Judge Kavanaugh.

One concern that I frequently heard was that the judge would be likely to eliminate the Affordable Care Act’s vital protections for people with preexisting conditions. I disagree with this. In a dissent in Seven-Sky v. Holder, Judge Kavanaugh rejected a challenge to the ACA on narrow procedural grounds, preserving the law in full. Many experts have said that his dissent informed Justice Roberts’s opinion upholding the ACA at the Supreme Court.

Furthermore, Judge Kavanaugh’s approach toward the doctrine of sever-ability is narrow. When a part of a statute is challenged on constitutional grounds, he has argued for severing the invalid clause as surgically as possible while allowing the overall law to remain intact. This was his approach in a case that involved a challenge to the structure of the consumer financial protection bureau. In his dissent, Judge Kavanaugh argued for “severing any problematic portions while leaving the remainder intact.” Given the current challenges to the ACA proponents, including myself, of protections for people with preexisting conditions should want a justice who would take just this kind of approach.

Another assertion that I have heard often that Judge Kavanaugh cannot be trusted if a case involving alleged wrongdoing by the president were to come before the court. The basis for this argument seems to be two-fold.

First, Judge Kavanaugh has written that he believes that Congress should enact legislation to protect presidents from criminal prosecution or civil liability while in office. Mr. President, I believe opponents missed the mark on this issue. The fact that judge Kavanaugh offered this legislative proposal suggests that he believes that the president does not have such protection currently.

Second, there are some who argue that given the current special counsel investigation, President Trump should not even be allowed to nominate a justice. That argument ignores our recent history. President Clinton in 1993 nominated Justice Ginsburg after the Whitewater investigation was already underway, and she was confirmed 96 to 3. The next year, just three months after independent counsel Robert Fisk was named to lead the Whitewater investigation, President Clinton nominated Justice Breyer. He was confirmed 87 to 9.

Supreme Court justices have not hesitated to rule against the presidents who have nominated them. Perhaps most notably in The United States vs. Nixon, three Nixon appointees who heard the case joined the unanimous opinion against him. Judge Kavanaugh has been unequivocal in his belief that no president is above the law. He has stated that Marbury vs. Madison, Youngstown Steel vs. Sawyer and The United States vs. Nixon are three of the greatest Supreme Court cases in history. What do they have in common? Each of them is a case where Congress served as a check on presidential power.

And I would note that the fourth case that Judge Kavanaugh has pointed to as the greatest in history was Brown vs. The Board of Education. One Kavanaugh decision illustrates the point about the check on presidential power directly. He wrote the opinion in Hamdan vs. The United States, a case that challenges the Bush administration’s military commission prosecution of an associate of Osama bin Laden. This conviction was very important to the Bush administration, but Judge Kavanaugh, who had been appointed to the DC Circuit by President Bush and had worked in President Bush’s White House, ruled that the conviction was unlawful. As he explained during the hearing, “we don’t make decisions based on who people are or their policy preferences or the moment. We base decisions on the law.”

Others I’ve met with have expressed concerns that Justice Kennedy’s retirement threatens the right of same-sex couples to marry. Yet, Judge Kavanaugh described the Obergefell decision, which legalized same-gender marriages, as an important landmark precedent. He also cited Justice Kennedy’s recent masterpiece cake shop opinion for the court’s majority stating that “the days of treating gay and lesbian Americans, or gay and lesbian couples as second-class citizens who are inferior in dignity and worth are over in the Supreme Court.”

Others have suggested that the judge holds extreme views on birth control. In one case Judge Kavanaugh incurred the disfavor of both sides of the political spectrum for seeking to ensure the availability of contraceptive services for women while minimizing the involvement of employers with religious objections. Although his critics frequently overlook this point, Judge Kavanaugh’s dissent rejected arguments that the government did not have a compelling interest in facilitating access to contraception. In fact, he wrote that the Supreme Court precedent strongly suggested that there was a compelling interest in facilitating access to birth control.

There has also been considerable focus on the future of abortion rights based on the concern that Judge Kavanaugh would seek to overturn Roe v. Wade. Protecting this right is important to me. To my knowledge, Judge Kavanaugh is the first Supreme Court nominee to express the view that precedent is not merely a practice and tradition, but rooted in Article 3 of our Constitution itself. He believes that precedent is not just a judicial policy, it is constitutionally dictated to pay attention and pay heed to rules of precedent. In other words, precedent isn’t a goal or an aspiration. It is a constitutional tenet that has to be followed except in the most extraordinary circumstances.

The judge further explained that precedent provides stability, predictability, reliance and fairness. There are, of course, rare and extraordinary times where the Supreme Court would rightly overturn a precedent. The most famous example was when the Supreme Court in Brown vs. The Board of Education overruled Plessy vs. Ferguson, correcting a “grievously wrong decision” to use the judge’s term, allowing racial inequality. But someone who believes that the importance of precedent has been rooted in the Constitution would follow long-established precedent except in those rare circumstances where a decision is grievously wrong or deeply inconsistent with the law. Those are Judge Kavanaugh’s phrases.

As the judge asserted to me, a long-established precedent is not something to be trimmed, narrowed, discarded, or overlooked. Its roots in the Constitution give the concept of stare decisis greater weight simply because a judge might want to on a whim. In short, his views on honoring precedent would preclude attempts to do by stealth that which one has committed not to do overtly.

Noting that Roe v. Wade was decided 45 years ago and reaffirmed 19 years later in Planned Parenthood vs. Casey, I asked Judge Kavanaugh whether the passage of time is relevant to following precedent. He said decisions become part of our legal framework with the passage of time and that honoring precedent is essential to maintaining public confidence. Our discussion then turned to the right of privacy on which the Supreme Court relied in Griswold vs. Connecticut, a case that struck down a law banning the use and sale of contraceptions. Griswold established the legal foundation that led to roe eight years later. In describing Griswold as settled law, Judge Kavanaugh observed that it was the correct application of two famous cases from the 1920’s, Meyer and Pierce that are not seriously challenged by anyone today.

Finally, in his testimony, he noted repeatedly that Roe had been upheld by Planned Parenthood vs. Casey, describing it as a precedent. When I asked him would it be sufficient to overturn a long-established precedent if five current justices believed that it was wrongly decided, he emphatically said “no.”

Opponents frequently cite then-candidate Donald Trump’s campaign pledge to nominate only judges who would overturn Roe. The Republican platform for all presidential campaigns has included this pledge since at least 1980. During this time Republican presidents have appointed Justices O’Connor, Souter and Kennedy to the Supreme Court. These are the very three Republican president appointed justices who authored the Casey decision which reaffirmed Roe.

Furthermore, pro-choice groups vigorously oppose each of these justice’s nominations. Incredibly, they even circulated buttons with the slogan “Stop Souter or women will die.” Just two years later Justice Souter coauthored the Casey opinion reaffirming a woman’s right to choose. Suffice it to say, prominent advocacy organizations have been wrong.

These same interest groups have speculated that Judge Kavanaugh was selected to do the bidding of conservative ideologues despite his record of judicial Independence. I asked the judge point-blank whether he had made any commitments or pledges to anyone at the White House, to the Federalist Society, to any outside group on how he would decide cases. He unequivocally assured me that he had not.

Judge Kavanaugh has received rave reviews for his 12-year track record as a judge, including for his judicial temperament. The American Bar Association gave him its highest possible rating. Its standing committee on the federal judiciary conducted an extraordinarily thorough assessment, soliciting input from almost 500 people, including his judicial colleagues. The ABA concluded that his integrity, judicial temperament and professional competence met the highest standards.

Lisa Blatt, who has argued more cases before the Supreme Court than any other woman in history, testified, “By any objective measure, Judge Kavanaugh is clearly qualified to serve on the Supreme Court. His opinions are invariably thoughtful and fair.” Ms. Blatt, who clerked for and is an ardent admirer of Justice Ginsburg and who is, in her own words, an unapologetic defender of a woman’s right to choose, says that Judge Kavanaugh fits within the mainstream of legal thought. She also observed that Judge Kavanaugh is remarkably committed to promoting women in the legal profession.

That Judge Kavanaugh is more of a centrist than some of his critics maintain is reflected in the fact that he and Chief Judge Merrick Garland voted the same way in 93 percent of the cases that they heard together. Indeed, Chief Judge Garland joined in more than 96 percent of the majority opinions authored by Judge Kavanaugh, dissenting only once.

Despite all this, after weeks of reviewing Judge Kavanaugh’s record and listening record and listening to 32 hours of his testimony, the Senate’s advice and consent was thrown into a tailspin following the allegations of sexual assault by Professor Christine Blasey Ford. The confirmation process now involved evaluating whether or not Judge Kavanaugh committed sexual assault and lied about it to the Judiciary Committee.

Some argue that because this is a lifetime appointment to our highest court, the public interest requires that it be resolved against the nominee. Others see the public interest as embodied in our long-established tradition of affording to those accused of misconduct a presumption of innocence or in cases in which the facts are unclear, they would argue that the question should be resolved in favor of the nominee.

Mr. President, I understand both viewpoints. And this debate is complicated further by the fact that the Senate confirmation process is not a trial. But certain fundamentally legal principles about due process, the presumption of innocence, and fairness do bear on my thinking, and I cannot abandon them. In evaluating any given claim of misconduct we will be ill served in the long republic if we abandon the presumption of innocence and fairness tempting though it may be.

We must always remember that it is when passions are most inflamed that fairness is most in jeopardy. The presumption of innocence is relevant to the advice and consent function when an accusation departs from a nominees otherwise exemplary record. I worry that departing from this presumption could a lead to a lack of public faith in the judiciary and would be hugely damaging to the confirmation process moving forward.

Some of the allegations levied against Judge Kavanaugh illustrate why the presumption of innocence is so important. I am thinking in particular not at the allegations raised by professor Ford, but of the allegations that when he was a teenager Judge Kavanaugh drugged multiple girls and used their weakened state to facility gang rape.

This outlandish allegation was put forth without any credible supporting evidence and simply parroted public statements of others. That’s such an allegation can find its way into the Supreme Court confirmation process is a stark reminder about why the presumption of innocence is so ingrained in our a American consciousness.

Mr. President, I listened carefully to Christine Blasey Ford’s testimony before the Judiciary Committee. I found her testimony to be sincere, painful, and compelling. I believe that she is a survivor of a sexual assault and that this trauma has upended her life.

Nevertheless, the four witnesses she named could not corroborate any of the events of that evening gathering where she says the assault occurred. None of the individuals Prof. Ford says were at the party has any recollection at all of that night. Judge Kavanaugh forcefully denied the allegations under penalty of perjury. Mark Judge denied under penalty of felony that he had witnessed an assault. P.J. Smith, another person allegedly at the party, denied that he was there under penalty of felony. Professor Ford’s lifelong friend, Leland Kaiser, indicated that under penalty of felony she does not remember that party. And Ms. Kaiser went further. She indicated that not only does she not remember a night like that, but also that she does not even know Brett Kavanaugh.

In addition to the lack of corroborating evidence we also learn facts that have raised more questions. For instance, since these allegations have become public, Prof. Ford testified that not a single person has contacted her to say I was at the party that night.

Furthermore the professor testified that although she does not remember how she got home that evening, she knew that because of the distance she would have needed a ride. Yet, not a single person has come forward to say that they were the ones who drove her home or were in the car with her that night.

And Prof. Ford also indicated that even though she left that small gathering of six or so people abruptly, and without saying goodbye, and distraught, none of them called her the next day or ever to ask why she left. “Is she okay?” Not even her closest friend, Ms. Kaiser.

Mr. President, the Constitution does not provide guidance on how we are supposed to evaluate these competing claims. It leaves that decision up to each senator. This is not a criminal trial, and I do not believe that claims such as these need to be proved beyond a reasonable doubt, nevertheless fairness of this terrible problem.

I have been alarmed and disturbed, however, by some who have suggested that unless Judge Kavanaugh’s nomination is rejected, the Senate is somehow condoning sexual assault. Nothing could be further from the truth. Every person, man or woman, who makes a charge of sexual assault deserves to be heard and treated with respect. The #MeToo movement is real. It matters. It is needed. And it is long overdue.

We know that rape and sexual assault are less likely to be reported to the police than other forms of assault. On average, an estimated 211,000 rapes and sexual assaults go unreported every year. We must listen to survivors, and every day we must seek to stop the criminal behavior that has hurt so many. We owe this to ourselves, our children, and generations to come.

Since the hearing, I have listened to many survivors of sexual assault. Many were total strangers who told me their heart-wrenching stories for the first time in their lives. Some were friends that I had known for decades. Yet with the exception of one woman who had confided in me years ago, I had no idea that they had been the victims of sexual attacks. I am grateful for their courage and their willingness to come forward and I hope that in heightening public awareness they have also lightened burden that they have been quietly bearing for so many years.

To them I pledge to do all that I can to ensure that their daughters and granddaughters never share their experiences. Over the past few weeks, I have been emphatic that the Senate has an obligation to investigate and evaluate the serious allegations of sexual assault. I called for and supported the additional hearing to hear from both Prof. Ford and Judge Kavanaugh. I also pushed for and supported the FBI’s supplemental background check investigation. This was the right thing to do.

Christine Ford never sought the spotlight. She indicated that she was terrified to appear before the Senate Judiciary Committee, and she has shunned attention since then. She seemed completely unaware of Chairman Grassley’s offer to allow her to testify confidentially in California. Watching her, Mr. President, I could not help but feel that some people who wanted to engineer the defeat of this nomination cared little, if at all, for her well-being.

Prof. Ford testified that a very limited of number people had access to her letter, yet that letter found its way into the public domain. She testified that she never gave permission for that very private letter to be released, and yet here we are. We are in the middle of a fight that she never sought, arguing about claims that she wanted to raise confidentially.

Now, one theory I’ve heard espoused repeatedly is that our colleague Sen. Feinstein leaked Prof. Ford’s letter at the 11th hour to derail this process. I want to state this very clearly. I know Senator Dianne Feinstein extremely well, and I believe that she would never do that. I knew that to be the case before she even stated it at the hearing. She is a person of integrity and I stand by her.

I have also heard some argue that the chairman of the committee somehow treated Prof. Ford unfairly. Nothing could be further from the truth. Chairman Grassley along with his excellent staff treated Prof. Ford with compassion and respect throughout the entire process. And that is the way the senator from Iowa has conducted himself throughout a lifetime dedicated to public service.

But the fact remains, Mr. President, someone leaked this letter against professor Ford’s expressed wishes. I suspect regrettably that we will never know for certain who did it. To that leaker who I hope is listening now, let me say that what you did was unconscionable. You have taken a survivor who was not only entitled to your respect but who also trusted you to protect her, and you have sacrificed her well-being in a misguided attempt to win whatever political crusade you think you are fighting.

My only hope is that your callous act has turned this process into such a dysfunctional circus that it will cause the Senate and indeed all Americans to reconsider how we evaluate Supreme Court if that happens, then the appalling lack of compassion you afforded Prof. Ford will at least have some unintended positive consequences.

Mr. President, the politically charged atmosphere surrounding this nomination has reached a fever pitch even before these allegations were known, and it has been challenging even then to separate fact from fiction. We live in a time of such great disunity as the bitter fight over this nomination both in the Senate and among the public clearly demonstrates. It is not merely a case of differing groups having different opinions. It is a case of people bearing extreme ill will toward those who disagree with them. In our intense focus on our differences, we have forgotten the common values that bind us together as Americans.

When some of our best minds are seeking to develop even more sophisticated algorithms designed to link us to websites that only reinforce and cater to our views, we can only expect our differences to intensify. This would have alarmed the drafters of our constitution who were acutely aware that different values and interests could prevent Americans from becoming and remaining a single people.

Indeed, of the six objectives they invoked in the Preamble to the Constitution, the one that they put first was the formation of a more perfect union. Their vision of a more perfect union does not exist today if anything, we appear to be moving farther away from it. It is particularly worrisome that the Supreme Court, the institution that most Americans see as the principle guardian of our shared constitutional heritage is viewed as part of the problem through a political lens.

Mr. President, we’ve heard a lot of charges and countercharges about Judge Kavanaugh, but as those who have known him best have attested, he has been an exemplary public servant, judge, teacher, coach, husband, and father. Despite the turbulent, bitter fight surrounding his nomination, my fervent hope is that Brett Kavanaugh will work to lessen the divisions in the Supreme Court so that we have far fewer 5 to 4 decisions and so that public confidence in our judiciary and our highest court is restored.

Mr. President, I will vote to confirm Judge Kavanaugh. Thank you, Mr. President.

Big Time Liars

Mueller lowers the bar

Whiteman by Robert Crumb

Whiteman by Robert Crumb

By lowering the bar and charging former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn for lying to the FBI, Mueller set the ridiculous standard that even the appearance of false testimony is felonious behavior.

If that’s the case, then the Department of Justice (DOJ) will have to charge former Deputy FBI Director Andrew McCabe with perjury or related offenses for McCabe’s lies went far beyond the relatively innocent “lie” by Michael Flynn.

A report from the Office of the Inspector General indicates that McCabe lied at least four times to federal investigators.

Former FBI Director James Comey also lied, by Mueller’s standard, to Congress when he testified that he had not written his report on the Hillary Clinton email scandal before interviewing Clinton. Comey should also be prosecuted for exposing classified documents. He claims that he disclosed only unclassified portions of government documents—this is wrong as, in his case, the entire document is classified. Either Comey doesn’t know the law, or he just doesn’t care.

Former Director of National Intelligence James Clapper and former CIA Director John Brennan both lied under oath to Congress on matters related to surveillance.

Clinton aides Cheryl Mills and Huma Abedin flat-out lied by any standard when they told FBI investigators they had no idea that their then-boss, Hillary Clinton, was using an illegal private email server. Both had communicated with Clinton about it.

Mueller is said to be investigating whether Trump obstructed justice by Trump’s requesting that Comey go easy on Flynn.

If so, then the DOJ will have to look at Comey himself and DOJ officials who obstructed a federal court. On at least four occasions, they were not honest about the deeply flawed Christopher Steele dossier being the source of information used in applications to the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court. Comey also has said that he predicted the nature of the Clinton email investigation on his assumptions about her chances of winning the presidency—another investigatory abuse.

After more than a year on the job, the Mueller team is reportedly is still looking into the possibility of election-cycle collusion with Russia by Trump officials. Yes, Mueller caught and convicted a bunch of Russians who interfered with the election, but they are far away and safe in Russia.

The path on Trump’s official colluding with the Russians, will lead Mueller’s DOJ counterparts to at the Clinton campaign, which paid opposition researcher Steele, a British subject, for dirt on Trump that was produced through collusion with Russian sources. For those who have not read the dossier, take a look. The dossier is not only relatively boring, it is a childish document, not even at the High School level in content. Not a very impressive even though Comey’s FBI used it to get a warrant from the FISA Court. And, by the way, according to Professor Alan Dershowitz, there is “no statute on the books against colluding with a foreign nation.” So Mueller does need real lies or even laws to convict his victims.

Mueller is also said to be investigating whether Trump or his advisers broke laws concerning the release of confidential government information.

If so, the DOJ may also have to indict Comey. He confessed to passing along confidential FBI memos to a friend for the expressed purpose of leaking their contents to the press.

High-ranking Obama administration officials may also be indicted, given that they requested the “unmasking” of American citizens whose communications were intercepted during the surveillance of foreign parties and then leaked the names of those citizens to the press. Mueller’s team apparently has assumed that Michael Cohen’s status as Trump’s personal attorney offers no protections under normal attorney-client privilege protocols.

If that is true, the DOJ will have to investigate why the FBI allowed Clinton aide Mills to pose as Clinton’s attorney and thereby be shielded from providing testimony on what she knew about the email scandal involving her “client.” Investigators have swarmed Cohen’s offices and residence, supposedly in fear that he might destroy pertinent records.
The FBI should probably then reopen the investigation into the Clinton email scandal, given that Clinton destroyed more than 30,000 emails, as well as computer hard drives that were requested by federal investigators.

Mueller has searched far and wide for wrongdoing but so far has found virtually nothing. Meanwhile, there is plenty of other wrongdoing already found, but no one seems to be looking at it.
Flynn, Cohen and other Trump aides are considered small enough fry to go after. Clinton, Comey, McCabe and others seem to the FBI big enough to leave alone.

No one thought Hillary Clinton would blow the election. Top Obama officials at the FBI, DOJ, intelligence agencies and National Security Council believed in 2015-16 that they could ignore laws with impunity since a protective Clinton administration would soon be in power. Politics have infected these investigations. Trump was obviously a threat to the Swamp, and FBI and DOJ lawbreakers were seen as custodians of the Swamp, the lobbyists, the power-brokers and the like.

The more Mueller searches (for what is his idea lawbreaking), the more he inadvertently underscores that all lawbreakers must be subject to the same standard of justice.
Ironically, Mueller’s investigation has reminded America that it is past time to call Comey, McCabe, James Clapper and former CIA Director John Brennan to account. Rod Rosenstein should not escape comment as he has allowed Mueller to go far beyond the original scope of his investigation to such unrelated matters as Stormy Daniels.

It looks like, a reckoning is near.

The Documented Corruption of the FBI

This is our first time publishing, verbatum, another person’s article in its entirety. However, due to the importance of its subject to America, we are making an exception. The following is adapted from a speech delivered on January 25, 2018, at Hillsdale College’s Allan P. Kirby, Jr. Center for Constitutional Studies and Citizenship in Washington, D.C., as part of the AWC Family Foundation Lecture Series. 

The speaker is Joseph E. diGenova, former U.S. Attorney and is a founding partner of diGenova & Toensing, LLP. He received his B.A. from the University of Cincinnati and his J.D. from Georgetown University. He has served as United States Attorney for the District of Columbia, Independent Counsel of the United States, Special Counsel to the U.S. House of Representatives, Chief Counsel to the U.S. Senate Committee on Rules and Administration, and Counsel to the U.S. Senate Select Committee on Intelligence (the Church Committee).

Dershowitz, a longtime Democrat who supported Hillary Clinton in 2016, said Mueller would be “inventing a crime” to charge Trump in that case.

“There’s no such crime as ‘collusion’ in the federal statute,” Dershowitz said here.

Mr. diGenova’s Message

Over the past year, facts have emerged that suggest there was a plot by high-ranking FBI and Department of Justice (DOJ) officials in the Obama administration, acting under color of law, to exonerate Hillary Clinton of federal crimes and then, if she lost the election, to frame Donald Trump and his campaign for colluding with Russia to steal the presidency. This conduct was not based on mere bias, as has been widely claimed, but rather on deeply felt animus toward Trump and his agenda.

In the course of this plot, FBI Director James Comey, U.S. Attorney General Loretta Lynch, FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe, FBI Deputy Director of Counterintelligence Peter Strzok, Strzok’s paramour and FBI lawyer Lisa Page, FBI General Counsel James Baker, and DOJ senior official Bruce Ohr—perhaps among others—compromised federal law enforcement to such an extent that the American public is losing trust. A recent CBS News poll finds 48 percent of Americans believe that Special Counsel James Mueller’s Trump-Russia collusion probe is “politically motivated,” a stunning conclusion. And 63 percent of polled voters in a Harvard CAPS-Harris Poll believe that the FBI withheld vital information from Congress about the Clinton and Russia collusion investigations.

I spent my early legal career as a federal prosecutor. I later supervised hundreds of prosecutors and prosecutions as a U.S. Attorney and as an Independent Counsel. I have never witnessed investigations so fraught with failure to fulfill the basic elements of a criminal probe as those conducted under James Comey. Not since former Acting FBI Director L. Patrick Gray deep-sixed evidence during Watergate has the head of the FBI been so discredited as Comey is now.

The Case of the Clinton Emails

The Hillary Clinton email scandal began in 2013 with the U.S. House of Representatives investigation into the attack on the American embassy in Benghazi, Libya, on September 11, 2012. It was during that investigation that accessing Secretary of State Clinton’s emails became an issue. But it wasn’t until The New York Times broke the story on March 2, 2015, that Clinton had a secret, personal server that things really took off.

Thousands of emails that the House at first requested, then subpoenaed, conveniently disappeared—remember those reports about BleachBit and the smashing of Clinton’s numerous phones with hammers? Clinton and her aides were, to say the least, not forthcoming. It was clearly time for the FBI and DOJ to act, using the legal tools at their disposal to secure the emails and other materials the House had subpoenaed. But that didn’t happen.

One tool at their disposal was the grand jury—the sine qua non of a criminal investigation. Grand juries are comprised of 16 to 23 citizens who hear a prosecutor’s case against an alleged criminal. The subject of the investigation is not present during the entire proceeding, which can last up to a year. A grand jury provides investigators with the authority to collect evidence by issuing subpoenas for documents and witnesses. FBI agents and prosecutors cannot themselves demand evidence. Only a grand jury can—or a court, in cases where a subpoena recipient refuses a grand jury’s command to provide documents or to testify.

Incredibly, FBI Director Comey and Attorney General Lynch refused to convene a grand jury during the Clinton investigation. Thus investigators had no authority to subpoena evidence or witnesses. Lacking leverage, Comey then injudiciously granted immunity to five Clinton aides in return for evidence that could have been obtained with a subpoena. Even when Clinton claimed 39 times during a July 2, 2016, interview—an interview led by disgraced FBI agent Peter Strzok—that she could not recall certain facts because of a head injury, Comey refused the case agents’ request to subpoena her medical records.

Comey claims he negotiated the immunity deals because of his concern about time. Yet the investigation was opened in the summer of 2015, nearly a year before he cut these deals. Compare this to the DOJ’s handling of four-star Marine General James E. Cartwright, who pleaded guilty in October 2016 to a false statement about leaking classified information to The New York Times. In that case, the DOJ bragged about its use of subpoenas and search warrants.

Not only was there no grand jury, the FBI never issued a search warrant—something it does when there is concern a person will destroy evidence. Clinton deleted half her emails and then claimed, under penalty of perjury, that she had turned over to the government all emails that “were or potentially were” work-related. The FBI later found email chains classified as “secret” or “confidential” that she had not turned over. Still no search warrant was issued.

Comey’s dereliction did not stop at the failure to utilize essential prosecutorial tools. He violated several rules that prosecutors consider sacrosanct:

  • Comey allowed one lawyer to represent four material witnesses, an arrangement ripe for the four to coordinate testimony.
  • After needlessly giving immunity to two lawyers representing Clinton, Comey permitted both to sit in on her July 2, 2016, FBI interview—a patent conflict. He claimed he could not control who sat in on the “voluntary” interview. That’s nonsense. He could have convened a grand jury, subpoenaed Clinton, and compelled her to appear and be questioned without a lawyer or else plead the Fifth Amendment.
  • Comey authorized the destruction of laptop computers that belonged to Clinton’s aides and were under congressional subpoena.
  • Comey ignored blatant evidence of culpability. It is ridiculous to the general public and risible to those who have security clearances for Clinton to claim she thought that “(c)” placed after paragraphs in her emails meant the material was in alphabetical order rather than meaning it was classified. If she thought (c) indicated alphabetical order, where were (a) and (b) on the documents? Clinton and her supporters touted her vast experience as a U.S. Senator and Secretary of State, positions requiring frequent use of classified information and presumably common sense. Yet neither experience nor common sense informed her decisions when handling classified materials.
  • Comey and the FBI never questioned Clinton about her public statements, which changed over time and were blatantly false. “I did not email classified information to anyone” morphed into “I did not email anything marked ‘classified,’” which morphed into the claim that (c) did not mean what it clearly meant. False and changing statements are presented to juries routinely by prosecutors as evidence of guilt.
  • Breaking DOJ protocols, violating the chain of command, and assuming an authority he never had, Comey usurped the role of the U.S. attorney general on July 5, 2016, when he announced that the case against Clinton was closed. He justified his actions saying that he no longer trusted Attorney General Lynch after her June 27, 2016, meeting with Bill Clinton on the tarmac at the Phoenix airport. This meeting took place at the height of the so-called investigation—just days before Peter Strzok interviewed Clinton on July 2. Thanks to the efforts of Judicial Watch to secure documents through the Freedom of Information Act, we now know that Comey was already drafting a letter exonerating Clinton in May 2016—prior to interviewing more than a dozen major witnesses. We also know that the FBI’s reaction to the impropriety of the tarmac meeting was not disgust, but rather anger at the person who leaked the fact of the meeting. “We need to find that guy” and bring him before a supervisor, stated one (name redacted) FBI agent. Another argued that the source should be banned from working security details. Not one email expressed concern over the meeting. An FBI director who truly had his trust shaken would have questioned the members of Lynch’s FBI security detail for the Arizona trip about how the meeting came to be. Comey didn’t bother.

Comey described Clinton’s handling of classified information as “extremely careless,” a clumsy attempt to avoid the legal language of “gross negligence” for criminal mishandling of classified information—and we later learned that Peter Strzok, again, was responsible for editing this language in Comey’s statement. But practically speaking, the terms are synonymous. Any judge would instruct a jury to consider “gross negligence” as “extremely careless” conduct.

Comey claimed that “no reasonable prosecutor” would bring the case against Clinton. I have spent many years investigating federal crimes, and I can tell you that a reasonable prosecutor would have utilized a grand jury, issued subpoenas and search warrants, and followed standard DOJ procedures for federal prosecutions. In short, Comey threw the case. He should have been fired long before he was.

In late spring 2016, just weeks prior to Comey’s July 5 press conference clearing Clinton of any crime, FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe ordered FBI agents in New York to shut down their investigation into the Clinton Foundation. Their objections were overruled. Sources have told me that McCabe also shut down an additional Clinton investigation. This is the McCabe who, while he was overseeing the Clinton email investigation, had a wife running for the Virginia State Senate and receiving more than $460,000 in campaign contributions from a longtime Clinton loyalist, Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffe. Moreover, it was only after the news of Clinton’s private server became public in The New York Times that McAuliffe recruited McCabe’s wife to run for office. McCabe eventually recused himself from the Clinton probe, but that was one week before the 2016 election, after the decisions to clear Clinton and to pursue the Trump-Russia collusion investigation had already been made. So his recusal was meaningless.

In clearing legal impediments from Clinton’s path to the Democratic nomination, Comey and his senior staff thought they had helped Clinton clinch the presidency. Their actions put an end to a decades-long tradition of non-political federal law enforcement.

The Case of Trump-Russia Collusion

Rumors of collusion with Russia by Trump or the Trump campaign surfaced during the primaries in 2015, but gained in strength soon after Trump secured the Republican nomination in July 2016. Thanks to DOJ Inspector General Michael Horowitz, we now know that high-level FBI officials were involved in promoting these rumors. Among Horowitz’s discoveries were text messages between FBI Deputy Director of Counterintelligence Peter Strzok and FBI lawyer Lisa Page that suggest an illegal plan to utilize law enforcement to frame Trump. The most revealing exchange we know of took place on August 15, 2016. Concerned about the outcome of the election, Strzok wrote:

I want to believe the path you threw out for consideration in [Andrew McCabe’s] office—that there’s no way [Trump] gets elected—but I’m afraid we can’t take that risk. It’s like an insurance policy in the unlikely event you die before you’re 40.

No amount of sugar coating or post hoc explanation of this and other texts can conceal the couple’s animus against Trump and support for Clinton. Strzok’s messages illustrate his commitment to Clinton’s victory and Trump’s defeat or, if Trump won, to an “insurance policy.”

The term “insurance policy” obviously refers to the Trump-Russia collusion investigation, which to this day remains a probe with no underlying crime. This is not the talk of professional investigators, but of corrupt agents who have created two standards of justice based on their political leanings. It looks like a reprise of the schemes undertaken during an earlier era, under FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover, that led to the creation of the Church Committee—a committee on which I served, and which tried to reform the FBI to prevent it from meddling in domestic politics.

At the heart of the Russia collusion scheme is the FBI’s utilization of a document paid for by the Clinton campaign and the Democratic National Committee. Called the Steele Dossier because it was written by former British MI6 officer Christopher Steele, this document contains unsubstantiated information designed to taint Trump and his presidency. While Clinton partisans point out that candidate Clinton never referred to the Steele Dossier in her speeches, the fact is that she did not have to—the FBI hierarchy was doing it for her! Indeed, FBI General Counsel James Baker was recently reassigned because of his having leaked information about the Steele Dossier to the magazine Mother Jones.

Not one claim concerning Trump in the Steele Dossier has ever been verified by the FBI, according to Andrew McCabe himself in recent testimony to the House Intelligence Committee. The only confirmed fact is unsurprising: former Trump campaign adviser Carter Page traveled to Moscow on his own dime and met with various Russians—all perfectly legal.

Comey and then-CIA Director John Brennan laundered the Steele Dossier through the U.S. intelligence community to give it an aura of credibility and get it to the press. It was also used by the FBI and senior DOJ officials to secure wiretap warrants from a secret Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) court. Then its contents, via court-authorized FISA warrants, were used to justify the illegal unmasking of the identities of wiretapped Trump officials. The contents of these National Security Agency intercepts were put on spreadsheets and presented to members of President Obama’s National Security Council (NSC)—specifically Susan Rice and Ben Rhodes—and subsequently leaked to the press. According to former NSC staff, President Obama himself read the FISA intercepts of Trump campaign personnel. Unsurprisingly, there was no request for a leak investigation from either the FBI or the DOJ.

In sum, the FBI and DOJ employed unverified salacious allegations contained in a political opposition research document to obtain court-sanctioned wiretaps, and then leaked the contents of the wiretaps and the identities of political opponents. This was a complex criminal plot worthy of Jason Bourne.

The Pall Over the Special Counsel and the FBI

Layered over this debacle is a special counsel investigation unfettered by rules or law. Not surprisingly, James Comey triggered the special counsel’s appointment—and he did so by design. According to Comey’s testimony to the Senate Intelligence Committee, having been fired on May 9, 2017, he leaked official documents to his friend, Columbia Law School professor Daniel Richman, with the specific intent that Richman would leak them to the press. Reportage on that leak is what led Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein to appoint Robert Mueller—a former FBI director and Comey’s good friend—as special counsel to investigate allegations of Trump-Russia collusion.

Mueller’s reputation has been damaged by a series of decisions that violate the ethical rules of appearances. For instance, he hired Democratic partisans as lawyers for the probe: Andrew Weissmann, who donated to Clinton and praised Acting Attorney General Sally Yates for disobeying Trump’s lawful Presidential Order regarding a travel ban for residents of certain nations that harbor terrorists; Jeannie Rhee, who donated to Clinton and represented Ben Rhodes in the email probe and the Clinton Foundation investigation; and Aaron Zebley, who represented Clinton IT staffer Justin Cooper in the email server probe.

Mueller also staged a pre-dawn raid with weapons drawn on the home of Paul Manafort, rousing Manafort and his wife from their bed—a tactic customarily reserved for terrorists and drug dealers. Manafort has subsequently been indicted for financial crimes that antedate his campaign work for Trump and that have nothing to do with Russia collusion.

Then there’s the fact that when Mueller removed Strzok from the investigation in July 2017, he didn’t tell anyone. The removal and its causes were uncovered by DOJ Inspector General Michael Horowitz. Why was such vital information concealed from the public? It is not, as is often claimed now, that Strzok was a minor figure. All the major decisions regarding both the Clinton and the Trump-Russia collusion investigations had been made under Strzok.

Significantly, Strzok also led the interview of General Michael Flynn that ended in Flynn pleading guilty to making false statements to the FBI. It is important to recall that Flynn’s FBI interview was not conducted under the authority of the special counsel, but under that of Comey and McCabe. It took place during Inauguration week in January 2017. Flynn had met with the same agents the day before regarding security clearances. McCabe called Flynn and asked if agents could come to the White House. Flynn agreed, assuming it was about personnel. It was not.

Flynn had been overheard on a FISA wiretap talking to Russia’s Ambassador to the United States, Sergey Kislyak. There was nothing criminal or even unusual about the fact of such discussion. Flynn was on the Trump transition team and was a federal employee as the President-Elect’s national security advisor. It was his job to be talking to foreign leaders. Flynn was not charged with regard to anything said during his conversation with Kislyak. So why was the FBI interrogating Flynn about legal conduct? What more did the FBI need to know? I am told by sources that when Flynn’s indictment was announced, McCabe was on a video conference call—cheering!

Compare the FBI’s treatment of Flynn to its treatment of Paul Combetta, the technician who used a program called BleachBit to destroy thousands of emails on Hillary Clinton’s computer. This destruction of evidence took place after a committee of the U.S. House of Representatives issued letters directing that all emails be preserved and subpoenaing them. Combetta first lied to the FBI, claiming he did not recall deleting anything. After being rewarded with immunity, Combetta recalled destroying the emails—but he could not recall anyone directing him to do so.

The word in Washington is that Flynn pleaded guilty to take pressure off his son, who was also a subject of Mueller’s investigation. Always the soldier. But those who questioned Flynn that day did not cover themselves with law enforcement glory. Led by Strzok, they grilled Flynn about facts that they already knew and that they knew did not constitute a crime. They besmirched the reputation of federal law enforcement by their role in a scheme to destroy a duly elected president and his appointees.

A pall hangs over Mueller, and a pall hangs over the DOJ. But the darkest pall hangs over the FBI, America’s premier federal law enforcement agency, which since the demise of J. Edgar Hoover has been steadfast in steering clear of politics. Even during L. Patrick Gray’s brief tenure as acting director during Watergate, it was not the FBI but Gray personally who was implicated. The current scandal pervades the Bureau. It spans from Director Comey to Deputy Director McCabe to General Counsel Baker. It spread to counterintelligence via Peter Strzok. When line agents complained about the misconduct, McCabe retaliated by placing them under investigation for leaking information.

From the outset of this scandal, I have considered Comey a dirty cop. His unfailing commitment to himself above all else is of a pattern. Throughout his career, Comey has continually portrayed himself as Thomas Becket, fighting against institutional corruption—even where none exists. Stories abound of his routine retort to anyone who disagreed with him (not an unusual happening when lawyers gather) during his tenure as deputy attorney general under President George W. Bush. “Your moral compass is askew,” he would say. This self-righteousness led agents to refer to him as “The Cardinal.” Comey is no Thomas Becket—he is Henry II.

A great disservice has been done to the dedicated men and women of the FBI by Comey and his seventh floor henchmen. A grand jury probe is long overdue. Inspector General Horowitz is an honest man, but he cannot convene a grand jury. We need one now. We need our FBI back.

=====================

Former top FBI lawyer James Baker, in closed-door testimony to Congress, detailed alleged discussions among senior officials at the Justice Department about invoking the 25th Amendment to remove President Trump from office, claiming he was told Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein said two Trump Cabinet officials were “ready to support” such an effort.

The testimony was delivered last fall to the House Oversight and Judiciary Committees. Fox News has confirmed portions of the transcript. It provides additional insight into discussions that have returned to the spotlight in Washington as fired FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe revisits the matter during interviews promoting his forthcoming book.

MCCABE DETAILS CENTRAL ROLE IN RUSSIA PROBES, DOJ MEETINGS ON WHETHER TO OUST PRESIDENT

Baker did not identify the two Cabinet officials. But in his testimony, the lawyer said McCabe and FBI lawyer Lisa Page came to him to relay their conversations with Rosenstein, including discussions of the 25th Amendment.

“I was being told by some combination of Andy McCabe and Lisa Page, that, in a conversation with the Deputy Attorney General, he had stated that he — this was what was related to me — that he had at least two members of the president’s Cabinet who were ready to support, I guess you would call it, an action under the 25th Amendment,” Baker told the committees.

The 25th Amendment provides a mechanism for removing a sitting president from office. One way that could happen is if a majority of the president’s Cabinet says the president is incapable of discharging his duties.Rosenstein, who still works at the Justice Department but who is expected to exit in the near future, has denied the claims since they first surfaced in the media last year.

Fox News requested further comment from the parties involved. Lawyers for Baker and McCabe declined comment, as did an FBI spokesperson.

In his testimony, Baker said of McCabe’s state of mind: “At this point in time, Andy was unbelievably focused and unbelievably confident and squared away. I don’t know how to describe it other than I was extremely proud to be around him at that point in time because I thought he was doing an excellent job at maintaining focus and dealing with a very uncertain and difficult situation. So I think he was in a good state of mind at this point in time.”

The testimony, for which there are criminal penalties if the witness lies to congressional investigators, comes as McCabe, who was fired last year by then-Attorney General Jeff Sessions, has discussed the alleged meetings as he promotes his forthcoming book.

FBI LAWYER’S TESTIMONY AT ODDS WITH ROSENSTEIN DENIAL ON ‘WIRE’ REPORT

On Thursday, the Justice Department issued a statement that said Rosenstein rejects McCabe’s recitation of these events “as inaccurate and factually incorrect.” It also denied that Rosenstein ever OK’d wearing a “wire” to tape Trump.

“The deputy attorney general never authorized any recording that Mr. McCabe references,” the statement said. “As the deputy attorney general previously has stated, based on his personal dealings with the president, there is no basis to invoke the 25th Amendment, nor was the DAG in a position to consider invoking the 25th Amendment.”

During his testimony, Baker acknowledged he was not directly involved in the May 2017 discussions but testified over a two-day period in October that McCabe and Page came to him contemporaneously after meeting with Rosenstein for input in the days after Comey was fired by the president.

aaa

Former FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe, speaking out in a new book and TV interview, detailed the central role he played in the bureau’s Russia probe and the eventual appointment of a special counsel — while reportedly describing Justice Department meetings where officials discussed ousting President Trump.

McCabe, who was fired from the bureau in March 2018 by then-Attorney General Jeff Sessions after it was determined he lied to investigators about a leak, spoke to “60 Minutes” ahead of the release of his new book, “The Threat.” CBS News’ Scott Pelley revealed parts of the interview Thursday morning.

FBI LAWYER’S TESTIMONY AT ODDS WITH ROSENSTEIN DENIAL ON ‘WIRE’ REPORT

The excerpts detail the eight days between the firing of former FBI Director James Comey and the appointment of Special Counsel Robert Mueller. After Comey’s firing, McCabe was acting director of the FBI.

“I was speaking to the man who had just run for the presidency and won the election for the presidency and who might have done so with the aid of the government of Russia, our most formidable adversary on the world stage. And that was something that troubled me greatly,” McCabe said in one excerpt, referring to a phone call he had with Trump on May 10, 2017.

McCabe, who also detailed that phone call in his book, took the call from the president while members of the bureau’s Russia team were in the room. The call, according to an excerpt from McCabe’s book published in The Atlantic Thursday, largely focused on Trump celebrating the firing of Comey and saying he was getting positive feedback for the decision.

Pelley went on to ask, “How long was it after that that you decided to start the obstruction of justice and counterintelligence investigations involving the president?”

STRZOK-PAGE TEXTS CALLING TO ‘OPEN’ CASE IN ‘CHARGEABLE WAY’ UNDER FRESH SCRUTINY

“I think the next day, I met with the team investigating the Russia cases,” McCabe confirmed. “And I asked the team to go back and conduct an assessment to determine where are we with these efforts and what steps do we need to take going forward.”

He added: “I was very concerned that I was able to put the Russia case on absolutely solid ground in an indelible fashion that were I removed quickly and reassigned or fired and the case could not be closed or vanish in the night without a trace. I wanted to make sure that our case was on solid ground. And if somebody came in behind me and closed it and tried to walk away from it, they would not be able to do that without creating a record of why they’d made that decision.”

Trump fired back on Twitter, blasting McCabe.

In the excerpts of his book, McCabe also detailed his role urging Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein to appoint a special counsel.

“He asked for my thoughts about whether we needed a special counsel to oversee the Russia case. I said I thought it would help the investigation’s credibility. Later that day, I went to see Rosenstein again. This is the gist of what I said: I feel strongly that the investigation would be best served by having a special counsel. … Unless or until you make the decision to appoint a special counsel, the FBI will be subjected to withering criticism that could destroy the credibility of both the Justice Department and the FBI,” he wrote.

“Rosenstein was very engaged. He was not yet convinced.” McCabe raised the issue again that weekend.

McCabe went on to detail a meeting with lawmakers on Capitol Hill, including Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., on May 17, 2017.

NEW DETAILS ABOUT BASIS FOR ANDREW MCCABE’S FIRING FROM FBI REVEALED

“Then Rod took over and announced that he had appointed a special counsel to pursue the Russia investigation, and that the special counsel was Robert Mueller,” he wrote. “… When I came out of the Capitol, it felt like crossing a finish line. If I got nothing else done as acting director, I had done the one thing I needed to do.”

In the book, as in the interview, McCabe spoke to a desire to protect the Russia investigation no matter what: “I wanted to protect the Russia investigation in such a way that whoever came after me could not just make it go away.”

On Thursday, Pelley detailed other portions of his sit-down with McCabe on CBS’ “This Morning.” Pelley said McCabe described meetings at the Justice Department after Comey’s firing to discuss “whether the vice president and a majority of the Cabinet could be brought together to remove the president under the 25th Amendment.”

“The highest level of American law enforcement were trying to figure out what to do with the president,” Pelley said Thursday.

In September, Fox News reported details about a meeting on May 16, 2017 at Justice Department headquarters, where the same topic was discussed. Sources told Fox News that McCabe, former FBI counsel Lisa Page, and Rosenstein, who was tasked with oversight of the Russia investigation after Sessions’ recusal, were in the room.

Rosenstein reportedly told McCabe that he might be able to persuade Sessions and then-Homeland Security Secretary and now-former chief of staff John Kelly to begin proceedings to invoke the 25th Amendment. Rosenstein adamantly denied the claims at the time.

In reaction to the interview, a Justice Department spokesperson told Fox News that Rosenstein “again rejects Mr. McCabe’s recitation of events as inaccurate and factually incorrect.”

“The Deputy Attorney General never authorized any recording that Mr. McCabe references. As the Deputy Attorney General previously has stated, based on his personal dealings with the President, there is no basis to invoke the 25th Amendment, nor was the DAG in a position to consider invoking the 25th Amendment,” the spokesman said in a statement Thursday. “Finally, the Deputy Attorney General never spoke to Mr. Comey about appointing a Special Counsel. The Deputy Attorney General in fact appointed Special Counsel Mueller, and directed that Mr. McCabe be removed from any participation in that investigation. Subsequent to this removal, DOJ’s Inspector General found that Mr. McCabe did not tell the truth to federal authorities on multiple occasions, leading to his termination from the FBI.”

The book excerpt also includes scathing language from McCabe regarding Trump’s conduct in office.

“People do not appreciate how far we have fallen from normal standards of presidential accountability. Today we have a president who is willing not only to comment prejudicially on criminal prosecutions but to comment on ones that potentially affect him. He does both of these things almost daily,” he wrote.

222

FBI lawyer’s testimony at odds with Rosenstein denial on ‘wire’ report
Catherine Herridge
By Catherine Herridge | Fox News

Facebook
Twitter
Flipboard
Comments
Print
Email

close
Lawmakers want answers from Rod Rosenstein

Two senior FBI officials told the bureau’s top lawyer they believed Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein was “serious” when he discussed secretly recording President Trump and invoking the 25th Amendment to remove him from office last year, according to sources close to a congressional investigation – an account that conflicts with claims from Rosenstein and others that the comments either were inaccurately reported or made in jest.

Former FBI General Counsel James A. Baker told congressional investigators during a closed-door deposition last week that then-FBI Acting Director Andrew McCabe and FBI lawyer Lisa Page came to Baker “contemporaneously” after Trump fired FBI Director James Comey in May 2017. Baker said Page and McCabe relayed details of the meeting where Rosenstein made the comments.

Though he wasn’t personally in that meeting, Baker told congressional investigators he took McCabe and Page’s account “seriously,” the sources said. Further, Baker told congressional investigators he suspected “Rosenstein was coordinating with two people in the administration to invoke the 25th Amendment,” a source said.

Baker, whose testimony was described as deliberate and sober, added he had not done a legal analysis and was unsure whether it was “unethical or illegal,” the source added.

The testimony would appear at odds with other accounts of those explosive discussions.

The New York Times first reported the details of the alleged discussions between Rosenstein and senior FBI officials in May 2017, one day before Rosenstein appointed Special Counsel Robert Mueller to oversee the Russia investigation. After the allegations surfaced, Fox News reported on Sept. 22, based on a source who was in the meeting, that Rosenstein’s “wire” comments were viewed as “sarcastic.” Rosenstein also released a statement saying, “I never pursued or authorized recording the President and any suggestion that I have ever advocated for the removal of the President is absolutely false.”

The report triggered new tensions between the White House and DOJ, where Rosenstein oversees the Mueller-led probe. Amid speculation that the deputy attorney general might be fired or quit, a meeting between Trump and Rosenstein was pushed off repeatedly — until Monday, when the two met for 45 minutes aboard Air Force One, en route to a police conference in Florida. Trump said the conversation was “great,” and he has no plans to fire Rosenstein.

Fox News has learned that the meeting in question included Rosenstein, McCabe and Page, among others, and took place at the Justice Department.

Asked about Baker’s account, a DOJ spokesperson said the department stood by its previous statements.

A spokesperson for McCabe declined to comment. McCabe’s memos documenting the Rosenstein meeting were turned over to Mueller. The House Judiciary Committee issued a subpoena for the records, but they were not provided by last Thursday’s deadline. A lawyer for Lisa Page did not respond.

As the former FBI general counsel, Baker was a senior figure with a pivotal position who had the ear of the FBI director.

Baker also is at the heart of surveillance abuse accusations, many from congressional Republicans. His deposition lays the groundwork for a planned closed-door House GOP interview with Rosenstein later this week.

Baker, formerly the FBI’s top lawyer, helped secure the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) warrant on former Trump campaign adviser Carter Page, as well as three subsequent renewals. Prior to the deposition, Republican investigators said they believed Baker could explain why information about the British ex-spy behind a salacious Trump-related dossier, Christopher Steele, and Steele’s apparent bias against then-candidate Trump, were withheld from the FISA court, and whether other exculpatory information was known to Rosenstein when he signed the final FISA renewal for Page in June 2017.

Fox News asked Baker after last week’s deposition about the handling of the Trump dossier, what he told Rosenstein about exculpatory evidence and whether he was the subject of an FBI leak investigation. Baker told Fox News he could not answer such questions.

A Justice Department official said Rosenstein agreed to meet with the chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, Bob Goodlatte, R-Va., but offered no details on the format of that meeting.

Coup against Trump via Ham Radio!

Nellie and Bruce Ohr

Nellie Ohr, Fusion GPS operative and wife of senior DOJ official, Bruce Ohr demoted for failing to disclose conflicting interactions with the producers of the infamous Trump Dossier, obtained a HAM radio license one month after Fusion GPS hired a former British spy to produce the salacious document.

According to FCC records, a Nellie H. Ohr from Mclean, Virginia, was granted, a still active, Group D HAM radio operators license on May 23rd, 2016.

Christopher Steele, the former MI6 spy, was hired by Fusion GPS in April, 2016.

Months later, Mrs. Ohr joined Mr. Steele at the opposition research firm, after being hired by Fusion GPS co-founder Glenn Simpson to allegedly participate in a coup then-presidential candidate Donald Trump.

Additionally, alleged co-conspirator her husband, Bruce Ohr, reportedly met with Mr. Steele during this time period, and with Glen Simpson after President Trump’s victory.

It is not clear if Mrs. Ohr ever used her HAM license, or if she herself owns the equipment to do so, but what is interesting, is the 1970s technology, when blended with modern day communications, can create an untraceable protocol for clandestine transmissions.

First perfected by British intelligence, a HAM radio can be paired to a laptop, and send encrypted files, such as text messages, documents, and videos across the globe through what is referred to as “Burst Transmissions.”

In this way, it is possible that Nelly Ohr, and her husband, FBI Senior Official Bruce Ohr, had access to a safe and secret means of communication.

Nellie Ohr's HAM Radio License

Nellie Ohr’s HAM Radio License

Up Close with Lee Kuan Yew

The book, Up Close with Lee Kuan Yew, gathers some of the vivid memories of 37 people who have worked or interacted closely with Lee Kuan Yew in some way or other, from the time he was at Raffles College in 1941 right up to his final moments in 2015.
Among these are his 13 Principal Private Secretaries and Special Assistants, and Mdm Yeong Yoon Ying, his Press Secretary of over 20 years. The others include former President S.R. Nathan, Puan Noor Aishah who is the widow of President Yusof Ishak, former Chief Justice Yong Pung How, and friends such as Robert Kuok from his Raffles College days.
Robert Kuok is a Malaysian Chinese business magnate. According to Forbes, his net worth is estimated at $12.2 billion on July 2017, making him the richest person in Malaysia and second richest in Southeast Asia.
Below are some of the observations in the book from Lee Kuan Yew’s good friend Robert Kuok who wrote the opening chapter with a beautiful quote from Lee Kuan Yew, “Come to think of it, finally, it’s only friendship that matters.”

Lee Kuan Yew as a college student:

I did not know Kuan Yew well in school. In fact, his name did not come to my attention until later because he was a non-resident student and lived at home, although I had heard he was brilliant but somewhat aggressive and pugnacious.

He was a striking figure. I was like him physically, but smaller in build. He was about two inches taller than me and also heavier. I had sharp features but his were sharper. He had a compelling and fierce set of eyes, certainly not the eyes of a meek person. He was about three weeks older than me.

One day a friend suggested that I meet Kuan Yew. I was told never to get into an argument with him because he always had to win. To that I replied, “Why would I want to meet him then?”

I was eventually introduced to Kuan Yew. He came across as having a very sharp mind and very strong views on every subject that was being discussed. I think even then he had a clear vision of where he was going. I thought he was also slightly disdainful of people unless he thought you were as smart as him or a very interesting person.

I never had any arguments with Kuan Yew. He was more standoffish than warm but you could sense it was not snobbery. It was because the man had something going on in his mind all the time, probably superior to anything going on in your mind. He just felt there was no point mixing unnecessarily or engaging in small talk.

Among the people at Raffles College was Eddie Barker, who was rather aloof but a gentleman. He was very good-looking, a Gregory Peck type. There was also Maurice Baker, a lovely man and very intellectual. Lee Kuan Yew was certainly among the top ten students at the college, but Kwa Geok Choo, whom he later married, was either No.1 or No.2. Such was the talk among the students.

My dorm was the only one of six dormitories which had a much-used corridor linking College Hall with the cafeteria. I would constantly hear the clickety-clack of women’s shoes outside. The most famous pair of sounds belonged to Geok Choo and her friend, Chua Swee Sim who was the second daughter of Chua Cheng Liat, the founder of the Cycle & Carriage Company. Geok Choo was the taller of the two, and she was the daughter of one of the general managers of OCBC Bank.

On Lee Kuan Yew during the war:

During the war years of 1942-45, I heard Kuan Yew was doing a bit of black-marketing in Singapore, selling second-hand goods such as batteries and retreaded tyres. It was black-marketing because the Japanese Administration had put a tight clamp on almost all activities. We all had to survive.

I was offered a job by Mitsubishi Corp when they decided to open an office in Johore Bahru. I accepted the position and when it opened on 1 August 1942, I was their first local employee. Three years later, on 15 August 1945, Emperor Hirohito announced Japan’s surrender. The next morning, the Japanese managers, eyes all swollen and red, some sniffing into their handkerchiefs, came to the office. They said they would soon have to report to concentration camps and the office would be closed.

One evening after the end of the war, I was invited by a Medical College student to a garden party thrown by a rich and famous elderly widow, Mrs Lee Choon Guan, and asked to bring my girlfriend, Joyce Cheah. This was at the end of 1945 or very early in 1946, after three and a half years of occupation by the Japanese Armed Forces, and so everything was still in a broken-down state. We were all drinking orange juice, beer, at most. I remember Kuan Yew was there and he saw this pretty girl, Joyce, and came around to meet her. He said hello to me but was more struck by Joyce’s beauty and intelligence. I said to myself, “Eh! Eh!” But it was all harmless.

Later I learnt that Kuan Yew had boarded a troopship and travelled to England to study. He eventually settled at Cambridge University from where he graduated with flying colours.

A forthright man:

Kuan Yew achieved a lot and became Prime Minister of Singapore in 1959. He was definitely ruthless. I was close to the action because my brother William, a senior figure in the Malayan Communist Party, felt the heat, although he never directly clashed with him.

Sometime in the late 1960s, something interesting happened which went on for three or four years. Every few months, Kuan Yew would send for me. I would get into my car (the car number would have been earlier supplied to his secretary) and drive up a neat palm-lined driveway to Sri Temasek where he had his office in the Istana grounds. His secretary would greet me and take me to a room where I would sit down, and Kuan Yew would come in shortly. Each time, he wanted my insights into what was going on in Malaysia. He was very forthright and said, “I have an embassy but sometimes I still can’t get at the heart of the truth.” He would ask questions and I would answer. If I knew the answers and felt they would do no harm to Malaysia, the country of my birth, I would give them. We chatted amiably. I never misguided him. If I felt I could not give him an answer, I told him so.

Lee Kuan Yew’s frugal ways:

One day, the request was to stay for lunch. I wasn’t aware that Kuan Yew was so extremely conscious of healthy living until I had lunch with him that day. First, they served soup, not quite four spoons. The soup came with a piece of bread and butter, and I soon realised the bread was very valuable indeed! After the soup came a small piece of fish; after that, a very thin slice of steak. Everything could be eaten in three mouthfuls. And then they brought out the coffee and tea. But thought I had just had my starters! He was very frugal as well as health conscious. I certainly respected him for that.

Lee Kuan Yew and Singapore’s separation from Malaysia:

I was one of the first to know about the decision to kick Singapore out of Malaysia. I was living in Queen Astrid Park at the time. One night in early August 1965, at about 10.30 p.m., there was a banging on my house gate. “Robert! Robert! It’s Jamal, open up!” “Celaka, what time is it?” I called out. Jamal was the Malaysian High Commissioner to Singapore. He said he had an important message: Razak would be arriving in Singapore from Kuala Lumpur by an Air Force plane at around 6 a.m. and he wanted to go straight to the Bukit Timah Golf Course for a quick round of golf — and he wanted me to play with him.

After tee off, Razak, who was then Deputy Prime Minister of Malaysia, told Jamal to walk ahead as he had something to say to me. He then related to me what had happened the night before at an UMNO leadership meeting in Kuala Lumpur that had gone on till almost midnight. Some extremists in the UMNO leadership were lobbying for the arrest of Singapore’s leaders, from Kuan Yew all the way down, but he and other moderate leaders managed to swing the meeting around. He said that arresting them was not a solution as one couldn’t keep them in jail forever and they would become political superheroes the day they were released. So they decided the best recourse was to kick Singapore out of the Federation. “I’ve come to deliver the message to Kuan Yew.” I was shocked even though we all saw it coming in some form or shape.

At 4.30 p.m. on Monday, 9 August 1965, Kuan Yew appeared on television and emotionally broke the news to the people of Singapore. It was a very sad and heartbreaking scene.

My reaction at the time was that Kuan Yew, through his brilliant mind and oratorical skills, had riled many UMNO Malays, including Prime Minister Tunku Abdul Rahman, because in any debate, you could never match Kuan Yew. At that time, I felt he should have been softer or more diplomatic. But now, I realise that it was a blessing in disguise. The timing was just perfect.

Kuan Yew had a very smart and courageous team around him and they immediately carried out brilliant plans and schemes, quite a few of them provided by some of the best advisors in the world. These included the famous Dutch economist Albert Winsemius as well as colonels, majors and captains from the Israeli Defence Force to build up and train the Singapore army. Singapore leaders had also established strong friendships with Taiwan’s leaders and the Sultan of Brunei.

What we saw happening in Singapore over the next 15 to 20 years was truly amazing. In any other scenario, the continuing animosity between the extremists in UMNO and the political skills of Singapore’s leaders would have led to horrendous consequences.

Lee Kuan Yew and our friendship:

After I moved to Hong Kong, I sort of became Kuan Yew’s second port of call. Run Run Shaw was No.1; my wife Pauline and I, No.2. He liked Pauline and found her simple and earthy ways agreeable.

He and Geok Choo would often come over for dinner. I would get a caterer and offer good food. I would get instructions, of course, that he could not eat this or that. The conversation would be light with interesting  anecdotes, and I would like to  believe they had pleasant evenings dining at our  home.

Kuan Yew and I seldom engaged in super-warm or super-friendly talk. But sometime in 2007 or 2008, he said a very funny thing that touched my heart. We were walking g down from his hotel to the car to go to dinner. Pauline was with Geok Choo in front. He turned to me and said, “Come to think of it, finally, it’s only friendship that matters.” In other words, everything is gone but the only thing left is friendship.

I thought, my God! I am seeing the human side of him! On their last few visits to Hong Kong, Kuan Yew became increasingly warm towards me. He and Geok Choo would stay in our hotel. She was already unwell and because of her vision problem we pasted coloured paper on the walls of their room so that she wouldn’t bump into them. A few years later, I found myself walking with Kuan Yew to make sure he wouldn’t bump into the corridor walls.

Kuan Yew visited me a few times after Geok Choo passed away in October 2010. One thing about him I would say is that he stayed true to one woman his whole life, and that is quite remarkable for a man of those times. He led an exemplary life, a disciplined life. He never womanised or drank to excess. He smoked for a short time, but that was it.

Lee Kuan Yew and his legacy:

About five years ago, in 2010, he wrote me a letter asking for my candid views. He wanted to know why he always found Hong Kong full of business activity and people with strong enterprising spirit. Whenever he visited Hong Kong, he always asked to be taken to some government unit or a home industry where something new was always being invented and he would be totally amazed by what he saw. He asked me to write to him and tell him frankly my views. So I called up my niece, Kay, and asked if I should talk so straight that I hit him in the solar plexus. She said it sounded like that was what he wanted. So I wrote back to him and told him that he had straightjacketed too many of his people in his zeal and impatience to build up Singapore quickly. There was genius in them, but they could not move. I told him to take a pair of scissors and cut them loose.

Kuan Yew had a super Bung-ho style. He was like such a powerful elephant that when he stomped on the ground, all the plants were crushed. But in so doing, he created the miracle called Singapore. Also, because of his great zeal and dedication, Singapore was his obsession, and his attitude and behaviour flowed from that — You harm Singapore, I smash you.

My assessment of Singapore as an outsider is that no one could have achieved what Lee Kuan Yew had achieved for Singapore and for the people of Singapore. Singapore, compared to China, is like a drop of water to a bucket of water. But that does not mean the drop of water is not important.

From the book UP CLOSE with LEE KUAN YEW…