WSJ Asks “Was Trump’s Campaign ‘Set Up’?”

By Tyler Durden

The Wall Street Journal continues to counter  the  liberal mainstream media’s anti-Trump-ness with Kimberly Strassel leading the charge, dropping uncomfortable truth-bombs in a forum that is hard for the establishment to shrug off as ‘Alt-Right’ or ‘Nazi’ or be ‘punished’ by search- and social-media-giants.

Earlier in the week, with Trump now calling out the debacle as “possible bigger than Watergate,” Strassel tweet-stormed some key points that everyone – leftist and right – should consider… (that’s wishful thinking)…

1. So a few important points on that new NYT “Hurricane Crossfire” piece. A story that, BTW, all of us following this knew had to be coming. This is DOJ/FBI leakers’ attempt to get in front of the facts Nunes is forcing out, to make it not sound so bad. Don’t buy it. It’s bad.

2. Biggest takeaway: Govt “sources” admit that, indeed, the Obama DOJ and FBI spied on the Trump campaign. Spied. (Tho NYT kindly calls spy an “informant.”) NYT slips in confirmation far down in story, and makes it out like it isn’t a big deal. It is a very big deal.

3. In self-serving desire to get a sympathetic story about its actions, DOJ/FBI leakers are willing to provide yet more details about that “top secret” source (namely, that spying was aimed at Page/Papadopoulos)–making all more likely/certain source will be outed. That’s on them

4. DOJ/FBI (and its leakers) have shredded what little credibility they have in claiming they cannot comply with subpoena. They are willing to provide details to friendly media, but not Congress? Willing to risk very source they claim to need to protect?

5. Back in Dec., NYT assured us it was the Papadopoulos-Downer convo that inspired FBI to launch official counterintelligence operation on July 31, 2016. Which was convenient, since it diminished the role of the dossier. However . . .

6. Now NYT tells us FBI didn’t debrief downer until August 2nd. And Nunes says no “official intelligence” from allies was delivered to FBI about that convo prior to July 31. So how did FBI get Downer details? (Political actors?) And what really did inspire the CI investigation?

7. As for whether to believe line that FBI operated soberly/carefully/judiciously in 2016, a main source for this judgment is, um . . .uh . . . Sally Yates. Who was in middle of it all. A bit like asking Putin to reassure that Russia didn’t meddle in our election.

8. On that, if u r wondering who narrated this story, note paragraphs that assure everybody that hardly anybody in DOJ knew about probe. Oh, and Comey also was given few details. Nobody knew nothin’!(Cuz when u require whole story saying u behaved, it means u know you didn’t.)

And now Strassel is asking “Was Trump’s Campaign ‘Set Up’?”

At some point, the Russia investigation became political. How early was it?

House Intelligence Committee Chairman Devin Nunes appeared on “Fox & Friends” Tuesday, where he provided a potentially explosive hint at what’s driving his demand to see documents related to the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s Trump-Russia probe. “If the campaign was somehow set up,” he told the hosts, “I think that would be a problem.”

Or an understatement. Mr. Nunes is still getting stiff-armed by the Justice Department over his subpoena, but this week his efforts did force the stunning admission that the FBI had indeed spied on the Trump campaign. This came in the form of a Thursday New York Times apologia in which government “officials” acknowledged that the bureau had used “at least one” human “informant” to spy on both Carter Page and George Papadopoulos. The Times slipped this mind-bending fact into the middle of an otherwise glowing profile of the noble bureau—and dismissed it as no big deal.

But there’s more to be revealed here, and Mr. Nunes’s “set up” comment points in a certain direction. Getting to the conclusion requires thinking more broadly about events beyond the FBI’s actions.

Think of the 2016 Trump-Russia narrative as two parallel strands—one politics, one law enforcement. The political side involves the actions of Fusion GPS, the Hillary Clinton campaign and Obama officials—all of whom were focused on destroying Donald Trump. The law-enforcement strand involves the FBI—and what methods and evidence it used in its Trump investigation. At some point these strands intersected—and one crucial question is how early that happened.

What may well have kicked off both, however, is a key if overlooked moment detailed in the House Intelligence Committee’s recent Russia report.

In “late spring” of 2016, then-FBI Director James Comey briefed White House “National Security Council Principals” that the FBI had counterintelligence concerns about the Trump campaign. Carter Page was announced as a campaign adviser on March 21, and Paul Manafort joined the campaign March 29. The briefing likely referenced both men, since both had previously been on the radar of law enforcement. But here’s what matters: With this briefing, Mr. Comey officially notified senior political operators on Team Obama that the bureau had eyes on Donald Trump and Russia. Imagine what might be done in these partisan times with such explosive information.

And what do you know? Sometime in April, the law firm Perkins Coie (on behalf the Clinton campaign) hired Fusion GPS, and Fusion turned its attention to Trump-Russia connections. The job of any good swamp operator is to gin up a fatal October surprise for the opposition candidate. And what could be more devastating than to paint a picture of Trump-Russia collusion that would provoke a full-fledged FBI investigation?

We already know of at least one way Fusion went about that project, with wild success. It hired former British spy Christopher Steele to compile that infamous dossier. In July, Mr. Steele wrote a memo that leveled spectacular conspiracy theories against two particular Trump campaign members—Messrs. Manafort and Page. For an FBI that already had suspicions about the duo, those allegations might prove huge—right? That is, if the FBI were to ever see them. Though, lucky for Mrs. Clinton, July is when the Fusion team decided it was a matter of urgent national security for Mr. Steele to play off his credentials and to take this political opposition research to the FBI.

The question Mr. Nunes’s committee seems to be investigating is what other moments—if any—were engineered in the spring, summer or fall of 2016 to cast suspicion on Team Trump. The conservative press has produced some intriguing stories about a handful of odd invitations and meetings that were arranged for Messrs. Page and Papadopoulos starting in the spring—all emanating from the United Kingdom. On one hand, that country is home to the well-connected Mr. Steele, which could mean the political actors with whom he was working were involved. On the other hand, the Justice Department has admitted it was spying on both men, which could mean government was involved. Or maybe . . . both.

Which brings us to timing. It’s long been known that Mr. Steele went to the FBI in early July to talk about the dossier, and that’s the first known intersection of the strands. But given the oddity and timing of those U.K. interactions concerning Messrs. Page and Papadopoulos, and given the history of some of the people involved in arranging them, some wonder if the two strands were converging earlier than anyone has admitted. The Intelligence Committee subpoena is designed to sort all this out: Who was pulling the strings, and what was the goal? Information? Or entrapment?

 

(NOT TOO BAD FOR A THURSDAY IN CHICAGO) – 1 dead, 9 wounded in shooting attacks in Chicago

Capture

By Madeline Buckley and Hannah Leone

One man was killed and nine other people were wounded in about 14 hours in Chicago on Wednesday and early Thursday, according to police.

A 43-year-old man, identified as Donnell Horton, of the 1300 block of West 81st Street, was found just before 1 a.m. Thursday lying dead on the sidewalk in the 6900 block of South Sangamon Street in the Englewood neighborhood on the South Side, Chicago policesaid. He had mulitple gunshot wounds in his back and legs.

He was pronounced dead at 1:13 a.m.

Over the course of several hours, officers searched the adjacent overgrown lawn and shone flashlights on the scene, street and nearby buildings.

No one covered the man’s body until the removal van pulled up on the one-way street lined mostly with mid-sized apartment buildings. The man had landed on the sidewalk on the east side of the street, in between a two-flat and a vacant lot with knee-high grass. As the sky lightened and 5 a.m. approached, two men covered him with a white cloth. A few minutes later, they loaded him into the rusty white van.

Also in Englewood, an 18-year-old man was shot in the arm and leg around 11 p.m. Wednesday. He was sitting in a vehicle in the 5700 block of South Peoria Street when the shooter came out of a gangway and fired at him, police said.

He was taken to University of Chicago Medical Center and is stabilized.

On the Far Northside, a 25-year-old man was shot in the lower back around 10:05 p.m. in the West Rogers Park neighborhood. He was a passenger in a vehicle in the 6300 block of North Mozart Street when someone fired at him from a passing red minivan, police said.

An acquaintence took him to Swedish Covenant Hospital, but he was transferred to Stroger Hospital where he is in good condition.

Earlier, a 19-year-old man was shot in the hand and bicep around 9:10 p.m. in the 10500 block of South Yates Avenue in the Trumbull Park neighborhood on the Far South Side, police said.

The man was taken to a local hospital where he was stabilized.

In a double shooting, two men were injured just before 8 p.m. in the 1400 block of North Spaulding Avenue in the Humboldt Park neighborhood on the West Side.

A 53-year-old man was shot in the shoulder and taken to Mount Sinai Hospital, where his condition was unknown. A 46-year-old man was taken to Norwegian American Hospital with gunshot wounds to the back and arm. His condition was also unknown.

About 15 minutes earlier on the South Side, a 36-year-old woman was shot in the arm around 7:40 p.m. in the 1800 block of West 87th Street in the Gresham neighborhood, police said.

She was taken to a local hospital where she was stabilized.

Around 7:35 p.m., a 25-year-old man was shot in the knee after hearing gunshots in the 6700 block of South East End Avenue in the South Side’s South Shore neighborhood, police said.

He was taken to University of Chicago Medical Center where he was in good condition.

Most recently, a 16-year-old was grazed in the knee about 3:20 a.m. in the 3800 block of West Cermak Road. Police said two unknown males approached the teen while he was walking down the street, then one shot at him from a handgun. The teen was taken to Mount Sinai Hospital in good condition.

In other shootings:

  • A 22-year-old man accidentially shot himself in the foot around 3 a.m. Thursday in the 8200 block of South Marquette Avenue in the South Chicago neighborhood on the South Side. He was stabilized at South Shore Hospital.
  • A 31-year-old man was shot twice in the upper thigh around 3:35 p.m. Wednesday in the 2500 block of South Troy Street in the Little Village neighborhood on the West Side. He was taken to Mount Sinai Hospital in good condition.
  • Just before noon, a 21-year-old man shot in the Arcadia Terrace neighborhood on the Far North Side, police said. The man was on foot outside in the 5700 block of North Campbell Avenue when he was shot in the stomach by an unknown shooter. He was taken to Presence St. Francis Hospital in good condition.

 

Reports Indicate Secret FBI and CIA Mole Spying on Trump Campaign

by KRISTINA WONG15 May 2018

Speculation is mounting over the identity of a purported top-secret intelligence source who was part of the FBI’s investigation into the Trump campaign.

Such a source was first confirmed last week by leakers to the Washington Post. The leakers told the Post that senior FBI and national intelligence officials tried to stop House Intelligence Committee Chairman Devin Nunes from receiving information that could “endanger a top-secret intelligence source.”

The leakers also revealed the source is a “U.S. citizen who has provided intelligence to the CIA and FBI.”

They also revealed that providing the information about the source could “damage relationships with other countries that serve as U.S. intelligence partners” — meaning that the source likely worked with other nations.

Their panic was reportedly set off by a recent request for the information from Nunes to Attorney General Jeff Sessions on April 24. The Justice Department initially rejected his request, but acquiesced, providing him with the information last Wednesday.

Despite claims that releasing the information would endanger lives, House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI) told reporters on Thursday that the request was “wholly appropriate” and overdue.

“I spent some time looking at the HPSCI request, at the HPSCI investigation. I think this request is wholly appropriate. It’s completely within the scope of the investigation that’s been ongoing for a while with respect to FISA. I actually think that this is something that probably should have been answered a while ago,” he said.

Although the leakers may have wanted to take aim at Nunes, the revelation of a top secret intelligence source has prompted new questions over whether the CIA and the FBI tried to ensnare members of the Trump campaign in order to launch an investigation of the campaign.

Wall Street Journal‘s Kimberley Strassel, who believes she has identified the source based on leaks and her own reporting, told Fox News on Friday, “It does look as though indeed, there was an FBI attempt — a successful one, to basically go out and spy with a human asset on the Trump campaign.”

“When the FBI talks about a source, the talk about someone who is an average citizen who uses their credentials, their job as a way of spying for the agency,” she said. “We can take that to mean that there was somebody interacting with the Trump campaign and reporting back to the FBI, which means the FBI was using human intelligence to spy on a presidential campaign.”

“It is hugely disconcerting,”she wrote Thursday in a column, referring to Obama officials unmasking the names of Trump campaign officials to monitor their conversations. “It would also be a major escalation from the electronic surveillance we already knew about, which was bad enough.”

Information about the top secret intelligence source could answer lingering questions about how the FBI’s probe was started in the first place.

Democrats initially latched onto the infamous Trump dossier as evidence that prompted the investigation into the Trump campaign and whether it colluded with Russia.

However, after it was exposed as opposition research paid for by the Hillary Clinton campaign and the Democratic National Committee, leakers told the New York Times that the investigation started after an Australian diplomat passed on a tip based on a drunken conversation he had with Trump campaign volunteer George Papadopoulos in May 2016.

But Strassel points out that many questions remain. She wrote:

“The players in this affair—the FBI, former Director Jim Comey, the Steele dossier authors—have been suspiciously vague on the key moments leading up to that launch date. When precisely was the Steele dossier delivered to the FBI? When precisely did the Papadopoulos information come in?

“And to the point, when precisely was this human source operating? Because if it was prior to that infamous Papadopoulos tip, then the FBI isn’t being straight. It would mean the bureau was spying on the Trump campaign prior to that moment. And that in turn would mean that the FBI had been spurred to act on the basis of something other than a junior campaign aide’s loose lips.”

Strassel said if the source predates that tip on Papadopoulos, things could get very uncomfortable for the FBI. She urged President Trump to move to declassify “everything possible.” “It’s time to rip off the Band-Aid,” she wrote.

Speculation by watchers of the Russia investigation is homing in on two shadowy figures whose names have come up during the investigation — Joseph Mifsud and Stefan Halper.

As the Daily Caller’s Chuck Ross has lad laid out, two weeks before Papadopoulos’ meeting with the Australian diplomat Alexander Downer, Mifsud, a Maltese professor who is suspected of being a Russian operative, met in London with Papadopoulos. Mifsud first told Papadopoulos that a Russian government official had told him about stolen Clinton-related emails.

Halper, a University of Cambridge professor and former U.S. government official who worked in three Republican administrations and has links to U.S. and British intelligence, also had odd interactions with Trump campaign members. In September 2016, Halper contacted Papadopoulos about writing a policy paper on Israeli and Cypriot energy issues, paying Papadopoulos $3,000 for it and covering the cost of a trip to London.

During the trip, Halper asked Papadopoulos about Russia and emails, according to the Daily Caller. Halper also approached Carter Page, inviting him to attend a symposium at Cambridge in July 2016, days after Page was to return from speaking in Moscow.

Halper also works closely at Cambridge with a former head of British intelligence, Sir Richard Dearlove.

Another campaign official said they were contacted by and met with Halper several days before he had reached out to Papadopoulos. Halper’s outreach to Trump campaign members is strange, given that Halper had endorsed Hillary Clinton for president in November 2016 in an interview with Sputnik.

 

Rush: Want To Talk About Watergate? Talk About Obama, Not Trump.

See the source image

On his top-rated talk radio show on Friday, Rush Limbaugh argued that now that we’ve got more evidence in hand, it’s clear that the liberal media’s talk of the second coming of Richard Nixon and Watergate 2.0 apply far more accurately to actions taken by Barack Obama and his administration than Donald Trump.

“The Drive-By Media, the entire journalism community, since Watergate, has been attempting to make it happen again. I mean, it was a seminal moment. The media was able to get rid of a duly elected president, Richard Nixon,” said Limbaugh.

“How did they do it? Well, they did it by forcing him to resign, and they did that by seeing to it that he was losing the support of the American people,” he said. “How did they do that? They did it with never-ending innuendo over Watergate. And by the time it all crescendoed, nobody even really remembered what Watergate was. They just thought it was rotten and that Nixon was behind it and that Nixon tried to cheat the Democrats out of the election — and, for that, he had to go.”

Ever since, said Limbaugh, the media has been trying to “relive the moment,” and with Trump and the ever-elusive “collusion” and “obstruction,” they think they’re close to pulling off.

After summarizing Nixon’s role in Watergate — which amounted to taking steps to cover up the actions of his re-election campaign members who broke into the Democratic National Committee to plant wiretaps, an initial scheme which Nixon reportedly had nothing to do with — Rush then compared the scandal to the actions taken by the Obama administration against then-candidate Trump.

“The Barack Obama administration not only tried to bug the Trump campaign, they succeeded. The Obama administration succeeded in planting an informant in the Trump campaign. This, we know. It’s been confirmed,” said Limbaugh. “We don’t know who, but we know that it happened. We don’t know the timing yet. We don’t know at what stage of the campaign the informant was planted in the Trump campaign, but we know that it happened.”

He continued: “We know that the Obama administration used a political opposition research document, the Steele dossier, and they tried to make it appear as though it was legitimate and real intelligence. And it was all fake. It was made up. None of it corroborated. None of it verified. This, too, was ordered by people in the Obama administration.”

In other words, said Limbaugh, if you want to bring up Nixon, the analogy is far more relevant to Obama than Trump.

“So if you want to draw a Watergate parallel, you have to draw the parallel not to Trump. Trump hasn’t bugged anybody. Trump has not planted listening devices,” said Rush. “Trump does not have informants. He did not have informants in the Hillary campaign. That was all Obama! Nixon’s Plumbers, they left a bug inside the headquarters; it didn’t work. Obama put an actual human being in Trump’s campaign! Nixon knew nothing about the Plumbers. But what did Obama know about the mole in the Trump campaign and when did he know it?

“So if you really want to draw the Watergate analogy, it points right to Barack Obama,” he concluded. “Note: None of that is being investigated. Not a single shred of it. Not a morsel of that is being investigated. In fact, I believe that this entire investigation of Trump is actually a cover-up of what the Obama intelligence community — Department of Justice, FBI — did to try to nail Trump during the campaign and to corrupt his transition period after he won the election to destroy or paralyze his presidency.”

Partial transcript via RushLimbaugh.com