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Robert Mueller should resign

Indictments and conflicts of interest arising from FBI’s conduct call into question Special Counsel Mueller’s fitness to head Russiagate inquiry

Alexander Mercouris

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As readers of The Duran will know I have until recently given Special Counsel Robert Mueller the benefit of the doubt.  The events of the last few weeks make it impossible to go on doing so.

The reason for this is only partly connected to Mueller’s own actions.  Rather it arises mainly from what is now known of the conduct during last year’s Presidential election of the FBI, the agency which Mueller headed for twelve years, and of which he was director just four years ago.

Extraordinary as the fact still seems to me, the FBI never carried out its own independent investigation of the claimed hacks of the DNC’s and John Podesta’s computers.  Instead the FBI accepted in their entirety the opinions of a private company – CrowdStrike – which was privately commissioned to carry out the investigation into the alleged hacks by the DNC itself.

As I have said on many occasions, I have never come across a situation where a police agency instead of carrying out its own investigation into an alleged crime relies on the opinions of a private investigator paid for by the alleged victim.  That seems to me both extraordinary and ethically dubious in the extreme.  Yet that in relation to the alleged hacks of the DNC’s and John Podesta’s computers is what the FBI has done.

However it gets worse.

It has now also been established that the FBI over the course of last year also took on trust the Trump Dossier, a concoction also paid for by the DNC and the Hillary Clinton campaign.

Moreover it seems that it actually sought and obtained FISA warrants to undertake surveillance during the election of members of the Trump campaign and of friends and associates of Donald Trump on the strength of this Dossier.  Despite earlier denials, it now seems a virtual certainty that Donald Trump’s own conversations were picked up and monitored as a result of this surveillance.

However the single most incendiary disclosure relating to the Trump Dossier is that in the weeks following the US Presidential election the FBI apparently took over the payments to Christopher Steele – the compiler of the Trump Dossier – from the DNC, and therefore acted as Christopher Steele’s client.  Presumably that means that the final entry of the Trump Dossier, which is dated December 2016, was paid by the FBI.

In other words instead of arriving its suspicions of Russian meddling in the Presidential election on its own investigations the FBI chose to rely on the work of two private contractors – CrowdStrike and Christopher Steele – both of whom were found and paid for by the DNC, and one of whom – Christopher Steele – was then passed on by the DNC to the FBI so that he could be paid by them as well.

That makes the FBI look more like an accomplice of the Democrats and the DNC than an impartial and objective police agency.

I would again refer to Joe Lauria’s excellent article, which thoroughly discusses the very disturbing implications of all this,

It appears moreover that it was the FBI which arranged for the Trump Dossier to be included in the ODNI report provided to President Obama and to President elect Trump in January 2017, and it seems likely that many of the leaks that drove the Russiagate scandal in its first months – including the illegal leaks which forced the resignation of President Trump’s first National Security Adviser General Flynn – originated from within the FBI.

Compounding the concerns which naturally arise from all this are the FBI’s apparent attempts to protect Hillary Clinton from the legal consequences of her use of a private server for her emails whilst Secretary of State, even though this was clearly contrary to the law.

Though the offence Hillary Clinton is alleged to have committed was an offence of strict liability – which is to say that it is irrelevant what her intentions were when she committed the offence – and though Hillary Clinton failed to provide the FBI with all the emails that passed through her private server, apparently deleting 30,000 of them – which ought at the very least to have raised the question of a possible obstruction of justice – the FBI’s Director James Comey took it on himself in breach of procedure to close down the investigation into her actions and to give her in effect a clean bill of health.

No investigation of the Russiagate scandal which fails to look into these activities by the FBI can be considered impartial or complete.

However Mueller, because of his long association with the FBI – whose director he was for twelve years, with his directorship ending just four years ago – is far too close to the FBI to conduct such an investigation.

This precise point was recently made – though in a convoluted and over-complicated way – by an editorial in the Wall Street Journal which last week called on Mueller to resign.  To my knowledge this is the first occasion that a major media institution in the US has called Mueller’s conduct into question and called on him to resign.

Though the Wall Street Journal editorial muddied the waters by insinuating that there might have been collusion between the Democrats and the Russians to discredit the US electoral process (this obviously refers to the Democrat-funded Trump Dossier which is supposed to be based on Russian sources) its underlying point is valid, and it is one which I suspect more and more people in Washington are thinking.

That Mueller himself is increasingly feeling the pressure is shown by the strange series of indictments he issued this week.

As I have previously pointed out, neither indictment – neither the one against Manafort and Gates nor the one against Papadopoulos – in fact touches on the central claim of the Russiagate conspiracy theory: that the Trump campaign colluded with the Russians to steal the election from Hillary Clinton by publishing stolen emails in order to discredit her.

The indictment against Paul Manafort and Rick Gates does not touch on the Russian collusion allegations at all but is concerned solely with Manafort’s complex business activities, especially as these relate to Ukraine.

The indictment against George Papadopoulos does not touch on the Russian collusion allegations either but is based purely on Papadopoulos’s telling of falsehoods to the FBI over the course of an interview he had with them in January 2017.

What has been overlooked in all the discussions of these two indictments is the shaky ground upon which they rest.

Paul Manafort and his associate Rick Gates are – in the vivid language of today – ‘swamp creatures’ ie. longstanding insiders operating as privileged members of the US political and business elite.  I for one am perfectly willing to believe that the allegations against them are in essence true.

However that does not change the fact that the indictment which has been brought against them looks under-prepared.

Usually it takes years of painstaking investigation to issue an indictment of this sort.   This indictment was however issued just seven months after Mueller was appointed Special Counsel.

The result is that it contains obvious errors which one would not expect to find in an indictment of this sort, such as its mistaken claim that Viktor Yanukovych’s predecessor as President of Ukraine was Yulia Tymoshenko whereas in fact it was actually Viktor Yushchenko.

The impression one is left with from reading the indictment is that Mueller has simply accepted the truth of the current Ukrainian government’s claims of corruption by Manafort, and has combined them with the fact that Manafort operates a large number of foreign bank accounts, to cook up a case of Manafort being corrupt.

That may of course turn out to be so.  However past experience shows that one should be very slow to accept Ukrainian allegations of corruption on trust, whilst it is not illegal – and is in fact very common – for an international lawyer and business consultant like Manafort to operate a large number of foreign bank accounts both for himself and for his clients.

One would expect to find in an indictment of the sort more evidence of the source of the money in the bank accounts than in fact appears, and it is difficult to avoid the impression that in the rush to issue the indictment corners have been cut.

The risk is that Manafort and Gates at their trial will be able to provide a full account of where the money came from or will at least be able to give an account for the origin of the money that will satisfy a jury. In that case the whole case could collapse.

Judging from the submissions Manafort and Gates have made for their bail applications that is precisely the approach they intend to take.

I would add that the fact that Manafort has more than one US passport is not proof of the fraud claims which have been made against him, whilst he and his lawyers are already pouring scorn on the part of the case against him which is based on the Foreign Agents Registration Act, pointing out – apparently correctly – that only six prosecutions under this Act have been brought since the 1960s, of which only one has ended in a conviction.

However if the indictment against Manafort and Gates looks rushed and under prepared, Manafort and Gates nonetheless do have a case to answer.  By contrast I cannot see the logic of the prosecution which has been brought against Papadopoulos at all.

The picture of Papadopoulos which has emerged over the last few days – including from the indictment against him – is of a young man (he is only 30) who was seriously out of his depth, and who was either deceived by Professor Misfud and the various Russians he was dealing with or – more likely – was someone who got carried away by his own fantasies that he was a great diplomat who would single-handedly bring Putin and Trump together so as to bring about a rapprochement between Russia and the US and secure world peace.

None of his activities – which centred on his attempts to set up a meeting before the election between Putin and Trump – however fantastic they might have been, were however in the least unlawful or can be said to have done any harm.

His bosses in the Trump campaign seem to have been skeptical of his efforts to set up a meeting between Putin and Trump, and in the event that meeting never took place, with the Russian government probably completely unaware of Papadopoulos’s activities.  It seems all the Russians he dealt with – including the Russian woman he either took for “Putin’s niece” or said was “Putin’s niece” – were not Russian government officials but the staff of a Moscow think-tank he was introduced to by Professor Mifsud.

As for the notorious comment which Papadopoulos attributes to Professor Mifsud – that the Russians had “dirt on Hillary Clinton” and “thousands of her emails” – Professor Mifsud denies that he ever made the comment, there is no record or independent corroboration that he ever made the comment, there is apparently no record of Papadopoulos informing his bosses at Trump headquarters about the comment, there is nothing about Professor Mifsud’s background which suggests the Russians would trust him with the information he would need to make the comment, and the comment – if it was made at all – anyway unquestionably refers to Hillary Clinton’s own emails – the ones which passed through her private server whilst she was Secretary of State – and not to the Podesta and DNC emails, which are the ones that the Russiagate scandal is all about.

As to the last point – that Professor Mifsud’s alleged comment was about Hillary Clinton’s own emails and not those of Podesta or the DNC – the wording of paragraph 14 of the indictment puts this beyond doubt

The Professor told defendant PAPADOPOULOS, as defendant PAPADOPOULOS later described to the FBI, that “They [the Russians] have dirt on her”, “the Russians had emails of Clinton“; “they have thousands of emails”

(bold italics added)

In my previous articles about the Papadopoulos indictment I had overlooked the fact that the wording of paragraph 14 of the indictment clearly identifies the emails that Professor Mifsud is supposed to have talked about as Hillary Clinton’s emails, and not as the DNC’s or John Podesta’s emails.

In other words the Papadopoulos indictment not only fails to provide any evidence of collusion between the Trump campaign and the Russians to steal the election from Hillary Clinton, but the comment about the emails about which so much has been said is – if it was said at all – a total red herring, of no relevance to the Russiagate inquiry.

This of course begs the question of why in that case is Papadopoulos being charged?

If Papadopoulos’s activities were harmless – which they were – and if he engaged in no collusion with the Russians – which he didn’t – and if the comment about the emails which he passed on to the FBI (during it should be noted his first meeting with the FBI in January 2017) is wholly irrelevant to the Russiagate inquiry – as it is – why is he being charged?

Does mixing up the dates of his first meeting with Professor Mifsud and downplaying the extent of his contacts with people who were actually of no importance really justify bringing charges against him and forcing him into a guilty plea?

Not for the first time I find myself in wholehearted agreement with the sentiments of The Duran’s reader André de Koning, who has written the following comment on a thread to one of my previous articles about the Papadopoulos indictment

Good to know that the FBI and/or CIA are so particular about somebody lying: they are such wonderful guardians of truth.

In truth the charges against Papadopoulos seem ludicrously disproportionate to what he is supposed to have done, especially given the fact that he was already fully cooperating with the FBI and had gone to some lengths to set the record straight before the charges were brought against him.

For the record I think the treatment of him is cruel.

It is impossible to avoid the impression that the charges against Papadopoulos have been brought and were made public together with his guilty plea – a few days moreover after the Wall Street Journal called for Mueller’s resignation – in order to create an impression that the Russiagate inquiry is making progress, when in reality it is making none.

As for the indictment against Manafort and Gates, Mueller is acting here more like a policeman trying to build a case than as an investigator seeking to find out what actually happened.

That is a lamentable state of affairs, and one which has surely arisen because of the conflict between Mueller’s loyalty to the FBI – the organisation he headed for twelve years and of which until just four years ago he was director, and whose reputation he therefore has a vested interest in wanting to protect – and his duties as an impartial investigator.

The Russiagate investigation should not be closed down.  On the contrary its scope needs to be expanded to look into the conduct of the FBI and the rest of the US intelligence community during the Presidential election.  Enough is already known about this to give cause for serious concern.

That certainly does require Special Counsel to head this investigation.  However that person quite clearly cannot be Robert Mueller.

It is time for him to go and for the investigation to be taken over by someone else who is not just more distant from the agencies which will have to be investigated if the job is to be done properly, but who also has a better grasp of the political and legal issues.

A senior lawyer or a retired Judge willing to listen to the evidence of experts – including historians and genuine Russia experts – would seem to be what the situation requires.

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Pelosi tries to prevent State of the Union address because of shutdown

Nancy Pelosi advised Mr. Trump not to deliver a live State of the Union speech, but the reason may be because she is unwilling to be exposed.

Seraphim Hanisch

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Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi tried what is perhaps a new stunt in the ongoing government shutdown saga (we hesitate to call it a “crisis”). She requested that President Trump either reschedule his yearly State of the Union address or – and she said this literally – deliver it in writing to Congress on January 29th, the date the speech is scheduled to occur.

“Sadly, given the security concerns and unless government re-opens this week, I suggest that we work together to determine another suitable date after government has re-opened for this address or for you to consider delivering your State of the Union address in writing to the Congress on January 29th,” Pelosi wrote in a letter to Trump.

The letter, which can be seen directly by clicking the hyperlink above, tries to essentially make this request the President’s fault because he refuses to take “no wall” for an answer.

The motive behind this attempt is interesting. Politico covered this story originally, and this publication is pretty far to the left and definitely not a Trump fan oasis. Yet in a rare random feat of journalism, the Politico article does appear to give some of the real reason why the Speaker of the House did this.

Publicly, Democrats plan to argue that the parties need to focus on addressing the shutdown, now the longest in U.S. history. They’re also concerned about security staff working through a major national event without being paid.

“This shutdown is ridiculous and the people tasked with protecting him and protecting us are not getting a paycheck,” said Rep. Jim McGovern (D-Mass.), the House Rules Committee chair. “So it’s inappropriate to carry on with business as usual.”

But privately, Democrats also don’t want to give Trump a major platform to blame them for the shutdown when Trump’s demand for billions in wall funding has been the main driver, according to a Democratic lawmaker close to leadership. Trump has tried to pin the blame on the shutdown on Pelosi and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, but public polls shows the public largely blames the president.

The announcement comes as a group of bipartisan House lawmakers in the Problem Solvers Caucus is set to meet with Trump on Wednesday to discuss border security. Trump, frustrated by his inability to secure any additional money for his border wall, has tried to peel off moderate Democrat support as Pelosi and Schumer dig in.

But Democrats are rallying fellow members to stay together. Schumer attended a closed-door caucus meeting with House Democrats just as Pelosi made the announcement on the State of the Union address on Wednesday. Her message was to stay unified in their opposition.

Politico was able to bury this bold-typed point in the rhetoric that “public polls largely blame the president.” However this may not exactly be the case.

There are indications that the 26-day long standoff is going to go the President’s way. While this is admittedly speculative, there seem to be solid factors on the President’s side of the argument that the Democrats do not have. Some are factual, and many are emotional and rhetorical:

  • Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell is standing firm, and has not wavered from the commitment to pass nothing that the President will not sign.
  • Some Democrat leaders are beginning to speak about border security – including the wall – as vital needs. This includes this representative from Southern California (!) Representative Katie Hill, who gave this interview on Fox News:

  • Where the argument is pragmatic and information-based, as Representative Hill notes, then the argument becomes quite compelling for a wall.
  • CNN turned down the opportunity to interview Dan Plante, a San Diego area TV reporter, about the border wall there because Mr. Plante said that the new wall that has been installed in that sector is hugely successful.
  • The level of information given by the Democrat opposition leaders, Pelosi and Chuck Schumer is essentially at the level of “no you can’t have it. Because!!” – in other words, septuagenarians acting like four-year olds. Really.
  • Talk show anchor Rush Limbaugh and his huge body of listeners are wildly in favor of the shutdown and everything the President is doing. It is very clear that the shutdown’s length is doing nothing to deter President Trump’s base. And as long as that holds true, he will not move a muscle.
  • President Trump is a businessman, not a politician. He is far more results-driven than the mainstream media can afford to admit. While they characterize him as insane, or a child, or throwing a tantrum, the President doesn’t really care. He knows what he wants, and he is prepared to be patient and wait the Democrats out.
  • The final sign we will offer on this list (though there are more) is that the Russia collusion narrative is back. When things go bad for the media on Trump, they try to pull out Russia. Maybe it is just a bad habit because it seems less and less effective each time it is tried.

The battle lines are tropes versus reality, and politics versus policy. It is too soon to be sure that this will go the President’s way and that the wall will go up, but patience and perseverance are beginning to expose cracks and weaknesses in the Democrat argument. Some of the US certainly does NOT care about a border wall. But those that do have not been shaken by all this – rather, they have been strengthened, plus they have facts on their side.

All the Pelosis and Schumers of the world can do is fret and complain and look like fools, and they seem to be doing exactly that.

 

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Peak Stupidity: Deep State and mainstream media push ‘Trump is a spy’ nonsense (Video)

The Duran – News in Review – Episode 167.

Alex Christoforou

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The Duran’s Alex Christoforou and Editor-in-Chief Alexander Mercouris discuss the sheer stupidity of the entire ‘Trump is a Russian spy’ narrative being plastered all over the mainstream media, as neo-liberal shills and neocon war hawks continue to damage the Office of the United States President by insisting on pushing a made up story that a five year old child who waits for Santa Claus to bring Christmas gifts would have a hard time believing.

Meanwhile the real crime and real treason derived from a Comey-Clapper-Brennan Deep State plot to remove a democratically elected Trump from power, is being blacked out from the mainstream, neo-liberal news cycle.

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The Gateway Pundit lists the 35 times the FBI “deviated from standard practice” or committed crimes in an effort to exonerate Hillary Clinton and indict US President Donald Trump..


The FBI leadership under the Obama Administration took many actions that deviated from standard practice [i.e. were corrupt and criminal] in their efforts to exonerate Hillary from her crimes and then spy and frame candidate and then President Trump.  Today current members of the FBI are embarrassed to even turn on their TV’s as a result.

Time magazine of all places reported recently about the many efforts the FBI took related to Hillary exoneration and then the Trump framing.  These corrupt and criminal actions have taken a desperate toll on the current members of the FBI –

In normal times, the televisions are humming at the FBI’s 56 field offices nationwide, piping in the latest news as agents work their investigations. But these days, some agents say, the TVs are often off to avoid the crush of bad stories about the FBI itself. The bureau, which is used to making headlines for nabbing crooks, has been grabbing the spotlight for unwanted reasons: fired leaders, texts between lovers and, most of all, attacks by President Trump. “I don’t care what channel it’s on,” says Tom O’Connor, a veteran investigator in Washington who leads the FBI Agents Association. “All you hear is negative stuff about the FBI … It gets depressing.”

Of course the employees of the FBI are in a funk, their fearless and corrupt leaders, as well as leaders in Obama’s corrupt DOJ, went to extravagant links to exonerate the obvious criminal actions of Hillary Clinton, and then to do all they could to prevent candidate Trump from winning an election.  Then once the election was won by President Trump, they went to unheard of depths of deceit and corruption to attempt to remove him from office.

Here’s a list of the actions the Deep State FBI took in their recent criminal actions surrounding the 2016 Presidential election and since [the first 11 items are from the Time post noted above with comments in brackets] –

1 – Comey breached Justice Department protocols in a July 5, 2016, press conference when he criticized Hillary Clinton for using a private email server as Secretary of State even as he cleared her of any crimes
2 – Comey reopened the Clinton email probe less than two weeks before the election
3 – Andrew McCabe lied to the bureau’s internal investigations branch to cover up a leak he orchestrated about Clinton’s family foundation less than two weeks before the election and had lied for months about it
4 – FBI wasn’t adequately investigating “high-risk” employees who failed polygraph tests (but, in fact, putting them in charge of high-profile investigations, like Peter Strzok who failed his poly). In one instance, an FBI IT specialist with top-secret security clearance failed four polygraph tests and admitted to having created a fictitious Facebook account to communicate with a foreign national, but received no disciplinary action for that.
5 – The FBI’s miss of the Russian influence operation against the 2016 election, which went largely undetected for more than two years (The FBI had the chance to kill this Russian intrusion years before it reached crisis point in the election). Mueller’s Russia probe found that Moscow’s operation against the 2016 election first got under way in 2014, but the FBI failed to address it.
6 – The FBI was getting information it shouldn’t have had access to when it used controversial parts of the Patriot Act to obtain business records in terrorism and counterintelligence cases.
7 – The bureau missed the significance of the damaging 2015 hack of the DNC database [although others argue that the DNC was never hacked – due to the FBI’s lack of investigative process, we may never know what happened.] 8 – The bureau also sat on the disputed “dossier” prepared by former British intelligence officer Christopher Steele. [Which was then used for the entire case against Trump and anyone near him].
9 – The bureau’s decision to surveil former Trump campaign adviser Carter Page was influenced by politics.
10 – Text messages between FBI special agent Peter Strzok and FBI lawyer Lisa Page, which were critical of Trump.
11 – Comey broke with Justice Department rules and norms by assuming authority usually held by prosecutors and speaking in public about a case that did not produce criminal charges.
12 – Comey took copious notes and diligently informed others of all interactions with Trump while lying about having had any interactions with Obama, never taking notes or notifying anyone so even after having been warned of Mr. Steele’s motivations, even after having fired him for violating the rules, the FBI continued to seek his information—using Mr. Ohr as a back channel. This surely violates the FBI manual governing interaction with confidential human sources.
13 – FBI guidelines state that unverified information should not be submitted to the FISA court.
14 – They were passive, not proactive. The Obama administration “stood down” and watched these “activities” unravel. At worst, they possibly played a hand in creating circumstances to push the investigation forward into more serious stages that allowed for more intrusive techniques, such as spying. (The FBI is supposed to prevent crime, not watch it happen).
15 – John Brennan, James Clapper, Samantha Power, Loretta Lynch were all briefed by James Comey on the alleged Russian interference into the Trump campaign, yet the Trump campaign was left in the dark.
16 –FBI agents found Abedin deleting classified Clinton emails from her Yahoo account but failed to subpoena her devices. If they had, maybe they wouldn’t have had to reopen the case in 11th hour when NY agents found work emails on the laptop she shared with her perv husband.
17 – The FBI failed to notify Congress of the investigation into the Trump campaign for months rather than quarterly as was practice. [See Comey presentation to House Republicans in March 2017] 18 – The FBI did not pursue criminal charges when Clinton’s email archives were permanently deleted from her private server days after a subpoena for them was issued by a congressional committee investigating the 2012 attack on the U.S. diplomatic compound in Benghazi.
19 – The IG found that the FBI and DOJ during the MidYearExam probe of Hillary Clinton email server “did not require any witnesses to testify before the grand jury,” despite at least 3 witnesses lying to FBI agents.
20 – “[T]he 
Midyear team did not obtain search warrants to examine the content of emails in Mills’s or Abedin’s private email accounts and did not seek to obtain any of the senior aides’ personal devices.”
21 – IG Report: Nobody was listed as a subject of this [Clinton email] investigation at any point in time (So neither Hillary nor her top aides were formally under investigation by FBI at any time in 2015-2016, but the agents handling the issue thought it was a criminal action).
22 – The IG report indicates a strong pro-Clinton/anti-Trump bias in FBI investigators of Midyear and Operation Russian Collusion but it still went on without personnel changes or actions against the corrupt investigative team.
23 – The IG report found: “The MYE Team did not seek to obtain every device, including those of Clinton’s senior aides, or the contents of every email account through which a classified email may have traversed.”
24 – Manafort interviewed twice before joining the Trump team. If he was guilty of anything why did they allow him to join the Trump team?
25 – In 2008, a questionable person on McCain’s POTUS campaign caught the attention of FBI counterintelligence, and the FBI privately approached McCain. That questionable person was quietly removed from Team McCain but this same sensitivity was not provided to the Trump team.
26 – The corrupt Obama FBI and DOJ used the “salacious and unverified” opposition research called the Steele dossier to open a counterintelligence investigation and obtain warrants but it wasn’t even verified and it was created by the opposition party [DNC]. [Multiple sources] 27 – Unprecedented leaking to the press: 13 different individuals at the FBI were feeding a journalist information.
28 – Dan Bongino asks the question: How did Halper go from being a CIA informant to an FBI informant? And he’s right. It is a DEVIATION FROM THE STANDARD PRACTICE for law enforcement agencies to give up/share their asset.
29 – The “probable cause” arrest of George Papadopoulos is a deviation from the standard practice.
30 – Halper was a CHS (Confidential Human Source). FBI rules prohibit using a CHS to spy on Americans before an official investigation has been created.
31 -Stone and Caputo say they believe they were the targets of a setup by U.S. law enforcement officials hostile to Trump which was before an official investigation which again is a deviation from standard practice.
32 – The FBI interviewed Carter Page in March of 2016 about his Russian ties. Two months later, Comey is briefing the NSC about his concerns about Carter Page. Nothing of any note happened in those intervening months to cause a rise of concerns, so whatever concerns Comey had Comey had them before Page was hired on as an adviser. It was a DEVIATION FROM STANDARD PRACTICE for Comey to not have warned Trump about Page. Comey warns Obama instead who also takes no steps to warn Trump.
33 – Another deviation from the standard practice is to start an investigation without a crime.
34 – Planting the Isikoff article to be used in court to obtain a FISA warrant.
35 – Related to the FBI, it’s important to note that former DNI chief James Clapper limited the IC report for review to only 3 agencies rather than send the report out to all 17 agencies for review. This way he was able to control what was put into the report – another deviation from the standard practice.

This may only be a partial list of FBI abuses and actions taken with deviations from standard practice, if not clear cut crimes.  The gangsters who ran Obama’s FBI, from Mueller to Comey, are so corrupt, current and former agents are now embarrassed to be part of the once storied federal agency.  Quite frankly, it’s doubtful if the FBI can ever be trusted again!

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Trump’s wish to take the US out of NATO leaves NeoCons seething

The US President has seen the truth of the irrelevance of NATO, but there is enormous resistance to change.

Seraphim Hanisch

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Tucker Carlson, Fox News and Russian and American news outlets alike have picked up the story that US President Donald Trump has on numerous occasions, opined that the United States would do well to depart from the North Atlantic Military Organization, or NATO.

This wish caused enormous fury and backlash from those opposed, which, oddly enough include both Democrats and Republicans. Their anger and alarm over this idea is such that the media networks through much of the US are alive with the idea of impeaching the President or bringing 25th Amendment proceedings against him for insanity!

Take a look:

Tucker Carlson, as usual, nailed it.

NATO was formed to make Western Europe secure in the face of a perceived Soviet threat. In 1991, the USSR collapsed and the threat of Ivan the Communist bad guy collapsed with it.

But 28 years later, NATO is still here. And, why?

Well, many “experts” continue to point at Russia as a threat, though after that statement no one seems honestly able to elucidate precisely how Russia would, in fact, threaten any nation, take over it, or conquer the world. Indeed, if anyone seems to understand the perversity of being in charge of the whole world, it seems to be Russia, as expressed by politician and LDPR leader Vladimir Zhirinovsky (see how this is so here).

Zhironovsky observed that China is the other nation that is running at full force, but viewing the problems the US is having with being the leader of the world, China stops short of trying to attain this position itself. The question becomes “What does a nation that rules the world actually do then?”

President Trump appears to be seeing the same question, or some similar variant based on the same theme. NATO serves no constructive purpose anymore. Despite the conflicts in Ukraine and Saudi Arabia and Yemen, Israel and Syria, there simply are no great threats in the world as it stands today. While there are certainly still wars, none of these wars represents an existential threat to the United States.

Why wouldn’t a US leader want out? In fact, there is further no existential threat to Europe from any present war, nor is there a threat from Russia itself. In fact, Russia has been entering into business relations with many European countries who wish to buy cheap and easily available Russian natural gas. Turkey purchased an S-400 antimissile system in addition to its US made Patriot battery.

There would seem to be very little in the way of concrete and reliable reasoning for the alliance to continue.

But the American Deep State and liberal establishment have come together to resist the US President in a truly furious manner, and it is revelatory of the hypocrisy of anti-Trump politics that American liberals, typically the “sing Kum-ba-yah peacenik” crowd, displays paroxysms of outrage and horror that NATO might be disbanded.

As the result of that, the American media is determined to choke off any possibility of one thinking, “well, what if we were to disband NATO?”

Why is this?

Simple. A lot of people make their living by preparing for the Russian “threat”, and it would mean the end of their work, the end of their money, and a great disruption in life. It does not matter that while this is true, these same people could conceivably apply their considerable skill sets to deal with real problems that face a world that no longer has a dipolar alignment, or to help prevent a real problem from arising from real situations, such as the recent and current Islamization of many European cities.

One of the great afflictions of American politics and policy has been that so much of it appears to be focused on “short term” or “no term” matters. We see this with the problems related to border security, the coming advent of AI-based automated processes that may furlough low-skilled workers in tremendous amounts in a short period of time. Rather than solve real problems, the elected representatives and media seem more content to oppose Donald Trump when he, as a businessman ought to do, makes a federal case out of what he sees on the horizon.

The Border Wall, for example, is a highly logical part of a properly handled set of immigration policies. But the very direct behavior of President Trump helped amplify the resentment the Democrats still hold against him for defeating Hillary Clinton in 2016, and so, the Democrats have effectively said “nuts!” to the needs of the nation and they take out their resentment on the nation by refusing to negotiate with the President about how to close the border.

NATO is another example. The alliance served its purpose. It is time for the alliance to end, or to be radically restructured in terms of new goals based in real, and not just flimsy rhetorical, needs.

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