Dissecting the MEMO: Establishing Probable Cause

My career as a prosecutor involved doing more wiretaps than all other prosecutors both state and federal combined in Massachusetts for somewhere between five and ten years straight. I also taught search and seizure law to police officers and was involved in supervising and compiling hundreds of matters involving wiretaps, searches and seizures.

The first thing for you to understand about them is that to get a warrant or a court order (Massachusetts courts issue warrants to search, federal courts issue orders to search) for a search you need probable cause. As the MEMO states the “DOJ and FBI sought and received a FISA probable cause order . . . .” (my emphasis)

Probable cause means just that. It does not mean absolute certainty or proof beyond a reasonable doubt. It just means based on the information at hand it is probable that the things we set out are true and that contraband or evidence of crime will be obtained if an order is issued. You are required to submit enough evidence for a court to believe that by issuing the order you may get what you are looking for.

Dissecting the MEMO: Carter Page “U.S Citizen?” or “Russia Stooge?”

The MEMO talks about Carter Page the subject of a FISA warrant. According to the MEMO: “Page is a U.S. citizen who served as a volunteer advisor to the Trump presidential campaign.” A better description would be “a Russian stooge who worked to undermine U.S. citizens.”

What is it that we know about Page? Is it because he was a volunteer advisor to the Trump campaign that he was the subject of the warrant. One would think so reading the memo. Or is it because his contacts with Russia were such that not investigating him by the FBI would be a dereliction of duty. I suggest the latter is the case. Here is a background on the Russian Stooge the FBI went after.

Page is no stranger to Russia. He worked as an investment banker there for three years in the 2000s.

In 2013 Page met with and passed documents to a Russian intelligence operative in New York City in 2013. The Russian intelligence operative named Victor Podobny was later charged by the US government alongside two others for acting as unregistered agents of a foreign government. The charges, filed in January 2015, came after federal investigators busted a Russian spy ring that was seeking information on US sanctions as well as efforts to develop alternative energy. Page is an energy consultant.

FBI Agent John Connolly’s Death Sentence: Trump’s Russia Cover-up

Nothing has spelled the doom of FBI Special Agent John Connolly’s hope to be released from his unjust, and cruel and unusual sentence to a Florida prison than Trump’s desire to stop the investigation of his involvement with Russia. The plan concocted by the White House and Chairman Devin Nunes of the House intelligence committee is to bring the FBI into disrepute so that the everyday working agents are  no longer trusted and the work they do in protecting America and investigating Russia’s interference in the American way of life can be called into question.

One thing no one can deny is that John Connolly was an FBI agent who retired with honors after serving in that bureau for more than twenty years. If you believe as Trump asserts that the FBI is a corrupt outfit then it must follow that John Connolly being part of that outfit was corrupt. You cannot assert John Connolly was not corrupt and argue everyone else is. Especially when it is clear that John Connolly’s alleged corruptness is going to be used as an exhibit in Trump’s attack on the FBI.

Thoughts On Super Bowl Sunday: There is No Winner

Notice how Russia’s our friend and enemy.

How we seem to use it any way we please.

Sometimes friend and sometime foe

Depending on the way the wind blows.

 

The other day three top Russian spies

We’re welcomed here to our surprise

Why they were here we were not told

I would guess something bad will unfold

 

Today Russia’s being used as an excuse

For our country to start buying more nukes

Small nuclear bombs Russia has made

Now we start acting as if we’re afraid.

 

Billions will be spent on nukes so small

The ones that manage to kill less than all

We want to be able to feel very free

To use bombs as small as at Nagasaki

 

 

 

Is Wisconsin Senator Ron Johnson a Clone of Whitey Bulger?

I heard him say it.  I’m talking about Senator Ron Johnson a Republican from Wisconsin. Really I heard him says:  “What this is all about is further evidence of corruption, more than bias. Corruption of the highest levels of the FBI. The secret society — we have an informant talking about a group that was holding secret meetings off-site.” (my emphasis)

“Wow“, I thought! “The senator has an informant who is aware of the secret society of FBI agents holding secret meetings. This is serious stuff” I’m not interested in learning the identity of the informant. I am interesting in what else he might have told Republican Senator Johnson about these meetings.

So were others I assume for the next day he was asked to tell us more. He said: “I, you know, I have heard, you know, from somebody who has talked to our committee, that there — there is a group of individuals in the FBI that was holding secret, off-site meetings. And you know, again, that Strzok and Page calling it a certain term, I’m just saying, off-site meetings.”

Trump, Trump, Trump the Boys are Marching

You may recall that Trump, Trump, Trump the Boys are Marching was a quite famous Civil War song. What is amazing is how history repeats itself. Here is the first stanza to the song:

In the prison cell I sit, Thinking Mother dear, of you,
And our bright and happy home so far away,
And the tears they fill my eyes
Spite of all that I can do,
Tho’ I try to cheer my comrades and be gay.

When I read it I wondered if Trump will think of his mother when he sits in a prison cell. Which brought me to the thought: “Can a sitting president go to jail?”

It seems clear by now that the Republicans in the House of Representatives have no intention of bringing impeachment proceedings against Trump no matter how egregious his high crimes and misdemeanors may be. They just seem unable to do other than defend him no matter what he does.

Facts are in the Eye of the Beholder. Did the Mafia Get Its Revenge

Facts are facts people say. It is from these facts that people make conclusions. How then is it that from the same facts people come to opposite conclusions? That happens every day in jury settings where twelve or six people sit together and listen to facts, then discuss them, and disagree about what they add up to.

That’s something we are used to expecting. Something that we do not expect that is quite strange is when people disagree on the meaning of the facts but then come to the same conclusion.  A good example of that happened the other day when a Boston Bigot Herald columnist Howard Carr wrote: “Think about Zip Connolly — “decorated” FBI agent now doing life in a Florida prison for a gangland hit in Florida. Or H. Paul Rico, another G -man who died in a prison hospital in Oklahoma after being arrested for yet another organized crime rubout in Oklahoma. And this is just the Boston office, where gangster Stevie Flemmi told the DEA that he and Whitey Bulger were bribing six — six! — agents.”