515 Loupe 10-24-2018

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There’s now an impressive body of public evidence to address this international controversy namely collusion against Trump.

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Evidence on this matter has trickled out slowly over the course of about two years, it has come in the form of sworn testimony from witnesses interviewed by Congress, information revealed by the Justice Department’s inspector general, government documents and text messages, and court files.

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U.S. government insiders, colluding with numerous foreign citizens and governments conspired to interfere in the 2016 election.

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Second, after the election, these figures conspired to undermine, oust, and perhaps even frame Trump and some of his associates.

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The methods used, according to factual accounts and witnesses, include collusion with reporters and politicians, leaks to the press, and paid political-opposition research.

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Officials in the intelligence community were involved in the effort, which included the use of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court (FISC), domestic and foreign informants or spies, and electronic surveillance.

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Yemen-born ex-British spy Christopher Steele used Russian sources to gather unverified political opposition research against Trump for the DNC and the Clinton campaign,  Steele and the company he worked for, Fusion GPS, delivered the research to reporters, Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.), and the FBI.

The bureau then used the material, in part, to obtain warrants to wiretap one or more Trump-related associates, in apparent violation of strict FBI rules called Woods procedures. The Woods procedures prohibit the FBI from presenting a single unverified fact to the FISC to get a warrant.

There were orchestrated leaks of anti-Trump information and allegations to the press, including by ex-FBI Director James Comey and some of his colleagues, friends, and acquaintances.

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At least two Trump opponents explicitly spoke of developing an “insurance policy” in case Trump won: then-FBI agent Peter Strzok (who temporarily served on Mueller’s investigative team) and Comey friend Benjamin Wittes.

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Who outlined a conspiracy in his Lawfare blog in October 2016: “What if Trump wins? We need an insurance policy against the unthinkable.”

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Wittes wrote that his vision of an “insurance policy” against Trump would rely on a “Coalition of All Democratic Forces” to challenge and obstruct Trump, using the courts as a “tool” and Congress as “a partner or tool.” he even mentioned names of people he said had agreed to help with the plan and evoked possible impeachment two weeks before Trump was elected.

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The U.S. Intelligence Community engaged in questionable surveillance practices and politically motivated “unmaskings” of U.S. citizens, including Trump associates Steve Bannon, George Papadopoulos, Jared Kushner, Carter Page, and Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn.

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Obama administration officials taking part in these activities included national security adviser Susan Rice, U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. Samantha Power, Deputy Attorney General Sally Yates, CIA Director John Brennan, and Director of National Intelligence James Clapper.

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Some of the same FBI officials who were questioned over their role in clearing Hillary Clinton for mishandling classified information, and who gave immunity to her close associates, also played roles in building the case against Trump for alleged improper Russia ties.

See

Take a look at the timeline of January 2017-18

Fired: Sally Yates, acting DOJ attorney general

Resigned: Matthew Axelrod, principal deputy attorney general

Resigned: Peter Kadzik, DOJ assistant attorney general of legislative affairs

April 2017

Moved: Charles Kable, FBI agent in charge of the Counterintelligence Division of the Washington Field Office

Resigned: Mary McCord, acting assistant attorney general

May 2017

Fired: James Comey, FBI director

Summer 2017

Removed from Mueller team: Lisa Page, FBI attorney

Removed from Mueller team: Peter Strzok, FBI deputy assistant director of counterintelligence

December 2017

Demoted: Bruce Ohr, deputy assistant attorney general, director of the Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force

Reassigned: Grant Mendenhall, assistant director, counterterrorism

Reassigned: James Baker, FBI general counsel

January 2018

Resigned: James Rybicki, chief of staff to FBI Director James Comey and successor Christopher Wray

Announced future retirement: Andrew McCabe, FBI deputy director

February 2018

Retired: Michael Kortan, FBI assistant director for public affairs

Resigned: Rachel Brand, the associate attorney general

Resigned: David Laufman, chief of DOJ National Security Division

March 2018

Fired: Andrew McCabe, FBI deputy director

April 2018

Resigned: Greg Brower, FBI assistant director, head of the Office of Congressional Affairs

May 2018

Resigned: James Baker, FBI general counsel

Resigned: Lisa Page, FBI attorney

August 2018

Fired: Peter Strzok, FBI deputy assistant director of counterintelligence

Late Summer 2018

Resigned: Trisha Anderson, FBI principal deputy general counsel (sometime in August or September) 

This highlights a scenario that may be unique, at least in terms of scope, in modern U.S. history, when some at the top levels of our government intelligence and law enforcement agencies are accused of malfeasance or crimes, they have the power to choose not to investigate or prosecute themselves.

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They can launch investigations into their political enemies and claim obstruction if the enemies try to stop them, they can withhold key information from the elected body that has oversight power over them: Congress.

Read more at How the Russia Collusion Story Revealed a Scandal to Obstruct President Trump

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