by Ruby Henley
Trey Gowdy just made a shocking statement that surprises me both legally and morally. He said, “If the controversial Steele dossier didn’t exist, there would still be a Russia investigation.” I am totally confused by this, as I cannot see how the Russia investigation would ever exist without the fake and baited dossier.
Speaking to CBS’s Margaret Brennan:
REP. GOWDY: I actually don’t think it has any impact on the Russia probe for this reason.
MARGARET BRENNAN: The memo has no impact on the Russia probe?
REP. GOWDY: No, not to me, it doesn’t ; and I was pretty integrally involved in the drafting of it. There is a Russia investigation without a dossier. So to the extent the memo deals with the dossier and the FISA process, the dossier has nothing to do with the meeting at Trump Tower. The dossier has nothing to do with an email sent by Cambridge Analytica. The dossier really has nothing to do with George Papadopoulos’ meeting in Great Britain. It also doesn’t have anything to do with obstruction of justice. So there’s going to be a Russia probe, even without a dossier.
Pardon me, while I reflect on Trey Gowdy’s unfortunate but very significant statement. I respect Trey Gowdy, but as of late, I am finding him distant and negative in his stance on what I find important. I hate to be negative, but I know the FISA MEMO release is important, but it does not seem to be as much a step forward as I thought.
I do want to include in this report some passages from the FISA renewal proceedings which took place on January 17, 2018, which proved to me the American people are very downtrodden and ignored by most of the lawmakers. However, some of the below will let you see there are those, who try hard to protect our liberties. God bless them.
I read the whole thing, and I was enlightened to say the least. I want to say President Trump was opposed to the quick renewal, but he could not stop it. There are some passages it is absolutely imperative that you read. I will quote from the proceedings what I think you need to read.
- SPEAKING – Mr. HEINRICH. Mr. President, I ask unanimous consent that the order for the quorum call be rescinded. The PRESIDING OFFICER. Without objection, it is so ordered. Mr. HEINRICH. Mr. President, the Senate will be voting soon on a bill to reauthorize the FISA Amendments Act. Most Americans likely do not recognize the name of the bill, but they probably know what this bill addresses—our government’s surveillance of communications. As a member of the Senate Intelligence Committee, I have learned a great deal about our post-9/11 surveillance laws and how they have been implemented, and I have determined that there are reforms that need to be made to the FISA Amendments Act—specifically section 702—before we renew this law. The single biggest flaw in section 702 is how it has been interpreted. The language of the law—the collection of foreign intelligence of U.S. persons reasonably believed to be located outside the United States—anticipates that incidental or accidental collection of Americans’ emails or even phone calls could occur, but under the FISA Amendments Act as written, there is nothing to prohibit the intelligence community from searching through a pile of communications collected under this statute to deliberately search for the phone calls or the emails of specific Americans. This is not what Congress intended when the law was written, and now we are being asked to vote on this law at the last minute with not a single amendment allowed. Many of us have called this the backdoor search loophole since it allows the government to search for Americans’ communications without a warrant— let me repeat that—without a warrant. The USA Rights Act, of which I am a cosponsor, includes a fix to this loophole. It also includes other key reforms to the statute that I support. But that commonsense bill is not the one on the floor today. The bill before us today would actually take us backward. It doesn’t require a warrant to search for Americans’ communications. It makes it quite easy to resume the ‘‘about’’ collections on Americans—a practice that the government has literally abandoned. It grants new authorities to allow section 702 data to be used in domestic criminal prosecutions of American citizens. I strongly believe that we need to balance the civil liberties embodied in our Constitution with our national security imperatives. It is the responsibility of Congress to find that balance. The bill that is before us today could come closer to that standard if we improve it through the adoption of amendments that I and my colleagues would offer if we had the opportunity. But this bill is being fast-tracked, and we are left with only the choice of an up-or-down vote. The American people deserve better than the legislation before us today. The American people deserve better than warrantless wiretapping. I urge my colleagues to consider the gravity of the issues at hand and to oppose reauthorization until we can have a real opportunity for debate and reform. Thank you, Mr. President. I suggest the absence of a quorum. The PRESIDING OFFICER. The clerk will call the roll. The senior assistant legislative clerk proceeded to call the roll. Mr. WYDEN. Mr. President, I ask unanimous consent that the order for the quorum call be rescinded.
- Speaking – Mr. WYDEN. Mr. President, I believe the American people should be deeply concerned about the vote the Senate took yesterday to invoke cloture; in effect, ending real debate and preventing the Senate from considering any amendments to the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act reauthorization. This isn’t what is called regular order. This isn’t how the Senate ought to operate. In fact, it is not even how the Senate has handled surveillance bills in the past. Even in the weeks after the horrendous attacks of 9/11, the Senate considered amendments to the PATRIOT Act. In 2008, when the Senate first considered section 702, the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, there were, in fact, amendments. Now debate has been cut off, and no Senator—neither a Democrat nor a Republican—is going to be allowed to offer an amendment. What the country is going to be left with is a deeply flawed bill that, in a number of ways, is actually worse than current law. I want to talk first about whose rights are at stake. We are talking primarily, at this part of my address, about Americans who talk to foreigners overseas—law-abiding Americans whose communications can get swept up under this law. They could be, for example, American businesspeople—perhaps somebody working for a tech company in Colorado or Oregon or perhaps somebody working for a steel company in the Midwest. These are American businesspeople—law-abiding people— talking to a foreign contact. They could be swept up under this law or we could be talking about first-, second-, or third-generation Americans talking to family and friends still overseas. Maybe they are catching up. Maybe they are talking about kids and grandkids. Maybe they are just talking about their hopes and aspirations, but they are still law-abiding Americans who could get swept up in this bill. We could be talking about American journalists covering foreign stories. We could be talking about U.S. servicemembers talking to foreign friends they made while deployed. Try to get your arms around that one. I think it is particularly unfortunate because one of the things I am proudest of is I was able to ensure that Americans overseas—servicemembers—would have their privacy rights protected. We have a law passed to do that. I remember George W. Bush had reservations about that proposal I made to protect the privacy rights of our law-abiding servicemembers overseas. He originally said he might veto the bill. In the end, it was in his press release saying how great it was, and I think it was because nobody had really talked about the rights of these wonderful men and women who wear the uniform in the United States. We did it right back when George W. Bush was President. We protected the privacy rights of our servicemembers overseas. Now we are talking about walking back the rights of those U.S. servicemembers if they are talking to foreign friends they made while deployed, and we could be talking about American teachers and researchers seeking information from foreigners. Now this body isn’t going to have a chance to even consider reforms that might protect the constitutional rights of these Americans—the businessperson, the servicemember, the first-, second-, or third-generation American immigrant—because what has happened is the Senate is being forced to vote on a reauthorization bill without any public discussion about any kind of alternatives. The one committee consideration—what is called a markup—occurred entirely in secret. That is public law being debated in secret. Yesterday, the Senate discussed whether to cut off debate on a bill that authorizes vast, unchecked surveillance powers in less time than it takes to shop for the week’s groceries. So now, with no amendments possible, there is not going to be a single opportunity for the public to see its representatives explain why they are supporting or why they are rejecting these key reforms. You can only conclude from this that opponents of reforms were just scared. They were frightened. They just didn’t want to have them debated in the open. They must be worried that the more Americans understand about the program—and the more they hear about commonsense, bipartisan proposals to fix it—the more the public is going to say we can do better. We can do better than the status quo because the public, once they have the benefit of a little transparency and a little open debate, what I have seen—and I just finished my 865th open-to-all town meeting at home in Oregon. Once you talk to folks at home about these issues, they understand that security and liberty aren’t mutually exclusive; that sensible policies get you both and not-so- sensible policies and failure to look at the issues really get less of both. My view is the Senate let down the American people yesterday. In my view, we have a solemn obligation to deliberate, to consider amendments, and to vote up or down. I think that is really what the Senate is all about. One of the worst arguments for jamming this bill through without amendments was that somehow this law was going away. It just wouldn’t be around. It was expiring. First, Members who wanted to debate reforms were prepared to go to this floor many months ago. Nothing stood in the way of a floor debate last year. Even today, there is no reason to rush all this through. Absolutely nothing prevents the Congress from extending 702 authorities for a week or two to allow us to carry out our constitutional responsibilities. By the way, the Director of National Intelligence has said publicly and on the record that its authorities continue until April. I was stunned. I had Senators on both sides of the aisle whom I like very much—good, dedicated Senators—saying: Oh, my goodness, we have to act. If we don’t act in the next few days, oh, my goodness, powerful tools we need to stop the terrorists—and I will not take a backseat to anybody in terms of stopping the terrorists—they are going to be gone. That is just not true. Mr. President, I ask unanimous consent to have printed in the RECORD an article with the statement from the Office of National Intelligence, where the Director said on the record that its authorities would continue.
This end-run is not just about the collection. It is that, after all the communications of our people are swept up, the government can go searching for individual Americans through all that data. They don’t have to be suspected of anything. The government just has to decide on its own that your private communications might reveal some intelligence or some evidence of a crime, and like the collection of the communications, that search can take place without a warrant—no warrant on the collection of Americans’ communications, no warrant on searching for individual Americans. This is a case of two wrongs certainly not making a right. What the Senate did last night was prevent any debate on this basic constitutional question. The USA Rights Act, introduced by 15 Senators of both parties, would have required a warrant for those searches of Americans. Our colleagues Senator LEAHY and Senator LEE have legislation requiring a warrant—a Democrat and a Republican. Other Members have had their own proposals. None of them are going to get heard by the Senate. We had a chance to consider amendments. We could have fixed the underlying bill, which doesn’t require any warrants for any searches for Americans. Let me just repeat that. The underlying bill does not require any warrants for any searches for Americans— none, not in intelligence cases, not in criminal cases. Warrantless fishing expeditions for Americans can just go on and on and on. The bill’s so-called reform only applies to the government’s access to the results of the searches, but it really doesn’t even do that. It only kicks in if the government is already well down the road of investigating somebody. This means the bill provides more rights to criminal suspects than to innocent Americans. Think about what that is going to mean in Texas or Oregon or North Carolina or anywhere else in the country. As I have described it, this bill provides more rights to criminal suspects than to innocent Americans. It gets worse because the bill is even narrower than that. It imposes no limitations at all if the government determines the search relates to national security or to a criminal matter that has anything at all to do with national security. Why are opponents of reform happy now? Because their bill does nothing. I went and read the Director of National Intelligence’s statistics for 2016. The CIA and the National Security Agency conducted over 5,000 warrantless searches for Americans, according to this material. It doesn’t include the FBI, whose searches are supposedly too numerous to even count. It doesn’t include communications records, which number in the tens of thousands. How many times does the government encounter a situation in which, under this bill, there would even be the possibility of needing a warrant? Exactly one—that is right—one among the thousands and thousands of warrantless searches for Americans. There are certainly many Members of Congress who share my concerns who have devoted much of their career to ensuring that Americans have security and liberty. I want to especially express my appreciation to Senators PAUL and LEE. They have been tireless champions. Chairman LEAHY has led on this critical matter for decades. Senator HEINRICH, my seatmate on the Intelligence Committee, is one of this body’s rising stars because he is willing to dig deeply into the issues. In the House, 183 Members voted for the most comprehensive section 702 reform bill, the House version of the USA RIGHTS Act. As we saw last night—and the President of the Senate and I were involved in a lot of those deliberations down here in the well of the Senate— this was a very close vote. A lot of people say: Well, the reformers are going to say their piece, and they are going to get 6, 8, 10 votes and the like. I think, last night, we really brought home what I hear Americans say, Democrats, Republicans—by the way, many Independents—who have questions about the way the government works and want to see their liberties protected in a way that also keeps them safe, and a big group of Members in the other body. And last night, a big group of Senators said: What a quaint idea. Let’s have the U.S. Senate be the U.S. Senate. Let’s have a few amendments. It was communicated to the leaders. I want to thank Senator SCHUMER for making it clear that he thought that some amendments would make this a better, fuller, and more complete debate. I think it is very unfortunate, with the fact that there are so many important issues here—it is an important bill. I hope people have seen that—having spent a lot of time on these issues over the years, I think we really need to have more time spent on this floor getting a chance to debate these issues, having Senators of both parties work in good faith, work toward constructive solutions. I think support for what we sought last night, which is a real debate and real solutions and actual amendments—I think more and more Americans are coming around to see that is the way to proceed because Americans aren’t going to buy the idea that, well, we will just say you have to give up some of your liberty to have security. Ben Franklin said it very well: Anybody who gives up their liberty to have security doesn’t really deserve either.
If you took the time to read the above, you might be as surprised as I was to learn we have not gotten very far. The surveillance will only get worse, and we much be aware and vigilant in our comings and goings.
I truly felt the FISA MEMO would make a great difference in the Russia Investigation, but I feel now I was wrong. I have always trusted Trey Gowdy for the most part, but I have been doing a double-take lately every time I hear him speak.
The FISA MEMO alleges that the FBI and Justice Department relied on the unverified Russia dossier compiled by a former British spy, Christopher Steele, to obtain court approval under the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act to monitor former Trump campaign foreign policy aide Carter Page.
By the way, I wish I could slap Carter Page’s mouth, as he is such a big blow-hard, who does nothing but exaggerate his importance. As far as I can find, he let on that he had quite a bit of influence in Russia, but that simply is not true. He is a researcher, who is interested in the Country. He works in the energy sector and has given speeches in Russia pertaining to this subject.
Steele was commissioned by the political research firm Fusion GPS, which was hired by Trump’s political opponents, including the conservative news site the Washington Free Beacon, the Democratic National Committee and Hillary Clinton’s campaign. Further, the FBI offered to pay Steele to continue the research even after President Trump won the election. That is no longer opposition research – it is conspiracy against a sitting President – plain and simple.
The unfortunate story being told is the dossier did not launch the investigation into the Trump campaign’s ties with Russia. According to Trump’s opposition, it was George Papadopoulos, who started it all. Yeah, right. Papadopoulos had pleaded guilty to lying to the FBI about his contacts, and that is what started the investigation. Yeah, right.
I am afraid….here we go again. If so, the fight will continue. President Trump believes the memo vindicates him, and I agree 100%. Let’s face it, the Deep State has deep pockets that go on forever. Well, not forever…the day will come when they will stand before their Maker, and they won’t have any pockets at all. They will be stripped down, and they will not be able to hide their true motives.
Back to Trey Gowdy…he just announced his retirement from Congress. He does not agree with Trump that the memo absolved him of any alleged wrongdoing. However, Gowdy did say the release of the memo has no connection to many of the investigative threads in the Russia probe.
I wonder why Gowdy has announced his retirement from Congress. He and Jason Chaffetz were badly needed there, but now they both will be gone. Gowdy says he will be returning to the Justice System, while Jason Chaffetz is doing a fine job as a FOX NEWS contributor. Pretty soon there will only be a handful of lawmakers to look out for the American citizens.
This is a partial transcript from www.rushlimbaugh.com/daily/2018/02/05/whats-trey-gowdy-talking-about/
GOWDY: You still have a Russia investigation even without it. I am on record of saying I support Bob Mueller 100%. I think you would have a Russia invest — look, Russia tried to interfere with our Russia in 2016 with or without a dossier. So you need an investigation into Russia. You need an investigation into Trump Tower and the Cambridge Analytica email separate and apart from the dossier. So those are not connected issues to me. They may be for other Republicans, but they’re not for me. I say investigate everything Russia did but admit that this was a really sloppy process that you engaged in to surveil a U.S. citizen.
RUSH: Okay. Well, here’s the problem people are having with that. The investigation is not of Russia. It’s of Trump. And if the dossier, which is about Trump, is bogus, and nothing in it can be verified or corroborated, then what are we investigating here? There seems to be a bit of conventional wisdom. And that is the Russians attempted to interfere in the election.
I want to be precise in how I express this. People are saying this as though it’s a given, as much as baby’s drink milk. Oh, yeah, the Russians attempted to influence the election. Well, yeah, maybe they did. Maybe they do every day try to influence life in America. We know that they have. We never once stopped to investigate their infiltration of college campuses. We didn’t stop to investigate the Russians doing this or that. The Democrats are always running cover for them.
The only reason there’s an investigation into Russia and the election is because the Democrats lost the election and they’re trying to come up with some flimsy excuse to explain why. And so they’ve made up the idea that Trump colluded with Russia. If they’re using a dossier to get a warrant to spy on Trump’s people that is bogus, then the investigation here is not really about Russia; it’s about Trump.
Now, when this all started, I don’t think a lot of people really believed this Russia collusion stuff. It was itself an opposition research plan. This had two primary purposes: to paralyze Trump and perhaps in a dream world get him thrown out of office. And the second thing, second aspect was to convince Democrat voters that the Democrats did not lose, that the election was stolen from them. And on both fronts, mission accomplished.
There would not be any of this going on if Hillary had won. Would there be any concern whatsoever about Russian interference if Hillary had won? We wouldn’t have even heard that it happened! They would not taint her victory by claiming the Russians tried to interfere. Unless… The only way that would have happened is if they would have started bragging. “The Russians tried to interfere and we caught ’em and he with nabbed ’em and we made sure the Russians weren’t able to!”
There would not have been an investigation. Don’t misunderstand. There would not have been any concern much less an investigation about Russians interference if Hillary had won. Trump wins, so now automatically we have to investigate Russian interference? Why? So my point is we’re not investigating Russian interference. We’re investigating Donald Trump!
Right on, Rush. You hit the nail on the head. I am truly upset that the release of the Memo has not sparked the closing of the Mueller investigation. I smell a rat.