The Steele Dossier and the Perils of Political Insurance

Below is my column in The Hill newspaper on the recent admissions of Christopher Steele, the author the controversial dossier used as part of the basis for the secret surveillance conducted on Trump associates by the Obama Administration.

Here is the column:

The wonderful thing about insurance is that you can cover just about anything, so long as you are prepared to pay the premium.

Model Heidi Klum insured her legs for $2.2 million, twice the amount of the insurance on fabled actress Betty Grable’s limbs. Lloyd’s of London once insured a 12-foot cigar. KISS bassist Gene Simmons’ tongue ($1 million), Pittsburgh Steeler Troy Polamalu’s hair ($1 million), Bruce Springsteen’s vocal cords ($6 million), even Rolling Stone Keith Richards’ middle finger ($1.6 million) — all insured.

But what about an election?

According to former British spy Christopher Steele, that was precisely the concern of the Clinton campaign when it paid him and research firm Fusion GPS to compile his controversial dossier on Donald Trump. Despite being widely declared the shoo-in for the White House, the Clinton campaign wanted insurance — and Steele and Fusion were there, as one insurer famously says, “like a good neighbor.”

Steele was recently called for a deposition in London in a defamation action filed by three Russian bankers for allegedly false claims in the dossier. Steele’s statements included some surprising admissions, particularly regarding the purpose of his contract with the U.S. law firm of Perkins Coie.

Throughout the campaign, and for many weeks after, the Clinton campaign denied any involvement in the creation of the dossier that was later used to secure a secret surveillance warrant against Trump associates during the Obama administration. Journalists later discovered that the Clinton campaign hid the payments to Fusion as a “legal fees” among the $5.6 million paid to the law firm. New York Times reporter Ken Vogel at the time said that Clinton lawyer Marc Elias had “vigorously” denied involvement in the anti-Trump dossier. When Vogel tried to report the story, he said, Elias “pushed back vigorously, saying ‘You (or your sources) are wrong.’” Times reporter Maggie Haberman likewise wrote: “Folks involved in funding this lied about it, and with sanctimony, for a year.” Even when Clinton campaign chairman John Podesta was questioned by Congress on the matter, he denied any contractual agreement with Fusion GPS. Sitting beside him was Elias, who helped devise contract.

Later, confronted with the evidence, Clinton and her campaign finally admitted that the dossier was a campaign-funded document that was pushed by Steele and others to the media.

In one of his answers to an interrogatory, Steele explained: “Fusion’s immediate client was law firm Perkins Coie. It engaged Fusion to obtain information necessary for Perkins Coie LLP to provide legal advice on the potential impact of Russian involvement on the legal validity of the outcome of the 2016 U.S. Presidential election. Based on that advice, parties such as the Democratic National Committee and HFACC Inc. (also known as ‘Hillary for America’) could consider steps they would be legally entitled to take to challenge the validity of the outcome of that election.”

Steele’s testimony suggests that the dossier was not just a political hit job but a type of insurance for a catastrophic political event. 

The dossier ultimately found its way from a Fusion GPS employee, Nellie Ohr, to her husband, Justice Department official Bruce Ohr. From there, it became the basis of Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) warrants targeting figures like Trump campaign adviser Carter Page, signed off by the Obama administration with the involvement of later-fired FBI director James Comey and his deputy, Andrew McCabe. (Ohr was later demoted over his involvement.) Page was never charged with a crime while key players like Fusion GPS co-founder Glenn Simpson invoked the Fifth Amendment privilege against self-incrimination to refuse to answer further questions from Congress.

The FBI knew the dossier was part of a Clinton campaign operation but told the secret FISA court that it was only speculating about a possible political motive for the material. Notably, however, the FBI’s warrant application indicates that Steele denied knowing the purpose behind the dossier. In the 412-page application, the FBI buries the issue in a footnote, stating that Steele was hired by Fusion GPS to conduct research on Trump and that “The identified U.S. person never advised [Steele] as to the motivation behind the research into [Trump] ties to Russia. The FBI speculates that the identified U.S. Person was likely looking for information that could be used to discredit Candidate #1’s campaign.”

We now know that Steele and Fusion GPS aggressively shopped the dossier with any reporter who would listen, while also pitching it to Ohr and the FBI. Notably, the dossier story was broken by investigative journalist Michael Isikoff who recently admitted, “When you actually get into the details of the Steele dossier, the specific allegations, we have not seen the evidence to support them, and, in fact, there’s good grounds to think that some of the more sensational allegations will never be proven and are likely false.”

Steele’s recent comments magnify the concerns. Ultimately, the dossier was used for precisely the purpose described by Steele: It led to the special counsel investigation, which quickly diverted to other criminal allegations unrelated to the dossier’s most sensational claims, like hacking or coordination with WikiLeaks and Russian trolling operations. Indeed, Democratic leaders’ new claims of a “massive fraud” in the election is the alleged violation of campaign finance laws to pay hush money to a porn star and former Playboy bunny.

I supported the appointment of special counsel Robert Mueller, and still support the completion of his investigation without interference. Yet, we should not be willfully blind to the implications of the dossier’s use to support a secret FISA investigation. 

Some of us have long criticized the secret court as operating below the constitutional standard set out in the Fourth Amendment for searches and seizures. In this case, using that secret court, a dossier funded by the Democratic presidential candidate was given to the outgoing Democratic administration to investigate advisers to the Republican challenger and his business dealings. That alone should be deeply troubling, even without the unproven allegations.

Of course, Clinton wasn’t the only candidate seeking political insurance. The controversial Trump Tower meeting with Russian operatives was held to hear promised evidence of alleged criminality by Clinton and her foundation; both candidates sought information from Russian sources to undermine each other. That may be unseemly, but it’s not unlawful.

The submission of at least one of Mueller’s reports may be just weeks away. Regardless of whether he finds crimes, it was important for this investigation to reach its proper conclusions. Yet, no matter how it ends, concerns will remain over how it began … as a political insurance plan.

Jonathan Turley is the Shapiro Professor of Public Interest Law at George Washington University. You can follow him on Twitter @JonathanTurley.

195 thoughts on “The Steele Dossier and the Perils of Political Insurance”

  1. There are many so-called intelligence tests, c.f.

    What an average IQ Means and Indicates
    Kendra Cherry
    2018 Sep 20
    Very well mind

    1. Aha. IQ score improvement over generations is now called the Flynn Effect. Look it up if you have interest in how the average IQ changes over time m

      1. Aha! You’re just vomiting up more chaff, Grand Poobah. Hardly a Eureka moment for discovering the 114 IQ citation.

        It’s apparent you are never going to come up with actual proof to your 114 average IQ assertion and you are never going to admit you were wrong.

        It’s pointless to continue this discussion.

        1. Darren Smith – I think I know how Benson got his 114 number back in the day. He is misinterpreting some data. 😉

      2. How does this most recent excuse explain the “Last time I checked the average adult IQ in the USA was 114.” comment?

    2. David, you have a lot of excuses and you provide a lot of unrelated material. Your statement that people took objection to was ” “Last time I checked the average adult IQ in the USA was 114.” Though wrong one can presume that to be an erroneous statment of fact with a specific number attached to it.

      Start explaining or do the adult thing and admit you were wrong.

    1. Yes, fortunately Allan is not you. That permits a bit of common sense to prevail.

      David I note that you respond to statements without letting anyone else in on the secret of what statement you are responding to. That is another example of where doubling your person would double the failure rate.

  2. After some easy web searching for
    Stanford Binet IQ history
    I discovered that the version I had studied was the 1937 version. It is now up to the Fifth Edition and the normalization may well be differently done.

    Maybe I shouldn’t assume that Allan is capable of something which seems so obvious to me.

    1. David, I am shocked that you didn’t realize that there were updates to the 1937 version. Shall I assume that most of your responses on modern affairs date back to 1937? It would explain a lot.

      1. Allan, I wrote “last I knew”.

        But the fact remains that the original 1916 Stanford Binet IQ test scores improve generation by generation. It is just a question of how the normalization is conducted.

        1. “Allan, I wrote “last I knew”.”

          What you actually said was: “Last time I checked the average adult IQ in the USA was 114.” You can’t even get your quotes straight.

          Apparantly the last time you checked was in 1937 and your statement wasn’t true then either. Nor was it true in the second through fifth editions. You are simply MAKING THINGS UP like you do quite frequently. You were given a chance to explain yourself earlier a chance you didn’t take probably because you realize that you don’t know what you are talking about.

          Give it up. You are sounding nuttier by the minute.

          1. Right. The last time I checked was in 1960 or 1961 in my one quarter psychology class.

            1. Maybe you heard wrong or didn’t understand the discussion. Maybe the one that made the statement was wrong. All these things and more could have happened, but what we now know is that your statement was a bullsh!t statement not worthy of a student much less a professor. You then had the affront to tell another to look it up. That is what you should have been doing. Trying to figure out whether there was any truth in your comment. Your actions are disgraceful.

    2. Ṓҟ Ᵽᴦѳƒϵṩṩѳᴦ. ₩ħαţ đїđ ţħϵ 5ţħ ϵđїţїѳƞ ѳƒ ţħϵ Ṩţαƞƒѳᴦđ βїƞϵţ ЇϘ Ħїṩţѳᴦƴ ṩαƴ ѡαṩ ţħϵ ḉựᴦᴦϵƞţ αⱴϵᴦαǥϵ ЇϘ ѳƒ ţħϵ Ựƞїţϵđ Ṩţαţϵṩ? ₵ѳựłđ їţ Ƀϵ ƒᴦѳӎ ѡħαţ ƴѳự ṩαƴ “ƞѳᴦӎαłїƶαţїѳƞ ӎαƴ ѡϵłł Ƀϵ đїƒƒϵᴦϵƞţłƴ đѳƞϵ” ţħαţ їţ їṩ ḉłѳṩϵᴦ ţѳ 100? Ṓħ Ƀựţ ƴѳự ӎϵαƞţ ţħϵ 1937 ϵđїţїѳƞ, ӎựṩţ ϵжᴘϵḉţϵđ ţħαţ ţħϵ αⱴϵᴦαǥϵ ЇϘ ṩţαţṩ ѡѳựłđ ħαⱴϵ Ƀϵϵƞ ţѳđαƴ. Ṩїłłƴ ѳƒ ựṩ ƒѳᴦ ţħїƞҟїƞǥ ѳţħϵᴦѡїṩϵ, ѡϵ ӎựṩţ ƞѳţ Ƀϵ ⱴϵᴦƴ ṩӎαᴦţ ƒѳᴦ ƒαїłїƞǥ ţѳ αṩṩựӎϵ ѡϵ ѡϵᴦϵ ţαłҟїƞǥ αɃѳựţ đϵḉαđϵṩ αǥѳ.


      Ṩѳ ƴѳự ḉѳƞḉłựđϵ Ƀƴ ţᴦƴїƞǥ ţѳ đϵƒłϵḉţ αţţϵƞţїѳƞ αѡαƴ ƒᴦѳӎ ƴѳựᴦ ϵᴦᴦѳᴦ Ƀƴ ṩαƴїƞǥ Ѧłłϵƞ їṩƞ’ţ αṩ ḉαᴘαɃłϵ αṩ ħϵ ṩħѳựłđ Ƀϵ. ₩ϵłł ƴѳự ħαⱴϵƞ’ţ ƒѳѳłϵđ αƞƴѳƞϵ ϵжḉϵᴘţ ƴѳựṩϵłƒ Ӎᴦ. ₲ᴦαƞđ ⱣѳѳɃαħ ѳƒ ₩їṩđѳӎ αƞđ Ҟƞѳѡłϵđǥϵ.

      1. I try to keep my ability to read Greek, a little, so I completely ignore Darren Smith. Until he returns to ordinary Roman characters.

        1. You don’t need to be able to read Greek to read this part (or any part) of Darren’s statement which is quite easy for one to read.

          “Їƞ ѳţħϵᴦ ѡѳᴦđṩ ƴѳự ѡϵᴦϵ (In other words you were) WRONG ABOUT 114 BEING THE AVERAGE IQ YET YOU REFUSE TO ADMIT IT.”

          Είστε Putz

        2. OK Professor, I’ll play your little game so that you cannot further avoid the truth that your figure of 114 was unsubstantiated and that you cannot further deflect that you were wrong. Here is a retyping of the text, if you can somehow manage to read italicized text.

          “What did the 5th edition of the Stanford Binet IQ History say was the current average IQ of the United States? Could it be from what you say “normalization may be differently done” that it is closer to 100? Oh but you meant the 1937 edition. Most expected tthat the average IQ stats would have been today. Silly of us for thinking otherwise. We must not be very smart for failing to assume we were talking about decades ago.

          In other words you were WRONG ABOUT 114 BEING THE AVERAGE IQ YET YOU REFUSE TO ADMIT IT.

          So you conclude by trying to deflect attention away from your error by saying Allen isn’t as capable as he should be. Well you haven’t fooled anyone except yourself Mr. Grand Poobah of Wisdom and Knowledge.”

          And even after that you still try to prop yourself onto a pedestal by professing more expertise to attempt to salvage your grand reputation in your reference to your ability to read the Greek. Applause Please for such a great measure. So if this is to be a vicarious contest between us I’d say NO, you haven’t won even that. For your information a member of our family literally wrote the book on Ancient Greek Epigraphy, . So go back to your laurels and polish them some more. You dishonorably treat others here as if they are stupid and uninformed. Perhaps it might serve you well to try to incorporate a little humility into your own life.

          1. I don’t know how the normalization for the Fifth Edition IQ test is performed.

            What I had written was correct, see a recent comment to Allan. I will admit to its being rather dated, like the author. 🙂

            1. You’re just moving the goalposts around. You made the 114 average IQ statement. We asked for proof. You failed to provide that proof. It’s as simple as that.

              Unless you can come up with a specific, credible, and cited reference to the average IQ being 114 it still stands that you were “making stuff up” to use your words.

              1. Darren Smith – I know that Benson is not going to give us the cite and have already added it to the number he owes me.

            2. “What I had written was correct,”

              Totally untrue David. This is the comment you made that has to be justified: “Last time I checked the average adult IQ in the USA was 114.” You don’t even know what you wrote and when you quoted yourself you even used incorrect quotes. Nothing you have done in this discussion indicates an intelligent approach. If I were you I would shut up and hide.

        3. e facile per te capire l’ italiano? for you, Dr. Benson.
          That is , if you prefer really prefer Roman characters.😉😀

      2. Darren, this font you’ve been using is a terribly clever joke. But there comes a point where it plays as ‘passive aggression’.

        1. Darren is making things interesting. Why do you think it is passive aggression? Do you understand what passive aggression is?

          1. I assumed Darren switched to that font because the reader, or at least I, have to slow down a bit when reading his statement. I believed it to be a stop and think pause. It’s still in English, just a different looking font. What is that font called, by the way?

            1. Karen S…
              – Of topic, but I think we exchanged comments after the fatal shooting of rancher Jack Yantis, who was called by the Sheriff Dept. to put down his injured bull hit on the highway.
              There is a recent update; the family of Yantis just settled for $2.5 Million in damages.

              1. Should be “OFF topic”, not of topic; also, Karen S., the brief exchange of comments we had on the JT threadwas on Nov.10, 2015, shortly after the Yantis shooting. Tom Nash, no room to place my email and name

              2. Thanks, Tom. I hadn’t heard. Glad they got some money, but it doesn’t bring him back. Shouldn’t have happened that way.

  3. I agree with the post with the exception of the following statement: “Of course, Clinton wasn’t the only candidate seeking political insurance. The controversial Trump Tower meeting with Russian operatives was held to hear promised evidence of alleged criminality by Clinton and her foundation; both candidates sought information from Russian sources to undermine each other. That may be unseemly, but it’s not unlawful.”

    The two acts were not at all the same. The latter offered opposition research, which is not insurance and not at all illegal. It can come from foreign sources. For instance, we know that the Clinton Foundation paid a lot of money to a Clinton donor to provide hurricane proof housing to Haitians, which turned out to be cheaply built, leaky, moldy trailers. We know this because Haitians provided the information and verification. The Russian lawyer offered opposition research that would be helpful to the campaign. However, all she wanted to talk about was what ever Russian was talking about all across DC – the Magninsky Act. One must also recall that since Hilllary Clinton’s “reset button” and the Clinton’s frequent, lucrative speaking tours there, Russians had entre to all the best drawing rooms and ball rooms in the Beltway. She had nothing of believable value to offer and so was shown the door.

    What Hillary Clinton did was to pay for fraudulent information provided by Russian spies just before the election, when there was not sufficient time to disprove the allegations. After having defrauded Bernie out of a fair shot by taking control of the DNC before the primaries, as well as getting leaked advance information, she then tried to defraud voters by trying to feed them false information about her opponent at the 11th hour. In addition, she crafted an insurance policy that was indeed triggered to challenge the validity of the legal election outcome, by pretending that it was Trump, and not her, who coordinated with Russian spies to steal the election.

    The gall of Hillary Clinton to engage in such machinations, going so far as to keep top secret information on her private server, which required the head of the FBI to ignore multiple felonies to protect her, and then to publicly blame her victim for what she did is appalling. What is more appalling is the naïveté of the American public who fell for it.

      1. David, when you talk about making things up you ought to refer to some of your own writing. Regarding the question on IQ’s you were asked several times to explain what you said and if possible cite where it came from. You didn’t bother. Was that because you made what you said up? Alternatively did you misinterpret what you read? These things and more come to mind.

        You became a bit agitated when someone called you a mechanical engineer. Based on your subsequent responses it seemed you got your position at the university through an alternative pathway other than some type of degree specific to computer Therefore someone’s guess of medchanical engineering wouldn’t be a bad guess though electrical engineering might be a better one.

        1. Allan, as I have repeatedly explained, most recently yesterday, I cannot read deeply iterated replys on this device. If you care for a reply from me, start over at the top.

          As for IQ, go read about it yourself.

          My degree are all from CalTech. The last is my PhD in
          Engg. Sci. & Maths
          dating to days before degrees in
          were offered.

          I object to people Just Making Stuff Up.

          1. David, take note that I mentioned that it was likely that your degree preceded a degree in CptSci which I think was first offered around 1962. That response of mine was not deeply iterated. Neither was the response on IQ where I replied to a newer post of yours and included the older post that you might not have been able to read.

            I don’t like when people make things up either, but some of your comments that suddenly are left out in cyber world seem to be made up since you refuse to explain them or provide a citation. If you are unsure of yourself so that you have to tell another to “read about it yourself” then perhaps you shouldn’t have made the comment in the first place since your response makes it sound as if you do not understand the subject matter you are commenting on or you got it wrong.

            1. Either too deeply iterated or too far down in the recent comments stack to appear when I come around.

            2. Ṩựᴦᴘᴦїṩїƞǥ їţ їṩ ţħαţ α ӎαƞ ṩѳ ⱴαṩţłƴ ᴦϵαđ αƞđ đϵǥᴦϵϵđ їƞ ḉѳӎᴘựţϵᴦ ṩḉїϵƞḉϵ ḉαƞƞѳţ ṩϵϵӎ ţѳ ƒїǥựᴦϵ ѳựţ ħѳѡ ţѳ ḉѳƞƒїǥựᴦϵ α đїṩᴘłαƴ ţѳ ƒựłłƴ ᴦϵαđ ƞϵṩţϵđ ḉѳӎӎϵƞţṩ ѡїţħїƞ α ѡϵɃᴘαǥϵ? ₮ħαţ ħϵ ḉαƞƞѳţ Ƀϵ αłṩѳ Ƀѳţħϵᴦϵđ ţѳ ᴘᴦѳⱴїđϵ ḉїţαţїѳƞṩ ţѳ ħїṩ αṩṩϵᴦţїѳƞ ţħαţ ţħϵ αⱴϵᴦαǥϵ ЇϘ їƞ ţħϵ Ựƞїţϵđ Ṩţαţϵṩ їṩ 114 ṩϵϵӎṩ ţѳ Ƀϵ ḉѳƞǥᴦựϵƞţ ѡїţħ ħїṩ їƞαɃїłїţƴ ţѳ ӎαṩţϵᴦ α ựṩϵᴦ їƞţϵᴦƒαḉϵ.

              Ṩѳ Ї ţѳѳҟ ħїṩ їƞⱴїţαţїѳƞ ţѳ ᴦϵαđ їţ ӎƴṩϵłƒ ѳƞ ţħϵ ЇϘ ѳƒ ţħϵ αⱴϵᴦαǥϵ Ѧӎϵᴦїḉαƞ. Ħϵᴦϵ αᴦϵ ṩѳӎϵ łїƞҟṩ:


              ₲ϵƞϵᴦαłłƴ ţħѳṩϵ łїƞҟṩ łїṩţ ţħϵ αⱴϵᴦαǥϵ ЇϘ ᴦαƞǥїƞǥ ƒᴦѳӎ 98 ţѳ 104.

              Ṩѳ Ї Ƀϵǥαƞ ṩϵαᴦḉħїƞǥ ƒѳᴦ ħїṩ αṩṩϵᴦţїѳƞ ѳƒ 114 Ƀϵїƞǥ ţħϵ αⱴϵᴦαǥϵ їϘ ѳƒ ţħϵ ỰṨ αƞđ ƒѳựƞđ ƞѳ łїƞҟṩ ţѳ ṩựᴘᴘѳᴦţ ţħїṩ.

              1. Darren, I often think about the incongruity of a man that taught computer science and one that can’t seem to manage his affairs on a simple blog like this. David often leaves us hanging after a comment of his that has no basis of fact. Thanks for the research and conclusions.

      2. David – which part of what I wrote do you object to? I would be happy to discuss, but please reference. Otherwise, if you just want to throw poop on my screen I will merrily move along. I’m not everyone’s cup of tea. How does that go again? I break with thee, I break with thee, I break with thee, and then throw poop on someone’s shoes?

  4. Spectacular Column from Cohen in today’s Washington Post. This is what truth looks like.

    Trump turned the White House into a madhouse
    By Richard Cohen

    I drove past the White House the other day. It had been a while, and the place seemed smaller, somewhat tawdry, almost haunted. I imagined bats winging in and out , spider webs in the corners, and the president upstairs in the family quarters, talking back to the TV, railing against Nancy Pelosi, the Federal Reserve, Robert S. Mueller III, Emmanuel Macron, Theresa May, Jim Mattis, Jeff Sessions, Stormy Daniels and . . . who am I forgetting? Oh, yes, Barack Obama for, well, everything.
    The car slowed. I thought I heard a wail from the upper floor: President Trump going mad. Or maybe I am. I would not be surprised. Trump has that effect on people. It’s hard to believe we’re into another year, and he’s still the president of the United States. The shock of it has not worn off. He has never
    achieved normalcy. Often, when I see him on TV, I react with a kind of nausea: Him! How? I know, the electoral college. I know, a slice of three states. Yes, yes, but how did we elect such a dummy, such a liar, such a baby, such a fool, such a dirty man? He walks the same halls Abraham Lincoln did. He sleeps where the Roosevelts did. He bathes where the visiting Winston Churchill did. Would Churchill have ever visited this president?
    Trump has soiled America. He has not made it greater but, in a word whose need is now apparent, worser. The America that previous presidents boasted about — Ronald Reagan’s “shining city on a hill” — is now a slum
    among nations. The goodness of the American people, another refrain of presidents past, is now a mere memory. But American goodness was always like the banner that tour guides held up: Follow me. Follow the United States because we saved Europe from the Nazis and Asia from Imperial Japan — and then Europe again, this time from the Stalinist thugs of Soviet communism. We saved Berlin with an airlift and eradicated polio with a vaccine. We thought we were good people. We thought we were great people.
    Trump wants to make America great again. It is an old presidential refrain. John F. Kennedy used it over and over again in his 1960 campaign against Richard M. Nixon. “This is a great country,” he’d say. “But I think it
    could be a greater country . . . I think it’s time America started moving again.”
    The amazing thing is that the previous administration had been Dwight D. Eisenhower’s. Looking back now, that era is known for a kind of kitschy middle-class affluence: the huge cars, the creep of suburbia, the martinis of “Mad Men” and, in general, a sense that things were pretty good — for white men in particular. But, overall, with no war and a thriving economy, things may never have been better.
    But the reason the brief Kennedy presidency still shines — despite the steady involvement in Vietnam and the messiness of his private life — is not just his image of high glamour but the urgency of his rhetoric. His call to follow his own example, his call to do good, his call to government service was compelling. Contrast it with Trump’s disparagement of federal workers. Kennedy asked; Kennedy asked not. Presidents have measured themselves against him ever since.
    Not Trump, though. He is a rhetorical pratfall. His soul is dark. His vision is to shrink the traditional American spirit. He offers the world no moral leadership and slaps the back of authoritarians such as Vladimir Putin. He lies with every breath — not because he must, as Eisenhower did about the downing of Francis Gary Powers in his U-2 spy plane — because it’s the easier course. There’s not a parent out there who wants his or her child to be like Trump.
    Trump’s one certain achievement will be to leave his successor an America that will become greater just by his leaving office. A president who does not lie, who does not try to buy the silence of a porn star, who makes his
    taxes public, who leaves moneymaking behind, who does not turn his political party into a beer-hall collection of ideological goons, who rages at the murder of a journalist by a foreign country, who respects the importance of a free press . . . such a president will make America greater just by showing up.
    Now, though, as I pass the White House, it looks sad, the home of a hoarder — lies and scandals and crimes spilling out of the closets and Trump tweeting some inanity. It’s a madhouse that I’ve conjured. It’s a madman we’ve elected.

  5. Jon Turley does a good job of analyzing/laying out the circular origins of scam of an investigation. Scrolling through comments I see that PH tries to argue that oppo research disclosed in FISA application – hogwash, if FBI really wanted to fairly disclose this they would have included that little fun fact in the main text of application vs. some obscure footnote. Many judges do not bother to read footnotes, and FISA judges are notorious for appealing to authority of players such as FBI and rubber stamping approval of FISA warrants. When lefty loon hysteria subsides and all that is left is rational analysis of the origins and nature of the Muler “investigation”, it is clear that it has indeed been a witch hunt.

  6. Allan, as I have repeatedly stated, replys to replys to replys … are rendered ever narrower on this device and quickly become unreadable. If you expect me to read something, start over from the top.

    1. Don’t know what comment you are referring to. You could always start a new comment with a quote from the old one for reference satisfying your needs.

      I assume this refers to IQ. My last comment was:

      “David median IQ is 100. You said “Last time I checked the average adult IQ in the USA was 114.” I’d like some clarification along with a citation. I don’t think the graph is 100% symmetrical in reality and averages differ from medians (I think there may be a slight increase to the right). However, unless you wish to better define your statement then I think that according to you the gross mean IQ today would not be 100 but range somewhat closer to 114. That I don’t think would be true but I am willing to listen to your explanation if you are able to produce one.

  7. “Later, confronted with the evidence, Clinton and her campaign finally admitted that the dossier was a campaign-funded document”
    Really? Where? I haven’t seen anything that contradicts Clinton campaign assertions that they had no idea it was being done until after the election, and Perkins Coie claims that they did it at their own initiative.

    “Ultimately, the dossier was used for precisely the purpose described by Steele: It led to the special counsel investigation”
    And that is simply a lie: Mueller was hired to take over the FBI’s “Crossfire Hurricane” investigation, which was started in July 2016, based on other evidence, before the dossier even existed. There’s only a “special counsel investigation” to the extent that he was ALSO directed to look into allegations of possible obstruction by Team Trump.

    “The dossier ultimately found its way from a Fusion GPS employee, Nellie Ohr, to her husband, Justice Department official Bruce Ohr.”
    More BS: it’s now a matter of public record that Steele started giving his info to the FBI in the summer of 2016, and Ohr only got involved after Steele was terminated for talking to the press, because he wanted to keep Steele’s new information coming.

    1. rentalbott,…
      If one can believe that the DNC and the Hillary Campaign Fund were writing checks out to their law firm, without knowledge of what the payments were for, and that Perkins-Coie just decided on its own—-without consultation of anyone with those organizations—- how to spend the money—–then all of the denials of knowledge by all individuals re knowledge of the Russian Dossier Project are believable.
      That does not seem likely to me, but in the absence of any real investigation of who did what, a flimsy cover story like that can be be credible to the Believers.

      1. There was a sect which split from the Russian Orthodox Church called Old Believers. Now numbers 1–2 million adherents.

        1. DB Benson,…
          Happy 2019 ( in a few minutes) from and to the PST.
          Also, Best Wishes for a Great 2019 to JT in the other time zone.

        2. Old Believers, Including one wise academic and political philosopher Aleksandr Dugin. He is banned from travel to the USA by Obama because they fear his ideas. No idea if current State dept. maintains the ban. Probably. Lots of anti Russian paranoia.

      2. You’re assuming that the DNC and the campaign were paying for Fusion. Remember that the project started with some non-campaign people. It’s possible that some other person or group was also concerned about Trump, and was looking for dirt to run campaign ads, mount a legal challenge, or even get leverage on him to extract favors later. Or that lawyers at Perkins Coie were, themselves, worried, and paid for it.

        You’re also assuming that lawyers at Perkins Coie would be willing to risk jail time by making false statements to the congressional committee that demanded an explanation.

        Perhaps there was something nefarious going on, but, so far, there’s no evidence to support the accusation.

  8. And He Was ‘Framed By Christopher Steele’..??



    When 2018 began, the president had made 1,989 false and misleading claims, according to The Fact Checker’s database, which tracks every suspect statement uttered by the president. By the end of the year, Trump had accumulated more than 7,600 untruths during his presidency — averaging more than 15 erroneous claims a day during 2018, almost triple the rate from the year before.

    Even as Trump’s fact-free statements proliferate, there is growing evidence that his approach is failing.

    Fewer than 3 in 10 Americans believe many of his most-common false statements, according to a Fact Checker poll conducted this month. Only among a pool of strong Trump approvers — about 1 in 6 adults in the survey — did large majorities accept several, though not all, of his falsehoods as true.

    Similarly, a November Quinnipiac poll found 58 percent of voters saying Trump wasn’t honest, compared with just 36 percent who said he was honest. The same poll found 50 percent saying he is “less honest” than most previous presidents, tying his own record for the highest share of registered voters saying so in Quinnipiac polling.

    Edited from: “A Year Of Unprecedented Deception: Trump Average 15 False Claims Per Day In 2018



      Peter Shill never tells the truth unless it is by accident.

      1. Oh I get it, Allan. Trump averages 15 false claims a day, but I’m a liar for highlighting the Wa Po story documenting his lies.

        1. Peter Shill, you are not a liar because of the Washington Post. You are a liar and dishonest on your own account.

  9. Turley claims that because the allegedly political motivation behind the “Steele dossier” wasn’t front and center in the FISA warrants, although he reluctantly admits it was disclosed, the FISA court process is deeply troubling. Did today’s writing disclose any intentional falsehoods used by the FBI to obtain the warrants? No. Did today’s piece set forth any proof that any allegations in the dossier were known to be false by Steele or anyone else before they were committed to paper? No. Turley claims he is troubled because initial investigation into the allegations has disclosed more Trump shenanigans than the original scope of the investigation would have predicted. But, have any of the allegations been proven untrue? Lack of corroboration is not proof of untruthfulness, and some allegations could only be “proven” if Trump admits to committing crimes. So Turley uses his platform as a “constitutional law professor” to skirt around the facts and to throw more red meat to the deplorables, as Trump continues to fail and flounder and the White House hemorrhages agency heads and cabinet members. Turley tries, like Hannity, to make Trump sound like a victim. Won’t work, Jon.

    You want to know what is “deeply troubling” to most Americans? Trump, and everything about him, his campaign and his family are deeply troubling. The course of this country since his fake election, wherein he obtained the Presidency despite losing the popular vote, are deeply troubling. His lack of leadership skills, his deference to Hannity, Coulter, Carlson and Ingrham, his arrogance, egotism, racism, and xenophobia are deeply troubling. His repudiation of his intelligence agencies’ reports about Russian involvement in “the victory”, while he kisses Putin’s ass are deeply troubling. Unless you can prove that the FBI knew that the allegations in the “dossier” were false when they were asserted as a grounds for the FISA warrants, there’s nothing to see here, folks. What was the FBI supposed to do, ignore this evidence and brand it as politically motivated? Apparently that’s what Turley is advocating for.

    1. ” The course of this country since his fake election, wherein he obtained the Presidency despite losing the popular vote, are deeply troubling.”…and once again you fail civics.

    2. Peter Strzok to Lisa Page, “We will stop it.”

      Lisa Page to Peter Strzok, “POTUS wants to know everything we’re doing.”

      Lisa Page to Congress, “The texts mean what the texts say.”

    3. “Samantha Power, the former U.S. ambassador to the United Nations (UN), “unmasked” hundreds of Americans in the final days of the Obama administration. Sources tell Fox News she averaged more than one request for every working business day in 2016 and continued to seek information in the days leading up to the inauguration of President Donald.

      TrumpPowers and former national security advisor Susan Rice are two of several Obama administration officials in the crosshairs of congressional investigators for their role in seeking to unmask the names of Trump associates in intelligence reports.

      House Intelligence Committee Chairman Devin Nunes, R-Calif., wrote a letter to Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats in July stating he had information confirming “one official, whose position had no apparent intelligence-related function, made hundreds of unmasking requests during the final year of the Obama Administration.”

      Rice initially denied the allegations by Chairman Nunes, who has since stepped aside from the investigation after a leftwing group filed an ethics complaint in the House against him.

      “I know nothing about this,” Rice said just a few weeks ago after the head of the House Intelligence Committee confirmed “incidental collection” of intelligence did occur. “I was surprised to see reports by Chairman Nunes on this account today. I’m not sure to what Chairman Nunes was referring.”

      The intelligence reports in which members of the Trump transition were unmasked by Rice involve personal details unrelated to national security, PPD confirmed and reported in early March. The reports support the suspicion that the Obama Administration used the cover of the legitimate surveillance to spy on the incoming administration.

      “This is information about their everyday lives,” Rep. Peter King, R-N.Y., said. “Sort of like in a divorce case where lawyers are hired, investigators are hired just to find out what the other person is doing from morning until night and then you try to piece it together later on.”

      – PPD

      1. Oh yes Samantha power she is also the one who picked er sorry I mean predicted the successor to yanukovich in Ukraine



    Professor Turley self-righteously tells us that The Steele Dossier was the pretext for a bogus investigation that abused the FISA warrant process. Said investigation was a “political insurance policy”, according to Turley. But one should stop right here and ask: “Did the FISA court not understand that the dossier was merely campaign research?”

    Political campaign research is perfectly legal and routine. The Trump campaign had every right to conduct its own research. Did they not exercise that right? Or had House Republicans not served that purpose already with multiple investigations directed at Hillary Clinton? Those investigations, by the way, were not funded not by the Trump campaign or Republican party. They were funded by U.S. taxpayers to the tune of several million dollars!

    When Hillary Clinton left her job as Secretary of State, at the end of Obama’s first term, it was no secret she intended to run for president with the DNC’s full support. At the time Clinton’s public approval rating was near 60%. Republicans knew they had to do something to chip away at that approval. Right-wing media understood it had to do its part. Therefore Fox News manufactured a bogus scandal involving the incident in Benghazi Libya in which Muslim radicals attacked and killed the U.S. Ambassador.

    It is well documented that Fox News devoted an inordinate amount of coverage to the Benghazi story; flogging it long after mainstream media had moved on. That coverage enraged Fox viewers who besieged their congressmen with letters demanding an investigation. ‘Concerned’ Republican congressmen finally ‘responded’ to their constituents by opening an investigation. It was a sham from the start! Every political analyst knew that Republicans were embarking on a fishing trip for the sole purpose of generating negative headlines on Clinton for right-wing media. See how that works? ‘Right-wing media flogs a ‘scandal’ to enrage viewers who demand an investigation to generate headlines for right-wing media’.

    By the end of 2014, it was clear the Benghazi investigation had produced no evidence of wrongdoing by either Obama or Clinton regarding the Benghazi incident. House reports, released on Friday afternoons, admitted no evidence of wrongdoing. Yet the next Republican congress launched ‘more’ Benghazi investigations! And somewhere along the way Benghazi morphed into an investigation regarding Hillary’s emails. See how that works? An open-ended investigation, funded by taxpayers, morphed into an investigation of something completely unrelated’. Precisely what Trump defenders claim resulted because of The Steele Dossier. Only the Steele Dossier wasn’t funded by taxpayers.

    It appears that Hillary Clinton had the savvy to foresee House investigations by Republicans eager to manufacture a ‘scandal’. So Clinton thought she might spite them by scrubbing her emails. Clinton knew, of course, that Colin Powell and Conde Rice had not been meticulous in saving all their emails. Which is perfectly understandable. Secretaries of State engage in many discussions which could look utterly cynical in transcript form. Questions concerning the reliability of allies, arms sales to dubious friends and backdoor negotiations with regimes officially sanctioned are all discussions that look uttlerly cynical when seen in transcript form. But that is the nature of State Department business.

    In any event Republicans had unearthed an issue with Hillary’s emails. And they played it for all it was worth. Then interestingly Wikileaks became involved. By hacking DNC emails, then releasing them for publication, Wikileaks INSURED that ’emails’ would remain a persistent headline regarding Hillary Clinton. And it worked! Post-election analysis’ determined that even in the mainstream media, coverage of Hillary Clinton was generally negative. Again those persistent headlines linking “Hillary” and “Emails” produced a drip, drip effect on the American public.

    Had Donald Trump been a savvy politician, he would have solemnly denounced Wikileaks and Russian hackers. Trump should have said something to the effect that he couldn’t possibly condone hacking by foreign actors. But like a childish amateur Trump gleefully crowed, “I love Wikileaks!”. He also called on Vladimir Putin to, “find Hillary’s emails”. How stupid can one get!!! First Trump praised foreign hackers. Then Trump beseeched America’s most ruthless rival to perform ‘more’ dirty tricks on Hillary Clinton. But Trump’s stupidity didn’t end there. Upon taking office Trump immediately dismissed Russian hacking as ‘Fake News”. And instead of launching an investigation into foreign interference, Trump instead commissioned a sham investigation of “election fraud’ involving “million of illegal voters”.

    But just to prove how stupid he really was, Trump pressured James Comey to end the investigation of Russian meddling. When Comey refused Trump fired him under the pretext that Comey had been out of line by releasing his letter to Congress during the campaign. No one believed that, of course. So Trump admits to Lester Holt, in an NBC interview, that he really fired Comey to stop the Russia investigation. And if that wasn’t stupid enough, Trump invites that Russian ambassador to the Oval Office and assured him, on tape, that that “nut-job” James Comey was gone. But if that wasn’t stupid enough, Trump later stood beside Vladimir Putin to proclaim that ‘he’ believed the Russian leader’s denials regarding election interference!

    No president in history ever did more to invite a Special Counsel probe. It was as though Trump repeatedly self-destructed. But ignoring all these events, Professor Turley now tells us that he’s “disturbed” to learn that the Steele Dossier was “political insurance” against an election loss. Where has Turley been these past three years?? Does Turley live at Fox News’ Washington studio? Did Turley never hear Trump say, “I love Wikileaks!”?. Did Turley never hear Trump call on Putin to, “find Hillary’s emails”?? Did Turley never hear Trump dismiss as “Fake News” all reports regarding election interference???

    The truth is Professor Turley inhabits a right-wing media bubble where Donald Trump has been absurdly miscast as the victim of Christopher Steele.

    1. No it wasn’t. There as an actual event in Benghazi for which no one was held accountable and in regard to which the administration successfully stonewalled inquiries.

      1. Tabby, the Republicans worked very hard on the Benghazi investigation. Yet ‘they’, Republican House members, were able to find no proof of wrongdoing. That’s why it became “The Email Investigation”.

    2. The only thing missing from your fan fiction is this quote from Obama, or Clinton, or Strzok, or Page or Podesta or Schultz or Comey or Ohr or Steele or Rice or McCabe or Fusion GPS or HFACC Inc or …or…or

      And I would have gotten away with it too, if it weren’t for you meddling kids.

      Your post reminded me of what Jennifer Lopez discovered rummaging around inside Stargher’s mind in the movie The Cell.


      Rubbish. There was a security threat that was mishandled and led to the unnecessary deaths of Americans. The cause was then blamed on an individual that published a video. That was clearly a lie as documented in emails. No one in government seemed to care about the innocent man, those people that died or the losses suffered by family and friends.

      Peter Shill finds it appropriate to lie and blame American citizens for failures of government agencies. Congrats, Peter. You have told us all who you are and what you stand for.

        1. Peter Shill, whether or not the Stevens family blames Secretary Clinton is not at issue. The question is whether she acted appropriately both before and after the incident. She and much of the Obama administration publically blamed a video when all knew that was a lie and that is documented in video statments and emails.

          I know intellectually you have problems understanding these things so I accept the fact that you draw stupid and untrue conclusions that you repeat over and over again even after the evidence is shown because you don’t care about the truth.

          1. I watch the demonstrations in the Middle East as the protests against “the video” were covered on the news.
            ( The later Benghazi, attack was, of course, a pre-planned 9-11 “celebration” attack, and not part of the spontaneous tantrums that broke out in other areas).
            I guess a lot of the demonstrators against the video thought it was some sort of major Hollywood production.
            One group was chanting “Obama go to hell, Hollywood go to hell” in English.
            Right after that was covered, I turned to my family and said, ” You see, there’s some good in every religion.”

            1. “The later Benghazi, attack was, of course, a pre-planned 9-11 ‘celebration’ attack”
              Wrong: it was orchestrated that afternoon by Ahmed Abu Khattala, who just called and texted a bunch of his jihadist pals to come and avenge the “insult” of the video. It was a “terrorist flashmob”, not planned out at all. Which was why, fortunately, it wasn’t far more deadly.

          2. “She and much of the Obama administration publically blamed a video when all knew that was a lie and that is documented in video statments and emails.”
            Nope. The attackers, themselves, told reporters as it was happening that they were there about the video.

            The guy who orchestrated it, who was tried and convicted in a US court, admitted that he used the video to motivate them to turn out and do it.

            The only lie here is from Republicans, who’ve known for OVER SIX YEARS that there was a FALSE report from TRIPOLI (not from on the scene) that Ansar al Sharia had claimed credit for the attack, that was repeated by Clinton and others before it was checked out and found to be false. But they continue to perpetuate the lie that “Clinton knew it wasn’t the video”, even going so far as to use it in the 2016 campaign.

            If you want to argue that Clinton “acted inappropriately” by repeating that report before it was confirmed, go ahead. But claiming that she lied is just BS.

            1. Go to Clinton’s emails and the initial reports of the cause of the incident. You sound like an appologist. Take note of the time stamps and dates. Where do you think the NYTimes got its information from? Put everything back together in order and you have deception and lies contradicted in emails.

              1. “Go to Clinton’s emails and the initial reports of the cause of the incident.”
                You mean “Clinton’s emails” that repeated an “initial report” that was proven false when it was checked out the next day? The “initial report” that said Ansar al Sharia had “claimed credit on social media” when it hadn’t posted ANYTHING on its social media accounts that day?

                “Where do you think the NYTimes got its information from?”
                That would be their reporters who were on the scene, and who talked to the attackers as it was happening. Did you not read the article?

                1. Apparently you don’t know how to pick out primary reports nor to you know how to time a sequence of events.

                  “their reporters who were on the scene” What were their names and the names of the people that recounted the story? Did they watch the murder of Stevens? Do you not know how to read between the lines and recognize when you are being fed a crock of sh1t? Apparently not.

                  1. Apparently you don’t know how to read: the reporters on the scene were Osama Alfitory and Suliman Ali Zway.

                    No, they didn’t report the murder of Stevens: they were interviewing people outside the front of the compound, and he didn’t die until hours later, on his way to the hospital.

                    And the report from Tripoli (over 400 miles away) sure as hell wasn’t “primary”. It wasn’t even “reality”: it “reported” something that never happened.

                    1. ” the reporters on the scene were Osama Alfitory and Suliman Ali Zway.”

                      Firstly they were construction workers not reporters. There are a lot of self interested people in the field at all times that provide information that is not truthful. The emails and reports put together later in a timeline demonstrate you don’t have the slightest idea of what you are talking about.

        2. There is a c. 800 page report on the Benghazi investigation.
          It’s been out for 2 1/2 years, and summarizes the results of the investigation.
          When something goes really wrong….whether it is Benghazi, the Marine barracks bombing in Lebanon in 1983, the Iranian hostage crisis, etc….there’s likely to be Congressional investigations.
          The purpose of these investigations is not only to assign blame for what DID happen, but also to make recommendations about how to do better going forward.
          As the head of the department that Amb. Stevens worked for, Hillary was obviously asked to give testimony.
          The Obama Administration early cover stories and talking points, that were floated about “the video”, probably did provoke a more aggressive stance from some.
          For those who believe that it does not matter if the Benghazi attack was a spontaneous reaction to a video, or a pre-planned attack in an area known to be extremely dangerous to Western influence, then “WHAT DIFFERENCE DOES IT MAKE!?!” should satisfy there limited curiosity.

          1. Tom, ultimately the video is not that crucial to what happened in Benghazi. Though initially the video was viewed as a strong possible cause.

            The truth is that Ambassador Stevens was in a foreign trouble spot were militant militias were still very active. Steven knew that. Stevens had good friends among the locals in Benghazi. And they advised Stevens to keep a light entourage. “Too much security”, they warned, would lend the perception that Stevens was aloof and, or, arrogant. Stevens took their advice but ‘lack’ of security made him too vulnerable.

            Congressional investigations should be done in the aftermath of incidents like Benghazi. But we know the Republicans were absolutely motivated by partisan politics. They wanted to make ‘Benghazi’ synonymous with Pearl Harbor. That was their sole mission from Day 1.

            One should note that Democrats never demanded an investigation of that incident in Niger that occurred early in Trump’s presidency. But that incident in Niger was very curious. Most Americans had no idea we had troops in that region. Arguably the incident in Niger is no less of a tragedy than Benghazi. Yet no serious inquiries have probed that incident; because Trump keeps creating endless distractions

            1. We unfortunately sustain military casualties, Peter.
              And those may or may not be due to screw-ups involving commanders, or others.
              It’s more unusual to have one of our embassies or consulates subject to a major, terrorist-organized attack, and even more unusual to have one of our ambassadors (and others) killed on our embassy/ consulate grounds.
              I won’t belabor that point in trying to explain the difference between our military casualties and our “diplomatic casualties”.
              If the Democratics who now control the House want to launch a formal investigation into the military casualties in Niger, they are free to do so.
              Given the micromanagment and Monday Morning Quarterbacking that’s already been done re the Niger casualties, that might be redundant.
              But if there’s a decision on the part of a Democratic chairman of a House Committee to investigate the Niger casualties, let them go ahead with that.

              1. PS…Peter, when you read the 800 page House Report on Benghazi, or a summary of it, get back to me and let me know your take on it.

                1. Don’t count on Peter to read any of that until they come out with a comic strip version. Even then Peter will rely on a summary of the comic strip.

              2. Tom, Peter has no insight into how governments work and how they strive to protect their personal. Good government’s don’t blame innocent video producers that have nothing to do with government’s failures, Clinton in particular, and the Obama administration in general. Stupid people learn nothing from mistakes and those even more ignorant have a tendency to even deny the facts on the ground so they never can learn anything.

                1. All I know is that we’re barely a half-day into 2019, and that outside commie Hollywood agitator is already starting up with me.😯😀😂

                  1. I understand what you are saying Tom, but I don’t know if Peter has enough knowledge to even be a “commie”. He seems to follow flags, false ones at that.

    4. “Political campaign research is perfectly legal and routine”.
      I’ve commented on this before; without reviewing all of those comments, I’ll just summarize;
      “Political campaign research using foreign resources is NOT “routine”.
      Legitimate opposition research has been regarded as “digging up the dirt” on a political opponent using domestic resources; once foreign nationals are involved, that ( prior to 2016, anyway) was regarded as crossing a line.
      That’s part of the reason for the absolute “shocking” news that Trump campaign members met with A RUSSIAN😦😧 to see if they could get opposition research on Hillary.
      As a strong advocate of the Double Standard, Peter and others can try to spin this any way they want to, as many times as they want to.
      What it comes down to is blatant hypocrisy on their part.

      1. Tom, when is London so ‘foreign’ that campaigns cant use sources there? London is one of the world’s biggest commercial hubs. American investors are a major presence. This idea that campaigns cant consult with London based researchers is some standard you made up.

        Steele was available to any paying client. If he thought Donald Trump was uncool that jibes with what we’ve seen. Trump is the uncoolest president in living memory. One needs to look no further than Trump’s Twitter account to see how immature he is for age 71.

        From what we’ve seen of Donald Trump, I sympathize with Steele. He was sounding the alarm about a very real danger. Trump was totally unqualified for Commander In Chief.

          1. He’s nothing of the kind. He had over 40 years of experience as an executive. Obama’s executive experience consisted of running the Chicago Annenberg Challenge into the ground. Obama’s entire employment history said one thing: diletante. Bill Clinton and Geraldine Ferraro both remarked on this. Street-level Democrats simply stick their fingers in their ears. We live in an age when the intellectual and moral fraudulence of the Democratic Party goes all the way down.

            1. Tabby, your comment here reflects the view of a Libertarian in the Trump era.

              To begin with there are hundreds of executives at major corporations with the same level of experience as Donald Trump. But business and government are two completely different fields. There are many successful executives we would ‘not’ want in government.

              We’ve all had successful bosses who were ethically challenged, neurotic, immature or who suffered from various addictions. I once worked at the headquarters of a rogue billionaire who did time in a Federal Pen. He was a man of good intentions but the people around him were all sycophants. And they created a bubble atmosphere where said billionaire was the victim of zealous prosecutors.

              Secondly, Tabby, you forget Trump’s father was mega-rich. Trump supporters keep constantly forgetting that. In fact, Trump’s grandfather was fairly rich as well. Donald could have retired in his 30’s with the money Dad left him and he would still be very rich. Donald Trump is not, and never was, a self-made man. Get that out of your head.

              1. Secondly, Tabby, you forget Trump’s father was mega-rich. Trump supporters keep constantly forgetting that.

                I don’t forget that, but I understand it’s significance and you don’t. His father’s business was developing residential real estate and he stayed out of Manhattan. This business is currently run by the President’s brother, Robert Trump. The President has developed commercial real estate, casinos, and resort properties. He’s also made forays into entertainment and brand-name marketing. It’s a different business, and his wealth had surpassed his father’s by 1982.

                In fact, Trump’s grandfather was fairly rich as well.

                Friedrich Trump was an immigrant from the Bavarian Palatinate who arrived in this country in 1885 with little to his name. At age 41 (in 1910), he lived with his wife and three children in a home he owned free-and-clear and he owned his own business. The enumerator in 1910 didn’t list the business he was operating. His neighbors included a barber, a postal clerk, the owner of a wholesaling enterprise, a salesman, &c.

                At the time of his death in 1918, he was resident in the Woodhaven section of Queens, again, a fairly ordinary neighborhood. His will went through probate in 1918 and his property was appraised at just north of $36000 in value. Given the change in the purchasing power of a dollar in the intervening century, that would be just shy of $600,000 today’s currency, to the extent that you can validly measure real values over that time. Real incomes in general have increased by a factor of 6 in the last century, so a contextually similar sum today would be about $3.6 million. The average American household today has a net worth of just shy of $700,000, so the Trump’s at that time might have had a net worth just north of 5x the American mean of that era, or somewhere around the 96th percentile of American households. The Trumps at that time were of the class Glenn Reynolds calls ‘the petty rich’ of successful small businessmen and professionals.

                1. Right, Tabby, the grandfather was upper, upper middle class. ‘Just rich enough’ to give the father a good head start. And that was the case with many of today’s Tech Billionaires. They came from upper middle-class families that were ‘just rich enough’ to give them a head start.

                  Interestingly, J.D. Rockefeller’s father happened to have little extra cash when J.D. was starting Standard Oil. J.D.’s father was not actually wealthy, nor even upper middle class, but he happened to have a little extra cash to invest in his son’s new company.

                  1. Whether Trump is fantastically wealthy or incredibly poor doesn’t change what Trump has created and built. Nor does it change the fact that Trump was a leader. Peter is caught up in dollar amounts and has no understanding of the productive nature of people unless he sees a dollar amount attached which isn’t a measure of a person’s value. Envy and unearned pride lead Peter by the nose.

                  2. Again, the grandfather died in 1918. Fred Trump was 13 years old at the time.

        1. It depends on how much involvement you want from foreign nationals in American elections.
          Maybe a list can be drawn up of “acceptable” agents from acceptable foreign countries that can interfere with U.S. elections.
          I noticed that you failed to mention that the not-so-foreign businessman, Christopher Steele, used Russian contacts to use Russian sources to feed back 2nd & 3rd hand allegations to Steele so that Steele could feed that info to Fusion GPS, to the media, and probably to the DNC and the Hillary Campaign.

          1. Tom, ultimately Christopher Steele was acting as a patriot. A patriot to ‘Great Britain’; which has been America’s best friend since World War II; if not World War I. With Great Britain as our loyal back-up, America has done very well.

            Christopher Steele clearly saw that Trump was a threat to the traditional western alliance which has existed since the end of World War II. And Steele was right: Trump ‘is’ a threat to that alliance. Already Trump has made a point of alienating America’s traditional friends while being strangely pleasant to traditional enemies.

            Christopher Steele concerns align perfectly with mine. I just pray America gets through the Trump era burning every bridge in the world.

            1. Yes, “patriotism” and a 6-figure fee were the motivations for Saint Christopher/ Orbis😒.
              Maybe in a future campaign, we’ll get some right-wing partisan British patriot to work with the Russians to help us out with our elections, instead of a left-wing operative like St. Christopher.

        2. Peter Hill – what are the Constitutional qualifications to be President? Did/Does Donald J. Trump have those? Then he is qualified to be President.

          1. Peter’s assessments of figures in public life are invariably shallow and adolescent.

    5. Actually the FISA court was and still is a big part of the problem. A flawed institution which is itself threat to civil liberties

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