Sunday, March 5, 2017

PROOF Democrats Paid for RUSSIAN HACKING, Big Conspiracy to Impeach Trump

Tea Party ^ | 3/3/2017 | Staff 

Democratic leaders like Chuck Schumer and Nancy Pelosi are responsible for the huge lies that Russia hacked into the Democratic National Committee (DNC) and our election. There is no evidence that anything happened between Donald Trump’s campaign and the Russians. Now, we’ve uncovered that the Democrats secretly paid for the Russian hacking lies to be sold to the American people. This is going to blow your mind.
To understand all the hoopla behind the Russian conspiracy, we have to start at the beginning. The Russian story started with the Democratic National Committee (DNC) reporting that they had been hacked during their convention last year. From that hacking, we found out Bernie Sanders had been thrown under the bus by the DNC in favor of Hillary Clinton. But, who really hacked the DNC? It wasn’t Russia; it was a hacker calling himself Guccifer 2.0.
Politico, a left-wing source, reported back in September that it was Guccifer 2.0 that hacked the DNC. “The hacker persona Guccifer 2.0 has released a new trove of documents that allegedly reveal more information about the Democratic National Committee’s finances and personal information on Democratic donors, as well as details about the DNC’s network infrastructure,” the source said.
So, where did the Russian hacking story come from? The answer should piss you off. It originated from a private security company called “Crowdstrike,” and that company was paid over $267,000 dollars by the Democratic National Committee. But, here’s the real kicker: it’s Crowdstrike that says Guccifer 2.0 is a Russian Government spy, and that is laughable!
Here’s why: says, “Marcel Lehel Lazar, 44, of Arad, Romania, a hacker who used the online moniker ‘Guccifer,’ was sentenced today to 52 months in prison for unauthorized access to a protected computer and aggravated identity theft.” So, Guccifer is a Romanian, and there is absolutely no evidence that he was working for Russia. If that was true, don’t you think, when he was sentenced to 52 years in prison, that would have come out?
Marcel Lehel Lazar, 44, of Arad, Romania, is Guccifer 2.0. Sentenced to 52 years for hacking, there was no evidence he was working for Russia.
Not the FBI, CIA, Department of Justice, or any American intelligence agency ever proved Russia hacked anything. All of this crap about Russia is coming from a report from this private security firm “Crowdstrike” which was contracted by Nancy Pelosi and the Democrats.
In fact, the mind blowing part of this whole fake conspiracy is that the FBI and DHS give zero forensic proof of any hacking. Instead, they say they are relying on Crowdstrike. Let’s go over that again in case it’s not sinking in — the FBI and DHS report nothing except that this private security firm Crowdstrike, paid by the DNC, says this hacker Guccifer 2.0 is a big bad Russian.
The Hill reported on the FBI and DHS joint report on the alleged hacking, saying, “But security experts say that the document [FBI and DHS joint report] provides little in the way of forensic ‘proof’ to confirm the government’s attribution. Private security firms — like CrowdStrike, who investigated the DNC breach — went much further, they [FBI, DHS] say.”
Breitbart’s Lee Stranahan confirms that it was Crowdstrike and the Democrats who made up the Russian hacking story.
Here’s what Crowdstrike says, “CrowdStrike stands fully by its analysis and findings identifying two separate Russian intelligence-affiliated adversaries present in the DNC network in May 2016. On June 15, 2016, a blog post to a WordPress site authored by an individual using the moniker Guccifer 2.0 claimed credit for breaching the Democratic National Committee. This blog post presents documents alleged to have originated from the DNC.”
So, Guccifer 2.0 is Russian intelligence? Did he work for Vladimir Putin, too? This is all a fake conspiracy that the Democrats paid Crowdstrike to “find.” This false narrative was concocted with one endgame, and that is to take out President Donald Trump. The Democrats are using the paranoia around the fake Russian hacking story to make anyone who spoke to a Russian diplomat seem nefarious.
It’s a pack of lies, and now that you know the truth, we must spread it far and wide. Don’t let these scumbags in the Democratic Party do any more damage. We all know the mainstream media will never report these facts, so it’s up to us patriotic Americans to make sure the liars go down in flames and are exposed as traitors to everything they vowed to uphold.

Mexico launches $50 million nationwide effort in US to help Mexican migrants! ^ | 3-3-17 | ADRIANA GOMEZ LICON 

MIAMI (AP) -- Not only is the Mexican government not building a wall; it's spending $50 million to beef up its legal aid to migrants who fear deportation, a response to President Donald Trump's crackdown on illegal immigration.

 All 50 Mexican consulates in the U.S. on Friday launched legal assistance centers to form partnerships with nonprofit groups and tap lawyers to help those fearing Trump's policies. The diplomatic effort comes as the two countries are in a rift over Trump's plans for a border wall. While Trump says Mexico will pay for it one way or another, Mexico says it won't. It was also unveiled less than two weeks after new guidelines came out aimed at aggressively detaining and deporting immigrants by increasing the number of federal agents and strengthening cooperation with local law enforcement. Miami's Mexican consul general, Jose Antonio Zabalgoitia, said Friday that these centers would become "authentic advocates of the rights of Mexican migrants."
(Excerpt) Read more at ...

Conservatives are protesters. Progressives are rioters.

PGA Weblog ^ 

I have been reading some news entries and saw some pictures of some of the crowds from the March 4 Trump rallies.

I just wanted to say thank you to all of you. You turned off your televisions, neglected whatever sport happened to be on, you got up off of your couches, and many of you brought your families. That is good, your young kids (or grandkids!) need to see you doing this - they need this example. They need to see you engaging in self-government, something which our Founders showed us that we needed to be out there doing. Yes, this is an important part of self-government, and showing up is the most important thing of all.

Protesting is not a "left wing thing", it's a constitutional thing. It's not less important than your job - and if you were scheduled to work that day and specifically went out of your way to request the day off or used a vacation day - bravo, you deserve a special thanks. You have your priorities straight. Going out to events like this are the single most inexpensive and least time consuming way we have to be heard and more importantly, to be seen.

I see no evidence anywhere that the left deserves to have a monopoly on holding up banners and being heard. Bravo to you, who are working hard to demolish that monopoly.

Now rioting, that's a different story. Good thing, we are letting progressives keep their monopoly on riots and violence. But that's the difference between conservatives and progressives.

Conservatives are protesters. Progressives are rioters. Some of you were even assaulted by these violent thug progressives. Thank you for acting true to form, and not striking back. That's the price we have to pay to be on the correct side of history. You and I, we all know that the progressives desperately want you to fight back, because then their buddies in the media can lay the blame all on you. There can be video of an entire incident, proving that you're innocent and only defended yourself, and the journalists - they won't care. They will craft the most bogus headlines and stories, and stand firm next to the lie. They're out to get you and anyone else whom they deem to be their political enemies, and therefore, all of us have to be willing to be the bigger man, the Gandhi, to their William Randolph Hearst.

Sincerely. If you place your Liberty as more important than your job or any other things, thank you. I have a strong appreciation for those who are willing to do something a simple as show up. It's not so simple after all.

After the Battle of Stony Point, General "Mad" Anthony Wayne sent a brief dispatch to General Washington, and in that note he said "Our officers and men behaved like men who are determined to be free".

The progressives have no need to be free. But you do. You are showing us what men who are determined to be free behave like. Peaceful. Resolute. Visible.

President Obama Wire Tapped Trump Tower (FISA court gone amok)

Don Surbert/Breitbart ^ | Saturday, March 04, 2017 

Saturday, March 04, 2017 Obama wire-tapped Trump Tower
A FISA court gave Obama authority to wiretap the tower in October under the guise of national security.

That is chilling and fascist. Obama abused the power of gathering intelligence on terrorists to instead try to throw the 2016 presidential election.

He would have done this no matter whom Republicans nominated. 'Tis the nature of the person.

We have underestimated just how capable of committing evil Obama is.
Here is how the Watergate-style spying worked, according to Breitbart News, which reported, in June, "The Obama administration files a request with the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court (FISA) to monitor communications involving Donald Trump and several advisers. The request, uncharacteristically, is denied."
But Breitbart reported, in October, "The Obama administration submits a new, narrow request to the FISA court, now focused on a computer server in Trump Tower suspected of links to Russian banks. No evidence is found — but the wiretaps continue, ostensibly for national security reasons, Andrew McCarthy at National Review later notes. The Obama administration is now monitoring an opposing presidential campaign using the high-tech surveillance powers of the federal intelligence services."
The wiretapping of a political opponent reveals the true character of Obama who was the most vain and immature president in history.
Obama's unpresidential and unprecedented disdain for Trump was shown when Obama repeatedly mocked him when Trump was a guest at the White House Correspondents Dinner in 2011.
Nothing would surprise me about the lying, incompetent Obama whose legacy is a failed economy, a failed health plan, the rise of the Islamic State, and an undeserved Nobel Prize.
Obama was an affirmative action hire. However, in retrospect, Obama also was better than John McCain or Mitt Romney, whom I supported.
Obama and the Democratic Party have since the election openly resisted the peaceful transition of power that is the hallmark of a constitutional Republic.
More than 200 Democratic voters openly rioted during Trump's inauguration speech.
Democratic senators have used delaying tactics to stall the installation of a Cabinet, kneecapping President Trump's efforts to run the government.
Getting the national press to cover this outrage takes cunning. Trump used Twitter. Note what he said, and what he did not say:

Trump administration to propose 'dramatic reductions' in foreign aid!

Reuters ^ | Sat Mar 4, 2017 | 1:51pm EST | David Shepardson 

The White House budget director confirmed Saturday that the Trump administration will propose “fairly dramatic reductions” in the U.S. foreign aid budget later this month.

Reuters and other news outlets reported earlier this week that the administration plans to propose to Congress cuts in the budgets for the U.S. State Department and Agency for International Development by about one third.

“We are going to propose to reduce foreign aid and we are going to propose to spend that money here,” White House Office of Management Budget director Mick Mulvaney told Fox News on Saturday, adding the proposed cuts would include “fairly dramatic reductions in foreign aid.”
Mulvaney said the cuts in foreign aid would help the administration fund a proposed $54 billion expansion of the U.S. military budget. …
(Excerpt) Read more at ...

There is no crime to probe in the matter of the Trump campaign’s contact with Russians!

National Review Online ^ | March 3, 2017 | Andrew C. McCarthy 

So, Attorney General Jeff Sessions has recused himself. Great! Just one question: From what? Yes, yes, Sessions is a good and decent man. He is a scrupulous lawyer who cares about his reputation. Thus, in stark contrast to Obama administration attorneys general, he strictly applied — I’d say he hyper-applied — the ethical standard that calls on a lawyer to recuse himself from a matter in which his participation as counsel would create the mere appearance of impropriety. The standard is eminently sensible because the legitimacy of our judicial system depends not only on its actually being on the up and up but on its being perceived as such. If it looks like you’re conflicted, you step aside, period. Simple, right? Well . . .
Read more at:
(Excerpt) Read more at ...

Trump supporters across the country hold rallies, clash with anti-Trump protesters

Business Insider ^ | 3/4/17 | AP 

From Colorado's state Capitol to Trump Tower in New York and the Washington Monument, groups of hundreds of people rallied for President Trump on Saturday, waving "Deplorables for Trump" signs and even carrying a life-size cutout of the president.

Chelsea Thomas, an accountant from Thornton, Colorado, brought her family to the March 4 Trump rally in Denver — and the life-size cardboard cutout of Trump. She said the family has taken it with them on camping trips, boat rides and a country music festival.

"It's nice to be surrounded by people who share your morals and opinions," said Thomas, as her son walked back and forth across the grass with a Trump flag.
(Excerpt) Read more at ...

Rhodes Is Wrong: The President Can Order A Wiretap, And Why Trump May Have The Last Laugh!

Zero Hedge ^ | Mar 4, 2017 | Tyler Durden 

Following Trump's stunning allegation that Obama wiretapped the Trump Tower in October of 2016, prior to the presidential election, which may or may not have been sourced from a Breitbart story, numerous Democrats and media pundits have come out with scathing accusations that Trump is either mentally disturbed, or simply has no idea what he is talking about.

The best example of this came from Ben Rhodes, a former senior adviser to President Obama in his role as deputy National Security Advisor, who slammed Trump's accusation, insisting that "No President can order a wiretap. Those restrictions were put in place to protect citizens from people like you." He also said "only a liar" could make the case, as Trump suggested, that Obama wire tapped Trump Tower ahead of the election.
It would appear, however, that Rhodes is wrong, especially as pertains to matters of Foreign Intelligence Surveillance, and its associated FISA court, under which the alleged wiretap of Donald Trump would have been granted, as it pertained specifically to Trump's alleged illicit interactions with Russian entities.
(Excerpt) Read more at ...

Obama Ordered Abuse Of Intelligence To Sabotage Trump Policies

Moon of Alabama ^ | March 2, 2017 

In its last months the Obama administration ordered the intelligence agencies to collect and distribute information of contacts between the Trump campaign and Russia. This to prevent any change by the Trump administration of the hostile policy towards Russia that the Obama administration instituted. The intent was also to give the intelligence services blackmail material against the Trump crew to prevent any changes in their undue, freewheeling independence.
The above is reported in a little discussed New York Times piece published yesterday. The reporting angle captured in the headline is biased to set the Obama efforts into a positive light: Obama Administration Rushed to Preserve Intelligence of Russian Election Hacking.
Make no mistake by straight-reading that headline. Not single shred of evidence has been provided that "Russia hacked the election" or had anything to do with various leaks of Clinton related emails. A lot of fluff and chaff was thrown around but not even one tiny bit of evidence.
The Obama effort was clearly to sabotage the announced policy of the incoming administration of seeking better relations with Russia. Obama intended to undermine the will of the voters by abusing instruments of the state.
Excerpts from the piece:
In the Obama administration’s last days, some White House officials scrambled to spread information about ... possible contacts between associates of President-elect Donald J. Trump and Russians — across the government. Former American officials say they had two aims: to ensure that such meddling isn’t duplicated in future American or European elections, and to leave a clear trail of intelligence for government investigators.
It is completely normal for any campaign, and especially an incoming administration, to have contacts with foreign government officials. Such contacts are needed to prepare policies and to get the facts right to plan and run a consistent foreign policy. I am very sure that there were hundreds of talks between Trump campaign and incoming administration officials with Israeli, European and Arab officials. These are regular contacts and they do not violate any law. There was and is no reasons at all to pick out talks with Russian officials as something sinister or even illegal. Again - no evidence has been provided that Russia somehow interfered in U.S. elections. None at all. There was no sound reason to give special treatment to campaign contacts with Russia. American allies, including the British and the Dutch, had provided information describing meetings in European cities between Russian officials — and others close to Russia’s president, Vladimir V. Putin — and associates of President-elect Trump, according to three former American officials who requested anonymity in discussing classified intelligence. Separately, American intelligence agencies had intercepted communications of Russian officials, some of them within the Kremlin, discussing contacts with Trump associates.
Here the NYT is divulging "sources and methods" - usually the holy grail of the intelligence community. U.S. intelligence is intercepting communication "within the Kremlin"? That is surely of interest to Russian counter-intelligence. One also has to ask who ordered the European intelligence services to watch over U.S. contacts with Russia. Were similar orders given to the Dutch secret services to report on contacts of the Clinton campaign with Israeli officials? Undue influencing attempts of Israeli politicians on U.S. policies are legend. Were they watched? If not why not?
Mr. Trump has denied that his campaign had any contact with Russian officials, and at one point he openly suggested the American spy agencies had cooked up intelligence suggesting that the Russian government had tried to meddle in the presidential election. Mr. Trump has accused the Obama administration of hyping the Russia story line as a way to discredit his new administration.
Guess what - Trump is right. The "Russian hacking" story is not backed by any evidence at all. It IS cooked up. And to say Trump "accused" the Obama administration of attempts to "discredit his new administration" is quite weak. The article says exactly that. How else could one interpret the following section?
As Inauguration Day approached, Obama White House officials grew convinced that the intelligence was damning and that they needed to ensure that as many people as possible inside government could see it, even if people without security clearances could not. Some officials began asking specific questions at intelligence briefings, knowing the answers would be archived and could be easily unearthed by investigators — including the Senate Intelligence Committee, which in early January announced an inquiry into Russian efforts to influence the election. At intelligence agencies, there was a push to process as much raw intelligence as possible into analyses, and to keep the reports at a relatively low classification level to ensure as wide a readership as possible across the government — and, in some cases, among European allies. This allowed the upload of as much intelligence as possible to Intellipedia, a secret wiki used by American analysts to share information.
There was also an effort to pass reports and other sensitive materials to Congress. In one instance, the State Department sent a cache of documents marked “secret” to Senator Benjamin Cardin of Maryland days before the Jan. 20 inauguration.
The "intelligence community", it is specifically the CIA here which campaigned on the Clinton side, manipulated the classification of secrets for the sole purpose of instigating witch-hunt investigations against the incoming Trump administration. Such secrets were then used to decapitate the Trump administration with the first casualty being his selected national security advisor Flynn. We currently see an attack on the administration's attorney general Session for a routine talk with the Russian ambassador. This based on "Justice department officials", i.e. FBI flunkies. Why would they know who Session legitimately met in his function as U.S. Senator?
Slandered intelligence analysis was classified in low categories with the aim of distributing it far and wide and to practically guarantee that it would "leak" to the media. The real facts though were hidden as much as possible to provide no material for the Trump administration's defense.
The opposite happened with the most sensitive intelligence, including the names of sources and the identities of foreigners who were regularly monitored. Officials tightened the already small number of people who could access that information. They knew the information could not be kept from the new president or his top advisers, but wanted to narrow the number of people who might see the information, officials said.
Everyone was to receive the slander "analysis" the intelligence services provided but no one was supposed to know the sources and the real facts. This would make sure that the anti-Russia and anti-Trump "analysis" would leak but not the weak bits of facts it is based upon.
To repeat: The Obama administration and the intelligence services spared no effort to sabotage the policies of the incoming Trump administration and prepared the grounds for baseless investigation against it. A lot of dirt is now thrown based on that effort and the hope is that some may stick.
The whole effort by the Obama administration started only after Trump was elected:
In early December, Mr. Obama ordered the intelligence community to conduct a full assessment of the Russian campaign. In the weeks before the assessment was released in January, the intelligence community combed through databases for an array of communications and other information — some of which was months old by then — and began producing reports that showed there were contacts during the campaign between Trump associates and Russian officials.
Again - there is nothing illegal with such contacts. These are routine and happen all the time. U.S. ambassadors all over the world routinely talk with local politicians in foreign countries. The Russian ambassadors do nothing different. This is known as diplomacy. There was no reason for the incoming administration to avoid such contacts with German, South African, Japanese or Russian officials or semi-officials. They intelligence community knows that there is no evidence that Russia interfered in the election. If it had any it would have long provided it. The ffort is specifically against the announced Russia policy.
Trump was election in part because he promised better relations with Russia. What the intelligence services do here is to undermine the will of the people.
As Joanne Leon opined:
Need to recognize this for what it is. The incumbent president used SkyNet to try to rig election and as blackmail tool on his successor
Building on the illegal moves of the Cheney administration Obama installed and empowered the intelligence instruments and the precedence for such manipulations. Not since the worst days of J. Edgar Hoover has the U.S. seen such an interior assault on politicians and policies.
Trump now hired some partisan Russia expert from the Clinton aligned Brookings to run Russia policy in the NSC. She will institute anti-Russian bias in his policies. This would not have happened under a national security advisor Flynn. For now the Obama assault on Trump's announced policy has succeeded. Those who voted for Trump for a change in Russia policies have been disenfranchised.
I do not prefer Trump policies. Flynn was a maniac and Session is a crazy fossil. But that does not justify this anti-democratic abuse of the foreign policy instruments of the state against the political opponents within the country.
Obama created these tools and now left them for the Trump administration to use. They will come back to haunt the Democrats. What will they say and do when the Trump administration will use these against them?

64 ways Obama is sabotaging Trump

World Net Daily ^ | March 3, 2017 | Garth Kant 

WASHINGTON – It might seem outrageous and unprecedented that a newly departed president would devote himself to overthrowing his successor, but that is exactly what a mountain of growing evidence appears to indicate.
“Obama’s goal, according to a close family friend, is to oust Trump from the presidency either by forcing his resignation or through his impeachment,” the Daily Mail reported Wednesday.
The source also told the paper that Obama loathes President Trump and considers his presidency illegitimate.
“Obama is dismayed at the way Trump is tearing down his legacy – Obamacare, the social safety net and the welcome mat for refugees he put in place,” the source told the paper.
The Mail is hardly the only source reporting moves by the former president and his allies against the Trump administration.
The following is a list of what has been publicly reported, by WND and others, about what Obama is trying to do to oppose — many say destroy — the Trump presidency and how he is doing it:
(Excerpt) Read more at ...

Obama Admin Source Confirms Wiretapping Was Conducted (VIDEO)

Gatewaypundit ^ 

Obama caught lying AGAIN. White House sources inside the Obama administration acknowledge that wiretapping was conducted to spy on Trump during the 2016 Presidential election.

Kathy (Journalist): “My sources from the White House told me, she thinks it’s all true. She said, um there were concerns that Trump-and this is from the White House and the administration inside the White House…there were concerns that Trump and his surrogates may have been colluding with the Russians and a possible bargaining chip to influence the election, therefore a wiretap was conducted.”
(Excerpt) Read more at ...

California Supreme Court Says Emails And Texts on Officials' Private Accounts Are Public Records

NBC Bay Area ^ | 3/2 

California Supreme Court Says Emails And Texts on Officials' Private Accounts Are Public Records

Government employees in California cannot keep the public from seeing their work-related emails and texts sent on personal devices and through private accounts, the state's Supreme Court ruled unanimously Thursday, closing a loophole that justices said could have allowed the "most sensitive and potentially damning" communications to be shielded.
With the ruling, California joins a growing list of states that treat public business done through private accounts as public records.

"This ruling is a model for giving government transparency laws meaning in the digital age," said Matthew Cagle, an attorney at the American Civil Liberties Union of Northern California, which filed a brief in the case.
(Excerpt) Read more at ...

Brain Activity At The Moment of Death

Discover ^ | 3 Mar, 2017 | Neuroskeptic 

Neuroskeptic « Why Scientists Shouldn’t Replicate Their Own Work Brain Activity At The Moment of Death By Neuroskeptic | March 3, 2017 2:48 pm 203 What happens in the brain when we die?

Canadian researchers Loretta Norton and colleagues of the University of Western Ontario examine this grave question in a new paper: Electroencephalographic Recordings During Withdrawal of Life-Sustaining Therapy Until 30 Minutes After Declaration of Death
Norton et al. examined frontal EEG recordings from four critically ill patients at the point where their life support was withdrawn. Here are some details on the four: (table at link)
Here’s the EEG recordings. None of the patients met criteria for brain death at baseline. Time 0 represents the moment of clinical death, namely when arterial blood pressure (ABP) became constant, indicating that the heart had stopped. This occured a few minutes after life support had been withdrawn.
Norton et al. note that for three of the four patients, EEG activity ceased before the heart stopped beating – up to 10 minutes before, in the case of patient #2. However, patient #4 showed a slightly different pattern, with electrical activity (delta wave bursts) occuring up to 10 minutes after the final heartbeat.
The authors say that it’s hard to explain these apparently post-mortem delta waves:
It is difficult to posit a physiological basis for this EEG activity given that it occurs after a prolonged loss of circulation. These waveform bursts could, therefore, be artefactual in nature, although an artefactual source could not be identified.
(Excerpt) Read more at ...

WND Exclusive: Loretta Lynch: Need more 'marching, blood, death on streets'

WorldNetDaily ^ | 04 March 2017 | Staff 

WASHINGTON – The Obama administration’s former Attorney General Loretta Lynch has made an impassioned video plea for more “blood” and “death” on the streets – a video that was later posted on the Facebook page of Senate Democrats as “words of inspiration.”

The video is less than a minute long and begins by stating that people are experiencing “great fear and uncertainty,”...[snip] But the strongest words come in a statement that seems to suggest the answer is street action...
(Excerpt) Read more at ...

Yes, There Could Be Serious Legal Problems if Obama Admin Involved in Illegal Surveillance!

LawNewz ^ 

President Trump recently tweeted claiming that former President Obama wiretapped him during his campaign. One can only imagine how nuts the media would have gone if the roles had been reversed: President Trump wiretapping either Obama or the Clintons, though his DOJ could have authority to do just that given the expansive leaks of intelligence information by Obama and Clinton supporters the last few months. Heck, he could wiretap the media at this point, legally and legitimately, as the sources of these unlawful leaks, for which Obama himself set precedent. Do liberals understand what Pandora’s Box Obama opened up by Obama using the powers of the NSA, CIA and FBI to spy on his political opponents? Even Nixon never did that.
If the stories are correct, Obama or his officials might even face prosecution. But, we are still early in all of this and there are a lot of rumors flying around so the key is if the reports are accurate. We just don’t know at this time. The stories currently are three-fold: first, that Obama’s team tried to get a warrant from a regular, Article III federal court on Trump, and was told no by someone along the way (maybe the FBI), as the evidence was that weak or non-existent; second, Obama’s team then tried to circumvent the federal judiciary’s independent role by trying to mislabel the issue one of “foreign agents,” and tried to obtain a warrant from the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act “courts”, and were again turned down, when the court saw Trump named (an extremely rare act of FISA court refusal of the government, suggesting the evidence was truly non-existent against Trump); and so, third, Obama circumvented both the regular command of the FBI and the regularly appointed federal courts, by placing the entire case as a FISA case (and apparently under Sally Yates at DOJ) as a “foreign” case, and then omitted Trump’s name from a surveillance warrant submitted to the FISA court, which the FISA court unwittingly granted, which Obama then misused to spy on Trump and many connected to Trump. Are these allegations true? We don’t know yet, but if any part of them are than Obama and/or his officials could face serious trouble.
Can a President be charged with a crime? Only once out of office. While in office, impeachment remains the exclusive remedy in order to avoid a single judicial branch trying to overturn an election, such as a grand jury in any part of the country could. Once out of office, a President remains immune from civil liability for his duties while President, under a 1982 decision of the United States Supreme Court. However, as the Nixon pardon attests, nothing forecloses a criminal prosecution of the President after his presidency is complete for crimes against the country. Obama, the Constitutional lawyer, should know that.
What crimes could have been committed? Ironically, for Democrats falsely accusing Attorney General Sessions, perjury and conspiracy to commit perjury, as well as intentional violations of FISA. Rather shockingly, no law currently forbids misusing the power of the presidency to spy on one’s adversaries. What the law does forbid is lying to any judicial officer to obtain any means of surveillance. What the law does forbid, under criminal penalty, is the misuse of FISA. Both derive from the protections of the Fourth Amendment itself. Under section 1809, FISA makes it a crime for anyone to either “engage in” electronic surveillance under “color of law” under FISA without following the law’s restrictions, or “disclose” or “use” information gathered from it in contravention of the statute’s sharp constrictions.
FISA, 50 USC 1801, et seq., is a very limited method of obtaining surveillance authority. The reason for its strict limits is that FISA evades the regular federal court process, by not allowing regularly, Constitutionally appointed federal judges and their magistrates to authorize surveillance the Fourth Amendment would otherwise forbid. Instead, the Chief Justice handpicks the FISA court members, who have shown an exceptional deference to the executive branch. This is because FISA court members trust the government is only bringing them surveillance about pending terror attacks or “grave hostile” war-like attacks, as the FISA statute limits itself to. Thus, a FISA application can only be used in very limited circumstances.
One important reminder about electronic surveillance. Occasionally, a law enforcement officer will hear or see or record information not allowed by the warrant, but incidental or accidental to otherwise lawful surveillance. Their job is to immediately stop listening, stop recording, and to delete such information. This is what you occasionally see in films where the agent in the van hears the conversation turn away from something criminal to a personal discussion, and the agent then turns off the listening device and stops the recording. Such films simply recognize long-standing legal practice.
FISA can only be used for “foreign intelligence information.” Now that sounds broad, but is in fact very limited under the law. The only “foreign intelligence information” allowed as a basis for surveillance is information necessary to protect the United States against actual or potential “grave” “hostile” attack, war-like sabotage or international terror. Second, it can only be used to eavesdrop on conversations where the parties to the conversation are a foreign power or an agent of a foreign power. An agent of a foreign power cannot be a United States person unless they are knowingly involved in criminal espionage. No warrant is allowed on that person unless a FISA court finds probable cause the United States person is knowingly engaged in criminal espionage. Even then, if it involves a United States person, special steps must be taken to “minimize the acquisition and retention, and prohibit the dissemination, of non publicly available information concerning un-consenting United States persons.”
This includes procedures that require they never identify the person, or the conversation, being surveilled, to the public where that information is not evidence of a particular crime. Third, the kind of information sought concerns solely information about a pending or actual attack on the country. That is why the law limits itself to sabotage incidents involving war, not any form or kind of “sabotage,” explicitly limiting itself to those acts identified in section 105 of Title 18 of the United States Code.
This bring us to Watergate-on-Steroids, or #ObamaGate. Here are the problematic aspects of the Obama surveillance on Trump’s team, and on Trump himself. First, it is not apparent FISA could ever be invoked. Second, it is possible Obama’s team may have perjured themselves before the FISA court by withholding material information essential to the FISA court’s willingness to permit the government surveillance. Third, it could be that Obama’s team illegally disseminated and disclosed FISA information in direct violation of the statute precisely prohibiting such dissemination and disclosure. FISA prohibits, under criminal penalty, Obama’s team from doing any of the three.
At the outset, the NSA should have never been involved in a domestic US election. Investigating the election, or any hacking of the DNC or the phishing of Podesta’s emails, would not be a FISA matter. It does not fit the definition of war sabotage or a “grave” “hostile” war-like attack on the United States, as constrictively covered by FISA. It is your run-of-the-mill hacking case covered by existing United States laws that require use of the regular departments of the FBI, Department of Justice, and Constitutionally Senate-appointed federal district court judges, and their appointed magistrates, not secretive, deferential FISA courts.
Out of 35,000+ requests for surveillance, the FISA court has only ever rejected a whopping 12. Apparently, according to published reports, you can add one more to that — even the FISA court first rejected Obama’s request to spy on Trump’s team under the guise of an investigation into foreign agents of a pending war attack, intelligence agents apparently returned to the court, where, it is my assumption, that they did not disclose or divulge all material facts to the court when seeking the surveillance the second time around, some of which they would later wrongfully disseminate and distribute to the public. By itself, misuse of FISA procedures to obtain surveillance is itself, a crime.
This raises the second problem: Obama’s team submission of an affidavit to to the FISA court. An application for a warrant of any kind requires an affidavit, and that affidavit may not omit material factors. A fact is “material” if it could have the possible impact of impacting the judicial officer deciding whether to authorize the warrant. Such affidavits are the most carefully drawn up, reviewed, and approved affidavits of law enforcement in our system precisely because they must be fully-disclosing, forthcoming, and include any information a judge must know to decide whether to allow our government to spy on its own. My assumption would be that intelligence officials were trying to investigate hacking of DNC which is not even a FISA covered crime, so therefore serious questions arise about what Obama administration attorneys said to the FISA court to even consider the application. If the claim was “financial ties” to Russia, then Obama knew he had no basis to use FISA at all.
Since Trump was the obvious target, the alleged failure to disclose his name in the second application could be a serious and severe violation of the obligation to disclose all material facts. Lastly, given the later behavior, it is evident any promise in the affidavit to protect the surveilled information from ever being sourced or disseminated was a false promise, intended to induce the illicit surveillance. This is criminalized both by federal perjury statutes, conspiracy statutes, and the FISA criminal laws themselves.
That raises the third problem: it seems the FISA-compelled protocols for precluding the dissemination of the information were violated, and that Obama’s team issued orders to achieve precisely what the law forbids, if published reports are true about the administration sharing the surveilled information far-and-wide to promote unlawful leaks to the press. This, too, would be its own crime, as it brings back the ghost of Hillary’s emails — by definition, FISA information is strictly confidential or it’s information that never should have been gathered. FISA strictly segregates its surveilled information into two categories: highly confidential information of the most serious of crimes involving foreign acts of war; or, if not that, then information that should never have been gathered, should be immediately deleted, and never sourced nor disseminated. It cannot be both.
Recognizing this information did not fit FISA meant having to delete it and destroy it. According to published reports, Obama’s team did the opposite: order it preserved, ordered the NSA to search it, keep it, and share it; and then Obama’s Attorney General issued an order to allow broader sharing of information and, according to the New York Times, Obama aides acted to label the Trump information at a lower level of classification for massive-level sharing of the information. The problem for Obama is simple — if it could fit a lower level of classification, then it had to be deleted and destroyed, not disseminated and distributed, under crystal clear FISA law. Obama’s team’s admission it could be classified lower, yet taking actions to insure its broadest distribution, could even put Obama smack-middle of the biggest unlawful surveillance and political-opponent-smear campaign since Nixon. Except even Nixon didn’t use the FBI and NSA for his dirty tricks.
Watergate would have never happened if Nixon felt like he could just ask the FBI or NSA to tape the calls. This is Hoover-esque abuses of the kind Bob Woodward pal, former FBI Assistant Director Mark Felt (otherwise known as Deep Throat), routinely engaged in at the FBI until convicted and removed from office. (You didn’t know that Deep Throat was really a corrupt part of Deep State, did you? Guess who ran the famous COINTELPRO? That’s right — Deep Throat. How would the public have reacted if they knew the media had been in bed with the deep state all the way back then? Maybe that was the reason Woodward, Bernstein and Bradley kept Deep Throat’s identity secret all those years?)
Democrats may regret Sessions’ recusal, as his replacement is a mini-Sessions: a long-respected, a-political, highly ethical prosecutor, Dana Boente, whose reputation is well-warranted from his service at the Tax Division, and who won’t be limited by any perceived ties to Trump, given his prior appointment by Obama. Obama himself appeared scared of Boente, as he removed Boente from the successor-to-Sessions position during the lame-duck part of Obama’s presidency, but Trump restored Boente to that role earlier this month. Democrats may get the investigation they wanted, but it may be their own that end up named in the indictment.
Robert Barnes is a California-based trial attorney whose practice focuses on tax defense, civil rights and First Amendment law. You can follow him at @Barnes_Law