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Grassley’s Big Questions, Sessions’ Non-Answers Written by: Diana West


GRASSLEY: What are you doing to find out how the Russian takeover of the American uranium was allowed to occur despite criminal conduct by the Russian company that the Obama administration approved to make the purchase?

SESSIONS: Mr Chairman, we will hear your concern, the Department of Justice will take such actions as is appropriate I know, and I would offer that some people have gone to jail in that transaction already, but the article talks about other issues. So without confirming or denying the existence of any particular investigation I would say I hear your concerns and they will be reviewed.


GRASSLEY: I think I know why you’re probably reluctant to go into some detail on that, but I would like to remind you that Deputy Attorney Rosenstein directly supervised the criminal case when he was US Attorney in Maryland. I don’t think it would be proper for him to supervise a review of his own conduct, do you?

SESSIONS: It would be his decision. He’s a man of integrity and ability. If he feels that he has a inability to proceed with any investigation, it would be his responsibility to make the determination and should consult, as I told you I would and as I have done, with the senior ethics people at the Department.


GRASSLEY: Reports suggest the Clinton Foundation received millions of dollars from interested parties of the transaction. Bill Clinton received $500,000 for a speech in Moscow, June 2010, from the Russian-government-aligned bank. The same month as the speech, Russia began the uranium acquisition process. This fact pattern raises serious concerns about improper political influence on the process by the Clintons during the Obama administration. Has the Justice Department fully investigated whether the Russians compromised the Obama administration’s decisions to smooth the way for transactions, and if not, why not?

SESSIONS: Mr Chairman, we’re working hard to maintain discipline in the Department. It wouldn’t be appropriate for me to comment on any ongoing investigation.

That was it. That was all and everything AG Sessions had to say, in that studiously evasive way of all good custodians of the Swamp, about the sell-out of American national security — the transfer of 20 percent of US uranium stocks to Russia for the multi-million-dollar-benefit of the Clinton Foundation and its cronies, and, of course, for the miitary benefit of Russia.

People seem to forget that.

The fact that the Obama administration approved the sale of US uranium stocks by a Canadian company called Uranium One (whose board members “contributed” some $148 million to the Clinton Foundation) to a Russian government entity called Rosatom became even more of a flaming scandal this week when we learned that Rosatom had been under US criminal investigation for bribery and extortion in the run-up to the Obama administration’s approval of the sale! Why are we learning about this criminal investigation only now? Because the Obama administration was so successful for so many years in hushing it up.

That would be the Obama administration of Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, the FBI of Robert Mueller and James Comey, the Justice Department of Andrew McCabe and US Attorney now Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein.

Still, according to AG Sessions, it “wouldn’t be appropriate” for him to comment to the American people in reply to these questions Senator Grassley asked on our behalf. (Nor would it be improper for DAG Rosenstein to investigate himself!)

On the contrary, I think it’s highly inappropriate for Jeff Sessions not to comment. It’s an outrage. I would say it’s the last straw but I’m sure there will be many more. The Clintons have been chewing up and spitting out every law on the books that apply to public service, even as they have defiled its every tradition of decorum and integrity, over more than thirty years in our faces (once known as “public life”). Simultaneously, they have been imperiling national security, from Bill Clinton’s modernization program for the Communist Chinese military for campaign cash, to Hillary Clinton’s modernization program for the Russian military for foundation cash. (I refer to the Russian “reset” tech-transfer-project known as Skolkovo, which helped Vladimir Putin to develop hypersonic cruise missile engines and who knows what else, which I think has been mentioned in Congress about one time ever.) The damage to our nation is in fact literally unknowable when we factor in Hillary Clinton’s unsecured communications system, which both the Obama administration and now the Trump administration refuse to asssess for damage, flouting protocol and, again, national security.

The Rosatom case would seem to be an especially important key to cracking the whole thing wide open.

Think Jeff Sessions actually wants to turn that key?

I wish I could say yes.

The Age of Trump: View From a Supporter Never Trumpers’ myopia blinds them from seeing the greater danger that a Clinton presidency would have created. Bruce Thornton

Reprinted from BadgerInstitute.org.

The Never Trump Republicans have been adamantly opposed to Donald Trump since the day in June 2015 that he announced his candidacy.

They argue that the New York mogul is singularly unfit for the presidency, that he has no experience in government, coming from the somewhat unseemly world of N.Y. construction, casino development and reality TV. They say his character and temperament are decidedly unpresidential –– vulgar, bombastic, prone to outbursts and loose with the truth. And, they argue, he besmirches the dignity of the office, tweeting promiscuously over trivial slights and announcing policy changes not discussed with his cabinet.

Most important, the Never Trumpers claim, he is not a true conservative — seemingly indifferent to the problems caused by the federal leviathan, especially runaway entitlement spending, debt and deficits. Rather, they say, he is a populist chameleon, championing those positions and policies that please his disgruntled base of working- and middle-class whites left behind by globalization and the tech revolution. More darkly, they claim, he shows authoritarian and nativist inclinations that could tar legitimate conservatism with a sinister brush.

To them, last November’s election was not a binary choice between a bad Donald Trump and a worse Hillary Clinton. It was opportunistic populism and exclusionary nationalism vs. traditional conservatism and its defining principles of small government and free markets; personal responsibility, character and virtue; and public dignity, decorum and decency. If true conservatism is to survive, they believe, conservatives must resist Trumpism and all its works.

These arguments, however, rest on questionable assumptions: that Trump is a politician unprecedented in his lack of experience, ignorance of policy and bad character and that, for all her flaws, Clinton would not have done as much damage to the conservative cause as Trump is likely to do as president.

This contrast is tendentious and blind both to the historical reality of a democratic polity that empowers the masses and to the greater dangers that eight more years of progressive policies a Clinton presidency would have created.

Presidential dignity

The complaints about Trump’s vulgarity and character flaws raise the question: compared to whom?

Presidential dignity left the White House during the presidency of Bill Clinton. HIs sordid affair with intern Monica Lewinsky, with its stained blue dress and abused cigars, marked a radical decline in what the American people expected of their presidents. Clinton’s bold lie under oath that “I did not have sexual relations with that woman” led to articles of impeachment and disbarment. That lie was more consequential for the debasement of presidential dignity than all of Trump’s exaggerations and casual relationships with the truth put together.

As for vulgarity, how about when President Barack Obama called tea party activists “tea baggers,” a vulgar reference to a sexual act? And how much more undignified can the nation’s leader get than hanging out at the White House with rappers whose songs are filled with misogynistic sexual vulgarity and casual violence?

For many Trump supporters, the Never Trumpers’ talk of decorum smells of the anti-democratic elitism that politicians of both parties have always indulged in about the masses. Thus, the Never Trumpers don’t realize that their criticisms of Trump are criticisms of his supporters and that they reinforce the perception of a snooty elite looking down their noses at the common man.

Trump’s appeal rests in large part on the perception that the Republican establishment has more in common with Democrats than with the people — sharing the same ZIP codes, the same top 20 university educations, the same tastes in consumption and entertainment, the same amenities of celebrity and wealth, the same obeisance to political correctness and, ultimately, the same interests: keeping themselves in charge of a bloated federal government from which both sides get their power and wealth.

It’s no wonder that enough voters picked Trump, a vulgar, plain-talking outsider who gave voice to their discontent with Republicans.

How Corrupt Are American Institutions? By Stephen McGhee

Blame Sean Hannity. Or give him all the credit. The intrepid talk show host has been claiming for months that there is nothing to the Trump-Russia allegations, that the real tale of Russian collusion is linked to Hillary Clinton. The fact that very few people have taken this seriously has only caused the firebrand conservative to dig in deeper and repeat his talking points both more often and more fervently.

His insistence the Russian story would “boomerang” against the Democrats has been largely based on his communications (both on- and off-air) with Julian Assange and investigative reporters John Solomon and Sara Carter.

It seems like only yesterday justice was closing in on the Travel Office, Whitewater, the Clinton-era transfer of missile technology to the Chinese government, Fast and Furious, Solyndra, IRS harassment of conservative groups, the Clinton emails, Benghazi and a dozen others.

We might have believed Sean Hannity’s predictions, but we’d seen this movie before. Then came Tuesday. John Solomon and Alison Spann of the Hill and Sara Carter of Circa News had a story that may have broken open the largest national security scandal since the Rosenbergs.

In 2009, the Obama Justice Department began investigating a Russian plan to expand Russia’s atomic energy business by acquiring uranium in the United States. Through bribery, kickbacks, money laundering and extortion, the Russians were able to acquire 20% of the uranium mining rights in the United States. Shareholders in the Russian firm Rosatom funneled $145 million to the Clinton Foundation in the months leading up to the Obama administration’s approval of the transaction.

The sale was officially approved in 2010 by the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS), whose members included both Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Attorney General Eric Holder. Apparently neither Holder nor Clinton informed the other members of the committee just what an historic act of corruption they were participants to. Not only did the DOJ and FBI let the sale proceed, they sat on the information they had gathered and let the investigation drag on until 2015, when Rosatom executive Vadim Mikerin and other defendants reached plea deals to little fanfare.

Current Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein oversaw the FBI’s investigation, as did Andrew McCabe, the current deputy FBI director. And the man in charge of the FBI during most of the Rosatom investigation was none other than Robert Mueller, the special counsel now investigating Russian influence in the 2016 election.

The government informant at the heart of the case was (and remains) forbidden to speak to Congress by an Obama Justice Department gag order (that gag order has yet to be lifted by the Trump Justice Department).

If this story is true, then all our worst fears have been confirmed, and we are indeed living in a banana republic, with one set of rules for the rich and powerful, and another set of rules for everybody else.

The question going forward: what kind of country will we live in tomorrow? Now that we know that Russian collusion is real and that the Obama administration engaged in it, what will be done about it? Will the laws against government corruption finally be enforced, or will the guilty walk again as we’re treated to another round of Congressional committee show hearings?

This scandal will be a true test — perhaps the final test — of whether American government can still work for the people. If Republicans walk away from this story for fear of ruffling Democrat feathers, we will know that the fix is in.

A lot of reputations are on the line, beginning with that of Donald Trump. Will he demand of his administration that it faithfully execute the law, without fear or favor.

Then there’s Jeff Sessions. Our attorney general will have to determine if the Trump DOJ has the stomach to investigate the Obama DOJ. Sessions has a chance to end this affair with a reputation as a true champion of law and order. Then again, he may cement his image as a chivalrous knight of old, merciless to peasants who cross borders and deal drugs, but always ready to give his social and political peers the benefit of the doubt.

Congress’ reputation is on the line, too. Paul Ryan, Mitch McConnell and the rest of the GOP will have a lot to answer for if they fail to demand answers to hard questions. This isn’t a game of pin-the-tail-on-the-Trump anymore. The implications of the Clinton/Rosatom story can’t be overstated, and Congress must lead the charge in determining whether Andrew McCabe, Rod Rosenstein, and Robert Mueller should now have any role in an investigation dealing with Russian influence, and more importantly, whether they should have any role in government at all.

John Kelly’s Heroes The White House chief of staff teaches a lesson in grief and sacrifice.

Over the past nine months, Donald Trump’s cage match with the Washington press corps has turned into an unedifying national spectacle. Too often, the serious business of the nation has been pushed aside so that the press and Mr. Trump could go tit for tat, like children on a schoolyard. On Thursday, an adult finally stepped into the room.

John Kelly, Mr. Trump’s chief of staff and a retired four-star general, addressed White House reporters on this week’s dispute between the press and the President. That is the controversy around Mr. Trump’s call to the mother of a U.S. soldier who was killed during an ambush in Niger recently.

As anyone who follows media reports knows, the President’s call to this mother grew into a personal feud between Mr. Trump and a Democratic Congresswoman who disclosed what the President said. It then produced long newspaper reports examining the President’s relationship with every identifiable Gold Star family during his term.

It took awhile for Mr. Kelly to get around to talking about that phone call. Instead, he spent some time offering what we in journalism—or anyone purporting to be engaged in a serious line of work—would call context. Mr. Kelly described what happens when a U.S. soldier or Marine—“the best 1% this country produces”—gets killed in action. What he described was a military process that is graphic, emotionally intense and, most of all, untouchable.

Untouchable, as Mr. Kelly made clear, in the sense that what has happened is so grave, so personal and so difficult that the reality of pushing through it comes down to an encounter between the fallen soldier’s family, the officer who informs them and, in time, support from those who served alongside their son or daughter.

Mr. Kelly explained that a personal call from the President is in fact not what families expect or want. But it has become something of a presidential tradition, and Mr. Trump asked Mr. Kelly what he should say.

Mr. Kelly related what his friend and “my casualty officer,” Marine General Joseph Dunford, told him when relating that Mr. Kelly’s own son had been killed in Afghanistan: “He said, Kel, he was doing exactly what he wanted to do when he was killed. He knew what he was getting into by joining that 1%. He knew what the possibilities were because we’re at war.”

That, essentially, is what Mr. Trump said to the Gold Star mother, no doubt less eloquently. Standing in the White House press room, reflecting on a political spat over a dead soldier, Mr. Kelly said, “I thought at least that was sacred.” His remarks are a rebuke to the Congresswoman for politicizing a private phone call, and to the press corps for attempting to turn grief and sacrifice into a hammer against Donald Trump—who, as usual, made things worse by lashing out in response.

John Kelly made a lot of people look small Thursday. The man who led soldiers in combat in Iraq described spending an hour this week walking in Arlington Cemetery, collecting his thoughts and looking at headstones, some with names of Marines who Mr. Kelly said were there because they did what he had told them to do.

Surely there is a sense in which the continuing political life of Washington is possible because of that sacrifice. That was John Kelly’s point. It would be nice to think the rest of the city could get it.

Efficient Markets Need Guys Like Me Activists and index funds are natural allies. There’s no conflict between short- and long-term value. By Paul Singer

The largest proxy battle in U.S. history ended last week in a near tie, leaving Procter & Gamble without the clear support of its shareholders and activist shareholder Nelson Peltz without a board seat.

P&G’s three largest shareholders split their votes: Vanguard sided with P&G, while State Street and BlackRock voted almost all their shares for Mr. Peltz. The stakes held by these giant index funds were so large that had any of them voted differently it would have changed the outcome—either a clear victory for Mr. Peltz or a clear mandate for P&G management.

This power dynamic illustrates the enormous influence that the three largest index-fund firms (together with other passive institutional investors) have acquired over such contests—and helps explain an intensifying debate over where their allegiances should lie. On one side is a small class of legal, banking and public relations professionals who advise underperforming corporations. On the other are the activist investors who seek to hold those corporations accountable.

There is a fair debate to be had about the appropriate balance of power between public corporations and their shareholders. But the debate has been badly skewed by a false narrative. “Anti-activist” advisers have attempted to drive a wedge between activist investors and index funds by suggesting that activists are interested only in short-term gains at the expense of long-term value. This divisive framing is objectively false and has done harm to the goal of generating sustainable returns for all investors.

For starters, all of a company’s shareholders are more aligned with each other than they are, say, with a group paid to defend corporations from shareholder challenges. Index funds and activist investors share the goal of generating returns for their investors, even if they go about it in different ways.

The primary idea behind passive index-fund investing is the efficient-market hypothesis: Markets are said to be efficient because millions of informed investors continuously think about, research and analyze companies, markets and securities. Thus, all possible information and insight is said to be always contained in securities’ prices at all times.

But passive investing is reducing the percentage of active managers to the point where they may actually become the minority in a few years. So who is going to do the work that theoretically creates efficient markets?

Activist investing provides one possible answer. Equity activism means using your voice and voting rights to improve companies in ways that maximize value for all shareholders. Seen in that light, index funds should consider activist investors to be natural allies.

Some index-fund firms have begun to focus on voting, governance and the potential benefits of activism. They’ve deployed teams of smart, honest professionals to promote best practices across their firms’ entire holdings. Certain aspects of corporate governance as a whole have improved—in some cases meaningfully—thanks in part to these initiatives.

On a company-specific level, however, with thousands of companies to be evaluated, it is impossible for these teams to do the kind of comprehensive financial and operational analysis required to identify corporate situations in need of change.

Activist investors can play this critical role, so long as the governance teams at large passive investing firms are willing and able to evaluate activists’ ideas on their merits. Unfortunately, as soon as an activist shows up at an underperforming company with an idea for creating value, the company’s advisers frequently seek to make the debate about time horizons. Index-fund firms are encouraged to look with suspicion at any idea whose benefits would crystallize in the near term—regardless of whether the idea represents the best possible alternative for shareholders in the long run as well. CONTINUE AT SITE

The Fusion Collusion Democrats are trying to protect the firm’s secrets—so the GOP should keep digging.By Kimberley A. Strassel

Washington is obsessed with the word “collusion” but has little understanding of its true meaning. The confusion might explain why D.C. has missed the big story of collusion between Fusion GPS and the Democratic Party.

To read the headlines, a poor, beleaguered opposition-research firm was humiliated and constitutionally abused this week by partisan Republicans on the House Intelligence Committee. Fusion’s lawyers sent a 17-page letter to the committee’s chairman, Rep. Devin Nunes, accusing him of misdeeds, declaring his subpoenas invalid, and invoking a supposed First Amendment right to silence. Yet the firm’s founders, the story went, were hauled in nonetheless and forced to plead the Fifth. “No American should experience the indignity that occurred today,” Fusion’s lawyer, Joshua Levy, declared.

Fusion is known as a ruthless firm that excels in smear jobs, but few have noticed the operation it’s conducting against the lawmakers investigating it. The false accusations against Mr. Nunes—that he’s acting unethically and extralegally, that he’s sabotaging the Russia probe—are classic.

This is a firm that in 2012 was paid to dig through the divorce records of a Mitt Romney donor. It’s a firm that human-rights activist Thor Halvorssen testified was hired to spread malicious rumors about him. It’s a firm that financier Bill Browder testified worked to delegitimize his efforts to get justice for Sergei Magnitsky, a lawyer beaten to death in a Russian prison.

It’s the firm behind the infamous “dossier” accusing Donald Trump of not just unbecoming behavior but also colluding with Russia. Republicans are investigating whether the Fusion dossier was influenced by Russians, and whether American law enforcement relied on that disinformation for its own probe.

But Fusion’s secret weapon in its latest operation is the Democratic Party, whose most powerful members have made protecting Fusion’s secrets their highest priority. Senate Democrats invoked a parliamentary maneuver in July to block temporarily Mr. Browder’s public testimony. Rep. Adam Schiff, the Democratic ranking member on the Intelligence Committee, has been engineering flaps to undercut and obstruct Mr. Nunes’s investigation. Democrats on the House Ethics Committee have deep-sixed what was meant to be a brief inquiry to clear Mr. Nunes so as to keep him sidelined.

Then there is the intel committee’s meeting this week. Despite the spin, forcing Fusion to appear was Republicans’ only recourse after months of stonewalling. Fusion’s letter ludicrously claimed that Mr. Nunes’s subpoenas were invalid, which essentially forced the committee to show otherwise. It was a question of authority.

Florida Rep. Tom Rooney put the Fusion attendees through a series of questions not out of spite but to clarify finally just what topics the firm is refusing to talk about. The Fifth Amendment doesn’t provide protection against answering all questions. It only protects against providing self-incriminating evidence. It is therefore revealing that Fusion took the Fifth on every topic—from its relationship with British spook Christopher Steele, to the history of its work, to its role in the dossier.

The untold story is the Democrats’ unprecedented behavior. Mr. Rooney had barely started when committee staffers for Mr. Schiff interrupted, accused him of badgering witnesses, and suggested he was acting unethically. Jaws dropped. Staff do not interrupt congressmen. They do not accuse them of misbehavior. And they certainly do not act as defense attorneys for witnesses. No Democratic lawmakers had bothered to come to the hearing to police this circus, and Mr. Rooney told me that he “won’t be doing any more interviews without a member from the minority present.”

Private-sector lawyers also tend not to accuse congressmen of unethical behavior, as Mr. Levy did in his letter to Mr. Nunes. But Fusion’s legal eagle must feel safe. He’s former general counsel to the Senate’s minority leader, Chuck Schumer. He has also, I’m told by people familiar with the committee’s activities, more than once possessed information that he would have had no earthly means of knowing, since it was secret committee business. Consider that: Democratic members of Congress or their staff providing sensitive details of an investigation to a company to which the committee has given subpoenas. CONTINUE AT SITE

Bill Clinton sought State’s permission to meet with Russian nuclear official during Obama uranium decision By John Solomon and Alison Spann

As he prepared to collect a $500,000 payday in Moscow in 2010, Bill Clinton sought clearance from the State Department to meet with a key board director of the Russian nuclear energy firm Rosatom — which at the time needed the Obama administration’s approval for a controversial uranium deal, government records show.

Arkady Dvorkovich, a top aide to then-Russian President Dmitri Medvedev and one of the highest-ranking government officials to serve on Rosatom’s board of supervisors, was listed on a May 14, 2010, email as one of 15 Russians the former president wanted to meet during a late June 2010 trip, the documents show.
“In the context of a possible trip to Russia at the end of June, WJC is being asked to see the business/government folks below. Would State have concerns about WJC seeing any of these folks,” Clinton Foundation foreign policy adviser Amitabh Desai wrote the State Department on May 14, 2010, using the former president’s initials and forwarding the list of names to former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s team.

The email went to two of Hillary Clinton’s most senior advisers, Jake Sullivan and Cheryl Mills.

The approval question, however, sat inside State for nearly two weeks without an answer, prompting Desai to make multiple pleas for a decision.

“Dear Jake, we urgently need feedback on this. Thanks, Ami,” the former president’s aide wrote in early June.

Sullivan finally responded on June 7, 2010, asking a fellow State official “What’s the deal w this?”

The documents don’t indicate what decision the State Department finally made. But current and former aides to both Clintons told The Hill on Thursday the request to meet the various Russians came from other people, and the ex-president’s aides and State decided in the end not to hold any of the meetings with the Russians on the list.

Bill Clinton instead got together with Vladimir Putin at the Russian leader’s private homestead.

“Requests of this type were run by the State Department as a matter of course. This was yet another one of those instances. Ultimately, President Clinton did not meet with these people,” Angel Urena, the official spokesperson for the former president, told The Hill.

From Russia to Hillary: Bribes, Extortion, Uranium and Lies How an FBI Uranium investigation was corrupted to protect the Clinton’s Russian connection. Daniel Greenfield

Hillary is demanding to know the truth about Trump and Russia. The truth is that every accusation about Russian ties that Hillary and her associates have hurled at President Trump is really true of the Clintons.

In ’14, Hillary Clinton made headlines by comparing Russia’s Vladimir Putin to Hitler. But if the Russian strongman really was ‘Hitler’, what did that make stooges like Hillary, Bill and Barack Obama?

Five years earlier, Hillary had been posing with a ‘Reset Button” with one of Putin’s henchmen. But Hillary was bringing a lot more to the meeting than a mislabeled button pilfered from a swimming pool. The ‘Reset’ had the same pattern as other Clinton scandal: a shadowy foreign financial pal with an agenda, the Clinton Foundation being used to launder money and a government cover-up.

Officially, the ‘Reset’ was pushing Obama’s nuclear arms reduction plan and a joint effort to address Iran’s nuclear program. But the nuclear materials that truly interested Hillary Clinton weren’t in Russian missiles or in Iranian reactors, but in the ground in Kazakhstan. By the time Hillary showed off the ‘Reset Button’, the Clintons had been enjoying a long relationship with Frank Giustra, a Canadian mining mogul. Giustra had moved tens of millions into Clintonworld and Bill built up his profile in Kazakhstan.

But by ’09, the Clintons had a lot more to trade on than a Senate seat and ex-presidential prestige.

When Secretary of State Clinton unveiled the ‘Reset’, the unspoken truths outnumbered the spoken platitudes. Some of the unspoken truths were obvious. Hillary Clinton and Obama would break with Bush’s criticisms of human rights in Russia. From now on, they would have nothing to say about it.

The man who allegedly agreed to that dirty deal was Michael McFaul who is currently bashing President Trump for being “soft” on Putin.

But the bigger unspoken truth was that Giustra’s company had been bought by Uranium One. And the Russians were sniffing around Kazakhstan. Either the Russians would get Uranium One. Or they would expose the dubious ways that Uranium One had gotten its Kazakhstan mining rights. But if Rosatom, a Russian government corporation, bought into Uranium One, it would need approval from State because such a deal would provide Russia with control over more than 20% of America’s Uranium supply.

Good thing, Uranium One and Putin had a friend in Hillary Clinton. And not just Hillary.

Uranium One and Rosatom didn’t just need the State Department. They also needed the Justice Department to turn a blind eye. And they got that too from Attorney General Eric Holder.

The same year that Hillary brought over her ‘Reset Button’, the FBI was investigating a top Rosatom figure in America for racketeering, extortion, bribery and money laundering. The investigation was supervised by the controversial current Deputy FBI Director Andrew McCabe who has his own financial ties to the Clintons. The investigation dragged out for five years. Just enough time for the Rosatom deal to be approved. When the charges were brought in ’14, the Russians had gotten it all. And the charges were a whitewash that ignored the most damning accusations. Especially those involving the Clintons.

Holder’s DOJ, like Hillary’s State, signed off on the Rosatom-Uranium One deal despite the ongoing investigation. Holder and his associates at the DOJ kept the investigation under their hats. The trails leading to the Clintons were closed off. And the nails were hammered in hard to keep them closed.

“Victim 1”, the FBI’s confidential witness in the case, was an American businessman who was making payments to a Rosatom figure. He knew firsthand about the Russian efforts to influence Bill and Hillary, and through them, the Obama administration, but wasn’t allowed to talk about it. Instead Obama’s DOJ threatened him with criminal charges if he revealed what he knew. And what he knew included comments by FBI agents about political pressure from the DOJ during the Uranium One-Rosatom approval process.

Senate Judiciary Committee Launches Probe Into Uranium One Bribery Case, DOJ to Review By Debra Heine

The Senate Judiciary Committee has launched an investigation into the Uranium One bribery case. It will be asking several federal agencies to disclose if they knew the FBI had uncovered corruption before the Obama administration approved the suspect uranium deal with Moscow in 2010.

According to The Hill, the committee has already “sent requests for information to 10 federal agencies involved in the Russian uranium approvals.”

Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa), the Judiciary Committee chairman, wrote in the letters that he no longer buys the Obama administration’s 2015 “assurances” that there was no basis to block the deal.

Said Grassley in a letter to Homeland Security last week:

I am not convinced by these assurances. … The sale of Uranium One resulted in a Russian government takeover of a significant portion of U.S. uranium mining capacity. In light of that fact, very serious questions remain about the basis for the finding that this transaction did not threaten to impair U.S. national security. CONTINUE AT SITE

Donald Trump: An American Patriot of the Same Stripe as Ronald Reagan By Roger Kimball

The policy take-away from President Trump’s remarks last night at the Heritage Foundation centered around tax cuts. The president likes ‘em, and if he has his way (and on this issue, I think he will), we will see a sharp cut to the corporate tax rate (from 35 percent to 20 percent), a simplification and reduction of the individual tax rate, and a big expansion of the individual exemption (to $12,000 for individuals and $24,000 for married couples filing jointly).

There is a certain kind of politician who likes high taxes, partly because he likes big government, which is the natural result of high taxes, partly because he wants most people (not his tribe, of course) to have as little money as possible. The poorer people are, the more dependent they are. Politicians of a certain stripe want people to be dependent on the government, i.e., on them and the instruments they control.

To my mind, that unholy dialectic between political power and an agenda of enforced dependency is one of the most despicable and destructive coefficients of the administrative state. It is despicable because it deploys power for personal aggrandizement under the camouflage of helping (i.e., pretending to help) others (the “Great Society,” etc.). It is destructive because its end is the eclipse of liberty for the sake of expanding and institutionalizing the apparatus of bureaucracy (and the perquisites of the bureaucrats running it).

So I applaud the president’s plan to cut taxes and allow Americans to keep a bit more of what after all is their own money. (We tend to forget this.)

But although taxes formed the official centerpiece of the president’s speech last night, and though I liked what he said about taxes, I thought the most impressive part of the speech was its rhetorical setting. The occasion was a meeting of Heritage Foundation supporters. Accordingly, President Trump began by talking about the importance of embracing our history, our heritage. “For America to have CONFIDENCE in our future, we must have PRIDE in our HISTORY.”

I think that is right, and I think it is worth pondering each of the three stressed words.

One of the great liabilities of so-called identity politics is that, ironically, it acts as a solvent on shared cultural confidence. The irony flows from the fact that identity politics is supposed to leave its partisans with an enhanced sense of self-worth and solidarity but in fact it tends to isolate them in rancid grievance ghettos.

Along the way last night, the president spoke up for preserving our heritage, our history, an enterprise that encompasses not just the preservation of monuments and other historical markers that commemorate our past, but also extends to the spiritual decorum of civic respect: standing for the national anthem, for example, or (since this multiethnic country was and is, as Samuel Huntington observed, a country of “Anglo-Protestant” values) wishing people “Merry Christmas” in due season.
Here’s my question: in what does the alleged “degradation” consist? That Donald Trump tweets?
Bill Kristol

✔ @BillKristol

I like Gorsuch, decertifying Iran and leaving UNESCO. But they’re not worth the degradation of our public life that is the Trump presidency.

That can’t be right, since Bill himself avails himself of that demotic medium. That he does not speak like a Harvard graduate? That may be part of it, but Bill knows as well as I do that the end of rhetoric is persuasion, and no one can deny Trump’s masterly powers of persuasion. Donald Trump may be an imperfect vessel for our national hopes, but then of whom may that not be said? In the aftermath of the Harvey Weinstein scandal, former presidential candidate Hillary Clinton said on national television “we have someone admitting to being a sexual assaulter in the Oval Office.” I am pretty sure she was not talking about her husband. No, she was talking about Donald Trump. But what can that mean? As far as we know, Donald Trump (unlike Bill Clinton) is not guilty of sexual assault. Certainly, he has never said he was. Yes, there was that crude Access Hollywood video—a video, remember, that captured a private conversation between two bragging men more than a decade ago. But how many crude locker-room expostulations equal one Monica Lewinsky in the Oval Office? CONTINUE AT SITE