Tuesday, November 21, 2017

Charlie Rose fired by CBS, PBS and Bloomberg over sexual misconduct allegations

By Daniella Silva and Kalhan Rosenblatt


Talk show host and journalist Charlie Rose was fired Tuesday by CBS News, PBS and Bloomberg in the wake of eight women accusing him of sexual harassment and unwanted advances in a report in The Washington Post.

"A short time ago we terminated Charlie Rose's employment with CBS News, effective immediately," said a statement posted to Twitter from CBS News President David Rhodes. "This followed the revelation yesterday of extremely disturbing and intolerable behavior said to have revolved around his PBS program."
In a statement, PBS also announced it had ended its relationship with Rose, whose self-titled interview show began airing in 1991.
"In light of yesterday’s revelations, PBS has terminated its relationship with Charlie Rose and cancelled distribution of his programs. PBS expects all the producers we work with to provide a workplace where people feel safe and are treated with dignity and respect," PBS said.
Bloomberg TV confirmed it had severed ties with Rose, but had no further comment as of Tuesday afternoon.
The claims made against Rose, 75, in The Post's report included groping female acquaintances and walking around naked in their presence. The women were either employees at the "Charlie Rose" show or aspired to work for the show in allegations spanning from the late 1990s to 2011, according to the newspaper. Three women were on the record and five were anonymous.
Two of the women The Post interviewed, Kyle Godfrey-Ryan and Megan Creydt, confirmed their accounts to NBC News on Monday night.
Early Tuesday, "CBS This Morning" co-host Gayle King said she was "really grappling" with the accusations against the veteran newsman, calling them "horrible."
"He doesn't get a pass because I can't stop thinking about the anguish of these women; what happened to their dignity, what happened to their bodies, what happened to maybe even their careers," King said. "I can't stop thinking about that and the pain they're going through."
King and co-host Norah O'Donnell said they had not spoken to Rose as of Tuesday morning, but planned to reach out.
"I'm still trying to process all of this," King said. "I'm still trying to sort it out because this is not the man I know, but I'm also clearly on the side of the women who have been very hurt and very damaged by this."
Rose on Monday released a statement apologizing for his behavior while maintaining that some of the allegations were inaccurate.
“In my 45 years in journalism, I have prided myself on being an advocate for the careers of the women with whom I have worked,” Rose said in a statement to The Post that he later posted on Twitter. “Nevertheless, in the past few days, claims have been made about my behavior toward some former female colleagues.”
"It is essential that these women know I hear them and that I deeply apologize for my inappropriate behavior,” the statement continued. “I am greatly embarrassed. I have behaved insensitively at times, and I accept responsibility for that, though I do not believe that all of these allegations are accurate. I always felt that I was pursuing shared feelings, even though I now realize I was mistaken."
Rose has long hosted his show, which airs on PBS, and is also a co-host of "CBS This Morning" and a contributing correspondent for "60 Minutes."
By Monday evening, representatives from CBS News said Rose was suspended while they looked into the matter, while representatives from PBS and Bloomberg said they were suspending distribution of his show.
"I have learned a great deal as a result of these events, and I hope others will too," Rose said in his statement. "All of us, including me, are coming to a newer and deeper recognition of the pain caused by conduct in the past, and have come to a profound new respect for women and their lives."
The five women who spoke to The Post on condition of anonymity did so over fears of Rose’s stature in the media industry.
A woman who was one of Rose’s assistants during the mid-2000s, Kyle Godfrey-Ryan, told The Post that Rose allegedly walked naked in front of her at least a dozen times while she was working in one of his homes in New York City. She also said Rose called her repeatedly late at night or early in the morning to ask her about her sex life and describe a “very specific, repetitive fantasy” of her disrobing and swimming naked in a pool at his suburban home in Bellport, New York, as he watched. She was in her early 20s at the time.
“It feels branded into me, the details of it,” Godfrey-Ryan told the paper.
The Post said that in addition to the eight women, the newspaper spoke to about two dozen former employees of Rose on condition of anonymity and that six said they had seen what they considered to be harassment, and eight said they were not comfortable with the host’s treatment of his female employees.
Another 10 said they had not witnessed or heard anything concerning about Rose, according to The Post.
The women ranged in age from 21 to 37 at the time of the alleged incidents, according to The Post.
Rose's show was produced by independent television production company Charlie Rose Inc., aired on PBS and was filmed at Bloomberg headquarters. PBS, CBS and Bloomberg told The Post they had no record of sexual harassment complaints against Rose.
A PBS spokesperson said the channel "does not fund this nightly program or supervise its production, but we expect our producers to provide a workplace where people feel safe and are treated with dignity and respect."
Two women who spoke to The Post said they had complained to Rose's executive producer, Yvette Vega, about the alleged inappropriate behavior.
Vega said in a statement to The Post that she should have stood up for the women.
"I failed," said Vega, 52, who has worked with Rose since the show was created in 1991. "It is crushing. I deeply regret not helping them."
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She Said A Powerful Congressman Harassed Her. Here’s Why You Didn’t Hear Her Story.


Alex Wong / Getty Images
Michigan Rep. John Conyers, a Democrat and the longest-serving member of the House of Representatives, settled a wrongful dismissal complaint in 2015 with a former employee who alleged she was fired because she would not “succumb to [his] sexual advances.”
Documents from the complaint obtained by BuzzFeed News include four signed affidavits, three of which are notarized, from former staff members who allege that Conyers, the ranking Democrat on the powerful House Judiciary Committee, repeatedly made sexual advances to female staff that included requests for sexual favors, contacting and transporting other women with whom they believed Conyers was having affairs, caressing their hands sexually, and rubbing their legs and backs in public. Four people involved with the case verified the documents are authentic.
And the documents also reveal the secret mechanism by which Congress has kept an unknown number of sexual harassment allegations secret: a grinding, closely held process that left the alleged victim feeling, she told BuzzFeed News, that she had no option other than to stay quiet and accept a settlement offered to her.
“I was basically blackballed. There was nowhere I could go,” she said in a phone interview. BuzzFeed News is withholding the woman’s name at her request because she said she fears retribution.
Last week the Washington Post reported that Congress’s Office of Compliance paid out $17 million for 264 settlements with federal employees over 20 years for various violations, including sexual harassment. The Conyers documents, however, give a glimpse into the inner workings of the office, which has for decades concealed episodes of sexual abuse by powerful political figures.
The woman who settled with Conyers launched the complaint with the Office of Compliance in 2014, alleging she was fired for refusing his sexual advances, and ended up facing a daunting process that ended with a confidentiality agreement in exchange for a settlement of more than $27,000. Her settlement, however, came from Conyers’ office budget rather than the designated fund for settlements.
Congress has no human resources department. Instead, congressional employees have 180 days to report a sexual harassment incident to the Office of Compliance, which then leads to a lengthy process that involves counseling and mediation, and requires the signing of a confidentiality agreement before a complaint can go forward.
After this an employee can choose to take the matter to federal district court, but another avenue is available: an administrative hearing, after which a negotiation and settlement may follow.
Some members of Congress have raised major concerns with the current system over the years, but the calls for an overhaul have grown louder in the post-Weinstein era. Members have argued that 90 days is too long to make a person continue working in the same environment with their harasser; that interns and fellows should be eligible to pursue complaints through this process; and that it is unfair for a victim to have to pay for legal representation while the office of the harasser is represented for free by the House's counsel.

In this case, one of Conyers’ former employees was offered a settlement, in exchange for her silence, that would be paid out of Conyers’ taxpayer-funded office budget. His office would “rehire” the woman as a “temporary employee” despite her being directed not to come into the office or do any actual work, according to the document. The complainant would receive a total payment of $27,111.75 over the three months, after which point she would be removed from the payroll, according to the document.
 

The draft agreement viewed by BuzzFeed News was unsigned, but congressional employment records match the timing and amounts outlined in the document. The woman left the office and never went public with her story.
The process was “disgusting,” said Matthew Peterson, who worked as a law clerk representing the complainant, and who listed as a signatory to some of the documents.
“It is a designed cover-up,” said Peterson, who declined to discuss details of the case but agreed to characterize it in general terms. “You feel like they were betrayed by their government just for coming forward. It’s like being abused twice.”
Other lawyers named as representing the accuser could not be reached for comment. The Office of Compliance did not confirm or deny that it had dealt with the case.
“Pursuant to the Congressional Accountability Act, the OOC cannot comment on whether matters have or have not been filed with the office,” Laura Cech, publications and outreach manager of the Office of Compliance, told BuzzFeed News in an email when asked to comment on this case.
Two staffers alleged in their signed affidavits that Conyers used congressional resources to fly in women they believed he was having affairs with. Another said she was tasked with driving women to and from Conyers’ apartment and hotel rooms.
Rep. Conyers did not admit fault as part of the settlement. His office did not respond to multiple requests for comment on Monday.
The documents were first provided to BuzzFeed News by Mike Cernovich, the men's rights figure turned pro-Trump media activist who propagated a number of false conspiracy theories including the “Pizzagate” conspiracy. Cernovich said he gave the documents to BuzzFeed News for vetting and further reporting, and because he said if he published them himself, Democrats and congressional leaders would “try to discredit the story by attacking the messenger.” He provided them without conditions. BuzzFeed News independently confirmed the authenticity of the documents with four people directly involved with the case, including the accuser.
In her complaint, the former employee said Conyers repeatedly asked her for sexual favors and often asked her to join him in a hotel room. On one occasion, she alleges that Conyers asked her to work out of his room for the evening, but when she arrived the congressman started talking about his sexual desires. She alleged he then told her she needed to “touch it,” in reference to his penis, or find him a woman who would meet his sexual demands.
She alleged Conyers made her work nights, evenings, and holidays to keep him company.
In another incident, the former employee alleged the congressman insisted she stay in his room while they traveled together for a fundraising event. When she told him that she would not stay with him, she alleged he told her to “just cuddle up with me and caress me before you go.”
“Rep. Conyers strongly postulated that the performing of personal service or favors would be looked upon favorably and lead to salary increases or promotions,” the former employee said in the documents.
Three other staff members provided affidavits submitted to the Office Of Compliance that outlined a pattern of behavior from Conyers that included touching the woman in a sexual manner and growing angry when she brought her husband around.
One affidavit from a former female employee states that she was tasked with flying in women for the congressman. “One of my duties while working for Rep. Conyers was to keep a list of women that I assumed he was having affairs with and call them at his request and, if necessary, have them flown in using Congressional resources,” said her affidavit. (A second staffer alleged in an interview that Conyers used taxpayer resources to fly women to him.)
The employee said in her affidavit that Conyers also made sexual advances toward her: “I was driving the Congressman in my personal car and was resting my hand on the stick shift. Rep. Conyers reached over and began to caress my hand in a sexual manner.”
The woman said she told Conyers she was married and not interested in pursuing a sexual relationship, according to the affidavit. She said she was told many times by constituents that it was well-known that Conyers had sexual relationships with his staff, and said she and other female staffers felt this undermined their credibility.
“I am personally aware of several women who have experienced the same or similar sexual advances made towards them by Rep[.] John Conyers,” she said in her affidavit.
A male employee wrote that he witnessed Rep. Conyers rub the legs and other body parts of the complainant “in what appeared to be a sexual manner” and saw the congressman rub and touch other women “in an inappropriate manner.” The employee said he confronted Conyers about this behavior.
“Rep. Conyers said he needed to be ‘more careful’ because bad publicity would not be helpful as he runs for re-election. He ended the conversation with me by saying he would ‘work on’ his behavior,” the male staffer said in his affidavit.
The male employee said that in 2011 Conyers complained a female staffer was “too old” and said he wanted to let her go. The employee said he set up a meeting in December 2011 to discuss “mistreatment of staff and his misuse of federal resources.” The affidavit says that Conyers “agreed that he would work on making improvements as long as I worked directly with him and stopped writing memos and emails about concerns.”
Another female employee also attested that she witnessed Conyer’s advances, and said she was asked to transport women to him. “I was asked on multiple occasions to pick up women and bring them to Mr. Conyers['] apartment, hotel rooms, etc.”
BuzzFeed News reached out to several former Conyers staffers, all of whom did not want to speak on the record. One former staffer, who did not want to be named, said she was frustrated by the secretive complaint process.
“I don’t think any allegations should be buried...and that’s for anyone, not just for this particular office, because it doesn’t really allow other people to see who these individuals are,” said the former staffer. “When you make private settlements, it doesn’t warn the next woman or the next person going into that situation.”
Another staffer said Conyers’ reputation made people fearful to speak out against him. Aside from being the longest-serving House member and the ranking member of a powerful committee, Conyers is a civil rights icon. He was lauded by Martin Luther King Jr. and is a founding member of the Congressional Black Caucus.
“Your story won’t do shit to him,” said the staffer. “He’s untouchable.”
In a statement to BuzzFeed News, House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi said she was not aware of the settlement.
“The current process includes the signing of non-disclosure agreements by the parties involved. Congresswoman Jackie Speier has introduced legislation that will provide much-needed transparency on these agreements and make other critical reforms,” Pelosi said in the statement. “I strongly support her efforts.”

BuzzFeed News; Source: Office of Compliance

"Speaker Boehner was not aware of this," Dave Schnittger, a spokesperson for John Boehner, told BuzzFeed News in an email Tuesday. Boehner was the speaker of the House when the settlement was made.
Speaker Paul Ryan's called the story "extremely troubling" in a statement the morning after the story broke.
"A Committee hearing last week examining this issue led to a new policy of mandatory training for all members and staff," Ryan said. "Additional reforms to the system are under consideration as the committee continues its review. People who work in the House deserve and are entitled to a workplace without harassment or discrimination.”
The documents also show that there was a belief among at least some staffers that the office was a jealous environment. Some of the documents allege Conyers offered his protection when staff would complain to him about management in the office.
 
Nicholas Kamm / AFP / Getty Images

Rep. Jackie Speier speaks during a House Administration Committee hearing on preventing sexual harassment in the congressional workplace, November 14.
California Democrat Rep. Speier and colleagues in the House and Senate have introduced legislation that would overhaul the complaint process, including requiring the Office of Compliance to publicly name the office of any member who enters into a settlement. The bill would also allow complainants to waive mediation and counseling, set up a victims' counsel, and require all congressional offices to go through harassment training every year.
Conyers’ office has a history of ethical run-ins. In 2016, his former chief of staff Cynthia Martin pleaded guilty to receiving stolen property after she refused to reimburse $16,500 that was mistakenly deposited in her account. A preliminary investigation by the Office of Congressional Ethics found that Conyers continued to pay Martin more than $13,000 per month when she was supposedly on unpaid leave.
In 2006, two former aides complained that Conyers made them babysit his children, run errands, and work on his reelection campaign while drawing their congressional salaries. There was also a bizarre incident in 2005 when 60 Thanksgiving turkeys, given to his staff to disperse to people, may have gone missing.
Conyers’ wife, former Detroit city councilor Monica Conyers, was sentenced to three years in prison over bribery charges in 2010. (One of the documents alleged Conyers began “aggressively acting out his sexual harassment behavior” following this.) Last year the couple renewed their vows. 

Monday, November 20, 2017

Black Politicians and White Liberals Use Poor Blacks as Tools for The Leftist Hate-America Agenda

By Walter E. Williams


When hunting was the major source of food, hunters often used stalking horses as a means of sneaking up on their prey. They would synchronize their steps on the side of the horse away from their prey until they were close enough for a good shot. A stalking horse had a double benefit if the prey was an armed person. If the stalkers were discovered, it would be the horse that took the first shot.

That's what blacks are to liberals and progressives in their efforts to transform America -- stalking horses.

Let's look at it.

I'll just list a few pieces of the leftist agenda that would be unachievable without black political support.
Black people are the major victims of the grossly rotten education in our big-city schools.
The average black 12th-grader can read, write and compute no better than a white seventh- or eighth-grader.
Many black parents want better and safer schools for their children.
According to a 2015 survey of black parents, 72 percent "favor public charter schools, and 70 percent favor a system that would create vouchers parents could use to cover tuition for those who want to enroll their children in a private or parochial school."
Black politicians and civil rights organizations fight tooth and nail against charter schools and education vouchers.
Why?
The National Education Association sees charters and vouchers as a threat to its education monopoly. It is able to use black politicians and civil rights organizations as stalking horses in its fight to protect its education monopoly.
The Davis-Bacon Act of 1931 was the nation's first federally mandated minimum wage law.
Its explicit intent was to discriminate against black construction workers.
During the legislative debate on the Davis-Bacon Act, quite a few congressmen, along with union leaders, expressed their racist intentions.
Rep. Miles Allgood, D-Ala., said: "Reference has been made to a contractor from Alabama who went to New York with bootleg labor. This is a fact. That contractor has cheap colored labor that he transports, and he puts them in cabins, and it is labor of that sort that is in competition with white labor throughout the country."
American Federation of Labor President William Green said, "Colored labor is being sought to demoralize wage rates."
The Davis-Bacon Act is still law today.
Supporters do not use the 1931 racist language to support it.
Plus, nearly every black member of Congress supports the Davis-Bacon Act.
But that does not change its racially discriminatory effects.
In recent decades, the Davis-Bacon Act has been challenged, and it has prevailed.
That would not be the case without unions' political and financial support to black members of Congress to secure their votes.
Crime is a major problem in many black neighborhoods.
In 2016, there were close to 8,000 blacks murdered, mostly by other blacks.
In that year, 233 blacks were killed by police.
Which deaths receive the most attention from politicians, civil rights groups and white liberals and bring out marches, demonstrations and political pontification?
It's the blacks killed by police.
There's little protest against the horrible and dangerous conditions under which many poor and law-abiding black people must live.
Political hustlers blame their condition on poverty and racism -- ignoring the fact that poverty and racism were much greater yesteryear when there was not nearly the same amount of chaos.
Also ignored is the fact that the dangerous living conditions worsened under a black president's administration.
There are several recommendations that I might make.
The first and most important is that black Americans stop being useful tools for the leftist hate-America agenda.
As for black politicians and civil rights leaders, if they're going to sell their people down the river, they should demand a higher price.
For example, if black congressmen vote in support of the Davis-Bacon Act, they ought to demand that construction unions give 30 percent of the jobs to black workers.
Finally, many black problems are exacerbated by white liberal guilt.
White liberals ought to stop feeling guilty so that they can be more respectful in their relationships with black Americans.

Saturday, November 18, 2017

Oops: A Liberal Attack on the GOP Tax Plan Accidentally Proves How Many People Would Benefit From It

By Guy Benson


As you've already read, the GOP-led House of Representatives passed a tax reform bill yesterday, with relative ease.  Zero Democrats supported the measure, which nonpartisan scorekeepers say would benefit middle class Americans.  

Thirteen Republicans voted no, almost all of whom represent high-tax blue states; the bill partially eliminates the federal deduction for state and local taxes, which disproportionately benefits those who live in places like New York and California -- effectively insulating them from the consequences from electing tax-and-spend liberals.  

While there are legitimate quibbles about certain elements of the legislation, it represents enormous progress as an across-the-board tax cut, coupled with long-awaited simplification.

Brackets are consolidated, income tax rates are slashed for nearly all taxpayers (excluding millionaires), and the tax code is made more competitive for many small businesses and corporations.  


Independent analyses have found that the proposal would (a) result in net tax reduction for average taxpayers and households across all five income groups, including middle-income families, (b) create nearly one million new, full-time American jobs, and (c) boost US economic growth.  The average household of four people, based on national median income, would save nearly $1,200 on their tax bill next year.  Democrats are predictably denouncing the plan as "tax giveaways to the rich," which is what they always, say no matter what (reminder: "the rich" pay more than their fair share of taxes already), but the data tells a different story:


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Chart based on Tax Foundation's nonpartisan analysis of House GOP's reform bill shows after-tax income would rise across *all* income groups, on average. As a % of income, lower & middle income earners benefit more than the very rich:
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Even the liberal Tax Policy Center's analysis -- which found that the benefits aren't as middle-class centric --
determined that "the legislation would reduce taxes on average for all income groups in 2018 and 2027" (emphasis mine).  A USA Today column that's largely critical of the Republican plan -- making the case that some families and businesses would be hurt by the proposal -- does allow that there would be some "winners" under the legislation.  Buried at the bottom of the piece, the would-be beneficiaries are listed.  This is the first bullet point:
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 _____________
 
Guy Benson

USA Today column mostly attacking GOP tax reform plan includes a buried bullet point on 'winners' under the proposal. This describes *70%* of taxpayers, a number that's expected to rise to ~90% if the standard deduction is roughly doubled. That's a LOT of winners.

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That's right: About 70 percent of all US taxpayers currently take the standard deduction, which would approximately double under the House-passed bill.  So right out of the gate, the vast majority of American taxpayers already stand to benefit from the bill.  
Analysts predict that if the standard deduction increases dramatically, the percentage of filers who claim it (i.e., eschewing itemizing) will rise to the ballpark of 90 percent.  
A liberal activist on Twitter objected to my argument above, reasoning that some number of the new additions to the standard-deduction-taking ranks would still be worse off than they would be under the current system.
I replied by thanking him for confirming that at a minimum, somewhere between 70 and 90 percent of all Americans will be winners under the Republican proposal, and that's without considering the time and money-saving benefits of radical simplification.  The cost of tax compliance and preparation runs in the tens of billions each year.
As for Democrats' railing against corporate tax cuts, the US corporate tax rate is the highest in the industrialized world, and even President Obama favored lowering it.  Democrats were for job-creating corporate tax relief before they were against it.  
Another argument you'll hear from the Left is that (at least under the Senate bill) the reductions for businesses are permanent, whereas they're temporary for families.  But that assumes Congress would allow a huge tax hike on the middle class when the new provisions are set to expire.  
As we saw under Obama, the overwhelming majority of the Bush tax cuts were renewed.  Democrats do not have the political will to raise taxes on working families, even though that's what would be required to even partially pay for their single-payer healthcare scheme.  (It's no wonder the idea has 
In other words, if tax cuts are scheduled to sunset in order to allow the legislation to pass muster within the budget rules, that potential sun-setting will only come to fruition if a hypothetical future Democratic Congress chooses to raise middle class taxes through inaction.  
Would they dare?
I'll leave you with with this process observation about House leadership's big success, followed by Speaker Ryan's floor speech in support of the bill (his detailed policy defense starts around the 2:30 mark):
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Republican-held House has been borderline ungovernable for years. Passing this bill so quickly and easily is a stupendous achievement
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Friday, November 17, 2017

The Dirtiest Trick: The Trump Dossier was commissioned by the Clinton presidential campaign in mid-2016

By Scott Johnson


Now we know that the Trump Dossier was commissioned by the Clinton presidential campaign in mid-2016 through the Perkins Coie law firm.

Perkins Coie’s Marc Elias served as counsel to the Clinton campaign. He called on the GPS Fusion firm to do a number on Donald Trump with the services of former British MI6 man Christopher Steele. If we take his work at face value, Steele consulted with a few friends of Vladimir Putin for some old fashioned Soviet-style disinformation courtesy of Putin himself. Here we had the effectual “collusion” of a presidential campaign with the Russians, though it has somehow escaped the scrutiny of American law enforcement authorities.

In her Wall Street Journal column “Lifting the Steele curtain” this past Friday Kim Strassel called the dossier “one of the dirtiest tricks in U.S. political history.” At the heart of her column she focused on the shrewdly evil introduction of the dossier during the campaign. Analyze this:


“Details from the dossier were not reported before Election Day,” ran a recent CNN story. Hillary Clinton herself stressed the point in a recent “Daily Show” appearance. The dossier, she said, is “part of what happens in a campaign where you get information that may or may not be useful and you try to make sure anything you put out in the public arena is accurate. So this thing didn’t come out until after the election, and it’s still being evaluated.”

This is utterly untrue. In British court documents Mr. Steele has acknowledged he briefed U.S. reporters about the dossier in September 2016. Those briefed included journalists from the New York Times, the Washington Post, Yahoo News and others. Mr. Steele, by his own admission (in an interview with Mother Jones), also gave his dossier in July 2016 to the FBI.
Among the dossier’s contents were allegations that in early July 2016 Carter Page, sometimes described as a foreign-policy adviser to Candidate Trump, held a “secret” meeting with two high-ranking Russians connected to President Vladimir Putin. It even claimed these Russians offered to give Mr. Page a 19% share in Russia’s state oil company in return for a future President Trump lifting U.S. sanctions. This dossier allegation is ludicrous on its face. Mr. Page was at most a minor figure in the campaign and has testified under oath that he never met the two men in question or had such a conversation.

Yet the press ran with it. On Sept. 23, 2016, Yahoo News’s Michael Isikoff published a bombshell story under the headline: “U.S. intel officials probe ties between Trump adviser and Kremlin.” Mr. Isikoff said “U.S. officials” had “received intelligence” about Mr. Page and Russians, and then went on to recite verbatim all the unfounded dossier allegations. He attributed all this to a “well-placed Western intelligence source,” making it sound as if this info had come from someone in government rather than from an ex-spy-for-hire.

The Clinton campaign jumped all over it, spinning its own oppo research as a government investigation into Mr. Trump. Jennifer Palmieri, the campaign’s communications director, the next day took to television to tout the Isikoff story and cite “U.S. intelligence officials” in the same breath as Mr. Page. Other Clinton surrogates fanned out on TV and Twitter to spread the allegations.

The Isikoff piece publicly launched the Trump-Russia collusion narrative…
Kim also raised the question whether FISA warrants on figures around the Trump campaign were procured in part on basis of the dossier. She concluded that “it is fair to ask if the entire Trump-Russia narrative—which has played a central role in our political discourse for a year, and is now resulting in a special counsel issuing unrelated indictments—is based on nothing more than a political smear document.” She asked: “Is there any reason to believe the FBI was probing a Trump-Russia angle before the dossier? Is there any collusion allegation that doesn’t come in some form from the dossier?”
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A special counsel must investigate the Russia dossier, explain why Obama's FBI was involved



Former Trump campaign adviser Michael Caputo and Democratic strategist Michael Starr Hopkins weigh in on 'The Story.'
For the past year, as our government has been mired in both an aimless and fruitless investigation into accusations of collusion between the Russian government and the 2016 Trump Presidential campaign, Democrats have insisted that Congress follow where the evidence leads in this investigation.
My Democratic colleagues are absolutely right. Congress should follow where the facts lead. However, they’re leading in a very different direction than the mainstream media narrative might suggest.
With regard to the original purpose of the investigation, Congress has held multiple hearings and interviewed dozens of witnesses looking into allegations of collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia. There is nothing there. It's time to move on.
But in the process of chasing a non-existent scandal, we’ve learned of a concerning fact pattern surrounding the Clinton campaign, and potentially the Obama administration’s, involvement in a 2016 targeted campaign, using salacious information from foreign intelligence officials, against then-GOP nominee Donald Trump. The information we’ve learned warrants the appointment of a special counsel to investigate how the Russian Dossier was created and why President Obama’s FBI was involved.
As we know from a recent New York Times report, Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign and the Democratic National Committee paid for research that was included in the now infamous Russian dossier, made public in January of this year by Buzzfeed and reported on by CNN.
We now know the Clinton campaign and the DNC paid ex-British intelligence officer Christopher Steele to compile the dossier with research provided by Russian intelligence officials. Much of the dossier contained claims that have either not been verified or have been directly refuted.
The fact that the Clinton campaign and the DNC paid intelligence officials in Russia for salacious and false information on President Trump is suspicious enough. But we’re also beginning to see evidence that raises questions about whether the Obama Justice Department may have inappropriately involved themselves in this project both before and after the 2016 Presidential campaign.
Consider the following timeline: In April of 2016, the Clinton campaign enlisted the law firm Perkins Coie to retain Fusion GPS, the firm behind the Russian Dossier. That very same month—April of 2016—President Obama’s campaign began paying more than $900,000 to Perkins Coie, the very same firm used by the Clinton campaign to create the Russian dossier.
We also know that in the weeks prior to the 2016 election, President Obama’s FBI tried to reach an agreement with Christopher Steele to pay for the Russian dossier, and the FBI actually ended up reimbursing some of those dossier expenses to Christopher Steele. It’s worth repeating to be clear: the FBI attempted to pay (and then reimbursed) costs for a Russian dossier that was being orchestrated by the Hillary Clinton presidential campaign. Strangely, the FBI has refused to answer questions and resisted any transparency on this issue.
Going one step further—we know that on January 6th of this year, President Obama’s intelligence officials, led by then FBI Director James Comey, briefed President-elect Trump on the contents of the Russian dossier. Following that January 6th briefing, there are reports that Obama Administration Intelligence officials almost immediately leaked details of the briefing to CNN. 4 days later, on January 10th, the dossier ended up being published by Buzzfeed.
Keep in mind that several media outlets had the dossier on hand prior to January 10th. None of them had printed it or reported on it since the claims within could not be verified.
This is an alarming timeline that leaves a myriad of disconcerting questions, but the specific points of interest can be boiled down into a few specifics:
Why did President Obama’s campaign begin paying almost a million dollars to the very same firm the Clinton campaign used to fund the dossier? Why did they begin making payments in the very same month the Clinton campaign began paying for the dossier?
Why did President Obama’s FBI attempt to pay Christopher Steele for the Russian Dossier? Why was President Obama’s FBI involved in paying for a political project the Clinton campaign was orchestrating? Again, the FBI has refused to answer these questions and resisted any transparency on this issue.
Why brief the president and president-elect at all on the dossier if much of the dossier could not be verified? Or, if President Obama’s intelligence officials had reason to treat the dossier seriously, why did they wait two months after the election until January 6th to brief the President and President-elect?
And why was the Obama administration’s meeting with President-elect Trump leaked to CNN just four days after the briefing if, again, the dossier could not be verified?
At minimum, we must recognize that there are legitimate, unanswered questions about whether the Obama Justice Department involved themselves in a political project targeting then-candidate Donald Trump—a suggestion that has far more evidence behind it than the directionless investigation into Trump/Russian collusion.
The American people deserve answers to those questions. They demand answers to those questions.
It’s our government’s responsibility to find them by appointing a special counsel to investigate.
Republican Mark Meadows represents North Carolina's 11th Congressional District and is chairman of the House Freedom Caucus and a member of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee.
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By The New York Post Editorial Board
If crimes were committed to further Russia’s nuclear goals here, Americans need to know. And if Team Obama suspected that but still OK’d the Uranium One sale to a Russian firm, Americans deserve an explanation of that, too.
Yet Attorney General Jeff Sessions’ orders to prosecutors merely to see if a probe — perhaps headed by a special counsel — is warranted has critics in a lather.
No surprise there: The left fears a probe into Team Obama and the Clinton Foundation could taint Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton, even if it turned up no damaging evidence. Worse, it could draw attention from the FBI investigation of Russian meddling in the 2016 election and possible collusion by President Trump’s campaign.
So critics predict doomsday, claiming a special-counsel probe “could spell the end of the DOJ as an independent institution,” as Rep. Adam Schiff (D-Calif.) tweeted.
Well, yes, Trump did provide ammo for such a claim when he said prosecutors should be looking at Democrats and that he was “disappointed” in Justice for not doing so. That stirred speculation that Sessions may launch a probe to save his own job.
But if that’s the case, the AG just made it harder for himself. He told lawmakers Tuesday he’d set a high bar before tapping a special counsel: “It would take a factual basis that meets the standards of the appointment of a special counsel,” he said.
Sure, Trump’s comments on what prosecutors should probe were as foolish as, say, Obama’s 2016 claim that Clinton’s e-mail mess didn’t harm national security — even as the FBI was investigating that question.
But Trump’s remarks shouldn’t keep Justice from looking into possible crimes merely because it would appear to be taking orders from the president.
Peter Schweizer’s book “Clinton Cash” raised red flags in 2015 about the Uranium One sale and its owners’ donations to the Clinton Foundation. Last month, The Hill reported that the FBI had evidence — even before Hillary & Co. OK’d that sale — of Russian “bribery, kickbacks, extortion and money-laundering” meant to “grow” Vladimir Putin’s nuclear interests in America.
Congress is right to look into this. Not to damage Clinton or Obama politically (a pointless exercise anyway), but to find out what Russia did and how to respond. Similarly, Justice should feel free to see if it needs to probe possible crimes.