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'Media ignoring Obama's role' in Trump dossier scandal

FBI Director Robert Mueller, left, acknowledges applause during President Obama’s remarks on June 21, 2013, announcing James Comey, right, as his nominee to succeed Mueller. (Official White House photo)

Democrats and the establishment media are engaged in a “frenzied” effort to undermine the memo released by the House Intelligence Committee alleging FBI and Justice Department intelligence abuses, because they are trying to protect former President Barack Obama as well as Hillary Clinton, who “paid for a warrant,” contends constitutional lawyer and talk host Mark Levin.

In the debate over the abuse of the top-secret FISA court highlighted in the Republican memo released Friday – which says then-Deputy FBI Director Andrew McCabe testified to the committee that the infamous, unverified Democrat-funded “dossier” was essential to obtaining a warrant to spy on the Trump campaign – Obama’s name never comes up, Levin noted in an interview Monday night with the Fox News Channel’s Sean Hannity.

He argued that top Obama administration officials were aware of the warrant application, naming Attorney General Loretta Lynch, Deputy Attorney General Sally Yates, FBI Director James Comey, Deputy FBI Director Andrew McCabe and the FBI’s head of counter-intelligence, Peter Strzok.

“Who else would have known about these FISA applications and warrants?” Levin asked.

Because of the fact that it was a counter-intelligence operation, he reasoned, President Obama’s National Security Council and the White House must have known.

“We’re looking at the FBI and we’re looking at the Department of Justice, and we’re not looking at all at the White House,” Levin said.

It’s [Obama’s] FBI, his Department of Justice, his State Department, his candidate. I cannot believe for a moment that the National Security Council didn’t know about this.”

In addition, he said, Obama is implicated in the scandal over the wiretap intelligence collected on conversations Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak had with then-Trump campaign advisers Jeff Sessions and Michael Flynn, and the unmasking and leaking of Flynn’s name by Obama officials.

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Levin said the American people “have been subjected to a massive propaganda and misinformation campaign by the Clinton campaign, by the Obama administration.”

“Why would the Russians want Donald Trump to be president of the United States when they get everything they want from Hillary Clinton, whether it’s uranium, whether it’s undermining our defense by cutting military spending, by refusing to secure our border?”

He said the easiest way to sum up the matter is, “Hillary Clinton paid for a warrant.”

“Hillary Clinton colluded with the Russians, but it appears the FBI, at the senior most levels, colluded with the Russians, too. Whether it was witting or unwitting, it doesn’t matter,” he said.

Levin said he’s aware that Republicans “are bending over backwards saying this has nothing to do with” former FBI Director Robert Mueller and his special counsel investigation of alleged Trump campaign collusion with Russia in the 2016 election.

“It has everything to do with Mueller,” Levin insisted.

The investigation of Russian interference in the 2016 election turned from a counter-intelligence investigation into a criminal investigation after Comey leaked to media his memo regarding his conversations with President Trump, Levin pointed out. Comey, who charged in the memo that Trump encouraged him to drop the FBI’s Flynn investigation, later admitted he was hoping the memo would create the need for a special counsel.

“Mueller is former FBI director. Those are his people. That’s his environment. He’s not out there as some independent force,” Levin argued.

Levin said independent criminal and policy investigations of the matter are needed.

The dossier, commissioned by the political research firm Fusion GPS with funding from the Hillary Clinton campaign and the Democratic National Committee, was written by former British spy Christopher Steele. According to the House Republicans’ memo, the FBI and Justice Department relied on a Yahoo News story by Michael Isikoff to lend credibility to the dossier. But the source of the Yahoo story was the author of the dossier, Steele, who held personal animus toward Trump, according to the memo, and was “passionate” about ensuring Trump did not become president.

The memo also says senior DOJ and FBI officials knew about the political origins of the Steele dossier but didn’t state that fact in the FISA applications.

Obama, Hillary coordination

The existence of a coordinated effort by Hillary Clinton allies and the Obama administration to purvey damaging information about the Trump campaign is confirmed in another memo regarding the FISA abuse.

Hillary Clinton

Released Monday by Sen. Charles Grassley, R-Iowa, chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, and Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., it references a previously undisclosed second dossier written by the former British agent Steele.

In their memo, the senators refer Steele for prosecution.

Steele’s second dossier, according to the Grassley memo, included dirt on Trump that originated with a foreign source who fed information to an ally of Hillary and Bill Clinton, who then gave it to the Obama State Department. Steele obtained the information from the State Department source.

Rep. Devin Nunes, R-Calif., who spearheaded the House Intelligence Committee memo released Friday, was asked his assessment of Grassley’s findings by Hannity Monday night.

Nunes said he can’t discuss details, because the information is classified.

“What I can tell you is this. We have an active investigation into the State Department – that has been ongoing for a while now – and as soon as we can get that information out, we will, as the investigation unfolds,” he said.

Nunes disclosed Friday that his committee’s probe of FISA abuses by the FBI and the Justice Department is only one phase of a broader investigation that includes the State Department.

Rep. Devin Nunes, R-Calif.

Hannity asked Nunes how it’s possible that in the United States of America, Russian propaganda funded by a political candidate can be used to obtain a warrant from a top-secret intelligence court to spy on the opposition candidate, without telling the court of the information’s origin.

“It’s what happens in banana republics,” Nunes replied. “It’s very scary.”

The congressman said that after learning initial details of the FISA abuse last March, the Justice Department and the FBI were uncooperative in providing information.

It finally took House Speaker Paul Ryan threatening contempt charges, he said.

“And finally we were able to break loose all of the documentation, and then we were able to get it out to the American people in the form of the memo,” said Nunes.

The State Department official is not identified in the Grassley report, but it was widely speculated to be Jonathan Winer, a former special envoy to Libya, reported the Daily Caller.

The unnamed Clinton associates are believed to be Cody Shearer and Sidney Blumenthal, who are known for carrying out dirty-tricks campaigns for the Clintons.

The Guardian of London reported Shearer wrote a memo that Steele provided to the FBI in October 2016, which included some of the “salacious and unverified” reports, in the words of Comey, in the original dossier, including alleged Trump activity in a Moscow hotel room in 2013 at a time when Trump was not in the country.

The Daily Caller noted that since leaving the State Department last year, Winer has spoken out about the Russia investigation and alleged Trump collusion, providing quotes for news stories.

‘Damning omission’

The House Intelligence Committee voted Monday to release a Democratic Party rebuttal to the Nunes memo. But the FBI has said that the Republican memo is accurate. And according to sources who have seen the Democrat’s memo, it doesn’t refute the Republicans’ main point, that former FBI Deputy Director McCabe – who unexpectedly resigned the day after FBI Director Christopher Wray read the Nunes memo – testified that the warrant to spy on the Trump adviser would not have been issued without the dossier.

Rep. Adam Schiff, D-Calif.

Democrats are insisting that the Nunes memo’s contention that the FBI and the Justice Department did not inform the FISA court of the dossier’s origin is false.

Nunes has admitted that there was a footnote in the application that stated the dossier had a political origin.

But the intelligence panel chairman argues that nowhere in the application is it explained that the dossier was commissioned and funded by the Hillary Clinton campaign and the Democratic National Committee.

Hugh Hewitt, who said he examined hundreds of FISA warrant applications as a special assistant to Attorneys General William French Smith and Edwin Meese III, wrote in a Washington Post column that not disclosing that the source had been financed by the Clinton campaign was a “damning omission.”

Fox News reported the Democrats’ rebuttal memo has references to “sources and methods” that need to be redacted.

As with the Republicans’ memo, President Trump has five days to conduct a national security review of the document.

The top Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee, Rep. Adam Schiff, D-Calif., said he fears the White House will make politically motivated redactions to protect President Trump.

However, according to Fox News sources, Schiff intentionally inserted information to force the White House to make redactions, playing into the Democrats’ narrative that the White House has a double standard.

Prior to the release of the Nunes memo, Democrats charged that the Republicans’ document would reveal FBI sources and methods, which turned out not to be the case.