Is Paul Ryan covering up his own Russian spy plot?
Although Free California Journal recently published an article suggesting that Speaker Paul Ryan could become president if Donald Trump and Mike Pence are impeached and convicted, or pressured to resign, that article was premised on a belief that Ryan is not also implicated in a conspiracy with Russian intelligence agents. If Ryan were unable to serve as President after Trump and Pence, then President Pro Tempore of the Senate, Orrin Hatch (R-UT), would become the chief executive of the nation.
Free California Journal has just learned that about a month ago, reports surfaced that friendly intelligence agents may have uncovered a conspiracy in which Paul Ryan and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell knowingly discussed funneling Russian money to Republican SuperPAC organizations to help elect Republicans to the House and Senate. This would be, most likely, a separate conspiracy, unconnected to the hacking of Democratic Party email accounts.
This news was reported by not one, but two Twitter accounts on April 17. Indeed, the timing was so close, just minutes apart, that the same source may have contacted both tweeters:
WOW. According to anonymous intel sources Ryan & McConnell are on tape talking about laundering Russian money thru Super Pacs.
Starting to hear chatter that there are intercepts w/ Paul Ryan and Mitch McConnell discussing funneling illegal Russian money into campaign
That one source contacted both news outlets does not disprove their claims. On the other hand, the two reports suggest that the source is sufficiently reliable that two journalists reported what they were told. Also, the phrase “chatter” and “sources” indicates that these journalists have received that information from more than one source, and that the fact that the two reports came 10 minutes apart is coincidence.
At any event, although the two reports do not corroborate each other, it is notable that both journalists reported the same indications that the conversations of Ryan and McConnell were not only overheard, but “recorded” by investigators. Presumably, those recordings would have either been made by U.S. counter-intelligence agents monitoring Russian covert operations, or domestic crime investigators conducting wiretapping authorized by a magistrate, based on probable cause that Ryan and McConnell were actively seeking money from Russia and/or foreign criminals, before the November 2016 election.
These reports do not suggest “incidental interception,” such as when two foreign agents are speaking to each other about a plan to involve U.S. citizens in a foreign plot. Rather, the reports suggest that either the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court, or a normal magistrate, authorized either counter-intelligence or normal domestic surveillance of Ryan and McConnell.
Furthermore, if the National Security Agency (NSA) happened to hear Ryan or McConnell speaking to Russian agents about advancing a foreign intelligence plot against the United States, and the FISC had not authorized surveillance of the Republican leaders, their identities should have been “masked” in any communications about such intelligence gathering to other U.S. agencies, like the FBI. When the identity of U.S. citizens is “masked,” they are described with generic terms like “Individual A” and “Individual B.” Only about 20 NSA officials are authorized to disclose the identity of masked sources, i.e., “unmask” them.
Although Ryan and McConnell mayhave other motives, one reason they have discouraged the appointment of a special prosecutor to investigate Trump and his associates is that an investigation may reveal evidence leading to them. Therefore, the need for a special prosecutor to fully investigate all matters related to attempts by foreign adversaries to influence U.S. elections, as demanded by both Republicans and Democrats, could not be greater, and Republican attempts to obstruct justice are criminal acts committed knowingly and willfully against the American people.