Democrats Try to Undermine a Trump Acquittal

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As the impeachment trial of President Donald Trump comes to a close, Democrat resistors are having a hard time coming to grips with an impending acquittal.

Perturbed members of the opposition party have now chosen to engage in a smear campaign that characterizes the Senate proceedings as illegitimate.

Using a worn-out playbook from past attacks, some of the more spiteful Dems are trying to massage the minds of a would-be unsuspecting public that the acquittal of President Trump somehow lacks legitimacy because of a supposed deficiency of witnesses or documents.

In an appearance on Bill Maher’s HBO show on January 17, 2020, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said the following: “You are impeached forever,” punctuating her comment with the line, “No matter what the Senate does, it [impeachment] can never be erased.”

On January 30, 2020, the day before the Senate voted against subpoenaing additional witnesses or documents, Pelosi said to a reporter, “You cannot be acquitted if you don’t have a trial. You don’t have a trial if you don’t have witnesses and documentation and all of that.”

The very next morning, which was also prior to the pivotal Senate vote, Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer said, “The president’s acquittal will be meaningless, because it will be the result of a sham trial. If there are no witnesses, no documents in this trial, there will be a permanent asterisk next to the acquittal of President Trump written in permanent ink.”

Other Democrats joined in with the spin, as did most of their willing media accomplices.

Many will recall when the Democrats flooded the media with a similar set of talking points at the conclusion of the confirmation process for then-Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh. Some of the more spiteful Dems contended that the process would be unfair and tainted if there was not a delay for an FBI investigation.

After the president and the GOP relented to a week-long FBI investigation, certain Democrat office-holders ran to the microphones to assert that the investigation was insufficient and the confirmation process flawed.

Once again, it really would not have mattered how the GOP senators had proceeded with the impeachment trial. If the trial did not match the outcome that the removal-oriented Democrats wanted, they would have followed up with a coordinated negative message anyway.

The Constitution grants the Senate the sole power to try all impeachments. The Speaker of the House has no real role in an impeachment trial. However, as Pelosi did when she conditioned the delivery of the Articles of Impeachment, the House speaker is attempting to exercise influence and exert control over the Senate impeachment function.

In stark contrast to the way in which the House hearings unfolded, the Senate conducted the impeachment trial process in a fair and dignified manner. While carrying out its constitutional duty, the Senate received and considered a record produced by the House of Representatives. Seventeen of the 18 witnesses from whom the House obtained testimony had their transcripts released. Noticeably absent was the transcript of Intelligence Community Inspector General Michael Atkinson, who gave testimony that is widely believed would have been helpful to the president’s case.

During the Senate trial, members of the Senate, acting as a jury, listened to more than 190 portions of testimony from 13 of the House witnesses, and additionally had access to almost 29,000 documents.

It was the House Democrats who made the decision to disallow any witnesses that would support the president’s case. It was also the House Democrats who chose not to subpoena other witnesses, because they apparently did not wish to take the time to allow the judicial branch to do its job; that is, the job of dealing with the important constitutional issue of executive privilege.

Some of the more spiteful Dems seem to enjoy projecting the image of wrapping themselves in the Constitution, while they slice it to ribbons with deceitful words and duplicitous conduct.

On the Brink of Peace

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Many of the previous foreign policy makers of our country have turned a blind-eye to the evil that has emanated from Iran over the years. A glance back helps to explain where we are now, how we got here, and what we need to do moving forward.

The year was 1979. Fifty-two of our people were being held hostage in a U.S. Embassy in Tehran. Our own would be forced to endure captivity for over a year.

The Iranian regime had claimed that Americans were being held by a group of “students.” This would be the first of many falsehoods to come. The truth was the real hostage takers were actually armed personnel who reported to dictator Ayatollah Khomeini.

Iran adopted a strategy of attacking the United States and her allies in an indirect manner, thereby making things appear to be something other than what they actually were. Plotting continued over the years via the application of a deceitful formula that used proxies, militias, terrorist organizations, and the like as covers behind which the country could slyly hide.

The scheme ultimately expanded into an enterprise of indirect warfare led by international war criminal and terrorist Qasem Soleimani. It would tragically remain in place. But thanks to action taken by President Donald Trump, which culminated in a precision drone strike, Soleimani’s sinister reign came to an end.

For those who dispassionately examine the facts, the take-down of Soleimani is good news, not only for the Middle East, but for the world. As the architect of the Iranian effort to exert influence outside of the country’s borders, under his diabolical direction roadside bombs were provided to Sunni terrorists, support was supplied and advice was given to the terrorist group Hezbollah, a civil war in Yemen was fomented, and Shiite militias were used to attack U.S. personnel and interests.

Soleimani planned and implemented almost all of the terrorist attacks of the Iranian regime and its proxy groups across the globe. The Shiite terrorist organizations throughout the Middle East were under his control. He and his proxy groups were behind the flow of IEDs to Iraq and Afghanistan, he used rooftop snipers in both Iran and Iraq to kill protesters who were demonstrating, and on and on it went.

Much as it did with ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi in labeling him an “austere religious scholar,” The Washington Post called international terrorist Soleimani a “most revered military leader.” Rather than revered, the overwhelming majority of Iranians viewed him as a brutal participant of an oppressive regime.

Mere days before Soleimani was removed by the American military, he appeared to be trying to conjure up a sequel to the above referenced hostage crisis of 1979. But this time around, instead of “students” Soleimani used “protesters” to attack a U.S. Embassy in Baghdad.

President Trump’s action in removing Soleimani stands in stark contrast to the feeble policies of past administrations toward Iran. This, in part, may explain why Democrat lawmakers and former Obama administration officials displayed such inexplicable and over-the-top public reactions to President Trump’s Iranian action.

Democrat Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi used language that implied a war crime had been committed. She additionally used a legislative session to pass an unconstitutional resolution to place restraints on presidential power.

Former Obama deputy national security adviser Ben Rhodes, who was instrumental in the promotion of the disastrous Iran nuclear deal, came forward to claim that President Trump’s action would lead to war. He wrote via his Twitter account that the drone strike on a terrorist leader “is a really frightening moment…”

Former Obama Defense Department official Kelly Magsamen tweeted that she was “honestly terrified” and sent up an additional prayer petition of “God help us.”

While at a recent campaign event for Democrat 2020 presidential candidate Joe Biden, former Obama secretary of state John Kerry weighed in with his assessment of President Trump’s decision, characterizing it as a “tragedy” and stating the following: “If this develops into a tit for tat increased effort, it will become a war that is needless, it didn’t have to happen, and it will be a reckless war of choice by the president of the United States.”

Interestingly, in a recent appearance on CBS’s “Face the Nation,” Kerry was asked about his role in releasing billions of dollars to Iran while serving in the Obama administration. He responded to the question with a non-responsive reference to the president’s tweet on the subject.

He had admitted to CNBC back in 2016 that “some” of the money would end up in the hands of “entities, some of which are labeled terrorists.”

Fast forward to 2020. When asked in the above referenced CBS appearance why he believed the release of the money was a risk worth taking, Kerry failed to respond, choosing to attack the president instead. He never did explain why he authorized giving a lawless regime an extraordinary amount of money without knowing where the funds would end up.

President Trump has been remarkably consistent. He has shown a great deal of restraint in his use of limited targeted action, while still displaying strength and resolve. It is clear from Iran’s failed missile attack against U.S. forces in Iraq that the regime has a healthy fear of the Trump administration. And so it should.

In the aftermath of the Soleimani saga, a healthy fear is precisely what is needed to keep our country and the world solidly on the brink of peace.

‘Christianity Today’ Becomes a Tool of the Left

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Although a lot of people link “Christianity Today” with evangelical Christian ideology, the magazine’s editor, Mark Galli, recently nixed that idea with a click of his keyboard.

Galli penned a column that appeared to be written with the goal in mind of putting grins on the faces of leftists and garnering gobs of attention from the Trump-hating faction of the media.

Whether the above stated goal was mapped out or not, the end result was the same. The magazine’s image took a hit, the president was unfairly maligned, and the liberal media ate it all up.

Galli used the pages of the magazine, which happened to be founded by the late legendary preacher extraordinaire Billy Graham, to call for the removal of President Trump from office.

As his days with the magazine are on the wane, the liberal-minded editor put forth a constitutionally vapid case with an apparent purpose of reversing the results of the 2016 presidential election. Galli argued for the president’s removal because of behavior that he chooses to characterize as immoral.

What Galli apparently doesn’t understand is that the U.S. Constitution sets forth a specific and elevated standard in order for the nation’s chief executive to be removed, not just a mere allegation of subjectively questionable behavior.

Because Galli’s publication was originally founded by Reverend Graham, the article referenced the evangelist. It is fitting that Graham’s son, Franklin, who now leads the ministry that his father envisioned and brought to fruition, was one of the first to comment on Galli’s opinion piece.

In a compelling social media post, Franklin let the world know that his dad both “believed in” and “voted for” President Trump.

“… they invoked my father’s name, so I felt I should respond. Yes, @BillyGraham founded Christianity Today; but no, he would not agree w/ their piece. He’d be disappointed,” Franklin stated.

Other leading evangelicals joined in with the countering of Galli’s assertions.

Jerry Falwell Jr. of Liberty University stated that “Christianity Today” has been “unmasked” as part of what he called the “liberal evangelicals who have preached social gospel for decades.”

In an appearance on Fox News, Faith and Freedom Coalition Chairman Ralph Reed said of the magazine, “You cannot imagine a publication more out of step with the faith community that it once represented.”

And President Trump himself joined in with a comment, calling the publication “a far left magazine” and tweeting that Christians are not very likely to be “looking for Elizabeth Warren, Bernie Sanders, or those of the socialist/communist bent, to guard their religion.”

When they found out that an ostensible spokesperson for evangelical Christians essentially used Democratic Party talking points to go after the president, the left-leaning media were filled with delight. Galli was predictably offered numerous media spots.

Guesting on NPR’s Morning Edition turned out to be a perfect venue in which to double down on his attacks on the president while letting loose with some additional jabs that seemed tailor-made for a CNN audition.

Galli, of course, repeated his call to negate the choice of America’s voters, but this time came up with other justifications, claiming that the president is in “psychological and moral confusion.”

As propagandists are prone to do, Galli used highly manipulative and corrosive language that is designed to plant negative seeds and is deliberately crafted to poison the minds of potential voters. He compared the president to a physically abusive husband and then left the notion there to lie.

During his appearance, Galli denied that his publication is left-leaning. But the truth is, he and his magazine don’t even come close to being objective.

On February 20, 2015, “Christianity Today” featured a commentary written by none other than Galli himself, titled “Amnesty is Not a Dirty Word.” The main assertion of the piece was that “…the one thing we Christians especially should not run from is any action accused of offering ‘amnesty.’”

In his article, Galli refers to the Evangelical Immigration Table (EIT), a group that has received financing from the George Soros-backed National Immigration Forum.

An article published in the November 2019 magazine, titled “Another Way for Immigration Reform? How Evangelicals Can Help Lead It,” is highly critical of the president’s approach to securing the border. Conversely, it advocates for policies that are consistent with the president’s political opponents. The author of the article is Matthew Soerens, the national coordinator for the aforementioned EIT.

Although it is unlikely that “Christianity Today” will be able to get many of its readers to return to the publication, a name change might help to attract a new crop of subscribers.

“Un-Christianity Today” might do the trick.

Trump Weathers the Democrat Subpoena Storm

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President Donald Trump is experienced in the art of litigation.

As a successful real estate entrepreneur, he was able to acquire the skills necessary to maneuver the legal playing field in the rough and tumble Manhattan marketplace.

The president has now made a strategic decision to litigate rather than comply with the attempt by Democrats to use their oversight powers to keep a discredited narrative alive.

Recently, a significant change took place in the legal approach that the Trump White House adopted.

For the past two years President Trump’s administration fully cooperated with Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation. More than a million documents were produced, officials were allowed to freely testify, and executive privilege was not exercised.

However, following the release of the Mueller report, the administration has decided to take a different legal approach with respect to what appears to be an unnecessary use of congressional investigative powers.

The president has recently indicated his opposition to having White House personnel submit to the subpoenas peppering Pennsylvania Avenue from overzealous congressional Democrats.

By challenging the Democrats’ efforts to perpetually investigate rather than fulfilling their congressional duties, President Trump increases the likelihood of the Democratically controlled House to be perceived as a “do-nothing” chamber.

White House attorneys are objecting to Democrat subpoenas, which probably means that protracted legal battles will ensue.

The Trump Organization has filed a lawsuit against House Oversight Chairman Elijah Cummings, D-Md., seeking to block a subpoena for the president’s years-old financial records.

Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin allowed a deadline to pass, which was given by the Democrat House to turn over the president’s tax returns.

The White House instructed its former personnel security director Carl Kline not to testify before Congress about the process by which the president’s daughter Ivanka Trump and husband Jared Kushner obtained their security clearances. The House has since held Kline in contempt.

Personal counsel of the president Rudy Giuliani pointed out to Politico that the president’s position on the House subpoenas is justified, when considering the partisan political motives of congressional Democrats.

“I think it’s exactly the right legal strategy, Giuliani said. “I doubt there’s anybody in America that thinks this has some legitimate governmental purpose.”

“This is like a judge saying I’m going to hang you, but I’ll give you a trial first,” Giuliani added.

Chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., fully supports the president’s policy of not complying with what Graham rightly referred to as “a complete partisan thing now.”

With the Muller investigation wrapped up, the Russia-collusion narrative debunked, and an obstruction of justice charge eliminated, Graham accurately compared Democrats to filmmaker Oliver Stone attempting to come up with a plot line for a film dealing the Kennedy assassination.

“I think Congress is going crazy here,” Graham told The Associated Press.

One of the things that has been driving many of the Democrats in Congress insane is the prospect of bringing in former White House counsel Don McGahn to testify. Because the Trump administration has indicated that it may use executive privilege to prevent Congress from subpoenaing McGahn, the media have been invoking the specter of former President Richard Nixon in an attempt to portray the invocation of the constitutional privilege as an illicit act.

The president is legally empowered to resist subpoenas originating from the legislative branch that are designed to obtain information or testimony relating to the executive function. The Supreme Court has viewed this presidential privilege as a part of the separation of powers doctrine, derived from the president’s ability to carry out the duties held by the commander in chief under the Constitution.

The privilege to prevent staffers from testifying and/or withhold documents arises because of the unique need to protect the confidentiality of the advice that assists presidential judgments.

Despite the stilted coverage of most of the media, prior presidents have engaged in similar battles. Former President George W. Bush clashed with Congress after his administration attempted to block testimony from top aides over the firing of several federal prosecutors.

Former President Barack Obama asserted executive privilege to withhold documents related to the gun-trafficking scandal known as Operation Fast and Furious, which resulted in the House holding then-Attorney General Eric Holder in contempt.

The Supreme Court in United States v. Nixon held that when executive privilege is at issue, “…coequal branches of the Government are set on a collision course.” The judicial branch is therefore forced to deal with “the difficult task of balancing the need for information in a judicial proceeding and the Executive’s Article II prerogatives.” Such a proceeding “pushes to the fore difficult questions of separation of powers and checks and balances.” The court concluded that “constitutional confrontation between the two branches are likely to be avoided whenever possible.”

Consequently, when dealing with confrontations between the executive and legislative branches, the courts have avoided direct intervention.

In such legal proceedings, the wheels of justice move even more slowly than usual and are likely to slog through the court system eventually making their way up to the High Court.

The bottom-line result will be that the president’s legal battles with Congress are likely to last beyond the 2020 presidential election, thus denying the investigation-obsessed Democrats both their narrative and their pound of flesh.

Democrats Creep from Collusion to Obstruction

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In a cart before the horse scenario, Rep. Jerrold Nadler (D-NY), chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, stated with certainty that he believes President Donald Trump is guilty of obstruction of justice. Nadler declared this as his committee initiated an investigation to ostensibly determine whether or not the president obstructed justice.

Nadler’s panel sent out 81 document requests and subpoenas as part of an unprecedented partisan probe launched at a time it is widely believed that Special Counsel Robert Mueller is wrapping up his investigation and issuing a report.

Nadler, who has evidently come to a conclusion prior to his committee’s investigatory work, has also moved past the Mueller report, apparently amid concerns that it will contain no evidence of the supposed Russian collusion, which the Democrat Party and its allies in the left-leaning media have been obsessing over for more than two years.

Politico has cautioned those who are eagerly anticipating the special counsel’s report to “prepare for disappointment.”

Despite denials from certain members of the party, Nadler and his ilk are on an endless search for a rationale that they will be able to sell to the public so that impeachment of the president can be pursued and the 2016 election can be reversed.

“I think Congressman Nadler decided to impeach the president the day the president won the election,” House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) said. “Show me where the president did anything to be impeached…Nadler is setting the framework now that the Democrats are not to believe the Mueller report.”

Nadler opined that the president is guilty of obstruction of justice, citing the “1,100 times he referred to the Mueller investigation as a ‘witch hunt.’” He additionally pointed to President Trump’s 2017 firing of then-FBI director James Comey.

“It’s very clear that the president obstructed justice,” Nadler stated.

Nadler’s determination prior to the investigation begs the question: Can a case be made against President Trump for obstruction of justice?

There are two serious impediments facing Nadler and other Democrats who are looking to impeach a sitting president using an obstruction of justice charge. The first impediment is the law and the second involves politics.

An analysis of the current facts results in a finding that there is no viable case for obstruction of justice. A sitting president who exercises legitimate constitutional power cannot be guilty of obstructing justice for merely acting on such power.

In this case, President Trump carried out tasks in which he is fully authorized to engage, using powers inherent to the office of the presidency and granted by the Constitution. These powers grant to the president the ability to hire and fire officials under his charge, including FBI Director Comey.

Even if the president had suggested a de-escalation of an investigation, as Comey alleged, this would not constitute obstruction, since the Chief Executive is, in fact, in charge of the executive branch of government.

Immediately after the president relieved Comey from his position, the former FBI director leaked copies of memos to the New York Times in which Comey had written that President Trump asked him to drop the investigation into then-National Security Advisor Michael Flynn.

The Comey firing was explicitly recommended via a memo from Deputy Attorney General Rosenstein to then-Attorney General Jeff Sessions, which stated, “Almost everyone agrees that the Director made serious mistakes; it is one of the few issues that unites people of diverse perspectives. The way the Director handled the conclusion of the email investigation was wrong. As a result, the FBI is unlikely to regain public and congressional trust until it has a Director who understands the gravity of the mistakes and pledges never to repeat them. Having refused to admit his errors, the Director cannot be expected to implement the necessary corrective actions.”

Obstruction of justice additionally requires a showing that the party who is obstructing possessed corrupt intent to interfere with, or had attempted to interfere with, the proceeding or investigation.

This means that the intentional aim of the interference is for self-interest.

Decisions made by a president that have arguable benefits for the people that the president serves are difficult for prosecutors to characterize as having the requisite corrupt intent.

President Trump’s decisions were arguably made to benefit the nation that his executive branch serves.

With regard to the tweets, presidents have a First Amendment right to express opinions. Moreover, the chief executive must freely express points of view as the leader of the executive branch.

President Trump’s tweets are not orders to those subject to his authority. They are instead expressions of ideas, thoughts, beliefs, and proposals to the people.

If President Trump had desired to interfere with the Mueller probe, he could have ordered it to be defunded, minimized, or terminated. Instead he chose to express opinions using his Twitter account.

Prior to taking the office of attorney general, William Barr penned a memorandum indicating that a president should not be prosecuted over conduct that is less than clearly serious criminality.

Does this mean that a sitting president cannot commit obstruction of justice? Of course not.

However, to commit a prosecutable offense, the occupant of the oval office would have to do something outside the scope of his constitutional authority, such as bribing a witness, threatening a judge, or destroying evidence.

Politically speaking, obstruction of justice, if used as a hedge for the lack of evidence of collusion, will likely result in a public perception that a significant gap had occurred between the original purpose of the investigation and the endgame.

So-called Trump Campaign Finance Violations Are a Fallacy

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Democrat leaders and their allies in the media have momentarily dropped the Trump-Russia collusion narrative from their playbooks and are instead talking about purported campaign finance violations.

In fact, some Democrats such as Rep. Jerrold Nadler, D-N.Y. are attempting to characterize their latest campaign finance meme as constituting an impeachable offense.

To claim that the payments to adult film star Stormy Daniels and Playboy playmate Karen McDougal would be impeachable offenses, one would have to ignore both the law and historical practices.

During former President Barack Obama’s 2008 campaign, some real and arguably more serious violations of campaign finance law were treated as civil matters, resulting only in penalties paid to the Federal Election Commission (FEC).

According to the Washington Post, in 2008 Obama’s campaign allowed donors to use untraceable prepaid credit cards, which are capable of being utilized to evade campaign finance restrictions. Obama’s campaign additionally failed to employ basic verification and security procedures to prevent illegal donations to the campaign.

Years after the 2008 election, the Obama campaign paid a $375,000 fine, one of the largest ever levied against a presidential campaign but otherwise walked away from the violation. Impeachment was never a topic of discussion.

Despite claims by panelists on cable news shows, the current Trump campaign finance narrative contains serious flaws when it comes to the law.

According to the Federal Election Campaign Act, in order to constitute violations the payments to the two women would have to have been implemented “for the purpose of influencing any election for Federal Office” and not for a personal use.

The law stipulates that a personal use, as opposed to a campaign use, occurs when funds are “used to fulfill any commitment, obligation, or expense of a person that would exist irrespective of the candidate’s election campaign.”

President Trump’s company, which is branded with his name, his celebrity status, and his need to protect his family, all point to the personal component of the payments as opposed to a campaign related one. Moreover, the necessity for the payments preceded his announcement to run for president.

Former FEC Commissioner Hans von Spakovsky is in agreement, having told Fox News, “The blackmail threat by Daniels and McDougal to reveal their claims would exist whether or not Trump was running for office.”

Former FEC Chairman Bradley Smith told Fox News, “Even if it [the payment] was intended to have some influence on the campaign, that’s not the standard. The standard is: ‘Does the obligation exist because you’re running for office?’”

Smith wrote in the National Review that the president’s “alleged decade-old affairs occurred long before he became a candidate for president and were not caused by his run for president.”

As Smith noted, engaging in activities such as polling, purchasing ads, and printing bumper stickers are expenditures that seek to influence an election, however “paying hush money to silence allegations of decade-old affairs is not.”

In a somewhat similar but stronger case, which involved former presidential candidate and Democratic vice presidential nominee John Edwards, prosecutors attempted to prove that payments made during a presidential run were intended to assist Edwards’s electoral chances, claiming that they were made to protect his public image. Yet, in that case the prosecution could not persuade a jury that Edwards had made campaign related payments. After an acquittal of the main charge and a mistrial on other charges, the case was not pursued by the Justice Department, and Edwards was never retried.

Seeing a similar result with the case against President Trump, von Spakovsky wrote in a Fox News editorial, “Convicting Donald Trump of a criminal campaign finance violation will be extremely difficult, if not impossible. Just as Edwards was found not guilty, the same is likely to happen to President Trump if he is charged while he is president or after he leaves the White House.”

In a potential prosecution of the president, an additional problem involves evidence of the president’s mindset at the time the payments were made. The level of intent that must be proved in a campaign finance prosecution is that the alleged misconduct is committed knowingly and willfully, which is an extremely challenging element of the case for prosecutors, who must prove that a defendant intended to violate the law.

Because the Federal Election Commission does not consider payments made to a mistress to be an expenditure covered by the federal campaign law, it is not possible for a defendant to have made such a payment with knowledge that it was an unlawful violation.

In other words, the president cannot be charged with a knowing and willful violation of the law under these facts, since the Federal Election Commission and legal experts who served on the commission determined that such payments are not campaign finance violations in the first place.

 

The Fourth Amendment Is Worth Protecting

Intelligence Chiefs Testify At House Hearing On National Security Threats

The New York Times recently published an extensive article that attempted to shine a positive light on an appallingly scandalous set of facts.

However, even with its extravagant spin efforts the newspaper could not exclude the information that the FBI employed secret counterintelligence tools to spy on the Trump campaign, including the use of a paid confidential informant who sought to extract damaging information from several people associated with the campaign.

It is a grave situation when, through the use of counterintelligence powers, a presidential administration targets officials associated with the campaign of the opposition party.

The same Obama executive branch engaged in a series of extraordinary actions to step-up government intrusions, including the following:

-The NSA was allowed to obtain private data on American citizens;

-Members of the press were spied upon;

-Hundreds of individuals were “unmasked” by the ambassador to the UN and the national security adviser;

-An unreliable dossier was used to obtain FISA warrants, and the parties submitting the applications failed to disclose key facts to the FISA court.

After all of these expansive actions were taken, the FBI counterintelligence probe, code-named “Crossfire Hurricane,” placed then-presidential candidate Donald Trump under surveillance.

It is the height of irony that in early 2017 President Trump was derided for his tweet that claimed he was being surveilled.

As these and other troubling facts emerged, the mainstream media did their dutifully best to rev up the spin engines.

The New York Times characterized the actions taken by the FBI during the above-referenced period as focused on Russia rather than spying, while the Washington Post attempted to twist the narrative into asserting that the FBI was “protecting” President Trump rather than targeting him.

In an appearance on CNN about the spying on the Trump campaign that had taken place via the hands of the government, former Director of National Intelligence James Clapper channeled Martha Stewart as he indicated how the spying was a “good thing.”

Seemingly lost in the media coverage as well as in the continuing discussion is the damage being done to the fundamental principles of individual privacy rights, which are set forth in the Fourth Amendment of the Constitution.

The Fourth Amendment provides that “the right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.”

The Framers sought to protect citizens from unreasonable intrusions by the government. It was indeed a breakthrough notion by the Founding Fathers that the privacy of our persons, houses, papers, and effects are off limits to interference by government, unless and until a judge has signed off on a warrant that authorizes a search, seizure, or surveillance.

Judges may only issue warrants after finding probable cause to believe that the invasion of privacy or surveillance will produce evidence of criminal behavior. In addition, the Fourth Amendment requires a warrant to specifically describe what will be seized and where a search will take place.

The norm in the Colonies during the pre-Fourth Amendment era was that warrants were issued in secret by British courts, without the inclusion of probable cause and/or specificity. In other words, the government could conduct a search without any legitimate judicial scrutiny.

It is now known that secret FISA warrants for surveillance on the Trump campaign were issued, based on an unreliable dossier purchased by the Hillary Clinton campaign, and that the FBI failed to disclose key information to the FISA court.

The use of so-called national security letters to gather documents on Trump campaign figures, however, constitutes a whole new level of government action that flies in the face of Fourth Amendment precepts.

According to the New York Times, the FBI “obtained phone records and other documents using national security letters – a secret type of subpoena…”

Several federal statutes allow intelligence officials to request certain business record information using national security letters, which are documents that compel the production of private materials.

National security letters are a type of administrative subpoena, which must be used solely in connection with national security investigations. The documents require individuals or organizations to provide materials that typically involve telephone, email, and/or financial records.

The national security letters include a gag order mandating that those responsible for complying cannot disclose the existence of the document or its content. When used in the manner in which the New York Times describes, national security letters are de facto warrants.

Simply said, phone records and other documents were compelled by a government agency from individuals connected with an opposing political party’s campaign, without a court, probable cause, or any judicial oversight whatsoever.

History demonstrates the danger of granting government agencies the ability to subvert constitutional norms.

Even in cases involving national security, the full requirements of the Fourth Amendment can and should be fulfilled in an expedited fashion, with no intrusions into citizens’ privacy without probable cause that is determined by a court of law, upheld by affirmation or sworn oath, which sets forth precisely what will be confiscated and the location that will be searched.