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December 2017


Sessions won’t take sides on GOP demands for Clinton probe. Trump allies have been clamoring for a new investigation of a 2010 deal that transferred some U.S. uranium production capacity to a company with Kremlin links.
Sessions said appointing a separate special counsel to investigate Clinton would require “a factual basis”.
In a heated exchange with Jim Jordan, a Republican congressman from Ohio who asked what it would take to appoint a special counsel to investigate allegations against Clinton, Sessions said: “We will use the proper standards, and that’s the only thing I can tell you.
“You can have your idea, but sometimes we have to study what the facts are, and to evaluate whether it meets the standards it requires.”
A fiery Jordan continued to allege misconduct by Clinton. Citing additional reports that her campaign and the Democratic National Committee funded the Fusion GPS dossier into Trump’s ties to Russia, Jordan maintained it “looks like” there was enough evidence to warrant naming a second special counsel.
Sessions tersely responded: “I would say ‘looks like’ is not enough basis to appoint a special counsel.”
Sessions later sought to clarify his comments, stating: “I did not mean to suggest I was taking a side one way or the other on that subject.”

Flynn’s Plea Bargain A Near-Nothing Burger With no smoking gun, the anxious Left’s euphoria is premature. Matthew Vadum

Former National Security Advisor Michael T. Flynn’s endlessly hyped plea bargain does not signal the beginning of the end for the Trump administration, no matter how ardently the mainstream media and left-wing political hacks want it to be so.

It is merely an inevitable consequence of the perjury traps set by the corrupt Washington swamp-dwelling Special Counsel Robert S. Mueller III and sprung by otherwise law-abiding Trump operatives. Mueller was appointed May 17 by Rod J. Rosenstein, in his capacity as acting Attorney General by virtue of Attorney General Jeff Sessions’ self-initiated recusal in the Russian electoral interference investigation.

The euphoria on the Left is premature.

The Flynn matter is an inconvenient bump in the road with bad political optics in the short term, not a harbinger of Armageddon. It may even constitute an admission by Mueller that this is all he has against the Trump administration and that he is running out of options as a prosecutor.

For now at least, there is still no evidence President Trump covered up a crime, either before or after taking office, or even that there was an underlying crime to be covered up. But the longer this runaway wrecking ball of an investigation into the Left’s utterly unsubstantiated Russia-Trump electoral collusion conspiracy theory goes on, the greater the likelihood that well-intentioned Trump administration officials will get caught up in its merciless machinery.

There is no underlying crime. There is no indication an underlying crime of any kind whatsoever will ever be discovered. “Collusion” is not a crime, but if it were former President Barack Obama and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, whose family and family foundation were enriched by the Russians, would presumably be guilty of it for letting the Russians run wild. Obama’s infamous hot-mic statement to then-Russian President Dmitri Medvedev to wait until after the 2012 election for action on missile defense is evidence of a kind of collusion, if not treason, against the United States.

It Is Now an Obstruction Investigation Which means that it’s an impeachment investigation By Andrew C. McCarthy

The smoke is clearing from an explosive Mueller investigation weekend of charges, chattering, and tweets. Before the next aftershock, it might be helpful to make three points about where things stand. In ascending order of importance, they are:

1.) There is a great deal of misinformation in the commentariat about how prosecutors build cases.

2.) For all practical purposes, the collusion probe is over. While the “counterintelligence” cover will continue to be exploited so that no jurisdictional limits are placed on Special Counsel Robert Mueller, this is now an obstruction investigation.

3.) That means it is, as it has always been, an impeachment investigation.

Building a Case

Many analysts are under the misimpression that it is typical for federal prosecutors to accept guilty pleas on minor charges in exchange for cooperation that helps build a case on major charges. From this flawed premise, they reason that Mueller is methodically constructing a major case on Trump by accepting minor guilty pleas from Michael Flynn and George Papadopoulos for making false statements, and by indicting Paul Manafort and an associate on charges that have nothing to do with Trump or the 2016 election.

That is simply not how it works, strategically or legally.

As I’ve tried to explain a few times now (see here and here), if a prosecutor has an accomplice cooperator who gives the government incriminating information about the major scheme under investigation, he pressures the accomplice to plead guilty to the major scheme, not to an ancillary process crime — and particularly not to false-statements charges.

Strategically, and for public-relations purposes (which are not inconsequential in a high-profile corruption investigation, just ask Ken Starr), a guilty plea to the major scheme under investigation proves that the major scheme really happened — here, some kind of criminal collusion (i.e., conspiracy) in Russia’s espionage operation against the 2016 election. The guilty-plea allocution, in which the accomplice explains to the court what he and others did to carry out the scheme, puts enormous pressure on other accomplices to come forward and cooperate. In a political corruption case, it can drive public officials out of office.

Germany Refuses to Recognize Dead Sea Scrolls as Israeli Property, Museum Exhibit Nixed

A Dead Sea Scrolls exhibit scheduled to take place in 2019 at the Bible Museum in Frankfurt has been cancelled after the German government refused to recognize the historic manuscripts as Israeli property.

According to the German daily newspaper Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, the German government has not issued a legally binding restitution guarantee to Israel that would block the Palestinians from claiming the Dead Sea Scrolls as their own, thus preventing their return to Israel.

Jürgen Schefzyk, director of Frankfurt’s Bible Museum, told The Jerusalem Post that his museum had been preparing the exhibit since 2015, but that “the precondition for such an exhibition is an ‘Immunity from Seizure’ document issued by the German authorities.”

“For reasons that are not in our hand we are at present unable to provide such a document despite all efforts, including contacts to all governmental institutions in Germany,” said Schefzyk.

Flynn’s Case Proves It’s Time to Fire Mueller When an investigation generates crimes, it’s a crime. Daniel Greenfield

Petraeus, Obama’s CIA Director, lied to FBI agents about passing classified materials to his mistress. Despite being caught in the lie on a recording, he was never charged for it, as Flynn was. Instead he only pleaded guilty to mishandling classified information and received a slap on the wrist.

While Justice Department personnel had wanted to hold Petraeus accountable, the final decision was made by Attorney General Holder and FBI Director Comey. Lawyers for Petraeus insisted that he couldn’t be charged with lying to the FBI because DOJ guidelines recommend not charging “in situations in which a suspect, during an investigation, merely denies guilt in response to questioning by the government.” Petraeus admitted making false statements, but was never charged over them.

That’s what makes Flynn’s case so striking.

General Petraeus lied about committing a crime. His mishandling of classified information was a serious issue. And yet he was never charged for it.

General Flynn lied about something that was not a crime. His conversations were authorized by officials in the incoming Trump administration. And even by the outgoing Obama administration.

A week before Trump’s inauguration, State Department spokesman Mark Toner said that there was nothing “necessarily inappropriate about contact between members of the incoming administration and foreign officials” because Flynn was “part of the transition team.”

The question had been about Flynn’s contacts with the Russian ambassador.

Obama’s own people had been carrying on talks with Iran and Syria before he entered the White House. The Iranian contacts eventually climaxed in an illegal agreement in which the Obama regime shipped billions in foreign currency to the terror regime on unmarked cargo planes. Those billions have helped finance Iran’s current war in Iraq, Syria, Yemen, Israel, Lebanon and around the region.

Flynn was doing his job.

Team Mueller, with its string of Obama and Hillary backers, hasn’t actually found a crime that he committed. The only crime it could find was created wholly out of its own investigation.

When a crime wouldn’t exist without an investigation, then the investigation created the crime.

And it’s the investigation that is the crime.

The secondary crime here was created by entrapping Flynn as part of an investigation that was supposedly pursuing a primary crime that it, once again, failed to prove.

Palestinians: More Missed Opportunities by Bassam Tawil

The PFLP, like Hamas and other Palestinian groups, makes no secret of its goal to “liberate Palestine, from the (Jordan) River to the (Mediterranean) Sea.” All should be commended for their honesty. If anyone has any doubts, their plan means the total destruction of Israel. Thus, as chairman of the PLO, Mahmoud Abbas cannot say that he represents the entire organization. He has no leverage with the PFLP, DFLP and the remaining terror groups operating under the umbrella of his PLO.

And now we come to the million dollar question: Does Abbas really represent all of Fatah? The answer is simple and clear: No. Over the past few decades, Fatah has witnessed sharp divisions and disputes, resulting in a number of splinter groups that broke away and are now openly challenging Abbas’s leadership and policies.

While Abbas is making noises about a peace process, his own Fatah faction is inciting violence and calling for the destruction of Israel. While Abbas is talking about his interest in achieving a two-state solution, his partners in the PLO, including the PFLP and DFLP, are openly calling for the destruction of Israel and advocating an armed struggle. While Abbas is claiming that he is the legitimate president of the Palestinians, many Palestinians, including senior officials in his Fatah faction, are legitimately stating he has no mandate from his people to sign any agreement with Israel.

Palestinian Authority (PA) President Mahmoud Abbas continues to mouth his “desire” to achieve peace with Israel on the basis of a two-state solution. Abbas’s ruling Fatah faction and PLO partners, however, evidently have a different agenda: to wage war on Israel until the “liberation of all of Palestine.”

In a speech delivered on his behalf by Riyad Mansour, the Palestinian envoy to the United Nations, on November 30, Abbas repeated his commitment to a two-state solution based on international law and the 1967 “borders.”

Abbas called on the UN “to force Israel to recognize the State of Palestine based on the 1967 borders as the basis for a two-state solution, and to agree on a demarcation of borders in line with the resolutions of the international community.”

Abbas’s claim to a commitment to the “two-state solution” is a staple of his talks to the international community. It is just not clear who Abbas represents when he talks about the Palestinians’ commitment to a “two-state solution.”

Erdogan: No Moderate Islam by Burak Bekdil

Burak Bekdil, one of Turkey’s leading journalists, was recently fired from Turkey’s leading newspaper after 29 years, for writing what was taking place in Turkey for Gatestone. He is a Fellow at the Middle East Forum.

“Erdogan’s claims that ‘There is no Islamic terror’ have left several Islamic terror organizations heart-broken. A press release from al-Qaeda’s press office read: ‘The prime minister’s remarks are very discouraging. We are doing our best!'” – Zaytung (satire website).

In 2010, Barack Obama referred to Turkey as a “great Muslim democracy”. Obama should have seen that a democracy is a democracy — without any religious prefix. He would see in later years the difference between a democracy and a Muslim democracy.

Turkey’s strongman, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, may have exhibited all possible features of political Islam since he came to power fifteen years ago, but at least he has been bold and honest about his understanding of Islamism: There is no moderate Islam, he recently said again.

This comment does not mark any U-turn, or a radical deviation from his earlier freshman-self back in the 2000s. The problem is that his Western “allies” have stubbornly preferred to turn a blind eye to his poster-child Islamism. Worse, they still do.

Several years ago, Erdogan’s ideological-self clearly stated that “Turkey is not a country where moderate Islam prevails.” In the same speech, his pragmatic-self — the one that wanted to look pretty to a chorus of Western praise — added that, “We are Muslims who have found a middle road”. But which “middle road?”

In the several years that followed, Erdogan proudly exhibited another feature of Islamism in a make-believe assertion: Muslims never do wrong; if a Muslim does wrong then he is not Muslim.

Contrary to Media Reports, FBI Hate Crime Statistics Do Not Support Claims of Anti-Muslim Backlash by Jonathan S. Tobin

Although the instances of hate crimes documented by the government are worrisome and deserving of condemnation, the statistics published by the FBI over the last 17 years refute both the Islamophobia narrative and the claim of a widespread backlash against Muslims in the aftermath of terrorist attacks by Islamists.

The myth of a post-9/11 “backlash” against Muslims is politically motivated and spread by groups such as the Council of American Islamic Relations (CAIR), which presents itself as a civil rights group, but was founded to serve as a front organization for the terrorist group Hamas. The effort to persuade the public that America is Islamophobic stemmed largely from the aim to shift the narrative about terrorism to that of an Islamist war on the West to one according to which Muslims are terrorized by and in the United States.

Although Jew-hatred remains a greater problem in America than hatred against Muslims, this would not justify a charge that the United States is an anti-Semitic country. By the same token, it is unjust to call America Islamophobic.

The annual release of the FBI’s hate crime statistics report has attracted little attention by the mainstream media in the past few years. The most recent report, however — revealing a rise in hate crimes targeting Muslims and whites in 2016 — has been greeted with more notice than usual by the daily newspapers; even CNN chimed in to highlight the results of the report.The reason for the sudden interest in the report was that its data appeared to confirm some of the conventional wisdom about the impact of the U.S. 2016 presidential election on anti-Muslim sentiment in America. According to the report, compared to 2015, there were increases in most categories of hate crimes. The bulk of them were based on race, ethnicity and ancestry — with the total number of such incidents rising by 5%. Still, it is the increase in anti-Muslim crimes, which increased by 20% since 2015, that stands out.

Anti-Trump bias at FBI a fatal flaw of Mueller investigation By Rick Moran

The credibility of Robert Mueller’s Russian collusion investigation of Donald Trump took two huge hits in the last 24 hours, as it is now an open question whether the FBI can conduct an unbiased probe into the allegations against the president.

First, it’s been revealed that one of Mueller’s chief investigators was fired for exchanging anti-Trump texts with a mistress who is a top lawyer in the bureau. Peter Strzok, a former deputy director for counterintelligence at the FBI was removed earlier this year and now, the inspector general is looking into other “politically sensitive cases” that Strzok was involved in, including the Hillary Clinton email investigation. Strzok was also FBI liaison with the CIA.

Also, House Intelligence Committee chairman Devin Nunes issued an angry letter to the FBI demanding to know why he and his committee were kept in the dark about the firing of Strzok. Taken together, the picture that emerges of the Mueller probe is one of a fatal anti-Trump bias that should disqualify Mueller – and the FBI – from carrying out what is supposed to be a non-partisan, independent, and unbiased investigation.

Byron York:

House Intelligence Committee chairman Devin Nunes has issued an angry demand to the FBI and Department of Justice to explain why they kept the committee in the dark over the reason Special Counsel Robert Mueller kicked a key supervising FBI agent off the Trump-Russia investigation.

Stories in both the Washington Post and New York Times on Saturday reported that Peter Strzok, who played a key role in the original FBI investigation into the Trump-Russia matter, and then a key role in Mueller’s investigation, and who earlier had played an equally critical role in the FBI’s Hillary Clinton email investigation, was reassigned out of the Mueller office because of anti-Trump texts he exchanged with a top FBI lawyer, Lisa Page, with whom Strzok was having an extramarital affair. Strzok was transferred to the FBI’s human resources office — an obvious demotion — in July.

The Post reported that Strzok and Page exchanged text messages that “expressed anti-Trump sentiments and other comments that appeared to favor Clinton.”

Word of the messages and the affair were news to Nunes, even though the committee had issued a subpoena that covered information about Strzok’s demotion more than three months ago. The committee’s broadly worded subpoena for information related to the so-called Trump dossier went to the FBI and DOJ on Aug. 24. In follow-up conversations on the scope of the subpoena, committee staff told the FBI and DOJ that it included information on the circumstances of Strzok’s reassignment.

Another Hillary Mole By Daniel John Sobieski

How objective can an investigation into Hillary Clinton’s email investigation be when the FBI agent who played a lead role was removed from it this summer for texting his pro-Hillary and anti-Trump sympathies? And why does House Intelligence committee Chairman Devin Nunes have to read about it in the New York Times and the Washington Post? As Byron York reports in the Washington Examiner:

House Intelligence Committee chairman Devin Nunes has issued an angry demand to the FBI and Department of Justice to explain why they kept the committee in the dark over the reason Special Counsel Robert Mueller kicked a key supervising FBI agent off the Trump-Russia investigation.

Stories in both the Washington Post and New York Times on Saturday reported that Peter Strzok, who played a key role in the original FBI investigation into the Trump-Russia matter, and then a key role in Mueller’s investigation, and who earlier had played an equally critical role in the FBI’s Hillary Clinton email investigation, was reassigned out of the Mueller office because of anti-Trump texts he exchanged with a top FBI lawyer, Lisa Page, with whom Strzok was having an extramarital affair. Strzok was transferred to the FBI’s human resources office — an obvious demotion — in July.

Are we to believe that Strzok was diligently and impartially examining evidence related to Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump while being unable to contain his anti-Trump bias? Is he the only Hillary mole? Just look at Robert Mueller’s staff and James Comey’s exoneration of Hillary Clinton after the infamous tarmac meeting between AG Loretta Lynch and unindicted conspirator in Uranium One William Jefferson Clinton. Stop when you detect a pattern.

This news comes as House Republicans, tired of leaks and finding out about things in the legacy media, are moving to find both the FBI and the DOJ in contempt of Congress for failing to provide requested material:

U.S. House Republicans are moving to bring a Contempt of Congress resolution against Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein and FBI Director Christopher Wray for stonewalling the production material related to the Russia-Trump probes and other matters.