Springing Forward

What seemed as though it was going to be a dull news week – punctuated by sometimes fanciful articles from "sources" about what Special Counsel Mueller was up to – ended with a plethora of important news late Friday.  To spare you having to wade through the mounds of drivel to get to it, I'm highlighting what I think is the important stuff, so you can enjoy this spring weekend.

The Budget

Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Schumer, unhampered because of the filibuster rule, which allows them to block any budget not supported by a Senate supermajority of 60, and aware of the desperate need of our military for funding, publicly rejoiced that they were able to force through Congress a ridiculously extravagant budget.  Fiscal conservatives were furious, but the president had little choice but to sign the bill into law.  "He who laughs last laughs best" is the saying, and in this case, there may be no joy in Demville.  James Freeman at the Wall Street Journal explains:

The political left is getting nervous because a virtuous and lawful reduction in federal spending is suddenly looking much more likely.  This column is told that Speaker of the House Paul Ryan (R., Wisc.) is now on board.

Specifically, Mr. Ryan likes the idea of paring back the huge spending hikes in the recently enacted budget bill.  While the budget required 60 votes in the Senate and therefore Democratic support, a "rescission" bill to repeal the spending increases needs only a simple majority in each house. ...

It's a chance for Republicans to honor their promises of spending restraint and redeem themselves with a base turned off by the omnibus blowout.  It's an opening for the GOP to highlight the degree to which Democrats used the bill to hold the military hostage to their own domestic boondoggles.  And it's a chance for Mr. Trump to present himself again as an outsider, willing to use unconventional means to change Washington's spending culture.

It's called the 1974 Impoundment Act, which allows the president to order the rescission of specific funds, so long as Congress approves those cuts within 45 days. ...

The Senate being a clubby place, one might think the rescission bill would languish in committee there.  But the budget law gives spending cutters super powers.  A discharge motion is made automatically in order, and in the Senate it is a privileged motion.  (This means it can cut in front of other business.)  The motion is limited to one hour of debate – really fast work for the Senate. 

But wait, there's more: in the House, where there are also the Republicans, the Democrats, and the Appropriators (the latter of whom can be counted on to scuttle rescissions if they can get away with it), there are fast-track procedures, too. It takes only one-fifth of the Members of the House to force a floor vote on a rescission bill. When the bill comes to the floor the motion to proceed is "highly privileged" (that is, it takes precedence over all pending business)...

Getting 50 Republican votes in the Senate will be made easier because they will be forced into an up-or-down vote – not the usual forest of complexity where they can hide in the tall grass.  Ditto for House Republican appropriators.

This week a number of media outlets reported that President Trump has been talking about rescission with House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R., Calif.).  Mr. Ryan's support, if paired with an endorsement by Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R., Ky.), would make it extremely difficult for appropriators to resist. 

Upset about the budget deal?  Get on the phone to your congressmen and senators and support rescission.

Illegal Immigration

Never say never to President Trump.  Despite the best efforts of the Democrats to keep our borders wide open and to block legislation to deal with the issue, he is determined to preserve national security and sovereignty by controlling who enters the country and how.

Friday the president ordered an end to the "catch and release" Obama policy, where border-jumpers were captured and released with a rarely kept promise to return for an immigration hearing to determine whether they had a legal basis to remain here.

The attorney general explained the new policy – border-jumpers are going to be held and criminally prosecuted.

As part of the order, Trump is requesting "a detailed list of all existing facilities, including military facilities, that could be used, modified, or repurposed to detain aliens for violations of immigration law at or near the borders of the United States."

Trump has also directed Attorney General Jeff Sessions and Homeland Security's Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen to identify any other resources or steps "that may be needed to expeditiously end 'catch and release' practices."

National Guard troops are being deployed at the border to supplement and assist the Border Patrol.  The president last year he added 50 immigration judges to handle the work.  This year, it is anticipated that another 75 will join the roster, and they are being given quotas to process these cases more rapidly. 

The Congressional-FBI/DOJ Standoff Is Broken

Sundance at Conservative Treehouse broke the welcome news early Saturday morning.

Until today the only people allowed to review the full Title-1 FISA application were Trey Gowdy, Adam Schiff, Judiciary Chairman Bob Goodlatte and Rep John Ratcliffe.

In an interesting development, the Department of Justice has responded to HPSCI Chairman Devin Nunes notifying him the DOJ will allow all members of the House and Senate Intelligence Committees full access to review the unredacted FBI/DOJ FISA application used to gain a Title-1 surveillance warrant against U.S. citizen Carter Page.

According to CNN: 'Separately, Justice Department spokesman Ian Prior said the department on Monday will supplement its document production to the House Judiciary Committee by producing another 1,000 pages of materials in response to a subpoena issued by committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte.'

He surmises, not unreasonably, that the willingness to share this information more broadly suggests that the FISA application may soon be declassified.  More importantly, it hints that the OIG and Sessions's designated prosecutor, U.S. attorney John Huber, have completed their own investigation into the content and sourcing of the FISA warrant application that permitted the surveillance of the Trump campaign.

Bill and Hillary Clinton's Corrupt International Charity Network Faces Countless Legal Challenges

Charles Ortel, a retired investment banker, has been doggedly researching the Clinton Foundation and international charity frauds and reporting on his findings on his blog and elsewhere.  He has been assiduously tracing the Clintons' many false filings and substantial conduct violative of federal, state, and international laws relating to charities.

To take but one example: Since May of 2014, Haitians have been complaining about the work of both Clintons in Haiti while she was secretary of state and he was working with the Interim Haiti Recovery Commission.

For the Clintons, doing a bad job of it is no barrier – they regularly build on failure.  Charles Ortel explains and documents stranger, and certainly illegal transactions involving "charity" in Haiti, this time involving not only the Clintons but also their new best friends forever, the Bush family.  He focuses on a missing $37 million from the Clinton-Bush Haiti fund sent to a post office box in Baltimore where the fund had no office. 

The story of the Clintons' misuse of charity solicitation, reporting, and accounting laws begins in 1997 and continues on past Clinton's term as president where people familiar to us in the present DOJ-FBI investigations failed to prosecute the Clintons for obvious charity fraud and violation of federal and state law on charitable solicitations.  The most recent investigation of the Clinton foundation took place under Rod Rosenstein, then U.S. attorney for Baltimore.  He utterly flubbed the task, as Ortel notes.

Records available through the FBI vault confirm that the FBI and DOJ attorneys conducted investigations, empaneled grand juries, and issued subpoenas, yet they were unable to bring indictments or gain convictions against the many individuals and entities linked to the Clinton charity, which clearly engaged in a raft of frauds, across state lines, and in numerous nations.

These FBI records, many of which are heavily redacted even now, clearly show that former FBI Director James Comey played "leadership" roles in these epic failures and that Comey's predecessor as FBI chief, Robert Mueller, was personally aware of the course of these ineffective efforts after he assumed his duties in September 2001. ... 

Claims by the Clinton Foundation concerning its supposed grant to CBHF [Clinton Bush Haiti Fund] do not and cannot be squared with CBHF filings. Someone here is lying and many people are doing their best to cover up what looks like a crystal-clear instance of charity fraud and other serious crimes.

How much money did the Clinton Foundation actually receive during 2010, while soliciting to help poor Haitians after their devastating earthquake?  More important, where did the money raised for Haiti by Clinton, Bush, and their associates actually go?  And remember, 2010 was a key election year, with much at stake for Democrats.

We certainly will never know the answer to that question if we must rely on Rosenstein, Mueller and Comey, who, it must be remembered, were failing to catch obvious frauds during those early years.

At the moment, some state attorneys general are investigating Clinton foundation fraud and illegality.  So are some foreign governments whose laws were violated by the foundation.  While in the U.S. opportunities to prosecute longstanding frauds may be barred by the passage of time and the statute of limitations, this latest Clinton-Bush Haiti Fund transaction seems not to be.  If I were to speculate, I'd suggest that it is not unlikely (now that the Clintons are fairly politically neutered) that whistleblowers inside the foundation, the donors' offices, and the government – particularly the IRS – may come forward, at long last, to expose the frauds which Rosenstein, Mueller, and Comey seem to have lacked the integrity and guts to do.

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