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What We Know:

Barack Obama and virtually everyone associated with him lies. They lie as a matter of policy, political convenience, and a lack of personal integrity. Consider this from Steven Hayes at The Weekly Standard: 

The Obama Department of Justice targeted James Rosen of Fox News as a possible ‘criminal co-conspirator’ in a leak investigation and seized phone records of AP reporters and editors in 2013. The IRS under Barack Obama systematically targeted the president’s political opponents.

And there are numerous examples of the Obama administration and the intelligence leaders loyal to the president politicizing intelligence. In collaboration with the Obama White House, CIA Director John Brennan and DNI James Clapper worked for more than five years to keep the documents captured in the Osama bin Laden raid from public view. (See here and here for the exhaustive details). During the heated debate over the Iran Deal, Clapper’s office rewrote the threat assessment on Iran to downplay Iran’s involvement in transnational terror.

Beyond that, we know that several high-ranking Obama administration officials were caught lying about the details of the Benghazi attacks in the weeks before the 2012 presidential election—and for several years after.

Their lies, taken individually and as a whole, are in the category of “their lips are moving so they must be lying.”

Barack Obama and virtually everyone associated with his administration used agencies of the federal government to attack their political enemies.

Donald Trump is known to exaggerate. However, his exaggeration is usually a negotiating ploy rather than an attempt to deceive, and this is well known.

Presidents of the United States have access to far more information than the press or the public, and much if it will never be known to the public or press.

During the Obama years, the press uncritically printed everything Mr. Obama said, taking it not only at face value, but as holy writ.  They show no sign of changing that less than professional, reasonably skeptical policy.

The press doubts and ridicules everything Mr. Trump says or does, and their stories, on a daily basis, attack him with the goal of removing him from office. In that pursuit, the truth is decidedly optional, and often, an obstruction to the proper progressive narrative.

To maintain that narrative, the press will lie about anything that would reflect badly on its messiah, Barack Obama, and anyone associated with him.

Our various intelligence agencies do, in fact, conduct surveillance on American citizens. They just never admit it. Any suggestion to the contrary is an outright lie.

The President Of The United States is involved in all FISA warrants. It strains credibility to the breaking point to believe he would be clueless about such national security inquiries. Of course, Mr. Obama often ignored daily intelligence briefings, and only occasionally showed up for work, so…

Russia did not “hack” the election. They hacked Democrat computers and tried to hack Republican computers. There is no evidence, nor will there be evidence, Russia changed the outcome of the election. Democrats tried, but failed.

Republicans haven’t learned anything and remain the stupid party. Democrats walk in lockstep, uniformly attacking their political enemies no matter how ridiculous the attacks are. Republicans attack their political allies and each other, and bayonet their wounded, thinking this “non-partisan.”

Many in the media, and even among congressional Republicans, are demanding to know why Trump brought this up, suggesting the whole Russia story was dying out. Nonsense. The Democrats/media will never let it go, nor will they honestly report on the wiretapping angle. If Trump didn’t bring it up, the public would never know.

The press thinks everything revolves around them. They think their news coverage drives everything in Washington and the world. It doesn’t. The world continues to turn without their reporting on it.

Donald Trump and the people he hired are multi-taskers. They can do a great many things at once. The press assumes this story is paralyzing Mr. Trump and his Administration. They hope it does. They are wrong. Mr. Trump can work on repealing Obamacare, tax reform, freeing America’s energy reserves, knocking down insane regulations, and much more regardless of what the press is reporting. The media is not used to a president that works for a living. Note the timestamps on his tweets that sparked this furor: all before 0600.

Mr. Trump will always punch back, twice as hard, and knows how to manipulate the media.

What We Can Reasonably Believe:

That the Obama Administration sought warrants from the FISA Court to go after Mr. Trump seems reasonably well established, and if so, documentary proof may be easy to come by. However, it may require Mr. Trump declassify some information.

The Press is already claiming Mr. Trump lied, and Barack Obama must be blameless. They will do all they can to suppress the truth about this matter if the truth harms Obama or Democrats, and they will do all they can to trumpet the truth if it harms Trump or Republicans. They will also make up some “truth” to that end.

Actual News:

Here are some excerpts that will help you, gentle readers, to understand what’s going on. Do not expect to have definitive information on this situation in the near future. Here’s some useful background information, from Andrew McCarthy, former federal prosecutor, at National Review:

Start with this: There is no evidence — none, not a speck, not even a little one — that Donald Trump or anyone associated with him had anything whatsoever to do with the hacking of Democratic accounts. Remember, that’s the only crime here. And the Trump campaign had utterly nothing to do with it. We know this for two reasons.

First, in its ballyhooed report, the FBI told us not only that the Russians are the culprits but also that the Democrats were not the only targets. Putin’s regime, we are told, targeted both major parties. This was a Russian-government effort to compromise the American government, no matter which candidate ended up running it. It should come as no surprise, then, that the FBI made no allegation that Trump and his associates were complicit.

Second, it’s not like the FBI and the Obama Justice Department didn’t try to make a case against Trump. In fact, they scorched the earth.

Besides the illegal leaks of classified information that have fueled the ‘Russia hacked the election’ scam, this is the most outrageous and studiously unmentioned scandal of the election. While the commentariat was rending its garments over the mere prospect that Trump might have his political adversary, Hillary Clinton, investigated if he won the election, Obama was actually having Trump investigated.

To rehearse briefly, in the weeks prior to June 2016, the FBI did a preliminary investigation, apparently based on concerns about a server at Trump Tower that allegedly had some connection to Russian financial institutions. Even if there were such a connection, it is not a crime to do business with Russian banks — lots of Americans do. It should come as no surprise, then, that the FBI found no impropriety and did not proceed with a criminal investigation.

What is surprising, though, is that the case was not closed down.

Instead, the Obama Justice Department decided to pursue the matter as a national-security investigation under the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA). In June, it sought the FISA court’s permission to conduct surveillance on a number of Trump associates — and perhaps even Trump himself. It has been reported that Trump was “named” in the application, but it is not publicly known whether he (a) was named as a proposed wiretap target, or (b) was just mentioned in passing in the application.

Understand the significance of this: Only the Justice Department litigates before the FISA court; this was not some rogue investigators; this was a high level of Obama’s Justice Department — the same institution that, at that very moment, was whitewashing the Clinton e-mail scandal. And when Justice seeks FISA surveillance authority, it is essentially telling that court that there is probable cause to believe that the targets have acted as agents of a foreign power — that’s the only basis for getting a FISA warrant.

In this instance, the FISA court apparently found the Obama Justice Department’s presentation to be so weak that it refused to authorize the surveillance. That is telling, because the FISA court is generally very accommodating of government surveillance requests. Unwilling to take no for an answer, the Obama Justice Department came back to the FISA court in October — i.e., in the stretch run of the presidential campaign. According to various reports (and mind you, FISA applications are classified, so the leaks are illegal), the October application was much narrower than the earlier one and did not mention Donald Trump. The FISA Court granted this application, and for all we know the investigation is continuing.

There are two significant takeaways from this. First, a FISA national-security investigation is not a criminal investigation. It is not a probe to uncover criminal activity; it is a classified effort to discover what a potentially hostile foreign government may be up to on American soil. It does not get an assigned prosecutor because the purpose is not to prove anything publicly in court — indeed, it is a major no-no for the Justice Department to use its FISA authority pretextually, for the real purpose of trying to build a criminal investigation.

Let us turn to CBS—of course–for the Obama Administration non-denial denial of Mr. Trump’s allegations:

A cardinal rule of the Obama administration was that no White House official ever interfered with any independent investigation led by the Department of Justice,’ Kevin Lewis, an Obama spokesman, said in a Saturday afternoon statement. ‘As part of that practice, neither President Obama nor any White House official ever ordered surveillance on any U.S. citizen.’

‘Any suggestion otherwise is simply false,’ he added.

And if you believe that, gentle readers, also believe I am a three-headed, furry, purple space alien from the planet Zongo. I am here because Zongo needs women and Donald Trump has promised to supply them–through the Russians.

The Associated Press, along with The Washington Post and The New York Times, has become the leading Obama defender/Trump attacker in the media. Consider this from Powerline: 

FAKE NEWS FROM THE ASSOCIATED PRESS ON FISAGATE

The Associated Press purports to give us the latest news on FISAgate. There is one item of actual hard news: the House Intelligence Committee will investigate.

House Intelligence Chairman Devin Nunes says President Donald Trump’s allegations that the Obama administration wiretapped Trump Tower last year will become part of his panel’s investigation.

The California Republican says in a statement his committee ‘will make inquiries into whether the government was conducting surveillance activities on any political party’s campaign officials or surrogates.’

Every time the AP mentions FISAgate, it includes this ritual defense of the Obama administration:

Trump has offered no evidence or details to support his claim, and Obama’s spokesman has denied it.

The AP’s statement is false. It is a classic instance of fake news. Barack Obama’s spokesman has not denied that ‘the Obama administration wiretapped Trump Tower last year.’ He only denied that Barack Obama personally ordered such surveillance. But that isn’t the question. Presumably, the order to conduct surveillance came from Loretta Lynch’s Department of Justice. But no one thinks that Lynch would have ordered the opposing presidential candidate’s telephones tapped, or his computers hacked, without her boss’s approval.

These days, you can’t trust anything you read in an Associated Press news story, if that story has anything to do with political controversies.

This is an important point. Obamite spokesliars have not, in fact, denied that the Obama Administration spied on Mr. Trump and/or those associated with him. They’ve just said he didn’t personally order it done. They have not denied he had knowledge of it. They have not denied he didn’t approve it. Keep in mind, as McCarthy explained, it is the FISA court that “orders” or authorizes such wiretaps, but it is the Obama Administration that seeks them.

The media’s stance on all of this is particularly ironic in that Mr. Obama actually attacked journalists, repeatedly, including the AP, as Legal Insurrection reports:

 I don’t expect a favorable reaction from the media to the call for an investigation of Obama administration surveillance of Trump.

But what if the investigation was of Obama administration surveillance of journalists?

There is plenty of evidence that took place, as HuffPo reported in 2013, Obama Administration Has Gone To Unprecedented Lengths To Thwart Journalists, Report Finds:

The Committee to Protect Journalists, a New York-based journalist advocacy organization, released Downie’s findings Thursday in its first comprehensive look at press freedom in the United States: “The Obama Administration and the Press: Leak investigations and surveillance in post-9/11 America.”

For 32 years, the Committee to Protect Journalists has been better known for investigating press freedom under authoritarian governments, or where journalists are killed with impunity or in war zones. But this spring’s revelations about the Justice Department secretly seizing phone records at The Associated Press and obtaining a Fox News reporter’s email account have increased concerns closer to home.

Downie, a journalism professor at Arizona State University, expressed concerns in late May about the future of investigative reporting in light of the AP and Fox News revelations. Shortly after that, the Committee to Protect Journalists asked Downie to investigate. Downie in recent months spoke with journalists, government transparency advocates and current and former government officials.

In the report, Downie examined a range of Obama administration tactics that hinder government transparency. These include unprecedented use of the Espionage Act in prosecuting media leaks, classifying government documents as secret when no harm could come from their release, increased government surveillance that jeopardizes the safety of news sources, Freedom of Information Act violations, and White House-produced content that can’t substitute for independent, accountability journalism.

Committee to Protect Journalists chairman Sandra Mims Rowe and executive director Joel Simon sent the report to Obama, along with a letter expressing concerns over a pattern of administration actions “that impedes the flow of information on issues of great public interest and thwarts the free and open discussion necessary to a democracy.” (The letter, published below, made six recommendations.)

Recall how the Obama administration secretly obtained AP phone records:

The Justice Department secretly obtained two months of telephone records of reporters and editors for the Associated Press in what the news cooperative’s top executive called a ‘massive and unprecedented intrusion’ into how news organizations gather the news.

The records obtained by the Justice Department listed incoming and outgoing calls, and the duration of each call, for the work and personal phone numbers of individual reporters, general AP office numbers in New York, Washington and Hartford, Conn., and the main number for AP reporters in the House of Representatives press gallery, according to attorneys for the AP.

In all, the government seized those records for more than 20 separate telephone lines assigned to AP and its journalists in April and May of 2012. The exact number of journalists who used the phone lines during that period is unknown but more than 100 journalists work in the offices whose phone records were targeted on a wide array of stories about government and other matters.

In a letter of protest sent to Attorney General Eric Holder on Monday, AP President and Chief Executive Officer Gary Pruitt said the government sought and obtained information far beyond anything that could be justified by any specific investigation. He demanded the return of the phone records and destruction of all copies.

So here is a test for media bias.

Put aside whether there should be a congressional investigation of Obama administration surveillance, if any, of Trump or the Trump campaign.

Would the media support a congressional investigation into Obama administration surveillance and intimidation of journalists?

Of course not. They didn’t when it happened. However, this makes clear the media cannot be trusted to honestly report on these matters. They know the Obamites are liars and criminals, and still treat them as demigods. Mr. Trump is working to restore the rule of law and adherence to the Constitution, which is journalist’s ultimate protection, and they viciously attack him.

Another point from Glenn Reynolds of Instapundit:

Hypothesis: The spying-on-Trump thing is worse than we even imagine, and once it was clear Hillary had lost and it would inevitably come out, the Trump/Russia collusion talking point was created as a distraction. Now it’s being rowed back because the talk of “transcripts” supports the spying-on-Trump storyline.

Will we ever know? Maybe, if there’s a proper investigation into Obama Administration political spying.

Meanwhile, the rumors being floated about Trump are being retracted, and once everyone from Comey to Clapper has denied that he was ever under investigation, future ‘leaks’ will come pre-discredited.

Democrats are, of course, claiming Trump brought things up as a “distraction” from his evil deeds in the Russia affair(s). However, now that Mr. Trump is in the White House, and Jeff Sessions is Attorney General, he has access to information about any applications for a FISA warrant. We also know Sessions was with Mr. Trump this last weekend, when Mr. Trump “just found out” about the wiretapping. Interesti

Finally, Powerline reports on Senator Tom Cotton’s (Republican) appearance on Fox News Sunday. This excerpt is particularly telling:

Senator Cotton captures the point in a quotable quote: ‘If you want to know what a pro-Russia policy would look like, Chris, here are some elements of it. You’d slash defense spending. You’d slow down our nuclear modernization. You’d roll back missile defense systems. You would enter a one-sided nuclear control arms agreement. And you’d try to do everything you could to stop oil and gas production. That was Barack Obama’s policy for eight years. That’s not Donald Trump’s policy.

One could add selling much of our uranium production capacity to the Russians, and doing a secret deal with Iran that not only gave them the money to buy missile defenses from Russia that will kill American airmen when it becomes necessary to attack Iran, but enabled additional worldwide terrorism and hastened Iran’s production of nuclear weapons. One could go on and on. And this is the regime the media is protecting while attacking an American president determined to protect America.

Ooops!

And a final, reasonable word from the helmsman of the Starship Enterprise:

“Warp factor unhinged, Mr. Sulu!”

More on FISAgate as it develops.

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