News & Politics

The Morning Briefing: New Texts from Strzok & Page, Shulkin Down and Much, Much More

United States Secretary of Veterans Affairs, David Shulkin, testifies during a United States Senate Veterans Affairs Committee at the United States Capitol in Washington, D.C. on March 21, 2018. Credit: Alex Edelman / CNP - NO WIRE SERVICE ' Photo by: Alex Edelman/picture-alliance/dpa/AP Images

Good Thursday morning.

Here’s what is on the President’s agenda today:

  • The president delivers remarks on the Infrastructure Initiative in Richfield, Ohio

New docs show collusion between Dems, FBI, CIA on Trump-RUSSIA probe

What a surprise. New evidence was released yesterday that shows how close the FBI, CIA and Democrats were during the “early stage” of the Trump-RUSSIA investigation. By “early stage” I mean during the 2016 presidential campaign. One could say they were “plotting.”

The investigators say the information provided to Fox News “strongly” suggests coordination between former President Barack Obama’s Chief of Staff Denis McDonough, then-Senate Democratic Leader Harry Reid, and CIA Director John Brennan — which they say would “contradict” the Obama administration’s public stance about its hand in the process.

Some texts between FBI lover-agents Strzok and Page:

(August 3, 2016) Page to Strzok: “Make sure you can lawfully protect what you sign. Just thinking about congress, foia, etc. You probably know better than me.”

(August 8, 2016) Srtzok to Page: “Internal joint cyber cd intel piece for D [Comey], scenesetter for McDonough brief, Trainor [head of FBI cyber division] directed all cyber info be pulled. I’d let Bill and Jim hammer it out first, though it would be best for D to have it before the Wed WH session.”

“We are not making conclusions. What we are saying is that the timeline is concerning enough to warrant the appointment of an independent investigator to look at whether or not the Obama White House was involved [in the Trump-Russia investigation],” a GOP congressional source told Fox News.

Why is this suspicious?

The congressional investigators pointed out to Fox News that the CIA and FBI are supposed to be “independent agencies,” and noted that “coordination between political actors at the White House and investigators would be inappropriate,” raising questions about the level of involvement of Obama White House officials.

Weeks later, CNN personality and former CIA director John Brennan headed over to the Hill to chat with that dusty old bat Harry Reid, who was Senate minority leader at the time. After the meeting, Reid wrote a letter pressuring Comey:

“The evidence of a direct connection between the Russian government and Donald Trump’s presidential campaign continues to mount and has led Michael Morrell, the former Acting Central Intelligence Director, to call Trump an ‘unwitting agent’ of Russia and the Kremlin,” Reid, a Nevada Democrat, wrote. “The prospect of a hostile government actively seeking to undermine our free and fair elections represents one of the gravest threats to our democracy since the Cold War and it is critical for the Federal Bureau of Investigation to use every resource available to investigate this matter thoroughly and in a timely fashion.”

Here’s the kicker: On August 30, 2016, Strzok texted Page:

“Here we go,” sending a link to the Times report titled, “Harry Reid Cites Evidence of Russian Tampering in U.S. Vote and seeks FBI inquiry.”

Strzok replied: “D [Comey] said at am brief that Reid called him and told him he would be sending a letter.”

Incredible.

IG to look into FISA abuse

Moving right along, the Department of Justice inspector general will be adding FISA abuse to his lengthy menu of treacheries to investigate.

IG Michael Horowtiz announced yesterday he will looking into FISA abuse by the DOJ and the FBI when they spied on former Trump campaign volunteer Carter Page.

“The OIG will initiate a review that will examine the Justice Department’s and the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s compliance with legal requirements, and with applicable DOJ and FBI policies and procedures, in applications filed with the U.S. Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court (FISC) relating to a certain U.S. person,” the statement obtained by Fox News read. “As part of this examination, the OIG also will review information that was known to the DOJ and the FBI at the time the applications were filed from or about an alleged FBI confidential source.”

Shulkin DOWN

President Trump fired David Shulkin yesterday from his position as secretary of Veterans Affairs.

Law and Crime suggests one reason might be the inspector general report that was released over a month ago detailing some “missteps” by Shulkin.

That OIG report, which you can read here, said that Shulkin stepped out of bounds amid a trip to a summit in London. This includes improperly accepting Wimbledon tickets from Victoria Gosling, the co-CEO for Invictus Games 2016. Shulkin incorrectly told ethics official Tammy Kennedy that she was the friend of his wife, Dr. Merle Bari, but the OIG later interviewed Gosling, who failed to recall Bari’s first name.

The report states:

The OIG separately analyzed the relationship between Dr. Bari and Ms. Gosling and also determined that it would not meet the “personal friendship” exception because the gift was not given “under circumstances which make it clear that the gift [was] motivated by a family relationship or personal friendship rather than the position of the employee [emphasis added].”

The president has nominated White House physician Rear Admiral Dr. Ronny Jackson to replace Shulkin. You might remember him from the greatest press conference ever held when the media, like a pack of vultures, interrogated Jackson about President Trump’s health.

Your daily WTFs:

Lena Dunham denies claims she bit Beyonce’s face at a party

Maryland mother arrested after attempting to saw off head of autistic son because she felt ‘overwhelmed,’ police say

Historical picture of the day:

Ethel Rosenberg and her husband, Julius, wearing eyeglasses, climb into a prison van after their conviction in the first American atom spy trial at the Federal Courthouse in New York City on March 29, 1951. At right is an unidentified deputy marshall. (AP Photo)

Other morsels:

Netflix adds former Obama offical Susan Rice to its board of directors

People are threatening to cancel their Netflix subscriptions after former UN Ambassador Susan Rice was named to its board

White House calls police shootings of African-Americans a ‘local matter’

Haley: The US is capping its funding of the UN

After School Board Rejects NRA Donation To High School Rifle Team, Community Responds In A HUGE Way

Trump personally called Roseanne to congratulate her on huge ratings

Boy who hugged officer in viral photo among three missing kids after SUV goes off cliff in California

Facebook limits ad targeting after Cambridge Analytica data leak

Study: Armed security officers are on the rise in US schools

Pilots say they spotted UFOs while flying over Arizona

At least 11 arrested during Black Lives Matter protest in New York

Italian police arrest 5 linked to Berlin Christmas attacker

Driver plows into people on San Francisco street, killing one

Are you ready for the James Comey, CNN town hall?

Dem vows to press ban on Pentagon paying for border wall

Nerve agent used to poison Russian double agent was on his front door

Acosta Shouts At Sarah Sanders Post-Briefing

David Hogg having trouble getting into college after high school

Facebook Slapped With Lawsuit Alleging Numerous Civil Rights Violations

Arizona police department mounts AR-15 rifles on backs of some motorcycles

Remington gets $75 million lifeline

Allen Hurns Switching to Jersey No. 17 to Honor Florida School Shooting Victims

‘Build Your Own AR-15’ class in Michigan draws a crowd just days after March for Our Lives protest

And that’s all I’ve got, now go beat back the angry mob!