It’s a wild Wednesday Three Martini Lunch as we recap the events of Super Tuesday. Join Jim and Greg as they relish the very expensive implosion of Michael Bloomberg, who spent hundreds of millions of dollars for one win in American Samoa while getting creamed in all 14 states before dropping out of the race on Wednesday. While they have plenty of concerns about Joe Biden, they are glad to see socialism take one on the chin Tuesday, as Bernie Sanders fell far below expectations and won just four states. They also detail how the past week and a half proves Sanders is actually a really bad politician. And they cringe as President Trump trolls former Attorney General Jeff Sessions upon the news Sessions is headed to a runoff for the nomination.
Rob Long takes over Jim’s stool for the day to discuss a big day in political announcements. First, they size of former Attorney General Jeff Sessions running for his old U.S. Senate seat and starting his campaign by praising the president who fired him, a move Rob describes as brilliant. They also watch Virginia Democrats talking about gun confiscation and Bernie Sanders proposing the end of illegal immigrant deportations and the abolition of agencies like ICE and Customs and Border Protection, and marvel at how the left just can’t help embracing extreme positions when it seems to have some momentum. And they dissect former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s decision to begin filing paperwork to seek the Democratic nomination in 2020, with Rob wondering how Bloomberg thought his record in the Big Apple could be attractive to rank and file Democrats.
Another day with two good martinis! Join Jim and Greg as they celebrate U.S. forces killing another top ISIS official who may have been the successor to al-Baghdadi. They’re also pleasantly surprised to see Arizona Democratic Sen. Kyrsten Sinema frustrating party leaders for taking a moderate approach on several issues and opposing an end to the legislative filibuster no matter which party is in control. And while Jeff Sessions was a solid senator, they’re not too excited to hear Sessions is seriously considering joining a crowded field to win the seat again.
Jim Geraghty of National Review and Greg Corombos of Radio America commend Attorney General Jeff Sessions for beefing up the number of immigration judges in an effort to expedite hearings for cases of illegal immigration and improve enforcement of existing immigration laws. They’re also weary of former President Barack Obama lecturing us about the need for civility in our politics when he trashed his opponents and accused them of sinister motives consistently over his eight years in office. And they understand why Ben Sasse is frustrated with certain aspects of the Republican Party but also see his public agonizing over whether to stay on the GOP as a bit of grandstanding.
Jim Geraghty of National Review and Greg Corombos of Radio America tackle four big stories today. First, they welcome the resignation of disgraced GOP Missouri Gov. Eric Greitens. After another Twitter slam against his attorney general, they wonder why President Trump doesn’t just fire Jeff Sessions if he hates him so much. They also discuss the massive shift in opinion on free speech on both the left and right after ABC cancels “Roseanne” after Roseanne Barr’s racist tweet. And they marvel at the fake assassination of a reporter in Ukraine to smoke out the people really trying to kill him.
Jim Geraghty of National Review and Greg Corombos of Radio America are glad to see FBI Director Christopher Wray conclude there was no political agenda at work in the firing of former FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe. They also react to Facebook’s weak explanation for how user data ended up in the hands of Cambridge Analytica and Jim details how the right and left are furious with social media outlets for very different reasons. And they shake their heads as HUD Sec. Ben Carson tells lawmakers his wife helped pick out the $31,000 dining set after he had rejected expensive furniture.
Jim Geraghty of National Review and Greg Corombos of Radio America have whiplash from all the media hyperbole in the wake of Andrew McCabe getting fired, almost all of it from people who have never read the inspector general’s report. They also hammer President Trump for gloating about McCabe’s ouster and McCabe for suggesting his firing was a political hit job from Trump when multiple DOJ officials recommended it. They also applaud the media for finally noticing a series of bombings in Austin, Texas, which have killed or injured several people in a story reminiscent of the Unabomber. And they have some fun with D.C. city council member Trayon White alleging that the Rothschilds control the weather to bring calamity to American cities and then swoop in to pay for the cleanup and take control of the cities.
Jim Geraghty of National Review and Greg Corombos of Radio America welcome a new Axios/Survey Monkey poll showing five incumbent Senate Democrats losing to specific or unnamed Republicans right now and a few others barely ahead. They also rip California for brazenly impeding efforts of federal immigration officials and wonder where all the liberal love for states’ rights was when Arizona wanted to enforce federal laws when the federal government refused to do it. And they swat down a Washington Post columnist for suggesting the U.S. pursue a socialist system and dig deeper into why so many people are not satisfied with the way things are going right now.
The lawyer for a former FBI informant who gathered evidence of a massive Russian bribery scheme to influence U.S. nuclear policy during the Obama administration says it is illegal for the government to prevent her client from speaking to Congress about what he knows.
She also says her client’s revelations went largely ignored by the FBI for political reasons and that he was threatened with criminal prosecution by the Justice Department under former Attorney General Loretta Lynch if he ever spoke publicly about the case.
Victoria Toensing has been representing the unnamed informant for the past several weeks. Toensing is a former deputy assistant attorney general and a former federal prosecutor. She is now a partner in the Washington law firm of diGenova & Toensing.
She says this whole saga began more than eight years ago.
“My client began working with the FBI in 2009 after he was contracted with the Russian company in the nuclear business. All of a sudden, he was asked to take part of his salary and give it as kickback money in bribes. They didn’t say it that way. They just said take part and pay this person, pay that person. So he went to the FBI. He was appalled,” said Toensing.
“The FBI saw an opportunity and they said, ‘Work undercover for us.’ So he thought he was being a good American and he reported not only the payoffs – that was just run of the mill corruption, it’s bad corruption – but also it was important for the government as a counterintelligence measure to get information about what the Russians were doing,” said Toensing.
Toensing says her client fed volumes of information to the FBI only to learn the bureau did nothing with it.
“So that started in 2009. Can you imagine my client’s surprise when he finds out in October 2010 that the U.S. government authorized the purchase by these corrupt companies of a company [that provided] 20 percent of the uranium for the United States?” said Toensing.
The informant was dumbfounded.
“‘Why did this go through? Why did this happen? Look, I’ve been giving you all this information,’ he says to his FBI people. They kind of rolled their eyes and one of them said, ‘Politics,'” said Toensing.
No prosecutions occurred in the case until 2014 and Toensing says even then the worst penalties amounted to a slap on the wrist. The ordeal took a much uglier turn when the Justice Department refused the informant’s request for reimbursement.
“My client was never given the money back that he paid out from his own salary that the FBI had promised to give him, so he brought suit in 2016,” said Toensing, who was not representing him at that time.
“When he filed this suit, the Loretta Lynch Justice Department called his lawyer and threatened him and said, ‘If you don’t withdraw this lawsuit, we’re going after your liberty and reputation,” she added.
The Justice Department staked its argument on the non-disclosure agreement, or NDA, that the informant signed when first agreeing to funnel evidence to the FBI.
“They said, ‘You signed a non-disclosure agreement when you started working and you will be violation of that non-disclosure agreement, and we will prosecute you for that,'” said Toensing.
In decades of legal work, Toensing says she’s never come across a threat like that over an NDA.
“I’ve never heard of a criminal penalty in a non-disclosure agreement. It’s usually a civil penalty, a $25,000 fine or something,” said Toensing, who also says there almost always exceptions to the NDA, such as court subpoenas or congressional testimony.
Furthermore, she says the Justice Department won’t even allow her client to see his NDA.
“How do I know? When the lawyer in 2016 filed a [Freedom of Information] request to get that non-disclosure agreement, the government refused to answer, wouldn’t even respond,” said Toensing.
The effort now is to waive the terms of the NDA. Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, is formally inviting Toensing’s client to testify and also asking Attorney General Jeff Sessions to release him from the NDA to testify.
Toensing says if given the opportunity, her client’s testimony will be “significant” but she doesn’t see how the testimony can legally be blocked.
“It’s a constitutional issue. The executive branch can’t forbid someone from giving information to the legislative branch. That’s a separation of powers issue,” said Toensing.
When asked if Sessions’ decision to recuse himself from the probe into Russian involvement in the 2016 elections could complicate his decision on Grassley’s request for the informant to testify, Toensing says it is vital no to intertwine or conflate the two matters.
“No, no, no, no. Don’t do this. This is not all things Russia. I haven’t met a reporter yet who understands this, which shows you how good the Democrats are in their talking points.
“Jeff (Sessions) recused himself because he was involved in the campaign and there’s a specific Justice Department guideline that says if the campaign is being investigated, if you participated in the campaign you have to recuse yourself. This is not all things Russia,” said Toensing.
She says Trump could also release her client from his NDA.
While on the subject of recusal, Toensing says former FBI Director Robert Mueller ought to step aside as special counsel following the revelation from the informant that the FBI sat on the Russian corruption while Mueller was in charge.
Toensing says that alone is not evidence of any misdeeds by Mueller, but she says the mere appearance of impropriety should lead him to step away from the investigation.
In addition, she says the virtual media blackout on this story since the explosive reports emerged earlier in the week is stunning.
“Gosh, it’s just amazing. I was told by a friend of mine that knows something about this that he approached CNN and they said, ‘No, we don’t want to do it.’
“I was called by CNN [Thursday] just to give some facts. At the end, I said, ‘Well, why don’t you have me on.’ ‘Oh that’s a good idea. We’ll get back to you,'” said Toensing.
“Jake Tapper had (former Attorney General) Eric Holder on the other day after this story broke and didn’t even ask him if he had been briefed on the corruption investigation. He didn’t even ask him. He calls himself a journalist?” said Toensing.
Jim Geraghty of National Review and Greg Corombos of Radio America applaud Republicans for backing Attorney General Jeff Session even in the midst of President’s Trumps invective against him, including the warning from Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley that there is no time left in 2017 to consider another person as attorney general. They express their continuing disgust as six Senate Republicans who voted to repeal Obamacare in 2015 refused to do so now. And they fume as former House Majority Leader Eric Cantor admits Republicans never believed they could repeal Obamacare if they took back control of Congress but used voter anger and expectations to win elections. Finally, rumors are swirling that former White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer might join the cast of the ABC reality show, Dancing With the Stars.