James Comey

The Pronk Pops Show 1375, December 13, 2019, Story 1: House Judiciary Committee 21 Democrats Vote For Impeachment and 17 Republicans Vote Against Impeachment of President Trump — Videos — Story 2: Congress Will Pass Budget Busting Omnibus Bill — Vote Democrats and Republicans Who Vote For Omnibus Spending Bill Out of Office For Financial Irresponsibility –Trump Must Veto Bill or Lose Support of Independents — Fiscal Year 2020 Budget Deficit Will Exceed $1,000 Billion — Videos

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Story 1: House Judiciary Committee 21 Democrats Vote For Impeachment and 17 Republicans Vote Against Impeachment of President Trump — Videos

Real Abuse of Power — Obama Administration

Bartiromo on FISA abuse: The lies are real, people will be prosecuted

Fitton accuses Comey of ‘directly’ spying on Trump

Brit Hume on Comey’s role in FISA misconduct

Trey Gowdy: Comey has lost his mind

Gaetz: Voting out Dems in 2020 is only way to ‘rebuild Congress’

Trish Regan: Comey should be held accountable

Tucker: Impeachment is a terrible idea for the country

No Abuse of Power — No Crime — Trump Administration

Ted Cruz lays out impeachment trial in the Senate

FIRED UP: Debbie Lesko says there’s NO PROOF Trump committed any impeachable offense

Collins on Senate denying Dem witnesses: ‘Welcome to the club, Mr. Schumer’

Doug Collins: Schiff, Pelosi, Nadler are acting like ‘petulant children’

RAILROADED: Doug Collins GOES OFF On Impeachment “Witch Hunt”

Gaetz on impeachment: Dems failed to meet the standards they set

Tomi Lahren rips impeachment push: Americans are ‘fed up’

House GOP speak after debating Trump articles of impeachment

The Five’ on Trump’s blistering letter to Pelosi

‘The Five’ breaks down the historic Trump impeachment debate

Giuliani admits to forcing out Yovanovitch: ‘She’s corrupt’

Steyn: Only proof Trump stole 2016 election is that he won it

PBS NewsHour West live episode, Dec 13, 2019

Ted Cruz lays out impeachment trial in the Senate

Trump approval rises, support for impeachment drops in new poll

A new poll released hours before the Democratic-controlled House of Representatives was poised to impeach President Trump indicates that by a slight 51-45 percent majority, Americans oppose removing the president from office.

The survey – released Wednesday morning by Gallup – also points to a drop in support for impeachment from October, when the inquiry into Trump got underway. At that time, according to Gallup, Americans supported impeachment by a 52-46 margin. And the poll, which was conducted Dec. 2-15, indicates that the Republican incumbent’s approval rating has edged up the past two months – from 39 percent in October to 45 percent now – as the House held blockbuster public hearings.

FOX NEWS POLL: TRUMP APPROVAL RATING TICKS UP AS IMPEACHMENT VIEWS REMAIN STEADY

The Gallup survey is one of seven live telephone operator national polls on impeachment that were conducted this month and released starting on Sunday. Some of the surveys indicate a slight deterioration in support for impeachment since October, with the others showing that support and opposition have remained mostly static.

The president, though, has played up the polls heavily, tweeting Friday that “Poll numbers have gone through the roof in favor of No Impeachment.”

While all the surveys indicate a deep partisan divide between Democrats and Republicans over impeachment, most of the polls suggest that a majority of independent voters oppose booting Trump from the White House.

Surveys from Quinnipiac University, Gallup, PBS/NPR/Marist, and USA Today/Suffolk University all point to a majority of independents opposed to impeaching and removing the president from office. Polls from Fox News and CNN indicate that independents are evenly divided.

And the polls also spotlight a gender divide – with majorities of men opposing and women supporting – on impeaching and removing Trump from the White House.

The surveys also show an uptick in the president’s approval rating from October to December.

THE LATEST FROM FOX NEWS ON THE TRUMP IMPEACHMENT

The president faces two articles of impeachment – that he abused the powers of his office and that he obstructed Congress as it investigated him. Impeachment by the Democratic majority in the House would trigger a Senate trial, which would likely be held in January. The GOP-controlled Senate is expected to acquit Trump.

The president’s facing impeachment over his July 25 call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky in which he urged Zelensky to investigate former Vice President Joe Biden and his son Hunter over their dealings in the eastern European country. Biden is one of the top Democratic 2020 presidential contenders hoping to challenge Trump in next year’s election. Fueled by whistleblower complaints, a transcript of the call released by the White House, and testimony by witnesses in the inquiry, Democrats say that the president was asking a foreign country to potentially interfere in a U.S. election.

Adding to the controversy was the fact that before that phone call, millions in U.S. military aid to Ukraine was put on hold. Despite allegations that the president was using that money as leverage, Trump has repeatedly insisted that he did nothing wrong. He’s said there was no “quid pro quo” and has on numerous occasions described his conversation with the Ukrainian leader as “perfect.”

On Monday morning, the president took to Twitter to call the Democrats’ impeachment push the “greatest con job in the history of American politics!”

On the eve of his impeachment by the House, President Donald Trump sent a blistering letter to Speaker Nancy Pelosi — airing his grievances with her and the broader Democratic Party while insisting that the actions taken on Wednesday will doom her to the dustbin of history.

I went through the letter — which, from its first words, you can tell has the President’s rhetorical fingerprints all over it — and highlighted some of the most, uh, important lines. They’re below.

The 30 most blistering lines from Donald Trump’s unhinged letter to Nancy Pelosi

THE POINT — NOW ON YOUTUBE!

In each episode of his weekly YouTube show, Chris Cillizza will delve a little deeper into the surreal world of politics. Click to subscribe!

1. “This impeachment represents an unprecedented and unconstitutional abuse of power by Democrat Lawmakers, unequaled in nearly two and a half centuries of American legislative history.”
So, two things. One, impeachment is built into the Constitution and two past presidents have been impeached by the House. Two, it’s “Democratic lawmakers” not “Democrat Lawmakers.” And away we go!
2. “You have cheapened the importance of the very ugly word, impeachment!”
Like I said: You can clearly see Trump’s involvement in the letter.
3. “By proceeding with your invalid impeachment, you are violating your oaths of office, you are breaking your allegiance to the Constitution, and you are declaring open war on American Democracy.”
Wow. Lot to unpack here. Whether or not Trump likes it, the House is tasked with carrying out impeachment if a majority of members believe it is warranted. So, it’s not “invalid.” As for “declaring open war on American Democracy,” well, Trump never pretended to be understated.
4. “You dare to invoke the Founding Fathers in pursuit of this election-nullification scheme?”
There’s almost never a good time for the “how dare you?” construction.
5. “Even worse than offending the Founding Fathers, you are offending Americans of faith by continually saying you pray for the President when you know this statement is not true, unless it is meant in a negative sense.”
WHOA BOY. So, Trump knows Pelosi doesn’t actually pray for him? How? Did he someone eavesdrop on her prayers? Also, what is the “negative sense” of praying? I spent more time than I’d like to admit thinking about this and decided that Trump is suggesting that if Pelosi prays for him, it’s for his demise. I think.
6. “It is a terrible thing you are doing, but you will have to live with it, not I!”
Nothing is ever Trump’s fault. Ever.
7. “Fortunately, there was a transcript of the conversation taken, and you know from the transcript (which was immediately made available) that the paragraph in question was perfect.”
What would a perfect paragraph look like? Do we even know? Anywho, here are 4 facts from that July 25 phone call between Trump and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky: a) Trump tells Zelensky that the US does a lot for Ukraine b)Trump reminds Zelensky that Ukraine doesn’t reciprocate c) Trump asks Zelensky for a favor: to look into a debunked conspiracy theory that the hacked Democratic National Committee server is in Ukraine and d) Trump asks Zelensky to look into Joe and Hunter Biden. To my mind, the White House transcript of that call reads more like a smoking gun than an exoneration.
8. “I said to President Zelensky: would like you to do us a favor, though, because our country has been through a lot and Ukraine knows a lot about it? I said do us a favor, not me and our country, not a campaign.”
Trump didn’t start making this “me” versus “us” argument until the past few weeks. But even putting that aside, the two things he asks of Zelensky (whereabouts of DNC server and investigation into the Biden) were not mentioned at all in Trump’s notes for the call, which were supposed to focus, generally speaking, on the country’s corruption problems.
9. “You are turning a policy disagreement between two branches of government into an impeachable offense.”
At issue is not the separation of powers or even really a disagreement. The issue is whether a president can ask a foreign country to investigate one of his potential political rivals. And, even if he can do it, should he?
10. “You know full well that Vice President Biden used his office and $1 billion dollars of US aid money to coerce Ukraine into firing the prosecutor who was digging into the company paying his son millions of dollars.”
Reminder: Biden called for the firing of Ukraine’s top prosecutor as part of an international coalition designed to address corruption in the country. There is no evidence of any wrongdoing in Ukraine by Joe or his son Hunter Biden.
11. “Now you are trying to impeach me by falsely accusing me of doing what Joe Biden has admitted he actually did.”
Apples and oranges here. Again, Biden called for the firing of the prosecutor as part of a coordinated — and transparent — strategy to address corruption in Ukraine. Trump got on the phone with the Ukrainian president and, contrary to the notes prepared for him in advance of the meeting, freelanced to ask him to investigate one of his main rivals for the GOP nomination.
12. “President Zelensky has repeatedly declared that I did nothing wrong, and that there was ‘No Pressure.'”
Zelensky is no dummy! He knows he needs future aid from the US in order to fight the Russians at his borders. Given that, why would he piss Trump off by saying he felt pressure? Also, not for nothing: Why is “No Pressure” capitalized?
13. “Ambassador Sondland testified that I told him: ‘No quid pro quo. I want nothing. I want nothing. I want President Zelensky to do the right thing, do what he ran on.'”
Yes, Trump did tell US Ambassador to the European Union Gordon Sondland that. After the White House had been made aware that Congress was looking into the withholding of military aid. So….
14. “Your chosen candidate lost the election in 2016, in an Electoral College landslide (306-227), and you and your party have never recovered from this defeat.”
The 2016 election ended 1,134 days ago.
15. “You have developed a full-fledged case of what many in the media call Trump Derangement Syndrome and sadly, you will never get over it!”
An incurable case of TDS??? Call the CDC, STAT.
16. “You view democracy as your enemy!”
Just a reminder here: This is the President of the United States, on official White House stationery, telling the Speaker of the House that she believes democracy is the “enemy.” Very normal! Nothing to see here!
17. “As you know very well, this impeachment drive has nothing to do with Ukraine, or the totally appropriate conversation I had with its new president.”
Wait. Is this the “perfect” conversation? Or are we referring to another “totally appropriate” conversation here? Either way, Trump did nothing wrong! Ever!
18. “Congressman Adam Schiff cheated and lied all the way up to the present day, even going so far as to fraudulently make up, out of thin air, my conversation with President Zelensky of Ukraine and read this fantasy language to Congress as though it were said by me.”
This claim, which Trump repeats constantly, makes me insane. Because it’s just wrong. Here’s what Schiff said before paraphrasing what was in the July 25 phone call: “In not so many words, this is the essence of what the President communicates.” He literally makes clear that he is paraphrasing Trump, not directly quoting him. Why is this a thing???
19. “You conducted a fake investigation upon the democratically elected President of the United States, and you are doing it yet again.”
To be clear: Pelosi had zero to do with the special counsel investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election. That was the Justice Department under Trump. Also, that investigation wasn’t “fake” — it led to a number of arrests and prison sentences, not to mention documenting the deep and broad efforts of the Russian government to meddle in the 2016 election to help Trump and hurt Hillary Clinton.
20. “And by the way, when I speak to foreign countries, there are many people, with permission, listening to the call on both sides of the conversation.”
Again, Trump misses the point here. The issue is not that other people were listening. The issue is what he told Zelensky — even with people listening! If he talks like that when he knows people are on the line, how does he talk on the sidelines of summits and the like when there are far less staff nearby?
21. “You are the ones interfering in America’s elections. You are the ones subverting America’s Democracy.”
I am rubber and you are glue. Whatever you say bounces off me and sticks to you.
22. “If you truly cared about freedom and liberty for our Nation, then you would be devoting your vast investigative resources to exposing the full truth concerning the horrifying abuses of power before, during, and after the 2016 election — including the use of spies against my campaign.”
There has never been a shred of evidence that spies were used against Trump’s campaign. In fact, in the report released by Justice Department Inspector General Michael Horowitz earlier this month, it’s made quite clear there is zero evidence of spies being sicced on the Trump campaign.
23. “Any member of Congress who votes in support of impeachment against every shred of truth, fact, evidence, and legal principle, is showing how deeply they revile the voters and how truly they detest America’s Constitutional order.”
“Detest America’s Constitutional order”? Really?
24. “In other words, once the phone call was made public, your whole plot blew up, but that didn’t stop you from continuing.”
As I wrote at the time, the transcript of the July 25 phone call is pretty damn close to a smoking gun against Trump.
25. “More due process was afforded to those accused in the Salem Witch Trials.”
Uh, paging John Proctor
26. “This is nothing more than an illegal, partisan attempted coup that will, based on recent sentiment, badly fail at the voting booth.”
Definitely not illegal! Or a coup!
27. “Your legacy will be that of turning the House of Representatives from a revered legislative body into a Star Chamber of partisan persecution.”
Not to be a contrarian here, but pretty sure that no matter what happens with impeachment, Pelosi’s legacy will be as the first female Speaker of the House.
28. “You apparently have so little respect for the American People that you expect them to believe that you are approaching this impeachment somberly, reservedly, and reluctantly. No intelligent person believes what you are saying.”
Really? And how did Trump learn to glean people’s “real” motives? Is that some sort device you can buy on Amazon? If so, send me a link!
29. “I write this letter to you for the purpose of history and to put my thoughts on a permanent and indelible record.”
“This will go down on your permanent record.” — The Violent Femmes
30. “One hundred years from now, when people look back at this affair, I want them to understand it, and learn from it, so that it can never happen to another President again.”
Yeah, this feels like a good place to end.

 

Story 2: Congress Will Pass Budget Busting Omnibus Bill — Vote Democrats and Republicans Who Vote For Omnibus Spending Bill Out of Office For Financial Irresponsibility –Trump Must Veto Bill or Lose Support of Independents — Fiscal Year 2020 Budget Deficit Will Exceed $1,000 Billion — Videos

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Breaking down the House’s massive government spending bill

House passes nearly $1.4 trillion spending bill, avoids govt shutdown

USA: House approves $1.4 trillion spending bill to avoid govt shutdown

House passes $1.4 trillion federal spending bill

Sec. Mnuchin testifies before a Senate Appropriations subcommittee on the 2020 budget (FULL)

Funding the Government: The Budget Process and Omnibus Spending Bills [Article I Initiative]

House approves $1.4 trillion spending bill, repealing ObamaCare taxes

The Democratic-controlled House on Tuesday approved a $1.4 trillion federal spending bill to avoid a government shutdown that includes funding for President Trump’s border wall, strips ObamaCare taxes, raises the minimum age for buying tobacco products and gives Democrats increases for a variety of other domestic programs.

The House – as it prepares to vote on articles of impeachment against President Trump – approved all 12 spending bills. They now go to the Senate to sync up later this week.

TRUMP TELLS PELOSI IN BLISTERING LETTER THAT DEMS HAVE ‘CHEAPENED THE IMPORTANCE’ OF IMPEACHMENT

“I am proud that we were able to come together, negotiate our differences, and reach a bipartisan agreement that makes investments to strengthen our nation and give every American a better chance at a better life,” said New York Democratic Rep. Nita Lowey, the chairwoman of the House Appropriations Committee.

The deadline to fund the government is Dec 20. These bills would fund the government for the rest of fiscal 2020, through Sept 30.

The hard-fought legislation also funds a record Pentagon budget and is serving as a must-pass legislative locomotive to tow an unusually large haul of unrelated provisions into law, including an expensive repeal of Obama-era taxes on high-cost health plans, help for retired coal miners, and an increase from 18 to 21 for the nationwide legal age to buy tobacco products.

The White House said Tuesday that Trump will sign the measure.

“The president is poised to sign it and to keep the government open,” said top White House adviser Kellyanne Conway.

CLICK HERE TO GET THE FOX NEWS APP

The roster of add-ons grew over the weekend to include permanent repeal of a tax on high-cost “Cadillac” health insurance benefits and a hard-won provision to finance health care and pension benefits for about 100,000 retired union coal miners threatened by the insolvency of their pension fund. A tax on medical devices and health insurance plans would also be repealed permanently.

The deficit tab for the package grew as well with the addition of $428 billion in tax cuts over 10 years to repeal the three so-called ObamaCare taxes.

The legislation is laced with provisions reflecting divided power in Washington. Republicans maintained the status quo on several abortion-related battles and on funding for Trump’s border wall. Democrats controlling the House succeeded in winning a 3.1 percent raise for federal civilian employees and the first installment of funding on gun violence research after more than two decades of gun lobby opposition.

Meanwhile on Tuesday, the Democrat-led House Rules Committee on Tuesday dove into a marathon session to prepare the ground rules for what is likely to be a furious showdown vote on the House floor to adopt articles of impeachment against Trump.

The panel’s meeting lays the procedural groundwork for the House debate on Wednesday, outlining the timetable and other factors for the historic and divisive moment in Washington.

https://www.foxnews.com/politics/house-approves-1-4-trillion-spending-bill-avoiding-government-shutdown

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The Pronk Pops Show 1374: December 13, 2019, Part 2 of 2: Story 1: Real Abuse of Power — 17 Major Errors, Mistakes and Omissions — Mislead The Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act Court —  Clinton Obama Democrat Criminal Conspiracy Revealed — Big Lie Media Lied to American People and Still Lying —  Videos — Story 2: House Judiciary Committee Passes Two Articles of Impeachment Against President Trump — Abuse of Power and Obstruction of Congress in Partisan 23 Democrats Vote Yes and 17 Republican Vote No — No Crime — No Evidence — No Sense — Not Guilty Videos –Story 3: House Minority Leader McCarthy on Impeachment — Videos

Posted on December 16, 2019. Filed under: 2020 Democrat Candidates, 2020 President Candidates, 2020 Republican Candidates, Addiction, Addiction, American History, Banking System, Barack H. Obama, Bill Clinton, Blogroll, Breaking News, Budgetary Policy, Cartoons, Central Intelligence Agency, Clinton Obama Democrat Criminal Conspiracy, Communications, Congress, Constitutional Law, Corruption, Countries, Crime, Culture, Deep State, Donald J. Trump, Donald J. Trump, Donald J. Trump, Donald Trump, Economics, Education, Elections, Empires, Employment, Energy, Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and Department of Justice (DOJ), Federal Government, Fifth Amendment, First Amendment, Fiscal Policy, Foreign Policy, Former President Barack Obama, Fourth Amendment, Fraud, Freedom of Speech, Government, Government Dependency, Government Spending, Hate Speech, Health, High Crimes, Hillary Clinton, Hillary Clinton, Hillary Clinton, History, House of Representatives, Human, Human Behavior, Illegal Immigration, Immigration, Independence, James Comey, Joe Biden, Killing, Labor Economics, Language, Law, Legal Immigration, Life, Liquid Natural Gas (LNG), Lying, Media, Military Spending, Monetary Policy, National Interest, News, Obama, People, Philosophy, Photos, Politics, Polls, President Barack Obama, President Trump, Prime Minister, Progressives, Public Corruption, Radio, Raymond Thomas Pronk, Resources, Robert S. Mueller III, Scandals, Second Amendment, Security, Spying, Spying on American People, Subornation of perjury, Subversion, Success, Surveillance/Spying, Tax Fraud, Tax Policy, Taxation, Taxes, Ted Cruz, Terror, Terrorism, Treason, Trump Surveillance/Spying, United Kingdom, United States Constitution, United States of America, Videos, War, Wealth, Weapons, Welfare Spending, Wisdom | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

 

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Story 1: Real Abuse of Power — 17 Major Errors, Mistakes and Omissions — Mislead The Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act Court —  Clinton Obama Democrat Criminal Conspiracy Revealed — Big Lie Media Lied to American People and Still Lying —  Videos

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FISA ISSUES: IG Michael Horowitz Outlines BIAS Against President Trump

Lindsey Graham rips FBI over Russia probe: full video

FBI EXPOSED: Lindsey Graham DETAILS Massive FBI Bias Against President Trump

Full Interview: Barr Criticizes Inspector General Report On The Russia Investigation | NBC News

Cruz on spying: This wasn’t Jason Bourne, this was ‘Beavis and Butt-head

The Five’ breaks down IG report hearing’s biggest bombshells

Graham sends warning to FBI officials responsible for FISA abuse

Tucker: Media silent on the lies they spread

IG report hearing part 1: Lindsey Graham’s opening statement

IG report hearing part 2: Dianne Feinstein’s opening statement

IG report hearing part 3: Michael Horowitz’s opening statement

IG report hearing part 4: Lindsey Graham questions Michael Horowitz

IG report hearing part 5: Dianne Feinstein, Patrick Leahy question Michael Horowitz

IG report hearing part 6: Chuck Grassley, Patrick Leahy question Michael Horowitz

IG report hearing part 7: Senators question Michael Horowitz

IG report hearing part 8: Senators continue to question Michael Horowitz

PART 1: Inspector General FISA Investigation President Trump – Senate Hearing

PART 2: Inspector General FISA Investigation President Trump – Senate Hearing

Justice Department Inspector General Horowitz Testifies to Senate | NowThis

3 of the spies Obama used to set up Trump! 

Obama’s CIA chief and FBI director used spies (Joseph Mifsud, Alexander Downer, Stefan Halper) in an attempt to infiltrate Trump’s campaign through Papadopoulos and others to help set up the Russian collusion probe. Why wasn’t any of this mentioned in the Mueller Report?

Spy vs. Spy: Operation Boomerang has begun! 🕵 Pt 2 of 2 (5/3/2019)

Key source in Russia probe has Clinton connection

Australian diplomat that prompted Russia probe linked to Clintons

Mark Humphries reveals the Alexander Downer plot to bring down Donald Trump | 7.30

Alexander Downer has put Australia in a diabolical position’

IG’s Report Reveals 4 Spurious Allegations as Basis for FBI Spying on Trump Campaign Aide

Dec 12th, 2019

Commentary By

Hans A. von Spakovsky@HvonSpakovsky

Election Law Reform Initiative and Senior Legal Fellow

John Malcolm@malcolm_john

Vice President, Institute for Constitutional Government

Charles “Cully” Stimson@cullystimson

Senior Legal Fellow & Manager, National Security Law Program

KEY TAKEAWAYS

Horowitz’s report exposes 17 flagrant errors, omissions, and misstatements in the four FISA applications related to Page, any one of which is inexcusable.

The fact that the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act was apparently misused to target a presidential campaign is shocking.

It seems reasonable to conclude that this unprecedented FBI intelligence operation against a presidential campaign should never have been opened in the first place.

A shocking report by the Justice Department’s inspector general lays bare the FBI’s “serious performance failures” in conducting a counterintelligence operation in 2016 against the Trump campaign.

Inspector General Michael Horowitz’s 434-page report details numerous mistakes, errors, and omissions by FBI personnel in four applications for special warrants to spy on Trump campaign aide Carter Page under the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act.

Horowitz released his long-awaited report Monday on the FBI’s four applications for the FISA warrants to conduct electronic eavesdropping on Page as part of the bureau’s investigation into potential collusion between the Russian government and members of the Trump campaign.

Get exclusive insider information from Heritage experts delivered straight to your inbox each week. Subscribe to The Agenda >>

Horowitz’s report says he did not find any “documentary or testimonial evidence” that political bias influenced the FBI’s decision to seek authority to surveil Page in Operation Crossfire Hurricane, the code name the FBI gave to the investigation.

The Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court considers applications by the U.S. government for approval of electronic surveillance, physical search, and other forms of investigative actions for foreign intelligence purposes. The court’s proceedings are secret, and the federal judges that sit on the court are appointed by the chief justice of the Supreme Court.

Because the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act is such a powerful tool and given the potential for abuse, FBI policy mandates that case agents ensure that all factual statements in an application for a FISA warrant be “scrupulously accurate”—an understandably high bar.

Yet Horowitz’s report exposes 17 flagrant errors, omissions, and misstatements in the four FISA applications related to Page, any one of which is inexcusable.

In fact, those mistakes, errors, and omissions were so serious that we have serious doubts as to whether any of the four FISA court judges would have approved any of the warrant applications in the first place, had they been provided the full and complete information in the hands of the FBI.

Flashback to Russia’s Meddling in 2016 Campaign

Before getting into the devastating findings of the IG report, it is important to step back and think about what was happening in 2016.

According to special counsel Robert Mueller’s report, the Russian government “interfered in the 2016 presidential election in sweeping and systemic fashion.”  By mid-2016, the Russian operations began to surface.

That June, the Democratic National Committee announced that Russian hackers had compromised the party’s computer network. Releases of hacked materials via WikiLeaks began that same month. WikiLeaks released additional materials in July, October, and November.

In July 2016, an official with a foreign government, reported to be Alexander Downer, the Australian high commissioner to the United Kingdom at the time, contacted the FBI about a conversation he had at a bar two months beforehand with Trump campaign adviser George Papadopoulos.

Downer claimed that Papadopoulos “suggested” that the Trump campaign had received “some kind of suggestions” from the Russian government that it could assist the Trump campaign by releasing damaging information against rival Hillary Clinton. Pretty vague stuff.

So in 2016, our government and our FBI knew that Russia was trying to interfere with our presidential election, and that, quite possibly, the Russians were in contact with a member of the Trump campaign. Rather than providing a defensive briefing to high-level members of the Trump campaign about this innuendo of an innuendo, the FBI opted to initiate a full-blown investigation of members of the campaign whom it thought might be implicated, including Page, who has said he never met Donald Trump.

Embarking down the path of investigating the campaign of a major party’s candidate for president is, of course, a momentous and potentially perilous undertaking. If there were ever a time for the FBI director, and senior members of his inner circle, to take personal ownership of a case and abide by and exceed the “scrupulously accurate” standard for FISA applications, that was the time.

But that didn’t happen. In fact, the opposite happened, as Horowitz makes clear in his report. This was a monumental failure by then-FBI Director James Comey and his subordinates.

The 4 Disputed ‘Facts’ in the Steele ‘Dossier’ Targeting Trump

At the center of the four FISA applications targeting Page was opposition research work done by Christopher Steele—a former British intelligence officer who had previously provided information to the FBI—at the behest of Fusion GPS, a research and intelligence company that was acting on behalf of the Clinton campaign.

The so-called Steele dossier was actually a series of reports provided directly to the FBI by Steele beginning in September 2016. After the FBI officially terminated Steele as an approved “confidential source,” the reports were provided through Bruce Ohr, a high-ranking Justice Department official, whose wife worked for Fusion GPS. Ohr continued to meet with Steele and pass along information from him to the FBI, in violation of departmental policy.

The information that Steele provided clearly implicated the Trump campaign in illegal activity with the Russians to interfere in the 2016 election. But was it accurate? According to the inspector general, the Steele dossier played a “central and essential role in the FBI’s and [Justice] Department’s decision to seek the FISA order.”  And it’s easy to see how.

Although the FBI considered filing an application after receiving the information from Downer in July, FBI attorneys declined to do so because they did not believe that the requisite “probable cause” existed to justify issuing a FISA warrant. According to FBI officials, the information they received from Steele in September “pushed [the FISA proposal] over the line,” and they applied for the warrant.

Critical to the application was the explosive allegation that Page was coordinating with the Russian government on 2016 presidential election activities, and was, therefore, acting as a foreign agent. For this, the FBI “relied entirely” on four “facts” that Steele had reported:

1. The Russians had been compiling information about Hillary Clinton for years and had been feeding that information to the Trump campaign for an extended period of time.

2. During a trip to Moscow in July 2016, Page met with the head of a Russian energy conglomerate (Igor Sechin) and a highly placed Russian official (Igor Divyekin) to discuss sharing derogatory information about Clinton with the Trump campaign in exchange for future cooperation and the lifting of Ukraine-related U.S. sanctions against Russia.

3. Page was an intermediary between Russia and Paul Manafort, chairman of the Trump campaign from June to August 2016, as part of a “well-developed conspiracy” of cooperation that led to Russia disclosing hacked Democratic National Committee emails via WikiLeaks and to the campaign’s decision to “sideline” Russian intervention in Ukraine as a campaign issue.

4. Russia’s release of the DNC emails was designed to help the Trump campaign and was “an objective conceived and promoted by Page.”

As it is, the FBI had in its possession, or would shortly obtain, information undercutting all four of these allegations, which the FBI never brought to the attention of the FISA court in its original application against Page or in any of the three applications to renew surveillance.

IG Identifies 7 ‘Significant Inaccuracies and Omissions’ by FBI

Horowitz’s report says he found seven “significant inaccuracies and omissions”—glaring errors, really—in the first FISA application to surveil Page.

First, the FBI failed to inform the FISA court that it had been notified by another government agency (presumably within the intelligence community) that Page had provided information to that agency (and to the FBI) about some of his contacts with Russian intelligence agents and had been approved to have “operational contact” with those Russian agents.

In other words, the very contacts that the FBI cited in the FISA application to establish that Page was really a clandestine foreign agent were known to and had been approved by another U.S. intelligence agency.  The IG report also states that an FBI lawyer—reported to be Kevin Clinesmith—subsequently altered a document he received from the other agency to indicate, falsely, that Page was not a source for that other agency.

Second, to bolster Steele’s credibility, the application stated that his prior reporting had been “corroborated and used in criminal proceedings.” But in fact, most of that information had not been corroborated, and none of it had  been used in a criminal proceeding.

Third, while Steele informed the FBI that the critical information he was reporting about Page came from a “sub-source,” the FISA application left out the fact that Steele described this source as a “boaster” and an “egoist” who “may engage in some embellishment.”

Fourth, to bolster Steele’s credibility, the FISA application stated that some of the information that Steele reported had appeared in an article in Yahoo News, and that Steele was not the source for that story. This implied that somebody else had the same information Steele had and could serve as independent corroboration. However, it turns out that Steele was the source for that story, and that the FBI either knew it or easily could have learned it.

Fifth, the FISA application included the information that the FBI had received from Downer about his conversation with Papadopoulos. But it did not include the fact that during a subsequent secretly recorded conversation in September with an FBI confidential source, Papadopoulos explicitly denied that anyone associated with the Trump campaign was collaborating with the Russians or any other outside group, including WikiLeaks, with respect to the disclosed DNC emails.

Sixth, although the FBI included the four allegations above, it did not include the fact that during a later secretly recorded conversation in August with an FBI confidential source, Page said that he never had met or spoken to Manafort and that Manafort had not responded to any of his emails.

And seventh, in another secretly recorded conversation with an FBI source in October, Page denied meeting the Russians Sechin and Divyekin, and denied even knowing who Divyekin was.

10 More Errors in FBI Applications to Spy on Carter Page 

The IG report also concludes that after the FISA court approved the first warrant application, the FBI learned more information—some of it from secretly recorded conversations by its own confidential informants—that cast serious doubt on the facts contained in that application.

Yet the FBI didn’t bring this information to the attention of the FISA court, and the errors were repeated in the three renewal applications to continue surveilling Page.

The 10 additional errors—17 in all—included these facts:

The FBI eventually interviewed Steele’s sub-source, who undercut many factual statements that Steele had attributed to him.

—The FBI spoke to some individuals who had professional dealings with Steele who said he demonstrated “poor judgment” and “pursued people with political risk but no intelligence value.”

—The individual (Joseph Mifsud) who allegedly told Papadopoulos that the Russians had dirt on Hillary Clinton denied having said that or having suggested that the Trump campaign received an offer of assistance from the Russians.

—Bruce Ohr, the high-ranking Justice Department official, had specifically informed the FBI that Steele’s information was being provided to the Clinton campaign, and that Steele was “desperate and passionate about [Trump] not being the U.S. President.”

Horowitz concluded that all of these “factual misstatements and omissions [when] taken together resulted in FISA applications that made it appear that the information supporting probable cause was stronger than was actually the case.”  

‘Basic Errors’ Raise Questions About FBI Chain of Command

Thus, it seems reasonable to conclude that this unprecedented FBI intelligence operation against a presidential campaign should never have been opened in the first place.

The IG report paints a damning picture of everyone involved in this case, from the FBI’s Crossfire Hurricane team to Comey, and everyone in between. The report notes:

That so many basic and fundamental errors were made by three separate, hand-picked teams on one of the most sensitive FBI investigations that was briefed to the highest levels within the FBI … raised significant questions regarding the FBI chain of command’s management and supervision of the FISA process.

Later, the report soberly concludes: “ … this was a failure of not only the operational team, but also of the managers and supervisors, including senior officials, in the chain of command.”

Those trying to minimize the shocking findings in this report have focused on the IG’s statement that he could not “find documentary or testimonial evidence of intentional misconduct,” or that “political bias or improper motivation” influenced the decision to open the investigation. But the IG also said he “did not receive satisfactory explanations for the errors or problems” that he identified in the FBI’s work.

Moreover, this may not be the last word on the subject. Horowitz candidly admits in the report that “[b]ecause the activities of other agencies were not within the scope of this review, we did not seek to obtain records from them that the FBI never received or reviewed, except for a limited amount of State Department records relating to Steele.”  

The IG says his office “did not seek to assess the actions taken by or information available to U.S. government agencies outside the Department of Justice, as those agencies are outside our jurisdiction.”

Attorney General Finds ‘Clear Abuse of the FISA Process’

Connecticut U.S. Attorney John Durham, who has been tasked by Attorney General William Barr to conduct a criminal investigation into the origins of the FBI’s Russia probe, is not similarly constrained.

Following release of the IG report Monday, Durham stated:

[O]ur investigation has included developing information from other persons and entities, both in the U.S. and outside of the U.S. Based on the evidence collected to date, and while our investigation is ongoing, last month we advised the Inspector General that we do not agree with some of the report’s conclusions as to predication and how the FBI case was opened.

Barr also weighed in on the IG’s findings. In a press release Monday, Barr said the IG report “makes clear the FBI launched an intrusive investigation of a U.S. presidential campaign on the thinnest of suspicions that, in my view, were insufficient to justify the steps taken.” In fact, from the very beginning, Barr added, “the evidence produced by the investigation was consistently exculpatory.”

In the strongest condemnation of the FBI in recent memory by an attorney general, Barr said that in their “rush to obtain and maintain FISA surveillance” of individuals involved in the Trump campaign, “FBI officials misled the FISA court, omitted critical exculpatory facts from their filings, and suppressed or ignored information negating the reliability of their principal source.”  

What happened, Barr said, “reflects a clear abuse of the FISA process.”

As the attorney general said, “FISA is an essential tool for the protection of the safety of the American people.” It is a tool we need for national security purposes to protect us from foreign espionage.

The fact that the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act was apparently misused to target a presidential campaign is shocking, and Barr promises that he will take “whatever steps are necessary to rectify the abuses that occurred and to ensure the integrity of the FISA process going forward.”

At the very least, Horowitz has uncovered a massive failure of leadership at all levels of the FBI with respect to one of the most important investigations in the agency’s history. Whether there is more to this story will depend, in part, on what Durham uncovers.

This piece originally appeared in The Daily Signal

https://www.heritage.org/crime-and-justice/commentary/igs-report-reveals-4-spurious-allegations-basis-fbi-spying-trump

Lindsey Graham unloads on James Comey’s FBI accusing it of a ‘vast criminal conspiracy’ for using Christopher Steele’s discredited dossier to get eavesdropping warrant during Trump-Russia probe

  • Sen. Lindsey Graham opened Judiciary hearing by tearing into the Dossier’s unproven claims
  • He says John McCain showed him the dossier after it was handed to him in 2016
  • Says he said ‘Oh my God’ and concluded either Russians have something on Trump or could be ‘disinformation’
  • Blasted FBI leadership and read through anti-Trump texts of FBI lovers
  • Said FBI director Wray: ‘You got a problem’  
  • ‘It is stunning it is damning it is salacious, and it’s a bunch of crap’
  • Sen. John Kennedy on IG report revelations: ‘It made me want to heave’

Judiciary Committee Chairman Sen. Lindsey Graham opened a high-stakes hearing with the Justice Department’s inspector general by blasting ex-British intelligence officer Christopher Steele’s ‘golden showers’ dossier and the FBI for using it.

Graham said when he first saw the dossier during the 2016 campaign, it initially confronted him with the possibility Russians ‘have something’ on Donald Trump. Otherwise, he said, there could have been a Russian ‘disinformation campaign’ going on.

The South Carolinian Republican also revealed that the late Sen. John McCain, who obtained the dossier during the campaign after attending a security conference in Canada, shared it with him. Graham ran for president in 2016 as one of a bevy of Republicans.

He accused the FBI of a ‘vast criminal conspiracy’ for its handling of the FISA warrant to monitor Carter Page, a one-time Trump campaign staffer.

‘What has been described as a few irregularities becomes a massive criminal conspiracy over time to defraud the FISA court, to illegally surveil an American citizen and keep an operation open against a sitting president of the United States — violating every norm known to the rule of law,’ he said.

He said the code name for the FBI investigation, ‘Crossfire Hurricane,’ was an apt title ‘because that’s what we ended up with – a “Crossfire Hurricane.”‘

‘What happened here is the system failed. People in the highest levels of government took the law into their own hands,’ said Graham, a close Trump ally.

Sen. Lindsey Graham blasted what he called the 'golden showers' dossier, and called it a bunch of 'crap'

Sen. Lindsey Graham blasted what he called the ‘golden showers’ dossier, and called it a bunch of ‘crap’

He said McCain learned about the dossier while attending a December 2016 conference.

‘John McCain puts it in his safe, he gives it to me and I read it,’ Graham said in an angry speech before IG Michael Horowitz, who testified on his report Wednesday.

‘And the first thing I thought of was, ‘Oh my god,’ said Graham. ‘This could be Russia disinformation and they may have something on Trump.’

Graham, who has become one of Trump’s closest GOP allies in the Senate, used the term ‘golden showers’ to reference an unproven allegation from Steele’s dossier, which cited ‘perverted’ conduct inside a Moscow hotel room during the 2013 Miss Universe Pageant.

Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Lindsey Graham (R-SC) holds up the Steel dossier as Michael Horowitz, inspector general for the Justice Department, testifies before the Senate Judiciary Committee

U.S. Justice Department Inspector General Michael Horowitz arrives to testify before a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing "Examining the Inspector General's report on alleged abuses of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA)" on Capitol Hill in Washington, U.S., December 11, 2019

U.S. Justice Department Inspector General Michael Horowitz arrives to testify before a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing ‘Examining the Inspector General’s report on alleged abuses of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA)’ on Capitol Hill in Washington, U.S., December 11, 2019

Graham also tore into Christopher Steele, the former MI6 agent who wrote what became the dossier

Donald Trump and Olivia Culpo attend the red carpet at Miss Universe Pageant Competition 2013 on November 9, 2013 in Moscow, Russia. The IG found additional information that undermined Steele's sub-source who informed him about the unproven allegations against Trump

Donald Trump and Olivia Culpo attend the red carpet at Miss Universe Pageant Competition 2013 on November 9, 2013 in Moscow, Russia. The IG found additional information that undermined Steele’s sub-source who informed him about the unproven allegations against Trump

The DOJ's Inspector General included the information in his report

The DOJ’s Inspector General included the information in his report

President Donald Trump tweeted out a smiling photo of himself with Russian foreign minister Sergei Lavrov on Tuesday

Miss USA 2013 Erin Brady and Donald Trump (C), co-owner of the Miss Universe Organization, look on as Aras Agalarov, father of Russian singer Emin Agalarov, speaks during a news conference after the 2013 Miss USA pageant at the Planet Hollywood Resort and Casino in Las Vegas, Nevada June 16, 2013

Miss USA 2013 Erin Brady and Donald Trump (C), co-owner of the Miss Universe Organization, look on as Aras Agalarov, father of Russian singer Emin Agalarov, speaks during a news conference after the 2013 Miss USA pageant at the Planet Hollywood Resort and Casino in Las Vegas, Nevada June 16, 2013

Graham fumed: ‘It is stunning, it is damning, it is salacious, and it’s a bunch of crap.’

Russian President Vladimir Putin

Russian President Vladimir Putin

‘This is not normal. Don’t judge the FBI and the Department of Justice by these characters,’ Graham said, referencing FBI officials involved in the ‘Crossfire Hurricane’ probe who have come under scrutiny.

Graham spent a long stretch of his opening remarks tearing into the ‘FBI lovers’ Peter Strzrok and Lisa Page. He read through their anti-Trump texts, while the witness listened and C-span cameras rolled.

He blasted the decision to probe members of Trump’s foreign policy team who had had Russia contacts, even before Horowitz testified the probe was started ‘in compliance with Department and FBI policies’ and that he didn’t uncover evidence ‘that political bias or improper motivation’ influenced the decision.

‘This national security team was literally picked up off the street,’ Graham thundered.

He wanted to know why Trump didn’t get informed about the use of investigative techniques against his campaign. ‘Why didn’t they tell Trump? We’ll figure that out later. But I think it’s a question that needs to be asked,’ Graham said.

In addition to testifying that that probe was properly predicated under FBI procedures, Horowitz testified that the Russia probe team obtained information from Steele’s primary sub-source in January 2017 ‘that raised significant questions about the reliability of the Steele reporting that was used in the Carter Page’ surveillance warrant.

Graham accused James Comey's FBI of a 'vast criminal conspiracy'

Graham accused James Comey’s FBI of a ‘vast criminal conspiracy’

Horowitz’s testimony came during a political charged hearing, with lawmakers spit upon party lines on the same day the House Judiciary committee was taking up articles of impeachment against President Trump accusing him of abuse of power and obstruction of Congress.

‘I think the activities we found don´t vindicate anybody,’ said Horowitz.

Horowitz defended the need to keep whistle-blowers anonymous under questioning by Democratic Sen. Dianne Feinstein.

‘Whistle-blowers have a right to expect complete full confidentiality in all circumstances … and it’s a very important provision’, Horowitz said. He said it was a legal obligation set in statute.

Sen. John Kennedy of Louisiana used his usual home-spun language to express astonishment about what was uncovered about FBI conduct.

‘After about 15 per cent of the way through, it made me want to heave. After about 20 percent of the way through I thought I’d dropped acid. It’s surreal,’ he said.

Graham issued his pronouncements even while acknowledging the reality of Russian interference to hurt Democrat Hillary Clinton in 2016.

‘We know the Russians were screwing around with the Democrats, right?’ Graham said.

Democrats tried to get Horowitz to defend his 480-page probe from criticism by Attorney General Bill Barr, who blasted its conclusions in TV interviews but failed to take the traditional route of attaching written objections.

Horowitz tried not to play along. Asked about Barr’s trips abroad to assist a separate probe by prosecutor John Durham, he said: ‘I think you’d have to ask the attorney general about those meetings.’

 Federal prosecutor John Durham told Horowitz his view that the FBI should have opened a limited probe than the one it did open. Horowitz told lawmakers. he didn’t agree.

‘None of the discussions changed our findings,’ he said.

Republicans bashed the FBI for having a Crossfire Hurricane agent participate in a security briefing provided to the Trump campaign – then file notes on what participants including Mike Flynn said. Flynn, Trump’s national security advisor, later pleaded guilty to lying to investigators.

Sen. John Cornyn brought up Comey’s post-election briefing of Trump about the dossier in Trump tower, and asked if he told the president ‘anything he said can be used against him.’

Sen. Sheldon White House (D-R.I.) addressed one reason why the FBI resisted telling Trump officials. He said investigators ‘did not then now how far Russian penetration into the Trump campaign went.’

‘It raises significant policy questions,’ Horowitz said.

‘We are deeply concerned that so many basic and fundamental errors were made by three separate, hand-picked investigative teams, on one of the most sensitive FBI investigations, after the matter had been briefed to the highest levels within the FBI,’ Horowitz said.

Inspector General Michael Horowitz slams ‘failure’ by FBI leaders who used Christopher Steele’s anti-Trump dossier and tells Senate of ‘basic and fundamental errors’ in Russia probe

The Justice Department’s internal watchdog told Congress on Wednesday that he is concerned that ‘so many basic and fundamental errors’ were made by the FBI as it investigated ties between the Trump campaign and Russia.

Michael Horowitz’s testimony before the Senate Judiciary Committee comes two days after the release of a report that identified significant problems with applications to receive and renew warrants to eavesdrop on a former Trump campaign aide in 2016 and 2017.

Despite those problems, the report also found that the FBI’s actions were not motivated by partisan bias and that the investigation was opened for a proper cause.

Horowitz will tell senators that the FBI failed to follow its own standards for accuracy and completeness when it sought a warrant to monitor the communications of ex-campaign aide Carter Page.

Scathing: Michael Horowitz, the Judiciary Inspector General, outlined a series of criticisms of the FBI as he gave evidence on his report into the Trump-Russia probe, which was codenamed Crossfire Hurricane

Scathing: Michael Horowitz, the Judiciary Inspector General, outlined a series of criticisms of the FBI as he gave evidence on his report into the Trump-Russia probe, which was codenamed Crossfire Hurricane

Team: Michael Horowitz was flanked by investigators from the 18-month probe, which resulted in Monday's report, which ran to more than 400 pages

Team: Michael Horowitz was flanked by investigators from the 18-month probe, which resulted in Monday’s report, which ran to more than 400 pages
Concern: Senate Judiciary Committee chairman Lindsey Graham brandishes the Steele dossier, which Horowitz said FBI leaders relied on despite knowing about concerns over it

Concern: Senate Judiciary Committee chairman Lindsey Graham brandishes the Steele dossier, which Horowitz said FBI leaders relied on despite knowing about concerns over it

Horowitz’s statement largely echoed his scathing Monday report on the FBI’s handling of the Trump-Russia probe.

He told the committee that the FBI relied on Christopher Steele’s dossier to get a FISA warrant to monitor Carter Page, a one-time Donald Trump campaign aide.

But when it found out that the dossier was flawed and were advised of some of the flaws by a Department of Justice attorney, it did not tell the FISA court which issued the warrant.

‘We found that members of the Crossfire Hurricane team failed to meet the basic obligation to ensure that the Carter Page FISA applications were ”scrupulously accurate,” he said.

There were four applications for a warrant on Page.

But Horowitz said: ‘We identified significant inaccuracies and omissions in each of the four applications: 7 in the first FISA application and a total of 17 by the final renewal application.

‘For example, the Crossfire Hurricane team obtained information from Steele’s Primary Sub-source in January 2017 that raised significant questions about the reliability of the Steele reporting that was used in the Carter Page FISA applications.

‘This was particularly noteworthy because the FISA applications relied entirely on information from the Steele reporting to support the allegation that Page was coordinating with the Russian government on 2016 U.S. presidential election activities.

‘However, members of the Crossfire Hurricane team failed to share the information about the Primary Sub-source’s information with the Department, and it was therefore omitted from the three renewal applications.’

Horowitz did not name any FBI leaders in his statement to senators, but had already outlined in his report that James Comey, the FBI director, Andrew McCabe, his deputy, and other senior FBI leaders were involved in supervising the Crossfire Hurricane probe

Key figures: James Comey's FBI opened the probe into one-time Trump campaign aide Carter Page. The FBI obtained a FISA warrant which relied on the Steele dossier

Key figures: James Comey's FBI opened the probe into one-time Trump campaign aide Carter Page. The FBI obtained a FISA warrant which relied on the Steele dossier

Key figures: James Comey’s FBI opened the probe into one-time Trump campaign aide Carter Page. The FBI obtained a FISA warrant which relied on the Steele dossier

‘FBI leadership supported relying on Steele’s reporting to seek a FISA order targeting Page after being advised of, and giving consideration to, concerns expressed by a Department attorney that Steele may have been hired by someone associated with a rival candidate or campaign,’ he said.

Horowitz also raised questions over the FBI’s policies on FISA use generally.

 ‘We also identified what we believe is an absence of sufficient policies to ensure appropriate Department oversight of significant investigative decisions that could affect constitutionally protected activity,’ Horowitz said, according to his prepared remarks as released by the committee before the hearing.

The report has produced sharp partisan divisions. Democrats seized on the finding that the probe was not tainted by political motivations. But Republicans say the findings show the investigation was fatally flawed. Attorney General William Barr, a vocal defender of President Donald Trump, said the FBI investigation was based on a ‘bogus narrative.’

Sen. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, the top Republican on the committee and another ally of Trump, echoed that sentiment in his opening statement. He said the code name for the FBI investigation, ‘Crossfire Hurricane,’ was an apt title ‘because that’s what we ended up with – a `Crossfire Hurricane.”

‘What happened here is the system failed. People in the highest levels of government took the law into their own hands,’ Graham said.

MICHAEL HOROWITZ’S FULL SENATE STATEMENT ON HIS TRUMP-RUSSIA PROBE 

Mr. Chairman, Senator Feinstein, and Members of the Committee

Thank you for inviting me to testify at today’s hearing to examine the report that my office issued yesterday entitled, ‘Review of Four FISA Applications and Other Aspects of the FBI’s Crossfire Hurricane Investigation.’ 

In July 2016, three weeks after then FBI Director James Comey announced the conclusion of the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s (FBI) ‘Midyear Exam’ investigation into presidential candidate Hillary Clinton’s handling of government emails during her tenure as Secretary of State, the FBI received reporting from a Friendly Foreign Government (FFG) that, in a May 2016 meeting with the FFG, Trump campaign foreign policy advisor George Papadopoulos ‘suggested the Trump team had received some kind of a suggestion’ from Russia that it could assist in the election process with the anonymous release of information during the campaign that would be damaging to candidate Clinton and President Obama. 

Days later, on July 31, the FBI initiated the Crossfire Hurricane investigation that is the subject of our report. 

As we noted last year in our review of the Midyear investigation, the FBI has developed and earned a reputation as one of the world’s premier law enforcement agencies in significant part because of its tradition of professionalism, impartiality, non-political enforcement of the law, and adherence to detailed policies, practices, and norms. 

It was precisely these qualities that were required as the FBI initiated and conducted Crossfire Hurricane. 

However, as we describe in this report, our review identified significant concerns with how certain aspects of the investigation were conducted and supervised, particularly the FBI’s failure to adhere to its own standards of accuracy and completeness when filing applications for Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) authority to surveil Carter Page, a U.S. person who was connected to the Donald J. Trump for President Campaign. 

We also identified what we believe is an absence of sufficient policies to ensure appropriate Department oversight of significant investigative decisions that could affect constitutionally protected activity. 

In my statement today, I highlight some of the most significant findings in our report. 

A more detailed overview of our findings can be found in the report’s Executive Summary. 

Our findings are the product of a comprehensive review that examined more than one million documents in the Department’s and FBI’s possession, including documents that other U.S. and foreign government agencies provided the FBI during the Crossfire Hurricane investigation. 

Our team conducted over 170 interviews involving more than 100 witnesses, and we documented all of our findings in a 417-page report. 

I want to commend the work of our review team for conducting rigorous and effective oversight, and for producing a report and recommendations that we believe will improve the FBI’s ability to most effectively utilize the national security authorities analyzed in this review, while also striving to safeguard the civil liberties and privacy of impacted U.S. persons. 

The Opening of Crossfire Hurricane and the Use of Confidential Human Sources Following receipt of the FFG information, a decision was made by the FBI’s then Counterintelligence Division (CD) Assistant Director (AD), E.W. ‘Bill’ Priestap, to open Crossfire Hurricane and reflected a consensus reached after multiple days of discussions and meetings among senior FBI officials. 

We concluded that AD Priestap’s exercise of discretion in opening the investigation was in compliance with Department and FBI policies, and we did not find documentary or testimonial evidence that political bias or improper motivation influenced his decision. 

While the information in the FBI’s possession at the time was limited, in light of the low threshold established by Department and FBI predication policy, we found that Crossfire Hurricane was opened for an authorized investigative purpose and with sufficient factual predication. 

However, we also determined that, under Department and FBI policy, the decision whether to open the Crossfire Hurricane counterintelligence investigation, which involved the activities of individuals associated with a national major party campaign for president, was a discretionary judgment call left to the FBI.

There was no requirement that Department officials be consulted, or even notified, prior to the FBI making that decision. 

We further found that, consistent with this policy, the FBI advised supervisors in the Department’s National Security Division (NSD) of the investigation after it had been initiated. 

As we detail in Chapter Two, high level Department notice and approval is required in other circumstances where investigative activity could substantially impact certain civil liberties, and that notice allows senior Department officials to consider the potential constitutional and prudential implications in advance of these activities. 

We concluded that similar advance notice should be required in circumstances such as those that were present here. 

Shortly after the FBI opened the Crossfire Hurricane investigation, the FBI conducted several consensually monitored meetings between FBI confidential human sources (CHS) and individuals affiliated with the Trump campaign, including a high-level campaign official who was not a subject of the investigation. 

We found that the CHS operations received the necessary approvals under FBI policy; that an Assistant Director knew about and approved of each operation, even in circumstances where a first-level supervisory special agent could have approved the operations; and that the operations were permitted under Department and FBI policy because their use was not for the sole purpose of monitoring activities protected by the First Amendment or the lawful exercise of other rights secured by the Constitution or laws of the United States. 

We did not find any documentary or testimonial evidence that political bias or improper motivation influenced the FBI’s decision to conduct these operations. 

Additionally, we found no evidence that the FBI attempted to place any CHSs within the Trump campaign, recruit members of the Trump campaign as CHSs, or task CHSs to report on the Trump campaign. 

However, we are concerned that, under applicable Department and FBI policy, it would have been sufficient for a first-level FBI supervisor to authorize the sensitive domestic CHS operations undertaken in Crossfire Hurricane, and that there is no applicable Department or FBI policy requiring the FBI to notify Department officials of a decision to task CHSs to consensually monitor conversations with members of a presidential campaign. 

Specifically, in Crossfire Hurricane, where one of the CHS operations involved consensually monitoring a high-level official on the Trump campaign who was not a subject of the investigation, and all of the operations had the potential to gather sensitive information of the campaign about protected First Amendment activity, we found no evidence that the FBI consulted with any Department officials before conducting the CHS operations—and no policy requiring the FBI to do so.

We therefore believe that current Department and FBI policies are not sufficient to ensure appropriate oversight and accountability when such operations potentially implicate sensitive, constitutionally protected activity, and that requiring Department consultation, at a minimum, would be appropriate. 

The FISA Applications to Conduct Surveillance of Carter Page One investigative tool for which Department and FBI policy expressly require advance approval by a senior Department official is the seeking of a court order under the FISA. 

When the Crossfire Hurricane team first proposed seeking a FISA order targeting Carter Page in midAugust 2016, FBI attorneys assisting the investigation considered it a ‘close call’ whether they had developed the probable cause necessary to obtain the order, and a FISA order was not requested at that time.

However, in September 2016, immediately after the Crossfire Hurricane team received reporting from Christopher Steele concerning Page’s alleged recent activities with Russian officials, FBI attorneys advised the Department that the team was ready to move forward with a request to obtain FISA authority to surveil Page. 

FBI and Department officials told us the Steele reporting ‘pushed [the FISA proposal] over the line’ in terms of establishing probable cause, and we concluded that the Steele reporting played a central and essential role in the decision to seek a FISA order.

FBI leadership supported relying on Steele’s reporting to seek a FISA order targeting Page after being advised of, and giving consideration to, concerns expressed by a Department attorney that Steele may have been hired by someone associated with a rival candidate or campaign. 

The authority under FISA to conduct electronic surveillance and physical searches targeting individuals significantly assists the government’s efforts to combat terrorism, clandestine intelligence activity, and other threats to the national security. 

At the same time, the use of this authority unavoidably raises civil liberties concerns. 

FISA orders can be used to surveil U.S. persons, like Carter Page, and in some cases the surveillance will foreseeably collect information about the individual’s constitutionally protected activities, such as Page’s legitimate activities on behalf of a presidential campaign. 

Moreover, proceedings before the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court (FISC)—which is responsible for ruling on applications for FISA orders—are ex parte, meaning that unlike most court proceedings, the government is the only party present for the proceedings. 

In addition, unlike the use of other intrusive investigative techniques (such as wiretaps under Title III and traditional criminal search warrants) that are granted in ex parte hearings but can potentially be subject to later court challenge, FISA orders have not been subject to scrutiny through subsequent adversarial proceedings.

In light of these concerns, Congress through the FISA statute, and the Department and FBI through policies and procedures, have established important safeguards to protect the FISA application process from irregularities and abuse. 

Among the most important are the requirements in FBI policy that every FISA application must contain a ‘full and accurate’ presentation of the facts, and that agents must ensure that all factual statements in FISA applications are ‘scrupulously accurate.’ 

These are the standards for all FISA applications, regardless of the investigation’s sensitivity, and it is incumbent upon the FBI to meet them in every application. 

That said, in the context of an investigation involving persons associated with a presidential campaign, where the target of the FISA is a former campaign official and the goal of the FISA is to uncover, among other things, information about the individual’s allegedly illegal campaignrelated activities, members of the Crossfire Hurricane investigative team should have anticipated, and told us they in fact did anticipate, that these FISA applications would be subjected to especially close scrutiny. 

Nevertheless, we found that members of the Crossfire Hurricane team failed to meet the basic obligation to ensure that the Carter Page FISA applications were ‘scrupulously accurate.’ 

We identified significant inaccuracies and omissions in each of the four applications: 7 in the first FISA application and a total of 17 by the final renewal application. 

For example, the Crossfire Hurricane team obtained information from Steele’s Primary Sub-source in January 2017 that raised significant questions about the reliability of the Steele reporting that was used in the Carter Page FISA applications. 

This was particularly noteworthy because the FISA applications relied entirely on information from the Steele reporting to support the allegation that Page was coordinating with the Russian government on 2016 U.S. presidential election activities. 

However, members of the Crossfire Hurricane team failed to share the information about the Primary Sub-source’s information with the Department, and it was therefore omitted from the three renewal applications. 

All of the applications also omitted information the FBI had obtained from another U.S. government agency detailing its prior relationship with Page, including that Page had been approved as an operational contact for the other agency from 2008 to 2013, that Page had provided information to the other agency concerning his prior contacts with certain Russian intelligence officers (one of which overlapped with facts asserted in the FISA application), and that an employee of the other agency assessed that Page had been candid.

As a result of the 17 significant inaccuracies and omissions we identified, relevant information was not shared with, and consequently not considered by, important Department decision makers and the court, and the FISA applications made it appear as though the evidence supporting probable cause was stronger than was actually the case. 

We also found basic, fundamental, and serious errors during the completion of the FBl’s factual accuracy reviews, known as the Woods Procedures, which are designed to ensure that FISA applications contain a full and accurate presentation of the facts. 

We do not speculate whether the correction of any particular misstatement or omission, or some combination thereof, would have resulted in a different outcome. 

Nevertheless, the Department’s decision makers and the court should have been given complete and accurate information so that they could meaningfully evaluate probable cause before authorizing the surveillance of a U.S. person associated with a presidential campaign. 

That did not occur, and as a result, the surveillance of Carter Page continued even as the FBI gathered information that weakened the assessment of probable cause and made the FISA applications less accurate. 

We determined that the inaccuracies and omissions we identified in the applications resulted from case agents providing wrong or incomplete information to Department attorneys and failing to identify important issues for discussion. 

Moreover, we concluded that case agents and Supervisory Special Agents (SSA) did not give appropriate attention to facts that cut against probable cause, and that as the investigation progressed and more information tended to undermine or weaken the assertions in the FISA applications, the agents and SSAs did not reassess the information supporting probable cause. 

Further, the agents and SSAs did not follow, or even appear to know, certain basic requirements in the Woods Procedures.

Although we did not find documentary or testimonial evidence of intentional misconduct on the part of the case agents who assisted NSD’s Office of Intelligence (OI) in preparing the applications, or the agents and supervisors who performed the Woods Procedures, we also did not receive satisfactory explanations for the errors or missing information. 

We found that the offered explanations for these serious errors did not excuse them, or the repeated failures to ensure the accuracy of information presented to the FISC. 

We are deeply concerned that so many basic and fundamental errors were made by three separate, hand-picked investigative teams; on one of the most sensitive FBI investigations; after the matter had been briefed to the highest levels within the FBI; even though the information sought through use of FISA authority related so closely to an ongoing presidential campaign; and even though those involved with the investigation knew that their actions were likely to be subjected to close scrutiny. 

We believe this circumstance reflects a failure not just by those who prepared the FISA applications, but also by the managers and supervisors in the Crossfire Hurricane chain of command, including FBI senior officials who were briefed as the investigation progressed. 

We do not expect managers and supervisors to know every fact about an investigation, or senior leaders to know all the details of cases about which they are briefed. 

However, especially in the FBl’s most sensitive and high-priority matters, and especially when seeking court permission to use an intrusive tool such as a FISA order, it is incumbent upon the entire chain of command, including senior officials, to take the necessary steps to ensure that they are sufficiently familiar with the facts and circumstances supporting and potentially undermining a FISA application in order to provide effective oversight consistent with their level of supervisory responsibility.

Such oversight requires greater familiarity with the facts than we saw in this review, where time and again during OIG interviews FBI managers, supervisors, and senior officials displayed a lack of understanding or awareness of important information concerning many of the problems we identified. 

In the preparation of the FISA applications to surveil Carter Page, the Crossfire Hurricane team failed to comply with FBI policies, and in so doing fell short of what is rightfully expected from a premier law enforcement agency entrusted with such an intrusive surveillance tool. 

In light of the significant concerns identified with the Carter Page FISA applications and the other issues described in this report, the OIG has initiated an audit that will further examine the FBI’s compliance with the Woods Procedures in FISA applications that target U.S. persons in both counterintelligence and counterterrorism investigations. 

We also made the following recommendations to assist the Department and the FBI in avoiding similar failures in future investigations. 

Recommendations 

For the reasons fully described in our report, we recommend the following: 

1. The Department and the FBI should ensure that adequate procedures are in place for the Office of Intelligence (OI) to obtain all relevant and accurate information, including access to Confidential Human Source (CHS) information, needed to prepare FISA applications and renewal applications. This effort should include revising: 

a. the FISA Request Form: to ensure information is identified for OI: (i) that tends to disprove, does not support, or is inconsistent with a finding or an allegation that the target is a foreign power or an agent of a foreign power, or 

(ii) that bears on the reliability of every CHS whose information is relied upon in the FISA application, including all information from the derogatory information sub-file, recommended below; 

b. the Woods Form: (i) to emphasize to agents and their supervisors the obligation to re-verify factual assertions repeated from prior applications and to obtain written approval from CHS handling agents of all CHS source characterization statements in applications, and

(ii) to specify what steps must be taken and documented during the legal review performed by an FBI Office of General Counsel (OGC) line attorney and SES level supervisor before submitting the FISA application package to the FBI Director for certification; 

c. the FISA Procedures: to clarify which positions may serve as the supervisory reviewer for OGC; and d. taking any other steps deemed appropriate to ensure the accuracy and completeness of information provided to OI. 

2. The Department and FBI should evaluate which types of Sensitive Investigative Matters (SIM) require advance notification to a senior Department official, such as the Deputy Attorney General, in addition to the notifications currently required for SIMs, especially for case openings that implicate core First Amendment activity and raise policy considerations or heighten enterprise risk, and establish implementing policies and guidance, as necessary. 

3. The FBI should develop protocols and guidelines for staffing and administrating any future sensitive investigative matters from FBI Headquarters. 

4. The FBI should address the problems with the administration and assessment of CHS

s identified in this report and, at a minimum, should: a. revise its standard CHS admonishment form to include a prohibition on the disclosure of the CHS’s relationship with the FBI to third parties absent the FBI’s permission, and assess the need to include other admonishments in the standard CHS admonishments; 

b. develop enhanced procedures to ensure that CHS information is documented in Delta, including information generated from Headquarters- led investigations, substantive contacts with closed CHSs (directly or through third parties), and derogatory information. We renew our recommendation that the FBI create a derogatory information sub-file in Delta; 

c. assess VMU’s practices regarding reporting source validation findings and non-findings; 

d. establish guidance for sharing sensitive information with CHSs;

e. establish guidance to handling agents for inquiring whether their CHS participates in the types of groups or activities that would bring the CHS within the definition of a ‘sensitive source,’ and ensure handling agents document (and update as needed) those affiliations and any others voluntarily provided to them by the CHS in the Source Opening Communication, the ‘Sensitive Categories’ portion of each CHS’s Quarterly Supervisory Source Report, the ‘Life Changes’ portion of CHS Contact Reports, or as otherwise directed by the FBI so that the FBI can assess whether active CHSs are engaged in activities (such as political campaigns) at a level that might require re-designation as a ‘sensitive source’ or necessitate closure of the CHS; and 

f. revise its CHS policy to address the considerations that should be taken into account and the steps that should be followed before and after accepting information from a closed CHS indirectly through a third party.

5. The Department and FBI should clarify the following terms in their policies: a. assess the definition of a ‘Sensitive Monitoring Circumstance’ in the AG Guidelines and the FBI’s DIOG to determine whether to expand its scope to include consensual monitoring of a domestic political candidate or an individual prominent within a domestic political organization, or a subset of these persons, so that consensual monitoring of such individuals would require consultation with or advance notification to a senior Department official, such as the Deputy Attorney General; and 

b. establish guidance, and include examples in the DIOG, to better define the meaning of the phrase ‘prominent in a domestic political organization’ so that agents understand which campaign officials fall within that definition as it relates to ‘Sensitive Investigative Matters,’ ‘Sensitive UDP,’ and the designation of ‘sensitive sources.’ Further, if the Department expands the scope of ‘Sensitive Monitoring Circumstance,’ as recommended above, the FBI should apply the guidance on ‘prominent in a domestic political organization’ to ‘Sensitive Monitoring Circumstance’ as well.

6. The FBI should ensure that appropriate training on DIOG § 4 is provided to emphasize the constitutional implications of certain monitoring situations and to ensure that agents account for these concerns, both in the tasking of CHSs and in the way they document interactions with and tasking of CHSs. 

7. The FBI should establish a policy regarding the use of defensive and transition briefings for investigative purposes, including the factors to be considered and approval by senior leaders at the FBI with notice to a senior Department official, such as the Deputy Attorney General. 

8. The Department’s Office of Professional Responsibility should review our findings related to the conduct of Department attorney Bruce Ohr for any action it deems appropriate. Ohr’s current supervisors in the Department’s Criminal Division should also review our findings related to Ohr’s performance for any action they deem appropriate.

9. The FBI should review the performance of all employees who had responsibility for the preparation, Woods review, or approval of the FISA applications, as well as the managers, supervisors, and senior officials in the chain of command of the Carter Page investigation, for any action deemed appropriate. 

After reviewing a draft of this report and its recommendations, FBI Director Christopher Wray accepted each of the recommendations above, and we were told ordered more than 40 corrective actions to date to address our recommendations. 

However, more work remains to be done by both the FBI and the Department. 

As I noted above, we believe that implementation of these recommendations, including those that seek individual accountability for the failures identified in our report, will improve the FBI’s ability to more carefully and effectively utilize its important national security authorities like FISA, while also striving to safeguard the civil liberties and privacy of impacted U.S. persons.

The OIG will continue to conduct independent oversight on these matters in the months and years ahead. This concludes my prepared statement, and I am pleased to answer any questions the Committee may have.

https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-7781435/Lindsey-Graham-opens-hearing-Inspector-General-bringing-golden-showers-allegations.html

 

Andrew McCarthy: DOJ vs. IG – Barr and Horowitz’s reported rift over FISA report is bogus spin by Democrats

At Wednesday’s Senate Judiciary Committee hearing about Justice Department Inspector General Michael Horowitz’s report on investigative abuses in the FBI’s Trump-Russia investigation (codenamed “Crossfire Hurricane”), Democrats continued an effort begun ten days ago to hoodwink the public into believing Horowitz is in a bitter dispute with Attorney General William Barr over a key finding in the report.

The dispute allegedly stems from what is portrayed as Barr’s dissent from the IG’s conclusion that the probe was properly predicated – i.e., that there were sufficient factual grounds to open an investigation of whether the Trump campaign was complicit in the Kremlin’s cyberespionage attack on Democratic party email accounts.

In point of fact, as discussed in my Fox News Opinion column on Wednesday, the two men have less a difference of opinion than a difference in focus – the distinction between what may be done and what should be done.

ANDREW MCCARTHY: THE FBI, THE IG REPORT, AND ATTORNEY GENERAL BARR – SEPARATING FACT FROM FICTION

I’m tempted to say there is no real dispute, but let’s leave it at saying the dispute is wildly overstated.

A cautionary note: People should be suspicious about media coverage of the attorney general. For decades, Bill Barr has enjoyed a well-earned reputation for legal acumen and personal integrity. But he is now working for Donald Trump.

Hence, there has for months been an energetic media-Democrat effort to discredit him – in particular, to undermine the investigation he has appointed Connecticut U.S. attorney John Durham to conduct into the origins of the Trump-Russia probe (not just Crossfire Hurricane, but the related investigations involving other domestic and foreign government agencies).

A transparent motivation fuels this effort: The Mueller probe found no evidence of a Trump-Russia conspiracy, notwithstanding the indefatigable “collusion” narrative (explored at length in my book “Ball of Collusion“).

Now the Horowitz IG report has found major abuses in the FBI’s investigation of Trump. The question naturally arises: Why did the Obama administration use the intelligence and law-enforcement apparatus of the government to investigate its political opposition?

Democrats and their media confederates are determined to protect Obama’s legacy from Nixonian taint. Barr, therefore, must be subjected to character assassination.

The specter of political spying, that bane of the Watergate era, is manifest. That is what Barr and Durham are exploring.

Democrats and their media confederates are determined to protect Obama’s legacy from Nixonian taint. Barr, therefore, must be subjected to character assassination.

You know the drill: He is Trump’s lawyer, not America’s. His investigation is politicized, not in good faith and so on.

Yes, the same people who lionized Mueller’s team of partisan Democrats, now feign outraged disbelief at the suggestion that the FBI could possibly have been just a tad political.

That would be the same Bureau that helped whitewash the Clinton emails caper; scorched the earth to find a non-existent conspiracy against Trump; brought us the charming Strzok-Page texts; and has, in just the last two years, been the subject of not one but two voluminous IG reports examining the anti-Trump animus of top investigators.

That is why the Barr-Horowitz contretemps must be exaggerated.

Typical of IG reports, Horowitz’s latest features admirably comprehensive fact-finding but conclusions framed in lawyerly gobbledygook that lend themselves to easy distortion.

As night follows day, the anti-Trump forces pounced: We’re to believe the IG concluded that the Trump-Russia investigation’s commencement was unimpeachable and that there was no political bias in the FBI’s decision-making.

That is not what Horowitz actually said. Since it is important that the public be given accurate information about the Justice Department’s position, the AG has spoken out to clarify what the IG concluded and how DOJ regards these conclusions.

In press coverage, this has been portrayed as a blistering attack on Horowitz.

At Wednesday’s hearing, Senate Judiciary Committee Democrats picked up the theme: Horowitz heroically struggles to uphold the rule of law and standards of impartial fact-finding, but Barr, that diabolical Trumpkin, is determined to bring him down for refusing to brand Crossfire Hurricane a hoax.

Even as this narrative first took wing, there was a clue that it was deceptive, though you had to dig a little to find it.

On December 2, a week before the IG report became public, the Washington Post kicked off the Barr vs. Horowitz tale with a story claiming, based on anonymous sources, that the AG was disputing the IG’s “key” finding that the FBI had enough information to justify launching the probe.

Seven paragraphs in, though, there was an on-the-record statement from a named official: Kerri Kupec, Barr’s spokeswoman. Far from conveying rancor, Ms. Kupec issued a gushing tribute to Horowitz. His investigation, she said: “Is a credit to the Department of Justice. His excellent work has uncovered significant information that the American people will soon be able to read for themselves. Rather than speculating, people should read the report for themselves next week, watch the Inspector General’s testimony before the Senate Judiciary Committee, and draw their own conclusions about these important matters.”

Yes, that’s right. In relating the supposedly intense infighting over the report between Barr and Horowitz, the Post was compelled to note that the only statement traceable to Barr was an enthusiastic endorsement of Horowitz’s work and an encouragement to Americans to read the report and watch the testimony.

What a scurrilous attack!

When Horowitz finally released the report on Monday, Barr himself made a statement. Relying on the IG’s work, rather than contradicting it, the AG observed that the FBI had, “launched an intrusive investigation of a U.S. presidential campaign on the thinnest of suspicions that, in my view, were insufficient to justify the steps taken. [Emphasis added.]

Barr did not disagree with Horowitz on the commencement of the investigation. Horowitz had found that the FBI’s written procedures provide a very low bar in terms of the suspicion that may justify the opening of an investigation.

Barr did not dispute this; he said the investigation was opened “on the thinnest of suspicions.” That is both true and, as Horowitz points out, sufficient.

More from Opinion

Barr thinks it was unwise to open so significant an investigation on such thin evidence. Horowitz is not claiming it was prudent; he is saying the regulations permitted it.

More to the point, Barr’s beef was less with the opening of the investigation than with “the steps taken” after the investigation was opened.

This, plainly, is a reference to the use of intrusive investigative techniques – in particular, confidential informants and FISA surveillance warrants.

Barr’s point is that, given the norm against permitting the incumbent government’s investigative powers to intrude on our political process, it was wrong to use such aggressive tactics given the threadbare basis for suspicion.

Horowitz is not disputing that. He is saying that it is not his place to second-guess discretionary judgment calls about investigative tactics as long as the probe is legitimately opened. And clearly, the IG report is a testament to the abuse of those tactics: the misrepresentations to the FISA court, and the fact that, although the use of informants generated exculpatory evidence, the Bureau inexplicably continued investigating a U.S. political campaign.

“Fake News” is an overused and oft-abused term. In the case of the reported Barr vs. Horowitz controversy, however, it might just be apt.

https://www.foxnews.com/opinion/doj-ig-barr-horowitz-fisa-democrats-andrew-mccarthy

Andrew McCarthy: The FBI, the IG Report, and Attorney General Barr – Separating fact from fiction

 

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The Pronk Pops Show 1373, December 11, 2019, Part 1 of 2: Story 1: Real Abuse of Power — 17 Major Errors, Mistakes and Omissions — Mislead The Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act Court —  Clinton Obama Democrat Criminal Conspiracy Revealed — Big Lie Media Lied to American People and Still Lying — Videos

Posted on December 14, 2019. Filed under: 2020 Democrat Candidates, 2020 President Candidates, 2020 Republican Candidates, Addiction, Addiction, American History, Banking System, Barack H. Obama, Bill Clinton, Breaking News, Budgetary Policy, Cartoons, Central Intelligence Agency, Clinton Obama Democrat Criminal Conspiracy, Computers, Congress, Constitutional Law, Corruption, Countries, Crime, Culture, Deep State, Disasters, Donald J. Trump, Donald J. Trump, Donald J. Trump, Donald Trump, Economics, Education, Elections, Employment, Environment, Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), Federal Government, Fifth Amendment, First Amendment, Fiscal Policy, Foreign Policy, Former President Barack Obama, Fourth Amendment, Fraud, Freedom of Speech, Government, Government Dependency, Government Spending, Great Britain, Hate Speech, Hillary Clinton, History, House of Representatives, Human, Human Behavior, Illegal Immigration, Immigration, Impeachment, Independence, James Comey, Labor Economics, Language, Law, Legal Immigration, Life, Lying, Media, Mental Illness, Military Spending, Monetary Policy, National Interest, National Security Agency, Networking, News, Obama, People, Philosophy, Photos, Politics, Polls, President Trump, Progressives, Public Corruption, Public Relations, Raymond Thomas Pronk, Robert S. Mueller III, Rule of Law, Scandals, Second Amendment, Security, Senate, Spying, Subversion, Surveillance and Spying On American People, Surveillance/Spying, Tax Policy, Taxation, Taxes, Technology, Trade Policy, Treason, Trump Surveillance/Spying, United States Constitution, United States of America, Videos, Violence | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

 

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Story 1: Real Abuse of Power — 17 Major Errors, Mistakes and Omissions — Mislead The Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act Court —  Clinton Obama Democrat Criminal Conspiracy Revealed — Big Lie Media Lied to American People and Still Lying —  Videos

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FISA ISSUES: IG Michael Horowitz Outlines BIAS Against President Trump

Lindsey Graham rips FBI over Russia probe: full video

FBI EXPOSED: Lindsey Graham DETAILS Massive FBI Bias Against President Trump

Full Interview: Barr Criticizes Inspector General Report On The Russia Investigation | NBC News

Cruz on spying: This wasn’t Jason Bourne, this was ‘Beavis and Butt-head

The Five’ breaks down IG report hearing’s biggest bombshells

Graham sends warning to FBI officials responsible for FISA abuse

Tucker: Media silent on the lies they spread

IG report hearing part 1: Lindsey Graham’s opening statement

IG report hearing part 2: Dianne Feinstein’s opening statement

IG report hearing part 3: Michael Horowitz’s opening statement

IG report hearing part 4: Lindsey Graham questions Michael Horowitz

IG report hearing part 5: Dianne Feinstein, Patrick Leahy question Michael Horowitz

IG report hearing part 6: Chuck Grassley, Patrick Leahy question Michael Horowitz

IG report hearing part 7: Senators question Michael Horowitz

IG report hearing part 8: Senators continue to question Michael Horowitz

PART 1: Inspector General FISA Investigation President Trump – Senate Hearing

PART 2: Inspector General FISA Investigation President Trump – Senate Hearing

Justice Department Inspector General Horowitz Testifies to Senate | NowThis

Lindsey Graham unloads on James Comey’s FBI accusing it of a ‘vast criminal conspiracy’ for using Christopher Steele’s discredited dossier to get eavesdropping warrant during Trump-Russia probe

  • Sen. Lindsey Graham opened Judiciary hearing by tearing into the Dossier’s unproven claims
  • He says John McCain showed him the dossier after it was handed to him in 2016
  • Says he said ‘Oh my God’ and concluded either Russians have something on Trump or could be ‘disinformation’
  • Blasted FBI leadership and read through anti-Trump texts of FBI lovers
  • Said FBI director Wray: ‘You got a problem’  
  • ‘It is stunning it is damning it is salacious, and it’s a bunch of crap’
  • Sen. John Kennedy on IG report revelations: ‘It made me want to heave’

Judiciary Committee Chairman Sen. Lindsey Graham opened a high-stakes hearing with the Justice Department’s inspector general by blasting ex-British intelligence officer Christopher Steele’s ‘golden showers’ dossier and the FBI for using it.

Graham said when he first saw the dossier during the 2016 campaign, it initially confronted him with the possibility Russians ‘have something’ on Donald Trump. Otherwise, he said, there could have been a Russian ‘disinformation campaign’ going on.

The South Carolinian Republican also revealed that the late Sen. John McCain, who obtained the dossier during the campaign after attending a security conference in Canada, shared it with him. Graham ran for president in 2016 as one of a bevy of Republicans.

He accused the FBI of a ‘vast criminal conspiracy’ for its handling of the FISA warrant to monitor Carter Page, a one-time Trump campaign staffer.

‘What has been described as a few irregularities becomes a massive criminal conspiracy over time to defraud the FISA court, to illegally surveil an American citizen and keep an operation open against a sitting president of the United States — violating every norm known to the rule of law,’ he said.

He said the code name for the FBI investigation, ‘Crossfire Hurricane,’ was an apt title ‘because that’s what we ended up with – a “Crossfire Hurricane.”‘

‘What happened here is the system failed. People in the highest levels of government took the law into their own hands,’ said Graham, a close Trump ally.

Sen. Lindsey Graham blasted what he called the 'golden showers' dossier, and called it a bunch of 'crap'

Sen. Lindsey Graham blasted what he called the ‘golden showers’ dossier, and called it a bunch of ‘crap’

He said McCain learned about the dossier while attending a December 2016 conference.

‘John McCain puts it in his safe, he gives it to me and I read it,’ Graham said in an angry speech before IG Michael Horowitz, who testified on his report Wednesday.

‘And the first thing I thought of was, ‘Oh my god,’ said Graham. ‘This could be Russia disinformation and they may have something on Trump.’

Graham, who has become one of Trump’s closest GOP allies in the Senate, used the term ‘golden showers’ to reference an unproven allegation from Steele’s dossier, which cited ‘perverted’ conduct inside a Moscow hotel room during the 2013 Miss Universe Pageant.

Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Lindsey Graham (R-SC) holds up the Steel dossier as Michael Horowitz, inspector general for the Justice Department, testifies before the Senate Judiciary Committee

U.S. Justice Department Inspector General Michael Horowitz arrives to testify before a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing "Examining the Inspector General's report on alleged abuses of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA)" on Capitol Hill in Washington, U.S., December 11, 2019

U.S. Justice Department Inspector General Michael Horowitz arrives to testify before a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing ‘Examining the Inspector General’s report on alleged abuses of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA)’ on Capitol Hill in Washington, U.S., December 11, 2019

Graham also tore into Christopher Steele, the former MI6 agent who wrote what became the dossier

Donald Trump and Olivia Culpo attend the red carpet at Miss Universe Pageant Competition 2013 on November 9, 2013 in Moscow, Russia. The IG found additional information that undermined Steele's sub-source who informed him about the unproven allegations against Trump

Donald Trump and Olivia Culpo attend the red carpet at Miss Universe Pageant Competition 2013 on November 9, 2013 in Moscow, Russia. The IG found additional information that undermined Steele’s sub-source who informed him about the unproven allegations against Trump

The DOJ's Inspector General included the information in his report

The DOJ’s Inspector General included the information in his report

President Donald Trump tweeted out a smiling photo of himself with Russian foreign minister Sergei Lavrov on Tuesday

Miss USA 2013 Erin Brady and Donald Trump (C), co-owner of the Miss Universe Organization, look on as Aras Agalarov, father of Russian singer Emin Agalarov, speaks during a news conference after the 2013 Miss USA pageant at the Planet Hollywood Resort and Casino in Las Vegas, Nevada June 16, 2013

Miss USA 2013 Erin Brady and Donald Trump (C), co-owner of the Miss Universe Organization, look on as Aras Agalarov, father of Russian singer Emin Agalarov, speaks during a news conference after the 2013 Miss USA pageant at the Planet Hollywood Resort and Casino in Las Vegas, Nevada June 16, 2013

Graham fumed: ‘It is stunning, it is damning, it is salacious, and it’s a bunch of crap.’

Russian President Vladimir Putin

Russian President Vladimir Putin

‘This is not normal. Don’t judge the FBI and the Department of Justice by these characters,’ Graham said, referencing FBI officials involved in the ‘Crossfire Hurricane’ probe who have come under scrutiny.

Graham spent a long stretch of his opening remarks tearing into the ‘FBI lovers’ Peter Strzrok and Lisa Page. He read through their anti-Trump texts, while the witness listened and C-span cameras rolled.

He blasted the decision to probe members of Trump’s foreign policy team who had had Russia contacts, even before Horowitz testified the probe was started ‘in compliance with Department and FBI policies’ and that he didn’t uncover evidence ‘that political bias or improper motivation’ influenced the decision.

‘This national security team was literally picked up off the street,’ Graham thundered.

He wanted to know why Trump didn’t get informed about the use of investigative techniques against his campaign. ‘Why didn’t they tell Trump? We’ll figure that out later. But I think it’s a question that needs to be asked,’ Graham said.

In addition to testifying that that probe was properly predicated under FBI procedures, Horowitz testified that the Russia probe team obtained information from Steele’s primary sub-source in January 2017 ‘that raised significant questions about the reliability of the Steele reporting that was used in the Carter Page’ surveillance warrant.

Graham accused James Comey's FBI of a 'vast criminal conspiracy'

Graham accused James Comey’s FBI of a ‘vast criminal conspiracy’

Horowitz’s testimony came during a political charged hearing, with lawmakers spit upon party lines on the same day the House Judiciary committee was taking up articles of impeachment against President Trump accusing him of abuse of power and obstruction of Congress.

‘I think the activities we found don´t vindicate anybody,’ said Horowitz.

Horowitz defended the need to keep whistle-blowers anonymous under questioning by Democratic Sen. Dianne Feinstein.

‘Whistle-blowers have a right to expect complete full confidentiality in all circumstances … and it’s a very important provision’, Horowitz said. He said it was a legal obligation set in statute.

Sen. John Kennedy of Louisiana used his usual home-spun language to express astonishment about what was uncovered about FBI conduct.

‘After about 15 per cent of the way through, it made me want to heave. After about 20 percent of the way through I thought I’d dropped acid. It’s surreal,’ he said.

Graham issued his pronouncements even while acknowledging the reality of Russian interference to hurt Democrat Hillary Clinton in 2016.

‘We know the Russians were screwing around with the Democrats, right?’ Graham said.

Democrats tried to get Horowitz to defend his 480-page probe from criticism by Attorney General Bill Barr, who blasted its conclusions in TV interviews but failed to take the traditional route of attaching written objections.

Horowitz tried not to play along. Asked about Barr’s trips abroad to assist a separate probe by prosecutor John Durham, he said: ‘I think you’d have to ask the attorney general about those meetings.’

 Federal prosecutor John Durham told Horowitz his view that the FBI should have opened a limited probe than the one it did open. Horowitz told lawmakers. he didn’t agree.

‘None of the discussions changed our findings,’ he said.

Republicans bashed the FBI for having a Crossfire Hurricane agent participate in a security briefing provided to the Trump campaign – then file notes on what participants including Mike Flynn said. Flynn, Trump’s national security advisor, later pleaded guilty to lying to investigators.

Sen. John Cornyn brought up Comey’s post-election briefing of Trump about the dossier in Trump tower, and asked if he told the president ‘anything he said can be used against him.’

Sen. Sheldon White House (D-R.I.) addressed one reason why the FBI resisted telling Trump officials. He said investigators ‘did not then now how far Russian penetration into the Trump campaign went.’

‘It raises significant policy questions,’ Horowitz said.

‘We are deeply concerned that so many basic and fundamental errors were made by three separate, hand-picked investigative teams, on one of the most sensitive FBI investigations, after the matter had been briefed to the highest levels within the FBI,’ Horowitz said.

Inspector General Michael Horowitz slams ‘failure’ by FBI leaders who used Christopher Steele’s anti-Trump dossier and tells Senate of ‘basic and fundamental errors’ in Russia probe

The Justice Department’s internal watchdog told Congress on Wednesday that he is concerned that ‘so many basic and fundamental errors’ were made by the FBI as it investigated ties between the Trump campaign and Russia.

Michael Horowitz’s testimony before the Senate Judiciary Committee comes two days after the release of a report that identified significant problems with applications to receive and renew warrants to eavesdrop on a former Trump campaign aide in 2016 and 2017.

Despite those problems, the report also found that the FBI’s actions were not motivated by partisan bias and that the investigation was opened for a proper cause.

Horowitz will tell senators that the FBI failed to follow its own standards for accuracy and completeness when it sought a warrant to monitor the communications of ex-campaign aide Carter Page.

Scathing: Michael Horowitz, the Judiciary Inspector General, outlined a series of criticisms of the FBI as he gave evidence on his report into the Trump-Russia probe, which was codenamed Crossfire Hurricane

Scathing: Michael Horowitz, the Judiciary Inspector General, outlined a series of criticisms of the FBI as he gave evidence on his report into the Trump-Russia probe, which was codenamed Crossfire Hurricane

Team: Michael Horowitz was flanked by investigators from the 18-month probe, which resulted in Monday's report, which ran to more than 400 pages

Team: Michael Horowitz was flanked by investigators from the 18-month probe, which resulted in Monday’s report, which ran to more than 400 pages
Concern: Senate Judiciary Committee chairman Lindsey Graham brandishes the Steele dossier, which Horowitz said FBI leaders relied on despite knowing about concerns over it

Concern: Senate Judiciary Committee chairman Lindsey Graham brandishes the Steele dossier, which Horowitz said FBI leaders relied on despite knowing about concerns over it

Horowitz’s statement largely echoed his scathing Monday report on the FBI’s handling of the Trump-Russia probe.

He told the committee that the FBI relied on Christopher Steele’s dossier to get a FISA warrant to monitor Carter Page, a one-time Donald Trump campaign aide.

But when it found out that the dossier was flawed and were advised of some of the flaws by a Department of Justice attorney, it did not tell the FISA court which issued the warrant.

‘We found that members of the Crossfire Hurricane team failed to meet the basic obligation to ensure that the Carter Page FISA applications were ”scrupulously accurate,” he said.

There were four applications for a warrant on Page.

But Horowitz said: ‘We identified significant inaccuracies and omissions in each of the four applications: 7 in the first FISA application and a total of 17 by the final renewal application.

‘For example, the Crossfire Hurricane team obtained information from Steele’s Primary Sub-source in January 2017 that raised significant questions about the reliability of the Steele reporting that was used in the Carter Page FISA applications.

‘This was particularly noteworthy because the FISA applications relied entirely on information from the Steele reporting to support the allegation that Page was coordinating with the Russian government on 2016 U.S. presidential election activities.

‘However, members of the Crossfire Hurricane team failed to share the information about the Primary Sub-source’s information with the Department, and it was therefore omitted from the three renewal applications.’

Horowitz did not name any FBI leaders in his statement to senators, but had already outlined in his report that James Comey, the FBI director, Andrew McCabe, his deputy, and other senior FBI leaders were involved in supervising the Crossfire Hurricane probe

Key figures: James Comey's FBI opened the probe into one-time Trump campaign aide Carter Page. The FBI obtained a FISA warrant which relied on the Steele dossier

Key figures: James Comey's FBI opened the probe into one-time Trump campaign aide Carter Page. The FBI obtained a FISA warrant which relied on the Steele dossier

Key figures: James Comey’s FBI opened the probe into one-time Trump campaign aide Carter Page. The FBI obtained a FISA warrant which relied on the Steele dossier

‘FBI leadership supported relying on Steele’s reporting to seek a FISA order targeting Page after being advised of, and giving consideration to, concerns expressed by a Department attorney that Steele may have been hired by someone associated with a rival candidate or campaign,’ he said.

Horowitz also raised questions over the FBI’s policies on FISA use generally.

 ‘We also identified what we believe is an absence of sufficient policies to ensure appropriate Department oversight of significant investigative decisions that could affect constitutionally protected activity,’ Horowitz said, according to his prepared remarks as released by the committee before the hearing.

The report has produced sharp partisan divisions. Democrats seized on the finding that the probe was not tainted by political motivations. But Republicans say the findings show the investigation was fatally flawed. Attorney General William Barr, a vocal defender of President Donald Trump, said the FBI investigation was based on a ‘bogus narrative.’

Sen. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, the top Republican on the committee and another ally of Trump, echoed that sentiment in his opening statement. He said the code name for the FBI investigation, ‘Crossfire Hurricane,’ was an apt title ‘because that’s what we ended up with – a `Crossfire Hurricane.”

‘What happened here is the system failed. People in the highest levels of government took the law into their own hands,’ Graham said.

MICHAEL HOROWITZ’S FULL SENATE STATEMENT ON HIS TRUMP-RUSSIA PROBE 

Mr. Chairman, Senator Feinstein, and Members of the Committee

Thank you for inviting me to testify at today’s hearing to examine the report that my office issued yesterday entitled, ‘Review of Four FISA Applications and Other Aspects of the FBI’s Crossfire Hurricane Investigation.’ 

In July 2016, three weeks after then FBI Director James Comey announced the conclusion of the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s (FBI) ‘Midyear Exam’ investigation into presidential candidate Hillary Clinton’s handling of government emails during her tenure as Secretary of State, the FBI received reporting from a Friendly Foreign Government (FFG) that, in a May 2016 meeting with the FFG, Trump campaign foreign policy advisor George Papadopoulos ‘suggested the Trump team had received some kind of a suggestion’ from Russia that it could assist in the election process with the anonymous release of information during the campaign that would be damaging to candidate Clinton and President Obama. 

Days later, on July 31, the FBI initiated the Crossfire Hurricane investigation that is the subject of our report. 

As we noted last year in our review of the Midyear investigation, the FBI has developed and earned a reputation as one of the world’s premier law enforcement agencies in significant part because of its tradition of professionalism, impartiality, non-political enforcement of the law, and adherence to detailed policies, practices, and norms. 

It was precisely these qualities that were required as the FBI initiated and conducted Crossfire Hurricane. 

However, as we describe in this report, our review identified significant concerns with how certain aspects of the investigation were conducted and supervised, particularly the FBI’s failure to adhere to its own standards of accuracy and completeness when filing applications for Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) authority to surveil Carter Page, a U.S. person who was connected to the Donald J. Trump for President Campaign. 

We also identified what we believe is an absence of sufficient policies to ensure appropriate Department oversight of significant investigative decisions that could affect constitutionally protected activity. 

In my statement today, I highlight some of the most significant findings in our report. 

A more detailed overview of our findings can be found in the report’s Executive Summary. 

Our findings are the product of a comprehensive review that examined more than one million documents in the Department’s and FBI’s possession, including documents that other U.S. and foreign government agencies provided the FBI during the Crossfire Hurricane investigation. 

Our team conducted over 170 interviews involving more than 100 witnesses, and we documented all of our findings in a 417-page report. 

I want to commend the work of our review team for conducting rigorous and effective oversight, and for producing a report and recommendations that we believe will improve the FBI’s ability to most effectively utilize the national security authorities analyzed in this review, while also striving to safeguard the civil liberties and privacy of impacted U.S. persons. 

The Opening of Crossfire Hurricane and the Use of Confidential Human Sources Following receipt of the FFG information, a decision was made by the FBI’s then Counterintelligence Division (CD) Assistant Director (AD), E.W. ‘Bill’ Priestap, to open Crossfire Hurricane and reflected a consensus reached after multiple days of discussions and meetings among senior FBI officials. 

We concluded that AD Priestap’s exercise of discretion in opening the investigation was in compliance with Department and FBI policies, and we did not find documentary or testimonial evidence that political bias or improper motivation influenced his decision. 

While the information in the FBI’s possession at the time was limited, in light of the low threshold established by Department and FBI predication policy, we found that Crossfire Hurricane was opened for an authorized investigative purpose and with sufficient factual predication. 

However, we also determined that, under Department and FBI policy, the decision whether to open the Crossfire Hurricane counterintelligence investigation, which involved the activities of individuals associated with a national major party campaign for president, was a discretionary judgment call left to the FBI.

There was no requirement that Department officials be consulted, or even notified, prior to the FBI making that decision. 

We further found that, consistent with this policy, the FBI advised supervisors in the Department’s National Security Division (NSD) of the investigation after it had been initiated. 

As we detail in Chapter Two, high level Department notice and approval is required in other circumstances where investigative activity could substantially impact certain civil liberties, and that notice allows senior Department officials to consider the potential constitutional and prudential implications in advance of these activities. 

We concluded that similar advance notice should be required in circumstances such as those that were present here. 

Shortly after the FBI opened the Crossfire Hurricane investigation, the FBI conducted several consensually monitored meetings between FBI confidential human sources (CHS) and individuals affiliated with the Trump campaign, including a high-level campaign official who was not a subject of the investigation. 

We found that the CHS operations received the necessary approvals under FBI policy; that an Assistant Director knew about and approved of each operation, even in circumstances where a first-level supervisory special agent could have approved the operations; and that the operations were permitted under Department and FBI policy because their use was not for the sole purpose of monitoring activities protected by the First Amendment or the lawful exercise of other rights secured by the Constitution or laws of the United States. 

We did not find any documentary or testimonial evidence that political bias or improper motivation influenced the FBI’s decision to conduct these operations. 

Additionally, we found no evidence that the FBI attempted to place any CHSs within the Trump campaign, recruit members of the Trump campaign as CHSs, or task CHSs to report on the Trump campaign. 

However, we are concerned that, under applicable Department and FBI policy, it would have been sufficient for a first-level FBI supervisor to authorize the sensitive domestic CHS operations undertaken in Crossfire Hurricane, and that there is no applicable Department or FBI policy requiring the FBI to notify Department officials of a decision to task CHSs to consensually monitor conversations with members of a presidential campaign. 

Specifically, in Crossfire Hurricane, where one of the CHS operations involved consensually monitoring a high-level official on the Trump campaign who was not a subject of the investigation, and all of the operations had the potential to gather sensitive information of the campaign about protected First Amendment activity, we found no evidence that the FBI consulted with any Department officials before conducting the CHS operations—and no policy requiring the FBI to do so.

We therefore believe that current Department and FBI policies are not sufficient to ensure appropriate oversight and accountability when such operations potentially implicate sensitive, constitutionally protected activity, and that requiring Department consultation, at a minimum, would be appropriate. 

The FISA Applications to Conduct Surveillance of Carter Page One investigative tool for which Department and FBI policy expressly require advance approval by a senior Department official is the seeking of a court order under the FISA. 

When the Crossfire Hurricane team first proposed seeking a FISA order targeting Carter Page in midAugust 2016, FBI attorneys assisting the investigation considered it a ‘close call’ whether they had developed the probable cause necessary to obtain the order, and a FISA order was not requested at that time.

However, in September 2016, immediately after the Crossfire Hurricane team received reporting from Christopher Steele concerning Page’s alleged recent activities with Russian officials, FBI attorneys advised the Department that the team was ready to move forward with a request to obtain FISA authority to surveil Page. 

FBI and Department officials told us the Steele reporting ‘pushed [the FISA proposal] over the line’ in terms of establishing probable cause, and we concluded that the Steele reporting played a central and essential role in the decision to seek a FISA order.

FBI leadership supported relying on Steele’s reporting to seek a FISA order targeting Page after being advised of, and giving consideration to, concerns expressed by a Department attorney that Steele may have been hired by someone associated with a rival candidate or campaign. 

The authority under FISA to conduct electronic surveillance and physical searches targeting individuals significantly assists the government’s efforts to combat terrorism, clandestine intelligence activity, and other threats to the national security. 

At the same time, the use of this authority unavoidably raises civil liberties concerns. 

FISA orders can be used to surveil U.S. persons, like Carter Page, and in some cases the surveillance will foreseeably collect information about the individual’s constitutionally protected activities, such as Page’s legitimate activities on behalf of a presidential campaign. 

Moreover, proceedings before the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court (FISC)—which is responsible for ruling on applications for FISA orders—are ex parte, meaning that unlike most court proceedings, the government is the only party present for the proceedings. 

In addition, unlike the use of other intrusive investigative techniques (such as wiretaps under Title III and traditional criminal search warrants) that are granted in ex parte hearings but can potentially be subject to later court challenge, FISA orders have not been subject to scrutiny through subsequent adversarial proceedings.

In light of these concerns, Congress through the FISA statute, and the Department and FBI through policies and procedures, have established important safeguards to protect the FISA application process from irregularities and abuse. 

Among the most important are the requirements in FBI policy that every FISA application must contain a ‘full and accurate’ presentation of the facts, and that agents must ensure that all factual statements in FISA applications are ‘scrupulously accurate.’ 

These are the standards for all FISA applications, regardless of the investigation’s sensitivity, and it is incumbent upon the FBI to meet them in every application. 

That said, in the context of an investigation involving persons associated with a presidential campaign, where the target of the FISA is a former campaign official and the goal of the FISA is to uncover, among other things, information about the individual’s allegedly illegal campaignrelated activities, members of the Crossfire Hurricane investigative team should have anticipated, and told us they in fact did anticipate, that these FISA applications would be subjected to especially close scrutiny. 

Nevertheless, we found that members of the Crossfire Hurricane team failed to meet the basic obligation to ensure that the Carter Page FISA applications were ‘scrupulously accurate.’ 

We identified significant inaccuracies and omissions in each of the four applications: 7 in the first FISA application and a total of 17 by the final renewal application. 

For example, the Crossfire Hurricane team obtained information from Steele’s Primary Sub-source in January 2017 that raised significant questions about the reliability of the Steele reporting that was used in the Carter Page FISA applications. 

This was particularly noteworthy because the FISA applications relied entirely on information from the Steele reporting to support the allegation that Page was coordinating with the Russian government on 2016 U.S. presidential election activities. 

However, members of the Crossfire Hurricane team failed to share the information about the Primary Sub-source’s information with the Department, and it was therefore omitted from the three renewal applications. 

All of the applications also omitted information the FBI had obtained from another U.S. government agency detailing its prior relationship with Page, including that Page had been approved as an operational contact for the other agency from 2008 to 2013, that Page had provided information to the other agency concerning his prior contacts with certain Russian intelligence officers (one of which overlapped with facts asserted in the FISA application), and that an employee of the other agency assessed that Page had been candid.

As a result of the 17 significant inaccuracies and omissions we identified, relevant information was not shared with, and consequently not considered by, important Department decision makers and the court, and the FISA applications made it appear as though the evidence supporting probable cause was stronger than was actually the case. 

We also found basic, fundamental, and serious errors during the completion of the FBl’s factual accuracy reviews, known as the Woods Procedures, which are designed to ensure that FISA applications contain a full and accurate presentation of the facts. 

We do not speculate whether the correction of any particular misstatement or omission, or some combination thereof, would have resulted in a different outcome. 

Nevertheless, the Department’s decision makers and the court should have been given complete and accurate information so that they could meaningfully evaluate probable cause before authorizing the surveillance of a U.S. person associated with a presidential campaign. 

That did not occur, and as a result, the surveillance of Carter Page continued even as the FBI gathered information that weakened the assessment of probable cause and made the FISA applications less accurate. 

We determined that the inaccuracies and omissions we identified in the applications resulted from case agents providing wrong or incomplete information to Department attorneys and failing to identify important issues for discussion. 

Moreover, we concluded that case agents and Supervisory Special Agents (SSA) did not give appropriate attention to facts that cut against probable cause, and that as the investigation progressed and more information tended to undermine or weaken the assertions in the FISA applications, the agents and SSAs did not reassess the information supporting probable cause. 

Further, the agents and SSAs did not follow, or even appear to know, certain basic requirements in the Woods Procedures.

Although we did not find documentary or testimonial evidence of intentional misconduct on the part of the case agents who assisted NSD’s Office of Intelligence (OI) in preparing the applications, or the agents and supervisors who performed the Woods Procedures, we also did not receive satisfactory explanations for the errors or missing information. 

We found that the offered explanations for these serious errors did not excuse them, or the repeated failures to ensure the accuracy of information presented to the FISC. 

We are deeply concerned that so many basic and fundamental errors were made by three separate, hand-picked investigative teams; on one of the most sensitive FBI investigations; after the matter had been briefed to the highest levels within the FBI; even though the information sought through use of FISA authority related so closely to an ongoing presidential campaign; and even though those involved with the investigation knew that their actions were likely to be subjected to close scrutiny. 

We believe this circumstance reflects a failure not just by those who prepared the FISA applications, but also by the managers and supervisors in the Crossfire Hurricane chain of command, including FBI senior officials who were briefed as the investigation progressed. 

We do not expect managers and supervisors to know every fact about an investigation, or senior leaders to know all the details of cases about which they are briefed. 

However, especially in the FBl’s most sensitive and high-priority matters, and especially when seeking court permission to use an intrusive tool such as a FISA order, it is incumbent upon the entire chain of command, including senior officials, to take the necessary steps to ensure that they are sufficiently familiar with the facts and circumstances supporting and potentially undermining a FISA application in order to provide effective oversight consistent with their level of supervisory responsibility.

Such oversight requires greater familiarity with the facts than we saw in this review, where time and again during OIG interviews FBI managers, supervisors, and senior officials displayed a lack of understanding or awareness of important information concerning many of the problems we identified. 

In the preparation of the FISA applications to surveil Carter Page, the Crossfire Hurricane team failed to comply with FBI policies, and in so doing fell short of what is rightfully expected from a premier law enforcement agency entrusted with such an intrusive surveillance tool. 

In light of the significant concerns identified with the Carter Page FISA applications and the other issues described in this report, the OIG has initiated an audit that will further examine the FBI’s compliance with the Woods Procedures in FISA applications that target U.S. persons in both counterintelligence and counterterrorism investigations. 

We also made the following recommendations to assist the Department and the FBI in avoiding similar failures in future investigations. 

Recommendations 

For the reasons fully described in our report, we recommend the following: 

1. The Department and the FBI should ensure that adequate procedures are in place for the Office of Intelligence (OI) to obtain all relevant and accurate information, including access to Confidential Human Source (CHS) information, needed to prepare FISA applications and renewal applications. This effort should include revising: 

a. the FISA Request Form: to ensure information is identified for OI: (i) that tends to disprove, does not support, or is inconsistent with a finding or an allegation that the target is a foreign power or an agent of a foreign power, or 

(ii) that bears on the reliability of every CHS whose information is relied upon in the FISA application, including all information from the derogatory information sub-file, recommended below; 

b. the Woods Form: (i) to emphasize to agents and their supervisors the obligation to re-verify factual assertions repeated from prior applications and to obtain written approval from CHS handling agents of all CHS source characterization statements in applications, and

(ii) to specify what steps must be taken and documented during the legal review performed by an FBI Office of General Counsel (OGC) line attorney and SES level supervisor before submitting the FISA application package to the FBI Director for certification; 

c. the FISA Procedures: to clarify which positions may serve as the supervisory reviewer for OGC; and d. taking any other steps deemed appropriate to ensure the accuracy and completeness of information provided to OI. 

2. The Department and FBI should evaluate which types of Sensitive Investigative Matters (SIM) require advance notification to a senior Department official, such as the Deputy Attorney General, in addition to the notifications currently required for SIMs, especially for case openings that implicate core First Amendment activity and raise policy considerations or heighten enterprise risk, and establish implementing policies and guidance, as necessary. 

3. The FBI should develop protocols and guidelines for staffing and administrating any future sensitive investigative matters from FBI Headquarters. 

4. The FBI should address the problems with the administration and assessment of CHS

s identified in this report and, at a minimum, should: a. revise its standard CHS admonishment form to include a prohibition on the disclosure of the CHS’s relationship with the FBI to third parties absent the FBI’s permission, and assess the need to include other admonishments in the standard CHS admonishments; 

b. develop enhanced procedures to ensure that CHS information is documented in Delta, including information generated from Headquarters- led investigations, substantive contacts with closed CHSs (directly or through third parties), and derogatory information. We renew our recommendation that the FBI create a derogatory information sub-file in Delta; 

c. assess VMU’s practices regarding reporting source validation findings and non-findings; 

d. establish guidance for sharing sensitive information with CHSs;

e. establish guidance to handling agents for inquiring whether their CHS participates in the types of groups or activities that would bring the CHS within the definition of a ‘sensitive source,’ and ensure handling agents document (and update as needed) those affiliations and any others voluntarily provided to them by the CHS in the Source Opening Communication, the ‘Sensitive Categories’ portion of each CHS’s Quarterly Supervisory Source Report, the ‘Life Changes’ portion of CHS Contact Reports, or as otherwise directed by the FBI so that the FBI can assess whether active CHSs are engaged in activities (such as political campaigns) at a level that might require re-designation as a ‘sensitive source’ or necessitate closure of the CHS; and 

f. revise its CHS policy to address the considerations that should be taken into account and the steps that should be followed before and after accepting information from a closed CHS indirectly through a third party.

5. The Department and FBI should clarify the following terms in their policies: a. assess the definition of a ‘Sensitive Monitoring Circumstance’ in the AG Guidelines and the FBI’s DIOG to determine whether to expand its scope to include consensual monitoring of a domestic political candidate or an individual prominent within a domestic political organization, or a subset of these persons, so that consensual monitoring of such individuals would require consultation with or advance notification to a senior Department official, such as the Deputy Attorney General; and 

b. establish guidance, and include examples in the DIOG, to better define the meaning of the phrase ‘prominent in a domestic political organization’ so that agents understand which campaign officials fall within that definition as it relates to ‘Sensitive Investigative Matters,’ ‘Sensitive UDP,’ and the designation of ‘sensitive sources.’ Further, if the Department expands the scope of ‘Sensitive Monitoring Circumstance,’ as recommended above, the FBI should apply the guidance on ‘prominent in a domestic political organization’ to ‘Sensitive Monitoring Circumstance’ as well.

6. The FBI should ensure that appropriate training on DIOG § 4 is provided to emphasize the constitutional implications of certain monitoring situations and to ensure that agents account for these concerns, both in the tasking of CHSs and in the way they document interactions with and tasking of CHSs. 

7. The FBI should establish a policy regarding the use of defensive and transition briefings for investigative purposes, including the factors to be considered and approval by senior leaders at the FBI with notice to a senior Department official, such as the Deputy Attorney General. 

8. The Department’s Office of Professional Responsibility should review our findings related to the conduct of Department attorney Bruce Ohr for any action it deems appropriate. Ohr’s current supervisors in the Department’s Criminal Division should also review our findings related to Ohr’s performance for any action they deem appropriate.

9. The FBI should review the performance of all employees who had responsibility for the preparation, Woods review, or approval of the FISA applications, as well as the managers, supervisors, and senior officials in the chain of command of the Carter Page investigation, for any action deemed appropriate. 

After reviewing a draft of this report and its recommendations, FBI Director Christopher Wray accepted each of the recommendations above, and we were told ordered more than 40 corrective actions to date to address our recommendations. 

However, more work remains to be done by both the FBI and the Department. 

As I noted above, we believe that implementation of these recommendations, including those that seek individual accountability for the failures identified in our report, will improve the FBI’s ability to more carefully and effectively utilize its important national security authorities like FISA, while also striving to safeguard the civil liberties and privacy of impacted U.S. persons.

The OIG will continue to conduct independent oversight on these matters in the months and years ahead. This concludes my prepared statement, and I am pleased to answer any questions the Committee may have.

https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-7781435/Lindsey-Graham-opens-hearing-Inspector-General-bringing-golden-showers-allegations.html

 

Andrew McCarthy: DOJ vs. IG – Barr and Horowitz’s reported rift over FISA report is bogus spin by Democrats

At Wednesday’s Senate Judiciary Committee hearing about Justice Department Inspector General Michael Horowitz’s report on investigative abuses in the FBI’s Trump-Russia investigation (codenamed “Crossfire Hurricane”), Democrats continued an effort begun ten days ago to hoodwink the public into believing Horowitz is in a bitter dispute with Attorney General William Barr over a key finding in the report.

The dispute allegedly stems from what is portrayed as Barr’s dissent from the IG’s conclusion that the probe was properly predicated – i.e., that there were sufficient factual grounds to open an investigation of whether the Trump campaign was complicit in the Kremlin’s cyberespionage attack on Democratic party email accounts.

In point of fact, as discussed in my Fox News Opinion column on Wednesday, the two men have less a difference of opinion than a difference in focus – the distinction between what may be done and what should be done.

ANDREW MCCARTHY: THE FBI, THE IG REPORT, AND ATTORNEY GENERAL BARR – SEPARATING FACT FROM FICTION

I’m tempted to say there is no real dispute, but let’s leave it at saying the dispute is wildly overstated.

A cautionary note: People should be suspicious about media coverage of the attorney general. For decades, Bill Barr has enjoyed a well-earned reputation for legal acumen and personal integrity. But he is now working for Donald Trump.

Hence, there has for months been an energetic media-Democrat effort to discredit him – in particular, to undermine the investigation he has appointed Connecticut U.S. attorney John Durham to conduct into the origins of the Trump-Russia probe (not just Crossfire Hurricane, but the related investigations involving other domestic and foreign government agencies).

A transparent motivation fuels this effort: The Mueller probe found no evidence of a Trump-Russia conspiracy, notwithstanding the indefatigable “collusion” narrative (explored at length in my book “Ball of Collusion“).

Now the Horowitz IG report has found major abuses in the FBI’s investigation of Trump. The question naturally arises: Why did the Obama administration use the intelligence and law-enforcement apparatus of the government to investigate its political opposition?

Democrats and their media confederates are determined to protect Obama’s legacy from Nixonian taint. Barr, therefore, must be subjected to character assassination.

The specter of political spying, that bane of the Watergate era, is manifest. That is what Barr and Durham are exploring.

Democrats and their media confederates are determined to protect Obama’s legacy from Nixonian taint. Barr, therefore, must be subjected to character assassination.

You know the drill: He is Trump’s lawyer, not America’s. His investigation is politicized, not in good faith and so on.

Yes, the same people who lionized Mueller’s team of partisan Democrats, now feign outraged disbelief at the suggestion that the FBI could possibly have been just a tad political.

That would be the same Bureau that helped whitewash the Clinton emails caper; scorched the earth to find a non-existent conspiracy against Trump; brought us the charming Strzok-Page texts; and has, in just the last two years, been the subject of not one but two voluminous IG reports examining the anti-Trump animus of top investigators.

That is why the Barr-Horowitz contretemps must be exaggerated.

Typical of IG reports, Horowitz’s latest features admirably comprehensive fact-finding but conclusions framed in lawyerly gobbledygook that lend themselves to easy distortion.

As night follows day, the anti-Trump forces pounced: We’re to believe the IG concluded that the Trump-Russia investigation’s commencement was unimpeachable and that there was no political bias in the FBI’s decision-making.

That is not what Horowitz actually said. Since it is important that the public be given accurate information about the Justice Department’s position, the AG has spoken out to clarify what the IG concluded and how DOJ regards these conclusions.

In press coverage, this has been portrayed as a blistering attack on Horowitz.

At Wednesday’s hearing, Senate Judiciary Committee Democrats picked up the theme: Horowitz heroically struggles to uphold the rule of law and standards of impartial fact-finding, but Barr, that diabolical Trumpkin, is determined to bring him down for refusing to brand Crossfire Hurricane a hoax.

Even as this narrative first took wing, there was a clue that it was deceptive, though you had to dig a little to find it.

On December 2, a week before the IG report became public, the Washington Post kicked off the Barr vs. Horowitz tale with a story claiming, based on anonymous sources, that the AG was disputing the IG’s “key” finding that the FBI had enough information to justify launching the probe.

Seven paragraphs in, though, there was an on-the-record statement from a named official: Kerri Kupec, Barr’s spokeswoman. Far from conveying rancor, Ms. Kupec issued a gushing tribute to Horowitz. His investigation, she said: “Is a credit to the Department of Justice. His excellent work has uncovered significant information that the American people will soon be able to read for themselves. Rather than speculating, people should read the report for themselves next week, watch the Inspector General’s testimony before the Senate Judiciary Committee, and draw their own conclusions about these important matters.”

Yes, that’s right. In relating the supposedly intense infighting over the report between Barr and Horowitz, the Post was compelled to note that the only statement traceable to Barr was an enthusiastic endorsement of Horowitz’s work and an encouragement to Americans to read the report and watch the testimony.

What a scurrilous attack!

When Horowitz finally released the report on Monday, Barr himself made a statement. Relying on the IG’s work, rather than contradicting it, the AG observed that the FBI had, “launched an intrusive investigation of a U.S. presidential campaign on the thinnest of suspicions that, in my view, were insufficient to justify the steps taken. [Emphasis added.]

Barr did not disagree with Horowitz on the commencement of the investigation. Horowitz had found that the FBI’s written procedures provide a very low bar in terms of the suspicion that may justify the opening of an investigation.

Barr did not dispute this; he said the investigation was opened “on the thinnest of suspicions.” That is both true and, as Horowitz points out, sufficient.

More from Opinion

Barr thinks it was unwise to open so significant an investigation on such thin evidence. Horowitz is not claiming it was prudent; he is saying the regulations permitted it.

More to the point, Barr’s beef was less with the opening of the investigation than with “the steps taken” after the investigation was opened.

This, plainly, is a reference to the use of intrusive investigative techniques – in particular, confidential informants and FISA surveillance warrants.

Barr’s point is that, given the norm against permitting the incumbent government’s investigative powers to intrude on our political process, it was wrong to use such aggressive tactics given the threadbare basis for suspicion.

Horowitz is not disputing that. He is saying that it is not his place to second-guess discretionary judgment calls about investigative tactics as long as the probe is legitimately opened. And clearly, the IG report is a testament to the abuse of those tactics: the misrepresentations to the FISA court, and the fact that, although the use of informants generated exculpatory evidence, the Bureau inexplicably continued investigating a U.S. political campaign.

“Fake News” is an overused and oft-abused term. In the case of the reported Barr vs. Horowitz controversy, however, it might just be apt.

https://www.foxnews.com/opinion/doj-ig-barr-horowitz-fisa-democrats-andrew-mccarthy

Andrew McCarthy: The FBI, the IG Report, and Attorney General Barr – Separating fact from fiction

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The Pronk Pops Show 1370, December 6, 2019, Story 1: Good Solid Jobs Report with 266,000 New Jobs Created, U-3 Unemployment Rate 3.5%, and Labor Participation Rate of 63.2%, Not in Labor Force Increased to 95,616,000 With Total Employed 158,593,000 — Videos — Story 2: Saudi Air Force Aviation Student Mohammed Saeed Alshamrani  Kills Three and Then Killed at  Naval Air Station Pensacola, Florida — Videos — Story 3: Schiff Extracted Journalist Solomon Phone Number from Guiliani Records — Invasion of Privacy —  Videos — Story 4: American People Oppose  Democrat Party Impeachment of President Trump — Videos

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http://www.shadowstats.com/alternate_data/unemployment-charts

One of the Navy's most historic and storied bases, Naval Air Station Pensacola sprawls along the waterfront southwest of the city's downtown

This map shows the location of the sprawling Naval Air Station Pensacola

 

Story 1: Good Solid Jobs Report with 266,000 New Jobs Created, U-3 Unemployment Rate 3.5%, and Labor Participation Rate of 63.2%, Not in Labor Force Increased to 95,616,000 With Total Employed 158,593,000 — Videos

See the source image

Ingraham: The last laugh

Watch six experts break down the November jobs report

Watch CNBC’s full interview with Larry Kudlow after a robust November jobs report

266,000 jobs added in November, unemployment rate ticks down to 3.5%

Jobs Report: 266K jobs added in November

Jim Cramer: These are the best jobs numbers of our lives

Cramer’s week ahead: ‘Amazing’ jobs report gives us a break from China trade news

December jobs report on deck

Porcelli: “People need to reorient their thinking on the payroll report, job growth is going

to slow

Ep. 518: Another Trumped up Jobs Report

Alternate Unemployment Charts

The seasonally-adjusted SGS Alternate Unemployment Rate reflects current unemployment reporting methodology adjusted for SGS-estimated long-term discouraged workers, who were defined out of official existence in 1994. That estimate is added to the BLS estimate of U-6 unemployment, which includes short-term discouraged workers.

The U-3 unemployment rate is the monthly headline number. The U-6 unemployment rate is the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ (BLS) broadest unemployment measure, including short-term discouraged and other marginally-attached workers as well as those forced to work part-time because they cannot find full-time employment.

 

Public Commentary on Unemployment

Unemployment Data Series   subcription required(Subscription required.)  View  Download Excel CSV File   Last Updated: December 6th, 2019

The ShadowStats Alternate Unemployment Rate for November 2019 is 20.9%.

Republishing our charts:  Permission, Restrictions and Instructions (includes important requirements for successful hot-linking)

Civilian Labor Force Level

164,404,000

 

Series Id:           LNS11000000
Seasonally Adjusted
Series title:        (Seas) Civilian Labor Force Level
Labor force status:  Civilian labor force
Type of data:        Number in thousands
Age:                 16 years and over

Download:
Year Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
2000 142267(1) 142456 142434 142751 142388 142591 142278 142514 142518 142622 142962 143248
2001 143800 143701 143924 143569 143318 143357 143654 143284 143989 144086 144240 144305
2002 143883 144653 144481 144725 144938 144808 144803 145009 145552 145314 145041 145066
2003 145937(1) 146100 146022 146474 146500 147056 146485 146445 146530 146716 147000 146729
2004 146842(1) 146709 146944 146850 147065 147460 147692 147564 147415 147793 148162 148059
2005 148029(1) 148364 148391 148926 149261 149238 149432 149779 149954 150001 150065 150030
2006 150214(1) 150641 150813 150881 151069 151354 151377 151716 151662 152041 152406 152732
2007 153144(1) 152983 153051 152435 152670 153041 153054 152749 153414 153183 153835 153918
2008 154063(1) 153653 153908 153769 154303 154313 154469 154641 154570 154876 154639 154655
2009 154210(1) 154538 154133 154509 154747 154716 154502 154307 153827 153784 153878 153111
2010 153484(1) 153694 153954 154622 154091 153616 153691 154086 153975 153635 154125 153650
2011 153263(1) 153214 153376 153543 153479 153346 153288 153760 154131 153961 154128 153995
2012 154381(1) 154671 154749 154545 154866 155083 154948 154763 155160 155554 155338 155628
2013 155763(1) 155312 155005 155394 155536 155749 155599 155605 155687 154673 155265 155182
2014 155352(1) 155483 156028 155369 155684 155707 156007 156130 156040 156417 156494 156332
2015 157053(1) 156663 156626 157017 157616 157014 157008 157165 156745 157188 157502 158080
2016 158371(1) 158705 159079 158891 158700 158899 159150 159582 159810 159768 159629 159779
2017 159693(1) 159854 160036 160169 159910 160124 160383 160706 161190 160436 160626 160636
2018 161123(1) 161900 161646 161551 161667 162129 162209 161802 162055 162694 162821 163240
2019 163229(1) 163184 162960 162470 162646 162981 163351 163922 164039 164364 164404
1 : Data affected by changes in population controls.

Labor Force Participation Rate

63.2%

Series Id:           LNS11300000
Seasonally Adjusted
Series title:        (Seas) Labor Force Participation Rate
Labor force status:  Civilian labor force participation rate
Type of data:        Percent or rate
Age:                 16 years and over

Download:
Year Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
2000 67.3 67.3 67.3 67.3 67.1 67.1 66.9 66.9 66.9 66.8 66.9 67.0
2001 67.2 67.1 67.2 66.9 66.7 66.7 66.8 66.5 66.8 66.7 66.7 66.7
2002 66.5 66.8 66.6 66.7 66.7 66.6 66.5 66.6 66.7 66.6 66.4 66.3
2003 66.4 66.4 66.3 66.4 66.4 66.5 66.2 66.1 66.1 66.1 66.1 65.9
2004 66.1 66.0 66.0 65.9 66.0 66.1 66.1 66.0 65.8 65.9 66.0 65.9
2005 65.8 65.9 65.9 66.1 66.1 66.1 66.1 66.2 66.1 66.1 66.0 66.0
2006 66.0 66.1 66.2 66.1 66.1 66.2 66.1 66.2 66.1 66.2 66.3 66.4
2007 66.4 66.3 66.2 65.9 66.0 66.0 66.0 65.8 66.0 65.8 66.0 66.0
2008 66.2 66.0 66.1 65.9 66.1 66.1 66.1 66.1 66.0 66.0 65.9 65.8
2009 65.7 65.8 65.6 65.7 65.7 65.7 65.5 65.4 65.1 65.0 65.0 64.6
2010 64.8 64.9 64.9 65.2 64.9 64.6 64.6 64.7 64.6 64.4 64.6 64.3
2011 64.2 64.1 64.2 64.2 64.1 64.0 64.0 64.1 64.2 64.1 64.1 64.0
2012 63.7 63.8 63.8 63.7 63.7 63.8 63.7 63.5 63.6 63.8 63.6 63.7
2013 63.7 63.4 63.3 63.4 63.4 63.4 63.3 63.3 63.2 62.8 63.0 62.9
2014 62.9 62.9 63.1 62.8 62.9 62.8 62.9 62.9 62.8 62.9 62.9 62.8
2015 62.9 62.7 62.6 62.7 62.9 62.6 62.6 62.6 62.4 62.5 62.6 62.7
2016 62.7 62.8 62.9 62.8 62.7 62.7 62.8 62.9 62.9 62.8 62.7 62.7
2017 62.9 62.9 62.9 62.9 62.8 62.8 62.9 62.9 63.1 62.7 62.8 62.7
2018 62.7 63.0 62.9 62.8 62.8 62.9 62.9 62.7 62.7 62.9 62.9 63.1
2019 63.2 63.2 63.0 62.8 62.8 62.9 63.0 63.2 63.2 63.3 63.2

Employment Level

158,593,000

Series Id:           LNS12000000
Seasonally Adjusted
Series title:        (Seas) Employment Level
Labor force status:  Employed
Type of data:        Number in thousands
Age:                 16 years and over

Download:
Year Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
2000 136559(1) 136598 136701 137270 136630 136940 136531 136662 136893 137088 137322 137614
2001 137778 137612 137783 137299 137092 136873 137071 136241 136846 136392 136238 136047
2002 135701 136438 136177 136126 136539 136415 136413 136705 137302 137008 136521 136426
2003 137417(1) 137482 137434 137633 137544 137790 137474 137549 137609 137984 138424 138411
2004 138472(1) 138542 138453 138680 138852 139174 139556 139573 139487 139732 140231 140125
2005 140245(1) 140385 140654 141254 141609 141714 142026 142434 142401 142548 142499 142752
2006 143150(1) 143457 143741 143761 144089 144353 144202 144625 144815 145314 145534 145970
2007 146028(1) 146057 146320 145586 145903 146063 145905 145682 146244 145946 146595 146273
2008 146378(1) 146156 146086 146132 145908 145737 145532 145203 145076 144802 144100 143369
2009 142152(1) 141640 140707 140656 140248 140009 139901 139492 138818 138432 138659 138013
2010 138438(1) 138581 138751 139297 139241 139141 139179 139438 139396 139119 139044 139301
2011 139250(1) 139394 139639 139586 139624 139384 139524 139942 140183 140368 140826 140902
2012 141584(1) 141858 142036 141899 142206 142391 142292 142291 143044 143431 143333 143330
2013 143292(1) 143362 143316 143635 143882 143999 144264 144326 144418 143537 144479 144778
2014 145150(1) 145134 145648 145667 145825 146247 146399 146530 146778 147427 147404 147615
2015 148150(1) 148053 148122 148491 148802 148765 148815 149175 148853 149270 149506 150164
2016 150622(1) 150934 151146 150963 151074 151104 151450 151766 151877 151949 152150 152276
2017 152128(1) 152417 152958 153150 152920 153176 153456 153591 154399 153847 153945 154065
2018 154482(1) 155213 155160 155216 155539 155592 155964 155604 156069 156582 156803 156945
2019 156694(1) 156949 156748 156645 156758 157005 157288 157878 158269 158510 158593
1 : Data affected by changes in population controls.

U-3 Unemployment Rate

3.5%

Series Id:           LNS14000000
Seasonally Adjusted
Series title:        (Seas) Unemployment Rate
Labor force status:  Unemployment rate
Type of data:        Percent or rate
Age:                 16 years and over

 

Download:
Year Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
2009 7.8 8.3 8.7 9.0 9.4 9.5 9.5 9.6 9.8 10.0 9.9 9.9
2010 9.8 9.8 9.9 9.9 9.6 9.4 9.4 9.5 9.5 9.4 9.8 9.3
2011 9.1 9.0 9.0 9.1 9.0 9.1 9.0 9.0 9.0 8.8 8.6 8.5
2012 8.3 8.3 8.2 8.2 8.2 8.2 8.2 8.1 7.8 7.8 7.7 7.9
2013 8.0 7.7 7.5 7.6 7.5 7.5 7.3 7.2 7.2 7.2 6.9 6.7
2014 6.6 6.7 6.7 6.2 6.3 6.1 6.2 6.1 5.9 5.7 5.8 5.6
2015 5.7 5.5 5.4 5.4 5.6 5.3 5.2 5.1 5.0 5.0 5.1 5.0
2016 4.9 4.9 5.0 5.0 4.8 4.9 4.8 4.9 5.0 4.9 4.7 4.7
2017 4.7 4.7 4.4 4.4 4.4 4.3 4.3 4.4 4.2 4.1 4.2 4.1
2018 4.1 4.1 4.0 3.9 3.8 4.0 3.9 3.8 3.7 3.8 3.7 3.9
2019 4.0 3.8 3.8 3.6 3.6 3.7 3.7 3.7 3.5 3.6 3.5

U-6 Unemploymen Rate

6.9%

Series Id:           LNS13327709
Seasonally Adjusted
Series title:        (seas) Total unemployed, plus all marginally attached workers plus total employed part time for economic reasons, as a percent of all civilian labor force plus all marginally attached workers
Labor force status:  Aggregated totals unemployed
Type of data:        Percent or rate
Age:                 16 years and over
Percent/rates:       Unemployed and mrg attached and pt for econ reas as percent of labor force plus marg attached



Download:
Year Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
2009 14.2 15.2 15.8 15.9 16.5 16.5 16.4 16.7 16.7 17.1 17.1 17.1
2010 16.7 17.0 17.1 17.1 16.6 16.4 16.4 16.5 16.8 16.6 16.9 16.6
2011 16.2 16.0 15.9 16.1 15.8 16.1 15.9 16.1 16.4 15.8 15.5 15.2
2012 15.2 15.0 14.5 14.6 14.7 14.8 14.8 14.6 14.8 14.4 14.4 14.4
2013 14.6 14.4 13.8 14.0 13.8 14.2 13.8 13.6 13.5 13.6 13.1 13.1
2014 12.7 12.6 12.6 12.3 12.2 12.0 12.1 12.0 11.7 11.5 11.4 11.2
2015 11.3 11.0 10.8 10.8 10.9 10.4 10.3 10.2 10.0 9.8 10.0 9.9
2016 9.8 9.7 9.8 9.7 9.9 9.5 9.7 9.6 9.7 9.6 9.4 9.2
2017 9.3 9.1 8.7 8.6 8.5 8.5 8.5 8.6 8.3 8.0 8.0 8.1
2018 8.2 8.2 7.9 7.8 7.7 7.8 7.5 7.4 7.5 7.5 7.6 7.6
2019 8.1 7.3 7.3 7.3 7.1 7.2 7.0 7.2 6.9 7.0 6.9

 Not In Labor Force

95,616,000

Series Id:           LNS15000000
Seasonally Adjusted
Series title:        (Seas) Not in Labor Force
Labor force status:  Not in labor force
Type of data:        Number in thousands
Age:                 16 years and over

Year Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
2000 69142 69120 69338 69267 69853 69876 70398 70401 70645 70782 70579 70488
2001 70088 70409 70381 70956 71414 71592 71526 72136 71676 71817 71876 72010
2002 72623 72010 72343 72281 72260 72600 72827 72856 72554 73026 73508 73675
2003 73960 74015 74295 74066 74268 73958 74767 75062 75249 75324 75280 75780
2004 75319 75648 75606 75907 75903 75735 75730 76113 76526 76399 76259 76581
2005 76808 76677 76846 76514 76409 76673 76721 76642 76739 76958 77138 77394
2006 77339 77122 77161 77318 77359 77317 77535 77451 77757 77634 77499 77376
2007 77506 77851 77982 78818 78810 78671 78904 79461 79047 79532 79105 79238
2008 78554 79156 79087 79429 79102 79314 79395 79466 79790 79736 80189 80380
2009 80529 80374 80953 80762 80705 80938 81367 81780 82495 82766 82865 83813
2010 83349 83304 83206 82707 83409 84075 84199 84014 84347 84895 84590 85240
2011 85441 85637 85623 85603 85834 86144 86383 86111 85940 86308 86312 86589
2012 87888 87765 87855 88239 88100 88073 88405 88803 88613 88429 88836 88722
2013 88900 89516 89990 89780 89827 89803 90156 90355 90481 91708 91302 91563
2014 91563 91603 91230 92070 91938 92107 92016 92099 92406 92240 92350 92695
2015 92671 93237 93454 93249 92839 93649 93868 93931 94580 94353 94245 93856
2016 94026 93872 93689 94077 94475 94498 94470 94272 94281 94553 94911 94963
2017 94389 94392 94378 94419 94857 94833 94769 94651 94372 95330 95323 95473
2018 95657 95033 95451 95721 95787 95513 95633 96264 96235 95821 95886 95649
2019 95010 95208 95577 96223 96215 96057 95874 95510 95599 95481 95616

Unemployment Level

5,881,000

 

Series Id:           LNS13000000
Seasonally Adjusted
Series title:        (Seas) Unemployment Level
Labor force status:  Unemployed
Type of data:        Number in thousands
Age:                 16 years and over
Download:
Year Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
2009 12058 12898 13426 13853 14499 14707 14601 14814 15009 15352 15219 15098
2010 15046 15113 15202 15325 14849 14474 14512 14648 14579 14516 15081 14348
2011 14013 13820 13737 13957 13855 13962 13763 13818 13948 13594 13302 13093
2012 12797 12813 12713 12646 12660 12692 12656 12471 12115 12124 12005 12298
2013 12471 11950 11689 11760 11654 11751 11335 11279 11270 11136 10787 10404
2014 10202 10349 10380 9702 9859 9460 9608 9599 9262 8990 9090 8717
2015 8903 8610 8504 8526 8814 8249 8194 7990 7892 7918 7995 7916
2016 7749 7771 7932 7928 7626 7795 7700 7817 7933 7819 7480 7503
2017 7565 7437 7078 7019 6991 6948 6927 7115 6791 6588 6682 6572
2018 6641 6687 6486 6335 6128 6537 6245 6197 5986 6112 6018 6294
2019 6535 6235 6211 5824 5888 5975 6063 6044 5769 5855 5811

 

 

Employment Situation Summary

Transmission of material in this news release is embargoed until	              USDL-19-2105
8:30 a.m. (EST) Friday, December 6, 2019

Technical information: 
 Household data:	(202) 691-6378  *  cpsinfo@bls.gov  *  www.bls.gov/cps
 Establishment data:	(202) 691-6555  *  cesinfo@bls.gov  *  www.bls.gov/ces

Media contact:	        (202) 691-5902  *  PressOffice@bls.gov


                 THE EMPLOYMENT SITUATION -- NOVEMBER 2019


Total nonfarm payroll employment rose by 266,000 in November, and the unemployment rate
was little changed at 3.5 percent, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported today.
Notable job gains occurred in health care and in professional and technical services.
Employment rose in manufacturing, reflecting the return of workers from a strike. 

This news release presents statistics from two monthly surveys. The household survey
measures labor force status, including unemployment, by demographic characteristics.
The establishment survey measures nonfarm employment, hours, and earnings by industry.
For more information about the concepts and statistical methodology used in these two
surveys, see the Technical Note.

Household Survey Data

Both the unemployment rate, at 3.5 percent, and the number of unemployed persons, at
5.8 million, changed little in November. (See table A-1.)

Among the major worker groups, the unemployment rates for adult men (3.2 percent),
adult women (3.2 percent), teenagers (12.0 percent), Whites (3.2 percent), Blacks
(5.5 percent), Asians (2.6 percent), and Hispanics (4.2 percent) showed little or no
change in November. (See tables A-1, A-2, and A-3.)

The number of long-term unemployed (those jobless for 27 weeks or more), at 1.2 million,
was essentially unchanged in November and accounted for 20.8 percent of the unemployed.
(See table A-12.)

The labor force participation rate was little changed at 63.2 percent in November. The
employment-population ratio was 61.0 percent for the third consecutive month. (See
table A-1.)

The number of persons employed part time for economic reasons, at 4.3 million, changed
little in November. These individuals, who would have preferred full-time employment,
were working part time because their hours had been reduced or they were unable to find
full-time jobs. (See table A-8.)

In November, 1.2 million persons were marginally attached to the labor force, down by
432,000 from a year earlier. (Data are not seasonally adjusted.) These individuals were
not in the labor force, wanted and were available for work, and had looked for a job
sometime in the prior 12 months. They were not counted as unemployed because they had
not searched for work in the 4 weeks preceding the survey. (See table A-16.)

Among the marginally attached, there were 325,000 discouraged workers in November, down
by 128,000 from a year earlier. (Data are not seasonally adjusted.) Discouraged workers
are persons not currently looking for work because they believe no jobs are available for
them. The remaining 921,000 persons marginally attached to the labor force in November
had not searched for work for reasons such as school attendance or family responsibilities.
(See table A-16.)

Establishment Survey Data

Total nonfarm payroll employment rose by 266,000 in November. Job growth has averaged
180,000 per month thus far in 2019, compared with an average monthly gain of 223,000 in
2018. In November, notable job gains occurred in health care and in professional and
technical services. Employment also increased in manufacturing, reflecting the return
of workers from a strike. Employment continued to trend up in leisure and hospitality,
transportation and warehousing, and financial activities, while mining lost jobs. (See
table B-1.)

In November, health care added 45,000 jobs, following little employment change in October
(+12,000). The November job gains occurred in ambulatory health care services (+34,000)
and in hospitals (+10,000). Health care has added 414,000 jobs over the last 12 months.

Employment in professional and technical services increased by 31,000 in November and by
278,000 over the last 12 months. 

Manufacturing employment rose by 54,000 in November, following a decline of 43,000 in the
prior month. Within manufacturing, employment in motor vehicles and parts was up by 41,000
in November, reflecting the return of workers who were on strike in October. 

In November, employment in leisure and hospitality continued to trend up (+45,000). The
industry has added 219,000 jobs over the last 4 months. 

Employment in transportation and warehousing continued on an upward trend in November
(+16,000). Within the industry, job gains occurred in warehousing and storage (+8,000)
and in couriers and messengers (+5,000). 

Financial activities employment also continued to trend up in November (+13,000), with
a gain of 7,000 in credit intermediation and related activities. Financial activities
has added 116,000 jobs over the last 12 months. 

Mining lost jobs in November (-7,000), largely in support activities for mining (-6,000).
Mining employment is down by 19,000 since a recent peak in May. 

In November, employment in retail trade was about unchanged (+2,000). Within the industry,
employment rose in general merchandise stores (+22,000) and in motor vehicle and parts
dealers (+8,000), while clothing and clothing accessories stores lost jobs (-18,000).

Employment in other major industries--including construction, wholesale trade, information,
and government--showed little change over the month. 

In November, average hourly earnings for all employees on private nonfarm payrolls rose
by 7 cents to $28.29. Over the last 12 months, average hourly earnings have increased by
3.1 percent. In November, average hourly earnings of private-sector production and
nonsupervisory employees rose by 7 cents to $23.83. (See tables B-3 and B-8.)

The average workweek for all employees on private nonfarm payrolls was unchanged at 34.4
hours in November. In manufacturing, the average workweek increased by 0.1 hour to 40.5
hours, while overtime decreased by 0.1 hour to 3.1 hours. The average workweek of private-
sector production and nonsupervisory employees held at 33.5 hours. (See tables B-2 and B-7.)

The change in total nonfarm payroll employment for September was revised up by 13,000 from
+180,000 to +193,000, and the change for October was revised up by 28,000 from +128,000
to +156,000. With these revisions, employment gains in September and October combined were
41,000 more than previously reported. (Monthly revisions result from additional reports 
received from businesses and government agencies since the last published estimates and 
from the recalculation of seasonal factors.) After revisions, job gains have averaged
205,000 over the last 3 months.
 
_____________
The Employment Situation for December is scheduled to be released on Friday,
January 10, 2020, at 8:30 a.m. (EST).



  _____________________________________________________________________________________
 |                                                                                     |
 |             Revision of Seasonally Adjusted Household Survey Data                   |
 |                                                                                     |
 | In accordance with usual practice, The Employment Situation news release for        |
 | December 2019, scheduled for January 10, 2020, will incorporate annual revisions to |
 | seasonally adjusted household survey data. Seasonally adjusted data for the most    |
 | recent 5 years are subject to revision.                                             |
 |_____________________________________________________________________________________|

  _____________________________________________________________________________________
 |										       |
 |                       Upcoming Changes to Household Survey Data		       |
 |										       |
 | With the publication of The Employment Situation for January 2020 on February 7,    |
 | 2020, two not seasonally adjusted series currently displayed in Summary table A--   |
 | persons marginally attached to the labor force and discouraged workers--will be     |
 | replaced with new seasonally adjusted series. The new seasonally adjusted series    |
 | will be available in the BLS online database back to 1994. Not seasonally adjusted  |
 | data for persons marginally attached to the labor force and for discouraged workers |
 | will continue to be published in table A-16. These series will also be available in |
 | the BLS online database back to 1994.					       |
 | 										       |
 | Persons marginally attached to the labor force and discouraged workers are inputs   |
 | into three alternative measures of labor underutilization displayed in table A-15.  |
 | Therefore, with the publication of The Employment Situation for January 2020, data  |
 | for U-4, U-5, and U-6 in table A-15 will reflect the new seasonally adjusted series.|
 | Revised data back to 1994 will be available in the BLS online database. Not	       |
 | seasonally adjusted series for the alternative measures will be unaffected.	       |
 | 										       |
 | Beginning with data for January 2020, occupation estimates in table A-13 will       |
 | reflect the introduction of the 2018 Census occupation classification system into   |
 | the household survey. This occupation classification system is derived from the     |
 | 2018 Standard Occupational Classification (SOC) system. In addition, industry       |
 | estimates in table A-14 will reflect the introduction of the 2017 Census industry   |
 | classification system, which is derived from the 2017 North American Industry       |
 | Classification System (NAICS). Historical data on occupation and industry will not  |
 | be revised. Beginning with data for January 2020, estimates will not be strictly    |
 | comparable with earlier years.  						       |
 |										       |
 | Also beginning with data for January 2020, estimates of married persons will include|
 | those in opposite-sex and same-sex marriages. Prior to January 2020, these estimates|
 | include only those in opposite-sex marriages. This will affect marital status       |
 | estimates in tables A-9 and A-10. Historical data will not be revised.	       |
 |_____________________________________________________________________________________|



 

https://www.bls.gov/news.release/empsit.nr0.htm

 

Employment Situation Summary Table A. Household data, seasonally adjusted

HOUSEHOLD DATA
Summary table A. Household data, seasonally adjusted
[Numbers in thousands]
Category Nov.
2018
Sept.
2019
Oct.
2019
Nov.
2019
Change from:
Oct.
2019-
Nov.
2019

Employment status

Civilian noninstitutional population

258,708 259,638 259,845 260,020 175

Civilian labor force

162,821 164,039 164,364 164,404 40

Participation rate

62.9 63.2 63.3 63.2 -0.1

Employed

156,803 158,269 158,510 158,593 83

Employment-population ratio

60.6 61.0 61.0 61.0 0.0

Unemployed

6,018 5,769 5,855 5,811 -44

Unemployment rate

3.7 3.5 3.6 3.5 -0.1

Not in labor force

95,886 95,599 95,481 95,616 135

Unemployment rates

Total, 16 years and over

3.7 3.5 3.6 3.5 -0.1

Adult men (20 years and over)

3.3 3.2 3.2 3.2 0.0

Adult women (20 years and over)

3.4 3.1 3.2 3.2 0.0

Teenagers (16 to 19 years)

12.0 12.5 12.3 12.0 -0.3

White

3.4 3.2 3.2 3.2 0.0

Black or African American

6.0 5.5 5.4 5.5 0.1

Asian

2.7 2.5 2.9 2.6 -0.3

Hispanic or Latino ethnicity

4.5 3.9 4.1 4.2 0.1

Total, 25 years and over

3.0 2.8 2.9 2.9 0.0

Less than a high school diploma

5.6 4.8 5.6 5.3 -0.3

High school graduates, no college

3.5 3.6 3.7 3.7 0.0

Some college or associate degree

3.1 2.9 2.9 2.9 0.0

Bachelor’s degree and higher

2.2 2.0 2.1 2.0 -0.1

Reason for unemployment

Job losers and persons who completed temporary jobs

2,842 2,572 2,674 2,806 132

Job leavers

697 840 849 777 -72

Reentrants

1,880 1,669 1,703 1,664 -39

New entrants

577 677 627 586 -41

Duration of unemployment

Less than 5 weeks

2,128 1,868 1,968 2,020 52

5 to 14 weeks

1,842 1,781 1,749 1,757 8

15 to 26 weeks

865 819 899 872 -27

27 weeks and over

1,259 1,314 1,264 1,224 -40

Employed persons at work part time

Part time for economic reasons

4,781 4,350 4,438 4,322 -116

Slack work or business conditions

2,882 2,588 2,754 2,633 -121

Could only find part-time work

1,562 1,322 1,287 1,268 -19

Part time for noneconomic reasons

20,909 21,573 21,549 21,534 -15

Persons not in the labor force (not seasonally adjusted)

Marginally attached to the labor force

1,678 1,299 1,229 1,246

Discouraged workers

453 321 341 325

– Over-the-month changes are not displayed for not seasonally adjusted data.
NOTE: Persons whose ethnicity is identified as Hispanic or Latino may be of any race. Detail for the seasonally adjusted data shown in this table will not necessarily add to totals because of the independent seasonal adjustment of the various series. Updated population controls are introduced annually with the release of January data.

Table of Contents

https://www.bls.gov/news.release/empsit.a.htm

Story 2: Saudi Air Force Aviation Student Mohammed Saeed Alshamrani  Kills Three and Then Killed at  Naval Air Station

Pensacola, Florida — Videos

Trump on shooting, impeachment, prisoner exchange

‘Radicalized’ Pensacola killer held mass-shooting video party the night before attack: FBI hunts missing Saudi servicemen linked to shooter and probes his trip to New York two days earlier

  • Saudi military student Mohammed Saeed al-Shamrani, 21, killed three people and injured 12 when he opened fire at Navy Station Pensacola on Friday
  • Another Saudi student allegedly videotaped the attack, while two others watched from a nearby car
  • The FBI have detained 10 Saudi students for questioning, but are still searching for ‘several’ others who have not been seen since the attack 
  • Air Force bases have been ordered to increase their security as of Saturday evening
  • Al-Shamrani and three fellow Saudi students  traveled to NYC just days before the attack, and investigators are now hunting anyone they may have met with
  • Officials have not yet deemed the shooting as ‘terrorism’, but FBI terrorism investigators are on the scene in Pensacola 
  • Joshua Kaleb Watson, 23, Mohammed Haitham, 19, and Cameron Scott Walters, 21, have been named as the three victims of the attack

Military bases across the United States have been put on high alert in the wake of Friday’s mass shooting at Navy Station Pensacola.

US Northern Command, also known as NORTHCOM, sent out an advisory calling for an increase in security checks on Saturday night, according to Fox News.

It comes as the FBI  continues to hunt for several Saudi military students from Pensacola, who have seemingly vanished in the wake of Friday’s attack.

Fellow Saudi Mohammed Saeed al-Shamrani, 21, killed three and wounded 12 others at the base before he was shot dead by police.

Investigators have now detained 10 Saudi military students from the base – a number revised up from six – but several others remain unaccounted for.

Authorities have not revealed the number of Saudi students they are still looking for, and they have not stated whether they are a risk to the public.

The New York Times reports that al-Shamrani and three fellow Saudi students traveled from Pensacola to New York last week, where they visited several museums and are thought to have watched the Rockefeller Center Christmas tree lighting ceremony.

The tree lighting, attended by thousands of people, took place on Wednesday evening – just 36 hours before the shootings occurred.

According to one source, investigators are probing the motive for the group’s trip to the city. They also want to know who the men met with while they were there.

Meanwhile, sources with knowledge of the investigation say that three Saudi serviceman joined al-Shamrani for a dinner party on Thursday night to watch videos of mass shootings.

In the hours leading up to the attack, the shooter appeared to have posted criticism of U.S. wars in the Middle East to social media, saying he hated Americans for ‘committing crimes not only against Muslims but also humanity’ and for the country’s support of Israel.

He also posted a quote from assassinated al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden, according to SITE Intelligence Group. The shooter’s Twitter account was taken down subsequent to the attack.

Mohammed Saeed al-Shamrani, 21, killed three and wounded 12 others in the attack before he was shot dead by police. This picture was released by the FBI on Saturday evening

Mohammed Saeed al-Shamrani, 21, killed three and wounded 12 others in the attack before he was shot dead by police. This picture was released by the FBI on Saturday evening

It has also been reported that one Saudi student allegedly videotaped al-Shamrani’s attack, while two others watched from a nearby car. It’s believed that those three Saudis are among the 10 who have been detained.

While Friday’s shooting his has not yet been officially deemed a terror attack,  FBI terrorism investigators have been pictured investigating at the Pensacola base.

US Naval Academy graduate Joshua Kaleb Watson, 23, was among the three victims

Military student Mohammed Haitham, 19, has been identified as one of the victims of the shooting

US Naval Academy graduate, Joshua Kaleb Watson, 23, (left) and military student Mohammed Haitham, 19, (right) have been identified as two of the victims of Friday’s shooting

Naval apprentice Cameron Scott Walters, 21, was named as the third victim

Naval apprentice Cameron Scott Walters, 21, was named as the third victim

The latest: Military bases are put on high alert

US Northern Command, also known as NORTHCOM, issued the alert on Saturday in the wake of Friday’s attack at Pensacola, and a separate, unrelated attack at Pearl Harbor in Hawaii on Wednesday.

A sailor whose submarine was docked at Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, opened fire on three civilian employees Wednesday, killing two before taking his own life.

‘Given the recent attacks at two military installations, the Commander, US Northern Command has directed all DoD [Defense Department] installations, facilities and units within the US Northern Command area of responsibility to immediately assess force protection measures and implement increased random security measures appropriate for their facilities,’ Lieutenant Commander Michael Hatfield told Fox News.

‘The advisory also told leaders to remind their workforce to remain alert and if they see something, to say something by immediately reporting to appropriate authorities any suspicious activity they may observe,’ Hatfield said.

The FBI Evidence Response Team is pictured continuing their methodical search for clues at the base on Saturday.  FBI terrorism investigators have been also been investigating, according to reports

The FBI Evidence Response Team is pictured continuing their methodical search for clues at the base on Saturday.  FBI terrorism investigators have been also been investigating, according to reports

Naval Air Station Pensacola  will remain closed until further notice, officials said Saturday. The building where the shooting took place is pictured

 

Naval Air Station Pensacola  will remain closed until further notice, officials said Saturday. The building where the shooting took place is pictured

https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-7768107/FBI-hunt-missing-Saudi-soldiers-Pensacola-Naval-base-shooting.html

 Who was gunman Mohammed Saeed al-Shamrani?

Al-Shamrani was a second lieutenant attending the aviation school at Navy Station Pensacola.  The Pentagon say his training with the US military began in August 2016, and was due to finish in August 2020.

AL- SHAMRANI’S DISTURBING TWITTER ACCOUNT AND HIS PRE-SHOOTING ‘MANIFESTO’

The now-deactivated Twitter account purportedly belonging to al- Shamrani included:

– A variety of anti-Israel postings and a quote from deceased al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden

– A lengthy manifesto posted at 4:39am  Friday, less than two hours the shooting. The manifesto read in part:

 I’m against evil, and America as a whole has turned into a nation of evil.

‘I’m not against you for just being American, I don’t hate you because [of] your freedoms, I hate you because every day you [are] supporting, funding and committing crimes not only against Muslims, but also humanity….

One of al-Shamrani’s uncles told CNN on Saturday that he was shocked by the attack, as his nephew was ‘likable and mannered towards his family and the community’.

‘He had his religion, his prayer, his honesty and commitments’, the uncle stated.

Meanwhile, it’s been revealed that al-Shamrani used a handgun in the shooting, which he purchased from a dealer in Pensacola.

Non-citizens are prohibited from purchasing guns in the United States, unless they are equipped with a hunting license.

According to NBC, al-Shamrani was equipped with such a license.

The gun has been described as a Glock 45 9-millimeter handgun with an extended magazine.

al-Sharami allegedly had four to six other magazines in his possession at the time of his shooting.

Elsewhere, the FBI is examining social media posts and investigating whether al-Shamrani acted alone or was connected to any broader group.

On Friday evening, the SITE Intelligence Group, which monitors jihadist media, claimed they had tracked a Twitter account belonging to al- Shamrani which featured a disturbing manifesto written just hours before the shooting.

Investigators are working to determine if it was in fact written by the shooter

Mohammed Saeed al-Shamrani was a Saudi aviator training at the U.S. naval station

Mohammed Saeed al-Shamrani was a Saudi aviator training at the U.S. naval station

SAUDI ARABIA’S TERROR LINK

15 of the 19 men associated with the al-Qaeda 9/11 attacks were Saudi citizens. A number of them received their aviation training at bases in the US. 

al-Qaeda’s leader, Osama bin Laden, hailed from a prominent Saudi family. 

The US investigated some Saudi diplomats and others with Saudi government ties who knew hijackers after they arrived in the US, according to documents that have been declassified.

The Saudi government has repeatedly denied any involvement in the attacks. 

The 9/11 Commission report found ‘no evidence that the Saudi government as an institution or senior Saudi officials individually funded’ the attacks that al-Qaeda masterminded, but the commission also noted ‘the likelihood’ that Saudi government-sponsored charities did.  

In 2017, families of 800 victims and 1,500 first responders file a lawsuit against Saudi Arabia accusing the country’s officials of aiding hijackers in 9/11 attacks. The lawsuit is ongoing.

Saudi Arabia is the richest and geographically largest Middle Eastern country – and a key US ally.

According to the State Department, Saudi Arabia is the second leading source of imported oil for the United States, providing just under one million barrels per day of oil to the US market    

 Saudi money is also widely invested in the US, with billions of private cash invested on Wall Street and beyond.

Prince Alwaleed bin Talal, a member of the ruling al-Saud family, has stakes in a huge range of big  businesses including Citigroup, 21st Century Fox, and the Plaza Hotel in New York.  

Many the country’s citizens also come to study at US colleges, with Saudis the fourth-largest source of foreign students, trailing only China, India and South Korea, according to The New York Times.  

The US has long had a robust training program for Saudis, with 852 Saudi nationals currently in the country  training under the Pentagon’s security cooperation agreement.    

Saudi Arabia was not one of the seven countries included in President Trump’s 2017  ‘travel ban’   

The three victims are publicly named

US Naval Academy graduate Joshua Kaleb Watson, 23, military student Mohammed Haitham, 19, and naval apprentice Cameron Scott Walters, 21, have been named as the three men who were shot and killed by al-Shamrani.

Watson was the first victim to be named, with his family confirming his death on Saturday morning.

In a heartbreaking tribute on Facebook, Watson’s brother wrote that he ‘saved countless lives today with his own.’

‘After being shot multiple times he made it outside and told the first response team where the shooter was and those details were invaluable. He died a hero,’ wrote brother Adam Watson.

Watson was a native of Enterprise, Alabama who was actively involved in JROTC and National Honor Society in high school.

On Saturday evening, the family of Haitham also confirmed that he was among the three killed.

Haitham, known as ‘Mo’ to those who knew him, was a track and field star from Lakewood, Florida, according to the Tampa Bay Times.

He graduated from high school in 2018 and joined the Navy soon afterward. Haitham completed boot camp and was assigned to flight crew training in Florida.

Evelyn Brady, his mother who herself is a Navy veteran and who now works for the Veterans’ Administration, said she was informed of her son’s death.

‘The commander of his school did call me,’ she said.

‘He told me my son did try to stop the shooter.’

Meanwhile, naval apprentice Walters, 21, from Richmond Hill, Georgia was confirmed as the third victim late Saturday.

Friends paid tribute on social media, saying he was a ‘kind-hearted’ and ‘wonderful’ person.

Ensign Joshua Watson graduates from the US Naval Academy in 2019
A SURVIVOR’S STORY

Among the 12 who were wounded was airman Ryan Blackwell, 27, who works at Naval Base Pensacola processing paperwork for international students. 

Ryan Blackwell, 27, was shot and injured on Friday

Ryan Blackwell, 27, was shot and injured on Friday

He remains in intensive care after being shot in his pelvis and his right arm . His intestines were severed by a ricocheting bullet. 

Speaking to  Pensacola News Journal from his hospital bed on Saturday, Blackwell recalled how he and his two colleagues were shot through a glass door. 

‘My adrenaline was pumping so much,’ he recalled. ‘I was worried about getting us to safety and getting us out of there’

Blackwell and his colleagues jumped out of a window and ran to safety, despite the fact they had all been shot and were ‘bleeding out’. 

‘We could have been three more casualties if we didn’t escape,’ Blackwell recalled. 

How US and Saudi officials have reacted to the attack

On Saturday, President Donald Trump told reporters: ‘We’re finding out what took place, whether it’s one person or a number of people. We’ll get to the bottom of it very quickly.’

He had faced criticism on Friday evening for his initial response to the shooting, which perceived as a defense of Saudi Arabia.

After news of the shooting broke, Trump tweeted his condolences to the families of the victims and noted that he had received a phone call from Saudi King Salman.

‘The King said that the Saudi people are greatly angered by the barbaric actions of the shooter, and that this person in no way shape or form represents the feelings of the Saudi people who love the American people,’ Trump wrote.

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said on Saturday that he had spoken with Saudi Foreign Minister Al-Saud, who ‘expressed his condolences and sadness’ at the shooting.

However, not all US politicians have been as conciliatory.

Florida Governor Ron DeSantis suggested Saudi Arabia should offer compensation to the victims.

‘The government of Saudi Arabia needs to make things better for these victims, and I think they’re going to owe a debt here given that this is one of their individuals,’ DeSantis said on Friday.

Florida Governor Ron DeSantis suggested Saudi Arabia should offer compensation to the victims

Florida Governor Ron DeSantis suggested Saudi Arabia should offer compensation to the victims

One of the Navy’s most historic and storied bases, Naval Air Station Pensacola sprawls along the waterfront southwest of the city’s downtown and dominates the economy of the surrounding area.

Part of the base resembles a college campus, with buildings where 60,000 members of the Navy, Marines, Air Force and Coast Guard train each year in multiple fields of aviation.

The base is also the home of the Navy’s revered Blue Angels aerial demonstration team

Weapons are not allowed on the base Naval Air Station Pensacola, which will remain closed until further notice.

One of the Navy's most historic and storied bases, Naval Air Station Pensacola sprawls along the waterfront southwest of the city's downtown

One of the Navy’s most historic and storied bases, Naval Air Station Pensacola sprawls along the waterfront southwest of the city’s downtown

https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-7768107/FBI-hunt-missing-Saudi-soldiers-Pensacola-Naval-base-shooting.html

Pensacola Shooting: Police Give Update On Victims, White House Reacts | NBC News

NAVAL AIR STATION PENSACOLA SHOOTING UPDATE

 

Six Saudis are arrested over Pensacola naval base shooting including three who FILMED the attack by countryman who killed three and wounded eight before being shot dead – as FBI probes terror link

  • Shooting took place on base early Friday morning, sparking a lockdown  
  • Sources identified the suspected gunman as Saudi Air Force aviation student Mohammed Saeed Alshamrani
  • As of Friday evening, six Saudi nationals have been detained for questioning 
  • It’s reported that three of them filmed the shooting as it happened 
  • Rep Matt Gaetz, a Republican representing Pensacola, called the shooting ‘an act of terrorism’  
  • President Trump tweeted that King Salman told him ‘the Saudi people are greatly angered by the barbaric actions of the shooter…’ 
  • Three other people were shot and killed during incident inside classroom building on base 

The Air Force trainee who killed three and injured eight when he opened fire at a naval base in Florida assailed the United States as ‘a nation of evil’ before he went on his shooting rampage, AFP reports.

The man, first identified by NBC News as Saudi national Mohammed Saeed Alshamrani, opened fire inside a classroom at  Naval Air Station in Pensacola early Friday morning. Police quickly responded to the scene and he was shot dead.

US officials, who spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss an ongoing investigation, said the suspect was a second lieutenant attending the aviation school at the base.

Meanwhile six other Saudi nationals were arrested near the base shortly after the attack, as investigators began to probe a terror link.

Three of the six were seen filming the entire incident as it unfolded, a source told The New York Times on Friday evening.

No officials have yet stated whether any of them were students inside the classroom where the shooting occurred.

Florida news outlets, citing sources, on Friday afternoon identified the suspected gunman as Saudi second lieutenant Mohammed Saeed Alshamrani and released this photo that purports to show the alleged shooter (pictured by NBC 6 South Florida)

Military from around the globe attend the Naval Air Station in Pensacola for flight training.

President Donald Trump this afternoon tweeted that he spoke on the phone with Saudi Arabia’s King Salman, who he said expressed ‘sincere condolences’ to those impacted by the shooting.

Trump added that King Salman informed him the Saudi people love Americans and ‘are greatly angered by the barbaric actions of the shooter…’

Shortly before 8pm Eastern Time, Saudi officials condemned the shooting and claimed they are willing to cooperate with the investigation.

The shooter opened fire in a classroom building shortly before 7am Friday. The attack left four people dead, including the assailant, and eight others wounded. 

A gunman opened fire at Naval Air Station Pensacola Friday morning, killing three people and injuring eight others before being shot dead by sheriff's deputies

A gunman opened fire at Naval Air Station Pensacola Friday morning, killing three people and injuring eight others before being shot dead by sheriff’s deputies

Escambia County Sheriff David Morgan said at a press conference on Friday two of his deputies engaged the gunman and took him out

Escambia County Sheriff David Morgan said at a press conference on Friday two of his deputies engaged the gunman and took him out

Heavy police presence was reported at the scene of the shooting Friday morning

Heavy police presence was reported at the scene of the shooting Friday morning

Heavy police presence was reported at the scene of the shooting Friday morning

During an afternoon press briefing, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis confirmed the shooter was from Saudi Arabia, which has long relied on the US to train it military officers.

‘There’s obviously going to be a lot of questions about this individual being a foreign national, being a part of the Saudi air force and then to be here training on our soil,’ DeSantis told reporters.

‘Obviously the government of Saudi Arabia needs to make things better for these victims. And I think they are going to owe a debt here given that this is one of their individuals.’

Of the 19 men involved in the September 11 attacks, 15 were Saudi and some of them attended flight school in Florida.

In recent weeks, 18 naval aviators and two aircrew members from the Royal Saudi Naval Forces were training with the US Navy, including at Pensacola, according to a November 15 press release from the Navy. It was not clear if the suspected shooter was part of that delegation.

The delegation came under a Navy program that offers training to US allies, known as the Naval Education and Training Security Assistance Field Activity.

A person familiar with the program said that Saudi Air Force officers selected for military training in the United States are intensely vetted by both countries.

An ambulance is seen arriving at the scene of the mass shooting at NAS Pensacola

n ambulance is seen arriving at the scene of the mass shooting at NAS Pensacola

An armored vehicle is pictured on the scene during Friday's shooting that claimed three innocent lives

An armored vehicle is pictured on the scene during Friday’s shooting that claimed three innocent lives

A medical helicopter is seen in the skies over Pensacola, Florida, Friday morning

A medical helicopter is seen in the skies over Pensacola, Florida, Friday morning

In the 2018 fiscal year, some 62,700 foreign military students from 155 countries participated in U.S.-run training, the total cost of which was approximately $776.3 million, according to DoD records.

Among them is a contingent Saudis who recently arrived at Naval Air Station Pensacola.

In recent weeks, 18 naval aviators and two aircrew members from the Royal Saudi Naval Forces were training with the U.S. Navy, including a stint at Pensacola, according to a November 15 press release from the Navy.

It was not clear if the suspected shooter was part of that delegation.

The delegation came under a Navy program that offers training to U.S. allies, known as the Naval Education and Training Security Assistance Field Activity.

A person familiar with the program said that Saudi Air Force officers selected for military training in the United States are intensely vetted by both countries.

The Saudi personnel are ‘hand-picked’ by their military and often come from elite families, the person said, speaking on condition of anonymity because they did not have permission to speak to a reporter. Trainees must speak excellent English, the person said.

Saudi Arabia’s embassy in Washington did not respond to questions.

Saudi Arabia, a major purchaser of U.S. arms, accounts for a massive portion of America’s spending on foreign military training.

In the 2018 fiscal year, the U.S. trained 1,753 Saudi military members at an estimated cost of $120,903,786, according to DoD records.

For fiscal year 2019, the State Department planned to train roughly 3,150 Saudis in the U.S.

-Keith Griffith for DailyMail.com and Reuters

The Saudi personnel are ‘hand-picked’ by their military and often come from elite families, the person said, speaking on condition of anonymity because they did not have permission to speak to a reporter. Trainees must speak excellent English, the person said.

Officials announced Friday morning that the shooter was killed by two Escambia County Sheriff’s deputies, who were injured during the exchange.

Three of the fatally injured people were pronounced dead at the scene and the fourth passed away at the hospital.

‘This was an act of terrorism,’ Rep Matt Gaetz, a Republican representing Pensacola, told the station WEAR.

The congressman said the investigation into the shooting has been handed over from NCIS to the FBI, signaling that it was ‘not an act of workplace violence,’ but rather an act of terror.

After news broke that the suspect was a Saudi national, Donald Trump tweeted that ‘King Salman of Saudi Arabia just called to express his sincere condolences and give his sympathies to the families and friends of the warriors who were killed and wounded in the attack that took place in Pensacola, Florida.’

The President continued: ‘The King said that the Saudi people are greatly angered by the barbaric actions of the shooter, and that this person in no way shape or form represents the feelings of the Saudi people who love the American people.’

 

Escambia County Sheriff David Morgan said a 911 call was received at 6.51am central time reporting an active shooter on base.

Two deputies confronted the gunman inside a classroom building and exchanged gunfire, killing the perpetrator.

It has since been revealed that the gunman was armed with a handgun.

One of the officers suffered a gunshot wound to the arm, while the other was shot in the knee and underwent surgery.

Morgan said both deputies are expected to recover.

In total, eight people were taken to Baptist Health Care in Pensacola, one of whom later died.

Law enforcement and US Navy officials declined to release any information concerning the identities of the shooter and the victims pending the notification of next of kin.

Commanding officer Timothy Kinsella said the base’s security forces first responded to the shooting before outside police agencies arrived.

The facility, which is used for training and made up mostly of classrooms, ‘is shut down until further notice,’ he said.

Florida State Troopers block traffic over the Bayou Grande Bridge leading to the Pensacola Naval Air Station

This map shows the location of the sprawling Naval Air Station Pensacola

This map shows the location of the sprawling Naval Air Station Pensacola

 

Sheriff Morgan said the crime scene was spread over two floors, which were left littered with spent shell casings.

‘Walking through the crime scene was like being on the set of a movie,’ he revealed.

Federal agencies are investigating, authorities said, including the FBI and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives.

St. John’s Catholic School, located directly outside the air station, was placed on lockdown as a precaution.

Eight people were taken to Baptist Health Care in Pensacola from the site of the shooting

Eight people were taken to Baptist Health Care in Pensacola from the site of the shooting

A Facebook message from NAS Pensacola this morning confirmed an active shooter situation

A Facebook message from NAS Pensacola this morning confirmed an active shooter situation

PREVIOUS MASS SHOOTINGS AT  US MILITARY FACILITIES

While mass shootings in the United States are common, those at military facilities are rare.

In July 2015, Mohammad Youssuf Abdulazeez carried out an attack at two military installations in Tennessee that killed four Marines and a sailor, with the FBI concluding that the violence was inspired by a “foreign terrorist group.”

Two years earlier, Aaron Alexis killed 12 people and wounded eight others at the Washington Navy Yard, just two miles (three kilometers) from the US Capitol building, before being shot dead by officers.

Four years before that, Major Nidal Hasan, a US Army psychiatrist, killed 13 people and wounded more than 30 others at Fort Hood.

He was considered a “lone wolf” who supported terror network Al-Qaeda.

Supporters of tighter gun laws seized on the latest shooting.

‘Our veterans and active-duty military put their lives on the line to protect us overseas — they shouldn’t have to be terrorized by gun violence at home,’ Cindy Martin, a volunteer with the Florida chapter of Moms Demand Action whose daughter works at the naval base, said in a statement.

                                                                                                                                   Source: AFP 

NAS Pensacola employs more than 16,000 military and 7,400 civilian personnel, according to its website.

One of the Navy’s most historic and storied bases, it sprawls along the waterfront southwest of downtown Pensacola and dominates the economy of the surrounding area.

It’s home to the Blue Angels flight demonstration team, and includes the National Naval Aviation Museum, a popular regional tourist attraction.

The shooting in Pensacola comes less than 48 hours after an active duty US sailor opened fire at Pearl Harbor’s naval shipyard in Hawaii, killing two civilian workers and injuring a third, before taking his own life.

 

Nightly News Broadcast (Full) – December 6th, 2019 | NBC Nightly News

PBS NewsHour full episode December 6, 2019

 

Story 3: Schiff Extracted Journalist Solomon Phone Number from Guiliani Records — Invasion of Privacy —  Videos

Solomon says Schiff extracted his number after requesting Giuliani records

Nunes reacts to Schiff releasing his personal phone calls

John Solomon (political commentator)

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

John F. Solomon is an American media executive, and a conservative political commentator. He was an editorialist and executive vice president of digital video for The Hill[1] and as of October 2019, is a contributor to Fox News.[2] He was formerly employed as an executive and as editor-in-chief at The Washington Times.[3]

While he won a number of prestigious awards for his investigative journalism in the 1990s and 2000s,[4][5] he has in recent years been accused of magnifying small scandals and creating fake controversy.[6][7][8] During Donald Trump’s presidency, he has been known for advancing Trump-friendly stories. He played a role in advancing conspiracy theories about wrongdoing involving Joe Biden, his son Hunter, and Ukraine; Solomon’s stories about the Bidens influenced Trump to request that Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky launch an investigation into the elder Biden, which led to an impeachment inquiry.[2]

Contents

Career

Solomon graduated from Marquette University with a bachelor’s degree in journalism and sociology.[9]

From May 1987 to December 2006, Solomon worked at the Associated Press, where he became the assistant bureau chief in Washington, helping to develop some of the organization’s first digital products, such as its online elections offering.

In 2007, he served as The Washington Post’s national investigative correspondent.

The Washington Times

Executive Editor

In February 2008, Solomon became editor-in-chief of The Washington Times.[10] Under Solomon, the Times changed some of its style guide to conform to more mainstream media usage. The Times announced that it would no longer use words like “illegal aliens” and “homosexual,” and instead opt for “more neutral terminology” such as “illegal immigrants” and “gay,” respectively. The paper also decided to stop using “Hillary” when referring to Senator Hillary Clinton, and to stop putting the word “marriage” in the expression “gay marriage” in quotes.[11] He also oversaw the redesign of the paper’s website and the launch of the paper’s national weekly edition. A new television studio was built in the paper’s Washington DC headquarters, and the paper also launched a syndicated three-hour morning drive radio news program.[8]

Solomon left the paper in November 2009 after internal shakeups and financial uncertainty among the paper’s ownership.[12]

Return

After a three-and-a-half-year hiatus, most of which was spent at Circa News, Solomon returned to the paper in July 2013 to oversee the newspaper’s content, digital and business strategies.[13] He helped to craft digital strategies to expand online traffic, created new products and partnerships, and led a reorganization of the company’s advertising and sales team. He also helped launch a new subscription-only national edition targeted for tablets, cellphones and other mobile devices, and helped push a redesign of the paper’s website.

Solomon left the paper in December 2015 to serve as chief creative officer of the mobile news application Circa, which was relaunching at that time.[3]

Packard Media Group

Solomon was president of Packard Media Group from November 2009 to December 2015.[14] Solomon also served as journalist in residence at the Center for Public Integrity, a non-profit organization that specializes in investigative journalism, from March 2010 to June 2011.[8] He was also named executive editor of the Center for Public Integrity in November 2010 and helped oversee the launch of iWatch News, but resigned quickly after to join Newsweek/The Daily Beast in May 2011.[15][16][8]

Washington Guardian

In 2012, Solomon and former Associated Press executives Jim Williams and Brad Kalbfeld created the Washington Guardian, an online investigative news portal. It was acquired by The Washington Times when Solomon returned to the paper in July 2013.[3]

Circa

After leaving The Washington Times, Solomon became chief creative officer for Circa News. Circa is a mobile news application founded in 2011 that streams updates on big news events to users. In June 2015, it shut down, but its relaunch was announced after its acquisition by Sinclair Broadcast Group.[3]

As chief of Circa, he wrote and published a number of political articles, often defending the Trump administration[17] and former U.S. National Security Adviser Michael Flynn, who pleaded guilty in February 2017 to making false statements to the FBI.[18] He left in July 2017.

The Hill

Upon leaving Circa, Solomon became executive vice president of digital video for The Hill.[1][19] Until May 2018, he worked on news and investigative pieces for The Hill.[19] According to the New York Times, Solomon tended to push narratives about alleged misdeeds by Trump’s political enemies.[20]

In October 2017, Solomon published an article in The Hill about the Uranium One controversy where he insinuated that Russia made payments to the Clinton Foundation at the time when the Obama administration approved the sale of Uranium One to Rosatom.[21] Solomon’s story also focused on the alleged failures of the Department of Justice to investigate and report on the controversy, suggesting a cover-up.[21] Subsequent to Solomon’s reporting, the story “took off like wildfire in the right-wing media ecosystem,” according to a 2018 study by scholars at the Berkman Klein Center for Internet & SocietyHarvard University.[21] No evidence of any quid pro quo or other wrongdoing has surfaced.[21]

In January 2018, it was reported that newsroom staffers at The Hill had complained about Solomon’s reporting for the publication.[22][23][24] The staffers reportedly criticized Solomon’s reporting as having a conservative bias and missing important context, and that this undermined The Hill‘s reputation.[22][23] They also expressed concerns over Solomon’s close relationship with conservative Fox News personality Sean Hannity, on whose TV show Hannity he appeared on more than a dozen times over a span of three months.[22] In May 2018, the editor-in-chief of The Hill announced that Solomon would become an “opinion contributor” at The Hill while remaining executive vice president of digital video.[19] He frequently appeared on Fox News, which continued to describe him as an investigative reporter, even after he became an opinion contributor.[24]

Pro-Donald Trump opinion pieces

Solomon published a story alleging that women who had accused Trump of sexual assault had sought payments from partisan donors and tabloids.[24]

On June 19, 2019, The Hill published an opinion piece written by Solomon alleging that the FBI and Robert Mueller disregarded warnings that evidence used against Trump’s former campaign manager Paul Manafort may have been faked.[25] His source was Nazar Kholodnytsky, a disgraced Ukrainian prosecutor, and Konstantin Kilimnik, who has been linked to Russian intelligence and who happens to be Manafort’s former business partner.[26]

Solomon’s part in the Trump–Ukraine scandal

In April 2019, The Hill published two opinion pieces by Solomon regarding allegations by Ukrainian officials that “American Democrats” and particularly former Vice-President Joe Biden of collaborating with “their allies in Kiev” in “wrongdoing…ranging from 2016 election interference to obstructing criminal probes.”[27][28] Solomon’s stories attracted attention in conservative media.[23] Fox News frequently covered Solomon’s claims;[29] Solomon also promoted these allegations on Sean Hannity’s Fox News show.[23] According to The Washington Post Solomon’s pieces “played an important role in advancing a flawed, Trump-friendly tale of corruption in Ukraine, particularly involving Biden and his son Hunter”, and inspired “the alleged effort by Trump and his allies to pressure Ukraine’s government into digging up dirt on Trump’s Democratic rivals.”[23] On the same day that The Washington Post published its article, The Hill published another opinion piece by Solomon in which Solomon states that there are “(h)undreds of pages of never-released memos and documents…(that) conflict with Biden’s narrative.”[30]

Solomon’s stories had significant flaws.[23][20] Not only had the State Department dismissed the allegations presented by Solomon as “an outright fabrication”, but the Ukrainian prosecutor who Solomon claimed made the allegations to him is not supporting Solomon’s claim.[23][20] Foreign Policy noted that anti-corrupton activists in Ukraine had characterized the source behind Solomon’s claims as an unreliable narrator who had hindered anti-corruption efforts in Ukraine.[31] Solomon pushed allegations that Biden wanted to remove a Ukrainian prosecutor in order to prevent an investigation of Burisma, a Ukrainian company that his son, Hunter Biden, served on; however, Western governments and anti-corruption activist wanted the prosecutor removed because he was reluctant to pursue corruption investigations.[20] By September 2019, Solomon said he still stood 100% by his stories.[23] There is no evidence of wrong-doing by Joe Biden and Hunter Biden, and no evidence that Hunter Biden was ever under investigation by Ukrainian authorities.[32] WNYC characterized Solomon’s Ukraine stories as laundering of foreign propaganda.[33]

Prior to the publication of a story where Solomon alleged that the Obama administration had pressured the Ukrainian government to stop investigating a group funded by George Soros, Solomon sent the full text of his report to Ukrainian-American businessman Lev Parnas and the two pro-Trump lawyers and conspiracy theorists Joseph diGenova and Victoria Toensing.[34] Solomon said he did so for fact-checking, but Parnas, DiGenova and Toensing were not mentioned in the text, nor did Solomon send individual items of the draft for vetting (but rather the whole draft).[34]

During October 2019 hearings for the impeachment inquiry against Donald Trump, two government officials experienced in Ukraine matters — Alexander Vindman and George Kent — testified that Ukraine-related articles Solomon had written and that were featured in conservative media circles contained a “false narrative” and in some cases were “entirely made up in full cloth.”[35][36]

Solomon worked closely with Lev Parnas, an associate of Rudy Giuliani – Trump’s personal attorney – who was indicted for funneling foreign money into American political campaigns, to promote stories that Democrats colluded with a foreign power in the 2016 election (the U.S. intelligence community’s assessment is that Russia interfered in the 2016 election to aid Trump, then a Republican presidential candidate). Parnas worked with Solomon on interviews and translation. Solomon defended his work with Parnas: “No one knew there was anything wrong with Lev Parnas at the time. Everybody who approaches me has an angle.” Parnas helped to set Solomon up with the Ukrainian prosecutor who accused the Bidens of wrong-doing (before later retracting the claim).[2]

Solomon and the impeachment inquiry against Donald Trump

Solomon has been mentioned in a draft report by the House Intelligence Committee pubished Dec. 3, 2019, documenting President Trump’s alleged abuse of office for his personal and political gain by using congressionally approved military aid to induce Ukraine initiate investigations against Trump’s domestic political rival. The report documented phone records showing Solomon was in frequent contact with Lev Parnas, a now indicted associate of Giuliani, exchanging “at least 10 calls” during the first week in April.[37]

Advertising controversy

Solomon was accused of breaking the traditional ethical “wall” that separated news stories from advertising at The Hill. In October 2017, Solomon negotiated a $160,000 deal with a conservative group called Job Creators Network to target ads in The Hill to business owners in Maine. He then had a quote from the group’s director inserted into a news story about a Maine senator’s key role in an upcoming vote on the Trump administration’s tax bill. Solomon “pops by the advertising bullpen almost daily to discuss big deals he’s about to close,” Johanna Derlega, then The Hill’s publisher, wrote in an internal memo at the time, according to Pro Publica. “If a media reporter gets ahold of this story, it could destroy us.”[2]

Departure

In September 2019, the Washington Examiner reported that Solomon would leave The Hill at the end of the month to start his own media firm.[38] In October 2019, it was reported he was joining Fox News as an opinion contributor.[39]

Reception

Paul McCleary, writing for the Columbia Journalism Review in 2007, wrote that Solomon had earned a reputation for hyping stories without solid foundation.[7] In 2012, Mariah Blake, writing for the Columbia Journalism Review, wrote that Solomon “has a history of bending the truth to his storyline,” and that he “was notorious for massaging facts to conjure phantom scandals.”[8][23] During the 2004 presidential election between George W. Bush and John Kerry, Thomas Lang wrote for the Columbia Journalism Review that a Solomon story for the Associated Press covered criticism of John Kerry’s record on national security appeared to mirror a research report released by the Republican National Committee. Lang wrote that Solomon’s story was “a clear demonstration of the influence opposition research is already having on coverage of the [presidential] campaign.”[40][41]

The Washington Post wrote in September 2019 that Solomon’s “recent work has been trailed by claims that it is biased and lacks rigor.”[23] The Post noted that Solomon had done award-winning investigative work during his early career, but that his work had taken a pronounced conservative bent from the late 2000s and onwards.[23] According to Foreign Policy magazine, Solomon had “grown into a prominent conservative political commentator with a somewhat controversial track record.”[31]

In 2007, Deborah Howell, then-ombudsman at The Washington Post, criticized a story that Solomon wrote for The Post which had suggested impropriety by Democratic presidential candidate John Edwards in a real estate purchase; Solomon’s reporting omitted context which would have made clear that there was no impropriety.[6] Progressive news outlets ThinkProgressMedia Matters for America and Crooked Media have argued that Solomon’s reporting has a conservative bias and that there are multiple instances of inaccuracies.[42][43][44] According to The InterceptJust Security and The Daily Beast, Solomon helps to advance right-wing and pro-Trump conspiracy theories.[26][24][45] The New Republic described Solomon’s columns for The Hill as “right-wing fever dreams.”[46] Independent journalist Marcy Wheeler accused Solomon of manufacturing fake scandals which suggested wrongdoing by those conducting probes into Russian interference in the 2016 election.[47] Reporters who worked under Solomon as an editor have said that he encouraged them to bend the truth to fit a pre-existing narrative.[8]

In January 2018, Solomon published a report for The Hill suggesting that Peter Strzok and Lisa Page had foreknowledge of a Wall Street Journal article and that they themselves had leaked to the newspaper.[48] According to the Huffington Post, Solomon’s reporting omitted that the Wall Street Journal article Strzok and Page were discussing was critical of Hillary Clinton and the FBI, Strzok and Page expressed dismay at the fallout from the article, and Strzok and Page criticized unauthorized leaks from the FBI. According to the Huffington Post, “Solomon told HuffPost he was not authorized to speak and does not comment on his reporting. He may simply have been unaware of these three facts when he published his story. But they provide crucial context to an incomplete narrative that has been bouncing around the right-wing echo chamber all week.”[48]

Awards

Solomon has received a number of prestigious awards for investigative journalism, among them the 2008 Robert F. Kennedy Journalism Award and the Society of Professional Journalists’ National Investigative Award together with CBS News’ 60 Minutes for Evidence of Injustice;[5][49] in 2002, the Associated Press’s Managing Editors Enterprise Reporting Award for What The FBI Knew Before September 11, 2001, and the Gramling Journalism Achievement Award for his coverage of the war on terrorism;[49] in 1992, the White House Correspondents’ Association’s Raymond Clapper Memorial Award for an investigative series on Ross Perot.[50]

References …

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_Solomon_(political_commentator)

Story 4: American People Oppose  Democrat Party Impeachment of President Trump — Videos

Growing opposition to impeachment in battleground states as House Judiciary gears up for hearings

Rep. Ratcliffe: This is why Dems are gunning for an impeachment vote

Rush Limbaugh on impeachment: We are watching pure, raw hatred

Geraldo warns impeachment is a ‘disastrous idea’ for Dems

Stephanie Grisham: Dems hate Trump more than they love the country

 

Dec. 3, 2019 at 6:00 a.m. CST

Throughout more than two months of the Democrats’ House impeachment inquiry, two critical questions have loomed: How will the American public react to what it uncovers? And will it help or hurt President Trump’s chances at reelection in 2020?

So far, four dozen national and state polls have been conducted since the inquiry was announced, and together they offer some clear answers.

After an initial rise, support stayed divided on impeaching and removing Trump.

Impeaching Trump was clearly unpopular this summer, standing at 39 percent supporting and 48 opposing in a Washington Post average of nationally representative polls from June through late September. But later in September — after House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) announced the impeachment inquiry following a CIA whistleblower complaint about Trump’s request to the Ukrainian president to investigate former vice president Joe Biden and his son — support jumped to an even split at 46 percent in support and opposition.

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Since that initial jump, however, support for impeachment has been stable. The Post’s average of nationally representative polls conducted since the start of the House’s public hearings on Nov. 13 finds 47 percent of Americans support impeaching and removing Trump, while 43 percent are opposed. That level of support is little different from the 47 percent support in the two weeks before hearings began and 48 percent support earlier in October.

Independents also are divided on impeachment.

Political independents have been a key group to follow in impeachment polls, since several surveys this summer showed independents opposed to impeaching Trump by a margin of more than 20 percentage points, the clearest signal of political risk to Democrats if they launched hearings.

National polls since the start of public hearings show independents are now divided: 42 percent in support and 44 percent opposed.

Image without a caption

Democrats and Republicans are mirror opposites on the issue, with an average of 86 percent of Democrats supporting impeachment, compared with 9 percent of Republicans. Democrats have grown more united in their support for impeachment since before the inquiry began, when polls showed roughly two-thirds supported impeachment. Among Republicans, an average of 87 percent are opposed, while 8 percent of Democrats say the same.

In key general election states, fewer voters support impeachment.

Battleground state polls show a more negative reaction to the impeachment inquiry, signaling more risk to Democrats and potential benefit for Trump. An average of 44 percent supported impeachment, with 51 percent opposed, averaging across a dozen October and November polls in Arizona, Florida, Michigan, Pennsylvania, Nevada, New Hampshire, North Carolina and Wisconsin. That’s a flip from an average of national polls that finds support for impeachment narrowly edging opposition, 47 percent to 43 percent.

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The depressed support for impeachment in key states was first signaled by a series of New York Times-Siena College polls conducted in mid-October, which found between 51 and 53 percent opposing impeachment in Arizona, Florida, Michigan, North Carolina, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin.

But several other polls also have found that support for impeachment in key 2020 states lags the country overall. At the most negative, a mid-November Marquette University Law School poll in Wisconsin found 40 percent of registered voters support impeaching and removing Trump, while 53 percent are opposed. Fox News polls in North Carolina and Nevada showed opposition to impeachment outpacing support by eight and seven points, respectively. The best results in key states have shown voters divided over impeachment, such as a Muhlenberg College poll of Pennsylvania voters.

Trump’s approval rating has hardly budged.

Overall job approval ratings are the essential baseline measure of a president’s political support, and Trump’s trendline in job approval is the clearest sign of whether his popularity has increased or decreased amid the impeachment inquiry. And it has barely moved over the past few months in national polling, including the period in which impeachment support increased in late September.

In Gallup polling from mid-September to mid-November, Trump’s approval has tiptoed between 39 percent and 43 percent approving. In Quinnipiac University polls, the story is no different: Between 38 percent and 41 percent of registered voters approved of Trump from late September to late November.

Image without a caption

The stability of Trump’s approval ratings affirms just how locked-in Americans are in their views toward Trump, even as some independents and Democrats changed their opinion on whether Congress should impeach and remove him from office. The lack of movement in this essential measure of Trump’s political standing also indicates that while most Americans think Trump did something wrong in his dealings with Ukraine, news and congressional testimony about this issue have not shifted how people feel about the president.

https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/2019/12/03/americans-are-split-impeachment-just-like-they-were-before-public-hearings/

 

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The Pronk Pops Show 1366, December 2, 2019, Story 1: The Day of Reckoning Is Approaching And Not A Word Is Spoken — Videos — Story 2: Democrats Trying To Talk and Tank The Economy Into a Recession — Big Failure — Economy Still Growing — Videos — Story 3: Federal Reserve Intervenes and Adds More Liquidity or Money Into Economy — Overnight and 42-Day Term Repos Madness Bubble — Return of Quantitative Easing? –Videos — Story 4: Department of Justice Inspector General Michael Horowitz Report Will Be Released on December 9 and Horowitz Will Testify Before Senate Judiciary Committee December 11, 2019 — Videos — Story 5: Lisa Page Role in Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) Court Warrant Application Process? — Videos

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Story 1: The Day of Reckoning Is Approaching And Not A Word Is Spoken — National Debt More Than $23 Trillion — Plus Unfunded Obligations  Estimates Over $100 Trillion to Over $200 Trillion — Videos —

 

U.S. National Debt Clock

https://www.usdebtclock.org/

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Story 2: Democrats Trying To Talk & Tank The Economy Into a Recession — Big Failure — Economy Still Growing — Videos

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Trillion-dollar deficits as far as the eye can see, and hardly a voice of caution to be heard

In the old days, a decade or so ago, Democrats would have assailed Donald Trump‘s failure on federal deficits; instead of eliminating it, as promised, the deficit has doubled to a trillion dollars as far as the eye can see.

Republicans would be in full fury over the spending schemes of Democratic presidential candidates; even the mainstream moderates propose huge increases for health care, education and the social safety net for the disadvantaged.

Yet deficits, as a political issue, are dead.

The political impact always was exaggerated, but out-of-control deficits were a staple of opposition rhetoric. There invariably was some budget-balancing blue-ribbon group, the most famous being the Simpson-Bowles Commission.

For Democrats, the pressing urgency of unmet needs in health care, education, infrastructure and the social safety net far outweigh any rising debt. They favor tax hikes, mainly on the rich, to reverse the huge 2017 Republican tax cuts, but there’s less premium on the green eyeshade test of paying for all spending initiatives.

Most Republicans strongly want to keep those tax cuts — the only significant achievement of three years of party rule — and have little interest in tackling politically popular entitlements. In the years the Republican Party controlled both houses of Congress and the White House, it focused only on gutting the Affordable Care Act.

This has become the Trump Party, which overshadows the old Republican battle lines between budget balancers and tax cutters. This Republican executive is a tax cutter and budget buster.

As well as the politics, Democrats have a strong policy basis for their position. Early this year, the two most prominent Democratic economists — former Treasury Secretary Larry Summers and Jason Furman, chairman of the Council of Economic Advisers, both under Barack Obama — wrote an influential article citing structural declines in interest rates. This means that “policymakers should reconsider the traditional fiscal approach that has often wrong-headedly limited worthwhile investments in such areas as education, health care and infrastructure,” they said.

“Politicians and policymakers should focus on urgent social programs, not deficits,” they advised.

They don’t go as far as the Modern Monetary Theorists who basically argue the sky is the limit on debt unless inflation takes off. Instead, Summers and Furman claim a key is that the federal debt — as a percentage of the economy — stays at a relatively stable 3 percent to 4 percent, where it has been for the past five years.

The Republican deficits hawks, most recently former House Speaker Paul Ryan, have been rendered obsolete, as least as long it’s the party of Trump.

Even back in the 1970s, however, some Republicans embraced what supply-side propagandist Jude Wanniski called the “Two-Santa Theory” — namely, to counter Democrats’ support for popular spending programs, Republicans should favor huge tax cuts without concern for the deficit. (Ronald Reagan once joked he didn’t worry about the deficit, as it was “big enough to take care of itself.”)

Moreover, the Republican cries about the evils of big deficits have been more rhetorical than real, although the general perception of Democrats as more fiscally profligate is a canard.

Under Reagan and George H.W. Bush, the federal budget deficit doubled. The deficit was $255 billion when Bill Clinton came into office; at the end of his term, there were four straight small surpluses. (This along with the surplus at the end of Lyndon Johnson’s presidency are the only ones in the last 60 years.)

The deficit also soared under George W. Bush, especially at the end of his term, with the economic crisis.

Obama inherited a massive $1.4 trillion shortfall and in eight years cut it by 60 percent.

The shortfall has doubled under Trump.

As a percentage of the economy, however, it has risen from 3 percent in the final Obama year to a bit more than 4 percent now.

Even Washington’s most stalwart and consistent fiscal hawk, Maya MacGuineas, president of the bipartisan Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget, acknowledges the budget deficit isn’t a top policy concern right now “as low interest rates buy us some time.”

However, she cautions that the fiscal situation “is the worst it has been since just after World War II,” adding, “No one knows when the tipping point is or what it looks like, but those are questions we shouldn’t want to find the answers to.”

Albert R. Hunt is the former executive editor of Bloomberg News. He previously served as reporter, bureau chief and Washington editor for the Wall Street Journal. For almost a quarter-century he wrote a column on politics for The Wall Street Journal, then the International New York Times and Bloomberg View. Follow him on Twitter @alhuntdc.

https://thehill.com/opinion/campaign/472480-trillion-dollar-deficits-as-far-as-the-eye-can-see-and-not-a-voice-of

Story 3: Federal Reserve Intervenes and Adds More Liquidity or Money Into Economy — Overnight and 42-Day Term Repos Madness Bubble — Return of Quantitative Easing? –Videos —

See the source image

See the source image

Fed is in a ‘lose, lose, lose situation,’ says Mohamed A. El-Erian

Repo Madness: Up to $300 Billion Per Day As First 42 Day Term Repo Kicks In Going Into 2020!

Repo: How Roughly $1 Trillion Moves Overnight | WSJ

How the Fed creates free money for big banks, CEOs and billionaires

The ‘repo’ market explained

The Central Banks’ Monetary Policy Is Backfiring (w/ Simon White)

 

New York Fed Adds Liquidity Amid Heavy Demand for Year-End Funding

Interventions ensure markets have enough liquidity and short-term borrowing rates remain well-behaved

The Federal Reserve Bank of New York intervened in financial markets again Monday. PHOTO: EDUARDO MUNOZ/REUTERS

The Federal Reserve Bank of New York again saw very strong demand for liquidity aimed at helping financial markets navigate the turn of the year.

The demand once again arrived as the Fed added temporary liquidity to financial markets Monday. All together the central bank pumped in $97.9 billion in two parts. One was via overnight repurchase agreements, or repos, that totaled $72.9 billion. The other was via 42-day repos.

While the Fed took all the securities that dealers offered it for the overnight repo, the longer-term operation saw eligible banks offer $42.55 billion in securities versus the $25 billion the Fed took. That level of interest was a replay from the last 42-day repo operation held Nov. 25, when eligible banks submitted $49.05 billion in securities against the $25 billion the central bank accepted.

The robust demand for year-end liquidity could alter the path of future longer-term Fed interventions and induce the central bank to increase their size. Central banks want to ensure that markets remain well behaved over year end, and they have signaled they will be flexible in achieving that. The Fed has already increased the size of other temporary operations, making it possible future term operations could be bigger as well.

The Repo Market, Explained

The Repo Market, Explained
The repo market shook the financial world in September when an unexpected rate spike choked short-term lending, spurring the Federal Reserve to intervene. WSJ explains how this critical, but murky part of the financial system works, and why some banks say the crunch could have been prevented. Illustration: Jacob Reynolds for The Wall Street Journal

Fed repo interventions take in Treasury and mortgage securities from eligible banks in what is effectively a short-term loan of central-bank cash, collateralized by the securities.

The Fed’s interventions are aimed at ensuring that the financial system has enough liquidity and that short-term borrowing rates remain well-behaved, with the central bank’s federal-funds rate staying within the 1.5%-to-1.75% target range. The effective fed-funds rate stood at 1.56% on Friday. The broad general collateral rate for repo trading stood at 1.62%, also for Tuesday.

The Fed has been intervening in markets in the current fashion since mid-September, when short-term rates unexpectedly shot up on a confluence of factors, although it has used similar operations for decades to manage short-term rates.

Since the large interventions started, money-market rates have been well-behaved. The Fed is using temporary operations to tamp down any possible volatility, while purchasing Treasury bills to build up reserves in the banking system. It hopes that by buying Treasury bills it will be able to cut back on repo interventions at the start of next year.

The Fed currently expects to buy Treasury bills through the middle of next year.

https://www.wsj.com/articles/new-york-fed-adds-97-9-billion-to-markets-11575301812

Write to Michael S. Derby at michael.derby@wsj.com

Story 4: Department of Justice Inspector General Michael Horowitz Report Will Be Released on December 9 and Horowitz Will Testify Before Senate Judiciary Committee December 11, 2019 — Videos —

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‘They Tried to Overthrow the Presidency’: Trump Says Results of IG’s Report Could be ‘Historic’

FBI official allegedly altered document in Russia probe: Report

 

DOJ Inspector General to testify on alleged 2016 campaign spying

IG Horowitz to testify on Russia probe, FISA abuse

TRUMP PROBE REPORT AND HEARING – DECEMBER 9/11, 2019

DiGenova: Comey, Clapper and Brennan will have to pay the ‘Barr bill’

 

Jason Chaffetz: FBI deep state clear – will FISA report finally lead to action?
Jason Chaffetz By Jason Chaffetz | Fox News

PROGRAMMING ALERT: Watch Jason Chaffetz discuss this op-ed and much more on “Mornings with Maria” on Monday, December 2.

Following a series of four damning inspector general reports over the last two years, there is little doubt the senior leadership of the Obama-era FBI was weaponized in the service of the Democratic Party. But as America awaits what many expect to be the most damning investigation of all, it’s fair to ask what has been done to rein in our rogue FBI.

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The report on FISA abuse set for release on Dec. 9 is expected to show how the FBI used the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) to spy on American citizens affiliated with the Trump campaign in 2016. As damning as such a conclusion would be, it will only be the latest in a series of explosive revelations from the Department of Justice Inspector General (IG) Michael Horowitz, some of which got muted coverage from the mainstream press. Advance leaks suggest the upcoming report will, at a minimum, show an FBI lawyer illegally altered documents to justify a FISA application.

Even before next week’s anticipated release, we already have IG reports implicating the FBI director, assistant director, deputy assistant director, and chief of the counterintelligence section. Though none of them remain at the bureau, we have seen little reassurance from current FBI Director Christopher Wray that the culture they created has changed.

REPS. BIGGS & PERRY: IMPEACHMENT INQUIRY SHOWS DEEP STATE CONTINUES TO UNDERMINE TRUMP

Thus far, no one has been prosecuted, despite a long string of damaging reports and referrals. An IG can make a recommendation but it is up to the DOJ to prosecute, even if it is one of their own.

A 63-page report released last month found “numerous issues” with the FBI’s use of confidential sources during a period that included the 2016 election. That report revealed that the FBI lacked appropriate procedures to vet and maintain oversight of sources like the ones used against the Trump campaign. This created a security risk for the United States. Yet no prosecutions have been announced.

CLICK HERE TO GET THE OPINION NEWSLETTER

Last August, an even more serious finding was released when the IG determined that the FBI director himself had violated FBI policy and the terms of his own employment agreement in disseminating classified information for release to the media. Though the DOJ could have prosecuted based on the report’s findings, it declined to do so.

More from Opinion

A May 2019 IG report implicated the FBI deputy assistant director for unauthorized contacts with the media, illegally disclosing sealed court documents and other sensitive information to the media, and accepting gifts from the media. The DOJ declined to prosecute. But why? The IG recommended prosecution.

The IG’s June 2018 probe into the Hillary Clinton email investigation implicated the FBI’s head of counterintelligence, Peter Strzok, of repeatedly articulating a strong political bias even as he headed up the investigation of Clinton’s exposure of classified information. The 500-page report, which reviewed 1.2 million documents and included interviews with more than 100 witnesses, documented numerous questionable decisions that benefited Clinton or damaged Trump, though the IG acknowledged the parties denied their political bias impacted their decisions.

The FBI is in shambles and there has been little to no public acknowledgment of the crisis by the current director. No work by him to stem this tide of political bias is evident to the public.

The report also highlighted an interoffice affair between Strzok and FBI lawyer Lisa Page, both of whom worked on the Clinton and Trump investigations. Next week’s IG report is also expected to document an affair between two other FBI lawyers who worked together on the FISA applications.

What is going on at the FBI and why no consequences for such blatant violations of internal policy and the law? And why did these vulnerabilities exist for so long without detection? No doubt adversarial intelligence agencies could have figured this out quite easily, making our intelligence operations vulnerable to exploitation.

Finally, an April 2018 report implicated FBI Assistant Director Andrew McCabe of inappropriately authorizing the disclosure of sensitive information to a reporter and repeatedly lying to investigators about it. The report found McCabe lied four times, three under oath, and that it was done “in a manner designed to advance his personal interests at the expense of Department leadership.” Though McCabe was fired, he wasn’t prosecuted.

What message does it send when the Justice Department protects its own?

The FBI is in shambles and there has been little to no public acknowledgment of the crisis by Director Wray. No work by him to stem this tide of political bias is evident to the public.

CLICK HERE TO GET THE FOX NEWS APP

With the release of next week’s FISA report, we must demand action by Wray. Given the well-documented wrongdoing by the previous FBI director, deputy director, deputy assistant director, the chief of counterintelligence, and evidently DOJ counsel, the American people are right to question the legitimacy of America’s federal law enforcement apparatus.

If the American people are going to regain confidence in the senior leadership of the FBI, the Justice Department will need to prosecute wrongdoing as they would if it weren’t one of their own. Until then, questions of imbalance, favoritism and bias in one direction will persist. Certainly, we deserve better.

https://www.foxnews.com/person/c/jason-chaffetz

 

Story 4: Lisa Page Role in Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) Court Warrant Application Process? — Videos

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Lisa Page Breaks Silence On Trump’s DISGUSTING Behavior

Trump viciously mocks Strzok, Page at Minneapolis rally

Rep. Biggs: Lisa Page once engaged in FBI cabal, now playing the victim

Whitaker: Lisa Page made calculated move to front run IG report

 

Lisa Page Speaks: ‘There’s No Fathomable Way I Have Committed Any Crime at All’

STRIKING BACK

The former FBI lawyer and ongoing Trump target breaks two years of silence in this exclusive interview. And she has quite a lot to say.

It’s not often that you interview a subject who has no interest in being famous. But recently, I did just that when I sat down with Lisa Page the week before Thanksgiving in my hotel room in Washington, D.C. Page, of course, is the former FBI lawyer whose text-message exchanges with agent Peter Strzok that belittled Donald Trump and expressed fear at his possible victory became international news. They were hijacked by Trump to fuel his “deep state” conspiracy.

For the nearly two years since her name first made the papers, she’s been publicly silent (she did have a closed-door interview with House members in July 2018). I asked her why she was willing to talk now. “Honestly, his demeaning fake orgasm was really the straw that broke the camel’s back,” she says. The president called out her name as he acted out an orgasm in front of thousands of people at a Minneapolis rally on Oct. 11.

That was the moment Page decided she had to speak up. “I had stayed quiet for years hoping it would fade away, but instead it got worse,” she says. “It had been so hard not to defend myself, to let people who hate me control the narrative. I decided to take my power back.”

She is also about to be back in the news cycle in a big way. On Dec. 9, the Justice Department inspector general report into Trump’s charges that the FBI spied on his 2016 campaign will come out. Leaked press accounts indicate the report will exonerate Page of the allegation that she acted unprofessionally or showed bias against Trump.

How does it feel after all this time to finally have the IG apparently affirm what she’s been saying all along? She said she wouldn’t discuss the findings until they were officially public, but she did note: “While it would be nice to have the IG confirm publicly that my personal opinions had absolutely no bearing on the course of the Russia investigations, I don’t kid myself that the fact will matter very much for a lot of people. The president has a very loud megaphone.”

Page, 39, is thin and athletic. She speaks in an exceedingly confident, clear, and lawyerly way. But having been through the MAGA meat grinder has clearly worn her down, not unlike the other women I’ve met who’ve been subjected to the president’s abuse.  She is just slightly crumbly around the edges the way the president’s other victims are.

My heart drops to my stomach when I realize he has tweeted about me again.

“It’s almost impossible to describe” what it’s like, she told me. “It’s like being punched in the gut. My heart drops to my stomach when I realize he has tweeted about me again. The president of the United States is calling me names to the entire world. He’s demeaning me and my career. It’s sickening.”

“But it’s also very intimidating because he’s still the president of the United States. And when the president accuses you of treason by name, despite the fact that I know there’s no fathomable way that I have committed any crime at all, let alone treason, he’s still somebody in a position to actually do something about that. To try to further destroy my life. It never goes away or stops, even when he’s not publicly attacking me.”

Does it affect you in your normal day-to-day life?

“I wish it didn’t,” she said. “I’m someone who’s always in my head anyway—so now otherwise normal interactions take on a different meaning. Like, when somebody makes eye contact with me on the Metro, I kind of wince, wondering if it’s because they recognize me, or are they just scanning the train like people do? It’s immediately a question of friend or foe? Or if I’m walking down the street or shopping and there’s somebody wearing Trump gear or a MAGA hat, I’ll walk the other way or try to put some distance between us because I’m not looking for conflict. Really, what I wanted most in this world is my life back.”

Rising Through the Ranks

Lisa Page did not aspire to fame or fortune. She was, she says, “one of those nerdy kids who from very early on knew I wanted work for the government and make the world a better place.” Born in the San Fernando Valley, she and her family moved to Ohio in her teens. She went to American University in Washington, D.C., and then moved back home to central Ohio to attend law school, living with her parents so she could save money.

After graduating from law school, she was one of an elite group selected for admission in the Department of Justice Honors Program in 2006—and the only woman in her class of five entering the Criminal Division. She worked as a federal prosecutor for six years before moving across the street to the FBI’s office of general counsel. Soon after her arrival, the deputy general counsel over national-security law hired her for a new special-counsel-type position in 2013.

Once there, her path begins to be set.

“I start [in the role] in early 2013, and there are two big events that kind of set the trajectory for the rest of my career at the FBI: the Boston bombing in April 2013, and Edward Snowden’s leaks in June of the same year,” she told me. “And those are both significant in their own ways, because the Boston bombing introduces me to Andy McCabe, who at the time was the head of the counterterrorism division at the FBI. Two months later, the Snowden leaks hit, which became a transformative moment for the intelligence community, setting off a series of reforms by the Obama administration with respect to the legal authorities that we rely on to collect intelligence.”

Eventually, she was asked to lead that effort, “which gives me a lot of exposure to senior FBI executives, as well as leaders through the IC, DOJ, and White House.”

Page continued to rise through the ranks of the FBI and was assigned to more significant and substantive work. She became close with McCabe. Eventually she became McCabe’s special counsel.

https://www.thedailybeast.com/lisa-page-speaks-theres-no-fathomable-way-i-have-committed-any-crime-at-all?ref=home

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The Pronk Pops Show 1363, November 20, 2019, Story 1: Disgraceful Democrat Coup And Cover-up Collapsing As Big Lie Media’s Lies Exposed in Impeachment Hearing — American People No Longer Trust Corrupt Congress and Big Lie Media — Trump: ‘I Wanted Nothing From Ukraine” — Democrats Got Caught — Coup Collapses — Is That All There Is? — Videos

Posted on November 30, 2019. Filed under: 2020 Democrat Candidates, 2020 President Candidates, 2020 Republican Candidates, Addiction, Addiction, Addiction, American History, Barack H. Obama, Bill Clinton, Blogroll, Breaking News, Bribery, Bribes, Budgetary Policy, Cartoons, Central Intelligence Agency, Clinton Obama Democrat Criminal Conspiracy, Communications, Computers, Congress, Constitutional Law, Corruption, Countries, Crime, Culture, Deep State, Diet, Disasters, Donald J. Trump, Donald J. Trump, Donald J. Trump, Donald J. Trump, Donald Trump, Donald Trump, Economics, Education, Elections, Empires, Employment, Energy, Environment, European History, Exercise, Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), Federal Government, Fiscal Policy, Former President Barack Obama, Fraud, Freedom of Speech, Gangs, Government, Government Dependency, Government Spending, Health, High Crimes, Hillary Clinton, Hillary Clinton, Hillary Clinton, History, House of Representatives, Human, Human Behavior, Illegal Immigration, Immigration, Impeachment, Independence, Investments, James Comey, Joe Biden, Killing, Labor Economics, Language, Law, Legal Immigration, Life, Lying, Media, Mental Illness, Middle East, Mike Pence, Mike Pompeo, Military Spending, Monetary Policy, National Interest, National Security Agency, Networking, News, Nuclear Weapons, Obesity, People, Photos, Polls, Progressives, Public Corruption, Public Relations, Raymond Thomas Pronk, Robert S. Mueller III, Rule of Law, Scandals, Senate, Spying, Subornation of perjury, Subversion, Success, Surveillance and Spying On American People, Surveillance/Spying, Tax Fraud, Tax Policy, Taxation, Taxes, Terror, Terrorism, Trade Policy, Treason, Trump Surveillance/Spying, Ukraine, Unemployment, United States of America, United States Supreme Court, Videos, Violence, Wall Street Journal, War, Wealth, Wisdom | Tags: , , , , |