by Robert Romano
Don’t look now, but in just one short year, the American people will be headed back to the polls to decide whether to reelect President Donald Trump, and at times it seems the country is no closer to piercing the veil of what really happened in 2016, when the Obama administration, intelligence agencies and the Justice Department unconstitutionally, illegally spied on the opposition party — the Trump campaign and the GOP — in an election year on bogus charges they were Russian agents.
This was a crime, an act of war, against the Constitution and the American people, and now the attempt to overturn the 2016 election does not end, even today, as the House moves forward with its impeachment coup, using secret witnesses and denying due process and other constitutional protections to President Trump and members of the executive branch.
This crime is now compounded by the so-called whistleblower complaint by a CIA agent, which is targeted directly at not only President Trump, but Attorney General William Barr and U.S. Attorney John Durham for their efforts to get to the bottom of the origins of the Russiagate conspiracy theory, including potential involvement by foreign allied intelligence agencies, including Ukraine, to cook up the false allegations against Trump and his campaign.
The complaint clearly states, “I have received information from multiple U.S. Government officials that the President of the United States is using the power of his office to solicit interference from a foreign country in the 2020 U.S. election… Attorney General Barr appears to be involved as well.”
The impeachable offense, the “interference” in the complainant’s eyes, is seeking to get to the bottom of who made up these reckless allegations and really interfered in the 2016 election.
Read that carefully: Getting to the bottom of foreign 2016 election interference by asking those who interfered in our elections, in the CIA so-called whistleblower’s eyes, is election interference. Or maybe it’s aimed at covering up the crimes intelligence agencies committed. Let’s go with that. These allegations appear to have included foreign governments, but also the Obama administration, and yes, one of the Democratic candidates for president, former Vice President Joe Biden, who was there the whole time, and oversaw Obama’s Ukraine policy akin to a regional governor.
Biden even bragged about helping to overthrow then-President of Ukraine in 2014 in his book and separately bragged at a Council on Foreign Relations event about getting Ukraine’s Prosecutor General fired in 2016.
If Ukrainian officials were involving in concocting these allegations, it certainly begs the question of what did the White House including Biden knew and when did they know it?
The fraudulent claims against Trump were debunked by none other than Special Counsel Robert Mueller, who in his report found “[T]he investigation did not establish that members of the Trump Campaign conspired or coordinated with the Russian government in its election interference activities,” and “the evidence does not establish that the President was involved in an underlying crime related to Russian election interference.”
The question becomes how the claims by former British spy Christopher Steele, Fusion GPS, the Hillary Clinton campaign and the Democratic National Committee — who were all responsible for making these accusations — became a national security investigation by intelligence agencies and the Justice Department with foreign allied involvement that sought to overturn the outcome of the 2016 election?
It is clear that the intent behind the latest allegations, once again by intelligence officials, is to discredit preemptively anything that Barr and Durham come up with. It can be interpreted as a warning, or worse. I say it’s blackmail, but we’ll return to that in a moment.
Now, I happen to believe that Attorney General Barr deserves a lot of credit for coming as far as he has with his investigation, but time is a critical factor. Let’s say, hypothetically, Trump was going to lose the 2020 election to, say, former Vice President Joe Biden. That would mean Barr has only about 12 months to get to the bottom of everything before Biden, who was in the room with the officials including former President Obama when it was decided that the fake investigation into Trump would carry over into the Trump administration, and that former FBI Director James Comey’s job was to lie to the President about the extent of the investigation.
A Jan. 20, 2017 email that former National Security Advisor Susan Rice sent to herself on the day Trump was inaugurated about a Jan. 5, 2017 meeting in the Oval Office, stated, “On January 5, following a briefing by IC leadership on Russian hacking during the 2016 Presidential election, President Obama had a brief follow-on conversation with FBI Director Jim Comey and Deputy Attorney General Sally Yates in the Oval Office. Vice President Biden and I were also present.”
According to Rice, former President Barack Obama wanted to make certain that the investigation, which was about to be carried over to the Trump administration, would be done “by the book.” Per Rice’s email to herself, “President Obama began the conversation by stressing his continued commitment to ensuring that every aspect of this issue is handled by the Intelligence and law enforcement communities ‘by the book’. The President stressed that he is not asking about, initiating or instructing anything from a law enforcement perspective. He reiterated that our law enforcement team needs to proceed as it normally would by the book. From a national security perspective, however, President Obama said he wants to be sure that, as we engage with the incoming team, we are mindful to ascertain if there is any reason that we cannot share information fully as it relates to Russia.”
The email continued, “The President asked [then-FBI Director James] Comey to inform him if anything changes in the next few weeks that should affect how we share classified information with the incoming team. Comey said he would.” Comey would then go on to lie to President Trump about the extent of the investigation, leading directly to his firing.
Trump wrote in his May 9, 2017 letter, “While I greatly appreciate you informing me, on three separate occasions, that I am not under investigation, I nevertheless concur with the judgment of the Department of Justice that you are not able to effectively lead the Bureau.”
It appears the Justice Department and intelligence agencies had been keeping at least two sets of books, one detailing the investigation and its related efforts, and the other, the sanitized version of intelligence given to President Trump and his national security team. There is simply no other way to explain how the White House could be kept out of the loop on the most top secret investigation being carried out by the executive branch, at the preceding President’s behest.
Are President Trump and Attorney General Barr just supposed to play stupid and pretend that this isn’t all already in the public record? For heaven’s sake, look what happened here. Of course they want to talk to Ukraine!
To the extent this investigation may have involved foreign agency efforts like Ukraine and other allies is a matter not merely of domestic political concern — as acting U.S. ambassador to Ukraine Bill Taylor suggested in his testimony — it is an urgent matter essential to national security, precisely because it was based on bogus information designed to destroy any potential Trump administration. We cannot have intelligence agencies, domestic or foreign, getting involved with a presidential election to pursue their favored policies or agendas.
Just take the ambassador, Taylor, who appears more preoccupied with having the U.S. fight a proxy war against Russia via arms shipments — which in fact risk a wider war with Russia — than President Zelensky’s efforts to resolve the Ukrainian civil war peacefully with Russia.
Who is a better friend to Ukraine? Trump, who wants to help end the war in Ukraine, or the State Department, which helped start it?
On Sept. 25, Justice Department spokeswoman Kerri Kupec said that Ukraine most certainly factors into that investigation, “A Department of Justice team led by U.S. Attorney John Durham is separately exploring the extent to which a number of countries, including Ukraine, played a role in the counterintelligence investigation directed at the Trump campaign during the 2016 election… While the Attorney General has yet to contact Ukraine in connection with this investigation, certain Ukrainians who are not members of the government have volunteered information to Mr. Durham, which he is evaluating.”
Getting to the bottom of that is not an impeachable offense, it is a function of President Trump’s duty under Article II, Sec. 3 of the Constitution to “take care that the laws be faithfully executed…” Ostensibly, Obama had the same justification for pursuing the claims against Trump, with the caveat that they turned out to be a hoax.
If ensuring this never happens again now involves returning to our allies to uncover the conduct of former administration officials, then so be it.
It is this matter that President Trump explicitly sought mutual legal assistance under treaty from Ukraine in his July 25 phone call, when he said, “I would like you to do us a favor, though, because our country has been through a lot and Ukraine knows a lot about it. I would like you to find out what happened with this whole situation with Ukraine, they say Crowdstrike… I guess you have one of your wealthy people… The server, they say Ukraine has it. There are a lot of things that went on, the whole situation… I would like to have the Attorney General call you or your people and I would like you to get to the bottom of it… they say a lot of it started with Ukraine. Whatever you can do, it’s very important that you do it if that’s possible.”
To which, Zelensky replied, “Yes, it is very important for me and everything that you just mentioned earlier. For me as President, it is very important and we are open for any future cooperation. We are ready to open a new page on cooperation in relations between the United States and Ukraine… I also plan to surround myself with great people and in addition to that investigation, I guarantee as the President of Ukraine that all the investigations will be done openly and candidly. That I can assure you.”
President Trump has every right and responsibility to pursue this possibility of Ukrainian involvement in this conspiracy, even if it involved former U.S. officials, whether at the State Department, such as removed former Ambassador Marie Yovanovitch, who like Biden, sought to have Ukrainian anti-corruption prosecutors removed, or elsewhere.
It was Ukraine that sought U.S. mutual legal assistance in 2018 to uncover potential U.S.-led corruption in Kiev including Biden’s firing of Prosecutor General Viktor Shokin, long before Zelensky was even elected and Trump had his phone call. The Ukrainians started the investigation into the Bidens, not Trump.
The larger issue is the foreign involvement, not just by Russia, by U.S. allies, interfering in the 2016 election. Let’s say it happened, and foreign allied intelligence agencies helped to cook up bogus information saying that then-candidate Trump was a Russian agent when that wasn’t really true, with the cooperation of U.S. intelligence agencies and the Justice Department, all to help the Hillary Clinton campaign.
Without ensuring Ukraine’s cooperation in an investigation essential to our own national security, why the heck should the President be considering a military alliance with them? Because it makes the military industrial complex happy? Just look at what U.S. involvement in Ukraine has already “accomplished.” We’re on the verge of a coup, all apparently to cover up the origins of a plot to blackmail the President and strong-arm his Article II foreign policy.
But rather than question the wisdom of our previous policies in the region — where the U.S. supported the 2014 coup in Ukraine that led directly to the civil war there — actions taken to get to the bottom of this now lead the same national security apparatus that concocted these fraudulent allegations in the first place to double down and seek Trump’s removal from office.
The stakes could not possibly be higher.
As for Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), he weighed in on the use of secret witnesses in the House impeachment on Oct. 22, and President Trump’s description of this farce as a “lynching,” saying, “I think it’s pretty well accurate. This is a sham. This is a joke. I’m going to let the whole world know that if we were doing this to a Democratic president, who would be all over me right now, not one person has asked me a question, ‘What do you think about the fact that President Trump doesn’t know who his accuser is? What do you think about the fact that the Republican minority cannot call witnesses? That everything’s done behind closed doors?’”
Graham added, “I can only imagine if this were a Democratic president what you would be saying to me right now… So yeah, this is a lynching in every sense. This is un-American. I’ve never seen a situation in my lifetime as a lawyer where somebody’s accused of a major misconduct who cannot confront the accuser, call witnesses on our behalf, and have the discussion in the light of day, so the public can judge. If this continues in the House, this complete sham, I will do everything I can to make sure it doesn’t live very long in the Senate.”
That’s good. But to conduct real oversight, Graham needs to call these people in to testify, including the anonymous so-called whistleblower. He needs to hold votes to subpoena these and other witnesses critical to getting to the bottom of the phony spygate, Russiagate and impeachment coup.
Congressional Republicans who are reluctant to get to the bottom of this are playing with fire, and perhaps betting that this would only happen to President Trump. They are wrong. Maybe they’re cowards. Maybe they’re just stupid.
So here’s a refresher: When former FBI Director James Comey shared some of the false Steele dossier allegations — which Steele himself wrote were sourced to Russian and Kremlin officials — with then President-elect Trump in Jan. 2017 right before he was sworn in, it appears he was blackmailing him. He was threatening him. And he proved it when he lied to Trump about the extent of the investigation into him, which was the reason Comey was fired.
This could happen to any President. Republican. Democrat. It doesn’t matter. Do what they say, or they’ll get you, too. Fight the wars they say, or else.
This is about who runs this country and our foreign policy: the elected President, or unelected nameless, faceless bureaucrats in an administrative deep state. This is about not only whether the 63 million Americans who voted for President Trump will be disenfranchised by overturning the outcome of the 2016 election, but whether all Americans regardless of political party are ruled under the bootheel of a high-tech surveillance state — a tyranny of our own making.
Not in America. Not while we still have the power to stop this. The bottom line is that if Barr, Durham and Graham fail to hold the officials responsible for this hoax on the American people, it will happen again — and there’s no telling what will be left of the Constitution or our free republican system of government after that.
This is no time for half measures. Barr ultimately must succeed because time is running out — on liberty.
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