Memo to Mueller: Time To Go!

by Phil Erwin

Well, “The Memo” has been released, and everybody in newshound-land is chattering incessantly about what it “means.”

Republicans are convinced it “proves” that Robert Mueller’s ongoing investigation into “collusion” between Russia and the Trump team is a bogus political witch hunt.

Democrats are equally convinced it “proves” that Republicans are Hell-bent on blowing up our national security in a purely partisan attempt to protect the President.

Those of us not wearing Party-colored glasses recognize what “The Memo” really illuminates: The poisonous political climate under which our current President has had to operate.

We’ll soon have “The Other Memo” to stir up the Memo-mud. But it’s important we get this right. And listening to the various news outlets chattering about it, I’m not sure that anyone’s even close to doing that. So I get to charter myself to give it a try.

First, we need to understand what a “FISA warrant” is supposed to accomplish. Our government decided we needed the ability to “wiretap” or otherwise spy on possibly dangerous individuals or groups (those we call “terrorists”) within our own borders. (The CIA is barred from doing this, and the process by which the FBI obtains normal judicial warrants does not shield things from public view, so terrorists might find out, and hide.)

The Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) created a streamlined, secretive procedure for authorizing counterintelligence surveillance on American soil. The FBI or NSA can be authorized to surveille Americans but only after proving to the secret FISA Court that there is very valid evidence that a danger exists to the American national security, and that surveillance on American soil is required to maintain our nation’s safety. The evidence bar is (supposedly) set very high, because FISA surveillance represents the very real possibility of law enforcement encroaching on the civil rights of American citizens.

So what (in the view of Congressional Republicans) does “The Memo” tell us?

  1. At least one member of Donald Trump’s support team (Carter Page) was approved, repeatedly, for FISA surveillance.
  2. The warrant to justify surveilling a Presidential team member was based in large part on information contained in a so-called “dossier.” (According to a senior FBI official, the warrant would not have been sought or approved without the dossier.)
  3. The dossier was compiled by a former British spy, Christopher Steele, who had historical connections to Russian intelligence agents (he had been stationed in Moscow, and later ran the Russia desk for MI6) Steele is on record with the FBI as being strenuously opposed to a Trump Presidency.
  4. Steele’s report (probably dubbed a “dossier” to give it a patina of validated intelligence) was paid for by the Democratic National Committee and the Hillary Clinton campaign, with funds that were cycled via an attorney to ex-journalists at Fusion GPS in order to acquire opposition research against Trump.
  5. Steele shopped his “dossier” to various news agencies at the behest of Fusion. Most turned the story down as too dodgy and unverified to be newsworthy. But one agency, Yahoo News, published a story based on information provided by Steele. That story was used as a corroborating source in the FISA warrant application. In journalism, this is “circular sourcing,” a red flag challenging the validity of the information. But the FISA Court was not told about the suspect nature of either the original “dossier” or the “corroborating” news report.
  6. The FBI was also paying Steele, but supposedly terminated him when they found out he was leaking information to the Press. Yet, Steele maintained a pipeline to the FBI via a high-level Department of Justice official, Bruce Ohr, whose wife was employed at Fusion to compile anti-Trump information! The FBI used the dossier as primary justification for the FISA warrant, and never informed the FISA Court of its dubious provenance.

Ultimately, Steele’s salacious, unverified “dossier” became the basis for the Democrat-propounded political myth that there was “collusion” between team Trump and “the Russians.” That manufactured perception of interference in our election fueled demand for a Special Counsel to investigate the “collusion.” Thus, Robert Mueller and his band of Trump-hating “professionals” were chartered to undercut Trump’s administration – by court trial if possible, or by manufacturing grounds for impeachment.

The Memo” doesn’t tell us whether there was really any collusion between Trump’s team and “the Russians” (although if you still believe that, I’ve got a whole bunch of mountain ski chalets in Florida I’ll let you have cheap!)

What “The Memo” does tell us is that there was very real collusion between several of the highest officials in the FBI and DOJ and paid surrogates of the Clinton campaign and the DNC, with the objective of “obtaining” – that is, manufacturing – damning information about Donald Trump and using it to undermine, first his campaign, and then his administration.

Retired intelligence officer, Lt. Colonel Tony Shaffer, explains it this way: There was Russian collusion. It was Fusion GPS taking Russian propaganda – the Russians prepared this [dossier] – and putting it through the system, so that even now it is upsetting the applecart… When Sen. McCain says that the Russians are trying to undermine our democracy, [they’re doing it] through Fusion GPS! Not through [Trump] collusion!

Given that the nation has had to endure more than a year of “Russia!, Russia!, Russia!”, I’d say the Russians (together with a few seriously disloyal Americans) has been pretty effective at undermining our democracy. Thank you, all you gullible, partisan Democrats. But millions of dollars of investigation by Mueller’s team has produced absolutely no hint of collusion between team Trump and Russia.

What a surprise.

I’m waiting for Mueller, universally touted as a man of “highest integrity,” to publicly admit that his investigation was founded on false information, political gamesmanship, and shoddy – even illegal! actions of officials at the FBI and DOJ. If he’s the man he’s reputed to be, he should castigate his DOJ taskmasters, apologize to the nation for wasting our money – apologize to Trump for hiring only Trump-haters to investigate him – and issue a full exoneration of any and all people thus far “investigated” by his team. (Judge Jeanine Pirro says any legal actions brought by Mueller would be legally nullified as “fruits of the poisonous tree.”)

Then he should disband Mueller’s Misfits. Forthwith.

One other thing “The Memo” makes obvious: The Obama administration really did create a de facto police state – precisely what CIA leaker Edward Snowden warned us was happening! The government obtained warrants to surveille Americans on American soil with the flimsiest of frauds presented to an apparently quite gullible FISA Court. They parlayed a paltry piece of fiction dressed up as “intelligence” into a national political obsession, drowning out real debate over real issues. They initiated law enforcement “investigations” that seem to range far beyond legal legitimacy, and they can apparently now lay perjury traps for anyone – even top government officials (such as hapless NSA-Director-for-a-Day, Gen. Michael Flynn) – based on surveillance of anyone, anywhere, at any time.

But because this is America, those same FISA-abusing officials can publicly ridicule and blow raspberries at their Commander-in-Chief, to whom they ostensibly report, but for whom they have no regard, no loyalty, and no intention of supporting.

To quote famed Soviet ex-pat, comedian Yakov Smirnoff: “Amerika – Vat a country!

Apparently, he got the joke.

Phil Erwin is an author, IT administrator and registered Independent living in Newbury Park. He would like to support some Democrat ideals, but he has a visceral hatred for Lies and Damn Lies (and is highly suspicious of Statistics.) That pretty much eliminates supporting most Democrats, and a bunch of Republicans to boot.

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