American Elephants


The Grassley-Graham Memo Is Thoroughly Shocking. Press Snoozes. by The Elephant's Child

The source many of us have turned to for information on the ongoing scandal supposed to involve alleged Russian collusion with the Trump campaign is National Review’s Andrew McCarthy. (McCarthy, you will recall, was the U.S. Attorney who tried the Blind Sheik for the first World Trade Center bombing.) Andy knows what he is talking about. He is not interested in removing Trump from office on some pretext. Just in getting to the bottom of things.

In a word, the Grassley-Graham memo is shocking. Yet, the press barely notices.

Rest assured: If a Republican administration had used unverifiable hearsay from a patently suspect agent of the Republican presidential candidate to gull the FISA court into granting a warrant to spy on an associate of the Democratic nominee’s campaign, it would be covered as the greatest political scandal in a half-century.

Instead, it was the other way around. The Grassley-Graham memo corroborates the claims in the Nunes memo: The Obama Justice Department and FBI used anonymously sourced, Clinton-campaign generated innuendo to convince the FISA court to issue surveillance warrants against Carter Page, and in doing so, they concealed the Clinton campaign’s role. Though the Trump campaign had cut ties with Page shortly before the first warrant was issued in October 2016, the warrant application was based on wild allegations of a corrupt conspiracy between the Trump campaign and the Kremlin. Moreover, the warrant meant the FBI could seize not only Page’s forward-going communications but any past emails and texts he may have stored — i.e., his Trump campaign communications.

With its verification by the Grassley-Graham memo, the Nunes memo now has about a thousand times more corroboration than the Steele dossier, the basis of the heinous allegations used by the Justice Department and FBI to get the FISA warrants.

The press howled about the Nunes memo, but the Grassley-Graham memo tells us that we need  a full-blown investigation of whatever possessed the Obama administration to hand such shoddy applications to the FISA court, but how a judge managed to rationalize signing the warrants.

Andrew McCarthy adds “We need full disclosure—the warrants, the applications, the court proceedings. No more games.”

Senator Charles Grassley of Iowa is chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, and Graham chairs a relevant subcommittee. They composed their memo in support of a criminal referral recommending that dossier author Christopher Steele be investigated for making false statements to the FBI (a felony). And they have increased their efforts to get more information unsealed, so the public can see it , even if the press does not cover it.

Here, again is the link to McCarthy’s post. Do read the whole thing. Andy explains the legal matters of the whole thing, and just why it is such a potential bombshell of a scandal. They thought that Hillary would win, and their efforts would never come to light. Obama’s name will go down in history—just not the way he planned.

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The Memo, The Memo, The Memo, And What it All Means. by The Elephant's Child

Here is the article on the publication and the White House approval:

—”Memo Released: FBI Officials Knew Political Origins of Dossier, but Used it Anyway.”

— Here is the article from Yahoo the FBI used to corroborate the Dossier, even though it’s just a repeat of the information in the Dossier.

The Spectator: “Media propaganda can’t erase the fact that the FBI used Hillary’s dossier to spy on Trumpworld.”

Heritage: Anti-Trump Politics in FBI Drove Russia Probe, Memo”

PJ Media: Spengler: “Trump Triumphs with Release of House Intel Memo”

Powerline: John Hinderraker: “What the House Intelligence Committee Memo Says:” (John Hinderraker is an attorney)

The Wall Street Journal: “Obama and the FISA Court” (pay barrier)

The Weekly Standard: Nunes: More Memos Are Coming

American Greatness: “Worse Than Watergate” by Chris Buskirk

Manhattan Contrarian:Comments on the House Intelligence Committee Memo” Francis Menton is also an attorney.

Frontpage Magazine: The Memo Reveals The Coup Against America
by Daniel Greenfield

The Diplomad 2.0: The Release of the MemWow” The  author is a long time American diplomat, now retired.

There, that gives you lots of varied opinions on the memo so far. The anguished Democrats are going to vote on releasing their version of the contents of the memo on Monday, insisting that the Republican version is a pack of lies and misleading and hating Trump and all that. The whole thing is very damning to the Democrat claims, and they’ve had a few days and the weekend to cook up a good story. Pathetic.



A Fascinating Conversation With a Real Journalist by The Elephant's Child

The state of journalism today seems dire. Too many would-be journalists chasing too little real news. If you are scanning through the days news, there’s way too much ‘he said’, ‘she said’. It’s as if reporters are sitting at home scanning Twitter and trying to find something provacative that someone said. That is neither news, nor useful.

There are a few real journalists around, and one of them is Claudia Rosett. She was a staff writer for the Wall Street Journal for 17 years, and today writes a foreign affairs column for Forbes, and blogs for PJ Media. Her recent work has focused on North Korea, Iran, and the United Nations, but her interests roam worldwide.

Today The Daily Caller News Foundation features a video of an extensive conversation between Claudia Rosett and Ginny Thomas. She pointed out that the 2016 election had nothing to do with Russia, but everything to do with shrinking paychecks, vanishing jobs and over-regulation.

The Democrats’ rhetoric about Trump’s supposed Russian collusion does not match the degree of enthusiasm and flexibility that former President Barack Obama actually displayed to Russia for his entire two terms, Rosett says in this video interview.

She cites: when Obama was caught on a hot mic promising flexibility to Vladimir Putin, shelving missile defense for Europe in a phony “reset” with our dangerous adversary, inadequate pursuit of Edward Snowden who is still hiding in Russia, the imaginary “red line” with Syria that opened the door to Russia being emboldened in the Middle East, the Iran deal that advantaged Russia and their allies on the world scene and the weak response of the U.S. when Russia annexed Crimea, which belonged to Ukraine.

It’s a fascinating conversation, and well worth your time. Get comfortable, put your feet up and enjoy. You’ll feel more confident about your views of the world, and more knowledgeable.



Foreign Policy At Work, Improving the World by The Elephant's Child

Russia has ample supplies of natural gas and oil, and has used that abundance as a political weapon. Poland wants to reduce its reliance on Russian energy and last week the Polish state-owned oil and gas company PGNIG, signed its first five-year deal to buy American liquefied natural gas. Our energy boom from the fracking revolution is serving American national interests and deterring the grasp of dictators abroad.

Gasprom. the Kremlin-owned energy company currently provides more than two-thirds of Poland’s gas, and other European nations also rely heavily on Russian energy. Putin has used that dependence as a weapon, and threatened to cut off supplies, and on some occasions he has cut them off.

In 2015, Moscow cut off gas supplies to the Ukraine. That year the United States surpassed Russia as the world’s top natural-gas producer and by February 2016, shipments of LNG from the US hit the export market. Poland announced that it did not intend to renew its long-term agreement with Gazprom.

Under the deal announced, Poland will receive as many as nine cargoes of LNG or roughly 30 billion cubic feet for their citizens consumption. It’s not a huge delivery, but is likely the first in a series of contracts. It will increase energy security in the region, and cuts back a little on Russian domination.

Sounds like a very good deal, that will benefit all concerned. It will even be good for Russia. Free market competition is good for everyone.



The Clinton Campaign and the DNC Funded the Trump Dossier by The Elephant's Child

It has been revealed by The Washington Post that the Clinton Campaign and the DNC paid for the research that produced the Russia dossier from which came the allegations that there were links between  President Trump and Russia and some kind of coordination between his campaign and the Kremlin. No wonder Hillary was so insistent about Trump’s Russian connections, her campaign had paid Fusion GPS to produce evidence.

Marc E. Elias, a lawyer from Perkins Coie, who worked for the Clinton campaign and the DNC hired Fusion GPS in April, 2016 to investigate Trump. Fusion GPS hired former MI6 agent Christopher Steele to look into Trump’s activities and contacts in Russia. Steele had worked in Moscow during his time in British intelligence. He eventually produced a 35 page dossier consisting of 17 memos dated between June 20, 2016 and Dec. 13.

Fusion has refused requests from Congress and even in lawsuits to reveal the identities of its clients, and news reports had been vague. A Republican donor who was extremely opposed to Trump reportedly hired Fusion in September of 2015, to conduct routine opposition research, but his identity has not been revealed.

According to the Post, the Clinton Campaign and the DNC paid Fusion through the end of October 2016 just before the election, which they expected to win handily. Federal Election Commission records show the Clinton campaign paid Perkins Coie a total of $5.6 million since November of 2015.

Democrats are weary of Hillary’s book tour, she’s been to England and Canada to sell the book and complain about the unfairness of it all. They wish she would quietly go away. Former candidates are usually not ready to give up, but the people have moved on. The Russia connection is over, but the rage against Trump in general (racist, sexist, fascist) continues even as the list of his accomplishments piles up.

And what was the part of Debbie Wasserman Schultz and her aide who is under indictment? Former DNC chairman Schultz and current leaders of the DNC claim they have no knowledge that the national party was involved with funding a dossier compiled by a British spy which contained scandalous accusations about President Trump. Keith Ellison and Tom Perez claim no knowledge of any association with Perkins Coie. The mystery thickens. There is clearly much more that will and should come out. It’s not going to be pretty.

ADDENDUM: According to a complaint filed today with the Federal Election Commission, the Clinton campaign violated election laws when they failed to report the campaign’s payments for the Russian Dossier.

The complaint from the nonprofit Campaign Legal Center said the Democrats effectively hid the payments from public scrutiny, contrary to the requirements of federal law. By law, campaign and party committees must disclose the reason money is spent and its recipient.

“By filing misleading reports, the DNC and Clinton campaign undermined the vital public information role of campaign disclosures,” said Adav Noti, senior director of trial litigation and strategy at CLC and a former FEC official. “Voters need campaign disclosure laws to be enforced so they can hold candidates accountable for how they raise and spend money. The FEC must investigate this apparent violation and take appropriate action.”

Then there is this posted by Steven Hayward at Powerline. It’s both a don’t miss this, and too cringe inducing to bear. Do watch at least the small excerpt if you can, and the whole thing if you can stand it. Sad.



Ooops. The Russian Collusion Thing is Falling Apart by The Elephant's Child

The Left, still fuming at the election last November, has been depending on proof to emerge of Trump/Russian collaboration to show that the election of Donald Trump was a fraud. It was an article of faith. Everybody knew it was a fraud, they just had to prove it. Exactly what the Russians had done was a bit murky. It was thought that they published anti-Hillary stories on the RT.com website, and planted fake news on Facebook and Twitter. John Hinderaker at Powerline points out that “Facebook has now disclosed to Congress 470 accounts that have been traced back to Russian origins. It turns out that the Russians were trying to stir up race hatred by supporting BlackLivesMatter through an account called Blacktivist.”

“The Facebook Blacktivist account had 360,000 likes, compared with the verified Black Lives Matter account which currently has 301,000.” Follow the link to get an idea of what the Russians were up to:

At PJ Media, Debra Heine has a further account of the mischief:

The Black Lives Matter ad appeared on Facebook at some point in late 2015 or early 2016, the sources said. The sources said it appears the ad was meant to appear both as supporting Black Lives Matter but also could be seen as portraying the group as threatening to some residents of Baltimore and Ferguson.

New descriptions of the Russian-bought ads shared with CNN suggest that the apparent goal of the Russian buyers was to amplify political discord and fuel an atmosphere of incivility and chaos, though not necessarily to promote one candidate or cause over another. Facebook’s review of Russian efforts on its platform focused on a timeframe from June 2015 to May 2017.

These ranged from posts promoting Black Lives Matter to posts promoting gun rights and the Second Amendment to posts warning about what they said was the threat undocumented immigrants posed to American democracy. Beyond the election, Russians have sought to raise questions about western democracies.



Hillary has a new book in September “What Happened” by The Elephant's Child

Hillary has a new book coming out in September, clearly written in haste, to explain why she lost. It’s called “What Happened.” (ITS NOT FAIR) She will focus on Russian interference and James Comey’s interference.  Plus (ITS NOT FAIR) misogyny, and just why she lost in no uncertain terms, and counter to the messaging from Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer D-NY and former Vice President Joe Biden about the party’s message. A longtime ally said that people will be surprised at how much she reveals.

Unfortunately Hillary did not lose because of Russian interference, though it may be a sop to her pain. She lost because she is not very likeable. When Hillary first became First Lady, there was the scandal about the travel office, and there were innumerable scandals about her cattle futures when she was the governor’s wife in Arkansas, but we tried to ignore all that and give her a chance. She lost me when she taught her daughter to refer to the Secret Service as “the pigs.” It must be somewhat annoying to be unable to go out in public without protection from officers of the Secret Service who are sworn to lay down their lives to protect the President of the United State and his family.

But Hillary was so antagonistic to the Secret Service people that she became noted for unleashing vile attacks on their care. Hillary has always had a mouth like a sewer, which she only uses to underlings and those who can’t do anything about it. As Secretary of State, it was reported that she was so vulgar and rude to her protective staff that they had to send new hires, because none of their regular staff would agree to work with her. That is simply bad character.

As a senator from New York, she went for a guaranteed Democrat seat when Patrick Moynihan retired, and her only bill was to name a post office. She lost the Presidential primary to Barack Obama, but he named her Secretary of State. Her accomplishments in that office were the “Arab Spring,” and refusing help to her ambassador in Libya who begged over and over for more security. She was responsible for the death of her ambassador, his aide, and the death of two brave former Seals who were attempting to save the personnel from the embassy compound.

She failed to understand that although Qaddafi was a vicious dictator, he had given up any interest in nuclear weapons after seeing what happened to Saddam. He was a bad guy, but he was keeping the lid on in a violent country. She thought it time to get rid of him, and did, and Libya erupted and has become a terrorist hell hole. If there were any other accomplishments in that office, no one could identify any.

She became noted as a compulsive liar, lying even when it was entirely unnecessary, as her claim about being under sniper fire when she arrived in Bosnia, even inventing the plane having to spiral in. Videos of her arrival with children on the landing field with flowers to welcome her, did lead her to admit “misspeaking.”

She has long bragged about being a spokesperson for women and women’s rights, but no evidence of any accomplishment there. I absolutely voted against her, as did many who pay attention to the news. It would not occur to us to be influenced by the Russians, though if Putin had a choice, I would assume he would be more opposed to Trump who seemed to be dangerously unpredictable.




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