Russia hoax origins to be exposed as Trump authorizes AG Barr to declassify Russia probe documents

Heads are exploding all over the beltway, as the unraveling of the biggest political scandal in American history enters a new stage. Make no mistake, there is a plan and a timetable designed for maximum dramatic impact. President Trump finally has taken the long-awaited step to lift the cloak of classification and uncover the weaponization of the federal government’s law enforcement and intelligence agencies against his candidacy and then presidency.

The timing is intriguing.

Coincidentally or not, this happened shortly after doing battle with Nancy Pelosi in a news conference where, in the words of the Wall Street Journal’s Michael C. Bender, he “ effectively carpet bombed what little remained of his relationship with congressional Democrats by mocking House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s intelligence, ridiculing her speaking style and calling the first woman to lead the U.S. House ‘a mess.’”

Roger L. Simon thinks Pelosi’s public accusation of criminal activity (“cover-up”) forced Trump’s hand, but I think it is equally notable that the process was initiated right before a scheduled trip to Japan today, and the Memorial Day weekend, the traditional beginning of summer. This has the effect of muting the backlash from the mainstream media and other Democrats, and letting the process get underway during a period the bureaucrats planned as free time. I strongly suspect that A.G. Barr and his staff will be working through the holiday, as will those commanded in the presidential memorandum (see below) to “promptly provide” the assistance and information Barr will demand.

This order comes before the release of the DoJ Inspector General’s report.  Sundance explains:

While the purpose of the authority is to empower AG Bill Barr to collect, process and declassify intelligence product that is part of the DOJ investigative review, this does not preclude the public release of intelligence information in advance of the IG report on potential FISA abuse.

I would note that Barr almost certainly has seen or will see the IG Report before it is released. He can declassify information that the IG Report needs to reveal, even before the report is released.

Ten days from now, President Trump travels to Great Britain. In that interval, a lot can happen that could lead to some interesting conversations with the highest levels of the British government, up to and including the monarch herself.

Sarah Sanders released a White House statement explaining:

Today, at the request and recommendation of the Attorney General of the United States, President Donald J. Trump directed the intelligence community to quickly and fully cooperate with the Attorney General’s investigation into surveillance activities during the 2016 Presidential election.

The Attorney General has also been delegated full and complete authority to declassify information pertaining to this investigation, in accordance with the long-established standards for handling classified information. Today’s action will help ensure that all Americans learn the truth about the events that occurred, and the actions that were taken, during the last Presidential election and will restore confidence in our public institutions.

The presidential memorandum (full text here) authorizing Attorney General Barr discusses declassification and is notable for several details:

The Attorney General is currently conducting a review of intelligence activities relating to the campaigns in the 2016 Presidential election and certain related matters. The heads of elements of the intelligence community, as defined in 50 U.S.C. 3003(4), and the heads of each department or agency that includes an element of the intelligence community shall promptly provide such assistance and information as the Attorney General may request in connection with that review.

This puts Barr fully in charge, as the language “shall promptly provide…” requires their cooperation and information.  Barr, not the DNI, is in charge.

The memorandum goes on:
Sec. 2. Declassification and Downgrading. With respect to any matter classified under Executive Order 13526 of December 29, 2009 (Classified National Security Information), the Attorney General may, by applying the standard set forth in either section 3.1(a) or section 3.1(d) of Executive Order 13526, declassify, downgrade, or direct the declassification or downgrading of information or intelligence that relates to the Attorney General's review referred to in section 1 of this memorandum. Before exercising this authority, the Attorney General should, to the extent he deems it practicable, consult with the head of the originating intelligence community element or department.

Barr is directed to follow existing standards – meaning that his critics will have few legs to stand on. The memo continues:

This authority is not delegable and applies notwithstanding any other authorization or limitation set forth in Executive Order 13526.

This puts Barr and Barr alone in charge. Moreover, toward the end of the memorandum we see:

The authority in this memorandum shall terminate upon a vacancy in the office of Attorney General, unless expressly extended by the President.

Clearly, Trump and Barr have an understanding of where this going. Andit is going very far.  At the very top of the memorandum, the following cabinet members are addressed:

MEMORANDUM FOR THE SECRETARY OF STATE
THE SECRETARY OF THE TREASURY
THE SECRETARY OF DEFENSE
THE ATTORNEY GENERAL
THE SECRETARY OF ENERGY
THE SECRETARY OF HOMELAND SECURITY
THE DIRECTOR OF NATIONAL INTELLIGENCE
THE DIRECTOR OF THE CENTRAL INTELLIGENCE AGENCY

Sundance notices:

Considering the purpose of the Memorandum: “The Attorney General is currently conducting a review of intelligence activities relating to the campaigns in the 2016 Presidential election and certain related matters“…  The appearance of Treasury and Energy would indicate the pre-existence of investigative evidence; that would be subject to ongoing DOJ review; and potentially be part of ongoing proceedings.

Potential target issues could include: (1) an investigation of Uranium One; (2) an investigation of the Clinton Foundation; and, (3) an investigation of matters related to payments to Iran.

Treasury would come into play with the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS); which was part of the Uranium One process and also included the Dept. of Energy.  Additional related matters could include George Papadopoulos $10k (Treasury); and The Clinton Foundation.  [Obviously this is supposition, but there are not too many alternate investigative pathways for intelligence within Treasury and Energy.]

This has to be very scary for a lot of people. As a result, projection is rampant. Adam Schiff, with no sense of irony, has the gall to accuse President Trump of “weaponizing law enforcement.”

 

 

And after years of selective redactions in documents released under FOIA suits, Obama’s CIA chief of staff complains in the New York Times:

Late Thursday, Jeremy Bash, a chief of staff at the C.I.A. under President Barack Obama, said that the president’s move was “a very significant delegation of power to an attorney general who has shown he’s willing to do Donald Trump’s political bidding.”

“It’s dangerous,” he continued, “because the power to declassify is also the power to selectively declassify, and selective declassification is one of the ways the Trump White House can spin a narrative about the origins of the Russia investigation to their point of view.”

He added that confidential sources around the globe might be fearful of talking now.

Shortly after returning from Japan, President Trump will be traveling to London, June 3 to June 6, where live our good friends in MI 5 and MI 6, whose hands appear awfully heavily involved in setting up the predicates for the surveillance of a political campaign. I suspect that some very interesting conversations will be had with very senior people there, as the declassification process advances. PM Theresa May has resigned, effective June 7, and the selection of a new party leader will occur shortly after Trump leaves. The threat of exposing British interference in our election could carry a lot of weight.

I have long argued that President Trump is the master of long form reality television -- the most successful reality TV producer in the history of the medium. With the summer season beginning, it is time to lay the groundwork for a story arc that will reach a dramatic climax timed to affect voting in November next year. A new chapter in the story has just begin.

Heads are exploding all over the beltway, as the unraveling of the biggest political scandal in American history enters a new stage. Make no mistake, there is a plan and a timetable designed for maximum dramatic impact. President Trump finally has taken the long-awaited step to lift the cloak of classification and uncover the weaponization of the federal government’s law enforcement and intelligence agencies against his candidacy and then presidency.

The timing is intriguing.

Coincidentally or not, this happened shortly after doing battle with Nancy Pelosi in a news conference where, in the words of the Wall Street Journal’s Michael C. Bender, he “ effectively carpet bombed what little remained of his relationship with congressional Democrats by mocking House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s intelligence, ridiculing her speaking style and calling the first woman to lead the U.S. House ‘a mess.’”

Roger L. Simon thinks Pelosi’s public accusation of criminal activity (“cover-up”) forced Trump’s hand, but I think it is equally notable that the process was initiated right before a scheduled trip to Japan today, and the Memorial Day weekend, the traditional beginning of summer. This has the effect of muting the backlash from the mainstream media and other Democrats, and letting the process get underway during a period the bureaucrats planned as free time. I strongly suspect that A.G. Barr and his staff will be working through the holiday, as will those commanded in the presidential memorandum (see below) to “promptly provide” the assistance and information Barr will demand.

This order comes before the release of the DoJ Inspector General’s report.  Sundance explains:

While the purpose of the authority is to empower AG Bill Barr to collect, process and declassify intelligence product that is part of the DOJ investigative review, this does not preclude the public release of intelligence information in advance of the IG report on potential FISA abuse.

I would note that Barr almost certainly has seen or will see the IG Report before it is released. He can declassify information that the IG Report needs to reveal, even before the report is released.

Ten days from now, President Trump travels to Great Britain. In that interval, a lot can happen that could lead to some interesting conversations with the highest levels of the British government, up to and including the monarch herself.

Sarah Sanders released a White House statement explaining:

Today, at the request and recommendation of the Attorney General of the United States, President Donald J. Trump directed the intelligence community to quickly and fully cooperate with the Attorney General’s investigation into surveillance activities during the 2016 Presidential election.

The Attorney General has also been delegated full and complete authority to declassify information pertaining to this investigation, in accordance with the long-established standards for handling classified information. Today’s action will help ensure that all Americans learn the truth about the events that occurred, and the actions that were taken, during the last Presidential election and will restore confidence in our public institutions.

The presidential memorandum (full text here) authorizing Attorney General Barr discusses declassification and is notable for several details:

The Attorney General is currently conducting a review of intelligence activities relating to the campaigns in the 2016 Presidential election and certain related matters. The heads of elements of the intelligence community, as defined in 50 U.S.C. 3003(4), and the heads of each department or agency that includes an element of the intelligence community shall promptly provide such assistance and information as the Attorney General may request in connection with that review.

This puts Barr fully in charge, as the language “shall promptly provide…” requires their cooperation and information.  Barr, not the DNI, is in charge.

The memorandum goes on:
Sec. 2. Declassification and Downgrading. With respect to any matter classified under Executive Order 13526 of December 29, 2009 (Classified National Security Information), the Attorney General may, by applying the standard set forth in either section 3.1(a) or section 3.1(d) of Executive Order 13526, declassify, downgrade, or direct the declassification or downgrading of information or intelligence that relates to the Attorney General's review referred to in section 1 of this memorandum. Before exercising this authority, the Attorney General should, to the extent he deems it practicable, consult with the head of the originating intelligence community element or department.

Barr is directed to follow existing standards – meaning that his critics will have few legs to stand on. The memo continues:

This authority is not delegable and applies notwithstanding any other authorization or limitation set forth in Executive Order 13526.

This puts Barr and Barr alone in charge. Moreover, toward the end of the memorandum we see:

The authority in this memorandum shall terminate upon a vacancy in the office of Attorney General, unless expressly extended by the President.

Clearly, Trump and Barr have an understanding of where this going. Andit is going very far.  At the very top of the memorandum, the following cabinet members are addressed:

MEMORANDUM FOR THE SECRETARY OF STATE
THE SECRETARY OF THE TREASURY
THE SECRETARY OF DEFENSE
THE ATTORNEY GENERAL
THE SECRETARY OF ENERGY
THE SECRETARY OF HOMELAND SECURITY
THE DIRECTOR OF NATIONAL INTELLIGENCE
THE DIRECTOR OF THE CENTRAL INTELLIGENCE AGENCY

Sundance notices:

Considering the purpose of the Memorandum: “The Attorney General is currently conducting a review of intelligence activities relating to the campaigns in the 2016 Presidential election and certain related matters“…  The appearance of Treasury and Energy would indicate the pre-existence of investigative evidence; that would be subject to ongoing DOJ review; and potentially be part of ongoing proceedings.

Potential target issues could include: (1) an investigation of Uranium One; (2) an investigation of the Clinton Foundation; and, (3) an investigation of matters related to payments to Iran.

Treasury would come into play with the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS); which was part of the Uranium One process and also included the Dept. of Energy.  Additional related matters could include George Papadopoulos $10k (Treasury); and The Clinton Foundation.  [Obviously this is supposition, but there are not too many alternate investigative pathways for intelligence within Treasury and Energy.]

This has to be very scary for a lot of people. As a result, projection is rampant. Adam Schiff, with no sense of irony, has the gall to accuse President Trump of “weaponizing law enforcement.”

 

 

And after years of selective redactions in documents released under FOIA suits, Obama’s CIA chief of staff complains in the New York Times:

Late Thursday, Jeremy Bash, a chief of staff at the C.I.A. under President Barack Obama, said that the president’s move was “a very significant delegation of power to an attorney general who has shown he’s willing to do Donald Trump’s political bidding.”

“It’s dangerous,” he continued, “because the power to declassify is also the power to selectively declassify, and selective declassification is one of the ways the Trump White House can spin a narrative about the origins of the Russia investigation to their point of view.”

He added that confidential sources around the globe might be fearful of talking now.

Shortly after returning from Japan, President Trump will be traveling to London, June 3 to June 6, where live our good friends in MI 5 and MI 6, whose hands appear awfully heavily involved in setting up the predicates for the surveillance of a political campaign. I suspect that some very interesting conversations will be had with very senior people there, as the declassification process advances. PM Theresa May has resigned, effective June 7, and the selection of a new party leader will occur shortly after Trump leaves. The threat of exposing British interference in our election could carry a lot of weight.

I have long argued that President Trump is the master of long form reality television -- the most successful reality TV producer in the history of the medium. With the summer season beginning, it is time to lay the groundwork for a story arc that will reach a dramatic climax timed to affect voting in November next year. A new chapter in the story has just begin.