That’s So 1977…

I’m old enough to remember when the American political and media establishment wracked itself into knots over the fact that the executive branch had been using the CIA and Hoover’s FBI to spy on domestic political opposition.

Among my earliest memories of politics and news – after Watergate, naturally – were the Church Commission hearings, which clamped down on the use of intelligence and law enforcement for domestic shenanigans.

For a while, anyway.

Seems like everything old is new again:

Following months of angry claims by journalists and Democratic operatives that the Obama administration never spied on Donald Trump’s 2016 presidential campaign, The New York Times admitted Thursday that multiple overseas intelligence assets were deployed against associates of the Republican nominee. It is not the first time the Times has revealed widespread spying operations against the campaign.

In addition to noting that long-time informant Stefan Halper was tasked with collecting intelligence on the Trump campaign, the Times story details how a woman was sent overseas under a fake name and occupation to oversee the spy operation. The woman’s real name is not mentioned in the article, though the Times says she went by “Azra Turk” and has a relationship with an unidentified federal intelligence agency.

It would be the ultimate Berg’s Seventh Law reference, if it turned out that the left’s two-year-long tantrum over “collusion” were simultaneously deflection and projection.

41 thoughts on “That’s So 1977…

  1. Man, the subject itself and backed up by a link to the Federalist. I can hear the E-bots warming up even as I write this.

  2. I feel that these two sentences from Volume II of the Mueller report have not gotten anything like the attention they deserve.

    /“As described in Volume I, the evidence uncovered in the investigation did not establish that the President or those close to him were involved in the charged Russian computer-hacking or active-measure conspiracies, or that the President otherwise had an unlawful relationship with any Russian official. But the evidence does indicate that a thorough FBI investigation would uncover facts about the campaign and the President personally that the President could have understood to be crimes or that would give rise to personal and political concerns.”/ ~ Mueller Report Volume II, p76

  3. Per Emory’s point: Agreed. All the same, the investigation is NOT suppose to be a fishing expedition to just find whatever it out there. Right? About collusion, yes or no? Also, that last sentence per OR that could give rise to personal and political concerns” <—- That seems to mean "this could be about anything"….. and then, it becomes a bit of an invasion of privacy.

  4. If we slice open the carotid artery, we might see blood. Show me the man and I will show you the crime. Lather, rinse, repeat.

  5. If indeed those sentences by Mueller quoted by Emery are correct, precisely why did Mueller stop his investigation instead of getting some subpoenas and warrants? He’s basically saying he had probable cause to start an investigation and he chose not to follow it.

    My BS meter is pegged at that one.

  6. But the evidence does indicate that a thorough FBI investigation would uncover […]

    The Donald had something to say about this:

    After spending more than $35,000,000 over a two year period, interviewing 500 people, using 18 Trump Hating Angry Democrats & 49 FBI Agents […]

    Apparently not thorough enough? Mr D hit this grift dead-on.

  7. Overseas? That’s not Trump-hating bureaucrat Comey’s jurisdiction. That’s Trump-hating bureaucrat Brennan’s job.
    But the CIA is forbidden from spying on Americans, isn’t it?
    Prison time is appropriate.

  8. I have no doubt that, if Mueller testifies, he will pretty much stick to his report. That’s the kind of guy he is. But Trump will interpret Mueller’s statements as fully exonerating him. That’s the kind of guy he is.

  9. The special investigation was a fishing expedition – if you call throwing dynamite in the water to see what (or which staffers) float up.

  10. It was an attempted coup, a waste of time and resources to begin with.

  11. This investigation happened because over drinks George Papadopoulos told an Australian diplomat about a Russian offer to help the Trump campaign by releasing thousands of hacked Democratic emails. The Australian government felt duty bound to inform the FBI. The FBI was duty bound to investigate using the tools they had at hand. I really don’t care if the actions taken by the FBI are labelled spying or surveillance but they certainly were justified.

  12. I think that Mueller should testify. It would clear up a few things to have Nunes and other Republicans ask him some questions, such as:
    -At what point in the investigation did it become clear that there was no collusion between the Trump campaign and Russian state actors?
    -Given that Mueller’s mandate was to investigate Russian influence on the 2016 election, why did he not investigate the origins of the Steele dossier?

  13. Let’s have some details, Emery.
    How did Papadopolous know about the offer?
    How come Steele didn’t get the Papadopolous treatment? Papadopolous was approached by a shady caracter and offered Russian intel on Hillary. Steele sought out — and paid for — Russian intel on Trump.

  14. “In for a penny — in for a pound” is the burden of Trump’s followers…

  15. As I have been saying since the election, this is going to make Watergate look like childs play. Ill be telling my grandkids someday about how Hillary & Co. tried to steal a election they had already rigged in their favor, and lost bad.

  16. You are correct, PoD. Back in 2017, Instapundit wrote Hypothesis: The spying-on-Trump thing is worse than we even imagine, and once it was clear Hillary had lost and it would inevitably come out, the Trump/Russia collusion talking point was created as a distraction.”

    I do think it is worth a mention that Watergate never was that important nor dastardly as it was nor has been presented. It did, however, mark one very important event, if only we all knew what it was that we were seeing. That is, the MSM, started “spending” the trust on which they depend to be believed so as to foment the first “soft coup” against an American president. They just tried it again but with much less trust in the bank, so to speak, and far more blatant lies.

  17. The department that handles that is the Office of Special investigations. If you have evidence of wrongdoing, you should forward it to them.

  18. has an article saying how Russia-gate began, no mention of Australia. Factcheck certainly is not conservative.

    Mark Levin at CR, yes, a conservative talk show host speaks of when Russia-gate began, again, no mention of Australia.

    Pure and simple, it was an attenpted coup d’etat, so while some sectors of the press are zooming in on how the Obama admin may have even spied to set this up, we are hearing some homespun tale that Australia played a big role in this.

  19. Suppose Team Trump hired a British citizen to use his contacts in Russian intelligence to gather dirt on Hillary. Would that be impeachable?

  20. There is still the question of when the FBI investigation began, isn’t there? When did the FBI begin to gather the evidence it would use to get the fISA warrant against Carter Page?

  21. Obama made a speech, televised I think, to Nigerians in the election a few years ago of Goodluck Johnathan versus Buhari. I mean, where and when does interfering with elections start? Goodluck Johnathan says it hurt his reelection chances as he was the incumbent. I have little sympathy for Johnathan, it seemed Nigeria was indeed, worse off at that time, Boko Haram more powerful. The biggest problem in Nigeria seems to be the corruption and who wanted to fight BH using antiquated weapons.

  22. Oh, Emery, it doesn’t take evidence to start an investigation, it only takes assertions by an interested party. That boat has sailed.
    One of the problems people on your side have is that when you lower the bar to justify a special council investigation of Trump, that bar is also lowered for an investigation of Trump’s enemies.
    Sux to be you.

  23. The person Papadopolous says told him he could get Hillary’s hacked emails (the info a drunken Papadopolous relayed to the Australian ambassador) was Joseph Mifsud. Mifsud was interviewed by Mueller, and denied saying any such thing to Papadopolous (it’s in his report). The Mueller report does not say that Mifsud was a Russian agent, or that he was acting on behalf of the Russkis.
    It’s looking grim for team Hillary.

  24. And like I have said before, Podesta and Clinton won’t serve jailtime for what was done (though they probably should) but people will spend 10+ years behind bars for what was done, probably no one we have ever heard of but still. People will get perp walked for this out of the CIA, FBI and DOJ. Ideally on January 20th, 2021, it would seem so appropriate after Trump breezes through re-election.

  25. Interesting.
    What the Australian ambassador told the FBI is that Papadopolous told him that he could access damaging information on Hillary from the Russians through his friend the professor (Mifsud). Papadopolous only said this information was the Clinton emails months later. This jibes with Mifsud’s statements to Mueller’s team that he never discussed the Clinton emails with Papadopolous.

  26. It also bears mentioning that the emails Papadopolous later claimed he was offered by Mifsud were not the DNC emails that were famously leaked in June 2016, they were the “missing” emails from Hillary’s private mail server. Those emals have never seen the light of day.

  27. Guess the “total exoneration” claim is unraveling now that people can actually read much of Mueller’s report.

  28. Now explain the people sent to spy on the campaign. And the use of the Steele dossier to justify continued wiretaps even after they knew it was false.

  29. Emery, the “total exoneration claim is unraveling” because….Mueller didn’t find any evidence of what he came to see if you could find? Seriously?

  30. Hoover’s conduct was morally objectionable and should have been legally. Claiming Democrats of today would embrace it is a lie, not just wrong. Claiming the Mueller investigation can be dismissed because of Watergate or Hoover, is sophistry.

    The anvil of justice is clearly no longer firmly planted, it’s also clearly not an anvil. The DOJ rule to which Bob Mueller adhered which directed/suggested that a sitting President cannot be indicted is not law (though regulation were it seen as that carry the weight of law). It has not been tested in front of SCOTUS either. What it means, though, is that if a President commits a felony, so long as that President has a friendly chamber in the legislature, they may well not face any punishment (until their term ends) nor removal from office.

    Does that sound logical or correct to any of you? Should a President who orders the unlawful killing of political opponents be proof from repercussion if they have a friendly chamber? You can claim that there is a bright line which if crossed ANY legislator would object and join in removing the President but recent history says that is exactly not so. Lindsey Graham complained vociferously and loudly that Bill Clinton did not deserve to remain in office for lying about his affair with Monica Lewinsky, yet the ‘honorable’ Senator Graham has no issue with this President walking out in front of the American public and lying, or apparently this President engaging in what was very likely a chargeable offense of obstruction, and a charge in a federal court, which is where you “go to lose” as a defendant, meaning very likely the President committed an act for which he’d be convicted of a felony if we are to believe hundreds of DOJ officials. To claim Mueller’s report said the investigation came out with saying the course of conduct of the President was a “nothing burger” is to deeply misrepresent or misunderstand what was actually found and said.

    Regardless, put aside for a moment your partisan hat, are you ok with a President remaining in office, even if they commit a serious felony, so long as they have a friendly chamber to forestall impeachment? Does that seem just? To me it is does as much violence to our Constitution as anything you can imagine. Those of you who claim to embrace the Constitution while likewise embracing this President cannot, to me, assuage or justify that feeling or conduct. To suggest that a President is above the law because of a letter written by those who report to them is absurdity in the extreme. To expect a political party to act to remove a President whose supporters they fear is folly in the extreme, and to stand by and watch it happen as supposed supporters of our great democracy is to plant that anvil and that democracy, in its grave.

  31. I don’t understand, Emery. Nothing I have written about Papadopolous contradicts the idea that there was no collusion, or even “total exoneration.” Mifsud made no claims about HRC’s emails. Mifsud has not been identified as a Russian agent by Mueller.
    Who, exactly, are claiming has not been totally exonerated of collusion with the Russians? Carter Page is exonerated, Papadopolous is exonerated.
    The reason the Aussie diplomat spilled the beans (months after he spoke with Papadopolous) is because he saw news reports of the DNC leaked emails, not the HRC emails that Papadopolous (and no one else) claimed were available from the Russians.
    Why no Mifsud indictment, if he was the “pipeline”?
    To quote that great statesman, Walter Mondale, “where’s the beef?”

  32. Here is the most likely explanation:
    Papadopolous and Mifsud are colleagues attending a conference in Britain. They have dinner and drinks. Papadopolous brags that he is a big shot foreign policy adviser to the Trump campaign (he was not, but is known “resume inflater”). Mifsud has contacts in the world of diplomacy and espionage, mostly on the Western side. He mentions that he has heard that the Russians have dirt on Hillary they are looking to dish out.
    Weeks or months later a drunken Papadopolous brags to the Aussie diplomat that he is a big shot in the Trump campaign and he knows that he can get dirt on Hillary from the Russians. Two months later the Aussie diplomat hears about the leaked DNC emails and calls the FBI. The FBI interrogates Papadopolous and he lies about the meeting with Mifsud. Busted.
    But over the weekend it became clear that Mifsud’s companion at the dinner with Papadopolous was in the employ of US intelligence. WTF?
    papadopolous says Mifsud claimed she was Putin’s niece (definitely not true).
    That goes a long towards explaining why Mifsud wasn’t indicted, doesn’t it?

  33. Here are the Russian sources used by Steele to compile his dossier:
    -senior Russian Foreign Ministry figure
    -former top-level Russian intelligence officer still active inside the Kremlin
    -senior Russian Financial Officer
    -senior Kremlin Official
    -FSB Cyber Operative
    -well-placed and established Kremlin source 1
    -well-placed and established Kremlin source 2
    -Kremlin official involved in U.S. relations
    -Senior Russian leadership figure
    -Kremlin insider with direct access to leadership

    Many of these sources claimed to have direct knowledge that the Kremlin or FSB was pipelining Russian intel to the Trump campaign, claims we now know are false.
    The Steele dossier was the primary evidence used to justify the appointment of Mueller.
    Since the Russian Collusion narrative has been shown to be false, what other narrative comes to mind when reading this list of secretive Russian state actors supplying Steele with fake intel?

  34. It seems that the Trump campaign would have liked to coordinate with Russia, but could barely coordinate with themselves. Trump wanted to directly obstruct justice — and urged his aides to lie — but they ignored him. They were saved by their own incompetence and self-preservation instincts, not because they were pure of heart and honest of intention.

    If you don’t want to be treated like a criminal, don’t behave like one.

  35. This fishing expedition revealed only non-crimes. How sad!
    But you can try again if you get your hands on Trump’s tax returns. Why, I bet federal, state, and NYC authorities ever give a billionaire real estate developer’s tax returns the attention they deserve!

  36. Notice Penigma gets something almost right; he notes that the DOJ opinion about whether a sitting President can be indicted has some of the force of law, but is not law itself.

    Agreed. Now, let’s talk about IRS and EPA codes……

  37. Penigma doesn’t like the provisions for impeachment set forth in Article I, Section 3 of the Constitution. What if the Senate doesn’t return the correct result? Plainly, the Constitution is flawed and should be ignored.

    That’s a perfect summary of every Liberal’s “thought process” on every topic. Everything must come out their way, all the time, because if it doesn’t, it’s not just bad, it’s wicked.

  38. The anvil of justice is clearly no longer firmly planted, it’s also clearly not an anvil.

    I’m going to do something, I know I’ll regret. I usually do not engage leftist reprobates seriously, because they are not serious people. But once in awhile, I’ll test the pH of their brainpans.

    While I don’t think it lays out evidence of collusion, the Meuller report clearly leaves the door open for the reprobates to investigate and to impeach Trump if they want.

    So, having illustrated I’m not going to deny the obvious, let’s see how you do, Peevee.

    Comey’s FBI investigation revealed the Cankles Clinton had sent or received over 3000 emails on her unsecured server. That included at least 2 that were Top Secret/Special Access Program level intelligence.

    He said she had jeopardized national security, but in his opinion, it didn’t rise to an indictable offence because there was no intent. Comey admitted to the committee that any “reasonable person” would have known that putting classified documents on a private server was a security risk, but Clinton seemed to lack the “sophistication” to realize this basic fact.

    Good so far?

    OK. Here’s the facts:

    1. Comey stated that it is a “felony to mishandle classified information either intentionally or in a grossly negligent way, or a second statute making it a misdemeanor to knowingly remove classified information from appropriate systems or storage facilities.”

    2. There is no intent required according to Section 793(f) of the federal penal code (Title 18). Comey rewrote law to give her a pass.

    3. Comey’s initial from May 2, 2016 draft of his report said “There is evidence to support a conclusion that Secretary Clinton, and others, used the email server in a manner that was grossly negligent with respect to the handling of classified information” which would have constituted grounds for an indictment, but he changed the language to “reckless” at the behest of the AG.

    4. Clinton told Congress, under oath, she had never sent or received classified information on her server; that was a direct and willful lie.

    5. Clinton’s lawyers willfully destroyed evidence.

    Given these indisputable facts, Peevee, should the anvil of justice strike Hillary Clinton?

  39. I’ve got a lengthy olive branch for Peevee in moderation…jus’ saying.

  40. Was it okay for Obama to stay in office after he committed what he had earlier called an unconstitutional act (DACA)?
    By his own words he failed his oath to uphold the constitution.
    Plenty of impeachable offenses to go around. Penigma, quit describing matters of politics as matters of law. Some civil rights people say the laws are so terribly written, and so haphazardly enforced (esp. administrative law), that the average American commits three felonies each day.

  41. MP, you see what I’m talking about?

    These purile leftist twaats will spew their insane talking points as taught, but the give isn’t given instructions on how to defend them against cold, hard facts. So they either A. Call you a racist/xxxphobe/fascist/literally Hitler or a bot, or B. Just run off.

    It’s why I just mock them for the 1/4 wits they are. Peevee had his shot; he won’t get another.

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