Hours after President Donald J. Trump told congressmen, as he exited the House chamber after his State of the Union address, he will “100 percent” release the memorandum written by the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence detailing abuses by the FBI during the 2016 political cycle, the FBI and Capitol Hill Democrats are mounting a last-ditch effort to keep the memo from the American people.
“I have served on the committee for 10 years,” said Rep. Adam B. Schiff (R.-Calif.), the ranking Democrat on the House intel committee, Monday just before the committee voted to make the memo public. “This is the first time we have sought to declassify highly sensitive information from a political reason–It is, I think, a terrible line to cross.”
It is widely reported that the memo documents how the FBI used an opposition research file on candidate Trump, the so-called “Steele Dossier, paid for by Hillary R. Clinton’s presidential campaign to secure a FISA court warrant for surveillance of the Trump campaign.
The dossier was completed by Christopher Steele, a veteran of British Intelligence service.
Schiff lost Monday’s vote, but Wednesday night he launched his next potential roadblock, the fact that the memo that was made available to all House members was not presented to the White House for review.
At 10 p.m. Wednesday, the California Democrat Tweeted out a letter that spelled out that he and his fellow Democrats were misled by Rep. Devin G. Nunes (R.-Calif.), the committee chairman, when Monday Schiff took the chairman as saying that the memo would be released without any changes or redactions.
BREAKING: Discovered late tonight that Chairman Nunes made material changes to the memo he sent to White House – changes not approved by the Committee. White House therefore reviewing a document the Committee has not approved for release. pic.twitter.com/llhQK9L7l6
— Adam Schiff (@RepAdamSchiff) February 1, 2018
“It is imperative that the committee majority immediately withdraw the document that it sent to the White House,” Schiff wrote.
He further wrote:
Because there were material changes made to the document unbeknownst to committee members and only revealed to us this evening, two days after the vote, there is no longer a valid basis for the White House to review the altered document, since this new version is not the same document shared with the entire House and on which the committee voted.
Washington Examiner columnist Byron York Tweeted out that the changes were either grammatical or specifically requested by the either the Democrats themselves or by the FBI.
Just talked with House Intel source. Said total changes to memo were: A) Unknown number of 'grammatical and clarifying' fixes. B) One change requested by FBI due to sources & methods concerns. C) One two-word change requested by Democrats for accuracy. House Intel GOP statement: pic.twitter.com/ZkNuMBoLZK
— Byron York (@ByronYork) February 1, 2018
In light of Schiff’s latest gambit is it interesting to look back at the transcript of Monday’s committee meeting, when Rep. James A. Himes (D.-Conn.) asked Nunes directly about alterations to the memo.
“I guess, what I am looking for is that memo word-for-word to be made public or will it be redacted or altered in any way?” Himes asked.
Nunes did not respond directly, but he did give a “yeah” that Schiff now takes as an effort to mislead Democrats.
Also at Monday’s committee meeting, Schiff complained that FBI Director Christopher A. Wray personally told him he was concerned about the memo’s release.
The day before the vote, Nunes and Rep. Harold W. “Trey” Gowdy (R.-S.C.), the chairman of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee met with Wray and shared the memo with him.
In addition to Wray, Nunes sent copies of the memo to two senior FBI officials, so it is easy to speculate that this was the context of the FBI-requested alterations.
It was also Monday that Deputy FBI Director Andrew G. McCabe, no relation to this reporter, announced he was taking terminal leave in connection with his March retirement.
Wednesday afternoon the Federal Bureau of Investigation posted this statement on its website in a direct rebuke to Nunes and the president:
The FBI takes seriously its obligations to the FISA Court and its compliance with procedures overseen by career professionals in the Department of Justice and the FBI. We are committed to working with the appropriate oversight entities to ensure the continuing integrity of the FISA process.
With regard to the House Intelligence Committee’s memorandum, the FBI was provided a limited opportunity to review this memo the day before the committee voted to release it. As expressed during our initial review, we have grave concerns about material omissions of fact that fundamentally impact the memo’s accuracy.
In his response to the FBI, Nunes pulled no punches.
“Having stonewalled Congress’ demands for information for nearly a year, it’s no surprise to see the FBI and DOJ issue spurious objections to allowing the American people to see information related to surveillance abuses at these agencies,” he said.
The FBI is well aware of how it has tried to slow-walk the committee’s investigations, he said. “The FBI is intimately familiar with ‘material omissions’ with respect to their presentations to both Congress and the courts, and they are welcome to make public, to the greatest extent possible, all the information they have on these abuses.”
Also, joining the FBI and Schiff in the effort to block the release of the memo was Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer (D.-N.Y.), who called on Speaker Paul D. Ryan (R.-Wis.) to support Schiff in the interest of the rule of law and the integrity of the House.
It’s clear that Chairman Nunes will seemingly stop at nothing to undermine the rule of law & interfere with the Russia probe. He’s been willing to carry the White House’s water, attack our law enforcement and intelligence officials, & now to mislead his House colleagues. 1/2
— Chuck Schumer (@SenSchumer) February 1, 2018
If @SpeakerRyan cares about the integrity of the House or the rule of law, he will put an end to this charade once & for all. 2/2
— Chuck Schumer (@SenSchumer) February 1, 2018
For his part, Ryan said he is backing Nunes.
Speaking to Fox News’ “Fox and Friends,” Tuesday, Ryan said he wanted a clean slate at the FBI.
“Let it all out, get it all out there. Cleanse the organization,” he said. “I think we should disclose all this stuff. It’s the best disinfectant. Accountability, transparency — for the sake of the reputation of our institutions.”
Bypass Tech Censorship!
Facebook, Twitter and Google are actively restricting conservative content through biased algorithms. Silicon Valley doesn't want you to read our articles. Bypass the censorship, sign up for our newsletter now!
Exiled Turkish Journalist Warns: Authoritarian Leaders like Erdogan Use Guise of Populism to Destroy Democracy
The exiled former Editor-in-Chief of Turkey’s now-defunct daily Zaman newspaper Abdulhamit Bilci explained how Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan fooled Turkey and the world as he strategically destroyed the secular model that was put in place by his predecessor and implemented an Islamic form of government which is changing the face of the nation.
Now, Bilci devotes his time to warning other people about the early signs of the destruction of democracy. He is currently living in exile in the United States.
In a stunning tell-all with The Investigative Journal, Bilci detailed Erdogan’s path from local-level politics to his rise as one of the world’s most notorious authoritarian rulers.
Bilci started his career as a reporter in the 1990s covering political rallies and events for then-candidate Erdogan who ran a successful campaign to become the mayor of Istanbul. He said he developed a familiarity with Erodgan through years of his political coverage of him as a reporter and leading up to his time as editor-in-chief of Zaman — a role he held until he fled the county in March 2016, four months before the failed coup attempt.
In the 1990s, before Erdogan was imprisoned for being seen as a threat to Turkey’s secularism – a model that was instated by the late Mustafa Kemal Ataturk – Erdogan had stated “Democracy is like a train: when you reach your destination, you get off.” That quote can be sourced to a newspaper, “Milliyet Gazete Arsivi.”
“He was jailed in the 1990s, for four months, for reciting a poem because the secular establishment did not like his ideas and they were trying to stop him. But he was a successful mayor with his crazy ideology,” Bilci said. Erdogan was imprisoned between March to July of 199. During his conviction, he was forced to forfeit his mayoral position. “When he was mayor of Istanbul he was from the Islamist Party,” Bilci said.
Bilci said it was unfortunate that the secular establishment by jailing him made him more popular because then he became a victim; a tool of manipulation Erodgan used to his political advantage.
“When Erdogan got out of prison, he told the powers that be that he had changed his mind and that he was no longer an Islamist and had become democratic. And when he founded the AK Party he said we are not Islamists. We are conservative democrats; we are like Christian democrats in Europe. He then pushed for Turkey to become a member of the EU.”
However, prior to this, Erdogan had vehemently been opposed to having Turkey join the European Union. According to Bilci, “Erodgan saw the EU as a Christian club and believed Turkey has no place in that according to his Islamist vision.”
With his cosmetic change away from Islamism, Erdogan began receiving the support of democracies throughout the world. He was seen as the rising example and model of a Muslim leader who was trying to democratize his country. In fact, Turkey became a model for the Muslim world for democracy.
“I believed in him and I supported him in those years. But things started to change in his third term in 2011,” he said. “There were some signals of change and he gradually stopped the policy of Turkey becoming a better democracy and part of the EU. Instead, he turned increasingly to the Middle East. These were the Arab spring years.”
For a period of about 8-9 years, Zaman Daily supported Erdogan. The publication had approximately 1 million daily subscribers at its peak.
“The newspaper was supporting him during his first eight years as prime minister,” Bilci said. “And the whole world was supporting him; the international media, the New York Times.” He continued, “but that was during the Obama years. He was trying to make reforms in democracy and improve the economy and make Turkey a member of the European Union. All of these policies were in line with our newspaper’s interior line as well.”
Bilci said Erodgan played a very clever game.
“He was showing himself as being democratic for 8-9 years during the time we were supporting him in an attempt to control all the power because he needed that support since the secular establishment in Turkey hated him. So, to counterbalance the secular establishment, he needed the support of democrats and to show up as a democrat.”
But around 2012-2013, things started to change and Erdogan took on an authoritarian approach which Bilci says the world is seeing to this day.
“Obama and the Europeans continued to legitimize Erdogan in 2013 and beyond. They were not candid in criticizing him and it is a pity they did not stop him,” he said. “We were telling them that Erdogan is destroying democracy and the rule of law and you should be candid to protest that and not appease the guy because it will be bad for the Turkish people and the entire democratic world.” However, despite these warnings, many western, democratic leaders, including Obama continued to appease Erdogan who continued to get closer to Russia and jail journalists even going so far as attacking America’s allies, the Kurds, and procuring negative policies in Libya and Syria that benefited jihadists.
“Once his authoritarianism and corruption were revealed, we exposed it and that made him the enemy,” Bilci said of Erdogan. He said the Turkish government was providing the crux of the publication’s funding and the newspaper fell on hard times between 2015 and 2016 because Erdogan “was calling companies and telling them not to purchase advertisements from our media and there were financial and legal pressures applied.” Similar attempts to crush opposition media were made against conservative publications like Breitbart News by progressives in the United States.
“Our reporters were not able to attend press conferences. He revoked our press cards. In those three years, there were crazy things occurring but we continued our critical editorial line. We did not fall down,” Bilci said. “Finally, he used the nuclear option. He used appointees that he controlled and sent police forces to come to our offices and fired me.” He said in his place, “Erdogan’s thugs” hired a mouthpiece journalist from the pro-government daily paper (Akit), which he described as “a hardline Islamist newspaper,” to be the new editor. “Within 24 hours, Zaman newspaper became a propaganda mouthpiece for the Erdogan regime.”
The move by Erdogan to strangle press freedom had dire consequences for the publication.
“Our readers did not approve of that change,” Bilci said. “At the time of occupation, our circulation was around 700,000 people a day, which had come down from 1 million people per day due to the government takeover of it.” He continued, “our readers did not approve that change and they protested by stopping to buy it. So, within one week the circulation decreased to 5,000 people per day. This was the total and complete and total destruction of a private media company.”
Once the coup took place, Zaman was shut down altogether. In addition to this, Erdogan’s government shut down around 200 critical media outlets. They raided the homes of journalists and columnists from media outlets critical of Erdogan and arrested them. “Luckily, I was not home. But colleagues of mine who were arrested in July 2016 are still in jail. Some of them received life sentences, others 10 years, and others still 6 years.”
Academics, teachers, lawyers, doctors, are among those who have been locked up unjustly.
“I feel lucky that I got out and I am free but I feel so sad that I left my friends behind,” Bilci said. “The only thing I can do is continue speaking out to tell this story.” Despite having over 200,000 followers on Twitter, Bilci’s message does not reach those inside of Turkey. “A court order in Turkey has blocked my Twitter from being visible to the Turkish people. Unfortunately, Twitter cooperated with the Turkish court’s decision.”
“When he grabbed power, he showed his real identity. He used Islamism but I don’t think that he is a sincere Muslim. I think he is using Islam to fool people; specifically –Turkey’s conservative people which are his constituency — to cover up his authoritarianism and corruption.” Bilci added, “Democracies are fragile and anyone living in democracy today should be careful about the ways and methods that are being used to destroy democracy using democratic mechanisms.”
He concluded, “Turkey should be studied more by the democratic world, by the media, and by academics so that we don’t repeat the same mistakes again. Erdogan is one of the prime examples of populism gone wrong. He should become an example of what not to let happen. So, in that regard, Turkey is a prime example for learning lessons in history.”
Featured3 days ago
The American People Want Congress to Act, But Nancy Pelosi Adjourned After 3 Minutes Today
Tech3 days ago
James Woods Suspended From Twitter AGAIN
Big League Guns3 days ago
LA County Sheriff Wanted to Ban Gun Sales After He Released Criminals Early, But Got SHUT DOWN
News3 days ago
Big Tech Unholy Alliance: Facebook, Google, Microsoft, and Twitter Team Up to Issue Joint Wuhan Virus Statement
Hollywood2 days ago
Norm MacDonald Skewers Celebrities for Singing Atheist Anthem During Coronavirus Pandemic
Around The World3 days ago
Pope Francis Demands for Citizens to Pay Taxes for Globalism or Be Guilty of ‘Murder’
Border Security2 days ago
Coronavirus Stimulus Contains Whopping $350 Million Refugee Resettlement Boondoggle
States2 days ago
Pennsylvania Woman Coughs on $35K Worth of Produce at Grocery Store in Sick Coronavirus ‘Prank’