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April 04, 2018

Byron York: The Mueller Investigation Undermines the Rule of Law


He bases this assessment on three points:

First, the Democrats pushed the idea that Trump and/or Flynn violated the Logan Act, a 1799 Act which has never once been used to successfully prosecute anyone, and which has not even been used to try to prosecute someone since the 1800s. This is probably because it's unconstitutional and stupid.

But the Deep State used "possible Logan Act violations" as a pretext to launch an investigation into Michael Flynn.

When intelligence intercepts picked up Michael Flynn, the new national security adviser, talking to the Russian ambassador in late December, the Obama Justice Department saw that as a possible violation of the Logan Act. (It wasn't; many foreign policy experts saw nothing wrong with that.)

Nevertheless, four days into the Trump administration, Sally Yates, the Obama holdover leading the Justice Department, sent agents to the White House to question Flynn, ostensibly on the suspicion that he might have violated the Logan Act. (She also said she was worried that Flynn might be subject to blackmail, which seemed at least as dubious as a Logan Act violation.)

It was that interview that ultimately resulted in Flynn pleading guilty to one count of lying to the FBI.

Second, the Deep State used Hillary opposition research, collected from paid Russian government/KGB sources, as a pretext for a FISA warrant into Carter Page (which in turn gave the Deep State power to surveil all Trump personnel, using the the three-hop rule (three hops away from the actual named target)), and hid the provenance of this document from the FISA judge from whom it tricked the warrant.

Finally: Without quite saying so, York suggests what I have long held-- the "briefing" of Trump about the dossier was itself a pretext to make the dossier, which had previously been passed on by media outlets despite the Hillary campaign's efforts to get them to report it, newsworthy.

The entire "briefing" was a sham -- it was not a briefing for Trump, but a briefing for CNN, because the briefing was only set up with the explicit intention of having its existence be leaked immediately to CNN, and get the dossier mentioned in the media.

Trump learned nothing from this "briefing" -- but the conspirators made sure their media pals learned a bunch.

Now fast forward to the transition. In early January 2017, intelligence chiefs James Comey, John Brennan, Mike Rogers, and James Clapper traveled to Trump Tower to brief the president-elect on Russian efforts to interfere with the 2016 campaign.

After the briefing, by a plan they devised earlier, three of them left the room, leaving Comey alone with Trump. Comey gave Trump a summary of the dossier, including the Moscow sex scene.

Imagine that. The very first time the incoming president met the FBI director face to face, the FBI's message was: We know about you and those hookers in Moscow.

In their new book Russian Roulette, authors Michael Isikoff and David Corn report Trump thought the FBI was blackmailing him:

"Trump had seen this sort of thing before," they write. "Certainly, his old mentor Roy Cohn — the notorious fixer for mobsters and crooked pols — knew how this worked. So too did Comey's famous predecessor J. Edgar Hoover, who had quietly let it be known to politicians and celebrities that he possessed information that could destroy their careers in a New York minute."

The intel chiefs' briefing of Trump soon leaked to the media. And the fact that top officials had seen fit to tell the incoming president about the dossier made it a legitimate news story. Within hours, BuzzFeed published the entire dossier on the Internet.

As Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., said as all this was happening: "You take on the intelligence community, they have six ways from Sunday of getting back at you."

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posted by Ace of Spades at 07:52 PM

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