If at any point since November 9 you’ve had doubts about whether the various attacks on Trump were serious or if they were simply lines of attack designed to damage his administration, you can put those doubts to rest.
The Uranium One scandal that the Democrats and media thought they had firmly tamped down bubbled to the top of the swamp last week (my post on the subject). There are a lot of moving parts here that will be sorted out over time but it involves giving a Russian company with close ties to Putin the rights to extract most of the uranium mined in the United States, it involves pretty obvious quid pro quo payments to Bill Clinton for speeches and to the Clinton foundation, it involves bribery, it involves the Justice Department seemingly limiting the scope of the investigation and deliberately downplaying the indictment and convictions in the case, it involves then-FBI Director Robert Muellery, deputy FBI Director Andrew McCabe, and then-US Attorney for Maryland and current deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein. It involves the FBI refusing to share information with Congress on the investigation and locking down the major FBI informant with a non-disclosure agreement (NDA) that put his liberty at risk if he broke it.
Attorney Victoria Toensing, a former Reagan Justice Department official and former chief counsel of the Senate Intelligence Committee, said Tuesday she is working with members of Congress to see if they can get the Trump Justice Department or the FBI to free her client to talk to lawmakers.
he undercover client witnessed “a lot of bribery going on around the U.S.” but was asked by the FBI to sign a nondisclosure agreement (NDA) that prevents him from revealing what he knows to Congress, Toensing explained.
When he tried to bring some of the allegations to light in the lawsuit last year, “the Obama Justice Department threatened him with loss of freedom. They said they would bring a criminal case against him for violating an NDA,” she added.
Emails obtained by The Hill show that a civil attorney working with the former undercover witness described the pressure the Justice Department exerted to keep the client from disclosing to a federal court what he knew last summer.
“The government was taking a very harsh position that threatened both your reputation and liberty,” the civil lawyer wrote in one email. In another, she added, “As you will recall the gov’t made serious threats sufficient to cause you to withdraw your civil complaint.”
Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Charles Grassley asked Jeff Sessions to lift the gag order so the man can be interviewed. Yesterday, the NDA was lifted.
Nothing is ever as easy as it seems. President Trump expressed his view:
Today FoxNews expands upon this:
The directive for the Justice Department to lift a “gag order” on a former FBI informant involved in a high-profile Russia bribery case came from President Trump himself, a source told Fox News.
On Wednesday night, the DOJ announced it had cleared the individual to speak to Congress about Moscow’s Obama-era uranium deals in the U.S. market and other schemes.
A source said the order to release the confidential informant came directly from Trump — though who actually made the final call is unclear. One well-placed source familiar with the decision-making process pushed back, saying the decision was made entirely by senior officials inside the DOJ.
And now the left’s rain man of the Russia probe, Adam Schiff, is demanding a new investigation:
If President personally intervened w DOJ to advance case against political opponent it’s beyond disturbing; I intend to pursue in new probe. https://t.co/2ccA6B3yGj
— Adam Schiff (@RepAdamSchiff) October 27, 2017
In short, Schiff is upset that Trump is making Justice cooperate with the Senate Judiciary Committee.
The Washington Examiner has more:
Trump instructed his senior staff “to facilitate the Justice Department’s full cooperation with Congress to lift the gag order,” a source told CNN. Don McGahn, White House counsel, then delivered the message to the Justice Department.
The Justice Department has certain restrictions preventing the White House from engaging in criminal law enforcement matters. It is not typical for the White House to be involved in these matters, especially in this case because it concerns Trump’s political opponents.
I’m struggling to find the scandal here.
Of course, Trump wants the NDA lifted. The testimony of this guy will be common knowledge within DC in a few weeks and everyone involved in this case will be looking for cover. It is going to make the Obama Justice Department look even more corrupt than we thought it was and it is going to call into question the independence and integrity of both Mueller and Rosenstein. This testimony has the possibility of pleasing Trump’s base by dragging Clinton back into the picture as a criminal and by pushing back on Mueller–who I think is showing signs of becoming another Patrick Fitzgerald.
Factually, there was no legitimate reason for Justice to stop the informant from talking to Grassley’s committee because they have oversight responsibilities. And this is really an issue of the relations between the Executive Branch and Congress. In fact, there is exactly one reason to prevent this man from speaking with the Judiciary Committee and that is because his testimony will damage Hillary Clinton, it will damage second tier Democrat operatives who were in the Obama Justice Department, and it will divert media attention from one’s preferred narrative.
No matter what policy Justice has, it is just that: a Justice Department policy. If Trump tells them to withdraw the NDA, and it is in violation of their policy which, btw, is not the law, NOT withdrawing it is not one of their options. People can either find that the request doesn’t violate the policy (which is apparently what happened), they can change the policy, or they can resign in protest and have their position filled by someone who doesn’t see the issue the same way.
Trump is clearly under attack and his enemies expect him to go full-metal George W. Bush and just sit there and take it. There was nothing at all in the man’s past that indicated he would act that way and Schiff can get all twisty-panties over this but there is zero chance the House takes any interest in this manufactured scandal when there are so many other manufactured scandals going on.