“Truth is like the sun. You can shut it out for a time, but it ain’t goin’ away.”
— Elvis Presley
Secretary of State Pompeo announced today that the U.S. has taken steps to punish those it suspects of being involved in the death of bin Laden fanboy Jamal Khashoggi, including revoking visas.
“We have identified at least some of the individuals responsible, including those in the intelligence services, the royal court, the foreign ministry and other Saudi ministries who we suspect to have been involved in Mr. Khashoggi’s death,” Pompeo told Fake News reporters at the State Department. “We are taking appropriate actions, which include revoking visas, entering visa lookouts and other measures.”
Pompeo also said the State and Treasury departments are looking at the possibility of Global Magnitsky sanctions meant to target those responsible for gross human rights violations, a step that had been requested by the Senate.
“These penalties will not be the last word on this matter from the United States,” Pompeo said. “We will continue to explore additional measures to hold those responsible accountable. We’re making very clear the United States does not tolerate this kind of ruthless action to silence Mr. Khashoggi, a journalist, through violence.”
Pompeo didn’t provide more information on the visa revocations, including how many visas were revoked, though I’m sure that info is forthcoming.
“There’s not a lot more I can say about it, other than to say this is certainly not the last step that we will take,” he said.
The announcement came shortly after PDT called the kingdom’s efforts to hide Khashoggi’s killing inside the Saudi consulate in Istanbul the “worst cover-up ever,” which is sure to sour relations between our two nations further.
“They had a very bad original concept, it was carried out poorly and the cover-up was the worst in the history of cover-ups,” PDT said today from the White House. “They had the worst cover-up ever.”
I’m not sure if PDT is criticizing the fact that there was a cover-up or the fact that the Saudis were so bad at it (an observation I’ve also made, for what it’s worth). He seems to be presenting himself as an expert in cover-ups, something from which I’m sure the legacy media will get plenty of mileage.
This morning, Turkish President and rising Islamist dictator Recep Tayyip Erdoğan delivered his usual and predictable take on the issue, saying Khashoggi was murdered in a pre-planned operation directed by top Saudi officials.
His government has repeatedly claimed to be in possession of smoking gun evidence, including audio and video recordings of the incident, but have yet to provide it. I’d remind our readers again that Erdoğan has a vested interest in creating trouble between the U.S. and Saudi Arabia, as we are both his rivals in the region. The Saudis have also taken a small yet significant turn away from Islamic fundamentalism since Prince Salman gained power; the polar opposite direction Erdoğan has taken.
Pompeo vowed to work with both Congress and U.S. allies on further responses after the administration verifies information surrounding Khashoggi’s death, but also stressed that the U.S.-Saudi alliance remains in place.
“We continue to maintain a strong partnership with the kingdom of Saudi Arabia,” Pompeo said. “Neither the president nor I are happy with this situation. Our shared strategic interest with Saudi Arabia will remain. We continue to view as achievable the twin imperatives of protecting America and holding accountable those responsible for the killing of Mr. Khashoggi.”
For the Dim liberals out there who may not understand that statements, he’s saying that bad stuff has happened but there is a larger picture that must be taken into account. It’s called being an adult who acts on critical thinking rather than pure emotion and media-manufactured rage.
As for how things stand with Crown Prince MBS, Pompeo said only that the U.S. is continuing to gather facts.
“We’re learning the facts,” Pompeo said. “And as facts unfold, as we continue to develop our understanding of the individuals that were responsible for this, who not only executed it, but led and were involved and were connected to it, the world should know that we intend to hold those individuals responsibility.”
Things remain mostly unchanged with this situation, which is good because I’m getting tired of covering it.
We’re revoking some visas and will probably commit to some other symbolic gesture, such as expelling Saudi diplomats. King Salman will likewise make symbolic gesture to show that MBS has been curtailed in terms of his power within the kingdom, although in reality it will be little more than that — a gesture.
Congress is still due to make some noise in the way of sanctions legislation against the kingdom, but much of the bite will be taken out of their bark by the coming PR moves made by both our respective governments.
Once Senate Republicans get their internal data showing that their voters don’t care about this stuff nearly as much as the people inside their Beltway bubble, a lot of this will go away.
ROSENSTEIN INTERVIEW POSTPONED
House Republicans are postponing the closed-door interview with Deputy Attorney General Fraud Rosenstein that had been planned for Wednesday.
Reps. Bob Goodlatte (VA) and Trey Gowdy (SC), the chairmen of the House Judiciary and Oversight and Government Reform committees, respectively, announced this evening that they would push back the interview because they are “unable to ask all questions” of Rosenstein in the allotted time.
“The Committees are unable to ask all questions of Deputy Attorney General [Fraud] Rosenstein within the time allotted for tomorrow’s transcribed interview, therefore, the interview will be postponed,” the chairmen said in a statement.
“Mr. Rosenstein has indicated his willingness to testify before the Judiciary and Oversight Committees in the coming weeks in either a transcribed interview or a public setting. We appreciate his willingness to appear and will announce further details once it has been rescheduled.”
The testimony will be under oath and will at least partially focus on the Failing New York Times article published last month that said Rosenstein proposed secretly taping conversations with PDT and recruiting Cabinet members to invoke the 25th Amendment and expel him from office after he fired Leakin’ James Comey.
Republicans on Capitol Hill have been banging down the door to interview Rosenstein ever since the report was published, only to be met with the same stonewalling attitude that has ruled the DOJ since PDT took office. Now, they line up a time to interview him and they need more time to prepare.
The epitome of Washington, DC, ladies and gentlemen.
I’m going to look at this story in the best way possible, which is to assume that the GOP needs a delay because of all the new information they have.
Frankly, I don’t mind a delay if it’s for a good reason, like catching Fraud in a bevy of lies. I’m gonna give Jim Jordan and the Freedom Caucus the benefit of the doubt here. They’re one of the few groups in DC that have earned it.
TODAY IN FBI CORRUPTION
John Solomon over at The Hill continues to do outstanding work regarding the corrupt practices of the FBI and DOJ as it pertains to the counterintel probe launched against the Trump campaign in the 2016 election. Let’s dive into his latest piece.
We’ve discussed George Papadopoulos a lot over the past few months. You’ll recall him as as the Trump campaign aide that was apparently set up by British (and likely American and Australian) intelligence in mid-2016 while on British soil. He was summoned to a meeting with a professor, Joseph Mifsud, wherein he was continuously baited into making incriminating statements regarding collusion between the Trump campaign and the Putin regime, bait that he ultimately never took. A longtime intel asset by the name of Stefan Halper also got into the act, attempting to entrap GP on several occasions.
Now, thanks to Solomon’s reporting, we know that not only did he not take the bait thrown to him by Mifsud, Halper and others, he “emphatically told an undercover bureau source there was no election collusion occurring because such activity would be treasonous.”
Taken from Solomon’s report:
George Papadopoulos says his spontaneous admission to London-based professor Stefan Halper occurred in mid-September 2016 — well before FBI agents and the Obama Justice Department sought a Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) warrant to collect Trump campaign communications in the final days before the election.
“He was there to probe me on the behest of somebody else,” Papadopoulos told me in an interview this week, recalling the Halper meeting. “He said something along the lines of, ‘Oh, it’s great that Russia is helping you and your campaign, right George?’ ”
Papadopoulos said Halper also suggested the Trump campaign was involved in the hacking and release of Hillary Clinton’s emails that summer. “I think I told him something along the lines of, ‘I have no idea what the hell you are talking about. What you are talking about is treason. And I have nothing to do with that, so stop bothering me about it,’ ” Papadopoulos recalled.
This is significant because those conversations — or more accurately, attempts at entrapment — came just weeks after corrupt FBI agent Cooter Strzok and his rabid anti-Trump cohorts at the FBI launched their counterintel probe into the Trump campaign known as “Crossfire Hurricane.”
The reason that’s important is, according to sources, there is zero mention of Papadopoulos’s denials in any of the FISA applications. When a person, group or entity is the subject of government surveillance, those asking the courts for surveillance warrants are duty-bound to present ALL the facts regarding said person, group or entity. What the FBI did here is flat out lie by omission.
Essentially, they put everything that could help their case while leaving off any evidence that went in the other direction, a practice normally reserved for political hacks, which the FBI absolute were under Obama. This isn’t exactly a groundbreaking revelation, of course, as we’ve all known that the bureau cooked the books in their favor when requesting FISA surveillance, but now we have a documented example.
And according to Solomon, there are a lot more documented examples where that came from.
Taken from his report:
A source directly familiar with the Russia probe declined to discuss specifics of the Papadopoulos-Halper conversations but acknowledged the FBI possessed one or more transcripts that called into question the Trump campaign’s — and specifically Papadopoulos’s — alleged complicity with Russia.
The FBI officially opened the Trump-Russia case on July 31, 2016, based on suspicions that Papadopoulos had prior knowledge that Russia hacked Clinton’s emails, but it quickly pivoted by early fall 2016 to evidence such as the Democratic-funded dossier produced by Christopher Steele, and Trump campaign adviser Carter Page’s trips to Moscow. The FISA warrant was drafted to target surveillance at Page but also cited Papadopoulos in a section that suggested Russia was coordinating election collusion through Page and “perhaps other individuals associated” with Trump’s campaign.
“The truth is, the Papadopoulos predicate went into reversal, but rather than shut down the probe at that point, the bureau turned to other leads like Steele and Page without giving the court a full picture,” one source said.
Simply put, the bureau never had any intention of “following the facts where they lead,” as they’re so fond of mindlessly repeating to the trusting masses. When certain leads dried up and/or produced opposing information to what they were seeking, they simply turned their attention to other avenues while not alerting anyone (like say, the FISA court) that their other avenues of investigation had turned up a #BigFat zero.
Solomon reports that some in Congress are bracing for the possibility that Fraud Rosenstein might argue in his aforementioned upcoming interview in the House that the FBI did not have an obligation to disclose all exculpatory evidence to the FISA judges. If he indeed goes that route, he will be living up to the nickname I’ve given him. The FISC doesn’t work that way…at all. At least it’s not supposed to. As we’ve discussed myriad times before, the process for information-gathering in FISA applications is designed to be vigorous. If information hasn’t been verified, it doesn’t go in. Or at the very least, if info is less than certain, the submitting party must annotate the confidence in which such information is being viewed. And yes, if there is conflicting or exculpatory information, they’re required to put that in, too.
Rosenstein is the friggin Deputy AG of the United States. If he attempts to explain this away by saying the bureau was under no obligation to report those facts, he should be fired on the spot, because it means he’s either grossly incompetent or flat-out corrupt. There really is no third option here.
I hope you’re paying attention, PDT.
Solomon goes on to describe the onslaught of entrapment attempts made against Papadopoulos. They include fancy wine-and-dine scenarios and even beautiful honeypot women trying to secue him. It’s like a movie brought to life. Nations involved include Britain, Australia and our old buddy Israel, who are in on pretty much every shady intelligence operation happening worldwide (sorry folks, it’s the truth).
From Solomon’s report:
Papadopoulos said his discussions with Halper — identified this year by The Washington Post as an FBI informant in the Russia case — were among more than a half-dozen contacts that U.S. and Western intelligence figures initiated with Papadopoulos during the campaign.
Other contacts were initiated by Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA) officials, an Australian intelligence agent, an Australian diplomat, an Israeli diplomat and British diplomats, Papadopoulos told me. At least one contact sought to offer him sex in return for information, he alleged.
Nearly all the contacts occurred in London, between April and October 2016, while Papadopoulos served as a foreign policy adviser to the Trump campaign, and after a different London professor, Joseph Mifsud, had told Papadopoulos the Russians planned to release thousands of emails from Clinton they possessed, Papadopoulos said.
Papadopoulos said he never asked Mifsud for the emails and did not act on his tip, though he told a few people about Mifsud’s claim. Papadopoulos eventually pleaded guilty to lying to the FBI about the timing and content of his conversations with Mifsud; he was sentenced to 14 days in jail.
Once Mifsud conveyed the information to him, Papadopoulos began getting overtures from Western and U.S. intelligence.
In late April 2016, for example, two officials at the U.S. Embassy in London, who identified themselves as DIA officers, probed Papadopoulos for information about Trump and Russia.
“They were wining and dining me as if I were Marilyn Monroe,” Papadopoulos told me. “They said, ‘You are an individual, George, that has tons of contacts in Athens and you are a subject of interest.’ ”
He said the two intelligence officers then asked about Moscow: “They were trying to find out why Trump was willing to work with Russia. They were trying to act as if they were pro-working with Russia.”
Around the same time, he said, an Israeli diplomat who portrayed himself as friendly to the Obama State Department, and decidedly opposed to Trump, befriended him in London. The Israeli official questioned him about where Trump stood on Russia and Iran issues, and introduced Papadopoulos to a woman he identified as his girlfriend.
That woman, Papadopoulos said, apparently worked for Australian intelligence and set up a meeting for him at a London bar to meet the Australian ambassador to England, Alexander Downer.
It was at that May 10, 2016, meeting that the FBI alleges Papadopoulos told Downer he knew the Russians had thousands of Clinton emails they planned to release later in the campaign. That release occurred in July, after which Downer reported his Papadopoulos information to U.S. authorities.
Papadopoulos said he doesn’t remember telling Downer about the email claim but does remember making a passing reference a few weeks later when he met the Greek foreign minister. “He basically told me, ‘Where you are sitting now, Putin will be sitting there tomorrow.’ And I just had this nervous reaction and said, ‘Oh, hey, I heard this thing about emails.’ It was nothing else.”
Solomon then elaborates on Halper’s role in the operation, which was quite significant, not only in relation to Papadopoulos but several others in the Trump orbit:
The most significant, in Papadopoulos’s mind, was in September 2016 when Halper invited him to London to write an academic paper for $3,000.
A former adviser to Republican Presidents Nixon, Ford and Reagan, Halper was a respected professor at Cambridge University who frequented policy conferences deemed friendly to Western intelligence and diplomats. Two sources confirmed to me that the Washington Post article claiming Halper was a confidential human source who reached out to Papadopoulos at the FBI’s behest was true.
The sources said Halper reached out to other Trump campaign aides in the summer and fall of 2016, including Carter Page (who became the subject of the FISA warrant) and senior adviser Sam Clovis, though it is not clear if the FBI prodded him to do so. A spokesman for Cambridge and Halper did not immediately return a message seeking comment.
Papadopoulos said when he arrived in London for his meeting with Halper, strange things began to happen, beginning with the young woman who served as a guide. “She was trying to seduce me and was trying to hint that, ‘I want to sleep with you but you have to give some information first,’ ” he recalled.
Papadopoulos said he rejected that overture and then got another unexpected invite, this time from the British foreign ministry. He said two diplomats quizzed him about Trump’s positions on Iran, Russia and Brexit, and arranged a follow-up meeting with a more senior British official back in the United States.
Then, Papadopoulos recalled, Halper set up a meeting at a swanky London club fancied by diplomats. The conversation started with Halper challenging Papadopoulos on some of his views on the Middle East, but quickly turned to Russia.
“He puts his phone out in front of him and right away I saw what he was doing: this guy is obviously recording me,” Papadopoulos recalled.
At one point, Halper asked him about the hacked Clinton emails and “if I was involved and if the campaign knew,” he recalled.
Papadopoulos said he again denied involvement. “‘That would be treason. I don’t know what you are talking about and I have nothing to do with Russia,’” he recalled saying.
Finally, Solomon makes a point that I’ve been making for over a year now, which is that this probably has former CIA commie John Brennan’s fingerprints all over it. By that, I don’t mean he was directly involved (although I wouldn’t put that past him, either), but rather that he reached out to his buddies across the pond to do his dirty work for him.
As Solomon points out in his piece, Brennan testified before the House Intel Committee more than a year ago that he reached out to the FBI to get a probe launched into connections between the Trump campaign and Russia, conceding that an investigation of that sort would be beyond his own mandate as CIA chief, not that the CIA is known for its concern with mandates, guidelines or jurisdiction.
“I was worried about a number of the contacts that the Russians had with U.S. persons” in the Trump campaign, Brennan testified.
At this point, the fact that the American government worked with its “Five Eyes” partners to entrap the Trump campaign in an OMG RUSSIAN COLLUSION PLOT is beyond debate. It’s now just a matter of who reached out to whom across the pond and what exactly they planned.
I’m gonna let Mr. Solomon sum things up:
Whether the half-dozen Papadopoulos overtures by Western intelligence officials were directed or assisted by the CIA, or were purely coincidental, one important concern lingers: If Papadopoulos is telling the truth, the FBI possessed a critical piece of exculpatory evidence by September 2016 that called into the question the legitimacy of its Trump-Russia collusion probe.
If the FBI did not disclose that evidence to the FISA court a month later when it sought the surveillance warrant, it likely committed a grave abuse that furthers the narrative that this probe was infected more by politics than evidence.
And those who signed the FISA warrants — including Rosenstein — have serious questions to answer.
I couldn’t have said it better myself, John (which is why I didn’t). Now man up, Republicans, we’re getting close to the truth.
Don’t blow it.
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