The Monroe Evening Times: LaVern Isely: Gadfly or Godsend?

The following is an excellent article from The Monroe Evening Times of April 11, 1978 titled “LaVern Isely: Gadfly or Godsend?” and I quote:

LaVern Isely_Gadfly or Godsend

(I WAS A SMALL SUCCESSFUL DAIRY FARMER WHO ALSO LIKED WRITING IN OUR LOCAL PAPER.  ONE DAY, A REPORTER CAME OUT TO THE FARM AND INTERVIEWED ME AND WE TALKED FOR OVER AN HOUR AND HE TOOK NOTES AND WROTE UP THIS INTERESTING STORY THAT MADE THE FRONT PAGE OF THE MONROE EVENING TIMES ON APRIL 11, 1978.  I ALSO ENJOY POLITICS AND I CONSIDER MYSELF A CONSERVATIVE, INDEPENDENT DEMOCRAT WHO LIKES TO PAY FEDERAL INCOME TAX, BASED ON ABILITY TO PAY BECAUSE MY TAX ACCOUNTANT TOLD ME, “IF YOU NEVER PAY ANY INCOME TAX, YOU’LL NEVER GET THE FARM PAID FOR.”   AND HE WAS RIGHT AND I GOT THE FARM PAID FOR.

LaVern Isely, Progressive, Overtaxed, Independent Middle Class Taxpayer and Public Citizen Member and USAF Veteran

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Bloomberg: Bitcoin’s Crash Looks Spookily Familiar

The following is an excellent article written by Lionel Laurent on the Bloomberg website on February 6, 2018 titled “Bitcoin’s Crash Looks Spookily Familiar” and I quote:

“Bitcoin’s Crash Looks Spookily Familiar”

There are similarities between this week’s crypto and markets routs.
From

Photographer: JT Vintage / Glasshouse Images

Bitcoin has been a plaything for risk-hungry traders and punters rather than a widely held investment or real-world currency. It’s been shunned by banks and banned by governments.

Yet it’s still possible that its slide on Monday made the broader market selloff worse, as investors sold assets to compensate for crypto-losses. Marginal as this may be, and you can’t be certain of correlation with something as unstable as digital currencies, it’s a link that’s at least worth exploring.

The past 24 hours have shown a surprising resemblance between Bitcoin’s behavior and the world’s more established financial markets. A chart of Bitcoin’s price plotted against S&P 500 E-Mini futures shows how both moved in similar formation when the selloff reached a trough and a mini-rebound began.

The corrections are similar, with both back to levels last seen in November. A regression analysis of the past two years shows a correlation of 0.7 between Bitcoin’s price and the S&P 500 Index, where 0 is the weakest correlation and 1 the strongest. Over a year, the correlation is 0.8.

Bitcoin’s Link To The Stock Market

Correlation between the No. 1 cryptocurrency and the S&P 500 Index over five, two and one years

Source: Bloomberg data. (R-squared correlation)

This is pretty unexpected, considering that Bitcoin is essentially just a piece of code.

But we shouldn’t ignore its place in investor portfolios and psychology. It may not be a traditional Wall Street holding, but the digital currency did become a real-world financial fixture at the end of last year when futures contracts began trading — the same time that it hit a record price of almost $20,000.

Institutions were given more options to buy into the bubble, and the Bitcoin Investment Trust vehicle saw its premium to net asset value swell to more than 50 percent. Hedge-fund managers reinvented themselves as crypto-experts. Brokers kept clients updated on Bitcoin as if it were oil, gold or the euro.

So rather than believe that a Bitcoin can fall in the proverbial forest with nobody around to hear it, the crashing sound may well have reverberated elsewhere. Losses in crypto-focused corners of portfolios, as Bitcoin slid from about $12,000 to below $8,000 in the space of a week, probably led to sales of other assets to compensate, reckons one senior trader.

Again, this is all pretty murky territory given the rampant speculation around Bitcoin. But it certainly isn’t looking like much of a hedge against the traditional financial markets.

Elaine He contributed graphics.

This column does not necessarily reflect the opinion of Bloomberg LP and its owners.

To contact the author of this story:
Lionel Laurent in London at llaurent2@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story:
James Boxell at jboxell@bloomberg.net”

(THE FUTURES TRADERS, AS WELL AS THE HEDGE FUND DEALERS ARE TRYING TO TRADE WORTHLESS BITCOINS WITHOUT EVEN CHECKING WHAT THEIR REAL VALUE IS WHICH IS WORTHLESS WHEN YOU TRY AND CALL IT A CURRENCY WHILE BIG INVESTMENT BANKS IN NEW YORK TRADE THEM THROUGH THEIR HEDGE FUND DEALERS BUT IT’S LIKE PUBLIC TELEVISION SAID LAST NIGHT WHEN THE STOCK MARKET DROPPED OVER 1,000 POINTS THAT IT WAS TIED INTO THE BITCOIN MARKET AND ONE MARKET WAS AFFECTING THE OTHER.  IF THE BIG BANKS GET INTO TROUBLE, WE’LL HAVE ANOTHER 2008 BANK BAILOUT THAT’S GOING TO COST THE TAXPAYERS A LOT, LOT MORE MONEY THAN IT DID IN 2008.

LaVern Isely, Progressive, Overtaxed, Independent Middle Class Taxpayer and Public Citizen Member and USAF Veteran

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Bloomberg: Get Ready for Most Cryptocurrencies to Hit Zero, Goldman Says

The following is an excellent article written by Kana Nishizawa on the Bloomberg website on February 6, 2018 titled “Get Ready for Most Cryptocurrencies to Hit Zero, Goldman Says” and I quote:

“Get Ready for Most Cryptocurrencies to Hit Zero, Goldman Says”

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Nouriel Roubini Says Bitcoin ‘Much Worse’ Than Tulip Mania
Nouriel Roubini Says Bitcoin ‘Much Worse’ Than Tulip Mania

The tumble in cryptocurrencies that erased nearly $500 billion of market value over the past month could get a lot worse, according to Goldman Sachs Group Inc.’s global head of investment research.

Most digital currencies are unlikely to survive in their current form, and investors should prepare for coins to lose all their value as they’re replaced by a small set of future competitors, Goldman’s Steve Strongin said in a report dated Feb. 5. While he didn’t posit a timeframe for losses in existing coins, he said recent price swings indicated a bubble and that the tendency for different tokens to move in lockstep wasn’t rational for a “few-winners-take-most” market.

“The high correlation between the different cryptocurrencies worries me,” Strongin said. “Because of the lack of intrinsic value, the currencies that don’t survive will most likely trade to zero.”

Today’s digital coins lack long-term staying power because of slow transaction times, security challenges and high maintenance costs, according to Strongin. He said the introduction of regulated Bitcoin futures hasn’t addressed those concerns and he dismissed the idea of a first-mover advantage — noting that few of Internet bubble’s high fliers survived after the late 1990s.

“Are any of today’s cryptocurrencies going to be an Amazon or a Google, or will they end up like many of the now-defunct search engines? Just because we are in a speculative bubble does not mean current prices can’t increase for a handful of survivors,” Strongin said. “At the same time, it probably does mean that most, if not all, will never see their recent peaks again.”

Strongin was more upbeat about the blockchain technology that underlies digital currencies, saying it could help improve financial ledgers. But even there he sounded a note of caution, arguing that current technology doesn’t yet offer the speed required for market transactions.

For more on cryptocurrencies:
Bitcoin Draws Congress’ Ire as Regulators Bemoan Oversight Gaps
Wave of Crypto Scams, Bitcoin Crash Said to Spook Card Firms (1)
Bitcoin Snaps Slide as Crypto Markets Dodge Push for Regulation
Bitcoin Miners Face Shakeout as Only Strongest Survive at $6,000

For more on cryptocurrencies, check out the Decrypted podcast:

(CRYPTOCURRENCY HAS NO RIGHT TO EVEN BE CALLED A CURRENCY BECAUSE REAL CURRENCY LIKE GOLD, SILVER, NICKLE AND COPPER ALL HAVE VALUE ALONG WITH OTHER COMMODITIES THAT ANY CONSERVATIVE INSTITUTION WOULD BE PROUD TO HANDLE.  NOT BITCOINS OR CRYPTOCURRENCIES OR EVEN WORTHLESS DERIVATIVES.
LaVern Isely, Progressive, Overtaxed, Independent Middle Class Taxpayer and Public Citizen Member and USAF Veteran
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Bloomberg: Bitcoin Tumbles Almost 20% as Crypto Backlash Accelerates

The following is an excellent article written by Olga Kharif on the Bloomberg website on February 5, 2018 titled “Bitcoin Tumbles Almost 20% as Crypto Backlash Accelerates” and I quote:

“Bitcoin Tumbles Almost 20% as Crypto Backlash Accelerates”

 Updated on 
From

  • Lloyds joins U.S. banks in prohibiting purchases with cards
  • Value of the biggest cryptocurrency drops by as much as $1,990
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Bitcoin Crashes as Credit Card Companies Block Purchases
Bloomberg’s Ed Robinson reports on crashing Bitcoin prices.

Bitcoin tumbled for a fifth day, dropping below $7,000 for the first time since November and leading other digital tokens lower, as a backlash by banks and government regulators against the speculative frenzy that drove cryptocurrencies to dizzying heights last year picks up steam.

The biggest digital currency sank as much as 22 percent to $6,579, before trading at $7,054 as of 4:08 p.m. in New York, according to composite Bloomberg pricing. It has erased about 65 percent of its value from a record high $19,511 in December. Rival coins also retreated on Monday, with Ripple losing as much as 21 percent and Ethereum and Litecoin also weaker.

“Although no fundamental change triggered this crash, the parabolic growth this market has experienced had to slow down at some point,” Lucas Nuzzi, a senior analyst at Digital Asset Research, wrote in an email. “All that it took this time was a large lot of sell orders.”

Weeks of negative news and commercial setbacks have buffeted digital tokens. Lloyds Banking Group Plc joined a growing number of big credit-card issuers have said they’re halting purchases of cryptocurrencies on their cards, including JPMorgan Chase & Co. and Bank of America Corp. Several cited risk aversion and a desire to protect their customers.

SEC Chairman Jay Clayton said he supports efforts to bring clarity to cryptocurrency issues and that existing rules weren’t designed with such trading in mind, according to prepared remarks for a Senate Banking Committee hearing Tuesday on virtual currencies.

Bitcoin’s longest run of losses since Christmas day has coincided with investors exiting risky assets across the board, with stocks retreatingglobally. Bitcoin so far seems to be struggling to live up to any comparison with gold as a store of value, which is an argument made by some of its supporters. Bullion edged higher as other safe havens — the yen, Swiss franc and bonds — also gained.

For more on cryptocurrencies, check out the Decrypted podcast:

Regulators in what have been some of the hottest market overseas are also seeking to gain more control of trading. China will block all websites, including foreign platforms, related to cryptocurrency trading and initial coin offerings in an attempt to finally stamp out speculation in the market, according to a South China Morning Post report.

Meanwhile, North Korea is trying to hack South Korea’s cryptocurrency-related programs to steal digital currencies and has already stolen tens of billions of won worth, Yonhap News reported. And authorities in digital-coin powerhouse South Korea and other countries are weighing increased regulatory scrutiny of the industry, news which helped spark the ongoing selloff.

Yet some Bitcoin stalwarts remain unconcerned.

“There are a few catalysts: people paying taxes, and general mean reversion,” Kyle Samani, managing partner at crypto hedge fund Multicoin Capital, said in an email. “Overall, this is probably healthy given the run up in November-January.”

— With assistance by Eddie Van Der Walt, and Todd White”

(I’M GLAD TO READ THAT COMMUNIST CHINA IS BLOCKING THE CRYPROCURRENCY MARKET.  THIS SHOULD TELL US SOMETHING CONCERNING THE CRYPTOCURRENCY MARKET IN THIS COUNTRY AND THAT WE SHOULD NOT HAVE SO MUCH FAITH IN THE HEDGE FUNDS PUSHING BITCOINS.

LaVern Isely, Progressive, Overtaxed, Independent Middle Class Taxpayer and Public Citizen Member and USAF Veteran

 

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Bloomberg: Bitcoin Ban Expands Across Credit Cards as Big U.S. Banks Recoil

The following is an excellent article written by Jennifer Surane and Laura J. Keller on the Bloomberg website on February 2, 2018 titled “Bitcoin Ban Expands Across Credit Cards as Big U.S. Banks Recoil” and I quote:

“Bitcoin Ban Expands Across Credit Cards as Big U.S. Banks Recoil”

 Updated on 
From

  • A growing list of card issuers are declining crypto purchases
  • After recent price drops, JPMorgan doesn’t want credit risk
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Bitcoin Crashes as Credit Card Companies Block Purchases

Bitcoin Crashes as Credit Card Companies Block Purchases

A growing number of big U.S. credit-card issuers are deciding they don’t want to finance a falling knife.

JPMorgan Chase & Co.Bank of America Corp. and Citigroup Inc. said they’re halting purchases of Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies on their credit cards. JPMorgan, enacting the ban Saturday, doesn’t want the credit risk associated with the transactions, company spokeswoman Mary Jane Rogers said.

Bank of America started declining credit card transactions with known crypto exchanges on Friday. The policy applies to all personal and business credit cards, according to a memo. It doesn’t affect debit cards, said company spokeswoman Betty Riess.

And late Friday, Citigroup said it too will halt purchases of cryptocurrencies on its credit cards. “We will continue to review our policy as this market evolves,” company spokeswoman Jennifer Bombardier said.

For more on cryptocurrencies, check out the Decrypted podcast:

Allowing purchases of cryptocurrencies can create big headaches for lenders, which can be left on the hook if a borrower bets wrong and can’t repay. There’s also the risk that thieves will abuse cards that were purloined or based on stolen identities, turning them into crypto hoards. Banks also are required by regulators to monitor customer transactions for signs of money laundering — which isn’t as easy once dollars are converted into digital coins.

Bitcoin has lost more than half its value since Dec. 18, falling below $8,000 on Friday for the first time since November. The drop occurred amid escalating regulatory threats around the world, fear of price manipulation and Facebook Inc.’s ban on ads for cryptocurrencies and initial coin offerings.

Now, cutting off card purchases could exacerbate those pressures by making it more difficult for enthusiasts to buy into the market. Capital One Financial Corp. and Discover Financial Services previously said they aren’t supporting the transactions.

Mastercard Inc. said this week that cross-border volumes on its network — a measure of customer spending abroad — have risen 22 percent this year, fueled partly by clients using their cards to buy digital currencies. The firm warned that the trend already was beginning to slow as cryptocurrency prices fell.

Discover Chief Executive Officer David Nelms was dismissive of financing cryptocurrency transactions during an interview last month, noting that could change depending on customer demand. For now, “it’s crooks that are trying to get money out of China or wherever,” he said of those trying to use the currencies.”

(THE HEDGE FUND TRADERS THAT ARE PUSHING WORTHLESS BITCOINS THROUGH THE BIG INVESTMENT BANKS, SO LONG AS THEY CAN KEEP FINDING ENOUGH SUCKERS OUT THERE TO KEEP BUYING THEM BUT AS SOON AS THE FACTS COME OUT, SALES WILL FALL TO VIRTUALLY NOTHING WHICH BITCOINS ARE WORTH–NOTHING.  IF ONE WANTS TO, THEY CAN GO TO THEIR LOCAL BANK AND BUY GOLD WHICH HAS BEEN AROUND FOR THOUSANDS OF YEARS AND IS A REAL ASSET.

LaVern Isely, Progressive, Overtaxed, Independent Middle Class Taxpayer and Public Citizen Member and USAF Veteran

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Bloomberg: Bitcoin Whipsaws Investors as Bubble Shows Signs of Bursting

The following is an excellent article written by Eric Lam, Dani Burger and Joanna Ossinger on the Bloomberg website on February 2, 2018 titled “Bitcoin Whipsaws Investors as Bubble Shows Signs of Bursting” and I quote:

“Bitcoin Whipsaws Investors as Bubble Shows Signs of Bursting”

 Updated on 
From

  • Biggest digital token takes losses since peak to about 60%
  • Rival coins including Ripple, Ether and Litecoin tumble
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Nouriel Roubini Says Bitcoin ‘Much Worse’ Than Tulip Mania
Nouriel Roubini discusses the downsides to cryptocurrencies and calls Bitcoin the “mother of all bubbles.”

Bitcoin whipsawed investors, falling below $8,000 for the first time since November before recovering most of Friday’s losses, as a miserable 2018 continued for cryptocurrencies.

Since reaching a record high of $19,511 on Dec. 18 shortly after the introduction of regulated futures contracts in the U.S., Bitcoin has wiped out more than half its value amid waves of negative news. Setbacks included escalating regulatory threats from authorities around the world including India, South Korea, China and the U.S., a record $500 million heist at Japanese exchange Coincheck Inc., fears of price manipulation and Facebook’s ban on cryptocurrency ads.

PMorgan Chase & Co. and Bank of America Corp., the nation’s two largest banks, said Friday they’re halting purchases of Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies on their credit cards. Japanese authorities raidedCoincheck’s offices Friday morning, a week after the robbery, hauling out documents and computers as evidence. The inspection was conducted to ensure security for users, Finance Minister Taro Aso said.

“Bitcoin is in trouble,” Lukman Otunuga, a research analyst at foreign exchange broker Forextime Ltd, wrote in a note Friday. “Price action suggests that bears are clearly in control, with further losses on the cards as jitters over regulation erode investor appetite further.”

The largest digital currency dropped as much as 16 percent to $7,643, before trading at $8,646 at 4:47 p.m. in New York, according to consolidated Bloomberg pricing. Bitcoin tumbled 21 percent during the week, the biggest five-day decline since Jan. 16. Rival coins Ripple, Ether and Litecoin tumbled at least 28 percent as losses continued to spread across cryptocurrencies.

Nouriel Roubini of Roubini Macro Associates said Bitcoin is the “mother of all bubbles,” and its bubble is now bursting, speaking in an interview on Bloomberg Television. He said “virtually every” Group of 20 country is talking about cracking down on the phenomenon as policymaker worries grow.

For more on cryptocurrencies, check out the Decrypted podcast:

Related news and information:
Bitcoin’s Huge Arbitrage Play Just Vanished as Korea Bubble Pops
Roubini Says Bitcoin Is the ‘Biggest Bubble in Human History’

To see Bloomberg’s cryptocurrency monitor, type VCCY”

(I EMAILED OUR NEW FED CHM, JEROME POWELL, THIS ARTICLE AND WANTED HIM TO RESPOND.  I TOLD HIM NOT TO EASE THE REGULATIONS ON THE BIG INVESTMENT BANKERS WHO ARE PROMOTING THIS WORTHLESS CURRENCY.  AFTER ALL, THE REPUBLICAN-CONTROLLED CONGRESS  ONE OF THEIR MAIN GOALS WAS TO EASE REGULATIONS ON BIG INDUSTRIES WHICH WILL LEAD TO A BIGGER BAILOUT THAN IN 2008.

LaVern Isely, Progressive, Overtaxed, Independent Middle Class Taxpayer and Public Citizen Member and USAF Veteran

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Bloomberg Businessweek: The Law and Order Party Has Turned on the Law and Order Agencies

The following is an excellent article written by Jennifer Jacobs, Billy House and Chris Strohm on the Bloomberg Businessweek website on February 1, 2018 titled “The Law and Order Party Has Turned on the Law and Order Agencies” which was published in the February 5, 2018 issue on page 37 titled “For Trump, the GOP Goes After the FBI” and I quote:

“The Law and Order Party Has Turned on the Law and Order Agencies”

 A classified memo becomes the focus of Republican efforts to undermine the Mueller investigation.
ILLUSTRATION: KATI SZILÁGYI FOR BLOOMBERG BUSINESSWEEK

Aboard Air Force One during his flight to Davos on Jan. 24, President Trump erupted in anger. According to four people with knowledge of the matter, Trump got mad after learning that a top Department of Justice official had warned against releasing a memo prepared by Devin Nunes, the Republican chairman of the House Intelligence Committee and a Trump supporter. The president had hoped the memo would undercut the Russia probe by showing FBI bias against him.

https://buy.tinypass.com/checkout/template/show?displayMode=inline&containerSelector=.transporter-item.current+.softwall%5Bdata-position%3D%271%27%5D&templateId=OTGPDR0PX1QH&offerId=fakeOfferId&trackingId=%7Bjcx%7DH4sIAAAAAAAAAIWQXWvCMBiF_0uufSFvk_TDu_pRW3HqqkznXZomLqC12Pgxxv77ujIGwmDXz3POgfNBpC1Jn2RpMmqSrDpPSY_Ucq9frL5l38SjGAL1gDKgESADDyHyAxjms4FY2c30iZ5cHG9ARUwKqjWGxpTImOFGqMAvhY_UBFi0xfpe67PVldJd9Xgb7FacD9P5a_5Ax3etLs6eqk7jMpSFacejgiNwJTyImG9ARrLAMvBYEfKHeKx-s83b6bbWx_ognRYzNlwkcxHnmDNsE-4HdOZiPVmOcrrc4nPaMiWPtbT7qiH96nI49MjVNtZ15hX-_CRAuF_c7t0bTCc2PBfcuP8_-fwCPY7XcYEBAAA&experienceId=EX7ZS44CHNYR&activeMeters=%5B%7B%22meterName%22%3A%22Google+Referral+Read+Count%22%2C%22views%22%3A1%2C%22viewsLeft%22%3A3%2C%22maxViews%22%3A4%2C%22totalViews%22%3A1%7D%5D&tbc=%7Bjzx%7Dt_3qvTkEkvt3AGEeiiNNgH2B3yvRws1zGzcGG1VnKqJLY8E8z_Chr_YRrIUfco2aabNSVu8BiY-q_p025LsPlMacpRdJ86s5DF9XBI7oGQzWO8ojJftPqP1NAm1wwdzrjylU0Z664w9lha1BgkmqDg&iframeId=offer-0-uEG2O&url=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.bloomberg.com%2Fnews%2Farticles%2F2018-02-01%2Ffor-trump-the-gop-goes-after-the-fbi&parentDualScreenLeft=0&parentDualScreenTop=0&parentWidth=1024&parentHeight=662&parentOuterHeight=728&aid=IHFDsFInrJ&contentSection=content-article&customVariables=%7B%22pageType%22%3A%22content%22%2C%22brand%22%3A%22businessweek%22%2C%22isTerminalBrowser%22%3A%220%22%2C%22homepageExperience%22%3A%22undefined%22%2C%22isOlderThanAYear%22%3Afalse%2C%22excludeFromWall%22%3Afalse%2C%22contentType%22%3A%22article%22%2C%22publishedAt%22%3A%222018-02-01T18%3A26%3A33.539Z%22%2C%22theme%22%3A%22businessweek%22%2C%22reportedUrl%22%3A%22https%3A%2F%2Fwww.bloomberg.com%2Fnews%2Farticles%2F2018-02-01%2Ffor-trump-the-gop-goes-after-the-fbi%22%7D&pageViewId=2018-02-03-09-13-21-967-CRLB5SiWJM0otAAW-c93a50ee18ffd133f4f5c76d5610f71b&visitId=v-2018-02-03-09-13-21-971-xutZy2BJGi8rb4ft-c93a50ee18ffd133f4f5c76d5610f71b&userProvider=publisher_user_ref&userToken=&customCookies=%7B%7D&hasLoginRequiredCallback=false&singleContainer=%5Bobject+HTMLDivElement%5D&width=660&_qh=3500904949

In a letter to Nunes, Assistant Attorney General Stephen Boyd said it would be “extraordinarily reckless” to release the classified memo, written by Republican staffers, which supposedly outlined alleged missteps at the FBI and Justice Department related to the Russia investigation. To Trump, Boyd’s letter was another example of the department undermining him and blocking GOP efforts to expose the political motives behind special counsel Robert Mueller’s probe. Trump’s fury set in motion a swift rebuke from White House officials, including chief of staff John Kelly, who lashed out at Justice Department officials, according to the people.

Ultimately, the memo may be remembered less as a source of information and more as a symbol of how the Russia investigation devolved into a political fight. While some Republicans have hailed it as an eye-opener that will cast doubt on the entire rationale for the probe, Democrats have called it “a partisan sham cooked up to undermine the FBI, DOJ, and the Mueller probe,” as Virginia Senator Mark Warner tweeted on Jan. 30.

The temperature is certainly rising as Mueller’s probe gets closer to Trump. The special counsel appears to be wrapping up at least one key part of his investigation—whether Trump obstructed justice by, among other things, firing former FBI Director James Comey, according to current and former U.S. officials. Trump’s lawyers are said to be negotiating terms under which Mueller might be able to interview the president.

In the end, the squabble over the memo’s release didn’t faze House Republicans. On Jan. 29, the House Intelligence Committee voted along party lines to release it. The White House has as many as five days to review the four-page document before deciding whether to make it available to the public. Also on Jan. 29, the GOP majority on the committee delayed the release of a competing memo drafted by committee Democrats, and FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe, a frequent target of Trump criticism, resigned. It was all a fitting capstone to what had been a bizarre and often confusing few days of GOP efforts to discredit the FBI and Justice Department, filled with allegations of secret societies, missing text messages, and informants holding off-site meetings.

It’s hard to tell what, if any, of this is based in fact. But what’s become clear is that the Republican Party, or certain elements of it, has marshaled a propaganda war against the country’s top two law enforcement agencies in defense of Trump. The noise has built into a conservative narrative of wrongdoing, including questions about the FBI’s dealings with a former British spy and whether top officials relied on his Democratic Party-financed work to cut corners to spy on Trump associates. Commentators on Fox News regularly talk of a “deep state” plot against the president and argue that Mueller’s investigation should be shut down.

This all makes some in the intelligence community uncomfortable, particularly because the release of a classified memo is a dramatic departure from normal procedure. Intelligence agencies usually conduct a declassification review before a vote to release a document. That didn’t happen this time. To release the memo, Nunes had to rely on a little-known procedure known as Rule X that, according to the Congressional Research Service, has never been used before and was designed to allow disclosures of classified information when it would serve an “essential” public interest.

Top law enforcement officials spent weeks lobbying against giving the panel classified information that may have become part of the basis for the memo. In early January, FBI Director Christopher Wray and Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein tried to persuade Speaker of the House Paul Ryan to stop Nunes from releasing the document. He ultimately sided with Nunes. Wray, who was allowed to read the memo the day before the vote to release it, told the White House it contained inaccurate information. In a Jan. 31 statement, the FBI said it had “grave concerns about material omissions of fact that fundamentally impact the memo’s accuracy.”

Three House lawmakers who’ve read the memo say it claims FBI officials didn’t provide all the relevant facts in requests made to a Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act court to obtain a surveillance warrant targeting Carter Page, a Trump campaign associate and former investment banker in Moscow. The memo claims important details were left out that might have kept a judge from issuing a warrant on Page, according to the lawmakers, who asked for anonymity to describe the sensitive document. One lawmaker added that he didn’t know if the memo’s claims are accurate.

After the vote, Ryan defended the move, saying the memo raises “legitimate questions” about possible official “malfeasance” and whether an American’s civil liberties were violated. Those comments stand in contrast with the speaker’s strong defense in early January of a portion of the foreign surveillance law that was set to expire. Some conservatives had opposed the reauthorization, citing concerns about abuses they said may have led to improper surveillance of Trump.

Some Republicans worry attacks on the FBI could backfire. “We as Republicans have been the party of law enforcement at the state and local levels, as well as the federal level, and we were horrified by attacks from the far left on law enforcement a few years ago,” says Representative Charlie Dent of Pennsylvania. “I don’t think it’s in our party’s interest to be at war with the FBI, or the DOJ, for that matter.” Representative Tom Marino, a Republican from Pennsylvania and a former U.S. attorney and local prosecutor, says he has “significant reservations” about releasing the memo, in part because it would lack the context of a broader report that panel Republicans intend to issue on Russian election interference. Marino also says it’s dangerous for the GOP to be casting such broad allegations at the FBI. “If you’re going to be critical, you got to make sure you’re not painting with a broad stroke and blaming everybody.”

BOTTOM LINE – The GOP campaign to discredit Mueller’s Trump-Russia probe has Democrats—and some Republicans—worried.”
(WHEN THE REPUBLICAN-CONTROLLED CONGRESS KNOWN AS THE LAW AND ORDER PARTY GOES AFTER HILLARY CLINTON WHEN SHE WAS SECRETARY OF STATE, THEY CALL THE FBI DOING THEIR JOB BUT WHEN HE COMES TO THE FBI INVESTIGATING THE TRUMP-RUSSIA CONNECTION, THEY CALL IT THE BAD FBI.  THERE IS DEFINITELY POLITICS INVOLVED IN THIS.  WHEN REPUBLICAN PRESIDENT RICHARD NIXON GOT CAUGHT DURING THE WATERGATE SCANDAL, PRES NIXON SAID “I’M NO CROOK.”   THANKS TO THE WASHINGTON POST RUN BY KATHRYN GRAHAM AND A LOT OF HARD WORK BY A COUPLE OF ROOKIE REPORTERS, BOB WOODWARD AND CARL BERNSTEIN, THE PROBLEM WAS SOLVED WHICH ENDED UP WITH PRES NIXON BEING FORCED TO RESIGN.  WE HAVE THE SAME POLITICAL BATTLE GOING ON TODAY BETWEEN THE REPUBLICANS AND DEMOCRATS.  THAT’S WHY I’M A DEMOCRAT.  IT SEEMS LIKE THE DEMOCRATS ARE STICKING TO THE FACTS MORE.
LaVern Isely, Progressive, Overtaxed, Independent Middle Class Taxpayer and Public Citizen Member and USAF Veteran
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