Lincoln’s first famous speech on June 16, 1858 has become known today for one memorable quote, “A house divided against itself cannot stand.” The phrase was taken directly from the Bible, Gospel of Matthew 12:25, KJV: “Every kingdom divided against itself is brought to desolation; and every city or house divided against itself shall not stand.”
This “house divided” quote has been used repeatedly in various political contexts by Americans before Lincoln, including Thomas Paine, Abigail Adams, and Sam Houston. I invoke it again here because I believe that there are greater divisions between Americans today than at any time in the Republic’s history, greater than the Vietnam era, equal in intensity but different from the Civil War.
Americans who have not been living under a rock have some intuition of this divide and could provide their own answer to the question: What divides us? Radical Islamic terrorism, immigration, sanctuary cities, Antifa, LGBT, Black Lives Matter, White privilege, Obamacare, taxes, and many other polarizing issues. We are divided as never before over how to interpret the Constitutiond Bill of Rights, how to teach our children about American history, how to preserve our values, etc.
President Trump often acts as a national lightning rod — but he did not create these existing divisions. The culture storm was already building towards a climax long before his election with major offensive campaigns conducted by mainstream journalists, the courts, the universities, Hollywood elites, AM and PM talk show hosts, to name a few of the cultural crusaders. Fundamental divisions and intolerance (remember “Deplorables”?) permeated the culture before Trump’s election and may well have been a key reason for his decisive defeat of Hilary Clinton one year ago. Since his election it has all gotten much worse. We have just witnessed 12 months of the greatest show of sour grapes on earth.
The New and Improved MSM
The mainstream media (MSM) has led the Resistance with non-stop anti-Trump vitriol substituting for investigative journalism. The new rules of the MSM are quite simple. Report and repeat anything bad, or anything that might be construed or imagined as bad, as long as it can be linked to Trump. As many have noted, all the news stories that turn out to be false show Trump in a bad light, and they are given wall-to-wall coverage while the retraction is given minimal exposure. And above all else, do not report anything good about Trump or his policies.
Nobody has a better understanding of the tactics employed by the MSM against the President than his former adviser, Steve Bannon:
Every day you hear this drumbeat from the nullification project — and that’s what it is, folks; it’s the nullification project.” … “And here’s who they’re trying to nullify. They’re not trying to nullify President Trump or Donald J. Trump. They’re trying to nullify you. You put him in office. You’ve had his back through thick and thin — and by the way, there’s been both thick, and there’s been thin, okay? — and you’ve had his back the entire time. They hate that…This nullification project that the mainstream media, the establishment, the Democratic left, the progressive community, and the Republican establishment — they’re all out there to shut down your voice. But just look at the guy’s actions and the result of the actions.
But many Americans caught on quite quickly that the press was out to destroy Trump. As early as May 2017, The Hill reported, “Nearly two-thirds of Americans say the mainstream press is full of fake news, a sentiment that is held by a majority of voters across the ideological spectrum. According to data from the latest Harvard-Harris poll … 65 percent of voters believe there is a lot of fake news in the mainstream media. That number includes 80 percent of Republicans, 60 percent of independents and 53 percent of Democrats.”
It is difficult to say which aspect of MSM coverage is worse, their sins of commission or sins of omission. In this brief article I will cover some of both, beginning with the sins of commission or what Trump likes to refer to as “fake news”.
The Mueller Conspiracy
For the past nine months the mainstream media has breathlessly reported every twist and turn in the longest running, most boring sitcom ever aired on TV. Robert Mueller’s investigation into alleged Trump-Russian collusion has dominated MSM coverage of Trump since his election. After all that reporting what do we now know? “To anyone with legal insight, the Flynn indictment was the barefaced admission by Special Counsel Robert Mueller that, after nine months in charge of an investigation that had already been underway for eight months, he has absolutely nothing to justify continuing this charade within its original mandate to explore a Trump-Russian connection.”
Radio host Mark Levin reviews the latest developments from the investigation and shows how the widening scope of Mueller’s probe — and its increasing detachment from its original purpose — is proving his original theory right. None of the charges made thus far against Trump associates are related to any sort of collusion with the Kremlin.
“The very day after the election, I went on the air and I said the Democrats are going to seek to criminalize their differences with President Trump. They’re gonna seek to get a special counsel. They’re gonna seek to impeach him because they feel he’s illegitimate and they were counting on winning,” Levin said.
The politicization and misconduct of Mueller’s investigation into alleged collusion between the Trump campaign and the Russian government has a long and convoluted history that begins 18 months ago. The key players in this masquerade of justice are the Obama administration, the Clinton Campaign, the DNC, and the FBI. We begin this tawdry tale chronologically with the role of Obama.
Obama’s exit strategy was two-fold. Maintain a false front of cordiality and cooperation, while carefully putting in place a series of landmines for the incoming Trump administration before leaving office.
In early March of 2017 Levin, drawing on sources including the New York Times and the Washington Post, initially described the case against Obama. Summarizing his lengthy and detailed account, Levin established that the Obama administration sought, and eventually obtained, unprecedented authorization from FISA to eavesdrop on the Trump campaign; continued monitoring the Trump team even when no evidence of wrongdoing was found; then relaxed the NSA rules to allow evidence to be shared widely within the government, virtually ensuring that the information, including the conversations of private citizens, would be leaked to the media. Here’s a more detailed timeline of these events.
More recently (12-4-17) Washington Examiner columnist Byron York added to this case, arguing that the lame-duck Obama administration abused the obscure Logan Act (which prohibits private citizens from acting on behalf of the United States in disputes with foreign governments) as a pretext for investigating the incoming Trump administration and “to entangle the new administration in a criminal investigation as soon as it walked in the door of the White House.”
The Logan Act had never been enforced, York points out, in 218 years of its existence. Democrats began referencing it over the summer of 2016 just as they began accusing the Trump campaign of colluding with Russia. They returned to it again after the election, when President Obama took a parting shot at Israel at the UN Security Council, and President-elect Trump opposed him. York points out that Obama had a habit of punishing those who opposed his Israel policy and his outgoing administration took dead aim at Trump’s defense of Israel. The Logan Act was the perfect weapon to exact political revenge against Trump.
From today’s perspective, nearly a year later, it has become apparent that, farfetched as it might seem, the Logan Act made it possible for the Obama administration to go after Trump. The ancient law that no one has ever been prosecuted for violating was the Obama administration’s flimsy pretense for a criminal prosecution of the incoming Trump team. And by the way, when it finally came time to charge Flynn with a crime, did prosecutors, armed with the transcripts of those Flynn-Kislyak conversations, choose to charge him with violating the Logan Act? Of course not. But for the Obama team, the law had already served its purpose, months earlier, to entangle the new administration in a criminal investigation as soon as it walked in the door of the White House.
Attorney Robert Barnes when asked about the campaign of leaks designed to damage the Trump administration by remnants of the Obama administration, said,
As I mentioned the other day to a liberal lawyer friend of mine, the worst thing ever accused concerning Nixon was about using private resources to try to illegally spy on people. Here you had Obama’s people using the NSA to spy on his adversaries, and apparently include the CIA, the FBI, and members of the Department of Justice in that loop, in a manner that was not approved of by any court, that was not approved by even a FISA court — the special court that monitors certain kinds of surveillance.
It’s a dangerous, precarious path that Obama has opened up, and hopefully there is a full investigation into that activity. There are people willing to leak the most sensitive national security secrets about any particular matter, solely to have a one-day political hit story on Trump. These are people who are violating their oath, and violating the law. Hopefully there is ultimately criminal punishment.
Further evidence of Obama’s close association with efforts to oppose President Trump have recently been uncovered: a group of former top lawyers for the Obama administration have formed an organization aimed at utilizing legal advocacy methods to oppose Trump’s policies. They started by submitting 50 Freedom of Information Act requests in December, 2017 and will use whatever information they acquire to begin filing more lawsuits.
The new group provides further evidence to back up Trump’s assertion that Obama is tied to the protest movement targeting the Trump administration. The Daily Mail reported that Obama’s top adviser, Valerie Jarrett, has moved into Obama’s multi-million dollar rental home in the nation’s capital. The newspaper claimed Obama is turning his home “into the nerve center of the mounting insurgency against” Trump. “Obama’s goal, according to a close family friend, is to oust Trump from the presidency either by forcing his resignation or through his impeachment.”
Finally, just last week Obama made headlines for ominously invoking Hitler in thinly veiled criticism of President Trump. While speaking to the Economic Club of Chicago, Obama said, “We have to tend to this garden of democracy or else things could fall apart quickly. That’s what happened in Germany in the 1930s, which despite the democracy of the Weimar Republic and centuries of high-level cultural and scientific achievements, Adolph Hitler rose to dominate. Sixty million people died. So, you’ve got to pay attention. And vote.”
The Clinton Campaign and the Origins of the Anti-Trump dossier
It was recently reported that in April 2016, attorney Marc E. Elias and his law firm, Perkins Coie, retained Fusion GPS to conduct the questionable research on behalf of both the Clinton campaign and the DNC that ultimately resulted in the now infamous dossier claiming that President Donald Trump’s campaign colluded with Russia.
Marc E. Elias, a lawyer representing the Clinton campaign and the DNC, retained Fusion GPS, a Washington firm, to conduct the research. Fusion GPS then hired dossier author Christopher Steele, a former British intelligence officer with ties to the FBI and the U.S. intelligence community. Elias and his law firm, Perkins Coie, retained the company in April 2016 on behalf of the Clinton campaign and the DNC. Before that agreement, Fusion GPS’s research into Trump was funded by an unknown Republican client during the GOP primary. The Clinton campaign and the DNC, through the law firm, continued to fund Fusion GPS’s research through the end of October 2016, days before Election Day.
CNN reported that in private interviews with Congressional investigators prior to the report revealing Perkins Coie’s reported payment to Fusion GPS, former Clinton campaign chairman John Podesta and former DNC chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz both denied that they were aware of any arrangement to fund Fusion GPS’s opposition research. Elias was seated next to Podesta during the private interview, but declined to comment, and Podesta did not respond to an inquiry.
This prompted former CIA Director Leon Panetta to advocate for the Senate Intelligence Committee to investigate both the Clinton campaign and the DNC about whether they had any knowledge of the payment to Fusion GPS to produce the dossier. “Well, it certainly makes the situation very awkward,” Panetta said of Elias’s alleged involvement. “If you’re testifying and saying you have no knowledge, and the attorney sitting next to you is one of those that knew what was involved here, I think it does raise an issue that the committee is going to have to look at and determine just exactly who knew what.”
The DNC-funded Anti Trump dossier became the cornerstone of the FBI investigations into the Trump campaign’s possible connections to Russia. In early January, then-FBI Director James B. Comey presented a two-page summary of Steele’s dossier to President Obama and President-elect Trump. Comey, testifying before the House in March, described the dossier as a compendium of “salacious and unverified” allegations against then-candidate Trump and his associates.
Trump has adamantly denied the allegations in the dossier and has dismissed the FBI probe as a witchhunt. Officials have said that any criminal accusations have not been verified and may never be. This hardly matters as it would be an understatement to say that it is politically advantageous to continue the investigation against Trump indefinitely, even if there is no hope of finding something with which to charge Trump.
Speaking to reporters, Trump called the Clinton-DNC funding of the dossier a “disgrace”, and a “very sad commentary on politics in this country. Hillary Clinton always denied it, the Democrats always denied it,” he added.
House Speaker Paul Ryan said that he was “frustrated” to learn of these latest developments of the dossier through the media and not from the DOJ or FBI firsthand. “It’s really frustrating. We’ve had these document requests for a long time and they’ve been stonewalling, the FBI and DOJ needs to give Congress the documents its been requesting and do so immediately,” said Ryan.
The Strzok Affair
Yet another damning development that had been successfully suppressed by the FBI has just surfaced regarding the Mueller investigation. The Justice Department’s inspector general discovered last summer that lead FBI investigator Peter Strzok exchanged numerous text messages with his mistress bashing President Trump and supporting presidential candidate Hillary Clinton in 2016. When the inspector general notified Mueller’s office last August, the FBI removed Strzok from the Russia probe and demoted him. This critical action was then kept secret from the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence (HPSCI) for five months.
Strzok had been selected in July 2016 to oversee the Russia probe and was also a key agent in the investigation into Hillary Clinton’s emails and use of a private server. He interviewed Clinton and her aides about the server, which contained classified material. But, unlike his later interview with Flynn about the Russia investigation, Clinton was not under oath. Revealingly, Strzok had the transcript of a secretly wiretapped conversation involving Flynn while he was questioning him under oath about that very same conversation — quite a difference in treatment and entirely in line with Strzok’s political views. When Clinton and her aides lied repeatedly to the FBI no charges were made. They were not under oath and the answers to the questions being posed to them were not already in the possession of the FBI. Based on Strzok’s carefully crafted double standards, Flynn was arrested while Clinton and her aides were cleared of all criminal charges.
Based on these and other disparities, Rep. Ron DeSantis (R-Fla.) alleges that the FBI took a much more forceful approach to investigating Trump than they did when Clinton was being probed for her use of a private email server as secretary of State.
“The data points we have regarding politicization are damning enough but appear all the more problematic when viewed against the backdrop of investigations whose ferocity seemed to depend on the target: the Clinton case was investigated with an eye towards how to exonerate her and her associates, while the Russia investigation is being conducted using scorched earth tactics that seek to find anything to use against Trump associates. The wildly divergent ways these investigations have been conducted appear to dovetail with the political bias that has been uncovered.
Beyond Strzok himself, many of Mueller’s prosecutors have made campaign contributions to Clinton and other Democratic political candidates. But this only confirms what has been known and said all along: that this investigation had nothing to do with collusion (a crime with no strict definition) or other possible infractions such as obstruction, but was rather about, first, sinking Trump’s candidacy and then, when that failed, his presidency.
Finally, yet another senior Justice Department official was demoted this week amid an ongoing investigation into his contacts with Fusion GPS responsible for the anti-Trump “dossier”. Evidence collected by the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence (HPSCI), indicates that Bruce Ohr, associate deputy attorney general, and director of the Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Forces (OCDETF), met during the 2016 campaign with Christopher Steele, the former British spy who authored the “dossier.”
Additionally, House investigators have determined that Ohr met shortly after the election with Glenn Simpson, the founder of Fusion GPS — the firm that hired Steele to compile the dossier with funds supplied by the Clinton campaign and the DNC. By that point, the dossier had been in the hands of the FBI, for five months, two months before FBI surveillance began on Carter Page, an adviser to the Trump campaign.
The Nunes panel has spent much of the past year investigating whether DOJ, under then-Attorney General Loretta Lynch, used the Clinton/DNC Anti-Trump dossier to justify a foreign surveillance warrant against Page. The Nunes panel has issued numerous subpoenas for documents and witnesses related to the dossier but claims DOJ and FBI have “stonewalled”.
The Wall Street Journal (12-5-17) increased the pressure on embattled FBI Special Counsel Robert Mueller with a scathing op-ed from its editorial board, calling on Mueller to resign over the controversy surrounding a lead investigator’s anti-Trump texts. They called attention to the fact that Mueller and the Justice Department had kept the information from investigators in the House for five months, and have refused to allow Strzok to be interviewed.
The WSJ also cites Mueller close friendship with Comey, whose firing by Trump triggered his appointment as special counsel. The reluctance to cooperate with a congressional inquiry compounds doubts related to this clear conflict of interest. The WSJ also argues that there have been a number of other examples of resistance from the FBI to congressional oversight, particularly Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein’s role in ignoring House subpoenas. Rosenstein appointed Mueller to his role.
Former federal prosecutor Andrew McCarthy agrees. As he recently opined in the National Review,
Mueller’s investigation is a semblance of law-enforcement disguising the brute reality that Trump is being punished for winning the election and defying Obama policy. We are on the record long ago calling for an end to this travesty of an investigation. Mueller should be fired, Comey reprimanded, and the investigation, which has now gone on for 1-1/2 years with nothing to show, shut down. More and more, it looks as if this has nothing to do with justice, and everything to do with a group of rogue bureaucrats trying to get Trump impeached.