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The Pronk Pops Show 1107, Story 1: Arrogant, Biased, Corrupt, Deceptive, Evasive FBI Agent Peter Strzok Unindicted Co-conspirator of The Clinton Obama Democrat Criminal Conspiracy — Attorney General Sessions Must Appoint A Second Special Counsel To Investigate The Conspiracy or Resign and President Trump Should Accept Resignation — Part 1 of 2 — Videos

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The Pronk Pops Show Podcasts

Pronk Pops Show 1107, July 12, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1106, July 11, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1105, July 10, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1104, July 9, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1103, July 5, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1102, JUly 3, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1101, July 2, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1100, June 28, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1099, June 26, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1098, June 25, 2018 

Pronk Pops Show 1097, June 21, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1096, June 20, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1095, June 19, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1094, June 18, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1093, June 14, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1092, June 13, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1091, June 12, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1090, June 11, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1089, June 7, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1088, June 6, 2018 

Pronk Pops Show 1087, June 4, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1086, May 31, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1085, May 30, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1084, May 29, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1083, May 24, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1082, May 23, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1081, May 22, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1080, May 21, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1079, May 17, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1078, May 16, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1077, May 15, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1076, May 14, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1075, May 10, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1073, May 8, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1072, May 7, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1071, May 4, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1070, May 3, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1069, May 2, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1068, April 26, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1067, April 25, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1066, April 24, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1065, April 23, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1064, April 19, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1063, April 18, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1062, April 17, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1061, April 16, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1060, April 12, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1059, April 11, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1058, April 10, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1057, April 9, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1056, April 4, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1055, April 2, 2018

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Story 1: Arrogant, Biased, Corrupt, Deceptive, Evasive FBI Agent Peter Strzok Unindicted Co-conspirator of The Clinton Obama Democrat Criminal Conspiracy — Attorney General Sessions Must Appoint A Second Special Counsel To Investigate The Conspiracy or Resign and President Trump Should Accept Resignation — Part 1 of 2 — Videos

Joe diGenova describes “Brazen Plot To Exonerate Hillary Clinton”

Published on Jan 21, 2018

Congress Exposes FBI Coup Against Trump

Published on Jun 20, 2018

Why a second special counsel is needed to investigate DOJ, FBI

WATCH: House Republicans hold news briefing regarding special counsel

Dershowitz reacts to Strzok hearing, Russia indictments

The fieriest moments from Peter Strzok’s hearing

Ingraham: Trump-hating FBI investigator ‘Strzok out’

Rudy Giuliani: Strzok’s defense is ridiculous, pathetic

Mueller didn’t want to ask Strzok if he was bias: Rep. Gaetz

Gowdy: Strzok is the only one who doesn’t think he’s biased

Hannity: Strzok was at the heart of the deep state

Dershowitz on Strzok testimony: A disaster, everybody looked terrible

Bruce Ohr gave parts of Russia dossier to DOJ, FBI: Rep. Jordan

Giuliani on possibility FBI had multiple versions of dossier

FBI’s Peter Strzok denies that bias impacted his work

Rep. Goodlatte Opening Statement at FBI’s Strzok Hearing July 12, 2018

OUT OF ORDER FIGHT! When Andy Biggs,(R)AZ Blasts Strvok

I DON’T GIVE A DAMN!!!” Peter Strzok Hearing GOES OFF THE RAILS During Trey Gowdy’s Questioning

Complete exchange between Rep. Trey Gowdy and FBI Deputy Assistant Director Peter

Strzok

“Let’s See What’ll You Do In Prison With That Smile?”, Matt Gaetz DEMOLISHES Smirking Strzok

Gowdy’s question prompts procedural debate at Strzok hearing

Rep. Trey Gowdy questions FBI’s Peter Strzok in fierce grilling

Mike Johnson Corners Peter Strzok – BODY LANGUAGE OF A LIAR!

Jim Jordan on Strzok’s revelations about Bruce Ohr

Jim Jordan vs FBI Agent Peter Strzok in HEATED Exchange at Congress Hearing on Anti-Trump Texts

7-12-18 Mark Meadows (R-NC) Questions Strzok

See the source image

Rep. Louie Gohmert gets personal in heated exchange with Peter Strzok

Louie Gohmert vs Peter Strzok EXPLOSIVE Exchange at House Oversight Hearing about anti-Trump Texts

FBI agent Peter Strzok say political bias did not impact investigations

Wounded Marine Vet: ‘Disgraceful’ & ‘Disgusting’ for Dem Rep to Suggest Strzok Deserves Purple Heart

Republicans Picked The Wrong FBI Agent To Mess With (VIDEO)

Peter Strzok Holds His Own As Republicans Try To Put On Show At Hearing | Rachel Maddow | MSNBC

“Trump Will Put You In Jail”, Trey Gowdy BRUTALLY DESTROYS FBI And Peter Strzok In An Awesome Speech

WATCH: Dems Bring Posters to Strzok Hearing to Show Guilty Pleas in Mueller Probe

Closing Statement From Hearing of Crooked FBI Agent Peter Strzok

Goodlatte: Lisa Page ‘apparently has something to hide’

Texts show Peter Strzok’s friendship with federal judge

Shapiro Mocks Democrats Celebrating Peter Strzok

Scott Adams Gives You a Hot Take On Peter Stzrok Testimony To Congress So Far

Scott Adams – Peter Strzok’s Body Language and Theresa May

Strzok Strikes Comedy Parody Gold: Think Percy Dovetonsils Meets Vincent D’Onofrio Meets Paul Lynde

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Paul Lynde’s – Hollywood Squares – BEST-1-LINERS Part 1

FBI Director James Comey’s full statement on Clinton email investigation

 

FBI agent defiantly rejects bias charges at chaotic hearing

Eric Tucker and Mary Clare Jalonick, Associated Press

,

Associated Press

An embattled FBI agent whose anti-Trump text messages exposed the Justice Department to claims of institutional bias launched a vigorous defense Thursday at an extraordinary congressional hearing that devolved into shouting matches, finger pointing and veiled references to personal transgressions.

Peter Strzok testified publicly for the first time since being removed from special counsel Robert Mueller’s team after the discovery of derogatory text messages he traded with an FBI lawyer. He told lawmakers the texts in the run-up to the 2016 presidential election reflected personal views that he had never acted on, angrily rejecting Republican allegations that he had set out to stop Donald Trump from becoming president.

“At no time, in any of those texts, did those personal beliefs ever enter into the realm of any action I took,” Strzok said.

The hearing brought a defiant Strzok face-to-face with Republican lawmakers who for months have held up his texts as the embodiment of anti-Trump bias within the FBI. In breaking his months-long silence, Strzok vigorously defended his handling of two hugely sensitive investigations in which he played a leading role: inquiries into Hillary Clinton’s email use and possible coordination between the Trump campaign and Russia.

He insisted the FBI had good cause two years ago to start investigating whether the Trump campaign was working with the Kremlin amid allegations of what he described as a Russian offer of assistance to a Trump campaign associate. He characterized the anti-Trump text messages as personal communications that he never envisioned becoming public and denied that they had swayed his actions.

Strzok insisted under aggressive questioning that a much-discussed August 2016 text in which he said “we’ll stop” a Trump presidency followed Trump’s denigration of the family of a dead U.S. service member. He said the text, written late at night and off-the-cuff, reflected his belief that the American public would not stomach such “horrible, disgusting behavior” by the Republican presidential candidate.

But, he added in a raised voice and emphatic tone, “It was in no way — unequivocally — any suggestion that me, the FBI, would take any action whatsoever to improperly impact the electoral process for any candidate. So, I take great offense, and I take great disagreement to your assertion of what that was or wasn’t.”

Plus, he said, both investigations were handled by large teams.

“They would not tolerate any improper behavior in me anymore than I would tolerate it in them,” Strzok said. “That is who we are as the FBI. And the suggestion that I, in some dark chamber somewhere in the FBI, would somehow cast aside all of these procedures, all of these safeguards and somehow be able to do this is astounding to me. It simply couldn’t happen.”

Some Democrats applauded after he finished speaking.

Republican members of the House judiciary and oversight committees grilled Strzok as they argued that text messages he exchanged with FBI lawyer Lisa Page colored the outcome of the Clinton investigation and undercut the ongoing Russia probe. Strzok, a seasoned counterintelligence agent, helped lead both investigations but has since been reassigned to human resources.

“Agent Strzok had Hillary Clinton winning the White House before he finished investigating her,” said Rep. Trey Gowdy, Republican chairman of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee. “Agent Strzok had Donald Trump impeached before he even started investigating him. That is bias. Agent Strzok may not see it but the rest of the country does, and it is not what we want, expect or deserve from any law enforcement officer much less the FBI.”

The hearing was punctuated by chaos and open yelling as Judiciary Committee Chairman Robert Goodlatte said Strzok needed to answer Republicans’ questions and suggested they might recess the hearing and hold him in contempt. Democrats objected to Goodlatte’s repeated attempts to get Strzok to answer. Goodlatte eventually let the hearing proceed without calling the panel into recess.

In his opening statement, Strzok said he has never allowed personal opinions to infect his work, that he knew information during the campaign that had the potential to damage Trump but never contemplated leaking it and that the focus put on him by Congress is misguided and plays into “our enemies’ campaign to tear America apart.”

Strzok acknowledged that while his text message criticism was “blunt,” it was not directed at one person or political party and included jabs not only at Trump but also at Clinton and Sen. Bernie Sanders.

“Let me be clear, unequivocally and under oath: Not once in my 26 years of defending my nation did my personal opinions impact any official action I took,” he said.

He said he was one of the few people during the 2016 election who knew the details of Russian election interference and its possible connections with people in the Trump orbit, and that that information could have derailed Trump’s election chances. “But,” he said, “the thought of exposing that information never crossed my mind.”

Although Strzok has said through his lawyer that he was eager to tell his side of the story, he made clear his exasperation at being the focal point of a congressional hearing at a time when Russian election interference has been successfully “sowing discord in our nation and shaking faith in our institutions.”

“I have the utmost respect for Congress’s oversight role, but I truly believe that today’s hearing is just another victory notch in Putin’s belt and another milestone in our enemies’ campaign to tear America apart,” Strzok said. “As someone who loves this country and cherishes its ideals, it is profoundly painful to watch and even worse to play a part in.”

The contentious hearing follows hours of closed-door questioning last week. It also reflects an effort to shift attention away from the content of Strzok’s texts and onto what he says is the more pressing issue: the Russians’ “grave attack” on American democracy and continuing efforts to divide the country.

Republicans eager for ways to discredit Mueller’s investigation have for months held up the texts from Strzok and Page to support allegations of anti-Trump bias within federal law enforcement.

The Justice Department’s inspector general has criticized Strzok and Page for creating the appearance of impropriety. But the report said it found no evidence of political bias in the FBI’s decision not to pursue criminal charges against Clinton. And many Democrats say actions taken by law enforcement during the campaign season, including announcing a reopening of the investigation into Clinton just days before the election, actually wound up harming the Democratic candidate and aiding the Republican candidate, Trump.

FBI Director Chris Wray says employees who were singled out for criticism in the report have been referred to internal disciplinary officials. Strzok’s lawyer has said he was escorted from the FBI building as the disciplinary process winds its way through the system.

Page is expected to speak to lawmakers at a private meeting Friday.

___

Associated Press writer Chad Day in Washington contributed to this report.

https://www.yahoo.com/news/fbi-agent-never-tainted-political-bias-080213902–politics.html

7 key moments from Peter Strzok’s wild hearing

July 12 at 6:21 PM
The fieriest moments from Peter Strzok’s hearing

The House hearing with FBI agent Peter Strzok devolved into personal attacks, partisan exchanges and a perjury accusation. Here’s a look at the biggest moments.

This post has been updated.

FBI agent Peter Strzok had his moment on an extremely hot seat Thursday morning in a contentious hearing that quickly devolved into angry yelling, interjections and parliamentary maneuvering.

Appearing before a joint session of the House Oversight and Judiciary committees, Strzok sought to explain his anti-Trump text messages at a time when he was the lead agent on the FBI’s then-nascent Russia investigation in 2016. He was removed from the investigation in 2017 after those text messages with fellow FBI employee Lisa Page, with whom he was having an affair, were discovered. Republicans including President Trump have seized upon Strzok’s texts — which included allusions to stopping Trump — as evidence of a biased and even corrupt law enforcement investigation.

Here are the key moments from the hearing.

1. The contempt threat

 3:07
Goodlatte cites subpoena as Strzok refuses to answer question

FBI agent Peter Strzok refused to answer a question about the Russia probe on July 12, sparking Rep. Bob Goodlatte (R-Va.) to attempt to force an answer. 

It didn’t take long for the hearing to explode. After the opening statements, House Oversight Committee Chairman Trey Gowdy (R-S.C.) lodged his first question: How many people did Strzok interview during the first eight days of the FBI’s Russia investigation, between July 31 and Aug. 8, 2016?

Strzok, as he previewed in his opening statement, said he had been advised by the FBI’s lawyers that he was not to address specifics of what is still an ongoing investigation. (The investigation was handed over to special counsel Robert S. Mueller III in mid-2017.) Republicans quickly objected and threatened to hold Strzok in contempt. Democrats noted that it was unusual that Strzok be asked to disclose such details in a public setting.

Strzok said he didn’t have to answer the question because, despite being subpoenaed by the committee, he had previously said he would speak voluntarily.

“Mr. Chairman, I do not believe I am here under subpoena,” Strzok said. “I believe I am here voluntarily. … Based on that, I will not answer that question.”

Democrats argued that a witness such as Strzok would not be expected to publicly disclose sensitive information like the blueprint for a hydrogen bomb. Another moved to adjourn the hearing less than an hour after it began.

House Judiciary Committee Chairman Robert Goodlatte (R-Va.) finally said that Strzok would be recalled to the committee after the day’s hearing so that it could determine whether to hold him in contempt. But the tone was set.

2. Strzok’s angry retort: ‘It is deeply destructive’

 3:00
Strzok: Accusation of bias ‘deeply corrodes’ the FBI

FBI agent Peter Strzok explained the context of his text messages about Trump on July 12, and said his personal beliefs never factored into his actions. 

After more than 20 minutes of maneuvering and posturing following the subpoena discussion, Gowdy ended his interrogation of Strzok and Strzok was given the floor to respond. In a minutes-long retort, he called Gowdy’s and his Republican allies’ allegations of bias and improper actions “deeply destructive.”

He said that his text messages critical of Trump shortly after the investigation began were in response to Trump’s behavior on the campaign trail — and not a reflection of his investigative intent. He pointed in particular to Trump’s attacks on the Khans, a Gold Star family who spoke at the Democratic National Convention around that time.

“My presumption [was] based on that horrible, disgusting behavior that the American population would not elect somebody demonstrating that behavior to be president of the United States,” he said. “It was in no way, unequivocally, any suggestion that me, the FBI, would take any action whatsoever to improperly impact the electoral process for any candidate. So I take great offense . . . ”

Strzok concluded the accusation against him and the line of questioning “deeply corrodes what the FBI is in American society, the effectiveness of their mission, and it is deeply destructive.” Some in the room applauded.

3. A perjury accusation — and a very personal attack

 9:43
Rep. Gohmert launches personal attacks against Peter Strzok

Rep. Louie Gohmert (R-Tex.) attacked FBI agent Peter Strzok on personal grounds, and then tried to refuse him the opportunity to respond on July 12. 

Rep. Louie Gohmert (R-Tex.) seized upon Strzok’s contention that his texts didn’t demonstrate personal “bias” and said that argument amounted to him lying. When Democrats noted that Gohmert was basically accusing Strzok of perjury — given he made that claim under oath — Gohmert was unbowed.

Then he got personal — very personal.

“When I see you looking with a little smirk, I wonder how many times did you look so innocently into your wife’s eyes and lie to her about Lisa Page,” Gohmert began. The hearing room erupted, with someone shouting “insane asylum” and someone else asserting that Gohmert needed medication.

In response, Strzok acknowledged “hurting” someone he described as a “family member.”

“The fact that you would question whether or not that was the sort of look,” he told Gohmert, “goes more to a discussion about your character.”

4. The transcript threat

 3:54
Democrats demand release of Strzok’s closed-door interview transcript

Democrats demanded that Republicans show them a rule that prohibits releasing the transcript from Peter Strzok’s closed-door interview, or they will release it.

One of the subplots here has been Democrats’ push to release the transcript of Strzok’s previous, closed-door testimony. They argue that it has been selectively leaked and described to impugn him.

So at one point early in the hearing, Rep. David N. Cicilline (D-R.I.) said he intended to release the transcript himself — and asked whether there was any reason he couldn’t. Goodlatte stressed that it was the committee’s practice and that there was an agreement to keep closed-door hearings private while an investigation is ongoing.

Cicilline’s response: “We intend to release this transcript unless someone presents some rule that prevents us from doing it, and we’ll give you till 5 this afternoon to present that,” he said. “Otherwise we intend to release the transcript.”

Eventually Cicilline got some backup from GOP Rep. Mark Meadows (N.C.), who happens to be the head of the conservative House Freedom Caucus.

It’s worth noting that Goodlatte’s justification — that the committee’s investigation is ongoing — was the same one Strzok offered for not answering questions about the special counsel’s Russia probe. In the latter case, apparently, Republicans don’t think it applies.

Aaron Blake

@AaronBlake

The contrast here is pretty stark:

GOP in one breath threatens Strzok with contempt if he doesn’t detail Russia investigation, which is ongoing.

Then it says it won’t release transcript of Strzok’s initial testimony … because its investigation is ongoing.

5. Making him read his own texts

 3:21
Rep. Issa directs Peter Strzok to read his text messages aloud

Rep. Darrell Issa (R-Calif.) on July 12 asked FBI agent Peter Strzok to read aloud from some of his text messages turned over to the House Russia investigation. 

Rep. Darrell Issa (R-Calif.) took his five minutes to force Strzok to read some of his own texts — including ones that used vulgarities.

While reading one in which he used the f-word while talking about Trump, Strzok paused and asked how he should handle it, then finished. Then Issa asked him to read it again.

“Sir, was that not intelligible?” Strzok said. “You just want to hear — for me to repeat it.”

“Please,” Issa said.

“Okay, sir. Sure,” Strzok shot back snidely. “Happy to indulge you.”

6. A Democrat says Strzok should get a Purple Heart

The difference between the lines of questioning between Republicans and Democrats was, as usual, stark. While Republicans badgered Strzok and tried to catch him off-guard, Democrats mostly used their time to argue for the importance of the Mueller investigation.

But some Democrats decided to go further than that and to make Strzok a martyr — or even a hero. Rep. Steve Cohen (D-Tenn.) went the furthest.

“Mr. Strzok, if I could give you a Purple Heart, I would,” Cohen said when he began his questioning.

To recap, Strzok was removed from the Mueller investigation and harshly criticized by an inspector general. It is generally agreed that his text messages were problematic, regardless of if you think this reflects corruption and bias in all law enforcement or the Mueller probe.

7. ‘This is not Benghazi’

 2:11
Democrat erupts at Gowdy: ‘This is not Benghazi!’

As Rep. Trey Gowdy (R-N.C.) grilled FBI agent Peter Strzok on July 12, Rep. Bonnie Watson Coleman (D-N.J.) interjected and yelled at him to “leave it alone.” 

Democratic patience with the GOP’s treatment of Strzok quickly wore thin. Gowdy, in his role as head of the Oversight Committee, repeatedly afforded himself the chance to try to get under Strzok’s skin.

And toward the end of the hearing, the whole thing boiled over. Rep. Bonnie Watson Coleman (D-N.J.) yelled at Gowdy during one interrogation of Strzok, telling him to “leave it alone.”

“This is not Benghazi,” she said, referring to the years-long investigation Gowdy led into the deaths of four Americans in Benghazi, Libya, which Democrats contend that probe devolved into a witch hunt against Hillary Clinton.

 

https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/the-fix/wp/2018/07/12/3-key-moments-from-peter-strzoks-wild-hearing/?noredirect=on&utm_term=.518d74885981

Peter Strzok

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Peter Strzok
Strzok1.png
Born 1969/1970 (age 47–48) [1]
Education Georgetown University (BSMA)[2]

Peter Strzok (/strʌk/, pronounced “struck”) (born 1969/1970) is a United States Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) agent.[3][4] Strzok was the Chief of the Counterespionage Section and led the FBI’s investigation into Hillary Clinton’s use of a personal email server.[5][4][6] Strzok rose to become the Deputy Assistant Director of the Counterintelligence Division, the second-highest position in that division. He also led the FBI’s investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 United States elections.[4][7][8][9]

In June and July 2017, Strzok worked on Robert Mueller‘s Special Counsel investigation into any links or coordination between Donald Trump‘s presidential campaign and the Russian government.[10][7][9] Mueller removed Strzok from the Russia investigation when he became aware of criticisms of Trump contained in personal text messages exchanged between Strzok and a colleague.[11][12] The revelation of the text messages led to accusations by Republican congressmen and conservative media that Strzok was involved in a conspiracy to undermine the Trump presidency; conservatives used the text messages as part of a campaign to discredit Mueller’s investigation. The Department of Justice, led by Republican Jeff Sessions, has defended Mueller’s response to the text messages.[13][10] A February 2018 comprehensive review by The Wall Street Journal of Strzok’s messages showed that “texts critical of Mr. Trump represent a fraction of the roughly 7,000 messages, which stretch across 384 pages and show no evidence of a conspiracy against Mr. Trump”.[14] After the release of the DOJ-OIG report, which revealed further anti-Trump texts from Strzok, he agreed to testify before the House Judiciary Committee.[15]

Early life and education

For high school, Strzok attended St. John’s Preparatory School in Minnesota, graduating in 1987.[16] He earned a bachelor’s degree from Georgetown University in 1991 as well as a master’s degree in 2013.[17] He is married to Melissa Hodgman, an associate director at the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission.[18][19][20] His father was a longtime member of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.[21] Like his father, Strzok served as an officer in the United States Army before joining the FBI in the 1990s as an intelligence research specialist.[8][22]

FBI

As of 2018, Strzok has a career of 22 years at the FBI.[23] He notably was the lead agent in FBI’s “Operation Ghost Stories” against Andrey Bezrukov and Yelena Vavilova, a Russian spy couple who were part of the Illegals Program, a network of Russian sleeper agents who were arrested in 2010.[24] By July 2015, Strzok was serving as the section chief of the Counterespionage Section, a subordinate section of the FBI’s Counterintelligence Division.[4] He led a team of a dozen investigators during the FBI’s investigation into Hillary Clinton’s use of a personal email server and assisted in the drafting of public statements for then-FBI Director James Comey.[25] He changed the description of Clinton’s actions from “grossly negligent”, which could be a criminal offense, to “extremely careless”.[4] The draft was reviewed and corrected by several people and its creation was a team process. In his statement to Congress, Comey said that “no reasonable prosecutor” would bring charges based on available evidence.[4] Later, when additional emails were discovered a few days before the election, Strzok supported reopening the Clinton investigation.[26] He then co-wrote the letter[27] that Comey used to inform Congress, which “reignited the email controversy in the final days” and “played a key role in a controversial FBI decision that upended Hillary Clinton’s campaign.”[26]

Due to his acknowledged expertise and reliability, Strzok rose to the position of Deputy Assistant Director of the Counterintelligence Division, and as the number two official within that division oversaw investigations involving Russia and China.[10][28][8] In that capacity, he led the FBI’s investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 United States elections,[4][29] and examined both the Donald Trump–Russia dossier and the Russian role in the 2016 Democratic National Committee email leak.[30][3][25] He also oversaw the bureau’s interviews with then-National Security Advisor Michael Flynn; Flynn later pled guilty to lying during those interviews.[31]

In July 2017, Strzok became the top FBI agent working for Robert Mueller‘s 2017 Special Counsel investigation looking into any links or coordination between Trump’s presidential campaign and the Russian government.[32][33] He served in that position until August 2017, at which time he began working in the Human Resources Branch.[34][35] According to The New York Times, Strzok was “considered one of the most experienced and trusted FBI counterintelligence investigators,”[22] as well as “one of the Bureau’s top experts on Russia” according to CNN.[4] Strzok left the investigation in late July 2017 after the discovery of personal text messages sent to a colleague.[36] At the request of Republicans in Congress, the Justice Department (DOJ) Inspector General (IG) began an inquiry in January 2017 into how the FBI handled investigations related to the election, and the IG announced it would issue a report by March or April 2018.[22][37] The report was eventually released on June 14, 2018, after several delays.

On June 15, 2018, the day after this IG report was published, Strzok was escorted from FBI headquarters as part of the bureau’s internal conduct investigations.[38] The move put Strzok on notice that the bureau intends to fire him, though he has appeal rights that could delay such action.[39] On June 21, 2018, Attorney General Jeff Sessions said that Strzok had lost his security clearance.[40]

Text messages

During the IG’s investigation, thousands of text messages exchanged using FBI-issued cell phones between Strzok and Lisa Page, a trial attorney on Mueller’s team, were examined.[41][42][41][42] The texts were sent between August 15, 2015 and December 1, 2016. At the request of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, the DOJ turned over 375 of these text messages to the House Judiciary Committee.[41][42][43] Some of the texts disparaged then-presidential candidate Donald Trump,[41][42][44][45] Chelsea Clinton, Attorney General in the Obama administration Eric Holder, former Democratic Governor Martin O’Malley, and candidate for the Democratic presidential nomination Bernie Sanders.[46][47][1] Strzok called Trump an “idiot” in August 2015 and texted “God Hillary should win 100,000,000 – 0” after a Republican debate in March 2016.[41][42][48] In their messages, Strzok and Page also advocated for creating a Special Counsel to investigate the Hillary Clinton email controversy, and discussed suggesting former U.S. Attorney Patrick Fitzgerald be considered for such a probe.[49] Devlin Barrett from The Washington Post alleged Strzok and Page had been using the backdrop of discussing the Clinton investigation as a cover for their personal communications during an affair.[50] Upon learning of the text messages, Mueller removed Strzok from the investigation.[22] Messages released in January 2018 showed that Strzok was hesitant to join the Mueller investigation, with Page encouraging him not to.[51]

Strzok’s colleagues and a former Trump administration official said that Strzok had never shown any political bias.[52][44] An associate of his says the political parts of the text messages were especially related to Trump’s criticism of the FBI’s investigation of the Clinton emails.[52] According to FBI guidelines, agents are allowed to have and express political opinions as individuals. Former FBI and DOJ officials told The Hill that it was not uncommon for agents like Strzok to hold political opinions and still conduct an impartial investigation.[53] Several agents asserted that Mueller had removed Strzok to protect the integrity of the special counsel’s Russia investigation.[54] Strzok was not punished following his reassignment.[55] Defenders of Strzok and Page in the FBI said no professional misconduct between them occurred.[44]

The decision by the DOJ to publicize the private messages in December 2017 was controversial. Statements by DOJ spokeswomen revealed that some reporters had copies of the texts even before the DOJ invited the press to review them, but the DOJ did not authorize the pre-release. Democrats on the House Judiciary Committee have asked for a review of the circumstances under which the texts were leaked to select press outlets.[56]

The Office of Inspector General’s report on the FBI’s handling of the Clinton email investigation published on June 14, 2018, criticized Strzok’s text messages for creating the appearance of impropriety.[57] However, the report concluded that there was no evidence of bias in the FBI’s decision not to pursue criminal charges against Clinton.[57] The report revealed additional texts hostile to Donald Trump by Strzok. In early August 2016, after Page asked Strzok, “[Trump’s] not ever going to become president, right? Right?!”, Strzok responded: “No. No he won’t. We’ll stop it.”[58] Many Democrats noted that the FBI’s actions during 2016 presidential campaign, such as reopening the Clinton email investigation on the eve of the election and elements within the FBI telling the New York Times that there was no clear link between the Trump campaign and Russia, ended up harming the Clinton campaign and benefitting the Trump campaign.[58]

At a July 12, 2018, public congressional hearing, Strzok denied that the personal beliefs expressed in the text messages impacted his work for the FBI.[57] Strzok explained that a “We’ll stop Trump” text message was written late at night and off-the-cuff shortly after Trump denigrated the immigrant family of a fallen American war hero, Khizr and Ghazala Khan, and that the message reflected Strzok’s belief that Americans would not vote for a candidate who engaged in such “horrible, disgusting behavior”.[57] Strzok said the message “was in no way – unequivocally – any suggestion that me, the FBI, would take any action whatsoever to improperly impact the electoral process for any candidate.”[57] Strzok added that he knew of information during the 2016 presidential campaign that could have damaged Trump but that he never contemplated leaking it.[57] Strzok also said that he criticized politicians such as Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders in his “blunt” text messages.[57] Strzok’s said that the investigation into him and the Republicans’ related rhetoric was misguided and played into “our enemies’ campaign to tear America apart.”[57]

Reactions

Strzok’s personal messages to Lisa Page have been used by Republicans to attack the impartiality of Mueller’s investigation into Donald Trump’s alleged collusion with Russia during the election. Conservative media outlets and Republicans have used the text messages as part of an aggressive campaign to discredit the Mueller investigation and protect President Trump. Other Republicans have defended Mueller and his work, including Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein who said that he would only fire Mueller if there was actual cause under DOJ regulations, and that no such cause existed. Rosenstein also praised Mueller for removing Strzok from the Russian investigation.[13]

Republican allegations

In late January 2018, a number of congressional Republicans, including Sen. Ron Johnson, asserted that they had evidence that pointed towards FBI agents working clandestinely to undermine the Trump presidency; they asserted that Strzok and Page were in a “secret society” against Trump.[59] Fox News amplified these claims.[60] Congressional Republicans refused to release the evidence behind the assertion, but ABC News obtained a copy of the message that Republicans were referring to and noted that the message that refers to a “secret society” may have been made in jest.[59] The day after his assertion that these messages demonstrated “corruption at the highest levels of the FBI” and after a copy of the messages were revealed by ABC News, Johnson walked back his comments and said that there was a “real possibility” that the messages were made in jest.[61]

In February 2018, Johnson speculated that a text message between FBI agent Peter Strzok and Lisa Page raised questions about “the type and extent of President Obama’s personal involvement” in the Clinton emails investigation.[62] Fox News reiterated, without scrutiny, Ron Johnson’s speculative claim that text messages between senior FBI officials Peter Strzok and Lisa Page suggested that President Barack Obama was deeply involved in the investigation into Hillary Clinton’s emails.[60] Fox News spokeswoman Carly Shanahan did not answer an inquiry from CNN about whether Fox News reached out to Obama for comment.[60] Johnson’s claim was covered by various pro-Trump websites, such as Drudge ReportBreitbartInfoWars and The Gateway Pundit, before President Trump himself tweeted “NEW FBI TEXTS ARE BOMBSHELLS!”[60] Other news outlets reported that the text messages were sent in September 2016, months after the Clinton emails investigation had concluded, and three days before Obama would confront Russian President Vladimir Putin about interference in the 2016 election at the G20 Hangzhou summit.[60][63] Associates of Strzok and Page told The Wall Street Journal the texts were about the FBI’s investigation into Russian electoral interference.[62] Fox News continued to report the story even after these news outlets had provided this context for the messages.[60]

Fox News commentary

While referring to Strzok’s messages, some commentators on the Fox News Channel intensified their anti-Mueller rhetoric. Jesse Watters said that Mueller’s investigation now amounted to a coup against President Trump, if “the investigation was weaponized to destroy his presidency for partisan political purposes”.[64][65][66][67][68] Fox Business host Lou Dobbs said that the FBI and DOJ were working clandestinely to destroy the Trump presidency, and called for a “war” against the “deep state”.[69] One guest on Fox’s talk and news show Outnumbered, Kevin Jackson, speculated that Strzok’s messages were evidence of a plot by FBI agents to make “an assassination attempt or whatever” against President Trump, which other Fox hosts quickly contradicted and said was not “credible”.[70] Fox News figures referred to the investigation as “corrupt”, “crooked” and “illegitimate”, and likened the FBI to the KGB, the brutal Soviet-era spy organization.[64] Political scientists and experts on coups rejected that Mueller’s investigation amounted to a coup.[64]

See also

References

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

 

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The Pronk Pops Show 1105, Story 1: President Trump Chooses An Outstanding Nominee for Supreme Court Justice — Brett Kavanaugh — Hate America Democrats (HAD) and Lying Lunatic Leftist Losers Had Nervous Breakdown Over Right-Wing Extremist?– Videos — Story 2: President Trump Flies To Europe for 7 Days for NATO Summit in Brussells and Meeting With Prime Minister May in England and Russian President Putin — Time To Step Up Military Spending of NATO Member Countries — Videos — Story 3: Will Prime Minister May Remain in Office? Brixit Breaks May — Videos

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Story 1: President Trump Chooses An Outstanding Nominee for Supreme Court Justice — Brett Kavanaugh — Hate America Democrats (HAD) and Lying Lunatic Leftist Losers Had Hysterical Nervous Breakdown — Panicking Petulent Progressive Propaganda of Big Lie Media — Videos

Trump names Brett Kavanaugh as Supreme Court pick

Outside Supreme Court, senators and activists react to Trump pick

Chuck Schumer RAILS Against Judge Brett Kavanaugh as Supreme Court Justice Nominee

President Trump announces Brett Kavanaugh as Supreme Court nominee

Hannity: Left will take extreme measures to malign Kavanaugh

Who is Brett Kavanaugh, Trump’s SCOTUS pick?

“They’re PANICKING over Brett Kavanaugh??” Ben REACTS to the Left’s SCOTUS Meltdown

Chuck Schumer’s Reaction To Trump’s Supreme Court Pick Will Have You Speechless

How will Democrats and Republicans react to Trump’s SCOTUS nominee?

‘There is no one more qualified or deserving’: Trump picks federal judge Brett Kavanaugh to fill Anthony Kennedy’s Supreme Court seat, setting up ferocious battle with Dems to get him nominated

  • Trump: ‘Judge Kavanaugh has impeccable credentials, unsurpassed qualifications and a proven commitment to equal justice under the law’ 
  • Kavanaugh, 53, was a front-runner for the nomination ever since Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy announced his retirement on June 27
  • He served as staff secretary to President George W. Bush at the White House
  • Also played a leading role in drafting Ken Starr’s report on President Bill Clinton
  • Served 10 years on the federal bench, giving Democrats ample material to sift throuh for a deep look into his written opinions
  • Kavanaugh and wife Ashely have two daughters; his all-American look was said to appeal to Trump
  • Republican Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell is said to be worried Kavanaugh will be tough to confirm because of his voluminous paper trail

President Donald Trump named Washington, D.C. federal judge Brett Kavanaugh on Monday to fill a vacancy on the U.S. Supreme Court.

‘Judge Kavanaugh has impeccable credentials, unsurpassed qualifications and a proven commitment to equal justice under the law,’ Trump said in his announcement.

‘There is no one in America more qualified for this position, and no one more deserving,’ the president added.

Video playing bottom right…

President Trump named Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court

Trump called Brett Kavanaugh 'one of the sharpest legal minds of our time.' Kavanaugh was joined by his family, wife Ashley, and daughters Margaret and Liza, at the announcement

Melania Trump sat next to Judge Kavanaugh's parents during the announcement

Judge Kavanaugh watches with his family as Trump signs a document confirming him as his nominee for the bench

Judge Kavanaugh watches with his family as Trump signs a document confirming him as his nominee for the bench

Judge Kavanaugh's parents sitting next to first lady Melania Trump

He called Kavanaugh ‘one of the sharpest legal minds of our time’ and urged the Senate to confirm his pick quickly.

The announcement was a family affair. Kavanaugh was joined by his wife Ashley, and daughters Margaret and Liza. His parents were at the White House, seated in the audience next to first lady Melania Trump.

‘Mr. President, I am grateful to you, and I’m humbled by your confidence in me,’ Kavanaugh said. ‘Justice Kennedy devoted his career to securing liberty. I am deeply honored to be nominated to fill his seat on the Supreme Court.’

In his remarks, Kavanaugh touted his strong record with women throughout his career, noting he’s hired a majority of female law clerks and that Elena Kagan, who is now on the Supreme Court, hired him to teach at Harvard.

Kavanaugh also paid tribute to his parents, who were both lawyers.

‘My mom was a trail blazer,’ he said, noting she went to law school when he was 10 years old and became a prosecutor. ‘The president introduced me tonight as Judge Kavanaugh but, to me, that title will always belong to my mom.’

His remarks were filled with stories about his family and his appreciation of them.

He noted both is daughters love sports and joked his young daughter Liza ‘loves sports and she loves to talk.’ He then gave her a high five.

He added that he’s coached both of his daughters’ basketball teams, where he’s called ‘Coach K.’

He and his wife met when they both worked at the Bush White House and their first date was September 10, 2001 – the night before the terrorist attacks.

‘Ashley was a source of strength for President Bush and everyone in this building,’ he said of the aftermath. ‘I thank God every day for my family.’

Kavanaugh’s remarks were filled with light-hearted stories like the above, making the audience laugh and showing his all-American appeal that Trump was said to be looking for his pick. His talk was focused on the personable with little conversation on his judicial record.

Judge Kavanaugh's remarks were filled with light-hearted stories about his family

Judge Kavanaugh will replace Anthony Kennedy on the Supreme Court

Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh speaks after his nomination

But he did make an appeal to the Senate that will confirm him.

‘I will tell each Senator that I revere the constitution,’ he said.

‘My judicial philosophy is straight forward – a judge must be independent and interpret the law, not make the law,’ he said. ‘A judge must interpret the constitution as written.’

‘If confirmed by the Senate I will strive to keep an open mind in every case,’ Kavanaugh noted. ‘And I will always strive to preserve the constitution in the United States.’

Kavanaugh was a front-runner for the nomination ever since Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy announced his retirement on June 27.

Trump, in his announcement, indicated he wanted a judge that followed his successful first Supreme Court nominee, Neil Gorsuch.

The president noted Kavanaugh, like Gorsuch, clerked for Kennedy. Gorsuch and Kavanaugh also went to the same high school.

Gorsuch’s confirmation is considered one of the major successes of the Trump administration.

But Kavanaugh’s long record – 12 years as a judge, nearly 300 written opinions, a multitude of scholarly articles, a paperwork trail from his time in the Bush White House, and thousands of documents from when he served on the Starr investigation – has raised concerns Democrats will have an embarrassment of riches to use in questions during confirmation hearings, leading to a lengthened process and a tough confirmation vote.

As he did with Gorsuch barely 10 days after taking office last year, the president introduced Kavanaugh to a packed East Room at the White House and challenged the U.S. Senate to confirm his nominee without delay.

The Gorsuch nomination was seen as an even political swap for the deceased Justice Antonin Scalia, one rock-ribbed conservative for another.

Replacing Kennedy, often seen as a ‘swing vote’ on tight 5-4 decisions with enormous societal implications, with a conservative nominee is a far weightier exercise.

President Donald Trump is naming Washington D.C. federal judge Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court

President Donald Trump is naming Washington D.C. federal judge Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court

This is Trump's second nomination to the Supreme Court since he became president

Brett Kavanaugh was nominated to replace Justice Anthony Kennedy. Seated (L-R): Associate Justices Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Anthony Kennedy, Chief Justice John Roberts, Associate Justices Clarence Thomas and Stephen Breyer. Standing (L-R): Associate Justices Elena Kagan, Samuel Alito Jr., Sonia Sotomayor and Neil Gorsuch

Brett Kavanaugh was nominated to replace Justice Anthony Kennedy. Seated (L-R): Associate Justices Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Anthony Kennedy, Chief Justice John Roberts, Associate Justices Clarence Thomas and Stephen Breyer. Standing (L-R): Associate Justices Elena Kagan, Samuel Alito Jr., Sonia Sotomayor and Neil Gorsuch

The Daily 202: Kavanaugh’s paper trail makes his confirmation harder but ensures he’ll be reliably conservative

July 10 at 9:45 AM

With Breanne Deppisch and Joanie Greve

THE BIG IDEA: Brett Kavanaugh is no David Souter.

President Trump’s nominee to replace Justice Anthony M. Kennedy on the Supreme Court made a name for himself as a partisan warrior when he worked for Ken Starr and has proved his reliability as a consistently conservative judge over a dozen years on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit.

Majority Leader Mitch McConnell reportedly told Trump that Kavanaugh’s lengthy paper trail over a quarter of a century in the public arena would make it harder to confirm him through the narrowly divided Senate than two of the other finalists being considered.

But the same track record that could cause headaches in the next several weeks is exactly what made Kavanaugh so appealing to leaders of the Republican legal establishment, including Federalist Society chief Leonard Leo and White House counsel Don McGahn, who wanted someone they feel confident they can count on for the next generation.

Kavanaugh, who has long been active in the Federalist Society, fits that bill. He was one of Starr’s top bulldogs as the independent counsel investigated Bill Clinton and at times advocated internally for an even more aggressive approach against the Democratic president. Kavanaugh was a lead author of the Starr Report and has acknowledged writing portions that laid out grounds for  impeachment.

He was deeply involved in the exploration of Clinton White House lawyer Vince Foster’s suicide, which Trump suggested in 2016 might have been a murder. Kavanaugh even appeared before the Supreme Court in a bid to subpoena notes taken by a lawyer whom Foster spoke with shortly before he died.

Kavanaugh represented the American relatives of Elián González pro bono as they tried to prevent the boy from being sent back to Cuba, a cause celebre on the right in 1999 and 2000.

He helped defend Jeb Bush’s school voucher plan in the Florida courts and then worked on George W. Bush’s legal team during the 2000 recount. Then he got a job in the White House Counsel’s Office under Alberto Gonzales, helping pick Bush’s judicial nominees. From there, he was promoted to staff secretary, which gave him more direct access to the president and control of the paper flow into the Oval Office.

Bush nominated Kavanaugh to the appeals court in 2003, but Democrats held up his confirmation for three years because of his polarizing work for Starr. At the time, Sen. Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) called him the “Forrest Gump of Republican politics” because he seemed to be in the thick of every controversial legal fight that gripped the capital. Kavanaugh was eventually confirmed in 2006 as part of a larger deal on nominations by a vote of 57 to 36.

Since joining the court, Kavanaugh has written about 300 opinions —  including key decisions on guns, abortion and regulation. He ruled that the way the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau is structured makes it unconstitutional, for instance, and has routinely taken the side of big business in disputes with government.

George H.W. Bush nominated Souter for the Supreme Court in 1990 at the recommendation of then-White House Chief of Staff John H. Sununu. Souter was on the New Hampshire Supreme Court but hadn’t ruled on hot-button issues, so he emerged as a consistently liberal vote once on the high court. No one who knows Kavanaugh doubts that he will pull the court to the right if confirmed.

Based on Kavanaugh’s votes on the D.C. Circuit, a political scientist at Emory University calculates that there is a 55 percent chance that he will be further to the right than Clarence Thomas and an 81 percent chance that he will be to the right of Chief Justice John Roberts:

Tom Clark@tom_s_clark

Wondering how is? I just estimated preferences from all voting by DC Circuit judges on en banc cases Ih/t Mike Giles). I estimate he is the fifth most conservative of the 47 judges for whom I have data.

McConnell recognizes that Kavanaugh’s nomination presents a target-rich environment for Democrats, who have dozens of potential avenues of attack because there are so many cases and episodes to choose from. Even though Kavanaugh is likely to ultimately make it through the Senate, there are enough unpopular positions he has staked out that most of the Democrats from red states should not have that hard of a time finding palatable justifications to oppose his nomination. (It’s always possible they’ll vote for him anyway if he already has the votes to get confirmed.)

Kavanaugh’s confirmation hearings also ensure that some of the darkest chapters of the Bush era will be re-litigated, including the use of enhanced interrogation techniques.

— Importantly for Trump, though, Kavanaugh’s views on executive power have evolved significantly since he worked for Starr. In a 2009 article for the Minnesota Law Review, Kavanaugh noted that the Starr team he worked on operated under a “badly flawed” law, “particularly the extent to which it allowed civil suits against presidents to proceed while the President is in office.”

More recently, Kavanaugh has argued that presidents should not be distracted by civil lawsuits, criminal investigations, or even questions from a prosecutor or defense attorney while in office, Michael Kranish and Ann E. Marimow report. “Having observed the weighty issues that can consume a president, Kavanaugh wrote, the nation’s chief executive should be exempt from ‘time-consuming and distracting’ lawsuits and investigations, which ‘would ill serve the public interest, especially in times of financial or national security crisis.’ If a president were truly malevolent, Kavanaugh wrote, he could always be impeached.”

— Neil Gorsuch, who also served in the Bush administration, was pushed by legal activists on the right last year because he too was a known commodity and had been consistently conservative as a circuit court judge. He helped the Bush-Cheney reelection campaign in 2004 as a volunteer lawyer in Ohio. When he was interviewing for a senior job at the Justice Department, then-Republican National Committee Chairman Ken Mehlman emailed a top White House official to put in a good word. “He is a true loyalist,” Mehlman wrote of his former roommate.

Meet Brett Kavanaugh, Trump’s Supreme Court nominee

President Trump announced July 9 that Brett M. Kavanaugh will be the Supreme Court nominee to fill Justice Kennedy’s vacant seat.

GET TO KNOW KAVANAUGH:

— He is just 53 years old. An avid runner, Kavanaugh could realistically spend four decades on the Supreme Court. He finished the Boston Marathon in 3:59:45 in 2010 and 4:08:36 in 2015.

— He has an elite pedigree. His father ran a cosmetics trade association here for decades. His mother was a high school teacher who became a lawyer and then a judge. Kavanaugh attended Yale for both undergrad and law school after attending Georgetown Preparatory School. Gorsuch, whose mom ran the Environmental Protection Agency, was a classmate at the elite private high school in Washington. The two then clerked for Kennedy at the same time.

Kavanaugh also clerked in San Francisco for Judge Alex Kozinski on the Ninth Circuit, who retired in December after 15 women alleged that he had subjected them to inappropriate sexual behavior.

The D.C. Circuit, where he serves now, is considered the second most important court in the land, only after the Supreme Court. Current justices John Roberts, Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Clarence Thomas were each elevated from there.

— Kavanaugh identifies as an originalist. “A judge must interpret the Constitution as written, informed by history and tradition and precedent,” he said last night. (Note the difference between being “informed” by precedent and being bound by it. Those are two very different things.)

— Trump called Kavanaugh to tell him on Sunday night and informed Kennedy of his decision on Monday, per a senior White House official. “Kavanaugh’s link to the Bush political dynasty gave Trump pause during the search process, and he peppered associates with questions about whether ‘my base’ would embrace him,” Robert Costa, Robert Barnes and Felicia Sonmez report. “But ultimately, prodded by top advisers and veteran Republicans, Trump decided that Kavanaugh’s lengthy conservative judicial record made up for any lingering concerns about how some of his core supporters would view the pick.”

— As Kavanaugh praised the president during his speech in the East Room, you could see why he fared so well during his interview with Trump. “No president has ever consulted more widely or talked with more people from more backgrounds to seek input about a Supreme Court nomination,” Kavanaugh said, as the president smiled.

— With Roe v. Wade hanging in the balance, Kavanaugh went out of his way to emphasize his relationships with women. He laid it on thick: “My mom was a trailblazer,” he said. “When I was 10, she went to law school and became a prosecutor. My introduction to law came at our dinner table when she practiced her closing arguments. Her trademark line was ‘Use your common sense. What rings true, what rings false?’ That’s good advice for a juror — and for a son.”

  • “For the past 11 years, I have taught hundreds of students, primarily at Harvard Law School. … I remain grateful to the dean who hired me, Justice Elena Kagan.”
  • “I am proud that a majority of my law clerks have been women.”
  • “I have two spirited daughters, Margaret and Liza. Margaret loves sports, and she loves to read. Liza loves sports, and she loves to talk. I have tried to create bonds with my daughters like my dad created with me. … For the past seven years, I have coached my daughters’ basketball teams. The girls on the team call me Coach K.”
  • Kavanaugh’s wife, Ashley, was Bush 43’s longtime personal secretary: “Our first date was on September 10, 2001. The next morning I was a few steps behind her as the Secret Service shouted at all of us to sprint out the front gates of the White House, because there was an inbound plane. In the difficult weeks that followed, Ashley was a source of strength for President Bush and for everyone in this building.”

— Fun fact: The president’s big reveal preempted another reality TV show: “The Bachelorette” paused during Trump’s speech for a special report, and then ABC went back after Trump gave a metaphorical rose to Kavanaugh.

 “Not since Warren Harding in 1921 nominated former President William Howard Taft to be chief justice has the country been presented with a high court nominee so completely shaped by the needs and mores of the executive branch as Brett Kavanaugh,” Garrett Epps, who teaches constitutional law at the University of Baltimore, notes in The Atlantic. “Though Kavanaugh served as Kennedy’s law clerk during the October 1993 term, the contrast between the two men could hardly be more complete. Kennedy’s roots lay in his days of small-town private practice; he made his way to the bench from private practice, and, as a judge, he was conservative but independent. Kavanaugh has been the creature and servant of political power all his days. It would be the height of folly to expect that, having attained his lifetime’s ambition of a seat on the Supreme Court, he will become anything else.”

As President Trump announced his nominee for the Supreme Court, senators and activists demonstrated outside the Supreme Court building in Washington.

THE CONFIRMATION BATTLE AHEAD:

— Because Kavanaugh is already so well known on Capitol Hill, the partisan battle lines are mostly drawn:

  • Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-Utah): “I will lift heaven and Earth to see that he is confirmed.”
  • Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.): “I will oppose Judge Kavanaugh’s nomination with everything I have.”

— Every Democratic senator who was invited to attend the announcement at the White House declined, including Joe Manchin III (W.Va.), Heidi Heitkamp (N.D.), Doug Jones (Ala.) and Joe Donnelly (Ind.). Incidentally, so did Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine), who says she supports abortion rights and could be pivotal. On the other side, Nevada Sen. Dean Heller — the most vulnerable Republican up for reelection in 2018 — proudly sat in the front row.

— Americans for Prosperity, which is part of the Koch network, announced plans to spend “seven figures” on paid advertising and “grassroots engagement” in support of Kavanaugh’s confirmation. The GOP-aligned Judicial Crisis Network separately says it will spend $1.4 million on TV ads in the next week touting Kavanaugh in Alabama, Indiana, North Dakota and West Virginia.

— A good illustration of how Republicans are likely to fall in line: Kavanaugh ruled in 2015 that “the Government’s metadata collection program is entirely consistent with the Fourth Amendment.” If a Democratic nominee wrote that, there is no doubt that the libertarian-minded Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) would come out swinging against his or her nomination. Instead, Rand tweeted last night he has an “open mind,” and GOP aides say privately that they don’t think he’ll pose any kind of a problem.

Watch Brett Kavanaugh’s full acceptance speech after Trump nomination

 

Story 2: President Trump Flies To Europe for 7 Days for NATO Summit in Brussells and Meeting With Prime Minister May in England and Russian President Putin — Time To Step Up Military Spending of NATO Member Countries — Videos

See the source image

See the source image

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Trump pushes NATO allies to keep spending commitments

Trump to NATO members: Pay up

NATO contributions country-by-country

Trump takes on NATO over defense spending

President Trump Pressure NATO Allies Ahead of Summit – ENN 2018-07-10

NATO vs BRICS – What’s The Difference & How Do They Compare?

How many NATO member states are there?

 

Trump takes shots at NATO, May but praises Putin as he prepares to meet with alliance leaders

Philip Rucker, Michael Birnbaum and William BoothWashington Post

President Donald Trump signaled he was ready for a transatlantic brawl Tuesday as he embarked on a consequential week of international diplomacy, taking aim at vulnerable British Prime Minister Theresa May and suggesting that meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin might be easier than talking with Western allies at the NATO summit here.

Leaders converged on Brussels fearful of what the combative U.S. president might say or do to rupture the liberal world order, with some European diplomats privately predicting calamity.

As he departed Washington on Tuesday, Trump stoked the deep divisions in May’s government to undermine the leader of America’s closest historic ally on the eve of the NATO meeting. Asked if May should remain in power, Trump said, “That’s up to the people,” while also complimenting her top rival, Boris Johnson.

Some of Europe’s counters to Trump, including May and German Chancellor Angela Merkel, arrive with heavy domestic political baggage of their own, making them vulnerable in negotiations with Trump as they seek to protect the Western alliance from his impulses on defense spending and trade.

Trump has long prized his instincts for taking advantage of an adversary’s weaknesses, and referred to the “turmoil” confronting May at home in remarks to reporters.

The prime minister faces a rebellion from advocates of a hard break from the European Union, who say she has been waffling, and is in danger of losing control. Johnson, a potential successor to May, resigned Monday as foreign secretary and reportedly savaged her Brexit plan as “a big turd.”

Trump praised him in personal terms: “Boris Johnson is a friend of mine. He’s been very, very nice to me and very supportive. And maybe we’ll speak to him when I get over there. I like Boris Johnson. I’ve always liked him.”

Trump’s seven-day journey begins in Brussels and will take him to England for his first visit there as president, to Scotland for a weekend respite at his private golf course and finally to Helsinki for his tête-à-tête with Putin. European leaders are as concerned about what concessions he might make to Putin – such as recognizing Russia’s annexation of Crimea from Ukraine – as they are about the chaos he could create at the NATO summit.

May plans to roll out the red carpet for Trump and first lady Melania Trump at a gala supper Thursday at Blenheim Palace, former prime minister Winston’s Churchill’s boyhood home, and at a luncheon Friday at Chequers, the prime minister’s country estate. She also secured him an audience with Queen Elizabeth II at Windsor Castle.

It was a startling gambit for Trump to risk offending his host by showering Johnson with praise while May faces threats of a revolt – even a no-confidence vote – by her own Conservative party over how she is handling Brexit.

“Trump goes after the weak people. He smells who is weak and who is strong, and he gets on well with the strong ones,” said Robin Niblett, director of the Chatham House, a prominent think tank in London.

To her critics, May is forever making compromises to carry out Brexit, even though she herself voted against leaving the European bloc. She has not helped her image by endlessly kicking the can down the road and delaying decisions.

Alternatively, Johnson could be seen as strong by Trump because he pushed for Brexit, he won – and when he didn’t get what he wanted, he quit. In a leaked audiotape, Johnson also praised Trump as the consummate dealmaker. “Imagine Trump doing Brexit. He’d go in bloody hard,” Johnson said. “There’d be all sorts of breakdowns, all sorts of chaos. Everyone would think he’d gone mad. But actually you might get somewhere.”

Trump seizing on perceptions of weakness in the diplomatic arena is in keeping with how he dealt with rival developers and other adversaries in real estate deals, according to Trump biographer Michael D’Antonio.

“There are certain fail-safe bully tactics that can be employed when you’re the stronger, bigger kid,” D’Antonio said. “He is willing to be extreme and seek the upper hand, especially with people that he perceives to be polite and well-mannered.”

That impulse may be strongest this week with Merkel, who has been a stalwart against Trump’s disruptions in Europe but whose standing took a blow last month when she confronted the most serious leadership challenge in her 13-year rule of Germany.

Trump loathes Germany’s trade imbalance with the United States and feels the country is free-riding off the U.S. security umbrella. He also has long criticized Merkel for her 2015 decision to admit more than 1 million asylum seekers from Syria and elsewhere, warning that they were a proverbial Trojan horse who could destroy Europe’s way of life.

Trump has tried to spotlight any signs of Merkel’s political troubles, tweeting last month that “the people of Germany are turning against their leadership as migration is rocking the already tenuous Berlin coalition.”

In Brussels, Merkel will defend her decision to raise defense spending more slowly than Trump’s goal and seek to maintain the 35,000 U.S. troops deployed to Germany, which Trump has threatened to pull back.

But Merkel has actually benefited at home from Trump’s attacks, since the U.S. president is deeply unpopular among the German electorate, as he is with voters across much of western Europe.

Other sometimes-adversaries of Trump will be in Brussels as well, including French President Emmanuel Macron and Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, creating the potential to extend disagreements that upended last month’s Group of Seven leaders summit in Quebec. Trump left that gathering without signing the perfunctory joint statement among the leaders that his aides had endorsed, and he proceeded to trash its host, Trudeau, as “weak” and “dishonest.”

Ahead of the NATO meetings that begin here Wednesday, NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg tried to strike an optimistic note and play down the simmering disputes.

“Our summit comes at a time when some are questioning the strength of the transatlantic bond and I would not be surprised if we have robust discussions at the summit, including on defense spending,” Stoltenberg told reporters Tuesday. “Different views are normal among friends and allies, but I am confident that we will agree on the fundamentals.”

But European Council President Donald Tusk was more direct in anticipating that Trump may have designs on sowing discord, delivering a stinging warning to the visiting Americans president.

“Dear America, appreciate your allies,” Tusk said. “After all, you don’t have that many.”

As he departed the White House, Trump offered a rebuttal.

“Well, we do have a lot of allies,” he told reporters before boarding Marine One. “But we cannot be taken advantage of. We’re being taken advantage of by the European Union. We lost $151 billion last year on trade. And on top of that, we spend at least 70 percent for NATO. And, frankly, it helps them a lot more than it helps us. So we’ll see what happens. We have a long, beautiful week.”

This story first appeared in the Washington Post.

Story 3: Will Prime Minister May Remain in Office? Brixit Breaks May — Videos

Try not to smirk too much, Boris: Johnson poses for picture of himself signing his lengthy resignation letter as he accuses May of letting ‘Brexit dream die’… and Jacob Rees-Mogg says he will make a ‘brilliant’ Prime Minister

  • Boris Johnson accused Theresa May of ‘suffocating’ Brexit as he sensationally resigned as Foreign Secretary
  • He declared war on the PM’s Chequers’s plan and said negotiators had ‘white flags fluttering above them’
  • But he came under fire after posing up for resignation photos which showed him signing the letter to the PM
  • Lib Dem MP Layla Moran called him a ‘poundshop Churchill impressionist’ and accused him of ‘running away’ 
  • Tory backbencher Jacob Rees-Mogg backed Mr Johnson and said he would make a ‘brilliant’ Prime Minister  

Theresa May is fighting for her political life today after Boris Johnson accused her of killing Brexit and his allies backed him to be a ‘brilliant’ PM.

Mr Johnson used his decision to quit as Foreign Secretary to declare war on her Chequers plan for leaving the EU.

Warning that the UK was heading for colonial status, he said the Brexit dream was ‘dying – suffocated by self-doubt’.

He claimed Mrs May was sending negotiators ‘into battle with the white flags fluttering above them’ and surrendering control to Brussels. Following a chaotic day of resignations and rumours, Downing Street is now braced for a potential leadership challenge.

Boris also faced criticism in many quarters for taking the time to stage the photos of himself signing the resignation letter and was branded a ‘poundshop Churchill’.

In a reference to his decision to resign only after David Davis had quit as Brexit Secretary on Sunday night, one May loyalist said: ‘There’s not much honour in being second over the top.’

Mrs May also swiftly reshuffled her cabinet, bringing in Jeremy Hunt from Health to replace Boris as Foreign Secretary and Dominic Raab to replace Mr Davis.

But, in a significant intervention, Jacob Rees-Mogg last night backed Mr Johnson, saying he would make a ‘brilliant’ prime minister. 

The former Foreign Secretary declared war on the PM's Chequers plan, but came under fire after he posed up for resignation photos as he sensationally quit the CabinetThe former Foreign Secretary declared war on the PM’s Chequers plan, but came under fire after he posed up for resignation photos as he sensationally quit the Cabinet

Theresa May was fighting for her political life last night after Boris Johnson said the Brexit dream was ‘dying – suffocated by self-doubt’ in his resignation letter

Boris Johnson writing his resignation letter

Who’s in and who’s out of PM’s cabinet after the Chequers rebellion

  • Jeremy Hunt leaves Health to replace Boris Johnson as Foreign Secretary.
  • Matt Hancock promoted from Culture to be Health Secretary.
  • Dominic Raab leaves Housing to replace David Davis as Brexit Secretary.
  • Chris Heaton-Harris promoted to junior Brexit minister, replacing Steve Baker who followed his bossDavid Davis out of the door.
  • Kit Malthouse, an ally of Boris’ when he was Mayor of London, becomes Housing Minister.
  • Attorney General Jeremy Wright replaces Matt Hancock at Culture.
  • Barrister Geoffrey Cox replaces Wright as Attorney General.

Slamming the photos, Ms Moran, a leading member of the anti-Brexit group Best for Britain, said: ‘This staged resignation photograph is pathetic. This man is a poundshop Churchill impressionist. Its just very sad.

‘But Boris is doing what he does best: when the going gets tough he runs away like a coward.

‘He did it over Heathrow and he’s done it today. Rather than fight for the country he yet again cares only for his own self interest.

‘But at least he will have a little memento of the day his dreams came crashing down around him.’

Labour’s David Lammy said: ‘The fact that Boris Johnson arranged for a photoshoot of himself signing his resignation letter for the front pages tells us everything we need to know about him.

‘Self-obsessed, vain egomaniac devoid of substance caring only about himself and advancing his career. Good riddance.’

Sam Macrory, an ally of Nick Clegg, said: ‘We all know that Boris Johnson’s decision to quit is absolutely not about one man and his personal ambitions, but I’m struggling to think of another time where a Secretary of State called in the photographers to record the moment a resignation letter was signed.’

Gavin Sinclair said: ‘This sums up Boris – has a senior minister ever called in a photographer before resigning…and just before the PM’s statement to the Commons?!’

And Jon David Ellis criticised Mr Johnson’s behaviour in the aftermath of the Novichok poisonings, saying: ‘Boris literally posed with his resignation letter. Hours after a British citizen died from a foreign agent he chooses self image over basic dignity.’

More than 80 MPs attended a meeting of the pro-Brexit European Research Group, which Mr Rees-Mogg leads, in order to attack Mrs May’s Chequers plan. ‘This has got to be killed and it’s got to be killed before recess [in two weeks’ time],’ said one attendee.

Another Eurosceptic confirmed MPs were writing to the Tory 1922 Committee backbench group to trigger a no- confidence motion.

Boris Johnson's resignation letter to Mrs May in which he said the Brexit 'dream' was being 'suffocated by needless self-doubt'

Boris Johnson’s resignation letter to Mrs May in which he said the Brexit ‘dream’ was being ‘suffocated by needless self-doubt’

Boris Johnson leaves Carlton Gardens after his resignation
Mr Johnson (pictured) claimed Mrs May was sending negotiators ‘into battle with the white flags fluttering above them’Mr Johnson (pictured) claimed Mrs May was sending negotiators ‘into battle with the white flags fluttering above them’
The departed Foreign Secretary came under fire after he posed for pictures while signing his resignation letter 

Two more MPs quit top team in anger over Brexit

Two more Conservative MPs resigned from the Government last night.

Both parliamentary private secretaries, they said they were stepping down because of their concern over the direction of Brexit negotiations.

Chris Green, PPS to Transport Secretary Chris Grayling, announced his departure from the position following last night’s 1922 Committee meeting with the Prime Minister.

Conor Burns, who was Boris Johnson’s PPS at the Foreign Office, also announced his resignation.

Mr Green’s constituency Bolton West voted 55.6 per cent Leave in the 2016 referendum and Mr Burns’ constituency Bournemouth West voted 57.7 per cent Leave.

Although the role of a PPS is often described as a ministerial ‘bag carrier’, it shows growing discontent within the Party and heightens speculation of a challenge to Theresa May’s leadership.

One said: ‘It’s over now. She’s done. It would be good if it were done quickly. I want to know who will be standing against her. We need to establish a new government because this offer is indefensible’.

One MP told the 1922 Committee that Mrs May had orchestrated a ‘Remain coup’ at Chequers on Friday. All four ‘great offices of state’ are now held by those who campaigned for Remain.

Friends of Mr Johnson, whose aide Conor Burns also resigned, were tight-lipped last night about his next move. But his resignation letter offered no support for Mrs May and, unlike Mr Davis, he did not urge MPs to back her.

Home Secretary Sajid Javid was among those to praise Mr Johnson yesterday, saying he would miss his ‘Reaganesque optimism and passion for global Britain’. On a day of turmoil at Westminster:

  • Eurosceptic MPs said more ministers would resign unless Mrs May backs down and abandons her Chequers plan;
  • It was rumoured the Eurosceptics are close to gathering the 48 names needed to force a vote of confidence in Mrs May;
  • Mr Davis stepped up his attack on Mrs May’s tactics, saying ‘we are giving too much away too easily – and that is a dangerous strategy’;
  • Steve Baker, who quit as Brexit minister, said the Establishment was trying to block Brexit;
  • Jeremy Hunt took over as Foreign Secretary, while Matt Hancock succeeded him as Health and Social Care Secretary;
  • Mr Davis’s former chief of staff Dominic Raab replaced him as Brexit Secretary;
  • Downing Street was forced to deny that Mrs May will offer ‘preferential’ access to the UK jobs market to EU citizens;
  • No 10 admitted that the customs arrangements signed off at Chequers may not be fully ready before the next election in 2022;
  • Mrs May told Tory MPs they had a duty to stick together to keep Jeremy Corbyn out of Downing Street.

In the Commons yesterday Mrs May paid tribute to both Mr Davis and Mr Johnson, who she said had displayed ‘passion’ for the Brexit cause. But in her reply to Mr Johnson’s attack last night, the PM noted that he had initially backed the plan at Chequers last week, reportedly choosing to toast her success with champagne.

Mrs May said she was ‘sorry – and a little surprised’ to receive his resignation ‘after the productive discussion we had at Chequers’.

One of her allies said: ‘For all the flowery language in his letter, what is conspicuous by its absence is anything resembling an alternative plan.

‘He moans about all these things but there is no sense of how he might achieve a different outcome. That is the difference.’

Jacob Rees-Mogg has said Mr Johnson will make an excellent Prime Minister after more than 80 MPs attended a meeting of the pro-Brexit European Research Group that he leads

How could Theresa May be ousted as Tory leader?

Theresa May faces a mortal threat to her leadership of the Conservative Party and Government.

A Tory leadership contest can be called in one of two ways – if Mrs May resigns or if MPs force and win a vote of no confidence in her.

Calling votes of no confidence is the responsibility of the chairman of the 1922 Committee, which includes all backbench Tory MPs.

Chairman Graham Brady is obliged to call a vote if 15 per cent of Tory MPs write to him calling for one – currently 48 MPs.

The process is secret and only Mr Brady knows how many letters he has received.

The procedure was last used in 2003 when Iain Duncan Smith was ousted as Tory leader.

If Mrs May is ousted, any MP is eligible to stand.

Conservative MPs will then hold a series of ballots to whittle the list of contenders down to two, with the last place candidate dropping out in each round.

The final two candidates are then offered to the Tory membership at large for an election.

Addressing the 1922 Committee, the Prime Minister acknowledged the controversy the Chequers deal had caused, but told MPs: ‘To lead is to decide.’ Outside the meeting, her supporters claimed she was in a better position following the resignations.

‘She is strengthened by all of this – it helps her,’ said Solicitor General Robert Buckland. ‘She has made decisions and the consequences are that some people feel they cannot be bound by collective responsibility, respect to them for resigning, but she has shown leadership.

‘This idea she is some sort of vacillator who cannot make her mind up and wants to keep everybody in the tent – no – she is showing leadership.’

Tory MP James Heappey said there was ‘huge support’ for Mrs May at the 1922 Committee. He said Brexiteers seeking to depose her ‘can do their worst, but it won’t be enough’.

In the Commons pro-Remain Tories, including Anna Soubry and Nicky Morgan, backed Mrs May. But the Prime Minister faced direct challenges from a string of Eurosceptic Tories.

Mr Rees-Mogg said her Brexit promises ‘have been watered down to the point that we are, or would be, in a semi-suspended state of membership of the European Union’.

He said the Cabinet resignations ‘really undermine the credibility of what was agreed at Chequers’.

Andrea Jenkyns, who quit the government to speak out on Brexit last month, said she would be writing a letter of no-confidence in Mrs May.

She said Mrs May’s premiership ‘is over… there’s a feeling we need a PM who believes in Brexit’.

Senior Conservative Sir Bernard Jenkin warned there had been a ‘massive haemorrhage of trust’ as a result of the direction the PM was taking and said it ‘may well come’ to a vote over her leadership.

In the Commons, Peter Bone accused Mrs May of betrayal. Mr Bone, who faced cries of ‘shame’, told the PM that activists in his Wellingborough constituency were questioning why they were still campaigning for the party.

Mrs May replied: ‘This is not a betrayal. We will end free movement. We will end the jurisdiction of the European Court of Justice.

‘We will stop sending vast sums of money to the European Union every year.’

In full: Boris Johnson’s damning resignation letter to Theresa May

Dear Theresa

It is more than two years since the British people voted to leave the European Union on an unambiguous and categorical promise that if they did so they would be taking back control of their democracy.

They were told that they would be able to manage their own immigration policy, repatriate the sums of UK cash currently spent by the EU, and, above all, that they would be able to pass laws independently and in the interests of the people of this country.

Brexit should be about opportunity and hope. It should be a chance to do things differently, to be more nimble and dynamic, and to maximise the particular advantages of the UK as an open, outward-looking global economy.

That dream is dying, suffocated by needless self-doubt.

We have postponed crucial decisions – including the preparations for no deal, as I argued in my letter to you of last November – with the result that we appear to be heading for a semi-Brexit, with large parts of the economy still locked in the EU system, but with no UK control over that system.

It now seems that the opening bid of our negotiations involves accepting that we are not actually going to be able to make our own laws. Indeed we seem to have gone backwards since the last Chequers meeting in February, when I described my frustrations, as Mayor of London, in trying to protect cyclists from juggernauts. We had wanted to lower the cabin windows to improve visibility; and even though such designs were already on the market, and even though there had been a horrific spate of deaths, mainly of female cyclists, we were told that we had to wait for the EU to legislate on the matter.

So at the previous Chequers session, we thrashed out an elaborate procedure for divergence from EU rules. But even that seems to have been taken of the table and there is in fact no easy UK right of initiative. Yet if Brexit is to mean anything, it must surely give ministers and Parliament the chance to do things differently to protect the public. If a country cannot pass a law to save the lives of female cyclists – when that proposal is supported at every level of UK Government – then I don’t see how that country can truly be called independent.

It is also also clear that by surrendering control over our rulebook for goods and agrifoods (and much else besides) we will make it much more difficult to do free trade deals. And then there is the further impediment of having to argue for an impractical and undeliverable customs arrangement unlike any other in existence

Conversely, the British Government has spent decades arguing against this or that EU directive, on the grounds that it was too burdensome or ill-thought out. We are now in the ludicrous position of asserting that we must accept huge amounts of precisely such EU law, without changing an iota, because it is essential for our economic health – and when we no longer have any ability to influence these laws as they are made.

In that respect we are truly headed for the status of colony – and many will struggle to see the economic or political advantages of that particular arrangement.

It is also clear that by surrendering control over our rulebook for goods and agrifoods (and much else besides) we will make it much more difficult to do free trade deals. And then there is the further impediment of having to argue for an impractical and undeliverable customs arrangement unlike any other in existence.

What is even more disturbing is that this is our opening bid. This is already how we see the end state for the UK – before the other side has made its counter-offer. It is as though we are sending our vanguard into battle with the white flags fluttering above them. Indeed, I was concerned, looking at Friday’s document, that there might be further concessions on immigration, or that we might end up effectively paying for access to the single market.

On Friday I acknowledged that my side of the argument were too few to prevail, and congratulated you on at least reaching a Cabinet decision on the way forward. As I said then, the Government now has a song to sing. The trouble is that I have practised the words over the weekend and find that they stick in the throat. We must have collective responsibility. Since I cannot in all conscience champion these proposals, I have sadly concluded that I must go.

I am proud to have served as Foreign Secretary in your Government. As I step down I would like first to thank the patient officers of the Metropolitan Police who have looked after me and my family, at times in demanding circumstances.

I am proud too of the extraordinary men and women of our diplomatic service. Over the last few months they have shown how many friends this country has around the world, as 28 governments expelled Russian spies in an unprecedented protest at the attempted assassination of the Skripals. They have organised a highly successful Commonwealth summit and secured record international support for this Government’s campaign for 12 years of quality education for every girl, and much more besides. As I leave office, the FCO now has the largest and by far the most effective diplomatic network of any country in Europe – a continent which we will never leave.

THE RT HON BORIS JOHNSON MP

In full: Theresa May’s withering reply to Boris Johnson’s resignation letter

Dear Boris,

Thank you for your letter relinquishing the office of Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs.

I am sorry – and a little surprised – to receive it after the productive discussions we had at Chequers on Friday, and the comprehensive and detailed proposal which we agreed as a Cabinet. It is a proposal which will honour the result of the referendum and the commitments we made in our general election manifesto to leave the single market and the customs union. It will mean that we take back control of our borders, our laws, and our money – ending the freedom of movement, ending the jurisdiction of the European Court of Justice in the United Kingdom, and ending the days of sending vast sums of taxpayers’ money to the European Union. We will be able to spend that money on our priorities instead – such as the £20 billion increase we have announced for the NHS budget, which means that we will soon be spending an extra £394 million a week on our National Health Service.

As I outlined at Chequers, the agreement we reached requires the full, collective support of Her Majesty’s Government. During the EU referendum campaign, collective responsibility on EU policy was temporarily suspended. As we developed our policy on Brexit, I have allowed Cabinet colleagues considerable latitude to express their individual views. But the agreement we reached on Friday marks the point where that is no longer the case, and if you are not able to provide the support we need to secure this deal in the interests of the United Kingdom, it is right that you should step down.

As you do so, I would like to place on record my appreciation of the service you have given to our country, and to the Conservative Party, as Mayor of London and as Foreign Secretary – not least for the passion that you have demonstrated in promoting a Global Britain to the world as we leave the European Union.

Yours ever,

Theresa May

May makes Jeremy Hunt Foreign Secretary after facing down rebel MPs and telling them they’ll make CORBYN PM as she AVOIDS a no confidence vote

Jeremy Hunt – Britain’s longest ever serving Health Secretary – was promoted to head the Foreign Office after Boris Johnson’s shock resignation.

Theresa May moved to reshuffle her frontbench team after a day of high political drama which threatened to bring her premiership crashing down.

Earlier she faced down her critics at a crunch meeting with her MPs – known as the 1922 committee – in Parliament, warning them they risk handing the keys of No10 to Jeremy Corbyn if they oust her.

Mr Johnson’s departure fuelled feverish discussion about whether mutinous Tory MPs will move to topple Mrs May by sending in letters of no confidence.

Jeremy Hunt is the new Foreign Secretary

Matt Hancock is the new Health Secretary

Jeremy Hunt (left) has been appointed Foreign Secretary while Matt Hancock (right) replaces him as Health Secretary

Theresa May is battling to hang on as PM

Theresa May is battling to hang on as PM

Theresa May’s premiership is hanging in the balance after David Davis and Boris Johnson quit in a shock double cabinet resignation.

Here are the odds, via bookmakers Ladbrokes, on who will be the next PM:

Michael Gove (Environment Secretary) – 9/2

Has buried the hatchet with Mr Johnson after brutally ending his Tory leadership campaign in the wake of David Cameron’s resignation.

Thought to be less concerned with short term concessions that Mr Johnson, but focused on ensuring the UK is free from Brussels rules in the longer term.

Jeremy Corbyn (Labour leader) – 5/1

The labour leader will be hoping to capitalise on Brexit disarray in the Cabinet to seize power himself in an election

Sajid Javid (Home Secretary) – 5/1

Brought in to replace Amber Rudd after she resigned amid the Windrush scandal, Mr Javid was seen as a reluctant Remainer in the referendum.

Many thought the former high-flying banker would plump for the Leave campaign, but he eventually claimed to have been won over by the economic case. He is likely to focus be guided by evidence about trade calculations in discussions over how closely aligned the UK should be with the EU.

Jacob Rees-Mogg (Tory backbencher) – 6/1

A leading Tory backbencher, he is chairman of the European Research Group – the powerful group of backbench Brexit backing Tory MPs.

Boris Johnson (ex Foreign Secretary)- 8/1

The Brexit champion in the Cabinet until today, has been agitating for a more robust approach and previously played down the problems of leaving with no deal.

He is unhappy with plans for a tight customs arrangement with Brussels – warning that it could effectively mean being lashed to the EU indefinitely. Said to have bluntly dismissed concerns from pro-EU companies by saying ‘f*** business’.

Andrea Leadsom (Commons leader) – 12/1

A leading Brexiteer who ran for the leadership last year before pulling out allowing Theresa May to be crowned.

Jeremy Hunt (Health Secretary)  – 14/1

A Remainer in the referendum campaign, Mr Hunt has since embraced the Brexiteer arguments – with speculation that he is positioning for a tilt at the top job should Mrs May be abruptly ousted. He has been heavily

Dominic Raab (Brexit Secretary) – 16/1

The new Brexit Secretary, Mr Raab is a leading Brexiteer who has been brought into the Cabinet after David Davis’ shock resignation.

David Davis (ex Brexit Secretary) – 25/1

A long-time Eurosceptic and veteran of the 1990s Maastricht battles, brought back by Mrs May in 2016 to oversee the day-to-day negotiations.

He has plunged her Government into chaos after sensationally quitting last night.

He has said the government will be seeking a ‘Canada plus plus plus’ deal from the EU.

But the PM has insisted that she will stay on and fight if a leadership contest is triggered.

The promotion of Mr Hunt – a Remainer who now says he would back Brexit – comes weeks after he secured a £20billion a year funding boost for the NHS to mark its 70th birthday.

Culture Secretary Matt Hancock will move to head up the health service, attorney general Jeremy Wright has become the new Culture Secretary while Brexiteer Geoffrey Cox is being made Attorney General in the shake-up.

Earlier this year Mr Hunt fended off efforts by the PM to move him from the health brief to become Business Secretary – telling her he was determined to stay on and finish the job he had set himself as Health Secretary.

It came hours after Mrs May promoted Brexiteer Tory MP Dominic Raab to the post of Brexit Secretary as Mr Davis’ replacement.

Unlike his predecessor, Mr Hunt backed Remain in the EU referendum – but he has said he would now vote for Brexit because he has grown fed up with the ‘arrogance’ of Brussels.

The PM moved to shore up her support among the Tory backbenches by defending her Brexit plans in the Commons chamber and a packed meeting of the parliamentary party which took place immediately afterwards.

She warned mutinous Tories threatening to mount a revolt to out her that they risk letting a hard left Corbyn- led Government.

And she was given a reprieve tonight with news she will not face an immediate vote of no confidence.

The rare bright spot for the PM came as she issued a defiant message at a stormy session of the Tory 1922 committee in Parliament, with her premiership hanging by a thread.

Mrs May told the gathering that ‘to lead is to decide’ and raised the prospect of the Labour leader imposing a left-wing revolution on the country.

And in a boost for the embattled PM, the chairman of the powerful 1922, Sir Graham Brady, is said to have confirmed at the session tonight that currently he has not received the 48 letters from MPs that would trigger a no-confidence vote.

After the meeting, solicitor general Robert Buckland told journalists that Mrs May had received strong support from the party rank-and-file.

He said: ‘She talked about Jeremy Corbyn, she talked about the alternative being to deliver the country to the sort of Government people didn’t vote for and any Conservative voter would be repelled by.’

Mr Buckland insisted Mrs May could emerge strengthened from the furore, comparing the turbulent events to the crises which faced German Chancellor Angela Merkel in her early years in office.

He said: ‘I think she is strengthened by all of this, I think it helps her.

‘The most striking remark she said was “to lead is to decide”.’

Tory MP Geoffrey Cox – a Brexiteer who has been promoted to Attorney General in today’s reshuffle  – said many Eurosceptics inside the meeting urged the PM to stay on and lead them through Brexit.

He said: ‘I regret Boris and David have gone, but I think they were wrong – they should have stuck in and make this deal successful.’

He said the third way deal Mrs May has put forward represents a ‘giant step’ on the road to Brexit.’

But Jacob Rees-Mogg, a Tory MP and leader of the European Research Group – the powerful group of backbench Tory MPs – said the PM must ditch her Chequers plan.

He said: ‘You see that those supporting Remain two years ago are supporting quasi Remain now…the key question for today is does the rather bad Chequers deal go ahead.’

And he warned that if the Tory party splits along the two wings of Brexiteers vs Remainers – the fault will lie squarely with Downing Street.

He said: ‘If the Government plans to get the Chequers deal through on the back of Labour Party votes then that would be the most divisive thing it could do.

‘And it would be a split coming from the top, not from the members of Conservative party across the country.’

‘I can’t put my name to this’: How Boris finally quit after being asked to put his name to article DEFENDING Chequers Brexit summit deal

Boris Johnson’s dramatic resignation came after he refused to put his name to a Downing Street-drafted article supporting the Chequers agreement, it emerged last night.

Mr Johnson, who quit the Government yesterday, had appeared to have fallen into the line with the negotiating strategy announced on Friday evening – despite apparently referring to it as a ‘t**d’.

He was even said to have congratulated the PM at dinner for securing Cabinet agreement. But on Saturday he refused to sign off a joint newspaper article with the Remain-backing Chancellor Philip Hammond – a long term Remainer – supporting the deal.

A friend said Mr Johnson took one look at the article and said: ‘I can’t put my name to this.’ A text drafted by No 10 was passed to the Treasury, then sent on to the FCO on Saturday. But seeing the consequences of the deal in black and white made him realise he would have to quit, allies revealed.

Boris Johnson refused to put his name to a Downing Street-drafted article with Chancellor Philip Hammond supporting the Chequers agreement

‘At that point he knew it was indefensible,’ the friend said.

On Sunday a series of articles purporting to be written by Cabinet ministers supporting the deal were placed in newspapers. Both Mr Johnson and Brexit Secretary David Davis were conspicuous by their absence.

By yesterday, according to allies, Mr Johnson was ‘racked with doubt’ about whether to stay in the Cabinet at all and concluded he simply couldn’t improve the deal from inside government.

He telephoned Downing Street yesterday lunchtime and told them he planned to announce his resignation in the evening.

But No 10 refused to allow him that luxury and – in a clear attempt to spike his guns – made the unusual decision to announce his departure in a short statement at 3pm, before Mr Johnson had even finished composing his resignation letter.

It emerged hours later, warning that the UK was heading for a ‘Semi-Brexit’ as a ‘colony’ of Brussels and that the dream of the Leave campaign – to take back control of our democracy – was ‘dying’.

In her icy reply last night, the Prime Minister said she was ‘a little surprised’ to see Mr Johnson departing the Government after the Cabinet signed off on her deal at Chequers on Friday. She suggested he was going back on his word.

But after Mr Davis quit the Government at midnight, speculation quickly swirled around Westminster that Mr Johnson would follow. The rumours soon reached fever pitch when he failed to attend a meeting of the Government’s emergency Cobra committee at 1pm to discuss the Salisbury poisonings.

He had also been expected to host, but was notably absent from, the Western Balkans Summit in London’s Docklands yesterday afternoon, involving ministers from several EU states.

Allies of the Foreign Secretary insisted last night that neither this, nor leadership ambitions, was ultimately a factor in his decision to leave Indeed, when his resignation letter was finally released, it was a vivid deconstruction of the Prime Minister’s Brexit strategy. Savaging the PM’s Chequers deal, he said vast swathes of the economy would be ‘locked in’ to Brussels rules but with no influence over them.

He also launched a scathing attack on the PM personally, accusing her of being ‘suffocated by needless self doubt’ and of running up the white flag to Brussels.

And he warned this ‘disturbing’ opening bid could be followed by further concessions on immigration and money ‘for access to the single market’.

Unlike Mr Davis – who notably backed Mrs May staying in office in interviews yesterday – Mr Johnson made no such offers of support.

Mr Johnson wrote: ‘Brexit should be about opportunity and hope. It should be a chance to do things differently, to be more nimble and dynamic, and to maximise the particular advantages of the UK as an open, outward-looking global economy. That dream is dying, suffocated by needless self-doubt.’

Mr Johnson said the failure to prepare for ‘no deal’ means ‘we appear to be heading for a semi-Brexit, with large parts of the economy still locked in the EU system, but with no UK control over that system.’

And he condemned Mrs May’s customs proposals, the Facilitated Customs Arrangement, calling it an ‘impractical and undeliverable customs arrangement unlike any other in existence.’ In his letter, Mr Johnson accepted that on Friday he had congratulated the PM on ‘at least reaching a Cabinet decision on the way forward’. He then added: ‘As I said then, the Government now has a song to sing. The trouble is I have practised the words over the weekend and find that they stick in the throat.’

Last Thursday night, David Cameron made an extraordinary appeal to Mr Johnson not to resign.

The former prime minister, acting with the blessing of Mrs May, met for drinks with his fellow Old Etonian at a London club just hours before the make-or-break summit.

Last Wednesday other pro-Leave cabinet ministers met Mr Johnson in the Foreign Office as details of Mrs May’s proposals leaked out. Penny Mordaunt, Andrea Leadsom, Esther McVey, Liam Fox, Chris Grayling, Michael Gove and David Davis – as well as Gavin Williamson discussed the plan. A similar group met the next day to plan tactics for Chequers in an attempt to push an alternative plan.

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-5935751/Jacob-Rees-Mogg-says-former-Foreign-Secretary-make-excellent-Prime-Minister.html

 

 

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The Pronk Pops Show 1100, June 28, 2018, Breaking Story 1: Five Dead and Injured 2 At Capital Gazette in Anne Arundel County, Maryland — Shooter in Custody and Being Questioned — Videos — Story 2: Congress Grills Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein — Provide The Requested Documents and Comply With Subpoenas and Wrap-up Mueller Investigation — Now or Face Impeachment — Department of Justice and FBI Cover-up Continues of Clinton Obama Criminal Conspiracy to Exonerate Clinton and Frame Trump — Videos — Story 3: Supreme Court Decision Stops Unions From Forcing Public Sector Employee To Joining Union and Collecting Fees — Videos — Story 4: Supreme Court Justice Kennedy Submits Letter of Resignation — President Trump Has List of 25 Possible Replacements — Videos —

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Breaking Story 1: Five Dead and Injured 2 At Capital Gazette in Anne Arundel County, Maryland — Shooter in Custody and Being Questioned — Videos —

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Police: Suspect was there to kill as many as he could at Capital Gazette

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FIRST REPORTS: Following shooting at Capital Gazette in Annapolis, Maryland (FNN)

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Who are the Injustice Collectors in your life?

I work on a college campus and recently attended a mandatory employee training about what to do in an Active Shooter situation. The term Active Shooter means that someone is actively shooting people at a location. Scary as that may sound it was a great training. I believe that being prepared is essential to surviving any situation especially one where my life could be in danger.

During the presentation, I learned a term that I had never heard before. One that instantly peaked my interest. At one point during the video that we watched, an FBI agent gave tips on how to identify a potential “shooter.” Across the screen flashed pictures of all the recent, and notorious, shooters that have caused irrevocable damage on campuses, in malls, in schools, and elsewhere. The agent said that these shooters had one thing in common: they were injustice collectors. Immediately my curiosity was peaked.

Without even looking up the term “injustice collector,” I perceived that it meant it was someone who collected all the injustices done to them in their mind like a hoarder does things. I couldn’t help but wonder why someone would do this? Can’t people let things go? And then I thought about my own life and the people around me and the answer to that question is: NO. Some people cannot let things go. Some people walk around with the weight of the world on their shoulders convinced that everyone is out to get them. They think that people are constantly talking behind their backs; they think that bad things happen to them because the universe is out to get them; they think that everyone else is creating drama in their life when actually it is them.

After doing some quick Google searches I found numerous articles about injustice collectors and learned that they are narcissists. We all are familiar with narcissism – you either are one or know one, that’s a fact. I wondered, are all narcissists’ injustice collectors who will end up shooting up people? I found out that is not the case but narcissists and injustice collectors do create most of the drama in the world (politicians are a great example) and I think that if we understand where these people are coming from that maybe lives can be saved, or at the very least your relationships can be saved.

Here is a list of Characteristics of Injustice Collectors as identified by Mark Sichel, LCSW*:

  1. Injustice Collectors are convinced that they are never wrong. How is it possible that they are never wrong? It is simple: They are always right.
  2. Injustice Collectors never apologize. Ever. For anything.
  3. Injustice Collectors truly believe that they are morally and ethically superior to others and that others chronically do not hold themselves to the same high standards as the injustice collector does.
  4. Injustice Collectors make the rules, break the rules and enforce the rules of the family. They are a combined legislator, police, and judge and jury of
  5. Injustice Collectors never worry about what is wrong with themselves as their “bad list” grows. Their focus is always on the failings of others.
  6. Injustice Collectors are never upset by the disparity of their rules for others with their own expectations of themselves.
  7. Injustice Collectors rationalize their own behavior with great ease and comfort.

*http://www.psybersquare.com/family/family_injustice.html

I think that to some degree we all have a tendency to collect injustices in our mind as a way to protect ourselves. In fact, I read an article that said we have been doing that since the dawn of time as a means for survival. Here’s the article:Psychology Today.

However, people with a high degree of injustice hoarding can really make life miserable for the rest of population that is willing to let things go and move on. One thing about injustice collectors is that all they are doing is avoiding responsibility for their own circumstances. Rather than say, yes I screwed up, or yes my boss didn’t give me a raise because I’m not working as hard as I could, or yes I know I hurt your feelings and I’m sorry, an injustice collector will turn the table around and makeyou look like the bad person for feeling hurt or not giving the raise. These people can be very convincing and are very skilled at turning the tables around and making “normal” people question their own sanity.

There is a saying that I love, – Living with resentment is like drinking poison and hoping the other person dies. In other words, remaining angry or being spiteful only hurts yourself in the long run. This is what injustice collectors do. They drink the poison and try to spit it out at everyone else. How thick is your skin? The only problem is, that by allowing injustice collectors to continue spewing their poison, we, as a society, are ultimately encouraging the creation of Active Shooters. And, while this term was coined mainly to help understand why people commit mass shootings, it also applies to those who won’t take to the gun to “find justice” but will use their mouths to hurt others. These people will continue to hurt others by breaking up relationships with family, friends, and coworkers. Are you willing to keep allowing that to happen?

Unfortunately, I did not find any articles on how to help those people who are injustice collectors other than that they need professional help. Knowing this term may help you, especially if you are an educator, to spot people who may be hoarding injustices and help them understand that they need help learning how to let them go and move on.

For more information on understanding Injustice Collectors, please click the links within this article, including this one: The Temptations of the Injustice Collector.

http://todayshullabaloo.blogspot.com/2013/12/who-are-injustice-collectors-in-your.html

Maryland newspaper shooting suspect `barricaded exit´

The gunman accused of killing five people at a Maryland newspaper office barricaded the rear exit to stop anyone from escaping, authorities said.

Jarrod W Ramos, 38, was charged with five counts of murder in one of the deadliest attacks on journalists in US history.

Jarrod Warren Ramos

Jarrod Warren Ramos

Anne Arundel County Police Chief Timothy Altomare said: “The fellow was there to kill as many people as he could.”

Ramos’ long-held grudge against the Capital Gazette included a string of angry online messages and a failed defamation lawsuit over a column about him pleading guilty to harassing a woman.

Police looked into the online threats in 2013, but the paper declined to press charges for fear of inflaming the situation, Mr Atltomare said.

“There’s clearly a history there,” the police chief said.

Ramos was denied bail on Friday after a brief court hearing in which he appeared by video, watching attentively but not speaking. Authorities said he was “uncooperative” with interrogators.

Three editors, a reporter and a sales assistant were killed in the shooting on Thursday afternoon.

Capital Gazette

@capgaznews

Yes, we’re putting out a damn paper tomorrow. https://twitter.com/chaseacook/status/1012465236195061766 

The killings initially stirred fears that the recent political attacks on the “fake news media” had exploded into violence, and police tightened security at news organisations in New York and other places.

But Ramos had a specific, long-standing grievance against the paper.

At the White House, US President Donald Trump, who routinely calls reporters “liars” and “enemies of the people,” said: “Journalists, like all Americans, should be free from the fear of being violently attacked while doing their jobs.”

Donald J. Trump

@realDonaldTrump

Before going any further today, I want to address the horrific shooting that took place yesterday at the Capital Gazette newsroom in Annapolis, Maryland. This attack shocked the conscience of our Nation, and filled our hearts with grief…

Prosecutor Wes Adams said Ramos carefully planned the attack, barricading the back door and using “a tactical approach in hunting down and shooting the innocent people”.

Adams said the gunman, who was captured hiding under a desk and did not exchange fire with police, also had an escape plan, but the prosecutor would not elaborate.

The attack began with a shotgun blast that shattered the glass entrance to the open newsroom. Journalists crawled under desks and sought other hiding places, describing agonising minutes of terror as they heard the gunman’s footsteps and the repeated blasts of the weapon.

Phil Davis@PhilDavis_CG

There is nothing more terrifying than hearing multiple people get shot while you’re under your desk and then hear the gunman reload

Some 300 local, state and federal officers converged on the scene and within two minutes police had begun to corner Ramos, a rapid response that “without question” saved lives, Mr Altomare said.

Ramos was identified quickly with the help of facial recognition technology because of a “lag” in running his fingerprints, the chief said. Police denied news reports that Ramos had mutilated his fingertips to avoid identification.

The chief said the weapon was a 12-gauge shotgun, legally purchased about a year ago despite the harassment case against Ramos. Authorities said he also carried smoke grenades.

Ramos apparently held a grudge against the Capital Gazette’s journalists over its 2011 coverage of his harassment of a woman. He filed a defamation suit against the paper in 2012 that was thrown out as groundless.

Governor Larry Hogan

@GovLarryHogan

Governor Larry Hogan today released the following statement ordering Maryland flags to be lowered to half-staff to honor the victims of the shooting at the offices of the Capital Gazette in Annapolis on June 28:

He routinely sent profanity-laced tweets about the paper and its writers. Retired publisher Tom Marquardt said he called police in 2013, telling his wife at the time that he thought he could hurt them.

The police chief said the newspaper did not press charges at the time because “there was a fear that doing so would exacerbate an already flammable situation”.

In 2015, Ramos tweeted that he would like to see the paper stop publishing, but “it would be nicer” to see two of its journalists “cease breathing”.

Those killed included Rob Hiaasen, 59, the paper’s assistant managing editor and brother of novelist Carl Hiaasen. Also killed were editorial page editor Gerald Fischman, special projects editor Wendi Winters, reporter John McNamara and sales assistant Rebecca Smith.

The newspaper said two other employees were treated for minor injuries.

The city of Annapolis announced a vigil for the victims on Friday night at a public square near the Capitol.

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/wires/pa/article-5902323/Maryland-newspaper-shooting-suspect-barricaded-exit.html

 

Five dead in ‘targeted attack’ at Capital Gazette newspaper in Annapolis, police say

A lone gunman blasted his way into the Capital Gazette newsroom in Annapolis with a shotgun Thursday, killing five people dead and injuring two others, authorities said.

Journalists dove under their desks and pleaded for help on social media. One reporter described the scene a “war zone.” A photographer said he jumped over a dead colleague and fled for his life.

The victims were identified as Rob Hiaasen, 59, a former feature writer for The Baltimore Sun who joined the Capital Gazette in 2010 as assistant editor and columnist; Wendi Winters, 65, a community correspondent who headed special publications; Gerald Fischman, 61, the editorial page editor; John McNamara, 56, a staff writer who covered high school, college and professional sports for decades; and Rebecca Smith, 34, a sales assistant hired in November.

Police took a suspect into custody soon after the shootings. He was identified as Jarrod W. Ramos, a 38-year-old Laurel man with a longstanding grudge against the paper.

“This was a targeted attack on the Capital Gazette,” said Anne Arundel County Deputy Police Chief William Krampf. “This person was prepared today to come in. He was prepared to shoot people.”

Local, state and federal law enforcement officials cordoned off the Laurel apartment complex listed as the address for Ramos, whose dispute with the Capital began in July 2011 when a columnist at the paper covered a criminal harassment case against him. In 2012, Ramos brought a defamation suit against the columnist and the paper’s former editor and publisher, but Maryland’s second-highest court upheld in 2015 a ruling in favor of the Capital and a former reporter who were accused by Ramos of defamation.

Police said the suspect, who was taken into custody without any shots being fired by officers, had used “smoke grenades” in the building, located at 888 Bestgate Road. About 170 people were inside at the time of the shooting, they said.

The Capital is owned by The Baltimore Sun.

Phil Davis, a Capital crime reporter who was in the building at the time of the shooting, said multiple people were shot, as others — himself included — hid under their desks. He said there was a lone male gunman.

“Gunman shot through the glass door to the office and opened fire on multiple employees. Can’t say much more and don’t want to declare anyone dead, but it’s bad,” Davis wrote on Twitter as he waited to be interviewed by police.

“There is nothing more terrifying than hearing multiple people get shot while you’re under your desk and then hear the gunman reload.”

In a subsequent interview, Davis said it “was like a war zone” inside the newspaper’s offices — a situation that would be “hard to describe for a while.”

“I’m a police reporter. I write about this stuff — not necessarily to this extent, but shootings and death — all the time,” he said. “But as much as I’m going to try to articulate how traumatizing it is to be hiding under your desk, you don’t know until you’re there and you feel helpless.”

Davis said he and others were still hiding under their desks when the shooter stopped firing. Police then arrived and surrounded the shooter, Davis said.

Paul Gillespie, a staff photographer, had just finished editing photos from one assignment and was preparing for the next when he heard shots behind him, and the newsroom’s glass doors shatter. Another shot, and Gillespie dove under a co-worker’s desk “and curled up as small as I could,” he said.

“I dove under that desk as fast as I could, and by the grace of God, he didn’t look over there,” he said. “I was curled up, trying not to breathe, trying not to make a sound, and he shot people all around me.”

Gillespie said he heard one colleague scream “No!,” then a shot, then another colleague’s voice, and then another shot. Then came the sound of the gunman getting closer to where he was hiding, Gillespie said.

“I kept thinking, ‘I can’t believe I’m going to die. I can’t believe this.’” Gillespie said.

Instead, the gunman passed him, continuing to shoot, he said. Eventually, there was a lull in the shots, and Gillespie said he stood and ran for the exit, through the shattered glass, jumping over a colleague who he believed was dead as another shot rang out in his direction. Once outside, he ran to a nearby bank, where he screamed for people to call the cops.

“I feel like I should be helping to cover it,” he said of the shooting, “but I’m a mess.”

Authorities said police responded to the scene within a minute of the shooting. “If they were not there as quickly as they were it could have been a lot worse,” Annapolis Mayor Gavin Buckley said.

Officials at Maryland Shock Trauma Center confirmed the hospital was treating at least one victim. County Executive Steve Schuh said others were being treated at Anne Arundel Medical Center. Loren Farquhar, a medical center spokeswoman, said the hospital received two patients, both with minor injuries not from gunfire. One was discharged and another is expected to be discharged soon, she said.

Renee Mutchnik, a spokeswoman for the Baltimore Sun Media Group, said the company was “deeply saddened” by the shooting.

“Our thoughts and prayers are with our colleagues and their families,” she said. “Our immediate focus is on providing support and resources for all our employees and cooperating with the authorities as this situation is still under investigation.”

Agents with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives were on the scene in Annapolis to provide support to local law enforcement, said Amanda Hils, a spokeswoman for the federal agency.

President Donald Trump wrote on Twitter that he had been briefed on the shooting. “My thoughts and prayers are with the victims and their families. Thank you to all of the First Responders who are currently on the scene,” Trump wrote.

Josh McKerrow, a photographer for 14 years at The Capital, had covered Induction Day at the Naval Academy at sunrise Thursday. He was driving home to celebrate his daughter’s birthday when Capital editor Rick Hutzell called him from out of town.

“He said he’d heard there had been a shooting, and he couldn’t get in touch with anyone in the newsroom,” McKerrow said. Then he heard sirens. “My heart sank and I knew.”

Police in SWAT gear and with assault rifles cordoned off the area around the newsroom and shutdown Bestgate Road. Outside the police tape, McKerrow and reporter Chase Cook called and texted their friends and colleagues, trying to get answers.

Jimmy DeButts, an editor at the Capital, wrote on Twitter that he was “devastated and heartbroken.” He said he could not speak about the shooting, but praised the work of his newspaper.

“There are no 40 hour weeks, no big paydays — just a passion for telling stories from our community,” DeButts wrote. “We keep doing more with less. We find ways to cover high school sports, breaking news, tax hikes, school budgets & local entertainment. We are there in times of tragedy. We do our best to share the stories of people, those who make our community better. Please understand, we do all this to serve our community.”

Gov. Larry Hogan, on Twitter, wrote, “Absolutely devastated to learn of this tragedy in Annapolis.” He said he was in contact with Schuh, and that Maryland State Police were on the scene assisting county police.

House Speaker Michael E. Busch has represented Annapolis since 1987 and said The Capital is “the voice of the community.”

Even with a shrinking staff, Busch said, “they knew the pulse of the community and had a lot of influence on what took place.

“This is a shocker,” Busch said. “Over the years, a lot of these people become friends. They do their job, you do your job, and you respect them for it. A lot of good writers have come out of there.”

The Capital is not the only business in the building where the shooting occurred. There are 30 tenants in the building, including five others on the first floor with The Capital. They include accountants, lawyers, financial and medical offices. The newspaper has been in the building since 2015, according to CoStar, a real estate information company. They have 5,000 square feet of offices.

Aaron Smith and Randall Fisher of the Fisher Law Office were on the fourth floor in the same building as the Capital at the time of the shooting. They didn’t hear or see anything and didn’t know anything was going on until Smith received a text from a colleague saying there was an apparent shooting, he said.

They flipped a desk over in front of the door to the office and stayed there until SWAT officers arrived. They then walked out of the building with their hands on their heads, like everyone else in the building, Fisher said.

Bethany Clasing, who works in second floor of the building, said she heard a single gunshot and then heard the police yell, “Get down! Get down! Don’t move!”

Rayne Foster, of Frost and Associates LLC, said a plainclothes officer came to her fourth-floor office suite and told the receptionist to lock the doors because of an active shooter, and she quickly gathered people together.

Some employees began taking off high heels preparing to flee the building. Others hid. One employee pulled two handguns out of his desk drawer for self defense, she said. Once more police arrived, they all began filing out of the office.Foster said she and her employees kept trying to hold hands to comfort each other, but were told by police to keep their hands in the air.

“You see it on the news,” Foster said of people walking out of buildings after mass shootings, “and you think, ‘These poor people.’ You wonder how they feel. Now I know.”

The Associated Press and Baltimore Sun reporters Scott Dance, Doug Donovan, Tim Prudente, Justin Fenton, Erin Cox, Jessica Anderson and Meredith Cohn contributed to this article.

http://www.capitalgazette.com/news/annapolis/bs-md-gazette-shooting-20180628-story.html

 

‘FIVE dead and twenty injured’ in mass shooting at Maryland’s Capital Gazette newspaper building

  • Police were on the scene within 60 seconds of the call of an active shooter at the newsroom in the 800 block of Bestgate Road, Annapolis, at around 2.40pm 
  • Phil Davis, a court and crime reporter for the Gazette, confirmed that multiple people had been shot
  • A suspect has been taken into custody and police are working to understand the motive behind the mass shooting 
  • Davis said that a lone gunman had shot through the glass door of the offices and then opened fire on the newspaper employees
  • ‘A single shooter shot multiple people at my office, some of whom are dead’
  • John McNamara, who has worked for the Gazette, has been confirmed among the shooting victims
  • Intern Anthony Messenger tweeted at 2.43pm there was an ‘active shooter, please help us’
  • One suspect has been taken into custody  
  • The NYPD says it is stationing officers outside the headquarters of major newsrooms throughout the city in the wake of the shooting

Five people have been killed and more than a dozen injured during a mass shooting at Maryland’s Capital Gazette newsroom.

Police were on the scene within 60 seconds of the call of an active shooter at the newsroom in the 800 block of Bestgate Road, Annapolis, at around 2.40pm.

Acting police chief William Kamph confirmed five people had been killed and many more had ‘serious injuries’ in the attack.

The suspect, who has not been named, has been taken into custody. Police say he was the sole shooter and that the building – which was evacuated during the attack – has now been secured. No motive has yet been given for the shooting.

Phil Davis, a court and crime reporter for the Gazette, said that a lone gunman had shot through the glass door of the offices and then opened fire on the newspaper employees.

‘A single shooter shot multiple people at my office, some of whom are dead,’ he tweeted, while he said he was waiting to be interviewed by police.

Scroll down for video 

Multiple people have been shot and killed during a mass shooting at Maryland's Capital Gazette newspaper headquarters

Multiple people have been shot and killed during a mass shooting at Maryland’s Capital Gazette newspaper headquarters

Police respond to a shooting in Annapolis, Maryland, June 28, at the building that houses the Capital Gazette, a daily newspaper published in Annapolis

Police respond to a shooting in Annapolis, Maryland, June 28, at the building that houses the Capital Gazette, a daily newspaper published in Annapolis

Several people were feared killed Thursday in the mass shooting 

A suspect has been taken into custody and police are were working to secure the building at 3.30pm

A suspect has been taken into custody and police are were working to secure the building at 3.30pm

Police, ATV and the FBI shut down the surrounding streets near the newsroom amid the shooting 

Police, ATV and the FBI shut down the surrounding streets near the newsroom amid the shooting

Gazette journalist E.B Furgurson (R) takes notes with two other people as police officers respond to an active shooter inside his newsroom

Anthony Messenger (left) an intern at the Gazette tweeted calling for help 

Anthony Messenger (left) an intern at the Gazette tweeted calling for help

Messenger, tweeted there was an 'active shooter 888 Bestgate please help us'

Messenger, tweeted there was an ‘active shooter 888 Bestgate please help us’

Phil Davis, a court and crime reporter for the Gazette, confirmed that multiple people had been shot

Phil Davis, a court and crime reporter for the Gazette, confirmed that multiple people had been shot

Video playing bottom right…

‘Gunman shot through the glass door to the office and opened fire on multiple employees. Can’t say much more and don’t want to declare anyone dead, but it’s bad.

‘There is nothing more terrifying than hearing multiple people get shot while you’re under your desk and then hear the gunman reload.’

Describing the moment as like being in ‘a war zone’, Davis said he and his colleagues were hiding under their desks, listening to the gunman firing and reloading until there was sudden silence.

‘I don’t know why he stopped,’ he said.

Moments later the police arrived, and surrounded the shooter.

Officers were able to take the suspect down and into custody although Kamph could not confirm whether gunfire was exchanged during the arrest or if the suspect was injured.

‘The suspect is still being interviewed by police,’ he said. ‘The investigation has just started.’

Aerial footage from mass shooting at newspaper in Maryland
Aerial footage shows police at the scene, and staff being lead out after multiple fatalities were reported during a mass shooting at Maryland's Capital Gazette newspaper headquarters

Aerial footage shows police at the scene, and staff being lead out after multiple fatalities were reported during a mass shooting at Maryland’s Capital Gazette newspaper headquarters

A huge police presence is on the scene and aerial footage shows people being led out of the building with their hands raised

A huge police presence is on the scene and aerial footage shows people being led out of the building with their hands raised

Staff are being told to reunite with their families at a nearby Lord & Taylor store

Staff are being told to reunite with their families at a nearby Lord & Taylor store

Cops were still working to secure the area at 3.30pm although one suspect is under arrest 

Cops were still working to secure the area at 3.30pm although one suspect is under arrest

Police officers respond to an active shooter inside the newsroom in Annapolis, Maryland 

Police officers respond to an active shooter inside the newsroom in Annapolis, Maryland

Police were also unable to confirm whether reports that the shooter had used a shotgun were accurate. They did confirm, however, that the building was secure but would remain closed as crime scene investigators got to work.

Davis added in an interview, with the surrounding press outside the newspaper’s headquarters, that while he wrote about mass shootings as part of his crime beat, it was another thing to experience one first hand.

‘I’m a police reporter. I write about this stuff – not necessarily to this extent, but shootings and death – all the time,’ he said. ‘But as much as I’m going to try to articulate how traumatizing it is to be hiding under your desk, you don’t know until you’re there and you feel helpless.’

The shooting sparked a huge police response, with local departments joined by the FBI and Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives.

Police have also responded to check the Baltimore Sun newsrooms in the wake of the shooting

Police have also responded to check the Baltimore Sun newsrooms in the wake of the shooting

An intern with the Capital Gazette, Anthony Messenger, tweeted at 2.43pm there was an ‘active shooter 888 Bestgate please help us.’

Aerial footage shows people being led out of the building with their hands raised. Medevac helicopters were also at the scene.

John McNamara, who has worked for the Gazette and is the editor of the Bowie Blade-News and the Crofton-West County Gazette, has been confirmed among the shooting victims. It is not clear whether he was injured or a fatality.

Gazette reporter Danielle Ohl added that her colleague Rachael Pacella was among the injured in hospital.

At least one injured victim is being treated at the University of Maryland Medical Center.

Anne Arundel Police confirmed that the building had been evacuated and staff have been told to reunite with their families at a nearby Lord & Taylor store.

Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan said during a press conference he was ‘absolutely devastated to learn of this tragedy in Annapolis.

‘I am in contact with County Executive Steve Schuh, and @MDSP is on the scene assisting @AACOPD. Please, heed all warnings and stay away from the area. Praying for those at the scene and for our community.’

‘Your heart goes out to all the people that lost their lives. We have had several fatalities and we have had several people hospi

Gazette reporter E.B Furgurson talks on the phone as police officers respond to the active shooter

Emergency services respond to the shooter at the scene of the mass shooting

Emergency services respond to the shooter at the scene of the mass shooting

Police, ATV and the FBI are among the ten different agencies who responded 

Police, ATV and the FBI are among the ten different agencies who responded

SHOOTING COMES TWO DAYS AFTER MILO YIANNOPOULOS SAID HE ‘CAN’T WAIT FOR VIGILANTE SQUADS TO START GUNNING JOURNALISTS DOWN’

As news of the Capital Gazzette shooting broke on Thursday, many on Twitter pointed out that the tragedy comes just two days after conservative provocateur Milo Yiannopoulos cheered the idea of journalists being murdered.

When asked to comment on two different stories being written by The Daily Beast and The Observer, the alt-right poster boy responded with the same one sentence:

‘I can’t wait for vigilante squads to start gunning journalists down on signt.’

When asked by the Observer to elaborate about what had upset them about their story, about a popular GOP watering hole, Yiannopoulos replied that it was his ‘standard response to a request for comment’.

(The Daily Beast’s story was about the UK Independence Party.)

It’s still unclear what inspired Thursday’s shooting.

DailyMail.com reached out to Yiannopolis for comment, and he responded, saying there was no evidence, as his critics said online, that he may have inspired the attack.

In a longer statement on his website, he said if anyone is to blame, it’s the two outlets that published his statements, which were meant to be private.

‘I sent a troll about “vigilante death squads” as a *private* response to a few hostile journalists who were asking me for comment, basically as a way of saying, “F*** off.” They then published it…

‘If there turns out to be any dimension to this crime related to my private, misreported remarks, the responsibility for that lies squarely and wholly with Will Sommer of the Beast and the Observer’s Davis Richardson for drumming up fake hysteria about a private joke, and with the verified liberals who pretended they thought I was serious,’ he said.

The 33-year-old Brit was forced out of his role as a senior editor at Breitbart in February 2017, after interviews surfaced of him expressing sympathy for pedophiles.

Since then he has self-published an autobiography titled ‘Dangerous’ which became an Amazon.com best seller. Simon & Schuster was originally supposed to release the book, but ended the business deal over the pedophile scandal.

White House spokeswoman Lindsay Walters said President Trump has been briefed on the shooting and ‘our thoughts and prayers are with all that are affected.’

Sen. Chris Van Hollen added in a tweet: ‘My heart is with the families, friends, and loved ones of the victims as we learn more about this terrible situation. We must unite to end the violence.’

The Gazette is owned by the Baltimore Sun Media Group, which is owned by Tronc, inc. Police have also responded to check the Baltimore Sun newsrooms in the wake of the shooting.

The NYPD says it is stationing officers outside the headquarters of major newsrooms throughout the city in the wake of the shooting.

The Capital Gazette is a daily newspaper that serves the city of Annapolis, Maryland. It’s sister newspaper, The Maryland Gazette, is one of the oldest American newspapers.

Founded in 1884, it has a circulation of more than 30,000 daily and 35,000 for the Sunday edition.

At least four people have been killed and at least another twenty have been injured during a mass shooting at Maryland's Capital Gazette newspaper headquarters

At least four people have been killed and at least another twenty have been injured during a mass shooting at Maryland’s Capital Gazette newspaper headquarters

 

Five dead, others ‘gravely injured’ in shooting at Capital Gazette newspaper in Annapolis

Kevin Rector Contact Reporter

The Baltimore Sun

At least five people were killed and several others were “gravely injured” in a shooting Thursday afternoon at the Capital Gazette in Anne Arundel County, authorities said.

A shooter is in custody, police said. Police would not name the suspect or say what type of weapon was used.

Anne Arundel County Police initially confirmed about 3:15 p.m. that they were responding to an “active shooter” at 888 Bestgate Road, where the newspaper’s offices are located. The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives also responded to the scene.

The Capital Gazette is owned by The Baltimore Sun.

Phil Davis, a Capital Gazette crime reporter who was in the building at the time of the shooting, said multiple people were shot, as others — himself included — hid under their desks. He said there was a lone male gunman.

“Gunman shot through the glass door to the office and opened fire on multiple employees. Can’t say much more and don’t want to declare anyone dead, but it’s bad,” Davis wrote on Twitter as he waited to be interviewed by police.

“There is nothing more terrifying than hearing multiple people get shot while you’re under your desk and then hear the gunman reload.”

In a subsequent interview, Davis said it “was like a war zone” inside the newspaper’s offices — a situation that would be “hard to describe for a while.”

“I’m a police reporter. I write about this stuff — not necessarily to this extent, but shootings and death — all the time,” he said. “But as much as I’m going to try to articulate how traumatizing it is to be hiding under your desk, you don’t know until you’re there and you feel helpless.”

Davis said he and others were still hiding under their desks when the shooter stopped firing.

“I don’t know why. I don’t know why he stopped,” he said.

Police arrived and surrounded the shooter, Davis said. He declined to elaborate.

Authorities said police responded to the scene within a minute. “If they were not there as quickly as they were it could have been a lot worse,” Annapolis Mayor Gavin Buckley said.

Agents with the ATF were on the scene in Annapolis to provide support to local law enforcement, said Amanda Hils, a spokeswoman for the federal agency. ATF can help with tracing weapons, conducting interviews and other assistance.

President Donald Trump wrote on Twitter that he had been briefed on the shooting. “My thoughts and prayers are with the victims and their families. Thank you to all of the First Responders who are currently on the scene,” Trump wrote.

Gov. Larry Hogan, on Twitter, wrote, “Absolutely devastated to learn of this tragedy in Annapolis.”

He said he was in contact with County Executive Steve Schuh, and that Maryland State Police were on the scene assisting county police.

“Please, heed all warnings and stay away from the area. Praying for those at the scene and for our community,” he wrote.

House Speaker Michael E. Busch has represented Annapolis since 1987 and said The Capital is “the voice of the community.”

Even with a shrinking staff, Busch said, “they knew the pulse of the community and had a lot of influence on what took place.

“This is a shocker,” Busch said. “Over the years, a lot of these people become friends. They do their job, you do your job, and you respect them for it. A lot of good writers have come out of there.”

“This is really something that is totally, totally shocking, that we don’t know how to understand.”

Sen. Chris Van Hollen wrote on Twitter, “My heart is with the families, friends, and loved ones of the victims as we learn more about this terrible situation. We must unite to end the violence.”

Police were also at The Baltimore Sun newsroom in Baltimore. Police said there was no threat on the Sun, and that their presence was a precaution.

Baltimore Sun reporters Scott Dance, Doug Donovan, Tim Prudente, Justin Fenton and Erin Cox contributed to this article.

http://www.capitalgazette.com/bs-md-gazette-shooting-20180628-story.html

 

Story 2: Congress Grills Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein — Provide The Requested Documents and Comply With Subpoenas and Wrap-up Mueller Investigation — Now or Face Impeachment — Department of Justice and FBI Cover-up Continues of Clinton Obama Criminal Conspiracy to Exonerate Clinton and Frame Trump –Videos

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Tucker: DOJ views itself as beyond oversight

Rod Rosenstein

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Rod Rosenstein
Rod Rosenstein official portrait.jpg
37th United States Deputy Attorney General
Assumed office
April 26, 2017
President Donald Trump
Preceded by Sally Yates
United States Attorney for the District of Maryland
In office
July 12, 2005 – April 26, 2017
President George W. Bush
Barack Obama
Donald Trump
Preceded by Thomas M. DiBiagio
Succeeded by Robert K. Hur
Personal details
Born Rod Jay Rosenstein
January 13, 1965 (age 53)
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, U.S.
Political party Republican[1]
Spouse(s) Lisa Barsoomian
Education University of Pennsylvania(BS)
Harvard University (JD)
Signature

Rod Jay Rosenstein (/ˈrzənˌstn/;[2] born January 13, 1965) is an American attorney serving as United States Deputy Attorney General since 2017.

Prior to his current appointment, he served as a United States Attorney for the District of Maryland, and during his first 10 years as lead federal prosecutor there, “murders statewide were cut by a third, double the decline at the national level.”[3] At the time of his confirmation as Deputy Attorney General in April 2017, he was the nation’s longest-serving U.S. attorney.[4] Rosenstein was nominated to the United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit, but his nomination was never considered by the U.S. Senate. He is a Republican.[5][6]

President Donald Trump nominated Rosenstein to serve as Deputy Attorney General for the United States Department of Justice on February 1, 2017. Rosenstein was confirmed by the U.S. Senate on April 25, 2017. In May 2017, he authored a memo which President Trump said was the basis of his decision to dismiss FBI Director James Comey.[7]

Later that month, Rosenstein appointed special counsel Robert Mueller to investigate alleged ties between the Trump campaign and Russia during the 2016 election and related matters based on the firing of Comey.[8]

Background

Early life and family

Rod Jay Rosenstein was born on January 13, 1965 in Philadelphia,[9][10] to Robert, who ran a small business, and Gerri Rosenstein, a bookkeeper and school board president. He grew up in Lower Moreland Township, Pennsylvania.[11] He has one sister, Dr. Nancy Messonnier, director of the National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.[12][13]

Education and clerkship

He graduated from the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania, with a B.S. degree in economicssumma cum laude in 1986.[14]

He earned his J.D. degree cum laude in 1989 from Harvard Law School,[14] where he was an editor of the Harvard Law Review. He then served as a law clerk to Judge Douglas H. Ginsburg of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit.[15] He was a Wasserstein Fellow at Harvard Law School in 1997-98.[16]

Career

Early career

After his clerkship, Rosenstein joined the U.S. Department of Justice through the Attorney General’s Honors Program. From 1990 to 1993, he prosecuted public corruption cases as a trial attorney with the Public Integrity Section of the Criminal Division, then led by Assistant Attorney General Robert Mueller.[14][17]

During the Clinton Administration, Rosenstein served as Counsel to Deputy Attorney General Philip B. Heymann (1993–1994) and Special Assistant to Criminal Division Assistant Attorney General Jo Ann Harris (1994–1995). Rosenstein then worked in the United States Office of the Independent Counsel under Ken Starr on the Whitewater investigation into President Bill Clinton.[18] As an Associate Independent Counsel from 1995 to 1997, he was co-counsel in the trial of three defendants who were convicted of fraud, and he supervised the investigation that found no basis for criminal prosecution of White House officials who had obtained FBI background reports.[14]

United States Attorney Lynne A. Battaglia hired Rosenstein as an Assistant U.S. Attorney for the District of Maryland in 1997.[14]

From 2001 to 2005, Rosenstein served as Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General for the Tax Division of the United States Department of Justice. He coordinated the tax enforcement activities of the Tax Division, the U.S. Attorneys’ Offices and the IRS, and he supervised 90 attorneys and 30 support employees. He oversaw civil litigation and served as the acting head of the Tax Division when Assistant Attorney General Eileen J. O’Connor was unavailable, and he personally briefed and argued civil appeals in several federal appellate courts.[citation needed]

U.S. Attorney

Rosenstein as U.S. Attorney

President George W. Bush nominated Rosenstein to serve as the United States Attorney for the District of Maryland on May 23, 2005. He took office on July 12, 2005, after the United States Senate unanimously confirmed his nomination.[17][19]

As United States Attorney, he oversaw federal civil and criminal litigation, assisted with federal law enforcement strategies in Maryland, and presented cases in the U.S. District Court and in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit.[19] During his tenure as U.S. Attorney, Rosenstein successfully prosecuted leaks of classified information, corruption, murders and burglaries, and was “particularly effective taking on corruption within police departments.” [20]

Rosenstein secured several convictions against prison guards in Baltimore for conspiring with the Black Guerrilla Family.[18] He indicted Baltimore police officers Wayne Jenkins, Momodu Gondo, Evodio Hendrix, Daniel Hersl, Jemell Rayam, Marcus Taylor, and Maurice Ward for racketeering.[21] Rosenstein, with the aid of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms and the Drug Enforcement Administration, secured convictions in large scale narcotics cases in the District of Maryland, including the arrest and conviction of Terrell Plummer,[22] Richard Christopher Byrd,[23] James “Brad” LaRocca,[24] and Yasmine Geen Young.[25]

The Attorney General appointed Rosenstein to serve on the Advisory Committee of U.S. Attorneys, which evaluates and recommends policies for the Department of Justice. He was vice-chair of the Violent and Organized Crime Subcommittee and a member of the Subcommittees on White Collar Crime, Sentencing Issues and Cyber/Intellectual Property Crime. He also served on the Attorney General’s Anti-Gang Coordination Committee.

Attorney General Eric Holder appointed Rosenstein to prosecute General James Cartwright, a former Vice Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, for leaking to reporters.[18] Rosenstein’s aggressive prosecution secured a guilty plea from Cartwright.[18]

Rosenstein served as the U.S. Attorney in Maryland at a time when murders in the state dropped by about a third, which was double the decline at the national level. Robberies and aggravated assaults also fell faster than the national average. According to Thiru Vignarajah, the former deputy attorney general of Maryland, “Collaboration between prosecutors, police, and the community combined with a dogged focus on violent repeat offenders was the anchor of Rosenstein’s approach.” Rosenstein regarded the heroin and opioid epidemic as a public health crisis, hired a re-entry specialist to help ex-offenders adjust to life outside of prison, and prosecuted several individual cases of corrupt police officers.[26]

Judicial nomination

In 2007, President George W. Bush nominated Rosenstein to a seat on the United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit. Rosenstein was a Maryland resident at the time. Maryland’s Democratic United States SenatorsBarbara Mikulski and Ben Cardin, blocked Rosenstein’s confirmation, claiming he did not have strong enough ties to Maryland.[27]

Deputy Attorney General of the United States

Rosenstein being sworn in as Deputy Attorney General

Appointment of Special Counsel to Investigate Russian Interference with the 2016 Presidential Election and Related Matters

President Donald Trump nominated Rosenstein to serve as Deputy Attorney General for the United States Department of Justice on February 1, 2017.[28][29] He was one of the 46 United States Attorneys ordered on March 10, 2017 to resign by Attorney General Jeff Sessions; Trump declined his resignation.[30] Rosenstein was confirmed by the Senate on April 25, 2017, by a vote of 94–6.[31][32]

Comey memo

On May 8, 2017, President Donald Trump directed Sessions and Rosenstein to make a case against FBI Director James Comey in writing. The next day, Rosenstein handed a memo to Sessions providing the basis for Sessions’s recommendation to President Trump that Comey be dismissed.[33][34]

In his memo Rosenstein asserts that the FBI must have “a Director who understands the gravity of the mistakes and pledges never to repeat them”. He ends with an argument against keeping Comey as FBI director, on the grounds that he was given an opportunity to “admit his errors” but that there is no hope that he will “implement the necessary corrective actions.”[35]

Critics[who?] argued that Rosenstein, in enabling the firing of Comey amid an investigation into Russian election interference, damaged his own reputation.[36][37][38][39][40]

After administration officials cited Rosenstein’s memo as the main reason for Comey’s dismissal, an anonymous source in the White House said that Rosenstein threatened to resign.[41]

Rosenstein denied the claim and said he was “not quitting,” when asked directly by a reporter from Sinclair Broadcast Group.[42][43]

On May 17, 2017, Rosenstein told the full Senate he knew that Comey would be fired before he wrote his controversial memo that the White House initially used as justification for President Trump firing Comey.[44]

Special counsel appointment

On May 17, 2017, Rosenstein appointed Robert Mueller as a special counsel to conduct the investigation into “any links and/or coordination between the Russian government and individuals associated with the campaign of President Donald Trump” as well as any matters arising directly from that investigation.[45] Rosenstein’s order authorizes Mueller to bring criminal charges in the event that he discovers any federal crimes.[45]

Rosenstein said in a statement, “My decision is not a finding that crimes have been committed or that any prosecution is warranted. I have made no such determination. What I have determined is that based upon the unique circumstances the public interest requires me to place this investigation under the authority of a person who exercises a degree of independence from the normal chain of command.”[46]

In an interview with the Associated Press, Rosenstein said he would recuse from supervision of Mueller, if he himself were to become a subject in the investigation due to his role in the dismissal of James Comey.[47]

Under that scenario, supervision would have fallen to DOJ’s third-ranking official, Associate Attorney General Rachel Brand.[48] Rachel Brand announced her intention to resign on February 9, 2018 [49]

Michael Cohen investigation

In April 2018, Rosenstein reportedly personally approved the FBI raid on President Donald Trump‘s attorney, Michael Cohen, in which the FBI seized emails, tax documents and records, some of them related to Cohen’s payment to adult-film star Stormy Daniels.[50][51]

After ad interim U.S. Attorney Geoffrey Berman had recused himself,[why?] the search was executed by others in the office of the U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York and approved by a federal judge.[52]

Personal life

Rosenstein is married to Lisa Barsoomian, an Armenian American lawyer who works for the National Institutes of Health. They have two daughters.[53]

He is a registered Republican,[54][55] “but he has made no campaign donations to any political candidates, according to election records.”[1]

Rosenstein has served as an adjunct professor, teaching classes on federal criminal prosecution at the University of Maryland School of Law and trial advocacy at the University of Baltimore School of Law.[9]

Rosenstein was a member of Washington D.C.’s Temple Sinai, a Reform Jewish congregation, from 2008 to 2014.[56] According to a questionnaire that Rosenstein completed ahead of a hearing with the Senate Judiciary Committee, he was a member of a Jewish Community Center‘s sports league from 1993 to 2012.[56] Rosenstein served on the board of directors of the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum from 2001-11.[56]

See also

References

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

 

Story 3: Supreme Court Decision Stops Unions From Forcing Non-union Public Sector Employees To Pay Union Dues and Agency Fees — Videos —

Supreme Court delivers major blow to unions

Supreme Court rules that public sector workers can’t be forced to pay union fees

 

US Supreme Court curbs power of public sector unions

Mark Janus (R) successfully challenged a 1977 court ruling that public sector workers  can be required to pay a portion of union dues even if they are non members

Mark Janus (R) successfully challenged a 1977 court ruling that public sector workers can be required to pay a portion of union dues even if they are non members

The US Supreme Court on Wednesday ruled that non-members cannot be compelled to pay dues to public sector unions, dealing a financial blow to organized labor in the United States.

The court ruled by five to four that the practice of forcing workers to pay for unions that they do not belong to, even though the unions may work on their behalf, was unconstitutional.

President Donald Trump immediately welcomed the decision, a further blow to a US labor movement already in decline.

Trump said on Twitter that non-union workers “are now, as an example, able to support a candidate of his or her choice without having those who control the Union deciding for them. Big loss for the coffers of the Democrats!”

The case was brought by Illinois public sector worker Mark Janus, who challenged a 1977 court ruling that public sector workers can be required to pay a portion of union dues in order to cover their expenses and stop non-members from becoming “free-riders” — reaping the benefits of collective bargaining without assuming the costs.

Justice Samuel Alito, writing the majority opinion, said the 1977 ruling violated the First Amendment’s stipulations about freedom of speech.

“Under Illinois law, public employees are forced to subsidize a union, even if they choose not to join and strongly object to the positions the union takes in collective bargaining and related activities,” the conservative justice wrote.

“We conclude that this arrangement violates the free speech rights of non-members by compelling them to subsidize private speech on matters of substantial public concern.”

Alito added that “compelling individuals to mouth support for views they find objectionable violates that cardinal constitutional command, and in most contexts, any such effort would be universally condemned.”

The ruling came a day after the top court dealt two other wins to conservative groups, upholding the president’s controversial travel ban and coming down in favor of anti-abortion centers in another sensitive case.

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/wires/afp/article-5892489/US-Supreme-Court-curbs-power-public-sector-unions.html

 

Story 4: Supreme Court Justice Kennedy Submits Letter of Resignation — President Trump Has List of 25 Possible Replacements — Videos —

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The 25 people most likely to replace Anthony Kennedy on the Supreme Court

President Donald Trump will soon nominate a person to take the place of Justice Anthony Kennedy on the Supreme Court.

The president previously released a list of candidates back in November, preceding Kennedy’s retirement announcement on Wednesday.

After the announcement, Trump that Kennedy’s replacement would come from the list, and that the process would “begin immediately.”

Here’s who Trump is considering:

1. Amy Coney Barrett of Indiana, U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit

2. Keith Blackwell of Georgia, Supreme Court of Georgia

3. Charles Canady of Florida, Supreme Court of Florida

4. Steven Colloton of Iowa, U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit

5. Allison Eid of Colorado, U.S. Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit

6. Britt Grant of Georgia, Supreme Court of Georgia

7. Raymond Gruender of Missouri, U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit

8. Thomas Hardiman of Pennsylvania, U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit

9. Brett Kavanaugh of Maryland, U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit

10. Raymond Kethledge of Michigan, U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit

11. Joan Larsen of Michigan, U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit

12. Mike Lee of Utah, U.S. senator

13. Thomas Lee of Utah, Supreme Court of Utah

14. Edward Mansfield of Iowa, Supreme Court of Iowa

15. Federico Moreno of Florida, U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Florida

16. Kevin Newsom of Alabama, U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit

17. William Pryor of Alabama, U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit

18. Margaret Ryan of Virginia, U.S. Court of Appeals for the Armed Forces

19. David Stras of Minnesota, U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit

20. Diane Sykes of Wisconsin, U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit

21. Amul Thapar of Kentucky, U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit

22. Timothy Tymkovich of Colorado, U.S. Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit

23. Robert Young of Michigan, Supreme Court of Michigan (retired)

24. Don Willett of Texas, U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit

25. Patrick Wyrick of Oklahoma, Supreme Court of Oklahoma

https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/politics/onpolitics/2018/06/27/supreme-court-justice-shortlist/739221002/

 

Supreme Court of the United States

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Supreme Court of the United States
Seal of the United States Supreme Court.svg
Established March 4, 1789; 229 years ago[1]
Country United States
Location Washington, D.C., U.S.
Coordinates 38°53′26″N 77°00′16″WCoordinates38°53′26″N 77°00′16″W
Composition method Presidential nomination with Senate confirmation
Authorized by United States Constitution
Judge term length Life tenure
No. of positions 9 by statute
Website www.supremecourt.gov
Chief Justice of the United States
Currently John Roberts
Since September 29, 2005; 12 years ago

The Supreme Court of the United States (sometimes colloquially referred to by the acronym SCOTUS)[2] is the highest federal court of the United States. Established pursuant to Article Three of the United States Constitution in 1789, it has ultimate (and largely discretionaryappellate jurisdiction over all federal courts and state court cases involving issues of federal law plus original jurisdiction over a small range of cases. In the legal system of the United States, the Supreme Court is generally the final interpreter of federal law including the United States Constitution, but it may act only within the context of a case in which it has jurisdiction. The Court may decide cases having political overtones but does not have power to decide nonjusticiable political questions, and its enforcement arm is in the executive rather than judicial branch of government.

According to federal statute, the Court normally consists of the Chief Justice of the United States and eight associate justices who are nominated by the President and confirmed by the Senate. Once appointed, justices have lifetime tenure unless they resign, retire, or are removed after impeachment.[3] In modern discourse, the justices are often categorized as having conservativemoderate, or liberal philosophies of law and of judicial interpretation. Each justice has one vote, and while a far greater number of cases in recent history have been decided unanimously, decisions in cases of the highest profile have often come down to just one single vote, thereby exposing the justices’ ideological beliefs that track with those philosophical or political categories. The Court meets in the Supreme Court Building in Washington, D.C.

History

Supreme Court of the United States

The ratification of the United States Constitution established the Supreme Court in 1789. Its powers are detailed in Article Three of the Constitution. The Supreme Court was the only court specifically established by the Constitution while all other federal courts were created by Congress. Congress is also responsible for conferring the title of “justice” to its members, who are known to scold lawyers for inaccurately referring to them as “judge”, even though it is the term used in the Constitution.[4]

The Court first convened on February 2, 1790,[5] with six judges where only five of its six initial positions were filled. According to historian Fergus Bordewich, in its first session: “[T]he Supreme Court convened for the first time at the Royal Exchange Building on Broad Street, a few steps from Federal Hall. Symbolically, the moment was pregnant with promise for the republic, this birth of a new national institution whose future power, admittedly, still existed only in the eyes and minds of just a few visionary Americans. Impressively bewigged and swathed in their robes of office, Chief Justice John Jay and three associate justices — William Cushing of Massachusetts, James Wilson of Pennsylvania, and John Blair of Virginia — sat augustly before a throng of spectators and waited for something to happen. Nothing did. They had no cases to consider. After a week of inactivity, they adjourned until September, and everyone went home.”[6]

The sixth member, James Iredell, was not confirmed until May 12, 1790. Because the full Court had only six members, every decision that it made by a majority was also made by two-thirds (voting four to two).[7] However, Congress has always allowed less than the Court’s full membership to make decisions, starting with a quorum of four justices in 1789.[8]

Earliest beginnings to Marshall

Chief Justice Marshall

Under Chief Justices JayRutledge, and Ellsworth (1789–1801), the Court heard few cases; its first decision was West v. Barnes (1791), a case involving a procedural issue.[9] The Court lacked a home of its own and had little prestige,[10] a situation not helped by the highest-profile case of the era, Chisholm v. Georgia (1793), which was reversed within two years by the adoption of the Eleventh Amendment.[11]

The Court’s power and prestige grew substantially during the Marshall Court (1801–35).[12] Under Marshall, the Court established the power of judicial review over acts of Congress,[13] including specifying itself as the supreme expositor of the Constitution (Marbury v. Madison)[14][15] and made several important constitutional rulings giving shape and substance to the balance of power between the federal government and the states (prominently, Martin v. Hunter’s LesseeMcCulloch v. Maryland and Gibbons v. Ogden).[16][17][18][19]

The Marshall Court also ended the practice of each justice issuing his opinion seriatim,[20] a remnant of British tradition,[21] and instead issuing a single majority opinion.[20] Also during Marshall’s tenure, although beyond the Court’s control, the impeachment and acquittal of Justice Samuel Chase in 1804–05 helped cement the principle of judicial independence.[22][23]

From Taney to Taft

The Taney Court (1836–64) made several important rulings, such as Sheldon v. Sill, which held that while Congress may not limit the subjects the Supreme Court may hear, it may limit the jurisdiction of the lower federal courts to prevent them from hearing cases dealing with certain subjects.[24] Nevertheless, it is primarily remembered for its ruling in Dred Scott v. Sandford,[25] which helped precipitate the Civil War.[26] In the Reconstruction era, the ChaseWaite, and FullerCourts (1864–1910) interpreted the new Civil War amendments to the Constitution[19] and developed the doctrine of substantive due process (Lochner v. New York;[27] Adair v. United States).[28]

Under the White and Taft Courts (1910–30), the Court held that the Fourteenth Amendment had incorporated some guarantees of the Bill of Rights against the states (Gitlow v. New York),[29] grappled with the new antitrust statutes (Standard Oil Co. of New Jersey v. United States), upheld the constitutionality of military conscription (Selective Draft Law Cases)[30] and brought the substantive due process doctrine to its first apogee (Adkins v. Children’s Hospital).[31]

The New Deal era

During the HughesStone, and Vinson Courts (1930–53), the Court gained its own accommodation in 1935[32] and changed its interpretation of the Constitution, giving a broader reading to the powers of the federal government to facilitate President Franklin Roosevelt‘s New Deal (most prominently West Coast Hotel Co. v. ParrishWickard v. FilburnUnited States v. Darby and United States v. Butler).[33][34][35] During World War II, the Court continued to favor government power, upholding the internment of Japanese citizens (Korematsu v. United States) and the mandatory pledge of allegiance (Minersville School District v. Gobitis). Nevertheless, Gobitis was soon repudiated (West Virginia State Board of Education v. Barnette), and the Steel Seizure Case restricted the pro-government trend.

Warren and Burger

The Warren Court (1953–69) dramatically expanded the force of Constitutional civil liberties.[36] It held that segregation in public schools violates equal protection (Brown v. Board of EducationBolling v. Sharpe and Green v. County School Bd.)[37] and that traditional legislative district boundaries violated the right to vote (Reynolds v. Sims). It created a general right to privacy (Griswold v. Connecticut),[38] limited the role of religion in public school (most prominently Engel v. Vitale and Abington School District v. Schempp),[39][40]incorporated most guarantees of the Bill of Rights against the States—prominently Mapp v. Ohio (the exclusionary rule) and Gideon v. Wainwright (right to appointed counsel),[41][42]—and required that criminal suspects be apprised of all these rights by police (Miranda v. Arizona).[43] At the same time, however, the Court limited defamation suits by public figures (New York Times v. Sullivan) and supplied the government with an unbroken run of antitrust victories.[44]

The Burger Court (1969–86) marked a conservative shift.[45] It also expanded Griswold’s right to privacy to strike down abortion laws (Roe v. Wade),[46] but divided deeply on affirmative action (Regents of the University of California v. Bakke)[47] and campaign finance regulation (Buckley v. Valeo),[48] and dithered on the death penalty, ruling first that most applications were defective (Furman v. Georgia),[49] then that the death penalty itself was not unconstitutional (Gregg v. Georgia).[49][50][51]

Rehnquist and Roberts

Justices of the U.S. Supreme Court in October 2005

The Rehnquist Court (1986–2005) was noted for its revival of judicial enforcement of federalism,[52] emphasizing the limits of the Constitution’s affirmative grants of power (United States v. Lopez) and the force of its restrictions on those powers (Seminole Tribe v. FloridaCity of Boerne v. Flores).[53][54][55][56][57] It struck down single-sex state schools as a violation of equal protection (United States v. Virginia), laws against sodomy as violations of substantive due process (Lawrence v. Texas),[58] and the line item veto (Clinton v. New York), but upheld school vouchers (Zelman v. Simmons-Harris) and reaffirmed Roe’s restrictions on abortion laws (Planned Parenthood v. Casey).[59] The Court’s decision in Bush v. Gore, which ended the electoral recount during the presidential election of 2000, was especially controversial.[60][61]

The Roberts Court (2005–present) is regarded by some as more conservative than the Rehnquist Court.[62][63] Some of its major rulings have concerned federal preemption (Wyeth v. Levine), civil procedure (TwomblyIqbal), abortion (Gonzales v. Carhart),[64] climate change (Massachusetts v. EPA), same-sex marriage (United States v. Windsor and Obergefell v. Hodges) and the Bill of Rights, notably in Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission(First Amendment),[65] HellerMcDonald (Second Amendment)[66] and Baze v. Rees (Eighth Amendment).[67][68]

Composition

Size of the Court

Article III of the United States Constitution does not specify the number of justices. The Judiciary Act of 1789 called for the appointment of six “judges”. Although an 1801 act would have reduced the size of the court to five members upon its next vacancy, an 1802 actpromptly negated the 1801 act, legally restoring the court’s size to six members before any such vacancy occurred. As the nation’s boundaries grew, Congress added justices to correspond with the growing number of judicial circuits: seven in 1807nine in 1837, and ten in 1863.[69]

In 1866, at the behest of Chief Justice Chase, Congress passed an act providing that the next three justices to retire would not be replaced, which would thin the bench to seven justices by attrition. Consequently, one seat was removed in 1866 and a second in 1867. In 1869, however, the Circuit Judges Act returned the number of justices to nine,[70] where it has since remained.

President Franklin D. Roosevelt attempted to expand the Court in 1937. His proposal envisioned appointment of one additional justice for each incumbent justice who reached the age of 70 years 6 months and refused retirement, up to a maximum bench of 15 justices. The proposal was ostensibly to ease the burden of the docket on elderly judges, but the actual purpose was widely understood as an effort to “pack” the Court with justices who would support Roosevelt’s New Deal.[71] The plan, usually called the “court-packing plan“, failed in Congress.[72] Nevertheless, the Court’s balance began to shift within months when Justice Willis Van Devanter retired and was replaced by Senator Hugo Black. By the end of 1941, Roosevelt had appointed seven justices and elevated Harlan Fiske Stone to Chief Justice.[73]

Appointment and confirmation

The Roberts Court (April 2017–present). Front row (left to right): Ruth Bader GinsburgAnthony KennedyJohn Roberts (Chief Justice), Clarence Thomas, and Stephen Breyer. Back row (left to right): Elena KaganSamuel A. AlitoSonia Sotomayor, and Neil Gorsuch.

The U.S. Constitution states that the President “shall nominate, and by and with the Advice and Consent of the Senate, shall appoint Judges of the Supreme Court.”[74] Most presidents nominate candidates who broadly share their ideological views, although a justice’s decisions may end up being contrary to a president’s expectations. Because the Constitution sets no qualifications for service as a justice, a president may nominate anyone to serve, subject to Senate confirmation.

In modern times, the confirmation process has attracted considerable attention from the press and advocacy groups, which lobby senators to confirm or to reject a nominee depending on whether their track record aligns with the group’s views. The Senate Judiciary Committee conducts hearings and votes on whether the nomination should go to the full Senate with a positive, negative or neutral report. The committee’s practice of personally interviewing nominees is relatively recent. The first nominee to appear before the committee was Harlan Fiske Stone in 1925, who sought to quell concerns about his links to Wall Street, and the modern practice of questioning began with John Marshall Harlan II in 1955.[75] Once the committee reports out the nomination, the full Senate considers it. Rejections are relatively uncommon; the Senate has explicitly rejected twelve Supreme Court nominees, most recently Robert Bork, nominated by President Ronald Reagan in 1987.

Although Senate rules do not necessarily allow a negative vote in committee to block a nomination, prior to 2017 a nomination could be blocked by filibuster once debate had begun in the full Senate. President Lyndon Johnson‘s nomination of sitting Associate Justice Abe Fortas to succeed Earl Warren as Chief Justice in 1968 was the first successful filibuster of a Supreme Court nominee. It included both Republican and Democratic senators concerned with Fortas’s ethics. President Donald Trump‘s nomination of Neil Gorsuch to the seat left vacant by Antonin Scalia‘s death was the second. Unlike the Fortas filibuster, however, only Democratic Senators voted against cloture on the Gorsuch nomination, citing his perceived conservative judicial philosophy, and the Republican majority’s prior refusal to take up President Barack Obama‘s nomination of Merrick Garland to fill the vacancy.[76][77] This led the Republican majority to change the rules and eliminate the filibuster for Supreme Court nominations.[78]

Not every Supreme Court nominee has received a floor vote in the Senate. A president may withdraw a nomination before an actual confirmation vote occurs, typically because it is clear that the Senate will reject the nominee; this occurred most recently with the nomination of Harriet Miers in 2006. The Senate may also fail to act on a nomination, which expires at the end of the session. For example, President Dwight Eisenhower‘s first nomination of John Marshall Harlan II in November 1954 was not acted on by the Senate; Eisenhower re-nominated Harlan in January 1955, and Harlan was confirmed two months later. Most recently, as previously noted, the Senate failed to act on the March 2016 nomination of Merrick Garland; the nomination expired in January 2017, and the vacancy was later filled by President Trump‘s appointment of Neil Gorsuch.[79]

Once the Senate confirms a nomination, the president must prepare and sign a commission, to which the Seal of the Department of Justice must be affixed, before the new justice can take office.[80] The seniority of an associate justice is based on the commissioning date, not the confirmation or swearing-in date.[81] The importance of commissioning is underscored by the case of Edwin M. Stanton. Although appointed to the court on December 19, 1869 by President Ulysses S. Grant and confirmed by the Senate a few days later, Stanton died on Dec 24, prior to receiving his commission. He is not, therefore, considered to have been an actual member of the court.

Before 1981, the approval process of justices was usually rapid. From the Truman through Nixon administrations, justices were typically approved within one month. From the Reagan administration to the present, however, the process has taken much longer. Some believe this is because Congress sees justices as playing a more political role than in the past.[82] According to the Congressional Research Service, the average number of days from nomination to final Senate vote since 1975 is 67 days (2.2 months), while the median is 71 days (or 2.3 months).[83][84]

Recess appointments

When the Senate is in recess, a president may make temporary appointments to fill vacancies. Recess appointees hold office only until the end of the next Senate session (less than two years). The Senate must confirm the nominee for them to continue serving; of the two chief justices and eleven associate justices who have received recess appointments, only Chief Justice John Rutledge was not subsequently confirmed.[85]

No president since Dwight D. Eisenhower has made a recess appointment to the Court, and the practice has become rare and controversial even in lower federal courts.[86] In 1960, after Eisenhower had made three such appointments, the Senate passed a “sense of the Senate” resolution that recess appointments to the Court should only be made in “unusual circumstances.”[87] Such resolutions are not legally binding but are an expression of Congress’s views in the hope of guiding executive action.[87][88]

The Supreme Court’s 2014 decision in National Labor Relations Board v. Noel Canning limited the ability of the President to make recess appointments (including appointments to the Supreme Court), ruling that the Senate decides when the Senate is in session (or in recess). Writing for the Court, Justice Breyer stated, “We hold that, for purposes of the Recess Appointments Clause, the Senate is in session when it says it is, provided that, under its own rules, it retains the capacity to transact Senate business.”[89] This ruling allows the Senate to prevent recess appointments through the use of pro-forma sessions.[90]

Tenure

The Constitution provides that justices “shall hold their offices during good behavior” (unless appointed during a Senate recess). The term “good behavior” is understood to mean justices may serve for the remainder of their lives, unless they are impeached and convictedby Congress, resign, or retire.[91] Only one justice has been impeached by the House of Representatives (Samuel Chase, March 1804), but he was acquitted in the Senate (March 1805).[92] Moves to impeach sitting justices have occurred more recently (for example, William O. Douglas was the subject of hearings twice, in 1953 and again in 1970; and Abe Fortas resigned while hearings were being organized in 1969), but they did not reach a vote in the House. No mechanism exists for removing a justice who is permanently incapacitated by illness or injury, but unable (or unwilling) to resign.[93]

Because justices have indefinite tenure, timing of vacancies can be unpredictable. Sometimes vacancies arise in quick succession, as in the early 1970s when Lewis Franklin Powell, Jr. and William Rehnquist were nominated to replace Hugo Black and John Marshall Harlan II, who retired within a week of each other. Sometimes a great length of time passes between nominations, such as the eleven years between Stephen Breyer‘s nomination in 1994 to succeed Harry Blackmun and the nomination of John Roberts in 2005 to fill the seat of Sandra Day O’Connor (though Roberts’ nomination was withdrawn and resubmitted for the role of Chief Justice after Rehnquist died).

Despite the variability, all but four presidents have been able to appoint at least one justice. William Henry Harrison died a month after taking office, though his successor (John Tyler) made an appointment during that presidential term. Likewise, Zachary Taylor died 16 months after taking office, but his successor (Millard Fillmore) also made a Supreme Court nomination before the end of that term. Andrew Johnson, who became president after the assassination of Abraham Lincoln, was denied the opportunity to appoint a justice by a reduction in the size of the CourtJimmy Carter is the only person elected president to have left office after at least one full term without having the opportunity to appoint a justice. Somewhat similarly, presidents James MonroeFranklin D. Roosevelt, and George W. Busheach served a full term without an opportunity to appoint a justice, but made appointments during their subsequent terms in office. No president who has served more than one full term has gone without at least one opportunity to make an appointment.

Three presidents have appointed justices who together served more than a century. Andrew JacksonAbraham Lincoln, and Franklin D. Roosevelt.[94]

Membership

Current justices

The court is currently filled with nine Justices. The most recent justice to join the court was Neil Gorsuch, who was nominated by President Donald Trump on January 31, 2017, and confirmed on April 7, 2017, by the U.S. Senate. Justice Anthony Kennedy announced his intention to retire effective July 31, 2018, on the last day of the October 2017 term.[95]

Name Birth Appointed by Senate confirmation vote Age at appointment Current age First day /
Length of service
Previous positions Succeeded
RobertsJohn Roberts
(Chief Justice)
January 27, 1955
Buffalo, New York
George W. Bush 78–22 50 63 September 29, 2005
12 years, 8 months
Circuit Judge, Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit (2003–2005);
Principal Deputy Solicitor General (1989–1993);
Associate Counsel to the President (1982–1986)
William Rehnquist
KennedyAnthony Kennedy July 23, 1936
Sacramento, California
Ronald Reagan 97–0 51 81 February 18, 1988
30 years, 4 months
Circuit Judge, Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit (1975–1988);
Private practice (1963–1975)
Lewis Powell
ThomasClarence Thomas June 23, 1948
Pin Point, Georgia
George H. W. Bush 52–48 43 70 October 23, 1991
26 years, 8 months
Circuit Judge, Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit (1990–1991);
Chairman, Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (1982–1990);
Assistant Attorney General in Missouri under State Attorney General John Danforth(1974–1977)
Thurgood Marshall
GinsburgRuth Bader Ginsburg March 15, 1933
Brooklyn, New York
Bill Clinton 96–3 60 85 August 10, 1993
24 years, 10 months
Circuit Judge, Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit (1980–1993);
General Counsel, American Civil Liberties Union (1973–1980)
Byron White
BreyerStephen Breyer August 15, 1938
San Francisco, California
87–9 55 79 August 3, 1994
23 years, 10 months
Chief Judge, Court of Appeals for the First Circuit (1990–1994);
Circuit Judge, Court of Appeals for the First Circuit (1980–1990)
Harry Blackmun
AlitoSamuel Alito April 1, 1950
Trenton, New Jersey
George W. Bush 58–42 55 68 January 31, 2006
12 years, 4 months
Circuit Judge, Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit (1990–2006);
U.S. Attorney for the District of New Jersey (1987–1990);
Deputy Assistant Attorney General (1985–1987);
Assistant to the Solicitor General (1981–1985)
Sandra Day O’Connor
SotomayorSonia Sotomayor June 25, 1954
The Bronx, New York
Barack Obama 68–31 55 64 August 8, 2009
8 years, 10 months
Circuit Judge, Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit (1998–2009);
District Judge, District Court for the Southern District of New York (1992–1998)
David Souter
KaganElena Kagan April 28, 1960
Manhattan, New York
63–37 50 58 August 7, 2010
7 years, 10 months
Solicitor General of the United States (2009–2010);
Dean of Harvard Law School (2003–2009);
Associate White House Counsel (1995–1999);
Deputy Director of the Domestic Policy Council (1995–1999);
John Paul Stevens
GorsuchNeil Gorsuch August 29, 1967
Denver, Colorado
Donald Trump 54–45 49 50 April 10, 2017
1 year, 2 months
Circuit Judge, Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit (2006–2017);
Principal Deputy Associate Attorney General and Acting Associate Attorney General(2005–2006);
Antonin Scalia

Court demographics

The Court currently has six male and three female justices. Among the nine justices, there is one African-American (Justice Thomas) and one Hispanic (Justice Sotomayor). Two of the justices were born to at least one immigrant parent: Justice Alito’s parents were born in Italy,[96][97] and Justice Ginsburg’s father was born in Russia.[98] At least five justices are Roman Catholics and three are Jewish; it is unclear whether Neil Gorsuch considers himself a Catholic or an Episcopalian.[99] The average age is 67 years and 4 months. Every current justice has an Ivy League background.[100] Four justices are from the state of New York, two from California, one from New Jersey, one from Georgia, and one from Colorado.[101] In the 19th century, every justice was a man of European descent (usually Northern European), and almost always Protestant. Concerns about diversity focused on geography, to represent all regions of the country, rather than religious, ethnic, or gender diversity.[102]

Most justices have been Protestants, including 36 Episcopalians, 19 Presbyterians, 10 Unitarians, 5 Methodists, and 3 Baptists.[103][104] The first Catholic justice was Roger Taney in 1836,[105] and 1916 saw the appointment of the first Jewish justice, Louis Brandeis.[106]Several Catholic and Jewish justices have since been appointed, and in recent years the situation has reversed. The Court currently has at least five Catholic justices, and three Jewish justices.[99]

Racial, ethnic, and gender diversity in the Court began to increase in the late 20th century. Thurgood Marshall became the first African American justice in 1967.[106] Sandra Day O’Connor became the first female justice in 1981.[106] Marshall was succeeded by African-American Clarence Thomas in 1991.[107] O’Connor was joined by Ruth Bader Ginsburg in 1993.[108] After O’Connor’s retirement Ginsburg was joined in 2009 by Sonia Sotomayor, the first Hispanic and Latina justice,[106] and in 2010 by Elena Kagan, for a total of four female justices in the Court’s history.[108]

There have been six foreign-born justices in the Court’s history: James Wilson (1789–1798), born in CaskardyScotlandJames Iredell (1790–1799), born in LewesEnglandWilliam Paterson (1793–1806), born in County AntrimIrelandDavid Brewer (1889–1910), born in SmyrnaTurkeyGeorge Sutherland (1922–1939), born in Buckinghamshire, England; and Felix Frankfurter (1939–1962), born in ViennaAustria.[106]

Retired justices

There are currently three living retired justices of the Supreme Court of the United States: John Paul StevensSandra Day O’Connor and David Souter. As retired justices, they no longer participate in the work of the Supreme Court, but may be designated for temporary assignments to sit on lower federal courts, usually the United States Courts of Appeals. Such assignments are formally made by the Chief Justice, on request of the chief judge of the lower court and with the consent of the retired justice. In recent years, Justice O’Connor has sat with several Courts of Appeals around the country, and Justice Souter has frequently sat on the First Circuit, the court of which he was briefly a member before joining the Supreme Court.

The status of a retired justice is analogous to that of a circuit or district court judge who has taken senior status, and eligibility of a supreme court justice to assume retired status (rather than simply resign from the bench) is governed by the same age and service criteria.

In recent times, justices tend to strategically plan their decisions to leave the bench with personal, institutional, ideological, partisan and sometimes even political factors playing a role.[109][110] The fear of mental decline and death often motivates justices to step down. The desire to maximize the Court’s strength and legitimacy through one retirement at a time, when the Court is in recess, and during non-presidential election years suggests a concern for institutional health. Finally, especially in recent decades, many justices have timed their departure to coincide with a philosophically compatible president holding office, to ensure that a like-minded successor would be appointed.[111][112]

Name Date of birth Appointed by Retired under Confirmation vote Age at appointment Current age First day Date of retirement Length of tenure
StevensJohn Paul Stevens April 20, 1920
ChicagoIllinois
Gerald Ford Barack Obama 98–0 55 98 December 19, 1975 June 29, 2010 (age 90) 34 years, 6 months and 10 days
O'ConnorSandra Day O’Connor March 26, 1930
El Paso, Texas
Ronald Reagan George W. Bush 99–0 51 88 September 25, 1981 January 31, 2006 (age 75) 24 years, 4 months and 6 days
SouterDavid Souter September 17, 1939
Melrose, Massachusetts
George H. W. Bush Barack Obama 90–9 51 78 October 9, 1990 June 29, 2009 (age 69) 18 years, 8 months and 20 days

Seniority and seating

Many of the internal operations of the Court are organized by seniority of justices; the chief justice is considered the most senior member of the court, regardless of the length of his or her service. The associate justices are then ranked by the length of their service.

The interior of the United States Supreme Court

The interior of the United States Supreme Court

During Court sessions, the justices sit according to seniority, with the Chief Justice in the center, and the Associate Justices on alternating sides, with the most senior Associate Justice on the Chief Justice’s immediate right, and the most junior Associate Justice seated on the left farthest away from the Chief Justice. Therefore, the current court sits as follows from left to right, from the perspective of those facing the Court: Kagan, Alito, Ginsburg, Kennedy (most senior Associate Justice), Roberts (Chief Justice), Thomas, Breyer, Sotomayor, and Gorsuch. In the official yearly Court photograph, justices are arranged similarly, with the five most senior members sitting in the front row in the same order as they would sit during Court sessions (The most recent photograph includes Ginsburg, Kennedy, Roberts, Thomas, Breyer), and the four most junior justices standing behind them, again in the same order as they would sit during Court sessions (Kagan, Alito, Sotomayor, Gorsuch).

In the justices’ private conferences, current practice is for them to speak and vote in order of seniority to begin with the chief justice first and end with the most junior associate justice. The most junior associate justice in these conferences is charged with any menial tasks the justices may require as they convene alone, such as answering the door of their conference room, serving beverages and transmitting orders of the court to the clerk.[113] Justice Joseph Story served the longest as junior justice, from February 3, 1812, to September 1, 1823, for a total of 4,228 days. Justice Stephen Breyer follows very closely behind serving from August 3, 1994, to January 31, 2006, for a total of 4,199 days.[114] Justice Elena Kagan comes in at a distant third serving from August 6, 2010, to April 10, 2017, for a total of 2,439 days.

Salary

As of 2018, associate justices are paid $255,300 and the chief justice $267,000.[115] Article III, Section 1 of the U.S. Constitution prohibits Congress from reducing the pay for incumbent justices. Once a justice meets age and service requirements, the justice may retire. Judicial pensions are based on the same formula used for federal employees, but a justice’s pension, as with other federal courts judges, can never be less than their salary at the time of retirement.

Judicial leanings

Although justices are nominated by the president in power, justices do not represent or receive official endorsements from political parties, as is accepted practice in the legislative and executive branches. Jurists are, however, informally categorized in legal and political circles as being judicial conservatives, moderates, or liberals. Such leanings, however, generally refer to legal outlook rather than a political or legislative one. The nominations of justices are endorsed by individual politicians in the legislative branch who vote their approval or disapproval of the nominated justice.

Following the confirmation of Neil Gorsuch in 2017, the Court consists of five justices appointed by Republican presidents and four appointed by Democratic presidents. It is popularly accepted that Chief Justice Roberts and associate justices ThomasAlito, and Gorsuch, appointed by Republican presidents, comprise the Court’s conservative wing. Justices GinsburgBreyerSotomayor and Kagan, appointed by Democratic presidents, comprise the Court’s liberal wing. Justice Kennedy, appointed by Republican president Reagan, is generally considered “a conservative who has occasionally voted with liberals”,[116] and up until Justice Scalia’s death, he was often the swing vote that determined the outcome of cases divided between the conservative and liberal wings.[117][118][119] Gorsuch had a track record as a reliably conservative judge in the 10th circuit.[120]

Tom Goldstein argued in an article in SCOTUSblog in 2010, that the popular view of the Supreme Court as sharply divided along ideological lines and each side pushing an agenda at every turn is “in significant part a caricature designed to fit certain preconceptions.”[121]He pointed out that in the 2009 term, almost half the cases were decided unanimously, and only about 20% were decided by a 5-to-4 vote. Barely one in ten cases involved the narrow liberal/conservative divide (fewer if the cases where Sotomayor recused herself are not included). He also pointed to several cases that defied the popular conception of the ideological lines of the Court.[122] Goldstein further argued that the large number of pro-criminal-defendant summary dismissals (usually cases where the justices decide that the lower courts significantly misapplied precedent and reverse the case without briefing or argument) were an illustration that the conservative justices had not been aggressively ideological. Likewise, Goldstein stated that the critique that the liberal justices are more likely to invalidate acts of Congress, show inadequate deference to the political process, and be disrespectful of precedent, also lacked merit: Thomas has most often called for overruling prior precedent (even if long standing) that he views as having been wrongly decided, and during the 2009 term Scalia and Thomas voted most often to invalidate legislation.

According to statistics compiled by SCOTUSblog, in the twelve terms from 2000 to 2011, an average of 19 of the opinions on major issues (22%) were decided by a 5–4 vote, with an average of 70% of those split opinions decided by a Court divided along the traditionally perceived ideological lines (about 15% of all opinions issued). Over that period, the conservative bloc has been in the majority about 62% of the time that the Court has divided along ideological lines, which represents about 44% of all the 5–4 decisions.[123]

In the October 2010 term, the Court decided 86 cases, including 75 signed opinions and 5 summary reversals (where the Court reverses a lower court without arguments and without issuing an opinion on the case).[124][125] Four were decided with unsigned opinions, two cases affirmed by an equally divided Court, and two cases were dismissed as improvidently granted. Justice Kagan recused herself from 26 of the cases due to her prior role as United States Solicitor General. Of the 80 cases, 38 (about 48%, the highest percentage since the October 2005 term) were decided unanimously (9–0 or 8–0), and 16 decisions were made by a 5–4 vote (about 20%, compared to 18% in the October 2009 term, and 29% in the October 2008 term).[126] However, in fourteen of the sixteen 5–4 decisions, the Court divided along the traditional ideological lines (with Ginsburg, Breyer, Sotomayor, and Kagan on the liberal side, and Roberts, Scalia, Thomas, and Alito on the conservative, and Kennedy providing the “swing vote”). This represents 87% of those 16 cases, the highest rate in the past 10 years. The conservative bloc, joined by Kennedy, formed the majority in 63% of the 5–4 decisions, the highest cohesion rate of that bloc in the Roberts Court.[124][127][128][129][130]

In the October 2011 term, the Court decided 75 cases. Of these, 33 (44%) were decided unanimously, and 15 (20%, the same percentage as in the previous term) were decided by a vote of 5–4. Of the latter 15, the Court divided along the perceived ideological lines 10 times with Justice Kennedy joining the conservative justices (Roberts, Scalia, Thomas and Alito) five times and with the liberal justices (Ginsburg, Breyer, Sotomayor and Kagan) five times.[123][131][132]

In the October 2012 term, the Court decided 78 cases. Five of them were decided in unsigned opinions. 38 out of the 78 decisions (representing 49% of the decisions) were unanimous in judgement, with 24 decisions being completely unanimous (a single opinion with every justice that participated joining it). This was the largest percentage of unanimous decisions that the Court had in ten years, since the October 2002 term (when 51% of the decisions handed down were unanimous). The Court split 5–4 in 23 cases (29% of the total); of these, 16 broke down along the traditionally perceived ideological lines, with Chief Justice Roberts and Justices Scalia, Thomas, and Alito on one side, Justices Ginsburg, Breyer, Sotomayor and Kagan on the other, and Justice Kennedy holding the balance. Of these 16 cases, Justice Kennedy sided with the conservatives on 10 cases, and with the liberals on 6. Three cases were decided by an interesting alignment of justices, with Chief Justice Roberts joined by Justices Kennedy, Thomas, Breyer and Alito in the majority, with Justices Scalia, Ginsburg, Sotomayor, and Kagan in the minority. The greatest agreement between justices was between Ginsburg and Kagan, who agreed on 72 of the 75 (96%) cases, in which both voted; the lowest agreement between justices was between Ginsburg and Alito, who agreed only on 45 out of 77 (54%) cases, in which they both participated. Justice Kennedy was in the majority of 5–4 decisions on 20 out of 24 (83%) cases, and in 71 of 78 (91%) cases during the term, in line with his position as the “swing vote” of the Court.[133][134]

Facilities

The present U.S. Supreme Court building as viewed from the front

From the 1860s until the 1930s, the court sat in the Old Senate Chamber of the U.S. Capitol.

The Supreme Court first met on February 1, 1790, at the Merchants’ Exchange Building in New York City. When Philadelphia became the capital, the Court met briefly in Independence Hall before settling in Old City Hall from 1791 until 1800. After the government moved to Washington, D.C., the Court occupied various spaces in the United States Capitol building until 1935, when it moved into its own purpose-built home. The four-story building was designed by Cass Gilbert in a classical style sympathetic to the surrounding buildings of the Capitol and Library of Congress, and is clad in marble. The building includes the courtroom, justices’ chambers, an extensive law library, various meeting spaces, and auxiliary services including a gymnasium. The Supreme Court building is within the ambit of the Architect of the Capitol, but maintains its own police force separate from the Capitol Police.[135]

Located across First Street from the United States Capitol at One First Street NE and Maryland Avenue,[136][137] the building is open to the public from 9 am to 4:30 pm weekdays but closed on weekends and holidays.[136] Visitors may not tour the actual courtroom unaccompanied. There is a cafeteria, a gift shop, exhibits, and a half-hour informational film.[135] When the Court is not in session, lectures about the courtroom are held hourly from 9:30 am to 3:30 pm and reservations are not necessary.[135] When the Court is in session the public may attend oral arguments, which are held twice each morning (and sometimes afternoons) on Mondays, Tuesdays, and Wednesdays in two-week intervals from October through late April, with breaks during December and February. Visitors are seated on a first-come first-served basis. One estimate is there are about 250 seats available.[138] The number of open seats varies from case to case; for important cases, some visitors arrive the day before and wait through the night. From mid-May until the end of June, the court releases orders and opinions beginning at 10 am, and these 15 to 30-minute sessions are open to the public on a similar basis.[135] Supreme Court Police are available to answer questions.[136]

Jurisdiction

Inscription on the wall of the Supreme Court Building from Marbury v. Madison, in which Chief Justice John Marshall outlined the concept of judicial review

Congress is authorized by Article III of the federal Constitution to regulate the Supreme Court’s appellate jurisdiction. The Supreme Court has original and exclusive jurisdiction over cases between two or more states,[139] but may decline to hear such cases.[140] It also possesses original, but not exclusive, jurisdiction to hear “all actions or proceedings to which ambassadors, other public ministers, consuls, or vice consuls of foreign states are parties; all controversies between the United States and a State; and all actions or proceedings by a State against the citizens of another State or against aliens.”[141]

In 1906, the Court asserted its original jurisdiction to prosecute individuals for contempt of court in United States v. Shipp.[142] The resulting proceeding remains the only contempt proceeding and only criminal trial in the Court’s history.[143][144] The contempt proceeding arose from the lynching of Ed Johnson in ChattanoogaTennessee the evening after Justice John Marshall Harlan granted Johnson a stay of execution to allow his lawyers to file an appeal. Johnson was removed from his jail cell by a lynch mob—aided by the local sheriff who left the prison virtually unguarded—and hung from a bridge, after which a deputy sheriff pinned a note on Johnson’s body reading: “To Justice Harlan. Come get your nigger now.”[143] The local sheriff, John Shipp, cited the Supreme Court’s intervention as the rationale for the lynching. The Court appointed its deputy clerk as special master to preside over the trial in Chattanooga with closing arguments made in Washington before the Supreme Court justices, who found nine individuals guilty of contempt, sentencing three to 90 days in jail and the rest to 60 days in jail.[143][144][145]

In all other cases, however, the Court has only appellate jurisdiction, including the ability to issue writs of mandamus and writs of prohibition to lower courts. It considers cases based on its original jurisdiction very rarely; almost all cases are brought to the Supreme Court on appeal. In practice, the only original jurisdiction cases heard by the Court are disputes between two or more states.[citation needed]

The Court’s appellate jurisdiction consists of appeals from federal courts of appeal (through certioraricertiorari before judgment, and certified questions),[146] the United States Court of Appeals for the Armed Forces (through certiorari),[147] the Supreme Court of Puerto Rico (through certiorari),[148] the Supreme Court of the Virgin Islands (through certiorari),[149] the District of Columbia Court of Appeals (through certiorari),[150] and “final judgments or decrees rendered by the highest court of a State in which a decision could be had” (through certiorari).[150] In the last case, an appeal may be made to the Supreme Court from a lower state court if the state’s highest court declined to hear an appeal or lacks jurisdiction to hear an appeal. For example, a decision rendered by one of the Florida District Courts of Appeal can be appealed to the U.S. Supreme Court if (a) the Supreme Court of Florida declined to grant certiorari, e.g. Florida Star v. B. J. F., or (b) the district court of appeal issued a per curiam decision simply affirming the lower court’s decision without discussing the merits of the case, since the Supreme Court of Florida lacks jurisdiction to hear appeals of such decisions.[151] The power of the Supreme Court to consider appeals from state courts, rather than just federal courts, was created by the Judiciary Act of 1789 and upheld early in the Court’s history, by its rulings in Martin v. Hunter’s Lessee (1816) and Cohens v. Virginia (1821). The Supreme Court is the only federal court that has jurisdiction over direct appeals from state court decisions, although there are several devices that permit so-called “collateral review” of state cases. It has to be noted that this “collateral review” often only applies to individuals on death row and not through the regular judicial system.[152]

Since Article Three of the United States Constitution stipulates that federal courts may only entertain “cases” or “controversies”, the Supreme Court cannot decide cases that are moot and it does not render advisory opinions, as the supreme courts of some states may do. For example, in DeFunis v. Odegaard416 U.S. 312 (1974), the Court dismissed a lawsuit challenging the constitutionality of a law school affirmative action policy because the plaintiff student had graduated since he began the lawsuit, and a decision from the Court on his claim would not be able to redress any injury he had suffered. However, the Court recognizes some circumstances where it is appropriate to hear a case that is seemingly moot. If an issue is “capable of repetition yet evading review”, the Court will address it even though the party before the Court would not himself be made whole by a favorable result. In Roe v. Wade410 U.S. 113 (1973), and other abortion cases, the Court addresses the merits of claims pressed by pregnant women seeking abortions even if they are no longer pregnant because it takes longer than the typical human gestation period to appeal a case through the lower courts to the Supreme Court. Another mootness exception is voluntary cessation of unlawful conduct, in which the Court considers the probability of recurrence and plaintiff’s need for relief.[153]

Justices as circuit justices

The United States is divided into thirteen circuit courts of appeals, each of which is assigned a “circuit justice” from the Supreme Court. Although this concept has been in continuous existence throughout the history of the republic, its meaning has changed through time.

Under the Judiciary Act of 1789, each justice was required to “ride circuit”, or to travel within the assigned circuit and consider cases alongside local judges. This practice encountered opposition from many justices, who cited the difficulty of travel. Moreover, there was a potential for a conflict of interest on the Court if a justice had previously decided the same case while riding circuit. Circuit riding was abolished in 1891.

Today, the circuit justice for each circuit is responsible for dealing with certain types of applications that, under the Court’s rules, may be addressed by a single justice. These include applications for emergency stays (including stays of execution in death-penalty cases) and injunctions pursuant to the All Writs Act arising from cases within that circuit, as well as routine requests such as requests for extensions of time. In the past, circuit justices also sometimes ruled on motions for bail in criminal cases, writs of habeas corpus, and applications for writs of error granting permission to appeal. Ordinarily, a justice will resolve such an application by simply endorsing it “granted” or “denied” or entering a standard form of order. However, the justice may elect to write an opinion—referred to as an in-chambers opinion—in such matters if he or she wishes.

A circuit justice may sit as a judge on the Court of Appeals of that circuit, but over the past hundred years, this has rarely occurred. A circuit justice sitting with the Court of Appeals has seniority over the chief judge of the circuit.

The chief justice has traditionally been assigned to the District of Columbia Circuit, the Fourth Circuit (which includes Maryland and Virginia, the states surrounding the District of Columbia), and since it was established, the Federal Circuit. Each associate justice is assigned to one or two judicial circuits.

As of June 27, 2017, the allotment of the justices among the circuits is:[154]

Circuit Justice
District of Columbia Circuit Chief Justice Roberts
First Circuit Justice Breyer
Second Circuit Justice Ginsburg
Third Circuit Justice Alito
Fourth Circuit Chief Justice Roberts
Fifth Circuit Justice Alito
Sixth Circuit Justice Kagan
Seventh Circuit Justice Kagan
Eighth Circuit Justice Gorsuch
Ninth Circuit Justice Kennedy
Tenth Circuit Justice Sotomayor
Eleventh Circuit Justice Thomas
Federal Circuit Chief Justice Roberts

Four of the current justices are assigned to circuits on which they previously sat as circuit judges: Chief Justice Roberts (D.C. Circuit), Justice Breyer (First Circuit), Justice Alito (Third Circuit), and Justice Kennedy (Ninth Circuit).

Process

A term of the Supreme Court commences on the first Monday of each October, and continues until June or early July of the following year. Each term consists of alternating periods of around two weeks known as “sittings” and “recesses.” Justices hear cases and deliver rulings during sittings; they discuss cases and write opinions during recesses.

Case selection

Nearly all cases come before the court by way of petitions for writs of certiorari, commonly referred to as “cert”. The Court may review any case in the federal courts of appeals “by writ of certiorari granted upon the petition of any party to any civil or criminal case.”[155]Court may only review “final judgments rendered by the highest court of a state in which a decision could be had” if those judgments involve a question of federal statutory or constitutional law.[156] The party that appealed to the Court is the petitioner and the non-mover is the respondent. All case names before the Court are styled petitioner v. respondent, regardless of which party initiated the lawsuit in the trial court. For example, criminal prosecutions are brought in the name of the state and against an individual, as in State of Arizona v. Ernesto Miranda. If the defendant is convicted, and his conviction then is affirmed on appeal in the state supreme court, when he petitions for cert the name of the case becomes Miranda v. Arizona.

There are situations where the Court has original jurisdiction, such as when two states have a dispute against each other, or when there is a dispute between the United States and a state. In such instances, a case is filed with the Supreme Court directly. Examples of such cases include United States v. Texas, a case to determine whether a parcel of land belonged to the United States or to Texas, and Virginia v. Tennessee, a case turning on whether an incorrectly drawn boundary between two states can be changed by a state court, and whether the setting of the correct boundary requires Congressional approval. Although it has not happened since 1794 in the case of Georgia v. Brailsford,[157] parties in an action at law in which the Supreme Court has original jurisdiction may request that a jurydetermine issues of fact.[158] Two other original jurisdiction cases involve colonial era borders and rights under navigable waters in New Jersey v. Delaware, and water rights between riparian states upstream of navigable waters in Kansas v. Colorado.

A cert petition is voted on at a session of the court called a conference. A conference is a private meeting of the nine Justices by themselves; the public and the Justices’ clerks are excluded. The rule of four permits four of the nine justices to grant a writ of certiorari. If it is granted, the case proceeds to the briefing stage; otherwise, the case ends. Except in death penalty cases and other cases in which the Court orders briefing from the respondent, the respondent may, but is not required to, file a response to the cert petition.

The court grants a petition for cert only for “compelling reasons”, spelled out in the court’s Rule 10. Such reasons include:

  • Resolving a conflict in the interpretation of a federal law or a provision of the federal Constitution
  • Correcting an egregious departure from the accepted and usual course of judicial proceedings
  • Resolving an important question of federal law, or to expressly review a decision of a lower court that conflicts directly with a previous decision of the Court.

When a conflict of interpretations arises from differing interpretations of the same law or constitutional provision issued by different federal circuit courts of appeals, lawyers call this situation a “circuit split.” If the court votes to deny a cert petition, as it does in the vast majority of such petitions that come before it, it does so typically without comment. A denial of a cert petition is not a judgment on the merits of a case, and the decision of the lower court stands as the final ruling in the case.

To manage the high volume of cert petitions received by the Court each year (of the more than 7,000 petitions the Court receives each year, it will usually request briefing and hear oral argument in 100 or fewer), the Court employs an internal case management tool known as the “cert pool.” Currently, all justices except for Justices Alito and Gorsuch participate in the cert pool.[159][160][161] [162]

Oral argument

When the Court grants a cert petition, the case is set for oral argument. Both parties will file briefs on the merits of the case, as distinct from the reasons they may have argued for granting or denying the cert petition. With the consent of the parties or approval of the Court, amici curiae, or “friends of the court”, may also file briefs. The Court holds two-week oral argument sessions each month from October through April. Each side has thirty minutes to present its argument (the Court may choose to give more time, though this is rare),[163]and during that time, the Justices may interrupt the advocate and ask questions. The petitioner gives the first presentation, and may reserve some time to rebut the respondent’s arguments after the respondent has concluded. Amici curiae may also present oral argument on behalf of one party if that party agrees. The Court advises counsel to assume that the Justices are familiar with and have read the briefs filed in a case.

Supreme Court bar

In order to plead before the court, an attorney must first be admitted to the court’s bar. Approximately 4,000 lawyers join the bar each year. The bar contains an estimated 230,000 members. In reality, pleading is limited to several hundred attorneys. The rest join for a one-time fee of $200, earning the court about $750,000 annually. Attorneys can be admitted as either individuals or as groups. The group admission is held before the current justices of the Supreme Court, wherein the Chief Justice approves a motion to admit the new attorneys.[164] Lawyers commonly apply for the cosmetic value of a certificate to display in their office or on their resume. They also receive access to better seating if they wish to attend an oral argument.[165] Members of the Supreme Court Bar are also granted access to the collections of the Supreme Court Library.[166]

Decision

At the conclusion of oral argument, the case is submitted for decision. Cases are decided by majority vote of the Justices. It is the Court’s practice to issue decisions in all cases argued in a particular Term by the end of that Term. Within that Term, however, the Court is under no obligation to release a decision within any set time after oral argument. At the conclusion of oral argument, the Justices retire to another conference at which the preliminary votes are tallied, and the most senior Justice in the majority assigns the initial draft of the Court’s opinion to a Justice on his or her side. Drafts of the Court’s opinion, as well as any concurring or dissenting opinions,[167] circulate among the Justices until the Court is prepared to announce the judgment in a particular case. Since recording devices are banned inside the courtroom of the United States Supreme Court Building, the delivery of the decision to the media is done via paper copies and is known as the Running of the Interns.[168][169]

It is possible that, through recusals or vacancies, the Court divides evenly on a case. If that occurs, then the decision of the court below is affirmed, but does not establish binding precedent. In effect, it results in a return to the status quo ante. For a case to be heard, there must be a quorum of at least six justices.[170] If a quorum is not available to hear a case and a majority of qualified justices believes that the case cannot be heard and determined in the next term, then the judgment of the court below is affirmed as if the Court had been evenly divided. For cases brought to the Supreme Court by direct appeal from a United States District Court, the Chief Justice may order the case remanded to the appropriate U.S. Court of Appeals for a final decision there.[171] This has only occurred once in U.S. history, in the case of United States v. Alcoa (1945).[172]

Published opinions

The Court’s opinions are published in three stages. First, a slip opinion is made available on the Court’s web site and through other outlets. Next, several opinions and lists of the court’s orders are bound together in paperback form, called a preliminary print of United States Reports, the official series of books in which the final version of the Court’s opinions appears. About a year after the preliminary prints are issued, a final bound volume of U.S. Reports is issued. The individual volumes of U.S. Reports are numbered so that users may cite this set of reports—or a competing version published by another commercial legal publisher but containing parallel citations—to allow those who read their pleadings and other briefs to find the cases quickly and easily.

As of the beginning of October 2016 term, there are:

  • 564 final bound volumes of U.S. Reports, covering cases through the end of October 2010 term, which ended on September 28, 2011.[173]
  • 16 volumes’ worth of opinions available in slip opinion form (volumes 565–580)[174]

As of March 2012, the U.S. Reports have published a total of 30,161 Supreme Court opinions, covering the decisions handed down from February 1790 to March 2012.[citation needed] This figure does not reflect the number of cases the Court has taken up, as several cases can be addressed by a single opinion (see, for example, Parents v. Seattle, where Meredith v. Jefferson County Board of Education was also decided in the same opinion; by a similar logic, Miranda v. Arizona actually decided not only Miranda but also three other cases: Vignera v. New YorkWestover v. United States, and California v. Stewart). A more unusual example is The Telephone Cases, which comprise a single set of interlinked opinions that take up the entire 126th volume of the U.S. Reports.

Opinions are also collected and published in two unofficial, parallel reporters: Supreme Court Reporter, published by West (now a part of Thomson Reuters), and United States Supreme Court Reports, Lawyers’ Edition (simply known as Lawyers’ Edition), published by LexisNexis. In court documents, legal periodicals and other legal media, case citations generally contain cites from each of the three reporters; for example, citation to Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission is presented as Citizens United v. Federal Election Com’n, 585 U.S. 50, 130 S. Ct. 876, 175 L. Ed. 2d 753 (2010), with “S. Ct.” representing the Supreme Court Reporter, and “L. Ed.” representing the Lawyers’ Edition.[175][176]

Citations to published opinions

Lawyers use an abbreviated format to cite cases, in the form “vol U.S. pagepin (year)”, where vol is the volume number, page is the page number on which the opinion begins, and year is the year in which the case was decided. Optionally, pin is used to “pinpoint” to a specific page number within the opinion. For instance, the citation for Roe v. Wade is 410 U.S. 113 (1973), which means the case was decided in 1973 and appears on page 113 of volume 410 of U.S. Reports. For opinions or orders that have not yet been published in the preliminary print, the volume and page numbers may be replaced with “___”.

Institutional powers and constraints

The Federal court system and the judicial authority to interpret the Constitution received little attention in the debates over the drafting and ratification of the Constitution. The power of judicial review, in fact, is nowhere mentioned in it. Over the ensuing years, the question of whether the power of judicial review was even intended by the drafters of the Constitution was quickly frustrated by the lack of evidence bearing on the question either way.[177] Nevertheless, the power of judiciary to overturn laws and executive actions it determines are unlawful or unconstitutional is a well-established precedent. Many of the Founding Fathers accepted the notion of judicial review; in Federalist No. 78Alexander Hamilton wrote: “A Constitution is, in fact, and must be regarded by the judges, as a fundamental law. It therefore belongs to them to ascertain its meaning, as well as the meaning of any particular act proceeding from the legislative body. If there should happen to be an irreconcilable variance between the two, that which has the superior obligation and validity ought, of course, to be preferred; or, in other words, the Constitution ought to be preferred to the statute.”

The Supreme Court firmly established its power to declare laws unconstitutional in Marbury v. Madison (1803), consummating the American system of checks and balances. In explaining the power of judicial review, Chief Justice John Marshall stated that the authority to interpret the law was the particular province of the courts, part of the duty of the judicial department to say what the law is. His contention was not that the Court had privileged insight into constitutional requirements, but that it was the constitutional duty of the judiciary, as well as the other branches of government, to read and obey the dictates of the Constitution.[177]

Since the founding of the republic, there has been a tension between the practice of judicial review and the democratic ideals of egalitarianism, self-government, self-determination and freedom of conscience. At one pole are those who view the Federal Judiciary and especially the Supreme Court as being “the most separated and least checked of all branches of government.”[178] Indeed, federal judges and justices on the Supreme Court are not required to stand for election by virtue of their tenure “during good behavior”, and their pay may “not be diminished” while they hold their position (Section 1 of Article Three). Though subject to the process of impeachment, only one Justice has ever been impeached and no Supreme Court Justice has been removed from office. At the other pole are those who view the judiciary as the least dangerous branch, with little ability to resist the exhortations of the other branches of government.[177] The Supreme Court, it is noted, cannot directly enforce its rulings; instead, it relies on respect for the Constitution and for the law for adherence to its judgments. One notable instance of nonacquiescence came in 1832, when the state of Georgia ignored the Supreme Court’s decision in Worcester v. Georgia. President Andrew Jackson, who sided with the Georgia courts, is supposed to have remarked, “John Marshall has made his decision; now let him enforce it!”;[179] however, this alleged quotation has been disputed. Some state governments in the South also resisted the desegregation of public schools after the 1954 judgment Brown v. Board of Education. More recently, many feared that President Nixon would refuse to comply with the Court’s order in United States v. Nixon (1974) to surrender the Watergate tapes. Nixon, however, ultimately complied with the Supreme Court’s ruling.

Supreme Court decisions can be (and have been) purposefully overturned by constitutional amendment, which has happened on five occasions:

When the Court rules on matters involving the interpretation of laws rather than of the Constitution, simple legislative action can reverse the decisions (for example, in 2009 Congress passed the Lilly Ledbetter act, superseding the limitations given in Ledbetter v. Goodyear Tire & Rubber Co. in 2007). Also, the Supreme Court is not immune from political and institutional consideration: lower federal courts and state courts sometimes resist doctrinal innovations, as do law enforcement officials.[180]

In addition, the other two branches can restrain the Court through other mechanisms. Congress can increase the number of justices, giving the President power to influence future decisions by appointments (as in Roosevelt’s Court Packing Plan discussed above). Congress can pass legislation that restricts the jurisdiction of the Supreme Court and other federal courts over certain topics and cases: this is suggested by language in Section 2 of Article Three, where the appellate jurisdiction is granted “with such Exceptions, and under such Regulations as the Congress shall make.” The Court sanctioned such congressional action in the Reconstruction case ex parte McCardle (1869), though it rejected Congress’ power to dictate how particular cases must be decided in United States v. Klein(1871).

On the other hand, through its power of judicial review, the Supreme Court has defined the scope and nature of the powers and separation between the legislative and executive branches of the federal government; for example, in United States v. Curtiss-Wright Export Corp. (1936), Dames & Moore v. Regan (1981), and notably in Goldwater v. Carter (1979), (where it effectively gave the Presidency the power to terminate ratified treaties without the consent of Congress or the Senate). The Court’s decisions can also impose limitations on the scope of Executive authority, as in Humphrey’s Executor v. United States (1935), the Steel Seizure Case (1952), and United States v. Nixon (1974).

Law clerks

Each Supreme Court justice hires several law Clerks to review petitions for writ of certiorariresearch them, prepare bench memorandums, and draft opinions. Associate justices are allowed four clerks. The chief justice is allowed five clerks, but Chief Justice Rehnquist hired only three per year, and Chief Justice Roberts usually hires only four.[181] Generally, law clerks serve a term of one to two years.

The first law clerk was hired by Associate Justice Horace Gray in 1882.[181][182] Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr. and Louis Brandeis were the first Supreme Court justices to use recent law school graduates as clerks, rather than hiring a “stenographer-secretary”.[183] Most law clerks are recent law school graduates.

The first female clerk was Lucile Lomen, hired in 1944 by Justice William O. Douglas.[181] The first African-American, William T. Coleman, Jr., was hired in 1948 by Justice Felix Frankfurter.[181] A disproportionately large number of law clerks have obtained law degrees from elite law schools, especially Harvard, Yale, the University of Chicago, Columbia, and Stanford. From 1882 to 1940, 62% of law clerks were graduates of Harvard Law School.[181] Those chosen to be Supreme Court law clerks usually have graduated in the top of their law school class and were often an editor of the law review or a member of the moot court board. By the mid-1970s, clerking previously for a judge in a federal court of appeals had also become a prerequisite to clerking for a Supreme Court justice.[184]

Seven Supreme Court justices previously clerked for other justices: Byron White for Frederick M. VinsonJohn Paul Stevens for Wiley RutledgeWilliam Rehnquist for Robert H. JacksonStephen Breyer for Arthur GoldbergJohn Roberts for William RehnquistElena Kagan for Thurgood Marshall and Neil Gorsuch for both Byron White and Anthony Kennedy. Gorsuch is the first justice to serve alongside a justice for whom he or she clerked.

Several current Supreme Court justices have also clerked in the federal courts of appeals: John Roberts for Judge Henry Friendly of the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit, Justice Samuel Alito for Judge Leonard I. Garth of the United States Court of Appeals for the Third CircuitElena Kagan for Judge Abner J. Mikva of the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit, and Neil Gorsuch for Judge David B. Sentelle of the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia.

Politicization of the Court

Clerks hired by each of the justices of the Supreme Court are often given considerable leeway in the opinions they draft. “Supreme Court clerkship appeared to be a nonpartisan institution from the 1940s into the 1980s”, according to a study published in 2009 by the law review of Vanderbilt University Law School.[185][186] “As law has moved closer to mere politics, political affiliations have naturally and predictably become proxies for the different political agendas that have been pressed in and through the courts”, former federal court of appeals judge J. Michael Luttig said.[185] David J. Garrow, professor of history at the University of Cambridge, stated that the Court had thus begun to mirror the political branches of government. “We are getting a composition of the clerk workforce that is getting to be like the House of Representatives”, Professor Garrow said. “Each side is putting forward only ideological purists.”[185]

According to the Vanderbilt Law Review study, this politicized hiring trend reinforces the impression that the Supreme Court is “a superlegislature responding to ideological arguments rather than a legal institution responding to concerns grounded in the rule of law.”[185] A poll conducted in June 2012 by The New York Times and CBS News showed just 44% of Americans approve of the job the Supreme Court is doing. Three-quarters said justices’ decisions are sometimes influenced by their political or personal views.[187]

Criticism

The court has been the object of criticisms on a range of issues. Among them:

Judicial activism

The Supreme Court has been criticized for not keeping within Constitutional bounds by engaging in judicial activism, rather than merely interpreting law and exercising judicial restraint. Claims of judicial activism are not confined to any particular ideology.[188] An often cited example of conservative judicial activism is the 1905 decision in Lochner v. New York, which has been criticized by many prominent thinkers, including Robert Bork, Justice Antonin Scalia, and Chief Justice John Roberts,[188][189] and which was reversed in the 1930s.[190][191][192] An often cited example of liberal judicial activism is Roe v. Wade (1973), which legalized abortion in part on the basis of the “right to privacy” inferred from the Fourteenth Amendment, a reasoning that some critics argued was circuitous.[188] Legal scholars,[193][194] justices,[195] and presidential candidates[196] have criticized the Roe decision. The progressive Brown v. Board of Education decision has been criticized by conservatives such as Patrick Buchanan[197] and former presidential contender Barry Goldwater.[198] More recently, Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission was criticized for expanding upon the precedent in First National Bank of Boston v. Bellotti (1978) that the First Amendment applies to corporations.[199] Lincoln warned, referring to the Dred Scott decision, that if government policy became “irrevocably fixed by decisions of the Supreme Court…the people will have ceased to be their own rulers.”[200] Former justice Thurgood Marshall justified judicial activism with these words: “You do what you think is right and let the law catch up.”[201] During different historical periods, the Court has leaned in different directions.[202][203] Critics from both sides complain that activist-judges abandon the Constitution and substitute their own views instead.[204][205][206] Critics include writers such as Andrew Napolitano,[207] Phyllis Schlafly,[208] Mark R. Levin,[209] Mark I. Sutherland,[210] and James MacGregor Burns.[211][212] Past presidents from both parties have attacked judicial activism, including Franklin D. Roosevelt, Richard Nixon, and Ronald Reagan.[213][214]Failed Supreme Court nominee Robert Bork wrote: “What judges have wrought is a coup d’état, – slow-moving and genteel, but a coup d’état nonetheless.”[215] Senator Al Franken quipped that when politicians talk about judicial activism, “their definition of an activist judge is one who votes differently than they would like.”[216] Brian Leiter wrote that “Given the complexity of the law and the complexity involved in saying what really happened in a given dispute, all judges, and especially those on the Supreme Court, often have to exercise a quasi-legislative power,” and “Supreme Court nominations are controversial because the court is a super-legislature, and because its moral and political judgments are controversial.”[217]

Failing to protect individual rights

Court decisions have been criticized for failing to protect individual rights: the Dred Scott (1857) decision upheld slavery;[218] Plessy v Ferguson (1896) upheld segregation under the doctrine of separate but equal;[219] Kelo v. City of New London (2005) was criticized by prominent politicians, including New Jersey governor Jon Corzine, as undermining property rights.[220][221] Some critics suggest the 2009 bench with a conservative majority has “become increasingly hostile to voters” by siding with Indiana’s voter identification laws which tend to “disenfranchise large numbers of people without driver’s licenses, especially poor and minority voters”, according to one report.[222] Senator Al Franken criticized the Court for “eroding individual rights.”[216] However, others argue that the Court is too protective of some individual rights, particularly those of people accused of crimes or in detention. For example, Chief Justice Warren Burger was an outspoken critic of the exclusionary rule, and Justice Scalia criticized the Court’s decision in Boumediene v. Bush for being too protective of the rights of Guantanamo detainees, on the grounds that habeas corpus was “limited” to sovereign territory.[223]

Supreme Court has too much power

This criticism is related to complaints about judicial activism. George Will wrote that the Court has an “increasingly central role in American governance.”[224] It was criticized for intervening in bankruptcy proceedings regarding ailing carmaker Chrysler Corporation in 2009.[225] A reporter wrote that “Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg‘s intervention in the Chrysler bankruptcy” left open the “possibility of further judicial review” but argued overall that the intervention was a proper use of Supreme Court power to check the executive branch.[225]Warren E. Burger, before becoming Chief Justice, argued that since the Supreme Court has such “unreviewable power” it is likely to “self-indulge itself” and unlikely to “engage in dispassionate analysis”.[226] Larry Sabato wrote “excessive authority has accrued to the federal courts, especially the Supreme Court.”[227]

Courts are poor check on executive power

British constitutional scholar Adam Tomkins sees flaws in the American system of having courts (and specifically the Supreme Court) act as checks on the Executive and Legislative branches; he argues that because the courts must wait, sometimes for years, for cases to navigate their way through the system, their ability to restrain other branches is severely weakened.[228][229] In contrast, the Federal Constitutional Court of Germany for example, can directly declare a law unconstitutional upon request.

Federal versus state power

There has been debate throughout American history about the boundary between federal and state power. While Framers such as James Madison[230] and Alexander Hamilton[231] argued in The Federalist Papers that their then-proposed Constitution would not infringe on the power of state governments,[232][233][234][235] others argue that expansive federal power is good and consistent with the Framers’ wishes.[236] The Tenth Amendment to the United States Constitution explicitly grants “powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.” The Supreme Court has been criticized for giving the federal government too much power to interfere with state authority. One criticism is that it has allowed the federal government to misuse the Commerce Clause by upholding regulations and legislation which have little to do with interstate commerce, but that were enacted under the guise of regulating interstate commerce; and by voiding state legislation for allegedly interfering with interstate commerce. For example, the Commerce Clause was used by the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals to uphold the Endangered Species Act, thus protecting six endemic species of insect near Austin, Texas, despite the fact that the insects had no commercial value and did not travel across state lines; the Supreme Court let that ruling stand without comment in 2005.[237] Chief Justice John Marshall asserted Congress’s power over interstate commerce was “complete in itself, may be exercised to its utmost extent, and acknowledges no limitations, other than are prescribed in the Constitution.”[238] Justice Alito said congressional authority under the Commerce Clause is “quite broad.”[239] Modern day theorist Robert B. Reich suggests debate over the Commerce Clause continues today.[238] Advocates of states’ rights such as constitutional scholar Kevin Gutzman have also criticized the Court, saying it has misused the Fourteenth Amendment to undermine state authority. Justice Brandeis, in arguing for allowing the states to operate without federal interference, suggested that states should be laboratories of democracy.[240] One critic wrote “the great majority of Supreme Court rulings of unconstitutionality involve state, not federal, law.”[241] However, others see the Fourteenth Amendment as a positive force that extends “protection of those rights and guarantees to the state level.”[242]

Secretive proceedings

The Court has been criticized for keeping its deliberations hidden from public view.[243] According to a review of Jeffrey Toobin‘s expose The Nine: Inside the Secret World of the Supreme Court; “Its inner workings are difficult for reporters to cover, like a closed ‘cartel’, only revealing itself through ‘public events and printed releases, with nothing about its inner workings.’[244] The reviewer writes: “few (reporters) dig deeply into court affairs. It all works very neatly; the only ones hurt are the American people, who know little about nine individuals with enormous power over their lives.”[244] Larry Sabato complains about the Court’s “insularity.”[227] A Fairleigh Dickinson University poll conducted in 2010 found that 61% of American voters agreed that televising Court hearings would “be good for democracy”, and 50% of voters stated they would watch Court proceedings if they were televised.[245][246] In recent years, many justices have appeared on television, written books and made public statements to journalists.[247][248] In a 2009 interview on C-SPAN, journalists Joan Biskupic (of USA Today) and Lyle Denniston (of SCOTUSblog) argued that the Court is a “very open” institution with only the justices’ private conferences inaccessible to others.[247] In October 2010, the Court began the practice of posting on its website recordings and transcripts of oral arguments on the Friday after they occur.

Judicial interference in political disputes

Some Court decisions have been criticized for injecting the Court into the political arena, and deciding questions that are the purview of the other two branches of government. The Bush v. Gore decision, in which the Supreme Court intervened in the 2000 presidential election and effectively chose George W. Bush over Al Gore, has been criticized extensively, particularly by liberals.[244][249][250][251][252][253] Another example are Court decisions on apportionment and re-districting: in Baker v. Carr, the court decided it could rule on apportionment questions; Justice Frankfurter in a “scathing dissent” argued against the court wading into so-called political questions.[254]

Not choosing enough cases to review

Senator Arlen Specter said the Court should “decide more cases”.[216] On the other hand, although Justice Scalia acknowledged in a 2009 interview that the number of cases that the Court hears now is smaller today than when he first joined the Supreme Court, he also stated that he has not changed his standards for deciding whether to review a case, nor does he believe his colleagues have changed their standards. He attributed the high volume of cases in the late 1980s, at least in part, to an earlier flurry of new federal legislation that was making its way through the courts.[247]

Lifetime tenure

Critic Larry Sabato wrote: “The insularity of lifetime tenure, combined with the appointments of relatively young attorneys who give long service on the bench, produces senior judges representing the views of past generations better than views of the current day.”[227]Sanford Levinson has been critical of justices who stayed in office despite medical deterioration based on longevity.[255] James MacGregor Burns stated lifelong tenure has “produced a critical time lag, with the Supreme Court institutionally almost always behind the times.”[211] Proposals to solve these problems include term limits for justices, as proposed by Levinson[256] and Sabato[227][257] as well as a mandatory retirement age proposed by Richard Epstein,[258] among others.[259] However, others suggest lifetime tenure brings substantial benefits, such as impartiality and freedom from political pressure. Alexander Hamilton in Federalist 78 wrote “nothing can contribute so much to its firmness and independence as permanency in office.”[260]

Accepting gifts

The 21st century has seen increased scrutiny of justices accepting expensive gifts and travel. All of the members of the Roberts Court have accepted travel or gifts. Justice Scalia and others took dozens of expensive trips to exotic locations paid for by private donors.[261]Private events sponsored by partisan groups that are attended by both the justices and those who have an interest in their decisions have raised concerns about access and inappropriate communications.[262] Stephen Spaulding, the legal director at Common Cause, said: “There are fair questions raised by some of these trips about their commitment to being impartial.”[261]

See also

References

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

 

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The Pronk Pops Show 1079, May 17, 2018, Story 1: Investigate, Indict, Arrest, and Prosecute The Clinton Obama Democratic Criminal Conspirators To Subvert Trump Presidency: Clinton, Obama, Jarrett, Rice, Rhodes, Power, Clapper, Brennan, Lynch, Yates, Carlin, Comey, McCabe, Preistap, Strzok, Page and Accomplices — Betrayed Their Oath of Office To Preserve, Protect and Defend The United States Constitution, The American People and Election Process — Videos — Story 2: Secret Surveillance Spying Security State (S5) Abolishes Fourth Amendment With  National Security Agency and National Security Letters — Congress Does Nothing Fearing Secret Surveillance Spying Security State Disclosures By United States Intelligence Community (IC) — Videos — Story 3: President Trump Attacks MS-13 As Animals — Lying Lunatic Leftist Losers Defend MS -13 — All Humans Are Animals — MS-16 Members Are Violent Thugs — Videos

Posted on May 18, 2018. Filed under: Addiction, Addiction, American History, Applications, Barack H. Obama, Bill Clinton, Blogroll, Breaking News, Bribery, Bribes, Budgetary Policy, Cartoons, Central Intelligence Agency, Communications, Computers, Constitutional Law, Corruption, Countries, Crime, Cruise Missiles, Culture, Deep State, Defense Spending, Desertion, Donald J. Trump, Donald J. Trump, Donald J. Trump, Donald Trump, Drones, Economics, Education, Elections, Empires, Employment, Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and Department of Justice (DOJ), Fiscal Policy, Free Trade, Freedom of Speech, Government, Government Dependency, Government Spending, Hardware, High Crimes, Hillary Clinton, Hillary Clinton, Hillary Clinton, Hillary Clinton, Hillary Clinton, History, Human, Human Behavior, Illegal Immigration, Immigration, Impeachment, Independence, Investments, Iran Nuclear Weapons Deal, Islam, Israel, James Comey, Killing, Labor Economics, Language, Law, Legal Immigration, Life, Lying, Media, Mental Illness, Middle East, Mike Pence, Movies, National Interest, National Security Agency, Natural Gas, News, Nuclear Weapons, Obama, Oil, People, Philosophy, Photos, Politics, Polls, President Barack Obama, President Trump, Presidential Appointments, Public Corruption, Radio, Raymond Thomas Pronk, Religion, Republican Candidates For President 2016, Resources, Robert S. Mueller III, Rule of Law, Scandals, Science, Security, Senator Jeff Sessions, Servers, Sexual Harrasment, Social Networking, Social Science, Software, Spying, Success, Surveillance and Spying On American People, Tax Policy, Taxation, Taxes, Technology, Terrorism, Unemployment, United Kingdom, United States of America, Videos, Violence, Wall Street Journal, War, Wealth, Weapons, Wisdom | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

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Story 1: Investigate, Indict, Arrest, and Prosecute The Clinton Obama Democratic Criminal Conspirators To Subvert Trump Presidency: Clinton, Obama, Jarrett, Rice, Rhodes, Power, Clapper, Brennan, Holder, Lynch, Yates, Comey, McCabe, Strzok, Page and Accomplices — Betrayed Their Oath of Office To Preserve, Protect and Defend The United States Constitution, The American People and Election Process — Videos —

CIA Director Brennan set up Trump

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Rush Limbaugh Podcast Thursday – May 17, 2018

NYT: Russia probe code name inspired by Rolling Stones song

The New York Times reports that FBI agents started an investigation into Russian election interference and President Donald Trump’s 2016 campaign called “Crossfire Hurricane” just 100 days before Election Day.

NYT: How FBI’s Russia probe began

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#Trump Will Strike Down With Great Vengeance and Furious Anger Those Who Seek to Poison Our Republic

Why Mueller’s Witch Hunt Is Illegal, Unconstitutional and Crosses the Line

 

Trump: Report that Obama FBI spied on campaign could be ‘bigger than Watergate’

President Trump on Thursday touted a report saying the FBI under former President Obama spied on the Trump campaign during the 2016 presidential race, saying that the revelation could be “bigger than Watergate.”

“Wow, word seems to be coming out that the Obama FBI ‘SPIED ON THE TRUMP CAMPAIGN WITH AN IMBEDDED INFORMANT,'” the president tweeted in reference to a National Review report published last week.

“Andrew McCarthy says, ‘There’s probably no doubt that they had at least one confidential informant in the campaign.’ If so, this is bigger than Watergate!”

The report alleges that Obama-led agencies used their surveillance powers to monitor the Trump campaign.

This is not the first time that the Obama administration has been accused of spying on the Trump campaign.

Last year, Trump accused the former president of wiretapping Trump Tower shortly before the 2016 election.

“Terrible! Just found out that Obama had my ‘wires tapped,’ in Trump Tower just before victory. Nothing found. This is McCarthyism!” the president tweeted in March 2017.

Former White House press secretary Sean Spicer later walked back the president’s claim, saying he did not mean that Obama literally wiretapped Trump Tower.

“The president used the word ‘wiretap’ in quotes to mean broadly surveillance and other activities during that,” Spicer said. “There is no question that the Obama administration, that there were actions about surveillance and other activities that occurred in the 2016 elections.”

http://thehill.com/homenews/administration/388101-trump-report-that-obama-fbi-spied-on-campaign-could-be-bigger-than

10 Key Takeaways From The New York Times’ Error-Ridden Defense Of FBI Spying On Trump Campaign

It’s reasonable to assume that much of the new information in the New York Times report relates to leakers’ fears about information that will be coming out in the inspector general report.
Mollie Hemingway

By 

The New York Times published an article yesterday confirming the United States’ intelligence apparatus was used to spy on Donald Trump’s presidential campaign in 2016.

Here are a few quick takeaways.

1. FBI Officials Admit They Spied On Trump Campaign

The New York Times‘ story, headlined “Code Name Crossfire Hurricane: The Secret Origins of the Trump Investigation,” is a dry and gentle account of the FBI’s launch of extensive surveillance of affiliates of the Trump campaign. Whereas FBI officials and media enablers had previously downplayed claims that the Trump campaign had been surveiled, in this story we learn that it was more widespread than previously acknowledged:

The F.B.I. investigated four unidentified Trump campaign aides in those early months, congressional investigators revealed in February. The four men were Michael T. Flynn, Paul Manafort, Carter Page and Mr. Papadopoulos, current and former officials said…

The F.B.I. obtained phone records and other documents using national security letters — a secret type of subpoena — officials said. And at least one government informant met several times with Mr. Page and Mr. Papadopoulos, current and former officials said.

This is a stunning admission for those Americans worried that federal law enforcement and intelligence agencies might use their powers to surveil, leak against, and target Americans simply for their political views or affiliations. As Sean Davis wrote, “The most amazing aspect about this article is how blasé it is about the fact that the Obama admin was actively spying on four affiliates of a rival political campaign weeks before an election.”

The story says the FBI was worried that if it came out they were spying on Trump campaign it would “only reinforce his claims that the election was being rigged against him.” It is easy to understand how learning that the FBI was spying on one’s presidential campaign might reinforce claims of election-rigging.

2. Terrified About Looming Inspector General Report

People leak for a variety of reasons, including to inoculate themselves as much as they can. For example, only when the secret funders of Fusion GPS’s Russia-Trump-collusion dossier were about to be revealed was their identity leaked to friendly reporters in the Washington Post. In October of 2017 it was finally reported that the Clinton campaign and Democratic National Committee secretly paid for the Russia dossier, hiding the arrangement by funneling the money through a law firm.

The friendly reporters at the Washington Postwrote the story gently, full of reassuring quotes to downplay its significance. The information only came about because House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence Chairman Devin Nunes subpoenaed the bank records of Fusion GPS, over the objections of Democrats on the committee. Even in this Times story, Clinton’s secret funding was not mentioned.

Likewise, the admissions in this New York Times story are coming out now, years after selective leaks to compliant reporters, just before an inspector general report detailing some of these actions is slated to be released this month. In fact, the Wall Street Journalreported that people mentioned in the report are beginning to get previews of what it alleges. It’s reasonable to assume that much of the new information in the New York Times report relates to information that will be coming out in the inspector general report.

By working with friendly reporters, these leaking FBI officials can ensure the first story about their unprecedented spying on political opponents will downplay that spying and even attempt to justify it. Of note is the story’s claim that very few people even knew about the spying on the Trump campaign in 2016, which means the leakers for this story come from a relatively small pool of people.

3. Still No Evidence of Collusion With Russia

In paragraph 69 of the lengthy story, The New York Times takes itself to task for burying the lede in its October 31, 2016, story about the FBI not finding any proof of involvement with Russian election meddling.

The key fact of the article — that the F.B.I. had opened a broad investigation into possible links between the Russian government and the Trump campaign — was published in the 10th paragraph.

It is somewhat funny, then, to read what The New York Times buries in paragraph 70 of the story:

A year and a half later, no public evidence has surfaced connecting Mr. Trump’s advisers to the hacking or linking Mr. Trump himself to the Russian government’s disruptive efforts.

No evidence of collusion after two years of investigation with unlimited resources? You don’t say! What could that mean?

4. Four Trump Affiliates Spied On

Thanks to the work of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence and the Senate Judiciary Committee, Americans already learned that the FBI had secured a wiretap on Carter Page, a former Trump campaign official. That wiretap, which was renewed three times, was already controversial because it was secured in part through using the secretly funded opposition research document created by the Hillary Clinton campaign and Democratic National Committee. The secret court that grants the wiretap was not told about Hillary Clinton or the DNC when the government applied for the wiretap or its renewals.

Now we learn that it wasn’t just Page, but that the government was going after four campaign affiliates including the former campaign manager, the top foreign policy advisor, and a low-level advisor whose drunken claim supposedly launched the investigation into the campaign. The bureau says Trump’s top foreign policy advisor and future national security advisor — a published critic of Russia — was surveiled because he spoke at an event in Russia sponsored by Russia Today, a government-sponsored media outlet.

5. Wiretaps, National Security Letters, and At Least One Spy

The surveillance didn’t just include wiretaps, but also national security letters and at least one government informant to spy on the campaign.:

The F.B.I. obtained phone records and other documents using national security letters — a secret type of subpoena — officials said. And at least one government informant met several times with Mr. Page and Mr. Papadopoulos, current and former officials said. That has become a politically contentious point, with Mr. Trump’s allies questioning whether the F.B.I. was spying on the Trump campaign or trying to entrap campaign officials.

This paragraph is noteworthy for the way it describes spying on the campaign — “at least one government informant met several times with Mr. Page and Mr. Papadopoulos” — before suggesting that might not be spying. The definition of spying is to secretly collect information, so it’s not really in dispute whether a government informant fits the bill.

Despite two years of investigation and surveillance, none of these men have been charged with anything even approaching treasonous collusion with Russia to steal a U.S. election.

6. More Leaks About a Top-Secret Government Informant

The House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence recently subpoenaed information from the FBI and Department of Justice. They did not publicly reveal what information they sought, but the Department of Justice responded by claiming that they were being extorted by congressional oversight. Then they leaked that they couldn’t share the information because it would jeopardize the life of a government informant. They also waged a public relations battle against HPSCI Chairman Nunes and committee staff.

But far from holding the information close to the vest, the government has repeatedly leaked information about this informant, and even that it was information about an informant that was being sought by Congress. From leaks of personally identifying information to the Washington Post, we’ve learned that this source works with the FBI and CIA, and is a U.S. citizen.

In The New York Times, additional information about a government informant leaked, including that the source met with Papadopoulos and Page to collect information. The information on an alleged source in the Trump campaign is so sensitive they can’t give it to Congress, but they can leak it to friendly press outlets like the Post and Times. It’s an odd posture for the Justice Department to take.

It is unknown at this point whether the informants were specifically sent by a U.S. agency or global partner, or whether the sources voluntarily provided information to the U.S. government.

7. Ignorance of Basic Facts

One thing that is surprising about the story is how many errors it contains. The problems begin in the second sentence, which claims Peter Strzok and another FBI agent were sent to London. The New York Times reports that “[t]heir assignment, which has not been previously reported, was to meet the Australian ambassador, who had evidence that one of Donald J. Trump’s advisers knew in advance about Russian election meddling.”

Of course, it was previously reported that Strzok had a meeting with the Australian ambassador. He describes the embassy where the meeting took place as the longest continually staffed embassy in London. The ambassador was previously reported to have had some information about a Trump advisor saying he’d heard that Russia had Clinton’s emails.

Another New York Times error was the claim, repeated twice, that Page ‘had previously been recruited by Russian spies.’

It’s also inaccurate to say this was “election meddling,” necessarily. Clinton had deleted 30,000 emails that were housed on her private server even though she was being investigated for mishandling classified information. This could be viewed as destruction of evidence. She claimed the emails had to do with yoga.

FBI Director James Comey specifically downplayed for the public the bureau’s belief that foreign countries had access to these emails. There is no evidence that Russia or any other country had these emails, and they were not released during the campaign. To describe this legitimate national security threat as “election meddling” is insufficient to the very problem for which Clinton was being investigated.

The story claims, “News organizations did not publish Mr. Steele’s reports or reveal the F.B.I.’s interest in them until after Election Day.” That’s demonstrably untrue. Here’s an October 31, 2016, story headlined “A Veteran Spy Has Given the FBI Information Alleging a Russian Operation to Cultivate Donald Trump.” It is sourced entirely to Steele. In September, Yahoo News’ Michael Isikoff took a meeting with Steele then published “U.S. intel officials probe ties between Trump adviser and Kremlin” on September 23, 2016. That story was even used in the Foreign Intelligence Service Act application against Page.

The New York Times writes, “Crossfire Hurricane began exactly 100 days before the presidential election, but if agents were eager to investigate Mr. Trump’s campaign, as the president has suggested, the messages do not reveal it. ‘I cannot believe we are seriously looking at these allegations and the pervasive connections,’ Mr. Strzok wrote soon after returning from London.”

There are multiple problems with this claim. For one, Strzok wrote that text in all caps with obvious eagerness. As the Wall Street Journal noted months ago, “Mr. Strzok emphasized the seriousness with which he viewed the allegations in a message to Ms. Page on Aug. 11, just a few days before the ‘insurance’ text. ‘OMG I CANNOT BELIEVE WE ARE SERIOUSLY LOOKING AT THESE ALLEGATIONS AND THE PERVASIVE CONNECTIONS,’ he texted.”

For another, Strzok repeatedly talked about how important and time-sensitive he felt the investigation was. As Andrew McCarthy highlighted in his deep look at some of these texts, as Strzok prepared for his morning flight to London, he compared the investigations of Clinton and Trump by writing, “And damn this feels momentous. Because this matters. The other one did, too, but that was to ensure that we didn’t F something up. This matters because this MATTERS.”

Another New York Times error was the claim, repeated twice, that Page “had previously been recruited by Russian spies.” In fact, while Russian agents had tried to recruit him, they failed to do so, and Page spoke at length with the FBI about the attempt before the agents were arrested or kicked out of the country.

The New York Times falsely reported that “Mr. Comey met with Mr. Trump privately, revealing the Steele reports and warning that journalists had obtained them.” Comey has told multiple journalists that he specifically did not brief Trump on the Steele reports. He didn’t tell Trump there were reports, or who funded them. He didn’t tell him about the claims in the reports that the campaign was compromised. He only told him that there was a rumor Trump had paid prostitutes to urinate on a Moscow hotel bed that the Obamas had once slept in.

The story also repeats long-debunked claims about the Republican platform and Ukraine.

8. Insurance: How Does It Work?

The story reminds readers that Strzok once texted Page “I want to believe the path you threw out for consideration in Andy’s office — that there’s no way he gets elected, but I’m afraid we can’t take that risk. It’s like an insurance policy in the unlikely event you die before you’re 40.” The article says Trump thought this “insurance policy” referred to a plan to respond to the unlikely event of a Trump victory. It goes on:

But officials have told the inspector general something quite different. They said Ms. Page and others advocated a slower, circumspect pace, especially because polls predicted Mr. Trump’s defeat. They said that anything the F.B.I. did publicly would only give fodder to Mr. Trump’s claims on the campaign trail that the election was rigged.

Mr. Strzok countered that even if Mr. Trump’s chances of victory were low — like dying before 40 — the stakes were too high to justify inaction.

It’s worth asking whether reporters understand how insurance works. As reader Matt noted, “The fundament intent of Insurance is ‘Indemnification.’ Restoring back to original condition prior to loss. Trump was the peril, MSM the adjuster & his impeachment, the policy limits.”

The article’s repeated claims that the FBI didn’t think Trump would win do not counter the notion that an “insurance policy” investigation was in the extremely rare case he might win. People don’t insure their property against fire damage because they expect it to happen so much as they can’t afford to fix things if it does happen.

9. Eavesdropping, Not Spying, And Other Friendly Claims

The story could not be friendlier to the FBI sources who are admitting what they did against the Trump campaign. A few examples:

“[P]rosecutors obtained court approval to eavesdrop on Mr. Page,” The New York Timeswrites, making the wiretapped spying on an American citizen sound almost downright pleasant. When Comey briefs Trump only on the rumor about the prostitutes and urination, we’re told “he feared making this conversation a ‘J. Edgar Hoover-type situation,’ with the F.B.I. presenting embarrassing information to lord over a president-elect.” Reporters don’t ask, much less answer, why someone fearing a J. Edgar Hoover-type situation would go out of his way to create an extreme caricature of a J. Edgar Hoover situation.

The story also claimed, “they kept details from political appointees across the street at the Justice Department,” before using controversial political appointee Sally Yates to claim that there was nothing worrisome. In fact, the subtext of the entire story is that the FBI showed good judgment in its handling of the spying in 2016. Unfortunately, the on-the-record source used to substantiate this claim is Yates.

Yates, who was in the news for claiming with a straight face that she thought Flynn had committed a Logan Act violation, is quoted as saying, “Folks are very, very careful and serious about that [FISA] process. I don’t know of anything that gives me any concerns.” If Yates, who had to be fired for refusing to do her job under Trump, tells you things are on the up and up, apparently you can take it to the bank.

10. Affirms Fears of Politicized Intelligence

This New York Times story may have been designed to inoculate the FBI against revelations coming out of the inspector general report, but the net result was to affirm the fears of many Americans who are worried that the U.S. government’s law enforcement and intelligence agencies abused their powers to surveil and target Americans simply for their political views and affiliations. The gathered information has been leaked to media for years, leading to damaged reputations, and the launch of limitless probes, but not any reason to believe that Trump colluded with Russia to steal an election.

Mollie Ziegler Hemingway is a senior editor at The Federalist. Follow her on Twitter at @mzhemingway

Code Name Crossfire Hurricane: The Secret Origins of the Trump Investigation

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Days after the F.B.I. closed its investigation into Hillary Clinton in 2016, agents began scrutinizing the presidential campaign of her Republican rival, Donald J. Trump.CreditAl Drago for The New York Times

WASHINGTON — Within hours of opening an investigation into the Trump campaign’s ties to Russia in the summer of 2016, the F.B.I. dispatched a pair of agents to London on a mission so secretive that all but a handful of officials were kept in the dark.

Their assignment, which has not been previously reported, was to meet the Australian ambassador, who had evidence that one of Donald J. Trump’s advisers knew in advance about Russian election meddling. After tense deliberations between Washington and Canberra, top Australian officials broke with diplomatic protocol and allowed the ambassador, Alexander Downer, to sit for an F.B.I. interview to describe his meeting with the campaign adviser, George Papadopoulos.

The agents summarized their highly unusual interview and sent word to Washington on Aug. 2, 2016, two days after the investigation was opened. Their report helped provide the foundation for a case that, a year ago Thursday, became the special counsel investigation. But at the time, a small group of F.B.I. officials knew it by its code name: Crossfire Hurricane.

The name, a reference to the Rolling Stones lyric “I was born in a crossfire hurricane,” was an apt prediction of a political storm that continues to tear shingles off the bureau. Days after they closed their investigation into Hillary Clinton’s use of a private email server, agents began scrutinizing the campaign of her Republican rival. The two cases have become inextricably linked in one of the most consequential periods in the history of the F.B.I.

 

[Read our briefing on secret government code names]

This month, the Justice Department inspector general is expected to release the findings of its lengthy review of the F.B.I.’s conduct in the Clinton case. The results are certain to renew debate over decisions by the F.B.I. director at the time, James B. Comey, to publicly chastise Mrs. Clinton in a news conference, and then announce the reopening of the investigation days before Election Day. Mrs. Clinton has said those actions buried her presidential hopes.

Those decisions stand in contrast to the F.B.I.’s handling of Crossfire Hurricane. Not only did agents in that case fall back to their typical policy of silence, but interviews with a dozen current and former government officials and a review of documents show that the F.B.I. was even more circumspect in that case than has been previously known. Many of the officials spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to discuss the investigation publicly.

Agents considered, then rejected, interviewing key Trump associates, which might have sped up the investigation but risked revealing the existence of the case. Top officials quickly became convinced that they would not solve the case before Election Day, which made them only more hesitant to act. When agents did take bold investigative steps, like interviewing the ambassador, they were shrouded in secrecy.

Fearful of leaks, they kept details from political appointees across the street at the Justice Department. Peter Strzok, a senior F.B.I. agent, explained in a text that Justice Department officials would find it too “tasty” to resist sharing. “I’m not worried about our side,” he wrote.

Only about five Justice Department officials knew the full scope of the case, officials said, not the dozen or more who might normally be briefed on a major national security case.

The facts, had they surfaced, might have devastated the Trump campaign: Mr. Trump’s future national security adviser was under investigation, as was his campaign chairman. One adviser appeared to have Russian intelligence contacts. Another was suspected of being a Russian agent himself.

In the Clinton case, Mr. Comey has said he erred on the side of transparency. But in the face of questions from Congress about the Trump campaign, the F.B.I. declined to tip its hand. And when The New York Times tried to assess the state of the investigation in October 2016, law enforcement officials cautioned against drawing any conclusions, resulting in a story that significantly played down the case.

Mr. Comey has said it is unfair to compare the Clinton case, which was winding down in the summer of 2016, with the Russia case, which was in its earliest stages. He said he did not make political considerations about who would benefit from each decision.

But underpinning both cases was one political calculation: that Mrs. Clinton would win and Mr. Trump would lose. Agents feared being seen as withholding information or going too easy on her. And they worried that any overt actions against Mr. Trump’s campaign would only reinforce his claims that the election was being rigged against him.

The F.B.I. now faces those very criticisms and more. Mr. Trump says he is the victim of a politicized F.B.I. He says senior agents tried to rig the election by declining to prosecute Mrs. Clinton, then drummed up the Russia investigation to undermine his presidency. He has declared that a deeply rooted cabal — including his own appointees — is working against him.

That argument is the heart of Mr. Trump’s grievances with the federal investigation. In the face of bipartisan support for the special counsel, Robert S. Mueller III, Mr. Trump and his allies have made a priority of questioning how the investigation was conducted in late 2016 and trying to discredit it.

“It’s a witch hunt,” Mr. Trump said last month on Fox News. “And they know that, and I’ve been able to message it.”

Congressional Republicans, led by Representative Devin Nunes of California, have begun to dig into F.B.I. files, looking for evidence that could undermine the investigation. Much remains unknown and classified. But those who saw the investigation up close, and many of those who have reviewed case files in the past year, say that far from gunning for Mr. Trump, the F.B.I. could actually have done more in the final months of 2016 to scrutinize his campaign’s Russia ties.

“I never saw anything that resembled a witch hunt or suggested that the bureau’s approach to the investigation was politically driven,” said Mary McCord, a 20-year Justice Department veteran and the top national security prosecutor during much of the investigation’s first nine months.

Crossfire Hurricane spawned a case that has brought charges against former Trump campaign officials and more than a dozen Russians. But in the final months of 2016, agents faced great uncertainty — about the facts, and how to respond.

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A Trump campaign rally in August 2016 in Texas. Crossfire Hurricane began exactly 100 days before the presidential election.CreditDamon Winter/The New York Times

Anxiety at the Bureau

Crossfire Hurricane began exactly 100 days before the presidential election, but if agents were eager to investigate Mr. Trump’s campaign, as the president has suggested, the messages do not reveal it. “I cannot believe we are seriously looking at these allegations and the pervasive connections,” Mr. Strzok wrote soon after returning from London.

The mood in early meetings was anxious, former officials recalled. Agents had just closed the Clinton investigation, and they braced for months of Republican-led hearings over why she was not charged. Crossfire Hurricane was built around the same core of agents and analysts who had investigated Mrs. Clinton. None was eager to re-enter presidential politics, former officials said, especially when agents did not know what would come of the Australian information.

The question they confronted still persists: Was anyone in the Trump campaign tied to Russian efforts to undermine the election?

The F.B.I. investigated four unidentified Trump campaign aides in those early months, congressional investigators revealed in February. The four men were Michael T. Flynn, Paul Manafort, Carter Page and Mr. Papadopoulos, current and former officials said. Each was scrutinized because of his obvious or suspected Russian ties.

 

[Here are the key themes, dates and characters in the Russia investigation]

Mr. Flynn, a top adviser, was paid $45,000 by the Russian government’s media arm for a 2015 speech and dined at the arm of the Russian president, Vladimir V. Putin. Mr. Manafort, the campaign chairman, had lobbied for pro-Russia interests in Ukraine and worked with an associate who has been identified as having connections to Russian intelligence.

Mr. Page, a foreign policy adviser, was well known to the F.B.I. He had previously been recruited by Russian spies and was suspected of meeting one in Moscow during the campaign.

Lastly, there was Mr. Papadopoulos, the young and inexperienced campaign aide whose wine-fueled conversation with the Australian ambassador set off the investigation. Before hacked Democratic emails appeared online, he had seemed to know that Russia had political dirt on Mrs. Clinton. But even if the F.B.I. had wanted to read his emails or intercept his calls, that evidence was not enough to allow it. Many months passed, former officials said, before the F.B.I. uncovered emails linking Mr. Papadopoulos to a Russian intelligence operation.

Mr. Trump was not under investigation, but his actions perplexed the agents. Days after the stolen Democratic emails became public, he called on Russia to uncover more. Then news broke that Mr. Trump’s campaign had pushed to change the Republican platform’s stance on Ukraine in ways favorable to Russia.

The F.B.I.’s thinking crystallized by mid-August, after the C.I.A. director at the time, John O. Brennan, shared intelligence with Mr. Comey showing that the Russian government was behind an attack on the 2016 presidential election. Intelligence agencies began collaborating to investigate that operation. The Crossfire Hurricane team was part of that group but largely operated independently, three officials said.

Senator Marco Rubio, Republican of Florida, said that after studying the investigation as a member of the Senate Intelligence Committee, he saw no evidence of political motivation in the opening of the investigation.

“There was a growing body of evidence that a foreign government was attempting to interfere in both the process and the debate surrounding our elections, and their job is to investigate counterintelligence,” he said in an interview. “That’s what they did.”

Andrew G. McCabe in December in Washington. Mr. McCabe, the former deputy F.B.I. director, was cited by internal investigators for dishonesty, giving ammunition for Mr. Trump’s claims that the F.B.I. cannot be trusted.CreditChip Somodevilla/Getty Images

Abounding Criticism

Looking back, some inside the F.B.I. and the Justice Department say that Mr. Comey should have seen the political storm coming and better sheltered the bureau. They question why he consolidated the Clinton and Trump investigations at headquarters, rather than in a field office. And they say he should not have relied on the same team for both cases. That put a bull’s-eye on the heart of the F.B.I. Any misstep in either investigation made both cases, and the entire bureau, vulnerable to criticism.

And there were missteps. Andrew G. McCabe, the former deputy F.B.I. director, was cited by internal investigators for dishonesty about his conversations with reporters about Mrs. Clinton. That gave ammunition for Mr. Trump’s claims that the F.B.I. cannot be trusted. And Mr. Strzok and Lisa Page, an F.B.I. lawyer, exchanged texts criticizing Mr. Trump, allowing the president to point to evidence of bias when they became public.

The messages were unsparing. They questioned Mr. Trump’s intelligence, believed he promoted intolerance and feared he would damage the bureau.

The inspector general’s upcoming report is expected to criticize those messages for giving the appearance of bias. It is not clear, however, whether inspectors found evidence supporting Mr. Trump’s assertion that agents tried to protect Mrs. Clinton, a claim the F.B.I. has adamantly denied.

Mr. Rubio, who has reviewed many of the texts and case files, said he saw no signs that the F.B.I. wanted to undermine Mr. Trump. “There might have been individual agents that had views that, in hindsight, have been problematic for those agents,” Mr. Rubio said. “But whether that was a systemic effort, I’ve seen no evidence of it.”

Mr. Trump’s daily Twitter posts, though, offer sound-bite-sized accusations — witch hunt, hoax, deep state, rigged system — that fan the flames of conspiracy. Capitol Hill allies reliably echo those comments.

“It’s like the deep state all got together to try to orchestrate a palace coup,” Representative Matt Gaetz, Republican of Florida, said in January on Fox Business Network.

The Kremlin in Moscow. Two weeks before Mr. Trump’s inauguration, senior American intelligence officials told him that Russia had tried to sow chaos in the election, undermine Mrs. Clinton and ultimately help Mr. Trump win.CreditMladen Antonov/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

Cautious Intelligence Gathering

Counterintelligence investigations can take years, but if the Russian government had influence over the Trump campaign, the F.B.I. wanted to know quickly. One option was the most direct: interview the campaign officials about their Russian contacts.

That was discussed but not acted on, two former officials said, because interviewing witnesses or subpoenaing documents might thrust the investigation into public view, exactly what F.B.I. officials were trying to avoid during the heat of the presidential race.

“You do not take actions that will unnecessarily impact an election,” Sally Q. Yates, the former deputy attorney general, said in an interview. She would not discuss details, but added, “Folks were very careful to make sure that actions that were being taken in connection with that investigation did not become public.”

Mr. Comey was briefed regularly on the Russia investigation, but one official said those briefings focused mostly on hacking and election interference. The Crossfire Hurricane team did not present many crucial decisions for Mr. Comey to make.

Top officials became convinced that there was almost no chance they would answer the question of collusion before Election Day. And that made agents even more cautious.

The F.B.I. obtained phone records and other documents using national security letters — a secret type of subpoena — officials said. And at least one government informant met several times with Mr. Page and Mr. Papadopoulos, current and former officials said. That has become a politically contentious point, with Mr. Trump’s allies questioning whether the F.B.I. was spying on the Trump campaign or trying to entrap campaign officials.

Looking back, some at the Justice Department and the F.B.I. now believe that agents could have been more aggressive. They ultimately interviewed Mr. Papadopoulos in January 2017 and managed to keep it a secret, suggesting they could have done so much earlier.

“There is always a high degree of caution before taking overt steps in a counterintelligence investigation,” said Ms. McCord, who would not discuss details of the case. “And that could have worked to the president’s benefit here.”

Such tactical discussions are reflected in one of Mr. Strzok’s most controversial texts, sent on Aug. 15, 2016, after a meeting in Mr. McCabe’s office.

“I want to believe the path you threw out for consideration in Andy’s office — that there’s no way he gets elected,” Mr. Strzok wrote, “but I’m afraid we can’t take that risk. It’s like an insurance policy in the unlikely event you die before you’re 40.”

Mr. Trump says that message revealed a secret F.B.I. plan to respond to his election. “‘We’ll go to Phase 2 and we’ll get this guy out of office,’” he told The Wall Street Journal. “This is the F.B.I. we’re talking about — that is treason.”

But officials have told the inspector general something quite different. They said Ms. Page and others advocated a slower, circumspect pace, especially because polls predicted Mr. Trump’s defeat. They said that anything the F.B.I. did publicly would only give fodder to Mr. Trump’s claims on the campaign trail that the election was rigged.

Mr. Strzok countered that even if Mr. Trump’s chances of victory were low — like dying before 40 — the stakes were too high to justify inaction.

Mr. Strzok had similarly argued for a more aggressive path during the Clinton investigation, according to four current and former officials. He opposed the Justice Department’s decision to offer Mrs. Clinton’s lawyers immunity and negotiate access to her hard drives, the officials said. Mr. Strzok favored using search warrants or subpoenas instead.

In both cases, his argument lost.

As agents tried to corroborate information from the retired British spy Christopher Steele, reporters began calling the F.B.I., asking whether the accusations in his reports were accurate.CreditAl Drago for The New York Times

Policy and Tradition

The F.B.I. bureaucracy did agents no favors. In July, a retired British spy named Christopher Steele approached a friend in the F.B.I. overseas and provided reports linking Trump campaign officials to Russia. But the documents meandered around the F.B.I. organizational chart, former officials said. Only in mid-September, congressional investigators say, did the records reach the Crossfire Hurricane team.

Mr. Steele was gathering information about Mr. Trump as a private investigator for Fusion GPS, a firm paid by Democrats. But he was also considered highly credible, having helped agents unravel complicated cases.

In October, agents flew to Europe to interview him. But Mr. Steele had become frustrated by the F.B.I.’s slow response. He began sharing his findings in September and October with journalists at The New York Times, The Washington Post, The New Yorker and elsewhere, according to congressional testimony.

So as agents tried to corroborate Mr. Steele’s information, reporters began calling the bureau, asking about his findings. If the F.B.I. was working against Mr. Trump, as he asserts, this was an opportunity to push embarrassing information into the news media shortly before the election.

That did not happen. Most news organizations did not publish Mr. Steele’s reports or reveal the F.B.I.’s interest in them until after Election Day.

Congress was also increasingly asking questions. Mr. Brennan, the C.I.A. director, had briefed top lawmakers that summer about Russian election interference and intelligence that Moscow supported the Trump campaign — a finding that would not become public for months. Lawmakers clamored for information from Mr. Comey, who refused to answer public questions.

Many Democrats see rueful irony in this moment. Mr. Comey, after all, broke with policy and twice publicly discussed the Clinton investigation. Yet he refused repeated requests to discuss the Trump investigation.

Mr. Comey has said he regrets his decision to chastise Mrs. Clinton as “extremely careless,” even as he announced that she should not be charged. But he stands by his decision to alert Congress, days before the election, that the F.B.I. was reopening the Clinton inquiry.

The result, though, is that Mr. Comey broke with both policy and tradition in Mrs. Clinton’s case, but hewed closely to the rules for Mr. Trump. Representative Adam B. Schiff of California, the top Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee, said that alone proves Mr. Trump’s claims of unfairness to be “both deeply at odds with the facts, and damaging to our democracy.”

Carter Page in December 2016. He had previously been recruited by Russian spies and was suspected of meeting one in Moscow during the 2016 presidential campaign.CreditPavel Golovkin/Associated Press

Spying in Question

Crossfire Hurricane began with a focus on four campaign officials. But by mid-fall 2016, Mr. Page’s inquiry had progressed the furthest. Agents had known Mr. Page for years. Russian spies tried to recruit him in 2013, and he was dismissive when agents warned him about it, a half-dozen current and former officials said. That warning even made its way back to Russian intelligence, leaving agents suspecting that Mr. Page had reported their efforts to Moscow.

Relying on F.B.I. information and Mr. Steele’s, prosecutors obtained court approval to eavesdrop on Mr. Page, who was no longer with the Trump campaign.

That warrant has become deeply contentious and is crucial to Republican arguments that intelligence agencies improperly used Democratic research to help justify spying on the Trump campaign. The inspector general is reviewing that claim.

Ms. Yates, the deputy attorney general under President Barack Obama, signed the first warrant application. But subsequent filings were approved by members of Mr. Trump’s own administration: the acting attorney general, Dana J. Boente, and then Rod J. Rosenstein, the deputy attorney general.

“Folks are very, very careful and serious about that process,” Ms. Yates said. “I don’t know of anything that gives me any concerns.”

After months of investigation, Mr. Papadopoulos remained largely a puzzle. And agents were nearly ready to close their investigation of Mr. Flynn, according to three current and former officials. (Mr. Flynn rekindled the F.B.I.’s interest in November 2016 by signing an op-ed article that appeared to be written on behalf of the Turkish government, and then making phone calls to the Russian ambassador that December.)

In late October, in response to questions from The Times, law enforcement officials acknowledged the investigation but urged restraint. They said they had scrutinized some of Mr. Trump’s advisers but had found no proof of any involvement with Russian hacking. The resulting article, on Oct. 31, reflected that caution and said that agents had uncovered no “conclusive or direct link between Mr. Trump and the Russian government.”

The key fact of the article — that the F.B.I. had opened a broad investigation into possible links between the Russian government and the Trump campaign — was published in the 10th paragraph.

A year and a half later, no public evidence has surfaced connecting Mr. Trump’s advisers to the hacking or linking Mr. Trump himself to the Russian government’s disruptive efforts. But the article’s tone and headline — “Investigating Donald Trump, F.B.I. Sees No Clear Link to Russia” — gave an air of finality to an investigation that was just beginning.

Democrats say that article pre-emptively exonerated Mr. Trump, dousing chances to raise questions about the campaign’s Russian ties before Election Day.

Just as the F.B.I. has been criticized for its handling of the Trump investigation, so too has The Times.

For Mr. Steele, it dashed his confidence in American law enforcement. “He didn’t know what was happening inside the F.B.I.,” Glenn R. Simpson, the founder of Fusion GPS, testified this year. “And there was a concern that the F.B.I. was being manipulated for political ends by the Trump people.”

James B. Comey, the former F.B.I. director, in January 2017. He assured Mr. Trump, who at the time was the president-elect, that the bureau intended to protect him as Mr. Steele’s reports were about to be published by news outlets.CreditAl Drago/The New York Times

Assurances Amid Doubt

Two weeks before Mr. Trump’s inauguration, senior American intelligence officials briefed him at Trump Tower in Manhattan on Russian hacking and deception. They reported that Mr. Putin had tried to sow chaos in the election, undermine Mrs. Clinton and ultimately help Mr. Trump win.

Then Mr. Comey met with Mr. Trump privately, revealing the Steele reports and warning that journalists had obtained them. Mr. Comey has said he feared making this conversation a “J. Edgar Hoover-type situation,” with the F.B.I. presenting embarrassing information to lord over a president-elect.

In a contemporaneous memo, Mr. Comey wrote that he assured Mr. Trump that the F.B.I. intended to protect him on this point. “I said media like CNN had them and were looking for a news hook,” Mr. Comey wrote of Mr. Steele’s documents. “I said it was important that we not give them the excuse to write that the F.B.I. had the material.”

Mr. Trump was not convinced — either by the Russia briefing or by Mr. Comey’s assurances. He made up his mind before Mr. Comey even walked in the door. Hours earlier, Mr. Trump told The Times that stories about Russian election interference were being pushed by his adversaries to distract from his victory.

And he debuted what would quickly become a favorite phrase: “This is a political witch hunt.”

Correction: 

An earlier version of this article misstated that news organizations did not report on the findings of the retired British spy Christopher Steele about links between Trump campaign officials and Russia. While most news organizations whose reporters met with Mr. Steele did not publish such reports before the 2016 election, Mother Jones magazine did.

Reporting was contributed by Michael S. Schmidt, Sharon LaFraniere, Mark Mazzetti and Matthew Rosenberg.

Follow Adam Goldman and Nicholas Fandos on Twitter: @adamgoldmanNYT and @npfandos.

A version of this art

The Russia Investigation Is Complicated. Here’s What It All Means.

The special counsel is investigating events that span years and cross international borders.

Image
Robert S. Mueller III, the special counsel overseeing the Russia investigation.CreditDoug Mills/The New York Times

THE BASICS

  • Russia carried out a campaign to influence the outcome of the 2016 American presidential election, denigrating Hillary Clinton and boosting Donald J. Trump, according to American intelligence agencies. President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia personally ordered it.

  • The F.B.I., citing four Trump campaign aides’ ties to Russia, opened a counterintelligence investigation in the summer of 2016 to determine whether Trump associates aided Russia’s election interference.

  • Robert S. Mueller III, the former F.B.I. director, was appointed the special counsel in May 2017 to take over the investigation. The inquiry has expanded to examine whether President Trump tried to obstruct the investigation itself.

  • Nineteen people — including four Trump associates — and three companies have been indicted in the case. Five have pleaded guilty; 13 are Russians accused of meddling in the election. [See a breakdown of the charges here.]


THE MAJOR FOCUSES OF THE INVESTIGATION

Interference

Mr. Mueller is investigating Russia’s efforts to influence the presidential race and sow discord by spreading inflammatory messages on social media and stealing emails from Mrs. Clinton’s campaign chairman and the Democratic National Committee, which were then strategically released to undermine the Clinton campaign.

Coordination

Investigators are examining what Mr. Trump’s aides and associates knew about Russia’s meddling, particularly the release of thousands of stolen Democratic emails, and whether any of them aided Moscow’s effort.

Obstruction

Mr. Mueller is investigating an array of the president’s actions — including the firing of the former F.B.I. director, James B. Comey — to determine whether Mr. Trump sought to impede the investigation into Russia’s actions.

Foreign Influence

Mr. Mueller is investigating whether Trump associates ran afoul of American lobbying or anti-corruption laws. Two aides to the Trump campaign, including its onetime chairman, were charged with financial crimes related to their work as advisers to a pro-Russia former president of Ukraine.

https://www.nytimes.com/2018/05/16/us/politics/russia-investigation-guide.html

National security letter

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Green herb with a few tiny yellow-white flowers
Three small white and yellow flowers before green-leaf background
A National security letter issued to the Internet Archive demanding information about a user

A national security letter (NSL) is an administrative subpoena issued by the United States government to gather information for national security purposes.[citation needed] NSLs do not require prior approval from a judge. The Stored Communications ActFair Credit Reporting Act, and Right to Financial Privacy Act authorize the United States government to seek such information that is “relevant” to authorized national security investigations. By law, NSLs can request only non-content information, for example, transactional records and phone numbers dialed, but never the content of telephone calls or e-mails.[1]

NSLs typically contain a nondisclosure requirement forbidding the recipient of an NSL from disclosing that the FBI had requested the information.[2] The nondisclosure provision must be authorized by the Director of the FBI, and only after he or she certifies “that otherwise there may result a danger to the national security of the United States, interference with a criminal, counterterrorism, or counterintelligence investigation, interference with diplomatic relations, or danger to the life or physical safety of any person.”[3] Even then, the recipient of the NSL may still challenge the nondisclosure provision in federal court.[4]

The constitutionality of such nondisclosure provisions has been repeatedly challenged. The requirement was initially ruled to be unconstitutional as an infringement of free speech in the Doe v. Gonzales case, but that decision was later vacated in 2008 by the Second Circuit Court of Appeals after it held the USA PATRIOT Improvement and Reauthorization Act gave the recipient of an NSL that included a nondisclosure provision the right to challenge the nondisclosure provision in federal court. In March 2013, a judge in the Northern District of California held the nondisclosure provision in an NSL was unconstitutional. But on August 24, 2015, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals vacated the district court’s decision and remanded the case to the district court for further proceedings. On remand, the district court held the “NSLs were issued in full compliance with the procedural and substantive requirements suggested by the Second Circuit in John Doe, Inc. v. Mukasey, 549 F.3d 861 (2d Cir. 2008), which had held that the 2006 NSL law could be constitutionally applied” … and “the NSL law, as amended [by the USA FREEDOM ACT of 2015], was constitutional.” The two petitioners then appealed. On appeal, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals upheld the district court ruling, holding that NSLs are constitutional, and stated, “the nondisclosure requirement does not run afoul of the First Amendment.” Under Seal v. Jefferson B. Sessions, III, Attorney General, Nos. 16-16067, 16-16081, and 16-16082, July 17, 2017.

History

The oldest NSL provisions were created in 1978 as a little-used investigative tool in terrorism and espionage investigations to obtain financial records. Under the Right to Financial Privacy Act (RFPA), part of the Financial Institutions Regulatory and Interest Rate Control Act of 1978), the FBI could obtain the records only if the FBI could first demonstrate the person was a foreign power or an agent of a foreign power. Compliance by the recipient of the NSL was voluntary, and states’ consumer privacy laws often allowed financial institutions to reject the requests.[5] In 1986, Congress amended RFPA to allow the government to request disclosure of the requested information. In 1986, Congress passed the Electronic Communications Privacy Act (ECPA), part of the Stored Communications Act), which created provisions similar to the RFPA that allowed the FBI to issue NSLs. Still, neither RFPA or ECPA act included penalties for not complying with the NSL. A 1993 amendment removed the restriction regarding “foreign powers” and allowed the use of NSLs to request information concerning persons who are not the direct subject of the investigation.

In 2001, section 505 of the USA PATRIOT Act expanded the use of the NSLs. In March 2006, the USA PATRIOT Improvement and Reauthorization Act allowed for judicial review of an NSL. A federal judge could repeal or modify an NSL if the court found the request for information was “unreasonable, oppressive, or otherwise unlawful.” The nondisclosure provision the government could include in an NSL was also weakened. The court could repeal the nondisclosure provision if it found it had been made in bad faith. Other amendments allowed the recipient of an NSL to inform their attorney about the request and the government had to rely on the courts to enforce compliance with an NSL.

Patriot Act

Section 505 of the USA PATRIOT Act (2001) allowed the use of the NSLs when seeking information “relevant” in authorized national security investigations to protect against international terrorism or clandestine intelligence activities. The act also provided the Department of Defense when conducting a law enforcement investigation, counterintelligence inquiry, or security determination. The Central Intelligence Agency has also allegedly issued NSLs.[6] The Patriot Act reauthorization statutes passed during the 109th Congress added potential penalties for failure to comply with an NSL or disclosing an NSL if the NSL included a nondisclosure provision.

Contentious aspects

Two contentious aspects of NSLs are the nondisclosure provision and judicial oversight when the FBI issues an NSL. When the Director of the FBI (or his designee) authorizes the inclusion of a nondisclosure provision in an NSL, the recipient may face criminal prosecution if it reveals the contents of the NSL or that it was received. The purpose of a nondisclosure provision is to prevent the recipient of an NSL from compromising both the current FBI investigation involving a specific person and future investigations as well (see 18 U.S.C. 2709), which could fetter the Government’s efforts to address national security threats.[7] An NSL recipient (later revealed to be Nicholas Merrill[8][9]) writing in The Washington Post said,

“[L]iving under the gag order has been stressful and surreal. Under the threat of criminal prosecution, I must hide all aspects of my involvement in the case…from my colleagues, my family and my friends. When I meet with my attorneys I cannot tell my girlfriend where I am going or where I have been.”[7]

Like other administrative subpoenas, NSLs do not require judicial approval. For NSLs, that is because the U.S. Supreme Court has held the types of information the FBI obtains with NSLs provide no constitutionally protected reasonable expectation of privacy. Because a person has already provided the information to a third party, e.g., their telephone company, they no longer have a reasonable expectation of privacy to the information, and therefore there is no Fourth Amendment requirement to obtain a judge’s approval to obtain the information.[10] Nonetheless, the recipient of the NSL may still challenge the nondisclosure provision in federal court.[11]

The media reported in 2007 that a government audit found the FBI had violated the rules more than 1,000 times in an audit of 10% of its national investigations between 2002 and 2007.[12] Twenty such incidents involved requests by agents for information not permitted under the law. A subsequent report in 2014 by the Justice Department Office of Inspector General concluded the FBI had corrected its practices and that NSLs complied federal statutes.

According to 2,500 pages of documents the FBI provided to the Electronic Frontier Foundation in response to a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit, the FBI had used NSLs to obtain information about individuals who were the subject of an FBI terrorism or counterintelligence investigation and information from telecommunications companies about individuals with whom the subject of the investigation had communicated. According to a September 9, 2007, New York Times report,

“In many cases, the target of a[n FBI] national security letter whose records are being sought is not necessarily the actual subject of a terrorism investigation. Under the USA PATRIOT Act, the FBI must assert only that the records gathered through the letter are considered relevant to a terrorism [or counterintelligence] investigation.”[13]

In April 2008, the American Civil Liberties Union alleged that the military was using the FBI to skirt legal restrictions on domestic surveillance to obtain private records of Americans’ Internet service providers, financial institutions, and telephone companies. The ACLU based its allegation on a review of more than 1,000 documents provided by the Defense Department. The Department of Justice Office of Inspector General later determined the Department of Defense (not the FBI) had lawfully obtained the information under the National Security Act of 1947, not through NSLs.

Doe v. Ashcroft

Letter in Doe v. Ashcroft case

The lack of judicial oversight and the Supreme Court ruling in Smith v. Maryland was the core of Doe v. Ashcroft, a test case brought by the ACLU concerning the use of NSLs. The lawsuit was file on behalf of “John Doe” plaintiff Nicholas Merrill, founder of Calyx Internet Access,[14] who had received an NSL. The action challenged the constitutionality of NSLs, specifically the nondisclosure provision. At the district court, Judge of the Southern District of New York held in September 2004 that NSLs violated the Fourth Amendment (“it has the effect of authorizing coercive searches effectively immune from any judicial process”) and First Amendment. However, Judge Marrero stayed his ruling while the case proceeded to the court of appeals.

Because of the New York district court ruling, while the case was still on appeal, Congress amended the USA PATRIOT Act to provide for more judicial review of NSLs and clarified the NSL nondisclosure provision.[15] Based on the U.S. Supreme Court rulings, there is still no requirement to seek judicial approval for the FBI issuing an NSL.

The government appealed Judge Marrero’s decision to the Second Circuit Court of Appeals, which heard arguments in May 2006. In March 2008, the Second Circuit ruled that nondisclosure provisions were permissible only when the FBI certified that disclosure may result in certain statutorily enumerated harms (see, e.g., 18 U.S.C. 2709), and held the nondisclosure provision to a strict scrutiny standard. The Second Circuit then returned the case to the district court based on amendments to the USA PATRIOT Act that Congress had enacted while the case had been on appeal.

Letter in the Doe v. Gonzales case

Another effect of Doe v. Ashcroft was increased congressional oversight. The amendments to the USA PATRIOT Act mentioned above included requirements for semiannual reporting to Congress. Although the reports are classified, a nonclassified accounting of how many NSLs are issued is also required. On April 28, 2006, the Department of Justice reported to the House and Senate that in calendar year 2005, “The Government made requests for certain information concerning 3,501 United States persons pursuant to NSLs. During this period, the total number of NSL requests … for information concerning U.S. persons totaled 9,254.”[16]

In 2010, the FBI agreed to lift partially the nondisclosure provision to allow Merrill to reveal his identity.[17] Merrill has since created a corporation for the purposes of educating and researching privacy issues.[18]

On August 28, 2015, Judge Marrero rescinded the nondisclosure provision associated with the NSL Merrill had received, thereby allowing him to speak about the contents of the NSL. On November 30, 2015, the unredacted court ruling was published in full.[19]

See also

References

  1. Jump up^ USA PATRIOT Improvement and Reauthorization Act of 2005: A Legal AnalysisCongressional Research Service‘s report for Congress, Brian T. Yeh, Charles Doyle, December 21, 2006.
  2. Jump up^ Bustillos, Maria (June 27, 2013). “What It’s Like to Get a National-Security Letter”The New Yorker.
  3. Jump up^ 18 U.S.C.§ 2709(c)
  4. Jump up^ 18 U.S.C.§ 3511
  5. Jump up^ Andrew E. Nieland, National Security Letters and the Amended Patriot Act, 92 Cornell L. Rev. 1201, 1207 (2007) [1]
  6. Jump up^ Lichtblau, Eric; Mezzetti, Mark (January 14, 2007). Military Expands Intelligence Role in U.S. “Military Expands Intelligence Role in U.S.”Check |url= value (help)The New York Times.
  7. Jump up to:ab My National Security LetterThe Washington Post, 2007 Mar 23
  8. Jump up^ John Doe’ Who Fought FBI Spying Freed From Gag Order After 6 YearsKim Zetter, Wired.com, 2010 8 10
  9. Jump up^ “Doe v. Holder (Challenging Patriot Act’s National Security Letter provision and associated gag provision)”S.D.N.Y. 04 Civ. 2614 (VM) (direct). NYCLU (New York Civil Liberties Union). Archived from the original on 2010-11-13.
  10. Jump up^ Smith v. Maryland, 442 U.S. 735 (1979); Fourth Amendment, U.S. Const.
  11. Jump up^ 18 U.S.C. § 3511
  12. Jump up^ “FBI agents broke the rules 1,000 times”RTÉ News Online. 2007-06-14. Retrieved 2007-06-14.
  13. Jump up^ Lichtblau, Eric (2007-09-08). “F.B.I. Data Mining Reached Beyond Target Suspects”. The New York Times.
  14. Jump up^ “ACLU Sues Over Internet Privacy”cbsnews.com.
  15. Jump up^ “Congress.gov – Library of Congress”thomas.loc.gov.
  16. Jump up^ Report of Foreign Intelligence Surveillance ActArchived 2006-06-29 at the Wayback Machine., United States Department of Justice
  17. Jump up^ McLaughlin, Jenna (14 September 2015). “Federal Court Lifts National Security Letter Gag Order; First Time in 14 Years”. The Intercept. Retrieved 16 September 2015.
  18. Jump up^ “National Security Letters and Gag Orders: Transcript”. On the Media. January 21, 2011. Although you’re allowed to challenge the gag every year now under the new [amended] law, the last time I did it, the government presented secret evidence that only they and the judge could see, and my attorneys could not see, and therefore could not challenge. It does kind of add up to a lot of responsibility, and that’s part of what motivated me to start my nonprofit organization, the Calyx Institute. Part of it is to defend people who are gagged. Part of it is also to promote best practices among telecommunications companies in regards to the privacy of customer data.
  19. Jump up^ “Nicholas Merrill able to reveal the national security letter previously undisclosed”Information Society Project. Yale University. Retrieved 2015-11-30.

External links

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

 

Indictment

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

An indictment (/ɪnˈdtmənt/ in-DYT-mənt) is a formal accusation that a person has committed a crime. In jurisdictions that use the concept of felonies, the most serious criminal offence is a felony; jurisdictions that do not use the concept of felonies often use that of an indictable offence—an offence that requires an indictment.

Historically, in most common law jurisdictions, an indictment was handed up by a grand jury, which returned a “true bill” if it found cause to make the charge, or “no bill” if it did not find cause.

Indictments by country

India

The criminal law in India[1] is derived from the colonial-era British system, does not use a jury system and is codified in the Criminal Procedure Code (CrPC). Criminal offenses are divided into two broad categories: cognisable offenses and non-cognisable offenses. The police are empowered to start investigating a cognisable offense. The complaint is considered merely an accusation. However, in both cognisable and non-cognisable offenses, the trial starts only with the “Framing of Charges” similar to the concept of indictment. The trial court does not proceed with the trial if the evidence is insufficient to make out a charge.

United Kingdom

England and Wales

In England and Wales (except in private prosecutions by individuals) an indictment is issued by the public prosecutor (in most cases this will be the Crown Prosecution Service) on behalf of the Crown, which is the nominal plaintiff in all public prosecutions under English law. This is why a public prosecution of a person whose surname is Smith would be referred to in writing as “R v Smith” (or alternatively as “Regina v Smith” or “Rex v Smith” depending on the gender of the Sovereign, Regina and Rex being Latin for “Queen” and “King” and in either case may informally be pronounced as such) and when cited orally in court would be pronounced “the Crown against Smith”.[2][3]

All proceedings on indictment must be brought before the Crown Court.[4] By virtue of practice directions issued under section 75(1) of the Supreme Court Act 1981, an indictment must be tried by a High Court judge, a Circuit judge or a recorder (which of these it is depends on the offence).

As to the form of an indictment, see the Indictments Act 1915 and the Indictment Rules 1971 made thereunder.

The Indictment Rules 1971 were revoked by the Criminal Procedure (Amendment) Rules 2007[5] (on the whole) incorporated into the Criminal Procedure Rules 2010.[6] The form and content and the service of an indictment are governed by Rule 14 of the CPR 2012.[7]Additional guidance is contained in the Consolidated Criminal Practice Direction Part IV.34.[8]

As to the preferring of a bill of indictment and the signing of an indictment, see section 2 of the Administration of Justice (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 1933 and the Indictments (Procedure) Rules 1971 (S.I. 1971/2084) made thereunder, as amended and modified by the Indictments (Procedure) (Amendment) Rules 1983 (S.I. 1983/284), the Indictments (Procedure) (Amendment) Rules 1988 (S.I. 1988/1783), the Indictments (Procedure) (Amendment) Rules 1992 (S.I. 1992/284), the Indictments (Procedure) (Amendment) Rules 1997 (S.I. 1997/711), the Indictments (Procedure) (Modification) Rules 1998 (S.I. 1998/3045) and the Indictments (Procedure) (Amendment) Rules 2000 (S.I. 2000/3360).

Northern Ireland[

See the Indictments Act (Northern Ireland) 1945.[9]

Scotland

In Scotland, all of these cases brought in the High Court of Justiciary are brought in the name of the Lord Advocate and will be tried on Indictment. In the Sheriff Court where trials proceed using the Solemn procedure they will also be tried on indictment and are brought in the name of the Procurator Fiscal.

United States

The Fifth Amendment to the Constitution of the United States states in part: “No person shall be held to answer for a capital, or otherwise infamous crime, unless on a presentment or indictment of a Grand Jury, except in cases arising in the land or naval forces, or in the Militia when in actual service in time of War or public danger”. The requirement of an indictment has not been incorporated against the states; therefore, although the federal government uses grand juries and indictments, not all U.S. states do.[10]

In many, but not all, United States jurisdictions that use grand juries, prosecutors often have a choice between seeking an indictment from a grand jury and filing a charging document directly with the court. Such a document is usually called an informationaccusation, or complaint, to distinguish it from a grand-jury indictment. To protect the suspect’s due-process rights in felony cases (where the suspect’s interest in liberty is at stake), there is usually a preliminary hearing, at which a judge determines whether there was probable cause to arrest the suspect who is in custody. If the judge finds such probable cause, he or she binds, or holds over, the suspect for trial.

The substance of an indictment or other charging instrument is usually the same, regardless of the jurisdiction: it consists of a short and plain statement of where, when, and how the defendant allegedly committed the offense. Each offense usually is set out in a separate count. Indictments for complex crimes, particularly those involving conspiracy or numerous counts, may run to hundreds of pages. However, in other cases an indictment for a crime as serious as murder, may consist of a single sheet of paper.

Indictable offenses are normally tried by jury, unless the accused waives the right to a jury trial. Although the Sixth Amendment mandates the right to a jury trial in any criminal prosecution, the vast majority of criminal cases in the United States are resolved by the plea-bargaining process.

Direct indictment (Canada)

A direct indictment is one in which the case is sent directly to trial before a preliminary inquiry is completed or when the accused has been discharged by a preliminary inquiry.[11][12] It is meant to be an extraordinary, rarely used power to ensure that those who should be brought to trial are in a timely manner or where an error of judgment is seen to have been made in the preliminary inquiry.[13]

Sealed indictment

An indictment can be sealed so that it stays non-public until it is unsealed. This can be done for a number of reasons. It may be unsealed, for example, once the named person is arrested or has been notified by police.[14]

See also

References

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

Did the FBI Have a Spy in the Trump Campaign?

Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump speaks at a campaign rally in Grand Rapids, Mich., October 31, 2016. (Carlo Allegri/Reuters)

The Steele-dossier author told Fusion GPS’s Glenn Simpson about a ‘human source.’Something tells me Glenn Simpson did not make a mistake. Something tells me the co-founder of Fusion GPS was dead-on accurate when he testified that Christopher Steele told him the FBI had a “human source” — i.e., a spy — inside the Trump campaign as the 2016 presidential race headed into its stretch run.

When he realized how explosive this revelation was, Simpson walked it back: He had, perhaps, “mischaracterized” what he’d been told by Steele, the former British spy and principal author of the anti-Trump dossier he and Simpson compiled for the Clinton campaign.

Simpson gave his testimony about the FBI’s human source at a closed Senate Judiciary Committee hearing on August 22, 2017. He did not try to retract it until the uproar that followed the publication of his testimony on January 9, 2018. The latter date is significant for reasons we’ll come to.

A Spy and a Stonewall
Simpson’s testimony on this point is worth revisiting because of a pitched battle between the House Intelligence Committee and the Justice Department. Essential reporting on the controversy has been done by the Wall Street Journal’s Kim Strassel (see here and here). On Thursday, she related that, yet again, Congress had faced down a DOJ/FBI attempt to stonewall the committee’s probe of investigative irregularities during the 2016 election season — particularly, abuse of government surveillance powers, which the Obama-led agencies used to monitor the Trump campaign.

Unable to get voluntary cooperation, committee chairman Devin Nunes (R., Calif.) issued a subpoena demanding that the Justice Department disclose information about a top-secret intelligence source who is said to have assisted the Russia investigation. That investigation is now being run by Special Counsel Robert Mueller. But more interesting is how it got started.

On that question, officials have been suspiciously fuzzy in their explanations, and hilariously inconsistent in their leaks: initially settling on an origination story that hinged on the Steele dossier and a trip to Moscow by the obscure Trump-campaign adviser Carter Page; later pivoting to a tale of boozy blathering by an even more obscure Trump-campaign adviser, George Papadopoulos, when the first story proved embarrassing — the dossier allegations having been unverified when the Justice Department included them in warrant applications to the FISA court.

The Justice Department’s inability, or at least unwillingness, to reveal exactly how, when, and why the FBI opened a counterintelligence investigation has fueled suspicions that a spy who worked for both the FBI and the CIA was deployed against the Trump campaign, probably in Britain — where Papadopoulos had met with suspected agents of the Kremlin, and where Steele compiled the dossier via reports from his unidentified sources.

From painstaking research, Nunes and committee staff believe they have identified such a spy. When they demanded information about this person — whose name remains unknown to the public — the Justice Department’s response was not “No, you’re wrong, there was no spying.” It was first to bloviate that the department would not be “extorted” (Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein’s unusual understanding of what is more commonly known as congressional oversight) and then to claim that providing the information sought by the committee would risk “potential loss of human lives, damage to relationships with valued international partners, compromise of ongoing criminal investigations, and interference with intelligence activities.”

By now, Nunes has learned that if he is catching flak, he is over the target.

Simpson’s Senate Testimony about the FBI’s ‘Human Source’
This brings us back to Glenn Simpson, co-founder of Fusion GPS, which was retained by the Clinton campaign (through its lawyers at Perkins Coie) to generate the Steele dossier, opposition research that focused on Donald Trump and Russia.

In his Senate testimony on August 22, 2017, Simpson explained that Steele had met with at least one FBI agent in Rome in mid to late September 2016. The former British spy had provided the unverified allegations he had compiled to that point (i.e., his private “intelligence reports,” later assembled into the “dossier”). Steele had developed a close working relationship with the FBI when he was a British agent. It is not surprising, then, that the Bureau did not just take his information; it reciprocated, imparting some sensitive information to him. Simpson explained to the Senate committee (my italics):

Essentially, what [Christopher Steele] told me was [the FBI] had other intelligence about this matter from an internal Trump campaign source, and that — that they — my understanding was that they believed Chris at this point — that they believed Chris’s information might be credible because they had other intelligence that indicated the same thing, and one of those pieces of intelligence was a human source from inside the Trump campaign.

Simpson declined to answer more questions about this unidentified “human source.” But when the media treated his revelation as a bombshell, he realized it would cause a feeding frenzy: Congress, the media, and the public would demand to know what would cause the FBI, in the stretch run of a presidential race, to use an informant against one candidate’s campaign.

On a dime, Simpson backpedaled. Fusion GPS explained to friendly media that he believed he had “mischaracterized” the source. He must have been talking about George Papadopoulos — not a “human source” in the sense of willing informant or spy, but a person attached to the campaign whose statements to an Australian diplomat had been passed to the FBI (through channels that, we shall see, have still not been explained).

On further review, I don’t buy this explanation (although I uncritically accepted it in a column about Simpson’s testimony early this year).

The Timing Doesn’t Compute
Simpson’s testimony was released to the public on January 9, 2018. That was just a few days after the New York Times had published its big New Year’s weekend story claiming, based on anonymous intelligence officials, that the Russia investigation had been opened sometime in July 2016. The catalyzing event, we were told, was a report to the FBI that Papadopoulos, a young Trump-campaign adviser, had alleged that Russia possessed thousands of stolen Hillary Clinton emails. According to the story, Papadopoulos had been informed of this by Joseph Mifsud, a London-based academic who professed to have Kremlin connections. A few weeks later, while drinking in a London bar in May 2016, Papadopoulos blabbed the news to Alexander Downer, an Australian diplomat.

According to the Times, when hacked Democratic National Committee emails started being published in July 2016, Australian officials surmised that this development could be related to Papadopoulos’s boozy claim; therefore, the paper suggests, they routed the information to their American counterparts. But when we peruse the story, we find that the Times is drawing an inference that the FBI must have gotten the information from the Australian government; there is no solid confirmation that this happened. Indeed, the story evinces bewilderment that two months supposedly elapsed between the Papadopoulos–Downer meeting and the FBI’s learning about it. There is no attempt to describe how this assumed transmission occurred, and the Aussies refused to comment on the matter.

Though the Papadopoulos–Downer story is rickety, it nevertheless served Simpson’s purpose of backing away from his “human source” testimony. Alas, his story does not add up, either.

To repeat, while Simpson’s testimony became public in January 2018, he actually gave the testimony five months earlier, in August 2017. Papadopoulos’s name is not uttered in the 312-page transcript, just as it goes unmentioned in the Steele dossier.

Papadopoulos was virtually unheard of until October 30, 2017, when Special Counsel Mueller announced his guilty plea and filed a factual recitation of his offense conduct. Two weeks after that information became public, Simpson was asked about Papadopoulos in a fleeting exchange during testimony before the House Intelligence Committee (see November 14, 2017transcript, page 163.) Interestingly, the subject came up in the context of Trump-related research Simpson had done separate and apart from his collaboration with Steele. Simpson claimed that he had been looking at Papadopoulos “for a while” and regarded him as “a clone of Carter Page”; but he admitted that he actually knew nothing significant about Papadopoulos beyond what Mueller had included in the information filed in court at the time of the guilty plea.

The information Mueller had filed in October said nothing about either Papadopoulos’s meeting with Downer or the subsequent purported transmission of Papadopoulos’s claims from Australian authorities to the FBI. That story did not come out until the Times article on December 30.

When Simpson testified that Steele told him the FBI had a human source, I think Simpson meant exactly what that testimony implied.

Only after that, and in the uproar over the January 9 release of Simpson’s five-month-old Senate testimony, did Fusion suggest that Simpson must have been referring to Downer, the Australian diplomat, when he told the Senate that the FBI had a “human source” inside the Trump campaign. That, however, is not credible. When Simpson gave the “human source” testimony in August 2017, there is no indication that he knew anything about Downer. Even if we buy his House testimony in November that he had heard of Papadopoulos before the latter’s October plea, Simpson conceded then that he knew nothing more than what Mueller had disclosed — which did not include the Papadopoulos–Downer meeting and the communication of it to the FBI.

Simpson is a smart guy, an accomplished investigative journalist, and now a full-time professional researcher, whose attention to detail is impressive. Steele is an experienced intelligence officer. The two are longtime friends and collaborators who understand each other well. Informants are central to both of their professions. By their telling, Steele’s decision to bring their research to the FBI and his subsequent dealings with the Bureau were a matter of extensive discussion and great concern.

Consequently, I do not believe that Steele gave his friend Simpson a cryptic account of his meeting in Rome with the FBI; nor do I believe that Simpson got confused and “mischaracterized” what he was told. When Simpson testified that Steele told him the FBI had a human source, I think Simpson meant exactly what that testimony implied: that someone from the FBI told Steele in August 2016 — while the investigation was heating up, while the FBI was ramping up its efforts in preparation for seeking surveillance warrants from the FISA court — that the Bureau had an informant.

A Human Source . . . in Britain, Not Australia
Three other things to consider:

1. For months, the House Intelligence Committee sought disclosure of the “electronic communication” (EC) by which the FBI opened its counterintelligence-investigation file on Papadopoulos, reportedly in July 2016. Counterintelligence involves national-security powers, and it is a weighty matter to apply these powers — as opposed to criminal-investigative authorities — to American citizens. The committee therefore wanted to know what foreign intelligence had spurred the probe, particularly in light of intelligence leaks that an Australian government report about Papadopoulos was the cause.

Yet, when Nunes was finally allowed to look at the EC, only after threatening contempt proceedings against Justice Department officials, he learned that the FBI did not set forth any foreign intelligence — there was no Australian report, no “Five Eyes intelligence product” at all, Nunes told Fox News’s Maria Bartiromo.

Did the FBI’s British operation involve using a spy to interact with Trump-campaign figures, such as Papadopoulos, on British soil?

If the FBI was not explicitly relying on intelligence from a foreign ally, on what was it relying to open a counterintelligence investigation focusing on an American political campaign? According to what the New York Times reported in April 2017, “current and former law enforcement and intelligence officials” said the investigation was triggered by Carter Page’s trip to Moscow. That would implicate the Clinton-campaign-generated Steele dossier, which claimed that Page’s trip furthered a Trump–Russia conspiracy. I’ve detailed how, as reliance on the unverified dossier has become more controversial, the media and intelligence agencies have tried to minimize its importance to the opening of the investigation.

Did the dossier instigate not only FISA surveillance but human spying against the Trump campaign?

2. As Larry O’Connor has recounted in the Washington Times, Obama’s former CIA director John Brennan was asked, by NBC’s Chuck Todd, whether the FBI’s investigation was triggered by intelligence from the Five Eyes (i.e., the U.S., Great Britain, Canada, New Zealand, and Australia — five Anglosphere governments that have longstanding, unusually close intelligence-sharing arrangements). Brennan would not answer the question directly, but he emphasized U.S. ties not with Australia but with Britain:

The F.B.I. has [a] very close relationship with its British counterparts. And so, the F.B.I. had visibility into a number of things that were going on involving some individuals who may have had some affiliation with the Trump campaign. And so, the intelligence that we collected was pulsed against that. And I thought it would have been derelict if the F.B.I. did not pull the threads, investigative threads, on American persons who might have been involved with Russia and working on their behalf either wittingly or unwittingly.

Sounds like the FBI, with support from the CIA, had some cooperative intelligence venture with British authorities that enabled the Bureau to monitor Trump-campaign figures. That is significant because Papadopoulos has acknowledged meeting in Britain with people who claimed Kremlin ties and who told him Russia had thousands of Clinton’s emails. Did the FBI’s British operation involve using a spy to interact with Trump-campaign figures, such as Papadopoulos, on British soil? Brennan didn’t say.

3. In December 2017, McCabe testified in a closed hearing before the House Intelligence Committee. The Washington Examiner’s Byron York reported that McCabe “said on more than one occasion that the FBI had worked hard to verify the dossier, telling lawmakers that the FBI had at one point sent investigators to London as part of that effort” (emphasis added).

Did the FBI’s work to verify the dossier in London involve a human source? Did it involve other human sources in other places?

Christopher Steele, the former British spy with extensive British intelligence and FBI connections, told his friend Glenn Simpson that the FBI had penetrated the Trump campaign with a “human source” who was helping corroborate the dossier. There seems to be more corroboration for this assertion than for the sensational allegations in Steele’s dossier.

Story 2: Secret Surveillance Spying Security State (S5) Abolishes Fourth Amendment With  National Security Agency and National Security Letters — Congress Does Nothing Fearing Secret Surveillance Spying Security State Disclosures By United States Intelligence Community (IC) — Videos

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