Archive for February, 2019

The Pronk Pops Show 1217, February 28, 2019, Story 1: Dirt Desperate Democrats Rehash Old Stories and Lies About Trump That Are Not Crimes in Questioning Michael Cohen — No Evidence of Trump/Russian Collusion — No Love Child — No Porn Videos — No Drug Use — No Crimes — No Golden Showers — No Credibility — No Impeachment — Videos — Story 2: President Trump Meets With Chairman Kim Who Refuses To Denuclearize — No Deal — Trump Friendly Walk Away — Sanctions Stay on North Korea – China Is Major Violator of Sanctions — Impose Tariffs on Communist China Now! — Videos — Story 3: United States Real Gross Domestic Product (GDP) Grew At 2.9% in 2018 and Advance Estimate of 2.6 % in the fourth quarter of 2018 — Videos

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The Pronk Pops Show Podcasts

Pronk Pops Show 1217 February 28, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1216 February 26, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1215 February 25, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1214 February 22, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1213 February 21, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1212 February 20, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1211 February 19, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1210 February 18, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1209 February 15, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1208 February 14, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1207 February 13, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1206 February 12, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1205 February 11, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1204 February 8, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1203 February 7, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1202 February 6, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1201 February 4, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1200 February 1, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1199 January 31, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1198 January 25, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1197 January 23, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1196 January 22, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1195 January 17, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1194 January 10, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1193 January 9, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1192 January 8, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1191 December 19, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1190 December 18, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1189 December 14, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1188 December 13, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1187 December 12, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1186 December 11, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1185 December 10, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1184 December 7, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1183 December 6, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1182 December 5, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1181 December 4, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1180 December 3, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1179 November 27, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1178 November 26, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1177 November 20, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1176 November 19, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1175 November 16, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1174 November 15, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1173 November 14, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1172 November 9, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1171 November 8, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1170 November 7, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1169 November 5, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1168 November 2, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1167 November 1, 2018

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Story 1: Dirt Desperate Democrats in Questioning Michael Cohen — Rehash Old Stories and Lies About Trump That Are Not Crimes — More False Accusations With No Evidence — No Evidence of Trump/Russian Collusion — No Love Child — No Porn Videos — No Drug Use — No Crimes — No Golden Showers — No Credibility — No Impeachment —  Videos —

Michael Cohen questioned by Rep. Jim Jordan about Donald Trump: raw video

WATCH: Michael Cohen hearing ends in a heated exchange over racism

Tucker: DC never stops being shocked at ‘bad man’ Trump

Michael Cohen: President Trump is a racist, conman and cheat

Elijah Cummings’ stunning closing remarks at Cohen hearing

Cummings: It appears Trump committed a crime in office

Gutfeld on media coverage of Hanoi and Cohen

Michael Cohen and Rep. Jim Jordan clash during hearing

Cohen wipes away tear during Cummings’ closing statement

Racism accusation sparks fury at Cohen hearing

WATCH: Cohen says if Trump loses 2020 election, there won’t be a ‘peaceful transition of power

Elijah Cummings’ stunning closing remarks at Cohen hearing

Elijah Cummings: ‘200 Years From Now, People Will Be Reading About This Moment’ | MTP Daily | MSNBC

Cavuto, Gasparino react to Cohen’s testimony, Tesla

What new information came out of Cohen hearing?

Michael Cohen speaks out after his sentencing: ‘I have my freedom back’

Turley: Potential Trump Campaign Finance Violations ‘Very Serious,’ But Difficult to Prove

Mark Levin slams Michael Cohen’s plea deal

Former FEC chairman Bradley Smith talks campaign finance law

Mark Levin: Legal precedent is on Trump’s side

Michael Cohen reveals Trump is being probed for ‘OTHER wrongdoing or illegal act’ by Manhattan federal prosecutors – and accuses Don Jr. of being part of criminal conspiracy too

  • Michael Cohen revealed that President Trump is being investigated for ‘other wrongdoing’ although he refused to divulge details 
  •  ‘This topic is actually something that’s being investigated right now by the Southern District of New York,’ Cohen said when asked about a Trump meeting
  • ‘I’ve been asked by them not to discuss and not to talk about these issues,’ he added because of their ongoing investigation
  • Cohen also implicated Donald Trump Jr., the president’s eldest son, as part of the conspiracy to offer hush money payments to women during the 2016 campaign 
  • One of Cohen’s eight guilty felony pleas was to campaign finance violations tied to the payoff to Daniels 

Michael Cohen revealed on Wednesday that President Donald Trump is being investigated for ‘other wrongdoing’ although he refused to divulge details because of the ongoing investigation.

He made his comments during his nearly 5 hours of testifying before the House Oversight and Reform Committee – his second out of three appearances this week on Capitol Hill and the only one before cameras.

Cohen, the president’s former personal lawyer, revealed the last time he had contact with Trump or one of his team was ‘within two months’ of the April 2018 FBI raid on Cohen’s home, office and hotel suite.

Michael Cohen revealed that President Trump is being investigated for 'other wrongdoing' although he refused to divulge details

Michael Cohen revealed that President Trump is being investigated for ‘other wrongdoing’ although he refused to divulge details

President Trump is in Vietnam for his second summit with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un

President Trump is in Vietnam for his second summit with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un

Cohen also implicated Donald Trump Jr., the president's eldest son seen above, as part of the conspiracy to offer hush money payments to women during the 2016 campaign
Democratic Rep. Raja Krishnamoorthi asked Cohen what he was told during that contact.

Cohen declined to offer details.

‘Unfortunately, this topic is actually something that’s being investigated right now by the Southern District of New York and I’ve been asked by them not to discuss and not to talk about these issues,’ Cohen replied.

The Southern District of New York was the lead prosecutor in Cohen’s case and is probing Trump’s business dealings.

‘Is there any other wrongdoing or illegal act that you are aware of regarding Donald Trump that we haven’t yet discussed today?’ Krishnamoorthi inquired.

‘Yes,’ Cohen responded. ‘And again, those are part of the investigation that’s currently being looked at by the Southern District of New York.’

Cohen also implicated Donald Trump Jr., the president’s eldest son, as part of the conspiracy to offer hush money payments to women during the 2016 campaign.

He revealed the president’s son signed a check to fund illegal hush money payments to porn star Stormy Daniels, potentially placing Trump Jr. in legal trouble.

One of Cohen’s eight guilty pleas was to campaign finance violations tied to the payoff to Daniels.

A ‘hush money’ payment to Daniels during the 2016 race with funds originating from a home equity line of credit Cohen obtained – at Trump’s direction, he claimed – was part of the money Trump repaid in a series of $35,000 checks to Cohen that continued during his first year in office.

Cohen provided two checks to the House Oversight and Reform Committee as evidence.

One check provided to the committee was signed by Trump himself in August 2017, more than six months into his administration, and issued from what Cohen says is the president’s personal account.

The other is from the Donald J. Trump Revocable Trust – and signed by both Donald Trump Jr. and Trump Organization Chief Financial Officer Allen Weisselberg.

A Trump Organization official told DailyMail.com on Wednesday that Donald Trump Jr. was unaware when he signed the check that it was part of a repayment plan for Cohen’s hush-money outlay.

Cohen said Wednesday that the money ‘was declared to be a retainer for services’ although ‘there is no retainer agreement.’

Democratic Rep. Ro Khanna drilled down on the payments, saying they were the ‘smoking gun’ showing ‘garden variety financial fraud’ at the president’s business.

Khanna asked Cohen whether Trump was aware of the scheme

Rep. Ro Khanna (center) asked Michael Cohen about payoffs to Stormy Daniels

Rep. Ro Khanna (center) asked Michael Cohen about payoffs to Stormy Daniels

Cohen talked about Donald Trump Jr's involvement in payments to Daniels

Cohen talked about Donald Trump Jr’s involvement in payments to Daniels

President Donald Trump

Porm actress Stormy Daniels, born Stephanie Clifford

Cohen told the House Oversight and Reform Committee that as a lawyer for Daniels (right) threatened to go public with her claims of a sexual affair more than a decade earlier, Trump (left, in Vietnam on Wednesday) ordered him to find a way to funnel the payment to her via that attorney

Michael Cohen offered financial documents to the committee and said he did not know if the president's taxes were under audit

Michael Cohen offered financial documents to the committee and said he did not know if the president’s taxes were under audit

Cohen has provided members of Congress with two checks, one signed by the president and the other by his son Donald Jr, which he says was reimbursement for payments meant to keep Stormy Daniels and Karen McDougal quiet; President Trump's check was written after he had been president for more than a half-year

Cohen has provided members of Congress with two checks, one signed by the president and the other by his son Donald Jr, which he says was reimbursement for payments meant to keep Stormy Daniels and Karen McDougal quiet; President Trump’s check was written after he had been president for more than a half-year

The Donald Trump Jr.-signed check was dated in March 2017, and was drawn on a family Trust; A Trump Organization official told DailyMail.com on Wednesday that Trump Jr. was unaware when he signed it that it was part of a repayment plan for Cohen's hush-money outlay

The Donald Trump Jr.-signed check was dated in March 2017, and was drawn on a family Trust; A Trump Organization official told DailyMail.com on Wednesday that Trump Jr. was unaware when he signed it that it was part of a repayment plan for Cohen’s hush-money outlay

Cohen replied in the affirmative.

‘Are you telling us, Mr. Cohen, that the president directed transactions in conspiracy with Allen Weisselberg and his son, Donald Trump Jr., as part of a criminal conspiracy of financial fraud?’ Khanna followed up. ‘Is that your testimony today?’

‘Yes,’ Cohen said.

Cohen did decline to say whether he believed Trump Jr. was being investigated by federal prosecutors.

Cohen also indicated Trump could have committed financial fraud when he faced questioning from freshman Democratic Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez.

He revealed additional details on how Trump provided insurance companies with financials that exaggerated his assets and wealth but wanted to reduce his real estate taxes – and if the president lied on insurance and IRS forms to make this happen, that would be fraud.

Ocasio-Cortez stayed on financial issues for nearly all her questioning as she laid the groundwork for the committee to continue and expand its investigation of the president’s business empire.

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez quizzes Michael Cohen on Trump’s finances
Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez's questions to Michael Cohen laid the groundwork for additional subpoenas on Trump's businesses and taxes

Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s questions to Michael Cohen laid the groundwork for additional subpoenas on Trump’s businesses and taxes

Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez kept her questions focused on the Trump's financial issues

Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez kept her questions focused on the Trump’s financial issues

‘Where would the committee find more information on this? Do you think we need to review his financial statements and tax returns in order to compare them?,’ she asked.

‘Yes, and you would find it at the Trump Org,’ Cohen told her.

She also set up the possibility of the committee using its subpoena power to obtain the president’s tax records and other financial documents.

Ocasio-Cortez inquired if it ‘would it help for the committee to obtain federal and state returns from the president and his company to address that?’

 ‘I believe so,’ Cohen told her.

https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-6754001/Michael-Cohen-reveals-Trump-probed-wrongdoing-illegal-act.html

 

 

Cohen says Trump behaved ‘much like a mobster would do’

Cohen says Trump behaved ‘much like a mobster would do’

today
Michael Cohen
Michael Cohen, President Donald Trump’s former lawyer, testifies before the House Oversight and Reform Committee, on Capitol Hill, Wednesday, Feb. 27, 2019, in Washington. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)

WASHINGTON (AP) — He carried out the boss’ wishes. He understood “the code.” He was blindly loyal — but now he’s considered a rat.

Donald Trump’s former lawyer Michael Cohen spoke at length Wednesday about his life in the president’s inner circle, but the most vivid descriptor came in just six words. Trump ran his operation “much like a mobster would do,” Cohen said.

In Cohen’s scathing testimony at a House committee hearing, he repeatedly described Trump, the onetime head of a family business, like a mob boss minus the body count: quick to bully and expecting others to do his dirty work. Cohen described himself as a consigliere, telling lawmakers he did Trump’s bidding for years, intimidating maybe 500 people and lying to scores, including the first lady. But Trump never directly told him to do it, he said.

“He doesn’t give you questions, he doesn’t give you orders,” Cohen said. “He speaks in a code, and I understand the code because I’ve been around him for a decade.”

Cohen is facing a three-year sentence for lying to Congress in 2017 and other charges. He came back to Capitol Hill this week, worrying for his family’s safety, but claiming he would no longer lie for his former boss and was ready to spill.

Trump has denied the allegations against him and called Cohen a liar. Even as he’s done so, he’s used mob speak.

“Remember, Michael Cohen only became a ‘Rat’ after the FBI did something which was absolutely unthinkable & unheard of until the Witch Hunt was illegally started,” Trump tweeted in December. “They BROKE INTO AN ATTORNEY’S OFFICE,” he wrote, referring to the raid on Cohen’s office that touched off the now-disbarred lawyer’s eventual guilty plea.

During the hearing, Democratic Rep. Gerry Connolly even likened Cohen to Joe Valachi, an American gangster known as the “first rat” whose 1960s testimony before Congress lead to the eventual dismantling of organized crime.

“This Congress historically has relied on all kinds of shady figures who turned,” Connolly said.

It’s hardly the first time Trump’s orbit has drawn mob comparisons.

In his book “A Higher Loyalty: Truth, Lies and Leadership,” former FBI director James Comey said he got the sinking feeling that Trump’s operation functioned like the mob. Former acting FBI director Andrew McCabe spun a similar story, and a former agent and former federal prosecutor tweeted Wednesday that Trump’s tactics as detailed by Cohen sure felt a lot like the mafia.

There’s even a “Godfather: Part II” reference in the indictment by the special prosecutor investigating Trump’s possible ties to Russia. Trump confidant Roger Stone told an associate to pull a “Frank Pentangeli” before a House committee, the indictment says. In the film, Pentangeli, an associate of the Corleone crime family, lies to protect the family during congressional testimony.

___

Associated Press Writer Michael Balsamo contributed to this report.

https://apnews.com/88e83c32a9d54d82abe3ac52bfad22e4

Plea bargaining in the United States

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Plea bargaining in the United States is very common; the vast majority of criminal cases in the United States are settled by plea bargain rather than by a jury trial.[1][2] They have also been increasing in frequency—they rose from 84% of federal cases in 1984 to 94% by 2001.[3] Plea bargains are subject to the approval of the court, and different States and jurisdictions have different rules. Game theory has been used to analyze the plea bargaining decision.[4]

The constitutionality of plea bargaining was established by Brady v. United States in 1970,[5] although the Supreme Court warned that plea incentives which were sufficiently large or coercive as to over-rule defendants’ abilities to act freely, or used in a manner giving rise to a significant number of innocent people pleading guilty, might be prohibited or lead to concerns over constitutionality.[6] Santobello v. New York added that when plea bargains are broken, legal remedies exist.[7]

Several features of the American justice system tend to promote plea bargaining. The adversarial nature of the system puts judges in a passive role, in which they are completely dependent upon the parties to develop the factual record and cannot independently discover information with which to assess the strength of the case against the defendant. The parties thus can control the outcome of the case by exercising their rights or bargaining them away. The lack of compulsory prosecution also gives prosecutors greater discretion. And the inability of crime victims to mount a private prosecution and their limited ability to influence plea agreements also tends to encourage plea bargaining.[8] Prosecutors have been described as monopsonists.[9]

 

History and constitutionality

Early history[edit]

Plea bargaining has existed for centuries; in older legal systems convictions were at times routinely procured by confession, and laws existed covering such criminal confessions, although by the 18th century inducements had been forbidden in English Law to prevent miscarriage of justice.[10] Accordingly, early US plea bargain history led to courts’ permitting withdrawal of pleas and rejection of plea bargains, although such arrangements continued to happen behind the scenes.[10] A rise in the scale and scope of criminal law led to plea bargaining’s gaining new acceptance in the early 20th century, as courts and prosecutors sought to address an overwhelming influx of cases:[10]

[F]ederal prosecutions under the Prohibition Act terminated in 1930 had become nearly eight times as many as the total number of all pending federal prosecutions in 1914. In a number of urban districts the enforcement agencies maintain that the only practicable way of meeting this situation with the existing machinery of the federal courts … is for the United States Attorneys to make bargains with defendants or their counsel whereby defendants plead guilty to minor offenses and escape with light penalties.[3][10]

However, even though over 90% of convictions were based upon plea bargaining by 1930, courts remained reluctant for some time to endorse these when appealed.[10]

Modern history (c. 1950 onward)

The constitutionality of plea bargaining and its legal footing were established by Brady v. United States (1970).[5] The U.S. Supreme Court warned, in the same decision, that this was conditional only and required appropriate safeguards and usage—namely that plea incentives so large or coercive as to overrule defendants’ abilities to act freely, or used in a manner giving rise to a significant number of innocent people pleading guilty, might be prohibited or lead to concerns over constitutionality.[6] Previously, the Court had held in United States v. Jackson that a law was unconstitutional that had the effect of imposing undue fear in a defendant (in that case, the fear of death) to the point it discouraged the exercise of a constitutional right (the 6th Amendment covering the right to a jury trial), and also forced the defendant to act as an unwilling witness against himself in violation of the 5th amendment.[11] The Court stated that:

[T]he plea is more than an admission of past conduct; it is the defendant’s consent that judgment of conviction may be entered without a trial—a waiver of his right to trial before a jury or a judge. Waivers of constitutional rights not only must be voluntary but must be knowing, intelligent acts done with sufficient awareness of the relevant circumstances and likely consequences.[12]

The ruling distinguished Brady from other prior cases emphasizing improper confessions, concluding: “we cannot hold that it is unconstitutional for the State to extend a benefit to a defendant who in turn extends a substantial benefit to the State and who demonstrates by his plea that he is ready and willing to admit his crime and to enter the correctional system in a frame of mind that affords hope for success in rehabilitation over a shorter period of time than might otherwise be necessary.” It laid down the following conditions for a plea to be valid:[13]

  • Defendant must be “fully aware of the direct consequences, including the actual value of any commitments made to him”
  • Plea must not be “induced by threats (or promises to discontinue improper harassment), misrepresentation (including unfulfilled or unfulfillable promises), or perhaps by promises that are by their nature improper as having no proper relationship to the prosecutor’s business (e. g. bribes)”
  • Pleas entered would not become invalid later merely due to a wish to reconsider the judgment which led to them, or better information about the Defendant’s or the State’s case, or the legal position.
  • Plea bargaining “is no more foolproof than full trials to the court or to the jury. Accordingly, we take great precautions against unsound results. […] We would have serious doubts about this case if the encouragement of guilty pleas by offers of leniency substantially increased the likelihood that defendants, advised by competent counsel, would falsely condemn themselves. But our view is to the contrary and is based on our expectations that courts will satisfy themselves that pleas of guilty are voluntarily and intelligently made by competent defendants with adequate advice of counsel and that there is nothing to question the accuracy and reliability of the defendants’ admissions”.
  • The ruling in Brady does not discuss “situation[s] where the prosecutor or judge, or both, deliberately employ their charging and sentencing powers to induce a particular defendant to tender a plea of guilty. In Brady’s case there is no claim that the prosecutor threatened prosecution on a charge not justified by the evidence or that the trial judge threatened Brady with a harsher sentence if convicted after trial in order to induce him to plead guilty.”

Santobello v. New York added that when plea bargains are broken, remedies exist; and it has been argued that given the prevalence of plea agreements, the most important rights of the accused may be found in the law of contracts rather than the law of trial procedure.[9]

Litigation is pending that could determine whether alleged victims of federal crime have a right to be informed by a U.S. Attorney before plea bargains are entered with a defendant.[14][15]

Federal system

The Federal Sentencing Guidelines are followed in federal cases and have been created to ensure a standard of uniformity in all cases decided in the federal courts. A two- or three-level offense level reduction is usually available for those who accept responsibility by not holding the prosecution to the burden of proving its case.

The Federal Rules of Criminal Procedure provide for two main types of plea agreements. An 11(c)(1)(B) agreement does not bind the court; the prosecutor’s recommendation is merely advisory, and the defendant cannot withdraw his plea if the court decides to impose a sentence other than what was stipulated in the agreement. An 11(c)(1)(C) agreement does bind the court once the court accepts the agreement. When such an agreement is proposed, the court can reject it if it disagrees with the proposed sentence, in which case the defendant has an opportunity to withdraw his plea.[16]

State systems

Plea bargains are so common in the Superior Courts of California that the Judicial Council of California has published an optional seven-page form (containing all mandatory advisements required by federal and state law) to help prosecutors and defense attorneys reduce such bargains into written plea agreements.[17]

In California, plea bargaining is sometimes used in proceedings for involuntary commitment for mental disorder. Some individuals alleged to be dangerous to self and/or dangerous to others bargain to be classified instead as merely “gravely disabled.”[18]

Controversy

The use of plea bargaining has inspired some controversy over issues such as its potentially coercive effect on incarcerated defendants, defendants who have been charged with more serious offenses than the facts warrant, and innocent defendants, all of whom might feel pressured to enter into a plea bargain to avoid the more serious consequences that would result from conviction.

A theory was put forth that an informal courtroom work group is secretly formed between judge, defense attorney and prosecutor, wherein the goal then becomes to speed cases through rather than to ensure that justice is served.[19]

Coercive effect

Plea bargaining is also criticized, particularly outside the United States, on the grounds that its close relationship with rewards, threats and coercion potentially endangers the correct legal outcome.[20]

In the book Presumed Guilty: When Innocent People Are Wrongly Convicted (1991), author Martin Yant discusses the use of coercion in plea bargaining.[21]

Even when the charges are more serious, prosecutors often can still bluff defense attorneys and their clients into pleading guilty to a lesser offense.

As a result, people who might have been acquitted because of lack of evidence, but also who are in fact truly innocent, will often plead guilty to the charge. Why? In a word, fear. And the more numerous and serious the charges, studies have shown, the greater the fear. That explains why prosecutors sometimes seem to file every charge imaginable against defendants.

The theoretical work based on the prisoner’s dilemma is one reason why, in many countries, plea bargaining is forbidden. Often, precisely the prisoner’s dilemma scenario applies: it is in the interest of both suspects to confess and testify against the other suspect, irrespective of the innocence of the accused. Arguably, the worst case is when only one party is guilty—here, the innocent one is unlikely to confess, while the guilty one is likely to confess and testify against the innocent.

Judicial efficiency

The United States Supreme Court has recognized plea bargaining as both an essential and desirable part of the criminal justice system.[22] The benefits of plea-bargaining are said to be obvious: the relief of court congestion, alleviation of the risks and uncertainties of trial, and its information gathering value.[23]

However, in 1975 the Attorney-General of Alaska, Avrum Gross, ordered an end to all plea-bargaining;[24] subsequent attorneys-general continued the practice. Similar consequences were observed in New OrleansVentura County, California, and in Oakland County, Michigan, where plea bargaining has been terminated. Bidinotto found:[25]

…ending plea bargaining has put responsibility back into every level of our system: police did better investigating; prosecutors and lawyers began preparing their cases better; lazy judges were compelled to spend more time in court and control their calendars more efficiently. Most importantly, justice was served—and criminals began to realize that they could not continue their arrogant manipulation of a paper-tiger court system.

Another argument against plea bargaining is that it may not actually reduce the costs of administering justice. For example, if a prosecutor has only a 25% chance of winning his case and sending the defendant away to prison for 10 years, he may make a plea agreement for a one-year sentence; but if plea bargaining is unavailable, he may drop the case completely.[26]

Plea bargaining may allow prosecutors to allocate their resources more efficiently, such that they may direct more time and resources to the trial of suspects charged with serious offenses.[27]

Impact on average sentences

The shadow-of-trial argument asserts that in the aggregate, plea agreements merely reflect the outcome that would have transpired had the case gone to trial. For example, if the accused faces 10 years and has a 50% chance of losing in court, then an agreement will result in a five-year sentence, less some amount deducted for saving the government the cost of trial. Theoretically, the shadow-of-trial should work even better in criminal cases than in civil cases, because civil judgments are discretionary, while criminal judgments are often regulated by mandatory minima and sentencing guidelines, making sentences more predictable.

A counter-argument is that criminal sentencing laws are “lumpy”, in that the sentencing ranges are not as precise as the dollars-and-cents calibration that can be achieved in civil case settlements. Furthermore, because some defendants facing small amounts of prison time are jailed pending trial, they may find it in their interests to plead guilty so as to be sentenced to time served, or in any event to end up serving less time than they would serve waiting for trial.[28] Outcomes in criminal cases are also made less predictable by the fact that, while a plaintiff in a civil case has a financial incentive to seek the largest judgment possible, a prosecutor does not necessarily have an incentive to pursue the most severe sentence possible.[29]

Constitutionality

Some legal scholars argue that plea bargaining is unconstitutional because it takes away a person’s right to a trial by jury.[30] Justice Hugo Black once noted that, in America, the defendant “has an absolute, unqualified right to compel the State to investigate its own case, find its own witnesses, prove its own facts, and convince the jury through its own resources. Throughout the process, the defendant has a fundamental right to remain silent, in effect challenging the State at every point to ‘Prove it!'”[31] It is argued that plea bargaining is inconsistent with limits imposed on the powers of the police and prosecutors by the Bill of Rights. This position has been rejected by the nation’s courts.[32]

References

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Plea_bargaining_in_the_United_States

 

Federal Election Campaign Act

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Federal Election Campaign Act
Great Seal of the United States
Other short titles Campaign Finance Act
Long title An Act to promote fair practices in the conduct of election campaigns for Federal political offices, and for other purposes.
Acronyms(colloquial) FECA
Nicknames Federal Election Campaign Act of 1971
Enacted by the 92nd United States Congress
Effective April 7, 1972
Citations
Public law 92-225
Statutes at Large 86 Stat. 3
Codification
Titles amended 2 U.S.C.: Congress
U.S.C.sections created 2 U.S.C. ch. 14 § 431 et seq.
Legislative history
  • Introduced in the Senate as S. 382 by John O. Pastore(DRIon May 6, 1971
  • Committee consideration by Senate Finance
  • Passed the Senate on August 5, 1971 (88-2)
  • Passed the House on November 30, 1971 (372-23, in lieu of H.R. 11060)
  • Reported by the joint conference committee onDecember 1, 1971; agreed to by the Senate onDecember 14, 1971 (Agreed, in lieu of S.Rept. 92–580) and by the House on January 19, 1972 (334-20, in lieu of H.Rept. 92–752)
  • Signed into law by President Richard M. Nixon onFebruary 7, 1972

The Federal Election Campaign Act of 1971 (FECAPub.L. 92–225, 86 Stat. 3, enacted February 7, 1972, 52 U.S.C. § 30101 et seq.) is the primary United States federal law regulating political campaign spending and fundraising. The law originally focused on increased disclosure of contributions for federal campaigns. The S. 382 legislation was passed by the 92nd U.S. Congressional session and signed by the 37th President of the United States Richard Nixon on February 7, 1972.[1]

In 1974, the Act was amended to place legal limits on the campaign contributions and expenditures. The 1974 amendments also created the Federal Election Commission (FEC).

The Act was amended again in 1976, in response to the provisions ruled unconstitutional by Buckley v. Valeo, including the structure of the FEC and the limits on campaign expenditures, and again in 1979 to allow parties to spend unlimited amounts of hard money on activities like increasing voter turnout and registration. In 1979, the FEC ruled that political parties could spend unregulated or “soft” money for non-federal administrative and party building activities. Later, this money was used for candidate-related issue ads, which led to a substantial increase in soft money contributions and expenditures in elections. This in turn led to passage of the Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act of 2002 (“BCRA”), effective on January 1, 2003, banning soft money expenditure by parties. Some of the legal limits on giving of “hard money” were also changed by BCRA.

In addition to limiting the size of contributions to candidates and political parties, FECA also requires campaigns and political committees to report the names, addresses, and occupations of donors of more than $200.

The FECA contains an express preemption clause. The FECA expressly preempts state and federal law with respect to federal elections.

 

History

As early as 1905, Theodore Roosevelt asserted the need for campaign finance reform and called for legislation to ban corporate contributions for political purposes. In response, the United States Congress enacted the Tillman Act of 1907, named for its sponsor Senator Benjamin Tillman, banning corporate contributions. Further regulation followed in the Federal Corrupt Practices Act enacted in 1910, and subsequent amendments in 1910 and 1925, the Hatch Act, the Smith-Connally Act of 1943, and the Taft-Hartley Act in 1947. These Acts sought to regulate corporate and union spending in campaigns for federal office, and mandated public disclosure of campaign donors.

In 1971, Congress consolidated its earlier reform efforts in the Federal Election Campaign Act (FECA), instituting more stringent disclosure requirements for federal candidates, political parties and Political action committees (PACs). Still, without a central administrative authority, the campaign finance laws were difficult to enforce.

Government subsidies for federal elections, originally proposed by President Roosevelt in 1907, began to take shape as part of the 1971 law, as Congress established the income tax checkoff to provide for the financing of Presidential general election campaigns and national party conventions. Amendments to the Internal Revenue Code in 1974 established the matching fund program for Presidential primary campaigns.

Following reports of serious financial abuses in the 1972 Presidential campaign, Congress amended the FECA in 1974 to set limits on contributions by individuals, political parties and PACs. The 1974 amendments also established an independent agency, the Federal Election Commission (FEC) to enforce the law, facilitate disclosure and administer the public funding program. The FEC opened its doors in 1975 and administered the first publicly funded Presidential election in 1976.

In 1976, in Buckley v. Valeo, the Supreme Court struck down several key provisions of the 1974 amendments to the Act, including limits on spending by candidate campaigns, limits on the ability of citizens to spend money independently of a campaign, and limits on the amount of money a candidate could donate to his or her own campaign. Buckley v. Valeo also substantially narrowed the category of independent political expenditures subject to mandatory donor disclosure.

Congress made further amendments to the FECA in 1976 to conform the law with the ruling in Buckley v. Valeo. Major amendments were also made in 1979 to streamline the disclosure process and expand the role of political parties.

In 2002, Congress made major revisions to the FECA in the Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act, more commonly referred to as “McCain-Feingold.” However, major portions of McCain-Feingold were struck down by the Supreme Court on Constitutional grounds in Federal Election Commission v. Wisconsin Right to Life, Inc. (2007), Davis v. Federal Election Commission (2008) and Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission (2010). The Citizens United ruling also struck down FECA’s complete ban on corporate and union independent spending, originally passed as part of the Taft-Hartley law in 1947.[2]

Amendments to 1971 Act

U.S. Congressional amendments to the Federal Election Campaign Act of 1971.

Date of Enactment Public Law Number U.S. Statute Citation U.S. Legislative Bill U.S. Presidential Administration
October 15, 1974 P.L. 93-443 88 Stat. 1263 S. 3044 Gerald R. Ford
May 11, 1976 P.L. 94-283 90 Stat. 475 S. 3065 Gerald R. Ford
October 12, 1977 P.L. 95-127 91 Stat. 1110 S. 1435 Jimmy E. Carter
January 8, 1980 P.L. 96-187 93 Stat. 1339 H.R. 5010 Jimmy E. Carter
May 29, 1980 P.L. 96-253 94 Stat. 398 S. 2648 Jimmy E. Carter
December 28, 1995 P.L. 104-79 109 Stat. 791 H.R. 2527 William J. Clinton
March 27, 2002 P.L. 107-155 116 Stat. 81 H.R. 2356 George W. Bush

See also[

References

  1. ^ Peters, Gerhard; Woolley, John T. “Richard Nixon: “Statement on Signing the Federal Election Campaign Act of 1971.,” February 7, 1972″The American Presidency Project. University of California – Santa Barbara.
  2. ^ The FEC and the Federal Campaign Finance Law

External links

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Federal_Election_Campaign_Act

 

Story 2: President Trump Meets With Chairman Kim Who Refuses To Denuclearize — Trump Friendly Walk Away — Sanctions Stay on North Korea – China Is Major Violator of Sanctions — Impose Tariffs on Communist China Now! — Videos —

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Special Report: President Trump Speaks After North Korea Summit

Trump Was Right to Walk Away From Kim Talks, Adm. Mullen Say

Trump speaks to press after one-on-onhttps://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BShvYeyMm_Ye with Kim

Reporters at IMC react to results of Hanoi summit

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NO DEAL! Vietnam summit ends abruptly as Kim REFUSES Trump’s denuclearization demands, leaders fail to agree on lifting North Korean sanctions and abandon lunch and cancel signing ceremony

  • Donald Trump and Kim Jong-un abruptly ended their summit in Hanoi early without signing a deal 
  • He said the issue was Kim’s insistence that all sanctions get lifted in return for only giving up some nukes
  • Trump continued to tout his ‘warm’ relationship with Kim, but added ‘you have to be willing to walk away’
  • Secretary of State Mike Pompeo added that progress had been made ‘but we didn’t get all the way’ 
  • Planned lunch never happened 
  • Kim’s state news agency KCNA said on Thursday: ‘Sincere and in-depth views were exchanged to bring about a comprehensive and groundbreaking outcome’
  • The talks came just hours after Michael Cohen’s bombshell testimony to Congress which damned his ex-boss as a racist and a liar 

Donald Trump’s talks with Kim Jong-un ended abruptly on Thursday as the president said he was forced to walk away after the North Korean dictator demanded that all sanctions be lifted in return for giving up only some of his nukes.

Trump said the final snag that caused the sudden breakdown was over sanctions – and Kim’s push to have all of them lifted in exchange for a concession Trump and his secretary of state could not live with.

‘Sometimes you have to walk away,’ Trump told reporters at a press conference in Hanoi that was abruptly moved up after a breakdown in talks.

The president expressed his hope that the two leaders would meet again, but acknowledged: ‘It might be soon, it might not be for a long time. I can’t tell you.’

Meanwhile, the president blasted longtime fixer Michael Cohen, saying he ‘lied’ after his former lawyer delivered bombshell testimony. The president mostly avoided the topic by calling on a series of members of the foreign press corps he did not recognize rather than White House reporters preparing to quiz him on the crimes Cohen claims he witnessed.

‘Person in the front go ahead,’ Trump said, calling on one of many members of the foreign press corps covering the event.

President Trump abruptly ended talks with Kim Jong-un in Hanoi on Thursday, telling reporters that the North Korean leader had demanded that all sanctions be lifted in return for only getting rid of part of his nuclear stockpile, so he walked away

President Trump abruptly ended talks with Kim Jong-un in Hanoi on Thursday, telling reporters that the North Korean leader had demanded that all sanctions be lifted in return for only getting rid of part of his nuclear stockpile, so he walked away

Trump said that he remains on good terms with Kim and continued to tout the ‘enormous potential’ of North Korea, not notably said there were no plans for a next summit meeting.

Trump candidly revealed that Kim wanted the sanctions off, but was not willing to give up his array of nukes, missiles, and additional sites he only alluded to vaguely.

‘Basically they wanted the sanctions lifted in their entirety and we couldn’t do that,’ the president said. ‘They were willing to de-nuke a large portion of the areas that we wanted but we couln’t give up all of the sacntions for that.

‘We had to walk away from that particularly suggestion. We had to walk away from that,’ Trump said.

‘It was about sanctions. They wanted sanctions lifted but they weren’t willing to do an area that we wanted,’ Trump said.

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo added: ‘We have been working for weeks to find a path forward so we could make a big step at this summit.

‘We made progress and even more progress when the two leaders met over the last 48, or 72 hours.

‘But we didn’t get all the way. We didn’t get something that made sense for the United States.’

The first signs of a rupture came when the White House suddenly made changes to the president’s schedule.

A planned lunch meeting never happened, although a table was set with a floral centerpiece and menus folded inside napkins.

Reporters on hand to cover it were told to move to another location.

Describing talks, which ran from a Wednesday dinner through mid-day Thursday, Trump said: ‘We spent pretty much all day with Kim Jong-un, who is – he’s quite a guy and quite a character. And I think our relationship is very strong.’

Both Trump and Pompeo said there was a willingness on both sides to keep talking, but revealed that no follow-up summit has been scheduled.

Trump said that in the meantime, Kim was ‘not going to do testing of rockets and nuclear. I trust him and I take him at his word.’

He indicated that Kim was willing to make concessions related to the Yongbyon facility where his regime enriches Plutonium, but it wasn’t enough.

‘That facility while very big, it wasn’t enough to do what we were doing. We had to have more than that,’ said Trump.

Trump insisted that his relationship with Kim remains 'warm' and that he sees 'great potential' in North Korea, but added that sometimes 'you have to be willing to walk away from a deal' if it's not the right one+48

Trump insisted that his relationship with Kim remains ‘warm’ and that he sees ‘great potential’ in North Korea, but added that sometimes ‘you have to be willing to walk away from a deal’ if it’s not the right one

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo added that his team had been working with North Korea 'for weeks' to try and achieve a deal and that Trump and Kim made more progress towards a deal, but 'we didn't get all the way' 

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo added that his team had been working with North Korea ‘for weeks’ to try and achieve a deal and that Trump and Kim made more progress towards a deal, but ‘we didn’t get all the way’

President Donald Trump and North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un resumed their summit in Hanoi on Thursday morning local time – as Trump predicted a 'fantastic success' but Kim said it was 'too early' to say they would reach a deal+48

 

President Donald Trump and North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un resumed their summit in Hanoi on Thursday morning local time – as Trump predicted a ‘fantastic success’ but Kim said it was ‘too early’ to say they would reach a deal

Trump once again asserted that he was in 'no rush' to make an agreement – following an early report by NBC that the US was prepared to back away from a demand that North Korea provide a full accounting of its nuclear weapons programs

Trump once again asserted that he was in ‘no rush’ to make an agreement – following an early report by NBC that the US was prepared to back away from a demand that North Korea provide a full accounting of its nuclear weapons programs

Trump said that Kim was willing to dismantle the Yongbyon nuclear research facility if the US lifted sanctions, but said Kim was unwilling to make a deal on other facilities and weapons, forcing an end to the talks. 

Trump’s remarks made clear there other sites the U.S. identified that Kim wanted to maintain. 

‘We have that setup so we would be able to do that very easily. The inspections on North Korea will take place, and if we do something with them, we have a schedule setup that is very good. We know things …  about certain places and certain sites. There are sites that people don’t know about that we know about. We would be able to do inspections we think very, very successfully,’ Trump said.

Some critics had raised alarms before the summit that Trump and Kim would reach a deal that did not allow for verification.

Asked whether it was premature to hold the summit now, Trump said he would ‘much rather do it right than do it fast’ and added that he ‘could have signed something today’ but didn’t feel it was the right deal.

But America and North Korea remain in a position ‘to do something very special’ together, he said.

The recognition that no joint statement had been reached came despite weeks of advance negotiation. A range of compromise gestures had been circulating for days in media reports.

The lack of agreement came after Trump repeatedly hailed a ‘special relationship’ between the two men, and stressed their personal bond as a reason progress might be possible.

After the two men’s historic summit in Singapore in June, they both signed a joint statement – although critics blasted it for failing to include a timetable or verification members in its undefined call for denuclearization.

On Thursday afternoon, Sanders suddenly told reporters traveling with the president before 1 pm local time that talks would wrap up within about half an hour, throwing the event’s schedule into turmoil.

She declined to say initial there would be a signing ceremony, though one had been on an earlier White House schedule. Only minutes before Trump was scheduled to face the press did she acknowledge that there would not be one.

But reporters who were on hand to cover it were relocated to buses – indicating that the event was most likely scrapped.

The public White House schedule had listed a ‘Joint Agreement Signing Ceremony’ with the chairman of the state affairs commission of DPRK, set for 2:05 pm local time.

Trump was to have fielded questions at 4 pm, right before leaving Vietnam, but it got moved up to 2 pm.

A planned lunch between the two men was scrapped so they could ‘keep negotiating,’ Bloomberg News reported.

The U.S. dollar and South Korean stock market both fell on the news that no deal had been reached.

The multiple signs of tension came after a public event hours earlier where the two leaders once again smiled for the cameras – and Kim even took a few questions from U.S. media and expressed openness toward a step in normalization of relations.

The North Korean dictator said he is open to the idea of a US liaison office in Pyongyang in a major development during the historic nuclear summit with President Donald Trump.

Kim revealed his stance on the issue – one of several negotiating points in Hanoi – when the absolute leader submitted to a few unscripted questions from American media members.

In another comment, he revealed his stated disposition on denuclearization – although without saying what it would take to get him there.

‘If I was not, I wouldn’t be here,’ he said in his native Korean, while seated alongside Trump.

The two world leaders resumed their summit in Hanoi on Thursday morning local time – as Trump predicted a ‘fantastic success’ but Kim said it was ‘too early’ to say they would reach a deal.

Trump once again asserted that he was in ‘no rush’ to make an agreement – following an early report by NBC that the US was prepared to back away from a demand that North Korea provide a full accounting of its nuclear weapons programs.

‘I think we’ll be together a lot over the years,’ Trump said. ‘I can’t speak for today but over a little bit longer term .. we’re going to have a fantastic success.’

Trump and Jong Un smile during a meeting at the second US-North Korea summit at the Sofitel Legend Metropole hotel in Hanoi 

Trump and Jong Un smile during a meeting at the second US-North Korea summit at the Sofitel Legend Metropole hotel in Hanoi

Trump listens as he meets North Korean leader Kim Jong Un on Thursday in Hanoi

Trump listens as he meets North Korean leader Kim Jong Un on Thursday in Hanoi

During an exchange with the media, a reporter asked Kim if he was ready for a U.S. liaison office in Pyongyang – considered a step toward normalization of relations. At first a North Korean aide tried to cut him off, but Trump – who has tangled with the press – intervened.

‘That’s actually an interesting question. I would like to actually hear that answer,’ Trump said.

Kim responded: ‘That is something that is welcomeable.’

Trump then said the idea was a ‘great thing.’

A reporter asked Kim in Korean if he was confident of an agreement.  Kim responded in Korean: ”It’s too early to say. I would not say I’m pessimistic.’

‘I have a feeling that good results will come,’ Kim added.

Trump also predicted spending more time with the North Korean dictator.

‘And, I’m sure over the years we’ll be together a lot, and I think we’ll also be together after the fact, meaning after the deal is made. We had very good discussions last night at dinner, and the pre-dinner was very good. And, there were a lot of great ideas being thrown about,’ Trump said.

Trump once again called the relationship between the two men ‘very strong’.

‘So, I can’t speak necessarily for today, but I can say that this, a little bit longer term, and over a period of time, I know we’re going to have a fantastic success with respect to Chairman Kim and North Korea. They’re going to have an economic powerhouse.’

Trump predicted: ‘I think it’s going to be something very special.’

‘I am in no rush. We don’t want the testing, and we’ve developed something very special with respect to that,’ Trump said, without revealing details, as the two men moved toward an expected joint statement.

At one point after their first meeting Wednesday, the two men took a stroll by the hotel pool, with photographers ready to capture the moment

At one point after their first meeting Wednesday, the two men took a stroll by the hotel pool, with photographers ready to capture the moment

They walked along with two interpreters beneath palm trees as Kim greeted Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and general and spy chief Kim Yong Chol

They walked along with two interpreters beneath palm trees as Kim greeted Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and general and spy chief Kim Yong Chol

They walked along with two interpreters beneath palm trees as Kim greeted Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and general and spy chief Kim Yong Chol. Reporters covering the event passed National Security Advisor John Bolton, White House press secretary Sarah Sanders, and Trump aide Dan Scavino, who didn’t appear to be joining the second meeting with staff.

Trump was back to trying his hand at diplomacy after the president’s ex-fixer Michael Cohen dominated headlines with his day of bombshell testimony against his former boss.

Cohen’s appearances have shadowed the president’s appearances, and Trump even tweeted to attack his longtime fixer as a ‘liar’ shortly before he delivered bombshell testimony in the Capitol claiming Trump participated in a criminal conspiracy involving the hush payment to Stormy Daniels.

Trump and Kim met for their second time at the French colonial-era Metropole hotel, where they had dined Wednesday night.

Reporters covering the event passed National Security Advisor John Bolton, White House press secretary Sarah Sanders, and Trump aide Dan Scavino, who didn't appear to be joining the second meeting with staff

Reporters covering the event passed National Security Advisor John Bolton, White House press secretary Sarah Sanders, and Trump aide Dan Scavino, who didn’t appear to be joining the second meeting with staff

Trump's motorcade leaves the J.W. Marriot hotel during the second US-North Korea summit 

Trump’s motorcade leaves the J.W. Marriot hotel during the second US-North Korea summit

The motorcade of Jong Un is driven in Hanoi, Vietnam, on Thursday, ahead of the second summit

The motorcade of Jong Un is driven in Hanoi, Vietnam, on Thursday, ahead of the second summit

Before they sat down, NBC reported the U.S. was no longer insisting as a negotiating position that North Korea provide a ‘full accounting of its nuclear weapons and ballistic missile programs’ – which would amount to a major concession.

Trump hailed ‘a very special relationship’ when he met Kim in the Vietnamese capital of Hanoi on Wednesday and said he was satisfied with the pace of talks, despite some criticism they were not moving quickly enough.

‘Great meetings’ and a ‘Very good dialogue,’ Trump said on Twitter after dinner with Kim at the French-colonial-era Metropole hotel while the White House said the two planned to sign a ‘joint agreement’ after further talks on Thursday.

The White House has given no indication of what the signing ceremony might involve, although the two sides’ discussions have included the possibility of a political statement to declare the 1950-53 Korean War over, which some critics see as premature.

They have also discussed partial denuclearization measures, such as allowing inspectors to observe the dismantling of North Korea’s Yongbyon nuclear reactor, U.S. and South Korean officials say.

Summit day two: North Korea released this picture of Trump shaking hands with dictator Kim Jong Un on the first day of their talks in Hanoi, Vietnam, on Wednesday

Summit day two: North Korea released this picture of Trump shaking hands with dictator Kim Jong Un on the first day of their talks in Hanoi, Vietnam, on Wednesday

All eyes watching: Michael Cohen's 

All eyes watching: Michael Cohen’s

Greeting: Trump and Kim shake hands at the top of their meeting in Hanoi - which was followed by a 'quick dinner'

Greeting: Trump and Kim shake hands at the top of their meeting in Hanoi – which was followed by a ‘quick dinner’

The Hanoi summit was Trump’s second with Kim since an inconclusive meeting in Singapore in June that produced much fanfare but little substance and there had been little sign of concrete progress since.

The U.S. president nevertheless appeared upbeat with Kim even as his former personal lawyer Michael Cohen testified at a congressional hearing in Washington, calling Trump a ‘conman’ who knew in advance about the release of stolen emails aimed at hurting his Democratic rival in the 2016 election campaign.

Facing mounting pressure at home over investigations into Russian meddling in the election, Trump has sought a big win by trying to persuade North Korea to give up its nuclear weapons in exchange for promises of peace and development, a foreign policy goal that has confounded multiple predecessors.

Trump told Kim on Wednesday he felt the first summit was ‘very successful’. ‘Some people would like to see it go quicker; I´m satisfied; you´re satisfied, we want to be happy with what we’re doing.’

The leaders exchanged views at dinner with the aim of achieving comprehensive and ground-breaking results from their summit, Kim’s state news agency KCNA said on Thursday.

‘Sincere and in-depth views were exchanged to bring about a comprehensive and groundbreaking outcome,’ it said.

The two men had met in the Vietnamese capital in front of a bank of six flags from each nation, for the first meeting for the pair since their historic summit in Singapore in June.

‘It’s an honor to be with Chairman Kim. It’s an honor to be together,’ said Trump, who repeatedly praised his counterpart.

The admiration may be mutual. In one remark, Kim praised Trump’s ‘courageous decision’ to open dialogue, according to how his translator recounted it.

In introductory remarks, Trump did much of the talking – and one again dangled the promise of prosperity for North Korea, and addressed critics who noted their initial joint statement was vague and hard to measure.

‘It’s great to be with you. We had a very successful first summit,’ Trump said. ‘I felt it was very successful. Some people would like to see it go quicker. I’m satisfied, you’re satisfied. We want to be happy with what we’re doing.’

‘I thought the first summit was a great success, I think this one hopefully will be equal or greater than the first,’ the president added.

As he has repeatedly, Trump pointed to personal chemistry with the reclusive leader of the family-led one-party dictatorship – although his secretary of state says North Korea is still a nuclear threat, having tested a hydrogen bomb and months ago conducted a skein of missile tests.

‘We made a lot of progress and I think the biggest progress was our relationship is really a good one,’ Trump said.

The two leaders smiled as they were seated before dinner

People walk past a TV broadcasting a news report on a meeting between North Korean leader Kim Jong Un and U.S. President Donald Trump, in Seoul, South Korea, February 27, 2019

People walk past a TV broadcasting a news report on a meeting between North Korean leader Kim Jong Un and U.S. President Donald Trump, in Seoul, South Korea, February 27, 2019

Trump repeatedly hailed the personal relationship between the two men

Trump repeatedly hailed the personal relationship between the two men

Trump complemented a New York Times photographer in one of many asides to Kim

Trump complemented a New York Times photographer in one of many asides to Kim

In a spat with the White House, two reporters who had earlier asked Trump questions were not permitted to witness the start of dinner

In a spat with the White House, two reporters who had earlier asked Trump questions were not permitted to witness the start of dinner

Dangling economic enticements that he hopes will persuade Kim to give up nuclear weapons his nation has been developing for years, Trump said: ‘I think that your country has tremendous economic potential. Unbelievable. Unlimited,’ Trump said, seated across from Kim.

Both men smiled before cameras as they exchanged a handshake.

A reporter asked Trump about former lawyer Michael Cohen’s bombshell testimony in Congress that calls Trump a ‘conman.’ Trump shook his head and didn’t respond.

That may not have gone over well with the White House staff. At a subsequent photo-op, two wire service reporters were excluded, including the one who had asked about Cohen, whose bombshell testimony touched on Stormy Daniels, a Trump Moscow tower project, and Wikileaks.

According to a statement issued by White House press secretary Sarah Sanders: ‘Due to the sensitive nature of the meetings we have limited the pool for the dinner to a smaller group, but ensured that representation of photographers, tv, radio and print Poolers are all in the room. We are continuing to negotiate aspects of this historic summit and will always work to make sure the U.S. media has as much access as possible.’

For that event, the two men were seated at a round table with a floral centerpiece.  Their meal had not yet been served.

Once again, Trump talked up their bond.

‘Our relationship is a very special relationship,’ the president said.

After Kim spoke in Korean, a translator said: ‘They have exchanged very interesting dialogue with each other.’

That prompted a joke from Trump. ‘If you could have heard that dialogue. What you would pay for that dialogue … It was good.’

Then Trump stepped in again. ‘We’re going to have a very busy day tomorrow and we’ll probably have a pretty quick dinner.’

‘And a lot of things are going to be solved I hope. It’ll lead to really a wonderful situation long term. And our relationship is a very special relationship,’ the president said.

Earlier Trump said: ‘It’s great to be with you. We had a very successful first summit. I felt it was very successful. Some people would like to see it go quicker. I’m satisfied, you’re satisfied. We want to be happy with what we’re doing.’

Complimenting their host country, Trump said: ‘It’s an honor to be with Chairman Kim. It’s an honor to be together in really a country, Vietnam, where they’ve really rolled red carpet. And they’re very proud to have us.’

Minutes earlier, as they first met, the two men engaged in brief remarks, then looked ahead toward press photographers with serious expressions on their faces. Eventually they smiled.

Trump and Kim dinedalong with top aides.  Trump said the meal would be a 'pretty quick dinner' 

Trump and Kim dinedalong with top aides.  Trump said the meal would be a ‘pretty quick dinner’

Trump review the guard of honor during a meeting with Vietnamese President Nguyen Phu Trong ahead of the US-North Korea summit in Hanoi

Trump review the guard of honor during a meeting with Vietnamese President Nguyen Phu Trong ahead of the US-North Korea summit in Hanoi

President Donald Trump waves a Vietnam flag as he meets with Vietnamese Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc, waving an American flag 

President Donald Trump waves a Vietnam flag as he meets with Vietnamese Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc, waving an American flag

DOWN TO BUSINESS: Trump touted a deal for Vietnam to purchase planes. The U.S. trade deficit with the nation has grown by $5 billion since Trump visited two years ago

DOWN TO BUSINESS: Trump touted a deal for Vietnam to purchase planes. The U.S. trade deficit with the nation has grown by $5 billion since Trump visited two years ago

‘Thank you very much,’ Trump told reporters.

Trump began his Hanoi stay by meeting with Nguyen Phu Trong, the president of Vietnam, lavishing praise upon Vietnam for its ‘thriving’ economy and holding out the local economy as a model for North Korea to pursue.

He announced a deal to have Vietnamese airlines purchase U.S.-made planes – even as it continues to ship billions worth of sneakers and shrimp to U.S. ports. Other agreements would bring the total value of the agreements to $21 billion, according to an administration official.

Trump also called the relationship between the U.S. and Vietnam an ‘example’ of what can become of North Korea if it gives up its nuclear weapons. Trump also posed in front of a statue of the nation’s revolutionary founder Ho Chi Min.

Later, Trump smiled and held a Vietnamese flag as he met with the country’s prime minister, Nguyen Xuan Phuc, and inked a series of agreements.

Trump referenced 'my friend' KimJong Un and cited North Korea's economic potential

Trump referenced ‘my friend’ KimJong Un and cited North Korea’s economic potential

The president also attacked his predecessor for failing to solve the North Korea problem, which has bedeviled U.S. policymakers for decades

The president also attacked his predecessor for failing to solve the North Korea problem, which has bedeviled U.S. policymakers for decades

Per capita income in Vietnam is nearly double that in North Korea, $2,400 compared to $1,300, achieving 7 per cent growth and with robust foreign investment and growing trade with the U.S.

South Korea is much farther along the development path, with per capita income of $26,000.

The president is relying on his brand of personal diplomacy to try to score a breakthrough here with Kim, after failing to see progress on denuclearization after a vague letter reached after the Singapore summit.

He has previously said they fell ‘in love’ at their Singapore summit, and has repeatedly stressed that the hermetic regime could become wildly successful if it modernizes and relinquishes its nuclear weapons.

His bid to establish camaraderie with Kim comes despite dark signals that continue to emerge out of the closed society he governs.

Kim forced his uncle to watch colleagues get blown apart with anti-aircraft guns before his own death, according to a defector.

Kang Cheol-Hwan said he was told by eye witnesses that two men who worked with Kim’s uncle, Jang Song-thaek, were killed by firing squad.

The two men were brought in front of a barrage of eight anti-aircraft guns and had lumps of iron stuffed into their mouths before their deaths.

No deal, no problem at Trump-Kim summit: analysts

 

President Trump left the Hanoi summit early, but analysts say the talks with Kim Jung Il were not necessarily a failure

President Trump left the Hanoi summit early, but analysts say the talks with Kim Jung Il were not necessarily a failure

Donald Trump summoned the world’s media to Hanoi for a meeting with Kim Jong Un, travelled the long way around the world to get there, and dangled an “AWESOME” future before the North Korean leader. And they did not agree anything.

That may not be such a bad thing, analysts say — but reaching a deal will take a long time.

Trump and Kim’s Singapore summit — the first-ever encounter between the leaders of two countries on opposite sides of the technically still unfinished Korean War — made global headlines last year.

The agreement they signed, though, was short on specifics, with Kim committing only to a vague promise to “work toward complete denuclearisation of the Korean peninsula”.

Subsequent progress stalled with the two sides disagreeing over what that means, and ahead of the Hanoi meeting analysts expected them to put meat on the bones of the text.

In the event, there was more bonhomie in the Vietnamese capital — a venue chosen partly to symbolise the possibility of a good post-war relationship with the US — but even less in the way of tangible outcomes, with no communique emerging from the summit.

Trump told reporters Kim wanted all sanctions imposed on the North over its weapons programmes lifted before it made any further moves over its Yongbyon nuclear plant and other covert sites, and he had decided to walk away.

“I’d much rather do it right than do it fast,” he added.

At a surprise late-night briefing North Korea’s foreign minister insisted that Pyongyang had only wanted partial sanctions relief in exchange for Yongbyon’s closure, and that its position was “invariable”.

The optics of the stand-off looked poor. But analysts pointed to the meeting as part of a long process, and potentially a necessary one.

“These talks were not a failure,” said David Kim of the Stimson Center.

“Think of the Trump-Kim relationship like a Korean drama,” he went on. “We are just beginning to watch the long love story unfold.”

It would be filled with “excitement, disappointment and utter heartache”, but “the bond between Kim and Trump will remain steadfast to the end.

“As long as both ‘lovers’ remain committed to their relationship, we can expect more positive outcomes in the future.”

– Third date? –

Trump has previously said he and Kim “fell in love” over an exchange of letters, and while no third summit with Kim had been agreed, the White House said working-level talks would continue.

But in his New Year speech, a key political set-piece in the North, Kim said Pyongyang would seek a “new way” to defend its interests if Washington did not offer concessions in return for the steps it has already taken — a missile and nuclear test moratorium, and what it says is the destruction of facilities it no longer needs.

That raises the prospect of Kim turning to neighbour and ally China for succour.

Trump told reporters Kim wanted all sanctions imposed on the North lifted, and he had decided to walk away

Trump told reporters Kim wanted all sanctions imposed on the North lifted, and he had decided to walk away

In and before Hanoi, Trump repeatedly said the North could become an “economic powerhouse” if it gave up its weapons.

The two discussed liaison offices — a vital initial step in normalising relations — and Ankit Panda of the Federation of American Scientists said there were “multiple credible reports an end-of-war declaration was on the table.”

But those were “never the ‘corresponding measures’ North Korea sought”, he added.

Pyongyang will once again have been able to portray itself as Washington’s equal, and Kim as Trump’s — the state-run Rodong Sinmun newspaper carried a front-page picture Thursday that showed the US president appearing to bow slightly as the pair shook hands.

Former CIA analyst Soo Kim noted that Trump had insisted several times he was in no rush to complete a deal and that with the North not yet prepared to take the steps Washington wanted, the US president “so far looks at ease with this decision”.

But, she told AFP: “This outcome is likely not what the Kim regime had banked on. So it remains to be seen whether after the rug has been pulled from underneath, North Korea will bite again at another opportunity.”

– Waning Moon –

The no-result from Hanoi leaves South Korean President Moon Jae-in — who seized on last year’s Winter Olympics in his country to broker talks between Pyongyang and Washington — in a bind.

Moon had intended to unveil an inter-Korean economic co-operation plan on Friday, said former CIA staffer Kim, the 100th anniversary of a movement against Japanese colonial rule — one issue on which North and South Koreans are in total agreement.

South Korean President Moon Jae-in has been left in a difficult position by the no-result in Hanoi

South Korean President Moon Jae-in has been left in a difficult position by the no-result in Hanoi

Now suggestions of a Kim Jong Un trip to Seoul are likely to go on the back burner, and she said it “remained to be seen” whether Moon would be able to pursue his inter-Korean rapprochement so quickly.

Christopher Green, senior advisor at International Crisis Group, said the outcome was unexpected, “but I don’t think it’s a disaster and it doesn’t end the dialogue process”.

“There will have to be some re-booting and I would expect after a period of relative quiet that lower level talks will begin again,” he added.

But while Trump has his eye on next year’s US presidential election — and is said to want a Nobel Peace Prize — Kim is the third generation of his family to rule the North and undoubtedly expects to remain in power for decades.

And Ri said the North’s stance would “never” change in any future negotiations.

“These talks will take a long time and will far outlive this presidency,” said David Kim.

“Patience is a virtue.”

https://www.dailymail.co.uk/wires/afp/article-6755679/No-deal-no-problem-Trump-Kim-summit-analysts.html

 

http://www.crs.gov | 7-5700
Updated January 29, 2019
North Korea’s Nuclear and Ballistic Missile Programs
Overview
North Korea has made rapid advancements in its nuclear
weapons and ballistic missile programs. Since Kim Jong-un
came to power in 2012, North Korea has conducted over 80
ballistic missile test launches. In 2016, North Korea
conducted two nuclear weapons tests and 26 ballistic
missile flight tests on a variety of platforms. In 2017, North
Korea test launched 18 ballistic missiles (with five failures),
including two launches in July and another in November
that many ascribe as ICBM tests (intercontinental ballistic
missiles). It last conducted a nuclear test in September
2017. The North Korean leader pledged to work toward
“complete denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula” in the
U.S.-DPRK Singapore Summit statement. In its 2019
assessment to Congress, the DNI said that “North Korea is
unlikely to give up all of its nuclear weapons and
production capabilities, even as it seeks to negotiate partial
denuclearization steps to obtain key US and international
concessions.”
Despite the absence of any missile launch activity or
nuclear tests in 2018, previous tests and official North
Korean statements suggest that North Korea is striving to
build a credible regional nuclear warfighting capability that
might evade regional ballistic missile defenses. Such an
approach likely reinforces their deterrent and coercive
diplomacy strategy—lending more credibility as it
demonstrates capability—but it also raises serious questions
about crisis stability and escalation control. Congress may
further examine these advances’ possible effects on U.S.
policy.
Nuclear Tests
On September 3, 2017, North Korea announced that it had
tested a hydrogen bomb (or two-stage thermonuclear
warhead) that it said it was perfecting for delivery on an
intercontinental ballistic missile. North Korea has tested a
nuclear explosive device five other times since 2006.
According to U.S. and international estimates, each test
produced underground blasts that were progressively higher
in magnitude and estimated yield. According to the North
Korean test announcement, the country had achieved
“perfect success in the test of a hydrogen bomb for
intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM).” In early 2018,
North Korea announced that it had achieved its goals and
would no longer conduct nuclear tests and would close
down its test site. It dynamited the entrances to two test
tunnels in May prior to the Trump-Kim summit. Kim Jong
Un told Secretary Pompeo in an October meeting that he
“invited inspectors to visit the Punggye Ri nuclear test site
to confirm that it has been irreversibly dismantled.” Such an
inspection has not yet occurred.
Nuclear Material Production
North Korea continues to produce fissile material
(plutonium and highly enriched uranium) for weapons.
North Korea restarted its plutonium production facilities
after it withdrew from a nuclear agreement in 2009, and is
operating at least one centrifuge enrichment plant at its
Yongbyon nuclear complex. During the September 2018
North-South Pyongyang Summit, the North stated its
willingness to “permanently disable” the Yongbyon
facilities if the United States took “corresponding
measures.” U.S. officials have said that it is likely other
clandestine enrichment facilities exist. Open-source
reports, citing U.S. government sources, in July 2018
identified one such site at Kangson.
There is no public U.S. Intelligence Community (IC)
consensus of North Korea’s fissile material stockpiles.
News reports in August 2017 said that one component of
the IC, the U.S. Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA), had
estimated a stockpile of up to 60 nuclear warheads.
Nongovernmental open source estimates are based on
material production activities at the Yongbyon site as well
as past stockpile estimates. Some experts believe that North
Korea could have potentially produced enough material for
13-21 nuclear weapons, and that North Korea could now
potentially produce enough nuclear material for an
additional 7 warheads per year.
Doctrine
North Korean statements, taken at face value, appear to
describe North Korea’s nuclear arsenal as a deterrent to the
U.S. “nuclear war threats.” In his 2017 New Year’s address,
North Korean leader Kim Jong Un stated that the North had
“achieved the status of a nuclear power,” and promised to
continue to “build up our self-defense capability, the pivot
of which is the nuclear forces, and the capability for
preemptive strike … to defend peace and security of our
state.” Kim also said at the 2016 Workers’ Party Congress
that North Korea “will not use a nuclear weapon unless its
sovereignty is encroached upon by an aggressive hostile
force with nukes.” The statement also said that the “nuclear
weapons of the DPRK can be used only by a final order of
the Supreme Commander of the Korean People’s Army
(Kim Jong Un) to repel invasion or attack from a hostile
nuclear weapons state and make retaliatory strikes.”
The U.S. intelligence community has characterized the
purpose of North Korean nuclear weapons as intended for
“deterrence, international prestige, and coercive
diplomacy.” In its 2019 assessment to Congress, the DNI
said that “North Korean leaders view nuclear arms as
critical to regime survival.”
North Korea’s Nuclear and Ballistic Missile Programs
http://www.crs.gov | 7-5700
Warheads and Delivery Systems
According to the U.S. intelligence community, the prime
objective of North Korea’s nuclear weapons program is to
develop a nuclear warhead that is “miniaturized,” or
sufficiently lighter and smaller to be mounted on long-range
ballistic missiles. One of the most acute near-term threats to
other nations may be from the medium-range Nodong
missile, which could reach all of the Korean Peninsula and
some of mainland Japan. Outside the intelligence
community, U.S. officials have articulated conflicting
assessments of North Korea’s ability to produce a nuclear
warhead for its intercontinental-range missiles. The
intelligence community believes that North Korea has an
ICBM capability, but that neither North Korea nor the
United States knows whether that capability will work.
A December 2015 Department of Defense (DOD) report, as
well as the intelligence community’s 2018 worldwide threat
assessment, said that “North Korea is committed to
developing a long-range nuclear-armed missile that is
capable of posing a direct threat to the United States.” The
DOD report outlined two hypothetical ICBMs on which
North Korea could mount a nuclear warhead and deliver to
the continental United States: the KN-08 and the
Taepodong-2, which was the base rocket for the Unha-2
space launch vehicle. North Korea has paraded what are
widely considered mock-ups or engineering models of the
KN-08 and KN-14 ICBMs. In 2016, the intelligence
community assessed that “North Korea has already taken
initial steps toward fielding this [ICBM] system, although
the system has not been flight-tested.” In July 2017, the
DPRK conducted what most have now assessed as two
ICBM tests.
In December 2012, North Korea launched an Unha-3 to
deliver a satellite into space. The DOD noted that although
this space launch vehicle “contributes heavily to North
Korea’s long-range ballistic missile development,” the
country did not test a reentry vehicle (RV), and absent an
effective RV, “North Korea cannot deliver a weapon to
target from an ICBM.” North Korea launched the Unha-3
again in February 2016, placing a satellite into earth orbit.
Some observers assert that the Unha-3 could be used as an
ICBM, but no other country has deployed a space launch
vehicle as a nuclear-armed ICBM or developed an ICBM
from the technology base of a space launch program alone.
Recent static engine tests of a large rocket engine in late
2016 and early 2017 suggest to some progress in their
ICBM program, and to others progress in developing a
larger space launch vehicle.
North Korea has demonstrated limited but growing success
in its medium-range ballistic missile (MRBM) program and
its submarine-launched ballistic missile (SLBM) test
program. Moreover, North Korea appears to be making
some progress in moving slowly toward solid rocket motors
for its ballistic missiles. Solid fuel is a chemically more
stable option that also allows for reduced reaction and
reload times. Successful tests of the Pukguksong-2 (KN-15)
solid fuel MRBM in 2017 led North Korea to announce it
would now mass produce those missiles.
Since the June 2018 Singapore Summit, reports have
surfaced showing the dismantlement of a rocket engine test
stand at the Sohae satellite launch complex. Although the
test stand could be rebuilt, some observers see this as a
positive development toward denuclearization while others
have suggested the stand was no longer needed for liquidfuel engines, as North Korea may be opting instead to test
and deploy solid rocket motors for their missiles. There
have also been reports that North Korea may now be
producing liquid-fueled ICBMs at another facility outside
the North Korean capital, but other experts point out
developments there are not yet clear. Other observers note
that closing a test stand would not prevent mass production
of current designs.
Mobile ballistic missiles, which North Korea is developing,
and other measures also reduce U.S. detection abilities.
These things together suggest that their test program may
be more than just for show or to make a political
statement—that it may be intended to increase the
reliability, effectiveness, and survivability of their ballistic
missile force. North Korea has increased ballistic missile
testing in recent years. These tests have demonstrated
growing success and, coupled with increased operational
training exercises, suggest a pattern designed to strengthen
the credibility of North Korea’s regional nuclear deterrent
strategy.
A recent focus in North Korea’s ballistic missile test
program appears to be directed at developing a capability to
defeat or degrade the effectiveness of missile defenses, such
as Patriot, Aegis BMD, and THAAD, all of which are or
will be deployed in the region. Some of the 2016 missile
tests were lofted to much higher altitudes and shorter ranges
than an optimal ballistic trajectory. On reentry, a warhead
from such a launch would come in at a much steeper angle
of attack and at much faster speed to its intended target,
making it potentially more difficult to intercept with missile
defenses. North Korea has demonstrated in 2017 the ability
to launch a salvo attack with more than one missile
launched in relatively short order. This is consistent with a
possible goal of being able to conduct large ballistic missile
attacks with large raid sizes, a capability that could make it
more challenging for a missile defense system to destroy
each incoming warhead. Finally, North Korea’s progress
with SLBMs might suggest an effort to counter land-based
THAAD missile defenses by launching attacks from
positions at sea that are outside the THAAD system’s radar
field of view, but not necessarily outside the capabilities of
Aegis BMD systems deployed in the region.
Taken together, North Korea’s progress in nuclear testing,
its declared standardization of warhead designs and
potential to put those warheads on MRBMs, increased
confidence in the reliability of its short-range missile, and
efforts seemingly designed to degrade regional ballistic
missile defense systems suggest that North Korea may be
building a credible regional nuclear warfighting and ICBM
nuclear deterrent capability.
Mary Beth D. Nikitin, mnikitin@crs.loc.gov, 7-7745
IF10472

Story 3: United States Real Gross Domestic Product (GDP) Grew At 2.9% in 2018 and Advance Estimate of 2.6 % in the fourth quarter of 2018 — Videos

US GDP grows at 2.6% in Q4

U.S. Economy Grew 2.6% In Q4 2018

Falling Short Of His Biggest Economic Promise

U.S. GDP Underwhelms

US Q4 GDP Thursday

J.P. Morgan Cuts U.S. Fourth-Quarter 2018 GDP View After Dismal Retail Sales

What is Gross Domestic Product (GDP)?

Nominal vs. Real GDP

The U.S. Gross Domestic Product (GDP)

Trump and GOP promised economic growth much better than Obama’s. That’s not what happened

 | 
KEY POINTS
  • Throughout the 2016 campaign and since, the president and his party have vowed to kick-start tepid Obama-era economic growth.
  • New government data show that Trump, too, has failed to reach the 3 percent promised land, according to one major metric.
  • The Commerce Department’s Bureau of Economic Analysis measured 2018 growth at 2.9 percent, matching the peak Obama enjoyed in 2015.
  • For the rest of the president’s term, economic forecasters agree, that number will decline.

GDP grew at 2.6% in Q4—Here’s what five market experts are watching now

President Donald Trump’s central claim about his economic policies officially crashed into reality on Thursday.

Throughout the 2016 campaign and since, the president and his party have vowed to kick-start tepid Obama-era economic growth. Specifically, they insisted tax cuts and deregulation would return growth to its post-World War II average of 3 percent — a level, candidate Trump said derisively, that President Barack Obama became “the first president in modern history” never to reach in a single year.

New government data on Thursday morning show that Trump, too, has failed to reach the 3 percent promised land, according to one major metric. The Commerce Department’s Bureau of Economic Analysis measured 2018 growth at 2.9 percent, matching the peak Obama enjoyed in 2015.

By that measure, the economy grew 3.1 percent. But Obama, too, reached 3 percent growth on a four-quarter basis four different times.

Where Obama failed to enjoy 3 percent annual growth was on the BEA’s official annual number. His 2015 peak was 2.9 percent, like Trump’s for 2018. Thursday’s preliminary 2.9 percent figure could later be revised, although economist Mark Zandi of Moody’s Analytics said the most likely direction would be down.

For the rest of the president’s term, economic forecasters agree, that number will decline.

“2018 will be the high-water mark for growth in the Trump administration,” Zandi predicted. He expects the decade-old economic expansion will shrink to 1.1 percent growth in 2020, with a better-than-even chance of recession.

The Next Recession: Mark Zandi says corporate debt could cause ‘reckoning’ in 2020

For the 21st century economy, 2.9 percent represents strong performance in any event. Not since 2005, during George W. Bush’s presidency, has America seen a full-year expansion of 3 percent or more. Moreover, 2018 marked the second consecutive year that growth accelerated by six-tenths of a percentage point from 1.6 percent in Obama’s final year in office.

GOP’s hollow campaign pledge

Economically, that falls short of the upgrade Team Trump pledged. Politically, it demonstrates the hollowness of a core GOP campaign theme.

The theme hardly originated with Trump. Announcing his presidential candidacy in 2015, then-frontrunner Jeb Bush blamed Democratic policies for “the slowest economic recovery ever” and identified the solution as tax cuts and deregulation.

“There is not a reason in the world why we cannot grow at a rate of 4 percent of year,” Bush declared.

Obama’s economic advisers cited two big reasons: sluggish worker productivity and shrinking labor supply as baby boomers retire. Those factors, they argued, limited potential growth to a long-term average of 2 percent.

Trump, with characteristic grandiosity, dismissed that argument and outbid Bush. “We think it could be 5 or even 6” percent, he said.

His economic advisers remained more cautious. But they cast sustained growth of 3 percent or more, driven by new, productivity-boosting business investment, as the floor beneath their strategy for making Americans better off and protecting the federal budget.

“The foundation for the plan is 3 percent growth,” budget director Mick Mulvaney told Congress. “In fact, that IS Trumponomics.”

Women have returned to the labor force and it’s helping drive wages higher
‘Abracadabra,’ Obama

Growth ticked up in 2017 to 2.2 percent, though that rate fell below what the Congressional Budget Office had forecast before Trump’s election. As the president took steps toward deregulation, Republican allies in Congress called tax cuts critical to achieving their 3 percent goal.

The tax cuts passed in December 2017. And when growth surged to 4.2 percent in the second quarter of 2018, the White House declared victory.

“We’re on track to reach the highest annualized growth in 13 years,” the president assured reporters.

“Remember when Obama said you need a magic wand to make that happen?” Donald Trump Jr. told Breitbart. “Well ‘abracadabra,’ Obama. We’re doing it.”

In fact, growth in a single quarter had topped 4.2 percent four different times during the Obama administration. A broad range of analysts had forecast that a deficit-financed tax-cut would stimulate short-term boost beginning in 2018.

Yet even as 3rd quarter growth slowed to 3.4 percent, White House advisers reiterated their confidence. In July, Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin called the U.S. “well on the path” for four to five years of sustained 3 percent growth.

In December, top White House economist Kevin Hassett sounded the same note while acknowledging a slowdown in business investment. “We’re definitely going to be at 3 or above 3” for both 2018 and 2019, he told CNBC.

Thursday’s BEA data show otherwise. Growth kept falling in the fourth quarter, to 2.6 percent. The increase in business investment has continued to taper.

Having predicted growth of “substantially over 3 percent,” former National Economic Council director Gary Cohn, has blamed Trump’s trade tariffs for offsetting the boost from the tax cut. But the White House and its allies lacked credible evidence for their growth claim to begin with.

“The 3 percent long-term projection was always a stretch in light of the demographic headwinds,” Harvard’s Greg Mankiw, who chaired the Council of Economic Advisers for President Bush, told CNBC.

Justin Wolfers: Biggest risk to strong U.S. economy is Trump in the White House

That doesn’t mean the White House agenda won’t have long-term benefits. But Republican economist Doug Holtz-Eakin, a former Bush adviser and CBO director, says determining its impact will take years.

“The real question is how much the trend has improved: are we decelerating to 2.5 percent instead of 2.0 percent?” asked Holtz-Eakin. “The test of the Trump administration policies will be their impact on productivity growth, and the data are not yet in.”

Meantime, economists at CBO and the Federal Reserve have cut their forecasts for 2019 growth to 2.3 percent. For the long-term, both project growth below 2 percent.

Correction: This story was revised to correct a summary that should have said the Bureau of Economic Analysis measured 2018 growth at 2.9 percent, matching the peak Obama enjoyed in 2015. It also was updated to reflect other measures of GDP growth.

https://www.cnbc.com/2019/02/28/trumps-economic-policies-failed-to-deliver-promised-3percent-growth-in-2018.html

 

EMBARGOED UNTIL RELEASE AT 8:30 A.M. EST, Thursday, February 28, 2019
BEA 19-05

Gross Domestic Product, Fourth Quarter and Annual 2018 (Initial Estimate)

Real gross domestic product (GDP) increased at an annual rate of 2.6 percent in the fourth quarter of 2018 (table 1), according to the “initial” estimate released by the Bureau of Economic Analysis. In the third quarter, real GDP increased 3.4 percent.

Due to the recent partial government shutdown, this initial report for the fourth quarter and annual GDP for 2018 replaces the release of the “advance” estimate originally scheduled for January 30th and the “second” estimate originally scheduled for February 28th. See the Technical Note for details.

The Bureau emphasized that the fourth-quarter initial estimate released today is based on source data that are incomplete or subject to further revision by the source agency (see “Source Data for the Initial Estimate” on page 3). Updated estimates for the fourth quarter, based on more complete data, will be released on March 28, 2019.

Real GDP: Percent change from preceding quarterThe increase in real GDP in the fourth quarter reflected positive contributions from personal consumption expenditures (PCE), nonresidential fixed investment, exports, private inventory investment, and federal government spending. Those were partly offset by negative contributions from residential fixed investment, and state and local government spending. Imports, which are a subtraction in the calculation of GDP, increased (table 2).

The deceleration in real GDP growth in the fourth quarter reflected decelerations in private inventory investment, PCE, and federal government spending and a downturn in state and local government spending. These movements were partly offset by an upturn in exports and an acceleration in nonresidential fixed investment. Imports increased less in the fourth quarter than in the third quarter.

Current dollar GDP increased 4.6 percent, or $233.2 billion, in the fourth quarter to a level of $20.89 trillion. In the third quarter, current-dollar GDP increased 4.9 percent, or $246.3 billion (table 1 and table 3).

The price index for gross domestic purchases increased 1.6 percent in the fourth quarter, compared with an increase of 1.8 percent in the third quarter (table 4). The PCE price index increased 1.5 percent, compared with an increase of 1.6 percent. Excluding food and energy prices, the PCE price index increased 1.7 percent, compared with an increase of 1.6 percent.

Personal Income (table 8)

Current-dollar personal income increased $225.1 billion in the fourth quarter, compared with an increase of $190.6 billion in the third quarter. The acceleration in personal income reflected an upturn in farm proprietors’ income and accelerations in personal dividend income and personal interest income. Compensation of employees decelerated.

Disposable personal income increased $218.7 billion, or 5.7 percent, in the fourth quarter, compared with an increase of $160.9 billion, or 4.2 percent, in the third quarter. Real disposable personal income increased 4.2 percent, compared with an increase of 2.6 percent.

Personal saving was $1.06 trillion in the fourth quarter, compared with $996.0 billion in the third quarter. The personal saving rate — personal saving as a percentage of disposable personal income — was 6.7 percent in the fourth quarter, compared with 6.4 percent in the third quarter.

Updates to third quarter GDI

For the third quarter of 2018, the percent change in real GDI was revised from 4.3 percent to 4.6 percent based on newly available tabulations from the BLS Quarterly Census of Employment and Wages program.

2018 GDP

Real GDP increased 2.9 percent in 2018 (from the 2017 annual level to the 2018 annual level), compared with an increase of 2.2 percent in 2017 (table 1).

The increase in real GDP in 2018 primarily reflected positive contributions from PCE, nonresidential fixed investment, exports, federal government spending, private inventory investment, and state and local government spending that were slightly offset by a small negative contribution from residential fixed investment. Imports, which are a subtraction in the calculation of GDP, increased (table 2).

The acceleration in real GDP from 2017 to 2018 primarily reflected accelerations in nonresidential fixed investment, private inventory investment, federal government spending, exports, and PCE, and an upturn in state and local government spending that were partly offset by a downturn in residential investment.

Current-dollar GDP increased 5.2 percent, or $1.02 trillion, in 2018 to a level of $20.50 trillion, compared with an increase of 4.2 percent, or $778.2 billion, in 2017 (table 1 and table 3).

The price index for gross domestic purchases increased 2.2 percent in 2018, compared with an increase of 1.9 percent in 2017 (table 4). The PCE price index increased 2.0 percent, compared with an increase of 1.8 percent. Excluding food and energy prices, the PCE price index increased 1.9 percent, compared with an increase of 1.6 percent (table 4).

During 2018 (measured from the fourth quarter of 2017 to the fourth quarter of 2018), real GDP increased 3.1 percent, compared with an increase of 2.5 percent during 2017. The price index for gross domestic purchases increased 2.1 percent during 2018, compared with an increase of 1.9 percent during 2017.

Source Data for the Initial Estimate

Information on the source data and key assumptions used for unavailable source data in the initial estimate is provided in a Technical Note that is posted with the news release on BEA’s Web site. A detailed “Key Source Data and Assumptions” file is also posted for each release. For information on updates to GDP, see the “Additional Information” section that follows.

*          *          *

Next release, March 28, 2019 at 8:30 A.M. EST
Gross Domestic Product, Fourth Quarter 2018
Corporate Profits, Fourth Quarter 2018

https://www.bea.gov/news/2019/initial-gross-domestic-product-4th-quarter-and-annual-2018

 

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The Pronk Pops Show 1216, February 26, 2019, Story 1: Dirt Desperate Democrats of The Senate and House Intelligence Committees Questioned Convicted Felon Michael Cohen in Closed Sessions (No Evidence of Russian/Trump Collusion Which Is Not A Crime) and House Oversight Committee in Open Session — Videos — Story 2: Make Trump’s Day and Assure Trump’s Reelection in 2020 — Please Impeach Him and Face American People Backlash — Videos — Story 3: Communist China Indoctrinating U.S Student From K-12 and College Through Confucius Institutes and Sympathetic Propaganda on Communist Chinese Regime — Videos

Posted on February 27, 2019. Filed under: 2020 President Candidates, 2020 Republican Candidates, American History, Banking System, Blogroll, Breaking News, Budgetary Policy, Business, Cartoons, Clinton Obama Democrat Criminal Conspiracy, Computers, Congress, Constitutional Law, Corruption, Countries, Crime, Culture, Deep State, Defense Spending, Donald J. Trump, Donald J. Trump, Donald J. Trump, Donald Trump, Economics, Education, Elections, Energy, Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), Federal Government, Fiscal Policy, Foreign Policy, Freedom of Speech, Government, Government Dependency, Government Spending, High Crimes, History, House of Representatives, Housing, Human, Human Behavior, Illegal Immigration, Immigration, Impeachment, Independence, Labor Economics, Law, Legal Immigration, Life, Lying, Media, Mental Illness, Monetary Policy, National Interest, News, People, Philosophy, Photos, Politics, Polls, Pro Life, Progressives, Raymond Thomas Pronk, Scandals, Senate, Spying, Spying on American People, Success, Surveillance and Spying On American People, Surveillance/Spying, Tax Policy, Taxation, Taxes, Trade Policy, Treason, Trump Surveillance/Spying, Unemployment, United States Constitution, United States of America, Videos, Violence, Wall Street Journal, War, Wealth, Wisdom | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

 

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Story 1: Dirt Desperate Democrats of The Senate and House Intelligence Committees Questioned Convicted Felon Michael Cohen in Closed Sessions (No Evidence of Russian/Trump Collusion (Which Is Not A Crime) and House Oversight Committee in Open Session — Videos

Mark Levin slams Michael Cohen’s plea deal

Andrew McCarthy on Michael Cohen’s guilty plea and sentencing

Michael Cohen to testify before Congress this week

How Michael Cohen became Trump’s worst enemy | With Chris Cillizza

Trump will benefit if Democrats try to impeach him: Dennis Miller

Cohen’s lawyer wants Trump censured by the House

‘The Press, Prosecutors & Partisans’: Ingraham on Clinton ‘Fixer’ Lanny Davis & CNN’s ‘Bombshell’

Full Lanny Davis Interview: Michael Cohen Was ‘Never, Ever’ In Prague | MTP Daily | MSNBC

New York Times: Michael Cohen Hires Lanny Davis | Hardball | MSNBC

Mark Levin: Mueller’s purpose is to remove the president

Andrew McCarthy – Mueller’s End Game May Be Impeachment

Dershowitz Pushes Back on Liberal Critics: My Arguments Against Trump Impeachment Are Not Political

 

Michael Cohen testifies behind closed doors on Capitol Hill in first of three hearings

By Alex Pappas | Fox News

Michael Cohen, the ex-Trump fixer who has been sentenced to three years in prison, arrived on Capitol Hill Tuesday for the first of three congressional hearings this week where he is expected to testify against his former boss.

Cohen’s testimony Tuesday before the Senate Intelligence Committee is taking place behind closed doors. On Wednesday, Cohen is testifying before the House Oversight Committee, which will be open. On Thursday, Cohen appears behind closed doors for a House Intelligence Committee interview.

MICHAEL COHEN, FORMER TRUMP ATTORNEY, GETS 3 YEARS IN PRISON FOR TAX FRAUD, CAMPAIGN FINANCE VIOLATIONS, LYING

As he entered the hearing room Tuesday, Cohen did not answer questions from reporters about why he should be trusted. As part of a deal with prosecutors, Cohen pleaded guilty to previously lying to Congress about Trump’s past business dealings in Russia, among other crimes.

The White House, in a statement Tuesday, sought to portray Cohen as a liar.

“Disgraced felon Michael Cohen is going to prison for lying to Congress and making other false statements,” White House press secretary Sarah Sanders said. “Sadly, he will go before Congress this week and we can expect more of the same. It’s laughable that anyone would take a convicted liar like Cohen at his word, and pathetic to see him given yet another opportunity to spread his lies.”

Asked by reporters Tuesday what he hopes to hear from Cohen, Senate Intelligence Committee chairman Richard Burr, R-N.C., replied: “Truth.” But Burr added that Cohen has got a questionable track record, when asked if he could believe Cohen or not.

TRUMP, GIULIANI DENY PRESIDENT TRIED OBSTRUCTING MICHAEL COHEN INVESTIGATION

Democrats said ahead of the hearing they want to press Cohen about Trump’s past business endeavors in Russia.

“Because we know that Donald Trump, during his campaign, said ‘I have no interest in Russia’ but that’s yet another one of his total lies,” Senate Judiciary Committee member Mazie Hirono, D-Hawaii, said Monday.

Cohen worked for Trump’s business for years before Trump ran for president, serving as the president’s personal lawyer and counselor.

According to a recent memo sent out by committee staff, Cohen’s appearance before the House oversight panel will concern various financial issues related to the 2016 presidential campaign, including payments to adult film star Stormy Daniels and former Playboy model Karen McDougal that federal prosecutors in New York say were directed by Trump. The hearing will also examine whether Trump has complied with campaign finance and tax laws, his ties to the Trump International Hotel in Washington and “potential and actual conflicts of interest.”

COHEN ON CAPITOL HILL COULD BE CRUCIAL TO UNDERSTANDING THE DIRECTION OF BOTH PARTIES BEFORE 2020

A person with knowledge of Cohen’s planned testimony before the House Oversight Committee told the Wall Street Journal that Cohen will publicly accuse Trump of criminal conduct in relation to the hush-money payments.

The Wall Street Journal also reported that Cohen will accuse Trump in his testimony of inflating or deflating his net worth at times to avoid property taxes.

Cohen will not be questioned about the ongoing investigations by Special Counsel Robert Mueller or the House and Senate Intelligence Committees into alleged collusion between the Trump campaign and Russian officials.

Last week, a federal judge approved Cohen’s request to push back the date he is scheduled to report to federal prison by two months. Cohen’s attorneys had pushed for the postponement, saying he had recently undergone shoulder surgery and needed the extra time to complete physical therapy as well as his congressional testimony.

Cohen was originally scheduled to report to jail on March 6 to begin serving a three-year sentence after he pleaded guilty to campaign finance and other violations last year. He is now scheduled to report to jail May 6.

In December, Cohen was sentenced to three years in prison after pleading guilty to campaign finance violations, tax evasion and lying to Congress. He agreed to cooperate with prosecutors as part of a deal.

The charges against Cohen arose from two separate investigations – one by federal prosecutors in New York, and the other by Special Counsel Robert Mueller.

Both cases hold potential implications for Trump. Cohen’s admission in the former to breaking the law in making hush-money payments during the 2016 campaign to two women who claimed affairs with Trump has raised questions about whether prosecutors may eventually pursue charges against the president. Cohen said he did so at Trump’s direction.

Speaking in court in December before the judge issued the sentence, Cohen said “blind loyalty” to Trump led him “to take a path of darkness instead of light.”

https://www.foxnews.com/politics/michael-cohen-testifies-behind-closed-doors-on-capitol-hill-in-first-of-three-hearings

 

Lanny Davis

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Lanny Davis
Lanny picture.tif
Born
Lanny Jesse Davis

December 12, 1945 (age 73)

Education Yale University (BAJD)
Known for Former Clinton advisor, political strategist
Political party Democratic
Spouse(s) Elaine Charney[1] (divorced)
Carolyn Atwell
Children Seth

Lanny Jesse Davis (born December 12, 1945) is an American political operative, lawyer, consultant, lobbyist, author, and television commentator. He is the co-founder and partner of the law firm of Davis Goldberg & Galper PLLC, and co-founder and partner of the public relations firm Trident DMG. From 1996 to 1998, he served as a special counsel to President Bill Clinton, and was a spokesperson for the President and the White House on matters concerning campaign-finance investigations and other legal issues.[citation needed]

In July 2018, Davis was hired by Michael Cohen, a former personal attorney to Donald Trump, to represent him as co-counsel in the Stormy Daniels–Donald Trump scandal.[2] Davis later represented Cohen when he pleaded guilty to tax fraud, bank fraud, and violation of campaign finance laws on August 21, 2018.[3]

Davis’s clients have included Porton GroupNational Women’s History MuseumNational Black Chamber of Commerce, eHealth, Sofitel Hotels, Trent LottGene UpshawDan SnyderMartha Stewart and the Office of the President at Penn State University. Davis has been a regular television commentator and political and legal analyst for MSNBCCNNCNBC and network television news programs.[4] He currently has a column called “Purple Nation” that appears regularly in a variety of publications spanning the political spectrum, including The HillThe Huffington PostFoxNews.com and The Daily Caller. A Yale Law School graduate, he won the Thurman Arnold Moot Court prize and served on the Yale Law Journal.[citation needed]

In 2005, President George W. Bush appointed Davis to serve as the only Democratic member of the five-member Privacy and Civil Liberties Oversight Board, created by the U.S. Congress as part of the 2005 Intelligence Reform Act.

Background

Davis grew up in Jersey City, New Jersey, in a Jewish family. His father Mort was a dentist in Jersey City and his mother worked as the office manager of his father’s dental office.[5] He attended Newark Academy in Newark, graduating in 1962. As an undergraduate at Yale, he was a member of the Delta Kappa Epsilon fraternity. According to an item in U.S. News & World Report, as part of his initiation into the fraternity, Davis underwent hazing by, among others, the future President of the United States George W. Bush.[6] He also served as chairman of the campus newspaper, the Yale Daily News.[7] Davis went on to receive his J.D. degree from Yale Law School in 1970. It was there that he first met Hillary Clinton.[8]

Davis has four children, and now lives in Potomac, Maryland, with his second wife, Carolyn Atwell-Davis, who is the legislative affairs director for the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children. One of his sons, Seth, is a columnist for Sports Illustrated magazine and a college basketball commentator for CBS.[9]

Career

Politics

Lanny Davis, 2014

From 1970 to 1972, Davis was National Director of Youth Coalition for Muskie, the youth organization of Edmund S. Muskie‘s unsuccessful campaign for the 1972 Democratic Party Presidential nomination.[citation needed]

In 1976 Davis ran for Congress as a Democrat in Maryland’s 8th congressional district and lost to Republican Newton Steers.[citation needed]

Davis served three terms (1980–1992) on the Democratic National Committee representing the State of Maryland. In 2005 President Bush appointed Davis to serve as the only Democrat on the Privacy and Civil Liberties Oversight Board.[citation needed]

Davis was the treasurer for Joe Lieberman‘s Reuniting Our Country PAC.[10]

Attorney

Davis started his legal career as an associate at Patton Boggs in 1975 and became a partner in 1978. He served as special counsel to the President from 1996 to 1998, during which time he also was the spokesman for Clinton in issues regarding campaign finance investigations and other legal issues, including President Clinton’s impeachment trial.[citation needed]

After leaving the White House, Davis returned to Patton Boggs. There he worked as a lobbyist for the nation of Pakistan prior to the attacks of September 11, 2001.[11] In 2003, Davis became a partner in Washington, D.C. office of the law firm Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe. There, he provides counseling to corporations and government contractors on crisis management. He left the firm in late 2009 to join McDermott Will & Emery, but separated from the firm seven months later to open his own company, Lanny J. Davis & Associates.[12][13]

He was a senior advisor and spokesman for the Israel Project. In 2009, he did “damage control for hawkish Democratic congresswoman Jane Harman over the American Israel Public Affairs Committee leak story“.[14]

In January 2012 Davis launched a new public affairs firm, Purple Nation Solutions. Davis also joined the Philadelphia-based law firm of Dilworth Paxson L.L.P. in March 2012, practicing out of the firm’s Washington office and focusing on “legal crisis management.”[15]

In October 2012 Davis was the subject of a CBS Sunday Morning segment where he took investigative journalist Sharyl Attkisson behind the scenes into the world of lobbying, focusing on his work for eHealthInsurance.[16] In October 2013 Davis began acting as outside legal counsel to the Washington Redskins to help defend the organization’s nickname.[17] He also represented Kathleen Kane and Bo Dietl in his solo practice.[13]

In 2016, at the age of 70, Davis co-founded the law firm of Davis Goldberg & Galper with partners Adam Goldberg and Joshua Galper, stating that he needed to continue supporting his family but was too busy to handle his workload by himself.[13] In addition to co-founding Davis Goldberg & Galper, Davis started a new PR firm, called TridentDMG, in partnership with Eleanor McManus, who had worked with Davis since 2010 and previously served as a senior producer for CNN’s “Larry King Live.”[18]

Michael Cohen

File:Full Lanny Davis Interview- Michael Cohen Was 'Never, Ever' In Prague - MTP Daily - MSNBC.webm

Davis on MSNBC in 2018

In July 2018, Davis was hired by Michael Cohen, a former personal attorney to Donald Trump, to represent him as co-counsel in the Stormy Daniels–Donald Trump scandal.[2] Davis encouraged Cohen to reveal that he and Trump had discussed a payment surrounding a different affair with model Karen McDougal. Davis later revealed that Cohen had secretly recorded the conversation with Trump, and he released a tape of the conversation to CNN, which played it on the air. On it, Trump and Cohen can be heard discussing how to make a payment for “all of that info regarding our friend David,” interpreted as meaning David Pecker, the head of American Media which publishes the National Enquirer.[19][20]

Davis continued to serve as Cohen’s attorney when Cohen came under federal criminal investigation by the United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York,[3] and papers and other materials were seized from Cohen in April 2018 under a subpoena.[21][22] Davis helped Cohen to negotiate a plea bargain under which he agreed to plead guilty to several charges in return for leniency in sentencing. On August 21, Cohen pleaded guilty to eight charges: five counts of tax evasion, one count of making false statements to a financial institution, one count of willfully causing an unlawful corporate contribution, and one count of making an excessive campaign contribution at the request of a candidate or campaign.[23][24]

After Cohen’s guilty plea and conviction, Davis made several public comments, indicating that Cohen is ready to “tell everything about Donald Trump that he knows”,[25] and alluding to Cohen’s knowledge which could be used against Trump.[26] He later added that he believed Cohen would agree to testify before Congress, even without immunity.[27] He also rejected the possibility of a presidential pardon from Trump, saying that Cohen would “never accept a pardon from a man that he considers to be both corrupt and a dangerous person in the oval office.”[28]

Foreign government representation

In July 2009 Davis represented the Honduran Business Council and testified publicly before the House Western Hemisphere Subcommittee on its behalf. He criticized the deportation of former President Manuel Zelaya but also supported a reconciliation solution based on principles of the rule of law and due process.[29]

In 2010 Davis worked with the State Department’s West African Bureau and the U.S. Ambassador to Equatorial Guinea to assist in transitioning to a transparent democracy that protected due process and human rights. These efforts culminated in a speech Davis wrote for the President of Equatorial Guinea[30] that was ultimately endorsed by Archbishop Desmond Tutu of South Africa.[31]

For ten days in December 2010, Davis represented the Washington, D.C. Ivory Coast Embassy and Ambassador and worked closely with the State Department’s West African Bureau to facilitate a phone call from President Obama to the defeated president of Ivory Coast to try to persuade him to avoid bloodshed and make a peaceful exit from office. When the defeated Ivory Coast president refused to accept the phone call, Davis resigned.[32] On January 1, 2011, the official spokesman of the U.S. State Department, P. J. Crowley, publicly acknowledged that Davis’ role was “helpful”.[33]

Author and commentator

In 1999, Davis wrote a memoir about his work in the White House titled Truth to Tell: Tell It Early, Tell It All, Tell It Yourself: Notes from My White House Education. His most recent book, which appeared in 2006, is titled Scandal: How “Gotcha” Politics Is Destroying America. The book received praise from politicians and commentators across party lines, including Senators Evan Bayh and Lindsey Graham.

Davis has also served as a frequent political commentator on television, radio, and newspapers. He writes for The Hills online Pundits Blog.

In 2006, through opinions expressed in The Wall Street Journal (August 8, 2006) and on Fox News, Davis strongly supported longtime friend Joseph Lieberman in his losing bid against Ned Lamont for the Democratic Party nomination for the post of U.S. Senator from Connecticut. He then continued to support Lieberman when he ran and won the General Election as an Independent.[citation needed]

In 2008, Davis supported Senator Hillary Clinton in her race for the Democratic nomination for President of the United States, and has appeared on Fox News, CNN, and MSNBC as a surrogate for her. After Clinton conceded, Davis went on to support Barack Obama.[34]

In 2008, Davis questioned the United States’ response to the conflict between Russia and Georgia and advised present and future U.S. leaders to consider the point of view of the Russian leaders before unilaterally supporting the government of Georgia in the conflict.[35]

Currently, Davis appears weekly on three radio programs: America’s Morning News Radio Show with John McCaslin, WMAL’s Mornings on the Mall, and Andy Parks Live. He was a participant in the D.C.’s Funniest Celebrity competition in 2011.[36]

Opinions and criticism

Glenn Greenwald, a lawyer and columnist for Salon, criticized Davis in 2009 for Davis’s perceived failure to disclose his clients. Greenwald asserted his clients included dictatorships and opponents of unions and health care reform.[37]

According to Salon columnist Justin Elliot, Davis “specializes in lobbying for controversial corporate and foreign clients, particularly those seeking Democratic representation in Washington“.[38] He has “built a client list that now includes oligarchic coup supporters in Honduras, a dictator in Equatorial Guineafor-profit colleges accused of exploiting students, and a company that dominates the manufacture of additives for infant formula“, as well as an “Ivory Coast strongman whose claims to that country’s presidency have been condemned by the international community and may even set off a civil war”. Among his clients are “Ivory Coast leader and flagrant human rights violator Laurent Gbagbo” and “Teodoro Obiang Nguema Mbasogo, the longtime dictator of oil-rich Equatorial Guinea.”[38]“Just as Davis was assuring the American press that his client, Gbagbo, opposed violence, Gbagbo’s forces were in fact mounting a campaign of organized violence against the opposition”.[39] The latter representation has earned him criticism from human rights groups, who claim that he “appears to be engaged in little more than a whitewashing exercise designed to rehabilitate the image of the Obiang regime on the international stage”.[40] Similar criticisms were aired in an acerbic exchange with Jon Lovett in The Atlantic.[41]

At the time of the events in the Ivory Coast, State Department spokesman P. J. Crowley issued the following statement: “Lanny did open another alternative channel of communications for us, and was providing the right advice to his client. President Gbagbo has declined to engage our ambassador, Phillip Carter. Absent that avenue, Lanny became another route to encourage President Gbagbo to leave. Unfortunately, every indication is that his client wasn’t heeding his advice.”[33]

Some of Davis’s emails with Hillary Clinton were released to the public as part of the Hillary Clinton email controversy. The flattering emails were characterized by some media members as “cringeworthy.”[42][43]

See also

References

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lanny_Davis

 

Chris Cillizza

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

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Chris Cillizza
Chris Cillizza 2012 05.jpg

Chris Cillizza at Miller Center in 2012
Born
Christopher Michael Cillizza

February 20, 1976 (age 43)

Nationality American
Alma mater Georgetown University
Occupation Journalist
Employer CNN
Spouse(s) Gia Cillizza
Website www.cnn.com/profiles/chris-cillizza

Christopher Michael “Chris” Cillizza (/sɪˈlɪzə/; born February 20, 1976)[1] is an American political commentator for CNN. Prior to joining CNN, he wrote for The Fix, the daily political weblog of The Washington Post, and was a regular contributor to the Post on political issues, a frequent panelist on Meet the Press, and was an MSNBC political analyst. Cillizza is also co-host of The Tony Kornheiser Show.[2][3] In April 2017, Cillizza began working for CNN, including writing and onscreen appearances.

 

Early life and education

Cillizza was born and raised in MarlboroughConnecticut.[4][5][6] Cillizza attended The Loomis Chaffee School (which he often refers to jokingly as the “Loomis Chaffee School for the Rich”),[7][better source needed] an independent boarding school in Windsor, Connecticut, and graduated in 1994.[8][6] He attended Georgetown University from 1994 to 1998, where he graduated with a B.A. in English.[9] He currently resides in Falls Church, Virginia with his wife and two children.[2] He is of Sicilian and Irish descent.[10]

Career

After working as a novelist and later an intern for conservative writer George Will,[11] Cillizza began his career in journalism. He initially desired to work as a sports writer, but decided that sports “would be less fun” than politics.[11] At The Cook Political Report He later worked on Roll Call prior to joining The Washington Post.[12] For the Cook Report he covered gubernatorial races and southern House races. He wrote a column on politics for Congress Daily. During his four years at Roll Call, which he joined in June 2001, he reported on campaign politics from the presidential to the congressional level, finishing his time at Roll Call as the paper’s White House correspondent.[13]

His freelance work has appeared in publications such as The Atlantic MonthlyWashingtonian, and Slate.[14] He has also been a guest on CNN, Fox News Channel and MSNBC.[13] After multiple guest appearances on the network, he was named an MSNBC Political Analyst, a position he resigned when he accepted a position at CNN.[15] He is also a frequent panelist on Meet the Press.

The Fix

Cillizza founded the blog The Fix in 2005 and wrote for it on a regular basis until he joined CNN in 2017.[16] The blog’s focus was American electoral politics, with Cillizza commenting on gubernatorialCongressional and presidential elections. He hosted the weekly Fix live chat. Cilizza also oversaw a monthly trivia contest called “Politics and Pints” at the Washington, D.C. bar Capitol Lounge.[17]

Media

From 2007 to 2008, Cillizza was a co-host of the MySpace/MTV Presidential Dialogues, which hosted John McCainBarack Obama, and others in a live-streamed, interactive Presidential event series. Cillizza and fellow The Washington Post columnist Dana Milbankappeared in a series of humor videos called Mouthpiece Theater, hosted by The Washington Post. An outcry followed a video in which, during a discussion of the White House “Beer Summit“, they chose new brands for a number of people, including “Mad Bitch Beer” for Hillary Clinton. Both men apologized for the video and the series was canceled.[18]

In July 2012, Broadway Books (a division of Penguin Random House) released his book, The Gospel According to the Fix.[19] Written in a blog-like format,[20] it contains lists such as “The 10 Best/Worst Negative Ads”, as well as coverage of the “deep personal hatreds that politics provoke” and predictions for the 2012 and 2016 presidential elections.[21]

Since 2014, Cillizza has served a regular co-host of The Tony Kornheiser Show.[2][3]

CNN

On April 3, 2017, Cillizza joined CNN as a “political reporter and digital editor-at-large,” contributing online and on television.[16][22]

On June 28, 2017, CNN Politics announced the launch of “The Point with Chris Cillizza.” According to the official press release, the new “multiplatform brand” will include “daily columns, on-air analysis, an evening newsletter, [a] podcast, and the launch of trivia night events in Washington, DC.”[23][24]

Reception

Columbia Journalism Review has described Cillizza’s informal, “everyman” style as being popular with readers, but extremely unpopular with other journalists and media experts.[11] Media critic Jay Rosen has compared his approach to infotainment which turns political analysis into gamesmanship detached from real-world implications.[25][11] Examples of his unserious approach to politics cited in the Columbia Journalism Review including a “second-by-second” analysis of a handshake between Donald Trump and Emmanuel Macron[26]and an article about the relationship between Jeff Sessions and the President,[27] among others.[11] Former CNN host Soledad O’Brien has also described Cillizza’s work as facile.[28][29] David Weigel has criticized Cillizza for focusing on arbitrary predictions rather than factual analysis.[30] Cillizza, along with Mark Halperin and Ron Fournier, was cited by Felix Biederman and Virgil Texas as one of the inspirations for their parody political pundit Carl Diggler.[31]

References

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chris_Cillizza

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Impeach Donald Trump

Starting the process will rein in a president who is undermining American ideals—and bring the debate about his fitness for office into Congress, where it belongs.

On january 20, 2017, Donald Trump stood on the steps of the Capitol, raised his right hand, and solemnly swore to faithfully execute the office of president of the United States and, to the best of his ability, to preserve, protect, and defend the Constitution of the United States. He has not kept that promise.

Instead, he has mounted a concerted challenge to the separation of powers, to the rule of law, and to the civil liberties enshrined in our founding documents. He has purposefully inflamed America’s divisions. He has set himself against the American idea, the principle that all of us—of every race, gender, and creed—are created equal.

This is not a partisan judgment. Many of the president’s fiercest critics have emerged from within his own party. Even officials and observers who support his policies are appalled by his pronouncements, and those who have the most firsthand experience of governance are also the most alarmed by how Trump is governing.

“The damage inflicted by President Trump’s naïveté, egotism, false equivalence, and sympathy for autocrats is difficult to calculate,” the late senator and former Republican presidential nominee John McCain lamented last summer. “The president has not risen to the mantle of the office,” the GOP’s other recent nominee, the former governor and now senator Mitt Romney, wrote in January.

The oath of office is a president’s promise to subordinate his private desires to the public interest, to serve the nation as a whole rather than any faction within it. Trump displays no evidence that he understands these obligations. To the contrary, he has routinely privileged his self-interest above the responsibilities of the presidency. He has failed to disclose or divest himself from his extensive financial interests, instead using the platform of the presidency to promote them. This has encouraged a wide array of actors, domestic and foreign, to seek to influence his decisions by funneling cash to properties such as Mar-a-Lago (the “Winter White House,” as Trump has branded it) and his hotel on Pennsylvania Avenue. Courts are now considering whether some of those payments violate the Constitution.

More troubling still, Trump has demanded that public officials put their loyalty to him ahead of their duty to the public. On his first full day in office, he ordered his press secretary to lie about the size of his inaugural crowd. He never forgave his first attorney general for failing to shut down investigations into possible collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia, and ultimately forced his resignation. “I need loyalty. I expect loyalty,” Trump told his first FBI director, and then fired him when he refused to pledge it.

Trump has evinced little respect for the rule of law, attempting to have the Department of Justice launch criminal probes into his critics and political adversaries. He has repeatedly attacked both Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein and Special Counsel Robert Mueller. His efforts to mislead, impede, and shut down Mueller’s investigation have now led the special counsel to consider whether the president obstructed justice.

As for the liberties guaranteed by the Constitution, Trump has repeatedly trampled upon them. He pledged to ban entry to the United States on the basis of religion, and did his best to follow through. He has attacked the press as the “enemy of the people” and barred critical outlets and reporters from attending his events. He has assailed black protesters. He has called for his critics in private industry to be fired from their jobs. He has falsely alleged that America’s electoral system is subject to massive fraud, impugning election results with which he disagrees as irredeemably tainted. Elected officials of both parties have repeatedly condemned such statements, which has only spurred the president to repeat them.

These actions are, in sum, an attack on the very foundations of America’s constitutional democracy.

The electorate passes judgment on its presidents and their shortcomings every four years. But the Framers were concerned that a president could abuse his authority in ways that would undermine the democratic process and that could not wait to be addressed. So they created a mechanism for considering whether a president is subverting the rule of law or pursuing his own self-interest at the expense of the general welfare—in short, whether his continued tenure in office poses a threat to the republic. This mechanism is impeachment.

Trump’s actions during his first two years in office clearly meet, and exceed, the criteria to trigger this fail-safe. But the United States has grown wary of impeachment. The history of its application is widely misunderstood, leading Americans to mistake it for a dangerous threat to the constitutional order.

That is precisely backwards. It is absurd to suggest that the Constitution would delineate a mechanism too potent to ever actually be employed. Impeachment, in fact, is a vital protection against the dangers a president like Trump poses. And, crucially, many of its benefits—to the political health of the country, to the stability of the constitutional system—accrue irrespective of its ultimate result. Impeachment is a process, not an outcome, a rule-bound procedure for investigating a president, considering evidence, formulating charges, and deciding whether to continue on to trial.

The fight over whether Trump should be removed from office is already raging, and distorting everything it touches. Activists are radicalizing in opposition to a president they regard as dangerous. Within the government, unelected bureaucrats who believe the president is acting unlawfully are disregarding his orders, or working to subvert his agenda. By denying the debate its proper outlet, Congress has succeeded only in intensifying its pressures. And by declining to tackle the question head-on, it has deprived itself of its primary means of reining in the chief executive.

With a newly seated Democratic majority, the House of Representatives can no longer dodge its constitutional duty. It must immediately open a formal impeachment inquiry into President Trump, and bring the debate out of the court of public opinion and into Congress, where it belongs.

Democrats picked up 40 seats in the House of Representatives in the 2018 elections. Despite this clear rebuke of Trump—and despite all that is publicly known about his offenses—party elders remain reluctant to impeach him. Nancy Pelosi, the speaker of the House, has argued that it’s too early to talk about impeachment. Many Democrats avoided discussing the idea on the campaign trail, preferring to focus on health care. When, on the first day of the 116th Congress, a freshman representative declared her intent to impeach Trump and punctuated her comments with an obscenity, she was chastised by members of the old guard—not just for how she raised the issue, but for raising it at all.

In no small part, this trepidation is due to the fact that the last effort to remove an American president from office ended in political fiasco. When the House impeached Bill Clinton, in 1998, his popularity soared; in the Senate, even some Republicans voted against convicting him of the charges.

Pelosi and her antediluvian leadership team served in Congress during those fights two decades ago, and they seem determined not to repeat their rivals’ mistakes. Polling has shown significant support for impeachment over the course of Trump’s tenure, but the most favorable polls still indicate that it lacks majority support. To move against Trump now, Democrats seem to believe, would only strengthen the president’s hand. Better to wait for public opinion to turn decisively against him and then use impeachment to ratify that view. This is the received wisdom on impeachment, the overlearned lesson of the Clinton years: House Republicans got out ahead of public opinion, and turned a president beset by scandal into a sympathetic figure.

Instead, Democrats intend to be a thorn in Trump’s side. House committees will conduct hearings into a wide range of issues, calling administration officials to testify under oath. They will issue subpoenas and demand documents, emails, and other information. The chair of the Ways and Means Committee has the power to request Trump’s elusive tax returns from the IRS and, with the House’s approval, make them public.

Other institutions are already acting as brakes on the Trump presidency. To the president’s vocal frustration, federal judges have repeatedly enjoined his executive orders. Robert Mueller’s investigation has brought convictions of, or plea deals from, key figures in his campaign as well as his administration. Some Democrats are clearly hoping that if they stall for long enough, Mueller will deliver them from Trump, obviating the need to act themselves.

But Congress can’t outsource its responsibilities to federal prosecutors. No one knows when Mueller’s report will arrive, what form it will take, or what it will say. Even if Mueller alleges criminal misconduct on the part of the president, under Justice Department guidelines, a sitting president cannot be indicted. Nor will the host of congressional hearings fulfill that branch’s obligations. The view they will offer of his conduct will be both limited and scattershot, focused on discrete acts. Only by authorizing a dedicated impeachment inquiry can the House begin to assemble disparate allegations into a coherent picture, forcing lawmakers to consider both whether specific charges are true and whether the president’s abuses of his power justify his removal.

Waiting also presents dangers. With every passing day, Trump further undermines our national commitment to America’s ideals. And impeachment is a long process. Typically, the House first votes to open an investigation—the hearings would likely take months—then votes again to present charges to the Senate. By delaying the start of the process, in the hope that even clearer evidence will be produced by Mueller or some other source, lawmakers are delaying its eventual conclusion. Better to forge ahead, weighing what is already known and incorporating additional material as it becomes available.

Critics of impeachment insist that it would diminish the presidency, creating an executive who serves at the sufferance of Congress. But defenders of executive prerogatives should be the first to recognize that the presidency has more to gain than to lose from Trump’s impeachment. After a century in which the office accumulated awesome power, Trump has done more to weaken executive authority than any recent president. The judiciary now regards Trump’s orders with a jaundiced eye, creating precedents that will constrain his successors. His own political appointees boast to reporters, or brag in anonymous op-eds, that they routinely work to counter his policies. Congress is contemplating actions on trade and defense that will hem in the president. His opponents repeatedly aim at the man but hit the office.

Democrats’ fear—that impeachment will backfire on them—is likewise unfounded. The mistake Republicans made in impeaching Bill Clinton wasn’t a matter of timing. They identified real and troubling misconduct—then applied the wrong remedy to fix it. Clinton’s acts disgraced the presidency, and his lies under oath and efforts to obstruct the investigation may well have been crimes. The question that determines whether an act is impeachable, though, is whether it endangers American democracy. As a House Judiciary Committee staff report put it in 1974, in the midst of the Watergate investigation: “The purpose of impeachment is not personal punishment; its function is primarily to maintain constitutional government.” Impeachable offenses, it found, included “undermining the integrity of office, disregard of constitutional duties and oath of office, arrogation of power, abuse of the governmental process, adverse impact on the system of government.”

Trump’s bipartisan critics are not merely arguing that he has lied or dishonored the presidency. The most serious allegations against him ultimately rest on the charge that he is attacking the bedrock of American democracy. That is the situation impeachment was devised to address.

After the house impeaches a president, the Constitution requires a two-thirds majority in the Senate to remove him from office. Opponents of impeachment point out that, despite the greater severity of the prospective charges against Trump, there is little reason to believe the Senate is more likely to remove him than it was to remove Clinton. Indeed, the Senate’s Republican majority has shown little will to break with the president—though that may change. The process of impeachment itself is likely to shift public opinion, both by highlighting what’s already known and by bringing new evidence to light. If Trump’s support among Republican voters erodes, his support in the Senate may do the same. One lesson of Richard Nixon’s impeachment is that when legislators conclude a presidency is doomed, they can switch allegiances in the blink of an eye.

But this sort of vote-counting, in any case, misunderstands the point of impeachment. The question of whether impeachment is justified should not be confused with the question of whether it is likely to succeed in removing a president from office. The country will benefit greatly regardless of how the Senate ultimately votes. Even if the impeachment of Donald Trump fails to produce a conviction in the Senate, it can safeguard the constitutional order from a president who seeks to undermine it. The protections of the process alone are formidable. They come in five distinct forms.The first is that once an impeachment inquiry begins, the president loses control of the public conversation. Andrew Johnson, Richard Nixon, and Bill Clinton each discovered this, much to their chagrin. Johnson, the irascible Tennessee Democrat who succeeded to the presidency in 1865 upon the assassination of Abraham Lincoln, quickly found himself at odds with the Republican Congress. He shattered precedents by delivering a series of inflammatory addresses that dominated the headlines and forced his opponents into a reactive posture. The launching of impeachment inquiries changed that. Day after day, Congress held hearings. Day after day, newspapers splashed the proceedings across their front pages. Instead of focusing on Johnson’s fearmongering, the press turned its attention to the president’s missteps, to the infighting within his administration, and to all the things that congressional investigators believed he had done wrong.

It isn’t just the coverage that changes. When presidents face the prospect of impeachment, they tend to discover a previously unsuspected capacity for restraint and compromise, at least in public. They know that their words can be used against them, so they fume in private. Johnson’s calls for the hanging of his political opponents yielded quickly to promises to defer to their judgment on the key questions of the day. Nixon raged to his aides, but tried to show a different face to the country. “Dignity, command, faith, head high, no fear, build a new spirit,” he told himself. Clinton sent bare-knuckled proxies to the television-news shows, but he and his staff chose their own words carefully.

Trump is easily the most pugilistic president since Johnson; he’s never going to behave with decorous restraint. But if impeachment proceedings begin, his staff will surely redouble its efforts to curtail his tweeting, his lawyers will counsel silence, and his allies on Capitol Hill will beg for whatever civility he can muster. His ability to sidestep scandal by changing the subject—perhaps his greatest political skill—will diminish.

As Trump fights for his political survival, that struggle will overwhelm other concerns. This is the second benefit of impeachment: It paralyzes a wayward president’s ability to advance the undemocratic elements of his agenda. Some of Trump’s policies are popular, and others are widely reviled. Some of his challenges to settled orthodoxies were long overdue, and others have proved ill-advised. These are ordinary features of our politics and are best dealt with through ordinary electoral processes. It is, rather, the extraordinary elements of Trump’s presidency that merit the use of impeachment to forestall their success: his subversion of the rule of law, attacks on constitutional liberties, and advancement of his own interests at the public’s expense.

The Mueller probe as well as hearings convened by the House and Senate Intelligence Committees have already hobbled the Trump administration to some degree. It will face even more scrutiny from a Democratic House. White House aides will have to hire personal lawyers; senior officials will spend their afternoons preparing testimony. But impeachment would raise the scrutiny to an entirely different level.

In part, this is because of the enormous amount of attention impeachment proceedings garner. But mostly, the scrutiny stems from the stakes of the process. The most a president generally has to fear from congressional hearings is embarrassment; there is always an aide to take the fall. Impeachment puts his own job on the line, and demands every hour of his day. The rarest commodity in any White House is time, that of the president and his top advisers. When it’s spent watching live hearings or meeting with lawyers, the administration’s agenda suffers. This is the irony of congressional leaders’ counseling patience, urging members to simply wait Trump out and use the levers of legislative power instead of moving ahead with impeachment. There may be no more effective way to run out the clock on an administration than to tie it up with impeachment hearings.

Jackson, Nixon, Clinton
As Andrew Johnson, Richard Nixon, and Bill Clinton each discovered, once an impeachment inquiry begins, the president loses control of the public conversation. (Everett Historical; Charles Tasnadi; J. Scott Applewhite / AP)
But the advantages of impeachment are not merely tactical. The third benefit is its utility as a tool of discovery and discernment. At the moment, it is often hard to tell the difference between wild-eyed conspiracy theories and straight narrations of the day’s news. Some of what is alleged about Trump is plainly false; much of it might be true, but lacks supporting evidence; and many of the best-documented claims are quickly forgotten, lost in the din of fresh allegations. This is what passes for due process in the court of public opinion.The problem is not new. When Congress first opened the Johnson impeachment hearings, for instance, the committee spent two months chasing rumor and innuendo. It heard allegations that Johnson had sent a secret letter to former Confederate President Jefferson Davis; that he had associated with a “disreputable woman” and, through her, sold pardons; that he had transferred ownership of confiscated railroads as political favors; even that he had conspired with John Wilkes Booth to assassinate Abraham Lincoln. The congressman who made that last claim was forced to admit to the committee pursuing impeachment that what he possessed “was not that kind of evidence which would satisfy the great mass of men”—he had simply based the accusation on his belief that every vice president who succeeds to the highest office murders his predecessor.There was public value, though, in these investigations. The charges had already been leveled; they were circulating and shaping public opinion. Spread by a highly polarized, partisan press, they could not be dispelled or disproved. But once Congress initiated the process of impeachment, the charges had to be substantiated. And that meant taking them from the realm of rhetoric into the province of fact. Many of the claims against Johnson failed to survive the journey. Those that did eventually helped form the basis for his impeachment. Separating them out was crucial.The process of impeachment can also surface evidence. The House Judiciary Committee began its impeachment hearings against Nixon in October 1973, well before the president’s complicity in the Watergate cover-up was clear. In April 1974, as part of those hearings, the Judiciary Committee subpoenaed 42 White House tapes. In response, Nixon released transcripts of the tapes that were so obviously expurgated that a district judge approved a subpoena from the special prosecutor for the tapes themselves. That demand, in turn, eventually produced the so-called smoking-gun tape, a recording of Nixon authorizing the CIA to shut down the FBI’s investigation into Watergate. The evidence that drove Nixon from office thus emerged as a consequence of the impeachment hearings; it did not spark them. The only way for the House to find out what Trump has actually done, and whether his conduct warrants removal, is to start asking.That is not to say that impeachment hearings against Trump would be sober and orderly. The Clinton hearings were something of a circus, and the past two years on Capitol Hill suggest that any Trump hearings will be far worse. The president’s stalwart defenders are already attacking the integrity of potential witnesses and airing their own conspiracy theories; an attempt to smear Mueller with sexual-misconduct claims collapsed spectacularly in October. His accusers, meanwhile, hurl epithets and invective. In Congress, Trump’s most committed detractors might be tempted to follow the bad example of the Clinton impeachment, when, instead of conducting extensive hearings to weigh potential charges, House Republicans short-circuited the process—taking the independent counsel’s conclusions, rushing them to the floor, and voting to impeach in a lame-duck session. Trump’s opponents need to put their faith in the process, empowering a committee to consider specific charges, weigh the available evidence, and decide whether to proceed.Hosting that debate in Congress yields a fourth benefit: defusing the potential for an explosion of political violence. This is a rationale for impeachment first offered at the Constitutional Convention, in 1787. “What was the practice before this in cases where the chief Magistrate rendered himself obnoxious?” Benjamin Franklin asked his fellow delegates. “Why, recourse was had to assassination in wch. he was not only deprived of his life but of the opportunity of vindicating his character.” A system without a mechanism for removing the chief executive, he argued, offered an invitation to violence. Just as the courts took the impulse toward vigilante justice and safely channeled it into the protections of the legal system, impeachment took the impulse toward political violence and safely channeled it into Congress.Nixon’s presidency was marked by an upsurge in political terrorism. In just its first 16 months, 4,330 bombings claimed 43 lives. As the Vietnam War wound down and the militant left began to lose its salience, it made opposition to the president its new rallying cry. “Impeach Nixon and jail him for his major crimes,” the Weather Underground demanded in its manifesto, Prairie Fire, in July 1974. “Nixon merits the people’s justice.” But that seemingly radical demand, intended to expose the inadequacy of the regular constitutional order, ironically proved the opposite point. By the end of the month, the House Judiciary Committee had approved three articles of impeachment; in early August, Nixon resigned. The ship of state, it turned out, had the capacity to right itself. The Weather Underground continued its slide into irrelevance, and political violence eventually receded.The current moment is different, of course. Today, the left is again radicalizing, but the overwhelming majority of political violence is committed by the far right, albeit on a considerably smaller scale than in the Nixon era. Trump himself has warned that “the people would revolt” if he were impeached, a warning that echoes earlier eras. When Congress debated impeachment in 1868, some likewise predicted that it would provoke Andrew Johnson’s most ardent supporters to violence. “We are evidently on the eve of a revolution that may, should an appeal be taken to arms, be more bloody than that inaugurated by the firing on Fort Sumter,” warned The Boston Post.

The predictions were wrong then, as Trump’s are likely wrong now. The public understood that once the impeachment process began, the real action would take place in Congress, and not in the streets. Johnson knew that inciting his supporters to violence would erode congressional support just when he needed it most. That seems the most probable outcome today as well. If impeached, Trump would lose the luxury of venting his resentments before friendly crowds, stirring their anger. His audience, by political necessity, would become a few dozen senators in Washington.

And what if the Senate does not convict Trump? The fifth benefit of impeachment is that, even when it fails to remove a president, it severely damages his political prospects. Johnson, abandoned by Republicans and rejected by Democrats, did not run for a second term. Nixon resigned, and Gerald Ford, his successor, lost his bid for reelection. Clinton weathered the process and finished out his second term, but despite his personal popularity, he left an electorate hungering for change. “Many, including Al Gore, think that the impeachment cost Gore the election,” Paul Rosenzweig, a former senior member of Independent Counsel Kenneth Starr’s team, told me. “So it has consequences and resonates outside the narrow four corners of impeachment.” If Congress were to impeach Trump, whatever short-term surge he might enjoy as supporters rallied to his defense, his long-term political fate would likely be sealed.

In these five ways—shifting the public’s attention to the president’s debilities, tipping the balance of power away from him, skimming off the froth of conspiratorial thinking, moving the fight to a rule-bound forum, and dealing lasting damage to his political prospects—the impeachment process has succeeded in the past. In fact, it’s the very efficacy of these past efforts that should give Congress pause; it’s a process that should be triggered only when a president’s betrayal of his basic duties requires it. But Trump’s conduct clearly meets that threshold. The only question is whether Congress will act.

Here is howimpeachment would work in practice. The Constitution lays out the process clearly, and two centuries of precedent will guide Congress in its work. The House possesses the sole power of impeachment—a procedure analogous to an indictment. Traditionally, this has meant tapping a committee to summon witnesses, subpoena documents, hold hearings, and consider the evidence. The committee can then propose specific articles of impeachment to the full House. If a simple majority approves the charges, they are forwarded to the Senate. The chief justice of the United States presides over the trial; members of the House are designated to act as “managers,” or prosecuting attorneys. If two-thirds of the senators who are present vote to convict, the president is removed from office; if the vote falls short, he is not.

Although the process is fairly clear, the Founders left us only vague instructions about when to implement it. The Constitution offers a short, cryptic list of the offenses that merit the impeachment and removal of federal officials: “Treason, Bribery, or other high Crimes and Misdemeanors.” The first two items are comparatively straightforward. The Constitution elsewhere specifies that treason against the United States consists “only in levying War” against the country or in giving the country’s enemies “Aid and Comfort.” As proof, it requires either the testimony of two witnesses or confession in open court. Despite the appalling looseness with which the charge of treason has been bandied about by members of Congress past and present, no federal official—much less a president—has ever been impeached for it. (Even the darkest theories of Trump’s alleged collusion with Russia seem unlikely to meet the Constitution’s strict definition of that crime.) Bribery, similarly, has been alleged only once, and against a judge, not a president.

It is the third item on the list—“high crimes and misdemeanors”—on which all presidential impeachments have hinged. If the House begins impeachment proceedings against Donald Trump, the charges will depend on this clause, but Congress will first need to decide what it means.

At the Constitutional Convention, an early draft included “treason, bribery, and corruption,” but it was shorn of that last item by the time it arrived on the floor. George Mason, of Virginia, spoke up. “Why is the provision restrained to Treason & bribery only?” he asked, according to James Madison’s notes. “Treason as defined in the Constitution will not reach many great and dangerous offences … Attempts to subvert the Constitution may not be Treason as above defined.” Mason moved to add “or maladministration.”

Madison, though, objected that “so vague a term will be equivalent to a tenure during pleasure of the Senate.” Gouverneur Morris further argued that “an election of every four years will prevent maladministration.” Mere incompetence or policy disputes were best dealt with by voters. But that still left Mason’s original concern, for the “many great and dangerous offences” not covered by treason or bribery. Instead of “maladministration,” he suggested, why not substitute “other high crimes & misdemeanors (agst. the State)”? The motion carried.Constitutional lawyers have been arguing about what counts as a “high crime” or “misdemeanor” ever since. The phrase itself was borrowed from English common law, although there is no reason to suppose Mason and his colleagues were deeply familiar with its uses in that context. The Nixon impeachment spurred Charles L. Black, a Yale law professor, to write Impeachment: A Handbook, a slender volume that remains a defining work on the question.Black makes two key points. First, he notes that as a matter of logic as well as context and precedent, not every violation of a criminal statute amounts to a “high crime” or “misdemeanor.” To apply his reasoning, some crimes—say, violating 40 U.S.C. §8103(b)(2) by willfully injuring a shrub on federal property in Washington, D.C.—cannot possibly be impeachable offenses. Conversely, a president may violate his oath of office without violating the letter of the law. A president could, for example, harness the enforcement powers of the federal government to systematically persecute his political opponents, or he could grossly neglect the duties of his office. That sort of conduct, in Black’s view, is impeachable even when it is not actually criminal.

His second point rests upon the principle of eiusdem generis—literally, “of the same kind.” As the last item in a list of three impeachable offenses, surely “high crimes and misdemeanors” shares some essential features with the first two. Black suggests that treason and bribery have in common three essential features: They are extremely serious, they stand to corrupt and subvert government and the political process, and they are self-evidently wrong to any person with a shred of honor. These, he argues, are features that a “high crime” or “misdemeanor” ought to share.

Black’s views on these points are not uncontested. Nixon’s attorneys argued that impeachment did require a crime. In 1974, before Black published his book, a report from the Justice Department split the difference, concluding that “there are persuasive grounds for arguing both the narrow view that a violation of criminal law is required and the broader view that certain non-criminal ‘political offenses’ may justify impeachment.”

John Doar, the attorney hired by the House Judiciary Committee to oversee the Nixon investigation, handed off the question of what constituted an impeachable offense to two young staffers: Bill Weld and Hillary Rodham. They determined that the answers they were seeking were to be found not in old case law, but in the public debates that raged around past impeachment efforts. The memo Weld and Rodham helped produce drew on that context and sided with Black: “High crimes and misdemeanors” need not be crimes. In the end, Weld came to believe that impeachment is a political process, aimed at determining whether a president has fallen short of the duties of his office. But that doesn’t mean it’s arbitrary. In fact, the Nixon impeachment left Weld with a renewed faith in the American system of government: “The wheels may grind slowly,” he later reflected, “but they grind pretty well.”

Some democrats have already seen enough from the Trump administration to conclude that it has met the criteria for impeachment. In July 2017, Representative Brad Sherman of California put forward an impeachment resolution; it garnered a single co-sponsor. The next month, though, brought the white-nationalist rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, and Trump’s defense of the “very fine people on both sides.” The billionaire activist Tom Steyer launched a petition drive calling for impeachment. A second resolution was introduced in the House that November, this time by Tennessee’s Steve Cohen, who found 17 co-sponsors. By December 2017, when Representative Al Green of Texas forced consideration of a third resolution, 58 Democrats voted in favor of continuing debate, including Jim Clyburn, the House’s third-ranking Democrat. On the first day of the new Congress in January, Sherman reintroduced his resolution.

These efforts are exercises in political messaging, not serious attempts to tackle the question of impeachment. They invert the process, offering lists of charges for the House to consider, rather than asking the House to consider what charges may be justified. The House should instead approve a resolution authorizing an impeachment inquiry and allocating the staff, funding, and other resources necessary to pursue it, as the resolution that initiated the proceedings against Richard Nixon did.

Still, the resolutions proposed so far offer a valuable glimpse at the issues House Democrats are likely to pursue in such an inquiry. Some have made a general case that Trump has done violence to American values—Green’s stated that Trump “has betrayed his trust as President … to the manifest injury of the people of the United States”—but others have claimed specific violations of statutes or constitutional provisions. Both types of allegations may turn out to be important.

Despite the consensus of constitutional scholars that impeachable offenses need not be crimes, Congress has generally preferred to vote on articles that allege criminal acts. More than a third of representatives, and an outright majority of senators, hold law degrees; they think like lawyers. Democrats are thus focused on campaign-finance regulations, obstruction of justice, tax laws, money-laundering rules, proscriptions on bribing foreign officials, and the Constitution’s two emoluments clauses, which bar the president from accepting gifts from state or foreign governments.

They have studiously avoided, however, the primary area of public fascination when it comes to Trump’s alleged misdeeds: whether the president or his campaign colluded with Russia in the 2016 election. Lawmakers are clearly wary of bringing charges that could bear on Robert Mueller’s report, lest they interfere with an ongoing investigation that they hope will somehow force Trump from office. “It all depends on what we learn from hearings and from the Mueller investigation,” Representative Cohen told me. But the highly anticipated Mueller report is unlikely to provide the denouement lawmakers are seeking. Whether a president can be impeached for acts committed prior to assuming office is an unsettled question. As Trump himself never tires of pointing out, collusion with Russia is not itself a crime. And even if Mueller produces a singularly damning report, one presenting evidence that the president himself has committed criminal acts, he cannot indict the president—at least according to current Justice Department guidelines. Congress will have to decide what to do about it.

Once the House authorizes an impeachment inquiry, the committee must distill the evidence of Trump’s alleged crimes into articles capable of garnering a majority vote in that chamber. But that’s just the first challenge. To remove Trump from office, the House managers will then have to persuade the Senate to vote to convict the president. When the articles of impeachment are filed with the Senate, where the president will be tried, each article will be considered and voted on individually.

And then, suddenly, the members of the United States Senate will be forced to answer a question that many have long evaded: Is the president fit to continue in office? There will be no press aides to hide behind, no elevators into which they can duck. Some Democrats have already made their opinions clear. Others will have to decide whether to vote to remove a president backed by a majority of their constituents. For Republicans, the choice will be even harder.

This is where the dual nature of impeachment as both a legal and a political process comes into sharpest focus. The Founders worried about electing a president who lacked character or a sense of honor, but Americans have long since lost the moral vocabulary to articulate such concerns explicitly, preferring to look instead for demonstrable violations of rules that illuminate underlying character flaws. It is Trump’s unfitness for office that necessitates impeachment; his attacks on American democracy are plainly evident, and should be sufficient. But some Republican senators may continue to dismiss the more sweeping claims against the president, particularly where no statutory crimes attach. And so the strength of the evidence supporting narrower charges such as obstruction of justice and campaign-finance violations may ultimately determine his fate. If the committee can substantiate these charges, it will place even the most reluctant senators in a bind. When the moment finally comes to cast their vote, and the world is watching, how many will acquit the president of things he has clearly done?

The closest the senate has ever come to removing a president was in 1868, after Andrew Johnson was impeached on 11 counts. Remembered today as a lamentable exercise in hyper-partisanship, in fact Johnson’s impeachment functioned as the Founders had intended, sparing the country from the further depredations of a president who had betrayed his most basic responsibilities. We need to recover the real story of Johnson’s impeachment, because it offers the best evidence that the current president, too, must be impeached.

The case before the United States in 1868 bears striking similarities to the case before the country now—and no president in history more resembles the 45th than the 17th. “The president of the United States,” E. P. Whipple wrote in this magazine in 1866, “has so singular a combination of defects for the office of a constitutional magistrate, that he could have obtained the opportunity to misrule the nation only by a visitation of Providence. Insincere as well as stubborn, cunning as well as unreasonable, vain as well as ill-tempered, greedy of popularity as well as arbitrary in disposition, veering in his mind as well as fixed in his will, he unites in his character the seemingly opposite qualities of demagogue and autocrat.” Johnson, he continued, was “egotistic to the point of mental disease” and had become “the prey of intriguers and sycophants.”

Whipple was among Johnson’s more verbose critics, but hardly the most scathing. A remarkable number of Americans looked at the president and saw a man grossly unfit for office. Johnson, a Democrat from a Civil War border state, had been tapped by Lincoln in 1864 to join him on a national-unity ticket. A fierce opponent of the slaveholding elite and a self-styled champion of the white yeomanry, Johnson spoke to voters skeptical of the Republican Party’s progressive agenda. He horrified much of the East Coast establishment, but his raw, even profane style appealed to many voters. The National Union Party, seeking the destruction of slavery and the Confederacy, swept to victory.

No one ever thought Johnson would be president. Then, in 1865, Booth’s bullet put him in office. The end of the war exposed how different Johnson’s own agenda was from the policies favored by Lincoln. Johnson wanted to reintegrate the South into the Union as swiftly as possible, devoid of slavery but otherwise little changed. Most congressional Republicans, by contrast, wanted to seize the moment to build a new social order in the South, enshrining equality and protecting civil rights. Johnson sought to restore America as it had been, while the Republicans hoped to make it more perfect.

The two visions were irreconcilable. As the feud deepened, each side pushed its commitments to their logical extremes. Congressional Republicans approved the Fourteenth Amendment, voted to enlarge the role of the Freedmen’s Bureau, and passed the Civil Rights Act. Taken together, these measures established the equality of Americans before the law and, for the first time, made its preservation a federal concern. They amounted to nothing less than a social revolution, a promise of an America that belonged to all Americans, not just to white men.

Johnson and his supporters found this intolerable. In federal efforts to establish racial equality, they saw antiwhite discrimination. Johnson vetoed the Civil Rights Act, insisting that “the distinction of race and color is by the bill made to operate in favor of the colored and against the white race.” For the first time in American history, Congress overrode a veto to pass a major piece of legislation. Three months later, he vetoed the renewal of the Freedmen’s Bureau Bill, complaining that its plan to distribute land to former slaves constituted “discrimination” that would establish a “favored class of citizens.” Congress again overrode his veto. That set up an unprecedented situation, as the president was asked to administer laws he had tried to block. Instead of the promised peace, the nation found itself gripped by an accelerating crisis.

The Senate trial of Andrew Johnson
The Senate trial of Andrew Johnson. Recalled today as a folly, in fact Johnson’s impeachment spared the U.S. from the further depredations of a president who had betrayed his most basic responsibilities. (Library of Congress / Getty)
The question facing Congress, and the public, was this: What do you do with a president whose every utterance and act seems to undermine the Constitution he is sworn to uphold? At first, Republicans pursued the standard mix of legislative remedies—holding hearings and passing bills designed to strip the president of certain powers. Many members of Johnson’s Cabinet worked with their congressional counterparts to constrain the president. Johnson began to see conspiracies around every corner. He moved to purge the bureaucracy of his opponents, denouncing the “blood-suckers and cormorants” who frustrated his desires.It was the campaign of white-nationalist terror that raged through the spring and summer of 1866 that persuaded many Republicans they could not allow Johnson to remain in office. In Tennessee, where Johnson had until the year before served as military governor, a white mob opposed to black equality rampaged through the streets of Memphis in May, slaughtering dozens of people as it went. July brought a second massacre, this one in New Orleans, where efforts to enfranchise black voters sparked a riot. A mob filled with police, firemen, armed youths, and Confederate veterans shot, stabbed, bludgeoned, and mutilated dozens, many of them black veterans of the Union Army. Johnson chose not to suppress the violence, using fear of disorder to build a constituency more loyal to him than to either party.Congress opened impeachment hearings. The process unfolded in fits and starts over the next year and a half, as Johnson’s congressional opponents searched vainly for some charge that could gain the support of a majority of the House. Then Johnson handed it to them by firing his secretary of war, defying a law passed, in part, to stop him from undermining Reconstruction. The House passed 11 articles of impeachment, forcing Johnson to stand trial before the Senate. But the effort fell short by a single vote.When Johnson’s supporters learned that he had been spared, they were ecstatic. In Milwaukee, they careened down the street in a wagon, shouting for Johnson and liberty, sharing a keg of beer. In Boston and in Hartford, Connecticut, they fired 100‑gun salutes; in Dearborn, Michigan, they settled for 19 guns and bonfires. “We have stood for the last few months upon the verge of a precipice, a dark abyss of anarchy yawning at our feet,” the Maryland Democrat Stevenson Archer said, sketching an alternative result whereby “dark-skinned fiends and white-faced, white-livered vampires might rule and riot on the little blood they could still suck out by fastening on helpless throats.”But the euphoria proved short-lived. The New York Times urged Johnson’s supporters to look at the bigger picture: “Congress has assumed control of the whole matter of reconstruction, and will assert and exercise it.” Any effort to wrest control back from the House and Senate was held in check by the specter of another impeachment, which haunted Johnson’s remaining months in office. The Democrats took up Johnson’s political cause; their convention theme in 1868 was “This Is a White Man’s Country; Let White Men Rule.” But when the politically damaged Johnson made a bid for the Democratic nomination—“Why should they not take me up?”—he was refused. Ulysses S. Grant won on the Republican ticket, and threw the full force of the Army behind the project of Reconstruction. Johnson went home to Tennessee.

If the goal of impeachment was to frustrate Johnson’s efforts to make America a white man’s country again, it was an unqualified success. Instead of being remembered as a triumph, however, in the years that followed, it was memorialized as a failure. Defending the impeachment on substantive grounds required believing that all people born in the United States—white and black alike—deserved the same civil liberties. And a decade later, America changed its mind about that, abandoning the project of Reconstruction and reneging on its promise of civil rights for African Americans. Johnson had said he was fighting to preserve a “white man’s government,” and for the next century, that’s what the country largely had. Robbed of its animating force, the bill of particulars against Johnson began to seem hollow, petty, and misguided. How could it have been proper to impeach a president for undermining the Constitution’s guarantee of equality, when the nation as a whole had subsequently done the same?

The chorus of experts who now present Johnson’s impeachment as an exercise in raw partisanship are not learning from history but, rather, erasing it. Johnson used his office to deny the millions freed from bondage the equality that God had given them and that the Constitution guaranteed. To deny the justice of Johnson’s impeachment is to affirm the justice of his acts. If his impeachment was partisan, it was because one party had been formed to defend the freedom of man, and the other had not yet reconciled itself to that proposition.

Today, the United States once more confronts a president who seems to care for only some of the people he represents, who promises his supporters that he can roll back the tide of diversity, who challenges the rule of law, and who regards constitutional rights and liberties as disposable. Congress must again decide whether the greater risk lies in executing the Constitution as it was written, or in deferring to voters to do what it cannot muster the courage to do itself. The gravest danger facing the country is not a Congress that seeks to measure the president against his oath—it is a president who fails to measure up to that solemn promise.

https://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2019/03/impeachment-trump/580468/

 

Three Reasons House Democrats Likely Won’t Impeach Trump

Key leaders aren’t supporting calls for proceedings

President Donald Trump may avoid impeachment proceedings unless investigations uncover a whopper. (Justin Sullivan/Getty Images file photo)

House Democrats will be hesitant to use their newly regained majority to launch impeachment proceedings against President Donald Trump unless investigations uncover such major misdeeds that even Republicans would support the effort.

A vocal portion of House Democrats still are expected to call for Trump’s impeachment over allegations he has misused the office or committed crimes, and dozens backed an effort to force the House to consider articles of impeachment within the past year.

Watch: Now That That’s Over (Mostly) Roll Call Looks Ahead to 2020

. Three Reasons House Democrats Likely Won’t Impeach Trump” poster=”https://cdn.media.rollcall.com/photos/201811/1541580539920_landscape_h.jpg” data-flowplayer-instance-id=”0″>

But key Democrats did not support that effort and have made only cautious comments when talking about the subject. They include Rep. Jerrold Nadler, D-N.Y., the expected chairman of the House Judiciary Committee where the impeachment process would begin, Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi of California and other party leaders.

“I think there’s some idea out there that impeachment is on the top of the agenda and this is something Democrats want to run with,” said John Hudak, a Brookings Institution fellow who has written about the topic. “I don’t think that’s the case.”

Margaret Tseng, a history and politics professor at Marymount University and author of “The Politics of Impeachment,” said it “is very unlikely Democrats would pursue something of that nature, even if they take control of the House.”

Here are three reasons Democrats would be reluctant to start impeachment proceedings against Trump:

It won’t succeed

House Democrats could impeach Trump, but two-thirds of the Senate would have to vote to remove him from office and there’s really no path to getting there with what is known about Trump today, Hudak said.

Depending on how many Democrats are in the Senate next term, about 18 Republicans would have to risk their political futures to remove a president who is popular among their party base and has criticized members of Congress from his own party.

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Hudak said the political argument would be difficult, short of a bombshell from a congressional investigation or from Special Counsel Robert S. Mueller III — such as finding impeachable crimes in his probe into connections between Russian operatives and the president’s 2016 campaign.

Tseng agreed. “You’re talking about actual Republicans having to cross over the aisle and say, ‘We think these are impeachable offenses,’ ” she said.

That’s something Nadler himself has cautioned against when asked about impeachment, saying that you shouldn’t remove a president from office unless you get “an appreciable fraction” of Trump voters to agree that Democrats had to do it.

“If evidence arises that is of sufficient gravity to justify impeaching the president, and of sufficient persuasiveness to persuade people, at least by the end of the process, some of the people who voted on the other side, then you consider an impeachment, but not before,” Nadler said in a February appearance on MSNBC.

And even if Democrats could successfully remove Trump from office, they would face a President Mike Pence who would not have much different policy preferences than Trump. “What does that really do for you? Not that much,” Hudak said.

It’s a distraction

An impeachment effort would be a huge deal that would sap attention and resources from the other oversight investigations into the Trump administration that Democrats could use as a platform for the bigger prize of retaking the White House in 2020, Hudak and Tseng said.

“It would be smart for them to actually think about an agenda they could promote instead of being anti-Trump,” Tseng said.

Short of an obvious and clear violation of laws and violation of constitutional duties that would compel them to act, Democrats “can get a better bang for their buck elsewhere on their investigations,” Hudak said.

If Democrats want to highlight the incompetence and corruption they perceive in the Trump administration, then they can push investigation after investigation. That can be a more powerful narrative heading into the 2020 presidential elections than a failed impeachment effort, Hudak said.

It’s politically risky

An impeachment effort could risk appearing like a party that’s more intent on opposing Trump than improving or changing policies. And the Republican effort to impeach Bill Clinton in 1998 actually led to higher job approval ratings for the president.

“It seemed to fly in the face of what the public wanted,” Tseng said. “And the lesson would be, ‘Is this something we want to pursue because this would be a reflection of us as a party, especially ahead of a presidential election?’ ”

Pelosi recognizes that being perceived as overreaching on impeachment could hurt Democrats, even as it stirs the base of both political parties, Hudak said.

The question for Pelosi “is not whether Democrats want her to move forward with impeachment, it’s whether independents want her to move forward with impeachment,” Hudak said.

https://www.rollcall.com/news/politics/house-democrats-impeach-trump

 

 

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China Is Not As Powerful As You Think

Why U.S. universities are shutting down China-funded Confucius Institutes

n January 2011, Chinese President Hu Jintao visits a Beijing-funded Confucius Institute in Chicago — housed at Walter Payton College Preparatory High School. (Pool photo via AP )

January 11

The Chinese Communist Party (CCP) has made a huge effort to promote China’s image as a global leader. In a Jan. 2 speech, Chinese leader Xi Jinping reiterated the theme of China’s “great rejuvenation,” a view that emphasizes the “Chinese Dream,” a return to the nation’s former glory as a global powerhouse.

But do these efforts actually work? In October, Vice President Pence complained that the “Chinese Communist Party is spending billions of dollars on propaganda outlets in the United States, as well as other countries.” This week, reports emerged that at least 10 U.S. universities had closed their Confucius Institutes(CIs), saying a polite “no thanks” to these Chinese-funded language and cultural programs on college campuses.

What’s the story on China’s big PR drive and the ensuing pushback — and how do CIs fit in? Here’s what you need to know.

China looks to tighten control of its image

The CCP and Xi have launched a full-fledged campaign to “tell China’s story well,” spending billions of dollars on propaganda efforts — including the purchase of paid supplements in major news outlets like the Economist and The Washington Post. Yet while an authoritarian state like China can control political discussion at home, it is more difficult to craft a message of benevolent paternalism abroad. China’s efforts to improve its image overseas at times have been ham-handed and the subject of parody, or sometimes ignored.

Nevertheless, the CCP continues to try. In recent years it has grown increasingly concerned with what it calls “China Threat Theory,” and has looked for ways to counter foreign claims that China is a military and economic danger. The CIs are a part of the government’s response to reframe the country in positive terms.

Confucius Institutes are part of this grass roots effort

China is working actively to improve its image abroad from the ground up. CIs are arrangements on university campuses across the globe to host Chinese culture and language instructors. The Chinese Language Council International, or Hanban, oversees these institutes. This effort falls under the Ministry of Education, which ultimately is supervised by the CCP’s Central Propaganda Department.

The proliferation of Confucius Institutes since the first one opened in South Korea in 2004 is remarkable — there are more than 500 CIs operating on every continent, in locations ranging from Anchorage to Mauritius in the Indian Ocean. At their peak, CIs were on more than 100 North American college campuses.

What impact do these CIs have?

While the expansion of Confucius Institutes is impressive, it remains unclear what impact they have on promoting China’s image abroad. AidData recently investigated the impact of China’s public diplomacy efforts in East Asia and the Pacific, and the Pew Research Center has periodically checked public opinion on China at various locations across the globe — but there are few consistent and comparable surveys of local-level attitudes toward China over time. This lack of data has made it challenging to assess the extent to which China’s more localized overseas image management strategies have been successful.

Our research in a new AidData working paper addresses this issue by using data from the Global Database on Events, Language and Tone (GDELT), which algorithmically captures the tone of hundreds of thousands of media reports at thousands of locations across the world. In other words, it measures how positive or negative a story about China is. While the database has received some criticism over the accuracy of its algorithms, with careful analysis it can still be used to extract useful information, particularly about media tone.

Using geospatial techniques, our research evaluates how tone about China changes in media reports regarding events near a Confucius Institute before and after the CI opens. We find the opening of a CI subsequently enhances tone in stories about China relevant to that geographical area by about 6 percent — a small, but meaningful improvement.

Two examples illustrate how a seemingly small tone change may make a big difference to the reader. A 2014 Reuters story about protests in Hong Kong, coded by the GDELT algorithm at a score very near the average tone, used relatively neutral language like “leaving the two sides far apart in a dispute over how much political control China should have over Hong Kong.” In contrast, a 2016 story from Pakistan’s Express Tribune, which was scored 6 percent more positively by the GDELT algorithm, uses noticeably more upbeat language including phrases like “projects had taken the two countries’ friendship to a new height.” 

Winning the battle, losing the war?

While our research suggests Confucius Institutes help facilitate an improved portrayal of China abroad, the gains may be overtaken by broader trends. In fact, despite the opening of hundreds of Confucius Institutes from 2005 to 2017, the GDELT data indicates overall global media tone about China has become markedly more negative over that time, with particular downturns from 2012 to 2013 and from 2014 to 2015. CIs might be swimming against the tide.

Indeed, high-profile scuffles in the South China Sea, accusations of debt-trap diplomacy  along China’s Belt and Road countries, and China’s repression of ethnic minorities or Nobel Peace Prize winners (and even their families) may offset any modest gains from CIs and other public diplomacy initiatives.

Despite its best efforts, China may still find molding public perception abroad of the CCP-run state is much more difficult than at home. Xi’s Chinese Dream ideal, for now, may struggle in the glare of a global spotlight. But we can be sure the CCP will continue its attempts to soften its image overseas and make adjustments when necessary.

Samuel Brazys (@sbrazys_ucd) is associate professor at the School of Politics and International Relations, University College Dublin. 

Alexander Dukalskis (@AlexDukalskis) is assistant professor at the School of Politics and International Relations, University College Dublin.

https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/monkey-cage/wp/2019/01/11/u-s-universities-have-shut-down-confucius-institutes-heres-what-you-need-to-know/?noredirect=on&utm_term=.e32fc760cd8b

China Infiltrating U.S. Education System in Propaganda Coup

Report: From kindergarten to college, Chinese government programs indoctrinate youth

Chinese language teacher Fu Yongsheng at the Confucius Institute at the University of Lagos

Chinese language teacher Fu Yongsheng at the Confucius Institute at the University of Lagos / Getty Images

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The Chinese government has infiltrated nearly every sector of the U.S. education system via a package of programs and monetary schemes that seek to indoctrinate American children and bring the Communist government’s propaganda into the classroom, according to a new report by a Senate investigatory body.

The wide-ranging report by the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee has found that China has spent nearly $200 million on educational entities known as Confucius Institutes. These programs have been instated in U.S. schools across the country with the mission of indoctrinating students and painting a sympathetic portrait of the Chinese Communist government, according to the report.

The institutes are shrouded in mystery and have been the cause of much consternation on Capitol Hill and elsewhere as information about their reach and power in the United States becomes clearer.

While the programs appear on their surface to be mundane—mainly focusing on language and cultural issues—the Senate committee found that these institutes constitute a threat to the United States. The Chinese government, the committee found, “is attempting to change the impression in the United States and around the world that China is an economic and security threat.”

There are more than 100 Confucius Institutes currently operating in America—the most of any country—and China has plans to open many more, according to the report.

“As China opened over 100 additional Confucius Institutes in the United States over the last 15 years, the Department of Education remained silent,” the Senate committee warns in its report.

While Confucius Institutes have become a mainstay on college campuses across the United States, the Chinese government also has plans to expand into the kindergarten through 12th grade curriculum.

“The Chinese government also funds and provides language instructors for Confucius Classrooms, which offer classes for kindergarten through 12th grade students,” according to the report. “Confucius Classrooms are currently in 519 elementary, middle, and high schools in the United States. Continued expansion of the program is a priority for China.”

Sen. Rob Portman (R., Ohio), a member of the Senate committee that conducted the investigation, said the bipartisan report shows a “stunning lack of transparency” about how these Chinese institutes function in the United States

“As China has expanded Confucius Institutes here in the U.S., it has systematically shut down key U.S. State Department public diplomacy efforts on Chinese college campuses,” Portman said in a statement. “We learned that schools in the United States—from kindergarten to college—have provided a level of access to the Chinese government that the Chinese government has refused to provide to the United States.”

“Absent full transparency regarding how Confucius Institutes operate and full reciprocity for U.S. cultural outreach efforts on college campuses in China, Confucius Institutes should not continue in the United States,” Portman said.

As the committee investigated these programs, it found that some U.S. schools contractually agree to uphold both Chinese and U.S. laws in order to get money for various programs.

Additionally, “the Chinese teachers sign contracts with the Chinese government pledging they will not damage the national interests of China,” according to the report. “Such limitations attempt to export China’s censorship of political debate and prevent discussion of potentially politically sensitive topics.”

U.S. school officials who spoke to Senate investigators disclosed that Confucius Institutes shun controversial topics, such as China’s poor human rights record and other hot button topics that could be damaging to the country’s reputation.

“Confucius Institutes exist as one part of China’s broader, long-term strategy,” the Senate committee concluded. “Through Confucius Institutes, the Chinese government is attempting to change the impression in the United States and around the world that China is an economic and security threat.”

There are provisions mandating that Chinese law be upheld on U.S. soil and the amount of public disclosure surrounding the institutes is extremely low. If a U.S. school were to spill the beans about these programs, the contracts—and money—would dry up.

“The Subcommittee obtained a contract between Chinese teachers and Hanban that requires Chinese instructors at U.S. schools to “‘conscientiously safeguard national interests.'” The contracts are terminated if the Chinese instructors “‘violate Chinese law’ or ‘engage in activities detrimental to national interests,'” according to the report.

Chinese teachers tied to these programs report directly to government bodies. They also are made aware that any deviation from the program will result in their termination.

“While school officials have the opportunity to interview candidates for these positions, there is little-to-no transparency into how the Chinese government selects the individuals that schools must choose from,” the report found. “Nor did U.S. school officials interviewed by the Subcommittee know if candidates would meet the school’s hiring standards.”

“Confucius Institutes report to the Chinese government’s Ministry of Education Office of Chinese Language Council International, known as ‘Hanban,'” according to the report. “Confucius Institutes are funded, controlled, and mostly staffed by Hanban to present Chinese-government approved programming to students at U.S. schools. Hanban approves each Confucius Institutes’ annual budget and has veto authority over events and speakers.”

Given the massive amount of money being spent by China on these programs, the Senate committee found evidence that U.S. schools are not properly reporting these donations, which amount to foreign gifts.

“Despite that legal requirement, nearly 70 percent of U.S. schools that received more than $250,000 from Hanban [a body that supports the programs] failed to properly report that amount to the Department of Education,” according to the report.

Despite evidence that some of the Chinese teachers are misleading the State Department about the nature of their work in the United States, the Confucius Institutes have remained largely unbothered by the U.S. government.

In 2018, the State Department revoked 32 visas for Confucius-tied teachers who, instead of doing research work as they claimed, were actually teaching at K-12 schools.

“The State Department also found evidence that one Confucius Institute Chinese director improperly coached the teachers to discuss their research during interviews with State Department investigators,” according to the report.

The State Department only conducts two to four field interviews a year.

https://freebeacon.com/national-security/china-infiltrating-u-s-education-system-in-propaganda-coup/

 

Confucius Institute

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Confucius Institute
Confucious Institute.png
Founded 2004; 15 years ago
Type Educational organization
Focus Chinese cultureChinese language
Location
Area served
Worldwide
Method Education
Website chinesecio.com
Confucius Institute
Traditional Chinese 孔子學院
Simplified Chinese 孔子学院

Confucius Institute of Brittany in Rennes, France

A Confucius Institute at Seneca College in TorontoCanada

Confucius Institute (Chinese孔子学院pinyinKǒngzǐ Xuéyuàn) is a non-profit public educational organization affiliated with the Ministry of Education of the People’s Republic of China,[1] whose stated aim is to promote Chinese language and culture, support local Chinese teaching internationally, and facilitate cultural exchanges.[2][3] The organization also promotes the interests of the Chinese Communist Party in the countries in which it operates.[4]

The Confucius Institute program began in 2004 and is overseen by Hanban (officially the Office of Chinese Language Council International). The institutes operate in co-operation with local affiliate colleges and universities around the world, and financing is shared between Hanban and the host institutions. The related Confucius Classroom program partners with local secondary schools or school districts to provide teachers and instructional materials.[5][6]

China has compared Confucius Institutes to language and culture promotion organizations such as Portugal’s Instituto Camões, Brazil’s Centro Cultural Brasileiro, Britain’s British Council, France’s Alliance Française, Italy’s Società Dante Alighieri, Spain’s Instituto Cervantes and Germany’s Goethe-Institut.[7] However, unlike these organizations, many Confucius Institutes operate directly on university campuses, thus giving rise to unique concerns related to academic freedom and political influence.[1]

History

The first Confucius Institute (CI) opened on 21 November 2004 in Seoul, South Korea, after establishing a pilot institute in Tashkent, Uzbekistan in June 2004. The CI in South Korea is no longer active. The second Confucius Institute was opened on the campus of the University of Maryland, College Park, also in November 2004.[8] Hundreds more have opened since in dozens of countries around the world, with the highest concentration of Institutes in the United States, Japan, and South Korea.[9] In April 2007, the first research-based Confucius Institute opened in Waseda University in Japan. In partnership with Peking University, the program promotes research activities of graduate students studying Chinese.[10] As of 2014, there were over 480 Confucius Institutes in dozens of countries on six continents.[11][12] The Ministry of Education estimates that 100 million people overseas may be learning Chinese by 2010 and the program is expanding rapidly in order to keep up.[13] Hanban aims to establish 1,000 Confucius Institutes by 2020.[14]

Name

The Confucius Institute is named after the noted Chinese philosopher Confucius (551–479 BC). Throughout the 20th century, Communist Party of China (CPC) leaders criticized and denounced Confucius as the personification of China’s “feudal” traditions, with anti-Confucianism ranging from the 1912 New Culture Movement to the 1973 Criticize Lin, Criticize Confucius campaign during the Cultural Revolution.[15] However, in recent decades, interest in pre-modern Chinese culture has grown in the country, and Confucius in particular has seen a resurgence in popularity.[16] Outside of China, Confucius is a generally recognizable symbol of Chinese culture, removed from the negative associations of other prominent Chinese figures such as chairman Mao Zedong.[17]

“Confucius Institute” is a trademarked brand name, which according to a spokesman for the organisation, “Those who enjoy more brand names will enjoy higher popularity, reputation, more social influence, and will therefore be able to generate more support from local communities.”[18] A 2011 crackdown protected “Confucius Institute” from preregistration infringement in Costa Rica.[19]

China Post article reported in 2014 that “Certainly, China would have made little headway if it had named these Mao Institutes, or even Deng Xiaoping Institutes. But by borrowing the name Confucius, it created a brand that was instantly recognized as a symbol of Chinese culture, radically different from the image of the Communist Party.”[20]

Kerry Brown, Professor of Chinese Politics at the University of Sydney, notes the irony that the CPC now lionizing Confucius had vilified him just four decades previously for his association with patriarchal, hierarchical, and conservative values.[21]

Purpose

British Foreign Secretary William Hagueand Li Changchun at a signing ceremony in London, 17 April 2012, for the agreement between Confucius Institute of China and Bangor University on the establishment of Confucius Institute at Bangor University, United Kingdom. The agreement was signed by John Hughes, Vice-Chancellor of Bangor University, and Xu Lin, Director of the Confucius Institute.

Confucius Institutes (CIs) promote and teach Chinese culture and language around the world. CIs develop Chinese language courses, train teachers, hold the HSK Examination (Chinese proficiency test), host cultural and artistic presentations, and provide information about contemporary China.[22] The director of the CI program, Xu Lin, stated that CIs were started to cater to the sudden uptick in interest of the Chinese language around the world. They also provide Chinese language teaching staff from Mainland China. As of 2011, there were 200 such teachers working in the United States.[23]

Political goals

Confucius Institute also has non-academic goals. Li Changchun, the 5th-highest-ranking member of the Politburo Standing Committee, was quoted in The Economist saying that the Confucius Institutes were “an important part of China’s overseas propaganda set-up”. The statement has been seized upon by critics as evidence of a politicized mission.[24] Many foreign scholars have characterized the CI program as an exercise in soft power, expanding China’s economic, cultural, and diplomatic reach through the promotion of Chinese language and culture,[25][26] while others have suggested a possible role in intelligence collection.[27][28] The soft power goals also include assuaging concerns of a “China threat” in the context of the country’s increasingly powerful economy and military.[29]

While Chinese authorities have been cautious not to have CIs act as direct promoters of the party’s political viewpoints, a few suggest that the Confucius Institutes function in this way. Officials say that one important goal of the Institutes is to influence other countries’ view of China.[30] Peng Ming-min, a Taiwan independence activist and politician, claims that colleges and universities where a Confucius Institute is established have to sign a contract in which they declare their support for Beijing’s “One China” policy. As a result, both Taiwan and Tibet become taboo at the institutes.[31] However, this claim is in dispute. Michael Nylan, professor of Chinese historyat the University of California at Berkeley, stated that CIs have become less heavy-handed in their demands, and have learnt from “early missteps”, such as insisting that universities adopt a policy that Taiwan is part of China. Nylan’s survey of faculty and administrators at fifteen universities with Confucius Institutes revealed two reports that institutes had exerted pressure to block guest speakers, but both events went ahead anyway.[32]

The CI’s soft power goals are seen as an attempt by the PRC to modernize away from Soviet influenced propaganda of the Maoist era.[33] Other initiatives include Chinese contemporary art exhibitions, television programs, concerts by popular singers, translations of Chinese literature, and the expansion of state-run news channels such as Xinhua News Agency and China Central Television.[34]

Organization[

Hanban is a non-profit government organization,[35] though it is connected with the Ministry of Education and has close ties to a number of senior Communist Party officials. The Confucius Institute headquarters in Beijing establishes the guidelines which the separate Confucius Institutes worldwide follows. The headquarters is governed by a council with fifteen members, ten of whom are directors of overseas institutes.[36] The Institutes themselves are individually managed under the leadership of their own board of directors, which should include members of the host institution.[37] The current chair of the Confucius Institute Headquarters council is Liu Yandong,[38][39] a Chinese vice premier and member of the Chinese Communist Party Politburo who formerly headed the United Front Work Department. Other leaders of the council are similarly drawn from the Communist Party and central government agencies, such as the Ministry of Finance, Ministry of Education, and the State Council Information Office (also known as the Office of Overseas Propaganda).[1][40] The council sets the agenda for the Confucius Institutes and makes changes to the bylaws while other tasks and ongoing management of the Confucius Institute Headquarters are handled by the professional executive leadership headed by the director-general.[41][42]

The Chinese Government shares the burden of funding Confucius Institutes with host universities, and takes a hands-off approach to management.[43] The Institutes function independently within the guidelines established by Hanban and the Confucius Institute Headquarters. Each Institute is responsible for drawing up and managing their own budget, which is subject to approval by the headquarters. The Confucius Institute Headquarters provides various restrictions on how their funds may be used, including earmarking funds for specific purposes.[44] Institutes in the United States are generally provided with $100,000 annually from Hanban, with the local university required to match funding.[45]

In addition to their local partner university, Confucius Institutes operate in co-operation with a Chinese partner university.[46] Many Institutes are governed by a board which is composed of several members from the Chinese partner school and the remaining of the members affiliated with the local partner university.[47] At most Institutes, the director is appointed by the local partner university.[43]

Hiring policy controversy

The Hanban website stated that Chinese language instructors should be “aged between 22 to 60, physical and mental healthy, no record of participation in Falun Gong and other illegal organizations, and no criminal record.”[48] In many universities, the employer is the Chinese government, not the university.[citation needed]

Human rights lawyer Clive Ansley has argued that the part of the hiring policy that discriminates against Falun Gong believers is in contravention of anti-discrimination laws and human rights codes.[49] Marci Hamilton, Paul R. Verkuil Chair in Public Law at Yeshiva University, called this policy “unethical and illegal in the free world.”[50]

In 2013, McMaster University in Canada closed its Confucius Institute due to hiring issues over Falun Gong.[51]

Curriculum

The curriculum of Confucius Institutes revolves around the institute’s role as a language center.[30] Confucius Institutes teach simplified Chinese characters, which are standard in Mainland China, rather than the traditional Chinese characters used in Taiwan and Hong Kong.

Reception and controversies

In the short time-frame of their rapid expansion, the Institutes have been the subject of much controversy. Criticisms of the Institutes have included practical concerns about finance, academic viability, legal issues, and relations with the Chinese partner university, as well as ideological concerns about improper influence over teaching and research, industrial and military espionage,[27][28] surveillance of Chinese abroad, and undermining Taiwanese influence.[52] There has also been organized opposition to the establishment of a Confucius Institute at University of Melbourne,[53] University of Manitoba,[54] Stockholm University,[55][56] University of Chicago[57] and many others. More significantly, some universities that hosted Confucius Institutes decided to terminate their contracts. These include Japan’s Osaka Sangyo University in 2010;[58] Canada’s McMaster University and Université de Sherbrooke,[59][60] and France’s University of Lyon in 2013;[20] the University of ChicagoPennsylvania State University, and the Toronto District School Board in 2014.[61][62][63] and the German Stuttgart Media University and University of Hohenheim in 2015.[64][65]

Controversy regarding Confucius Institutes in the US, Australian, and Canadian press include criticism that unlike other governments’ language and culture promotion organizations, the Confucius Institutes operate within established universities, colleges, and secondary schools around the world, providing funding, teachers and educational materials.[1][27][66] This has raised concerns over their influence on academic freedom, the possibility of industrial espionage,[67] and concerns that the institutes present a selective and politicized view of China as a means of advancing the country’s soft power internationally.[1][66][68]

In December 2014, Stockholm University, the first university in Europe to host a Confucius Institute, announced it was terminating the program. Press coverage of the Braga incident in the Swedish press was said to have influenced the decision. “Generally it is questionable to have, within the framework of the university, institutes that are financed by another country,” said the university’s chancellor.[69]

Underlying such opposition is concern by professors that a Confucius Institute would interfere with academic freedom and be able to pressure the university to censor speech on topics the Communist Party of China objects to.[70] An article in The Chronicle of Higher Education writes that here is little evidence of meddling from China although the same article did go on to say the Institutes were “distinct in the degree to which they were financed and managed by a foreign government.”[45] After interviewing China scholars, journalists and CI directors, a writer for The Diplomat also found little support for the concern that CIs would serve as propaganda vehicles, though some of her sources did note that they would face constraints in their curriculum on matters such as Tibet and human rights.[71] An article in The New York Times quotes Arthur Waldron, a professor of international relations at the University of Pennsylvania, that the key issue is academic independence. “Once you have a Confucius Institute on campus, you have a second source of opinions and authority that is ultimately answerable to the Chinese Communist Party and which is not subject to scholarly review.”[72]

In October 2013, University of Chicago professor Marshall Sahlins published an extensive investigative article criticizing the Confucius Institutes and the universities hosting them.[73] Later, more than 100 faculty members signed a protest against the Confucius Institute at the University of Chicago.[74] In September 2014, the University of Chicago suspended its negotiation for renewal of the agreement with Hanban.[75] Two months later, the Canadian Association of University Teachers urged Canadian universities and colleges to end ties with the Confucius Institute.[76]

In June 2014, the American Association of University Professors issued a statement urging American universities to cease their collaboration with the Confucius Institute unless the universities can have unilateral control of the academia affairs, that the teachers in Confucius Institutes can have the same academic freedom enjoyed by other university faculty members, and that the agreements between universities and Confucius Institutes are available to the community.[77] The AAUP statement was widely noticed by US media and prompted extensive further debate in the US.[78][79][80][81]

Two months later, in August 2014, Xu Lin, Director-General of the Hanban and Chief Executive of the CIs worldwide, became embroiled in an incident in Braga, Portugal, when Xu ordered her staff to rip pages referring to Taiwanese academic institutions from the published program for the European Association for Chinese Studies conference in Braga, claiming the materials were “contrary to Chinese regulations”.[82] The Wall Street Journal described Xu’s attempted censorship as the “bullying approach to academic freedom”.[83]

In September 2014, the University of Chicago closed their CI after pressure from faculty members, blaming Xu’s comments that her threatening letter and phone call forced the university to continue hosting the institute.[61][84] The Business Spectator concludes that the Xu Lin’s hardline behavior highlights one of the biggest problems for Beijing’s charm offensive. “It still relies on officials like Xu, who still think and act like party ideologues who like to assert their authority and bully people into submission.”[85] Less than a week later, Pennsylvania State University also cut ties with the Confucius Institute after coming to the conclusion that “its objectives were not in line with the Institute’s”.[86]

In December of that same year, the United States House Foreign Affairs Subcommittee on Africa, Global Health, Global Human Rights and International Organizations held a hearing entitled “Is Academic Freedom Threatened by China’s Influence on U.S. Universities?”.[87] Chairman Chris Smith said, “U.S. colleges and universities should not be outsourcing academic control, faculty and student oversight or curriculum to a foreign government”, and called for a GAO study into agreements between American universities and China.[88] On 5 December 2014, PRC Ministry of Foreign Affairs spokeswoman Hua Chunying denied the House testimony and said “We have assisted with supplying teachers and textbooks at the request of the U.S. side but have never interfered with academic freedom.”[89]

Controversy continued to exist in 2018 as U.S. congress members from Texas wrote a letter to four universities in that state urging them to close their Confucius Institutes. Texas A&M did so shortly after receiving the letter. In their coverage of the closure, Inside Higher Edreported that the concerns about the institutes had shifted “from one about academic freedom and integrity to one about the Chinese government’s overseas influence activities and concerns about espionage on U.S. campuses.”[90] On 19 February 2019, Leiden University in The Netherlands has promised to end agreement with Confucius Institute in August 2019. [91]

See also

References

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Confucius_Institute

 

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The Pronk Pops Show 1215, February 25, 2019, Story 1: President Trump Meeting With Chairman Kim and U.S/Communist China Signing Trade Agreement —  What Happened To Complete Verifiable Irreversible Denuclearization and Destruction of 60+ Nuclear Weapons — Trump Backpedaling — Ultimately Denuclearization? — Much Talk No Action — Total U.S. Embargo On Communist China’s Imports Necessary To Have North Korea Denuclearization — No Real Progress Expected At Summit Nor On Trade Issues — Conclusion:  Trump Being Played For Fool By Communist Dictators — Videos — Story 2: Corrupt Drug Cartel Supporters Oppose National Emergency To Build Border Barrier — American People Support Trump — Political Elitist Establishment Support Open Borders and Drug Dealers — Trump Promises To Veto Resolution to Block National Emergency — Videos

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Story 1: President Trump Meeting With Chairman Kim and U.S/Communist China Signing Trade Agreement —  What Happened To Complete Verifiable Irreversible Denuclearization and Destruction of 60+ Nuclear Weapons — Trump Backpedaling — Ultimately Denuclearization — Much Talk No Action — Total U.S. Embargo On Communist China’s Imports Necessary To Have North Korea Denuclearization — No Real Progress Expected At Summit Nor On Trade Issues — Conclusion:  Trump Being Played For Fool By Communist Dictators — Videos —

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Kim Jong Un impersonator deported from Vietnam ahead of summit

Donald Trump and Kim Jong Un in Vietnam ahead of summit meeting

President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un are in place ahead of their second summit on Wednesday to address perhaps the world’s biggest security challenge.

Mr Kim’s pursuit of a nuclear programme that stands on the verge of viably threatening targets around the planet will be central to discussions in Vietnam that will build on last year’s encounter in Singapore.

Mr Trump arrived late on Tuesday in Air Force One after a long flight that included refuelling stops in the UK and Qatar.

He waved from the stairs of the presidential plane, then shook hands with dignitaries and walked along a red carpet to his motorcade.

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, right, receives bouquets on his arrival (Minoru Iwasaki/Kyodo/AP)

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, right, receives bouquets on his arrival (Minoru Iwasaki/Kyodo/AP)

Mr Kim arrived in Hanoi earlier and spent the day travelling around the Vietnamese capital in his armoured limousine, his squad of bodyguards in tow as he visited the North Korean Embassy, with hundreds of visiting journalists and thousands of local citizens following in his wake.

He took a train through southern China and then travelled to Hanoi by car from a Vietnamese border town.

Donald J. Trump

@realDonaldTrump

Just arrived in Vietnam. Thank you to all of the people for the great reception in Hanoi. Tremendous crowds, and so much love!

42.7K people are talking about this

The two leaders are slated to meet over two days, first at dinner on Wednesday followed by meetings on Thursday.

They first met last June in Singapore, a summit that was long on historic pageantry but short in any enforceable agreements for North Korea to give up its nuclear arsenal.

President Donald Trump meets officials on his arrival (Evan Vucci/AP)

President Donald Trump meets officials on his arrival (Evan Vucci/AP)

Mr Trump has praised Pyongyang for ceasing middle tests and has appeared to ease up on demanding a timeline for disarmament.

Mr Kim is expected to ask for relief from crushing US sanctions.

But before the summit began, Mr Kim took some time to venture out of his locked-down hotel and check out parts of Hanoi, including his nation’s embassy, where a loud cheer went up as he entered the compound.

Soldiers, police and international journalists thronged the streets outside Hanoi’s Melia Hotel where Mr Kim is staying, and hundreds of eager citizens stood behind barricades hoping to see the North Korean leader.

As Vietnamese, North Korean and US flags fluttered in a cold drizzle, dozens of cameras flashed and some citizens screamed and used their mobile phones to capture Mr Kim’s rock-star-like arrival.

A worker helps arrange American and Vietnamese flags (Andrew Harnik/AP)

“I like him,” local resident Van Dang Luu, who works at a nearby bank, said of Mr Kim.

“He is very young and he is very interesting. And he is very powerful,” she said.

“Trump is not young, but I think he is very powerful.”

Vietnam’s authoritarian leaders set up a huge security apparatus to welcome Mr Kim, shutting long stretches of road and locking down swaths of the bustling capital city.

Earlier in the morning, Mr Kim, grinning broadly and waving, stepped off his armoured train at the end of a long ride that started in Pyongyang and wound through China to the Vietnamese border.

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un waves from a car (Minh Hoang/AP)

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un waves from a car (Minh Hoang/AP)

He shook hands with officials as Vietnamese troops in crisp, white uniforms and black boots stood at attention on a red carpet at the Dong Dang railway station on the China-Vietnam border.

Hours ahead of his border crossing, footage from Japanese TV network TBS showed Mr Kim taking a pre-dawn smoke break at a railway station in China, a woman who appeared to be his sister, Kim Yo Jong, holding a crystal ashtray at the ready.

Although many experts are sceptical Mr Kim will give up the nuclear weapons he likely sees as his best guarantee of continued rule, there was a palpable, carnival-like excitement among many in Hanoi as the final preparations were made for the meeting.

Donald J. Trump

@realDonaldTrump

Heading over to Vietnam for my meeting with Kim Jong Un. Looking forward to a very productive Summit!

There were also huge traffic jams in the already congested streets.

Vietnam is eager to show off its huge economic and development improvements since the destruction of the Vietnam War, but the country also tolerates no dissent and is able to provide the kind of firm hand not allowed by more democratic potential hosts.

T-shirts depicting US President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un (Andrew Harnik/AP)

T-shirts depicting US President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un (Andrew Harnik/AP)

“I really hope to catch a glimpse of Kim Jong Un. He is an interesting man. And he rarely travels anywhere so it would be great to see him here,” said Nguyen Trong Toan, a retired teacher who was waiting by the side of the street on Kim’s expected travel route.

There are high expectations for the Hanoi summit after a vague declaration at the first meeting in June in Singapore that disappointed many.

Mr Trump, via Twitter, has worked to temper those expectations, predicting before leaving for Hanoi a “continuation of the progress” made in Singapore but adding a tantalising nod to “denuclearisation?”

He also said that Mr Kim knows that “without nuclear weapons, his country could fast become one of the great economic powers anywhere in the world”.

North Korea has spent decades, at great political and economic sacrifice, building its nuclear programme, and there is widespread scepticism among experts that it will give away that programme cheaply.

https://www.dailymail.co.uk/wires/pa/article-6747417/Donald-Trump-Kim-Jong-Un-Vietnam-ahead-summit-meeting.html

 

Trump’s Hanoi summit off to rough start even before his arrival

 Published 

President Donald Trump arrived in Hanoi late Tuesday for a second summit with Kim Jong Un that has already shown flashes of disorder, as American journalists were abruptly evicted from a hotel housing the North Korean leader and key details of the meeting remained a mystery.

The White House has set low ambitions for Thursday’s talks, organized in a matter of weeks after Trump announced the summit Feb. 8. The two sides haven’t even agreed on the meaning of denuclearization or the ultimate purpose of the negotiations — and that’s unlikely to be resolved this week.

Before Kim’s arrival in Hanoi Tuesday morning, Vietnam’s foreign ministry announced that the White House media center would have to move from the Melia hotel downtown, where the North Korean leader is staying. The White House offered no explanation for the move, which forced news organizations operating from the hotel to pack up and relocate a few blocks away.

Trump will dine with Kim Wednesday evening after meetings with Vietnamese leaders, White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders told reporters traveling with the president aboard Air Force One. She didn’t say where the two men would have dinner Wednesday, and the White House also hasn’t said where they will hold their formal summit on Thursday.

Trump will be joined at dinner by his chief of staff, Mick Mulvaney, and Secretary of State Michael Pompeo. Kim will also be joined by two aides, Sanders said. She didn’t identify them.

Sanders complained on Fox News last week that American media had manufactured “high expectations” for the summit. Trump has sought to tamp down public expectations as well, telling state governors on Sunday that he has no intention of lifting harsh U.S. sanctions on North Korea and isn’t pushing for a hasty deal with Kim.

Failure to win substantive concessions from Kim risks turning a dramatic moment into a public letdown for the U.S president, who is making his second trip to the other side of the world to try to persuade Kim to give up his nuclear weapons. After agreeing to cease military exercises with South Korea following their first summit without gaining anything substantive from Kim in exchange, Trump’s critics fear the president may again be talked into a U.S. concession.

“This is where the president’s unpredictability, his impulsiveness, his inclination not to prepare for meetings could get us into trouble,” said Victor Cha, the Korea Chair at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, whom the Trump administration considered nominating for ambassador to South Korea.

Talks between Washington and Pyongyang have been deadlocked since the two leaders’ first summit in Singapore last June. Rather than show progress toward denuclearization, North Korea has continued to build warheads and missiles, according to satellite-imagery analysis and leaked American intelligence.

Speculation before the second summit has focused on steps the two countries could take to show warming relations while avoiding the sorer points in their nuclear negotiations. In Hanoi, the government has festooned the city with U.S., Vietnamese and North Korean flags and branded the summit as a “partnership for sustainable peace.”

The likeliest outcomes this time are symbolic. One significant possibility is that Trump and Kim conclude their meetings on Thursday with a declaration that their countries are no longer at war, a nonbinding political statement that won’t officially replace the 1953 Korean War armistice.

Some critics worry that a peace declaration — which would come more than 65 years after the armistice agreement that ended the Korean War – could erode the American justification for stationing about 28,500 troops in neighboring South Korea. That might not be of particular concern to Trump, who has openly questioned the cost of the large U.S. troop presence and recently forced the negotiation of a new cost-sharing agreement with South Korea.

Kim could agree to allow a U.S. diplomatic liaison office in Pyongyang, sought by American officials dating to Bill Clinton’s administration. But the North Korean regime has resisted, figuring the U.S. would use the outpost to expand its intelligence-gathering in the country. This summit may test Kim’s willingness to break from the past.

Patrick Cronin, chairman of the Asia-Pacific security program at the Hudson Institute, a conservative Washington-based think tank, said either a peace declaration or a diplomatic exchange would be useful confidence-building moves. Neither should be met with much concern — especially if Kim also gives ground on issues such as inspections of North Korean nuclear facilities or lockdowns or other controls of fissile material, he said.

Trump has repeatedly indicated he’s eager to help jump-start a post-nuclear North Korean economy. His negotiators might seek human-rights assurances that could eventually pave the way for Western companies subject to U.S. and international laws to enter the country.

The two leaders could also announce the formation of joint survey teams to look for additional remains of American soldiers killed during the Korean War, after an initial repatriation following the Singapore summit.

Senior administration officials said that progress toward any of those goals would constitute success and demonstrate the president’s efforts have been effective. A team of more than a dozen U.S. officials led by Stephen Biegun, Trump’s North Korea envoy, has met twice in recent weeks – first in Pyongyang, and more recently in Hanoi – with North Korean counterparts in a bid to craft some sort of agreement for the leaders to announce.

Kim could demonstrate his sincerity by revealing undeclared facilities, disclosing or allowing inspection of his program’s uranium pathways, permitting international inspectors on the ground, or agreeing to allow electronic monitoring or the removal of samples by inspectors. U.S. negotiators are likely to raise their concerns over the proliferation of fissile material and mobile missile launchers.

One senior administration official who requested anonymity to discuss ongoing negotiations speculated that a breakdown in talks between the U.S. and North Korea late last year could have been a signal of internal pressures within the North Korean government. Kim likely faces domestic resistance to any steps toward denuclearization, Cronin said.

https://www.greenwichtime.com/news/article/Trump-s-Hanoi-summit-off-to-rough-start-even-13645100.php

 

List of North Korean missile tests

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There have been a number of North Korean missile tests. North Korea has also fired a number of short-range missiles into the Sea of Japan (East Sea of Korea), in what have been interpreted as political gestures.[1][2][3][4]

As of 30 November 2017, North Korea has carried out 117 tests of strategic missiles since its first such test in 1984.[5] 15 were carried out under the rule of Kim Il-sung and 16 under Kim Jong-il.[6] Under Kim Jong-un, more than 80 tests have been undertaken.[7]

Timeline[edit]

Date Information
1976–81 North Korea commences its missile development program using Scud-B from the Soviet Union and a launchpad from Egypt.[8]
1984 First Scud-B missile test firing.[8]
1988 Operational deployment of Scud-B and Scud-C missiles.[8]
1990 First Rodong missile test.[8]
1993 1993 North Korean missile test – (May 29/30, 1993) – Nodong
1998 North Korea fires off its first ballistic missile, the Unha-1 rocket, also known as the Taepodong-1 missile, from the launch site of Musudan-ri in North Hamgyong Province.[9]
1999 North Korea agrees to a moratorium on long-range missile tests.[10]
2002 North Korea pledges to extend moratorium on missile tests beyond 2003.
2004 North Korea reaffirms moratorium.[11]
2005 North Korea fires short-range missile into Sea of Japan.[12]
July 5, 2006 2006 North Korean missile test – Taepodong-2 failed [9]
April 5, 2009 Failed orbit of the Kwangmyongsong-2 satellite aboard an Unha-2 carrier rocket
July 4, 2009 2009 North Korean missile test
April 13, 2012 Failed launch of the Kwangmyŏngsŏng-3 satellite aboard an Unha-3 carrier rocket
December 12, 2012 Successful launch of the Kwangmyŏngsŏng-3 Unit 2 satellite aboard a three-stage rocket [9]
May 18–20, 2013 2013 North Korean missile tests (part of 2013 Korean crisis)
March 2014 2014 North Korean missile tests including Nodong, success[13]
May 9, 2015 North Korea claims to launch a missile from a submarine [14][9]
February 7, 2016 Successful launch of the Kwangmyŏngsŏng-4 satellite
April 9, 2016 Test of engine designed for an intercontinental ballistic missile [15]
August 24, 2016 North Korea claims to launch a Pukkuksong-1[16] missile capable of striking the United States.[17] The missile is a Submarine-launched ballistic missile.[17]
October 15, 2016 Failed North Korean ballistic missile launch – [18]
October 19, 2016 Failed launch of an intermediate-range missile [19]
February 11, 2017 North Korea test-fired a Pukkuksong-2 missile over the Sea of Japan. This was the first launch of the new medium-range ballistic missile .[20][21][9]
March 6, 2017 North Korea launches four ballistic missiles from the Tongchang-ri launch site in the northwest.[22] Some flew 620 mi (1,000 km) before falling into the Sea of Japan.[23][9]
April 4, 2017 North Korea test-fired a medium-range ballistic missile from its eastern port of Sinpo into the Sea of Japan[24][25][9]
April 15, 2017 North Korea test-fired an unidentified land-based missile from the naval base in Sinpo but it exploded almost immediately after the takeoff .[26][27][28][29]
April 28, 2017 North Korea test-fired an unidentified missile from Pukchang airfield.[30][31] The missile, believed to be a medium-range[32] KN-17 ballistic missile,[30] faltered and broke apart minutes after liftoff.[32][33][34]
May 13, 2017 North Korea test-fired a Hwasong-12[35] missile from a test site in the area of Kusong.[36] The missile, later revealed to be an intermediate range ballistic missile,[37] traveled 30 minutes,[38] reached an altitude of more than 2,111.5 km, and flew a horizontal distance of 789 km (489 miles), before falling into the Sea of Japan.[37] Such a missile would have a range of at least 4,000, reaching Guam, to 6,000 km.[36][35]
May 21, 2017 North Korea test-fired another Pukkuksong-2 medium-range ballistic missile from Pukchang airfield,[39][40] which traveled approximately 500 km (300 miles) before falling into the Sea of Japan.[41] The missile landed about 350 km (217 miles) from North Korea’s east coast.[41]
May 29, 2017 North Korea fired a Short Range Ballistic Missile into the Sea of Japan. It traveled 450 km.[42]
June 8, 2017 North Korea fired several missiles into the Sea of Japan. They are believed to be anti-ship missiles.[43] The South Korean military said the launches show the reclusive regime’s “precise targeting capability.”
June 23, 2017 North Korea tested a new rocket engine that could possibly be fitted to an intercontinental ballistic missile.[44]
July 4, 2017 North Korea tested its first intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) named Hwasong-14 on July 4.[45][46] It launched from the Panghyon Aircraft Factory 8 km southeast of Panghyon Airport.[47] It was aimed straight up at a lofted trajectory and reached more than 2,500 km into space.[48] It landed 37 minutes later,[49] more than 930 km from its launch site,[50] into Japan’s exclusive economic zone.[51] Aiming long, the missile would have traveled 7,000–8,000 km or more, reaching Alaska, Hawaii, and maybe Seattle.[49][52][53][54][55] Its operational range would be farther, bringing a 500 kg payload to targets in most of the contiguous United States 9,700 km away.[56][57][58]
July 28, 2017 The 14th missile test carried out by North Korea in 2017 was another ICBM launched at 23:41 North Korea time (15:41 GMT) from Chagang Province in the north of the country on July 28, 2017. Los Angeles, Denver, Chicago, Boston, and New York appear to be within range.[59] The missile’s reentry vehicle (RV) was seen by people in Japan as it entered the atmosphere and landed near the northernmost Japanese island, Hokkaido.[60][61] Analysis later revealed that the RV broke up on re-entry; further testing would be required.[62] The CIA made an assessment expecting adequate performance of the RV under the different stresses of a shallower trajectory towards the continental US.[63]
August 26, 2017 North Korea test-fired three short-range ballistic missiles from the Kangwon province on August 26. Two travel approximately 250 kilometers in a northeastern direction and one explodes immediately after launch.[64]
August 29, 2017 On August 29, 2017, at 6 AM local time, North Korea launched a ballistic missile over Northern Japan.[65] The missile’s short and low trajectory and its breakup into three pieces is consistent with the failure of a heavy post-boost vehicle.[66]
September 15, 2017 North Korea launched a ballistic missile on September 15 from Sunan airfield. It reached a height of 770 km and flew a distance of 3,700 km for 17 minutes over Hokkaido before landing in the Pacific.[67]
November 28, 2017 North Korea launched an ICBM from the vicinity of Pyongsong at 1:30pm EST/3:00am Pyongyang time. The rocket traveled for 50 minutes and reached 2800 miles (4,500 km) in height, both of which were new milestones. The missile flew 600 miles (1,000 km) east into the Sea of Japan; unlike summer launches, the Japanese government did not issue cellphone alerts to warn its citizens. North Korea called it a Hwasong-15 missile. Its potential range appears to be more than 8,000 miles (13,000 km), able to reach Washington and the rest of the continental United States.[68][69] Much about the missile is unknown. The missile might have been fitted with a mock warhead to increase its range, in which case the maximum missile range while carrying a heavy warhead might be shorter than 13,000 km. Based on satellite imagery, some experts believe that North Korea may now be able to fuel missiles horizontally, shortening the delay between when a missile becomes visible to when it can be launched.[68] The rocket is believed to have broken up on re-entry into the atmosphere.[70]

Trajectories of North Korean missiles launched over Japan

Range and altitude of North Korean missiles launched over Japan

North Korean rockets flown over the Japanese archipelago
No. Date Model Area flown over Advance notice North Korean claim Satellite name
1 August 31, 1998 Taepodong-1 Akita No Satellite launch Kwangmyŏngsŏng-1
2 April 5, 2009 Unha-2 AkitaIwate Yes Satellite launch Kwangmyŏngsŏng-2
3 December 12, 2012 Unha-3 Okinawa Yes Satellite launch Kwangmyŏngsŏng-3
4 February 7, 2016 Kwangmyŏngsŏng (Unha-3) Okinawa Yes Satellite launch Kwangmyŏngsŏng-4
5 August 29, 2017 Hwasong-12 Hokkaido No Missile launch N/A
6 September 15, 2017 Hwasong-12 Hokkaido No Missile launch N/A

Events related to missile tests[edit]

2016[edit]

On February 7, 2016, roughly a month after an alleged hydrogen bomb test, North Korea claimed to have put a satellite into low Earth orbitJapanese Prime Minister Shinzō Abe had warned the North to not launch the rocket, and if it did and the rocket violated Japaneseterritory, it would be shot down. North Korea launched the rocket anyway, claiming the satellite was purely intended for peaceful, scientific purposes. Several nations, including the United States, Japan, and South Korea, have criticized the launch, and despite North Korean claims that the rocket was for peaceful purposes, it has been heavily criticized as an attempt to perform an ICBM test under the guise of a peaceful satellite launch. China also criticized the launch, however urged “the relevant parties” to “refrain from taking actions that may further escalate tensions on the Korean peninsula”.[71]

While some North Korean pronouncements have been treated with skepticism and ridicule, analysts treated the unusual pace of North Korean rocket and nuclear testing in early 2016 quite seriously. Admiral Bill Gortney, head of the North American Aerospace Defense Command, told Congress in March 2016, “It’s the prudent decision on my part to assume that [Kim Jong Un] has the capability to miniaturize a nuclear weapon and put it on an ICBM,” suggesting a major shift from a few years earlier.[72]

North Korea appeared to launch a missile test from a submarine on April 23, 2016; while the missile only traveled 30 km, one U.S. analyst noted that “North Korea’s sub launch capability has gone from a joke to something very serious”.[73] North Korea conducted multiple missile tests in 2016.[74]

2017[edit]

On August 29, 2017 United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres has condemned the latest North Korea Ballistic Missile Launch and termed it as violation of relevant UN Security Council resolutions, as According to press reports, early Tuesday morning, the North Korea Ballistic Missile travelled some 2,700 kilometers, flying over Japan before crashing into the Pacific Ocean.[75]

On September 3, 2017, North Korea claimed to have successfully tested a thermonuclear bomb, also known as a hydrogen bomb (see 2017 North Korean nuclear test). Corresponding seismic activity similar to an earthquake of magnitude 6.3 was reported by the USGSmaking the blast around 10 times more powerful than previous detonations by the country.[76] Later the bomb yield was estimated to be 250 kilotons, based on further study of the seismic data.[77] The test was reported to be “a perfect success”.[78]

See also[edit]

References

 

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_North_Korean_missile_tests

Story 2: Corrupt Drug Cartel Supporters Oppose National Emergency To Build Border Barrier — American People Support Trump — Political Elitist Establishment Support Open Borders and Drug Dealers — Trump Promises To Veto Resolution to Block National Emergency — Videos

No factual basis for Trump’s national emergency at the border say ex-national security officials

Pelosi on efforts to block Trump’s national emergency

Trump will ‘100 percent’ veto resolution to block national emergency

Graham on the Dems’ resolution to block Trump’s emergency declaration

Nunes on Pelosi’s push to terminate Trump’s emergency declaration

 

Former senior national security officials issue declaration on national emergency

Trump will ‘100 percent’ veto resolution to block national emergency

President Trump on Feb. 22 said he would veto a House-introduced resolution to block his national emergency declaration. 

February 25 at 1:31 PM

A bipartisan group of 58 former senior national security officials issued a statement Monday saying that “there is no factual basis” for President Trump’s proclamation of a national emergency to build a wall on the U.S.-Mexico border.

The joint statement, whose signatories include former secretary of state Madeleine Albright and former defense secretary Chuck Hagel, comes a day before the House is expected to vote on a resolution to block Trump’s Feb. 15 declaration.

The former officials’ statement, which will be entered into the Congressional Record, is intended to support lawsuits and other actions challenging the national emergency proclamation and to force the administration to set forth the legal and factual basis for it.

“Under no plausible assessment of the evidence is there a national emergency today that entitles the president to tap into funds appropriated for other purposes to build a wall at the southern border,” the group said.

Albright served under President Bill Clinton, and Hagel, a former Republican senator from Nebraska, served under President Barack Obama.

Lawmakers argue over Trump’s national emergency declaration

Republican Sen. Lindsey O. Graham (R-S.C.) said he supported President Trump’s national emergency declaration to build the wall Feb. 17. 

Also signing were Eliot A. Cohen, State Department counselor under President George W. Bush; Thomas R. Pickering, President George H.W. Bush’s ambassador to the United Nations; John F. Kerry, Obama’s second secretary of state; Susan E. Rice, Obama’s national security adviser; Leon E. Panetta, Obama’s CIA director and defense secretary; as well as former intelligence and security officials who served under Republican and Democratic administrations.

Trump’s national emergency declaration followed a 35-day partial government shutdown, which came after Congress did not approve the $5.7 billion he sought to build a wall.

In announcing his declaration, Trump predicted lawsuits and “possibly . . . a bad ruling, and then we’ll get another bad ruling” before winning at the Supreme Court.

Trump’s actions are also drawing criticism from at least two dozen former Republican congressmen, who have signed an open letter urging passage of a joint resolution to terminate the emergency declaration. The letter argues that Trump is circumventing congressional authority.


A secondary border wall is under construction in Otay Mesa, Calif. (Sandy Huffaker/Getty Images)

The former security officials’ 11-page declaration sets out their argument disputing the factual basis for the president’s emergency.

Among other things, they said, illegal border crossings are at nearly 40-year lows. Undetected unlawful entries at the U.S.-Mexico border decreased from 851,000 to nearly 62,000 between 2006 and 2016, they said, citing Department of Homeland Security statistics.

Contrary to the president’s assertion, there is no documented emergency at the southern border related to terrorism or violent crime, they said, citing administration reports and independent think tank analyses.

Similarly, they state that there is no drug trafficking emergency that can be addressed by a wall along the southern border, noting that “the overwhelming majority of opioids” that enter the United States are brought in through legal ports of entry, citing the Justice Department.

They also argue that redirecting money pursuant to the national emergency declaration “will undermine U.S. national security and foreign policy interests.” And, they assert, “a wall is unnecessary to support the use of the armed forces,” as the administration has said.

Some of the same former officials wrote a joint declaration disputing the factual basis for the president’s order shortly after he took office in January 2017 barring entry to foreign nationals from seven predominantly Muslim countries. The former officials asserted that the order was not based on a bona fide national security assessment but on “a deliberate political decision to discriminate against a religious minority.”

Their views were filed as a joint declaration and later as a friend-of-the court brief in lawsuits challenging the original order and subsequent revisions, and it was cited by almost every federal judge who enjoined the ban. By the time the challenges reached the Supreme Court, the administration had significantly narrowed the ban, which the high court upheld on a 5-to-4 vote.

With respect to the declared national emergency, plaintiffs have filed two cases in the District of Columbia, two in California and one in Texas.

https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/national-security/former-senior-national-security-officials-to-issue-declaration-on-national-emergency/2019/02/24/3e4908c6-3859-11e9-a2cd-307b06d0257b_story.html?noredirect=on&utm_term=.9bba7ebe0f69

Former US security officials to oppose emergency declaration

yesterday

A group of former U.S. national security officials is set to release a statement arguing there is no justification for President Donald Trump to use a national emergency declaration to fund a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border.

The statement, which was reviewed by The Associated Press, has 58 signatures from prominent former officials, including former Secretaries of State Madeline Albright and John Kerry, former Defense Secretaries Chuck Hagel and Leon Panetta and former Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano.

The statement is set to be released Monday, a day before the Democratic-controlled House is expected to vote to block Trump from using the declaration. The measure is sure to pass, and the GOP-run Senate may adopt it as well, though Trump has already promised a veto.

“There is no factual basis for the declaration of a national emergency,” says the statement, which argues that border crossings are near a 40-year low and that there is no terrorist emergency at the border.

Trump declared an emergency to obtain wall funding beyond the $1.4 billion Congress approved for border security. The move allows the president to bypass Congress to use money from the Pentagon and other budgets.

Trump’s edict is also being challenged in the federal courts, where a host of Democratic-led states such as California are among those that have sued to overturn Trump’s order.

https://www.apnews.com/5e7f4cd5fef84f28a057558dc3913f42

 

These Texas Brothers Could Make Millions Building The First New Section Of Trump’s Border Wall

Six miles of all-new ’steel slats’ will start going up late February in Hidalgo County.

Replacement border fence under construction in early January 2019, near San Diego, Calif.

Replacement border fence under construction in early January 2019, near San Diego, Calif. AFP/GETTY IMAGES

By Christopher Helman with Deniz Cam

President Donald Trump has said he wants a 1,000-mile wall on the U.S. border with Mexico. Right now there’s about 650 miles of existing barriers—most of it built during the Bush and Obama administrations. So far during the Trump years, some of those walls or fences have been upgraded, but no barrier extensions have been undertaken.

That will change in late February when a contractor called SLSCOwill begin building six miles of all-new wall in Hidalgo County, Texas, near the McAllen-Reynosa border crossing. SLSCO has two contracts with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to build a total of 35 miles of wall this year in Texas and California, for a payment of as much as $432 million. U.S. Customs & Border Protection confirms that this project is a go. Having been funded out of a spending bill passed last March, this new wall won’t be stopped by the government shutdown.

So who is it behind SLSCO so eager to bid on one of the most acrimonious public projects in U.S. history? The company, a.k.a. Sullivan Land Services, was founded in 1995 by John, Billy and Todd Sullivan—brothers from Galveston, Texas. They’re reticent to talk about it, referring most questions to the CBP and Army Corps of Engineers, which will oversee construction. In a brief phone interview, John Sullivan said the brothers’ decision to bid on building the wall had nothing to do with politics.

If it’s not for politics, it must be pretty good business. Yet for all the hassle they go through, the big publicly traded general contractors like Fluor, KBR and Jacobs Engineering tend to generate gross margins of less than 10% and net margins south of 5%. Sullivan says it would be inappropriate to try to estimate how much they would make on a contract that hasn’t been completed yet—some contracts make money, some lose money. If they can squeeze out a 5% margin, the Sullivans could net $20 million or so getting Trump’s wall started—and with a lot of miles yet to be contracted.

The Sullivan brothers (Todd is 43, John and Billy, 39) grew up on Galveston Island, sons of Susanne and Gerald Sullivan, who started off as a cattle rancher on the island and built a port business with Texas International Terminals, a dock for tankers and cargo ships, with petroleum storage and a rail spur. They also operate a dredging business and have built artificial reefs for wildlife in the Gulf of Mexico. Their Sullivan Brothers Builders puts up 100 or so townhomes a year around Houston.

Near Santa Teresa, New Mexico, on December 23 as work continued on replacing 20 miles of old fence with new bollards.

Near Santa Teresa, New Mexico, on December 23 as work continued on replacing 20 miles of old fence with new bollards. AFP/GETTY IMAGES

The bigger operations are SLSCO as well as their disaster recovery business DRC Emergency Services, which in recent years has become adept at mustering subcontractors to mobilize hundreds of heavy hauling trucks from across the region to pick up mountains of debris in the wake of hurricanes. Among DRC’s biggest jobs: In 2016, after historic flooding in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, DRC and its subcontractors brought in 300 trucks to haul off 2.5 million cubic yards of debris and haul in $35 million (gross). When Hurricane Harvey deluged Houston in 2017, DRC hauled out 2.8 million cubic yards of debris, and about $40 million. Mark Hunter, an official with the South Carolina Department of Transportation, says of DRC in an email: “they are a great group, very intelligent approach to projects—efficient, productive and committed.” In 2014, according to DRC reports, South Carolina paid the company $44.2 million for storm cleanup.

The brothers have clearly developed a taste for disaster work. SLSCO has rebuilt homes in Haiti, as well as in New York City after Superstorm Sandy (a $290 million contract). They’ve been in Puerto Rico since soon after Hurricane Maria, with a $375 million FEMA contract to rebuild 800 homes and repair 27,000 more. In a contract last year with the commonwealth of Virginia’s office of emergency management, SLSCO grossed $31 million setting up emergency shelters to house 5,000 evacuees that went almost unused. According to Forbes’ tally, the Sullivans have around $1 billion in revenue from government contracts in recent years, from which they could have reasonably gleaned $50 million in profits.

When it comes to that barrier between the U.S. and Mexico, what SLSCO is not going to build are the solid, monolithic slab prototypes that Trump commissioned as a beauty pageant for his vision of a “big, beautiful” wall. The spending bill required that any wall building be done using existing, proven designs. That means installing a concrete base, as high as 15 feet in some flood-prone areas, topped with 18-foot-long steel beams, called “bollards.” Trump prefers the term “steel slats.”

Trump touring his wall prototypes in 2018. None of these are set to be built, at least until the shutdown is over.

Trump touring his wall prototypes in 2018. None of these are set to be built, at least until the shutdown is over. AFP/GETTY IMAGES

Since passage of the Secure Fence Act of 2006 (with support of senators Obama, Clinton, Schumer and Biden), several hundred miles of this kind of fence have been erected. The project also involves the installation of cameras, sensors and building of a patrol road along the levee wall. Since last summer SLSCO has been building this kind of wall in a replacement project near San Diego stretching from the Pacific Ocean 14 miles inland.

Back in Hidalgo County the Catholic Church is suing, aghast that the wall will block off the tiny La Lomita Chapel, built in 1865 by French missionaries. The wall will also go through Bentsen State Park, a ranch on the river formerly owned by the late Texas senator Lloyd Bentsen. And then there’s the National Butterfly Center, a private nature preserve a few miles upriver from McAllen in Mission, Texas. Executive Director Marianna Wright laments that the fence will bisect their 100 acres, cutting off its southern acreage closest to the river. The center filed suit to stop the project last year, but the case is now “in limbo,” Wright says.

The feds have been negotiating with some landowners on compensation for the taking of their land. However, by using eminent domain “quick take” precedents, they can take land before paying for it, or even agreeing on a price. “They are going to seize this land and they are going to build this wall and there’s nothing we can do to stop them,” says Wright, who has been informed by the feds that where the wall crosses the butterfly refuge, SLSCO will be installing a secure door, accessible via numeric keypad. That way butterfly buffs can venture to the other side of the refuge. CBP shouldn’t expect the butterfly center to check their patrons’ papers. Wright says they’ll give the code out to all of their visitors. And if more people come back through the gate than went through it? Jason Montemayor, public affairs liaison with Customs & Border Protection, says that gates built into the fence will be monitored by cameras and sensors, and if there is any suspicious activity the access codes will be changed. Plenty of Republicans find this distasteful; a new bill sponsored by Reprersentative Justin Amash (R.-Ill.) would push back on federal eminent domain abuse.

And what of the butterflies? Turns out that big monarchs can soar over the wall to fulfill their migration instincts, whereas some species like the endangered Quino checkerspot butterfly (euphydryas editha quino) prefer to flit closer to the ground and will not be able to get over the wall, says Wright; “They will evolve separate northern and southern subspecies.” She says the Boobs For Peace group intends to protest topless when the bulldozers arrive. If things get out of hand, there are 4,500 active duty military and national guardsmen deployed along the border through September 2019. Butterflies are low on the priority list. Customs & Border Patrol says that in 2017 its Rio Grande Valley sector apprehended 137,000 illegal aliens, 260,000 pounds of marijuana, and 1,200 pounds of cocaine. “This is sector number 1 for seizures,” says Montemayor, “a focal point of U.S. border control.”

Sullivan had no comment on the fate of the butterflies or the church, referring all questions to the feds. To be sure, SLSCO’s not alone in bidding to build President Trump’s wall. Barnard Construction of Bozeman, Montana, has been building in Arizona, while Texas Sterling Construction, Fisher Sand & Gravel, and Caddell Construction have all built prototypes. Building with the cheaper bollard system (“steel slats”), instead of solid wall, Trump’s entire 1,000 miles would likely be doable for $10 billion—leaving around $500 million in profits for the Sullivans and other opportunistic contractors.

https://www.forbes.com/sites/christopherhelman/2019/01/16/these-texas-brothers-could-make-millions-building-the-first-new-section-of-trumps-border-wall/#768d2b0b7009

 

 

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The Pronk Pops Show 1214, February 22, 2019, Story 1: President Trump Surviving, Thriving and Winning Against Political Elitist Establishment and Big Lie Media Mob — American People vs. Political Elitist Establishment — Videos — Story 2: Exposing, Investigating and Prosecuting The Plotters of The Greatest Political Scandal in United States History — Constitutional Crisis — Videos

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Story 1: President Trump Surviving, Thriving and Winning Against Political Elitist Establishment and Big Lie Media Mob — American People vs. Political Elitist Establishment — Videos —

Victor Davis Hanson February 19, 2019

Historian Victor Davis Hanson on why he supports Trump

Victor Davis Hanson | America and the World, 2017-2018

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Survival at the White House
By VICTOR DAVIS HANSON
February 21, 2019 11:12 AM

President Donald Trump speaks at the White House in Washington, D.C., February 19, 2019. (Jim Young/REUTERS)

The administrative state took aim at Trump, but it has not been able to destroy him
No one in Washington called Donald J. Trump a “god” (as journalist Evan Thomas in 2009 had suggested of Obama) when he arrived in January 2017. No one felt nerve impulses in his leg when Trump talked, as journalist Chris Matthews once remarked had happened to him after hearing an Obama speech. And no newsman or pundit cared how crisply creased were Trump’s pants, at least in the manner that New York Times columnist David Brooks had once praised Obama’s sartorial preciseness. Instead, Trump was greeted by the Washington media and intellectual establishment as if he were the first beast in the Book of Revelation, who arose “out of the sea, having seven heads and ten horns, and upon his horns ten crowns, and upon his heads the name of blasphemy.”

Besides the Washington press and pundit corps, Donald Trump faced a third and more formidable opponent: the culture of permanent and senior employees of the federal and state governments, and the political appointees in Washington who revolve in and out from business, think tanks, lobbying firms, universities, and the media. Or as the legal scholar of the administrative state Philip Hamburger put it: “Although the United States remains a republic, administrative power creates within it a very different sort of government. The result is a state within the state — an administrative state within the Constitution’s United States.”

Since the U.S. post-war era, the growth of American state and federal government has been enormous. By 2017, there were nearly 3 million civilian federal workers, and another 1.3 million Americans in the uniformed military. Over 22 million local, state, and federal workers had made government the largest employment sector.

The insidious power of the unelected administrative state is easy to understand. After all, it governs the most powerful aspects of modern American life: taxes, surveillance, criminal-justice proceedings, national security, and regulation. The nightmares of any independent trucker or small-business person are being audited by the IRS, having communications surveilled, or being investigated by a government regulator or prosecutor.

The reach of the deep state ultimately is based on two premises. One, improper government-worker behavior is difficult to audit or at least to be held to account, given that it is protected by both union contracts and civil-service law. And, two, a government appointee or bureaucrat has the unlimited resources of the state behind him, while the targeted private citizen in a federal indictment, tax audit, or regulation violation not only does not, but is assumed also not to have the means even to provide an adequate legal defense.

In theory, the deep state should have been a nonpartisan meritocratic cadre of government officials who were custodians of a civil service that had often served Americans well and transcended changes in presidential administrations. The ranks of top government regulators, justices, executive officers, and bureaucrats would take advice, and often be drawn, from hallowed, supposedly apolitical East Coast institutions — the World Bank, the Council on Foreign Relations, the Federal Reserve, Ivy League faculties, Wall Street, and blue-chip Washington and New York law firms.

In fact, the deep state grew increasingly political, progressive, and internationalist. Its members and cultural outlook were shaped by the good life on the two coasts and abroad. And every four or eight years, it usually greeted not so much incoming Republican or Democratic presidents as much as fusion-party representatives with reputable résumés, past memberships in similar organizations, and outlooks identical to its own.

Then the disrupter Trump crashed in.

While the deep state was far too vast to be stereotypically monolithic in the Obama and Trump years, it was a general rule that it had admired Obama, who grew it, and it now loathed Trump, who promised to shrink it. Moreover, Trump did not, like most incoming and outgoing politicians, praise in Pavlovian fashion the institutions of Washington. Nothing to Trump was sacred. During and after the campaign, he blasted the CIA, the FBI, the IRS, and Department of Justice as either incompetent or prejudicial.

When Trump cited the Department of Veterans Affairs, it was to side with its victims, not its administrators or venerable history. In Trump’s mind, the problem with federal agencies was not just that they overreached and were weaponized, but that their folds of bureaucracy led to incompetency.

Trump was not so much critical as ignorant of the deep state’s rules and its supposed sterling record of stable governance. Trump proved willing to fire lifelong public servants. He ignored sober and judicious advice from Washington “wise men.” He appointed “crazy” outsiders skeptical of establishment institutions. He purged high government of its progressive activists. And he embraced deep-state heresies and blasphemies such as considering tariffs, questioning NATO, doubting the efficacy of NAFTA, whining about federal judges, and jawboning interest rates. He also left vacant key offices on the theory that one less deep-state voice was one less critic, and one less obstacle to undoing the Obama record.

In the meantime, establishment institutions provided the seasoned opposition to almost everything Trump did. They were likely the “senior officials” to whom an anonymous New York Times op-ed writer referred when he talked about an ongoing “resistance” inside the government to thwart the Trump agenda. In the conservative old days, a Republican president could call upon New York and Washington pundits and insiders — in the present generation, names such as David Brooks, David Frum, Bill Kristol, Bret Stephens, or George Will — for kitchen-cabinet advice. But now they were among Trump’s fiercest critics. Only in the matter of judicial appointments could Trump find seasoned and experienced conservatives eager to be appointed or advanced, and respected organizations such as the Federalist Society eager to help him ensure conservative justices.

As an initial result, Obama holdovers lingered everywhere in the executive branch and cabinet offices. They had no immediate desire to leave when obstruction, if caught, only won accolades. Almost immediately, Trump’s private phone calls with foreign leaders such as Mexican president Enrique Peña Nieto and Australian prime minister Malcolm Turnbull were leaked to the press and appeared as transcripts in the Washington Post.

In the 1970s, the military officer corps and the top ranks of the CIA, DOJ, and FBI were, in the eyes of the Left, synonymous with conspiracies like those in Seven Days in May and The Manchurian Candidate. Yet in 2016, these same institutions had been recalibrated by progressives as protectors of social justice against interlopers and bomb throwers such as Donald Trump. Whether it was scary or needed to have a secretive, unelected cabal inside the White House subverting presidential agendas depended on who was president.

During the Robert Mueller investigations, progressives usually defended the FISA-court-ordered intercepts of private citizens’ communications, despite the machinations taken to deceive FISA-court justices. Indeed, liberal critics suggested that to question how the multitude of conflicts of interest at the Obama DOJ and FBI had warped their presentations of the Steele dossier to the courts was in itself an obstruction of justice or downright unpatriotic.

News of FBI informants planted into the 2016 Trump campaign raised no eyebrows. Nor did the unmasking and leaking of the names of U.S. citizens by members of the Obama National Security Council. Former CIA director John Brennan and former director of national intelligence James Clapper soon became progressive pundits on cable news. While retaining their security clearances, they blasted Trump variously as a Russian mole, a foreign asset, treasonous, and a veritable traitor.

Both became liberal icons, despite their lucrative merry-go-rounds between Washington businesses and government service, and they sometimes lied under oath to Congress about all that and more.

On March 17, John Brennan, in objection to the firing of deputy director of the FBI, Andrew McCabe (who shortly would be found by the nonpartisan inspector general to have lied on four occasions to federal investigators, and was soon reportedly in legal jeopardy from a grand-jury investigation), tweeted about the current president of the United States: “When the full extent of your venality, moral turpitude, and political corruption becomes known, you will take your rightful place as a disgraced demagogue in the dustbin of history . . . America will triumph over you.”

In mid April, Brennan followed up with another attack on Trump: “Your kakistocracy [rule of the “worst people”] is collapsing after its lamentable journey. As the greatest Nation history has known, we have the opportunity to emerge from this nightmare stronger & more committed to ensuring a better life for all Americans, including those you have so tragically deceived.”

If such hysterics from the former head of the world’s premier spy agency and current MSNBC/NBC pundit seemed a near threat to a sitting president, then Samantha Power, former U.N. ambassador and a past ethics professor on the Harvard faculty, sort of confirmed that it really was: “Not a good idea to piss off John Brennan.”

Trump was warned by friends, enemies, and neutrals that his fight against the deep state was suicidal. Senate minority leader Chuck Schumer, just a few days before Trump’s inauguration, cheerfully forecast (in a precursor to Samantha Power’s later admonition) what might happen to Trump once he attacked the intelligence services: “Let me tell you: You take on the intelligence community — they have six ways from Sunday at getting back at you.”

Former administrative-state careerists were not shy about warning Trump of what was ahead. The counterterrorism analyst Phil Mudd, who had worked in the CIA and the FBI under Robert Mueller, warned CNN host Jake Tapper in August 2017 that “the government is going to kill” President Donald Trump. Kill? And what was the reason the melodramatic Mudd adduced for his astounding prediction? “Because he doesn’t support them.” Mudd then elaborated: “Let me give you one bottom line as a former government official. The government is going to kill this guy. The government is going to kill this guy because he doesn’t support them.” Mudd further clarified his assassination metaphor: “What I’m saying is government — people talk about the deep state — when you disrespect government officials who’ve done 30 years, they’re going to say, ‘Really?’”

It was difficult to ascertain to what degree Mudd was serious or exaggerating the depth of deep-state loathing of Trump.

Despite the predictions and expectations of nearly everyone associated with the establishment, in the first two years of his presidency, Trump has not resigned. He has not been impeached. He has not been indicted. He has not died or been declared non compos mentis. Trump did not govern as a liberal, as some of his Never Trump critics predicted. He had not been driven to seclusion by lurid exposés of his womanizing a decade earlier as a Manhattan television celebrity.

An administrative state, swamp, deep state, call it what you wish, was wrong about Trump’s nomination, his election, and his governance. It was right only in its warnings that he could be crude and profane, with a lurid past and an ethical necropolis of skeletons in his closet — a fact long ago factored and baked into his supporters’ votes.

At each stage, the erroneous predictions of the deep state prompted ever greater animus at a target that it could not quite understand, much less derail, and so far has not been able to destroy. By autumn 2018, the repetitive nightly predictions of cable-news pundits that the latest presidential controversy was a “bombshell,” or marked a “turning point,” or offered proof that “the walls were closing in,” or ensured that “impeachment was looming on the horizon,” had amounted to little more than monotonous and scripted groupthink.

Never before in the history of the presidency had a commander in chief earned the antipathy of the vast majority of the media, much of the career establishments of both political parties, the majority of the holders of the nation’s accumulated personal wealth, and the permanent federal bureaucracy.

3
And lived to tell the tale.

–This essay is adapted from Mr. Hanson’s new book, The Case for Trump, which Basic Books will publish in March.

VICTOR DAVIS HANSON — NRO contributor Victor Davis Hanson is a senior fellow at the Hoover Institution and the author, most recently, of The Second World Wars: How the First Global Conflict Was Fought and Won. @vdhanson

https://www.nationalreview.com/magazine/2019/03/11/survival-at-the-white-house/

Story 2: Exposing, Investigating and Prosecuting The Plotters of The Greatest Political Scandal in United States History — Constitutional Crisis — Videos

Conrad Black explains his defence of Trump

The Unprecedented President Trump

Black on Trump

Conrad Black – The ‘Civil War’ in the American Media

Conversations with Conrad – EXTENDED Mark Steyn Interview

Conrad Black: Black on Red, White and Blue

Conrad Black’s first public outing

The Fall of Conrad Black (2007)

The Greatest Constitutional Crisis Since the Civil War

By | February 21st, 2019

The most immense and dangerous public scandal in American history is finally cracking open like a ripe pomegranate. The broad swath of the Trump-hating media that has participated in what has amounted to an unconstitutional attempt to overthrow the government are reduced to reporting the events and revelations of the scandal in which they have been complicit, in a po-faced ho-hum manner to impart to the misinformed public that this is as routine as stock market fluctuations or the burning of an American flag in Tehran.

For more than two years, the United States and the world have had two competing narratives: that an elected president of the United States was a Russian agent whom the Kremlin helped elect; and its rival narrative that senior officials of the Justice Department, FBI, CIA, and other national intelligence organizations had repeatedly lied under oath, misinformed federal officials, and meddled in partisan political matters illegally and unconstitutionally and had effectively tried to influence the outcome of a presidential election, and then undo its result by falsely propagating the first narrative. It is now obvious and indisputable that the second narrative is the correct one.

The authors, accomplices, and dupes of this attempted overthrow of constitutional government are now well along in reciting their misconduct without embarrassment or remorse because—in fired FBI Director James Comey’s formulation—a “higher duty” than the oath they swore to uphold the Constitution compelled them. Or—in fired FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe’s words—“the threat” was too great. Nevermind that the nature of “the threat” was that the people might elect someone he and Comey disapproved of as president, and that that person might actually serve his term, as elected.

A Long List of Offenders—and Offenses
The extent of the criminal misconduct of the former law enforcement and intelligence chiefs is now notorious, but to make the right point here, it has to be summarized. The fact that the officially preferred candidate lied to federal officials about her emails and acted in outright contempt of Congress and the legal process in the destruction of evidence, was simply ignored by the FBI director, who announced that she would not be prosecuted, though he had no authority to make that determination.

The dossier of salacious gossip and defamatory falsehoods amassed by a retired British spy from the lowest grade of intelligence sources in Russia, commissioned and paid for by the Clinton campaign and Democratic National Committee, was circulated to the media by high public officials and cited in illegal and dishonest applications to authorize surveillance of the campaign of the other presidential candidate. A special counsel was empowered on the false pretext of the necessity to get to the bottom of Trump-Russian collusion in the election, of which there was and remains no evidence, because it did not occur and was a complete partisan fabrication.

The special counsel then packed his staff with militant Clinton partisans, and acted very late and only when his hand was forced by the media to remove two officials who referred in texts to each other to the Bureau’s ability to smear and provoke the impeachment of the winning candidate as “an insurance policy” against his filling the office to which he was elected.

Large sections of the media colluded with the Democratic campaign and produced the doctrine that anything was justifiable, no matter how dishonest, to destroy the incoming president’s reputation and damage him in public opinion polls to legitimize attempts to remove him from office. Large sections of the media deliberately deluged the public with stories they knew to be false about the new president and referred to him in terms of unprecedented vituperation in what purported to be reportage and not comment.

This unorganized but widespread campaign of defamation was taken up by a great number of ordinarily newsworthy celebrities and was accompanied by false, unresearched stories denigrating President Trump’s supporters, such as the false claims about Catholic school students’ treatment of an elderly native American and the false claim that actor Jussie Smollett had been beaten up and reviled by Trump supporters. The former intelligence chiefs of the nation under President Obama repeatedly have accused this president of treason, the most heinous of all crimes, and have asserted with the authority of their former positions that the Russians determined the result of the 2016 presidential election. They knew this to be entirely false.

The special counsel has failed to find any evidence of the collusion and electoral interference that was the justification for establishing his inquiry, and the Democrats are already expressing disappointment in his failure to produce such evidence when the leading Democratic members of congressional investigative committees still robotically claim to have at least prima facie evidence of such collusion.

The dishonest attempt of much of the opposition and what even left-leaning media-monitoring organizations record as 90 percent of the national media, continued for more than two years to try to condition the country to believe that the president had committed the “high crimes and misdemeanors” required by the Constitution for impeachment and removal from office.

The special counsel, apart from smearing the president, distracted public attention from or tended to justify the ever more evident misconduct of the president’s enemies. And we now know that Comey, despite his “higher duty,” lied to the president about his not being a target of an FBI investigation, illegally leaked to the New York Times the contents of a self-serving memo he purloined from the government, and lied to Congress by claiming 245 times in one sitting to be ignorant of recent matters that no one of sound mind could have forgotten.

And now we have Andrew McCabe’s proud confirmation that he and Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein not only continued the illegal counterintelligence investigation of President Trump, but actively discussed methods of securing his removal from office by deliberate misuse of a variety of laws, including the Emoluments Clause, the 25th Amendment to deal with mental incompetence, and the Logan Act of 1799, which has never been used successfully and has not been tested in 150 years.

Make Those Responsible Pay at the Polls
This entire monstrous travesty is finally coming apart without even waiting for the horrible disappointment of the special counsel’s inability to adduce a scrap of evidence to justify his replication of Torquemada as an inquisitor and of the Gestapo and KGB at rounding up and accusing unarmed individuals who were not flight risks. The collapse of this grotesque putsch, under the irresistible pressure of a functioning attorney general and Senate committees that are not hamstrung by NeverTrumpers, will cause a revulsion against the Democratic Party that will be seismic and prolonged.

The disgrace of their misconduct is profound and shocking. Richard Nixon, against whom there is no conclusive evidence that he broke any laws (although a number of people in his entourage did) never did anything like this. J. Edgar Hoover in 47 years at the head of the FBI and its predecessor organization, never tried to meddle in a presidential election. Those responsible will pay for this, including at the polls.

Without realizing the proportions of the emergency, America has survived the greatest constitutional crisis since the Civil War. All those who legitimately oppose or dislike the president, including traditional high-brow Republicans who find him distasteful, should join in the condemnation of this largely criminal assault on democracy, and then, if they wish, go out and try to beat him fair and square, the good old-fashioned way, in a free election. But they must abide by the election’s result.

Content created by the Center for American Greatness, Inc. is available without charge to any eligible news publisher that can provide a significant audience. For licensing opportunities for our original content, please contact licensing@centerforamericangreatness.com.

Photo Credit: Andrew Caballero-Renyolds/AFP/Getty Images

About the Author: 

Conrad Black has been one of Canada’s most prominent financiers for 40 years, and was one of the leading newspaper publishers in the world as owner of the British telegraph newspapers, the Fairfax newspapers in Australia, the Jerusalem Post, Chicago Sun-Times and scores of smaller newspapers in the U.S., and most of the daily newspapers in Canada. He is the author of authoritative biographies of Franklin D. Roosevelt and Richard Nixon, one-volume histories of the United States and Canada, and most recently of Donald J. Trump: A President Like No Other. He is a member of the British House of Lords as Lord Black of Crossharbour.

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The Pronk Pops Show 1213, February 21, 2019, Story 1: Black Russian Gay Empire Actor Busted–Jussie Smollett — Big Lie Media Mob Propagated “Despicable Lies” — Junk Journalism Aided and Abetted Criminal Hoax — Videos — Story 2: Open Border Democrats and Republicans Are Supporting Drug Cartels By Aiding and Abetting Criminal Illegal Alien and Illegal Drug Smuggling — Videos — Story 3: Under Communist China’s Social Credit System Jussie Smollett Would Be Labeled As Untrustworthy And Unable To Travel Because of A Low Social Credit Score Due To Criminal Behavior and Blacklist Banning — Vast Surveillance Facial Recognition System — Safe, Secure, State Socialism in The Police Surveillance State of Communist China — Videos

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See the source imageChicago Police Department Superintendent Eddie T. Johnson tore through Smollett at a press conference on Thursday where he labeled him 'shameful' and 'despicable' See the source imageSee the source imageSee the source imageSee the source imageSee the source imageSee the source imageSee the source image

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Story 1: Black Russian Gay Empire Actor Busted–Jussie Smollett — Big Lie Media Mob Propagated “Despicable Lies” — Junk Journalism Aided and Abetted Criminal Hoax — Videos

Chicago Police Chief: Jussie Smollett Faked Attack ‘To Promote His Career’ | NBC News

Chicago PD Labels Jussie Smollett “Despicable”

Jussie Smollett Arrested in Hate Crime Attack | E! News

BAIL SET: Jussie Smollett’s Bail Set At $100,000

Jussie Smollett staged attack because he was ‘dissatisfied’ with his salary, police say

Jussie Smollett denies all allegations in court hearing

Jussie Smollett FULL Interview on alleged attack | ABC News Exclusive

 

PICTURED: Jussie Smollett leaves jail after posting $100k bail after prosecutor details video evidence against him and reveals he’d previously bought DRUGS from the brothers he paid to attack him after texting ‘might need your help on the low’

  • The actor’s siblings, Jazz, Jocqui, Jake, and Jojo were pictured arriving at the Cook County Criminal Court before his bond hearing on Thursday afternoon 
  • A judge set Smollett’s bond at $100,000, which he will have to pay a portion of, and told him to give up his passport 
  • Prosecutors shared an extremely detailed timeline of the night of the attack and the days beforehand  
  • Smollett sent himself a threatening, racist and homophobic letter on January 22 to get more money from 20th Century Fox, police said Thursday  
  • When that did not work, he hired brothers Abel and Ola Osundairo to attack him on January 25 
  • On January 27, he took them to the exact location where he wanted it to happen and pointed out surveillance cameras nearby   
  • Smollett was in contact with them an hour before the incident, an hour afterwards and when they were in Nigeria, laying low for two weeks 
  • When they returned on February 13, they were picked up by police and later confessed ‘the entire plot’
  • Smollett paid $10,000, ten percent of his bond, and agreed to surrender his passport
  • The 36-year-old will return to court on March 14 to face a felony charge of filing a false police report  

ussie Smollett has been freed after posting $10,000 bond and agreeing to surrender his passport at a court hearing where he was supported by his family and prosecutors shared more details of his relationship with the two Nigerian brothers he allegedly paid to stage an attack on him in the hope that it would boost his profile.

The actor was hurried out of the Cook County Jail shortly before 5pm on Thursday and said nothing as he fought his way through photographers to get into a waiting car. He was flanked by bodyguards and driven away immediately.

Three of the actor’s five famous siblings, Jazz, Jocqui and Jake, were pictured arriving at the Cook County Criminal Court before his bond hearing wearing sunglasses. They were later joined by their brother Jojo but their other sister Jurnee and mother Janet were not seen.

They left the court before Smollett once the hearing was over, fighting their way through a scrum of photographers to get into a waiting van parked outside without answering any questions.

Scroll down for video 

Jussie Smollett was ushered out of county jail on Thursday by police officers and body guards after posting $10,000, ten percent of his $100,000 bond, and agreeing to surrender his passport. He clung on to his security guard's shoulders as he followed him out to a waiting car 

Jussie Smollett was ushered out of county jail on Thursday by police officers and body guards after posting $10,000, ten percent of his $100,000 bond, and agreeing to surrender his passport. He clung on to his security guard’s shoulders as he followed him out to a waiting car

Smollett said nothing and held on to his security guard who led him through a crowd of photographers outside the jail

Smollett said nothing and held on to his security guard who led him through a crowd of photographers outside the jail

Smollett was sandwiched between security guards as he made his way to the car. He has to return to the court March 14 

Smollett was sandwiched between security guards as he made his way to the car. He has to return to the court March 14

Smollett was escorted out of the jail by two police officers. He stared at news cameras waiting for him outside and kept his hands in his pockets

Smollett was escorted out of the jail by two police officers. He stared at news cameras waiting for him outside and kept his hands in his pockets

Smollett was escorted out of the jail by two police officers. He stared at news cameras waiting for him outside and kept his hands in his pockets
Even before he reached the scrum of photographers, Smollett placed his hands on his security guard's shoulders 

Even before he reached the scrum of photographers, Smollett placed his hands on his security guard’s shoulders

After the hearing, prosecutors gave a detailed description of how he allegedly put the hoax together.

Police say he knew Abel Osundairo, one of the brothers, because he bought ‘designer drugs’ from him. In text messages that predate the hoax attack, he asked Abel for ‘Molly’ – the street name for ecstasy – multiple times.  The pair are believed to have met when Abel was a stand-in on Empire.

On January 25, he convinced Abel and his brother Ola to ‘simulate’ an attack on him, giving them specific instructions about which words to use and how to rough him up but not hurt him too severely, according to police.

His alleged motive was that he did not get enough attention over a letter he is said to have sent himself a week earlier and he thought that painting himself as

Smollett took them to the location where he wanted the attack to happen outside his apartment, according to prosecutors, and even pointed to a surveillance camera he believed would capture it.  

The claims came after a blistering press conference during which furious police bosses alleged that he mailed himself a threatening letter then staged a hoax attack because he was unhappy with his $1.8million Empire salary.   

The actor wore a stony expression as he was seen for the first time publicly since being labeled 'shameful' and 'despicable' by the police department 

Smollett was wearing black pants and a black puffer jacket. He turned himself into police at 5am on Thursday

Smollett was wearing black pants and a black puffer jacket. He turned himself into police at 5am on Thursday

Smollett was wearing black pants and a black puffer jacket. He turned himself into police at 5am on Thursday
A sketch from inside the courtroom shows Smollett appearing before Cook County Judge John Fitzgerald to have his bond set. The judge said that if true, the allegations against him are 'utterly outrageous'. He was particularly disturbed by the use of a noose in the attack, saying it is an image which 'conjures up such evil in this country's history'

A sketch from inside the courtroom shows Smollett appearing before Cook County Judge John Fitzgerald to have his bond set. The judge said that if true, the allegations against him are ‘utterly outrageous’. He was particularly disturbed by the use of a noose in the attack, saying it is an image which ‘conjures up such evil in this country’s history’

Jocqui, Jake and Jazz Smollett arrive at the Cook County Criminal Court on Thursday to attend their brother Jussie's bond hearing. There was no sign of the actor's mother Janet, his other sister Jurnee or his brother Jojo

Jocqui, Jake and Jazz Smollett arrive at the Cook County Criminal Court on Thursday to attend their brother Jussie's bond hearing. There was no sign of the actor's mother Janet, his other sister Jurnee or his brother Jojo

Jocqui (in beige coat), Jake (in black, right) and Jazz Smollett (center in fur-trimmed coat) arrive at the Cook County Criminal Court on Thursday to attend their brother Jussie’s bond hearing. There was no sign of the actor’s mother Janet, his other sister Jurnee or his brother Jojo

Jocqui Smollett is show entering the court and waiting for proceedings to begin. The Smollett family issued a statement when the attack was first reported to condemn hate crimes and stand by Jussie. Jocqui has since accused the media of vilifying his brother in social media posts

Jocqui Smollett is show entering the court and waiting for proceedings to begin. The Smollett family issued a statement when the attack was first reported to condemn hate crimes and stand by Jussie. Jocqui has since accused the media of vilifying his brother in social media posts

Jocqui Smollett is show entering the court and waiting for proceedings to begin. The Smollett family issued a statement when the attack was first reported to condemn hate crimes and stand by Jussie. Jocqui has since accused the media of vilifying his brother in social media posts
Jazz, Jocqui and Jake entered the courthouse without speaking on Thursday. Their other two siblings, Jojo and Jurnee, did not join them

Jazz, Jocqui and Jake entered the courthouse without speaking on Thursday. Their other two siblings, Jojo and Jurnee, did not join them

Surveillance footage emerged on Wednesday showing Ola and Abel Osundairo buying ski masks the day before the attack. Smollett gave them a $100 bill to pay for the bleach, ski masks, red hat and gloves that they used, according to prosecutors 

Surveillance footage emerged on Wednesday showing Ola and Abel Osundairo buying ski masks the day before the attack. Smollett gave them a $100 bill to pay for the bleach, ski masks, red hat and gloves that they used, according to prosecutors

After his bail hearing, the state’s attorney gave a press conference where she described in painstaking detail how the hoax came together.

On January 25, he texted Abel asking him when he was planning to go to Nigeria, a trip that had been prearranged.

Jussie Smollett is shown in his mugshot on Thursday morning. The Empire actor handed himself in at 5am on charges of filing a false police report. Police now say he concocted the fake attack because he wanted a raise 

Jussie Smollett is shown in his mugshot on Thursday morning. The Empire actor handed himself in at 5am on charges of filing a false police report. Police now say he concocted the fake attack because he wanted a raise

They were familiar with one another because Abel had once filled in as a character on Empire who was a love interest of Smollett’s character, Jamal Lyon.

Abel replied that he and his brother were leaving on January 29 to which Smollett replied: ‘Might need your help on the low.

‘You around to meet up and talk face to face?’

That afternoon, they met up at the CineSpace studio and Smollett drove Abel home.

During the car ride, he told him about his ‘displeasure’ over 20th Century Fox’s reaction to the letter he allegedly sent himself days earlier.

He said he wanted to stage an attack and suggested that Ola, Abel’s younger brother, get involved.

Once they got to the brothers’ home, they summoned Ola outside and Smollett asked the pair if he could trust them.

Smollett then allegedly laid out what he wanted them to do and gave them a $100 bill to buy ski masks, a red hat, gloves, rope and bleach to use.

‘He stated that he wanted the brothers to catch his attention by calling him an Empire f****t Empire n****r. He detailed that he wanted Abel to attack him but not to hurt him too badly and give him a chance to fight back.

HOW THE ATTACK WAS PUT TOGETHER

January 22: Jussie Smollett receives a letter at the CineSpace studio which threatens his life and has ‘MAGA’ written on it in red pen. He reports it to police

January 25: Smollett sends a text to Abel Osundairo asking him when he is going to Nigeria and if they can meet up face-to-face

Abel goes to the studio where he is working and Smollett drives him home. During the ride, he said he was ‘displeased’ with the reaction to the letter.

Once at their home, Abel’s brother Ola gets in the car and Smollett tells them what he wants them to do. He gives them a $100 bill to buy the goods they will need to fake the attack

January 27: Smollett picks the brothers up then drives them to the spot where he wants them to fake the attack.

He then goes to New York.

January 28: Smollett is in New York City for a reading of the play Take Me Out.

The brothers are filmed buying ski masks, a red hat and gloves

January 29 – Day of attack

The attack was due to take place at 10pm on January 28 but because Smollett’s flight was delayed, it was pushed back.

12.30am: Smollett arrives back in Chicago

12.49am: He calls Abel Osundairo and they talk for three minutes

Abel orders an Uber minutes later.

1.22am: The brothers arrive in the area of the attack

1.45am: Smollett leaves his building to go to Subway

2.04am: The attack takes place in the arranged location

2.10am: Brothers get a taxi from a hotel nearby

2.25am: The brothers arrive back in their neighborhood in a taxi

2.27am: Smollett’s manager calls the police

2.42am: Police arrive at Smollett’s building and he asks them to turn off their body cameras

7.45pm: Smollett calls Abel. The conversation lasts five seconds.

7.47pm: Abel calls back and they speak for 1 minute 34 seconds.

The brothers then board their flight.

January 30, 10:46am: Smollett calls Abel who is by now in Istanbul, Turkey.

They speak for 8 minutes and eight seconds.

‘He also included that he wanted Ola to place a rope around his neck, pour gasoline on him and yell: “This is MAGA country” and “Make America Great Again,”‘ a proffer that was released by the State’s Attorney’s office said.

Police have found surveillance footage of the ride and have phone records which put Smollett in the area of the brothers home at the time.

On January 27, he picked the brothers up from their home and drove them to where he wanted the attack to happen in the late morning.

He warned them not to bring their cell phones with them and showed them a surveillance camera on the corner which he believed would capture the incident.

Smollett drove the brothers home and provided them with a $3500 personal check made payable to Abel, which was backdated to January 23, 2019.

He then flew to New York City to take part in a reading of a play.

The attack was scheduled to take place at 10pm on January 28 but was set back several hours by Smollett’s delayed flight from New York to Chicago on the day of the incident.

His flight landed at 12.30am, January 29.

At 12.49am, he called Abel and their conversation lasted three minutes. During this call, he instructed him to carry out the attack at 2am.

Abel then ordered an Uber to pick the pair up at their home and take them to the crime scene.

They took the Uber part of the way but then got out and hopped in a taxi to take them the remainder of the distance.

At 1.22am, they arrived within three blocks of it. At 1.45am, Smollett left his apartment building to go to a Subway and the brothers made their way towards the intended spot.

Smollett, however, was late. They did not cross paths until 2.04am which is when they carried out the attack. At the exact moment it was occurring, an NBC News employee was getting out of her car nearby. She told police later that she did not hear anything suspicious, despite Smollett alleging that the attackers yelled racial slurs.

The attack only lasted 45 seconds and was ‘just outside the view of the desired nearby camera that Smollett had pointed out to the brothers approximately 15 hours earlier.’

The brothers then ran away on foot, heading southbound towards the Chicago River. They then got in a taxi at the Hyatt Regency Hotel.

Fifteen minutes later, they got out of the cab a few blocks from their house.

Two minutes later, at 2.27am, Smollett’s manager reported it to police and police arrived at Smollett’s apartment at 2.42am, 12 minutes later.

While being interviewed, he not only described the attack but claimed to have received a phone call on January 26 from someone who said ‘hey you little f****’ and hung up. He said the call happened near a camera and that it captured the attack. It was the same camera he pointed out to the brothers in the hope that it would capture their staged ambush.

Chicago Police Department Superintendent Eddie T. Johnson abhorred him as a ‘troubled young man’ who has ‘taken advantage of the pain and anger of racism to further his career’ by allegedly lying that he was attacked by racist and homophobic assailants on January 29.

Smollett makes $100,000 per episode on Empire, according to an associate who spoke to DailyMail.com, and there are 18 episodes in the current season which earns him $1.8million.

He also has a record deal with Columbia Records but, according to police, was ‘dissatisfied’ and wanted to boost his profile.

When police learned that Smollett’s motive was to get more money, it ‘p****d everybody off’, Superintendent Johnson said, adding that Smollett’s repeated ‘lies’ were ‘shameful’ and ‘despicable’.

He called for ‘absolute justice’ which he said amounted to Smollett apologizing and offering to pay for the police resources he wasted.

20th Century Fox, which defended the actor on Wednesday, is now ‘considering its options’ in light of his arrest.

President Trump has also called for Smollett to apologize for making it appear as though he was being targeted by one of his supporters.

 

 

This is the state's case against Smollett, as laid out in their bond proffer that was submitted in court on Thursday 

This is the state’s case against Smollett, as laid out in their bond proffer that was submitted in court on Thursday

Police say they have found phone records which prove Smollett spoke with brothers Abel and Ola Osundairo an hour before the attack, an hour afterwards and while they were in Nigeria, keeping their heads down, while the case gained global attention.

Prosecutor Risa Lanier laid bare the allegations in a press conference after the bond hearing 

Prosecutor Risa Lanier laid bare the allegations in a press conference after the bond hearing

They also say they have the check that Smollett used to pay them $3,500.

The brothers ‘confessed’ to the ‘entire plot’ once they were in custody on Thursday.

It began on January 22 when Smollett allegedly mailed himself a threatening letter to the Empire studio in Chicago which had ‘MAGA’ written on it and included racist and homophobic slurs.

It read: ‘Smollett Jussie, you will die’ and included a drawing of a stick figure with a gun pointed towards it.

He reported it to the police along with producer Dennis Hammer.

When that did not win him a pay rise from 20th Century Fox, however, he allegedly hired the brothers to attack him at 2am on January 29 in what he then told police was a random, racist and homophobic attack.

The attack did happen but was not caught on camera. According to the brothers, they punched him after meeting at an arranged spot and time then ran away and got into a taxi.

President Trump tweeted on Thursday after the details of his arrest emerged to demand an apology from the actor who said his attackers shouted 'This is MAGA country!' 

 

President Trump tweeted on Thursday after the details of his arrest emerged to demand an apology from the actor who said his attackers shouted ‘This is MAGA country!’

Smollett then went home to his friend, 60-year-old Frank Gatson, who was in the apartment and told him that he had been jumped by two masked assailants who shouted: ‘Empire f****t n****r’, poured bleach on him, tied a noose around his neck and screamed: ‘This is MAGA country!’

Police say that the actor gave himself the scratches on his face that were visible in a hospital-bed selfie he took after reporting it.

The same day, the brothers went to the airport and boarded a flight to Nigeria.

While Smollett received an outpouring of sympathy from politicians, celebrities and public figures around the world, they laid low but were allegedly in contact with the star.

As the police investigation heated up, officers honed in on them by tracking taxis that were in the area at around the time of the incident.

In particular, a ride-share the brothers took to the location gave police their details.

They were then picked up when they returned to Chicago on February 13.

Once in custody, they told police that Smollett had hired them and said it was because he wanted a higher salary.

Smollett, a vocal Trump critic, said his attackers shouted 'This is MAGA country!' and later suggested he was targeted because he is so critical of the president 

Smollett, a vocal Trump critic, said his attackers shouted ‘This is MAGA country!’ and later suggested he was targeted because he is so critical of the president 

He paid them a reported $3,500 to carry out the attack, they said, and promised them $500 more when they returned from their trip.

Smollett is in custody awaiting his first court appearance on felony charges of filing a false police report. He will appear before a judge at 1.30pm. 

His lawyers issued a statement on Wednesday to protest his innocence and condemn the police for leaking so many details of the investigation.

During the press conference, Superintendent Johnson revealed Smollett went from being treated as the victim in the case to a suspect when the brothers ‘confessed’ the ‘entire plot’ in the final hour of a 48 hour hold.

That is when they, in their lawyer’s words, ‘manned up’ and revealed that they had been hired to carry out the attack by the actor himself.

Smollett actually furthered the investigation along by going on Good Morning America and confirming that the two people in a grainy surveillance footage still were the men who attacked him.

He was unaware when he made the remark that Chicago PD had identified those men as the Osundairo brothers and that they had them in custody.

‘I come to you today not only as the Superintendent of Chicago Police Department but as a black man who has spent his entire life living in the city of Chicago.

‘I know the racial divide. I know how hard it has been for our city and our nation to come together.

‘Empire actor Jussie Smollett took advantage of the pain and anger of racism to promote his career.

‘I’m left hanging my head and asking why? Why would anyone, especially an African American man, use the symbolism of a noose to make false accusations?

Chicago PD also shared this map of Smollett's movements on the night of the attack and show where it happened. The cameras in the area where it happened were not facing him, to his dismay

Another map shows where the assailants were dropped off in a ride-share, top right, then walked to the attack and fled to get in another taxi afterwards 

Another map shows where the assailants were dropped off in a ride-share, top right, then walked to the attack and fled to get in another taxi afterwards

Chicago Police Department Superintendent Eddie T. Johnson tore through Smollett at a press conference on Thursday where he labeled him 'shameful' and 'despicable' 

Chicago Police Department Superintendent Eddie T. Johnson tore through Smollett at a press conference on Thursday where he labeled him ‘shameful’ and ‘despicable’

‘I love the city of Chicago, warts and all, but this publicity stunt was a scar that Chicago didn’t earn and certainly didn’t deserve.

‘The accusations within this phony attack received national attention for weeks…Celebrities, news commentators and even presidential candidates weighed in on something that was choreographed by an actor,’ he went on.

 When we discovered the actual motive, it p****d everybody off
 Chicago Police Department Superintendent Eddie T. Johnson

He added that he was ‘angry and offended’ and said it was a travesty that other crimes do not garner as much attention.

‘I just wish that the families of the victims of gun violence in this city got as much attention. That is who really deserves this amount of attention.’

He was emphatic, later, about the fact that no other investigations suffered as a result of Smollett’s claims, but said: ‘Bogus police reports cause real harm.

‘They do harm to ever legitimate victim who is in need of support by police.’

Johnson finished his remarks by saying: ‘I’ll continue to pray for this troubled young man who resorted to both drastic and illegal tactics to gain attention.

Police say Smollett cut his own cheek to make it look like he had suffered injuries in the attack. He is shown in a hospital bed selfie FaceTiming Lee Daniels, the show's creator, hours after the attack 

Police say Smollett cut his own cheek to make it look like he had suffered injuries in the attack. He is shown in a hospital bed selfie FaceTiming Lee Daniels, the show’s creator, hours after the attack

‘I’ll also continue to pray for our city asking that we can move forward from this and begin to heal.’

Police examined footage from 55 surveillance cameras, obtained more than 50 search warrants and conducted more than 100 interviews.

If convicted, Smollett may be asked to repay the money that was spent investigating the crime.

Smollett has not made any statements since he was taken into custody.

His lawyers said on Wednesday night that he would fight the charges with an ‘aggressive defense’.

In previous statements, his representatives have angrily hit out at the media and insisted that he is the victim.

Within hours of him being charged, Smollett’s attorneys arranged for him to hand himself in quietly at Chicago’s 1st District afterwards.

He appeared in his mugshot wearing a black puffer jacket, staring blankly at the camera.

After being processed at the station, he was transferred to the Cook County courthouse where he will appear at 1.30pm. He is being held separately from other detainees.

20th Century Fox, which released a statement hours before he was charged to say it was standing by him, is now reportedly suspending the actor.

20th Century Fox said on Thursday that it was now considering its options. It had been standing by the actor 

20th Century Fox said on Thursday that it was now considering its options. It had been standing by the actor

A press conference is scheduled for 9am CT during which detectives will give more details about the arrest. It is not yet known where he was or what time he was taken into custody.

‘Like any other citizen, Mr. Smollett enjoys the presumption of innocence, particularly when there has been an investigation like this one where information, both true and false, has been repeatedly leaked,’ the actor’s attorneys Todd Pugh and Victor Henderson said.

‘Given these circumstances, we intend to conduct a thorough investigation and to mount an aggressive defense.’

The Osundairo brothers testified before the grand jury for about two and a half hours on Wednesday.

Addressing reporters outside afterwards, their attorney Gloria Schmidt said they’d ‘manned up’ by speaking out against Smollett.

The rope they put around Smollett's neck was bought in this hardware store 

The rope they put around Smollett’s neck was bought in this hardware store 

They have not been arrested or charged and their lawyer said they had not been offered any form of immunity deal in exchange for testifying against Smollett. 

‘There was a point where this story needed to be told, and they manned up and they said: “We’re gonna correct this.”

‘Plea deal, immunity, all of that — they don’t’ care about that.’

She said that Smollett was lying, and that she didn’t know how his conscience could let him sleep at night.

There was a point where this story needed to be told and they manned up and they said, “we’re going to correct this”
Gloria Schmidt, lawyer for two Nigerian brothers

‘I think Jussie’s conscience is not letting him sleep right now and he should unload that conscience and come out and tell the American people what happened,’ she added.

‘I think the biggest thing for the American people to know. Is that this story, has a lot of complications to it.

‘We’re not trying to hide anything from the press. But we wanted to make sure that everything checked out.

‘When I say that the police spent countless man-hours trying to piece this together, I mean that, I absolutely mean that.

‘When I say that my clients spent countless hours getting their story out there to the police so that they could do their work, I mean that, too,’ she said.

The brothers’ testimony came after footage emerged of them buying ski masks, a red hat and gloves in a store the day before the attack.

The brothers said Smollett also sent himself this letter to the Fox studio where Empire is filmed a week before the attack. If he did, he faces another 5-10 years in prison on a federal mail fraud charge 

The brothers said Smollett also sent himself this letter to the Fox studio where Empire is filmed a week before the attack. If he did, he faces another 5-10 years in prison on a federal mail fraud charge

Abel and Ola Osundairo's lawyers said on Wednesday night that they 'manned up' by telling police that Smollett paid them 

Abel and Ola Osundairo’s lawyers said on Wednesday night that they ‘manned up’ by telling police that Smollett paid them. Ola once appeared on the show as an extra. He is shown with creator Lee Daniels, right

It was taken on January 28 and shows brothers Abel and Ola Osundairo inside what looks like a drug store buying the masks and one hat.

Smollett told police that he was attacked by two masked assailants who punched him, poured bleach on him, tied a noose around his neck and called him ‘Empire n****r f****t’.

No footage has ever emerged of the incident itself.

In the video taken inside the store the day earlier, the brothers look calm as they bring the items to the register.

Smollett follows the brothers' joint Instagram account where they post videos and photographs of themselves working out 

Smollett follows the brothers’ joint Instagram account where they post videos and photographs of themselves working out

Abel, whose full name is Abimbola, is dressed in a blue plaid jacket. About 30 seconds into the video, he puts his hood up while standing at the register.

His younger brother Ola, who once appeared on Empire as an extra, is in a green jacket.

The brothers were picked up by police at Chicago O’Hare Airport on Wednesday night as they returned from Nigeria.

Police seized a red hat from the brothers’ home along with ski masks when they raided it last week.  Smollett said his attackers were wearing masks but there was not a description of a red hat in the initial reports.

Police have since shared their belief that at least one of them was wearing a red hat at the time of the attack.

Smollett’s family, many of whom are also actors, have spoken out repeatedly in support of him since the January 29 attack as have many of his co-stars on Empire.

Among them is Gabby Sidibe, his roommate at one time, who said on Instagram on Wednesday: ‘I know him. I believe him.’

Fox also insisted that he was not being written out of the show, as had been claimed, and called him a ‘consummate professional’ in a statement.

Smollett’s lawyers include Mark Geragos, who has represented Michael Jackson and Colin Kaepernick, in the past.

Last Thursday, the actor wept as he said 'who the f*** would make that up' when addressing the skepticism surrounding his version of events during an interview on Good Morning America. He has also called himself the 'gay Tupac' and issued statements via attorneys and representatives condemning coverage of the incident 

When news of the attack first emerged on January 29 and 30, Smollett was inundated with support across the political spectrum.

Among those who tweeted their condemnation of him were Democratic presidential hopefuls Kamala Harris and Cory Booker.

But as days went by with no suspects on the horizon, details about the case and the police’s investigation into it began to cast doubt on Smollett’s version of events.

One of the earliest sources of speculation was the fact that Smollett waited 42 minutes to call the police then refused to hand over his phone to the police for them to verify his story.

He then handed over redacted files that police described as ‘insufficient’.

Frustrated with the coverage of his case, he hit out at the media for reporting on leaked information coming from within the Chicago police department and insisted he was the victim.

He then went on Good Morning America to protest his innocence.

In an hour-long interview with Robin Roberts, he wept as he recalled the attack and abhorred the reaction to it.

CELEBRITIES REACT TO JUSSIE SMOLLETT’S ARREST

Celebrities have lashed out at Empire actor Jussie Smollett following his arrest after many of them publicly voiced support for him when he first claimed he had been targeted in a racist and homophobic attack.

Actor and comedian Tyler Perry penned a lengthy Facebook post saying he had personally spoken to Smollett who insisted he was telling the truth.

Perry added that the evidence seemed to contradict Smollett’s version and that he was ‘lost for words’.

‘I have personally spoken to Jussie, and he is adamant that he’s telling the truth. Also, everyone that I know who knows him says that he is not the kind of person who would make up such a horrible and awful thing,’ he said.

50 Cent mocked Smollett and his Tupac reference with an Instagram photo of the actor's face imposed on the cover of the rapper's album, saying: 'All Liez On Me'

50 Cent mocked Smollett and his Tupac reference with an Instagram photo of the actor’s face imposed on the cover of the rapper’s album, saying: ‘All Liez On Me’

Snoopdog posted a Scooby Doo cartoon with Smollett's face edited in

 

Snoopdog posted a Scooby Doo cartoon with Smollett’s face edited in

 

‘Yet the evidence seems to state otherwise. I’m lost for words. To stoke fears and raise racial tensions is wrong in every situation on ALL SIDES! Yet my prayers are still with him and his family and our Nation.’

Straight Outta Compton actor O’Shea Jackson Jr was scathing in a series of lengthy tweets about the developments.

‘What upsets me about this Jussie situation is that people were genuinely worried about you man. And the things that you said happened could have led to some serious outcomes. People were prepared to fight for you bruh. Things coulda got ugly…… and you made it up.

‘The world has plenty of real monsters. You don’t have to make up any. And what for? Just further dividing people for personal gain? It sucks for the people who actually have to deal with that type of hate.

‘And why did you call yourself the gay Tupac. What does Tupac have to do with anything that happened to you? Did you do this to sell records bro? Did you fake a hate crime, Enrage the Black community. The LBGT community and anti-Trump community just to sell records bruh?

Actor and comedian Tyler Perry penned a lengthy Facebook post saying he had personally spoken to Smollett who insisted he was telling the truth but later added that the evidence seemed to tell a different story

Actor and comedian Tyler Perry penned a lengthy Facebook post saying he had personally spoken to Smollett who insisted he was telling the truth but later added that the evidence seemed to tell a different story

Straight Outta Compton actor O'Shea Jackson Jr was scathing in a series of lengthy tweets about the developments

Straight Outta Compton actor O’Shea Jackson Jr was scathing in a series of lengthy tweets about the developments

‘People could’ve gotten hurt. Thinking they’re protesting and standing up for you. This is not a game.’

Smollett had compared himself to Tupac during a performance in West Hollywood earlier this month. He ended his set saying he fought back against his so-called attackers and said he was ‘the gay Tupac’.

50 Cent mocked Smollett and his Tupac reference with an Instagram photo of the actor’s face imposed on the cover of the rapper’s album, saying: ‘All Liez On Me’.

Andy Cohen tweeted that his ‘head is exploding’ following news of Smollett’s arrest before calling the story ‘pathetic’.

Actor Patton Oswalt retweeted a tweet from President Donald Trump, saying: ‘Way to go Jussie. You just handed this racist dips**t a ‘Get Out Of Race-Baiting Free’ card that he’s gonna wave around like a soiled diaper until he’s re-elected.’

Trump had tweeted: ‘.@JussieSmollett – what about MAGA and the tens of millions of people you insulted with your racist and dangerous comments!? #MAGA’.

Choking back tears, he explained when asked why it took so long for him to contact the authorities: ‘There is a level of pride there.

‘We live in a society where as a gay man you are considered somehow to be weak and I am not weak. I am not weak and we as a people are not weak.’

Later, he added how desperate he was for them to find footage of the attack.

‘I want that video found so badly because, for probably four reasons.

‘Number one, I want them to find the people that did it.

‘Number two, I want them to stop being able to say ‘alleged’ attack.

‘Number three,  I want them to see that I fought back,’ he continued, welling-up.

‘I want a little gay boy who might watch this to see that I fought the f*** back. They ran off,’ I didn’t,’ he said.

After it emerged that Smollett knew the brothers and may have been involved in the staging of the attack, the celebrities and politicians who rushed to support him walked back their claims.

Nancy Pelosi deleted her tweet about it and Cory Booker said he would now be ‘withholding judgement’ until more information emerged.

Kamala Harris said, when questioned about her tweet that it was a ‘modern day lynching’, that she was ‘very concerned’.

Key moments in reported attack on actor Jussie Smollett

 January 29, 2019

Smollet is seen with a cut cheek on Jan. 29

Smollet is seen with a cut cheek on Jan. 29

Jussie Smollett tells Chicago police he was physically attacked by two men in downtown Chicago while walking home from getting food from a Subway restaurant at 2am.

The black and openly gay actor tells authorities the men used racial and homophobic slurs, wrapped a rope around his neck and poured an ‘unknown substance’ on him.

Smollett told detectives that the attackers yelled he was in ‘MAGA country,’ an apparent reference to President Donald Trump’s ‘Make America Great Again’ campaign slogan, which some critics of Trump have claimed is a racist dog whistle.

January 30

Chicago police say they’ve reviewed hundreds of hours of surveillance camera footage, including of Smollett walking downtown, but none of the videos show the attack.

Police obtain and release images of two people they would like to question.

Reports of Smollett’s attack draw outrage and support on social media, including from U.S. Senators Kamala Harris, Cory Booker, and Elizabeth Warren.

Both Booker and Harris called the incident a ‘modern day lynching’.

Joe Biden said: ‘We must stand up and demand that we no longer give this hate safe harbor; that homophobia and racism have no place on our streets or in our hearts.’

Police released this image of 'persons of interest' taken near the reported attack

Police released this image of ‘persons of interest’ taken near the reported attack

January 31

Trump tells reporters at the White House that he saw a story the night before about Smollett and that, ‘It doesn’t get worse, as far as I’m concerned.’

Smollett’s family issues a statement calling the attack a racial and homophobic hate crime.

Smollett’s family says he ‘has told the police everything’ and ‘his story has never changed,’ disputing assertions leveled on social media that he has been less than cooperative and changed his story.

February 1

Smollett issues a statement telling people that he is OK and thanking them for their support.

He says he is working with authorities and has been ‘100 percent factual and consistent on every level.’

February 2

Smollett gives sold-out concert in West Hollywood, California, opening with an emotional speech, saying he had to play the show because he couldn’t let his attackers win.

At the end of the set, he announces that he fought back against his attackers, calling himself ‘the gay Tupac’.

Congresswoman Maxine Waters is in attendance at the concert.

Smollet is seen performing on February 2, where he called himself 'the gay Tupac'

Smollet is seen performing on February 2, where he called himself ‘the gay Tupac’

February 5th: Chicago PD releases incident report which reveals Smollett did not want to call police. There is no mention of the MAGA country remark which he gave in a follow-up interview

Brandon Z. Moore, his manager, gives police a screenshot to prove their call.

February 11th: Smollett finally hands over redacted phone records to prove the phone call but police label them ‘insufficient’.

His neighbors say they don’t believe his version of events.

February 12th: Smollett’s rep releases statement to say he is the victim and that he has been telling the truth

February 14th:  Good Morning America airs the full interview with Smollett, in which he blasts speculation that the attack was staged as itself racist and hateful.

Hours later, it emerges that two Nigerian brothers were picked up at Chicago’s O’Hare Airport on their return from Nigeria the night before.

Cops identify the two men as the individuals seen in the surveillance images released from the night of January 29 but will not share their names.

Two television stations in Chicago simul report the widespread belief among investigators that Smollett staged the attack as a hate hoax.

Chicago’s police superintendent later said that he had no evidence to prove that the attack was a hoax.

Producers of ‘Empire’ dispute media reports that Smollett’s character was being written off the show.

High-powered criminal defense attorney Michael Monico reveals that he is representing Smollett.

Brothers Olabinjo 'Ola' Osundairo, 27, and Abimbola 'Abel' Osundairo, 25, were detained by police on February 13

Brothers Olabinjo ‘Ola’ Osundairo, 27, and Abimbola ‘Abel’ Osundairo, 25, were detained by police on February 13

Police logs show the items that cops seized from the Nigerian brothers' Chicago home

 

Police logs show the items that cops seized from the Nigerian brothers' Chicago home

 

Police logs show the items that cops seized from the Nigerian brothers’ Chicago home

February 15

DailyMail.com confirms they are brothers Olabinjo ‘Ola’ Osundairo, 27, and Abimbola ‘Abel’ Osundairo, 25. 

Later, Chicago police spokesman Anthony Guglielimi says the two ‘persons of interest’ are now considered suspects. He says the men are in custody but have not been charged with a crime.

Chicago police release two men without charges after arresting them on suspicion of assaulting Smollett and holding them for nearly 48 hours. 

A police spokesman said the two are no longer considered suspects and that investigators have ‘new evidence’ to consider as a result of questioning them.

February 16

A police spokesman said that the investigation had ‘shifted’ after detectives questioned the two brothers about the attack and released them without charges.

Smollett hired Michael Cohen’s high-powered criminal defense attorney, Michael Monico, as the police investigation into the attack he reported last month took a sudden shift amid allegations of a hoax.

Smollett’s lawyers said on Saturday the actor felt ‘victimized by reports he played a role in the assault, and that Smollett would continue cooperating with police.

February 17

A police spokesman said that Chicago police have told Smollett’s attorneys they want to do a follow-up interview with the actor.

A spokesperson for Smollett’s lawyers said she couldn’t comment on whether Smollett had agreed to another interview.

This is the letter Smollett allegedly received at the Fox studio, a week before the January 29 incident. No photographs of it emerged until after the alleged attack. He reported the letter to the police when he received it along with Empire producer Dennis Hammer 

This is the letter Smollett allegedly received at the Fox studio, a week before the January 29 incident. No photographs of it emerged until after the alleged attack. He reported the letter to the police when he received it along with Empire producer Dennis Hammer

February 18 

Stars and politicians who spoke out in support of Smollett walk back their condemnation of the attack amid growing suspicion that it is a hate hoax

February 19 

Cook County State's Attorney Kim Foxx  recused herself from the Smollett case

Cook County State’s Attorney Kim Foxx  recused herself from the Smollett case

The Osundairo brothers speak with police and prosecutors in Chicago but are halted at the last minute before going to testify before a grand jury.

Smollett hires Colin Kaepernick’s attorney Mark Geragos and his legal team present a ‘hail Mary’ piece of evidence which stops the brothers’ testimony

State’s Attorney Kimberly Foxx recuses herself from the case citing her ‘familiarity with potential witnesses’

Leaked information from the brothers’ meetings with prosecutors and police emerges. They reportedly claimed Smollett was involved in sending himself the letter on January 22

February 20 

Fox says Smollett is not being written out of Empire contrary to reports and Smollett’s co-stars speak out in support of him.

He is named as a suspect later in the afternoon and the brothers are seen entering grand jury offices at the courthouse.

Smollett is criminally charged with filing a false police report, a Class 4 felony which carries a maximum penalty of three years imprisonment and a $25,000 fine.

February 21 

Smollett hands himself in to police at 5am.

Prosecutor: Actor Gave Detailed Instructions For Fake Attack

CHICAGO (AP) — “Empire” actor Jussie Smollett gave detailed instructions to two brothers who helped him stage a racist, anti-gay attack on himself, including giving them specific slurs to yell, telling them to shout “MAGA country” and pointing out a surveillance camera that he thought would record the beating, a prosecutor said Thursday.

Police said Smollett planned the hoax because he was unhappy with his salary and wanted to promote his career. Before the attack, he also sent a letter that threatened him to the Chicago studio where “Empire” is shot, police said.

Smollett, who is black and gay, turned himself in to face accusations that he filed a false police report last month when he told authorities he was attacked in downtown Chicago by two masked men who hurled racist and anti-gay slurs and looped a rope around his neck, police said.

The actor “took advantage of the pain and anger of racism to promote his career,” police Superintendent Eddie Johnson said.

“This publicity stunt was a scar that Chicago didn’t earn and certainly didn’t deserve,” he added.

As part of the instructions, Smollett also told the brothers to put the rope around his neck, Assistant State’s Attorney Risa Lanier told a news conference.

His plans for the surveillance camera were thwarted. Police say it was pointed another way and did not have a view of the beating.

At Smollett’s first court appearance, a judge set bond at $100,000, meaning that he had to post $10,000 to be released. Smollett’s attorneys asked for him to be freed on his own recognizance, but the judge, who is also black, rejected that idea and said he was particularly bothered by the allegations involving the noose.

Smollett, who was released a couple of hours after the hearing, said little during the proceedings, except to state his name. The actor, his attorneys and supporters left without speaking to reporters.

One of the attorneys, Jack Prior, told the judge that Smollett “maintains these are outrageous allegations” and denies they are true.

The FBI has been investigating the threatening letter. Johnson would not say whether Smollett could face additional charges for that.

The companies that make “Empire,” Fox Entertainment and 20th Century Fox Television, issued a statement Thursday saying that they were “evaluating the situation” and “considering our options.”

In less than a month, Smollett went from being the seemingly sympathetic victim of a hate crime to being accused of fabricating the entire thing. The 36-year-old was charged Wednesday with felony disorderly conduct, a charge that could bring up to three years in prison and force the actor to pay for the cost of the investigation into his report of a Jan. 29 beating.

Police treated Smollett as a victim until the two brothers , who had been taken into custody for questioning, admitted to helping him stage the attack, Johnson said.

It was the brothers who also explained Smollett’s motive to detectives. Authorities have a check for $3,500 that Smollett paid the brothers, he said.

Smollett, who plays a gay character on the show that follows a black family as they navigate the ups and downs of the recording industry, said he was attacked as he was walking home from a downtown Subway sandwich shop. He said the men yelled “This is MAGA country” — an apparent reference to President Donald Trump’s campaign slogan, “Make America Great Again” — before fleeing.

In describing what police believe actually happened, Johnson made it sound as if Smollett was casting and directing a short movie.

“He probably knew he needed somebody with bulk,” he said of Smollett’s decision to hire the two muscular brothers. Police have said at least one of the brothers worked on “Empire,” and Smollett’s attorneys said one of the men is the actor’s personal trainer.

The brothers, who are not considered suspects, wore gloves during the staged attack and “punched him a little bit,” Johnson said. The scratches and bruising Smollett had on his face were “most likely self-inflicted,” Johnson said.

Detectives found the two brothers after reviewing hundreds of hours of video. They released images of two people they said they wanted to question and last week picked up the pair at O’Hare Airport as they returned from Nigeria. Police questioned the men and searched their apartment.

The brothers, who were identified by their attorney as Abimbola “Abel” and Olabinjo “Ola” Osundairo, were held for nearly 48 hours on suspicion of assaulting Smollett.

The two appeared before a grand jury on Wednesday to “lock in their testimony,” according to police spokesman Anthony Guglielmi. Smollett was charged by prosecutors, not the grand jury.

Speaking outside the courthouse where the grand jury met, the brothers’ attorney said the two men testified for about two and a half hours.

“There was a point where this story needed to be told, and they manned up and they said we’re going to correct this,” Gloria Schmidt said.

She said her clients did not care about a plea deal or immunity. “You don’t need immunity when you have the truth,” she said.

Smollett has been active in LBGTQ issues, and initial reports of the assault drew outrage and support for him on social media, including from Sen. Kamala Harris of California and TV talk show host Ellen DeGeneres.

Referring to a published account of the attack, Trump said last month that “it doesn’t get worse, as far as I’m concerned.” On Thursday, he tweeted to Smollett: “What about MAGA and the tens of millions of people you insulted with your racist and dangerous comments!? #MAGA.”

https://hosted.ap.org/article/7f419a0f017e4f7b933167f2e206de43/empire-actor-goes-victim-accused-felon-3-weeks

Hate crime

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

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hate crime (also known as a bias-motivated crime or bias crime[1]) is a prejudice-motivated crime which occurs when a perpetrator targets a victim because of his or her membership (or perceived membership) in a certain social group or race.

Examples of such groups can include and are almost exclusively limited to: sexethnicitydisabilitylanguagenationalityphysical appearancereligiongender identity or sexual orientation.[2][3][4] Non-criminal actions that are motivated by these reasons are often called “bias incidents“.

“Hate crime” generally refers to criminal acts which are seen to have been motivated by bias against one or more of the social groups listed above, or by bias against their derivatives. Incidents may involve physical assault, damage to property, bullyingharassmentverbal abuse or insultsmate crime or offensive graffiti or letters (hate mail).[5]

hate crime law is a law intended to deter bias-motivated violence.[6] Hate crime laws are distinct from laws against hate speech: hate crime laws enhance the penalties associated with conduct which is already criminal under other laws, while hate speech laws criminalize a category of speech. Hate speech laws exist in many countries. In the United States, hate crime laws have been upheld by both the Supreme Court [7] and lower courts, especially in the case of ‘fighting’ words and other violent speech, but they are thought by some people to be in conflict with the First Amendment right to freedom of speech, but hate crimes are only regulated through threats of injury or death.[8]

History

The term “hate crime” came into common usage in the United States during the 1980s, but the term is often used retrospectively in order to describe events which occurred prior to that era.[9] From the Roman persecution of Christians to the Nazi slaughter of Jews, hate crimes were committed by both individuals and governments long before the term was commonly used.[4] A major part of defining a crime as a hate crime is that it is directed toward a historically oppressed group.[10][11]

As Europeans began to colonize the world from the 16th century onwards, indigenous peoples in the colonized areas, such as Native Americans increasingly became the targets of bias-motivated intimidation and violence.[citation needed] During the past two centuries, typical examples of hate crimes in the U.S. include lynchings of African Americans, largely in the South, and lynchings of Mexicans and Chinese in the Westcross burnings to intimidate black activists or to drive black families from predominantly white neighborhoods both during and after Reconstructionassaults on white people traveling in predominantly black neighborhoods; assaults on lesbiangaybisexual and transgender people; the painting of swastikas on Jewish synagogues; and xenophobic responses to a variety of minorityethnic groups.[12]

Postcard of the Duluth lynchings of African-American men on June 15, 1920

The verb “to lynch” is attributed to the actions of Charles Lynch, an 18th-century Virginia Quaker. Lynch, other militia officers, and justices of the peace rounded up Tory sympathizers who were given a summary trial at an informal court; sentences handed down included whipping, property seizure, coerced pledges of allegiance, and conscription into the military. Originally, the term referred to extrajudicial organized but unauthorized punishment of criminals. It later evolved to describe execution outside “ordinary justice.” It is highly associated with white suppression of African Americans in the South, and periods of weak or nonexistent police authority, as in certain frontier areas of the Old West.[4]

The murders of Channon Christian and Christopher Newsom and the Wichita Massacre were not classified as “hate crimes” by U.S. investigative officials or the media. In the early 21st century, conservative commentators David HorowitzMichelle Malkin (Fox News channel and author) and Stuart Taylor Jr. (journalist) did describe these events as “hate crimes against whites by blacks.”[13]

Psychological effects

Hate crimes can have significant and wide-ranging psychological consequences, not only for their direct victims but for others as well. A 1999 U.S. study of lesbian and gay victims of violent hate crimes documented that they experienced higher levels of psychological distress, including symptoms of depression and anxiety, than lesbian and gay victims of comparable crimes which were not motivated by antigay bias.[14] A manual issued by the Attorney-General of the Province of Ontario in Canada lists the following consequences:[15]

Impact on the individual victim
psychological and affective disturbances; repercussions on the victim’s identity and self-esteem; both reinforced by a specific hate crime’s degree of violence, which is usually stronger than that of a common crime.
Effect on the targeted group
generalized terror in the group to which the victim belongs, inspiring feelings of vulnerability among its other members, who could be the next hate crime victims.
Effect on other vulnerable groups
ominous effects on minority groups or on groups that identify themselves with the targeted group, especially when the referred hate is based on an ideology or a doctrine that preaches simultaneously against several groups.
Effect on the community as a whole
divisions and factionalism arising in response to hate crimes are particularly damaging to multicultural societies.

Hate crime victims can also develop depression and psychological trauma.[16]

A review of European and American research indicates that terrorist bombings cause Islamophobia and hate crimes to flare up but, in calmer times, they subside again, although to a relatively high level.[17] Terrorist’s most persuasive message is that of fear and fear, a primary and strong emotion, increases risk estimates and has distortive effects on the perception of ordinary Muslims.[17] Widespread Islamophobic prejudice seems to contribute to anti-Muslim hate crimes, but indirectly: terrorist attacks and intensified Islamophobic prejudice serve as a window of opportunity for extremist groups and networks.[17]

Laws

Hate crime laws generally fall into one of several categories:

  1. laws defining specific bias-motivated acts as distinct crimes;
  2. criminal penalty-enhancement laws;
  3. laws creating a distinct civil cause of action for hate crimes; and
  4. laws requiring administrative agencies to collect hate crime statistics.[18] Sometimes (as in Bosnia and Herzegovina), the laws focus on war crimesgenocide, and crimes against humanity with the prohibition against discriminatory action limited to public officials.

Eurasia

European Union

Since 2002, with an amendment to the Convention on Cybercrime, the European Union mandates individual states to punish as a crime hate speech done through the internet.[19]

Andorra

Discriminatory acts constituting harassment or infringement of a person’s dignity on the basis of origin, citizenship, race, religion, or gender (Penal Code Article 313). Courts have cited bias-based motivation in delivering sentences, but there is no explicit penalty enhancement provision in the Criminal Code. The government does not track hate crime statistics, although they are relatively rare.[18]

Armenia

Armenia has a penalty-enhancement statute for crimes with ethnic, racial, or religious motives (Criminal Code Article 63).[18]

Austria

Austria has a penalty-enhancement statute for reasons like repeating a crime, being especially cruel, using others’ helpless states, playing a leading role in a crime, or committing a crime with racist, xenophobic or especially reprehensible motivation (Penal Code section 33(5)).[20]

Azerbaijan

Azerbaijan has a penalty-enhancement statute for crimes motivated by racial, national, or religious hatred (Criminal Code Article 61). Murder and infliction of serious bodily injury motivated by racial, religious, national, or ethnic intolerance are distinct crimes (Article 111).[18]

Belarus

Belarus has a penalty-enhancement statute for crimes motivated by racial, national, and religious hatred and discord.[18][21]

Belgium

Belgium‘s Act of 25 February 2003 (“aimed at combating discrimination and modifying the Act of 15 February 1993 which establishes the Centre for Equal Opportunities and the Fight against Racism”) establishes a penalty-enhancement for crimes involving discrimination on the basis of gender, supposed race, color, descent, national or ethnic origin, sexual orientation, civil status, birth, fortune, age, religious or philosophical beliefs, current or future state of health and handicap or physical features. The Act also “provides for a civil remedy to address discrimination.”[18] The Act, along with the Act of 20 January 2003 (“on strengthening legislation against racism”), requires the Centre to collect and publish statistical data on racism and discriminatory crimes.[18]

Bosnia and Herzegovinavina (enacted 2003) “contains provisions prohibiting discrimination by public officials on grounds, inter alia, of race, skin colour, national or ethnic background, religion and language and prohibiting the restriction by public officials of the language rights of the citizens in their relations with the authorities (Article 145/1 and 145/2).”[22]

Bulgaria

Bulgarian criminal law prohibits certain crimes motivated by racism and xenophobia, but a 1999 report by the European Commission against Racism and Intolerance found that it does not appear that those provisions “have ever resulted in convictions before the courts in Bulgaria.”[23]

Croatia

The Croatian Penal Code explicitly defines hate crime in article 89 as “any crime committed out of hatred for someone’s race, skin color, sex, sexual orientation, language, religion, political or other belief, national or social background, asset, birth, education, social condition, age, health condition or other attribute”.[24] On 1 January 2013, a new Penal Code was introduced with the recognition of a hate crime based on “race, skin color, religion, national or ethnic background, sexual orientation or gender identity”.[25]

Czech Republic

The Czech legislation finds its constitutional basis in the principles of equality and non-discrimination contained in the Charter of Fundamental Rights and Basic Freedoms. From there, we can trace two basic lines of protection against hate-motivated incidents: one passes through criminal law, the other through civil law. The current Czech criminal legislation has implications both for decisions about guilt (affecting the decision whether to find a defendant guilty or not guilty) and decisions concerning sentencing (affecting the extent of the punishment imposed). It has three levels, to wit:

  • circumstance determining whether an act is a crime – hate motivation is included in the basic constituent elements. If hate motivation is not proven, conviction for a hate crime is not possible.
  • circumstance determining the imposition of a higher penalty – a hate motivation is included in the qualified constituent elements for some types of crimes (murder, bodily harm). If hate motivation is not proven, the penalty is imposed according to the scale specified for the basic constituent elements of the crime.
  • general aggravating circumstance – the court is obligated to take the hate motivation into account as a general aggravating circumstance and determines the amount of penalty to impose. Nevertheless, it is not possible to add together a general aggravating circumstance and a circumstance determining the imposition of a higher penalty. (see Annex for details)

Current criminal legislation does not provide for special penalties for acts that target another by reason of his sexual orientation, age or health status. Only the constituent elements of the criminal offense of Incitement to hatred towards a group of persons or to the curtailment of their rights and freedoms, and general aggravating circumstances include attacking a so-called different group of people. Such a group of people can then, of course, be also one defined by sexual orientation, age or health status. A certain disparity has thus been created between, on the one hand, those groups of people who are victimized by reason of their skin color, faith, nationality, ethnicity or political persuasion and enjoy increased protection, and, on the other hand, those groups that are victimized by reason of their sexual orientation, age or health status and are not granted increased protection. This gap in protection against attacks motivated by the victim’s sexual orientation, age or health status cannot be successfully bridged by interpretation. Interpretation by analogy is inadmissible in criminal law, sanctionable motivations being exhaustively enumerated.[26]

Denmark

Although Danish law does not include explicit hate crime provisions, “section 80(1) of the Criminal Code instructs courts to take into account the gravity of the offence and the offender’s motive when meting out penalty, and therefore to attach importance to the racist motive of crimes in determining sentence.”[27] In recent years judges have used this provision to increase sentences on the basis of racist motives.[18][28]

Since 1992, the Danish Civil Security Service (PET) has released statistics on crimes with apparent racist motivation.[18]

Estonia

Under section 151 of the Criminal Code of Estonia of 6 June 2001, which entered into force on 1 September 2002, with amendments and supplements and as amended by the Law of 8 December 2011, “activities which publicly incite to hatred, violence or discrimination on the basis of nationality, race, colour, sex, language, origin, religion, sexual orientation, political opinion, or financial or social status, if this results in danger to the life, health or property of a person, are punishable by a fine of up to 300 fine units or by detention”.[29]

Finland

Finnish Criminal Code 515/2003 (enacted January 31, 2003) makes “committing a crime against a person, because of his national, racial, ethnical or equivalent group” an aggravating circumstance in sentencing.[18][30] In addition, ethnic agitation (Finnishkiihotus kansanryhmää vastaan) is criminalized and carries a fine or a prison sentence of not more than two years. The prosecution need not prove that an actual danger to an ethnic group is caused but only that malicious message is conveyed. A more aggravated hate crime, warmongering (Finnishsotaan yllyttäminen), carries a prison sentence of one to ten years. However, in case of warmongering, the prosecution must prove an overt act that evidently increases the risk that Finland is involved in a war or becomes a target for a military operation. The act in question may consist of

  1. illegal violence directed against a foreign country or its citizens,
  2. systematic dissemination of false information on Finnish foreign policy or defense
  3. public influence on the public opinion towards a pro-war viewpoint or
  4. public suggestion that a foreign country or Finland should engage in an aggressive act.[31]

Nepal

France

In 2003, France enacted penalty-enhancement hate crime laws for crimes motivated by bias against the victim’s actual or perceived ethnicity, nation, race, religion, or sexual orientation. The penalties for murder were raised from 30 years (for non-hate crimes) to life imprisonment (for hate crimes), and the penalties for violent attacks leading to permanent disability were raised from 10 years (for non-hate crimes) to 15 years (for hate crimes).[18][32]

Georgia

“There is no general provision in Georgian law for racist motivation to be considered an aggravating circumstance in prosecutions of ordinary offenses. Certain crimes involving racist motivation are, however, defined as specific offenses in the Georgian Criminal Code of 1999, including murder motivated by racial, religious, national or ethnic intolerance (article 109); infliction of serious injuries motivated by racial, religious, national or ethnic intolerance (article 117); and torture motivated by racial, religious, national or ethnic intolerance (article 126). ECRI reported no knowledge of cases in which this law has been enforced. There is no systematic monitoring or data collection on discrimination in Georgia.”[18]

Germany

The German Criminal Code does not have hate crime legislation, but instead criminalizes hate speech under a number of different laws, including Volksverhetzung. In the German legal framework motivation is not taken into account while identifying the element of the offence. However, within the sentencing procedure the judge can define certain principles for determining punishment. In section 46 of the German Criminal Code it is stated that “the motives and aims of the perpetrator; the state of mind reflected in the act and the willfulness involved in its commission.”[33] can be taken into consideration when determining the punishment; under this statute, hate and bias have been taken into consideration in sentencing in past cases.[34]

Hate crimes are not specifically tracked by German police, but have been studied separately: a recently published EU “Report on Racism” finds that racially motivated attacks are frequent in Germany, identifying 18,142 incidences for 2006, of which 17,597 were motivated by right wing ideologies, both about a 14% year-by-year increase.[35] Relative to the size of the population, this represents an eightfold higher rate of hate crimes than reported in the US during the same period.[36] Awareness of hate crimes and right-wing extremism in Germany remains low.[37]

Greece

Article Law 927/1979 “Section 1,1 penalises incitement to discrimination, hatred or violence towards individuals or groups because of their racial, national or religious origin, through public written or oral expressions; Section 1,2 prohibits the establishment of, and membership in, organisations which organise propaganda and activities aimed at racial discrimination; Section 2 punishes public expression of offensive ideas; Section 3 penalises the act of refusing, in the exercise of one’s occupation, to sell a commodity or to supply a service on racial grounds.”[38] Public prosecutors may press charges even if the victim does not file a complaint. However, as of 2003, no convictions had been attained under the law.[39]

Hungary

Violent action, cruelty, and coercion by threat made on the basis of the victim’s actual or perceived national, ethnic, religious status or membership in a particular social group are punishable under article 174/B of the Hungarian Criminal Code.[18] This article was added to the Code in 1996.[40]

Iceland

Section 233a of the Icelandic Penal Code states “Anyone who in a ridiculing, slanderous, insulting, threatening or any other manner publicly abuses a person or a group of people on the basis of their nationality, skin colour, race, religion or sexual orientation, shall be fined or jailed for up to two years.”[41]

India

In past few years, a number of hate crimes in India against minority communities especially against Muslims and Christians rise tremendously. To monitor this rising trend of hate crime based on religious identity a web portal is launched name DOTO Database to track these incidents.[42]

From the 3035 reported incidents August 2018, 1892 were Muslims. That is 62% of the total violence and 740 were Christians. That is 24% of the total violence.[43]

Ireland

“The Prohibition of Incitement to Hatred Act 1989″ makes it an offense to incite hatred against any group of persons on account of their race, color, nationality, religion, sexual orientation, ethnic or national origins, or membership of the Traveller community, an indigenous minority group.”[18]

Ireland does not systematically collect hate crime data.[18]

Italy

Italian criminal law, at Section 3 of Law No. 205/1993, the so-called Legge Mancino (Mancino law), contains a penalty-enhancement provision for all crimes motivated by racial, sex/gender, ethnic, national, or religious bias.[18]

Kazakhstan

In Kazakhstan, there are constitutional provisions prohibiting propaganda promoting racial or ethnic superiority.[18]

Kyrgyzstan

In Kyrgyzstan, “the Constitution of the State party prohibits any kind of discrimination on grounds of origin, sex, race, nationality, language, faith, political or religious convictions or any other personal or social trait or circumstance, and that the prohibition against racial discrimination is also included in other legislation, such as the Civil, Penal and Labour Codes.”[44]

Article 299 of the Criminal Code defines incitement to national, racist, or religious hatred as a specific offense. This article has been used in political trials of suspected members of the banned organization Hizb-ut-Tahrir.[18][45]

Russia

Article 29 of the penal code of the Russian Federation bans incitement to riot for the sake of stirring societal, racial, ethnic, and religious hatred as well as the promotion of the superiority of the same. Article 282 further includes protections against incitement of hatred (including gender) via various means of communication, instilling criminal penalties including fines and imprisonment.[46]

Spain

Article 22(4) of the Spanish Penal Code includes a penalty-enhancement provision for crimes motivated by bias against the victim’s ideology, beliefs, religion, ethnicity, race, nationality, gender, sexual orientation, illness or disability.[18]

Sweden

Article 29 of the Swedish Penal Code includes a penalty-enhancement provision for crimes motivated by bias against the victim’s race, color, nationality, ethnicity, sexual orientation, religion, or “other similar circumstance” of the victim.[18][47]

Ukraine

I. “Constitution of Ukraine :

The most important law of the Ukraine country : the “Constitution of Ukraine” guarantees protection against Hate crime :

“Constitution of Ukraine :

Article 10 : “In Ukraine, free development, use and protection of Russian and other languages of national minorities of Ukraine are guaranteed”.

Article 11 : “The state shall promote the development of ethnic, cultural, linguistic and religious identity of all indigenous peoples and national minorities of Ukraine”.

Article 24 :”There can be no privileges or restrictions on the grounds of race, color of the skin, political, religious or other beliefs, sex, ethnic or social origin, property status, place of residence, language or other grounds”.[48]

II. “CRIMINAL CODEX OF UKRAINE” :

in Ukraine, all criminal punishments for crimes committed under the law are required to be registered in only one law, it is the only one: “CRIMINAL CODEX OF UKRAINE”

The crimes committed for Hate crime reinforce the punishment in many articles of the criminal law. There are also separate articles on punishment for Hate crime.

“CRIMINAL CODEX OF UKRAINE” :

Article 161 : “Violations of equality of citizens depending on their race, nationality, religious beliefs, disability and other grounds

1. Intentional acts aimed at incitement to national, racial or religious hatred and violence, to humiliate national honor and dignity, or to repulse citizens’ feelings due to their religious beliefs, as well as direct or indirect restriction of rights or the establishment of direct or indirect privileges citizens on the grounds of race, color, political, religious or other beliefs, sex, disability, ethnic or social origin, property status, place of residence, language or other grounds”(Maximum criminal sentence of up to 8 years in prison)

Article 300 : “Importation, manufacture or distribution of works promoting a cult of violence and cruelty, racial, national or religious intolerance and discrimination” (Maximum criminal sentence of up to 5 years in prison)[49]

United Kingdom

For EnglandWales, and Scotland, the Crime and Disorder Act 1998 makes hateful behaviour towards a victim based on the victim’s membership (or presumed membership) in a racial group or a religious group an aggravation in sentencing for specified crimes.[50] The Anti-terrorism, Crime and Security Act 2001 (c. 24) amended sections of the Crime and Disorder Act 1998.[51] For Northern Ireland, Public Order (Northern Ireland) Order 1987 (S.I. 1987/463 (N.I. 7)) serves the same purpose.[52] A “racial group” is a group of persons defined by reference to race, colour, nationality (including citizenship) or ethnic or national origins. A “religious group” is a group of persons defined by reference to religious belief or lack of religious belief. The specified crimes are assault, criminal damage, offences under the Public Order Act 1986, and offences under the Protection from Harassment Act 1997.

Sections 145 and 146 of the Criminal Justice Act 2003 require a court to consider whether a crime which is not specified by the Crime and Disorder Act 1998 is racially or religiously aggravated, and to consider whether the following circumstances were pertinent to the crime:

(a) that, at the time of committing the offence, or immediately before or after doing so, the offender demonstrated towards the victim of the offence hostility based on—

(i) the sexual orientation (or presumed sexual orientation) of the victim, or
(ii) a disability (or presumed disability) of the victim, or
(b) that the offence is motivated (wholly or partly)—

(i) by hostility towards persons who are of a particular sexual orientation, or
(ii) by hostility towards persons who have a disability or a particular disability.[53][54]

The Crime Survey for England and Wales (CSEW) reported in 2013 that there are an average of 278,000 hate crimes a year with 40% being reported according to a victims survey, although police records only identified around 43,000 hate crimes a year.[55] It was widely reported that police recorded a 57% increase in hate crime complaints in the four days following the UK’s European Union membership referendum, however a press release from the National Police Chief’s Council stated that “this should not be read as a national increase in hate crime of 57 per cent”.[56][57]

In 2013, Greater Manchester Police began recording attacks on goths, punks and other alternative culture groups as hate crimes.[58]

On December 4, 2013 Essex Police launched the ‘Stop the Hate’ initiative as part of a concerted effort to find new ways to tackle hate crime in Essex. The launch was marked by a conference in Chelmsford, hosted by Chief Constable Stephen Kavanagh, which brought together 220 delegates from a range of partner organisations involved in the field. The theme of the conference was ‘Report it to Sort it’ and the emphasis was on encouraging people to tell police if they have been a victim of hate crime, whether it be based on race, religion, sexual orientation, transgender identity or disability.[59]

Crown Prosecution Service guidance issued on 21 A