Former CIA Station Chief In Moscow: ‘Brennan And Clapper Are Doing Putin’s Bidding’

A former CIA station chief is worried that Brennan and Clapper are doing Putin’s bidding when they sound off about their Russia collusion theories.

The Federalist, by Bre Payton, Aug. 2, 2018:

A former CIA station chief in Moscow is worried that top former intelligence agency officials John Brennan and James Clapper are doing Russian President Vladimir Putin’s bidding, when they sound off about their Russia collusion theories without verifying the facts.

The former CIA director and former director of National Intelligence have both been fanning the flames on the notion that Donald Trump’s campaign colluded with Russian officials in order to steal the election away from Hillary Clinton on cable TV and in various media interviews. As a result, the White House threatened to revoke security clearances from these men and a few others for misusing their access to top secret documents to promote their own agenda.

Former CIA case officer Daniel Hoffman, who was stationed in Moscow, told Real Clear Investigates that Brennan and Clapper are doing Putin’s bidding when they speculate without facts.

“In Brennan’s case that Putin could blackmail Trump, and in Clapper’s that the Kremlin’s interference swung the election to Trump,” Hoffman said. “Senior intelligence officers should know we speculate at our own peril.”

“While they get a favorable response from the ‘Amen’ chorus of Trump opponents, we should also consider the risk they are taking of feeding Trump’s speculation they were partisan officials who sought to do him harm,” he said.

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Former CIA chief of station Daniel Hoffman on how Russia has undermined Americans’ faith in the U.S. political system.

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Saudis Threaten Canada With Another 9/11 Amid Diplomatic Crisis

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, May 17, 2018. (AP Photo/Charles Krupa)

PJ Media, by Patrick Poole, August 6, 2018:

An official Twitter account of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia threatened Canada with another 9/11 earlier today, as the two countries square off in an ongoing diplomatic crisis. The account posted a graphic of an Air Canada plane bearing down on Toronto’s CN Tower:

They have since reposted the graphic without the airplane:

It bears mentioning that 15 of the 19 9/11 hijackers were Saudi citizens.

The current back and forth between Canada and Saudi Arabia began when the Canadian Foreign Ministry called last Friday for the release of human rights activists in the Kingdom:

Yesterday, in response to Canada’s call for the release of the activists, Saudi Arabia announced that it was expelling the Canadian ambassador and suspending any new trade deals:

Earlier today, the Saudis announced they were withdrawing approximately 14,000 Saudi students studying in Canada:

It’s unclear what stakes are at play in the ongoing dispute. Canada, which has the third-largest oil reserves in the world (mostly oil sands), imports only 9 percent of its oil from Saudi Arabia. Meanwhile, the Saudis have said that Canada’s criticism amounted to interference in the Kingdom’s internal affairs, and threatened that they would respond in kind, according to The Globe and Mail:

In a statement released through the Saudi Press Agency, Riyadh bluntly condemned the criticism from Ms. Freeland and the Department of Global Affairs, calling it “blatant interference in the Kingdom’s domestic affairs, against basic international norms and all international protocols” and a “major, unacceptable affront to the Kingdom’s laws and judicial process, as well as a violation of the Kingdom’s sovereignty.”

The Saudis warned in a statement that any more criticism will be interpreted as licence to meddle in Canadian affairs.

“Any further step from the Canadian side in that direction will be considered as acknowledgment of our right to interfere in the Canadian domestic affairs,” the Saudis said.

A spokeswoman for Ms. Freeland said late Sunday night the Canadian government is trying to make contact with the Saudis.

“We are seriously concerned by these media reports and are seeking greater clarity on the recent statement from the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia,” Marie-Pier Baril said. “Canada will always stand up for the protection of human rights, including women’s rights, and freedom of expression around the world. Our government will never hesitate to promote these values and believes that this dialogue is critical to international diplomacy.”

This crisis puts Prime Minister Justin Trudeau in a difficult position after his government approved a multi-billion dollar controversial arms trade deal involving hundreds of heavy weapons. He defended the deal earlier this year by saying the sale was in line with his country’s foreign and defense priorities.

Conversely, the Saudi over-the-top response to criticism comes as Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman continues to pitch his message of reforms in the Kingdom, including scaling back extremist rhetoric, cracking down on corruption, and allowing women in the country to begin to drive.

Bin Salman’s “reformist” message during a global tour earlier this year has been swallowed up whole by the Western establishment. Western governments have repeatedly pointed to the cosmetic reforms as the basis for increasing support for the Kingdom, and U.S. media and think tanks have tripped over each other fawning over his program.

While Saudi Arabia is not a considerable export partner for Canada, the United States is. How the Trump administration responds to the ongoing crisis could weigh heavily in the ongoing NAFTA renegotiations between the U.S. and Canada.

Certainly, threatening Canada with another 9/11 will not make the Saudis popular with most Americans.

11 Children Saved from Islamist Extremist Compound in New Mexico

Ryan Mauro, Director of the Clarion Intelligence Network & Shillman Fellow for the Clarion Project, discusses the raid on an Islamic extremist compound in New Mexico near the Colorado border that rescued 11 malnourished children. Mauro breaks new details about the story, including how the compound residents include family members of a radical imam in Brooklyn and the compound’s use as essentially a training camp. He explains that the Waco-like Islamist movements have existed in America since the 80’s and continue to focus on buying plots of land for establishing compounds/communes.

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Moms arrested after 11 children found in ‘filthy’ New Mexico compound with armed Muslim ‘extremists,’ cops say

The three mothers of the 11 malnourished children found living in a filthy New Mexico compound were arrested and charged Sunday along with two men described as armed Muslim “extremists” after authorities raided the property in search of a 4-year-old boy.

Jany Leveille, 35; Hujrah Wahhaj, 38, and Subhannah Wahha, 35, were arrested and charged with neglect and child abuse of the children. The three women, who were found at the compound in Amalia, initially refused to answer any questions.

Siraj Wahhaj, 39, and Lucas Morten also face child abuse charges.

Authorities raided the compound Friday as part of their search for 4-year-old Abdul-Ghani Wahhaj, who vanished last December. Abdul-Ghani’s mother reported her son missing after Wahhaj took the boy, who turned 4 on Monday, to the park in Clayton County, Ga., and didn’t return, The Albuquerque Journal reported. She added the boy suffers from a medical condition.

Officials didn’t find the 4-year-old at the makeshift compound, but discovered the children — ranging from ages 1 to 15 — living in what Taos County Sheriff Jerry Hogrefe described as “the ugliest looking, filthiest” living conditions he’s witnessed. He added that he only saw a few potatoes and a box of rice.

Hogrefe said authorities had conducted surveillance of the compound while looking for the missing boy before he decided Thursday to get a search warrant immediately after a Georgia investigator forwarded a message in which someone at the compound reportedly told another person that people at the compound were starving and needed water.

“The message sent to a third party simply said in part, ‘We are starving and need food and water,’” Hogrefe said. “I absolutely knew that we couldn’t wait on another agency to step up and we had to go check this out as soon as possible.”

Hogrefe said they found the “occupants were most likely heavily armed and considered extremist of the Muslim belief.”

When police arrived at the scene, Wahhaj was armed with an “AR-15 rifle, five loaded 30-round magazines, and four loaded pistols, including one in his pocket,” according to Hogrefe.

Police said Sunday they are still looking for Abdul-Ghani. Though the five adults refused to provide any information, investigators believe the boy was at the compound in recent weeks.

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Mr. President, Declassify Documents on Russia Collusion Now

The Spectator, by R. Emmett Tyrrel, Jr. July 18, 2018:

Now that FBI agent Peter Strzok has appeared before the Congress and told us nothing that we did not know, it is time for President Donald Trump to act. Strzok looked like a cocky crook testifying to Congress about a failed con job. His appearance was utterly astounding. He actually smirked at the assembled elected officials of government. He smirked from morning until late in the afternoon when the Congress finally adjourned, though admittedly by late in the afternoon the wind was pretty much out of his sails, and his smiling face most assuredly ached. He looked deflated, and if he was eager for anything it was for the exit and the arms of his FBI paramour Lisa Page.

His demeanor was not that of a stalwart FBI agent appearing before the Congress of the United States to inform the citizenry, but like that of John Gotti or one of the other hoods whom a better generation of FBI agents than Strzok’s once put behind bars.

At some point in the near future a reflective Congress might — in a bipartisan moment — investigate how the FBI became a tool of elitist interests in our nation’s capital. Then too the Congress could offer suggestions as to what can be done to repair the damage. For federal law enforcement to become so flagrantly political is genuinely alarming.

I think President Trump has subtly brought the left and the right in this country together, at least on one point. The time has come for the citizenry to see all the documents held by the government in the so-called Russian collusion scandal. Was there collusion? Who was involved? The President has it in his power to declassify the documents. Use your faithful weapon, Mr. President, your trusty black felt pen. Sign the declassifying order now.
Pressure is building from both ends of the spectrum. Last weekend the editorial page of the Wall Street Journal called for declassifying the documents. Strzok did tell his intrepid inquisitor, Congressman Jim Jordan, that over at the Justice Department one Bruce Ohr did serve as the quiet conveyor of opposition research from the Clinton front group Fusion GPS to the FBI. Oh yes, and Ohr’s wife worked for Fusion and, by the way, Ohr and perhaps a dozen others involved in this Camorra to discredit Trump go back years, many to their college days as young socialists at Cambridge and select American universities. That revelation means that as the Journal pointed out, “… Fusion, an outfit on the payroll of the Clinton campaign, had a messenger on the government payroll to deliver its anti-Trump documents to the FBI.” Confirming that, “the FBI relied on politically motivated sources as part of its probe, even as Mr. Strzok insists he showed no political bias….” Strzok is even more brazen than members of the Cosa Nostra.

Specifically the Journal called for the release of FISA applications. They will show how heavily the FBI relied on Christopher Steele’s dirty dossier. They will also show how candid the Justice Department and the FBI were in seeking the FISA subpoenas from the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court. The Journal also called for release of documents related to the Woods procedures, which will show how the FBI verified evidence it used to justify eavesdropping on the Trump campaign. There are also documents called 302s and 1023s, documents that would show how the FBI dealt with Steele, Fusion GPS, and other informants, for instance Dan Jones and my old friend Stef Halper.

I have my own set of questions about the Russian collusion investigation that might be answered if the President orders the above documents declassified. Working with my indefatigable chief investigator, George Neumayr, here are a few of the questions that we have prepared once President Trump has declassified the documents.

  • The President should declassify all communications between Strzok and John Brennan, President Barack Obama’s director of CIA. Their shared hatred for Trump lies at the root of the Obama administration’s decision to spy on the Trump campaign. Declassify the documents and let the questioning begin.
  • He should also declassify any documents that shed light on Brennan’s “working group at Langley.” When did the group begin its work? Who participated?
  • He should declassify any documents that shed light on the internal discussions or debates about whether or not to open up a probe of the Trump campaign: Did any FBI officials dissent from the decision? If so, who are the officials?
  • He should declassify any documents related to the Brennan-generated leak to then Senator Harry Reid. My guess is that Brennan has a lot of questions to answer as this week’s tweets suggest.

Strzok’s appearance before the Congress was very amusing. Now it is time to come up with answers to the question of Russian collusion or collusion by anyone else in the 2016 election. Mr. President, you can do it.

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“They are prosecuting people on a partisan basis, and that, is the beginning of tyranny”

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Diplomacy 101 Versus Politics Writ Small

Photo credit: Chris McGrath/Getty Images

American Greatness, by Angelo Codevilla, July 17, 2018:

The high professional quality of Donald Trump and Vladimir Putin’s performance at their Monday press conference in Helsinki contrasts sharply with the obloquy by which the bipartisan U.S. ruling class showcases its willful incompetence.

Though I voted for Trump, I’ve never been a fan of his and I am not one now. But, having taught diplomacy for many years, I would choose the Trump-Putin press conference as an exemplar of how these things should be done. Both spoke with the frankness and specificity of serious business. This performance rates an A+.

Both presidents started with the basic truth.

Putin: The Cold War is ancient history. Nobody in Russia (putting himself in this category) wants that kind of enmity again. It is best for Russia, for America, and for everybody else if the two find areas of agreement or forbearance.

Trump: Relations between the globe’s major nuclear powers have never been this bad—especially since some Americans are exacerbating existing international differences for domestic partisan gain. For the sake of peace and adjustment of differences where those exist and adjustment is possible, Trump is willing to pay a political cost to improve those relations (if, indeed further enraging his enemies is a cost rather than a benefit).

In short, this was a classic statement of diplomatic positions and a drawing of spheres of influence.

Flexibility and Inflexibility 
As Putin listed his agenda, he showed that today’s Russia is a status quo power, whose primary objective is stability. Having come to power over a country diminished and dispirited, he sought to recover as much as possible of what Russia had lost in the Soviet break-up. He forcibly took back parts of Georgia and Ukraine. In doing so, he pushed against open doors.

Today, no other doors are open. Now being ahead, he wants to stop the game. He knows that this is possible because nobody is going to wage or even risk war against Russia to try disgorging Abkhazia and Crimea. He wants Trump to acknowledge that. Warning against extending NATO to Ukraine and Georgia, he signaled that all else is negotiable.

He also has rebuilt Russia’s military and wants to protect its edge by persuading Trump to keep U.S. missile defense in its current dysfunctional mode. This is an inflexible demand that deserves an equally inflexible rejection. Trump had already delivered it by ordering the establishment of the U.S. Space Force.

By securing his naval and air bases in Syria, Putin succeeded in returning Russia to warm-water sea power. That required backing the Shia side in its intra-Muslim war against the Sunni in Syria, while the United States backed the other side. Today Iran, Syria, Iraq, and Turkey are much as Putin wants them. He wants Trump’s acknowledgment of this status. Russia continues to argue to Americans that both countries have suffered far more from Sunni terrorism—ISIS and the Muslim Brotherhood—than from the Shia version.

No Desire for War over Israel, Eastern Europe
The two made clear that their commitment to stability in the Middle East outweighs support for either side, and signaled wider cooperation, especially with on military matters.

Trump, leaving no doubt that America’s commitment to Israel’s security is absolute, faced Putin with the choice of partnering with America in restraining Iran or of being drawn into an Israeli-American war against an Iran with whose forces Russia’s are interwoven. Putin, for his part, seemed to concur with Trump’s priority. That along tripartite security consultations with Israel is likely to cool Iran and Hezbollah’s ardor for war.

Trump signaled that America’s interest in Eastern Europe lies in re-establishing peace there, and in safeguarding the independence of its states. Poland and the Baltic States are not just NATO members, but also close to the American people’s hearts. By stressing peace, he made clear that America does not intend to make its defensive commitments there the occasion for a war at or beyond the extreme reach of American power.

Collusion and the Known Facts
Though Russia has backed North Korea in the past, Putin signaled that he is not happy with its acquisition of a modern nuclear force that is effectively China’s pawn. He seemed to promise pressure on North Korea to denuclearize—something that would displease China. Though that was a minor part of both sides’ press conference, it may well signal both sides’ recognition of their mutual interest in not letting China become the Western Pacific’s overlord. Such an understanding would be no minor achievement.

The American ruling class’s attribution of the 2016 election to Trump-Putin collusion, which has characterized U.S.-Russia relations for two years, provided the press conference’s fireworks. Both denied any such thing and insisted there was no evidence of it. In response to a question about whether Putin would make available the 12 Russian state intelligence employees indicted for interference in that election to Special Counsel Robert Mueller, Putin pointed to the existence of a treaty of cooperation on criminal matters and promised Mueller that access to the accused through the treaty.

This led to the final flourish. The Associated Press reporter demanded that Trump state whether he believes the opinions of U.S. intelligence leaders or those of Putin. It would be healthy for America were it to digest Trump’s answer: The truth about the charge that Russia stole the contents of the Democratic National Committee’s computer server is not to be found in the opinions of any persons whatever. The truth can be discovered only by examining the server in question—assuming it has not been tampered with since the alleged event. But, said Trump emphatically, those making the accusations against Russia have refused to let the server be examined by U.S. intelligence or by any independent experts. What is the point of accusations coupled with refusal of access to the facts of the matter?

The classic texts of diplomatic practice teach that diplomacy advances the cause of peace and order only to the extent that its practitioners avoid contentious opinions and stick to demonstrable facts.

The AP reporter, who should be ashamed, is beyond shame. Then again, so are the ruling class representatives who have redoubled their animus against Trump. Cheap partisanship is not all that harmful. It is the transfer of domestic partisan animus to international affairs, however, that has the potential to start wars.

Not so long ago, American school kids had to read George Washington’s farewell address, which warned in the most emphatic terms at his command to avoid that sort of thing for the sake of peace with other nations as well as among ourselves.

What that ignorant “journalist” was demanding of Trump—precisely what the credentialed experts should know better than to have demanded—was that the president of the United States scream at the president of Russia for all his evils. Competitive “virtue signaling” has become the way of political life in America. To the extent that it bleeds into America’s foreign policy, we are all in big trouble.

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Religious Freedom? Or Oppression in the Name of Tolerance?

Citizen Warrior, July 14, 2018:

A reporter working for a newspaper in Sweden posed as a Muslim mother of a preschool-aged girl and called forty schools asking if the teachers would help make sure her daughter wore her headscarf at school. Two thirds of them said yes, and some even offered to take videos of the girl for proof of compliance.

A writer for a Swedish newspaper was rightfully outraged by this and made a very good argument against such compliance. The national curriculum for Sweden says that all preschools must be guided by the principles of “individual freedom, integrity, and gender equality.” The author wondered if making a girl wear a headscarf violates those principles since it is not merely a garment, but a “symbol of women’s submission to men.”

The writer insisted that Sweden needs to have a national conversation about “where the limits of religious freedom lie.”

And this, I thought, was the Swedish writer’s pithiest statement: We can’t allow “oppression in the name of tolerance.”

Absolutely. This is now a top issue in every free country, being forced to the top by the immigration of so many Muslims. Dealing with this issue, or even bringing it up, has been labeled “xenophobia.” But it isn’t foreigners in general, but followers of Islamic doctrine that are forcing us to resolve an important ethical conflict. The sooner we resolve it, the better.

You can read the article in The Week Magazine here: Stop Forcing Young Girls to Wear Veils.

5 Key Takeaways From The House Hearing With FBI Counterintelligence No. 2 Peter Strzok

Photo Washington Post / YouTube

Yesterday’s joint hearing in front of the House Judiciary and Oversight Committees was the first public hearing Congress held with the official who launched the Russia probe two years ago.

The Federalist, by Mollie Hemingway, July 13, 2018:

An embattled FBI official who led investigations into both Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump testified in a cantankerous open hearing on the Hill yesterday. Peter Strzok, formerly the second in command of the FBI’s Counterintelligence Division, lost his position after texts he exchanged on government systems with his also-married lover and colleague Lisa Page revealed extreme bias against President Trump and his voters.

Yesterday’s joint hearing in front of the House Judiciary and Oversight Committees was the first public hearing Congress held with the official who launched the Russia probe two years ago. Here are a few key takeaways from that hearing.

1. This Is What DOJ Obstruction Looks Like

The country is two years into the FBI’s probe of whether Donald Trump colluded with Russia to steal an election. Not a single charge has been brought by the FBI or by the Office of Special Counsel alleging collusion or treason or anything close to the charges that supposedly necessitated this investigation.

Congress began asking some questions of the FBI and Department of Justice about how it was conducting the investigation. Through the oversight process, Americans learned that the infamous “dossier” that laid out a case of collusion was secretly bought and paid for by the Hillary Clinton campaign and the Democratic National Committee. This dossier was used to secure wiretaps against Trump associates (other surveillance methods, including human informants, were also used).

The dossier was fed to both the FBI and State Department. Top intelligence officials were leaking about the Russia investigation to CNN and other media outlets. A top DOJ official’s wife worked for the firm that Hillary Clinton hired to run the “Russia” operation. That firm fed their opposition research to the FBI through him.

The Senate Judiciary and House Intelligence Committees, along with the Senate Homeland Security committee, House Oversight, and House Government Reform committees, have worked hard to uncover these details and in the face of unprecedented obstruction. Requests for documents are met with stonewalling, delays, redactions, leak campaigns, and outright refusals. Threats of subpoenas are routinely made to force even minor compliance.

Despite the length of yesterday’s hearing, congressional overseers were able to elicit almost no substantive answers to the questions they asked. Strzok claimed he was not answering questions because the Department of Justice told him not to answer questions. No matter the question, Strzok refused to answer any question about his role in the Russia probe, with almost no exceptions.

The hearing was a public revelation of the stonewalling and obstruction the DOJ has enforced against congressional oversight.

2. Strzok Somehow Came Off Even Worse Than He Did In His Texts

Despite his significant role in the Russia and Clinton investigations, the only picture Americans had formed of Strzok was based on his text messages. He spoke of his loathing of President Trump, Trump’s voters, and congressional oversight. He talked of stopping Trump’s election, of insurance policies to deal with his candidacy, and fantasies of impeachment.

The texts were between him and his also married colleague, another top-ranking official in the Department of Justice. The hearing demonstrated the texts were at best an accurate reflection of the man who wrote them. If anything, the texts were understated.

Strzok chose to present himself to the world as a smug, arrogant, and peevish man. He was defensive and condescending. His answers were almost mind-blowingly implausible. It wasn’t just that he lacked good judgment or even-handedness. It’s that he didn’t seem to have a grip on reality. He kept saying he wasn’t biased, when his bias is indisputable.

He told investigators that he would like to answer a question but that his attorneys weren’t letting him. If they later told him he could answer, he’d say he didn’t remember. He implausibly said that his affair didn’t put him at risk of compromise, in contrast to his agency’s policy.

3. Democrats Run Interference

Almost immediately, Democrats on the House and Government Reform Committee attempted to shut down the hearing. When that failed, they resorted to near-constant parliamentary inquiries and objections. At one point they actually cheered and applauded Strzok, despite his ethical failings and poor judgment, which have threatened the entire Russia investigation. The man is under internal investigation for his behavior. Yet one Democrat said he’d like to offer Strzok a Purple Heart, a military decoration awarded to those wounded or killed while serving in the U.S. military.

As silly as this behavior may seem, it indicated how Democrats hope to handle all oversight of the FBI and DOJ’s handling of the Russia probe. The message went out that every hearing will be a clown-show, even by the typical grandstanding attendant to congressional hearings. Democrats on oversight committees have fought transparency of the Russia investigation, portraying it as obstruction of a legitimate probe. All signs indicate that opposition to oversight will continue.

4. DOJ Clearly Hiding Its Relationship With Democratic-Funded Smear Group

The FBI and DOJ frequently instructed Strzok not to answer substantive questions from Republicans. One line of inquiry pursued by Rep. Jim Jordan, R-Ohio, was regarding communication between the FBI and Fusion GPS, the group that concocted the “Russia” dossier and messaging plan on behalf of Hillary Clinton and the Democratic National Committee. Strzok generally declined to answer questions.

But Strzok did admit that Bruce Ohr, husband of Fusion GPS operative Nellie Ohr, funneled documents to the FBI related to the Russia case. He refused to say what those documents were. Yesterday, Sen. Chuck Grassley asked DOJ to declassify the dozen reports summarizing Ohr’s 12 information-sharing meetings with the FBI.

The FBI used Fusion GPS-hired Christopher Steele until the end of October, when he was terminated for lying about his leaks to the media. But Fusion and Steele were able to continue funnelling information to the FBI using colleague Nellie Ohr and her husband Bruce Ohr, a top DOJ official who worked closely with acting Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein.

When the Russia story first broke, Americans didn’t realize that the dossier was a secret Clinton/DNC operation, or that the unverified opposition research was sent to various Obama officials in multiple agencies. Americans didn’t know that a top DOJ official was married to an employee of the group that created the dossier, or that he was used to get information into the government.

5. The Mystery Of Why The Investigation Started

Strzok said he didn’t see the dossier until mid-September. His electronic communication that started the probe didn’t include official intelligence. Given the politically explosive nature of the investigation, the FBI and DOJ have failed to explain what they were thinking in starting a probe of the Trump campaign.

The entire investigation has major problems from start to finish, whether it’s the use of a dossier that Steele created and Bruce Ohr sent to the FBI, or the fact that Strzok ended up having to be removed from the investigation for his obvious and extreme bias. Strzok said Mueller never asked him about his texts, and didn’t seek to find out more from him about what his “insurance policy” or “impeachment” rhetoric meant.

Again, the hearing was less than substantive because of the ongoing obstruction and stonewalling campaign engaged in by DOJ. That was itself instructive.

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