Monday, April 22, 2019

Potential Consequences of Spying on the Trump Campaign

Looks like the excreta might be hitting the rotating device later this year

Actions by Justice Department officials in spying on a Donald Trump campaign adviser in 2016 could be a crime or merely an administrative offense, legal experts say.

Crimes could include perjury or misleading a court, they say, while disciplinary action for an administrative offense could mean being fired or losing a law license.

Testifying last week before two separate congressional panels, Attorney General William Barr said the Justice Department’s Office of Inspector General report about the surveillance of Trump campaign aide Carter Page will be released in May or June.

Barr also indicated that he planned a further review of  government “spying” on the Trump campaign.

What’s known is that the Obama administration’s Justice Department obtained a warrant under the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, or FISA, to conduct electronic surveillance on Page in October 2016.

The inspector general’s review is looking at whether Justice Department or FBI officials did anything improper in obtaining the warrant approved by a federal judge.

“Before looking at the legality, the department should examine the process behind getting a FISA warrant against a presidential campaign. That’s something that should be approved by the attorney general first,” John Yoo, a former assistant U.S. attorney general under President George W. Bush, told The Daily Signal.

Domestic spying on political opponents was a big part of what prompted the FISA law in the 1970s after President Richard Nixon’s administration, the goal being to put a check in place.

“The whole point of FISA was because Nixon was spying on political opponents,” said Yoo, now a law professor at the University of California at Berkeley. “This seems to have violated the purpose of FISA, which is to make sure surveillance is always merited [and] is not political.”

After the Watergate scandal, which led to Nixon’s resignation, Congress was concerned about how the Nixon administration used the FBI and the CIA to target political opponents.

Sen. Frank Church, D-Idaho, chaired a select Senate committee that investigated intelligence gathering. The 1978 FISA law was an outgrowth of what was called the Church Committee.

Prosecutable crimes might have been committee by Justice Department personnel, said Robert Ray, who as an independent counsel completed the investigation of President Bill Clinton.

“The FISA court is in place to ensure the careful use of tools in the tool box, and to have oversight of the potential collision with the political process,” Ray told The Daily Signal. “This is always a big deal when you mix politics and prosecutions and is always dangerous.”

Ray said the potential criminal charge that came to mind was perjury, if Justice Department lawyers seeking the FISA warrant were dishonest in making the application to the judge.

“Intentionally misleading a court in a document that is sworn to under oath would be perjury,” Ray said. “But you would have to prove the person knowingly provided false information. Misleading might not be enough.”

Ray said the Justice Department’s Office of Professional Responsibility might look at the matter, to determine whether an official committed an act that requires discipline or dismissal. The matter could be referred to the state bar of any practicing lawyer who is accused of providing misleading information.

“If this matter has the attorney general’s attention, then it is all on the table,” Ray said. “It could examine sending this to the OPR, whether there was commission of a crime, any and all of the above.”

It doesn’t seem likely that the FISA application was misleading, though, said Charles Stimson, a former federal prosecutor and former military judge.

Stimson noted that a page in the FISA application for a warrant explained that the information was based on an opposition research dossier compiled by a former British intelligence agent, Christopher Steele.

Although the application did not say it was paid for by Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign and the Democratic National Committee, Stimson said, the application letter was clear that the document was opposition research directed against Trump.

“From a pure legal standpoint, it was accurate,” Stimson, now manager of the national security law program at The Heritage Foundation, told The Daily Signal.

“It arguably wasn’t completely forthcoming,” he said. “But the fact is, a federal district court judge had the information and ruled on it and reauthorized surveillance. … There is a gray zone. It didn’t say Hillary Clinton paid for it and that it wasn’t verified.”

However, Stimson noted that a court could require Justice Department lawyers to explain why their lack of information in the application wasn’t a case of trying to defraud the court. He also said a bar complaint could lead to the loss of a law license.

But department lawyers have a reason to be forthcoming with FISA court judges, Stimson added. “There is an ongoing relationship with the Department of Justice and those lawyers,” Stimson said. “The last thing these lawyers want to do is burn their credibility.”

David Kris, an assistant attorney general during the Obama administration, argues that although special counsel Robert Mueller found no conspiracy between the Trump campaign and Russia to give Trump an edge in the 2016 election, the larger Russia investigation itself—as well as the FISA warrant on Page—was still legitimate.

Kris wrote in the Lawfare blog:

[T]here is the Steele dossier, which was first publicly revealed in January 2017, but was in the FBI’s hands before then. People argue about the extent to which the Steele dossier has held up; the best and most recent assessment that I have seen, here, is that it has held up quite well.

But in any event, the document was properly taken seriously then given Steele’s history as a former British MI-6 officer and reliable informant (as documented in the Carter Page FISA applications). … There was a lot of justifiable investigative activity into the campaign and campaign officials and their relationship with Russia and the Russian government.

However, Stimson contends that Barr has legitimate reasons for wanting to review the matter that go beyond the FISA warrant.

“The attorney general of the United States should want to know how a counterintelligence investigation against a leading presidential candidate began,” Stimson said. “He will want to look at the entire matter. How did it get to the point of a FISA warrant? Maybe it was predicated entirely on the dossier. Maybe there was some there there.”



The Trump Administration Is Cracking Down On Illegal Aliens' Housing

The Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) plans to crack down on illegal aliens who are taking advantage of public house assistance programs, The Daily Caller reported. As it currently stands, illegal aliens are now allowed to receive financial housing assistance. They often skirt this rule by living with family members who are U.S. citizens and receive their assistance from HUD.

The new rule would prevent illegal aliens from living in homes that receive HUD funding, even if they're not the ones actually receiving the assistance. Those who are caught with illegal aliens living in their homes will have to comply with the new rule or move to a different non-HUD location.

To determine whether or not a household is complying with the program, families will be screened through the "SAVE" program, which stands for Systematic Alien Verification for Entitlements.

HUD estimates that there are tens of thousands of illegal aliens who are skirting the requirement process by living in these "mixed families." As of now, millions of Americans are on the HUD waitlist because there isn't enough money to assist everyone.

“This proposal gets to the whole point Cher was making in her tweet that the President retweeted. We’ve got our own people to house and we need to take care of our citizens,” a HUD official told The Daily Caller. “Because of past loopholes in HUD guidance, illegal aliens were able to live in free public housing desperately needed by so many of our own citizens. As illegal aliens attempt to swarm our borders, we’re sending the message that you can’t live off of American welfare on the taxpayers’ dime.”



Ignore Medicare for All Advocates’ Claims on Life Expectancy in US. Here Are the Facts

OK.  I'll mention the elephant in the room: Using statistics for whites only, America would be among the leaders in longevity.  Blacks pull the average down because of their many adverse lifestyle choices

Ponder this: If self-styled “progressives” in Congress impose total government control over health care, will ordinary Americans enjoy a longer life span? 

Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., chief sponsor of the Senate “Medicare for All” bill (S. 1804), often reminds us that the United States spends roughly twice as much per capita on health care as most other economically advanced countries, but American life expectancy is lower than that of almost all these high-income nations.

Reps. Pramila Jayapal, D-Wash., and Debbie Dingell, D-Mich., lead sponsors of the House’s Medicare for All bill (H.R. 1384) say, “The quality of our health care is much worse than [that of] other industrialized countries. The life expectancy in the U.S. is lower than other nations, while our infant mortality is much higher.” 

These are misleading generalizations. In fact, American medical outcomes for the most serious conditions—for example, lower mortality from heart attacks and strokes, as well as survival rates from a variety of cancers—are generally superior to those of other advanced countries.

America’s high level of investment in advanced medical technologies, including innovative drug therapies, has improved medical outcomes and has directly contributed to longer life expectancy among our senior citizens.

According to the “Economic Report of the President,” issued in March:

The United States’ all-cause mortality rates relative to those of other developed countries improve dramatically after the age of 75 years.

In 1960—before Medicare—the U.S. ranked below most EU countries for longevity among those [ages 50 to 74], yet above them among those age 75 and higher. This pattern persists today.

True, America needs to improve overall life expectancy at birth. According to a major 2018 study of 11 high-income nations in the Journal of the American Medical Association, Japan has the highest life expectancy at 83.9 years, and the U.S. comes in last at 78.8 years.

These disparate findings reflect the vast size and diversity of the United States, including a bewildering array of behavioral, racial, social, economic, environmental, demographic, and metabolic risk factors.

The medical journal’s researchers thus caution “ … the United States average, in comparison to averages of much smaller, more homogenous countries, may lead to erroneous conclusions.”

For example, the life expectancy of Minnesota, a state comparable in size and demographics to Sweden or Denmark, has more similar population health outcomes to these countries than Minnesota has in comparison to Mississippi.

In a 2017 study for the Journal of the American Medical Association, researchers found that 74% of American variation in life expectancy—indeed, the largest source of variation—was attributable to behavioral and metabolic risk factors.

The recent annual declines in American life expectancy, based on data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, were largely attributable to increased drug overdoses (opioids) and suicides. 

Then, there is the special category of infant mortality. “Our infant mortality rate, kids and babies who are dying, is the highest,” says Jayapal, the Washington lawmaker.

The truth is more complicated. In their 2018 study, the JAMA researchers report that American infant mortality is indeed higher than in 10 other high-income countries. Notably, however, the researchers also found that when adjusting for low birth weights, the U.S. statistical ranking improves significantly.

They write: “When adjusting neonatal mortality to exclude deaths of infants born weighing less than 1,000g [about 2.2 pounds], the United States ranked fifth relative to the other countries, with 1.61 deaths per 1,000 live births, compared with a mean of 1.70 for all 11 countries.”

Comparisons of infant mortality between the United States and other countries are often flawed because definitions of terms and measurements are different.

As Sally Pipes, president of the Pacific Research Institute, notes, “The United States … counts every live birth in its infant-mortality statistics. But France only includes babies born after 22 weeks of gestation. In Poland, a baby has to weigh more than 1 pound, 2 ounces to count as a live birth.

“The World Health Organization notes that it is common practice in several countries, including Belgium, France, and Spain to ‘register as live births only those infants who survived for a specified period beyond birth.”

Note also that the United States has high rates of pre-term births. American medical professionals, including those participating in Medicaid, will thus intervene in complex and difficult cases and literally spend hundreds of thousands of dollars to save the life of a premature infant.

Medical professionals in other countries do not necessarily make the same moral and financial commitments.

Factors influencing longevity are far more complex than how a nation organizes the financing and delivery of medical care. Total government control over the financing and delivery of health care, championed by self-styled “progressives,” will not guarantee Americans’ longer life spans.

Waiting in line for medical care is no prescription for a longer life. 

Personal behavioral changes, including diet and exercise, can make a difference in longevity, but so also can the American-style investment in innovative medical technologies and America’s superior responsiveness in treating deadly disease.



Seattle Man Punches Priest After Asking, 'How's Trump?'

Clergy of the Eastern Orthodox churches are much more prone to wearing clerical garb and other religious identifiers in public than are Catholic or Episcopalian clergy.  It sounds like that is what got the assailant below het up


Now that CBS is normalizing political violence, it's open season on anybody the left doesn't like. It's okay to punch Nazis, and a Nazi can be anybody you want. Even a priest.

From his home at the All-Merciful Saviour Monastery on Vashon Island, Abbot Tryphon told KIRO 7 about how he was suddenly attacked Tuesday morning while gassing up at the Mobil Station on Southwest 148th Street in Burien.

“I have never been hit as hard,” the Russian Orthodox priest said Wednesday. The at-large suspect “zeroed in on my cross, because when he started coming my direction, he had this look of anger.”
The leader of the Vashon monks said the man who struck him first asked, “How’s Trump?” When Abbot Tryphon answered, “I have no idea, that’s when he hit me.”

I'm not sure how this idiot connected "priest" with "Trump," but he did. That was his motive. He saw somebody who represented Trump to him, and he attacked. Anybody who likes Trump is a Nazi, and apparently priests like Trump. So he punched the priest.

Which is good, remember?

Oh wait, I forgot, that's different. It's not toxic rhetoric when they do it. They're just exercising their right to free speech by explicitly calling for political violence. Whereas those evil Republicans are thugs who are inciting violence by daring to criticize Ilhan Omar.

Then the Dems wonder why even a cuck RINO traitor like me, who probably wanted Hillary to win, won't join them.



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