Sunday, April 12, 2020

Easter Special: Joe diGenova On Atkinson, FISA, And The Durham Investigation

Today we have a transcript of Joe diGenova's weekly session on Mornings on the Mall--Monday, April 6, 2020. He covers a lot of ground, and it gets into some really important matters.

Q: So, Joe, news that didn't really get super noticed because of the cornonavirus--but really no news other than the coronavirus *is* getting noticed--the President fired Intelligence Community Inspector General Michael Atkinson on Friday. [Trump] put [Atkinson] on--[Atkinson] will leave his job technically in thirty days but he was placed on administrative leave effective *immediately*--why now? 
diGenova: It was time. The evidence has been gathered against Michael Atkinson, and here it is. Michael Atkinson was fired, not just because of the way he corruptly influenced the Office of the Inspector General for the Intelligence Community in his handling of the whistleblower, Eric Ciaramella--who was *not* a whistleblower, did not have an intel matter to complain about, and who was actually allowed to give hearsay evidence because of *Michael Atkinson's changing of the rules.* Remember, Michael Atkinson testified before the Schiff Impeachment Committee. [Atkinson's] transcript of his testimony has never been released. Ask yourself: Why? But here's the most important part of Michael Atkinson besides that. You will recall that this week the Inspector General issued a scathing report. He stopped his full review of FISA applications to issue an interim report where he found almost one hundred percent of all cases the [Federal] Bureau [of Investigation] had done did not have what's called a "Woods" file. Inside the Department of Justice there's supposed be what's called an "Accuracy Review" for all of those applications. Guess who was leading up those reviews in 30 and [sic] 42 of those cases? Michael Atkinson! And in the cases in which he reviewed, 39 of 42 failed all tests. That was a 93% failure rating for Michael Atkinson! Remember that the Office of Legal Counsel [DoJ office that assists the AG in advising the President] also *excoriated* him--Michael Atkinson--for his legal analysis on why he was required to take Eric Ciaramella's complaint to the Hill. In short, Michael Atkinson was an incompetent, he was politically corrupt, he was part of the coup d'etat, and he should have been fired. And then last night he issues a smarmy, preening, sanctimonious statement about how grand it was to be an Inspector General and everybody needs to support [Inspectors General]. And by the way--Horowitz, Michael Horowitz [DoJ Inspector General], issued a statement *praising* Mr. Atkinson after [Horowitz] had *crushed* Mr. Atkinson earlier in the week. Go figure! 
Q: OK, interesting, so let me just double back on a point you just made. Which is: The FISA applications--they are supposed to be reviewed by Atkinson, the *Intelligence Community* Inspector General, not the DoJ IG? 

I like that question, because it shows the host really wants to understand this process. Of course, as diGenova explains, Inspectors General have nothing to do with the approval or review process for FISA applications. The DoJ's IG conducts audits or inspections in retrospect.

diGenova: No, no, no! He did that job when he was Acting Deputy Assistant Attorney General [in DoJ's National Security Division--got all that?] under Mary McCord, and he did it while he was *counsel* for the Division, for Accuracy Reviews, for the FISA Court. He was a total failure. 
Q: OK, I'm following with you now. And then, on the issue of it not being appropriate to file a whistleblower complaint for a variety of reasons--you mentioned Eric Ciaramella not being a direct witness, those rules were changed by Atkinson--and then, early on, we know--and Joe we've talked about this regularly--the President doesn't even fall under the definition of a *member* of the Intelligence Community for purposes of the Inspector General. 
diGenova: That is correct. The President is not someone covered by the Intelligence Community Act--*and* this was not a matter involving intelligence. This was a foreign policy political matter--it had *nothing to do* with the jurisdiction of the Intelligence Community IG, Michael Atkinson. This was a setup. This was *designed*, purposely. And remember--Atkinson worked for Mary McCord, who was one of the people who went to work for Schiff--through lawfare at the Brookings Institution--to do this. They're very old friends, they've worked together before. Mr. Atkinson was part of the plot. 
Q: Joe, you mentioned how [Atkinson's] testimony is the only testimony that has not been released in the impeachment inquiry. Does the President have the ability and the power to release that testimony? 
diGenova: No. That testimony belongs to the House Intelligence Committee and the generic Impeachment Panel that they set up, and Schiff has refused to release it. And apparently, some of the members, apparently all of the Republican members have *never seen* the transcript. So this is, this really dynamite stuff--I'd like to see what's in there, but that's an afterthought because I'm sure he did not commit perjury. He's probably slick enough to realize that he can't lie under oath--even to a friendly committee--so I'm sure there's some devastating stuff in there. But believe me--the President didn't need to see that to fire [Atkinson], but of course all of us would like to see it, and if the Republicans take over the Committee after the next election they'll be able to release it. 
Q: Let me go back to the issue of the DoJ IG that you mentioned, finding *so many*--one hundred percent of the FISA applications that he reviewed had flaws in them, mistakes, problems, before the court, which is a huge problem. Now, we were told by the New York Times when that report came out last week that this somehow *mitigates* the political consequences for the FBI, because it suggests that there was no *targeting* of Carter Page but instead that *everybody* has been subject to these types of errors, so therefore President Trump wasn't uniquely targeted. And to that, you say? 

Joe's answer here is very important--it goes to an aspect of this report from Horowitz that really amazed me. You'll see reference something like 42 FISA applications that were reviewed. There problems with essentially all of them--and big problems--but that isn't the fact that suggests the real problem. Here's what stunned me. The accuracy reviews that Horowitz was reviewing were all on FISA's of US persons--USPERs. The 42 that were reviewed were picked out of a pool of 700 FISA applications on USPERs from, I believe, 2014 up to pretty much the present.

While I'm not in a position to say how many such FISAs we should expect the FBI to obtain on USPERs over any given period of years, 700 FISAs on USPERs over that period seems to me to be an outrageously large number. Contrary to anything you've probably heard, a FISA on an USPER is not easy to get. When I heard that number my reaction was--Wow! Could they have had FISAs on so many USPERs in counterterrorism cases? I thought that had to be it because there is no possible way that they could be getting so many FISAs on USPERs in counterintelligence cases. From my experience that should be wildly impossible, even with some of the Patriot Act expansions. But I was still amazed--who could these large numbers of USPERs be who were believed to be engaged in foreign intelligence operations? Now, read what diGenova has to say about all that, keeping in mind that the really important number is -- 700:

diGenova: BS! First of all, the New York Times does not know that. They were guessing. This is where the New York Times has ended up--they're crazy. And second of all--*very* interesting--the FISA Court, after Michael Horowitz issued this scathing interim report, the FISA Court said to the FBI: I wanna know the names of *every target* in those items that Mr. Horowitz identified. Who were the people you were targeting? And you know why the Court did that? Because the Court suspects that they're all political figures, or people *connected* to political figures, and that the FISAs were done for the purpose of targeting so that they could get political information, unmask the people, and then leak the information. This is a fascinating development that has gone unreported. It has been reported that the Court has *demanded* from the FBI the names of all the targets on the FISA applications that Horowitz found wanting. Why did the Court do that? Because the Court suspects that once it sees the names of the people who were being surveilled it will be able to conclude that they were all political targets, which we all know has been going on since almost the beginning of the Obama administration. 

With that number of 700 firmly in mind, does that give you some idea of the enormity of what we may be looking at? This is why diGenova said on the Howie Carr show that "the FBI as an agency is in freefall. It's not your mother's FBI." (It's well worth listening to that whole podcast, which starts around the 18 minute mark here.)

Q: Wow! That would be *huge!* Joe, when it comes to all these people we're hearing about--Eric Ciaramella, and Atkinson, and all these people being fired and their names being floated--if the Republicans take over the House are we gonna start to see some action on these people? Is that what's gonna happen, or is it gonna be disappointment as usual? 
diGenova: Oh, I think you'll see lots of action, but I think something that's even more interesting than that, Mary, is that, last week, while all this is going on--and this all got lost, understandably, because of coronavirus--the Durham investigation, it is now confirmed, is targeting John Brennan. Brennan is, in fact, the target of the Durham investigation. A number of people from the Intelligence Community who were interviewed or went before the Grand Jury with Durham have told associates that all of the questions were about Brennan--What he was doing, What was the basis for what he was doing?--and they are delving *deeply* into the Intelligence Assessment that was done and ordered by President Obama, which was a fake from the beginning. This is Brennan time! This is all about Brennan! So, You're question is right on the money, and that targeting of the people who were responsible for everything that's gone on for almost six years--in fact it's *longer* than six years--Durham is now targeting Brennan.

 And now you know why Barr speaks of the investigation as a "sprawling" one.


  1. This is extraordinarily good news. My big concern is the Washington DC grand jury. If there is any way on God's green earth that they can somehow get around indicting Brennan and his lesser ilk, they will do so.

    They all work for the government. They all hate Trump. 60% of them are people of color, who work for government, and, consequently, hate orange man.

    Was a change of venue an impossibility?

    1. Most of the targets and witnesses are in the DC area. To be honest, I'm not sure how those decisions are made, except that logistics could also enter into it. OTOH, there could be more than one GJ--that wouldn't surprise me with such a "sprawling" case. There could be a GJ in NVA, for example.

      When Barr spoke of a "sprawling" case that reall perked me up.

      I'd much rather be talking about this than a d*mned virus! Not that the virus doesn't interest me, but ...

    2. Ditto, Mark. Burned out on the coronavirus. It will run its course. In the past number of years, our country had a far worse virus. We suspected all was not right during the Obama years. We’re just finding out how bad it really was. And we will be finding out a whole lot more…

      I haven’t read your post. Saving for tomorrow...

    3. That is was a DC grand jury was totally John Solomon’s assumption. We really have seen nothing to back that up. He heard from several persons in DC who had received witness subpoenas during the last few months. The media ran with that. If you listen to the audio of his very brief remark to Hannity, you find that he did not know for sure that a grand jury was handling this matter was in DC. About the same time he announced the new female head of his Connecticut criminal division and remarked that she could handle anything. I saw that announcement as being quite timely as well as important.

      I am not convinced it will be handled in DC - maybe depositions are being taken there? Will wait for something more substantive...

    4. I'm not so worked up about a DC juries in this case. Most of the defendants can be viewed as bad law enforcement or bad spies--not sympathetic figures to any jury.

  2. This cite of 700 FISA warrants on USPERS, since 2014, would go a long way to explain the number of "unmaskings" reportedly requested by Samantha Power and others, purportedly in the hundreds.

    1. That too. diGenova says in another interview (?) that he'd be very surprised if Durham hasn't already asked for all that info. He's right, and it shows how when you start pulling on a string ... one thing leads to another. It's how investigations go, especially with complex cases.

  3. Replies
    1. Well, but I still think it was all made up and that Steele was more a front man for the operation than a writer for it. Cohen became part of the story for the purpose of the FISA when Page left the campaign. That's a tell, to me.

    2. Cohen became part of the story for the purpose of the FISA when Page left the campaign.

      According to the Dossier, Cohen became a part of the story when Manafort (not Page) left the campaign.

    3. What I mean is that Cohen takes over the ROLE that Page had played earlier in the Dossier. For purposes of the FISA application the plotters really needed a strong connection to Russia. That's where Cohen comes in. He did have some Russian connections, and he traveled to Prague--woops! Manafort, for purposes of the FISA app was just a placeholder--the campaign representative with whom the operative who traveled to Russia and met people interfaced (Page). When Manafort and Page both let, the setup was changed and Cohen did both duties because the new campaign managers had no Russia connections, even through Ukraine (Manafort). This is why Simpson:

      Ohr stated, and his contemporaneous notes reflect, that Simpson told him during the meeting that Trump's attorney, Michael Cohen, was an intermediary between the Russian government and the Trump campaign and had replaced Manafort and Carter Page as intermediaries.

  4. The 42 that were reviewed were picked out of a pool of 700 FISA applications on USPERs

    The number 42 is puzzling. A pool of 35 would be 5% of 700, a pool of 70 would be 10% of 700.

    The number 42 makes me think that the pool was not a random pool, but rather a pool of cases that seemed dubious on their face. Perhaps this was the pool of people involved overtly in politics.


    One FISA application was rejected in about July 2016. The public still has not been told who the subject was.

    1. Remember one key thing: the number 42 derives from the fact that Horowitz interrupted his audit to make an interim report, because the findings were so disturbing.

      Ergo, 42 was not chosen as the number to audit, but was the point at which he felt he could not keep hold back sharing the preliminary findings any longer.

      There are more FISA applications he is still auditing -- the audit is not finished, and thus we do not know how many in total he is going to audit.

      An interesting factoid from the world of software errors: the more errors one finds in software, the more likely there are more errors one has not yet found.

      I would not be surprised if Horowitz expands the scope of the audit, given the "error" rate he has already found in the 42 cases examined so far (and I use the term "error" in its broadest possible sense.)

    2. "I would not be surprised if Horowitz expands the scope of the audit, given the 'error' rate he has already found..."

      One might indeed expect as much from an honest watchdog interested only in accountability for government misconduct. Which is why I would not be surprised if swamp thing Horowitz strictly limits the scope of the audit, precisely because of the "error" rate he has already found.

  5. Makes those stomping their feet and turning purple (or maybe just pounding on those laptop keys), screaming for “indictments, frog marching” sound more than a little bit silly. This was/is a really big deal. A lot bigger, a lot broader, and a lot longer in duration than any of us knew. Even would have dreamed. Had they been reading even what Sundance out out along the way, along with a precious few others, they might have a more reasonable perspective. My guess is that they were the ones who would whine that the reports at CTH were just too long, too complicated, too confusing… Well, guys, that was about the size of what was being written about…

    Now we have this blog. Another excellent source that gives balance to the picture. But would it make any difference to the low-info whiners? And as a good friend of mine says, those lo-fos all have votes, too...

    1. "Sprawling" is the operative word. "Sprawling" is good! As long as they can present a coherent narrative to a jury.

    2. I like sprawling… As for coherence, I can’t imagine Durham's doing anything less than that.

    3. I agree that it is big and difficult to explicate. On the other hand, everything has a shelf-life. January 20th is coming, whether 2021 or 2025; convictions and sentencing must take place before Trump leaves the stage or this will all melt like an April snow and be forgotten before the last cherry blossom hits the ground. Then it will back to business as usual for the Deep State.
      Tom S.

    4. Melt? Or metastasize? IMO, this is a point of no return.

  6. Good news about a grand jury!

    Probably beating a dead, and buried horse, but I hope Weiner’s laptops contents is released soon.

    Things do seem to be developing.

    1. Ray, you have probably seen this article, which raises more questions about Weiner’s laptop. At least some sites are trying to keep that horse alive……/

    2. Thanks Bebe,

      I had read another article recently, not that one, that reminded me of the laptop. The article was based more on Sidney Powell’s comments, which are in the embedded video.

      I hope the fbi still has it. This article hints it could go back to Anthony Weiner after the fbi is finished with it.

      It was hinted, may be in treehouse, that Sidney Powell has sources in justice, which has made her so effective on defending Flynn, since she knows where the bodies are buried.


  7. First, a conspiracy to abuse the powers of DoJ/FBI/CIA/NSA for political warfare is a serious criminal act (actually a pattern of sustained criminality). Second, to elicit foreign operatives to conduct phony entrapment schemes against Trump Campaign personnel for the purpose of enabling a FISA warrant is also a serious criminal act. And to continue the charade of a legitimate counterintelligence investigation for the purpose of coercing a duly elected president into abdicating his newly elected office is perhaps the Crime of the Century. And to follow all of that up with the intentional weaponization of a Special Council investigation after having received exculpatory evidence for the purpose of implementing a coup is perhaps a crime for which no redemption is possible. And all of this was the work of men placed in positions of extreme trust running the nation's seminal law enforcement institutions.

    Today we celebrate the life and death of a man who set a entirely different example for us to follow. The great tragedy of the foregoing crime wave is less about the law and more about the moral decline that is killing us in slow motion.

    1. Well said. Easy to see why diGenova would characterize the FBI as "in freefall."

  8. Followed by an IG changing whistleblower requirements, that abetted a false impeachment.

    And the taking out of a national security adviser through trumped up charges (Flynn).

    And the ignoring of Clinton’s Breaching of security

    And the railroading of Stone, while ignoring similar Democratic actions.

    I would not have thought this possible in the US in the current era.

    There is positive news out of this, and it’s not finished yet.

  9. Update: DiGenova: radio interview on Monday:

    >> <<

    On fire.

    Has no doubt indictments are coming -- Barr would never have said what he said in Ingraham interview unless he is sure Durham is indicting people. Conspiracy, among others.

    Also mentions some classified material remains so because GJ hasn't finished indicting people. Don't want targets to know what prosecutors know.

    Worth a listen.

    1. But you heard it here first, right? :-)

    2. Why, yes I did, now that you mention it!

      Always nice to have a second opinion that sounds like an echo, isn't it?


    More agreement

    1. I don't mind being quoted, but why not give credit?

    2. It's not just a few words. The first half of his thread is lifted directly from my post.