What If Biden Were Seeking Recounts? We Know Exactly What Would Happen

By J Peder Zane for RealClearPolitics

Imagine if Joe Biden had enjoyed a healthy lead on election night only to see it evaporate as the numbers dripped in from Republican strongholds.

Does anyone believe the mainstream media would have rushed to anoint Donald Trump the winner?

Would the New York Times, Washington Post, NPR and other outlets have cast the inevitable Democrat demands for ballot reviews and recounts as a constitutional crisis or would they have run wall-to-wall coverage about the inherent problems associated with mail-in ballots?

RELATED: Trump Campaign Files For Recount In Two Democrat-Leaning Wisconsin Counties

We don’t have to imagine the answer – just recall 2016 when the same liberal news organizations that are damning Trump as a tyrant and suggesting he might be planning a coup cheered and facilitated Democrat efforts to delegitimize Trump’s victory by claiming he was a crooked businessman who had colluded with Vladimir Putin to steal the election.

After early efforts failed to convince electors to defy the will of their states and cast their ballots for Hillary Clinton, talk turned to impeachment before Trump was even sworn in.

On the morning of his inauguration – which was boycotted by several dozen Democrat members of Congress because, as Rep. Jerrold Nadler said, he was not “legally elected” – a Washington Post article reported, “The campaign to impeach President Trump has begun.”

Democrats and their media allies fulfilled that promise, spending the next three years using salacious smears funded by the Clinton campaign to claim Trump was Putin’s puppet.

RELATED: Arizona GOP Chairwoman Kelli Ward: Election ‘Will Ultimately Be Decided In Favor Of President Trump’

When Special Counsel Robert Mueller dismissed that conspiracy theory in March 2019, Democrats impeached Trump on other grounds that did not include high crimes or misdemeanors.

At a May 2019 event, Biden agreed with a woman who said Trump was “an illegitimate president.” A month later, former President Jimmy Carter said the same.

Nothing in our history has done more to destroy norms and undercut the rule of law.

This history does not bolster Trump’s claims that massive voter irregularities caused his 2020 defeat – though we owe it to our country to review the results from this highly unusual election.

It does suggest that one reason millions of Americans are skeptical about Biden’s victory is the insistence of a highly partisan media that he won fair and square – no questions asked.

Presidents come and go, but the media is forever. The transformation of leading news outlets from liberal voices into propaganda arms of the left may be the most consequential legacy of the Trump era.

RELATED: Rudy Giuliani, Trump Campaign Level Massive Allegations Against Election Results In Press Conference

It’s not surprising that the media so causally compares Trump to Hitler while branding Republicans as racists – these are now articles of faith among the leftists they support. This is apparently what they believe.

Gallup polls illustrate the partisan shift. During the Obama years about 55% of Democrats felt the “mass media” reported the news “fully, accurately, and fairly.” About 30% of Republicans agreed.

In 2017 the number of approving Democrats rose to 72% – where it has roughly stayed – while the number of approving Republicans dropped to just 14% in 2016 and is now at 10%.

No doubt many Democrats tell themselves they are reality-based while Republicans have been brainwashed by Trump’s “fake news” lies.

RELATED: Poll Shows Over Half of Republicans Believe The Election Was ‘Rigged’ And Trump ‘Rightfully Won’

But that position is hard to defend given the Trump/Russia fiction they perpetrated, the ugly accusations they launched against Brett Kavanaugh during his Supreme Court confirmation hearings, and the contempt with which they view those who disagree with them.

Free nations need an honest press. We no longer have one. Heaven help us.

Syndicated with permission from RealClearWire.

The post What If Biden Were Seeking Recounts? We Know Exactly What Would Happen appeared first on The Political Insider.

Who Wants to Blow Up Our Constitution? (Spoiler: It’s Not Trump)

By Charles Lipson for RealClearPolitics

The most profound attacks on Donald Trump are that his presidency is illegitimate and that he wants to destroy our constitutional structure.

The Democrats have leveled those accusations for four years, accompanied by charges he is a wannabe dictator, elected thanks to his good buddy, Vladimir Putin.

These frenzied charges, we now know, were invented and paid for by Hillary Clinton’s campaign, and then funneled to the U.S. government through the FBI, Department of Justice, and State Department.

Meanwhile, the CIA and then the FBI were busy spying on the Trump campaign (and, later, in the FBI’s case, on the Trump presidency), trying to find “collusion” with Russia.

Their relentless effort led to the appointment of Special Counsel Robert Mueller, whose partisan team knew almost immediately there was no proof of these damning allegations.

They should have told the public immediately.

Instead, they spent the next two years trying — and failing — to catch President Trump on a “process” crime of obstructing justice, without any underlying crime to investigate.

RELATED: Secret Report: CIA’s Brennan Overruled Dissenters Who Concluded Russia Favored Hillary

They were pursuing a person, not a crime, violating our most basic idea of legitimate law enforcement.

Trump actually cooperated fully with the collusion investigation, providing millions of otherwise-privileged documents, but he didn’t bite on a personal interview designed to catch him in a purported false statement.

(His promise to cooperate fully with Mueller’s collusion investigation was based on the special counsel’s explicit promise to complete the investigation quickly. Mueller’s team reneged on that assurance after they received all the White House documents and testimony they sought.)

Why bother trying to lure the president into a false-statement trap if you can’t indict him?

Simple: because Mueller’s team, effectively led by his zealous deputy, Andrew Weissmann, wanted to help House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, so she could impeach the president.

That effort failed because the special prosecutor’s office  didn’t come up with convincing evidence. The investigation by Pelosi acolyte Adam Schiff also failed.

As chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, Schiff had already elicited testimony, under oath, from Obama administration officials, all of whom said there was no evidence of Trump-Russia collusion.

He kept that testimony secret for two years so the public would never find out.

With these failures accumulating, Schiff’s team suddenly spied another pot of gold at the end of the rainbow: alleged malfeasance by Trump regarding Ukraine.

RELATED: Investigation: The Senate’s ‘Russian Collusion’ Report Had No Smoking Gun

It was fool’s gold, but it was enough for House Democrats, who voted to impeach the president on a party-line vote. The public wasn’t convinced.

House Democrats never won the broad support they needed to convince senators to remove a duly-elected president. How badly did this impeachment effort fail?

The Democratic National Convention, held just six months later, simply ignored the whole embarrassing episode.

Even the most rabid partisans didn’t care.

These repeated attacks may not have forced Trump out of office, but they succeeded in another way: They hobbled his presidency for four years. Today, the cumulative damage makes his reelection an uphill struggle.

So does the COVID pandemic and Trump’s response to it, which the public considers mediocre (or worse) and confusing.

Trump’s narcissism/constant self-promotion doesn’t help, either. It repels many educated voters, especially with women.

The vitriolic conflicts surrounding Donald Trump have obscured two crucial issues, which voters ought to weigh carefully as they choose the next president.

One is the difference between Trump’s impulsive, divisive personality and the policies he has actually pursued. The other is the Democrats’ threat to significantly change the structure of American government.

The two issues are intertwined since Trump’s policies are, at bottom, an effort to restore America’s traditional federal structure and limit the power of unelected officials in Washington.

His efforts to roll back the regulatory state also curtail the power of lobbyists and their powerful employers, since they hold the greatest influence over detailed rules and regulations, not general laws like tax rates.

Trump’s tweets and rambling public comments project strong, personalized, centralized power. That’s the essence of the “wannabe dictator” charge against him.

In fact, his basic policies are quite different from that self-inflated persona.

For all Trump’s braggadocio, he has tried to move the country away from Washington’s centralized control, away from control by executive branch bureaucracies (though not from the White House itself), and toward federalism and policymaking by the elected officials.

No president in modern times has waged a more sustained battle against powerful entrenched interests and their phalanx of lobbyists, who rotate in and out of government.

Trump’s most important domestic policies are aimed squarely at wresting control from these special interests and their apologists in the mainstream media.

To do so, Trump has tried to return policymaking to elected officials and senior Cabinet appointees and away from the lower-level bureaucrats, whose regulations dominate Americans’ everyday lives.

Likewise, he has tried to wrest control of the federal courts away from judges who act like unelected legislators and return them to judges who see a more modest role for themselves: interpreting laws and the Constitution as written.

Taken together, Trump’s major initiatives are an effort to restore the traditional balance between Washington and the states, between those elected to make laws and those responsible for executing them or adjudicating disputes.

Not surprisingly, these efforts have met ferocious opposition, led by liberals who established the bureaucratic behemoths in the mid-1960s, by progressives who want to expand them still further, and by interest groups that profit from these massive programs.

These disputes, not Trump’s personality, are the heart of America’s modern political divide.

Joe Biden is simply the familiar face of the old guard, repeating hoary nostrums by rote. Their last ideas died decades ago.

Their only answer now is to enlarge the programs and spend more money.

The new ideas come not from this nomenclatura but from the progressive and socialist left, who want to take giant strides toward centralized, regulatory government, paid for with higher taxes and more debt.

They are determined to redistribute wealth on an unprecedented scale and impose vast regulatory schemes, beginning with health care and energy.

RELATED: Joe Biden Vows No New Coal Or Oil Plants In America

They want to “reimagine” policing, jails, and immigration, without so much as deigning to explain why this wouldn’t result in letting violent criminals run loose in our cities and states, while opening the Southern border to an influx of illegal migrants (who would then receive the bounty of larger government welfare programs).

Since these ideas lack broad voter support, Biden is not running on them.

He is running an almost entirely on one idea: Trump is dreadful and needs to be replaced. Biden’s own prospective policies are as well hidden as the Wizard of Oz.

There are three reasons Biden and the Democrats won’t say what they will do. Despite what happened to them in 2016, they believe a purely negative campaign can win the White House.

They are betting that revulsion with Trump is that high. Second, the more Biden and Kamala Harris say, the more likely they are to alienate either progressive activists or center-left independents – and they need both groups to win.

Third, the media doesn’t press them for answers, so why give them? The mainstream media want Democrats to win, and they have behaved more like adjuncts of the Biden campaign than neutral reporters.

RELATED: CNN Reporter Complains About Trump Removing Mask – Video Shows Her Taking Mask Off Inside White House

A negative campaign does not mean the Democrats won’t enact a positive agenda if they are elected.

Senior Democrats on Capitol Hill have already floated ideas that would fundamentally alter both Congress and the courts — that is, Articles I and III of the Constitution.

To do that, they must not only win the presidency and both houses of Congress, they must change the Senate’s long-established rules, which allow a sufficiently large minority to stop radical legislation.

If that minority is 40 votes or more, its members can “filibuster” the bill and prevent its passage.

What Democrats are suggesting is they will abolish the filibuster in order to pass sweeping legislation with just 50 votes and Vice President Kamala Harris to break the tie.

RELATED: Senate Republicans Can Do What They Want, Democrats Already Shot the Hostage

Since the filibuster is a Senate rule, not a constitutional requirement, it can be changed by a simple majority as the first act of the new Senate.

With the minority neutered, a Democratic Senate could move quickly to enact their party’s agenda, just as the House would. The Senate without a filibuster would resemble the House, only with longer terms.

Those who propose these changes are weighing short-term goals: the policies they want to implement.

Whatever you think of those goals, the means they propose would eliminate a vital element of the Founders’ constitutional structure, which set up a Senate to slow (or stop) impetuous action and required large majorities to enact new laws.

Although the Founders wanted a more energetic government than the Articles of Confederation, their new structure included multiple “veto points,” plus the Bill of Rights, all designed to prevent an overly aggressive government from trampling citizens’ liberties.

Changing the Senate rules is not the only major change being floated. Democratic leaders apparently want to add two new states to the union, Puerto Rico and the District of Columbia.

The goal, obviously, is to lock in their party’s control of the Senate for years to come. Again, Democrats would need to eliminate the filibuster since all Republicans (and perhaps a few Democrats) would object.

Some Democrats also propose yet another institutional change, this one to the third branch of government.

They want to expand the Supreme Court beyond its current nine members, which it has had since 1869. Thanks to Republican presidents and Republican Senates, the court now has a conservative majority.

RELATED: It’s Starting: Democrats Introduce Bill To Limit Supreme Court Terms

Democrats have suggested packing the court with several new, liberal justices to outvote the conservatives.

Given the scope of these proposed changes, you would think the party floating them would be forced to say whether they were really determined to blow up Articles I and III of the Constitution.

In fact, they won’t say. It would be “a distraction” even to discuss it, declare Biden and Harris. The Democrats’ Senate leader won’t say, either. His coy line is that “everything is on the table.” Wink, wink. Nudge, nudge.

What about Democrats running for Senate in hard-fought races in Colorado, Arizona, North Carolina, South Carolina, Michigan, Iowa, and Maine? Have they been pressed to say yea or nay on these issues?

No.

The result is that the biggest issues lay hidden in the shadows as we enter the final stages of the election, the most consequential one of the modern era.

RELATED: Top Dem Senator Is Asked By CNN To Explain How Nomination Of Amy Coney Barrett Is ‘Illegal Or Illegitimate’ – He Can’t Do It

The institutional changes being proposed mean we are not just voting for a president, a senator, and a representative. We could be voting on the basic structure of our central government, the role of the courts, and the relationship between Washington and the states.

Yet the presidential debate said little about it. It was simply a flurry of crude interruptions, mostly by Trump, and mud-slinging by both candidates.

They never engaged each other directly on the fundamental issues. That was a travesty for the country and a missed opportunity for Trump.

We are being kept in the dark as we vote on what could be monumental changes. Let’s debate those changes openly. Turn on the damned lights.

Syndicated with permission from RealClearWire.

Charles Lipson is the Peter B. Ritzma Professor of Political Science Emeritus at the University of Chicago, where he founded the Program on International Politics, Economics, and Security. He can be reached at charles.lipson@gmail.com.

The post Who Wants to Blow Up Our Constitution? (Spoiler: It’s Not Trump) appeared first on The Political Insider.

Trump Dossier Source Was a Suspected Russian Spy, and the FBI Knew It

By Eric Felten for RealClearInvestigations

The FBI long suspected that a major source for Christopher Steele’s anti-Trump dossier was a Russian spy, according to newly declassified documents.

In other words, the bureau knowingly relied on the word of a suspected Russian spy to spy on a Trump campaign aide wrongly smeared as a Russian spy: Carter Page.

Republicans seized on the disclosure.

Rep. Devin Nunes told RealClearInvestigations: “The revelations are further proof of what we already knew – that the Democrats, and only the Democrats, colluded with Russians to swing the 2016 election.”

The material declassified by Attorney General William Barr shows that as far back as 2009 the FBI was investigating as a potential Russian intelligence operative the Brookings Institution researcher who in 2016 would become the dossier’s “primary sub-source.”

RELATED: If James Comey Was That Incompetent At The FBI, How Did He Keep His Job?

He was identified by RealClearInvestigations this past summer as Igor Danchenko, 42, who confessed to the FBI in 2017 that his dossier fabrications were largely inspired by gossip and bar talk among him and his drinking buddies, most of whom were childhood friends from Russia.

The bureau used the now-debunked dossier based on Danchenko’s falsehoods in four applications before the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court in order to spy on Page – and people Page communicated with.

Democrats including Rep. Adam Schiff, the House Intelligence Committee chariman, had long described the dossier – which was opposition research paid for by Hillary Clinton’s campaign – as credible, and said its claims demanded a broader investigation of Trump and his campaign’s ties to Russia.

But according to Inspector General Michael Horowitz’s report on Department of Justice abuses of FISA court applications, “Steele himself was not the originating source of any of the factual information in his reporting.”

Instead, Steele turned to the “primary sub-source” to bring him information supposedly gathered from a network of highly placed Russian sources.

And the FBI surely knew Danchenko was probably not one to trust, according to a newly “unclassified summary of classified investigative case file reports” provided by the Justice Department to Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Lindsey Graham.

RELATED: Trump Calls For Arrest Of Former FBI Director James Comey

It says the FBI commenced its Trump-Russia investigation “based on information by the FBI indicating that the Primary Sub-source may be a threat to national security.”

It also details the FBI’s earlier Danchenko spy investigation, begun when he was at Brookings, working with Fiona Hill, who would later work for the State Department in Ukraine and testify at President Trump’s impeachment hearings.

Two junior researchers at “a prominent U.S. think tank,” the summary says — read, Brookings — were at a “work-related event in late 2008,” sitting at a table when they were approached by a fellow researcher — Danchenko.

What followed was a remarkably bold, if clumsy, invitation to join a criminal conspiracy. Late 2008, of course, was the transition time to the incoming Obama administration.

Danchenko made a proposition to the two at the table: If either “did get a job in the government and had access to classified information” and wanted “to make a little extra money,” he “knew some people to whom they could speak.”

Word of this conversation made it to the FBI months later and the bureau launched a preliminary investigation into Danchenko (who is opaquely referred to in the DoJ summary as “the employee”).

One of the co-workers propositioned by Danchenko expressed “suspicion of the employee” to the FBI, going so far as to entertain “the possibility that the employee might actually be a Russian spy.”

RELATED: Secret Report: CIA’s Brennan Overruled Dissenters Who Concluded Russia Favored Hillary

The FBI converted its Danchenko probe into a full investigation.

The bureau found he was “an associate of two FBI counterintelligence subjects” and discovered that he “had contact in 2006 with the Russian Embassy and known Russian intelligence officers.”

The summary suggests that the FBI had a bug on at least one of those Russians, since the bureau has extensive accounts of the conversations the intelligence officer had with Danchenko:

[T]he Russian Intelligence Officer invited the Primary Sub-source to the Russian Embassy to see his office. The Primary Sub-source told the Russian Intelligence Officer that he/she was interested in entering the Russian diplomatic service one day. The two discussed a time when the Primary Sub-source was to visit. Four days later, the Russian Intelligence Officer contacted the Primary Sub-source and informed him/her they could meet that day to work “on the documents and then think about future plans.” Later in October 2006, the Primary Sub-source contacted the Russian Intelligence Officer seeking a reply “so the documents can be placed in tomorrow’s diplomatic mail pouch.”

The FBI did some asking around and interviewed at least one person who had been troubled by how Danchenko “persistently asked about the interviewee’s knowledge of a particular military vessel.”

By July 2010, the FBI was applying for a FISA warrant to put Danchenko under surveillance.

But before the FISA application was approved, Danchenko left the U.S. The FBI closed the investigation.

Come the end of 2016, the Crossfire Hurricane team at the FBI knew that Danchenko was the source of Christopher Steele’s extraordinary allegations.

The Crossfire crew also knew of the 2009 investigation that gathered evidence Danchenko was a Russian spy.

And yet, even with reason to suspect that the materials produced by Danchenko were Russian disinformation, the FBI agents investigating the Trump campaign continued to treat the Steele dossier as if it were something to be believed.

RELATED: Investigation: The Senate’s ‘Russian Collusion’ Report Had No Smoking Gun

RealClearInvestigations asked Danchenko’s lawyer, Mark Schamel, whether his client is or has ever been a Russian agent.

“As every objective investigation has shown,” Schamel said, “Mr. Danchenko is an exceptional analyst who is truthful and credible.”

Syndicated with permission from RealClearWire

The post Trump Dossier Source Was a Suspected Russian Spy, and the FBI Knew It appeared first on The Political Insider.

Secret Report: CIA’s Brennan Overruled Dissenters Who Concluded Russia Favored Hillary

By Paul Sperry for RealClearInvestigations

Former CIA Director John Brennan personally edited a crucial section of the intelligence report on Russian interference in the 2016 election and assigned a political ally to take a lead role in writing it after career analysts disputed Brennan’s take that Russian leader Vladimir Putin intervened in the 2016 election to help Donald Trump clinch the White House, according to two senior U.S. intelligence officials who have seen classified materials detailing Brennan’s role in drafting the document.

The explosive conclusion Brennan inserted into the report was used to help justify continuing the Trump-Russia “collusion” investigation, which had been launched by the FBI in 2016.

It was picked up after the election by Special Counsel Robert Mueller, who in the end found no proof that Trump or his campaign conspired with Moscow.

The Obama administration publicly released a declassified version of the report — known as the “Intelligence Community Assessment on Russian Activities and Intentions in Recent Elections (ICA)” — just two weeks before Trump took office, casting a cloud of suspicion over his presidency.

RELATED: Investigation: The Senate’s ‘Russian Collusion’ Report Had No Smoking Gun

Democrats and national media have cited the report to suggest Russia influenced the 2016 outcome and warn that Putin is likely meddling again to reelect Trump.

The ICA is a key focus of U.S. Attorney John Durham’s ongoing investigation into the origins of the “collusion” probe. He wants to know if the intelligence findings were juiced for political purposes.

RealClearInvestigations has learned that one of the CIA operatives who helped Brennan draft the ICA, Andrea Kendall-Taylor, financially supported Hillary Clinton during the campaign and is a close colleague of Eric Ciaramella, identified last year by RCI as the Democratic national security “whistleblower” whose complaint led to Trump’s impeachment, ending in Senate acquittal in January.

The two officials said Brennan, who openly supported Clinton during the campaign, excluded conflicting evidence about Putin’s motives from the report, despite objections from some intelligence analysts who argued Putin counted on Clinton winning the election and viewed Trump as a “wild card.”

The dissenting analysts found that Moscow preferred Clinton because it judged she would work with its leaders, whereas it worried Trump would be too unpredictable.

As secretary of state, Clinton tried to “reset” relations with Moscow to move them to a more positive and cooperative stage, while Trump campaigned on expanding the U.S. military, which Moscow perceived as a threat.

These same analysts argued the Kremlin was generally trying to sow discord and disrupt the American democratic process during the 2016 election cycle.

They also noted that Russia tried to interfere in the 2008 and 2012 races, many years before Trump threw his hat in the ring.

“They complained Brennan took a thesis [that Putin supported Trump] and decided he was going to ignore dissenting data and exaggerate the importance of that conclusion, even though they said it didn’t have any real substance behind it,” said a senior U.S intelligence official who participated in a 2018 review of the spycraft behind the assessment, which President Obama ordered after the 2016 election.

He elaborated that the analysts said they also came under political pressure to back Brennan’s judgment that Putin personally ordered “active measures” against the Clinton campaign to throw the election to Trump, even though the underlying intelligence was “weak.”

RELATED: Subpoenas Authorized For Comey, Brennan, Other Obama-Era Officials Over Russia Investigation

The review, conducted by the House Intelligence Committee, culminated in a lengthy report that was classified and locked in a Capitol basement safe soon after Democratic Rep. Adam Schiff took control of the committee in January 2019.

The official said the committee spent more than 1,200 hours reviewing the ICA and interviewing analysts involved in crafting it, including the chief of Brennan’s so-called “fusion cell,” which was the interagency analytical group Obama’s top spook stood up to look into Russian influence operations during the 2016 election.

Durham is said to be using the long-hidden report, which runs 50-plus pages, as a road map in his investigation of whether the Obama administration politicized intelligence while targeting the Trump campaign and presidential transition in an unprecedented investigation involving wiretapping and other secret surveillance.

The special prosecutor recently interviewed Brennan for several hours at CIA headquarters after obtaining his emails, call logs and other documents from the agency. Durham has also quizzed analysts and supervisors who worked on the ICA.

A spokesman for Brennan said that, according to Durham, he is not the target of a criminal investigation and  “only a witness to events that are under review.”

Durham’s office did not respond to requests for comment.

The senior intelligence official, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss intelligence matters, said former senior CIA political analyst Kendall-Taylor was a key member of the team that worked on the ICA.

A Brennan protégé, she donated hundreds of dollars to Clinton’s 2016 campaign, federal records show. In June, she gave $250 to the Biden Victory Fund.

Kendall-Taylor and Ciaramella entered the CIA as junior analysts around the same time and worked the Russia beat together at CIA headquarters in Langley, Va.

From 2015 to 2018, Kendall-Taylor was detailed to the National Intelligence Council, where she was deputy national intelligence officer for Russia and Eurasia.

Ciaramella succeeded her in that position at NIC, a unit of the Office of the Director of National Intelligence that  oversees the CIA and the other intelligence agencies.

It’s not clear if Ciaramella also played a role in the drafting of the January 2017 assessment. He was working in the White House as a CIA detailee at the time.

The CIA declined comment.

RELATED: Trump Says Obama And Others Likely Guilty Of Treason When Asked About Susan Rice And Obamagate

Kendall-Taylor did not respond to requests for comment, but she recently defended the ICA as a national security expert in a CBS “60 Minutes” interview on Russia’s election activities, arguing it was a slam-dunk case “based on a large body of evidence that demonstrated not only what Russia was doing, but also its intent. And it’s based on a number of different sources, collected human intelligence, technical intelligence.”

But the secret congressional review details how the ICA, which was hastily put together over 30 days at the direction of Obama intelligence czar James Clapper, did not follow longstanding rules for crafting such assessments.

It was not farmed out to other key intelligence agencies for their input, and did not include an annex for dissent, among other extraordinary departures from past tradecraft.

It did, however, include a two-page annex summarizing allegations from a dossier compiled by former British intelligence officer Christopher Steele.

His claim that Putin had personally ordered cyberattacks on the Clinton campaign to help Trump win happened to echo the key finding of the ICA that Brennan supported.

Brennan had briefed Democratic senators about allegations from the dossier on Capitol Hill.

“Some of the FBI source’s [Steele’s] reporting is consistent with the judgment in the assessment,” stated the appended summary, which the two intelligence sources say was written by Brennan loyalists.

“The FBI source claimed, for example, that Putin ordered the influence effort with the aim of defeating Secretary Clinton, whom Putin ‘feared and hated.’ “

Steele’s reporting has since been discredited by the Justice Department’s inspector general as rumor-based opposition research on Trump paid for by the Clinton campaign.

Several allegations have been debunked, even by Steele’s own primary source, who confessed to the FBI that he ginned the rumors up with some of his Russian drinking buddies to earn money from Steele.

Former FBI Director James Comey told the Justice Department’s watchdog that the Steele material, which he referred to as the “Crown material,” was incorporated with the ICA because it was “corroborative of the central thesis of the assessment “The IC analysts found it credible on its face,” Comey said.

The officials who have read the secret congressional report on the ICA dispute that.

They say a number of analysts objected to including the dossier, arguing it was political innuendo and not sound intelligence.

“The staff report makes it fairly clear the assessment was politicized and skewed to discredit Trump’s election,” said the second U.S. intelligence source, who also requested anonymity.

RELATED: Homeland Security Committee: Hunter Biden Received Millions From Ex-Moscow Mayor’s Wife

Kendall-Taylor denied any political bias factored into the intelligence. “To suggest that there was political interference in that process is ridiculous,” she recently told NBC News.

Her boss during the ICA’s drafting was CIA officer Julia Gurganus. Clapper tasked Gurganus, then detailed to NIC as its national intelligence officer for Russia and Eurasia, with coordinating the production of the ICA with Kendall-Taylor.

They, in turn, worked closely with NIC’s cybersecurity expert Vinh Nguyen, who had been consulting with Democratic National Committee cybersecurity contractor CrowdStrike to gather intelligence on the alleged Russian hacking of the Democratic National Committee computer system.

(CrowdStrike’s president has testified he couldn’t say for sure Russian intelligence stole DNC emails, according to recently declassified transcripts.)

Durham’s investigators have focused on people who worked at NIC during the drafting of the ICA, according to recent published reports.

No Input From CIA’s ‘Russia House’

The senior official who identified Kendall-Taylor said Brennan did not seek input from experts from CIA’s so-called Russia House, a department within Langley officially called the Center for Europe and Eurasia, before arriving at the conclusion that Putin meddled in the election to benefit Trump.

“It was not an intelligence assessment. It was not coordinated in the [intelligence] community or even with experts in Russia House,” the official said.

“It was just a small group of people selected and driven by Brennan himself … and Brennan did the editing.”

The official noted that National Security Agency analysts also dissented from the conclusion that Putin personally sought to tilt the scale for Trump.

One of only three agencies from the 17-agency intelligence community invited to participate in the ICA, the NSA had a lower level of confidence than the CIA and FBI, specifically on that bombshell conclusion.

The official said the NSA’s departure was significant because the agency monitors the communications of Russian officials overseas. Yet it could not corroborate Brennan’s preferred conclusion through its signals intelligence.

Former NSA Director Michael Rogers, who has testified that the conclusion about Putin and Trump “didn’t have the same level of sourcing and the same level of multiple sources,” reportedly has been cooperating with Durham’s probe.

The second senior intelligence official, who has read a draft of the still-classified House Intelligence Committee review, confirmed that career intelligence analysts complained that the ICA was tightly controlled and manipulated by Brennan, who previously worked in the Obama White House.

RELATED: FBI Agent Who Discovered Hillary’s Emails On Anthony Weiner’s Laptop Claims He Was Told to Erase His Own Computer

“It wasn’t 17 agencies and it wasn’t even a dozen analysts from the three agencies who wrote the assessment,” as has been widely reported in the media, he said. “It was just five officers of the CIA who wrote it, and Brennan hand-picked all five. And the lead writer was a good friend of Brennan’s.”

Brennan’s tight control over the process of drafting the ICA belies public claims the assessment reflected the “consensus of the entire intelligence community.” His unilateral role also raises doubts about the objectivity of the intelligence.

In his defense, Brennan has pointed to a recent Senate Intelligence Committee report that found “no reason to dispute the Intelligence Community’s conclusions.”

“The ICA correctly found the Russians interfered in our 2016 election to hurt Secretary Clinton and help the candidacy of Donald Trump,” argued committee Vice Chairman Mark Warner, D-Va.

“Our review of the highly classified ICA and underlying intelligence found that this and other conclusions were well-supported,” Warner added. “There is certainly no reason to doubt that the Russians’ success in 2016 is leading them to try again in 2020, and we must not be caught unprepared.”

However, the report completely blacks out a review of the underlying evidence to support the Brennan-inserted conclusion, including an entire section labeled “Putin Ordered Campaign to Influence U.S. Election.” Still, it suggests elsewhere that conclusions are supported by intelligence with “varying substantiation” and with “differing confidence levels.” It also notes “concerns about the use of specific sources.”

Adding to doubts, the committee relied heavily on the closed-door testimony of former Obama homeland security adviser Lisa Monaco, a close Brennan ally who met with Brennan and his “fusion team” at the White House before and after the election. The extent of Monaco’s role in the ICA is unclear.

Brennan last week pledged he would cooperate with two other Senate committees investigating the origins of the Russia “collusion” investigation. The Senate judiciary and governmental affairs panels recently gained authority to subpoena Brennan and other witnesses to testify.

Several Republican lawmakers and former Trump officials are clamoring for the declassification and release of the secret House staff report on the ICA.

RELATED: MSNBC’s Chris Hayes Claims Trump Openly Planning ‘Coup To Steal The Election’

“It’s dynamite,” said former CIA analyst Fred Fleitz, who reviewed the staff report while serving as chief of staff to then-National Security Adviser John Bolton.

“There are things in there that people don’t know,” he told RCI. “It will change the dynamic of our understanding of Russian meddling in the election.”

However, according to the intelligence official who worked on the ICA review, Brennan ensured that it would be next to impossible to declassify his sourcing for the key judgment on Putin. He said Brennan hid all sources and references to the underlying intelligence behind a highly sensitive and compartmented wall of classification.

He explained that he and Clapper created two classified versions of the ICA – a highly restricted Top Secret/Sensitive Compartmented Information version that reveals the sourcing, and a more accessible Top Secret version that omits details about the sourcing.

Unless the classification of compartmented findings can be downgraded, access to Brennan’s questionable sourcing will remain highly restricted, leaving the underlying evidence conveniently opaque, the official said.

Syndicated with permission from RealClearWire.

The post Secret Report: CIA’s Brennan Overruled Dissenters Who Concluded Russia Favored Hillary appeared first on The Political Insider.

The Things Not Said: What Do Democrats Have to Hide?

In the case of the Democrats, a kind of poetic justice was achieved last week when a virtual convention nominated a virtual candidate for what promises to be a virtual presidency.

COVID-19 made both major parties opt for political conventions that don’t put delegates and others at risk with large in-person gatherings, but for Democrats, lessening the risk of disease also meant lessening the risk of the public finding out that there is less than meets the eye to Joe Biden and his candidacy.

What was obvious from start to finish was that a pre-recorded, pre-scripted, pre-ordained infomercial gave Democrats the perfect opportunity to divert the attention of America away from their doddering candidate and their socialist policies into a fawning celebration of phony feel-good sloganeering and Trump hatred.

What Biden and Democrats Didn’t Say At the DNC

While the actual words spoken at the convention were for the most part snooze-worthy, what was left unsaid is like the proverbial nine-tenths of an iceberg lurking beneath the water. If and when the USS Biden crashes and sinks, it will be because of all those things Democrats don’t want to talk about, starting with the fact that 59% of voters expect Kamala Harris to finish out the four-year term of a presumptive President Biden, if not be the virtual president from the start.

Maybe that would be a good thing since so many people suspect Biden has cognitive issues, but it raises the specter of another word never heard at the Democratic convention, not even in the speech of leftist Sen. Bernie Sanders, and that is “socialism.”

That’s because most Americans do not support fundamentally transforming the American economy from its capitalist roots into a socialist “paradise” like Venezuela. Most Americans don’t, but Harris does — at least in part. She co-sponsored Sanders’ single-payer “Medicare for All” plan that would cost $32 trillion before she realized it was a political millstone around her neck.

She also famously pledged “to invest $100 billion of federal money into housing assistance for black families as part of an effort to close the racial wealth gap in the United States.” Wait! Isn’t that illegal discrimination and a blatant violation of equal protection under the law? Yes, it is.

Which brings us to another word not heard much if at all during the Democratic convention — the United States Constitution. Of course, you can’t talk about the Constitution when you intend to violate the Second Amendment’s right to bear arms. You can’t talk about the Constitution when you intend to silence the speech of conservatives in a blatant power grab.

You can’t talk about the Constitution when you oppose the Electoral College and when you want to force nuns to subsidize birth control and abortion.

It’s also hard to talk about the Constitution and its promises to “insure domestic tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general welfare and secure the blessings of liberty” when you are allowing mob rule in major cities. I’m not sure how the Democrats can sweep this under  the rug, but let’s remember that as a party they oppose the use of force by police, Homeland Security or the National Guard to protect our people, our homes and our businesses.

RELATED: Kamala Harris Acceptance Speech Shows Duplicated Videos of Supporters

And because Democrats know that the vast majority of Americans have an uncanny interest in the safety of themselves and their families, this convention never got around to a discussion of the anarchy in Portland, Seattle and elsewhere.

Barack Obama Takes the Gloves Off

There was plenty of talk about the COVID-19 pandemic and the economic impact of a massive lockdown, with speaker after speaker blaming President Trump for the deaths of tens of thousands of Americans. Former President Obama, taking the gloves off, was representative of the general theme:

“Donald Trump hasn’t grown into the job because he can’t. And the consequences of that failure are severe: 170,000 Americans dead. Millions of jobs gone. Our worst impulses unleashed, our proud reputation around the world badly diminished, and our democratic institutions threatened like never before.”

This was a shameless politicization of a national emergency — and a national tragedy — and again what mattered more than what was said was all that was left unsaid. Did anyone hear a Democrat politician blame China for unleashing the virus on not just the United States but the entire world?

In complaining that Trump was too slow to react to the virus, did any Democrat mention that Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Schumer and Biden were all critical of Trump’s decision to shut down air traffic from China last winter? Did any of them have the courage to talk about how China used the virus as a political and economic weapon against the United States?

For that matter, did anyone mention how Biden had dismissed the threat of China to the United States back in May 2019 when he said this while campaigning in Iowa City: “China is going to eat our lunch? Come on, man. I mean, you know, they’re not bad folks, folks. But guess what? They’re not competition for us.”

Really? This is the man to whom Democrats want to entrust not just our economy but our national security?

Joe Biden’s Record on China

Of course, Biden has good reason not to mention China because when you think about Biden and China, you have to talk about Hunter Biden as well — the former vice president’s son who accompanied his dad to China on Air Force Two and emerged with a $1.5 billion investment deal.

And the last thing you want to talk about if you are Joe Biden is Hunter Biden — although it can’t exactly be avoided, can it? Hunter even got a moment on stage Thursday night when he and his sister, Ashley, introduced their dad. Good for him, but that’s not the last you will hear of Hunter, even if Democrats hope it is.

You can bet that Trump will talk about Hunter Biden when he shares the stage with Joe Biden during the presidential debates, and not just because of China. Remember Ukraine? Apparently, the Democrats have forgotten all about it.

You would think that when you are running against only the third president to be impeached, you would find some way to embarrass him by talking about it. But talking about impeachment means talking about Ukraine, and talking about Ukraine means talking about Burisma Holdings, and talking about Burisma (the corrupt Ukrainian energy company) means talking about (yep!) Hunter Biden, who wound up with a lucrative spot on the company’s board of directors despite having no knowledge of Ukraine or energy.

It ultimately would mean talking about how Joe Biden was in charge of Obama’s foreign policy in both China and Ukraine, and how Biden extorted the president of Ukraine into firing the prosecutor who was investigating both Burisma and the younger Biden.

So, yeah, the less said about Ukraine, the better.

But when you come right down to it, Democrats didn’t want to talk about anything of substance during their four-day coronation. Green New Deal? Better not tell voters you want to take away their SUVs, raise their taxes and shut down 10 million jobs.

Foreign policy? Besides liking China and loving Iran, what does Biden have to talk about? If he talks about the Mideast, he has to acknowledge that Trump’s hard-line support for Israel and opposition to Iran are paying huge dividends in the form of a new peace deal that could be the first of many.

RELATED: Van Jones Lets Slip: ‘As Long As Biden Didn’t Embarrass Himself, We Were Going To Come Out Here And Praise It’

And there is one other issue that may be the most glaring omission in the list of things not acknowledged: the #MeToo movement that empowered women to come forward and speak out against their alleged abusers.

You would think with a woman selected to be Biden’s running mate, he would want to emphasize how he is a longtime supporter of women’s rights, including the right to be safe from abuse. But that is a “touchy” issue — literally.

It’s not any secret that Joe Biden has a history of unwanted touching. He apologized for it, sort of, after a former Democratic candidate for lieutenant governor in Nevada accused him of inappropriate intimacy.

“So I invaded your space. I’m sorry this happened,” he told various unnamed women while appearing on “The View” back in April 2019. “But I’m not sorry in the sense I think I did anything that was intentionally wrong or did anything inappropriate.”

That is essential Biden. He never quite gets around to admitting anything. Did he or did he not, for instance, intentionally plagiarize Neil Kinnock when he ran for president back in 1988? I think the answer we got from Biden then should perhaps be reserved as his epitaph: “I’ve done some dumb things, and I’ll do dumb things again.”

Maybe the dumbest thing Biden ever did was win the nomination this time around, because nothing will be hidden from view in the next 71 days. Joe Biden and the far-left agenda he now represents will be an open book.

Starting with the GOP convention tonight, you can expect to hear the words China, Ukraine, Mideast and Hunter repeatedly. If the Democrats think they have this thing won, they had better come out from under their cone of silence and look at the iceberg up ahead.

Syndicated with permission from RealClearWire

Frank Miele, the retired editor of the Daily Inter Lake in Kalispell Mont., is a columnist for RealClearPolitics. His new book “How We Got Here: The Left’s Assault on the Constitution” is available from his Amazon author page. Visit him at HeartlandDiaryUSA.com to read his daily commentary or follow him on Facebook @HeartlandDiaryUSA or on Twitter or Parler @HeartlandDiary.

The post The Things Not Said: What Do Democrats Have to Hide? appeared first on The Political Insider.