White House board warns of ‘intelligence failures’ without reauthorization of 702

A White House board of intelligence experts made the case Monday for reauthorizing one of the intelligence community’s most controversial tools, arguing failure to do so could be “one of the worst intelligence failures of our time.”

Congress has until the end of the year to reauthorize Section 702 of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA), a process looking more in doubt amid growing lawmaker mistrust of the FBI as well as concern the practice unnecessarily sweeps up information on Americans.

“The Board strongly believes that Section 702 authorities are crucial to national security and do not threaten civil liberties, so long as the requisite culture, processes, and oversight are in place,” the President’s Intelligence Advisory Board (PIAB) wrote in its report.

“The cost of failure is real. If Congress fails to reauthorize Section 702, history may judge the lapse of Section 702 authorities as one of the worst intelligence failures of our time.”

Section 702 allows intelligence outfits to undertake warrantless surveillance of foreigners located outside of the U.S., but their communications with American citizens are often captured in the process. That creates a database officials can query that critics have likened to backdoor searches of U.S. citizens.

Much of the consternation around Section 702 has been focused on the FBI, the intel agency with the most domestic scope of work but also a history of improperly using the tool — a problem the bureau has acknowledged and done some work to address.

That issue surfaced anew when a FISA court opinion from April released earlier this month revealed 702 searches were improperly done on a U.S. senator, state lawmakers and a state court judge.

“The Board, however, found no evidence of willful misuse of these authorities by FBI for political purposes,” PIAB wrote in the report.

“To date, the Department of Justice (DOJ) has only identified three incidents of intentional misconduct from among millions of FBI queries of Section 702 information and FBI has addressed the incidents appropriately.”

However, many of the board's proposed reforms are directed at the FBI, including directing the attorney general to limit the bureau’s ability to conduct some 702 queries for non-national security-related crimes.

The board also recommends establishing a more rigorous preapproval process for those wishing to use 702 to search for information related to U.S. citizens.

In a call with reporters, however, officials stressed they would not back any plan that would require getting a warrant to use the 702 database for information concerning Americans, noting that it's been used to assess whether an American is the victim of a crime or the target of foreign intelligence services.

“One thing we do not recommend is a warrant for every U.S. person inquiry … That issue of U.S. personal inquiries, particularly by the FBI, has been a dominant issue in this discussion. We do not recommend that in part because obviously, when you're first assessing whether or not the U.S. person is the victim of cyberattack or an effort by a Chinese intelligence officer for recruitment, you have no probable cause to believe that that person is a foreign power or an agent of a foreign power,” a PIAB board member said.

“So there are legal limitations to getting a warrant each time, not to mention the burdensome nature.”

The FBI in a Monday statement said Section 702 should be “reauthorized in a manner that does not diminish its effectiveness,” a sentiment backed by the White House on Monday.

“We also agree with the Board’s recommendation that Section 702 should be reauthorized without new and operationally damaging restrictions on reviewing intelligence lawfully collected by the government and with measures that build on proven reforms to enhance compliance and oversight, among other improvements,” it said in a joint statement from national security adviser Jake Sullivan and principal deputy national security adviser Jon Finer.

It’s Year 5 Of The Biden Crime Family Coverup

By Frank Miele for RealClearWire

A truism that came out of the Watergate scandal is that often the coverup is worse than the crime. But that is not the case in the unraveling Bidengate scandal. The alleged crime here is so bad that it is probably the worst ever committed by an American president.

Yet the coverup should be studied, too. It deserves superlatives for its longevity, inventiveness, and sheer audacity. The strategy has been simple: deny, deflect, destroy. Deny the facts. Deflect with distractions, and when all else fails, work tirelessly to destroy Trump, who was among the first to raise questions about the Biden family’s shady dealings. At Year 5, it may be the most successful coverup in modern history, especially since so many of the facts have been in plain sight for the entire time.

So what exactly is Bidengate? A decade-long influence-peddling scheme that saw Joe Biden, the former vice president, using his son Hunter as a conduit for millions of dollars in payoffs from foreign entities in Ukraine, China, and elsewhere in exchange for favorable treatment. The most famous instance of this scheme was the millions of dollars paid to Hunter Biden for his role as a board member of the corrupt Burisma energy company in Ukraine. Even Hunter acknowledged that his only qualification for being on the board was his last name.

Trading on one’s name to gain employment is not a crime in itself, but using your father’s public office to influence U.S. policy is definitely against the law – especially when the clout is used to protect your corrupt foreign employer.

That’s just what happened in March of 2016 when Vice President Biden threatened to withhold $1 billion in U.S. aid to Ukraine if prosecutor general Viktor Shokin were not immediately fired. Biden even bragged about this escapade a few years later when he told the story to the Council on Foreign Relations.

It’s hard to know whether Biden’s threat to withhold aid was approved by the State Department or whether it was “on the fly” diplomacy, but we do know that Shokin has publicly stated that he was fired because he was investigating Burisma’s alleged corruption, and that after he was fired there was no further substantial investigation of Burisma. Quid pro quo.

Another famous mantra from the Watergate era is “Follow the money.” It almost makes you think Biden was taunting his accusers, quipping to a reporter on June 8, “Where’s the money?” when asked about allegations of corruption.

“That’s what we want to know,” the reporter should have demanded, but of course there was no follow-up question. There never is.

Biden’s cheeky response suggests he had reason to think that he could count on the source of any ill-gotten wealth being kept private. And he may have had good reason for that belief.

On July 20, a little more than a month after Biden asked “Where’s the money?”, Sen. Chuck Grassley released an unclassified FD-1023 FBI informant form alleging that Biden and his son Hunter had split a $10 million payment from Ukrainian oligarch Mykola Zlochevsky, the owner of Burisma. Among the many intriguing breadcrumbs in that document was the informant’s claim that the payment to the Bidens was so well disguised that it would take years to uncover:

Zlochevsky responded he did not send any funds directly to the “Big Guy” (which [the FBI source] understood was a reference to Joe Biden). [The source] asked Zlochevsky how many companies/bank accounts Zlochevsky controls; Zlochevsky responded it would take them (investigators) 10 years to find the records (i.e. illicit payments to Joe Biden).

So that’s one possible answer to Joe Biden’s taunt: “Where’s the money?” Perhaps it’s well-hidden.

Related: Jill Biden’s Ex-Husband Comes Back To Haunt Her – ‘I Can’t Let Them Do What They Did To Me To President Trump’

There are so many flashing red warning lights in the Biden scandal that a casual observer would be forgiven for assuming he was in Amsterdam. Case in point: The FBI informant reported in his June 2020 statement that Zlochevsky had called Joe Biden the “Big Guy” in 2019.

That’s the same gangster nickname that one of Hunter Biden’s business associates used to refer to Joe in an infamous email on the “Laptop from Hell” when discussing what percentage of capital equity was being held by Hunter for Joe in a Chinese investment scheme. The laptop was in FBI hands since December 2019, but the email in question wasn’t circulated in public until the New York Post published it on Oct. 15, 2020. The informant’s use of the phrase prior to that time is strong circumstantial evidence that the FBI’s trusted human source was indeed privy to confidential and damning information about Biden.

But what’s truly maddening about the Biden coverup is just how long it has lasted while more and more evidence has mounted. Recent congressional hearings unearthed a trove of detail about bank payments to Biden family members, and IRS whistleblowers have laid bare the protection racket that the FBI and DOJ have been running for the Bidens. Most of that is just confirmation of what we already knew.

Remember, the first time most Americans heard about the Bidens’ bribery schemes was in September 2019 when the transcript of a phone call between President Trump and then-new Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelensky was released. In it, Trump raised the issue of former Vice President Biden’s alleged corruption and asked Zelensky to cooperate with U.S. authorities by “looking into” rumors of criminal activity by the Bidens.

Imagine if Congress had opened an inquiry then into the question of Hunter Biden’s huge salary for sitting on the board of Burisma Energy, the company controlled by oligarch Zlochevsky. Hunter Biden might be in prison now, and his father would have retired to Delaware to live out his final years in shame.

Instead, Democrats in Congress put Trump on trial for daring to notice that which must not be named – the influence-peddling scheme run by Joe Biden and his kin. The impeachment was America’s crash course on Ukrainian corruption, but somehow the mainstream media missed the story and tried to convince the public that Biden was the victim. They hid the evidence then, just as they did last week when Hunter Biden’s sweetheart plea deal fell apart.

Related: Hunter Biden Pleads Not Guilty After Plea Deal Falls Apart

The Democrat-adjacent media seem to have a hard time understanding the case against Hunter Biden – and Joe Biden – even after five years. It’s not uncommon to hear cable news anchors lamenting that the Republicans are persecuting Joe and that they haven’t proven the president did anything wrong.

Either they don’t understand the meaning of the word proven, or they don’t understand our system of justice. It is not the job of Congress or reporters to prove anything, but rather to investigate and unearth evidence. For anyone who has eyes to see, there is a mountain of evidence against both Hunter and Joe Biden. But what we are still waiting for – what the nation is waiting for – is justice. To get that, we need a prosecutor who will present the evidence to a jury and ask for a verdict. Then and only then will the president’s guilt be proven or unproven.

How many more years do we have to wait?

Syndicated with permission from RealClearWire.

The post It’s Year 5 Of The Biden Crime Family Coverup appeared first on The Political Insider.

Democratic memo takes aim at GOP-released FBI form with Biden-Burisma allegations

Democrats on the House Oversight and Accountability Committee are poking holes in GOP arguments that President Biden is corrupt, claims that are founded on unverified allegations from an FBI form released in controversial fashion last week.

The uncorroborated allegations of Biden corruption and bribery are related to his son Hunter's business relationship with Ukrainian energy company Burisma and were part of an FBI form released by by Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) and House Oversight Committee Chairman James Comer (R-Ky.) last week.

The form documents information that a confidential human source relayed to an FBI agent, but does not assess that information.

While the GOP sees the document as key to its investigation of the Biden family’s business dealings, Democrats view the release as a stunning move that jeopardizes the FBI’s ability to work with confidential sources while offering no proof of any wrongdoing.

The FBI last week admonished Comer and Grassley for releasing the form.

“Chairman Comer’s and Senator Grassley’s decision to publicly release the form is in brazen disregard of the safety of FBI human sources and the integrity of its investigations,” House Oversight Committee Democratic staff wrote to Democratic lawmakers in a memo obtained by The Hill.

“Contrary to Republican messaging, the form provides no new or additional support for their corruption allegations against the President or Hunter Biden. Instead, its release merely seeks to breathe new life into years-old conspiracy theories, initially peddled by Rudy Giuliani, that have been thoroughly debunked.”

Republicans pushed back on the Democratic memo.

“The Democrats’ latest memo is another piece of garbage that should be thrown in the trash. Senator Grassley acquired the unclassified FD-1023 form through legally protected disclosures by Justice Department whistleblowers,” a GOP Oversight Committee spokesperson said in a statement. “The record is based on a trusted confidential human source’s conversations with a Burisma executive, and it has nothing to do with Rudy Guiliani.”

The tipster, dubbed CHS as short for confidential human source, relayed conversations he had with Mykola Zlochevsky, the CEO of Ukrainian energy company Burisma. Zlochevsky thought that having Hunter Biden on the board could help insulate the company from its problems with being investigated by Ukrainian authorities.

The crux of the unproven bribery allegation has been pushed by allies of former President Trump for years: that then-Vice President Biden's threat to withhold funding to Ukraine unless Prosecutor Viktor Shokin was removed was intended to benefit Burisma, which was paying his son.

But Democrats point to numerous facts and comments — including from the FBI source, from congressional Republicans and from a man who was involved in pushing these theories — that severely undercut that theory.

Some reports say that the investigation into Burisma was, in fact, dormant by the time Biden called for Shokin’s ouster. Shokin was also criticized for failure to prosecute corruption, and his ouster was supported by numerous U.S. officials as well as other European allies far beyond Biden. 

The Democratic memo also quoted numerous Republicans — including Grassley — casting doubt on the veracity of the claims in the memo. 

“Last month, Senator Johnson, who led Senate Republicans’ 2020 investigation into the allegations involving Burisma, conceded the issues with the Form FD-1023: ‘That’s what this person says, but again, take that with a grain of salt. This could be coming from a very corrupt oligarch who could be making this stuff up,’” the Democratic memo said, citing a June podcast.

“Senator Grassley also tacitly questioned the truthfulness of the allegations in the Form FD-1023 when he admitted he was ‘not interested’ in whether the accusations in the form ‘are accurate or not,’” the memo continued, pointing to a Fox News interview in June

Grassley has argued that his interest in the FBI form rests more with whether the FBI and Department of Justice adequately investigated the tip rather than in the bribery allegations themselves. 

“What did the Justice Department and FBI do with the detailed information in the document? And why have they tried to conceal it from Congress and the American people for so long?” Grassley said in a statement alongside the memo’s release last week.

But Democrats push back on that reasoning.

“Under U.S. Attorney Brady, the DOJ and FBI thoroughly investigated the allegations as part of an eight-month formal assessment, which included interviewing Mr. Giuliani and the CHS, and reviewing suspicious activity reports (SARs) from banks,” the memo said. “The FBI also confirmed to Chairman Comer and Ranking Member Raskin during the June 5, 2023, briefing that Mr. Brady’s assessment was closed in August 2020 because his team found insufficient evidence to warrant escalating the probe from an assessment to a preliminary or full investigation.”

A GOP committee spokesperson, though, pointed to public comments from Attorney General Bill Barr refuting a previous claim from Raskin that an investigation into the claims had ended. Barr told the conservative website The Federalist in June that “it was sent to Delaware for further investigation.”

The memo also notes that the FBI source could verify the veracity of Zlochevsky’s claims, explaining that “it is extremely common for businessmen in post-Soviet countries to brag or show off” and to make “bribe” payments to government officials.

Democrats focus heavily on a recent letter to Comer from Lev Parnas, a Ukrainian who was later convicted of making illegal campaign contributions to Trump, and whom Guiliani relied on to dig up dirt about the Bidens in Ukraine ahead of the 2020 election. Parnas urged Comer to abandon efforts to uncover wrongdoing by the Biden family in Ukraine.

“Never, during any of my communications with Ukrainian officials or connections to Burisma, did any of them confirm or provide concrete facts linking the Bidens to illegal activities. In fact, they asked me multiple times why our team was so concerned with this idea,” Parnas wrote in the letter to Comer last week. “The truth is that everyone [involved in this effort to discredit the Bidens] knew that these allegations against the Bidens were false. There has never been any actual evidence, only conspiracy theories spread by people who knew exactly what they were doing.”

The memo also points to information collected during the first impeachment effort, including a conversation purported to be with Zlochevsky that contradicts the FD-1023 claims of communications with President Biden.

“No one from Burisma ever had any contacts with VP Biden or people working for him during Hunter Biden’s engagement,” Zlochevsky says in the exchange, which appears to be with Vitaly Pruss, whom the letter describes as “another long-time associate of Mr. [Rudy] Giuliani, who was a close friend of Mr. Zlochevsky.”

Democrats also take the Republicans to task for sharing information the FBI expressly asked them not to release publicly. 

Raskin (D-Md.) says the publicly released form does not include all the same redactions as the version first shared with lawmakers, disclosing names of individuals in Ukraine as well as some specific locations referenced during the conversation.

“Chairman Comer and Senator Grassley chose to expose those additional details despite repeated cautioning from the FBI about the critical need to protect the safety of its human sources and its ability to conduct investigations effectively,” Raskin wrote.

Indeed, a June 9 letter obtained by The Hill shows the FBI warned Comer about GOP members’ handling of the record just the day after offering a briefing to the full committee.

“The Committee and its Members were specifically told that ‘wider distribution could pose a risk of physical harm to FBI sources or others.’ The full text of this admonishment is included below for your reference. We are concerned that Members disregarded the Committee’s agreement that information from the document should not be further disclosed. Several Committee Members publicized specific details regarding their recollection of confidential source reporting purportedly referenced in the document,” the bureau wrote in the letter.

But Republicans defend the release of the FBI form and refuted claims of it endangering a source.

“Before publicly releasing the document, redactions were made to protect the identity of the confidential human source. The FD-1023 is also unclassified and is not marked law enforcement sensitive,” a GOP Oversight Committee spokesperson said, pointing to statements from Democrats and information shared with the press that linked the document to Ukraine before it became public. “Those early public statements, based on apparent FBI or DOJ leaks, exposed the source well before the document became public.”

Despite the Democratic pushback, Republicans signal that the FBI form will fuel its investigations; Comer said in a statement last week that the form backs up his committee’s investigation of the Biden family’s business dealings.

“That sounds an awful lot like how the Bidens conduct business: using multiple bank accounts to hide the source and total amount of the money,” Comer said.

A GOP Oversight Committee spokesperson also defended release of the FBI form by linking it to another aspect of the committee’s probe into the Biden family business dealings.

When asked about the FBI form, IRS whistleblowers who looked into Hunter Biden said they had never heard of it. The GOP spokesperson said the form was “was kept from them” even though the whistleblowers had “potentially had corroborating evidence”

This story was updated at 6:13 p.m.

Republicans release FBI form with unverified Biden-Burisma allegations

Republicans Thursday released a copy of an unverified tip to the FBI alleging a scheme to bribe President Biden — a tip that has not been corroborated but is nonetheless fueling GOP investigations into the Biden family. 

The information, memorialized in an FD-1023 form documenting interactions with a confidential informant, was released by Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) and House Oversight Republicans who threatened to hold the FBI director in contempt of Congress amid efforts to review and obtain the document. 

The tip revolves around an allegation long pushed by former President Donald Trump involving then-Vice President Joe Biden, his son Hunter Biden and a Ukrainian prosecutor. 

While carrying out Obama administration policy that had been coordinated with European allies, then-Vice President Biden argued that Ukrainian prosecutor General Viktor Shokin was corrupt and threatened to withhold $1 billion in funding to Ukraine unless Shokin was fired.

Others in the international community likewise pushed for Shokin’s dismissal.

Hunter Biden at that time was on the board of Ukrainian energy company Burisma, which was the subject of an investigation under the prosecutor's office.

There has never been hard evidence that now-President Biden called for Shokin’s ouster in order to help his son. Some reports have said that the investigation was, in fact, dormant by the time Biden called for Shokin’s ouster. But Trump’s insistence that Ukraine investigate the matter or risk the loss of U.S. aid led to his first impeachment in 2019. 

The FD-1023 form released Thursday details secondhand allegations that Burisma’s CEO and founder Mykola Zlochevsky thought having Hunter Biden on the board could help insulate the company from its problems with the prosecutor, that Zlochevsky sent millions of dollars to President Biden as well as Hunter Biden and that two recordings about the matter exist that involve President Biden.

Those key details in the form are not verified or corroborated.  

It all comes from a confidential FBI source — previously described by both Republicans and Democrats briefed on the matter as credible — who had spoken to Zlochevsky and other Burisma executives over a few occasions. The source could not give an opinion on the veracity of Zlochevsky’s statements about Hunter Biden.

Democrats have also released information collected during the first impeachment effort that included a conversation purported to be with Zlochevsky that contradicts the information relayed in the FD-1023 form.

The White House has vigorously denied any wrongdoing stemming from the matter.

“It is remarkable that congressional Republicans, in their eagerness to go after President Biden regardless of the truth, continue to push claims that have been debunked for years and that they themselves have cautioned to take ‘with a grain of salt’ because they could be ‘made up,’” Ian Sams, White House spokesperson for oversight and investigations, said in a statement.

“These claims have reportedly been scrutinized by the Trump Justice Department, a Trump-appointed U.S. attorney, and a full impeachment trial of the former President that centered on these very issues, and over and over again, they have been found to lack credibility,” Sams continued.

“It’s clear that congressional Republicans are dead set on playing shameless, dishonest politics and refuse to let truth get in the way. It is well past time for news organizations to hold them to basic levels of factual accountability for their repeated and increasingly desperate efforts to mislead both the public and the press.”

The FBI also admonished the lawmakers for sharing the letter.

“We have repeatedly explained to Congress, in correspondence and in briefings, how critical it is to keep this source information confidential,” the FBI said in a statement.

“Today’s release of the 1023 — at a minimum — unnecessarily risks the safety of a confidential source.”

In a June letter obtained by The Hill, the FBI warned Comer and the Oversight Committee about releasing the file publicly as they chose to do Thursday.

“Consistent with our agreement, Committee Members were provided an admonishment prior to reviewing the document that the information contained within the subpoenaed FD-1023 could not be disseminated outside of the House sensitive compartmented information facility. The Committee and its Members were specifically told that ‘wider distribution could pose a risk of physical harm to FBI sources or others,’" the FBI wrote in the letter to Comer.

“We are concerned that Members disregarded the Committee’s agreement that information from the document should not be further disclosed.”

But House Oversight Committee Chairman James Comer (R-Ky.) said that the form backs up his committee’s investigation of the Biden family’s business dealings.

“In the FBI’s record, the Burisma executive claims that he didn’t pay the ‘big guy’ directly but that he used several bank accounts to conceal the money. That sounds an awful lot like how the Bidens conduct business: using multiple bank accounts to hide the source and total amount of the money,” Comer said in a statement.

The FBI’s confidential human source — identified as "CHS" in the document — reported that during a meeting at Burisma’s offices in late 2015 or early 2016, Burisma Chief Financial Officer Vadim Porjarskii said that Hunter Biden was hired to be on the board in order to “protect us, through his dad, from all kinds of problems.”

Porjarskii provided no further or specific details about what that meant. 

About two months later, the FBI source attended another meeting in Vienna, Austria, in 2016 with Burisma executives to talk about acquiring a U.S.-based oil and gas company.

“CHS told Zlochevsky that due to Shokin’s investigation into Burisma, which was made public at the time, it would have a substantial negative impact on Burisma’s prospective [initial public offering (IPO)] in the United States. Zlochevsky replied something to the effect of, ‘Don’t worry, Hunter will take care of all those issues through his dad,’” the form said. “CHS did not ask any further questions about what that specifically meant.”

More from The Hill

When the FBI source questioned why Zlochevsky would pay $20 to $30 million to buy a U.S. company rather than just form a new U.S.-based entity, Zlochevsky responded that it would be hard to raise capital given the prosecutor’s investigation — and laughed when CHS suggested just paying $50,000 for a lawyer to deal with the matter in Ukraine in part because it included the number “5.” 

“It cost $5 [million] to pay one Biden, and $5 [million] to another Biden,” the FBI source recalled Zlochevsky saying, noting it was unclear whether those payments were already made.

When the FBI source suggested hiring some normal U.S. oil and gas advisors because the Bidens had no experience in that sector, Zlochevsky said that Hunter Biden needed to be on the board “so everything will be okay,” adding that both Hunter and Joe Biden said that he should retain Hunter Biden and that it was too late to change his decision.

“CHS understood this to mean that Zlochevsky had already paid the Bidens, presumably to ‘deal with Shokin,’” the form said.

Later, in a 2016 or 2017 phone call, Zlochevsky complained that he was “pushed to pay” the Bidens, the FBI source said. Zlochevsky said he had recordings that somehow served as evidence that Zlochevsky was coerced into paying the Bidens to ensure that the prosecutor Shokin was fired — with a total of 17 recordings, two of which involved President Biden.

"Zlochevsky responded that he did not send any funds directly to the 'Big Guy,'" which CHS understood was a reference to Joe Biden. Zlochevsky additionally said it would take 10 years to find all the bank records of illicit payments to President Biden. 

The FBI source explained it is common for businessmen in Russia and Ukraine to brag and show off, and also to make “bribe” payments to various government officials. 

Democrats and Republicans have been at odds over the significance of the document.

Reporting indicates the FBI was never able to corroborate the information relayed by the informant, something Oversight Committee ranking member Jamie Raskin (D-Md.) said stopped it from being escalated up the investigative chain.

“This FBI document released by Republicans records the unverified, secondhand, years-old allegations relayed by a confidential human source who stated he could not provide ‘further opinion as to the veracity’ of these allegations.  Even Senator Johnson recognized these allegation may have been fabricated out of thin air,” Raskin said in a statement on Thursday.

“Releasing this document in isolation from explanatory context is another transparently desperate attempt by Committee Republicans to revive the aging and debunked Giuliani-framed conspiracy theories and to distract from their continuing failure to produce any actual evidence of wrongdoing by the President—even at the cost of endangering the safety of FBI sources,” Raskin said.

Raskin noted that information collected during the first impeachment effort included a conversation purported to be with Zlochevsky that contradicts the FD-1023 claims of communications with President Biden.

“No one from Burisma ever had any contacts with VP Biden or people working for him during Hunter Biden’s engagement,” Zlochevsky says in the exchange, which appears to be with Vitaly Pruss, whom the letter describes as “another long-time associate of Mr. [Rudy] Giuliani, who was a close friend of Mr. Zlochevsky.”

However, the conversation was turned over to Giuliani by Lev Parnas, a Ukrainian who was later convicted of making illegal campaign contributions to former President Trump. 

Zlochevsky also answered “no” when asked if then-Vice President Biden or his staff “assisted you or your company in any way with business deals or meetings with world leaders or any other assistance.”

Parnas also wrote in a letter to Comer earlier this week, urging him to abandon efforts to uncover wrongdoing by the Biden family in Ukraine, calling the matter “nothing more than a wild goose chase” that has been “debunked again and again.”

This story was updated at 5:23 p.m.

GOP senators rattled by radical conservative populism

Republican senators say they’re worried that conservative populism, though always a part of the GOP, is beginning to take over the party, becoming more radical and threatening to cause them significant political problems heading into the 2024 election.  

GOP senators are saying they’re being increasingly confronted by constituents who buy into discredited conspiracy theories such as the claim that Democrats stole the 2020 presidential election or that federal agents incited the Jan. 6, 2021, attack on the U.S. Capitol.  

Growing distrust with government institutions, from the FBI, CIA and Department of Justice to the Centers for Disease Control and National Institutes of Health, make it more difficult for Republican lawmakers to govern. 

Republican senators believe their party has a good chance to take back control of the White House and Senate, given President Biden’s low approval ratings and the favorable map of Senate seats up for reelection, but they regularly face political headaches caused by populist members of their party who say the rest of the GOP is out of step with mainstream America. 

“We should be concerned about this as Republicans. I’m having more ‘rational Republicans’ coming up to me and saying, ‘I just don’t know how long I can stay in this party,’” said Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska). “Now our party is becoming known as a group of kind of extremist, populist over-the-top [people] where no one is taking us seriously anymore. 

FILE - Sen. Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska, asks a question during a Senate Appropriations Subcommittee in Washington. (AP Photo/Mariam Zuhaib, File)

“You have people who felt some allegiance to the party that are now really questioning, ‘Why am I [in the party?]” she added. “I think it’s going to get even more interesting as we move closer to the elections and we start going through some of these primary debates. 

“Is it going to be a situation of who can be more outlandish than the other?” she asked.  

Some Senate Republicans worry the populist winds are downgrading their chances of picking up seats in 2024.

“There are an astonishing number of people in my state who believe the election was stolen,” said one Republican senator who requested anonymity to talk about the growing popularity of conservative conspiracy theories at home.  

As an example, some Republicans point to Arizona, where Sen. Kyrsten Sinema (Ariz.), an independent who left the Democratic Party last year, is up for reelection.

Sinema is likely to face a challenge from the left in the likely Democratic nominee Rep. Ruben Gallego (Ariz.) as well as a GOP nominee. If that nominee is former TV anchor Kari Lake, who has embraced conspiracy theories about elections and lost a gubernatorial race last year, many in the GOP think they’re in trouble.

One senior Senate Republican strategist, assessing the race, lamented that “the Republican Party in Arizona is a mess.” 

Republican senators say they are alarmed at how many Republicans, including those with higher levels of education and income, buy the unsubstantiated claims that the last presidential election was stolen.  

A second Republican senator who spoke with The Hill said the growing strength of radical populism “makes it a lot more difficult to govern, it makes it difficult to talk to constituents.” 

“There are people who surprise me — I’m surprised they have those views. It’s amazing to me the number of people, the kind of people who think the election was stolen,” the lawmaker said. “I don’t want to use this word but it’s not just a ‘red-neck’ thing. It’s people in business, the president of a bank, a doctor.”  

The lawmaker, who requested anonymity to discuss the political challenge posted by surging conservative populism, accused some fellow Republicans of trying to exploit voter discontent to gain local or national prominence.  

“In my state there are a lot of folks who see Washington as disconnected, they see their way of life threatened. There’s something that generates discontent that elected officials take advantage of,” the senator said.  

Tuberville’s controversies

Some of the biggest populist-linked headaches recently have come from Alabama Sen. Tommy Tuberville (R), a staunch ally of former President Trump who is now holding up more than 260 nonpolitical military promotions to protest the Defense Department’s abortion policy.  

Tuberville caused an uproar early last week by defending the idea of letting white nationalists serve in the military and disputing the idea that white nationalism is an inherently racist ideology.  

Tuberville later reversed himself after Senate Republican colleagues ranging from Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) to Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) and Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) forcefully denounced white supremacy and white nationalism.  

GOP senators also have to regularly distance themselves from the radical proposals of populist conservatives in the House, such as House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jim Jordan (R-Ohio), who earlier this year proposed cutting Department of Justice and FBI funding in response to federal investigations of Trump.   

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Senate Republican Whip John Thune (S.D.) pushed back on calls to defund the Justice Department, telling reporters: “Are we going to get rid of the Justice Department? No. I think defunding is a really bad idea.” 

Thune later explained to The Hill: “There are seasons, swings back and forth in politics and we’re in one now where the dominant political thinking is more populist with respect to national security, foreign policy, some domestic issues.” 

But he said “that stuff comes and goes and it’s built around personalities,” alluding to the broadly held view that Trump’s election to the presidency in 2016 and his lasting influence over the party has put his brand of populism at the forefront.  

Sen. John Cornyn (R-Texas), an advisor to the Senate Republican leadership, said bread-and-butter conservative economic ideas still resonated with voters, but he acknowledged “the cable news shows” continue to keep attention on themes that Trump likes to emphasize, such as election fraud and the “deep-state” control of the federal government.  

“So there are some people paying attention to that but most people are trying to just get on with their lives,” he said. “There’s a lot of distrust of Washington, and who can blame people.” 

“It concerns me that people lose faith in their institutions, but this has been a long story throughout our history. It’s nothing new although it’s troubling,” he said. 

Waving off impeachment

Senate Republicans tried to wave off their House colleagues from advancing articles of impeachment authored by Rep. Lauren Boebert (R-Colo.) against President Biden and rolled their eyes at Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene’s (R-Ga.) attempt to expunge Trump’s impeachment record.  

Sen. Todd Young (R-Ind.) warned, “I fear that snap impeachments will become the norm, and they mustn't.” 

Asked about efforts to erase Trump’s impeachment record, Sen. Mitt Romney (R-Utah) quoted the popular show “Succession”: “Logan Roy made a good point. These are not serious people.”

Romney, who was the GOP nominee for president in 2012 before Trump took over the party four years later, last year called Greene and Rep. Paul Gosar (R-Ariz.) “morons” for speaking at a white nationalist event in Florida. 

Asked this week about Tuberville’s defense of white nationalism and how it reflected on the GOP, Romney said: “Our party has lots of problems, add that to the list.”  

The party of Reagan has transformed into the party of Trump, and to the dismay of some veteran Republican lawmakers, it doesn’t look like it’s going back to what it was anytime soon.  

One ascendent young conservative leader, Sen. Josh Hawley (R-Mo.), who supported objecting to certifying Biden’s victory on Jan. 6, 2021, thinks the Republican Party’s embrace of populism is more than a passing fad.  

He says the new era of politics is more than a battle between Trump allies and Trump haters, or even between Republicans and Democrats. 

Speaking at the National Conservatism Conference two years ago, he declared: “We have been governed by a political consensus forged by a political class that has lost touch with what binds us together as Americans. And it has lost sight of the basic requirements of liberty.” 

“The great divide of our time is not between Trump supporters and Trump opponents, or between suburban voters and rural ones, or between Red America and Blue America,” he said. “No, the great divide of our time is between the political agenda of the leadership elite and the great and broad middle of our society. And to answer the discontent of our time, we must end that divide.”  

Both parties hear what they want to hear during rare Durham public hearing

Special counsel John Durham was both lionized and scrutinized by lawmakers as he appeared before the House Judiciary Committee to discuss his probe into the FBI’s 2016 investigation into the Trump campaign. 

Durham provided little new information in his May report but confirmed a series of FBI missteps previously documented by the news media, including that the FBI failed to provide a full picture of the evidence when seeking a wiretap of Trump campaign aide Carter Page.  

In a rare public appearance Wednesday, Durham called his findings “sobering.” 

“The problems identified in the report are not susceptible to overnight fixes. … They cannot be addressed solely by enhancing training or additional policy requirements. Rather, what is required is accountability, both in terms of the standards to which our law enforcement personnel hold themselves and in the consequences they face for violation of laws and policies of relevance,” he said. 

More House coverage from The Hill

Over more than five hours of questioning, Republicans and Democrats zeroed in on the parts of the report most favorable to their positions.  

To Republicans, Durham’s scathing 305-page report supports their arguments about a Department of Justice and FBI that has been weaponized against former President Trump.  

Democrats argued the report backed the FBI’s initial decision to open a probe into the Trump campaign, something they view as significant, since Trump called for Durham's appointment with high expectations that he’d find damaging material on the FBI.  

Committee Chairman Jim Jordan (R-Ohio), a chief Trump defender who has cast the FBI as “rotted to the core,” said the report served as an example that the bureau requires serious reform, as “any one of us could be next.”  

“There is [a double standard at the Department of Justice]. That has got to change, and I don't think more training, more rules is going to do it. I think we have to fundamentally change the FISA process, and we have to use the appropriations process to limit how American tax dollars are spent at the Department of Justice,” he added, referring to the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, which has the power to authorize a wiretap. 

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It was a tip from an Australian diplomat that ignited the FBI’s interest. The diplomat had spoken with Trump campaign adviser George Papadopoulos, who told him that Russia had damaging emails from then-competitor Hillary Clinton. It was that tip, not the later debunked Steele Dossier, that led the FBI to initiate the investigation. 

“We have many areas of disagreement across the aisle, but I am relieved that we have no disagreement about one of the fundamental conclusions of your report: that it was incumbent upon the FBI to open some form of investigation when presented with evidence that a presidential candidate and his associates are either coordinating campaign efforts with a hostile nation or being manipulated by such a hostile nation,” said Rep. Mary Gay Scanlon (D-Pa.). 

Several Democrats attacked Durham’s work, criticizing the report for not offering any recommendations for the FBI and calling attention to its failure to lead to criminal convictions. 

Rep. Ted Lieu (D-Calif.) noted that five Trump campaign associates were convicted of various crimes following the Mueller investigation.  

“In contrast to multiple Trump associates who were convicted, you brought two cases to a jury trial based on this investigation, and you lost both. So I don't actually know what we're doing here, because the author of the Durham report concedes that the FBI had enough information to investigate,” he said. 

“And thank goodness the FBI did, because vulnerable Trump associates who committed crimes were held accountable. And the best way to summarize what happened is: Thank you to the brave men and women of the FBI for doing their jobs.” 

Rep. Ted Lieu (D-Calif.)

Rep. Ted Lieu (D-Calif.) addresses reporters after a closed-door House Democratic Caucus meeting on Tuesday, June 6, 2023.

Republicans pivoted between complaints over the Justice Department and the treatment of Trump to possible FISA reforms that would limit law enforcement authority for spying both in the U.S. and abroad.  

“You detail how FBI personnel working on FISA applications violated protocols. They were cavalier at best, as you said, in your own words, towards accuracy and completeness. Senior FBI personnel displayed a serious lack of analytical rigor towards information that they received, especially information received from politically affiliated persons or entities and … a significant reliance on investigative and leads provided or funded by Trump's political opponents were relied upon here,” Rep. Mike Johnson (R-La.) said. 

Johnson went on to lament the involvement of Peter Strzok, previously deputy assistant director the FBI’s Counterintelligence Division, who made negative comments about Trump in texts. 

“He said horrible things about President Trump, and all of his supporters by the way, how could we say he did not have political bias?” 

Rep. Mike Johnson (R-La.)

Rep. Mike Johnson (R-La.) leaves a closed-door House Republican Conference meeting on Tuesday, June 6, 2023.

Rep. Laurel Lee (R-Fla.) criticized the FISA application that allowed the FBI to wiretap Page. 

“A FISA application was pursued without disclosing some relevant information to prosecutors or the court, without following standard procedural rules, utilizing investigative techniques that were the most intrusive without first exhausting other techniques, and instead pursuing the most invasive method possible from the outset against Mr. Page,” she said. 

Durham was also at times berated for his work, including by those who said he did not do enough to probe FBI misdeeds after Trump said Durham’s report would reveal the “crime of the century.” Rep. Adam Schiff (D-Calif.) was also gifted time by other members to question the course of the investigation.

Schiff critiqued Durham’s decision to issue a statement about an inspector general’s report on the same topic and repeatedly asked why one of the top prosecutors on the investigation resigned, a question Durham refused to answer.

Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-Fla.) said Durham’s investigative trip to Italy was just “looking for authentic pasta” as he griped that the special counsel’s work was insufficient.

“It seems like more than disappointment. It seems like you weren't really trying to expose the true core of the corruption,” Gaetz said. 

“It's not what's in your report that is telling, it's the omission, it's the lack of work you did. ... You let the country down.”

Tensions flare in ‘weaponization’ panel hearing with sidelined FBI agents 

Republicans and Democrats battled during a tense hearing Thursday over three FBI agents who Republicans say were retaliated against for blowing the whistle on bias at the agency— and who Democrats argue the GOP is using to legitimize the Jan. 6, 2021, attack on the U.S. Capitol.

GOP lawmakers accused the FBI of retaliating against “truth tellers” by revoking their security clearances because they espoused conservative views and took their concerns to Republicans on the House Judiciary Select Subcommittee on the Weaponization of the Federal Government.

“Politics is driving the federal agencies,” said Jim Jordan (R-Ohio), chairman of both the Judiciary Committee and the subcommittee, alleging that the government targets citizens who are not politically correct.

“What’s just as frightening is if you’re one of the good employees who come forward to talk about the targeting, you become the target,” he added.

Democrats countered by arguing that the GOP, in the words of Rep. Linda Sánchez (D-Calif.), was using the hearing as “a vehicle to legitimize the events of Jan. 6 and the people who perpetrated it.”

They questioned the FBI agents’ credibility and whether they should be considered whistleblowers, sparred with Republicans over access to documents and materials, and accused the panel of being a tool for former President Trump.

“This select committee is a clearing house for testing conspiracy theories for Donald Trump to use in his 2024 presidential campaign,” said Del. Stacey Plaskett (V.I.), the panel’s ranking Democrat. 

“You all have employment grievances. That doesn’t make you whistleblowers,” Rep. Gerry Connolly (D-Va.) said.

The hearing, which took place just days after special counsel John Durham released a report that offered stark criticism for the FBI’s opening of an investigation into Trump’s 2016 campaign ties to Russia, underscored GOP suspicions of the federal intelligence and law enforcement organizations.

Rep. Harriet Hageman (R-Wyo.) at one point referenced the piercing evil eye from J. R.R. Tolkien's "The Lord of the Rings" series to describe the FBI.

“The Eye of Sauron has turned inward, and it is operating with a white-hot intensity that seeks to destroy everything in its path,” she said.  

The hearing accompanied the Thursday release of an interim staff report from the panel’s Republicans that detailed what it says are abuses by the FBI, as described by what Republicans say are dozens of whistleblowers.

Allegations both in the report and in the hearing range from the agents being directed to scribble down license plate numbers in a parking lot outside a school board meeting to being pressured to open cases on people who traveled to Washington, D.C., on Jan. 6, 2021, but did not enter the Capitol.

Democrats had already preemptively countered the GOP’s “weaponization” investigation, writing in a 300-page report in March that some of the GOP witnesses were connected to committee Republicans through people with deep ties to former President Trump. Rep. Dan Goldman (D-N.Y.) reiterated and established at the hearing that two of the witnesses had received donations from Kash Patel, a former top Department of Defense official who is a surrogate for Trump’s 2024 presidential campaign.

Jordan brushed off the financial connection between witnesses and Trump allies in a press conference Thursday.

“They’ve got a family. How are they supposed to pay their family?” he asked.

The FBI in a statement asserted that it does not retaliate against protected whistleblowers.

“The FBI’s mission is to uphold the Constitution and protect the American people. The FBI has not and will not retaliate against individuals who make protected whistleblower disclosures,” the agency said in a statement to The Hill in response to the subcommittee hearing.

Thursday’s hearing also came just one day after the FBI sent a letter to the House Judiciary Committee that went into more detail about the reasons why the agency revoked the security clearances from three agents, including two of those who testified at the subcommittee hearing Thursday.

According to a copy of the FBI letter obtained by The Hill, agent Brett Gloss, who did not testify at the hearing and has not been charged with a crime, was in a restricted area of the U.S. Capitol grounds on Jan. 6, 2021, amounting to criminal trespass and “questionable judgment” that indicated he may not properly safeguard classified or sensitive information.

Agent Marcus Allen, one of the witnesses at Thursday’s hearing, had his security clearance revoked after the agency found he “espoused alternative theories to coworkers” about Jan. 6 “in apparent attempts to hinder investigative activity,” including sharing a theory that federal law enforcement had infiltrated the crowd.

“It appears I was retaliated against because I forwarded information to my superiors that questioned the official narrative of January 6th,” Allen said in the Thursday hearing. He also said the FBI’s assertion that his supervisor “admonished” him was inaccurate. 

The FBI also found that one case related to Jan. 6 was closed after Allen said he did not find any relevant information about a subject — but that case was later reopened after another FBI employee found relevant information that was publicly available. That person assaulted a Capitol Police officer on Jan. 6, the agency said.

At one point in the hearing, Democrats stumbled in an attempt to push back on the witnesses’ credibility when Sánchez asked Allen to address a Twitter account with the name “Marcus Allen” that had retweeted a tweet asserting that former House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) staged the Jan. 6 Capitol attack. Allen responded that it was not his Twitter account — and that he did not agree with the message, condemning the violence at the Capitol on that day.

The FBI said agent Stephen Friend had his security clearance revoked after he acknowledged that he “publicly released sensitive FBI information on his personal social media accounts without authorization,” participated in unapproved media interviews, and secretly recorded a meeting with FBI management.

Friend testified to the committee that after raising concerns to his superiors with how the FBI was handling investigations into Jan. 6 subjects, the FBI suspended him without pay. 

Friend testified that he was assigned to attend a school board meeting and took down the information from attendees’ license plates in the parking lot. He also said that after he was suspended from the FBI, his investigations of child sexual exploitation material were handed off to local law enforcement rather than to another federal agent.

A third witness, Garrett O’Boyle, who had his security clearance suspended but not yet fully revoked, was suspended without pay after he raised concerns with his chain of command and then made disclosures to Congress. He had just made a move across the country for the job, and he choked up as he described the FBI holding his family’s belongings — including his children’s clothing — for six weeks before they could access them.

Jordan said that O’Boyle was the first whistleblower to tell the committee about the process the FBI was using to assess threats against school board members, which he said have resulted in zero prosecutions.

“When citizens in this country get to the point where they can call the most powerful law-enforcement agency in the world on their neighbor just because they disagree with them, that is chilling to the First Amendment rights of the people who are getting the FBI called on them,” O’Boyle said in the hearing.

Mike Lillis contributed. Updated at 6:16 p.m.

Durham’s FBI-Trump report fuels House GOP ‘weaponization’ attacks

House Republicans say the long-awaited report from special counsel John Durham bolsters their arguments that federal intelligence and law enforcement agencies have been “weaponized” against political enemies — a theme that has been a major defining belief of their new majority. 

“The long-awaited Durham Report confirmed what the American people already know; that individuals at the highest levels of government attempted to overthrow democracy when they illegally weaponized the federal government against Donald J. Trump,” House Republican Conference Chairwoman Elise Stefanik (R-N.Y.) said in a statement.

The report found that federal authorities did not have sufficient information to open their “Crossfire Hurricane” investigation into the 2016 Trump campaign’s ties to Russia. Durham did not recommend any charges to the FBI in his report but said that the agency was “seriously deficient” in how it handled some aspects of the investigation, including relying on “raw, unanalyzed, and uncorroborated intelligence.” 

House Majority Leader Steve Scalise (R-La.) quoted from the report in a press conference Tuesday, raising alarm about its assertion that “the FBI failed to uphold their mission of strict fidelity to the law” and that it identified an FBI agent who knowingly made misrepresentations to the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court.

“Where’s the accountability for this? Who’s going to be held accountable? These are the questions we’re going to continue to ask,” Scalise said.

House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jim Jordan (R-Ohio) invited Durham to speak to his panel’s select subcommittee on government weaponization — created at the request of the right flank ahead of the tumultuous election of House Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) — at the end of the month.

Many House GOP members, including those serving on the Intelligence and Judiciary committees, said that they had not yet read the more than 300-page report released Monday, when many were focused on the debt ceiling negotiations.

Yet several Republicans said that the report essentially confirmed their own biases.

“We all already believed or knew what was in there,” said Rep. Thomas Massie (R-Ky.). “It's like, ‘Yeah, see? We told you so.’”

McCarthy told The Hill that Republicans already knew about the things that were “so appalling.”

“They took the entire country through this, impeachment, everything else, when we knew the FBI never should have done this from the very beginning,” McCarthy said.

Democrats, for their part, criticized the report for not offering enough new information.

House Judiciary Committee Ranking Member Jerry Nadler (D-N.Y.) said in a statement that the report amounted to “a political rehashing of what the Justice Department Inspector General already made public in 2019.” 

“Mr. Durham has, one last time, over promised and under delivered,” Nadler said before referencing special counsel Robert Mueller, who released a report in 2019 on his investigation of Russia’s meddling in the 2016 election.

“Nothing in this report changes the outcome of the Mueller investigation, which resulted in multiple convictions, found more than one hundred contacts between the 2016 Trump campaign and the Russian government, and substantial reason to believe that Donald Trump had committed obstruction of justice,” Nadler said.

The report from Durham is likely to affect how House Republicans legislate, and may also play a role in the GOP presidential primary.

“The report confirms that FBI personnel repeatedly disregarded critical protections established to protect the American people from unlawful surveillance,” House Intelligence Committee Chairman Mike Turner (R-Ohio) said in a statement. “Such actions should never have occurred, and it is essential that Congress codifies clear guardrails that prevent future FBI abuses and restores the public’s trust in our law enforcement institutions.”

The FBI is getting ahead of calls for change, releasing a five-page letter responding to Durham that details recent reforms.

“The conduct in 2016 and 2017 that Special Counsel Durham examined was the reason that current FBI leadership already implemented dozens of corrective actions, which have now been in place for some time,” the FBI said in a statement. “Had those reforms been in place in 2016, the missteps identified in the report could have been prevented. This report reinforces the importance of ensuring the FBI continues to do its work with the rigor, objectivity, and professionalism the American people deserve and rightly expect.”

One area likely to be affected by the politics of the Durham report is Congress’s reauthorization of Section 702 of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA), which allows for warrantless surveillance of foreigners outside the United States, even as they communicate with U.S. citizens within the U.S. — thus allowing intelligence agencies to pick up citizen communications without a warrant.

“I can assure you, 702 — that is not going to get rubber-stamped,” said Rep. Chip Roy (R-Texas), a member of the House Judiciary Committee. “We’ve got to have a serious reboot or elimination of what we're seeing through FISA 702.”

Rep. Dan Crenshaw (R-Texas), a member of the House Intelligence Committee, also said that the Durham report will probably affect FISA reauthorization.

In a Twitter thread, Crenshaw said there “must be consequences” based on the findings of the report.

“This report demonstrates how unelected, subversive actors within the highest levels of our government sought to destroy a duly-elected president they hated. They weaponized a lie – knowing the media would breathlessly regurgitate that lie – in order to take Donald Trump out of the White House,” Crenshaw said.

New Poll Shows GOP Still Behind Trump In 2024, Even If He’s ‘Charged With A Crime’

It seems that no matter what Democrats, the media, the deep state, whatever you want to call it, throws at former President Donald Trump, it just doesn’t work. And the FBI raid on Trump’s Mar-A-Lago estate is no exception. The results of a new poll should make even more steam emerge from the top of Democrat heads, and just make them try even harder to “get Trump.” 

RELATED: Pentagon Halts Deliveries Of Newest F-35 Fighter Jet Because They Used Parts From China

The Latest Poll

According to a new NPR/PBS News Hour/Marist National poll, among Republicans, 61% say Trump should make another run for the White House. However, “90% of Democrats, 26% of Republicans, and 67% of independents – do not want Trump to run for president in 2024.”

If Trump is charged with a crime, 65% of those polled do not want him to run.

The poll also addressed the FBI Mar-A-Lago raid, and what Americans might think about whether Trump engaged in any illegal activities. Of those polled, 44% believe that Trump did something illegal by possessing the documents in question found at Mar-A-Lago.

Another 17% believe that Trump’s actions may have been unethical but not illegal. One in four Republicans believe he committed acts that were either illegal at 5%, or unethical at 20%.

Of those Americans polled, 29%, including 63% of Republicans don not believe Donald Trump did anything wrong.

RELATED: Media Running New ‘Leaked Info’ From Anonymous Sources That Trump Had Files On Foreign Nation’s Nuclear Capabilities

Anti-Trump Brigade May Have Had Their ‘Jump The Shark’ Moment

The other thing that the powers that be don’t quite seem to understand, is that everything they throw at Trump just seems to energize his base even more. And they may have done themselves in with the Mar-A-Lago raid.

Immediately following the raid, Trump met with members of the House Study Committee in New Jersey. One of those members in attendance was Rep. Jim Banks (R-IN). Banks told Fox News, “He didn’t seem defeated in the least bit—he was very fired up, very upbeat.”

Rep. Claudia Tenney (R-NY) tweeted out, “Thrilled to report he’s feeling better than ever despite the Democrats’ endless smears against him. Trump 2024!”

Tenney also stated in an interview with Real America’s Voice that the actions of the FBI and DOJ amounted to a “fourth impeachment,” and that, “They’re going to try to attempt to stop him from running for president. And that’s really what it’s about. Because they’re afraid he will get out there and he will run and he will win.”

RELATED: MSNBC Guest Roland Martin Says Trump Voters Are ‘Evil’: ‘We Are At War With These People’

Latest Developments

On Monday, the Trump legal team won a request for a special master to review seized documents, being concerned that federal officials would, “impugn, leak, and publicize select aspects of their investigation.”

The media of course wasted no time in pointing out that Judge Aileen Cannon was a Trump-appointed judge.

One day later, an outrageous leak from the Department of Justice stated that several of the documents taken contained information about a foreign nation’s military and nuclear capabilities.

At a recent rally in Pennsylvania, Trump stated that FBI agents not only rummaged through former First Lady Melania Trump’s closet, but also went through 16-year-old Barron Trump’s bedroom.

It is actions like that that will keep a large swath of Republicans rooting for Donald Trump.

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Media Running New ‘Leaked Info’ From Anonymous Sources That Trump Had Files On Foreign Nation’s Nuclear Capabilities

Documents seized during the FBI raid on former President Trump’s Mar-a-Lago home contained information regarding a foreign nation’s nuclear capabilities, the Washington Post reports.

The details were provided only by sources described by the Post as “people familiar with the matter” and come just days after a federal judge approved Trump’s request to appoint a special master to independently review records obtained during the raid, due in part to concerns over media leaks.

The outlet notes that some documents were so top-secret that only a handful of people were granted access to view them. So top-secret that this information was immediately passed on to one of the largest newspapers in the world.

Among the files seized during the raid, according to the anonymous sources, were those which held “information about a foreign government’s nuclear-defense readiness.”

But, the Washington Post adds: “These people did not identify the foreign government in question, say where at Mar-a-Lago the document was found, or offer additional details about one of the Justice Department’s most sensitive national security investigations.”

RELATED: Federal Judge Grants Trump’s Request to Have Special Master Independently Review Documents Seized by FBI

Trump Raid Allegedly Yields Document on Foreign Nuclear Capabilities

Does anyone else pine for the days when sources were named and multiple people were contacted by the media to corroborate a source’s story prior to print?

The bombshell report comes just days after Judge Aileen Cannon delivered a significant victory to Trump and his legal team by granting a special master, allowing an independent party to review the documents and assess any attorney/client or executive privilege that may exist.

Part of her reasoning was prescient in light of the Washington Post report.

One of the reasons for Cannon’s ruling involved “the interest in ensuring the integrity of an orderly process amidst swirling allegations of bias and media leaks.”

Last month, leaks to the same newspaper led to reports from “people familiar with the investigation” who alleged that the raid on Trump’s home was an attempt to retrieve documents pertaining to “nuclear weapons.” 

The implication, of course, is that Trump was putting America in danger.

Trump at that time railed against the reporting.

“Nuclear weapons issue is a Hoax, just like Russia, Russia, Russia was a Hoax, two Impeachments were a Hoax, the Mueller investigation was a Hoax, and much more,” he wrote on his Truth Social media platform. “Same sleazy people involved.”

RELATED: Trump Demands Immediate Release Of Search Warrant, Denies Reports That FBI Raid Was Over Nuclear Weapons Documents

Media Running Wild With Irresponsible Speculation

The Political Insider reported just last week that the DOJ’s so-called guideline holding off on any possible charges against Trump until after the midterm elections would only allow the media to run wild with speculation.

“Trump and his supporters can instead brace themselves for 2+ months of selective leaking to the media, loads of reports citing ‘people who asked to remain anonymous,’ and lots of speculative reporting from the left-wing media,” we wrote.

And here we have yet another example.

And the usual suspects jumped on this latest information to help spread the unverified reports.

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Representative Adam Schiff (D-CA), once blasted by former congressman Trey Gowdy for selectively leaking information about the Trump/Russia collusion hoax “like a sieve,” was up to his old tricks.

“New reporting that Trump had highly classified information, including on foreign nuclear programs,” Schiff tweeted. “If true, it raises yet more questions.”

If true.

Schiff, Chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, despite testimony from officials time and again admitting they had no evidence of Russian collusion with the campaign of President Trump in 2016, repeatedly told friendly media outlets that there was “direct evidence.”

He never provided any. Nor could Special Counsel Robert Mueller. Or any other Democrat for that matter.

Others are also pushing the Trump nuclear capabilities story without any actual evidence at this stage of the game.

Legendary director Rob Reiner called for Trump to be arrested following the report.

“Donald Trump stole Top Secret Highly Classified Nuclear Documents. He has put our Nation in danger. No more deference. No more political considerations. No man is above the law,” Reiner tweeted. “Time to make an arrest.”

And it wasn’t just the far-left, either.

Fox News host Eric Shawn, following previous reporting on the nuclear documents, made the laughable suggestion that Trump was looking to sell the foreign nation’s nuclear secrets to Russia or Saudi Arabia.

“And more questions are being raised this morning. Did former President Trump try to sell or share the highly classified material to the Russians or to the Saudis or others?” he asked.

“Or were the documents innocently mishandled and stored because he thought he had a legal right to have them?”

Yes, because a man who made billions over his lifetime would choose ‘selling nuclear secrets’ from a foreign country to a hostile regime as his next lucrative side project.

Trump attorney Christopher Kise slammed the leaks coming out about the FBI raid, lamenting they “continue with no respect for the process nor any regard for the real truth.”

Kise said a “responsible course of action here would be for someone — anyone — in the government to exercise leadership and control.”

Good luck waiting for that. You can expect the corrupt media to run with any and all leaks – factual or otherwise – from now right up until November.

In reality, the reports may very well be true. But the media has not earned the benefit of the doubt after years of bombshell stories that ultimately fizzled out into nothingness.

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