Tag: FBI

The Framing of Michael Flynn

Author’s Note: This essay is largely based off of our new book “Spygate: The Attempted Sabotage of Donald Trump.”

On December 29th, 2016, Michael Flynn received a phone call while on vacation in the Dominican Republic from Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak that would change his life forever.

Earlier in the day, in retaliation for Russian interference in the election (not collusion), then-President Barack Obama forced the closure of Russian-owned compounds in New York and Maryland, and slapped new sanctions against Russia. Is there any doubt that such a move would prompt Ambassador Kislyak to call Flynn, Trump’s National Security Adviser at the time, to discuss what had just happened?

In taking Kislyak’s call, Flynn must’ve been aware that the call would be intercepted and monitored, given that he was speaking on an unsecured line in the Dominican Republic. Had Flynn been on U.S. soil he would’ve been able to prevent such surveillance, but due to the timing of Obama’s firings and Flynn’s location in the Dominican Republic, his conversation with Kislyak was intercepted and recorded.

The two discussed the sanctions against Russia Obama had just passed, and Kislyak promised that Russia would not react with sanctions of their own.

Since the call was recorded, the FBI had an entire transcript of the conversation. If there were any wrongdoing, it would be evident in the transcript. Clearly, it was not, as at the direction of Deputy Attorney General Sally Yates, Flynn was questioned about the contents of his conversation with Kislyak on January 24th, 2017 by special agents Peter Strzok and Joe Pientka in a meeting set up by then-FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe.

Rather than try to pry information from Flynn about the call, Flynn was merely quizzed about the contents of his own conversation, with Strzok and Pientka presumably looking for any deviation from the script to claim Flynn was technically “lying to the FBI,” even if unintentionally.

Sally Yates immediate concern from the Kislyak phone call was that Flynn violated the “Logan Act,” a rarely enforced law from 1799 that prevents Americans from corresponding with foreign governments (which is ridiculous, given’s Flynn’s political position). If the Logan Act actually were enforced, it would’ve been used to prevent Dennis Rodman from visiting North Korea, or Jimmy Carter’s various peace efforts. If Flynn had truly done something wrong, why would Yates be so desperately grasping at straws in citing the Logan Act?

Setting the Trap: Flynn Advised Against Legal Counsel

In a stunning new development, we’ve learned from a 302 report that proper protocol wasn’t followed to protect Flynn against entrapment. A 302 report contains accounts from the agents of what they said and did while interviewing Flynn, and the FBI waited over half a year to detail the Flynn interview. According to Fox News:

The August date on the FBI 302 cited by the Flynn team is nearly seven months after the Flynn interview took place, and about a week after reports surfaced that Strzok had been summarily removed from Mueller’s Russia probe because his persistent anti-Trump communications had surfaced.

Flynn “clearly saw the FBI agents as allies,” according to the 302 prepared by Strzok and another agent.

Flynn’s attorneys alleged that Andrew McCabe pushed Flynn not to have an attorney present during the questioning that ultimately led to his guilty plea on a single charge of lying to federal authorities. According to Flynn’s legal team [and the 302 itself], FBI agents in his case deliberately did not instruct Flynn that any false statements he made could constitute a crime, and decided not to “confront” him directly about anything he said that contradicted their knowledge of his wiretapped communications with former Russian ambassador Sergey Kislyak.

Bear in mind, the FBI’s counterintelligence investigation into the Trump campaign was a secret at the time. Flynn had no reason to have his guard up.

Comey and McCabe’s Defense Seems Unbelievable

Even stranger, despite the charges Flynn now faces following the Kafkaesque line of questioning, when James Comey briefed a number of Capitol Hill lawmakers about the Bureau’s counterintelligence operation into the Trump campaign, two sources familiar with the meetings said Comey told lawmakers the FBI agents who interviewed Flynn didn’t believe he lied or intentionally provided any misleading answers. The report also said FBI Director McCabe testified that the FBI agents didn’t suspect wrongdoing either. Yet McCabe also pushed Flynn to speak without a lawyer. For those reasons, and the role that Peter Strzok played in trying to thwart a Trump presidency, I find these claims doubtworthy.

It also doesn’t help the FBI’s credibility when two of those involved in Flynn’s entrapment (Strzok and McCabe) have since been fired for misconduct. Clearly, their claims that they “actually thought Flynn was innocent” cannot possibly be true, as if they were, Flynn wouldn’t have had to plead guilty to manufactured charges to avoid a personal bankruptcy. And let’s suppose for a second that they are true – that McCabe, Strzok, and Pientka all thought Flynn did nothing wrong. Then who was pulling the strings to decide otherwise?

What do you think is more likely? That Michael Flynn couldn’t perfectly recall the contents of a phone call made while on vacation, or that Flynn decided that he’d lie to the FBI’s face without any legal counsel over the contents of a phone call where nothing illegal is discussed? To ask such a question is to answer it, so it’s no wonder that entrapment was the goal all along.

No, Trump Didn’t Spark a “Hate Crime Surge”

The FBI’s latest report on hate crime statistics is out – and they’re already being twisted to push a narrative that hate crimes are spiking due to Donald Trump’s presidency. Below is just a sampling of how the statistics, which are as-of year-end 2017, are being twisted by the media.

And the data does show what they claim, a 17% rise in hate crimes, but there’s more you aren’t being told.

More Agencies Reported Hate Crimes in 2017

While law enforcement did report 7,175 hate crimes in 2017, up from 6,121 in 2016, there were over 1,000 additional agencies contributing information to the FBI’s Uniform Crime Reporting Program.

That’s a roughly 6% increase in the number of agencies reporting statistics. While it’s not proportionate to the 17% rise in hate crimes, each new agency would only need to report one hate crime to explain the entire rise.

The FBI’s own press release on the matter noted that “some data in this publication may not be comparable to those in prior editions of Hate Crime Statistics because of differing levels of participation from year to year,” but journalists seem to have missed that. When the data is normalized (adjusting for the number of agencies participating), the 2017 figure amounts to 0.44 hate crimes per jurisdiction, which is similar to the past decades worth of data.

The Hate Crime “Surge” Began in 2014

Remember – I’m not disputing that there was a rise in hate crimes in 2017 from the year prior, but I am disputing that Donald Trump is somehow responsible. So on that note, it’s hard to imagine that President Trump is driving a trend that began a year before he even declared his candidacy for president, though that’s just what the chart below from the far-left Mother Jones shows:

While the upward trend begins in 2014-2015, strangely, the way Mother Jones reported on this fact was to report that “hate crimes are up 31% since Donald Trump announced his presidential run.” Do they think our eyes are broken?

The Initial Hate Crime “Surge” Was Due to a Spike in Anti-White Hate Crimes

Regardless of how Mother Jones wants to twist their timeline, the demographic that saw the largest immediate increase in hate crimes from 2015-2016 isn’t Muslims, Jews, African-Americans, or Hispanics…. It’s white people. If we’re to believe that white supremacists were emboldened by Trump’s candidacy, they certainly did a horrible job at picking their targets.

Furthermore, from 20162017, the number of anti-Muslim hate crimes actually decreased from 307 incidents to 273. The number of gender-identity-related hate crimes was cut by a third, and hate crimes against men tripled. Of course, hate crimes are extremely rare, so this only reflects six fewer anti-gender identity-related crimes, and 15 anti-male crimes. Still, the point here is that hate crimes didn’t increase among the groups supposedly “targeted” by the Trump administration’s rhetoric. 

While the increase in hate crimes from 2016-17 was mostly proportional across the board (as we’d expect if this rise was mostly due to increased reporting), about half of the increase in total hate crimes the result of 254 additional hate crimes being committed against Jews, and 274 against African-Americans. Is Trump responsible for those? The burden of proof is on the journalist blaming Trump to prove that the specific hate crime(s) were caused by him.

What has Trump said that would incite anti-Jewish hate crimes? The man behind the worst anti-semitic massacre in American history certainly was no fan of the President. And what has Trump said that would incite anti-black hate crimes? If there were evidence that these hate crimes were committed in the name of Trump, we’d already have heard of it (and CNN would’ve milked each individual story for a week). 

Until then, we merely have a correlation with no evidence of causation. 

Comey had “Sensitive” FBI Emails on Private Gmail Account

At least seven messages on former FBI Director James Comey’s private Gmail account were so sensitive that the Department of Justice declined to release them.

The New York Post exclusively obtained 156 of 1,200 pages of messages in which the former FBI director and his chief of staff James Rybicki discussed government business. DOJ refused to hand over seven of the messages because they “disclose techniques and procedures for law enforcement investigations or prosecutions.” Another 363 pages were withheld because they contained privileged FBI communications or out of personal privacy concerns.

The messages–which span from 2013 to 2017, with many highly redacted–were obtained by the Post after conservative watchdog, Cause of Action Institute, filed a Freedom of Information lawsuit seeking Comey’s work-related emails from his private account.

The emails–according to the Post–show that the former FBI director used his personal email throughout the Clinton email investigation.

“Using private email to conduct official government business endangers transparency and accountability, and that is why we sued the Department of Justice,” Cause of Action Institute’s CEO John Vecchione told the Post.

He continued, “We’re deeply concerned that the FBI withheld numerous emails citing FOIA’s law enforcement exemption. This runs counter to Comey’s statements that his use of email was incidental and never involved any sensitive matters.”

Highlights from Comey’s Messages:

October 7, 2015: Comey complains that his “mobile is not sending emails” and asks an aide that documents be sent to his private account. Comey said the request was “embarrassing for us,” seemingly acknowledging the hypocrisy of his use of a private email account while the FBI was investigating Hillary Clinton for the same practice.

September 30, 2015: Comey emailed Rybicki an article about Russian hackers trying to gain access to Hillary Clinton’s email server. He wrote, “Need to be sure our colleagues across the street don’t think I actually said most of the stuff they attribute to me.”

July 25, 2016: Comey apparently emailed Rybicki a link to a Lawfare article questioned what the US government knew about Russia and the DNC hack, writing “I suspect there will be more of these kinds of stories.”

The messages also contained emails about changes to Comey’s security detail and concerns about a mass shooting at a Chicago school in 2016.

FBI Raids Offices of Anti-Trump San Juan Mayor Over ‘Corruption Probe’

Agents of the Federal Bureau of Investigation raided the offices of San Juan Mayor Carmen Yulin Cruz Tuesday as part of an ongoing ‘corruption probe’ surrounding her administration.

According to the Hill, “FBI agents raided San Juan’s municipal building on Tuesday amid an investigation into purchasing practices used by city officials, including Mayor Carmen Yulín Cruz.”

Images of the raid went viral on social media within minutes.

“The raid helps us to confirm whether the allegations of irregularities are substantiated or not,” said a spokesperson with the FBI.

“We are filling out a search warrant, looking for documents and evidence that can support the allegation [of favoritism],” he added.

FBI Withheld Evidence that ‘Directly Refutes’ Premise of Trump Surveillance

A senior GOP lawmaker made national headlines Sunday night, publicly confirming the FBI withheld evidence that “directly refuted” the agency’s premise behind the ongoing Russia-Trump collusion probe.

[The FBI] only presented to the court the evidence that made the government’s case to get a warrant to spy on a Trump

Texas Rep. John Ratcliffe was speaking with Fox News when he was asked to comment on the controversial FISA application that allowed the Department of Justice to surveil the Trump campaign heading into the 2016 election and beyond.

“Hypothetically, if the Department of Justice and the FBI have another piece of evidence that directly refutes that, that directly contradicts that, what you would expect is for the Department of Justice to present both sides of the coin to the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court to evaluate the weight and sufficiency of that evidence,” Ratcliffe said.

“Instead, what happened here was Department of Justice and FBI officials in the Obama administration in October of 2016 only presented to the court the evidence that made the government’s case to get a warrant to spy on a Trump campaign associate,” he added.

Read the full report at the Daily Caller.

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