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  1. #1
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    Trump Orders Barr to Investigate the Investigation

    Of course, Barr has already made his judgement saying there was "spying". So just a placeholder here to compare with what we already know and the threads concerning the Steele Dossier, the FISA warrants, the Mueller Report, Bruce Orr, etc.

    Saying he wants him to be "fair," President Donald Trump on Friday described why he has given Attorney General William Barr sweeping powers to declassify intelligence as part of his review into how the probe into Russian interference in the 2016 election began and the resulting surveillance on the Trump campaign.
    Does it matter how it began? Our intelligence agencies detected the attack so there had to be an investigation, no?

    He referred to long-standing efforts by House Republicans to get the nation's intelligence agencies to reveal what they knew about how the probe began -- an FBI probe that eventually became special counsel Robert Mueller's investigation.
    What difference does it make?

    "You know the thing that's interesting about this is that this was handled at a very senior level of these departments. It wasn't handled in the ordinary way that investigations or counterintelligence activities are conducted. It was sort of an ad hoc small group and most of these people are no longer with the FBI or the CIA or the other agencies involved," Barr said on Fox.
    His case to prove.

    “The problem is two-fold: First, as attorney general, Barr… is not naturally situated to have the full scope to know the impact of a declassification decision. He’s not in the best position to assess the potential damage," April Falcon Doss, a former NSA attorney and former Democratic counsel for the Senate’s Russia probe told ABC News.

    "These sources and methods are fragile, perishable and the intelligence community agency who originated the information is best positioned to understand the impact of a particular declassification decision."

    “Second, the AG is a political appointee. He’s already come under a lot of fire for behaving in ways that many have viewed as partisan. So, any decision he makes regarding declassification not only could be influenced by partisan considerations, but is almost certain to be seen as partisan considerations,” she told ABC News.

    The review does not have any criminal implications, and would not involve criminal investigative power, according to one former U.S. Attorney.

    "A criminal probe has as its target end criminal charges. A review, at least initially, does not anticipate criminal charges...," former U.S. Attorney Michael Stern told ABC News.
    "Real Boys Kiss Boys" -M.L.

  2. #2
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    Re: Trump Orders Barr to Investigate the Investigation



    "William Barr has received criticism for his apparent belief that the U.S. intelligence agencies were possibly out of line for investigating foreign interference in the 2016 election. Joy Reid and her panel discuss additional controversial statements the attorney general made in a recent interview.

    FBI expert asks, ‘Why is the attorney general doing interviews?’"
    "Real Boys Kiss Boys" -M.L.

  3. #3
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    Re: Trump Orders Barr to Investigate the Investigation

    Quote Originally Posted by CowboyX View Post


    "William Barr has received criticism for his apparent belief that the U.S. intelligence agencies were possibly out of line for investigating foreign interference in the 2016 election. Joy Reid and her panel discuss additional controversial statements the attorney general made in a recent interview.

    FBI expert asks, ‘Why is the attorney general doing interviews?’"
    Easy answer. To give political "hacks" something to spout off about!
    But more importantly, to deflect attention away from what is really going WA DC.
    BOTH parties want to keep this "controversy" going to keep the sheeple occupied.
    If/when it dies down, they will find somethin else to keep attention away from the problems they are actually creating and/or ignoring.....

  4. #4
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    Re: Trump Orders Barr to Investigate the Investigation

    Quote Originally Posted by Belthazor View Post
    If/when it dies down, they will find somethin else to keep attention away from the problems they are actually creating and/or ignoring.....
    I find this political reasoning highly suspect. I know people who are politicians. They do not work across the isle to create political distractions with one another in some grand conspiracy to blind the public. It is a very naive way of viewing politics. You cannot tell the public what to be interested in, they choose that for themselves. There are very predictable elements to what people become compelled by.

    Mostly these kinds of conflicts are easy avenues of criticism from one party to the other in their struggle for power. And they fight for power largely to push their own political agendas. Those agendas are driven by public appetite. What corruption and benefits there are from power tend to come in rather petty packages and piggy bank on the overall political winds. Those tend to be driven by influential ideologues who tend to be rich folks, or members of think tanks, or dedicated politicos. But, by and large the politicians are not the ones who drive these changes. They are more like the surfers who ride the waves.

    Everyone has their own ideas for what they think the "real problems" are. There is no broad consensus on that idea.
    Feed me some debate pellets!

  5. #5
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    Re: Trump Orders Barr to Investigate the Investigation

    Quote Originally Posted by Belthazor View Post
    Easy answer. To give political "hacks" something to spout off about!
    That's the point of the thread if you read the first post Barr, the AG is a political hack. Trump shopped around to find one.
    "Real Boys Kiss Boys" -M.L.

  6. #6
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    Re: Trump Orders Barr to Investigate the Investigation

    Trump dossier author Steele gets 16-hour DOJ grilling

    The interview was contentious at first, according to two people familiar with the matter, but investigators ultimately found his testimony credible and even surprising.

    Christopher Steele, the former British spy behind the infamous “dossier” on President Donald Trump’s ties to Russia, was interviewed for 16 hours in June by the Justice Department’s internal watchdog, according to two people familiar with the matter.

    The interview is part of an ongoing investigation that the Justice Department’s inspector general, Michael Horowitz, has been conducting for the past year. Specifically, Horowitz has been examining the FBI’s efforts to surveil a one-time Trump campaign adviser based in part on information from Steele, an ex-British MI6 agent who had worked with the bureau as a confidential source since 2010.

    But the extensive interview with Steele, and the investigators’ sense that he offered new and important information, may dampen expectations among the president’s allies who’ve claimed that Steele’s sensational dossier was used improperly by the bureau to “spy” on the campaign.

    Page had been on the FBI’s radar since 2013, when he interacted with undercover Russian intelligence agents in New York City. A trip to Moscow in the summer of 2016 further aroused the bureau’s suspicions, according to the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act warrant the FBI got approved in October 2016, allowing the bureau to intercept his electronic communications.

    Steele’s defenders have noted that the information he provided which made it into the FISA warrant application to monitor Page was not far off. According to Steele’s sources, Page met with high-level Russian officials while in Moscow in July 2016, including the CEO of Russia’s state-owned oil giant Rosneft.

    Page denied the claim publicly until pressed under oath by lawmakers in 2017, when he acknowledged meeting “senior members of the presidential administration” during his trip, as well as the head of investor relations at Rosneft. Page had originally claimed only that he went to Moscow to give the commencement address at the New Economic School.

    I think this is a different probe than the DoJ hack investigation. Regardless, it's turning up nothing.
    "Real Boys Kiss Boys" -M.L.

  7. #7
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    Re: Trump Orders Barr to Investigate the Investigation

    Quote Originally Posted by COWBOY
    I think this is a different probe than the DoJ hack investigation. Regardless, it's turning up nothing.
    Until that statement is a past tense thing. Where the investigation is concluded. Its pretty much meaningless.
    It isn't that difficult to be patient and wait for this stuff to play out.

    Also, I wouldn't really expect his interview to be some bomb shell about the FBI's actions.. because he wasn't the one involved in that. I mean short of an actual conspiracy with Russia and the FBI with this guy as the messenger. Other than that.. what did Steele even do wrong? So what could turn up or develop?
    To serve man.

  8. #8
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    Re: Trump Orders Barr to Investigate the Investigation

    Quote Originally Posted by MindTrap028 View Post
    Until that statement is a past tense thing. Where the investigation is concluded. Its pretty much meaningless.
    It isn't that difficult to be patient and wait for this stuff to play out.

    Also, I wouldn't really expect his interview to be some bomb shell about the FBI's actions.. because he wasn't the one involved in that. I mean short of an actual conspiracy with Russia and the FBI with this guy as the messenger. Other than that.. what did Steele even do wrong? So what could turn up or develop?
    That's not the story I've heard. Basically that Hillary paid this guy to make crap up.
    "Real Boys Kiss Boys" -M.L.

  9. #9
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    Re: Trump Orders Barr to Investigate the Investigation

    Barr continues to do the president's bidding in attempting to discredit the successful Russia investigation. The President is now under impeachment investigation due to his actions with Ukraine - also intended to discredit the Russia facts and to hurt his political rivals.

    Unlike Janet Reno, Barr has refused to allow investigate the president. Reno allowed Ken Starr to go wherever he wanted to.


    DOJ inquiry into 2016 election becomes criminal investigation

    Former officials had expressed repeated concern about Durham’s inquiry in recent weeks, saying there were indications that it was expanding beyond a typical look-back at how high-profile matters were handled. The conversion of the probe to a criminal investigation was first reported on Thursday by the New York Times.

    Management reviews are typically conducted by the Justice Department’s Office of Inspector General, which has spent more than a year investigating the contents of Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act applications that the FBI and Justice Department submitted for Carter Page, an energy industry specialist who had served as a Trump campaign adviser.

    Durham’s investigation appears to be broader than the OIG inquiry, although the full scope of his probe remains unclear.

    Former officials consulted by POLITICO said that they were puzzled by the development but that it was possible Durham believes someone involved in the Russia probe gave false testimony or intentionally introduced inaccurate information during the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act process. The ex-officials said that it was possible the career prosecutor is investigating potential political motivation by officials at the CIA or FBI, but that it would be difficult to pursue as a criminal case.

    “These reports, if true, raise profound new concerns that the Department of Justice under Attorney General William Barr has lost its independence and become a vehicle for President Trump’s political revenge,” they said in a joint statement. “If the Department of Justice may be used as a tool of political retribution, or to help the President with a political narrative for the next election, the rule of law will suffer new and irreparable damage.”

    Unless one might forget, let's go over why Barr was chosen to fix this mess for the president:

    Iran-Contra
    In late 1992, Independent Counsel Lawrence Walsh, who had been chosen to investigate the Iran–Contra affair, found documents in the possession of Reagan's former defense secretary, Caspar Weinberger, which Walsh said was "evidence of a conspiracy among the highest-ranking Reagan Administration officials to lie to Congress and the American public."[46][47] Weinberger was set to stand trial on felony charges on January 5, 1993.[46][48] His "indictment said Mr. Weinberger's notes contradicted Mr. Bush's assertions that he had only a fragmentary knowledge of the arms secretly sold to Iran in 1985 and 1986 in exchange for American hostages in Lebanon."[48][47][49] According to Walsh, then-president Bush might have been called as a witness.[50]

    On December 24, 1992, during his final month in office, Bush, on the advice of Barr, pardoned Weinberger,[8][51] along with five other administration officials who had been found guilty on charges relating to the Iran–Contra affair.[8][52][53][46] Barr was consulted extensively regarding the pardons, and especially advocated for pardoning Weinberger.[54]

    Walsh complained about the move insinuating that Bush on Barr's advice had used the pardons to avoid testifying and stating that: "The Iran-contra cover-up, which has continued for more than six years, has now been completed."[55] In 2003, he wrote an account of the investigation in his book, Firewall: The Iran-Contra Conspiracy and Cover-Up.

    Because of this and Barr's unwillingness to appoint an independent counsel to look into a second scandal known as Iraqgate, New York Times writer William Safire began to refer to Barr as "Coverup-General Barr."[56] Barr, however, responded that he believed Bush had made the right decision regarding that and he felt people in the case had been treated unfairly.[57] Barr said that Walsh was a "head-hunter" who "had completely lost perspective."[2]
    "Real Boys Kiss Boys" -M.L.

  10. #10
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    Re: Trump Orders Barr to Investigate the Investigation

    Thom Hartman describes the situation under Barr pretty well here:






    Transcript:

    the biggest story in the news right now
    is the one that the New York Times broke
    last night yesterday afternoon after we
    got off the air and that is that bill
    Barr the man that William Safire
    used to refer to as cover up general bar
    back when he was Attorney General in
    1992
    the now deceased William Safire New
    York Times columnist whose column on
    language I just loved absolutely
    brilliant stuff a fan of the serial
    comma but that but I'd evolved into
    Strunk and white territory it at my risk
    I realize but in any case that bill Barr
    is is going to or has shifted what was
    an administrative inquiry into the as
    Donald Trump called it the oranges of
    the Russia probe or Russia in
    investigation the origins of course he's
    shifted this from an administrative
    inquiry in other words hey we're gonna
    go back and we're gonna talk to some
    folks and we're gonna ask what's going
    on but you know it's not under oath it's
    not with criminal penalties all that
    kind of stuff he has shifted this into
    an actual criminal inquiry which means
    that well here's what it looks like I
    mean nobody really knows for sure but
    here's what it looks like it looks like
    the theory which is being promoted by
    Sean Hannity and by others on the far
    right and apparently by friends of
    President Putin is that it was not
    Russia who hacked the DNC servers and
    fed that information to to WikiLeaks so
    that literally on the day that and not
    just the DNC servers also John Pitt John
    Podesta Z mail that literally on the day
    that Donald Trump gets outed you know
    with the Billy Bush Access Hollywood
    tape that they can dump a bunch of this
    stuff in and grab the news cycle that
    that wasn't the Russians behind that at
    all it was actually the Democratic Party
    operating out of Ukraine at the orders
    of Barack Obama in order to hurt Trump
    that did that now you may ask how is it
    that the Democratic Party hacking its
    own server and releasing stuff
    embarrassing to Hillary Clinton and to
    the Democratic Party how does that help
    Donald Trump excuse me how does that
    help Hillary Clinton defeat Donald Trump
    because keep in mind this is a in the
    mind of billboard Donald Trump this is a
    plot being run out of the Obama White
    House to help get Hillary Clinton
    elected so why would releasing her
    embarrassing emails and it turns out
    there wasn't so much embarrassing there
    it was you know but but you know that
    was their hope why would it be that
    releasing her emails would help her
    rather than Trump and the theory goes
    that the American voters are sitting
    around going look at that the the the
    the the Democratic Party is under attack
    from Donald Trump and the Russians and
    and WikiLeaks and so you know we have to
    extend our sympathy to Hillary Clinton
    and the Democrats because they're being
    so badly beat up by all this information
    going public nobody would want to see
    their emails go public after all and so
    there would be this huge sympathy vote
    for Hillary Clinton and thus Hillary
    Clinton would become president now that
    this is the theory right it's been laid
    out on Fox News by Hannity and others on
    numerous occasions it has been bought in
    to apparently by Bill Barr that the
    whole the you know this whole thing that
    the the Democratic Party operating
    through some cutouts in Ukraine Act the
    DNC server an act to on Podesta's email
    account and stuff like that hacked that
    out of Ukraine on behalf of Obama and
    Clinton President Obama and Secretary of
    State Clinton in order to make Secretary
    of State Clinton a more sympathetic
    character so people would vote for her
    instead of Donald Trump
    now if that
    makes me no sense to you I mean welcome
    to the club and in fact last week the
    republican-controlled Senate
    Intelligence Committee released two
    reports that's in summary said yeah it
    was Russia who ordered the hacking and
    it was Russia who was doing who was
    running the influence campaign on
    Facebook and in other social media that
    helped get Donald Trump elected this was
    a republican-controlled committee and
    every single member of the committee
    Democrat and Republican signed on this
    thing signed off on it it's also what
    all eighteen or nineteen intelligence
    agencies of the United States concluded
    almost a year ago maybe a little over a
    year ago with 100% unanimous consent
    from the Defense Intelligence Agency to
    the Central Intelligence Agency to the
    National Security Agency to the Naval
    Intelligence Agency of the Army
    intelligence agency
    to the I mean just
    go through the list right every single
    one of them said yeah the hacking of the
    of the DNC server and the and the
    hacking of John Podesta and the release
    of this information via WikiLeaks was
    all coordinated out of Russia whether
    President Putin himself signed off on it
    or not is something that is still in
    dispute whether it was some rogue
    Russian oligarchs we don't know but but
    there's not any evidence that I've seen
    so far that this was actually done by
    the Democrats operating out of Ukraine
    but that's what Bill Barr is trying to
    prove so now that he has shifted his in
    crap errantly you know he's traveled
    around the world the Prime Minister of
    Italy yesterday or the day before
    came out and said this is crazy we got
    nothing to do with this take us out of
    this loop please
    bar has made two trips to Italy to the
    best of my knowledge there's literally
    not a single piece of evidence to
    support this theory that the Democrats
    hacked themselves and apparently as the
    Department of Justice and John Durham
    the the federal prosecutor that bill
    Barr has as enlisted to be his point man
    on this although Barr is doing a lot of
    this himself as well and it would be
    interesting to find out if if Durham who
    up until now has had a pretty good
    reputation if he's one of these Opus Dei
    Catholics who believe in the and the
    idea of the noble lie you know going
    back to Plato like Bill Barr does I
    don't know I'm fascinated by this but
    apparently all the investigation that
    they did said no wasn't Ukrainians it
    wasn't the Democrats it was the Russians
    and so by turning this into a criminal
    inquiry what that does is it gives bill
    Barr the power or the Department of
    Justice the power when they sit down
    with with somebody and there and then
    the people that we know are probably
    almost certainly in their crosshairs are
    Peter struck at least a page and you
    know the James Comey you know I mean the
    former head of the CIA the the of the
    FBI these these former a James clapper
    some of whom have been mentioned by name
    so now when they sit down with these
    guys they're saying okay you know under
    penalty of perjury you will tell us what
    you know or you will go to jail we can
    convene a grand jury and they may have
    already done this by the way and when
    you go in to a grand jury you can't even
    have your lawyer with you and the stakes
    are really really high which is why bill
    Barr is refusing to allow the Democrats
    and their impeachment inquiry to have a
    grand jury so they have to hold these
    private meetings using the house rules
    that were written
    back in 2015 in order to investigate
    Benghazi the rules under which these
    House Intelligence Committee is right
    now doing their impeachment
    investigation behind closed doors are
    the exact rules that were put into place
    by Republicans signed off on by Paul
    Ryan in order to facilitate the Benghazi
    investigation
    so this this I mean people
    talk about cooze if anything this seems
    to me like a coup I mean if your if your
    definition of a coup is an illness an
    illegitimate takeover of government
    functions or of government itself
    "Real Boys Kiss Boys" -M.L.

  11. #11
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    Re: Trump Orders Barr to Investigate the Investigation

    Graham launches probe of Bidens, Burisma and Ukraine

    The unsubstantiated allegation that Joe Biden acted nefariously in pushing for the removal of Ukraine’s prosecutor is at the center of the impeachment inquiry into Trump.

    Trump asked Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky in a July 25 phone call to look into the Bidens — an attempt, Democrats charge, to use his power to strong-arm a foreign leader into investigating a potential political opponent.

    When Biden pressured Ukraine to fire its prosecutor by threatening to withhold $1 billion in U.S. loan guarantees, he was leading a charge supported by the Obama administration, many Western leaders and several Republican senators.

    Throughout the House hearings, Republicans have sought to shift the narrative to focus on the Bidens. They asked for Hunter Biden to testify, a request the Democrats rejected as irrelevant to the question of whether Trump abused his power.

    Kurt Volker, a former envoy to Ukraine who Republicans asked to testify publicly, said during his hearing Tuesday that “allegations against Vice President Biden are self-serving and not credible.”


    ---------- Post added at 04:16 AM ---------- Previous post was at 04:04 AM ----------

    Durham's investigation into possible FBI misconduct is now criminal probe, sources say

    “These reports, if true, raise profound new concerns that the Department of Justice under Attorney General William Barr has lost its independence and become a vehicle for President Trump’s political revenge," they said. “If the Department of Justice may be used as a tool of political retribution, or to help the President with a political narrative for the next election, the rule of law will suffer new and irreparable damage.”

    Also on Thursday, top Republicans revealed never-before-seen texts from fired FBI agent Peter Strzok, in which he apparently discussed systemic leaking at the bureau.

    Leak story here. Nothing much. Sure there were leaks going on. eh.
    "Real Boys Kiss Boys" -M.L.

  12. #12
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    Re: Trump Orders Barr to Investigate the Investigation

    Lisa Page Speaks: ‘There’s No Fathomable Way I Have Committed Any Crime at All’

    The former FBI lawyer and ongoing Trump target breaks two years of silence in this exclusive interview. And she has quite a lot to say.

    It’s not often that you interview a subject who has no interest in being famous. But recently, I did just that when I sat down with Lisa Page the week before Thanksgiving in my hotel room in Washington, D.C. Page, of course, is the former FBI lawyer whose text-message exchanges with agent Peter Strzok that belittled Donald Trump and expressed fear at his possible victory became international news. They were hijacked by Trump to fuel his “deep state” conspiracy.

    For the nearly two years since her name first made the papers, she’s been publicly silent (she did have a closed-door interview with House members in July 2018). I asked her why she was willing to talk now. “Honestly, his demeaning fake orgasm was really the straw that broke the camel’s back,” she says. The president called out her name as he acted out an orgasm in front of thousands of people at a Minneapolis rally on Oct. 11.

    That was the moment Page decided she had to speak up. “I had stayed quiet for years hoping it would fade away, but instead it got worse,” she says. “It had been so hard not to defend myself, to let people who hate me control the narrative. I decided to take my power back.”

    She is also about to be back in the news cycle in a big way. On Dec. 9, the Justice Department inspector general report into Trump’s charges that the FBI spied on his 2016 campaign will come out. Leaked press accounts indicate the report will exonerate Page of the allegation that she acted unprofessionally or showed bias against Trump.

    How does it feel after all this time to finally have the IG apparently affirm what she’s been saying all along? She said she wouldn’t discuss the findings until they were officially public, but she did note: “While it would be nice to have the IG confirm publicly that my personal opinions had absolutely no bearing on the course of the Russia investigations, I don’t kid myself that the fact will matter very much for a lot of people. The president has a very loud megaphone.”

    Page, 39, is thin and athletic. She speaks in an exceedingly confident, clear, and lawyerly way. But having been through the MAGA meat grinder has clearly worn her down, not unlike the other women I’ve met who’ve been subjected to the president’s abuse. She is just slightly crumbly around the edges the way the president’s other victims are.

    My heart drops to my stomach when I realize he has tweeted about me again.
    “It’s almost impossible to describe” what it’s like, she told me. “It’s like being punched in the gut. My heart drops to my stomach when I realize he has tweeted about me again. The president of the United States is calling me names to the entire world. He’s demeaning me and my career. It’s sickening.”

    “But it’s also very intimidating because he’s still the president of the United States. And when the president accuses you of treason by name, despite the fact that I know there’s no fathomable way that I have committed any crime at all, let alone treason, he’s still somebody in a position to actually do something about that. To try to further destroy my life. It never goes away or stops, even when he’s not publicly attacking me.”

    Does it affect you in your normal day-to-day life?

    “I wish it didn’t,” she said. “I’m someone who’s always in my head anyway—so now otherwise normal interactions take on a different meaning. Like, when somebody makes eye contact with me on the Metro, I kind of wince, wondering if it’s because they recognize me, or are they just scanning the train like people do? It’s immediately a question of friend or foe? Or if I’m walking down the street or shopping and there’s somebody wearing Trump gear or a MAGA hat, I’ll walk the other way or try to put some distance between us because I’m not looking for conflict. Really, what I wanted most in this world is my life back.”

    Rising Through the Ranks

    Lisa Page did not aspire to fame or fortune. She was, she says, “one of those nerdy kids who from very early on knew I wanted work for the government and make the world a better place.” Born in the San Fernando Valley, she and her family moved to Ohio in her teens. She went to American University in Washington, D.C., and then moved back home to central Ohio to attend law school, living with her parents so she could save money.

    After graduating from law school, she was one of an elite group selected for admission in the Department of Justice Honors Program in 2006—and the only woman in her class of five entering the Criminal Division. She worked as a federal prosecutor for six years before moving across the street to the FBI’s office of general counsel. Soon after her arrival, the deputy general counsel over national-security law hired her for a new special-counsel-type position in 2013.

    Once there, her path begins to be set.

    “I start [in the role] in early 2013, and there are two big events that kind of set the trajectory for the rest of my career at the FBI: the Boston bombing in April 2013, and Edward Snowden’s leaks in June of the same year,” she told me. “And those are both significant in their own ways, because the Boston bombing introduces me to Andy McCabe, who at the time was the head of the counterterrorism division at the FBI. Two months later, the Snowden leaks hit, which became a transformative moment for the intelligence community, setting off a series of reforms by the Obama administration with respect to the legal authorities that we rely on to collect intelligence.”

    Eventually, she was asked to lead that effort, “which gives me a lot of exposure to senior FBI executives, as well as leaders through the IC, DOJ, and White House.”

    Page continued to rise through the ranks of the FBI and was assigned to more significant and substantive work. She became close with McCabe. Eventually she became McCabe’s special counsel.

    By February 2016, she was working on one of the most important investigations at the FBI—the Hillary Clinton email case. “We knew that the case was going to get picked apart,” she says. “And we know there’s not a person on the FBI team or the DOJ team who thinks this is not the right result. There is no case to be brought here. But it’s very busy. It’s very intense. Director [James] Comey was very clear he wanted this completed as soon as humanly possible and outside of the political environment. So there was a real focus to get it done before the conventions that were happening that summer. And so that’s what we did.”

    “But her emails” would soon give way to an actual threat to national security, one that existed not in the fever dreams of Fox News and the Breitbart comments section, but in the real, dangerous world the FBI exists to protect us from, where things like foreign meddling in our elections takes place: strong evidence of Russian interference in the election on behalf of Trump.

    “There are two things that happen in the late summer of 2016,” Page says. “The first, of course, is that the FBI gets the predication [courtesy of loose-lipped George Papadopoulos], which starts the Russian investigation. We learn about the possibility that there’s someone on the Trump campaign coordinating with the Russian government in the release of emails, which will damage the Clinton campaign.”

    “Predication” sounds mild for what it really means; in the summer of 2016, the FBI and the intelligence community were seeing increasing signs from a variety of intelligence sources and programs (that Page cannot and will not discuss due to classification reasons) that members of the Trump campaign were tied to a variety of Russian intelligence services, and that the Russian Federation was in the midst of trying to manipulate the 2016 United States election with a sweeping information-warfare and propaganda effort. As The New York Times reported on Nov. 22, “U.S. intel services concluded, and have told Senate Republicans, that Russia mounted a massive disinformation campaign to implicate Ukraine in 2016 meddling and hide its own role.”

    At the end of July 2016, Page finds herself transitioning from one investigation, the Hillary Clinton email inquiry, to another, the Russian government disinformation probe. Trump is not under investigation, but the FBI is trying to determine if someone associated with his campaign is working with Russia.


    “We were very deliberate and conservative about who we first opened on because we recognized how sensitive a situation it was,” Page says. “So the prospect that we were spying on the campaign or even investigating candidate Trump himself is just false. That’s not what we were doing.”

    From summer 2016 to spring 2017, Page worked for McCabe, who had become deputy director. They were very busy, but things were largely normal. And then, on May 9, 2017, FBI Director Comey was fired. What was that like?

    “It was horrible,” Page said. “It was a devastating moment at the FBI. It was like a funeral, only worse, because at least when someone dies, you get to come together and celebrate and talk about that person. He was still alive. But he was inaccessible to us. It jolted the ranks and the investigation. It was so abrupt. He was there one day and gone the next.”

    Was that very unusual?

    “Well, I mean, all of it was!” she replied. “The FBI director had just been fired. Yes, it was totally within the authority of the president, but it was unprecedented and unimaginable given the circumstances. The president fired him with the knowledge that, of course, we were investigating Russian contacts with his campaign. I mean, it just gave the aura of an obstructive effort.”

    Page would have probably just been another FBI lawyer if it wasn’t for the extraordinarily politicized environment and a president who had a habit of attacking career government employees. Page, like many other targets of Trump’s wrath, felt the pressure both from the external force of his massive social media presence, but also from within the government.

    “At the end of July in 2017, I am informed by the DOJ Inspector General's Office that I’m under investigation for political text messages and honestly, I have no idea what they’re talking about,” she told me. “I have no recollection. And initially they’re very coy about it. They don’t tell me much about it. I don’t have the first clue what they’re talking about. What I do know is that my text messages will reveal that I had previously had an affair. I’m overwhelmed by dread and embarrassment at the prospect that OIG investigators, Andy, and my colleagues, now know or could learn about this deeply personal secret.”

    She doesn’t think for a minute that her texts with Peter Strzok are too political. They are largely devoted to work and to talking about family members and various articles they read. The few texts that so convulsed the Republicans involved Page asking for reassurance that Trump wouldn’t become president, and Strzok replying with “No. No he’s not. We’ll stop it.” Glenn Kessler wrote in The Washington Post that “some of the texts reflect a deep animus toward Trump and the way he conducted himself during the 2016 campaign.”

    Having an opinion and sharing that opinion publicly or privately with another person is squarely within the permissible bounds of the Hatch Act.
    She is convinced that she’s followed the rules. She is, after all, a lawyer and knows that she is a restricted employee under the Hatch Act and can’t engage in partisan political activity. “And I know I’m nowhere close to that,” she says. “I don’t engage in any sort of partisan politicking at all. But having an opinion and sharing that opinion publicly or privately with another person is squarely within the permissible bounds of the Hatch Act. It’s in the regs. Yeah, it says it plainly. I’m thinking, I know I’m a federal employee, but I retain my First Amendment rights. So I’m really not all that worried about it.”

    So she hires a lawyer and meets with the IG, who interviews her a number of times. A very small number of people at the FBI know about the investigation, and it stays a secret for six months, and it remains a secret for six months, until the day after Michael Flynn pleads guilty. Then in early December 2017, the day after Flynn’s plea, a report comes out about Page being under investigation for political bias—and it includes the affair. The affair was not part of IG’s investigation and not part of their review.

    The Inspector General’s Office had guaranteed Page and Strzok that the affair would not be made public. But then, The Washington Post included the affair in its story. And in a slip of a second, Page goes from being an anonymous government lawyer to playing an unwilling and recurring role in Trump’s twisted tweetstorms.

    “So now I have to deal with the aftermath of having the most wrong thing I’ve ever done in my life become public,” she says. “And that’s when I become the source of the president’s personal mockery and insults. Because before this moment in time, there’s not a person outside of my small legal community who knows who I am or what I do. I’m a normal public servant, just a G-15, standard-level lawyer, like every other lawyer at the Justice Department.”

    And despite how awful that felt, Page had no idea it was going to get much, much worse.

    Trump’s ‘Truly Reprehensible... Stunt’

    “After this comes out, there’s a firestorm, of course, and now the president and the Republicans on the Hill latch on to this, and it becomes about political bias,” she explains. “A week or two later, Rod Rosenstein [then the deputy attorney general] was scheduled to testify on the Hill. And the night before his testimony, the Justice Department spokesperson, Sarah Flores, calls the beat reporters into the Justice Department. This is late at night on a weekday. Calls them in to provide a cherry-picked selection of my text messages to review and report on in advance of Rod Rosenstein going to the Hill the next morning.”

    Lisa Page Took Rosenstein’s Trump Tape Talk Seriously

    Why does she think the administration released her text messages?

    “You’d have to ask Sarah Flores,” she says. “I can tell you that the reporters there that night were told that they weren’t allowed to source them to the Justice Department, and that they weren’t allowed to copy or remove them, just take notes. That’s what I know.”

    Those texts were selected for their political impact. They lack a lot of context. Many of them aren't even about him or me.


    Sarah Isgur Flores has left the administration and referred questions to the Justice Department. In 2017, Flores said that the Justice Department inspector general approved the release of the texts to congressional committees, and that DOJ then provided those texts to reporters who cover the agency after they started to leak out. “As we understand now, some members of the media had already received copies of the texts before that—but those disclosures were not authorized by the department,” Flores said then.

    DOJ declined to comment. As Politico noted at the time, “The DOJ decision to release the text messages to the media and lawmakers before the IG report has drawn criticism from outside the department.” Ben Wittes wrote on the Lawfare blog, “Rosenstein here has, at a minimum, contributed to that circus—at the expense of his own employees. In throwing a career FBI agent and career FBI lawyer to the wolves by authorizing the release to the public of their private text messages—without any finding that they had done anything wrong—he once again sent a message to his workforce that he is not the sort of man with whom you want to share your foxhole.”

    Page felt abandoned by the FBI and Justice because of the release of the messages and because the bureau issued no statement defending her and Strzok. “So things get worse,” she continues. “And of course, you know, those texts were selected for their political impact. They lack a lot of context. Many of them aren’t even about him or me. We’re not given an opportunity to provide any context. In a lot of those texts we were talking about other people like our family members or articles we had sent each other.”

    I ask her what she did next.

    “There’s not really anything to do,” she tells me. “I go back to work. I try to keep my life together.” But she didn’t stay. She left the FBI in May 2018 (which is why she says she is now free to talk to the press—she hasn’t worked for the government for 18 months).

    Could she have stayed if she had wanted to? “No, not for much longer. It was very inhospitable.”

    Does it feel like a trauma? “It is. I wouldn’t even call it PTSD because it’s not over. It’s ongoing. It’s not a historical event that is being relived. It just keeps happening.”

    And it’s still going on? “I mean, he tweeted about me four days ago,” she told me on Nov. 18. “When Roger Stone got convicted, he asked, why isn’t Page in jail too? Not to mention, you know, his truly reprehensible, degrading stunt at his rally, in which he used my name to simulate an orgasm. And I don’t ever know when the president’s going to attack next. And when it happens, it can still sort of upend my day. You don’t really get used to it.”

    Watching the Justice Dept. Collapse

    She doesn’t use Facebook or Instagram (and was not on Twitter until this story published), so she relies on a group of her close friends—the support system, along with her husband, that has helped her get through the last two years—to be her alert system.

    “I’ll get a text from a friend alerting me to an outrageous tweet by the president and my first question is always—is it about me? Often the answer is yes,” she says.

    I ask her about how for about a month back when all this started, Trump called her the “lovely” Lisa Page. She postulates that it’s possible after her congressional testimony that he saw a picture of her. Which makes as much sense as anything in Trumpworld. One thing becomes quickly apparent talking to Page: What really upset her, what still devastates her, was not the end of her extremely promising career at the FBI, but instead what Trump has done to the FBI itself.

    It’s crushing to see the noble Justice Department, my Justice Department, the place I grew up in, feel like it’s abandoned its principles of truth and independence.
    “It’s very painful to see to places like the FBI and the Department of Justice that represent so much of what is excellent about this country, not fulfilling the critical obligation that they have to speak truth to power,” she tells me. “The thing about the FBI that is so extraordinary is that it is made up of a group of men and women whose every instinct is to run toward the fight. It’s in the fiber of everybody there. It’s the lifeblood. So it’s particularly devastating to be betrayed by an organization I still care about so deeply. And it’s crushing to see the noble Justice Department, my Justice Department, the place I grew up in, feel like it’s abandoned its principles of truth and independence.”

    Page accepts that her life will never be the same, that there’s no “normal life” to return to. She’s still married to her husband and they have two small children. Ultimately, she was just another public servant like Fiona Hill or Marie Yovanovitch. She was dragged into the spotlight, her text messages weaponized, and her life destroyed so that the Trump administration could have a brief distraction.

    The era of Trump populism always had an ugly edge, particularly toward women. Trump revels in bringing misery to his opponents and will always seek out and exploit any weakness. Page “wasn’t nice to him,” and so in his eyes she can be endlessly targeted and assaulted.

    It’s tempting to describe this as just part of Trump’s deep, baked-in misogyny and sociopathy, but in Page’s case it’s worse; it’s a sign of how deeply he’s corrupted the government to serve his will and his whims. His apologists have become part of Trump’s own squad of witch-hunters, hunting fantasies like “Ukrainian interference” while attacking the people who tried to protect us from Russian attacks.

    It’s not just that Lisa Page may never be safe as long as Trump is president.

    It’s that we won’t be safe, either.
    "Real Boys Kiss Boys" -M.L.

  13. #13
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    Re: Trump Orders Barr to Investigate the Investigation

    Barr's Own Investigator Says There Was No Intel Setup


    WaPo is reporting this breaking news: USA John Durham, whom AG Barr hand-picked to look for a “deep state” intelligence setup to trick the FBI into investigating the Trump campaign, has told the DOJ inspector general that he has not been able to find any such connection.

    The prosecutor handpicked by Attorney General William P. Barr to scrutinize how U.S. agencies investigated President Trump’s 2016 campaign said he could not offer evidence to the Justice Department’s inspector general to support the suspicions of some conservatives that the case was a setup by American intelligence, people familiar with the matter said.

    The Republican argument was that the Maltese professor who told George Papadopoulous that the Russians had stolen dirt on Hillary and the DNC was really an intelligence asset who planted that information so that Papadopolous, while drunk, would tell an Australian diplomat, who would then tell his home office, who would then pass that on to the FBI and trigger their “baseless” investigation of the Trump campaign’s ties to Russia.

    Yeah, I know it sounds dumb. Remember, this is the GOP of Gaetz and Collins (both Doug and Susan).

    Anyway, IG Horowitz contacted Durham to find out if he had uncovered any such link, and Durham told him NO.

    Durham informed Horowitz’s office that his investigation had not produced any evidence that might contradict the inspector general’s findings on that point.

    Barr isn’t having much luck finding dishonest men.
    "Real Boys Kiss Boys" -M.L.

 

 

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