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Former President Barack Obama dialed back his planned 700-person birthday bash, set to take place this weekend, after sustained criticism for the large-scale gathering at a time when Democrats are telling ordinary Americans to hunker down or wear masks. But that’s just the tip of the hypocrisy iceberg.

Obama is using his birthday to raise funds for his planned “presidential center,” a monument to the man and his legacy that is scheduled to break ground as soon as this month on prime parkland in Chicago. Critics say that the project has brazenly violated the policies and philosophies that Obama spent his presidency pushing on others, in ways that will permanently harm the environment and the city of Chicago.

Obama wants to cut down nearly 800 trees and erect four buildings on nearly 20 acres inside Chicago’s Jackson Park, which is on the National Register of Historic Places and includes waterways connecting to Lake Michigan. The proposed buildings include a 235-foot museum tower, a conference center, an athletic center, a library, and a 400-car garage.

Though former presidents often create presidential “libraries,” this is not a library because it is far more elaborate than what is permitted under regulations governing presidential libraries.

A group of Chicago residents concerned about the natural environment called Protect Our Parks has taken to the courts to attempt to stop the planned groundbreaking on August 16, represented by lawyer and professor Richard Epstein. Judges have so far ruled against them.

Still, the project runs afoul of liberal policies and principles.

It robs the poor to pay the rich

Of course, Obama and the Obama Foundation do not own the public park. Yet Chicago, which has massive pension debt and an impoverished tax base, agreed to essentially give the land to the private group in the form of a 99-year “land use agreement” for a sum of $10. Epstein estimates the value of the land at $200 million. Until 2019, Chicago’s mayor was Rahm Emanuel, who served as Obama’s chief of staff.

Regular people in Chicago will face significant hardship as a result. Major thoroughfares will have to be closed during construction. Other roads will have to be reconfigured at a cost of $175 million, Epstein wrote, and commuter traffic redirected near residential neighborhoods.

The Obama Foundation had assets of nearly half a billion dollars in 2019, according to tax filings.

It bolsters inequality

Chicago has no shortage of overwhelmingly black, economically depressed areas that the first black president could invigorate by buying affordable land there and building his elaborate property.

Epstein said his group has identified a 10-acre site nearby that would be “superior in every relevant respect” in a poor neighborhood well-served by mass transit.

“They could purchase that land from the city for a market rate without having any of these environmental reviews and so forth, but they steadforthly refuse to do this” because they “want the Park Avenue address” because of “vanity… They would like this thing to be seen from the lakefront,” Epstein told Glenn Loury.

Instead, Obama has been dead-set on building in the prestigious, tony lakeside area — the Chicago equivalent of Martha’s Vineyard, where he also has property.

It harms the environment

The building site is so close to marshes that engineers may need specialized pylons driven deep into the ground to build on the site at all, Epstein said.

That’s even as his administration enacted a stringent rule called Waters of the United States that made it difficult to build anywhere near water, citing the environmental impact. The rule was repealed by the Trump administration, but is scheduled to be brought back by Biden.

The skyscraper will sit in the middle of the Mississippi Flyway, a major north-south bird migration route, which could cause migratory birds to smash into the tower and die. To address this, project planners simply said they would wait until after this year’s migration season.

Democrats have instituted complex environmental reviews which are often used to stymie development such as oil and gas pipelines. But it did not slow down the Obama center.

“These guys essentially play fast and loose with every environmental statute, and then they do things that completely contradict what is happening with the Biden administration elsewhere,” Epstein said.

It requires cars

The Obama administration prioritized dense, urban development, ushering in plans that critics say would “abolish the suburbs.” The purpose was to mix low-income and high-income residents and to push people to use mass transit, which could help the environment by breaking Americans of their love for cars. Biden’s infrastructure package similarly heavily emphasizes mass transit while proposing a pilot program that could lead to a per-mile federal fee for driving cars.

There’s no way to take a train to the middle of a forested park. The Obama Foundation says thousands of people will visit the center each year, bringing economic benefits. But every one of them will be in cars.

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Brian Laundrie

[VIDEO] Brian Laundrie’s parents brought out of family home during FBI search

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Fox Nation host Nancy Grace discusses the latest news in Gabby Petito’s case.

The FBI searched the family home of Gabby Petito’s fiancé, Brian Laundrie, in Florida for hours Monday, a day after investigators across the country found what they believe to be her remains.

In the morning, FBI investigators searched Laundrie’s parents’ home in North Port as part of a “court-authorized search warrant” related to the Petito case. His parents were escorted from the home before the search and then were brought back inside for questioning, police said.

Agents removed a number of items from the home, and a Ford Mustang convertible was also towed away.

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Accountability

Judge in case of anti-Trump mudslinger is married to attorney for ex-FBI lawyer Lisa Page

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Last week, the special counsel appointed to oversee the probe into the FBI’s investigation of former president Donald Trump indicted Michael Sussmann, a lawyer for the 2016 Hillary Clinton presidential campaign. Republicans and Trump allies are optimistic about the latest development in John Durham’s investigation but are still concerned that Attorney General Merrick Garland might halt the investigation to protect allies and even the president himself. 

FBI notes appear to suggest that as vice president, Joe Biden played a role in the Democratic Party project to smear Trump as a Russian asset by raising the obscure, disused, 18th century statute the Logan Act as a possible vehicle for prosecuting Michael Flynn for speaking with the Russian ambassador to Washington — even after FBI case agents had cleared Trump’s incoming national security adviser of wrongdoing. 

And now Republicans are raising concerns that the judge appointed to the Sussmann case has too many conflicts of interest to preside over it fairly. 

Current and former officials say that federal District Court Judge Christopher Cooper’s professional and personal relationships with top Democrats and figures behind the FBI’s Trump investigation should force his recusal. Cooper’s wife, for instance, represents disgraced FBI lawyer Lisa Page, who oversaw the FBI’s Trump probe.

In September 2016, Sussman met with Page’s boss, then FBI General Counsel James Baker. The former DOJ cybersecurity expert handed Baker documents falsely asserting that the Trump Organization’s computer servers were communicating suspiciously with the computer servers of a Russian financial institution. 

The purpose of the documents Sussmann passed to the FBI was to further the Clinton campaign’s false narrative holding that Trump had been compromised by Russian officials. Former CIA director John Brennan reported to President Obama that Clinton herself approved the scheme in order to deflect attention away from her use of a private email server. 

Sussmann billed the Clinton campaign for his meeting with Baker but told the FBI’s top lawyer he was not acting on behalf of any client. The indictment handed down last week by Special Counsel John Durham charged Sussman with one count of lying to the FBI.

Last Friday, Sussmann pled not guilty, and on Wednesday he is scheduled to appear before Cooper. 

Appointed to the bench by Obama in 2013, Cooper is well-connected in Democratic party legal circles. Garland officiated his 1999 wedding to Amy Jeffress.

Both Cooper and Jeffress worked at DOJ in the Obama administration. He was part of the 2008 presidential transition team, and she was the national security counselor for Obama’s Attorney General Eric Holder. 

Recently Jeffress wrote approvingly of Attorney General Garland’s focus on “domestic terrorism.” Many Republicans see the phrase as coded language for targeting Trump supporters.  

Her most famous client, former FBI lawyer Page, discussed via text message with her paramour, FBI agent Peter Strzok, how they’d stop Trump from becoming president. Page and Strzok were part of the FBI team that spied on the 2016 Trump campaign. 

As evidence to obtain the spy warrant, the FBI used a dossier of memos falsely alleging Trump ties to Russia that was paid for by the Clinton campaign. Sussman and Page then participated in the same Clinton-funded initiative to smear her 2016 opponent and use false evidence to spy on his campaign.   

Former U.S. officials say that putting Sussmann in front of Jeffress’ husband represents a clear conflict of interest.  

“This is a wildly unique situation,” says Kash Patel, who ran the House Intelligence Committee’s investigation of possible crimes and abuses committed during the FBI’s Trump-Russia probe. 

“Usually it’s defense lawyers who put in for recusal,” says Patel. “But in this case, it should be the Justice Department’s special counsel, Durham. The judge’s wife happens to be the lawyer for a possible a coconspirator.”

Patel, a former federal prosecutor, predicts that in this instance it’s the defense lawyers who will be fighting recusal. “Sussman is indicted for not telling the FBI’s general counsel he was working on behalf of the Clinton campaign, he says. “And that same general counsel, Baker, supervised Lisa Page, who is represented by the judge’s wife.”

Page’s Twitter profile shows a picture of her and Jeffress.

“The presumption is that a spouse’s independent professional activities don’t necessarily require a judge to recuse unless a spouse has a substantial interest in the outcome of the proceeding,” says Tom Fitton, President of Judicial Watch. “Washington, D.C. is a small town, and the resulting interlocking relationships result in all sorts of apparent conflicts of interest in the justice system here.”

Nevertheless, says Fitton, “obviously we want justice to be administered fairly, but it must also appear to be administered fairly. This is an unusual fact pattern that requires Judge Cooper to seriously and carefully analyze whether he should recuse himself.”

Patel believes he should.

“What if the judge for Paul Manafort’s case had been married to the lawyer that represented Roger Stone, and William Barr had officiated their wedding?” he asks. “Would the media think that’s ok? This is why America hates D.C. — one set of rules for those you rule over, but a different set for those that rule.”

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January 6th

Customs agent arrested for carrying gun at ‘J6’ rally but won’t be prosecuted, report

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AU.S. Customs and Border Protection officer was arrested for carrying a gun at this past weekend’s “J6 for Justice” rally on Capitol Hill but will not be prosecuted, according to authorities. 

The unnamed, 27-year-old New Jersey male was arrested by U.S. Capitol Police for illegally possessing a gun on the grounds of the Capitol after people in the crowd reported seeing him with a handgun and notified nearby officers, according to the Associated Press.

The rally was to support the hundreds charged with crimes in connection with the Jan. Capitol Hill riot. 

Law enforcement agencies throughout Washington, D.C., were prepared for a possible repeat Saturday — with the city’s entire municipal police force on duty, the perimeter fence around the Capitol complex erected again and the National Guard on standby.

However, just four arrests were reported, including the one involving the federal officer.

Generally, under federal law, law enforcement officers are given reciprocity to legally carry their weapons in other states, even those with restrictive gun laws. But the law has an exemption for government property or military bases where it is illegal to carry a gun, like the U.S. Capitol, the wire service also reports. 

A spokesman for the U.S. attorney’s office in Washington said prosecutors were “not moving forward with charges” but provided no additional information about the decision.

Two law enforcement officials, who could not discuss the matter publicly, told the wire service the officer was not at the rally in an official capacity

The Department of Homeland Security’s inspector general was also notified of his arrest.

U.S. Customs and Border Protection said it was aware of the arrest and was “fully cooperating with the investigation,” the Associated Press also reports. 

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