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Obamagate Is Fake — The Real Scandal Is What The FBI Did To Clinton

Reprinted with permission from Alternet

Politicized investigations, interference in elections, and abusive targeting by law enforcement are all the makings of a juicy political scandal. And President Donald Trump would like us to believe that such a scandal, with each of these components, is real and — even if he can't name any crime that might have been committed — directed at him. That's why he has promoted the lazy moniker "Obamagate," an all-encompassing term for the vague allegations of wrongdoing surrounding the conduct of the previous administration and the investigators probing the ties between his campaign and the Kremlin's interference in the 2016 election.

On Friday, another arm of the Trump administration revealed yet another inquiry into the "Obamagate" haze. FBI Director Christopher Wray, apparently under pressure from the president himself, has opened an internal review of the handling of the case of former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn.

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Ron Paul: Trump Does The Bidding Of ‘Deep State’

Reprinted with permission from Alternet

For many years, former Rep. Ron Paul was the most prominent libertarian in Congress — often frustrating fellow Republicans by voting against their spending bills. Paul, now 84, left Congress in early January 2013 but still speaks out about politics. And in his February 24 column for the Ron Paul Institute’s website, the Texas libertarian is vehemently critical of President Donald Trump for, as he sees it, throwing WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange under the bus.

Paul hasn’t always been critical of Trump. The former Texas congressman asserts that in 2016, Trump “upset the Washington apple cart” and “set elements of the Deep State in motion against him.” But Paul quickly adds that Trump has since become part of the “Deep State” he once challenged.

“Trump loved it when WikiLeaks exposed the criminality of Hillary Clinton and the Democratic Party as it cheated to deprive Bernie Sanders of the Democratic Party nomination,” Paul writes. “WikiLeaks’ release of the (Democratic National Committee) e-mails exposed the deep corruption at the heart of U.S. politics, and as a candidate, Trump loved the transparency. Then Trump got elected.”

Paul goes on to say that the “real tragedy of the Trump presidency” is “nowhere better demonstrated than in Trump’s 180-degree turn away from WikiLeaks and its founder Julian Assange.”

According to Paul, Trump’s administration is pushing for a “show trial of Assange worthy of the worst of the Soviet era” — and the U.S. “is seeking a 175-year prison sentence.”

“It is ironic that a President Trump, who has been (a) victim of so much Deep State meddling, has done the Deep State’s bidding when it comes to Assange and WikiLeaks,” Paul laments. “President Trump should preempt the inevitable U.S. show trial of Assange by granting the journalist blanket pardon under the First Amendment of the United States Constitution.”

Photo Credit: Gage Skidmore

Now Senate Republicans Resume Probe Of…Clinton Emails

Sen. Ron Johnson (R-WI) turned his attention back to former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s years-old emails this week, the same day he voted to acquit Donald Trump on two articles of impeachment.

On Wednesday, Johnson sent a letter to Secretary of State Mike Pompeo demanding more information about a 2019 State Department investigation that exonerated Clinton of wrongdoing.

In his letter, Johnson, who was first elected in 2010, said he had been investigating Clinton’s emails for almost five years and was determined to continue that work.

“Since March 2015, I have conducted oversight of Clinton’s private email server,” he wrote. “As part of that continued oversight, I write to request additional information about the Department’s September 2019 report.”

Johnson demanded the State Department answer more than 20 distinct questions about its investigation, including how investigators “uncovered no persuasive evidence of systemic misuse relative to the deliberate introduction of classified information to unclassified systems.” Johnson also sought the names and titles of dozens of State Department employees who were contacted as part of the investigation.

Johnson said he expected answers to his questions by Feb. 20.

The report he referenced Wednesday was initiated under Trump and found that “by and large, the individuals interviewed were aware of security policies and did their best to implement them.”

It further concluded that there was “no persuasive evidence of systemic, deliberate mishandling of classified information.”

Throughout the impeachment proceedings, which culminated with Trump’s acquittal in the Senate Wednesday evening, Republicans repeatedly complained that Congress should be more focused on issues that matter to the American people, insisting the trial and House inquiry before it were a waste of time.

“I have heard enough. It is time to vote,” Sen. Martha McSally (R-AZ) tweeted prior to the vote, demanding the chamber “return its focus to the priorities of the American people like lowering the cost of prescription drugs.”

In December, Trump himself demanded a quick impeachment and Senate trial so that Congress could “get back to business.”

Now it appears that business is Clinton’s emails.

Despite claims of Democratic inaction, last year alone, the Democrat-led House of Representatives passed nearly 600 bills, some of them bipartisan, including legislation addressing voting rights, health care, prescription drug prices, LGBTQ equality, gun safety, and immigration.

Most of those bills have since stalled in the Republican-led Senate under Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, who has called himself the “Grim Reaper” for his role in refusing to bring them to a vote.

Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.

Grisham Warns ‘People Should Pay’ For Impeaching Trump

For months, congressional Republicans have complained that the impeachment of Donald Trump was delaying important policy, repeating the mantra “get back to work.” Now that the impeachment process is over, they are instead pushing for new investigations in retaliation.

White House press secretary Stephanie Grisham essentially admitted this plan on Fox News on Thursday, previewing Trump’s remarks set for the afternoon. “I think he’s gonna also talk about how just horribly he was treated and that maybe people should pay for that,” she said.

Here is what Republicans have already announced:

Investigation of Hillary Clinton

Hillary Clinton has not held public office since 2013 and has not been a candidate since 2016.

Still, Sen. Ron Johnson (R-WI), Homeland Security & Government Affairs chair, wrote to Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on Wednesday to request “additional information” about a September 2019 State Department report on “security violations” related to a private email server she used during her tenure in Barack Obama’s cabinet.

Investigations of Joe and Hunter Biden

The origin of Trump’s impeachment was his explicit request that Ukraine’s president investigate former Vice President Joe Biden and his son Hunter. On Sunday, Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) told Fox Business that the Senate Foreign Relations would soon investigate the Bidens.

On Wednesday, Johnson and Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-IA) announced that they would investigate Hunter Biden.

On Thursday, the Trump administration began providing documents related to Hunter Biden, including financial records, to Johnson and Grassley, according to Yahoo! News.

Investigation of the anonymous whistleblower

In the same Fox Business interview, Graham also announced that “in the coming weeks” the Senate Intelligence Committee “will call the whistleblower” who first alerted Congress to Trump’s Ukraine quid pro quo.

“Why is it important? I want to find out how this crap started. If the whistleblower is a former employee of, associate of, Joe Biden, I think that would be important. If the whistleblower was working with people on [House Intelligence Chair Adam] Schiff’s staff that wanted to take Trump down a year and a half ago, I think that would be important,” Graham explained, suggesting multiple unsubstantiated conspiracy theories.

“If the Schiff staff people helped write the complaint, that would be important. We’re going to get to the bottom of all of this to make sure this never happens again,” Graham added.

Investigation of House Intelligence Chair Adam Schiff

Donald Trump has repeatedly blamed Schiff (D-CA) for his impeachment. Last month, he said, “Shifty Adam Schiff is a CORRUPT POLITICIAN, and probably a very sick man.”

Trump warned, “He has not paid the price, yet, for what he has done to our Country!”

On Tuesday, House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy announced that House Republicans would seek an investigation into Schiff. “After President Trump is acquitted, let’s get to the bottom of how this nightmare started,” he wrote on Twitter.

In remarks on a right-wing radio show, he demanded a probe to “get to the bottom of the lies of Adam Schiff that put this country through the nightmare.”

Punishing Nancy Pelosi

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi received a great deal of GOP ire after she tore up a copy of Donald Trump’s State of the Union address on national television on Tuesday.

On Wednesday, Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-FL) announced he was filing an ethics complaint against her, accusing the California Democrat of conduct “beneath the dignity of the House.”

Rep. Kay Granger (R-TX) also filed a resolution of disapproval, aimed at forcing a House vote to condemn the Speaker. She called Pelosi’s conduct “a breach of decorum and degraded the proceedings of the joint session, to the discredit of the House.”

Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.