2016 Presidential Election

Steele, Simpson, and Ohr linked with Russian oligarch

Featured image Byron York reports: Emails in 2016 between former British spy Christopher Steele and Justice Department official Bruce Ohr suggest Steele was deeply concerned about the legal status of a Putin-linked Russian oligarch, and at times seemed to be advocating on the oligarch’s behalf, in the same time period Steele worked on collecting the Russia-related allegations against Donald Trump that came to be known as the Trump dossier. The emails show »

Fake news from the New York Times

Featured image The New York Times breathlessly reports: “President Admits Focus of Trump Tower Meeting Was Getting Dirt on Clinton.” But in portraying this “admission” as news, the Times is playing fast and loose with the English language. In the process, it is dishing out fake news. What Trump acknowledged was that “this was a meeting to get information on an opponent.” In other words, the purpose of holding the meeting, from »

FBI continued to get info from Steele after terminating formal relationship

Featured image Because Christopher Steele, author of the bogus anti-Trump dossier, supplied confidential information to the media, the FBI formally terminated him as a source. Therefore, FBI personnel were not supposed to accept information from him. But Byron York reports that the FBI continued to use Steele as a source. In fact, it did so on 12 separate occasions: [The FBI] devis[ed] a system in which Steele spoke regularly with Bruce Ohr, »

Contra the dross of Doss (4)

Featured image The new issue of the Weekly Standard was published today. It carries no editorial explanation for the discrepancy between executive editor Fred Barnes’s excellent profile of House Intelligence Committee Chairman Devin Nunes and the disgraceful cover story disparaging Nunes by one April Doss in the previous issue. I wrote at some length about that disgraceful cover story in part 3 of this series. Although the new issue lacks an explanation »

What the FBI didn’t tell the FISA court

Featured image The release of a heavily-redacted version of the FBI’s application for a Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act warrant to wiretap Carter Page triggered a debate over whether the FBI gave the FISA court judges enough information to assess the anti-Trump motives of the people behind the Steele dossier. That dossier was at the core of the FBI’s application. Defenders of the FBI point to a footnote in the FISA application with »

The 2016 election revisited

Featured image The New York Times has posted an extremely detailed map of the 2016 presidential election. It reflects the results of the election by county and includes a few interactive features. Click through the link above to check it out. The map is of course overwhelmingly red, reflecting Republican dominance by area rather than population. Taking a look at blue Minnesota, for example, where Hillary Clinton narrowly defeated Donald Trump by »

Sen. Burr: Sound reasons supported approval of Page FISA warrant

Featured image Sen. Richard Burr, chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee, says he believes there were “sound reasons” for judges to approve the FISA warrant on former Trump campaign foreign policy adviser Carter Page. Burr denies that the FISA application filed by the Justice Department “came up short.” It seems to me that there are two distinct questions raised by the FISA application. First, did it provide sufficient basis, on its face, »

The FBI disgraced

Featured image I hold with Byron York that the release of the heavily redacted FISA warrant application documents on Carter Page have vindicated Devin Nunes. By the same token, Andrew McCarthy now judges that the documents disgrace the FBI. As always, Andy knows what he is talking about. His must-read NR column is “FISA Applications Confirm: The FBI Relied on the Unverified Steele Dossier.” With the skills of a natural teacher who »

Saturday night document dump

Featured image We are familiar with the Friday afternoon document dump. It’s a standard tool of political scandal management. What are we to make of the Saturday night document dump by which the Department of Justice delivered the heavily redacted documents comprising the Carter Page FISA warrant application to the New York Times and other news organizations that had sought them under the Freedom of Information Act? Charlie Savage’s New York Times »

Against the hysteria

Featured image Michael Anton puts the “treason” hysteria occasioned by President Trump’s Helsinki press conference with Vladimir Putin in a larger context (in a Wall Street Journal column also posted here on Outline). Going over ground we have trod many times, Anton writes: [D]oesn’t he have good reason to be cautious about the intelligence community? There’s plenty of evidence of illicit American interference in the 2016 election, all of it to defeat »

What Putin was up to

Featured image In this Wall Street Journal op-ed, Michael Mukasey questioned the timing of Robert Mueller’s indictment of 12 Russians on the eve of the Helsinki summit. I discussed the matter here. In the same op-ed, Mukasey made another important point, one that has influenced my thinking on Russian interference since January 2017, when an experienced intelligence hand articulated it to me: If we know the Russians hacked the Democrats, it’s probably »

Lisa Page cooperates

Featured image Last Friday, Lisa Page testified in closed session before the House Judiciary and Oversight committees. That’s the same body that publicly grilled Peter Strzok, with whom Page exchanged venomous texts about Donald Trump. By all accounts, Page was a cooperative witness. Rep. Mark Meadows, head of the House Freedom Caucus, called Page “credible.” “There is new information,” he said, “and that information is credible.” Rep. Louis Gohmert, also of the »

Trump’s inadequate “clarification”

Featured image Yesterday, President Trump claimed that when he said “I don’t see any reason why it would be Russia” that interfered in the 2016 election, he meant to say “I don’t see any reason why it wouldn’t be Russia.” I can imagine Trump meaning to say either thing. “I don’t see any reason why it would be Russia” is consistent with the pro-Trump talking point that Russia had no reason to »

On further review

Featured image After consulting the transcript of his comments at the Helsinki press conference with Vladimir Putin yesterday, President Trump has reformulated or clarified what he meant to say. In a meeting with Republican members of the House Ways and Means Committee at the White House today, according to the statement quoted by the Washington Post and the statement quoted slightly differently by CBS News, President Trump said: “Let me be totally »

Why did Trump do it?

Featured image Why did Trump refuse to acknowledge Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election? Byron York takes up this question. He concludes: Trump’s problem is that he has always refused, or been unable, to separate the two. One is about national security and international relations, while the other is about Donald Trump. The president clearly believes if he gives an inch on the what-Russia-did part — if he concedes that Russia »

Trump plays the useful idiot in Helsinki

Featured image I agree with Steve’s characterization of President Trump’s performance in Helsinki as “extraordinarily dismal.” “Disgusting” might be an even better description. The performance was disgusting in at least two ways. First, Trump blamed the poor state of U.S. relations on the U.S. He tweeted: Our relationship with Russia has NEVER been worse thanks to many years of U.S. foolishness and stupidity and now, the Rigged Witch Hunt! Trump is right »

Strzok testifies

Featured image Peter Strzok appeared today before a joint session of the House Oversight and Judiciary committees. The event lived up to expectations in its contentiousness. Here are a few highlights, with commentary. Immediately after the opening statements, Trey Gowdy, House Oversight Committee Chairman, asked Strzok how many people he interviewed during the first eight days of the FBI’s Russia investigation (between July 31 and Aug. 8, 2016). Strzok responded that he »