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Spygate from a scientific perspective

Back in February 2018, Republican-controlled committees in both the House and the Senate released detailed memos, dubbed the Nunes and Grassley memos respectively, accusing the FBI and the Obama Justice Department of using unverified and false information that was nothing more than opposition research paid for by the Clinton campaign to illegally obtain Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) warrants from the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court (FISC), warrants that allowed them to spy on the campaign of Donald Trump as well as his administration following his election victory in 2016.

Put more bluntly, the Republicans accused the Clinton campaign, with the help of the Obama administration, of weaponizing the surveillance powers of the FBI and the Justice Department in order to defeat their political opponents.

Not surprisingly, the Democrats and former Obama officials denied these allegations, calling both memos partisan and false. In the House the Democrats issued their own memo, claiming the Republican memos left out key information that made their arguments invalid.

Who was right? What was true? How was an ordinary citizen going to determine which of these competing political positions properly described what had actually happened?

At the time I admit my instincts and own personal biases led me to believe the Republicans. Even so, the allegations were so horrifying — suggesting a clear abuse of power and a willingness of people in Washington to subvert an American election — that some skepticism of the Republican accusations was certainly reasonable.

In fact, the best thing one could do in this situation is to take a scientific approach to the problem. The Republicans had put forth a theory, citing some data that suggested the Obama administration, the Justice Department, and the FBI had abused their power in the worst possible manner. To prove that theory the Republicans would require both corroborating evidence as well as independent reviews that confirmed their conclusions.

It was for this reason that I decided to buy and read The Plot Against the President, written by long time journalist Lee Smith. Though Smith relied heavily on information from the Nunes memo as well as interviews from Nunes and staffers who researched and wrote that memo, he also as an independent journalist did a great deal of additional research that appeared to confirm both the Nunes and Grassley memos.

Even more important for an ordinary citizen like myself, Smith’s book provided a well documented overview and chronology of what the Republicans said had happened. This put the Republican allegations into context. If there were any inconsistencies or errors in those allegations, Smith’s wider view, supplemented by the events that have occurred in the two years since the release of the memos, would have either confirmed or refuted those allegations.

Sadly, I found Smith’s book to strongly confirm the Republican allegations. Repeatedly he carefully documented how the Clinton campaign had paid for the dossier that was then used improperly by the FBI and the Department of Justice to initiate a false investigation into the opposition party’s political campaign.

Still, Smith was a journalist, and a conservative one at that. He could very easily have an anti-Democratic ax to grind. From a scientific point of view, it was necessary to get a completely independent and non-partisan review of the facts in order to consider the Republican accusations confirmed and trustworthy.

Last week we finally got that independent confirmation, with the release of the report on those allegations [pdf] by Justice Department Inspector General Michael Horowitz. That report found that:

And finally, the inspector general report confirmed every single one of the allegations in the Republican memos, while finding all of the claims by the competing Democratic memo to be false.

To understand how damning the IG’s report is, we must note how much Horowitz bent over backwards to be objective, almost to the point of absurdity. For example, despite documenting extensively how all the lies, evidence tampering, and disinformation exclusively served to attack the Trump campaign and later the administration, while aiding the Clinton campaign and the Democrats, Horowitz still insisted that he could find no evidence of political bias in these actions.

Based on this IG report, it is now clear that a significant number of FBI and Justice Department officials participated in the past three years in an illegal scandal aimed at overthrowing a legal election. Based on the information we now have, the prosecution and conviction of those individuals should proceed as quickly as possible.

Truth and lies

It is often said that the problem with lying is that it soon becomes difficult to keep your story straight. Soon the inconsistencies between each lie pile up, and the whole fabrication collapses in a heap of manure.

Tell the truth however and you never have a problem with consistency. There is only one truth, and to tell it is easy and reliable.

For the past few years the Republicans have told a consistent and reliable story. At the same time the story from the Democrats has repeatedly changed, often found to be false, and time after time contradicted itself. First they accused Trump of Russian collusion. That was shown to be false, by their own hand-picked investigator. Then they said Trump used his power as president to bully the leader of the Ukraine for political purposes. Very quickly we found this accusation to be false, proven by the quick release of the phonecall transcript by Trump.

During the impeachment hearings in the House the past two weeks we’ve seen more of the same. The accusations against Trump kept changing, until the final two impeachment charges (obstruction of Congress and abuse of power) are so vague as to be meaningless.

The Enlightenment in the 1700s earned that name because it was at that moment in human history that our western civilization put the unemotional and forthright search for the truth above all else. Or as Francis Bacon noted

Truth is to be sought for, not in the felicity of any age which is an unstable thing, but in the light of nature and experience, which is eternal. . . . Let every student of nature take this as a rule — that whatever his mind seizes and dwells upon with peculiar satisfaction is be held in suspicion. [Novum Organum, sections 56 and 58]

It is very clear that the only thing the Democrats have consistently “seized and dwelt upon” these last three years is an outright and irrational hatred of Donald Trump and those who support him. Along the way this hatred has had them repeatedly fabricate lies and slanders against Trump as well as anyone they think is allied with him. The inspector general report merely confirms this impression.

It is impossible for a free and open society to flourish when such people are in a position of power. It is now the responsibility of the American citizenry, the true rulers of this country, to step forward and fire these people.

If they do not, it is unlikely our free democracy can survive.

Genesis cover

On Christmas Eve 1968 three Americans became the first humans to visit another world. What they did to celebrate was unexpected and profound, and will be remembered throughout all human history. Genesis: the Story of Apollo 8, Robert Zimmerman's classic history of humanity's first journey to another world, tells that story, and it is now available as both an ebook and an audiobook, both with a foreword by Valerie Anders and a new introduction by Robert Zimmerman.

The ebook is available everywhere for $5.99 (before discount) at amazon, or direct from my ebook publisher, ebookit. If you buy it from ebookit you don't support the big tech companies and the author gets a bigger cut much sooner.

The audiobook is also available at all these vendors, and is also free with a 30-day trial membership to Audible.

"Not simply about one mission, [Genesis] is also the history of America's quest for the moon... Zimmerman has done a masterful job of tying disparate events together into a solid account of one of America's greatest human triumphs."--San Antonio Express-News


  • Cotour



    The Democrat leadership, in their desperation to become relevant in some manner in the exercise of their power, were all screaming about Trump violating the emoluments clause in the Constitution. So why was it not included in the articles of impeachment?

    Why was the emoluments issue not included in the impeachment charges? Because it was not ever a relevant reason for impeachment, just a strategic political talking point and political weapon in order to influence the mind of the public. And neither is relevant, obstruction of Congress or abuse of power. Two of the most general terms that the desperate Democrats could possibly come up with.

    Abuse of power: The Congress which sits as a counter balance to the presidents power could every day of the year claim that the president was abusing his or her power if the president was not doing what the Congress wanted done. The nature of true leadership is to determine a goal and a direction, in this case a direction that the president determines is in the country’s best interests, and to move in that direction. These kinds of actions can every day be interpreted as wrong in the eyes of the opposing party in Congress and an abuse of the presidents power.

    And the same goes for Obstruction of Congress: Everything that a president might do could every day in some way, shape or form also be interpreted as an obstruction of Congress. The two political powers sit as counter balances to each other by design.

    This is the nature of our system, at every turn the Congress might be unhappy with the choices that a president might make, whether it was the words or the style with which he or she chose to communicate with another world leader over the phone or anything else a president might do. The Congress in its attempt to constrain the political agenda of a strong president of the opposite party can and apparently will do just about anything in order to hold onto some degree of their agenda and their power. All is fair in love and war, and this have no doubt is political warfare.

    Abuse of power and Obstruction of Congress leading to impeachment? If these charges are valid then every single president in our history would have and should have been impeached. And that is really what is going on in our country today, in fact it is the Congress that is abusing its power in order to remain or become politically relevant. A president, as well as a Congress, must be able to reasonably operate and execute the fiduciary responsibilities of their office’s as they see fit and in their particular style, however ham handed or uncomfortable that may be.

    The American people are watching and absorbing all of this and are taking notes for when they do their part when they comment on what kind of job the people that they hired to represent them are doing. And IMO the people are seeing just how desperate and weak the Democrats have become and that kind of desperation and weakness is never rewarded with an endorsement and a rehire.

    I ask again, tell me what the Democrat party and its leadership stands for in this election cycle? I will provide the appropriate music as you attempt to answer the question.

    Things are as they should be, this is where the Constitution has delivered us all to and it will all be worked out within those parameters and rules of operation. From the chaos will emerge order……..eventually. And then it will all begin a again.

    These extreme and desperate actions that have been undertaken by the Democrats will serve our country well. And why is that? Because these kinds of desperate actions will without doubt will result in all sides revealing who and what they are and what they stand for.

    The people are watching.

  • David Scott

    Victor Davis Hanson has a well documented book “The Case for Trump”. Impeachment and subversion from the get go.

  • wayne

    “If you’re listening to this, you are the Resistance” clip

  • Edward

    Robert wrote: “Put more bluntly, the Republicans accused the Clinton campaign, with the help of the Obama administration, of weaponizing the surveillance powers of the FBI and the Justice Department in order to defeat their political opponents.

    Put more bluntly, the government chose sides in the election.

    This also happened in the 2012 election. Because no one was held accountable for the 2012 IRS debacle (Treasury Department), leadership in the Justice Department, and apparently in some of our national security agencies (Defense Department), chose to do the same type of thing, and so far they have done so with impunity.

    Those who have been punished are innocent members of the targeted political campaign. If these injustices are not corrected by the judicial branch of government, then this branch, too, is dragged into supporting this attack on democracy rather than supporting our Constitutional form of government.

    These travesties are how a government takes sides.

    What is called the “deep state,” bureaucrats ruling the country rather than the elected representatives, is getting away with destroying our rule of law in order to put in place a different system of government — one that goes against the Constitution, the supreme law of the land. Our rulers are becoming those who are hired as bureaucrats. Unless government is taken back from these usurpers, we are going to lose democracy in America.

    America was founded to be a nation of laws, in which the law applies equally to all including presidents, presidential candidates, and bureaucrats. Alternatively, a country can be a nation of men, where the laws are applied to some but not to favored others. We have publicly seen, in recent years, that certain laws have been ignored for certain prominent people. Hilary Clinton was publicly forgiven of felonies by James Comey even as he announced that she had without doubt committed those felonies. Later, Comey was forgiven for his own crimes. Neither Clinton nor Comey would even be charged, much less come to trial.

    No one is above the law? Apparently those favored by the Democratic Party are. This has become the new normal.

    Welcome to Obama’s America, land of the formerly free.

    The Enlightenment in the 1700s earned that name because it was at that moment in human history that our western civilization put the unemotional and forthright search for the truth above all else.

    It is interesting to note a tale of two revolutions. The American Revolution of 1776 and the French Revolution of 1789, which was inspired by the American Revolution and attempted to emulate it. Unsuccessfully in just about every way. These two peoples looked at human nature differently, and they revolted against their kings differently. One revolution went right, and the other went leftist.

    One resulted in a free people who elected their government, and the other resulted in the Reign of Terror and an emperor.

    Leftist are still of the mind that death is the solution to many of the world’s problems.

  • Johnny Nohair

    I have a very good friend that I talk to about these matters. She believes there WILL be justice and that people WILL go to jail. I tend to disagree because thus far, NOBODY has gone to jail (well nobody from ‘their’ side anyways). It has become a point of contention actually because even though they say that investigations are under way, etc (ad nauseum), they all seem to pan out with ‘this person committed this treasonous act but they didn’t INTEND to’ (again ad nauseum) so we will let them go about their lives and continue to fling dung at the rights of us little people. Nope, no hides will be taken. Just continue on with the war against our rights.

    I don’t think America has a justice system anymore. More like ‘just us’ system for those on capitol hill.

  • Cotour

    Johnny Nohair:

    Pre Trump I would have to agree with you, nothing in the previous 30 or 40 years in Washington D.C. has really ever made sense to me. When you thought “A” should happen, “B” would happen. Democrat or Republican, up was down and right was wrong, political agenda of a more Left / Globalist / collective nature was underway.

    Today however post Trump becoming president there does appear to be a shift going on towards a more rational and pragmatic, every day people in America, Constitutional direction. And although because of the long established corrupt nature of how power is and has been exercised in America, both by the Democrats and Republicans, really not much difference, this brief moment in time in our country’s history may truly represent something different.

    And why is that? Because Trump has become president, and maybe even more important and a result of him becoming president he appears to have chosen an Attorney General, William Barr, that will actually bring the heat and is willing to do what must be done to get America back to a more rational America / Constitutional centric operation. Barr appears to be willing to bring to justice and make examples of those who have clearly abused their power and who threaten all of our freedom and justice system.

    Without these two unconventional and standout players I would tend to agree with you and I would expect zero from them, more of going along to get along.

    There are certain rare moments in time when what must be done must be done, and this appears to be one of those rare moments, a confluence. The country desperately needs this cleansing and I think these two actors are willing to go to the mat and do what must be done. The Democrats in their ever growing desperation are causing all of this to transpire. Their desperation forces the issue. The Democrats would have been better off just sitting quietly and allow Trump to ham it up and for people to get sick of him. But they choose to desperately claw and kick and scream and lie and cheat their way to defeat. The more they protest the more they reveal themselves. Not a pretty sight, and trust me, the people of America are watching them and they do not like what they see.

    This has been my position from the beginning of this entire political drama involving the unique and less than apparently ideal Trump as president, and I see no reason to change my opinion now. Trump is the focal point, the catalyst with the stamina, mental armor and the focus to take care of this unique piece of business for the American people. The right man at the right time. I have called it providence, I have called it destiny, call it what you like but here “IT” is and so I and many others embrace “IT”.

  • Tom Servo

    In response to the question “what about Emoluments?” The specific answer is that anyone with some legal education and who’s honest (not always mutually exclusive traits) knows that “Emoluments” were a very specific practice, common in the late 17th and early 18th Centuries, and that it had a very specific definition. They were NEVER about taking payment in exchange for goods or services, unless one could show the transaction was fraudulent. One ivy league law student wrote a paper for his law school journal a few years ago claiming that it could be used for those kinds of payments, but there is not one single Court in US History that has ever accepted that view.

    Every Democrat claim of “Emoluments!!!” is based on this one obscure law school journal that has absolutely no basis in actual fact or law. That’s why every time they’ve tried to take something based on this to a Court, they’ve failed.

  • Phill O

    Cotour & Johnny Nohair:

    I hope you are right Cotour but I share Nohair’s pesimism.

    However, I know two Shifty people who are now doing time for a Ponzi type scheme. Their tactics before being brought to justice were exactly like the dems.

    That Pertraeus and McCrhystal were, in affect, removed, and Hillary was let off was the biggest tragedy for justice! IMHO

  • Cotour

    Remember, it all comes down to one thing / person, Ma Barker.

    Everything that has gone on before the election and after the election was because it was known as sure as you are reading this post that Ma Barker would become the next president. And all would be OK. All bad acts against the Constitution and the American people would be and remain under cover.

    The second set of laws that were created by St. James Comey expressly for the benefit of Ma Barker and her Democrat criminal enterprise must in time be revealed, held up and recognized for what they are and publicly destroyed. And that is where B. Barr appears to be going. Barr dares to drag the operators within the amorphous Political realm into the light and the Pedestrian legal realm.

    Now that does not ever happen in Washington D.C., not unless it is forced and absolutely necessary. The only question remains, where will the line be drawn?

    The second Trump term will be just as crazy as the previous one, but even more better. Trump will have mastered Washington by then and most of the democrat leadership will be institutionalized.

    Chezwick = Nadler

    And the third term will be more than historic! Trump 2028! :)

  • Chris

    Remember – to the Washington elite a.k.a. “The swamp”:
    Anyone who threatens the ever increasing amount of money and power flowing to Washington or – heaven forbid – tries to cut that power – must not be stopped. No, they must be absolutely destroyed, humiliated and their family with them. Examples must be made!

  • wayne

    ‘Trump as classic tragic hero,’
    Prof. Victor Davis Hanson at Pepperdine

  • Rustynail

    I’ve been a political junkie since 1964; when Mother went to the convention as a delegate. It is encouraging to see the real scientific thought processes here exposing the Leftists; for what they are.

    Thank you all for your clear and thoughtful analysis!

  • Cotour


    What does the evidence reveal?

    Obama warned the Russians “Cut it out”, in his best Joe Biden steely eyed threat to Putin related to any monkey business that they were engaged in in the 2016 presidential election. Ooooooh, chilling, I heard Putin hid under his desk for a week after that.

    But who does the Senate report point the finger at? Mr. “We lead from behind”, Obama. (He actually said that, in public)

    Obama was more concerned with drawing lines of racial hate towards law enforcement and creating turmoil in America and apologizing to the world, specifically the Islamic part of the world for America’s leadership in the preceding century. And he plainly surrendered the continued leadership of America and the world to whom ever wanted it in the new Globalist Sorosian reality that he embraced. And that means the Chinese. Who by the way are currently forcefully and violently tearing people off the streets and from their homes and quarantining them in an effort to control the Coronovirus spread.

    Obama’s un American weakness concerning the Russians turned into the FBI leadership fraud and illegal actions against president Trump, and this will all be being laid out before all who are willing to read and understand the actual truth about what really went on in the 2016 presidential election. Obama, Brennan, Clapper, Rice, Strzock, Page, Comey and Co. etc, etc. its a long list, and of course Ma Barker (Hillary) who this really has all been about.

    This Senate report lays but one segment of Obamas weak and un American leadership legacy and style and the consequences there of. Elections have consequences and skin color, likability and a nice smile are not primary reasons to empower anyone, especially as the president of the United States.

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