Posts Tagged ‘Natalia Veselnitskaya’

Clinton Corruption Update: It’s All One Scandal

Tuesday, January 16th, 2018

Got slammed by the holidays, so this Clinton Corruption update is both extra late and extra huge. Unless I just start throwing stuff down wherever it even remotely fits, I’ll never finish this update. So let’s jump in!

(But first, take a look at Was Fusion GPS Allowed to Run Unsupervised FISA-702 Queries? if you haven’t already.)

Several Clinton scandals, and revelations from the ill-conceived Russia investigation, have been converging into a single scandal for months. With the Peter Strzok/Fusion GPS revelations, there’s no longer any gap between the various Hillary Clinton and the Obama Administration unmasking scandals: it’s all one, big swampy scandal, with some of the same players showing up again and again, and Hillary Clinton is involved up to her chin.

Strzok, in case you hadn’t heard, is the FBI agent dismissed from Robert Mueller’s Russia probe. His text messages reveal that he’s a dedicated Trump hater:

Text messages between FBI officials Peter Strzok and Lisa Page in 2016 that were obtained by Fox News on Tuesday refer to then-candidate Donald Trump as a “loathsome human” and “an idiot.”

More than 10,000 texts between Strzok and Page were being reviewed by the Justice Department after Strzok was removed from Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s Russia probe after it was revealed that some of them contained anti-Trump content.

The messages were sent during the 2016 campaign and contain discussions about various candidates. On March 2, Strzok texted Page that someone “asked me who I’d vote for, guessed [Ohio Gov. John] Kasich.”

Fine and dandy, but what does this have to do with Hillary Clinton?

Strzok, who was an FBI counterintelligence agent, was reassigned to the FBI’s human resources division after the discovery of the exchanges with Page, with whom he was having an affair. Page was briefly on Mueller’s team, but has since returned to the FBI.

House Intelligence Committee investigators have long regarded Strzok as a key figure in the chain of events that began when the bureau, in 2016, received the infamous anti-Trump “dossier” and launched a counterintelligence investigation into Russian meddling in the election that ultimately came to encompass FISA surveillance of a Trump campaign associate.

Strzok briefed the committee on Dec. 5, 2016, sources said. But within months of that session House Intelligence Committee investigators were contacted by an informant suggesting that there was “documentary evidence” that Strzok was purportedly obstructing the House probe into the dossier.

Strzok also oversaw the bureau’s interviews with ousted National Security Adviser Michael Flynn – who pleaded guilty to lying to FBI investigators in the Russia probe.

He also was present during the FBI’s July 2016 interview with Hillary Clinton at the close of the email investigation, shortly before then-FBI director James Comey called her actions “extremely careless” without recommending criminal charges.

More than that, Strzok is the one who changed language in Comey’s draft report on Emailgate from “Grossly Negligent” to “Extremely Careless,” essentially letting her off the hook.

He was also the one who sent a text to Lisa Page, the FBI lawyer he was having an affair with, stating how he was working on an “insurance policy” in case Trump became President.

More on Peter Strzok:

A supervisory special agent who is now under scrutiny after being removed from Robert Mueller’s Special Counsel’s Office for alleged bias against President Trump also oversaw the bureau’s interviews of embattled former National Security advisor Michael Flynn, this reporter has learned. Flynn recently pled guilty to one-count of lying to the FBI last week.

FBI agent was one of two FBI agents who interviewed Flynn, which took place on Jan. 24, at the White House, said several sources. The other FBI special agent, who interviewed Flynn, is described by sources as a field supervisor in the “Russian Squad, at the FBI’s Washington Field Office,” according to a former intelligence official, with knowledge of the interview.

Strzok was removed from his role in the Special Counsel’s Office after it was discovered he had made disparaging comments about President Trump in text messages between him and his alleged lover FBI attorney Lisa Page, according to the New York Times and Washington Post, which first reported the stories. Strzok is also under investigation by the Department of Justice Inspector General for his role in Hillary Clinton’s email server and the ongoing investigation into Russia’s election meddling. On Saturday, the House Intelligence Committee’s Chairman Devin Nunes chided the Justice Department and the FBI for not disclosing why Strzok had been removed from the Special Counsel three months ago, according to a statement given by the Chairman.

The former U.S. intelligence official told this reporter, “with the recent revelation that Strzok was removed from the Special Counsel investigation for making anti-Trump text messages it seems likely that the accuracy and veracity of the 302 of Flynn’s interview as a whole should be reviewed and called into question.”

“The most logical thing to happen would be to call the other FBI Special Agent present during Flynn’s interview before the Grand Jury to recount his version,” the former intelligence official added.

The former official also said that “Strzok’s allegiance to (Deputy Director Andrew) McCabe was unwavering and very well known.”

(Hat tip: Aceof Spades HQ.)

Now on to other Clinton Corruption news:

  • Need more information? This timeline of FBI/Clinton malfeasance may help.
  • Here’s a “state of play” piece Conservative Treehouse put up before their Fusion GPS/FISA-702 bombshell:

    As the Inspector General investigation continues:

    • FBI Agent Peter Strzok has been reassigned to the HR department.
    • FBI Lawyer Lisa Page, personal legal aide to FBI Asst. Director, Andrew “Andy” McCabe, has been returned to the DOJ side.
    • FBI Chief Legal Counsel James Baker has been relieved of his duties by FBI Director Christopher Wray.
    • FBI Asst Director Andrew McCabe has announced his intent to retire in March.

    All of these FBI personnel moves are a preliminary outcomes of the still ongoing Office of Inspector General (OIG) investigation. All of this has been reported. None of these moves are speculative. All of these geese are cooked. However, this is just one side of the 2016 political “Trump operation”, the FBI investigative Counterintelligence Division side.

    The other side, the legal side of the Trump operation, stems from the National Security Division of the DOJ. A FISA application is submitted from the DOJ-NSD for use by the FBI Counterintelligence team. Sunlight upon this side of the collaboration is the reason for all of the current distraction narratives.

    While both sides of the corrupt political apparatus participated in the illegal unmasking and leaking, the documentation and activity behind the origin of the FISA application is the current ‘hot potato’ no-one wants any association with.

    The FISA application(s) and the subsequent wiretapping and surveillance collection, along with the unmasking that followed, is the focus of House Intelligence Committee Chairman Devin Nunes.

    Sometime this month, after the initial Inspector General Michael Horowitz release, House Judiciary Chair Bob Goodlatte and Senate Judiciary Chair Chuck Grassley will likely call for a Special Counsel to investigate the upper-level management of the FBI and DOJ.

    We should support that approach. The SC can quickly put a Grand Jury together and start presenting the IG investigative evidence, as well as enforceable subpoenas for witnesses.

    There’s a lot of different down-stream legal issues:

    • The unlawful exoneration of Hillary Clinton by political operatives in the DOJ/FBI.
    • The unlawful destruction of evidence; and the manipulation of investigative protocols to gain a specific and pre-planned political outcome. (Peter Strzok, Andrew McCabe)
    • The unlawful use of the FISA court for political spy operations by the DOJ/FBI.
    • The unlawful use of the Dept of Justice National Security Division. For weaponized political benefit. (Sally Yates, Loretta Lynch, Bruce Ohr)
    • The unlawful use of the FBI Counterintelligence Division. For weaponized political benefit. (James Comey, Andrew McCabe, Peter Strzok, Lisa Page, James Baker)
    • The unlawful use of a Special Counsel (Mueller) investigation to hide the conspiracy; (James Baker, Peter Strzok, Lisa Page, Bruce Ohr, Andrew Weissman, Jeannie Rhee, Aaron Zebley)
  • Mueller needs to release all the documents congress has requested. Also:

    Voters also have an interest in knowing who else on Mueller’s legal team is biased. Not a stretch, as we already know many key players have donated heavily to Democrat politicians, including Clinton. Here’s just a few:

    • James Quarles donated $33,000 over the years to the Dukakis, Gore, Kerry, Obama and Clinton campaigns, according to CNN.
    • Jeannie Rhee has given more than $16,000 to Democrats since 2008. She also maxed out donations both in 2015 and 2016 to Clinton’s presidential campaign. Rhee also represented Clinton in a legal case involving access to her private emails and defended the Clinton Foundation in a former racketeering suit.
    • Andrew Weissman gave $2,300 to former President Barack Obama’s 2008 campaign, and $2,000 to the Democratic National Committee in 2006, according to CNN.

    (Hat tip: Director Blue.)

  • Remember how Hillary Clinton swore up and down she had no classified information on her illegal homebrew server? Well guess what: There were classified documents from that sever Huma Abedin had forwarded to her own account and stashed on husband Anthony Weiner’s computer.
  • And speaking of EmailGate:

    Republicans on key congressional committees say they have uncovered new irregularities and contradictions inside the FBI’s probe of Hillary Clinton’s email server.

    For the first time, investigators say they have secured written evidence that the FBI believed there was evidence that some laws were broken when the former secretary of State and her top aides transmitted classified information through her insecure private email server, lawmakers and investigators told The Hill.

    That evidence includes passages in FBI documents stating the “sheer volume” of classified information that flowed through Clinton’s insecure emails was proof of criminality as well as an admission of false statements by one key witness in the case, the investigators said.

    The name of the witness is redacted from the FBI documents but lawmakers said he was an employee of a computer firm that helped maintain her personal server after she left office as America’s top diplomat and who belatedly admitted he had permanently erased an archive of her messages in 2015 after they had been subpoenaed by Congress.

    The investigators also confirmed that the FBI began drafting a statement exonerating Clinton of any crimes while evidence responsive to subpoenas was still outstanding and before agents had interviewed more than a dozen key witnesses.

  • Christopher Wray Refuses to Say if Steele Dossier Was Used to Procure FISA Warrant.” That would be the current FBI director.
  • If you’re still confused as to just how deeply Fusion GPS (in the pay of the Clinton campaign, the DNC and Russian nationals) infiltrated America’s press corp, read this:

    Fusion GPS’s principals—Glenn Simpson, Peter Fritsch, Thomas Catan, and [Neil] King—are all [Wall Street] Journal alumni. Moreover, several other former Journal hands employed throughout the Washington DC press corps to cover the Russiagate beat have teamed with the Fusion four. Because Journal alums played a key role not only in creating the Great Kremlin Conspiracy but also in disseminating it, it is natural that the Journal would find itself in the middle of the story. It appears its newsroom is still influenced by the former staffers driving the Russiagate story.

    William Browder, the driving force behind the Magnitsky Act, told me recently about his experience with the Journal’s newsroom and its relationship with the firm four former WSJ reporters have founded. “When I was trying to get journalists interested in a story about the role Fusion GPS was playing in trying to undo the Magnitsky Act,” said Browder, “I found that the Wall Street Journal was one of the places where Glenn Simpson and Fusion GPS were deeply entrenched in the newsroom.” Wall Street Journal editor Gerard Baker did not reply to a request for comment on Browder’s assertions.

    The Fusion GPS story doesn’t end with the Wall Street Journal. It only started there. Recently The Daily Caller reported onCNN reporter Evan Perez’s ties to Fusion GPS, showing photographs of Perez with Fritsch and King, with whom he shared bylines at the Wall Street Journal before they went to Fusion GPS and he moved to CNN. Perez had the lead byline on CNN’s January 10, 2017 story that broke how four U.S. intelligence chiefs briefed incoming president Trump and outgoing President Obama on the Steele dossier. The CNN story made no mention of Perez’s friends and former colleagues who produced and distributed the dossier that was the subject of the story.

    Former WSJ reporter Adam Entous, recently hired by the New Yorker, had the lead byline on the Washington Post article breaking the news that Marc Elias, a lawyer from the DC law firm Perkins Coie, hired Fusion GPS to compile an opposition research file on Trump for the Democratic National Committee (DNC) and the Clinton campaign. After the story broke, New York Times reporters Maggie Haberman and Ken Vogel expressed their professional frustration on Twitter. They were after the story, and someone else nailed it.

    “Folks involved in funding this lied about it, and with sanctimony, for a year,” tweeted Haberman. “When I tried to report this story,” wrote Vogel, “Clinton campaign lawyer @marceelias pushed back vigorously, saying ‘You (or your sources) are wrong.’”

    So how did the Post get the Clinton campaign, DNC, or Elias to confirm the story? There’s no evidence they did. A former Clinton spokesman told the paper he wasn’t aware Fusion GPS was hired. A DNC spokesperson said the new leadership was not part of the decision-making. “Elias and Fusion GPS,” according to the Post report, “declined to comment on the arrangement.”

    That leaves the firm’s principals as Entous’ most likely sources. Why? Because Fusion GPS and its principals had an interest in dumping information to deter the House Permanent Select Committee in Intelligence from successfully subpoenaing the company’s bank records for evidence that Fusion GPS paid journalists. “Entous,” said one veteran journalist familiar with the national security beat, “is tight with Fusion GPS.”

    Carol Lee of NBC News is another WSJ alum. At her new job she has worked on Russiagate stories with Ken Dilanian, a reporter Browder believes to be a regular and reliable purveyor of Fusion GPS-manufactured talking points. In September, for instance, Lee and Dilanian broke a story about the June 2016 meeting between Donald Trump Jr. and Russian lawyer Natalia Veselnitskaya, which also included Jared Kushner and Paul Manafort.

    The network of journalists who take dossiers from Fusion GPS is rich and deep.

    Lee and Dilanian reported, “Two sources tell NBC News that Manafort’s smartphone notes from the meeting included the words ‘donations’ in close proximity to the reference to the Republican National Committee.” NBC News was eventually forced to walk back the story when it turned out the word on Manafort’s phone was “donors,” not “donations,” a difference that nullified the thrust of the story, which was to suggest that Russia was funneling money directly to the Trump campaign.

    But who fed Lee and Dilanian their story? It seems likely from the list of people at the meeting that their sources included Veselnitskaya herself and another Russian at the meeting, Rinat Akhmetshin—who both had partnered with Fusion GPS to try to undo the Magnitsky Act on behalf of pro-Putin elements. Indeed, Simpson met with Veselnitskaya before and after her meeting with Trump Jr.—a meeting Simpson says he didn’t know about until it was later reported.

    The network of journalists who take dossiers from Fusion GPS is rich and deep, which is how the company manages to seed so many stories around the media and make its money. Others whose tenure at the Wall Street Journal intersected with those of Fusion GPS principals and who have filed numerous stories on the Trump-Russia narrative that originated with Fusion GPS’s “Steele” dossier include, among others, Devlin Barrett and Tom Hamburger of the Washington Post, and Matthew Rosenberg of the New York Times.

    (Hat tip: Aceof Spades HQ.)

  • Lefty legal legend Alan Dershowitz says that Strzok should be punished:

    The FBI agent who altered former FBI Director James Comey’s assessment of Hillary Clinton’s private email server should be “severely punished,” said Alan Dershowitz, the retired Harvard University law professor.

    FBI agent Peter Strzok changed the wording in Comey’s assessment from “grossly negligent” to “extremely careless,” a key change in legal terms that softened the case against Clinton.

    Derschowitz also poo-poos the whole “obstruction of justice” angle as regards President Trump:

    In order to be charged with obstruction of justice, you have to go beyond simply exercising a presidential prerogative under Article II of the Constitution,” said Dershowitz on Fox News’ “The Ingraham Angle” on Monday. “If you bribe or take a bribe, if you destroy evidence and do what Nixon did, which is pay hush money or tell your subordinates to lie, of course you can be charged with obstruction of justice.”

    Presidents Richard Nixon and Bill Clinton were both charged with obstruction of justice, Dershowitz pointed out.

    “But you cannot be and should not be charged with obstruction of justice if you merely pardon people,” he added. “You merely fire people even if the prosecution believes your intentions are not good. That’s what George H.W. Bush did. He pardoned Caspar Weinberger and five other people. The special prosecutor said the intent was to stop the investigation of Iran-Contra. It succeeded. And nobody suggested that President Bush be charged.”

    Further:

    “He can’t be charged with obstruction merely for exercising his constitutional prerogatives,” said Dershowitz. “That’s an important distinction. No president in history has ever been charged for any crime or anything because he exercised his constitutional prerogative. They impeached President Andrew Johnson for doing that. And the Supreme Court ultimately ruled that that was absolutely wrong. The president had the authority to fire the secretary of the Army. He was impeached for that and wrongly impeached.”

    (Hat tip: Ace of Spades HQ.)

  • Hillary gonna Hillary:

    A former government watchdog says Hillary Clinton’s campaign threatened retribution against him and his loved ones when he raised concerns about classified info on Clinton’s private email server while it was being investigated in 2016.

    “There was personal blowback. Personal blowback to me, to my family, to my office,” former Intelligence Community Inspector General Charles McCullough III told Fox News’ Catherine Herridge on Monday.

    He said the Clinton campaign even put out word that it planned to fire him if Clinton won the 2016 election. Democrats in Congress also mounted what he thought looked like a coordinated campaign to intimidate him.

    McCullough, an Obama appointee, became inspector general after “more than two decades at the FBI, Treasury and intelligence community,” Fox News reported. He explained how the probe was quickly politicized and his office marginalized by Democrats in Congress.

    The intimidation campaign intensified in January 2016, after McCullough notified senior intelligence and foreign relations committee leaders that “several dozen emails containing classified information” were determined to be “at the CONFIDENTIAL, SECRET, AND TOP SECRET/SAP levels.”

    A government source involved with the review told Fox News at the time that seven of those emails had been deemed by the intelligence community to be so sensitive and so potentially damaging to national security that they could never be released under any circumstances.

    “All of a sudden I became a shill of the right,” McCullough recalled. “And I was told by members of Congress, ‘Be careful. You’re losing your credibility. You need to be careful. There are people out to get you.’”

    He also got it from congressional Democrats for having the unmitigated gall to tell the truth about Clinton’s emails:

    In March 2016, seven senior Democrats entered the fray, sending a letter to McCullough and his State Department counterpart expressing their reservations about the impartiality of the Clinton email review.

    McCullough, of course, wasn’t the one making the decisions regarding the classification of Clinton’s emails, he was just, as Herridge notes, “passing along the findings of the individual agencies” that had the final say on classification.

    The watchdog said he thought there was “a coordinated strategy” targeting him based on the evidence he saw.

    Six weeks before the election, McCullough said Sen. Dianne Feinstein’s office tried to pressure him to respond to the letter – which Feinstein had co-signed.

    “I thought that any response to that letter would just hyper-politicize the situation,” McCullough said. “I recall even offering to resign, to the staff director. I said, ‘Tell [Feinstein] I’ll resign tonight. I’d be happy to go. I’m not going to respond to that letter. It’s just that simple.”

    The pressure intensified as Election Day approached and McCullough and another senior government investigator on the email case were threatened.

    “I was told in no uncertain terms, by a source directly from the campaign, that we would be the first two to be fired — with [Clinton’s] administration. That that was definitely going to happen,” he said.

    (Hat tip: Stephen Green at Instapundit.)

  • “The Anatomy Of Hillary Clinton’s $84 Million Money-Laundering Scheme.”

    The Committee to Defend the President has filed an FEC complaint against Hillary Clinton’s campaign, Democratic National Committee (DNC), Democratic state parties and Democratic mega-donors.

    As Fox News reported, we documented the Democratic establishment “us[ing] state chapters as straw men to circumvent campaign donation limits and launder(ing) the money back to her campaign.” The 101-page complaint focused on the Hillary Victory Fund (HVF) — the $500 million joint fundraising committee between the Clinton campaign, DNC, and dozens of state parties — which did exactly that the Supreme Court declared would still be illegal.

    HVF solicited six-figure donations from major donors, including Calvin Klein and “Family Guy” creator Seth MacFarlane, and routed them through state parties en route to the Clinton campaign. Roughly $84 million may have been laundered in what might be the single largest campaign finance scandal in U.S. history.

    Here’s what we know. Campaign finance law is incredibly complex and infamous for its lack of clarity. As I’ve explained before, its complexity is a feature, not a bug. Major political players with the resources to hire the very few attorneys who practice campaign finance law benefit from the complexity that keeps others out. Perhaps HVF’s architects thought so too, and assumed that if no one understands what’s happening, no one would complain.

    Here’s what you can do, legally. Per election, an individual donor can contribute $2,700 to any candidate, $10,000 to any state party committee, and (during the 2016 cycle) $33,400 to a national party’s main account. These groups can all get together and take a single check from a donor for the sum of those contribution limits — it’s legal because the donor cannot exceed the base limit for any one recipient. And state parties can make unlimited transfers to their national party.

    Here’s what you can’t do, which the Clinton machine appeared to do anyway. As the Supreme Court made clear in McCutcheon v. FEC, the JFC may not solicit or accept contributions to circumvent base limits, through “earmarks” and “straw men” that are ultimately excessive — there are five separate prohibitions here.

    On top of that, six-figure donations either never actually passed through state party accounts or were never actually under state party control, which adds false FEC reporting by HVF, state parties, and the DNC to the laundry list.

    Finally, as Donna Brazile and others admitted, the DNC placed the funds under the Clinton campaign’s direct control, a massive breach of campaign finance law that ties the conspiracy together.

    Democratic donors, knowing the funds would end up with Clinton’s campaign, wrote six-figure checks to influence the election — 100 times larger than allowed.

    HVF bundled these megagifts and, on a single day, reported transferring money to all participating state parties, some of which would then show up on FEC reports filed by the DNC as transferring the exact same dollar amount on the exact same day to the DNC. Yet not all the state parties reported either receiving or transferring those sums.

    Did any of these transfers actually happen? Or were they just paper entries to mask direct transfers to the DNC?

    For perspective, conservative filmmaker Dinesh D’Souza was prosecuted and convicted in 2012 for giving a handful of associates money they then contributed to a candidate of his preference — in other words, straw man contributions. He was sentenced to eight months in a community confinement center and five years of probation. How much money was involved? Only $20,000. HVF weighs in at $84 million — more than 4,000 times larger!

  • As Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton personally lifted the U.S. travel ban on terrorist-supporting accused rapist Tariq Ramadan. (Hat tip: The Other McCain.)
  • Hey, Remember the Uranium One scandal, Hillary Clinton’s other other scandal? Well guess what? Indictments have been issued:

    The Department of Justice unsealed an 11-count indictment on Friday to a former DoD intelligence analyst-turned uranium transportation executive who stands accused of a bribery and money laundering scheme involving a Russian nuclear official connected to the Uranium One deal.

    The indictment corroborates a November report by The Hill that an FBI mole deeply embedded in the Russian uranium industry had gathered extensive evidence of the scheme.

    Mark Lambert, 54, of Mount Airy, Maryland, was charged with one count of conspiracy to violate the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA) and to commit wire fraud, seven counts of violating the FCPA, two counts of wire fraud and one count of international promotion money laundering.

    The charges stem from an alleged scheme to bribe Vadim Mikerin, a Russian official at JSC Techsnabexport (TENEX), a subsidiary of Russia’s State Atomic Energy Corporation and the sole supplier and exporter of Russian Federation uranium and uranium enrichment services to nuclear power companies worldwide, in order to secure contracts with TENEX.

    According to the indictment, beginning at least as early as 2009 and continuing until October 2014, Lambert conspired with others at “Transportation Corporation A” to make corrupt and fraudulent bribery and kickback payments to offshore bank accounts associated with shell companies, at the direction of, and for the benefit of, a Russian official, Vadim Mikerin, in order to secure improper business advantages and obtain and retain business with TENEX. -DOJ

    While the indictment lists Lambert’s company as “Transportation Corporation A,” a simple search reveals that Lambert is the co-President of DAHER-TLI, “the leading front end freight forwarding company dedicated to Nuclear Cargo,” according to its website.

    (Hat tip: Stephen Green at Instapundit.)

  • More thoughts on same.
  • “Obama State Department Let Clinton And Huma Make Off With Boxes Of ‘Muslim Engagement’ Docs.”
  • Could a Trump executive order lead to a crackdown and seizure of Clinton assets?

    The Trump Administration quietly issued an Executive Order (EO) last Thursday which allows for the freezing of US-housed assets belonging to foreign individuals or entities deemed “serious human rights abusers,” along with government officials and executives of foreign corporations (current or former) found to have engaged in corruption – which includes the misappropriation of state assets, the expropriation of private assets for personal gain, and corruption related to government contracts or the extraction of natural resources.

    Snip.

    Now consider that if reports from The Hill are accurate – an FBI mole deep within the Russian uranium industry uncovered evidence that “Russian nuclear officials had routed millions of dollars to the U.S. designed to benefit former President Bill Clinton’s charitable foundation during the time Secretary of State Hillary Clinton served on a government body that provided a favorable decision to Moscow (the Uranium One approval)” – a deal which would eventually grant the Kremlin control over 20 percent of America’s uranium supply right around the time Bill Clinton also collected $500,000 for a Moscow speech, as detailed by author Peter Schweitzer’s book Clinton Cash and the New York Times in 2015.

    “The Russians were compromising American contractors in the nuclear industry with kickbacks and extortion threats, all of which raised legitimate national security concerns. And none of that evidence got aired before the Obama administration made those decisions,” a person who worked on the case told The Hill, speaking on condition of anonymity for fear of retribution by U.S. or Russian officials. –The Hill

    The same FBI informant claims to have video evidence showing Russian agents with briefcases full of bribe money related to the controversial Uranium One deal.

  • “A joint investigation by the Washington Examiner and the nonprofit watchdog group Judicial Watch found that former President Clinton gave 215 speeches and earned $48 million while his wife presided over U.S. foreign policy, raising questions about whether the Clintons fulfilled ethics agreements related to the Clinton Foundation during Hillary Clinton‘s tenure as secretary of state.” Nice work if you can get it…
  • How Clinton cronies pay to manufacture fake news:

    A wealthy Hillary Clinton supporter dropped half a million dollars in the run up to the 2016 election to fund a number of alleged victims willing to accuse President Donald Trump of sexual misconduct.

    The New York Times reported on Sunday that Susie Tompkins Buell, a major Clinton donor for years, gave $500,000 to celebrity attorney Lisa Bloom in support of a stable of women willing to come forward – if the price was right.

  • Why Democrats finally turnd on Bill Clinton:

    The media doesn’t suddenly “believe Juanita”. Or rather it always knew that Juanita Broaddrick, Kathleen Willey, Paula Jones and the other women were telling the truth. It didn’t silence them because it thought they were lying. It silenced them because they were telling the truth about its guy.

    Now Bill Clinton isn’t the media’s guy anymore. He’s a problem.

    And what the media does “believe” is that the Clintons will continue to be a liability that might cost them victories in 2018 and 2020. The DNC badly needs money. The Clintons are once again posing a threat to the DNC’s financial viability. And the Dems have become less willing to lose House and Senate seats to sate the insatiable greed of the grifters from Hope.

    Then there’s 2020. The Dems don’t want to risk their nominee facing passive aggressive attacks by Hillary Clinton. Nor do they even want to see Hillary Clinton on the air for the entire election.

    Snip.

    They’re purging the Clintons for the same reason that they covered up for them.

    They’re calling out Bill Clinton for his sexual assaults for the same reason that they covered them up.

    They did it out of political self-interest then. And they’re doing it out of political self-interest now. There’s nothing clean or honest about what they’re doing. There’s no moral reckoning here. Only a political reckoning. It’s not about the women Bill abused. It’s about DNC cash and the 2020 election.

  • Democrats are shocked, shocked to find out that Bill Clinton is a sexual predator. Remember all those Democrats who looked into allegations against Clinton when he was President? Me neither.
  • Despite all the “we’re free to call Bill Clinton a sexual predator now that Hillary will never run again” talk, don’t count on it. “Hillary Clinton never does anything spontaneously. Until further notice, we should assume she’s running to get back that which is *rightfully* hers.” And remember that the DNC recently purged all the non-Clinton DNC staffers.
  • Dolly Kyle, the women who claims to be Bill Clinton’s longtime mistress, claims that Bill Clinton has had over 2,00 sex partners and that Hillary Clinton is a lesbian. I would approach her claims with several pounds of salt.
  • Hillary Clinton said America was totally unprepared for the advent of artificial intelligence, then excused herself and asked directions to Sarah Conners’ house.
  • The New York Times ever-changing Trump Russia narrative:

    Slowly but surely, it has emerged that the Justice Department and FBI very likely targeted Page because of the Steele dossier, a Clinton-campaign opposition-research screed disguised as intelligence reporting. Increasingly, it appears that the Bureau failed to verify Steele’s allegations before the DOJ used some of them to bolster an application for a spying warrant from the FISA court (i.e., the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court).

    Thanks to the persistence of the House Intelligence Committee led by Chairman Devin Nunes (R., Calif.), the dossier story won’t go away. Thus, Democrats and their media friends have been moving the goal posts in an effort to save their collusion narrative. First, we were led to believe the dossier was no big deal because the FBI would surely have corroborated any information before the DOJ fed it to a federal judge in a warrant application. Then, when the Clinton campaign’s role in commissioning the dossier came to light, we were told it was impertinent to ask about what the FBI did, if anything, to corroborate it since this could imperil intelligence methods and sources — and, besides, such questions were just a distraction from the all-important Mueller investigation (which the dossier had a hand in instigating and which, to date, has turned up no evidence of a Trump-Russia conspiracy).

    Lately, the story has morphed into this: Well, even if the dossier was used, it was only used a little — there simply must have been lots of other evidence that Trump was in cahoots with Putin. But that’s not going to fly: Putting aside the dearth of collusion evidence after well over a year of aggressive investigation, the dossier is partisan propaganda. If it was not adequately corroborated by the FBI, and if the Justice Department, without disclosing its provenance to the court, nevertheless relied on any part of it in a FISA application, that is a major problem.

    So now, a new strategy to prop up the collusion tale: Never mind Page — lookee over here at [George] Papadopoulos!

    But that’s not what they were saying in April, when the collusion narrative and Democratic calls for a special prosecutor were in full bloom.

    Back then, no fewer than six of the Times’ top reporters, along with a researcher, worked their anonymous “current and former law enforcement and intelligence officials” in order to generate the Page blockbuster. With these leaks, the paper confidently reported: “From the Russia trip of the once-obscure Mr. Page grew a wide-ranging investigation, now accompanied by two congressional inquiries, that has cast a shadow over the early months of the Trump administration” [emphasis added].

    Oh sure, the Times acknowledged that there might have been a couple of other factors involved. “Paul Manafort, then [i.e., during Page’s trip] Mr. Trump’s campaign manager, was already under criminal investigation in connection with payments from a pro-Russian political party in Ukraine.” And “WikiLeaks and two websites later identified as Russian intelligence fronts had begun releasing emails obtained when Democratic Party servers were hacked.”

    But the trigger for the investigation — the “catalyst” — was Page.

    Somehow, despite all that journalistic leg-work and all those insider sources, the name George Papadopoulos does not appear in the Times’ story.

    Now, however, we’re supposed to forget about Page. According to the new bombshell dropped on New Year’s Eve by six Times reporters, it was “the hacking” coupled with “the revelation that a member of the Trump campaign” — Papadopoulos — “may have had inside information about it” that were “driving factors that led the F.B.I. to open an investigation in July 2016 into Russia’s attempts to disrupt the election and whether any of President Trump’s associates conspired.”

    It seems like only yesterday — or, to be more precise, only late October, when he pled guilty to a count of lying to the FBI in the Mueller probe — that Mr. Papadopoulos was even more obscure than the “once-obscure Mr. Page.” Now, though, he has been elevated to “the improbable match that set off a blaze that has consumed the first year of the Trump administration.” But hey, if you’re willing to hang in there through the first 36 paragraphs of the Times’ nearly 3,000-word Papadopoulos report, you’ll find the fleeting observation that “A trip to Moscow by another adviser, Carter Page, also raised concerns at the F.B.I.”

    You don’t say!

    Again, until this weekend, Page was the eye of the collusion storm. And as I outlined in a column last weekend, a significant part of what got the FBI and the Obama Justice Department stirred up about Page’s July 2016 trip to Moscow was the Steele dossier — the anti-Trump reports compiled by former British spy Christopher Steele. Alas, six months after the Times’ planted its feet on Page as the linchpin of the Trump-Russia investigation, we learned that the dossier was actually an opposition-research project paid for by the Hillary Clinton campaign and the Democratic National Committee. We further learned that at Fusion GPS, the research firm that retained Steele for the project, Steele collaborated on it with Nellie Ohr, the wife of top Justice Department official Bruce Ohr — and that Bruce Ohr had personally been briefed on the project by Steele and a Fusion GPS executive.

  • Reminder: Chelsea Clinton used Clinton Foundation resources for her wedding. So say Wikileaks documents. Just in case you had forgotten…
  • LinkSwarm for November 24. 2017

    Friday, November 24th, 2017

    I hope you had a happy Thanksgiving! Enjoy a short LinkSwarm for a short week!

  • “Unsealed court documents reveal that the firm behind the salacious 34-page Trump-Russia Dossier, Fusion GPS, was paid $523,000 by a Russian businessman convicted of tax fraud and money laundering, whose lawyer, Natalia Veselnitskaya, was a key figure in the infamous June 2016 meeting at Trump Tower arranged by Fusion GPS associate Rob Goldstone.”
  • Fusion GPS, the DNC and Hillary Clinton sampaign-funded organization behind the fake Trump dossier, has been paying journalists.
  • In this week’s MSM scumbag sexual harasser sweepstakes, both CBS and PBS fire Charlie Rose after sexual harassment accusations from eight different women.
  • And three more accusers just came forward.
  • You know the Arab-Egyptian Peace Treaty signed after the Camp David Accords in 1979? Jimmy Carter did his best to derail it.

    Carter wanted his Geneva talks. He didn’t care that the peace process already begun by Sadat and Begin might lead to peace, Carter wanted his plan or nothing. You see Carter’s vision of a Geneva conference would be run by the U.S. and the USSR, and Israel would be facing the terrorist PLO, and Israel’s neighbors including, Egypt, Syria, Iraq, Libya, Lebanon, and Jordan. It would not be a negotiation because when one considers that the Arab countries were Soviet satellites, and the Carter administration’s ideological orientation was anti-Israel it seemed to ensure the conference would be all the participants vs. the Jewish State.

    Thankfully Carter couldn’t stop the approaching peace train. Within days Israeli journalists were allowed into Cairo, breaking a symbolic barrier, and from there the peace process quickly gained momentum.

  • Kevin Williamson examines more of the left’s Manson worship.
  • How congress runs its illegal sexual harassment slush fund out of the public eye.
  • Washington Post reporter Janell Ross helped secret Democratic donor conference “craft liberal economic message without notifying superiors.” (Hat tip: Ed Driscoll at Instapundit.)
  • Cop killer captured. Update: Authorities have now released the name of the slain officer, which was Damon Allen.
  • “California State Assemblyman Raul Bocanegra (D-Pacoima) announced Tuesday that he will resign next year after six women accused him of making unwanted sexual advances.”
  • Want to download Skype in China? Tough.
  • Brooklyn College doesn’t want police using campus bathrooms.” Because snowflakes must make painfully clear that the people who keep them safe are beneath them…
  • Can a Ketogeneic (low-carb) diet cure diabetes? Evidence suggests a firm maybe.
  • Environmental activist convicted. “A Montana jury found Leonard Higgins of Portland, Oregon, guilty of criminal mischief and trespassing. Higgins could face up to 10 years in prison and a $50,000 fine on the felony criminal mischief charge.” (Hat tip: Steve Malloy’s Twitter feed.)
  • Florida Woman Pro Tip: If you’re going to rob a bank, it’s best to rob one you didn’t formerly work at.
  • Larry Correia spells out exactly what writers “owe” their fans on unfinished series installments: namely “Jack” and “Squat.”
  • As A Male Feminist, I Really Think I’d Absolutely Crush It If I Ever Had To Publicly Apologize For Sexual Misconduct.” Heh: “I’d use the word ‘apologize’ and say ‘I’m sorry.’ I’d check off all the boxes that feminist Twitter looks for in an airtight apology, and I’d continue expressing remorse in the ensuing weeks to wow the world with the magnitude of my self-reproach.” (Hat tip: Instapundit.)
  • Rama?
  • Russian Lawyer Met With Fusion GPS Before and After Trump Jr. Meeting

    Wednesday, November 8th, 2017

    Can you say “Honeypot”?

    The co-founder of Fusion GPS, the firm behind the unverified Trump dossier, met with a Russian lawyer before and after a key meeting she had last year with Trump’s son, Fox News has learned. The contacts shed new light on how closely tied the firm was to Russian interests, at a time when it was financing research to discredit then-candidate Donald Trump.

    The opposition research firm has faced renewed scrutiny after litigation revealed that the DNC and Hillary Clinton’s campaign paid for that research. Congressional Republicans have since questioned whether that politically financed research contributed to the FBI’s investigation of Russian collusion with the Trump campaign – making Fusion’s 2016 contacts with Russian interests all the more relevant.

    The June 2016 Trump Tower meeting involving Donald Trump Jr. and Russian lawyer Natalia Veselnitskaya occurred during a critical period. At that time, Fox News has learned that bank records show Fusion GPS was paid by a law firm for work on behalf of a Kremlin-linked oligarch while paying a former British spy Christopher Steele to dig up dirt on Trump through his Russian contacts.

    But hours before the Trump Tower meeting on June 9, 2016, Fusion co-founder and ex-Wall Street Journal reporter Glenn Simpson was with Veselnitskaya in a Manhattan federal courtroom, a confidential source told Fox News. Court records reviewed by Fox News, email correspondence and published reports corroborate the pair’s presence together. The source told Fox News they also were together after the Trump Tower meeting.

    Simpson’s presence with Veselnitskaya during this critical week in June — together with revelations about Fusion’s simultaneous financial ties to the DNC, Clinton campaign and Russian interests — raise new questions about the company’s role in the 2016 election.

    Snip.

    In December 2012, the Sergei Magnitsky Rule of Law Accountability Act was passed into U.S. law, freezing Russian assets and banning visas for sanctioned individuals. Fusion’s Simpson is believed to have been working with Veselnitskaya and Rinat Akhmetshin, a former Soviet counter-intelligence officer turned Russian-American lobbyist, to overturn the sanctions.

    Akhmetshin also attended the June 9 Trump Tower meeting, along with about a half-dozen others including Trump Jr., Paul Manafort, Jared Kushner, publicist Rob Goldstone, Natalia’s Russian translator Anatoli Samochornov and Ike Kaveladze from a Russian-American real estate agency.

    Let’s review a few salient facts:

  • Hillary Clinton’s campaign jointly funded the fake Trump dossier contracted through Fusion GPS to Christopher Steele with the DNC.
  • The fake dossier was used by the Obama Administration as the basis to both wiretap various members of the Trump presidential campaign, and to unmask the names of those ensnared in government intelligence gathering.
  • Whose names were then illegally leaked to the press.
  • The only documented meeting between anyone on Trump’s team (in this case Donald Trump, Jr.) and Russian nationals during the campaign itself was probably arranged as a honeypot operation by Fusion GPS for the Clinton campaign, possibly in collusion with Russian interests.
  • More “hmmmmm”:

    (Hat tip: Ace of Spades HQ.)

    LinkSwarm for July 21, 2017

    Friday, July 21st, 2017

    I’m getting to the point where my eyes automatically skip over stories with the words “Russia” or “Mueller” in the same way they skip over stories with the word “Kardashian.” So be advised the smattering of Russia news here is of the non-imaginary variety:

  • Hillary is even more unpopular than President Trump.
  • Liberals: “Democratic voters are fired up and ready to vote against Trump!” Polls: Eh, not so much.
  • To win back voters, Democrats need to be less annoying:

    No item in your life is too big or too small for this variety of liberal busybodying. On the one hand, the viral video you found amusing was actually a manifestation of the patriarchy. On the other hand, you actually have an irresponsibly large number of carbon-emitting children.

    All this scolding – this messaging that you should feel guilty about aspects of your life that you didn’t think were anyone else’s business – leads to a weird outcome when you go to vote in November.” The central premise is probably valid, but the piece itself is larded with lies and half-truths.

    True, but this piece comes with a very large caveat: In this course of describing why Social Justice Warriors annoy the living shit out of ordinary Americans, author Josh Berro (a registered Democrat) makes several sweeping assertions about the supposed popularity of tranny bathrooms, gay marriage and gun control that are simply false.

  • The real lessons of the Natalia Veselnitskaya affair. Including this:

    It’s clear that Natalia Veselnitskaya pulled a bait-and-switch on Donald Trump, Jr. She induced him to a meeting with the promise of information that could be used against Hillary Clinton, but delivered no such information. Instead, she used the meeting to lobby the son of the presumptive Republican nominee for president on the supposed evils of the Magnitsky Act.

    And this:

    Second, the pro-Russia element in Washington, D.C. is substantial and cuts across party and ideological lines. Dana Rohrabacher, dubbed Putin’s favorite congressman, is a conservative. Ron Dellums was among the most liberal members of Congress.

    Shame to hear that about Rohrabacher, who I did an interview with a long, long time ago.

  • The damage the Obama Administration did to the criminal justice system in America. “Under Eric Holder and Loretta Lynch, the Department of Justice pushed the states to pass new laws. The goal was to make it impossible to hold repeat offenders in jail before trial. Why? Because so many repeat offenders are black.”
  • Still more about the madness at Evergreen State College. “I was told that I couldn’t go into the room because I was white.”
  • Trump ends Obama’s asinine CIA-run guns for Syrian jihadis program (though we’re still arming the Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces). Naturally the MSM is spinning this as “Putin wins!”, but as I’ve argued before, we never had any national interest in arming anti-Assad jihadis in the first place.
  • President Trump and Secretary of State Rex Tillerson are evidently telling Qatar and Saudi Arabia to play nice.
  • Iran says we’re violating the agreement Obama never bothered to have the Senate ratify. See if they can spin their centrifuges until the world’s smallest violin tumbles out.
  • Russia can’t modernize it’s one aircraft carrier because doing so might take ten years.
  • Turkey leaks secret locations of U.S. troops in Syria. With friends like these, who needs enemies? Turkey is long overdue for a reassessment of it’s NATO membership anyway… (Hat tip: Stephen Green at Instapundit.)
  • Speaking of Turkey, here’s the latest on their tiff with Germany. (Also via Stephen Green at Instapundit.)
  • Poland on verge of passing a law forcing all their supreme court justices over a certain age, except those reappointed by the justice minister, to retire. The EU is complaining it’s a “blow to a independent judiciary,” while the ruling conservative Law and Justice Party is saying its getting rid of a lot of holdover communist judges.
  • “The USA (where there is a War On Drugs under way) has 30 times the overdose death rates per capita as Portugal (which legalized or decriminalized essentially all drugs 15 years ago).”
  • Even if Congressional Republicans still can’t repeal ObamaCare (in which case we need to replace them), the Trump Administration still has many options to chip away at it.
  • Sen. John McCain diagnosed with an aggressive form of brain cancer. Best wishes for his speedy recovery.
  • Kurt Schlichter says we must elect Kid Rock Senator, chiefly due to the conniptions it will induce in Never Trumpers like George Will and Bill Kristol.
  • Have Clinton donors lined up behind California Senator Kamala Harris as heir 2020 Presidential nominee? On the plus side, she would help shore up the Obama coalition among black voters. On the minus side, she does a much poorer job than Obama of hiding just far out on the left wing of the party she is. After all, this was a woman who preferred seeing Catholic hospitals serving the poor close unless they agreed to perform abortions.
  • The Washington Post is very, very upset that all their fake news isn’t moving their fake polls. “Maybe you shouldn’t have cried wolf all those other times. Or was this one another crying of wolf? You squandered your credibility, trying so hard to get Trump. You built up our skepticism and our capacity to flesh out the other side of any argument against Trump.”
  • “US Special Operators Are Moving Closer to the Fighting in Raqqa.” Evidence? “On July 17, 2017, pictures began to appear on social media of flat bed trucks carrying M1245A5 M-ATV mine protected vehicles. On July 20, 2017, additional images emerged of another convoy with more M1245s, as well as a number of up-armored Caterpillar D9 bulldozers.” The M1245A5 M-ATV is evidently only used by U.S. special forces. Bulldozers were also crucial to the battle of Mosul.
  • Up yours, Islamic State: bar reopens in Qaraqosh, Iraq, southeast of Mosul, liberated nine months ago.
  • This week Palestinians are rioting over (rolls dice) metal detectors.
  • Texas Speaker Joe Straus has received a no confidence vote from his hometown Bexar County Republicans.
  • “Nearly four out of every five dollars that Massachusetts senator Elizabeth Warren (D.) reported last quarter came from donors outside of her home state.” (Hat tip: Ace of Spades HQ.)
  • “The White House said Thursday it had withdrawn or removed from active consideration more than 800 proposed regulations that were never finalized during the Obama administration as it works to shrink the federal government’s regulatory footprint.” (Hat tip: Director Blue.)
  • The Juice is loose. Well, not really: O.J. Simpson will not be released on parole until at least October. While I believe Simpson did indeed get away with a double homicide, he was acquitted of that charge, and his current parole is in line with his time served on the robbery and kidnapping charges of which he was actually convicted. Now Simpson can get back to paying off his civil lawsuit judgment.
  • “Newsweek Settles with Journalist Smeared by Kurt Eichenwald.” So. Much. Stupidity. “Eichenwald inferred that the only possible means by which Trump could have come across the misattributed quote was purposeful collusion with the Russians, and that the Wikileaks documents themselves had been altered.” Although, to be absolutely fair to everyone’s favorite seizure-prone tentacle-porn fan, plaintiff Bill Moran did not exactly cover himself in glory either… (Hat tip: Lee Stranahan’s Twitter feed.)
  • Sting hardest hit.
  • The story behind the hundred most iconic movie props of all time. I would have gone with Stonehenge rather than the 11 knobs from This is Spinal Tap… (Hat tip: VA Viper.)
  • “DC Comics Reboots Snagglepuss as ‘Gay, Southern Gothic Playwright.'” Honestly, I have so little interest in the original character this actually strikes me as an improvement. (Imagine the outrage if they brought back Scrappy Doo as an “antifa” agitator. That’s right, there wouldn’t be any, because everybody hates Scrappy Doo.) Though one wonders just who the audience is for this reboot; I doubt many urban hipsters will make their way to a comic store for the irony value…
  • No, get all the way off my lawn, you stupid kids!
  • LinkSwarm for July 14, 2017

    Friday, July 14th, 2017

    Since I just topped up my Strategic Dog Reserve, blogging may get light at some point. But in the meantime, enjoy another Friday LinkSwarm:

  • This may be what’s driving some Democrats’ idee fixe on Russia: a guilty conscience:

    Radical left-wing icon former California Democratic Rep. Ron Dellums was a hired lobbyist for Natalia Veselnitskaya, the Russian lawyer who met with Donald Trump Jr. June 9, 2016, the Daily Caller News Foundation Investigative Group has learned.

    Dellums, who represented liberal San Francisco and Oakland, Calif., is a long-time darling of left-wing political activists. He served 13 terms in Congress as an African-American firebrand and proudly called himself a socialist. He retired in 1996.

    The former congressman is one of several high-profile Democratic partisans who was on Veselnitskaya’s payroll, working to defeat a law that is the hated object of a personal vendetta waged by Russian President Vladimir Putin.

    A national outcry has erupted in the establishment media about Trump Jr.’s meeting with Veselnitskaya. But there has been little focus on the Democrats who willingly served for years on her payroll helping to wage a Russian-led lobby campaign against the law. Congress passed the legislation, the Magnitsky Act, in response to the murder of Sergei Magnistky, a Russian lawyer who alleged corruption and human rights violations against numerous Russian officials.

    According to a complaint filed to the Department of Justice Foreign Agents Registration Act division last July, Dellums failed to register as a foreign agent representing a Russian-driven effort led by Veselnitskaya to repeal the Magnitsky Act.

    Add Dellums to a list that includes Bill and Hillary Clinton and the Podesta brothers of high profile Democrats who have documented financial and lobbying ties to Putin’s government.

  • Democrats intentionally used disinformation from Russia to attack Trump, campaign aides.”
  • Russian journalist on how American journalists cover Russia, especially the Russian hacking story. “The way the American press writes about the topic, it’s like they’ve lost their heads.” Also: “Putin seem to look much smarter than he is, as if he operates from some master plan.” He’s actually a bumbler…
  • You know the Obama Veterans Administration that was only too happy to look the other way while veterans were dying on the waiting list? President Trump’s Secretary of Veterans Affairs David Shulkin has helped implement a number of reforms:

    In Shulkin’s five months on the job, the VA has been a whirlwind of activity:

    • The department announced last week that between President Trump’s inauguration and July 3, it had fired 526 employees, demoted another 27, and temporarily suspended another 194 for longer than two weeks.
    • In April, the department launched a new website that lets veterans compare the wait times at its facilities and view Yelp-style reviews of each facility written by previous patients.
    • Veterans Health Administration’s Veterans Crisis Line — designed for those struggling with PTSD, thoughts of suicide, and other forms of mental stress — is now answering “more than 90 percent of calls within 8 seconds, and only about one percent of calls are being rerouted to a backup call center.” A year ago, an inspector general report noted that “more than a third of calls were being shunted to backup call centers, some calls were taking more than a half hour to be answered and other callers were being given only an option to leave messages on voicemail.”
    • At the end of June, Shulkin unveiled the world’s most advanced commercial prosthetic limb — the Life Under Kinetic Evolution (LUKE) arm — during a visit to a VA facility in New York. Veteran amputees demonstrated the technology, a collaboration among the VA, the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, and the private sector. (The name alludes to the lifelike robotic hand that Luke Skywalker is fitted with in The Empire Strikes Back.)
    • In May, Shulkin said the department had identified more than 430 vacant buildings and 735 underutilized ones that cost the federal government $25 million a year. He said that most of the buildings are not treatment facilities and could profitably be closed or consolidated. Of course, if he actually attempted to close or consolidate some of the buildings, he might face a controversy along the lines of those touched off by military-base-closing announcements in recent decades.

    Shulkin has also gotten some help from Congress during his short time on the job. At a time when Republican legislators have had enormous difficulty passing big pieces of legislation, they’ve made great progress on VA reform.

    One particular law designed to make the VA more accountable is arguably the most consequential legislation President Trump has signed so far. It establishes speedier procedures for firing employees, gives the department the authority to recoup bonuses and pensions from employees convicted of crimes, adds greater protections for whistleblowers who report errors and scandals, and expands employee training.

  • New Senate GOP bill to repeal ObamaCare has tiny flaw in that it doesn’t repeal ObamaCare.
  • The One Sentence That Explains Washington Dysfunction: “I didn’t expect Donald Trump to win.” So no one was ready to do anything policy-wise once he did. “Among those consequences: The expectation that Republicans might actually try to keep the promises they’ve made to voters over the last eight years.” (Hat tip: Director Blue.)
  • No matter which party is in charge of Washington, rain or shine, summer or winter, the deficit keeps growing. “Real monthly federal spending topped $400 billion for the first time in June.” (Hat tip: Stephen Green at Instapundit.)
  • An appeals court vacated the conviction of former New York Democratic Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver, just the latest in a long line of appeal reversals for former federal prosecutor Preet Bharara. How much of Bharara’s once-sterling reputation was real, how much was showboating, and how much was good press from working at MSM-saturated New York City? (Hat tip: Instapundit.)
  • “ICE Director: There’s No Population Of Illegal Aliens Which Is Off The Table.” (Hat tip: Director Blue.)
  • Mexico is reportedly very upset that both the united States and Texas are actually enforcing border control laws.
  • Remember: When you see an anti-Trump or anti-border control march, there’s a good chance it consists mostly of paid Soros shills.
  • Speaking of Soros:

    What we are actually witnessing — in Hungary, in the United States and in many other countries in recent years — is a populist reaction against the elite “progressive” consensus of which Soros is a prominent symbol. There is an international clique of influential people and organizations who share certain ideas about the future direction of political, social and economic policies, and who don’t want to be bothered with debating the merits of these policies. The ordinary people whose lives would be affected by the agenda of the elite aren’t being asked for their approval, and popular opposition to the elite agenda (e.g., the Brexit vote, Trump’s election, Hungary’s anti-“refugee” referendum) is treated by the elite media as evidence of incipient fascism. Never does it seem to have occurred to George Soros, or to anyone else in the international elite, that perhaps their policy ideas are wrong, that they have gone too far in their utopian “social justice” schemes. Unable to admit error, the progressive elite therefore resort to cheap insults and sloppy accusations of “fascism” to stigmatize opposition to the Left’s agenda.

  • Bernard-Henri Lévy makes the case for an independent Kurdistan. (Hat tip: Ace of Spades HQ.)
  • For ABC, religious liberty organization = hate group.
  • Seattle decides that they want to drive the affluent out of the city. I’m sure many cities in Texas would be happy to welcome them with open arms…
  • And just in case you thought that was going to be the craziest story out of Seattle this week: “Seattle Councilman Objects to Hosing Excrement-Covered Sidewalks Because It’s Racist.” (Hat tip: Instapundit.)
  • China’s housing bubble continues to expand. (Hat tip: Ace of Spades HQ.)
  • Kid Rock is running in the 2018 Michigan Senate race. And I saw, and behold a white horse: and he that sat on him had a bow; and a crown was given unto him: and he went forth conquering, and to conquer. And when he had opened the second seal, I heard the second beast say, Come and see.
  • On the same subject. “Rock is arguably much better positioned than Trump for a successful political run.”
  • “The man running Sweden’s biggest security firm was declared bankrupt this week after his identity was hacked.”
  • Flaccid NFL ratings lead to Viagra and Cialis pulling out as sponsors. Maybe if they stopped focusing on politics, the NFL’s ratings wouldn’t be as soft….
  • Austin attorney “Omar Weaver Rosales, who filed hundreds of lawsuits against local small businesses alleging technical violations of the Americans with Disabilities Act, has been suspended from practicing law in the Federal Western District for three years.”
  • Maine Democratic state rep threatens to kill President Trump, calls gun owners “pussies.”
  • Connecticut now requires a criminal conviction for civil forfeiture. Good. (Hat tip: Borepatch.)
  • “Bad move, Mongo! Moonshine has powerful friends in the slam.” (Hat tip: Dwight.)
  • Clint Eastwood, when looking to cast American Paris train heroes Anthony Sadler, Alek Skarlatos and Spencer Stone for a movie he’s directing, decided to cast Anthony Sadler, Alek Skarlatos and Spencer Stone.
  • Radiohead gives the finger to anti-Israel BDS movement. (Hat tip: Ace of Spades HQ.)
  • Was Shia LaBeouf always this big an asshole, or did he get worse after Trump and 4Chan broke him? “I got more millionaire lawyers than you know what to do with, you stupid bitch!” (Hat tip: Ace of Spades HQ.)
  • Alyssa Milano is too busy as a member of “the Resistance” to take care of trivia like paying her taxes. Or her share of her employee’s taxes.
  • Woman climbs Mt. Everest to prove that vegans can do anything, dies. (Hat tip: Ace of Spades HQ.)

  • There’s a Friends of NRA Fundraiser on August 3rd in Georgetown.
  • AMC releases emails from fired Walking Dead producer Frank Darabont in which he states how he’s boiling with rage over subpar efforts by various production team members. It’s not a good look, but if you directed The Shawshank Redemption, I’m inclined to cut you more than the usual amount of slack over your film-making methods…
  • Marvel is actually doing a live Squirrel Girl TV show. Sure, it’s called New Warriors, but we all know what the real attraction is there…
  • A sailor-eye history of the USS Nevada battleship during World War II.
  • Speaking of World War II, here’s a history of the Mulberry artificial harbors that were crucial in unloading supplies right after D-Day.
  • From the George W. Bush Presidential Library in Dallas: Proof that Bill Clinton doesn’t understand the power of metaphors in image form:

  • “Millions Of Policy Proposals Spill Into Sea As Brookings Institution Think Tanker Runs Aground Off Crimea Coast.” (Hat tip: JenDinnj’s Twitter feed.)
  • How did I miss this last week?