PowerLine -> To appease kneelers, NFL backs leniency for felons + The Bergdahl Obamanation

Powerline John Hinderaker at HoaxAndChange

PowerLine -> To appease kneelers, NFL backs leniency for felons + The Bergdahl Obamanation

Powerline image at HoaxAndChange

Powerline image at HoaxAndChange

Daily Digest

  • Bombshell Revelations about Russia and Obama’s Department of Justice
  • To appease kneelers, NFL backs leniency for felons
  • Loose Ends (30)
  • The Bergdahl Obamanation
  • Trump and McConnell hang out
Bombshell Revelations about Russia and Obama’s Department of Justice

Posted: 17 Oct 2017 11:11 AM PDT

(John Hinderaker)

These extraordinary revelations, apparently from frustrated FBI agents, were published in The Hill today. The corruption they suggest is extensive:

Before the Obama administration approved a controversial deal in 2010 giving Moscow control of a large swath of American uranium, the FBI had gathered substantial evidence that Russian nuclear industry officials were engaged in bribery, kickbacks, extortion and money laundering designed to grow Vladimir Putin’s atomic energy business inside the United States, according to government documents and interviews.

Federal agents used a confidential U.S. witness working inside the Russian nuclear industry to gather extensive financial records, make secret recordings and intercept emails as early as 2009 that showed Moscow had compromised an American uranium trucking firm with bribes and kickbacks in violation of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act, FBI and court documents show.

They also obtained an eyewitness account — backed by documents — indicating Russian nuclear officials had routed millions of dollars to the U.S. designed to benefit former President Bill Clinton’s charitable foundation during the time Secretary of State Hillary Clinton served on a government body that provided a favorable decision to Moscow, sources told The Hill.

Let that sink in. All of this was known before the Obama/Clinton State Department approved the controversial transfer of US uranium assets to Russia. But the Obama/Holder Justice Department did nothing.

Rather than bring immediate charges in 2010, however, the Department of Justice (DOJ) continued investigating the matter for nearly four more years, essentially leaving the American public and Congress in the dark about Russian nuclear corruption on U.S. soil during a period when the Obama administration made two major decisions benefitting Putin’s commercial nuclear ambitions.

The first decision occurred in October 2010, when the State Department and government agencies on the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States unanimously approved the partial sale of Canadian mining company Uranium One to the Russian nuclear giant Rosatom, giving Moscow control of more than 20 percent of America’s uranium supply.
In 2011, the administration gave approval for Rosatom’s Tenex subsidiary to sell commercial uranium to U.S. nuclear power plants in a partnership with the United States Enrichment Corp. …

“The Russians were compromising American contractors in the nuclear industry with kickbacks and extortion threats, all of which raised legitimate national security concerns. And none of that evidence got aired before the Obama administration made those decisions,” a person who worked on the case told The Hill, speaking on condition of anonymity for fear of retribution by U.S. or Russian officials.

It is a supreme irony that the Democrats have tried to make hay out of hypothetical connections between the Trump administration and Russia.

As usual, the Obama administration defended itself in the uranium controversy with lies:

The Obama administration and the Clintons defended their actions at the time, insisting there was no evidence that any Russians or donors engaged in wrongdoing and there was no national security reason for any member of the committee to oppose the Uranium One deal.

But FBI, Energy Department and court documents reviewed by The Hill show the FBI in fact had gathered substantial evidence well before the committee’s decision that Vadim Mikerin — the main Russian overseeing Putin’s nuclear expansion inside the United States — was engaged in wrongdoing starting in 2009.

Then-Attorney General Eric Holder was among the Obama administration officials joining Hillary Clinton on the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States at the time the Uranium One deal was approved. Multiple current and former government officials told The Hill they did not know whether the FBI or DOJ ever alerted committee members to the criminal activity they uncovered.

Russia’s bribery and extortion scheme was remarkably successful:

The case also exposed a serious national security breach: Mikerin had given a contract to an American trucking firm called Transport Logistics International that held the sensitive job of transporting Russia’s uranium around the United States in return for more than $2 million in kickbacks from some of its executives, court records show.

This was known early in the Obama administration, but Holder’s Department of Justice hushed up Russia’s crimes and hid the scandal:

Bringing down a major Russian nuclear corruption scheme that had both compromised a sensitive uranium transportation asset inside the U.S. and facilitated international money laundering would seem a major feather in any law enforcement agency’s cap.

But the Justice Department and FBI took little credit in 2014 when Mikerin, the Russian financier and the trucking firm executives were arrested and charged.

The only public statement occurred an entire year later when the Justice Department put out a little-noticed press release in August 2015, just days before Labor Day. The release noted that the various defendants had reached plea deals.

By that time, the criminal cases against Mikerin had been narrowed to a single charge of money laundering for a scheme that officials admitted stretched from 2004 to 2014. And though agents had evidence of criminal wrongdoing they collected since at least 2009, federal prosecutors only cited in the plea agreement a handful of transactions that occurred in 2011 and 2012, well after the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States’s approval.

The final court case also made no mention of any connection to the influence peddling conversations the FBI undercover informant witnessed about the Russian nuclear officials trying to ingratiate themselves with the Clintons even though agents had gathered documents showing the transmission of millions of dollars from Russia’s nuclear industry to an American entity that had provided assistance to Bill Clinton’s foundation, sources confirmed to The Hill.

As a result, just about everyone was left in the dark about the extent of the corruption and national security threat that the FBI had unearthed.

The lack of fanfare left many key players in Washington with no inkling that a major Russian nuclear corruption scheme with serious national security implications had been uncovered.
Ronald Hosko, who served as the assistant FBI director in charge of criminal cases when the investigation was underway, told The Hill he did not recall ever being briefed about Mikerin’s case by the counterintelligence side of the bureau despite the criminal charges that were being lodged.

“I had no idea this case was being conducted,” a surprised Hosko said in an interview.

Likewise, major congressional figures were also kept in the dark.

Of course they were.

Ironies abound: who supervised the Russia investigation? Rod Rosenstein. Who was the FBI director when the Russia probe began in 2009? Robert Mueller. Who was running the FBI when the case ended with a whimper and an apparent cover-up? James Comey. How any of these people can participate with a straight face in an investigation into President Trump’s purportedly nefarious (but, as far as we know, nonexistent) relationship with the Russian regime is beyond me.

This story belongs on the front page of every newspaper in the United States tomorrow.


To appease kneelers, NFL backs leniency for felons

Posted: 17 Oct 2017 11:01 AM PDT

(Paul Mirengoff)

Hoping to bring an end to kneeling during the National Anthem, NFL owners are meeting with the players’ union. To smooth the way, the League has endorsed legislation that would mean lighter sentencing for drug felons.

It’s unlikely that the NFL’s endorsement counts for much at this juncture. For one thing, it’s widely understood that Roger Goodell has enough trouble managing his own business without branching off into the nation’s. For another, the endorsement will be viewed by many, not as the League’s good faith analysis of criminal law and social policy (for what little that might be worth), but as an attempt to buy off the small number of radical players who disrespect our country when the anthem is played.

Nor will the NFL’s endorsement of leniency for felons solve the real problem it faces — fan disgust. The NFL’s fan base does not want to see professional football politicized the way ESPN has been, to its detriment. And many fans won’t be amused by League support for legislation that will mean more convicted felons on the street, and thus more crime.

To be sure, the League takes a bigger short-term hit when players kneel and the President complains than it will take for endorsing legislation most people don’t know about. However, pacifying radical players with this endorsement (assuming it has that short-term effect) will likely embolden them.

What happens the next time players take a knee (or engage in similarly disrespectful behavior) in the name of some other misguided “social justice” agenda item? Does the League support that item? If not, the NFL is back where it is now. If so, how do fans react?

The League needs to persuade its fan base that the NFL is “Not for Liberalism” — indeed, that it is not political except to the extent that love of America has become controversial. Endorsing leniency for felons at a time when crime is rising doesn’t seem like the way to accomplish this.


Loose Ends (30)

Posted: 17 Oct 2017 08:34 AM PDT

(Steven Hayward)

A couple of short items worth noting today.

 First, in the New York Times story yesterday on how the Weinstein scandal is opening the floodgates of sexual harassment charges, this wonderfully droll sentence appears:

Woody Allen served as the imperfect messenger for those cautioning against what he termed a “witch hunt.”

Did they really write this with a straight face? What next: “Bernie Madoff served as the imperfect messenger for investment executives praising the acumen of the Securities and Exchange Commission.” Or perhaps: “Colin Kaepernick served as the imperfect messenger for inconsistent quarterbacks who demand to be starters.”

 Less, Lesser, Lessig strikes again. We’ve commented occasionally before about what a delusional, puffed-up poseur Harvard’s Larry Lessing is, but this week he’s outdone himself. Turning up in Newsweek (yes, I know—you didn’t think Newsweek still existed), Lessig lays out how Hillary Clinton can still become president:

If number 1: If Trump is definitively found to have colluded directly with Russia, he would be forced to resign or be impeached.

If number 2: If Trump is removed, Vice President Mike Pence would become president.

If number 3: If Pence becomes president, he should resign too, given that he benefited from the same help from Mother Russia.

If number 4: If Pence resigns before appointing a vice president, Ryan would become president.

If number 5: If Ryan becomes president, he should do the right thing and choose Clinton for vice president. Then he should resign.

“The answer seems unavoidable: He should nominate the person defeated by the treason of his own party, and then step aside and let her become the president. “Without doubt, if Ryan did the right thing, that would be the most extraordinary event in the history of America since the Confederate Army fired on Fort Sumter. But unlike that, this event would build the union, not divide it.”

Sure, and as Wayne says in Wayne’s World, monkeys might fly out of my butt:


The Bergdahl Obamanation

Posted: 17 Oct 2017 05:56 AM PDT

(Scott Johnson)The mainstream media foster the great forgetting of the facts and lies about underlying Bowe Bergdahl’s plea of guilt to charges of desertion and (even more seriously) misbehavior before the enemy. Nicholas Fondacaro documents the suppression of the record in the NewsBuster post “Nets forget Obama admin championed Bergdahl as a ‘hero’ coming home.” Fondacaro includes the ABC News report on Bergdahl’s plea yesterday (video below). It represents the evidence of absence.

National Security Adviser Susan Rice was President Obama’s designated liar. Her shamelessness must have been her foremost qualification for the high office she disgraced.

Obama sent her out to the Sunday gabfests to have her declare that Bergdahl had served “with honor and distinction.” And that’s not all. “Sergeant Bergdahl wasn’t simply a hostage,” she asserted, “he was an American prisoner of war captured on the battlefield.” And further: “We have a sacred obligation that we have upheld since the founding of our republic to do our utmost to bring back our men and women who are taken in battle, and we did that in this instance.” Video is posted here.

Obama himself arranged a Rose Garden event including Bergdahl’s parents. Calculated deceptions permeated Obama’s statement. Here it is verbatim (video here):

Good afternoon, everybody. This morning, I called Bob and Jani Bergdahl and told them that after nearly five years in captivity, their son, Bowe, is coming home.

Sergeant Bergdahl has missed birthdays and holidays and the simple moments with family and friends, which all of us take for granted. But while Bowe was gone he was never forgotten. His parents thought about him and prayed for him every single day, as did his sister, Sky, who prayed for his safe return.

He wasn’t forgotten by his community in Idaho, or the military, which rallied to support the Bergdahls through thick and thin. And he wasn’t forgotten by his country, because the United States of America does not ever leave our men and women in uniform behind.

As Commander-in-Chief, I am proud of the servicemembers who recovered Sergeant Bergdahl and brought him safely out of harm’s way. As usual, they performed with extraordinary courage and professionalism, and they have made their nation proud.

Right now, our top priority is making sure that Bowe gets the care and support that he needs and that he can be reunited with his family as soon as possible.

I’m also grateful for the tireless work of our diplomats, and for the cooperation of the government of Qatar in helping to secure Bowe’s release. We’ve worked for several years to achieve this goal, and earlier this week I was able to personally thank the Emir of Qatar for his leadership in helping us get it done. As part of this effort, the United States is transferring five detainees from the prison in Guantanamo Bay to Qatar. The Qatari government has given us assurances that it will put in place measures to protect our national security.

I also want to express gratitude to the Afghan government, which has always supported our efforts to secure Bowe’s release. Going forward, the United States will continue to support an Afghan-led process of reconciliation, which could help secure a hard-earned peace within a sovereign and unified Afghanistan.

As I said earlier this week, we’re committed to winding down the war in Afghanistan, and we are committed to closing Gitmo. But we also made an ironclad commitment to bring our prisoners of war home. That’s who we are as Americans. It’s a profound obligation within our military, and today, at least in this instance, it’s a promise we’ve been able to keep.

I am mindful, though, that there are many troops who remain missing in the past. That’s why we’re never going to forget; we’re never going to give up our search for servicemembers who remain unaccounted for. We also remain deeply committed to securing the release of American citizens who are unjustly detained abroad and deserve to be reunited with their families, just like the Bergdahls soon will be.

Bob and Jani, today families across America share in the joy that I know you feel. As a parent, I can’t imagine the hardship that you guys have gone through. As President, I know that I speak for all Americans when I say we cannot wait for the moment when you are reunited and your son, Bowe, is back in your arms.

So, with that, I’d like Bob to have an opportunity to say something, and Jani, if she’d like as well. Please…

Obama’s statement foregoes outright lies in favor of falsehood by implication. In retrospect, we can see the calculated duplicity in it.

We have Obama’s fake bonhomie with the Bergdahls. We have the portrayal of Bergdahl as a heroic prisoner of war. Unlike Susan Rice, Obama omitted any assertion fact regarding Bergdahl’s capture. The heroic portrayal is implied in the depiction of Bergdahl’s deprivations. We have Obama’s negotiation with terrorists and exchange of a deserter for five-high ranking Taliban terrorists as a triumph of martial valor, fidelity to military tradition and brilliant diplomacy, all in the service of American ideals.

When undermining the United States, Obama frequently resorted to the refrain: “That’s who we are as Americans.” He didn’t give us the facts. He didn’t give us an argument to support what he had done. He gave us his refrain. Don’t play it again, Barry.

The Taliban treated Bergdahl as a high-value hostage. Obama accorded Bergdahl a similarly high value as a pawn to be used in his project of closing Guantanamo and getting out of Afghanistan. Here are brief profiles of the five Taliban butchers Obama offloaded for Bergdahl.

In today’s New York Post Paul Sperry revisits the deal. Sperry reports: “The Pentagon itself refused to list Bergdahl as a POW. That’s because an internal 2009 Army report found he had a history of walking off his post and more than likely deserted. It also found he shipped his laptop back home to Idaho, and left a note expressing his disillusionment with the war, before ending up in the arms of the Taliban.”

Sperry anticipates the October 23 sentencing hearing next week will “include dramatic testimony about three troops seriously injured during search-and-rescue missions launched to find [Bergdahl]. Two of them suffered disabling injuries: Army National Guard Sgt. 1st Class Mark Allen, who in 2009 was shot in the head searching for Bergdahl, leaving him confined to a wheelchair and unable to talk; and Navy SEAL Jimmy Hatch, who was shot in the leg on another search the next day, leaving him with a permanent limp.”

Obama is not a good liar, but he is a bold one. His boldness is in part a function of his confidence that he will never be called on his lies.


Trump and McConnell hang out

Posted: 16 Oct 2017 05:15 PM PDT

(Paul Mirengoff)

President Trump met with Senate Majority Leader McConnell today. Then, they held a lengthy joint press conference. The transcript is here.

White House officials described the lunch as focused mainly on efforts to cut taxes. Reportedly, Trump and McConnell also discussed Steve Bannon’s threat to back insurgent candidates in an effort to defeat numerous GOP Senators in primaries. It’s likely that convincing Trump not to support this effort was the primary purpose of the lunch from McConnell’s perspective.

McConnell’s talking points were well-calculated to appeal to Trump. According to Politico’s sources, the Majority Leader noted that Bannon appears to be targeting Senators who fully support the president’s agenda — e.g., Deb Fischer and John Barrasso.

It’s a concern that likely resonates with the president. Trump loves loyalty.

McConnell also reminded Trump about past insurgent primary winners who went on to lose in the general election. As McConnell later said during the joint press conference:

Look, you know, the goal here is to win elections in November. Back in 2010 and 2012, we nominated several candidates — Christine O’Donnell, Sharron Angle, Todd Akin, Richard Mourdock. They’re not in the Senate. And the reason for that was that they were not able to appeal to a broader electorate in the general election.

My goal as the leader of the Republican Party in the Senate is to keep us in the majority. The way you do that is not complicated. You have to have nominate people who can actually win, because winners make policy and losers go home. We changed the business model in 2014; we nominated people who could win everywhere. We took the majority in the Senate. We had one skirmish in 2016; we kept the majority in the Senate.

It’s a concern that likely resonates with the president. Trump loves winning.

Trump’s remarks during the joint press conference suggest that McConnell made progress with the president. Of Bannon’s insurgency, Trump said:

Well, I have a very good relationship, as you know, with Steve Bannon. Steve has been a friend of mine for a long time. I like Steve a lot. Steve is doing what Steve thinks is the right thing.

Some of the people that he may be looking at [to “primary”], I’m going to see if we talk him out of that, because, frankly, they’re great people.

(Emphasis added)

Judging from his tweets, the main source of Trump’s frustration with McConnell and the GOP Senate is probably the failure to get the votes needed to pass even “skinny” Obamacare repeal and replace legislation. But that failure stemmed from the votes of just three Senators. Two of them, Sens. Collins and Murkowski, are the least conservative GOP members. The third, Sen. McCain, loves to be a maverick and hates Trump.

The Obamacare vote provides no reason why Trump (as opposed to Bannon) should want to see Sens. Fischer and Barrasso, for example, defeated. Nor, to my knowledge, does any other Senate vote.

Trump finds himself in the middle of war between populists and traditional conservative Republicans. He would like, I believe, to mediate that conflict.

The notion of Trump as mediator seems implausible at one level, given his personality and given that he sparked the war. On the other hand, it’s natural that the president, as leader of the coalition that elected him, would like to keep the coalition more or less together.

In any case, Trump is the only figure I know of who, at this time, can bridge the gap. Today, he worked the McConnell side of the fence. In his tweets and at his rallies, he works the populist side. His policy decisions so far tend to split the difference.

I wish him good luck.

NOTE: I have modified this post slightly since it first went up.


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