Below is my column in The Hill newspaper on why a separate and independent investigation of the FBI’s conduct is warranted. My support for the investigation is not because I believe that criminal charges will likely be brought. Rather, I have never seen our country more divided and I cannot imagine any way for us to get beyond this poisonous political environment without full and complete investigations with public disclosure of the findings. As I have stated in interviews, I comment Attorney General Jeff Sessions in not only giving this matter to the Inspector General but ordered U.S. Attorney John Huber to assist in the investigation. The combination of the U.S. Attorney and the Inspector General is likely to expedite the investigation and maximize the options for the Justice Department — including the option reserved by Sessions to eventually order the appointment of a Special Counsel. Critics of Sessions are missing the import of the joint investigation. He has selected a line prosecutor from outside of the Beltway to review the conduct of FBI officials, including James Comey and Andrew McCabe. Huber adds prosecutorial experience and powers to the ongoing IG investigation.
The decision of the Justice Department inspector general to investigate the FBI over its handling of the Russian investigation is long overdue. At a time when the country is becoming more divided over allegations of misconduct by our government officials, there is little hope for reconciliation so long as the public feels it is being played by both sides. We are likely to continue to disagree over our conclusions, but we can at least agree on the underlying facts. That is why there is a compelling need for public and independent reports from both the Special Counsel and Inspector General.
Michael Horowitz, the Justice Department inspector general, announced that he will investigate the allegations of abuses of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) during the Obama administration. The scope of the probe will cover officials in both the Justice Department and the FBI as related to a “certain U.S. person.” This includes reviewing what “was known to the DOJ and the FBI at the time the applications were filed from or about an alleged FBI confidential source.” The “certain U.S. person” appears to be Trump campaign adviser Carter Page.
The greatest failure of our government has been not the underlying allegations of misconduct but the failure of our elected officials to retain the trust of the public that they are seeking the unvarnished truth in these scandals. Instead, the public has been given endless spins by both parties. While Democrats rightfully criticized Trump supporters for belittling or opposing the special counsel investigation, they have done the same thing with regard to the FBI controversy. Democrats have dismissed legitimate concerns over not just the origins of the dossier but its reliance (to any degree) by our intelligence services.
For months, the Clinton campaign denied any connection to the dossier compiled by Fusion GPS and former British spy Christopher Steele. In October, when confronted by journalists, the Clinton campaign finally admitted that it did indeed fund the dossier research. Clinton campaign lawyer Marc Elias has been accused of not only lying in his denials of any connection to the campaign but sitting next to Clinton campaign chairman John Podesta as the latter also denied any campaign role to investigators. Moreover, Steele reportedly shopped the dossier to media outlets and had told one official that he despised Trump and wanted to keep him from being elected president.
The fact is that there are serious concerns raised on both sides. These are allegations that have seriously undermined the public faith in our government. The diametrically opposing reports of the majority and minority on the House Intelligence Committee has only magnified those doubts among citizens. Consider a few examples from both sides on the FBI investigation.
The “wiretapping” spin
In March 2017, Trump was roundly ridiculed for saying that the Obama administration “wiretapped” his campaign. This was portrayed as paranoia or diversion by the media. Obama’s director of national intelligence, James Clapper, went public to deny any such surveillance and said he would have certainly known of a “court order on something like this.” It is now confirmed that there was not a single but multiple orders to intercept communications of Carter Page and others associated with the campaign. Ultimately, no evidence of criminal conduct was presented in the form of an indictment against Page, despite the renewal of the surveillance.
The Free Beacon spin
Once the funding of the Clinton campaign was belatedly disclosed, media ran with a spin that it was a conservative website, the Washington Free Beacon, that first funded the research. That appears untrue. The Free Beacon paid for research on Trump (and Clinton) but ended its funding in spring 2016. The Clinton campaign later paid for the dossier research, and Steele was retained after the closure of the Free Beacon research. It now appears that the dossier was entirely paid for by the Clinton campaign, despite repeated claims to the contrary on networks and cable shows.
The corroboration spin
The Steele dossier has been portrayed by Trump critics as “largely corroborated” by subsequent investigations. In fact, the Steele dossier was found by the FBI to be largely uncorroborated before it was used to secure the Page surveillance order. Steele was given information by individuals associated with Russian intelligence, and some details have already been shown to be false or inaccurate.
Steele wrongly identifies people that Page met with in July 2016, even though that consulting work by Page was open and lawful. Steele also wrongly claims that Trump counsel Michael Cohen met with Russians in Prague when there is no evidence of Cohen ever going to Prague. With Clinton communications already leaking out, Steele said that it was not due to hacking but to intercepted calls. It further downplayed Russian hacking success of primary targets.
The concealment spin
The FBI was wrong not to reveal the fact that the dossier was funded by the Clinton campaign. However, it is not true that the FBI entirely hid the source of the information. The FBI did reveal that the dossier was from a political source. Democratic members of the House Intelligence Committee have reported that the FBI “repeatedly informed the court about Steele’s background, credibility, and potential bias.”
The reliance spin
Republicans have maintained that, absent the Steele dossier, there would not have been a surveillance order. Democrats have responded that there was ample evidence submitted beyond the dossier. It certainly seems likely, given the length of the application and the renewals of the order, that more information was submitted to the court on the suspicions concerning Page. The renewals were ordered by four different judges, all of whom were appointed by Republican presidents. Republicans have also suggested that the Page surveillance was ordered as part of a “deep state” effort tied to the election. However, it appears that the underlying investigation preceded Page’s involvement in the campaign.
The concerted effort on both sides to spin this scandal has destroyed the trust of citizens in what is being reported from politicians and press alike. This political crisis is ultimately a crisis of faith. We have lost faith in our government and remain deeply divided in what actually occurred before and after the election. If we are to restore the lost faith in our government, the public will need to see full and independent reports of the underlying facts. That is why this investigation is long overdue. Americans are is not longing for indictments, just for information they can trust. It is time to end the spin cycle in Washington.
Jonathan Turley is the Shapiro Professor of Public Interest Law at George Washington University. You can follow him on Twitter @JonathanTurley.
223 thoughts on “Sessions Moves To End The Spin Cycle: The Independent Investigation of FBI Allegations Is Long Overdue”
@William Bayer April 1, 2018 at 6:19 PM
“What part of the word, ‘potentially,’ don’t you understand?
Go watch cartoons, or post your own reply, FOOL.”
Here’s the thing, Bill, I’m no more enchanted by authoritarian behavior on the part of Trump and his advocates than I am in that of his deep state enemies.
Your bilious reaction above to my understandable question only reinforces my suspicion that your partisanship far outweighs your desire to see justice done regardless of who wins or loses in the process.
Too rational for him.
@Ken Rogers April 2, 2018 at 12:15 AM
“…than I am by that of his deep state enemies.”
Readers of this blog may recall the O.J. Simpson murder trial. The most damaging witness against O.J. was L.A.P.D. Detective Mark Fuhrman.
Fuhrman was the first detective on the scene. He found the bloody glove at the murder scene and bloody sock at Simpson’s home. Therefore O.J.’s Dream Team of attorneys had to destroy Fuhrman’s credibility. And they accomplished that by successfully painting Fuhrman as a racist cop. The label was possibly unfair. Fuhrman had been a skilled detective in good standing with the department.
The same dynamics apply to Christopher Steele. He’s the Mark Fuhrman of Trump’s Russia scandal. Right wing media, and defenders of Trump, must destroy Christopher Steele! Steele has to be painted as a partisan player.
People can’t think Donald Trump saw Russian call girls. If people accept that, the dossier is credible. So paint Christopher Steele as a ‘mean leftist’. ‘A tool of the Clinton’s doing their dirty work’. ‘Some British lackey for the Clinton Machine’.
These labels on Steele would only make sense if Donald Trump were an experienced public servant. But why destroy Christopher Steele when Trump is known for Playboy antics?
Trump was the Playboy envisioned by Hugh Hefner. Trump visited Hef at the mansion multiple times. Trump had a months long affair with Playmate Karen McDougal. Trump enjoyed the Playboy lifestyle. Trump defenders should consider this before attacking Steele.
The criminal referral to DOJ on Christopher Steele has to do with Steele lying to the FBI about his contacts with Yahoo ( Isakoff..sp?) and other media outlets before the 2016 election in an attempt to publicize material from the Russian Dossier.
Steele has been making himself pretty scarce…he failed to show up in London for testimony on one of the civil suits….but he has has plenty of opportunities to clarify his, and others, roles on the gathering and promoting of the dossier.
The inability to get straight answers out of players like Steele or Glemn Simpso, might be used by partisan hacks to sanctify Steele, but it does create some skepticism when the people responsible for such a noble endeavor keep stonewalling and failing to show up.
Stooges like Peter Hill can make all of the lame excuses they can think of to discredit the quest for information from Steele, but it’s unlikely to permanently shield him from giving the information sought from him.
Tom Nash – I heard, do not know if it is true, but heard, that Steele is traveling Russia trying to backstop the Steele Dossier.
That would be a brave trip for Steele to make after Trump took office. I doubt if its true.
Peter Hill – he is being sued for his fillings. He needs to back it up. Buzzfeed is suing the DNC for backup, which won’t help. They are being sued into bankruptcy.
Paul C. Schulte,…
Steele wore two hats in the early 1990s in Moscow….as a British diplomat, and as a spy.
Lots of counties have spies imbedded in the “diplomatic corp”.
I think the Russians booted Steele out of their country when they uncovered his spying operations…I don’t think he’s been allowed to re-enter Russia since he was expelled, in 1993?, I think.
I doubt if he’s in Russia….if he is, he’s really sticking his neck out.
Based on what I’ve read, Steele paid contacts he still had in Russia to gather negative information about Trump from other “contacts’ sources”…so it looks like 2nd or 3rd hand info in the dossier.
Tom Nash – he may have snuck into the country to try to save his bacon, so to speak. He is being sued on two continents, I think and has non-responded on one.
British authorities know exactly where to find Christopher Steele. His office building was widely pictured in mainstream press accounts. If indeed there is a subpoena, filed in British courts, Steele will be obliged to sit for deposition.
Steele is not a criminal. He was operating in legal capacity when compiling his dossier. Steele was widely regarded as an expert on Russian affairs. Any corporation, or political party, could have hired Christopher Steele. It’s not like Steele was exclusive to ‘left-leaning politicians’.
Good point😒…..rather than responding to the specific issues involved in the gathering and distribution of Russian opposition research, you bring up the OJ case.
‘Specific issues’ known only to consumers of right-wing media?
Most of Steele’s legal problems seem to be from the civil lawsuits brought against him.
You can verify what I said about Steele’s failure to show for the deposition….I haven’t checked in the last few weeks to see if he ultimately complied, if he’s been forced to comply, or if the stonewalling continues.
Leaving aside the civil matters, if the allegation that Steele lied to the FBI about not contacting the media re the dossier allegations is true, do you think that hshould be held accountable?
Or do you just ignore that little detail?
If you read up on this, you’ll find that these are issues covered in the established media, not just in “the right wing media”.
That claim by you is a cheap, overused stunt that has no currency.
You’ve made some very general accusations and claims that dodge
any of the central issues that I raised.
There is a specific question to you that I posed….you can either answer it, make a comment about the OJ trial, or the Robert Blake trial, or the Trial of Billy Jack.
Lots of options for you when you’re dodging you way out of a direct exchange.
Trump has used lawsuits as weapons of intimidation going back 30 years. Look at the contract he foisted on Stormy Daniels. Christopher Steele is only upper middle class. Trump knows that, too. Trump will seek to overwhelm Steele with lawsuits using the Justice Department as his personal law firm.
One has to realize Trump wasn’t president when Steele began his research. Back then, early 2016, Trump was a controversial candidate given no real chance of winning the White House. Back then the Republican establishment was leery of Trump.
Here I shall note that several conservative columnists have come out against Trump. David Brooks, in-house conservative of The New York Times, has attacked Trump’s intellect in devastating pieces. Jennifer Rubin, in house conservative at The Washington Post, has dissed Trump so often liberals forget she’s conservative.
George Will, the Post’s most famous conservative, left the Republican party in protest of Trump. And Rich Lowery, conservative editor of The National Review, makes little effort to defend Donald Trump.
So if the aforementioned conservative pundits have low opinions of Trump, it’s quite possible Christopher Steele developed his low opinion independent of American media. And again, I must stress, Steele is based in London. His world view is not shaped by American cable news networks. One presumes Great Britain has its own political theatre. Their’s would be more immediate to Christopher Steele.
The question, which you did not answer, was that if Steele lied to the FBI about his
contacts with the media about the dossier allegations, should he be held accountable?
You go off in other directions to avoid addressing that question….I won’t waste any more time asking you anything else, or expecting anything but half-assed partisan excuses from you in ducting central issues.
The answer to your question will be revealed if Trump is foolish enough to have Steele arrested and put on trial in an American court. Trump won’t do that, though.
A. It may not be up to Trump whether to charge Steele B. The question remains unanswered….I asked if YOU thought that Steele should be held accountable if he lied to the FBI, not whether Trump would hold him accountable.
I can’t answer the question. Because I don’t know for a fact that Steele lied to anyone. And I don’t believe that Trump wants to have Steele tried in any U.S. court.
So the answer to your question will probably be left hanging unanswered.
Peter Hill – Trump is neither a Republican or a conservative, he is a populist. This is what is driving the Republicans and the conservatives crazy. Those conservatives didn’t leave the party when RINO John McCain ran for President. And RINO Jeffy Flake wants to primary Trump, which should be interesting. He couldn’t get enough money to run in his own primary and now he wants to run against Trump. He definitely has a set of brass ones.
Paul, you’re probably right about one thing: after Trump crashes and burns, Republicans will probably say he never was a ‘real Republican’.
Peter Hill – on the other hand, Hillary is a real Democrat and the current standard bearer of the party. The Democratic Party rises and falls with Hillary.
Hillary will never be the Democratic nominee again. Hillary had two chances already and now she’s over 70.
Peter Hill – her people are running the current DNC and I think she wants another shot. God has divined that she be the first female President!!!!
One of dozens of proofs that it’s impossible that OJ murdered Nicole and Ron Goldmun: per the police and per common belief, OJ used a knife/murder weapon (never found BTW) to practically beheaded Nicole and slice up Ron like a Thanksgiving turkey. The pool, the magnitude of murder scene blood was epic. Then, allegedly, OJ walked back to his Bronco with white interior, trailing in to his getaway car a sum total 2 or 3 drops of blood, not easily visible to the naked eye (required close up photograph to be visible).
I spent a lot of time up and close with the bodies of persons who died a violent death. Pray tell exactly how does someone perform the above double homicide in the described fashion, immediately followed by the above described quantity of blood trailed into his getaway vehicle. No. The described assassination requires the closet and most intimate physical contact, causing the assailants body and clothing, especially shoes, to be drenched in blood. Only a major decontamination process (huge high volume shower) and complete undressing could result in the described evidence trail.
No. Instead, the 2-3 drops of blood resulted from OJ’s son calling his dad (as was the son’s habit to fix his problems), followed by OJ walking out back to confirm the son’s report (easily confirmed from a distance that Nicole was dead), followed by the resulting minute blood trail (a non-medical professional may presume dead a decapitation, the heart removed from the chest cavity, or rigor mortis).
Read the book written by one of the world’s most renown investigators, who started out to prove OJ did it, and instead discovered and well proves that OJ’s son did it, not OJ.
OJ took the fall for his son in an act of desperation and sacrifice to protect his son, OJ rightly presuming he’d be found not guilty because he did not do it. OJ had a record of covering for his son’s long list of behaviors stemming from mental problems (OJ was an absent father), and the son attended culinary academy at the time of death (one of my coworkers attended HS with OJ). I worked one block from such academy. Students were easily spotted throughout the neighborhood, always carrying their bag filled with knives sharpened to perfection, the tools of their trade. OJ’s son graduated from the academy that night, and Nicole did not attend as she had promised.
Onanism is a vice.
Thanks for agreeing with everything I posted, especially that it’s impossible for someone to decapitate another adult human with a knife and to trail a sum total 3 small drops of blood to their getaway car.
Joseph Jones – I was between jobs at the time and followed the OJ trial gavel-to-gavel. However, the trial that I saw every day was not the one reported at night or in the newspapers. Having watched the trial, there was no way that jury was going to convict him. They did not have the evidence. F. Lee Bailey set Furhman up on the tee and then they knocked him off.
Oh, the insanity inside the Beltway.
That is a lot of spin!
“Man wishes to be happy even when he so lives as to make happiness impossible.”
“My support for the investigation is not because I believe that criminal charges will likely be brought. Rather, I have never seen our country more divided and I cannot imagine any way for us to get beyond this poisonous political environment without full and complete investigations with public disclosure of the findings.”
If criminal charges are not brought, the only POSSIBLE result will be that we will NEVER “get beyond this poisonous political environment.”
If Turley ever bothered — even once — to try to connect with readers by checking out a few comment sections around the web, the first thing he’d notice (after all the juvenile nonsense is separated out) is that democrats perpetually boast that nobody has ever even been charged with a crime concerning any of these matters or previous matters.
Take, for instance, Hillary’s email debauchery. There is a law, written fairly clearly (as most criminal statutes are) that makes it a crime to willfully and unlawfully “conceal” or “remove” or “destroy” federal records.
18 U.S. Code § 2071 – Concealment, removal, or mutilation generally:
“*** (b) Whoever, having the custody of any such record, *** willfully and unlawfully conceals, removes, mutilates, obliterates, falsifies, or destroys the same, shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than three years, or both; and shall forfeit his office and be disqualified from holding any office under the United States.”
While admonishing the entire State Department and reminding everyone under her that they’re supposed to use their government email accounts for doing government business, Hillary was “willfully and unlawfully” using her own off-site “personal” email server as a repository for federal records, including some records containing information which was above Top Secret, which she or her staff had unlawfully removed from a designated government repository.
Having demonstrated via dictates to the rest of the State Department her knowledge of the requirement of using a government account, Hillary “willfully” rerouted federal records which were supposed to be automatically retained in the government system, for cataloging by the National Archives and availability for FOIA requests, into her own secret, off-site possession — aka Hillary “removed” those federal records, and concealed them from FOIA and from the National Archives, which didn’t even know that those records existed.
Then, when Hillary left her position in the federal government at the State Department, she retained unlawful secret possession of those federal records which were NOT her personal property, any more that corporate records are the personal property of a corporate executive after the executive leaves the corporation. The corporate records belong to the corporation and must be returned, just as Hillary’s work-related emails belonged to the federal government — which belongs to the PEOPLE — and must be returned. Those were OUR records Hillary stole and concealed.
And then, when Hillary’s unlawful, secret stash of federal records (including highly-classified information) was discovered to be in her possession, and when those records were placed under a preservation order and subpoenaed, the corrupt FBI allowed Hillary to posit the ridiculous argument that the server was her personal property and she should be allowed to have her lawyers separate out the government records from her personal correspondence with which they were mixed — disregarding the legal FACT that Hillary waived any right to claim privacy or privilege regarding her personal correspondence when she “willfully” mixed her personal correspondence in with federal records.
The records were federal property and criminal evidence — and when she placed them on her “personal” server, the server itself became federal property — yet the corrupt FBI allowed Hillary to retain unlawful possession of the records/evidence and server long enough to destroy the records/evidence AND server while claiming that the only documents that were destroyed were such things as correspondence about “yoga” and “wedding planning” — despite the FACT that the FBI was later able to prove that more than a thousand documents that Hillary destroyed were federal records which she had not turned over.
And the crime continued even beyond that point.
Why is it important to prosecute such crimes? — Well, one reason is to dissuade others from committing similar crimes and maintain the rule of law and a government that is actually controlled by the people.
Yet, in the wake of failure to prosecute Hillary for concealing, removing, and destroying federal records per 18 U.S. Code § 2071(b), FBI Director Comey proceeded to remove federal records (his “memos”) and retain possession of them after leaving the FBI, and then disclose those unlawfully-possessed records to a friend, with instructions to disclose the information in those records to the NYT — all for the purpose of having a special counsel appointed, as admitted by Comey under oath. AKA — He committed a crime (actually several crimes) for the purpose of influencing the government and a government investigation after he’d been removed from the government.
And now, just recently, we are hearing that Andrew McCabe claims to have possession of emails related to his discussions with Comey regarding disclosing information to the press. From the description of McCabe and his lawyer, these sound like federal records, same as Hillary’s work-related emails, which McCabe should NOT have continued to possess after leaving the FBI. And it seems like he wouldn’t possess them if he’d used a government-issued device and a government email account. So the Hillary email debauchery has now been institutionalized by failure to prosecute.
The point here is that if people aren’t prosecuted, people continue to violate the same laws as well as different laws.
I’ve probably posted this Supreme Court citation a thousand times (if that’s an exaggeration, it’s not much of an exaggeration), and here it is one more time:
“*** Decency, security and liberty alike demand that government officials shall be subjected to the same rules of conduct that are commands to the citizen. In a government of laws, existence of the government will be imperilled if it fails to observe the law scrupulously. Our Government is the potent, the omnipresent teacher. For good or for ill, it teaches the whole people by its example. Crime is contagious. If the Government becomes a lawbreaker, it breeds contempt for law; it invites every man to become a law unto himself; it invites anarchy. ***” Justice Brandeis, OLMSTEAD v. UNITED STATES 277 U.S. 438 (1928)
Summary: Anyone who doesn’t think prosecution of government offenders isn’t necessary is advocating anarchy.
And anarchy is no way to “get beyond this poisonous political environment.”
well written! Kudos to you kind Sir
However, anarchy is already here. Started with 1960s and our nation is convulsing with the usual suspects:
Pride, Wrath, Envy, Greed, Gluttony, Sloth (big time) and Lust (JFK, RFK, Clinton, Trump, etc)
We have read the Good Book and we know how it all ends. History repeats itself, so chin up and keep your eyes fixed on the Prize
About “well written” — thanks, but that second to last sentence contains a typo (unintended double negative) and should read, “Summary: Anyone who doesn’t think prosecution of government offenders is necessary is advocating anarchy.”
Otherwise, as I learned in the little league — while I can’t make everyone on my team do what they’re supposed to do, I CAN do my part, and keep my eye on the ball.
If things go wrong in this society, it won’t be because I was trying to help them go wrong.
William, funny, when I read your comment it all made perfect sense, including your second to last sentence. So, I went back and reread that part and saw the double-negative. But, apparently, my mind had auto-corrected that error making sense out of it. The mind tends to do that well.
Yeah — that’s how these dopey typos survive my proofreading. It’s like my mind makes the same error while re-reading as my fingers made while typing.
I’ve written things (stories) where I’ve proofed certain sections at least a hundred times during the rewrite process. Then, if I set that stuff aside for a month and go back and read it, I almost always find a few typos that I missed. LOL — it’s infuriating.
I REALLY wish Turley (or wordpress) would get an edit button.
And I don’t even think some of the typos are mind. In that comment, there’s a “that” that’s supposed to be “than.” That’s not really a typo I’d make — the n-key being nowhere near the t-key. I think some devious auto-correct is occurring sometimes. It’s not a mistake that shows up in my offline typing.
I will bring up a point that I have said on a number of occasions in these Turley blogs, about this subject. Namely, who in the Department of State gets to decide whether some document or subject, within the Department of State, is in fact classified. Who is the ultimate classification authority there ? Is it SecDef ? If not, then who else? Does some clerk in DoS, many levels down, get to decide, if the SecDef disagrees ? Does (say) the FBI get to poke into any other government department, and dictate the classification of any of their memos or emails?
I believe that attempts to “lock Hillary up” will run up against these considerations, and that charging, trying, and convicting her will be unsuccessful, unless a kangaroo court is involved. She would claim that all classification decisions within DoS were ultimately hers to make.
That’s one reason I cited 18 U.S. Code § 2071(b) — it has nothing to do with information being classified. It applies to any document that’s considered as a federal record. That some of it was classified is irrelevant concerning that statute. I only mentioned it as an extenuating circumstance.
And the accusations against Hillary about mishandling classified information were actually the result of a referral by the “intelligence community” inspector general to the DOJ or FBI — and what no “journalist” I’m aware of has ever mentioned is that those accusations were used to get Hillary and her accomplices off.
When the FBI receives a referral about mishandling classified information, the priority becomes national security, not criminal prosecution, because the first object is to plug the leak and assess the damage. In Hillary’s case, there was so much classified information available to so many people, it gave the FBI all the excuse it needed to hand out immunity agreements like candy — because speed in located all of the classified material at large was a priority. The FBI needed cooperation from Hillary’s accomplices. The last thing the FBI needed was for Hillary or her associates to lawyer up and plead the 5th. or withhold information out of fear of being prosecuted.
I think that was part of the FBI scheme not to prosecute Hillary, and the intelligence community (Brennan) was part of it. It was very slickly played. You never hear anyone even talk about it. Journalists on the left certainly don’t and won’t mention it, and curiously, neither do journalists on the right.
They could have EASILY prosecuted Hillary for violation of 18 U.S. Code § 2071(b) beginning the moment they discovered she had a secret stash of work-related emails, but if you went back and watched every minute of every congressional public hearing concerning the email nonsense, you’d notice that NOBODY ever brought up Hillary’s violation of that statute. Never, not once.
The closest anyone came to mentioning Hillary’s crimes regarding removal, concealment, and destruction of federal records was when Grassley touched on the language of the statute (without specifically mentioning the statute or the crime) in one of his opening statements as chair of the Senate Judiciary Committee — and even Grassley didn’t bring up the issues while doing any questioning.
That right there tells you that something is irregular — all those members of Congress and all that questioning, and nobody ever once questioned anyone about removal, concealment, and/or destruction of federal records.
That’s one of the things I’m gonna be looking for in the IG’s report.
“That some of it was classified….’ Classified by whom? And with what authority?
I don’t know who classified it — but some of the information contained in Hillary’s emails came from records that are only accessible in a SCIF (Sensitive Compartmented Information Facility). It’s not possible to physically remove information from a SCIF. The only way Hillary’s associates could have removed the information would have been to write the information down (or memorize it) and then re-type it in emails to Hillary — and one of Hillary’s emails includes instructions from Hillary to do just that.
Jay S – some was “born classified” which you can look up. Certain documents were marked with a C as classified and that is why they used special computers at the State Dept. And this is why there is this big question about HOW did they get from stand-alone computers at State to Hillary’s ‘homebrew’ and Huma ‘sex machine’? Her Blackberry did not have that clearance. Here ‘homebrew’ did not have the clearance. The ‘sex machine’ did not have the clearance. Laws were broken.
“she had a secret stash of work-related emails” Secret according to whom? Are you claiming no one knew anything about these emails? Didn’t they go back and forth between Hillary and her DOS colleagues? The people on the other end of the “send” button didn’t know anything about them?
“Secret according to whom?” — Secret, according to the people that answer FOIA requests, who are charged with locating documents that are requested under the Freedom of Information Act. There had been at least one FOIA request for Hillary’s emails as Secretary of State, and the response to that FOIA request was “no such records exist.”
That means that, while a few of Hillary’s cronies (read as co-conspirators) knew about her secret stash, the people that are required to know knew nothing about it.
If I embezzled money from a bank, and I was a member of a network of embezzlers who knew that I did it, it wouldn’t matter that THEY knew I did it. What would matter is that the BANK didn’t know I did it. That’s what I mean by “secret.”
You can look at the archives to confirm that Turley pretty well had HRC convicted of her crimes. He did not pull punches in that regard, same as retired Judge Napolitano, and other respected persons with the proper credentials.
HRC is as guilty as sin, and belongs behind bars. We’re well in to the 2nd year of this dopey POTUS’ term. If he builds no wall and if all the DNC felons walk, there’s a lot of people, possibly even me, who’ll never vote again in a national election.
“… this dopey POTUS’ term.” — way to stay on topic.
Trump defenders might presume that British researcher Christopher Steele is on the Clinton payroll. Right-wing media would encourage that perception. But that presumption forgets that establishment Republicans had wanted Jeb Bush. Trump had no experience in the business of government.
Early in the primaries Trump established a pattern of boorish behavior. Trump’s joke concerning Megyn Kelly’s periods should have ended his campaign. In a normal American that would have been the case. But somehow Trump got away with it. And went on to say so many boorish things most have been forgotten.
So it’s quite possible Christopher Steele uncovered a doozy of a dossier. Trump married two women from the former Soviet Union. Don Junior was on record as say Russian investors were bullish on Trump. Don Senior, we all know, had a Playboy image going back to the 1980’s. That image made Trump a reality star.
So an aging Playboy with a fondness for Slavic women visits investors in Moscow. Would Trump not engage a bevy of the finest call girls? And here Stormy Daniels provides a little guidance. Trump can’t resist highly sexual women. So he probably indulged himself with those women in Moscow.
That whole scenario is perfectly believable for Donald John Trump. Again, Trump has married two women from the former Soviet Union. He likes Slavic accents. That’s what turns him on. He named his daughter Ivanka! That’s a clue right there. ‘Ivanka’ is Trump’s idea of an awesome woman.
So of course Trump indulged women in Moscow. It fits everything we know about Trump. Therefore Trump defenders shouldn’t demonize Christopher Steele. And make his dossier politically toxic. Because Trump was indeed an aging Playboy drawn to Slavic women.
Trump defenders might presume that British researcher Christopher Steele is on the Clinton payroll.
His work was commissioned by a law firm on retainer to the Clinton campaign and Steele himself is a rabid antagonist of Trump’s. All of this has been known for months.
Professor Turley becomes uncharacteristically unclear with regards to The Washington Free Beacon and their role in funding Steele’s research. Here’s what Turley says:
“Once the funding of the Clinton campaign was belatedly disclosed, media ran with a spin that it was a conservative website, the Washington Free Beacon, that first funded the research. That appears untrue. The Free Beacon paid for research on Trump (and Clinton) but ended its funding in spring 2016. The Clinton campaign later paid for the dossier research, and Steele was retained after the closure of the Free Beacon research. It now appears that the dossier was entirely paid for by the Clinton campaign, despite repeated claims to the contrary on networks and cable shows”.
Initially Turley claims it is “untrue” The Free Beacon first funded the research. Then Turley turns right around and notes, “The Free Beacon paid for research on Trump (and Clinton) but ended its funding in spring 2016”.
So apparently The Free Beacon ‘did’, in fact, initiate the research! What’s more “spring 2016” is a broad parameter with regards to this point. One might glean, however, that said funding ended when it became clear Trump would win the primary vote.
A discerning reader might ask how much of that research was already completed by the “spring of 2016”? It could very well be that Steele had unearthed much on Trump by then. The Clinton campaign was, perhaps, merely paying for pre-existing research.
One must note that Christopher Steele is a British national living in London. Steele has no stake in the American Culture Wars. He doesn’t watch Fox News or MSNBC. But what Steele found, however, convinced him Donald Trump had questionable links to Russia.
@Peter Hill April 1, 2018 at 4:15 PM
“One must note that Christopher Steele is a British national living in London. Steele has no stake in the American Culture Wars. He doesn’t watch Fox News or MSNBC. But what Steele found, however, convinced him Donald Trump had questionable links to Russia.”
Not according to the House Intelligence Committee:
“Steele, for his part, was no neutral participant in this affair; the [House Intelligence Committee] memo reveals that DOJ official Bruce Ohr – whose wife worked for Fusion GPS – recounted to Federal Bureau of Investigation agents that Steele ‘was desperate that Donald Trump not get elected and was passionate about him not being president.’ It is also worth considering that its release provides nothing in the way of closure; on the contrary, the publication of this document nearly certainly sets in motion a fresh round of investigation, recrimination and personnel changes at the nation’s senior law enforcement agency and, possibly, at the Justice Department itself.
Ken, you’re forgetting the Republican primaries. In the earliest days of Trump’s campaign the party establishment was leery of Trump. For good reason! Trump was trash-talking in a way unbecoming of a president. Trump had no experience in government. And Trump had a Playboy image going back several decades.
Therefore to suggest that Christopher Steele was a partisan ideologue forgets that Trump was controversial from the very start. Trump was never a ‘family man’ in any Christian sense. Nor was he known as a man of ‘high integrity’ regarding his business. Trump refused to show his taxes. Leaving financial journals to speculate on his true balance sheets. Many theories were put forth on the structure of his business.
Trump was, quite simply, a controversial candidate in every way imaginable. A candidate who could never have risen during the Big 3 network era. Walter Cronkite and David Brinkley would have regarded Donald Trump as woefully unprepared for the presidency. So if Christopher Steele arrived at the opinion, it’s very understandable.
Therefore to suggest that Christopher Steele was a partisan ideologue forgets that Trump was controversial from the very start.
Christopher Steele is not an honest broker. No point in chowing down on that sh!t sandwich.
– You must not have read the Jane Mayer/ New Yorker piece on “Saint Christopher”.😉
@Peter Hill April 1, 2018 at 7:52 PM
“Therefore to suggest that Christopher Steele was a partisan ideologue forgets that Trump was controversial from the very start.”
Sorry, Peter, but it’s illogical to assert that because the Republican Establishment didn’t want Trump as their party’s candidate, therefore the objectivity of Steele’s dossier isn’t suspect by virtue of his reported hostility to Trump. That’s in addition to the dossier’s having been funded at least in part by the DNC.
There’s plenty to object to about Trump without resorting to something as dodgy, as the Brits are wont to say, as Christopher’s dossier.
Oh, yes…the ever so wise Cronkite and Brinkley, who both willingly enabled JFK to risk national security by having multiple sexual affairs with a known wide array of whores….yeah, true guardians of democracy those two.
If Steele’s dossier had one drop of legitimacy, why has not one DNC member of Congress stated their support for it?
Nice to see that you support DNC-associated HRC sycophants using unproven claims in the dossier to support a FISA warrant. One or more FBI agents signed a document wrongly claiming all evidence including the dossier submitted in the FISA request was known to be true. Do you claim it can be otherwise? If yes, then you support any LEO to make up any unproven lie and submit the lie as probable cause in a warrant request, a 3rd world banana republic practice common to fascist police states like the one you want to create here in the US.
This was a felony crime. And you approve of that, which says a lot about you and your politics.
No one reading this has to prove anything is false in the dossier. It is 1000% the legal, ethical, and moral duty of the FBI to confirm all probable cause evidence is true before submitting any warrant request, period. Is any part of that not clear?
The FBI already had much on Trump that Steele’s dossier confirmed.
What is Hillary getting paid to “speak” at the Wikimedia Hackathon Women Tech Storm?
Given her dual hacking skillsets (walking pneumonia hacker and email hacker), she should easily earn a speaker’s fee of $50
“The Women Tech Storm is a small female-only hackathon. It is also open for non-binary people. It will be held in the Netherlands from 10-12 May 2018.”
The most hated American on the planet….she did win that fair and square
David Brock – maybe she can explain how her unprotected emails were never hacked while she was SoS. Or how the download speed was too fast for hacking to get the emails for the DNC server, but they are still going with the Russian’s hacked us excuse.
Here is a bit on Cronkite. And HRC.
There are dozens of articles about the origins of the Steele Russian Dossier.
By late October 2017, the money trail from the DNC + The Hillary Campaign Fund showed payments to the law firm Perkins Coie, which in turn paid Fusion GPS, which in turn paid Orbis/ Steele for the Russian Dossier.
It took took 8-10 months to overcome the stonewalling by all parties to establish this money trail, and by late October 2017 these players were identified in numerous articles.
With one exeption, those articles report that the intial opposition research against Trump was funded by the Free Beacon.
Paul Singer of the FreeBeacon, a Rubio supporter, actually paid for oppo research on Trump and other Rubio primary opponents.
Once was over the top in delegates to secure the nomination, the Singer funding ( according to Singer) stopped.
There was no point in supporting a primary opponent of Trump once Trump defeated all of his GOP primary opponents.
The involvement of Christopher Steele, and the work on the Russian Dossier, began after the DNC/ Hillary Campaign hired Fusion ( through Perkins Coie) to continue funding oppo research against Trump.
With the exception of a recent Jane Mayer/ New Yorker article, the reported timeline of the Trump opposition research, and its funding, is as I described it above.
The “dividing line” between the domestic oppo research, and the use of Russian sources, came as Paul Singer dropped out, and the DNC/ Hillary Campaign fund wrote the checks to Perkins Coie, Perkins Coie paid Fusion GPS, Fusion paid Steele.
The use of these intermediaries helped to conceal the actual source of funding for the Russian Dossier.
DS Schutltz, Donna Brazille, John Podesta, Hillary, have all denied any knoledge of the Fusion/ Steele/ Russian Dossier project.
The c. $10 million in “legal fees” paid to Perkins Coie did not break down the funding for the Russian Dossier; according to what has been reported, the FEC requirement itemize spending for oppo research was skirted.
The intentionally blurring of the starting date and funding for the Russian Dossier project, as seen above in Peter Hill’s comment ( “so the Free Beacon did in fact initiate the research”) was present in some of the articles in an attempt to lump together the standard domestic opposition research and the later transition to the use of Russian sources for the dossier.
The meeting between Trump Jr., Kushner, and Manafort with the Russians offering “dirt on Clinton” was seen as
crossing a line between acceptable opposition research, and the involvement of foreign sources in oppo research.
That is also a central issue in the extensive use of Russian sources for the Steele Dossier, and it involved far more than a one-off Keystone Cops-type of attempt by Trump Jr., Kushner, and Manafort to get “dirt on Clinton” from Russians.
Jane Mayer wrote a very long, very complementary piece on Christopher Steele in The New Yorker about 6-8 weeks ago.
It is the one article, out of dozens that I’ve read, that claims that the Steele/ Russian Dossier project began with Paul Singer.
Singer denies this, and on the Democratic side Hillary, Podesta, Wasserman-Schultz, Brazille, etc. were all still denying authorizing, or knowledge of, the Russian Dossier project.
I don’t think the Jane Mayer/ New Yorker article mentions Democratic individuals who might have known of, and authorized payment for, the dossier.
I’m not going to try to reread the marathon Jane Mayer article until the Cliff Notes come out, but as I remember, she made sure to link Paul Singer with the dossier, but did not delve into those Democratic individuals involved with Perkins Coie– Fusion GPS— Orbis/ Christopher Steele.
The allegation that a Paul Singer initially responsible, the fawning treatment of Christopher Steele, and the length of the Jane Mayer article distinguish it from any other published article I’ve seen re the Russian Dossier.
There may ultimately be a public release of the itemized payments funneled to Fusion GPS, then to Orbis/ Steele, then to Steele’s Russian sources.
That clear up the allegation that Mayer made against Paul Singer/ The Free Beacon.
Another major question, yet unanswered based on what I’ve read, is the role of the INDIVIDUALS who funded and knew of the ongoing Steele/ Russian Dossier project.
Someone from the DNC and Hillary Campaign Fund probably authorized the payments to Perkins Coie, and would have known what they were paying for.
The concealment of the DNC/ HRC Campaign Fund roles in funding the dossier worked until late October 2017.
The investigation individuals’ involvement is probably ongoing.
Presumably Hillary read the entire dossier. But did Hillary use any of that dossier in the general campaign? It didn’t appear she did. Hillary’s attacks on Trump generally revolved around his lack of experience. And Trump’s lack of interest in matters of policy. Those points were the main thrust of Hillary’s attacks. There was no concerted effort linking Trump to Putin. Or making extensive light of Trump’s playboy image.
Now it could be Hillary was concerned about Bill’s lecherous image. And the Clinton Foundation’s links to Russian donors. For those reasons, perhaps, Hillary avoided mentioning the dossiers’ most explosive findings. It wasn’t until 2 months ‘after’ the election that anyone heard of Steele or his dossier. Too late to do Hillary any good. Therefore the dossier was never weaponized for Hillary’s benefit.
The civil suits —- I’ve lost track of the number of civil suits— may provide more details on the use of the Russian Dossier material in the 2016 campaign.
Steele has testified that Glenn Simpson of Fusion GPS instructed him to leak dossier material to the media.
Mother Jones was the only publication that published material based on the dossier.
I think it was DOJ or FBI lawyer James Baker who was in contact with David Corn of Mother Jones prior to publication of the MJ article in late October 2016.
There are enough intermediaries and conflicting stories/ denials to know at this point “who did what” re leaking contents of the Russian Dossier.
Future campaigns can learn from the 2016 campaign games…..you don’t meet directly with potential foreign sources assisting in opposition research, and you deny using it/ leaking that research until and unless evidence turns up to prove otherwise.
I’m as concerned about setting some clear boundaries as I am in holding people accountable for their questionable actions in 2016.
This foreign intervention is not unprecedented….there were the illegal Chinese campaign contributions in 1996, and the Chinese hacked into the FEC computers several years ago.
The media wasn’t too interested in covering those stories…the foreign involvement and other unusual aspects of the 2016 campaign is getting enough coverage to possibly motivate some clearer legal definitions and boundaries in future elections.
If not, then we can look forward to many more legal experts and reporters weighing in with opinions on the same behavior, ranging from ” it’s treason” to excusing or praising that same behavior.
Trump’s “lack of experience,” as in Trump lacked the experience of making a deal with Ghaddafi the legal President of Libya, as such: Geeziz Soetoro Obama and HRC promised Ghaddafi they’d allow him to live if he gave up his nuclear weapons plan, which Ghaddafi did give up, followed by HRC’s CIA promptly financing and arming alleged “Islamic moderates” who promptly assassinated Chris Stevens and anally raped and beheaded Ghaddafi, promptly followed by HRC’s assistant showing her video of her handiwork, and HRC cackles saying, “We came, we saw, he died,” followed by Libya’s current failed state overrun by ISIS, slave traders, and abject misery found few places in human history, the current choke point used for the current passage of hordes of Muslims escaping the horrors of Africa, you know the land of milk and honey since blacks put an end to white colonialism, which strangely this very black woman who studies Africa in depth says Africans now long for a new white colonialism to put an end to their horrors living under black rule, which turns out to be utterly worse than white rule: https://www.facebook.com/mlnangalama
YOU MEAN THAT KIND OF EXPERIENCE YOU PATHETIC WAR MONGERER?
Fast forward a few years to N. Korea. Do you think, maybe, Kim Jon Un might have noticed how the USA lied through its teeth to Ghaddafi in return for Ghaddafi’s “trusting” the USA? No, I’m sure that has no bearing on Kim’s nuclear weapons plan, no not all.
Tom Nash – I have missed a step in here. The Free Beacon investigates but stops. Does it give its research to Fusion GPS? Or does it pay Fusion GPS to do the investigation and the DNC piggybacks on the investigation? I am sooooo confused.
Paul C. Schulte,…
According to most published reports, the standard opposition research funded by the Free Beacon ( Paul Singer) stopped when Trump cinched the nomination.
( Singer was backing Rubio).
At that point, Fusion GPS got in touch with the Democrats, possibly via their lawyer Marc Elias at Perkins Coie, to see if they wanted to hire them ( Fusion) for THEIR oppo research on Trump.
Fusion was probably able to resell to the Democrats the existing opposition research they’d already done on Trump for the Free Beacon.
But according to almost every published report, the Fusion GPS hired Christopher Steele AFTER they got the account and the funding from the Democrats ( via Perkins Coie).
So there were two stages to the Fusion GPS opposition research….the Free Beacon stage, then the Steele/ Russian Dossier project after the Free Beacon dropped out.
Tom Nash – maybe it is just me, but that seems unethical to resell the research you have already been paid for.
Paul C. Schulte,..
– I know a guy whose firm represented candidates in his state, and a presidentail candidate from his state.
He said that the databases he had already collected in previos campigns for other candidates formed the basis for much of the “reselling” to future candidates.
So in a sense, he was collecting more than once on the original database.
This was in the 80s and 90s, and it’s probably a lot more advanced tech now, but my guess is that reselling previously paid for political campaign research is a common and accepted practice.
You’re right to be confused on that. Professor Turley is very uncharacteristically unclear on that. Which makes me suspicious.
Could a federal judge issue a “Writ of Mandamus” to Congress to make them actually follow independent commissions, like the 9/11 Commission? Congress still hasn’t enacted all of the 9/11 Commission recommendations. Why have an expensive independent commission if you ignore their findings?
Could a federal judge issue a “Writ of Mandamus” to Congress to make them actually follow independent commissions, like the 9/11 Commission?
No, of course not.
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