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FBI’s False Labeling of Biden Laptop as Disinformation Is Even Worse Than It Seems. Here’s Why


BY: MARGOT CLEVELAND | JULY 26, 2022

Read more at https://thefederalist.com/2022/07/26/fbi-jeopardized-national-security-by-calling-verified-hunter-biden-evidence-disinformation-whistleblowers-say/

Hunter Biden

This scandal is no longer just about the Biden family; it’s about every member of the law enforcement and intelligence communities who put our country at risk by failing to do their jobs.

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FBI whistleblowers claim that agents opened a sham investigation into Hunter Biden to brand reliable and verifiable derogatory evidence as “disinformation,” according to an explosive news release issued yesterday by Sen. Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa.

If true, beyond exposing the FBI’s role in running cover for the Biden family, the whistleblowers’ claims prove significant for a second reason: By failing to thoroughly vet the evidence in its possession related to Hunter Biden — which included the hard drive for the MacBook Hunter had abandoned at a repair shop — the intelligence community ignored a momentous national security threat, namely that the Russians potentially possessed a second Hunter Biden laptop. 

Late Monday, Grassley issued a news release citing “multiple FBI whistleblowers, including those in senior positions,” who raised “the alarm about tampering by senior FBI and Justice Department officials in politically sensitive investigations,” including “investigative activity involving derogatory information on Hunter Biden’s financial and foreign business activities.” According to the Iowa Republican, the whistleblowers alleged that Washington Field Office Assistant Special Agent in Charge Timothy “Thibault and other FBI officials sought to falsely portray as disinformation evidence acquired from multiple sources that provided the FBI derogatory information related to Hunter Biden’s financial and foreign business activities, even though some of that information had already been or could be verified.”

The news release added that “in August of 2020, FBI supervisory intelligence analyst Brian Auten opened an assessment, which was used by a team of agents at FBI headquarters to improperly discredit and falsely claim that derogatory information about Biden’s activities was disinformation, causing investigative activity and sourcing to be shut down.” “The FBI headquarters team allegedly placed their assessment findings in a restricted access subfolder, effectively flagging sources and derogatory evidence related to Hunter Biden as disinformation while shielding the justification for such findings from scrutiny,” according to Grassley.

The Iowa senator claimed that “Thibault also reportedly ordered the closure of a stream of information related to Hunter Biden and sought to improperly mark the matter within FBI systems in a way that would prevent it from being re-opened in the future.” “The FBI headquarters team allegedly claimed that reporting from the stream was at risk of disinformation,” but the whistleblowers told Grassley, “that all of the information obtained through that stream was already verified or verifiable.”

The FBI whistleblowers’ charges, if accurate, are devastating and mean that at a time that Hunter Biden was already reportedly under investigation by the Delaware U.S. Attorney’s Office, rather than work with the agents already investigating then-candidate Joe Biden’s son, FBI headquarters initiated its own “assessment.” Then, according to the whistleblowers, agents improperly shut down sources, falsely framed evidence as disinformation, and hid the reasoning for that determination from other FBI agents behind restricted areas.

The press release also suggests that the FBI’s “assessment” served to frame the investigation Grassley and Sen. Ron Johnson, R-Wis., were conducting into Hunter Biden’s foreign business dealing as tainted by Russian disinformation. As part of that investigation, in May 2020, “Senate Republicans issued a subpoena seeking documents from the younger Biden and asked for information related to more than two dozen entities, including Burisma,” which was the Ukrainian energy company that paid Hunter nearly $1 million a year to sit on its board. 

With the Trump-Biden presidential contest in full force, Grassley and Johnson’s investigation into Hunter prompted pushback from Democrats, with Democrat members of the Gang of Eight sending a letter and classified addendum in July 2020 to FBI Director Christopher Wray “specifically citing the Johnson-Grassley probe into Hunter Biden as reason for an urgent briefing for Congress about foreign ‘disinformation.’”

The following month, Democrat Sens. Gary Peters of Michigan and Ron Wyden of Oregon wrote Grassley and Johnson and requested that members of the Senate Homeland Security and Finance committees, which they chaired, “receive a briefing from the FBI’s foreign influence task force related to their ongoing Biden investigations.” 

According to an August 5, 2020, Washington Post article, “the Democrats have requested the member briefing for months, and the FBI and U.S. intelligence agencies have previously briefed committee staff on possible foreign disinformation.” The FBI later briefed both Grassley and Johnson on August 6, 2020, but according to the senators, that briefing was both “unsolicited and unnecessary” and failed to provide any new information to the senators or any specific allegations that they had received “disinformation” as part of their Hunter Biden investigation. 

Given that FBI supervisory intelligence analyst Brian Auten, according to whistleblowers, opened his assessment into Hunter in August, the whistleblowers’ allegations raise serious questions concerning whether Democrats pressured the FBI into launching an investigation into Hunter as a pretext to provide the desired “disinformation briefing.” 

Further, in April of 2021, someone leaked the fact that the FBI had briefed Grassley and Johnson on August 6, 2020, with the Washington Post running a story painting the senators as reckless in their investigation into Hunter Biden’s foreign business dealings by suggesting they “ignored FBI warnings and thus may have been manipulated by the Kremlin.” As the Wall Street Journal reported at the time, it seems possible that “the FBI set up two Members of Congress for political attack under the guise of a ‘defensive briefing.’” 

The whistleblowers’ accusations then, when coupled with the media coverage, suggest that an agent from FBI headquarters opened an assessment to provide cover to Hunter Biden, to eliminate source trails for the investigation into then-candidate Joe Biden’s son, and to taint the legitimate inquiry into Hunter Biden’s business dealings. That scandal, however, represents but half the issue because the whistleblowers’ statements, if true, suggest the assessment of Hunter was a sham. And as a sham, the agents would not vet the evidence available to them, which would have included the MacBook laptop Hunter had abandoned at a repair shop in Delaware.

The FBI seized that laptop in December of 2019, after being alerted to its existence in October. At that time, FBI agents were reportedly told that in addition to pornography, the computer had information “dealing with foreign interests, a pay-for-play scheme linked to the former administration, [and] lots of foreign money.” 

What the FBI did after seizing the laptop in December of 2019 is unknown. However, given that the FBI was reportedly told it contained “a pay-for-play scheme linked to the former administration, [and] lots of foreign money,” any legitimate investigation would have involved reviewing the laptop for information relevant to Grassley and Johnson’s investigations. And had the FBI reviewed the laptop, agents would have discovered a video recording capturing Hunter Biden saying that in 2018, another laptop went missing when he was “partying in Las Vegas,” and that Hunter believed it was stolen by a group of Russians. 

The video then showed a prostitute asking Hunter if he worried the Russian thieves would try to “blackmail” him. “Yeah, in some way, yeah,” Hunter replied, noting his father is “running for president,” and that “I talk about it all the time.” Hunter had also noted that the computer had “tons” of compromising videos on it. 

But it was not just the compromising videos of Hunter of concern, but the financial information likely on that laptop that could implicate his father in the pay-to-play scandal. If that information were in the hands of “the Russians,” as Hunter believed, the national security risk was huge and demanded the intelligence community conduct a defensive briefing of Joe Biden. 

Instead, it appears from the whistleblowers’ comments that a non-investigation took place, with legitimate sources and evidence falsely categorized as disinformation, and then rather than provide Biden a defensive briefing, the senators received one. 

This scandal is no longer just about the Biden family; it is about every member of the law enforcement and intelligence communities who put our country at risk by failing to do their jobs.


Margot Cleveland is The Federalist’s senior legal correspondent. She is also a contributor to National Review Online, the Washington Examiner, Aleteia, and Townhall.com, and has been published in the Wall Street Journal and USA Today. Cleveland is a lawyer and a graduate of the Notre Dame Law School, where she earned the Hoynes Prize—the law school’s highest honor. She later served for nearly 25 years as a permanent law clerk for a federal appellate judge on the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals. Cleveland is a former full-time university faculty member and now teaches as an adjunct from time to time. As a stay-at-home homeschooling mom of a young son with cystic fibrosis, Cleveland frequently writes on cultural issues related to parenting and special-needs children. Cleveland is on Twitter at @ProfMJCleveland. The views expressed here are those of Cleveland in her private capacity.

9 Times Sen. Ron Johnson Triggered the Left — And Turned Out to Be Right


Reported BY: KYLEE ZEMPEL | JANUARY 14, 2022

Read more at https://thefederalist.com/2022/01/14/9-times-sen-ron-johnson-triggered-the-left-and-turned-out-to-be-right/

Ron Johnson in the Senate

Sen. Ron Johnson is not planning his Senate retirement anytime soon. The Wisconsin lawmaker is running for reelection, he announced this week, at which the corrupt media predictably came out, guns blazing.

CNN’s Chris Cillizza, for instance, announced that the “Senate’s leading conspiracy theorist is running for another term,” and The Nation ran an article calling him an “off-the-deep-end” senator.

But while attention-seeking pundits attack Johnson for opinions that don’t conform to the left-wing narrative (opinions held among many Americans outside the Beltway, by the way), his opinions are often proved to be exactly right. There’s quite a long list of “Ron John” statements and actions that, after sending the media into a tizzy and Big Tech giants into a censorship spree, have held up quite well over time. Here are some of them.

Jan. 6

During a February 2021 hearing to examine the Jan. 6 Capitol riot, Johnson condemned the violence then went on to read an eyewitness account of the day’s events. Originally published in The Federalist, it detailed the presence of provocateurs in the crowd and confusion among many of the pro-police “MAGA” protesters who didn’t attend the rally to perpetrate violence.

The media lost it, ignoring his condemnation of the violence to smear Johnson as a conspiratorial nutjob. CNNNew York Daily NewsDaily BeastThe Washington Post, the Boston Globe, and even the Washington Examiner ran articles attacking him as “deranged.”

Yet the account Johnson read was entered into the record without objection from lawmakers of either party. And since then, instead of learning more information about Jan. 6 that refutes eyewitness accounts of “provocateurs,” Americans have been treated to political playacting (including literal musical theater) from House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s sham commission, more hyperventilating from the media, and repeated stonewalling from the FBI on questions about potential provocateurs caught on video, such as Ray Epps.

Johnson was also ahead of the game on the Capitol Police component of Jan. 6, including pushing to correct the media and Capitol Police’s lies about what happened to the late Officer Brian Sicknick.

COVID Shots

Johnson has been a consistent voice for those who don’t feel they have one on Covid shots and the mandates that accompany them. He’s given Americans a forum to discuss their firsthand adverse shot reactions, for which he’s been smeared in the corrupt media as “fundamentally dangerous” and as a peddler of “misinformation.”

In November 2021, YouTube suspended Johnson’s channel for the fifth time for seven days for a video of a panel on vaccine-related injuries, labeling it “Covid misinformation.” Yet we know adverse reactions do occur.

In April 2021, when Johnson questioned forcing every American to get vaccinated and slammed the idea of pushing vaccine mandates on citizens, Anthony Fauci came after him on MSNBC — which other outlets amplified, calling the senator an “idiot anti-vaxxer.”

Fast-forward to 2022, and Johnson has been vindicated: Even with a federal vaccine mandate in place, case numbers are up higher than ever; and even the triple-vaccinated are still contracting and spreading the virus.

Early COVID Treatment

Big Tech has twice censored the sitting U.S. senator by nuking videos discussing early Covid treatments. In February 2021, YouTube removed videos of sworn testimony from Dr. Pierre Kory about early treatments. Then in June, YouTube suspended Johnson’s account for one week for remarks he made about early Covid treatments in Milwaukee.

Shutting down scientific inquiry and debate is inherently anti-science, however, as scientists who dissent from some of the questionable Covid conventional wisdom have pointed out.

“For science to work, you have to have an open exchange of ideas,” Dr. Jay Bhattacharya, a professor of medicine at Stanford University, has said of this type of censorship. “If you’re going to make an argument that something is misinformation, you should provide an actual argument. You can’t just take it down and say, ‘Oh, it’s misinformation’ without actually giving a reason. And saying, ‘Look it disagrees with the CDC’ is not enough of a reason. Let’s hear the argument, let’s see the evidence that YouTube used to decide it was misinformation. Let’s have a debate. Science works best when we have an open debate.”

[LISTEN: Sen. Ron Johnson Has Some Questions For The ‘Covid Gods’]

‘Rona Vaccines for Kids

In October 2021, Wisconsin radio host Dan O’Donnell’s YouTube account was suspended after he posted an interview with the senator about opposing vaccine mandates for kids.

We didn’t have to wait for ground-breaking scientific discovery on this one; we’ve known since the beginning of the pandemic that children are at almost zero risk of dying from coronavirus, and now we know that Covid shots don’t prevent people from contracting nor spreading the virus. Johnson was scientifically spot-on to oppose vaxx mandates for children, given children’s near-zero risk from a bout with Covid versus the potential risks of shot complications.

Hunter Biden

Corporate media ginned up all types of attacks when Johnson, as chairman of the Senate Homeland Security Committee, dug into the Biden family corruption linked to Hunter Biden.

The New York Times described it using the “Russian disinformation” moniker. Time Magazine smeared him as the Senate’s “one-man Biden prosecutor.” And the Washington Post described Johnson’s investigation as a nakedly partisan ploy to get Donald Trump re-elected.

This was all a distraction from the fact that Johnson and Sen. Chuck Grassley successfully revealed millions of dollars in questionable financial transactions between Hunter Biden and his associates and foreign individuals, including the wife of the former mayor of Moscow and people with ties to the Chinese Communist Party.

Biden associate Tony Bobulinski confirmed aspects of the report after its release.

Climate Change

Johnson triggered the media in July when he mouthed to a Republican group that climate change is “bullsh-t.” The corporate media went berserk, with CNN and Chris Cuomo calling Johnson a climate change “denier.”

The senator has reinforced repeatedly that he doesn’t deny that the climate is changing, but rather that he isn’t an “alarmist” and doesn’t buy Democrats’ apocalyptic predictions.

Big surprise, plenty of data backs this up. The American Enterprise Institute has documented 50 years of failed doomsday predictions by so-called “experts” in the corrupt media and Democrat Party. For instance, ABC claimed in 2008 that Manhattan would be underwater by 2015. In 2011, The Washington Post claimed that cherry blossoms would bloom in winter.

Climate genius Al Gore also predicted in 2008 that five years later the North Pole would be free of ice. And in 2019, Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y., predicted that Miami would be underwater in a few years. Yet in 2022, Miami is still very much above ground.

Mouthwash

Last month, Johnson noted a number of simple things Americans can do to keep themselves heathy, such as taking Vitamin D, Vitamin C, and zinc, and gargling mouthwash to reduce viral load if they get COVID.

He was swiftly berated in print and on-air by the likes of MSNBC’s Rachel MaddowHuffPostThe Washington Post, and Rolling StoneForbes said Johnson’s “Advice Exemplifies The Rising Tide Of Anti-Science,” and MSNBC’s Joy Reid called him a “fool” and a “public health menace.”

Johnson’s mouthwash claim about viral load is supported by scientific research, however, such as this study. Additionally, Dr. Bruce Davidson, a faculty member of the Georgetown Department of Otolaryngology, conducted a study on the use of antiseptic mouthwash to control coronavirus, published in the American Journal of Medicine, and found that mouthwash can help protect people from Covid-19 pneumonia.

Even FackCheck.org had to admit, “Johnson is right that mouthwashes ‘may’ reduce the virus’ ability to replicate in people.”

Natural Immunity

On July 14, Johnson claimed natural immunity is “as strong if not stronger than vaccinated immunity,” against which WaPo deployed its fake fact-checkers.

“Fact-checker” Salvador Rizzo gave it “four Pinocchios” (an analysis that Johnson’s team eviscerated), and WaPo’s bogus fact-checker-in-chief Glenn Kessler called it one of the “Biggest Pinocchios of 2021.”

Johnson’s claims, however, come straight out of a pair of studies that confirmed natural immunity is stronger than COVID vaccine-acquired immunity. The pre-print Israeli study found that people with natural immunity could be 13 times less likely to contract the virus than those who were solely vaccinated, contradicting CDC findings.

Martin Kulldorff, an epidemiologist and biostatistician who was a professor at Harvard Medical School for a decade, dissected and compared the CDC study and the Israeli pre-print and explained why the latter is more reliable.

Russiagate

Johnson’s years-long involvement in getting to the bottom of the Russia hoax and the Ukraine phone call impeachment is enough to fill a book (see hereherehereherehere, and here), but suffice it to say that, true to form, the media were relentless, and the right was pretty much right about everything. In fact, the truth about that story is likely far worse than most have heard. Here’s hoping Johnson continues to pursue that truth using the powers of a U.S. senator.


Kylee Zempel is an assistant editor at The Federalist. She previously worked as the copy editor for the Washington Examiner magazine and as an editor and producer at National Geographic. She holds a B.S. in Communication Arts/Speech and an A.S. in Criminal Justice and writes on topics including feminism and gender issues, religious liberty, and criminal justice. Follow her on Twitter @kyleezempel.

Biden Falsely Claims Intel Community Has Cleared His Family Of Wrongdoing


 21, 2020 By 

Biden Falsely Claims Intel Community Has Cleared His Family Of Wrongdoing

Without any evidence, Democratic Nominee Joe Biden claimed that the “vast majority” of the intelligence community agrees there is “no basis at all” for the allegations of corruption against him and his son Hunter Biden.

“And, you know, and all and the vast majority of the intelligence people have come out and said, there’s no basis at all,” Biden claimed.

Despite his baseless claims, the intelligence community has weighed in on the potentially incriminating evidence presented by the New York Post and others who obtained information from a laptop hard drive reportedly belonging to Hunter Biden.

On Tuesday, the FBI and Department of Justice (DOJ) agreed with Director of National Intelligence John Ratcliffe Tuesday that the information released about Biden and his son Hunter is not a Russian disinformation campaign.

“Let me be clear,” Ratcliffe said on Fox Business, debunking Rep. Adam Schiff’s baseless claims of foreign election interference. “The intelligence community doesn’t believe that because there is no intelligence that supports that.”

The FBI is also in possession of the laptop.

Despite these claims, Biden continued to criticize the spread of this damning evidence, calling it a “last-ditch effort in this desperate campaign to smear me and my family.”

“This is the same garbage [as] Rudy Giuliani, Trump’s henchmen,” Biden said.

Biden’s comments come after Sen. Ron Johnson of Wisconsin, Chair of the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, released a statement “on Homeland Security letterhead” claiming that Hunter and the Biden family were profiting from “the Biden name.”

A Senate report released in late September outlined “a long list of the Biden family’s conflicts of interest conducting shady overseas business activity with foreign adversaries while serving at the upper echelons of government, raising significant national security concerns with potentially criminal conduct and threats of extortion.”

Johnson reiterated his position on the issue to Sean Hannity on Fox News Monday night, expressing his concern that the mainstream media was not covering the scandal properly.

“Hunter Biden, together with other Biden family members, profited off the Biden name. That’s what’s happening here,” he said. “What we revealed in our 87-page report is a vast web of connections with Chinese nationals, with people all over the world. Again, trading on the Biden name.”

“But it’s these business dealings – you know, our report raises far more questions than it actually answered – but it raises so my troubling issues that the mainstream media is simply not looking at,” Johnson added. “They are suppressing the information, which is a scandal in and of itself.”

In response, Biden said that “Ron should be ashamed of himself” and referred to GOP outsider Sen. Mitt Romney’s denial of these claims. Romney has historically opposed his Republican colleagues on multiple contentious issues including endorsing the Democrats’ campaign to attempt to impeach Trump.

“Even the man who served with him on that committee, a former nominee for the Republican Party, said there’s no basis to this,” Biden said.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Jordan Davidson is a staff writer at The Federalist. She graduated from Baylor University where she majored in political science and minored in journalism.

Senate Panel Is Investigating Contents Of Hunter Biden’s Alleged Computer Drive


Reported by CHUCK ROSS, INVESTIGATIVE REPORTER | October 14, 20203:48 PM ET

Read more at https://www.conservativereview.com/senate-panel-is-investigating-contents-of-hunter-bidens-alleged-computer-drive-2648210267.html/

  • A Senate committee is trying to verify the contents of a computer hard drive purported to belong to Hunter Biden. 
  • A spokesman for the Senate Homeland Security and Government Affairs Committee said that a confidential source contacted the panel last month regarding the hard drive. 
  • The New York Post reported earlier on Wednesday that the owner of a computer store in Delaware had provided the newspaper with documents from the hard drive. 
  • Emails on the device purportedly show Hunter Biden discussing his work for Burisma Holdings, a Ukrainian energy firm. 

A Senate committee is investigating the contents of a computer hard drive that allegedly belonged to Hunter Biden, and which reportedly contains emails related to Ukrainian energy firm Burisma Holdings. The Senate Homeland Security and Government Affairs Committee (HSGAC) is attempting to validate the information from the hard drive, which was turned over to the panel last month by the owner of a computer repair shop in Delaware.

“Although we consider communications sent to our whistleblower account confidential, given that the individual spoke with the media about his contact with the committee, we can confirm receipt of his email complaint,” an HSGAC spokesman told The Daily Caller News Foundation.

“We are in the process of attempting to validate the information he provided.”

Investigators for the committee met with the shop owner on Oct. 5, according to The New York Post.

The New York Post published a series of stories earlier on Wednesday from documents on the alleged Biden hard drive. According to the newspaper, the repairman said that a person dropped off the computer for repair in April 2019 but never came to retrieve it.

Federal prosecutors issued a subpoena for the device in December 2019, according to the Post. The repairman said he made a copy of the hard drive before providing it to prosecutors and shared it with a lawyer for Rudy Giuliani. (RELATED: Report: Joe Biden Met With Son’s Ukrainian Business Partner, According To Unconfirmed Emails)

Giuliani, who has conducted a private investigation into the Bidens’ activities in Ukraine, turned the contents of the device over to The Post on Sunday, according to the newspaper. Steve Bannon, a former strategist for Donald Trump, also told The Post about the hard drive last month.

Bannon was indicted on Aug. 20 on fraud charges related to a fundraiser for a group that claimed to want to build a wall on the southern U.S. border.

Giuliani is also reportedly under investigation because of his ties to two businessmen he worked with to dig up dirt on the Bidens and Ukraine.

Giuliani, a personal lawyer for President Trump, also met in December 2019 with Arkady Derkach, a Ukrainian parliamentarian who has been sanctioned by the U.S. government because of his ties to the Russian government.

Emails from the computer, if verified, would provide new details about Hunter Biden’s work for Burisma Holdings. Hunter Biden had joined the board of directors of Burisma in April 2014. Joe Biden had just taken over as the Obama administration’s chief liaison to Ukraine following its Maidan Revolution.

Republicans, led by Giuliani, have alleged that Joe Biden intervened to help Burisma because of his son’s position with the company. Burisma’s owner, Mykola Zlochevsky, had been under investigation for bribery in the United Kingdom.

The elder Biden has denied discussing business with his son.

According to the Post, a Burisma executive named Vadym Pozharsky emailed Hunter Biden in December 2015 thanking him for an “opportunity” to meet Joe Biden.

The Biden campaign issued a statement on Wednesday saying that his calendar entries do not show a meeting with Pozharsky.

The computer repairman contacted the Senate committee a day after the panel released a report about Hunter Biden’s business activities, according to The Post. The report, released on Sept. 23, cited a series of wire transfers from foreigners to bank accounts and businesses controlled by Hunter Biden and his business partners. Some of the transactions were flagged as suspicious by banking regulators, according to the Senate report. One wire transfer was a $3.5 million transfer from Elena Baturina, a Russian billionaire whose husband was the mayor of Moscow through 2010.

Ye Jianming, the founder of CEFC China Energy Co., also wired hundreds of thousands of dollars to Biden’s accounts, according to the Senate report. Ye has been linked to China Association for International Friendly Contacts (CAIFC), a front group for the People’s Liberation Army.

Republicans on the panel said that Biden’s foreign relationships posed a counterintelligence risk.

Wisconsin Sen. Ron Johnson, the chairman of HSGAC, said that the report of Hunter Biden’s computer drive “raises more questions that must be resolved.”

“There are so many red flags about the Biden family trying to cash in on the Vice President’s position that it can be hard to keep them straight,” he said in a statement provided to the DCNF.

“What we know for a fact is that Hunter Biden took millions of dollars from foreign nationals including, the wife of the former Mayor of Moscow, people tied to the Chinese Communist Party and other unsavory characters.”

“Joe Biden needs to finally come clean and tell the truth to the American people about all of these issues, and he needs to do it now.”

Senate Panel Approves Subpoenas For ‘Spygate’ Figure Stefan Halper, 40 Others


Reported by REUTERS/Erin Schaff | CHUCK ROSS, INVESTIGATIVE REPORTER | September 16, 202011:13 AM ET

URL of the originating web site: https://dailycaller.com/2020/09/16/ron-johnson-subpoena-stefan-halper/

A Senate committee voted along party lines on Wednesday to authorize depositions and subpoenas for 41 individuals as part of a review of the Trump-Russia investigation. The vote authorizes Sen. Ron Johnson, the Republican chairman of the Homeland Security and Government Affairs Committee, to subpoena Stefan Halper, a former University of Cambridge professor who served as a confidential source for the FBI during Crossfire Hurricane, the name of the Trump-Russia counterintelligence investigation.

The committee also approved issuing a subpoena for Steven Somma, an FBI counterintelligence investigator who served as Halper’s handling agent. A Justice Department inspector general’s report released on Dec. 9 faulted Somma for numerous errors during Crossfire Hurricane.

The Senate committee voted in June to issue subpoenas for 35 people on Johnson’s witness wish list, but Democrats raised a procedural issue that required a new vote on Wednesday. (RELATED: GOP Senator Seeks Subpoena For ‘Spygate’ Professor)

Michigan Sen. Gary Peters, the top Democrat on HSAGC, voiced his opposition to the subpoenas ahead of the vote on Wednesday. He accused Johnson of leading a politically-motivated investigation aimed at helping President Donald Trump.

Johnson has sought interviews with former FBI officials who led Crossfire Hurricane, including James Comey, Andrew McCabe, James Baker, Peter Strzok and Lisa Page.

He is also seeking depositions for former CIA Director John Brennan and former Director of National Intelligence James Clapper.

Also on the list are Cody Shearer and Sidney Blumenthal, two longtime Clinton allies who circulated a dossier that accused Donald Trump of illicit sex acts in Russia. The allegations are similar to those in the dossier by former British spy Christopher Steele.

Jonathan Winer, a former State Department official, obtained the so-called Shearer dossier from Blumenthal, and in turn shared it with Steele. Steele passed the report to the FBI.

Johnson also plans to subpoena Winer as part of his investigation.

McConnell tries to unify GOP


Reported 

Friction among Senate Republicans on the next round of coronavirus relief legislation and a suddenly shaky stock market has eroded President Trump’s leverage in the ongoing standoff with Democrats.  Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) was still searching Tuesday afternoon for 51 Republican votes for a half-trillion-dollar economic relief package that he hopes will put pressure on Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) to soften their demands.

Meanwhile, the stock markets in the past week have suffered their worst one-day drops since the coronavirus first froze the U.S. economy in March. On Tuesday, the Dow Jones Industrial Average and the S&P 500 dropped 632 points and 95 points, respectively — more than 2 percent each — while the tech-heavy Nasdaq composite dropped 465 points, or 4.11 percent.

While the stock markets surged upward through July and August, the start of September has brought a stark shift in sentiment. Coronavirus infections are expected to spike when the fall temperatures drop and there doesn’t appear to be a clear path to getting another federal relief package.

“Trump needs a package just because the stock market has been declining. There is a possibility that COVID infections will increase in the fall and we know the economy is a big variable in how people vote,” said Darrell West, director of governance studies at the Brookings Institution.

“Republicans want to protect the Senate and protect the presidency and they’re going to need a deal,” he said.

Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell warned Congress during testimony in June that “significant uncertainty” remained in the economy and that “support would be well-placed at this time.” The recent big drop in the stock indices is a significant political development because Trump often cites Wall Street to argue that the economy is making a strong recovery.

“The Dow Jones Industrial just closed above 29,000! You are so lucky to have me as your President. With Joe Hiden’ it would crash,” Trump tweeted exuberantly on Sept. 2, just before the markets started tumbling.

Another relief package passed by Congress, especially one as large as what Pelosi and Schumer want, is expected to give another boost to the markets.

“You live by the sword and you die by the sword. If you’re claiming credit when the market is high, you have a problem when the market drops,” West said.

One Republican senator who wants a larger relief bill said the market turmoil “ought to” put pressure on the White House and colleagues to agree to more federal aid. But the lawmaker, who requested anonymity to discuss Trump’s motives, conceded “I’m having trouble mapping out a scenario one way or another.”

Pelosi on Tuesday seized on calls by Fed officials for more fiscal stimulus from Congress as well as divisions among Republicans to press her growing leverage.

“The chairman of the Fed and other Fed leaders around the country have said clearly that we need a stimulus, that we need a boost,” she noted in an interview with Bloomberg’s “Balance of Power.”

At the same time she slammed McConnell’s revised relief bill, which is estimated to cost around a half-trillion dollars, as “pathetic.” She pointed out it is roughly “half of what [Treasury] Secretary [Steven] Mnuchin has proposed.”

“They are not even in agreement. They are in disarray,” she said of Republicans.

The Senate Republican bill needs 60 votes to overcome an anticipated Democratic filibuster and pass. It will fall well short of that threshold, but McConnell is hoping to get at least a simple majority in favor of it so he can argue that Democrats are acting as obstructionists.

He said on the Senate floor Tuesday that he will schedule a vote this week and indicated to reporters in the hallway that it would happen Thursday.

“Republicans are making yet another overture,” McConnell said.

Conservatives such as Sens. Josh Hawley (R-Mo.), Rand Paul (R-Ky.), Mike Lee (R-Utah) and Ron Johnson (R-Wis.) are skeptical about spending hundreds of billions of dollars in more federal aid and are pushing for concessions from the GOP leadership. With all Democrats likely to oppose the Republican bill, McConnell can only afford three defections.

Paul on Tuesday said he would oppose the measure.

“We don’t have any money up here. I’m not for borrowing any more money,” he said.

Johnson on Tuesday afternoon said he would support the bill after McConnell and Mnuchin agreed to repurpose about $350 billion in funding from the $2.2 trillion CARES Act passed in March to new relief measures. He said the revised bill would add only $150 billion to $300 billion to the deficit, though he cautioned the numbers aren’t final yet. Johnson said he worked closely with the GOP leadership and Mnuchin to make changes to the measure to make it more appealing to conservatives but didn’t know if it would get 51 votes.

“We’ll see what all ends up happening. We’ll probably have a discussion. There might be some further arm twisting,” he said.

Hawley, a rising conservative star, is pressing for a fully refundable tax credit for homeschooling expenses such as books, technology and laboratory equipment. His proposal was not in the bill as of Tuesday afternoon and he remains undecided. Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) used his leverage with Republican leaders to gain two years of tax credits for individuals and businesses that donate to nonprofit scholarship funds, a proposal designed to help subsidize private school tuition.

There are also questions as to whether more-moderate Republicans in tough reelection races such as Sens. Susan Collins (Maine) and Cory Gardner (Colo.) will be satisfied with the smaller price tag for the revised package, and the lack of additional federal aid for state and local governments, other than money set aside for schools.

Without the repurposed federal funding offsetting some of its cost, the package would be in the range of $500 billion to $700 billion, according to Senate GOP aides. The Republican bill, which McConnell unveiled Tuesday, would provide $300 a week in federal unemployment assistance, a second round of Paycheck Protection Program loans, $105 billion to help reopen classrooms and $16 billion in more money for COVID-19 testing.

Failure to win a simple majority vote for a largely symbolic bill would be another setback for the White House and Senate Republicans, who declined to put the $1.1 trillion coronavirus relief proposal they drafted in July on the Senate floor because of divisions within their conference. Plans to vote during the first week of August on proposals to extend federal unemployment assistance and to fund a second round of small-business loans were scrapped after disagreements again broke out among Republican senators.

Democrats, however, have stayed unified behind their own proposal, the $3.4 trillion HEROES Act, which the House passed in May, as well as a trimmed-down $2.2 trillion proposal that Pelosi and Schumer offered to White House negotiators in late August.

Pelosi and Schumer on Monday said McConnell’s bill was “headed nowhere” and dismissed it as a “political” gesture.

Grassley, Johnson Renew Inquiry into Democrat Efforts to Seek Dirt from Ukraine on Trump in 2016


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URL of the original posting site: https://steadfastandloyal.com/politics/grassley-johnson-renew-inquiry-into-democrat-efforts-to-seek-dirt-from-ukraine-on-trump-in-2016/

Senate Finance Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley (R-IA) and Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee Chairman Ron Johnson (R-WI) have written a letter to Attorney General Bill Barr requesting information on documents Ukraine has been trying to give over to the Department of Justice detailing Democratic efforts to dig up dirt on Donald Trump and his campaign team.

They plan on reopening their investigations into the origin of the Trump/Russia hoax. They will be looking into Alexandra Chalupa, who the DNC sent to Ukraine to gather up the dirt they were trying to supply the Clinton campaign.

From Breitbart News 

Grassley and Johnson wrote in the letter:

Ukrainian efforts, abetted by a U.S. political party, to interfere in the 2016 election should not be ignored. Such allegations of corruption deserve due scrutiny, and the American people have a right to know when foreign forces attempt to undermine our democratic processes.

Their letter follows a previous July 2017 letter from Grassley, then-Senate Judiciary Committee chairman, to the DOJ referencing reports that then-DNC contractor Alexandra Chalupa worked with the Ukrainian government to obtain opposition research on Trump during the 2016 election.

Grassley cited a January 2017 Politico report that said, “Ukrainian government officials tried to help Hillary Clinton and undermine Trump,” and “helped Clinton’s allies research damaging information on Trump and his advisers.”

In addition, Grassley and Johnson asked whether the Justice Department has acquired information from Ukrainian prosecutors that may contradict Vice President Joe Biden’s claim that he pressured Ukraine to fire its chief prosecutor because he was corrupt, and not because he was investigating a company in Ukraine that hired his son based on a report.

According to a press release on their letter:

A report yesterday revealed new documents that call into question the stated reasons behind a 2016 ultimatum by then Vice-President Biden to fire a Ukrainian prosecutor who had investigated a company for which Biden’s son was a board member. According to the report, Ukrainian officials have tried to forward documents related to the matter to the department, to no avail. Grassley and Johnson are requesting details on any actions the department is taking to review the material referenced in the report,” according to a press release on their letter.

House passes sweeping tax bill in huge victory for GOP


Reported

The House on Thursday passed legislation to overhaul the tax code, moving Republicans one step closer to achieving the top item on their legislative agenda.  The measure was approved by a vote of 227-205. No Democrats voted for the bill, while 13 Republicans broke ranks to oppose it.

Passing this bill is the single biggest thing we can do to grow the economy, to restore opportunity and help these middle-income families who are struggling, Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) said ahead of the vote.

Once the bill reached the magic number for passage, Republicans in the chamber erupted into applause. Democrats mockingly joined in, with some singing “na na na na, hey hey, goodbye,” like they did when the chamber passed an ObamaCare repeal bill earlier this year.

Besides Rep. Walter Jones (R-N.C.), who had concerns about the bill’s impact on the debt, all of the GOP no votes came from the states of New York, New Jersey and California.

Opposing the bill were New York Reps. Dan Donovan, John Faso, Pete Kingc, Elise Stefanik and Lee Zeldin; New Jersey Reps. Rodney Frelinghuysen , Leonard Lance , Frank LoBiondo  and Chris Smith, and California Reps. Darrell Issa , Tom McClintock 

Passage of the tax bill, which was unveiled just two weeks ago, was relatively drama-free compared to the GOP’s failed effort to repeal ObamaCare earlier this year.

The stakes are high for Republicans, who are feeling pressure to show that they can govern ahead of next year’s midterm elections. The Democratic wave in last week’s gubernatorial and state house elections in Virginia and New Jersey has only added to their anxiety.

GOP leaders are hoping to get legislation to President Trump’s desk by Christmas, an ambitious timeline given the obstacles that are mounting in the Senate.

Ahead of the House vote, Trump visited the Capitol to rally the House GOP conference in support of the bill. The president and his economic advisers have touted tax reform as the key to unlocking economic growth.

The measure approved Thursday would reduce the number of individual tax brackets, slash the corporate tax rate from 35 percent to 20 percent and eliminate a number of tax breaks and deductions.

The Joint Committee on Taxation (JCT) estimated that the bill would lower federal revenues by about $1.4 trillion over 10 years — a key finding, as the Republican budget only allows lawmakers to add $1.5 trillion to the debt during that time.

JCT said that all income groups would see a tax cut on average under the bill in 2019, but that some income groups, particularly those making $20,000 to $50,000, in some future years would see tax increases on average.

House Republicans who have labored for months on the tax bill celebrated the vote on Thursday, saying the GOP is on track to put more money in people’s pockets and spur investment in new jobs.

“For too long, this broken tax code has eroded America’s economic leadership around the world,” said House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Kevin Brady  (R-Texas), the chief architect of the legislation.

Democrats denounced the bill, saying it mostly benefit wealthy individuals and corporations while increasing taxes on some in the middle class.

Rep. John Yarmuth  (D-Ky.), the top Democrat on the House Budget Committee, brought a giant check to the House floor debate giving $500 billion to “The Wealthiest 1%” from “The American Taxpayers.” The fake check was signed, “Congressional Republicans.” 

“Hard-working families get pocket change,” Yarmuth said, holding up a handful of coins for emphasis. “But millions don’t even get that.”

The House bill would eliminate the deduction for state and local income and sales taxes and cap the property-tax deduction at $10,000, which could hurt people in high-tax states like New York, New Jersey and California.

“I just have too many constituents who are going to see their taxes go up or not see the benefit of the tax relief,” Zeldin said.

Senate Republicans have their own tax bill, which is currently being considered by the chamber’s tax-writing committee. The Senate legislation differs from the House’s in a number of ways. Unlike the House bill, the Senate bill fully repeals the state and local tax deduction, delays the corporate tax cut until 2019 and repeals ObamaCare’s individual mandate. The Senate’s bill also sunsets tax cuts for individuals after 2025, in order to comply with the “Byrd rule” that the measure can’t increase the deficit after 10 years if it is to pass with a simple majority.

No more than two Senate Republicans can vote against their bill if Democrats are united in opposition to it. Already, Sen. Ron Johnson  (R-Wis.) has said he doesn’t support either the House or the Senate bills because they provide more of a benefit to corporations than to other types of businesses. Sen. Susan Collins(R-Maine) has expressed concerns about including repeal of the individual mandate, but has not taken a hard stance yet on the measure.

Senate Republicans are aiming to vote on their tax plan during the week after the Thanksgiving holiday.

If the Senate passes its bill, it will set up a difficult conference negotiation between the two chambers over the final legislation.

– This story was updated at 2:15 p.m.

Cruz, DeSantis push for congressional term limits


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Cruz, DeSantis push for congressional term limits / © Getty Images

Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) and Rep. Ron DeSantis (R-Fla.) are pushing for an amendment to the Constitution to place term limits on lawmakers, arguing the move will help overhaul Washington.

“The American people resoundingly agreed on Election Day, and President-elect Donald Trump has committed to putting government back to work for the American people,” Cruz said in a statement on Tuesday. “It is well past time to put an end to the cronyism and deceit that has transformed Washington into a graveyard of good intentions.” 
 partyof-deceit-spin-and-lies
Under an amendment the two GOP lawmakers filed on Tuesday, House members would be allowed to serve three two-year terms and senators would be able to serve two six-year terms.
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DeSantis added that the measure would be a “first step toward reforming Capitol Hill.” 

GOP Sens. Deb Fischer (Neb.), Ron Johnson (Wis.), Thom Tillis (N.C.), Marco Rubio (Fla.), Mike Lee (Utah) and David Perdue (Ga.) are backing the proposal. Cruz and DeSantis previously pledged in a Washington Post op-ed to introduce the measure this year. stupid

According to the resolution, any congressional term before the amendment becomes law wouldn’t be taken into account when determining if a lawmaker can run for reelection or not. Trump backed term limits during his White House run, but the measure could face an uphill battle in Congress.

Neither House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.), who has said he supports term limits, nor Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) has signaled it could come up for a vote. McConnell appeared to shut down Trump’s push after the election, telling reporters, “We have term limits — they’re called elections.”

In addition to clearing Congress, the Cruz-DeSantis proposal would also need to be ratified by three-fourths of state legislatures before going into effect.

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