by Sharon Rondeau
(Aug. 15, 2022) — On the August 14 edition of “Sunday Morning Futures,” Department of Defense Chief of Staff Kash Patel under President Trump and former California Congressman Devin Nunes, now CEO of the Trump Media & Technology Group, appeared with host Maria Bartiromo to shed light on the origins of the raid on Trump’s Mar-a-Lago home last Monday morning.
Bartiromo recounted that Patel, then an aide to Nunes, had early on refuted the claim that anyone in Trump’s 2016 campaign had colluded with the Russian government as put forth by the Hillary Clinton campaign and fueled by the disseminating of a “dossier” compiled by former British intelligence agent Christopher Steele after Clinton commissioned the opposition research. The allegations the dossier made spawned an FBI counterintelligence investigation into the Trump campaign which overshadowed much of the former businessman’s presidency.
“What tie does this seize-and-search in President Trump’s home have to do with the Russia collusion story?” Bartiromo directed her first question to Patel.
“It starts and ends with Russiagate,” he replied. “The corruption and the two-tiered system of justice that Devin and I exposed during Russiagate has been carried out to the Hillary Clinton email investigation scandal to the Hunter Biden laptop to ‘Jan. 6’ and now to the raid on President Trump’s home.”
While serving as chairman on the House Permanent Subcommittee on Intelligence, Nunes and other committee Republicans conducted their own investigation into the Trump-Russia “collusion” claims, reporting in a February 2, 2018 memo no evidence of improprieties between the campaign and Russian government. In March 2019, a similar conclusion was reached following a 22-month special counsel investigation costing taxpayers approximately $40 million and bankrupting, jailing or otherwise impoverishing a number of Trump campaign associates.
Democrats, particularly Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA28), insisted there was tangible evidence of collusion but ultimately never produced it. In May 2020, radio host Michael Berry wrote, “So what price will Schiff pay for the lies he told repeated over the past three years. Nothing. He’ll still be invited back on CNN, MSNBC along with the networks and the journalist [sic] will complain why Trump attacks them and why the general public not only doesn’t trust them, but bitterly despises them.”
While Trump claims he declassified all the documents FBI agents seized last Monday prior to their arrival at Mar-a-Lago, Schiff, now chairman of the House Subcommittee on Intelligence, said Sunday “he hasn’t seen any evidence that materials the FBI seized from Donald Trump’s home were properly declassified.”
Just before the Nunes memo was cleared for release in the midst of the probe led by Special Counsel Robert Mueller, CNN reported, “In recent phone calls, Trump has told friends he believes the memo would expose bias within the FBI’s top ranks and make it easier for him to argue the Russia investigations are prejudiced against him, according to two sources.”
As the FBI pursued its counterintelligence investigation into the Trump campaign, it obtained a FISA warrant on informal policy adviser Carter Page which was revealed much later as having its basis in false premises, earning a harsh admonishment from the chief judge of the FISA court. Judge Rosemary Collyer’s rebuke followed a December 2019 inspector general report itemizing 17 deficiencies on the part of the FBI during its probe and the observation that the agency had depended solely on material from the dossier as justification to seek the Page FISA warrant.
The findings of insufficient evidence of “collusion” from the Mueller investigation prompted then-Attorney General William Barr to appoint a special prosecutor, John Durham, to discover the origins and justification of what the FBI had dubbed “Crossfire Hurricane.” Durham’s investigation remains ongoing.
Several FBI agents were fired or left voluntarily once their roles in the plot were exposed, including Acting Director Andrew McCabe, now a CNN commentator; Counterintelligence Deputy Assistant Director Peter Strzok, who filed suit against the agency in a case which remains open; former agency attorney Lisa Page, who filed a separate lawsuit alleging privacy violations relating to the release of thousands of text messages she exchanged with Strzok, with whom she was romantically involved at the time; and then-General Counsel James Baker, who was demoted and then voluntarily left the Bureau.
Baker was reported to have leaked the existence of the dossier to a left-leaning reporter prior to the 2016 election.
Thus far, Durham has achieved one plea deal from former FBI attorney Kevin Clinesmith, who admitted to altering an exculpatory email in the Carter Page FISA application. In late May, Perkins Coie attorney Michael Sussmann was acquitted on a single charge of lying to the FBI when making assertions to Baker about communication between a computer at Trump Tower and a Russian bank.
The allegation of Trump-Russia communication via computers proved unfounded.
Patel’s reference to “Jan. 6” is to the incursion into the U.S. Capitol resulting in the death of Air Force veteran Ashli Babbitt at the hand of a U.S. Capitol Police officer following a rally, said to have consisted of approximately one million attendees, at which then-President Trump and others spoke, claiming massive election fraud deprived him of a second term.
During his speech in which he alleged significant voter fraud, Trump urged supporters to “peacefully and patriotically make your voices heard” at the Capitol following the rally, when Congress was scheduled to count and certify the electoral votes submitted from the states. Democrats in the House of Representatives used Trump’s words and actions as the basis for a second impeachment which failed to garner a conviction in the Senate three weeks after Trump left office.
On February 4, 2021, Time Magazine released a column in which a “conspiracy” to safeguard against “Trump’s assault on democracy” was said to have taken place on the part of U.S. corporations and “left-wing activists” in advance of the election. “There was a conspiracy unfolding behind the scenes, one that both curtailed the protests and coordinated the resistance from CEOs,” Time‘s Molly Ball wrote. “Both surprises were the result of an informal alliance between left-wing activists and business titans. The pact was formalized in a terse, little-noticed joint statement of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and AFL-CIO published on Election Day. Both sides would come to see it as a sort of implicit bargain–inspired by the summer’s massive, sometimes destructive racial-justice protests–in which the forces of labor came together with the forces of capital to keep the peace and oppose Trump’s assault on democracy…The scenario the shadow campaigners were desperate to stop was not a Trump victory. It was an election so calamitous that no result could be discerned at all, a failure of the central act of democratic self-governance that has been a hallmark of America since its founding.”
“Basically,” Patel told Bartiromo, “the same corrupt FBI government gangsters, the same agents that were involved in Russiagate, the same counterintelligence agents that were involved in making the bad, false call on Hunter Biden’s laptop that you’re going to see are the same counterintelligence agents that helped raid or assist in the raid to President Trump’s home. And why is that a problem? Because these agents knowingly break or violate their oath of office and the law, get promotions, and we need to demand their names: guys like Auten and Tibble and other guys who also stood up the fake Whitmer prosecution in Michigan.”
The “Whitmer” case, in which four men were charged with a plot to kidnap Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer, resulted last April in a hung jury for two of the defendants and an acquittal on all charges for the other two.
A new trial for the remaining defendants is now under way.
In a congressional hearing on August 4, FBI Director Christopher Wray, a Trump appointee, admitted that the Special Agent in Charge of the Detroit Field Office, which reportedly “entrapped” the four original defendants in the Whitmer case, now leads the Washington, DC Field Office, which dispatched agents to Trump’s home one week ago.
Wray himself made the appointment, according to the field office’s website, of Steven D’Antuono, who spent little more than a year in Detroit.
According to The New York Post, Mar-a-Lago is “closed for the season,” with “only a skeleton staff, including groundskeepers” on the premises at the time of the raid.
“When Devin and I first walked down to DOJ to expose the likes of Peter Strzok, they laughed us out of the building, but what happened?” Patel continued. “He was placed on administrative leave because he broke his oath of office, and you’re going to find that exactly is what’s happening here. And that it is a counterintelligence investigation means it’s being run out of FBI headquarters as a national security case by these same select few of corrupt politicians who are acting as FBI agents.” [sic]
According to The Washington Examiner on July 27, 2022, “Brian Auten, a supervisory intelligence analyst within the bureau, was referred to the Office of Professional Responsibility following Justice Department Inspector General Michael Horowitz’s December 2019 report on the Trump-Russia investigation and its use of FISA surveillance against Trump campaign associate Carter Page. Shortly after the referral, Auten was involved with the bureau’s inquiry into the son of now-President Joe Biden, with his Aug. 2020 analysis being used in part to justify the decision to ‘shut down investigative activity.'”
Further, the article reported, Auten was assigned to evaluate the veracity of the Steele “dossier.” Auten reportedly interviewed one of Steele’s sources, Igor Danchenko, who was arrested in November for allegedly “making false statements to the FBI.”
Shortly after the Mueller report was released, the U.S. House of Representatives launched impeachment hearings on an allegation by an unnamed “whistleblower” claiming, citing secondhand information, that Trump abused his authority on a phone call with newly-elected Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelensky by requesting an investigation into the possibility that the Biden family had engaged in corrupt dealings surrounding a Ukrainian energy company, Burisma. Although lacking any experience in the discipline, Burisma had paid the younger Biden tens of thousands of dollars monthly to sit on its board of directors while the elder Biden was vice president.
In early 2018, the elder Biden himself bragged about pressuring then-Ukrainian president Petro Poroshenko to halt an independent investigation into Burisma or forfeit $1.5 billion in U.S. loan guarantees.
On February 5, 2020, Trump was acquitted in the Senate on both impeachment charges.
Ties between the Bidens and Ukrainian, Russian and Chinese government officials have since been illustrated by the material found on Hunter Biden’s laptop computer, left in a Delaware repair shop and reported to the FBI in 2019 but not immediately retrieved or acted upon by the Bureau. The revelations, first released by The New York Post and then-Trump personal attorney Rudy Giuliani just weeks before the 2020 election, were blocked by social media platforms and labeled as likely “Russian disinformation” by 51 former intelligence officials.
Giuliani’s home and office have been raided by the FBI, and he continues to be the subject of a probe alleging he engaged in unlawful lobbying on behalf of Ukraine. An indictment “appears unlikely,” The New York Daily News reported on August 3 to little media fanfare.
In an August 11 article at The Post, the now-former computer repair-shop owner, John Paul Mac Isaac, is quoted as having written in his new book that the FBI agents who finally retrieved the Hunter Biden laptop said to him upon their departure, “It is our experience that nothing ever happens to people that don’t talk about these things.”
The media has gone as far as to lie about the findings of different official investigations launched into the 2020 election, including in Wisconsin, where a special counsel, Michael Gableman, assigned by Speaker of the state House of Representatives Robin Vos found copious evidence of systemic fraud, including that “Wisconsin Election Officials’ Widespread Use of Absentee Ballot Drop Boxes Facially Violated Wisconsin Law” (p. 2).
Early last month, the Wisconsin Supreme Court ruled that outside ballot drop boxes are illegal in the state and cannot be used again, a move CNN opined is “a blow to Democrats.”
Another finding of Gableman’s was that the Wisconsin Election Commission (WEC), tasked by the legislature with administering elections and reporting results, “unlawfully encouraged evasion of ballot security measures related to ‘indefinitely confined’ voters at the behest of outside corporations.”
Further, Gableman wrote in his March 1, 2022 report, the WEC “unlawfully directed clerks to violate rules protecting nursing home residents, resulting in a 100% voting rate in many nursing homes in 2020, including many ineligible voters,” a finding Racine County Sheriff Christopher Schmaling said last fall he would refer to the district attorney.
Late last week, Vos ended the investigation after both he and Gableman were accused in six different lawsuits of mishandling communications related to the investigation. Gableman is also facing a contempt of court finding and possible loss of his law license.
Late last month, Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-IA) disclosed that several FBI and DOJ whistleblowers informed him that FBI agents assigned to assess “evidence” pertaining to Hunter Biden, who is under investigation for possible tax violations, deemed the evidence to be “disinformation” stemming from political bias.
In a July 25 letter to Attorney General Merrick Garland and FBI Director Christopher Wray, Grassley wrote:
The information provided to my office involves concerns about the FBI’s receipt and use of derogatory information relating to Hunter Biden, and the FBI’s false portrayal of acquired evidence as disinformation. The volume and consistency of these allegations substantiate their credibility and necessitate this letter.
First, it’s been alleged that the FBI developed information in 2020 about Hunter Biden’s criminal financial and related activity. It is further alleged that in August 2020, FBI Supervisory Intelligence Analyst Brian Auten opened an assessment which was used by a FBI Headquarters (“FBI HQ”) team to improperly discredit negative Hunter Biden information as disinformation and caused investigative activity to cease. Based on allegations, verified and verifiable derogatory information on Hunter Biden was falsely labeled as disinformation.
In a press release issued the same day, Grassley wrote:
Multiple FBI whistleblowers, including those in senior positions, are raising the alarm about tampering by senior FBI and Justice Department officials in politically sensitive investigations ranging from election and campaign finance probes across multiple election cycles to investigative activity involving derogatory information on Hunter Biden’s financial and foreign business activities. The legally protected disclosures to Senate Judiciary Committee Ranking Member Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) suggest a political double standard has influenced and infected decisions in matters of paramount public interest.
Election & Campaign Finance Investigations
Whistleblowers allege that Washington Field Office Assistant Special Agent in Charge Timothy Thibault disregarded agency guidelines requiring substantial factual predication to trigger investigations, while declining to move forward with other investigations despite proper predication. Thibault and Richard Pilger, director of the election crimes branch within the FBI’s public integrity section, reportedly were instrumental in the opening of an investigation into the Trump campaign and its associates based in substantial part on information from left-aligned organization. Thibault allegedly scrubbed and diluted details of the sources’ political bias from a memo seeking the full investigation, which was ultimately approved by FBI Director Chris Wray and Attorney General Merrick Garland.
Although the property receipt of items taken and search warrant on Mar-a-Lago were released Friday afternoon at Trump’s urging and the Justice Department’s acquiescence, the sworn affidavit has not been made public. The warrant enumerates categories of documents sought while also encompassing “Any government and/or Presidential Records created between January 20, 2017, and January 20, 2021” (p. 4).
Magistrate Judge Bruce E. Reinhart, who recused himself from a lawsuit Trump filed earlier this year against Hillary Clinton; her 2016 campaign manager, Robert Mook; the Democratic National Committee; former Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein and others, signed the warrant, which provided the FBI a two-week window to conduct its search.
Despite the urgency claimed by the Justice Department to seize the materials, the FBI waited until Monday to make its descent on the property.
For his part, Nunes told Bartiromo he believes the corruption “actually goes back pre-Russiagate hoax. I think this goes back to the IRS scandal where they targeted conservatives,” he said. “I think it goes back to Fast & Furious during the Obama administration where they ran guns and tried to set people up, remember, and innocent Americans ended up getting killed…”
He included in the litany of missteps the September 11, 2012 attack on the U.S. embassy in Benghazi, Libya, which killed four Americans, including Ambassador Christopher Stevens. “They got away with that,” Nunes said.
He characterized the 2016 Clinton campaign as having “worked with dirty cops at DOJ and FBI, and the media” to launch the “Russia hoax” which he said “framed an innocent man.” That “then led to the Mueller witch hunt,” Nunes said. “So all of this stuff is intertwined. And then you just fast-forward; Kash mentioned the Whitmer case, and Jan. 6, and whether or not federal agents were involved in that, so you just stair-step, and then ultimately, this leads to what? This leads to something never done in American history before; you had a president’s home ransacked by the same goons that were involved in all of this…”
Bartiromo asked if the individuals to whom Nunes was referring are Deputy Attorney General Lisa Monaco; National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan, who worked for Clinton when she was secretary of state; and National Security Adviser Susan Rice, who worked in the Bill Clinton and Obama administrations, to which Nunes replied, “If you don’t believe that those people were involved, you’re living under a rock somewhere.”
“The very same people that are now in charge of the DOJ and are at the White House” are “making these calls,” Nunes said. “You can just look at how they produce their narratives…the raid happened on Monday.” After Trump related the events on TruthSocial, Nunes said, “…they immediately say, ‘The White House didn’t know anything about this.'”
Nunes recounted that Garland claimed in his short presser on Thursday that, “The White House knew nothing about this.” “That tells you the White House knew everything about this,” Nunes said.
On his show Sunday night, Mark Levin made a similar case that high-level DOJ operatives are behind the Mar-a-Lago raid and that the law has been turned against political enemies of the Biden regime.
Later in the interview, Patel revealed that Trump “named me his representative to the National Archives months ago, and we’ve been in a bureaucratic battle…”
“We found whole sets of documents we needed out to the American public from Russiagate,” Patel said. “We got out about 60%. That’s why President Trump made it his mission to declassify and be transparent. In October of 2020 he issued a sweeping declassification order for every Russiagate document and every single Hillary Clinton document. Then on the way out of the White House he issued further declassification orders, declassifying whole sets of documents…President Trump, as a sitting president, is a unilateral authority for declassification. He can literally stand over a set of documents and say, ‘These are now declassified.'”
However, he added, as a result of the latest “ongoing FBI counterintelligence investigation,” the DOJ will claim to the public, “You will never be allowed to see the Russiagate docs or any other docs that President Trump lawfully declassified.”
Nunes added that a grand jury has been asked to evaluate charges of “treason” against Trump. “This is the second time; this never stops…They went to a grand jury” with the Russia collusion allegations as well, Nunes said. “So once again, this is a continued investigation of Trump and the Republican Party; it’s basically an investigation in search of a crime, and then conveniently, they brought back the Mueller witch hunt argument that, ‘He’s obstructing justice’ — obstructing justice on what, you jerks? On stuff that you had planted on an investigation that you basically created out of whole cloth…”