The FBI lawyer that admitted to altering the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act warrant that gave the bureau permission from the secret court to spy on a former Trump campaign advisor is expected to enter a guilty plea Wednesday at the federal court in Washington D.C.
But what does this really mean? And will he?
FBI lawyer Kevin Clinesmith is expected to plead guilty to making a false statement in the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act warrant. It is the first criminal case coming from the years long investigation by U.S. Attorney John Durham’s criminal investigation into the FBI’s handling of its investigation into President Donald Trump and his 2016 presidential campaign.
In fact, Clinesmith failed to include in the FISA that former Trump campaign volunteer and advisor Carter Page had been cleared by the CIA and had in fact, been a trusted asset for the agency. The failure to include that information led to the court’s decision to allow the bureau to spy on Page, all the while the bureau knew that Page was not an asset of the Russian government but instead, he was a known asset of the United States.
Carter, whom this reporter has interviewed numerous times, recently stated that this is the first step toward justice. His life was turned upside down, his reputation smeared and when false information regarding Carter was leaked to mainstream media outlets early on his life was threatened. Still, this is the first time that anyone may be paying the price for an attempted coup of a U.S. president.
My concern is that those who directed this investigation, meaning those senior Obama officials, will not be charged with any crimes. I’m expected, like the rest of America, to believe that something will happen. We’ve been waiting for four years, while Trump campaign officials and those close to him have been dragged through the judicial system and their reputations sullied by main outlets that have rarely ever written a correction to any of their stories.
Over the past four years investigations conducted by Congress, the Justice Department Inspector General and a handful of journalists uncovered that FBI officials had no basis – meaning no predicate – to investigate Trump or his campaign.
The entire investigation and the continuing targeting of Trump and his administration were politically motivated and predicated on lies, Republican congressional investigators, senior lawmakers and former U.S. officials have told this reporter.
“Obama officials weaponized the system to target Trump and the system itself is mired in corruption so you tell me is anyone going to be held accountable,” said a former senior U.S. intelligence official. “The only way anyone gets held accountable is if the DOJ lives up to lady justice and that doesn’t appear to be likely.”
Clinesmith is only one of numerous FBI officials that were part of the bureau’s Washington Field Office and New York Field Office investigators looking into the Trump campaign. The malfeasance has been wide spread and senior level FBI officials have been fired, retired or have decided to unexpectedly leave their long careers at the bureau.
However, none have been indicted. These bureaucratic careerists who targeted a President have instead sold books or taken jobs as contributors for major television cable networks.
Fired FBI Director James Comey, fired FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe, former FBI Special Agent Peter Strzok and retired CIA Director John Brennan [all involved in the FBI’s and intelligence community’s investigation into Trump] have all written books and allegedly received big advancements.
Former Director of National Intelligence James Clapper, who was discovered to have leaked the information on the January, 2017 debriefing of the dodgy dossier and its malicious contents to CNN reporter Jake Tapper, is now working for CNN.
In fact, the investigation was, according to a mountain of evidence, concocted by false information compiled into a dossier by former British spy Christopher Steele, who was hired by the Hillary Clinton campaign and the Democratic National Committee to investigate a political opponent. His dossier has been discovered to be based on Russian disinformation and completely false evidence that smeared Trump and all those who supported him.
Prosecutor and columnist Andrew McCarthy wrote a recent piece for National Review regarding Clinesmith that I tend to agree with and it raises a number of concerns:
Is Kevin Clinesmith willing to allocute? Is he willing to admit without reservation that he deceived his FBI colleagues and a federal court? The lack of clear answers to those questions is almost certainly the sticking point — the reason why, to this moment, there is only a false-statement chargeagainst the former Bureau lawyer, not a false-statement guilty plea.
When it comes time to allocute, the court must ensure that the accused acknowledges committing the acts alleged and, just as significantly, doing so with the level of criminal intent prescribed in the relevant penal statute — the mens rea of the crime. If the accused does not admit guilt, and evince that he is doing so voluntarily and in full awareness of the possible consequences, then the judge should not accept the guilty plea.
After all, such a plea involves a waiver of constitutional and statutory rights — to due process, to putting the prosecution to its burden of proving all elements of the charge beyond a reasonable doubt at trial, to appeal. The plea further subjects the accused to potential imprisonment and significant fines; and the allocution itself could subject the accused to further prosecution for perjury if he lies while under oath.
It will be interesting to see what happens today in the courtroom with Clinesmith but if the Justice Department believes prosecuting those at the FBI’s bottom of the barrel will be enough for the American people, those charged with the prosecutions will be sadly mistaken and Justice will not be served.
In fact, if those former senior Obama officials are not held accountable then I believe that Lady Justice has left our shores.
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Shanghai: China’s Potemkin Village
Following a recent outbreak of COVID-19, the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) has imposed a month-long draconian lockdown on the residents of Shanghai. The CCP has used the outbreak to persecute its own citizens, including through forced evictions and quarantines, and placing alarms on doors to prevent COVID-19 people from leaving their homes. The harsh measures have resulted in food and healthcare shortages and separation of families.
But of course, we wouldn’t know that by reading the CCP-run press readily available in the United States. Instead of presenting the facts, the CCP engages in a comprehensive propaganda campaign that props up Shanghai as a Chinese Potemkin village. The CCP media asserts that China’s actions in Shanghai are benevolent and wise, while Western criticism is a product of malice. Chinese state-run media also insists that the Shanghai lockdown promotes economic stability in China and the world.
Claim 1: China Has the Best Policy for Combating COVID-19
The CCP media portray the Shanghai lockdown as the best and ideal policy. As cited by a XinhuaNet editorial, “China’s dynamic zero-COVID approach” is “the best option to save lives,” according to a “Rwandan researcher and publisher,” “…a miracle for us to learn,” according to a Kenyan scholar, and “a very ideal response,” according to Ethiopia’s National COVID-19 Response Task Force Coordinator. According to CCP media, Chinese citizens have greeted the Shanghai lockdown warmly, even with “[a] mixed sense of intensity, unity and hopefulness,” according to China Daily.
Claim 2: The West Hypocritically Defames China
The CCP press also accuses the West of lying about the Shanghai lockdown, and using COVID policies for nefarious ends. According to XinhuaNet, “Shanghai…has never imposed what Western media described as a ‘lockdown.’” Other CCP editorials actually accuse the West of malice. One Global Times editorial claims that the lockdown “has been deliberately exaggerated by the West.” Another Global Times editorial asserts that the Western approach of “coexisting with the virus” amounts to a way “…to drive out a large number of the vulnerable people with low immunity,” and a form of “cruel social Darwinism.”
Claim 3: China’s COVID Policies Result in an Economic Windfall to China and the World
The CCP also portrays the lockdown as necessary to achieve great economic growth in China and beyond. One Global Times editorial, while conceding that the lockdown amounted to a “sealing-off,” it is “a temporary measure to better resume work and production and to make the economy and society function more effectively. Its effectiveness has been proven.” According to another Global Times editorial, China’s policy is “widely considered to be the best strategy…to both contain the epidemic and ensure stable economic development.”
In an Orwellian fashion, Chinese press claims that China is solving, not causing, the world’s economic problems. According to XinhuaNet, “China has played a decisive role in stabilizing the global economy and resuming the supply chain disrupted by COVID-19.” Citing a Bloomberg article, the same XinhuaNet editorial claims that China “has prevented a huge number of deaths at home and ensured that everything from iPhones and Teslas to fertilizer and car parts continues to flow to the rest of the world.” Chinese citizens, of course, are collateral damage: Ji Qiwei, vice-general manager of SAIC Motor Passenger Vehicle, stated that “The domestic market may be impacted a little by the COVID-19 outbreak this year, but our export market will continue to see strong growth,” according to China Daily.
While the world continues to suffer economic and human damage as a result of COVID-19, China continues to revise history regarding its role. Through its propaganda in its English publications of Xinhua, China Daily, and Global Times, China seeks to portray itself as a benevolent force in the fight against the virus.
You can follow Steve Postal on Twitter @HebraicMosaic
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